Saturday, May 23, 2009

DIY menu for summer 2009

Now that it's officially summer-ish, I am trying to keep track of all the foodstuffs I want to make while things like fruit are starting to come in season, and I have some more discretionary time:

So excited; I love living in California!

petra haden and the new prius commercials

Just saw the new Prius commercial, and noticed something familiar with the accompanying music. It's Petra Haden!

From USAToday:
Singer Petra Haden was commissioned for three Prius ads in all, and the tracks will be available next month.

I first saw Petra Haden open for The Decemberists in 2005. She and her accompanying a cappella group performed all the songs from The Who Sell Out (they were presented as Petra Haden and the Sell Outs; however, for the actual album recording Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out, Petra is singing all the parts herself). I absolutely *loved* their version of "I Can See For Miles":

Friday, May 22, 2009

library of congress flickr photostream

The Library of Congress has been part of the Flickr Commons January 2008, and I love, love, love perusing their photostream. They just added a bunch of photos from the Farm Security Administration collection, which includes artists like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Jack Delano, Gordon Parks, and Arthur Rothstein.

Jack Delano

Jack Delano

Ann Rosener

Thursday, May 21, 2009

academic politics and miscommunication

A former mentor with First Exposures, Erin Siegal, left San Francisco for Columbia Journalism School this year for her master's degree. However, she's been posting some cryptic stuff on her Facebook indicating that something crazy went down at the end of the year, and that she would not be getting her degree. I didn't want to push for more details since she seemed pretty upset.

Now her story has broken on Gawker:
Erin Siegal submitted the same work twice, to two different professors. But she insists she was above board about everything. Both her thesis adviser, Wayne Barrett, and her book seminar professor, Samuel Freedman, knew she would be sharing content between the two projects. The high-achieving scholarship student even made a PowerPoint presentation for Freedman explaining everything!

But now he's saying she took the three-way arrangement too far. Instead of giving him a big ole book and just excerpting 5,000 words for her thesis, she turned in the entire 16,000 words for her thesis at her adviser's urging. This apparently left no exclusive content for the book class, as Freedman had been expecting.

Freedman basically failed her for the seminar, which effectively blocked her graduation from the ten-month program.

I haven't known Erin for very long, but I know that she is passionate, super sweet, and dedicated to her craft. I can't imagine that she would do anything "unethical" knowingly, nor do I believe that if something inadvertently did happen she wouldn't do everything in her power to correct it as quickly and transparently. I'm really sad that she's had to go through this, and it's a pretty harsh lesson in the politics of academia (especially someone coming from the art world). It is tough to find out that you've done your due diligence, and still get screwed by people who you thought were in your corner. Or that you are the unwitting victim of your professors' pissing contest.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

form and function: surgery in the 1800s

Medgadget has an incredible interview with Dr. Laurie Slater to help them decipher a surgical kit from the 1800s.

image from

It's really fascinating to learn about the history of medicine, especially surgery, and to think about some of the progress - both good and bad - that has been made. For example, while Dr. Slater talks about how disposable and sterile contemporary surgical equipment is, he seems to hold a special reverence for the equipment in this kit, and the gravity of its purpose:
Take for example the capital saw (the large one) in your set. The handle is made from dark black smooth ebony which is a durable hardwood, polished and oiled over many hours to a smooth waterproof finish. The curve of the handle is simple, but with a design reminiscent of something from the animal kingdom. Well weighted in the hand; the inner curve fitting the surgeons grip and the upper 'fin' and lower 'fish tail' anchoring the palm to the handle. This, along with the crosshatching will prevent any slippage when the teeth of the the cold polished steel meet with bone.

Stop for a moment and have another look, but this time imagine that this instrument is about to saw through your own leg without anaesthetic. Or look at it from the surgeon's point of view and imagine it is the tool with which you are about to remove a man's limb. This is a dark, sombre instrument, with serious purpose.

commenters FTW, part 1

So the best part about this article about the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that a female prison guard can strip search a male isn't the actual ruling, which was pretty tame. Here are the details:
The inmate, Charles Byrd, was in Maricopa County's minimum-security Durango Jail awaiting trial in October 2004 when officials ordered searches of everyone in his unit after a series of fights.

Byrd was ordered to strip down to his shorts. A female cadet from a training academy pulled out his waistband, patted down his groin through the shorts and felt his buttocks to check for contraband, the court said. The woman said the search had lasted no more than 20 seconds, while Byrd estimated one minute.

Byrd sued, claiming he had suffered pain and humiliation. A jury found no evidence that the probe had been conducted painfully, and the appeals court upheld a judge's ruling that the search was constitutional.

The best part was the very first recommended comment on SFGate:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Big Friendly Corporation

While in Vegas, I got to see my friends' band play. They are awesome.


Mel on the Rhodes

TJ on the bass

Obama meeting with friends and enemies

I watched the White House Correspondents dinner with my dad this weekend. Although it had a lot of really funny moments, it still left me with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth (occasionally, some of it would veer off into mean-spirited humor, which I dislike).

Obama himself was pretty humorous, and seemed open to making fun of himself quite a bit. My favorite part of his speech was when he stated:

"But as I said during the campaign, we can't just talk to our friends. As hard as it is, we also have to talk to our enemies, and I've begun to do exactly that."

...and used this photo to illustrate his point:

"President Barack Obama "meets" with speechwriter Cody Keenan, who dressed as a pirate for an Oval Office photo taken for use in the President's humorous speech to the White House Correspondents Association dinner May 9, 2009."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

horrifying search for baby shower ideas

Tons of people I know are pregnant right now. Well, maybe just two: my immediate co-worker Julie (22 weeks) and my floormate Molly (16 weeks). Being the cynical, deadened person that I am, I tend not to do lots of squealing and beelines to rub pregnant bellies. We are starting to plan for a baby shower for Julie, and while she looked a bit horrified at the thought, I think we can put together something that complements her personality (decidedly unfussy, somewhat preppy, and definitely NOT warm and fuzzy). I did an initial internets search on for ideas, and this is some of the horrors that emerged:

How is this even OK?

Alright, for people who know me, if there's one thing that is guaranteed to make me totally freak out, it's Anne Geddes or Anne Geddes-inspired stuff

And after that? Precious Moments paraphernalia (and what the hell's a diaper cake, anyway?)

Apparently, there are lots of crazy games you can play, although some seem to involve indirectly mocking how large the mother-to-be is, which I am sure will go over well with a weary, bloated, and self-conscious pregnant lady.

Signs by Filbert Nguyen

Signs from filbert nguyen on Vimeo.

via Swiss Miss