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Sunday December 17, 2006

Geo Metro needs babysitter for 3 months: a sort-of contest

The Blue Man Period of Milton Van der Spuy

Cayetano writes:

I came into town with the Basel storm and just kind of stayed, as I am currently something of a hobo. Well I’m going to Puerto Rico in a couple days and I have this car that I have to get rid of.. and I was hoping you’d be interested enough to . . . write an essay for a chance to get a free piece of shit car.

I recently drove across the country with this Geo Metro with a radical paint job… from Oakland to Miami. Surprisingly, it made it all the way and its still going strong. I’m flying to South America in a few days and I’m hoping to put it into some good hands for the best 25-word essay that I get. The catch is, if its still running when I get back in March I’d like to drive it up to Chicago.

Thanks, Cayetano! Not interested myself, but if anyone else is, 25 words really isn’t that much, and climbing in through the passanger door isn’t that big a deal, and there are bound to be pretty few entries, and it is pretty arty, so this might be worth a shot. Here are links to the craiglist post and flickr set. Good luck!

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Wednesday November 29, 2006

What's up with Miami International Airport?

MIA from overhead

My friend and co-worker Tiffany Hill flew home for Thanksgiving, and she told me about her terrible experience with Miami International Airport, which she says is the worst airport she’s ever seen. I should point out that Tiffany is a very experienced traveler, and that her criticisms are not particularly related to the Thanksgiving rush.

First, she was directed to an “Economy Park and Ride Lot” for long-term parking. This was by an attendant, after she’d entered the complex; there was no sign on the way in to direct one to the lot. So already she’s had to enter the airport, leave, and come back, just to park. Then there’s supposed to be a bus that takes folks from the lot to the terminal, but none was to be found. She eventually discovered that an MIA employee-only bus went to the terminal from an adjacent employee parking lot, and the driver gave her a ride. On her way back, another driver of the bus closed the door in her face without offering any other advice (and another one eventually gave her a ride).

As you drive around the airport, the signs that tell you what airline is in each area are almost impossible to read while driving by in a car. Inside, the information display terminals that tell you which gate to go to are nowhere to be found because they’re . . . at the gates!! Who designed this place?

The same thing happened in the luggage claim area — unless you recognize your bag, or people from your flight, you have no easy way to determine which baggage carousel goes with your flight. There are dazed and confused people wandering the luggage claim area looking for their stuff. This is insanity. Tiffany says, “It’s all about the signage!”

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Wednesday November 22, 2006

Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous consumption on Palm Island. Parked perpendicular to the shore for extra conspicuousness. Not sure the exact address, but around here. Seriously, though, it’s a nice boat. Anyone have a make or model on this thing?

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People who can't park and don't care

Parking SUVs in Aventura

SUV drivers + Aventura = can’t park, let alone drive. All these pictures were taken during one visit to (what else?) Whole Foods. Walked straight from the car to the store, too. Talk about places I’m glad I don’t live. And I hear it’s even worse north of the county line.

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Thursday November 16, 2006

How a marina works

North Beach Marina

I was just driving around, getting into other people’s business, when I drove by a marina on an impromptu trip down the 79th street causeway a few weeks ago. There was a guy washing a car and a big dog, and I snapped a few pictures of boats up on these huge shelfs, more or less expecting to get yelled at even though I was firmly on public sidewalk. Surprisingly, though, he and everyone else at North Beach Marina was super friendly, and I was invited in to stroll around and ask questions.

North Beach Marina

The boats sit triple and quadruple-stacked on these metal frames. There is also a hangar, which is the same on the inside but protected from the elements.

North Beach Marina

A big forklift grabs them from the shelves . . .

North Beach Marina

. . . and plops them in the water. These forklifts are as big as an 18-wheeler cab, can lift as high as three stories, and have forks as long as a car. The marina has two of them.

North Beach Marina

The boats sit on two carpet-covered slats of wood which are so close together that I figured a light gust might knock them all over. I’m told, however, that they stay put even in hurricane-force winds, and during Wilma, there was only one boat they bothered to tie down. No worries, no problems.

North Beach Marina

A slick, James Bond-looking catamaran sits on the bottom shelf. I forgot to ask what its top speed is.

North Beach Marina

Next to the marina, a little marine supply store specializing in boat upholstery. Lots of work on a sewing machine goes on there.

North Beach Marina
724 Ne 79th St
Miami, FL
(305) 758-8888

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Parking meters

There are areas where parking spaces are a genuine scarcity compared to demand — anywhere near the beach, Downtown, the airport. Then there are places where that status is more dubious — Coral Gables, Sunset Place, downtown Hollywood. I think Midtown falls squarely in the latter category.

It isn’t necessarily even the money — it’s the feeling of being ripped off and made to jump through hoops. Parking in a garage is already a hassle, but making me fuck around with a ticket that needs to get validated and keeping an eye on the clock is a great way to make sure I only to to Target when I really really need to. For the life of me, I don’t see how that’s good for business.

In some areas, there might be a genuine concern that someone will park in one garage and then go somewhere else where the parking is more expensive. But in Wynwood? The only thing around there is galleries. If folks going to the galleries get in the habit of parking for free at Midtown, I’d think that would be a welcome development. I just don’t know what they’re thinking with those rates — it’s like they don’t want to make enough money to cover the expense of having the garage attendant and enforcement, but want to charge enough to be a pain in the ass.

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Monday November 13, 2006

Those having trouble getting to and from the airport (like my parents in a couple of days) now have a new option: for $50, Gus, of MB411 will give you a lift.

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Hosed

Taken during that insane fuel tanker fire on I-95 last week.

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Friday November 3, 2006

Speed device

A device that measures your speed and blinks if you’re speeding, permanently installed on Miami Beach. These seem kind of silly; if they’re going to install speed sensors, why not couple them with a camera to photograph license plates, and just start mailing out tickets like in Europe. Update: Oh, and notice how it’s pre-vandalized for your convenience. Update: At the intersection of 56th Street and Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach.

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Wednesday October 25, 2006

Verticus advocates for a Disney-style monorail to run from downtown Miami to South Beach. Link directly to rendering and reasons.

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Monday October 16, 2006

Driving with Mr. Alesh

I’ve been out of pocket the last few days, sick and in bed. Here’s a video I made a few days before, driving down an unnamed street in south Broward, among lots of police activity. I’ll tell ya, though: trying to film and control the ol’ vehicle is like driving drunk, or driving and talkin’ on the celly. Anyway, I hear there’s been some sports-related controversy lately, but I stay out of that. More bloggin’ soon.

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Thursday October 12, 2006

The Miami Mystery: why the westbound lanes of the 836 always slow down to a crawl, any time of the day or night, around the airport. Well, so now I hear that it’s all over, and traffic is flowing smoothly (except during rush hour, of course)? Can anyone confirm? More importantly, can anyone explain?? Update: Gabriel’s got some answers, though I’m not sure if his story quite accounts for the dramatic change.

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Wednesday September 27, 2006

Gabriel is serious: he’s got several quick transportation proposals for Coral Gables. “. . . the [Metromover] omni loop will be rendered useless once the streetcar is completed seeing that they essentially cover the same part of the city. The salvageable tracks, vehicles, and station components can then be used to create a new Coconut Grove Loop People Mover system.”

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