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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Today I had a lovely day.

It started as a dream woefully interrupted by the old faithful shitty alarm clock I've had since I left Australia. It's called a Pocketmail, a bizarre device that was intended to let me send emails via any phone with the Old Skool whirring beep beeps that modems used to make, but I've only ever used it as my alarm clock. (I'm on the lookout for the perfect bedside clock. It's a constant vigil.)

Gave myself another half an hour to wake up. Fell back into dreams. Rent asunder around 9am. Got out of bed, because on the days I work from home -- like today, since there are renovations on the new home of the Internet Archive -- I try to get up and be presentable via shower, dressing etc early-ish.

Flopped about on the Internet and in email. Caught up on the Google Books Settlement. Transcribed all the Post-Its from what I consider a useful planning day at mine yesterday with the Open Library team, in lieu of the magical Inan who helps keep my place nice and clean, and who I'm sure wouldn't appreciate a kitchen table covered in bits of paper.

Leapt out into the rainy weather and met a friend for lunch on 24th Street, at a newish place called La Boulangerie. Had a cup of tomato soup and a Croque Monsieur that I let get slightly cold due to interesting conversation. Topics included: palliative funding for non-profits and identifying what makes you unique. After a suitable pause, we had tarts and coffee for dessert.

I happened to join a small ladies' club intent on teaching ourselves about investment. I've decided I'd like to make a little piece of membership schwag for the group, but quickly realised I'm stuffed if I know where to have it made. The idea is straightforward, but requires a somewhat special production process (to cut a custom shape from a piece of metal, leaving negative space). As I wandered away from lunch, I spotted a key cutting place and decided to enquire. I explained my quandry and drew a diagram to no avail. I was pointed to the Just For Fun shop across the street which I soon discovered used to sell dog tags but has no way to cut them. They forwarded me to a jeweller a little further up. The jeweller latched on to the idea quickly, and despite offering me base objects made of gold or silver or even titanium to which I replied, "No, cheap and cheerful is just fine," the proprietress seemed intrigued and agreed to investigate her various suppliers on my behalf. We exchanged contact details and I'm awaiting her findings.

I had already decided to go to the Noe Valley Branch of the San Francisco Public Library, since it's important I experience the process of becoming a member of a library and what it's like to borrow a book, and particularly an electronic copy of a book. I whizzed through my membership test and had the card in my hand in less than 5 minutes.

Research

Then I proceeded to a desk and jacked into the free public wifi. I ended taking a few books off the shelves at random for use in testing the upcoming redesign of Open Library, Ernest Hemingway's True at First Light, for example. I was in the H Fiction section. The library was quite busy. I chuckled at the allotted Teen section which was happily full of the teens it suited between the hours of three and six o'clock. There were a wide variety of patrons, from squirmy babies to old men and everything in between. As I worked, I thought to myself how much fun it would be to introduce myself as a budding librarian working on a new design of a massive library catalog, but feared a cold-call reprisal.

I left the library at about 5:20, re-entering the pissing yet enjoyable rain. The library is a hop and a skip from one of my favourite San Francisco restaurants called Firefly, so I wandered over to take an early dinner. I arrived at 5:28, so read the menu as I watched the staff doing their final bustle before the curtain went up. It went up, and I went in to perch at the bar, the first to arrive.

I had a glass of bubbly rosé as I settled on the rack of lamb. The Americans like their lamb quite a bit pinker than I'm used to, but combined with roasted fingerling potatoes, kale, and some beautiful yellow chantarelles all in a delicious jus of some sort accompanied with a glass of red recommended by the nice lady behind the bar, I didn't end up caring. And didn't feel in the least squeamish about picking up each chop and nibbling it.

Then I wandered home, and may or may not watch Lost as my ginger tea brews.

And, a very Happy 40th Birthday to my lovely sister, Catherine. It's times like these I regret being so very far away, and am thinking of you, love. xoxoxo
Posted at 3:31 am
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