Phantom of the Opera — Rush Tickets

Best way to see an off-broadway play for cheap in SF? Rush tickets.  2015-08-22 18.05.162015-08-22 17.23.45

Pros:

  • almost 50% cheaper than buying at regular price ($40 vs. $120)
  • decent seating choice (on the ground floor)

Cons:

  • No guarantee of a seat; First come, first serve
  • Seating is usually on the side of the theater, so you can’t always see everything
  • You have to pay in cash
  • Not all shows offer rush tickets
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my new friends!

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man in orange jacket keeping the rowdy play go-ers “in line”

If you don’t have lots of time to wait around in line to guarantee you get a ticket, then this is a poor option. But! Each person can buy up to 2 tickets, so if YOU don’t have lots of time, maybe a leisurely friend does and can wait in line for the both of you. Plus they can make friends with the local homeless people while waiting.

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So far I’ve seen 2 plays via the Rush Ticket method: Newsies and Phantom of the Opera.

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I’ve also seen other plays in the more conventional way via buying tickets online. Both are great option.

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For my wheelie friends: they almost always have wheelchair seating available for rush tickets or seats at the end of rows that you can transfer too. If you buy an accessible ticket the non-rush way, prices range from $40-$60, so rush tickets aren’t always worth the hassle. It’s up to you.

As far as theater accessibility is concerned, it’s great! Good view from the wheelchair spaces on the bottom floor. And a handicapped bathroom close to the seating. Parking is rough, just because you are downtown, but you can park anywhere on the street for free with your handicapped placard if you can find something.

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Ode to Steve

This is my significant other, Steve. Or my “lower half”.

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We’ve been dating for 5 years now. He’s always there when i need him. Like, this morning for instance, I needed to use the restroom and he carried me there. What a doll.

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Me and Steve. c. June 2011

This fairtytale romance, however, is not without its faults.

Here are some of Steve’s weaknesses and strengths. Starting with weaknesses!

WEAK:

  1. He has many screws loose. (Sometimes they get lost and i have to go to Home Depot to get him more)
  2. He has a weird hair fetish. (He’s not hairy himself, but hair often gets stuck in his front wheels)
  3. He’s loud and obnoxious. (He squeaks a lot)
  4. He’s not always as supportive as I’d like him to be. (His cushion(s) pop a lot)

STRONG:

  1. He’s really really really good looking. (His wheels are red! What’s sexier than red?)
  2. We fit well together. (His dimensions are a lot nicer than my previous chair that rode like a tank)
  3. He is very faithful, most of the time. (He stays by my side always, unless he runs off with my roommate)
  4. Honest. (You always know where he’s been….because he tracks it on the carpets and the floors)
  5. He’s VERY social. (He loves meeting new people and running over their toes)
Remember when we started those riots in Ukraine?

Remember the time we started those riots in Ukraine?

Yet, it is with this….I say “Adieu, Steve”. It’s been a real nice ride, but you’re getting old and I think it’s better for both of us if you retire. We had a lot of great adventures…like traveling to France, Israel, Ukraine, and…Canada.

I’m trading you in for a newer, younger model. His name is Wayne (after Bruce Wayne).

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#frenemies

#frenemies

You’ll always be in my heart, Steve. But this is goodbye.

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Ninja Trains

I think my favorite thing about Tokyo was their JR train system. I was extremely impressed with how accommodating they were with the wheelchair. All I had to do was go straight up to the guy at the ticket booth, speak in simplified English and point to the stop I wanted to get off at on a map of the rail system that was graciously given to me by the youth hostel I stayed in.

One thing about Japan, they are extremely efficient and extremely on time. If a train says it will leave at 10:44am, it will leave at exactly 10:44am. Trains are never early nor late. They arrive precisely on time. This aspect also carries over when helping wheelies on and off the trains. Sometimes the train will have a small step up into a railcar and a train attendant will come over with a ramp that hooks into the car so you can wheel yourself in and then they unhook the ramp when you are securely in the car. Then if you need to change trains, the attendants will call ahead to the next train station to have two other attendants waiting for you at precisely the right door to clip another ramp into the car so you can get out. It was amazing and eerily exact. The Japanese don’t skip a beat when it comes to their trains running efficiently and on time. The nice thing is, if you miss one train, there is usually another one only 4 minutes behind it.

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When you arrive at your destination, the train attendants will also escort you out of the station through the maze of elevators and magic carpet escalators to make sure you get out without confusion. They are even nice enough to give you directions in case you are lost. The JR train may be the most wheelchair accessible public transportation system that I’ve been in, both inside and outside of the US. I was truly impressed and highly recommend it as a way to get around Tokyo or nearby towns in Japan.

Especially when going to and from Narita airport, the “Narita Express” is a quick way to get into downtown Tokyo. It’s about an hour ride and a great way to see some of the Japanese countryside. Going from Narita to Tokyo, you can get a half off express ticket for about 1500 yen ($15) in the airport-train terminal.

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Bike to Work Day 2015 — (Handcycle + Wheelchair: Part 1)

May 14 was “Bike to Work Day” this year around the Bay Area. Last year I saw many cyclists commute to work and receive free tote bags and snacks, so naturally I wanted to participate this year.

shalom!

Biking to work, itself, wasn’t too hard of a commitment since I work about 3 miles from home and I’m in such great shape (*cough*). The hardest part was figuring out where to put my wheelchair while riding. Normally when I go on a ride, I will leave my wheelchair at my car so I can get it when I return. But, there was no way I was going to leave my chair at home and sit at my desk in a handcycle all day.

Here was the plan:

1) Drive to work the day before (as usual) and then get a ride home from a friend/roommate

2) In the morning, bike to work with my chair strapped to the back of my bike

3) Bike to my car already parked at work

4) Reassemble my chair and put my bike in my car during the day

5) Drive home

In the morning I met with my BFF, Becca, who was to be my pit crew in case anything went wrong on the ride over. She gathered all the bungee cords and rope she could find and somehow finagled my chair to fit on the back of my handcycle. This was my first attempt at trying to manage the handcycle + wheelchair combo.

Here’s how it looked before we departed:

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Wheelchair sculpture w/ bungee cords

Wheelchair sculpture a la bungee cords

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This is what 2 years of a Physics degree bought us

This is what 2 years of a Physics degree bought us

Becca also strapped my wheels to her backpack since I couldn’t fit them anywhere on my bike. (HINT: make a triangle with the rope; let gravity be your friend.)

Since this was the first time we had done this, there were a few hiccups along the way.

1) Not enough room on the back of my handcycle to comfortably fit my entire chair without anything rubbing

2) Once strapped in, my chair would jostle out of place and start to hit the spokes of my handcycle if I went over bumps too fast. We had to pull over to the side of the road a few times to realign and tighten some straps

3) Some of the regular biking routes have tunnels underneath busy streets where there are also bike barrier guards that someone in a handcycle cannot maneuver on their own. Luckily i had my pit crew to help me navigate and actually pick up the handcycle with me in it to get around the bars

4) If you leave home too late, the tote bags are all gone from the aid stations

On the road again....

On the road again….

LUCKILY! I passed two stations on the way to work and the last one had extra tote bags for us. Baby clif bar? Totally worth it.

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

I saw this bike trip as a test run for when I bike around Europe with some of my closest friends for my 10 year Crashiversary next year.

Things to remember:

1) The more bungee cords, the better

2) Maybe buy a back fender for handcycle, which allows more room for the chair to be strapped onto handcycle 

All in all, it was a success! By next year I’ll be a pro and be ready to hang my 2nd tote bag in my closet with pride.

tote bags = success!

tote bags = success!

Selfie!

Selfie!

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