Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year Taxonomy

I have been publishing "Civic Center" for a little over two-and-a-half years, with 540 different posts looking mostly at the arts and politics of San Francisco's Civic Center. On account of the unwieldiness of this mass of information and photos, I finally hunkered down over the last week and decided to label the posts into different categories. My first attempts were extremely detailed, with lots of categories and sub-categories and sub-sub-sub-categories, such as "music" leading to "San Francisco Opera" leading to "Puccini" leading to "Madama Butterfly," and so on.

After a day of this, I gave up because really, who the hell cares about my collected thoughts on Puccini? I certainly don't. Going back to the drawing board, I tried to come up with the smallest number of categories that covered all the posts, and have put those labels on the bottom of each one. So, for those deeply interested in local politics but completely uninterested in classical music, or vice versa, you can now sift through the backlog in a much easier manner.

The category breakdown (with the number of posts in parentheses), goes as follows:

Art (100), which includes the sub-categories of Asian Art Museum (20) and the SF Fine Arts Museums (11).

Books (29) has a sub-category for the SF Public Library (7).

City Life (157) is a catch-all for everything from a Punjabi wedding in Civic Center Plaza to a public school enrollment fair at Bill Graham auditorium.

Film (16) has a subcategory for the Noir City Film Festival (6).

The largest category, in a surprise to me, was Politics (207), with subcategories of Gavin Newsom (29), Peaceniks (74) which includes the Quaker Peace Vigil along with the many Iraq War protests, and SF Supervisors (56).

Journalism (57) covers both the trashing of much of the mainstream media along with links and words of praise for my fellow self-publishers.

Music (130) was probably the subject that interested me most, and the subcategories are four institutions, the SF Ballet (7), the SF Opera (59), the SF Symphony (40), and the Other Minds Festival (10).

Gays (46) and Nature (41) both turned out to be surprisingly large categories, and so was Palm Springs Life (44).

Rounding out the categories are Theatre (13) and Travel (22).

The most amusing aspect to all this labeling was watching how the categories overlapped, such as the May 2, 2007 entry "May Day" which has "Gavin Newsom, journalism, music, peaceniks, politics" as the markers, and they really do all fit.

Finally, I have no clue who is actually reading this publication, except for the couple of dozen people who regularly comment or have gotten in touch with me, but the latter group is so extraordinarily brilliant that I'm challenged every time to create a piece that is interesting, honest, amusing, and illustrative just so I don't insult their intelligence. Besides being a great deal of work, it's also been a hell of a lot of fun.


Ron said...

Mike, Just a thought on your readers. I suspect you have many, many readers like myself who turn to your blog several times a week for a bit of insight and, possibly, humor about our city. I wish you many more years of good fortune with this project. Just because we are not commenting does not mean we are not reading. All the best, my friend.

sfmike said...

Dear Ron: I was sort of trolling for a compliment with that last paragraph, and you gave me the very best one I could have asked for. Thanks.

Matty Boy said...

Happy new year, mike! I will continue to read and comment. Labels are a pain in the ass to add after the fact, but not so bad once the system is in place.

Jessie said...

I looooooooove this blog! Please continue doing it. It's well written, heartfelt and your photos are fantastic. Happy New Year!

sfwillie said...

I once saw a movie, starring Jimmie Stewart as sfmike, called, "It's a Wonderful Blog."

It's true.

Anonymous said...

Another cheer for this blog. But I can't figure out how to use the categories to find posts dealing with particular subjects. Is there a linked category list somewhere?

sfmike said...

Dear rootless: If I knew what I was doing technically, I'd put up a linkable list on the side, but I don't. In any case, you can click on one of the labels on the bottom of the post and it will take you to a "collection" of posts on that subject.

namastenancy said...

How can I not leave a comment when "I" am described as brilliant! Yup, that's me. Seriously, you write a great blog, one which I turn to every day to see what's new. It's funny, astute, opinionated in the best way and a real window to the real SF that people like us live in.
May 2008 bring you lots of easy jobs that pay tons of money, more opportunities to be part of the opera, more time to post great thoughts from SF Mike and just more of what you want -- and a lot less of what you don't want.
Hope that I've covered all the basis!

momo said...

Happy New Year! It will be fun to use your new labels to look back at some of your gorgeous photos. I've been living (happily) in Minnesota for the last 20 years, but your blog is a great connection to so many of the things I love about my home: the arts, the music, the folks on the street, the crazy politics, the beauty. I absolutely love your inside/outside view, and your stories. You are a great storyteller!

janinsanfran said...

You know I love your blog -- and I admire your tenacity if your really managed to categorize all you past posts. I got about half way through doing that with mine and found the process so tedious that I gave up.

Happy New Year!

sfwillie said...

I no wanna tax onna me. I wanna tax onna you.

stephanie said...

i'm also a regular reader of your blog, i love it (and your writing), for being intelligent, witty, fun. keep up the good work!

Sarah said...

Hi Mike- I just wanted to chime in and say happy new year and congratulations on all your fantastic blogging. I am one of your very avid readers and it's fantastic that music is one of the biggest topics on your blog! And I love your art and political coverage as well, and everything else!
love, Sarah