29 March 2006


Zippity-do-dah! An interesting day on and off the bus. Our miniscule number of regulars was on the bus - newspaper guy, bicycle guy, big coffee cup lady, Dave and me. We cruised down Mill Avenue and Dave talked about his in-depth story of a white policeman on the res. After a ride-along, he thought there was a big racism issue and the officer he thought would give him an interview apparently didn't see the "curse the white man" attitude of the Indians as racism. It upset Dave's story plan and I can see how reporters end up creating news. They have a story idea and a deadline and if things don't work out as envisioned, "creative" interviewing and writing could result. I think Dave is too principled to invent a story, but he wants to find the racism angle and is looking for someone to tell that viewpoint. Like an attorney leading the witness, eh? Might be pushing the line of impartial reporting, even though he said they are being taught to tell "both" sides of every story. When's the last time you read both sides?

Well, I digress from things bus. Anyway, we got to Southern and - oh happy day - the professor and engineering guy got on the bus. I just love it when EG rides as he's always good for some interesting tidbit. He twisted around on the seat and I heard him say he wasn't ignoring them (meaning newspaper guy and bicycle guy), he just had to face forward or backward. I assume he was indicating potential for car sickness. Odd since I've seen him stand sideways in the bus for almost the whole trip and never indicated he was near hurling. Possibly a new affliction? A bit later I heard the phrase, numerical analysis - another EG gem. I think there was other hubbub type talk, but Dave was talking, too, and my ears don't multi-hear as well as I'd like.

We all got off and walked down Gammage Parkway. Dave asked EG about being in absentia from Jack-in-the-Box and EG said he found a new way to snug down in Noble Library. Dave said that was nice, but no dollar burgers in Noble. EG agreed and then segued into an observation that desirous things are rarely good for us. I thought about it and decided chocolate is most definitely desirous and not too harmful, so I announced "chocolate". A brief discussion followed about overindulgence and Dave announced "Morel mushrooms". That hung out there for a second or two and I announced "chocolate covered mushrooms". Dave was enthusiastic, but I think it shocked EG. I told him anything was better with chocolate on it, even asparagus. Just replace the Hollandaise with hot fudge and you're good to go. We turned on Forest Mall and eventually EG took his leave. I think he wasn't sure what to do with Dave and me and might be a little tilted all day after the discussion. Bet he hopes he never gets gray hair.

28 March 2006


Been a long time gone - didn't ride on Friday or yesterday, toss the weekend in the middle and it seems like forever. It's getting lighter and warmer at the bus stop - spring (or Arizona's version of it) is here. Orange blossoms are out and the aroma drifts in and out of the air. The jacaranda trees are flush with purple flowers, really very beautiful. I doubt if the desert will have a bountiful display this year. No rain for 144 days makes wildflowers unhappy. Wait a minute, I thought this was a bus blog - what's up with all the weather and flower talk? Enough already.

Ridership was slight today, but two regulars from the fall were on and it made me nostalgic. I looked up synonyms for "regular" and there are quite a few: uniform, even, consistent, constant, unchanging, unvarying, fixed, rhythmic, steady, even, frequent, repeated, continual, recurrent, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. Whew! what a collection of like terms. Wonder why I keep coming back to regular? I like frequent - maybe we could have a frequent riders club and get mileage points? It works for the airlines - a month bus pass for every 10,000 bus miles? Not sure how you'd calculate it - have to brainstorm and report back. I think it has possibilities. Light day, light blogging. I made an image today in honor of being regular - like the sunrise and sunset, you can count on regular riders.

23 March 2006


This might be a new number - eventually I will do a complete archive dive and create a lovely chart of buses ridden and how often. That will occur when I have nothing better to do with my time ...

Today was one of the emptiest buses ever. I think on President's Day, only Dave and I were passengers and that's the winner. But today it was me, newspaper guy and bicycle guy for the whole ride until the stop just before I get off. At that point, two irregulars got on and changed the dynamic from familiar to mixed. Nothing is ever said and I wonder if newspaper guy and bicycle guy notice the numbers of riders? I just can't believe it's the same route that was so robust with people during the first semester. One morning we had SRO! Now, I could lie down, fill a side, and no one would be disturbed. Oh well, just as long as a bus keeps showing up at the stop - no worries how many are on it.

22 March 2006


Remembered today's number and the ride was so boring, that's all I remember. However, not to fear, readers dear -- last night's ride home was action-packed and makes for an interesting blog entry.

Last night's bus (5pm) was comfortably full which is light ridership for that time of day. The driver was a maniac - hitting speeds near 80 MPH between stops. I had to call on all my buns-of-steel strength to keep from rolling off the seat or slamming into my fellow riders during the high powered accelerations and deccelerations. We weren't running late, so his haste was a mystery. Passengers kept getting off, no one else got on and eventually I was the lone rider. We sped down Rural and took the corner at Guadalupe on two wheels, halting abruptly at the bus stop in front of the strip mall. The driver jumped up out of the seat, said, "I'll be back in a minute, ma'am" and left the bus. I figured he wanted a cigarette or coffee from the convenience store, but instead he was dodging five lanes of traffic to cross Guadalupe and go into Arby's. Speed mystery solved - he was hungry!

Time passed and there I sat, alone on a running bus. I started thinking about getting in the driver's seat, taking the bus on up to my stop and leaving it there for the next person who wanted to try bus driving. I value my freedom, however, and felt the police would be less than kind, perceiving my bus driving as theft. A felon, I'm not, so I abandoned the driving plan, but as time ticked away I became a little irritated that this fellow would leave his bus and assume I wasn't a risk to steal it. How boring is that? I returned to contemplating bus theft (I'll show him what a risk I can be bygawd), when I spotted the Chopstick Express. It's a nice little Chinese restaurant with the best crab rangoons ever. My mind started working in a new direction and I decided I could get dinner and walk home - it's only a mile and I needed to fill in some more steps on my pedometer. I firmed this plan in my head and then wondered about leaving the bus. The driver still hadn't returned and I debated my duty to stay with the craft. As a paying passenger, am I protecting an investment? Bus theft isn't common (have you ever heard of Grand Theft Bus?), but any such incident would be costly and who always bears the cost of doing business? I decided to stay with the bus until the driver returned - it just felt like the right thing to do. I finally saw him coming across the street so I got off the bus, met him at the sidewalk and said thanks for the ride. I walked over to ChopEx, ordered a Kung Pao Chicken combo, read the paper while I waited for my order and then walked home. The rangoons were delicious, my pedometer was flush with the extra steps and I had a lot to write about in the bus blog.

21 March 2006


Hmmm...can't remember a 4100 bus in the teens - no time to archive dive, but I really don't recall anything under the 20's. Oh well, even with a new number the bus was the same as usual. They keep promising new buses, but I just don't think our little route is going to qualify - ridership (at least at 6AM) is minimal.

There was an older woman sitting on the same seat area I usually occupy. I could have sat down next to her, but decided to break with tradition and sit across from my usual self. This got weird for Dave as I sat where he usually sits and then he had to make a change of seat decision - domino effect of seat changing. Kind of fun - might change again tomorrow, even if my place is available. Later on in the ride we got some of the old regulars back, but I was wondering, what ever happened to Steve the Mechanic? There's an answer out there somewhere.

The ride was boring and Dave was talking blogs. Blogs, blogs, blogs. All the world has become a blog. I love writing my blog, but wonder if we aren't becoming a bit too information-rich? There's so much available to read, it's hard to know where to begin. I get to the point where I don't care and stop reading altogether. I used to love the bookmobile when I was kid. It was a mini-library on wheels and the selection was limited. However, it was quite possible to feel like you could read your way through it all. You knew which ones you had read and which ones were left to go. The regular library was almost too much - which book to choose? That's how I'm starting to feel about information and the Internet. Yowch - and that's how I earn a living. Best not bite the hand that feeds, eh? Made a timely, topical graphic for today.

20 March 2006


Spring break is over and bus riding should be back to usual. Newspaper guy and bicycle guy were there, as well as ASU student. Dave was there, too, and that was it for regulars. Didn't even get any semi-regulars and only added two irregulars. What is up with this? Can't imagine what summertime will be like.

gumby_legs.jpgThe ride today was very uneventful so I'll discuss the big bus blogging news from this weekend - we have gone international! An enterprising fellow from Manchester, UK started his own bus blog and was looking for others to cross link. He found me and we're now joined at the link and another bus blogger from the Greater Manchester area, Salford to be exact, also posted a comment and we're now joined at the link, too. Great to know others see writing possibilities in the daily bus ride. I've secretly longed to be a double deck blogger, but the US doesn't have interesting buses like that. Have to settle for good old route 66.

Was going to post a map of Manchester in honor of my fellow bus bloggers, but can't make it legible for blog size posting. I took some photos while in Flo and will post my favorite - my gumby legs self portrait - pretty cool and totally not related to anything bus bloggish.

19 March 2006

I Wanna Ride The Bus!: Bus blogs

I Wanna Ride The Bus!: Bus blogs
This is a post about bus blogs from my new busblogmate, GM Traveller. It's so nice to know others see the observer potential in bus riding. Makes me want to go on a blog search and see if we can uncover other rider writers.

16 March 2006


This is actually a false post. I drove to work today - going to Flo for the weekend. I was laughing on last night's ride home, so thought I'd post it today as a filler. Caught the 4PM bus at 10th and Mill and ridership was light considering the time of day. Of course, it is spring break and with no ASU or Tempe Union High School students, not much left to fill the seats. About two stops after I got on, a man boarded wearing the headphones belonging to some portable audio device. He was in his late 40's, early 50's and dressed in shabby business casual. He dropped into the front seat, across from two young girls. The girls were laughing and joking and I think he assumed he was the cause of their laughter. They had been that way since I got on the bus, but he didn't know and made the leap that he was the source of their humor. He commented to them about his music, pointing to himself and saying, "see, I'm hip." At that, they did laugh and I believe it was at, not with, him. Eventually, the bus emptied and as we approached Rural and Guadalupe there was only me, the driver, the man and another woman on the bus. Suddenly, the man started singing along with his music! It was hideous - even the finest vocalist can't sing well with earphones and this man's vocals were not fine. The other woman and I looked at each other in amazement and I saw the bus driver look up into his rearview mirror. The other woman got off the bus, the ride continued, and so did the singing. At Lakeshore, the bus was stopped at the light and the driver turned around, took off his sunglasses and just stared. I was laughing and he looked at me and said, "what are you laughing at?" It surprised me and I just pointed to the back of the bus and said, "Him." The driver turned around and I pulled the cord for my stop. The driver had been so unfriendly, I wasn't sure he'd stop, but he did and when I said thank you, he said thank you. First really cranky driver and definitely my first bus vocalist. Image today has to be a music player.

15 March 2006


I remembered the number and it was about the most memorable part of this day's bus ride. The driver - our regular guy :) - noticed my absence yesterday and made a hooky comment. Newspaper guy was in place and I think we ended up with seven total riders: four regulars, one semi-regular and two irregulars. Dave was there today even though it's spring break - going into work I believe. He was talking, but the bus fan was running and between his low, rumbly voice and my old ears, I could barely understand him. Felt like I was in the Seinfeld "low talker" episode. Might be I'm a "diminished listener" - whatever, it's frustrating. Nothing of any interest going on the ride today, so I created a giant snooze-a-rama for today's picture.

14 March 2006


Didn't ride the bus today - had my annual smashogram, so drove the big I. Parking at the hospital was a nightmare. There is construction everywhere and they have these little squidgy signs for directions. It felt like playing a board game, except I was ON the board - kind of like stepping into the map. I just parked as far away as possible and walked to the building. Too bad more people aren't willing to take a few extra steps. Be good for them and the rest of us. Trying out a new Dashboard widget that lets me post an entry to the blog directly - we'll see how it works. Back on the bus tomorrow.

13 March 2006


A moderately interesting bus day. Started as I crossed Guadalupe and the dual motorcycle guys came by and beeped (honked? again with the description - must find the proper verbiage here...). Never thought there would be regular, identifiable traffic going to and from the bus stop. I know others have a schedule, just like me, but two motorcycle riders? Not bad, eh?

ASU is on spring break this week, so didn't expect a lot of riders - had the bus to myself until Hermosa, just past the 60, when a guy got on and when I looked up as he passed, I realized it was the guy from sports/great photograph discussion day. I knew he had a familiar look that day, but didn't expect to see him again so soon - a potential regular developing here? He went straight to the back (newspaper guy's seat) and last time he sat in the front. No patterns yet, so we'll have to see what time brings.

At Broadway, a guy came to the bus door and asked the driver if she could get him to the red line to the airport - I didn't hear her answer, but it must have been affirmative as he got on the bus. My drop off stop is a red line connector, so I knew he was OK. He seemed very agitated, almost sick. He had a slight cough and didn't sit completely on the seat. He didn't have any luggage, just a backpack. He did not look like an airplane traveler - more like a hitchhiker. Could be a very interesting story there. Just before my stop, the lady bus voice announced the stop and said "transfers to Rte 65 and Red Line." The bus was stopped, I was up to go out the door and the guy stood up, blocked my way and asked the driver if this was where he got the Red Line. She wouldn't answer him and I don't know why. She just sat there and he asked again - I said yes, then pushed past him to go out the door. Not sure if he believed me as it took a while for the bus to travel on. Unusual dynamics in that exchange and I can't figure out why. Oh well, makes for something to write about in the bus blog. Picture today is a composite of motorcycle day, photograph day and good old route 66.

10 March 2006


Ah yes, I remembered again today. Perhaps the gray matter is beginning to focus. Hope so. Rode this one yesterday and was on it going home lsst night, too. While standing at the stop, a man on a bicycle rode up (more accurately he wove slowly up ...), stopped and asked if "one was coming soon?" I said, "I hope so" and he then asked me what was the next street. Assuming he meant major street, I told him Rural. He then asked if there was a restaurant there. I told him a Jack-in-the-Box and Burger King were on the corner. He said "Burger King?" with a question then got on the bike and rode ever so slowly toward Rural. I believe he ended up waiting at the next stop, got on the bus and then got off at Rural. He could have ridden there in the time he waited, but he was pretty slow on the bike and not very steady. Unusual ...

Bus ride started out as usual - greetings from newspaper guy and bicycle guy and soon we had a lovely complement of regulars and semi-regulars. Dave was regaling with Itulie stories - sure would like to visit that class and see him in action - sounds like a movie character and I bet he plays it that way. As Dave was talking, a man who I've seen before but not often enough to qualify for even semi-regularship, commented about Itulie's behavior and language. Dave said Itulie used to have a rubber stamp that said "garbage" and would put it on papers he deemed appropriate for refuse collection. Apparently Itulie stopped using it after receiving complaints from student's parents. The front seat guy said he would never get away with that or the language that Itulie uses. The guy implied he was an instructor but didn't elaborate and neither Dave nor I questioned him about who/what he taught. He wasn't expressing disbelief at what Dave was saying, just didn't think he could use the same tactics in his classroom. Wish I'd asked what he taught - he had a literature quality, but could be history or physical science - who knows? Maybe he'll be on the bus again and we can discover his role at ASU. He got off at Gammage Parkway and Mill and when we turned down Forest Mall, he went straight, past Student Services. For today I made a graphic of our discussion.

09 March 2006


Good, huh? Got the number today. I'm trying to be observant and get the gray cells out of the clouds. Some days it sure is rough.

Today started off with horn honks (beeps?) from a pair of motorcyclists driving west on Guadalupe. I still have a problem describing the noise -- does a motorcycle honk? geese honk and there were two of the bikes, like two geese, I guess. Beep? That seems too benign when considering the deep rumble of the bike engines. Blast? Nah, that would be an air horn on a semi - way too much. I don't know -- there has to be an apt description -- I'll work on it.

Bus ride was super normal. Newspaper guy was in place, regular driver at the wheel. Bicycle guy got on, full of greeting. It was business as usual. More regulars got on and some irregulars and there was chatting and general early morning bus activity. I feel better when we get a good number of riders and the mild ear clutter of small conversations. Almost like you could put it in your pocket and keep it for awhile.

The picture of the day is a Harley-Davidson bike, in memory of the way the transportation day began. Don't know if the bikes on Guadalupe were Harleys, but figure I'd do them the honor of declaring them so. Even a Honda Goldwing would be proud to be exalted to Harley status.

07 March 2006

#4123 (I think....)

Geez, I looked and then got caught up in the ride events and now the number is located in a gray matter fogspot. Need to note these details - guess I'm a failure as a reporter, but hey, I'm not in the Cronkite school, so who cares?

Ride started out per usual - newspaper guy back in place with a hearty, "Good morning, guys" as Dave and I boarded the bus. Bicycle guy got on and soon he and newspaper guy were chatting up a storm. People (or should I say, men - where have all the women gone?) continued to fill the bus and Dave was telling about a Sports Illustrated film he watched in his photojournalism class. He described how close the early sports photographers could get to baseball players during the game and used the proximity of himself and another passenger as an example. Next thing you know, that passenger was talking with us about famous photographs. He was spot on with the discussion and Dave affirmed the man's accuracy. He was just a regular guy - nothing to set him apart, and yet he turned out to be a perfect person to join the conversation on famous photographs. Ever the curious one, wish I knew his history, but will accept the karma that he was properly placed at the proper time. Bet we don't see him again on the morning bus, either. Seemed like a one time thing, but very well timed. In honor of the photographic discussion, the picture of the day is the Canon EOS D20 - the digital camera of choice for discriminating photophiles.

06 March 2006


Bingo! Remembered to look at the number and, gloriosky Bert, what a bus day this turned out to be ... Newspaper guy wasn't there so Dave and I were first on the bus. Regular driver's day off, but the usual lady sub was at the helm. At Rural and Guadalupe two guys got on who actually made me nervous. Not sure what it was, but something seemed odd. They went to the back and when bicycle guy got on, he didn't go up in the back with them. Guess I wasn't the only one who thought there was something amiss. One of the semi-regular guys got on and sat next to me, also avoiding the back. Then, engineering guy arrived!!! He sat across from me, next to Dave. Dave and I were enjoying a bloody discussion of razor wire and its application; however, once engineering guy entered, he had to talk to bicycle guy and that precluded other conversation. He spoke of an impending mid-term exam and mentioned continuum mechanics and vector calculus - music to my ears!

There was a small spell of silence when the only other woman on the bus, sitting in the front, got on her cell phone and had a conversation with her bank in tones loud enough to be heard by everyone. She said she wanted to get the balance of her chacking account and then gave the account number. She gave her name and then some other info that was undoubtedly vetting words/numbers. She must have gotten bad news as she then said she had a line of credit and needed to access it. Didn't hear any amount of money mentioned, so assume she was saying to cover any incoming checks with the line of credit. She said thank you, and hung up. It was way too personal a conversation to have on the bus. It's not like there was lots of chatter and she figured no one would hear. It really was the opposite, especially at the time she placed the call. Just can't imagine conversing about such a personal matter in such a public place. Maybe I'm too cautious? I think not.

We got off the bus, Dave, engineering guy, ASU guy and me and nothing had happened with the two dark strangers who kept the back to themselves. Must have been my imagination. It just gets better, though. Dave, engineering guy and I walked east on Gammange Parkway and had a three-way conversation about the perils of pedestrianism on campus. Cart driver Dave was giving rules and engineering guy waxed on about tax dollars. Dave asked engineering guy why he hadn't been at the Jack-in-the-Box lately and I nearly fell over. Engineering guy had a lengthy explanation which I really didn't hear as I was sucking oxygen to think that Dave and engineering guy saw each other outside the bus arena. We turned on Forest Mall and engineering guy went straight and I immediately asked Dave how he knew engineering guy. Dave said he has two hours between classes on Tuesday evenings and goes to JIB for the dollar burger. He said EG is often there. I told him it was great for the blog and, in honor of this newly discovered relationship, I photographed Moss Man in front of the radio circuit board (very EG, I think). As you can tell from the length of this blog post, this was a great bus day!

03 March 2006

#4135 or 53 (whatever)

I really did look at the number today, but can't remember which way the 3 and 5 went - I know it was 35 or 53, just don't want to commit. It was an average bus day - back was full of regulars and the front had a couple of newbies. Women seem to be a scarcity on the bus - I'm regular, but others come and go and the passengership is mostly made up of men. I always used to think of the bus as a woman's domain - maybe Rosa Parks brought that on - but the morning ride is definitely a male populace.

Dave finally figured out his blog should be about his cart driving experiences and not about the blues. He had to declare the subject of his blog very early in the semester and he hadn't been driving carts very long, if at all. I told him the cart job would be great fodder for a blog, but he's so enamored of the blues, he felt he had to make that his centerpiece. I remember asking him if there was enough blues info to write about daily and he thought about that, but still went with the blues. Oh well ... he said he wished he was writing about the cart driving job since it is good for at least one story a day. Today's picture is, of course, a cart in honor of the blog that should have been.

02 March 2006

#41uh oh ....

Crikey, again forgot to look for the number. It was an odd starting bus ride, so my timing was way off. Newspaper guy was on the bus as usual and he greeted both me and Dave when we got on - a full scale, "Hi guys". It was a first and he's the most regular of the regulars since I've been doing the 66. Then a bit later, when bicycle guy got on, he said hello and even asked Dave how his shoot went. I guess they must have ridden home together as I never heard Dave talk to him about photography. Dave will talk to anyone or anything at any time about his photojournalism work - he's very excited to be a student and loves what he's learning. Guess I should thank Dave - his verbosity about his school endeavors extends to the world and seems to result in bus greetings.

After the thrill of the greetings (we're almost a clan, now), it settled down to an almost normal ride. Two semi regular guys got on and ended up in back with newspaper and bicycle guys - the chatter was exhilirating. I like a talkative bus - feels alive. There's actually a stress to a silent ride. As if people aren't awake or they're deeply contemplative. Talking is energy. Think I'll make an attractive 66 logo for the beginning of the clan.

01 March 2006


Just another day on the bus - newspaper guy and bicycle guy were back in place and we've developed a new student rider. Didn't want to give him regular status until we had a few weeks under our belt. He always wears an ASU hooded sweatshirt and has his iPod firmly installed. He gets off where I do, at the corner of Mill and Gammage Parkway, so his regularity is easily observed. Gosh I love regularity and it has nothing to do with my alimentary canal. Got a new digital camera and am just learning to mess with it. I am posting pictures on flickr and will upload to this blog when it seems appropriate. Yesterday I didn't ride the bus, but work arrival was eventful (and photographed) and duly noted in this blog.

forgot my key

didn't take the bus yesterday morning - needed to bring fruit salad for a breakfast potluck and couldn't envision me and the large container of FS on the bus. had disaster potential written all over it. anyway, in the rush to leave, forgot to grab my key bracelet and had to wait for someone with a master key to come and open my door. had my camera, so thought I'd try different settings while shooting my feet. it kind of makes you want to sit down and snooze a bit, eh?