Friday, October 31, 2008

- Undecided?

Not Commute related, but with less than 4 days left until the election I came across this:

from the current issue of The New Yorker (October 27, 2008 - page 43),
David Sedaris writing in "Shouts and Murmurs".

'I don't know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. "Who are they?" the news anchors ask. "And how might they determine the outcome of this election?"

Then you'll see this man or woman -- someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. "Well, Charlie," they say, "I've gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can't seem to make up my mind!" Some insist that there's very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they're with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.'

Thursday, October 30, 2008

- New Distraction, Moving Pictures!

A co-worker (he commutes from Westport, CT to NYC) hooked me up with the HBO series "The Wire" the first 3 seasons as MP4s.

I'm new to this visual portion of the iPod, just never got around to it. I've been wanting to get into this show for quiet some time. My spanish speaking instruction will have to take a back seat to these newfangled talking, moving pictures. Shout out to ol' Eadweard Muybridge.

Rolling down the Hwy watching the TeeVee. This is living.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

- It Was Bound to Happen.

Rollin through Jersey on the homeward bound ACF. The bus is the most empty I have ever seen. It's dark, warm, comfy, I fall asleep to the native Spanish speakers of my espanol instructions for how to board de avion, and I'm out like a light.

I'm jolted out of snoozville by a route 80 crater. Why is the left side of my face wet? Yes I did it, I drooled. No public embarrassment, just quiet patheticness.

On the the road to de-evolution to becoming a full blown ACF Native. I feel as if I've earned some sort of sad merit badge. Just another rite of passage.

Viva de ACF!

- Cold, Wet, Sloppy Slush.

Standing in a 7-Eleven parking lot in 35 degrees, 30mph winds in a gloppy mix of rain and a slurpee like substance blowing almost horizontal. The ACF is late of course, so me and 6 other fools are standing here just taking whatever the weather smacks us in the face with.

20 minutes ago I was all toasty warm snoozing in bed, my current condition could not be more different.

Now inside the warm cacoon of the ACF we're rolling slow and safe on the slipperiness.

Monday, October 27, 2008

- Rural NJ Home Life infects NYC

Not directly on topic of commuting between the rural and the metropolitan life but personally connected to my world.

In my little town in the northwest corner of New Jersey we have a local farm stand, Race Farm owned and operated by the Race family for who knows how many generations. During the weekend we went apple and pumpkin picking and we were speaking with the Matriarch of the
Race tribe, Mrs Race. I found out she runs a farm stand in Union Square every Monday right across from the Coffee Shop, she went on to tell us her brownies were voted "best in the Union Square market".

My office is exactly opposite her stand, I went down and said hello to her Grandkids who run the NYC satellite of Mrs. Race's fresh produce empire.

So make sure you buy all your fresh veggies from the Race family, and don't forget about her brownies, they are the best.

Raining cats and dogs, supposed to be worse tomorrow, soggy rolling on the ACF in the AM. Will have a full report of every nugget of minutia.
Adios, Be_are_why.

Friday, October 24, 2008

- 9pm Friday Bus Home.

I thinking this is the 1st time I've taken this later bus on a Friday night. A very different crowd and mood from the usual school night ride home. It is a lively crowd, no one is sleeping, everyone is talking, people are eating complete dinners, A big crew of Union type dudes are pounding tall-boys. You would think the ACF was headed for Atlantic City. The bus is in full party effect.

It's a nice change of pace. Fiesta de autobus!

- Sunrise Over Newark.

Seeing the sunrise over Newark makes me homesick for California.

The sun makes amazing colors reflecting through all the billowing smoke stacks from the southeast of Newark. The Jersey towns of Kearny, Harrison, Bayonne all contribute with their oil refineries and factories to make the sunrise a hue saturated event.

The NJ sunrise, is so similar to the sunsets of California. The smog would hang out off the coast in the Pacific and reflect back the classic SoCal postcard worthy sunset.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

- 1st Official Cold Day.

The very accurate thermometer in my truck read the first degree of frozen, 32 degrees. I drove to the bus stop and stood outside shivering until the warm cozy ACF arrived and rescued me from frostbite.

It's time to find my real winter coat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

- A Rare Breed in These Here Parts.

The Renzo Piano designed new New York Times building is directly across 8th Ave. from the Port Authority. The HQ for the old gray lady has had a serious make-over, she is stunning.

As I walked towards the new architectural gem, I could see a small crowd of picketers at the entrance. I'm always curious as to what people will walk around in circles and scream, chant and holler for. I must admit I once was a Union scab working in a rubber mill for over a year. When I approached I saw my 1st example of McCain/Palin supporters in NYC. They were very well dressed middle-aged women and men that looked like every other bland office drone. The throngs of people pouring past them for the most part ignored them, but I noticed two Union worker guys fly that middle digit in their honor.

Time to hop aboard the ACF and roll back home.

- Slept to NYC

Stayed up too late last night getting caught up watching True Blood episodes.

Slept almost the entire ride to the big city.

Gotta wake up and get on the subway to Union Square to the office.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

- ACF Motor Voter Registration.

Waiting in line to board the chariot in the bowels of the Port Authority. A feisty older woman was working all the bus lines that were headed to Pennsylvania. She was relentless, asking every passenger if they wanted to vote via absentee ballot, knowing us commuters leave before the polls open and get home after closing. After the driver let us all board the voter lady boarded the bus and double checked she didn't miss a single person. She got off and went to the next bus.

Note: I photographed the above poster next door to my office building in Union Square.

Good to see NYCer's making sure PA has access to democracy.

E. Pluribis Unum & asalamalaykum compadres.

- Slow Down You're Going Too Fast !

Some guy way in the back of the bus is hollering "slow down" everyone is yelling back at him "shut up!" Slow down guy goes up front and yells at the driver. Now the driver is trying to radio another bus to take this guy off. Ridiculous. The other bus radios back and says no way. Slow down guy will not shut up, screaming at times, people are just laughing at him now. He's on the verge of loosing it.

Only a few more miles until the tunnel, he's still whining, that the Driver is unsafe, we're going maybe 40mph in the bus lane.

At least we made good time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

- Public Execution on Sacred Symbol of Freedom Site.

Slightly oblique to the typical subject matter of whining about bus riding.

Our most famous symbol of freedom and gracious French gift, Lady Liberty welcoming all us immigrants, did not start out as such a glorious locale.

The island where the Statue of Liberty stands was originally known as Bledsoe's Island and was the site of one of the most grizzly displays of public execution.

Albert W. Hicks was a notorious river pirate up and down the East and Hudson Rivers during the mid 1800's. Some of his buddies got him really drunk and took him off the coast of Staten Island to find his stash. Hicks sobered up and butchered them all cutting off fingers for trophies after he killed them all with an axe. He said the devil possessed him, after he was caught with a photo of one of the murdered men and the fingers.

Hicks was one of those larger than life gangsters of NY that had been untouchable for years.

He was hung on Friday the 13th on a platform on the island with a rowdy party crowd of over 10,000 watching from all manner of boats offshore. He hung for 3 minutes kicking and screaming at the end of his rope, as the crowds cheered and played music and partied. His body was buried in a cemetery on Canal street, and within hours was stolen and sold to NYU med students for a few dollars.

We planted that graceful French lady on this site to be our external symbol of freedom to the world.

Not the usual bus riding commentary, but tangentially connected to my NYC/NJ gestalt.

- Slow Moving Monday.

Monday morning and I've been on the bus one hour and have traveled a whopping distance of 15 miles. Not the way to start the week.

I'm living a Clash song right now.

"Never mind that it's time for the bus
We got to work - an' you're one of us
Clocks go slow in a place of work
Minutes drag and the hours jerk".

And I'm just trying to GET to work. Yes Mondays rock alright.

RIP Joe Strummer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

- Fountains of Wayne?

At the interchange of NJ Route 46 and Interstate 80 is Fountains of Wayne. Where in typical garish Jersey fashion is displayed every imaginable cast concrete lawn ornament. If you live in suburban NJ and have need to externally proclaim your status on the block, you go hog wild at Fountains of Wayne and impress the hell out of the neighbors. Gnomes, cherubs, fountains and fierce animals all made out of gray concrete will be your legacy as the pyramids were to the Pharaohs.

And why did that poppy band choose this as their ironically cool moniker?

- Hero of the ACF

This post is about events that happened last night on the ride home.

With a belly full of Go Go Curry I settled into the ride home, reading a book and listening to Spanish lessons on my iPod. Not paying attention the the assumed regular route back home.

(Port Authority, Lincoln Tunnel, Route 3 north, Route 46 west, Interstate 80 west, Exit 19, Panther Valley.)

I was sitting toward the back of the bus, and the guy across the aisle says "that's the 2nd time I've seen that fertilizer store". I turned my Espanol off and paid attention because I have never seen a "fertilizer store" and why did he see it twice?

I look up and see we are in Wayne NJ on Route 23, not anywhere we should be going.People are getting angry yelling at the Driver. I know where we are at and it's wrong. The guy across the aisle says "there is the fertilizer store again" now we have passed it 3 times.

I mumble out loud where we should be going and how to get there. An older woman behind me yells at me, and tells me to go up and tell the Driver what to do.

Moment of truth, be a complaining bystander or make a difference. I do it, I march to the front of the bus and sit on the stair next to the driver and he says "do you know where we are?" I get him back on 46 and then 80 west. I walk back to my seat a hero.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

- Go Go = Five, Five.

On 38th almost at 8th Ave, just one very short block from the Port Authority is one of my all time fave food joints.

Go Go Curry. I had enough time to grab some dinner, and had almost forgotten about this gem. It's Japanese curry over deep fried chicken cutlet and rice, you will be transported to a dirty back alley Osaka curry house.(And - I've been to countless curry dives all over Nippon) It's really that good and that authentic. The only odd wrinkle or asset depending on your point of view is that GO GO Curry is a shrine to Hideki Matsui, number 55 on the Yankees.

The word "GO" in Japanese means the number "5". So the translation is "Five Five Curry" They open at 10:55am and close at 9:55pm, anytime Matsui hits a home run and you are eating you get some free food of the month.

If you have a bit of time before catching your ACF out of Port Authority eat at Go Go Curry for under $10 bucks it will not dissapoint.

Make sure not to chew gum afterwards your, pungent curry breath will up your odds for not having to sit next to someone, it did the trick tonight.

- Last Nights Debate

God bless this great nation of ours.

I fell asleep on the bus ride into the big city this morning. I dreamt of last night's debate and the cape crusader was there in my hazy, bouncing sleepy state.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

- Rolling Bacteria Filled Cylinder.

Coughing, hacking, phlegm gargling aluminum sided diesel propelled tube of communicable disease. The ACF is.

I'm not at all a germ-a-phobe. I eat things that drop on the floor, and don't worry much at all about germs. I don't clean my bathrooms at home in the nude and then jump in the shower. But today it seems 54 of the 55 ACF riders are one collective beast of repulsive nose blowing snot factory.

If I make it through this mine field of influenza it'll be a miracle.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

- Odd Sight in Port Authority Bathroom.

No it's not that naughty, but strange. You know those street performer dudes that paint themselves all silver? Every major city has a few. I had just finished my slice that I inhaled and needed a place to throw my oil-stained paper plate. I see the garbage can just inside the restroom, I go in dump my rubbish and as I turn around I see him. Silverman is removing his trademark reflectiveness in the sink. Everything is silver, the floor, the walls, the counter, he looked like he had been at it for hours.

As I take it all in and walk out I see FDM (Feather Duster Man) going in, by the never before seen pissed off look in his eye, he knew what was going on. I caught the distinct vibe from Mr. FDM that this was not silverman's first time making his colossal mess.

On the ACF and rolling through the tunnel back to the farm life of Jersey.

- 3/4 for the cost of a whole.

Only have 3/4 of a seat this morning, can only use one hand to type, my imposed seat mate takes my other .25 percent of my seat with her rotundness.

Her squeaky pleather jacket rubs my right arm and hip with every bump the NJ highways throw at the ACF. So very much friction, I hope we do not combuste in a blaze of fiery glory.

The fat have inherited the bus seats of the earth. They are so very much more equal than the rest of us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

- Columbus Day & Cheap Gas.

No traffic going into the big city, and smooth sailing on the rebound back to Jersey. The cheapest gas prices in the country, NJ is proudly flying the below $3.00 a gallon banner, I've passed many stations with $2.95 proudly displayed.

At least that's a small bone to be thrown for the highest property taxes in the union. Also the market bounced back up in the correct direction.

The bus is only half full, I think I'll hit the publish button and try and catch a few z's on the balance of the ride home.

Friday, October 10, 2008

- Friday Night Revelry.

I had a half hour to kill before getting on my bus and went and had a quick drink at Port 41 next to the bus terminal. I walk in 20 union iron workers are singing kid rock songs at the top of there lungs. Then 4 airborne soldiers walk in they are so young, shipping out to Iraq tonight all the Union dudes start buying them drinks 3 more kid rock songs play on the jukebox and the soldiers know all the lyrics they were screaming it was great. A sense of perverse pride was had by all.

Left the bar mid song and listened to the sweet sound of america trail off behind me as I walked across 41st Street to climb aboard the final ACF of the week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

- Under Appreciated View.

At night leaving the city, when you exit the Lincoln Tunnel on the Jersey side twisting around the helix is when you see it. You look back at Manhattan's vertical array of twinkling lights, it's breathtaking. Every time I experience this sight I have an instant sense of pride, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the satisfied look back at the delicate buzzing hive, and you feel that you did your small part to keep "that" hive alive one more day.

Sappy I know, but it's real, with zero percent irony. Just a solid sense of un-hip comfort in your own skin, it defines you and you sleep good to wake up and do it all over.

I never had any idea how much I could love being a Calif. Ex-pat in the NYC/NJ world.

- Hungry, dirty, horny, sorry.

Yom Kippur today, and the bus and the highway are empty. I stretch out and relax with no one next to me. Us " goyim" as we are referred to are on our way to work. Just another day for the un-chosen folk.

Prohibitions traditionally observed. (Mishnah tractate Yoma 8:1):
  1. No Eating and drinking
  2. No Wearing leather shoes
  3. No Bathing/washing
  4. No Anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions
  5. No Sexual relations

Total abstention from food and drink usually begins 30 minutes before sundown (called tosefet Yom Kippur, lit. "Addition to Yom Kippur"), and ends after nightfall the following day. Although the fast is required of all healthy adults, it is waived in the case of certain medical conditions. Virtually all Jewish holidays involve a ritual feast, but since Yom Kippur involves fasting, Jewish law requires one to eat a large and festive meal on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, after the Mincha afternoon prayer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

- Bathroom Weave Accident.

Riding the 9pm chariot home and needed to do the unheard of, oh it's not that bad. I used the rolling, sloshing bucket of blue toxic-ness. (The bathroom) No biggie just the garden variety bladder buster relief.

Everything went as planned, but upon leaving the rolling latrine I was making my way back to my seat in complete darkness up the aisle, and right as I'm plopping myself into my seat, I accidentally smack the mile-high hair weave of the woman seated in front of me. It wobbled back and forth but defied gravity. I said I was sorry, and she said "It's alright sugar"

Close call.

- Same. Same. Different. Bounce.

Same AM time: 6:30am
Same Driver: New No-Name Guy
Different Bus: #583 in place of the usual #553

Bouncing like a bucking bronco on meth. My ass has actually been airborne more than 5 times. Banging shoulders with the the blanketed heap next to me non-stop. She? does not budge or acknowledge a thing.

Ass Chariot of Bounce. Hope this is not the new norm.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

- R. Kelly, like it or not!

A middle-aged man two rows behind me is listening to the same R. Kelly song over and over. I have my headphones on and I can still hear the juvenile urination king loud and clear.

I am amazed by him, he loves it. He cannot get enough R. Kelly. Sam Ashe Dude is sitting directly in front of him reading a AC/DC biography. He is a much more tolerant man than I could ever be. He reads about Angus and his band mates with no headphones on. I imagine he is reading the part of their story when Bon Scott drinks himself to death. Sam Ashe Dude just takes the sonic urination without being phased in the least. He is christ like in his acceptance of others, a rare trait.

- Lucky Seats.

I hit the ACF seat jackpot this morning. I scored the triple seat at the back of the bus all to myself. Stretched out in lazy-boy strata-lounger bliss. Feet up maximum deluxe luxury.

Today's ride to NYC was like riding a bed to work. Something is very right with the world today.

Click on the ad to your left, and help a Brutha out. Mahalo nui loa, and mahalo very much.

Monday, October 6, 2008

- So Bored I'll Grow a Beard.

I'm gonna do it! I've thought long and hard, these desperate times call for desperate actions. I'm going to grow a beard to insure this great nation of ours makes the correct choice on November 4th.

I will not shave until the results of the Presidential election are known. This, in my infinite wisdom will absolutely insure that Barrack Obama will become the next President of this ransacked United States.

How could a plan so perfect, so simple not work? Spending as much time as I do rolling on the highways with true Americans has convinced me of the purity of this noble endeavor. Or just rattled my brain enough that I think this just might work.

I would love to challenge anyone to disprove this follicle act for change. change is as easy as just saying no to your razor.

Note: Thank you Ron English for the above illustration.

- ACF Snooze Posture.

There are two general categories of sleeping on the herky jerky ACF ride to NYC.

The Lean Back:
This choice of motion bound sleep tends to be the noisiest. The hardcore snorer assumes this position. Head tipped back, mouth gaping open sawing logs. The Leaned back reclining posture is the most safe for staying in the same position during your rolling snooze.

The Forward Slump:
This is how I spent the first two thirds of this morning's ride. Slumped forward with your chin in your chest, the side to side motion is your worst enemy. You are not nearly as stable. I have seen many an accidental act of intimacy between strangers. Hard-Assed Union workers nuzzling each others shoulders, female office workers spooning the Bukowski type drunk dude.

This morning in my slumped state I cuddled a very tall bald man with terminal dandruff. I'll brush off the snow storm on my right shoulder when I get in Port Authority.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

- The Big VP Showdown.

Palin is shockingly ignorant but at the same time rigidly opinionated, something which usually goes together. When shown for what she is, she turns the charm on in order to get her way regardless, and when that STILL doesn’t work, it’s all somebody else’s fault... Bush too got away with that sort of mindset, promoting paranoid fantasy over recorded fact, using lies and smears to ram his own self-glorifying agenda down people’s throats and playing innocent when there are “unforeseen” deadly consequences for other people.

All for the higher glory of what they call “God”, and/or “freedom”, but what rational people call the triumphantly inflated narcissistic SELF.

{ the above was copy & pasted from todays NY Times }

I can't wait to get off the ACF tonight and hurry home and see the big show. It's the same level of excitement as waiting for a WWF pay-perview to begin.

But sadly it's for real, I really wish Vince McMahon was scripting this.

- Staring into the Sun

Sitting in the very front seat of the ACF, the sun has just revealed it's glaring self over the eastern horizon, the direction the bus travels. We drive directly at the fiery ball. The driver is sans sunglasses and refuses to use the sun visor, he just squints and barrels headlong forward towards the burning mass.

I do not get the romantic fascination with the sunrise. The sunrise signals my pathetic plight of having to wake up early. Never seeing a sunrise is true luxury. The sunset is the pay-off for a productive day, I get that romantic notion. But that ball of fire rising in the east every work day is nature's most obnoxious alarm clock. I know it's a new beginning, the genesis and all that, I don't buy it.

Passing through Newark now and the Driver refuses to put on his sunglasses sitting next to him, he will beat that glaring blob, he will out glare it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

- Chauvinistic Ramble

I'm on the 9pm bus tonight, before climbing aboard the trusty stead I had a quick pint at Port 41. As I watch the financial world crumble on the flat screen behind the bar a very sweaty guy with a large Macy's shopping bag full of zippo lighters asks if I want 2 for 9 bucks. I look them over and tell him sure, knowing full well he won't have the single to make change for my 10 dollar bill. That's cool it's part of the game.

There are a few physical items that just exude manliness, and the shiny weight, and clicking sound of a zippo is very close to the top of that list.
Other items on that list would include:
-Browning stack barrel 12 gauge shotgun
-1961 Triumph Bonneville
-Stainless steal Rolex Daytona
-Laphroaig single malt
and many more.

It's time to get off the bus now,