MUNI’s Maps seem pretty useful, and I’m definitely going to be buying a printed copy. The complete system map also has very nice resolution of San Francisco neighborhoods.(0)
Archive for the 'Transportation' Category
This makes me a little cranky, but at least the money goes back to public transportation, which I’ll ideally be able to take to work again some day.(0)
As a person who may soon have the option of commuting somewhere where CalTrain would be useful, I admit I’m excited by the new Millbrae BART station (Or here’s CalTrain’s version of the story) that opens this weekend. Being able to transfer directly from BART to CalTrain will be a big deal going both ways, and this article discusses why it’ll be more significant than the SFO connection that’s part of the same package. Now that BART connects to CalTrain on the Peninsula, there’s really no reason for them to continue expansion there.
By the way, still no (good) net at home, and I’m going out of town this weekend. Updates will continue to be … nonexistent.
But oh, snowboarding is so close. I can’t wait. I’d love to be able to go the weekend before Thanksgiving if conditions look good, but I may have to wait until December 7th/8th before I get to go. At least at that point I’ll be done with classes and just have two finals left in my undergraduate career.
Heh, one of my thoughtful co-workers just sent me this email:
- “it’s important to me that, with the beginning of the winter season, i ask you one thing: if you die snowboarding in an avalanche, can i have your new powerbook?”
update, 11/10: Bah, apparently Kirkwood doesn’t archive their news, because now that link above is dead. But that’s okay, because there’s a new update today: Kirkwood’s opening on Saturday the 16th! As in, a week from Yesterday. I don’t know if I’ll get to go, but it’s more contingent on me finding a ride than even my workload (despite having my last midterm on the 18th).
Whew, I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t taking the train home to Bakersfield Yesterday. Thankfully, the train didn’t derail, because that’s when things tend to get really messy.
Speaking of unique signs, I can’t go very long without mentioning a certain sign in the canyon. (I might talk a lot about Bakersfield, but my parents actually live in Wofford Heights, near Lake Isabella, which is some 45 miles from Bakersfield. Highway 178 connects the two, and runs through the canyon, which has been carved out over the years by the Kern River (Famous for it’s motto “Stay out, stay alive,” or alternately, “Bakersfield: A riverbed runs through it”))
Highway 178 is a curvy, two-lane road, with a cliff along one side, and a drop to the river on the other. Persuaded by gravity, rocks have been known to fall onto the road. To make things more interesting, the canyon is free range land, and it’s not entirely out of the question to come around a sharp corner only to found a cow (or a hell of a lot of cows) in the middle of the road. And occasionally, cattle can be seen standing at impossible angles on the cliffs above the highway, mindlessly grazing.
To account for these interesting features, there are warning signs. A yellow sign with a black cow on it. A picture of a car tipping on it’s side. A picture of a car with rocks falling towards it. Among others.
And some clever fellow modified one of the falling rock signs to include a black, bovine shaped blob, falling towards a black, car shaped blob.
I’ll see about getting a picture next time I’m down that way (or my mom might already have a picture).
Oh, and a bit of friendly advice: If you ever hit a cow on highway 178, don’t report that you did it. Yes, report that there’s a dead cow on the road, so that they can clean it up, but do not report that you hit it. It’s free range land, so the cows are kind of allowed to be there. Your insurance probably won’t pay for the damages, and the farmer certainly won’t pay for them. In fact, he’ll probably want you to pay for the cow, and cows are expensive.
It was windy, blowing my mom’s little SUV around on the road more than I would have liked, especially considering that I’d only been awake for about five minutes. I pulled the wheel through a curve, and glanced in my rear view mirror, and a thought occurred to me.
“54 mph? What an odd speed limit… oh, stupid mirror.”
But boy did I notice that funny speed limit. It penetrated my drowsiness, and distracted me from fighting the wind, and in general, did a very good job of catching my attention. Because it was different. Of course, if they tried to get people to notice all the “we really mean it” signs (Take this turn at 25 mph. we really mean it.) by making each of those signs unique, people would eventually become habituated to the uniqueness, defeating the purpose.
In about 28 hours, I’ll be (hopefully be unconscious and not feeling any pain) having my wisdom teeth out. All four of them, as I’ve previously mentioned. Apparently my insurance is all kosher, and I’m good to go, et cetera.
But before any of that can happen, I have to get to Bakersfield. My train leaves at 10:20 in the morning, and it’s currently 5:00am, and I’m awake. Why? Because I haven’t slept yet. There’s been a ton I’ve been trying to get done before I’m gone for a long tall weekend filled with pain reliever fun (though hopefully I’ll be better enough by Sunday to perhaps play with the Jet Skis again). So updates have been scarce because of work, and they’re going to be scarce because I’ll hopefully be in one form of unconsciousness or another for awhile.
I know noramlly I’d write a lot on the train, but this perfectly good train ride will be wasted because I’ve got to make up the sleep I’m missing right now. But think, if I were asleep right now, you wouldn’t be reading this completely useless, waste of space post! Imagine what you’d be missing out on!
But I had things to do! Packing, reviewing my new lease, coding, et cetera. And in an hour (6am pst, 9am est) I plan to watch Steve Jobs Keynote speech from Mac World New York, to see what neat new things
he Apple announces.
I wish I could just go to sleep, because I’m clearly not being overly productive. And when I stood on my bed earlier this evening to reaffix my falling PowerBook G4 to the wall, the feel of the sheets on my feet left my whole body desiring more. But I can’t go to sleep now, because I’ll miss the Apple announcements. And more importantly, I’d likely sleep through my train, rather than sleep on the train.
Last week I was returning to Berkeley on the train, and on the way we got a little delayed. It didn’t concern me too much — Sure, I had a meeting I was supposed to be at, but what was I going to do about it? I understand that Amtrak doesn’t own the tracks, and that delays might happen as scheduling gets goof-balled, and that taking the train is more efficient than driving, and more. Heck, I actually like riding the train a lot. Even if I could fly directly home (There are no direct flights to Bakersfield from the Bay Area) in an hour, and it cost as cheap as the train, I’d prefer taking the train to flying, and I certainly prefer the train to the bus or driving myself.
But, on the train last week, there was a young couple (Sophomores in High School) who were heading up to Oakland to see the Mariner’s play the A’s. It was their first time on the train, and they were having fits about the delay. “I checked the schedule and I told him we’d be there at 4:05! It’s already 4:20!” I wanted to ask him why he expected we’d be precisely on time, and I was also vaguely curious why he didn’t ask one of the eight people around him who had cell phones if he could borrow one and call ahead and warn the guy who was supposed to pick them up. I don’t even know why they were stressing — the game didn’t start until 7, I believe I heard him say. What did they think they were going to do in Oakland for three hours anyway?
I would much prefer to spend the time on the train than at the stadium, for example. The train is air conditioned, the seats are comfortable, we happened to have a nice view of the bay, and I was actually pretty content sitting there waiting for the train to get moving again.
I was content, but this guy was stressing (and his girlfriend agreeing with him). When we “finally” started moving again, he told her “Next time we’re driving!” Fine, you go right ahead and drive from Fresno to Oakland (or Anaheim, maybe — it’s the same either way) for a baseball game, and it’s going to cost you the same, and you’re going to be less comfortable, and most of the time you’ll get there in the same amount of time, and you’ll be much more likely to crash, and in general, I would far prefer to deal with a delay now and then than drive if I could at all avoid it.
But it wasn’t the conclusion that “we should drive” that really irritated me, though it is a wasteful decision. No, what irritated me is that those kids rejected Amtrak based on one bad experience — They were not at all willing to give it a second chance, despite the fact that the delay had been caused by a grass fire, which could have just as easily blocked the 5 as it did some tracks. What irritates me is that they didn’t realize how illogical they were being, and instead decided that “This sucks, we can do it better ourselves.”
No, sorry, wrong answer. C’mon people, think!
Yesterday, I went to Bakersfield for a doctor appointment (and I apparently look and sound fine, and I’m not dead yet, but blood-tests might indicate otherwise). After the appointment, I went and saw Shrek again, because I figured I should take advantage of cheap Bakersfield movie prices while I had the opportunity — but about half-way through the movie, I got a call from my dad, telling me that the canyon road (Hwy 178, for those playing along at home) between Bakersfield and my Parent’s house was closed due to fires and falling rocks. Since my dad works in Bakersfield and commutes, he was in Bakersfield with me. He suggested we leave one of the cars in town, and take an alternate, much trickier route home. In my foolish optimism (and desire to see the end of Shrek), I declined, figuring that it couldn’t possibly take them that long to clear the canyon.
Well, the movie ended, and I called my mom, and got some information numbers to call, and she called one of the reporters from the paper she works for, and I found out two things: 1. The recordings CalTrans offers up (via 1-800-427-7623) are useful for spatial, but not temporal information. In other words, I found out that it was closed, but not when it closed or how long it’d be closed. 2. The highway patrol expected to have it open by 5am.
So, to review the situation: it was about 9:30pm. My train was leaving for Berkeley in twelve hours, but all of my stuff was in Wofford Heights, because I was just going to a doctor appointment — why would I take my luggage and laptop, etc, with me to the doctor? I couldn’t take the direct, easy, well known 1 hour route home due to fire, etc. Two alternate routes exist: A complicated path I’ve never driven, and on which my dad got lost and ended up back in Bakersfield and took more than two hours to get home, or going around the problem to Tehachapi to Ridgecrest, which is at least a two and a half hour drive.
“Bugger that,” I decided, and once I got ahold of my friends, I went and slept at Mike’s house again. And used Mike’s computer. And sat in Mike’s chair, and used Mike’s cable modem, and watched one of Mike’s movies on Mike’s TV and DVD player.
The issue of my stuff and the train still remained, though. So I called my mom and told where about the house I’d scattered my things: A book in the trailer out back by the bed. Showery stuff in the bathroom. Laptop + accessories on the bar. Yack Yack Yack.
She did a dandy job. I just forgot to mention my headphones. So now I’m sitting on the train, distinctly not listening to the mix of 500 some-odd mp3′s I lug around. It’s going to be a long six hours without any music and having to listen to the too-loud music of other people, and it’s all my fault, because I decided not to go home with my dad, and forgot to tell my mom about the headphones. No one to blame but me!
Later on the same train ride: Here I am, sitting on the train about 3 minutes from Martinez — And I’ve been sitting here for more than an hour. Ironically, we’re stranded here because some grass fires north of here affected the train tracks, and the scheduling of all the trains in the area have been impacted. It seems I’m just bad luck with grass fires these days.
After the train ride: My mom mailed me in response to the above, and informed me that I should have spent less time being bored and more time looking through all my things, because she had definitely packed my headphones. So I unpacked and there, in my suitcase, I found my headphones. It wasn’t even in the realm of possibility that she would have put my headphones in my suitcase, considering that my backpack wasn’t even full. But it’s still my fault for not looking through my luggage, or calling my mom and checking with her. Ah well, nothing that can be done about it now that the trip is more than a day passed.
Y’know, I thought jetlag was supposed to be what happened after you flew between time zones, throwing off your schedule in a variety of interesting ways. And yet, yesterday when I flew from Orange County to Oakland, I found myself exhausted when I got home. When I thought about it, I realized the source of my disorientation — I’m used to a six hour trip from southern california to Oakland, but this trip took just a little more than an hour. By the time I’d eaten some peanuts and had a coke, I was there! Compressing six hours into an hour sure wreaks havoc on my ability to stay up late and study…
So flying is much faster than the train, except that there are no flights out of Bakersfield that I can catch. But the train is cheaper, and gives me time to get some work done, and is much more spacious and clean and pretty. So, overall, I think I still prefer the train to the flying — the speed isn’t worth all the little annoyances of flying, and if I wanted to fly, I’d have to ride a bus from Bakersfield to LA, which is by far the worst of the three evils.
Back when I got my drivers license, I offered to give my friend a
ride home. Now, it should be noted that he spent half his school day
at an occupational school on the other side of town from our
High School. My friend, he thought I was going to pick him up at his
occupational school, while I meant that I’d give him a ride home from
our High School after he took the bus home.
So I sat at the High School for awhile, waiting for him to show up.
When his bus showed up and he wasn’t on it, I shrugged and went
home. A couple of hours later, he showed up at my, his clothes and
shoes very dusty, and an angry look on his face. Because of the confusion,
he was stuck on the wrong side of town, so he walked home. All five or six miles home. And he walked along the freeway, to boot.
Occasionally, the incident will come up in conversation,
and I get a few stern looks from the crowd. I think it’s pretty
funny. He’s still upset he ruined a pair of shoes.
Oops. It was an honest mistake.