Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Dawg's new identity

Here it is in all its beveled sparkly glory.

Friday, April 10, 2009

: Walking through a riot.

Today I walked down 14th Street past 5th Ave. and The New School where a protest standoff was in progress. well over 1oo cops on the street. Less than an hour later this movie was shot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

* This is My Bus.

This is my bus.

There are many like it, but this one is MINE.

My bus is my best friend. It is my life.

I must master it as I must master my life.

My bus without me is useless. Without my bus, I am useless.

My bus is human, even as I, because it is my life.

Thus, I will learn it as a brother.

I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories,

its seats, and its passengers.

I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage.

I will keep my bus clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.

We will become part of each other. We will...

Before God I swear this creed.

My bus and myself are the rulers of the highways.

We are the masters of our commute.

We are the saviors of commerce.

So be it, until there is no commuting, but PEACE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

: Resolve

If you choose to have any substantial distance between you and your place of employment at some point you will need to come to accept the void that separates the two. The in between space, that's the conflict, it's what "is" the commute. All the places before you get to your destination are the obstacle.

Listed below are my obstacles between Blairstown, NJ and NYC.

Frelinghuysen, Johnsonburg, Allamuchy, Hackettstown, Byram, Netcong, Budd Lake, Hopatcong, Ledgewood, Mt. Arlington, Hibernia, Rockaway, Dover, Denville, Parsippany, Morris Plains, Lake Hiawatha, Whippany, East Hanover, Livingston, The Caldwells, Millburn, Verona, The Oranges, Montclair, Newark, Harrison, Kearny, Jersey City, Seacacus, Weehawken.

I've resolved that the void between home and work is the price to be paid. This distance between affords me 5 acres vs. 500 square feet of living space. At roughly the same dollar value, but paid for in time on the road.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

: Uh Oh.

Gliding down the escalator to the basement of the PABT all alone, one guy coming up the other side, whispers real loud like, "Hey, dude are there a lot of cops up there?" I tell him "yeah about 8 up on the street entrance". He turns 5 shades lighter of white and let's out the most genuine sounding " Uh oh, sh*t".

: Less Definition

The fog is really thick this morning. No distinct shadows, everything is fuzzy with no edges, can't tell where things stop or start. A nice comfort of no visual decisions, just calm and relaxing on the early morning retina. Sometimes the luxury of things not absolute is welcomed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

: It Wears You Down.

Chipping away one sane nerve after another. The bus is the destroyer of men, women and children. I have had to seek refuge in alternative modes of getting to and fro my place of employment. Last week I drove to the bus pick up spot in the sad street light glow of the 7-Eleven parking lot and saw the bleak faces of my ACF riding compadres, I just left and drove to Newark, parked and rode the PATH train to 14th street in Manhattan.

I did it twice last week.

The bus. It's a bitch.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

: FDM (Feather Duster Man) keeping the craziness to a minimum.

St. Patrick's Day in the epicenter of NYC amateur drunks in Port Authority Bus Terminal. Mostly college aged kids from NJ and PA. People have been getting their Irish on since 10am this morning.

Was tossing my pizza trash and had a brief chat with FDM. He was keeping the craziness in check down in the basement. Said earlier in the evening things were out of control, he had 17 puke calls since his shift started at 4pm, said was not a record but the night is still young.

One odd sight was a civil war reenactment troop all angry that they missed their last bus to wherever they were headed to. Pissed off drunk civil war wannabes stuck in NYC for the night, ya had to chuckle.

: Everyone is Irish Today.

St. Patricks day today. While waiting to clamber aboard the NYC bound ACF, the rarely speaks PT Cruiser dude announces "alot of drinking I bet will happen today". Why do people need to state the obvious, especially a person who rarely speaks. It was all I could do to hold back my automatic 3rd grade response of "duh".

Yes it's St. Paddy's day, people will drink, and maybe even wear green. The ride home tonight has the possibility of being very interesting.

happy St. Paddy's Shane.

Friday, March 13, 2009

: Staying Contained

Something to whine about.

Container Man. This is a man who is so over organized and planned out. Sits down opens his bag, opens the box he keeps his headphones inside, then opens the dainty little velvet bag that his iPod resides in, puts on his tunes, then stands up takes off his jacket folds it meticulously puts it inside a crinkly loud plastic shopping bag, then puts that back in his main bag, now comes out his phone from a nylon zippered pouch, the phone also is contained in a un-stylish leather cover, the phone screen has a plastic film over to prevent scratches. Almost forgot about the bag that houses the reading glasses case that he keeps his glasses inside of.

Once he is all settled, he tosses his tie over his shoulder in the most cavalier of gestures. His public signifier that all is right.

Upon entering the tunnel and very close to the terminus of our contained ACF voyage, the dude of containment starts the exact ritual in reverse order.


Everything in its place, the world will now function as it should. Thank you for restoring order to our world.

Friday, February 27, 2009

+ ACF Stats

below are the stats since the ACF began.

The Big Picture.

1,505 visits came from 44 countries/territories

  • Referring Sites 1,022.00 (67.91%)
  • Direct Traffic 336.00 (22.33%)
  • Search Engines 147.00 (9.77%)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

+ Champagne Be Smoove.

Third or forth time seeing the same cat on the 9pm ACF homeward bound. He's UPS guy always in uniform, impeccably dressed the only unregulation item about his uniform is, on the back of his UPS baseball hat is embroidered in the same color and font as the logo designed by the late great Designer Paul Rand is the word in all caps "CHAMPAGNE". I have heard other passengers refer to him as simply "Champagne what up" and then he always proceeds to sit next to any female with a vacant seat next to them and start in on small talk.

Champagne be real smoove.

+ After Work and Pre-bus Ride

Met two old work buddies at Port 41, watched a 6 foot 6 Union dude play every note of two Slayer songs on air guitar in the middle of the bar. Then he danced to Jay-Z and never once took his sunglasses off.

My buddy Chris walks in on the opening chord of Enter Sandman. Perfect timing. Had dirty water hot dogs, talked about work and swapped tall tales with Jayson and Chris then lumbered aboard the 9pm ACF headed home to Jersey. Billy-D missed out on many a tall tale. Next time compadre.


+ Oh Deer!

Mr. Deer, meet Mr. Toyota Tacoma truck at 55mph on a back country road. That was my unscheduled appointment this morning. Driving from home to catch the ACF is when this unfortunate meeting took place.

The Deer was running at full speed down a hill at a right angle to me, he hit dead center of my truck and went underneath. It made the loudest thump thump thump sound and bounced me airborne in my seat. I pulled over right away and saw him run into the woods. He may end up vulture venison, only bent my front license plate and a small paint scratch and tuft of fur on the front of my truck.

The dangers of country living.

BTW, the internets also kills deer. The Google maps van had a mishap with a deer a while back. Google has since scrubbed the images.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

+ Again and again.

Go to work on the bus. Again.

That's it, sad boring grind with no end in sight. Prison convicts have a phrase to live by, no matter how long or short their incarceration may be.

"You do only two days in the joint, the day you come in and the day you get out."
"Avon Barksdale"

Riding the ACF I am not afforded that simple luxury, the work world in these shaky times does not guarantee any sort of schedule. Just stay in the game as long as you can play and not get played. The workforce is the purest form of the hustle.

My rolling cell block hurtles toward NYC again.

Friday, February 20, 2009

+ Late, On Time, Tardy, Punctual.

Alarm clock goes off, bolt out of bed like a fireman, rush to bus stop, get to work go home. And at all times during the day watching the clock calculating if every task during the day is on time or late. Positive or negative are the only mental judgment criteria, no shades of gray, only sin or righteous act.

Growing up in Southern California in the 70's we had quite a few Hawaiian neighbors, our family's landlord was from the aloha state. Their sense of schedule allowed for varying degrees of gray and late or punctual were rarely judgments. The way it worked was simple, if you said let's meet at 8 O'clock meant anytime during the hour of 8. This may sound crazy to us too the minute clock slaves, but what it allowed for was a little down time and breathing room for both parties involved, the waiting person hung out and relaxed and the other person was not neurotic that they committed the sin of being late. Everyone ate, got work done and the world did not implode and everyone was a little less uptight. Their really isn't a downside when practiced with everyone's buy in.

The opposite end of the scale was when I was living in Japan. You lived or died by the clock. You spent your life planning and scheduling your life and only very brief moments living your life.

I think I prefer the aloha nui loa vs. chotto matte o kudasai.

And mahalo very much.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

+ Hickies, Port Authority style.

In line for the 9pm ACF to Jersey. The entire line waiting to climb on the bus watching a teenage couple give each other hickies. They look like refugees from a Dayton Ohio Hot Topic store, chasing their dream of just getting to the big city. Ahh the hickey, a long forgotten badge of honor.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

+ M. Jackson

Up on the wheel this morning, fingerless leather gloves and a lot of gold showing.

He drives with focused determination, his 7 maybe more gold chains on his right wrist jingle and jangle. When my eyes are squinting into the Jersey sunrise I can't escape the sounds of the spurs deliberate march of the town sheriff.

M. Jackson is the man.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

+ Monologue, Dialogue, Yammering.

"This the spot to go to New York?"

"OK I'll get it, is that all?"

"Cold enough."

"I got it, thought I lost it."

"It's full today."

"Excuse me."

"No problem."

"Let me move this, ok."

"I"ll be on time today, no traffic, just like yesterday, roads are empty. Oh I spoke too soon. We'll see, it is what it is. Ok, later."

"One person can keep an entire bus awake, just want a little peace and quiet."


"Another day."

"Have a good one."

"It's stuck, there I got it."

"Wish I was anywhere but here."

"Heard that."

"You can reach it."

"See ya on the way home."


Friday, February 13, 2009

+ Traitor to the ACF

I'm on the Academy bus leaving Port Authority with the terminus being Atlantic City. Nicer seats but a very volatile ridership. Driver just came over the PA system hollering how he has the right to drop anyone off at anytime for "foolish behavior" the state troopers will pick you up and you find your own way home with no ticket refund. Hidden cameras on the bus to document aforementioned foolish behavior and or smoking.

Welcome to Jersey Bitches.

+ Ordinary, Run of the Mill, Average

This morning's roll towards the big city is incredibly unremarkable. The dull droning of rubber rolling on road, clicking off mile after mile, whittling down the beginning sum of 50. The ACF mental odometer counts backwards from fifty to zero miles twice daily. Distance is the constant, time is the big variable you learn to despise.

An amazing burning orange and purple sunrise is the only thing of note. Today is one of those rides that stack up and blur into the cumulative of the year and a half I've been doing this.

Staring down the barrel of a three day weekend, that is the big payoff of this mornings ride. Viva dia de presidente.

Monday, February 9, 2009

+ New Sherrif of the ACF

The new man at the helm of the morning Chariot's ride is M. Jackson. Have no verification as of yet if the "M" stands for Michael or not. He is only the 2nd driver to proudly display his engraved nameplate above his throne of control. MJ is all business, no small talk with passengers, just straight ahead driving. He drives with an intense sense of purpose and duty to "keep to schedule" and he does. MJ has avoided a few major traffic jams with his clairvoyant hwy reading skills.

Only down side is MJ is so by the book that he called me out on trying to pass him an out of date ticket, no Driver ever cared in the past, but I got popped and denied entry to the ACF, and had to go buy another ticket and take the next bus half an hour later. I was pissed, but his schedule keeping skills far out weigh my infraction.

One day I must ask him to moon-walk.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

- ACF Warriors Attack & Loot.

We are three heavily armed assault vehicles each carrying a payload of 55 highly trained money looting warriors. As the three Ass Chariots approach the New fortress of York, the warriors each ready themselves in their own quiet way. Some silently contemplate the early morning assault while others review the days objective on laptops, some joke and nervously play off the official directive, but most of us listen to our own soundtrack on our iPods to distract our thoughts from the inevitable.

This convoy of warriors never has the element of surprise on it's side, just the ruthless cunning of each individuals mission. Go in spend as little time as possible use our razor sharp skills to extract as much loot from the NYC, and get back to our base of operation as quick as possible, only to repeat the mission 5 times a week.

Our underwater assault is drawing closer, the warriors all double check their various specialized weaponry. The sounds of sharp clicks and rustling of the final check of arms before we disembark for the daily mission.

Semper Fi, loot or die my brave ass chariot warriors.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

- Re-connects

Jumping on the 9pm ACF with a belly full of quality pork chop, fried oysters and a few or more stella artois in me. Ah that be gastrointestinal bliss. Met two of my best compadre's Billy D & Jimmy Mc in the LES at Schillers for some old time lie swapping.

Need to make more of a habit of the above. It was a rude wake up call this evening of how unstable the world is today. Tales of close friends getting pink slips for NOT the regular reasons.

Knock wood. Rolling home westward to the land of Jersey. Feeling a wee bit sappy and missing my LIW & EWR. They are both what makes humping back and forth to the big city all worth it.

Good night, keep the few that matter close. Adios, Be Are Why.

+ Thank You WPA & FDR.

Every day the Ass Chariot of Fire slinks down it's slithery hole under the Hudson river, to and from NYC. The Lincoln tunnel was an unnecessary public works luxury when FDR OK'd it being built. The down and out dudes of depressionville kept food on the table by digging a twisting tunnel under a river.


I wonder what perceived luxuries will be built, invented this go round?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

+ Front Row Seat

This morning I'm sitting in the front seat of the chariot. Never really thought about it but no seat belt up high, no front hood. This thing really does feel like a rolling coffin. When I ride my motorcycle on a major interstate at 70+ mph I feel very much more in control of my safety. If we were ever to have an accident where we hit anything with the front end of the bus, the first two passengers would be flying superman style out the windshield.

I"ll try and relax now and close my eyes and dream how amazing the 61 points Kobe scored last night to take the record of most points scored by anyone in a game at the garden, go Lakers.

Monday, February 2, 2009

+ Out of Context.

The weekend. Usually your time, reminders of the weekly grind are rarely welcomed, especially your commuting drudgery.

Saturday night doing the classic american dinner and movie date night, unimaginative yes, but always relaxing and satisfying. Just after we pay for our movie ticket and trying to figure out how I'm going to spend my $20 bucks on popcorn and fizzy drinks I see it. The visual trigger that takes me back to the lumpy-assed seat I am currently occupying. A smiling fellow commuter waves and says "hey" I am on my time, not ass chariot time. The duration of the movie Milk I have friendly commuter guy on Saturday night starring at the back of my head.

The movie was excellent at capturing that crazy portion of history in california.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

@ Two Wheeled Ass Chariots

This is a shameless personal fantasy of mine. I have always wanted to ride this race on two wheels since I was in grade school.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

@ Auto Asphyxiation.

The diesel fumes leaking from my beloved chariot is the perfect aid in catching up on a little extra sleep. I inhale a few extra deep cleansing breaths and I fall effortlessly into snoozeville. A better sleep remedy than any of the other NJ legally manufactured pharmaceuticals, like lunesta or ambien.

It makes your eyes burn a little, but once you're asleep the watery eyes side effect is no problem. Other passengers have been complaining to the driver but the sleepy smoke still fills the interior just enough to keep all us natives from attempting any sort of rolling coup de te. Yup, the classic power struggle in the tiny microcosm of the citizen's of the ass chariot of fire.

Back to visit the sandman from Newark to Port Authority. Clutching my pillow tight exit light, enter night.

Monday, January 26, 2009

@ Siamese Commuter Day.

Shoulder, elbow, hip and knee making enough friction between me and my seatmate to start a fire. My ankle is the only point on my right side that is not rubbing my new friend. When I wiggle my toes on my right foot it triggers movement and re-adjustments from my Siamese twin, it' kinda fun having the remote control of a complete stranger with the wiggling of a big toe. Oh the immense power I wield, I must make sure I do not become corrupted with such power.

I am Smitten.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

@ 1969/1970 NYC Sports

I learned tonight while standing in line for my 9pm Chariot of Ass Fire that 69/70 was NYC's year. This only validated by two very drunk gentlemen and one deaf mute, good enough sources for me.

The two drunk dudes were going on and on how that was THE season for the NYC. The Deaf Mute Dude was scribbling like a mad man on pizza napkins in agreement with said aforementioned drunkards.

-Jets won the Superbowl with Bdwy Joe Namath at the helm.
- The Mets won the world series.
-The Knicks won the NBA Championship with Clyde the Glide Frazier (the best shoe Puma ever made)

The Scribbler scrawls out " what about hockey" the two drunk guys yell at the deaf guy " Hockey is for white fags". Deaf guy looks puzzled. He's not quite understanding the yelling.

As not much of a sports fan I learned a heap this evening.

Oh yeah and Jimi played The Garden.

@ Apnea Man

2nd day in a row of riding the morning chariot to work with Apnea Man two rows behind me. He's has to be on the north side of 300lbs, he's dressed like a 1950's business man and snores louder than any human I have ever heard. Guttural throat chortelings like something prehistoric. It's very wet sounding and has no particular rhythm would allow you to ignore it. Yesterday he snored all the way into Port Authority and when we stopped and the other 54 passenger got up and left the bus, Apnea Man had not budged an inch, still making those sloppy wet sounding gurgles.

Friday, January 16, 2009

@ Cold

Waiting for less than 5 minutes for the morning bus in the Panther Valley 7-Eleven parking lot in 1 degree weather. One, uno this a record for me so far. We have the remainder of January and all of February to possibly dip into the negative numbers. My toes are still tingling with cold.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

@ Blue Collar Express

On the 3pm bus heading to Jersey. First time riding this early bus, a very different crowd 80% union crowd, just finished hearing a story of what it's like hanging drywall on the 30th floor with no outside walls or windows in 20 degree weather with it snowing.

I can't complain when all I do is bang on a keyboard and mouse.

Oh yeah. the Plane that crashed into the Hudson happened as I was going through the tunnel, 110 feet of water between me and the belly flopping airliner.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

@ It's Over.

For the past two months the going to work morning chariot has been half full. I never had to share a seat and sit next to anyone, it was commuter's nirvana. Well I guess the bean counters at Martz Bus Lines finally caught wind and re-jiggered the routes.

The morning Chariot now arrives 5 minutes earlier and packed to the gills with eager, snoring slobs trying to to make a buck in NYC. Now I have my original reason to whine and winge about my current seat mate with his legs spread so wide he keeps rubbing my thigh non stop with his knee, as I only have one butt cheek on the wore out cushion of a seat and the other levitating in the aisle. This must be some sort of retarded yoga pose people pay good money to endure. "Ass Chariot Warrior" I could just see some self righteous yogi wannabe instructing the class of lemmings, "now just get in touch with your inner douchiness" and you will achieve inner peace for $20 dollars per 45 minute class of kundillini, ashatanga bikram, bullsh*t.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

@ A Tidy Warm Bed for the Disheveled.

9pm Ass Chariot of Fire. Eating a slice in the deli and watching the church homeless group scooping up the the stankiest dudes they can find in Port Authority. What must be the visual criteria that they choose to determine if you need a warm free bed in Manhattan for the night? What if you were a tidy homeless person? Would you be passed over and have to sleep on the street and risk never waking up for being frozen solid.

I guess you need to be outfitted in the correct wardrobe to score the free bed. I'm just being a whiney commuter, cuz I'm tired and sleepy. Sleep tight my un-hygenic compadres.

painting credit: Dan Gheno

Thursday, December 18, 2008

# Holiday Office Karoke Party.

Killed "push it" by Salt n Pepa. Stayed true to the barley, no liquor and no ass making out of myself. Fun was had had by all, and in true office party tradition everyone got wacky. But not over the top.

The gargely chortles of my Tom Waits-esque back up singing was in full effect.

# 6:30 @ 7:30, Push it, push it real good.

Just hopped aboard the 6:30am chariot at 7:32am. A giant accident happened on route 80 west bound at exit 12, the exit right before mine. We shall see when I get into work.

Any other day if the bus is more than 15 minutes late I'm in my car and driving in, but tonight I have our company holiday party and it'll be a late night and driving home is not an option. Karaoke is the official theme of this year's form of workplace humiliation.I have my song all picked out, dance routine choreographed and the costume is bedazzled, took a sick day off work to get all those sequins attached. It will be stunning, a sight and performance not to be forgotten. Salt N' Pepa's Push It is the anthem of choice. It will be epic, the things workplace legends are made of.

Can you feel that tingly electricity in the air? I do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

# Free Snow

1st real snow commute of the year. Snow is free. And when you are a kid you sometimes get a free day off school. I wouldn't know about such luxuries, having grown up in Southern California.

When I get to the city I'm going to listen to Chris Anderson speak about his next new business hype. The subject of his new book that he's pre-promoting is the idea and tactic of "free". The longest tail has lead him to free. I'll go listen to what he has to say and eat his "free" donuts.

I'll report back afterward how free will free us all.

I get free food, not a free day, snow does not stop the mighty wheels of commerce, only elementary school learning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

# Soylent Green PA.

Monday morning, climb aboard the trusty steed, and it's empty, only 4 people on the bus. My stop is the last stop, and only stop in NJ before rolling straight into the NYC, their are 5 other stops before mine all in PA starting in Scranton.

I think all the old PA steel mills have been converted into food processing plants, that crank out soylent green, or maybe the PA variety is more a rust color. It's the only logical explanation for my empty Monday morning bus.

Friday, December 12, 2008

# Simpler.

Cold, dark, wet.

Get ass out of bed go to work on a bus.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

# Simple.

Get on the bus go home.

Suck it.

That's all I got.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

# Back of the Bus

ah, stretch out, relax, make yourself comfortable. Not the normal whining of my bus ride to work, but today is different. I have the entire 3 back seats to myself, it's almost like staying in bed an extra hour and ten minutes. I fell asleep, snoozed and woke up inside the warm comfort of the womb-like Lincoln Tunnel and popped out the Manhattan side like a new born baby. No slap on the butt, only the sweet diesel fumes of Port Authority.

Monday, December 8, 2008

# Only 17

One of the lamest guilty pleasure, big hair band songs " Seventeen" and the lamest early morning temperature so far this year, 17.

Damn is 17 cold, even for the 11 minutes I stood waiting for my Monday morning Chariot. 17 degrees hurts almost as much as the song. At least it's possible to get warm and forget the cold of 17, but the Winger tune of 17 can stick in your brain and torture you, for who knows how long.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

# Worst ACF Ride to Date.

It all happened last night, started out innocent enough.

Met my Buddy Mike after work down in Tribeca near his new job. Hung out at Tribeca Tavern for awhile then my fatal decision occurred. Let's stay out a little later and catch the 11pm bus home instead of the 9pm. At the time it seemed like no big deal, get home a little late but nothing drastic.

We go up to Port 41 for a few drinks. A quiet night, very tame except for the working girl who wanted to sit in the booth with us, gave her the cold shoulder and she moved on. Then some old timer junkie overhears us mention California, and he proceeds to give us a firsthand description on how amazing Mexican Black Tar is compared to the crap he gets here in NYC. After the critical analysis of east coast vs. west coast illicit pharmacology. We walk across the street and go to the bus gate.

"Sorry, bus is full" the driver tells us. We convince the driver to let us stand, we're the 1st stop. He says ok and we stand up riding home not optimal, but not bad. We get to our exit on Route 80 and it's closed for construction. We pass it go an extra 15 miles and back to our exit from the eastbound side of 80 get off the bus. Finally.

Now I realize I need to drive Mike back east on 80 back to Dover train station where his car is. An extra 40 miles. Then I'm back on 80 with the closed exit again, another 15 or so more miles.

To complete a usual 59 mile trip I spent 115 miles and an extra 2 hours.

Head hit pillow at 2am, alarm rang at the usual 5:40am and rode the ACF again back to NYC.

Next time we plan on investing a little more time in logistics. Seat of the pants planning did not play out so well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

# German Grafitti by Blu

An amazing creation in patience in Berlin. Blu.

Monday, December 1, 2008

# Morning French Confusion

Each morning when I exit the ACF in the lower intestine of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, my ears are filled with French. Not the French of highfalutin cinema, or sophisticated snobbery.

Nope. The other French.

The lower basement is empty except for one long line of verbal confusion. The bus leaving to go to Montreal, our back bacon eating, Molson drinking, hockey obsessed brethren to the north. Why is it so much fun to make fun of Canadiens? They just feel like the little brother you could pick on and tease. The line to board the polar express is always chattering with that goofy sound of France's ugly step child.

The PABT really is the UN of low culture.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

* Empty Bus.

The day before Thanksgiving and the Wednesday morning ride on the ACF to the city. The bus is empty maybe 10 fellow passengers on the 55 seat land yacht, and the roads are as much a ghost town as the inside of the bus.

Coming home from work it'll be the exact opposite situation. Today being the most traveled day of the year. Everyone needs to get "home" for the all-american gluttony fest. No ACF ride home for me today, will be rolling home in my wife's car battling the traffic to get to a pre-thanksgiving family dinner, just to repeat the gastrointestinal workout the next day, kind of a dress rehearsal of gluttony. Maybe the goal should be to get fat enough to attain the status of getting my own seat each day, to repulse others to not have to sit next to the fat guy.

I can hang on to my dreams, no matter how hard anyone tries to take them away, I'll always have my dreams.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

* The .01%

I have missed a few days of entries to the ACF blog of retarded observations.


Because every entry I have written about has been about the thing, event or person that is out of the ordinary. The past few days have been painfully numb with blandness, to the point that I have no idea what has happened in the past 5 or 6 trips on the Chariot. Maybe this is good, maybe this is the pinnacle of commuter enlightenment, the closest thing to being transported from one location to another unaware of the trip.

I write about that one nail head in the floor that sticks up, that you tear your sock on, not the hundreds of other nails doing their job holding down the floorboards as they should.

That one nail that is waiting for the hammer to smack it back down into conformity. I write about that one freak nail, the tiny percentage that is slightly oblique, that just doesn't fit in. Is this a mirror of my own struggle to not fit in, just like everyone else? Probably.

Maybe it's good to celebrate the bland, to go for the bronze, to strive for mediocrity. It's what 99.9% of life is for most of us. Movies, TV, magazines and newspapers are for that .01% of people we trick ourselves into thinking is normal.

Just another day on the bus, nothing more nothing less, and that's ok.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

* 5 Minute Dialog With Ralph Kramden.

Just witnessed a man have a very heated and animated conversation with Ralph Kramden. The man was telling how he was going to be right back and that he would not leave Ralph out in this bitter cold. He went on to inform him that soon he'd be ready, real ready, for what I had no idea but it sounded as if it had been in the works for quite some time.

Ralph Kramden is the life sized statue of Jackie Gleason's famous bus driver character from The Honeymooners. He stands proud and tall at the south entrance of Port Authority on 8th Ave and 40th street, directly across from the New York Times building. I like to think of him as the patron saint of bus drivers.

He'll listen if you have something on your mind.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

* Pussycat Dolls, Iron Workers & Port 41

Get to the PABT a little early and decide to go to Port 41 for a soothing barley beverage, it's a freezin 38 degrees. I toss open the door of the skankiest watering hole in all of Manhattan and what do I behold?

Ten or more burly as all hell Union Iron Workers dancing their asses off to the Pussycat Dolls blasting on the juke box. What a sight. And they know all the words, the Dominican Barmaid is shaking her money maker in full effect, this only whips the union dudes into a frenzy. They will not stop dancing, they are madmen possessed by the hypnotic pussycat dolls infectious beats.
I down 2 Bud drafts in record time and climb aboard the ACF homeward bound with that "when I grow up!" Song bouncing back and forth inside my noggin.

* Blocking the Box

Almost in the bus terminal and a foot Cop bangs on the the bus door as we are waiting to pull inside the entrance, the driver opens the door and the cop yells at him that he'll be getting a summons by mail. She asks for the Driver's name he says "Brian and then some last name that has a s-k-y on the end. Brian the Driver is pissed yells back at the cop "how can I not stop part way in the intersection with all the construction happening"?

Now I know the Driver's name he doesn't have one of those fancy name plates above his seat the way E. Camara did, I don't think he has the same level of pride and commitment to his job as E. did.

Monday, November 17, 2008

* Overheard Quotes.

Walking from the subway to Port Authority the guy walking in front of me says to his buddy "There's all the people that do stupid things that get fired anyways" speaking of the 20,000 CitiGroup employees getting axed today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

* High Stakes Driver.

Eavesdropping on the guy's conversation in the seat in front of me. I think he drives probably the largest payloads in the city. He works for Sotheby's and drives a box truck that hauls all the items to be auctioned from the warehouse to the showroom. I can only imagine the art work this guy has taxied around Manhattan.

* Ocular Hygiene in Port Authority

Waiting in line at Port Authority and a guy behind me bends down, places his contact lenses on the floor, squirts some eye juice in his eyes, picks up the lenses from the basement Port Authority floor and jams them in his eyes and let's out a relieving "ahhhh that's better".

Effing freak.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

* Eat The Miles Away.

Just hopped on the 9pm Chariot headed out west to Jersey.

Sometimes a fellow ACF riding compadre gets a powerful hankerin' for some vittles. My Chariot riding pardners now how to chow down in a most serious way. Two rows in front of me the infectious aroma of Popeye's Fried chicken is wafting back, this woman is no stranger to its crispy golden goodness. Damn she even has the mashed potatoes with the little bits of pork floating in the gravy, she's killin me. That is one righteous meal I'm coveting.

Meanwhile across the aisle the woman is on her 3rd Aunt Amie's Pretzel dipping each and every bite meticulously in cream cheese. Pizza, Chinese food, and unidentified things in stained tupperware containers are being devoured. Tonight it's like a bouncing rolling mall food court on wheels.

I'm just as guilty of my fave of the seven deadly sins; gluttony. Yesterday I bought a whole package of four fat-assed brownies from Mrs. Race's food stand in Union Square and did not share one bite with my co-workers. Yup I'm keeping up with all my fellow Piggy McPig-Pigs on the ACF.

* "Deer cost me 1,900 bucks".

The older suit wearing guy who never speaks, turns around in line waiting for the pre-sunrise ACF and says "Hit a damn deer with my PT Cruiser and it's gonna cost me $1,900 bucks". That's it, then just turns back around starring forward looking for the bus to show up.

This guy strikes me as odd, he never is carrying anything, no bag of any sort, just hands in his pockets travels 50 miles to NYC and back. I have never seen him on the return trip.

The quiet deer killers, they're the ones that can crack at any moment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

* FDM Small Talk.

Today was another 1st. I exchanged small talk with FDM (Feather Duster Man) He was hanging out near my gate and started chatting with me completly unsolicited. "Good days work and going home" he says. I agree, and I tell him he's the only thing that keeps this place together. He let's me know it's the truth with a wink and a asalamalaykum my brutha. He's back to his effortless glide up and down the escalators, keeping the fabric of the Port Authority Bus Terminal from breaking down, and anarchy from sweeping the basement bowels of this underworld. He is a Superhero with a feather duster. I admire his sense of purpose and dedication to tidyness down here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

* Where Did I leave The... ?

Bed, TV, Table and Toilet?

I was walking from the subway to my office and came across this oddity. A bed, TV, table and toilet, just sitting in the cross walk in Union Square. You could write a million stories on what happened for these items to be abandoned in such a public place.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

* I Just Don't Get It?

Arrived at the bus stop a wee bit behind schedule by maybe 8 minutes. That tiny window of time at this ungodly hour of the morning can be the deal breaker of just getting to work nice and calm or becoming an internalized volcano on the verge of blowing.

This morning I'm 9 or 10 people back in line, shivering in the parking lot awaiting the chariot. I've already started the lava bubbling with the inevitable knowledge that I'll have half an ass cheek on the seat and rubbing up against some typical obese blob for 50 snail-paced miles into NYC.

The ACF pulls up, the people in line ahead of me wedge themselves between Fatty McFat-Fats at the vary front of the bus, and now I'm up to choose my seat. I look 3/4 of the way back in the bus and see 3 sets of unoccupied seats. 3 pairs of seats with no one in them, a frickin miracle. I take one pair, nice and comfy all for myself, and start wondering what the hell is wrong with the 10 or so people in line that were ahead of me, why did they not want to be comfortable?

Are they Sheeple?

I am truely vexed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

* He's Back.

E. Camara the ACF driver is back at the helm. I have no idea where he was for the past few months, maybe a different route down to Philly, not sure. It' great to see him back and with no speed limiting buzzer and a new bus on top of it all.

Yup This whole "change" thing is really starting off on the right foot.

* Exhale, and Go to Work

It's over. The country can let out a collective exhale. Go to work if you have a job. It worked out how I wanted. Now let's see the man walk the walk. The first time in over 8 years I actually feel proud to say I'm American with a capital "A".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

* The Vote that Counts vs. Count the Votes.

As Uncle Joe Stalin said: “It’s not he who votes that counts, it’s he who counts the votes.”

* 1st, Number One, Numero Uno!

Election day, and I was the 1st in line to vote at my polling place. Had to vote before jumping aboard my chariot, or no chance of doing my civic duty.

Climbed on the bus and there were only 4 people on from all the PA stops before mine. I hope it is because all those PA folks are voting and taking a later bus.

Such a tactile sense of electricity in the air today, it is NOT an ordinary day. I keep looking out the window to try and see the difference, I look out the high bus windows down into cars and trucks looking for something. You cannot see any difference but you can sense something is happening. A sort of collective gasp of the entire population holding it's breath, wanting to exhale but can't until we all learn the outcome.

Just have to wait and hope it all rolls smoothly with resolution. The worst would be not knowing what happened before going to sleep tonight.
The Jersey Hwys are empty and calm, NOT an ordinary day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

* Fall Back

The first day of going to work since the setting back of the clocks. It's light out when I'm standing in the the Panther Valley 7-Eleven parking lot at 6:30am. No more sunrises over industrial Jersey. Now it's back to starring into the glare, squinty eyed.

It's the day before election day, and I still have not shaved. My self imposed rule is; no shaving until we know who the next President is. It better not end up like 2000, or I'm going to have to join ZZ Top. It's starting to bug me when I sleep, Trying to hold out.

Please America, choose a President in a timely fashion.

To be able to vote tomorrow before work I need to wake up at 5am, get to the polling place in Allamuchy before 6am, vote, and catch the 6:30am ACF to the city. There had better not be a line to vote, or I'm screwed. I can't be growing this stupid beard for nothing.