busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Saturday, January 17, 2015

    it wouldnt be so bad if the company wasnt worth $40 billion 

    britneyand i realize that start-ups dont typically go around and spread, oh, a half billion of that back to their drivers.

    the face of their company.

    one small reason the concept is working.

    you know, the people who paid for the cars, and the gas, and the auto repairs, and the car washes and the bottles of water

    and the barf bags and the air freshener

    and sit in traffic and wait outside darkened doors

    and drive all night.

    but for a company who seems like a sure thing winner, as long as they can stop shooting themselves in their feet

    maybe they would be interested in having a positive news cycle one day.

    and, i dont know, reward the top 75% of the drivers.

    the people who have given the most rides and those who have the highest ratings.

    divide the number of those people by a half billion dollars

    and give it to them.

    because the weird sad fact about whats happening with all these price cuts is those great drivers are all going to quit and be replaced by people who currently dont even have $11 an hour job

    so they’ll be the ones foolish enough to think that buying a new car and driving 60 hours a week will pay off for them because omg they made $150 on a friday. working 11 hours.

    it wouldnt be so bad if they allowed tips.

    it wouldnt be so bad if they stopped telling people tips were included.

    it wouldnt be so bad if it was easier to quit.

    the problem is theres several things that one quits when they do that

    the passengers, the city, the action.

    it wouldnt be so bad if those things werent always wonderful.

  2. Friday, January 16, 2015

    so busy ubering, made so little money, the days are numbered 

    usc vollyball

    what i love about bukowski is he never whined. real men never do.

    uber has a deal for drivers in LA. if you work and drive around and put up with traffic and hot babes whispering in your ear as youre trying to drive and drunk mexican uncles pointing in front of your eyes as youre trying to drive.

    and cops and cabs and cyclists and fatigue

    then for right now they’ll give you $20 an hour.

    why? because they just lowered their rates Again, and since drivers take home 80% of the fare, when you lower the rates the company only loses 20% of that cut.

    its cutthroat out there cuz ub just keeps cutting and cutting. today i drove for seven hours and made like $14 an hour and i had two long trips.

    it was different driving with a guarantee, you didnt give a shit. want a short ride? fine. as long as i do at least one an hour i get my twenty bucks. want a long ride? who cares, even long rides will only bring in $20 which is the same as a short one so unless we’re going to mexico i’ll just sit here and steer.

    drove four members of the usc womens volleyball team. tall and pretty and funny and nice.

    drove three asian girls to an LMU frat party, which is basically a normal little house in the middle of a regular neighborhood becuase LMU doesnt have a frat row.

    took that drunk uncle, his two hot nieces and one of their boyfriends from the LAX area to Lennox near where that M&Ms burned down.

    man was he drunk. told me he has a 2001 vette that he got six people in. see thats how its done, if youre gonna lie to a man make it fun to think about.

    uncle

    “we had three in the drivers seat and three in the passengers seat,” uncle told me as the girls laughed in the back and apologized for him. i said no one gets to apologize in this car: your sins were forgiven by the lord on that cross. now is the time to spread love.

    and with that uncle took some tequilla out of his paper bag.

    i was all, im not going to tell you what to do, youre a grown man

    and almost as handsome as me.

    laughs.

    but i will tell you that if the police see you with that booze they will throw me in jail.

    no they wont he said

    i said hands up mike brown life isnt fair for if it was id be about a foot taller and be the clippers shooting forward.

    on the way home ate kfc spicy crispy because we’re all gonna croak anyways.

  3. Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    the cats lay next to my bedroom door 

    bella and they push their paws under my door.

    usually they’re playing with little cat toys, or bottlecaps, or tacks

    and they’ll push it under the door to me and just lay there waiting for me to return it.

    it’s a bizarre version of catch.

    called CatCh.

    pretty sure im selling my car in a week or two.

    yesterday i went to Carmax and looked at a few Mercedes.

    the 250 is cool looking but the backseat was pretty tight.

    the 300 isnt that much more expensive but they only had it in gray and i wanted it in black.

    cuz its beautiful.

    absolutely no pressure. in fact the saleslady told me to call my Ford dealer and see if they could give me a better price for my Cmax.

    my payment for the mercedes would be exactly the same as for my current car, and it has the same mileage (24k) – how is that possible?!?

    but last night i sorta fell in love with the Audi 6. not only is it slicker looking, i think, but for $25 a month it could be its own personal hotspot.

    yes, wifi in my ride.

    what passenger wouldnt love that?

    to me that would be worth the double price id be charging them to ride with me.

    the 2012 Audi 6 is a little more than the 2013 mercedes 300 but it might be worth it.

    only problem: carmax doesnt have any, and dealerships are $$$$

  4. Sunday, January 4, 2015

    drove 500 miles this week 

    physical grafitti

    made $600.

    pretty sure thats not how it should go.

    pretty sure i have to trade in the economobile for a luxury sedan so as to make some real side money.

    pretty sure this is what they call a financial gamble but

    i dont have a house, a kid, or half the financial gambles my peer group has

    and some times it takes money to make money.

    quite a few things boiling in some other kettles.

    excited for those.

    grateful for everything, everyone, anything.

    hard to believe ive been tapping away at this blog for about 14 years now.

    lets make something on here interesting

    for once.

  5. Tuesday, December 30, 2014

    yesterday the plan was, just go to LAX and see what happens 

    DTLA

    mostly because it’s really hard to get passengers at LAX if you’re uberx because all the people who want rides are in the terminals but we are not allowed in the terminal area.

    but the good news is, if you can somehow get someone leaving the airport you’ll probably get around $20, which is nearly impossible to do just driving around the streets of LA during this dead post-Christmas week.

    my goal was $100 for the day, because thats also impossible. and for some reason i like impossible things.

    so i drove towards LAX, which is ridic because you should never do that, you should go somewhere where there are people (DTLA, Hollywood, Santa Monica) and then just sit and wait.

    because it’s dead i drove pretty much from beverly hills to santa monica without a ping, which tells me one of two things, either it’s dead or uber has flooded the market with drivers, who, like me, have this week off of their real jobs. either way, it’s miserable unless you have an impossible dream.

    LAdid a few short rides around Santa Monica/Venice on my way to LAX (one tourist, two locals) and got to LAX and boom, a nice young black lady pinged me from the Hilton. she had taken the free hotel shuttle, summoned me, texted me telling me where she was in the hotel (valet area) and we had a fantastic ride to the Hollywood Hills ($25).

    at this point it was 4:30pm so i decided to go home and take a three hour break.

    played with the cats, played my new NBA2K15, talked to a pretty girl, then took a shower.

    around 7:30pm i was back on the road towards LAX. picked up 3 hot babes in mid city who were headed to the Clippers game. it was already half time. they were drunkish because it was one of their birthdays. they all sat in the back seat and reviewed all the times they had gotten wasted together (mardi gras, various college parties, and a few local bashes)

    an example of their discussion:

    “Mandy, why didn’t you party with us much in college?”

    “Well, freshman year i was shy, sophomore year i was fat, junior year i was skinny but devoted to working out and studying, and senior year i studied abroad”.

    dropped them off at the game, it was only $12, got frustrated that a trip halfway across the city pays so little, so i got on the freeway to LAX to see if i could get another $25 ride.

    got pinged almost right away but it was a guy in the terminal who dropped his pin away from the terminal and asked me if i could pick him up in terminal 2. my facebook uber groups tell me that this is a trap. sure some real passengers do this, but airport cops also do this to trick us and then they impound our cars. so i told the dude no.

    got pinged again but it was a local couple who wanted to go to Dave and Busters. babe was super hot and was excited about beer and video games? mama mia.

    while driving back to LAX got pinged over by Kanpai, it was two groups of college kids who had ordered two ubers. they were going to some rave at the Shrine by USC. thats the good news, the bad news was a kid about 18 with a floppy hat asked if i had an AUX cord so he could blast his bad EDM and good hip hop. i still have a headache, but whatevs, $25.

    thats right, from LAX down the 405 across the 10 and up the 110 is $25.36.

    one of the kids wanted to tip me through the app but i told him it wasnt possible yet, and probably never. whatevs. i only needed one more $25 ride and the goal was mine. didnt really wanna burn gas by going back to LAX and i felt sorta lucky to get the rides i did from there so i drove around DTLA.

    got a hot babe and sort of a dickish dude at a bar. she was drunk and all over him, he was playing it cool but saw my cubs hat and complimented Theo for all of his off season moves. put a smile on my face, but the $4 ride only gets me $2.50 so i moved on.

    right away i got beeped to what seemed like the LA Times. turned out it was. turned out it was a newish reporter who wanted to go to West Covina (!), turned out i know almost everyone he works with, we had a good chat. $28 so i got an in n out and called it a night. goal met.

    150 miles driven to make $100. this is why many consider this once fun and profitable side hustle a grind.

  6. Sunday, December 21, 2014

    as much as i love uber, the thrill is fading 

    astrolike in any service industry, you’re gonna run across the unsavory, the impolite, and the entitled.

    taylor swift may be able to shake it off, but she’s getting a little more than a buck a mile.

    the thing thats keeping me going is the nice people, of course,

    but it’s also a way to exercise patience.

    even the nice people make you wait forever.

    and the not so nice people do so many weird and subtly weird things.

    are they on drugs? do their parents know?

    then on top of it the company makes all of these improvements and upgrades and marketing moves: but not one of them benefits the drivers

    in fact in the year ive drive, i can’t recall one thing uber has done to improve either the income drivers make or making the job any easier or comfortable.

    they play this odd cat and mouse game where on one hand the drivers are called partners but on the other hand they distance themselves whenever the law comes around and says “we are not their employers, we just make a cool app.”

    but then they disconnect drivers from the app for a variety of reasons, most of them reasonable, but still. they control the rates, they control how many other drivers are competing for the passengers, they control the information about the rides.

    theyre the guy dating your mom who refuses to admit hes her boyfriend, swears he’s not your dad, but takes control over the remote and somehow has the license to send you to your room.

    tips are not included, bros.

    tips are never included in anything in this world, unless you see what the amount of  it is right there on the bill.

    strangely all of those things are far more annoying than these: LA traffic, cops, cabs, road closures, muscle aches, drunk people, drunk drivers, gangs

    how does that make any sense?

    it doesn’t, which is why i’ve been driving less and less lately,

    and watching more movies.

    saw selma last night and i cried like a baby.

  7. Monday, December 15, 2014

    someone should start selling ads to go inside uber cars 

    pbrpeople who ride in ubers are in a car for a good 15-30 minutes.

    they’re technically savvy.

    good chance theyve got some dispensable income

    and, they have a smart phone in their hands

    and nothing to do.

    what if the ad on the back of the seat said something like

    come to this website for a chance to win 2 free uber rides a week.

    and then you sell whatever you wanna sell on that site.

    or what if the ad on the back of the pack of gum you pay drivers to hand out

    has a website, your website, on it and you’re giving away ipads to lucky winners

    or better yet, something even cheaper than those these days,

    60″ led tvs.

    uber passengers are many brands absolute target audience

    and uber cant tell drivers what they can or cannot have in their cars

    because technically the drivers are not employees of uber.

    brands never get direct access to the gatekeepers of their target.

    have a code to enter the sweepstakes, that code of course is the drivers ID

    and give the driver $20 for each person that signs up on your site.

    best believe you’ll get some damn sign ups.

  8. Friday, December 12, 2014

    “growing up in the desert, you learn to love love love the rain” 

    10844579_10152884510903057_207568660_o

    the best people i met this week, so far, were these Saudi students who loved me right back.

    the young lady in the back in the red scarf was telling me all these great stories of living here for the last two years

    so i said baby you really need to start a blog, americans, including myself know NOTHING about what its like to be young and saudi

    living in the USA.

    she said oh they wont like it. all they’ll want to know is why we dress this way and why can’t i drive a car in saudi arabia.

    and i said then start there. say my name is this, i wear these clothes out of respect to my culture

    and even though i can’t drive a car in the most conservative country in the middle east

    i can in the USA, but when i get lucky i ride in an uber with the handsome tony pierce.

    everyone laughed.

    me the loudest.

    i asked them if it was true that they cant drink or smoke weed or have wild orgies back home and they said yes.

    one of them told me that they saw a friend of theirs drunk here at a party in koreatown and they almost called 911

    because they had never seen a drunk person before (!)

    and after seeing that, they never wanted to get drunk themselves.

    i said, fair enough, but lemme tell you something about sex drugs and rock n roll

    true you look silly when youre drunk, but as long as youre around your friends you should be ok. just dont drive.

    also, ive been drunk once or twice in my life but the dumbest ive ever looked was when i was in love.

    and aint no one talking about avoiding that forever.

    point, noted, they all agreed.

    red scarf girl then said, i always wanted to come to the States to see what life was like here

    but now that i’ve been here for a while i see that the grass is always greener

    and now i just realize i just want to be a good little muslim girl.

    as we waited for the light to change by the pier we took a selfie and i said blog, kids, blog!

  9. Friday, December 5, 2014

    hadnt driven all week but last night i did 

    lana and courtneypicked up a guy who only had a four rating. i was thinking about not picking him up because it was surging but he was outside of the surge

    and he only had a four rating – which is pretty bad.

    but cancelling people is what taxis would do, not uber, or at least not me.

    also, no one is gonna become a billionaire driving people from the 90210 to westwood and then wait and wait and wait to then drive them to 90069.

    hour and a half, $30.

    yes im doing it wrong but isnt that what ive done my whole life. isnt that what we’re supposed to do.

    didnt the bible pretty much start off with adam and even doing the wrong thing?

    do we truly love the stories of the straight and narrows? how many novels about good upstanding priests do you know about.

    its always about the crooked and the demented and the dirty and the rebellious.

    it’s all about huck finn paying someone off to white wash the fence. then smoking a pipe with nigger jim.

    next ride was two smoking hot babes who wanted to go to DTLA. they talked about their work and their sorta boyfriends and this girl who disguised being a lesbian but whose girlfriend is gonna get a sex change.

    “why, if you love women and they love you,” the one behind me asked, “would you stop being a woman and try your best to be a man – the one sex your girlfriend doesnt want?”

    dropped them off and got a chatty chinese banker girl who asked why do you drive? i said to meet chinese girls who smell like spring.

    she said do i smell like spring?

    i said come a little closer.

    she leaned over.

    spring.

  10. Saturday, November 29, 2014

    black friday ucla 

    photogi had two goals yesterday: stay away from the Grove and try to get a good ride out of the UCLA game at the Rose Bowl.

    the morning was slow and i was downtown and a super cute girl jumped in and said, the Grove, and if you can, make it fast.

    turned out she works at Nordstrom and was running a little late for work.

    just goes to show you that theres no way to avoid any part of town from DTLA to Santa Monica. maybe groups stay in certain LA zones, but individuals will bop you around.

    the mile radius around the city’s most popular shopping mall was packed, as expected, and so after i dropped her off i turned off my phone because the last thing i wanted was to haul a dozen of some rich lady’s Christmas gifts three blocks to her condo.

    but then i thought, screw it, why not. dont be a prick. so i turned it on and drove east back to downtown and got a beep from this health food grocery store restaurant back over at the grove area.

    i looked at it and said, oh hell no. thats all i need some kale eating mfers in here spilling their protein shakes.

    but i took the deal, turned around and picked up two italian models and a german photographer.

    the girls needed to go to west hollywood, the photog wanted to go to santa monica. he asked if that was ok.

    i said, how about i stay in west hollywood with the bellas, and you take the car to the beach?

    we became fast friends. the photog is 25, travels the world, has a place in NYC, spends time in hawaii, brazil. tells me that 1 in 10 models wink wink nudge nudge.

    but he does it for the beautiful pictures.

    i now have an idol.

    i asked him how long he needs with a model to get 5-6 good shots. he says 20 minutes, but that freaks the girls out, so he usually spends about an hour.

    took some girls to the century city mall and suddenly i wasnt so happy any more

    10822415_10152855267628057_2082376866_n

    on thanksgiving i took an uber to dinner and talked with the driver who said the $4 trips is what kills him, and i said me too.

    it’s because you spend time getting there, you wait, they finally get in and you drive them a mile and the fare is $4 but you only get $2.40 out of it.

    if you get two of those in a row you’re basically making $5-6 an hour. it can depress you.

    so i risked it and drove to LAX to see if i could hover around some of the hotels and see if someone wanted a ride to the grove.

    if all signs were pointing to malls, maybe the poor saps who got LAX hotels wanted to do some shopping.

    lord knows theres no where to shop around LAX.

    so i did a few circles around the joint and got nothing. so i figured ok, it’s noon-ish, let’s drive through the hood and see if some stories come my way. sure some guy got shanked in his uber in south central last week, but this is the day time!

    so i drove east down manchester and got to hollywood park when i got a beep near the 405.

    i remember there was a motel six there and a best western and feared they just wanted me to drive them to the airport because there probably isnt a motel 6 shuttle.

    got there and it was three teenage looking international students

    10814255_10152855267593057_101181777_n

    the guy who sat next to me was from mexico city, the girl was from tokyo and her touchy feely maybe boyfriend was from columbia

    we want to go downtown to go shopping.

    i said, thats a perfect idea.

    as we drove i asked them if they’d ever been in Little Tokyo. i told them about Mr. Ramen, the pho shop that plays reggae.

    they told me they all met in santa barabara at a language school and did not know the word reggae.

    i said, you clearly didnt live in Isla Vista.

    boy did they laugh.

    i said my car will alert me when Bob Marley comes on the radio and i will play it for you then.

    within minutes One Love came on and i said voila, mi amigos.

    cutest kids ever. they all had to go back to their countries in a week or two and were sad about it and i said dont worry, obama will let you come back.

    10833567_10152855267508057_1984860175_n

    got to the rose bowl and sometimes i wonder why i try my luck over there. the cops shut down the roads into the stadium

    and the people seem to think that they can just summon an uber from anywhere.

    but what was worse was, once i did sneak into the DMZ by following a rich local in a Benz, and after finding the family of 3, they just wanted a ride to a local hotel where they parked their car. $5.

    no worries, theres plenty of people around, surely one of them wants to go back to Westwood. ding. same hotel, turn around, this lady wants to go to neighboring eagle rock. has no idea there was even a game. what? $9.

    turn back around, head back to pasadena for one more ride. third times a charm i tell myself.

    and sure as silk, it’s three chinese girls, heavy accents, ucla shirts, take us to the century city mall.

    i say, how do i say i love you in chinese.

    they laugh and laugh. we have the best conversations about china and pollution and buddhism.

    the quietest one tells me she visited santa barbara once. i said, did you go to Isla Vista?

    she said, yes. i said, ok, how many boys did you kiss?

    and they giggled and she did not answer.

    i said omg so guilty. but it’s ok, love is beautiful. i hope they teach you that at ucla.