How do you take up personal space on public transit

Storyteller Irene McCalphin has often experienced the invasion of personal space on public transit, but this one time she decided enough was enough, and she was going to take up the space she deserves.

As co-founder and massage therapist of A Sovereign Embodiment Healing Collective and Board-member of the Body Political, Irene blends magic with massage, storytelling and performance art to liberate, heal and reclaim space for marginalized community.  They’re currently working on a book and facilitating the creation a healing and retreat space for queer femmes in Grass Valley, CA. You can find her writing on MammyIsDead.com.

You can also see Irene’s first Muni Diaries entry involving a burrito as deterrent for pickup artists.

Listen to her story:

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If Taco Bell Built BART

Every transit system starts with a dream, and over there in Reddit-land, the catalyst for the dream was the Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme. Reader Kini S. sent over this tip: A super fan of the fast food chain created a Taco Bell transit map on Reddit to visualize what it’d be like if we had a transit system that connected all the Taco Bell locations in the Bay Area.

This map includes the Most Beautiful Taco Bell location in the country in Pacifica just off of the Linda Mar stop, where rumor has it that you can get a beer or a slushy fortified with booze along with your Taco Bell Chalupa or Gordita. Reddit commenters noted the lack of Taco Bell locations in poor, poor Marin, with only three locations before you get up to Petaluma. Though, as one commenter says, just seeing BART up in the North Bay is indeed enough to bring tears to your eyes.

BART maps seem to inspire all kinds of day dreaming. Once upon a time someone mashed up Mario Kart with BART, dreamed up a complete North Bay BART system, and renamed BART stations based on Hamilton, the musical. If you’re still in the fast food frame of mind, check out “subwaysubway” on Reddit, where folks have created subway maps that connect locations of the sandwich chain. We see what you did there.

Got a hot tip for your fellow transit riders? Tag us @munidiaries on InstagramTwitterFacebook, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

You can support the city’s original online transit journal by subscribing to our podcast or helping us on Patreon or our Etsy store where you can find our super-SF Fast Pass goodies on sale right now.

8 of the most SF things that happened on Muni in 2018


We don’t have to look far to remember why we live here whenever the rent, downtown traffic, and constant fog get us down. In the last year, your stories and photos have been daily reminders of the quirky, delightful, and lovable San Francisco that we know so well. We sifted through all of your submissions this year to find some of our favorite moments in the city, as seen on and off Muni.

1. We found one sure way to avoid awkward holiday conversation, see above via @cityslickerSF

2. San Franciscans banded together during the two weeks of wild fire where N-95 masks became de rigueur.

3. Our Strange Cargo collection got a lot more adorable with this kitten-on-a-cat-tree situation.

via Bay City Beacon

4. Why did Elvis leave the building? To take Muni with six of his clones, we think.

via @sfstreets415

5. Muni went head to head with the parking enforcement officer this year on Halloween. Who will win? We’re putting $10 on the kid.

via @thenewbedford

6. Everybody rides Muni, even the parrots of Telegraph Hill.

via @jenmkirch

7. I mean, how can anyone leave cereal milk behind?

via @mr9erfan

8. Don’t die of cuteness, but this dog catching up on some Animal Planet on Muni is pretty much everything.

via @missnorasf

Ok, one more. Bonus round: “FRONT DOOR! FRONT DOOR!”

via @uknowmarcus

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry to our collective diary this year! We can’t do this without you, and we’ve been collecting your Muni and San Francisco stories for nearly a decade. If you have a story that makes you say, “this is what San Francisco is all about,” we want to know! Submit your stories and photos by tagging us @munidiaries on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

You can support the city’s original online transit journal by subscribing to our podcast or helping us on Patreon or our Etsy store where you can find Fast Pass goodies on sale right now.

7 reminders from Muni Diaries Live about why you still love San Francisco

Last Saturday, 200 Muni riders squeezed into a crowded and hot space (for fun!), and they weren’t even cranky about it (we think). We’re talking about Muni Diaries Live, our fav night of the year where we celebrate the human-to-human moments that happen as we move from point A to point B.

We laughed, we cried (really, there were surprise tears), and our storytellers reminded us why we chose to live here after all. For our 20th show, singer/songwriter Rachel Lark (above) cracked everyone up with songs that so many of us can relate to, including “It’s Hard to be a Feminist and Still Love Dick,” which is still in my head two days later. Check out this version of the song she did with Muni Diaries Live alum Kate Willet.

We opened the show with a special story in poetry form from Alexandria Love, standup comedian and writer from Oakland. True to our San Francisco roots, the poem is an ode to our dear Karl the Fog.

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‘Squeeze the chicken’: One ingenious solution to broken transit

Not that chicken.

A tip via reader Marcin W., Jannina Uribe tweeted this ingenious solution to a broken stop request from a bus in Mexico. She reports that the written message translates to: “Bell out of order. Squeeze the chicken.”

Insert any number of chicken/Muni/and choke-the-chicken jokes here.

In the spirit of international cooperation, we occasionally have a look-see at what’s happening on transit around the world, including a most Pride-ready tram in Amsterdam, these dope bus shelters in Austria, and transit etiquette guidelines from Taipei, hometown of Muni Diaries cofounder Eugenia.

Hey, important news: Muni Diaries Live is back this Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room, which is closing in Jan! We’re selling out fast so get your tickets right this way.

The secret in the basement at Borderlands Books

Borderlands Books is a gem in the city: a bookstore and cafe that specializes in new and used science fiction, fantasy, and horror. If you’ve been around these parts 10 or more years, you might remember their sphinx kitties roaming the store, and a sign that told everyone when the cats were in.

Though there are plenty of spooky books on the shelves at Borderlands, the staff actually discovered something quite unsettling in real life, in the newly excavated basement of the bookstore. Some of you might remember that the Borderlands Cafe was a later addition to the shop, and during construction, co-founder Alan Beatts found something in the basement that sent the crew running.

Hear what happened in this week’s San Francisco Diaries episode (scroll down for transcript):
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Alan sends us this bonus photo of the basement. See the tree trunk on the right? It’s not going anywhere!

The bookstore also serves as an inspiration of a successful grassroots business: the beloved bookstore faced a likely closure a few years ago. Amazingly, and in true San Francisco fashion, they raised $2M via a grassroots campaign to buy a building on Haight Street, where they will relocate as soon as construction there is complete. Borderlands also has an ongoing sponsorship program that keeps their doors open.

This is definitely the preferred ending to You’ve Got Mail I’d been looking for.

Want to hear more great stories like these live on stage? Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

Episode Transcript

Thanks to reader Chris L. for transcribing this episode!
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