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2005-04-14 - 3:21 p.m.

An Open Letter to the CTA

Dear Chicago Transit Authority,

You are playing a game of chicken. Everyone knows that. The drastic cuts you are planning to make are unacceptable. They would be unacceptable in a smaller city like Denver or Houston and therefore are SURE AS HELL unacceptable in the third largest city in the US. This fun (for you) game of chicken with the state legislature is going to backfire on you. The state of Illinois doesn't care that much about Chicago. If you lived in a small town far closer to St. Louis than to Chicago, would you care if people are going to have to wait longer and pay more for a bus or a train?

Perhaps the real problem is as follows:

-Frank Kruesi (runs the CTA) has a cushy salary and has spent much of his time running the CTA as if it were fully funded by the government of Saudi Arabia with scads of oil money. He was appointed by...

-Mayor Daley. You manage to pawn off the responsibility for helping to fund the CTA onto the state. Mr. Mayor? It's not the state's problem. It's the city's problem. Maybe you should do something with all of that money you get from the seatbelt-ticketing sting operations that doesn't involve hired trucks scandals, road salt scandals, wrought-iron scandals, and minority (ha!) owned business scandals.

I'm unsure why the service cuts are the best option. It costs FAR less to ride transit in Chicago that it does in New York or Washington, D.C. -- and I'm not sure why they can't do things like institute a graduated payment scale based on how far you ride the train (This would also be a great way to keep people from moving into train cars and living there) or increase fares at rush hour. That being said, I see little reason that those options would be necessary if the CTA simply ran itself like a business instead of like a bloated government agency. Someone has scrawled "Demand an independent audit!" on pro-CTA advertisements in the Red Line. Hmmm...

Those of us who work downtown and take the CTA every day really don't have the option of driving. My husband and I own two cars, but the cost of parking for $20 a day would mean that we wouldn't be able to pay for things like food. And shelter. I would appreciate it if the CTA board would take this into account while deciding to shut down and make a run for a beach in Mexico with all that is left of the agency's money.

Thanks, CTA. You suck.

If you really loved me... would buy me my new favorite shirt of all time.*

The rest of the stuff at this site is really funny also. Funny ha ha sometimes, but also funny sad -- especially the ones about the CTA. ("CTA, expect delays")

I realize that as a Southsider I should be opposed to a company called, but it's not too north-centric (wow, just try to follow that hyphenated phrase if you're directionally challenged). And it's funny.

*Please don't be insulted if you don't like baseball. But to help you understand why I get such a kick out this shirt -- imagine that you absolutely ADORE a certain teddy bear. You love everything about it. But every time you mention the teddy bear, people say, "I HATE that teddy bear. It's ugly and stupid. And besides, I have better things to do with my time than pay attention to stupid teddy bears." If feels a bit like people aren't willing to listen to you explain what you love about the teddy bear and instead they'd rather just make a snap judgement about it.

It's my own fault, I know.

I tend to use drugstore one hour photo places to get my pictures developed. This isn't terribly smart of me, especially since I took a photography class in college that made me very picky. Not any better, really, at photography -- and definitely not able to develop my own pictures (I technically could if I had access to the same equipment that I did in college, but where does one locate a place that will let you use their darkroom?), but picky about how my pictures end up. I spend a fair amount of time with my camera and I'm careful about the composition of my pictures.** I expect my pictures to be:
-not covered in something wet in the lower right hand corner.
-not inspected and then COMMENTED ON by the photo technician.
-not all washed out and white looking.

Perhaps this is too much to ask from the drugstore people. Anyone have any advice for me? Cheap places to develop film that don't suck too bad?

Our digital camera rocks though. I'm too paranoid to carry it around all the time as I am subject to imaginary muggings*** whenever I have things of value in my purse. Except my (wonderful and lovely) Dell DJ. That I can't live without.

**Except when drunk. Then my pictures are not composed well.

***And no, I've never been mugged. I actually only know one person who has ever been mugged and it was on the north side in Wrigleyville. I generally feel pretty safe (except for the paranoid fear of serial killers).

A little thing that makes me want to tear my hair out:

If I want to convey the message that I disagree with someone vehemently, I can use the phrase, "If you think that carrots are blue, you've got another think coming!" I CAN NOT, however, say, "'ve got another thing coming." The meaning of the phrase is that your THINKING that the carrot is blue means that you need to have another THOUGHT put into your head. Not that you need to have some mysterious THING come into your presence. That makes no sense. I've been bitter about this ever since I wrote an essay in 6th grade and my teacher marked me down for using "think" instead of "thing" (and I've never been good at dealing with people who are ignorant and are not willing to take correction). If I had been as mature as I now am (sometimes), I would have responded, "Teacher, I can understand if you need to mark me down for using a colloquialism in a school essay. But please refrain from marking me down for a reason that is just flat-out wrong." But instead I just cried. And went back to my seat. But now, whenever I hear people use that phrase incorrectly, it brings up that old hurt and frustration.

Mock Trial Update, or, Why Do Cell Phones Suck Ass?

Since I haven't updated for a while, I realized that many of you are probably wondering what happened! (No, not really. But if you were, I've got you covered!)

I was the main witness for the defense (my husband). It was a mock trial with just one law student on each side -- no co-counsel to pick up the slack. All of us witnesses were sitting in the jury box in a courtroom at the main city courthouse at 26th & California, so it was fairly realistic! The trial started, both sides did their opening arguments, and the opposing side called his first witness. Two questions in, my cell phone started jingling. You ask, "You idiot, why didn't you turn your cell phone OFF?" I did. OFF. NO POWER. It went off because apparently my phone (by Siemens, huh huh) thinks that alarms are so freaking important that it should turn itself on. This would have been great if it were a situation where I had to wake up to catch a plane, but since it was just telling me that my dog's monthly heartworm and flea medications were due it was a little unnecessary. I was SO embarrassed.

But, life went on. Witnesses were called, cross-examined, I did fine (even though the judge made fun of me for the phone thing when I went up to be the fake witness), and no one won. Because it was not that kind of trial. The judge was VERY complimentary to both sides (he told my husband that he "has great Courtroom Presence and you can't learn that kind of thing in a classroom.") and offered to write recommendation letters for them.

Is there a doctor in the city?

I don't mind going to the doctor. Nor do I mind getting blood drawn, needles (unless they actually hurt, not just a little pin-prick), even wearing the little paper gown that covers almost nothing. I would much rather be checked and know that there's nothing wrong with me than worry about someone with a medical degree seeing my goodies.

The problem, however, is that I DO mind doctors who don't make me feel comfortable. I'm not that picky, but any doctor who seems to be in a big hurry or uninterested makes me feel like crap. So I leave them.

The point of the story is coming, I promise.

I found a great doctor in Chicago. She's not much older than me, is very easy to talk to, always warms and fully lubes the girly-probe, and is perfect. BUT SHE'S LEAVING. SHE'S MOVING TO NORTHBROOK. I got a letter from her saying she's leaving and moving to Northbrook to a practice there. Northbrook? So Chicago's not good enough for you? You have to move to the @#%$ing NORTH SUBURBS? Why me? Why?

Anyway, if anyone has any doctor recommendations, I'd love to hear them. Preferably downtown or on the near South Side.

*sniffle* WHHYYY? *sniffle*

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