Friday, March 30, 2012


Okay, those of you who read this blog often know the drill:

Take TRAX to Conference.

Or sit around in traffic for an hour afterwards.

I don't care if your parking pass was free.

All that time you spend idling in traffic won't be.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Bus talkers are like cats.  They seem to know exactly when is the worst moment to pay attention to you, and they enjoy taking advantage of your weakness.

Case in point: the other day I forced myself to work because even though I was sick, I wasn't sick enough to not go sit at a computer for several hours.  The end result of which was that I went to work, but I was beastly tired by the time it was time to go home (I did stay home from school the next day, because when I woke up and started getting up, my whole body rebelled, and I didn't want to go out in public with flailing limbs like that).

So I'm sitting on the bench at the 39 bus stop at the TRAX station, and the following ensues:

Talker: [Righteous indignation regarding the bus schedule]

Me: [Noncommittal comment]

Talker: [The weather]

Me: [I don't mind it]

Talker: [You must be from Utah then]

Me: [Darn tootin']

[Pause occasioned entirely by my one-word answers, followed by renewed courage on the part of my conversation partner]

Talker: [Happy question about something]

Me: [One-word answer]

Talker: [Happy question about something else]

Me: [One-word answer]

[It bears mentioning that I haven't made eye contact with him since he started walking toward me from halfway down the platform]

Talker: You don't really seem like a bus person.

Me: [I feel like saying something really snarkity-snark-pants right now, but I'm too tired]

Under other circumstances, we probably could have had a reasonably pleasant conversation.  But if someone is visibly tired and stressed and is sidestepping your every effort to have a conversation, don't keep trying to have a conversation.  Good night.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The other day on the train, a group of teenage hooligans got on.  At least, that's what I thought.  I pride myself on never having been a teenager, and the sight of a group of rowdy teenagers boarding a train right in front of me would bring up painful memories of middle school if I hadn't already repressed them.

I was pleasantly surprised on this occasion to discover that it was a group of not-so-hooligans, and that, while they did stand in a rowdy circle right in the aisle and talk a lot, they seemed to have no desire to inflict mischief on their fellow calm train passengers.  In fact, at least some of them appeared to be experienced train riders, based on their knowledge of the system and their understanding of train etiquette.

When I got off, I had to walk past them to get to the door. One of them said to another,


and I had renewed hope for the future of America.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sorry I haven't blogged in several days.  I won't be in grad school forever.  It just feels like it.

Anyway, I still have many noble intentions of visiting City Creek on my lunch hour--I just haven't yet.  I know.  For shame.  I'm hanging my head in shame right now.  I'll repent soon.  I'll take pictures.  You'll like it, I promise.

I did, however, look at different newspaper articles in print and online to see how people felt about City Creek, and I came across the following quote:

By day's end, City Creek officials predicted the center would meet or exceed the prediction of 50,000 first-day visitors, and they arrived without traffic snarls or significant delays. An indication of the day's success: 75,000 directories were handed out to visitors to help guide them through City Creek during the day.
(Deseret News: SLC Marks Triumphant Opening of City Creek, March 22)

Now, the Deseret News article specifically about the lack of traffic problems referenced the excellent parking over and over, without mentioning TRAX (Cold, DN.  Cold.)  But TRAX is mentioned in many other articles in the Deseret News and elsewhere.  You can't tell me that 75,000 directories got handed out without traffic snarls just because of the parking.

When the only new regional shopping center in 2012 opens right in the middle of a downtown and there are no "traffic snarls or significant delays," I believe it's transit . . . for the win.

Shop City Creek.  Take TRAX.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


 . . . now.

No, I'm not there.  I'm at school.

But I am so going there on my lunch break tomorrow.  More to come . . . ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Last week, UVU had Spring Break.  Which means the 817 got to be a Gillig instead of an MCI.

For those of you not hip to today's popular bus manufacturers, this means we went from a bus like this:

to one like this:

Photos by So Cal Metro, via Flickrhivemind
Now, the Gilligs are by no means mean buses.  But the MCI's have things like reclining seats, adjustable armrests, individual (individually adjustable) air vents and reading lights, free WiFi, panoramic views out the huge front windows . . .

Hold it.  Did you just say free WiFi?

Yeah, we have it tough.  But it's hard for someone used to having free WiFi on their way home from work to suddenly not have it.  First-world problems . . .

I can understand why UTA would want to run a Gillig instead of an MCI.  Given that the following relationship almost certainly holds:

and that the following is true by observation:

you can understand why an MCI might have been considered overkill.

Most people took it in stride (I for one have certainly seen the 817 run far less glamorous buses than an '09 Gillig), but it was diverting to watch people's looks of consternation as they realized that the bus coming down the road actually was the bus they were waiting for, instead of one of the lesser buses they usually superciliously contemplate without patronizing.  We eight-seventeeners are an interesting lot.

Monday, March 19, 2012


People get mad when you mess with the 817.

The other day, the 817 pulled into the Sandy TRAX Station.  It pulled into the wrong spot--the spot where the 811 is supposed to go.  This, as you may have guessed, upset the fabric of the universe.

See, there were a lot of people standing in line for the 817, starting at where the door of the 817 would be, if it were pulled up into its correct spot.  But with the 817 in the 811's place, the door was about in the middle of the line.

Nobody moved.  For about thirty seconds.  A couple of people assayed to tell the driver that he should pull into the next spot, but he didn't seem to understand.  Finally, someone got on, and that seemed to release the rest of us from the spell.

The people who had been at the front of the line and were now at the back of it were . . . annoyed.  I heard several of them breathing out threatenings as they shuffled toward the door.

In the end, the 811 driver who had pulled in behind the 817 got out and told the 817 driver that he was in the wrong spot.  Communication was achieved, and order was restored.

As far as I can tell, the damage to the universe wasn't permanent.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Technology kills.  Ask Michael Scott.

"Everybody likes new inventions, new technology.  People will never be replaced by machines.  In the end, life and business are about human connections.  And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake.  And to me, the choice is easy."

It hasn't killed me yet . . . hence I'm not dead . . .

But the other day it failed me rather spectacularly.  See, there's a long string of streetlights all up and down State Street.  They shine brightly all night long so that people can see where they're going without the aid of the sun.  Except right above the bus stop I use every day.  It's also dark right at the time of the morning when I generally catch the bus.  Long story short: I wave my cell phone frantically in the air every single morning as the bus is approaching, so as to avoid the very real possibility of the bus driver not seeing me and passing me by.  I get up too early in the morning to allow that to happen.

The other morning, as I assembled my various effects and accoutrements in preparation for my embarking out into the cold, dark world, I realized I had not charged my phone the night before.  Oh, well; too late now.

Once the 200 appeared in view, I got out my phone and checked it to make sure it was still on.  It was.  I commenced frantically waving it in the air.

And then I heard it.  The turning-off noise.

My phone had died right when I needed it most.  The bus continued barreling down State Street.  No sign of stopping.  So I did what I had to do.  I began frenetically flailing my right hand in the air instead.

Fortunately, I come from a long line of pale people, and I was in school all last summer (read: DID NOT GET TAN).  I glow in the dark.  The bus driver saw my flailing hand and stopped.

When I got on, he said, "Forgot  your phone, huh?"

I replied dejectedly, "No, it died."

So, if in the next few days you call me and I don't answer for days, it's not because I'm mad at you--it's because I'm mad at my phone.  Or it died again.  One of the two.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


It seems like every time I cross the FrontRunner tracks outside Central someone has put up a new sign warning people about the trains.  So the other day I decided to take a picture of every single one of them.  I almost managed it.  But there were a couple of signs that were actually off the pedestrian walkway, well into the tracks, and I decided not to mess with those.

Did I mention the sun was really bright the other day?

This sign and the other like it are double-sided; they say the same thing on both sides.

It appears an enterprising local artist also contributed to the effort.

Hello, shoe

Even includes mirror!

Hopefully you read this sign while you were defacing it.

In addition to these signs, there are also the gates that come down across the road, flashing lights, and a really loud alarm (It's a B) with lots of overtones that I imagine could even cut through death metal being played on headphones (I imagine this because, of course, I never listen to death metal; also, I never use headphones in public, as it would interrupt the nearly constant stream of music already coursing  through my head at all hours of the day).

And I still saw someone running across the tracks, while the gates were down, while the alarm was blaring, in spite of all the signs, as the train was bearing down on the crossing at a much faster speed than pedestrians can attain.

At some point, it stops becoming a matter of safety procedures by UTA and starts becoming a matter of natural selection.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The other day I was on the train, and I saw a guy get a $150 ticket for not tapping his pass on the card reader at the station.  It sucked.

So, yeah . . . tap on.  And off.  It's cheaper that way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Yesterday there were not as many people on the 6:03 a.m. bus as usual.  All the way to downtown there were not as many people as usual.  I can only assume the 6:18 a.m. bus was full.  Or maybe the 7:03 bus.  Who knows.

Then, this morning there was practically nobody on the 817.  I thought, did these people get kicked in the face by Daylight Savings, as I did?  Where is everybody?  Has our lack of sleep become that endemic?

Then I learned that UVU is on spring break this week.  Oh, okay.


Monday, March 12, 2012


I was going to include this quote in Saturday's post, but I couldn't find it online, and I knew my dad knew this quote, but it was 11:30 p.m. and I knew he had to get up early the next day (it would have been especially cruel to wake him the night before daylight savings begins!).  But he was kind enough to provide the quote yesterday, so here it is now:

"Plague on this nonsense of putting back the clock which has docked me of an hour's sleep and which for the next few weeks will give me darkness at shaving and dressing time when I want light and light after tea when it is an impertinence..."

(Letters, Feb 25, 1940)

You tell 'em, Clive.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I don't like daylight savings.  I know some people do.  I'm glad we can all coexist peacefully, most of the time.

I don't like daylight savings because I get up early in the morning.  All winter long, it is dark when I get up.  It is dark when I leave my house.  It is still dark by the time I get to work or school.

As spring approaches, it starts getting light earlier and earlier.  It's light by the time I get to school.  Then it's light by the time I get to work.  Then, it's even started getting light by the time I leave my house, at 6:01 in the morning.  I need that light.  I crave it.  When I see it, I feel almost human again.

And then . . .
Out of nowhere, I have to get up an hour earlier.  No more light in the morning.  No more sunshine and joy.  I have to wait another month or so before I can see light when I leave for the day (forget about seeing light when I get up).  It's like being really hungry for something, ordering it, seeing it on a plate in front of you, then having it taken away from you and being told you need to sit through a three-hour seminar before you can eat it.

No soup for you!
I know what people say: daylight savings saves energy, it's better for the economy, blah blah blah.  I'm pretty sure when those people went to college, they didn't have class before 10:00, if they went to class at all.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


On that same other day when I took the 228 and it was snowing, two people got on (I mentioned them) in the free fare zone.  As they got on, the driver said to them, "This is the 228," in the kind of tone that said, "You must be mistaken."

They apparently weren't mistaken, because they rode the 228 for more than just a few blocks.  Either that, or they were embarrassed and stayed on for a while to make it look like they had known what they were doing.

Not that I've ever done that.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The other night it snowed.  I took the 228 home.  Here's how it went.

Always an adventure.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Why do people get angry?  I never get angry.  Just other people.

Today I was waiting at Central to catch a bus to lunch, and the 205 pulled up.  A woman stood up and began asking the bus driver for directions with about seven people in line behind her.  I don't know where you're from, but around here, when someone does that, they understand that they are slowing everyone else down, and graciously allow people to slip past them onto the bus.

This woman was obviously not from around here, because when the first man edged past her, she said


so loudly that everyone in line behind her visibly jumped.  Needless to say, no one else edged past her onto the bus.

It turned out, as it so often does when people slow everything down to ask for directions, that the bus she needed was not the 205, and so she turned away, muttering something about "weird-ass people" getting in her way.  Once she was well clear of the bus entrance, the seven people who had been behind her in line meekly got on the bus without making a sound.

I thought to myself, really, ma'am?  You're mad about that?

I also thought to myself, she's lucky I wasn't the person who edged past her, because if she had shouted at me like that, I would have turned around and screamed


Friday, March 2, 2012


It would finally decide to be winter around here on February 29th.

I would decide to do a two-hour traffic count on a day it snows.

For those of you who don't know, a traffic count is when you stand at an intersection with a little machine and push buttons on it to show how many cars are going in each direction, turning left, etc.  Apparently, it's a good way to get cold really fast when it's snowing.  I'm a stubborn person.  But I gave up.  Too cold.  I decided that data could be gathered another, pleasanter day.

And, of course, on my way home, I would decide randomly to take the 228, which goes past where I live, but only after going a lot of other places first.  On the day it snowed.  More on that later.

And then I would decide the next day to wear a pair of shoes with a hole in it, walking through the snow.  Eep!