Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 31st

I celebrated my last workday in May with a little fiesta at lunch. We keep a grill out back by the HVAC equipment. I grilled up some chicken and had a Coors light. Yay. I grabbed a party hat out of the supply closet and sat in the breakroom eating my Sriracha Chicken and drinking a beer. Surprisingly I was given no funny looks.

I had no occasion to ride the bus today, so this tattered and torn pass has only sentimental value now. I am still debating as to whether or not to buy another pass for June. It seems to only make sense with gas prices rising through the stratosphere, but I've has reservations because I will be out of town for much of this month. I will definitely continue to shop for my meals. I had never really quantified just how much money I was flushing down the toilet by eating out every day.

I spent more money today. In fact, I spent the most money on a single meal on the last day of the month. $20 went towards my tostada salad, calamari, and dos equis at the Jolly Time restaurant in Old Town. That leaves me with $34 and 3 hours to spend it. I just might.

I'll offer my final insights on this little experiment from the road. I am leaving for Washington DC tomorrow at noon. I'll be there all week.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Amtrak Vs. Trolley

Amtrak win. It's more faster.

Well, it's day 30, I have $53 left, and one day to go. I could have driven to work today, as I still have gas in my tank from my purchase yesterday, but you know...I figured it just wouldn't be right to not ride the bus in on my last day. I don't know if more and more people are starting to ride MTS because of the gas prices, but the bus was more packed this morning than I have ever seen it. And it was hot. I suppose the weather was so agreeable for the whole month I never realized that the bus either 1) is not air conditioned 2) has a broken air conditioner.

I brought a couple pieces of chicken and some beers with me today. The plan is to have a little fiesta at lunch and toast the upcoming end of $500 May. But I will offer no eulogy or epilogue yet. We still have another day to go.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 29

Gasoline is $4.25 per gallon at the Shell station by my house. I know this because I bought some gas this morning. It was unavoidable. I have to pull a strange shift at work that is going to leave me here very late. There is no route that runs at 3:30 in the morning that is really practical, so...I drove into work again today. I put $20 worth of gas in the car to make it go. I also spent $7 last night at a Chinese restaurant. So, the splurging continues. $53 and 2 more days.

I is tired.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Home Stretch

To recap the weekend: Melina graduated Cum Laude from SDSU on Saturday afternoon with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. I attended with her family. Afterwards, we immediately hopped in my car and drove to Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage to spend the Memorial Day weekend with friends. The house we rented was massive and very accommodating. I took a video, but the file size is too large to post on blogger, so I uploaded it to youtube. It should be finished uploading by the time I'm done writing this.

All I can say is that the weekend was as relaxing and as perfect as I could have hoped for. I really can't wait to go back. There is something about the desert that instantly puts me at ease.

Gas was almost exactly $60 for one tank (thank you..come again), and bills were almost precisely $150, so the numbers posted in the previous entry are mostly accurate. That leaves me with about $80 and 5 days to go. At this point it is hard to think that I would go over. I've noticed that this has brought about some level of complacency, so I've decided to try and finish up without spending another dollar. Its seems plausible, as I have enough food to last me through the week (even after bringing a whole bag of chicken to share in palm springs) and no more planned expenses. I suppose I should plan some kind of mini-celebration for the 31st...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Very quickly

I'll make a real quick blog post here while im on vacation. Its sunny and 80 and Rancho Mirage and im anxious to get back out by the pool. I'll make a more complete post tomorrow or Tuesday. The pictures tell the story. CLick on any of them for a higher resolution.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This one is gonna be close!

As I was standing at the bus top at around 5 pm yesterday, a co-worker stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift. I kindly refused but then he mentioned that he lived near me and that it was no problem. "Besides" he said, "this way I can use the diamond lane." How can I argue with that? On the way home I mentioned that I had to go to Costco later and get a bit more food to last me through the month. He said he had to grab some stuff too, so we just went straight there. They didnt have the same awesome value for a giant bag of frozen chicken as the last time, but they had something similar. I picked up two bags of chicken and a 6-pack of egg-whites for a total of $39.89. I bought the Coca-Cola Zero (as in ZERO flavor) a bit later for $4.97 I will bring one bag to Palm Springs with me for the weekend, along with 3 cartons of egg whites (I will be the breakfast guy). The rest will easily last me through the last week of May. So, since I last posted numbers I have made a few purchases and paid bills. We were at $352.26. Since then I bought a $0.42 stamp, two $0.65 snickers, $15 on a night out, $44.86 on the food items pictured, and today I will spend approximately $150 on cable, internet, electricity, gas, and water. That leaves me at about $140.68. I will spend at least $60 on a tank of gas to get to Palm Springs and back. So its gonna be close! I drove my car today. It kind of smelled like gas for a bit when I first started it. Is that normal after its been sitting for awhile? I took it becasue I have to fill up the tank tonight before leaving for vacation tomorrow. And while I really do enjoy being able to sleep or read on the way to work...this isnt a bad way to go either.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Full disclosure

I will put all of the photos I've taken this month here...and try to keep it updated.
$500 May

In other news I plan on paying utility bills today. I will be back shortly with a total.

Picture this...

Apologies for no photographic evidence on this one, I let the battery die on my camera. It's in the charger now, but I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo of something that happened on the ride into work today.

The bus was unusually packed when I boarded at Old Town. Also, we had to wait a little while before getting on because an enormous man in a motorized wheelchair had to be accomodated. The way this works is that the bus actually "kneels" down using air bags, and then deploys a ramp to allow the handicapped person to roll on. Once on board, the seats in the front are folded up and the wheelchair is secured by the driver using safety straps that are built into the floor and frame of the bus. This effectively removes 5 seats. All the other seats on the bus were occupied, and for the first time since I started riding transit, I had to stand for nearly the entire ride to work. Hey, no big deal, I'm happy to use my legs and grateful that I have them.

One of the stops before I get off is the VA hospital in La Jolla. This is where the majority of the passengers disembarked, including the massive man in the wheelchair. The driver got up and unstrapped everything, but the chair wasn't budging. The driver tried and tried but the thing wouldnt move. The chair itself had malfunctioned and was broken. The man in the chair started to offer advice on how to find a handle that would release the brakes...a sort of "manual override". But the poor driver just couldn't get it to work. Frustrated by the driver's ineptness, thats when the 400lb.+ man STOOD UP, picked up the motorized wheelchair by one end(had to weigh over 100 lbs.) and shoved it down the ramp. My mouth agape, I watched as he exited the ramp, flipped some knobs and switches on the chair, sat back down and sped away.

Monday, May 19, 2008

And the rest of the story

Saturday night took me over to Grantville and to a friend's fully catered home poker game. The food was fantastic. The company was great. The game was action packed. My luck was shit. I learned a new phrase from another player, "Eating like a bird and shitting like an Elephant." I mounted a significant comeback towards the end of the night, but didn't make it all the way back. I hope I will get another opportunity to try. I got rides to and from the I did not need to ride transit, though I had planned on it originally. So, I spent $0 on food and transportation. The next day would hold more of the same.
Sunday was another gorgeous day. We started it out by boarding the Hornblower Inspiration for a 2-hour brunch cruise around San Diego Bay. I had been out on the evening "booze cruise" a few times, but in all the years I had never gone out for the brunch edition. I definitely recommend it if a leisurely cruise around the harbor and a buffet meal is the kind of thing you enjoy. Not more than a few hours passed before I found myself eating yet again, this time at a friends backyard BBQ/pool party extravaganza. I should be clear that i am not actively seeking out free meals. It just happened that way.

MP debut and mail.

After weeks of excuses, I finally got up on stage and "performed" at the open mic night under the name "Moon Patrol". People briefly wondered where the rest of the band was. I played a cover of a Lemonheads song, and two originals...concluding with the soon-to-be smash hit "Swimming in the Sky". I was really surprised by how nervous I was. My stomach was in knots and my voice wavered. On the first two songs I sang everything an octave low for fear of being screechy and off-key. Instead, it ended up being a sort of a flat quiet mumble. I relaxed by the third song and felt more comfortable on stage, enough to move my eyes from the microphone (where they had been transfixed) to the faces in the crowd. I forgot the last line of lyrics (how do you forget your own lyrics?) but ad-libbed something that worked and actually rhymed. Oh, and I think I also booked the all-time lowest "Fingers" score ever. I'm not...uh...I'm not...I'm not good.

On Friday night, I splurged and spent $15 on dinner and drinks. I knew I would be eating like a king for free in the upcoming days so it was not a irresponsible decision. Saturday was a gorgeous day and the early part of the afternoon was spent at the beach. The marine layer was hanging over the coast so the sand by the bay would have to suffice. What a wonderful, 100% free, way to spend a day. There happened to be a car show going on at the park that we chose. I certainly hit my quota for Corvette viewing for the year.
The IRS recently contacted me and asked for back taxes from a poker tournament win in 2006. I neglected to claim it on my return that year because the Rio failed to send me a W-4 or 1099G or whatever for they should have sent me. I figured that they didn't report it so I didn't write off my losses. Turns out they did. So I had to mail the IRS an amended return claiming the losses that would offset the winnings. This required me to purchase a stamp. I honestly cannot remember the last time I used the mail to send something, so I had no clue that a regular first-class postage stamp now costs a whopping $0.42. Jeesh. I scrounged for two quarters and went by the midway post office to make my purchase from a vending machine.

The rest of the weekend a bit later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Admission is free, pay at the door. Pull out a chair and sit on the floor.

I almost caved in today. I was tired and in a bad mood and just did not feel like waking up early and getting to the bus stop. I was just going to take my time and drive my car whenever I was ready to leave. I was very close...but at the last minute I pulled myself together and got down to the bottom of the hill on time.

Last night was Wednesday poker night. The first part of the evening was mostly entertaining. Later on, a tragic comedy played out that I will not detail here. Let's just say it left me questioning many things, not the least of which is the subconscious impulses that many let take control of them on a regular basis. So , yes, that is why I awoke tired and disenchanted.

I'm halfway through the month and have about $350 left. I'm definitely going to spend more money on food this weekend, enough to last me through till the end. I will have a more solid idea of where I stand after that, but things look optimistic that I will come in well under $500.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I've heard about high levels of mercury in tuna...mostly bluefin. Apparently, it pools in the base of your spine and is generally not a good thing to have in your body. I've googled it and most of the articles and posts I've seen are in reference to sushi or sashimi. Can anyone offer me some information on this subject? Is there mercury in my lunch? How much? Is even a little bit too much? Should I stop eating it? For the record this is cooked solid white albacore.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Low blood sugar

I just bought another candy bar. -$0.65. $352.26


Today is the 13th and I'm at $352.91. So its looking pretty good. An honest assesment of the food situation reveals that I should probably allocate another $50 or so towards grub. I'm just ripping through those chicken breasts at night. Im eating 2 or 3 instead of the 1 or 2 that I had planned for. I figure one more bag should be sufficient.

Entertainment is going just fine. When you're forced to do things that don't cost any money, you get a bit more creative with your time. I'm doing more reading, writing (obviously), and getting even more exercise apart from my daily walks and skates to and from the transit stops. I'm getting as creative as I can with my photography given the simple nature of my camera. I might be drinking too often. When you don't have to worry about driving anywhere, its easy to drink more frequently. I'm not drinking to excess, mind you, just more often it seems. That might have something to do with the numerous bottles of whiskey I received for my birthday back in March.

I've not considered what to do with the extra money should I come in way under $500. Suggestions?

Monday, May 12, 2008

JBC, Mom's Day, and a drive.

Rigorous exercise on a Sunday morning is probably less difficult when you aren't battling a hangover. I wouldn't know as I am yet to try it. After reaching the point of physical exhaustion through a series of squat thrusts, jumps, lunges, iron crosses, and other forms of medieval torture...the group was then humiliated by trying to walk in a crouch, pausing to balance on one foot, from one end of the park to the other, with our eyes closed. We looked like we were hunting for Easter eggs. Boot camp is free (for now), so another "fun" activity I can participate in without threatening my goal. So, finances...I gained an unexpected $8 the night before, basically wiping out the impromptu meal from the the taco shop. On Sunday I purchased my mother a card...for $4.30. We gave it to her at a nice brunch in Del Mar. I offered to contribute up to $0.49 towards the meal, but was told to just hold onto it until June. We got a free whale watching show out of it as well. A pod swam by while we were eating.
I had to go into work on Sunday night. I was going to be in late, so I checked the routes and was disappointed to see that my way home (the only one available that late on a weekend) would take me almost two hours. Knowing that I would have to be back in early the next morning, I elected to drive my car. It didn't technically cost me anything as there was still gas in the tank. After leaving work, I took advantage of having my car and drove to the Palomar club to play cards. I sat down and rather quickly was up $200. Two hands later I had already lost that $200 in a very silly manner. I was irritated enough by it that I thought it best to leave before I did something stupid out of spite. I left up $12...but that total is seperate from $500 May, as poker money comes from an entirely different pool.


When you're conscientiously avoiding spending any money at all, its amazing how much more you can do with your time. The weekend rolled around and there was tons of "free stuff" to do. First of all it was M's portfolio exhibition at SDSU on Friday night. I would be coming straight from work so...once again, a new route...

View Larger Map

It was my first time on the green line since they put the new trolley cars into service. They are pretty plush. Same can be said for the Transit Center at SDSU. It rolls right into the center of campus and pops you out right by the Aztec Center. Luckily for me the art building was a nice gradual downhill ride through campus all the way from the station. A little bit of searching around and I found the right room. The exhibitionist is pictured at right.

Saturday night and it was time to head off to a reggae show in Ocean Beach. I drank some booze of the free variety from home, rather than pay for beers at the show. However, at one point during the show, the band members were expressing their desire to quench their own thirst in between songs, and I decided that I could allocate a few bucks to the cause. After all...I am ahead of schedule. So I grabbed a beer for me, one for M, and one for Paul, the guitar player. He was very appreciative and I felt good about my decision. The show had a great vibe, and we stuck around until they finished their set. Right about the time that they wrapped up, I looked down at by feet in the spot I had been standing almost all night. Right next to my toes was a $20 bill. Now, I know blogs are self-indulgent, and it probably is starting to sound like I am making myself out to be some kind of a boy-scout.I can assure you that is not the case, but I kid you not when I say that my first instinct was to start asking around if anyone dropped a $20. Of course seconds later I realized there really was no point in doing that as there was very little chance that the bill would find its way to the person that actually dropped it. So...major financial windfall for me! Instead of being down $12 on the night, I actually profited $8. In no way was it depressing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tell me you're not seeing someone else....

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Thursday was open mic night in South Park. I knew my route would take so long that I had no time to go home after the gym and wash off...or even eat. So during a transfer I actually had to buy food from a taco shop. The total was $7.14, by far my most expensive meal yet in May. That brings me down to $349.21. The fine folks at Rebecca's said I could bring my smelly carne asade plate inside and eat it there. Within moments this fellow appeared out of nowhere. I asked him, "Does anybody feed you?" and gave him a little bit of steak.

A new guy named Alexander, who just moved to San Diego from Michigan played his alto sax. I think at one point he might've played the theme from Sanford and Son. Later one of the coffee house regulars invited him back onstage to improvise with him. It was by far the best song of the night. And the always entertaining Kellis played as well. I played fingers with these people and tried my best at an online poker tournament. Two Kings is better than two Queens. Usually. I caught the #2 back up into North Park, but the #10 wouldnt be by for another 25 minutes to bring me home. So I skated down University figuring I could get halfway home by the time the bus came by. University Ave has hills. Mostly downhill from North Park. Yay. It was a nice casual ride until I got going a bit too fast and caught a wheel on some gravel going up onto a sidewalk. The skatedboard stopped, and I kept going. I bruised my elbow and skinned up my shoulder. Ow.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

This just in.

I just spent $0.65 on a candy bar. So, $356.35 remaining. That is all...carry on.

No Mom, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yet.

Assisted locomotion arrived in the form of a loaned Sector Nine longboard. Yay, thanks to M for providing and delivering. I used it this morning, and while it gets me places faster there are a couple problems. My hill is super-steep leaving my house. I tried putting one foot on the pavement to slow myself, but the grade really is so steep that it would wear the sole of my shoe pretty can be seen in this hasitly shot and over-exposed video.
Going uphill is obviously only possible on slight grades. I did it this morning. It gives me quite the quad burn, but only in my right leg. And then there is the whole thing that I won't be getting as much exercise...but I suppose there is really nothing to stop me from just carrying it when I feel like taking my time and walking. There are a couple of nice places to skate on the way from UTC to work. One of them is my parking lot. They keep a nice fresh coat of smooth blacktop down all the time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

C'mon Charlie! Come to Candy Mountain!

A scheduled day of training at another building introduced me to a new route this morning. For the first time, I missed a bus. Obviously the buses run on a tight schedule but they are just as susceptible to traffic, weather, accidents, etc. So, sometimes they are late. What I did not count on was them ever being early. So when I saw the #41 coming down the road a good 8 minutes early (I had not yet reached the bus stop) I went running across the intersection waving my hands at the driver. He stopped at the corner, picked up some passengers...looked over at me...turned his head back to the front...and hit the gas. I had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. I'm guessing they probably have to do that, or they would be waiting a lot. Lesson learned.

When you're walking a lot, you get more time to look at everything around you. There are signs literally everywhere, for everything. I suppose I sort of knew this but never paid it much mind. I saw this one today, nicely framed by the trees. As I was taking the picture a blind person walked up to me and asked me which way the Braille Institute was. "Never heard of it" I said, and walked away.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

100% chance of high jinks

OMG it's raining! Ahhhh! Actually it was more of a steady mist, but defintely enough to send our skittish San Diego commuter population into a frenzy. "What is this glistening, moist, slippery substance all over everything, and WHERE DID IT COME FROM!?!?" Unlike the light rail or Coaster, the bus uses the same roads as everyone else, so when there is traffic, we get slowed down too. I'll tell you this though, listening to my Ipod and reading a book is great way to sit in traffic.

Once again my walk into work brought me across some things that I stopped to take a look at. (Oh btw I did go and slimjim that guy's car yesterday at lunch and turn off his lights. Forgot to leave a note though.) The wreck pictured here happened just as I was approaching the intersection. The Crown Victoria flat out rear ended the Explorer after skidding a good 20-30 yards because she was hauling ass down a wet street. She smashed into him and sent both cars spinning and up onto the sidewalk. The airbag deployed in the Crown Vic and everyone walked away fine. Here's the crazy part. Just before all of this happened. I had just crossed Genesee and was walking down Executive Drive when I saw a baby rat on the sidewalk. It was breathing and obviously alive, but it wasn't moving and didn't scurry away when I walked up. I thought it was weird so I took a video.

Ok, so big deal. There is some kind of semi-paralyzed rat hanging out on the sidewalk. Well, what was he doing there? Saving me from getting runover maybe. The time I took to stop and record his weirdness is the just about the same amount of time that would've put me right on that corner in time to get creamed by the slippin' and slidin' Fords.

Ty little guy.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The maps

The google maps that I have posted here may change by themselves...depending on what time you read the blog and also whether it is a weekend or not. In other words... it will show you whatever route is available to get from point A to point B at the time you read...not that actual route I took.



Eat Less Food and Drink More Water.

A strange thing seems to happen. No matter what time I set my alarm for, or what time I actually get out of bed...I seem to leave the front door at almost the same time everyday. Its like an internal clock that will spend a little more time in the shower, or decide to shave because we are running early. My intention was to wake up a bit early and go running (apparently this is the best time for your body to do cardio) but I mustve reached over and snoozed in my sleep because I don't even recall waking up. So I will go running at lunch instead.
On the walk to the office, I saw some poor dude left his lights on his remarkably well-maintained late 80's Buick. I was gonna go into the front of the building it was parked near and give the license number, but there were 8 buildings and no guarantee this guy was in any of them. I'll run by there at lunch and check again. Beleive it or not, I have a slimjim in my office (total coincidence), and I'm gonna break into this guys car and turn his lights off if he hasn't already. I'll leave him a freaky note. "Congratulations! You've been saved by the phantom headlight guy! BAM!" I had better be careful because the area is patrolled pretty heavily by SDPD.

Well I figured out that I am not really saving that much money by not driving. The bulk of the savings comes from food. Breakfast is an instant oatmeal. Bought in a giant 48 pack that cost 7.49 from Costco, it equals out to $0.24 a day. Lunch is tuna from a 5 lb can. I bought two of them for a total of $21, equaling about $0.67 per day. Lets go ahead and say that its not enough tuna and I need 10 more lbs. That will jack it up to $1.34 per day. Dinner is a chicken breast at $0.53 and a Cup O' Noodles at $0.47 for a cute little total of $1.00 per day. I drink lots of water but that is free at $0.00 there. Beer and whiskey are also not paid for, so...I'm looking at about $2 a day on ingestibles. My guess is I was spending about $20-$30 a day on food, not including nice dinners out. Wow.

In other news, skateboard delivery was delayed a bit. So I will be hoofing it for a bit longer. Also, I am going out to Palm Springs on the 28th for vacation and driving may be unavoidable. But perhaps not. I'll take a look at Greyhound schedules and get back to you.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Day 4

Total on the food was 72.50, so there is $357 remaining.

Sunday is Boot Camp in the Park day. A friend of mine basically runs us through a bunch of stretching, balance and strength drills for about an hour or so. We meet at a park in Golden Hill, just next to the Balboa Park Golf Course. I had to plan a new route to get over there. It turned out to be really simple.

View Larger Map

The Trolley was a bit slow due to heavy traffic and I missed the #2 bus. So I just started running down Broadway until the next one came by. I encountered my first "crazy" on that ride. Sitting directly across from me on the sideways benches was a middle aged Mexican man, dressed like Milton from "Office Space" complete with tie and coke bottle glasses. He was mumbling to himself about someone following him and seemed to be calling out the cross streets in Spanglish... "Next is Broadway y vente cinco."

The workout was good. I stopped in to see some friends afterward and then took the same route home. I'm just starting to clean up the remaining garbage from yesterdays tournament. The positive environmental impact of my little project has made me more aware of other simple changes I could make to do my part. I already recycle the large amounts of plastic, glass and aluminum we go through. But it occurred to that I dont even need to consume that much even for these tournament. Just cleaning up I found 18 bottles of water, most of which are more than half full. I suppose thats understandable, people don't always want to drink every last ounce that is in the bottle. I could fix this easily buy buying 5 gallon jugs and using plastic cups (that are washable and re-usable) Same goes for the beer. I can just get a half keg instead of cans.

On a work note... today is a big day for my company. We are launching our mobile television service with AT&T. Before this we were only available through Verizon. We have high hopes that the competition in the marketplace will stimulate advertising and marketing of the service. Alas, we had some concerning issues with one of our content providers which will probably result in me clearing my schedule and remaining on standby through out the day. In the end there is nothing I can do is the content is not being sent from the head-end, but management sometimes feels better knowing that all hands are on deck and ready for anything. I will give it a few hours and see. The issue for me is that I have relatived in town and was planning on spending my day with them up at my parents house. I would ride with my brother and grandfather there. But in the event that I had to go into would obviously throw a wrench into things. In all likelihood I will just pack up my things and head into the office. I have plenty of things I can work on while I am there.

Food & Entertainment

Also not pictured is a giant bag of frozen chicken breasts. The tuna was ridiculously cheaper when it comes in the giant can, but that's a bunch of fish to eat before it spoils. I guess I will have to find some Tupperware or something to store it. I figure this should last me a few weeks. I have the receipt and will post the exact amount I spent, but it was less than $100.

Oh, was the big poker tournament. We had a big turnout, and a nice big prizepool. First prize was taken by this man.

Plan on getting some excercise tomorrow and then maybe try the beach. Busses go staight to PB from Old Town.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A stumble.

Ouch, I thought there was going to be a free lunch today at work. I was wrong. Had to bite the bullet and go get a salad at the Executive Deli. Total cost $5.80.

$430.20 remaining.

I will spend a chunk of that on food at Costco this weekend.

Day Two

Good morning! A picture at my trolley stop... and a certain someone requested a here ya go!

I've started to get a feel for the schedules and routes. Everything seems to pretty much go by the half hour...that is to say...if you miss one bus/trolley there will be another one by soon enough. But not always. I found that out this morning, when I got off my bus at UTC, expecting to board another to Mira Mesa ( I would get off just one block from my building) only to find the last morning bus leaves at 8:30. Doh! So, I just hoofed it to the office...and that's fine. The weather is gorgeous and the excercise is good. It looks like I will be taking that walk daily in the morning, as I would have to get up before 7 am if I wanted to hit the last bus connection. That's just not going to happen. I took the steep walk uphill last night, and it was fine. I was huffing and puffing a little, but again, that is not a bad thing. This will be my route.

I did not get a chance to get over to Costco and buy my food, so I just sort of scrounged around in the fridge for dinner. I ate a few carrots, some pineapple, and a glass of tomato juice. I will get over there this weekend for sure...probably on Sunday. Tomorrow is the big poker tournament and we are getting pizza. Yay.

The San Diego MTS website has all the information needed to plan a trip, but often times it is very slow, and sometimes does not work at all. I assume it is maintained by the city, so it should be no real suprise that the server isn't top notch. But never fear, Google comes to the rescue again. In some cities, San Diego being one of them, google maps will give you an option to plan your trip using public transit. Did you know that?

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Most days I carry my laptop and a full gym bag from my bedroom to the trunk of my car. Now since I will be walking a mile to and from bus/trolley stops, I need to figure out a better way to haul my stuff. Somehow I managed to cram it all into this one backpack, with no real room left for even a book.

It works out fine. I had to ditch the towel and toiletries that I kept in the gym bag. I guess I will shower when I get home. Somehow I think I will still not be the smelliest guy on the bus.

The Trolley stop is just under a mile from my house. Its downhill the entire way, which makes it an easy stroll with which to start my morning. I've actually considered taking a different bus home to avoid climbing back up this hill pictured at right. I will try it tonight and then decide.

The Trolley takes me one stop to the Old Town Transit Center where I hop on MTS Route 150 to UTC. Most of this is Freeway with no stops until we get up to La Jolla. It gets off the 5 at Gilman and then stops frequently to pick up a gaggle of UCSD students on the way to class. After a a few stops through campus to drop them off, it goes on to the VA Hospital and then finally over to UTC. I get off just before the Terminus at the corner of Gennesse and La Jolla Village Drive. From there its about a mile walk to work. I realized I could really cut the time if I used a skateboard. If anyone has one I could borrow...please let me know.

Day One

Yay Blog!

So for the last few years I've tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to spend $500 or less (excluding mandatory payments such as rent, car, insurance, and loan repayments) during the month of May. This year I am trying to take "$500 May" more seriously. Gasoline in San Diego costs about $4 per gallon. The drive from home to work is 13 miles. With a stop to grab some breakfast and a slightly different route to avoid traffic...about 15 miles. Have fun with the interactive google map below. That's my route I would normally drive. if you want... click on "view larger map" and then click on "Take Public Transit" to see my options.

View Larger Map

Based on the manufacturer's information my car will average about 25mpg on the trip. So I figure I am using about 1.5 gallon of gas per day just driving to work (probably a low estimate). So thats $6 a day in gas, times 31 days in May... $186 in gas. Just to work and back. I am guessing it might be hard to stay under $500 if I drove. So I went ahead and bought a bus/trolley pass.

The pass cost $64 and is good for all buses and trolleys and coaster shuttles. With the pass and another buck I can ride the coaster if I want to go somewhere far. So, I figure I've knocked at least $100 out right there by riding mass transit to work. I will post later about the experience(s). I've done the subway in Boston, New York, L.A., and the Trolley here in town, but this is my first experience with the Bus. I will take photos and post them here with my stories.

A big spending point is obviously food and drink. Tonight I will go to Costco (I will either try to get a ride from Sean or use the last gallon of gas in my car) and go stock up for the month. I am guessing that I can survive somewhat healthily for a month on canned tuna and not much else. So that is pretty much my plan. Tuna and water. I really have no idea what a case of starkist is going for these days. I will let you know tomorrow. Its gonna hurt like hell, but I will not pay for an alcoholic beverage this month. Luckily for me, I have 4 or 5 bottles of scotch, and a monthly poker tournament that I am hosting. I buy the food and drinks with money from the entry fees, and there is generally some beers leftover. Yay.

Entertainment. Yeah. Well, I guess I will be playing more guitar and reading a lot. There will be the Wednesday night poker games (poker is and always has been completely and totally separate from my regular finances) to inject some fun into the mix.

So far $436 remaining.

More later.