Monday, December 8, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS

Recently BYU announced an extremely wise decision: next school year they will charge for parking and offer bus shuttles for free. Having observed, and fought over, the parking situation during my extensive BYU career, and having earned a master's degree in transportation engineering during that time, I feel I can speak with authority when I say to BYU:

WELCOME BACK TO 2003

It has taken you eleven years to even get approximately close to what you already had when I was a freshman. You want a cookie?

Though the Ryde STILL won't take you anywhere outside of the bubble, unless I am very much mistaken.

As I've mentioned before, I've nothing in particular against the Ryde (except, perhaps, their sophomoric advertising--but then they are a college shuttle service, I suppose); I'm just annoyed that it took so long for the BYU administration to learn by hard experience at the students' expense.

(Oh, and BYU students who are whining to high heaven about paying for parking: suck it up. $60 per semester doesn't even begin to approximate how much money BYU is spending on maintaining each parking space. Be warned--you've potentially provided me with an abundance of "treasures" to share in the coming days.)

Oh, and UTA:


It might be time to end this one-sided relationship and put that service somewhere else--oh and I have so many suggestions for what you can do instead . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TREASURES FROM THE INTERNET (10)

This first one is rather clever.


  • Makes me a little sad when people want the transit system to go further than it does. For the record, I'd be the first one behind a cross-country rapid rail network if I thought it were remotely financially feasible. For now I guess I'll have to stick to walking into a room and quietly asking "Night service? Weekends?"
  • Because that's clearly working so well.
This next sentiment crops up from time to time, though it has calmed down a bit since last year or the year before:

  • A "cold, uncomfortable Gillig?" You mean the cold, uncomfortable Gillig I ride to work every day?
  • (Thank you, by the way, for using commas between adjectives)
  • "20+" seems awfully generous based on the number of people I have ever seen on a 454. Granted, I've never actually taken the 454 to Grantsville, but unless there's a great mancha of you getting on at the airport, I'm skeptical.
  • And anyway, those getting on at the airport won't have even the coldest of uncomfortable rides for "30+ mi./1 hr."
  • Even if it is 20+ on all the days I don't see a 454, that's hardly enough to warrant an MCI, since you all basically would get your own seat on a Gillig anyway. Just be grateful you don't get an Optima. Or a flex bus.
  • I used to ride a cold, uncomfortable 811 down the freeway from Orem to Sandy with 70+ people on it. I know, it doesn't seem possible. But, back in the day, there was one UTA route that actually was overcrowded. And I was on it. People sat in each other's laps; people stood in the gaps between seats when other people were sitting in both seats; people had to get off the bus to let others off, then scurry back on before the door closed and the bus pulled away. I think those people could complain about not having an MCI and be justified.
  • I know, I keep forgetting, you're special. Someday I'll remember that on my own before you have to remind me.

Our favorite reporter is always a good source for treasures:

  • The TRAX stop where now?
  • Did UTA sneak in another station on the Draper Line without telling me? The nerve. Clearly, you have the inside track on all things UTA, since you know things even I don't.
  • Or is this just a typo? 'Cause I can't wait to see what other articles it gets copy-pasted into.
This last one is not about transit, but it gave me a healthy, soul-healing laugh. In the midst of a heated debate over whether Mormons practice polygamy or not, someone introduced some new terminology:


(I cut off the last sentence, but you don't really need to know what it said, do you, really?)

  •  Convenient is not a noun, that I'm aware of . . . enlighten me: what is a convenient?
  • "Clearly," you are the authority on all Mormon doctrine. I've been going to the wrong source for Sunday School all these years.
  • But seriously, thanks for the laugh. I've not laughed that hard about an angsty online comment for a long time.
 Have an excellent Wednesday!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

THIS IS THE


This is the only city I know of where a bus can say "This is the" on the front of it and be absolutely correct.

This is the latest make of UTA bus that runs on this route where this trick works -- the last one where the front of the bus will say "This is the" at any time.

This is the most likely location for me to photograph such a bus, since I only occasionally use this route and don't frequent the other destinations it services (off the bus, anyway; I frequently bless the U with my presence on the way to work these days, but opportunities for photographing other buses are fleeting, subject to chance, and complicated by full-bus ad spreads)

This is the only time of day I could snag such a photograph, since there are only two times of day this bus could say "This is the" on the front of it, and the other is mostly before I get off work, and anyway, it gets dark early this time of year.

This is the only "all-day" bus route I know of that starts at a "Central" station, goes through a downtown and an excessively hipster neighborhood and ends at a large university whose last trip from said Central Station is at 5:15 p.m.

This is the only time of year when 5:15 p.m. is dark enough for me to pretend that the last 3 of the "night" is leaving sometime late in the evening instead of right in the middle of rush hour. I have to pretend this way with other routes, too; but this route is my greatest challenge.

This is the only blog I know of where you can find someone simultaneously philosophizing about bus hours of service and what words show up on the front of them--though I'm convinced I'm not completely alone in my weird obsession with transit.

This is the longest writing a post like this has ever taken me because Baby was up sick and cranky most of the night last night and then we had to get up this morning and take family pictures and go shopping and generally take care of a grumpy toddler and eventually decide to take him to a playplace in the afternoon because otherwise he was going to vandalize all our posessions except that then it turned out that he was so tired he was going to fall asleep in the car coming back from the TRAX station and mess up his sleep schedule for tonight so we had to resort to all sorts of antics to keep him awake and he was giving me looks like "what is WRONG with you people" and anyway I'm tired as all get out and having a horrible time concentrating and my brain is thinking like this run-on sentence so I'm sorry if what I wrote above is not even marginally interesting but it struck me as amusing that there is a bus with "This is the" on the front of it so I took a picture and then I realized that there really were a lot of unique things contributing to this picture so I wrote a post about it and now I'm really tired.

And this is the last sentence I'm writing tonight; good night, and happy trails on transit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

STATE STREET



You're doing it wrong.

More importantly, you're holding up my 209.

Why do you put yourselves through this every day?

Monday, November 3, 2014

THE GILLIG WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM

Some friends of mine came up with it recently. It's really pretty simple.

Ride a '99 or '01 Gillig.


The bus will jiggle and rattle so much that you will discover you had rolls of fat in places you had never conceived.

Trust me, you'll get right off the bus and head for a treadmill.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NOT MY DAY

The other day on my way to work the 220 that I was on got passed by the one behind it. I wasn't thrilled, but it happens sometimes. I decided to let it go and move on with my day, which was probably good, since my whole day was still in front of me.

Then, on the way home from work, the 209 didn't come and didn't come and didn't come and didn't come some more and then finally it came and I was a little exasperated, but I got on. But the bus only got further and further behind and--sure enough--when we got to 21st South the 209 behind us blew right past us.

My thought process during that particular 209 ride could only be adequately described by the following musical excerpt:



Schnittke Concerto Grosso No. 1

(Wikipedia describes the music of Schnittke as extroverted, which is sort of like saying that boxing is a sport where the combatants hit each other with feather dusters. The excerpt I'm thinking of is until about 4:30, unless the power of Schnittke compels you to listen further.)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

DADDY IN DISTRESS

It started out innocently enough. Baby needed to go to the park, and we were out of milk.

Everything had gone smoothly and more than smoothly--Baby had tired himself out enough that he finally lay down in the grass and sucked on his fingers while looking at me with his huge blue eyes as if to say "Okay, daddy, I'm done here; can we go?"

(This is, of course, why we take our children to parks--to tire them out with minimal exertion on our own part. I never understood this as a child.)

I administered a puréed vegetable packet without event, and we continued on to the next phase of our Saturday adventure--buying milk. Baby behaved himself quite well in the store, and even graciously accepted the cashier's offer of a sticker.

(I've been trying to coach Baby on being more gracious to his fans--often he just stares at them, snubs them by looking away. He's getting better at politely accepting strangers' admiration.)

Then we got back to the bus stop, and I realized--Baby. Stroller. Two gallons of milk. I only have two hands.

One of my fellow bus-for-waiters at the stop realized my predicament at about the same time, and asked if she could carry something onto the bus for me. It was my turn to be gracious to a kind stranger; I was helped by the fact that I actually couldn't carry everything.

The 209 was a ski bus.


I guess I cut a rather pathetic figure standing in the aisle holding a toddler and two gallons of milk with a stroller at my feet, because two gentlemen got up and offered me their seats. Although I only took one seat, they both remained standing. One of them assured me, "It's okay. I have kids."

I managed to get off the bus holding the stroller, the milk, and Baby, but tapping off was out of the question. Sorry. After we got off the bus, I managed to set down the milk, the stroller, and Baby, but he took off running down the sidewalk before I could get the stroller unfolded. As I caught him, a man pleasantly yelled out his car window,

HE'S MAKIN' A JAILBREAK!

to which I gave a polite but lame comeback, since I am really bad at comebacks on the fly. I strapped Baby in, stuck the milk in the bottom of the stroller, and proceeded to push the whole mélange up the hill, which was good exercise. Then we got home and I got to coax Baby down the stairs while holding both milk gallons in my other hand, which made my hand want to reach up and strangle me, except that it couldn't because it was still holding the gallons of milk. It made sense at the time.

I may be the busninja, but sometimes even I go in over my head a little. When that happens, it's nice that everyone is nice about it.






Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DEL DEL DEL DEL DEL

UTA has had sick bags on their buses and trains for a while now, so I can't honestly say why this hasn't bugged me before, and does now . . .

. . . but it really bugged me the other day.

I was on FrontRunner, standing because I was only going from Murray to Salt Lake Central, when, suddenly, I noticed the sign


and my brain started shouting

SALIR DEL VEHICULO
SALIR DEL VEHICULO
SALIR DEL VEHICULO

and it will probably always do that from now on.

(Pero por si acaso, si alguna vez necesitan una traducción al idioma celestial, estoy disponible y presto para ayudar)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

850TH POST: THE 850

Any hand-drawn map of the 850 must of necessity be somewhat diagrammatic


since depicting every turn in the road would require a level of detail few artfully crude sketchers are willing to invest time and emotional energy in. The 850 has always been long and, even though it mostly follows straight lines, can take a significant amount of time to get anywhere.

The 850 has changed a bit over the years. It was shortened from East Bay back to downtown Provo, then lengthened back to the Provo FrontRunner station when FrontRunner opened in late 2012. The routing was changed near the Transit Center at the same time so that the bus wouldn't have to make the horrifying left turn from State Street onto University Parkway going south.

(that particular left turn by itself used to occupy about half my time commuting on the 850 in the mornings)

Once UTA decided that the F868 would be a real thing for always, the special trips to UTDC/the Mt. Timpanogos Temple were removed; UTA made multiple attempts at bringing bus service into the heart of Lehi on Main Street, 300 West, 100 East, and 200 North; all eventually were retracted and the bus now just runs down State Street with the 811 before taking a slightly different path into the Lehi FrontRunner station.

(Yeah, let's not talk about how it went to the American Fork station for a few months.)

The 850 always did pretty good business, even in the pre-train days, and held its own with the BYU routes during the pre-non-BYU days; but having a FrontRunner connection on both ends seems to have done wonders for the ridership. When I lived in Orem I used to catch the 850 in downtown Provo to get home, and it would be mostly empty at the southern end; but now it gets a whole group of people at Provo station in addition to the people getting on in town, which at times makes the bus quite crowded.

(Yes, the empty socialist bus that no one wants. That bus.)

The one thing I want from the 850 that it doesn't give me is a connection from North Orem to the Orem FrontRunner Station. Currently the only direct connection is the 842, which, well . . . the 850 and 862 both require a transfer to the 830, which is okay until the 15-minute service stops, and, well . . . then it's better to just catch the 850 all the way to Lehi. And more scenic.

But even at that I think the 850 is a very good bus, and I hope it sticks around to serve us for a good long time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WHERE AM I GOING?

It's not often that three of the largest defining characteristics in my life come together so suddenly and concisely, so naturally I had to blog about it.

You see, earlier today I saw on Facebook that a kinsman of mine had written a very nice article about Mormon composers; since I assert that I am Mormon and fancy myself a composer, not to mention know personally or have met many of the composers mentioned in the article, I found many things that interested me. It was an engaging read and I found myself completely enthralled by it until, suddenly, I looked up, wondering desperately:

WHERE AM I?
WHERE AM I GOING?

At this point the more compositorily inclined among you may be imagining my composing career, which, though admittedly glorious, was largely put on hold during my graduate studies in civil engineering and still only occasionally pokes its head out for the world to see (though these episodes are getting more frequent, and we have every reason to believe that they will continue to become so); the Mormonily inclined among you will recognize the second question as one of the big questions answered by the Gospel of Jesus Christ as espoused by the Mormons; and all of you may be wondering what on earth this has to do with transit. I'll tell you.

I was reading this article while on the 205, and, having become completely engrossed in it, suddenly realized I had no idea where I was, how long I had been on the bus, and whether or not we had passed the stop at which I was intending to exit the bus. Fortunately, after looking around in confusion for a moment, I was able to get my bearings (as I have caught the 205 many, many times in the last three years) and realized we still had about six blocks to go.

But, just so you know, cuz, I really enjoyed your article; almost enough to miss my stop, which has only ever happened once in my entire life.

I think I might go write some music now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

RIDDLE ME THIS

How is it that some people in Salt Lake are convinced that UTA and the LDS Church are in cahoots

 





but other people in Provo are convinced that UTA is bent on the destruction of the traditional family?


You can't both be right

because that would mean that UTA and the LDS Church were in cahoots to destroy the traditional family--any questions?

but you could both be wrong . . .

Thursday, September 4, 2014

WAKE-UP SQUEAL

I have stood on the FrontRunner platform at Murray many a time in the last year-and-eight-months, listening to the

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL

of the brakes as the train pulls in, but I never understood why this happened until last week.

You see, there was a man leaning against the glass under one of the canopies, the vicissitudes of whose life I wouldn't presume to guess, who had fallen asleep leaning. Sometimes your body sends you a message, and it's best you heed it.

But he would have probably slept through the train coming in (or it would have become the awkward responsibility of someone else waiting for the train to wake him) had it not been for the

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL

of the brakes as the train pulled in. The squeal, coupled with the train pulling in at approximately

0.000000000000000000000001 MPH

meant that he had plenty of time to wake from slumber, take stock of his surroundings, gather his things, and calmly board the train.

Gee, those FrontRunner people thought of everything.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ONE WEEK LATER

So the UTA is an evil, corrupt organization. Whoop-dee-freakin'-doo.

So is pretty much every other public entity, private company, nonprofit organization, church, YouTube channel, blog, computer game, private journal, college major, pencil, camera, flash drive, and uncountable noun if you look at it long and hard enough. The fact of the matter is, people suck. Sometimes they just suck.

And now by what I read people want to bring criminal charges against UTA leadership. Are they founded? I don't know. UTA's legal team will assuredly prepare a brilliant defense in response to any charges brought against them, and all the while the bus will not run on Labor Day and will, in several parts of town, quit before 7:00 p.m. on a weeknight.

Am I happy about all the stuff in the Legislative Audit? No. Do I wish UTA did a lot of things differently? Honestly, yes. Am I going to stop taking transit in protest? Don't be daft. That ship sailed a long time ago.

Shall I euphemize? The next few years will be . . . fascinating for UTA. If nothing else, crazy debt will make the waters difficult for both UTA and its customers. But keep in mind that I have used transit in circumstances far more averse than the ones I currently experience. In the meantime, I'll take a historian's interest in what goes on, and I promise I'll try to still find the small, amusing things that make for the best blog posts.

***SIGH***
I promise I'll try.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

45TH SOUTH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT YOU (PART 3)

Today while I was at work commutergirl called me to ask me to pick up sundry groceries for our dinner this evening and I, being the gallant husband that I am, eagerly agreed.

All went well until I made my way back to the bus stop to go home. It wasn't raining when I left the grocery store, but by the time I had walked across the parking lot to the bus stop on 45th drops had begun to fall. Within a few minutes the 45 had shown up, but was stopped at the light at 9th East.

As I blandly contemplated the 45 waiting at the light, the rain began to intensify. And in the less-than-two-minutes that it took for the light to change the rain had gotten so thick as to completely both soak and exasperate me, to the point where I was silently begging the bus to run the light and just pick me up (silently, because it wouldn't have helped, as the bus driver couldn't hear me, and also anybody who could have heard me wouldn't have understood).

And I thought to myself, get your shots in while you can, 45th, because I'm moving next week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CAN'T CATCH A BREAK

Yesterday I caught the 45 for the first time again.  When I got down to 45th, I was confronted by a whole row of sprinklers watering the sidewalk in front of the bus stop, which made my soul want to leave my body from sheer annoyance, but I stood it, barely.  The bus showed up and I got on.

Today I caught the 45 for the second time again.  When I got to 45th, the sprinklers were not on.  But it was raining.  The bus showed up and I got on.  The driver said, "Boy, yesterday it was the sprinklers, now it's coming from the sky!"

"I just can't catch a break!" I said.

We chuckled, and I went and sat down.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

842TH POST: THE 842

The 842 is a quiet route


that wends its way through no particularly interesting parts of Orem and ends at Riverwoods.  Unlike the 862, which apparently has picked up some business since FrontRunner South happened, the 842 seems to always just pick up a few.  However, the routing has not changed and the schedule has stayed almost the same since it started, which suggests that it's at least better than the 833 and 836.

I say almost stayed the same--the infamous February 2013 change day meant that there would no longer be a good connection between FrontRunner and the 842 without the bus coming more often.  Unfortunately, the 842 comes every sixty minutes.

On the pair of occasions when I have caught the 842, I have gathered that this pattern is probably true: FrontRunner pulls in and, at the right time of day, people pile onto the 830 and 831 (soon to be 841).  The buses leave.

Then nothing happens for about 10 minutes.

Finally, quietly, inconspicuously, the 842 pulls in.  Up to 5 people get off.  Up to 5 people get on.  The bus immediately slips back out of the station and no one is the wiser.

The main reason anyone rides the 842, as far as I can tell, is that the 862 does not connect with FrontRunner directly, so people wishing to go from FrontRunner to north Orem find the 842 useful.  The 850 connects with FrontRunner on both ends and also serves north Orem, but it takes a long time from either end of the line.  There are people who are willing to put up with a long transfer time at Orem station and just happen to need the bus at a time when the 842 is running, so they take the 842.  But at any other time you have to transfer from the 830 to the 862 or catch the 850 anyway, so I can see why the 842 hasn't really caught on yet.

The future?  Certainly brighter than for the 833 and 836, though if anything happens to those routes it will be the 842 that sits at the bottom of the pile.  I can't say that service will increase on the 842 any time soon; likely it will linger, pale and ghostlike, until some other change in the Orem transit market necessitates a change to all the routes around it--in which case it will probably be changed or cut.

But I don't, actually, know everything.

FIRE 'EM ALL

Back last year when it was especially cool to hate on UTA, I was standing waiting for the 39 at Meadowbrook, I couldn't help but hearing one of my dear fellow passengers regaling those who were polite enough to listen about how bus and train drivers never wait for each other and leave their customers out in the cold waiting for the next one.

(Sir, you are waiting for a bus that is tied for "comes most often" in the entire UTA system.  Please try to die less easily)

I decided that I already had enough stress in my life and didn't need to hear this now.  When he yelled, "They should all be fired!" I got up and walked all the way back to the 41 stop

thiiiiiiiiis far
to enjoy the rest of my wait in relative peace and quiet.

Then the 39 came.  After we all got on, when the driver was preparing to pull out of the station, a TRAX train pulled in.  Instead of pulling out of the station, the driver

LOOPED ALL THE WAY BACK AROUND

like thiiiiiiiiiis
to pick up everybody that had just gotten off the train.

I hope that man wrote it in his journal that night.

INNER MONOLOGUE

The other day I was chilling on the 200

(that's what I've chosen to call the time we spend waiting at 21st South each morning)

when an individual sitting in the seat behind me was so insulted by what was going on that she got up from her seat and asked me:

"Does the driver know the speed limit on this road is 35?"

(Please excuse me for a moment while I tap into the collective hive mind of all UTA bus drivers.)

"I'm sure she does."

"Then why are we going TEN MILES AN HOUR?"

(First of all, we're probably going quite a bit faster than ten miles per hour when we're going--ten miles per hour feels excruciatingly slow on a bus, and I have watched the speedometer on a '13 bus a couple of times, which is a big number on a display instead of a dial; the bus is going 10 miles an hour before everyone on the bus is even aware that it's moving.  I can understand your desire to exaggerate the situation to lend credence to your point, but your perceptions as stated are, unfortunately, inaccurate.  Second, have you not noticed that we are ON A BUS?  The bus had to stop to pick you up; it had to stop to pick me up; it has to stop to pick up all these other nice people.  Move to 27th West if you want to ride a bus that doesn't stop except for you.)

"I don't know."

I said the last part with enough bile, I think, to convince her that it would be a good idea not to ask me any further asinine questions.  Which is much better than what would have happened had I actually unleashed my internal monologue on her.

THE NEW, I MEAN OLD, IMPROVED, I MEAN RESTORED, 45

Come Monday I will be trying out yet another way to get to work--this one involving the

NEW IMPROVED 45

by which I mean the

NEW OLD IMPROVED RESTORED 45

In August 2011, when the Red and Green Lines opened (and blessed be that day, for the record), the 45 was changed from running every 15 minutes all day long to every 30 minutes during rush hour and every 60 minutes during midday, and from running until midnight to quitting at 8:30 p.m.  The 228 was extended into the Murray North TRAX Station to double the 45's routing, but even the combination of the 45 and 228 did not come as often or run as late as the original 45.  commutergirl and I moved to Salt Lake City on August 6, 2011, a date that will be forever engraved on my memory since it was the day before the Red and Green Lines opened.  I interpreted the changes on 45th South to be merely the latest in a long string of service reductions in places I've just moved to or service improvements in places I've just moved out of.

Did I mention that we're moving next month?  Far away from the 45.

Friday, August 15, 2014

838TH POST: THE 838


The 838 is a very short route.  Much like this post.

NEVER BEEN SO PROUD

So, lately, Baby, who is still around

Yes, that baby!
 

has taken up the habit of saying a few words here and there, like "Yes!" and "Okay," and, at least once, "Whyyyyyyy?"

But a couple of weeks ago, he did me proud. I was picking him up from my parents at Provo Station and they remarked that he had been pointing at all the buses going by and saying, "Bus. Bus."

And it was true.  On the train back to Salt Lake he kept saying "Bus.  On da bus."  And I would say, "Yes, we're on a TRAIN!" and he would say "On da bus."  During the last couple of weeks cars, trains, even elevators have been "Da bus."

I've never been so proud.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

836TH POST: THE 836


There are as many pictures in this post as I have ever seen people on the 836 at one time.  Not that I've spent hours and hours watching, mind you, but I've been to Provo Station a fair number of times since the 836 came into existence in late 2012, and, as excited as I am to be able to say "Provo Station" in a sentence, having waited years to do so, I've still never seen an 836 that made me happy.

As far as I have been able to gather from my observations, conversations, and general perspicacity, the 836 was created to fill in a gap that was created by the realignment of routes 832 and 833 in conjunction with the opening of Provo Station; later it was expanded to fill a gap created when the 831 changed last August.  None of these portions-of-routes that the 836 has acquired were ever noted for being particularly happening back in the day.  I used to ride the 831 in the evenings down from Orem on a fairly regular basis, and I would keep track (of course I would) of how many people got on and off between University Parkway and University Avenue.  It was never, not once ever, more than three, even when BYU was a thing (not that BYU people would be traveling from Grandview to campus at 8:30 p.m., but you get the point), and I used to wish that the 831 could be split up so that we could have more direct service to the busy parts of the route and stop running the unbusy parts so late into the evening.  This is sort of what happened last year with the 831 and 836, though not exactly how I would have envisioned it--and the 836 has performed accordingly.

I was at Provo Station on a Saturday once, and, having recently got off a FrontRunner train, was angered by the paucity of connecting buses.  It would be another hour before there was an 821 or 832; the 850 would not bless us with its presence for another twenty minutes.  But there was an 836 faithfully waiting to carry nobody away from the station--and it would be back in a half hour!  I am comforted that, starting next week, the 832 (revised) and 821 will start running every hour on Saturdays again, and that the 836 and 833 have apparently been combined to run with one bus (up until now it has taken two buses to run both routes; if you look at the new schedules for the 833 and 836, they interlock almost perfectly).  But I don't see a bright future for the 836, to put it mildly.  Utah County's bright future of transit probably actually involves getting rid of it altogether, to be very honest.

Sorry to be a downer.  In my quest to be a happy shiny transit blogging spreader of joy, I do from time to time experience negative emotions about things.  In partial restitution for the negativity I have let slip tonight, let me share with you the most happy frenetic snarky indie rock violin pop acoustic synthetic Japanese American song you will ever hear in your life.  When it's over, you won't know what just happened, but you will probably be smiling.  Good night.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A JULY MEDITATION

July is recently behind us--July, the month we love in Utah because it has TWO days off.  One to celebrate the sacrifice of our pioneer forebears (well, they're my forebears, at least); another to recognize the bold experiment in equitable government that cost many lives to implement but has produced many happy generations of citizens since.  Both involve parades, community events, the consumption of somewhat excessive amounts of moderately unhealthy food (I'm hedging here), and, hopefully, a little remembering.

Only one of them involves transit.

This past Pioneer Day we decided we were going to the parade.  The Spanish Fork parade, that is--showing up to a parade a half-hour before and watching from my cousin's front lawn sounded more fun than showing up hours before and jostling for position with other people we didn't know but probably wouldn't even like that much if we did, all while convincing Baby that we really were having a good time, despite his resonant protestations to the contrary.  Trust me, the Spanish Fork parade was quite enough for him!

commutergirl assumed that we would be driving down to Utah County, since we generally do that when we are visiting my family on a holiday with no transit service, until I mentioned that FrontRunner would be running Saturday service, at which point she looked at me like I were slightly crazy (I'm hedging here).

FrontRunner is running on Pioneer Day?

She was surprised by this, as you may have gathered, because, for the past two years, there has been no transit service whatsoever on the Fourth of July along the Wasatch Front.  None.  Which brings me to my next point.

Can we please have some service next Fourth of July?

PLEASE?

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE???????????????

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE???????????????////?????

Please understand.  I am UTA's biggest fan.  I have stood by UTA through thick and thin, through asinine  Tribune articles and late trains, through unfortunate pedestrian incidents and buses only coming every 90 minutes on Saturdays.  I have blogged through it all and I have remained astonishingly positive and supportive.

I don't like Provo, either.  But it still exists.  It stung a little bit that the first Fourth of July that FrontRunner was running down south was also the first Fourth of July that no service was running.  I mean, have you seen the traffic in Provo on the Fourth of July?

Of course, it's not just Provo, either.  Two years ago commutergirl and I went to the Sugarhouse Arts Festival on the bus.  We did not go see the fireworks at Sugarhouse park, but they happened.  Lots of other people went to see them.  The point is, a lot of stuff is going on, and a lot of people would take transit to them if they knew they had the option.

It is not as a idle request aimed at a vaguely hated government agency, nor as a specious attempt to aggrandize myself by attempting to find weaknesses in others that I offer up this plea.  It is simply the earnest desire sprung from the deep heart of a loving little boy

(I never used that particular phrase before because up until last year I had forgotten exactly what an earnest desire sprung from the deep heart of a loving little boy felt like)

that I offer to UTA and to the community at large.  Let's have some transit next July 4th.  It would make me so very happy--it would honestly make my year.  And it would make a lot of other people happy as well.

(Not hedging)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

834TH POST: THE 834

Say!  Here is something new!

I wish I had eleven, too! And, for once, I'm not talking about a bus route.
A bus route that hasn't changed its route since it was born!

Also maybe the simplest route to draw ever.
I take this to mean that the 834 is doing the best of all the "little routes" that were created when FrontRunner South happened back in December 2012.  (Though the 842 hasn't changed either, but seriously, have you ridden the 842? More on that later.)  I have ridden the 834 a handful of times since then, and it's rather a charming little route.  It was fun to see all the places where there weren't bus stops before and see people getting on and off there--I myself have used the stop at 3700 North once, though I almost perished climbing the hill up into the neighborhood.

(I may not be in the greatest of shapes right now, but I maintain that that hill could slay even a practicing triathlete, if only briefly.)

Uncuriously unbusy were the stops in front of Raintree and Wyview. Back when the 832 stopped there and BYU was a thing, those stops were the scene of much merriment and conscientious usage of transportation on the part of BYU students.  Now they feel curiously out of place, as though having a stop there is a formality, a memorial of the old transit service, may it rest in peace.

The only things keeping the 834 from being my favorite bus are that it only comes once per hour and only runs until 6:30 p.m. No more late evenings at Borders for me!

(I realize that it's no longer a Borders; I realize that nobody from BYU would have any reason to ride the bus to Riverwoods anymore; I realize that I no longer live in Provo and would personally have no reason to ride the bus to Riverwoods anymore; but that last sentence is still true. I enjoyed my late evenings at Riverwoods when I was single and no one loved me.)

I don't worry about the 834 the way I do about some of the routes in Utah County, but it still has a ways to go before reaching the glory (or past glory) of other routes in the region. Of course I'll be fascinated to see what happens.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

833TH POST: THE 833

Sorry--Did I say the 832 was a mess?


Provo College.  Provo LDS Temple I.  Provo LDS Temple II. 7th East. 9th East. The Provo FrontRunner Station.  The Orem FrontRunner Station.  The Timpanogos Transit Center.  Raintree.  Wyview.  7 Peaks. BYU. The 833 has, at one time or another, gone to all these places.  And it has, at one time or another, not gone to each of them.

(Airport?)

Even when BYU was a thing, and the 833 went to BYU, it sat rather oddly among its busier counterparts.  There were only a couple of times of day when the 833 was anything approximating full, and even then it didn't have a patch on the 832's crowd of screaming freshmen (Fairness requires the observation that for a short time the 833 did run past 7 Peaks, according to the old map in the basement of the house I used to live in, and ran for several years past Raintree and Wyview directly, though UTA wisely put both these areas on the more frequent, later-running 832, which is most of what caused the 832 to be such a crazy ride).  Back when I used to catch the last 833 home from the temple at 7:58 p.m., I would be surprised to find more than about 3 people on it--I was, occasionally, surprised, but not too often.

When FrontRunner South happened, most of the places people actually took the 833 went to the 832 (and have stayed there, in one form or another), and the new 833 was basically the part of the old 833 nobody took.  Which, I suppose, is why nobody seems to take the 833 these days.  I haven't taken it, and I can't honestly say I've seen anybody on it when it pulls out of Provo Station (though I haven't looked super closely; there were probably a couple of people sitting in the back that I couldn't see).

We'll have to see if the proposed addition of the Provo Airport to the route will attract a few more people (more likely it will be UVU students going to the fire academy building-whatever over there than actual people taking the bus out to the airport, for now).  The fact that the route has already changed several times since 2012 suggests that it is hovering perilously near extinction--but all I'll say for now is, we'll have to see.

Monday, July 7, 2014

832TH POST: THE 832

Those of you that have taken transit in Utah County in the last few years, or have read about transit in Utah County in the news in the last few years, or have vicariously taken transit in Utah County through the regular perusal of this blog in the last few years, know that transit in Utah County in the last few years has been the agony and the ecstasy of transit.  Don't get me started about the BYU thing again.  FrontRunner came on the scene about a year-and-a-half ago, opening bold new frontiers of car-free travel even as it broke many fans' (and now, former fans') hearts by never coming when it was supposed to and missing all the transfers except the ones that really weren't meant to be transfers (every time I went to Provo for the first two months of FrontRunner South, the only bus that was waiting at the station for me was the 831, which was supposed to be fifteen minutes off the Provo Station arrivals so it could hook up with Orem Station instead.  But it accidentally was the only thing you could transfer to if the train was ten or fifteen minutes late).  The crazy expresses from all over the county got replaced with sedate new local routes that, well . . . I'll come up with tactful ways to put it in the next few posts.

But of all the things that have changed in Utah County in the last few years, the 832 is sort of the poster child for how things have gone.  Just look at this mess:


I once had the 832 described to me at a public hearing as "probably the most efficient route in the entire system, per trip," and I believe it.  Back when this blog started and I always caught the 831 home from BYU campus, I always used to watch the 832 pull up several minutes before the 831 was due, load up with inordinate numbers of college students, then pull slowly away up the hill from the weight of all the bodies inside.  I used to count how many people got on each bus (there; I still do that now, just not at BYU anymore) and it was not uncommon for the 832 to have five times as many people board as the 831.  Then, as I will not visit again in this post, the BYU transit situation rather spectacularly imploded.

When FrontRunner South opened, the 832 changed a bit--it no longer went directly past the student housing areas that had once filled it to the brim; weirdly, you could always get a seat all to yourself, even during the height of rush hour.  The most recent change (leading to the route shown on the artfully crude sketch above) was to add the old 830 route though Old Mill and Carriage Cove so that the 830 could pretend to be the BRT route.  As far as I can tell, this added more people on the bus but also made it so that the 832 doesn't go anywhere in a straight line.  This would be helped out a lot if the bus could just go straight down 9th East instead of making an outrageous loop clear around the outside of BYU Campus, but, as a few residents of the Tree Streets have taught us, sending the bus up that stretch of 9th East would bring the demise of the traditional family, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the ascendancy of Vladimir Putin as world emperor.  Better not do it.

(Never mind that the 830 already runs up and down that stretch of 9th East every 15 minutes all day long)

Finally, we now have good reason to believe that the 832 will change yet again, this time to go to many more student housing areas than it currently does, including Wyview and 450 North as well as Old Mill and Carriage Cove.  I found some pictures a while back (I didn't make it to the public hearing), but I'm not sure where to find them again--the change day information will be out in at most a couple of weeks now, so everyone remain calm.  I hope the change helps.  I hope lots of BYU students flock to the 832; it will certainly be better service than the wretched student shuttle BYU currently endorses.  But I'm not holding my breath for 70 people to get on the 832 at once any time soon.

The 832.  It reminds us that there have been times when transit worked really, really well in Provo--and there are still a few of us holding out for the day when it works really, really well again.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

831TH POST: THE 831

The 831 was my bus for longer than any other bus had been my bus.  I took it here, I took it there; I took it everywhere it went, which, back then was 9th East, BYU, Provo College, and BYU.  It was a short, six-minute hop from the Provo Library to the Wilkinson Center (it could be a less-than-one minute hop to the Tanner Building if we hit all the lights right).  I have wandered my way through Grandview on my way back and forth to Orem uncountable times (sometimes four in one day, leading me to think I needed a new hobby).



Of course, when I first moved to Provo, the 831 wasn't my bus; it went down 7th East and I lived eastward of 9th East.  Then, when I moved near 7th East, the 831 switched to 9th East.  I wasn't super torn up about it, because I had the 830, but it took a long time for the 831 and I to become friends.

My first encounter with the Anal-Retentive Bus Driver--the one where he grabbed my shoulder and yanked me backwards to tell me I was holding my pass at the wrong angle--happened on the 831.  In case you're wondering why I don't get along with him, that's why.

And then, of course, came the epoch of my life in which I took the 831 every day.  For a long time I wondered about its viability as a bus route, until I came to the realization that I was literally catching it in the place where it was the emptiest--turns out it used to transport quite a quantity of BYU students up and down 9th East, and quite a few people from all over to UVU, just not very many people except me from the Library to BYU and back.  The first time I got on the 831 at Wal-Mart during rush hour and saw that it was standing room only I just about dropped my groceries--good thing I didn't, since I had to stand with them until we got past the student housing on 1430 South.

The 831 used to always be so empty through Grandview in the evenings--one night I got on to do some late-evening shopping at Wal-Mart and ended up chatting with the bus driver to keep her awake.  I was the only passenger on the bus the entire time.  She thanked me when I got off.  I'm glad I could do my part.

Then the BYU pass stopped being a thing, and the 831 was busy near UVU, but not so much near BYU anymore.  Then FrontRunner happened, and the 831 became way too popular for its own good at UVU, to the point where UTA is planning to split the route in two this coming August.  At the same time, the 831 stopped visiting BYU campus proper altogether, though it does now go through student bus paradise (Old Mill and Carriage Cove) instead of the 830, which results in the bus being weirdly full all the way through Grandview even though no one is getting on and off.  This appears to be true even toward the end of the night when the old 831 was all but dead.

The two things that have remained the same about the 831 even through all the changes are that it never seems to be able to go to the Transit Center and that it never seems to go very far in a straight line.  This will probably always be true as long as the 830 and 850 remain the workhorses of Utah County--the 831 has to be there to fill in the gaps, and frankly, the gaps don't go very far in a straight line, either.  But quietly, unassumingly, the 831 has always been there to take you down the road somewhat less traveled

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

830TH POST: THE 830


Here is where it starts getting interesting.

The 830 I knew and loved (most of the time) was after the East Bay days but before the FrontRunner days; back when the bus ran through BYU campus, but after it stopped going all the way out to 9th East before pulling into campus.  The 830 as I knew it stopped almost four blocks away from where I used to live; the current 830 stops less than a block from there today.  The 830 runs earlier and later than it used to, though it certainly doesn't carry as many people around BYU as it once did.

I remember once taking the 830 with a friend at about 1:15 in the afternoon, back in my pre-mission days when the bus passes were free.  I was expecting a fairly empty bus, in congruence with my experience on the 820 and 822, which were quiet at that time of day.  I was wrong.  Even at that traditionally off-peak hour, nearly all the seats were taken by happy BYU students.  I backed off my righteous indignation (that I had, even back then) that the 830 came so often and the 822 didn't, because I recognized that the 830 was the superior bus by far, at least at that time of day.  Other friends told me stories bout the 830 being so full that one more person literally could not squeeze on.

Then there was the time, in between semesters, when I got on the 830 one evening and was the only person between the Transit Center and 700 North, at which point I got off and there were no passengers on the bus.  Lest the driver question his purpose in life, I thanked him for driving that night even though I was the only one using the bus.

How's it doing these days? Fine, as far as I can tell. I haven't ridden it at too many crazy times lately, but the times I've ridden it since FrontRunner opened it certainly hasn't lacked for interesting people. The real question for the future of the 830 is whether BRT in Provo and Orem will

EVER

get off the ground--if so, the 830 will become the coolest route ever.  If not, it's okay; I'll still take it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (65)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

I would guess that, as far as you're concerned, buses are nothing but slow, blocky impediments to your high-powered, fast-paced life. If this is true, then of course you would always have to roar past the bus as fast as possible in order to get to whatever awesome thing you're going to do.  Especially when State Street is getting narrowed down to just one lane in front of you.  I can understand how it would be extremely detrimental to your well-being if a bus beat you to the merge.

But let me share with you something about buses: they stop.  And it's a good thing, too; otherwise my ilk could never get on or off of them. And at this particular location, they pretty much always stop, because 33rd and State is a reasonably good place for my ilk to get on or off the bus.

The end result of which is that you floored your gas pedal to roar around a bus that ended up just quietly pulling over to the side.  I hope your decreased gas mileage didn't throw off the general awesomeness of your morning.

Regards,
BUSNINJA


Monday, June 9, 2014

HOW TO STOP A SKI BUS FROM RATTLING, PART 2

I'm still not quite sure how he did it.

He got on the bus and stood by the back door, even though there were plenty of open seats (I admit I judged him a little bit for that)--then, because we were on a ski bus, he registered that the ski racks were rattling and walked toward them.

I thought at this juncture about pointing out the futility of investigating the rattling ski racks, or doing anything to try to fix them, because they were born to rattle, destined to rattle, and who were people like he and I to stop them from rattling?  Fortunately, I was feeling antisocial enough that day not to indulge this particular urge.

I say fortunately because he walked up to the rattling ski gate, opened it and . . .

. . . adjusted something? welded something? changed the gravitational constant of the universe?  I have no idea . . .

. . . but the rattling stopped.  He shut the gate and resumed his stoic posture in front of the back door.  And I sat in wondrous peace for the remainder of my ride.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

HOW TO STOP A SKI BUS FROM RATTLING, PART 1

Here's one way to do it.

Displaying 20140605_132156.jpg

It did help, for the record.  Route 228, bus #11023.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

ONE LANE

As seems to happen every so often, the kindly elves that construct our roads for no charge have decided to redo a portion of State Street again; which in this case meant that both directions of travel were restricted to a single lane, and this in the vicinity of the I-80 interchange, where there is never traffic congestion; no, never.

twitter.com, even though this is really my intellectual property--isn't it? What did that license agreement say, again?

But, you are saying to yourself.  But, BUSNINJA, why do you care?  You weren't driving a car down State Street.

You are correct.  I was not driving.  And if everyone else hadn't been driving there would have been no traffic jam on State Street this morning.

Monday, June 2, 2014

TRICKY TRICKY AND A MATH PROBLEM

The other day I rode the 3 eastbound twice without riding it westbound.

I felt very tricky.

I was also 11.1% of the passengers I saw on the 3 that day.  Which should tell you something about the 3 while I was riding it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (24)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

Apparently you have noticed, as I have, that UDOT put in some medians on State Street recently.  I haven't inspected them at close quarters, but they appear to be less than a foot wide and rounded on top.

Allow me to educate you a little bit about the purpose of these medians.  They are meant to keep cars out of the middle lane except for right where they are supposed to turn.  Most people don't like them.  But the data has shown that they keep people from getting in quite as many accidents.

They are not, in fact, meant for standing on.

Which is why, when you stood on one the other day, you were tipping over and flailing your arms for balance.  All while three lanes of traffic whizzed by on either side of you.

This is stupid.  Especially when the nearest crosswalk is only about fifty feet away.

I will never understand this.  It takes less time to walk to a crosswalk and wait for the light to change than it does for people to dart across multiple lanes of unsympathetic traffic, then stand on the median for an extended space of time until the unsympathetic traffic clears, which is usually when the light changes anyway.  Especially when that median is small and almost impossible to stand upon.

It won't kill you to do it my way.  It came close to killing you to do it yours.  The next time you think, think about that.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Monday, May 26, 2014

IF YE BREAK FAITH

In keeping with the rather loosely enforced tradition of sometimes sharing musical selections on holidays or other days of remembrance, I offer you this afternoon a video of an excellent recording of "Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, as set by Paul Aitken, performed by the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble.



The one phrase in this setting that has always haunted me (besides "We are the dead," which haunts everyone) is

IF YE BREAK FAITH WITH US WHO DIE

This phrase haunted me when my high school choir sang this piece, and it haunts me now as I spread peanut butter upon wheat crackers and sit typing at my computer in absolute peace (commutergirl and Baby are napping), my biggest annoyance being that someone occasionally walks past my window talking loudly--do these dead think that most of what I care about is even remotely important? I'd like to think that I've made a good impact on the world, even in my small sphere; I have a good job that I genuinely enjoy that I believe helps make my community better; recently, at least, the list of people I have offended is somewhat shorter than the list of people I have helped. But I often get awfully caught up in a lot of very silly stuff. Which, I suppose, is why it is good to remember.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

EXTREMELY SCIENTIFIC GRAPH OF HOW ON TIME THE 39 IS TO MEADOWBROOK STATION AT VARIOUS POINTS DURING THE CHANGE DAY

After having observed this phenomenon for several change days in a row, I decided it was time to document it.

If I walk briskly, I can be in place just before the Blue Line comes and calmly get on.

Okay, so now I usually see the Blue Line leaving right as we're pulling in, but no matter: I can still calmly wait for the Red Line.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the Red Line is getting here sooner every day?

Okay, this is getting a little ridiculous.

WHAT

Thursday, May 15, 2014

822TH POST: THE 822

The 822 was the one that started it all.  If by "it all," you mean, of course, this whole weird obsession with transit that even I don't quite understand.  The 822 was the first UTA bus route I ever rode.  Of course it was a bit different back then.


Mind you, the map hasn't changed that much--there was the extension to the southern end of Payson, the one to UVU, the one all the way to Santaquin, and of course the death of the BYU bus stop.  As I already went into detail about in the last post (and that was supposed to be the short version . . .) the 820 and 822 used to go to BYU all day, but now the 820 doesn't exist and the 822 only runs to BYU and UVU during rush hour, while the 821 runs to the Provo FrontRunner Station all day.

One nice thing about the current system, even if you're trying to get to BYU in the middle of the day (just kidding; probably nobody wants to do that anymore) is that the bus goes all the way to Payson at least once per hour on weekdays.  Back in the day the schedule from Payson used to be

9:50
12:05
2:10
4:10

and from BYU

8:47
10:47
1:00
3:05

it was a little nuts (though still faster than the pioneers went).  Of course it wasn't that bad if you could also catch the 820, but for those of us living on the edge getting around during the day was a bit touch-and-go.  And, of course, it would be nice if the 821 ran more than once every two hours on Saturdays.  But I beat a dead horse.

I haven't taken the 822 either, as it would be even more impractical for me to take the 822 than the 821.  But from what I've heard (I haven't severed all ties with BYU) it's pretty full during the hours it does run.  Who knew that south-countyers would be some of BYU's most devoted riders?

My sentiments are that currently, with the extreme diminution of BYU's ridership, the 822 is probably enough.  But maybe someday when BYU becomes a thing again we could have both buses running all day in glorious offset-synchrony, or perhaps meeting from two different origins at a handsomely appointed transfer point somewhere in Spanish Fork, then diverging to Provo Station and BYU.  At least, I probably won't ride a bus called "822" again until something like that happens.

Not because I have a moral objection to the current service.  Just because I have a regular job now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

821TH POST: THE 821


There's actually not that much to tell about the 821: it's the first route in this series that was created in December 2012 when FrontRunner South happened (the 809, alas, proved short-lived), so it doesn't have as much history as the others.  Which is not to say that this corridor doesn't have a lot of transit history, and not for me personally.  But I've decided to save that discussion for number 822.  For sentimental reasons.

Suffice it to say for this evening that the 821 was born out of the long-standing conflict between BYU and not-BYU.  The BYU crowd was the biggest source of ridership on the 820 and 822, but sending them to BYU meant that BYU was the only transfer point to other Provo routes, which was inconvenient for everybody not-BYU and made BYU uncomfortable because of the presence of less-than-celestial people waiting to transfer near (or even inside--the horror!) the Wilkinson Center.  The scales were decisively tipped in favor of South Provo when BYU did this to transit


and the Provo FrontRunner station opened.  The 821 took over the all-day duties of transporting people out of southern Utah County, while the 822 now runs direct to BYU and UVU during rush hour (there was trip each way in the middle of the day for a while, but I wasn't really surprised to see it go).

The only routing change there has been to the 821 so far is that instead of going down 1400 North in Springville to the freeway it now goes down 1860 South and through East Bay (I wouldn't venture that ridership to East Bay is spectacular, but it's probably more than on 1400 North in Springville) and past the Provo Towne Centre (where ridership has never exactly been spectacular, either, but hey, FrontRunner! Maybe?)

Have I ridden it?  Actually, no.  The only days I have time to visit my parents are Saturdays, and the 821 comes once every 2 hours on Saturdays (though now that FrontRunner comes every hour instead of every hour-and-a-half on Saturdays it at least lines up with every other train instead of maybe two trains all day); I would do it, but practical wives and eager grandparents are not interested in our waiting at the Provo platform for an hour then catching the bus for 40 minutes just to get there.  So, no.  But I have some idea of what it's probably like, since I used to catch the 822 on Saturdays and it wasn't exactly the BYU crowd.

I have high hopes that the 821 will someday come once an hour on Saturdays, though this will probably not mean that I will start riding it, since it's still a 40-minute bus ride.  But maybe someday I'll just take it from the FrontRunner station to the mall (a 3-minute ride . . .).

That still counts as having ridden it, you guys.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (64)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

There are several ways to get through the gate at our apartment complex.  The gate automatically opens if you approach it from the inside.  You can dial your phone number from outside and open the gate with your phone.  You can rent a clicker from the office (because $50 is worth avoiding the inconvenience of . . . calling yourself on the phone?).  Or you can use your pool key to get in the pedestrian gate (though I might be the only one here, management included, who knows about that).  Or you can try what you were doing the other night.

Maybe if you just keep revving your engine all night, the gate will open.

Let me know how that goes for you.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Monday, May 5, 2014

UNDERSTANDABLE (2)

A few days later, I was walking home from the bus stop like I do.  A couple was walking toward me down the sidewalk.  As we got closer, it became clear that the gentleman was going to address me; I steeled myself for the inevitable interpersonal interaction that would ensue.  He did indeed address me with what is, technically, a question; but he intoned it like a statement:

YOU DON'T SMOKE, DO YOU.

And I thought, does he say that to everybody, or do I just look really Mormon?

Monday, April 28, 2014

UNDERSTANDABLE (1)

A while ago I was on a train, when, as rarely, but still too often for my comfort (though not as often as when I was in Perú), happens, a man who was selling something got on and began peddling his wares, which in this case were musical.

He was asking everybody on the train the same question,

(Protip: if you are trying to sell something on a train, first of all, stop it; and second, don't ask everyone the same question or the other people on the train will catch on quickly)

so when he came up to me and said,

DO YOU LIKE HIP-HOP MUSIC?

I was ready with a scathing response:

NOT REALLY

Completely unruffled, he said

UNDERSTANDABLE

and moved on to the next person, leaving me to wonder: does he say that to everybody, or am I just really white?

Friday, April 25, 2014

THE SLOWEST DOORS IN THE WORLD

The other day I was making my way home on an unbusy 39 when the time came to pull the cord--too soon, as usual, because the 39 from TRAX is just long enough for me to get into the Wikipedia article I'm reading, but not long enough to finish it.

(On an unrelated note, did you know that the English language contains many delightful pangrams? Such as:

Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex!

Go, lazy fat vixen; be shrewd, jump quick.

Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.

Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.

Amazingly few discotheques provide jukeboxes.

The wizard quickly jinxed the gnomes before they vaporized.

Moving on . . . )

Soon though the bus stop had come, however, it was not my day to make a quick exit.  The doors began opening on cue; though they continued opening, their progress was so slow as to barely be perceptible to the human eye. I waited for them long enough that I became a little self-conscious, but they continued opening at a pace that could be generously described as geologic.

As soon as the doors had opened wide enough for my frame to dart between them, I fled. Relieved that I had at last escaped the slowest doors in the world, I calmly trudged home.

(The bus was a '99.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.)


Monday, April 21, 2014

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (63)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

I'm sure you think nothing of your habit of honking at the car in front of you as soon as the light turns green--you've probably done it hundreds of times, and it sure is rude of the car in front of you not to take off like a maniac as soon as the light changes; don't they know that where you're going is the most important? Sheesh.

Except for that one time when you honked at the person in front of you like usual, but they didn't go because

THEY WERE WAITING FOR AN AMBULANCE

I hope you felt the stare of every single person at that intersection upon you after you honked. I hope that feeling sank deep into your soul, to the point that you never honk at someone at a traffic light again.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

Monday, April 7, 2014

LET IT GO

To say that I have gotten out of touch with popular culture would be to imply that I was in touch with it at some time in the past, which is clearly untrue  Nevertheless, intimations of the outside world do sometimes flit about the edges of my consciousness, and occasionally (usually against my will) make it into the inner sanctum of my thought processes.

So it is that recently on the Facebook and in other places I have heard about this movie "Frozen" and a certain song in that movie that has been alternately loved, imitated, parodied, or pilloried, depending on whom you ask.  I still haven't seen the movie, and I made it an awfully long time without hearing that song.  But then this one time I was on FrontRunner . . .

I have already explained at length my feelings on 6-year-old girls singing along elsewhere, so it will not surprise you, dear reader, that I was less than enthused that it was happening to me at that moment.  I gathered what the song was by the repetition of the words

LET IT GO
LET IT GO
LET IT GO
LET IT GO

and after about two minutes decided I had heard enough of the song not only to understand everything anybody had said about it on Facebook, but to not need to hear it ever again.

But, you see, I was on FrontRunner . . .

let it go let it go let it go let it go let it go
I was trying to study music, so the distraction proved untenable.  I tried to stave it off by listening to some thick organ music



(Forget key signatures being irrelevant in Scriabin--can we talk about key signatures being irrelevant in Bach?  Modulating to E-flat minor?  Who does that in the Baroque period?)

but when the music ended the singing was still coming from the end of the car.  Take a look at the video: it's 12 minutes long.  That means "Let it go" was on repeat.  I did what anyone else would have done; I went to a different car and studied my music in peace.

Because, you see, FrontRunner is not like being trapped in an eternal winter; you can at least move to a different car.

Image from www.standard.net