Thursday, January 11, 2007

Train-ing While Tired, Tax Refunds

I seem to have a problem with commuting in the morning.
This is the second time that I have not paid attention while riding the CTA trains in the morning and suffered a commuting mishap. Probably due to being tired.

The first time I got on the right train, but didn't pay attention when the conductor said the train would be going the wrong way due to problems with switching. I was counting the number of stops without paying attention and quickly got off at the appropriate numbered stop. Then I realized the stop looked different. I was confused and disoriented. I didn't know where I was for a minute or so. Eventually I went down to street level, and figured out which way I was walking and walked the rest of the way to work, turning a 20 minute trip to a 40 minute trip. I could have walked directly from home to work in less time.

Today I was waiting at Roosevelt for the orange train. Normally the trains come through there alternating between green and orange. A green came and went and I thought the next one would be the orange. Stupidly, without looking at the sign on the train, I got on. I didn't pay attention when the train went the wrong way and found myself going around the loop the wrong direction. So I decided to just ride around the loop the opposite direction. By the time I realized that the green line does not go around the loop, rather straight west, it was too late, so I got of and decided to go the other way, but again the green line does not go to Quincy in that direction either. So I ended up walking to work again. And again it would have been faster if I walked directly from home to work.

The moral of this story is, I need to pay attention to the trains in the morning.
While walking to work today, since I screwed up my train rider, I want past the Thompson Center. In the plaza H&R Block was holding a "National Tax Advice Day," which was simply a media stunt with obvious H&R Block employees standing in a tight pack cheering about tax advice or something. I believe they were getting people to sign up for some kind of tax service. It was ridiculous and almost not worth writing about here. If only I didn't have a major beef with their current ad campaign "I got people."

I am certainly not an English scholar, in fact Alyssa was berating me last night about they way I spell certain words (I 'am' getting better...slowly). However, the "I got people." campaign, discussed here, is only contributing to the dumbing down of society. Do the lower income people in Chicago, those being targeted by H&R block, really need to be spoken to at their level of literacy as well? In addition, an income-tax refund loan is at exactly the same level of a payday loan. 30% or so annual interest rate isn't much better than the 40% loans offered at the local Currency Exchange. These loans take huge advantage of people that can't manage what little money they have.

Another big FU to H&R block.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My first video game console

Knuttz has an interesting graphical history about the evolution of the video game console. My first video game console was the Gemini system (pictured right), which played Atari cartridges. It was fun and provided entertainment for years when I was growing up.

I later purchased my very own Nintendo Entertainment system (pictured left). I saved a lot of loose change and did loads of odd jobs around the house to get this gem. My sister was still playing hardcore on the NES through to the late 90's.

My Neighbor had first an Atari 2600, then the Coleco Vision, then a fully tricked out NES with running pad and all, then he eventually got a SNES (then I moved away). I thought the Coleco was cool because you could play some games that were slightly more advanced than the Atari. Plus it had the older school paddels.

Current I have nothing, but if I was to buy something, it would probably be an Xbox 360.