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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

more dreams, more something

Taken early this morning as the sun rose over the city.


The days are getting shorter now. The time of morning when I might normally crawl out of the house to take photos before the day begins... now it's too dark. So I guess I'll be starting to mark when my days begin by when, theoretically, I have enough light to start taking photos. If it's not too cold for me to get out of bed.

Tomorrow morning, if all goes well, I'll walk down to the corner and buy a newspaper. Which is something I don't normally do, truth be told.

But this morning will be different, because, if all goes well, I'll open a section of the paper and read something about me. Which kind of floors me and kind of makes me laugh, too.

Never, ever, in a million years did I even think about something like this. I just want to take photos, and meet people, and enjoy the city. And in doing just that, look what's happened.

People keep saying to me: maybe this will be your big break, maybe your phone will start ringing off the hook, maybe you'll start getting big paid jobs.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. I'd like to hitch a ride upon a star. Who wouldn't? But I'm not going to wish for anything. Look at what's happened without me wishing a thing... how could it get better than this?

If all that happens tomorrow is that I walk down to the corner, buy my paper, meet my friend Red Shoes for a cup of coffee, whether I'm in the paper or not, life is good. Thanks to you for being along with me for the ride.

And thanks, San Francisco. Because whatever does happen, I have you to thank most of all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

what would have happened.

I found this photo today. I wish I could call her and tell her I'm going to be in the newspaper on Thursday. She would have loved to have a clipping to show her friends.


I am supposed to be in the newspaper on Thursday. October 1, in the San Francisco Chronicle. (When I say I, I mean me and the i live here:SF project.)

I say supposed to just because, well, you know how things are. I guess the Chron could still change their minds and not run the story but I should be more confident about it and say Yes, I'm going to be in the paper on Thursday. You should pick up a copy. And get an extra for a friend.

I'm still going to be excited about the whole newspaper story in a little while, but that sharp sticking poke of loss from finding Little Helen in my photo software is taking a few minutes to shake off. Keeping busy does wonders in the intentional forgetting and moving on department but it still does catch up with you.

I can picture her sitting in that blue recliner, next to her metal TV tray with a collection of PARADE magazines and clipped coupons and cough drops, with her collection of small, perfectly sharpened ends of pencils (she liked to save the tiniest bits of pencils and rubberband them in bunches), and this newly printed newspaper article about her first granddaughter, who has a photography project that got into the San Francisco newspaper. Can you believe it? Little Julie Michelle! In the newspapers!

She would call me and tell me how proud of me she was.

I know she would.

The Banana Brick

Truly, and I share this tip with you from the bottom of my heart:

Do NOT just willy-nilly decide to change your blog's template. It WILL fuck you up.


That is my tip for you for today.


Also, I have another tip for you, now that I think about it:

If a recipe calls for baking powder, and you don't have any baking powder, go and GET SOME.


After I pouted in my bed for a while about my self-inflicted template tragedy, I decided to make a banana bread because a) pretty much all we have to eat in the house is a bunch of 4-5 very ripe bananas, and b) making banana bread does not involve a computer or blog template.

It does, however, involve some sort of leavening agent (of which I have none).

I guess after all of those family Passovers and cautionary stories about wandering about in the desert for 40 depressing years, yada yada yada, I'd be really up on the whole leavening thing, but no, here is one instance where listening to a bible story might have helped me.

I now have a piece of what I could call Banana Matzoh, but it is a bit thicker than that so technically it's more of a Banana Brick.

It smells good, though, so I'm still going to eat some of it when I can hack off a chunk.


ps.: Feel free to tell me the blog looks better. I am working on it. Perhaps this will cause me to be more of a minimalist since I can't seem to remember what else I had up here before the tragedy.

I totally effed up my blog!

If you came over here and wondered what the hell happened, so did I about two minutes ago.

Actually, last night (around 11:45pm-- bad time to start a project, in retrospect), I thought I'd finesse my template.

Suffice to say, I pressed a button I shouldn't have but then was quite relieved when Blogger choked up and didn't make that change... or so I thought.

I guess I know what I'll be doing today. I can't even blame Blogger and I only had one cosmo last night, so obviously this is all due to my spectacular way of jumping into things without trying them out first. Fabulous.

I don't even have a picture to go with this insanity. I have to go find my widgets.


ps.: Thank goodness I didn't screw with i live here:SF. Go check out Mary while I deal with my mess over here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Moving towards the afterlife.

In Montgomery Station.


At first I thought it was my eyes going funny, but I think I'm going to have to look into getting a new blogger template. Lately, my photos look fuzzy. It's totally possible that I'm fucking something up when I export my images, but this time, I don't think it's me. It even looks better on flickr, so I don't know what's up.

This looks so much better on my computer. You should come over and see it.

UPDATE 9:41pm: Thanks, Meligrosa! This does look a bit better.

TONIGHT! All SF/Bay Area Photogs and Photography Loving Peeps...

Join legendary Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey and Momenta for a slideshow and party celebrating the American Family. Bring friends, colleagues and co-workers and join us for great photos from our workshop, great music and a great party! Cash bar with beer, wine and drink specials.

Where: Coda Jazz Club, 1710 Mission Street @ Duboce
Two blocks from the Mission and 16th BART station, 4 Blocks from the Van Ness Muni station or the number 49 bus line runs right by the bar.

When: Monday, Sept. 28 - 6:00 p.m. until closing!
Doors open at 6:00 with the slideshow at 7:00.
Contact: info@momentaworkshops.com or 415-551-2632.

Hope to see you there... and pass this along to your friends! Thanks!


David Alan Harvey has been a full member of the prestigious photographic collective Magnum Photos since 1997. He has photographed over 40 articles for National Geographic Magazine, and in 1978 was named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I see the word "spanking" and just can't stop thinking about the Castle Anthrax.

The years spent memorizing Monty Python dialogue runs too deep.

Obligatory photo from today's Folsom Street Fair. The rest are on flickr.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Seen, touched and left for another. On a sidewalk in an alleyway in SOMA, somewhere between Folsom and Howard.


Function: Noun
Etymology: Latin portentum, from neuter of portentus, past participle of portendere
Date: circa 1587

1 : something that foreshadows a coming event : omen, sign
2 : prophetic indication or significance
3 : marvel, prodigy


"Omens are the individual language in which God talks to you. My omens are not your omens." ~ Paul Coelho

I came across that Tarot card on a forgotten sidewalk about a week or so ago. It was in a random alley somewhere South of Market, and now I can't remember exactly where.

Even without picking up the card, I knew it was from a Tarot deck, even though the image is not from a traditional deck. Upon examining the card, I saw it had no recognizable suit or arcana that I could relate to.

I smiled at the thought of a message I could not understand, and put the card back on the sidewalk, hoping the next passersby would glean a little more from the portent than I could.


In times past, I would have taken a random occurrence like that to have some vast cosmic significance. I searched for omens and signs and indications everywhere. It made me feel like I wasn't so alone. That the universe had plans for me, as insignificant and terribly mortal as I might be in the great scheme of things.

It was a charming and colorful phase of my life, sometimes devotional, sometimes dark. And sometimes I was just going through the motions, to believe that a message was intended only for me, if I could interpret it, even though deep down I knew it was like playing make-believe. I had my guides: my corners, my directions, my crystals and sage and oils and incense and chants and ragas.

And then somehow, it became easier to just live instead of trying to make sense of it all. Trying to figure out what will happen next in your life is stressful, and looking for portents is not a very good way to go about it.

Now, even though I slip up from time to time and utter "well, all things happen for a reason," with a wink, I'll catch myself and try to enjoy the magic of a random happening that has no import at all, only if I give it such.

The magic has gone out of my life in a way. Or perhaps by magic I mean whimsy, with a generous touch of delusion. But it has been replaced by a sense of the groundedness I thought I was giving myself all along.


When I got home from my walk, I googled different kinds of Tarot decks, because I still wanted to find out what that card meant. It's from the Zen Oshu deck, and the card I stumbled upon is The Creator.


There are two types of creators in the world: one type of creator works with objects - a poet, a painter, they work with objects, they create things; the other type of creator, the mystic, creates himself. He doesn't work with objects, he works with the subject; he works on himself, his own being. And he is the real creator, the real poet because he makes himself into a masterpiece.

You are carrying a masterpiece hidden within you, but you are standing in the way. Just move aside, then the masterpiece will be revealed. Everyone is a masterpiece, because God never gives birth to anything less that that. Everyone carries that masterpiece hidden for many lives, not knowing who they are, and just trying on the surface to become someone.

Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you already are a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it. God has himself created you, you cannot be improved.

Old habits die hard.

That message made me smile.


"He will put money in your hand," the old woman said to me.
At the bus stop yesterday, 6th Avenue at Clement


Yesterday I was waiting in the bus shelter for the 44 O'Shaughnessy and eating a little piece of crispy Chinese pork, which I had bought across the street, along with a few pieces of dim sum. Crispy pork is my new favorite pork discovery, although I'm sure the Chinese have been enjoying it for thousands of years.

An old Chinese woman walked into the bus shelter, looked up at the NextMuni sign and saw that we had 9 more minutes until the next bus. I didn't notice her pulling out the cardboard with cheap jewelry stuck to it, but before I knew it, I was getting a not-so-subtle sales pitch.

$2 earrings. No thanks. A jade cross pendant on a suede string. No, really, thanks.

Then she shows me the jade Buddha.

"Four dollars," she says. The woman looked chagrined, as if this piece was a bit too expensive. "But he will put money in your hand."

"Really? He'll put money in my hand?"

Because I could sure use some money in my hand these days. Living la Vie Boheme wears a bit thin at times.

She nods.

Then I notice her old plastic shoes with holes in them, and her dirty bag. How many pairs of $2 earrings must she sell a day just to buy a plate of crispy pork and dim sum? How many people say No Thanks until that happens?

I don't believe the Buddha will put money in my hand, really, although it's a lovely thought. But I do think the Buddha (if he ever existed and somehow was watching this transaction) would be pleased if I gave this lady four dollars, which I have (I have six dollars).

So I buy the Buddha.

And that is a story. Without magic, but a nice true story nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Child's Play

I think these little people are gonna have to go on my website.

From a recent family photo shoot in Golden Gate Park.

SF is full of champions


Betcha didn't know that the current National YoYo Champion lives in SF.

Well, he does. And he's a great guy.

I don't know about you, but I was the kind of kid who used to nail myself in the head with my yoyo trying to do Around the World. Watching Joseph work his magic with TWO of 'em is pretty astounding and he never stops smiling.

And I never saw him hit himself in the head.
Check out YoYo Joe on i live here:SF.

For the little ones...

These were the beautiful faces I saw today.


I'm so grateful to keep getting my perspective readjusted. Just when I am way too focused on myself (which is frightfully easy, unemployment or no), something comes along that makes me snap to.

Today I joined Lisa from Help a Mother Out to attend a family event with the APA Family Support Services in their Chinatown office. HAMO, who you might remember from previous posts, is doing something to help parents that our social service system cannot: getting much needed diapers and toiletries to low income and homeless parents.

It sounds almost too simple to be true, but diapers are not covered under a family's food stamp ration. Which means if you've got a baby, and you're on a fixed income, you have to use your precious dollars to buy diapers because your food stamp allotment won't cover them. And for those of you who may not realize it, diapers are expensive. Some mothers are forced to go without, or reuse diapers, which causes health issues for the babies and emergency room visits that could be avoided.

Wouldn't it be so simple to make sure that families can get the diapers they need without sacrificing food? It's been a while since I've written on such issues, and I only want to write when such issues are before me, so that you're experiencing what I'm seeing.

So if you can, check out HAMO's website to learn how you can help donate diapers that will be given to needy, grateful families and babies.


Being in Chinatown is always a joy for me. Being able to help in my way (photography-wise) with this family support center, which helps Asian families throughout San Francisco, was even more special. The people at APA provide valuable services to the families that come to them: parenting classes, English classes,

APA's goal is to provide family support services to prevent child abuse and domestic violence.

If my camera and photos help in any tiny way towards that goal, then I am truly happy.

For more info:

Help a Mother Out
APA Family Support Services


UPDATE 9/22 8:19am: Lisa at HAMO has posted the story behind our visit to APA yesterday. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The world from their window

I think I forgot to share this photo with you before I put it on flickr.

Three little girls looking out over Polk Street from their Tenderloin apartment window. Someone paid me a huge compliment and said this had some Robert Frank magic to it, which I do take as a huge compliment.

I love their unique and individual reactions to what they're seeing on the streets below. I guess they didn't notice me.

There's a recent article on Frank in Vanity Fair (thanks Plug1, for making me aware of it). I still wonder why it was that he gave up photography. At this time in my life, I can't imagine that someday I won't want to capture images. Perhaps one can get tired of seeing. Or trying. I hope I don't.


Listen, I've kinda hinted around about the article in the San Francisco Chronicle (!!) on me and the i live here:SF project. I know some of you goodhearted souls are as anxious as I am to know when the article is coming out, and I still don't know. It will be sometime after Sunday, that's all I know now.

So if you want to start buying newspapers, you can but I swear, the very minute I hear any news, you'll be the next to know. Promise.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It must be the intense heat today.

It's making me silly.

From the iconic Beth Spotswood on the birth of Gavin's new baby:

It's a girl, which we knew.
They named it Montana, which explains why they didn't want us to know.


I'm just thinking out loud here, since Beth started it. I mean, why didn't they name the baby California, if they were going to go with a state? No one in Montana is voting out here (I'm assuming) for our next governor.

Or they could have called her Ashbury Heights, to keep it local.

Real History

According to my pal Gabby:

According to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5769.

According to the Chinese calendar, the year is 4706.

This means that the Jews went without Chinese food for 1,063 years.

This period was known as the Dark Ages.


Some people really know their history.
Happy New Year, to those who celebrate it, or eat Chinese food.

ps.: Still no real post yet, but a little humor can't hurt in the meantime.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My mental [bus] transfer

pretty girl on the 6 Parnassus

Riding on the 6 Parnassus last week, near Masonic and Haight.

I thought this girl was so beautiful...

But mostly, I liked her dog.


I'm sure you must all think I've gone on holiday.
Surely, I've been off on a mental ride of sorts. But I should be getting off that bus soon. With more stuff worth reading and/or looking at. Or at least I'll try.

But in the meantime, I had some Irish coffees (and very good, inspiring conversation) with Plug1 at the Gold Dust Lounge (why do they call it a dive bar? I don't think the Gold Dust is a dive bar... and besides, Herb Caen liked it), and then had some late night Pasquale's pizza with The Boy.

Let me tell you: IRISH COFFEE and PIZZA do not a dinner make.
Smart people probably already know these sorts of things.


Saturday, September 12, 2009



Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death. ~ Anaïs Nin


People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates. ~ Thomas Szasz


The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


At first blush, I can't seem to put my finger on what I want to say here. Again, I rely on pictures and other people's words.

Well, that's probably not correct.

I can say it, but I won't.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

These moments.


This city inspires me in so many ways. Where do I start?


Yesterday I was interviewed for an article about i live here:SF. I'll be more specific next week, but suffice to say, it was a heady experience. Not because I was talking about me, but because of something that's become so big and personally important in my life, and to trace the threads of what has happened that has brought me to sit in a Hayes Valley cafe 6 months later, across from a reporter with a notebook and recorder, sipping a cup of hot chai.

Above is a photo of Mariana. And her love story. I feel so honored how people share with me. And in sharing with me, they share with you, too.

ps.: The show at Tedda Hughes is going really well. People keep buying and I keep replacing. So stop by if you can. The show will be up until Sept. 20.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Give Cheeks a Chance TONIGHT

Help a Mother Out (helpamotherout.org) is a wonderful cause started by two local moms, Lisa and Rachel, who wanted to make a difference in the lives of mothers. In a very short time, they've been able to donate much needed diapers, toiletries and clothing to the local partners they work with:

Homeless Prenatal Program
Women's Daytime Drop-in Center (WDDC)
Brighter Beginnings

Tonight is their Diaper Drive Kick-Off... if you're near Oakland or San Jose, see if you can stop by one of their events.



GIVE CHEEKS A CHANCE! Help kick off HELP A MOTHER OUT’S (www.helpamotherout.org) month long diaper drive by joining us at SadieDey’s Café (www.sadiedeyscafe.com) on Wednesday, September 9th from 5-7pm.

September is a time to get back to basics - summer comes to a close, kids go back to school, life resumes its usual frenetic pace – and homeless/low income babies and kids continue to be in dire need of diapers and other basic supplies.

Bring the kids for a playdate and early dinner.* DONATE DIAPERS, NEW UNDERWEAR & SOCKS, and learn more about WHAT YOU CAN DO to help a mother out!

*Kids eat Dinner FREE at Sadiedey's
To celebrate the launch of our NEW Dinner events, ALL kids get a FREE dinner after 4pm for each adult meal purchase!

One obsession at the expense of another.

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.~ Joan Didion

the escape.

Some days everything beckons.


In the hope that the quote above will knock the cobwebs out of my head and make the writing motor start up again. Prime the pump, as it were.

I think all of these pictures have gotten to me. I love them. I stare at them like the story of Narcissus and his reflection in the pool. But now I feel like I can't put three words together that aren't describing an image I took.

Sometimes photography makes me feel like I'm cheating.

Words! Come back! I'll put the camera away. (Or at least I'll try.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Living Large


my fire-spinning hula-hooping yogini friend Autumn


Autumn is a force of nature.

When you walk down the street with Autumn (she is fondly called the Mayor of Polk Street), you get the feeling that there's nobody she doesn't know in this town.

I'm posting her story today on i live here:SF because she's back from Burning Man and probably feeling a little lost, even though she's back home in the city she loves.

Pay Autumn a visit and say hello.

I have to tell you that on her photo shoot, aside from the backbends and handstands next to the Women's Building in the Misson, she befriended a hula-hooping six-year old and they hula hooped and did yoga together in Dolores Park.

But that's Autumn. When you see her, you'll understand.

Monday, September 7, 2009

These Days...

I've been out walking
I don't do too much talking These days, these days. These days I seem to think a lot About the things that I forgot to do And all the times I had the chance to.


Hope you are well.

It seems like forever and a day since I actually wrote something, and I keep meaning to.

Oh well.


Whatever you're up to, I hope it's as fun as twirling around in front of your own private marching band.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rocked it.

Yes they did. Oh yes, they did.


It was so exciting.

(I kinda felt like their mom. Rock Mom, ha ha.)

Happy Saturday. I'm taking the day off from Rock and Roll.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Last night's rehearsal

Earplugs were worn. (By me.)


I realized that you can never have enough light. The rehearsal was awesome, like a private concert. But the light was low. Hopefully I'll get more pics tonight at the sound check.

the boys

damn, I'm tired.

These boys are a handful.
But they look good, don't they?


C0me see their show tonight (Christ, it's Friday already!)

There are tickets left, and it's gonna be a rockin' show.

I was at the rehearsal tonight and it was awesome.

Tix available at the Great American Music Hall.

See you there... but first I have to get some sleep.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

After 40 million years, a pelican is basically a dog with wings.


Yesterday, I wished I had a pocketful of fish.


Hi guys!

How've you been? Good? Good!



I won't be around much online for the next few days.
Today and tomorrow I'm doing photos with Magic Christian now that the whole band is together. Friday night is their show at the Great American Music Hall, so I hope some of you can make it. (Tix are still available.)

But in the meantime, I wanted to share something cool that happened yesterday.


I met this little fellow.


He was hanging out on one of the piers over at Crissy Field, and a few people were giving him little tiny fish that they had caught.


He/she (how does one tell) was obviously not shy. I got quite close to take these shots.
It's so exciting to see a non-human little person up close (this fella did have a cute personality so to me he was definitely a person.)


Just another San Franciscan enjoying the fine day and the company of others.

You can see more pics of my little buddy here.

And you can learn more about pelicans here. After I took these photos, I was so fascinated by what I had captured that I wanted to learn more.