Sunday, December 31, 2006

happy new year!

Going to take BART out to the city tonight, instead of driving. Much safer, quicker and cheaper on one of the busiest and dangerous night driving across the Bay Bridge.

Thanks for being part of my daily commute in 2006. Happy new year, everyone!

Ugh....back to work on Tuesday!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Done with work for the year, but not done with BART!

Tomorrow is our last day of work since the company shuts down the week between Xmas and New Year's Day. I'll be working from home tomorrow and have had my last BART ride to work of the year!

Thanks for hearing me vent about (and sometimes compliment) BART all year and thanks for all the comments, whether you are agreeing, disagreeing, or just writing me to tell me that I'm ridiulous :)

I'll likely have one more BART ride before the year is over....that is riding to Emerald Bowl (ATT Park) on 12/27 to watch my UCLA Bruins play against Florida St. Seminoles in a meaningless bowl game. I'll see if I encounter anything worth writing about there, like if some Florida native is holding up the BART doors for his/her family and delaying everyone's trip!

In case I don't write again before the new year (although it's likely I will since I am not leaving for vacation or anything)-- Happy holidays, everyone!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BART tickets? Not the worst gift!

I overheard someone say that the worst gift they've ever received for Xmas (secret santa) was a stash of BART tickets. I don't think it's that bad! I mean, you will always have a use for them, if not now...then later in life! Or, you can always sell them for a lower price? That's not a bad gift at all! Not the most exciting gift for sure, but very very practical!

You know what the worst is I've ever received? Actually, it wasn't just for me. It was for my husband and me together, which actually makes it WORSE! It was an extended family secret santa exchange. Keep that fact in mind because that's what also made this so terrible- you are giving a gift in front of all your relatives to another family member!! Pride and reputation is involved here.

Anyhow, we received a fake gold plated set of manicure set (gold clippers, gold tweezers...etc) with a dusty and yellowed plastic film over the instruments, inside a rubbery smelling fake leather zip-up pouch. The worst part was...inside one of the nail clippers was a nail clipping!!!

I don't know how this particular relative found (or dug up) this old manicure set from the 70s (judging by the yellowed plastic covering) but this was either an "innocent" re-gift, or a complete act of cheapness.

So, BART tickets for Xmas? I'll take that anytime over old gold nail clippers!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Carpet vs. plastic floors?

I've been wanting to discuss this topic for quite a few weeks now. BART announced that it plans to replace dirty train carpet with plastic, easy to clean floors? Good idea? I definitely think so!!

The carpet is so dirty that I really can't picture in my head what the color was like when it was new? Something blue-greenish I think? We often see gum, blood, coffee stains, fruit roll-up chunks, pen stains all over the carpet...plastice floors will be a welcomed change!

Of course, there will still be inconsiderate people who prefers to throw their gum on the plastic floors (they just need to be fined!), but this decision is already a huge step forward!

Read the article about BART flooring here.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

5 more work days until time off!

These 5 days before the holidays are the best in terms of commuting to work. For those of us who still have to work these 5 days leading into the holidays, at least we get to enjoy lighter traffic, open seats on BART, more parking spaces at the stations and just fewer people in our way in general.

I also tend to be in an extra good mood during the week before Xmas; a lot more tolerant, a lot more sociable and a lot more considerate on BART :) Who knows, maybe I'll only have good things to write about next week on BART musings.

Hope you all are almost done with your holiday shopping! I'm only about 50% done and running out of ideas!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Smooth sailing today except...

Today's ride was actually enjoyable. No mishaps and early arrival. Best combination.

However, as soon as I took two steps out of the train upon my arrival, I heard a loud and vulgar sound. It was the sound of a man hurling and puking into the train tracks. After round one, he loudly cleaned out his stomach and throat yet again to let out another colorful pile onto the tracks. Juding by the volume, it seemed like he was in a lot of pain. But, after puking twice into the tracks, he grabbed his bag and walked on.

The sound is clearly engrained in my head still. At least 50 people heard and saw him. I bet I know what they're thinking of as they walked to work this morning.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rainy days are always bad days on BART

I can't even begin to discuss how many things went wrong today. I prepare myself for a bad BART ride everytime I see rain but today was beyond expectations. First, the estimated 5-7 minutes delay was actually more like 15-17 minutes. Of course, when the trains are THAT delayed, each train is packed to beyond maximum capacity. Wet umbrellas were sticking to me. There were passengers with luggage trying to squeeze on, but have no clue that they just landed their luggage on top of someone's foot. There are passengers who refuse to step out of the train for a moment to let other passengers get off at a stop. Then there are waiting passengers who insist on squeezing onto the train when there is evidently no room left.

I stood between two tourists with horrendously bad breath. They were probably just 4 inches away from my face. They kept on talking and talking. I wished I still had my cold so I didn't have to smell them anymore. Don't they smell each others' breath?? How could they stand it?
I turned my neck unnaturally to the left to try to get away from their I have a neck sore.

But this was not all. The delay caused me to miss two company shuttle pick-ups. I was about 7 minutes from the next pick-up so I thought I could treat myself to a hot cup of coffee at Starbucks. Usually, 3-5 minutes is enough time to get some coffee. But today, an idiotic cashier was working the lines...she was not only slow but messed up on people's orders. Then, they ran out of coffee! The cashier DIDN'T KNOW how to make a new fresh pot....and held up the line for about 3 minutes.

Finally, I looked out the STarbucks window and saw my shuttle pass by me. I thought I could still make it if I got my coffee right then! But of course...I didn't get it until 2 minutes later, and missed the shuttle.

Horrible start to the day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sometimes we just need a reminder

This morning, instead of taking BART to SF, I felt the urge to drive and deal with the traffic. I got a hot cup of eggnog latte and was ready to face whatever condition of traffic on the Bay Bridge. For some reason, I didn't mind the traffic today. I am still a little under the weather and just preferred to sit still in my own car than dealing with people on BART.

Not only that, I just felt like thinking in silence today. A former co-worker of mine (James Kim) was found dead after 11 days missing in Oregon and although we had not spoken in nearly 3 years, his ordeal brought out a series of emotions in me, as it did to everyone. From shock, worry, optimism, sadness, to self-reflection, I was reminded again how vulnerable life is and how often we wrongly prioritize things in life.

Instead of focusing on the Bay Bridge traffic today, I decided to look around, enjoy the gorgeous Bay view and weather. It was like rediscovering just how beautiful the Bay Area is. I even had an appreciation for the progress on the new bridge construction as I examined the beams, rods, and new concrete. Of course I know this positivity will last forever (or past this week), but at least for today, I will not let little things like traffic delays or no parking irritate me.

I really have a great life and am truly lucky.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Attack of the birds

BART was 6 minutes late today and caused me to miss my shuttle pick-up. I had the wonderful opportunity to "sightsee" in the lovely Civic Center BART vicinity today.

First thing I saw was a homeless man peeing in the corner. Apparently he missed, peed on part of his sweats, and was cussing and screaming into the sky.

Second thing I saw was frightening. I don't like birds, especially if there are many of them together. I also don't like them to be too close to me (had a bad aviary incident in a zoo about 7 years ago). Someone dropped a large, whole chocolate chip cookie on the ground. This cookie was huge, about 4.5 inches wide, with lots of chocolate chips! This cookie probably fell 3 feet in front of me! Suddenly, pigeons and other birds from all over the area flew right in front of me and started fighting for the cookie. There were at least 50-60 birds of all sizes. They were all trying to get a piece of it. Those who couldn't get close enough to the cookie decided to peck each other to fight their way in. It was vicious and ruthless. They were pecking at each others' heads, wings...anything...just to get an inch or two closer to the cookie. After all that pecking, the cookie broke into 2 pieces. The birds then fought for positioning all over again.

I took a few steps back and just watched these birds feasting on this cookie. FINALLY, one bus pulled over to park...the birds realized they had to move, and all 50-60 of them just flew up, over my head. fear...I let out a quick squeal from the shock, but pretended nothing had happened to save face since there were several people near me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm not acting

I don't know what happened or what I ate, but I woke up this morning feeling pains in my stomach and felt the constant urge to regurgitate (sorry!). I knew that BART would be a tough ride today. I saw an empty seat on the train, but it was a "handicapped" seat. I usually avoid taking those seats, but today, I actually felt like I needed to.

Mid-way through the ride, a woman in her late 40s maybe, tells me that she needs to sit down because she can't keep her balance. There were 3 men seated in the other handicapped seats- one overweight, one appeared to be asleep and the other is a senior. (Not trying to suggest anything here- that debate took place a few months ago, in a couple other blog entries). I guess I was the person most likely to give up my seat in this situation. But I really did not feel well. I continued to fight back any urge to throw up.

So, I told her nicely, "I'm sorry, I really don't feel well today, I need to sit down." She didn't buy it but before she can get mad at me, another male passenger a few feet away told her she can have his seat. Confrontation avoided. She sat over there and left me alone.

I just continued to close my eyes with my head back. No one else asked me to give up the seat. I made it OK to work, but now I have to deal with the rest of the day, hoping that this sickness or whatever it is will just go away!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Go ahead, ask me why I am sneezing and sniffling!

The ride to work this morning was painful. I was sniffling and sneezing nonstop. No, I do not have a cold. My nose and sense of smell was attacked by a man wearing way too much cologne. I wanted to change seats but there wasn't anywhere else to sit and with my heavy bag today, I didn't want to stand. The strong scent from the cologne was bothering me the entire time- it was absolutely overpowering. I first fought back the sneezes but it was almost like poison and within a minute or two, my nose and any sense of nasal control I had left completely gave in.

I sniffled and sneezed. This man kept on looking at me, seemingly annoyed that I was having nasal issues. His looks turned into impatient stares. I just stared at him back.


Because if he did, I would have LOVED to take that opportunity to be a bitch and tell him that his cologne stinks and putting on cologne does not a) attract dates, b) cover up any body odors, c) boost self confidence, and d) take place of showers.