Huck Finn and the power of friendship!

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had an interesting day, as I did in MANY ways. . .

I have my favorite route tomorrow, like two hours before the crack of dawn, so I will try to tell this AMAZING story quickly!

When I got home from work and all completely necessary obligations were fulfilled, I got on Facebook and my friend Blue had posted a pic and the point was: Books can take you anywhere! Here was my response. . .

“Ain’t that the truth! I decided a couple of days ago to reread “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and I am LOVING it! ☺”

Okay, let’s rewind briefly. One of my dearest friends has been hospitalized for over a month and has been going thru treatments to try and fix her. Phone calls to her have ranged from hope, to despair, to nearly nothing from her end. Different days, with treatments on different days, yielded VERY different results and the last few times were NOT good at all.

Guess what? Today was COMPLETELY different! My friend sounded like 90-95% and is hopeful that she can finally go home soon! On the phone with her: Night/Day since last time. She had treatments two days ago and today and feels wonderful! ☺

Since she was feeling great and ready to go home, we were able to discuss other things. So here is part of our discussion: I asked what she was doing with her time in the hospital. She said that she had called another friend and asked for some books to read. (Btw, she lives in another state, so that is why I could not take books to her that she would like.) Books were delivered to her and she was reading them. . .

Then I said that I had started reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” a couple of days ago. You want to know what my friend told me? Of course you do! She had ordered the very same book for her Nook right before her hospitalization. She was looking forward to reading it again. . .

Considering that I haven’t read the book in 30 years and decided to reread it is ONE thing. The fact that my friend ordered it before going to the hospital is quite another. I am HAPPY that I “decided” to read it again two days ago and she got better. Thank you God, I have my friend back! And “Thank You” Mark Twain! ☺


Small Spaces, big ideas. . .

Happy Sunday folks!

I hope you have all had a HAPPY day! I have! ☺

A couple of days ago, I was invited on Facebook to an event for “Small Spaces” that said it would be a street lecture and tour. For those of you that do not know what “Small Spaces” is, it is a local art project here in Lafayette (funded with grant money) where local artists create artwork in the Downtown Lafayette area on buildings where the owners give approval. Its purpose is to bring some BEAUTY and INTEREST to some otherwise boring spaces. Since I am not a journalist, I can say EXACTLY what I think! Neat, huh?

Those of you that know me, understand that I LOVE this idea and also the arts. I also believe in supporting the community and making it a better place. I also agree with spending money (aka: tax dollars) to support such ideas. WHY do I agree with this when I am normally fiscally conservative? Mainly, because I would spend my OWN money anyway to support it (and do), so I am HAPPY to see my tax dollars going to something I actually want! THANK YOU!

Okay, so let me get some pseudonyms out of the way before I continue my story. Zach Medler (ZMed) is the curator of the Small Spaces project. Aaron Bumgarner (ABum, I made that up myself) is an artist that has done A LOT of artwork downtown and we have an unusual Reese’s cup connection that ends up being quite interesting. At least to me!

So here is how the event went: ZMed said a few words and then Mayor Tony got up and said how he appreciated and supported the project. Mayor Tony was in between events and it reminded me that Mayors are really busy. This was a SUNDAY folks, and he was out doing events. We should keep that in mind.. . . So then ZMed did a brief explanation of the project and expressed that he REALLY just wanted to answer questions! This is where it got completely interesting. . .

The first person called on was one of the building owners and he wanted to know how the “maintenance” part of the project would work. His problem was that some of the art was peeling off and he and his friends didn’t particularly like what was on there. He believed that there was no cohesion between the works displayed on the wall of his building and it wasn’t what he expected. He supported the idea, but he wanted something different. ZMed did an excellent job of explaining WHY it was done that way, but agreed that this is a learning process for all of us, as this is just the beginning.

Okay, AWESOME! Now we have a discussion! Different ideas were expressed and the vision of the project was also explained by ZMed. The idea behind the whole project is to let artists express their ideas in PUBLIC and have free reign to do so. The artists know going in that people may not agree with their artwork, but they have a chance to display it, even if VERY temporarily. Then a most excellent point was brought up. This point was probably the highlight for me of the whole discussion because it introduced a challenge. This man’s point was that the negativity seen in certain pieces should be seen as an opportunity and challenge to the artists to create pieces that both get their message across and also are pleasing to the community. WHY do I find this the highlight of the discussion? Because it is hard to hate something that you love. It is an interesting challenge. . .

Believe it or not, I actually didn’t ask any questions! That should be surprising to most of you! I didn’t need to! That was the part that was AWESOME! I got to just LISTEN!

PSA before I get to the FUN part: If you really want to know what is happening with a particular issue, then attend an event. No one I invited ended up going, but every single one wanted me to give them a review. Well, here it is! In person was WAY more interesting than anything that I could ever write!

Okay! FUN part! A couple of months ago I left the bank with some extra Reese’s cups. I was headed towards the 6th Street Village Pantry when I saw someone painting on the side of the Haywood Printing building. I was running dangerously late for work and still needed a sandwich from VP. I was on 5th and could have gone straight and stopped right then. I didn’t. I turned onto Ferry and went to 6th before FINALLY deciding that I would backtrack around the block. I quickly pulled up and jumped out and gave the artist “painting energy”. I didn’t have time to talk, but told him I LOVED what they (the artists) were doing. We “officially” met today and I explained that it was just a random Reese’s “thank you” and I wasn’t stalking him or anything! Turns out, ABum gave to me first thru his signs and I didn’t even know it! Thank you ABum! ☺


A Poet that doesn’t know it. . . Now you do! <3

Hi folks!

I was LUCKY today and got some overtime while also doing the Tower Acres route. WHY was I lucky? Well, because I got overtime, but also because I got to drive a delightful route with completely POLITE passengers that say both “Hello” and “Thank You”! I don’t care if it is just habit (and a nice habit to have), but it is completely NICE to get a response from MY perspective! Kudos to the Tower Acres students! I hope they will give their parents huge hugs for raising them to be such wonderful people! ☺

Well, I usually start with two wonderful things that happened during my day and then get to my point, but I have decided to change my usual style for today and do something a little different!

Here is what I REALLY wanted to discuss: Why people say, “You can’t fix stupid.” First of all, it is mean. Second of all, it is close-minded. Third of all, the premise is untrue. Fourth of all, it is a cop-out to not try to help people understand a problem,. Fifth of all, it is a way for people to feel superior by putting others down. Sixth of all, it is ineffective for any change. Congrats, peoples’ feelings were hurt and nothing was accomplished. Seriously, think about it. . .

Now, on to my second wonderful thing that happened today! After coming home to awesome leftovers in my fridge from Mom and chatting with her for a few and thanking her, I got online and saw that my dear friend Poet received a rose in a vase from a grateful bus passenger today. For those of you that do not know Poet personally, he is probably the most HONEST and TRUE person that I know. The fact that he received a gift from a Purdue student did not surprise me one bit! The Purdue students LOVE Poet!! I am HAPPY that this happened today! Thank you to the Purdue student that showed their appreciation to a most wonderful man! ☺

I think that sums up my thoughts for the day! I’ll get to lesser matters later!!


Hair? Clothes? Nope. Not the issue at all. . .

Hi folks! I hope you are all enjoying this fine fall season so far! Yes, it has been raining a lot, but have you looked around? All of the trees are starting to turn and it is beautiful! I have been looking as much as possible while trying to maintain my bus schedule and not miss people! ☺

There is a particular topic I have been wanting to write about for the past week or so, but another one came up today that bothers me even more. So what I am going to try to do is “interline” (bus talk that means “connect”) the two topics and hopefully, you will see the correlation!

Since I don’t really know where to begin, I will start with a quote that ‘Z’s daughter brought home last year from her band teacher: “Early” is on time, “On time” is late, and “Late” is unacceptable. ‘Z and I were both floored with the quote from his genius daughter and it stuck with me. . .

Forewarning: This will discuss my work and specifics of my work day and WHY certain things do not work. My comments will be applicable to all fields of work, but if you don’t want to read about a bus driver’s day and how it was inefficient, then stop now and google on.

Okay. I am a bus driver and I am also a “Big-Picture” person in my thoughts. The purpose of a bus company, and any transportation company, is to get folks from one destination to another in the most safe, timely, and cost-efficient way for everyone. SUPER bonuses include: friendliness, helpfulness, and a general NICE attitude that leaves a customer unafraid to ask another question and want to ride again.

Now let me explain something else. There is one particular route that my company is looking to change because it seems to always run late. The route in question is FINE the way it is and is also the SAFEST option for riders. The real problem with the route is that the previous route it “interlines” with is always late (because it is completely busy and that is the one they should change), so then the route they want to change is behind schedule before ever getting started, which is WHY it is late. Oh, and then there’s this other thing called a “garage detour”. . .

Definition of a “Garage Detour”: n: a major waste of time for everyone involved, except for one person that may actually not have a ride and need the bus. V: we have to waste 3-5 extra minutes actually driving there to pick up co-workers that could take a staff-vehicle and save us ALL a lot of time. Adj: unnecesary in most instances. Adv: Utterly annoying for no useful purpose.

What a “garage detour” really means is that we pick up co-workers on our bus route and detour off our normal route and transport them to their buses downtown and then the opposite-direction bus driver takes co-workers back to their cars. The problem is, this takes TIME and makes us late! The problem is NOT the route, it is both the route before and THEN the added garage detours.

This is how it actually plays out, as I did this particular route today: I busted butt to catch up and get downtown on time for my transfers, only to find out that I had to wait for two drivers going back to the garage. The problem was, one of the drivers was late and then I STILL had to do an extra detour to drop them off before I could continue my normal route. Bottom line: Caught up downtown, then 12 minutes behind after garage detour. SUPER bottom line: I had 2 hours of rain-soaked people that stood an extra 5-15 minutes in the rain because I had to wait AND transport fellow drivers to the garage when we have perfectly functional staff vans for that purpose. Wet passengers waiting for a late bus are not happy and make added phone calls to customer service and stressed-out bus drivers (when the stress could be avoided) are even more harassed by passengers that have a VALID AVOIDABLE point. You see, we have actual vans that drivers utilize to get downtown and other route-relieving places on campus. It makes no sense to me WHY we make both passengers and drivers late for routes when we have a system in place already to transport everyone more quickly and efficiently.

Although this is somewhat a personal rant (on behalf of some of my co-workers as well), I would just like to point out that companies should LISTEN to what the employees have to say.. We are actually doing the job. Listen to our suggestions.

Oh, I forgot! This is not a great segue between topics, but I would also like to add that the recent focus on hair and uniforms is not a valuable use of energy. Our passengers do not care how we are dressed or what our hair looks like. Are the complaint calls EVER regarding those issues? Doubt it. Our passengers want to be transported from one place to another and have NICE people doing it in a timely manner. (perhaps a poll could be taken regarding values of the passengers, if that would make anyone feel better) If anything, I would think that we would be advertising the fact that we promote diversity in the workplace. Let’s focus on getting folks to where they need to be on time and being NICE to them. It works better that way. . . 🙂

And although “late is unacceptable”, in this case, I would LOVE to have our concerns heard. Please listen to our suggestions. We want things to be better for all of us!

Gotta go! I am thinking PIZZA for dinner tonite! 🙂


Art vs. Advertising: The Banana Debate

Hi folks!

I hope you have all had a wonderful day! I have! I got my yard mowed and got an AWESOME pic of a praying mantis during the process! ☺

First and foremost, I would like to wish my Aunt Marta a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! She is at one of those “milestone” years, but I will not divulge which one! I wish her love and peace for this most special day! I also hope that her day turns out even better than expected!

Second, I would like to thank the scheduling gods for giving me a late shift tomorrow! I turned down overtime today because I would not get off until after 10 pm and that conflicts with my normal sleeping schedule. Guess what? My reward is an even LATER shift tomorrow that does not get off until midnight! It works out GREAT, because it is almost like having two days off during the week, but I hope that I can adjust my sleep schedule so that I don’t fall asleep at the wheel tomorrow night. (or extrapolated: Friday during the day.)

Anyway, after sleeping my normal schedule and hoping for an early overtime call (that didn’t happen) I ran around and did my errands and came home and decided to check Facebook. Unfortunately, I ran across a most disturbing post and pic of the banana sculpture being removed from a nearby campus property. WHY was it removed? I actually do not know. The artwork has been a subject of a heated debate between the City of West Lafayette and a property management company regarding logos/advertising and art. My guess is that the property management company was forced to remove their sculpture, but I do not know for sure. I checked the local news and didn’t see anything, so I am guessing.

What disturbs me is: Who decides what is art and what is advertising? And what is the essential difference? To me, I find beauty in CREATIVITY and ORIGINALITY. That is how I define “art”. For this reason, I see art as an expression of something that no one else has done, or had the gumption to attempt. The point of art is for people to EXPERIENCE it. This may be thru painting, music, writing, performance, and also business. Every “art” wants exposure (which could be called “advertising”).

Let’s revisit one of my favorite people Mister Rogers. He introduced us to a neighborhood of make believe. Let’s “pretend” that the banana sculpture came before the property management company and was erected at State Street and Andrew Place 10 years ago. How would the banana sculpture be viewed if the banana came before the logo? It would still be there. And probably be a fixture of originality with a TON of pics taken next to it.

Let’s also make believe that artists do not want advertising. I hope that it is NOT the case that artists do not want their works seen, that writers do not want their words read, that actors do not want their performances viewed, that musicians do not want their music heard. That would be a major disappointment to me and I would be completely stagnant without that external inspiration. That is why I love ART!

In my opinion, businesses work the same way. There is an idea and an inspiration and that is formed into something special. It is “art” in a different form and one we should embrace because it is ORIGINAL. The problem arises when one business is SO original that it trumps the others. What happens when a company far excels others? Mainly, the unoriginals complain to the City to get their competition quashed and the originals move on with their bad selves by offering free banana splits! It is a classic case of “Banana Envy”.


Dress Codes? Reconsider what you are actually aiming for. . .

Hello everyone! I had a completely awesome day today doing the Bronze Loop! I always forget to include this loop in my favorites. WHY? Because it is so awesome that I rarely get a chance to drive it! Thanks Amigo! I enjoyed my day and your wonderful passengers and also had a GREAT time at Beering Hall! I will explain briefly, then get to my topic!

Beering Hall is a “time point” for this route and I was early several times today. A “time point” is a place that we CANNOT leave more than 59 seconds early because it messes up the rest of the schedule. When we get to these time points early, then we must wait. It is the PERFECT opportunity to go to the bathroom and/or check your phone, make phone calls, get snacks, etc. You are early, so you HAVE to wait anyway. Luckily, there is a long pull-off and others can get around you.

It just so happens that I had a lot of classes in Beering Hall and I often times encounter people that I know while I am in there doing “my business”. “How are yous?” and candy exchanges happen and discussions happen over grabbing copies of the “Exponent” and “The Black Sheep” for passengers to read while they are riding and I am driving. Win/Win! I have to wait and the passengers get reading material!

Today was EXTRA special because when I was early on one occasion, I saw my favorite professor and friend G-7, sitting on a bench at the bus stop and waiting for the 1B Salisbury in his jeans, sweatshirt, and do-rag! AWESOME! Grabbed a Reese’s cup and followed my passengers up to where he was sitting! We had a brief two-minute catch-up session regarding his completely original NASCAR/Political Theory class and I got the times and classroom number so that I can “audit” the class sometime this semester. “Audit” means: Attend for FREE! ☺

This is the PERFECT segue to what I want to talk about: Clothes do NOT make a person. I had not seen G-7 for a couple of years and I decided to Google him. I discovered a YouTube video of him discussing Somalia in front of world leaders for 15 minutes in his do-rag. Folks, G-7 knows his shit! Furthermore, he can teach classes and also address world leaders dressed like he WANTS to. (He did have a groovy shirt and sport-coat on, but the do-rag was in place!)

Recently at work, we have some new uniform rules that will be instituted at some point in the near future. I actually LIKE the previous uniform options because they allow for some individuality regarding body type and comfort. The NEW rules are going to make some uncomfortable in their clothes and also eliminate most possibilities of individuality. WHY does this bother me?

Here is WHY. People that are not happy in the clothes they are wearing are LESS comfortable. Uncomfortable people are less likely to be friendly and open and helpful. How does this affect me? Co-workers bitch about rules and I sometimes agree (depending on which one) and then you have negativity before the day even starts. The other MAJOR problem with requiring that we all dress EXACTLY alike is the fact that we are INDIVIDUALS. We are what makes the company and also how the Purdue contract will be kept. If we are all dressed the same and our individuality is stripped, then how will a Purdue student or staff member differentiate between us and some new company? It is just another “uniform”.

I am going to take this one step further because of the U.S. Constitution protecting my Freedom of Speech! ☺ It does not matter WHAT a person wears in ANY job. It also doesn’t matter what a person is wearing when you meet them. Look at the person, not the clothes. Assholes are found everywhere and in every field. Get rid of the assholes and let the rest of us do our jobs and dress at least “comfortably”.

My final thoughts: If there is a problem with an employee and the way they dress or behave, then deal with that individual. It doesn’t work when employers change the rules for EVERYONE because of one or two people. When that happens, EVERYONE feels punished because of one or two people that were not addressed. What happens afterwards is a “tit-for-tat” regarding rules and those that should have been reprimanded to begin with, start tattling on others to remove their blame. If an employee is dressing improperly or treating people poorly, then please deal with that issue, rather than imposing new rules for the AWESOME employees that you have hired and daily do a FANTASTIC job! I speak for most of my co-workers when I say,”Just let us be comfortable.”


God’s Work. Our Hands.

Hello again folks!

I know I have been absent for quite awhile, but I will explain why. I have been trying to figure out (and write about, as I have the drafts) WHY people cannot accept “nice” for what it is. What I specifically mean is: A LOT of people are skeptical of “niceness”.

I have touched on this subject in previous entries regarding power and interest, ideology, and economic theory, but the underlying theme in all of them is “intent”. I have come to the conclusion that INTENT is what most everyone focuses on. Many people are afraid that other people are being nice to them for some ulterior motive. In other words, they believe something will be expected in return if they accept kindness from others. This is WHY I have been confused about people my entire life. Naivety? Perhaps. . .

Today, my church (St. Paul’s in Frankfort, IN) had an event that helped beautify a local park and also brought the community together. A GROUP of individually NICE people got together and we had an AWESOME day that transformed the atmosphere of the park. Let me explain what happened. . .

A plan was set to have an event where we could improve a local Frankfort park with flowers, weeding, mulch, and improvements to the basketball court and sandbox. We also had activities for kids to come and do chalk art and paint flower pots! Our goal was to add BEAUTY to the community! ☺

Here is how it actually worked: We had our shortened church service and then we all got busy. As hot dogs were being prepared, art supplies set up, and our planting area being dug up and prepared, a couple of unexpected volunteers from the neighborhood showed up to help. They worked their butts off helping us and when leaving, talked to their friends (who were neighbors), and then we had an influx of help with water hoses and buckets to help with the project! People were driving by and giving thumbs up and a bunch of little kids started flocking to the park for the FUN artwork!

I personally was HAPPY because Moon and Mom came to help out! Moon has been to my church a couple of times and knew some of the people, but I wanted Mom to meet the super-nice people at my church. It turns out that my Mom is completely AWESOME when it comes to gardening and inspiration! (I knew this already) Thanks Mom! You were an essential part of our project! ☺

To segue back to my original thought: Why do people accept niceness when it is presented in groups, yet are skeptical when it comes from an individual? It won’t change me anyway and today, I do not care. We had a GREAT day as a church and a community and the park is completely PRETTY! ☺