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The following is the same information which was presented in an earlier post, only now the viewing experience is significantly improved as you can hear my voice in it.  Presented for your enjoyment in technicolor and cutting edge 2D technology… 

That is all.

Last weekend, some friends and I embarked on a an adventure to California.  We planned to attend Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which promised to be an excellent time.  Of the five of us in on the plan, only one owns a car: my good friend Cailyn.  After a short discussion, it was decided that we would be taking her car.  It was settled, we were attending Coachella.  Here is a picture of the type of car Cailyn drives:

Wait what?! You’re going to road trip 5 people in that little Mustang?? Crazy college kids.

People began to doubt us.  “You’ll never make it!” they said.  “Stop dreaming!” they said.  “Your parents don’t love you!” they said.

“Nonsense,” we responded.  We were determined and we would accomplish this feat.  Obviously, it was an uncomfortable ride.  BUT we did indeed reach Coachella.  We took many lessons away from the experience, and I will now share some advice with you to make your next road trip and smooth one.

  1. PACK LIGHT: If you’re like me, you pack for a trip and when you return you find yourself unpacking all sorts of stuff you never even needed on the trip.  You may feel like a failure, call yourself insulting names, and wonder if you’re just not cut out for life on the road.  Before you begin your self loathing just relax, there is an easy solution.  Pack light and pack smart.  Make sure you check the weather forecast for where you’re traveling so you don’t end up bringing that sweatshirt to the 90 degree beach.  Save ALL the space you can.
  2. SPLIT COSTS: You don’t need to overstuff the car with food before you leave.  Instead, pick up food along the way, but be smart about where you do this.  I know it’s tempting to run into the convenience store while filling up gas to grab that questionable hot dog or burrito, but finding a grocery store will be much easier on the wallet.  Speaking of gas, try splitting up the cost by starting a road trip fund.  Every member of the crew toss in $2o or so towards food and gas.  This is the easiest and fairest way to split the expenses.
  3. SWITCH DRIVERS: Look at your route ahead of time and figure out some fair spots to stop, let everyone get out of the car and switch drivers.  Nothing is more dangerous than a sleepy driver with 5 lives on their hands.  Especially when driving at night, be sure the person in the passenger’s seat is able to stay awake and alert with the driver.  Play some music, keep the conversation going, do whatever it takes to avoid falling asleep in the car.
  4. DON’T BE IDIOTS:  Don’t make the mistake of running any legal risks while you’re on the road.  Nothing kills the vibe of a road trip worse than a ticket or arrest.  Keep drugs and alcohol out of the car and drive the speed limit.  Keep the seatbelts on as well.  Death by car accident is another vibe killer.

Road trips are a good time for a group to bond and come away with some stories also.  Travel smart and safe.  Hopefully this has been informative.  Please comment with any insight you may have to offer from road trips of your own.

-John

I apologize to all two of my die hard readers out there for the break from posting, but I am now ready to get back into talking about the carless lifestyle.  Getting back to school is hard enough, it’s not made any easier when you throw public transportation into the mix.  Since I’m still trying to avoid thinking about lightrails and busses I’m coming at this post from a different angle than the rest.  Something that eases the transition into school and makes those train rides more bearable- music.

The following is a list of my personal favorite albums for drowning out that crying baby or the babbling homeless dude you know is going to sit next to you when there’s like 12 other seats open.

Third Eye Blind- Out of the Vein
This 2003 album is the third put out by Third Eye Blind.  While this band is in a constant neck-and-neck race with Guster for my favorite band and I enjoy all of their albums, I have no hesitations about calling Out of the Vein my favorite.  The albums doesn’t feature some of 3EB’s biggest hits (Semi-Charmed Life, Never Let You Go, or Jumper) but as a whole I think this is the band’s strongest album and is a nearly perfect mix of songs.  Danger is one track that has always stood out to me and reflects the feel of the album pretty well.

Desaparecidos- Read Music / Speak Spanish
Desaparecidos was a short lived project hailing from my hometown of Omaha, NE.  The band was headed by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Landon Hedges who later went on to form the band Little Brazil.  If you don’t know these bands, specifically Little Brazil, take a break from reading, hop onto Google, and check them out.  Those who refuse to listen to Bright Eyes because Oberst bitches too much in his music will be pleasantly surprised by Desaparecidos’ sound.  This 34 min. album, released in 2002, is a politically charged and energetic album which is a far cry from Oberst’s other cynical/depressing works.  The Happiest Place on Earth is probably one of the most political and memorable on the album.

Wale- Attention Deficit
Wale is a D.C. rapper who has been gaining popularity throughout the last several years.  There are no excuses for not knowing who he is yet, this guy is good.  I can listen to anything he has put out and very rarely dislike any of it.  Attention Deficit is his debut album and was put out in 2009.  Don’t assume because his debut album is only 2 years old that he’s short on material.  Check out his mixtapes too which are just as impressive as the album (Back to the Feature, The Mixtape About Nothing, More About Nothing).  Wale is an artist still on the rise with unlimited potential.  Chillin ft. Lady Gaga is one of the most popular tracks, and rightfully so.

Black Keys- Attack & Release
Black Keys is a band fueled by heavy guitar riffs and solid drumming.  This is a band whose sound I’m sure has been compared to Hendrix a million plus times despite being made up of 2 white guys Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carrey.  These are two musicians with no shortage of soul and a natural knack for coming up with some of the catchiest riffs you have ever heard.  They have an extensive discography of 6 albums (all of which perfect in their own way) spanning only 8 years.  With so much good music it was difficult to settle on a song to feature here; I settled on I Got Mine which is on the album Attack & Release which was the first album of theirs I heard.  Check out the song, but I cannot stress enough how much you need to check out every single album.

fun.- Aim and Ignite
This band is awesome.  They were formed by Nate Ruess in 2008 after his former band The Format (Google it if you don’t know) broke up.  I can hardly imagine trying to compare this band to any other, they use such an incredible amount of instruments in their songs their Wiki page literally lists member Andrew Dost as the flugelhorn and glockenspiel player.  Nate Ruess sings with a unique voice that I have seen people say they dislike at first, but after hearing one whole song immediately realize they sound like an idiot and change their mind about.  With another album on its way, Aim and Ignite is one that is pretty compatible with any time of day and any mood. Walk the Dog is their song you may have heard in a commercial, I feel like it was for UPS or something.

These are just a few albums that get me through those miserable lightrail rides.  Some bands that would make my honorable mentions list:

 

Hopefully those reading found this interesting enough and potentially have been introduced to a new favorite band.  Please comment any thoughts or suggestions for me of bands you enjoy listening to.  I’m always looking to get some help expanding the music collection

Gameday Slideshow

Hey guys,

Here’s a late post…

 

This is my first video project for online media 315 post.  The day of intramural soccer championship at downtown ASU.  A voice over version will be up soon.

 

Welcome back to my carless adventures.  This week, with a little help from a friend of mine, I made an excellent discovery in the universe of public transportation.  I found myself needing to take a trip to Mill Avenue which is just off of campus.  I live just off of campus myself, on the opposite side.  I weighed my options on getting to Mill:

  1. Walk: Mill isn’t necessarily out of reasonable walking distance from my apartment, but with the weather warming up this time of year I had to decide against it.
  2. Bike: Biking is a strong possibility, it would maybe be a 20 minute ride or so.
  3. Lightrail: There are lightrail stops right by my apartment and right on Mill as well.

As strong of a dislike I have for the lightrail, it seemed like an easy decision given my lazy mindset.  As I complained about the lightrail experience ahead of me, a friend of mine politely told me that I was being an idiot and that I needed to take the Orbit bus.

I wasn’t completely unaware of the Orbit bus’ existence.  I have seen them driving around Tempe before, I’ve just never taken them anywhere or really knew where they came and went from.  I decided to look into these buses and educate myself about them.  Here’s some of the info I found out:

 

  • Orbit buses are free to ride.  Their purpose in essentially to serve residential areas by connecting them to all sorts of places (campus, shopping centers etc.)
  • The thing that sets Orbit apart from normal city run buses is the route system they use.  They are broken into 5 different bus routes: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter.  Each route connects downtown Tempe to different places in the surrounding areas.
  • Orbit will pick you up on any residential street.  You simply need to wave the bus down and they will pull over and pick you up.  If you need to be dropped off somewhere other than a designated drop zone, there is a wire by the windows you pull to signal to the driver to pull over.

 

It turns out that one of the Orbit bus routes drives right past my apartment building.  My trip to Mill suddenly became easy as stepping out the front door.  Overall, Orbit seems to be a solid bus system.  Very convenient especially for college students and buses don’t tend to be overly dirty like some other systems around…..lightrail.

I’m sure I’ll be planning to take the Orbit more often now. If you’re interested in riding check out the website below for hours of operation, maps, and schedules.  If you’ve taken the Orbit before, it may be useful to check the maps out anyway as they apparently changed up some routes recently.

 

Orbit Website

 

Enjoy

Gameday: The Photo Story

Welcome to the continuing adventures of being carless in college.  In previous posts I have described the inconvenience of this lifestyle, shared how I cope with being carless, and given readers tips on different ways to get around town without a car.  This week I will be stepping up my game by presenting everyone with the exciting opportunity of being able to literally see my frustrations though a photo adventure of a day in my life.  Here’s the situation:

  • It’s Thursday, February 24 2011
  • My agenda consists of work, class, and downtown intramural soccer game at 9pm
  • This week we face our rival team and this game can not be missed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We begin in the morning.  I wake up with one thing on my mind: the big game.  If it hadn’t already been on my mind naturally, it would’ve been soon because my friend/teammate Alan has been in overdrive ALL week mass texting and Facebook spamming our team with “Get Angry” pump up messages.  It’s time for work so I throw in the iPod:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I climb on my bike like so:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, I ride the 21 speedster.  That’s pro style.  Since being carless I’ve become a champ at biking so I effortlessly coast down the street towards my workplace on campus.  My champion style biking usually gains a lot of attention on the street so here’s a photo someone must have taken as I flew past so they could remember the moment:

I sit through work, looking completely natural and entirely unaware that there is a photographer documenting my day standing right behind me:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the while trying to maintain focus on my work while I am bombarded by Alan’s messages.  As I work, my mind wanders and I wonder how I will plan to get downtown for our game at night.  I think back to some previous blog posts of mine and realize I have a few options to consider.  Lightrail, shuttle, taxi.  After class I decide I better bike over to Gammage as the shuttle seems like the best option.  When it arrives I have a sudden urge to photograph the enormous bus I’m about to take downtown, so I do:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a problem though.  I took so long finding the best angle for the shots that by the time I get them, the shuttle closes its door on me and takes off.  Back to the drawing board.  Light rail is never my first option and of course I try to avoid at all costs but gametime is soon and it may be the most convenient option:

Again, I sit naturally at the light rail stop completely unaware of this creepy person taking pictures of me all day.  I try to be patient and zone out to my music while I wait for the train to arrive.  Typical light rail takes forever.  I grow impatient and wonder how I can avoid this awful light rail ride I’ve chosen to submit myself to.  Suddenly, a light bulb goes off.  Carpool.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this all along.  I ditch the light rail stop and head back home to call for a ride:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily my personal driver is on my speed dial so it’s a quick task.  Driver is now on the way.  After a sudden and unexplained time lapse, the sun has set and my ride arrives:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This ride is no joke.  This things flies, we’ll be there in no time.  I happily board the car thinking of all the fools who got stuck riding the light rail.  We arrive to the game, throw on some jerseys, and continue to play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minor detail: we lost.  But no big deal, we’re set to rematch our rivals in the upcoming playoffs.  Get ready.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN can I please have your attention.  I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story.  I need all of you to stop what you’re doing and listen:

It seems that I have quite possibly wasted over a year and a half’s worth of time commuting between campuses by means of light rail.  Paying for Upasses, combating the light rail’s unpredictable schedule, and sitting next to druggies/overly affectionate teenage couples may have all been in vain.  I have dealt with all this for so long out of a lack of alternatives.  While I have always been fully aware of my deceit for the light rail, I put up with it because I ignorantly assumed that it was ironically the best option I had.

Well, only recently have I seen the light.  Thanks to the recommendation of a good friend of mine, it has come to my attention that there exists an alternative after all.  The following message is brought to you by ASU Parking/Transit Services Campus Shuttle.

Campus Shuttle

The Tempe shuttle station is near Gammage Theater

The campus shuttle is God’s gift to Arizona State students who regularly commute between campuses.  The shuttles are enormous charter buses that run all week picking up and dropping off students at all four of ASU’s campuses.  The link above includes maps of shuttle stops for you to see.  Since my discovery of this ingenious service I have had two chances so far to ride the shuttles and experience them in all of their glory.  The shuttle experience is a departure from the light rail, here are some of the many advantages the shuttle system hold over light rails:

  1. Step in someone’s disgusting pile of puke on the light rail again?  Anyone who has ridden the light rail knows about the deceptive look of it from the outside.  The inside of those shiny green and silver trains can be completely unsanitary, to say the least.  Not the case with these shuttles.  These are nice, new, roomy charter buses with plenty of comfortable sitting space that beats the light rail any day.
  2. Need to work on the ride?  These shuttles are all equipped with Wi-Fi so you can break out the laptop and finish up any work that you foolishly left until the last minute.
  3. Tired of having no idea when the next light rail will show up?  Here’s a great idea, SCHEDULED PICK UPS.  You know you’ve found a winner when the shuttle service is smart enough to set up an actual schedule, which is exactly what these guys have done.
  4. Going to Polytech or West campus?  These shuttles connect ALL 4 ASU campuses, whereas the light rail runs only between Tempe and Phoenix.

 

While I fully endorse these shuttles, it wouldn’t be fair to not acknowledge that they are in fact not the end all be all of public transportation.  They do come with a few set backs also:

  1. The shuttles only run between 6am-11pm Mondays to Fridays.  Any weekend or late night traveling you’re trying to accomplish will need to be done in some other way.
  2. Remember that whole scheduled pick up thing?  Wellll, they’re actually scheduled for pick ups every thirty minutes.  While this is less frequent than light rails and requires a little more time management, the shuttles will typically get you to your campus faster than the rails anyway.
  3. That’s about it actually, but it doesn’t seem fair to have 4 pros and only 2 cons so… I don’t know, I guess some people might find the yellow color of the buses obnoxious.

I wish they were a hilarious video about the shuttles like the one I posted for the light rail but as far as I know, nothing like this exists.  So instead I’ll post this irrelevant video of that well spoken Miss Teen American contestant from 2007:

A few more things to note about the shuttle service is that they ARE friendly for those with bikes.  If you let the driver know you have one before you board, they will open up the luggage compartments beneath the bus and let you store it there.

Also, if you plan to ride you should definitely bookmark this page on your internet.  The buses are tracked with GPS so you can open this page up at any time to check where they are on the route….which is something I would think the light rails would catch on to and the fact that they haven’t is incredible to me.

Abrupt blog ending.

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