May 24, 2011

The ISOCK is coming to the Inner Sunset May 28th!

labyrinthfilm.jpgThisSaturday, people in the Inner Sunset will get to enjoy the third rollout of ISOCK - the Inner Sunset Outdoor Cinema Kit, which will be showing the movie "Labyrinth" at the Yes We Can house at 6th and Irving. Before I get to details, you might be wondering "what is an ISOCK" anyway?

I talked to Adam Greenfield, who worked with a team of volunteers to put this unusual portable device, which can show movies, slideshows, play music, etc. - all in a self contained unit that includes all the things you'd need to start doing something outdoors without out having to scramble to put all the pieces together. It's an interesting idea and asked Adam how he got the idea for it.

"ISOCK was inspired by something I saw at a Mission Sunday Streets event back in last year's World Cup tournament. People were sitting on chairs outside a garage, watching a soccer game on a projection screen. I took a photo of it (attached). The idea seemed perfect for cash-strapped community-builders; everyone likes watching movies and there are a million places you could set this up. So, here in the Inner Sunset back in November, we collected donations from the community and earlier this year built ISOCK, which is basically a kit that lets you show movies almost anywhere." said Adam.

I have to say I'm always impressed when people take it upon themselves to do something that improves the neighborhood, especially via a grassroots movement like this. Either way, the potential for the ISOCK sounds like a lot of fun. This week's event at the Yes We Can House starts at 8pm and will be held in their amazing backyard, showing the movie "Labyrinth" courtesy of Le Video. Suggested donation is $5-$10, and it is suggested you bring a potluck dish to share. Go to the ISOCK site for more information, and follow this link for a promo for the film.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, this might be a good way to see it again for the first time -amongst friends and neighbors on a Saturday night. I don't think I've seen this movie in ages, so I might stop by and check it out!

September 16, 2010

Tomorrow is International Park(ing) Day! (Updated with More Events!)

pd_logo.pngTomorrow marks yet another International Park(ing) Day, whereby people around the world legally pay for parking spaces on city streets, and turn them into parks and whatnot that people can enjoy.

It's the bane of the Gate commenter types and the elite who want to hyper-regulate your personal freedom in San Francisco, but such overzealous types are the people who always see the glass as half full of arsenic anyway. Instead, go to the International Park(ing) Day site, and find one near your home or office tomorrow!

This is the start of a series of events, unrelated but all coming up soon, including:

-Saturday, September 18th from 10-4pm, the Yes We Can House at 6th and Irving will host a "Free Fix-It Day." If you've got something around the house that is broken (aside from electronics) stop by and someone will help you try and fix it. Or, are you handy with tools and fixing things? Stop by and volunteer your services!

-Sunday is the 30th Annual Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park in Sharon Meadow from 12-5pm. Many people who got their start in comedy in SF will be performing, and as always, this event tends to add on more performers as the day goes by. This has been an institution for local comedy and one I try to attend as often as possible.

Finally, some advice - if you're from Elsewhere and want to go to something in the Park, you really should avoid driving unless it's necessary. Last weekend it was jammed full of people, and often times people think just because there's this "garage" near the Science Academy that somehow there will magically be "parking."

That thing fills up FAST on weekends, and with so many direct routes to the park (71, 44, N, 5, etc.) if you really don't need to drive, don't bother. It's no faster than Muni, and in many ways is MORE miserable than any crammed Muni bus. Also, if you think you'll find parking on the street near the Park, fuggedaboutit. Most side streets are already jammed up with residents' cars due to the many curb cuts here, so thinking you'll find a free spot that's easy and convenient is a lovely dream, but not likely to happen.

Save yourself the aggravation and the parking tickets and just bear with Muni for now, and remember these kinds of problems when you go vote in the future. Your Muni won't get better unless the people you hire know there's a price for screwing up on event days.

May 14, 2010

Bay To Breakers Muni Info! It's $10! Woo Hoo!

This weekend, as I've noted, there's plenty of fun things to do in and around town. However, Bay to Breakers is one of the larger events, and as our friends at SFist and the fine people at the SFMTA have noted, there's some serious impacts on Muni service you may want to know about. Check both sites out for a detailed schedule of service changes.

Easiest way to describe it? The city will be split in two for a while by an array of partiers and runners, so if you have intricate plans to go north or south, be aware you will have delays.

Also, if you plan on using the Special Event Buses and whatnots, PLEASE be aware that the cost is $10 ($7 with pass, as per the SFMTA site, so please stop yelling at me ok?). And, try and buy said magic ticket early, instead of waiting until the end of the race when you and 60,000 other people will all be cramming into slow busy buses and trying to pay (because you're all cool and pay your fares, right?) Yeah I know "$7or10forslowmuniomgwtfcursemutterswear" but let's see if the we can hold off a failwhale fleet this time, shall we?

Finally, if you're wondering just what you can and cannot do at said Bay To Breakers run and wish to avoid being compressed by The Man, our friends at the SF Appeal have a basic list of do's and don'ts for the event. Play nice and play safe, everyone!

January 28, 2010

Need to Document Muni Fails, Fights, Wins or Fun? There's An App for That: Muni Diary!

IMG_0118.PNGGod Bless Google News Alerts. Thanks to my daily search, I found this interesting application for the iPhone called Muni Diary. It's a remarkably simple application for you to document what happened and where on your daily Muni ride (or daily Muni Fail, as it were.) It's a simple, easy way to organize your Muni incidents, be they fights or fun, or whatever.

The application is the work of Aaron Tait, a programmer living in West Portal. I have been trying out the application and it's simple, but an easy way to jot down notes in a Muni-specific fashion. I've often used the iPhone's Notepad for short notes but this one is kinda cool.

Plus, I see how one could extend this application, and connect it to other apps some day, etc. If nothing else it's fun to use.

I did a quick email interview with Aaron this afternoon, and asked him a few questions about his latest work, after the jump:

Continue reading "Need to Document Muni Fails, Fights, Wins or Fun? There's An App for That: Muni Diary!" »

November 24, 2009

And Now, Some People Who REALLY Love Their Muni: Video of the Muni Party Last Week...

There's a reason I returned to San Francisco after a silly detour elsewhere, and today I was sent a link to Yet Another Reason Why. That would be the video to the Muni Party last week.

Now, I'm sure that the Grampa Simpsons of the world will get their cackle on, clucking tongues at the Youth of America for being loud and obnoxious. To them I say, STFU.

Why? Because this city has long tolerated the expensive "gimme my cookie" tantrum that is Critical Mass, and those folks don't pay a dime for their use of police time and killing Muni on time reliability for their little party. Fake revolutionary actions for the FAIL!

At least these people all frakking paid up. More importantly, isn't it kinda awesome that the owners of Muni would choose to be this enthusiastic about their rail service en route to a party downtown? No one drove, so no drunk drivers, and well, this is the kind of thing we need - more people reclaiming Muni not just as a thing you endure to go to work, but one as we, the owners, use for what we want it to be.

Pictures, because it happened.

(PS, the video is kind loud so turn down those speakers, friends.)

October 15, 2008

"Trolley Dances" Returns to MUNI on October 18th and 19th!

For a cheap and fun outing this weekend, why not check out this year's installment of Trolley Dances, which will be performing on October 18th and 19th on MUNI's T-Third line.

You may recall our past coverage of this unique event and everyone that's gone on one of these rides has said it's a lot of fun. Best of all it only costs $1.50 for your MUNI fare, or "free" with your MUNI pass!

Tours will begin at 4th and Berry in front of the SF Public Library, and last about 2 hours. Start times are 11 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. For more information, call (415) 226-1139!

March 17, 2008

A Cavalcade of Whimsy, Sans Mayhem on March 15th....

It's easy to forget why it is one chooses to live here, what with all the shenanigans and whatnots. Saturday, however was one of those days that remind you how fun it can be to live here - and how easily accessible Our Fair City is, courtesy of MUNI and walking. I posted a photoset on Flickr (which CBS5 was kind enough to link to this morning! Thanks!)

"Mason Powell" and I met up at the Civic Center to catch the end of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. I didn't take many pictures, but SFMike took some (as always) great pics here. I did, however, snap a quick shot of the BART car, but sadly, my shot of Frank Chu got blurred. D'oh!

We decided to take a walk down Market Street since its post-apocalyptic feel was on hold for the parade, and eventually made our way to the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero Center. Another "only in SF" moment here - some guy had a huge bag of birdseed and made a triangle, then left, which seemed odd. I mean, if someone is going to go to the trouble of making birdseed shapes, wouldn't they wanna see the results?

As luck would have it, we ran into the "Brides of March" mob as they made their way through downtown, first at a jewelry store, then through Maiden Lane and onward into Union Square. The scene was made even more surreal as the little cafe on Union Square was blasting Perry Como music as the mob of brides stormed the square. A group of tourists watched the spectacle and said "Well, you really know we're in San Francisco now!" and took plenty of pics.

We noticed we had a little time to kill before the Flickr Birthday Party, so we decided to do something touristy, and went to the top of the Marriott Hotel for a drink and an obligatory photo from the 39th floor. Then we headed to the Flickr party just a few blocks away at 111 Minna (as advertised on the back of Frank Chu's sign).

Not only did we get free drinks and whatnot, we also got to see elements of our day come together. Frank Chu was there. The Brides were there. St Patrick's Day celebrants were there. I think even some of the birds from earlier in the day flew by. Tons of pictures from folks around the world. We ran into Jackson West (who we learned is now writing for, and even got to meet Violet Blue.

All in all, a fun day, capped off with a drama-free 1-car N-Judah ride home. Sometimes it's nice to have a day sans MUNI drama and City Hall silliness and just enjoy the civilian silliness that can make SF a fun place to live.

March 4, 2008

Another Larry David Day On the N-Judah: Apparently I Look Just Like Some Kid's Dad!

Today was a nice day. Great weather, and I got done with work early, which allowed me some time to enjoy a free afternoon at the DeYoung Museum, since it was First Tuesday. Wonderful.

So, after a quick client meeting downtown, I hopped on the Mighty N and started reading The Onion, and the train was not too crowded. Little did I know my Larry David Day was going to be starting up fairly soon.

Sometimes people-watching is part of the MUNI experience, but today was not one of them - I just wanted to go to the museum and avoid any MUNI related mayhem. As such, I did not notice the mom with the two kids get on the train at Duboce and Church.

More people got on the train. And all the while I didn't really pay attention to these folks and this noise a few seats away. Finally one of the kids built up into a crescendo of noise. "MOM! Look over there! MOM! Look over there! MOM! Look over there!"

Jeez, kid, why don't you record it on an MP3 and relax the vocal cords. Whatever. I kept reading The Onion.

"MOM! You SAID Dad was on a business trip, but he's not. He's over THERE!"

Ha ha, I thought. Someone's getting busted. This is some serious MUNI Street Theater! I kept reading, looking around for someone who's apparently in some trouble, maybe in some salacious affair or whatnot.

The mom kept shushing the kids, trying to keep 'em in line. Finally the older one (I have no idea how old kids are and can't tell by looking so who knows) says as loud as he can "MOM! He's wearing a black tshirt, he's sitting in the middle of the train, and he's RIGHT THERE READING THE PAPER!"

Oh. Crap. W.T.F???

I did my best to hide. Clearly, I resemble some child's dad, which, while sad for the child and all, does make me feel a little good, but what in the Hell is the Emily Post etiquette for being mistaken as someone's Not At Home Dad by some kid on the N Judah?

I did my best to hid behind the paper, but it was for naught. Fortunately, "Mom" was cool and said "Kids, that is NOT Dad, and I'll prove it."

Oh. Frak. Me.

The woman came over and smile and said "I'm really sorry about do kind of resemble my husband, but I need to prove it, and, um, well I can't get my kid to settle down."

We were winding down Carl Street at this point and frankly I would have been happy to press a magic button and get an ejector seat out of that frakking N just to avoid this very situation. Give me violent hobos any day.

"Kids...this is NOT dad. He's just some guy on the train. Now cool it!"

Just some guy on the train. Hmm. Not bad. I was worried she was going to say something worse, but hey, all in day's work. I wanted to give her a card and say "hey I'm not just some guy on a train, I'm the guy who blogs about the train," but then I realized just how seriously lame that sounds and went back to reading the interview with Will Farrell.

Cue the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme.

PS: The museum was awesome, as always, and the view from the tower was spectacular!

February 3, 2008

A Few Random "Eli Stone" Screenshots for Your Enjoyment

While I'm awaiting the start of the Superbowl, as well as all those Awesome Superbowl Ads, I thought I'd post a few screenshots from the first episode of "Eli Stone" on ABC.

For some reason, I have a morbid fascination with movies and TV shows that shoot on location in San Francisco, and now that Journeyman, with its many only-on-TV MUNI moments off the air, means that for now, "Eli Stone" will have to fulfill San Francscans' need to be validated by our cousins to the south in Tinseltown.

Those Loyal Readers who peruse my my Flickr photos may recall that I took some photos on the day they were shooting this scene on the cable cars as it just happened to be a couple of blocks from an apartment I was house sitting in Nob Hill.

Anyway, enjoy the Superbowl, and enjoy the ads! And if you can get outside, enjoy the momentary sun we seem to have as well!

July 28, 2007

Having A "Larry David Day" on the N and Around Town....

As I mentioned previously, I managed to avoid the latest MUNI goof-fest on the KLM lines going downtown on Friday. Little did I know that upon leaving my home for downtown to go see the Simpsons Movie, I was going to have what I have named a "Larry David Day" in honor of the star of the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, and those odd situations one sometimes find themselves in around town.

The fun started when I boarded the N on Carl St. at Stanyan and was a bit surprised to find so many apocalyptic looking old hobos on the train. These were not your usual less-fortunate citizens sharing a ride as part of our usual diverse N Judah riders. These were the kind of angry, older, pissed off types that all have that look on their face that says "I'm gonna go down and don't mind taking as many as you with me as I can." I've written about these types before.

Anyway, as we traveled downtown, our mix of commuters, apocalyptic hobos, and geeks such as yours truly made our way without too many incidents, aside from a loud argument over the relative value of plastic bottles vs. cans (No I am not making that up). I got off the train at Civic Center and met up with colleague Mason Powell, to go see the movie and get a sandwich at one of my favorites, Tommy's Joynt. Aside from a few dumbass fratboy types from out of town who blocked the line with their incessant guffaws, body slamming, and dumb questions (tourists, behave, please) it was fine.

Continue reading "Having A "Larry David Day" on the N and Around Town...." »

May 31, 2007

MUNI Street Theater PSA: Why You Really Shouldn't Eat or Drink on MUNI

We live in a society of folks who don't like rules. Well, more correctly they like rules for everyone else but they sure as heck don't like rules for them. For that reason, we have MUNI Street Theater.

The other day we had a special PSA provided by our players: "Why You Shouldn't Eat or Drink on MUNI." The show was short and to the point, just like those sugary little bits of wisdom on TV, and similarly, made a point that only the terminally clueless wouldn't get.

After having lunch at Zazie in Cole Valley, I got on the N to go back to the Sunset, and a guy rushed on with the tallest coffee one can buy.

Without a lid.

And, like a horror movie where one sees Victim #2 about to open the door where the murderer is hiding, I wanted to shout advice to the cast member, but realized it'd be futile. Sure, one should not eat or drink on MUNI and in this case it was a matter of practicality - given the sudden stops the N has to make, it was likely that at some point Our Zero Hero was going to be wearing his coffee. However, I also realized that in our Era of No Rules, saying so would be pointless.

Continue reading "MUNI Street Theater PSA: Why You Really Shouldn't Eat or Drink on MUNI" »

May 21, 2007

Argh...A Mini Meltdown At My Own Blog...And A Short Story About BTB Day...

The one time I didn't compose a posting offline, complete with links and whatnots, and that's the one time my ISP decides to pull a MUNI and crap out on me. I cannot communicate just how frustrating this is. Lesson learned - never compose a complex posting online, and follow the rules one sets out for themselves, in this case don't compose online.

I'll reconstruct it and repost it later on. Meanwhile, I will regale you all with an incident that happened after the infamous Bay To Breakers event yesterday, which according to our friends at SFist had some issues Sunday.

So, there I was minding my own business, heading out from the Duboce Park Cafe towards downtown. As you all may or may not have been aware, MUNI was in overdrive (sort of) providing extra trains and buses and 7 dollar fun rides for all those people after the big race.

Anyway, so as I wait for my N to show up, one pulls up and it is packed, sardine-style, with happy people from all over the city. What I did not count on, however, was seeing the N used as a recycling truck. Yes, that's right. You see, two enterprising individuals took it upon themselves to collect nine huge garbage bags worth of plastic water bottles in hopes of getting the CRV for each. So, intelligently, they chose to take an N on the most packed day of the season.

Yeah. That was my reaction too.

Oh, but it gets better. You see, as I watched these two Rhodes Scholars try to get all of these huge bags off the super-crowded N-Judah, I noticed that one bag was starting to snag on the handrail by the exit. Before I could say "Stop, kind gentlemen, you're about to spill f*cking bottles all over the place," it tore open. Suddenly the stop, the train floor and the sidewalk were covered in stupid water bottles. Of course this delayed things even more.

Finally, I managed to get on the train, while everyone else was trying to kick water bottles out the door. The Genius Duo decided to snap every one of them up, and had no problem reaching under the about to start moving train to grab every last one of them. News flash, geniuses - you can still redeem the bottles if they are flat. You cannot, however, get a new hand if your existing one gets chopped off, at the recyclers.

I was glad to get off the train when I did and go about the rest of my day. I did leave MUNI wondering a few things - one was why it is they can have enough trains to run for BTB, but not for the daily commute. The other was how much it costs MUNI to service all these big special events - and how it is that MUNI riders are the ones that end up shouldering the costs for these things (in both actual costs and lost service) and not those who created the added burden in the first place?

April 28, 2007

Friday Foto Fun: Critical Mass, Park Life Gallery, and Mayhem on Geary Street

In what is becoming an almost weekly ritual, I have another Flickr Photo Set of various events from Friday afternoon and evening.

Among the notable events - Critical Mass folks at the Ferry Building, art and more at Park Life Gallery and Store on Clement Street, and a really bad accident that happened on Geary and 3rd while I was on the way home (and watching the media copters cover the cookie monsters on wheels).

More today if I get a chance...if you're not already outside enjoying today's weather, get away from the computer and do so now!

April 27, 2007

MUNI Street Theater: Grindhouse Horror Edition AKA Today's Evening Commute

Today we have another potential MUNI Street Theater production, and it's potentially a grindhouse horror film.

Like all horror movies, it starts out just fine - if you look outside the weather promises to be outstanding! The potential victims go about their day as if nothing will go wrong. And like in all grindhouse horror films, that's usually the calm before the storm.

Now, you can almost count on delays at this point, in particular on our Beloved N. If I wrote about every lengthy delay I've had on the line this week I'd fill up the server with endless tales of woe. Despite the assurances from the bureau-bots that "everything is fine", well, it isn't. Reading the comments and e-mails from Loyal Readers is just reinforcing that observation.

Then, of course, the lovely people of "Critical Mass" will be having their taxpayer-sponsored fun today. You all know what I think of these games, and how the City plays favorites with "fun" in this town.

I'm not one to help the Powers That Be fuel tensions, but instead suggest to those of you who work downtown to take off early today. It's a sunny day anyway - why not cut out of work early with some plausible made-up excuse, go meet with friends elsewhere, and enjoy the day as best you can, instead of fighting MUNI, traffic, and 1000s of angry people (who are still mad about a stolen cookie or something) for hours and hours after work?

That's the best way to avoid MUNI Street Theater: Grindhouse Horror Edition, and enjoy a great Friday! Feel free to post your experiences in the comments section this weekend!

SPECIAL NOTE: SF Weekly is taking votes for their "Best Of" issue and if you are so inclined, I'd love it if you voted the N Judah Chronicles "Best Blog." Drinks on the blog if Mason and I win!

April 10, 2007

Muni Street Theater: High Drama on the N and the T

This weekend, I took the much dreaded N-to-T switchover to catch a Caltrain to the Peninsula on Easter Sunday. While my experience on the T-Third itself seems to have gone more smoothly than it did for others, those of us waiting for the T had plenty of High Drama to watch as Muni Street Theater made a springtime comeback.

Coming Attractions included this array of confusing signs in the Embarcadero. Several tourists who wanted to take Caltrain were clearly confused and asked me which sign was right. I was not at the Embarcadero on Saturday, the first day of the Big Switch, so I can only imagine what it was like when all the Giants fans wanted to go to the game, and MUNI did its usual stellar job of communicating the change.

Then the main act came into full swing. An N car had pulled up and everyone got off the train, except for this one guy who was hunched over, apparently asleep. The MUNI operator politely, but firmly, tried to wake the guy up and send him on his way, but each time he literally did not move.

You could sense the tension as the operator started to wonder if the guy had died on the train, and as this short interlude extended into the main act, another one backed up behind it, then a T-Third that was due to take us all to the train station.

Continue reading "Muni Street Theater: High Drama on the N and the T" »

March 4, 2007

Weirdo On Wheels ! An "Only in SF" Moment...

So there I am, taking the Mighty N-Judah downtown recently, and we make the usual stop at Duboce and Church St. Usually there's not much to see, except the usual assortment of waiting passengers, etc. Just the same ol' scene.

Then I look out the window and catch an "only in SF" moment when I see this wild-eyed weirdo running around the N-Judah stop, with that whole "I'm either on meth, crack or just so crazy I don't care if I go and who I take with me" look. In other words, just the kind of fellow one wants to share the bus stop with.

Not only was he drinking out of a rather large flask, he then got on one of those scooters meant for disabled people and/or seniors and started driving around in the street! Needless to say, it was a bit bizarre, and made for camera phone moment.

So I took a few pics, although my camera phone wasn't quick enough to get a shot of the guy giving me the finger once he realized he was being recorded for the masses. Class-see.

Just another day on the N-Judah line....

February 25, 2007

Fare Evader Junkie Logic - Celebrity Style

Whenever I listen to the plaintive cries of fare-evaders I wish I could tape the "junkie logic" these folks use to try and explain away why they boarded without paying like the rest of us citizens.

Just the other day I couldn't help but laugh at yet another well-heeled upscale hipster, trying to explain why he didn't have a transfer or a pass in the Van Ness station that utilized such extreme junkie logic, even the MUNI fare inspector had a look on their face of "Oh my God, I've finally heard it all." Trying to remember it properly just gives me a headache.

Then I opened up the Examiner and read junkie logic, boomer celebrity style in the form of Ken Garcia's column in the Examiner. Now, normally I don't spend a lot of time reading Ken's columns since I pretty much know what he's going to say in advance on any issue, but the headline made me curious.

After reading it, it was clear what the problem was - he doesn't mind the MUNI fare inspectors doing their job and applying the rules to Everyone Else, he just doesn't like it applied to his own kid or her friends. While admitting, yes, they screwed up, he feels his kids and their friends should have gotten a mere warning, while you, I, and Everyone Else should get a big ticket and more.

Apparently, fare inspectors are to deduce that kids from the good part of town deserve a pass, while another kid with the same story (and from a part of town Mr. Garcia doesn't like) should get a ticket and a slap upside the head.

After all, shouldn't MUNI inspectors just "know" that "good kids" (i.e. his) deserve a break? And if they don't, that must be because (as he alleges without any statistical evidence) "most" transit inspectors are ex-thugs and not qualified to do their job - simply because, well, they did it "too well." See how junkie logic works? Yeah, my head is spinning too. And not in the good way.

It's not his kid's fault, and it's certainly not his fault as a parent for not buying his kid a bus pass, it's always Someone Else's Fault. (Thank you, baby boomers for that gem of current American life) But if you or I screw up on MUNI, don't look for any sympathy from Mr. Garcia and his band of junkie logic practicioners - it never works that way!

January 26, 2007

Ever Had a Day That Made You Wish You'd Stayed At Home?

Some days make you wish you'd stayed at home. Today was mine. And it wasn't because of the rain. Rather, it was one of those days where doing the simplest tasks took longer than they should have, and the many irritants we have come to know on the N-Judah all got together and had a Rainy Day Party.

Now the rain is fine, it wasn't that big a deal, just a minor annoyance on way out the door from the 150th day of noisy upgrades and repairs at my building. It's an older building and it's groovy the owners are fixing up all sorts of stuff that needs to be done - but the constant noise + random power outages make it hard to do my work. So I escaped, rain be damned.

After heading down to the Civic Center to take care of some business, I had lunch, and took a look at the NextBus listings for the N-Judah line. Why, in only 25 minutes my N Judah train was due to show up at Van Ness! And I was a mere 10 minutes away on foot! How fortuitous!


Instead, as is the case every time I use the Van Ness Station and am in a rush, the moment I entered the station, the quantum resonance of the universe changed, and I (along with 100 deep of my fellow N-Judah riders) were stuck waiting a lot longer than 25 minutes or 10 minutes or whatever the heck it should have been, and got to watch an unending conga line of Ks, Ls, and Ms, with hardly any passengers. How does this happen?

Continue reading "Ever Had a Day That Made You Wish You'd Stayed At Home?" »

January 17, 2007

The Most Acrobatic Boarding of an N-Judah Ever

The other day I was walking out of the Safeway on Market Street and saw what I am now thinking is the most intricate and acrobatic boarding of a streetcar yet.

As I was walking across the street, I could hear someone running behind me. I turned around to look and saw this tall guy, probably in his late 50s or early 60s running with at least 6 bags of groceries in hand, and a 12 pack of diet soda.

That's a lot to carry anyways, but what was really impressive was his additional "cargo." I looked and at first I thought he had a feather boa or scarf or something around his neck (hey, it's San Francisco, and stuff like that's no big deal). Then I looked again.

It turned out he had his DOG wrapped around his neck, sitting on his shoulders! And from the looks of it, this seemed like something dog owner and dog had practiced quite a bit, since the little dog was seemingly happy, wagging its tail and looking around like this was no big deal. Which, when you think about it is really something, because this guy is running and the dog could easily fall off, if it wasn't trained properly.

Just another day on the N-Judah line.

January 6, 2007

How Did I Miss This Gem on SFist?

Boy, you skip reading for a few days and look at what you miss!

SFist contributor and Hero of the People, MattyMatt, caught a typical San Franciscan deadbeat-type trying to get on the MUNI without paying, and caught it all on camera and posted it to YouTube. Fittingly, SFist dubbed the feature "The SFist Douche of the Week."

My favorite part? When the loser starts talking all sorts of nonsensical smack about "public servants" and badge numbers. News flash, dude - you're the one being a problem, and the world does not exist to fit into the bizarre, junkie logic rationalizations you're coming up with because you can't spare a buck fifty from the Idiot Fund you've been hoarding.

It was one of those cases where you could tell that MUNI street theater was about to become an audience particpation event, a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as Some Loser screws with everyone, tries to screw with the SFPD, and has no idea the entire bus wouldn't mind seeing La Policia go medieval on his ass, but that the entire bus might join in and help, too.

Best of all, the local news picked up the story (sans the word "douche"), which you can read about here.

I light my lighter in honor of MattyMatt because his Muni Street Theater moment rocks. What a way to kick off the new year!

November 27, 2006

The Children of the Corn Invade 9th and Irving

One of the most obvious examples of Why There Is A God is the creation of the Do Not Call List, helping to put an end to countless calls at dinnertime offering things you don't need or want. At last, there is a way to stop the madness.

One of the most obvious examples of Why We Need To Keep Praying is the invasion of City streets by armies of the Children of the Corn (as they have been named by a friend of the N Judah Chronicles).

All allegedly represent Good Causes, and all hassle you over and over and over again. One cannot call up a phone number and be placed on the "Don't Bug Me While I'm Waiting for the N Judah" list, or the "Please, Will You Just Leave Me Alone" list. No matter how polite you are, they just don't leave you alone.

Today, I was walking to the N-Judah stop at 9th and Irving, and didn't see until it was too late that once again, we'd been invaded, this time with a pack of Greenpeace-ish folks. They are getting smarter, too, just like successive models of Cylons, or whatever. You can see in this picture how they staked out EVERY SINGLE CORNER, so there was no escape from the sales pitch.

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November 15, 2006

New MUNI Game Show: Crazy? or Bluetooth?

There's a new game show on MUNI Street Theater- "Crazy? or Bluetoooth?" It's a fairly simple game - the next time you see someone talking to the wall or gesturing frantically to no one in particular you make a guess - are they insane, or are they using a Bluetooth headset with a cell phone?

The trick is, you may be surprised at how often you're wrong. For example, on the N-Judah there is a regular rider, who I have nicknamed "Satan's Spokesman" because it seems like every time I've seen him ride from downtown to the Fillmore St./Duboce stop, he's talking in a Charles Manson voice about something Satan-related. No doubt to anyone that he's in the "Crazy" category.

That said, the last three times I've guessed, I've been completely wrong. Not too long ago I got on the N at Irving and 9th, and on board was a guy with odd hair, talking loudly and waving his arms. I was ready to assume he was Yet Another Loud Crazy guy, until I saw him tap the side of his head, where sure enough, there was a Bluetooth headset.

Later I saw him pull out one of the most expensive cell phones a person can buy. Turns out he was not "crazy" at all - just loud and obnoxious, with a weird sense of fashion.

Likewise on two separate occasions I've seen people talking to the wall or whatever who seem normal at first glance, but in both cases, said seemingly normal people were, in fact, those lost souls you see around town who are talking about all sorts of Whatever, to anyone who will listen. Even a MUNI car.

Try it out for yourself, and report back your results! Enjoy!

October 13, 2006

(Legitimate) MUNI Street Theater: Trolley Dances on the N-Judah Line

Loyal readers are well aware of past documentation of MUNI Street Theater, the entertaining, but unintentional, performances of our fellow citizens, public servants, and assorted denizens in and around MUNI.

Now, it seems, legitimacy has come to MUNI Street Theater, in the form of San Francisco Trolley Dances, a series of dance theater performances along the N-Judah line, from October 20 - 22.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Kingwill, who explained how the day's festivities will work. All you'll need is a $1.50 or a MUNI Pass, and gather at the Market Street Railway Museum (which celebrated its "official" opening last week). Designated guides will tell you when to get off at designated stops along the Embarcadero, where one can take in performances by no less than four dance companies. What a bargain!

The original concept came from the Jane Isaacs Dance Theater in San Diego, and quickly spread to San Francisco 3 years ago. The idea is to foster a sense of community, provide free and open access to art, and to perhaps get people to see mass transit as something more than just a way to get to work. This year marks the first time the N-Judah will be used for the day's events - previously the F-line was used.

If you're free on October 20th, 21st or 22nd and have a couple of hours to spare, find a way to drop by the museum and take a tour. Each guided tour/performance lasts approximately 2 hours, and begins at 11am, 11:45am, 12:30pm, 1:15pm, 2pm, and 2:45pm. Get there about half an hour early since as we all know, the N can fill up pretty fast with both patrons of the arts and transit riders.

I think it's great when people find new and interesting ways to try new things and expand art and the like to things other than expensive symphonies and operas. While our regular MUNI Street Theater is free, it is not always welcome, so if you can, check out the Trolley Dances and enjoy street theater that is significantly more enjoyable than our usual fare, which tends to include loud cell phone conversations and a cavalcade of whimsy provided by denizens and The City.

Memo to Chief Heather Fong and MUNI chief Nate Ford: Please do not send 6 police and 3 fare inspectors to this event. This is a legitimate artistic endeavour, and I don't think patrons of the arts would appreciate it!

August 27, 2006

Muni Street Theater Bonanza: A Cavalcade of Whimsy and Mayhem, Courtesy of Your Tax Dollars

In the past, MUNI Street Theater has been a chance affair, with bit players and short one-act plays. On Friday, August 25th, however, patrons of the arts were treated to a spectacle of a performance, courtesy of MUNI, the SFPD, Critical Mass, NewMindspace, a Misdirected Set of Priorities, and Irrational Fear. It made for what I had originally believed to be a 20 minute detour out of my way to journal a minor piece of performance art into an epic of Wagnerian proportions.

The opening act was provided by the thousands of enthusiastic Giants Fans who were on their way to see them play at Willie Mays Field. If you got on an inbound you were treated to a sea of Orange and Black as fans took the N to the ballpark and enjoyed the somewhat sunny weather.

However, they were only bit players in the evening's performance, a chorus of goodwill, as it were. No, the star attraction of Act I was in fact, Critical Mass, aka the Critical Massholes, who partook in their monthly lawbreaking mob, jamming roads with their bicycles in a self-indulgent wave of lawbreaking, as they have done so for years.

A sea of white, self-righteous young people got a SFPD escort (taxpayer funded of course!) and jeered at those of us on the side of the road who wanted to cross. It was disappointing to read the Chronicle's less than stellar review of Act I, since they gave the Critical Massholes cover with their phony "tribute to Katrina" spin as they broke the law once again.

Which, of course, was hilarious to read, since not one person in that sea of white hipsters had a banner saying "Help New Orleans" or whatever. I guess it's easier to just ride one's bike and act like a spoiled child from the 'burbs, than actually help Katrina victims.

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August 24, 2006

Friday Fun on the N Judah Line

While reading, easily my favorite local website (and who threw a great party last week), I came across this story, about plans by a group of folks to take over an N Judah car and turn it into a party car.

I have to say I was amused, partially because I like the idea of occasional take-overs of public space and transport by these kinds of random events, and partially because I had planned at one point to do an N-Judah pub crawl this weekend, but put it on hold until later so I could plan it just right.

Plus, it is important to remember that back when San Francisco had a full network of rail lines in town, there were private cars one could rent to have drinks and dinner with friends on the way to the opera, etc. The practice ended when some conductors got loaded and crashed one of the cars (fortunately no one died)

If I check it out tomorrow, I'll try and get some pictures and let you know all how it went. If you're interested, show up at the 4th and King St. Station at 7:59pm and see what happens. Should be interesting.

July 21, 2006

Fare Inspectors - Bringing Balance to the Force

N-Judah Chronicles contributor Mason Powell makes his blogging debut today. He's already been providing us photos, and now provides some commentary on fare inspectors!

It's not often that we get to see karma in action. Sure, we like to tell ourselves that the array of jerks that we encounter will "eventually get theirs", but how many times do we get to see it happen? Not very often. But when you get to see the cosmic forces at work, it can really be fun.

For example, a few weeks ago I was on the N-Judah on a somewhat crowded Thursday. I got on at Powell and headed outbound. Around Church & Duboce, in this fairly crowded car... a voice called out the words hippie wannabes and other deadbeats fear...

"Fast Pass, transfers, or tickets!"

The Fare Inspectors had arrived. And while sometimes it can be hard to shuffle things around to get out your Proof of Payment, everyone did and showed the inspector. Except for one. In a seat a few rows from where I was standing, sat someone who I had no opinion of until he opened his mouth. He was a Yuppie In Training. Let's call him "Chip". He's not quite to the point of having an SUV in the 'burbs with a trophy wife and accessory kids, but he's on the way.

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June 27, 2006

"You're In the Blog, Buster!"

One of the rewards of writing The N-Judah Chronicles is that the many irritations and perceived slights in life that once were filed away in some dark recesses of the brain (if remembered at all) now fuel my writing. So, when MUNI does something dumb, I no longer grumble internally - rather, I grumble externally online for the entire world to see.

For example, today, I was running to catch an approaching N-Judah I'd found on NextBus and all indications were that I'd just barely make it. However, the MUNI driver had other ideas, and did a nice California Stop, and didn't even bother to stop for any potential passengers.

I waved my hand in the air to indicate I was running to the stop, and very very reluctantly, he stopped his California Stop and let me on. But then I got a nice rude lecture from the guy about how it was all my fault because I wasn't "at the stop on time" and continued to give me a load of 'tude, rudely.

What I wanted to say: "Frak you very much, Mr. OverpaidCityWorkerWhoDoesn'tCareAboutHisJobOrServingThePublic. YOU were the one doing a California Stop. YOU were the one not stopping on time. YOU are the one being a jerk!"

What I ended up saying: "Fine. Just so you know, you're in the blog, buster."

Possibly the emptiest threat, and most mystifying comment a rider could make to a MUNI conductor. Sure it sounded a little bit like Jack Lemmon in the Out of Towners, with his "sue list", but so what?

Maybe when the N-Judah Chronicles ascends to its rightful place as one of the "cool" blogs in town, that everyone is reading and quoting, it'll have some more impact.

For now, it's a really funny joke only I seem to get in these situations, but I figure it's better than squeezing rage into a bitter ball and, well you know, the whole whiskey bottle thing.

June 10, 2006

Pulling an Obi-Wan Level Jedi Move on the N-Judah

Today I got a chance to demonstrate some honest-to-goodness Obi-Wan level Jedi moves on the N-Judah, in front of an appreciative audience.

Now, regular riders of said N-Judah aren't always aware they are in the presence of a) a loyal rider of the N-Judah and b) the cheapest SOB in town. Especially when it comes to grocery shopping at the Mega Safeway on Market Street.

Not only is this one of the largest Safeways in town, it is also more or less door to door service from Safeway to home. Thus, I being Mr. Thrifty (or Mr. Cheapass, depending on your POV) am unwilling to pay The Man's cab companies for the ride home.

Now, if I shopped Euro-style, I'd only buy at the local market what I needed that day to make the evening meal. Since we're Americans, living in America, I'm out for bargains and scan that frakking Safeway insert for the bargains. Americans 1, Eurotrash 0 in my book.

There is one downside, though. Plastic bags. Lots of plastic bags. And when you get on a frakkin' crowded N-Judah (especially when Yuppies with iPods - aka kids - are on board) God help you if you got more than a fanny pack of crap from your fun run.

That is when I pull out my Jedi moves. Hipster doofuses from around the city are impressed.

What is my move? Simple. I can have as many as eight heavy bags of Whatever in my Safeway bags, carry a 12-er of Pabst and a frakkin' pizza from the deli, not use the appointed straphangers or poles on our Beloved N-Judah, and surf my way home.

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April 27, 2006

Going Off The Rails In A Crazy Train (Station)

Muni Street Theater seemed to be on hiatus for a while, but the other day we had a new performance art troupe set up shop at Powell Street.

Recently I took on a client that required me to be on site for a short term basis over in the east bay, which has meant I have to get up rather early to get out to Lafayette by 7:30am. So, I find myself going through at least two downtown BART-to-Muni stations daily, which is great because as we all know, all Bay Area mass transit agencies work together to ensure a seamless travel day and get you on your way. Oh, did I mention the crack they sell on the BART really helps make the ride smoother?

But back to Muni Street Theater. I decided (foolishly) to get off BART on the way home at Powell St. instead of my usual stop for some unknown reason. As I got up the escalator I could hear noise. Then yelling. Then LOTS of noise and yelling. I had to see what was up.

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April 23, 2006

Who's Your Favorite Muni Driver?

Notable neighbor Craig of Craigslist made a mention of one of the more popular N-Judah Muni drivers on his blog last week, the unnamed driver who reminds us all that "Muni Loves You". Other blogs have noticed our happy driver as well.

I was on the N yesterday on the way home from a medical supplies run to Safeway on Market Street. I'd been sidelined by one of the worst allergy attacks I've had since I was a kid, and graced fellow riders with my red-eyed, runny self on the way and back. I'm sure they loved that.

Anyway, on the way back from said supply run, I had another driver (or maybe it was the same one) who was lightening up the mood by not turning off his microphone right away after announcing each stop. What was really funny was his reaction to a myriad of incompetent double parkers and bad drivers who were driving around like maniacs in front of an oncoming train.

"MOVE OVER RED ROVER!" he boomed at one point, and followed it up with "Please move aside, thank you sir!" and so on. It was one of those "had to be there moments" but it was pretty funny.

This reminded me of a conversation I overhead between two women commuting home one day, also noting the different kinds of drivers on the Muni, and one suggested someone come up with trading cards of popular Muni folks.

Interesting idea, eh? What kinds of trading cards could you come up with for Muni?

April 17, 2006

Simple Equation for No-Cost Fun In San Francisco

A simple equation for a no-cost afternoon in rainy San Francisco with a friend:

N-Judah to Powell + Powell/Hyde Cable car to Lombard = BYOBW (Bring Your Own Big Wheel)

Truly a San Francisco moment. I mean, racing Big Wheels (and their variants) down the crookedest street in the world, made even more entertaining by the slick surface caused by our own monsoon season? Combine that with semi-grouchy to semi-amused residents, bewildered tourists, and whole lotta folks just having some good clean fun, and you have a great Sunday. Besides, where else can you see a guy riding a Barbie Big Wheel, or the drama of using the Cable Cars to block the oncoming traffic to allow for the race to start? NOWHERE, that's where!

It was a lot of fun, especially when the rainbow showed up for a short time by Coit Tower. Afterwards, my photographer/videographer and I went to Kennedys for some Indian food and
, as it turns out many of the others watching and participating did as well. And thanks to my good friend VisualVixen, you can watch a short video by clicking here!

March 14, 2006

Armageddon Comes to the N-Judah or The Trolls of Irving Street Rebelled

Ever had one of those days where it feels like Armageddon is right here, right now? Not so much because of any hellfire or damnation about, more due to the sheer chaos and weird crap you're seeing happen all around you.

Take today. Our on again, off again weather gave us some temporary sun, while I was cooped up inside wrestling with PHP and CSS, with mixed results. I had some little errands to run (a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a stick of butter) and a trip to my local Radio Shack. I put it all off to the end of the day. What could possibly go wrong?

This is when the Gods of Muni and the Gods of Weather got together and decided to do an Armageddon foxtrot on me and every other soul in San Francisco. Har-de-freakin'-har-har, gang.

Now, I'm not stupid. I know it's been raining a lot and figured some showers might occur, but it looked so darn peaceful and overcast, I figured my window of opportunity, while closing, wasn't that bad. So I headed out for my trivial endeavour. Estimated time of completion: 45 minutes.

The gods struck up the band, and it was time for the dance to begin.

Continue reading "Armageddon Comes to the N-Judah or The Trolls of Irving Street Rebelled" »

January 17, 2006

The Human Turd That Blocked the N-Judah on MLK Day

While Muni makes its share of goofs, screw-ups, and whatnots, it's important to remember that sometimes the reason you're stuck waiting for Muni is not because of a bureaucratic foul-up, but because of the walking talking fecal matter known as Our Fellow Citizens.

Case in point: Today on the N-Judah inbound, the train came to a full stop at Carl and Cole at around 3pm. After a couple of minutes, the driver announced that he was unable to proceed becuase a car was parked in a red zone. The red zone is designated as such because the Muni cars need that space to be able to turn. Otherwise, they can't.

So, after some patient waiting by the many folks in the double car, people started to get pissed, 5 minutes became 10, and 10 became 20. It was clear Human Turd Boy who parked his car illegally wasn't coming back anytime soon. People were getting really pissed.

And this was just on my car. Imagine the conga line of autos backed up on Carl St., not to mention the people at the next stop, waiting in the cold, windy weather. OR the people waiting at the stop after that. The domino effect is quick and merciless when these idiots block the way.

Now, at this point I should point out that no one blamed Muni or the driver - they knew exactly what was up and sat there or made other plans. Some got off the train in search of other means of transport. But I, being who I am, asked the driver to clearly deisgnate which car was the troublemaker and decided to engage in some vigilante justice.

Of course, when I got off the train I had no idea what I'd do, but it made me feel better, anyway.

I was going to leave a rude note, complete with all sorts of clever ways to say "you're a double f*cked super jackass" but alas, I was out of notepaper. Damn! Then I hit on the idea of keying the mofo's car. But I quickly remembered one of the Laws of the Universe - the minute Ido something like this, I get caught, unlike the tool that spraypainted my car in Venice Beach (but that's another story).

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September 21, 2005

Muni Street Theater: Version 2.0

Today was a great day to be in San Francisco. Our almost unknown fall, which can be warm and sunny (even way out on the westside at Ocean Beach) made itself known. It was great. Especially because after returing my lame Nokia 6101 cell phone at the T-Mobile store at 9th and Irving, I had the afternoon to enjoy.

After getting my mail, on a whim I decided to take the N-Judah all the way to the end, at Ocean Beach. Most of the ride is fairly dull - the streetcar goes through the "Sunset District" of San Francisco (possible the lamest name for this area given that it's the foggiest) but when you get to the end there's a handful of motels, a great little coffee house with WiFi, and of course, the beach.

It was nice. Sunny, not that windy, and you couldn't even smell the poop of the SFPD horses in the 'hood. It was really nice.

After hanging out for a bit, I decided to take off in the other direction and see what happened next. I departed for the eastside of SF and ended up jumping off at the Powell station and took a look at the iPod nanos at the Apple Store, and points elsewhere. The iPod nano is really something to check out - I can't believe it's THAT SMALL and holds as much as the iPod mini.

That done I wandered around and then decided to go home. Like an idiot, I decided to take the 38 Geary to the 22 Fillmore to the 6 Parnassus.

Ok, for those of you who don't speak Munigeek, here's the translation - I took the LONG STUPID WAY home.

First the long way - from downtown I took the 38 Geary - once a rail line - now a horribly mismanaged route thanks to the hippies at Muni Central who don't get the concept of "if you want people to take mass transit, why not serve an arterial with more service" concept. That was fine. But then we had Mr. Warbler, who was part of Muni Street theater, providing the ladies with his special version of crooning, nutcake style.

In this case he was grunting his lengthy grunting tunes but puncutating them with grunting acknowledgements of any female on the bus. Needless to say, this tax-funded street theater was not well received.

A fellow Muni patron remarked what I was thinking. "Who knew a buck fifty got you entertainment on Muni?"

This was my "I'm a big idiot, I'm gonna talk" entre nous....or is that noose?

I regaled him and a patient young woman about my experience earlier with Muni Street Theater and everyone had a nice nervous laugh. Mr. Warbler accomdated the nervousness with his excessive bad weirdness. WTF?

Finally the tension broke. We all left the 38 Limited and dispersed - the others to points unknown, me to a couple of Japanese and Korean markets that specialised in goods only they have, and even a Safeway. I hopped on a 22 Fillmore to a 6 Parnassus for a safe trip, door to door, home, and enjoyed what the Fillmore and Japantown had to offer.

Life was good. It was warm, it was nice, and the crazies weren't too threatening. Even when not taking the N-Judah, life can be good in San Francsico. At least on one of our rare Fall Hot Days.

Man, working in an office for the Man must suck on days like this!

August 10, 2005

Iron Yuppie II - Electric Boogaloo

"I hate that Iron Yuppie. He thinks he's so big."
-Homer Simpson

So do I, Homer, so do I.

There's a certain, shared sense of space on the N-Judah streetcar in San Francisco. It's not the biggest streetcar on the planet, and at rush hour Muni finds ways to not put enough cars on the tracks, so like it or not, you're going to be shoved up against each other. No one cares about your station in life - no one has time to even think about it, because there's so damn many people on the train!

Life's rough. People take mass transit at rush hour in the real world.

There's also some decorum involved. That is, if you're a young hip professional with iPods and cell phones, and Blackberries (oh my!) and Elderly Frail Citizen climbs on board, you give up your seat for their use. It's not just courteous - it also happens to be the freakin' law.

However, the class of rider I nickname the "Iron Yuppie" does not think so. Not only do they not give up their seat, they get quite upset when you gently remind them of said rules.

This happened the other morning, a particularly crap-tastic one at that, given that the weather has gone from its usual summer coldfest to a particularly crap-tacular one. No one is happy about going to work anyway, and now they're wearing cold weather clothes. (Those that end up in the warmer parts of town are going to be sweltering later on, and they know it, so they're REALLY not happy).

So we're all on the N-Judah, accomodating each other as best we can. Iron Yuppie is sitting in the elder citizen/disabled citizen seats, reading his paper and listening to some fabulous Dave Matthews Band on his shiny, white iPod. How nice of Apple to make a device that matches its owner's appearance.

Then we stop. A kindly elderly woman makes her way up the steep streetcar stairs to go to wherever it is she's going. All of the seats up front are taken up by equally old and/or disabled folks. She looked around for a seat and people wanted to offer her a seat further in the car, but due to the mass of folks, no one could move out of the way to let her in. It was that packed.

All eyes gazed upon Iron Yuppie. Now, he was a clever one, pretending "not to notice" what was up, but it was clear to me he knew wha was up, and that he was NOT giving up "his" seat. After all, he has a freakin' iPod. Who are we to tell him what to do? Why should he abide by the rules we live by?

Kindly Elderly Lady was too polite to ask him to move. A shared moment amongst us riders was done so, silently, as we telepathically considered our options? A polite tap on the shoulder? A quick yank of the iPod headphones? A swift kick to the goolies? What?

Finally, the glare of one woman was enough to get Iron Yuppie's attention. She asked him to move so the Elderly Lady could sit. The train had arrived in Cole Valley by now and was packed to the rafters. No one was moving much at this point. Iron Yuppie would not be moved, though. He said (in a clipped tone) "Well I'm getting off past Embacadero, she can sit in my seat then."

This was not a good answer. My first thought was to simply say "Hey! Buddy! Get your freakin' ass off the freakin' seat before someone kicks your freakin' ass, motherhumper!" (yes I"m editing the language for the kiddies.)

But I didn't because, well it's crowded and well I'm good at talking smack. Inside my head.

Remember though, this ain't New York or Tokyo. This is San Francisco. If you've been reading you know that in SF, there's always Someone Who Will Speak Up. In this case it was the loud woman with the gold jewlery. She took up the Cause of the Elderly Lady, and gave Mr. Iron Yuppie a dose of 'tude that he would not ignore.

I was silently cheering. The noise of the train made it hard to hear every word, but the words "How dare you disrespect your elders" and "How would you like it if someone treated your mama like that" were loud enough to embarass even the steeliest of Iron Yuppies. When he started raising hackles, she just raised the volume and the 'tude. Thank you, God, for this woman who for now is an instrument of your Divine Will. And thank You for sticking it to the Iron Yuppie. Rat bastard iPod listening f-ck.

He slinked off at the next stop, and Elderly Lady got her seat. The packed train was happy. Justice had been served yet again on Muni, a rare moment when the Forces of Evil did not win this round.

There are plenty of times when Evil wins, but for a crappy morning in August, we had justice. It made the rest of the day just a wee bit better, and Elderly Lady didn't have to stand the whole way on the bus. All in all a nice way to start the day.

Coming up next: More Muni Etiquette and another installment of Muni Theater!

July 11, 2005

Free Theater On the Muni - Brought to You By The Letters "F" and "U"

Recently, I have had the chance to observe San Francisco Muni's new contribution to culture - the Free Theater On Wheels. All I had to do was buy a bus pass and take a ride, and suddenly drama, comedy, and tragedy were all to be had thanks to the Theater on Wheels.

Act One was a drama played out on a Friday evening rush hour bus. I chose to take one of the downtown buses back home instead of the train (big mistake). There was a whole bus packed to the rafters full of people, all tired, all wanting to get home, putting up with the stops and lurches and starts of a bus stuck in traffic.

That is, except one young woman. She was the designated Theater Queen that afternoon and for her performance art, chose to talk on the cell phone during her trip. Loudly.

As the bus ride got louder, she got louder. When people asked her nicely to keep it down (not even asking her to stop talking, as is the rule on the bus), she ignored them or did some fancified "oh no you did not" finger dance at them. Her performance managed to take a diverse group of people of all races, ages, ethnicities, creeds, religions, economic classes, etc. and unite them all in one great cause - that this chick was a rude, loudmouth bitch, and someone needed to show her up.

That's when the bus' savior popped in. Now, for those of you not from San Francisco, or who have not yet visited our fair city, you have to realize that in a situation such as The Bus, you don't just get Anoymous Anyones in any given situation. There are whole legions of people, who, posessing a fine wit, or a willingness to speak out (or mouth off), who will inject them in any sitaution they see fit. Sometimes it's cool, and sometimes you wanna bring your bat or samurai sword with you at all times.

This guy was cool. Rather than try and tell Theater Queen to shut up, instead, Our Hero pulled out his own cell phone. He called a friend and started to tell them about the loudmouthed pain in the ass he had the misfortune to sit next to.

Actually, the misfortune was hers. See. while she tried her "I'm ignoring you because I'm a diva in training" move, Our Hero listened in on her conversation, and began repeating it, loudly, to his cell phone comrade. And the entire bus.

So as Theater Queen kept talking about somebody's "baby daddy" or who she slept with, it got repeated so the entire bus could make sure they'd gotten their notes right, and his cell phone companion got hte word as well. Finally, Theater Queen was upset. She said "Stop fucking repeating everything I say, bitch!" to the guy.

Second mistake, Theater Queen. Now Our Hero could unleash the slice and dice of irony that would slay the beast. "But you're already talking so F*CKING loud, forcing all of us to hear your cell phone call, what do you care if I just repeat it louder? Duh!"

The entire bus started laughing and cheering. Theater Queen rushed off the bus as fast as she could. When Our Hero got off the bus he got an array of "right ons", "you da mans" and "thank you kindly sir for your heroism today." All of San Francisco for that moment put aside their concerns, and thanked Our Hero for slaying the cell phone spewing Theater Queen.

Bravo, Free Theater on the Muni.


June 30, 2005

The Idiot Parade on San Francisco`s Muni System

Ever been stuck in an "idiot parade?"

Don't know what that is? Well let me educate you, so you can ID one the next time you're trying to get your errands done in The World, and the Idiot Parade gets in your way.

So I live in San Francisco. SF, being a lousy place to own and use a car (parking, tickets, taxes, crap) I take the Muni (not to be confused with BART or the Cable Car) to get to downtown. Theoretically it SHOULD be a great way to get downtown fast, and easy.

But no. I have to get on with the Assorted Idiots, Dreck, and Morons that seem to consume the air, water, sewage system, and food of this small burg.

So I get on. Now, it's a dollar and a quarter to get on. Trying to evade the fare is a fool's game because EVENTUALLY you'll get caught. Still, people try, and this fair day we had an unusual assortment of morons, pot smoking punk-ass kids and homeless refugees, trying to bullshit the driver with expired transfers. (Note to losers: steal the transfer and make a color copy at Kinkos if you want this to work. Of course this will cost you as much as just paying the F*CKING FARE, but hey!)

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