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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.

3 Responses to “A day at the wharf.”

  1. Jim Wirth Says:

    I had so much fun on this adventure with you, Carl and David, that I went back today and took my whole family! We spent the first chunk of the morning back in the Musee Mechanique, and Dan was there again and showed Tracey and I some of his favorite music machines. From there we took a walk through the World War II submarine USS Pampanito docked right behind the Musee. At 6′4″, 270 lbs, I would never have made it as a submarine crewman. From there it was lunch at Boudin Restaurant, and then on to the Aquarium of the Bay so the kids could pet the sharks and rays. Then a quick drive down the crookedest street in the world, famous Lombard Street, and back home across the Golden Gate Bridge with fun filled memories to last a long time!

  2. Pat Says:

    I grew up in San Francisco and have many happy memories of days (and evenings) at Playland at the Beach where Laughing Sal used to reign. As a young child I was kind of afraid of her — she seemed so huge and scary and I hurried by her before she leaned all the way over and scooped me up.
    I also remember the fun house as being my favorite with the “record” that spun faster and faster until the kids sitting on it flew off into a padded wall…and I loved the rolling barrel that we ran through until they turned up the speed so high that we couldn’t keep our balance and then we just flailed around laughing uncontrollably.

  3. carl Says:

    Hi Pat. If you like laughing Sal, you’ll love our video blog about our visit to Musee Mecanique with David Pescovitz. laughing Sal is a real star in the story. We’re planning to post it on Tuesday, Nov. 6 so be sure to check back for it.

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