March '4


More picketing yesterday. Mexican Grocery Beverage of the Day:

Jumex Peach Nectar, right. Bill, left.

We spend a lot of time speculating about the end of the strike out there. Of course, we're just waiting for the company to come to us willing to negotiate. We've been prepared to make concessions and we're not seeing that from them at all.

One guy who showed up for the 8:00-midnight shift said his neighbor works for the Met Council. This neighbor told him that they are just waiting for us to fold. The neighbor also said that there are plenty of people who work over there who believe that we are being treated very poorly by the Council.


OK, I should point out that I just thought it was funny to watch Rummy squirm. And then I'll point you to this video. This is why I'm perfectly willing to anger the Democrats by voting for Nader in November (assuming he's on our ballot- if he's not, I'll probably vote Green or Socialist). I thought I was going to vote Anybody But Bush this year. But Kerry? Seriously. I don't think my conscience will allow me to vote for even the lesser of two evils.

Oh, and I forgot to show you the Mexican Grocery Beverage of the Day from the picket line:

Peñafiel sangria-flavored soda.
I liked it.

It's 2:45 in the morning and I'm not tired.

Oh yeah, and there's a pro-transit rally today at 4:30 pm, Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., Mpls. I'll be at Nicollet.


I picketed again today.

Everyone seemed to be a little more subdued than usual. Granted, that mood may or may not reflect the strikers as a whole, but it's clear that people are running out of money. And we're tired of being on strike.

Oh, and enjoy this video. Um, liar.

In other news, a flying crocodile is, in fact, mightier than a flying shark. I totally knew that.


Progressive Minnesota's Bowling for Victory 2004 was pretty great.

I picked up Driver 2165 and Cecile and we met the NicWit at Stardust Lanes. The fifth member of Team ATU, José, didn't show. Fortunately, "Teamless" Dan C. happened to be there to fill out our roster and be José for little while.

No one on Team ATU was a threat to Brad Angelo or Mika Koivuniemi in their quests for world bowling dominance, but we did pretty well, judging from the scores around us. However, our collective self-esteem might have been damaged a bit had we been positioned anywhere near Team AFSCME, the winners.

It's been a while since I bowled. And this time, everyone kept their pants on. I bowled a 120 and a 109. When I was in a league in 6th grade, I think I had about a 125 average. Ah, the glory days...

Anyway, here are some pictures that the NicWit took. Except for the team photo, we neglected to get any shots of him. Sorry 'bout that. These are thumbnails, click on them for the larger images.

Stardust Lanes

L-R: Cecile, Ryan/2165, Dan/José, Ceej

Team ATU
back row: Gary/NicWit, Ryan/2165, Dan/José
front row: CJ/TL, Cecile

Thanks, Progressive Minnesota!


It must be baby week. Here's a new picture of my nephew Cayden (it's a thumbnail and the photo is big):


I had a long and relatively eventful day.

I went to the union building to pick up my $150 check for picketing and put most of it in the bank.

Then I picketed from noon until 4:45. I met a driver named Emmy who was really cool. And I met a guy named Mark who experiments with hydrogen in a lab in his basement. One thing that I have really enjoyed about picketing is meeting people with whom I would probably not have otherwise conversed.

bottle of Boing! (hecho en México) that I couldn't finish;
I bought it because I liked the name
and I was curious about tamarind
(must be an acquired taste...)

Sandy Berman stopped by again and this time we got to talk. Emmy was friends with the guy who was basically responsible for Sandy's departure from the Hennepin County Library system. ha. But she knew that guy from out-of-the-workplace situations. Well, anyway, the conversation was interesting.

I had plans to meet da Mons and our friend Amy at Whitey's at around 5:30, so I planned to hang out on the picket line until it was time to go. But my friend (from high school) Scott, who lives a few doors down from the garage, drove by. So I went down there and we sat out on his front porch with his daughter Celia. You know, I don't think I've seen her name and I didn't ask, so I'm not sure if I spelled that correctly. Anyway, Scott quit his job earlier this year to go to the Humphrey Institute.

cute, eh?

I got to Whitey's at 6:00 and we ate and talked until 10:00. It was good to see da Mons and Amy.

I got a call from Suzanne at Progressive Minnesota yesterday. She wants me to get an ATU team together for their fundraiser at Stardust Lanes. (And yes, I think it's funny to put a link to Lileks' site so close to a link to PM's site...) I need four other people. So far, I have one. I'll probably just have to go to the picket lines and start asking people, because I don't have very many drivers' phone numbers.


Some of you who have been keeping up with me for a while might remember that just about a year ago, the librarians found me. I had a lot of hits for a few days.

Well, thanks to the strike, I'm seeing a pretty big spike in hits again. Between the Pulse article and getting linked in some blogs, there are quite a few new people checking this place out.

Naturally, I think that's pretty cool. And I realize that it doesn't take a real investment to drop by here and see what I've written. But let's face it, this is a vanity site. So if you're looking around for the first or second time, welcome! It gets marginally more interesting when I'm driving bus. Otherwise, as I always say, I'm keeping myself amused and if others like it, that's a bonus.


My grandfather is 91 today. Happy birthday, grandpa!

Seven hours of talks. The union president claims we reduced our demands; the company apparently disputes that, or has decided that it wasn't enough. We're still on strike.

I picketed until 10:00 tonight, with a break for a burger and a beer at 8:00. I think everyone is still pretty upbeat, but I know that some folks are running out of money pretty quickly. There was some talk of a woman named Bonnie who apparently crossed the picket line, at least figuratively. Supposedly, she was giving rides in her own vehicle, with times that she'd be at a park and ride posted on the Internet.

I met a guy named Josh who works at TIC (the folks who help people plan trips and answer other questions about the bus system). He brought his friend Stew (Stu?). They were cool guys; it was nice to visit with them all evening.

Wyatt called me with free tickets to the Wild game tonight. Obviously, I was busy and couldn't go.

All I have on my schedule for tomorrow is an oil change. I think that will be nice.


OK, this is it and I swear I'm done with the fish.

the fish on its way to the Mississippi

Amanda, whose parents own Duke, told me that previous house- and pet-sitters have encountered a dead guinea pig and a dead parrot. huh.

Tria kicked my butt this weekend. I'm really tired, and I was relatively useless at brunch today.

Strike news: Talks are scheduled tomorrow. yippee. My hopes are not up. The governor doesn't care. Peter Bell doesn't care. My roommate Mark, who is a registered Republican, is going to write a letter to them expressing his displeasure with the situation. Granted, he's a very moderate Republican (you can tell because he'll actually have a conversation about issues), but I think it makes sense that his opinion will be more influential than the opinions of those of us who wouldn't be voting for Timmy P. no matter what.

If you're interested, here are a couple strike blogs to check out. They have a lot less about me and goldfish on them, so a lot of folks might find them interesting...
Cecile Cloutier
Jim Jeffries

I've seen two regular bus riders on my way over to Duke's house. I take the highway most of the way, but I saw both of these guys near Minnehaha Creek under Nicollet Avenue. Birdman (sans bowling ball bags) was on foot; the Latino line cook was on a bicycle. This sucks.

It sounds like I'm going to get some culture with Eric and Nancy this evening before Eric gets on a plane tomorrow and disappears for another couple of months.

I'll be picketing at Nicollet Garage (32nd and Nicollet) tomorrow from 4:00-8:00 PM and Wednesday from noon-4:00. Come say hello and hang out with us.


The fish is dead.

Duke and I talked it over and we decided that the appropriate thing to do would be to toss it in the creek (seen behind Duke in the photo below). But that means I'd have to pull it out of that tank and carry it down there. My very active gag reflex might give me some trouble with that. We'll see... I think I might suggest to Duke that we bury it in the soil under the tree where it originally leaped to freedom. Hmm. Maybe not.

Eric and Nancy just stopped by with some groceries for strike boy. Awfully nice.

Tria last night, Tria tonight, Tria in the morning. I think Simon is on Spring Break or something. I'm on my own. It keeps me busy.


The fish lives!!!

I can't believe it. It was definitely hurting, but it swam down to the bottom of the aquarium when I prodded it with some bark. Unfortunately, it was looking much worse this morning. It kind of looks like some of the other fish had taken some shots at it.

In other news,

still the Duke of Duke.


I keep thinking of things that I need to mention here. But I usually think of this stuff at work and I keep forgetting to bring a pen with me.

Oh, I know. The StarTrib (name: transit, password: librarian) has a relatively nice article about David Strom, the guy from the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. Um, I know it sounds condescending, but I mostly feel sorry for that guy. And I don't think he should admit to being influenced by Ayn Rand. That's just embarrassing for anyone over the age of 20. (Yeah, yeah, I know. All that from a guy who just put a picture of a dog taking a dump on his website...)


I just stopped by the house to get a v-neck t-shirt to wear to work. I got an email from Thom Yorke! That's what it said in the From column anyway. The email is from a local cabbie/truck driver who read the Pulse article and had some nice things to say. So that's cool.

Yesterday afternoon I was watering plants at Duke's house and I noticed that a goldfish had made the leap from the aquarium to the base of one of the trees. But I had poured water on it before I noticed the fish, so I figured I'd leave it until today so I'd have something dry to pick up.

I went to take a picture of it at 2:00 this afternoon and that thing's gill was still moving! Nerves? Seems like a long time even for that. So I threw it back into the water. I expect to find it floating when I get back over there this evening. But I'm sort of hoping for a miraculous recovery.

I'm missing a rally at the capitol this afternoon. It just didn't fit with Duke's potty schedule and my work schedule.


I put on my St. Patrick's Day t-shirt today, thinking I might go out this evening, but I don't really feel like it. So I guess it'll go to waste this year. Oh wait, it pretty much went to waste last year at Half Time Rec, which was packed. This is what it looks like:

I think I'm going to enjoy a Guinness with Mark and his girlfriend Amy (I think it's safe to call her that) and call it an evening. Sláinte!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I went to the Union Bank and Trust today and picked up a crisp $50 bill for picketing. It's from our local chapter of ATU. Next week it'll be $150, from the international union.

Check out a little something from Pulse of the Twin Cities.


I seem to be kind of busy.

I picketed from 4:00-8:00 at the Light Rail facility. I'll be out there again tomorrow. Channel 5 was there for the 6:00 news. I think I was pretty much off camera.

Then I let Duke out. I'm watching him this week.

I arrived at Tria at 10:30 yesterday morning to work the brunch and then realized that I didn't have to be there until 5:00. So I came home and slept for a couple hours. Dumb. I was looking at this week's schedule.

Obviously, we're still on strike, and there are no talks scheduled. I think I'm brewing a rant, the likes of which haven't been seen in these parts for a rather long while. I'm considering thinking about this one. Otherwise, I'll have to deal with the burst of logic that inevitably comes floating my way from somewhere near Omaha when I start typing too much...


It's a little after 1:00 in the morning. I got home from Tria a while ago. It was fun again this evening. Simon and I put on a solid bussing performance, if I do say so myself.

Made me laugh: While walking through the dining room, I overheard a woman say, "...remember, the Twin Cities area is twice as big as it used to be!"

Before I went to Tria, I went to a pro-Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 rally at the U of Minnesota. It was pretty cool. I spotted Sandy Berman again, but I didn't see him afterward, when I had hoped to find him and at least say hello. Jim, Jose and Alem, fellow bus drivers and carpoolers, were ready to go, so I didn't really have much time to look around.


I got home from the picket line about an hour ago. I was supposed to be out there from noon until 8:00, but it was fun, so I stuck around an extra hour-and-a-half.

Spirits were high. We got a lot of supportive honks and waves from people driving by. And several people stopped to talk. Someone gave us a $5 bill, others brought food and wood for our fires. A couple young guys on bicycles stopped to see if we needed anything. My mom and dad stopped by for a little while. With all the love, it really stuck out when a 20-something cutie in her VW Golf honked, made eye contact with me and gave us the finger. huh.

I'm well aware that I pretty much neglect the library part of the Transit Librarian. Today I'm happy to report that I will, in fact, be putting some Librarian into the usual mix of Transit, Transit and Transit. But really, I had help.

An hour or so into my day, a guy showed up and picked up an "I Support..." placard. He walked up and down the sidewalk and around the block a few times. He introduced himself as Sandy. I asked him if he was from the neighborhood, but he said he was from Edina. He said that he was retired, and indicated that he'd picketed with the nurses.

Since it was my first day, I was doing what I almost always do in a new situation: mostly keeping my mouth shut and watching to see how things worked. (Of course, there wasn't much to it, but I wanted to make sure that was the case. Yeah.) Anyway, I didn't really talk to him very much. As he was getting ready to leave, another guy came along and chatted us up. Sandy asked him if he was ??? and those guys had a conversation. I realized that they were talking about libraries and the electric lamp, incandescent came on over my head. Sandy Berman. Holy crap. So I asked, and it was indeed him. I've seen pictures of him, but I guess I was caught off guard. He's pretty much a legend in the world of libraries, specifically in the area of cataloging. There's a lot of good stuff about him online, but this article from City Pages is a great place to start.

Yeah, it was a geeky thrill, but a thrill nonetheless. I'm hoping to see him out there again.

I keep forgetting to mention that this week (March 6-12) is one of my two weeks of vacation that I picked for this year. So I guess my vacation page this year will feature strike photos...


It was relatively slow at Tria last night. My brother's wife's father's cousin showed up. I originally met him at Wyatt's Leaving Cafe Havana Party. I reintroduced myself. He's an interesting guy; I think he's a lobbyist.

Perhaps you're wondering about the strike. Well, the last I heard, there weren't any talks scheduled. I'll be picketing for eight hours tomorrow. For fun, you could read this, from some of my favorite wackos, the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. Then you could read this, from the StarTribune (name: transit, password: librarian- if necessary). Or skip all that and read this, written by Ted Mondale, who was the Chair of the Met Council before Peter Bell. Or check out the letters to the editor and notice that Arne Carlson, the (Republican) governor who presided over the last transit strike, doesn't appear to think much of the way current governor Timmy P. is handling things. I don't know, I think this is getting kind of fun. I also think the StarTrib needs to upgrade its servers or something. That site is s-l-o-w.


Oh, how I ache.

I guess it's been a while since I did something as strenuous as spending an evening bussing tables. I just got home from Tria.

Contrary to what I'd been led to believe, Simon, the other assistant waiter, was quite proficient. One of the waitresses told me that we made a cute team. My pre-game pep talk paid off! "Simon, we need to look as cute as possible this evening. When you're putting empty coffee cups on a tray, make sure to do it in the best light, exposing your best angle to the most people..."

It really was fun, though. I didn't realize how much I missed restaurant work. (We'll see about that in a couple weeks. And tomorrow morning.) Added bonus: Wyatt let me tend the outside fireplace, so I got to play with fire, which I always enjoy.


"Ah, yes," you're thinking to yourself, "a dark, blurry picture of the Daff and CJ. That must have been an entertaining evening!" And it was.


Today you should probably call me Microsoft Word Master User. I went to Manpower this morning and took the Word test. I got a few wrong, but I am still Master User.

MS Word Master User

Tonight, I plan to enjoy dinner with my parents and the Daff! Tomorrow night, I plan to show a kid less than half my age how to bus tables at Tria. See, I don't have time for buses right now.


I guess I'm on strike now. I'll probably still find something to babble about.


I had a sick day yesterday, but I was OK when I woke up. I went to the chiropractor and then out to dinner with Tina, her Aunt Rosalie and Rosalie's husband, John. We went to Tria, where Wyatt's a manager. I had a most excellent dinner of monkfish and oxtail ravioli.

Today I got the work that I dread: ten hours on the 21. But it really went well. I never got way behind, so I had a pretty relaxing day.

There's nothing more comforting than seeing a guy get out of a police car and get into my bus. But it turned out they just nailed him for jaywalking.

A twenty-something hippie-skatepunk (!?) finished off his bottle of Malta Goya and threw the bottle on the ground in front of the bus. I said, "Dude, you dropped something." He said, "Oh, it's an empty bottle." I told him I had a garbage right next to me... unless he liked living in a dump. He went back out and picked it up and put it in my garbage. The best part was that he was wearing an Alaska Greenpeace shirt!

I have the day off tomorrow. And I have news. We are scheduled to strike at 2:00 AM Thursday morning.

February '4