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January 21, 2014

The Blog is On Hiatus But Will Return

I haven't been updating this blog for a while now. There are several reasons: part of it has been a bit of burnout, as I've been following all things Muni for 8 years. The other has been that I've had things to attend to in Non Internet Life (aka Real Life) that has taken up a lot of my time. While I've maintained a Twitter & an Instagram account that's part Muni and part personal, it's not the same as doing a blog.

However, I am actively working to move this site off of orphan software and finally onto Wordpress, which will allow me to post faster, and from my phone, as well as be easier to customize. Once that's done, as well as some other things I'm involved with, I'll resume the blog with some new energy and focus.

In the meantime, please peruse the 8+ years of posts in the archives. Thanks for your patience and support.


March 21, 2013

Who Wants to Charter a Historic Streetcar This Year?

If you've never been on a "charter" ride on Muni's network of rails, you're really missing out on a fun afternoon. Last year I had the opportunity to participate in a ride via Market Street Railway celebrating Muni's 100th Anniversary, and we managed to tour the entire network (minus the T-Third Line, the subway, and the N-Judah line). Even with those omissions, it was fun, especially when our vintage car would stop, and people would ask what we were doing and take photos of our ride.

There's been discussion that said charter rides could be returning to the N-Judah line this year, and word is that some testing will be done once again late at night to ensure that almost all of the cars can go through (Right now there's only a few that can't make the turn at Arguello by UCSF because they are too wide). This could include...the Blackpool "Boat Tram."

At a meeting earlier this year I had with Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA's CEO, I told him that the moment they "legalize" the boat tram, I'd be down at cash-strapped Muni with a big bag of cash with a dollar sign on it, and sign up for one. I'm serious, and now I would like to gauge if there's interest in such a charter ride. Also, it's not unprecdented to do such a ride - after all there's photos online of people taking the "boat tram" through the Sunset Tunnel and Cole Valley, so technically it's already happened, right?

Setting up one of these is not that difficult - Market Street Railway posted info on how to do so recently (the charters are handled directly by Muni). Personally I think a ride from the Ferry Building to Ocean Beach would be a lot of fun, especially if the weather cooperates.

Lead time is a minimum of 2 months, and I'll need to do some figuring on costs, since while I'm happy to pony up the cash up front, I'm no Rob Conway so I can't afford to pay for everyone to ride for free. For now, I'd be interested in hearing from readers if a) they'd consider riding said charter and b) any suggestions to the route we might take, in the comments section below. AND, if anyone would be interested in helping sponsor said ride, please send me an email and let me know what you think.

This could be a really fun event, and if nothing else, I'll bring the boom box for the music!



September 15, 2012

Victory! Our Shirts are BACK Online!

It certainly has been an interesting week, that's for sure. Aside from current events, this brouhaha with our Zazzle store made for a whirwind of online this and that, the end result was that our previosly removed designs at the Zazzle store are back online, which is a good thing, and a good thing for anyone choosing to make art or photography celebrating our Muni.

Big thanks go to my colleague, Joe Eskenazi of the SF Weekly, who, unlike I, managed to get someone on the phone, where we all discovered that in fact, the SFMTA never actually asked for any of my designs to be removed at all. Instead, they'd asked for a few from another user that used the Muni "worm" logo and the old SF Muni logo featuring a cable car (both of which are, in fact copyrighted.) Zazzle seems to have just taken things a bit too far, for something the SFMTA never asked for. It's understandable, but still annoying.

I also want to thank Bluoz.com for being the first on the Internet to write about this as well. Finally, I'd like to say thanks to others who worked behind the scenes to assist, and to SFMTA CEO Ed Reiskin for his kind email the other day as well. All were appreciated.

I think this whole situation just highlights how poorly understood the concepts of "copyright," "trademark" and intellectual property are, and how in the Age of the Internet, the inclination is to ban things without thinking. After all, the Hugo Awards had their online broadcast killed off because autobots used by UStream (who was being used to broadcast it), detected 'o hai, contentz bad' and shut it down even though the Hugo Awards had permission to use brief clips of various artists' work for the event. If nothing else, it's an example of how the current system is oriented more towards big media and merchandising, and micro-businesses/artists aren't really accounted for in All This like they should.

This is also an example of how things can get carried away when there's confusion and a lack of hard information to deal with this kind of situation - with so much out there that was erroneous or unclear, and with no set person or persons to go to, etc. it's easy for things to get a bit crazy. Thankfully now, they are not so crazy.

As for our store - we will keep it online for a while, but this situation has made me realize that a locally sourced option, sold locally here in town, in the end may be a better long term way to go.

It'd help local businesses, and I've already begun putting some more time researching this (the only thing that worries me are the up front costs). AND, as always, should the SFMTA ever open up an online store of its own or sell its own stuff somewhere, I will put a big link to it on my blog and be the first one in line to buy their stuff if it looks cool. (Which reminds me, you really should check out Market Street Railway's online store - it's always on my list of places to buy gifts year round).

Anyway, now that this is over for now, it's time to go back to talking about fun stuff once again. Thanks again for all your support.


September 12, 2012

What Happened To Those "N is Near" Shirts Everyone Liked? The SFMTA Got Them Censored Online!

These last few months I took a sabbatical of sorts from posting here at the blog. After over 7 years writing about all things Muni, I needed a break, plus my work schedule changed enough to where for a while I was so tied up in all sorts phone calls, a LOT of reading, and so on, at the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was look at a computer.

I'd hoped to return to blogging with some fun posts, photography and the like, but instead it seems there's a bit of a mess going on courtesy of SFMTA, one that takes a bit to explain. So grab a coffee/chai/water/cocktail/large beer/water and have a read:

As most of you know, I have been selling t-shirts and other items via on-demand producer Zazzle.com for some time. This was never a huge cash cow for me, but I made enough to cover blog costs and assorted minor expenses (the overhead with Zazzle is very high and they do the taxes, so the net is $2 a shirt, more or less).

The most popular was our "The N is Near" shirt, and over the years we came out with several others. I used Zazzle mostly because I couldn't afford to make a large order of shirts in bulk, and then try and sell them on my own via stores, etc. and I don't have the space to keep inventory at home.

These have been online in one form or another since 2006, and it's not like it was a state secret that I was doing this. Plenty of other people have published similar items at Zazzle, Cafe Press, or elsewhere. Many artists also produce Muni themed art, and there's even people around town who get tattoos related to Muni because, well, it's OUR system and it's part of SF life.

A few months ago, I got a notice from Zazzle saying that an anonymous "copyright holder" was ticked off and my designs for The N is Near, the "Muni Failwhale" and (oddly enough) the "80th Anniversary" were taken offline.

To me this seemed strange since it's not like anyone would confuse these with official SFMTA anything, and the designs were original creations, with the exception of the "failwhale" design, which was a parody of the clip art Twitter used to use when Twitter would have a hiccup in service.

Since the "copyright holder" was anonymous, I wondered if it might be the infamous NYMTA, which attacked an SF local artist for making Muni themed t-shorts a couple of years ago.

Here's a copy of the notice I received for "The N is Near" (it's virtually identical to the other ones I got)

Dear gdewar, Thank you for your interest in Zazzle.com, and thank you for publishing products on Zazzle.

Unfortunately, it appears that your product, The N is Near - N Judah Chronicles.com, contains content that is in conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines.
We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.

Please help us make our content approval process better by taking this short survey.
The details of the product being removed are listed below:

Product Title: The N is Near - N Judah Chronicles.com


Product Type: zazzle_shirt


Product ID: 235713382677527250


Result: Not Approved


Policy Notes: Design contains an image or text that may infringe on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and we will be removing your product from Zazzle's Marketplace due to infringement claims.
Image: Image

If you have any questions or concerns about the review of your product, please email us at content_review@zazzle.com and we'll be happy to provide you with additional support.
Best Regards,
Content Review Team
Zazzle Inc.

In a bit of irony, about a week after this notice, I got an automated message from Zazzle.com asking me to finish my design for an "N is Near" baseball hat. O, the hilarity.

Needless to say, this was a surprise, and was also very vague. I appealed the decision, mostly to find out just who was claiming this, since it was anonymous.

Here's the response to my appeal. I've added bold text for emphasis:

09/10/2012 02:40 PM Hello Greg,

Thank you for being a Seller at Zazzle.com!

We would love to offer every design that our users submit, however we must abide by all applicable laws and standards as well as our own content guidelines and copyright policies.

Unfortunately, it appears that your products did not meet Zazzle Acceptable Content Guidelines. Specifically, your products infringes upon the intellectual property rights of San Francisco Muni. This includes images of buses, logos, maps, signs, etc.

Zazzle has been contacted by representatives from San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and at their request, to remove designs that may infringe upon their rights from the Zazzle Marketplace.

We are sorry for any disappointment, but hope you will understand our position in this regard. For future reference, please review Zazzle Acceptable Content Guidelines at: http://zazzle.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/143.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for using Zazzle. We look forward to seeing more of your creative designs!

Best Regards,
Mike
Content Management Team
Zazzle, Inc.

Folks, what we have here is a perfect storm of a typical dot-com company's TOS crap, a dysfunctional city agency that seems clueless, and an overly aggressive City Attorney's office who chose a sledgehammer, when a simple phone call to me would have solved this matter call to everyone's benefit. (Ha.)

Zazzle, of course is free to invent whatever terms of service they like, and even if said terms blow up things like "fair use," "satire," and freedom of speech, so be it. The fact is it didn't have to be the SFMTA to contact them and claimed "infringement" - any pissant in the world could have contacted them and they'd pull it down, because they don't want to have any legal battles over a few items from one of their thousands of users and don't bother to investigate if such claims are warranted or not.

All I can say is that I'll pull the plug on the store with Zazzle.com, despite years of patronage, make sure to tell everyone I know not to use Zazzle.com, and and go my own way, saying "F*ck You" to these bozos on the way out. Fine.

What's more troublesome is both how the SFMTA is now claiming "copyright" over images in the public domain (and even a representation of things like buses and streetcars), and their selective enforcement.

There are plenty of apps in the iTunes app store that use both images from Muni/SFMTA and data, and I don't see the City Attorney, acting on behalf of the SFMTA, kicking their asses. Nor are they paying "royalties" to the agency (at least as far as I know, app makers let me know if this isn't the case). Hmm.

In fact, the City of San Francisco has routinely bragged about "crowdsourcing" and "open data" for some time now, so it seems a bit strange that now they want to take things you and I, the public own via our public transit system and now say "you can't use that, pay us or get a legal brief jammed up your ass." Gee, how "open." **

I wonder when they're going to bring down the hammer on artists who make creations based on Muni, people who create prints (like this wonderful one I just purchased) , non-profits who support Muni like Market Street Railway, or people who take pictures and post them on Instagram, Facebook and so on.

Sound silly? Not under the interpretation of the law the SFMTA is operating under, and the City Attorney is enforcing. Sure it may be bullshit, but who has the money to hire a lawyer and fight a City with endless amounts of time and money to peruse this, because, of course the CIty is an efficient operation and things like homelessness, crime, crime on Muni, and the like no longer exist, so time now to go after artists and writers, right?

I've talked to more than one attorney and while battling with Zazzle might have a little merit, in the end it's not really worth it. I'd make more money going the do it yourself route and wholesale to local retailers, so it's best to just let them continue to be jerk-asses, and move on. Besides, locally-sourced anything helps everyone, right?

For now, though, if you have any of these shirts you have a collector's item now. Even if we come out with some new designs, I'm not so sure we'll be bringing these back. Hang them in the closet for 30 years and have your kids take them to Antiques Roadshow: 2040 on the moon or something.

The real problem is the SFMTA. They don't seem to understand actual copyright law, what is and isn't "intellectual property," and are enforcing their unique view very selectively, most specifically on one blogger who writes about the pain and joys of Our Muni. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

All I can say is this - I'm not such much mad as I am annoyed, and I find all of this to be particularly so as we are supposedly celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Municipal Railway. San Francisco led the world by creating the first publicly owned agency in the United States dedicated to one thing - serving the people of the City of San Francisco, who are its owners and riders. I wonder how this got lost over the past century.

*Muni has talked of a "licensing" system because someone over there saw New York City making big cash of its licensing of logos, etc for the various departments (including the NY MTA) and probably thought "Gawrsh! We could get free money too! Let's endlessly talk about it for a long time like we do with everything!"

However not only has said system never happened, even if they followed the NYC model, the net amount of money they'd earn would be peanuts, because the volume just isn't as high. Put it another way - after years of selling these things, they'd get maybe $75 after I pay off expenses (the domains, hosting service, software etc) and give them 10% of the net. Citywide, they would maybe get enough for some ivory backscratchers for the SFMTA board or something at best.

**Crowdsourcing didn't work so great for Muni and the SFMTA recently, when they conducted a poorly executed operation to "crowdsource" a new (needless) logo for the SFMTA. Look how well that turned out.

Another blogger wrote about this situation yesterday before I did. Check out what he uncovered!

August 7, 2012

Still on Vacation/Hiatus for a While..

Although I'm back from my trip to Las Vegas, upon returning I decided to take an extended break from non stop writing about all things Muni and San Francisco for a while. Frankly, the recent news from City Hall and the SFMTA has been an almost non-stop parade of failure, and who wants to keep writing about failure all the time? I, for one, have been tired of trying to keep up with everything only to end up keep writing about how our local institutions innovate new ways to f*ck things up, and no one seems to mind or care at this point.

I've also taken some time to rethink the blog entirely. I originally intended to simply port the site to WordPress and tack on some features,  but after having sometime Far Away from San Francisco to clear my head, I've decided to do a more thorough re-do of the blog. I'm also taking a break from being "online" in general, aside from posting pictures on Instagram and the like.

double_deuce_LV.jpg In the meantime, I'm posting a few photos from my trip. One is of the Las Vegas strip's "Double Deuce" bus. You may recall that Muni experimented with one of these a few years ago.


IMG_6944.JPGThe other is of some stolen Area 51 technology that is decades ahead of anything tech-savvy San Francisco could ever come up with - a solar powered bus pass vending machine. Unlike those two overly pricey kiosks at Geary and at the cable car turnaround, these seemed to use magic to collect money and dispense passes to the public. Truly fascinating.

June 1, 2012

The NJC is BACK, Thanks to the Help of a Loyal Reader

Greetings, Loyal Readers! Thanks to the hard work of one of the Loyal Readers, we have managed to clear out the nasty malware that was infecting the site. As such, you can visit the site without lots of warning messages and the like.

Our move to a new platform (WordPress) continues, and is on schedule. The blog should be joining the 2010s soon enough. Thank you for your patience, and thanks for reading the N Judah Chronicles!

PS: For those who asked: the damage was akin to The Hulk getting pissed off about Muni delays and ripping out the tracks from the ballpark to the beach, and smashing the subway tunnel too. It sucked! 

May 8, 2012

Help! My Blog is Infected with Malware and I Don't Know How to Fix it!

Dear Readers:

I'm in need of some techincal assistance for a problem that's beyond my knowledge of servers, blog software, and the like. For the last month or so I've noticed that there seems to be some malware installed on my blog that is causing all kinds of problems, not the least of which is that it's killing me on Google, and people are getting warnings in the various browsers and so on. I really do not know how to fix this so any advice or willingness to just do this for me would be appreciated (and you'd get paid).

Even better would be for someone to help me move this off Movable Type 4 once and for all and over to WordPress. I know I put out a similar call for that last year, but Real Life intervened, and I had to put it on hold. This would also be paid as well.

Email me at greg (at) dewar (dot) us with the subject line "NJC repairs" if you're interested.

Thanks!

January 12, 2012

Call for Entries: Extreme Commuting 2012!

Hello blog friends! I'm back from my vacation to sunny Santa Monica/Venice Beach and I have to say I'm really charged up and ready to go for 2012. This was the first vacation where I did (almost) nothing work related in ages, and let me tell ya, it was just what I needed. I spent most of my time taking photos and posting to Instagram, and will post more to Flickr soon. That will be reserved for a later post, where I'll talk about some amazing acheivements they've made in the land of the car re: transit.

For now, however, I'm soliciting people to endure but a mere email interview regarding what I call an Extreme Commute for a new feature I'd like to do. How do I describe an Extreme Commute? It can be one of many things: maybe you commute from SF via Muni to Places Elsewhere on other transit systems, or perhaps you just have one within SF that requires that ever-so-elusive series of transfers than can either make your day or ruin it. Or something else.

For example, a few years ago I had a client whom I had to be on-site for in Layfayette. It was an excellent gig, but I also had to literally be on the first N inbound every morning, to ensure I made my transfer to BART, and get to the office out there by 7:30. Since there was no bus along the main drag in Lafayette, I had to walk a little over a mile to get to the office. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining (aside from the days that it rained LOL) but it was a bit of a hustle, and it did make for one Muni or BART #FAIL to ruin my morning. (Fortunately that only happened a few times and on days when it didn't matter). The plus side was that I got at least 2 miles a day of walking in, and I had a great client who I enjoyed working for.

That's but one example. I want to tell stories about more. Please contact me via email, and let's share some stories!

December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays - Going On Vacation!

There's not a lot going on with all things Muni beyond the usual nonsense, so I'm taking some time off and doing a little traveling and to get away from the day to day grind. Besides, these days the news from City Hall and the SFMTA tends to be way too depressing to try and debunk.

I mean, seriously, this latest "budget crisis" has the same old BS being pumped out on all sides, you can basically re-read anything I wrote on the subject and it's more or less the same now as it was in the last few years. Too much BS, and no one being serious about fixing Muni, because as always we have a "Mayor" who doesn't care, an SFMTA Board that doesn't seem to want to challenge said "Mayor," and the usual folks bloviating at the Board who are also full of BS.

Needless to say it doesn't exactly motivate me to write about these folks and how their antics ruin your Muni. Plus, I really could use a nice vacation where my biggest concern is whether to go to the beach or go to the movies or the comic book store, and nothing else.

On that cheery note, have a great holiday season and be safe when you're out celebrating! See you all in 2012.

EDIT: I'm going to my old stomping grounds aka West LA/Venice and will be riding the Big Blue Bus, possibly one of the most functional transit agencies in America. I know, right? WHO KNEW LA could pwn a 7x7 college town in Northern California? IT BOGGLES THE MIND OMG!

October 6, 2011

Celebrate 6+ Years of The N Judah Chronicles With Blockboard at the Blackthorn 10/13!

Reading the news about Muni and the mayor's race has been a disappointing spiral of bogusness lately, so while I keep on writing blog posts on cocktail napkins and in my notebook, after a day of new work plus the fact that, well, my GOD the news is depressing, I end up just reading another book.

Thus, when i got an email from the folks at Blockboard, who make an iPhone app for neighborhood news, asking me if I'd want to go in with them on a happy hour for the neighborhood, let's just say it brightened my spirits considerably, since I was trying to figure out an anniversary party for the blog anyway. Now, thanks to Blockboard, I can invite folks from all over the neighborhood for a happy hour AND offer them a free drink!

If you've not yet tried out the Blockboard app, it's worth a look if only because in the burgeoning field of "local news" apps, it has possibly one of best user interfaces I've seen for these kinds of apps. I've been trying it out for a while and it has some potential. (If you don't have an iPhone you can still RSVP for the party - you just might need to answer some Inner Sunset trivia to attend, so please, attend anyway!)

However, to attend, you do need to RSVP via this EventBrite link in order to take advantage of this amazing offer/event. Just go to this link on EventBrite and be sure to enter in some minimal information, and you'll be all set.

This should be a fun event, where you can meet your neighbors, fellow N riders, and others.

Note: while any politicians running for office can surely RSVP, I would ask that you please not bring a pile of dead-tree pamphlets to the event, since I'd rather you all talk to the diverse crowd that will be here, instead of just leaving behind something that will go into the recycling bin.

August 26, 2011

A New Shirt In Our Store: "Back Door ?! Step DOWN!" UPDATED

bdsdshot.jpgYesterday, one of the Good

UPDATE: Buy any shirt in the store from 12 noon to 4pm PDT TODAY ONLY (August 26th) and use code BACKTOSCHOOL and get 50% off. You can also get 50% off mugs too!

People on the Internet inspired myself and Mr. Mason Powell to create a new product in the online store: the eternal debate on Muni aka "Back Door ?! Step DOWN!"

The inspiration for this design came from Breanna Lambert, who is not only one of the nicest people we've met via the Internet, but also works for the equally awesome Scoutmob app/deal website which I use as often as possible.

When I saw her tweet, I realized "of COURSE we should have one" and less than 24 hours later, we have two designs available for purchase - one for men and one for women (although you really can buy whichever one you like, because as we all know gender designations for clothing is so 20th Century, right?)

There's plenty of "real" Muni news coming up later, but this was a fun exercise in going from concept to production in less than 24 hours. Most of it was done via email while I was at the Giants game last night on my phone. We may not have flying cars, but we can produce novelty apparel easily.

Yes we can!

August 5, 2011

The N Judah Chronicles Needs YOU and Your Vast Technical Skills...

Thanks to the kindness of a few friends, I have a small opportunity for those out there who know a bit more about websites, WordPress, Movable Type and so on. Basically it amounts to this: this site runs on MovableType 4.01, which is now basically "orphan" software. Support for it online is next to nothing, upgrading it is a terrific pain in the ass, and my site has languished with a very outdated look that needs to change.

I have been trying to upgrade the site to WordPress myself, but I'm at the upper limit of my technical skils (which are pretty basic to begin with) and there are some tricks in the process that take a better understanding of various things online that I haven't yet mastered. Other people have made the move, but there's a few details that are mission-specific to my installation I need help with.

So what, you say? Well thanks to a few folks I now have a budget to pay someone to help me out with this issue and also help with a nasty security issue that is screwing up my blog in Google search results. The end result for you, the reader, is a more readable, searchable blog with the kinds of features one expects nowadays, along with more opportunities for me to sell a few ads to cover the cost of the server, domains, etc. and add more features!

For someone with the actual skills, this is maybe a day's work at best. I can't pay said person a million dollars, but I can make this worthwhile if you do in fact know what you're doing. Plus, if you have your own business or a resume online, I'll give you a small ad or link (your choice) on the redesigned site. Send me an email via the link provided on this page, and let's get things moving again!

June 30, 2011

Hey! Inner Sunset! What's Up With Our Sidewalks? (Also: Some Things For Sale!)

berrymess.JPGIf you've been to the Inner Sunset any time in the last year, you know that some significant improvements were made to calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety. The sidewalks have been repaved, "bulb out" curbs have been added at key intersections to improve safety crossing the street, and new bus shelters have been installed.

Thus, it's a bit disheartening to see people trash these things when they're not even that old. For example, over by the bus stop at 9th and Irving Outbound, some jerk-ass decided to dump his Jamba Juice all over the sidewalk, rather than simply deposit in the trash can just steps away. How do I know this? I caught the guy in the act.

I was picking up a newspaper at the rack nearby when I heard this weird slushy sound, and looked up to see this little troll dumping purple crap all over the place. I would have taken his photo and done a little Internet Shame, but by the time I got out my iphone, waited for the camera to boot up and all, the troll sped off. What was once a nice looking, nearly new sidewalk now looks like crap.

paintmess.JPGThat's not all. Not one block away, in front of CitiBank, someone decided to deposit latex paint (at least that's what I hope it is) all over the new sidewalk. I have to wonder, what was the circumstance in which someone couldn't simply dispose of this properly, and none come to mind that justify it.

I doubt any of this will be cleaned soon. It may seem like a bit much to be annoyed at this, but people have been working hard to make this a nice neighborhood, and the last thing it needs is to be trashed by ignorant trolls who seem to feel the entire planet is their garbage dump. If you see someone pulling something like this, call the police or something or at least snap a picture and put them on the Wall of Internet Shame.

PS: I'm making some changes to the interior decor of my apartment and I find myself with two really nice bar chairs that I can't use. They are in great condition, and I've seen similar ones sell at West Elm for $150 each. I'm willing to let these go for significantly less. Email me and make an offer - I can take cash or credit cards (thanks to the good people at Square)

I also have an Emerson MW 8108p microwave I have had in storage for several years - it's practically new, and is super powerfull (1100) watts. Make an offer if you're interested!

PS 2 (Electric Boogaloo): This weekend, you can buy any of our shirts at my Zazzle Store and get a 17.76% discount with the code LANDOFTHETEE when you check out.

We have Men's and Women's "Failwhale" shirts and men's and women's "The N is Near" shirts, and we even still have some "Adama for President" ones left too. The sale lasts until July 4th so buy one today!

June 26, 2011

Six Years of Muni Drama, San Francisco Fun, and More With the N Judah Chronicles!

This weekend was cause for all sorts of things, most notably San Francisco's annual Pride celebration on Sunday. It also happened to be the sixth anniversary of the N Judah Chronicles. It still is a little hard to believe an email from 2005 could have led to all of this, but I've told that story enough times already. I guess it goes to show you never know what will or will not be popular in a wired city, at least if you're not thinking to hard when you get started.

It's definitely been interesting, given my interest in local history, and refining that interest by looking at San Francisco's past and present from a unique point of view-the history of transport in SF. All because I was wondering why that trip on the N to Safeway was such a pain in the backside. I've had the chance to make some really wonderful friends, participate in some great projects online and in print, and gain a little recognition here and there.

San Francisco is a unique place to have a "blog" because so many people are online, and the city isn't very big, so if you're writing about the City, chances are you'll meet some of the people you write about, or follow on blogs, Twitter, etc..

I've often joked that if you move to San Francisco, the City Charter requires you sign up for a blog or other online presence as a requirement of any lease or mortgage, and sometimes it doesn't feel like much of an exaggeration. That is both a good and a bad thing (sometimes one wants to "turn the Internet off" for a day or two and have some quiet) but it does make San Francisco's online publishing scene/blogosphere/whateverthecoolkids are calling it interesting and far more interactive than in some other cities.

There have been a lot of changes over the last six years as well in online publishing. Technology has changed a lot, which has made an impact. In 2005 there was no Twitter, Facebook was still throwing sheep, most people didn't have a pocket computer that could make phone calls, and this site called "MySpace" was still around. Today, cell phone cameras take better pictures, there are an array of portable devices for "on the scene" writing/reporting, and getting online away from home is far easier.

These changes are also both good and bad - it's easier to get the word out about something, but it's also easier for a lot of garbage to clog the system, and there's that whole issue about who "owns" the internet, and who gets priority access.

The other thing that has changed has been the "business" of blogging. More blogs in San Francisco (and in general) are part of a larger concern, either by way of a large corporation, or by way of the charity of millionaires, local and from elsewhere. In both cases, these well-funded entities have the resources to pay people full time to write (or in some cases pay nothing and just collect the grant money and the ad revenue), and have the technical resources to keep up with the latest technology. I have an upper limit to how much I can do on the technical side of things, hence why this blog's look,and the fact it's running on orphan software (aka Movable Type) is so dated and lacking in function. How long the grant-based sites will last once the money runs out is uncertain, but for now, it's definitely a challenge.

In contrast, self-funded people like myself don't have these advantages, and are feeling the pressure from these operations. For several years I was able to subsidize my time because I made more than enough from my job to pay for the time spent away from it to write and research posts, attend events, etc.

As the economy began to turn sour, I have had to spend more time looking for more work, and less time writing, which puts me in a spiral - one loses readers when they do not update regularly, but one can't write more when they're getting paid less. That's why when you buy something from the store, or make a donation, it really does make a difference.

However, despite these, and other challenges, I don't plan on quitting any time soon, because it's still something I enjoy doing. (Also, I don't plan on being driven out of town by outsiders). I've had to put on hold several other ideas for online entities that I would like to pursue, but for now I'm treading water and keeping the popular blog up and running. It has been a lot of fun interacting with people on all things San Francisco, and I can't imagine doing anything else, anywhere else!

March 25, 2011

Riding Across The Country via Amtrak: First Impressions and Advice

mountains.JPGLast week I had a chance to return home from Washington DC by train. I chose to do so because I was going out there for an awards ceremony/trade show, and my plane ticket costs were reimbursed. I paid the difference on the return trip, and decided to see what it would be like. I've taken two road trips via car to and from DC (one lasted 2 weeks and I made stops all over the place, the other was a 3 day nightmare from DC to Seattle*), so I figured I'd see something new.

Overall the experience was pretty good. I'll talk more about specifics of the trip in another post - here I'll just throw out a few thoughts if you're considering such a journey yourself.

First, if you've ever ridden a train in Europe or Japan, the TGV in France, seen "The Orient Express," or "Strangers on a Train," take those beloved memories, put them in a safe place, and temporarily forget about them. You simply cannot compare Amtrak to any of those systems. That doesn't mean Amtrak sucks - it's just not the same. So put that aside and be open-minded.

Next, remember that to compare costs, you can't compare with an airline ticket price. An airplane can fly over any and all traffic, flies about 500 miles an hour or so, and so on. If you compare taking the train to driving a car, then you have a more apt comparison. When I drove across the country both times, I was driving alone, so I would have to stop at some point and find a Motel 6 or something and get some sleep. Add to that the cost of food along the way, and of course gasoline, oil, etc. and you start to realize driving such a long distance isn't that cheap.

Sure you could do all sorts of things to tweak the price, but here's something to consider - in a car, if you doze off or look at scenery, you can get killed. On the train, you can walk around the train, have a beer and look at scenery in the observation car, play cards, watch a movie, whatever you want to do. Also, if you do as I did and get the sleeper car, all of your meals are paid for.

Continue reading "Riding Across The Country via Amtrak: First Impressions and Advice" »

March 5, 2011

The NJC Could Use A Few Good Guest Bloggers!

As I mentioned a while back, I'm going to be going out of town next week! I'm headed to Washington, DC for the "Pollies," the political industry's equivalent of the Oscars (or maybe more like the Golden Globes) from March 8th-11th.

While I'm gone, I won't be able to post regularly, since I'll be working at the convention, and one the way home (via Amtrak), I will have limited access to the Internet. So, it would be helpful if perhaps a few Loyal Readers who have already done so (or have always thought about) wrote for the blog while I'm gone. It's fairly easy, it doesn't have to be some big deep post about the intricacies of Muni finance, anything, even photos, just to keep the blog lively.

I'll be keeping notes and try and Tweet as often as I can on the train, but I'll likely write a few posts and post them when I return. For now, if you're curious, please contact me at the email address to the right, and let's see who we end up with!

January 19, 2011

Thanks, Scoutmob for Promoting Our Proposed Ride on Muni with Mayor Lee!

SM_email_logo(SF).pngThis week I had a unique opportunity to promote the blog and our proposed "Ride Muni with Mayor Lee" event with Scoutmob, one of the latest iterations of the "really good deal" websites. This was a chance to reach many people who perhaps haven't already seen the blog, and to promote our idea for pushing Muni issues higher up the agenda for the folks at City Hall.

There's no cash involved in this deal, it's more of a light promo kind of thing, but I figured it was a good idea, and I do like Scoutmob over some of the others. For one, they have deals in all parts of San Francisco, not just the Mission and tourist spots. For another, they've had some amazing deals right here in my part of the neighborhood, including a 50% off coupon at Pacific Catch, and others at Cha Cha Cha, Social Brewery, and more. And, unlike other such sites, I'm not getting daily emails about spa treatments and nail salon deals.

So, if you're already a Scoutmob person, note our spot in the daily newsletter this week. If you've not already checked out Scoutmob, please do so. They have apps for all the major smartphones, but even if you don't have a smartphone, you can still use the site's deals!

Anyway, check it out, and if this ride with Mayor Lee thing works out, maybe we should do it with all the candidates for mayor in 2011, or perhaps the new Supervisors. Could be a fun ongoing feature!

January 4, 2011

I Can't Believe It - Thanks To You, I Came in First for Mayor!

Wow. I can't believe it. What started as a funny joke amongst friends ended up becoming a 24 hour Twitter phenomenon. Thanks to all of you good people out there, I came in first at SFMayorVote.com 's online poll of politicians and mayoral wannabes.

Obviously it won't mean I'll get the appointment from the Board, but it was kinda fun to see my name move up in the polls so quickly. The good folks at SF Weekly were kind enough to interview me on this momentous occaision while I was riding the F line to a meeting this afternoon.

Anyway, it was fun. If I had a zillion dollars and was really running for mayor, if nothing else my parties would be fun to attend, and I'd do my best to make the debates kinda fun.

January 1, 2011

Muni 2011: Same Old, Same Old, Or A New Hope?

Let's face facts, 2010 sucked. Well not completely, because the Giants won the World Series, and a few other good things, but overall things kinda sucked. The economy continued to suck. San Francisco's carnival of lost souls known at City Hall continued to suck. And Muni? Do I even have to go there?

Despite that, I actually have a small bit of hope that things might not be as bad as they could be. Small, minuscule, nano-sized hope, but hope nonetheless. But first, a quick review of 2010 is in order.

Three things characterized Muni's ongoing drama this year: the cynical manipulations of a so=called "Green Clean" Mayor (and the overpaid leadership known as Nathaniel Ford), the ongoing fetish of Soon To Be Ex-Governor "Climate Change" Schwarzenegger and his Democrat allies to defund all transit with shell games, and the treatment of Muni as a political football by So-Called Progressives.

Re-reading the 2010 archives, it's clear that all the hype and PR shenanigans about being "green and clean" by Ex Mayor Newsom didn't match up with his policies in San Francisco, especially when it came to living up to that "transit first" thing everyone says.

Continue reading "Muni 2011: Same Old, Same Old, Or A New Hope? " »

November 26, 2010

Black Friday Special at the NJC Store! 50% off ALL T Shirts from 6-8pm

Thanks to the good people at Zazzle, there are rotating special deals all day today, every two hours. The best, however, is the deal that is going up today at 6pm (PDT) and will last until 8pm - 50% off all T Shirts at our store online.

That means you can buy twice as many N Judah Failwhale, "N is Near" or other shirts, in a variety of sizes and all printed on high quality apparel than you would normally. Everybody wins! To verify the deal is still on, just check the "Blitzen Deals" on the Zazzle.com page. Best of all, you don't need to fight the crowds or Muni or traffic to get them!


Create personalized gifts at Zazzle.

November 19, 2010

Support the N Judah Chronicles AND Get Great Gifts For Your Friends!

Unlike what seems to be most "big blogs" here in San Francisco, the N Judah Chronicles doesn't have the benefit of grant money to fund this site - I pay for it out of my own pocket. This also means that if I get busier at work that pays, I can't update the site as much as I'd like, etc.

HOWEVER, there's an easier way - buy some items from the N Judah Chronicles Gift Store, and not only will you help out the site, you'll also get some cool merchandise you can't get anywhere else. Don't buy a phony N-Judah shirt with the wrong colors on it - buy an N Judah Failwhale shirt instead, for example!

One new item I'll be able to offer that I'm still experimenting with are iPhone and iPad cases. There's one in the store now but that's only for show - if you order one I have no idea how it will turn out. They are rather nice, though!

Anyway, enjoy!


Create personalized gifts at Zazzle.

November 10, 2010

The Ten Year Anniversary of My Return to San Francisco

This post has nothing to do with Muni, the MTA, the recent news about said entities, the drama of transit in wake of the election, or anything like that, so be patient and later this week we'll be back to the Usual Stuff, ok?

This week marks a unique milestone for me, personally - it's the 10th anniversary of my return to San Francisco. I'd spent the previous 10 years primarily in Seattle, where I'd moved for a temporary job working on a US Senate campaign, and ended up staying there for over 6 years. My return to San Francisco, however was not planned, nor was it predetermined that my trip in November 2000 would end up with me returning here.

A bit of backstory: it comes as shock to my non-native friends that I spent as much time as possible getting as far away from here as possible after high school. I went away to school, and I later moved to Washington, D.C. thinking I might like it there (it sucks!), and ended up moving to Seattle in the 1990s, during that whole Seattle hype thing. Seattle in the 90s still had some residual qualities of Old Seattle that I liked, and it was cheap to live there, so I stayed. It was nice at the time, but by 2000 it was starting to get more expensive, the traffic sucked, and I was getting a bit restless.

Then I got a call from a colleague in town the day after the election. I'd made enough money running state legislative campaigns up north to take some time off, and perhaps take a much-needed vacation, when he asked me if I'd come to San Francisco and work on a runoff campaign for Supervisor. I was offered a nice pile of cash, and the promise of a place to live (during the Great Dot Com Blowout of the time) in of all places, Chinatown. I figured it'd be a fun paid vacation, I might see some friends, so I packed up my car and drove to San Francisco, figuring I'd return back to Seattle once I was done.

Looking back, I can't believe how different things were. No Twitter. No "blogs" (at least none I was writing). No "smartphone." No Muni (I only took Muni on weekends, I had a car dammit). And, no idea what I wanted to do next. So a paid trip to SF with benefits sounded pretty darn good.

After the initial shock in a "OMG George Bailey in Pottersville" kind of way about what happened to SF, I quickly settled in and spent most of my time working, naturally. But every so often I'd have time off, and there was that moment when I was walking to work on Columbus and was wearing regular clothes in late November and some woman said to me "my GOD you must be freezing?" and I looked at her and said "I was like you once, a native who bundled up when it was 60 degress...I've lived in places far colder and crappier and trust me, this is EXCELLENT weather!"

It was at that moment I began to question why I continued to stay somewhere that I wasn't really enjoying as much as I did in 1994, for many reasons we don't need to get into here. I also wondered why it was I spent so much time and energy getting so far away from a place that was actually quite nice. So, after my time was up and I had to go back to Seattle, I began to make plans to close down operations at my house up in West Seattle (the Sunset of Seattle, and the best part, frankly) and took a chance on coming back home.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Through all the ups and downs, I'm glad I'm back. I still enjoy visiting Seattle and visiting friends up there, and there were plenty of good times, but all in all, coming back to SF after staying away so long is something I'd never change, no matter what.

November 5, 2010

"The Next Frontier: Engineering the Golden Age of Green" is on ABC7 This Weekend!

This past summer, I had the chance to attend the premiere of the documentary "The Next Frontier: Engineering the Golden Age of Green" at the California Academy of Science. It's an interesting documentary, less concerned with the debate over climate change and more concerned with the fact that oil will not last forever and we're going to need new energy sources that won't run out, and are not based on dead dinosaurs.

This weekend, an abbreviated version will be shown on Sunday on ABC7 at 2pm. The extended version will be on KQED sometime in December. However I have a copy on DVD that I'd like to give away to a Loyal Reader (yes it's really that cool of a documentary), AND I would like to feature more writers for the Guest Blogger section, so here's a little contest we'll run - write a post (not too long) about your most memorable ride on the N Judah (Sorry buses). Winner gets a DVD and a Guest Blog Post! Go for it!

October 7, 2010

Weekend Sale at our N Judah Chronicles Zazzle Store!

Thumbnail image for NJudah-postage copy.jpgSome random news: As we all know I have a Zazzle store, where you can buy T-Shirts, mousepads, mugs, and more, adorned with all sorts of artwork. This weekend (Oct. 7th-11th) you can buy anything in the store and get 14.92% off your order using the code 1492COLUMBUS when you check out of the store. (Get it? It's Columbus Day Weekend!)

This is a good deal, especially since the base cost of these products is high, owing to the fact it's print on demand vs. me buying a huge stash of shirts, doing the sales tax and shipping personally, etc. but it's also a lot easier to handle for the volume we have. If I can find the right deal, I'll do a small offering in a few stores on the N line but right now I can't afford to do that.

So for now, if you've been looking for an N is Near shirt, a Muni Failwhale shirt or mousepad, or perhaps a "Nowhere in Particular" mug, among others, now is the time to go buy and get a nice discount.

September 22, 2010

What's Up With the Muni Rider Voter Guide?

Muni_Avatar-1.gifOur deadline has long since passed, and so now I thought I'd take a moment to re-introduce you to the Muni Rider Voter Guide I've been working on since August. It's been an interesting experience, to say the least, being the one giving out the questionnaires instead of being one of the people assigned to help answer them.

Based on that (often painful) experience, the idea was to make something simple that would allow candidates to talk about Muni openly, and not have to worry about trying to make the answers fit in order to get some endorsement. Instead, candidates were asked a short list of questions that try to find out how they use Muni (if at all), and get a better idea of how they see things, so you, the voters, could pick out candidates you think might have something useful to do if elected.

This was also a practice run for 2011, when we'll have a very open Mayoral campaign, and will have a chance to elect someone who might actually think their job is to make Muni better, not take a sledgehammer to it, or steal from it. In the process I've learned a few things:

- Because we were not offering an endorsement, some candidates took the questionnaire less seriously than others. I can understand that (given that they're under a pile of literally dozens of these things) but one thing we asked candidates to do if they didn't want to participate was to simply email in and say so, rather than ignoring it.

It was especially disappointing to see so many candidates in District 10 not participate - this being a district that will see many changes in the next 4 years and will have continued issues with Muni service as a new neighborhood is literally built out there.

That said, most candidates participated and got their work on time (even if I coudln't post them right away!) and we should note that Jim Meko was the first candidate to return one to us, and he is now the winner of a Pre-December 2009 Muni map, sans cuts. (And a shout out to Judson True, formerly of the SFMTA for being so kind as to get us a stash of these last Christmas. Yay Judson!)

- We gave people too much time to answer six simple questions. Instead, we should have instead given people maybe 2 weeks tops to return it, instead of almost a month. If nothing else it would have been easier to manage the flow of returned questionnaires.

- Generally people seemed to like the questionnaire format, as it avoided the "when did you stop beating your dog" variety, or the questions that ask about arcane pieces of information at the expense of a real discussion of the issues. At their recent endorsement meeting, Rescue Muni used copies of our questionnaire to discuss amongst themselves as they met with candidates. Yay Rescue Muni!

Finally, one last word about how I came up with these questions. With the assistance of local bloggers Matt Baume and Jamison Wieser, the idea as said earlier was to get a better sense of how candidates perceive Muni and its problems, and what they think their role is. Overall I have to say the great majority of people answering these provided honest, thoughtful answers, and it's clear voters have some distinct choices in districts around the City.

In particular, to lighten the mood, each candidate was asked to tell a funny or interesting story about their experiences with Muni. I found the responses to these questions to be incredibly diverse, and incredibly revealing about each candidate and what they're all about. Go check out the responses for yourself, and if you have suggestions for how to improve or add to the Muni Rider Voter Guide for the Mayoral campaign in 2011, feel free to email me with your ideas.

September 3, 2010

Friday: The Week In Review, Some Fun Things, And More...

This week has been interesting, to say the least. And by "interesting" I mean "OMGWTFLOL" or something. I mean, the evening commutes this week have been marked by incredible delays and failures. You'd think by now someone at Muni might figure that if it's going to work at some point in the day, perhaps the evening commute might not be a bad place to start. Alas.

Someone decided to revive the concept of the "Dear Mr. Ford" feature of SFist.com and make a whole blog about it, noting the recent commuting craziness. Interesting.

Other Muni Detritus:

-Over at my side project, the Muni Rider Voter Guide, the deadline is rapidly approaching. I think I made a mistake in giving candidates too much time to fill this thing out, especially since it's short and isn't tied to an endorsement. I'd list who hasn't responded, but that would take up too much space so instead I'll list who did instead:


-District 2: NONE
-District 4: NONE, but there's only one candidate anyway
-District 6: Jim Meko, Glendon "Anna Conda" Hyde, Harold "H" Brown, Dean Clark
-District 8: Scott Weiner, Bill Hemenger
-District 10: Lynette Sweet, Steve Moss

The deadline is coming up in a few days so I'm hoping to hear back from more people. If you live in any of these districts, you might want to bug candidates you see out and about asking for votes to return their questionnaires soon. So far the responses we've received have been very revealing about the candidates' experiences with Muni and what they'd do if elected.

-A lot of attention was given to the opposition by TWU to Muni service cuts this week, first by myself and later by our friends at the SF Weekly and elsewhere. However, commenter David, who is keeps a vigilant eye on daily service reports, noted that the real opposition is due to reformed sick leave and absence policies, which drive up overtime costs, and allow for that whole "pay me not to work and screw you" policy that is killing Muni's budgets (along with plenty of other reasons). Good catch, David!

-We're still waiting for a clarification on the mysterious "Route One" message some N riders heard the other day, and we're still waiting to hear when the Irving St. bus shelters might make their return (although in fairness they are putting one up for the 44 on 9th right now).

-Friend of the NJC Matt Baume sent us this video of the speed of the N Judah on Sunday, August 29th (yay!) which indicates where it's moving along and where it slows down. Very interesting use of public data!

-Finally a few fun notes: This weekend is the San Francisco Zine Fest over at the County Fair Building. This is always a fun event to attend and many cool people will be showing off some interesting zines. (For the Youth of America, a zine is like a blog but on paper, printed at Kinkos). Back in the olden days, I produced more of these things than I care to admit, I have to say.

Also, the famous Trolley Dances will make their return on October 16th on the N Judah line. This is an annual occurrence we've been reporting on since 2006 and it's great to have them back on the N! Best of all your only cost is your fare! What a bargain!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend! Post any events of interest in the comments!

June 10, 2010

A Technically-Enforced Break And Some Other Random Thoughts

IMG_0839.JPGThanks to a strange problem with MovableType, I couldn't log in and add or edit new entries for some time. Since there's virtually no support for fools like I who actually paid for this thing in 2006, it took a while for me to fix the problem. However, even if I hadn't had that mishap, I would have been taking a break from blogging all things Muni and neighborhood related anyway. This month will mark the 5 year anniversary of the blog, and lately I've needed a break from said issues for a little bit.

That's because despite Muni being the new "hot issue" that everyone seems to suddenly care about (as if Muni didn't need an assist some time ago), the level of lies and disinformation being pumped out from a variety of sources make sorting through it all about as pleasant (and as time consuming) as cleaning up the Gulf Coast, and frankly, it gets to be a bit much.

Plus, this latest technical annoyance is the last straw, and I'm finally migrating to WordPress, if for not other reason than I can at least get help faster if I need it instead of just using an orphan product with no support.

So for now I'm going to maintain a lighter posting schedule, but as always, I invite those who'd like to contribute a Guest Blog Post to email me and contribute something while I work out the plan for a revamped site with some new features. I'm also working on some other, non-Muni related projects too, but those will be revealed when they're ready to go.

I'm also soliciting advice on a Muni candidate questionnaire which I've mentioned previously. The questionnaire will go to all candidates for Supervisor, and have results posted on line. I've got a pretty good idea of where I want to go with this, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'm listening.

The goal is not to stump candidate with arcane questions about Rule #24521.a.1 about some thing at Muni, but instead get them to go past "oh yes me support Muni" glittering generalities and instead show that either they a) actually use Muni or b) at least give a damn about it. If nothing else, it could be fun to see the responses from the more "unusual" candidates, right?

May 20, 2010

YES, I Am Aware How F*cked We Are on Google Search!

Just so we're all clear - I am well aware of how the search result for "N Judah Chronicles" has been hacked by hacker bastards on Google.

However, I do not have the technical know-how to fix it. So while I appreciate the (many) emails and IMs and whatnots about this, unless someone out there is willing to show me how to fix a MovableType 4.01 installation that's been hacked like this, I honestly don't know what to do.

Trying to move the site to Wordpress has been difficult enough - I'm not a PHP/internet/webserver/software engineer - and this annoying hack on top is really frustrating. And, being an orphan customer of Movable Type software, it's not like I can go find help easily the way I could if I'd been smart and used Wordpress all along instead.

Speaking of Wordpress, I'm trying to make the move without killing 5 years worth of links in Google, although at this point I'm so frustrated with the whole thing, I'm ready to just move, and say "f**k the linkage" because using MovableType is a) difficut and b) impossible to find any reliable help to get this done fast.

Thanks again for your concern - and if anyone out there can actually do this, I'm afraid I don't know what to do since programming computers and the like has never ever been my area of expertise.

January 4, 2010

Happy 2010, Everyone!

While it was nice to take time away from all the usual routine for vacation, it's kind of nice to be back into a routine, especially when 2010 promises some significant changes, not all of them good, but changes nonetheless.

I took some time to sit down and learn more about the technical details of running this site's CMS so that I can make some needed changes. Chief among them will be more ways to read the site (via mobile phone, etc.) and to make some features stand out more (i.e. if there's a major fail, better ways to alert people and alert them to alternate routes), and for more fun (i.e. more bar & business reviews.). There are also some pretty big changes coming at that other blog I sometimes write at, but that's not important right now.

Meanwhile, here's a few links that seem rather important. One is a rather well written story by Will Reisman of the Examiner, which sums up the many structural problems that are causing Muni's budget pain. Word is that the Governor is going to try and permanently destroy gas tax funding (80% which goes to roads, the other 20% to transit statewide) to ensure we pay for his cigars.

And of course, the Mayor is out and about saying the N Judah runs perfectly (!) but has also been a big fan of defunding Muni to pay for his campaign staff.

Also worth reading, is Matt Baume's analysis of Muni given the cuts that will come unless something is done, and it's it's worth your time to read and debate. The SF Appeal has this wonderful idea called "actual reporting of news that affects you," and it's something really great to have as a resource. Maybe the million dollar a week losing print folks might take a look at that idea.

Finally, there's a post over at CaliberSF, one of SF's great photography blogs, about Muni's new, written on paper for real photography policy. Troy Holden deserves a lot of credit for pushing this issue, which will hopefully eliminate misunderstandings that often result in hostile confrontations from wannabe Jack Bauers on Muni. Or, at the very least, make it easier to sue if someone breaks your camera for no good reason.

But, on a positive note, there are several new businesses opening here in the Inner Sunset, and some more on the way. That's always a good sign, right?

November 26, 2009

Celebrate "Black Friday" With Discounted Items from the NJC Store!!

muni-image-1.jpgWondering what kind of "only in San Francisco" gift to get for your family and friends and office Secret Santa folks? Want to save some money in the process?

Then by all means, go now, to the N Judah Chronicles store on Zazzle and choose from a wide variety of apparel, mousepads, mugs and more, and get a discount on Black Friday (only) using this code: ZAZZLEFRIDAY .

Use this code to get 30% off mousepads, $4 off all of our many t-shirts, and $3 off of mugs. And a a bonus, buy $35 or more, and you get free shipping!

All of these products are produced on demand right here in the Bay Area, and shipping doesn't take too long to anywhere around here. Besides, if you're doing Secret Santa, picking any of these items allows you to stand out without spending a lot of money using the code.

Enjoy!

November 13, 2009

Friday "Fun": Jason Voorhees Cuts Muni a New One, This Weekend's Closures, and Site News

friday-the-13th-jason-mask.jpgDays like today make me glad I have the day off. I mean, this morning's massive tunnel freak out was making life miserable for so many of you (who loyally reported via Twitter), but from recent reports, it doesn't sound like things are getting much better. (Insert Jason from the movies slashing Muni with a giant knife reference here).

I'm guessing it's a safe bet that the evening commute is going to be pretty bad, and combined with the impending closure of the N at Duboce and Church for track repairs, well, let's just say I'm glad I took today off. Frankly, they shoulda given EVERYONE a paid day off today...

And, speaking of closures, if you live on Judah Street between 19th and Sunset, and haven't already familiarized yourself with this weekend's schedule and re-routes, you really want to do that now. These track repairs are like getting one's wisdom teeth pulled - painful but necessary. The bus service shouldn't be too bad, but seeing a bus on the N-Judah line is like seeing a bus on a cable car line - sure it does the job, but it's just a little too "alternate universe/FRINGE" for me.

Finally, some site news. I am trying to go on a vacation sometime in the next 6 weeks, and since the Guest Blogger test seemed to work out pretty good, I'm soliciting Guest Bloggers once again. Please email me if you're interested in writing a short post, or want to share some photos, via the blog. If you look at past entries, they can be about pretty much anything Muni or San Francisco related, but nothing too crazy or psycho.

Finally (part II, Electric Boogaloo), I'm still looking for someone who knows how to upgrade MovableType to its latest version, and help me develop a new set of templates compatible with version 4.3. I want to change the layout to something a bit more contemporary, and add several new features, but I'm at the limits of my technical capabilities at this point. There is money involved as well as referrals from the endless stream of people who keep asking me if I know anyone who wants a lot of money to do work. No, really. Plus we may be getting another advertiser, which again, allows me to spend some money to make the site more fun.

(Side note: Yes, Wordpress, blah blah blah. I'm well aware of the fact that I should switch but doing so now, after 4+ years here, would mean losing every single link in Google to the ages, and well, I don't have time to learn an entirely new system. Unless someone can show me a way to avoid this....)

October 22, 2009

Sponsored Post: A Special Thanks to Avalon Communities!

You may have noticed an ad appearing to the right on the blog recently for Avalon Communities as well as on many other awesome local sites. Today I wanted to give them a special thanks for advertising with the blog. I've taken ads on an informal basis via Blogads.com or if someone (like Avalon) came along and offered to buy an ad, but I never really solicited them very much. (Google ads provide enough to cover hosting, which is to say, nada mucho).

However, Avalon is getting a special shout out, because thanks to them, and the monthly revenue I'm getting, I'm finally going to have the money to pay someone to help me really re-do this site properly, fixing various problems I have with the software that runs the site, as well as create a whole new layout, one that's more reader friendly and doesn't look like a crappy stock template from MovableType circa 2006 (which it is now).

None of this would have been possible had Avalon not offered to purchase an ad, so they deserve some thanks.

In the coming months, especially after November 3rd, I plan on making several changes here to make the site more fun and to make it easier for readers to contribute their ideas as well, besides "commenting."

PS: If you're a MovableType expert who can help upgrade my software and help me create new, 4.0+ friendly templates for the site, please email me. I can't pay you a million dollars, but I can provide you with some promotion on the site. I also am always asked for referrals for people who do blog and web development, and am happy to pass along referrals to anyone who helps with the site.

October 9, 2009

Fun Friday: Fleet Week, Free F-Line Rides, and a Fun Contest

2007-ba_03.jpg We definitely need some fun around here, now that the weather's finally starting to be truly Fall weather, and we've had to listen to the news over-hype an incident on the Muni system over and over again. (Really, people, all it takes is one cell cam video for everyone to lose their sh*t? It's not like this is a new thing, news media!)

Anyway, there's quite a lot going on because of Fleet Week. Before all the whining starts about "the noise" and whatnot, bear in mind that the F-Market line and the 47 will be running free all day Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the crowds wishing to view the event. So everyone wins!

But wait, there's more. The SF Appeal is now compiling all the SFMTA Muni Alerts into one page, so you can find out just what's up with Muni and various events, including the Italian Heritage Parade on Sunday, Oracle World next week, and some Burning Man thing.

And now some more fun: Way back when I got two tickets to the Nightlife at the Academy thing on Thursday nights. Now, this should have been a cool thing since I live so close to the Academy, and so on, but every time I've tried to use them, something terrible happens.

Either something keeps me working late, or in at least two verified cases, the person I was going to attend with was either rushed to the ER with an injury (they were hit by a car!) and another was taken ill with the flu (ironically after getting a flu shot). I'm convinced that these tickets are cursed (for me) so I'm going to give them away since they expire soon. I figure someone else might as well enjoy them.

So, since trivia contests don't work online thanks to Google, I'm instead going to do an essay contest, 21st Century style. Instead of an essay, I'm asking for short blog posts of no more than 150 words, describing why you should win the passes, and who you would take if you won them. The person you can take can be someone you know, someone from history, a celebrity, etc. Do not submit them to the comments below - instead email me your submission.

Points are awarded for originality, good writing, a sense of humor that's cool or witty, and points are taken off for bullsh!t. Keep it somewhat clean and friendly, folks, and have fun with it!

Later today I'll be posting some news recently announced about some attempts to make boarding the Muni trains a bit safer. We've had discussions on this in the past, so it'll be interesting to see what exactly they're announcing today. If it means you can de-board the N without nearly getting killed all the time, well that would be awesome.

Photo courtesy of the Blue Angels/US Navy

September 29, 2009

Allow Me to Present To You...The N Judah Fail Whale (of sorts)...

NJudah-mug-half.jpgThanks to the extreme generosity of my friend Lauren, who is one of the most talented designers I know, I can now present to you, the suffering N Judah (and really any Muni) rider with your very own Muni FailWhale which you can either wear on a shirt, or display on a mousepad or mug, and show your solidarity with your fellow N Judah riders when you're left out in the cold on 19th Avenue!

We took some inspiration from the real Fail Whale, as well as a parody found on Flickr with DC Metro.

Lauren is a great person to hire if you're in need of mad designing skillz, check out her extensive portfolio here.

August 7, 2009

Friday Friday Friday: Some Links, Some Changes, and Oh Yeah, Some Fun!

I was out of town yesterday and didn't return on Amtrak until this morning, so it seems I missed some rather interesting pieces at both SF Streetsblog and the SF Appeal, among many others, opening up a dialogue on the storied pronouncements of Those Professionals over at the Chronicle.

I think it's great that nowadays, we no longer have just one point of view available for the public to consider, and instead have many points of view free to engage the public, and challenge the conventional wisdom (which often has neither) in a thoughtful manner. At a time when newspapers here have cut way back on local news coverage and wiped out investigative reporting, it may be up to others to pick up the slack and encourage multi-faceted discussions on things that affect daily life.

Now for some changes: I'm finally getting some technical help to make some much needed upgrades to the software that runs this site, and that will mean I'll be able to update the layout and add some new features to make the site more fun. One will be to make a better display of images in a Flickr pool people can add to, among other things, and it'll be easier to read the Twitter feed, etc. I'm also going to revive reporting on local businesses (esp. since I'm alarmed at the number of local businesses that have disappeared lately) and some more feature type posts.

I'm also making some changes in my schedule to better reflect what I like to do (i.e. writing and meeting fun people around town) and as I'm finally getting some decent ads here, I can do so, which is kinda nice.

Don't forget we always like Guest Bloggers for Wednesday - email me if you're interested in signing up.

I think we all know now that MUNI's budget was completely frakked, that MUNI's fails are going to be more commonplace as a result, and that the MTA and the Mayor don't care, so I don't know that point needs to be belabored unless something really bad happens (and God I hope not).

Now for some fun: Lisa Katayama over at TokyoMango has pics of this funny Japanese juice bottles, shaped like trains. And, for iPhone folks, there's a new wave of augmented reality apps on the way, with this one, which helps you find bus stops in San Francisco, being one of the first. Android users have had some augmented reality apps out too, so I imagine it's a matter of time before one comes out for those phones too.

This weekend features many fun activities, all accessible by transit (we hope), and the weather looks like it'll be nice too. If you see something particularly fun or interesting, post it online and put a link in the comments below!

July 17, 2009

Fun Friday: New Women's T Shirt with 15% Off Discount Code!

While there have been all sorts of things I'd like to have blogged about this week, I've been busy with work, and that has to come first until this site pays the bills. However, I did want to announce a new women's "N is Near" t-shirt that I posted this morning, and thanks to Zazzle.com, you can get 15% off if you use the code FRIFAMZAZZLE this week.

As always, you get a 30 day money back guarantee with Zazzle, and the quality of their products is really good - no decals or iron ons here. I'll post more this weekend,, but I'm taking the opportunity to get out of the office and get outdoors while it's still sunny!

Also, this weekend offers a lot of outdoor activities, including one sponsored by StreetsblogSF, so be aware of delays and have fun!

Women's N is Near T Shirt shirt
Women's N is Near T Shirt by gdewar
Shop for tshirts online at zazzle

June 26, 2009

Friday, Friday, Friday Roundup - Pride Week Detours, Critical Mass, Videos, iPhone App News, a 4th Anniversary, and More!

P2110078.jpgThere's quite a bit going on this sunny Friday, so I'm rolling several posts into one so I can get outside for some exercise and get back to work!

First off, this weekend marks the 4th anniversary of this site. We had a small event last night at the Blackthorn, which went well. However, I only found out at the last minute that a good portion of my E-vites were marked as spam, and many people never saw the invite, which was infinitely frustrating. I couldn't afford to open it up as a big wide event for tons of people as I don't make a fortune off of the site's T shirt and ad revenues just yet.

So if you missed this event, trust me when I say a) we weren't trying to be lame, and b) we'll be doing more events this summer and fall, formal and informal, that will be wide open to the public so you can hang out and meet your fellow MUNI riders and so on.

This weekend we have a lot going on. Today, of course is Critical Mass Day, which will have added fun as the preparations for the SF Pride Parade are already up around Civic Center. Obviously, this weekend will see a large influx of folks from around the world and on Parade Day itself, you can expect delays getting around town. So, plan accordingly for or around both.

Next up, a shout out to the SF Appeal, for their actual reporting of news regarding the bizarro case of Routesy, caught in a bureaucratic snare. SF Weekly also did some digging and deserve a shout out as well. This is the kind of thing I wanted to research myself, but didn't have the time to do, so I handed it off to the Appeal to do it right. It's nice to see more than one journalistic entity take on a difficult issue with larger concerns for the public and print up something worth reading, esp. since there was no way I could take a few days off work to do it myself!

Continue reading "Friday, Friday, Friday Roundup - Pride Week Detours, Critical Mass, Videos, iPhone App News, a 4th Anniversary, and More!" »

May 28, 2009

The "Nowhere In Particular" Shirt Has Returned!

Light posting this Thursday with news that the "Nowhere in Particular" shirt has made a comeback! You might have seen a random MUNI bus or Metro with this on the front window display...now you can let your fellow MUNI riders know that you're having a carefree day around town!

May 24, 2009

The N Judah Chronicles Is Looking for some Movable Type Help!

unclesame.jpg Despite all my techincal and internet know-how, I have limits, one of them being trying to reformat this site to conform to the new specs and features of Movable Type 4.0. I upgrade the software fine, but re-doing this site to bring it into the modern era requires a bit more know how than I have. And RTFM doesn't work to well because, well, the "manual" is not very well written, if you can even call it a manual in the first place. Plus, I just don't have the time to sit down and spend a week learning all of this in the time I need to get this done.

SO.....if someone out there has the MovableType knowhow to help me redo the templates for this site to be 4.0 compliant, please email me and let's see if we can work something out. I can't pay a fortune, but from what I can tell, this shouldn't be more than a day or two's work, since I already found a few other MT sites that are similar to what I want to do. I don't need any artwork either, since I have that covered elsewhere.

Anyway, I figured posting here would have as much reach as a Craigslist job ad, but be "free" since I own the site...look forward to hearing from you. It'd be nice to get this done pretty quickly since we're coming up on the 4th anniversary of the site!

PS: YES, I KNOW, Wordpress, etc. etc etc. but frankly, the trauma of switching to a whole new system, plus losing all the links on the site , is worse than sticking with MT's pain-in-the-backside quirks. Overall it works fine, but...anyway. You get the idea.

May 22, 2009

Fun Friday: An Open Plea to Food Trucks To Try The Inner Sunset

This may not be the most important crusade in the world, what with global warming, the economy, and assorted crises to keep our attention, but someone's gotta say it so it might as well be me - we need a few more late night dining options out here in the Inner Sunset!

More and more often, as I travel and come home late, often to an empty fridge because I forget to go grocery shopping, I find my dining options are limited to whatever one of the cheap corner stores is selling at 10pm. And let's just say that while the novelty of Spam or overpriced frozen burritos sounds good, one's digestive system has a way of issuing payback fairly quickly.

There are a few pizza places open, like Milano's, which will serve up a decent slice, but most places shut down around 9pm. However, that said, I think there's a market for late night tacos, Korean tacos, or what have you served from one of the many wheel based culinary concerns out there, particularly on weekends. The Inner Sunset has quite a few bars out here and if someone were to pull up and offer hot, decent food, I can almost guarantee a legion of well-soaked patrons for said food trucks.

Now, none of this is meant to slight the many awesome locally owned restaurants in the area, but most close early anyway so I don't see this as harming their business. Alternately if just one place was open past 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays and did a good job getting the word out, I see riches in their future.

Heck if no one else does it maybe I'll go rent a truck and do it myself. I can make some pretty awesome food when I bother to go shopping, and not all of it is crap. Anyone who's had my barbecue knows that!

So what do you think? Should we encourage one of our mobile kitchens to the neighborhood? Make your thoughts known in the comments section!

UPDATE: The Chronicle did a story on food carts just a few days later and big suprise, SF's myriad of regulations conflict with the state, and seem to exist primarily to extort money without much public good. They also had a list of food truck options, but most of these seem to exist in the Mission.

May 14, 2009

Before You Watch KGO's Report on MUNI Crime, Read This First...

Tonight ABC7's roving reporter Dan Noyes will be taking a look at crime on MUNI. For this story, one of the producers at ABC7 stopped by the neighborhood and asked me some questions, so I may or may not be on the news tonight. If you see some dude in a suit talking about MUNI crime it may or may not be me.

However, before the segment airs, I wanted to make a few things clear that you, the home viewer may not be aware of. In this story, they will be referring to a series of MUNI tapes from last fall (no doubt at the same time this article appeared in the Examiner,) with some specific incidents.

I was asked to comment on these incidents without the benefit of actually seeing them, but instead hearing a quick summary of "what happened."

As you can imagine, it's a bit hard to comment on a specific video without seeing it, so I was actually being asked to comment on a summary of what sounded like a "generic" what if scenario. As such it made it difficult for me to make comments that would be of direct relevance to said clips. Essentially, I was being asked questions as a hypothetical, when in fact they were about a specific incident. I don't think this was some sort of intentional thing on KGO's part - more like trying to produce a major segment in a short amount of time - so I don't want people to think that. But I do think it's important viewers know I couldn't see what was being discussed.

Moreover, even if I'd seen them, it is still difficult to armchair quarterback what a driver should or should not do during an incident, since a driver is in charge of moving vehicle, etc. and isn't armed to protect themselves from violent offenders.

So I tried my best to carefully parse my words so that I could communicate a) crime sucks b)crime sucks when it happens on MUNI c) the drivers have to do what they can to ensure passenger safety d) police officers should be available to bust bad guys and e) the bad people should be prosecuted because they're breaking the law. Whether that comes out after editing is unclear.

On a related note, if you read the latest issue of the Sunset Beacon, you can read a first hand report of a woman whose iPhone was stolen by violent thugs, and how she felt about it. This crime was first reported by the Taraval Station's daily report a while back.

All I want you, the reader/viewer to know is that I tried my best to comment on the general situation in an even-handed manner (i.e. crime is bad, boo crime on MUNI, hey some drivers have it tough, hey cops we like you please throw bad guys in jail) but had to do so without the benefit of seeing the video you the home viewer will see tonight.

March 18, 2009

Fun Friday: The N Judah Chronicles Is Looking For A Few Good Guest Bloggers...

Next week I'm taking off for a business trip, first to Washington DC, and then to points out and about around the East Coast. Unlike other times when I've been out of town, this time around I won't be able to blog much from afar - heck I won't even be able to blog about DC's Metro system since the convention I'm going to is in some weird suburb of DC I've never heard of (they might as well have had it on the Moon, it's that remote).

Anyway, although I may be able to post a twitter here or there, I'd rather the site not go dark for a week and a half. While I'm sure I can get Mason Powell to post something here and there, he's a busy guy too. So, after consulting The Internet, I decided to open up a couple of "guest blogger" positions here to help keep an eye on all things N-Judah and MUNI related while I'm out of town.

The requirements are simple - post an observation made whilst on your daily commute, or a short commentary on the latest in MUNI related news, or pictures you might want to share with the Loyal Readers. I can't pay you millions of dollars in salary, but I can offer a free beer/coffee/whatever when I get back.

To inquire, simply send an email to me with the subject line "guest blogger." Briefly explain what you like about the site, what you might write about (or take pics of) and I'll get back to you (it helps a little if you're familiar with MovableType 4.01 but not required). I'm looking for a few folks who can take turns posting once a day (more if there's a MUNI FailWhale). The house rules here are simple: be nice, don't make up stuff, be funny in the "funny ha ha" not "funny omigod" way), and have fun!

I'll be able to approve posts and make edits from afar, and may even chime in via The Twitter depending on whether I get a break from the day job's duties.

I'll pick 2 or 3 folks - and not to worry, if you don't get picked this time, it doesn't mean I hate you or anything - it looks like I'll be taking a few more business trips this year, so there will be plenty of opportunities to guest blog.

Thanks for your support, and thanks for reading the N Judah Chronicles!

March 2, 2009

One Day Left to Save $4 off Our N Judah Merchandise....

Quick post on a busy, rainy Monday: you can save $4 off our N Judah apparel today and tomorrow just by using this promotional code provided by Zazzle ( PATTYSHIRT09 ) . If you're thinking about buying one, now is a good time to get one before something happens that might keep these away in the future.



create custom t-shirts at Zazzle

Also, I mildly critiqued a certain Supervisor known for spending taxpayer time yelling at blog commenters and such. I realize now I shouldn't have as I fully expect to get screamed at for my mild critique, but I've dodged this particular politician's tirades before. It's just unfortunate that mild suggestions for finding common ground get ripped on. Ah well.

In the meantime, be extra careful as rainy weather and wet streets mean extra caution needs to be taken boarding on or off MUNI, and when crossing the street. Cars don't always realize that stop times change when the roads are slick. Be safe and have a groovy Monday.

February 13, 2009

Friday Triskadecaphobia Day Fun: MUNI Alert for Saturday...

Ah, Friday the 13th. I'm never sure whether to give in to triskadecaphobia and hide indoors all day until midnight, or say "frak it" and live life as normal, and hope I don't get killed by MUNI. Ah, superstition.

Todays MUNI TroubleAlert told us not of trouble, per se but instead about a bike race Saturday morning that makes its way through the Outer Sunset and Outer Richmond until about 10:30 am. If any of you are in the area, take some pictures and post 'em to Flickr this weekend.

As for me, I'm having a nerd-fest tonight, what with Dollhouse premiering, Terminator returning, and Battlestar Galactica rocking.

And now, a Grindhouse-style promo for Fox Fridays. Because I can:


January 16, 2009

Inauguration Special: Discount on All N Judah Apparel Jan. 16th-20th!

The good folks at Zazzle.com have just announced a new discount code in honor of Inauguration Day - $4.40 off any shirt in the Zazzle store! All you need to do is go to our Zazzle store, pick out any shirt for sale (you'll find both N Judah and Adama for President items there), and enter the code 440SHIRTSALE for your discount. (FYI, Zazzle.com is located right here in the Bay Area, so if you're a local, you're ordering from a local business!)

And, while you're buying your shirt, why not send President Elect Obama a note the next time you get hit up for a donation asking him to give transit infrastructure help with that bazillion dollar "stimulus" package, instead of letting his transit secretary shovel it all to his campaign contributors?

October 13, 2008

80th Anniversary of the N Judah Shirts Now Available!

On October 21, 1928, the N Judah streetcar entered service. The inaugural ride was conducted by Mayor "Sunny Jim" Rolph himself as it sped through the newly constructed Sunset Tunnel and out towards Ocean Beach.

"Mason Powell," who has designed all of the shirts sold here, now has a new design celebrating 80 years of our Mighty N. Featured are N Judahs from throughout the years. Buy one and show some N Judah pride today!


September 16, 2008

Yes We Can: Obama Event at the Blackthorn 9/18 & Some Awesome Tickets For Sale!

Some random news from the N Judah inbox worth a mention....first, we have news that the Obama/Biden campaign will be holding a campaign volunteer event at one of the coolest (and smartest) bars in the Inner Sunset, the Blackthorn Tavern!

The event will run from 6 to 8pm and if you sign up as a volunteer, the campaign will give you a button or bumper sticker (while supplies last). This isn't the first time the Obama campaign has held events here, and it's great to see a national campaign support a local business. You can rsvp for the event on Facebook or contact Pat Wong for more information.

Also, one of my pub trivia teammates has two tickets to the "So You Think You Can Dance" show on September 30th at 7:30pm at the Oakland Arena. You can see the seating location here and they're a bargain at just $100. Contact Jennifer at jen_ni_fer_01@yahoo.com" today!

More entries soon as work permits...we've got a hell of a crisis on the cable car system that's in dire need of a serious blog posting....

August 4, 2008

Welcome New Readers, and Some Changes Coming...

I didn't quite anticipate just how much attention that winning the Guardian Best of the Bay poll would bring to this blog (seeing as how I had no idea the BOTB even had such a category!) and first I'd like to say "Welcome" to all the new readers!

This has also resulted in significantly more "Reader Mail", so much so that I think I'm going to designate one day to publish all emails submitted, rather than print them as they come in. That way you can read what your fellow Loyal Readers are thinking, and join in the discussion.

On a side note, we may be changing how we allow comments on the site. One thing no one sees here is the immense amount of "comment spam" the site receives. As a result, I have to approve every single comment so that the 10 spam comments don't get published and the 3 "real" ones do. I think that forcing people to regsiter for every single site is a hassle, but I hate spammers too. And for some reason the option to allow people to use their OpenID (aka your yahoo login) isn't working here either. So for now we're investigating some no-hassle ways to change over to something a bit more manageable so you can participate easily on the site. Suggestions are welcome!

Also, to new readers: I would direct you to the Subject Archives section, where you can read past entries on specific subjects going back to 2005. If you're wondering if we've talked about something, you can look there, or type in a search term in the Search box in the upper right hand corner too.

Finally, I'm going to try and get some professional assistance to make a long-delayed upgrade to the site's layout and interface. I've been working on this for some time now, but as my MovableType and assorted HTML skills are limited (and I have a day job!), what takes an expert a day takes me much longer.

However, the site's basic layout hasn't really changed, aside from colors, since 2006, and is lacking in some features many of you have inquired about that I would like to add. If anyone out there wants to pitch in, I can't offer much in the way of millions of dollars, but you could get a free shirt or two out of the deal, and credit on the site as well.

July 30, 2008

Epic WIN for the N Judah Chronicles: We're in the Guardian "Best of the Bay" Issue!

So there I was, making coffee this morning when my friend Paul of Beyond Chron calls me up to tell me that his site's won the Bay Guardian's "Best Local Website" award in their annual "Best of the Bay" reader's poll/issue. Hooray!

Then he tells me that the frakkin N-Judah Chronicles has also won the best local blogger award. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked. I mean, not only did I not beg all you Loyal Readers, my friends, relatives, et al to stuff the ballot boxes, I honestly didn't know they even had a category like this. So needless to say, this is a tremendous surprise.

I kinda feel bad for capping on them a while back on that political blog I write that no one reads...all I can say to y'all is thanks! I never thought a joke email sent 3 years ago would lead to anything, much less this!

July 14, 2008

Breaking News: The Westside, and the Blackthorn are OFFICIALLY the Smartest Bar in the Bay Area!

By now, most people have picked up on the fact that the Blackthorn Tavern is not only the Official Headqarters of the N Judah Chronicles, and the Adama for President Committee, but also one of the best places to hang out in the Inner Sunset.

Tonight, I learned another factoid though - the Blackthorn is home to the TWO teams that kicked major backside in Brainstormer's Bay Area Trivia Championship! Even better, they had to decide the winners with a tie breaker!

And, to cement the Blackthorn, the Inner Sunset, and our Trivia Heroes as mega-doses of awesome, the winning team offered to buy every team tonight a pitcher as a gesture of goodwill.

This was just so much awesome, I had to blog it! Next time some arrogant hipster doofus tells YOU the Inner Sunset ain't cool, you just remind him the smartest folks in the Yay Area are HERE. In the Inner Sunset.

AT THE BLACKTHORN!

:-)

A Pile of Blog Posts Keeps Getting Higher

Loyal Readers: No, really I will get this site updated once I clear past a few big projects at work. I've got a ton of local business reviews to write about great places you need to patronize.

I've got a pretty major piece I want to write about the potential knee-capping of the only transit agency that has its act together (the SFCTA) by political bickering, and the MUNI TroubleAlert seems to report some sort of meltdown on the cable cars almost every day. Ouch.

The thing is I now work a job where I have to work regular business hours, unlike normal when I can put some things off and do them at night like I used to.I also have to travel a lot more, and frankly, when I come home I want to get away from the computers for a few hours. But I'm working on a new schedule so I can go back to posting as much as I want about the things we love to talk about.

In the meantime, here are a few groovy links I saw on my Google Reader today:

-Over at the Chronicle, Mary Ladd is now posting her experiences riding MUNI with her child in the new feature "Muni Mama." Check it out and let her know readers of the NJC are in solidarity with our sister-in-arms.

-The Overhead Wire took a trip on our Mighty N the other day and got some nice pictures from the day's trip. Notable are the pics of the purple flowers at the Sunset tunnel.

-"Mason Powell" forwarded me this website about the 38 Bus. No, not that 38 bus, this one is in....Paris, France. It's interesting to note a few things: a) it's a site in Paris, but has an English version b) the drivers are featured on the site as regulars and c) well it's just so cheery !

-And finally, this entertaining post about Our N was done a while ago by artist Kimberly Kradel, but I only found out about it recently thanks to an email Kimberly sent. It is just cool.

And, if that's not enough fun, you can also click on the new ad to the right for one of my side gigs, the Adama For President website and t-shirt emporium (which got a little attention today). All proceeds from sales pay for my trip to the San Diego Comic-Con next week where I shall be nerding out at Nerdvana, so buy some stuff!

We also sell our famous "The N is Near" shirts there too - buy one today!

June 30, 2008

The N Judah Chronicles Turns 3 Today!

While doing my morning work routine, I realized upon looking at the date that in fact today marks the 3rd Anniversary of the blog. I suppose I should have marked it with a big party or something, but that'll have to wait because the day job calls.

Still, I am often asked how it was that I got the idea to do this site, much less keep going, so it's time for the Origin story of the N Judah Chronicles. If I was more talented, I'd do it in the appropriate comic book form, but instead I'll just do a short recap.

In 2005 I returned to SF after a brief detour in Venice Beach, CA (the less said about that, the better), and for the first time, did not have a car with me. My car had met an unfortunate end in Los Angeles, and I was ready to get another one, but then wondered "can someone really live in SF without a car?" and after looking at how much I was paying for gas, insurance, car payments and taxes, I decided to give it a try.

It was a bit annoying at first, but gradually I got used to it. It seemed like every time I was on the N or whatever, there'd be Some Drama playing out. One day I had a particularly annoying experience taking the N to Safeway and wrote an email and sent it off as a joke to about 20 friends, and figured that was that.

I had no idea this thing was being passed around, and people (including folks I didn't know) started asking for another one. So I started up a blog at the free Journalspace.com service (they suck, don't use 'em) and figured I'd do a summer "anony-blog" on reactions to SF urban life, and end it in September. I had no idea why anyone would read it, but once "Mason Powell" and I took some photos of the faux BART station in Duboce Park, the site started to get hits as people searched for info on the fake station on The Google.

And the rest is history. I eventually moved all my blogs off of Journalspace and onto a real server, bought domain names on the cheap, and decided to turn all my MUNI-related angst into a side hobby, and it's been fun. I've met a lot of interesting people, which I never would have done had I not been doing the blog. There are many people who were kind enough to give this blog a little free linkage, especially back in the early days, including the various editors of SFist (past and present), Craig Newmark, and many many more who were nice enough to tell others about the NJC over the years.

Anyway, thanks for reading the site, buying the shirts, and so on. So long as this remains a fun sideline to my "real" job and is not a chore, I'll keep doing it, and on the day it becomes a Big Hassle, I'll move on to something else. For now, though, let's continue to have a little fun with Our Fair City and its MUNI follies!

June 20, 2008

More Friday Fun: The N Judah Gets a Shout Out On A Rap Single

Thanks to the magic that is Google News Alerts, I find all sorts of interesting things online that I might have missed during my daily work/internet/work/work routine.

Today's fun find was a music blog caleld The Sound of Young America, which had this post about rapper Richie Cunning's new song, "The City," which I quite enjoyed. It even has a nice shout out to Our Mighty N.

Richie is opening for People Under the Stairs (another group I like) at the Independent on June 26th. Check 'em out!

June 6, 2008

O Hai! NJC On ABC! OMG! What Was I Thinking?

For those of you who aren't at church or the park, or any one of a number of things one can be doing on a Sunday, you can tune into KGO 7 this Sunday at 10am, and see me interviewed by news anchor Cheryl Jennings on the topic of blogs and civic involvement.

I traded my trademark black shirts and skull attire for something a bit more businesslike, and did OK (although I couldn't see the timer countdown so I didn't know how long to phrase my answers). But it was fun, and Cheryl and the KGO staffers involved wit the program were all really cool to work with. A special thanks goes to Melissa for connecting me with KGO. Thanks!

Most of what I was trying to talk about in the segment was how anyone can start up a blog, and when people network with others, they can have an impact on local affairs. One thing I don't know got communicated enough was how those living in smaller towns or suburbs can have a proportionally larger impact than those who live in big cities like NYC or LA sometimes.

Plus, I also tried to make the point that while I have an interest in these issues, by no means have I ever claimed to be the One True Expert, and part of what makes civic blogs great is that everyone can have a say and make a contribution however they like, either as a commenter, or a blogger, or both, or something else.

Frankly, to me it's kinda funny I was interviewed at all, if only because I started the blog 3 years ago as a sort of summer anony-blog that I'd do for a few months, then quit. But as side interests go, at least it doesn't cost me anything the way other interests might, and it's been fun getting to know people in the neighborhood and learn more about local history. And as I've said before, I'll only keep doing this as long as it's fun. The minute it's a chore, I'm moving on to something else.

I am sure the segment will end up on the Series of Tubes, so if you miss it, why you and your office mates can have a snicker on Monday morning also.

PS: On an unrelated side note, I happened to notice this report that PJ's Oysterbed is closed for some reason. Anyone know what's going on? To be honest, I hadn't noticed as I end up walking on the other side of Irving to go to the taco place or the hardware store, so I'm a bit late to the party on this news, so to speak.

May 29, 2008

9th Street Signals Are Working! Woo Hoo! Plus, an Ask to the Loyal Readers

By now if you've been to the 9th/Irving and 9th/Judah intersections, you've probably noticed the famous "countdown" signals and special signals for the trains are up and running, more or less. The signals seemed to start up over the weekend, and with a little fine tuning, do seem to be trying to do what they're intended to do.

That said, I think that someone is going to have to do some sort of education campaign to explain to people, who seem to walk around in a haze these days, that running in front of a train, especially when the Big Red Hand says "Don't Walk" is a really stupid idea. Plus, many people still seem to automatically cross on a green light, despite said Red Hand, not realizing that in fact, the big train that weighs tons is coming around the corner. So perhaps some flyers or a big "Walk only with Walk" sign is in order.

Overall, though, it's at least a bit of improvement, and I'm hoping that during the summer months we'll reduce accidents and near-misses to a more manageable level...now if someone could just edumacate bicyclists on the stupidity of running red lights in front of trains and buses (as well as how illegal and rude it is to ride your stupid bike on the sidewalk), we might get somewhere. That and teaching people how to make a left turn in traffic. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In other news...I've been looking for a new place lately and haven't really been able to find a studio or 1br within striking distance of the N (it seems like lately all I can find are 2 bedrooms or 3 bedroom flats). More than one landlord has told me, however, that soon more units will be up since school is letting out at UCSF, etc.

Since this worked out well last time when I put the question to the Loyal Readers (wherein I got a wonderful place with a 6 month lease that sadly has to expire next month), I'll toss it out again - if you know of a decent, non-crackhouse 1br or studio within spitting distance of the N or the like and can put me in touch with the landlord or whoever's responsible and I score said place, you get a prize. (It's a "real" prize too, not a case of Turtle Wax).

I've found that in this rental environment the best deals never make it to Craigslist or the classifieds, and that word of mouth (or email) works best. So drop me a line and let me know what you're seeing out there!

May 20, 2008

Dan Noyes Is Investigating MUNI Drivers Again...Wed. at 6 and 11!

Earlier today I was waiting in the lobby of our ABC affiliate to do a short little interview with Cheryl Jennings on her public affairs show which appears on Sunday morning. (The actual broadcast with myself and other esteemed guests won't be on until June 8th). While waiting, I got to sit down and watch the mid-day newscast, and noticed a couple of ads.

First was an ad for Dan Noyes' I-Team who is apparently doing another investigative piece on the documented complaints against the worst-of-the-worst MUNI drivers. The report is scheduled to be on Wednesday's newscasts at 6 and 11.

The other ad was on the ABC weather channel (the one you get if you have digital TV) for MUNI itself, but I only caught pieces of it while talking to some of the other guests before the show....it was kinda cool but also kinda open to spoofing via YouTube....

And to continue our love-fest with ABC today (hey, we love KPIX too, ya know) here's a link to some pics from the Eli Stone pilot shoot last year. I only included this because I was thinking of it as I took a walk sort-of-in-the area/sort-of-not before going home today.

February 18, 2008

Changes Coming to the Site...Watch Out for Nails, Bugs, Etc...UPDATED

I've been making some changes to the site that some of you have already noticed (Thanks for reading!)...I've updated the "Categories" on the right side of the page so that you can find older content on related subjects much easier. The old categories were an anachronism from when the site was still on Journalspace under the old name, and didn't really make much sense. I've also tagged every single (!) article with tags, which you can't see now, but probably will in the future.

Thanks to a helpful Loyal Reader, who fixed the problem in like record time (because I missed a setting or 2) the archives are now fully functional! Click away for archivey goodness!

Oddly enough, if you type in a word in the "Search" box in the upper right hand corner you can find any article from 2005 to today. And if you click on the temporary "archives" link way at the bottom of the page, you'll see everything. But the category links right now are only showing articles from 2007, which is weird. So if you click on "Nightlife on the N" you'll see recent articles ,but you won't see the first one, from 2006, reviewing John Colins downtown. Weird.

Anyway, these are the first of what are going to be some more changes to make the site more useful. Also, since the blogroll plugin for MT is not likely to EVER be updated for MT 4, I'm creating at new category for links that will take you to fun sites around town, but also tell you a bit more about said sites so it's not just a big long boring list (and those that we link to will hopefully get some more traffic).

February 13, 2008

*&^%$#@! Internets...

You really have to hand it to the geniuses that run AT&T and Comcast...they keep coming up with new ways to screw up. I moved to a new place and Comcast wouldn't let me order new Cable service because the old service was still "active." So I gave up and cast my lot with AT&T and they said it'd be activated today, the 13th.

Ha! Instead after going through all the hassles to re do the wiring in this place and whatnot, they tell me now that starting on the 13th doesn't really mean starting on the 13th (although the BILLING starts today!) and that it might work out later on tonight...or not at all.

They must be taking screw up classes over at City Hall to come up with something like that. I wonder if I can not pay my bill on time and tell them that paying on the due date doesn't necessarily mean paying on the due date?

So for the moment I found a wifi signal in the neighborhood, but I don't like stealing Internet from strangers, so it's off to an Undisclosed Location for some wifi...hopefully we'll be back online soon enough...

January 24, 2008

Last Call for MUNI Related Apparel As Zazzle Aquires GoodStorm...

If you were considering a purchase of one of our many witty MUNI-related T Shirts, now is the time to buy. I've just received word that GoodStorm has been acquired by Zazzle.com, and will close down all GoodStorm stores to get everyone onto Zazzle by February 15th.

Our famous "The N Is Near" shirt and others are on sale in our store until then. Buy one today!

January 4, 2008

Share Your MUNI & Storm Drama While The Power Is Still On...

I would love to have posted all sorts of links to all sorts of as-it-happens mayhem, but I had no power until a few hours ago, so instead I'd be interested in hearing tales of woe and more from the Loyal Readers!

Adding to my fun today was having BART stalled this afternoon due to a felled tree, and other assorted hassles. I think I'm going to buy a generator so that during the next storm/disaster I can just stay at home and watch DVDs.....

December 18, 2007

Win Cash and Spread Christmas Cheer with the N Judah Chronicles!

I swore I wouldn't do this, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So, despite my better judgment, I've decided to make an appeal in my housing search to the Loyal Readers and others who find this site on Google Alerts. Let the snark begin.

Seriously, though, if you haven't heard, the rental market in San Francisco has tightened up considerably, for a number of reasons we don't need to go into here. Now, normally when I go looking for a place, it takes me no more than a week or so, maybe 2, and I find something that isn't akin to a Third World prison cell, or something out of a Dickens novel (and you'd be surprised how many of those there are in Supposedly Liberal and Wealthy San Francisco).

This time, however, despite consulting the many listings of Craigslist, MetroRent, et al, I haven't been able to secure a new place and time is running out. Despite giving notice on my current place, my current landlord hasn't found a new tenant so I scored a month-to-month in the interim, but it's time to move on as I really need to get settled. (Blah blah blah shouldn't have given notice in a tight market blah blah blah. Yeah, I know. No restating the obvious, please.)

Here's where the Loyal Reader or even the Casual Reader can help, and in the process score a little surprise of their own. If you email me a tipoff to a vacancy that leads to a signed lease, you win a cash prize. Really. And it's not $5 either. The amount, however, will only be disclosed to serious folks, to keep out the riff raff of annoying snotty bloggers and anonymous haters who populate Blogland sometimes.

A few qualifications: sending in a list of links you find on Craiglist or MetroRent does not count - I can read those myself. The exception is if you actually know the person putting up the listing, and you make an effort to connect myself with said landlord or agent, then you qualify.

As for location, obviously I would like to say within walking distance of our Mighty N, but at this point, I'm willing to settle for a decent place that's in the $1000-$1500 range that's in a safe area (i.e. not in Crackland or some other hellhole neighborhood), and has decent access to some sort of MUNI so I can continue to regale San Franciscans with the joy and whatnot of Our Wonderful Transit System.

The winner not only gets a chance to spread some Christmas Spirit, but also win a little bonus as well, and will get untold Christmas cards in years to come for helping out in this time of need. Thanks, and keep the snark to a minimum, gang. Merry Christmas!

December 11, 2007

Taking a few days off...and an update on that MUNI double decker...

Normally I'd have all sorts of things to post, but I've been felled by that nasty cold/flu thing that's been going around...it probably didn't help that I was already feeling some symptoms over the weekend but a) pressed on with the Housing Hunt from Hell and b) stayed out in the cold longer than I should have. Oh well.

In the meantime, why not share with us some MUNI Holiday Good Will and Cheer? Or MUNI Holiday Ill Will and Jeers?

UPDATE: Since so many people are asking, here's a schedule of when and where the Double Decker MUNI Bus will be test driving the streets of San Francisco....if and when I stop dying of this stupid flu, I'll check it out!

October 30, 2007

The Non Halloween Schedule For MUNI AKA Oh CRAP Was That A Quake????

Holy Crap!

Whilst writing a snarky post about the MUNI's massive frakups for Halloween-That-Is-Not-Is, I just got whacked by a really serious earthquake!

Wow!

Here's the latest from the MTA/MUNI. I am going to find out more about the quake....talk about live blogging....

October 21, 2007

so far so good, as the upgrades continue...bear with us here...

So far so good on the upgrade...but again you may find a situation where you submit a comment and it gets lost in the system while I knock out some bugs here....so far so good though...thanks for your patience, Loyal Readers....

October 17, 2007

Bear With The NJC As We Do Some Needed Upgrades...

Over the next few days you may notice some odd changes here and there on the site. That is because I am upgrading the site to the latest version of Movable Type, as well as some other needed improvements. The first casualty, at least for now, is the link list - the plugin that ran that part of the site is not compatible with MT 4, and I'm changing the way I link to other sites anyway so that you, the reader, can find more relevant info faster than now, where there's just some big long list.

The improvements will result in a better site, however, and it will be easier to run this and all my other sites from one installation! Woo hoO!

October 10, 2007

Welcome SF Culture Blog Readers!

The lovely and talented Beth Spotswood was kind enough to link to us today in her entry celebrating the Mayor's birthday today. Thanks, Beth!

Thanks for the link, Beth, although I doubt we'll see the Mayor on the N line anytime soon, especially in light of yesterdays hijinx. But Happy Birthday anyway, Mr. Mayor!

August 28, 2007

Den N Judah Kronisk är Stor i Sverige

The N Judah Chronicles is big in Sweden!

Well, sort of. One of the benefits of having photos on Flickr is that you never know who will discover them. In this case, I got an e-mail from Kristofer Rengfors, editor of Metroteknik.se, who asked if his site could republish a photo I took of a "Space Invaders" themed car recently.

And, of course I said yes, and now the N-Judah Chronicles is big in Sweden. Check out the article here and to our new Swedish fans, välkomnande!

PS: I used autotranslation software to write this, so if you have better translations of said witticisms, feel free to let me know!

August 23, 2007

Why Work When You Can Goof Off Online: The N Judah Chronicles Elsewhere On the Internets

Being the first decade of the 21st Century and all, one cannot have enough blogs, social networking profiles, and the like. I've been experimenting with a few, with mixed results. I am working on some short videos for You Tube but am learning as I go, so for now I'm mostly linking to others' videos there. Likewise, on Flickr, you'll find photos featured here previously, as well as other finds that I didn't write full-blown posts for.

So, if you're trying to look busy at work and the groovy 70s graphics of the blog are a tipoff to the boss you're not working on your TPS reports, check out our virtual land grabs at YouTube, Facebook, Vox, and Flickr.

Bonus points if somehow the magical algorithms of LinkedIn discover we're connected somehow. I have no idea what they did to it lately, but suddenly it seems like everyone I know is finding me there after years of dormant activity....go figure.

Anyway, enjoy your weekend, and enjoy whatever it is you like to do in your spare time! Have fun!

August 20, 2007

How About A Party for The Rest of Us Who AREN'T Going to Burning Man?

Hey fellow San Franciscans! As you may or may not know, the infamous Burning Man shindig starts on August 27th and lasts through September 3rd. Now, while I have nothing personally against the .02% of San Franciscans who engage in this (or any other) fun activity, I do get tired of some people in town telling me if I don't go to Burning Man, I'm somehow not cool enough to live in the Bay Area.

So, maybe it's time we had a party whilst the better-than-us crowd is out of town...any ideas, folks?

July 30, 2007

Doin' Jury Duty, Thinkin' MUNI: Big Vote Tuesday, July 31st....

This week I've found myself trapped in the labrintyh known as the Hall of Justice for voir dire jury duty. And unlike the one in SuperFriends, there's no TroublAlert computer (but there is the ongoing nuttiness involving Sup. Ed Jew).

As such, I can't attend the Board of Supervisors meeting where they'll be voting on the now-infamous MUNI Reform Charter Amendment. There's some things to like about this, and some that are kind of lame (why, oh why, is it an article of faith amongst SPUR and Rescue MUNI that public input on who runs MUNI is a Satanic Verse?), but at this point, I like it if only because it's putting the Mayor and the Board on the spot as to whether all their "greenie feel good talk" is for real or not.

If you've been a reader or a commenter here, I urge you to take a look at the measure yourself, and if you feel so inclined, tell the Board and the Mayor what you think. It's part and parcel of the San Francisco lifestyle to bitch about MUNI - now we have a chance to vote up or down at least one attempt to try and move things along. Either way, check it out and enjoy the mayhem at tomorrow's meeting!

July 27, 2007

MUNI Screw Up Brought to You By the Letters K L and M and a Friday Link to Metblogs

Thank the Good Lord I don't have to leave the Sunset until later (to go see the Simpsons Movie if you must know), as once again both MUNI and BART managed a nice blowout this morning, once again delaying people on their way to work.

Frankly, we just have to get used to this. Once again, the politicos in charge of MUNI are inventing new ways to drop the ball on actually fixing MUNI, but do manage to look good when smiling for magazine covers....just like they talk a good game but do nothing to make good on past promises to make the N safer and faster.

On a lighter note, the super-cool Anna at SF Metblogs was kind enough to link to what will probably be our last T Shirt with Goodstorm - our Stop Global Warming - Ban Burning Man shirt.

I have nothing personally against Burning Man per se - if .02% of the city's population has an interest in something and pursue it, more power to them. I just get tired of the intolerant, hipper than thou silliness these supposed purveyors of free expression love to rub in everyone else's face.

Funny how the people who speak loudest about tolernace, diversity, "fun" and whatnot tend to be as smug and exclusive as any frat house or society ball. Meanwhile, more people are at Comic-Con right now, and frankly, it's a lot more relevant to most people's entertainment than some party in a hot desert.

Enjoy your weekend!

July 21, 2007

The N Judah Chronicles - 70's "Streets of San Francisco" Style!

Loyal Readers: For fun, I decided to go with a summer color theme for the site, and thanks to my good friend Lauren at Quellette Design and the photography of colleague "Mason Powell" and his awesome photo from Golden Gate Heights park, I've gone with a 1970s, The Streets of San Francisco look. (I'm still making tweaks here and there, bear with me...)

You can also buy a shirt with our 70's old-school logo at our online store for a limited time! This will be the last product we offer via GoodStorm before we close up there and move to our new provider - so act now!

There's quite a bit of news and urban chatter to talk about, which will all be coming up shortly. In the meantime, enjoy this short YouTube video of the opening credits of one of my favorite shows! Have a great weekend!


April 2, 2007

Two New Shirts Available In Our Transit Fashion Store!

Since our first T-shirt design, The N Is Near, was such a success, we've come up with a few new designs to round out our first wave of mass transit fashion.

First, we've immortalized the infamous "Nowhere in Particular" sign often seen on a bus or train as it's making its way back to the barn, or, well nowhere in particular. Our other design is a twist on the light-up sign on the N Judah with the blog's name! Click on the image to purchase one now!

All of the shirts offered are produced and shipped by GoodStorm and now offer a variety of styles and colors. All proceeds go to paying for our web hosting service and plans for an N Judah Pub Crawl to celebrate our 2nd anniversary later this year.

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March 29, 2007

The N-Judah Chronicles Is On The Move, In The News, and More!

Loyal Readers: The N-Judah Chronicles headquarters is on the move, and since I had so much luck selling off some items last year on this site, I thought I'd put out the word I'm looking for a new place.

I've had to move earlier than I thought due to the fact a water leak in the building has created some odd situations (including the collapse of a ceiling in a hallway it's an old building and no one knew about the leak for years!), so I need to move, like, fast.

Although I peruse Craigslist regularly, my experience with places in the Inner/Outer Sunset, or anywhere near UCSF, is that many units never make it into an ad. This is especially true for studios and 1 bedroom places, since there aren't as many around as there are houses and flats. (and while I love Duboce Park and Cole Valley, I think they tend to be a bit pricier than elsewhere on the line).

Although I plan on doing a long walk through the neighborhood scouting for "For Rent" signs this weekend, if you know of a place that's coming on the market (esp. now that school will be letting out soon for most colleges), feel free to email me and let me know what you see out there!

Also, in unrelated news, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted me in the paper regarding recent additions to the NextMuni (aka NextBus). I had the chance to speak with Rachel Gordon while attending a meeting about the Transit Effectiveness Project yesterday that was quite interesting, and I'll post more on it later this week!

March 10, 2007

Misc. Updates to the N-Judah Chronicles Site

Loyal Readers: I've been making some changes to the site lately to hopefully make it easier for you, the reader to find the information you're looking for, as well as add some new features.

First off, you've no doubt noticed the Flickr badge in the right-hand column, showcasing a photoset of mine focused on San Francisco. In addition to the Flickr Badge, I am now posting more pictures, more often at my Flickr site, adding notes and commentary when appropriate.

Some end up as full-fledged entries of their own, using the Flickr API, but many others do not, due to time and space restrictions, yet are still worth checking out. Eventually, when I get a better camera, I plan on doing some rides from end-to-end of the more colorful MUNI routes, once the weather gets better.

I've also made it easier to search past entries by making it clearer that the former "Categories" section in the right hand column is actually an archive of all past entries, seperated by topic. Thus, if you want to read every posting on the subject of MUNI Follies, you can click on the subject name and find 'em all.

Year-based archives are coming later, as I need a third-party solution to create them. Why the folks who make Movable Type don't make this standard is beyond me.

Finally, if you're just aching to find some specific comment, entry, or whatever, there's a new "Search Past Entries" box toward the bottom of the right-hand column where you can type in any search term and find what you're looking for.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to email your tales of MUNI woe, City life, and more to share with your fellow citizens! 700,000 people ride MUNI every day - there's always a story of note going on somewhere!

February 26, 2007

Hey! The NJC Got Mentioned In The Examiner!

If you read today's Examiner, you may have seen this story about the impending changes to our Mighty N and for once, they quoted me, instead of some insider. Woo hoo!

As for the subject - the impending change to the N's route to stop at Embarcadero and no longer go to Caltrain - I'm taking a wait and see approach. If, as it is claimed, it really does make the N run faster overall, well then I'm willing to put up with the hassle. When I commute I'm already making a switch to BART at Embarcadero, which is even more of a hassle sometimes than switching MUNI lines.

But I can imagine what a pain it would be for a daily commuter from SF to the Peninsula on Caltrain, and if the J's performance continues to suck like it has in the past, I'd be very nervous about that N-J-Caltrain switch.

If you're a daily commuter from SF to the Peninsula, and you see shenanigans once the switch is made, email us with your tales of woe, and we'll get the word out!


January 5, 2007

Happy 2007 From the N Judah Chronicles!

First off, I want to say Happy 2007 to the loyal readers which have made running this site so much fun. I am happy to report that the technical problems that were causing some serious problems at this site have been taken care of (spammers must die) , and I can safely resume a normal schedule this weekend. Hooray!

This year is going to be an interesting one for riders of the N-Judah, and for MUNI riders in general. Starting next week, the T-Third line starts free weekend service, which means eventually some big changes to the N-Judah line as well.

It will be interesting to see how these changes, and more, affect the daily commute. Plus, we have other changes, planned and unplanned, coming to MUNI, which promise to make things fun, both in the 'good' way and the 'grist for the mill' way.

I am also making some changes to the site as well. In particular, I want to increase participation by readers, first via sharing photos of your experiences on MUNI via Flickr, and having people email me their experiences to broaden the reach of the site. I am also going to be rolling out some new features over the next few weeks as well - keep reading and look for them!

Also, thanks to loyal reader Jamison, I have successfully conquered a good portion of the spam that was killing my servers here.

Finally, in the spirit of fun and support for local businesses, I have begun plans to organize a pub crawl on the N-Judah line, time and date TBA. I would very much like your suggestions or ideas to make this event fun for all.

Thanks for your patience and keep reading the blog!

December 11, 2006

Due to Technical Difficulties...

I've been having some technical problems with both my sites, which has prevented me from posting as often as I'd like. I mean, when you have the Great Cookie Smell Debate going on, you wanna post something funny. Or, when the Transit Effectiveness Project announces important meetings today and tomorrow, you wanna tell folks a bit further ahead of time.

However, both my email and the comment/trackback functions on this site are getting spammed at a higher rate than my spam filters can handle. It is getting to the point where I may have to institute some sort of dreaded registration process for people to leave comments (most likely with TypeKey, but frankly that ticks me off because the last thing I want to do is force people to "register" a "password" to post a comment on the site. Not only is it annoying, but it's just a blog, not the secure server for Washington Mutual or something.

I'm also in the process of tinkering with the site a little and changing the layout, but after almost completely shutting down the site, I'm taking things slowly so I don't wipe out a year's worth of work. I find it amazing that Movable Type does NOT have yearly archives built into the system....which means I have to cobble together some 3rd party solution!

In the meantime, the much talked about N-Judah Pub Crawl is starting to be planned, and I'd be interested in your suggestions. Thanks for your patience and look for an upgrade to the site soon!

November 5, 2006

An N-Judah Stop Right On Your Desk

While attending the MUNI Town Hall hosted by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (which I'll write about in more detail later this week) one of the handouts given was this really neat little postcard, which had a die-cut "model" of a MUNI train, along with safety tips for kids in and around the T-Third line which will be up and running in a few months.

I'd always wanted a model MUNI for my desk, but no one makes one for model train sets, so I was resigned to perhaps building one out of Legos, but now I have one thanks to MUNI!


September 8, 2006

MUNI, Nate Ford, Still "On Notice" AKA Friday Follies and Fun!

So this is why the N was running so strangely today. I knew something was up when I saw packed cars full of folks going outbound in the middle of the day, and other strange behavior. Makes me glad I'm not in a rush to get anywhere today. Unfortunately, the folks trying to get home on a Friday probably aren't too happy.

MUNI? Nate Ford? You're still "On Notice..."

UPDATE 9/12/06:Wow! Put the SF weather "on notice' and suddenly it's nice and hot again! If you're not outside already, do so at once! We're getting one of our promised "warm" fall days, so enjoy it!

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More thorough blog fun up and coming once the Internet is restored at the N-Judah Chronicles' headquarters in the scenic Inner Sunset!

May 17, 2006

A Public Service Announcement from The N-Judah Chronicles

The Following is a Public Service Announcement from The N-Judah Chronicles

Now that the 40 days of rain is behind us and we all welcome the warm weather of summer, it's time for some advice for those of you choosing to enjoy the hot weather (such as we had last weekend) and the many activities around our city.

If you choose to go outside and enjoy a day at the park, an afternoon cocktail, a run or bike ride, or just a plain old fashioned walk, please remember that when it gets hot outside, people get hot too. And when they do, they can smell bad.

This is not aimed solely at our vagrant population! Many people are unaware that when it's 90 degrees outside, or even 70 or 80, without proper antiperspirant or deodorant, they can smell worse than a hippie deadbeat looking for "buds."

Worse, many of these people have no idea of their offensive condition, but their fellow MUNI passengers do!

Thus, we at the N-Judah Chronicles ask you to please remember to use your favorite personal hygiene products before you go out. If you’re unsure which to use, please consult your neighborhood store, and choose one of the many products sold by America’s biggest corporations.

Save the environment and do a favor for your fellow MUNI riders! The N-Judah Chronicles and the people of the City of San Francisco thank you for your cooperation!

I'm getting a brand new Comcast cable modem any day now! Then I can post on a regular basis! Earthlink Sucks!

February 21, 2006

When's the NextBus? Ask Your Web Browser. Don't Ask Muni.

Someone, please get Nate Ford on the phone (or email, or whatever). We have a some SF Muni Follies that need to be fixed, stat.

One of the things that makes certain lines, like our beloved N-Judah, easier and more convenient to use is of course the digital NextBus readouts, installed at key bus shelters up and down the line that tell you exactly when the next train or bus is scheduled to arrive.

It's great in general, but when it is pouring rain it's critical in helping you decide whether to ride out the storm a few minutes or go elsewhere and come back. Everyone likes it. So why the hell isn't it working anymore?

Continue reading "When's the NextBus? Ask Your Web Browser. Don't Ask Muni." »

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