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Time Wasters at Work


Uber and Lyft: Salt Lake Gets Ride-Sharing cobrien |
05/07/2014 | Filed In: Salt Lake | Rideshare | Ride Share | Lyft | Uber | Car2Go | ZipCar | Commute | Sidecar | Real

Uber and Lyft: Salt Lake Gets Ride-Sharing

It's a Saturday night and you're leaving the Real match.  You've had a few and know you shouldn't drive home.  Well, you can't because your friends were wise enough to take your keys.  There you are, standing outside Energy Solutions Arena with your phone trying to get through to a cab company so you can meet some friends downtown at a piano bar - even though no one really needs to hear "Piano Man" ever again. The busy signal is incessant and if you ever hear "...your method of payment is very important..." one more time your phone might take flight.  The good news is Salt Lake's night life is now easier and safer to navigate making cabs and UTA feel like rotary phones.  The bad new is people are already working to stomp it out.

Salt Lake has been given a gift that cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle have been enjoying for some time.  It's called ride-sharing and it works like a cab, but much more user-friendly and technologically advanced.  Plus, if you're looking for extra income, they're hiring.  It's a great way to make some money using your car (granted it's in good condition and you are not a psychopath).  UberX, the everyman version of Uber, which in larger cities has black cars such as Lincolns and SUVs at a premium cost, along with Lyft are now up and running in Salt Lake.

Uber and Lyft are free apps for your smartphone. The interface is quite lovely. On Uber's app the little UberX cars peddle around, like homeless droids, waiting for you digitally hail one. You set your pick-up point and click "request." Once a driver accepts you need for transportation one of those cars will head your way. You also get a picture of who and what will be picking you up.  When it arrives you get a text or call from the driver notifying you they are there and at your service.

Download Uber for iPhone here or the site.

Download Lyft for iPhone here or visit their site.

Once in the car, you give the driver your destination and you're off.  When you arrive and depart the app prompts you to pay. You're also asked to rate your driver on a five-star system.  I rarely give less than five because everyone has been so nice up to this point. Tip is included in the price unless you feel the drive went above and beyond in which case you can add some extra monetary love.  

The rating you give your driver matters.  If a driver drops below a certain rating they won't be driving for the company anymore. This assures quality, which means creepy drivers and dirty cars won't fly.  Payment is made through whatever credit or debit means you have attached to your account. Receipts are emailed to you.

Lyft works the same way, but stand out with the bright pink moustaches affixed to the grills of their driver's cars, which some find cheesy. The drivers are also instructed to fist bump passengers.  I want a ride, not a ritual. 

Who drives these cars?  You do, your neighbors, college kids, bored house-spouses or anyone who wants to make some money and get out from in front of the TV.  Drivers can rate passengers just as passengers rate drivers.  I have had friends drive for Uber and heard some horror stories about passengers who've soiled their cars or been belligerent.  Too many bad passenger ratings will assure no one will want to pick you up, so be nice.

I've used both services and like them a lot.  There are also companies such as Car2Go: smart cars, which you can access and pay a minute-per-use fee including gas and insurance.  The nice thing about these little guys is you can pick them up and leave them anywhere parking is metered as opposed to the Rise Share cars we have around Salt Lake now that must be picked up and returned in the same place.  There's also ZipCar that work much like the Rideshare: you pick 'em up and drop 'em in the same place for a time-based fee.  Side Car's another one that works much like Lyft and Uber. Car2Go, ZipCar and Side Car don't have plans to expand to the Salt Lake Market, yet.  At least not that I could find.

My friends and I have been using these service for the last few weeks and love them.  The only problem is at times there can be too few cars running, but this is something the market will correct.

The controversy with these companies has been some insurance issues.  These have seem to have been worked out.  The big backlash have come from cab companies, who have a hard time competing with the convince, selectivity and price you get with using an app, especially if you are out partying.

One downside, Uber and Lyft hike rates when it gets busy to limit congestion and tempt more drivers out to handle the swell.  This can be aggravating when a ride goes from $10 to $15 or $30, but hey, that's the free market in action, right?

Another argument I have heard is this kind of service encourages drinking.  This is asinine.  If anything this service keeps more drunk people from getting behind the wheel, which is a great thing.  It also encourages people to get out and be more social in their city, which leads to community building.

If you've had to deal with cab companies in the SLC you know it isn't always a pleasant experience.  I've been asked to pay a flat free for a short ride and dealt with some shifty folks (one time I had a driver ask a lady-friend of mine to flash him).  This isn't always the case with cabs, there are plenty of nice people who drive for these companies, but I've had enough odd experiences to make ride-sharing look very attractive. Plus, competition is good.

And UTA, which has its advantages, doesn't always run as late as you may need it to.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.


MCA Day and Break Dancing Monks Corey O'Brien |
05/06/2014 | Filed In: MCA | Beasite Boys | MCA | Adam Yauch | Mike D | Corey O'Brien | Ad-Rock

MCA Day and Break Dancing Monks

I am so ashamed of myself for missing MCA day.  Adam Yauch, MCA, sadly passed away on May 4, 2012.  Even if you didn't love their music you had to have some respect for them.  They never sold-out (unless you consider letting "Star Trek" use "Sabatoge" selling out).  In memoriam some guys dressed as Buddist Monks and got down to some finer Beasties cuts.  Check out the video.



Hiring: Star Wars' Cantina Needs Talent Corey O'Brien |
05/05/2014 | Filed In: Star Wars | Corey O'Brien | Ben Folds | Weird Al | College Humor | Liz Phair

Hiring: Star Wars' Cantina Needs Talent

As if you didn't get enough of "May the 4th Be With You" all over your Tweets, Facebooks and Snapchats yesterday, be on notice: it isn't the 5th you've gotta be weary of, especially in a video where Daughty is painted up like a Sith.

Small rant: three films come out in the 70's with effect and characters placed in a grand place, a place far, far away.  It had fresh-faced actors and a mythology about it.  It gave birth to fan-boy/girl culture and the world would never be the same. Some years later they make three more films, none of which anyone seemed to like.  Probably because we all carry warm and fuzzies for certain childhood things.  Hell, even I grew out of 311.  So at best, "Star Wars" is batting 50/50 and perhaps less if you count the fact that many people don't like "Jedi."  I ask that we all don't get overly excited over these new films.  

If your doctor were right half the time, you'd be a cripple.  Let's try and not let this galaxy cripple the culture and media until we see the "Episode 7."

Anyway, here is a video of Lisa Loeb, Ben Folds (who I will never tire of), Weird Al and a mixture of other trying to get in on this new bar band gig:


Hear It Now: The Black Keys "Turn Blue" Corey O'Brien |
05/05/2014 | Filed In: Corey O'Brien | The Black Keys | Black Keys | Turn Blue | Fever | Dan Auerbach | Patrick Carney

Hear It Now: The Black Keys

*Photo by Danny Clinch used by permission of Nonesuch Records

Oh, waiting for release dates is such a lame past time these days.  We all want two things: One, to hear new music before anyone else and two, to see them live.  I can help with at least one of these.  Stream The Black Keys, "Turn Blue" new album right now by clicking here.  The new album isn't out until a week from tomorrow, so learn the lyrics, figure out which songs are your favorite ("Waiting On Words" is alreayd one of my picks from the album) and don't forget you can also catch The Black Keys on Saturday Night Live this Saturday night.

Here is the tracklist for "Turn Blue":

1. Weight of Love 2. In Time 3. Turn Blue 4. Fever 5. Year in Review 6. Bullet in the Brain 7. It’s Up to You Now 8. Waiting on Words 9. 10 Lovers 10. In Our Prime 11. Gotta Get Away

*Photos by Danny Clinch. Used with permission from Nonesuch records


Get Fit Playlist 2014: 14 Songs to Make You Sexier Corey O'Brien |
04/29/2014 | Filed In: Corey O'Brien | Cherub | Sleeper Agent | The 1975 | Calvin Harris | Conor Oberst | Bright Eyes | The Faint | EDM | Bad Sun | Big Data | Junior Prom | Skaters | Thumpers | DVBBS | Moti | St. Vincent | Saint Vincent |

Get Fit Playlist 2014: 14 Songs to Make You Sexier

The sun is shinning and you want to head out to the park. You drag out that awesome t-shirt you bought last summer while on vacation.  Once on you notice it feels a little tight and there's a baby bump.  The problem is: you're a guy!  Put down that IPA.

If you aren't a snow player it's easy to earn some mid-section curvature over the winter. As we plunge into the days of 75 degrees and over don't be the guy who goes to the park, takes his shirt off and immediately scares the children or the teenagers with paint on their faces (they are Juggalos). Don't make grow men shake their heads in embarrassed empathy. Don't make the folks in the drum circle miss a beat and kill their buzz. Don't...well, you get it. I've thrown together a little playlist with some new music to accompany you in whatever your shape-shifting endeavors may be. Take note that some of these songs are NSFW.

"Does and Mimosas" by Cherub is song you will hear all over this Summer so get used to it. Embrace it. Much like Lorde's "Royals" last year this song is all about being an underdog. It's all about hating "that high-class ass that's too hot and fast" and "all the bitch-ass hos." Then coping with drugs and alcohol. Not a good message for the kids, but it's just music and these shoes were made for dancing. Listen to this while doing ladders.

The Faint "Help in the Head" starts off abrasively but this band has an odd talent for getting under your skin. Their new album "DOOM ABUSE" is more abrasive and probably less dancy than their previous catalogue, but this track will have you doing sprints past that woman with two water bottles strapped around her waist pounding the pavement in $300 running shoes.  They are in SLC on June 11th.

"Cardiac Arrest" by Bad Sun is a song I hated on first listen, so I listened again then again and now I like it. Funny how that works. Anyway, this track reminds me of bands I have loved that never quite made it like Maximo Park, The Cribs, etc. It's those throaty English bands that try to sing like Cher. I quite like that for some reason. Great song for push-ups.

Big Data "Dangerous (feat. Joywave)." This video even has people working out in it...and blood...and bewbs. Not naked ones, but according to the market research portrayed in this video people like bewbs. It's cheeky and a great song. Go ahead and ponder the social message here while hiking your favorite Wasatch Front canyon trail.

Junior Prom "Sheila Put the Knife Down" immediately makes you think it might be a Smith's cover and that could be the band's intention. It's just good marketing. The version you hear on the radio drops the "f" word and replaces it with "messed." In most songs it doesn't matter, but in this case I think it takes a lot away from the song's impact. Enjoy this gem while doing lunges and hating all the men who have wronged you for maximum calorie burn.

Skaters "Schemers" is MY song of the summer of 2014. I am so obsessed with this band. Their debut album "Manhattan" is my hands down winner this year. I haven't been this excited about an album since I heard Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Fever to Tell" in 2003. Listen to this track while shadowboxing.

Thumpers "Unkider (A Tougher Love)" is pure London pop. It's uplifting and you can sway to it.  Works well on a rowing machine if you can find one.

"The City" by The 1975. I swear this is boy band in rock clothing. There is nothing wrong with that, but I feel it's an odd juxtaposition. I see this being a world-class, huge band one day. Good some for jumping jacks.

Sleeper Agent "Waves" is a video that gets my heart rate sky-rocketing mostly because Alex Kandel is so cute, swoon. Her voice is sultry but can still moonlight into Haley Williams territory. This song is so damn good I don't know if I can say anything else about it. There is a rebellious sentimentality in the lyrics. It's the same feeling I had after watching "Never Let Me Go." If you've seen it you'll know what I am taking about. This is a song for lunges if I've ever heard one.

DVBBS & MoTi "This Is Dirty." Being a workout mix you knew some EDM was going to end up here, so why not go Dutch. Good song for sprints. The build-up will have you moving faster and faster until the drop hits. Then you'll be off faster than the Roadrunner after watching Wile E. blow himself sky high with Acme dynamite. You'll get enough bars for a breather before you start burning the tread on your nifty sneaks. Interval training is the best.

Calvin Harris "Summer" might not be an obvious selection considering it's more pop than EDM, but you're going to hear it everywhere: radio, grocery stores, fashionable clothing stores and in your mom's car. Just embrace it and accept it. This one is good for combo toe-touches and pull-ups.

St. Vincent's (Annie Clark) "Digital Witness" is the only song of her's I have really liked. I know, I lose hipster cred over that. This off-putting, horn-driven beat is lovable like a pet hedgehog: cute, but prickly. Squat your way to sexiness to this one.

Hyper Crush's "Rage" is pretty last year, but I just can't kick it off any of my playlists.  It's a bit douchey, but it's cheeky. Holly Valentine is so sexy, you'll be doing dead-lifts in hopes you may one day catcher her attention.

> Conor Oberst "Hundreds of Ways" is my list and workout ender. The Bright Eyes boy is dropping a new solo album, "Upside Down Mountain" on May 19th and playing the last show of the Red Butte Summer Concert series this year. He is one, if not the, loudest live musician I have ever seen.

Feel free to add to this list in the comments below and thanks for reading.

Hit up our concert page here for more shows and to buy tickets. 

Good luck getting sexy for the Summer.

-Corey O'Brien (Twitter @coreyx96)


*Photo Credit "SLIM FIT"  by Md saad andalib is licensed under CC BY 2.0



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