Kids in the park playing with an iPad instead of the playground or each other

Live in fear of germs, yuppie.

Zoltar machine debuts at Alley Cat Books on 24th Street

Alley Cat’s Dan Weiss hips us to the news (via an email titled “I wish I was big”):

Here he is, ZOLTAR in his new home in the gallery at alley cat books on 24th @treat. We have big plans for him that may or may not involve giving book recommendations, for now though he’s in basic fortune-telling mode. Incidentally we are also looking for suggestions for a name for our gallery and offering 50 dollar gift certificates to the best three ideas (

Thanks, Dan!

Local comedian’s brush with Facebook wealth

Local comedian Emily Heller, on the occasion of Facebook’s IPO, shares the tale of her brush with Facebook wealth. She’d grown up with a lot of kids who went on to bigger and better things (at Facebook):

When I was on the debate team in high school, there was a kid on my team named Justin. He was a couple years older than me, and he was a genius. He used to teach an elective physics class to the other smarty pantses who were too smart for the physics classes that the TEACHERS at our school offered. I, meanwhile, didn’t even take science senior year, opting instead for three history classes, a poetry class, and remedial math.

One day, Justin and I were talking about the future. I knew he was going places; places I would never go; places that had lots of money in them. I asked him what his plan was, and here’s what he told me:

“I’m going to graduate from Stanford in two years. Then, I’ll do grad school in a year. Then I’m going to find some way to make millions of dollars very quickly. Then, when I’m twenty-five, I’m going to retire.”

Read on for the dramatic conclusion, which takes place out front of an SF warehouse party.

Let’s talk about ‘Asian Butthole’

You know — for your Kindle!

(I guess this is some kind of hilarious new comic strip in the Bay Guardian? I didn’t try going to the URL because it couldn’t possibly be a real thing, right? Funny though. Well done, Bay Guardian!)

[via Idiot Tempers]

There’s something fishy about this new iPhone ad set in the Mission

Our pal Eli Horowitz, co-author of the renowned ping pong tome Everything You Know Is Pong, spotted something curious on the back cover of his New Yorker the other day:

Hello Allan.  I have a (non-pong-related) tip for you — almost entirely irrelevant, but it’s Mission-centric and has been on my mind. Have you seen this new iPhone ad set in the Mission?  It’s on the back cover of the New Yorker and Rolling Stone and probably elsewhere.  It says “I could use a latte” and then has a photo of the phone, which shows four listings: Ritual, .1 miles; La Taza, .3 miles, Starbucks (at Mariposa), .4 miles, Grand Coffee, .7 miles.”  So first of all, ha ha, that’s mildly interesting.  But then I was wondering where this phone-holder was standing, and I guessed 21st and Valencia — which might work for Ritual and La Taza, but .7 miles to Grand?  And then I realized there’s NO spot that fits all the data, and so Apple must have messed with the distances — maybe in order to include Starbucks on the list?!  Isn’t that interesting?!?!  No, not really, but still.  Citizen journalism!

It’s interesting! Maybe it’s like how I take every opportunity to mention ping pong, Apple takes every opportunity to mention Starbucks?

(Disclosure: I was not paid to plug Eli’s book, but seriously, Eli, if you have any more of those kickass Everything You Know Is Pong-branded paddles left, the one I won is getting pretty worn and having a backup would really set my mind at ease. Also, April is Starbucks’ Global Month of Service! Join them in making a difference in your community this month!)

Tech giant Oracle launches guerilla marketing campaign in the Mission

They’re the biggest company in the world, but they still feel the need to keep it street? Curious. I guess if it worked for Microsoft.

Capp Street Heliport

The Facebook IPO is already changing the Mission:


H/T to @cowperthwait

Wells Fargo on the Mission: ‘That neighborhood is a high crime area’

Concerned reader and resident Eric recently noticed that the Wells Fargo at 22nd and Mission quietly changed the hours of their ATMs to a new ridiculously inconvenient 8pm closing time.  Since we happen to live in a predominantly cash-only neighborhood when it comes to bars and restaurants, this makes it quite difficult for any Wells Fargo customers enjoying an evening out to avoid the $5+ penalty for using non-Wells ATMs (not to mention folks who work late and need to deposit checks).  After his repeated requests for an explanation from their @Ask_WellsFargo twitter program (which is for feedback on their ATMs) failed to shed any light on the issue, he finally found time to visit the branch to see what the deal was:

Turns out, they are turning off the Wells Fargo mission ATMs (22nd and Mission St / 16th Street and Mission St) at 8pm every night because of vandalism.  Their words “that neighborhood is a high crime area.”  But they are not actually closing the gates to protect their machines; they just have the screens say “out of service” as to make it appear that nothing unusual is going on.  They are also not publicly saying what the ATM hours are nor, not even to the 1800 numbers you call to Wells Fargo services.  In the main system, these ATM’s are listed as 24hr ATMs.  Amazing.

Took a while to get these actual answers when calling 1-800-869-3557 since everyone that I talked to had no notification that in the Mission, all ATMs have been closing at 8pm for the past 50days.  I am assuming Wells Fargo does not want this info getting out for even the twitter responses are “please follow us so we can send you a private message explaining the situation” which I obviously am not going to follow a bank’s twitter feed.  And what I found out from the branch, they say they have no control of the ATM hours.

Does Wells Fargo hate the Mission?  We followed this up yesterday by visiting the branch ourselves and were told by the manager that the individual branches have no control over the new hours and that the new times came down directly from corporate.  Add up all these facts and something definitely smells fishy.  It’s not merely the inconvenience of being unable to get cash after 8pm; it’s the inconsistency of the explanations that truly inveigles us.  If you’re trying to prevent vandalism, why aren’t you closing the metal gate to actually protect the ATMs?  Have they just given up on our neighborhood?

Also, given Wells Fargo’s recent history of scamming customers with “unfair and deceptive” overdraft charges and allegations that it illegally took advantage of mortgage customers during the subprime bubble, the idea that this is another calculated attempt by the bank to exploit its users out of some extra cash doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

So Wells Fargo, what’s going on here?

Make-Out Room installs creepy spy cam so creeps can spy on you while you’re drinking and dancing

Other area bars are participating too, but Make-Out seems to be the only one on the list that affects me, so…

East Bay Express has the scoop:

Founded by a handful of Sonoma County entrepreneurs, the app, BarSpace, and its related web site,, employ a simple concept: Install cameras in bars and nightclubs and then streams that video live through a free iPhone app, as well as through the company’s website. The cameras are installed and paid for by BarSpace; each bar decided the hours between which they’d like to transmit a video stream.

The idea, according to the company’s CEO, Mike Deignan, is that people can use the app to see whether bars are full or empty — or even whether their favorite bartender is working that night or what the dress code is. Essentially, BarSpace makes it possible to find out what you’re getting into, in real time and straight from the source — to gauge a bar’s atmosphere against your own expectations and inclinations, without ever leaving your home (or, in some cases, paying a cover). [link]

Noble intentions, I suppose. Still. I don’t know about this. I like to really cut loose at Lost & Found (AKA Slow Jams) every Tuesday and DJ Purple’s Karaoke Dance Party every fourth Monday. But I don’t like the idea of there being possibly compromising images of me on the internet.

UPDATE: Our pal Plumpy says, “The whole list is here if you search for San Francisco.”

[via We Built This City]



Fresh & Easy spanks Whole Foods to advertise their Richmond District store on a billboard at 16th and South Van Ness.