gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
So, it's that time of year, when the students return (like swallows to Capistrano) to Boston. And thus it is time for yet another "[livejournal.com profile] gnomi explains it all" post. Not that any of the people this post is directed toward will actually see it, but it'll make me feel better.

1. You see that thing in front of you? It's a Really Big Street. Running across it while those fast-moving things (we call them "cars") are barrelling down at you will hurt you more than it will hurt the cars.

2. Moving trucks, while useful, should not completely block any of the following: driveways, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections. We know you have to move your stuff. However, some of us have to live here, too.

3. Speaking of crosswalks, please learn how to use them. No, really. They're not there purely for the amusement of line painters.

4. Ah, the T. Yes, it's a subway system. Yes, it gets you and your obnoxious friends from place to place. But it is not solely yours. The other commuters might want to be able to, say, read their newspapers free of your loud, obscene comments at 7:15 in the morning. Or even at 5:30 at night.

5. Also, you see those big signs in the T stations that say "There is no smoking permitted on MBTA property?" Those do apply to you. And they apply regardless of what you're choosing to smoke. I'm just saying.

6. We know you're eager to get on the train. But you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends are just making it harder for everyone if you're blocking the door, keeping those of us in the train from getting out. This also applies to people blocking the doors when inside the train; if you move out of the doorway, people will be able to get off the train and you will get to your destination faster.

7. While we're talking trains and etiquette, let's tackle getting to and from those trains. You see the escalator? It comfortably accommodates two people per stair. But here's the deal. Stay to the right if you want to stand and let the moving stairs propel you upwards. Stay to the left if you wish to walk up the stairs. This is established local tradition, and there's no need for the commuters to have to slalom purely because you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends can't be bothered to notice all the people standing to the right of the stairs.

8. Bicycles are great. We're all for them. In fact, we have bike lanes on some of our major streets. Please, however, pay attention to the following important fact: Bicycles are subject to the same laws as the cars if you're riding on the street (which, for the most part, you should be; many municipalities have laws against riding on sidewalks). This means that you have to stop when the light is red and allow the pedestrians to walk. This does not mean that you should barrel through the crosswalk and curse out the pedestrians who have the gumption to get into the crosswalk when you want to be there (despite the fact that they, not you, have the light).

So, welcome to Boston. Keeping these things in mind will make your life much simpler and will also prevent me from thwacking you with my elbow as I strive to get to or from work.

Thank you,
The management.

*Or, whenever I remember to post it or am reminded to post it.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
The Cambridge police have started ticketing cyclists who violate traffic laws.

Me, I say it's about time. I've complained about cyclists in the past (see point 8), and with luck the ticketing will make some people stop their obnoxious behavior.

(yes, I seem to be Posty McPostalot today. There may or may not be another one later today in which I attempt to lead you all in song. It depends on how the rest of my morning goes, I think.)
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
So, it's that time of year, when the students return (like swallows to Capistrano) to Boston. And thus it is time for yet another "[personal profile] gnomi explains it all" post. Not that any of the people this post is directed toward will actually see it, but it'll make me feel better.

1. You see that thing in front of you? It's a Really Big Street. Running across it while those fast-moving things (we call them "cars") are barrelling down at you will hurt you more than it will hurt the cars.

2. Moving trucks, while useful, should not completely block any of the following: driveways, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections. We know you have to move your stuff. However, some of us have to live here, too.

3. Speaking of crosswalks, please learn how to use them. No, really. They're not there purely for the amusement of line painters.

4. Ah, the T. Yes, it's a subway system. Yes, it gets you and your obnoxious friends from place to place. But it is not solely yours. The other commuters might want to be able to, say, read their newspapers free of your loud, obscene comments at 7:15 in the morning. Or even at 5:30 at night.

5. Also, you see those big signs in the T stations that say "There is no smoking permitted on MBTA property?" Those do apply to you. And they apply regardless of what you're choosing to smoke. I'm just saying.

6. We know you're eager to get on the train. But you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends are just making it harder for everyone if you're blocking the door, keeping those of us in the train from getting out. This also applies to people blocking the doors when inside the train; if you move out of the doorway, people will be able to get off the train and you will get to your destination faster.

7. While we're talking trains and etiquette, let's tackle getting to and from those trains. You see the escalator? It comfortably accommodates two people per stair. But here's the deal. Stay to the right if you want to stand and let the moving stairs propel you upwards. Stay to the left if you wish to walk up the stairs. This is established local tradition, and there's no need for the commuters to have to slalom purely because you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends can't be bothered to notice all the people standing to the right of the stairs.

8. Bicycles are great. We're all for them. In fact, we have bike lanes on some of our major streets. Please, however, pay attention to the following important fact: Bicycles are subject to the same laws as the cars if you're riding on the street (which, for the most part, you should be; many municipalities have laws against riding on sidewalks). This means that you have to stop when the light is red and allow the pedestrians to walk. This does not mean that you should barrel through the crosswalk and curse out the pedestrians who have the gumption to get into the crosswalk when you want to be there (despite the fact that they, not you, have the light).

So, welcome to Boston. Keeping these things in mind will make your life much simpler and will also prevent me from thwacking you with my elbow as I strive to get to or from work.

Thank you,
The management.
gnomi: (transportation_local)
The MBTA is busing between Kendall Square and Park St. stations on the Red Line this morning due to a disabled train on the Longfellow Bridge.

Please allow extra time, as they're turning trains around at Kendall and holding trains at Harvard and Central to allow for the turnaround time.

I arrived at Harvard station this morning at 7:15 and got to work at 7:45. This is usually a 10-minute trip at most.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
...when they're punctuated by running into friends unexpectedly.

Within less than five minutes of one another, and before 7:30 AM, I ran into [profile] madknits and then [profile] bear_left in Harvard Square.

I'm still smiling. :-)
gnomi: (penguin_chevruta (rjcardinal))
-- This evening's commute home was *nuts* (red line Kendall-Harvard, then 66 bus), with weird unexplained delays (including sitting for 10+ minutes at Central). I don't think it was related to the fire that hit Downtown Crossing-Park St., but it might've been.

-- Got off the bus in time for it to start drizzling again. While they predicted we'd get a real soaker of a storm in the 6:30 PM region, it never seemed to manifest.

-- Am alone for the next three nights (tonight and the next two) due to [personal profile] mabfan being out legislating. I'm getting freelance work done, and some knitting, and at some point I'll figure out what we're doing for Shabbat meals, and that'll be what I'll do Thursday (causing those meals to manifest, I mean).

-- [personal profile] gnomi's Easy Nachos (for which [personal profile] mabfan has another name) are not dinner, but they make a good "I had a large lunch but now I want a snack" snack.

-- Breaking News: Brookline Town Meeting just a bit ago passed the budget item funding the RFID tags.

-- I appreciate having friends, new and old, who recommend good books I never would've known about otherwise.
gnomi: (transportation_local)
Just so folks know: There is currently a manhole fire raging in Harvard Square, right near the Holyoke Center.

At the moment, they're still letting people out at Harvard on the Red Line, but this may change.

Buses are being diverted.

More info as I have it.
gnomi: (transportation_local)
As of yesterday/this morning, there is construction going on in Harvard Square that affects bus routes. The advisory only lists the 66 as being affected, but I saw the 86 also taking an alternate route this morning, and I cannot imagine that they are the only buses being rerouted.

The bus driver on my 66 this morning said that the rerouting would be in effect for the next 8 weeks. From what I experienced this morning, my main advice is to leave extra time if possible.
gnomi: (transportation_local)
On my way home last night, I was planning to go to Trader Joe's in Coolidge Corner (for yummy dark-chocolate-covered blueberries and soy milk), so instead of taking the Red line to Harvard and then the 66 bus, I took the Red line to the Green line. Easy, right? No problem. I left work at 5, walked to the Kendall Square station, and went down into the station. I'd just missed a train, but I got lucky -- another train (toward Braintree, but I was only going a couple of stops) was coming right away. Great, I thought. I was running early, but that was good because [personal profile] mabfan and I were planning, after dinner, to visit our friend S who just had a baby on Monday.

Yeah, that didn't last very long )
gnomi: (hypotamoose)
Friday

-- Worked until 1:30 PM (my usual early-Shabbat Friday leaving time)
-- Ran assorted (blessedly short) errands
-- Got home ~2:30 PM
-- Did prep-for-Shabbat stuff (set up hot plate, set up lights and Shabbat alarm clock, water plants, etc.)
-- Lit Shabbat candles early (with intention that Shabbat didn't actually start until, well, Shabbat-starting time)
-- Started walking with [personal profile] mabfan to shul for Mincha, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Ma'ariv
-- About 2 blocks in, was encountered by shul-member-in-car, who offered us a ride. Yay, no hill-walking.
-- Davened, then shmoozed so we wouldn't be too early to dinner
-- Walked with two guys from shul back to their place, as our dinner invitation was to their next-door neighbors
-- Had excellent dinner with lovely and lively conversation with our hosts and their other guests
-- Got home ~10:45 PM or so
-- Went to sleep not long thereafter

Saturday

-- Got up, put lunch food on hotplate, got ready for shul
-- Went to shul, saw lots of folks (some of whom asked after my whereabouts last Shabbat)
-- Hung out at kiddush for a while, shmoozed with folks
-- Eventually went home, as we had lunch guest coming
-- Lunch guest (coming from opposite direction from us) and we arrived at home approximately same time. Good timing all around.
-- Yay for food being hot on our arrival home. Made salad (thanks to donated bag-o'-salad and tomato) very quickly
-- Ate, shmoozed, good time was had by all
-- After lunch, went to visit friends. Stayed with them through Havdallah.
-- After Havdallah, went home, changed for evening out.
-- Waited ridiculous amount of time for cab to actually pick us up. Good there was a reception-y thing prior to start of event.
-- Event in question was performance by Yisrael Campbell. Was very funny.
-- After event, dessert bar. Hung out there shmoozing, then got ride home from shul members also in attendance.

Sunday

-- Got up. Noted presence of snow. Did not feel it qualified as "flurries" as advertised, unless "flurries" now including "1-3 inches."
-- Spoke to [profile] lcmlc and finalized plans for my visit out there.
-- Helped [personal profile] mabfan get ready to head out to HRSFA reunion.
-- Got ready to head out myself, heard from [personal profile] mabfan that bus still hadn't arrived.
-- Left home and saw bus coming from Coolidge Corner through haze of flying snow.
-- Got on bus (eventually... took the bus a much longer time than usual to come up from Coolidge Corner), called [personal profile] mabfan to tell him bus was heading his way.
-- Met up with [personal profile] mabfan on bus, traveled together to Harvard Square
-- Continued on to Alewife, where Abba met me (in the AbbaTaxi) and drove me to Chez ImaAbba
-- Visited with [profile] lcmlc and Abba and cooked lots of food for them (lasagna-ziti hybrid; salmon dish with sauteed veggies; Santa Fe salad), and then shoveled their stairs and walk (and a path to the mailbox).
-- Came home, had dinner, watched some TV, did other stuff I'm not remembering, went to sleep.

Am in the office today; my brain hasn't 100% caught up with me yet, but I've been productive nonetheless.
gnomi: (sanity/sarcasm (shoegal-icons))
...Nominations for "Most Innovative 'Help Me, I'm Homeless' Sign"

Last night, as I came through Harvard Square station, I saw a guy holding this sign:

Ninjas Killed My Family

And, no -- there was no evidence that he would fit a demographic for whom that could be true.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
So, it's that time of year, when the students return (like swallows to Capistrano) to Boston. And thus it is time for yet another "[personal profile] gnomi explains it all" post. Not that any of the people this post is directed toward will actually see it, but it'll make me feel better.

1. You see that thing in front of you? It's a Really Big Street. Running across it while those fast-moving things (we call them "cars") are barrelling down at you will hurt you more than it will hurt the cars.

2. Moving trucks, while useful, should not completely block any of the following: driveways, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections. We know you have to move your stuff. However, some of us have to live here, too.

3. Speaking of crosswalks, please learn how to use them. No, really. They're not there purely for the amusement of line painters.

4. Ah, the T. Yes, it's a subway system. Yes, it gets you and your obnoxious friends from place to place. But it is not solely yours. The other commuters might want to be able to, say, read their newspapers free of your loud, obscene comments at 7:15 in the morning. Or even at 5:30 at night.

5. Also, you see those big signs in the T stations that say "There is no smoking permitted on MBTA property?" Those do apply to you. And they apply regardless of what you're choosing to smoke. I'm just saying.

6. We know you're eager to get on the train. But you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends are just making it harder for everyone if you're blocking the door, keeping those of us in the train from getting out. This also applies to people blocking the doors when inside the train; if you move out of the doorway, people will be able to get off the train and you will get to your destination faster.

7. While we're talking trains and etiquette, let's tackle getting to and from those trains. You see the escalator? It comfortably accommodates two people per stair. But here's the deal. Stay to the right if you want to stand and let the moving stairs propel you upwards. Stay to the left if you wish to walk up the stairs. This is established local tradition, and there's no need for the commuters to have to slalom purely because you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends can't be bothered to notice all the people standing to the right of the stairs.

So, welcome to Boston. Keeping these things in mind will make your life much simpler and will also prevent me from thwacking you with my elbow as I strive to get to or from work.

Thank you,
The management.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
Yesterday, I was off work but [personal profile] mabfan was working. We considered meeting up for lunch at our usual lunch place, but (since they cater mostly to the business crowd) they were closed yesterday for the holiday.

And so I faffed about on the Internet (as I am wont to do in my spare time) and I read my friends list and other such stuff. And in my travels on the Internet, I found that [personal profile] taffimai had posted an interesting link.Oh? Do tell... )
gnomi: (Default)
Last week, I asked people to tell me what to photograph. Here's the first bunch...

This way to the photos! )
gnomi: (transportation_local)
Well, that's better.

After this morning's debacle, I called the T's customer service line and left voicemail for the office that deals with automatic fare collection (AFC, or, in other words, Charlie Card) issues.

About ten minutes ago, the guy on whose voicemail I'd left the message called me back. Not only did he express sympathy for what had happened this morning, he looked up my card (reporting that it was, in fact, registering as a Link Pass in the system), checked the usage history from this morning (explaining that he had the Rapid Transit info in his system but the bus info had to wait until it was downloaded directly from the fareboxes on the buses -- something that happens once each day), and reported that it must have been gate error, since the system had me going through the gate at Harvard at 7:21 AM this morning.

He then gave me the correct spelling of his last name and his direct office phone number and told me I should call him if I ever had another problem with the AFC system. He was also concerned that I had been unable to reach the T's complaint line and said he was going to look into that once he got off the phone with me (not that I expect any follow up on that, but he sounded very surprised that no one was manning those phones).
gnomi: (crankiness)
This morning, I took the bus, as usual, from Harvard St. to Harvard Square and then transfered to the Red Line to go to Kendall. Or, at least, that was the plan. I got the bus (after a longish, Very Cold wait) and used my Monthly Link Pass just fine. But when I got to Harvard (Church St. entrance), the automated fare gate wouldn't read my pass properly. It read my Link Pass as a Stored Value Card. Not only that, it told me it didn't have sufficient value on it.

Thank goodness, thought I, there was an attendant there. She opened the gate for me and asked me what was wrong.

"It's reading my pass as a Stored Value Card, even though it's a Monthly Link Pass," I said. "And it worked just fine when I boarded the bus a bit ago."

"Well, that's the problem," she said. "You can't use it so soon after just using it."

"But I do it every morning. And I know that the threshold to reuse is 15 minutes, and it's been much more than that," I said.

"Well, I can't tell you anything until I see the pass."

Just then, another official -- one I've known for a while -- walked past.

"How're you?" she asked.

"Pretty well, except that my Link Pass is registering as a Stored Value card and claims I don't have enough value on it."

"Oh," she said. "That happens sometimes. Don't worry about it." And then she headed into the official's booth, so I headed down the stairs to get my train.

But it bothered me that my pass wasn't working properly, so I called the T's Customer Service line and told the person who answered it the above story (up to the bit about the second official.)

"Oy. I don't know what sorts of idiots they're hiring there," the phone person said. She then transfered me to the Automated Fare Collection office. Where I got someone's voicemail, so I left a message.

I then called the T's complaint line to complain about the disinformation that the (first) official at Harvard was passing on. And the line rang and rang and rang and rang, with no voice mail or human picking up.

Is this sort of treatment what they meant when they said the improvements will bring "enhanced" customer service? If so, I'd like my old, classic, benign neglect back, please.

ETA: A follow-up
gnomi: (knit_before_zoidberg!)
(no, I'm not sure why "chocolate flavored"; as a friend of mine used to say, "just smile and nod.")

-- My mother and I were discussing the various and sundry types of things one can use for lighting your Chanukah menorah, and the fact that there are multiple types of wicks out there for people using oil in their menorot. She asked me if I knew anything about the various types, and I said no. What I'd like to see, I told her, was an open-source, editable database of information on the various options. In other words, I want a Wick Wiki.

-- Cambridge now has a community skating rink in Kendall Square. Their Grand Opening Gala is today; they'll be open through 15 March 2007.

-- As a follow up to Monday's poll, I've ordered my swift and ball winder, and both are en-route to me. Thanks to all who voted and gave advice.

-- The icons for the various programs that comprise Office 2004 for the Mac look like Hebrew letters. The Word icon looks like an shin; the Excel icon looks like an aleph, and the PowerPoint icon looks like a kuf. The Entourage icon looks like a backwards peh, but that might just be by association from the other ones.

-- This morning, as I was coming out of the T at Kendall Square, a guy with a suitcase stopped me. "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Hampshire St.?" he asked. Now, I know in the abstract where Hampshire St. is from where we were standing, but I was pre-coffee and couldn't recall just how many blocks it was. So I pulled out my handheld and fired up Vindigo. Since I knew where we were, I plugged in the corner of Hampshire & Broadway as my location and pulled up the map to show him, and then showed him where we were, a straight shot down Broadway. "What is that program?" he asked. When I told him, he said, "I have a Blackberry. Do you think it would run on it?" I didn't know the answer, but I encouraged him to check out the website.

-- I'll be putting a poll up today, but I'm not sure on what. Suggestions for poll topics are greatly encouraged.

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