Only in San Francisco

Until the store in Pier 39 of the same name (Only in San Francisco) starts selling Eau de Urine parfum and employs a yelling, angry schizophrenic mascot, I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on their choice moniker.

Favorite thing overheard on the 49 last night:

“I’m just doing this until I get into in clown school in January.”

If you’re wondering, “this” is living in a work-here-and-get-free-room-and-board hotels off Van Ness. (I thought those were whorehouses?)

Anyway,  many in SF (and in many major city) seem to be in a state of flux. I’m only doing this until I get into grad school. I’m working as a barista because I got laid off.  I had a high-stress job, now I’m working on my writing and taking it easy. But I wonder how many other people around the world hear “clown school” in relation to a career on their ride home.

Maybe that Only in San Francisco store can start selling clown attire for the budding painted-person-entertainment industry.


A Muni Diaries First: A Song for the 38-Geary

San Francisco musician Shane Papatolicas shares a song about a ride on Muni, specifically along the famed 38-Geary line.

Sometimes on the 38

We haven’t had the good fortune to see him perform yet, but here’s an excerpt of a review of Papatolicas at San Fran Voice:

Shane simplifies his feelings: “Sometimes I read the paper and I get depressed. Sometimes I stand and stare at the ground”. Either way, whether waxing poetic or putting it plainly, Shane’s lyrics grasp the truth of what he’s trying to say.

If you have Muni-related audio, video, photographs, or art you’d like to share with the world, please let us know by emailing Muni diaries.


The F-Market/Wharves line is actually really fun during the day. There is still your requisite group of tourists frantically wondering whether they missed the stop for Alcatraz or Pier 39, but it’s much less hurried or crowded around 11 a.m.

That’s not to say it doesn’t come with its share of odd visuals.

First up, we have the back hair that waved at me throughout the entire (thankfully short) journey from Pier 39 to the Ferry Building. I found it pretty remarkable how contained, yet not, this not-so-fashionable statement was. That reminds me, I don’t think I cleaned the lint trap out after my last dryer load (extreme close-up after the jump) …

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When Women Rule the World: what I learned on the 1 California

Not Connie Chung, but still

Not Connie Chung, but still

I was on the 1 California with my younger sister and cousin when a man wearing his Army uniform came to sit next to us. It’s such a beautiful day, he said, too bad the economy is in the dumps. We laugh and agree. Then he said:

“But you guys, you will do fine, women make better decisions! This bad stuff wouldn’t happen if women ran the world, you know, like Hillary Clinton. Also, I like that Connie Chung too.”

Not missing a beat, my sister said:

“Isn’t Connie Chung busy having babies with Maury Povich?”

no comprende?

As a word nerd, as well as a recent visitor to a handful of foreign countries, odd sentence construction is one of the biggest WTFs you can come across if you’re not entirely fluent in a language; even if you speak a fairly decent textbook version thereof.

But I mostly write this tale as a woman, horrified by a man’s conversational skills on a moving vehicle, where everyone can (unfortunately) hear every word of his awkward conversation with two girls from Switzerland.

It’s good to be home.

Let me start the tale of awkwardness by explaining the body language in this situation, for which I fully craned my neck to get a gander at. Two girls, maybe 20, but probably younger, were standing on a crowded bus, chatting among themselves. A man, who was probably around 30, was standing behind them, attempting over (and over) again to engage them in conversation. I think we all know that it’s a bad sign when the object of your conversational interest: 1) doesn’t ask you a single question back, or 2) only turns around to face you when you ask one of your many questions.

But off he went anyway. Here’s a sampling:

Guy: So what goes on in Switzerland?
Swiss girls: What?
Guy: What do you do there? Like, for fun?

Commentary: “What’s going on?” is a very oddly worded phrase on its own. Turn it around like the way he did, to people who aren’t fluent in English, and you get this.

There’s a reason foreign English is funny; we never say things like “The reason for this is because…” unless we’re directly translating from another language. So a phrase like “What’s going on?” definitely loses something in the translation.

Guy: So there are a lot of mountains and stuff in Switzerland?
Swiss girls: Um, yes. Many mountains.

Commentary: Clutching at straws then, aren’t we? This kind of question is always the low point, on whatever end of the conversation you’re on. I personally ask questions like this when I don’t like someone, but am forced to be in their company, or am horribly uncomfortable.

But he continues with the kicker!

Guy: So, how old are you girls? 15? 16? 17?
Swiss girl 1: What’s the saying? You don’t ask a woman her age?
Guy: Nah, that’s only for women in their 30s!

Commentary: Good answer from the girls, and probably a good indication that they spoke better English than they first let on. Also, you’re a creepy asshole if you look anywhere near the vicinity of 30 (or older) and ask such a question. You then earn more creepy points for denouncing the statement as something for women…in your own age group.

Everyone eventually got off the bus, leaving me to stew in their residual cloud of awkward.

Yeah, it’s good to be home.

Tara Ramroop has only been let down a handful of times by Muni in the week since she’s been back. Progress?

Muni Diaries on the town!

with the ladies of Muni Manners

with the ladies of Muni Manners

We here at Muni Diaries had a blast at CBS5’s local blogger party last night! We felt so warm and cozy among new friends whose blogs we have admired from afar. We met CBS5’s lovely Brittney Gilbert, author of Eye On Blogs, who was so gracious to bring all of us bloggers together. And boy, does CBS5 know how to throw a soirée (three words: bacon deviled eggs).

If you’ve checked out our blogroll before, you know that there are some excellent transit-related blogs in San Francisco. Last night we met the ever-observant Rachel of Fog City Notes – check out her cross-town reports. And we finally put a friendly face to Greg at N-Judah Chronicles, a blog of which we are all big fans. We also got some face time with the Transbay Blog, SF Ordinary Girl, and the delicious Canyon of Cheese.

And for the moment you have all been waiting for: we met the ladies of Muni Manners! I was in mid conversation about the awesomeness of Muni Diaries when Suzanne nudged me and whispered, “There! Muni Manners!” The impeccably mannered Julie and Angelie bonded with us over the craziness of the 47 line and our collective co-dependent relationship with Muni.

Happy Friday and happy riding!

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