Monday, February 7, 2011

FSF: Sights and Sounds

I wish I had a camera hooked up to my eyeballs. That way, every time something ridiculous comes into my field of vision, I could snap a photo by blinking and preserve it for all time here.

Unfortunately while my eyes do possess a superpower that I will have to tell you about later, they do not have picture-taking abilities. But if they did, here are some pictures from just the past week trolling around SF that I could share with you:

1. The best hipster 'stache ever. Seriously, this was a mustache so bad, not even Daniel Day-Lewis could make it look reasonable. This was a mustache to make all other mustaches feel embarrassed for being mustaches. Plus he was on a bike, carrying a messenger bag, and definitely did not fit properly into his skinny jeans. Hint: the kind of people who do fit properly into skinny jeans is hidden in the name "skinny jeans." Damn, I wish I were quicker with the iPhone camera to capture his full, er, glory.

2. If that wasn't enough, I later saw a [kid? punk? moron? all of the above?] with a mustache...on the back of his head. No joke. And he wasn't some ironic hipster, he was a wannabe gangster Mexican high schooler. Now while I don't "get" thug fashion aesthetically, I can at least understand it from a utilitarian perspective. Baggy clothes really are much easier to hide weapons under. But what is the backwards 'stache for? So you can draw eyes and a nose on the back of your otherwise shaved head to confuse potential witnesses? So the police will think they're chasing Mr. Potato Head? So you can hide the embarrassing bunny tattoo on your neck? All of these explanations make more sense than what was likely his real motivation: thinking it would be a big hit with the ladies.

3. It's not all bad though. I did catch a couple of ridiculously cute personalized license plates last week. One was on a fully customized new Beetle with flower-shaped rims and taillights that said "FlwrPwr." Ok, seriously, how early do you have to wake up to snag that plate, especially in California? Probably not as early as the driver of the otherwise totally unremarkable car I saw heading toward the I-80 onramp with the plate "lol jk." Is it weird that that's enough to make me want to be friends with that person?

4. However you feel about carbon emissions, there is one type of car in San Francisco that everyone hates: taxis. Care to guess how many times in 2 days I heard someone say "Why is your light on if you already have people in? Why? WWWWHHHHYYYYYY???!!!" as a taxi passed them by? That would be five, all from groups of three or more people, all including at least one hot chick and no black people. The number of taxis that were using their light incorrectly that I counted in 20 minutes at a single intersection: 15. Seriously, I wish I had night photography skills so I could photograph every "for hire" light misuse and sell the prints to an art gallery as a metaphor for San Francisco cab drivers being morons who can't remember to flip a damn switch.

Every day is an adventure. FSF.


  1. So, I spoke to my last cabbie about the light issue. It turns out that the light is fully, irrevocably integrated with the meter: if the meter is running, the light is off, and vice versa. If they're driving somewhere without a fare, but don't necessarily want to pick someone up (say if they're heading home, to the airport, or just want to use the bathroom), they have to drive with the meter off and the light ON, buzzing past any hapless people on the sidewalk gesticulating wildly for a ride. This is particularly common in SOMA where lots of cabs are just passing through on their way to the interstate.

    Also, the city of SF sets the fare lower than any other major city in the country, which probably has something to do with the consistent taxi supply problems.

  2. See, but that doesn't explain about the light, because what I constantly see is cabs with their lights on that are full of people, not cabs with lights on that are empty but don't stop. So either a lot of people are using the "rules of the road" to pay their cab fare (pretty likely in SF, honestly), or that's bullshit.

    I'm shocked, shocked to hear that government interference has lead to a supply shortage. I wonder if that's ever happened before. There could be a pattern; we should investigate further.

  3. He did say that sometimes it's possible to negotiate a flat rate, say on a long trip to the airport. I didn't really dig into how they can do that when the city is supposed to regulate the fares, but in those cases they *don't* start the meter even though they're carrying a fare.

    The whole thing should obviously be fixed by *not* tying the light into the meter, but that may be too straightforward and freewheeling a solution for the denizens of SF to allow.