I think my game could use a visit from Fathers Merrin and Karras.
Unless it's a warning of an imminent visit from old Saint Nick.



1 Thessalonians 5:18a

In all things give thanks.

However, if your bus driver greets you with, "Hello! How are you this evening?" and your reply is, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for the library. Thank you for the bus system. Thank you very much," I'm pretty sure you're going above and beyond the call of duty.

It's probably OK to just say, "Fine, thanks." But hey, whatever works for you...



baking boy

I made a maple syrup pie today. If I were Kassie, I'd post the recipe. But alas, I'm CJ.


I wanna know where these guys hang out...

'cause they look pretty cool.



king of the broken buses

On my third trip today, as I was driving down Hennepin Avenue downtown, my bus let loose with the most horrible, shrill racket I think I've ever heard a bus make.

I was losing air pressure and it was the warning that it wouldn't be too long before my brakes weren't going to work very well, or at all.

I had a bus full of MCTC students who needed to get to Laurel Avenue and I wanted to get them that far. The brakes seemed to be doing well. I didn't want to drive too fast, but I didn't have a bus in front of me, and I knew I could use the emergency brake if I needed to stop and the brakes didn't work. But at the same time, I had to hurry, because when the air pressure drops far enough, the emergency brake pops on by itself and the bus won't move.

I got as far as the Basilica. I waited about twenty minutes and a mechanic brought me a new bus. I drove it in service to the end of the line, where I got a very long layover. Control had filled a round trip for me.

My new bus's wheelchair ramp didn't work. I didn't call it in right away. I was hoping that they'd have my relief driver pull out his own bus and I could take mine back to the garage. And that's what happened. I didn't need to use the ramp at all. It would have been fine if I did. The nice thing about the low-floor buses' ramps is that they can be manually deployed and stowed.


new pick

12/13/8 - 3/6/9:

AM Extra Board.

I haven't worked the extra board for several years. To review:

The extra board is a group of drivers who fill in for people who don't show up, call in sick or otherwise have the day off on relatively short notice. The total board is divided into AM and PM boards. The AM people can't be put on work that pulls in to the garage past 7:00 or 7:30 PM (I can't remember which right now) and the PM board covers everything else.

All the work is lined up chronologically and the drivers are assigned to it in order, based on seniority. There's a little arrow that moves to a different driver (almost) every day. It's the place on the board where the earliest piece of work goes. Since it moves, the same people don't always get the early work, or the late work. This might be kind of confusing. There won't be a test.

I worked the board for a few years when I first went full time. It's a good way for a low-seniority driver to get done before midnight once in awhile. Now that I have some seniority, I can get on the AM board and get done at approximately the same times I've been getting done when I pick regular work.

-Variety! I'll probably drive all, or almost all, of the routes out of Nicollet Garage at some point in the next few months. I like that a lot.

-Call days. There are always some drivers who sit in the garage on call. Call work gets put into the rotation. Call drivers have to be ready to fill in for no-shows, or fill in for hopelessly late buses, make bus changes, etc. Some days, they get a lot of reading done. (Other days, they get sent out to drive the 21 for ten hours.)

-Bad day? Don't care. If I have a bad day, I won't see it every week. I just have to make it through the day and I probably won't see it again.

-Surprises and scheduling. I won't know what work I'm doing until 5:00 the day before when I call to find out. That makes it pretty much impossible to schedule appointments. However, if I really need to know what I'm doing, I can pick a hold down, which is a full week of work. When I do instruction, my work goes up as a hold down. If someone gets injured or sick for a long period of time, their work goes up as a hold down.

-Five. That's how many full days I'll work. I quite like my current short-day Wednesdays.

Other than the fact that I'll put in five full days, I don't think too much will be different. I'll still have Saturdays and Sundays off, and I'll probably work quite a few splits. The AM board has lost favor with a lot of drivers because the dispatchers seem to split them a lot. If I picked work, I'd work splits three days a week, getting done at 7:00 or 7:30.

I think the pros outweigh the cons by quite a bit. I'm kind of excited to see how it goes.



amusing myself by accident

I drive one trip every week on the 554, which, in the morning, starts in south Bloomington and runs like an 18 up Nicollet to Diamond Lake Road, where it gets on 35W and goes downtown.

The neighborhood where it starts in Bloomington is pretty nice. Nine Mile Creek runs nearby and there are a lot of woods around.

A woman who I've known on the 554 for quite a while sat up front, as usual. We talked about the snow. It was a bit heavier in Bloomington than up in Minneapolis where I'd been.

I said, "Yeah, it just feels a lot whiter down here."

Pause. "uh... I mean..."

She laughed. And agreed.



this one's for Corey

But everyone should feel free to rock out.



this is an excellent read

A bad day for the Gipper: Reaganomics runs its course, by Steve Berg on MinnPost.




Wyatt invented a cocktail for this evening's festivities. He won't get to have another for awhile, but I'm home and I'm enjoying one now. It's called the Baracktail.

2 oz Genever (Dutch Gin, dry gin will do, but not as rich)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Pimms no. 1
Dash Orange Bitters.
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with a lemon twist or homemade maraschino cherry.

It's quite tasty. After speaking with Wyatt this evening, I went a little heavier on the maraschino, more like 1/2 oz.

p.s. yeah, I voted for Nader, but I'm still happy about the way things appear to be going...

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On my way back to the garage this morning, I failed to steer around a car that had not completely cleared the intersection. I scuffed and dented his rear bumper. This is the bus. I'm a total moron.

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very sad...

This is me and Tim. May he rest in peace.