Monthly Archives: June 2009

Bus art is cool

Kathleen McElwaine from the Texas Hill Country has taken her bus pastime to a whole ‘nother level. Every day, on the hour-long bus commute to her job at the University of Texas, she paints–real paintings, folks–from her seat near the window. Here’s a sample of her work:

A bus painting
Just a Geranium,” by Kathleen McElwaine

The majority of Kathleen’s bus ride is on the highway, so she doesn’t have to deal with the jostling of a city bus. (I’d like to see someone try this on the 48.) She’s also managed to create a bus-friendly set-up (lap easel, paint pallet, et cetera) for her rides. Check out this Youtube video of Kathleen in action.

I paint going and draw with the marker coming home. I often paint as many as 5 paintings going in the morning, most often when the morning sky is a great inspiration. As I finish the watercolor stage I put the painting in a watercolor book to get it out of the way; our bus is crowded and I want to be a plus in everybodys life. I then paint another and another until I must stop. Then in the afternoon all I get out of my back-pack is the watercolor book and my prismacolor marker – it seems to work well this way because I’m tired at the end of the day.

A fabulous artist and a good bus citizen? Definitely my kind of bus chick.

Kathleen also sells her bus paintings–both originals and note cards–online. Talk about taking advantage of travel time!

NOT my kind of transit advertising (or, Buh-bye, WaMu)

Really, Chase?

A Chase ad on a 53

This ad is wrong on so many levels, I don’t know where to start. (Fellow Seattleites: You feel me?) If it weren’t for Brown Bear’s awful, self-congratulatory campaign*, this would win the award for worst bus ad ever.

*Of course, I can’t seem to find a picture of it now (will link to one soon), but you know the one: “Favorite car wash of local salmon.”

Car talk

There is no better place to hear involved discussions about America’s dominant mode of transportation (other than a NASCAR race or a singles’ bar, that is) than the bus. Bus riders love to talk cars. They talk about car problems: squeaky breaks and worn-out clutches and dragging mufflers; cars previously owned and then lost or sold; cars that will be purchased when there’s enough money; cars that idle next to the bus at lights–especially those that aren’t being properly driven or maintained.

Mostly, though, they talk about cars that are waiting–in parking lots and parents’ garages and mechanics’ shops and impound lots, just until the end of the week, or month, or year–to be driven again. (They would be driven now, except that the paycheck doesn’t come until Friday, or the ex-wife needs it until she starts her vacation, or the license is suspended until January.) These cars have butter seats and whitewall tires, V8 engines and big wheels. They are mint-condition, powder-blue 60-something Impalas (which, by the way, can turn the head of even the most committed bus chick–or at least, this committed bus chick) and black-on-black 500 Benzes. They are Corvettes and Caddies and Beamers and Lincolns.

They are never, ever Toyota Solaras.

House hunting, bus chick style

For several weeks now, I’ve been meaning to tell you about, also known as the coolest real estate website on the internets. In addition to the standard stuff (price, square footage, number of bedrooms, type of property, etc.), it lets you base a home search on proximity to transit (!) and/or a neighborhood’s walkability. So, for example, a person could search for homes under 500k, within a quarter mile of a 27 stop (yes, you can filter by specific bus routes), in a neighborhood with a walk score between 80 and 100.

This is brilliant–and something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. I think I’ve mentioned that where a person lives is the single most important factor in determining her happiness and success as a car-free type. And until now, finding a car-free-friendly (car hostile?) neighborhood has required a fair amount of research–especially for folks who are not familiar with the area. Estately doesn’t eliminate the need to research the neighborhoods you’re considering moving to, but it certainly helps to narrow the field.

Plus, it’s pretty addictive. I’ve been playing with it all evening–looking for homes that are near Link, near at least two bus lines, in neighborhoods with walk scores over 90… I think I might have to move just so I can take advantage of it.

For now, serves all the major markets on the West Coast, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. (More cities to come!) They don’t have plans to create a similar service for renters (I imagine it would be hard to fund and possibly to manage), but I’ll keep my eyes open.

Eastbound 3, 5:40 PM

Two twentysomething guys are keeping the front section entertained with their end-of-the-workday banter.

Twentysomething guy 1: “Kate Moss rides the bus. Not this bus, but a bus.”

TSG 2: “She still in town?”

TSG 1, patting his chest: “Yeah–right here. I’ve got a teeny, tiny Kate living in my heart.”

A ride to the race

PictureRacing for the cure this Sunday? Sound Transit’s got you covered.

Whether you run, walk, or just cheer at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s annual Race for the Cure, Sounder commuter rail can get you to and from the event at Qwest Field on Sunday, June 7.

The special Sounder service, dubbed Ride for the Cure, will serve Sounder stations in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent and Tukwila, Everett, Mukilteo and Edmonds, bringing event participants to King Street Station in Seattle, just a short walk to Qwest Field. Regular weekday Sounder fares apply for the special trains.

Inbound trains will depart Everett Station at 6:25 a.m. and Tacoma Dome Station at 6:30 a.m., with both the northline and southline trains arriving at King Street Station shortly before 7:30 a.m. Return trip trains will depart King Street Station at 11:55 a.m. at the conclusion of the event. Complete timetables and fare information for the Ride for the Cure trains are at Timetables for Ride for the Cure trains are also listed below.

I’ll be at the race on Sunday (never, ever miss it), but I won’t be arriving on a fancy, branded train. As always, Trusty 27 will be my ride.