My First Uber Ride

As worldwide travelers who live three and a half hours away from Silicon Valley, my boyfriend and I finally decided that it was time to try out Uber. I created Uber and Lyft accounts but have never used them, and follow the news on Uber’s practices, driver experiences, and have seen firsthand the ever-evolving global clash of taxi drivers in Indonesia and Tijuana. As a freelance writer, I’ve even thought about becoming an Uber driver to make some extra cash, but had to experience being a passenger first.

On April 21, 2016, my boyfriend and I flew back to the San Francisco Airport from Costa Rica. After a full day of travelling, we arrived back to our home country a bit after midnight. Since we weren’t sure about how late the BART ran, we decided to try out Uber. An average fare looked to be about $20 compared to a potential $65 cab ride.

Within seconds I was able to call over a driver, who I could see was driving a white Nissan Altura. I approached two different white Nissans who ended up being Lyft operators. One offered to give us a ride anyways, but we stuck with Uber.

After a quick phone conversation to verify locations, our nice driver named Ben showed up with a guy and a girl already Ubering in the backseat. The guy moved into the middle and I took the far right side. My boyfriend sat up front.

The passenger in the middle was totally crowding me with both of his legs thrown over onto my side. And then, with no more than two minutes into the ride, the guy puked on me!

He vomited between his legs what looked to be a full upchucked pizza, while splashing puke up on my shoes, my bag and all over the floor. Squeezed up against the door hanging my head out the window like a dog to lessen the smell, the drunk guy next to me said that it happened because of the long drive (he came from Palo Alto). He showed absolutely no remorse as he fell asleep leaned up against me.

I could’ve punched that guy for being so rude and not giving a head’s up that he was sick. I not only felt bad for myself but for the driver, who now has to clean off puke all over the back of his car. I have heard that Uber is very adamant about the quality of its drivers, but what about the responsibility of its passengers??? My inclinations of ever wanting to become an Uber driver are now finished. If anything, I might look more into that “Chariots for Women” service (except that I had my boyfriend with me so maybe that wouldn’t have worked).

About my boyfriend- he thinks it’s hilarious that I got puked on. He says I’m being too dramatic and that way worse things probably happen in Ubers. But I never would’ve thought that after coming off of a six-hour international flight, I would end up doing laundry in the hotel bathroom sink as the result of a 15-minute Uber ride.

After the ride, I scurried out of the car and was immediately charged $20 followed by an email that stated “Congratulations on your first Uber ride!” But maybe next time I’ll stick to the BART.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

On March 18th I went to my friend Mike Brown’s retirement party and was so happy to see the entire community at the Chateau celebrating our much beloved fire chief! It was a wonderful event and I loved catching up with people that I haven’t seen in months.

However, the question I kept getting asked was, “what are you up to these days?”

world and books

I really don’t have a simple answer to that…the truth is that I left my position as Marketing Manager/PIO from IVGID in October, went to Indonesia in November and have since been self-employed doing a variety of tasks. Clients have hired me for my expertise in:

PR & distribution management (creating press releases for a local video production company and distributing them to media contacts within the industry)

Marketing management (creating and executing a social media and advertising strategy for the Phylmar Group and promoting Jason Forcier art)

Copywriting (boosting the reputations of businesses and people by creating SEO-optimized content)

Contributing writer (previously published in the Sparks Tribune, Reno Tahoe Tonight magazine, WakeBoarding magazine, the Synthesis, Wine Oh TV, and more)

Book reviewer (of Kayla’s No-Nonsense Novel Blog)

I do accept new projects, so if you need help in any marketing-related area, I can probably help. Feel free to check out my work samples, hire me on Upwork or shoot me a comment if you need assistance in creating or executing a marketing strategy. I enjoy staying busy.

Truthfully, I’ve been so busy boosting other people’s reputations that I’ve kind of forgotten about my own. One of these days I will upgrade my home page.

The future begins now

As some of you know, I have gone through a pretty big transition over the last few months. My oldest brother passed away, I left a good-paying job, I moved out of the home I lived in for the past eight years, and I’m leaving for the Philippines/Indonesia (for a month) on Tuesday.


You may find me in the underground river

I apologize for being a hermit and not myself lately. But throughout last few months of working a number of jobs, moving, and grieving over my brother, I’ve realized how extremely fortunate I am to have such a supportive network of people around me. I am truly blessed and don’t know what I would do without the constant reminders that “everything’s going to be okay” while going through this period of constant change.

indonesia-volcanoThank you to my mentors who have given me the rope to pursue new projects, help me realize my potential, provided constructive criticism, and remind me of how worthy my skills are.

Thank you to my friends who’ve offered to give me a couch to crash on or a place to keep my things, or have simply reminded me of what a great life I have. Saying that you are going to “live vicariously through me” brings a smile to my face. I won’t let you down.

bali-expedition-0001Thank you to my family who drove up to Lake Tahoe to take all my stuff and store it, and for keeping Lloyd company while I’m away. I’m glad to know she has someone to sing to. Also to the two boys who let me move into their home even though I love to take over the kitchen, complain about being cold, and you think I have too much stuff. At least I pay rent and let you take Lulu (my trailblazer) to the Raiders game today, so we’re even right?

I’m hoping to go into this next stage of life with a fresh outlook on things. I want to remain open-minded to new experiences and opportunities, and dedicate myself to what I’m passionate about and remain loyal to the people who acknowledge and appreciate my time and talent. I also hope to come back to loads of snow and will get to ride The Chutes again.

I constantly remind myself that “it’s all about the journey, not the destination” and “the future is always beginning now”.

Death Cab for Cutie in Reno- Sep. 28, 2015

Since my boyfriend went camping this week, I decided last minute to get a Death Cab For Cutie, who played (briefly) at the GSR last night.


Frontman Ben Gibbard, pre-tantrum

I showed up, gave $35 to the friendly staff at the box office for a General Admission ticket, and in minutes found myself in the front of the stage with a bunch of young hipsters. The opening band was great, and then Death Cab came out and launched into one of their new songs. They sounded good, and since guitarist Nick was out having a baby, David Bazan filled in for him (which to me was a special treat).

I belted out the lyrics to “New Year”, “Little Wanderer”, “Ghost of Beverly Drive”, and even got teary-eyed singing “Black Sun”- the first song I heard after my brother Erik died.

But then about six songs in, front man Ben Gibbard threw down his guitar. I thought it was because he was rocking out so hard, but he subsequently broke their only amp. (He said it was like having an old, trusty car, and this one happened to take a shit.) They played one song on the piano as the roadies worked on it, but then the show began to go downhill fast. They played one more song and Ben stormed off the stage, leaving the rest of the band to finish it.

Then we all stood around, wondering if Death Cab was going to come back onstage. There was a small break as three stagehands tried to fix the amp,  and a couple minutes went by before the band returned. They played a couple more songs, but you could tell that the amp wasn’t working right. Again, Ben threw down his guitar and stormed off the stage. A few minutes later, the rest of the band came out and apologized, saying they “owed Reno one”.

Then it was over. In the end, Death Cab played about 10 songs and it was a decent show, but I’m pretty disappointed in Ben’s temper tantrum. I’ve been a pretty dedicated fan for over 12 years. I first saw them play The Fillmore, SF on Nov. 17, 2003 with Nada Surf, and I don’t remember Ben being quite the diva. Unfortunately I heard from friends on Facebook that this is a pretty common occurrence for them.

Anyways, I’m glad I didn’t pay more than $35 for the show, and everyone at the GSR was super nice. At least I got to hear “Black Sun” and the almost-full moon made everything sparkle on the way back to Lake Tahoe.

Looks like Radiohead has once again secured the #1 spot on Kayla’s Favorite Bands list.

Listen to:

Part of “Little Wanderer

Part of “Black Sun

Memories of Erik

As relayed on Sep. 12, 2015

Image-46259_20150828What I remember about Erik growing up, he was always around to play with. When he lived here with his room in the garage, I was so amazed by his living space- his telescope, his snoopy stuff, the galaxy he had hanging from the ceiling. He was always willing to show me the stars. (And my mom would later recount that he was mad when the streetlights were put in- adding to the light pollution.)

We both shared a love of reading, and throughout the years he gave me books like, What Einstein Told His Barber and West of Jesus- Science, Surfing and the Origins of Belief. Whenever I read philosophy, I think of Erik. When we both came home to visit, you could find either of us reading on the swing down by the river, lounging by the pool or on the deck, but especially Erik. When I read his book, Vistas of Many Worlds, I was in awe by the way he could bring together space, time, and the expanse of the universe simplified for the rest of us in layman’s terms. And the beautiful photography. That book showed his genius mind.

Last weekend when I went to Erik’s service in Ashland, I was struck by how lovely all of his friends were. He surrounded himself with highly intelligent and creative people. We know he was never one for small talk, but he was good at connecting people who were at his level, and was happy to engage with you in something of strategy with anyone of any age; who could help stimulate his mind and be a kid again.

I felt like I had a certain amount of commonality with Erik and his friends. When I was working in the wakeboarding industry in Florida, Erik was shooting photography for Hot Boat magazine. Once when I went to a wakeboarding event in Arizona, I found myself on a cigarette boat exploring Lake Havasu. I asked the owner of the boat if he knew my brother, and Todd did in fact shoot photography with him from a helicopter before. He was surprised to hear that we were related, and regarded Erik with much respect.

Erik was intuitive, loyal, and had a great memory. Once on my birthday he gave me a can of peas with a $10 check attached to it. Knowing that I hated canned peas, he knew which one I was going to pick. He was so good at recalling what Jason (my brother) and I were like when we were kids.

And you better not lie to him about the Easter Bunny or stumbling onto a turtle in the front yard, because even as a little kid he was too smart to believe in that.

I will never forget the day that Erik took me on a cruise around Lake Tahoe with his Porsche Club. He needed a co-pilot and I had the time. The day was sunny, perfect, and just being there with him and his friends was so special to me. We ended up at a house in Alpine Meadows of a guy who had an incredible wine cellar. I look back at having a light-hearted, fun day with my brother.

The last time I saw Erik was on Father’s Day. We talked about web development a little bit and he helped me download an app to read documents on my tablet. When I left and went back to Lake Tahoe, I gave everyone hugs, including Erik in the kitchen. But then he did something different- he walked me out with my dad.

They both stood there, looking so much alike with their arms crossed, mustaches, and topless- I think- since it was over 100 degrees in Redding. The both of them together, sending me off.

I’ve tried to read a lot into that day, but now I do think Erik was just there to show his love for me.

There’s no doubt that my life is enriched because Erik Dean Anderson was in it.

Other Random Memories:

  • How he played the piano; he could hear something and pick it up immediately but couldn’t read sheet music
  • His love of Weird Al Yankovic and The Simpsons
  • You better spell his name with a “k”, not a “c”
  • How he helped Noah and I with our high school video project- dubbing Rush into our Ayn Rand review