Tuesday, January 31, 2012

END OF LINE WHAT?

Last Saturday I had occasion to get off a bus at the Fashion Place West TRAX Station. This doesn't happen to me too often. While I pass through Fashion Place West at least six times a week, barring any non-school trips, I rarely get off there, and even rarerly catch a bus there.

As we were pulling into the station, I saw this sign:

Click to enlarge, since the important part is the smallest part of the sign.

And I thought, yeah, maybe in 2007 Route 33 ended here. But not in the 4.4 intervening years since the Great Salt Lake Bus Route Redesign . . .

Maybe they just forgot about it; I don't know. Nevertheless, it gave me a little mirth.

Monday, January 30, 2012

NORMAL?

Against our better judgment and because we needed something to do on a Friday night, commutergirl and I went to Fashion Place Mall. It's not that Fashion Place is a bad place; it's just several tax brackets above us, so we don't shop there often.

We had some vague idea of going to the Cheesecake Factory (r), and while we knew the line would be long, we weren't hungry yet. Though I knew it would be disappointing to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and not be waited on by Kaley Cuoco.

Actually, that's not true, Leonard. In fact, recently I've been thinking that, given the parameters of your experiment, the transport of the electrons through the aperture of the nanofabricated metal rings is qualitatively no different than the experiment already conducted in the Netherlands. Their observed phase shift in the diffuse electrons inside the metal ring already conclusively demonstrated the electric analog of the Aharanov-Bohm quantum interference effect.


And then we got there and had to park.

When someone asks me if I'll ever drive again, I usually say no, and it's usually because of parking. We wandered around for a while, lost our faith in humanity, and ended up parking at the very back of the parking lot, close to where the bus stop was, anyway (there's a bus stop at Fashion Place? Yes, they hid it). Commutergirl had actually brought up taking the bus, but we decided it was cold. Silly, silly us.

Then we got out and walked into Cheesecake Factory. And abruptly stopped, because it was crowded with other silly people. We waited for a minute, then decided that Cheesecake Factory wasn't that good, and, why did we want to be like everybody else anyway?

Normal is so overrated.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

SUCH A NICE THING

I was at the Provo Temple the other day.  I really only have time to go to the temple these days when a class gets cancelled, and when a class gets cancelled, I'm generally in Provo.  So I was at the Provo Temple the other day.

I was waiting for the bus to take me back to campus, and I looked down and saw something that made me happy.


Why did a random patch of asphalt make me happy, you ask?  Because it has a faded parking space line on it.

Why does a random patch of asphalt with a faded parking space line on it make me happy, you ask?  Because it's where the bus pulls in when it picks people like me up.

And the fact that someone decided that a bus should stop there instead of four cars is such a nice thing.  Too many transit stops in this country seem like afterthoughts.  They get stuck on the sides of roads where there's no sidewalk or placed halfway down the block to prevent interference with turning lanes.  It is very nice when the bus actually has a little place to stop.  Especially at the temple.

Friday, January 27, 2012

OH, AND ONE MORE THING . . .

Last night, I was up until 2:00 finishing a project for school.  I normally get up at 5:00.

I woke up at 5:00 this morning, as previously planned.  However, then I went into the living room and sat on the couch . . . and fell asleep for another hour-and-a-half.

Commutergirl awoke me and was kind enough to drive me to the TRAX Station, since I wasn't feeling really gung-ho about walking to the bus stop.

I was standing on the TRAX platform, marveling at how light it was outside, when I suddenly realized that it was an hour-and-a-half later than I usually catch the train (or the bus . . . more on that later).  The train would be full.  There would be nowhere to sit.  I would have to stand.



Actually, it was okay.  I made it to work.  I got to sit down at work.  I didn't fall asleep while sitting down at work.  Then I went home and slept for a few minutes.  Then I went on a date with commutergirl.  Then I went to bed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HAVE FUN WAITING

Today I was waiting for the 817 at UVU.  I don't go to UVU.  But sometimes I catch the 817 from there.  It's a long story.  Ask me sometime.  Okay, it's not a long story.  But you can still ask me sometime.

When the 817 pulled up, it said "817 Southbound."  This was odd, because it was an 817 Northbound.  A number of people registered this incongruity.  Most said nothing about it and calmly began boarding the bus in considerable numbers.  A few people expressed their concern, however, that this might actually be an 817 Southbound, and hung back.  I sympathize with this concern; few feelings are more sinking than the feeling you get when you realize you just got on a bus going the wrong direction.

Some of the passengers who were calmly boarding reassured the passengers who were hanging back that this had to be the 817 Northbound, since it had stopped at the Northbound stop.  "If it were Southbound, it would be stopping on the other side of the street," and the like.

(At this point I could have pointed out that all the buses on the North side of the street at UVU are Northbound EXCEPT the 831, which stops at the Northbound stop on its way South, and vice versa.  But as people who are eight-seventeeners do not also tend to be eight-thirty-wunners, and as this would have confused the poor souls further, I forbore.)

A few passengers were still undeterred from their hanging back despite the assurances of those who were apparently willing to risk boarding the bus despite its header being wrong, uttering such things as "I dunno, I don't want to chance it."  They never did get on, even after the sign was fixed.

(At this point, I could have pointed out to these dear people that there was no way in fat Hades that the bus in front of them was an 817 Southbound, since the 817 only runs Southbound in the mornings and Northbound in the afternoons.  But as they had not listened to the reasoned arguments of those who had tried to convince them up to this point, and as this would have confused the poor souls further, I forbore.)

"Hey!  Who  you callin' fat?"

Ah, well.  They had to wait an extra forty minutes.  It didn't kill them, I suppose.  Unless the next bus also said "817 Southbound" . . .

Monday, January 23, 2012

AH, PROVO, HOW I DON'T MISS THEE

As previously mentioned, I went to Provo last Saturday.

Tell me how you REALLY feel.

I was sitting calmly on the 830, contemplating the lugubrious scene before me (not that Provo is naturally lugubrious, except during finals week at BYU; it was snowing and raining all day).  We went around the corner of 700 North and 400 East.  I used to live very near there, so I looked around, in the hope of kindling a fond memory or two.

Instead, I saw puddles.  Massive, huge, cold, unforgiving, student-hating puddles.  Every place where sidewalk met street was a huge puddle.  A huge puddle that covered the whole sidewalk, and a decent portion of the street.  A huge puddle that even the most able-bodied of busninjas would not be able to skirt around without climbing up the side of a house or sharing a lane of traffic with cars (neither of which I recommend unless you're mentally prepared for it).  There was one on every single corner.

And my tears of joy mingled with the rain, for I no longer live in Provo.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

MIRACULOUS TRANSFERS

So, I had to go to Provo today.  Yes, on a Saturday.  Yes, on the bus.






Hey, it happens.

I was visiting a lot near the Provo Towne Centre Mall that we're studying in one of my classes.  This is, as you may know, a long trip, from where I live.

Why does the 811 take so long?  Look at the dang map.
A trip like this has the potential to go very, very wrong.  I've written a few blog posts about long trips that have gone haywire.  Sometimes, however, a trip like this works out really, really well.  Like today:

This morning, when I looked up the schedules, I realized that I could make a good connection to the 811 . . . if I left in ten minutes.  I wasn't even dressed yet.  But I was fast.

I got off the 39 at the TRAX station, and within a minute of my having situated myself in the nine-square-foot area that was not wet on the whole train platform, the Blue Line showed up.  I'm not stupid.  I got on.

I got off the Blue Line at Sandy Civic Center, then walked over to the 811 stop.  As soon as I had figured out how to stand so that the rain wasn't getting my legs wet, I saw bus 09042, which, as everyone knows, is a Utah County bus, so it had to be the 811.  Considering that the 811 only runs once an hour on Saturdays, and is often late, to have it come so soon was marvelous, indeed.

As I prepared to get off the 811 at University and Canyon in Provo, the 832 showed up at the light.  If the 811 hadn't gotten the turn arrow first, I would have had to watch the 832 go by.  As it was, as soon as I got off the 811, I had to start making my "I'm going to get on your bus so you'd better stop" face toward the 832.  Not bad.

And then, of course, I was there.  And while the trip back wasn't quite as slick as the trip out, it was good enough that I didn't turn into a crying baby, even though I had to go to Provo on a Saturday.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

THE UNTHINKABLE (PART 2)

Just a clarification . . .

In the past, I may have referred to "missing a stop," or "missing the stop."  This does not mean that yesterday was not the first time I ever "missed my stop."

"Interesting.  Now try it without the quadruple negative."


"Missing a stop" means that I had no idea that I was even near where I was supposed to get off, so I got off ten blocks too early, or too late, or something of the kind.  Alternately, it means that the stop is supposed to be there but the sign is gone, as in, "It looks like the 200 is missing a stop today."

"Missing the stop" means that I knew approximately where I was supposed to get off, but I miscalculated the placement of the specific stop and either watched it go by (due to my unwillingness to pull the cord at the wrong time) or realized only in retrospect that we had passed the stop I didn't yet know I wanted twenty feet before I pulled the cord.

"Missing my stop" is something else entirely.  It means that, even though I get off at the same station every day on my way home from work, and even though I knew that I was going to have to switch trains when I got on the Green Line train in the first place, I didn't get off the train when I should have and I ended up in West Valley.

Ach.  I needed a change of scene.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

THE UNTHINKABLE

Something happened to me today that has never happened to me before.  Ever.

I was coming home from work on the train, I was tired, I was reading a very interesting book, and . . .

The unthinkable happened.

I missed my stop.


I had completely forgotten I was on a Green Line train, and would therefore have to get off at 21st and switch to a Red Line (unlike the Blue Line, which goes straight on through; have I mentioned them all yet?).  Then, Little Miss Matter-of-Fact's voice said "Next Station, River Trail, 11th West," and I knew.

It took me a little longer than usual to get home today.  Ach.  I needed a change of scene.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIVE! (STUPID WIND)

It's been snowy.  And windy.  Etc. for the last couple of days.

When the wind is whipping away at you while you're standing at a bus stop, you should always make sure you're holding on to whatever you're holding on to good and tight.  Because, if it blows away, you will at best make a great fool of yourself as you run down the sidewalk chasing after your belongings.

Tonight as the 200 was pulling up to a stop, the wind ripped the transfer out of a man's hand.

Oh, no, wind, you did not just go there.

Associated Press

If you want to see a man dive for the sidewalk, rip his transfer out of his hand just as the bus is coming.  He'd obviously done this before, because he had the transfer cornered in about two seconds and resumed getting on the bus as though nothing had happened.

Sometimes being a busser requires having quick reflexes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUS DRIVER

In the midst of your Martin Luther King, Jr. day celebrations, pause for just a moment to thank your local bus driver.  Because a lot of you didn't have to work today, but they did.

And it was snowing this morning.  So they were driving mostly empty buses around in the snow all day.

Yeah, it's not my idea of a good time, either.
I got on the bus this morning at 6:11 a.m.  I was greeted with a friendly "Good morning!" as I got on the bus.  Even I am not that happy at 6:11 a.m. on a Monday.  And I work in a heated office building.

So thanks, bus (and train!) drivers, for getting me to work and back today.  I appreciate it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A LARGELY UNTAPPED MARKET

Lately as I've been riding TRAX, I've seen something which encourages me greatly:



Ads which mention proximity to TRAX stations as a desirable feature.

I realize this is not a new phenomenon, but I only started riding the train regularly a few months ago, so I've only noticed it lately.  The fact that it has been around for a while doesn't mean more people shouldn't take advantage of it.  I mean, TRAX has something like 60,000 riders a day.  They must all, by definition, get on and off at stations, except in the unlikely event that they are actually driving the train.

Or are going on a special tour of the maintenance facility.  All the same, a whole pile of engineers could have seen your ad.
This means that some of them will be getting off the train near your business, if your business is next to a TRAX station.  In fact, a lot of them will be walking past your business, meaning they'll have plenty of time to observe your artfully crafted window displays (unless they're walking and texting, but if that's the case, you probably wouldn't want their business anyway . . .)

So try it out.  Put up an ad on a TRAX train telling people where they can find your wares.  It's a largely untapped market.

Friday, January 13, 2012

SORRY?

Today when I was coming home from work, a group of construction workers got on the train and sat down.  One of them said, grumpily,

THEY CALL THIS THE GREEN LINE.  WELL, I DON'T SEE ANY GREEN ANYWHERE.

He then proceeded to complain about many other things, which leads me to believe that he was probably just having a very bad day.  All the same, perhaps he should be consulted before the Airport line opens.

Dang.  He's right.  Image from letsrideuta.com.

OH HONEY I LOVE YOU

Yesterday on the 200, I was blandly on my way to work.  An elderly man with a temple bag got on and proceeded to take a seat.

He had very nearly taken it, when the bus started moving and he lost his footing.  He very nearly fell right on top of the man next to him.  As he fell,  he shouted

OH, HONEY!
OH, HONEY! I LOVE YOU!
OH, HONEY! I LOVE YOU!

The man now known as "honey" helped the elderly man regain his balance and actually take a seat, and we continued up State Street.

That is probably the closest I have ever come to wetting myself on the way to work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A TASTE OF THE GLORY

As many of you know, UTA recently pointed out my blog on their Twitter and Facebook feeds (and maybe other things, too, but I'm not that cool . . . ).  I knew something was up when I started getting comments from new people (welcome!), and then I saw a comment about UTA's Twitter feed, and, well, then I just had to check my stats.  Those of you who blog know how that goes.

Of course, for the first couple of days, visions of my newfound fame filled my head with their succulent vapors.


A few days later, I'm just happy I got a taste of the glory.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DRUM ROLL

A few months ago I was at an Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Utah Chapter monthly meeting where UDOT showcased their new app that allowed people to look up highway information in real time.  After I left the meeting about six people asked me, "Is UTA doing something like that?  That would be really useful."  All I knew was that they were working on something.  And that was all I said.

Well, now I know more.







There's not an app ready for release yet, but I bet there will be before too long.  And then you can all download it, and think of me when you check your phones.

Monday, January 9, 2012

MY NAME IS MUD

On April 17, 2012, my name will be mud.

Not because I didn't do my taxes.  I always do my taxes.  My name will be mud on April 17 because I have two finals that day.  One is from 7 - 10 AM; the other is from 7 - 10 PM.

Let me describe to you what this means.

It means I will have to sleep on someone's couch for two nights!  I cannot make it to Provo by 7:00 a.m.  The train does not come past my house early enough.  Even if I walked to the station.  The bus certainly doesn't come past my house early enough.  And don't place any bets on commutergirl giving me a ride at 5:30 in the morning.

I also cannot leave Provo after 10:00 p.m.  The bus from Provo up to Sandy doesn't run that late, even though the bus past my house is still running.  No can do.  Sorry.

It'll be a fun adventure, right?  Yikes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

DREAM AWAY

Commutergirl and I went to a wedding reception today.  We were excited that, even though we knew the happy couple from Provo, they were having their reception in Salt Lake.  I even went so far as to remark on the event's Facebook (r) wall that I would be taking the 220 to the reception.  The remark was meant to be humorous.  Okay, so it wasn't.  So sue me.

Humorous or not, however, it was somewhat foolish so to remark, because it happens that this reception was actually on a part of 2000 East serviced by the 220.  It was on the 223, which doesn't run on Saturdays, and, in fact, hardly runs at all anymore.  I may, perhaps, be forgiven for my initial error, as it came from merely a cursory glance at the address, and there are some nice reception places further south along 2000 East (Highland Drive).  Or you may just choose to judge me.  That's all right; I forgive you for not forgiving me.

Image altered from Salt Lake System Map at rideuta.com
At the reception, the groom asked me if we had come in on the bus (that's how I know he knows me well; he took me at my word).  I said no, then quickly (meaning I talked fast) explained to him what I explained here in the previous paragraph.  When I mentioned that the 223 doesn't run on Saturdays, the bride, genuinely concerned, asked, "Did you have to walk?"

Commutergirl said, "Heh, no, we drove."  Then she looked at me as if to say, dream on, dude.

Friday, January 6, 2012

FRESH AIR

Salt Lake City's air is none too fresh, oftentimes.

But after you've been standing at a bus stop where cigarettes were passed out to three people and then smoked, even inversion feels good on the back of your throat.

Of course, the bus eventually came.  Per Utah state law, everyone was obliged to cease smoking upon entering the bus.  I was, conversely, obliged to recommence breathing.

On my walk home from the bus stop that day, I took several deep breaths of Salt Lake air and treasured it.

Ah, comparatively fresh air.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

DIFFERENT THINKS

People think different things when they walk by this sign.

Some people think, "What's that?"

Some people think, "Yay, I like this place."  Others think, "That place is lame."  Others think, "I'll have to eat there someday.

At least a few people think "Yay! Another day of work," or "Boo! Another day of work."

Some people probably think, "Oooh, look at the Business School, they think they're soooooooooo cool because they have a restaurant all to themselves," and flounce on by.

I only know of one person who thinks, "Yeah, I rode that this morning."

I really did think that today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!

But you already knew that.

One year older . . . only six years until I'm the same age as a bus number again . . . if this blog is still around, and that bus is still around, and I'm still around, I will ride that bus on my birthday (it runs seven days a week) and blog about it.

(I leave it to you to figure out how old I am)

And no, it's not the 831, as I am not 825 years old. Image from elevennews.byu.edu

Monday, January 2, 2012

FEARLESS PREDICTIONS FOR 2012

Having scored some hits and misses on last year's fearless predictions, I've decided to cautiously introduce just a few more outrageous possibilities for the coming year.  Stand back.

ONE.  Having successfully reduced the number of students holding UTA passes to, oh, about three, BYU will proceed to implement their much-anticipated shuttle service.  The service will be . . . a modest success, meaning that it won't die off immediately, but that the original idea of starting small and expanding will be revised to . . . starting small.

TWO.  After three more snotty people from Sandy write angry letters or start petitions against the evils of public transportation, UTA will cancel all transit service through Sandy.  This will result in a few awkward service arrangements, such as still completing the Draper line but skipping service on all stations between 78th and 114th, and the 817 awkwardly turning around in the middle of the freeway at the city line and letting people off on the shoulder.  Partly because of the inconvenience this will cause, and partly because all the normal people in Sandy who just happen to ride the train will rise up and silence their neighbors, all the parties involved will eventually relent and service will be restored.  Just in time, because . . .
THREE.  Barring any unforeseen calamities or class failures, I will get my master's degree at the very end of this year.  BYU will breathe a collective sigh of relief.

FOUR.  Immediately after I graduate, and therefore no longer have any need whatsoever to travel to Provo on a regular basis, FrontRunner South will open.  I will still ride it, though (heh, heh, heh).

FIVE.  The Park City Connect will take a wrong turn at the wrong time early one morning, and end up in . . . Narnia.

 
jimhillmedia.com

SIX.  In response to commutergirl's repeated hints and importunations, I . . . may . . . agree that we can have our first child.  But I'm pretty sure the child won't be born until 2013, so I'll leave any specific predictions about it until next year.