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May 12, 2010

Overtime and absenteeism are destroying San Francisco's MUNI

Overtime, absenteeism draining Muni, audit says I hate to say this because I am a pro-union type guy, but their contract is bullshit and needs to be fixed.
Muni could save at least $3 million a year by eliminating driver-friendly work rules and reining in overtime, according to an audit released Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors' budget analyst. An unusually high level of operator absenteeism is expensive and creates unreliable service at San Francisco's financially flailing transit agency, the audit found. Under the current rules, drivers have a financial incentive to call in sick and skip a regularly scheduled day because they can still work overtime and earn time and a half, even if they have not worked 40 hours that week, according to the audit. The rate of unscheduled absenteeism for Muni operators is 15 percent, compared with 11 percent in Philadelphia, 6 percent in Los Angeles and 4 percent in Seattle, the audit found.

May 10, 2010

Gen X Has a Midlife Crisis

My midlife crisis is simply a continuation of all previous crises. Gen X Has a Midlife Crisis - NYTimes.com
Members of the Greatest Generation and the one that came right after — the “Mad Men” guys, their wives and secretaries — settled down young into a world where the parameters of career and domesticity seemed fixed, and then proceeded, by the force of their own restlessness, to blow it all up. This pattern repeated itself in the next decades, yielding variations on a story everyone seems to know. At a certain point, Dad buys a sports car, or starts a rock band, or has an affair or walks out on Mom or quits the law firm to make goat cheese. When this kind of thing happens to Mom, it’s not a crisis but an awakening. In any case, the driving impulse is to shake off the straitjacket of adulthood and find some way to feel young again. But what if you never gave up adolescence in the first place? What if you donned the binding garment of maturity only tentatively, and accessorized it with mockery, as if it were a hand-me-down from Grandpa or an ugly shirt plucked from a used-clothing rack? And what if, from the start, your youthful rebelliousness had been a secondhand entitlement, without a clear adversary?

May 09, 2010

This is probably the stupidest thing the HuffPost has ever published

Well, aside from anything they publish about medicine or science, which are as a rule always wrong and terrible. Spoiler alert: A woman in NYC decides to go one day without spending money, and so she makes food from her cupboard and walks to work. Alexa von Tobel: How I Went 24 Hours Without Spending Any Money...In New York City
What would be it like to go a day without spending any money? I've thought about this before but I've never considered actually trying it. I couldn't imagine going a day without spending a single penny -- is that even possible? How would I get from A to B? What about food? Turns out, a day of living expense free is possible and you'd be surprised by the overwhelming sense of satisfaction and feeling of elation that comes from it. . . . On a typical day, I usually grab breakfast on my way to work at the deli below my Flatiron office. But yesterday I had some time to spare and I poured myself a bowl of cereal, adding banana slices on top. Not so bad. In order to prepare for lunch, I made myself a turkey sandwich on wheat bread, an apple and a granola bar and packed it up in a Ziploc bag. I'm not one to keep my fridge and cupboards stocked but I had a few items from my last trip to Trader Joe's and they would get the job done. Luckily, I have a short commute to work; it takes approximately 20 minutes to walk to the LearnVest offices. With beautiful weather and a fun challenge underway, I gladly stepped outside and enjoyed the 20 minutes to myself before the hectic day began. En route, I make the decision to start walking more. If I left 10 minutes earlier, I could walk to destination and avoid the $5 to $10 spent on a taxicab ride. Within 20 minutes, I arrived at the office and I hadn't spent a single penny.