Tag Archives: Glossary

I <3 transit

This week, it’s time for us transit types to engage in a different kind of bus luh. (Though of course, it’s really fine for us never to engage in the standard kind.) APTA’s trying to show Congress that there’s public support for public transportation.

Transit Lovers Unite
“I <3 Transit” engages public transit riders via mobile text campaign Washington, DC –The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and its more than 1,500 members are launching “I <3 Transit”(I heart transit), a mobile text campaign, to engage riders across the country and demonstrate the importance of public transportation to individuals, communities and the nation. The campaign, which starts this week, allows participants to show their support for increased public transit funding by simply texting “transit” to 86677. Each year 10.2 billion trips are taken on the nation’s public transportation systems. Riders depend on their local transit provider for freedom, mobility and access. By texting “transit” to 86677 public transit riders and enthusiasts alike can stand together in support of public transportation. This simple action helps spread the message that Americans want public transportation as a travel option in their daily lives.

If you can’t figure out how to do the symbols on your phone, just text “transit.”

Do it!

Speaking of love…

The latest installment of Grist’s dating column, “Treeshagger” (I know, I know) is all about how to find your soul mate (or at least someone you wouldn’t mind sharing a coffee or two with) on public transportation.

No matter how many “met on the bus” stories I hear, I never get tired of the topic. And this particular column happened to include the best transit hookup story I’ve ever heard. Peep it:

Did you hear about Patrick Moberg, that dude who found the girl of his dreams on the New York subway? Like a twee Wes Anderson hipster-man, he drew a picture of her in full rosy-cheeked glory, set up a website (NYGirlOfMyDreams.com), and struck gold when a friend of hers saw it and put him in touch with her.

I imagine their first date was a bit awkward, given that she already knew she was the girl of his dreams and all, but still. Wish I’d known about this dude on Valentines Day.

On the flip side: Not everyone you meet on PT is a potential love interest (ahem). Jezebel’s Social Minefield column recently tackled the ever controversial topic of transit etiquette. In case you don’t have time to read it, I have taken the liberty of summarzing: Be aware of others, and be courteous.

About that bus cake…

I recently chatted (via e-mail) with Nicole McGuire, the woman who made this amazing cake.

Here’s what she had to say about her kid’s bus obsession–and her work of genius:

Max’s love of buses began when he was about a year old with Joe taking him on trips when I was pregnant with our second child and too tired to go out and do anything. For some reason, Max just loved the bus from the start. By the time he was 14 or 15 months old he would literally shake and squeal with delight at the sight of an oncoming bus. He was a late talker, but his third spoken word was “buth!” (he hadn’t even said “daddy” or “mama” yet). We also live close to a busy intersection which services several bus routes, and so buses can be seen and heard at almost any time of the day out our window, so that probably contributed to the fascination.

As far as the cake went, I just wanted to make him something that I knew he would enjoy. He loves buses more than anything — except for Daddy — and I couldn’t make a cake in the shape of Dad. So, I got it in my head that I’d make him a bus cake. I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like, but I didn’t have any models to work from. I bought a book titled “Birthday Cakes for Kids” by Annie Rigg, hoping to find something to work off of. But unfortunately, there was nothing that resembled the image I had in my head. But I thought, “hey, how hard could it be?” and decided to take her cake recipe, thinking it would be sturdy enough to withstand shaping. It was; it worked beautifully.

Nicole was also generous enough to share her recipe. (It needs to be added to that cake cookbook!) I will definitely be trying it on a future birthday in our household. (Bus Nerd is next up, but he’s a pie man.) When I do, I’ll post photos (no matter how it turns out) here. If any of you try it before I do, be sure to report back.

Here’s the recipe for one 9×13 cake.
(I used 3 of these to get three 5.5″ x 13″ rectangles and then used the scraps to add the electric converter box on top. It really was a huge cake — it probably could have fed 30 people).

Annie Rigg’s Basic Yellow Cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
4-5 tablespoons milk, at room temp

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and place greased parchment paper in a 13×9 cake pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in electric mixer until pale, light and fluffy, about 2-3 mins. Very gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the bowl with a spatula from time to time. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the cake mixture in 2 batches, mixing until smooth. Add the milk and mix until smooth.

Pour into cake pan. Bake on the middle rack of preheated oven for 45 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely.

I used a Betty Crocker buttercream frosting — your favorite will do.

As the cakes were cooling, I mixed the food coloring into my frosting. I used the gel food coloring for more intense color (bought at a kitchen store, but I think you can find them at nicer grocery stores).
Blue + Green = Teal (for bus top)
Yellow + splash of Orange = Gold (for bus bottom and doors)
Black (for piping and line down center of bus)
Red (for small red stripe and metro writing)
Splash of Black = Grey (for windows)

Once the cakes were cool, I used a serrated knife to level the tops of the cakes so they stacked nicely. I cut them into 5.5″ by 12″ rectangles, being careful to save the remainders for the electric converter box that went on top. I put frosting in between the layers to cement them in place. Then I cut a little wedge off the back of the bus so it tapered ever so gently. I took two 1″ x 4″ scraps and put them side by side and on top of the cake with frosting to make the electric converter box. I tapered the sides of these (cut off little wedges on front and back sides) so they lay on the cake at a 45 degree angle. Then I crumb coated it. This is just a fancy way of saying that I put a layer of frosting around the whole cake and then stuck it in the fridge for about an hour so that the surface of the cake would be easier to frost and wouldn’t get little bits of cake everywhere. Then, I used some photos I found on google images as a guide and I frosted it. (One tip — I used both a small and large offset spatula to crumb coat and to frost). Teal on the top, gold on the bottom, black stripe down the middle, gray windows, etc. For the thin lines I put the frosting in a plastic pastry bag and snipped off the tip to pipe the frosting. The frosting took a good couple of hours.

I then stuck Oreos on for wheels (I cut circles into the cake so that the oreos would fit in and would be flush against the cake) and frosted black lines along the bottom as a bumper. For the front bumper I used black licorice vines. I used giant yellow gumdrops cut into rectangles for headlights, and cut the small circular tip off orange gumdrops for parking lights. I used black licorice ropes for window washers and orange jellybeans for the little lights on the top of the bus. I used the bottom of large gumdrops for the taillights, red jellybeans for the little lights on top in the back and a licorice allsort for the tailpipe. Then I put two long candles in for the electric poles.

Hooray for Nicole (coolest mom ever) and my new (third) favorite BCiT, Max!

Northbound 1, 10:45 AM

The bus driver is talking relationships with the BDP (apparently, a regular passenger) in the seat nearest to him.

Driver: “You know what they say: If you can’t be with the one you love…”

BDP: “Love the one you’re with.”

Driver: “Yeah. Don’t tell her that, though. She’s the type that will kill the messenger.”

Positioning for bus luh (or, How to increase your chances of finding romance on the ride)

Earlier in the week, Bus Nerd hipped me to this Slate piece about subway psychology. It didn’t turn out to be as interesting as it sounds, but it did contain one useful (and fascinating) tidbit: Apparently, parking yourself in the seat closest to the door* “offer[s] the best opportunities for falling in love with the proper stranger.”

Talk about a revelation! If only I’d known this back when Nerd was a “proper stranger,” it might not have taken us so long to meet.

Unfortunately, the article does not propose any theories about what seat choice has to do with bus mack success rate. Anyone got ideas?

*On the subway, anyway. No word as to whether this works on the bus.

P.S. – For those not familiar with bus luh: a definition.

Caption it!

The Bus Fam’s off to spend a few days in the Motor City, during which we will hopefully participate in (or eavesdrop on*) many a bus-wide discussion.

In the meantime, please help me with a caption for this lovely photo Bus Nerd snapped while we waited for the 4 on Memorial Day.

Gone fishin'
Northbound 4/48 stop (23rd & Yesler), 3:40 PM

You will note that Nerd is more respectful and considerate than I; he chose to include only feet and legs in this one.

As always, the best caption wins the envy and admiration of the rest of us, less clever, transit geeks.

* It doesn’t actually count as eavesdropping if it’s a bus-wide discussion, but you get me.