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Outsidelands Travel Tips

OutsideLandsSince I’ve got a broken ankle I can’t do too much so I was checking out the prices last night after OutsideLands finished for taking a ride with the various TNC’s as an alternative to cab rides or muni. It was pretty shocking.

I drive for Sidecar and was able to drive last year and it was pretty busy. Most of the rides were short because people would park a few blocks away and walk to the concert. Most of my trips were for around $8-$10. This year it was different. A lot different.

I started checking prices around 9:30pm on Uber and Sidecar [Lyft doesn’t give estimates, but I had heard they were charging 25% Prime Time Tips on top of their ride fee]. Here’s what I found. I live a little over a mile from OutsideLands and was curious what a ride would cost me to get home from there:

Uber: $40 [estimate]

Sidecar: $6 [real price]

WTF?!?!?!

Yes, Uber has what is known as surge pricing. If Uber thinks there is going to be a high demand they will charge more to get more drivers out there. It’s actually the opposite of the supply and demand idea. When a lot of people want a product the price goes down to move more product. Uber is a service though, so when demand goes up so does the price. The biggest problem is that Uber isn’t the only game in town as much as they’d like to think.

Sidecar has a policy where driver’s can set their own prices, but new drivers are set up so that their first 25 rides will be forced to the minimum of $5 and base multiplier of 1.0. This doesn’t mean all rides will be $5, but they will be cheaper. This pricing makes regular Sidecar drivers stay competitive with the new drivers and not seriously overcharging for the service. It’s kind of an odd way of doing business, but it seems to work out better so far for the riders.

Another odd thing was that if you tried to get an Uber car at 9:30 on the Richmond side of Golden Gate Park it was surging at 5.0x, but if you walked a little bit to the Sunset side to get an Uber car it was at 2.0x. That’s over half the price. Here’s where it gets a little weird. Richmond side Uber to Russian Hill [a friend of mine asked me this question] $75. Sunset side Uber to Russian Hill $50. Yes, you could save $25 and take a longer ride just by walking the equivalent of a couple of blocks.

My advice to people looking for an alternative to the overburdened Muni to get too and from OutsideLands is that if you’re going to take Uber go to the Sunset [south] side of Golden Gate Park to request a ride, or just look for Sidecar which will save you the most money. It won’t guarantee you a $6, but it will definitely be a lot cheaper than Uber or Lyft.

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The Hippies Are Coming! The Hippies Are Coming!

Outside LandsThis weekend is Outside Lands which I happened to notice that when you look back on pictures and film of the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park there isn’t much difference.

There are a few other things you’ll see that you didn’t have in the 60’s like, corporate sponsors and better food. Less Wild Giraffe Banana Wine and more micro brews. Less granola, more artisan food. If the Hippie Movement were today it would probably look a lot like Outside Lands. Seriously, look at the picture. That’s from Outside Lands, not the Summer of Love.

I’m not sure if they realize it, but Outside Lands is just a modern day version of the Summer of Love, just compacted into a single weekend along with lots more people compacted into a single space. If you look at the people of Outside Lands you’ll see the following:

  1. People wearing tie dye
  2. Lots of pot
  3. People dressing not in tie dye, but just as equally outrageous
  4. Lots of pot
  5. Scantily clad & nekkid people
  6. Lots of pot
  7. The Grateful Dead Dance [you’ll know it when you see it]
  8. Lots of pot
  9. Flowers in their hair
  10. Lots of pot
  11. Mud

I wonder if Sir Paul McCartney will be having a bit of a flashback when he performs at Outside Lands this weekend. It definitely be a groovy time for all who are there to experience the happening. For those few who aren’t going to do be advised that it is going to be crowded and getting to the other side of the park is going to be difficult. If you have time you might want to find some of the close by convenience stores to help you stock up for the weekend. It’s nice to have a good supply of munchables and drinks to hold you out through the day and keep you from spending top dollar too often at the concert.

Luckily Muni will have more buses [which may or may not help] and there is rumor of free cab rides to and from the concert. If you’ve got a smart phone you might want to download the Sidecar or Lyft app. Something tells me that cabs will be in short supply, but to safe you some money if you use Sidecar and haven’t used it before download the app and use the promo code essentiallyeric to get $10 credit to help you out on your trip.

Me? I can walk out my door and hear the entire concert without paying a dime, but I’ll most likely be driving around helping people get to and from the show. Have fun, be good and don’t take the brown acid.

The Weekend to Blow Sh*t Up

Welcome to the 4th of July weekend. A day where we all drink up and under the influence of alcohol light explosive devices, or in many of our cases the safe and sane fireworks of the Red Devil fireworks company.

The funny thing about this is that San Francisco ever since I can remember has outlawed the sale of even the safe and sane fireworks on top of the unsafe and insane fireworks such as the firecrackers and M80, roman candles, bottle rockets, skyrockets, you know…the fun stuff.

If you wanted to get the legal fireworks you had to go to Daly City at first and now Pacifica to get them. These were always cities with open spaces that were overgrown with weeds that dried out in the summer unlike San Francisco which had very few spaces  with dry weeds that could catch fire.

As a kid I remember my parents always telling me how a bottle rocket that flew up several hundred feet in the air and fell down through the air could land on your roof and set your house on fire. Unfortunately for her no one’s house ever caught fire in this fashion and none of the sparks from the large blasts at Crissy Field ever blew down on anyone’s house to burn it down either.

This got me thinking last night. Why is it that areas with the largest amount burnable material are allowed to sell fireworks, but large cities surrounded by asphalt that doesn’t burn aren’t? Is it a deal that the fireworks companies cut with big cities to get paid off to not sell there and give a kickback to the suburbs?

I honestly don’t know, but at least have some fun this weekend and blow sh*t up.

Juanita Musson: Queen of the “Earmuffs”

The what?!?! Queen of the “Earmuffs“? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Well, today it turns out San Francisco has lost another one of it’s colorful characters. Following in the footsteps of Henry Africa, Juanita Musson passed away a few days ago. I had never heard of her before, but when I read some of the comments about her I wish I would have. She ran quite a few restaurants around the Bay Area, but was best known for Juanita’s Galley in Sausalito. I think that she had several restaurants around the Bay Area with the same name, but she made her name closer to San Francisco.

She was called, the Drinking Man’s Julia Child and that’s what caught my attention. She was known as a brawler, a women would could make a sailor blush with her foul mouth before she drank him under the table. She ran restaurants that in addition to the diners there would be dogs, cats, owls, monkeys, goats and pigs that would walk around her restaurants. There were no to go bags at her places. If you didn’t finish your huge portion you had to bring your own bag to bring it home in or feed the rest to the animals that were running around her place.

Juanita was a big woman. She weighed in at around 300 lbs and her huge endowment is where the earmuff joke comes from. She apparently had a penchant for sneaking up on customers, male of course, and grabbing her large pendulous breasts [she was braless before it was chic] and slapping them on either sides of men’s heads. If Emperor Norton was born a bit later these too would have been a hot item.

Juanita was a bit of a drunk, but not like the staggering through the Tenderloin kind of drunk. She was a fun drunk it sounds like. In Sonoma where she died the Sonoma News had the following to say:

Famous for her enormous slabs of prime rib, one order of a Juanita meal could typically feed a table. But diners quickly learned that if you didn’t clean your plate you couldn’t take it home, although you could slip some food unnoticed into a purse or pass a piece of excess beef to the dog that often wandered through the dining room.

Juanita kept a bedroom just off the lobby of the rundown hotel and arriving guests frequently found her fast asleep, her sizeable bulk covered in a flowing muumuu, her door open to the passing parade, her bed surrounded by an enormous collection of dolls.

If you knew Juanita and tried to sneak past her open bedroom door, she invariably sensed your presence and would call out in a shrill, commanding voice, “Hey honey, come in here NOW, and give Juanita a HUG!”

She was fearlessly and completely herself, there was no filter on her mouth or her emotions and she didn’t recognize a variety of conventional boundaries. Her “ear muff” prank consisted of sneaking up behind an unsuspecting diner and swinging each muumuu-wrapped breast up against the victim’s ears. Then she would cackle loudly and leave.

Famous Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones got an earmuff and so, almost, did this writer’s 75-year-old father.

I guess getting an earmuff from Juanita was kind of like a badge of honor for some. Keep in mind that this hard living foul mouthed restauranteur who would have chewed up Anthony Bourdain and spit him out lived to the ripe old age of 87. I bet she smoked too. 😉