tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
I woke up to the sounds of helicopters hovering overhead. That wasn't a good sign.
A man trapped underneath a Red Line train in Hollywood was rescued Tuesday and taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.

How the man, said to be in his 50s, ended up on the tracks is still being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The man was lucky to have landed in the large gap between the tracks, otherwise his injuries would have been more serious than the bruises and contusions he suffered, said Luis Inzunza, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A moving train "would have cut him in half," Inzunza said.

The track the train was on was shut down during the rescue operation. All trains north of the station were stopped, but those traveling south were still operating.
LA Times blog post (with video)
tablesaw: A sketch of me talking and smiling. (Personable)
Title Context

My firm has a thing. On Fridays, around closing time, they invite everyone up to the dining room and serve appetizers and drinks, including an open bar.

I've never really gone to one, because I've never been working at a time anywhere near Friday afternoons. While on the graveyard shift, it would have meant waking up god-awful early. And now, it means going in on my day off.

So, no office party.

Now, this used to be a weekly thing. But as the economy tanked, it shrank down to biweekly. It might even be every three or four weeks now. Like I said, I don't much pay attention because of the Friday thing.

But also along with the economy, the holiday party has shrunk. Two years ago, they hired Berlin to play at the House of Blues. Now, they've got new hires doing a skit before they fire up a karaoke machine in the dining room. Also, it's on a Wednesday.

Now, [personal profile] ojouchan and I were already planning to go out tonight (Princess and the Frog at the Arclight), and we weren't entirely inspired by the office party idea, so we were mostly going to skip it.

But today was a rough day. Really rough. I barely scraped out a lunch, and two horrible things happened during it that I then had to deal with.

My plan, then, was to make a quick stop into the party on my way out. I would say hi to the one person that I really like, then head home. And since I'm going home on the subway, I can get a drink too.

Dear reader, my overlords have many flaws, but they are generous with the booze.

I didn't do anything at the party except go to the bar (where my friend already was, which tells you something) and get a drink. I ordered a rum and coke and said something that I'd only ever heard said: "Make it a double."

This seemed appropriate. Normally, I prefer strong mixers, but I'd be leaving forthwith; no time for a second glass.

The bartender looked at the bottle of Bacardi and decided that the best thing to do was just dump everything into a plastic cup. The result was something of a triple and a half.

Hooray for not driving to work.

On the ride home, because I am a true geek, I took out a large easy crossword and recklessly speedsolved it.



But now I really see why the firm does it; why they probably wish they could still do it weekly. I had a really crappy day. Normally, I'd be home fuming. But instead, they paid for an artificial state of happiness. And lord help me, I am feeling really good about the place I work because of it. My instinct now is to think, "Well, it all balanced out."

It doesn't balance out. It was still a crappy day; I had to deal with impossible requests with impossible deadlines. The stress left me angry and unable to focus during my lunch break. And an employer shouldn't rely on mood-altering substances to make its employees feel better.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't goddamn work to some degree. I can imagine what it would be like if this happened after the end of every hard week of work. It'd probably work most of the time.

But now I'm off to eat Peruvian food and watch a movie with the woman that I love. A large glass of decent alcohol can do nothing but blanch at the thought of being compared to that.
tablesaw: A young Shawn Spencer learns proper saw technique from his dad. (Cartoon)
The downtown Metro station I walk through every day is one of four stations getting turnstiles.

You may not realize this, but Los Angeles didn't have turnstiles, or any other sort of fare gates before this.

The LA Metro effectively runs on the "honor system." When it was opened, there was no barrier anywere, just ticket machines in front of a sign that reads "Ticket required beyond this point." A little while ago, when MTA started using TAP cards, they added a few strategic pylons where you could swipe your card. (At Hollywood and Vine, the smaller entryway makes them look kinda like fare gates, but in other stations like Pershing Square, there might be four pylons stretching across a wide-open space.) Periodically, fare checkers will appear on trains to check the fares of riders, or will station themselves at exit points to check the fares of people leaving the station.

Right now, the Pershing Square turnstiles look silly, since they're just kind of sitting in the middle of that huge space, but I guess they'll be putting up barriers to stop that too.

The fare gates have been hotly debated for quite a while, especially during the last two years. The LA Weekly reported in 2007 that the MTA was most likely motivated less by security or fare-evasion concerns and more by the possibility of using the TAP card "to generate more and more cash by creating a 'smart card' debit-card revenue stream." And it's true that leading up to this, the MTA has been replacing all of its paper passes with virtual ones to be stored on TAP cards. Personally, I agree with the one dissenting MTA Boardmember Richard Katz, who has consistently argued that the turnstiles are a boondoggle and that, all things considered, anything that gets a few more Angelenos out of cars is a net gain.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Last night, while walking to the Metro, there was a crew setting up some equipment in front of the Pantages. I thought it might be some filming.

When I got out of the Metro again this morning, there was a full stage up, and streets blocked off in all directions. The entire intersection was blocked off with gates and fences. I smiled at some security guards, and then walked straight through anyway. I wasn't stopped until I tried to get out. The security guard tried to give me a speech about how I wasn't allowed through the gate and I had to go around, but I when I pointed out that this course of action would send keep me in the supposedly secure area even longer, she let me through.

I asked what was going on, and she said it was a concert. I asked how long it was going to be up, and she said until midnight. Which is hell for me, since it's going to be blocking off my route to the Metro. By tonight, they'll actually care about the security, and there'll be hundreds of concert-goers milling around to boot.

The inconvenience of the road closure—not to mention the thought of a very loud street show while I try to sleep—was all that I cared about. I went home grumpy.

It wasn't until I told [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan about the concert that I even bothered to find out who was playing:


Depeche Mode

I'm going to bed now, when I wake up, I'll be listening to a live performance by Depeche Mode coming through my window.

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