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~Monday~  It was 16° out this morning, and I waited for the bus with my long pants, a sweatshirt, my ski jacket, and gloves on. Fortunately, the wind was hardly blowing at all, so it was not as cold as it might have been with an additional wind chill factored in.

Before I could swipe my GoPass free fare card, someone who had gotten on at a previous stop jumped up out of her front row seat and tried to swipe hers. Evidently, it didn't work when she'd swiped it when she'd gotten on. It didn't work again, and the driver said, "You need to get a replacement for that card. I can't keep letting you by just because it's not working."

It made me think about how worn out my card is already, after just five months of use, and I wondered when mine is going to fail. There is a white spot in the middle of the magnetic strip, and I can't tell if it's because part of the strip has worn away or if it's something on top of the strip. In either case, I'm sure it can't be good.

It was nice and quiet on the bus, and when we stopped to pick up Logorrhoea (she's baaaa-aaack), she broke the silence while fumbling through her purse and pockets saying loudly (of course), "TOO MANY CARDS UP IN HERE."

She took a seat across the aisle and one row up from me, and I noticed that her hair was absolutely atrocious this morning. It was sticking out every which way but loose, with huge spaces between clumps of hair, and from the way the sun shined on the side of her head it was obvious that she had something very greasy "all up on her scalp."

At the next stop, the lady whose card didn't work got off the bus, and said to the driver on the way out, "Have a blessed day."

The man sitting in front of me had on a stocking hat with a visor built in to it. I'd never seen such a thing. I like it.

At a subsequent stop a guy got on with a black jacket with silver markings on it that were as bright and shiny as the gold ones on the one that guy wore last week with what looked like liquor bottles on it, but unlike those I could tell exactly what these markings were: big diamonds with little rays over the round part indicating their supposed brilliance and in between all the diamonds were dollar signs.

At my stop, the New Year Nerd Trifecta departed the bus—Library Man, Sci-Fi Fantasy Man, and Black Bag Man (that's me, with my black laptop bag and my black soft-sided briefcase).

At lunch time, I ran across the street to the Li'l Dino Deli for a sandwich, where I did see my character Li'l Dino in spite of her not being on the bus this morning. I went around to the other side of the kiosk to order my sandwich, though, as there was no line on that side.

A short, Hispanic woman asked me what I wanted on my sandwich and among other things, I noted just a little, little bit of purple onion. She grabbed a handful and I indicated that that was too much as she dropped a few until I said, "That's good."

"I can't be having onion breath all over my colleagues all afternoon," I said.

She nodded her head and laughed saying, "I know what you mean. With me it's garlic. But I like garlic, and it keeps sickness away."

"Not to mention vampires," I quipped as I left her laughing.

Social Networking and Technical Communication class started tonight. I sat next to Jen, of course. There are a dozen people in the class, and after Dr. Dicks went over the syllabus, the required texts, the assignments (including the grading), we went around the room introducing ourselves.

I'm pretty sure I've met a couple of people in that class at one of the STC gatherings, but I can only say with certainty that I remembered the guy sitting right next to me, Neal, as I remember him telling me about an internship he did at The Onion, and how cool I thought that was.

After that we watched a 19-minute TED video—I can't say enough about how much I love TED stuff—by the author of one of the books (The Wisdom of Crowds) that we're going to use in the class: James Surowiecki: When social media became news. He talks about how blogging was used during the 2005 Asian tsunami, and asks three questions about the blogosphere and then talks about each one:

  1. What does the blogosphere tell us about our ideas about what motivates people to do things?

  2. Do blogs have the possibility of accessing a kind of collective intelligence that up to now has not been tapped?

  3. What are the potential problems, or the dark side, of blogs?

I found the points in the video around the third item quite compelling, and I wanted to discuss them, but alas when the video was over, the class was over as well. I longed for my salonnières.

Just before I left for the gym, my friend Anna noted that she thought her husband went to my gym and that he would be there tonight working on arms. When I walked in, I saw a guy doing cardio that I thought was him from the very few pictures I've seen of him, and it turns out it was. Cool.

Once he finished his cardio, he came over to the machines on which I was doing upper body work, introduced himself, and we had a short chat.

After he walked away, this guy walked up to me and started talking to me. He had big arms and a big chest that looked mostly like muscle, but he also had a big stomach, which definitely was not muscle. He had ruddy red cheeks, and his hair was a little bit tousled, like he'd probably had on a baseball cap before he came into the gym. Bubba. That's what I thought.

The conversation went something like this, more so from the perspective of what I heard rather than from what he actually may have said:

"Hey, how's it going?" At this point, I looked behind me to see if maybe he was talking to someone there. It's quite unusual for someone to come up and just start talking to you in the gym, at least that's been my experience, so I really didn't think he was talking to me.

Seeing no one behind me, I then thought, "Well maybe he's waiting to use this machine after me or is going to ask to slip some sets in between mine," but I dismissed that because when I looked behind me I'd noticed that no one was using the machine that sits back-to-back with the one I was on, which was the exact same machine and empty, meaning he could have just gone and used that one if he wanted to do the same exercises I was doing.

He went on, "Yeah, man I'm gonna do it this time. I've been saying I'm gonna get back in shape, but now I'm doing it. See these arms? I'm doing these things called supersets, man. You know what those are?"

"No," I replied working my rear delt sets, more interested in keeping the count in my head of my reps in the current set than listening to him about supersets, which made me think about super sex, but definitely not with him.

"That's when you do one exercise, and then go right into another one, blah, blah, blah, and no break, blah, blah, blah. Try that man; if you do that, you'll swell up like this real fast, blah, blah, blah." With my mind still on super sex, I thought, "Did he just say swell up?"

I just nodded at him, and he continued, "Yeah, I've lost 11 pounds already this year. You want to know how?" And although I gave no indication that I did, he barreled on saying, "I'm doing the Dolly Parton Diet."

At this point, I was between sets, and I immediately grabbed the handles of the machine and started on the next set thinking, "No he's not doing the diet of one of the biggest gay icons ever, Dolly ('You-have-no-idea-how-expensive-it-is-to-look-this-cheap') Parton!"

"Really?" I said, rather intrigued, but in retrospect, mistakenly.

"Yes, the first day you eat nothing but cabbage soup. The second day you eat cabbage soup and some vegetables. The third day, blah, blah, blah, (I tried to keep the rep count of my fourth set going in my head while he was yammering away, '...5-4, 6-4, 7-4, 8-4, 9-4,' ), the fourth day cabbage soup and a whole gallon of 1% milk, blah, blah, blah, ('...12-4, 13-4, 14-4, 15-4'), the fifth day, blah, blah, add meat to it, blah, blah, blah..." and on and on and on to finish off the week.

As I rested between my fourth and fifth set, he persisted, "Yeah, I'm gonna do it. I'm 42 years old now... hey, how old are you?"

"I'm 52," I replied and started in on my fifth, and final, set.

"52? Wow. Yeah, I'm 42, but I still feel like I can be in the best shape of my life at this age. I believe that. And you can, too, man. Even at 52. If you lost 50, (I pressed on with my rear delt reps, pumping up the count volume in my head to drown out his incessant, now approaching rude, yammering, '...7-5, 8-5, 9-5, 10-5...'), no, if you lost just 40 pounds, ('...11-5, 12-5, 13-5, 14-5, 15-5')you'd be in great shape for your age."

Mercifully, he finished and walked away before my set and rep count progressed into a subdural hematoma aneurysm, if that's even medically possible.

Leaving the gym, I stopped next door in the grocery store, where, no, I didn't buy cabbage soup, but a loaf of 9-carbs-per-slice bread, thank you very much.

Back home, I had a instant message chat with Robert, and a little later on one with Joe, all the while making Scrabble moves when it was my turn in the three games I'm currently playing.

Before going to bed, I devised this blog entry while Bubba's (if you can call it one) conversation was still fairly fresh in my mind.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)

Bus rides are without doubt exceedingly fine fodder for blog chatter. (My friend Anna, one of the other commenters here, used to ride the bus in Nashville, and said she has stories, too!)

Feel free to share your bus stories here, or I do read your blog, too, so if you write any there, I'll see them. :-)

Thanks fore reading and commenting!
Jan. 12th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
shut him up for a while and Bubba sounds like he could be my sorta guy...
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)

Good lord, Dan. In what way? :-)
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
Bubbalicious! LOL! Thanks for reading and commenting, Dan!
Jan. 12th, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
chatty Bubba
Love that story. I wonder if the fact that Bubba saw you chatting with JR opened the door to him? One certainly wishes him luck with his new self. Perhaps next year, after he conquers this goal, he can work on tact and the art of conversational restraint. Just another twist on the less is more theme. ;-)

Being mistakenly intrigued is socially inconvenient, but linguistically beautiful. Love that.

Meanwhile, I'll be stalking your blog for links and references to your class. If our agenda for the 18th will allow, I'd be all for taking up those questions about blogs. Gonna watch that TED talk today or tonight! I have a TED-sized crush on TED.

See you soon!
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Re: chatty Bubba

"I have a TED-sized crush on TED." Beautiful!

Thanks for the linguistically beautiful comment. Love THAT! :-)

Let's do talk about at least questions #3 whenever we're together again and it's socially convenient. :-)

Thanks for reading and commenting, Anna.
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
I had a similarly odd gym experience on Saturday. While I was working out on the flat bench a gentleman passed me twice and muttered something both times. It was unclear if he was muttering something *at* me or not. Given that he didn't explicitly try to initiate a conversation I ignored it.

Yesterday at the gym Mutterer was back and I've decided that far from muttering at me, he was muttering a full out conversation to himself all over the gym. I found it hilarious to hear him mutter to himself "I'll show you how it's done" while he was adjacent to a 70-year-old woman. I'm sure she was as puzzled as I was initially. Maybe I should start blogging about gymcapades as there are a couple of other interesting characters there :)
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)

LOL! Oh please do! Characters are everywhere, really. :-) Thanks for reading and commenting, Casey!
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
talking at the gym
No one ever talks to me at the gym or very seldom, and not to that extent(and I'm not including the guy who sings along to his ipod). Maybe because i always have earphones on, or just look plain unapproachable. (just put on you talk-to-me-I-kill-you look.
Is this what you saw? (stocking cap with a visor) My Mom got one of these for my Dad. For when you don't want to give up your ball cap, but your ears are too cold. http://www.harrietcarter.com/featured-products/fleece-ear-band/ Phil
Jan. 13th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
Re: talking at the gym

omg. I might have to kill someone who sings out loud to their iPod when they have ear buds in. That's insane.

Gracious! That's a lotta drama about some ball cap and some ear muffs. :-) Thanks for reading and commenting, Phil!
Jan. 13th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, that is one of my least favorite things in the world...someone coming up and talking to me at the gym. That is just one of the rules (in my mind), no talking! Just cardio, lifting, and staring at all the hawt stuff in the mirrors...lol. Also, pretty sure Dolly's "diet" consists of tiny portions of anything she wants, at random times during the day, according to HER, and she should know. The nerve of that guy saying that about the 40lbs...what a nutjob.
Jan. 15th, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
A social networking class @ NCSU??!!
How did I miss that? (Oh right, by not keeping up with the blogs of late--such irony)

This was one of the Big Topics at the transportation conference I just back from. In fact there's tons of interest in combining social networking/media with transit. Just think, a new dimension in bus blogging.

Seriously though I wish I had known about that class. Would have been good to even just audit. Thanx for posting some of your reading list--I'll have to check it out!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )



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