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June 30th, 2006


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12:06 pm - In Which the Snark Shark says "onus" and then channels Miracle Max to reveal patheticness
000. The MBTA spent a metric crapton of money recently to renovate their public address systems on the station platforms. This means that we're no longer forced to listen to high-pitched whines and static coming over the PA (Did you know those pre-recorded announcements were often broadcast by a station worker holding a phone up to their intercom mic?) No, now we are now hearing this low-frequency, low-fidelity computerized voice slurring -- and honestly how does a computer-generated voice slur? -- and mumbling its way through train arrival messages. Maybe it's an homage to Mayor "Mumbles" Menino. I don't know.

It's obvious the money went to the lowest bidder, which surprises me because I'd have thought purchasing Alexander Graham Bell-era equipment would have meant bidding high on eBay. Anyway.

The train arrival announcements on the Red Line originally went like this:

ding ding! ATTENTION.PASSENGERS. THE-NEXT-SOUTHBOUND. TRAIN TO. ASHMONT. IS-NOW. ARRIVING.

Now this was the first time that the T publically called the trains going from Alewife to Ashmont/Braintree "southbound" and the trains going from Ashmont/Braintree to Alewife "northbound." And I'll grant you that it could take some adjustment, especially since before we'd been conditioned to wrap our brains around the "Inbound/Outbound" paradox, which didn't care about direction, only that trains going into the city were called Inbound and trains going out were called Outbound, and the onus was on us, the beleagured transit passengers, to figure out exactly where and when an Inbound train became an Outbound train (Park Street? Downtown Crossing? Pee-Wee's Playhouse? WHERE?!)

Now referring to the directions by actual compass directions is about a hundred times easier, and makes the most sense. Alewife is north of Quincy and Braintree. A Red Line train heading north will eventually get to Alewife, unless there's a breakdown or shutdown or the guy at the end of the Charles Street station platform falls asleep and forgets to wave his little flag. Apparently, though, this designation was taking too long to sink in, even when the announcements mentioned the train's destination as well as its general direction, so the MBTA has gone and removed the directional notes from their station announcements. Now they say this:

ding ding! ATTENTION.PASSENGERS. THE-NEXT-RED LINE! TRAIN TO. ALEWIFE. IS-NOW. ARRIVING.

Which is just totally freakin awesome when you're in, say, Harvard. A Red Line train is approaching, you say? How novel! We don't ever get those down here. The argument could be made that at Downtown Crossing, say, it might be nice to know which color line is approaching, though if you're up on an Orange Line platform and they say a Red Line train is a-comin, brother, you're gonna run.

But that's beside the point. The point is that the MBTA spent a lot of money to obstensibly improve some crummy aspect of their service, they succeeded in only marginally improving it, and then in an attempt to fix their improvements, made it worse.

And Charlie is still wearing last year's two-button-cuff suit, how gauche.




001. Zipcar's running completely presumptuous ads on boston.com that say "350 hours a year having sex. 420 looking for parking. What's wrong with this picture?"

Christ, whose data is being used here? Whose ass were those numbers, uh, pulled out of? (Unless they're counting The All-Time No. 1, in which case good GOD man, you'll chafe.) So putting self-abuse aside for a moment, then... 350 hours?! Where the hell's my 350 hours? I mean, I did the little mental count, ran the numbers for both "sex" and "parking" in my head and realized I've spent the exact same amount of time this year doing both.

Oh.

And thank you so much, Zipcar, for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?

WE'RE CLOSED!

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:museumfreak
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
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I feel your pain about zipcar's ads!
From:revolution724
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
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Yo, me too. Presumably Zipcar's market consists largely of hipsters, who I guess either get lucky on a regular basis or wouldn't admit it if they didn't. Either way, :P.
[User Picture]
From:surrealestate
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I mean, I did the little mental count, ran the numbers for both "sex" and "parking" in my head and realized I've spent the exact same amount of time this year doing both.

Gosh, and you don't even have a car!
[User Picture]
From:chanaleh
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Like he said.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
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I WASN'T SERIOUS ABOUT ASKING FOR THE LEMON JUICE HERE
[User Picture]
From:chanaleh
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
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Hey, it's only June...
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
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LEMON JUICE
[User Picture]
From:vanguardcdk
Date:June 30th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
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Oh great..when I crack up the next time I see a lemon juice display it will be totally your fault.

I blame you...(and maybe zipcar)
[User Picture]
From:surrealestate
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, my bad!
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
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It's all good. Being humorously grumbly is to be expected when one plays the curmudgeon.
[User Picture]
From:johnnycanuck
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
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I'll pass up on the zipcar comments, as they hit a little too close to home for me as well, and instead comment on subway/transit messages.

Did you hear about how Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper eats babies?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:June 30th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
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"I mean think about the Amber Alert system," he said. "What if you were to modify. . ."

OH THANK GOODNESS SOMEONE'S FINALLY THINKING ABOUT THE CHILDREN

as if the hackers who are changing messages to display anti-SUV statements would also think it's a great idea to, what, do something to the Amber Alerts.
[User Picture]
From:signsoflife
Date:June 30th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Turn off a TV, go to guantanomo bay.
From:cynicalgal
Date:June 30th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
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Those Zipcar bastards. And thank you notsoverymuch for bringing this to my attention, too. I do have a car, but not so much the sex. This is so extremely distressing I think I might torture myself further and purposely spend time with my mother tonight to see if she'll ask me about my nonexistent lovelife.

I'll probably have to circle for parking just to meet her at the restaurant. Life is so entirely unfair.
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:July 2nd, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
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350 hours? Either they have a wiiiiiide concept for what qualifies as "sex," including things like "eating fried chicken" and "playing checkers," or the average zipcar copywriter has a multitude of groupies/diseases. An hour a night every night, taking every fourth Sunday off to heal is an impressive consistency pattern for anything.

But hopefully you've spent more time eating fried chicken than you have looking for parking.

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