Friday, November 29, 2013

I could have sworn it was Sunday

I don't know about your trains but my train was next to empty this morning. Either everyone took early trains to shop the Eaton Centre before 8am, or they took the day off to shop the malls.

I actually had a whole quad to myself all the way to Union on the last coach of the 7:15 out of Oshawa.

It wasn't without drama, though.

In the quad next to me, a lady was called out by the woman across from her for chewing her gum too loud -- it being the Quiet Zone and all.

I pulled my earbuds out because I wasn't sure I had heard the woman right. But yep, she asked the lady across from her to quit chewing her gum. I don't think she'd been snapping it. The gum chewing lady made a snort and left to sit downstairs.

Truth be told, we have some real Quiet Zone nazis on the LSE.

On Wednesday morning these two ladies, who hadn't seen each other in months from what I could gather, were quietly sharing photos of their grandchildren on their phones when they were suddenly harshly berated for whispering by the woman sitting directly behind them.

One of the women was so hurt by the confrontation, I could see she was blinking back tears. THE TRAIN HADN'T EVEN LEFT THE STATION YET FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

I moved to sit over next to these ladies for the rest of the ride so I could shield them from the Quiet Zone bully who I politely pointed out the Quiet Zone rules to.

She was way out of line.

The Quiet Zone is not meant to empower passengers to intimidate others with their own definition of quiet.

You're free to move.

You know your mama raised you right when ...

from: Cz
to: ""
date: Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 9:47 AM

In this selfish, inconsiderate, self-entitled world of foot and bag riders, I would like to share my experience this morning. I boarded a busy TTC train from St. Patrick's station at 8:57 am, you know, the standing room only trips. This young, very attractive male, not more than 28 years old stood up and offered me his seat. I was so stunned! I look about 29 myself (or so people tell me) and I thought WOW, what a gentleman. I can't remember the last time I felt like a lady, other than by my husband. For an older woman, yes I could understand, but me? So I chose to reply in a loud voice expressing how considerate he was and how appreciative I was. I politely declined the offer as he appeared to be tired and may have needed the seat more than I did.

I am happy and somewhat relieved to know that there are some young men in this world that have been raised properly and were taught how to be a REAL man.

28 months later ... 70 pounds lighter

Two weeks ago when I stood on the scale the morning of November 15, the numbers flashed 254.4.

I weighed myself then, betraying my once-a-month only commitment, because I had a bad week and I felt like I had done some damage. I was relieved to see I was down and not up.

These past two weeks, I have walked almost every single day with last Saturday being my best mileage, clocking 8.83 km in 1 hour and 54 minutes, according to Map My Walk. I consumed no more than 1,700 calories per day. I kept my sugars low, to about 35 grams, and kept my fat intake below 55 grams.

Tomorrow, I am going to push myself to walk 10 kilometres. I suspect I will die.

Being the last Friday of the month and my official weigh-in day, I weighed myself this morning. I was 248.1, but let's round it to an even 248, shall we?

Since there's nothing to hide anymore, here's a before and after comparison:

FLAB-YOU-LESS! < My new word. I just used it on Facebook. If you're also flab-you-less, tell me about it in the comments.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Like the dreaded camel toe, men should be aware of the moose knuckle

That ain't right.

I, myself, have no desire to stare at any man's fruit basket or be subjected to a moose knuckle. I don't care how generous Mother Nature may have been.

Gentlemen of the GO, pull up a chair in front of a full-length mirror and sit down in front of it. Nothing should look like it's straining to escape from your pants. Perform this check before leaving the house.

I am doing you a favor by dishing out this advice. Trust me.

When the Gods give you a sign, you listen

Read to the end. I'm also glad she's not fat enough

From: Sandy
date: Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM
subject: your weight loss

Dear Miss Smith
I happen to see your story in the star and I need to know how exactly you lost the 60 pounds.
If you could tell me your secret, I would like to follow it please.
My doctor wants me to lose 30 pounds in the next year.
Please tell me the secret.


From: C.J. Smith
date: Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 7:39 PM
subject: Re: your weight loss

Hi Sandy

There is no secret. What there is, is hard work, sacrifice and determination. 
Did your doctor suggest some kind of plan to you?


He just told me to lose 30 pounds.
Should I join Weight Watchers?
I don't really want to spend money on this. What would be the easiest way? I don't want to give up my car. I can't because we still owe money on it.
How did you do it? Exactly. Can you tell me the steps?

Hi Sandy
In the article, I did tell the reporter I saw the biggest weight loss in a short period when I stopped eating sugar. I used to eat a lot of bad things containing really bad forms of sugar and added sugar. Cereals, boxed treats, bakery items, juice with high fructose corn syrup. Just really bad food. Pop tarts were a favourite of mine. I cut all that out.

Okay, I don't eat pop tarts so I think I'm okay there. What about brown sugar?

Hi Sandy
No sugar. None. No sugar in your coffee and no foods containing sugar. Cakes, pastries, ice cream, bread, ice cream, cookies, etc. You have to look at the lables. What worked best for me was reading about living with Type 2 diabetes and adopting a diabetic way of eating. That could be helpful for you.

But I am not diabetic and if I can't eat sugar. What would I eat?

I think I was very specific. Start with this link ->

I will be honest. I don't think I could be a diabetic when I don't have diabetes. Maybe I should just look at things online where I eat a certain amount of calories. What do you think? Do you know how many calories you eat in a day.

Hi Sandy
Yes, I do know and I use a food diary to help me. I eat anywhere from 1500 to 1700 calories a day.

How much did you use to eat before?

I ate double that, not every day but often it wasn't really calories that were the problem but the wrong food choices and eating too much at once and not enough throughout the day.

I read that you can lose a lot of weight if you have your stomach surgically removed. Someone said I could look into that. Did you ever consider surgery?

Hi Sandy
If you had your stomach surgically removed, you would be dead. I think you mean gastric bypass where the stomach size is decreased. Yes, I have considered this and I feel that whatever choice a person makes to try to be a more healthier person is a personal choice. But I am too scared to undergo such a procedure. However, if your doctor only wants you to lose 30 pounds, you would not be a candidate anyway.

Ok. I was just wondering if you thought about it. Well, thanks for your help. I really was hoping there was a god damn secret! I wish this was easy. Maybe I will just do Slim Fast. Ever tried that?

Hi Sandy
Yes and I never kept the weight off. It's not a realistic approach to healthy eating but it's good for someone who was bad over winter and wanted to shed 13 pounds for summer. But when you need to lose 150 pounds, it's not ideal.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Okay, thanks. I'm glad I'm not so fat that I would have to give up sugar! Thanks so much for the help.

I didn't bother with the email headers so you could easily read this exchange. Quitting sugar isn't just for the obese and diabetics. Talk to your doctor. All of us could benefit from overcoming this addiction.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Relative bits of his standup happen in the first six minutes, especially the door line-up part

I would totally be like, I wonder what this button does?

"Deadhead to Pickering"
Photo by Barry Fraser (cycleographer on Instagram)

A big thank you!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact me in email and on Twitter after reading the story in the Star and thank you to Tess Kalinowski for seeing a story in me that went beyond what I dish out in this blog.

The comments in the Star were better than I expected. I was waiting for the one person who would take the opportunity to poke fun about my weight. No one did. Of course, a few didn't hold back in the comments for this website and many of those comments didn't make it past the approve button.

Holy smokes, people are mean. I mean, really mean ... and hurtful.

But they're just people trolling. They don't really mean what they write. I keep telling myself that.

On the other hand, people, strangers really, are incredibly supportive ... and kind.

Initially I was glad that all the Rob Ford coverage delayed the publication of the piece because it gave me time to prepare mentally how I would handle any negative attention. Turns out, I didn't need to be as nervous of a wreck that I was because of how well received the story was.

You guys are great. Old readers and new readers. I'm glad you're here. This is as about as far as I will take it with any kind of mushy let me hug all of you style of writing. So I'll just stop here.

This is a typical evening ride on the GO bus

Kudos on the ad, Metrolinx, but how about some GUIDELINES ON THE BUS about mobile etiquette? There are none. It's a bloody free for all some days. I don't know how the drivers concentrate between the yapping, pinging notification sounds and loud music from headsets.

I hope the "What would happen if we all did it?" smoking on the platform is the next ad in this campaign.

If not, QUEUE IT UP.

I'm open to being a model. I can be the person on a stretcher on the platform with an oxygen mask on my face, and a priest leaning over me reading my last rites, because that is exactly what would happen "if we all did it".

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

GO Bus beating

Of course of all the days to experience a gong show of flying fists, it would happen on a day where I just spent 10 minutes trying to convince a woman who'd never taken the GO bus before how great it is.

Sheila, I swear, what happened last night was not the norm.

At some point, as the bus traveled through Oshawa's downtown, a man got on and reclined his seat and promptly pissed off the man behind him, who punched this guy's seat a few times and told him to "bring it back up" coupled with your garden variety expletives.

Reclining seat guy said a few choice words in reply but put his seat back to the upright position.

The bus motors along and reclining seat guy gets up after signaling his stop.

This is when it got crazy. Both men were seated in the seats behind myself and Sheila the bus newbie.

The guy who took offense to the seat being reclined lunges out of his seat, grabs the guy getting off by his jacket and starts screaming at him, accusing him of slamming his backpack into his face. Then he starts punching the man in the head. The bus driver throws on the interior lights and pulls over. The man being punched manages to break free and bolts for the front of the bus and jumps off.

Everyone on the bus, including myself, are shocked by what we just witnessed. Sheila is terrified.

The man throwing the punches settles back into his seat and resumes listening to his music. He acts like nothing happened.

Sheila got off at the Oshawa-Courtice border and swore she would never ride the bus again. It was just too scary.

The man was reported to Transit Security by me in a discussion on Twitter and it's unfortunate this incident happened, but it could have happened anywhere.

I'm hoping Sheila gives the bus another chance.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanks for the parting gift... Jerk.

Photo lovingly supplied by B.

Let's start the week off with some "NO!" Shall we?

Photo courtesy of LK who was barricaded by this foot rider (and bag rider) as she sat in the seat near the window. LK was surrounded by this woman's legs, baggage and jacket.

Green limo vs. Ghetto sled... Set the timer for 15 minutes and 'GO'!

If you've enjoyed all your 10 free articles courtesy of the Toronto Star's website this month. you're out of luck if you want to read the interview between myself and Tess Kalinowski (@TessKalinowski) today. You'll have to paw through your car seats and couches or hit up a co-worker for a dollar and buy the paper.

It's the story I was nervous about and casually mentioned several weeks back.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Channeling inner Cj rage - Natalie's got this

from: Natalie
to: CJ Smith 
date: Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 4:50 PM
subject: Bag (cooler) Rider TTC

Hey CJ,

I don't ride the GO anymore so you may not find this
as...triumphant...a story because it happened on the TTC but you
should know I channelled my inner-CJ this evening on my commute home.

Riding the University line from King to St. George is a little less
stuffed, rude, and is generally a nicer ride. It only adds 5 minutes
to my overall commute home but saves my sanity and for the most part I
keep to myself.

Except tonight.

As the car unloaded at Union (which when I load at King one stop prior
I have to ask people who are blocking free seats to excuse me so I can
sit, lest I be taken away in a sea of exiting commuters at Union), a
construction gentleman of 35-45 yrs proceeded to take a seat across
the aisle from me with his duffel bag and large cooler. He proceeded
to sit on an end seat next to the joint of those new subway cars, and
I figured "wonderful! He's done that so his bags are out of the way of
everyone". Sadly I was mistaken, his cooler got a seat next to him.
It's rush hour, CJ, and at the next stop no less than three people
beelined for it but never asked him to move it they simply moved on.
This is where my inner-CJ piped up.

So I asked him:
Me: why don't you put the cooler on the floor?
Him: huh?
Me: repeat what I said
Him: who cares people can sit if they want
Me: you're going to make them ask you to move the box? Don't you think
that's a little rude?
Me: no? Ok then I think it's pretty rude
Him: mumbles something, I ask him to repeat he mumbles again I ask the
woman next to me what he says, she says:
Her: why don't you get up and offer your seat then?
Me to him: because I'm a person and that's an inanimate object I think
you're being rude don't you? No? I mean you don't Have to listen but I
think it's pretty rude, I'm just saying.
Inner-CJ: haha you blinked first!!

And that was it. He never did move the cooler and the car filled up
with people none of which asked him to move it. The woman next to me
said I was brave and she'd never be able to do that. I told her
normally I would make it a point to sit in a seat like that to make
them move their shit, and I do because they should. They can huff and
puff and blow all they want but I still sit and I sit good and comfy.

I wish more people did that CJ...I really do.

Sent from my iPhone

from: C.J. Smith 
to: Natalie
date: Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 5:01 PM
subject: Re: Bag (cooler) Rider TTC

It's not easy to speak up and it can be nerve wracking but at least you gave him something to think about.
It is scary world out there but how did it get this way? Because we stopped asserting ourselves, in my opinion.
Bag riders and foot riders are bullies. It's a form of intimidation or at most, a marking of territory. No different than a dog pissing on every bush at the dog park to show all this space is mine. Instead of pee, folks like construction guy use personal belongings.
We all need to show more alpha male!

from: Natalie
to: "C.J. Smith"
date: Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 5:07 PM
subject: Re: Bag (cooler) Rider TTC

I totally agree with you, the lack of assertion happening not just with this but a ton of things is frightening. My mother taught me to stand up and speak up for myself and at the tender age of 4 I did that when I was cut in front of while waiting to order my chocolate milk at Arby's. Dude knew better too, and the cashier didn't see me!

I think that people need to stand up for themselves but I also think they shouldn't have to. Catch 22 I suppose.

Le sigh, I felt better and he refused to look at me again...small victories.

Moose knuckle sightings - I'm the blue text bubbles

A personal best

I'm on fire!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

All that's missing from this photo is a bottle of beer and a bag of chips

For as long as I live, I will never, ever consider this appropriate behaviour, especially in shared space with strangers.

Unless you're on a beach, on a towel, in a swimsuit or shorts, it's the only way I will find it acceptable for anyone to remove his or her shoes - with or without socks - in public.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not sure which one is the parking donkey

Whitby GO Station parking garage
Photo from dy182n

This is why you don't race to the GO station

If you were hoping to not miss the train, you sure done missed it now!

Nude "goddess of the train" halts train service in Chicago

Full story after the jump... JUMP!

Did you feel the Earth move this morning?

I feel weepy.



/ Cj puts Claire's earring in her ear.

/ Queue song: Don't you forget about me...

/ Fade to me jumping on a football field.

/ Fist pump!

/ End scene

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Are we back to paying $16 for a glass of orange juice? Presto under fire by Ontario Legislative committee

Metrolinx board chairman Robert Prichard and Bruce McCuaig, CEO and president, appeared before a legislative committee to answer questions about the government agency charged with developing and implementing an integrated transportation system for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.


“You are forcing municipalities . . . to take a technology that is light years behind what is available in the marketplace today and you are continuing to pour multi-millions of dollars into the development of the Presto technology just to catch up,” PC MPP Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora) said.


Klees said the fact that Waterloo Region recently turned its back on the Presto system is further proof that it was not current enough to adapt to the region’s transit needs.
The MPP told reporters later the Region of Waterloo “has confirmed” the Presto system is already outdated.

“They (Region of Waterloo) are going to an open tender because they want the advance technology, an open payment system that Metrolinx simply can’t deliver. Metrolinx had to resort to coercion and essentially blackmail to force Presto on the TTC. We know that the same thing happened in Ottawa and we know there are problems through the entire Presto system,” he said.
- From the Toronto Star
If there's an audit of spending, I hope to not see any $16 glasses of orange juice or reimbursement of consultants' bagels with cream cheese from Tim's.
For the whole article, click here

Whitby passengers now have a place to park and charge their Teslas

Priorities, folks. It's all about priorities.

While you were busy fretting about how you'd be paying for winter tires this year, Metrolinx was worried about how its Lakeshore east passengers who drive electric cars would manage to charge them.

Fear not, Tesla, Leaf and i-MiEV owners! (How many of you are there, anyway?)

These are being installed at Whitby GO station.

You'll need a credit card to use them.

For a full list of electric cars, including what's available in Canda in case you said,  "Screw winter tires! I'm buying an electric car!" Click here

Lookit! A parking spot just for you!

For the record, I am not against electric cars. I think they're awesome.

I just figured my bar car requests would take precedent over electric charging stations.

Electric cars are NOT cheap. The Nissan Leaf starts at $31,000 CAD before all the fees and taxes. But this is where the world is headed.

Thanks to Bicky for the photos.

Even while on vacation, there's no escape from the donkeys for Crazy Train readers

from: NL
to: "C.J. Smith" 
date: Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 7:09 PM
subject: Asshole in Miami

I was on vacation in Miami last week and we decided to take the airport bus to the airport from South Beach since it was cheap and convenient.  My sister (who never takes transit) sarcastically said to me "What a gentleman!" when she saw what was going on on this bus.  You'll notice that there are 3 girls sitting in 2 seats, and then one row ahead this guy is sitting by himself.  There's also someone sitting on the floor right in front of us.  We weren't ballsy enough to say anything but spent the entire ride talking about him, and taking pictures to entertain ourselves.

CJ says:

Those ladies should have said something! My lord. And how rude of this man!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home with fever... and Quiet Zones are here to stay

Considering the amount of people that have been hacking and sniffling on the train and bus over the last few weeks, I'm not surprised to find myself in bed shivering from fever and suffering from a pounding sinus headache.

I'm hoping to fight it off with green tea and sleep. I'm one of those people where when I get sick, I get really sick.

Just read an email where Quiet Zones are now a done deal, and no longer a pilot project.

So this failed experiment, where we all contributed examples of its shortcomings, has been given the green light. Apparently a Quiet Zone courtesy enforcement campaign is in the works. Unfortunately it's not me hiding under a seat with a chainsaw*.

(* with the chain removed).

Friday, November 15, 2013

63.6 pounds later...

(Scroll down for before and after photos)

For those of you who have just joined reading this site, occasionally I post about the commitment I made in December of 2011 to change my lifestyle and get my weight under control after topping out the scales at 318 pounds.

The first step was to ditch my SUV. The lease was up on January 4th, 2012 and I decided not to exercise the purchase price or buy another car. Instead, I would take the GO bus to and home from the train station.

I gave the vehicle back at the end of 2011. At first, it was more of a financial decision, but then I realized how it would force me to be more active (and visit less drive-thrus) and I realized this would benefit more than my pocketbook.

I bought a bicycle and a bike trailer and for the spring and summer of 2012, I biked my daughter to daycare every morning and rode back home to change in time to catch the bus.

I won't bore the regular readers with all the details but if you want to catch up, you can read the last update here.

The last time I recorded my weight was September 24. I weighed 259.5. Today I weigh 254.4

63.6 pounds. Gone. That's the total from 318 pounds to today.

My biggest inspiration for coming this far is my husband who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in late 2010 and had to completely change the way he ate. Second is my friend Sandra who made a commitment in early 2012 to combat her weight problem (and won the battle). Third is my co-worker Kolette, who is a fitness addict and probably my biggest cheerleader and now, is my personal trainer.

Kolette, along with another co-worker, got me into long-distance walking during our lunch hour. Right now, we're up to 6.22 km in a little over an hour. I burn 690 -780 calories during these walks. My total daily kilometres for walking stands at 8.72 kilometres. I burn 900 calories a day and eat anywhere from 1622 to 1790 calories a day.

This is our walk report from yesterday:

Amazeballs, right?

Recently a co-worker asked why I thought I've been so successful this time around with combating my obesity.

One word - support.

In the past, I never had anyone in my life willing to join me in making a wholesale change. Dieting is often done as a solitary initiative with everyone around you still enjoying food and life in excess, while you sit in the background watching the cake go in and feeling miserable.

My husband was my food buddy. Neither of us could demonstrate restraint. We drove to Dairy Queen for each other. I never said no to him. He didn't dare say no to me. All that's changed. We've changed. We're so much better for it. I'm not saying it should have taken the diabetes diagnosis to make us both smarten up, but it was a huge reality check.

Watching the success Sandra had with making her wholesale change, and the fact that she struggles with the same demons I do, made me determined to make this work. She and I can relate on many levels and this is helpful psychologically. I don't have to explain to her why I want to eat a banquet burger, AND RIGHT NOW. She knows why and we talk each other through it.

Kolette kicks my ass. And this is important. We all need that one person who will tell you to can the bullshit excuses and remind you that if you don't walk, you're not disappointing that person, you're disappointing yourself.

But I can say that giving up the car made the biggest difference. The impulse to seek out food and indulge is kiboshed by the fact that you don't have a means to satisfy the need. I can't ask the GO bus driver to stop at Harvey's while I walk in and grab a burger.

Changing my entire diet also made a tremendous impact. I do not eat fast food. I don't consume sugar. I do not eat anywhere near the amount of pre-packaged food that I used to eat and I cut down on my saturated fats. I eat more protein, less dairy and healthy carbs.

Most importantly, I got through Halloween. I didn't burn my daughter's Halloween candy and I haven't broken down and gorged on bite-size chocolate bars.

But it's not all good times. I have bad days. Days where I crave salt and chicken wings, and poutine, and pepperoni pizza with anchovies. I don't give in but I struggle. What gets me through these days is I go back and look at a picture of myself at 318 pounds. It's very sobering.

I am not going back to this.

It's very hard to share this photo as it strips me bare but I am telling you, if you are battling your own obesity problem, you need to create a support system for yourself. If you can't find it in family, you will find it in friends, co-workers, healthcare professionals and even strangers.

I know it seems impossible but it's not.

You can do it.

Here is a photo of me taken on September 27, 2013:

Just riding trains, taking pictures...

You can check out the whole photo stream here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A quest for washroom facilities on GO buses -- one man's *extremely honest* open letter to GO Transit

I was sent a link to a blog posting yesterday via email from a reader and I managed to track down the author on Twitter. Dave Reed (@derjur) has kindly granted me permission to share it with my readership in its entirety. Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time on a GO bus will understand.

I laughed til I cried.

An Open Letter to GO Transit

Dear GO Transit

Curiosity certainly hit me hard this morning, as I sat on the QEW Express from Hamilton to Union Station. Curiosity as to why there are no washrooms on the GO Buses. Somehow, the magnitude of perplexment I was experiencing began to manifest itself physically within my own body.
It started with the feeling that I had to burp. However the pressure in my torso seemed reluctant to simply pass through my esophagus, instead gurgling deeper into my stomach and beyond. It was then that I heard a disembodied voice within my own head.
“No” it said, “you need to experience the lack of toilet facilities to its absolute fullest if you are to truly understand your destiny”.
At this point, my shamanic guide left me, confused and bewildered. What could this mean? Why me? Why now?
By this time, we were already on the highway. Barely. It was too late to ask the driver to pull over. The gurgling in my stomach turned into an intense pain, just below my ribs. I held on to the side of my seat as the pain dulled and washed away. *phew*. The gurgling continued. I was nearing the approach of my daily nap, when another sharp pain, this one a few inches over, woke me up with a terrifying amount of OUCH, accompanied by profuse sweating and chills. Clearly, something was up.
This went on, with the pain moving along inside of me with each passing wave. Everytime it would get worse, until we were in Mississauga. I thought I was done for. The pain had finally reached my back door, and it was knocking hard to get out. Each wave now, was accompanied by the danger that with one wrong move, I could very likely dump a half litre of hot mud into my trousers. Clenching proved extremely difficult because of the cramping I was experiencing in my abdomen muscles.
At one point, I was so absorbed by my pain and situation that I found myself moaning out loud. Luckily no one on the bus acknowledged my involuntary groans. Panic struck me at one point, and I was prepared to ask the driver to stop. This was it. I was going to explode. I held back simply based on the fact that I didn’t have a fucking clue where the fuck we were. I held fast, and found relief at the end of yet another wave. Scenes of the chestburster from Alien were starting to feel like a reality. More like ass-burster, amirite?
The sight of Union Station was certainly to my relief. I was first to stand up to get off, however my way was blocked by about 20+ people. Waiting felt like an eternity. Finally, it was my turn, just as the next pressure wave came on, this time MUCH stronger as I was standing up.
Now, have you ever heard of the phenomenon where toilet proximity strongly affects your ability to “hang in there”, so that the closer you get to the toilet, the more your body wants to expel whatever happens to be in the torpedo bay?
Well, this was one of those cases. I knew that I was on the home stretch, and with a sense of determination, I somehow managed to dash across the platform, get inside the bus terminal, then slam into the mens bathroom at an unruly speed. At this point, my proximity to clench ratio was beginning to reach a dangerous point.
I rounded the corner of the bathroom to find that the only stall in the men’s room was occupied. THE ONLY STALL. Just one! For the entire Bus terminal! I quickly shot down the idea of doing a bow-legged hustle into the train area of Union Station, and thought better to simply stroll calmly into the women’s bathroom and hope to remain unseen.
With a quick pucker of my back end, I relented to simply stand there in complete agony. The most intense, crushing wave of pain slipped over me. It felt like I’d ingested 8 litres of hot motor oil, full of carnivorous ants that all had mini chainsaws and were slowly dismantling me from the inside. I stood there, out of breath, sweating, entertaining thoughts of simply depanting myself and letting loose into the urinal, when the toilet flushed! The young man stepped out, looked at me like I was a drug addict, eager to get my nose into whatever I had in my pocket. I’m sure I looked like a wreck. Wide-eyed, disheveled hair, sweating, white-knuckled and clammy.
I won’t go into too much detail about the rest, however I will certainly comment on the cleanliness (or rather, the lack thereof) of the stall, even at 8:45AM on a Monday. Simply disgusting. I would NOT take my family there for a picnic. Pitiful and disgusting. That said, it was an emergency, so I cleaned the seat as best I could, turned around, had my pants down faster than the speed of sound (which turned out to be a good thing. The sonic boom masked the whooshing sound of about 4 litres of hot stomach acid, and the young man that was still washing his hands didn’t have to hear what sounded like 12 third graders all puking into a garbage can overtop of me giggling hysterically at my victorious accomplishment of having actually made it to the toilet).
So my question to you, GO Transit, is why are there no toilets on the GO Buses? I travel on average 2.5 hours a day on the QEW express and have for 5 years. I know that I’m not the only one that’s experienced toilet angst. I myself have already had to have the driver pull over once a few years back so I could let fly my last 4 pints of the night with my willy dangling into oncoming traffic. I can think of many other times we’ve stopped to let someone vomit, or urinate, or worse. In the winter, it’s even worse. I’ve been stuck in traffic up to 3 hours before. One driver was nice enough to pull over at a Tim Hortons and let us all use the bathroom and then grab a coffee and get back on the bus.

Love always,

P.S. I still do appreciate the ride to work everyday.

Originally published September 20th, 2010 on
Republished with permission

Special GO Train service for Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade

TORONTONovember 14, 2013 – On Sunday, November 17, GO Transit will run trains along all GO lines for the annual Santa Claus parade in downtown Toronto.

Special trains along the Milton, Kitchener, Barrie, Richmond Hill, and Stouffville GO lines will travel into Toronto before the parade and depart Union Station homebound afterwards. Those passengers along the Lakeshore GO lines can take advantage of regular Sunday trains running every 30 minutes during the day.

A special flat-rate day pass for November 17 is available at most GO Train stations now. The $20 GO group pass is an easy way for families to travel. Five people may ride all day for the price of two adults.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meanwhile, at the Greyhound Bus Terminal...

Does the Quiet Zone make the train more miserable for those who don't sit in the Quiet Zone?

from: A.L.
to: "C. J. Smith"
date: Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 9:28 AM
subject: Quiet Zone side effect

Not sure there's a causal connection, but I'm sitting on the lower level of a LSW this morning and it's unbelievably loud. 

A couple of women sitting behind me are sharing YouTube videos of cute toddlers played without headphones.. Loud. And they're chatting and laughing. 

Across from my quad is a woman on the phone talking about translating her home movies onto DVD. I can hear every word. 

Judging from the looks of fellow passengers, they're louder than normal. Is this a byproduct of the QZ? The idea is, if you want quiet, go upstairs. Downstairs is a free-for-all. Don't even try to moderate your audio. 

- A.L.


Cj says:

I have noticed on the rush hour trains home, specifically the 4:53 and 5:10 LSE, the first two coaches heading east, that the regular folks (the door donkeys) are absolutely obnoxious. Louder than I can ever recall. It's actually disgusting that "adults" carry on the way these jerks do.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's a trend. Foot riding selfies on Instagram

The one in the middle is my favourite.

Speaking of the "foot rider", here's a nice one from Friday, shot by a passenger. Dude didn't care that his dirty shoes were transferring dirt to the back of the seat. I hope his seat had dog crap on it. 

I really do.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Old City Hall
11/11/13 | 11:11 am

Lest we forget...

Was there a convention this weekend?

Someone's very proud.

- Submitted

Just cuz it's a bank holiday (how many of you are actually attending a Remembrance ceremony) doesn't means it's a holiday from the Quiet Zone

If I can hear you, over the sound of my movie playing on my phone, you are TOO LOUD for the train, never mind the god-damned Quiet Zone.

This woman figured since the train was only half full that it was perfectly fine to "yell-talk" over a seat to a woman in a quad over from her all about her weekend at the fucking farm. Too lazy to move her ass to sit beside her friend, this went on for two stops before I reached my level of tolerance for this kind of fuckery and I politely asked the two of them to sit together or get off at Pickering.

They moved.

Earlier I had to deal with a douche playing an episode of Breaking Bad on the bus, with no headphones, at the highest volume possible before I shut that shit down once he continued to do this when boarding the train. I think I said something about when you get to the scene that involves a plastic barrel, that's what will happen to you if you don't find some headphones real quick. As it turns out, he did have headphones! WHAT THE HELL?!

Our exchange was pretty heated. I wasn't backing down. Once I won, I went upstairs. Still steaming from that confrontation, I then had to contend with what happened next, as outlined at the beginning of this post.

It's Monday. All I wanted was some peace and quiet.

Christ, I need to go hug a puppy before I hurt someone.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Look at how much this guy loves this subway door

And the contest ends at Smoakville

from: MM
date: Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 7:48 AM
subject: Friday (last one)

Contest is closed and the results are in.

So I get to the station this morning and - surprise! - there is an enforcement car parked out by the taxis. In Smoakville a sighting like this is as rare and unlikely as rocking horse crap.

No sign of the officer though.


I'm on the clock with only twenty minutes to go, according to my own self imposed rules for this contest.

From sight and smell there wqs  no shortage of smokers this morning. There is that ashtray miasma in the air, scatterred butss all around,  and two or three of the regulars are back behind the station puffing away (out of sight of the empty enforcement car, they may be ignorant but they ain't stupid).

Just I can't take their pictures.

Again, for my purposes this week I can't count them in the contest since I already have taken their pictures in the past months (and months) that this has been going on.

(Remember when we had hope, CJ?)

After about ten minutes the Enforcement Officer comes out of the driver's clubhouse/rest area on the side of the building. He looks like the cliche of an American Highway Patrol Man with every crease ironed to a razors edge, buttons all gleaming. I am proud to have such an Enforcement Officer working for me. I'd gladly pay extra on Presto! He looks like a rock hard recruiting poster for manly men.

I figure I'm in for the equivalent of a flying rainbow coloured zebra unicorn spotting... I may actually see anti smoking enforcement (or even parking enforcement!) in action!!!!!

But, sadly  no.

He just gets in the car, turns on the engine, idles it for five minutes or so with the headlights on, then leaves.

So I spent five minutes waiting to see some action, only to have all the wheels fall off my pathetic clown car of dreams.

I'm down to five minutes left. Looks like the mission will fail on the ultimate day. No GO trains are due in for another couple of minutes, all the Oakville Transit buses are in for a while, and the smokers that are present are all th eold hacks/hacking coughers.

I have less than 2 minutes on the clock when this guy crosses directly in front of the station, puffing away. I raise the camera and pop off two frames.

Its only when I'm on the way to work that I start thinking that maybe - just maybe - this guy didn't qualify. In the dark dimness he _could have_ been wearing a transit uniform (I don't take pics of transit employees).

So I get to work and run the pic through adobe, breathlessly wait while the brightness is adjusted (also breathless from allergic reaction to the buttsmoke this morning) and...

Success! Not a driver, just some suited jerk.

Cue triumphal music... Or I would if it wasn't that I'm very sure that when it comes to smoking and smoking enforcement next week will be just as bad at SMoakville... and all the other stations on the line.

Again - for the umpteenth time:

Where is the enforcement?
Where are the clearly written signs that would empower non-smokers and tell smokers that they can not smoke?
Why does GO make commitments to safety and health of their passengers that, from the evidence, they are not even prepared to pretend to meet?

Next week (apropo of this morning's encounter) perhaps a new contest - a list of GO enforcement spottings.
Perhaps your readers would like to join in?


It snowed in Barrie this morning

Thank goodness this man found a way to clean the snow off his shoes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This is not an "ad". Don't be insulting

Oy. VEY. Why do I let the haters get to me sometimes? Got a ridiculous text message from some jerk who felt he/she had to "call me out" on my "no advertising policy" but "it appears I am advertising for Veterans' Affairs Canada".

No, you moron, I am honoring our war vets.

Get bent.

GO Transit gives token of appreciation to singing poppy vet, Bill Reid, at Appleby GO Station

Here's the original, full size photo courtesy of the Metrolinx PR department:

Here's Bill singing his heart out:

YouTube video of Mr. Reid from 2012 via Global News

Picture helps tells the story

from: DM
to: GO Train blog (
date: Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 7:20 AM
subject: Quiet Zone Cage Match

Hey CJ,

I hadn't even been on the train from Barrie for 30 mins this morning when this obnoxiously loud dick and I think his 20-something son get on, sit across the aisle from each other and start having a yell-talk conversation. A woman with her husband in the next quad quietly "shhhh"s this man. He clearly doesn't know the rules. It's just now that the SHIT has hit the friggin' fan!

Loud dick goes "WHAT?! You can hear me through your god damn head phones?!" Lady, now realizing she's dealing with a sociopath, says quietly, "Well yes, you're speaking quite loudly and this is the quiet zone". Loud dick goes "Well turn them the fuck up then!"

Lady's husband is not havin' that so he asks that Loud Dick not speak to his wife in such a manner. Loud Dick, in typical silverback gorilla fashion yells, "Don't even fuckin' start with me bro! You come at me if you have something to say!". Husband, I guess, is feeling like he's gotta defend the honor of his shushing maiden, stands up and throws some major cut-eye at Loud Dick. But, as we all know, stupidity is not often undeterred by common decency so Loud Dick jumps up and now tries to grab the husband. Loud Dick Jr. finally steps in at this point and somehow manages to wrangle his dad (while I'm sure wishing he was adopted), and lady gets her husband to let it go.

Always one to get the last word in though, Loud Dick yells, "That's RIGHT asshole."

All aboard the Jersey Shore Express!!!



I love how I am listed as "GO Train blog" in DM's contacts. 

But seriously, how heartwarming is this story?

I have to ask, what have we become as a society? That an outright physical altercation occurs because of a "Shh"?

As passengers, we have a right to feel safe on the train. If a similar situation happens on your train, the CSA should be notified. You don't have to push the strip and delay the train, but at least head on over to the accessibility coach and report the behaviour.

Dude should have been tossed off at the next stop.