Sunday, February 03, 2008

Travels West Heads North

In which we discuss our recent movements

I suppose it had to happen sometime. Friends said it was inevitable, though I wasn’t so sure. What am I talking about? Well, if you’re one of the six or eight lucky people who actually read this thing, you will have noticed that the tagline of Travels West is now “Travels and Musings Around California and the American West” and that my location has changed from Studio City to San Francisco.

Yep, I’ve moved back.

Just before Christmas I received a job offer at, one of the most trafficked business-related website in the world. Operated by CNET, BNET gets some 7 million visitors a month and has thousands of registered users. (My blogs at Yahoo, by contrast, received around 140,000 visits per week.)

It’s been quite a whirlwind my first three weeks on the job. I’m in charge of expanding the operation’s social media footprint (don’t ask), editing the Insight section, which includes 11 bloggers covering different areas of business, helping my team think up new ideas for feature packages and other content, and some significant writing myself. This job is about two thirds Big Thinking, three parts daily update of my part of the site, about three-and-one-half quarts top editing, a dash of backslapping social networking and roughly 1 cubit’s worth of kick-you-in-the-balls, daily color-commentary journalism. So far it’s great.

As My Postcards from ‘Frisco showed, my first days back in the City were bright and brisk and shiny. This has given way to chill rain-showers under a mottled gray and blue sky. I look forward to the Spring.

I live among the gingerbread Victorians in the what we used to call the Western Addition, but for reasons I suppose have to do with gentrification of the old ‘hood, is now called NOPA or “north of the panhandle.” I type this looking out my bay window at the giant red and white oyster fork of Sutro Tower.

It some ways it’s as if I never left. It’s one of the cities that I just know how to be in, like London or Helsinki or, to a lesser extent, Paris. There is much that is the same – the food is still the tits – but also many things are different. For one thing, there’s the most extraordinary building boom going on just now. In South of Market, around Rincon Hill and in China Basin, where there was naught for an empty rail yard for years, it’s as if a whole new city is rising. We’ll see where that all goes.

I’ve been doing city things – you know, wasting time sitting around in coffee houses instead of sitting around in bars, shopping downtown in order to update my warm-climate Southern California wardrobe, taking long walks in the park and bike rides along the shore of the bay and ocean, visiting old friends, and what not. Next week I go with friends to Tahoe to do some snowboarding, my first trip up the mountain in more than two years.

Naturally, the focus of Travels West will shift. I’ll still talk about my travels in the west, of course, but expect to see more about the City and its little hidden histories, a subject I am far better versed in than that of Southern California.


Blogger social media collective said...

Congrats on the change. Let me know if I can contribute anything to BNET.


Blake Cahill
Visible Technologies

2:44 PM  

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