There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuned In

I'm never actually at the cutting edge of newly released, or underground, or "hip" music (I'm classifying all of these as separate items though there is inevitable crossover). As I age, it's only getting worse. I do, however, know some songs. Now it's one thing when a new song bites on an older tune that maybe we're expected to only have a vague subconscious association with, but when new songs take their cues from other popular songs not even five years out, well perhaps it just speaks to the increasingly ephemeral nature of memory and lasting impressions. After all, we're bombarded with so much content, we simply can't remember as far back as we might have -- there's only room for so much.

What that introduction is getting at is quick observations on listening to a couple of new Fall Out Boy tracks. I'm more than happy to say I enjoyed a couple of their past songs, but generally they just don't do it for me. No big deal. However, in listening to "Just One Yesterday" I'd say it's rather impossible to hear the beginning of the song and not start singing "There's a fire, burning in my..." in your best Adele voice. As youtube comments show, I am neither the first nor the only person to observe this. As far as "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark", I couldn't help but hear Kanye West's "Power." It's not identical but it sure is close.

Something much more worth noting however is the switchover occurring at the CTA to the new Ventra system. This has been going on for quite sometime, and it's pretty obvious where the real gains are. Apparently the technology was getting outdated, but the old CTA VP of Tech just happened to work for Cubic, the company that got a $454 million contract to implement this new necessary technology? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. I mean, poor Cubic went through the trouble of creating this new technology, we couldn't just have them sink that development cost by not giving them a bloated contract, could we? The good news is they'll now cut a bunch of jobs to make up for budget shortfalls. And they'll increase the fare cost by 33% starting in 2014. I'm not an accountant, so care to tell me how the $454 million implementation works in conjunction with the apparent $10.3 million per year in losses the CTA's taking?

At the transit stops they've been giving out nifty pamphlets too, to explain how the Ventra system is better! Fewer cards to keep track of! Actually no, you only ever needed one. Whether it was the papery piece with the magnetic strip like the MTA or MBTA or the plastic Chicago Card Plus you could tap on the machine, that was it. So far I see frequent moments of the Ventra scanners going down. The more technologically advanced you make a thing, the more opportunities it has to have something go wrong. Everything Ventra'd, nothing gained.

As we said in my safety patrol days then, "Start walking."

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