Daily Archives: March 3, 2015

Commuting Is Hell

I haven’t gotten home from work before seven o’clock in nearly 10 years.

That’s how long I’ve been working for my current employer, and how long I’ve been riding TRAX, the Salt Lake Valley’s light-rail system. I tell myself all the time that it’s the best option, that I’m helping the environment and I don’t have to deal with the stress of freeway driving, that it gives me an opportunity to read for fun, or to nap, or to study the unceasing pageant of human behavior, or to just stare out the damn window. But the truth is, I’m getting very, very tired of being a prisoner to somebody else’s schedule, to wasting time standing around in the cold or the hot or the rain or snow, or running to beat the clock so I don’t end up waiting around. (I’m no runner, not even after losing some 40 pounds a couple years ago.)

If I get out of the office at just the right moment, I can make the 6:07 southbound, which puts me at the end of the line at 6:49. Then I still have to drive home from the park-n-ride lot, which takes between 10 and 15 minutes. Most nights, I step into the house about five after seven. That’s on a good night, one of the nights when I don’t have to take a later train.

Tonight was not a good night. Tonight was a very not-good night. A collision between two trains earlier today closed off a segment of the main trunk line connecting downtown to the rest of the valley. I had to wait around for a southbound train, ride it as far as the point where the track was closed, then switch to a bus to jump over the out-of-commission section, wait some more for yet another train, and then ride it the rest of the way. Oh, and then I discovered the road I usually drive between the train station and home was a mess due to a broken water main and resulting sinkhole. I finally got home 35 minutes later than usual. And the whole time I was thinking I could have just gone down to the parking garage beneath my office building, gotten into my car, and driven home in roughly half the time of my regular commute, let alone this cocked-up mess of one. I’m so sick of my nights being basically a wash and having to try and squeeze all my errands, all my chores, all my socializing, all my living into the scant 48 hours of the weekend because I spend so damn much time commuting.

We won’t even speak of the situation in the mornings, except to say I’m no more a morning person than I am a runner.

I was planning to post this image, one of several that Boing Boing recently gathered under the title “5 strangely comforting gifs,” tonight anyhow, simply because I thought it was neat, but now… now I think I really need to just stare at it for a while and work on my breathing:




Can You Beam Me Up Now?

I have a confession: I hate talking on cell phones. Cordless handsets for landlines, too. Sure, it’s convenient to walk around the house while you’re talking to someone, but at least back in the days when we were tethered to the kitchen wall by a 20-foot length of curly vinyl cord, we rarely had static or random noise in the line, and calls never just “dropped out” because you walked through some Poltergeist-ian “dead spot.” (I live in an old house, and plaster-and-lathe walls are murder on reception.)

That’s why I can’t help but roll my eyes when some Damn Kid™ starts acting all superior and sniffing at how outdated the original Star Trek looks because the communicators used by Kirk and Spock aren’t as “sophisticated” as our modern-day smartphones. Um, kids, do you really think your iPhone has enough range to contact a spaceship in orbit? And have you ever seen a communicator fail to make or maintain contact with the guy on the other end (assuming some mysterious god-like entity wasn’t interfering with their operation, of course)?

The following illustrates my point quite handily, by showing what Star Trek would be like if communicators functioned as well (i.e., as unreliably) as our cell phones:

(Sensitive Loyal Readers be warned: there’s an F-bomb. But it’s funny.)

And yes, I know the video is riffing on The Next Generation and its “combadge” technology instead of the original series’ classic handheld communicators. Even so…

Via Boing Boing, of course.


This Just In: Nimoy Loved Sweets!

Oh, man… just when I figure I’ve done my mourning for Leonard Nimoy and I’m ready to put the Kleenex away, I run across a personal remembrance by his friend Nadine Schiff-Rosen and get another reminder of what a swell human being he must’ve been, and how I wish I’d actually known him:

His eclectic love of confections knew no bounds: Vanilla macaroons, cream-filled éclairs, peanut butter brittle, custards, meringues, puddings, soufflés—I was lucky to watch him devour desserts around the world. Just as a botanist would feel at one with a rare orchid, so too would Leonard commune with a red velvet cupcake, exploring the icing, excavating the creamy center. Then, sliding the plate over to me, he would cry out, “OH, YEAH,” in a way that made me wonder if he and his sugary delight shouldn’t get a room. And if he was met with resistance from me—a self-deprecating remark about watching my weight, for example—he would nudge the plate over to me further, his long, tapered fingers wordlessly ordering me to, “Take a bite.”

I can just imagine the expression on his face at that moment too, that devilish glimmer in his eye and the arched eyebrow that said, “Go on… you know you want to…”

Read the whole thing. It’s not long, and it’s worth it.