Monday, August 29, 2011

"I can hear this beat it fills my head up"

Now that I have a Spotify account, I've been catching up on music that I should have been listening to a long time ago. The TRON: Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk has been getting me through this Monday. So has "Drumming Song" by Florence + The Machine -- on repeat.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"The bike gives suffering a purpose"

“After the war, the people where I’m from really worked a lot,” [Sibo] said, and added, “To get out of the past, I think the only way is to work"...Being on Team Rwanda made him a star to the people in his village—not because it made him different, he said, but because his effort made him familiar. “They know that I suffer a lot. It’s more like they have pity for me, and they know that if I’ve earned something it’s because I worked too hard.”
The paradox is that in the name of putting the genocide behind them Rwandans have had it held constantly in front of them, as a warning of the perils of divided is not enough simply to coexist and to bury the memory of the slaughter; there is a need to make the idea of being Rwandan have greater value.
“This is the land of second chances."

Very thoughtful article in the New Yorker on the Rwandan cycling team.

Friday, August 26, 2011

teenage angst in search form

Whit and I got into a debate earlier this week on whether or not science could prove anything (we ended in a stalemate related to "theoretical proof versus practical proof"). I thought I'd do some follow up research, and wound up with the following Google related search suggestions. The last one is especially emo.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

"we did everything with reckless abandon"

I quit my job the day that that came out. I was cutting onions and potatoes as a short-order cook for this 50s-style restaurant chain. I would walk 12 blocks to work everyday, from West Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania, where the restaurant was. Before Nation of Millions, I would usually show up five minutes late...But when I bought that album, my entire walk changed. I wound up getting to work 20 minutes early, simply because you almost had to walk to the bpms of what you were listening to. And by the time that I got there, I just made it to "Show 'Em Whatcha Got" and, at work, I couldn't stop singing that sampled horn line from the Lafayette Afro Rock Band. I went on my lunch break and was just like, "Fuck it, I'm not going back to work." So I went to 7-Eleven, purchased about four Duracell batteries, and sat in a park from about 1 p.m. until about 6 p.m., just listening to that record.
- ?uestlove, on how It Takes A Nation of Millions affected him when he first heard it

Killer interview over at Pitchfork with ?uestlove from The Roots. As always, his alternative role as hip-hop griot is solid.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"I lift my hands and give God thanks at working in the shade"

My aunt Lucille is featured in this Las Vegas Review Journal article about black women working in Las Vegas during the 1950s and 1960s (in reaction to the release of The Help). Lucille came to Vegas from Tallulah, LA when she was 23 years old; she, like my dad, made money as a child picking cotton in the fields.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

android wedding cake toppers

(Photos via Bridal Rehab via NOTCOT)

My friends Cindy and Nathan's adorably geeky wedding cake toppers made the blog rounds. They were designed by Andrew Bell.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer 2011: Angel Island

Back in February, I managed to book a site on Angel Island for August 13-14. I had been hoping to do more camping/backpacking trips this summer, but unless I get organized quickly, this might be the only one for the season.

view from trail
view from trail

You can either take the ferry from San Francisco or Tiburon. We decided on the latter because a) parking was easier and cheaper, and b) we wanted to end the weekend with brunch at Sam's Anchor Cafe.

I had been the Angel Island in the past for an FX field trip, but this was my first time camping there. Whit, Les, and Dina had never been there before.

view from trail

I spent a lot of time researching the sites, and settled on East Bay Site #2 (sheltered from wind, in a small pine grove). Each site has potable water, picnic tables, a raccoon box, and a charcoal grill (campfires are no longer allowed on the island after a massive fire took out about 380 acres in 2008).

After the last ferry leaves (around 5:30 pm), the rangers and overnighters have the entire island to themselves. We had more than enough food, and apparently more than enough wine; Les picked up a pouch of Clif wine that turned out to be 2 bottles-worth. We finished that off before climbing Mount Livermore.

view from trail
view from trail
from top of Mount Caroline Livermore
from top of Mount Caroline Livermore

At night, I got teased over my paranoia about raccoons (because Kirby Cove memories made my eyelid twitch). Fortunately, there was only one guy who kept creeping up to the edge of our campsite, but would run away when we got up. There was no crazy gnashing of earplugs keeping us awake throughout the night. Also: no foghorns. Hooray!

from top of Mount Caroline Livermore
night view from campsite

In the morning, we took a walk down to Fort McDowell. I have those photos in a separate post, but I will say that the other members of my group were taken by surprise about how awesome those buildings are.

My tips:
  1. Try to get an East Bay site; those tend to be more sheltered from the wind. However, when I say "sheltered," I don't mean "zero" -- we got a fair amount throughout the night, which I kept thinking were raccoons tearing my sanity to pieces.
  2. Bug spray, bug spray, bug spray.
  3. This is backpacking. You will need a backpack. Whit, for some reason (maybe due to his jet lag/sleep deprivation), made this trip with a small backpack and a duffel. This was not fun to walk with for 2.5 miles.
  4. I would err on hiking shoes/boots over sneakers. I went with the latter for this trip, and although it was OK (the terrain is not too crazy), I think I would have been comfortable with the former.
  5. Headlamps, lanterns, other light sources are always welcome to this party.
  6. Everything will take longer than you think in terms of walking: down to the buildings, down to the trail, down to the port to catch the ferry back.
All in all, it was a fun trip. Camping lady says: DO IT.

group photo

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fort McDowell, Angel Island

I'd been to Fort McDowell before, but here are some newer photos, with my new lens (thanks, Whit!):

Fort McDowell
Fort McDowell
Fort McDowell
Fort McDowell
Fort McDowell

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

picture book


Both my parents are the creative sort -- my dad with music, and my mom with art. When I was younger, I felt like I had to choose between the two, so I decided to do art classes for a couple of years and then music for the next. My mom used to critique my drawings dispassionately and "correct" my projects (as in, draw over them to show how they could be better). I stayed with music for the rest of my adolescence. My mom acknowledged that although I was good at music, I would never be great. She also flatly declared that I could have been great at art had I kept at it. Tiger moms really build a special kind of character.

I decided in adulthood I would try to explore more of the "art" side of things -- ceramics, photography, and finally a reintroduction to drawing. I took a class at the local adult school. I really hated my teacher; she was the type to keep talking through the drawing session, and never really let us draw in contemplative silence. I also openly resented the push to draw true-to-life. My thinking was, if I wanted something that looked like reality, I would take a photo of it. This is because I hate failing at things. Also, I am a brat. Also, I was going to label this post Peter Keating.

Poor Whit (who took almost as many art classes as physics major classes in undergrad) bore the brunt of my insecurities. When he would gently try to guide me towards blind contour technique, I wept in frustration. I could only endure that class for a semester. These are the some of the landscape drawings from my sketchbook.


"Bow down, brother pay homage / don’t spill hate all on my garments"

He no longer needs to surprise us, he simply needs to file annual updates reminding us that, after all, he’s Jay-Z and you’re not.
- Greg Kot, album review of Watch the Throne

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"I never saw myself in a place like this"

I've been catching up on Mad Men, and finished Season 3 late last night. Holy hell, this show is fantastic.

I love this quote:
Anabelle: You were the one.
Roger: You weren't.

(All images from the AMC show website).

Friday, August 5, 2011

"that is just too many socks"

Occasionally, being a regular at a bar has perks beyond friendly conversations with other regulars and brutally honest recommendations from the bartenders. The Rose and Crown's July brewery night was with Lagunitas Brewing Company. I wound up sitting next to the brewery representative, Jack, who is a totally cool and laid-back dude. Rachel was busy working the bar, but when I let Jack know that Rachel had never been to Lagunitas, he immediately invited her to an event at the brewery on Tuesday. When he said that she could bring someone with her, she turned to me and asked, "feel like taking the afternoon off?" Tuesday found us (along with Jay, who was also free) heading across the Golden Gate Bridge to Petaluma.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

baseball moronathon

Saturday included a trip to Oakland Coliseum to a) participate in the Oakland A's Beerfest, and b) watch the Minnesota Twins get trounced.

Oakland A's versus Minnesota Twins

Let me just start this off by saying that the Beerfest was one of the more poorly organized events to which I have ever been. Getting our glasses necessitated standing in line for an hour, and people became pretty peeved when another group decided to just form their own line and cut in front of about 50 people (and no one was listening to the poor official trying to correct it). The Eastside Club was so packed that I inadvertently molested at least 14 people. The pours, however, were quite generous. And despite the clusterfuck, most people stayed cheerful and good-natured.

The game was a little less exciting.


Minnesota fans, after being burned by the Vikings for at least 13 years, kept up a refrained optimism. The experience was livened up at least for a few minutes by the hot chocolate vendor, who bellowed his wares as "sweet, delicious, chocolatey rip-off!" We also became a magnet for single and duo Twins fans to embroil in extremely polite and mild-mannered conversations.

Minnesota is now second-to-last in the worst division of MLB. Luckily, they have approximately 3,700 games left in the season to correct this.

Oakland A's versus Minnesota Twins
Oakland A's versus Minnesota Twins

Monday, August 1, 2011