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film, music, text, city, spectacle, pleasure

Hipster Bingo – a social media win

Sightglass Bingo is a cool little app for playing bingo by spotting items at Sightglass Coffee, a hip and popular café and roaster in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. These kind of social bingo jokes seem to pop up pretty regularly (cf Queen’s Speech Bingo, Amnesty’s Human Rights Presidential Debate Bingo), and when they’re done right they can be quite funny. The iPhone app + Twitter aspect is a very nice upgrade, though.

Sightglass Bingo iPhone app screen

Play bingo by spotting items at Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco.Development by David Kasper. Design by Caleb Elston.Built using parse. (via Sightglass Bingo.)

Some of the bingo entries are going to be practically automatic, they occur so frequently – “Payment w/Square” – whereas some are going to be pretty tricky, like “TechCrunch Article” or “VC” (presumably Venture Capitalist, given the context, and not Vice Chancellor, which was my first, inappropriate context reading).

I’m not sure if this is still active – the app hasn’t be updated since 2011 and there’s been almost no activity on the associated Twitter account (@SightglassBingo) – but I think it’s a great idea. And if it’s not active, let’s get it going again.

Well, actually, you’ll have to do that without me. I never go to Sightglass. (Long story. Short version: I’ve had to divide up the city with an asshole who can’t stand to be in the same place as me – no, not an ex – and he insisted on Sightglass as part of his domain.)  So I won’t be playing this, but it’s easy to see how this could be extended to pretty much any of the other hip, popular coffee spots without much if any modification.

In fact, it would probably work even better at Four Barrel or Ritual, both on Valencia St. in the Mission (and coffee spots that are in my domain).  A few modifications might be in order, though, to improve game play.  You never see them bagging beans at Ritual, for instance, and the roasters are gone. And obviously, you want to make sure that the “cards” are kept fresh – over time, the selection of what’s hip in clothing could change, you can add in the website of the moment, or the newest smartphone or facial hair style.  But the concept is sound, and a hoot.

Sightglass Bingo for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Sightglass Bingo (SightglassBingo) on Twitter.

Filed under: Coffee, Tech, , , ,

Coffee and Books in San Francisco’s Mission District – the perfect job?

BorderlandsBooks1

Borderlands Cafe, the (somewhat) newly minted accompaniment to San Francisco’s best science fiction and fantasy bookstore, Borderlands Books, is hiring:

We have an unusual job opening at Borderlands Cafe.  It’s not glamorous, but it would be great for a local high schooler or a nearby person with a flexible schedule.  The hours would be 7 pm – 9 pm, Monday – Friday, and the job would include cleaning, busing tables, and doing the closedown work at the Cafe.  Considering how short the hours are, the person really should live quite close to the cafe.  Pay is SF minimum wage, but you get to work with a great group of people and you get a discount at the bookstore!  Email jfeldman@borderlands-books.com for more information before sending a resume.

I’ve spent a lot of time there, and I can personally attest to the greatness of the people.  This job is a lot like the first job I had—at a game store—but with the addition of COFFEE!  So, totally awesome and vastly superior—possibly the perfect first job for a high schooler who lives in the area.

You can see that I am not alone in loving the cafe by checking out their Yelp page. (I love it just slightly less since they removed the couches up front, and have never been 100% reconciled to their no -WiFi policy, but I understand and support the reasoning behind both decisions.)

 

Filed under: Coffee, San Francisco, , ,

Songs of the Season: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

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Some classical music with no obvious, overt connection to the holiday has nonetheless become associated with Christmas over the years—at least in the United States. Bach has a Christmas Oratorio, but his choral movement known as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” also seems to have become something of a Christmas tune (as well as a popular piece for weddings).

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring is the English title of the 10th movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. A transcription by the English pianist Myra Hess (1890–1965) was published in 1926 for piano solo and in 1934 for piano duet.[1] The British organist Peter Hurford made his organ transcription for the chorale movement as well. Today, it is often performed at wedding ceremonies slowly and reverently, in defiance of the effect suggested by Bach in his original scoring,[2] for voices with trumpet, oboes, strings, and continuo. Written during his first year in Leipzig, Germany, this chorale movement is one of Bach’s most enduring works. (via Wikipedia.)

It is, or at least can be, stately, beautiful, serious but also full of joy. You can see why people like it for occasions such as weddings and Christmas. The Windham Hill version is pretty much my favorite version as a “holiday” song:

David Qualey, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” – from A Winter’s Solstice

The numerous other versions available can vary greatly in appeal:

Sarah Brightman also included a version on her album, A Winter Symphony.

For more…

Filed under: Song of the Day, , , , ,

What I Read Today: Tasty quotes on our online life

Two tasty quotes concerning our online life:

“have you ever wondered why discussions in chat rooms or instant messaging turn nasty so easily? Or wander off topic? It’s because the behavioural cues we use to trigger socially acceptable responses aren’t there in a non-face-to-face environment. If you can’t see the other primate, your ethical reasoning is impaired because you can’t build a complete mental image of them—a cognitive frame.”

Rule 34 by Charles Stross

We have information fatigue, anxiety, and glut. We have met the Devil of Information Overload and his impish underlings, the computer virus, the busy signal, the dead link, and the PowerPoint presentation.

What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier by James Gleick

Filed under: What I Read Today, , , , ,

Poetry and Blackberry Picking with Seamus Heaney and Robert Hass

Over on her blog, turbidus has posted a (poem of the day) Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney, including a great video of Heaney reading it:

I would just like to counter / respond with my own favorite poem about blackberry picking, by Robert Hass from his breakout second book, Praise:

Picking Blackberries with a Friend Who Has Been Reading Jacques Lacan

August is dust here. Drought
stuns the road,
but juice gathers in the berries.
We pick them in the hot
slow-motion of midmorning.
Charlie is exclaiming:

for him it is twenty years ago
and raspberries and Vermont.
We have stopped talking

about L’Histoire de la vérité,
about subject and object
and the mediation of desire.

Our ears are stoppered
in the bee-hum. And Charlie,
laughing wonderfully,

beard stained purple
by the word juice,
goes to get a bigger pot.

A poet and blogger made a really interesting observation on this poem a few years ago that I just ran across:

I also like the way Hass employs the word “stuns” in “Picking Blackberries…” to give a quick nod toward Sylvia Plath’s “Blackberrying.” Plath wrote of the flies buzzing round her English blackberries: “The honey feast of the the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.” The acknowledgment of the debt is a classy little move, typical of the work of Robert Hass. (via sonnets at 4 a.m.: A Poem by Robert Hass.)

Though of course I’ve read Sylvia Plath, I have absolutely no recollection of this poem, but now I want to rush out and read it.  (I can’t read a poem for the first time online; there’s something about computer screens that seems to inhibit that initial connection for me.)

For more poetry by Robert Hass, and some background on him, check out Robert Hass : The Poetry Foundation:

Robert Hass is one of contemporary poetry’s most celebrated and widely-read voices. In addition to his success as a poet, Hass is also recognized as a leading critic and translator, notably of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and Japanese haiku masters Basho, Buson and Issa. Critics celebrate Hass’s own poetry for its clarity of expression, its conciseness, and its imagery, often drawn from everyday life.

Praise, by Robert Hass – Powells.com
Praise, by Robert Hass – Amazon.com

Filed under: Poetry, , , ,

I learned 3 fascinating things on public radio this morning

NPR Morning Edition logoIn the space of 20 minutes, I learned three fascinating things this morning, all of which seemed directly relevant to me and my concerns, listening to KQED on my drive to work. (I normally bike, but I have a lot of stuff to carry today.) According to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition, autism may be caused, at least in part, by an interconnectivity problem between different parts of the brain.  From KQED, I learned that one in every $3 donated to California state campaigns since 2000 came from a tiny group of just 100 individual and group donors who together gave over $1 billion, and that more than 40% of registered voters in California are new voters, or people who only turn out occasionally.

The latter two facts/figures obviously reflect troubling trends in our political system that are only getting worse, and are skewing politics dramatically to the right.  The autism study seemed particularly fascinating to me because it held out the hope of limited treatments in the present, which was discussed in the story on NPR, and because it suggests that possibility of discovering why there has been an apparent increase in the prevalence of autism; if improperly functioning fibres in the brain are to blame, in whole or in part, we can begin to investigate what might be damaging the formation of these fibres or discover which genes regulate their structure and function. It’s pretty exciting.

I felt charged up in different ways and different directions by these three fascinating facts – but definitely charged up, and grateful to have learned them. So I joined KQED.  I get more out of KQED and NPR over the course of a year than I do from a lot of the other media and entertainment I pay for. Easily more than any five books I might buy during the course of a year. So donating $100 seems the least I could do.

That’s what I feel good about this morning.

For more…

Filed under: Feel Good, , , , , , , , , ,

Nerdware mashup

May the force be ever in your favor…

Rebel Games t-shirt - a Hunger Games / Star Wars mashup

Shirt Punch.

Filed under: Nerdware, , , , , ,

Know your coffee birds: Blue-crowned Motmot — Coffee & Conservation

blue-crowned motmotCoffee & Conservation provides information about the connection between coffee and the environment — especially bird habitat.

One bird that frequents environmental sensitive coffee plantations is the Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota), a “member of a family of New World tropical birds related to kingfishers. Like kingfishers, they nest in burrows which they dig themselves into soil cliffs or road cuts; these burrows are five to up to 14 feet long, and winding. Most motmots are medium-sized (robin size or larger), and are sit-and-wait predators of large insects, small reptiles or mammals and similarly sized prey, along with a little fruit.

The Blue-crowned Motmot is the most widely distributed motmot, and is found from Mexico to Argentina in lowland forests, on up to 1300 meters. It’s fairly tolerant of somewhat disturbed habitats, and thus can be found in open woodlands and second-growth forest such as those found on shade coffee plantations.”

Know your coffee birds: Blue-crowned Motmot — Coffee & Conservation.

Filed under: Coffee, , ,

Nerdware for lounging around your blue box

Doctor Who Towelling Robe: 4th Doctor

Doctor Who: Towelling Robe: 4th Doctor @ Forbidden Planet.

Filed under: Nerdware, , , ,

The Ultimate Caffeine Delivery System?

“Imagine a coffee brewer that you don’t have to leave running. A coffee brewer that has no pressurized boilers, requires no yearly inspections and heats up water from cold to hot at the push of a button.”

Imagine having an instant brew coffee machine – espresso, cappuccino, you name it – on your desktop – and controlled by your iPhone!  I think I may have died and gone to heaven.

The compact model is about the size of a computer tower: 22 inches tall, 18 inches deep and 7 inches wide. The Scanomat TopBrewer – an idea whose time came when I got to work this morning.

Filed under: Coffee,

The Tumblr-ization of Pinterest: Fish Fingers and Custard!

There’s a board on Pinterest called Fish Fingers and Custard!. If Pinterest is your first major foray into social networks beyond FaceBook, it will look a bit strange.  But if you’ve spent any time on Tumblr, it will look very, very familiar.

And I think that’s a good thing.  To a large extent, Pinterest feels like the product pages and ads from House Beautiful, Martha Stuart Living, Cosmo, Fine Cooking, FHM and… wel,l all those other magazines that are little more than glorified catalogues.

The intrusion of a quirkier, less product-placement mentality from the world of Tumblr is a welcome development.

What is still lacking, though, is an intrusion from the world of journalism – with all the stunningly pictorial events happening around the world, from tornadoes and other climate change catastrophes to war and famine (and even the odd nice thing) this is a still a lack of boards and pins reflecting any kind of political or social awareness and interest.

For more…

Filed under: Feel Good, Interweb, , ,

Nerdware: That shirt’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’!

shirt.woot! Don’t Walk / Silly Walk.

And in case you need clarification…

For more…

Filed under: Nerdware, Pop Culture, , , , ,

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zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, film buff and occasional reviewer, and former private detective. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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