June '5


Congratulations to Howie, who will be moving to Kansas City for a new job. I think it's safe to say that the Twin Cities are sad to see him go.

I'm going to my first appointment at Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists tomorrow. I'm really hoping to get an idea how long I'll be off work. If I'm not going to use up my sick time, I think I'll take up my parents on their offer to buy me a plane ticket to Oregon. If it looks like I'm going to use up my sick time and need more, then I'll probably have to stick around here and try to temp. I have no idea how that would go, but I'd need the cash.

I took my truck on a short trip to the Electric Fetus today (the new live Kraftwerk is awesome). I wanted to be sure that I could drive to my appointment in the morning. I have to put my seat up pretty far, but it's possible to shift without too much pain. It'll work in a pinch.

I'm planning to borrow my dad's Exploder and drive to Eagle Grove, Iowa Saturday to visit Coach Shawn M. and Dr. RJ and their families.

I'm still not sure what I should be doing with my time. I hung out at the MIA for a while today and had lunch there. I feel like I could be doing something really productive. I haven't really even been reading, unless you count the amusement on the Missed Connection area at craigslist. (It all starts on Wednesday the 22nd - see Mass MC...)

I feel better now, too. I was really tired for quite a while after the accident. The vicodin probably had something to do with that.

Completely unrelated to anything I have said or done in the last few weeks:

the double urinal at Stasiu's is awfully impressive



I went to a doctor today. She was pretty much just a first step. She referred me to the orthopedic doctor I saw when I broke my ankle. I liked him quite a bit. But my parents' neighbor is a physician's assistant with another orthopedic surgeon and I want to see him. He isn't in the same medical group as my clinic, and when I told my doctor that I wanted to see him, she told me that they really like to see us go with one of their own doctors. Naturally. So I didn't argue with her. But I just canceled my appointment with her guy.

Here's a picture I took from the bus on my way home:

OK, so I guess the question is: who made the sign?

Eric came over this afternoon and I have air conditioning now.

no excuses here...

I stayed with my cousin Todd when I was in Wausau. He's renting the main level of a house. His upstairs neighbor was having a garage sale. He'd had a garage sale every weekend since Todd moved in.


As you can see, not much there. We saw him a couple times, including once at night when he was coming home from a walk. I guess he was having trouble paying the rent. My mom's cousin, who is the landlord, showed up yesterday morning planning to call the sheriff's department and evict the guy.

Todd called me a little while ago and told me that his neighbor hung himself in his garage.


The rest of the family stayed at the Lodge at Cedar Creek. Here's a sweet action shot from there:


Todd, Lynn, Erich (have you ordered his CD yet?) and I went to the top of Rib Mountain.


We were all in town to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday. Here's a lovely shot of my parents, my grandparents and me.




pretty, like a sunset


On the left is my shoulder after the good doctor put it back where it's supposed to be. On the right is where it was to warrant the attention. Sorry about the quality of these, but my mom and I took them pretty quickly. But I think you get the idea.



I got out on the buses again yesterday. I went downtown, Uptown, and to Lyn-Lake. I bought a pile of vitamins and minerals to help with the healing process. My regimen was suggested by a veteran scooterist who goes by the handle Mojo Willy.

I can't tie my shoes. So I also bought a pair of church- and wedding-appropriate shoes with buckles. I often get a pair of casual shoes in the summer to complement my Chucks. The obvious choice this summer is a pair of old-school slip-on Vans. I guess I'll head back downtown this afternoon.

First, I have to pick up my paycheck and take it to my credit union.

I'll be packing this evening. I'm going to Wausau to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday. I'll be gone 'til Tuesday.



I have an air conditioner. It's downstairs next to my truck in the underground garage. It's pretty warm outside, but fortunately, my apartment isn't unbearable. The problem with the air conditioner is that it's quite big and very heavy. And really, that's only a problem up until the point it's sitting in my window cooling my apartment. Wyatt and I discussed trading A/C units, and I guess we still might do that, I don't know. We discussed options for getting the heavy one in my window. There are too many variables at work here. It sits on the floor in the basement.

I rode routes 18, 55 (LRT), 2, 6 and 11 today.

I started my day by getting on the 18 to get downtown. I walked over to the Ford Centre on 5th Street. That building used to be a Ford plant. The assembly line started on the top floor and continued on each descending floor until the final product rolled out the ground floor. I met a guy at the Regulars ride the other day who offered to buy my old scooter seat. He works there. So I unloaded the seat. One less thing to move next time...

Then I caught the Light Rail to the Mall... of... the UNIVERSE. I will be attending a couple weddings this summer. Weddings are usually an excuse to wear one of my vintage suits, but since at least one of these weddings will be relatively casual and I'm not going to put a suit on over this shoulder immobilizer I'm wearing anyway, I decided I should pick up a nice shirt or two. Enter Nat Nast. These shirts are a bit ubiquitous, I suppose, but I like the look. I'd rather wear vintage shirts all the time, but the reality is that it's difficult to find old shirts that fit me. These are a decent compromise.

While at the MOU, I made an appointment to get my hair cut. I thought I'd shoot for tomorrow or Friday, but Dina had an opening this afternoon.

Here's where my inexperience as a bus rider showed. I thought I was going to be able to get from the Mall to my apartment and then over to Dinkytown in two hours.

I took the LRT back downtown and decided that I'd have to wait too long for an 11 to take me home, so I started walking. I made it to Franklin Avenue just in time to catch a 2 headed for Dinkytown. Of course, the 2 was late, so I was seven minutes late for my appointment. I'd called, so Dina had started on the next person's hair. Fine with me. I believe Hank said it first: I ain't got nothin' but time.

Of course, I should have just gotten off the Light Rail at Franklin and taken a 2 over to Dinkytown, or taken a 6 from downtown. But I had it in my head that I needed to get home. It turns out I didn't need to get home at all. Anyway, I really like taking the bus. I have to remember to bring my camera with me next time.

I caught the 6 to the 11 to get home.

My shoulder seems to be fine. The vicodin knocks me out, but it seems to help. There isn't a lot of pain to begin with. I'm getting the hang of showering and getting dressed, but it still took me a long time this morning. And anyone who's ever waited for me to get going knows it takes me a long time with two good arms.



I have a lot to write about. I think I'll wait for a little while to do it, though. I had kind of a bad day today. It started out well enough. Kassie wanted to get out of town on her scooter and see something besides traffic and buildings. So we headed west, out towards Lake Minnetonka. Short story shorter, this is what I look like right now, and this is what my scooter looks like right now:


I hit some sand on a turn. I dislocated my right shoulder. The doctor told me I'd be wearing this immobilizer for six weeks. I hope I heal a little more quickly than that, because that's just about how much sick time I have accrued.

On the plus side, I have vicodin.



This morning on my first trip of the day, at 7:15, with an outside temperature of approximately 60 degrees and a dew point around 50, the first lady on my bus asked me to turn on the air, before she even got on. I said, "Air conditioning?" Yup. She said it was stuffy on the bus. Her demeanor was not altogether pleasant, which was not inspiring the most cheerful response from Morning CJ.

I suggested opening a window and I turned on the vent. She said she didn't think that would be good enough. Then she finally told me that she'd get nauseous. Oh, jeez. Just ask me politely and mention that in the first place!

So I turned on the AC. The AC STOP light came on, indicating trouble. I turned the dial to VENT HIGH and told her that the AC wasn't working. She was on her phone. When she hung up, she asked me if it wasn't working. I confirmed. She said, "You need to call that in! This is the second bus that has happened on!" And again, less than pleasant.

Right. I'll call the bus in on a 60-degree morning because the air conditioning isn't working. Instead, I switched it back over to COOL. The AC kicked on and the AC STOP light did not come on. Since the coolest the AC gets a bus is somewhere in the mid-60s, I guess the point is to circulate air? Whatever. I never heard a peep from her until she said thanks and got off the bus downtown.

I ran in to Churchill Market at my downtown layover this afternoon and was distressed to hear one of the members of the original Axis of Evil, Peter Cetera, on the overhead speakers. (Phil Collins and Hall & Oates are the other important members, with a handful equally evil sidekicks - among those are Huey Lewis, Rick Astley and Whitney Houston.) Minnesota law does not allow me to listen to music as I drive, so I have to rely on the songs that float around in my head. Usually, the song in my head is the last thing I listened to before I got on my bus. Fortunately, King Schlock didn't stick today. Nice try, though, Churchill Market...



Today I drove the 11. I mentioned that I live on the 11. I did not mention that Oz lives on the 11. (Yes, he has a place to stay.) 7:15 AM, first trip of the day, Oz got on my bus. I have been putting off calling him for quite a while now. It was good to talk to him. He told me what he'd been up to. Sometimes he's difficult to understand. He told me about his conversation with a judge or maybe an attorney, I couldn't tell. It was something about a deal that person cut him so he only had to spend six months in jail.

Anyway, he didn't get to Gary last Thanksgiving, but he did go last weekend.

The 11 is a nice route. I talked to a lot of nice people today. One lady rode with me to the library in Columbia Heights, then caught me again on her way home.

Unfortunately for blogging purposes, all my work seems to be pretty tame. Last pick, I could count on that late night 21 for some stories. This pick, nothing.

Kassie and I went to see Ted Leo and the Pharmacists last night. It was a good show.

Ted Leo + Pharmacists



I have a cold. I think it started in my eye.

The other day a young guy asked me if there was a lot of bus driver turnover. He was visiting and had been having trouble getting directions from drivers. I asked him what he was doing in town and he told me he was here for a skateboarding contest. He was very calm and soft-spoken I enjoyed talking with him.

So today, since it was awfully nice outside, I got on my scooter and went to 3rd Lair to see the action. It was pretty cool. I watched for about three hours. I bought a skateboard when I lived in Des Moines. It was way too late for me by then. I sold it to my roommate Alex, who knew how to use it, when I left town.

3rd Lair is huge; the closest guy is the guy who rode my bus...

Since I was already out in the western suburbs, I thought I'd swing by and look at the billboard that's been making me really uncomfortable for a few weeks now.


So what is it about that kid? I can't quite explain what bothers me so much. I'm looking for the answer to this:

cloying is to sweet as ? is to cute

The question mark is that kid. He's too cute. Creepily cute. Somehow wrong. But that's not all. Yes, he has sad puppy dog eyes, but even taking that into account, I don't think he looks happy at all. He looks like he doesn't really like watermelon, but his mom is standing at the photo shoot reminding him what's in store for him at home if this doesn't work out.

I drive by that billboard several times every week, and I drove by it last pick, too. I'm looking forward to that one getting changed.



I saw Oz yesterday when I was driving the 11. He was hanging out at the infamous intersection of Franklin and 3rd Avenue. I honked my horn at him and he gave me a big black power salute. I still need to call him.

The 11 goes right by my apartment and Oz was hanging out three blocks from my front door. I don't think I'll tell him I moved.

A Channel 5 news crew was in NE presumably covering a fallen tree when their van broke down. I hope it didn't mean that the big story didn't get out...

Alanis Morissette is coming to town tomorrow. Hey, stick around to read the rest of this! Those tickets will still be there in three minutes! Apparently, she's touring in support of the release of an acoustic version of the only thing she's ever done, Jagged Little Pill. Oh, the horrible memories of that awful song come flooding back... Do you think she's learned how to sing in the last ten years?

And opening for her? Jason Mraz. I thought he was on "American Idol," but I guess not. However, a Google search shows 18,500 results for "jason mraz" "american idol," and I think that says it all. (OK, to be fair, I got 7280 results substituting "the decemberists" for jason mraz.)

Who else did I see? Little Red Loafers. He was a passenger in a minivan that was stopped next to me. I know a lot more about him now. He's an artist. You can read about him here.

And Doug N., who is a family friend, rode my bus. I believe our moms were roommates in college. I barely recognized him. I think the last time I saw him may have been while he was in college. He looks more like an adult now. He and his sister Jen are (I don't know) six or seven years younger than my brother and me.

When I was probably 11 or 12, we were at their house and they asked us about our dog. The conversation went approximately like this:

J&D: "Is Shamanee a boy or a girl?"

C&C: "Girl."

J&D: <giggle, giggle, giggle> "Does she have a b-word?" <giggle, giggle>

C&C: [quick conference] "Um... uh... bitch?" [hoping they don't tell on us]

J&D: "NOOO!!!" <giggle, giggle>

C&C: "Boobs? Butt?" <pause> "...Balls?" [we're in big trouble if the details of this conversation get out]

J&D: "NOOO!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!"

C&C: [mystified, we conference again] "Um, what do you mean by the b-word?"

J&D: "You don't know the b-word?!? ha ha ha ha ha! You really don't know the b-word?!? ha ha ha!!!"

C&C: [feeling a bit stupid now] "Uh, just tell us."

J&D: "NOOO!!!"

Me: "How about one of you whisper it in my ear."

J or D: <whispers> "Bagina."



I scooted over to Kassie's place to help her out with her scooter. I'm afraid I'm not much help, but I guess her scooter ran a bit better after I cleaned its spark plug.

On the way home, I stopped at the Electric Fetus. Today's purchases:

  • Polara - Green Shoes + 4. Ed Ackerson's band The Dig opened for The Three O'Clock when I saw them in 1985. Ed had a cold. I like Polara pretty well, but after their first two full-length records and a couple 7"s, I didn't buy any more of their records until this one. After one listen, I think I like it.
  • Brinsley Schwarz - Nervous on the Road/The New Favourites of... The other day, I was at Wyatt and Tina's and the Current played "(What's so Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding" by Elvis Costello. I could not, for the life of me, remember the name Brinsley Schwarz. Nick Lowe was in that band and he wrote the song. Now I have three versions of it: Brinsley Schwarz, Elvis Costello, and Trip Shakespeare. I like all the versions; I like that song a lot. Did you see Elvis do it on Letterman a couple years ago? Fantastic. And he played it in Sioux Falls, too.
  • The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society. I have a pact with myself. For every new CD I buy at a record store, I buy a CD of something that I should have purchased twenty years ago. Brinsley Schwarz and this one are today's purchases in that category. I doubt that I'll play the BS very often, but I like this a lot. You've seen the commercial (scroll to Picture Book) with the guy making pictures on his HP printer and holding them up to his face, right? That song is here.
  • Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. I have a thing for Eels. They (well, he, being E/Mark Everett) are one of those bands/guys whose CDs I'll buy without hearing anything about it first. This is a two-CD record and there's a lot to listen to. But I liked it on the first run-through. Somewhere in the middle of disc two, I was reminded of my long-lost friend from grad school, Alysia. There's a song called "Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb." If I remember correctly, Alysia went to Vassar with that guy.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with my Electric Fetus day.

A couple hours after I got home, I checked the mail. A CD I'd ordered online arrived. Substitution Mass Confusion: A Tribute to the Cars. Now, I was never a Cars fan at all. They were way too Top 40 and New Wave for the little punk-obsessed me. (All the inconsistencies with that position compared to some of the music I listened to are a completely different story...) I grudgingly admitted to liking "Shake it Up" and that was about it. I remember seeing them on Saturday Night Live and being amazed that the distorted guitar chords on "Magic" weren't accompanied by huge arm swings. Anyway. I bought this CD for one song. Jason Falkner, one of my all-time faves, contributed a track. The whole CD is pretty entertaining. I've only listened to it once, but there wasn't anything that I'd never want to hear again.

Speaking of CDs in the mail, I got my cousin-in-law Erich Strack's CD recently. It's called The Long Road Home. OK, he's my cousin-in-law and I like him, so you know I'm going to say I like his CD, right? Well, as a matter of fact, I will say that. I do like it. I'm not flipping out about it, but there isn't too much that I do flip out about, is there? It's solid American rock and roll and I'll definitely listen to it more than the two times I have so far. In fact, I just fired up listen #3. It sounds good, and I quite like his voice. (Side note: track number one involves a lyric about him flying into Boston, which is funny, because he really, really hates flying...)

Update: Whoops! I got that last bit wrong. I forgot that Erich hates driving. Carry on...



I went out on my first ride with the Regulars today. There were nine of us. We met at Pizza Lucé, then rode out to the airport and went through some tunnels. Then we got wet. It was pretty fun. I forgot to bring my camera.



About ten years ago my friend RJ and I had an apartment in Sioux Falls. I had just settled down for a short afternoon nap when out in the kitchen there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. I barely made it out of the bedroom when the fire alarm went off. Chef RJ was cooking with fire, um, or something. I can't remember what he was doing, but eventually the fire department came and quieted the racket. And so I'm pretty sure that RJ was the Hero of the Day for a lot of people in that building. Of course, they never got to thank him personally because we never left our apartment.

I had not experienced that particular joy of apartment living again until this morning at about 7:30, when I was rudely yanked from almost-sleep by a shrieking alarm. There's no way I'll ever sleep through a fire.

It took about twenty minutes for the firefighters to arrive. The word on the sidewalk was that they arrived much more quickly the last time this happened. But on the plus side, I met quite a few of my neighbors.

Our new pick at work started yesterday. I drove the 17 for nine hours. The 17 is notoriously difficult to keep on time, especially on weekends. It travels on the north edge of Lake Calhoun, which gets incredibly busy in the summers. Eastbound traffic on Lake Street gets backed up out past France Avenue. I knew all that when I picked it, but the hours (9:32 AM - 6:32 PM) were too nice to pass up.

Fortunately, it rained yesterday, so the traffic was pretty light.


The Nicollet Mall (which is downtown) is going to be paved in the next few weeks. All the Nicollet buses, including the 17, have been moved to Hennepin Avenue all day every day until the Mall is done. So I'll be on a detour for a while.

And yesterday, we had a detour on the detour. Part of Hennepin was closed for a Minneapolis MOSAIC festival event. The northbound detour had us driving around the back side of the Target Center on 2nd Avenue. It wasn't too bad, unless you were an unsuspecting passenger.

I made an announcement on every trip before we headed into downtown, explaining every turn. Of course, not everyone listens to what I'm saying. And there are plenty of folks who listen, but are still confused. And there are those who are upset by any change at all. But most people just roll with it.

I'm not sure how good the bus company's signage was. There were people running all over downtown trying to figure out where to catch the bus.

All in all, it was pretty chaotic downtown. I love the chaos. It keeps my day more interesting.

So I was late all day, often by seven or eight minutes, but I didn't care. I am already resigned to the fact that I'm going to run late on Saturdays, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the day.



May '5