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Weight Weight Dont' Kill Me

 Time 30 Days

September Goal: -2 lbs

This Week Targets

  1. Start packing lunch
  2. Set up rowing machine in garage

Excuse List 

  1. None

August Goal -3 Lbs Made


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    Help Keep Me Afloat


    Selected Portland Books

    • Portland Confidential
      Portland Confidential
      by Phil Stanford

      I give this book two thumbs up!

    • Portland City Walks: Twenty Explorations In and Around Town
      Portland City Walks: Twenty Explorations In and Around Town
      by Laura O. Foster
    • Secret Portland, Oregon 2010: The Unique Guidebook to Portland's Hidden Sites, Sounds, & Tastes (Secret Guide series)
      Secret Portland, Oregon 2010: The Unique Guidebook to Portland's Hidden Sites, Sounds, & Tastes (Secret Guide series)
      by Tom Burgess, Ann Carroll Burgess



    Harmonica Guy


    Portland Oregon's Favorite Trimet Bus Driver Blog Returns



    Look Another Reboot. 

    If you are truthfully writing about being a bus driver you are faced with some strange choiced. The first thing is not enough happens to a bus driver in a given week to really justify writing a bus blog without severe exagerations. I have tried to stear around this options leading to long breaks in the postings of this blog. 


    To be sure there are other things I could write about. The wonderful management at Trimet is one, I could write about those who ride the bus who, through no fault of their own, are imperfect. I cold use the bus blog as a pulpit to loby for transit issues, but I found those roads lead me into unhappy places. 

    My goal has always been to write about the expirence of being a bus driver. What it's really like. So what I do is collect up expirences and observations for a while. Then I start to write about them. I really wish I could just write something every week but sometimes you need the benefit of a wider view and sometimes a measure of time must pass before you see things as they really are. 

    So hold on to your transferes and check back from time to time because my battery is full and I got my writing pant's on. 

    Until then Roll Easy. 


    State Audit Of Trimet... "Would you fly with Trimet Management Pilots?"

    Nothing enrages me more than the corporate double speak coming out of Trimet Management over the State Audit. A State Audit that found us wanting in two specific areas.

    Managing our money and Safety issues. 

    Now lets stop for a moment and think of this. 

    Two of the most important things Trimet managment does is, Managing Millions and Safety, right? So imagine this conversation just before you take off in a plane. 

    Mr Trimet Management Pilot, “I want you to feel at ease on my plane. First I’m a great Pilot… not so good at Landing and flying but I'm still a great pilot" 

    Reasonable Person "Wait what did you say?"

    Mr Trimet Managment Pilot, "I said landing a flying, not so good at that part of it but I'm still a great Pilot. 

    Reasonable Person "Wait what did you say?"

    Mr Trimet Management Pilot, “Look I suck at flying and landing but I can Taxii this plane around the ground like a wild man, When it comes to a good Taxi move I'm the best there is and when it comes to Preflight checks I’m in the top five ever. You got Chuck Yeager maybe Neil Armstong and but I’m a good third at the Pre-flight check. Oh and announcements, get out of here! I do the best announcements in the world. Flying and landing not so hot but everything else I knock the ball out of the park and hey... I look the part right. Look how snappy I am in my uniform.

    Reasonable Person,“Yes that's all fine and good but Landing and Flying? You suck at landing and flyingI” 

    Mr Trimet Management Pilot “Oh don’t get me wrong I’ve been flying for forty years so I know a thing or two. This flying and landing is a bit exaggerated in importance but don’t be scared there was an audit done  by the FAA of my flying skills and I implementing everything on this list of improvements” 

    Reasonable Person, “Wait… list? you been flying for decades and you still got a List?”

    Mr Trimet Management Pilot, “I’m doing everything they say… What more can I do” 

    Reasonable Person, “I’m not flying with you”

    Mr Trimet Management Pilot, “Oh come on.”

    Reasonable Person,“Before the FAA Audit you were saying you welcomed it… You were doing everything right and yet you got a list?” 

    Mr Trimet Management Pilot, “Don’t blow this all out of proportion. I was sure I was doing everything right before but now I'm for sure SURE double sure I'm doing Everything Right” 

    When you boil it down this is the kind of talk coming out of Trimet.

    No one would fly on a Mr. Trimet Piloted plane. That would be crazy! what is even more crazy is the talk you hear coming out of Trimet.

    If after al this time our Ace Management could not succeed at the two most important tasks we have to do what makes you think that any and I mean ANY solution they impliment will have a meaningful effect? If they are that good would they not have realized their own shortcomings in these two very important areas? Two areas they were bragging about doing so well in not more than six months ago? 

    I can tell you right now that every day the Managment Team at Trimet gathers in a circle and holds hands and says a little prayers to the Transit gods that some other goverernment group screws up so the publics attentions will shift away from Trimet. Maybe a police shoots, cooruption at the state level or perhaps a plane crash.. possible a crash by a Pilot who was not so hot at Flying and Landing... Amen 



    Ten Good Things About Trimet That You Never Knew. 


    Do you think that driving a bus is all about getting behind the wheel and driving? Well, yes! Yes it is, but there is more to it than just that. You see, we in the bus-driving profession provide many, many services to the public—services which they have no idea we are providing at no charge. 

    My trainer Old Pete said “They only pay you $7.00 an hour to drive. The rest of the money you earn is for everything else you do.” Thank you, old Pete. Your words live on in me. 

    So I thought I would make a list of all the free services we provide as bus drivers for the next time some conservative talk show host who knows nothing about transit starts telling you that bus drivers are evil you can say a qualified


    1. Tree Trimming: you show me a bus route and I will show well-trimmed trees along the road. We give them that wonderful arch-like cut that allows delivery trucks access to your curb. We do all that free trimming and even extra trimming. When it snows or ices up we go to town. Sometimes we take out entire trees, but uh, only the ones that had it coming. 

    2. Homeless Shelter: I have been cold and nearly homeless—cold enough to the point of saying my life was at risk. So I have a weak spot for anyone getting on my bus to get warm. I give out lots of day tickets to those who are in need in the winter. I can never turn my back on someone who is just trying to get warm. Cold sucks. Cold is deadly and I, I’m the mobile cure station.

    3. Extra Eyes: The buses here in Portland are equipped with a two-way radio system. We report crimes, fires, accident and all sorts of issues for the city, like lights not working at intersections, broken guard rails and anything else that pops up. I know it seems strange to think about it, but we are safety officers looking out to keep you safe. Didn’t know that, did ya?

    4. Exercise: That's right. We work out the city. Now, you may be a few extra pounds overweight and you may be planning on starting that jogging thing next week, but you will sprint like Ben Johnson for the bus when it starts rolling by. Better than that, you will increase your caloric burn by waving your arms (and if we don’t see you, your middle finger). People always act as if the bus they are trying to catch is the last bus on earth. They run as if we had the last ration of food and water in the middle of a desert. For some this is their highest caloric burn all day.... For the bus drivers, it’s never not funny. 

    5. Social Lightning Rod: Hey, when the news is slow and there is nothing going on in the world you always have transit. We give the media, print and blogs something to complain about. No matter how good your transit system is, don’t expect to see that reflected in print, on TV or on radio. They just can’t resist knocking them. Every city I have ever been to has had the same syndrome. When things are good, complain about the transit system. When things are tough, complain about the transit system. When things get bad (like snows or 100+ temps) well… really, really, really complain about the transit system.

    6. TomTom Guide: Or as I call it the DanDan guide. Why people think I have some magic information on where everything is and how to get there I will never know. Worse than that is that these people never ask for the DanDan guide service until DanDan is pulling into a crowded stop or trying to weave his way through rush hour traffic while dodging bikes, cars and pedestrians. Now I have no problem with people asking me for help. What jacks my piston is when I admit that I don’t know and they act like I’m the idiot, or I’m just screwing with them. They harrumph or ask the question again—like all of a sudden I will know where they are going, A magic transit ferry will come down and put the knowledge of your little neighborhood side streets in my dim bus driver mind. Okay, 40 year old children. Enough with your tantrums. If I don’t know I don’t know. I’m not the one lost though. This expectation of global bus driver knowledge is something that boggles my mind. 

    7. Entertainers: For some people, a bus trip is a game of "Let’s get to know the driver.”  For some drivers this is a pain. I don't seem to mind because my mouth never seems to stop. In fact, when I’m not talking, I’m singing or talking to cars, bikes and pedestrians. For many it goes deeper. For them we are the only positive contact they have in a day. Talking with a driver is the highpoint of their day. I understand this, so I tend to oblige them for the first ten hours of driving. After that, my talk meter is done. What’s strange isn’t how many people talk to the drivers while they are driving, but how many people need to talk to the driver, need that feedback. They feel like you are disrespecting them if you are not the greeter at the Wal-Mart door. When I get tired I get focused on one thing: driving safely, not holding hands. Please do not seek life-affirming feedback from bus operators. You are a perfectly valid human being without our feedback. We could just be busy and focused—not always,  just sometimes. 

    8. Medical Transport: I will throw down the gauntlet of challenge at the feet of any ambulance driver. Here is my challenge: I bet I move more sick and injured people to hospitals in a day than any ambulance. Oh, I’m sure the ambulance may have a lead in criticals but overall I move the masses of everyone else. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken bleeding and gasping people to the hospital. It’s crazy. 

    9. Child Sitters: With this I'm just sort of kidding but I can tell you that every driver has to watch all those kids on board. From high school on down we are responsible for all those kids on the bus. You can' depend on parents to do the right thing. What I have seen parents do would turn your stomach. I'm the guardian of the kids on my bus. I'm the captain of my ship. Even when they get off my bus, I have launched myself out of my seat to stop a kid from stepping out into traffic. I would like to tell you that all parents on the bus are attentive and protective but to many a bus is a rolling Jungle-Gym and a moment for them to just relax and maybe catch a little snooze. “Oh wait did that driver say something about my kid getting off the bus?” 

    10. Tour Guide: This is one of my favorite things. When I get someone on the bus who is new to town and they ask me about places. I really enjoy talking it up about the wonderful Portland Metro area. Again, to some drivers this sucks, but I love it. Portland has some great history and places and I love sharing them. Sometimes this backfires, like two French visitors who treated me and everyone else on the bus as if we were baboons. They were so rude I sent them someplace they could really enjoy: a bus to Canby, Oregon, miles and miles outside of our service. Bye-bye, Frogs. I said as the bus drove off. I laughed. It was all I could do to stop the people on the bus from attacking them, so maybe I did the right thing there. Next day I had two Italians on my bus, They were so warm and friendly and even though they didn’t speak hardly any English, I figured out where they were going, got them on the right bus, got them a free lunch and sent them on their way with a big smile. 

    Ok, that’s all that occurs to me now. I’m sure there are more but right now I would like to focus on what we have learned here. 

    Always be nice to your driver. Don’t get jacked out of shape if the driver is occupied with driving safely. Stay aware of your kids. Run for the bus. Finally, being nice pays off way, way better than being arrogant Frenchmen. 

    Ok, life is good. Don’t you agree?

    Isn’t it time you, too, Rolled Easy? 


    No Drinks On Bus

    Well it was a full drink when she came on board. 


    The Bike Carrier Conspiracy

    So there have been some changes in bake carriers for busses since Trimet first adopted they front mounted bike racks. Here is one of the best a three bike rack being used at other transit agency's like King County. 

    Trimet's complaint and resistance to the three bike rack was simple. It was 2' longer. Oh dear 2' longer they said was right out, it was a safety issue, It made the bus too long. It was unacceptable, No way 2' longer was right out. Trimet would never go 2' longer.

    Then we bought the 3000 bus that was 2' Longer. 

    Not 2' of usable effective space like a larger area for seating.. No it's 2' of useless dust collecting dashbaord. 

    For some reason 2' more was a safety issue, unacceptable, no go, not going to do it when it came to adding a rack but for a useless dust collecting dashboard... get out of town that is a great freaking idea. How did we ever learn to live without 2' of dust collecting dashboard. 

    Meanwhile up in King County you can enjoy a three bike rack without appearent safety issues and 100% less dust. 

    Trimet, IN FOR THE WIN!