Archives for January 2005

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No More Tokens

I mentioned several weeks ago that the paperwork for getting a student pass from Metro seems complicated. At the same time, though, the reduction from $52 to $30 is pretty substantial.

Today I ended up getting the best of both worlds. I went down to the JPL intending to get tokens, and found they had February monthly passes in stock. Through JPL I can get a monthly pass for $37. That's not $30, but it's also no paperwork. Maybe I'll get the paperwork figured out in time for the next round of Metro student ids (which are good March 1 - October 31).

Product of the Spotlight: Daily News vs. Metrolink

The Daily News takes on Metrolink costs today, in an article titled "Transit on the Wrong Track." The piece itself reads more fairly than the head would indicate, though it does include some fun shots at transit spending:

Every day an average of 40,000 suburbanites vote with their feet by climbing aboard Metrolink trains from Ventura County to San Bernardino. They are mostly former freeway commuters, but only a small fraction of the million or so riders who use Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses, trains and subway in Los Angeles County alone , not to mention the millions of others who drive their cars to work and back.

... The average fare for a Metrolink train trip costs passengers about $5, with the public paying an average subsidy per rider of $5.07, money that comes from sales-tax add-ons that support transportation in the region. That comes on top of the $3 billion in bonds that voters approved to create the system.

It's interesting to see commuter rail attacked. It's one of the cheapest transit modes overall and has a high farebox recovery. More thoughts in the body... — Continue Reading...

An Amazing Night of Music

Last night I made my way via the Red Line up to Hollywood to catch a huge night of music at the Hotel Cafe. It was the first of two nights to benefit tsunami relief. I came away feeling like I went to a festival; fourteen bands played fifteen minute sets. As always the musical selections were great. The Hotel really is the best venue in Los Angeles right now for hearing singer/songwriter type music. Erik Penny would go even further; he told me that he thinks that the scene in LA right now, centered around the Hotel Cafe, might well be the most fertile in the world. WIth fourteen acts there's no chance that I can actually review everyone, but it was fun to see favorites Quincy and Steve Reynolds, and well as to hear Jay Nash, who I had met but never heard play.

The scary part: the Hotel's doing the whol thing again tonight, with a totally different and yet still amazing lineup.

The Charlatans

I don't know how I do this, but somehow I always forget about The Charlatans. I forget that I really like them, 'cause they're really good. I listen to them, and then I move on to something else and six months or so I'll pop them onto the mp3 player and think, "Oh yeah..."

Anyway, their latest album, "Up at the Lake," came out last May. I think it's good.

It's Wet and Cold and I'm Not Happy

My trip to work this morning could easily be used as an example of all the ways transit can go wrong. I won't get into too many details, but suffice it to say that not having one dollar bills turned into being two minutes late for a train, which ended up meaning waiting 45 minutes for a bus. All in all a one hour trip turned into two hours and a little over a half hour standing out in the rain. Bottom line: a bus that runs every 50 minutes is a dangerous proposition when you're trying to get somewhere.

Hang with me, Speakeasy

I'm not very happy that I've had to power cycle my DSL twice this evening. It's normally incredibly stable, but twice now today connectivity has suddenly dropped, only to come back when I cycle. If it's going to go out, I'd rather it not be a problem solved through my end via user intervention. I like that it comes back, but I can't approve of having to be here.

Putting the Tripmaster to the Test

So despite the fact that I pointed out so many flaws with the MTA's new TripMaster, I still have to use it to plan getting places. Tomorrow I have to get to work, and the front tire on my bike's a little too flat for that to be an option. It's some funky thin connector, too, so I need to get an adaptor for that before I can fill it up. So that means tomorrow will be a 100% transit trip. Aside from a really tight Pasadena connection, it doesn't look that bad. Despite that, I think it's fair for me to take a few more swings at Tripmaster woes. — Continue Reading...

new computers

Annenberg has new computers in the computer lab this semester. They're cool little HP's with flat screens and the CPU mounted into the monitor assembly. The screens also pivot, so they can go landscape or portrait. Unfortunately Annenberg doesn't seem to be running the Pivot app on them, so they don't recognize the change automatically.

Phoenix vs. Antonio 2005

Don't tell Antonio, but even Phoenix is counting him out of the mayor's race. From the Business Journal of Phoenix:

A new forum for Latino issues will debut on Feb. 2 with a talk from Los Angeles City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, a former candidate for L.A. mayor.

I guess, perhaps, the other explanation is that the 2001 race is simply the last one they've heard about in Arizona.

Flexcar: First Online Impressions

If you're following along, yesterday I got my Flexcar membership packet. This morning everything's set up and I'm able to access the online reservation system. I haven't actually reserved a car yet, but I figured I would go ahead and post my first observations, given that I'm big on criticizing UI design lately. — Continue Reading...

End of an Era; Beginning of Another

Today marks a major transition point for me. This afternoon I went over to the body shop I had left my car at after last week's excitement and signed over the title. As of an hour or so ago I officially have no car for the first time in six and a half years. Also today, in a stroke of cinematic timing, I checked the mail before heading over to the body shop and found my membership packet for Flexcar. — Continue Reading...

Good Ol' Community Journalism

The local community paper Canyon News today has a short piece titled "Downtown Skyscraper to be Built." Fascinating, if true, but I have to think this building isn't to be. As I posted ten days ago on blogdowntown, the PR piece that "unveiled" the building seems nothing more than a ploy for somebody to hire the company. — Continue Reading...