Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for January, 2006

SF Web Innovators Feb 2nd at Adaptive Path in SF

Posted by shannonclark on January 25, 2006

I am co-hosting the SF Web Innovators Network event on Feb 2nd at the offices of Adaptive Path in San Francisco. We are very pleased that the law firm of Fish and Richardson and Adaptive Path have agreed to co-sponsor this event.

SFWIN events are open to any interested in new and emerging web applications, we bring together a great mix of investors, entrepreneurs and service providers (and some users). For the Feb 2nd event, RSVP at the SF Web Innovators wiki. The cost is a $20 donation at the door which will help cover the costs of future events.

Hope to see you there – and by the way it is now official, I am a resident of the Bay Area having rented a house in Berkeley and flown here this afternoon.

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Chicago ex-pats Bears Party on Sunday Jan 15th

Posted by shannonclark on January 9, 2006

On Sunday Jan 15th, though I will be in my new home of Berkeley CA, I will gather with friends and fellow ex-pats to the West Coast from Chicago to watch a little Bear’s Football.

Sure, I’m a geek but I’m also a somewhat secret sports fan… and I’m most certainly a fan of the Chicago Bears. I remember vividly watching the Bears win it all in 1985, watching all of the games at homes of childhood friends as my family didn’t yet have a tv (side note about that, my parents still only watch the one tv they got nearly 20 years ago – which was a used tv at that!)

So, on Sunday, I am organizing a gathering in the San Francisco Bay Area to watch the Bears beat the Carolina Panthers. If my new Berkeley home has both a TV and cable signal I may host this gathering there… though since I likely won’t yet have such minor details as seating… most likely this gathering will be at a bar (or perhaps cafe or restaurant) somewhere in San Francisco, less likely somewhere in Berkeley.

Even if you are not a Chicago ex-pat you are certainly welcome to join us, just keep the “da’s” to a minimum… I’ll post the venue when it is set, if you are interested or have a suggestion for a venue please leave a comment or send me an email.

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Some hints on the Stripping of Wallpaper

Posted by shannonclark on January 7, 2006

I wrote this as a response to a FreeCycle offer I made for some leftover wallpaper stripping supplies, I post it here in the hope that it will help someone else as well.

Well we mostly followed the instructions but a few things we found:

– the spray bottle while good in theory didn’t work as well in practice as we might have liked – better for many areas was a paintbrush (we used the DEF gel, diluting it for a second coat)

– scoring with the paper tiger definitely helped – as did getting off the first outer layer(s) to the extent that they would peel off dry

– a large brush and washcloth, used in conjunction with each other worked extremely well to get off the final layer of glue, though it helped having someone rince off each frequently

– for the stripping a good scrapper helped considerably (we ended up with three different styles, the best/most effective being ones with razer blades though you have to be careful not to damage the walls) but we also found that an old metal spatula worked very well for the well soaked layers of paper, often better than the stiffer blades.

– we also used latex gloves but still found that the frequent soaking in water left our hands fairly raw after the stipping of paper

Hope this helps,


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On peeling paper

Posted by shannonclark on January 4, 2006

As the year starts I find myself engaged in the first real big home improvement project of my 9+ years of home ownership, the same month as I am on the brink (I hope) of selling my first place.

While this morning, when I met with my realtor, my condo was fairly clean and well organized, now as I type this, I am surrounded by piles and dust from a hard day’s work.

Tomorrow we finish what we started today, then we spackle, sand, and put down primer, perhaps also paint. It will be a long and busy afternoon tomorrow, but at the end my condo will look better than it has ever today.

So back to today – after my morning meeting with my realtor, I then spent the rest of the morning going through three of my last “random” boxes of personal files, business files, and other random objects. As I finished with the last of these boxes (a blue milkcrate which held a rather random mix of papers from 6 years ago mixed with projects from a few months back) the handyman/cleaning man whom I had hired arrived.

Vincent (of the appropriately named “Vincent’s Obsessive Cleaning”) is a very good friend and former roommate of the husband of a good friend of my girlfriend (whose wedding we attended a while back and with whom we spent New Year’s Eve). Today, however, rather than cleaning (other than some light dusting), we decided to spend the afternoon stripping the wallpaper which was (great phrase – was…) on the walls of my kitchen.

I should describe this – it is hard to believe. It was an off-yellow striped wallpaper with small flower details, then topped by a horrible floral border. All laid so badly that (at least on some walls) the seams were peeling and clearly visible.

This had hung on the walls when I purchased the condo, I had always planned on redoing the whole kitchen, however my finances for the past few years as well as time availability prevented ever doing that (plus I really want a gas burner and in the high rise I live in that is not possible). So I have lived with some of the ugliest wallpaper possible for the past 9+ years.

But no more. It is all down, including the underlayers of two other wall papers (which were more like cardboard with a white checker pattern!). Sure, it took us 7 hours, three people, $50 in supplies and a lot of sweat but we go it all down. Tomorrow we get the remaining bits of paper and all the massive amounts of glue.

This evening, after we finished with the stipping for now, Julia and I went to Home Depot, where we bought more there than I have ever before – two gallons of paint matched to the current cabinets, primer, brushes, dropcloths, spackle, sandpaper, a new fire extinguisher, a new smoke alarm, and new hardware for all of my cabinets (which need it – the old hardware looks to be from the late 70’s/early 80’s).

Tomorrow we strip glue and paper, spackle, prime and hopefully paint!

Then, when this is all done, when I have paid Vincent, photographed my clean new home, given away various random items to remove them (office supplies, misc. kitchen items, etc) and can relax, it will be time for me to leave Chicago and head back to Berkeley where I start a similar process in reverse.

There I move into a nearly empty and unfurnished rental – we’ll be ordering a bed and mattress shortly so I can sleep – and then I’ll start finding furnishings one piece and room at a time.

It is a challenge and at times stressful, but also it is exciting and invigorating, somehow perfectly suited to the beginning of a new year. In a few short days I will be in my first new home in almost a decade, and my first home outside of Chicago for over two decades. I’ll still follow the Bears in the post-season (contact me if you want an invite to the Chicago expat’s party on either the 14th or 15th in the Bay Area) and in my heart I will always hold Chicago close, but I am thrilled at all that awaits us in Berkeley and the Bay Area.

My family has many ties to California, it is the state my mother grew up, my grandparents have always lived there (grandmother in Southern CA and grandfather in Northern CA), where my aunt lives and where my parents met. But there is a vast difference between the occasional visit, mostly to relatives or very close family friends, and living there, spending every day there for weeks, months, hopefully years.

It will be a change, gone will be the dramatic shifts of seasons from the bitter, freezing cold of Chicago winters to the oppressive humid heat of August in Chicago, but with my favorite seasons inbetween where Chicago does get great weather. In its place will be real hills and elevation changes, an ocean instead of a lake, and incrediable diversity and beauty all around me. Sure there are many cars and cookie cutter developments in the suburbs but San Francisco and some of the older communities around it (Berkeley for example but also Oakland) have a rich and old history and tradition of their own as well as amazing restaurants, farmer’s markets, artists and activities.

On a professional front there is still no substitution from the easy access and interconnectivity of Silicon Valley. In just over a month there at the end of 2005 I accomplished far more professionally than I had in the past 5 years in Chicago (with the possible exception of pulling off MeshForum). In my short time in CA I greatly deepened and strengthed my relationships with lots of people, I met many new friends, and had a number of exciting opportunities for the future. As these continue into the new year, look here and at my professional blog, piecing IT together for all the details.

Happy New Year and may your year be full of new opportunities, great friendships and opportunities for quiet reflection and engagement.

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Happy New Year 2006

Posted by shannonclark on January 1, 2006

A quick post – thanks to all the wonderful friends I’ve made in 2005 – it has been an exciting ride and hopefully 2006 will be the year where it all comes together in many different and wonderful ways.

In 2005 my dream of a few years ago happened – MeshForum 2005 was a great success and brought together an amazing group of people. What was just a glimmer of an idea a few years ago happened and now in 2006 come the hard part of doing it again, only better and bigger.

2006 will be a year of major changes for me – starting later this month I will be moving from my long time home of Chicago to Berkeley CA. I leave behind friends, family and a city I love, but I join family, friends and a wonderful new state and city. In CA I will continue to run and organize MeshForum. I will also pursue a number of business opportunities through JigZaw and will continue to work with great non-profits such as Hope Street Group.

My consulting in 2006 will take me, I hope, in a new direction. Besides continueing to assist companies large and small with understanding their products, business opportunities and technical resources (both internal applications, purchased products and possible partners/products in the marketplace) I will also be pursuing another long held interest, Flow Economics.

Flow Economics (my name for a field of Economics I am exploring) is the study of Economics as a Network. That is, the implications of looking at economic activity as occurring on, creating and destroying a network. Where nodes are entities and links represent transactions.

In 2006 I will explore this concept through articles, blog posts, possibly a book, and definitely consulting work with enterprises (and possibly other types of organizations such as foundations, universities, government agencies etc.). In my work with organizations, we will start by looking at the implications of a network perspective, then we will analyze the actual flows of value throughout the network of the enterprise – from external sources to internal resources to external entities. This analysis will be very importantly looking at these flows over time – looking at both the structures which evolve as well as where value is created, stored, and used.

It will be an exciting year – I hope you are enjoying it with loved ones and that the new year brings great opportunities for all – personally and professionally.

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