Tag Archives | san francisco

City Lights Celebrates 60

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When Gutenberg created the printing press, humanity took a massive leap in literacy, social equality, and political democracy. It’s hard to imagine in this day of tablet phones and digital literature, but after World War II the American paperback created a revolution of its own: it made books available for cheap and made publishing possible for all kinds of niche writing including that always-highly-touted, but-often-most-all-but-ignored object: the contemporary poetry collection. It wasn’t exactly the Gutenberg revolution, but the effect was impactful, widespread and, in the case of City Lights, sustained.

This year, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights paperback publisher and bookstore is 60. Here’s the Los Angeles Review of Books on the birthday and the publisher’s latest release…

Major cultural changes often result from individual vocation and choices. Ferlinghetti’s life story seems so characteristically American. He had a rocky beginning in life: his Italian father died six months before his birth and his French mother was sent to an asylum a few months after.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

No Quarter

Cal Hill

Thursday

4:15am
I awake to a drizzly San Francisco winter’s morning. Wait… It’s summer. And we’re in an historic drought.

Well, maybe the sprinkle will help… a little. On whatever rare occasion that the local news (incorrectly) predicts that we have rain coming, they inevitably go on to qualify how “it won’t be enough.” However, I did just catch on PBS’ The News Hour a show on Hetch Hetchy – the dam and reservoir system that brings San Francisco its water down from the Sierra Nevada. Hetch Hetchy is fed each spring by the melting snowpack from up around Tahoe, et al. Problem is this winter there was no snow.

But! The powers had been planning for several years now for a years-long drought. Consequently, they relayed that Hetch Hetchy is 70% full! Which said powers went on to qualify “is not enough”.

Well, we don’t have lawns and swimming pools here in San Francisco.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ganny & the Stormtroopers

SFO CAbbie Underworld

Monday

4:05am:
I wake before my alarm today, relaxed.

OoOooMMmmMmm.

And this time, it’s a good “OM”! My last shift, I was way busy with a bunch of locals (in-town runs). But the real red meat was a ride I took to Redwood City. That’s meter and a half!

(If the ride takes you more than 15 miles from San Francisco’s City Hall, MTA rules sees the driver charging meter and a half. The logic being that the driver and passenger should split the gas and time down due to the return trip.)

Anyway, I walked away with $285! Tony Jr. was working check-out at the bullet-proof glass in the afternoon, and there’s a new deal where drivers can pay gate (cab rental) out of their day’s Cabulous take. Needless to say, Tony Jr. was pretty impressed after he saw that I still had around $210 set to hit my bank account (via direct deposit) AFTER paying gate!… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Nam’s Mission

137

Monday

4:15am:
I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

4:20am:
Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

4:25am:
Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

4:30am:
Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

5:05am:
It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Off to Jail…

torbakhopper (CC BY-ND 2.0)

torbakhopper (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Originally posted at AlexSack.com.

Thursday

It’s been a ho-hum morning rush hour, full of the same old beautiful and perfect California sun. I’m rollin’ easy, and business is like-wise temperate and smooth. The financial frost of winter is finally shaking loose.

It’s 10:35am, and I just dropped a fare down at Moscone Center for the Game Developers Conference. (Oops, wrong link.) I’m cruising away east up Market, as I head off towards my usual rounds fishing for flags out through the Mission, Castro, and Upper & Lower Haights.

I catch a player in my rear view in an older grey beat up Acura. Dude’s weaving up from behind, fast. (Enough time spent working the road, and you can smell these jokers in your peripheral.) Yeah, I feel the tug of competition. But I plan to take the high road, let Andretti play line leader. Why not?… Read the rest

Continue Reading

My Uber Breaking Point

fuck_uber_HQ

Hello Lyft, My Old Friend

It’s Wednesday afternoon. The sky is pissing rain. I’m swerving through the Marina on my way to pick up Tina, trying to avoid crater lakes and double-parkers. Turn onto Van Ness. With rush hour traffic from Lombard on my back, I pull into a driveway a few doors down from the pinned location. Tap the arrive bar on the Lyft app and tap again to confirm that I’ve actually arrived. Ian Dury comes on the stereo. While I wait for Tina, I bang my fingers against the steering wheel along to the beat.

Just as the song ends, a girl emerges from the high-rise apartment building and dashes through the downpour towards my car. I turn down the music as she jumps in the front seat.

“I tried to get as close as I could,” I say. “But this was the only driveway.”

“That’s alright.” She slides the seat all the way back with authority and props her Uggs on the dashboard.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Being Uber Ain’t Easy: Why Drivers Should Support Regulation

ridesharing_is_cheap

The global pushback against Uber domination continues to gain momentum. Over the past few weeks, the ride-hailing app was banned in IndiaThailand and Francesuspended in Spain and challenged in BelgiumGermanythe Netherlands and South Korea. Across the US, local governments in OregonArizonaNevadaTexasPennsylvania and California are cracking down on the San Francisco-based behemoth, as well as its smaller rival, Lyft. Every day there are more and more articles in major news outlets documenting the growing rideshare backlash.

Uber responds to the lawsuits and rampant criticism with aplomb, holding the ship steady amid a tempest of dissent. They are always quick to fire back. When they’re not threatening journalists, they accuse city councils of subjecting them to unfair burdens. They claim their model of ridesharing is under attack by government overregulation. Since they profess to be a technology and not a transportation company, they argue they’re immune to the same laws that taxi companies must adhere to.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Day in the Life of an Uber/Lyft Driver in San Francisco

rideshare_driver-2

Most days, I wake up around noon. Usually hung-over. My first thought is always the same: probably should’ve skipped that last drink. At the time, though, it felt absolutely necessary. Vodka has a way of alleviating some of the physical stress from driving a car all night. At least temporarily.

After several months of driving for Lyft and Uber, my neck is like an open wound. The muscles that run from my shoulder to my jaw are steel rods. I have very little radius when I turn my head left or right. The tension never goes away. It makes my teeth ache. There is a real possibility that I have some dislocated vertebrae. My joints hurt. My right ankle has a creak in it. And I have a chronic case of hemorrhoids. No matter how much ointment I apply, they remain perpetually enflamed. Old age has not only crept up on me, it has run past me and turned around to taunt me.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Media Roots Radio – Occupy Silicon Valley

Abby and Robbie Martin discuss the potentiality of an ‘Occupy Silicon Valley’ protest movement in a similar mold to ‘Occupy Oakland’ taking place in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. They address the ethical issues revolving around tech-companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Soundcloud and debunk the notion that private corporations will install privacy safeguards on their own without the pressure of public consumer outrage. Robbie goes into the history of Silicon Valley’s roots, which tie directly to the Pentagon’s post-WWII defense industry private sector push.
Continue Reading

Altered Smartphone Advertising In San Francisco

dronesSF Weekly notes the latest work of the California Department of Corrections, who suitably update street-level advertising to better inform the public:

Muni bus shelters are supplying a blank canvas for the California Department of Corrections, a media organization that distorts other people’s ad campaigns in order to reverse their message.

This month, the CDC decided to confront America’s drone policy by adulterating a series of smartphone ads on Muni bus shelters, including the one at Seventh and Market streets.

The new ads show a cellphone picture of predator drone strike, with the word “Pakistan” swapped in for the phone logo.

“As these operations are shrouded in secrecy, the California Department of Corrections released the rehabilitated smartphone ads to assist our colleagues in the federal government and explain the benefits of drones to war-weary Americans,” the organization explains, in a statement.

Read the rest

Continue Reading