Thursday, September 3, 2009

From Greece to Ginza, Munching Through Orange

For more than 35 years over the Labor Day weekend, the must-be place for a dizzying array of international food is in Old Towne Orange.

It's a charming historic downtown next to the train depot and Chapman University where I get off the Metrolink train and hop on an OCTA bus almost every morning on my way to work. Metrolink trains and OCTA buses will take you the festivities.

This year's Orange International Street Fair is this weekend, and the culinary scene promises to be just as vibrant as past years. The theme might be "Music Makes the World Go Round," but it's the tasty morsels of goodness that make the appetite come back for more.

This evening in the heart of Santa Ana, I reunited with my favorite food blogger Nancy Luna or better known as the Orange County Register's Fast Food Maven. Nancy and I met six years ago when she wrote the popular "Honk" column for the Register and covered OCTA on the transportation beat.

I credit Nancy for recently helping me overcome my initial skepticism of Twitter and social media. I was excited to see her again as we were both guest speakers for an event hosted by O.C. Register reporter Serena Daniels and the California Chicano News Media Association in Southern California.

We talked about blogging, social media, transportation and this weekend's food festival in Orange. See the YouTube video above taken from my Flip video camera. It's dark because of the venue's mood lighting -- highly symbolic of the economic conditions we're all facing. But I hope you'll see the optimism we share from learning new communications tools.

Also, hear the interview from my iPhone AudioBoo. But you'll have to wait and read her recommendations for palate pleasers on her blog.


Getting Offline and Talking Transit

Steven Chan, a UC Irvine medical student and blogger of the new Web site shared with his Twitter followers Tuesday that he was taking two Orange County Transportation Authority or OCTA bus lines to come to the OCTA store.

I intercepted Steven's tweet sent from his cell phone while riding the bus. I fired off a message from my iPhone telling him I wanted to meet him to say hello after being one of Twitter followers and blog readers for the past few months.

A big thanks to Steven for being a good sport as I did this impromptu interview with him using my Flip video camera. I also recorded his comments using my iPhone AudioBoo.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Transportation in 2: Rail Safety Event Draws 700

We organized an event in the sweltering heat to launch a countywide program to increase the public's awareness of rail safety.

Thanks to the more 700 people who joined us for this event to hear important safety messages while enjoying free food and drinks courtesy of numerous food vendors. Adults and kids alike participated in train rides, whimsical face painting and colorful balloons while enjoying snow cones, popcorn, iced tea, fruit drinks and 1,000 kobe beef sliders donated by Ruby's Diner.

A special YouTube drawing announced four lucky people who won some cool prizes donated by sponsors:
1. Inez Burgess of Orange won the grand prize of four Metrolink tickets and a Flip video camera
2. Ron DiMelfi of Anaheim won an iPod and two Metrolink tickets
3. Teri Edwards of Anaheim won a $100 gift card and two Metrolink tickets
4. Irene Colin of Orange won a $50 gift card

But the stars of the show were the newly constructed pedestrian undercrossing and the critically important message of rail safety. Here are some safety tips from the event:

7 Pedestrian Safety Tips
1. Trains can move in either direction at any time.
Look both ways before crossing the tracks.
2. Always expect a train.
Today’s trains are quieter than ever and travel faster than you think.
3. Look in both directions before crossing.
4. Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
5. Never cross when the gates are down.
6. Tracks are for trains only.
Never walk down a track – it’s illegal and dangerous.

7 Steps for Safe Driving near Rail Crossing
1. Approach crossing with care.
Slow down when you see a warning sign.
2. Prepare to stop when the gates begin to come down.
3. When the gate is down, stop your vehicle at least 15 feet from the tracks.
4. Only cross the tracks if you are sure your vehicle can completely clear the crossing.
5. Look in both directions before crossing.
6. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, use a gear that will not require shifting until you cross the track.
7. Keep going once you start, even if lights start to flash or gates come down.