Thoughts from February 2003   »

Monday Melange
Just a thought from 24 February 2003 about .


It's PoMo! The Powazek Moblog. Nifty, eh?

Greetings from Blogtown

In the old days, I used my personal log to post updates about {fray} – what was new, what the frayers were up to, and links to other similar storytelling sites. At some point it occurred to me that kinda stuff should probably be on fray.com itself, not buried here on my personal site. It was that idea that kick-started my desire to redesign the whole site.

So now, a week after the redesign launched, I'm happy to announce the birth of Storyblog, {fray}'s weblog devoted to storytelling on the web. It'll feature links and info on the frayers, the site, and personal storytelling in general. And hopefully not just from me – all the frayers have been invited to contribute.

And, yeah, I purposely used the word "blog" this time. It's a word I've avoided in the past for two reasons: 1) For the people who knew what it meant, it came with all sorts of baggage, and 2) For the people who didn't know what it meant, it was just nonsense. But this time around I'm scooping it up and making it mine. Why? Maybe enough people know what it means now. Or maybe I just want to prove that things called "blogs" don't have to be all linkwhoring and warmongering. We'll see if it sticks.

California Dreamin'

California Authors is a smart little website on a mission to steal some limelight from the writers on that other coast. So I was honored when they asked me to contribute. Check out an old SF Stories favorite, Twenty-five Cents and Counting, now on californiaauthors.com.

Three Thousand Words

Congratulations to my sweetie Heather on her trifecta of winnerdom in the first-annual Photobloggies. Her personal playground Harrumph! scooped up the coveted Best Digital Photo Blog (I won't tell about her current film fetish) and her collaborative site The Mirror Project (of which I'm a frequent contributor) took the awards for Best Photo Meme and Best Group/Community Site.

Almost March Already

I can hardly believe it myself, but March is almost here. And with it comes South by Southwest Interactive. I've been contributing to the conference for, oy, seven years now. This year I'm keeping a low profile. If you wanna catch me, you'll find me at two events:

Sunday, March 9: Fray Cafe 3
Join the frayers at the Mercury Lounge for a night of true personal storytelling, emceed by yours truly.

Monday, March 10: Surviving Your Own Collaborative Project
Join Heather, Michael, and I for a panel discussion on the hazards and joys of collaborative websites.

Hope to see you there!

Oh My Aching Legs
Just a thought from 5 February 2003 about .

It's not that I'm old. And it's not that I'm fat. I am neither fat nor old. I'm just, well, me. And being me means being almost 30 and about 15 pounds more than I was a couple years ago. It also means having new aches and pains and a general desire to just do something different right about now.

So I did. I started walking.

See, I am not a gym guy. I don't own a single pair of sweat pants. The very idea of being one of those overpaid, overstuffed yuppies who coughs up a monthly fee to go into a brightly-lit room full of stink and mirrors to sweat and grunt while looking at, but not talking to, other overpaid, overstuffed yuppies sweating and grunting churns my stomach on a deep, philosophical level. (Not that I have anything against those people. Some of my best friends go to gyms. (Hi baby!))

And any interest I had in athletics was burned out of me that summer I spent wheezing and muscle-spazming through AYSO soccer when I was young. Imagine the odds of being the second "Derek" on the team. To this day, I have barely met any other Dereks, and never been in the same job or group with one. So, that horrible summer, not only was I surrounded by people who yelled at me for being slow and lame and full of locked-up muscles, but they also called me by various mispronunciations of my last name. "Run, Pazowhack! Run!"

So no gym and no sports. To make matters worse (or, better, depending), I live in one of the best-connected neighborhoods in the city. I can walk 40 steps out of my building (I've counted) to the beautiful N-Judah line - the sleek Itialian-made chrome and steel cars that rumble my dishes every 10 minutes of every day of the week - where I can be transported to almost anywhere I need to go. My commute to work every morning included a scant two blocks on foot.

My life, then, was an endless progression of sitting. Sit in front of the computer at home, walk 40 steps, sit on N-Judah, walk 2 blocks, sit in front of the computer at work, repeat in reverse. Sleep.

Not old. Not fat. But getting there.

Then I remembered a few years ago when I spent a couple months walking around Europe. I came home and all my pants were too big. And, really, I was eating like a pig in Europe. And drinking like a fish. And I still lost all that weight. What I did was walk. I walked everywhere. And, usually, I had a giant backpack on me, too.

And then it hits me: I live in San Francisco - this beautiful, marvelous city - so perfect for the walking! Now, I'm not gonna hoof all over the city with a backpack (five days of clothes, 10-pound laptop (old school!), two cameras (film and digital)) like I did in Europe. But what if my daily commute just was a little longer?

So now I walk those 40 steps out my door in the opposite direction and keep going. I walk over the giant hill where Clayton and 17th Street meet and down the long slope to the Castro (oh, my aching shins). Then I board the underground and shuttle the length of Market to the Embarcadero. I get out and walk along the bay, under the Bay Bridge, to 2nd where I used to get off the N-Judah. I turn and walk to my workplace.

My old commute of 40 steps and two blocks has become a heart-pounding, sweat-inducing tour of the city. I tell myself that I just changed jobs to one that's located farther away, but this is the same lie the overstuffed yuppie tells himself on the treadmill when he imagines the forests and roads going by. But I'm really walking, really out in the world, and the truth is, it feels great.

Everywhere except in my legs.

See also:

Recent Writings: Connecting Invisibles: How Associations Can Get Their Members Talking Online in Executive Update Magazine by yours truly.

Boo hoo: Software firm turns blogs into business tools. Every news story about weblogs is required to include one mention of navel lint. I was just doing my part.

Hey San Franciscans: Voices Known. Come on out on February 13! I will be performing alongside some truly amazing storytellers in a benefit for the Center for Digital Storytelling.

The Secrets of Cole Valley
Just a thought from 4 February 2003 about , .

1. Never step out in front of a city bus. They're exempt from stop signs.

2. Dryer number 39 at Doug's Suds will give you 10 minutes per quarter, instead of the standard 7. Washer 12 used to count tapping on the coin slot as quarters, but Doug fixed it.

3. When your laundry is in the dryer at Doug's Suds, don't take your eyes off it unless you consider it a donation.

4. Only half of the people who look homeless actually are. The rest are merely eccentric.

5. Don't ever lie in the grass at the park where the N-Judah comes out of the Sunset Tunnel. As a dog walker, trust me on this one.

6. The big hill with the stunning view is called both Tank Hill and Acid Hill, depending on your state of mind in the sixties.

7. The local guy who always wears the beret and skirt isn't gay. The failed city councilman is.

8. Never ask the bearded man in the cheese shop for an egg salad sandwich.

9. There's someone in the neighborhood who puts up "Lost Mind" flyers. I've never called the number.

10. The flyer that was up in mid-June about a dog found on the roof of a garage? That was Buddy. He's fine now.

11. The Muni trains are able to rattle wine glasses, no matter where you put them.

12. Johnny is only dangerous when he's half-drunk. You can tell because when he's only slightly drunk he tells jokes, and when he's fully-drunk he's asleep.

13. Actually, Johnny only tells one joke when he's half-drunk, and the punch line is: "That wasn't a parachute � that was my backpack!"

14. If it's after 10pm and you're hungry, the only place to eat is the crepe place called The Crepe Place. Fortunately, it's not half bad. Just don't take anyone from France there.

15. The French bakery that opened recently is actually neither French nor a bakery. The croissants are cooked by Mexicans across town and delivered every morning.

16. Almost everyone here is actually from somewhere else, so you know there's something special about this place. I think you'll fit right in.

See also: Cole Valley Home Page

This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts from February 2003, including:

Monday Melange
24 February 2003

Oh My Aching Legs
5 February 2003

The Secrets of Cole Valley
4 February 2003

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The Fine Print

Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »

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Monday Melange  24 February 2003

Oh My Aching Legs  5 February 2003

The Secrets of Cole Valley  4 February 2003

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