The Fail Train: At the Beginning, I Just Wanted to Buy a Ticket

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I work in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t live in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t live anywhere close to Downtown Los Angeles. “How do you get to work?” you might ask.

Most of my commute to work involves the Metrolink, Southern California’s trusty regional commuter rail service. I drive about 15 minutes to the East Ontario Metrolink Station, which as you might have guessed, is in Ontario. I catch a train in the morning to Union Station in Los Angeles, and then hop on either the red or purple L.A. Metro subway line. I take the 7th Street/Metro Center stop and walk about 3 minutes to my office. I catch the train every morning and every evening I’m working in Los Angeles. It’s like clockwork, sort of…

Metrolink unfortunately suffers from a great number of problems. There are times when the engine has mechanical issues and won’t run, or other times when trains are delayed due to “track incursions” (something/somebody makes contact with a train). Sometimes there are signal issues or problems with the track switches. Sometimes the train is simply just late due to training and then has to wait for freight traffic to pass. There are a number of issues that plague what could be an amazing transportation system.

Before you can even experience any of that, however, you’re supposed to have a ticket. I purchase a monthly pass since it’s much cheaper than buying daily round-trip tickets. It’s hard to buy a ticket though when the ticket vending machine doesn’t work.

Observe…

  • February 2, 2015

So far, I’ve had to purchase my ticket in Downtown Los Angeles instead of at East Ontario, which makes me wonder:

What’s the likelihood that other stations are suffering from the same problem?

If I was a betting man (which I’m not), I would guess that ridership numbers for Metrolink are probably inaccurate due to the number of people that experience this issue. People are supposed to buy a ticket when they get to their destination, but I’m guess most probably don’t buy a round-trip ticket when they get to where they’re going. Why buy a round-trip ticket when you got travel to your destination for free?

I don’t know what the point of all this is (i.e., the point of this post), but I just thought I’d share with you folks out there (all three of you that read my posts) what goes on in the life of a daily Metrolink commuter.

Opening Day!

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Today is a great day. A wonderful day. A remarkably amazingly splendidly awesome day! What day might this be.

OPENING DAY!

If you must ask, I am referring to baseball. This day, the first day of the Major League Baseball season, is officially the first day of summer, which of course follows the last day of winter (i.e., the day before opening day). I know that a number of folks out there would disagree with my definition here of the word “officially,” but I don’t care. It’s official to me because baseball is back!

And because some out there might be wondering, “How can today be opening day if the Cardinals and Cubs played last night?” First off, that was a night game. We’re talking about Opening “DAY.” And secondly, the Cubs were in the game, so yeah, who cares about that floppy pile of poop.

If we’re lucky, we might just be able to FINALLY get this day turned into a national holiday (yes, it’s a major travesty that this hasn’t happened already). It failed in 2014, but weirder, stranger things have happened.

With that, I say have fun on this first day of summer. Get to a sports bar. Go home. Heck, go to a game today. Celebrate America’s pastime!

Some Dude (Actually) Tried to Hack Into My Website

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I got an email at 3:28 AM regarding an individual that tried to log in to my administrative account to access my (this) website. According to an IP address search, this person is located somewhere in Ukraine. The attempted logins failed and the user was locked out from further attempts to log in (albeit only for 10 minutes), so chalk up a victory (hopefully a permanent victory) for security!

I don’t really know how I should be feeling about this though. My thoughts on this are gravitating around two distinct and opposite possibilities:

Option A
Someone thought enough of my website that they felt hacking into it would be worth it.

…or…

Option B
If this person hacked my website and posted some pro- or anti-Ukraine messages on it for the entire world to see, only 2 people, maybe (that wouldn’t even necessarily include me) would ever see it.

As a precaution, I think it might be time to change those passwords.

I won’t make a dime for this plug, but I highly recommend LastPass. It’s inexpensive, and it works.

DISCLOSURE: This post is not sponsored and I have no material relationship to any brand mentioned in this post.

Happy New Year

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I’ll spare the universe what would certainly be a seemingly endless rant and let you get back to your partying shortly.

I would like to wish the interwebs, and everyone out there, a ridiculously hap-hap-happenin’ happy new year.

And before I forget, I should mention that this happened at Disneyland on December 19, 2014 at approximately 2:20 PM…

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And if you’re really curious why it wasn’t announced until now, I only have one answer for you:

In today’s world, where everyone lives online, we simply wanted to enjoy it a little bit. You know, the ol’ fashioned way. Congratulations and celebrations via text message.

Cheers! Howdy 2015!

–HBL

Pet Peeves

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I had a conversation with a co-worker a couple weeks ago on the topic of, as you might have guessed based on the title, “pet peeves.” I honestly can’t remember how we arrived at this specific topic, but nonetheless, you’re going to hear about it. Unless, of course, you’re annoyed by the very mention of pet peeves and my desire to remonstrate on such things and have no interest in reading further.

If you’re still reading, right now, at this very instance, however, I guess I still have your attention.

So here goes.

  • Thieves. I know thievery probably doesn’t qualify as a “pet peeve,” but it annoys me so much that I think it should be on every list of terrible things.
  • You’re is not the same thing as your, and there, their, and they’re are completely different words.
  • People who say, “Goddamnit” or “Jesus Christ” when they’re angry. You may not care, but there are plenty around you that are taking offense to what you’re saying.
  • People who don’t vote and then complain about the results. If you’re not going to participate, then please shut your mouth. It’s like doing everything you can to get out of jury duty, but being pissed about the OJ verdict.
  • Driving while texting. It’s not at all obvious that you’re texting while driving when you’re going 15 miles slower than the speed limit and your head hasn’t looked up in a good 15-120 seconds.
  • People that stand on the left side of the escalator when social norms clearly indicate that you should be standing on the right side so people can pass on the left (or vice versa depending on where you live). How about being a little cognizant of the universe around you? Maybe the giant line of people on the right side of the escalator, and the fact that there’s no one standing in front of you on the left side, is a clue as to which side you should be standing on.
  • People that don’t have volume control. Whether it’s talking on a cell phone or walking around the train station, or sitting on a bench in the mall, you need to keep your voice down. The person you’re talking to isn’t deaf, and if they were, you’re a terrible relative/friend/acquaintance for not knowing. The person you’re talking to won’t hear you better just because your voice is approaching the decibel level of a jet engine. Besides, no one else in the surrounding area cares about what you’re talking about and would be better off not having to hear anything you’re saying/screaming. This is comparable to the last point. Be cognizant of the world around you.
  • People that stop at intersections a good 10-20 feet behind the line. There are sensors in the ground that trigger the traffic signals. Use them.
  • People that ask for water cups, but fill them up with pop. This is bad enough when it’s just a lone wolf, but it really annoys me when I see one of the parents in a family of 7 asks for 7 water cups and fills them up with Sprite because it looks like water ( despite the presence of bubbles). You’re a dirty, rotten, terrible thief, and now your 5 kids think that it’s okay to steal. If the price of pop is such a burden on your pocket book, you should have stuck with one kid. My preference would have been zero kids because you’re obviously incapable of teaching your young ones any kind of responsibility that would at least provide the slim possibility of them being decent members of society.
  • People that wear giant headphones in public. Not only do you look ridiculous, but your giant headphones preclude you from participating in the universe that the rest of us are in because you can’t hear anything. Why don’t you just strap a couple of speakers to your head?
  • People that smoke near entrances. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but there are typically signs on or near the doors of places that I go that say “no smoking within ## feet of the entrance” or something to that effect. Why can’t you people read? Take your smoking elsewhere, perhaps a parking lot, back alley, or your home.
  • Using cell phones/tablets at the table. How about unplugging for a few minutes? Talk to someone, in person. It’s quite nice, and I highly recommend it.
  • People that think their cell phones/tablets are a reasonable substitute for parenting/babysitting. This relates a bit to the last item (cell phones/tablets at the table, but this focuses primarily on the parents). No one else in the the restaurant cares that you bought a bunch of iPads to keep your terrible kids entertained, we all just think you’re a terrible parent, and the fact that you think raising your kid via iPad is a great idea is all the evidence I need to prove that you are indeed a terrible parent. How about raising your kid, and by raise your kid, I mean “take direct involvement in your kids’ lives.” I feel no pity or compassion for the parents out there that think it’s unfair that their kid racked up $1500 in Candy Crush (or whatever terrible games are popular nowadays) in-app purchases. It’s your fault for not caring about your child. That’s right, I said it. You don’t care about your child. That $1500 seems like a reasonable fine for your negligence. Deal with it.
  • Graffiti. I shouldn’t have to explain how stupid graffiti is, but I guess I will. The stuff on the sides of freeway overpasses is bad enough, but the stuff that really makes me scratch my head is the garbage that’s scratched onto the toilet seats, restroom stall walls, or metal plumbing of the urinals. I don’t know how it is in the women’s restroom, but the men’s room is getting out of hand. Are these people really claiming the urinal plumbing in the name of their gangs? The toilet seats? I hate having to be the one that has to break the bad news to these folks, but if one of your biggest ambitions is to claim the Applebee’s bathroom as your property, then you need to have bigger goals in life. I don’t know if gangbangers have counselors, but you might want to seek some sort of counsel on your career path. I’m sure unsolicited career advice is probably not really welcomed by those in that community, but you never know.
  • Bros. Not brothers, I mean “bros.” And this includes their women. If you need an example, I compiled some examples so you can identify “bros” (and their women, which are affectionately known as “bro hoes”). Terrible.
  • People that pass you on the right-hand side in traffic when there is no lane on the right-hand side because where they’re going is apparently more important than where everyone else is going. Your time isn’t more valuable than the rest of us that are sitting in traffic. Next time, leave earlier. This time, you can wait.
  • Terrible country music, and by “country music,” I mean music that is supposedly country music, like Taylor Swift, or music that’s just bad, like Luke Bryan. Acoustic vomit.
  • People that pay with a check at the supermarket when they have a wallet full of debit and credit cards. It’s not 1893. Use your debit card, ditch the checkbook, and party like it’s 1999.
  • People that use acronyms. I didn’t accidentally leave my acronym dictionary at home. Like you tell your screaming two year-old, use your words.
  • Netiquette (if you don’t know what that is, you can brush up on your netiquette by reading these 10 simple steps). For example, DON’T TYPE IN CAPS. IT’S THE DIGITAL EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING, AND IF NOTHING ELSE, IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE AN ILLITERATE JERK.

And some others.

  • People who sit next to you on public transportation even though there are other seats available.
  • Noisy eaters.
  • Whenever anyone says “You, know what I’m saying?” No, I probably don’t.
  • Using speaker phones in public areas.
  • People who ride their bikes in the road or sidewalk when they clearly have their own special lane.
  • People that take way too long to leave a parking spot even though they’ve clearly seen that you are waiting to take their parking spot.
  • When people use the word “literally” incorrectly.
  • Utility service people that can’t be at your place on time even though you have an 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM appointment window.
  • People that say, “It’s the best thing, EVER!” when what they’re talking about couldn’t possibly be the best thing ever. Another word for this: “Overselling.”
  • People that complain too much.

DISCLAIMER: While everything on my list above bothers me, I know that I’ve done a few of the things on my list from time-to-time. Not on purpose though. Just remember, I’m not perfect, and I don’t think I am. Ha! I said it. Read on.

I threw that last one in there because I’m obviously complaining. I try not to complain too much because, if you really think about it, no one likes the person that complains all the time. I would like to think that I have a stronger tendency to search for more of the positives in other people than the negatives.

So my apologies for complaining, but in my defense, these are things that I think everyone should have figured out at some point. If nothing else, it ought to boil down to one simple phrase: Common sense. Like the individual in my graphic above on the escalator, that person could be just a tad more aware of their surroundings. There’s no harm in picking up on a few social cues.

Rant over.

Back to reality.

Sorry for complaining.

Happy Thanksgiving

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I had a different post ready to put up on the interwebs today. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t need anything more complicated than a simple message. On this day, a day dedicated to the giving of thanks, I would like to wish all those I’ve ever known, past or present, family and friends, a very happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

–HBL