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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New game! WILL IT FIT?

Let me tell you something, some y'all just too nice. Why? You're making excuses for people who need lines to park. That's a no from me.

Winter proves challenging to many drivers knocked stupid by snow and then have no idea how to park a car without the help of yellow lines. A slow leisurely drive around any GO train lot this winter demonstrates just how bad this epidemic is.

It only takes one driver to start a mess. But what puzzles me, and seems to infuriate others, is when other drivers clearly take advantage of the fact that one donkey has parked like an idiot and they, too, park a half car width away from another car. So, now you have an entire row where 80 cars fit on a good clear day that is down to 60 cars, leaving 20 drivers circling the lot, steaming mad, and parking on snow banks and in emergency access routes.

And then you have me. In my Fiat. A Fiat 500 Pop to be specific. The width of my Fiat is 5 feet 3 inches. I'm a metric kid but I'm choosing to go with a universal measure so everyone understands. My car is as wide as I am tall. Compared to a Ford Edge, which is 6 feet 3 inches wide, I've got a foot less to work with, which makes parking my car easier when other drivers have behaved badly.

That's pretty much the only benefit to a micro car. It's a sled with air bags, capable of highway speeds, that may or may not leave you in a wheelchair after a crash. I'm quoting my mother in law, here. My car terrifies her.

Anyhoo...

On Twitter (and yes, some of you wrote me to tell me you don't Twitter and feel left out, so I'm, bringing this to the blog, too ... ) I wrote a tweet about my new game. And with all that preamble out of the way, let's play the first round of ...

WILL ... IT ... FIT?

Oh yea, I'm real disappointed with the before photo. I had to snap it quickly because Oshawa GO Station is a raceway in the morning. I held up two drivers when I stopped to take the photo, so I apologize for the camera shake.


The car to the right is a full-size GMC pick-up. The left is a mid-size Toyota sedan.

Because the blog is read by a different group of people than Twitter (the two media channels are widely separate) I'll share the after photo here and then post it to Twitter on the train ride home.

So, what do you think? Will it fit?

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READY?
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IT FITS!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When you're geographically challenged... people notice, and then people get upset


Submitted by
St. Kitts Warrior William

 At a local transit shelter, I took note of a Metrolinx ad boasting “More trains. More often.  Because Simcoe deserves nothing less.”

     Nobody could disagree that it’s a good thing, for Barrie to get improved GO Train service.   However, the odd thing about this particular ad by Metrolinx was its location on Oakdale Avenue in St. Catharines.  (Note the billboard for a Niagara based business in the background.)

     Lack of GO Train service is a bit of a sore point for residents of Niagara Region.  Local politicians and Chambers of Commerce have worked themselves into a frenzy over the last few years, earnestly presenting proposals and business cases for GO expansion to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.  So, the timing and location of this poster are not optimal.  I’m sure though, that it was not the intention of Metrolinx to “rub it in” that Simcoe County is way ahead of Niagara in its quest for more GO Trains.

     The wording of the ad raises yet more questions, however.  There is no doubt that the good people of Barrie “deserve” their new all-day GO Trains.  But what did Niagara do, to NOT deserve similar improvements?  How did Niagarans end up on the naughty list with Metrolinx, such that they won’t see a weekday GO Train until 2023?

     Needing the votes, elected politicians will certainly pander to their constituents’ sense of entitlement.  However, it was my understanding that Metrolinx is an impartial, non-political agency, making evidence-based decisions that follow principles of professional planning.  How could it be then, that the word “deserves” is even in the Metrolinx vocabulary?

     If transit planning is to be done on the basis of “who deserves what," then Niagara will just have to play the game on those terms.  Having been privileged to work in St. Catharines, I may strongly argue that the fine and friendly folks of this community absolutely deserve to be at the front of the line for a first-class connection to downtown Toronto.

     And we're not talking simply GO Trains; their time has come and gone.  Why should Niagarans be forced to suffer the long trip all the way around Lake Ontario, using antiquated 20th century diesel technology, when a superior option exists?

     The simpler, and preferred solution, is to extend the Line 1 Yonge University Subway directly south, under the lake, to a new St. Catharines City Centre Station.   After abandoning TTC Union Station, the new SCCC Station would fit neatly in the loop between King and St Andrew, thus avoiding an inconvenient and onerous transfer for passengers from Niagara.     

     The cross-boundary, underwater portion of the trip would be covered by a regular TTC fare, of course.  Perhaps this extra cost to the TTC could be subsidized through some cross-promotional arrangement with Ripley’s Aquarium.


      Finally, a note to Metrolinx and the TTC: please don’t offer some “study” that suggests that St. Catharines doesn’t “need” a subway.  The deserving people of Niagara are rightly suspicious of LRT, fast ferries, swan boats, and other second-rate transit technologies.  As they say in Scarborough, nothing but a single-stop "express" subway extension will do!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fire! Fire everywhere!

Friends, or as Rob Ford used to say, "Folks".

How are you? I mean, you look great (as always) but how are you?

Me? Well, it's been a busy time. It is literally DO ALL THE THINGS at work.

And recently, I have learned due to some changes on Blogger's end, I can only blog from a computer. The computer I have at home belongs in a museum and it can't handle the 21st century technology Blogger has implemented. My phone is too small, and trying to add in images? Forget it. This myriad of first world problems causes me great distress. Blogging from work is very much frowned upon (as it should be). I snuck this post in at 6:06 pm last night and scheduled it for today. If I'm asked to work an 11-hour workday, Imma blog, k?

As time marches on, blogs are becoming more of digital diaries and less about visual enjoyment. Twitter, Instagram, especially Instagram, are kicking blogging in the ass. At least for me they are. I now tweet 90% of  the time and blog 10% of the time. However, a blog remains the best place for issues that are too complex and lengthy for Twitter. I do have Instagram (you can find me as "thiscrazytrain") but I don't spend a lot of time on it.

Twitter is my jam.

I have some content that has been submitted (thank you). I just want to assure you I will be reviewing my emails, texts and DMs on the weekend.

Have a great Friday, folks!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Oh yeah, it's different

I know that many of you aren't going to like that I ditched the dark, crudely drawn - yet was always fitting - header (the banner across the top of the page) for my brand.

I'm just trying something new. Something, er, more professional looking. Someone sent me a vector file of a Fiat 500 and welp, it kind of just went from there.

Part 11 (ELEVEN!?) of an installment, exclusive to This Crazy Train, "Meet the Deckers" - Daisy May and CO monitors

Editor's note: If you have had issues while aboard a Double Decker bus, or have a story about a Double Decker experience, drop me a line at cj@thiscrazytrain.com.


Daisy May and CO monitors

Hidy ho, Ms. Cindy!

Billy Bob here in St. Catharines.  Me and my missus, Daisy May, was off to see her cousin, Juan José, the other day.  When we boarded the bus, we “tapped on” with our newfangled PRESTO cards we bought off Kijiji — we got us a real bargain!


As Daisy May was exchangin’ pleasantries with our driver, she paused and pointed behind the seat, and said, “What’s that doohickey?  It weren’t there before!”  Daisy May was pointin’ at the black stick thing beside the speaker:


After some hummin’ and hawin’, Daisy May finally got it out of the driver that it was a carbon monoxide monitor.  Well, Daisy May’s eyes got real big, and she went quiet and walked direct to her seat.

When I asked her what was wrong, she whispered, “Ms. Cindy’s last article on the DD’s was true.  If they’re puttin’ carbon monoxide monitors inside the bus, the exhaust must be leakin’ in here.”

By the time we got to cousin Juan José’s house, Daisy May was in a real state over what she’d learned.  It took us half an hour and a few shots of Jack Daniel’s to settle her down.  Juan José didn’t understand how puttin’ the monitor in the cockpit of the bus was gonna give a accurate indication of the concentration of the CO in the bus, cuz (i) air from the outside floods in the front when the doors are opened, and (ii) some drivers open the window that’s near the monitor while rollin’ along.

Juan José said not to worry.  Juan José runs a business sellin’ electronic gear, includin’ carbon monoxide detectors.  He had a Pocket CO KWJ 72-9021, kinda like a keychain, but it was expensive.  Juan José is also a electronics genius of sorts.  He said Daisy May could have his DIY version that he made by convertin’ a stud finder.  Well, that made my missus happier than a clam at high tide!


When we boarded the bus for the trip home, Daisy May spotted a CO monitor strapped to the speaker cable conduit above the coat hooks.



It didn’t trouble her none, cuz she was armed with her new carbon monoxide alarm that she showed off real proud like to our driver who kinda got tongue-tied and didn’t know what to say.

Daisy May says you was smart buyin’ that car of yours, Ms. Cindy!

Best wishes,
Billy Bob