January '5


The rules of the game, which I read about here:

  • Open up the music player on your computer.
  • Set it to play your entire music collection.
  • Hit the "shuffle" command.
  • List the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
  • If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurrences. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

Here's what iTunes gave me this afternoon:

  • Shine on Me - The Wondermints
  • Monkey in the Moon (Demo) - Alphaville
  • Raised in the City - The Replacements
  • Perfect - Rogue Wave
  • How Beautiful Are the Feet - Christopher Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music
  • Devil's Airship - Piñataland
  • Save the Life of My Child - Simon and Garfunkel
  • Lost Angels - Sweet
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Virgil Fox
  • Drop Me a Line - The Owls

So there it is. I like this game. The only one I skipped through was the ninth. I've had enough Christmas music for at least ten months. I guess it's a pretty decent sampling of what I have on my computer, considering you get to see 10 of 4522 songs...



I was hired by M*tro Tr*nsit four years ago on this day. As with birthdays, we can take our anniversary days off, no matter what the situation is at the garage. And since I'll take time over money any day, I'm not working today.

Are you enjoying the whole Armstrong Williams/Maggie Gallagher/Michael McManus story? I am. It's another example of the fine ethical conduct we've come to expect from this administration. But I'm sure it'll just get swept under the rug; that's par for the course. The end justifies the means, right? Right? Besides, we have a war to run here! That's going well isn't it? I hope that whole election business in Iraq turns out well and we can get the hell out of there...

My usual sources did not alert me to the existence of a new Kevin Tihista's Red Terror record that was released in September, or I would have raved about it on my list...



OK, I'm feeling better about the whole Right to Know thing.

I went to the Instruction Center this morning and talked with a couple instructors from East Metro Garage. I went back to Nicollet thinking that I had a lot to do. When I got there, my impressions of what I have to do and my instructions and responsibilities were altered a quite a bit. For the better, I think.

I do, in fact, mostly get to be a support guy. I have to introduce a small part of the class, show a video and run through a quiz. Then I'll give out a couple handouts and that's about it. Also, the other two new relief instructors from Nicollet, LaDonna and Dan, will be handling a lot of the classes. Sweet.

What I learned today is that it looks like I'm going to get a taste of all those workplace politics that I've been avoiding since I decided that I didn't want the hassle of dealing with dumb elementary teachers and inept principals when I was 22. (Ha. I was pretty cocky.) I sort of figured I'd get in the middle of some stuff when I took this position, and I already did. It's really nothing too serious or distressing or even bad. It's a matter of people with different jurisdictions and ideas all having to get together on the same page. But egos and lack of communication seem to get in the way. So I assume it sounds like the workplaces of many people. It's just something that I'll have to deal with. I asked around a bit and the best advice I got was to go with the flow. I can do that.



Though I tried and tried to persuade her to wait, Kassie just had to open her birthday gift. I got her a print of her favorite Michael Birawer painting. It's my favorite, too. (For those of you from elsewhere, that's the view into downtown Minneapolis approximately from the big Grain Belt sign on Nicollet Island.)

Hennepin Bridge, by Michael Birawer

The other day I tried to get her to guess what it was and she said she knew what it was by looking at a picture of it (wrapped). I said there was no way. She said she had two things in mind, but when she saw the picture, she knew for sure what it was. So I asked her what the thing was that she eliminated. She said nice art for her condo. huh.



I went into work at 7:00 this morning. That means that I set my alarm for the middle of the night- 5:30. So I was kind of tired. But that's OK. I was scheduled to report to the Instruction Center again. I knew it had something to do with our annual Right to Know class.

I knew that as a relief instructor, I'd probably have to help out with the RTK at my garage. When I walked in to the meeting room, I thought I'd see some of other relief instructors that I was in training with last week. I guess one of them was supposed to be there, but there was some confusion and he wasn't. Other than me, there were only full-time instructors. OK, whatever. We learned about the class. This year's new focus is on distracted driving. The videos we'll watch are actually pretty good.

After we were presented the material, Larry, our boss, went through the garages and the instructors who are going to be in charge of the class there. "At South, Mark will be in charge. At East Metro..." (whoever- I tuned out for a bit...) "And at Nicollet, CJ will be in charge." Um, no, I'm the new guy. "We don't have a full-time instructor who can do it yet." Ah. Yet. I am hanging on to that word like you wouldn't believe. It's not that I don't think I can do it. It's that I thought I might get to be Guy #2 and be supportive and help out and see how it goes from the other side. Oh well, maybe they'll find someone, maybe they won't. I'll be ready either way.

I'm going back to the Instruction Center tomorrow. I think I'll be working on the presentation.

After that meeting this morning, I went out and did some route training with a driver who's been out for a year and a half. She is really pleasant and a quick learner, which is nice...



Waldo the Can Crusher rode my bus tonight. Twice. He told me he's been unemployed for a couple years and that his temp work seems to be drying up. And that he makes about $5/week with the cans.

Earlier this afternoon, a guy asked me how to get to 71st and Portland. He needs to go there tomorrow afternoon. I thought that the infamous 5 went that way, and I called Control to confirm it. It does.

I got to the end of the line and turned around. My phone rang a few minutes into that trip. When I got back to the north terminal, I checked the message; it was my dad. I called him back and he asked me which bus someone would take to get to Hope Church.

My dad's retirement job is with an organization called Wheels to Work. They donate cars to welfare-to-work families. If they get a car that they can't donate, they auction it, then use the proceeds to pay mechanics to fix the cars that they can donate. Anyway, they were going to meet at Hope to work on some part of an upcoming auction.

Then it clicked. Hope Church is at 71st and Portland. I described the guy who asked me how to get there and sure enough, that's the guy for whom my dad was getting directions. It reminded me again that it's just better to be pleasant all the time...



Fantastic. The least of these are probably going to take another hit from our fine Xian governor. Measure his head for all those crowns, baby! Yeah, yeah, I know, there's a plank in my eye...



Good news for Twin Cities music fans! We have a new radio station, and as one of those people who still whines about losing Rev105, I'm pretty excited about it. So far this morning, I think about a third of the songs can be found in my personal collection.

Speaking of radio, I was listening to one of the football games yesterday in the car and one of the commentators casually mentioned that one of the teams was in the Heinz Red Zone.

The process stirs up the fans and adds an extra dash of excitement to the game. So next time you watch the Steelers play at Heinz Field, keep one eye on those bottles...because when they start to pour, the Steelers are ready to pour it on!


Hemorrhoid Guy rode with me again Saturday. He told me all about his mother's snowblower, then he got started on health again. Apparently, he has heart problems and he was going to get his heart meds prescription filled. He said that sometimes if he feels like his heart is going to act up, he doubles the dose. I asked him if his doctor told him he should do that, and he said, "Well... I have to be careful... so I don't pass out."



I'm still in training. Tomorrow will be the last day, though, then I'll be back on a bus in time to drive the 46.

Yesterday I gave a short presentation. We were supposed to teach something to the class. I taught them how to draw a little doodle that my grandpa taught me how to draw in a restaurant about thirty years ago.

This is the doodle:

My presentation went well. No grade, not much pressure.



The big news of the last few days:

My roommate/landlord Mark and his girlfriend Amy are engaged to be married! Congratulations to them!

and the search for an apartment begins...



I went to the training center today. I'm getting formal training as a relief instructor for the next few days. It was actually pretty cool. Maria, whose exact position I can't remember, spent the day with six of us. (I know- I should know what she does. She was one of the three interviewers for the position.) She is a good teacher, which is really nice. Her former career as a school librarian may have something to do with that...

Hey, check out the first member of my No Parking... Except You, Because You're Special Club. You know, for those folks who can't read or choose to ignore the signs.

I had a couple minutes to burn at 50th and France the other day...

Oh, and hey, Randy S., I know you're reading this. Did "the old lady" throw you out or something? I have been getting a lot of mail addressed to you at my house and I think it's been made quite clear that you can't move in here when you're on the outs with her, so quit giving my address as yours. And we don't really want to hear your Trans Am parked outside at 3 AM again. At least take that Whitesnake crap out of the stereo. (Incidentally, I see that someone with your initials will be a Publishers Clearing House winner!)



Kassie and I were all over the place looking at furniture today. Her brother's girlfriend moved out, so they needed some stuff. She got a couple cool chairs.

The other day I drove bus 1067. It's a new bus, so one might think that it's a nice bus. One might be wrong. I don't know how or why things can change so drastically from one year to the next with those buses. That bus was so sluggish that I wrote it up. I'm sure the mechanics laughed and ignored it, but I felt better saying something.

The other thing I don't like about the newest buses are the steering wheels.

The old steering wheels look like this:

The new steering wheels look like this:

You can see the texture, right? Here's the result of wiping a new steering wheel with a wet paper towel:



It's really, really cold. I don't want to go outside.



I'll be hanging out with Duke for a few days, so the updates might be sporadic. Oh, wait...

Hey Jerald- Can I get a ticket for letting Duke on the creek?

The bus driving has been going well. Next week, I get a break. I'm going to report to the instruction center, Tuesday-Friday, 8-4. I don't know what I'll be doing, but I guess I'll find out.

It was kind of funny yesterday when a guy tried to pay his bus fare with a Cub Foods gift card, until I realized that it was the only currency of any kind that he had and that he really thought it would work on the bus.

OK, I have to pack some stuff and get over to Duke's house.



OK, I guess I'm not going to get to hear a bunch of 2004 releases that I thought I might, and it's the tenth day of the new year, so here is my rundown of

MUSIC 2004

I have real difficulty ranking music, so these are the records I liked, listed alphabetically. I have noted some rank information, where I felt like it:

  • Air - Talkie Walkie. For my electronica (I guess)-lovin' side. This one makes me happy. It's not for Mark or Kassie, who both hate it.
  • The Arcade Fire - Funeral. Someone who reads this (Wilkes?) recommended it, and I'm glad he did. It's top ten for me.
  • Camper Van Beethoven - New Roman Times. This gets a bit jammy for me in places, but I have a soft spot for them and this is solid.
  • Destroyer - Your Blues. Dan Bejar, a New Pornographer, pretty quiet record, and I like it a lot.
  • Eleni Mandell - Afternoon. Don't tell Kassie, but I have a big crush on Eleni, and her voice has a lot to do with it.
  • Elf Power - Walking With the Beggar Boys. Sort of spotty, but what I like, I really like.
  • Jason Falkner - Bliss Descending EP. Well, he's one of my all-time favorites, and he didn't disappoint here. I hope this year brings a full-length...
  • Franz Ferdinand - s/t. I know this is near the top of a lot of lists, and I like it, but it's near the bottom of my like list.
  • Green Day - American Idiot. I kept hearing that this was good, and I don't really dislike Green Day for any reason, but I put off buying it until today. I'm listening to it as I type this and I'm really enjoying it. Their next record might get made in Guantanamo, though.
  • Hem - Eveningland. Someone who reads (?) this tipped me off to them a while ago. Their last one, Rabbit Songs, is really good and if you liked it, or if you like oh, say, Cowboy Junkies or Dolly Varden, or if you're an archivist named Jamie, then you need to buy this. You'll like it.
  • Ted Leo + the Pharmacists - Shake the Sheets. Ted Leo kind of rocks, and I like the way he does it.
  • Magnetic Fields - i. Stephin Merritt does not rock, and I like the way he doesn't. This record sounds like Love Songs 70-83, and while it's not quite as good as 69 Love Songs, that's a hard one to follow.
  • Nellie McKay - Get Away From Me. She's fresh; this record is really good. But I feel like I'm not really in her prime demographic...
  • Morrissey - You Are the Quarry. Ah, it's good to have "The Whiner," as my dad once called him, back with something really good.
  • A.C. Newman - The Slow Wonder. My favorite record of 2004. Oh, how I love this one.
  • Now It's Overhead - Fall Back Open. My second or third favorite record of 2004, depending on my mood. Go buy it if you already haven't. It's the best record Michael Stipe has been on since Automatic For the People.
  • Olympic Hopefuls - The Fuses Refuse to Burn. Happy-sounding guitar pop, the kind I like. Local boys, and they're good- especially fun live.
  • Puffy - 59 EP. The Japanese superstars, not that gun-toting sample-happy goofball who keeps changing his name. The songs were written by Andy Sturmer, of Jellyfish (not) fame. They even cover one of my Jellyfish favorites, "Joining a Fan Club."
  • Rogue Wave - Out of the Shadow. I saw them open for A.C. Newman, and it's safe to say I like the record a lot better than their live show. Top ten.
  • Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill. It's not my favorite from him, but it's definitely good, plus let's face it, it gets sentimental points. And I don't mind that he didn't finish it. He'll be missed.
  • Statuesque - Choir Above Fire Below. Stephen Manning's latest. I don't like it as well as Live From Lake Vostok, but it's getting a lot of listens.
  • Toy Dolls - Our Last Album?. These guys haven't significantly altered their approach or their sound for about 25 years now, and I still love 'em. This one features a cover of Europe's "The Final Countdown," with that awful synth line played on kazoos.
  • John Vanderslice - Cellar Door. This is my other second or third favorite record of the year depending on my mood. You need to own it. Go buy it and thank me later.
  • Brian Wilson - Smile. It seems weird to include this, as the material is so old, but I'm awfully happy that Wilson finally got this put together. Top ten.


I liked releases by Brookville, The Decemberists, Steve Earle, echoes, The Neins Circa, Shacker, Tommy Stinson, They Might Be Giants, and Wilco pretty well, but not enough to be included in the list above. The Neins Circa opened for A.C. Newman and it's safe to say I liked their live show a lot better than their record.

I was disappointed by releases from Diana Krall, REM, Rilo Kiley and Xiu Xiu, mostly because they were either boring or really bad or both.

I probably forgot one or two, because every year I try to keep track of the CDs I buy and every year I slack off in about March and lose track of a few.



So apparently, when the Packers beat the Vikings at Lambeau, Packers fans stand behind a fence and moon Vikings players as they're boarding their bus. So with a little context, Moss' actions even make sense. Excusable? Maybe not. But it is a pretty funny little inside joke...



Daunte C.
(AP Photo/Darren Hauck, used without any kind of permission at all)


I did. And it was sweeeeeet.

Much has already been made of Randy Moss' pantomime moon, and I'm sure there's more on the way.

Randy M.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash, again no permission here...)

It was a little silly and rather tasteless, but seriously. The way Joe Buck (?) and JB, Terry, Howie and Jimmy carried on, you'd think he pulled out his privates and waved them around in a little girl in a wheelchair's face.

And as Ben pointed out, all that righteous indignation came from Fox, the network that brought you "Who's Your Daddy?" "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?" um, et cetera.



A lady rode my bus yesterday who told me that she's lived in Minneapolis for 40 years and has never been to St. Paul! I find that a little hard to believe, but if it's true, it's pretty amazing. She said her son has encouraged her to just go over there and take a look, and she thinks that maybe she will, but she didn't seem to enthused about it. How could she have never gone to the Great Minnesota Get-Together?

I saw a Ford Lobo on Lake Street yesterday.

I drove the 2 today. I saw Flava Flav walking down Franklin Avenue, but he didn't ride with me.

Our radios were in Fallback mode today, so all the high priority calls from two garages' buses were broadcast over the loudspeaker above my head. I think every driver should keep a blog.

One driver asked for the cops, as there was a guy who refused to quit swearing loudly on his bus.

One bus got rear-ended by a car on Lake Street, and the car drove away. But the bus driver got the license plate.

One driver left a guy at a stop downtown. The guy's female companion was trying to get the driver to wait for the guy, but he couldn't walk by himself. He was really drunk and his pants were falling off.

And I found a note on my bus. Here's a verbatim approximation:

I didn't read that until I typed it just now. Someone cheer me up...



Happy New Year!

I'm starting to feel better. Finally.

I'm watching the Orange Bowl. USC might as well be playing Nebraska or Rice or someone like that. But I picked them to win, so that's OK with me. The best part of the whole game was that Ashlee Simpson got booed at the halftime show. I think it would be nice if it were because she had a huge on stage with her, but really, I don't care why. I'm mean like that. Ah, she's probably an anarchist, and I don't know what I'm talking about.

They Call Me Benjamin rode with me again today, but other than that, I had a pretty uneventful day on the 18.

Farmiliar got on my bus last Friday. It was the first time he's ridden with me since I had him escorted off my bus last June. Friday he told me he was sick, which I guess meant that he wasn't going to pay. He rode with me all the way from downtown to Southdale. When we got there, he asked me where he could catch a bus downtown. So I gave him a transfer and told him where to catch a bus headed downtown. I used the restroom and went out the door near the bus stop in hopes of taking a picture of him. But he was gone.



December '4