Category Archives: Writing

We out here.

We out here. Where? Inside the bubble. What bubble? The mind. Yes, the world outside yourself is a reflection of your mind. Okay, so we out here means we in here. I gotchu..

MC Mars clone, Desoto Selby III, speaks out on SF taxi business

The Ride Share Parasites

OPINION These days, all signs point to the eventual deregulation of the San Francisco cab industry.

On any given weekend night in the city, you can find a wide array of illegal taxis operating with impunity, including limo drivers, out-of-town taxis, Super Shuttle vans, ZIP cars, and even some sketchy folks driving their private vans down Valencia Street at 2am soliciting rides for hire. If you have wheels, you can become your own livery service.

It’s a free-for-all out here. The city appears to be giving all comers carte blanche. And while the courts wrangle over ride-sharing rules and what constitutes a taxicab, the cab industry could cave in under the unfair advantage given to its competitors.

The general manager of ride-share startup Uber, Ilya Abyzov, has been quoted as saying that cab companies have had a “state-sanctioned monopoly. They’re not used to competition.” I have two words for him, and they’re not, Yo taxi! We’re competing with about as much chance as the proverbial one-legged man in a kicking fight.

The advertisement on the website of another startup, Lyft, uses for recruiting drivers reads: “Make $22 an hour, have a blast, drive when you want, meet new people, make friends, learn about new restaurants …” This idyllic version of a cab shift could never happen without real cab drivers holding up the foundation.

I don’t think you’ll find a Lyft cab willing to take a sick grandmother from Kaiser Hospital to her home in the Alice Griffith projects. A pink mustache sighting at Griffith and Fitzgerald will probably coincide with the next great earthquake because only a drastic geological shift will cause that to happen.

Right now, it’s a cakewalk for the ride-share drivers. But without the cab industry picking up the rear and girding the underbelly, these parasites couldn’t exist. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a parasite as an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. Substitute the word “nutrients” for the word “money” and you have what in the cab business we call a bingo.

At the end of the day, driving a cab is a hustle. And once your host is gone and the cab business gets deregulated, kiss your city tours goodbye. You won’t be able to rely on donations anymore, and your legal babble and dishonest terminology won’t save you from a harsh descent into the street, into the dog-eat-dog world of a real cab driver.

And then, you’ll know what it’s like to hustle, in the middle of the night when you’re worried about your gates and gas, and it gets real slow, and you have to take chances with your life.

New Music in SF

Went to see a cohort of friends, young deejays on the cusp of creating a new sound in the ever-evolving realm of music created on turn-tables and computers, music that is mixed live.They use terms like slump, dub step, trap music, Southern screwed (with elements of soul dropped into the mix) to describe their music which to my ear is a new hybrid, a fusion of electronica and hip-hop beats. At the Ikon in SF…Citizen Ten, and deejay centipede. Mostly instrumental, with a few rap lyrics thrown into the mix…Old German movies with German subtitles from the 30s, and light show…I have a fascination with musical innovators, and in my book Burner, I create the character of Jason Teal AKA Deejay J-Keen Deprez, who fashions his own hybrid marrying hip-hop producers like Alchemist and Pete Rock with the like of Philip Glass and Jimi Hendrix. Centipede believes that after dub step the music is in a gestation period, a sort of trough, where energy and ideas need to percolate before they coalesce into the next Big Thing. One of the most intriguing elements of the performance were the seamless transitions to the following act. Each new act gave a shout out to his predecessor in such a way that their movement as a community took precedence over the work of an single act. In fact, each act served as a distinctly essential component to the greater whole. Some of the sound was atmospheric, with the beat intentionally going slightly off tempo in places. What this event demonstrates is the way in which new art gets created, and that is that it must always be done away from the spotlight.

The T-Shirt as a Novel

At a time when some people argue that the Gutenberg Universe is dead, and books are quickly becoming obsolete, and Amazon.com is desperately trying to sell us on the practicality of the Kindle— the time has come for a novel in the form of a T-shirt. Although I lay claim to this concept—this particular fusion of fashion and literature— I would expect you to be skeptical at this point.

The great Italian novelist, Italo Calvino, wrote an essay[1] on concise literature, in which he said: “I dream of immense cosmologies, sagas and epics all reduced to the dimensions of an epigram”.

When I first read this statement I was on the Elliptical machine at the gym, moving my make-believe skis in a counter-clockwise groove, and BAM, I stopped dead in my tracks. I walked over to the nearest mirror, put Calvino’s book up to my chest[2] and tried to imagine draining all of the text into a singularly potent phrase, a phrase that would capture the entire book and distil it to its essence.

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