Archive for October 2010
It’s Halloween on Sunday and kids have been dressing up for school all this week. Costumes are so fun and it’s great to see people wearing them. I’m pretty boring myself, but I think I’ll try to do something last minute for a party.
(Oh and by the way, one morning I saw a kid dressed like a Taliban soldier headed to school. He had military top and bottom on with a head scarf and a sub-machine gun. Uh huh… Man, what was he thinking?)
Anyway, most people know that I go absolutely crazy for pets dressed up in costumes, especially the cranky-looking ones! So cute…. So here are five pet costumes I’ve been giggling at this entire week. The first and last ones are my favourites!
Another week under my belt, another week of good and bad things, but mostly good things. It doesn’t really make sense to dwell on any of the bad things (and truly, are they really so terrible when you look back at them?), so I’ll go ahead and write up five good things happening this past week.
1. Physical therapy is pretty damned awesome
I am constantly amazed at how effective physical therapy has been. The other day, I happily noted to myself that I hadn’t felt any pain in a little while. When you’re coming from months upon months of chronic pain, this realisation is so amazingly freeing and wonderful. I actually almost felt like crying when I realised this, but I didn’t because I’m a badass like that.
2. My parents will always care
You guys probably don’t know my parents, but they are definitely the types who love me unconditionally and think I’m also a bit mad. We spoke for the first time in a while (it is actually my responsibility to phone them and I’ve been entirely lacking), and I was reminded that no matter how much I might find they are bit annoying when it comes to reminding me to be safe and not hurt myself and take care of myself, it’s all because they care and love me. I used to have less patience for this kind of stuff, but lately I’ve been thinking my parents are pretty awesome, no matter how many times they tell me not to ride my bike at night or alone. They might be a little overly concerned, but they do love me and I love them too. Awww…. sappy, I know.
It’s good to know they’re in my corner.
3. Rain, glorious rain!
Rainy season in California is inevitable. We may not get a lot of really inclement weather, but we do get a decent amount of gloomy rainy days in the wintertime (but of course not as many as Seattle or Portland). Yeah, we have it pretty easy here, so I really cannot complain about the weather at all! In fact, I actually LIKE the gloomy, rainy winters here. Sure, it’s a bit miserable when you’re unprepared for it and you’re riding a bike, but it’s really not so bad. Plus, wool dries pretty quickly and still keeps you warm when it’s damp. Good thing for sure.
4. Fellow hardcore (bike) enthusiasts
Wow, that could have gone so wrong if you were thinking I was into other hardcore things, like um… uh…. right. Another reason why I love the recent wet weather is that fewer bikes crowd on the train everyday, and there are actually fewer bike commuters on the road too. I like seeing people riding around, but I do like knowing that I’m part of the "hardcore" type of bike commuter that sticks to it even in the rain. It’s a matter of pride really. I don’t see rain as a reason to stop riding as far as running errands, but it does cut back massively on my weekend recreational riding. I love my big yellow bike poncho.
5. The ups, the downs, and everything in between
I’ve been feeling rather anti-social lately and just holing up on my own or spending time with Frannie and not really making much effort to see friends. When plans fall through, I’ve been more than content to just let them slide, which is rather unusual for me. Normally, once I’ve got you on my agenda, I don’t rest until we’ve managed to actually hang out. Ah, but things will ebb and flow, so really no need to worry about if I’m becoming a bit of a hermit. Things will change with time, as always.
I’ve been shooting a bit more 35mm film than usual. No wait, let me backtrack a bit. I’ve been shooting more than usual. For a little while, I stopped shooting film, because it was going to take me too long to develop everything, but lately I’ve been back on it. Since I’ve completely run out of colour 35mm film, I’m mostly shooting B&W with perhaps the occasional roll of colour 35mm that a friend trades me. A while ago, I bought 20 rolls of Legacy Pro 400 from Freestyle and I’m slowly working my way through them. Since I shoot every roll at box speed, I never have to worry about pushing or pulling during development, and I really have no reason to even think about making excuses as to why I haven’t developed the film.
That said, I actually have about 7 or 8 rolls that are "weird speeds" and would need to be developed one at a time, which to me is a giant waste of time. I’ve since written the dilution and dev time at 20C on each roll in the hopes that one day, I’ll have more than one roll that requires the same dilution and dev time. Yeah, I know that I could just develop the rolls one by one, but I have a two-tank system and very little patience, and so they continue to sit undeveloped. I think the oldest one was shot maybe 2 or 3 years ago.
Oh and nevermind the random colour rolls that are lying around simply because I don’t trust any of the labs around here to do the processing for me, and the one that I’d like to use regularly shuts before I can get there after work. I may need to just drop the rolls off using their night-drop and then go pick them up on Saturday when I can get there. Or I can just try my luck at drugstore and hope the clerk is going to do a decent job, but it’s so hit or miss at places like that.
But anyway… it’s been fun shooting black and white, especially in these super easy point and shoots I’ve been using lately. My friend called them my Olympus Army, and yes indeed, it’s quite a little army I have so far: XA, Stylus Epic, and Stylus Epic 170 Zoom. The nice thing about these small cameras is that I can bring one with me wherever I go and not worry too much about the weight in my handbag. I’ve finally even gotten around to making a custom case for the Stylus Epic. Eventually, every point and shoot camera will have its own custom case that fits it perfectly.
Just thought I’d share a couple photos I recently took with my little Oly Army.
This photo above was taken with the Olympus Stylus Epic at my cousin’s birthday party at The Ambassador in the Tenderloin. She’d reserved the mezzanine level and for a good part of the party, I stood at the balcony overlooking the crowd below. I only took a few photos of the place, but one of my other cousins demanded that I take a photo of the two of us together. It’s too bad that he is not in the best condition in it, or I’d post it.
I particularly enjoyed bringing this camera since it has a built-in flash and it was great for the dimly lit party. Plus, the focusing distance was close enough and the angle was wide enough for arm’s length self-portraits. I’ll probably post a couple more shots from the party in due time, but for now, this is the only one I’ve posted. I feel like these party shots are probably boring to people who don’t know the people in the photos, but I guess a couple wouldn’t hurt.
So I have to admit to something: I sorta broke the new-to-me Olympus XA that D gave me for my birthday. A small bit of plastic on the front snapped off and the sliding door no longer stays in the track when it’s closed. It’s too bad, because I really love this little camera. It’s so easy to use and it’s very small and discreet. But anyway, it still works and takes photos, but for now it’s just a little more decrepit than it used to be.
That photo of Ian above was taken with the XA during the Papergirl SF rolling party. A bunch of volunteers rolled up mailed-in art from all over the world and then distributed the rolls to random folks on the street in SF via bicycle. Cute, idea eh? Anyway, the rolling party was held at Public Bikes in South Park (thanks Public, for being so awesome!) and that’s where this photo was taken. Public has a super nice, clean space and the lighting in there was simply gorgeous while we were in there. I have a few more photos from this to post too, but this one really was my favourite from the entire bunch. Ian is one of those people who is just so friendly and considerate. I met him riding the Butterlap and he was one of the few people who spoke to me on my first ride. (Butterlap folks are nice, but if it’s your first time and you don’t know anyone, it can be a little overwhelming to try to make friends when everyone seems to know everyone else.) But anyway, I love Ian! He’s seriously one of the best guys to have on a ride since he’s really helpful and can keep up a steady stream of conversation on the most random of topics.
I have been feeling really busy this week at work, so I’ve been keeping it super low key at home. Luckily, when I leave work, I leave it behind. I try to not stress about work or too many other things in life since it’s really not worth the trouble. I read somewhere that men (compared to women) are better at leaving work at work, so I strive to be "like a guy" when it comes to leaving my work at work and making home a separate experience.
But anyway, this has so little to do with the Five on Friday list. It’s a random mishmash of things I’ve been thinking about this week.
1. Ten years ago…
This time ten years ago, I had returned from a short stint in New Mexico working at Some Kinda Science Gig. I ate a lot of tamales, did all my grocery shopping on foot, experienced the daily pouring rains, awoke in the middle of the night to loud thunderstorms that sounded like the sky was going to crack in half, and did a lot of really fun science. It was very first time I lived by myself without a roommate and I was completely on my own. I had a couple friends who lived there, but for the most part, I was by myself the entire time, and it wasn’t half bad at all, but it was really lonely.
After I moved away from there, I promptly got myself another flatmate. It’s good to come home to someone else.
2. A pop of colour
I may not have a cohesive style when to comes to clothes, but I’ve noticed that I tend to wear neutrals and then have a flash of colour somewhere, usually the socks (just like in that photo up there). The dress accompanying those socks is grey, black, and white, so not so colourful.
Much of the time, people look down at my feet when they see me, which I find very amusing. I try to keep thing fun, even at work.
3. Can’t you take anything seriously?
(I meant that specifically about photography.) I keep waffling back and forth about what to do with my photography. I like the idea of trying to focus on a particular subject and just go crazy photographing the same stuff over and over again until I can finally get it right (say, doing street photography, or doing portraiture, or maybe still life), but I think I have a hard time figuring out if I even want to take photography seriously or not. I guess at some point, I might try taking it seriously, but for now I’m just having fun and shooting whatever’s around.
4. Stand up straight, goddammit!
When it comes to posture, I’m not a model citizen or anything, but I happen to think that one’s carriage is so goddamn important. It is so much nicer to look at people who hold themselves straight than those who slouch and show their tummies. It’s funny, but when I think about bas posture, I usually think of one girl in particular that I know who is pretty, but goddamn her posture is SO terrible that it completely ruins her for me. She’s not the slimmest girl (and there is nothing wrong with a girl with meat on her bones), but in photos she just comes across as being so squat, which I know she’s not. Her belly sticks out, her shoulders are pushed forward…. it’s just everything bad to me. I want to tell her to stand up straight, but I can’t really, and it’s too bad.
5. High heels I can walk around in
I don’t really like wearing high heels. For the most part, I feel like I’m already tall enough, and I also find them rather uncomfortable for walking around. I’ve been trying to snap into the menswear trend, so I bought a pair of oxfords with a 2.5" heel. As it turns out, these heels are possibly the most comfortable heeled shoes I own, so I’ve been wearing them to work and walking all over the place in them! I don’t know that I would wear them for a day of walking all around San Francisco, but I don’t think twice about bringing them to work where I may end up on my feet for a couple hours a day. I’m wearing them in the photo above, but you probably can’t quite tell since the angle is low.
And yes, I even bike in these shoes. I worry that my toeclips are going to wear out my shoes where they contact, but I’d rather have worn down shoes than not use the toeclips at all. I’m absolutely ruining by the toeclips and cannot even think about biking without them now.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!
Just about every morning, I take the train to work. I load my bike on with me, carefully keeping an eye on her to make sure no one is gouging her with their bikes. Most of the time, however, I am busy watching the scenery go by, or reading my book. I used to listen to music, but I haven’t gotten around to buying new headphones yet, so there’s no music to be had.
This is the view from the train just after leaving the terminal and before arriving at the 22nd Street Station. Don’t mind those two weird reflections on the right-hand side of the photo. That’s from the lights inside the train reflecting on the glass of the window. I try to avoid those, but it’s tough.
I feel fortunate to be able to focus on how nice it is to ride the train and then ride my bike everyday. It seems that some of the people I run into during my commute aren’t so fortunate and are pretty crochety. In particular, I ride down the Ellen Fletcher Bike Boulevard in Palo Alto and run into a couple other crochety bike commuters going the same direction as I. One of them is an older man who yells at other bikes who don’t stop at stop signs. The other is a spandex-clad roadie who always blows past me and then refuses to acknowledge my presence while we’re waiting at the light at Bryant and Oregon Expressway. Seriously, I stand right next to him and sometimes STARE right at him, but he ignores me completely. Maybe I’m creepy because I am trying to say "good morning" or maybe he’s just an anti-social loser who doesn’t know how to say hello to someone else and is so focused on winning the commute race that he doesn’t have time to acknowledge someone else.
For the record, I usually turn around and say hi to other people why I’m waiting at the light, and for the most part, other people do the same if you roll up behind them. Oh, the crochety yelling guy also refsues to acknowledge my existence at that same stop light when we are stuck there together. Is it really so difficult to say hello to someone else, or even just do the nod?
Who knows why these people are unfriendly. I go around assuming people are generally in a good mood, but I clearly see that is not the case with most. Hmm… I guess that’s just how people are.
I recently finished Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s been accompanying me everyday to and from work. Since my headphones catastrophically failed last week (or maybe two weeks ago), I have been quickly blowing through books on the morning and evening train rides along the peninsula. The Road is the most recent casualty.
It was a decent book, but I did not really think it was all that awesome. If I can find No Country for Old Men then I’ll try that one next to see if McCarthy just isn’t my kind of writer.
As soon as I finished the book, I took out my pen and wrote "FREE" on the book and left it on the overhead luggage rack on the train. I’m not sure if anyone will pick it up and keep it or not, but just figured I would set it free. I used to put a little post-it note on books I had finished and leave them in cafes or outside stores in the hopes that someone out there might pick up the free book and read it. Hopefully they might even enjoy it and it keeps my book collection trimmer at home.
I get the vast majority of my reading at the thrift store anyway, so it’s not like I’m shelling out bucks for first edition copies or anything. Might as well share them with a stranger if I have the chance.
If you’ve been following along, then you probably know that my bike happens to be a mixte style bicycle that is a step-through frame. Step-through frames are typically thought of as girl’s bikes. And plus, since I happen to be a girl (god, I hope you knew that already) with a step-through frame, I’m only perpetuating this idea of a step-through frame being a girl’s style bicycle.
Just bear with me here.
So, in an effort to educate people (or at least, the few people who may read this wacky little blog), let’s learn a little bit about these step-through frames. If you check out this handy little wikipedia article and scroll down a bit, then you will see the header: Mixte. You can read through the text there (it’s not long), but check out this part about the word mixte:
A direct appropriation of the French word meaning "mixed" or "unisex"…
AHA… so this whole mixte thing is supposed to be for both men and women. It wasn’t originally created to be a woman-specific frame, but the lower top tube has traditionally made it more popular with women (hello, skirts) and probably older folks who aren’t as limber as they used to be.
(By the way, some people refer to any step-through bike as a mixte, but for me, I’m quite rigid in the idea that a mixte bike must have the classic two skinny top tubes that connect from the head tube to the rear axle. If it doesn’t have the two skinny top tubes, then it’s just a step-through and not a mixte. I know, I am so picky.)
But anyway, I just thought I’d mention this because a lot of people seem to stereotype the mixte frame as a women’s bike and it’s a bit frowned upon for men to ride them (it makes them into girlie-men) and that bothers me. I think a mixte frame is super cute and everyone should feel free to ride one if they can find one in their size.
I should also mention that all this mixte-riding equality is also hampered by the odd fact that mixtes tend to come in smaller sizes. Finding a frame larger than, say, 56cm is difficult, but not impossible. Most of the frames listed on Craigslist seem to be on the very small end, approximately 48cm – 52cm.
This is again complicated by the fact that it’s difficult to measure the seat tube of a mixte. Typically, seat tubes are measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top tube. Since mixte frames don’t have a horizontal top tube, I think most people measure to the top of the seat tube, but maybe some people don’t do this and sorta estimate where a top tube would hit if the frame was a diamond frame.
So yeah… maybe you now know more about a mixte frame than you ever cared to know.
Anyway, I’m a girl and I love my bike, but you already knew that.