The 7 Unspoken Commandments of Commuting in San Francisco

8 Apr

It’s Opening Day at AT&T Park in San Francisco, an exciting time for Giants baseball fans but a nightmare for daily commuters taking public transit.

If only it were this easy...

If only it were this easy…

There is an unspoken code of conduct that seasoned commuters in the Bay Area abide by but it is often disrupted by major events like baseball season due to the influx of new travelers who are unaware of commuter courtesy or simply refuse to abide by the law of the land.

We see you, inexperienced commuter. We are judging you. We are mean-mugging you. To help you avoid humiliation and potential confrontation with a daily commuter, here are the 7 unspoken commandments of commuting on BART and MUNI in the San Francisco-Bay Area:

Commuting in San Francisco., Bay Area

1. Thou shall wait for commuters to off board the train/bus before getting on board.

DO NOT attempt to squeeze through the side while people are trying to make their way out because you will disrupt the flow of traffic and delay the train/bus from leaving.

2. Thou shall not pry the doors open as they are closing.

“The doors are closing. Please stand clear of the doors,” says the automated robotic BART operator. That doesn’t mean stick your arm or leg through the door and try to pry it open. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, you are delaying everyone on board and potentially ruining everyone’s commute by breaking the door.

bart delay

Unlike elevators that re-open upon sensing an obstruction, some MUNI trains and buses don’t. Don’t be like this woman:

muni fail

3. Thou shall not crowd around the door if it’s not your stop coming up next.

Often times the people who crowd around the door are not getting off at the next stop, which causes congestion when people who need to on/off board are forced to squeeze around them. It’s not a race to be the first one on or off the transit. Chill.

4. Thou shall not stop in front of the doorway.

Not sure which way the elevator or exit is? Clear the doorway first before trying to figure it out. DO NOT stop abruptly to look around while other commuters are trying to get on/off the transit. The best way to figure this out is to not be the first one out the door and simply  follow the flow of traffic.

5. Thou shall not weasel thy way to the front of a line.

Typically, commuters will form a line, with the person who has been waiting the longest in front. DO NOT cut the line. You will get mean mugged or worse, confronted and humiliated by the sea of seasoned commuters you just disrespected.

On a side note, does anyone else find it ironic how people are so antsy to on-board a train/bus but are slower than a blind turtle to get off?

6. Thou shall respect the rules of the escalator.

Right side is for standing; left side is for walking. If you’re directly behind the person who is standing on the left side, you’d be doing us all a favor by asking them to move a la derecha.

…and last but not least…

7. Thou shall not stop at the top of the escalator.

Same as rule #4. It’s a bottle-neck so you need to move out of the way to allow the flow of traffic to continue uninterrupted.

 

Whether you’re new to taking public transit or a regular, the most important thing to keep in mind is courtesy. Offer your seat to someone who could use it more than you and be mindful of these unofficial but long-established codes of conduct. You’ll be much happier, safer and look more experienced.

Do you have any horror commuter stories? I’d love to hear them!

Chronicles of a Fractured Foot

16 Jul

“Did someone give you a seat on BART?” A man asked me this as I hobbled through a crowd standing shoulder-to-shoulder and off the train during rush hour.

This Friday will mark Week 2 of having a fractured foot – or more specifically – a 5th metatarsal fracture on my right foot. How did this happen? I’d rather not share that with you because you will judge me for all eternity (or think I’m incredibly bad-ass…but more likely the former). Every day has been a new story about how I came to be with a ginormous boot and a severely swollen foot.

Some of my favorites have been:

  • Breakdancing (One lady asked if she could come dancing with me)
  • Skydiving (bad landing)
  • Mountain Biking (trick daddy)
  • Rock Climbing (bad fall)
  • Walking (leave the rest up to imagination)

The one that I haven’t had the balls to say, yet, is that I was a survivor of the Asiana plane crash at SFO (too soon, fools, too soon!)

Going back to the question that inspired this blog post, I’d say I’ve been fairly lucky with considerate human beings during this ordeal. People have helped with doors, offered a seat, cleared the pathway and given me plenty of pity stares (I eat your sweet pity stares for dessert).

But I’ve heard from many that people can also be quite cruel and heartless to the crippled. So while that question came as a bit of a surprise initially, I am so grateful for the thoughtful people (friends, family and strangers alike) who have helped to make this completely lame situation much more bearable.

More than inconsiderate people, there have been a number of dangerous obstacles that have made life with a fractured foot not so pleasant. It’s list time:

Top 5 Most Perilous Obstacles While on Crutches

1. Escalators

I never realized how fast they move. Buddy the Elf had every reason to be weary of these terrifying transport devices.

2. Uneven Pavement

Inconvenient for pedestrians, perilous for gimps on crutches. I must consciously crutch and pay close attention to the slightest dips and grooves of the ground. There’s a rhythm to walking on crutches and no one wants to look like a noob.

3. Need for Speed

Keeping up with others makes me feel somewhat normal but going too fast can result in a very embarrassing fall (the possibilities are endless).

4. Hills

Exhausting. Stupid.

5. Stairs

Either my apartment building thought it would be funny to shut down the elevator over the weekend or outside forces didn’t want me to leave my apartment for the sake of humanity. Getting down the 4 flights of stairs for three days was un-legendary.

Estimated Heal Time: 2 More Weeks…

The 10 Best Scents of Summer

22 Jun Strawberry and Mocha Ice Cream in a Warm Waffle Cone

The season of fun under the sun is officially here, and that means lots of outdoor activities are in the works!

But beyond the road trips, boating excursions and drunken picnics, the best things that I love most about summer is right under my nose…literally.

While these aromas are around all year long, there’s something about them during the summertime that spark nostalgic memories and emotions.

Here are my top 10 favorite summer scents:

1. Watered Grass

Image from redwoodlandscape.com

Early morning while the air is still cool, the smell of freshly watered grass is incredible.

2. BBQ

Steak, sausages and veggie kebabs ftw

Steak, sausages and veggie kebabs ftw

The aromatic smell of burning charcoal is synonymous with summer along with the savory meats and vegetables grilling to perfection.

3. Gasoline

Image from muenchen.de

Road Trip!

This is probably a little unusual but I actually really enjoy the smell of gasoline during the summer, especially when you’re filling up at the pump just before starting a road trip.

4. Ocean and Sand

Laguna Beach

Soaking in the warmth of the sun, stepping on soft sand and breathing in salty ocean air are some of the simpler things that make life so glorious.

“I believe in the sand beneath my toes. The beach gives a feeling. An earthy feeling…” (Third Eye Blind)

5. Fresh Water

Sacramento River & Lake Tahoe

Sacramento River & Lake Tahoe

The smell of fresh water is so rejuvenating and crisp. Whether we’re rafting down a lazy river or jumping off a rock into a refreshingly cool lake, fresh water adventures are simply delightful!

6. Carnival Foods

Carnival foods

Carnival Foods

Going to a carnival simply as an excuse to gorge on the artery-clogging, muffin-top producing fast foods is what my inner fat kid desires. Greasy boxed pizzas, corn dogs, kettle corn, funnel cake, caramel apples and dippin’ dots make my soul sing.

7. Roses

Morcom Municipal Rose Garden

Morcom Municipal Rose Garden

June is not only when summer begins, it’s also National Rose Month! The Morcom Municipal Rose Garden has given the phrase “stop and smell the roses” significant meaning.

8. Waffle Cones

Strawberry and Mocha Ice Cream in a Warm Waffle Cone

Strawberry and Mocha Ice Cream in a Warm Waffle Cone

Ice cream and summertime go hand-in-hand but the smell of freshly made waffle cones make this classic treat even more enjoyable.

9. The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

The fresh scents of the great outdoors under the hot summer sun makes trips to places like Lake Tahoe or even Marin Headlands amazing.

10. Early Mornings

Early Morning at the Bay Bridge

Early Morning at the Bay Bridge

I’m talking before 7am on a day you know it’s going to be a scorching hot mess. The sun is just stirring and the air is still circulating the coolness of the night. It’s my favorite time to go for a run!

What are some of your favorite smells during the summertime?

Natural (PWN) Remedies for Strep Throat, Flu

29 May

Earlier this year, I experienced the worst string of illnesses one after another…

The flu turned into the common cold, which quickly evolved into strep throat.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t taking the best care of myself during the flu-turned-cold period. As soon as I felt some relief, I got ahead of myself and extended my late-night rage sessions when I should’ve let my body fully recover.

The last time I had strep throat, my doctor prescribed me the antibiotic Amoxicillin, which I discovered by the second week that I was allergic to. It also had some weird after-effects on my body, particularly my digestive system and my hives.

So when the strep bug plagued me for a second time, I decided to try the natural remedy route. It took me a month and a half to fully recover but I didn’t have to take antibiotics.

NOTE: By no means am I a medical professional nor do I have any expert knowledge on this subject. But this is what worked for me.

This was my daily routine (and what it looked like):

Natural Remedy Regimen

Natural Remedy Regimen

  • Gargle warm salt water 2-3 times a day.
  • 3,000 mg of vitamin C (fruits and pills).

Blueberries, Bananas and Tangerines…oh my!

  • Gargle apple cider vinegar once a day (the vinegar burned so I’d skip a day or two if it was too painful).
  • Lemon and honey tea 1-2 times a day (this helped tremendously! The healing power of honey is incredible).
Lemon Honey Tea

Lemon Honey Tea

  • Lozenges to numb the throat pain.
  • Flu medicine to ease the fever and swelling.

In addition, I immersed myself in hot foods that could help me sweat out the illness using ingredients with kick-ass healing properties like garlic and ginger. This was the more enjoyable part of being sick :)

My version of the Filipino classic, Tinola!

My version of the Filipino classic, Tinola!

Ingredients include garlic, ginger and salt.

Gomtang (곰탕) aka Korean Oxtail Soup.

Gomtang (곰탕) aka Korean Oxtail Soup.

Ingredients include boiled down bone marrow, brisket and salt. Typically eaten with Korean radish cube kimchi aka kkakdugi (깍두기), which is marinated in garlic and spicy pepper flakes.

Kalguksu (칼국수) aka "Knife Noodles"

Kalguksu (칼국수) aka “Knife Noodles”

This version includes jalapenos, kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), garlic and onions.

Tteokguk (떡국) aka Rice Cake Soup

Tteokguk (떡국) aka Rice Cake Soup

Ingredients include garlic, onions, scallions and salt.

Eggs Baked in Avocado

Eggs Baked in Avocado

For healthy fats and protein!

I had a lingering cough for a few weeks after recovering from strep, which was annoying but nothing a little lemon and honey tea couldn’t cure.

Has anyone else tried natural remedies for treating strep throat? I’d love to know what your experience has been or if any of the aforementioned remedies helped you!

NYAM

NYAM

Draw My Life: Behind the Scenes

13 May

When my sister introduced me to the “Draw My Life” trend a few months ago, I couldn’t remember the last time I was so inspired and motivated to work on a creative project.

The YouTube Trend

The YouTube Trend

But I must say, the process of producing a video based on such a detailed and broad subject was quite a challenge, especially with what equipment I had to work with.

I started on Amazon.com and purchased an 11 x 14 inch magnetic dry erase board (~$11.99), which was a steal. Then came the process of composing the narration and marking all the specific points that I wanted to depict in a drawing. That alone took a few days and numerous edits.

The pre-production sketches.

The pre-production sketches.

When I was finally ready to film, I initially intended to use my Sony Cybershot to record but much to my dismay, my noob memory card only let me record a few minutes at a time. So I turned to my webcam and utilized the record feature on Windows Live Movie Maker, which allowed me to record up to an hour at a time. I ended up with three 1-hour video files…it was intense. The set-up was actually pretty comical. I used a step stool as an anchor for my white board and placed my laptop on top of a stack of magazines, like so:

The ridiculous set-up

The ridiculous set-up

To make things even more complicated, there was a harsh reflection from my laptop monitor that I covered up using a towel (sheets of paper failed to cancel out the light so I needed something thicker). But by doing so, I wasn’t able to see my screen! So I hovered my mouse over the “record” option and hoped that it was recording…

Back-view of the ridiculous set-up

Back-view of the ridiculous set-up

It was an excruciating process but fun, nonetheless. The voice-over portion was also entertaining and significantly changed from my original script throughout post-production. I had to consolidate three hours of video into less than 10 minutes and had no choice but to chop off tons of content. But for the most part, I think I captured the compelling parts of my life story (thus far) and really enjoyed getting my hands dirty again in a creative project…literally!

The aftermath

The aftermath

So without further adieu, here is the long-awaited project that I have been working so secretly on for the past month!

Oh, and if you want to know how ugly my hair really was growing up, here is proof…

Can you guess who I am?

Can you guess who I am?

New York City is One Big Apple

15 Apr

Yes, it’s true. I had never traveled past Nevada in all my years on this Earth until my recent trip to New York City last month. For someone who only knows The Big Apple from movies and TV shows, it was almost like meeting a celebrity. What I wasn’t prepared for was the weather…

For New Yorkers, 30 degrees is warm enough to go for a run in shorts and a tank top through Central Park. Having grown up in the Bay Area, where the weather is never too extreme, the cold weather was unpleasant. It was somewhat bearable during the day (and lucky for us, we had clear skies throughout our trip) but once nightfall came, it felt like Death had me in a chokehold. It was hard to do a lot of sightseeing because I literally couldn’t lift my head up to look around… (I’m a cold-weather noob)

Finding shelter was key to our survival.

New York City Subway Station

New York City Subway Station

There were several things that stood out on my first night in Gotham City:

  • The wideness of the streets and sidewalk.
  • The city’s garbage pickup/cleanup system.
  • Buildings so tall they obstruct the view of the sky.
  • The abundance of trash bins on every block.
  • The pace.

My girlfriends and I stayed at The Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown East and got a complimentary upgrade to a slightly larger standard double room.

While the sightseeing was fun, the best part about the trip was undeniably the FOOD! Shake Shack was one of the best fast-food burgers I’d ever had and I can’t even begin to describe the mouth-watering mystery behind the chicken over rice from the 53rd & 6th Halal Cart. The doughy deliciousness of all the baked goodies at Doughnut Plant was to die for as were the delicate macaroons at Laduree. While our customized pizza’s at Grimaldi’s were really satisfying, I wouldn’t consider it the best of its kind. (Thinner the crust, the better!)

Chicken over rice, Grimaldi's, Shake Shack and Doughnut Plant

Chicken over rice, Grimaldi’s, Shake Shack and Doughnut Plant

While we weren’t able to knock out everything on our sightseeing list, just having such good company made the trip that much more enjoyable. We danced the night away, laughed so hard we cried, ate to our heart’s content, drank like sailors and quoted movies based in New York.

My girlfriends are better than yours.

My girlfriends are better than yours.

At the end of the trip, we ran into some trouble at the airport. (More details in my Yelp review) Despite the setback, we were able to make the most of it.

I hope the next time I visit, it will be during the springtime when scarves can be swapped for sundresses!

(Photos courtesy of my Name Twin)

Stop and Smell the Roses: They Smell Really Good

2 Oct

While journeying through Adam’s Point in Oakland, I stumbled upon this hidden gem.

Smell the Roses

Water Fountain

Top of the staircase

I can imagine all the Oakland residents shaking their heads at my recent discovery of the Rose Garden but for someone new to town, it’s another one of those pleasant surprises that is winning my heart. The widely used cliche “stop and smell the roses” really had significance during my adventure. I’ve never actually stopped to smell roses but after one sniff, my nose couldn’t get enough. They smell INCREDIBLE!

I’m looking forward to running up and down the stairs here…

…and to top it off, my car achieved elite status along the way!

L33T Status!

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Is it 5 o'clock, yet? AGHHH!!!

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