The Fallenposters Blog

Because the posters fell down, duh.

Posts Tagged ‘rants

Elderly Seating

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On the Metro rail ride to work each morning, I tend to sit in the seats that are closest to the doors.  This is due to the fact that the trains always get very crowded when I ride in the mornings and I’m always paranoid that I’m not going to be able to get off at my stop because of the crowd of people that always forms at the doors. 

Since I get to work around 7:30 each morning, I have to get up pretty effin’ early to make sure I get to work on time.  Especially since I have to take a shuttle bus to the metro station and then get on a train to my job.  So I relish in my morning train rides because I get to plug in my iPod, tune out the world and take a nice doze for most of my commute.

But yesterday that was ruined.  You know why?  Because I’m young.  Yes, that’s right, I’m only 24 years old and I look like it! 

I woke up for a minute to look at which station we were at so that I didn’t miss my stop.  Then this older lady (probably in her early 60s) tapped me on the shoulder and said something to me.  But since I had my earbuds in, I didn’t hear what she said (sidebar: I seriously hate it when people try to talk to me when I have my earbuds in–I mean, isn’t it obvious that I don’t want to talk?). 

“Elderly seating,” she repeated.  I looked a little confused at what she was talking about and then she pointed to the sign behind my head.  The sign stated that the seat I was in was priority seating for the elderly and people with disabilities.  I realized what she meant now and gave her my seat.

It didn’t dawn on me that there were 3 other people sitting in these seats near her and yet she choose to pick me.  I looked at the other people in these seats, one woman probably in her 40s, and two men who looked like they were in their 40s as well.

This infuriated me.  How did she know that I didn’t have a disability?  Just because I’m young and I don’t have to use a cane when I walk or ride around in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I might be disability-free.  I remember learning this as a kid because my grandfather had a handicapped parking tag, yet he didn’t walk with a cane or anything.  I used to drive the handicapped around town in Blacksburg, and not everyone had a visible disability.

It just seems to me that this woman saw that I was young compared to the people sitting near me and that I wasn’t visibly disabled, thus I must give up my seat.  It just felt like reverse age discrimination.  And its not that I actually have a disability or anything, it just seems to me that she picked me out of the four around her because I was young. 

Oh well, I guess it wasn’t really a big deal after all.  I mean she didn’t ask me this until I was only one stop away from my destination.  But it was certainly irritating.

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Written by Eric Spiegel

May 9, 2007 at 7:09 pm

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No Love for Olive Garden

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This past weekend, Cheri and I decide to go to Olive Garden on Saturday night for a nice meal. We got there at about 5 pm, so we figured it wouldn’t be too crowded. We were wrong. It was really crowded, but we decided to wait since it was only supposed to be about a 20 minute wait for a table.

Then they give us that little circular pager thingie to hold onto until it buzzes. When it buzzes, then our table is ready. 20 minutes pass and no table. About another 20 minutes pass and still no table. So I go up and ask the hostess what’s going on. She goes to check where our pager is in the queue and comes back with a grimace that looked like she pooped a little when she just meant to fart. I knew then that they had forgotten our pager. So thus we were put at the front of the line and in a few minutes we were at our table.

Our section had this lovely waiter that was very eager, charismatic, and friendly. Unfortunately, we were the only table in that section that was not assigned to him. Instead we get a cold, quiet, and slow waiter. It took him at least 15 minutes to first greet us after we had sat. And later, when it was time to get our check, it took about 20 more minutes just for him to come by so I could ask for the check. I should have gotten a manager to complain, but I just didn’t want to make a scene.

Since our waiter was so terrible (I asked for a side of Italian sausage with my ravioli, and he brought out ONE sausage), that I stiffed him on the tip. It was probably the first time I’ve ever really done that and felt the waiter really deserved it. To add insult to injury, I wrote “Terrible Service! :-(” on the top of the check (yes, I did write out the frowny-face emoticon).

Basically, my lesson was that when I want good Italian food, don’t go to Olive Garden, just make it at home.

Written by Eric Spiegel

April 9, 2007 at 9:37 pm

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Class Difficulties (or a Lack Thereof)

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Have I mentioned here that my masters program in Forensic Science is very underwhelming? Compared to the year I spent in graduate school for Physics, this program just feels like it isn’t as hard as it should be. I mean come on, IT IS GRADUATE SCHOOL. But I’m at a crossroads about the whole situation.

I love my classes (which is very difficult to say about much of my time in Physics). My Homicide Investigation course is truly interesting. The readings are very interesting and the teacher–a former homicide detective–is a riot in class. The only problem is that I don’t find it very challenging. I mean, I’m learning a lot about how a homicide investigation is ran and the many different types of homicides there are, yet I don’t feel like I’m having to work hard in the course.

My other course is Forensic Pathology. And this course is wonderful. Despite the fact that it isn’t taught on campus, it is still a good course. I’m learning all about things like post-mortem changes in the body, blunt force and sharp force injuries, forensic dentistry, forensic anthropology, and so on. It is taught by a group of licenced medical examiners who have tremendous amounts of experience in the field. Every class is very well done. And once again, I don’t really do anything for the course except listen to lectures and take two tests. I mean I haven’t even bought on of the “recommended” text books for the course, and I don’t think I will.

I guess my problem is that a majority of the college work I’ve ever had involved spending hours upon hours on homework sets only to get a poor grade back and an urgence to pluck my eyeballs out. But in these courses, there is no written work. We have readings, mid-term exams, and final exams. Some courses have a corresponding lab, and others occasionaly have us write a paper or two (OH NO!). That’s it! Like I’ve said before, this is graduate school. Isn’t this supposed to be hard?

Oh well, I guess we’ll see if I’ll be eating my foot when I take my mid-terms this week.

Written by Eric Spiegel

February 25, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Metro Observation #5

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Now, I know that when we all ride the subway, if we can’t get a seat, then we all want to make sure that we will be able to stand and hold our balance. There are many simple techniques one can employ to ensure that they won’t be toppling to the floor when the train stops suddenly. Here are some techniques I have used and find to be very dependable:

  • Hold onto a handrail; either the vertical ones or the small ones that go across the back of the seats.

This technique works like a charm. All you gotta do is hold onto the rail and brace your feet about a shoulder length apart, and you will be good to go. You can use one hand, or two, whichever suits your fancy. If it is crowded, then just use one hand. The only people who would have a hard time with this would be the hand-less. But I’m sure if you’re hand-less, then you probably are daft enough to figure out a way to cope. I mean, come on, you’ve got no hands!

  • Lean against the wall.

Many people seem to prefer this method over the handrail method. Is it because they look cool doing it? Or maybe its because both hands are free, so now you can pour over the latest e-mail forward from your Aunt Millie about Pepsi trying to poison puppies. But I suspect it’s because most people have some strange fear of touching the handrails. I think subway handrails have gotten a bad rap. Probably because most people associate subway handrails with New York City’s germ-infested subway system (which I have no problem passing judgement on at all). But I’m sure its not even that bad anyway. Its not like I’ve seen people licking the hand rails or anything.

  • Cling desperately to another person.

Personally, I tend to only notice small children partaking in this method, so it might not be for everyone. But maybe I can start a trend.

* * *

Now, here are some techniques that I have witnessed that I do not approve of:

  • Hogging the handrail.

Come on people. Unless all the fluid has drained out of your ears, holding onto the handrail with one hand should be sufficient to keep you from falling. You do not need to lean your entire body against the handrail. For one thing, its annoying to anyone else who is forced to try to share said handrail with you. And it is also slightly perverted looking. The handrail is for safety, not for your pleasure.

  • Sitting on the floor.

Ok, so you’re a Metro rider who is fed up with how damn crowded the subway is every time you ride it. I mean come on, 5 pm isn’t that busy really. Everyone should be making room for you! Give me a break. Not only does sitting on the floor take up more freakin’ space than if your lazy ass would have stood up, but it also makes it difficult for people trying to move around you. So unless you want to be stepped on, please don’t sit on the friggin’ floor.

Well that’s all I have for now. In the meantime, try not to be an idiot.

Written by Eric Spiegel

January 23, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Posted in travel & transportation

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GMail Image Spam

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For the last few months I’ve began receiving spam in my GMail account that has been getting through the normally outstanding spam blockers. These have been getting through because the text is embedded in a GIF file that shows up embedded in the body of the e-mail. So there is no actual text for the spam blockers to sort through, thus it gets straight to my e-mail. I’ve been getting at least a few of these each day and it has been quite aggrevating.

But there is hope. Matt Haughey has come up with an ingenius way to stop those e-mails from getting into your inbox. He has outlined the steps to stop this madness at his blog A Whole Lotta Nothing.

I wanted to comment on there how grateful I was that someone finally found out a way to get rid of those annoying e-mails, but I can’t figure out how to comment on that blog.

Arrrgh! Its simplicity irks me because I wish I would have thought of this months ago. Oh well, props to Matt Haughey!


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Written by Eric Spiegel

August 30, 2006 at 4:30 pm

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Amazon.com Recommendations

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Recently I’ve gotten addicted to rating items on Amazon.com. This is a part of my goal to “improve” my recommendations. But I have been having some issues with this system.

Singer, Kelly ClarksonIf I give a book, DVD, or CD a high rating, then it’ll spit out recommendations for books by the same author, movies by the same director, or CDs by the same artist. Now I understand that their logic for this is that, “Hey, if he loved that one Kelly Clarkson album, then surely he’ll love every other album made by an American Idol contestant plus any other pop music!” This, thankfully, is not the case.

Surprisingly, I like “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson. But that doesn’t mean that I necessarily want to go out and buy Carrie Underwood’s, Bo Bice’s and Clay Aiken’s albums.

Author, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. On the same course, I’ve read and enjoyed a number of Kurt Vonnegut’s books . And now because of that, Amazon feels that I need to have every book written by him. Now I’m sure some may argue that Amazon got this one right, but I don’t really feel that way.

The main thing that irks me about it is that I know that I like Kurt Vonnegut, and I’m sure that I would love every one of his books. But why can’t it take that logical step and recommend something else? Who knows, I guess it has to do with the algorithm it uses. Until they fix that, I’ll continue telling it that I’m not interested in Britney Spears’ oeuvre.


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Written by Eric Spiegel

August 23, 2006 at 2:08 pm

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Metro Observation #1

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This here is a first of (what I assume will be) many posts about things that I observe while riding the Metro on my way to work. My commute to Arlington will be managed best by taking the Metro, so I’m sure I won’t be short on material much.metrorail.jpg

Vienna Metro Station and the Orange Line

The Metro has each rail line named by color (red, green, orange, yellow, blue). Each line has a beginning and an end. Once a train has reached the end of the line, guess what it does. It goes back in the opposite direction (really!). I don’t think very many people are aware of this concept. More likely, its probably the tourists that don’t get it, but come on, it isn’t that hard to figure out. I mean, where else is it going to go? It isn’t going to fly back to where it started.

Example: I got on the Orange Line at the Vienna Metro Station today to go and turn in some paperwork for my new job. The Orange Line starts (and ends) at this station. So naturally, it doesn’t matter what train you get on since they are all going in the same direction. A group of tourists got on the train after I did and they could not stop talking about how they weren’t sure if they were on the right train.

“Is this the orange?”

“Are we on the right train?”

“I can’t tell if we’re on the right train.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the right train. There is only one train, on one line, going in one direction! I could understand the confusion if you were at a station that services multiple lines, but come on. Did the LED sign on the outside of the train not make it obvious enough that this was the Orange Line? I mean, it says (in English!) “Orange”–with an orange-colored circle next to it nonetheless.

I guess I just feel strongly about this because when I am going somewhere I’m not familiar with, I make sure to figure out how to get there. And if getting there requires a transportation system other than my car, than I’ll make sure to learn how to use said system before I have to actually use it. I go online, read about the Metro, learn which stations I need to get on at and get off at, how much it costs, how to pay, etc.

I don’t know whether to catagorize people like this as either lazy or stupid. Maybe both.


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Written by Eric Spiegel

August 17, 2006 at 8:15 pm

Posted in grab bag

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