Friday, March 27, 2015


The other day I was riding the 2 to work, which is slightly faster than riding the 220 to work, even though I have to transfer from the 209, because I don't have to bless the U with my presence on the way to work. We were stopped at an intersection where there also happened to be a bus stop. A man who was sitting near the front of the bus got up and walked all the way to the door--not to the white line, mind you, but all the way to the door, as though he were about to get off. Which was odd, because neither he nor anyone else had pulled the cord, universally regarded as the signal for wanting to get off the bus. Or so I thought.

The bus driver regarded him humorlessly. "Did you . . . want to get off?"

"Yes," the man replied. "That's why I said 'ding ding!'"

The driver had not been amused before, but now the air was thick with his unamusement. I, on the other hand, stifled a giggle.

The driver sighed. "You can't just say 'ding ding.' You have to actually pull the cord . . ."

Unimpressed, the passenger gestured toward the door, as if to say, how much more obvious do I need to make it?

"Whatever." The driver let him off.

Several of us on the bus had a good incredulous chuckle after that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


In order for the (admittedly dubious) assertion in the title of this post to make sense, the gentle reader needs to understand two main points.

First is that Brigham Young, Prophet and second President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saw Ensign Peak at the entrance to the Salt Lake Valley in vision long before the Mormon Pioneers arrived there;

and that, upon arriving at Ensign Peak, he had a vision of what Salt Lake City would look like in the future:

“While gazing upon the scene, . . .  he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the vision had passed, he said: ‘It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on.’”


The second is an interesting, relatively unknown bit of Mormon history: that the Saints had their own alphabet for a while.

Though mostly the domain of hobbyists today, the Deseret Alphabet was widely taught in schools, used in newspapers and editions of the scriptures, and still appears on the odd gravestone. There is a building somewhere at This is the Place State Park that has a sign in Deseret on the front; I couldn't tell you which building it is, so you'll just have to get on route 3 yourselves and go look.

Now that you have internalized all this information, you will understand the outcome of my idle wonderings the other day: surely "the future glory of Zion and Israel" included Saints by the hundreds exiting trains to enter Temple Square and the Conference Center; surely as Brigham Young contemplated this vision later, during the great linguistic enterprise that was the Deseret Alphabet, the signs at the train stations would have been so written.

(Purists should note that I use the word "surely" to mean "in the idlest of speculation;" this is a flight of fancy and should not be interpreted as any kind of assertion of doctrinality, intimation that the Church has gone astray by not continuing to use the Deseret Alphabet, or prediction of Mormon supremacy at the expense of all other religious and secular communities in the Salt Lake area. I just wanted to point that out beforehand in case I get hate mail over this, of all things.)

I liked the image. And so, I give you:


(Purists should note that I subscribe to a very minimal interpretation of Deseret phonetics: I don't use any of the letters as stand-alone syllables, and I tend to leave off unstressed schwa sounds on the grounds that you have often to pronounce them anyway when moving on to the next consonant. I also use "short i" for a lot more things than most people probably would, if they cared. I am selective in my anachronistic Deseret usage. For the record, there is not standardized spelling of anything in the Deseret Alphabet; I just wanted to point that out beforehand in case I get hate mail over this, of all things.)

So, UTA, are you suuuuure you don't want to use it as your official map now?

Monday, March 9, 2015


For those of you who are keeping track, which, I admit, is probably not most of you, my fourth wedding anniversary approaches;

now that we have been married forever and are the best of experts at it, we have decided to use the knowledge we have acquired about each other during these years for good rather than evil--

at the beginning of the year we decided that we were old and fat and that we could only modify one side of that equation, so we started a weight loss contest. This involved, for me, eating like a normal person, which is the equivalent of a diet for me; and for both of us, better exercise routines.

All of which we had tried before, so it was time to raise the stakes.

I hate tomatoes. I have tried to love them, and I recognize that many other people in the world love them, but to me they taste like death and destruction and ruin. commutergirl, on the other hand, hates hills. She doesn't go east of 13th if she can help it. There are parts of this state she will probably never visit, and a certain temple we will probably never visit again.


So, obviously, if I didn't make my goal, I would have to eat a tomato pie

food network

and commutergirl would have to take the 11 all the way to the top of the Avenues.

Motivated by our extreme fear of tomatoes and heights, we set ambitious goals to lose weight. And we've accomplished great things, if I may say so myself.

But neither of us met our goal. Does that mean we have to do those things now?

We'll wait until after the anniversary.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

863TH POST: THE 863

It will not be news to many of you that the 863 started out as the 853, then underwent a few transformations without changing its basic mission. Why the number changed, I don't know.

The 853/863 have always serviced Adobe from the Lehi FrontRunner station, ever since there was Adobe, and ever since there was FrontRunner at the Lehi FrontRunner station (the FrontRunner station had been around for a while, but the 853 didn't start until FrontRunner service started. Technically Adobe was around before FrontRunner started--UTA ran a few special buses that said "ADOBE" for a few weeks from Sandy Civic Center, but then FrontRunner happened and everybody forgot about special buses). For a while they tried to service I.M. Flash as well, but that was apparently better left to a few trips on the 807.

It took UTA a while to decide exactly how to show the route on a schedule; for a while the Adobe/I.M. Flash trips were separated from the Adobe trips on the schedule (and they used different stops at Lehi station?!), which was very confusing because you had to look at two different parts of the schedule to find out that you could get to Adobe every half hour, but to I.M. Flash only sometimes. The current way (with all morning trips labeled as "to Adobe Xactware" and all afternoon trips as "to Lehi Station") is much clearer.

Last year the route was renumbered as 863 and all trips went to Xactware but none went to I.M. Flash. At some point along the way the F868 was removed from American Fork station and became the midday equivalent of the 853/807, but apparently that's going away next month--the F868 was never the shining star of the group, even among the flex routes . . .

I have seen the 853/863 disembark a few times at Lehi in the afternoon, and there were a fair number of people getting off it, so I would guess it's doing okay, probably aided by passes from such progressive companies as Adobe (or do I assume?). Anyway, it'll probably be around for a while, at least as long as the MCI's last, wink wink. We've got to put those MCI's somewhere.