15 February 2007


What a great day on the bus! The BTA was in full swing with Bill, serving as librarian, handing out newspaper sections with articles of interest. At Mill and Baseline, a young man dressed in chef's clothing got on and sat next to Mark. Mark asked him if he would make us some eggs and the conversation went totally gastronomic. The young man attends the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and, as revealed in the conversation, Mark spent 18 years in the restaurant business - explains why he makes good French onion soup! He quizzed the chef-to-be about the seven basic sauces (I had no idea!!!) and I asked him if he received chopping lessons. Always wanted to do the speed vegetable chopping, but figured my digits were too valuable to my job to take the risk. The young man said it was all in the weight and quality of the knife - just like everything else, the right tools make things work.

The discussion moved to scrambled eggs and Mark said water is the key to fluffy eggs. He advised that milk coats the egg and holds it down. Makes sense - and to think all these years I served flat eggs because of milk or cream . . . I confessed to all my deep and abiding love for Waffle House cheese and eggs, not caring if the cheese lowered the height of the eggs. Mark told me to grate the cheese and add it to my eggs at the end of cooking. I can hardly wait to make my next batch of scrambled eggs.

I knew we turned on Apache and pulled the cord to signal our stop. The bus halted, Dave and I got off, and it turned out we were halfway down the block, away from the stop. Pretty sure I signaled in time, I wonder if the driver overshot the stop, distracted by thoughts of delicious scrambled eggs?

14 February 2007


Totally forgot to look at the number today - and I was doing so well. Raining this morning, so I'll blame it on that. Everyone in Arizona blames the rain.

A couple of interesting discussions today. Bill showed me two articles in the Arizona Republic about love on the bus. Today is Valentine's Day and the media panders to it tremendously. I guess retailers make huge profits on 2/14, but it seems like a huge Day of Guilt - right up there with Mother's Day. I always feel bad for recently widowed or divorced people who face the bombardment of "love" as February 14 approaches. Greed blinds us to the plight of others.

The other discussion, and focus of today's image, is the Arizona State University Visitor's Center. Valley National Bank built it in 1962 and ASU later purchased it. A gold, geodesic dome, it was much hated and maligned by ASU's newish president. Apparently he and his New York imports are appalled by the architecture on ASU's campus. Coming from Columbia University in NYC, they want old buildings and ivy. Since Arizona didn't become a state until 1912 and ASU didn't become a university until 1958, seems difficult to expect 200-year-old buildings and . . . ivy in the desert? Needless to say, the building was recently razed; however, rumor has it the dome survived and is stored somewhere on ASU's campus. Dave suggested the dome be used to shade a large, outdoor gathering area and Mark thought it could be situated over ASU's football arena, Sun Devil Stadium. Outstanding suggestions by all - too bad university presidents don't read bus blogs.

12 February 2007


Staying late at work tonight, so went in late this morning. Caught the 66 at 10:30am and - surprise, surprise - the driver was our old best driver, Steve! I said good morning, but was fumbling with my bag and pass and general half-blind clumsiness and didn't really get a good look and know it was him at first. Once sitting and situated, I realized his profile looked familiar and greeted him properly when I got off. Wonder if he's back on the 66 full-time? If so, and the route runs as usual, he should be at the wheel of the 6am66 - tomorrow will tell.

A very young couple got on with a baby, maybe a year old, and the baby was a screamer. Not crying, just one of those little bodies that screeches loudly and abruptly, like animals in a zoo. The child sat on the seat between them and I finally decided the screams erupted to gain attention. The mother ignored the baby as she became engrossed in conversation with another young woman who boarded after the couple. The girls/women seemed to know each other from the past and their discussion contained lots of expletives, each one prefaced with the word "like". The father "controlled" the child, but never said a word to him/her. I speak more to my cat than this man did to the baby. I felt bad for the child as his/her future appears dim with learned behavior from this couple. A bit later, a man got on carrying a baby, about the same size and age as the first one. This man held the baby on his lap and talked to him. The little boy remained quiet and calm throughout the ride. As the bus rounded the curve next to Gammage auditorium, the father held the boy up and showed him the building. A striking structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it looks like a giant birthday cake and it caught the child's attention. Unlike the young couple, this man nurtured his child. Got to see the best and worst parenting practices on today's ride.

I took a quick photo of the bus stop signs, looking west on Guadalupe. Been awhile since I spent daylight time at the stop.

08 February 2007


Another icy day on the bus. Might have to move to the back bench seat and grab some heat from the engine. I don't like that seat - a bit too throne-like, but the cold is miserable.

An interesting discussion day on the 6am66. I asked Bill what he planned to do after retirement and he mentioned "Habitat for Humanity". He indicated prior experience with the group and said it is a satisfying means of public service. The discussion then moved on to various places and ways to provide public service in the Phoenix area. Mark has taken his children to St. Vincent de Paul to work on a food serving line and Bill has participated in similar activities. This year at Christmas I did something I have wanted to do for a long time and my eye surgery and immobility provided the perfect impetus. In lieu of purchased gifts, I made donations to several non-profit organizations. It was so nice and felt so good to put money toward something helpful. Now started, I intend to continue the tradition.

It's nice to ride the bus, especially with such good and caring people.

07 February 2007


Once again our regular crew filled the BTA. I realized that after May, I might be the lone regular to occupy that exalted space. Bill retires at the end of February and Mark and Dave graduate in May. My life plans look pretty static right now, so I'll be left alone to carry on. Can a Brain Trust exist with only one brain? Think about that one.

Don't know what's up with the weather and the buses. We've enjoyed 80+ degree days lately and the buses aren't acclimatizing. Yesterday, on the ride home, the bus heater blasted us with warm air waves. The outside temperature was 83 and it must have been 183 inside the bus. This morning, the outside temperature was 53 (that's cold with only 12% humidity) and the bus air conditioner sent shivering waves of cold throughout the craft. In the cold mornings, waiting at the bus stop, I look forward to the warmth of the bus. It wraps around me like a blanket and keeps me snug and safe. Today, though, my protective cover was missing. Where was this air conditioning yesterday afternoon? Is bus interior climate control a challenging concept? I want the drivers to be comfortable - our lives and timely arrival depend on their ability to function well. However, I don't want to die of hypothermia in the process. Seems like a no win situation - death by uncomfortable driver or over air conditioning. It's always something.

06 February 2007


Wonder how they decide which bus goes on which route? While I want to believe in a highly technical, logical decision process, I bet it's totally random. It could be a "release the hounds" thing where the drivers race to get their bus of choice. Probably not.

Not much discussion in the BTA - the Suns loss and the crazy lady astronaut's 1,000 mile love triangle trip. The whole story makes space travel much less appealing if that's what it does to one's gray cells. Think I'll stick with the 6am66.

Our new driver is Hispanic/Mexican/Latino - don't know what word is best, so HML must do. Since he started driving our bus, the number of HML passengers has increased; as if an underground network lets people know which bus route contains a Spanish-speaking driver. It makes no sense since the chosen route should coincide with destination; however, the 6am66 gets more HML riders every day. Probably just coincidence.

Today a young man with a bicycle wanted on the bus, but the bike rack was full. The driver had the guy bring his bike into the bus where he held it until one of the other bicyclists got off and space in the rack opened up. It was a nice gesture by the driver.

02 February 2007


Aaaaah, Friday - best day of the week, no doubt. Once again, Dave missed the 6am66. Bill, Mark and I filled the BTA with food talk. Bill said Uno's has great French onion soup and Mark advised he makes the best FOS. The conversation stirred my taste buds and I now embark on a quest to consume some FOS today. One never knows where bus talk will lead.

I must take time to ponder last night's ride home on the 81 southbound. A woman flew onto the bus, breathless and carrying on about missing the #?? and so she was just going to take the 81S, blah, blah, blah. She sat down and continued to talk loudly to the driver. She kept it up as we pulled away and got louder, as though to drown out the noise of the moving bus. We kept going and she kept talking. Shortly, a man sitting across the aisle from her got up and moved to the back of the bus. I understood his move but felt the gesture was lost on this woman who embodied "oblivious".

Eventually, she got up and stood in the aisle near the front door. She talked and talked and talked. She didn't appear angry, just a talker and a loud talker, at that. She made it difficult for people getting on to pass by and yet the driver never said anything to her. He would make an occasional comment and that just kept her going. With passenger pick-up and drop-off, route timing and the usual driving challenges in Tempe traffic, I don't know how the driver stayed on top of his duties while this woman yammered away.

Finally she got off, introducing herself and shaking the driver's hand as she departed. I don't know whether we were in potential peril from the distraction she posed or if this driver proved that we humans absolutely can multi-task, contrary to all the research that says we can't. I just don't know . . .

01 February 2007


A lovely full moon provided visual extras for the Guadalupe crossing this morning. The clouds broke up enough for the celestial body to perform its streetlight act. Well done, moon.

Dave failed to make an appearance today but Bill and Mark and I kept the BTA chat alive. Somehow we ended up in a comparative religion discourse - started with a movie that Bill saw in his church. I absolutely don't remember the movie's topic, but it prompted the discussion that ensued. Former altar boy Mark gave insight into the Romans while I tossed some Anglican info into the mix. Bill never referenced his particular flavor of denomination, but we do know they show movies! Mark said Mel Gibson follows the practices of the extremist RC sect, Opus Dei, depicted in "The DaVinci Code" - a self-flagellating, excessively penitent group. If that's what Hollywood fame and fortune creates, I must revisit my plan to become a major star. Amazing what is talked about on the bus, eh? The current crop of semi-regular riders is a pretty morose bunch, making BTA chat all the more crucial for a good start to the day.

Guess today's image explains itself.