31 March 2011

bon gré

reason #351 I love this song: I sound sweet like this when I threaten to scratch people's eyes out. Thanks B.

29 March 2011

in which i embark into a new era

Today I joined the The Cloud Appreciation Society

This is an excerpt from their our manifesto

26 March 2011

late bloomer

24 March 2011

bulletin of holy vulnerability

Before the BBC started making the worst adaptations of British novels ever they Masterpiece Theatred Our Mutual Friend. My parents taped it back when we had things called VCR's. At every family movie viewing experience I requested Our Mutual Friend to the point where I was banned from saying the title. That's right, banned.

Never fear! I was not daunted! I soon began requesting OMF. OMG acronyms are so gr8!

Let me give you a quick run down of OMF: It's Charles Dickens so there are lots of intersecting story lines, social commentary, a variety of precious old rascals, and some loving. The loving is what I want to talk to you about, of course.

There is a moment in the film I always mull over for days after watching the movie. (Spoiler alert!) John has continually professed his love for Bella (and not that dang vampire loving Bella–this is a mature girl played by Chuck from Pushing Daisies) and they've reached the point where they are either irrevocably separated or Bella can choose to leave a comfortable life of luxury and fashion in order to return John's love and live a humble life with him. Ta-da! She chooses John and when he sees the choice she's made he runs to greet her with the most radiant and innocent smile.

The word innocent, here, used to signify a lack of pretense, calculation, expectation, or any other -tion word. It seems a smile of unadulterated love, of being entirely in the moment, of being entirely belonging to another. Holy vulnerability.

To be honest, I kind of believe that men are more capable of this smile than women. And when I speak in generalities like that I mean, I'm pretty sure ALL men are more apt to smile like that than I am. And it may be a reason I love them. Although I can't remember ever causing a smile of holy vulnerability and it's small wonder, I am fairly certain I can be really difficult to date. (Now ask yourselves the question: difficult to take out to dinner or difficult to the date of 24 March 2011? The answer: Yes.)

Lest we poke at my hyperbolic, romantic notions and point out that I just saw the actor Steven Mackintosh pretending to be in love with the actress Anna Friel, may I point out method acting? Ok, so that's over, moving on.

What I have realized at multiple points (or maybe every day) of my life is that I do not embrace vulnerability enough. If you could see inside my head, heart, soul, etc, you could see the list of times I draw into myself: when I'm happy, when you're taking me to a day of exploring some earth works art and you bring up your recent divorce, when you just wrote a short story and try to share it with me, when we've arrived back at my apartment after your band has just played a show and you start talking about all the time we've spent together lately, when I'm screening a documentary I've worked on, when anyone notices that I've just pulled out some fabric and I've started hand quilting.

I keep rewatching this vid below, will you watch and join me in many discussions about this?

22 March 2011

isn't science wild

I just learned that when I walked past the duck pond and thought that the female duck looked particularly unhappy to be mounted but then told myself that I was anthropomorphizing, these ducks aren't raping each other.... I wasn't very far off. Male ducks rape female ducks. Yup.

source: RadioLab "Sperm"

20 March 2011

It's A Story and a Picture day! Remember I wrote about it here?

19 March 2011

facets of humanity*

Tell me you don't find these excerpts from a letter between Qaddafi and Obama fascinating. 

*humanity of fascists

18 March 2011

this is love: it makes you better

Earlier today if you would have asked me, I would have told you that love is the Beatles song I should've known better or the Lovin' Spoonful's Darling be home soon. That could possibly be what love is. But moreso:

I just came from a screening of a documentary project I've been helping with for over a year. It's the kind of project that gets to the essence of what I love about film. The technology to make a moving picture came around at the turn of the 20th century. There are various pioneers that led to the advent of movie cameras and projectors–Muybridge, the Lumière brothers, Edison. Their first films are called actualities, they filmed a few moments of some activity reveling in the new medium of documentation and not bothering to fabricate any structures or narratives (until Georges Méliès who has lovely little films you might've seen).

Last fall I watched an actuality of a man standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower filming the people who walk past him. Silent and black and white, it takes my breath away. Imagine being there as the first movie cameras are being manufactured, being one of the first to hold and film.

How do I ever forget that breathless joy? For some reason or other film is my undying passion. Moving pictures! 

this is what dancing is

that doesn't sound a bit like Cagney.

17 March 2011

blueberry rosemary waffles with balsamic syrup

Yesterday I woke up early, the house was quiet, so I made up a new waffle feast. Note that an important step in waffle making is that the waffle iron is good and hot hot hot before you start cooking the waffs up.

1 3/4 c flour
1 TBsp sugar
1/4 tsp (or more?) salt
1Tbsp baking powder
whatever looks like a good amount of ground up rosemary

1cup milk
1/2 c plain yogurt
3 eggs
8 Tbsp (1 stick) melted butter

an indeterminate amount of blueberries (I'm not much for measuring)

mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, mix them together. fold in the blueberries. pour about 1/4 cup batter for each waffle depending on waffler size.

balsamic vinegar
brown sugar

boil balsamic vinegar down in sauce pan on stove. when it starts to thicken add some brown sugar. I don't know how much, how sweet do you want it to be? I might have added a quarter of a cup to a cup or so of vinegar.

14 March 2011

a story and a picture

She was not allowed near anyone’s television, she was not allowed to hold a remote. The last time she tried she was unattended, she was 3, and her parents were questioned for negligence and abuse for leaving their child alone in a burning room.
When she touched the voice recording machine and it sparked and exploded, the parents’ explanation was believed and they were sent home with their electric baby.
At the doctor, he shook his head.
"There is nothing wrong with this baby," he said, "but please don’t let her near my ear flashlight."
It had heated uncontrollably in his hands. 
excerpt from "Electricity and Assuredness" by Christopher Hermelin 
(click on the link to see the photo)

There are some people in the world you should be aware of, or at least, I know them and shall highly recommend them to you. The first of these are Christopher Hermelin and Max Elman. They run a project called A Story and a Picture. Can you guess? Every Sunday they post a photo by Max and a thousand words from Christopher. I asked them a few questions so that you might catch a bit of the charm behind the site.

Max and Christopher

C: I started writing about 20 years ago. I was four and I told stories and had my Mom write them down. As far as stories I wrote myself, I came across some journals from Kindergarten/1st grade and there was a story I was writing every day, about a dog... I think. There were drawings that went with them, and I think I was drawing a dog. It's hard to tell.

Max and I met in radio class and became friends when we started getting dinner together at the dining hall afterwards when we realized we had similar music taste. 

M: Christopher and I had talked for quite some time about combining our two passions - photography and writing. While living together in San Francisco, we decided to make it a reality, created a website, some guidelines, and a posting schedule that we've tried to stick with. A Story and a Picture was born - a fun little project of combining a 1000 word short story that he writes with one of my images. Christopher has quite a few writing styles, and I have various photographic styles, so it's fun to see how they mesh together. We've now created just under 50 posts and are figuring out where to take the project next.

C: I have always loved the phrase, "A picture is worth 1,000 words" and I love that our project embodies that idea. I've always thought Max's photography lent itself to storytelling... and his web savvy and dedication to taking pictures every day helped too. 

M: I've loved photography as long as I've had real interests of my own (Liking race cars as a little kid doesn't really count, right? Let's say around age 12+). There's something pretty magical about being able to freeze a moment in time and somehow capture so much more than you were even aware was there. Taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary can be extremely difficult, but photography and digital manipulation definitely levels the playing field.

C: I'm currently  fascinated with trying to understand unifying theories and with the Battleheart combat game for iPhone. I lost my cell phone yesterday, and now that I'm putting it together, it's because I was torn between reading the last volume of Skippy Dies (by Paul Murray), watching a new episode of Dexter, and playing Battleheart on my commute home. This, combined with the realization that the dinner I had bought from work was leaking in my backpack and a song I didn't like playing on the shuffle function of my iPod, all added up to losing my phone when I switched trains. To me, this shows two things. One, always get phone insurance. Two, have a plan for your day and stick to it. Plans mean less choices, and weighing choices while commuting always adds up to missed stops and lost items.

M: The bulk of my time goes towards the business I started, Razorfrog Web Design. I create websites and graphics for all sorts of clients, and occasionally I get to work on something really creative and interesting. It's fun, but pretty draining. Other than that, I've been doing a photo-a-day project for all of 2010 and 2011, and ride my motorcycle around the coast and curvy mountain roads of the Bay Area.

(Make sure to check out Harbingers: an image of synchronized pigeons and story of whimsical doom)

10 March 2011

i felt better after admitting i feel like a failure so i'm going to continue to blab here...

was the text I got from Alicia this afternoon. No explanation other than that. But don't worry, I wasn't confused.

was my response. Although I perhaps remembered the "e" at the end of "they're."

Alicia and I are in the same boat. 

Ours is a tiny tugboat named College Grads biding their time with Limbo crossed out underneath (We have enough time to come up with new ways to describe our situation). Tickets cost thousands of dollars so it's a pretty exclusive tugboat yacht and sometimes we see iceburgs and other metaphorical dangerous things like that–the biggest danger being cabin fever. We're special kids who are over-educated for jobs at dollar stores and book-learning has made us too weak to get general labor jobs. Although that might have had something to do with how my voice sounds over the phone. I'm not sure I impress people with my brute force when they hear me speak. 

But! I have waken up happy the last two days in a row. I think I'm on to something. Not a steady paying job, but you know.... Ahoy mateys! (Generic cereal reference perhaps?) 

09 March 2011

oh hello again 3:00 a.m.

I never set my alarm anymore. Or, at least, I set my alarm and almost always decide I'd rather not achieve full consciousness. I deftly turn it off (deftly, I tell you. I can do these tricks in my sleep. ask any roommate I've ever had), roll over and snuggle back into my pillow. Later, around 9:30 I cannot hide from wakefulness anymore. I'm awake, I stare at nothing and the core of my being is overwhelmed with a soul-searching, existential malaise.* Eventually I convince myself that I'll make today a good day, I can climb out of this pit into which I've fallen.

But the day that follows is always me wavering between tentative happiness and total disarray. By nine o'clock in the eve I am overwhelmed with despondency. All I want is to go to sleep because I'm certain that if I could just start going to bed at a regular, decent hour I would wake up refreshed and powerful.

However, the erratic sleeping continues. Tonight I was certain I would make it. But I spent an hour and a half listening to The Lovin' Spoonful, pretending to be asleep when my roommate got home. Pretending because I so desperately wanted it to be true. But instead I lay awake sick thinking about...I don't know. Everything I feel I've failed at in the last three months. At least çe soir I'm being smart and filling the wee hours with happy things, unlike last night when I read some of the most depressing literature in the world. Does anyone else wonder why I thought that was a good idea?

[Un](?)fortunately, this has less to do with the post graduation transition period [than I'd like it to be]. My dad reminded me a few weeks ago that life is a series of extraneous circumstances. In other words (my words, not his words), I can't blame my self doubt on the newness of being an un-student. It's always there but now it's bubbling o'er. I've had trouble sleeping and bouts of malaise my whole life. I have to know this, I feel this is the key to being alive: I can quash this storm now but there will still be a train of skirmishes throughout my life. This isn't ever over, it's never over for any of us. And I can never decide if life is beautiful despite this or because of this. I hate the word "despite" so I lean towards the latter.**

So maybe I'm sinking but I am not swallowing water and hope to soon wash up on shore baptized with greater lung capacity. And with more sass and silliness to boot.

*I call it a malaise because in the aftermath of the French Revolution people weren't sure what to do with themselves anymore. Under the rule of the aristocracy corruption had been rampant in church and state affairs and now the Republic was having a hard time pulling itself together. In Alfred de Musset's book, La confession d'un enfant du siècle, he describes the young people as suffering from a malaise. A sickness fermenting in their hearts. Upon learning that I decided it was an apropos and under appreciated word.

**Despite has always seemed to me to be evidence for our inability to appreciate our challenges in our live as part of the adventure and mystery of living.

05 March 2011

david foster wallace or being aware

I sporadically have trysts with McSweeney's Internet Tendency which is a kind of multi-faceted literary thing. For a physical representation: Imagine there's a store (there is) in San Fransisco (826 Valencia) that's full of witty pirate memorabilia, mop heads that will fall on your head (I got mopped), and tutors for children. Now imagine a website like that. 

In 2008 when David Foster Wallace committed suicide McSweeney's began posting rememberances from people who had been affected by him. He was an author and a professor and I had never heard of him before. But these letters written by people who had taken classes from him or who knew him moved me. 

It is ever miraculous to me that it does not take a face to face, consistent, traditional relationship with a person to be changed.

In the ensuing years I have read some of his works (not nearly as much as I'd like, say, a book-or-two-full) and read more of him and I am ever more grateful for his life. I've really been wanting to start a series of profiles on MY friends, people I know in REAL LIFE and the great things they're doing, but here's a last testimony to a stranger. A Collection of..., that one blog, posted about this talk given by Wallace at Kenyon College in 2005. I highly recommend it. For a taste, the already highlighted, large-print quote from this speech is:

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.

I would enjoy your thoughts and discussions on this whether they be in in person or by technological means.

02 March 2011


Ascunión, Paraguay