Random Interesting Links February 2015 Edition

Haha I typed February 2015 Edition like I am good at posting up things on a schedule. Actually usually I note interesting links when Leaf sends me a “I ran out of internet and I’m bored” email which she hasn’t. But whatever. Here’s some things I saw around that I thought were interesting, if anyone is ever bored.

I’m adding another link:

  • How the Boxer Brief Got Into America’s Pants: I have to admit, I like them, but I had no idea they were so popular. I like to buy Flint & Tinder’s Trunk Briefs. Not sure what the difference is between Heritage and KS1. Also, I’m always happy to take suggestions if you think something is better!

I’m a Goofball

So this just happened:

Dial number, hear “Welcome, please enter your access code and press the pound key.” Enter the access code, absentmindedly press the red obvious button without thinking, hang up on the call. Oops!

Conference

Note how the # button and the red button are not easily confused. And yet. Thank goodness no one hears anything until you actually connect properly.

Ranking Every Episode of Every Star Trek

Some superfan, Jordan Huffman, ranked every episode of every Star Trek series ever. Seriously. I can’t speak to this, since I’ve only watched The Next Generation completely (but at least one episode of every other Star Trek except the animated series) but holy cow what commitment. In my opinion, TNG was the best, but if you’ve never watched any episodes, and start from season 1, there was a lot more inconsistency. It hit its stride by season 2 or 3 though. I think this is true in general of most shows? I mean, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a great TV series, and still it took a little bit for it to get amazeballs.

BART’s Oakland Airport Connector

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:)

Sticky Page Markers on Kickstarter

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

Moar Apples!

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. :)

Apple

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. :)

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