ANOTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE! (October 27th, 2016) Corrected the bit about the South Shore. And added some grim news about the lack of oversight, and the possible (pronounced "likely") conflict of interest. Thanks to Mike Berthold for the South Shore corrections. No thanks to the Quebec Government for insisting that this go ahead.
IMPORTANT UPDATE! (October 20th, 2016) Please read below.
Lest you thought, from my last "Why?" entry that I have a one-track mind...
Well, I don't just do articles about close friends who were cruelly ripped from one's life by some still unknown entity that I'm calling an Elephant.... (I'm calling what killed her the Elephant, not her, let's be clear. She was not an elephant. She was a Peacock. See http://raakone.livejournal.com/44786.html)
Oh no, no no no, I also do...other things. This is about mass transit. Specifically, about a rather badly thought plan. The The Réseau Électrique Métropolitain, or REM
Pictured: That band who made it big in the 90's who share their name with a badly planned transit system.
This is being planned by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, or the Quebec Deposit and Investment Fund, or often called "The Caisse" in English. They're basically a mega-pension fund, sort of owned by the Government of Quebec. They recently decided to get into the infrastructure game. Without any input from anyone else.
Yes, they're basically the Sledge Hammer of investment groups. Now, it would be foolish of me to not give a map of their proposed network first. I'll do that, then I'll point out all the holes in their plan!
Ok, I will tell you that part of this network makes sense. Emphasis on "part." Specifically, between "Central Station", across the river to the East (or "South" in Montreal speak), and down to Rive-Sud. This is going to give a rapid transit link to Nun's Island, and run in the middle of the Champlain Bridge! This idea was meant to happen. Right now the South Shore just has two commuter trains (one of them being mostly rush-hour only, and neither of them running on weekends), a single Metro station (Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke), and assorted bus lines of varying frequencies (some of which require switching to the Metro at that lengthily-named station in Longueuil) UPDATE Again: This may have a slight issue, but only slight. The proposed end may be in the middle of nowhere. There's several places on the South Shore, several important bus terminals (and one Metro station) that could be connected to, at least one or two of which will be seriously considered. There's Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke Metro station, which is also a bus terminal. It may not be going there. HOWEVER, There's the Panama terminus, which looks NOTHING like this...
(Above: The WRONG "Panama" Terminal) because it's actually in Brossard, not Panama.) And there's also "downtown" Longueuil. And also the Brossard-Chevrier Park'n'Ride lot (over 2000 spots, served by a couple of buses. Would be a natural choice for the train) Chances are Panama and/or Chevrier will have stops there. Seems very likely. At least they're not totally clueless.
What makes less sense? The part through the Mount-Royal Tunnel. Why? They'd have to completely overhaul the entire line to Deux-Montagnes.....a route that was last overhauled in the summers of 1993 to 1995 (requiring complete shutdown during those times) It went from museum piece (spare parts had to come from China and Poland!) using relics from World War I...
To pride of Montreal's commuter rail network, and the only "mainline" electrified passenger rail service left in Canada!
Previously, they needed a crew of 6 people, and had to manually open and close all doors.Now it's two people, and it's done automatically. Previously they needed a flagman for entering a tunnel. They used to be one of the only lines still using telegraphs to give "permission" for trains to moved, and they sometimes picked the "orders" up from a hoop while moving! The only reason service isn't more frequent, a) there's only so many trains available, and b) there's bottle-necks. Between Bois-Franc and Deux-Montagnes, there's only two places where trains can pass each other. They were supposed to double those tracks a long time ago. It's like having a state-of-the art super highway....with a section with only one lane in either direction!
The line is now owned by the AMT, who runs the trains on it (that they also own). But the CDPQ wants to just tear up everything, replace it with 1,500 volts instead of 25,000 (if you're going to have lots of trains, it's better to use a higher voltage), they'll have to replace everything, and there's also problems with that connecting line, the trains to Mascouche (the turn-off is past Mont-Royal), they use special locomotives that can run under wire in the tunnel and diesel everywhere else. Changing wires would mean changing all the locomotives, if that's even allowed, becaue usually "normal" trains and "Light Rail" are not allowed to co-mingle on the same tracks. Not to mention the question of loading gauge.
The train tracks themselves are the same "gauge", or distance between the rails. "Standard gauge", or 4 feet, 8.5 inches, or 1435 milimetres, if you want to be metric.
LOADING gauge, however, is the width of the train. The new trains will be narrower than those Deux-Montagnes trains I showed you. Also, as they may look like this....
With the doors raised, it means you'll need high platforms, closer to the trains (we can't have gaps). Thus, we can't run ANY conventional trains (which are wider) on these tracks. They would have to replace EVERY platform on the Deux-Montagnes line. Not to mention, if connecting to the existing platforms at the airport, change those, also. Removing the old platforms and catenary (that's the overhead wire that provides the juice) to replace it will add to the cost!
So replacing a well functioning line with this....experiment? And put in by people who don't know what they're doing?
Not such a good idea!
I love the idea of having a link to the airport. Let me rephrase that, I WOULD, except that there are flaws with that!
And let me show you the map again.
Why? The Airport line. It's needlessly roundabout and convoluted. There exist existing railway lines, and all that's needed is the "final miles", instead of this plan which requires much more new track. Want to know what a connection that isn't hare-brained looks like? I'll give you TWO examples. Heathrow Express, which connects London's busiest airport to Paddington station...
They added a branch to an existing rail line, from Paddington, added tunnel, and overhead wires. 15 minutes, every 15 minutes. Now let's go to Toronto's Union Pearson Express....which is called UP for short because of how positive it sounds. Connects downtown Toronto to its main airport.
In that case, they used existing trackage most of the way, just had to add a very short spur, was the most direct existing trackage, in this case they needed dedicated platforms (high doors), but not any electrification. So see? Those examples are how a connection to the airport SHOULD be. The REM, on the other hand, they not only drop the ball, they kick it into their own net.
Because this new network is being designed to return a profit, they'll cut costs. Not just by having the trains all automated, but having them shorter, requiring shorter platforms. but where will all the people go? The way their plan works, if they take of the Deux-Montagnes line (Please, NO!), it will go from.... (State of the art electric rail line) to (Cash Cow) Reduced capacity, everything else excluded from the line (not just light vs. heavy, but also loading gauge, and automatic trains should not share tracks with manually driven ones, a question of signalling)
Not only would the AMT be affected. This project would also affect VIA-Rail Canada
You may be thinking "what? VIA?" Others may be wondering "What is VIA?" Theyr'e the intercity passenger rail provider in Canada. Think of them as the Amtrak of Canada.They announced an ambitious plan in early April for high frequency rail, including new trains, a couple of new routes (including a North Shore route to Quebec City), and electrification of at least part of the network. Sounds so sweet. But REM threatens to put the breaks. And the president of VIA seems a bit oblivious of this. By "a bit", I actually mean "very." I mean as in totally, and utterly, Clueless!
(Sad thing is, these fictitious California schoolgirls seem to understand the situation better than he does!)
Here is, in my view, the most important image from that article...
Now, VIA has plans to use the "North Shore" approach to Quebec City (currently, they run the same way as the "AMT Mont Saint-Haillaire Line") They serve Montreal at Central Station/Gare Centrale, at the southern end of the Tunnel Mont-Royal.
If the REM line goes through, it will be problematic for VIA, especially as there'll be those stops in the way, please see my note about loading gauges, it will help. If the trains cannot use the tunnel, they'd have to take a more circuitous route. Or alternatively, depending how REM is set up, VIA Rail could be shut out of Central Station altogether, necessitating a change from VIA train to REM train to get "downtown." Requiring people to change to get downtown kind of robs intercity train travel of one of its main benefits, as you can't really build an airport downtown, with concerns about tall buildings, higher risk of something going wrong (if there's a crash on takeoff or landing, who will be affected?), and the NOISE!
(Above: Just making sure you all understand part of the reason why you don't have downtown airports, and thus, downtown train stations are important. I don't believe for a second that airplanes sound like vuvuzelas!)
Of course, there is pushback when we pushback. Phillipe Couillard, head of the Quebec Liberal Party, and Premier of Quebec, insists that this project must go ahead, there's too many delays, we should all be for this, we shouln't be debating this...
Also, here's a list of four reccomendations that could make the REM actually make sense, this is from "Pour un Meilleur Projet", and was translated decently on "Trainsparence".....so here goes....(my comments are in parentheses, because!)
1) changed the REM West Island branch to follow the HQ electric lines by Salaberry (there are places where power lines go, and there's huge empty spaces, by necessity for safety, buildings or trees there would be dangerous. But having a rail line by there? Not so dangerous) 2) used technology comparable with existing AMT lines & do not waste $1 billion to electrify the already electrified 2 Mountains line (So the "Good REM" that I wouldn't complain about, if it has to go through the Tunnel, then make it an electric train with the same loading gauge as the AMT trains. And driven manually! I know, it's not as sexy as those automatic light-Metro things. But this would make more sense) 3) Agree to share the Mt Royal tunnel (this part is obvious) 4) optimize the south shore route to go to existing bus terminals; (my earlier comments, and seems likely.)
And now, I'll add a fifth one...
5) Integration, integration, INTEGRATION! If the ticketing system is not compatabile with existing commuter rail, bus, and Metro services, what's the point? And there must be decent interchanges with existing rail and Metro lines, if there isn't, it's signs of a badly designed system.
UPDATE: That last part will definitely not happen. The AMT (that agency with the blue ribbon logo I showed you earlier) will not be involved. They will split into two entities, one for commuter trains and "suburban" bus services, called RTM (Résau de Transport Métropolitain) and the other one, the planning arm, will be ART (Agence Régionale de Transport or Agence de Résau de Transport) will theoretically planning things, making sure the whole network of networks makes sense, etc. Except that they will have no oversight or input whatsoever into REM, because REM is private, except that it isn't, even though it will be. Because of their unique position. So they'll have carte-blanche. And again, this whole integration thing will not be done. Despite a lack of a body-count or gratuitous amorous scenes, the public transit landscape in Montreal may resemble THIS....
A Lannister, I mean, a CDPQ always pays its debts! And then dumps them onto the Quebec and Canadian taxpayers, no doubt! So the average commuter will be stuck in the middle of Cersei vs. Tyrion, I mean, CDPQ vs. the ART.
Also, the CDPQ happened to recently buy a 30% stake in Bombardier, a company that makes, besides other things, rail cars, and is based in Quebec. Chances are, they and the government will "railroad" the bidding process so that Bombardier gets it. I smell a conflict of interest here.
As always, this piece will be updated for any reason! Have any thing I forgot to say? Let me know!
Lost a friend to Mental Illness, WHY? WARNING: This entry deals with a heavy subject. Mental health. Also, with a "face" of it, who sadly, was killed by something that couldn't be cured. Also, bare in mind that there are holes in what I know about her particular case. Any corrections, if they are correct, are welcome. Also, yes, I am kind of getting a bit John Oliver on this at times. Complete with metaphors and visual imagery. ( Heavy Stuff, You've been warnedCollapse ) Rest In Love, Katherine Anne "Enagi" "Dorian Hatchet" "Kath" "Tuafafine" "Katherine Bear" "Mussaver" "Kather-Anne" Peacock! (1983-2016) "And Peace Like a River Will Run Through The City."
Me, a Raccoon Mage? Thank *Koge, and all that! 'Tis to nightshirts what the Kigurumi is to onesies! Well, it's been some time, but I thought you'd like to see my new outfit. Well, it's inspired by the distinct sleepwear worn by Misha and Shia in Pita-Ten, by *Koge Donbo (yes, she has an asterisk as part of her name. It's better than having an unpronounceable symbol as a name, no?) But in this case it's two gown/nightshirt like layers, what I call the "Infit" and the "Outfit." To make things original, I added the star symbol. Nope, don't know what it means. Also, the Outfit has....pockets. With clasps. Also, I created a character based on the costume (usually it's done the other way around) named Ievai, he's a Raccoon Mage with a bit of tragedy in his life. His "background" story is available on both Fictionpress and DeviantArt.
Seriously, you don't get easier than this. Buying cereal teams up with the internet to fight hunger in your city.
General Mills has partnered with Feeding America (the network of local food banks throughout the USA) in a mission called Outnumber Hunger. It works like this: for every code you enter off the back of a participating cereal box, General Mills will donate $0.65 to your local food bank (or the food bank in any zip code you want, really).
You get to eat your favorite General Mills cereal, and you get to help people in your community not starve. Everybody wins.
A poem of mine.... I thought I'd do something different here. I don't normally post much of my poetry here....but, here's a poem.
The Lobster House is Empty The place was called "Desjardins", but only weeds grow here, There's a couple of places full of wasted paper, and empty bottles of beer, A sign advertises "lobster", in the two ways which we speak, But the future of this boarded building looks nothing but bleak.
This place was once a restaurant, where one could eat seafood, But now the place is deserted, and has a somber mood, There's posters where the windows were, that advertise things past, And one wonders just how long, that tired structure will last.
Spitting distance from Concordia, it must have lost the battle, For the world of bars and restaurants and eateries, can be quite cut-throat, The successful places draw in crowds, which file in like cattle, The less successful places will sink into history, like that rather infamous boat!
The place looks very run down, And a relic of the old town, And desolation is all that is now found.
The gardens are covered in weeds, And the building, refurbishing needs, It's the only thing there to gone to seed.
The once proud restaurant's a shell, a hole, Go elsewhere for your lobster and sole! ~Ra'akone
Today, Congress holds hearings on the first American Internet censorship system.
This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. [Learn more here.]
Do you support this bill?
From what I hear, this law goes against some American fundamental principles, especially the one-sided manner in which sites can be shut down (seems un-Constitutional) The problem is, I can't do anything about it as I'm outside Canada, but any American friends, make some noise to your members of Congress. Who are they going to serve, the people, or a few "special interests"? Do we want the US, and (due to its place as the backbone of the Internet) the world to be under the same system that China, Iran, and Syria use?
I hope this bill dies on the floor. And ideally it should be printed out on toilet paper, that's how I feel about that law!
I'm Sorry..... I'm sorry that I bought you roses to tell you that I like you
I'm sorry That I was raised with respect not to sleep with you when you were drunk
I'm sorry That my body's not ripped enough to "satisfy" your wants
I'm sorry that I open your car door, and pull out your chair like I was raised
I'm sorry That I'm not cute enough to be "your guy"
I'm sorry That I am actually nice; not a jerk
I'm sorry I don't have a huge bank account to buy you expensive things
I'm sorry I like to spend quality nights at home cuddling with you, instead of at a club
I'm sorry I would rather make love to you then just screw you like some random guy.
I'm sorry That I am always the one you need to talk to, but never good enough to date
I'm sorry That I always held your hair back when you threw up, and didn't get mad at you for puking in my car, but when we went out you went home with another guy
I'm sorry That I am there to pick you up at 4am when your new man hit you and dropped you off in the middle of nowhere, but not good enough to listen to me when I need a friend
I'm sorry If I start not being there because it hurts being used as a door mat, only to be thrown to the side when the new jerk comes around
I'm sorry If I don't answer my phone anymore when you call, to listen to you cry for hours, instead of getting a couple hours of sleep before work
I'm sorry that you can't realize.. I've been the one all along.
I'm sorry If you read this and know somebody like this but don't care
But most of all
I'm sorry For not being sorry anymore
I'm sorry That you can't accept me for who I am
I'm sorry I can never do anything right, and nothing that I do is good enough to make it in your world.
I'm sorry I caught your boyfriend with another girl and told you about it, I thought that was what friends were for...
I'm sorry That I told you I loved you and actually meant it.
I'm sorry That I talked to you for nine hours on Thanksgiving when your boyfriend was threatening you instead of spending time with my family.
I'm sorry That I cared
I'm sorry that I listen to you at night talking about how you wish you could have done something different.
I'm sorry That I let you speak when you wanted, when I had so much that I wanted to say.
Ladies always complain and gripe to their friends that there is never any good guys out there, and they always end up with assholes who mistreat them. Well ladies, next time you're complaining, maybe look up to see who you're complaining to, maybe that special someone is right there hanging on your every word as usual, screaming in his head "Why won't you give me a chance?" Because the person you are usually searching for is right by you.
If you're a guy and you agree with this letter, copy and paste into your profile as 'I'm sorry'
If You're one of the FEW girls with enough guts to copy and paste this into your profile, and you would never make your guy feel this way, copy and paste into your profile as 'Girls Don't Realize These Things'.
A boy in a Blue Gown, a man in a Blue Phonebooth! Well, hope everyone is fine. Anyways, been watching a lot of two shows lately. Try to guess what they are? (ok, if you've been talking to me, you know) One of them involves a blonde-haired boy who wears a blue sleeveless dress or gown, and has.....powers. He is also from another world, and not human, despite looking it. The other is about a man who currently has brown hair, and lives in a blue telephone booth, that has.....powers. He is also from another world, and not human, despite looking it. And those two shows are from different countries, but both ones where cars drive on the left.
Ok, go to http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/rape-victim-inviting-so-no-jail--rape-victim-inviting-so-no-jail-116801578.html
The gist of it is....this judge, Robert Dewar, ruled a rapist "not so guilty" because supposedly the women were sending messages that they wanted it through skimpy clothing and "suggestive behavior." Say what? So the man just gets a two year "conditional sentence" (that is to say "probation") for being a "clumsy Don Juan" (in the judge's words, no less).
The judge is an idiot...and a pig. Opening a can of worms there...what, will any girl or woman wearing less than a burqa suddenly be "fair game?" What next, will there be "suggestive colors" that become a "Get out of Jail Free" card to these guys? The man's stuck in a time-warp, he should be relieved of his judicial robe.I hope there's an appeal of the case, and I hope the judge's idiotic decision is tossed out. Not to mention that the details of his "decision" indicate clearly biased and narrow-minded thinking...such as the possibility that the girls would be skinny-dipping meaning that they also "wanted it"....Your Honor, here's an interesting concept, "nudity does not equal sex"....if there's some kind of removal or recall mechanism, I hope it's sicced on that judge!
This is BEYOND funny! It's so silly. Ok, I was lucky enough to be in the UK in May for the first time ever in my life, and thus experience Eurovision! *laughs* Spain and Latvia have the two of the funniest entries!
Oddball crossover fanfic challenge.... Ok. An online friend is going to try a strange request I have. Here's the request, in case any of you feel up to it....it has to have...a)Tam and Rit, the faeries from the "Rod Land" game.. b)at least one Dalek (salt-shaker shaped robot thingies from Dr. Who)...and c)take place...somewhere else (although anywhere...the world of any book, game, anime, etc.)
Concert misdirection! And....Dignity? What dignity? Ok. Website gave wrong directions, I missed a Telefauna concert yesterday. In-fucking-credible. Because the website gave the wrong address. At least I was walking with a friend. Otherwise I would have gone ballistic.
And then.....today, someone who was an online friend....starts making comments about how my art and my stories are immature, that I don't look at things the right way, that....oh, my style isn't even good enough for a 13 year old. I tell her I'm trying to improve, not good enough. Should I just stop drawing? HELL NO! She also says Deviant Art is for 13 year olds and retards.
But this is some of what she told me the last time we talked.....my only mercy is that I'm calling her "Y" And I am improving my art, I guess just not enough for her.
Y says: It's like a WoWnerd still living in his mother's basement and never getting out. Sure people can play WoW, but don't take it too far an too seriously Y says: I showed your stuff to my mother once, she said that you probably are a bit retarded as in real deficiency Y says: I'm not telling you to be normal either, just have some goddamn dignity man!
So what does she mean? Define "dignity" here. Should I follow some narrow-minded view? Dignity is open to interpretation!
But still, the week before she was even doing fan art of my characters. Now, well, she says she's been bottling up her feelings before, and that she cringes when she sees my stuff.
And no, Deviant Art is NOT run by 13 year old retards.
Rejected, twice, recently! Ok, well, I've gotten a message in okcupid. The girl I dated last week said I'm not her type. Fine. Another girl said a couple of weeks before she already found someone. No problem. I'm doing my best not to get attached. But... I do want to have something resembling luck.