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Dec 2 14

BART’s Oakland Airport Connector

by mim

BART opened the new BART to OAK service on Saturday, November 22nd, in time for Thanksgiving travel this year. Basically it feels like an airport inter-terminal light rail/train type thing, like AirTrain at SFO or AeroTrain at IAD, only it operates between BART’s Coliseum station and OAK. I have no idea if it’s the same type of rail technology, just saying it feels the same.

When you get off the BART at Coliseum station, you don’t even have to get off the platform. The Connector (I actually am not sure what they’re calling the service so I shall call it the Connector) is on one end of the platform — there are signs pointing towards it. Or you can just follow the people with the luggage; that’s what we did. Then you cross like a covered pedestrian walkway/bridge to the Connector station.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection bridge

Where you exit the BART gates. There’s a $6 surcharge for exiting here, so the fare is however much it is to Coliseum station + $6. The old AirBART shuttle bus service was only $3, but the new service is nicer and faster, so I think it’s worth it. Nicer and faster as in it’s new and there weren’t lines and there was no traffic and whatnot issues.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection entrance/exit

Then you wait on the platform — it was a pretty short wait for us, less than 5 minutes since we were in the peak 8am to 8pm time window.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection platform

Then you get on and I suppose contrary to what I said previously, it’s not exactly like a airport terminal train system because there wasn’t extra space for luggage and you don’t hear messages about setting your luggage brakes to on. But very similar. :)

BART to OAK Connection train

The ride took longer than I thought, perception-wise. It was shorter than the shuttle ride for sure, but there was a short stop in the middle of it — it happened on the way there and on the way back, so I guess it’s just a part of the trip. You’re not allowed to get off or anything but it does look like a spot where a maintenance or emergency crew could get on. I don’t know why the train has to stop at all; it wasn’t explained. Also the trip felt like it was winding around a bit. But then you get stopped off near the parking lot at Oakland Airport between Terminals 1 and 2. You have to cross lanes of traffic to get to the actual terminal, further out than the old location where the AirBART used to drop off. I wish they’d built it to just outside the terminals, but really it’s not a big deal. Just if they were going to build a whole new system, and you have to escalator down to the ground anyway, why not skip having pedestrians with luggage going across traffic? I don’t know.

This is the view of the station on the way back. You get in and pay your fare and don’t need your BART or Clipper card until you get to your destination station.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection

Overall, pretty nice! After BART went directly to SFO, directly into the International Terminal, we started to use SFO a lot more. Even though the ride was pricy, it was convenient. Now OAK has something pretty equivalent. I only had two things to even sort of complain about (the weird random stop/pause and that it doesn’t let off closer to the terminals), neither of which are deal breakers. So yay:)

Oct 7 14

Sticky Page Markers on Kickstarter

by mim

I have no need for these because I tend to memorize the page I’m on, just flip around until I find my page again, or drop in a random receipt or something. I do this even when I have perfectly cute bookmarks around, so this doesn’t work. But these look really nice. Much better than little sticky sign here tags too. (via The Well-Appointed Desk)

Sticky Page Markers

Oct 6 14

Moar Apples!

by mim

Lately, one basin of fruit including some apples hasn’t been enough, so we have been buying a bunch of apples, and some other fruit too. Enough to fill 2 medium stainless steel bowls! (Also I seem to have lost the ability to talk or write about anything but apple.)

moar apples!

Leaf told me that she couldn’t trust my taste in apples because I seem to be liking everything, but you know, the other day, I got some grocery store apples (organic Fuji and Honeycrisp) both of which are on my yum list, and they just didn’t measure up! They were crispy and cool, so satisfied that part for me, but the flavors just weren’t the same. Yut and I both thought they were sweet but insipid. Blandy bland. I still ate mine up because I didn’t care, it was apple, but it definitely wasn’t as good as the ones at the farmers’ market where they claim that they were tree-ripened and recently picked. Also, I was reading this Orange Pippin site where they talk about apple varieties and users review them and whatnot and lots of people say that Golden Delicious is a perfectly fine apple picked tree-ripened east of the Mississippi. So I may just be in the wrong place to get a really good Golden Delicious. (What, you don’t go looking for websites about apples??? :p)

I wish there was a way to tell at a grocery store if the apples are going to be good, but it seems very iffy, because I have gotten good apples at the grocery store before, it’s just not a guaranteed thing. Actually this may be why I’m not generally a fan of apples. This is the first year I’ve really gotten a lot of apples since my parents used to take us apple picking in the fall time — mostly Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. Back then, I vaguely thought Golden were better than Red Delicious I think, but I don’t remember loving apple. Leaf maybe remembers better than I do.

So I guess if you know for a fact that the apples are good quality, organic, tree-ripened, brought directly from a farm, then my apple advice holds! Otherwise even the best apples can be boring!

Good apples I have eaten this year: Mutsu (Crispin), Pippin, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Cameo, McIntosh, Jonagold, Empire, Gala.

Bad apples I have eaten this year: Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Fuji

Oh and by the way, this advice holds for Asian pears too. I have had really yummy Asian pears from the farmers’ market (most recently Shinko and Niitaka varieties), but also really blah Asian pears from the Asian grocery, even the premium ones. I do believe there’s a difference! Of course, your mileage may vary and I suppose there may be confirmation bias going on. But that’s what I think. :)

Sep 19 14

Apple

by mim

I’ve been craving fruit a lot lately. Actually smoothies too, but fruit more. And most recently, it’s apples — which is great cos they’re in season. But not all apples are the same!

Fruit Bowl

I prefer apples to be super crisp, and sweet. Tart is ok, but sweet is better. So, in case you’re looking for a high quality apple, I have apple advice! I’ve eaten more apples this year than I have in the last like five.

Good apples: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Empire, Gala, Mutsu (Crispin)

Bad apples: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious

You know why they’re bad apples? Because they’re not crisp. They’re more… mealy? Like you can practically make applesauce just by biting into it. So if you don’t care for crispy apples, then no worries, Red and Golden Delicious might be perfectly lovely for you. But if your taste in apples is similar to mine, then the other ones will be better. That is all. Yum apples!

That fruit bowl by the way, is fruit for two people for a week. Lately I have been obsessed by fruit so we buy a bunch every Saturday at the farmers’ market. It used to be that we would buy like 6 fruit (say 2 pluots and 4 peaches or whatever) but now that would last 2-3 days and in fact, even that fruit bowl, we had to stop by the farmers’ market yesterday to supplement with two more apples. I have an apple problem. IT’S MADNESS, MADNESS I TELL YOU. Alas the recent apples were Golden Delicious and even though they were picked the day before, they weren’t crisp enough. Also, I don’t insist on buying fruit at the farmers’ market, although I suppose I do sort of prefer it, but in this case, we just happened to be going by one so we stopped.

Edited to add Mutsu apples to the Good list! Cos we went to the farmers’ market and bought: grapes (Thompson?), 2 types of pluots (Dapple Dandy and Flavor Grenade), peach (Summerset?), Asian pear (Nijiseiki?), and of course apples (Mutsu, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, I think — they were out of Empire and I didn’t bother with anything that wasn’t supposed to be super crispy, not even Jonagold). It’s not as much as it sounds because sometimes with organic apples, they are small. But oh so delicious. :)

Jul 14 14

Random Interesting Links

by mim

Hey it’s another edition of random links!

Review: Plumb Goods Notebooks (& Giveaway): The Well-Appointed Desk is giving away a $50 gift certificate to KnockKnock/Plumb Goods. Just comment between now and Friday, July 18th at 10pm CST. She reviews the notebooks, too, which look lovely.

The Future Resident of Helsinki Will Not Own a Car: OMG this is the dream, as far as I am concerned. :) What will it take to get it done here?

Ohio Amish begin vaccinations amid largest measles outbreak in recent U.S. history: I kind of wish people were required to vaccinate before going to public places (unless you have a good reason like a compromised immune system, of course). Is that too harsh? It just seems to be one of those “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins” sorts of things… Maybe I am oversimplifying, but please vaccinate. Sheesh.

16-Year-Old Says Her Rape Went Viral; Alleged Rapist Tweets His Innocence and Mocks Her: This is so damned sad. I hope that the existence of the photos is proof enough to charge these horrible people. She’s brave for speaking up.

My New Ink Journal in an Old but Loved ARC Notebook: I should do something like this. I mean, I sort of do, but in a bound journal and I just write a quickie quote. And I do it randomly when I think of it. Well… maybe that’s close enough. HAHA

TWSBI Mini Fountain Pen 1.1mm Clear Piston Filler Review: I love this pen. Everything he says about it is true! I really don’t like the tinted hood in the cap though — mine cracked. It doesn’t affect the functionality of the pen at all.

Should I organize these links?

Jul 11 14

In Which I Am Weird

by mim

Peanut butter on pizza crust

The other day we had some pizza. When I got to the crust, I thought yum, this is good crust! Then I thought, mmm I’m really in the mood for bread and peanut butter. So this happened. It was good! But you know, this is Trader Joe’s creamy peanut butter and I’m not sure I’m loving it. It is nice and creamy and stays creamy but I feel like I want more peanut taste? Am I nuts? (Har har) Maybe I should buy the salted version.

Although I keep hearing that Laura Scudder makes the best peanut butter, so we might have to try that — except I’ve never actually seen it in a store before, possibly because we’ve taken to shopping primarily at the farmers’ market and Trader Joe’s, but still. Wow that was a ridiculously run-on sentence.

Jul 8 14

Interesting Links From This Past Week

by mim

Some of these are old, some are new, but I thought they were all interesting.

Funny robot gifs — The robots are trying, but failing. Funny! My fave is the ketchup one; lol, literally. [via Kottke]

Lionel Messi is Impossible — The best soccer player right now, by a lot of stats.

Solar Has Won — In Queensland, Australia they have enough sunny days and solar panels that coal is having a hard time competing.

Winter Session + Doane Paper Flap Jotter Transport Small Giveaway — The Pen Addict has a giveaway! Comment on his blog before 11:59PM ET on Thursday 10 July!

Sonic Ratchetta Sharpener review

Brooks Falls – Brown Bear Cam — Sometimes boring, sometimes awesome live bear cam. Always relaxing watching the bears.