Friday, April 29, 2011

Unfriend a train friend. No, there's no app for that but there is some advice

A cuppa y'all sent this story in and I said when it was slow, I would share it.
Well, it's been a slow day.
I've got lots of pics people have sent in of bag riders and foot riders but I like to spread those out.

How do I get rid of my unwanted 'train buddy’?
David Eddie
Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 12:54PM EDT

The question

My daily commute includes three hours on a train. Some months ago, I had a nice chat with a seatmate who mentioned being new to my area. After chatting again a few days later, he said he and his wife would love to have my husband and me over for a drink. I hesitantly accepted. Drinks turned into dinner, during which my husband and I realized that we have little in common with this couple. But we were friendly – and now I’m stuck. He refers to me as his “train buddy,” sits next to me every morning and keeps talking about getting together again. He seeks my advice on matters about which I have no expertise or interest: his job, his in-laws, his kid’s weight. How can I shake him loose?


This article got 147 comments. I could only dream ...

But what I like about this article is that I can use one of my previous stick figure drawings.

Background here

My crotch is not your coffee table

What is it with men who Blackberry and read over my lap?

Interesting ...

The Financial Post reported about a Metrolinx board meeting, so secret that despite the corporation being funded by our tax dollars, the press was asked to leave.

Metrolinx: Spending your tax dollars in secret

A boss on the GO ... Part 4

From the Financial Post

Gary McNeil, president of GO Transit, is a slight and soft-spoken gentleman, more technocrat than railroader. On most mornings Mr. McNeil, 61, parks his car at the Aurora GO station and catches the 6:22, arriving at Union Station at 7:18 a.m. He walks under the Gardiner Expressway to his office at 20 Bay Street. His first job, in 1972, was at Ontario’s Department of Highways in traffic operations. He joined GO as director of rail services in 1999. Three years ago, he went to a Town of Markham meeting and spoke against a proposal to plunk car-dependent big box retail near the Mount Joy GO station. The town ignored him, so Mr. McNeil and his wife moved from Markham to Aurora. On his office wall hangs a photo collage depicting a GO train pulling out of a fictional station, a gift from his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary. The station’s clock reads 5:17, the train his wife wishes he would catch home. But half the time he catches the 6 p.m. instead, the last train. Mr. McNeil spoke to Peter Kuitenbrouwer Monday in his office.


Finger lickin' good

Sylvie writes in email:

Guy across from me just licked his finger, stuck it in his ear, swished it around a bit, and put his earbud in (repeat for other ear) - Yuck!

I can top that! I once watched a guy lick clean the earbuds of his earphones before putting them in his ears.

Technical difficulties ... FIXED!!!

Someone at Google heeded the call and commenting is now available to all.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hair whippin' causes some trippin'

Stick drawing by yours truly. Not to scale. Not even close ... I ask for no forgiveness.

This story comes from Isabel who discovered on BlogTO.

In the mornings on the GO Train I love to nap. It's early and I'm tired.
It already drives me crazy when people talk on their cellphones in the morning, or poke me with their elbows/bags/umbrellas, etc and wake me up. But this particular morning was ridiculous because a woman who was sitting at the seat behind me (so that our seat backs were connected, and we "shared" a head rest), kept flipping her long, crunchy blonde hair up into the air, and whipping it behind her like she was in a hip hop video... and her hair WOULD LAND ON MY HEAD!! It would wake me up every time I fell back asleep, and I literally had somebody else's hair ON MY FACE! And she did this repeatedly! I know I should probably have just asked to stop but I felt ridiculous telling her that her hair was on my head.

Anyway, this story makes me sound insane, but it would be comforting to know that it has happened to other people too.


If I didn't have a one-way ticket before, I sure as heck do now

Like the new logo/banner? -> Background here.

Me too.

Look, I already know where I'm going, and you know you're sitting right beside me when we get there.

Thanks to Donna for the suggestion.

Bored? Check out the Logo Gallery.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By Request - The Countdown Clock Tower

Okay, before I wow you with my lame-ass attempt at construction/architecture/engineering, let me warn you, once again, that I have no background in building or assembling structures, signs, electronics or even lego.

You're talking to a woman who assembled an entire home spa with a butterknife. I've even used my teeth to tighten bolts (true story). The seat on my bike was loose once and it would twist from side to side when I would ride it, so not having a wrench/pliers/ratchet, I used my teeth to tighten the bolt. You should see me change a tire.

People begged me to create a countdown clock based on ideas I wrote out in an earlier post. The only decent photo I could find of a GO station was the Oshawa GO Station pic found on Wikipedia. I warned you, this is gonna be a hot mess.

Concept 1 (click each image to enlarge in a new window)

Concept 2 - Same image, different words

I know. Boring, right?

But you know what makes this better? Throwing Godzilla into the picture.
He's mad because he's running late and he gets on Ajax and he knows he's not getting a seat.

Then, there's the Barrie Bathroom Troll. He needs to get on to enforce some bladder control -> Background here.

The Barrie Gang ... Part 3

From The National Post

It’s 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, the day before Good Friday, and the GO gang on the Barrie-Bradford train, rumbling south towards Union Station, is in a party mood.

Nancy Tamburello, boarding in Maple, pulls out a thermos of espresso and fills small styrofoam cups. Heather gets on in King City and brandishes a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, to top people up. Of course I had to partake — when else will I have a chance to wolf Timbits and slurp hard liquor on a train rumbling through the dawn with a crowd of cavorting bankers I’ve just met, while joking about the Leafs?

Keep Reading ...

Holy whores of hell

Jill and I are stuck, probably with the rest of you, on what was the 5:20 and is now the 9:13 (at this bloody rate). Why? Two medical emergencies but the texts I keep getting from GO say VIA rail traffic, so which one is it?!

Also, the heat on this coach is set to Satan's Armpit and if we don't get some air soon, it will be Satan's Crotch in a minute.

Wait... What's this?

Holy jesus on a biscuit. We're moving...

Hey, since we're now an hour late (what the CSA said!), those of you with 10-ride tickets get your ride credited. The rest of us suckers get a big fat zero.

5:20 Train ride to hell

Lovingly penned by Jennifer W. in email to

Well, there are those days that you loathe to miss your regular train. And this time by 1 minute. So I climbed aboard the 5.20 LSE (which was late to start with). Little did I know that I and the other poor saps in the car would be subjected to the epitome of bad parenting.

Stereotypes aside (and believe me they were quite apparent), the 3 year old child screamed bloody murder from Union to Danforth. Before Danforth, the mother, grown tired of the dirty looks sent her way decided to challenge me. Demanded to know why we were sending these looks to her and the child, who at this time was laying on the floor, kicking her.

I responded that the people on the train did not pay money to listen to the child. She then ]asked what she should do. I told her to either comfort or discipline the child and not ignore it by reading her newspaper. She asked me if I knew what was going on (I am assuming some baby mama tragedy right now) and I said no, nor did I want to know. She then huffed and tried to put the child in a seat.

Eventually, the child quieted, got a treat and then by Scarborough station, started screaming, punching and biting the mother because said treat fell on the floor and was taken away.

What absolutely amazed me was not that I can see that a criminal future for the child, but that no one else in the car thought to say something else, even those who witnessed our exchange. They talked amongst themselves, but no one, not even the gentleman the child was laying on to kick the mother, did anything.

Anyone surprised? There's strength in numbers folks. Start backing up those who speak up.

The Countdown Clock

Lat week, I addressed accusations that I work for GO Transit. I'm still chuckling over that. Your seat would have cupholders if I did and a whole mess of other things would be addressed.

One suggestion that proved extremely popular and generated a few emails was the platform countdown clock. The emails came in from people who haven't memorized the schedules to heart or who don't commute during the morning rush, or who don't own a watch or who, like my husband before he got rid of it, own a vehicle where the dashboard clock no longer works. People really want to know how much time they have before the train leaves.

I'm not an engineer. I'm a graphic designer but this doesn't make me an artist but I've been asked to illustrate the countdown clock. One person, Jessica, wrote that if GO were to implement such a clock, it would probably help with tardy "dooooors are clooooooooooosing ... " announcements. Maybe.

I'd like one only so I know how much time I have to sprint across the parking lot. Keven wrote he'd like one so he knows whether he has time to grab a coffee from the Williams Coffee Pub near the Oshawa GO Station when rolling in to take an afternoon train.

Just for fun, I will Photoshop a countdown clock. Of course, I'm not going to take it seriously and you can expect a hot mess.

Idle Threat


"May be towed"?!!

Someone at GO needs to grow a pair. WILL. WILL BE TOWED.

Do it.

I have to give props to the graphic artist behind this ad who put the words over the lines in an attempt to adress parking a$$holes who can't position a vehicle in between two yellow sticks to save their lives. A+

Love on the tracks .... starring Y'ALL

Part 2
from The National Post

GO riders can follow each other online as well. Cindy Smith, a web designer in the financial services industry and a stand-up comic, last year began a web site about GO train manners,,on the premise that, for $272 a month in fares, she deserves some comfort. People send her photos of riders eating pizza or sushi, taking up space with bags or dog crates, parking sloppily in GO lots and, mostly, putting their feet on the seats. Ms. Smith dubs passengers sprawled over several seats "lounge turnips, calls entrance blockers "door donkeys," and Photoshops flames onto pictures of misbehaving riders.

Keep Reading ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hey, did I tell you about the time ...

... I was on a crowded 4:53 LSE train and was subjected to a conversation between two women where one described her C-Section in graphic, gory, bloody detail?

There weren't any seats left for me to move. I hate standing. I loathe it. But I tried as hard as I could to hold out as I didn't want to get up and give up my seat...

Let me tell you something about me and blood. We don't hang out. We don't play on the monkey bars or share milkshakes at the corner deli. We don't skip through daisies or talk about boys... So I don't handle stories involving blood very well and every year in high school, when it came time to discuss the female reproductive system during physical education at my all-girls high school, I would always be the one who would pass out. In fact, by grade 12, girls were taking bets on me how long I'd last and if I'd make it to the cervix.

Thing is, I have a kid. I had a C-Section myself. I don't care to know how it happened or what was done. I'm fine with the end-result.

Anyhow, this woman is talking, and talking, and talking... I'm growing more clammy by the second. Finally, I leaned over, and just as I was about to ask the woman to stop, to say that I have a weak stomach, I passed out. Just like that. Rolled right out of my seat onto the floor.

Thankfully, no one pushed the emergency strip. (I didn't want to be *that* person - the "medical situation").

I came to a few seconds later, surrounded by several people who were helping me breathe, etc.

I even managed a strangled, "Don't press the strip" when someone suggested it.

Several people offered me whatever food they had on hand, from jelly beans to granola bars, believing I had suffered low blood sugar.

The two women got off the train at Whitby never giving me the chance to tell them why I really fainted.

So, last week, when I found myself seated beside another pair of women also discussing C-Sections, I got up and moved.

Thinking about an earlier post this morning, I'm not about to dictate to anyone what they can and can't talk about on the train. I do think that we owe it to our fellow passengers to be mindful about what we're talking about.

Some things truly are off-limits. Like blood and moving livers and slicing spleens. Don't you think? Dear God, tell me I'm not alone.

Time to change the banner

The door donkeys are gettin' old and what's in the running is something along the lines of people who can't park.

I was also emailed a snapshot of my favorite train icon and was asked if I can do something with him. I just can't come up with something. Any ideas? Email or comment will do.

If you're new to the site, check out the Logo Gallery to understand what I'm talking about.

The seats are not floor mats

Lyndsay apologizes for the blurriness of this photo taken this morning.

This young man slapped his way in wet running shoes to a seat and then promptly put his feet up.

But that's ok, right? As long as he didn't step in dog sh*t, wrote someone in a comment on another post on the same topic.

No, it's not okay. I don't understand why so many can't grasp why this is rude and inconsiderate. The soles of your shoes are dirty. Lord knows how much spit you've walked over, or what bodily fluids you've stepped on in the washrooms you've visited throughout the day.

No one wants to sit on what you've dragged around. Trust me.

Bag Rider Problems? You've come to the right place

On the 6:46 am train this morning - Barrie Corridor.

You know what's coming, right?

It's been too long.

Way, way, too long.


I'm not done.

Should I?

A little firecrotch, you think? A slow burn across the knees?

Don't mind if I do!

Yours Truly. In the National Post

I came into work this morning with a copy of this National Post story on my desk clipped by a co-worker. I did this interview some time ago and had no idea how and when it would run. My part is small. Train 49 was really the story.

Meet the Train Gang - National Post

Spoiler Alert

905260XXXX writes in a text message:

Two ladies standing near me who got on at Ajax have just ruined the King's Speech for me.


Don't need to see it now since she just described in grand detail everything that happens!

I did speak up and said, "Sounds like a great film, but some of us haven't seen it " which was met with two startled stares. Was I wrong to say something?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Here's your chance to do the dance we call the "slurp"

Sure! We thought we had it bad this morning on the 753 LSE with Mrs Yappity Yap, who for the record, ignored all of us who verbally and through body language and other actions, told her she annoyed us. She's more important than us! Don't you get it!?

But poor Brenda on the LSW had to deal with Mr. Slurp:

I am on the LSW 733 @Clarkson. Train is full. I'm sitting across from a guy with one of those round, cone-shaped, Tim Horton carry mugs from a thousand years ago. The ones that hold a keg of coffee. If I take/find a pic, I'll send it. He's on his phone. He is slurping from the mug while he talks. "Did you call Bob to tell him it's the 3:30 I want moved?" ... SLURP ... "Can you ... SLURP ... call his wife and see if she can ... SLURP... reach him?" ... SLURP.

Then... THEN! He licks the rim of his coffee mug after every slurp like there's a massive leak he has to dam with his tongue. So it's SLURP, LICK and TWIST. I'm staring right at him with an incredulous look. I think he thinks I'm flirting with him as the licks are getting a little longer!!!

There's nothing hot about this guy. If I told you he could be a grade 10 science teacher, you wouldn't be shocked. What do you suggest I say? I want something clever!
Unfortunately, I didn't get Brenda's text in time to give an on-the-spot reply. Dammit!

Where do we draw the line? I'm thinking rain boots are a good place to start

This nasty girl had no problem throwing her dirty, rubber boots onto the seat. Why? Because she's more important than you apparently.

- Submitted by Holly

He's too important for garbage

Garbage? What garbage? (a water bottle and what looks like a bottle of orange juice on the floor)

At least he thought to put his feet up under the seat.

- Submitted by Jason

The Chinese know how to deal with luggage

Crazy Train reader Al just got back from Hong Kong and took some photos for us of their commuter-rail system.

Check out the sign for how to deal with luggage:

Note the fines for eating and drinking but no fine for violating the peace:

For the hearing impaired, a visual aid is used so commuters know how far to the next stop and where they are on the route:

Not surprisingly, bag riding appears to be a worldwide epidemic:

But the best part? The luggage racks. The Chinese know how to deal!

Brilliant, no?

This guy has made his own portable laptop desk, complete with cupholder! He needs to get on Dragon's Den.



This has to be the most poorly enforced GTTA by-law, hands down.

At Union, the smokers try to hide behind the stairwells on the platform for the Bay East Teamway, figuring they're outside, it's ok. At Oshawa, they smoke freely, right in front of the cameras.

No one says anything. Why have rules then? So we get 60% compliance? Not good enough.

Welcome Back!

Did you have a nice train ride in?
Oooh, you work for the government so you have today off? Fanfeckentastic for you!

Guess what I had to deal with, as well as the regulars in my coach?

Miss Yappity-Yap!

This woman yapped the whole train ride (Oshawa-Union), even through the Rouge Valley blackhole, on her cellphone with her volume set to ear-bleed. We got the best of both worlds! We could hear her and the person she was talking to.

At one point, Bouncer (a train buddy) began to read aloud from her book. The girl has balls.

But sadly, Motormouth couldn't take a hint.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blah, blah, sooo

Oh goodness whores of hell.
On the 410.
Subjected to a 30 minute phone call where this chick went on and on and on and on about easter dinner and what are they going to eat for dessert and if it should be pie or cake.
Of course, today was the day I decided to delete all the music off my blackberry so I can't drown her out... but the most annoying part was she ended every sentence with 'sooo'.

For example, "It's easy to make that, all I have to do is buy icing, sooo..." The lady across from me has sighed, flicked her paper, crossed and re-crossed her legs and mumbled under her breath. Sooo...

Finally, she lost her call just outside Rouge Hill and the lady across from me said, "Praise Jesus".

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Commuting circa 1967

I've nicknamed the lady on the right whose giving the photographer of this photo the evil eye "Harriet". Doesn't she look like a Harriet!?

Check out the CSA! White gloves and pillbox hat.

And did you spot the smoker? There's no ventilation in that coach. Yuck.

If you want to see more pictures like this, GO has a library on their official Facebook page.

Obviously this donkey rode the short bus as a kid

Oshawa GO Parking Lot (submitted anonymously)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Celebrated at the Oshawa GO Parking Lot.

But *not* by yours truly.

Who throws a bong away in a parking lot?

Wish granted

643 LSE train rolls in on Platform 12 and over on Platform 11 stands some Departure Door Donkeys.
Guess which side the doors *don't* open for?
Ha ha.
But wait... What's this? One of the Triple Ds is angry.
She just got on and is mumbling about calling GO to complain because the 'asshole' didn't open the doors on Platform 11. Now she's saying there's 'something going on because the doors always open on 11'.
Funny. I'm telling you, she's furious.
She claims she glared at Mike (tonight's CSA) and told him that 'buses go to Courtice first, then to Bomanville' as she passed him through the accessibility coach to get to Platform 12. What does *that* mean?
It's been 15 minutes and she's talking to anyone who will listen to her about how tragic it was that the doors didn't open... Newsflash lady, you were on the WRONG platform!
You can shut up now. No, really you should.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Your burning question ... answered and why it can't possibly be possible

For the gazillionth time (is that even a word?)

If I did ...

(insert Scooby Doo dream sequence)

  • trains would be on time everyday;

  • people would let everyone board and find a seat while standing patiently on the platform before boarding and THEN stand near the doors - door police would be on-hand to make it so;

  • there would be a dining car;

  • beverages would be available from a concession machine bolted to the wall above the three-seater bike area;

  • CSAs would speak in a soothing, Barry White voice (even the women);

  • the seats would be specially designed to deliver electric shocks when sensors come into contact with the soles of feet;

  • every coach would have a pinhole camera wired to a central monitoring station where bag riders would be addressed through the PA and asked to remove their bags from seats;

  • stops and other service information would be displayed via LED screens mounted in the center of coaches so hearing-impaired people know when to get off;

  • there would be a luggage car;

  • parking lots would be monitored every day, hour by hour, by a security guard in a golf cart or on an ATV and "park how I want to asshole donkeys" would be ticketed - every time, but only when spots are available and it was just pure laziness on the donkey's part;

  • Presto top-ups would be instantaneous;

  • shelters on the platforms would be heated;

  • escalators would return to Union station and elevators would really be used by those who need them;

  • the garbage receptacles on the trains would be larger;

  • when the CSAs announce the doors are closing, they actually close;

  • there would be a large countdown timer on each platform, visible from the farthest end of the parking lot so people know exactly, right down to the second, how much time til the train leaves;

  • lasers would be mounted on platforms with nicotine-seeking sensors that would deploy when someone lights a cigarette and emit a charge that would disintegrate the cigarette on contact.
(end of Scooby-Doo dream sequence)

So, as you can tell, I don't work for GO.


Wait, before you turnips jump all over me with comments like, and my favourite, "so you can take a picture but you can't say something ..." the woman sitting opposite of him (in the window seat) leaned forward and tapped him. When he pulled out his headphones, she asked him if he needed a footstool. True story.

A$$hole Parking Explained

You all know I have a Ray Finkle obsession with people who can't park a vehicle between two lines, right? Well a reporter at the Globe and Mail also mused about what possesses a person to straddle two lanes.

Why take one parking spot, when two will do?

Full article here.

My favorite line in the article?

"Were you a down-to-earth Lululemon stay-at-home mom raising the new messiah ...?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Well, this is awkward

Yes, I know I let it slip in yesterday's post about the $5 bills, that I wrote on the company's Facebook wall.

It's really not that hard to figure me out. But, sending me friend requests on Facebook is, er, awkward.

I don't even know you.

I mean, I know we speak every day (well, I speak and you read) and there's some communication, but I don't know if I'm really that into you.


I rejected your friend request.

Hey ... don't be mad.

C'mon ... I'll buy you a lollipop.

Some talk a little and some talk way too much


Karen, Karen, Karen ...

I'm sure you're a lovely gal, but you overloaded us with way too many announcements this morning on the 7:53 Oshawa-Union train.

It was, um, irritating.

Not surprisingly, I did receive an email about the announcements and Tom W. has some comments. I second all of them:

To all CSAs:

* As we near Union, stop saying it is our "last and final stop". The last stop is always the final stop.

* Stop saying crossing tracks is "illegal and prohibited". Illegal stuff is always prohibited.

* Stop using the phrase "Next station stop". Stops which aren't stations are moot - just say "Our next station is ..."

* "Detrain" is not a word. I think you mean "alight", as in "Alight at Pickering for stations between Pickering and Union".

* Saying, "Doors are now closing" and then failing to close them makes you a liar. Just close the doors. Worry about trapped limbs afterwards. If everyone knows the doors close when you say they will, people will get out the way.

* Stop using overly complicated descriptions. This morning on the 7:59 from Whitby - Union, I heard, "This train will make all stops to Pickering, then operate express to Union Station". Just say, "This train stops at Ajax, Pickering and Union." It's quicker and less confusing for people who haven't memorized the order of the stops on the line. Similarly, on the 17:20 out of Union to Oshawa, don't say "This train stops at Danforth and Scarborough, then express to Pickering, then all stops to Oshawa". Just say "This train calls at Danforth, Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa", which leaves no room for confusion and no need to explain that passengers going to Eglinton, Guildwood and Rouge Hill want a different train.

* It's "Union Station", not "Toronto Union Station" or "Toronto's Union Station". There are indeed other Union stations out there, but the nearest are Washington DC and Chicago, so there won't be any confusion. Toronto has lots of stations, but we never hear "Toronto's Danforth station" or anything like that.

* When we do stop for some random reason, don't say we will under way "momentarily". That means "in an instant or moment", and implies we will be moving within the next 5 seconds, which we almost never are. Use "shortly" instead.

Anyone else?

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's been awhile ...

... but they're baaack! Park how I want to. Oshawa-stylz.

About those $5 bills at King and Bay, in the courtyard of the CIBC building

I was hoofing it to catch the 6:18pm milk run home tonight when at King and Bay my eye caught a $5 bill taped to the CIBC sign in the courtyward of the CIBC tower that fronts King Street.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed several $5 bills just randomly tucked into the sign, taped to the planters and shoved into the bushes. I took one. I also took photos. I wasn't sure what to think and I even brought one inside the building to ask security if they knew anything about it. Every bill had a website stamped on it - The company behind this marketing campaign doesn't offer a lot of info on its corporate website other than promoting the product, Cyracos. I realize they just got some free advertising from me. That's okay, I posted a link to to their Facebook page (until someone deleted it - twice - really?!).

The CIBC security guard and I both agreed if the bills were fake, they were high-quality fakes. Once on the train, I took the bill out of my pocket and inspected it against a $5 bill I had on me. I even checked out the website. It all seems legit. I even liked the Facebook page.

If you came here via Google wondering if it's okay to spend the bill, all the security features check out as per the instructions from the Bank of Canada's website. And even though the bills have been defaced, there's no law in Canada that stops the bills from being accepted as legal tender, so spend away.

I wonder how many people walked by those bills without even stopping.

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 7: Like hell you're gonna tell me where to get off

From: Tom W
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2011 20:14:48 +0000

Subject: Of Presto and default trips

While waiting in the ticket line at Union, a woman in front of me was obtaining a Presto card.

Turns out she travels from Station A to Union in the morning, and back to Station B in the afternoon. Trouble was, the guy behind the counter was insisting she had to set a default trip for her card, which only works if you travel back to your starting point each day. So, I went up to her and let her know she didn't have to set a default trip set if she didn't want one - I don't have one on mine - and then went back to my place in the queue.

The guy behind the counter then explained that she would have to tap on and off for every journey, which she was fine with.

What bugs me is that the guy behind the counter clearly knew you are *not* required to have a default trip, because he was able to explain the consequences thereof - so why was he trying to force the woman to have a feature that obviously wouldn't work for her?

So, public information announcement: If you don't want a default trip set on your Presto card, you are not required to have one.

(NB: Default trips won't even be possible for trips involving GO buses.)

Tom W

Dear Mr. Bike Bell

Both Jill and I think it's awesome you've discovered other notification alerts on your Blackberry and you probably think the one you have for text messages is super cool!

It's not.

It's annoying as hell. Considering you have your phone shoved so far down the seat of your pants, I'm sure setting it to vibrate should suffice.

Do not join into this conversation ... ok?

I don't care how badly you want to tell us you work in I.T., don't butt into our conversation.

What I found hilarious is that while this guy was inserting himself into a conversation between myself, Uncle and Jill, Jill would purposely talk over him. He was completely clueless (and oblivious).

I realize that most people will offer an opinion harmlessly, because if you're talking loud enough, you *are* forcing your conversation onto others, but this was a quiet discussion. I mean, the dude had to strain to hear what we were saying.

Not sure how others feel about this kind of "interaction".

Nothing sharp about the person who lost the Sharpie

Via text message
to 9054424723

I'd like to thank the person who left an uncapped Sharpie pen on the seat of the 5:20 pm train leaving Union for Oshawa Friday night.

I didn't notice it when I sat down.

When I got up at Oshawa and was standing in the aisle waiting to exit, this woman tapped me to tell me about the black stain on the back of my ivory-coloured coat. We both went back to where I had been sitting and found the Sharpie.

I've been told by two dry cleaners that my coat can't be cleaned. Maybe others can afford to buy a new winter, wool dress coat ($200) but I can't. I can't believe someone could be so careless!

- Rhonda

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jesus really is my homeboy

Text message from 1905436XXXX
to 19054427423

Had a woman who told me as I was getting off the train that she found my t-shirt offensive especially with Easter coming up. My t-shirt has a picture of the J-man on it and it says, "Jesus is my Homeboy". So I said to her that he really is my homeboy and she said if she was my mother she would be ashamed of me. She called it blasphemous. What happened to freedom of expression? What country am I living in again?

Digital, electronic hell

I have no idea why this morning was different than all the other gazillion mornings I ride the train but for the past 20 minutes, it seems like every person on this train with the exception of those sitting right near me, including my train co-horts: uncle, bouncer, jill and char l'hottie, has their cellys, blackberries and iPhones set to annoy-the-hell-outta everyone.

From obnoxious ringtones set too loud, to alerts ranging from retro video game sounds to a duck quacking ... and la piece de resistance - keypads not set to mute so every text message typed out was heard.

Then, the lady across from me phoned everyone in her address book ending each call with 'God Bless'.

I did make a comment loudly about 'volume' when a woman's cellphone set to play the Mexican Hat Dance went off for a 5th time which was met with 'If I knew how to I would'.

Here's a thought.
Turn your device off.
Surely you can do that much!

Or as my momma says, "Take the battery out!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Okay, so you guys really *do* hate this

The people waiting on Platform 12 are waiting for the 5:20 pm LSE train to roll into Union.

The people on Platform 11 are also waiting for the 5:20 LSE train to roll into Union.

The problem with the people on Platform 11 is that they are not on the platform designated for boarding. Platform 11 is the side the doors will open for the arriving train so those getting off at Union don't have to wade through the people who will be boarding. This is done for safety. The platforms are too narrow and over-crowding is dangerous.

The people waiting on Platform 11 will be able to board the train before those waiting on Platform 12. This means they all get on the train first.

I wrote a post about my own departure door donkey (triple Ds!) episode.

It annoys people playing by the rules that others feel they are more important than them. How much you ask? I've got 27 emails in my in-box on this very topic!

I've read every single one of them but only one person mentioned anything about safety.

Whoah. Dra-mah.

Okay, so the background on this is that Alan (also known as Mystery Man) decided to address a snoring situation that's been a problem for him, and allegedly others, on the train he takes in the morning.

Alan has not disclosed to me what train specifically other than he rides the Stouffville corridor.

The initial confrontation did not go well when he spoke to the woman doing the snoring. So, Alan decided to write her a note and he managed to toss it into her bag (this is impressive but if she's in a coma, I guess it wasn't hard to pull off).

Yesterday morning, the woman personally handed him a note when the train arrived at Union.

Alan writes, "She's traded her Spongebob pillow in for a neck pillow but I called her Spongebob in my note to her. I wrote 'Dear Mrs. Spongebob'... So she says, 'This is for you' and this is a hell of a guess because I never admitted in my note that I wrote it and I wrote that note weeks ago! I even wrote it anonymously. She hands me this paper and then hustles down the stairs. It's amazing... because I was the one who spoke up so she automatically fingers me. She never said anything else, just handed me the note. I've scanned it for you.

I've been reading some of the latest posts on the site and the comments and here's my take on confrontation now that I'm a 'victim'.

It's not worth it. It all seemed innocent at the time but now she's threatening to call the police on me. I haven't bullied her but I stood up to her because I didn't like how she felt she didn't owe it to anyone to try to make the ride in bearable. I know snoring is something a lot of people deal with but I can't deal with it.

I have now decided to take an earlier train. I really don't want to see 'Spongebob' again."

Someone wrote that many of us "shut up and put up" and I can say I sometimes do the same. You really have to know when to pick your battles when dealing with people who really don't care about that fact that they share space with others. Plus, unlike mass transit, we tend to see the same people everyday. This can make it awkward.

This woman doesn't feel she needs to change anything about her behaviour, even when confronted.

We all tend to wait for someone to say something because we don't want to be the one to say it. I still think it's pretty admirable that Alan did choose to say something. However, no one wants to be a target.

Poll Results

What's an acceptable speaking volume for the morning train ride?

Day trader 6 (3%)
Church 47 (24%)
Library 90 (46%)
Hockey Fan 6 (3%)
Helen Keller 43 (22%)

Votes so far: 192

So, 22% of you will be joining me in Hell I see ... because I feel the same way. However, I will admit, I can be chatty, but when I am I do my best to speak in a library voice (the winner!).

Be sure to check out the new poll. Top right of the blog.

Please, keep your shoe on. If I wanted to smell corn chips, I'd buy a bag.

The train is not your living room.

PS. Who rode the LSE 8:53 am from Oshawa this morning? What happened to Burly? The CSA? I love his voice. It's like buttah. Then all of a sudden, we hit Pickering and had the engineer yelling into the mic.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh, I just bought some chapstick. Do you want it? I should have said no.

Horrifyingly penned by Fred in email

Yesterday, my lips were on fire. I know this because when I went to go buy my weekly 10-ride ticket at Union yesterday, the lady at the counter exclaimed, "Wow, your lips are really red!"

I thought to myself, how bad could this be?

I startled a woman on the platform while waiting for my LSW train to ask if I could borrow a mirror. I suppose I could have just sauntered into the men's washroom in the Concourse but ... ew.

The lovely lass in the purple coat with the white scarf handed me a compact and I observed my lip situation. Yep, they were red. And chapped. And sore. And so was the skin around my mouth.

When I handed back her compact, she commented that my lips looked painful and she rummaged around in her bag, telling me as the train was pulling in that she had just bought some Chapstick and hadn't opened it yet. Then, she was distracted by someone she knew who said hello to her and she palmed me her Chapstick so I thanked her and she scooted off to join her friend, who was boarding.

Chapstick in hand, I boarded the train.

I don't profess to be a man who knows anything about everything but I am damn sure, that once I sat down, what she gave me was not Chapstick.

Keep in mind, I'm on the train here. It's definitely a tube but it's not Chapstick.

My wife picks me up at the station and when I climbed into the car, I tossed her the object and asked her if it was what I thought it was.

It was.

My wife made me take pictures and told me I *had* to email you. The whole time I was like, "Why is it out of the package?!"

My wife was too hysterical to answer. I couldn't find rubber gloves but I boiled my hands afterwards.

A note from CJ: I couldn't bring myself to publish the very last photo. But yes, it is what you think it is. If you still don't know what it is and you're dying to know, proceed to the comments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Too bad his other "bag" didn't get stuck

Date: Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Dear CJ,

Sorry, I don't recall what the station this was - I'm thinking Maple or Rutherford, but not certain... As the CSA did his "please stand clear of the doors" line, I saw two people running to get on. The first person did, but the door closed before the second person could jump on. But never fear! The guy stuck his bag between the doors, preventing them from closing all the way. Then he got all physical, pushing the doors back open. However, he didn't get on right away. He waited for two OTHER people to finish their dash for the train, who then ducked under his arm to board before he got on himself.

The CSA made an announcement denouncing that kind of action. I secretly hoped that something delicate in his bag got crushed (or a slow seep from a cracked water bottle that dripped into something electronic he may have been carrying).

Does that make me a bad person?
Yes, but at least you'll be my BFF where we're going.

Look, I don't want to smell your feet after you've sweated in your hose all day

If you're gonna foot ride, at least keep your shoe(s) on. Lord have mercy! Eventually she put her shoe back on and put her foot down.

Remember this guy?! Learn from his mistake!

Watch out for them Double Ds

Donna : Got on the 410, first car today. Full of Door Donkeys. One guy with a big knapsack standing smack in the middle of the door. Other door was clear but I stepped on said 'excuse me' and made him move. He did and I asked "do you have to stand and block the doorway!?" As I walked away he said "suck it up" to my back. Asshole. If he's there again tomorrow, I will repeat myself and if I get the same response, I'm gonna rip him a new one. I'm fed up with Door Donkeys!!!
That's right, folks, fight back. Reclaim the trains!

Sometimes a situation calls for some amputation

Char L'Hottie: This is a new type of rude - lady sitting down has legs stretched out under seat in front of her - I sit down, to the side, to u know, give her a chance to move her legs so I can face forward - what do u think she did - a wild guess- her DAMN legs are still there - wtf?

Cj smith: Tell her I have a message for her

Cj smith: Be sure to show her your phone


Cj smith: Dammit, ask her for her cell

Cj smith: I'm gonna call her

Char L'Hottie: Lol, no ... thanks mom... Lol

Cj smith: I'm serious, ask that cow for her cell, tell her u have some furniture being delivered and u have no reception right now, call me and then I'll call back so she answers

Cj smith: Do it.

Cj smith: Wait. Actually, turn and kick her legs

Char L'Hottie: ur crazy

Cj smith: :D

Char L'Hottie: She moved them finally - u are way too funny

Char L'Hottie: Wait she put them back, I don't know what is worse this or homer!!!

Cj smith: I was about to email u a pic of an amputee where u could show it to her and then make a slicing motion across your throat

Char L'Hottie: I just burst out laughing from that - too funny

Cj smith: hip_extension.jpg ( 11.17 KB )

Cj smith: Just show it and give her a knowing look

I'm sorry. Where did you say the emergency strip was again?

That's a lot of signage. It also looks like every sticker glows in the dark. Clearly, someone doesn't understand that less is more.

I'm sorry this post wasn't more exciting. No, really. I am.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hello Clarisse

For you germaphobe commuters, since allergy season is upon us, many of you may confuse us allergy-sufferers with those carrying the bubonic plague. These custom-made masks might be what you're looking for.

Collect the whole set at Be sure to check out the pink and frilly model for that special lady in your life.

Paying homage to the door blockers

Like the new logo banner at the top of the page? Me too.

Plan on standing? Board last. Let the rest of us get on.

Thanks to Chris F. for the suggestion.

Background here and here. For more about beans, read on.

Visit the logo gallery.

You ready boots? Start walking

You're moving now but you're delayed 30 minutes
I was laid up sick today with the stomach flu my daughter gifted to me over the weekend.

I'm not a Crackberry addict, yet, but as I lay on the bathroom floor on my comfy Ralph Lauren shag bath rug, I am disturbed to learn that thousands of you may have to find a way to get to Danforth GO station if you want to make it home on the Stouffville and Oshawa corridors, or you can choose to hang out at Union. Apparently a hydro pole has fallen/leaning across the track.

If I were in the city, this would be one time where I would help my fellow lunatics. Those I know and have cell numbers for, I would band us together and request a minivan cab and somehow we'd get to Eglinton, by-passing Danforth all together.

So, how's everyone handling the situation? I haven't seen any mention of shuttle buses.

Hopefully the hydro pole is moved shortly. Maybe now would be a good time for GO Transit to request that the remaining hydro poles be inspected? Just a thought.
From: 839846
Received: Apr 11, 2011 4:20 PM


As promised, the story about the baked beans

Beans aren't a food I consume on a regular basis. In fact, prior to one fateful day in September 2010, the last time I had eaten beans in any form must have been when I was a kid and my dad, in a desperate attempt at dinner, hustled over to the Safeway and purchased two cans of Heinz Baked Beans and served it to myself and my sisters on bread. I don't remember anything spectacular happening later that night other than watching yet another awesome episode of MacGuyver.

My company is very active in the United Way. We host fundraisers. One type of fundraiser that I particularly enjoy is our annual potluck affair. One of the items on the menu that year was pulled pork with baked beans. I love pulled pork but I wasn't keen on the beans.

I was encouraged to try them. Apparently my co-worker who makes the beans knows a thing or two about southern style baked beans and they're to die for.

Oddly enough, the last part of that sentence wasn't a stretch. They were indeed delicious but what those beans did to me in the hours afterward makes me break out into a cold sweat just thinking about it.

The bloating happened first. I was at my desk and my stomach felt like a hot air balloon. Those of you who understand the science of hot air balloons also understand that the gas that goes in also has to come out. This is true of people who consume two cups of baked beans... or was it three?

In approximately 20 minutes from when the first cramp hit me, I was scheduled for a meeting with three other colleagues. The first cramp had me bowled over in agony. I got up and shut my door and prayed to the Christmas baby Jesus for relief. I had no idea how to make myself fart on command, so I did some squats. When that didn't work, I did some lunges. When that didn't work, I decided to go for a walk. Someone told me once that dogs poop faster if you walk them around the block rather than let them roam in the backyard. Seeing as "roaming" in my office wasn't helping, I went for a walk around the office.

With my ass cheeks clenched in fury, I strolled down one corridor and over to another. At the sign of the first feeling of escape, I Ben Johnson'd it back to my office and almost cried from the relief.

There was no way I was going to be able to sit through this meeting, I thought at the time. The cramping and bloating had me in so much pain, I just wanted to buy some Bean-O and go home. As luck would have it, just as I was figuring out a way to bail out of the meeting without having to disclose my bowel symptoms, I received word that the chair of the meeting couldn't make it. This allowed me to leave the office and head home.

I purchased some Bean-O at the PharmaPlus in the Path and gobbled down at least three tablets while walking the rest of the way to Union.

Once on the train - a very packed 4:53pm train - I was hit with another round of cramps. I also was sitting in a window seat. I hardly ever sit near the window. I don't know what I was thinking! I can tell you that holding in flatulence is incredibly painful. It can also make you nauseous and pale. It makes you sweaty and light-headed. It makes you pray.

Never in my life have I pressed my ass so tight into a seat. I had been pushing with so much force in an attempt to stave off you know what, that my ass, legs and thighs fell asleep by the time we reached Rouge Hill. I gripped the straps of my bags so tight, I left imprints of the embossing in my fingers. At Pickering, several people got off and at the last second, I made a decision to bolt off the train too. Well, I didn't actually bolt off the train. I did that slow, robotic walk we do when half our body is asleep.

I stood on the platform, at the very end of the platform, and made peace with the beans. When the next train showed up, I hopped on, confident I could make it to Oshawa. I hid out in the bathroom for the ride so I could have some privacy.

It took nearly until 1 am that very night for my body to return to normal. I've been told by my husband that my experience now makes me a weapon and that if I ever wanted to extol revenge on a train, all I need to do is requisition my co-worker's recipe, bake up a batch of her beans and let it rip.

Should commuters expect more? Or should commuters be part of the solution to make the ride pleasant for everyone?

from Cary_Fxxxxx
date Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 2:10 PM
subject If people don't like it, buy us better trains

I've been reading with interest your blog and your beef with people who block the doors or put their feet up to relax after a long day of work at the office.
I've been riding GO Transit for a few months now and I don't understand why you're so concerned about what people do on a train.
Who cares?
Perhaps if GO Transit were to purchase trains, or put into service trains that have a better layout, more places to stand, baggage compartments and seats that only face forward, a lot of these problems would disappear.
How about you be more pro-active? Start a petition. Lobby the government to buy better trains to replace the archaic ones in service at the moment.
You can't change the public.
But you can change the system.

Thank you.

from C.J. Smith
to Cary_Fxxxxx
date Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 7:17 PM
subject Re: If people don't like it, buy us better trains

Hi Carey,

Should GO reward bad behaviour?
Hells no.

If GO were to replace their rail fleet with trains similar to what commuters enjoy in Europe, specifically ones used in Italy, the cost would be enormous.

It would be nice but I don't think it's affordable. You know that highway we have in the GTA, the 407? That money would have been better spent building a LRT to service the 905 and improve existing commuter rail routes, such as adding more track/trains/stops - just my opinion.

Ticket prices would be double if GO used the trains you want. Heck, if you want everything you've suggested, why not take VIA into Toronto everyday because that's how much a ticket would cost on GO. Why even have a GO rail system? Maybe VIA should expand. They already have the trains you like although you do realize that to make trains more spacious for standing, there wouldn't be any seats.

Commuter-rail systems are designed how they are, I think, to keep costs affordable for people who choose to leave their cars at home. I never associated the word luxury with commuter. That's more a travel concept. When I ride the train into work, I'm not traveling for a day out in the city. I'm going to work.

But I do wonder why GO trains are set up with seats that face each other. I wonder what the logic was in the design. Perhaps it was to encourage us all to be friendly with one another.

Hey! There's a concept. Courtesy and friendliness. Why does it seem so odd to you that I, along with others, expect this?

The verbal smackdown was system-wide

Before I get into the topic of this post, I just want to mention that an inquiring public wants to know why I've made myself so accessible at the mercy of this blog.

Content is king when it comes to a blog and if you want to be a successful blogger, you need your blog to be current (updated) or else your blog is just another blog in the graveyard of blogs in cyberspace.

I know that many readers are heavily fire-walled at work and read the site on smartphones or can't access certain features, such as comments, so I try to provide as many methods as I can to talk to me. I've posted comments for readers. It's fantastic customer service, don't you think?

The only complaint I've received is that I don't have a twitter feed. If I had a twitter feed, I wouldn't need a blog. I also don't have a Facebook page. To me, that would be twice the work and I already do this once for free as it is.

Friday, I asked how many people heard the verbal smackdown GO Transit issued to remind people to keep their feet on the floor and belongings off the seats. This notice was read on every corridor. Do I sound obsessed with this topic? Have you read my laces-out post?

What GO Transit needs to do is take my favorite amputee and make those stickers larger than the new accessibility stickers they've been raving about and put them on the windows of every coach, a la Ray Finkle.

The Cold Warden is angry

From: 1905536XXXX
To: 19054427423
April 07 2011 05:33 PM

Hi CJ.
Just wanted to share with you my train story of the day. I'm a student. I just so happen to have a cold but needed to go in to pick up an exam, and don't usually miss school for colds, I pay for it. So I figure I'll be courteous, because I know how much people hate sick people on the train, so I'm sitting on the floor ... Out of the way ... see pic.
The "Cold Warden" (pictured above) will not stop giving me dirty looks every time I blow my nose even though I'm sanitizing every time!!! She's letting out loud sighs and shaking her head. Just wondering what your take is on this??? Am I wrong to be on the train???

From: 19054427423
To: 1905536XXXX
April 07 2011 05:30 PM

No, you're not wrong for going about your business. You have a cold. People with issues need to breathe through tissues is what I say. Solution? Carry around some surgical masks that you can get for free from any walk-in clinic and hand them out to people who can't deal with your compromised immune system. Some people need to get over themselves.
Hope you feel better.

Super Jesus don't need no stinking rules

Go transit doesn't tell Super J. what to do. Super J. tells GO Transit.
Re: Feet off the seats

Super Jesus had his foot up today and took his foot down a few seconds after the announcement was made. It lasted about half a minute and the foot went right back on the seat.

- Martina

Friday, April 8, 2011

Repost: Attention foot riders

There's a reason why the dude illustrated in that sign is an amputee from the ankles up.

Learn from his mistake.

PS. A few of you already know that I didn't ride in today but I received a dozen or so emails and comments that GO Transit circulated, or issued, a memo to CSAs on the LSW and LSE corridors asking them to address the foot riders and bag riders. The announcements were made during this morning's rush hour.

I'd like to hear from the Georgetown, Barrie and Stouffville jokers. Were you given the same directives? If it's not clear what's being asked, refer to the graphic above.

And now a word from your local parking nut job

From: Pony
Date: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Subject: Osawa GO Parking

Hello. I am one of those park donkeys asspeople you have photos on your blog. I also do island parking and I do island parking because when I come to take my train in the morning, I am leaving when it's over rush hour and sometimes I have no choice but park on the curb island. But yesterday I did not have to do island parking but when coming back to my car I noticed white car on the island and I noticed that writing was on the windshield. I would think someone thought it funny to tell the person who owns the car that no parking is supposed to be there. WE KNOW. I also noticed that on the other lot where the Chrysler sales place is, a bulldozer machine is parked in a space. Why? Does someone drive the bulldozer from home to Osawa to take the train? So that's why I do island parking sometimes because GO needs to create more spots and not let bulldozes be allowed to park!