March '7

3/25

Does it get any more exciting than fantasy baseball? It might be the only thing that keeps me remotely interested in MLB. I'm still thoroughly annoyed by the strike (13 years later...). But I'm a fair-weather Twins fan and I enjoy going to see them play a few times every year. Anyway, here's my team as of this afternoon's draft.

C- Joe Mauer
1B- Paul Konerko
2B- Robinson Cano
3B- David Wright
SS- Jhonny Peralta
LF- Pat Burrell
CF- Mike Cameron
RF- Gary Sheffield
UTIL- Gary Matthews Jr.
UTIL- Brian Giles

P- Octavio Dotel
P- Kevin Millwood
P- Seth McClung
SP- Ben Sheets
SP- Jason Schmidt
RP- Tom Gordon
RP- Jose Valverde
RP- Armando Benitez

DL- Francisco Liriano

Bench-
Luis Gonzalez
Ronnie Belliard
Rod Barajas
Juan Uribe
Sean Casey

____


The Mysterious, Magical Wonderland of St. Paul
 


 

3/17


 

3/16

Does a bear crap in the woods?
Does a bear crap in the dog park?
Does a bear hump Jeff in the dog park?
 


 

3/15

Well, crap. I just went to fill out a bracket for the NCAA Men's Tournament and I see I waited too long. I guess I miss out this year. No pancakes for me. It's always fun to fill out one of those things never having seen a single game and having read very little about any of it. Oh well.

It's back to the couch for me. Jeff woke me up by barking in my face. Big dog. Big bark. Not very considerate.


 

3/15

M*tro Tr*nsit has been all over the news lately and I haven't even mentioned it. I think Kassie said something in a comment somewhere. Anyway, there were two instances of serious violence on the buses in the last week.

A guy riding the infamous 5 line attempted to quiet a group of obnoxious kids in the back of the bus. He was shot in the chest as two of them exited the bus. It sounds like he's going to live.

A 47-yr-old passenger intervened when a 60-yr-old passenger was arguing with a driver on the 10 line. The 47-yr-old hit the 60-yr-old, who fell out of the bus and died.

I probably haven't written anything because I have very little to say about these incidents. I understand that dangerous people ride the buses. I understand that stupid people ride the buses. I remind would-be fare evaders of the fare daily. I ask someone to stop using profanity almost daily. I constantly remind people that the use of electronic devices with external speakers is not permitted on the bus. I understand that one day I'll say the wrong thing to the wrong person and get hit or spit on, or possibly worse.

But I can't worry about that. I don't even think about it. The vast majority of the people who ride my bus are either friendly or indifferent.

I try to greet everyone who gets on my bus with eye contact and a smile. When I remind people that their behavior is inappropriate, I attempt to do it with humor or at least without judgement.

Mostly, I just drive the bus. I talk to passengers if they'd like to talk. If no one wants to talk, that's fine, too.

When I'm on the bus, I don't feel like I'm in danger. I hope that our passengers feel the same way.


 

3/15

I'm sick. I have a particularly nasty cold. I haven't slept well for a couple nights, so on my way out of the garage today following the first part of my work, I went on the sick list. My short day was yesterday, so I was able to come home and relax. But it wasn't enough, I guess.

____

From what I've seen so far, I think I'll like this pick.

I had fun Saturday on the 21. The Lake Street 33-Ring Circus was in full swing. The work is decent. I do three trips on the 21D, which goes to the University of St. Thomas. That's always kind of nice. Those trips aren't as busy as the 21A, which goes all the way to downtown St. Paul. And I had some lengthy layovers. That helps keep me happy and relaxed, of course.

My Tuesday/Thursday work is pretty nice. I do the 17 in the morning for a few hours. It's pretty laid back. Then I do the 4 in the afternoon. I do 1.5-hour trips, so the day goes quickly. And I travel on Lyndale in south Mpls, which I find easier than the Penn trips. You know how I like to whine about the restroom situation on the 4? It's much better with the addition of a new restroom, which replaced a port-a-potty. The port-a-potty replaced a moldy, not-so-old restroom that was built when there were grand ideas for the 82nd Street Station. It was going to be a hub for several buses that serve the Bloomington area. That didn't last long. Anyway, here's the new restroom. It's nice inside.


 

My short day, yesterday, was easy. Two trips on the 24. It's a nice route.

I guess I'll have to wait until next week to see what my Friday work is like.


 

3/9

When I woke up today, I was looking forward to going to work. And guess what? I enjoyed myself all day. Why? Because in general, the people who ride the 6 have their sh*t together way more than the people who ride the 18 do.

From the comments:

You learn to drive with blinders on. Wait for them when you can, don't when you can't. Your first obligation is to the people already on your bus. They too, have connections to make. You don't have the right to make them miss their connections because of some misguided desire/need to be nice. Most "runners" tend to be chronically late. Passengers become resentful when "runners" trump the needs of the responsible rider. This ultimately is the "value added service" that the ambassador program promotes. The needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the perpetual jerkoffs.

This, actually, is exactly how I look at this issue, and how I deal with it on a day-to-day basis.

However, I have had two complaints in the last couple of months from would-be passengers about me passing them up. I had to go in and talk to a manager twice about "passing someone up." One incident I remember. The person was across the street from a stop and I was moving about 30 mph past the stop because there was no one there. I saw them waving as I cruised through the intersection. I don't remember the second individual, but it was at 11th and Nicollet (southbound) which means that even if I saw the person, it doesn't matter, because once I get going I can't stop again or I'll get stopped at a red light in a place that blocks buses from turning on to the Nicollet Mall. It's a hassle, though, to talk to a manager. Both times, the manager dismissed the complaint. But I'm afraid that the next time someone calls, I'll get nailed because where there's smoke, there's fire, right?

So yeah, I firmly believe that if you aren't at the stop when the bus arrives and leaves, you did not get passed up. You missed the bus. Even if you are fifty feet away. Or crossing the intersection in front of me against the light at 4th Street. I stop when I can, which is often, but I am aware of the people on my bus who have places to go and people to see.


 

3/8

When I woke up today, I was looking forward to going to work. Beginning somewhere in the middle of my work day, I wanted to strangle someone. I fear that I'm becoming the bus driver I swore I would never become.

I understand that it's asking way too much to expect all my passengers to be at the stop waiting for me with their fare ready to go. And I know it's ridiculous to hope that they could board, pay, and sit down, in that order and about as quickly as I can type it. (And I'm a hunt-and-peck kind of guy, so it's not completely unreasonable.)

So why did I get uptight this evening? No excuse. I try not to let the passengers know I'm annoyed. But my neck and back are pretty tense right now.

I looked at a lot of red lights that I shouldn't have had to today.


 

3/2

Ah, the 18. It actually treated me pretty well yesterday. I was late, of course, and I only got a couple short breaks all day, but since I knew that was going to be the case, I was mentally prepared for it and it didn't bother me.

The passengers were generally in good spirits and happy to see me. One lady, as she exited the 554, told me that that was the best driving she'd ever seen. I'm not sure what specifically set that trip apart for her, but that compliment, hyperbolic as it was, came at a good time for me. I had been running late all day and was getting tired.

One kid turned to me as he got off that bus and said, "I have two words for you: F*** snow!"

Speaking of mental preparedness, I was also prepared to get behind slow drivers, but I still got frustrated a couple times. One driver, heading north on Nicollet, was driving 15 mph and was holding up a dozen other people plus one seriously annoyed bus driver. By then, the road was in pretty decent shape. I understand that no one wants that person to drive faster than they are comfortable, but I don't understand why they don't pull over and wait the thirty seconds it would take to let everyone by.

Of course, it's possible that my annoyance was magnified by the guy who got on at 59th and jabbered incessantly until 7th Street.

We're supposed to get more snow today. I guess I'll be late again all day. Whatever.


 

3/1


yesterday and today
 

It looks like I might have a bit of a day ahead of me on the 18. As far as the bus went, I missed the last snow almost completely. It was just getting started as I headed into my weekend. But there's no way I'm getting out of it today.

The buses aren't too bad in the snow. We have to be careful not to get too close to the curb, or the bus might get stuck. As is the case every day, the biggest problem I'll have will be the cars around me.