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Monday, November 30, 2009

My Biggest Scoop (so far)

This young lady was more reticent than Garbo to share her story. Normally, I don't really ask people to participate in i live here:SF. In some cases, I do, but mostly I rely on volunteers and referrals to make the project happen.

This is my little friend C. You might remember her from previous posts... she's one of my treasured local buddies. Nine going on 39. I've told her about i live here: SF before and although she sounded mildly interested (in between quizzing me in long division and using up my cell phone battery to play games on my iPhone), I didn't think I'd ever scoop her.

Somehow The Boy was able to pique her interest, so today I was gifted with a sheet of binder paper containing her handwritten thoughts about San Francisco. I'll be posting the story tomorrow morning so we can all read it with fresh eyes. (I'm excited!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After, again

Reflections on a Thanksgiving.

Thought 1. I am very glad it doesn't occur to me to cook like this all the time. I mean, I love my Thanksgiving recipes and mercifully seem to forget all about them except for once a year.

Thought 2. Preparing the food is probably more fun than eating it. By the time the turkey is ready to go in the oven, I'm so grossed out by the thought of eating it that the cooking of the turkey is almost like an afterthought (I'm really all about the stuffing, actually. The turkey is the vessel). Something you have to go through with since you've come this far already.

Thought 3. I believe Thought 2 firmly until the crispy turkey skin smell starts invading the house. Then Thought 2 becomes downright silly, and what am I saying? Of course I'm going to eat what I cooked. The turkey skin is my favorite part. Stuffing has now become Second Favorite Food.

Thought 4. As I finish the Crack Potatoes, I'm very grateful that some important things do come to me in the form of dreams. This year, I dreamt of Egg Nog Bread Pudding, which upon being awake, I concocted with toasted bread, sliced apples, rum, grated nutmeg and cardamom, and lots of egg nog. I made homemade whipped cream. This pudding rivaled the Crack Potatoes in terms of sheer delicious mouthfuls of ecstacy.

Thought 5. The Godfather (Parts 1 and 2), when watched together in its entirety, can keep you fully engrossed and entertained not only during the preparation of Thanksgiving food, but while you're eating it. (First of all, it's about family. Second of all, it's not that gory. You can't watch Goodfellas while you're eating.)

Thought 6. I hate the Food Baby. Good thing my XL Bill's Towing t-shirt hides it. But I can't wear this t-shirt outside. I am trapped indoors until the Food Baby goes away.

Thought 7. I will never eat again. I'm going on a juice fast.

Thought 8. How on earth can I be hungry again?! Dammit.

Thought 9. Cold stuffing and turkey being picked off from the pan in little bits without utensils but dipping in warm leftover gravy is the ideal.

Thought 10. Now wearing the XL Little Shamrock (local bar) t-shirt. Very glad Thanksgiving comes only once a year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Star Monk is back.

John Dobson is back in town until Sunday. Read the rest of the story here.

Morning Mystery

I think part of the reason I love taking photos of people is that some of them absolutely fascinate me. So many worlds to be exposed to.

Above and below are Calli. She contacted me about being part of i live here:SF way back when, in the early days. We went out for tea on a cold afternoon and she told me a lot about her life and her life studying fashion and art here in the city. And then for a bunch of different reasons we weren't able to get together to take photos.

Now all these months later, we finally did. And the wait seemed to be a very good thing. I don't think we would have achieved some of the haunting and extraordinary images that we did until now. Above is Calli in a bodystocking. She explained it as a way to disappear, when you want to be by yourself but you're surrounded by people. The look of it, and the concept fascinated me. I guess I can relate. I also learned a tiny bit about Butoh, just enough to intrigue me and make me want to learn more. As I learn, I'll share with you.

I now have a new camera. One of these photos was taken with the new one, and one with the old (which I'm now calling the Security Blanket Camera). I'm happy using both as I learn my way and how my camera influences my style and what I'm capable of capturing images of. I know I'll need more lenses to do what I want to do but already I can see the quality of photos improve from having a larger sensor. I love being able to control the depth of field, something I was never able to do before.

My mom lovingly gave me a large part of the money for the new camera for my birthday, and I subsidized it with some of the money I made at Tedda's show in September. I think I will name the body of the camera Bunny, after my mom. That seems very appropriate and special. She has told me that she would like to give me some money from my grandmother's account to pay for a lens or two. So I will call the lenses Helens or Little Helens.

I really really like the idea that my grandma, wherever she is, is helping me to see the world more beautifully.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Head of the Pack: Group Show in the Castro

Click on image for a larger version.

I'm excited because a) I'm in this show, and b) the curator chose my image for the flier!

Mark your calendar... December 17 is the opening. You can also meet the CALIBER dudes, too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Horse with No Name

I'm home. I'm back. I'm planted at my desk going through 1700+ photos.

Who would have thought the barren desert would have provided such golden photographic opportunities for a city girl like me? Whoa!

I'm slowly sorting through and processing my favorites. I've already blogged two of the images on CALIBER (where the best ones will go due to the large size of the template--yay!) and all of the selections will keep being added to the flickr set.

So you can see what's there for now. This will take a while to digest and work on but I think this set is STELLAR. Hope you do too!


Thank you all so much for the birthday tweets and comments and emails! They poured in all day and your thoughtfulness made me so happy. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Desert Hearts

Princess Chubness and her pal, Wolfie


It's the day I leave Las Vegas, and now I wish I was just arriving. The perfect, identical suburbs, the wide open barren places and the crazy confabulation of "entertainment" in this town leave me feeling lonely.

But nestled in amongst all of this are pure and sweet hearts. You see two of them here.

It may be nice to be an Auntie (Mame or otherwise), because you avoid the crying, the diapers, the sleep deprivation. However, you miss the giggles, the hugs, the clutching, furtive steps to try to walk, the joy in seeing other people love you for just being you.

Today is my birthday and I'll be spending part of it in an airport by myself, headed home to the city I love. But I'll be leaving a part of my heart behind in this desert, because a tiny girl has stolen it with her chubby hands and won't give it back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

All for Love.

Today is a banner day on i live here:SF.

I have a crush on Mat, as I mentioned earlier. But I'm probably in love with Catherine.

Tell me what you really think.

New crush. Smart guys and guys who can write... well, damn.


"I hate this place. It stinks and it's dirty and there's piss everywhere and needles and garbage and yesterday when I went for a run in the park I had to traverse a trail that had been completely covered in used toilet paper. I've been robbed at gunpoint here, just down the street from my apartment. San Francisco is expensive, and I'll never be able to afford to buy a home. The city government is corrupt, there's nowhere to park, the people are all fucking crazy, and don't even get me started about MUNI.

I'm never leaving, motherfuckers."

The rest of the story is here.
You know you want to find out what he says next.

The Odd Relative

Here I am, it's 12:27am as I write this. Las Vegas, Nevada. Sleeping on my sister's couch and trying to stop singing that goddamned song that Ariel sings from The Little Mermaid. The Disney Alert Level in this house is Orange. We are knee-deep in princess paraphernalia.

I fell asleep on the sofa tonight as everyone else was watching the season finale of Mad Men. Since I don't have a television and obviously do not watch the show, I had nothing invested in this episode or any other, and I fell asleep. Now my body clock is punishing me by mentally singing this infernal Disney song and making me write posts in my head.

Anyway, this weekend has been full of family and friends celebrating the littlest one's first birthday. I am staying in a place that is perfectly groomed and planned and made hospitable despite the raw nature that looms so hugely behind this housing development. I couldn't be any farther away from home right now. Not as an indictment of Las Vegas and the baggage/dreams this city inspires, but that all around us we are surrounded by the harshest kind of desert. Nevada makes me feel very conscious that I live on a planet. A rock in space.

Inside this new and lovely home, we don't feel the heat. The treeless mountains that loom behind us look as sharp as glass and are shaped like the fins of sharks. I can't decide if the mountains are protecting us from something even harsher or are just biding their time. I wake up thirsty and my lips are peeling.

In being introduced to my sister's friends and neighbors, and reacquainting myself with extended family that I rarely see, I realize that I am the odd relative. The one who doesn't quite know how to answer: So, what have you been up to these days?

The rootless one. I try to see myself through their eyes and wonder how I can answer that question in a meaningful way. Even if it's only in polite conversation, that question makes me paste a two-dimensional smile on my face that I'm sure is unattractive, and I can feel my eyes drifting off somewhere else and not on purpose.

I could say:

  1. I'm using photography as a metaphor for examining almost everything in my life and the world around me and cannot help doing so. It makes me extremely happy and self-conscious at the same time.
  2. I have a feeling that my life is in total flux and transition and although I'm not entirely uncomfortable with this state, it makes me impatient and often moody.
  3. I spent an hour curling my hair this morning.
  4. I'm doing great!
I've been going with Answer 4.


On Friday, my sister and parents drove me out into the desert so I could be my photographic self. I took almost 450 photos and some of them are stellar, even though I really can't see them until I get home and can import them into my computer. We four-wheeled it over rocks and dusty faint roads and they helped me notice things. In the desert, there is much to photograph.

So even if I am the odd unsettled relative, my sister and my parents understand. I will dedicate this next set of photos to them, for their love and in getting me to places I couldn't have gotten to by myself. I look forward to sharing these images with you soon.

ps.: There are two incredible installments on i live here:SF today. One in the morning (9:02am, Mat) and one in the afternoon (2:22pm, Catherine). I am BLOWN AWAY by these people for entirely different reasons but both have made me have crushes on them. Please promise you'll look at their photos and read their stories today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Mr. Widdicome, there's no such place as San Francisco. Please!"

Rosalind Russell as the incomparable Auntie Mame.


From way back when I could even remember thinking about it, I never wanted to be a mom. It didn't feel like something I wanted to be when I grew up. It wasn't a judgement: good, bad or otherwise. I just never envisioned myself as being a mom, like I never saw myself being a nurse or a firefighter.

Not that Mom is an occupation, mind you. But somewhere way back then it was just a lifestyle I didn't think much about.

However, I have always wanted to be an Auntie. And luckily for me, I am.


I can't remember the first time I saw the movie Auntie Mame on television. I do distinctly remember thinking how fantastic Mame was, in her exotic and fun clothes, surrounded by cigarettes and men and witty banter. Somewhere way back when, I did decide that if I was ever going to be an Aunt, I would try to be an Auntie Mame type.

I'm still working on it.


I'm leaving tomorrow to go to Las Vegas, as my delightful confectionery dumpling of a baby niece (aka Princess Chubness) is going to be One Year Old at the end of the week. !!!

I am also going to have a birthday (next week, but close enough) where I am going to be One Plus Many More, so we're going to celebrate together. I am already missing San Francisco, though, even though I'm still here and not even packed yet. However, the smiling tiny faces that I'll be kissing soon will get me over that tout de suite.

I'm covering my tracks by scheduling advance posts on CALIBER and i live here:SF so no one will know I'm gone. Maybe I'll make an appearance here... who knows, but I will be working hard on my Aunting:

"Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

photo from the New York Public Library.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A High CALIBER Event!

The tallest, cutest Sorcerer's Apprentice you ever saw.


Boy, our photo walk was really awesome. I think Troy, Stuart, Brad and I were a wee bit surprised at how many people showed up. It made us feel terrific.

Thanks to all of you who joined us. I know we'll be doing this again, hopefully soon!

Here's a little peek
at what I saw, but you can get the entire party picture on CALIBER, of course.

You asked for it.

Me, on Halloween at Teatro Zinzombie.


The Boy took this photo. He did a nice job, didn't he? He says I look like Ginger Rogers with dark hair.

I really think I was born in the wrong era. This is definitely my look.

Have a good night. I have to unglue my hair now.