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On Gold

Part 1 : The Gold Spike

I have a map of San Francisco circa 1963 hanging above my living room fireplace. This map is very sentimental to me, as my father passed away recently and I sorted through all the maps he saved the last time I was at my parent’s place. I became attached to this particular map due to a few things:

  • The San Francisco of the 1960’s just feels romantic and wild and new to me. Call me a fan of beat literature.
  • My Dad’s handwriting is in the corner, detailing a couple of restaurants he wanted to check out.
  • Every time I visited San Francisco Dad was very interested in all the details.

One of the restaurants that is listed in the corner of the map is “The Golden Spike”. I decided to look it up online and it turns out Dad probably meant “The Gold Spike”, a family-style Italian restaurant that closed its doors in 2006.

The restaurant was named after the last spike driven into the transcontinental railroad across the United States. According to the National Park Service, the Golden Spike Ceremony took place in 1869. One side of the spike bore the message “May God continue the unity of our country as the railroad unites the two great Oceans of the world,” likely a reference due at least in part to the fact that the civil war was still so fresh in everyone’s memory.

Part 2: The Golden Record

My feelings on staying at home for the first two years of my daughter’s life are something I have no regrets about. There are things that I learned and experienced that I treasure more than anything. However, I recently got the feeling that it’s time to move on a bit with my personal ambitions, so my little girl will soon be going to school 3 full days a week. I am revamping my websites, refreshing my memory on technical details, looking for contract work, and thinking more about how I need to earn money and want to exercise my mind again.

I’m a fan of Jessica Hische, and saw that she recently read a book from A List Apart. I checked out their current offerings, and decided on a purchase of the CSS3/HTML5 ebooks as a refresher and to check if I know what I’m talking about. I’m still at the beginning of the CSS3 book, but I just want to highlight a section where the author Dan Cederholm makes a great reference to the Golden Record on Voyager spacecraft. In case you don’t know, the Golden Record is a gold-plated copper disk that has artifacts about the human race encoded on it for the aliens that might be outside our solar system. It also has cool graphical instructions on how to play it. So, Dan said that web design is like the golden record, because you create something and you don’t know who’s going to view it. It’s a message in a bottle. Maybe the person will have the right browser version to see what you created, or maybe not.

2 Comments to “On Gold”

  1.  Jen | September 3, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    I love this style of post. You should write more of them. xo

  2.  Lorraine | September 4, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    Thanks Jen! I had more of an emotional connection to what I was writing than usual, I appreciate the positive comment.

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