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Posts Tagged 'party'

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.

You Don’t Know The Sunset…

This is fog.I haven’t been getting out as much as I’d like lately, but that will be changing soon. Because I haven’t been getting out that much I’ve been pretty much restricted to the Sunset District where I live. It’s one of the largest districts in San Francisco that also includes the Parkside, but no one really knows or cares where the barriers are. It’s easy figuring out where the Sunset stops and Richmond starts because you’ve got this big divider called Golden Gate Park in between. Something I’ve notice recently in reading about how other people describe the Sunset district is that they don’t really know anything about it. I’m here to change that.

Apparently people who like to tell other people what the Sunset district is like tend not to be from the Sunset district or have usually only lived here for around 6 months [usually November to May]. Because of this they don’t get a good understanding of this part of San Francisco and it’s a shame because more people would love it if it wasn’t just a place they drove through on a hot day to go to the beach.

  • You want sun? We got sun and it's by the beach too!It’s always foggy here. Well, we do have fog. Hell I’m almost certain that the twitter account @KarlTheFog was started here. The Sunset district has been known for it’s fog for years. The thing is that we have lots of fog compared to downtown, the Mission, Potrero Hill. It’s kind of like a friend who was here from San Diego on a foggy night and said, oh crap it’s raining. No, that’s called fog. That’s the way fog is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be thick and wet. People who say it’s foggy when they have to look up and see clouds in the sky don’t know what fog is. It’s also not like that all year round. Usually it starts in the mornings when you leave the house to go to work. Once you’ve gotten on the bus and are on your way up past 25th avenue then @KarlTheFog decides to take a nap and it clears up.
    We actually have some sunny days out here as well. Actually we have a lot more since that whole global warming/climate change happened. June-August is when you run into the most fog, but it’s usually more overcast than fog. Wife and I took our daughter out to the zoo this morning and it was actually pretty sunny. I actually had to wear a hat and sunglasses. Summertime for the Sunset district and the rest of the city starts in late August where you’ve got sun almost every day and believe it or not it’s warm which leads me to…
  • It’s always cold in the Sunset district. Not true. November to February is the worst and we might get a couple of mornings where the temperature is in the 30’s, but it’s usually in the upper 40’s during that time. Now that we’re into June and it’s warming up our lows are in the 50’s and we’ve been getting quite a few days where the highs are in the 70’s. Later on in the year during our summer you’ll definitely get weather in the 80’s & 90’s and if you’re invited over to someone’s house here who has a deck in back you’ll find in the afternoon that the concrete backing radiates the heat onto the deck and you’ll be experiencing quite a few days with heat that breaks 100°. The nice part is because we get the fog [real fog] people enjoy the sun more. Like I mentioned earlier on hot days people come out to the beach. Why would they come out to the beach if the weather is always in the 50’s like they say?
  • Riptide Chilled GreezeWe’re boring and uncool. This usually comes from people who aren’t from here. The them boring is a lack of a thriving night life or as I like to call it, gunfire and crime. San Francisco isn’t a place you go to and expect to live it up 24/7. As many people say we roll up the streets at 10pm, but that’s also because we tend to be more morning types out here because once the early morning fog burns off when we get it it’s actually a very nice place to walk around. We’re uncool because we don’t have hipsters. That’s fine with me if what you’re referring to are Mission St. Hipsters, but we’ve got lots of people in retro clothes sitting behind laptops at just about any coffee shop you walk by. One of the distinctive things people use to describe hipsters is the sort of retro shabby chic look which if you really want to find you need to come to the Sunset district. We’ve got places to shop here that have been here since WWII.
  • There’s no cool places to eat. What? Do you mean eat or sit around and sip overpriced coffee and nosh on overpriced tidbits? We’ve got better burrito and taco shops than the Mission, better pizza than, well SF isn’t really known for pizza, but you’ll find a couple of the best plaOuterlandsces out here if you know where to look and the prices are less than most other parts of town. As you get out towards the beach on Judah, Noriega, Sloat and parts of Taraval you’ll find a thriving food scene that’s building up speed. We have all the fancy coffee you can drink in several places and you haven’t lived to be a real San Franciscan until you’ve done a proper pub crawl of dive bars out here that are hipper than the hipster dive bars [personal pick is the Riptide and Blackthorn]. If that’s not edgy enough for you how about a mobile BBQ joint that operates on a bicycle that you tweet for your food?

I could go on and on, but let me just say that if I was stuck here for six months I would be able to live comfortably without having to drive more than five minutes to find what I’m looking for. Oh yeah you can drive out here and even park. If more startups knew about how nice it was to be out here I’d only have to walk five minutes to work or could bike to work without having to worry about being run over by drivers.

Whitecaps: Barbabos

Yes, this isn’t about San Francisco, but remember it’s my wild weekend where I get to talk about anything and today I wanted to talk about Whitecaps in Barbados. I have a couple of close friends who have purchased a three bedroom house there that when they aren’t visiting they rent it out. They needed a website to best display the house so who do they come to…me of course.

I have never visited Barbados, but from the looks of the pictures, I definitely will one day and I will be staying at Whitecaps. I was given a tour via skype of the house [yes, the house has wi-fi] and it is pretty spectacular. I could hear the waves crashing on the beach because you’re literally about 50′ from the beach. Barbados is definitely geared for tourists which if you look at the photos in the gallery you can see that there are many shows that go on for free at the local plaza that’s within walking distance.

The food is very inexpensive there and fresh the fish and Barbados goats are all over the place so chances are good that it was alive a few hours before you purchase it. When you bring it back to the house you simply hand it over to Waple who is your personal chef that will cook all your meals. You also have a personal concierge who will help you arrange your site seeing trips around the island. In the evening you don’t have to work as there are two security guards that will make sure the house is secure. You also have your own maid service so you don’t even need to worry about making your bed every day.

Just to give you the full blown what you get for your money, allow me to cut and paste from their website:

  • Three bedrooms for a total of six guests
  • Three private bathrooms: two with tubs, one with a walk-in shower
  • Wet bar
  • Flat-screen TV with Bose sound system
  • WiFi internet access
  • Your own personal chef
  • Your own maid service
  • Located on Mullins Beach
  • Lovely shaded garden area for entertaining

Whitecaps is right on the beach halfway between Mullins Bay and Gibbs Bay — a mere stone’s throw from the highly regarded Mullins Restaurant and Cocktail Bar on Mullins Beach.

There is a 24-hour convenience store within a five minute walk to the north and a fabulous little gift shop, the Shell Gallery, a fifteen-minute walk to the south.

Further north lies Speightstown, a picturesque old town with a historical museum, an art gallery, a small supermarket, shops, a four-star restaurant (Mango by the Sea), banks with ATMs and a fish market, as well as farm stands offering the freshest tropical fruits and vegetables. It is about five minutes away by bus or taxi. To the south is Holetown, a larger community with high-end boutique shopping, a large supermarket, cafes and gift shops, banks with ATMs and a number of four-star restaurants. It’s ten minutes by bus or taxi.

While there are regular buses to and from Bridgetown, and taxis can be reserved for dinner dates, most guests will rent a car to have full run of the island, including the night life of St. Lawrence Gap and the many historic and scenic points elsewhere.

Note that for what us Americans consider a time to take a vacation is considered the off season and is $345/night. If you get another couple or two to make trip with you it becomes downright affordable. It’s pretty much always in the 80’s dropping to the upper 70’s at night so you won’t have to bring a heavy coat. I suggest lots of tank tops and shorts and maybe an eye patch if you want the total Pirates of the Caribbean vibe.

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Sigmund Stern Grove

Since my daughter’s off from school now we have to find things to entertain her so we took her for a trip to Sigmund Stern Grove the other day. It’s really come a long way from when I was a kid and it’s a definitely good place to take a walk.

It was purchased by Rosalie Meyer Stern after the original owner George Greene who Trocadero Inn that’s still there, but closed it in 1916 with the oncoming of prohibition he was afraid that that bootleggers would make their way to his hidden hideaway. Rosalie donated the area she named after her late husband to the City of San Francisco in 1931. She was the President of the city’s Playground Commission which would now be SF Parks and Recreation.

When I was a kid it was the place to go on the weekends to drink beer. During the day on the weekends they might have a concert or two. Not the type they have today, but mostly local rock bands nothing as big as they get today. It was always a place for music and in 2005 got a major overhaul by Lawrence Halprin giving it a new stage better natural seating with a sort of bleachers being made out of grass and rock.

The east end where the Trocadero Inn is [I don’t know what it’s called today, but I’m sure it’s had a few renovations and is available for rental for events I still believe] is a heavily wooded area with picnic spots and grills. If you’re lucky and are having a big party you’ll want to get the double bricked in grills up in the northeast end. There’s a pond in the midst of the trees that used to have koi in it, but I didn’t see any this time. It was a great place to have a picnic when I was a kid and we always loved running around the trees.

In the middle is the concert area that’s pretty massive.The stage now has a hangar of lights and there’s lots of lights around the seating area as well for night time concerts. I didn’t get close enough, but there did look like there was a concession stand for those who forgot to bring some food during the concerts. Be careful when you walk around the place because since there’s grass there’s gopher holes. Not as many as in other places and I’ll have to find out what they do to keep it that way.

On the west end you’ll find dogs. Lots of dogs. It’s become an open dog run area and it’s huge so you’ll see lots of big dogs that need the exercise out there. At the far west end is Laguna Puerca [literally pig lake]. It’s one of the few natural lakes in San Francisco and you can tell by all the pond scum and duckweed floating around. I would not suggest you go for a swim there on a warm day. the water is pretty nasty. There’s also a building where they hold the Pine Lake summer camp. Oh, by the way they changed the name from Pig Lake to Pine Lake. Image is everything needless to say.

Up and around the north end there are lots of trails for hikers so there really is something for everyone here. There’s not a whole lot of parking here, but there is an east and west lot that the only connection is a service road that’s not available to the public. I prefer to enter through the west entrance off of Crestlake Avenue as it’s much wider than the road in from 19th Avenue. My daughter enjoyed the trip especially being around all the dogs. The owners will warn you if their dogs aren’t good around kids, but we didn’t find that to be the case. Enjoy the pictures.

Blacks In Gaming

A good friend of mine helped host a night for the group Blacks In Gaming at the W Hotel in San Francisco. This ran hand in hand with the GDC [Game Developer’s Conference] and I have to say that the party was OFF THE HOOK!

Now I’ll apologize right off if any is offended by me using the term Blacks instead of African-American, but I would have to say that none of the Black folks there seemed to mine. Besides, having the acronym BiG sounds better than AAiG. The first sounds more like a dig me I’m here acronym while the second sounds like something you’d hear as person grabs their chest and falls to the floor. There were quite a few Black people in attendance, but myself being neither Black, nor a game designer still fit in nicely.

Now I’m sure some of you are asking why I would be invited to such an event since I am neither Black nor a game designer. It turns out that I help my old college friend get their website started and I wanted to see what would come out of it. She told me not to bother eating dinner that night and she was right. The food served up courtesy of sponsor Microsoft was incredible. They had trays of sushi, cheese and crackers and completely across Asia table of cuisine [note the deep fried pot stickers were outrageous]. As I was filling my plate I was tapped on the shoulder and offered a wagyu beef slider that was the hit of the evening for everyone. I also received a free drink ticket which got me a Maker’s Mark on the rocks to wash all the food down with.

While traveling around the room and talking with some of the game designers that had booths there was one in particular that stood out to me. That was Subversus Interactive showing of one of their games called Gyromaniac. It was by far the game that attracted the most attention. Why you ask? It’s a flight simulator that takes it a step further. You’re flying machine is traveling inside a human intestine, blood vessel or fallopian tube. It was pretty weird, but so unique in concept that it was attracting a lot of people to play the game. Note, you can also play it in 3-D which only enhances, umm the effect. Vishal Srivastava of Subversus Interactive who wrote the game did a great job of selling the game and caused a large amount of the people who were trying it out to break out laughing. If you have a fear of aliens and anal probes you might want to stay away from the game, but if you ever had the dreams of being a part of the movie Fantastic Voyage you’ll definitely fine this game fun. Check out the movie teaser at the end.

Overal it was a widely diverse crowd and I was surprised I didn’t bump into Willie Brown making a show there at least for a couple of minutes. I did happen to run into an old friend of mine Derrold Purifoy from elementary school and after 35 years we had lots of catching up to do. It seemed to me that most of the people when they weren’t talking about gaming were talking about the food at the W Hotel. It was a great night out and I managed to make it home before falling into a food coma.

Festivals in Golden Gate Park

This morning at 10:30am P.M.W. will take the stage followed by MC Hammer at 11:30 in Golden Gate Park. They don’t talk about Thursday as the start of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, but it’s here. I’m sure as I type this MC Hammer is warming up his voice and doing his morning yoga to limber up for his Thursday morning performance that no one is talking about.

Festivals in Golden Gate Park are a blessing and a curse. The Park is the real slot in San Francisco, not Market Street. It cuts a long path into San Francisco almost halfway across the city. It’s three times the size of Central Park in New York and yet has only five ways to cross it. All except two [which I won’t mention] are packed during rush hour. For the next four days, one of the less congested routes across will be closed to traffic pushing the burden on the 19th avenue corridor for those of us [like me] to get to the Golden Gate Bridge to get to work.

Growing up as a kid in San Francisco I loved the music festivals in the park. I didn’t have a car then so I didn’t bother thinking about what it was like if you had to drive across the park during one of them. Now that I do and have to commute to Marin I realize that it doubles my commute time making it take a little longer than if I had to take Muni downtown. That’s not so bad compared to the horror stories I hear all the time from people who have to take Muni, but still I had to plan a bit knowing this.

The festivals in the park have gotten more elaborate over the years and this week proved it to me as I could see people starting set up on Monday. What they are bringing in for this music festival is a lot of equipment. I haven’t seen lighting rigs this elaborate since my last Metallica concert. This gives a kind of weird feeling to Golden Gate Park which is supposed to be a nature preserve, but now you drive across it and are seeing big, hulking towers of metal  rising up along side the trees. The days of a flatbed with a few generators as the stage are gone. The hippies have gone pro.

For this weekend in the park there is a huge cast of entertainers to appear most of which lean more towards the hardly more than strictly bluegrass variety. The show is expected to draw 750,000 people from a city of 850,000 people. They won’t all be San Franciscans so you can expect some ground shaking from the overload of people this weekend. The show has been going on for eleven years now and is always a big event for San Francisco. They have yet to jump the shark which will come when they schedule a band like Slayer to play. I don’t think that will happen soon.

My suggestions if you’re going to go is to use Muni. It might take you a little longer, but it’ll be easier. I’ve seen signs that there will be shuttle services in the park so that will help as well. Prepare to do a good amount of walking and as always this is the Westside of San Francisco so dress in layers because you’ll go from freezing weather to blazing heat during the day. Judging from the weather of the past few days and the fog of this morning layers is a good thing. I unfortunately won’t be attending this year as I don’t like large crowds anymore. I’m sorry I’ll miss out on seeing Buckethead and my old friend Chris Issak [who I’ll probably run into at a local sushi joint], but if you’re going I wish you all a safe and enjoyable experience.