Things that You Learn at a Shuttle Stop


I took the late shuttle on Thursday. It was far less crowded than the 7:45 bus. Usually there were 5-6 of us waiting at the stop rather than the 10-20 during the earlier time.

It was hot. We all sorta huddled behind the Muni shelter, in the small piece of shade surrounded by blazing sunlight.

I was reading an article from a back issue of The New Yorker, a story about a dessert lab in New york city. It sounded more like a “dessert bar.” I was vaguely aware of some random conversation going on around me. Suddenly the guy who was talking to the group, pointed at the article from behind me and exclaimed,” I LOVE that article!” I was completely startled. Before I was able to conjure up a response, he continued, excitedly, “OMG! I love that article so much that I blogged about it. And I tried to find an on-line copy…” I asked him whether he loved it because what it talked about, the dessert sounds amazing, or because of the writer. He said that he loved the way the author writes. “I can’t explain. But i just think his writing is fantastic. I loved it so much that I bought the author’s book called ‘Heat!'”

I continued reading the article on the shuttle. Another passenger of the shuttle asked him more about the article. He explained that the author used to be the editor at the New Yorker but fell in love with cooking after interviewing/visiting this dessert lab he described in this particular article. The editor eventually quit his job and went to Italy to study cooking.

Later on, I looked for that article on google, just typed in the article’s title and the author’s name, up came on the 4th slot was a blog. I opened it up, it was by this guy at the shuttle stop! I spent the rest of the evening reading his blog’s archives. Turned out to be excellent reading. I collected his RSS.

His name is Omar, and he loves podcasting. This is the nth time i’m hearing this term, “podcast.” I asked around and finally understood how it worked–“Which planet are you from?” co-worker commented when i revealed my ignorance. Following Omar’s advice, i spent the evening downloading podcasting and listening to them: BBC Documentary Archive, NPR Books, best of KFOG, Bill Moyers on Faith and Religion, etc. etc.

I’m hooked! Downloading as much as i can find onto my ipod and will start listening on my shuttle ride. 🙂

Things are definitely more interesting when you no longer drive solo 2 hours a day commuting.

The Dessert Lab, article by Bill Buford in The New Yorker, June 26th, 2006.
Omar’s blog on this New Yorker article
– Google Video (FREE): Charlie Rose: an hour with author Bill Buford, An hour all about food, cooking, and restaurants with author Bill Buford. His new book is “Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany”