Monday, December 12, 2011

Wilco, "Art of Almost"

Just when you think any other band would have given up and called it a song at about four minutes in, that's when it really just takes off.
- Bob Boilen (via Robin Hilton), discussing "Art of Almost" by Wilco. All Songs Considered, Discussion: The Year In Music, 2011 (December 7, 2011)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bon Iver, "Holocene"

Lots of things going on. New, exciting adventures. Fall is finally here, and the color breach against the dull, foggy mornings have made my bike commute something wonderful. I love both this song and video, and the idea of a coming winter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chris McCaw artist talk, "Ride Into the Sun"

Having missed the opening to his first solo show, I wanted to be sure to catch Chris McCaw's artist talk at the Stephen Wirtz gallery.

[Art people are strange to me. I haven't yet learned to talk about art like ART, so there's a lot of dissonance when I wind up among them. Also, many hats and turtlenecks.]

Chris was great. He's managed to figure out that middle ground in which he can interact with the ART/art crowd and yet talk about his work in an approachable way. Because he's such a laid-back guy, I half expect for him to talk about how he just set up a camera and let the result be a surprise, or decided on a whim to do something. No. Chris is thoughtful and deliberate in what he's doing. He knows what he wants to create in his mind, thinks about execution, and has multiple backups in case something goes wrong. I suppose this makes sense; some of the works from this show took about 10 hours (one reflects a full 24-hour cycle), and with a limited amount of usable time, large mistakes are probably not easy recoveries. I've actually not seen any of his newer work up close; seeing the burns and discoloration in the paper in person is quite fascinating. Because it seems so tactile, you kind of want to touch it, except you know the entire thing would crack in half.

The show is up through December 22.

Monday, November 14, 2011

31 rausch show post mortem

I haven't yet posted about our group show at 31 rausch from a month ago.

show installation

I was familiar with some, but not all, of my co-participants' work, so it was exciting to see how different people's pieces were.



I wish I had taken more photos of everyone's work, but here's links to everyone with internet presence: Carola, Yoni, Dane, Colin, and Sarah. (Hayes and Whitney do not have sites to which to link).

Colin got really great photos of the opening itself. A surprising number of people showed up, and I was trying to do my ethnicity justice by overseeing the music. There was a little less mixing of the groups than I was expecting, but it was still really fun to meet lots of new people. And by "fun" I mean, "fun after I had been drinking whisky because I'm scared of strangers." I did get a chance to chat with one woman about paper making, which I enjoyed since it was more about the topic of the photo as opposed to any meaning behind it.

The show was written up as part of a digest of local SF art shows. Super appreciative to Chris McCaw for giving us this opportunity to show, and for being an all-around laidback dude.

As for my first non-FX exhibition, I feel like I spent more time being a nervous wreck than anything else. I was so, so anxious to put my work out there when I didn't feel that great about it (I'm not sure if this was a function of the work not being objectively good or the fact that I had been staring at and tweaking it constantly over the course of a week). Mainly, it has to do with the perspective that I don't think of myself as a Real Life Photographer (more of someone who can take good snapshots), and so it was hard to put myself in the company of folks whose work I admire, and who really do try to express themselves artistically. I have mixed feelings about whether or not I would do something like this again.


good morning

It's become clear that I need to attend to my sourdough starter better; after letting it grow dormant in the fridge with infrequent feedings, I tried to bake with it this weekend. Although the yeast were still alive, they weakly struggled to produce enough carbon dioxide for the multiple rises. A process that should have taken 2 days ended up taking 3.5 and an early morning wakening to get it in the oven before work. But here they are!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Things accomplished this weekend:
  1. fabricated my first chicken
  2. made coq au vin
  3. wound 550 yards of yarn
  4. replaced my rear brake set on my bike
  5. replaced by handlebar grips on my bike
  6. walked 4.4 miles

Thursday, November 10, 2011


While waiting in a bicycle shop yesterday, I watched as a mother try to push off her son (who looked to be about 9 years old). He was clinging to her, and she was explaining to him that he needed to wait there for his father, and no he couldn't go with her. The mom looked embarrassed at the spectacle, weakly joking with the bike shop mechanics if they had a spare bike lock that she could put on her kid. She then got of her phone and hissed at the person on the other end to GET HERE NOW. After completing my purchase, I headed out of the back door of the shop. There, I saw the kid kicking around sullenly behind the packing boxes with reddened eyes while his mom quickly backed out of the parking lot in her cream Mini Cooper. I wondered why the local bike shop was chosen as the location to change the divorced parents guard. And I also wondered why the mother couldn't wait with her son who clearly didn't want her to leave him there. What was so important that her child, who tried his hardest to wrap himself around his mother's thighs, had to be left alone among the cardboard trash?

I've been thinking about the child abuse scandal going down over at Penn State (not SEX scandal; as my friend Kahlil wrote, "sex occurs between consenting adults"). For the first time ever, I have devouring Deadspin, which is doing a fantastic job covering this story. I am watching people trying to reconcile their current way of life with this absolutely monstrous reveal. But was has resonated with me most is Matt Millen's interview on SportsCenter on Monday (starting around 04:20). You basically witness a man, attempting to keep his professional composure during the analysis, and getting crushed under the weight of the situation:

This segment of the interview almost broke my heart:
It makes you sick to see that this could happen to this level, if in fact it has happened...But this is more than just a program. This is more than a football legacy. This is about people. And if we can't protect our kids, we as a society are pathetic.
Going back to the top of this post, it's not like I thought that the kid behind the bike shop was going to be kidnapped by a sexual predator. However, this whole week makes me think of the slow decline of our society into thinking about people as disposable, and something to be left behind.

If you want to read the grand jury report that details all the incidents involving Jerry Sandusky (23 pages), it's both illuminating and horrifying.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I don't think they've ever had a unified strategy. That's Google...the business is in beta.
Joshua Topolsky, This Week in Tech, Episode 326, "You Know What Frosts My Nuggets?" (November 6, 2011)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Education Nation 2.0 at Stanford University

Designing an education that truly builds the necessary skills for today's enormously diverse student population is not easy. But it's the key to opportunity for our citizens, economic vitality for our nation, and to assuring the U.S. remains a world leader. There is hope: innovations and innovators that challenge the status quo; research to help us understand how to move the education needle; a virtual army of reformers experimenting with new ways to teach, learn, and run our public schools.
Panelists: Salman Khan, Cory Booker, John Hennessy, Kim Smith, Claude Steele, and Reed Hastings. Moderated by Charlie Rose.

Long, but worthwhile if you've got 91 minutes to spare.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

sf camerawork on market

Alicia Nogales (First Exposures' BFF) threw a small appreciation party for the mentors in SF Camerawork's new home on Market Street, so we were able to explore the still unfinished space before the official move.

"Moving Forward..."
"Moving Forward..."

It used to be the Singer sewing machine factory (manufacturing on the second floor, retail on the ground floor). The space still needs a lot of work, but the floors are done and the windows are incredible.

"Moving Forward..."

It was nice to see folks relaxing mid-week. For some reason, I got a ton of pictures of Carola.

"Moving Forward..."
"Moving Forward..."
"Moving Forward..."

First Exposures got a huge donation from Fujifilm, so we got to play around with the Instax 210 and some instant film.

"Moving Forward..."

We're pretty.

"Moving Forward..."

storytelling through translation

This calls to mind the act of translation — shuttling from one world to another — which is in many ways the key to understanding Murakami’s work...When Murakami sat down to write his first novel, he struggled until he came up with an unorthodox solution: he wrote the book’s opening in English, then translated it back into Japanese. This, he says, is how he found his voice.
("The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami", Sam Anderson)

This is my favorite fact about Murakami ever.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

do you know the way to san jose?

LAS to SJC. Saturday, 10.08.11. Instagram.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jeff Altman: "Las Vegas, 1962"

Thanks to my friend Patrick for sharing this with me. I can't help but be sad that out of all the casinos featured in this video, only three (Flamingo Hilton, Binion's, and Golden Nugget) are still around. I struggle with whether or not Las Vegas' obsession with tearing down its past is refreshing or tragic.

Las Vegas 1962 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 rausch photo show

I'm in a group photo show at 31 rausch tonight. I'm showing some of my work from my Japan trip this past summer, and of course I'm second-guessing every single thing about it. But I'm showing with people I care about and admire, so at least it won't be a total flail.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

wedding festivus: Ted and Whitney edition

After multiple wine tastings, envelope and gift bag stuffing parties, and some friend and family drama, we all headed down to Los Gatos to watch Whitney and Ted get married.

Ted and Whitney's wedding

Whitney and Ted chose a beautiful property in the Santa Cruz mountains called Nestldown. Our friend Les was the officiant, and he was adorably nervous prior to the ceremony (but trying not to show it). I watched him and Ted skip over the bridge, Wizard-of-Oz-style, on the way to the altar.

The whole time we were waiting for the bridal party to descend down the stairway, I watched Ted; he looked giddy and nervous. And when Whitney appeared at the bottom of the path, they both started smiling uncontrollably at each other. It was the sweetest thing.

Ted and Whitney's wedding

Despite one small snafu with the rings, Les performed perfectly. Afterwards, the guests headed to cocktail hour. We had all been helping with the wine selection, but I made a beeline towards the beer line, because of this:

Mmm, delicious, delicious malts.

After dinner, Ted and Whitney took the floor. They had been taking swing dance lessons for the last few months, and choreographed something special for their first dance. Ted looked like he was concentrating so hard that he might blow a blood vessel. For some reason, that made me tear up a little.

I attempted to dance with Whit, Jay, and Les. Most of those were fails. I made friends with the photobooth guy. I played with Tevis' and Katrina's 10-week-old son. We were all convinced that the night was lasting forever, even though it was only 9:30 pm. Good times. Congratulations, Ted and Whitney.

Ted and Whitney's wedding
Ted and Whitney's wedding
Ted and Whitney's wedding
Ted and Whitney's wedding
Ted and Whitney's wedding

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

wedding photobooth

ginned up

I could only muster the strength for one event during SF Cocktail week, and that was the St. George Spirits Bathtub Gin BBQ.

St. George Spirits gin release party, 2011

When we bought the ticket for the bus shuttle, we had no idea that "bus shuttle = party bus."

Every single person who stepped onto the bus was confused. And because we're all a bunch of Bay Area introverts, that meant that after expressing awkward shock, everyone immediately went nose-deep into their smartphones to tweet about it.

When we got to the distillery, people were already milling around, drinks in hand. I should say at this point, we had no idea what we were getting into. I thought it was just going to be gin tastings and food, which is similar to how our prior experience at St. George was. In reality, we were handed nine drink tickets, representing the nine gin cocktails that we were permitted to drink over the course of 3 hours. Did you get that? NINE gin cocktails over THREE hours.

gin and homemade tonic

I didn't drink all of mine; I mean, unless it was going to be a "St. George Spirits Slumber Party" there was no way I was going to consume that much alcohol and not feel terrible. Some people did not have that foresight. When Whit and I got to the BART station after the event, we saw a lady who only an hour before had been dancing up a storm, slumped over on the pavement with her companion, accompanied by BART police. As we waited for the train to take us down to Hayward, we heard the sound of an ambulance pull up to the station. Yikes.

Most other people seemed to manage their intake a little better, and the rest of the event was really enjoyable. The nine (nine? NINE.) cocktails served were:

  • Sidewinder (Eric Grenier, Luka's -- Dry rye gin, green chartreuse, Laird's applejack)
  • Rappaccini's Garden (Ayn Kirkendall, St. George Spirits -- Botanivore gin, cucumber, ginger beer)
  • The Swarthy Gentleman (Alex Conde, Hudson -- Dry rye gin, Velvet Falernum, tobacco tincture)
  • The Face of Boe (Dion Jardine, Acme Bar -- Botanivore gin, maraschino liqueur, Small Hands gum syrup)
  • Gin & Tonic (Kate August, Boot & Shoe -- Botanivore gin, homemade tonic, Seltzer Sister's seltzer)
  • St. G Gibson (Kate Hug, Studebaker Pickles -- Dry rye gin, Studebaker Pickles Perfect pearl onions)
  • Robin Wood (Marjan Simovics, Era Art Bar -- Terroir gin, green chartreuse, grapefruit, lime)
  • Salty Sakura (Melissa Lawton, Hibiscus -- Botanivore gin, Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes, umeboshi, shiso leaf, brandied cherry)
  • Naked in the Rain (Brian McMillian, Sidebar -- Terroir gin, Tempus Fugit Kina, Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes)

Other photos:
St. George Spirits gin release party, 2011
St. George Spirits gin release party, 2011
St. George Spirits gin release party, 2011
St. George Spirits gin release party, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lots of great articles already.

Apple Visionary Steve Jobs Dies At 56
Jobs, Apple Co-Founder and Visionary, Is Dead
Technology's Great Reinventor: Steve Jobs (1955–2011)
Apple's Steve Jobs Is Dead
Steve Jobs Has Passed Away
Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

"The financial collapse encouraged the worst sort of behavior"

This Fresh Air interview with Michael Lewis brought it like it's never been broughten. I thought I had a good idea of what has been happening in Europe, and then I emerged from the cave. Although after listening to this full interview, I kind of want to plunge back into darkness.

A couple of highlights:
[Goldman Sachs] lent the [Greek] government money without saying that's what they were doing. If you did this in the corporate world, a bunch of people would be put in jail. They helped the Greek government rig its books so that they looked acceptable to the European Union so they'd be admitted to the euro[zone]."
Wall Street, in recent years, seems to have become an engine of unfairness...[O]nce the Bush and Obama administrations decided that you couldn't let these firms fail and they didn't want the mess of nationalizing them, there was really only one way forward — and that way was to gift money onto these banks until they're back on their feet and can function at the center of the economy again. But that, to any normal person who is outside the system, just looks ridiculously unfair. It looks like socialism for capitalists and capitalism for everybody else.
Sing it, Lewis, sing it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Khan Academy and Stanford medical school

During the initial discussions around medical education reform, one model that's been kicked around is incorporating the Khan Academy format of moving didactic out of the classroom and protecting that time for more meaningful learning (discussions, projects, one-on-one, etc.). It looks like we've been moving ahead on this: Salman Khan came to Stanford and recorded a few videos with our faculty, including:
One of my former students, Morgan Theis, makes a few appearances as Sal Khan's mentee in this project.

Andy's four-part series on the evolution of colon cancer resonated with me personally, of course. Also, because when Sal Khan asks, "how can you tell the difference between the lymphocytes and the cancer cells?" Andy deadpans, "it's because I'm a pathologist."

GABF, then and now

I'm not at the Great American Beer Festival this year, partially because tickets sold out while I was in Japan, and partly because I couldn't miss the Friday start to the course. I am shedding a tear at all the delicious beers that I'm not tasting, but it's a nice testament to how popular the craft beer movement has become. Here's a chart detailing GABF then and now (via GABF site, created by Joey McDaniel).

Friday, September 30, 2011

FX field trip: SFMOMA and Yerba Buena

For our second FX class, we did another icebreaker (people bingo - my favorite), and then headed around the corner to the SFMOMA to check out a great photography show called Face of Our Time.

(I had seen most of the Richard Misrach project from his presentation at SF Camerawork almost a year ago. The Jim Goldberg work were amazing; I still can't get some of those images out of my head.)

Nayali and Paula
Jim Goldberg exhibit
Whitney and Mariana

Afterwards, the students interviewed each other. Because we have two separate classes for digital and film, even students who had been in the program for a while didn't really know other students if they had been in different venues. The new mentors and students already so engaged with the program, which rubbed off on the older mentors and students; everyone was just totally open to the whole experience of the day.

FX student interviews
FX student interviews