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