Searching for the Moon

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

Archive for the ‘photos’ Category

Musical discoveries at SXSW 2009

Posted by shannonclark on March 26, 2009

This year I stayed at SXSW for two days of the Music part of the festival and I’m really happy that I did, next year I hope to stay for the whole festival (though I won’t stay at a hotel across the river if I do so, the time it took to get back to/from my hotel this year was a bummer). I heard 9 full performances of bands I sought out over the two days of Music and many partial sets. Of the nine full sets all of them were fantastic (a record I suspect I won’t be able to sustain in future years). It says a lot that Amanda Palmer’s afternoon set at the Paste Showcase was my least favorite of the nine sets. (look at the photos on her blog – I was there for the Paste Showcase though not in that shot I think and I was walking past the same intersection as she was taking the photo of her lying down in the street, that’s SXSW for you!)

Amanda Palmer at Paste Showcase SXSW 2009

Now I should be clear – I really enjoyed Amanda Palmer’s show – and I plan on seeing her again and getting her music (both her latest album Who Killed Amanda Palmer and probably her earlier work with the Dresden Dolls) it is just that I really saw some truly amazing music this year at SXSW. Her show was good – some of the other sets were astounding and transendent. 

Vivian Girls at SXSW 2009Vivian Girls at SXSW 2009

On Wednesday afternoon I bounced around between a number of the day parties – caught full sets by Amanda Palmer at the Paste Showcase and a full set by The Vivian Girls and many partial sets. Then in the evening I saw five out of the six acts at the KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic Showcase (slightly inaccurate post about the showcase w/many links). I really wanted to see The Vivian Girls and they did not disappoint, though the set I caught was on the shorter side. 

The KCRW showcase was so amazing that next year my plan is to find that showcase and spend my entire evening at that showcase from start to finish. Sure, as I did this year that may mean I miss a great concert such as the Decemberists playing their new album live, but based on this year’s showcase, it will be an amazing evening of music. More importantly it will be an evening exactly suited to my tastes in music – eclectic but in my opinion great sounds, writing and performing from the start to finish. And you can, as I have already, download the full Decemberists’ concert from NPR Music. 

Writing almost a week after the KCRW showcase I’m not sure I can do each performance justice – they were all different and all great. But a few highlights. Angus and Julia Stone were a revalation, I had not previously heard them (or indeed heard much about them) but I really enjoyed their performance. School of Seven Bells, which was the group that more than any other was why I wanted to attend the KCRW showcase did not disapoint – a truly amazing show (I agree with the Entertainment Weekly reporter who called it the best performance of the day) though it was then followed by a really great show by Zee Avi which was to a then nearly empty room (the fact that she started at 1am may have been the reason) but she was well worth staying up late for (and heck, I’m a night owl and was still on CA time). Again, I agree with the EW reporter’s assessment of her show and I’m eagerly awaiting Zee Avi’s album when it comes out in May. Rhapsody Rocks SXSW 2009

On Thursday I started the afternoon by exploring a number of venues and events, then ended the afternoon at the Rhapsody Rocks concert at The Mohawk. I caught the very last song of School of Seven Bells then heard performances by Glasvegas  followed by … and you will know us by the trail of dead. (links are to appropriately Rhapsody pages for those bands – on the Rhapsody Rocks page see a link for a free 14 day trial)

Here is the full list of acts I saw full sets of this year:

when I can find a good way to link to tracks from each artist I will update this post – suggestions for the best way to do that are more than welcome – please leave them as a comment below!

Posted in music, personal, photos | Leave a Comment »

Idea for a new magazine – to be named later

Posted by shannonclark on January 10, 2009

I recently learned about a very interesting new service, MagCloud, which prints magazines on demand and handles all subscription features (mailing, payment etc).  They are currently in limited Beta and have some limitations (the biggest of which is the cost for buyers – $0.20/page though the publisher can set the price for any given issue at a higher rate to make some profit. 

For a long time I have been thinking about creating a media outlet of some form and at the moment I am serious leaning towards a magazine of some form. This post is an exploration of those ideas, it is a stake in the ground as to the shape of this new publication. It is also a call for submissions and volunteers.

The Name – to be named later

My working name for the publication was going to be Mesh (or The Mesh) but it turns out that there was a MeshSF magazine here in SF a while back (appears to be out of print now) and there is another Mesh magazine in Jacksonville Florida. Thus to be named later – the name has to be highly inclusive and evocative of the range of topics to be covered, while also not being too long or hard to remember or use (and yes this includes requiring that there is a good domain available). 

The Format

My thinking is that to be named later will be more akin to a series of books than a monthly (or more frequent) magazine, though over time it may evolve into a more frequent publication. Thus I am torn about a number of physical formats – leaning between a book like size such as that used by Granta (or many University literary magazines), a slightly larger format such as that used by Foriegn Affairs, or a more traditional magazine size such as The New Yorker or Monocle (which is more booklike in format). 

That said, while a perfect bound format (glued edge) creates a more booklike publication, I personally find that format less conducive to reading – as quite literally it makes it harder to read the publication (since you can fold the magazine to only view one page at a time as you can with a traditional magazine). That said, it does create a more archival publication which has some advantages. 

Years ago when I was the editor of a literary magazine (in high school, we won an award) we decided to go with a half size format which had some advantages especially for the publication of poetry as it created a highly readable format (if small).

However for to be named later my goal is to have a publication which stays in print for a long time (so “back issues” remain available for a long period of time), which eventually (and as soon as possible) pays highly competitive rates for photos, art and articles, which supports a lot of very interesting writing, and most critically is a publication which I want to read myself. 

The Guidelines

  1. Articles must have a point of view, but may not be purely opinions.
  2. Every article will have illustrations – photos or art
  3. Every article will be bylined
  4. A very wide range of topics and types of articles will be accepted – no subject is out of bounds IF the writing is good, consise, and well written.
  5. Serious as well as non-serious writing is welcome and encouraged, including in most issues at least a few articles that meet peer-reviewed academic writing standards (footnotes and all)
  6. The physical form & design matters.
  7. Every issue will have at least one work of fiction (clearly identified) – genre writing not just welcome but encouraged (Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance etc).
  8. Every issue will be meant to be relevant for at least a year, usually longer. Thus timely articles will not be printed, nor will reviews which are timelimited (i.e. of a limited run of a show – though movies which will eventually be on DVD may be accepted)
  9. While the focus may include regional and city interests – underlying to be named later will be a global perspective (though initially at least all articles will be in English)
  10. CC-licenses for the content will be encouraged (though not mandated) and while to be named later will retain a right to keep each issue “in print” for a long duration, authors & artists will have the right to sell their work for other publications (i.e. they retain all rights – but to be named later has the right to keep an issue “in print”, including via print-on-demand for a long duration – ideally perpetual). Much of to be named later (perhaps all) will be published online as well as in physical form – though the PRINT edition is the primary focus.

So what do those 10 somewhat random points mean?

First I am imagining a publication which will have a seriously broad range of articles – from writing about food, to serious academic exploration of economics, to science fiction stories, to photographic coverage of art and hacking. 

That said, the focus of to be named later will also be on timeless writing, on writing which is first and foremost eminently readable and engaging – which you want to turn back to and could pick up anytime after it is published and enjoy (i.e. this will not be a publication trying to cover breaking news or trying to get “exclusives” or scoops). 

to be named later will have advertising

Even if to be named later is wildly successful in generating interest and subscribers it will include commercial content from the beginning. Advertisers who welcome the timeless nature of to be named later and want to support the publication of high quality, challenging, intelligent writing covering a wide range of issues with a high focus on being enjoyable to read and experience. 

My tastes are wide ranging and eclectic – a magazine I publish will reflect these interests – and thus, I hope, will be of interest to an audiance that share some traits with me. In turn, I hope that there are (and I believe there are many) advertisers who want to reach this audience. Some may be local, some national, some global. All will be welcome (with some limited exceptions) specifically political or advocacy advertising will probably not be accepted as it would be discordant with the tone and focus of the magazine (which is inclusive not exclusive). 

Curation will be key. 

I may technically be the publisher, may also be an editor, but first and foremost I will be the Curator of to be named later – it will be my tastes and decisions (or my choices on delegation) which will determine the content of the magazine. 

Topics to be covered

  • Food – especially from a Slow Food and serious foodie perspective
  • Local businesses – not reviews persay but stories about local businesses but with a global perspective
  • Hacking – especially from an Arts perspective
  • Science Fiction – both via publishing great stories (including perhaps Fantasy or other genres) and also articles about the field & genre
  • Science – especially reports from the frontiers of research
  • Business – if written about in a highly engaging manner and in a timeless manner
  • Non-fiction storytelling – think This American Life style stories – which can cover any topic imaginable but are written with a point of view and story to tell
  • Design – especially highlighting intentional design applied in innovative ways.

Topics which will not, mostly, be covered:

  • Breaking news – i.e. current events, pop culture etc
  • Politics – while great stories about campaigns might be published, “stories” which are more manifestos will not
  • Activism – I am a CENTRIST. I am neither “left” nor “right” and my magazine will reflect this. While we may, occasionally, take (and publish and clearly label) an opinion on important matters, my magazine will not be a forum for activism, nor will it mirror the articles found in most Free weekly newspapers around the country (indeed in spirit we will likely be more capitalistic)
  • Time sensative reviews – stories about the arts (movies, theater, music, books, gallery shows or events) will definitely be published, but reviews of specific events or limited availability content will not
  • Product reviews – the focus of the magazine will be on stuff people want to and will enjoy reading, reviews of products rarely meet this criteria – nor do they usually meet the criteria of remaining relevant for years to come (since most products today are only sold for a limited time and replaced later with newer/better/cheaper/faster versions)

I intent to be named later to be eclectic, to be personal, to probably not be for everyone. That said, for those to whom it resonates I want it to be a publication which is read cover to cover. The focus will be on being reader friendly first – high design second (we will not be akin to Wired magazine in terms of design aesthetic)

All of this is tentative – now I am looking for:

  • Submissions: email submissions or ideas for articles/stories to shannon DOT clark AT gmail DOT com, please use a SUBJECT line of “Submission for to be named later”. Include a short bio of yourself, as well as the publication history (if any) of the article (preference is for unpublished writing). For the first issue(s) payment will depend on advertiser and subscriber targets so be prepared to only get a token initial payment (but the goal is to reach “professional” levels as quickly as we can. If you will only sell the story for a specific ammount include that, but realize that may impact our ability to accept the article/story for the first few issues
  • Volunteers: while in the future all staff will be paid (if only small amounts initially) to get going will be a labor of love, not money (unless we obtain financing or serious advertisers/sponsors quickly). Copyediting, “slush pile” reading, and pre-press layout help are initial core needs. Quickly as well help with advertising sales, distribution and more will also be needed.
  • Advertisers: From the first issue the plan is to have advertising. Rates almost certainly will go up as we grow the audiance, but the advertisers in the first few issues will be set – even as those issues remain (as is the plan) in print for at least a year, likely longer. So the first few advertisers will, we hope, get a bargain over the long term. There will be a limited number of full page ad opportunities, as well as a handful of partial page opportunities (think New Yorker style part of page ads). The back of the front cover as well as the back pages will be the highest cost ads. Rates are still to be determined, preference will be given for advertisers who are willing to commit to a full year of issues (at least 4 but the goal is to get to probably monthly). Advertisers will also be part of the online presense as well as the print publication – so should include a URL to link their ad to online. As a new publication ALL aspects of the readership are yet to be determined (including the size, demographics etc) so early advertisers must be interested in the mission of to be named later and willing to support it. Exact dollars are hard to determine (and to a point go up as the number of copies printed go up) but my initial “gut” guess is that for the first 4 issues something close to $100,000 is needed to pay all writers & artists, to physically print the magazine, and to pay staff (even just a token amount). So a target of about $25,000/issue is the goal though more may be needed for the very first issue.
  • Investors – My plan is to bootstrap. Even in the absense of all the advertising support I might like, the goal is to use a service such as MagCloud to enable us to put out a first issue (or two) and build up the audiance over time. To learn by doing and to thus incur as little costs upfront as possible. But if the right investor or sponsor/grantmaker were to offer I would listen. My goal is first to get great stories published, secondly to make money doing so (mostly I want to build something which is self supporting at a minimum). I also want to test my theories about how a new media publication could more than just made do but also prosper even in the Web 2.0, “the media is dying” world. 

So that is the idea – very rough, may not happen, but I hope it will. Please leave a comment, blog about this, link to this or at least contact me if you are interested!

Posted in digital bedouin, Entrepreneurship, futureculture, geeks, internet, personal, photos, reading, tbnl, working | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why I buy local (and organic)

Posted by shannonclark on December 27, 2008

I buy almost everything locally, mostly from small, often independent (or at least local small scale chains) stores. Most of the food I eat and cook for my friends comes from local shops and for the most part local farmer’s markets. For the most part I buy organic produce, eggs, milk and other products including meat when I can. The rest of my meat is at a minimum free range and cage free (though as I noted in earlier blog posts I was against the recently passed Proposition 2 which mandates larger cages/cage free raising of poultry in CA).

However, when you talk about Organic (especially certified organic products) and the dilemma of large scale businesses starting to produce and others to sell organic products the arguments against buying organic usually assume that people buy organic because of health concerns (no pesticides etc) or from a belief that the flavor is better. And then an argument is made that the health claims are dubious and the flavor differences minor.

That is not, let me repeat, not why I buy organic or why I mostly shop locally.

I buy locally and buy organic for many other reasons. First and foremost I prefer to spend my money with people who care about what they do – who value their own labor and strive to be the best at what they make. I have to eat, I far prefer to spend my food dollars as directly as possible and with vendors who are passionate about what they grow and/or sell. That passion translates in no small part into a focus on selling high quality (and in the case of food usually great tasting) items.

Organic farming is also highly innovative farming. It is looking for creative and as importantly sustainable ways to grow and cultivate products. This innovation usually permeates all aspects of a good organic farm’s business – from the soil to the packaging they use to present the final products at the market.

I usually go to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market run by CUESA (The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), a group well worth supporting if you have money to donate and/or employer matching funds to use before the end of the year.

At the market this morning, a smaller scale market between the Holidays, I spoke with one rancher who sells a wide range of meats they raise and slaughter themselves. Usually they have poultry but he said that they would not until the spring due to it being out of season for chicken at the moment. While that means that today they lost a bit of my business, it also is a reminder of the seasonality of all food and it encourages me to look at other proteins this month.

Another merchant, Frog Hollow Farms, who I personally think is one of the premier orchards in the entire US (and probably the whole world for that matter) unveiled new packaging they designed specifically for their pears. It suspends each pear in an individual sling of material so it neither touches other pears nor touches the overall packaging, they keeping their amazing pears fresher for longer and bruise free.

Shopping at the farmer’s market, which I do nearly every Saturday morning, gives me a real appreciation of the seasons here in northern CA, by going to the market without planned recipies or menus most of the time I have learned to buy just what looks the best at the moment. I also always talk with the farmers about what is really good at the moment, usually they offer samples, and I then adjust my menus. At the moment there are some great pears, lots of citrus, still great brocolli and caulliflower and indeed quite a range of other flavorful vegetables.

By being flexible I am also able to spend not much more (indeed less usually) than I would if I were shopping at a large, national supermarket chain. Today one of the butchers at the Ferry Building had a special on Sirloin Tip steaks (free range and locally raised and very very good, I’ve had them before) offering 5 individual steaks – ranging between 1/2 to 3/4 of a lb each for $20. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but that is 5 quick and tasty dinners or lunches in the next week (or longer if i freeze a few) for $4 a meal. And these steaks cook in about 5-6 minutes total in my cast iron skillet on the range top.

For the most part I buy my meats from my local butcher’s shop, a store which has been there since 1889 (making it probably the oldest continously open butcher’s shop in CA), Drewes Bros. Christmas Eve there was a line of over 60 people waiting to pick up holiday turkeys, hams and standing rib roasts. They only sell extremely high quality, mostly local products from passionate producers and offer great service and very fair prices (often cheaper than large supermarkets in fact). Plus they greet me by name when I enter or stop by.

I would much rather that my spending support such a fantastic, local treasure, than to help pad the profit margin of a large supermarket chain such as Safeway (and full disclosure, I say this as someone who does in fact own a few shares of Safeway).

I choose to buy mostly organic because to grow vegetables or to raise animals in an organic manner requires a lot of attention to detail, it requires a committment on the part of the farmer and most of the time it also involves returning to a focus on seasonality and on techniques such as crop rotation and multiple use farming. By “mulitiple use” which isn’t quite the right term I mean techniques such as raising both crops and animals and via rotation grazing those animals on some fields for a few years, then alternating with growing crops on those fields taking advantage of the natural fertilizer from the grazing animals.

When I do shop at larger stores a Safeway or a Trader Joes, I try to mostly buy organic, seasonal, and when possible local products from those stores as well. While I prefer to buy closer to the actual producer, such purchases do help shift large dollars to organic methods – and in turn that means more people working on innovation around large scale, organic agriculture. That, in turn, lowers costs (for the farmers as well as consumers) and should draw more and more farmers and farmland into organic methods.

In the long run that should also have an impact on US (and other countries) agricultural policies which currently prevent many of the simplest and in fact easiest forms of organic techniques – such as wide scale crop rotation or cover crops (which US policy prohibits on farms recieving certain forms of subsidies such as corn or wheat – they can’t use fallow fields to grow market crops such as vegetables or fruits).

From a health standpoint one of the best aspects of buying seasonally and fresh is I can spend around the same amount as I would at a big chain, but instead of getting lots of calories from say processed baked goods, I can get far fewer calories but much more flavor from a perfectly ripe local pear.

I’ve chosen to emphasize quality over quantity in my food buying.

So please do go out and sample your local farmer’s market (there are new markets opening up and extending their seasons all throughout the country). Also when you are choosing where to live, look to live somewhere where you can walk to a local shop to buy great quality local foods. Since my butcher’s shop is literally on my way home (it is across the street from the Muni stop I use to get downtown most days) I can pick up a piece of meat or fish for my dinner and walk home – with less effort and time than navigating the parking lot of a big supermarket (if I had a car which I do not). And for produce, when I can’t make it to the farmer’s market or when I need something midweek, there is a great local produce market also on the same few blocks across from the same muni stop.

Many a night I have picked up some vegetables, a loaf of bread baked that day, and some great meat of fish on my way home. All for less than the cost of a single dinner out at a low cost restaurant and usually (day before xmas excepted) taking far less time than just waiting to pay at a big chain supermarket.

the photo above is a shot I took of a drink from Blue Bottle, a local coffee roaster and cafe who import their own beans directly and roast them here in the Bay Area in the East Bay

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Found, one moon, briefly glimpsed

Posted by shannonclark on December 12, 2008


on the night before the largest moon of the year

on the night before the largest moon of the year

My blog is named after a play I wrote back in college, called Searching for the Moon. I’ve written here before about the orgins of the name, though as that was back in 2003 and in my very first post in May of 2002.

The short summary is that in the play the Moon is a metaphor for Love. In my first, serious (if also a bit odd in many ways) relationship in college one evening that stands out my then girlfriend and I drove south from the University of Chicago literally chasing the moon, looking for a patch of cloudless sky where we might observe that evening’s full Lunar eclipse. We never did find that moon, though we drove as far south as Gary Indiana. And in many ways that relationship was not to last much longer than that evening either (in part she left me for another woman, who had proposed to her while we were on spring break – and this was in the early 90’s) 

Though that is not all of the story, far from it, I was not at all blameless and I had known about her other love though she would later decide that she was not, in fact, bisexual. So though we had been in what seemed quite a passionate relationship (if young, exploratory, and though sexually charged had not “gone all the way”) it was also just my first relationship, though not alas my first love (all of which previously had be unrequieted).

Alas the rest of my life with a few year exception in the early part of this century has been very much still one of Searching for the Moon – and rarely if ever finding it. 

I haven’t looked at that play I wrote in many years, as I recall it was more than a bit experimental, even had elements which called for (I kid you not) interperative dance. But though I suspect much of my writing might need to be rewritten if I were ever to try to do anything with it, the impetus behind still holds and as I looked at the moon last night I found myself revisiting it yet again.

I’ll look, if I still have a digital copy of the play I’ll find a way to convert it to a modern format and put it up online somewhere, as a curiousity if nothing else, but perhaps some parts of it will stand the test of time. 

But that, if you were wondering, is why this blog has the name that it does. Though I write about many topics, my writing has, since I started doing it seriously late in high school, been at least in part (or in whole) about the neverending search for love, the search for the moon.

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A bit of summer beauty

Posted by shannonclark on August 28, 2008

pink flower, originally uploaded by Shannon Clark.

As summer comes to the end here in San Francisco with a bit of a “heat wave” for these parts (which around here means temperatures in the 80’s which I still scoff at compared to Chicago’s typical week+ every August of 100-110+ a photo from my summer of which I’m particularly proud.


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At night a sea of green

Posted by shannonclark on April 25, 2007

or as I twittered last night

Sitting looking over the city bridge and lights as a slow moving train passes and a sea of silent green rests below

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Observing the city around you

Posted by shannonclark on April 12, 2007

I do not own a car, though I have in the past, I sold my last car in 2004 and have not replaced it. Since moving to San Francisco I have tried to walk at least a few miles every day, often 4-5 miles.

A few days ago, the Washington Post ran an experiment on commuters in Washington DC. For all the details, take a look at the article Pearls before Breakfast. After you have read the article, click thru and read some of the over 51 pages of comments (over 500). Go ahead and read it then come back here.

Have you read the article?

If not, quick (too quick really) summary, the Post got Joshua Bell, one of the leading violinists in the world to perform in the morning at rush hour at a Metro stop in Washington DC using his over $3M Stradavarius violin and playing some of the hardest pieces in the Classical Canon. And out of over 1000 people who walked by, less than 10 stopped to listen and very few gave any money.

Just a few days ago, I remember hearing a bit of a musical battle between two musicians at the Bart/Muni Powell station in downtown San Francisco. At one space, a man played a saxophone (very well in fact), at the other space, another man played a trumpet (fairly badly). I was in a rush (had to head into the nearby mall to find a bathroom) but I remember noting that they were overlapping in their music – and that the sax player was by far the better musician.

I try as I walk through the city to observe the world around, to notice the buildings, the businesses, the people. Lately I have been trying to take at least a few photos every day.

At the recent Mobile MeshWalk I organized over 900 photos were taken by the participants.

One of the specific goals of the MeshWalk format is to have people see the world with each other. That is, as you walk together through the city actively seek to observe the world around you – and then share those observations with each other. Help others see what you see, add what you know about the city, what you observe to their knowledge and experiences.

In the light of the Washington Post experiment of a few days ago, I think it would be a good thing for all of us if we were a bit more aware of the world around us, if we stopped and looked deeply at the details, at the people, listened to the music.

Tonight, after the fundraiser for Irene McGee I walked down Polk St. looking for a late night snack. Besides many other people out late, I observed a really fascinating building at the corner of Polk and California (well one building in from the corner). Downstairs it is now a Walgreens, garish and lit by fluorescent lights. But clearly from the upstairs architecture, at one time this building was a theater or hall, indeed faintly still there is a name and the words Hall in large letters at the top of the building. However, besides a disused doorway plastered with ads for the Walgreens and hidden behind iron fencing, there is no obvious way upstairs. But I wonder what a space lies hidden above the routine Walgreens, and what was there before it was removed to put in drop ceilings, glass windows and a tile floor?

A few blocks later looking carefully at the businesses on adjoining blocks led me to notice a restaurant that advertised that it was open until 4 am. That restaurant, the Grubstake Restaurant, is housed in a dining car from the early part of the century which has been used as a diner since 1925. I ate a really good burger and a homemade flan. Not bad for just before 1am.

Observe the world around you.

Stop, listen to the music.

Take photos, capture details.

Take notes, make connections, catch someone’s eye. Say hello. Hold open a door. Nod. Smile.


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Mobile MeshWalk March 20th in San Francisco

Posted by shannonclark on March 6, 2007

On March 20th here in San Francisco a Mobile MeshWalk will be held. The focus of the MeshWalk will be the future of Mobile Marketing and Media. In the morning we will have a Design Crawl of a number of SF Design firms with offices near South Park. After a group lunch (probably at the nearby Ferry Plaza) we will spend the afternoon walking through San Francisco, while having small group discussions about the role of commercial messages in a mobile context. And of course we will end the day with a party, drinks, and time to share our day’s experiences.

France Telcom (owners of Orange in Europe) has signed on as the lead sponsor – thanks to them all participants will receive breakfast, lunch  and drinks.

My interest in holding the Mobile MeshWalk arises out of two things. One, my MeshForum conference at which I first conceived the idea of this format for holding an event. And two, my new mobile application startup. For NELA I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to include commercial speech inside of a mostly mobile context application. It is my strong bet with NELA that done well, such messages can be valuable to both the users of the service AND to the companies presenting their messages, brands and information. (and thus, of course, financially valuable to NELA as well).

In the next few weeks both here and at and at I will be exploring a range of issues related to the Mobile MeshWalk. Many of these issues I will also address on the Wiki for the MeshWalk as well.

If you are in the Bay Area (or can get here) for the MeshWalk on March 20th I encourage you to do so. It will be an amazing day of conversations and discussions.

If your company is interested in participating in the Mobile MeshWalk please contact me asap (shannon.clark AT works well). Either as a host during the Design Crawl, as an additional sponsor, or in some other capacity.

I am also available to organize similar events – either public ones such as the Mobile MeshWalk, or private. Contact me for the details, costs etc.

Posted in digital bedouin, economics, Entrepreneurship, geeks, internet, meshforum, meshwalk, mobile, networks, photos, podcasts, San Francisco, web2.0 | Leave a Comment »

NYC – art, culture, snow and light

Posted by shannonclark on February 27, 2007

This past week I have been in NYC.

Today the snow from last night’s brief snow shower/hail/freezing rain is melting, a light drizzle has been coming down all morning. My day started with breakfast at Sarabeth’s where I ate a bowl of porridge and a current scone. After breakfast I walked over to Central Park and then walked down, just outside of the park, to midtown, when at the moment I am sitting in a Starbucks, sending emails and catching up online.

In my walks this morning I took a series of photos, a few of which I am particularly proud of and plan on printing and framing on my return to San Francisco. To see some earlier shots I took this week, go to my Flickr pages.  While a few of my photos from today are relatively simple memory aids – photos of the outside of Sarabeth’s for example, or The NY Society for Ethical Culture buildings on Central Park West. most are taken as parts of my ongoing themed series.

An aside about the Ethical Culture society, though I had not previously heard of them,  they may, perhaps, be the closest thing to an organized religion I might, in fact, be interested in participating in – as they are a nontheist organization, but devoted to treating everyone ethically and doing good in the world – tenets that definitely resonate with my worldview, though they do not seem to have a San Francisco chapter.

My shots from this morning’s walk were of reflections, found objects, and in a few cases playing with perspective and perception. I do think of my photography in an almost painterly manner – I strive to make photos that explore colors, textures and patterns – while being often recognizable – yet almost always abstract as well. My task now is to find the best possible print technique for these digital impages.

And I will have to see how the tradeoff of not using a digital SLR and not shooting in RAW format plays out. My camera is very high quality and over 7 mega-pixels so it should be good for printing. My plans are also not to do any digital manipulation of the photos – no further cropping or processing. Yes, I am sure I could get crisper or even more tonally accurate images were I to have them processed in some manner – but somehow I also feel that might sap the life from the images.

For years I did not have a digital camera – not entirely sure why not – some combination of price, battery performance and image quality – but I am extremely happy with my new Panasonic Lumix camera. By being high quality, very portable & lightweight, and by having a battery life that lasts for 100’s of photos over multiple days, I now have a camera that I can always have in my bag or coat pocket and take spur-of-the-moment photos. It has taken me a few months to get used to this possibility – and every day I remember that I have the camera I find myself using it more and more.

As I spend most of the day working on business projects – upcoming events, sponsorships for MeshForum, FAQ’s and other materials for my newest company, I do also find myself thinking back on my morning photography – the balance between my tech & artistic impulses is a challenging one but also one worth exploring. When I give myself time and mental space for both pursuits – I do also find both are better (if that makes sense).

Lots more happened (and I suspect will happen) on this trip before I return to San Francisco. When I post the photos I’ll add links – either as new posts or as an edit of this post.

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Found Objects – my Flickr set

Posted by shannonclark on February 22, 2007

I have uploaded a number of photos from my current trip to NYC as well as added some of my older photos to Flickr and put together a set of my Found Objects series which I have been taking for many years now.

Comments and feedback are very welcome as are suggestions for how to best print and get framed these shots. Eventually I would also like to show these somewhere, probably along with my Textures series which are quite related images.

Snow Bottle

Posted in digital bedouin, mobile, photos | 1 Comment »