Posted in Locations

A year in Cornwall

Frank Leahy is a friend and former-colleague from Wired. He was responsible for creating one of the primary Content Management Systems used at Lycos, and made significant contributions to the engineering effort when we redesigned Wired News last year. Frank left Wired a couple months ago, and he and his family of four recently picked up their lives and moved to England, settling temporarily in what looks like an amazing location: Cornwall. Understandably, Frank immediately has more time, and so much to write about that he’s started his own weblog, titled “A Year in Cornwall“. continued


Yesterday morning, I left my sunny, cloudless, 75°F Noe Valley neighborhood to join Jeff and Bryan 2 miles to the north in Pacific Heights to watch a portion of the T-Mobile International. Fortunately, I had called ahead, and been told to bundle up. When I arrived, Pacific Heights (as is typical in summer months) was enshrouded with fog, it was a chilling 50°F, and a harsh wind whipped through the stately mansions, making it feel even colder. Where else can you go only 2 miles and experience a natural temperature drop of 25°+? To get a feel for what it was like earlier in the morning, see this shot from the womens’ race, which started at 7:30am. continued

View, sans fog

[thumbnail image: a clear view toward downtown San Francisco from my apartment balcony] A couple of readers wrote to me wondering what my normal view — described yesterday — is like. Yesterday’s photo was actually taken from a street corner behind my apartment building looking toward Twin Peaks and the fog-obscured Sutro Tower mentioned in the comments. Today… no fog in sight. This photo was taken from my balcony looking toward downtown and the Bay Bridge. The skyline looks exceptionally small and distant thanks to the lens on this mini camera. Although it would take about 30 minutes to drive there, the center of downtown is only 2 miles away. On clear days, I can see the peak of Mount Diablo 35 miles to the east. I’ve certainly seen more impressive geography elsewhere. But it’s inspiring to sit beside the window and have this in front of me. Yes, it’s a nice view. Yes, I have excellent views of hills to the south as well. And yes, I’m actually considering starting the search for a new place to live. Are we ever content with what we’ve got?

Morning, fog city

[thumbnail image: the fog-obscured view toward the opposing hill, taken around the corner from my apartment building] Early on a Sunday morning. I wake up and open the living room blinds to a sea of white. On most clear days, I have a view of half the San Francisco skyline, a portion of the Bay Bridge, and several nearby hills filled densely with houses and apartment buildings. Today, thanks to our typical ground-hugging summer fog, I barely see a half block down my own hill. The downtown skyline, nowhere in site. A morning like this begs one to either curl back up in bed, or head to a warm, quiet cafe to work next to a steaming cup of coffee and a small breakfast. I decide the latter, and head to Canvas, arriving fifteen minutes after opening. continued

Poolside with the Baghdad Blogger

Via Paul Boutin, an interesting read from Peter Maass over at Slate. “Salam Pax Is Real” tells an inside story of Driving Mr. Pax, discovering his musical and literary tastes, and taking advice on buying Persian rugs — all without ever realizing this hired interpreter was the Iraqi star of the Web and burdened by huge ISP costs:

He usually drifted off to one of the few Internet cafes in town. I assumed he was just writing e-mails to friends, though he often complained about the high cost of downloading and uploading. This struck me as odd, because sending and receiving e-mail shouldn’t require a lot of bandwidth–unless, of course, you are posting photos to your blog and receiving more e-mail than Bill Gates.

A new Canvas

It’s been a while since I’ve stumbled into The Canvas, paid for a latte and a pastry or ordered a sandwich and salad from the counter, perused the art hanging around the side walls, and camped out at one of their tables under thirty-foot ceilings. I used to love coming to this place because I like their concept. Combine an art gallery (a real one, with lots of art from a mix of local and regional West Coast artists) with a nearly-full-menu cafe, put it in an interesting space away from normal tourist traffic, and you’ll attract a nice range of art enthusiasts, students, laptop-laden geeks, and java-sippers of all ages. continued

Ghost on the subway

It’s a rare occurrence to see two human faces superimposed on top of each other in the real world, at least outside of Photoshopped manipulations and Conan O’Brien’s “If They Mated“. But just such a thing can happen when you’re sitting on a subway car in just the right spot and the overhead fluorescent lighting glows at just the right intensity so that you’re able to see through the glass windows into the next adjoined subway car where one of it’s grumpy urbanites (exhibit A) sitting in reverse facing your car is glaring back at you like no force to be reckoned with and the windows are tinted and so spotlessly clean that the reflected image of another silently sulking commuter (exhibit B) sitting forward-facing in your own subway car appears in the identical spot from which grumpy urbanite (exhibit A) is already glaring and the precise position of two other individuals in three-dimensional space relative to your own is bound together for a timeless moment forming a quite horrid composite image of grumpy urbanite (exhibit A) placed perfectly inline with sulking commuter (exhibit B) and as you rhythmically bounce along the tracks beneath Market Street together you gaze in wonder for a full 45 seconds at this bizarre spectre (exhibit C) quite unlike any hallucination you’ve ever experienced.

Touring D.C.

I’m in Washington D.C. this week, spending time with a few good friends. Since everyone is still working, today is my opportunity to tour around independently and see some sights. I haven’t been here since my eighth grade class trip, so I’m looking forward to a quick whirlwind tour of our nation’s capital. To take maximum advantage of one short day, we decided the best approach would be to focus my time around the National Mall, allowing me to pop in and out of the many Smithsonian museums. continued

More Miami

Sitting in the Miami airport, waiting for a flight to Chicago. Here’s a few more shots to highlight from this past weekend:

* Thumbnail image: Downtown Miami buildings are wrapped in just as much neon as South Beach
* Thumbnail image: The Breakwater Hotel on Ocean Avenue with a bold blue and white color scheme and marquee-like signage
* Thumbnail image: The Royal Palm Hotel on Collins Ave looked very regal and exclusive, especially with Italian sports cars parked out front

South Beach sights

The AIGA I/O Conference wrapped up yesterday. Overall, it was an excellent 2-day conference with a nice range of topics covered. I stuck around in Miami for an extra day just to relax a little. Over the last couple days, I snapped a lot of digital shots in attempt to capture some of the beauty I saw here. As I was taking the night shots, I quickly realized my simple digital camera couldn’t handle low light pictures without a flash. But when I turned the flash off, I discovered I could get some really nice time-lapse effects. I’ll let some of my favorites from the weekend speak for themselves… continued