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Horrific Train Accident in Los Angeles

My sympathies and prayers go to the families and friends of the victims. I am a frequent train commuter and this is just devastating to read about.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080913/ap_on_re_us/train_collision

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Price of Gas

So the price of gas is dropping? Not to sound ungrateful or anything but it's going to have to drop a lot further for me to make a difference. Catching the train instead...

EARTHQUAKE!

Hey, we just had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake here! I'm at work on Wilshire Blvd. on the 16th floor and the building swayed pretty hard for like 20 seconds, the lightly for another minute. We are in an earthquake-proofed (is that the correct term?) building that sits on rollers so it was kind of exciting! - e

Here are the Earthquake Details:

Magnitude 5.8
Date-Time
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 18:42:15 UTC
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:42:15 AM at epicenter
Location
33.959°N, 117.752°W
Depth
12.3 km (7.6 miles)
Region
GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA
Distances
3 km (2 miles) SW (235°) from Chino Hills, CA
8 km (5 miles) SE (127°) from Diamond Bar, CA
9 km (5 miles) NNE (23°) from Yorba Linda, CA
11 km (7 miles) S (178°) from Pomona, CA

47 km (29 miles) ESE (103°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles); depth +/- 1.3 km (0.8 miles)
Parameters
Nph=144, Dmin=8 km, Rmss=0.42 sec, Gp= 18°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=2
Source
California Integrated Seismic Net:
USGS Caltech CGS UCB UCSD UNR
Event ID
ci14383980

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsus/Quakes/ci14383980.php

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Today's gas price in Palmdale

$4.55 at Chevron on the corner of Palmdale and 35th.

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Train Ride

7:18--I've finally got back to riding the train. Between gas prices and my car's distressing habit of slipping gears these days I feel it's my only option. It means I will have to leave work promptly at 2:45pm everyday.

My friend Ilka is willing to let me ride with her on the days that she drives in. That will be helpful. She will drive my to the No.Hollywood Metro station and drop me off there. We won't be on a time crunch so much then and I can come to work at anytime but from now on I will have to leave somewhere between 2:45pm and 3:00pm everyday.

It won't be to bad because I will be getting in between 9:00am and 9:30am. Believe me, they don't want to pay me for more than 5 hours work anyway.

This is my route:
Vincent Grade Acton to Union Station by train
Union Station to Wilshire Western by subway
Wilshire Western to Fairfax by bus

It's reversed going home except sometimes I might take the bus home instead of the train. The bus doesn't reliably get me home into to pick up J-- at 5:30 so that's just for emergencies only.

It's 7:29 and we are riding past the animal preserve. It's weird going through the mountains and all of a sudden coming up in a frickin' zoo!

Once upon a time I rode the train everyday for three years. Then I bought I new car and had to drive. Now gas is at a point that riding the train costs the same as driving into work. Sigh. It actually might be cheaper to ride. I put $25 dollar a day for a round trip drive. Hmm. I could do it with $20 but that would leave me with barely enough gas to do anything else but go home.

The train is $18.75 roundtrip, not including the transfers. That's another $3.00 a day so yeah, it comes out to about the same but with less wear on the car and a valid excuse not to stay late at work.

It's 7:34am and we haven't reached Via Princessa yet. I'm surprised at the low ridership this morning. It must be because of school break. It could also be that this train comes in to close to 9:00am for most commuters. If they need to get to work by 9:00am then this train would be a little late for them. I'm aiming for 9:30 myself which is way better than my usual 10:00am.

Okays, I'm going to play Sims now!

Trip home--
I left at 2:45 and so far the trip has been going according to plans.

The train rolled in at 5:17pm. It's just enough time to get pick up J--. I sort of hedged my bets by asking my friend M-- to pick him for me.

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Another accident on the 14 fwy

This accident was further north on the Antelope Valley fwy. Again, inclement weather was the cause. This time it was a blinding sandstorm. Here is an article.

Best Cars For Commuters

Forbes.com has come out with an article about what they think are the best cars for commuters. They look at milage, comfort and style. Hmmm. See for yourself and decide.

Where's Traffic?

This morning's commute was surprisingly breezy when you take into account what happened on the freeway this past weekend. I left home this morning about 8:20am fully expecting the worst. Traffic ran rather smoothly this morning which left me feeling apprehensive. Usually when traffic goes that smoothly during rush hour it means that a some point up ahead there is a great big jam up ahead that you are about to catch-up with. I expected a tremendous back-up at the Newhall Pass but nothing materialized when I got there. As a matter of fact, it was easier drive through than usual.

I noticed a truck going through the truck lane. I thought that route was still closed off? I hadn't heard of it opening up so I will check later when I get a chance. I didn't run into traffic until I got to the Oxnard exit on the 170. I got off at that exit, then went over Nichols Canyon and down Fairfax. I ended up at work a bit before 10am.

I am very grateful for the gentle commute but am puzzled by it. Did people take the train in this morning? Did people call in sick? I didn't make the drive in yesterday because my car was in the shop so I don't know how the drive was then.

Another thing I'm wondering is whether or not CalTrans (or whoever would be in charge of this) is going to address the safety issue about that tunnel. By this I mean the blind spot. I've had to come to a screeching halt in that tunnel more than a few times on my own. Eventually I wised up and stopped taking the truck route, but trucks have no choice but to use it. Can such an accident be preventing from happening in the future? I'm not smart enough to figure something like that out, but surely someone else is...

One more thing. I've talked to one of the moms at my son's school about carpooling. We've discussed trying it once or twice a week. She will help pay for gas if I drive her into work which is on the way for me. It doesn't get my car off the road but at least it gets hers off and I'll have help with gas. We'll also be able to use the carpool lane which will be a blessing.

Anyway, that's all I have to say. How was your drive?

Five Truck Pile up

This is my ex's weekend with our son. I got up this morning to take j- to the pick up spot and 3/4's of the way there got a call from h-. He told me there was a massive sigalert on the 14/5 Nehall Pass and that he had to turn around because traffic was awful. I told him I would bring j- down because I was nearly there anyway even though h- said not too. H- gets really intolerable when he doesn't get to see j- so I insisted i would bring him the rest of the way.

When I saw the traffic I thought HOLY SH*T! I regretted my desicision. Still, I figured I could get home. There is more than one way to get to Palmdale. When I got to H's- house I asked for a map. I had originally intended to take the 118 west and go up thru Castaic but that would have taken me to the 5 again. H- started naming the freeways and then I remembered Angeles Crest (the 2). I would have to backtrack down the 210 a ways but that would take less time than sitting in traffic. Very few cars on the "crest" as it turns out. It took me an hour and a half for a drive that usually takes forty-five minutes but it would have taken me hours the other way.

The accident was awful. Here is a report.

Awful commute this morning

I dropped j- off at school and left for work by 8am. Traffic from the 14 @ Pearblossom to Agua Dulce was fine. By the time I hit Sand Canyon it was about 8:40am and bumper to bumper. I'd heard on KTLK that there was a Sigalert at Magic Mountain Pkwy off the 5 and it was causing an enormous back up all the way to the 14. Looks like they were right. Anyway, I stopped and got my car washed, then got on the road again. The back up went all the way to the 5-210 split. I took the 210, which saved some time and did not hit traffic again until the 170-101 split. It was 10:17am by then.

I got off at Riverside Dr. and took Colfax to Ventura Blvd. At the corner someone waved at me. It was the mom of one of my son's classmates back in Palmdale. Dude, we're in North Hollywood now. If she didn't have to stay so late for work we could carpool. I remember us trying to work it out but our return schedules are too different.

Anyway, I got to work by 11:05. Ouch. I asked J- the valet from Lancaster how long it took him and R- to get to work. They left Lancaster at 5am and didn't get in until 8:30am! That Sigalert started at the buttcrack of dawn!

I hope my drive home isn't as rough...