I've started my quick trip page here. I haven't proofread it yet and I'll add more pics later...
I talked to my dad this morning. He seemed to be in good spirits. I think some of that had to do with the fact that he's on an unrestricted diet. He's getting ice cream. It sounds like he and Mom might be in North Carolina for a while. The blood clots (there are a few) were travel-induced, so he'll have to be OK to travel before they come home.
I had a decent day on the bus. I saw that, according to the proclamation on the back of his truck, the owner of Colonial Stone Walls "Never Met a Rock [he] Did'nt Love." I also saw a Dodge Neon with an Econoline 150 badge plastered to its trunk.
I have a lot to write about and no time to do it. The reason I don't have time to do it is part of the story. I had a great time in DC.
My uncle's birthday celebration was festive.
I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go, but I made it to the war protest. It was sad and exciting at the same time. Saw a couple people I know...
I hope to never fly ATA again. They really suck.
And finally (and most importantly) before I go, my dad is in the hospital in North Carolina with a pulmonary embolism. It's serious, but my mom didn't seem too freaked out. If it's in your nature, throw a prayer out there... Thanks.
Update: Apparently, Ceejamon never got the email with my mailing address, so I just tried again...
Sooo... if you read my comments, you may have seen that Joe asked me yesterday if I got a commendation recently.
I call shenanigans. I had two commendations waiting for me today. One was for calling streets (which I think is BS) and one was from a passenger who was with me last Thursday. So Joe, do you know someone who rides the 21?
And about the BS, here's what I wrote about calling streets three years ago yesterday:
So how did my observation go? In spite of the fact that I had three hours of sleep that night (see 9/6) everything was fine. In fact, I even got a commendation. For calling streets.
And I'm riled up about that, too. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that we call streets. It isn't difficult, it's part of the job, I do it. And I get a commendation for it? It kind of devalues the commendation I got when a lady called in to praise me for handling a difficult situation well. What's next? Will I get a commendation for driving straight and keeping the bus on the street?
Also, if you read my comments, you'll see that the Genmay folks are still visiting. Check out this screenshot:
So user AkuFuji does little to dispel the notion that he/she is illiterate. Maybe he/she is really from Japan and doesn't understand the nuances of American English. See, AkuFuji, "most" does not equal "all" and "come off as" means "sound like," "appear to be" or "present themselves as." It does not necessarily mean "are." Plus, yeah, I was a tad miffed, as I tried to post there to tell the truth of the matter, but I was (and still am) "awaiting activation." Whatever.
Mark rode with me again today. It made my morning go a little faster.
A couple weeks after I purchased the domain underceej.com from a large and fairly well-known registrar, I got an email from a guy who used to have it and let it expire, thinking it would be there when he wanted it again. He was quite polite and wondered whether I would sell it to him. I told him that, although I was pretty happy to get it, I didn't really mind selling it. I asked him for $45, which is what I'd paid, plus "something small but interesting from [his] state or region." I said not to go over $20 on the extra item. (I think Mark suggested that as a way to get something out of the whole deal.)
I never heard from the guy again.
Today, I was looking at some of my traffic statistics and noticed that I was getting some hits from a website called General [M]ayhem. Take a look at that thing. It's a message board for hackers. I've read through a bit of it and it's pretty painful. These are undoubtedly some pretty bright folks, but most of them come off as illiterate rejects.
So here's the relevant bit:
So yeah, I'm the "fag" who "stole [his] old domain name somehow." Awesome! Don't tell Kassie I'm a fag, though, she'll be sad. And I guess I won the "dispute" when I told him I'd sell it to him! I AM THE WINNER! I own CJ N***n from Shreveport, LA!
But seriously, it's not like it could be that hard to hack this site. And I can't believe it would be all that fun. But if someday there's, I don't know, a picture of Worf having sex with Lara Croft on Ayn Rand's grave when you get here, I guess I'll have been hacked...
When I was burning through my sick time with a bum shoulder, M*tro Tr*nsit implemented a new baby stroller policy. We are now asking people to remove their children from the strollers, hold them and fold the strollers before boarding. It's a huge hassle, but supposedly it came from the feds.
I've been somewhat lackadaisical about enforcing it. I always mentioned it, but let it slide if people weren't complying. But last week another driver came into the break room at the Uptown Station and complained that he was the only one enforcing it and everyone thought he was the mean driver. He made sense; I learned a long time ago that inconsistency causes customer confusion, so I decided to be more diligent about enforcing the policy. I don't really like the policy, as it makes things difficult for the passengers and for me, but rumor has it we're going to be written up for not enforcing it and I don't need that hassle.
I had a lot of strollers today. One lady had just gotten off another bus and didn't have to fold up her stroller. She was mad that I made her. I wished her a good day on her way out the door and she replied with, "Oh, f*ck off."
I had another passenger crabbing at me because I made another lady comply. It was difficult for her, as she had a couple little kids, and he said that Mr. Bell would have something to say about that. ha ha! I told him I was pretty sure Mr. Bell didn't care about anyone on my bus. It turned out that he's known Sweet Pete for 23 years or some such thing. blah, blah, blah...
In not-stroller news, some random guy yelled at me from his car. All I heard was "<somethingsomething> f*cking bus!!!" I was at a time point with a minute to kill and he had to turn out in front of me. I hope he's over it.
I watched the Vikings at Eric and Nancy's house the other day. My old buddy Luke showed up. It took our minds off the game for a while, which was a good thing.
Three years ago today, I pulled in to Southdale on the 6 line with a very full bladder. In my haste to park the bus, I took a mirror off another bus. That accident comes off my record today. I got my three-year safety pin this morning.
Jesus rode my bus today. He found a $10 bill. After asking around a bit, he brought it up front and asked me if it was mine. It wasn't.
I took it and told him that I'd turn it in, but if no one called for it, I'd mail it to him. He wrote down his name and address: Jesus 3107. I got the rest of it and thanked him for being honest.
Jesus is probably 8 or 9 years old. He's going to get that $10 back and if the bill he found gets returned, then I won't be out $10, but if it doesn't get returned, that's OK...
I'm through watching Duke this time around. I do a lot of extra running around when I watch him and it feels like I don't have any time at home. But I like watching him. He has some kind of skin condition right now, though. His hair is falling out in clumps and there are big dandruff-like flakes of skin all over the place. Kind of gross.
I guess I haven't kept up here very well, so some of the newsy things I thought I'd mention are old news. But I really ought to at least say that I enjoyed seeing St. Paul mayor Randy Kelly get demolished in the primaries last week. (user: transit, password: librarian) There are several reasons that it doesn't necessarily mean a lot, but the reasons that it does are the reasons that matter most. He's a DFLer who endorsed W in 2004, and that didn't sit well with too many of his constituents. You've seen the polls; the middle of the voting spectrum are finally getting over their fears and noticing that W and his cronies are simply poor leaders. Albatross, meet neck. Neck, albatross.
I had One of Those Days on the 21 last Thursday. I have two days with at least six hours of the 21. I was heading into my last trip on the 21 for the week. The day before, I was able to keep all my 21 trips on time and I had just completed a round trip that went well. I was feeling a bit cocky about it. Then I saw Dupont Avenue and Colfax Avenue.
There's a school between Dupont and Colfax. M*tro Tr*nsit has scheduled an extra bus to be outside when school lets out, so regularly scheduled buses don't get behind schedule. Most of the kids who attend that school ride between there and Hiawatha, so the school bus is a 21E, which terminates just past Hiawatha. I was a 21A, which goes all the way to downtown St. Paul.
I have no idea where the communication breakdown occurred, but I picked up about 70 (?) kids while the 21E sat across the street sat nearly empty. There was a street supervisor on hand, but he didn't seem to be doing anything. So between the two stops at Dupont and Colfax, I sat for about seven minutes loading students. Then it all snowballed and I got really late. The little things that don't seem like a big deal when I'm on time started to make a difference. For instance, I picked up a person with a grocery cart who needed the lift. The front door wouldn't close for about a minute after I used the lift both times.
I arrived at, and left, my St. Paul terminal about five minutes after I was supposed to depart on my westbound trip. That's not really too much of a problem, as there's actually quite a bit of time built into the westbound schedule.
I had just gotten out of downtown and was ready to make up some time when I saw a wheelchair. I put the lift down, she wheeled on to it, and... it wouldn't come back up. I played with the controls a bit, but got no response. I asked her to roll back off, and then it worked. So she rolled back on. It didn't work again. But I noticed the problem that time. The edge of the lift was being pushed into the edge of a section of sidewalk that stuck up a little bit more than the section next to it.
She rolled off again. I stowed the lift and pulled forward a few inches. She rolled back on, the lift came up, I secured her chair and we were off. Almost. The front door wouldn't close again. And this time it took about three minutes.
I was approximately sixteen minutes late. I called Control. They told me to Drop Off Only. I arrived at the Uptown Station three minutes late. My last round trip was a 53, which is pretty much a limited stop 21. It went very well.
Kassie and I went to the Mall of the Universe yesterday and I got my school clothes. Well, I bought a few shirts, a sweater, a pair of jeans and a jacket. I've probably mentioned that I really don't spend much money on clothes since I wear a uniform to work every day. (And we get a uniform allowance.) That's definitely one of the nice things about my job.
I have to get a haircut now.
I'm going to Washington, DC to celebrate my Uncle Ray's 70th birthday (scroll down). I leave Friday and return Monday. Uncle Ray had a stroke a few years ago and is aphasic. Before his stroke, he co-wrote a fascinating book which has become a little more personally relevant since I became a Baptist (though UBC is American, not Southern Baptist, there are a lot of the same arguments and factions in the ABC that caused problems in the SBC).
Anyway, I really enjoy seeing that side of the family (my dad's), but I don't get many chances to do so.
I didn't take a shower today.
I voted today. I was rather torn about my City Council vote. I guess I could've just not voted in that contest, but I voted for Dean Zimmermann, in spite of the fact that he's being investigated by the FBI for taking bribes. Innocent 'til proven guilty and all that, I guess. Unlike about 98% (?) of the voting public, I don't think I've ever voted for a criminal before, so this may have been my big chance. We'll see. It's not like I liked his opposition. I thought about the whole situation quite a bit today and the soundtrack in my head today goes out to Zimmermann, even though he is an advocate of PRT (read: he might be insane).
I had to catch a bus to Uptown Station so I could make relief on the 17. A lady chatted me up at the bus stop. She asked me how things are in Minneapolis ("Horsesh*t, as usual?"). We discussed the election for a bit and she'd never heard of Farheen Hakeem, my choice for mayor. Her last words to me were, "I've been in town for six hours and I haven't stirred anything up yet. I guess I'll go over to the Fifth Precinct."
People holding cardboard signs that say HOMELESS PLEASE HELP (or something to that effect) are a common sight at off ramps and other busy intersections in the Twin Cities. Today there was a young guy at Lake and Hennepin holding a sign that said FAMILY KILLED BY NINJAS NEED MONEY FOR KUNG FU LESSONS.
OK, I know that things I see on the Internet are (or can be) temporary, especially in the case of a TV news page like the one below, but I still don't know why someone isn't checking for errors. (Does KSTP hire third graders to put up their web content?)
p.s. I forgot to invite the world to join me for Pigskin Pick'em. You see the group name; the password is flute.
I've been route training this week. Yep, I'm (temporarily?) off the Relief Instructor Injured Reserve. It's been pretty fun, and the 8-4 schedule is pretty nice, too. I even get to work as an RI on Saturday from 9-5 so I won't have to drive that miserable 17.
I have the NFL kickoff special on my TV right now and it's quite awful so far. But Randy Moss is playing tonight, and you know I love Randy Moss.
Well, I guess that's about it from here for now.
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this- this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." -Former First Lady Barbara Bush, visiting evacuees at the Houston Astrodome today.
US intelligence recently informed W that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been saying bad things about him. In other words, Chavez has a weather machine that he used create Hurricane Katrina and send it crashing into the United States. The only solution: bomb the hell out of Venezuela. And if you don't think so, then you are clearly an unpatriotic moonbat who really ought to go rot in Guantanamo.
I remember watching footage of a flood on the news a long, long time ago. There were people canoeing past houses and I was fascinated. I told my mom I wanted to be in a flood sometime. She explained to me some of the reasons I didn't, but I wasn't convinced. I mean, how much sewage and how many snakes could there be? She didn't mention the sharks and alligators...
I had an excellent day on the 17 yesterday. I was 8, 9 and 20 minutes late to my first three terminals. Then two things happened. First, Control told me to Drop Off Only from a stop that was almost at the beginning of my fourth trip. So I had about six people on board my bus and all I had to do was drop them off; I didn't have to stop to pick anyone up. The second thing that happened was that it started to rain. Including that trip, the rest of my terminals looked like this: 0, -1, +1, -5, +1, -1. Unbelievable. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it's a simple fact that the elderly, the obese and the wheelchair-bound take a lot of time, and the rain keeps them inside.
Mark is taking the bus to work now. He rode with me the other day.
Also riding with me that day was A/C Lady. Guess what? I'm an ass. (I know, it's not news to those of you who know me.) She's pregnant. Explains a lot. I will contend that it doesn't excuse all of her behavior, but everything makes sense now.
Someone from Windustry left a box of brochures meant for the Great Minnesota Get-Together on my bus. They were there when I relieved another driver. I called them to tell them where they were, and I think they got them back. Hey, I wonder if they know about Robert?
A very nice, very well-meaning lady came up to the front of the bus to tell me that the "handicapable" woman wanted to get off the bus at 18th Street. I honestly didn't think people actually used that word in real life.
I saw a regular MN license plate (not vanity) that said LMY 007. Well, yes, he is.
Perhaps you have seen a franchise sign business called Sign-A-Rama. I have no idea which one in the Twin Cities it came from, but I saw one of their trucks at 11th and Marquette the other day. It said, in large letters, that they do DESIGN FABRICATION INSTALATION. Again, signs are their raison dêtre. I wonder if Aplebee's needs a new sign?