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A day at the wharf.

– Doug McConnell

This was a wonderful morning for some of us OpenRoaders. Carl Bidleman, Jim Wirth and I did our first shoot along Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco for a new blog series we’re calling “Life Outside the Box.” Being new guys to the web world, we find ourselves spending long hours in front of the computer screen filling the box with content. I still get to be out wandering around quite a bit, but Carl especially ends up feeling as if he’s living inside the box and not getting outside as much as he wants. He thought others in the blogosphere might be feeling the same way, and wondered what they do and where they go when they can escape for a while back into first life.

Havin’ a laugh with David Pescovitz.

So we asked David Pescovitz, one of the terrific talkers of BoingBoing, if he would show us one of his favorite haunts in the Bay Area. David said he was game and we met at 10:00 a.m. at the fabled and fantastic treasure trove of old games and amusements, Musee Mechanique. We paid homage to Laughing Sal, watched a few arcade executions, challenged each other to a game of pong (the years have taken a toll on my reflexes,) and encouraged the Musee’s proprietor and old friend, Dan Zelinsky, to pound out a little Scott Joplin on the old piano in his workshop, right next to the power lathe and shelves filled with arcane parts of all kinds. David even snapped a photo of Dan’s metal pocket protector. Check it out on BoingBoing, visit the Musee Mechanique online and in person, and stay tuned for our video version of this story. Carl’s already back in the box editing the piece.

From the Musee we wandered down the block to the Aquarium of the Bay next to Pier 39. I wanted to show David the skate, sharks, sturgeon, and other critters. The aquarium is doing an increasingly good job of interpreting the life of San Francisco Bay and its huge watershed from the Sierra to the sea. The Bay Institute is taking over the aquarium. The Bay Institute does important work in helping protect and restore the bay and its surrounds, and the aquarium will play major research and educational roles in the years ahead. David thought the little rays were very cute.

Fishermen’s Wharf is often seen by Bay Area residents as simply overrun by tourists and tourist shops. But there are many gems along the water’s edge. The aquarium, the Musee, the historic submarine and World War II transport ship the National Maritime Museum, Aquatic Park, Alcatraz and much much more. It’s a place that deserves a visit and we were fortunate to do it with David today.

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