Monthly Archives: January 2013

Alley’s ESSAY: Comments About Trek Nation And Star Trek

So, I made a sound-file today. It’s not perfect but it does share my thoughts about Star Trek & Trek Nation (A documentary by Gene Roddenberry, JR). So without further ado, allow me to present my essay:


Reblog: I Adopted a Dog on “Death Row”

So, today post isn’t a complete reblog. You can see the entire piece here. Instead it is a except from the woman that saved this little guy’s life. Enjoy:

I Adopted a Dog In Its Final Hours on “Death Row,” and It Might Be the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made

By Mandy on Dec 3, 2012 at 1:00pm

Except from her piece:

I posted on my Twitter and Facebook at 11 p.m., “I’ve come to an important decision. I’m going to adopt a dog. Now to figure out which kind.” The suggestions came flooding in, but then my friend Dennis Burger added to the thread: “Mandy, if this is a move you’re making soon — like, now — please consider this guy. He’s going to be destroyed tomorrow if no one adopts him.”


When he first came to the shelter. See how scared he is?

I’m a big believer in fate, synchronicity and no coincidences. I clicked on the dog’s profile, which had been shared more than a thousand times from a Web site called Urgent Pets on Death Row, Inc., and indeed, the 18-month-old pit mix was going to be euthanized if no one adopted him. In the past this has happened as early as the morning at Animal Care & Control, and so with no time to lose, I put down the deposit to adopt him the next day, a few minutes before midnight.

When I headed out to the Brooklyn location the next morning on Saturday, the waiting room was overflowing with cats removed from homes who had elderly owners or from Hurricane Sandy, and I went to the front to make sure Samsung was indeed safe, and there hadn’t been any kind of awful error where he was put to sleep regardless of my adoption hold. They assured me he was safe, but it was going to be a few hours.

I sat and waited and tried not to let my heart break from all of the sweet cats who so desperately wanted owners around me. (The dogs are kept in the back, away from the waiting room.) Please, if you are considering adopting an animal, go to a shelter. Save a life. These animals are so precious and loving. They deserve a life, and you can give it to them.

“We were all hoping you would come!” one volunteer said, pulling up Samsung’s ID number and chart, and I filled out the adoption papers which asked me things like if the dog grew or got sick would I abandon him. No, no, no.


Samsung says goodbye to his angel volunteer Elisa.

When Samsung was brought out by volunteer Elisa Lafont, she was beaming.

“This is a very special dog,” she said. “I’m so glad you came.”

Elisa comes out from Long Island to volunteer at the shelter and give the pets the attention and love they need, and she also helps to spread word of animals that are placed on “Death Row.” The reason that Samsung was listed there was because, as often happens when dogs remain in a shelter, he contracted kennel cough, and because Animal Care & Control is limited in space, and accepts all animals, they cannot be a no-kill shelter. Samsung getting sick meant he was now on the “euth list,” as much as everyone hated to put him there. Other than his cough, which can be cured with a course of antibiotics, he is a very healthy, happy, loving dog.

Elisa later told me, “Weird thing is I almost didn’t go in Saturday. Because I was in a mood and wasn’t sure. But then I saw Sam was on the list and knew I had to go in, in case I wouldn’t ever see him again. So when I saw he was reserved when I woke up, I was relieved. I told him when I had him in our cuddle spot that ‘I was doing my best to make sure he would make it out, that I was praying hard. To please hold on a little longer.'”

I could see just how special he was when Elisa brought him out.

“This is your new mommy,” she said. “She saved your life, Samsung.” Elisa gave him a special Snoopy collar to wear for the cab ride home.

He knows how to do “Paw,” “Sit” and “Stay” and he licks you with appreciation. When the car service came to take us back to Manhattan, he curled up below the seat and patiently looked up at me. It was my very first night in my new studio, and my new dog would be spending it with me.


Samsung and me in Madison Square Park.

I lay out the food and water in some makeshift Tupperware, and then showed him that he was allowed to jump on the bed with me. I didn’t intend to fall asleep at 8:30 p.m., but as he curled up next to me and put his paw on my hand, that’s exactly what I did. My boots and jacket were still on, and the next morning we woke up at 6 a.m. Samsung nuzzled and licked me and stared up at me with his sweet soulful eyes.

“You’re still a little sick, Samsung,” I told him. “But you’re going to get better. I’m not giving up on you.”

He rested his head on my chest, and his heart beat next to mine.

Thank you Captain Obvious!!!

So, I was going through my feeds recently and I discovered this little gem.

Thank You Captain ObviousThis has gotta be one of the best headlines I have ever seen. It’s so obvious that it’s like WTF. Gee, does Prince Harry know what normal is? How could he? He’s the frickin’ Prince of England! His life is NEVER going to be normal. Duh. This of course ignores who he is related to and stuff like that. He’s frickin’ celebrity – they don’t get normal. So why make a headline like this?

Ironically, it reminds me of another headline that I found a while back, “Stodden Goes Shopping With Hubby.” Like this one, it was also created by ABC News. However, unlike this one it doesn’t state the obvious. It just tells us something incredibly mundane. And shows us just what happens when ABC news runs out of ideas. Nice.

Click here to view the actual article.


Y’Know What Lois Likes To See? Pants, that’s what.

Source: Fuck Yeah! Lois Lane

NEWS: What you wouldn’t expect inside an old warehouse

This is a local news report from Kingsland, GA. And while there are many fan productions just like this one it’s nice to hear about new ones. Good luck everyone!

Star Trek Continues filmed in Kingsland, Ga.

10:07 PM, Jan 22, 2013
By Lewis Turner


KINGSLAND, Ga. — In an old warehouse space a group of hardcore Star Trek fans have built an exact replica of the set used in the original TV series.

“Most people don’t know we are here,” said Camden County native and set designer Royal Weaver.

“When they hear about us they’re really surprised,” he said.

The group, known as Farragut Films, has been building sets in Camden County for years.

But they just moved their entire operation to Kingsland, and now have partnered with another production group to film episodes of Star Trek Continues.

For more information about the shoot and to see previews of Star Trek Continues, click here.

First Coast News

BBC: ‘Computer games keep me mentally active’

I remember the Wii Sports Stuff – my parent’s still play Wii Sports occasionally, but as to this – well I didn’t know.

‘Computer games keep me mentally active’

It is predicted that by the end of this year, female gamers will outnumber men for the first time.

However computer games are also increasingly being seen as a way for older people to keep mentally active.

Bryony Mackenzie reports.

IS IT TRUE: Facebook Class Action Email

So, yesterday I received this email with this header:


Now, when I receive anything – and I mean anything with the subject line of RE: and some junk I have no idea what they are talking about – I am suspicious. It is my nature. Too many phising schemes and other fine elements of SPAM start this way. So, I decided to investigate.

So, after searching google, I found two things that were interesting to me. One was a post on Mashable and the other is a news article about this issue. Why don’t I talk about the Mashable post first:


In that post it states:

If you receive a message purporting to be from Facebook with the subject “LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION” — don’t worry, it’s legitimate.

Facebook is sending proposed settlement notices to members of a class-action lawsuit against the company’s use of Sponsored Stories. Facebook’s offer of $20 million to settle the case was granted preliminary approval by the courts in December.

An email detailing the reason behind the lawsuit as well as the terms of the settlement was sent to users it believes are class members of the lawsuit, “according to available records.”

Now, if you just base your decision on what a blogger (or bloggers) say on issues like this – wow. You can’t just do that! Not even from me. On matters like this where you could lose your money or your identity, you have to be more careful. Now I can see that mashable appears to be more legit source for news than say – me, but I’d still not a hundred percent trust them. I have to have other sources!

So, I went on to find actual news articles about it. Which I didn’t find many of. In fact one news report even referenced the mashable post! If I wanted a different source, it wasn’t going to be there. So, I went on. And what I found was that the lawsuit was in fact legitimate. It really happened. And that Facebook was supposed to send out these emails telling us to opt-in.

Still, there was the issue of the “RE:”. No article or blog post that I could find mentions it. True, they do mention the body of the email but not the subject line. Which is interesting and it still calls the email into question. Was mine made by an opportunist trying to take advantage of the situation? While I never heard of that before, there is always a first time. So, I had to continue to investigate.

So, I changed my search terms. Instead of putting in “Facebook Class Action,” I put in the subject line of my email, “Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.” And What I found was that other people where receiving this exact email too:

email on a blog post

Now, it feels to good to know that you are NOT alone, but does it answer my question? Hell, does it answer his question?


By reading this, I kinda can tell the answer is no. What Kat was asking was, “was this exact email legit.” He did not ask whether or not the Facebook class action lawsuit was legit (although that is implied) or what is a class action lawsuit is. So basically, this is a dead end. Which is what most of my sources ended up being.

What I can tell you is that the Lawsuit is legit. The lawsuit itself is available in the court documents. And that you could potentially receive 10 dollars. I can also tell you that Facebook is supposed to send out emails explaining the settlement to it’s users. However, I cannot tell you that this exact email is legit.

Now, the likehood that this email is fraud is low. Particularly with the number of similarities to the email that I received (see end of the post) and what I found in the articles. Still, there is a problem with the email that I can’t quite shake:


All class action lawsuits that I have had been apart of before never stated that if you do nothing you receive nothing. At least from those that emailed me directly. This one states exactly that. Which raises my fraud meter a bit.

So, I went out and found the actual website for the settlement through a news article (Which is here) and it says the same thing:

No Nothing

So, while my concern about this crappy clause is legit (it shouldn’t be there), it appears that this email is more legit than I previously thought. AKA: The information within the email is legit. The likelihood that this email is real appears to be much more likely now.

Still, I don’t like that “RE:”. I have never sent an email to this law firm. So, why is there a “RE:” before the subject line? Shouldn’t it be just, “LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION”?  Why do you need to add the “RE:”? I just don’t know. Perhaps, I should email them about it. In any case, this is real and you should take action on it. Just follow through here. And let me know what happens.

The exact email I received:


From: legalnotice <>to me
11:12 PM (19 hours ago)


You are receiving this e-mail because you may have been featured in a “Sponsored Story” on Facebook prior to December 3, 2012.
A federal court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.

Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) filed against Facebook relating to a particular Facebook feature called “Sponsored Stories.” According to available records, you may be a “Class Member.”

What is the Action about? The Action claims that Facebook unlawfully used the names, profile pictures, photographs, likenesses, and identities of Facebook users in the United States to advertise or sell products and services through Sponsored Stories without obtaining those users’ consent. Facebook denies any wrongdoing and any liability whatsoever. No court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.

What is a Sponsored Story? Sponsored Stories are a form of advertising that typically contains posts which appeared on about or from a Facebook user or entity that a business, organization, or individual has paid to promote so there is a better chance that the posts will be seen by the user or entity’s chosen audience. Sponsored Stories may be displayed, for example, when a Facebook user interacts with the Facebook service (including sub-domains, international versions, widgets, plug-ins, platform applications or games, and mobile applications) in certain ways, such as by clicking on the Facebook “Like” button on a business’s, organization’s, or individual’s Facebook page. Sponsored Stories typically include a display of a Facebook user’s Facebook name (i.e., the name the user has associated with his or her Facebook account) and/or profile picture (if the user has uploaded one) with a statement describing the user’s interaction with the Facebook service, such as “John Smith likes UNICEF,” “John Smith played Farmville,” or “John Smith shared a link.”

What relief does the Settlement provide? Facebook will pay $20 million into a fund that can be used, in part, to pay claims of Class Members (including Minor Class Members) who appeared in a Sponsored Story. Each participating Class Member who submits a valid and timely claim form may be eligible to receive up to $10. The amount, if any, paid to each claimant depends upon the number of claims made and other factors detailed in the Settlement. No one knows in advance how much each claimant will receive, or whether any money will be paid directly to claimants. If the number of claims made renders it economically infeasible to pay money to persons who make a timely and valid claim, payment will be made to the not-for-profit organizations identified on the Settlement website at (if clicking on the link does not work, copy and paste the website address into a web browser). These organizations are involved in educational outreach that teaches adults and children how to use social media technologies safely, or are involved in research of social media, with a focus on critical thinking around advertising and commercialization, and particularly with protecting the interests of children.

In addition to monetary relief, Facebook will (a) revise its terms of service (known as the “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” or “SRR”) to more fully explain the instances in which users agree to the display of their names and profile pictures in connection with Sponsored Stories; (b) create an easily accessible mechanism that enables users to view, on a going-forward basis, the subset of their interactions and other content on Facebook that have been displayed in Sponsored Stories (if any); (c) develop settings that will allow users to prevent particular items or categories of content or information related to them from being displayed in future Sponsored Stories; (d) revise its SRR to confirm that minors represent that their parent or legal guardian consents to the use of the minor’s name and profile picture in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content; (e) provide parents and legal guardians with additional information about how advertising works on Facebook in its Family Safety Center and provide parents and legal guardians with additional tools to control whether their children’s names and profile pictures are displayed in connection with Sponsored Stories; and (f) add a control in minor users’ profiles that enables each minor user to indicate that his or her parents are not Facebook users and, where a minor user indicates that his or her parents are not on Facebook, Facebook will make the minor ineligible to appear in Sponsored Stories until he or she reaches the age of 18, until the minor changes his or her setting to indicate that his or her parents are on Facebook, or until a confirmed parental relationship with the minor user is established.


Your Class Member Number: REMOVED

To Parents and Guardians of Children on Facebook: The Settlement also involves the claims of minors featured in Sponsored Stories on Facebook. Please see the Settlement website for more information.

More information? For more information about the Settlement and how to take the actions described above, please visit (if clicking on the link does not work, copy and paste the website address into a web browser) or write to the Settlement Administrator at Fraley v. Facebook, Inc., Settlement, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35009, Seattle, WA 98124-1009, or You may also contact Class Counsel, Robert S. Arns of the Arns Law Firm, by calling 1-888-214-5125 or by emailing

To learn more about the lawsuit, watch this video:

REBLOG: 25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco

So, I HATE the reblogging system that wordpress uses. It tends to RUIN the posts. So, I don’t look often enough for cool posts on wordpress. Which is a shame because I miss awesome posts like this one – which just happens to talk about my dream city San Francisco:

25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco

ORIGINALLY POSTED: January 17, 2013

I moved to San Francisco 9 months ago from the East Coast bastion of Boston. Despite having experience living in a major US city, I found quite a few surprises coming here.  Some have been great, while others not so much.

If you’re planning the move here, I hope this will help you know better what to expect. And if you already live in SF, this should give you a laugh or two and hopefully inspire you to leave a comment with anything I missed. Consider this the guide I wish someone had given me when I moved here.

It gets cold at 4pm.

On the east coast I got used to it staying warm on a nice day til 10pm. If it was 70 degrees in the morning, you could rest assured that the temperature would be about 70 when you left work that night.  That is not the case here.

Working in SoMa, I’ve found that somewhere around 4pm the temperature starts dropping and so by 5 or 5:30pm it’s 10 degrees cooler outside. A lot of this is due to the fog that seems to roll in around then.

Pro Tip: Be prepared to always have layers with you. A light jacket is your best friend in San Francisco.

Neighborhoods define you.

People take the neighborhood you live in pretty seriously. It’s often a quick way to figure out a lot of what a person values most as SF is a city with something for everyone. Each neighborhood has a unique set of offerings, and pros and cons.  Like any stereotype, it’s not always true, but you will find that yes, there are a lot hipsters in the Mission, bros in the Marina and families in Noe Valley.

Pro Tip: If you’re moving here, spend some time in different neighborhoods before you get locked into living somewhere. (See one man’s opinion here)

If you’ve ever lived in SF, you’ll totally get this, and if not, it’s a pretty good idea of the stereotypes & diversity of neighborhoods:

Bikes of SF by Tor Weeks

Rent is insane.

The first thing you’ll notice when you get here is the sticker shock on rent. This is the most expensive city to live in now and only Manhattan is in the race with them. A studio is now over $2,000 a month in most parts of the city and even with roommates you’ll end up paying $1,000-$1,500 a month for a place pretty much anywhere in town. I just looked up the building I moved into April 1, 2012 and as of January, 2013 the rent is up $700 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment. If you’re wondering why that is, this PandoDaily article does a good job explaining why.

Pro Tip: Finding an apartment is a full contact sport. There’s a lot of important advice on finding an apartment in San Francisco here.

Lovely, an apartment listing site, did a great infographic on SF rent prices:

Rental rate rises by Lovely

Cost of living overall is sky high.

Of course these high rental prices are just part of the challenge of living here economically. The cost of goods in my experience have been as high or higher as anywhere else in the country. I’ve solved much of this by moving to buying more online, which is a shame because that means not supporting local businesses.  The most crushing aspect I saved for last though. Taxes here are significantly higher than I’ve experienced anywhere. This means you’re squeezed both on your take home pay and your expenses.

To put it all in perspective, I used to take home about 75% of my pay in Boston and here it’s only 65%. Meanwhile, my monthly expenses have risen almost a third from $2,500 a month in Boston to $3,300 here. This combines to mean despite a significant pay raise when I moved here, I live less comfortably here. I have no idea how anyone who isn’t working in a high tech role that pays an above average salary can live here.

Pro Tip: If you’re moving here for a job, take into account the added costs so you’re sure you get paid a salary that won’t dramatically hurt your standard of living.

There are crazy and cool things always going on.

One of my favorite things about coming to San Francisco has been this fact. It is truly amazing to me how often there are festivals, concerts, and just randomly awesome cultural events going on. From SantaCon to Fleet Week, Yerba Buena to the Academy of Science, there’s not just something for everyone; it’s impossible not to get drawn to something you didn’t expect.  I give huge credit to the city of San Francisco for how often they let streets get shut down, allow for impromptu performances and try to make it easy for people to participate by adjusting public transportation accordingly.

Pro Tip: There’s quite a few great sites out there to find things to do. The best I’ve found are Sosh (my goto site), UpandOutSF and Thrillist. Finding something exciting on one of those sites and asking people to go with you is the fastest way to make friends.

Costumes are a way of life.

“Is that a costume, or is that how you always dress?” is a legitimate question in San Francisco. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought that question when I look at a fellow passenger on the bus or a group of people walking down the street.  San Francisco takes costumes so seriously, we even make up extra occasions for it as Bay to Breakers is essentially a second Halloween for SF.

Also, as a forewarning, some people choose the cheapest costume of all, their “Birthday Suit”, on some days.  As one friend told me, “You’re not a true San Franciscan until you see a naked guy walking down the street.”

Pro Tip: Don’t fight it. San Francisco is one of the most creative cities and it’s because of the self-expression that comes from events like this.

This is a drunken costume party, err, race, across the city:

Lots of homeless, beggars and crackheads.

This is definitely part of the uglier side of San Francisco. Unfortunately, the worst parts of the city for crime are the Tenderloin and Civic Center (as well as some areas of Western Addition and the Mission), which are right in the middle of the city. Market Street and Union Square, which are areas filled with startups and great shops, is unfortunately on the border of those areas. Due to this, going to work or going shopping you’re likely to have multiple people hit you up for money and probably meet a crackhead or two. Luckily, most are harmless, so you’ll find it humorous after while as evidenced by this Yelp thread on “Favorite Crackhead Moments.” 

Unfortunately, this means there are some unpleasant scents in those areas.  Walking down the street you may find yourself playing the game “dog or human?” (note: this is unfortunately referencing what kind of feces is on the ground…or in one case a high heel on the sidewalk in SoMa).

Pro Tip: Learn the streets that include the Tenderloin and don’t walk there at night and avoid any Muni buses that will take you through there on your trip. (See map below.)

Don't go inside the dotted lines

Don’t wander inside the dotted lines alone

PBR is pervasive in San Francisco.

No matter what bar you’re in or store that sells beer, you will always find a hearty supply of PBR, usually in cans. Even Whole Foods sells 30 racks of PBR while only selling 6 packs of everything else.  Of course, being SF, startups have gotten into the game as well with recruiting pitches including a “year’s supply of PBR”:

PBR Recruiting bounty

Now, if you’re not into PBR, never fear. There’s actually a vibrant homebrew community and a number of great beer bars including Toronado and the Monk’s Kettle. California is home to tons of microbreweries so there’s always new beers to try. I personally prefer the microbrews but still see PBR everywhere I go. And if you’re not into beer, the influence of Napa is felt strongly with plenty of great wine options.

Pro Tip: When you’ve spent all your money on rent, you can still afford a beer thanks to the many happy hours and cheap cans of PBR.

An extremely pro-dog city.

If you’re a dog lover or have a dog, this is an amazing city for you. Every neighborhood has one or two parks in it and every one I’ve seen has had sizeable dog-friendly areas. No matter the time of day, you will always find people out and about with their dogs and socializing with others with dogs.  A number of bars I’ve been to have even let owners bring their dogs in when it’s not too packed.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of your dog living in SF, this article captures it better than I ever could:

“Living here has been a revelation when it comes to my dog.

I’m not just talking about the fact that there are hundreds of acres scattered in and around the city where he can romp undeterred by a leash. I’m talking about the fact that the people of San Francisco love their dogs. Where else in the country is there an active dog owner Political Action Committee?”

Pro Tip: Not all landlords allow pets, so if you’re bringing a dog with you, be sure to look into it when searching for an apartment.

Divisadero is the fog line.

San Francisco is known for many things, and one of the most notable is the fog.  It’s a big contributing factor to the temperature drop I mentioned before. The Divisadero is a street running North-South across the city effectively cutting it in half. If you live West of the Divisadero, you’ll see the sun a lot less than your East of the Divisadero counterparts.

Now, this isn’t to say that the whole city doesn’t get blanketed in fog, but if you’re on the West side, right around the time the sun has burned off the fog in the morning, the evening fog is rolling in.

How the Fog rolls in SF

How the Fog rolls in San Francisco

Pro Tip: Don’t let the fog discourage you from checking out the West side of the city. The Golden Gate Bridge, Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park are all awesome places on the West side.

Palo Alto and Mountain View are farther away than you think.

When I first moved to San Francisco, I was excited to know I had a number of friends who lived in Palo Alto and Mountain View. I figured I’d definitely make trips down regularly for work and pleasure.  I also figured they would come up to the city regularly. In the 9 months I’ve been here, I can count the number of visits on 2 hands. Meanwhile, I do see them in the city on rare occasion mainly because the center of the Silicon Valley universe has shifted back up towards San Francisco.

The Caltrain actually is pretty reliable, and most things in Palo Alto and Mountain View are within a reasonable distance of the stations, but when you look at your phone and realize it’s a 90 minute to 2 hour trip each way, it suddenly feels a lot less appealing.

Pro Tip: If you love living in an urban environment, don’t even consider living in Palo Alto or Mountain View. There’s a reason Google, Facebook and other Valley powerhouses have shuttles for their employees living in SF.

The 3 things you need to know about MUNI

The MUNI is the bus system in San Francisco that most San Franciscans have a Love-Hate relationship with.  Learn these 3 tips and you’ll avoid some of the biggest pains.

1) Google Maps is never right about what time the bus will come.

– If you need to figure out the best bus(es) to take to get to your destination, Google Maps is great, just not for telling you when the next bus will arrive. Use Rover or NextMUNI for time of the next bus arriving.

2) Half of the buses require you to step down into the steps to get the back door to open. 

– Failing to do this will get the whole bus yelling at you. Avoid the rookie mistake.

3) Chinatown is a bottleneck on any route going through it

– If your bus passes through Chinatown you can be sure that the bus will stop numerous times while passing through, usually delayed by a horde of people either cramming on or fighting to get off. If passing through Chinatown, add time to your trip.

Pro Tip: There are tons of great alternatives for any budget to MUNI & BART: walking, biking, cabs, SideCar, Lyft and Uber.

There are tons of amazing views.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk to your destination. This is because there are so many amazing views in San Francisco. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked around while walking the city and seen a truly breathtaking view.

You can learn where there are particularly great views in this awesome video (Corona Heights and Buena Vista are my favorites):

Of course, the views aren’t limited to the city sky line. There’s incredible nature all in and around the city from the waves crashing on the rocks on Ocean Beach to the sunsets on the Embarcadero to the Presidio view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s definitely one of the best things about this city.

Pro Tip: Alcatraz is not just a cool destination in and of itself, it has some incredible views of the city. Bring your camera and hope for a clear day.

Startup Central is in SoMa

If you’re interested in startups, the center of all the activity is SoMa, which stands for South of Market St.  With all the public transportation (MUNI, BART and CalTrain) criss-crossing Market Street and SoMA, it makes it super convenient to get to from most areas of the city.

Someone told me that there are over 1,000 startups in the area, and from what I’ve seen, it would not surprise me. Everywhere you look, there’s a sign for companies big and small. It’s not uncommon to find out an entrepreneur you’re going to meet with is in the same building as you.

For those that don’t have offices, many of the coffee shops in the area are notorious for great startup chatter and founders hacking on their laptops at EpiCenter and the Creamery or investors and partnership meetings at SightGlass and Blue Bottle.

Pro Tip: San Franciscans are a heavily caffeinated group that takes their coffee seriously, so try them all and choose your coffee meetings wisely.

SF is a super fit city.

One of the first things I noticed when I visited San Francisco a year ago was how fit everyone was. It literally seems like the population as a whole weighs 10-15 pounds less than their Northeast counterparts. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, the weather is virtually always nice enough to be active and go outside. While the Northeast is freezing and cooped up in their homes buried in snow, it’s sunny and in the 50s here. This makes it easy to stay active year round and helps avoid the dreaded “winter weight” many fight off every spring in colder climates.

Access to healthy food here is also pretty amazing. There are great farmers markets all over the city and with so much agriculture in California, the produce in grocery stores is also super fresh. Restaurant menus are also generally tailored to healthy eating as well. What surprised me most though was that even the Walgreens has produce, so you’re always within reach of something better than a candy bar.

Finally, with all the great weather, everyone seems to find some way to be active whether it be rock climbing, surfing, running, sports, yoga or the gym. Just Google your favorite activity and you’re sure to find a group for it.

Pro Tip: Joining a league or taking a fitness class is a great way to make friends. I made quite a few quick friends from the soccer team I joined and the ultimate frisbee league I play in.

If you’re a foodie, welcome to heaven.

A friend told me San Francisco has so many restaurants the entire city could eat out at the same time and be seated.  From what I’ve seen, I’d believe it.

Seriously check Yelp. It’s truly stunning the wide variety of food available. With so many options, there’s little reason to eat at the same place too many times.

A few of the tasty things you’ll find in SF (via Let’s Eat SF)

Pro Tip: Great places to eat and drink are a great conversation topic for any San Franciscan. If you want to move beyond Yelp and Foursquare Explore, just ask a local for a recommendation.

The 3 hour time zone difference is a big deal.

Having lived on the East Coast my whole life, I got very used to how much life revolves around the EST time zone. Sporting events, major news (like the State of the Union) and most television is optimized for EST. Being 3 hours behind can be difficult.

Being a big sports fan, this was a big adjustment. The first time I realized a Celtics playoff game was starting at 4pm was a sad day as there was no way I could watch the game until at least half time because of work. Meanwhile, NFL Sundays will never be the same as 10am kickoffs is something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. For those of you playing Fantasy Football, you may find yourself setting an alarm to make sure you’re awake in time to check injuries and set your lineup before the 1pm EST games.

Most importantly though, is the adjustment with family if they live in another time zone. I used to call my parents at least once or twice a week, especially to talk to my father if I needed business or life advice in a pinch. Unfortunately that’s a lot harder when you realize that if you wake up at 7am, it’s already mid-morning for them. Meanwhile, after work, if it’s 7pm here, it’s already 10pm and my parents are getting ready for bed. Bummer.

Pro Tip: Build a routine around connecting with anyone you want to keep in touch with on the East Coast. It will help fill in for all those moments you’re about to call someone and you realize the timing won’t work.

Watching sports matters a lot less.

With such great weather, so much to always do and the time zones throwing off game start times anyways, it’s little surprise that sports aren’t the center of conversation like they are in much of the Northeast.  In Boston, even women that hate sports have to pretend and wear pink Boston gear and watch the games. That definitely doesn’t happen here.

The good news is, if you have a team you love, there’s a “team bar” for just about any team in any sport. As a Steeler fan this has been great as I know there’s a place to go clad with the black and gold and the game on.

Pro Tip: If you’re used to bumming around inside on Sundays watching football, expect for that routine to change to brunch (a SF favorite activity) or any number of outdoor activities.

Everything is taken to the extreme.

San Francisco is a city with something for everyone. The interesting thing I found is how that is taken to the extreme. Whether you’re a hipster who will ride your fixie with your year-round (not just Movember) mustache or a bro in the Marina hulking on creatine, it seems everyone in a group tries to take it to the furthest point. In the most extreme case…look up the Folsom Street Fair (NSFW warning: graphic / sex-related).

In my daily life this has led to me noticing polarity like:

  • In fashion, either you’re super dressed up or you try very hard to look like you’re not trying at all in your skinny jeans, sandals and a t-shirt you wear every day.
  • Either you wear a jersey of your favorite team and go to the team bar to watch and talk about the game, or it doesn’t matter.
  • If you have a startup, your pitch probably includes how you’re going to not just build a cool business, but change the world in a massive way.

Pro Tip: Use this to your advantage and take one of your interests to a deeper level when you get there. You’ll likely meet others with the same interest who can teach you new things and be a friend.

You’ll turn into an early adopter even if you weren’t one before.

As a city, San Francisco is at the forefront of a lot of innovation. Even our trash program is progressive as it tries to set us on a path for zero waste by 2020.  More specifically in your day to day though is all the new products gaining new adoption and hype every day here.

A common topic of conversation whether at work, at a bar or just out and about is always the latest the apps people are using. You’ll try them out and have an opinion or be left in the dust. All this adoption has an added benefit of meaning that San Franciscans often gets the first look at apps other cities can’t even use yet (exp: Sosh, Lyft, SideCar, etc).

Your iPhone screen may start looking like this after a few months:

Pro Tip: Try a couple new apps every week and if you’re looking to spark conversation, ask someone if they’ve tried any great apps lately.

All the best tech startups are at their best here.

With all this great early adoption, it’s not that surprising that most of these startups are at their best here.

The most impressive to me is definitely Yelp.  It’s amazing in SF. I always use it and hear tips constantly after never using it in Boston. It seems like every store and restaurant has hundreds of reviews and there are a crazy number of Yelp Elites.

Pro Tip: If you tried apps like Foursquare and Yelp in other places and weren’t impressed, they’re worth another shot here.

Working in tech is the norm, not the exception.

Coming from Boston, startups feel almost like a secret society that flies under the radar; most of the city has no idea the hundreds of early stage startups there nor realize giants like Constant Contact, Kayak, and VistaPrint are all Boston companies. Meanwhile, here, no matter what you’re doing, those you meet will almost always be in finance or startups.

Like in Hollywood a few hours South, if you’re trying to “make it” (in our case, in startups, not writing/acting/directing), this is the place to be. There’s a 98% chance the person next to you in the coffee shop with the laptop open is working on their own startup or someone else’s.

Pro Tip: If you listen carefully to the conversations around you at the coffee shops here, you’ll hear tech gossip without even having to read TechCrunch.

A common sight at San Francisco coffee shops

People love novelty and new experiences.

This was actually one of the most surprising adjustments I had to make in common to San Francisco. In Boston, people are all about routine; you go to your favorite bar or restaurant with a certain group of friends like clockwork. If you find something you like, it quickly becomes the old standby and everyone is excited to recreate that experience.

In SF, it’s all about trying new things. Just because the last place you went was awesome doesn’t mean you’d like to go back. Instead,everyone looks for unique things to do and the fastest way to make friends is to suggest something unique & awesome to check out.

Pro Tip: With great weather pretty much year round, you can safely assume every weekend you’ll be able to get out of your apartment and experience something new. Cabin fever is a foreign concept in San Francisco.

Tons of awesome lies just beyond SF’s borders.

It’s easy to get lost in exploring San Francisco, but what really makes the city great is what lies just beyond. No matter what you love doing or your favorite climate, there’s great places to visit within a few hours drive of San Francisco.  You can snowboard or gamble in Tahoe, taste wines in Napa, rock climb or hike in national parks, mountain bike in Marin, or sail the bay.

Pro Tip: Oakland gets a bad rap, but there’s tons of great concerts and other events there worth checking out.

Come with an explorer’s attitude.

San Francisco is a city for new adventures and boundless opportunities. There’s great websites, apps and friendly locals who can help you take advantage of all there is to offer. With all the personality of the city and each individual neighborhood, there’s new things to discover and appreciate every where you go.


San Francisco native? What advice do you have for newcomers?

Special thanks to Zach Cole for help with this blog post. If you’re interested in startups and hiking, check out his site here:

This post was found on the Art of Living Blog. Go here to check out this post and many others!

DES TAYLOR DAY – Part Four – My Guy Spiderman

WARNING: If you haven’t read the first three posts, STOP and go read them. You’ll be glad you did!

A Story Told In Pictures

Art By Des Taylor
Arranged By Alley McNally




spidey and the goblincolor





mary jane collage

This will be the final post for today. Please make sure to check out his work at DesPop Blog.

DES TAYLOR DAY – Part Three – Forbidden Love

WARNING: If you haven’t read the first two parts, STOP and go read them – They’re awesome!

A Story Told in Pictures

Art by Des Taylor
Arranged by Alley McNally

batman and the Joker

dark knight

harley quinn by des taylor

the  joker

robin and batgirl


Catwoman_by_Des _Taylor
robin and batman
thearkham gang copy




To see more of his work, go to the DesPop Blog.

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