busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Monday, April 13, 2015

    challenge accepted 

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    the more difficult things are, the better. it’s the only way to learn.

    last year i drove out to coachella weekend one and barely made $100. the place was swarming with uber drivers, all the most important roads were closed. i was staying in a beautiful house with cool people near the rock fest. and i went to sleep too early.

    and on top of it, i got there too late.

    so i left frustrated.

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    this year i got a decent hotel the first night out in the boonies, and the lowest priced air bnb near palm springs (and, yep, you get what you pay for) for the other few days.

    i was completely focused on driving.

    no distractions.

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    because of the law of murphy, when you’re set on that path

    obstacles will come out of the woodwork

    for the sole purpose in which to distract you.

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    there was a time when i woulda jumped at the shiny flashy fun thing

    but you know what else is fun?

    science.

    creating a hypothesis, trying new things through experimentation

    and seeing it through to a conclusion

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    one of my theories was that if you drove in the day and took a good nap around dinner time

    youd be able to drive until 5am, when most of the newbie drivers were sleeping.

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    that plan worked perfectly.

    11144861_10153199155423057_2040017630_o

    but because im human, i got cocky and thought i might give the picking up of the ppl at the show a shot

    and of course it didnt and i wasted three hours of what could have been a nice dinner followed by a peaceful sleep.

    lesson learned

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    my hands hurt the first two days but i lathered them in icy hot and paid attention to how i was holding the wheel.

    just thumbs after a while on11128209_10153201144753057_1036196505_n the long stretches of the 10 freeway going back and forth

    back and forth

    from palm springs to indio and back.

    risky because if i just went half way i could possibly have gotten more rides or more rides west with passengers,

    but this year the experiment was to be ok with driving back empty.

    be patient.

    trust the system.

    because my air bnb was nothing to write home about, i was out of the bed early

    just the right time to pick up the people who were off to brunch

    or on their way to pick up makeup or hot dogs

    or chokers

    or flowers.

    i was there to pick them up. i was there to soak in their energy

    i was there to listen as they told me about their globetrotting lives which even if they werent from LA always seemed to have a story about LA, like this young lady who had never been there before so went to Venice and Beverly Hills and drank at the Chateau

    and then met me

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    it was a long drive from indio to the ace hotel, pretty much the most westerly part of palm springs

    but that meant if you got someone, there was a good chance that they wanted to go to the most easterly part of the valley, coachella

    making for a $60 or more fare.

    something, even in the uber plus, i rarely would get.

    there was no uber plus at coachella, but that was fine, the rates were higher and the runs were longer. even if they just wanted to go halfway to pre-party it was still a bigger fare than youd get on a friday in one ride in LA

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    then on saturday night, my last night, i took a nap from 7pm to 11pm, way longer than you should they say, but i was so tired.

    i woke up groggy, dicked around on my phone for an hour and finally motivated.

    drove over to the ace and picked up a latino man with a british accent and two very hot black girls.

    i hoped they wanted to go to the neon carnival which had started at 11pm and went till 5am, and they did. a very long drive.

    i asked the ladies what kind of music they wanted to hear.

    11136888_10153202301363057_1568791118_n“urban”

    uh

    “hip hop!”

    ahhhh. old school or new school, i asked.

    new! they requested and i said, shade 45 and we were off.

    we talked about food, LA, how everything was behind gates in Palm Springs.

    it was a little difficult because the man was in the back with a very soft spoken woman

    and up front with me was the other woman who was less shy. or did the two in the back just want some alone time?

    it was hard to read.

    nearly an hour later we were there but the line to get in was long and the gentleman had received a text that the carnival was no longer fun.

    our plan was to pick up wristbands from them in the parking lot but the ladies were tired and just wanted to go back to palm springs. so we did. but first a stop at the del taco. and then to the AM/PM. and then back to their hotel where, to my surprise, he got the backseat girl’s number and asked me to drive him back to indio where his motel was.

    but first another stop at Del Taco because the fish tacos were so good.

    i knew the fare would be a record setter for me, so i bought the tacos for both of us.

    got to the bnb at 5am fully energized from breaking my record on such an interesting ride of mostly highway driving, packed my two bags, wrote a note on the fridge, and headed to LA.

    but first i pulled over about a half hour into the return, found a shady spot, and slept in the benz for the first time. for about three hours.

    right when it started to get hot.

  2. Saturday, April 4, 2015

    i am not a patient man. for that i blame the cubs. 

    books

    i know the patterns. i know the traps. i know the false flags.

    yet when one thing changes i panic and act like every other imbecile.

    right now in LA there are hundreds if not thousands of uber drivers ambling around for 90 cents a mile, which after taxes gas and wear and tear is about minimum wage.

    they’re doing it because theyre poor, uneducated, ignorant or all of the above. they might also love being out of the house, meeting cool people, and in a crazy hope that something magical may happen on their journey

    like getting a tip.

    i have doubled down on uber and i traded in my fuel efficient ford cmax for the little black dress of beverly hills: the mercedes c250.

    i did that so i could be paid over twice as much as my uberx brethren with the luxury uber plus platform.

    but because of surge prices an impatience often i find myself taking uberx passengers in hopes that the 2x fare will pay off thanks to a long ride across town.

    marie

    yesterday i had a few long rides but most of the night was spent shuttling ungrateful westsiders a mile or less from their homes to the abbot kinney first friday food truck convention which made my life hell because

    dudes on dates often find it fun to be pricks to the driver

    traffic around these events is usually horrible because either cops pretend that it doesnt exist or cops overreact and shut down streets in a foolish attempt at control

    and no one is going where they should be going: outside their safe boring wessside bubble

    OH LOOK KOGI IS HERE LETS STAND IN LINE FOR A HALF HOUR!

    i know that this point in my development i should be waiting patiently for Uber Plus rides where the passengers care more about the quality of car and driver than they do of the price, which is still cheaper than a cab.

    plus i give them water, i charge their phones, i have every style of music at their disposal, and a sunroof, and i give them the respect they suddenly deserve.

    pool

    i did zero uber plus rides last night because i was hoping that the trip request of Right Now would be just as good as waiting and waiting and waiting for the profitable trip request OF THE FUTURE.

    in sales you learn that a small percentage of Something is better than a huge percentage of Nothing.

    with that said, my stats don’t lie. In the last 7 days ive made $1,100 in 120 trips. That’s $9 a trip. If you grind it like I did yesterday that’s two trips an hour or $18 an hour.

    that’s terrible when you realize Uber gets about 21% of that, then theres gas, which was about $40 for last night’s adventures, which means i didnt make squat.

    i know where the traps were but i kept believing NOT EVERY ASSWIPE WANTS TO GO TO FIRST FRIDAYS but god was i wrong.

    the other problem is the hotels around LAX rarely surge. so if you take someone from there to hollywood it’ll take you 45 minutes for that $19 which is really $15 which is really saying “i’m going to waste this hour just so i can get out of LAX”.

    if i was uber id put a permanent 2x surge around LAX like a collar as good faith to the drivers who make those runs and to the cabbies who have a freakin $20 minimum to leave the airport – and we should too.

    but i digress.

    manson

    i was a bad, dumb, stupid man this week.

    i need to stop it.

    uber is helping me stop it.

    there is a thing called the heat map which tells us what parts of town are surging so that we can go there and help the passengers, of whom there are more of than drivers, thus the surge.

    this week the heat map was broken which is like a pilot not knowing what his altitude is.

    a good pilot could be told “oh just eyeball it, you’re a pro”, but, hi, thats ridiculous, you are a technology company, not a transportation company, I BET THE 20% COMMISSION CALCULATOR ISNT BROKEN FOR A WEEK, please fix the one feature that literally helps us make more money.

    there are tools that you can use to find out if driving one mile can put you in a far more profitable area, but those take time and HELLO IM DRIVING OVER HERE

    for a brief period the surge rates in Inglewood appeared on my screen informing me if i drove 10 minutes away i could make 2.6 times what i was getting where i was. so guess what: i drove to Inglewood to pick up pretty girls from the Maroon 5 concert.

    Thank you, Heat Map, you did your job!

    because i was having a bad day, they only wanted to go to nearby El Segundo, but still, it was a $20 fare that even with horrible traffic only took 26 minutes to complete. if i hadnt been exhausted i woulda gone to the airport and made 15 bucks driving someone from a hotel to town, but i couldnt risk that they would have wanted to go to first friday whereby i would have begun weeping right there behind the wheel.

    today is saturday. my favorite day. it is a tough day because everyones gonna wanna go to the beach and the beach traffic will be bad and the surge will go up because the drivers will avoid it and then the dumb drivers will flood it causing more traffic and lower rates

    and i swear i will not be one of those fools.

    i will sit patiently in beverly hills, with my engine off, reading a good book, waiting for a proper Uber Plus call to come in, take 7 of those at an average of $25 a ride and make just as much money in far less time,

    using way less gas.

    i will not be tempted by the shiny thing i can barely see.

  3. Saturday, March 28, 2015
  4. Thursday, March 26, 2015

    had a bad night last night 

    picasso

    screwed up and picked up a Plus customer after work on Pico. huge mistake that i wont make again.

    he was a high roller lawyer who had me drive him through some of the dumbest traffic (dumb because if he had just told me where he wanted to go instead of keeping it a secret I would have taken a faster route) to go to a liquor store.

    then he had me wait for him as he looked through every row. the booze he was looking for wasnt there. he wanted something specific and fancy.

    he didnt talk to me. he talked to a wide assortment of people on the phone. from the conversation i gathered where he wanted me to take him. so i drove there.

    $30 later he was gone but i was far from the fishing hole that i love at that hour so i slowly made my way there and when i did the fish were all gone.

    except for two guys who wanted to go to the nearest hotel which was literally half a mile away. thankfully that was a Plus ride too which has a minimum fare of $10. youd think that dudes going that short of a ride would want a simple Uber X car, but no, they wanted style for their 3 minute ride and i gave it to them.

    disappointed with life i went to the McDonalds drive-thru and called it a night. went to bed early which means i woke up early.

    at 6:30am i was back on the road looking for someone who wanted to go to the airport.

    instead i found a woman at the Chateau who wanted to go to DryBar and then i found a different woman who needed me to take she and her cute little son to his French school in West LA.

    she was a beautiful scandinavian who then needed me to take her to her work. it was a high fare because it was surging like crazy but she didnt care, which was a delight.

    the morning def made up for last night and best of all i was early for work so everyone was happy.

  5. Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    last night was a good night, all my schemes were working 

    tumblr_nl6982xwfB1up1nc2o1_540uber plus is like fishing, you gotta know where the spots are where no one else is fishing.

    and i think i found some good ones. the tricky part, just like in any part of your life is

    YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT

    YOU CANNOT BE GREEDY

    YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN EMPTY BLADDER

    the first two are pretty simple but sometimes you end up in the skankiest public restrooms that it makes you consider peeing in a bottle and throwing that bottle in the trash

    but there are a few problems with that

    1) lots of poor people pick through the garbage looking for bottles and cans (clap yr hands)

    2) what if you spill on your way to the dumpster

    3) peeing in your car in a bottle? is that why you went to college?

    there really should be safe clean beautiful public restrooms where you tip the guy a buck and you can do your thing

    but sadly those places are called McDonalds and theyre not always as clean as i kept them back in the day

    however nothing is as terrible as the Del Taco i found myself at in Venice

    holy moses. and on top of that there were two guys selling/using/experimenting with heroin outside the door

    then i worried about the bottom of my shoes, then my hands, thank god for hand sanitizer

    once again THANK GOD FOR HAND SANITIZER

    learned a few more things about Marina Del Rey when i left, and also learned it isnt that profitable to drive people from LAX any more

    $17 LAX -> West Hollywood.

    I was all, what!?!?

    but i know how to fix that now so goal, imma hit you faster tonight, just wait.

  6. Sunday, March 15, 2015

    i had a great day yesterday, one of the best 

    lady in the window

    after several rides i said, “thank you Lord. THANK YOU!”

    i have a sunroof, so i looked up through it and said, “i see you loving me down here!”

    the weather was perfect, the aromas from the trees, the good vibes from every single person.

    wow.

    WOW!

    im so lucky to be doing the two jobs that i get to do. and drive this magical car

    and be healthy and get to drive around this city that ive known for over 30(!) years.

    so lucky.

    so blessed.

  7. Friday, March 13, 2015

    back in the saddle 

    rock doc

    last night was fantastic. first night driving Uber Plus, and even though the Plus rides were great, i still have the option to also do UberX trips and my sole X ride was the best.

    but first the plusses:

    first plus was a teenage high school girl in Beverly Hills.

    pick her up and shes going to Beverly Hills High. she’s doing a piano recital there.

    i teller that shes my first Plus ever and she tells me to get ready because ALL the kids at her school love to order Plus

    kirsten-dunst-candy-sweets-on-the-set-of-marie-antoinetteand then puke in the cars.

    “they’re not uptight that i’m gonna charge them a $250 cleaning fee?” i ask her

    “they’re rich, they dont care!” she reminds me.

    when i drop her off she says, “say adios to your clean car!”

    right away i get pinged for someone at the Century Plaza in Century City.

    Obama is in town so theres cops everywhere because back in the day presidents stayed there because it has a helipad.

    get the guy and he’s going to the airport.

    we have a great ride. he asks me to stop at a gas station when i find one because he wants some chewing tobacco.

    first gas station didnt have it, second one does, no prob. we hit a little obama traffic but not much, we’re have a great convo.

    get to the airport in a half hour. my guess is the fare will be about $30. turns out it’s $50 and i call my mom because im so happy.

    ma, Plus is gonna be it!

    get a coke and my phone is blowing up from X passenger requests which i ignore because i want one more plus and i will call it a night.

    instead i realize, dummy, if someone is trying to get you from one of the hotels near LAX they’re probably (wisely) trying to get from LAX to Hollywood, so i accept it because it’s better to have $20 in your pocket and be out of the deadspace that is LAX.

    in come two lovely Aussies who yes took a shuttle from LAX to the nearest hotel and summoned me.

    the woman is a nurse, the man is a doctor, but not just any old doc, a Rock Doctor. he helps singers and rock stars stay healthy while theyre on the road.

    we hit it off, have the best convo about music and LA and he even tips me well and we exchange info for when he comes back to LA.

    i drive around a bit more looking for plus rides but ive already hit my goal and it’s barely 10pm

    so i call it a night because the weekend approaches and you wanna pace yourself so you dont die.

  8. Thursday, March 12, 2015

    bukowski never whined 

    picasso

    he just kept doing his thing: working, drinking, writing, snoring.

    they didnt have the saying “first world problems” back then, and even though for some of his life he was either being tormented and beaten by his father or struggling and running from landlords in skid row,

    he probably would have said that any problem that he had was a first world problem.

    he didnt have to worry about malaria or getting something to eat. he always had a bottle of wine, a hot bathtub, and a radio to listen to music by.

    artmy biggest problem, the one i want to complain about, is the biggest first world problem i could ever imagine: uber hasn’t classified my mercedes into Uber Plus yet

    it’s very frustrating, but i can still eat, i can still sext, i can still go to the farmers market and order a tri tip sandwich potato salad and collard greens.

    the garbage men make a lot of noise but they take away the garbage.

    i dont remember one whine from picasso or ernie banks or even noah and noah never even had an xbox.

    imagine you live 500 years like noah did and you never got to play madden.

    yes i want to drive again. soon. maybe tonight. yes i want to take rich ppl or business ppl or ppl who dont wanna sit in the back of a dirty prius. ppl who will pay 2.3x the typical rate.

    and yes those ppl wanna ride with me, the greatest uber driver of all times. the one who knows all the streets and the stories behind the buildings and the tales of what used to be there and what is planned for there and there.

    the one who will play sinatra on channel 71 or smooth jams on 3, who can talk to you about the back up back up point guard for the clippers, the coach’s son, or local state or federal politics.

    or nothing at all.

    some ppl just want the driver to chill till the next episode and close the sun roof and get their ass to their mistresses crib in the hills.

    and hear nothing but the sounds of the rubber on the wet road and the shifting of gears.

    and babies i want that too.

  9. Monday, March 9, 2015

    this weekend i did something i havent done in a long long time 

    uber hq

    nothing.

    usually, as you know, i work my real job M-F and then friday nights and saturday i uber.

    despite pleading with uber on thursday and then again on friday to approve my new vehicle they are the slowest machine in the world when it comes to matters that would be beneficial to drivers so they wrote me back late friday saying theyve received all my docs but hang in there it is “pending”, which isnt what you want to hear.

    you want to hear, “thank you for upgrading to a luxury car FOR US, now go out and make some damn money.”

    to add insult to injury they texted all of us on friday telling us that if we went to the westwood office on saturday we would get a free tshirt if we listened to their spiel about UberPool, which sadly is Not a 24-hour spa where Uber drivers can shit shower shave and soak in a pool/hottub while taking a break from driving.

    16562055638_a27debe51a_z

    because im not used to sitting on my hands on the weekend, i drove over to their HQ (which just happens to be in the building PeopleSupport used to occupy back in the day, which we called Westwood 2.) in hopes that someone there would be able to switch the button which would let me drive.

    instead they claimed all they could do was talk to me about Uber Pool and give me a tshirt.

    i passed. pissed. drove back home. involved myself in two fantasy baseball drafts and then watched movies and tv shows and read the bible. and took a walk around los feliz because it’s super warm.

    i must say i do feel very rested and ready to take on this week, but i made no extra cash and i feel like i wasted my life.

    say la vee.

    hopefully uber lets me drive soon.