Thursday, April 30, 2009

beware the orange vests

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure....

Today as I was jamming along to Dierks Bentley (check him out- if you click in the top right hand corner you can hear his latest album Feel That Fire) at the light rail stop in Tempe when I was approached by a man in a brown camouflage bucket hat sporting an extremely bright orange vest, like the ones construction crews wear so they don't get anything dropped on them. He asked to see my light rail pass and then quizzed me on my recent light rail activity. He then spoke about the importance of tapping my platinum pass at every station, every time. At first glance I thought he was going to ask for my spare change, however I soon realized there were others in the same obnoxious vests talking to light rail users all along the platform.

After scouring over the Valley Metro website, I found no information on these informative, yet slightly bossy persons. The gentlemen appears to be part of a light rail task force, a group of individuals looking extremely unprofessional- all in fluorescent orange vests. This group has been stationed at the Rural and University light rail stop in Tempe accosting students and other light rail users. For instance, after being lectured on the specific uses of my light rail pass I was told that I needed to wait at the other end of the platform as the train would not be stopping in front of the bench I was sitting on. Let me say this light rail police, I will sit where ever I please to wait for the train and if I have to run to catch it, or miss it all together that is my prerogative. (Kirsten helped me out with this declarative statement, thanks buddy!)

So it is with great annoyance that I urge the ASU population to pretty please start tapping your light rail pass at the pay station. Also, please do not walk across the tracks to get from one platform to the other (I have found they do not find this action favorable). The sooner we figure this out, the sooner the orange vest brigade will disappear from my stop and I will be able to sit on whatever surface I please while awaiting the train.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

fruition of a dream

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

Today was the day the PRSA, Professor Rodriguez's 301 group, himself, and I were invited to tour the new civic space. Thankfully almost all of our propositions for opening day (see last blog) were approved and I was able to take some shots of the almost-finished park. Despite the grass areas being roped off, I could feel my tension slipping away as I was engulfed in the wavy green lawns. It's one thing to be able to envision what something like this would feel or look like, but it is a completely different thing to stand in the middle of it on a perfectly sunshiney day in April and take it all in. The potential of the park hung in the air as our group was ushered from one rolling hill to another passing the water wall, solar panel shade structures, and splash pad. Gina, a fellow female PRSA member, was exploding with visions of future events. As she spoke of slip and slide contests, visits from various Arizona sports team mascots, and a battle of the bands event I could feel my eyes glazing over. I was standing admist a parks and recreation major's dream; a living laboratory.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

free lunch and fun times

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

(I've finally recovered from my last one.)

I am currently the Secretary of the Parks and Recreation Student Association. I am getting extremely excited for an event we are co-sponsoring with a group of students from Professor Rodriguez's PRM 301 class. The event is titled "Community Celebration" and that it will be. On April 16th the Civic Space across the street from the UCENT building will have its grand opening day celebration. To help this joyous occasion (us parks people really, really love parks) we are serving FREE lunch to ASU students and the local community. That's right, free food and good times for all. I am so excited to get to use the new park, and even more excited to see my peers shining faces out and about in our new space. What's even cooler is that you can watch the last bits of construction before opening day without having to go outside (but you should go outside anyway).

Use this sweet link to view the webcam of the Civic Space:

Or you can take a sustainable tour of the Civic Space:

Your best bet will be to check it out for yourself on Thursday April 16th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. I can't wait to see you all there!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

but i never went to bike academy

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure....

... or disaster, rather.

Let me just preface this by saying that I believe individuals should have to go to a bike riding school, similar to driving school in order to own a bike. I would also like to point out that if this were a requirement, I would not be graduating from bike academy for quite some time.

This afternoon my suite mate and close friend, Sara and I decided to grab a coffee from Dutch Bros. one of the best coffee places in the vicinity of the Tempe Campus. As of late Sara and I have become quite consumed with bike riding, so naturally we hopped on our beach cruisers and headed down to the irresistible coffee stand. The journey there was a successful one and the insanity didn't start until after I received my skinny, iced, raspberry white chocolate mocha.

As already mentioned I am not too confident in my bike riding skills, so I was extremely nervous to be biking with one hand (the other was being used to hold my AMAZING coffee). As I was preceding down Rural road to the light rail stop I was almost hit by a car turning right into a parking lot. After lots of swerving and almost falling twice I continued upright to the light rail station. It was then I learned the valuable lesson that individuals driving cars with their windows up cannot hear my shrieks of fear, or me shouting obscenities after catching my balance. (Honestly, this may be for the best.)

I was screeching into the light rail station at the exact moment the light rail was. Unfortunately for me this meant I would have no time to lock up my bike and would have to take it with me on the metro if I wanted to be on time. I would like to interject here and confide with you that the muscles in my arms are nonexistent. If you have been on the light rail you already know that bikes are hung up on the metro. Since I have no upper body strength I cannot lift my bike onto the rack and so I must sit my bicycle in front of me. This seems to annoy most of the passengers in my vicinity, especially when there is room for my bike on the rack.

I have never been accused of being couth and graceful. It was quite difficult for me to get myself, my large sorority bag, my delicious coffee, and my beach cruiser situated on the fairly busy light rail car. After three minutes of moving and shuffling while making awkward faces I was settled.

(In bike academy you would learn how to do things with your bicycle like hang it from tricky racks on the metro and set it in confusing bike holders on the bus.)

Two or three stops after I had joined the mass transit headed downtown, others with bikes joined us. I was terribly embarrassed when a girl about half my size got on with her insanely cool road bike (it had zebra print handlebars which matched her red shoes and indie chic look) and lifted it into the bike rack. Not only did I feel even more ridiculous for not being able to put my bike with its other counterparts, I now had the attention of the entire car who undoubtedly were wondering why on earth I couldn't put my bike away as easily as her.

Somewhere between the 44th Street and Washington and the 24th Street and Washington I decided that putting my ipod on would be a good idea. Which would have been fine if I was organized. I was bobbing my head and swaying my shoulders to the sound of Nizlopi when I came to my stop. As I was making my much awaited exit from the metro my headphone cords caught on one of the bikes hanging in the ever-defeating bike rack. I didn't notice this until my breathing became restricted and I slammed my head into the bike seat of yet another hanging bike. The gentleman (which he was indeed not) across from me thought he would help me and my cruiser along by giving me a slight shove in the direction toward the door.

My oxygen flow came back after my headphone popped out of my ear allowing me to stumble out of the light rail car, barely avoiding two pedestrians and a small child. (At bike academy they would teach everyone that ipods and bicycles don't mix.)

I am now dreading the ride home tonight, as I will have to travel back to Tempe with my beach cruiser. Even if I make a fool of myself and get into several near death experiences I will celebrate (with Nizlopi, and my paper crown) upon arrival at Adelphi. Like Nizlopi says...

It's time to throw away your doubt
Throw away your blues
Wake up in the morning
Tear up the news

(I will also look up some information on a bike academy!)