gag reflex in overdrive

Kassie and I went to her parents' cabin for the long weekend. It was quite relaxing. We had a good time.

I woke up Friday morning with a very angry uvula. It hurts and it's resting on the back of my tongue, which makes me gag. It's still pretty ticked off, but we're home now. The cabin was super-dry. I'm hoping it's better in the morning.




40. Ugh.

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life is just a fantasy

After avoiding it for several years, I got sucked into fantasy football a few years ago. My teams have been pretty consistently mediocre-to-bad. I joined two leagues this year, neither one for money.

I joined the mnspeak league this year. It was OK. It's on Yahoo!, which I'm not too excited about, fantasy-wise. And I think over half the league stopped paying attention a long time ago. After going 6-6-1 in the regular season, and being the lowest seeded team in the playoffs, Soft Pink placed 3rd. Kassie (Bixby Fan Club) won.

It's my third year with omgzilla, which is the league I care about. My conference was tough. My team, The Comic Stylings of Condi Rice, The Comic Stylings of Michele Bachmann, Cinderella, went 5-8 in the regular season and backed into the playoffs as the lowest seed where I pulled off two upsets to make it to the championship game. Then the magic wore off and I placed second. However, I'm pleased, to say the least.



most exciting



first day of the extra board

I had 4:30 call this morning, which meant that I showed up at the garage at 4:28. The block between home and the garage felt like the longest block I've ever walked. Then I realized that I had forgotten my work bag at home, so I walked home, got it, then walked back to work. Then I was really cold.

First, I pre-tripped a couple buses. When we get to our bus, we have to make sure it is in working condition. It's an inspection that takes about five or ten minutes. However, if, for instance, the wheelchair lift doesn't work, and the bus is supposed to pull out in two minutes, there isn't time for another complete pre-trip inspection. The dispatchers make sure there are a couple buses ready to go, already pre-tripped, for such an occasion.

Then a dispatcher gave me a piece of work on the 589. We don't do the 589 out of Nicollet, and I've never been trained on it. And that is why I love the extra board. It's way more interesting than driving the same piece of work every day or every week.

Anyway, the 589 snakes around Prestigious West Bloomington, then works its way up to 394 on Normandale Blvd/Hwy 100, making a couple detours along the way. I wasn't too worried about getting lost, since I'm mostly familiar with the area.

I was, however, concerned about having to pass people up. Some of the women who got on my bus were worried. Apparently, the 589 is usually served by an articulated (a.k.a. accordion) bus.

As new people got on, they'd comment about how it was going to be crowded. The way they were carrying on, I imagined a standing load, packed to the back, and having to tell some people that they couldn't possible fit inside the bus.

Well, by the time I got onto Hwy 100 and wasn't going to make any more stops, everyone had somewhere to sit.

Yesterday there was weather. Today there was traffic. I dropped my last guy off approximately 25 minutes later than my schedule said I was supposed to. Just before he got off, I kind of apologized for running so late. He laughed and told me not to worry about it; he was only five or six minutes later than usual! Sweet, sweet scheduling department.

I got back to the garage and filled a trip on the 17 line. Then I chatted with a couple fellow drivers for a while and got sent home.

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Well, I got my official letter of suspension from relief instruction today. Six months, no sweat.

My manager actually told me about it on Friday. She wheeled herself (foot surgery) into the tiny instruction office where I was entering training records into the computer and closed the door behind her to tell me. Ever since my chargeable accident, I figured it was coming, and I'm not at all upset about it.

I think she was relieved that I didn't fuss. I did, however, tell her that since it took so long to get around to suspending me, I sort of figured that maybe I was getting a Get Out of Jail Free card, since a number of relief instructors have gotten them in the last year or so, on two separate occasions. My record was clean both times, so I didn't need one. ha. No luck. Well, I thought I'd ask...

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do I need to put on eight layers?

The city of Minneapolis is beginning to enforce an ordinance passed in June that limits cars' idling to three minutes per hour. Buses and delivery vehicles (I think) can idle for five minutes.

M*tro Tr*nsit's policy is that we are supposed to let the buses idle at layovers if the temperature is over 80 degrees or under 36 degrees. Buses don't like to restart if they get shut off in very warm or very cold weather. Additionally, drivers don't like to sit in very hot or very cold buses. The memo we got at the garage says that our policy is in compliance with the city's ordinance.

Drivers do our share of complaining about our short layovers, and it's true that we often barely have time to get to a restroom before we have to leave again, but there aren't a lot of layovers that are shorter than five minutes.

The ordinance also says that if the temperature is below 0 degrees, idle away.

I asked a manager at the garage how our policy is in compliance with the ordinance if we are supposed to let our buses idle between 0 and 36 degrees for longer than five minutes. He said he thinks MT hopes that the police will understand that we can't shut them off.

I hope they do, too. But I'm not necessarily counting on it.

Kassie pointed out this somewhat different ordinance. It says that we have five minutes with the following exemption:
(8) A passenger bus idles a maximum of fifteen (15) minutes in any sixty-minute period to maintain passenger comfort while non-driver passengers are onboard.
So... passenger comfort is what we're worried about. And I think most layovers fall in the ten- to fifteen-minute range, so this wouldn't affect as many layovers. But there are plenty of instances of fifteen- to twenty-minute layovers. What about the driver??? Where are we supposed to go when we're sitting for seventeen or eighteen minutes at 27th and Washington St. NE? I guess we just get to freeze our butts on the bus. Nice. Thanks, Minneapolis.

However, later, it says:
(10) An occupied vehicle idles for purposes of air conditioning or heating while waiting to load or unload.
Uh... I'm just going to interpret that as good for me, since we're always waiting to load passengers, right?

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art bus

I am aware of three bus graveyards where M*tro Tr*nsit buses go when they die. The biggest one I've seen recently is at I-94 and Snelling. There may be more. I don't know. I assume this bus was in one of those, but it was in my garage one day when I went out to my bus.

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war on Christmas '8

The War on Christmas continues unabated! And here's the proof. Barnes and Noble at the Galleria dedicated A WHOLE TABLE to Hanukkah! BOYCOTT BARNES AND NOBLE!!!



don't gamers have to concentrate?

Guy who initially put his transfer in upside down: "That's right. I gotta concentrate now. I'm in the real world."


tough call

I picked up a guy a couple weeks ago on my early-morning 18. He was wearing an orange t-shirt and matching cap that both said PSYCH WARD, with a number, similar to this one:
Oh, ha, ha! Crazy Casual Friday at work, or whatever.

The next week, he got on again. He was wearing the same t-shirt and cap, but he had another shirt on top of the orange one. It said Lost: My Marbles. Oh, another one! Ha! As he paid, I could hear The Fixx? No... Thomas Dolby "She Blinded Me With Science" coming from his headphones.

Fifteen minutes later, we were killing some time somewhere and I could hear the tinny sound of headphones playing... "She Blinded Me With Science."

I guess I can't decide how funny the t-shirts are.