A Folsom Street Adventure

No no, i’m not talking about the Folsom Street Fair, which is week after next but which i’m way too old for.  This one was rather more low key.  I just went out to Rainbow for some milk and an Acme sourdough baguette, which i keep returning to after flirting around with the competitors since it’s pretty much the, ahem, acme.  And since i was out and it was a gorgeous day i rode slowly down Folsom Street, trying to take in the astonishing architectural changes that have transmogrified SOMA while my back was turned over the past couple of decades.

It’s not all new, of course, but even the old has in many cases been spiffed up with new paint:


And there are moments of non-architectural whimsy


But as you get a little farther northeast, the new architecture prevails


And this


P1020198And this














And mixed in with it, some of the older, like this magnificent PG&E monolith at Fremont Street


I loved that building at first sight decades ago.  You’d think from the appearance that it would be the home of the infamous Room 641A provided since 2003 as a public service by AT&T, which takes our money for our phone and DSL service and then shows its gratitude for our custom by turning us in to the feds.  But no, Room 641A is in their building at 611 Folsom, which has a much more benign feel since it’s set back from the street behind a large, leafy public space and does not look at all like the kind of place where the National Security Agency would be warrantlessly wiretapping all our telephone and computer communications.

I mentioned Room 641A in a Facebook comment last week and was called a paranoid by some idiot who maintained that it would be impossible to effectively monitor the volume of traffic that went through that room.  I don’t think fast enough to reason with fools anymore, but i’ll just point out here that the NSA has an enormous classified budget usually estimated as more than double that of the CIA, has been providing SIGINT services for the US government since 1952, and is very very good at it.  So since we know they’re sucking up all our Internet and phone traffic in Room 641A, i have every confidence that they know how to use it.

And besides, in my misspent youth i worked for their US Army branch.

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