Category Archives: san francisco

An Accidental Tub-thumper

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In this week’s column for the S.F. Examiner, I pick up a family who’s exposed to San Francisco’s ugly side on 6th Street, AKA, the Dirty Six. Instead of letting them think the worst, I try to help them understand the consequences of the city’s epic income disparity.

As I wait for the light to change at Mission, a bedraggled woman on the corner is flailing her arms and bitching out the sky.

“Oh my god.” The lady behind me gasps. “What’s wrong with her?”

As I continue down, she points out the motley cast of characters hanging out on the sidewalks and expresses shock at the various displays of mental illness.

“How close are we to your neighborhood?” she asks her son. “I’m really not comfortable with you living around all this squalor.”

“It’s not my neighborhood,” he replies with obvious annoyance.

“It doesn’t look safe here at all,” she intones.

“Mom, I never even come down here!”

As they go back and forth on how much danger she thinks he’s being exposed to, despite his protestations, I feel the need to interrupt. Not that I’m feeling like much of a booster for San Francisco these days, but … someone has to do it.

Read the entire column here.

[photo by Douglas O’Connor]

On becoming a day driver… and a pissed off cabbie!

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This week’s column for the Examiner is about switching to the day shift and immediately becoming the quintessential angry cabbie. 

The nausea comes in waves, along with dizzy spells and a throbbing in my forehead that pulsates to a beat that matches the jackhammers I wake up to most mornings. It’s the sound of progress. These ugly, prison-like buildings are the future. Who am I to criticize some jerkwad who’s willing and able to pay three grand for a cookie-cutter apartment in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood that still hasn’t figured out what to do with the down and out?

If I ever thought having a kid was going to cramp my style, it’s only because I hadn’t considered how nettlesome living with the Bay Area can be. Compared to the toll this place takes on you, dealing with a screaming, sleep-resistant baby is a walk in the park.

When I switched to driving days, I figured there would be some hiccups in the transition. But I wasn’t expecting to become the quintessential angry cab driver overnight.

Read the rest here.

[photo by Douglas O’Connor]

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Bookstores that carry Behind the Wheel 3: From Uber/Lyft to Taxi

 

Behind the Wheel 3 is available at these bookstores:

In the Mission:

Dog Eared Books
900 Valencia St.
​San Francisco, CA 94110

Adobe Books
3130 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Alley Cat Books
3036 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Needles and Pens
1173 Valencia St.
​San Francisco, CA 94110

Thrillhouse Records

In North Beach:

City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133

Soon to be stocked:

Bound Together in the Haight
Dog Eared Books on Castro

Insanity is a full-time job

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In this week’s column for the S.F. Examiner, the return of Mr. Judy, the misanthropic drug dealer…

“I really hate sober people,” Mr. Judy says. “Not because they’re lousy customers — I mean, there’s that, obviously — but mostly because I don’t trust them. Non-smokers, too.”

“Uh huh.” I fill the empty spaces in his monologue with grunts and polite chuckles while slowly cruising down Clipper Street toward the Mission.

“Which reminds me. Where’s my mace?”

“Don’t worry,” I tell him. “You’ll get it back.”

I’ve taken Mr. Judy, and his can of mace, hostage. After nearly spraying a guy in the face at a liquor store, I decided he wasn’t ready to be released back into the wild just yet. So I’m driving him around and listening to David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World,” hoping he’ll soon relax.

“That guy in the liquor store had it coming. I’m telling ya. Asking the price for every bottle of booze. If you can’t afford alcohol at a liquor store, plan ahead and go to Costco, you stupid fucking moron!”

I agree that while certain people probably deserve to be maced, “You can’t get 86’d from another place. Soon, there won’t be anywhere left for you to go.”

Read the rest here.

[photo by Douglas O’Connor]

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Everything is for sale in San Francisco

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Pulled up to Caltrain the other day and there’s a new bike rack blasting a corporate logo. It seems the Bay Area Bike Share program has been expanded with money from Ford Motor Company, thus the rebrand to Ford GoBike. 

Unlike what happened to the taxi industry when Uber rolled out, the city is actually doing its job [ex1 . ex2 . ex3] and trying to protect existing industries from being disrupted by certain features in the new bike share program, namely a day pass that would appeal to tourists over the various bike services that cater to tourists.

Good news for Blazing Saddles, et al.

For now anyway.