Old haunts, new directions

Today was my first full day back in San Francisco. And while I wanted to get out I wasn't feeling particularly adventuresome, so after sleeping in I visited some old haunts.
  • Sloat Garden Center is a few blocks from where we used to live, in the Inner Richmond district. Hidden in a residential block, it's a pretty nice gardening store for urban gardeners.
  • The Toy Boat Cafe on Clement St. has food, deserts (lots of ice cream) and toy - on display and for sale.
I hiked up to Green Apple Books and picked up a new Stross (Glasshouse), a new Vinge (Rainbo's End) and an old Reed (Sister Alice). Both Stross and Vinge's writings are heavily influential on... well, the entirely forward-looking community that I'm trying to get myself formally indoctrinated into.

Reed's work is very different. I'll admit that most of my favorite contemporary authors (Stross, Morgan, Doctorow) and even some of the old standbys (like Vinge) are excellent authors but the stories have the classical "I'm a geek that came up with a cool idea and I just had to drape some characters around it" feel. Reed's stories are far more character driven - he's a lot like Banks in some ways, even if I can only put my finger on a tendency to really badly maul his characters both emotionally and physically. (Compare/contrast Marrow or Down the Bright Way with Consider Phlebas or Use of Weapons.)
  • The Columbarium is not actually an old haunt, but it is an internment spot for the ashes of the cremated that's right near where I used to live, so I'll count it as a haunt at any rate. It's the remaining building of a once sprawing cemetary, before San Francisco trucked all of its dead down to Colma (or just "misplaced" them). Apparently it's open to the public but the gate looked rather closed so I stayed outside today.
  • The Arguello Super - I think I've mentioned it before. Order the Turkey on Dutch Crunch bread, or a Salami w/ everything on Dutch Crunch if that's more your speed.
Then I grabbed coffee at the Velo Rouge Cafe and walked to Golden Gate Park, and sat down at a bench overlooking the Conservatory of Flowers. Hopped online but found I'd missed the end of an auction (went for more than I would have paid anyway); checked mail and then started reading Glasshouse. So far, so good, although as I start to ponder my life at Linden I'm going to feel like a copycat: (1) one of the initial characters has an exoform with four arms and (2) the world the characters inhabit, while physical, is not connected in a Cartesian space.
  • One of my favorite previous avatars was Tash, a four armed deity. Four arms are just incredibly useful. Especially as a deity, where you can pick someone up and slap them around when they misbehave.
  • I'm a big fan of both non-Cartesian geometries and connectivity, and also the possibility of non-causally connected spaces within VRs. While some afficionados of VR are going to be trying to build portals connecting SL with There (or whatever), I'll be trying to branch off pocket universes with differing physical laws.
Finally, walked by the Carl Hotel to get to the N Judah. That's where Dimension X put me up when I was first in San Francisco back in January, 1996. And, it turns out, right next door to the apartment my friend Sarah has found. Great location!