Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Japanese Hotel I Totally Have to Go To

It's well known that I like hot water, getting in the hot water, and also eating tasty snacks, perhaps of Japanese variety. Well check out the Fujiya Ginzan profiled over at Coolhunter, it's like the coolest place in the world. Here's their website, and from it I see their cheapest room, which appears to not have its own bathroom (?) is $325/night. Actually not so bad considering food is included and if my own experience at a ryokan is any indication (on a super fun trip with a then-boyfriend, back in the heady, cheap-travel days just post-9/11) that food will be mind-blowingly awesome.

Sigh. I suppose I could go have a bath and then make a microwave burrito, it'll kind of be the same...?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SF Muni So Terrible That Making It Free Would Destroy It

This from today's SF Gate: a study commissioned by the mayor's office to see how making the San Francisco Muni system free might work has concluded that since the whole system is teetering on the verge of collapse as it is, making it free would probably cause every bus to explode in unison. One might have thought, in the traffic-strangled Bay Area, that increasing Muni ridership might be a priority. Nope. Feel the power:

If [a 50% ridership increase] happened to Muni, which now provides nearly 700,000 trips on an average day, the annual operating and maintenance costs would rise by nearly $69 million. ...In addition, the city would have to add an estimated 267 buses and streetcars to its fleet of about 1,000 at a cost of approximately $537 million. New storage and maintenance yards also would be needed to accommodate the new vehicles. Muni also would have to figure out how to run more streetcars through the tunnels. The consultants warned of bottlenecks and added delays. The system already has problems running on schedule. Muni currently needs an estimated $100 million to $150 million more a year to make the significant service improvements voters demanded in 1999 but have yet to see. Even if the money were available, it would take five to 10 years to purchase the new equipment and expand the maintenance capacity.

Also, the fare boxes house evil miniature demons, with whom Muni reached a delicate detente in the mid-80s; any disruption of the demons could cause multi-dimensional time vortexes and/or mysterious plagues.

Ahem. So tell us, City Controller, don't we want to attract new riders?

City Controller Ed Harrington, a veteran City Hall fiscal watchdog who also chairs a special mayor's panel looking at ways to stabilize Muni's finances, said the notion of free Muni should be shelved because it likely would attract hundreds of thousands of new riders and prove detrimental.

He then unveiled Muni's new "Discouraging Ridership in the New Millenium" program, which will feature off-putting advertisements in bus shelters, increasing the pumped-in urine smells in subway stations, and a new slogan, "Muni: We'll Pay You to Take a Cab Instead."

Argh. Where's the Bay Area on that "worst traffic" list, are we still #2? Jeez, even LA is making huge strides in public transit: can anyone explain to me why San Francisco can't get its act together?

Somebody Tried to Steal My Pizza

What in the sam hill is going on around here? Last night, after my little motorcycle mishap, my leg was hurting, and I was feeling a little self-piteous, so I thought I'd order pizza for dinner. First let me just say that when you put in your order with Extreme Pizza and then they say "that'll be an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, thanks bye," it's a bit of a shock. You're right up the street, dudes -- are you curing the sausage or something?! But at least they were honest, and in fact, exactly one hour and 16 minutes later, my phone rang and it was the delivery guy downstairs. When I got there and opened the door, I see him coming across the street, and some guy has just run up to him and is about to grab my pizza. The delivery guy is pretty old and is more surprised than anything, and when the would-be thief sees me, he seems to reconsider and runs off. This all took about 1 second, too fast for me to react, I'm standing there a bit dumbfounded. Mr. Almost Pizza Robber has run down and jumped in a car at the corner, and we make a half-hearted effort to run and see if we can get his license number, but don't make it in time and the guy takes off. The delivery guy says "Jeez, I've been doing this six years, and that's never happened." I was like, wow, do you think this is another sign of an impending recession?

Anyway the pizza (sausage and mushroom) was fine, and the side spinach salad was excellent, it was like $22 and I gave the guy an $8 tip, since it was all a little freaky.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Hate You, City CarShare Drivers

I've been a bit baffled by the stupidity of these supposedly new-fangled "car share" businesses that have sprung up in San Francisco. City CarShare allows you, for instance, to have access to cars for a $10/month fee, then pay $5/hour and $0.40/mile for use of a car. That means, according their website, a day trip to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium would run you $71.20. That's not including the $30 non-refundable application fee (and a $20 late fee!), although it does include gas. Compare it to, what did they used to call this business? Oh yeah: renting a fucking car. I had some errands to do this weekend and a DJ gig that I had to bring CD players to, so I booked a 3-day car rental at Hertz two blocks away. Using the United promotional rate which I think anybody can access on United's website, it cost me $61, for 72 full hours. Filling up the tank cost me another $12. Granted, I had to park it at night, but still, the "CarShare" is about the same cost for 1/3 the car. Dumb?

But tonight something happened to me that made me consider another CarShare negative I've never thought of: putting a bunch of scaredy-cat inexperienced drivers behind the wheel. A purple City CarShare Scion slammed on their brakes and whipped around for no reason right in front of me tonight when I was on the motorcycle, and I had to brake a little hard, and slipped on wet oily pavement and went down. It was probably better than hitting them -- like you really think consciously in a split second, although I wasn't even going that fast, they just stopped and turned around in the middle of the street like idiots. It was pretty clear I was fine since once I pulled my foot out from under the bike I was able to get up and pull the bike back up, but the CarShare kids had taken off by then without so much as a "how-do-you-do." Thanks for checking to make sure I was alright, assholes.

Of course, I'm fine, other than a sore hand, a bruised hip and some asphalt embedded in a bloody knee. Plus a good pair of jeans, all ripped! The motorcycle's a little bunged up needs new turn signals on its right side, but all in all it could be worse.

The City CarShare site brags that "95% of applicants are approved" like that's something to be proud of. One wonders if bringing that acceptance rate down to 90% would have eliminated tonight's dipshits?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ugh. I had a few days with no major projects or DJ gigs so I thought about taking a quick vacation, but in the interest of saving money (and what will probably be a bit of a rough tax bill coming up soon) I decided against it, and instead I thought I'd just have a "home based" vacation -- not stress about work or anything all weekend and take it east. San Francisco cooperated with freezing temperatures and miserable, spitty rain, and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. Sure, the rest of the country has it worse with their -20 wind chills, but still, ugh! So, even though Coachella's lineup is a bit underwhelming, I can't wait to go down to the desert. Three months to the day...