25 April 2006


Today was a lovely bus day - lots of riders and much talk. It began with Dave and the driver recalling the gun event from Friday - I guess the police gave the driver a hard time for bringing the gun to them. He said they told him he should have left it where it was and called them to come get it. With the police, it seems you almost never do it correctly. Oh well, it's over and today our lives continue.

The big hair lady got on, sat next to me and, sadly, smelled heavily of smoke. My hopes for her rehab are dashed and I won't travel down that road again. I sure don't understand how she could have been so aromatically pristine and now returns to full tar and nicotine? Maybe my olfactory system was acting up one day? Why must I assume it's her and not me? Good point.

Two young men got on the bus, dressed in what used to be called "Goth" - not sure if that phraseology is still used these days. The one guy was wearing a long black coat, similar to a duster, but the top was more buttoned and military-like. It was quite stunning and eventually he sat down next to me. I wanted to ask him about it, but thought he might think I was a crazy old woman. Finally, I just couldn't resist and asked him where he got the coat. He advised a friend in London designed it for him and I told him it was just beautiful with wonderful lines. He seemed quite pleased, and the women across the aisle joined in, telling him how nice it looked. As my stop neared, I started to gather my things and he asked if this was my stop. I told him it was and he told me to have a good day. It was a very pleasant exchange and made me vow to be less hesitant to tell people when I like something. I feel good when someone gives me positive feedback and I think he must have liked it, too. Nothing builds the confidence like having strangers compliment you.

Image today is a night view of Las Vegas. Be sure and click on the image to see the big picture. Leaving tomorrow morning for LV and will return Friday afternoon. Celebrating Ann's birthday and no place is more fun for that than Las Vegas. Be back at the blog on Monday.

24 April 2006

don't know ... don't care

Well, it appears I missed the ultimate in bus riding experiences on Friday. I'll do my best to relate events accurately, but this is a second-hand re-telling, so accuracy is not guaranteed.

Friday morning, as the bus traveled north on Rural, the driver spotted a gun on the sidewalk. He stopped the bus and Dave, having also seen the gun, offered to go investigate. Dave got off the bus, went back to the gun and thought it was a toy. He said it was beat up, the stock was broken, springs were hanging out - it looked like a well battered toy gun. He picked it up, saw there was no clip and looked in the barrel. He said he isn't a gun lover and not overly knowledgable about firearms. As he brought the gun down toward his side after looking at it, the gun went off - fortunatelyy firing the round into the ground. He said the noise was tremendous and the kick staggered him - especially since he wasn't expecting it. I guess he then determined there weren't any more live rounds in the chamber and took the gun onto the bus so the driver could give it to the police. Dave said he was quite shaken up by the incident, especially realizing he had looked into the barrel and an ill-timed squeeze on the weapon would have killed him. He gave his name and phone number to the driver, but as of this morning had not heard from anyone about the incident. It made such a noise, Mark (AKA bicycle guy) heard it from his stop and wanted to know what happened when he got on the bus.

Dave said he couldn't stop thinking about it all day Friday and actually most of the weekend. I can imagine since he so easily could have come to harm from the incident. He was so fortunate that things happened like they did for him and it's scary to think about some school kid coming along and finding the gun on the sidewalk - might not have been as lucky as Dave. Sure never thought I'd be blogging about something like this.

20 April 2006


No "bus" on the blog today - need to pick up the son and DIL at the airport, so brought Iris Infiniti to ASU for the day. She sits in the garage and wonders why she doesn't get to go to school any more. I'm sure after a day in the Gammage lot, she'll remember why she likes to stay at home. I did secure the best shade spot in Lot 3, so she shouldn't get too hot while waiting until we go get the kids.

The other reason for the non-bus blog entry is to wish myself a happy birthday. I'm old enough to not want anyone to know, but I still want to enjoy a bit of feeling special, so I made a "39" cake (as you can see) and have posted it to mark the passage of another year. I think 39 seems like a wonderful age and we'll stick with that for this year. Happy Birthday, MFebber - may you enjoy many more bus rides.

19 April 2006


This number seems new - I need to create the repeater craft chart so these things can be determined at a glance. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

Today was a truly lovely bus day. There were lots of riders - regulars, irregulars and newbies. Newspaper guy didn't ride today, but there was still a buzz about the bus. Bicycle guy and one of the other regular guys did the sports chat like crazy in the back. Dave was telling me about a religious zealot at work who has decided his soul needs work. Two new ladies got on the bus, sat in the front seat and talked and talked and talked. I think it might have been the chattiest ride ever, outside the afternoon rides home with the high school kids. That doesn't really count since it's fueled by get-out-of-school teen energy. I'm talking about a chatbox at 6AM - big difference. I sure hope this is a sign of things to come.

18 April 2006


What a yawner! This day on the bus looked to have potential - there was road construction on Guadalupe and blockades with flashers surrounded the bus stop. The driver had to do a neat weave to get into the space in front of the stop and then a quick turning maneuver to rejoin traffic. I thought it was the beginning of an interesting ride, but it was to be the heighth and depth of adrenaline possibilities for the day. The rest of the ride was a first class snoozer. Newspaper and bicycle guy chatted about basketball; Dave read his paper; big hair lady got on, but no discussion was happening for her to join - dull, dull and duller. I guess they all can't be eventful.

17 April 2006


What a totally uneventful morning on the bus - nice group of regulars and the irregularly regular but nothing of note upon which to comment. Dave chatted with Mark (aka bicycle guy) about work and I just listened and drew on an ugly bag I had for carrying shoes. No one else spoke. It's almost full light the whole time on the bus and it seems people would be more awake. I guess daylight doesn't really remove the sleep from the mind - maybe not even the eyes. Good day for an Arizona-type picture - is this sunrise or sunset?

14 April 2006

#41 ... uh oh

Well shoot, I looked but didn't write the number in my book. Oh well, it was an unusual day and when the story is revealed, all will be forgiven.

Yesterday on the bus, Dave mentioned that he was looking for a particular song to add to his online media class blog - "Life by the Drop" by Stevie Ray Vaughn. I have some SRV and knew where to look for more, so told him I'd see what I could do. It was amazingly easy to find and I emailed it to him - piece 'o cake. Pleased at receiving the song, Dave asked if I wanted to catch the 5:30 bus this AM and he'd take me to IHOP for breakfast as a thank you. Sounded like a grand plan to me, and that's what we did. By getting off one stop earlier than usual, we just walked straight up the Apache access road to the restaurant. Breakfast was good and I was in place and working by 6:45.

There were only four of us on the bus including the driver. We had a lively discussion about the different Valley transit companies and the addition of light rail. I thought we were a rather erudite group for a 5:30am gathering. As much as I love regularity, it's good to break up the routine occasionally.

13 April 2006


New look for the blog today - wicked nice, huh? Decided to let my minimalist muse do her magic. There are about 12 templates to choose from for the blog and I took the least involved and made a few very minor changes to the CSS. One of these days, as time permits, I'll re-work it a bit more; but, for now, I think it's quite nice and relaxing. Who knows? Maybe it will win a Webby - ha!

The ride today was mellow city. I've been trying different seat locations and today moved closer to the back of the bus where the really-regular braintrust sits. Newspaper guy was nice, welcoming me closer to the elevated area. He thought my presence added and I feared it would detract. Maybe next week I'll go upper level. I couldn't find an exact floor plan of the Valley Metro 4100 class bus, but found a reasonable facsimile and made some adjustments to get it close. I indicated my regular seat with the red triangle and today's seat with the purple triangle. Newspaper guy's regular seat is so marked.

12 April 2006


Completely forgot to look at the number today. Was busy telling Dave and the driver about last night's ride and who thinks of bus numbers while regaling others with exciting stories?

Last night's bus ride started out very normal, a full bus but no one standing. I was in the back on the upper level, next to the door and there were two young men back there, too. At the stop just before Southern, a fellow got on the bus and engaged the driver in conversation. Couldn't hear what was going between them so didn't know if it was a problem or chat. The fellow was kind of scruffy and wearing one of those spongy ball caps turned at an angle. He wasn't quite a street person, but his scruff didn't have the look of a hard day's work, either. He continued to stand next to the driver and the discussion ensued. The driver stopped at the next stop to let off passengers and then continued south on Mill. About halfway down the next block, not at an "official" stop, the driver halted and opened the door. The driver said very loudly, "full fare or no transfer" - we all looked forward and the driver then yelled, "full fare or no transfer".

Suddenly, the fellow at the door reached over, grabbed some transfer tickets and ran off the bus. The driver undid his seat belt and ran after him; however, just as he got off the bus, it started to roll forward and the driver hopped back on, got in his seat and regained control. The guy who stole the transfers trotted alongside the bus, waving the tickets at the driver and flipping him off. It was an adrenaline moment and a half! I felt bad for the driver as the idiot guy got away with being a jerk and a thief and I'm sure the driver was frustrated. Thank goodness he gave up the chase and got back on the bus - might have had to put our best bus driving talents to the test. I could tell that both of the guys sitting in back with me had tensed up and were ready to assist if needed. I've been on buses where drivers made people get off for not paying, but never witnessed an almost physical confrontation and theft. No dull moments on that ride.

11 April 2006


Nice day on the bus. The second bicycle guy was back. He gets off at ASU, and I bet he's an employee, not a student. Doesn't carry a backpack or some other kind of bag and that's usually the first student clue. With the increased parking decal rates, I bet we get more like him as time goes on.

Dave and I discussed his in-depth article about the "white cop on the res." I like to play devil's advocate and he holds up pretty well. He still has a lot of attitude about authority and he adores using "mother f--kin'" and "white mother f--kers" - he repeats the quotes as often as possible and uses that to justify the allegation that there is racism against whites on the reservation. I bet there is lots of hate and racism against whites, but a drunken NA screaming racial epithets while being arrested does not seem to me to be enough evidence to proclaim rampant racism. I want journalism students to become responsible reporters; not just looking for an angle and using sensationalism to make something compelling. I think tunnel vision reporting reveals nothing of substance and only fans the racist flames. I think I've gotten a bit editorial here and definitely off bus talk.

The best thing about today was the smoke hair lady - she sat next to me and I did not detect even the faintest hint of smoke. Not sure what that was I picked up the other day, but it most likely did not come from her. She was aromatically pure and if she's a serious smoker, that would be impossible. Maybe she never was the smoker? Maybe she lived with a heavy smoker and was wearing another's aroma? Maybe that relationship is over and she can join the ranks of the pure of smell? Oh the speculations one can create. She listened to me and Dave a bit and added several comments. It was quite nice on many accounts - think I'll change her name to big hair instead of smoke hair.

10 April 2006


And another Monday morning on the bus. Very low ridership and I noticed the 60 didn't have it's usual load of traffic. It's not a government holiday, so I wonder if lots of snowbirds have returned to their summer coops? It's so nice when they aren't here - traffic is lighter, restaurant and store lines are shorter - it's a kinder, gentler world during the Arizona summer.

I guess words like "kinder" and "gentler" don't seem quite right with 110 degree heat, but it's really not that bad, especially once you're acclimatized. Some people never get used to it, but they plan to leave all along and I think their mindset won't let them accept the heat. It's really no worse and, in some ways better, than winter hibernation in the east. In Ohio we spent months with no sunshine and temperatures in the teens and 20s - too nasty to be outside, no sun to make things bright - it was cloudy, endless gray. Here during the summer we spend time indoors to keep cool, but the sun is always there and in the morning, it is quite tolerable to go for a walk or do a little yard work. That doesn't happen too often in Ohio in February. I do miss the stark change of seasons and a good snowfall cannot be beat for beauty. Just need to win a lottery and have multiple homes to enjoy all the seasons in many places. So what's up with this and the bus blog? I do digress.

Dave was all spiffy today in a jacket and khakis - nice change from jeans and flannel. There's a big march scheduled downtown about proposed illegal immigrant legislation and Dave has to attend and cover it for his journalism classes. Could be very interesting. Hope it doesn't get violent - no one benefits when tempers get out of hand. Today I decided to use a picture I took on a recent desert walk. Are those storm clouds rising over Phoenix, literally and otherwise?

07 April 2006


This number feels new - maybe this weekend I'll do the archive dive and create a chart - how hard could it be? This bus didn't have straps, so apparently installation is in progress. I used the strap for a minute on last night's ride home - a helpful addition.

Today's ridership was very nice. We all had comfortable space and everyone who got on was someone who had ridden before. The professor was there and smoke hair lady, again. For the second time this week, we had a second bicycle guy. He got on at the stop after mine - wonder if he'll become a new regular? Twice isn't enough - I'll have to make up the rules and then post them. I bet we start getting more regulars, though. ASU sent out the new parking decal rates and yoweee! They are almost doubling the cost and there will be less spaces available. There are 35,000 cars that go to ASU daily, only 19,600 parking spaces and plans to reduce parking spaces by 25%. The math is killing me - no wonder parking is such a nightmare! We still have the cheapest parking in the Pac 10 and pretty cheap for most of the country. They are offering incentives to keep people from driving individually (good luck with that) and the free bus pass is one of them. I bet there will be some increase in bus ridership - it's a very decent alternative to the crummy traffic and killer parking. I think today's picture is self-explanatory.

06 April 2006


Well today's bus had the new straps, too. Must be installing them on all the 4100 class craft. I'm thinking this means there won't be new buses for the routes that use the smaller 4100 series. I guess that's OK as long as they make small improvements and upgrades. Our ridership on 66 isn't huge, but we're bygod faithful.

Nice mix of the old and new today - at one point there were six women and four men. Nice to have equal gender representation. Smoke hair woman was there again - she's working on becoming a regular. There were two young women who have ridden several times in the past two weeks. They get on at one stop and get off at the next. I'm always disconcerted when people do that - why don't they just walk down to where they get off? Most stops are less than a quarter mile apart - that's like walking around a track one time, only less! Wish I felt like I could ask someone. I don't really care, but am curious at the thinking process. Do they even realize they are getting on and almost immediately getting off? I do think in this age where we are such slugs and could use all the exercise we can get, why not walk that extra bit? A little of it every day would be so good for us.

We did have an unusual event today - a disabled rider joined us on Mill. I've been with lots of disabled passengers on the rides home, but this is my first ever pick-up of a scooter enroute to work. She must park her scooter a lot, as she whipped right into the little parking space on the bus and only made two tiny adjustments. Remember the shouting lady and the 3,000 maneuvers? - whew! Made a picture today about walking and slugging - pretty gross.

05 April 2006


Got the number today and that's about all worth documenting. It was an extremely "normal" day, ridership was up a bit, but none of the excitement from the fall. Maybe people will get more active as the weather heats up? Seems opposite of what I would expect, but I can't figure out the lethargy and lack of riders. It's getting lighter at 6am and full light when I get off the bus - maybe as the sun travels higher, more people will start to ride. The woman with the big smoke-smell hair was back today. I caught a whiff of the ciggie - yuck! She sat across from me, so thankfully I wasn't enveloped in the aroma. All hope that she gave up the fag is gone - oh well.

Talk about regular, though. Yesterday, Dave and I were discussing his new teeth (?!?!?) and forgot to pull the cord for the stop. Our dear, regular driver, however, stopped anyway. It was so nice and I thanked him profusely for taking care of us. Also, I noticed a new addition to the bus hardware - overhead straps! A nice touch for the shorter crowd when conditions require us to stand. As you can see, I took a photo.

04 April 2006


This feels like a new number - one gets intuitive about these things after a while. Archive dive - still needs to be done.

Nice day on the bus, ridershipwise. All the early regulars plus a few semis who are starting to appear more often. The photo day guy was there yesterday and today - maybe a new regular is being born? Remember the big hair woman who smokes? She got on today and sat next to Dave. Of course, he smokes, so he wouldn't notice the aromatics floating off her hair; although, I must say I didn't notice any smell when she got on and I pick up smoke icky very quickly. Maybe she quit? That would be nice. Newspaper guy and bicycle guy were chatting Final Four with one of the semi regulars. So nice to hear the buzz of sports talk - it's a great diversion. Not depressing or agenda-based like politics or religion, just something in which to be interested that doesn't really matter.

The real talk of the day was from Dave. He has a new partial plate and it took over his conversation. I remember when the braces went on - every thought focused on the strange feelings in the mouth, so I'm sure he'll think about it until the plate settles in and he forgets he has it. I took some photos on the bus, but, in the end, I have to honor Dave's new teeth.

03 April 2006


Been a few days - took a long weekend trip so no bus ride on Friday. Saw a Greyhound while on the road and saluted in honor of bus riding in general. Not sure I'd want to do cross country on the bus; although, went from Dayton, Ohio to Toronto, Ontario on a coach, and it was quite comfortable. If the 66 had buses like that ... wow - I'd just ride - never get off. Guess that's what they fear.

Today's ride was a potpourri of regulars, regular irregulars and newbies. Not a lot of people but a pleasant mix. I was tucked into my usual corner and a woman got on and sat in the front seat next to me. And I mean she sat next to me. The whole seat was open but she snugged herself into the seat in a way that she oozed into my space. The front seats are higher than the others because they are over the wheels. This means her hips were positioned right at my shoulder/chin level, and she had some advanced hips. I sat my ground at first, but eventually wanted to separate myself from her, so I ooched ever so slightly to the left. It's a delicate balance, reacting to things we don't like but doing it so as to not be obvious. Exhausting to do - exhausting to write about. Nothing struck me worth creating an image today, so I'll include a picture of Gypsy (aka Kitty Con Carne), the felonious feline owned by my daughter-in-law, Leez, and her husband (my son), Mike.