bobquasit: (Default)
I've been reading Thoreau's Walden on the Franklin line for weeks. But I have to admit that I can only handle about six or seven pages at most before I have to switch to something like Slave Girls of the SS. :D

Okay, seriously, my other book is currently The Still Small Voice of Trumpets by Lloyd Biggle. Good book, but much lighter reading then Walden - although I have to say that Thoreau is actually pretty damn funny!
bobquasit: (Default)
I've been reading Thoreau's Walden on the Franklin line for weeks. But I have to admit that I can only handle about six or seven pages at most before I have to switch to something like Slave Girls of the SS. :D

Okay, seriously, my other book is currently The Still Small Voice of Trumpets by Lloyd Biggle. Good book, but much lighter reading then Walden - although I have to say that Thoreau is actually pretty damn funny!
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't usually cross-post from Charlie on the Commuter Rail, but this may be of interest.


It's been a long time since I ran across a rude conductor; I guess I was due. Here's the complaint that I just filed with the MBCR:
Conductor 1719 was extremely rude to me this evening. I'd forgotten to switch to my October pass, and so she charged me for the trip, plus the onboard purchase penalty fee. I recognize that she was within her rights to do so, although she certainly knew that I was a regular T pass subscriber; I have been riding in her coaches since long before she began working on #715.

What was NOT appropriate, however, was the delight which she displayed in charging me. She smirked and spoke in a very condescending manner. I don't know why she apparently felt that my forgetfulness was her personal victory; I haven't had any personal interaction with her before.

In any case, I found her conduct completely offensive and rude. That sort of arrogant and insulting behavior does nothing to enhance the reputation or image of the MBTA and MBCR.

It was the equivalent of a victory dance - just a nasty, sneering smirk. Apparently charging me $8.75 was the high point of her day.
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't usually cross-post from Charlie on the Commuter Rail, but this may be of interest.


It's been a long time since I ran across a rude conductor; I guess I was due. Here's the complaint that I just filed with the MBCR:
Conductor 1719 was extremely rude to me this evening. I'd forgotten to switch to my October pass, and so she charged me for the trip, plus the onboard purchase penalty fee. I recognize that she was within her rights to do so, although she certainly knew that I was a regular T pass subscriber; I have been riding in her coaches since long before she began working on #715.

What was NOT appropriate, however, was the delight which she displayed in charging me. She smirked and spoke in a very condescending manner. I don't know why she apparently felt that my forgetfulness was her personal victory; I haven't had any personal interaction with her before.

In any case, I found her conduct completely offensive and rude. That sort of arrogant and insulting behavior does nothing to enhance the reputation or image of the MBTA and MBCR.

It was the equivalent of a victory dance - just a nasty, sneering smirk. Apparently charging me $8.75 was the high point of her day.
bobquasit: (Default)
I've neglected both my RuneQuest site and my commuter rail site for months. I'm planning on doing something for the RQ site (maybe that article on charms; if anyone wants to help me on it, please let me know), but in the last few days the good old MBTA/MBCR gave me the inspiration for a couple of posts on the Charlie on the Commuter Rail blog.

Remember those stairs at Ruggles? The ones that were crumbling last December? They're worse. MUCH worse. Photos over on the Charlie blog.
bobquasit: (Default)
I've neglected both my RuneQuest site and my commuter rail site for months. I'm planning on doing something for the RQ site (maybe that article on charms; if anyone wants to help me on it, please let me know), but in the last few days the good old MBTA/MBCR gave me the inspiration for a couple of posts on the Charlie on the Commuter Rail blog.

Remember those stairs at Ruggles? The ones that were crumbling last December? They're worse. MUCH worse. Photos over on the Charlie blog.

Hit

Apr. 20th, 2009 08:43 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
To sum up: we were rear-ended tonight in Franklin. We were in an intersection, waiting for the oncoming traffic to clear so we could make a left turn. A woman hit us pretty hard from behind. Sebastian started crying.

The woman drove down the street and pulled over. Then she drove about a quarter-mile down the road. After a while, she turned around and pulled over in front of our car. I'd called the police, and they showed up fairly quickly.

Teri had a headache, and my neck hurts quite a bit. Sebastian's okay. The back section of our car is detached from the body on the right-hand side, but it doesn't look too awful. I'll be filing an accident report tomorrow.

I talked to Allstate, our insurer. Lest anyone wonder: Allstate sucks, Allstate sucks, Allstate sucks. We're out a $500 deductible, and then after that they'll see if they can recover the money from the woman's insurance company and reimburse us. The Allstate rep was less than helpful.

Hit

Apr. 20th, 2009 08:43 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
To sum up: we were rear-ended tonight in Franklin. We were in an intersection, waiting for the oncoming traffic to clear so we could make a left turn. A woman hit us pretty hard from behind. Sebastian started crying.

The woman drove down the street and pulled over. Then she drove about a quarter-mile down the road. After a while, she turned around and pulled over in front of our car. I'd called the police, and they showed up fairly quickly.

Teri had a headache, and my neck hurts quite a bit. Sebastian's okay. The back section of our car is detached from the body on the right-hand side, but it doesn't look too awful. I'll be filing an accident report tomorrow.

I talked to Allstate, our insurer. Lest anyone wonder: Allstate sucks, Allstate sucks, Allstate sucks. We're out a $500 deductible, and then after that they'll see if they can recover the money from the woman's insurance company and reimburse us. The Allstate rep was less than helpful.

Changes

Dec. 4th, 2008 11:00 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
My journal has been somewhat different, lately.

For one thing, the percent of friends-only and filtered posts has increased to about 50% in the past few months. But an even bigger change is the relative decrease in political posts (unsurprising, I suppose, now that the election is over) and the recent surge of book reviews.

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Neither, or both? Feel free to tell me what you think, if you want.

By the way, I also just put up a very large post over on my Charlie On The Commuter Rail blog. The outer stairway to the commuter rail platform at Ruggles station is crumbling. I took my camera in today, and got some pictures and video. The resulting blog entry is pretty huge, but maybe someone will pay attention and forestall a tragedy.

Seriously, who repairs stairs with rust-susceptible parts? And after two years of the stairs being closed for repairs, couldn't they have fixed them well enough so that they'd last for more than sixteen months? I think you'll be surprised by the images.

Changes

Dec. 4th, 2008 11:00 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
My journal has been somewhat different, lately.

For one thing, the percent of friends-only and filtered posts has increased to about 50% in the past few months. But an even bigger change is the relative decrease in political posts (unsurprising, I suppose, now that the election is over) and the recent surge of book reviews.

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Neither, or both? Feel free to tell me what you think, if you want.

By the way, I also just put up a very large post over on my Charlie On The Commuter Rail blog. The outer stairway to the commuter rail platform at Ruggles station is crumbling. I took my camera in today, and got some pictures and video. The resulting blog entry is pretty huge, but maybe someone will pay attention and forestall a tragedy.

Seriously, who repairs stairs with rust-susceptible parts? And after two years of the stairs being closed for repairs, couldn't they have fixed them well enough so that they'd last for more than sixteen months? I think you'll be surprised by the images.

Ow.

Sep. 17th, 2008 09:33 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I missed the train this morning.

That happens more often than I would like. I keep saying "We're going to miss the train! Come on, we have to go!"...and then we don't. We get to the station just in time to see the train pull away.

That's really *&#$ing frustrating.

Since Sebastian has to be on the bus in the mornings, Teri and Sebastian have to leave me at the station even if I miss the train. I was really pissed off this morning, stuck at the station for 45 minutes, so I spent all that time walking up and down the full length of the Franklin/Dean platform. 318 steps, one way. I did it about 14 times.

And now I have a blister on the back of my right heel that's about two inches across. It hurts quite a bit.

Grrrr.

Ow.

Sep. 17th, 2008 09:33 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I missed the train this morning.

That happens more often than I would like. I keep saying "We're going to miss the train! Come on, we have to go!"...and then we don't. We get to the station just in time to see the train pull away.

That's really *&#$ing frustrating.

Since Sebastian has to be on the bus in the mornings, Teri and Sebastian have to leave me at the station even if I miss the train. I was really pissed off this morning, stuck at the station for 45 minutes, so I spent all that time walking up and down the full length of the Franklin/Dean platform. 318 steps, one way. I did it about 14 times.

And now I have a blister on the back of my right heel that's about two inches across. It hurts quite a bit.

Grrrr.

T Poem

Aug. 13th, 2008 10:12 am
bobquasit: (Default)
This poem started writing itself in my head during my commute this morning. It may still need work, so I'm going to post it here and see if anything more develops in my brain. Your feedback would be welcome, of course.

The Mystery Train

The Mystery Train is a train of excitement,
With windows so clouded that you cannot see
The signs for the station that you might be passing
Or IF there's a station, or where it might be.

You stare in confusion at windows so frosted
An x-ray machine couldn't peer through the haze.
Is my stop coming up? Or have I just passed it?
Or am I a minotaur lost in a maze?

The conductors all thoughtfully aid in the mystery,
Never breathing a word which might pierce that dark veil
Where is the train going? Are we passing a station?
Was that blob Back Bay station, or was it Montvale?

If YOU want to ride on the train full of mystery
They're rolling along on the tracks every day
Pay your fare, hop on board, and soon you'll discover
Life is never a bore on the MBTA.




Or perhaps the last two lines should be

"You might never get to the place you were going,
But that's how it is on the MBTA."

...or something like that.

T Poem

Aug. 13th, 2008 10:12 am
bobquasit: (Default)
This poem started writing itself in my head during my commute this morning. It may still need work, so I'm going to post it here and see if anything more develops in my brain. Your feedback would be welcome, of course.

The Mystery Train

The Mystery Train is a train of excitement,
With windows so clouded that you cannot see
The signs for the station that you might be passing
Or IF there's a station, or where it might be.

You stare in confusion at windows so frosted
An x-ray machine couldn't peer through the haze.
Is my stop coming up? Or have I just passed it?
Or am I a minotaur lost in a maze?

The conductors all thoughtfully aid in the mystery,
Never breathing a word which might pierce that dark veil
Where is the train going? Are we passing a station?
Was that blob Back Bay station, or was it Montvale?

If YOU want to ride on the train full of mystery
They're rolling along on the tracks every day
Pay your fare, hop on board, and soon you'll discover
Life is never a bore on the MBTA.




Or perhaps the last two lines should be

"You might never get to the place you were going,
But that's how it is on the MBTA."

...or something like that.
bobquasit: (Default)
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been pretty busy, and there has been a lot to deal with.

One thing that's kind of interesting is that the T has finally - wait, I need to explain first. If you don't read my Charlie On the Commuter Rail blog (and why should you, if you don't ride the T?) you might need a little set-up.

Basically ridership skyrocketed on the commuter rail over the past month or so. Some time during that month, the T cut the train down from six single-level coaches to five. The situation got so bad that people were being jammed into the vestibules of the trains: the areas between coaches, where passengers are NOT supposed to ride. Apparently they're crumple zones.

This was happening every day, and on average there were 12-14 people jammed into the vestibules alone. The aisles in the coaches were likewise jammed. I estimated that there were approximately 200 standees per train, every day.

Since standees are by far more likely to be seriously injured or killed in the event of an accident, a lot of us standees were pretty outraged.

I've mentioned all this this here before, of course.

Anyway, I wrote to the Governor and got a response within 24 hours - and it was a fairly responsive response, too. They made no promises, though, so I decided that I'd continue pushing the issue until something was actually done. So last Friday I brought my camera to take some decent-quality video of the overcrowding situation.

I got a shock when the train pulled up: it was five coaches, all right, but four of them were double-level coaches! I figured it was a fluke, so I brought the camera again on Monday, Sure enough, there were four double-level coaches again. I was even able to get a seat after the Dedham stop, which is much earlier than usual.

I got an email from the MBCR that day. They told me that the train had been "returned" to it's proper capacity. This puzzled me, since it had never BEEN a double-coach train in my experience, and it had never had that capacity. But nonetheless, the Franklin #715 train has continued in the same configuration all week: four double-level coaches and one single-level coach. On Tuesday I actually got a seat when I got on at Ruggles. Nobody rode in the vestibules, and only a few people were standing.

I'm sure that my agitating played only a small role at most in getting an adequate amount of seating put on that run. Odds are that the real reason for the change was that the conductors hadn't been able to collect a penny in fares for weeks. But it's nice to think that my work might have helped make a difference, and made a lot of people a bit safer and more comfortable.
bobquasit: (Default)
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been pretty busy, and there has been a lot to deal with.

One thing that's kind of interesting is that the T has finally - wait, I need to explain first. If you don't read my Charlie On the Commuter Rail blog (and why should you, if you don't ride the T?) you might need a little set-up.

Basically ridership skyrocketed on the commuter rail over the past month or so. Some time during that month, the T cut the train down from six single-level coaches to five. The situation got so bad that people were being jammed into the vestibules of the trains: the areas between coaches, where passengers are NOT supposed to ride. Apparently they're crumple zones.

This was happening every day, and on average there were 12-14 people jammed into the vestibules alone. The aisles in the coaches were likewise jammed. I estimated that there were approximately 200 standees per train, every day.

Since standees are by far more likely to be seriously injured or killed in the event of an accident, a lot of us standees were pretty outraged.

I've mentioned all this this here before, of course.

Anyway, I wrote to the Governor and got a response within 24 hours - and it was a fairly responsive response, too. They made no promises, though, so I decided that I'd continue pushing the issue until something was actually done. So last Friday I brought my camera to take some decent-quality video of the overcrowding situation.

I got a shock when the train pulled up: it was five coaches, all right, but four of them were double-level coaches! I figured it was a fluke, so I brought the camera again on Monday, Sure enough, there were four double-level coaches again. I was even able to get a seat after the Dedham stop, which is much earlier than usual.

I got an email from the MBCR that day. They told me that the train had been "returned" to it's proper capacity. This puzzled me, since it had never BEEN a double-coach train in my experience, and it had never had that capacity. But nonetheless, the Franklin #715 train has continued in the same configuration all week: four double-level coaches and one single-level coach. On Tuesday I actually got a seat when I got on at Ruggles. Nobody rode in the vestibules, and only a few people were standing.

I'm sure that my agitating played only a small role at most in getting an adequate amount of seating put on that run. Odds are that the real reason for the change was that the conductors hadn't been able to collect a penny in fares for weeks. But it's nice to think that my work might have helped make a difference, and made a lot of people a bit safer and more comfortable.
bobquasit: (Default)
Sir,

For the past 3-4 weeks the Franklin #715 train (departing South Station at 4:10pm) has been desperately overcrowded. Not only is every aisle full of standees, but passengers are being forced to ride in the vestibules between the coaches as well. By my estimate there were at least 190 standees yesterday on the five-coach #715.

This is now TYPICAL of the ridership on that train.

It is, of course, forbidden for passengers to ride in the vestibules due to safety concerns - but there is simply no other option.

Conductors are unable to collect fares. Two days ago I stood for half an hour next to a woman who was six-months pregnant; she couldn't get a seat, and had to physically squeeze past standees along half the aisle to get off at her stop.

Given that standees have a much greater likelihood of being injured during an accident, the current state of overcrowding presents a daily hazard to a large and increasing number of riders. This matter is urgent, and needs to be addressed immediately.

MBCR and MBTA management have repeatedly refused to address this issue. Please do not simply forward me to MBTA/MBCR management; they will not take any action. Large numbers of MBTA passengers are being placed in danger on a daily basis, and there is no sign that ridership is going to decrease. Please take meaningful action.


I've also contacted the Boston Globe and Boston Herald - I'll let you know if either follows up with me.
bobquasit: (Default)
Sir,

For the past 3-4 weeks the Franklin #715 train (departing South Station at 4:10pm) has been desperately overcrowded. Not only is every aisle full of standees, but passengers are being forced to ride in the vestibules between the coaches as well. By my estimate there were at least 190 standees yesterday on the five-coach #715.

This is now TYPICAL of the ridership on that train.

It is, of course, forbidden for passengers to ride in the vestibules due to safety concerns - but there is simply no other option.

Conductors are unable to collect fares. Two days ago I stood for half an hour next to a woman who was six-months pregnant; she couldn't get a seat, and had to physically squeeze past standees along half the aisle to get off at her stop.

Given that standees have a much greater likelihood of being injured during an accident, the current state of overcrowding presents a daily hazard to a large and increasing number of riders. This matter is urgent, and needs to be addressed immediately.

MBCR and MBTA management have repeatedly refused to address this issue. Please do not simply forward me to MBTA/MBCR management; they will not take any action. Large numbers of MBTA passengers are being placed in danger on a daily basis, and there is no sign that ridership is going to decrease. Please take meaningful action.


I've also contacted the Boston Globe and Boston Herald - I'll let you know if either follows up with me.
bobquasit: (Default)
I got on the train at Forge Park this morning. As it pulled into the next stop - Dean College - there was a sudden, violent jerk. It felt as if there had almost been a crash.

Unfortunately my knee must have been in just the wrong place at the wrong time. There are some blunt corners on each seat-back, and the jerk jammed one of them into the space under the edge of my kneecap. Instantly I was plunged into violent, blinding pain such as I've rarely experienced. It was so severe that I doubled over, and was barely able to keep from vomiting. The pain lasted for several minutes, which was a long time, believe me.

I hate the MBTA.
bobquasit: (Default)
I got on the train at Forge Park this morning. As it pulled into the next stop - Dean College - there was a sudden, violent jerk. It felt as if there had almost been a crash.

Unfortunately my knee must have been in just the wrong place at the wrong time. There are some blunt corners on each seat-back, and the jerk jammed one of them into the space under the edge of my kneecap. Instantly I was plunged into violent, blinding pain such as I've rarely experienced. It was so severe that I doubled over, and was barely able to keep from vomiting. The pain lasted for several minutes, which was a long time, believe me.

I hate the MBTA.

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