An Early Morning

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Taken this morning with my phone somewhere around 4:30 am as I waited for the MTA train in Long Beach, California. I rode in the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour for the third year in a row and took the train to avoid the parking crowds. This post will hold you over until write the next one which will include more pictures. In short, it was another great ride 🙂

Election Night Chaos

Election Night Chaos, originally uploaded by aeromat.

Train service delayed and people are not happy. This is the mess I’m currently stuck in. Polls close in 2.75 hours. I better make it. Update later.

UPDATED 7:30 p.m.: The picture you see above is not exactly an accurate representation of what was going on at the Green Line’s Avalon/I-105 station. What was going on was that the trains from El Segundo (where I work) were only going as far as the Avalon/I-105 Station. During their trip the had to switch tracks so they ended up on the opposite side of the platform. Those trains then went west back to El Segundo while those of us waiting to go east to Norwalk had to sit and wait.

I stood there for nearly an hour waiting for a train that wasn’t so packed, but there was no such luck. Each one was worse than the last since they had make their usual stops for passengers. By now people were getting antsy and trains were coming at the amazingly slow rate of every 15 minutes, which is why I say the picture isn’t exactly accurate. I took it well before things got ugly.

At 6 p.m. I was finally able to get on a train to go one measly stop to the Blue Line transfer point to Long Beach. During my exit I accidentally stepped on the back of a woman’s shoe. I touched her arm and politely apologized for the incident and considering the crowd of people exiting, pushing and shoving, I’m surprised something like this wasn’t happening more often. It was that bad.

After she stood in front of me adjusting her shoe (leaving me with nowhere to go), she threw a dirty look at me and mumbled something.

“I said I was sorry,” was my only reply. What more could I do? But she continued her verbal assault.

“Oh, get over yourself already,” I said as I waved off her nonsensical remarks and kept walking. I thought shit, here we are on the eve of making Election Night history and instead of taking pride in that, this woman has become obsessed with the fact that I tripped on her shoe. She obviously has deeper issues that I care not to deal with.

But in the end, I safely made it to my polling place and did my duty.

God bless America, and congratulations to our President-elect, Barack Obama.

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People on the Train

I am a slave to the public transportation system of the City of Los Angeles. I commute to work every day on the Blue Line and Green Line light rail trains, save for those times for when I need a break from backpacks being shoved into my chest; the smell of cocoa butter, weed and watermelon Jolly Ranchers; and having some fat lady’s too-big-to-be-wearing-Spandex ass resting on my shoulder as I sit.

It’s on those occasions when I gleefully subject myself to driving the grind of the 405 freeway.

In the few years I have been riding, I have become familiar with a handful of fellow train commuters. While I don’t know them by name, nor would I care to, I definitely recognize them the second I see them. And because I don’t know them by name, I have tagged them all with my very own nicknames.

Here is the list in no particular order:

Emo Boy. Just as his name implies, Emo Boy doesn’t show much emotion. He stands at the Green Line station staring into oblivion with his arms akimbo, probably hoping that the next train will miraculously jump the tracks and splatter him, sending him to The Black Parade. Same goes for when he’s on the train: nothing. He looks a lot like a younger version of the Zima Guy except without the stupid hat.

Lord Farquaad. I was originally going to tag this guy Mr. Bentley after the character from “The Jeffersons” because his facial features resemble that of the George’s British neighbor. Instead, his out-of-date hairstyle, the texture not unlike the hair found atop Gene Wilder’s cranium (if he has any left), earned him the moniker of Lord Farquaad. He’s just not as evil–I think. Dude also wears loafers, skin-tight purple corduroys and, if I recall correctly, a Member’s Only jacket. I realize I’m in Los Angeles, but c’mon…even we have limits.

Pigeon Lady. I haven’t seen her in a while but she’s hard to miss: with bulbous eyes and a small mouth, she always looks surprised. Or has something crammed in a cavity somewhere. But more to the point, she looks like the pigeon from those Mo Willems books.

Max from “Max and Ruby.” I can almost hear the theme from “Max and Ruby” whenever this guy strolls by. Well, it’s less of a stroll than it is a rolling gait. I don’t even know if the guy has knees because when he sits on the bench, his legs stick all the way out. Maybe he killed fiddy men like Cotton did and had his shins blown off.

MexiMidgets*. These…these chuckling little annoyances measure about four-foot-nothing and work in the hotels in the area, and what they lack in height they make up for in girth. It’s not uncommon to have a group of them rush the train, shove people out of the way, hop on board and then squeeze into the tiniest space allowable. It’s kind of my idea of what Munchkin Land would be like if it were in Mexico but with less singing and more taco stands. And if you’re really lucky, they’ll sit next to you and rest their lunch on your lap (trust me, it’s happened). To them I say this (if they understood English): you’re not as small as you think and you’re not the only people on the train! Show a little courtesy, for Chrissakes.

Face. Since my schedule was changed, I don’t see Face much anymore. She was a rather rotund woman with glasses that were not only out of style but looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in at least a decade, and it wouldn’t have surprised me if there were a few crusty boogers on them, too. She always sat in the corner of the train and stroked her face the entire trip, hence the nickname. Maybe she was feeling for areas she missed when she shaved that morning; maybe she just had this nervous tick. Either way, she annoyed the piss out of me.

Any Winehouse Girl. This teenager tries to mimic the eye makeup of everybody’s favorite crackwhore without much success. I got to stand real close to AWG a few times and while I’m no expert at applying makeup, it was a pretty sad sight to see. Dried-up black stuff all over her face. So I give Any Winehouse a little credit, but not a whole lot. She’d probably sell it for a gram of coke anyway.

So there you have it. I’m sure I have a few nicknames myself but blah, whatever. I’m sure they aren’t as amusing as my own.

* Oh, don’t get all bent out of shape. I’m Hispanic, too, and those little twits annoy the living shit out of me.

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Going Metro Pays Off!

Anybody that reads this blog on a regular basis knows that for as much as I praise the benefits of riding Los Angeles’ MTA light rail system, I have just as many complaints.

Today’s entry definitely falls under the former.

An e-mail was sent to everybody here in the office this morning and man, I think I did the most joyous “rock on” gesture that I can ever recall.

Basically what it came down to was, with gas prices going nowhere but up, the company had decided to reward those who take the train to work by reimbursing them the cost of MTA’s Monthly Pass, or $62. There are, of course, a few quid pro quos:

  • You must commit to riding the train at least 75% of the time
  • Your parking card must be deactivated and should you drive to work, you must have the hourly rate card validated
  • Submit proof of purchase/receipt by specific date

So in addition to the gas money I’m saving by taking the train to work*, I now get an extra $62 back on my paycheck–completely nontaxable.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, people! This effing ROCKS!

*I will be filling up today for the first time in over two weeks!


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Just Another Day in L.A.


My ride home was delayed today because of “police activity.” Here it is @ the MTA Green Line/Blue Line transfer point. Don’t know what the activity was just yet.