Archive for the ‘Local’ Category

Giant penny found on sidewalk

November 17th, 2015

Fnnch penny

Walking along Valencia the other day I spotted a rather large penny painted on the sidewalk. The design features the phrase “IN FNNCH WE TRUST,” alluding to local artist fnnch.

Fnnch is best known for the honey bear designs, and if you look closely there’s an outline of one in the penny.

Other changes deviate from the design of a US penny, but the one that caught my eye is a very subtle — is Lincoln smiling? One has to wonder what’s making him so happy; perhaps he just likes honey bears.

Wait, why did The Flash run past the Transamerica Pyramid?

November 5th, 2015

The Flash runs past the Transamerica Pyramid

The Flash is a fun TV show based on the comic books. It’s set in the fictional “Central City” and this week’s episode is no different.

So why then, on the way from his headquarters at Star Labs to try to capture Dr. Light at the Bank of Central City does The Flash run west along Washington Street past the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco’s Financial District?

The Transamerica Pyramid is one of those instantly recognizable structures. The unusual intersection with Columbus Avenue seen at the bottom of the screen cap (above) is a crystal clear indication that we’re looking at an image of San Francisco itself rather than merely some Transamerica-like knockoff in the fictional Central City. This is the real deal we’re looking at, no question about it.

Here’s some of my own top fan theories on how The Flash wound up here:

  • On the previous night The Flash had stopped by Vesuvio to read Howl after purchasing it at City Lights. He stumbled out of the place completely shitfaced and forgot to close his tab. No judgement man, it happens. He just had to stop by again when he had a chance to pick up his card.
  • The Flash recently took a free personality test and discovered the truth about “engrams.” He stopped at the Scientology Center across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid to find out more, but after speed-reading Dianetics he ultimately decided Scientology wasn’t for him.
  • Look, it’s kind of embarrassing but The Flash still uses Groupon. I know, I know. But he’s a poorly paid young police detective and he has to take what he can get. So one day he bought a Groupon deal for some pasta at a shitty tourist trap in North Beach. Knowing he had a significant head start on Dr. Light he decided to take advantage of the deal before it expired, running all the way to San Francisco for a quick bite at The Stinking Rose.
  • The Flash ran faster than the speed of light, causing his GPS to malfunction. He wound up in San Francisco by mistake.

Okay, that last theory is off the table because there’s no way The Flash could break the speed of light. But the others? Totally plausible.

At the end of the day my theories are just ideas from a fan. I hope one day this popular TV show finally reveals the true secret behind this curious jaunt from Central City to downtown San Francisco!

Bat Boy rides again

September 27th, 2015

Bat Boy rides again

The Weekly World News no longer graces the checkout at your local supermarket, but that hasn’t stopped Bat Boy from taking up skating. Bat Boy rides again!

Spotted just outside The Sycamore

Garcon team apparently taking over Young’s BBQ space

September 14th, 2015

Young's BBQ space Young's BBQ space

Young’s BBQ, the (ostensibly) Korean hole in the wall restaurant behind El Toro that you never went to finally closed a few months ago. Recently the space has undergone a soft story retrofit.

Now a new liquor license application has appeared on the window with the name “Jerartdon LLC.” What could it mean?

Two of the names on the license in the state’s liquor license database shed some light on the situation. Jerome Rivoire is the owner of Valencia St.’s Garcon, and Arthur Wall is their executive chef.

What can we expect? So far the Garcon folks have been quiet about the whole endeavor, but it’s safe to assume pot stickers served by a woman who calls herself “Honey” are out.

Colorful geometric paintings

September 6th, 2015

Strange painting

Strange painting Strange painting

Recently I’ve come across a series of unusual paintings of brightly colored geometric patterns pasted to the wall in various parts of the city. The first one was stuck to a building near Slim’s. The other two were pasted to the side of the Victoria Theater.

What are these paintings supposed to mean? Who’s behind them? We may never know for certain, but personally I’m hoping they’re a new type of QR code left here by aliens. So please let me know if you see an app for scanning alien QR codes on your phone’s app store. Thanks in advance.

I went to a cat cafe

August 3rd, 2015

KitTea cat cafe KitTea cat cafe KitTea cat cafe KitTea's menu

Today I finally got around to visiting KitTea, San Francisco’s first (and only) cat cafe. The goals of KitTea are to provide adorable cat-based entertainment, but also to find permanent homes for the cats — all of which are rescue cats up for adoption.

The basics are pretty simple: you can either walk in or make a reservation, and for your 30 or 60 minute session you can play with cats while drinking unlimited tea. The tea is quite good, but you could be forgiven for not noticing when there’s kittens everywhere and all manners of cat toys.

I should mention that most of the cats are kittens. I only spotted one adult cat, but if you know anything about cats you know that they spend most of their time sleeping. The “cat wranglers” at KitTea are very adamant about letting sleeping cats sleep, though you are allowed to pet them if you’re gentle enough not to wake them.

As for getting fur in your tea or food you don’t need to worry. The kitchen is in the waiting room outside of the cat play area.

Overall the cats seemed very well taken care of. If I was going to adopt a cat, the relaxed environment of a cat cafe seems to me like a better way to see if a cat is right for you than the jail-like environment of your average pound.

So if you’re looking to adopt a cat — or if you just want to hang out with some feline companions for a while — consider giving KitTea a shot. What do you have to lose? Aside from your dignity when you come home covered in cat hair, of course.

Nuni transit-themed street art hides secret messages

July 24th, 2015

Some unusual transit-themed street art has appeared around the city recently. Perhaps you’ve seen it? For example, I spotted this odd BART ticket (actually a sticker) a while back:

Nuni Bdank ticket

Today I stumbled across this unofficial ad at a Muni stop:

Nuni ad

A little googling revealed that these are the works of “Nuni,” who apparently goes by @therealnuni on Instagram.

The street art clearly contains some kind of hidden messages, seemingly written in an alien language. Obviously I had to crack the code.

My “aha!” moment was when I remembered playing Commander Keen as a kid, deciphering the Standard Galactic Alphabet on a piece of paper as I went. The Nuni “cipher” works the same way: it’s English words written in a different alphabet.

Cracking it is only a matter of finding a few common words and applying your hangman and/or Wheel of Fortune expertise to work backwards to discover the whole alphabet. The first thing to decode is the word “Nuni” itself:

Many of the messages are exactly what you’d expect them to be. For example, what does it say on a BART ticket in the blue box at the top? Yup, that’s what the encoded message says too.

I’ve managed to crack 21 out of 26 letters in the alphabet so far. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but if you get stuck feel free to shoot me an email — my address is in the sidebar.

Sincerely yours,

Peeking out the back window on the F-Market

July 23rd, 2015

Since I had jack shit else to do needed to get some fresh air this afternoon I took the F-Market over to the Wharf to wander around and check out everyone’s favorite tourist bullshit. I was lucky enough to get the back of a streetcar all to myself for most of the ride, so I filmed a few shaky iPhone videos from the back window.

First, here’s looking back at Market Street starting near the Dolby building:


Again on Market Street, this time near UN Plaza:


Finally, the F-Market goes from Embarcadero to Jefferson St.:


And now since you’ve made it this far, I’m going to scare you away with a vertical video (gasp!) of the most terrifying thing at the Wharf: Lauffing Sal.

What’s going on here, Luna Park?

July 21st, 2015

Luna Park foreclosure Luna Park foreclosure

At some point in the last couple of weeks Valencia St.’s Luna Park shut its doors and stopped answering their phone. But that’s not all: two official notices (see above) appeared taped to the building. One is an order of abatement regarding building codes, the other is a notice that the building is in danger of foreclosure. According to the later document the owner of the building is behind on mortgage payments by over $100,000. Yikes!

As you may recall, Luna Park’s owners made some grumblings about labor costs before trying to sell the restaurant to Gavin Newsom’s company. That fell through, so they tried again with the owners of Mission Beach Cafe. (Luna Park’s sister location in LA was sold to new owners years ago.)

Now it’s not exactly clear what will happen. The liquor license transfer is still pending, but who knows what’s in store if the building winds up getting auctioned off by the bank. Either way the sun has officially set on Luna Park*.

(* Sorry.)

Update: Inside Scoop confirms that Luna Park is closed for good. Still, this doesn’t explain why the building is in danger of foreclosure.

What’s the deal with the plaque in the road at Van Ness and Market?

July 13th, 2015

House of hades one man versus American media in society 2015

If you’ve crossed the street at Van Ness and Market recently you may have noticed a strange little plaque embedded in the road near the crosswalk. It reads:



Turns out it’s not alone; many strangely worded linoleum plaques have appeared in roadways all over the US and South America since the 80′s. They’re known as Toynbee tiles, a reference to the wording of some of the earliest ones. You can find more via Google Image Search.

Who’s installing them? One filmmaker produced a documentary film on the subject — but never resolved the mystery entirely. The general consensus seems to be that these plaques originated in or near Philadelphia. The tiles later spread and changed in their messages. One theory is there are now multiple copycats, an idea supported by an Instructables video demonstrating how to make your own.

Still, knowing what these plaques are called and where they came from doesn’t tell us about who placed this particular one at Van Ness and Market or what its message is intended to convey. For now at least, that remains a mystery.