Today’s Digital postcard

I walked the length of the Embarcadero today, at least most of it. Combined with the heavy lifting yesterday, and all the driving, and I’m more than a little tired. Tomorrow, no exploring, no salsa dancing, though I may go out tomorrow night to watch the fireworks.

(Sorry to those on the Salsa dance watch.)

Instead, on this quiet day, I plan on hanging around the hotel, taking it easy, and working on a couple of things for the co-op server – including getting suexec working and trying to figure out the Movable Type timezone problem. Besides, I’ll avoid the hordes coming into the city for the fireworks. Last year, the streets were impassable and both bridges blocked with traffic.

However, I will make one more trip to my beloved Dog Beach in the morning.

This afternoon I spent some time at the Ferry Building and at the Thursday Farmer’s Market, though I was disappointed at the size of the affair – a couple of booths, a few customers. The Ferry Building itself was worth the visit. I love clean architecture, with large and open spaces and a minimum of geegaw.


The fog rolled in again tonight, which is good as it will help keep the weather a bit cooler tomorrow. It’s fascinating to watch the fog roll into San Francisco. It starts at the Pacific side, and then rolls over the Castro area, while another band comes in past Golden Gate and over the Presidio, spreading into the Bay, like cotton batting being rolled out for cutting. While this is going on, the rest of the city is under bright sunshine but the breeze stays cool, with a hint of the moisture surrounding the city.

San Francisco really is a place for couples, because there is nothing more romantic than walking along the beach in the fog, listening to the waves break against the shore and watching the pelicans fly gracefully past.

You can keep your diamond rings, your champagne and soft music, fancy words of lust and love, and satin sheets and candlelight. I’ll take the sand, the sounds of the ocean and being wrapped in the fog, sharing a stretch of beach with someone as content with the silence as you are.

You might jokingly say I’m a cheap date, however I’m anything but – I’m in love with perfect moments: with events and emotions and comradery and companionship that are just so. A diamond ring is easy by comparison.


RDF Specs

Necho update

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’m off to walk around favorite places today, but first an update on what was Echo and now looks to become Necho by default.

I tried to catch up on the wiki, but a couple of days on the road has put me hopelessly out of touch on this project. However, there seems to be a move towards a new name, a syndication format, and an API. I don’t like the new name – Necho for Not Echo. I’m indifferent to the syndication format, and there seems to be a couple of variations on the API. Still digging through this info.

Danny praises me for creating an RDFOWL vocabulary of N/Echo. I wish I could take credit for this, Danny, but someone else wrote these vocabularies – or demonstrated using existing vocabularies for the second example.

My biggest concern with this effort is not that the name will stay at Necho, or that the syndication feed and API won’t work. My biggest concern is that there is a small core of controlled data forming the current effort, while a lot of other people are slamming stuff together for ‘extensions’.

The first draft of the data model for N/Echo was a great version 1.0, but we should be looking at version 2.0, which accounts for things like categories and threads – the information that is the semantically rich aspect of a weblog entry. After all, there is little to be learned about recording that this entry was published on this date by this person. Where’s the category, or topology associated with the entry? How do we record that my previous entry was about traveling, San Francisco, photographs, the fact that dogs are no longer allowed on dog beach? How do we record that this item links to a post by Danny, and references a wiki, and that I’m sending a trackback ping?

We can record the N/Echo data in RDF/XML, but it’s really not going to extend the semantic richness of what is fairly simple data: entry by person on this date and with this link and of this type.

We can forgo all that boring data model stuff and just go to the extensions to the XML – but for what? The syndication feed? The API? And do we all agree on what we mean by category?

The core effort will be a success, of that I have no doubt. And that’s a good start. However, this core effort is surrounded by chaos, and that troubles me.

Regardless, good job to the people who work so hard, and seemingly do not sleep. Or eat. Or make love to their significant others, and play with the kiddies and poochies. And I know you all love me, which means you must not hate me, even if my interests do diverge at this point from the majority of the people forming the XML and creating them RESTful APIs.

Photography Places

Look what they’ve done to my walk

I walked around my old San Fran home near the Bay Bridge this morning. In particular I wanted to see what they did with the park they were finishing along the Embarcadero by my place.

Oh. My. God.

The park itself is rather nice, with simple green hills and flowers and nice chairs for people to sit on and watch the water. On some of the cement blocks bordering the green, bronze imitation octopus and shells were embedded in the cement, for those tourists who, I assume, were too dense to notice that they’re by the Bay. One or two embedded items might have been nice — several dozen repeating in a pattern, like tile on a kitchen floor isn’t. I’d have taken a picture, but I has to ask myself, Why?

Still, these were not the jewel of the park, the center of attraction. On no. That was reserved for a 60 foot tall bow and arrow embedded into ground.

I stood there for some time looking at the supposed feathers on the arrow, trying to figure out why San Francisco was using a Native American theme for what is a water-based parkway. I assumed that’s what the bow and arrow symbolized. Still, it didn’t make sense –after all, San Francisco has never had much identity with native American history, other than the tribe that took over Alcatraz that one time.

I also wondered if the statue had increased the traffic accident count on the Bay Bridge, with its full view of the, urh, artwork.

(When I came back to the hotel to rest in the early afternoon — still feeling the effects of the drive and the moving yesterday — I looked the statue up. It’s called “Cupid’s Span”, and symbolizes San Francisco as a romantic city. Oh. Good. God.)

After the bow incident, I explored the newly renovated Ferry building, and that was a real treat. Lovely restoration, and the use of the space for upscale dining combined with hometown food purveyors like Acme Bread (Yum! My favorite!) is a great use of space. Not to mention the Farmer’s Market. In fact, I’m heading back this evening for the Thursday night Farmer’s Market, where I hope to pick up dinner. Following, I’ll wonder down to Pier 39 and beyond, saying hi to the Pelicans and seals, and the guys painted silver.

I thought about walking down to the bow and arrow one more time, taking a photo of it in the sunset light, which could only help it (nothng can make it worse). But then I thought — Why? Hopefully I’ll have other pictures for you tonight.


Photography Places

Last digital postcard

Tomorrow I take off for home, and as I’ll have no time to play along the way, this will be my last digital postcard for this trip.

I spent this morning making one last visit to Dog Beach (Crissy Field/Golden Gate), to the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero, and yes, even to the Big Damn Bow and Arrow (BDBaA).

There was some odd activity at the BDBaA. It looked like a guy filming another guy in front of the BDBaA, while that guy was taking pictures, or pretending to take pictures, and the person being filmed was also being photographed. What I couldn’t get into the picture was a woman just out of the frame who was also taking pictures of all of them.

You know, if this were any city other than San Francisco, I would find this strange.


At the Dog Beach, I was reassured to see that yes, part of the beach does still allow dogs, and spent some time this morning watching then. The big dogs are impressive, but it’s the little ones that always catch my eye. Makes me want to get a dog until I remember what my cat, Zoe’s, reaction would be to me getting a dog.

In particular, a little Yorky, feisty little bugger, kept running at the waves trying to take bites out of them. I nicknamed him Bush Junior.


When I leave tomorrow morning, I won’t be leaving my heart, as the song goes. I had a good time in San Francisco, both this trip and when I lived here. I’ve enjoyed the bridges and the beaches, and the dogs, and the surrounding lands. Now, though, my place is in St. Louis.

Well, in St. Louis at this moment — if an opportunity I’ve been given works out, I’ll be moving again in the near future.

Another day, another adventure. See you when I get back home.





The world that lieth in wickedness, the sensualist, has no taste nor relish for that bread which cometh down from God out of heaven, and nourisheth the soul up unto eternal life.

Thomas Lechtworth, They that wait upon the Lord

Roget’s Thesaurus defines a sensualist as a person devoted to pleasure and luxury, a hedonist or sybarite. Merriam-Webster defines the sensualist as a person in “…persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests.”

Weighed down with this association to addiction of earthly delights, the sensualist has been cast as the wanton, the wicked, and the antithesis of both the intellectual and the spiritual throughout history.

Eyes and fingers speak in its favor, visual evidence and palpableness do, too: this strikes an age with fundamentally plebian tastes as fascinating, persuasive, and convincing – after all, it follows instinctively the canon of truth of eternally popular sensualism.

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil


Small wonder that I’ve spent most of my life trying to deny my own sensualist nature; first wearing the misty face of the spiritualist, and later donning a mask showing the placid wisdom of the intellectual. It’s only been recently that I’ve stripped away all such self-doubting foolishness, and have felt confident enough, or perhaps indifferent enough, to show myself.

The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standards, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. But the law of consciousness abides.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Being a sensualist doesn’t mean I run into the street, tackling every man I see – a modern day succubus. With laptop.

Nor does this mean that I am not capable of intellectual pursuits or appreciation of same. And if my spirituality is tempered, it is more so by the intellectual aspect of my personality rather than that part of me that is sensual.

Being a sensualist just means that I’m highly attuned to and very aware of my senses, to the point of defying conventional behavior at times.

Helen woke up in the middle of the night wearing someone else’s breasts. Not her own insignificant, almost non-existent bumps, but huge, pendulous, full ones. Breasts whose only master was gravity, whose creases ached in bands across her ribs, whose weight cascaded irrepressibly onto her lap. Breasts that could round shoulders and cave in chests. “Damn,” she murmured to herself, “it’s begun,” and then went back to sleep.

Barbara Hodgson, The Sensualist


I will stop to listen to a bird, or alter my course to follow an intriguing smell. I hesitantly place a hand on shoulder or arm when in conversation with another – being aware of the possibility of giving offense with said action.

I love sparkly sidewalks.

i love sidewalks that are all sparkly. i can’t imagine why a city would not get sparkly sidewalks. the sidewalk company says, “ok, 50 new sidewalks…. you want sparkles with that?” and the city says, “nah, we’ll take the ones with black, dried up chewing gum on them, instead.”

eggstone 2000


Being a sensualist also does not make me a sentimentalist. As much as I appreciate subtle and complex emotional interplay there is nothing I abhor more than maudlin, contrived sentimentality.

The movie Titanic would have been best served by sinking the ship in the first ten minutes, and taking the Bridges of Madison County with it. Debbie Boone singing “You light up my life” or Helen Reddy’s “I don’t know how to love him” generate an almost overwhelming revulsion in me. Yet the Andrew Sisters World War II classic, I’ll be with you in apple blossom time never fails to move me.

As for writing, there is some writing that is so sensual and that invokes such strong mental imagery that I have to put the material down; there is no room left within my mind for processing the letters into words and the words into sentences.