Archive for San Francisco

do it yourself

Last weekend we attended the ultimate do-it-yourself extravaganza – Maker Faire. I was fortunate to have connected up with an awesome group of folks from Homey Grown. They needed a photographer to document their participation in the Swap-O-Rama-Rama events and fashion show (and you know I’m always looking for any excuse to haul my camera around!).

There were endless amounts of things to see and do from crafty stuff, to robot wars, to bonsai gardening, to the human mouse trap to catching things on fire to art cars… and that is just the beginning. There are loads more pictures up at flickr if you feel like living vicariously through them or reliving your own experiences at the event 🙂



I was perusing* glancing through craigslist recently and came across a listing for a Polaroid transfer workshop. I’ve always had a little soft spot for Polaroids so I thought I should sign up for it. I see people using Photoshop to recreate the looks of these, but I am very happy I now know where that comes from and how to do it. The sad truth is that eventually (in the very near future) Polaroid film is simply not going to be available so this really will turn into a lost art form. That feels a little bit sad.

I had to get some of my digital images turned into slides for this project and wow was I impressed. I got a few of my own images done as well as a couple from our wedding. I forget how wonderful the color is on slides – it was a real treat. Maybe I’ll find myself an old slide projector so I have more use for these slides (as well as have an excuse to get more slides).

Anyway, Anna Fizyta taught the workshop. She has a lot of great examples of her various Polaroid manipulation projects on her website, you should check them out. All this Polaroid talk also reminded me of this great artist I met at the Utah Arts Festival named Joachim Knill. He built his own huge Polaroid camera and creates some really great images. He has done some off-the-wall scenes with food – three of which hang in my kitchen (bananas, tomato crossing and pear hikers).

*I’ve always used this word wrong and apparently so do many others. I have always used it to mean casually glancing through something, but in reality it means to read or review something with great detail…

**If you are ever tempted to buy those little two-minute in a box dishes from Trader Joe’s (Pad Thai, Kung Pao and Peanut Sauce), spare yourself. They sound like a good idea, but taste pretty awful.


The day to day

There are so may things about life right now that are tiresome and even more things that are wonderful. I think I’ll ramble on about the wonderful for a bit.

My two obsessions right now are the kitchen and the camera. My husband recently commented on the fact that the tripod has become a permanent fixture of the kitchen. I spend what free time I have cooking and baking and then taking pictures of my creations. I am getting a little bit better about posting things to Flickr so you should visit there sometimes.

Thursday is our second date with Mariquita Farm and her wonderful Mystery Box. I love the Mystery Box for two reasons. The first is that it leads us to an increase in our vegetable consumption, which is always a good thing (not to mention these are locally grown and organic!). The second and perhaps most exciting reason is the challenge to use up all this produce.This is not an easy challenge since there is A LOT of produce in this package (well considering there are only two of us) and some of this stuff I have never even heard of, let alone met in person.

Some of the highlights: an all vegetable Shepherd’s Pie (filled with chard, turnips, carrots, shallots, rapini, leeks, fennel, spring garlic and topped with sweet potatoes) and Meyer Lemon Crème Fraîche Pasta with Rapini. I still have a couple of turnips and a bunch of parsley left over that I need to work with and there was one vegetable that was entirely too bitter for me to use, but ultimately it was a success and I’m going to do it again. The challenge this go-round is that my partner in crime will be traveling a lot which means there will only be me to feed. I guess that means I’ll have to figure out some good recipes for freezing.

On a slightly unrelated note, my dear friend wrote an amazing post about her 5th graders perspective on politics. I think this might be the best article I’ve read on politics this election season.



Could it truly be that 30 has fallen upon me? Just like that! I have no real strong feelings on the matter, but am excited about what might become of me over the next decade. My parents are coming out to help celebrate. This is exciting because my parents are awesome and also because we really enjoy having visitors. It is an ideal time for us to do some exploring of our city that we are less likely to do when left to our own devices. I am especially excited to have a place of our own in which to host them.

So far, the festivities include a trip to Nola’s (I know, we just went there but I liked it so much I want to go back!), and tickets to Beach Blanket Babylon preceded by brunch at Mama’s. Should be a great weekend.

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The gift of giving

The older I get, the less I find I need (or want) when it comes time for Christmas and birthday wish lists. This year I guided my office to stop the exchange of gifts and instead adopt a family that does not have the means to make their holiday wishes come true. We had a very successful fund raiser and now have a nice pot of cash to help this family put gifts under the tree and a hearty meal on the table. This feels so much better than having to drag home some new nick knack that will simply get thrown into our already overstuffed closets. I was so inspired by this that I suggested to my husband that we do the same thing. We’ve found that many of our own friends and family find themselves in the same situation in that they already have most of their needs met (and then some), so instead of exchanging gifts with them, we have adopted a family of our own. I would urge you all to look for programs like this in your area and participate in them.

Another project of mine was to help fund educational needs through proposals posted on I’ve submitted a substantial funding request to my company’s foundation and hope that it will get selected so that some of the kids in the Bay Area may get some exciting new learning experiences thanks to my efforts. I highly recommend checking out DonorsChoose and see if any of the proposals catch your eye. The nice thing is that you do not have to completely fund any given proposal, you can simply donate the amount you see fit.


Watch out two-wheeled world

I’ve had a strong desire to own and ride a scooter since I got my drivers license. I wanted to have a Volkswagen Thing and a Vespa, they were my dream automobiles. My first car was a VW Beetle and that helped curb my desire for an old VW, but I have yet to quench the Vespa thirst.

A couple of interrelated goals on my list are to own a scooter (I’m currently torn between the Buddy Italia and the Vespa GTV) and to complete a motorcycle training course to get my motorcycle license. The latter of these two is officially complete! Last Wednesday I attended the classroom portion of the motorcycle training and then bright and early Saturday and Sunday I hit the range for 10 hours worth of drive time and on-the-bike instruction. After being on a motorcycle for two days, I started wondering if perhaps I would rather have a bike instead of a scooter. Only time will tell which two-wheeled machine will make its way into my heart.

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Ride Well

One of my few gripes with San Francisco is the poor public transportation etiquette I’ve experienced, especially during rush hours. The most heinous of these offenses is when people stand in front of the doors of the train while they are waiting to board and once the doors open, they immediately begin cramming in instead of standing aside so that people can exit first. I do not recall having this problem in any other city.

Some other barley less offensive behaviors include:
* Standing in the entryway of the train instead of moving to the middle (surely this is due to the first offense listed, people are understandably worried they won’t be able to get off the train)
* People who don’t take empty seats and instead help make the already crowded aisles even more crowded
* People not giving up seats when elderly, handicapped, pregnant, etc. people board
* Lastly, people that listen to music (generally really crappy copies of said music on really crappy mp3 cell phones) without headphones

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way as a guide to riding BART and MUNI has been compiled, with a very comprehensive list of tips (and pictures!). Everyone that rides public trans in any city should read through this and keep all these tidbits in mind to make everyone’s riding experience a little better.

As you might have guessed, step 4 is definitely my favorite.


Home is where?

After a slow start and some no-show moving buddies we managed to move into our new place on Sunday. Many thanks to those of you that did show up to help, it means so much to us. We did not get much unpacked, but got the bed setup so we had a place to sleep. Now begins the painful process of finding homes for all the stuff in the boxes stacked precariously in the spare bedroom.

The cats were pretty wigged out with all the packing and moving going on around them. We brought them up to the new place after all the moving was complete. June was hesitant for about 3 seconds and then began running around, checking out every nook and cranny and seemed very pleased with the place. Henry did not fare as well. He wouldn’t even come out of the cat carrier that we had to force him into 30 minutes earlier. When we did get him out, he crouched low to the ground and wandered around suspiciously until he found a closet corner to hide in. He wanted nothing to do with the place. He wouldn’t even eat, he just hid under the bed. By last night he would follow us into the living areas, still paranoid, but he’s getting more comfortable by the hour.

These next few weeks will be long as we head into the wedding… between unpacking and pulling together the last minute wedding details, I also have to deal with school – argh! Not to mention my fiancé will be out of town starting Friday and we will not see each other until we arrive in SLC for the wedding.

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I felt that pain

Well I guess I wasn’t the only person who suffered from Wells Fargo’s outages yesterday. I had gone in to get the certified check needed to complete our real estate transaction and they could not verify the funds in our account and in turn could not “certify” a check. After many hours, the system was still not up and the bank VP had to approve they cut a check even though they couldn’t verify the funds. Too bad I didn’t know about this ahead of time to somehow exploit it. 🙂

My other thought on real estate – at least we got a loan. Sounds like had we waited a few days, we would have joined the club of other qualified buyers unable to get funding.

Now we begin the tasks of packing up all of our stuff (blech) and painting (weee!). Hopefully we’ll have that all done this weekend and then labor day weekend, we can move! We’ve managed to recruit a few generous friends to help us with the moving process, which is so awesome. Fortunately we don’t have much stuff to begin with so the move should go super fast with the extra hands.


Cities made of Jello


Holy Moly!!!

We signed our lives away today and officially became homeowners… pictures are up here. San Francisco, we are here to stay!


My Superstar

I would just like to take a moment to mention that my soon-to-be-husband has been named a top security expert. Congratulations my love!


The Tree House is Ours!

The first deal they had on our house fell through so we have swooped in and snatched it up. You can find some pictures here and I will try to get more on Monday when we go to meet the inspector. BIG YEAH! We visited it today and met 2 of our neighbors and I am even more excited now – they seemed great. On a side note, today’s weather is amazing which makes me feel even better about our decision to settle in this amazing city. I can’t wait for you all to come and visit and sleep in our Captain’s Bed!

UPDATE: More photos here…

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Leaps and bounds (into the Tree House)

We have put an offer on a house. I am so scared and excited. The place is crazy cute and probably the tiniest house in San Francisco, but it is a house and it is in San Francisco. It is also located in a really great neighborhood across the street from a park and just a few blocks away from a BART stop. Oh and the Viking stove – how did I forget to mention that it has a Viking stove that functions not only as a regular oven, but also a convection oven. Hopefully we will hear back from the sellers in the next day or two.

On a completely unrelated note, a colleague at work is out on leave because they found a lesion on his daughter’s brain stem. I am not sure what this means for her, but I thought to myself that it is too bad Derek Shepherd isn’t a real Doctor because he would totally know what to do. I realize this probably makes me a little crazy.

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There is much hub bub going on in my fair city this week as Macworld is going on. One of the more popular topics, as I am sure you have heard, is the flashy new iPhone, which Hugh MacLeod so cleverly sums up here. Turns out iPhone is a Cisco Systems trademark and they aren’t particulary happy that Apple is making it their own.


Turning Water Into Wine (alternately titled: Turning Delicious “Chik’n” Nuggets into Coal”)

I stepped into the house this evening and it smelled as if someone were cooking. Knowing that my man was not home, I thought it curious. I walked into the kitchen and happened to glance at the toaster oven, noticing small black chunks inside it. Upon further inspection I recognized the shapes to be my favorite Morning Star Farms Chik’n Nuggets. Apparently Mike put these babies in the toaster oven last night only to be reacquainted with them when he was running out the door this morning. It’s a wonder the house didn’t burn down. I guess this is why he generally leaves the cooking to me 🙂

The best part is that they actually kind of sparkle. I wonder if we left them in a little longer if they’d turn from coal to diamonds.


Mos’ definitely

The other night I stopped by the coffee shop before I went to class. The 2 girls behind the counter were chatting and one said she was going to see Mos Def. The second girl inquired further because she did not know of Mos Def and the first girl replied “Oh its punk rock.” I thought to myself that I must have misunderstood who she was talking about because 1. I had not heard that Mos Def was touring and 2. Even if you take into consideration Mos Def’s “The New Danger” album (snubbed by many Mos fans, not including myself) or his band Black Jack Johnson you still could never categorize one of hip hop’s best MCs as punk rock.

Much to my dismay the coffee girl, althought wrong about his genre, was right that Mos Def was playing here. The show was announced the same day it was performed and still sold out. What a heartbreaker.

Coincidentally, I have “Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme” sitting at the house waiting to be watched which features Mos Def among many other amazing hip hop artists. While it will not replace the show I missed, it might help ease the disappointment.


Putting the ‘milli’ back in Milli Vanilli… (and by Vanilli, I mean ‘pede’)

The only millipede that lives up to its name was rediscovered recently and it sure gives me the willies.

This millipede has more than 600 legs, about twice the average millipede — despite the name which means “thousand-legged.” Of the estimated 10,000 species, only one, I. plenipes, comes close to living up to its name and thrives only in California.

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Graduatin’ Grammies

Josephine Belasco graduated from high school today. I know, I know, millions of folks did – so what’s the difference? Hmmm, roughly 80 years. Just goes to show that it’s never too late to get things finished (or started for that matter). Congratulations Josephine!


Sov ‘n Slow

Look who was on the front page of Yahoo this morning…

As you may know already, Zach Slow raised his $10,000 and got the girl, as they say. You can find a recap of the night (with pics!) here.

And here are a couple pictures from the show that I took…

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