August '4

8/31

I guess it's been a busy week.

The sleepy 46 offered a bit of excitement Saturday when a wild-eyed man pedaled out of a parking lot in St. Paul clutching a purse and some clothes. I heard shouting and saw a woman running to a truck in the lot. The bicycler thief was long gone the other way. Of course, I may have completely projected that scenario onto completely unrelated or innocent events out of sheer boredom.

There were a surprising number of drunks on that bus, too. One drunk lady, who gave me an impressive list of -itises with which she's afflicted, called her boyfriend by her old boyfriend's name. He took it pretty well, I thought.

Sunday, I picked up one of the developmentally disabled twins who ride the 17. One of them goes to the back and (I think) stays quiet. The other one calls me buddy and stays up front and repeats the names of streets when I call them. He also says goodbye to people as they get off the bus. Both of those guys are very polite and friendly. The one who likes to call streets was with me Sunday.

When he got on, I acknowledged him and asked him if he's been on the train. (He has and he loves it.) For a while, he greeted people and called some streets with me. Then I was a bit surprised when I thought I heard "bitch!" come out of his mouth. Then I heard it again, "bitch." He said it in a drawn out way, ending it like a question. Other words followed. "Fat pig... ass... bitch!" Sometimes it was loud, sometimes not very. I finally looked over and saw that he was wearing headphones. He had a Walkman. Ah. So dude discovered Eminem or 50 Cent or whoever the flava of the week might be. After a few more minutes, my curiosity was killing me, so I asked him what he was listening to. Oh yes, I was very close. He was listening to 102.9, a.k.a. The Lite FM. So... Tourette's?

I found this story by way of Bob Mould's blog. It's a pretty amusing story, except for the predictable-yet-still-troubling part about a Warner Brothers employee touting a band on their label as "indie." For my mom and aunt: Um, see, "indie" is short for "independent," referring to record labels, which Warner Brothers absolutely isn't. It's a fine example of the co-opting of a perfectly good word (good for a couple years anyway, sometime in the mid-nineties?) by The Man.

This just in, thanks to Mark: On NBC's Today Show, Laura Bush said that her husband is "more serious" than he was four years ago. OK, so that explains all the delightful whimsy of the last few years. As soon as Kerry fails to get elected out of sheer asshattery, we'll be able to see what a "serious" W will do. That should be even more fun. Are there any other despots out there who "tried to kill [his] daddy?"

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8/25

Kassie closed on her condo today. The last two days have been fairly condo-intensive. Yesterday we visited electronics, hardware and furniture stores. We spent today at the condo. Her dad came over and we got everything ready to paint. He and Kassie painted the bedroom ceilings while Mollie and I went to Weight Watchers (I somehow lost weight this week). Her brother Pete and his girlfriend Mel came over and we finished laying down and putting up plastic. Hard to believe that the first things off the wall were these:

I'll be back on a bus tomorrow. I've had ten of the last eleven days off. It's been a nice break.

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8/25

Oh, and I almost forgot. I was able to grab underceej.com, not that it really matters now...

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8/25

Those of you who have spent more than ten minutes with me in person have probably seen me chow on Rolaids by the handful. Sometime in the last several years, I think while I was in grad school, I added Pepcid AC to the mix. That eventually became a two-a-day habit. The main reason for my visit to Dr. Jellyfinger last month was the state of my stomach. He prescribed Prilosec OTC (yes, that stands for over the counter, but my insurance covers it).

I'm not exaggerating or being melodramatic when I say that my life is completely different now. That stuff is amazing. And apparently, it's in short supply. I had no idea. Kassie and I were running errands yesterday and I couldn't find any. Finally, a pharmacist told me that supplies are limited and that I should buy whatever I could find. I found three boxes of 42 and bought two of them. I'm kind of hoping that in three months I'll have lost enough weight that the heartburn won't be an issue. We'll see.

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8/24

It's about 8:00 in the morning and I just got home from picking my work. Starting September 11, I'll have Sundays and Mondays off. I've been waiting for those days off since I went full-time. I'm pretty stoked. The work isn't too horrible. I do have one late night; I'm out on the 18 until 1:00 in the morning on Tuesdays. But the other four days average to approximately 11:45 AM - 7:50 PM, which is very close to where I want to be.

I have to go back to bed now.

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8/23

So W finally suggested that maybe, perhaps, the Swift Boat ad and others like it should be stopped. Huh. Way to go, George. But it looks like the bitter wingnuts behind the smear have no intention of stopping now...

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8/23

I called in sick Thursday night so I've been keeping a low profile.

In other news, Angie and Corey () got married Saturday! Congratulations to them!

My Sioux City correspondent sent the following photos from the weekend. Who is that man and where did he get that hair?

I have to get up early tomorrow morning and pick my work for the next, uh, pick. I don't think it's going to look as nice as it did for me this summer. I think I got very lucky this pick. We'll see, though.

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8/19

I'm home from Wausau. I had a nice little trip.

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8/15

I just got home from Jared's birthday celebration at the Loring Pasta Bar. It's a beautiful night and we were outside on the sidewalk. I think Jared said he turns 25 tomorrow.

I had to miss the big scooter ride yesterday, but I took today off work and went on a smaller ride in St. Paul. Someone said there were about 175 scooters on the ride yesterday. Today there were probably about 40. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Here are a couple of my favorite scooters that were out today. The first one, a Stella, has gotten some press; I think it's obvious why. The second is a lovely Lambretta.

So are you sick of my scooter fixation yet?

I've mentioned the Go-To cards. They're a new form of payment for the bus and they aren't working properly yet. The machine that reads them looks kind of like a blue football. Sometimes, one will act like it's going to work and do some of the preliminary beeps that let me know it's working. Then, sometimes, it'll beep a couple times and this message shows up:

Out of Service
INVALID EMPLOYEE ID

When it's nice outside, I turn off the bus at my layovers. Every time I start it again, everything reboots and I hear all the beeps and get the message.

The other day on the 18, I picked up a couple guys at one of the southernmost stops after my layover. The Go-To system beeped. One of the guys said, "I'll get it for ya! I know what that beep means!" I was pretty curious about what he might do to fix the problem. He walked across the aisle and shut a window.

Yesterday, Kassie rode the 46 over to Highland Village. As we approached the Ford Plant, I saw a guy lying in the street, with his head propped up on his arm on the curb. I said, "Hey, check this guy out!" assuming that he was drunk. I don't get much of that on the 46. But as he got up, I recognized him. It was Kassie's lucky day. She got to meet the Daff! He was headed over to Half Price Books. We didn't get to talk much.

I'm heading to Wausau tomorrow to see my grandparents and my cousins, so no updates for a couple days. I'm sure you'll live.

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8/14

It's 2:00 AM, 56 degrees and I just got in from a scooter ride. It was part of Skoöter Dü, the scooter rally hosted by the Regulars, the Minneapolis scooter club. That was my first group ride and it was most excellent. There were (I have no idea) 40 or 50 scooters, all in a big pack. We rode for about an hour. Here's what it looked like outside Elsie's, where we met. (The picture's a big one...)

I put new seats on my scooter today. I did one before work and one after work, which is why the second picture was taken in the dark. The first picture is of the old seat.

I need to get some sleep.

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8/11

I had this really bad dream that some of my friends were bickering and things got kind of ugly...

Actually I did have a nightmare last night that involved a guy who rides the bus. He has a minor deformity or maybe he's had reconstructive surgery. One of his eyes is kind of messed up and it's always watery/mucousy. I dreamt that Kassie and I were walking around Lake Harriet at night and he came from out of the shadows and walked at us purposefully, like a zombie. I intercepted him and I felt his watery eye on my face. I woke up with a huge gasp.

Amanda's in town! We picked up Kassie at work and went to dinner. We're very photogenic.

I talked to my cousin Todd in Wausau (WI) this evening. Looks like I'm going to go to a Packers game at Lambeau Field next Monday night. It is true that it's the preseason and I am no Packer fan. But they're playing the Seahawks, who used to be my third favorite team, and did I mention that it's at Lambeau? I'm really looking forward to that.

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8/10

Ha ha! This is awesome! I'm sure it's too obvious to suggest that putting some on a hot dog counts as a full serving of vegetables. So I won't. Of course, it reminded me of this. Excellent.

I rode my scooter to see Tina at work. That means I went over the Mendota Bridge. (Or see it here on a postcard.) My brother and my girlfriend might want to stop reading here. My new top speed is 60. I took a different way home, though. It's kind of windy out there and one time over that bridge was enough.

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8/10

12:27 am.

I can't get enough of this A.C. Newman record. I'm listening to it for the third time today and it ran through my head all day at work. I have a lot of new CDs that I bought and have listened to once or twice. Minnesota law says I can't listen to music while I'm driving. Oh, how The Man keeps me down. But it does make me miss Cambus, where I went through two portable stereos.

I drove the 17 and the 4 today (Monday). Driver Groupie rode with me again. It's become an almost-daily occurrence, but she doesn't stay on long, so it's fine. Yesterday she told me that she was on the infamous 5 last week and a driver walked off the bus and away from his job. She talked to Control on the radio when they realized that the bus wasn't moving and called it.

An elderly lady was wearing a hat that said Mark's Daddy on it. I don't think so...

I got a phone call from Jay Eidsness today. I went to the University of Sioux Falls College with him and I roomed with his cousin Eric for a while. Jay was calling to invite me to the athletic reunion at homecoming this year. Yes, me. Yes, athletic. ha ha! You've seen the pictures, right? Um, I joined the cross country team its first year, when it was a club sport. I didn't have to wear any short shorts. The end-of-the-year 10K in Omaha also marked the end of my athletic career. I had the worst headache of my life afterward and that's when I went to the chiropractor for the first time. He showed me x-rays and told me to quit running. That kind of explained all the headaches I had in high school when I ran cross country for two years.

For what it's worth, I also got something in the mail for the fine arts reunion, which is at the same time as the athletic reunion, but no one's called for that one yet.

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8/9

Oh yeah, and there's something else I keep forgetting to mention. This month's Harper's features a forum with some progressive thinkers including Ralph Nader, Kevin Phillips and Ron D. Daniels, who had this to say:

Americans really feel that they have the best standard of living in the world. They don't, but they don't know they don't. Virtually every nation in Western Europe has universal health care. In Sweden, Norway, and Holland, the social benefits are so generous that poverty has been practically eliminated. Wages in most European countries now outpace wages in the United States.

To reiterate, I'm sure:
I don't love the United States. For people who don't subscribe to the conservative, black-and-white, "with us or against us" school of thought, it's obvious that I can also, at the same time, not hate America. I don't hate America. I just happen to think that, as the richest country in the universe, we could do a lot better for ourselves.

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8/9

I suspect that I have angered the mighty and capricious gods of transit. It was supposed to storm yesterday. I think the transit deities heard me wish aloud that it would, and called in a favor from the weather gods. The rain never came and I got nailed with the elderly and an assortment of people requiring the lift to board the bus. Ah yes, the transit gods sure taught me a lesson. Never again will I hope for weather that might keep riders off their buses.

It was Uptown Art Fair time and I lost a couple layovers as a result. So I was a tired, hungry, big baby yesterday. I came home and ate and watched Fletch with Kassie. That cheered me right up.

The other day an elderly guy got on the 46 and wanted to know if I went downtown. I told him that I didn't, but I could take him to a bus that would. Then he said he needed to get to a pharmacy in Bloomington. From the 46, Bloomington is the opposite direction from downtown. Then he saw a plane and shouted, "Wow! Look at the size of that thing!" We saw a couple more planes and he had the same reaction. The funny thing is that they weren't big planes, like 747s; they were smallish, probably DC-9s. So between asking about downtown and the amazement with the planes, I was a little concerned about that guy. I asked him a couple more times about where he was going. He stuck to the pharmacy in Bloomington story, so I dropped him off at Nicollet where he could catch the 18 headed south.

I keep forgetting to mention the infidel cowboy. When I mention that I'm expecting a flurry of emails from somewhere near Omaha, usually after I mention what a disaster W is, this is who sends them. From reading what he has to say so far, and seeing that he seems to have fallen in with a bad crowd, you'd never know that we actually agree on quite a bit. Hopefully, we'll see some of that on there one of these days...

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8/5

For the first time ever, this evening I unbuckled my seat belt in anticipation of scrapping with a passenger. Young guy, gangsta wannabe, had two very expired transfers. I reminded him that it cost $1.25 to ride and he got hostile. He assumed a threatening position and I told him to get the hell off my bus. Then, when he really got ready to fight, I told him to smile for the camera. Thankfully, his friend came up and pushed him off the bus.

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8/5

I did not walk around hungry this week and I still managed to lose some weight. Yeah, 5.2 lbs this week, baby. I'm a little happier about that whole Weight Watchers thing this week. (And yes, I know eventually, 2 lbs/week will be good...)

Last night Howie (the current cellar dweller at my parents' house), Kassie and I went to the Triple Rock Social Club to see some music. The Neins, Rogue Wave and A.C. Newman (L to R below) all played excellent sets. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

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8/3

Kassie rode on my scooter this evening. She was pretty sure she'd hate it, but she's still out in the garage sitting on it. I can't get her off it now.


very cute

We saw Mark at the grocery store. So I took a picture.

I can't seem to get the comments to work right, so I'm going to go with the aesthetically less pleasing default setting. I think it works.

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8/3

I got up early today and rode my scooter to Plymouth, where I took and passed my motorcycle road test. I'm pretty happy about that. Now I can legally ride at night and on the freeway and without a helmet and with a passenger. I probably won't do a couple of those things anyway.


This was the scene at the testing station.

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8/2

The Driver Groupie didn't get much sleep last night. She was guarding the door of her and her mother's apartment. She told me that a couple of her neighbors and their friends broke her door down. She called the police. The landlord replaced the door, but he's a very old man and I gather that he isn't too willing to take action against the perpetrators. I really hope the DG is exaggerating.

I drove the 4 this evening. A guy asked me about myself and when I told him I went to the U of Iowa, he asked me if I played football there. Um, I was almost mediocre in 7th grade football. He told me that he played for the Gophers in the mid-'70s and that he had the opportunity to be dragged down the field by Archie Griffin in a very lopsided homecoming game against Ohio State.

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8/1

Check it out. You can leave comments now. I think. Try it and see. And don't forget that my mother reads this. heh.
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July '4