Photography Places

St. Charles promenade

I thought my heart belonged to the Mississippi, but that was before I spent a day exploring the shores of the Missouri. What is the huge magnificance of the Muddy River when compared to the wild child that lured Lewis and Clark west and regularly defeats the Army Corp of Engineers?


I followed the path by the water, exploring the banks and sand bars. At one point I came across tents along the water front, and men out fishing. I talked with one who told me about the fish caught this last week — fish 35, 40, 50 pounds or more and as tall as the fisherman. Or so he said. He said I needed to come down earlier in the day, and told me about the morning view, of whole flocks of geese swimming past, each with their babies. I reluctantly left the company of people who were as much river rat as I.


The pull of the river was enhanced by the charm of town along its banks, and I spent the afternoon wandering the St. Charles old Main street. One thing I have missed in St Louis is the concept of a promenade — a place of pretty buildings and shops where one can walk and look about, listening to street music, and eating ice cream cones.

Though filled with blocks of upscale eateries and ubiquitous ice cream parlors, there’s something of the old St. Charles still about the area, including a genuine old mill, and rough wood ancient Old Mill Bridge — still strong enough to hold up cars.


Of course, I would have to turn in my Good Photographer’s badge if I didn’t also get a photo of the old mill wheel.


When Missouri was going for statehood, the question of its status as a slave state was raised, as it was raised with the other states making up the Louisiana purchase. When it applied for statehood, the predominately southern people of Missouri demanded to be allowed to keep their slaves, a move bitterly contested by the northern states.

At that time, Maine petitioned to be a state, and a compromise was worked out, called the Missouri Compromise that would allow Missouri to join as a slave state, Maine to join as a free state, and thus keep the balance between slave and free within congress. In addition, another provision was drawn up that above 36 degrees 30 minutes north in the Purchase territories would be free, below slave. Unless the slaves escaped to the north, in which case they were to be returned to their owners in the south.

One can look at the gardens behind many of the fine old brick buildings in St. Charles, filled with rare and wonderous antique roses and almost see the slaves serving tea to their masters. Hard not to see the hint of chain behind the lace in this town.


Missouri is a state of contradictions — it was a slave state, and populated by Southerners, and still has the feel of a southern state in many ways. But it was also a state made up of French fur trappers and northern explorers, many who fought for the Union army during the civil war. When I walk about in a town like St. Charles, I can’t decide if Missouri is the most northern state of the southern states, or the most southern state of the northern ones. I think it depends with whom I’m talking.

In front of the town square, a couple of townspeople were playing music, a combination of old folk and blues — wonderful to hear, and unique to this area. If you come to the St. Louis region for no other reason, you must come here for the music.


St. Charles is also the trailhead for the Katy Trail — a 225 mile trail formed of crushed, packed limestone on what used to be an old railroad. It follows the Missouri river for the most part, across plains and at the base of towering cliffs as well as cutting through towns. It cuts straight across Missouri, almost reaching Kansas City.

I decided my walking goal for this summer is to walk the entire Katy Trail, a few miles at a time each weekend. I figure it will take me 5-6 months, give or take. Of course, if I had a bicycle, it would be much faster.


Technology Weblogging

On the lighter side

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Mr. Golby took time out from his *site redesign to stop by and leave a comment, but the comment window caused his browser to freeze.

Have others of you experienced this problem? Opening the comment window causing your browser to freeze or crash, or the page not opening?

Leave a comment, let me know.

*(I can see! I can read! … Is that what he’s been writing all along? I though he was selling Buster Browns…and some kind of cereal…)


Quiet photos

Euan Semple was recently on holiday in Wales, posting a single photo on his return. I asked for more photos since my maternal grandfather is Welsh, and Euan came through with some wonderful photos. Thank you Euan.

Social Media Weblogging

Quiet times

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

My nephew’s graduation was today but I decided not to drive over to it. This last week was a long week, capped off with my roommate receiving some very difficult news last night. It will be a quiet weekend this weekend, which suits me. Perhaps I’ll get out for some photography tomorrow.

I received a surprised chuckle when reading AKMA’s coverage of the Digital Genres conference, and saw the following:

Trevor characterizes blogs as stories, whether in pictures (he cites Burningbird and Rageboy, an unnerving combination) or words.

Now, contrary to popular myth, I am not Rageboy in drag — his eyes are blue, mine are green, and he’s really much prettier than I am.

The Corante Social Software weblog folks — Clay Shirky. Liz Lawley, Ross Mayfield, Sébastien Paquet, Jessica Hammer, and Hylton Jolliffe — have kindly asked me to guest weblog this next week. I was both touched and honored by this request, and have planned a series of posts about the social aspect of social software — what happens when you throw cruddy old human behavior at shiny new social technology. Hopefully the social software folks won’t regret their invitation.

Out and about, I saw that Andrew Orlowski from The Register does seem to dislike webloggers from his recent article. He writes:


Well, primarily because blogging is a solitary activity that requires the blogger to spend less time reading a book, taking the dog for the walk, meeting friends in the pub, seeing a movie, or reading to the kids. The reason that 99.93 per cent of the world doesn’t blog, and never will, is because people make simple information choices in what they choose to ingest and produce, and most of this will be either personal and private, or truly social. Blog-evangelists can fulminate at the injustice of this all they like, but people are pretty smart and make fairly rational choices on the information they process.

Interesting people run interesting blogs, but it’s remarkable how few of them there are.


I’m not sure how big weblogging will be. I had recent exposure to the fact that most people really don’t have an interest in maintaining a journal, online or off. Most people really don’t care for writing that much, or even have that much respect for it. I am finding that even something like writing a technical book can lose technical brownie points rather than increase them.

Having said this, though, I do find that there are people who want to connect and communicate, and who like the idea of a weblog or a wiki, and usually have something to share — whether it’s an interest in books, poetry, movies, music, photography, travel, technology, and yes, even everyday life. And I have grown from this exposure, though sometimes the growth isn’t without growing pains.

I have to laugh at Mr. Orlowski’s statement about weblogger’s spending less time reading books, because my exposure to poetry and literature, cultures and new technologies, and interesting people has doubled since I started this weblog.

I still get a kick out of being called a ‘poetry’ weblog, when my interest in poetry arose from works such as Loren’s recent writing about William Carlos Williams. I found through Loren’s discussion with Language Hat that I also favor the ‘romantics’ among the poets — and now I actually understand what this means, rather than being a memorized term I can pull out to impress people. Too bad Mr. Orlowski spends so much time with the weblogging A-List folks such as Dave Winer and Polish teenage girls, rather than the people I read daily — he might be pleasantly surprised.

As for the socialization — that’s also a chuckle as I read in weblog post after weblog post of people attending this conference or that get together. I think I’m the only person who hasn’t met other webloggers in person and that’s primarily by choice, being the reticent, quiet, and shy person that I am.