Welcome to Wiki-World

Greetings from Account Director Marsha Robertson…

As actress, writer and Star Wars princess Carrie Fisher has said, “instant gratification takes too long.” Which is exactly what crossed my mind this past weekend. In a car with three other adults, we were on our way to a concert when it became apparent that none of us had thought to get the exact address of the venue. Before I knew it, fingers were flying on three different cell phones to access the Internet (an iPhone, a Treo and a Motorola Q) and answers were shouted out as if we were all contestants on Jeopardy.

In the same evening, there was a debate over dinner about a song lyric by Lennon & McCartney that no one could quite remember. Another cell phone to the rescue, reminding us (via Google) that Eleanor Rigby “picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been.”

Let’s face it. The last five years have transformed millions of people into those annoying know-it-alls we shunned in the seventh grade. Now anyone can be a digital “braino” with vast amounts of encyclopedic knowledge waiting to be accessed via the Internet and their flip-up phone.

But here’s the catch: It appears that the body of knowledge we may have digested and learned in school about foreign languages, literature and historical events is no longer taking up space in our complex human brains. Nah, we’d rather file that in Wiki-World —those clusters of information that are housed on a server accessed by your desktop, your laptop, or your cell phone. All the names of the U.S. Presidents, the state capitals, the periodic table of chemical elements and the Gettysburg address are just waiting for you to push a button and summon them at will – like a genie from a magic lamp.

Meanwhile our very own gray matter, our personal cerebral playgrounds, are crammed with crates of useless trivia. Trivia about Paris Hilton’s dogs, Britney Spears’ children and Jennifer Aniston’s favorite ice cream. I’ll admit this about myself — I can’t remember a thing I learned about the Spanish-American War. But I can name Madonna’s children and I know that George Clooney once loved a pot-bellied pig named Max.

I’m pretty sure that I suffered some brain damage when I sat too close to the stage at a Rolling Stones concert in college, but that’s why I’m grateful for the millions of people who are contributing their vast and detailed knowledge to Wikis. My brain cells are dying. So long live the Wiki.

Here are my Buzz-worthy recommendations in the Bay Area:

  • Beach Blanket Babylon: As fresh and funny as it was 30+ years ago when theatrical genius/impresario Steve Silver first brought it to life, Beach Blanket Babylon is a musical spoof that is constantly changing and has been selling out ever since. Producer Jo Schuman Silver and Director Kenny Mazlow have carried on the tradition with the same smart and twisted style that we all loved about Steve.
  • Garibaldis: Hey, I moved here from New York and have high standards when it comes to dining, but Garibaldi’s has become my hands-down neighborhood favorite. Great wine list, wonderful service. And valet parking is much appreciated.
  • Lyons Street Steps: Located at Broadway and Lyon is a Pacific Heights neighborhood workout spot that is the unofficial SF Stairmaster. The Lyon Street steps border the Presidio, span nearly two blocks and offer a rewarding view of the Bay from the top, if you can make it that far!
  • Baker Beach: Take your dog, your kids or your significant other off their leash and let them run wild on this pristine strip of beach that gazes out on the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. Tucked in below the Presidio, it’s a great getaway whether you have an hour or a whole day.
  • Forgotten Shanghai: Don’t you hate the fact that the Design District is open to “the trade only”? Fortunately, Forgotten Shanghai is a beautiful store that breaks the rules. They’re in the same ‘hood but they’re open to the retail trade- that means you- and they have a great selection of beautiful Asian-themed furniture, pottery and accessories.
  • MR: Yes, this is a stylish barbershop in the financial district, but to me it’s Academy Award headquarters because the two brilliant owners, Kumi and Sean, allow me to take over their beautiful brick-walled space with a gorgeous bar and a 100” screen television for my hopefully-annual Oscar party. Hey guys, I’ll be back next year for another one!
  • Mountain Lake Park: A well-hidden secret that’s adjacent to the Presidio Golf Course, this is a doggie daydream. Lots of walking paths, a parcourse, picnic tables, tennis courts and a pretty lake at the center of it all.
  • Filoli: Located thirty miles south of San Francisco off Highway 280, this 654-acre Filoli estate contains as its central portion a magnificent historic mansion and sixteen acres of formal gardens. Great weekend getaway and there’s a summer jazz festival as well.