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September 10, 2013

For travelers, there's a whole new rental world out there

(Continued)

OpenTable, I pouted, would never ignore me like this. I didn't like suffering for a dinner reservation. But if I wanted to participate in the sharing society, I had to follow its rules. So I did.

As instructed, I set up a profile on my chosen sites and included a trustworthy photo (no tequila-swilling shots) and a zesty description that made me sound peppy but not annoying. I scanned the pages of options, weighing the Awesome Oldsmobile against Rebecca's Dodge, a 106-year-old San Francisco native vs. a kilt-wearing Scotsman, a homeless tour or a mushroom-foraging excursion. Then I threw myself at these people and waited like a lovesick high-schooler beside her Princess phone. Will my crush ever call?

The reply times and success rates varied. On average, I heard back in one to three days with an even split of "yes" and "no" responses. Emmy, for instance, e-mailed within a day to say that she was on vacation and not leading her Vayable-listed Wilderness Sushi tour in Berkeley. Jeff, whom I contacted through Tripping, didn't have a guest room in his tiny studio but offered to meet up to "play tourist." Galo, another Tripping host, accepted my home-stay plea but asked for an additional 24 hours to check with his roommate, who agreed and even invited me to stay a second night.

I moved on from those who never replied and sent out a second and third stream of requests. After three weeks of planning, I'd finally locked down all my arrangements, including a Meal Sharing dinner in Oakland. And though I'll never know whether Rachel's dinner party was a success, at least I won't be forced to share my secret with a group of strangers: I don't eat oysters.

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Community News Network
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    July 31, 2014

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    July 30, 2014

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    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
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    July 29, 2014

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