Monday, June 30, 2014

Working hard at addressing your concern

Dear Mr. Tyler Simmons,

Thank you for your email which unfortunately resulted in a bounceback when I replied.

Thankfully you dropped some clues about how to obtain your real name. Phew.

I did forward your concern about my concern about your bong use on a public commuter train to my legal team. I'm so glad you suggested I do so. As much as you felt I had violated your friends' privacy by posting a now deleted photo from Instagram, but what was a very public photo, to my website, I feel you violated my integrity as a respected transit blogger by removing a picture you felt legally obliged to post with a hashtag referencing a government-operated transit company funded by taxpayers and fare-paying passengers like myself. I don't take too kindly to that kind of passive aggressive behavior.

As for your threat of legal action may I present to you the formal response from my lawyers:

I am positive that the shits they give about your right to privacy is duly noted. I feel the same.

Cindy J. Smith

So this happened at Maple GO last Thursday afternoon

Friday, June 27, 2014

Try this tonight

Just sit like this next to a person on the train - mouth wide open in a silent scream. Take a selfie.

Text it to me 9054427423.

Hi there, Ms. Premier, how about you fix what's broken in your own garage before you tell others how to fix what's broken in their own

Did you read the Toronto Star today?

This story.

Fed up with bus problems no one wants to deal with

I'm not sure who orchestrated the script of lies to be told to bus passengers but if Metrolinx CEO and brass want to live up to their promises of transparency, they need to take a good hard look at how GO Transit interacts with taxpayers AKA passengers.

What the hell is wrong with telling a passenger the truth about why a bus is late or didn't show up at all? This crap about a mechanical malfunction only to be told another story about traffic congestion, then told an all out lie of a bus reported to be on time when I have a Twitter status timeline of a bus being 17 minutes late? Not cool.

I'm not sure who leads the social media team at Metrolinx but the person or team managing that account is either a hamster or a bunch of robots because the lack of interaction is insulting. I don't ride GO Transit for free. I pay, on average, $309 a month to use their services. If I ask a question, I deserve an answer - even if it was on Twitter.

The folks on the GO Transit Twitter panel are more interactive but the boilerplate apologies and promises of looking into complaints were charming at first, but now it's just apparent it's all a script to appease a frustrated customer base.

This week was an extremely important one at work. A combination of it being month-end with a four-day long weekend looming on the horizon meant time was super tight, with several projects that needed to be completed. Plus, it didn't help I lost a day of productivity getting high off drugs administered during oral surgery.

On Tuesday, after waiting 10 minutes for a bus that looked like it wasn't coming, I told my bus mates as I managed to snag a taxi (no small feat when you live in rural Clarington) that I couldn't stick around and risk missing any train leaving Oshawa GO before 8 am. I offered to share the fare but I was the only one in a time crunch. Tuesday was launch day for an important company initiative. Being late was not an option. 

Thirty dollars later, and as I exited the cab that got me to the station at 7:48, don't I see the Route 90 bus - my bus - pull in at 7:49. People ran to catch the 7:53 train. I was livid. I found out the bus was 17 minutes late. One bus mate told me the driver did not give an explanation for being late, instead he offered an apology. I sat in the Quiet Zone and fumed. Someone owes me $30.

Had I known the bus was at least coming and would be at the station in time for the 7:53, I would have waited. In total, it cost almost $49 to get to and from work that day. Paying the GO fare for the train was further insult to injury.

To make a long story short, I found out that GO Transit is mandated not to instruct passengers about late arrivals of buses until 20 minutes past the scheduled arrival time. Twenty minutes?! In this day and age of GPS, real-time tracking, mobile communications and two way radio?! Twenty minutes in the commuting world means missed train connections and opportunities to take local transit. How the hell is any bus passenger supposed to make a decision to take that city bus that arrives three minutes before the GO bus, but takes twice as long to get to the station, is actually the better alternative because your GO bus is running 17 minutes behind schedule or has disappeared?

Last summer, there were three occasions where my regularly scheduled bus didn't show up. On all three occasions I was told no one knew what happened. How the fuck (pardon the language but I find that statement ludicrous) does a company like GO Transit lose a bus? How is that possible? And see, you can't bullshit me because my dad worked for a logistics firm, his trucks were equipped with GPS technology as far back as 1998. He couldn't stop to take a pee without it being noted he was idle or off-route. You can't tell me that GO Transit isn't using fleet management technology. Is it bargain basement technology? Has anyone tested it lately? 

Earlier on the blog I ran a story about GO's bus tracking implementation courtesy of my resident guest blogger. GO Transit promised full functionality by February 2014. This included stop announcements and the opportunity to obtain real-time bus availability. Metrolinx won't provide answers for the delay. None of this acceptable. The silence is unacceptable. The election is long over.

Wake up.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Excuse me, did you say I had something in my teeth?

Band-aid disguised as gum is the ONLY THING interesting about this procedure. Oh, and the drugs. Morphine. Sweet, sweet morphine.

I'm so high right now... the keyboard is talking to me.

I don't even know how I got home. Just boom! Door... amazeballs.

This is going to hurt like a mofo hours from now.

Have a drink for me. I can't. Nothing. NADA.

The picture is too large. Screw it. Deal.

Seriously?! Caption nails it


Today I have that thing done to my frenem I told you all about back in the spring.
You know that little piece of skin that connects your lower lip to the gum line?
I get that sawed off this morning.
Pray for me.
I am a whimp.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yeaaah, I wouldn't quit your day job

I don't need a date to tell me summer has started. The migration of nekkid foot riders signals the official start of summer for me

from: Phynesse
to: ""
date: Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 8:31 AM
subject: LSW footrider
I've been a long time reader of your blog.  Although I've seen my fair share of foot riders the one I saw today was the worse! This lady got on my carriage at Clarkson and promptly took her shoes of and started picking her feet..she then propped them up on the seat infront of her as shown in the was pretty stuffy and muggy on the train this morning and I didn't appreciate having the whiff of her nasty feet under my nose.

London Tube hands out Baby on Board stickers to moms-to-be

From the Transport for London website:

The badges overcome the awkwardness often felt by pregnant women of having to ask someone to give up their place.
It also means passengers in priority seats can see when they should give up their seat.
Research undertaken before the scheme was launched in 2006 showed that pregnant women often felt uncomfortable - even intimidated - having to ask if they could sit down. And while some people said they were happy to offer their seats to expectant mums, they felt embarrassed if their offer was rejected.

All your space ...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Blocked the aisle with the stroller, then blocked the quad, then blocked the seats by putting feet and crap everywhere. Rush hour. Friday. Barrie.

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah (insert many more nah nah nahs) Bat Cuffs!

According to the person who texted me this photo, he was cool but a stair hog.

This is what happens when you don't watch TV and don't listen to the radio

Someone tells you they went to see the Arctic Monkeys on Saturday at the Molson Ampitheatre and you're like, Who?

I'll admit I'm pretty sheltered when it comes to what's hot or hip in music these days. If I don't see it on Facebook or Twitter, I guess I don't know it exists. And I thought I had my finger on pulses and things... guess not.

Here are some pics after the concert let out and the crowd made its way to Exhibition GO Station. Too many people. Not enough trains.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I think that number is missing a zero

Via email:

Here's an article I came across tonight about GO electrifying their lines within the next 10 years. Seems rather ambitious, given how slow we know things come to be.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Philosophical GO bus operator

The answer? Never

A bitch about bags

Hey ladies, how's it going?

Listen, I have a pair of boobs, too, so I think I can relate to you on some level or another, that maybe this need to carry so much stuff is vagina-related. However, my vagina must be broken because I don't get it.

What's with the bags? The two purses? The Lululemon tote? The gym bag? And then, what is that? A lunch bag?! Where are you going? Most importantly, where do you live/work that you're a traveling hobo?

True, this really isn't any of my business but it becomes my business when you sit next to me and use my lap as your personal cargo bay and decide my left arm makes for a great purse rest (it doesn't).

That shit is annoying. There is space under the seat for that stuff. And that comment you made about it being the floor and you don't want to get your bags dirty? Not my circus, not my problem.

Keep your monkeys to yourself.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The crazy train ladies on Platform 12

"Don't take our pictures!" It sounded like a battle cry at first as these two women came rushing towards me around 5:20 tonight.
Startled, I stared blankly at them both as they stood in front of me, giggling and poking each other.

"We missed our train because of you," teased one lady who introduced herself as Diane.  The other lady, Kelly, began to regal me with a tale about a bag rider she encountered this morning.

I'm not used to this. I will admit. I smiled politely.  I find that generally people expect me to be immediately witty or blurt out something spontaneously funny, or whip out my phone and frantically start taking notes.

I know these two ladies were disappointed.
Honestly? It's been a long two weeks. My website is semi-operational; posts have disappeared -- again.  My husband and I are dealing with a strenuous financial matter. My condo board's AGM is tomorrow night and as the Vice President, I'm dreading a particular cast of characters whose only agenda is to make life miserable for our property manager and purposely disrupt the meeting, and work is unusually stressful.

I'm sorry I wasn't "on". On top of all this, I forgot my umbrella and I'm pretty sure I'm about to be pissed on when I get off the train in Oshawa.

All I want is some dinner and my bed.

All I can say is, I'm sorry if I seemed out of it and that I went to go sit by myself when the train arrived. I really needed the "me" time. But please, don't ever stop saying hi or not approach me. I wouldn't post a photo of myself if I didn't welcome the attention and opportunity to meet people who read the site.

I feel so bad. :(

Sorry I busted your knee but my life is way more important than your well-being

Via email:

I'm writing this while lying in bed with an ice bag over my knee right.

I took the 17:30 train today and just as we were getting to Richmond Hill station, it started pouring, and once the train got to the station, we started running towards our cars - as usual.

There was a guy from the coach next to mine who ran out and bumped into me, causing me to roll off the stairs that lead to the parking lot. This guy just walked around me and left, leaving me in pain on the ground and soaking wet.

If I tripped someone and caused them to fall, I would at least stop or stay with them to make sure they are okay.

How hard is it to use a garbage can?

Photo via @cartercam on Twitter

Footridin' and just eatin' some corn. On the cob. On the train.

Photo via @Monoawesome on Twitter

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thirsty from commuter rage? Do I have a beer for you!

The description from 5 Paddles Brewing Company's Facebook page:

This beer is made for Durhamites who feel the rage of the delayed train, who left for work before their kids were up and got home after they were in bed, who put up with someone eating dried cheerios out of a plastic bag for 45 minutes beside you.

For every conference you've missed, meeting you've been late for and injury at track level we give you our California Common - The Slow Digesting Soul Eater.

Biscuity malt, minty hop and in the fridge right now.

We are open 'till 7 so hopefully it's not that delayed today.

How I spent my Vegas weekend

Our flight on Friday night to Vegas was uneventful but extremely uncomfortable. My long-legged husband suffered in the cramped economy seat on Air Canada Rouge. My butt was numb from the five hour-plus flight and we both limped off the plane excited but stiff.

Chad and I realized rather quickly after checking into our resort that Planet Hollywood was way too young for us. This was quite evident at 3 am Vegas time when we were aroused by the sounds of young college men and their recent cougar hookups racing the halls, with one couple having a fight about blowjobs right outside our door. We had checked in at 11:30 pm and as much as we wanted to stay awake, we were struggling against Toronto time and our brains told us we should be in bed.

Neither of us slept well because of the noise from the cougars and their cubs, and the excited drunken screams generated by several bachelorettes, so at 7am, we filled up on Starbucks at $11 for two coffees -- courtesy of Las Vegas premium pricing, and hit the shops. We soon discovered there was a Food Mall inside the Miracle Mile. Chad was beside himself with en"food"siasm. I think his heart actually stopped beating.

At the casino, I played a few rounds of poker (complete with sunglasses and hat just like on those tournaments on television) and used my winnings ($200) to hit the slots. I slid in a $10 bill and won $40.

By 11 am, Chad are I were fighting some serious exhaustion so we had an early lunch and decided we'd try a nap.

We both collapsed on the bed and I had just drifted off when I was startled awake by loud thumping.  I opened an eye, looked at my husband, who was already up, and I asked him what the hell? He told me to come to the window. It turned out our room faced the Pleasure Pool where the DJ spins ALL AFTERNOON from 12 til 6. SERIOUSLY.

I looked longingly at Aria - a hotel that looked like it allowed for afternoon naps, and lamented the mistake we made with our accommodation.

I had brought earplugs. Nothing.  The bass vibrated through the pillow.  After an hour, we both realized there would be no siesta so we decided to put on some swimsuits and check out this Pleasure Pool.

Needless to say, the antics of many of the swimmers were hysterically amusing and Chad and I spent most of the time in the old people part of the pool watching the younger crowd party, flirt and drink.

I will admit, that was the first time in my life where I was incredibly aware of my age. It was like a sharp slap in the ass.

Later on we showered, dressed and decided to search for some good steak for my birthday dinner. I was convinced I looked exhausted but my husband assured me I looked fine. I posed for this photo at his request. I love how you can see him taking it in the mirror.

The first choice, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris (loved the fake Arc de Triomphe by the way) proved we'd be in need of a second mortgage to even eat dinner so we continued along the strip until we saw the sign for Ruth's Chris.

It was an exceptionally lovely dinner that was topped off by an unexpected slice of birthday cake courtesy of our waiter, Dominick, and the manager who overheard us talking with the maitre'd about our lack of reservations and birthday plans.

We spent the rest of the night exploring the other resorts and then headed to bed. I took this HDR night photo of the strip from one of the pedestrian bridges.

On Sunday, we made good on our earlier commitment to walk to downtown Las Vegas and visit the shop made famous by the television show, "Pawn Stars".

Sadly, no Rick, Old Man or Chumlee. They no longer work the counters.

I had to snag a photo of us in front of the Little White Chapel. There was a wedding going on with a lot of people at the time.

It took me a while to figure out what the little round things were on my neck. That, my friends, is congealed sunscreen. Nice, huh? So gross.

After walking almost 12 km in 93F heat, we took the Deuce bus back to the hotel, a double-decker bus not unlike GO's fleet. Same crap -- different smell. And even in Vegas, I can't escape my life's work. Check out this superstar.

He wasn't moving that foot for anyone, including people who brushed against the sole of his shoe while they swayed down the aisle. I told Chad I was ready for a judo chop but he reminded me that bail works differently in the States, so I had to quell my commuter rage -- which I am now convinced is a mental illness that hasn't been officially recognized by the World Health Organization. Give it time.

In the evening, Chad took me on the High Roller - the largest moving observation deck in the world. It's disguised as a ferris wheel. We only paid half price because dads were riding for free even if you left your kids at home like we did. This was a nice surprise as my American Express card was feeling very financially exhausted.

The pods lift you up and over the Las Vegas strip to a total height of 550 feet.

It was a whirlwind two days and for the plane ride home on Monday, I had called Air Canada Sunday morning and was able to move Chad and I into priority seating. This gave Chad more leg room and a deeper seat. He was incredibly grateful. It also helped with the circulatory issues in his legs because of his diabetes. It was important to me he be comfortable and the Air Canada agent was amazing, we didn't have to sacrifice any Aeroplan points for the upgrade. She was incredibly sympathetic to his plight. At least we know for next time.

Our seat mate one aisle over had been in Vegas for a bachelorette party. Whenever it was possible, she sat like this for the entire flight.

Yes, she is face down in that pillow.

Other highlights/lowlights of the weekend include:
  • Spending three minutes on Sunday morning in the elevator of our hotel with Dennis Rodman who hopped on from the 10th floor with a small entourage. He told those of us already on board that he was having a Bloody Mary for breakfast. He was whisked away by a security detail before I could ask for a photo in the lobby.
  • Answering in French every time some guy or girl on the street tried to sell us event tickets only to have one person answer me back in perfect French. The hell? What are the odds?
  • We didn't eat. I mean, we ate, but we didn't EAT. I found that I just don't have that desire any more. The Cindy from five years ago would have been all over that. 
  • We didn't drink. I mean, we drank, but no where near as much as I had originally planned to. I think the lack of motivation stemmed from how stressed out I had been feeling and knowing I was going home to more stress. I drink better when I am relaxed.
  • We slept way too little and learned we are too old for keeping bar hours.
Chad and I doubt we'll ever go back. We think it was a missed opportunity for something we should have done when we were both still in our twenties. At times, we lamented the fact that our 9-year-old daughter wasn't with us. We know we would have enjoyed some parts of our Vegas experience better if she had been there.

At the same time, Chad and I did need some time alone. Because of our work schedules, volunteer activities, my commuting hours and our daughter's commitments, we don't "couple" much.

It was very nice to just be a couple again but I know my heart is really more at peace when we are a family.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Terrorizing Nevada

Tonight I leave for Las Vegas to celebrate my 40th birthday tomorrow.  Whew, that's a hard number to type.

The last two weeks have been tremendously stressful as my husband and I decided to pursue an opportunity that benefits our daughter but has really put us in an emotional tailspin. So I am really looking forward to these three days away.

Because I have no metal bandwidth left, I told Chad earlier in the week there would be no itinerary for this weekend. We're going to get off that plane, get to the hotel and wing it. Just fly by the seat of our pants. Be impulsive.

Easy for me. Hard for him. Chad is a planner. He likes to know what he's doing and when he's doing it. He wants to so badly plan something for Saturday night. It's Las Vegas. We will find something to do. Nobody gets off a plane in Las Vegas, looks around and says, "Well this place sucks" and goes home.

I know one thing for sure. There will be food, there will be alcohol, and there will be me at some point, somewhere on the strip, randomly bursting out into song and serenading a total stranger because that's just what I do.

I am very excited.

Old enough to know better

Not once, in life, has my mother ever walked into a stranger's living room, or even my own, rolled off her socks, and thrown her feet on the edge of a piece of furniture and acted like it was perfectly acceptable to do so.