nothing in here is true

  1. Monday, September 18, 2017

    i think about my cat Prince a lot 

    he does things and he cant help it.

    im the same way.

    if you throw his favorite little bell-ball he will run after it like a dog. eventually you will find it near my bed. a weird, slow, game of fetch, even though he’s a cat.

    me, i drive uber and lyft as often as i can, even though i have a perfectly good normal job.

    even though the roads are dangerous, the traffic is heinous and letting strangers in my Benz isn’t the wisest move deep down.

    but i am addicted to learning about and helping people. ive got a friend Ben who works at a Catholic soup kitchen. they lure Catholics to skid row, murder them, and make soup out of them. the poor are nourished and Ben feels good about himself, which is crazy because Ben is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

    got another friend, Steve, who writes novels and interviews other authors about their process. i almost wanna write another book just so Steve will interview me about it.

    some nights i will drive and drive and drive for eight hours straight. peeing just once or twice. usually mcdonalds but today i peed in a bowling alley bathroom. what a great place.

    my problem is i love people for about 25 minutes. i wanna know everything about them. and then they’re gone. no fuss no muss. am i a commitment-phobe? probably. who cares. we live such short lives why are we trying to box ourselves in? why can’t we just enjoy a bite-sized conversation, especially if it goes into a deeper truth.

    the problem though with driving for 8 hours is somewhere along the way you get tired so you eat something and drink a giant Coke. then you get home totally frazzled and you can’t get to sleep.

    luckily for me, theres a long legged blonde girl who dresses sexy and helps me get my Zzzs. and she has a key to my castle.

    do i wanna write novels? yes. do i wanna have a great podcast? yes. would i love to build a house one day and shove a Conversation Pit in there? of course.

    but i am currently addicted to lifestyle choices that keep me a mild mannered apartment dweller with no hope for advancement.

    except in my heart.

    where all my little conversations with the good people of this city live forever.

    occasionally i will let you in for a peek.

    which is how Prince would do it too.

    (my Prince, not yrs.)

  2. Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    drove 100 miles yesterday for Lyft n Uber 

    first ride was right close to my work. two hollywood producers from up north. they didn’t know movies. it was weird.

    the one guy kept asking the other guy “who is that?” and they were talking about Famous people!

    we were speeding across town to go from one fancy hotel to another.

    i mighta blown my tip when, while driving north on La Brea, one of the dudes asks, “so we’re taking side streets?”

    i said, “gotta take them to get to the freeway, but yes.”

    it came across snotty i think. am i defensive about my routes? maybe. sometimes.

    but i did follow up by asking, “is there a way you wanna go?” he said no. he was just asking.

    after that i saw that i was in an area that Uber was giving us a 1.7x bonus.

    i was downtown where you have to be careful because a lot of times people are just going 5-6 blocks and its annoying because you have to wait for them and the roads are packed and youre double parked and ughhh.

    but at 1.7x i figured i would head over to the train station and see if i could get a long ride from there because often people get off the train and have to go to places where there isnt a train station like Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach or Pasadena.

    got over there and immediately got a ping. and whattya know it was a Select ride! thank you Lord!

    ended up being a really good kid who had some birth defect or learning disability. he sounded like Rain Man a little.

    he sat in the front seat which is extremely rare for Uber Select. i hit the app and saw he was going way out over to the Wesssside. $40 ride at least for me, probably $60 for him.

    i said, this is Select, you know that right? he said yep.

    and we were off.

    while talking it became obvious that his parents were very rich doctors and he regularily takes the train East to volunteer at a hospital.

    which ward did you work at today? i asked

    The Burn Unit he said.

    dude, youre going straight to Heaven.

    i know, he laughed.

    i was all, do you go there often? he said every Monday Wednesday and Fridays. so i told him i would see him on Wednesday at the same time.

    he was all, ok!

    my goal every week is $200 as that is what my car costs when all is said and done. if i could make $120 of that on one passenger, i could probably hit $300 every week.

    best laid plans tho so relax.

    so there i was at UCLA pretty happy with myself. i texted amber to see what she had planned for the night. maybe we would get some grub somewhere.

    when ping i got a call from the center of UCLA. usually i would cancel that because those rides are shorter than DTLA ones.

    turned out this woman wanted to go to Rancho PV, which is damn near long beach. 22 mile ride.

    but it was Uber X at only 1.3. I told amber i wouldnt be home till 10pm and id be exhausted from doing the 10 twice and now the 405 there and the 110 to get home.

    she is always a good sport so she said there will be food when i got home.

    for some reason traffic was a dream and i did the whole thing in no time and got home at 9:30p

    amber had told me not to go to fast food, that there would be food waiting so when i got home and there wasnt

    i was mad.

    here i had this super profitable day driving, traffic was amazing, a half naked babe was cooking for me and all i could feel was unfulfilled entitlement.

    it made me upset that i was mad because it reminded me of people who would get mad even though others were doing nice things for them.

    i dont wanna be that guy.

    so i took a walk to get her some milk that she needed for the mashed potatoes and apologized profusely for being a jerk.

    its weird how automatic emotions can filter up.

    i got emotional thinking about how i am not 100 per cent in control of my feelings all the time and sometimes they are dark.

    she said you are super kind, you were not mean, you have nothing to apologize about.

    but i knew what was inside and it reminded me of fellow Libra Jimmy Carter who told Playboy that a sin in your heart is just as bad as a sin you take action on.

    and of course i agree with the president.

  3. Saturday, August 19, 2017

    dear tony, why haven’t you written in like sooooo long? 

    dear britney,

    omg i know. right?

    picked up these four kids in beverly hills. i mean kids.

    seventh grade.

    we’re headed to the grove and unlike many of the kids i occasionally get on uber or lyft, these boys are really well behaved.

    what’s going on at the Grove today, boys? i ask.

    “nothing much. just signing some autographs, waving to the tourists.” one of them say.

    we drove down 3rd Street and i was all, what are those people standing in line for?

    must have been 30-40 people.

    “sneakerheads!” the kid next to me says.

    is that all, i ask

    kid goes “yeah, shoes are overrated.”

    one of his friends in the back says, “whatever, Gucci.”

    another says “dude’s got Gucci flip flops!”

    kid next to me says, “they’re my uncle’s”

    i demand to see said flip flops. they’re quickly produced.

    kid has black socks on and black Gucci sandals

    manufacturer’s suggested price: $200.

    i go, well, they are cool.

    agreements all around.

    i say, answer me a question about the 7th grade.

    eagerly they await my amazing ponder.

    i ask, what do 7th graders think of our president?

    from the back, a kid says, “oh donald dunk. donald dump? uh…”

    another finishes the thought, “everyone hates him.”

    Gucci next to me says, “well a few say they like him but we all yell at them.”

    we took a selfie at a stop light. they added me on Insta.

    and when i dropped them off they all waved and said thank you!

    thank YOU

    Thank YOU!

  4. Friday, June 2, 2017

    what if ive totally lossed my mojo 

    the pings just arent coming out there in the luxury ride sharing world of your pal tone

    today is summer friday so they let us out early but i had to stay an hour late because im dumb

    when i finally got on the road things became so bad after a while that i flipped it over to

    regular Lyft and got pinged for all these tiny short trips that because they were in UCLA

    turned into long ass rides because driving through campus in the day takes forever.

    one ride was 1 mile and took 18 minutes.

    then i got these norwegians going to the westside pavilion.

    i was all, hey didnt you guys have a holiday recently?

    they were like, nooooo. i was all, sure you did!

    then the hot blonde goes ohhhh the 17th of may? i said yes!

    they go oh yeah we went to a festival that day.

    how do you forget that?

    then i took this dude from the grove to the beverly hilton.

    i was all what do you do? hes like stem cells.

    i said damn dude, well thanks for saving the world.

    then he goes, but i also sell guns.

    swear. to. god.

  5. Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    drove the nicest lady from beverly hills to hollywood blvd 

    it gives me hope when i meet the good people.

    and i meet them every livelong day.

    hope that heaven is possible, hope that peace and love are possible

    hope that some of us wont get fooled again by a charlatan who promises great walls and jobs jobs jobs and blah da di blah.

    we were able to talk about music and movies and tv and ratings

    and getting talent young and letting it go to greener pastures

    and growing old and LA vs NY and all the things youd wanna talk about in a 24 minute ride in rush hour.

    sometimes its a little sad when the ride is over and you wanna hug them

    or exchange phone numbers

    or be BFFs forever

    but instead you rate them the five stars, turn on the app again and see what there is to see.

    i might be too emotional for all of this.

    but it does pay the bills.

  6. Friday, April 21, 2017

    life isnt a farm 

    and it’s not even ours.

    we are lucky to be here for the split second we’re here.

    and what are we gonna do, whine? not me. fuck whining.

    i’m here to make things.

    and tell you stories. for example today i drove a fancy stylist from beverly hills to hollywood and then to the airport. he wanted to take a picture of the hollywood sign for his friend.

    but he also had to go to the airport all within two hours.

    that seems simple enough, but it was rush hour and he actually wanted to get very close to the hollywood sign. and did i mention the airport.

    yesterday it took me 20 minutes just to get from the in n out three blocks from LAX to arrivals, i mean departures, thats the ticket. so i was all, dude, i am SO DOWN for challenges. but i really dont want you to miss your flight, so we tried to see how close we could get before getting on the freeway.

    we got to hollywood and highland and he said, nah the shot isnt good enough. so i said ok, im sorry. he said, fine. but then i said, wait, the Netflix HQ has a great view of it and its off the Sunset exit of the 101, which is kinda on the way.

    and i drove there and i said turn around and he was all, yes! and click

    and back on the road and he told me all his secrets and all the dirt on all the people

    which was mostly that they are all pretty cool people if you give them some space

    and all the dirt on west coast vs east coast fashion

    and because it was lyft and not uber i made over $100 and i betcha he tipped me

    speaking of, i emailed uber and said, pay me the $80 you owe me and i promise never to drive UberSC again and you will never have to hear me whine

    not holding my breath for them to do the right thing, but whatever.

    tomorrow im gonna read this screenwriting book all day like college.

    my life needs to change drastically.

    we are here to make magic

    not pout.

  7. Sunday, April 2, 2017

    first day doing lyft exclusively 

    yesterday was old school. yesterday i drove everywhere. yesterday i met everyone.

    yesterday i hit my goal.

    Lyft had a deal, drive 20 rides, get $75. friday i did three rides, so i only needed to do 17 yesterday. i got motivated around noon, so i calculated if i could do 2 an hour id be done at 8pm.

    plenty of time to hit up clipper girls cousin, who was showing some interest again.

    lets see how much i can remember without looking at my notes.

    gay dude fresh from nyc who was going to prep a property for a real estate company he sorta works for

    famous rappers i should know but im old who i picked up in a silver lake motel id never been to before who bumped their own wonderful tunes all the way to redondo beach

    21 yr old barback who had just bought a canon mark 4 for $4k and was bringing it to work for some reason

    cute mexican cousins having a staycation in manhattan beach who i picked up at the ralphs where they had bought booze to continue the celebration in their room who tipped me $5 cash for not being pissed that they made me wait in the crowded parking lot

    gay dude fresh from north carolina who took the red line from north hollywood to the blue line to the green line so he could then take a lyft to the Olive Garden where he works. his car was totaled a few weeks ago.

    posh manhattan beach housewife who had just gotten her nails done and didn’t want to walk the mile home. we passed Frys i said i could never live this close to a Frys, id spend all i own there. she said whats in there? i said, Man’s Heaven. she said women are in there? i said fine, most of Heaven.

    giant dude who barely fit in my back seat who works at the el segundo golf course which it turns out is only $15 because its city-owned. he’s worked there 5 years. he starts at 6am. he was headed to Compton. his mom was about to marry this man. i said oh her second marriage? he said, well she didnt ever marry my dad, so her first marriage. he was going to her house because her future inlaws were throwing a party for them. he said it was gonna be awkward. he said compton used to be really bad but its better now.

    because the Lyft bonus didnt cover rides that far south i drove to USC, got a photographer going to a shoot in DTLA. then i got a model and this fashion designer in the fashion district who Lyft Lined it to his Chinatown studio. along the way this sparkling beautiful asian waitress with black lipstick who told me about all these great pho places to eat in little tokyo. i said, i’ve been loyal to Mr. Ramen. she said omg i used to work there, i loved the reggae music. i said thats why im loyal!

    then this chinese rich girl who totalled her Beamer who was headed to the north hollywood bmw shop to buy her replacement car. she was super nervous. pisces. 23. works at a famous accounting firm. i was like whats to be nervous about, you’ll always have a car payment. plus im sure you know your budget. she said, to be honest, i feel like maybe i dont deserve a nice car after what i just did. i said, by the power vested in me in this magical lyft, you are forgiven, delicate flower.

    next was a young mexican dude who was at a party but needed a ride home real quick to feed and play with his 11 week old puppy. he said his parents were super into punk rock and named his older brother Joey and was about to name him Johnny but his grandma said you cannot name your children after the Ramones. we talked about old school punk pretty much the whole way to KTown.

    then there was the dude from a famous music streaming service who lived near a former infamous police station which everyone thought had been gutted but he said he has seen some undercover vehicles roll out of there that look exactly like plumbing trucks and exterminators but alas theyre surveillance vehicles y’all. he was going to yang chow home of the slippery shrimp and damn there was a giant line there due to the dodger game that just let out.

    got a ping up in echo park. three usc grad students who were snapchatting, instagramming and singing right as they entered the car because i was playing r kelly and they knew every word. they were going to see the Migos and Rae Srummurd – free concert at USC if you were a student. i said suddenly i am a student at USC! we talked about astrology. the libra in the back seat said Scorpios are garbage! i said Libra girl! her friend the Cancer said AGREED! later that night i heard the concert was shut down after just two songs from the Migos because the kids at USC let too many of their friends in and people felt unsafe.

    only one more ride left. got a recent USC grad, film major from hong kong. sharp as a tack. she said whats the easiest way to get an oscar before i turn 32? i want to beat Damien Chazelle. i said, first of all youre a woman so good luck with that. she gasped. i was all, jk, roll with me. then i said, Shorts is one way but you’ll probably have to finance that yourself because why would a producer give you money for something that wont make him any money. she said OR HER. i was all, didnt i say chill. she laughed. we picked up her friend along the way. i said ok another way is Foreign Language. she said what are the requirements, that i have to shoot it over seas? i said no, its gotta be in a foreign language. i said so like China. she said id rather it be in French. so i said bonne chance jeune fille.

    got hope, ate, drank, passed out before clipper girl texted me, which she did all night as i snoozed and the kittens tried to steal the blankets.

  8. Friday, March 31, 2017

    why am i so angry 

    like im really mad, almost all of the time.

    the only time im not is when im driving someone on uber or lyft.

    how crazy is that?

    last night people were cutting me off, making weird turns, not using their blinkers, swerving

    coulda sworn i saw a guy making a chinese chicken salad AS HE DROVE

    we were near the grove which is a magnet for terrible drivers.

    pretty sure that was an indian burial ground at some point.

    picked up these kids who worked on a tv show at Television City.

    they were talking about how the schedule for the movies that they are screening at the Hollywood Forever cemetery just came out and they were stoked to see Clueless there.

    one of the kids was all, how disrespectful, watching a movie on top of a dead body.

    other kid goes, and by kid i mean they were in their 20s, we were driving up into the hollywood hills to see a secret comedy show in a mansion.

    one of them called the place The Orgy House because of the decor.

    so the one kid says to the other, everywhere we go we are stepping on dead bodies, you think current cemeteries are the only place where there are dead people?

    there was talk about cavemen, indians, cowboys, mexicans, the poor.

    and yeah, we are constantly walking on the past.

    tramping them down deeper.

    forgetting about them, using them as roads, sidewalks, dirt paths.

    what do you think dirt is made of one of them asked indignantly.

    dreams, i whispered and sped up the mountain.

  9. Saturday, December 31, 2016

    dear tony, im thinking about driving for uber and or lyft 

    omg sounds fun.

    heres a few things you should know.

    your car is gonna get dirty on the inside and outside.

    youre gonna use more gas than you expect.

    youre gonna put a bunch of miles on your car.

    repairs are going to be needed.

    not everyone is gonna be nice (but most will be).

    so the first tip i have for you, especially now that the new year is moments away: Get a small notepad, something that will fit in your glovebox. This will be by your side as you drive.

    What to write in it: every trip write down the time you got to the spot, what time you dropped them off, and how much you are supposed to get paid. (Sometimes the payouts are wrong and omg mysteriously they are never in favor of the driver.)

    Also write in it your odometer when you start driving for the day and when you have stopped. (There is software you can buy too, an app called Sherpa Share, which is good, but this is an analog log.)

    Also write in any time you do repairs, get gas, get a car wash, pay tolls or parking or buy water for the passengers or aux cords or anything for the car that you are using for ridesharing.

    Once a week take a picture of the pages for that week so you have this backed up digitally in case your notebook gets lost, stolen, burned up in a terrible fire.

    Yes this notebook is good for taxes, but it will also show  you if what youre doing is profitable. Which may be a goal of yours.

    Get SiriusXM and play either Metal or Jazz. 

    the majority of your passengers will say they don’t care when you ask them what music they wanna hear and thats exactly why this country is in the toilet.

    young people today can name a half dozen kardashians but not one ted nugent record. wtf is that?

    so basically if you’re under 60 i have the station on Ozzy’s Boneyard. if you’re older i’ll put on Real Jazz which is old school Monk, Trane, Bird…

    the ride can be and should be an education. and as with most things in life, it starts with the sweet tunes.

    best of all you can write off the subscription.

    sometimes people, particularly young people, will ask for the AUX cord.

    heres my question, if they asked for the steering wheel would you give it to them? of course not.

    never let anyone grab your aux cord because the first thing they want to do when they get it is ask you to crank it.

    trust me when i tell you, you do not want to crank their music.

    not even for the 15 minutes that the average drive consists of. of all the tips, this may be my best one.

    do not do it.

    they will pout, they will threaten your beautiful driver rating, but trust me. ignore the plea.

    instead, say: i have every channel on sirius, which one do you wanna hear.

    and then play ozzy when they say uhhhhhh.

    Babies are OK if they have a car seat.

    if they don’t have a car seat they don’t get a ride.

    if anyone complains just say, “look im on probation. i can’t go back.”

    they’ll understand

    dogs are ok if they can do a trick or if i can take a picture.

    most people who bring dogs are women. no one knows why. they usually smell a tiny bit because they’re dogs, but they magically bring joy to you and your ride and it lingers.

    have some air spray or some orange peels or something that can get that dog smell out of there once he leaves because i promise you it will smell like a dog a little no matter what their owner says.

    you will be hit on. resist.

    if one thing leads to another and your passenger wakes up with her uber driver next to her and doesnt remember how it all happened, her memory will never create a romance story. it will be a horror film. slow mo. you will go to jail. no one believes the uber driver about anything. no one. give her your number if she insists, but don’t call her back until the next day.

    if you must.

    the media is obsessed with uber drivers and i have yet to read the story about juliet meeting her romeo the uber driver.

    get a dash cam, preferably one that has two cameras, one that points forward and one that goes backwards. i have the Falcon. it costs about $140, sometimes you can find it as low as $100. i only have the camera pointing forward recording most of the time. but if trouble lurks i tap two buttons and the rear camera is on along with my announcement, “for your safety and mine, the dashcam is now recording audio and video and its being stored in the cloud.” shit mellows out quickly when they hear that. bad news: it’s not really being stored in the cloud. good news: it’s usually drunk people being verbally abusive that you have to say this to and they don’t know.

    why do i have the forward facing camera rolling at all times? because people cray and if someone hits me in the front of my car i have video of it. because, no one would believe the uber driver without it. you can write this off too.

    take a lot of pictures. youre gonna see some weird shit.

    only let people eat in your car in the daytime. people spill. if they spill at night you might not ever see it and sploosh theres some ketchup on the white jeans of your next passenger. no good for anyone.

    if its not busy i will take you through the drive thru. but you have to buy me a shake. and let me take a picture. and give me some fries.

    but only if its day time.

    you can try to be a nice guy who goes in the burger king drive thru at 2:15am on a friday night but one person is gonna barf which is gonna make everyone else barf.

    you are the boss of your life. my life has very little puke.

    you can cancel rides you know. sometimes you should.

    when the passenger orders the uber it tells them how far away you are. it tells them how many minutes it will be. rarely in LA are you further than 10 minutes away (btw don’t take rides where you have to drive more than 10 minutes to get to them).

    so when you show up, and you are waiting and waiting, what i like to do after waiting two minutes is i text them this: “hi this is uber, i am [in the driveway/in front of 1234 Boogie Woogie Ave/in valet] is that where I should be?”

    two things may happen. sometimes they never respond. hard to believe since they just used that very same phone to order the uber. or they will text back with “coming” or “be right there”.

    if after 5 minutes of waiting they are still not there (and you know the time because you have written it in your notebook) you can cancel and you will get $4.

    even if they say, “turn on the meter” do not. the meter on uber/lyft rolls slower than you would ever imagine. it’s pennies. not a lot of pennies. maybe 5 pennies. a day. for waiting. fuck that. cancel. the server took forever? no, YOU took forever. thanks for the money.

    drive at all hours of the day and night.

    but know the worst time is from 1:30am – 3:30am. why? it’s a vomitpalooza, no one gets to your car in a reasonable time, the roads are filled with drunks and cops, people are cold hungry and have to pee, some people are crying, some are trying to have sex in your car, some fall asleep, some try to get violent. nowadays it only surges for 20 minutes or so around when bars close – it’s not worth it. go home at 1am.

    and often the best time is at 6am. theres little traffic. often it’s rides to the airport. have a clean trunk at all times.

    Once you start driving you will get a referral code for new drivers. They will ask you questions. Answer them. The best way that they can thank you for your knowledge and ongoing tips is for them to sign up using your referral codes (yes you should drive for both Lyft and Uber)

    My Uber code is https://partners.uber.com/i/8q88tl

    My Lyft code is https://www.lyft.com/drivers/TONY3772

    The robots will take this away from us one day. Until then, enjoy the ride.

  10. Thursday, July 14, 2016

    drove a 16 year old girl from westwood to torrance in rush hour yesterday 

    sunset silver lakeit took an hour and we talked the whole way

    she has been to coachella the last two years. vip both times.

    she wants to go to college on the east coast.

    she doesnt like Taylor Swift, at all.

    she loves Selena Gomez but wasnt aware that her latest movie is on Netflix

    says she looks at Snapchat maybe 40 times a day

    says that when she looks at it and doesnt see anything new from her friends, she’ll look at Cosmo’s story or something else

    follows the kardashians on snapchat and ariana grande

    goes to private school in west LA and her parents either drive her or she takes lyft

    when she goes to coachella she doesnt camp, she chips in with her friends to rent a house

    loved Flostradamus

    did not see AC/DC or Guns n Roses because: not interested

    wants to try the Kylie Jenner lip kit but hasnt gotten around to it

    loves Obama and will miss him.

    doesnt shop at nearby Del Amo Mall, instead prefers The Grove.

    fascinating convo the whole way.