(Opinion) 6+ Tips for using the Metro in DC

Visiting the capital for the first time and trying to be as eco-friendly as possible? Using the buses and trains to reduce your carbon footprint is a great choice.

Planning ahead is the key to keeping Zen on the metro. I have listed specific tips below to help you navigate your way around:

  • Have hand sanitizer at the ready: People sneeze and cough regularly, and considering the escalator rails and supports posts you will have to use, it’s always good to be prepared.

escalatorWhen using the escalator: Stand on the right, walk on the left (while you may not mind that you’re going to miss that train, for someone else it may mean the difference between making it on time or being late to work

Nothing is worse than trying to figure out where you are supposed to be headed in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle on the platform itself, or worse finding out there are delays or track work along your route at the last moment. To avoid these things happening to you visit the trip planner offered by wmata.com.

  • If you are choosing not to use the trip planner and plan to take the train, use google maps to determine which metro station is the best for your destination. For example: Most tourist’s I have seen always assume that the Smithsonian stop is the best stop for the museums, while this is not always true. As an example I have listed the following museums and the closest train stops:

Air and Space: L’enfant plaza                 Natural History Museum: Archives

Holocaust Museum: Smithsonian

  • When catching a bus: figure out which side of the road you need to be on to catch the bus going in the direction you are headed, you can use the stop id on the sign at the bus stop using wmata.com’s nextbus to see when to expect your bus.
  • Have exact change for the bus: the current fare is $1.75 for one person on the bus. Credit cards or are not accepted, and no change is given.

smartrip

  • When purchasing or reloading a smartrip card at the station (buy yours here), use cash as a LAST RESORT. If the machine takes your physical money, there are forms to fill out and you may or may not get it back. If you use a credit or debit card, any charge that didn’t correctly process onto your card will be removed from your account within 3 business days.

Always try your best not to make it obvious you are a tourist. As much as the metro tries to keep it’s riders safe, there are no guarantee’s. Here are my recommendations on that front:

  • Bring a backpack and keep your camera and museum related things there.
  • Keep your Smartrip handy, not in your wallet.
  • If you must use your phone, use both hands and move toward the center of the car. NEVER stand by the door while using your phone if you are fond of it.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. If something or someone doesn’t look right, trust your instinct and move to another car.
  • Try to aim for the train cars in the middle of the train and not the front or the back, in case of a collision.
  • Download a map of the rail system like the one below directly from wmata.com Here.

That’s all that I’ve got for today. You can find even more information on wmata’s Official Riders Guide

metro map

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(BookR) Hunter By Mercedes Lackey

cover

>>Buy Hunter Here<<

**I borrowed the audiobook version of this book from my local lubrary**

Pages: 384

Cover: ★★ out of 5

Book: ★★★¾ out of 5

Publishing Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

My Review:

This is a fantasy set in a future where the Apocalypse has occurred, just not in the way most of the world had expected it would. Instead of a rapture, there has been a rupturing of the worlds and magic has become a thing of reality. Not everyone has magic, but those who do are gifted with magical allys to help them fight the monsters that threaten to take out whats left of the human race.

Very BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER meets ENDERS GAME

When you are first introduced to Joyeaux, She has been called to Apex (the capital) from her mountain top home by her uncle to help the city fight off the increasing pest problem the creatures from the otherworld are creating. Unfortunately for her, her uncles status in the government and her particular talent make her a target and she soon finds herself in the middle of a plot to hurt her uncle.

It was fast paced and overall I enjoyed it. I would like to have seen more of the situation with her and her love interest Josh, but hopefully that will be in the next one. Definitely worth the read, though I found that I was a little disappointed in the ending. A little too predictable without much explanation as to why things happened the way they did.

 

Other Reviews:

Joyeaux Charmand has spent most of her life at the remote Monastery, training and serving as a Hunter. Since a catastrophic event called the Disarray, monsters of all kinds have crossed into the real world from the Otherworld and it’s the Hunters’ jobs to destroy them. Joy and her supernatural Hounds are summoned to the capital city, Apex, where she learns that Hunters there are regarded as celebrities, with their own television channels and rankings. As Joy adjusts to her flashy new life, gets to know the other Hunters, and starts Hunting, she begins to realize that Apex is not as safe as it seems and that there are secrets the government does not want exposed. This satisfying sci-fi YA novel is set in a fully thought-out future with cultural references woven throughout. Joy’s Hounds are Alebrijes, and the monsters she hunts come from a variety of sources: Drakkens, Folk (evil fairies), Vamps, Tommyknockers, Gogs, and Magogs. The protagonist is a principled, smart, strong girl and is easy to root for. The language can be clunky at times, but the incredible world-building more than makes up for it. VERDICT A perfect choice for “Hunger Games” fans and readers looking for stories with strong female heroines.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT

”Armed with wit as quick as her reflexes, her magic, and her equally enchanting Hounds, Joyeaux embarks on a journey that sets her questioning the motives of every person she comes in contact with as well as the larger system that was built to keep people protected. Lackey builds this magically post-apocalyptic world briskly…Joyeaux’s narration is spellbinding, the prose easily balancing the technology of the future with the traditions of the past. Captivating, dynamic, well paced, and thrilling.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

”Lackey successfully mixes dystopia and fantasy in this series opener…Exciting, entirely entertaining, and sure to please her fans.” —Publishers Weekly –This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Description (As listed on Amazon.com):

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.

Monsters.

Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities,behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers,and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in-to them, Joy and her corp of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them.

(Opinion) My advice to self published authors

books

I would like to start this post by saying that I have never, and likely will never publish my own book. I am obviously not an expert on all facets of that particular world and all of the struggles you have to go through or money you have to spend to make your book a reality. I admire you for having the creativity and courage to put yourselves out there and take a risk. That being said, I read a lot (hence this blog), and a lot of those books are written by those who are self-published and in various stages of the writing process, which has lead me to write this post with the following suggestions.

  1. Beta readers

I know it has to be hard to be patient once you finish your manuscript. While you might find your excitement is hard to contain, and piracy is a large concern, it is in your best interest to have beta readers take a look at your book before submitting it to a blog for reviews. I would also like to suggest that those beta reader not be someone who has an emotional connection to you because while your husband/wife/brother/best friend are your biggest support system, they know you and are going to be more lenient in the feedback they give. (Let’s face it, after seeing you work so hard for the last week/month/year, no one wants to tell someone they care about that this particular chapter sucks.)

2. Knowing your audience

I know that this is your baby and it is finally a chance to show off how great you are at writing and you want to impress the world but it is important to write (or at least edit) with your ideal audience in mind.

Take for example, a children’s book with a target audience of two year old. This type of book should have more pictures than text and it should have just enough of a storyline to keep the child engaged, but not so much that you lose that child’s interest etc. etc.

I have read more than one book where there has been what seemed to be a pre-teen to young adult audience and it has seemed like the author has tried to incorporate every 5 star word from the dictionary that they could find. I have no problem with doing this once a chapter or so (some of my favorite books teach me something about a person or culture that I never would have known if I hadn’t picked up that book), but alienating your reader by forcing them to look up 3 words in a single page won’t make a bestseller.

3. Character/Setting details

It is very important to develop your characters and give them history and give the reader a mental image of what is going on around them…but it is also important to remember that your reader does not need to have every single detail of your main character, their history and the room around them drawn out for them in excruciating detail in the first two chapters.  I would suggest giving a general description of the setting, picking one or two details for the scene and character and keep it moving. You could also use a preface or family tree if you need the reader to know something important about a character or a group of characters early in the book. For me this lets me know that this is something that I need to know to understand the world/situation/scene that I will be reading.

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading this post. If you are an author or publisher and have a tip you would like to add or a question about what I mean, please send me a message or post it in the comment section.