September '6


So apparently, Mentos + Diet Coke


= this.




Got married today.





JCPenney, Rosedale Mall, this evening.

It's not my personal record for The Earliest Date I Noticed Christmas Stuff On Display, but it's close. Ridiculous.

[update: My personal record is 9/21. I suppose if go to a mall on 9/20 next year, I could break the record, but looking for it is not the point. Every year, I am surprised when I see Christmas stuff out so early, and I usually note it here.]



If you know me or have read this enough, you know that I'm not much of a fan of conservative politics. You're probably not surprised that I'm not a fan of Mark Kennedy. You probably also know that he's running against Amy Klobuchar and Robert Fitzgerald for US Senate. Oh wait, this Robert Fitzgerald.

Anyway, one of Klobuchar's aides was fired after she looked at an unreleased Kennedy campaign ad. Some guy found it on Kennedy's ad consultant's website and sent it to her.

So what's the Kennedy Krew's reaction? Check it out.

This is what Kennedy's website looks like as I type this.

Um. Seriously. What a freaking tool. I can't say it enough. Tool. Tool. Tool. Tool. Tool. Tool.

Fortunately, it looks like he's going to go away.

Last night Kassie and I met Jamie (from grad school) and Cathy (her friend) for dinner. As we passed the house on the way home, I commented that we'd left the kitchen light on. As I opened the door, I thought I heard something. I paused to listen, heard something else, and Kassie said, "Someone's here!" As she said it, she grabbed my arm and a guy walked into the living room from the dining room. I yelled and backpedaled. I was pretty freaked out.

heh. It was Robert, who has a key and will probably be dropping in and out for the next couple of months. And I guess I'll be pretty useful if we ever do come across a real intruder.



All three of my students passed their in-service driving tests today. And they all did very well. Sweet. I may have been more nervous than they were.

The in service test is pretty simple, really. They drive the 17 line between downtown Mpls and 31st and Irving in Uptown. A safety supervisor rides along and evaluates their decisions and the results of those decisions. For example, a decision to turn too soon may result in the bus hitting a curb. That would also result in failing the test.

So, while it was ultimately their driving and their decision-making that enabled them to navigate the 17 in such a way that the safety supervisor did not worry for the property or lives of anyone on the bus or anywhere near the bus, I felt that it was at least partly going to be a reflection on me and my teaching skills.

I was especially nervous because the safety supervisor has been tough on me once or twice. Not in a particularly bad way, but in such a way that I have felt like he doubts my abilities. I wanted to show him that I was capable of doing my job well.

So I thanked my students profusely for driving the way I've been trying to get them to drive. Lunch is on me tomorrow.



Guess it's been awhile.

I'm still 8-4 with the new drivers. Assuming it works with the safety supervisor's schedule, they'll take their in-service test next Tuesday. They're doing quite well, but sometimes I worry a bit about them. They all seem to have a bad trip every few trips. And I don't know how many times I've told them that they need to scan intersections, backscan during turns and check their mirrors...

I was also worried that I haven't been keeping the right pace and that we're behind schedule. Then we went to a meeting a couple days ago with all their classmates, who have been out with other instructors, and found out that some of them have already taken their in-service tests. Yikes. I expressed my concerns about pacing the class with the safety supervisor at Nicollet when I stopped in to ask him to clarify a couple procedures. He likened me to my students. When they first start, they'll run behind schedule. Then, with practice, they'll figure out how to speed things up. Good point. Thanks.

I went to Wausau to visit my grandparents and my cousin Todd last weekend. It was fun. I really like to visit Wausau, a beautiful city in the middle of Wisconsin. There are a lot of trees and a river and creeks and a mountain.

Todd had to work for a while on Saturday and my grandparents had plans to go out of town for the day. Fortunately, there was an art fair downtown. It was a fairly good-sized art fair and there were quite a few interesting artists showing their works. My favorite was Andy Van Schyndle.

I stopped by Todd's workplace to see it. Yowza.


I understand that's a pretty basic-looking office, but really, I had no idea.

There was also an art fair at the fairgrounds. It was called "Art in the Park." It should have been called "Crafts in the Park." Painful.


Good thing Scott, my mom's cousin's son- which makes him some kind of second-removed cousin- was in town. He's my age and we've known each other since we were kids. We hung out for a couple hours, then Todd and I went out to dinner with my grandparents and Todd's girlfriend and her daughter.

Todd has a dog.

Yes!!! Good doggie!

He has a pretty cool car, too. We took it out for a drive on Sunday after church and before dinner.

The dog might be faster than the car.

Kassie and I have a lot to do in the next couple weeks. We've been painting and unpacking. There's more of that to do and now we have to get ready to be married. I'm not too worried about it. It'll all get done.

We bought rings tonight at Kmart, where fine jewelry is 70% off. Niiiiiiice. They're temporary; we're planning to get some made in the future. (But Kassie says she likes the gold band she got, so who knows?)



The three new drivers all passed their CDL tests, so we started working on driving in service. It's going pretty well.

One of the students is a Somali guy. For those of you not from the Twin Cities, there is a significant Somali immigrant population here, and the sad truth is that they are not very well received by many of the ignorant among us. I always enjoy the irony of anyone but a Native American bitching about immigrants. (I like to ask people who rant about it if they're Native.)

Anyway, we've been practicing on the 17. There's a convenience store on one end with a nice little deli where we can get a bite to eat. I ordered some pork ribs and the Somali guy was next. He ordered chicken (no pork for him) and asked the guy behind the counter to use different tongs. The guy, who I sort of know and have always found quite pleasant, happily complied with the request. "I understand. I respect religion." OK, cool, I thought. That might have been a perfect place to hear something stupid. But wait, there's more!

"Not like in some places, where they don't. That's how people get killed. blah blah blah." I couldn't believe it. Yeah, we all know about terrorists and fanatical Muslims and was it really necessary to pin all that crap on this very peaceful, very polite and thoughtful guy standing in front of you, keeping you employed? Don't think so.

The next day, the Somali guy was driving. He slowed for a Somali woman who was standing at the site of a former bus stop. Due to construction, the stop has been moved across the street. I told him not to stop where she was, and he correctly drove through the intersection and waited for her.

A young woman piped up, "Oh, she's Somalian! That's why!" An older guy sitting several seats behind her grunted in agreement. Their eyes met. The young woman, having found her audience, continued. "If that had been you or me, we'd have been left behind!"

That was enough for me. "Um, I don't think that's necessarily the truth."

In the rest of the conversation that followed, I assured her that it was, in fact, my business. I apologized for any time she'd been passed up, and pointed out that I was there to make sure these new drivers don't pass her up in the future. She settled down.

There's a fine line between giving good customer service and waiting for people and giving good customer service by not making everyone late waiting for someone who couldn't get it together enough to be at the stop when the bus arrived. It's one of the many, many grey areas we encounter when driving bus.

In other news, I have a fantasy football team this year. I've sort of resisted doing it. It's just D&D for sports freaks, right? I picked 10th out of 10 teams, so my running backs look pretty weak. We'll see how it goes, I guess. My roster:

QB- Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Steve McNair
RB- LaMont Jordan, Fred Taylor, Mike Anderson, Kevan Barlow, Laurence Maroney
WR- Hines Ward, Santana Moss, Troy Williamson, Eric Moulds, Travis Taylor
TE- Tony Gonzalez, Vernon Davis
K- Shayne Graham
Defense- Carolina Panthers

Adding to my RB woes was that I drafted Domanick Davis with my third pick. He will enjoy the season on IR. Smart. (But at least I didn't pick Koren Robinson, like one guy did.)



August '6