How to keep things nice: Enforce rules. Be a train, not a bus.

Here are a set of tips on riding the SF MUNI from the tragic story of an 11 year old boy randomly stabbed by a vagrant while riding the bus in San Francisco. These tips could save your life. They would be comedic if they weren't true.
  1. Sit in the middle. The mentally unstable and homeless sit up front where they grope or panhandle at will. The hood rats sit in the back where they can punch people in the head on the way out just for kicks.
  2. Keep your purse jammed under your arm and the strap wrapped around your wrist, lest someone grabs it on the way out the door.
  3. If you listen to music, don't use the telltale white earbuds of an iPod - it's just asking for trouble. And never listen to music so loud that you can't tell what's happening around you.
  4. Finally, don't say anything to the three teenagers who are screaming at the top of their lungs, though they are just 2 feet from each other. To do so ensures you'll get jumped, and you won't get much help.

The MUNI bus system in San Francisco is a complete disaster. You are guaranteed to run into insane street people and misanthropic hoodlums.

Contrast this to Caltrain, the local commuter train system on the Peninsula. I've often felt unsafe on MUNI, but never even slightly threatened on Caltrain. Why? Caltrain has conductors. They roam the trains making sure people have correct tickets. They throw people off and fine them if they try to sneak free rides. They must be strict in enforcing rules and they patrol it with almost an air of tradition. You can't even put your feet up on the seats. That's disrepectful. That's how things are on trains.

Buses don't have this tradition. Nobody every yelled at you for putting your feet on a seat on a bus. In fact, if you give someone a the dirty look or talking-to they deserve for their behavior, you're liable to catch a beating. Why doesn't a bus driver have the same capacity to kick people out and command authority? They really should.

Damn it, people. Turns out you need law and order and authority to keep things from degenerating into anarchy. Or worse, MUNI. This applies to online communities as well. You need rules and restraint to keep bad things from happening. Like 11 year old children getting stabbed for no reason.

Did you know the foil-wrapped super burrito was a San Francisco creation?

Foil wrap and all. I had always assumed it was created elsewhere, but it fills my heart with joy to know that my very own hometown was responsible for bringing the concept of a foil-wrapped overstuffed burrito to the world.

Living in Seattle years ago, I could not understand why it was so hard to find the burrito I knew and loved. They always insisted in on drenching these perfectly good burritos in sauce.

I'm going to call it a San Francisco burrito from now on. But maybe that's not necessary... there's only one kind of burrito in the world for me.

Hat tip to @tkane for enlightening us all.

Now seeking the most badass place to live ever in San Francisco. Or at least a vaguely nice place.

Went bachelor pad-hunting this weekend with Stephen and Alex this afternoon. The highlights:

  • South Beach is very laid back... people are definitely paying an extra $500-$1000/month premium just to be in the city but to get a very suburban experience. It is remarkably like Lower Queen Anne in Seattle in atmosphere -- just outside of the city, still close to major landmarks (sports stadium) but an upwardly mobile cast of yuppies. It is city living with a premium without the tourists and "urban elements." I hate to admit it, but I liked this area the most. It's the newest, quietest, and most convenient area in SF, but it's also the priciest.

  • The Marina ended up being a bust -- wasted $30 on cab fare out there because an utterly negligent property manager forgot to call us to cancel. Bastards. This part of the city is obviously 10 degrees colder than the rest of SF. If you add perpetual clouds to the cold wind of the Marina, subtract $500 to $1000/month in rent, and you have the Inner Sunset.

  • We cabbed it again back SOMA, this time to the heart of the Tenderloin -- 6th and Natoma. While preparing my compatriots for the urban elements of 6th St, our cab driver broke into the conversation to say "Don't worry about the 6th Street Boys... hey, you're Asian. Just tell them you're viet and they'll leave you alone." Good to know. I'll tell you the full story in detail if you ask me. Lets just say it was a cultural experience of the first order.

  • The Tenderloin loft itself was pretty impressive (huge bedrooms, 5 stories, marble/concrete everything, tons of glass, and a gorgeous roof deck), but the agent explained the place to be "on the knife's edge of gentrification" -- from the window we could tell from the graffiti just one building over that the insane 5 story luxury loft was ACTUALLY on the front line of a wedge driving through the Tenderloin. It was definitely not a place I would let my girlfriend walk to alone (let alone at night), so that's basically out.

  • The Y Scraper (Crystal Tower Apartments) in North Beach continues to amaze for its location, view, and reasonable price. Too bad they only have 2 BR's available. Also, one heck of a walk from BART. Get used to slow MUNI rides... North Beach is a pretty good area to live, but then it's absolutely crawling with tourists.

San Francisco has many a storied neighborhood, and the feel of each is absolutely different. Overall, rents are at relatively insane levels for 3 BR options, and we're adopting a 'wait and see' attitude to the whole thing. I've always wanted to live in the city proper, but have always ended up in the burbs, so I'm pretty excited / new to the market.

If anyone has tips on finding a great place for a good price in SF, let me know! =)