EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Kids | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'kids'

Kids And Uber/Lyft

Hi everyone. Remember me? I know it’s been a while and I’ve been busy since my tech job ended which is a whole different story that I don’t plan to get into here, but I’m back and I’ve found a few things I feel I should talk about.

As you might remember I have been driving for various ridesharing companies and I recently came across something that’s a bit disturbing that no one seems to be talking about and that’s regarding kids, specifically minors, people under the age of 18 who use Uber unaccompanied by an adult.

It’s happening more and more frequently lately where parents will either:

  1. Call an Uber/Lyft to get their kids home from school.
  2. Load the app and set up their accounts on their kids phone
  3. Set up their kids with an account

These are all very terrible ideas and let me tell you why. It’s illegal. Yes, that’s right. In the San Francisco Bay Area in the rules that rideshare companies agreed to with the CPUC they are not to give rides to unaccompanied minors. 

Why aren’t any of these companies doing anything about it? My guess is because they’re making money so they don’t check the accounts of people who are willing to give them money. They don’t point this out to the drivers and definitely don’t tell the customers this because it would hurt their already failing bottom line.

OK, so it’s illegal, but it’s more convenient and will help teach my kid to take care of themselves so where’s the harm? The harm is in the terms of service agreement. That thing that nobody ever reads, but everyone is accountable for. Because it mentions that rides to unaccompanied minors are not allowed per their agreement with the CPUC if you send your kid to or from school in a rideshare vehicle and said car is involved in a crash these companies will tell you, I’m sorry, but you’ve committed a violation of our terms of service agreement so we are not liable. 

I can’t really blame the companies for having this in place as unfortunately in today’s society with all the child kidnappings that pop up it’s probably good for them to err on the side of caution in case one of the background checks on a driver misses something, but it also helps save their butt once again in case of an accident, but it won’t help protect your child.

I usually start my afternoon run between 4-5pm and I live a few blocks from a local Catholic school that is almost always my first request. What started me looking into this was a ride I gave to a couple of kids who had me drive them from San Francisco to Corte Madera to drop off one kid then drive back to the city and drop the other kid off in Tiburon. It was a bit of a long trip so I was talking to the kids on the way. They were both 16 and the Dad of the kid who ordered the ride set him up with an account so Dad didn’t have to take him to and from school. Oddly enough just as I dropped the kid who’s account it was off in Tiburon [the Corte Madera kid was just a friend of his he was doing a favor for] he said to me:

You were a really cool driver. I doubt you’re going to get anyone back from here so why don’t you just leave the ride open and close it when you get back to the city.

Uhm, why thank you sir. That is very generous of you my kind sir.

Turns out the entire trip ran about $60. I’m wondering if his Dad was very happy about that, but considering he lived in Tiburon on the hill in a house that looked more like something out of Beverly Hills I’m guessing Dad wasn’t hurting for money. Something seems so wrong with this whole thing of a kid being able to blow that kind of money just to get home from school that I had to look into it.

So please. If you’re a parent, don’t give your kids your rideshare account or set one up for them. While I’ve never been in an accident in all the time I’ve been driving for a rideshare company that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen and many of the drivers out there don’t have specific rideshare car insurance so their insurance won’t cover any damages either if an accident happens.

There were a couple of rideshare services aimed specifically at kids, but unfortunately those companies ran out of steam and have closed up shop. 

Last time, please, keep your kids safe and find another way to get them where their going regardless of where it is. At least Muni insurance will cover your kids.

Cabrillo Playground

Cabrillo PlaygroundFinding a nice playground for your kids is a bit more difficult today. Kids need more today than the swings and slide that I used to get on what was called a playground. Thankfully there are a few new playgrounds popping up that keep this in mind and today we got to visit the newly renovated Cabrillo Playground.

The main thing with playgrounds is that they have to be fun. That’s pretty much all the kids are interested in while the parents are hoping it will be so much fun that the kids will tire themselves out so they won’t tear up the house when they get home. Well I have to say that our playground tester Rebecca didn’t hesitate when she saw the playground. Autistic children can sometimes have something that sets them off by new places, but there was no problem here.

The second she got inside she was running for the play structures and jumping and sliding around on everything. The biggest thing we noticed was that she was interested in trying everything here. Usually she just focuses on one part of a structure or finds one slide, but here it was everything she had to try out. Granted it was a weekday so it wasn’t super crowded, but there were lots of kids and all of them seemed to understand that running around and crashing into other kids wasn’t what you do in a playground. This was a good thing.

It was fun for Wife and I as well as we got some exercise chasing Rebecca around and the place overall is very nice and kept clean. I’ve often wondered about what thought people put into building playgrounds. Sand just gets everywhere and it seems like other than the occasional boy the sandbox areas are ignored by the kids [I won’t ask how the local feral cats like the sandboxes, but that’s probably part of the reason why you do see many anymore.] Then you have playgrounds shaded by trees. While that’s nice on a hot summer day for some reason they only seem to make playgrounds like that in parts of the City that are normally foggy and cold which causes a large collection of leaves and bark from the tree which break down under foot and create a nice healthy mulch. Well, it would be nice and healthy if anything was supposed to grow there, but it’s a playground, not a forest.

Thankfully, Cabrillo was well thought out since it’s in the middle of a residential block without looking like the old Russian industrial playgrounds as I used to call them. The playgrounds used to have just a depressing look about them and Cabrillo’s redo doesn’t have any of that. There are tennis courts and basketball courts that are separate from the play area along with the brilliant idea of using pavers to form hopscotch areas off to the side. I’m not sure if anyone even plays hopscotch anymore, but it just seemed like an easy addition that might make a retro comeback in the future. There’s also a concrete ping pong table that has very modern look [as opposed to Russian industrial] that I’m surprised no one ever thought of before. The net is made of punctured metal which would let you use it as a table if you were having a party there and afterwards you would just need to hose it off if you spilled anything on it. This would explain the drain holes in the ground around it. Whoever designed this did their thinking.

Around the outside of the playground which is fenced in with about a 20′ high fence are planted areas with lots of annual flowers mixed with a few perennials. It adds a nice touch and is done in such a way that kids would have to work hard to get at them. Inside planting are made up of succulents and other hard to kill plants which also just makes sense in a high traffic area.

If you have a kid, you’ll want to check this place out. The best thing is that it’s free and it’s clean. There’s nice drinking fountains and bathrooms here as well as cans out in front for people walking their dogs to deposit the waste. It’s a big plus for the neighborhood  and if you don’t mind driving to the outer Richmond it’s worth the time. Just be sure to bring some coffee and snacks as you’ll be there for awhile and you’ll have a few blocks walk to get to food and drink. You can see more in the gallery below.

Sunset Spring Festival

20130427-093443.jpgJust a quick message to let you all know if you’re looking for something to do today that Sunset Elementary will be holding their Sunset Spring Festival at 40th and Ortega. Doors open at noon and there will be lots of games, things to see, people to meet and of course food.

I’m about to head out the door to run down and prep the corn dogs to sell and there will also be Vietnamese food and iced coffee available as well as lots of other things. Note to foodies my famous cinnamon buns will be on sale to help out the PTA. Be sure to bring the kids.

Barbary Coast Bunny

Barbary Coast BunnyI figured this would be a fun one to start the weekend off with. While I was looking for movies filmed in San Francisco I actually found a cartoon that was based in San Francisco and it was none other than Bugs Bunny himself. While they do use a few very NOT San Francisco phrases like calling it ‘Frisco it’s still a fun look at how cartoons viewed old San Francisco.

Here’s the story behind the cartoon according to Wikipedia:

Bugs is tunneling cross country to meet his cousin, only to run head first into a boulder which is a large nugget of gold. Bugs is considering keeping the gold safe, while Nasty Canasta sees this and sets up a simple stand claiming to be a banker who can safely store Bugs’ gold. The rabbit falls for the ruse. When Bugs decides to ask for his gold back, Canasta claims the bank is closing and traps the rabbit in the folded up stand while he rides away with the gold. Furious, Bugs vows revenge.

Six months later, Canasta has used his ill-gotten gains to start a casino in San Francisco which is shamelessly rigged in the house’s favor. Bugs enters the casino in the role, playing a hopelessly naive country boy who confuses a slot machine for a telephone. When Bugs uses it to phone his mother for some money, he hits the jackpot much to Canasta’s shock. Hoping to recoup this loss, Canasta convinces Bugs to stay for a game and thinks he is maneuvering the apparently easy mark into playing a game of roulette on the pretense of it being a game of marbles. To build his would-be victim’s confidence, Canasta arranges for Bugs to win on his first spin, but Bugs develops a winning streak on the same number (#23). Having nearly lost everything, Canasta covers #23 with a block of wood and sets the wheel up for the marble to stop on #00, but when it does his subsequent striking the table in triumph causes the ball to accidentally bounce and hammer into the knot of the block of wood, thus Bugs wins again.

Now desperate to win back Bugs’ now massive winnings, Canasta convinces Bugs to try playing draw poker and Bugs literally draws a picture of a fireplace poker. Bugs then pretends to misinterpret Canasta’s description of the importance of having the biggest hand to win by blowing up his glove into a giant balloon. Canasta loses his temper at his would-be victim’s obtuseness. Bugs threatens to walk out, forcing Canasta to grovel in order to coax Bugs to return to the game. Canasta soon regrets that when Bugs, after staking all his money, promptly wins with a Four of a Kind consisting of Aces (Two pair. A pair of ones, and another pair of ones), trumping Canasta’s Full House.

Now with his casino’s bank irreparably broken at the hands of this simpleton who seems physically incapable of losing, Canasta decides to rob Bugs at gunpoint on the pretense of it being another game of chance. Bugs, still keeping in character, naively spins the revolver bullet cylinder like a slot machine and a mass of coins inexplicably pours out the gun’s barrel.

As Bugs’ departs with all the casino’s funds and more, Canasta greedily tries to win money from his gun, only to shoot himself in the attempt and collapses. Bugs pops in and says to the audience (in his normal voice): “The moral of this story is: ‘Don’t try to steal no 18 karats [carrots] from no rabbit.'”

I was able to find a copy of it on youtube so here’s what Warner Bros. thought about old San Francisco. Enjoy!

Let’s Go To The Movies!

The Parkside TheaterFor some reason this popped into my mind over the weekend and I had to see if I could dig anything up on this, but back in the late 60’s/early 70’s when I was a young pup the elementary schools at the end of the school year would sell matinee tickets to your local movie theater for a Tuesday or Wednesday showing and each movie ticket cost 15¢. You would buy enough to cover you for the summer and once a week your parents would cart you off to the local theater and dump you there for the day. Life was good back then.

I’d like to say 15¢ was worth more back then and I’m sure it was, but this wasn’t breaking anyone’s bank that I remember. A small box of candy, which would be considered large by today’s standards, at my local Parkside Theater was 16¢ [the extra penny was for tax], so getting rid of your kids for a day each week in the summer was worth the price of a candy bar. I don’t know about other theaters at the time, but the Parkside also served ice cream and sandwiches which was a bit odd for back then as they weren’t pre-packaged, but hand scooped and hand made.

As I remember the movies started at around 11am or so and ended around 4-4:30pm. They’d show a cartoon movie and then a live action movie, all kid oriented of course. You could go in and watch Jungle Book followed by Treasure Island and for a little kid having the big screen to share with his friends and not having your parents around was great. Before every movie they showed a few cartoon shorts for the kids with short attention spans to help hold them over through the movie. In between movies they had an intermission which meant time to buy more candy so you could properly fuel your sugar rush for when you came home. I would be sent off with a dollar in my pocket and always get candy, popcorn and a soda and come home with change.

While I only went to the Parkside, I think the summer movie thing was done all around the city. I seem to remember using my tickets at a theater in the Richmond District once or twice because my Mom’s best friend lived there and I’d sometimes go with her kids. It’s kind of hard thinking back to those times because today you’ve got entertainment available from so many different sources. Back then we didn’t have channels to change, I don’t even think we knew what movies they were going to show. I believe the tickets just had the day and the date and 15¢. Maybe the school name was on it because it was probably a way for the schools to add to their coffers.

Now here’s the funny thing, I found out that the Parkside Theater back in those days seated 1329 people, so on a sold out matinee they would make only $199.35 from ticket sales. You couldn’t buy them at the door, you had to get them from your school. Anything extra they got was from selling foods at the snack bar. I’m sure minimum wage was awful back then since the first real job I got was in 1977 and paid $2.20/hour and at that price I bet they could barely cover the cost of the staff if they weren’t selling lots at the snack bar. Working then wasn’t too much fun because if you did something incorrectly they could cut your pay for the day and I’m sure that was over used because in the mid 70’s they made it so you had to be paid for the hours you worked. No one seemed unhappy working at the theaters back then though, but I was only 7 so what did I know.

Those days are gone now with most of the small neighborhood theaters disappearing [the Parkside was a first run theater that got the movies as they came out] and I’m sure we’ll start to see some of the larger theaters disappear as the home screens keep getting bigger and people like to eat less over processed crap that they can make cheaper at home. It’s kind of sad though because it was a very memorable time for me. I haven’t been to a movie theater now in close to ten years, mostly because I can get close to the experience for a fraction of the price without having to walk across sticky floors to sit in an uncomfortable seat and eat junk food that everyone says today will take 10 years off your life, but when you’re a kid you don’t notice those things.

The Saddest Playground In San Francisco

I’ve seen lots of changes to the playgrounds in San Francisco and a lot of them have been really good. Being a parent and having to take your kid out to a place where they can run around and work off some energy so they don’t destroy your house is always a good thing, but there are some places that still need help. This one is on 24th Avenue and Quintara Street.

This playground, really a mini playground has looked like this for close to 50 years. They did put in some of that spongy stuff down and have replaced the benches, but it’s still the same. For some reason it even warranted a plaque. I’m not sure why because other than a few swings, small slide and sandbox there’s really nothing else left.

It’s also not fenced in and a quick run into the streets. It is also used as a staging point for Abraham Lincoln High School’s PE teachers before making the kids run around the reservoir so when PE is happening the teachers and students don’t really care much if you’re a parent with a child there to actually use the playground. We were lucky in that we only visited this playground when our daughter was very young and she was just learning to walk. Now that she knows how to walk and can run around by herself there are plenty of other places to go to that offer much more energy releasing activities as well a mentally stimulating forms of play.

While there have been great improvements to other Sunset neighborhood parks so as Frank McCopping playground and West Sunset playground, this one has pretty much been forgotten. My suggestion to our local Supervisor Carmen Chu is to either upgrade this mini-playground or just remove it and add in a few of those concrete chessboards and leave it as a meeting place for people who often use it already as a place to meet up and have a chat. It’s a small area so you wouldn’t need much there, but leaving it in it’s current state of looking like it was built during Russian industrial era times just isn’t San Franciscan. Email Supervisor Chu or tweet her about this and maybe we’ll see something get done.

I Have No Need For Glow In The Dark Pee Or Poop!

As many of you are aware, we have a daughter who is autistic so things move a bit slower. She’s coming along quite well with many things, but potty training is the last step. We’ve gotten into serious mode with potty training. There are lots of schools of thought with this from the free elimination parents who watch and then notice what’s going on and hold their kids over a bucket to eliminate and never allow diapers. That’s a bit extreme for us, so we’re taking a bit safer, albeit more expensive route.

With our therapists we have gotten her to learn to sit on the toilet for five minutes straight and moved onto five minutes straight with her pants pulled down. Now we’ve switched over to panties instead of diapers for most of the day and every 30 minutes go through the potty training routine. We’ve had only a few accidents and have managed to only get one stained chair out of it, but I think I can handle that.

A friend of ours suggested that perhaps she would get the idea more if we had a Betsey Wetsey type doll. My wife and has been looking left and right for one and they’re in the $25-$30 range. This seems a bit much for something we don’t even know if it will work. None of these dolls by the way come with a toilet to sit on. That of course, costs extra.

So wife, daughter and I are at target today and we discover a doll that even when you’re potty training a kid and are used to getting vile human produced substances all over your body this was a bit too much for either of us. It’s not really a potty training doll, but it’s a doll to teach your little girl how to change diapers because of course, it’s their job to do it right? [ducks quickly, I’M NOT SELLING IT!] This is a doll that comes with a little somewhat hard plastic diaper that is somehow control by artificial intelligence by the doll to tell the diaper to show that it has peed, pooped, or both. How does this happen? Well, I don’t know the code someone had to write to make this happen, but the end result is that the diaper has a yellow and a brown led in it that glows to indicate whether you have a number one or number two.

Yes, you ready that write. This is a doll who’s poop and pee are so nuclear that it makes the diaper glow with light. Luckily the lights will go off after a certain time and you can put the diaper back on your atomic baby doll which would add to the mix of having to explain to your daughter why the poop and pee just disappeared and why that doesn’t happen with normal babies. My comment which wouldn’t go over very well would be, because Mommy and Daddy bought you a radioactive doll who’s poop and pee glows to wake you up in the middle of the night from it’s flashing diaper so that you know to change the diaper that the poop and pee actually just disappear from which means you can ignore it because it will go away all by itself. Wow, that was a bit of a mouthful.

Apparently I just read that you actually have to wipe a hard plastic wipe across the diaper and not the baby to make the lights go off which isn’t exactly the right way to change a diaper either, but I guess they really don’t want to teach anyone something they could use later in life. I can tell you from the number of diapers I’ve change that while less than my wonderful and lovely wife, this ain’t how you change a baby.

Hopefully we will find one of these little peeing dolls to show our daughter how the process works because I don’t want her to one day ask me why her poop and pee doesn’t glow like her dolly’s