April '4


Someone threw up on my bus on Monday. It was near the front and I have no idea how I didn't hear it hit the floor. I've mentioned my gag reflex before. I'm happy to report that I was able to throw a newspaper over the top of it and I didn't gag at all. But I'm gagging right now as I write this...

I went on a date last night. I had a most excellent time. She reads this and she has a blog. We sort of talked about how it's weird to write about this kind of thing online, knowing that the other person will read it. I'll leave it at that. For now.

I'm still trying to get back into the writing mood. It'll come.


We got our bribes bonus checks for agreeing to the new contract today. After taxes, the $1100 became $641.85. Surprisingly enough, some folks seemed to be surprised that they were taxed so heavily. I'm kind of hoping that my Stella can be repaired for $641.85 or less.

Speaking of, I decided to mourn the crash this evening with an appropriate chilled adult beverage. The pic is a thumbnail, click for a larger image...

I bought a new camera and I'm still trying to figure out how everything works. It's small enough that I can keep it with me and I might be able to keep the awful pics from my camera to a minimum.

I just finished working eight days in a row. I'm pretty tired. Good thing I'm still enjoying it.

I've seen Oz, the Daff, Driver Groupie and a lot of other riders whom I was happy to see. The Daff wants to hear all about the contract. Oz has been sober for four months. Driver Groupie seems to be just fine.

All in all, though, it's been pretty quiet out there.


I suppose that, given the questions I've gotten, I should clarify that the wheelie was completely unintentional. I learned a valuable and probably expensive lesson. Until I'm completely comfortable on that thing, no riding when I'm super tired.


I don't feel like writing. I think this will pretty much explain everything. The good thing is, I'll laugh about this in a year...


It's almost the end of the day and I should wish a happy birthday to my friend Jamie, my ex-girlfriend Aimee and my cousin Todd. I think Jamie is the only one of those people who looks at this thing anymore. And if it worked out, Kevin and I were going to go to Sioux Falls yesterday to see Ben Folds with my friend Mike for his birthday. So I think this must be a belated birthday to him, too. I can't remember for sure which day is his birthday. Of course, I stayed here and drove the 21.

So after an uneventful evening, I was at a stoplight at Hennepin and Lagoon, essentially out of service and ready to head back to the garage. Three frat-boy types were crossing in front of me and one of them looked at me and yelled, "Did you get your [welfare?] check yet? F*ckin' Democrat!"

ha. I'm registered to vote as absolutely nothing, not even independent. I do not call myself a Democrat. I guess if I had a gun to my head with the order to chose one of the two main losers we'll have to chose from in November, I'd vote for Kerry before I'd vote for W. In Smart Guy's defense, it's true that I do tend to vote Democrat in local and statewide elections. But that's not saying much. I also write in all my friends, a tradition inspired by the first time I voted. It might have been for school board, and I wrote in my high school guidance counselor. Hard Rockin' Don B. has gotten a vote from me every time I've voted since I was 18. Not to be morbid, but the last couple of times I've wondered if I'm voting for a dead guy.

I have ten-and-a-half hours on the 17 tomorrow. It's going to be a very long day.


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the golfing went pretty well, considering it was my first time out this year. My score was miserable, but I'm getting the ball into the air when I want to. I gave up playing near the end of last season because I was topping the ball every time I swung at it.

After I got done, I ordered 3500 layoffs at my company so its stock would go up a few dollars.


I drove the 17 for a while yesterday, then I was on call for a little while. I felt much better than I did Monday when I had a headache.

I guess I have a bunch of random thoughts:

I was sort of expecting to get some negative comments from riders these first couple of days back on the job. So far, all I've gotten are the "welcome back" and "good to see you" kinds of comments. Of course, a few of the 21 riders looked pretty mad, but that's par for the course.

One thing I noticed was that I had forgotten how much I have to pay attention to a lot of things while I'm driving a bus. There is so much happening on Lake Street that it was a bit overwhelming at first.

I had a bus driver anxiety dream Sunday night. I was lost.

Someone yelled my name in Uptown when I was driving the 21. I had no idea who it was until today when Oz called me. (It was him, of course.) He's in treatment and he's been sober for four months now. He sounded pretty good. He's about to get his GED so he can get a job. I'll probably help him out again financially when he needs to try to find a place to stay.

Today as I approached Franklin Avenue while heading north on Nicollet Avenue, I got a text message on my radio to watch for a large hole in the street while traveling northbound on Nicollet at Franklin Avenue. I processed the message and looked down just in time to see the hole.

My coworkers who voted against the contract are a very vocal bunch. They're pretty angry. It's not that I can't see their points; I agree with what they're saying. But I just decided that it's pretty tough to live to fight another day if we're not alive...

I saw a pretty bad accident scene today. Someone, somewhere was wondering where their Pizza Hut pizza was.

And now for the (sort of) bad news:

As soon as I walked into the garage Monday afternoon, I got called in to my manager's office.

She showed me an email that she got from someone (maybe a street supervisor?) regarding the photos section of this site. Whoever wrote that email was, uh, kind of uptight about it, wondering if I could be written up (with a violation), etc. etc. etc.

Fortunately, my manager is not so uptight. I told her that some of the pictures were indeed taken while I was moving, but that I basically picked up my camera and pointed, hoping to get lucky. (I've got a lot of pictures of nothing.) My rationale is that it's not at all any less safe than talking on the radio (the headset is like an old telephone) while driving, which we have to do all the time. She agreed that safety is not as much of an issue, but that even though they had not received any customer complaints, there might be a perception issue. So the complaints seem to be internal. Typical. But she has a point. And she asked me (very nicely) not to take any more pictures from the bus. So I won't. Sorry 'bout that. Mark and I had a conversation about this very topic when that article went out in Pulse. So I sort of expected that it might happen sooner or later.

I just put up what I think are the last of the photos, so enjoy them, I guess.


Happy Birthday, Corey! I have a very cool brother. It's his 32nd birthday today.

Corey- left, my nose and neck- right

I just got home from work. It was fun to get back on the road. I have several things to write, but I'm going to get up early to go golfing with Eric and Wyatt, so it'll have to wait.


Tria was really slow this evening, so I got to leave pretty early. We got a lot of rain tonight. I pretty much hydroplaned home. Actually, ever since I did a full 360° in Kansas City after I hit a puddle on the highway, I've been a little skittish on wet roads. And I need new tires.

Anyway, I'm not sure what to think about being told by a little guy who goes by "chef" that I can't stand outside under an overhang when it's raining because it's "not safe."

I'll be driving the 21 tomorrow. I'm actually really looking forward to it. For one thing, when I'm driving a bus, no one in a funny hat condescendingly orders me around with nonsensical commands. (At least the traffic cops follow the stoplights...)


I talked to my manager yesterday. She asked me if I was coming back to work. I knew that some people would retire and others would find another job, but I was still sort of taken aback by the question.

As a result of people leaving, I'll move up in seniority. I'm curious to see how much, and if it's noticeable the next time I pick days off.

Our weeks run Saturday-Friday. We start driving again Monday. My manager told me that I have yesterday and today off, then I'll work Monday-Friday for this week. Uh, OK. Whatever. I can't think of a better way to do it, but still...


I'm not on strike anymore.

We approved the latest contract offer 72% to 28%. It's not a particularly good contract by any stretch of the imagination. But it's better than the ones we voted down.

I suppose I should have something else to say, but I really don't right now. I just got home from Tria and I'm pretty tired.

Oh, I guess one thing comes to mind after all. Governor Tim Pawlenty can kiss my ass.

When I got to Tria this afternoon, the power was out. After I was there a while, nature called, so I took a candle downstairs where the employee restroom is. It was really dark and very quiet down there. I was about fifteen feet from the restroom door when the silence was destroyed with pounding and shouting. It scared the jebus out of me. It took me a second to realize that the racket was coming from the men's room.

One of the stewards (what the dish guys are called) was somehow stuck in the restroom. I have no idea how he got stuck. The door worked just fine for me. But what I really don't know is how he managed to go to the bathroom without any trace of light.


We vote on the contract tonight and tomorrow. I'm working tonight, so I'll have to vote tomorrow.


I went to the Sprint PCS store today to buy a headset for my phone. I need it to record things from my phone on my computer. (Legally. Relax.) So I'm not going to use it very often, but I think I'll keep it in my truck. I was annoyed because a cheap but decent one, which I ended up buying, has Body Glove written on some plastic that goes over my ear and their logo is on the mouthpiece or whatever it's called. Gah. I guess it's for talking on my phone while I'm surfing.

Mark was kind enough to point out this guy at the Sprint PCS store, who was talking on a land line.


Thanks to Cecile, I found this at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.


Metro Transit union leaders late Tuesday suspended plans to have their members vote on a proposed contract agreement because of what they said was inaccurate and incomplete information sent to them after the deal was struck.

“We’ve run into this with the company before and we’re not playing the game,” said Michelle Sommers, vice president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005. “They have to give us the proper information. We have to bring the proper information to our members.”



I know very little about the contract offer, but what we heard on the picket line tonight didn't sound very positive. I suspect there's a decent chance that we'll vote this offer down. Argh.

I hung out with Than for much of the day. He interviewed me for a paper he's writing for a class at the U, then he wanted to spend some time on the picket line. He actually stuck around quite a bit longer than I thought he might. And by that I mean that I was surprised that he stayed as long as he did, not that I wanted him to leave. Sheesh. It was kind of fun out there today.

on the picket line this afternoon

Yeah, it's a joke. For an explanation, try here and here (check out #7).


Strike news: A tentative settlement has been reached. I'm sure I'll write about it when I know something...


Ah, well, all good things must come to an end, I guess. I'm a little late on this, and I've only seen about a dozen of them, but I already miss Home Movies. That was one excellent show. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some DVDs.

Home Movies, R.I.P. (for now?)


Happy Easter. The grocery stores are closed. In related news, I finally tried a Chinese restaurant near my house and it's pretty good.

Easter's a big day for restaurants. Simon and I were both scheduled to work today at Tria. I was dreading it; I thought we'd get run into the ground. However, due to a lack of walk-ins, it just wasn't very busy. When it was time for one of us to go home, Simon volunteered to stay. Thanks, Simon!

Last night at Tria, I saw a year-old (or so) baby watching a DVD on a portable player at a table. I'm just sayin'...

Strike talks tomorrow. I really hope something gets accomplished.


Strike news: Talks are scheduled for Monday. Apparently, Timmy P. met with our union people Wednesday. Blah, blah, blah.

Hey, it's been a few days since I put up a photo of a baby. This is Paul and Jolana's daughter Hannah. I watched her for a little while today while Paul went to a business meeting. It was pretty fun. We read some books, went outside to visit the barking dogs and broke out the noisy toys. But the shoe box with tissue paper in it proved to be the most fun thing around.

This is fascinating. And sad.


Good, pretty much expected, news on the House transportation funding bill.

I heard a couple of rumors on the picket line last evening that may be good news for us. I don't really have my hopes up too much, though.


Looks like W is a uniter, after all...


I read this before I went to sleep last night, but I was kind of hoping it was, um, a typo or something:

"Meanwhile at the Capitol, in debate about the omnibus transportation funding bill, House Republicans voted in favor of an amendment that would turn the transit system over to private business."

It's from this article in the Star Trib.

That should read "turn the transit system back over to private business." Private business already had their shot at it and failed miserably. That's ultimately how the Met Council ended up running things.

But then again, maybe a company with a lot of experience will do it better. Bah. This is getting silly.

Hey, check this out. That's my dad. It's an mp3 and I'm hoping it works. I might eventually figure out a better way to get that up here, but I have things to do this afternoon. (audio © WCCO Radio 2004)


Jim Jeffries has an excellent post up right now on his blog. It's not like he has anything written there that you shouldn't read, of course.

There was a rally today at Park Avenue United Methodist. My parents were there (thanks again, M&D) but I was busy...

Kevin got us free tickets to the Timberwolves game.
Sixteenth row- not bad at all!
The T-Wolves won; Sam Cassell had a great day.

It was good to see Kev. The folks in Blaine! might want to check their water. He and Holly were recently a bit surprised to find out that they're expecting another baby. It has given Kevin a completely different outlook on life, specifically on having one's life "under control." I am just pleased that good, stable people are going to bring another child into the world.

Then this evening I met Wyatt, Tina, Ben, and Nora in Mendota Heights to watch the Gopher women's basketball game. They lost, but they hung in there. And UConn is really good.

In other sporting news, Zach Johnson won the BellSouth Classic. That doubles as friend-of-friends news.

More news from the world of sports here, here and here.

I'm done screwing around now.

It dawned on me this week that I could pack up and move to Oregon right now. Of course, I'll stick out the strike and wait to see what the contract looks like. There's very little chance that I'll go, but I had sort of planned to move there after grad school. And TriMet is hiring.


Well, it looks like bold visionaries Petey B. and Timmy P. had the foresight and compassion to keep us out of harm's way by forcing the strike. In light of this story, I assume the strike will go into autumn. And here I've been disparaging their efforts as "short-sighted" and "lacking a certain awareness." I was wrong. Thanks, guys!


Maybe if the Met Council gets another extension for Light Rail, we'll be able to go back to work.

Tria got written up in the paper. (name: transit, password: librarian- if you need it) The review isn't too bad, but the guy apparently didn't realize that he was ordering from the winter menu. And that its "sister restaurants" are upscale, unlike Tria. Listen to me, getting all defensive. But they've been very good to me. Mark, the GM, told me he could find work for me around there if I needed any extra hours. I don't, as I'm as busy as I need to be, but I really appreciated him asking.

I had a good night at Tria tonight. My fellow assistant waiter Simon is back, so I didn't have to kill myself trying to keep up with the tables. I really like that guy. He's a sophomore in high school. I asked him if he's taking the basic college-prep classes and if he's planning to go to college. He said his parents are pretty sure he's going, but that he really loves restaurants and he's not 100% sold on the idea of college. I have never regretted getting my degrees, because I believe in the big-picture value of a liberal arts education. But it never even crossed my mind not to go. I just think it's kind of cool that a smart guy like him is considering something else.

Hey, pretty soon it will be 4:44 on 4/4/4. Are you ready for all the emails and excitement about that? As I said last year around 3:33 on 3/3/3, I'm just looking forward to the end of the world (6/6/6).

I didn't think I was stressed out about this strike. I haven't been waking up in the middle of the night unable to sleep and I haven't had, uh, gastrointestinal issues, my usual symptoms of too much stress. But a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I haven't been keeping up with new music so far this year and that I haven't really wanted to. I have been listening almost exclusively to my comfort music: The Three O'Clock, The Suburbs, REM's first few records, Hüsker Dü, Elvis Costello, The English Beat, The Replacements, The Specials, classical on the car radio. It's safe to say that I'm pretty glad my stress will result in a lamer-than-usual end-of-the-year list and not a series of sleep-deprived trips to the bathroom.


March '4