February '5


It's just about midnight, and somewhere in the lost time shadows between 11:59:59 and 12:00:00, Nora will have her birthday. We celebrated this evening. Take a look at the coolest guys in attendance...

p.s. check this out... ha ha ha!



Here's the verbatim approximation of something I found on my bus yesterday (I added the numbers):

K*** A*** B******
1. Faviort color: ____ Mine is
orang & yellow
2. Faviort: song ____ Mine is
how we do
3. Faviort game: ____ mine is don't know name
4. Faviort: male pop star person: ____ Mine is 50 cent
5. faviort girl pop star person: ____ mine is
6. you go to ____ school I go to
7. Your faviort store is ____ my faviort stor is
8. your faviort shoes are ____ my faviort shoes are orange K-Swiss
9. you got ____ shoes I got
nikie 20 shoes
10. You would do drugs yes or no
or mayby I would do drugs
yes or
no or mayby
11. your fav tv show is ____ Mine is

I can do that:

C********** J** C***
1. blue and green
2. currently, "You're So Clever" by The Orange Peels
3. Scrabble, or is it...
The Dumb Game?
4. AC Newman or Jason Falkner
5. Eleni Mandell
6. I don't go to school anymore,
except that I go to the U of M to pick up Kassie sometimes
7. The Apple Store or The Electric Fetus
8. Converse Chuck Taylors (black)
9. see #8
10. I avoid painkillers for my headaches, but I like beer
11. Family Guy

Your turn.



I had kind of a rough day on the 2 today. I couldn't get caught up for all kinds of reasons.

But this is definitely one of the most interesting items anyone's ever left on my bus...



A bus with no advertising on the side is like the Vikings with no Randy Moss. Incomplete. Um, or something like that... It makes me sad, but Moss was born to be a Raider.



I got pulled over by the cops today. I was driving the 18.

They were Minneapolis, not Transit, cops, sitting on a side street. They flashed their spotlight on me as I passed them. I slowed, but they didn't seem to be too interested, so I kept going. They pulled out, got right behind me, and put on their lights. So I stopped.

One cop got on the bus... and walked right by me. He put his hand on his gun and said, "Let me see your hands!" He was talking to the guy who I'd just picked up. The guy put his hands in the air, stood up and went out the back door with the cop. They cuffed him as we pulled away.

In the Oops, Wrong Shirt Department: young Latino guy wearing LADY WARRIORS VOLLEYBALL hoodie, N. GIPP on the back.

I saw a Mercedes SUV with license plate KASSAB today. It was parked at Nicollet and Groveland. I laughed out loud when I saw it. (Read Operator 2165's story to find out why...)

I also laughed out loud when I noticed that the windows at General J's Military Surplus don't say GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE anymore. The GOING OUT OF has been scraped off and now the windows just say BUSINESS SALE.

Speaking of signs, a barber shop near Nicollet garage has a sign up in their front window that says [NAME] BANDS GUN'S in little red letters. I realize that I'm a jerk about misspellings and grammatical errors on signs, but in this case, hey, they're barbers. If they had misspelled "hair" or "scissors," I might be inclined to whine. However, I think it's fair to point out that they ought to take a look at the rules for those signs.

I met a guy from China. He asked me if the Hyatt or the Hilton was better. He asked me how many hours I worked. He asked me if I could make a living driving bus. He asked me if it was safe for his wife, daughter and him to walk around downtown at night. (Answers: don't know, approximately 8/day 40/wk, sure, and sure, but keep your eyes open.)

the old FDA building, Hennepin and Washington



I had a busy weekend. But I'm only going to tell you a little bit about it. I have to go to work soon.

#48 Coach Shawn M. came into town Saturday night! I haven't seen him for about eight years. We were buddies at USFC. It was great to get caught up. Here we are:

another quality pic...

Sometimes people on my bus really baffle me. Saturday night, while I was driving the 46, a lady got on my bus at the 46th Street Light Rail Station. She got on just before I left, and said she'd been debating whether or not to get on my bus.

We headed toward St. Paul, and as we got into Highland Village, she said, "Oh! You come over here?!?" She then explained that she really wanted a 23, but that she didn't want to wait. Or something like that. Well, the 23 and the 46 connect at Cleveland and Ford Parkway, which is where we were, so I found out when the next 23 would be there, going the way she wanted. Seven minutes.

But she decided to stay on my bus and ride with me to my terminal in St. Paul, wait ten minutes, then ride with me all the way back to Nicollet, where presumably she would catch an 18 to 38th street.

Seven minutes.



I found out why I didn't have any good work to choose from. A lot of drivers who have been working the extra board picked work. (Quick summary: the extra board drivers cover the work for people who picked a regular schedule, but are sick, didn't show up, are taking a vacation day, etc. I worked the board for about three years. It's fun, but unpredictable.)



I was a little wary of the 2, as I haven't driven it since the U of M started back up. It went quite well; I really had a pleasant day out there. On my last trip west, I drove into a Nightmare at Northrop Auditorium, but I only lost two minutes in all the traffic.

Although Ryan might like this a little more than anyone else, I think everyone can enjoy the placement of the guy with the high voice right before the guy with the low voice in the security video we saw. Click for the clip. (This may or may not work properly. Sorry...)

It's time for me to pick work again. I'm the first to pick tomorrow morning, so I left my choices this evening. Every pick, people grumble about how it's just getting worse and every pick, I fail to see what they're talking about. But I didn't hear the grumbling this time. Maybe everyone's tired of talking about it. However, I took a big step backward this pick. I couldn't pick eight-hour work and get Sundays off. I couldn't even get the sunshine work that I'm getting now. I would have had to be out late or worked splits. I don't know what happened, but it was really ugly. The nine-hour work was all late work. And there are a lot of folks who still have to pick.

So I picked ten-hour work. My schedule looks like this:

Saturday - 11:05 AM-8:45 PM
Sunday - off
Monday - off
Tuesday - 6:49 AM-11:19 AM, 1:51 PM-6:55 PM
Wednesday - 2:15 PM-7:18 PM, 8:15 PM-12:36 AM
Thursday - off
Friday - 6:49 AM-11:19 AM, 1:51 PM-6:55 PM

I'm not terribly excited about it, but I wanted Sundays off so Kassie and I can go to church and see each other. She's pretty busy with work and school. I was able to break up the work and it looks like I can take a nap between work on the early days. It's only from March 12 until June 3...



Driver Groupie rode with me for a little while this evening. I haven't seen her for a few weeks. She has three cell phones now. She's planning to drop two of them and pick up another.

I went into a Cub grocery store at a layover and saw that they had a lot of Prilosec OTC. I asked a pharmacist about it and she said they haven't had any trouble getting their shipments in. I guess I can quit hoarding it now. I have six months' worth in the closet.

A billboard at Lake and Lyndale caught my eye. I thought, "Why did someone think that's a good idea for a TV show?" I wished that I could take a picture, but I did promise not to take pictures from the driver's seat. I got to my layover at the Uptown Station and on the way back to my bus, noticed the sign on the side. Same as the billboard. At least it's not reality TV...



I have a friend who drives bus for Iowa City Transit. I'll call him "Ross." He sent me a little story in an email. It's good to see that some things are the same no matter where one drives a bus. He wrote it not knowing I'd ask to put it up here, so I cleaned it up just a little.

I had to kick a middle-aged mom off my bus today (drunk) because she wouldn't quit dropping the F-bomb. Didn't have her kids with her, but kept telling the "bastard" a few seats away (who could "go to hell", for all she cared), that pretending to fight is NOT FUNNY (kids downtown after school, messing around) and she is A MOTHER and VERY CONCERNED and he should QUIT LAUGHING because it's NOT F*CKING FUNNY. Upon dropping her second F-bomb and upon me stopping after giving her a warning and opening the doors, she bent down next to my face to tell me some sort of secret or something (wheeeww! Happy Hour?), stuck out her hand, told me her full name (in case I wanted to tell my manager who she was), shook my hand, and made one last whispery plea for the moral superiority of mothers who don't like kids to pretend to beat each other up. "I'm a mother. I have kids. I know. Have a nice day, sir." And with that, she graciously exited the bus.



I was happy to get back into a bus for a whole day. I drove the 18 and I didn't have any real problems.

However, I did make a friend out there.

I was headed north into downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet. As I crossed Franklin, I saw a guy standing in the street where I needed to be. He seemed to be talking to someone on the other side of the street and trying to decide if he was going to cross.

So I slowed down and waited for him to get out of the way. I don't know if I stopped completely, but I was basically stopped by the time he got out of the way. By then he was trying to stare me down. So I was accelerating from 0 or 1 as I passed him. I checked my left mirror, and as I was turning my head back forward, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye, accompanied by a very loud WHAP. That was followed by screams and I saw the guy clutching his leg and hopping to the curb.

Nice try, dude. Too bad I saw that arm and it sounded like I hit a tree branch while moving at 35 mph.

Kassie said she'll probably see him tomorrow when he comes in claiming to have been hit by a bus. ha.




Assuming the deal gets approved by the other owners, Reggie Fowler just bought the Vikings. I would have liked to see Glen Taylor, owner of the Timberwolves, buy the team, but just about anyone has to be better than Red McCombs.



Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday night, Kassie and I had dinner at Erté to celebrate Valentine's Day. The food was excellent, they had a bottle of Duvel for me, the live jazz was great and the service was... mediocre. We overheard our waiter telling the table next to us that his mother owns the place. Ah. Nice enough guy, but. (Dude, go do some time at Applebee's, then come back when you learn how to do it...)

I'll be back on the bus starting tomorrow.



I got a couple movies in the mail from Netflix that, for some reason, Kassie didn't want to watch.

So this evening I watched The Bourne Identity (exciting!) and The Ring (scary!). Two random movies that I thought I might enjoy, sent on the same day, and what do they have in common? Brian Cox. The guy's made approximately eighty movies and the only other one I've seen him in is Rushmore.

I'm listening to a CD that, if I had seen it at Starbucks, would have made me snicker and roll my eyes. But I heard Joseph Arthur covering The Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" on The Current, and I had to have it. So I have that horrible-looking CD now. And I like the way it sounds.



I've never had any desire to go to the Red Sea Bar and Restaurant. Aside from the fact that it's probably just not my cup of tea, I've heard that it's kind of shady from several sources. For instance, I remember hearing that they were towing cars from their lot, even though the owners of the cars had paid to park. (Though I see on the link below that the lot is a city lot, so who knows about that.)

Last night the news was on at the garage while I was waiting for a Right to Know class to start. This story (U: transit, P: librarian) was the big story of the night. It's an awful story about a woman and her boyfriend keeping her daughter in a kennel.

The connection? The accused couple are the booking managers for the Red Sea. Eh, I just found that interesting...

Right to Know is still going well. Last night only one guy showed up for the class and tonight two guys did. It's a little more informal when that happens. I have to admit that I'm getting tired of the videos.

I have to get up really early to drive a stub in the morning.



Mark recently remodeled his bathroom.

The JCPenney at Southdale recently remodeled their restroom.



I've had a busy few days.

The Right to Know classes have been going well. Someone emailed me privately to ask what the Right to Know classes were, so here's the rundown:

Until the day comes when the EPA is completely dismantled, you can read about your right to know which chemicals you are exposed to every day on their website.

M*tro Tr*nsit is required to tell us about diesel exhaust every year. Jon, our safety supervisor, tells us all about it, and where we can get more information on exhaust and other substances (Material Safety Data Sheets). The mystery substance in diesel exhaust seems to be particulates, a.k.a. soot. There is currently no way to measure it. This year, Jon is also talking about fire extinguishers. His whole presentation takes ten to twenty minutes. However, we're getting paid for two hours, and that's where I come in. I'm filler.

The instruction department's topics this year are distracted driving and security. A local TV station, WCCO, did a story about bad bus drivers for their sweeps week scare-a-thon, so that's why we're talking about distracted driving. And we've been discussing security issues since 9/11.

So I introduce the topic, show a video, discuss the topic. Twice. That's pretty much it.

The biggest issue for me is that I've been getting up in the middle of the night. My natural sleep rhythm seems to put me down from approximately 1:00 AM - 9:00 AM, and when I'm driving, it works out well. But when I have to be at the garage at 7:00 AM, I have to get up at 5:30 or so. Ugh. Most days, I've had to be there at 8:00 AM, which isn't much better.

So I've been kind of tired.

Friday night, Kassie celebrated her birthday at Bullwinkle's with a bunch of her friends. It was fun. I had to leave at 9:00 because I had to be at work at 7:00 AM and I was already getting sleepy. Plus, the smoke in that place was killing my eyes.

Saturday was Kassie and my dad's birthday. After work, I took Kassie out for dinner and then we watched a movie. Very exciting, I know. But it's what she wanted to do.

Then yesterday, I took my dad (and mom and Kassie) out for lunch for my dad's birthday.

I chatted with my parents for a while, then came home. I thought I'd take a quick nap before I headed to Wyatt and Tina's for the Super Bowl/Tina's birthday party. I was so tired that I set my alarm wrong and woke up about half an hour after I wanted to. But I got to their house for kickoff.

I enjoyed the game this year. The defenses looked really good. Poor Donovan McNabb had a pretty bad game. I wasn't rooting for or against either team, but I have to admit that I was a little pleased that we didn't have to see Terrell Owens hoisting that trophy after the game.

For the first time ever, the best part of the game for me was the halftime show. In fact, I can't remember a time when I even remotely liked a halftime show. Sir Paul looked and sounded great.

Then, after the game, we got out one of Tina's birthday gifts, Karaoke Revolution for their Xbox.

Here is a lovely picture of me singing "Girls Just Want to have Fun." Actually, I think in this picture, I was dancing to that blip blip blip synth solo in the middle. I think I should point out that I was, in fact, sober.

I got my taxes done today. I went in last week and got most of it taken care of, but H&R Block didn't have something loaded onto their computers that affected my return. It took them a week, but it was loaded onto their system this morning. It turns out that their delay was a good thing. The M*tropolitan C*uncil sent me a second, corrected copy of my W-2, which I received 2/5 (LATE). The correction removed the field that was giving the lady at H&R Block all the trouble. The nice thing is that my return cost $32 less to do with that field out of the picture.



We got a new coffee machine at the garage. Do you suppose that a company that sells espresso and white chocolate caramel coffee might be a little interested in how those items are actually spelled?

In related news, one of the videos that I'm watching over and over in these Right to Know classes features a narrator who, even though he gets paid to talk, somehow refuses to acknowledge the '"g" in the word "recognize" four or five times throughout the video. Drives me insane.

I'm trying to ignore the State of the Union Address as I write this. That dude is on some other planet than I am.



Karaoke bar... 40-year-old woman with yellow bangs and Keds... "The Rose"



January '5