Quick Hit: Video of Mayor Lee Driving Old Number One from the Muni Celebration Last Week
Last week was the first of what will be a few events commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Our Muni. I took a moment to shoot a short video with my iPhone of Mayor Lee driving Old Number 1 on the tracks over by the Market Street Railway Museum. It's a little bumpy because I was trying to hold my phone as well as assorted swag from the event all at the same time, but it came out ok. Besides, when is the last time you saw a streetcar with a police escort?
Think You Can Do a Better Job Driving a Muni Bus or Cable Car? Prove it, On Your PC!
Give Google credit for one thing - if you use their Google News Alerts to track certain subjects, they sure do a good job of finding things you'd never think existed. Today I present to you one of my all-star Google Alert finds: a Muni Bus/Cable Car simulator all the way from Germany. Apparently it's brand-new - when I first saw the Torrent link I assumed it'd been out for a while, but I was wrong.
Oddly enough, the Google Alert found a BitTorrent site, so I took the time to find the game's publisher, Astragon, and to a site devoted to just the game. (I didn't want to link to the BitTorrent site directly since that's kinda like condoning stealing) After looking at some of the screenshots and the videos, it does look pretty good. Sadly, it seems you can't drive an N Judah all the way to the ocean, nor can you short turn said N either. However, you CAN operate a cable car, and any one of a number of PCC streetcars and buses on various routes, real and imagined.
I found it interesting that part of the game was to make money via fares. Maybe someone should show this game to Muni, and to Supervisors who like to play games with Muni's money, and educate them a little. My only regret is that this game doesn't have any westside lines to try out, nor does it feature the infamous Bredas.
Then again, you can still buy model BART trains, some old model Boeing trains, and even PCC-style Muni cars, but I have yet to find anyone that offers a model of San Francisco's one-off Bredas that grind away day after day. Maybe as a sequel, the can have a simulator of the MTA board, which would allow for some Grand Theft Auto-like responses to stupid things Muni does. (I kid.)
I don't have a PC so I can't play this on my computer, but if anyone tries it out, post some comments and let us know how you liked it! For now, check out this video and enjoy the rest of your weekend! Also, July 4th is the LAST day you can get 17.76% off your Muni related T Shirts at our online store with the code "LANDOFTHETEE". Buy one today!
This has nothing to do with the trending topics of the day (the Prop. 8 ruling, the death of Google Wave, or the ongoing mess at Clipper), but someone sent me a link to this video of the old Boeing cars (like the ones Muni used to have) being demolished in Boston.
Then, I found this video of a model Boeing set. I've actually seen Muni themed ones on Ebay once in a while, but I've NEVER seen a model Breda. The closest thing were those cardboard ones they gave away at the opening of the T Third line a few years back.
Some Fun Video: Color Video of Our Fair City, Circa 1939...
Recently I discovered several YouTube channels that specialize in old footage in color. This one was rather fun to watch, regarding the opening of both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges within a few years of each other.
Kinda fun to think about the days when things got done FOR us and not TO us. Well sort of. But anyway.
Friday, Friday, Friday Roundup - Pride Week Detours, Critical Mass, Videos, iPhone App News, a 4th Anniversary, and More!
There'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!
While cruising around YouTube this afternoon I found this interesting video of a high tech bus board in New York City.
It seems like every movie about The Future made from the mid 80s to the late 90s always had stuff like this to remind the audience "hey! It's THE FUTURE!" and usually that meant the present day, louder and more garish, and of course with lots of product placement. (For fun, re-watch Blade Runner and all those products for companies that have gone out of business).
Maybe some day we'll see these in San Francisco. I can think of more than a few creative uses for such things. At least, preferably for products that sound a little more interesting than "egg white flatbreads."
Public Transportation: Who Needs It? Informational Video from 1968...with PAUL LYNDE!
I'll be back to regular posting soon enough, but for today, I found these rather entertaining videos from 1968 produced by the Southern California Rapid Transit District, apparently to educate the public about a pending ballot initiative.
Well, we all know how that worked out, but the videos are informative and make for a nice period piece, if nothing else. I suppose if we were to remake this today, we'd get Roger from American Dad to star in it.
A Quick Video I Made to Commemorate Today's Day in MUNI FAIL....
A quick video I put together, made in about 20 minutes on iMovie....it is a bit rough but I went with "get it up quickly" vs. "spend too much time away from work making iMovies." If I have time this weekend I'll probably give it a little polish (my iMovie skills are a bit limited right now).
It does not take a genius to realize that the West Portal Tunnel is not a tunnel for cars. But this incident makes me wonder two things:
1. What is the point of MUNI's RSS feed for "alerts" if they only alert one after said event occurs? It's one thing when it's something like the incident yesterday, but quite another when it's one of these long, drawn out "drag the car out of the tunnel" incidents.
2. Do we need to go all Teutonic on the driver's licenses, and start requiring people to go to school for a year or something to learn how to drive? So often I see people driving around town in this little haze of cluelessness, oblivious to anyone or anything around them. That's fine if you're a pedestrian walking in the park. It is not fine when you're driving your SUV around town to take Zutroy and Hortense to a play date.
Carry on. In the meantime, because some of you asked for it, here's a replay of the Sunset tunnel incident captured on camera by a Loyal Reader just under a year ago. Enjoy!
Reader Mail: An SF Native in Beijing Sends Us A Note About BRT and Subways in China!
This morning I got an email all the way from Beijing, China, courtesy of Reader Luke, who sends us a note and a video about BRT in China. Perhaps San Francisco might learn a little about BRT and find ways to improve the 38 (although I don't know we'd want to copy their lack of access for our disabled and senior citizens):
I am a Bay Area native and now I live in Beijing and do a video blog here. Our latest piece is about transport in Beijing and includes an extended portion about BRT in Beijing and its spread across China.
Beijing is building one of the world's bigger BRT networks and there are twenty cities in China with BRT in various stages of planning and construction.
Please check out the video on the front page of sexybeijing.tv . Also
click through to the archives to check out some episodes of our
youtube hit "Sexy Beijing", about an American girl looking for a
Chinese husband in Beijing.(Starring the daughter of UCLA professor
And here's the video courtesy of YouTube. Thanks, Luke!
Remember, no one serious is challenging this guys for his actual job, so your unexpected questions will be of value. Remember also that during the Mayor's "problems" about that whole "you know" thing earlier this year was dismissed by Rescue Muni because he appointed such good folks to the MTA board.
People who he now wants to fire.
For now, let's take a look at a YouTube Video of an N-Judah Chronicles neighbor who has some things to say about MUNI. Perhaps in his inimitable policy deliberations, Mr. Newsom might pay attention to what us mere citizen/taxpayer/riders have to say about what's going on with MUNI....
The Birds of Java Beach Cafe, at the End of the N Judah Line
Lately I've been trying out a new exercise plan which basically consists of leaving an Undisclosed Location near UCSF, and walking all the way to the beach every morning. Since I don't have a dog anymore, I don't have that little reminder to get outside and do a dedicated walk in addition to all the other walking I do every day (dogs have a way of making their point that is rather unique if you DON'T walk them).
More often than not, I end up getting a small coffee at Java Beach, conveniently located at the end of the N Judah line. It's a fun place I have grown to look forward to as I come to the end of my walk, and it usually has a line out the door because it's so popular with the locals. If I have time, I like to sit down and read something before hopping on the train home.
How's This For A Birthday Present: Spare The Air Day Free Transit 8/29!
What a great birthday present. Well, sort of, anyway...it seems that Wednesday is a Spare the Air Day, meaning that MUNI buses and trains will be free and BART, CalTrain, and ferry service will be free from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.!
Read more about this wonderful day at the Examiner and enjoy what is going to be Yet Another Warm, BM/Rapture-like Day. Use up one of those "Get Out Of Work Free" days if you can!
Party like a rock star and don't bother driving. See you at the Blackthorn late this afternoon, where I'll be spending my Schrute Bucks and having a wonderful day...and if you're wondering how to make a blogger's day, well, here's the amazon list...or just stop by and say hi....
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!
Reader Mail: Blocking the N Judah on a Saturday Night For Only $55!
Ok folks, I'm not making this sh*t up. Seriously.
Loyal Reader "MateoSF" was kind enough to send us the YouTube URL for a fit of insantiy on the N-Judah I happened to miss as I was out of town this week in Ed Jew's hometown (and mine, before I escaped), in Burlingame,
Anyway, MateoSF was kind enough to capture on video what could be the most iditotic Jedi move on the N-Judah ever - driving your frakking PRIUS into the Sunset tunnel!
Here's his footage. Let's light the lighter because this guys ROCKS, and he ROCKS because he let me know about his incredible footage first!
Boy, you skip reading SFist.com 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!
Friday Fun With Vintage Sesame Street Videos and a Reminder about the 38 Geary Meeting
Mason Powell alerted me to this, which is a classic 70s Sesame Street video. It seemed appropriate for the site:
Also, don't forget about the meeting slated for tomorrow to discuss how to fix the 38 Geary line. As I've stated before it's important that people stand up for sensible traffic solutions in all parts of the city, since bad service in one part of SF can affect other parts pretty easily.
Meeting info, once again:
What: Richmond Town Hall Meeting with Mayor Newsom and Supervisor McGoldrick
When: Saturday, July 29th from 12:00 to 2:00
Where: Presidio Middle School, 450 30th Ave between Geary and Clement.
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
Guinness, 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!