Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step.

Leaving my heart in San Francisco.
Leaving my heart in San Francisco.

The first step of my lifelong dream of living in Australia starts right now.

At the SFO airport. Waiting to check in for my flight with my fairly decent, surprisingly cheap, $2 coffee at the international terminal. Showing up 3 hours early before actual check in open.  Updating my resume so I can get some work. Paging some dude on the intercom.  Welcome to San Francisco International Airport.  Please dial 6424 from the white courtesy telephone; you have an urgent message!  Why does Bart cost so much to get to SFO?  It is cheaper to get to Millbrae and that is one stop further! Please report any suspicious activity by calling 911 from any airport telephone. Thank you for keeping our airport secure.  Worries of travel now start to creep in.  What if I lose my passport.  Worse, what if there is a helicopter crash.  AB, you are not on a helicopter.  Oh, yeah right!  Block worries out and become desensitized watching Youtube.

So much to do in life. So I just leave. I quit. I’m out. Peace out players!

But this time I actually did a good job of notifying people of my departure.  But that is relative.   Of those I forgot to tell, well now you know.

Escape? Maybe.  Geographic?  Maybe.  Wherever you go, there you are!

But this is dream I have always had.

Hard to say goodbye because I don’t want to deal with feelings. I always feel bad saying goodbye. Like I let you down or something.

So most times I just do the Irish Goodbye. Just get up, walk out and leave.

This time I’ll leave this note.

Too many methods to communicate, but let’s stay in touch!

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Linkedin, iMessage, Whatsapp, e-mail, Phone, Text, Skype, Facetime, Line, Tinder, Venmo, Paypal, Twitter, Youtube, Blog.

K, Thx, bye.


Gonna pick it back up in the land down under

The difference between American and New Zealand Customer Service.

I am planning a trip to New Zealand. I am flying Air New Zealand. A Great Airline. I have flown them once and had no issues and felt very safe (ranked # 6 in the world in fact!). Very friendly staff and they speak English, which is helpful on international flights given my lack of foreign language knowledge.

Where are all the Hobbits at?
Where are all the Hobbits at?

Anyway like most airlines now, Air new Zealand has begun charging for checked baggage. With Air New Zealand, the first bag is free, the second will cost you (up to $125! YIKES).

Thankfully they are running a promotion where the second bag is only $1.


Pack up!!
Pack up!!

So I recently called the Air New Zealand customer service to add the extra bag for $1.  But sadly, I was not able to get the bag added for a dollar due to some issues.  Along with some interesting cultural differences for which I will now share:

Representative:  “I am sorry, but I cannot add your extra bag for $1 and you will have to buy it at the airport if you need it.
But, Why do Americans travel with so much stuff? You only wear 50% of the clothes anyway.  You don’t need an extra bag. Just back less stuff.”

Well, then.  I guess I will not be having an extra bag and be packing less stuff!  That is one way to solve my customer service issue.


Probably the result of overpacking
Probably the result of overpacking


Now this is a bit different than how things would be handled in the U.S.


The rep would have to bend over backwards to make things work. God forbid he/she/machine robot call center did not get the correct solution. Otherwise said customer would plaster the horrific situation all over social media, twitter and Facebook describing what a crap company he/she had to deal with.

Well, I guess I am doing that now. LOL. There goes my self-awareness!

But the point is still the same. The USA bends over backwards to satisfy people. Maybe we shouldn’t be always doing that?  I don’t know. Don’t listen to me. I am just some dude typing my thoughts into a screen. But there is something to packing only a small bag . How much stuff do I really need to bring? I can only wear one shirt at a time.

In New Zealand, the customer is not always right. In this case it actually cost the company money ( a nominal $1 fee), but maybe she was working in the company’s interest as if I want to check a bag, I will have to pay the full price (advertised at $125!!!) at the airport.
Tricky. Very Very sneaky!!!


George Carlin Said it best:

What does the San Francisco Tenants Union Do?

The City by the Bay

The City by the Bay


San Francisco.  You’ll leave your heart in SF and want to move here.  But the rent is too damn high!  The highest rents in the 50 states in fact (source).  So’ll you’ll need stacks of cash.  Or  have a good advocate and some laws in your favor.  If you are one of the lucky few to have a sweet rent controlled apartment in San Francisco, then the San Francisco Tenant’s Union can help you out if you are getting bugged by the man, i.e your pesky landlord.  The SF Tenant’s union is an advocacy group fighting for tenants rights against evil landlords.  (Rent control commentary)


I recently visited the fine folks of the SF tenant’s union to see if they can help my roommates and I as our lease is up at the end of the month.  I want options and to know what those are.  Given my roommates and I live in a standalone home.  I.e. no other units at the same address, our place is not subject to rent control.  Bummer.  But more on that later.

First my glorious experience.  I arrived mins til 10. The union hall was already open. 3 people ahead of me. Time to wait and observe.
The waiting area was in the same place as where the counseling sessions take place.  So everyone hears your case.   The first folks who already in mid session were effectively being evicted.  They were learning some great tips to document and get back at their landlord who was saying that she was going move back in.  The tenants getting counseling said she was not moving in.  Let the battle begin!!

Second person up.  An older lady wanting advice as she was asked to leave for “capital improvements”  i.e her bathroom leaked and needed to be fixed.

Old Lady: “Can they evict me for having a messy apartment?”

Counselor response: “What, Are you a hoarder?”

L O L!

Counselor : “These people help people clean their apartments. Would you like a copy of their information”

“Yes please.”

That interchange alone was worth the trip.

Third person was helped  by a new counselor just walking in and in a different room so I have no idea what their issue was.

Now my turn as one more counselor arrives.
My session was quick given that my roommates and I are more covered by california law since we have no rent control and not under SF specific law.  The tenants union helps with the nuances of living in SF.  We have to negotiate on our own.

Now the SF tenants union is not a registered charity as they are very political  Signs everywhere for the various propositions.  It is good to know that there is still some fight left within the Socialist Republic of San Francisco.  Don’t mention Donald Trump here!  You will definitely be leaving feeling the Bern here.  

I do think that it is a good service overall.  And it does seem that they legitimately do provide a service.  The volunteers were working hard and three volunteers were fielding various queries by the time I left at 10:30am.  Could most of the stuff be found online?  Probably, but is nice to talk to a live person to get the support and faith needed that your cause is supported and has merit.  

Check them out if you are in SF and need help.  They also have a handbook you can purchase for $45 if you want to do self study/ self research.

SF Renters Resources / Links:
SF Tenants Rights 
SF Rent Board
California Tenants Handbook (State of California)
Curbed SF Article for Renters
SF Gate Article

Now it does cost money to fight and be all political. I guess socialism ain’t free.  So I was hit up for a donation at the end of the session.  I gave the suggested donation of $10 for “low income” people.  Standard suggestion of $25.  Come on man! That’s a lot of money for being all about fighting the man and wanting to help the little guy!

Now I will take a page from the Tenant’s union now and I will shamelessly ask for donations! Hey, SF ain’t cheap and the rent is too damn high!