Friday, October 29, 2010

VERY IMPORTANT MEETING!!!

There is a very important meeting going on at BYU next week! Go if you care!

Next Thursday's EcoResponse club meeting is all about transportation. It will include:

- Short presentations on bus riding, route planning, and upcoming improvements to UTA (and there are many . . .)
- Remarks by a BYU Sociology professor
- A representative from the Church, who will talk about the Church's environmentally sustainable efforts
- Mayor Curtis of Provo
- Me . . . in spirit . . . I have to work, but at least half my soul will be there (which means that if I zone out in the middle of Music 111, now you know why)

The meeting is next Thursday, Nov. 4, in room 250 SWKT. Attending it will be many people who care about public transportation just as much as I do. Even though the decision has been made to end the discounted student bus pass, there are those of us who are still fighting for it (there are those of us, who, even if it goes away forever, will still ride the bus . . .). Go and learn something, go and make your voice heard. Tell them I sent you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WINTER IS UPON US

Dear my friends from warmer climes:

Yes, it snowed here yesterday. And while it will probably be 70 degrees and sunny again next week, the snow will come back. No, it's not going away soon. No, you can't do anything about it.

Also, please be warned that driving on ice or snow is not the same as driving on dry pavement. It is not the same as driving in the rain. It is not the same as driving any other way. It is its own fun, new adventure that you will have to figure out all on your own, because they didn't teach you how to drive in the snow where you are from. So please, be alert, brake early, and don't tailgate.

Also, BUY A SCRAPER AND SCRAPE OFF YOUR FREAKING CAR!!! Don't drive around with
your car window 90% obscured by frost. If you don't like scraping your car in the morning, take the bus instead. Just sayin'.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (19)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

So, there's this whole neighborhood south of campus that doesn't have enough parking (grrr . . .). This means that everyone and their dog parks on the street. This is a figure of speech, but it may as well be taken literally around here.

What this means is that you cannot always see traffic coming on the street as you pull out of a driveway, because there are cars parked all up and down the street blocking your view. Trust me, I don't like it any more than you do.

That does not, however, excuse you from pulling all the way out into the road in one swift motion. It just so happened that there was a car coming. And I was in it. So yes, you had to hit your brakes in order to not hit us. I'm sure this annoyed you, but I'm also sure it was not as annoying as traffic school or court would be.

So, maybe, just maybe, next time, could you pull out a little slower? The children will thank you.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (18)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

I hate parking lots. I hate them partly because of people like you.

You cannot go 25 MPH through a parking lot after dark and not expect to almost hit people. Fortunately my friend and I are conscientious pedestrians and you do not now have a prohibitive driving record.

Also, if you are going 25 MPH through a parking lot after dark (even though you shouldn't) and you almost hit people, the least you could do is stop and allow us to cross in front of you. Not keep going right in front of us.

Think of the children. And your driving record.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

WHERE, EXACTLY, ARE YOU GOING? (PART 2)

Last Monday, I was on the last 830 of the night. I freely admit that I was caught up in wondering why there were so few people on it for quite a while, until I noticed some interesting behavior from the man sitting across from me.

See, we weren't quite sure where he was going to get off. He pulled the cord right as the bus was passing a stop, and the bus driver paid him no heed and stopped at the next one. However, he didn't get off. Nobody did. The bus driver was a little annoyed, I think (In her defense, it was 10:40 p.m.), but continued on. Then he pulled the cord again, right as the bus was passing a stop. The bus stopped at the next stop again. He didn't immediately get off, but after a few excruciating seconds, he did. Phew! Peace and order were restored.

WHERE, EXACTLY, ARE YOU GOING? (PART 1)

Last Saturday, I was waiting for the 831. Psych!

I was actually waiting for the 811. See, I couldn't sleep, and I thought a trip to the gym would be just the thing to wear my rebellious body down to the point where it would somnolesce.

So I was waiting for the 811. While I was waiting, another guy came up and sat down near me on the bench. He offered me coffee. (You must not be from around here, friend . . .) As we made idle conversation, it became clear that he was somewhat intoxicated, so I kept my responses friendly and noncommittal (I had bad luck with drunk people as a missionary . . .) It appeared he was also waiting for the 811, as he got change out of his pocket and meticulously counted it multiple times.

I was surprised, then, that when the 811 came, he did not get on. The bus driver commented that he must be waiting for the 831. I remarked that, if so, he had a while to wait. See, it was 6:06 A.M.

The first 831 of the day on Saturdays hits that stop at 8:49. That's a while.

I WALKED RIGHT INTO THAT ONE (PART 2)

Last Monday, I was preparing to get on the 850 to visit commutergirl. Yes, I have to transfer to get to her house, but I do it anyway.

When the 832 pulled up to the Transit Center, the 850 bus was sitting there. This is all well and good. If it had not been sitting there, it would have been at least fifteen minutes late. That would have distressed my soul.

However, as the 850 was the only other bus at the Transit Center, and as Anal-Retentive was standing placidly on the sidewalk a ways from said 850, I decided I'd better ask if he were driving it, so that, if so, I could show him my pass and board in peace.

I did ask. But I misphrased my question.

I asked, "Are you on the 850?" He said, "What?"

I asked again, "Are you on the 850?" To which he responded, "No, I'm off the 850. I'm standing here talking to you!"

I showed him my pass, and he said "Just tap your card when you get on." I did so.

But as I walked up to the bus, I couldn't help thinking, "Did Anal-Retentive just make a joke?"

DID I JUST GET OWNED BY ANAL-RETENTIVE?

I WALKED RIGHT INTO THAT ONE (PART 1)

One night, shock of the century, I got on the 831. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so there was no school but the bus was running. (Thank you, MLK.)

I got on the bus at 9:13 p.m. and, shock of the century, there was no one else on the bus. So I said my typical cheesy line: "Busy night, huh?"

The bus driver rejoined with: "Everybody's busy but you!"

Ouch. I guess I walked right into that one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL

Also in the Daily Universe today, I read a happy story about the upcoming pedestrian tunnel under University Parkway at UVU.

I liked this particular article because it mentioned the pedestrians first! Imagine that: a pedestrian tunnel for pedestrians. Other articles I have read talked only about the fact that putting the pedestrians under the road would make it more convenient for the drivers. I know people in Orem don't think pedestrians exist (I know this because of the stares I get from people as I walk down the side of the road), but that was really kind of a pretty big snub.

Plus, there's going to be a busy bus stop right in front of it. *heart*

It will make my trips to Wal-Mart on the 830 and 811 infinitely more pleasant, that's for sure.

PROVO STRIKES AGAIN

The Provo City Council has once again ignored the fact that making it harder to park south of BYU campus will not make the parking problem go away.

COME ON, PEOPLE!!!

Part of the article I read today said that the change was being made to encourage people to walk and take public transportation.

Have they not talked to BYU and UTA about this? Do they not know UTA is discontinuing the discounted student bus pass? Or do they just hate BYU students?

(Answer: unequivocally, irrationally, yes.)

I sure hope something is being done to actually make public transportation feasible. Otherwise, this is just another event in a long, long string of stupid decisions about parking here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

People Watching

Have you ever seen a foo Fighters video where Dave Grohl is smiling? With his dark beard and large teeth it is a strange and awesome sight. (I found a picture so as to not over tax your imagination.)


I did not, unfortunately, see Dave Grohl on the bus or any where else today. Sad day. I did see a guy get on the 811 however to reminded me of this image. He appeared to be smiling from ear to ear but when he got closer I noticed he just had extra large teeth and gums. It was the kinda thing you see that makes you want to look and not look at the same time. I also caught this guy picking his nose while reading his scriptures.

Seen: Family dressed up in Halloween costumes on a train platform. With the exception of the middle aged, balding father wearing eyeliner, not a super scary sight.

Seen: Tall girl with black hair wearing a black and red bustier, short, black mini skirt, and black leather high heels. She, I'm fairly certain, was not dressed up for Halloween but very scary.

Seen: Guts of a raccoon in American Fork. Not a people but very red and dead.

ADMINISTRATIVE PRIVELEGES

So, today I ran into one of my friends, who complained that it seems like BUSNINJA is all being written by commutergirl now. That is simply not true. commutergirl, for example, is not writing this post (hence the capital-lettered title). And anyway, since we are, in the words of my roommate, "becoming synonymous," it'll soon be the same thing.

I explained to my friend that since commutergirl's commute is, oh, fifteen times as long as my own, she sees funny things on the bus (and train!) too, and should therefore be allowed to contribute when she feels necessary (or I think what happened to her is worth mentioning). He replied "but you're supposed to be the absolute master of the bus, you yourself!"

Why, thank you.

I replied, "Don't worry, I still am. I have administrative privileges on the blog, and she doesn't." Mollified, and laughing, he went on his way.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Train talk

"You going to Provo?"
"Yah, Orem actually. I went to BYU but I graduated."
"You graduated already!"
"Already? It took me 7 years. I don't really call that already."
"What, no way. I totally thought you were, like 20! Wow, you age really well."
"Um, thanks. (I'm only 26 jerk)."

Where are you going?

Strange anecdote. So one Friday afternoon after work, I was standing at the 39/41 bus stop on 3900 S as I usually do waiting for either bus to take me to the 3900 trax station. After a few minutes I see a bus coming down the road. I get up and stand by the bus sign but as the bus came closer I see the word "GARAGE" in bold green letters. I was disappointed but as I stood there, much to my surprise, the bus slowed down and came to a stop right in front of me. I gave the driver a quizzical look and asked if she was going to the 3900 trax station. She kinda of looked at me strangely and then started to laugh. I guess she didn't mean to stop but did out of habit. She was very nice and told me that she would give me a ride and drop me off across the street from the station. She did and I got to the trax station before my normal bus. How fortuitous!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

SHIRT?!

The other day when I got off the 830 my eyes were affronted with an unusual sight for Provo in October. There was a guy riding his motorcycle wearing ONLY mid-thigh swim trunks. OK, and shoes. But no helmet. No shirt. No pants! I thought, someday you are going to tip over. And then you will get scratched all over your flesh. No thanks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

OPEN INVITATION

I'd like to invite anyone who thinks getting rid of the BYU student bus pass is a good idea to ride the 832 some morning. Scared of screaming freshmen? I'll ride it with you. Then see if you, in good conscience, can recommend that all these screaming freshmen walk from Wyview to BYU proper.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Also this morning on the 831, I witnessed an interesting new technique for pulling the cord. See, on the '99 buses that are so common on the 831, the cord stays the same height throughout the bus, even though the seats are lower in the front and higher in the back (you have to go up two steps to get to the back; it's really fun). This means that people in the front of the bus usually can't reach the cord proper, unless you're really lanky, like me. There are little cords attached to the main one that you can reach, but sometimes they're behind you, which makes turning around and reaching a little awkward for you and the people around you (although, if it's not rush hour on the 831, there might not actually be people around you).

So I was impressed this morning when someone used the clip on his mechanical pencil to reach up and pull the cord. I thought, what a great idea! Then, however, the pencil got stuck on the cord, and had to be vigorously shaken off, which probably more than compensated for the efficiency of the original maneuver. But I was still impressed. Thinking outside the box is good, even if new techniques need polishing.

TOOL

Speaking of not judging, this morning on my way back from the gym, a certain college-aged young man was found staring at the 831 as it pulled away from the stop. You know the type. Tall, jock, wearing shorts and a hoodie on a cold day (Okay, I was doing that, but I was on my way to the gym for an hour, not school all day.), baseball cap with a flat bill (sorry, I think that looks funny on white people), headphones in ears, jamming to something the rest of the world can't hear. Need I continue?

Anyway, he was contemplating the bus with a rather disparaging look on his face. "What kind of scum ride that thing?" said his face. He didn't realize that we were all looking back at him and thinking, "Tool."

JUDGING

Speaking of Home Evening, last night at Home Evening, we talked about judging others unfairly. Even though I was lying on my back in the corner with my eyes closed, I was listening.

Good thing, too, because this morning the 831 was late. I admit I was grumbly about it. I was even thinking about writing a snarky post to the effect of "What good does it do for the schedule to say six minutes earlier if the bus driver is more than six minutes late? Just sayin'." Nevertheless, I boarded the bus pacifically when it did come.

Good thing, too, because the bus driver actually apologized for being late (how often does THAT happen!!!) and explained why. I could explain the details, but they would just confuse you. Suffice it to say that he had a valid reason for being ten minutes late, and it involved helping out a large group of people. I was immediately reminded of our Home Evening lesson. Honestly, I felt kind of stupid. So don't judge unrighteously, people!

OUT OF IT

Yesterday I was pretty out of it. A long day of school followed by work had left me mostly dead. So it took all the concentration I had to remember that I was getting off the bus one stop BEFORE my regular stop, so as to go to Home Evening (which generally happens Monday nights). Considering how tired I felt, I probably looked pretty out of it.

So it was no surprise when the bus driver asked me if this was the stop I wanted. I mean, I ride the 831 every day (if you didn't know that by now, read a different blog), and I get off at the same stop every day, and I also probably looked like I could spread out a bamboo mat in the aisle of the bus and sleep contentedly, even with other passengers stepping on my head on their way out.

But I had spent the whole trip concentrating on getting off a stop early. I knew what I wanted! I do appreciate the bus driver looking out for me, though.

Monday, October 11, 2010

EXPRESS CHECKOUT LANES

I think express checkout lanes are a marvelous invention. They allow stores to optimize their cashiers, and people who are only at the store for 15 minutes until the 831 turns around to get in and out quickly.

Except when people abuse them.

Sometimes, at Wal-Mart, people go to the express checkout lane with 20-squared instead of just 20 items in their shopping cart. Sometimes people go to the express checkout lane who have apparently never used a debit card in their life before, because they need the cashier to explain every step in the whole process to them. Some people are so distracted by cell phone conversations that they keep having to be reminded that they are, in fact, in the middle of a transaction.

When those people are in line in front of me, I burn with a cold rage.

Once, at Macey's, back when I lived on the 830, I was making a few important purchases at approximately 10:10 at night. I, being conscious of the fact that the last 830 of the night went past the stop closest to Macey's at 10:22 pm (the schedule has since changed, for you purists out there), headed for the express checkout lane with what I thought was plenty of time.

I was wrong.

There was a girl in the checkout line who was buying some inane-looking potted plant for purposes I wouldn't dare divine. She was talking to a boy who I hope was related to her, because the topic of conversation was how she was "crushing" so bad on a boy in her Home Evening group (It's a BYU Mormon thing) and how, while she was telling someone else about said "crushing", he looked right at her and omgitwassoawfuli'mgonnadie.

In the first place, for those of us who use Webster's Dictionary instead of Urban Dictionary, "crushing" is a verb meaning "to take an object in one's hands and squeeze tightly, thus causing deformation of the object." It is not "to lose all dignity due to one's excessive preoccupation with another individual, even if that individual is extremely attractive."

In the second place, she was so distracted by her conversation that she wasn't even looking at the cashier. This meant that when she held out a bill that was too small to cover the purchase (sales tax applies, honey), the cashier was unable to communicate this fact to her, even though he tried several times. The young man who was the unfortunate recipient of the "crushing" story was obliged to take the money out of her hand, augment it with another bill from inside her purse, hand the amended total to the cashier, receive change from the cashier, and deposit the change back in her purse. The young lady noticed none of this, and had to be physically directed away from the register after the transaction had been completed.

I really hope nothing came of that crush, because that young lady had better not reproduce.

In brighter news, I did catch the bus. It involved running.

OKAY, I DIDN'T PUT HER UP TO THIS

Some of you avid readers of this blog (I know you're out there) may have noticed that someone new is on the "Contributors" list in the top-right-hand corner.

Yes, the rumors are true. I'm dating someone.

Meet commutergirl. I'm dating her. She started taking the bus to work far far away because she was spending too much on gas and putting too many miles on her car. She came up with that idea all by her lonesome. I did nothing to convince her other than be a good example.

But I am proud of her decision.

Anyway, you'll be able to tell who wrote what by the name at the bottom of the post, but just in case you're not in the habit of looking, here are some other differences between us:

- I like using all caps for my post titles. It makes me feel manly.
- I don't ever use the word "nuggets" in a blog post.
- I don't have a car. So I don't ever talk about "my car" in a blog post.
- Middle-aged men don't generally give me compliments on the bus (story coming later . . .)
- I don't ride TRAX on my way to work. She does.
- I'm sarcastic and funny and like to vent online. Wait. So does she. Never mind.

Enjoy!

Bus Schedule Change Nuggets

I'm so happy that UTA has finally figured out that their cozy little stop out in the fields near American Fork takes more than 5 seconds. However, if they feel the need to change the time of my rather early bus, they might take the time to post it on the bus that actually goes there!

Two buses, One me

Maybe I'm conceited, but I sometimes I get this feeling like the world works just for me. Like this afternoon when I got to my first bus stop and both the 39 and 41 showed up at exactly the same moment. It was like they were competing for my attention. I had to be fair so I simply got on the first one.

The bus was a '97 with the first few seats facing each other. There was a middle-aged man sitting across from me. He caught my eye and we exchanged the common "hello" and "hi" pleasantries. Then he told me I had very beautiful eyes. Now where, when driving home in my car, do I get such a nice compliment? I think I made a very good choice today!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't put your feet on the seat!

There are specific rules posted on the sides of the UTA buses such as, no loud music, no eating or drinking, and no explosives. While riding TRAX I have noticed that there is one particular rule that seems be a pet peeve of the bodiless train lady.

"Please be considerate of others and don't put you feet on the seat" she reminds periodically throughout the journey.

The fact that she feels it necessary to tell us passengers of this is not the strange thing. It is the fact that I've never heard her implore us to follow any of the other rules posted on the wall above the window. What is so important about not putting your feet on the seat? Did UTA find this a particularly gruesome offense, or did they just feel that this was easy enough for most people to follow? Why doesn't she remind us to be considerate of others and not eat our dinner in front of them? Or how about being considerate of others and not carrying explosives or weapons onto the train?

For the love of transportation, bodiless train lady, help us out: let us really know how to be courteous to our fellow commuters.

Friday, October 8, 2010

INCONVENIENT

Skateboarders of the world, take note:

Should you happen to be at BYU, for whatever reason, and should you be in a hurry to catch the 822 home, DON'T USE YOUR SKATEBOARD! Trust me. Just run and carry it. It will be faster in the long run.

See, skateboarding isn't allowed on campus, and you might get stopped by a policeman just as you are approaching the bus stop. I wouldn't expect the policeman to be particularly sympathetic if you try to explain that you're about to miss your bus, even if you're trying to catch the 822, which only comes once every two hours in the middle of the day (grrr . . .).

Trust me, it's just easier to not ride your skateboard. I've seen it.

ON A SIMILAR NOTE . . .

As I was walking back from the bus stop yesterday, I saw a poster that said "NIPPLES DON'T LIE . . . THE COLD IS COMING." I admit I laughed pretty hard. If I ever leave my apartment with a camera again, I'll take a picture. Just another thing you'll never see if the only walking you do is from your front door to your car.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

SHIRT?

Two days ago was rather a bad day to be a busser. It was raining all morning, and had I not had rather necessary business at the bank, I would not have voluntarily walked the two blocks from the bus stop to the bank and back. Fortunately, there was a shelter at the bus stop, and I was able to wait in peace for most of the raininess.

But then, once I was back on the bus, I saw a funny sight: three guys running out in the rain without shirts on. Too bad the shirt guy wasn't on the bus, or he could have asked them his question. I must admit I looked a little longer than was usual, but only because I couldn't understand why they were doing what they were doing.

The funny part was that the bus driver saw, and he and the bus driver going the other way had a good laugh about it. Silly boys.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SMELLY

The other day, in one of the classes I TA for (it's not technically TA-ing, but "one of the classes I accompany" sounds a little weird to me), two students were discussing which freshman housing is better (see my thoughts on freshmen here). One of them said "Wyview is totally better." and the other said "No way, you live so far from campus, and you have to take the smelly bus."

Excuse me?

I said "The bus is NOT smelly!" The other student said "Well, it's only smelly sometimes."

THE BUS IS NOT SMELLY.

Any questions?

Monday, October 4, 2010

WHO'D YOU HAVE TO KILL?

This morning, the 831 was an '09 bus. I must admit, I was very excited about this. The 831 is usually '99 buses with the occasional '95 or '96 thrown in just to remind us that we're not important (though, the argument could be raised that UTA should not be using their most capacious buses on one of their lower-carrying routes), but every once in a while, we do get an '09.

Every time we get an '09, I want to say something to the bus driver when I get on, like, "Wow! An '09 bus! Who'd you have to kill to get that?" But I've never had the guts to.

DRESS CODE

Does the bus have a dress code? Apparently.

Saturday when I got on the 822, the bus driver said to the passenger in front of me "Sir, before you get on my bus, you're going to have to button up your shirt."

I agree with the bus driver. Nobody needs to see your belly hanging out on the bus!

DEPRESSING DETOUR

Saturday I rode the 822 to my parents' house to watch Conference. Yay!

However, when we got to Springville, we had to go all the way out of town because there was road construction on State Street. I assumed we would get back off the freeway in North Springville, and continue to go through Springville as traditionally practiced by the 822. I was surprised, however, to find that we went all the way to the southern end of the city, stopped at ONE stop in the whole city, and went on our way.

I admit I was a bit depressed by the whole skipping Springville thing. Those poor people in Springville!