On the Road

I’m took the show on the road last week, making the same trek into San Francisco that I used to do on a daily basis. I mostly went to hang out with some of my former cow-orkers [1] and doing a little shopping, but also to try out the “coffee-shop-as-a-workplace” thing. Thursday’s post was written over a cup of tea, and the first draft of this one was written somewhat later over a cup of spiced chai. I don’t think I could do coffee shops as a regular thing, but it did make a very nice break in the routine, and I’ll keep it in my “get a different perspective on things” arsenal.

Nothing really profound to report as a result of the experiment, but I did get pictures of a couple of things I saw that seemed worth sharing.

First up, while I was drinking my chai at Rincon Center (not actually a coffee shop, but it is indoors, which seemed appealing given that it was a bit chilly and very slightly damp outside), I spent a few minutes admiring one of my favorite fountains. (I’m a sucker for kinetic art.)

Rincon Fountain

My apologies for the tall, skinny video. I forgot the camera doesn’t automatically rotate video the way it does still images. If you can’t see it clearly enough in the video, the water falls freely from the “shower head” at the top of the atrium into a shallow pool. Part of the fascination I have for this fountain is speculating on the path the water takes back to the top.

Of course, I wish the pool at the bottom was deeper so there could be koi in it, but I realize that would be a maintenance and liability issue. Can’t have everything, I suppose.

I seem to recall that there used to be a plaque with basic information about it, but I don’t see it now. Perhaps it’s under one of the flower pots. A bit of poking around on the web tells me it was designed by one Doug Hollis (here’s a decent, if rather brief, article on him that gives a sense of his interests). I’d link his own site, but it requires Flash to see anything, which annoys the heck out of me. Consider this the start of a one-person movement to refrain from linking Flash-only sites. If you’re interested in digging into it, the site isn’t hard to find.

About 11:30 the pianist started playing; my cue to move on. Not that I object to pianos in general, or pianos as background music, but (a) it meant that the lunch crowd was about to show up and (b) I preferred not to hear any more of his suggestion that I should be wearing flowers in my hair. Yes, he did actually start his set with “San Francisco”.

Since it was still too early to meet up, I wandered around for a while and wound up walking along the Embarcadero. And I learned something new. Tsunami 1According to these signs, the Bay side of the street is a Tsunami Hazard Zone. But only the Bay side. Not only are the hazard signs only on that side of the street, but if you look across the street, you see this: Tsunami 2See that little blue sign where the traffic light crossbar meets the vertical pole? Take a closer look: Tsunami 3Yup. The other side of the street is the Tsunami Evacuation Route. Still not convinced that it’s only the Bay side of the street that’s in danger? Note that Embarcadero runs parallel to the Bay. If that side of the street were in danger, why would it be the evacuation route? Again, all you have to do to be safe from the tsunami is cross the street, hang a left, and keep walking. Valuable information, indeed. I’m sure it will serve me well in the future.

[1] By the way, I’ve had it suggested that the term “cow-orker” is derogatory. Sorry, I disagree. I’m aware that several sites define it that way, but there isn’t universal agreement on that, and I don’t use it that way. Now, “idiot cow-orker” would be clearly derogatory, and I’ve been known to use that phrase on occasion. But by itself, the word just identifies a relationship.