March '6


Well, I passed the test I took the other day. Next up: a personality test on Tuesday.



A bus got rear-ended on I-94 this morning. That's a bad story.

The blue footballs still aren't working, but now M*tro Tr*nsit has sent a letter of default to the company that's supposed to have had the Go-To cards working by now.

I saw the Daff today. My mom and dad will be disappointed to hear that he was smoking. I asked him about it and he said he still smokes sometimes. He didn't want my bus; he was going the other way. As he walked away from my bus, he announced, "I know that guy!" to the people at the bus shelter.

I go to Tracy's every Wednesday after work to play pub trivia and hang out with Wyatt, Tina and whoever else shows up. We won tonight. A win gets us $20 off our tab. But I'm more excited about a little something I got when we took third place one time. You can see it on my wrist in this picture:

This was in Colonial Williamsburg on St. Patrick's Day.

I should probably put the rest of my vacation pictures up.



Oh yeah, and I went on a small CD-buying binge Saturday:

Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass- Whipped Cream and Other Delights Re-Whipped
Loose Fur-
Born Again in the USA
Da Capo
Maxïmo Park-
Missing Songs
Rhett Miller-
The Believer
The Rolling Stones-



I just got home from the grocery store. I got a different brand of chocolate soy milk than I usually do. It's delicious.

So did I mention that I'm 99% sure that I'm lactose intolerant? For the most part, I've stopped eating dairy and the nausea and vomiting I was experiencing have gone away. I ate a big piece of cheesecake a few weeks ago (dinner party, and I took Lactaid) and it set me off. The thing is, when my stomach was acting up, I'd head straight for the cereal and eat little else. Nice. Of course, ice cream might be my favorite food and now I can't really eat it very often, and a big shake with lunch is out of the question. It's good, though, because I've been avoiding eating other sugar, too. I've lost some weight and I feel pretty good most of the time.

Before I went to the grocery store, I took a test. For a new job. District Supervisor, still with M*tro Tr*nsit. It was kind of fun. I had no idea at all what the test would look like, and I didn't really know what I should study, so I didn't. And I have no idea how it went. I have mixed feelings about the job itself and whether or not it would be a good time for me to take a new job, but I think I'd be good at it and if I somehow got offered the position, I'd take it. (And yes, I talked to Kassie about it.) But I'm pretty sure that I won't get far enough along in the process to have to make that decision, and I'm not just saying that because I should.

I've done all my new work now. I think I'll have a decent pick. The 17 on Tuesdays will be a minor struggle, but it's not that bad. The straight eight hours on the 18 (and 554) was tiring, but not too bad. The 46 on Saturdays will be as lovely as I remember it. It's kind of boring, but it's a nice break from the 17 and 18 and 21. I had several pleasant interactions with passengers.

At one point on Saturday, I had a few seconds to kill at Bloomington Avenue. We had a fresh green light, and I pulled over and stopped. The Dodge Durango from Wisconsin that was behind me pulled up next to me and stopped as well. The light was still very green. It waited eight full seconds, then went through the light. I followed.

The next stop light was at Cedar. Now I was behind the Durango and another car. The light was red and the Durango was stopped with its left turn signal on. I saw the driver look left and right and left and right, then take the turn signal off. Then they pulled forward into the intersection. The light was still red. The Durango only stopped when a car traveling on Cedar laid on its horn as it whizzed by. Cheese is delicious, and there's not much lactose in it.



You know, I just don't get the appeal of Guided by Voices. I sort of think they no longer exist, so I guess this might be an irrelevant opinion, but hey, whatever. I saw them in Iowa City and it was as great as it was depressing. I own Bee Thousand and frankly, I think it kind of blows.

They're on "Austin City Limits" as I write this and I am playing the "how long can I take it before I have to change the channel" game. Oh wow, a hookless "melody'' just like the last song. Ho hum.

I think it's time to change the channel.



Wow. Threatening emails result in a shutdown of Check that out.



Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, do unto others, etc. etc. etc. Sheesh. Doesn't get much more embarrassing than that...



I forgot to refill the one I had in my bag, so I needed a bottle of water. I went in to the Jaguar (and Lotus) dealership downtown to get a new bottle. The machine ate my quarters. Ah, well. I knew I'd probably get a few minutes later in my day to stop in at Churchill Market and get one.

Instead, I thought I might try to use the restroom. This might not be polite dinner talk, but you know, I have to pee a lot. I think it's because I'm worried about having bladder problems due to holding it too long, which is common among bus drivers. So I go every chance I get, and my body is used to it.

Anyway, as I approached the men's room at the car dealership, there was another guy headed the same way. He was going to get there slightly ahead of me, so I slowed a bit to let him go first. Then I noticed that he was staring me down. Guess who it was? Yep. The angry guy from Tuesday (see 3/22 below). I opted out of the restroom visit.

Tastes like... hotdog.



I think I'm getting a cold.

A guy stood outside my 17 bus yesterday on the Nicollet Mall. He asked me if the bus he saw way behind me was an 18. It could have been. There's always an 18 behind any bus on the Nicollet Mall. It might be 2 minutes back or it might be 10 minutes back, but there's one on its way. I just told him I didn't know. He was the first in a pretty long line and he got on my bus, but he didn't have his transfer ready.

As he was digging out his transfer, the man behind him bumped him in the process of trying to board. The first guy said something to the effect of, "Hang on there, [some name], you'll get on the bus." Then when the second guy didn't say anything, but just looked at him, he continued, "You have a problem?"

Nice. The second guy is a regular bus rider. I think he had a stroke. He doesn't move well- he has balance issues- and he doesn't talk. So I thought I'd better try to deflect the first guy's attitude. I got his attention and asked him to sit down.

Of course, my plan worked and I had the first guy in my face. Our discussion didn't last long. He calmed down and sat down. At least he stopped bothering the second guy.

As we neared 24th Street, where the 17 turns and the 18 stays on Nicollet, the first guy came up and sat near me to continue our discussion. I knew he wanted the 18 and that he'd get out at 24th. I saw a bus in front of us. The rear sign wasn't working, but I assumed it was an 18. So I laid on the horn and it waited for me. He didn't have time to really get started again, but I could tell he was still angry at me. He jumped out and got on the bus in front of me.

Then that bus turned. Crap! It was my leader, a 17A. That guy definitely did not want that bus. Sure enough, as that bus pulled away from the first stoplight we came to, he was standing there staring at me. I tried to gesture an apology, but I could see that he was furious. Sorry, dude.

Today I saw an Escalade with this in the rear window:

Where the Players Shop!

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Shouldn't that say "Playaz," though?

I stopped in a library on a layover this morning and noticed some art on display from a local elementary school.

You know, I'm sure that it took a lot of work to get that PhD, but seriously...

Then later this afternoon, I found this on my bus:

I emptied the rest of its contents into my arm, but I didn't really feel anything. I might have to score some weed and try that.



Although it just didn't seem like the best thing to do, Kassie and I came back to Minneapolis. We had an excellent vacation, and I'm going to throw a few pictures up on another page in the next couple days. We traveled the Carolina coasts from Savannah, GA to Washington, DC. Along the way, we visited historic sites, collections and displays ad museum...


3/11 - 3/20



As the week winds down, so does this pick. Today was the last day that I'll drive a one-piece on the 4 for a while. It's true that I like the work, but as I've whined about numerous times, the restroom situation leaves a lot to be desired. Here is the only restroom facility at the end of the line in my eight hours today.


Scott Seekins, the guy I used to refer to as Little Red Loafers, rode with me on Tuesday. That always makes my day.

There's a twelve-foot photo on the side of City Center of a guy who rode with me every once in a while on the 578. It's one of several photos, seemingly of people who work at City Center, and it's on the wall right behind the shelter for the 7th Street stop. But I always picked him up at 6th. So yesterday I asked him if he waited at 6th so that he wasn't waiting under his picture. He laughed and said it was kind of strange to see himself up there. But the strange thing for me was that he said that he would like to wait at 5th, and then I missed the reason why he didn't. So now I guess those people, who I see on the side of City Center and have always assumed could be found inside, may or may not actually be employed somewhere on the premises.

Today I happened to be waiting for a light near the sign for Le Parisien Flats and Market Place. Yeah, kind of funny. But the part I find most amusing is their trademarked slogan: "Inspired by a true story. Yours." Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I think they hit up Yanni for some leftover lyrics before he moved to Florida and started doing some hitting of his own.



Eric and I briefly discussed razors and shaving last night at The Bulldog. These photos arrived in my inbox today.

Here, Eric is seen shaving with an outdated plastic Bic razor. Ouch!

Fortunately for Eric, his wife Nancy gave him a modern Gillette Mach3! Thanks, Nancy!



Kassie and I went to church yesterday evening to watch and discuss Crash.

Then we went back to her place. We watched about a half hour of the Academy Awards, then put in a Sopranos DVD.

At about 10:30, we checked online to see how the Oscars were going. Best picture: Crash. Huh.

A bit of background- Kassie took an absolutely awful diversity class in which Crash was brought up quite frequently. Her impression of the movie was tainted from that. I read a small article somewhere in which a local reviewer shared her disappointment with the movie. I don't remember why she didn't like it, but I remember thinking that I wasn't going to be surprised if I didn't care for it.

But since then, we'd heard how good it is and Kassie and I went willingly to church to view it in place of the usual bible study at that time. (Incidentally, the last several weeks' study involved a discussion of some of Jesus' parables based on William Herzog's Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed. I regret my decision to only attend the last one of those.)


Neither of us liked Crash. I will attempt to keep this mostly spoiler-free, just in case someone who hasn't seen it still wants to. Someone mentioned in the post-viewing discussion that the director, Paul Haggis, has stated that his goal was to "keep the dialogue flowing" about race relations. Well, I certainly find that admirable, and I don't mean to diminish the good intentions behind the movie. But good lord, man, how about a little subtlety?!? Scene after scene, Haggis clobbered the audience with The Message. Yeah, we get it, dude! Racism is bad. Really, really bad. And sometimes complicated, but definitely bad. In tone, style and structure, Crash reminded me of Magnolia, but without the interesting. Twisty, turning, intersecting plot lines? Check. Poignant scenes with plaintive girl-songs? Check. But Magnolia had Aimee Mann and good songs. Unusual stuff falling from the sky? Check. At the end of Crash, it snows in LA. At the end of Magnolia, frogs fall from the sky.

The biggest difference? Crash didn't let us think. Our heads were too sore from being beaten over the head throughout the whole thing.



I forgot to mention that, perhaps due to my days evaluating children's books, I am often sensitive to didactic media (see: nearly every children's book written by a celebrity). And, as I mentioned, Crash seemed awfully preachy to me...


Believe what you've heard. I renewed my apartment lease for a year without discussing it with Kassie. Call me a dumbass; I think that would be fair.

I spent the last three days doing route training. Today I took four new part- to full-time drivers and showed them the 2, the 11 and the 17.



What I got in the mail:

How do they know this stuff?




February '6