Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Letter to the %$#%^ CTA

Dear Idiots With Your Heads Up Your Asses:

For the second time within a week the Blue Line service along the Bucktown/Wicker Park corridor was suspended this morning with little explanation and even less alternative transportation to downtown provided.

With hundreds of people waiting at the Damen/North/Milwaukee corners for a 56 Bus, at least 50 waiting at the Hoyne/Milwaukee bus stop and who knows how many more stranded commuters streaming west in hopes of catching a bus before it filled up along the route I spent 45 minutes watching buses blow past us. Each driver pantomimed a clear message “Sorry, this bus is full. I would stop if I had room to squeeze anymore people on, but I can’t.” This would have been valid except that as the busses passed us it was plainly obvious that it was only the front half of the bus that was full because no one was willing to move back. There was plenty of room on those busses if the drivers had stopped and either insisted that his passengers move back or opened the back doors for us to get on. Instead we were forced to watch and wait as it got later and everyone started calling their offices to let them know they would be late.

Finally, at 9:22am, a full hour after I had arrived at the Six Corners looking to get on the CTA to get to work two busses made their way east on Milwaukee with no one in them. The first one had a Garage listed on its electronic signage even though there were obviously people on it. It did not even stop. The second bus tried to blow past us as well but hit traffic at the light. I ran to catch up with it and when he opened his doors the driver told me and the two other people who were still trying to get downtown that he had been instructed to run express until he got into The Loop.

We bullied our way onto this bus because when there are hundreds of people affected by a blue line stoppage it is unacceptable to have busses running “express” through a busy neighborhood. Not only is it unacceptable it is a completely irresponsible decision made on the part of the CTA. Do you even recognize how many people there are in a 15 block radius in Wicker Park/Bucktown that depend on the CTA every morning and every night to get them to and from work? Can you understand how angry we were at some faceless managerial decision that would leave us waiting for God knows how much longer until some other bus came along? Do you think we hang out at bus stops for our health? No, we have jobs to get to just as much as the employees of the CTA do. In the face of rising fuel costs, environmental impact of single rider cars and an over crowded city more and more citizens are dependent on the CTA to get them where they need to go. What is the matter with you people?

I am thoroughly disgusted with the management of the CTA system and I’m baffled by the fact that despite the CTA’s continual threats to raise fares, cut services and the infighting that prevents anything from being achieved that may possibly benefit the ridership no one seems to be able to guarantee us a transit system that works. A transit system that does not, in the span of a week, leave riders stranded twice with no information on why service has been suspended.

You guys really need to get your act together. This is a horrible display of mismanagement and is totally indicative of why the CTA keeps running up against problems getting measures passed. If you think that you can continue down this path of lackadaisical service and still raise fares you are going to have a city-wide riot on your hands and you will deserve every headache and every indictment thrown at you.

Good luck with all that.
Jennifer Maravegias
Bucktown Resident

Monday, September 15, 2008

American WhointheWhatNow?

So, the other night I came home from a seeing a show around midnight and turned on the T.V. At that time of night, on a Friday, it's hit or miss on television but I pay for cable and I expect a return in my late night viewing options.

I shuffled through my options on the bottom of the screen while something inconsequential played on low volume (it was probably Sportscenter. Blah blah blah.) Channel 18 is American Movie Classics on our cable and I feel like I should be able to depend on AMC for a good selection of movies. I should, shouldn't I?

Apparently I really can't because otherwise Pinata: Survival Island wouldn't have been what I found on Friday night.

Now listen, I'm as big a fan of Nicholas Brendon as the next Buffyophile (I didn't even make that word up) but Pinata: Survival Island is still quite possibly the stupidest movie I've ever seen. Troll 2 not withstanding. I contend Pinata is barely a movie and is certainly not a "classic," even if they tried to pass it off under their "New Classics" branding. Give me a break AMC!

I can't even say I stayed awake for the whole thing, although I did try. It was just too ridiculous to keep my eyes open for. It was pretty funny though. The evil pinata stalking the nubile, young frat boys and sorority girls through the uh, Caribbean Island's (?) swath of jungle. Ripping apart their dingies and cutting himself lose from his tether to...You know, I don't even know what this thing did. There would be a wide shot of this menacing, CGI beastie and then it would be quick cuts of kids screaming and blood spattering across the landscape. I have no idea how this thing attacked. It might have bitten and chewed people. It might have ripped them apart with it's ugly, red club-like hands. Or, it could have blown toxic boogers all over its victims. The filmmakers obvious just didn't have the money for those kind of effects.

Nicholas Brendon did have a tattoo on his bicep though. That and the cutoff sleeves on his tee-shirt were pretty much the only thing that differentiated this character from Xander Harris. He maybe didn't get thrown into as many walls in this movie. But, I suspect that was only for lack of walls.

Sadly, I fear that this is all I will ever know about Pinata: Survival Island. This is not a movie I am going to seek out, ever again. I wont even recommend it to my friends. I cannot in good conscious tell anyone "Oh, yeah! That movie was hilarious!" Because really, it wasn't. It just made me sad because it was on AMC. And if we're calling that an American Classic I fear for our future.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Month to Go

It’s really no secret that The FiancĂ© and I are hopeless procrastinators but that sort of thing doesn’t really get a chance to catch up with you until you find yourself one month away from your wedding with a list of things to get done.

I’ve already checked off all of the big, important stuff, but the details are killin’ us right now. And frankly I’m over it. Let’s just have this party and be done with it.

But weddings don’t work that way (apparently.) Everyone’s gotta know everything about everything. By everyone I totally mean my mom whom I suspect is beginning to stew in her own juices up in New York. I suspect that because, as usual, I am the one who put that pot on to boil. To be fair, I’m pretty sure she’s been on simmer since I left New York ten years ago. But that’s another post for another time. Deciding to get married in a place that is completely out of mom’s jurisdiction did not help this situation at all. A dutiful daughter totally would have gotten married in her home town and let her mom shower her with rose petals and hire a gang of wandering minstrels to follow her around on The Big Day.

This was not the route I chose to take.

I like New Orleans. It’s a great place to have a party. It’s really far away though so I can’t poke at vendors in person the way I used to poke at directors/actors/designers when I was stage managing shows so it’s a bit of a job keeping everyone on task.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m the one having trouble staying on task. I’ll spend 20 minutes checking out limo prices and then get sidetracked by the need for wedding jewelry. My emails to my girlfriends have been erratic unfocused which, while I love me some stream of consciousness, is not usually my M.O. Every day I am making new lists to replace the lists of yesterday and while some people get stressed out and forget to eat I get stressed out and obsess over food. So, over the course of the day my thoughts may read something like this:

Oh crap I have to get those wedding favors picked out….What time did we say we wanted the ceremony to begin?....I wonder if they have a good mirror in the ready room at Rosy’s….I have to make a list of people coming to the rehearsal dinner so we can send them directions….damn, I could eat a pizza right now…..what about that necklace, that’s pretty…what was I saying about a pizza?...Damnit, work keeps getting in the way of all my wedding planning!...I’ll go out at lunch to find a sign in book….Nuts, I have to get those photos printed….Oh man I hope the food at the wedding is good….How are we going to get a bus to the reception hall mom?...Wont someone give me a slice of pizza?!

You get the picture.

My brain is as jumbled as my email inbox right now between wedding planning, election worrying and actually, you know, having to WORK occasionally during the day I have a hard time turning my brain off at night and when it does shut down, it’s gone. I mean I sleep like the dead when I sleep these days, which is cool because I usually sleep poorly. But, it’s freaking me out because I've been having some crazy dreams lately. Not that I can remember any of them two minutes after my alarm clock goes off but I do know I’m out of breath after a lot of them.

So yeah, weddings make people and mom’s crazy. Learn this lesson childrens. With 30 days to go I’m fairly certain my brain won’t explode before we get down to New Orleans but who knows what’s going to happen once we do get there.

Laissez les bonne temps rouler!