the last

Today I finished the last of the weekends I have to work for the Instruction Center this year. I was route training this weekend.

One of my students braked hard and put another student on the floor of the bus today. She was hurt, but I think she'll be OK. We had to fill out paperwork. I probably haven't heard the last of that.

I'm glad to be done. I missed a few things in the last three weekends that I would have liked to do.

Last week we went camping at Cascade River State Park. I had to wait to go up on Sunday evening because I had to work. Kassie was already there. But I stayed a bit later than she did because I had Monday through Friday off.

The firewood came in onion bags. Say no to drugs! (?)The falls closest to the campground. Jeff and I ventured out in the rain one night
to make sure no one turned them off at night. They were still falling.
Adventure Dog!The view from very near the top of Lookout Mountain.The view from Lookout Mountain.

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merry xmas!

Spotted my first Christmas junk of the year yesterday at Kmart. So lame.




I arranged these schedules like this on my bus yesterday
for all you Rush fan out there.

At first, I answered A, but changed it to True. I decided that might be wrong, so I went with ∫ x² e^(3x) dx but didn't like that, so ended up with "The refusal to belong to any school of thought, the repudiation of the adequacy of any body of beliefs whatever, and especially of systems, and a marked dissatisfaction with traditional philosophy as superficial, academic, and remote from life."

I still think I got it wrong. Oh, well.



the 12

If I see one single red light tomorrow, I'm going to kill it.



the best-laid plans... pt. 3: Sunday

I got up early this morning. My first driver of the day was supposed to be on the 19 line at Penn and Lowry in North Minneapolis at 8:03. I planned to drive up there, park my car, and ride into downtown, then back to Penn and Lowry with him.

I got up there a few minutes early and it's a good thing I did. When I got up there, I realized that Lowry is all torn up. So I drive around a bit, trying to figure out where the bus was detoured, where I could catch it, and the safest place to leave my car for an hour or so. That is not the most savory of neighborhoods, but I figured that the riff-raff would most likely still be asleep at that time of day.

As I drove around, I noticed a blue minivan behind me. It turned where I turned, which was odd, since I was sort of driving in circles. Then, as prepared to make another turn, it sped up quickly and came up along my left side. The minivan's passenger window was down. There was a guy driving and a rather lovely woman in the passenger seat, showing off her ample cleavage.

She said, "Oh! I thought you were a friend of mine!"

I laughed and replied that I thought their behavior was a bit unusual.

Then she asked, "Can I get into your car and talk to you for a little while?"


Well, I guess I was a very Caucasian man in a new car, driving around and around a relatively downtrodden neighborhood known for drugs and prostitution. I'm sure it looked like I was looking for something.

"Uh... no thanks! I'm.. uh... busy!"

And that was that.

I parked the car and walked to the bus stop. When the bus arrived (late), I noticed the driver had an arm full of patches (5 year safe driver, 10 year safe driver, 15 year safe driver, etc.) and a low driver number. NOT MY GUY. Right work, wrong guy. I drove all the way up to Ruter Garage and the dispatcher confirmed that he was not driving, but he didn't know why.

So I came home for a little while.

My next trip was going to be on the 5 line. I took a 21 to Chicago and Lake. I waited for that bus. And waited. When it arrived, I once again saw a suspiciously low driver number. NOT MY GUY. I confirmed: right work, wrong driver. I don't know where my guy was. Sick, maybe.

I took that bus anyway. I had planned to stop in at Wyatt and Christina's to watch some of the Vikings (stupid Vikings...) game, and that bus goes near their house.

My last guy, who was my first (on vacation) guy from yesterday, didn't pull out of the garage until 3:55, so I figured I could see the end of the game.

Kassie picked me up and dropped me off at Nicollet Garage. I got there about seven minutes before my guy was supposed to pull out. I walked through the drivers' room, into the bus bay, then back through the drivers' room to see him pulling away! Early!

The mighty and capricious gods of transit were surely messing with me in a very big way.

I called Kassie and she took me to Uptown Station, where I caught up with the guy I needed to observe. Amazingly enough, the rest of the day went well.

What have I learned in the last couple of days? Oh, I don't know.

I learned how frustrating it is to miss connections. You know I like to whine about the scheduling department. Well, I experienced several examples of the written schedule being extremely optimistic about the time a bus was going to arrive at a connection.

I learned that I'm going to ask someone who knows (like a full-time instructor) what I need to do to ensure that the object of my ride-along will be there.

And finally, I learned that the reason I'm not in favor of the word f**k in its many iterations is that stupid and ignorant people use and overuse it to the point of complete lunacy. I really, really got sick of that word in two days of riding the bus.

And yeah, I'm no angel, I know...


the best-laid plans... pt. 2: Saturday

I got going a little bit later yesterday, since all my ride-alongs were in the afternoon and evening. I showed up at the garage at noon, with a couple hours to make sure the results of all my muddled thinking the day before still looked OK.

At 1:45, I went outside to the street, where the driver I was going to observe was supposed to make relief on the 18 at 1:50. I didn't see him. At about 1:48, another driver came out and waited at the stop. I asked him what work he was doing. Sure enough, it was the work I was supposed to be riding, but he wasn't the part-time weekend driver I was looking for! Crap. It turned out that he'd taken a vacation day.

I'll just say this now. I'm probably supposed to somehow check if the drivers are actually at work on these days, but I don't actually know if I am supposed to do that or not. And even if I did know their status, my schedule gets less and less flexible as I have to make connections, etc. to get to the next ride.

But he was my first of the weekend, so it wasn't too bad. I went back inside the garage and reformulated my entire weekend. I decided to cram four rides into the rest of Saturday and ride three on Sunday.

I caught a bus with the next guy with whom I was going to ride. We rode to Franklin, where he relieved a driver on the 2 line. I rode with him for a while and planned to hop a 16 to St. Paul's Midway area, to intercept a guy driving the 21.

We approached Oak and Washington a couple of minutes late and I watched the 16 that I'd planned to catch pull away. I wasn't too worried, because I knew the next one would also get me there on time.

So I waited for the next one. And waited. And waited. She finally showed up about six minutes late. That bus was packed. Then we picked up a passenger in a wheelchair. I wasn't going to get to the 21 on time.

And I didn't. But the mighty and capricious gods of transit smiled upon me, ever-so-briefly, and the 21 was late. OK, not bad. I planned to ride with him to the end of the line and back, where I was going to catch a 16 going back to Oak and Washington so I could ride with another driver on the 2.

And we ran a little late on our return trip. Just as we turned the corner onto University Avenue, I saw the 16 I wanted to catch a few blocks ahead of us. *sigh*

So I waited for the next one. It was a few minutes late, and this connection was tight. Sure enough, as we approached Oak and Washington, I saw the 2, with the driver I needed to observe, a few blocks out of reach.

The mighty and capricious gods of transit were clearly toying with me. There was one car at the intersection as I crossed the street. A cab. I waved at him hopefully and he responded in the affirmative.

"I have $10 for you to catch the bus that just turned this corner!" -or maybe it was- "FOLLOW THAT BUS!" Take your pick, whichever sounds cooler...

I had a $10 bill and two $1s, and I thought $2 was too cheap for a special order.

We caught the bus and I got on. This driver did not run late.

At the end of the 2 line, at Hennepin and Franklin, I caught a 6 into downtown. There I caught a 675 which I rode west until I could intercept another 675, with my last driver of the night on board.

I rode with him back into downtown. There, I caught an 18 and came home. I got home around 9:30.


the best-laid plans... pt. 1: the setup

Every year, in my capacity as a relief instructor, I have to make myself available to work three weekends for the Instruction Center. This weekend was my first. I found out Friday that Darell, another relief instructor out of Nicollet, and I were going to do ride-alongs.

We do ride-alongs for a few reasons, but the most common one is to see how new drivers are doing. We ride along with a driver on their work and observe their behavior to make sure they are driving safely and providing good customer service.

Between the two of us, Darell and I had to ride with thirteen new (or new-ish) part-time weekend drivers over the course of the weekend. Each driver has two paddles, or schedules, one for each day. This is a paddle.
On Friday, after I got up early and spent the day getting pummeled by the 18 line, I spent an additional two-and-a-half hours, some of them with Darell on the phone, trying to get the twenty-six paddles organized and arranged and assigned so that we could get to everyone. We only needed to ride with each person once. Many of them, since they're relatively new, have night work, so we had to make sure we each got some mornings and afternoons, again, so we could get everyone covered. Basically, if one of the drivers had a piece of work in the morning or afternoon, we had to ride with them then, since several drivers worked only in the evening.

I was super tired and there are a lot of numbers on twenty-six paddles. It was quite the scheduling nightmare. But we got something worked out and everything was cool.

I was going to ride with three drivers on Saturday and four drivers on Sunday. Darell was going to ride with four drivers on Saturday and two drivers on Sunday.



dog taking a dump, international version, pt. 2

Pete took this in Bora Bora. For me. Excellent!



I'm still alive