Archive for July, 2010

In an undecided state of mind

July 27, 2010

Today at work I was bonding with another coworker over our prejudicial minds. We both have a habit of hating a movie, purely because everyone else LOVED it, and has told us 5,003 times how much we are gonna LOVE it. My example was The English Patient; his was Swingers. Both fine, perhaps even excellent movies. But because we missed that window of delightful discovery, they moved into the “This is what I was waiting for?” category.

The reverse is true as well, luckily. I remember traveling through Teddy Roosevelt Nat’l Park somewhere in the Dakotas, and seeing some horses. I thought, “hey, neat, horses,” without really meaning it. I mean, they were horses. I grew up with them. My best friend lived on a ranch, and we had a nice, aged mare growing up. All of a sudden I realized they were WILD horses, and instantly the feeling changed. Suddenly I was awed by the history and grandeur of The West, and the America that these noble animals embodied.

My point is, it’s all your state of mind. Yes, there is a marked difference between a Silhouette book and a Shakespeare folio, but sometimes it doesn’t make much difference to you personally, depending on how you approach it.

Hmm. Not sure if I’m making sense. I’ve had two cocktails (something I’m calling the Las Vegas Tradeshow Special, tequila with lemon, OJ, and ginger ale, garnished with 3 cherries) in a post-acupuncture daze. Yes, acupuncture. I let people stick needles in me. And then I thanked them.

Maybe too many people have recommended this to me. Maybe my expectations were too high. But I am not flying. I did not love it. I didn’t hate it, and I definitely felt something happening, so I’ll go again, but it was not the coolest thing ever. Really, truly, so much that I feel like maybe I’m not a real Californian, NOT.

Actually, the needles were not the big deal. And the diagnostic bit was fine; a bit in-depth about my poop and my tongue, but fine. I did not, however, love the poking before the needles (“Oh, does that hurt? Must be the right spot,”) or the poking mid-needle (“Feel that? No? How about – [here he’s cut off as my thrashing limb shows him I do indeed feel] – that?”).

Am I just a wuss? It wasn’t truly horrible pain. I’m sure I’ve put myself through worse; I’ve had tattoos and piercings and rollerblade scars. It was just that it wasn’t the pain I was expecting. I was waiting for a quick sting, a moment of piercing, and this was instead a dull, horrible, spreading pain. Like a slow weight dropping onto your boob.

That, and I was paying them EXPLICITLY to hurt me. At least with a tattoo I have a lasting defacement to my body that I can show off in clubs.

Say it again, a little bit quieter and a little bit milder

July 24, 2010

Well, today marks the end of the I ❤ SF contest. And, who wouldda guessed it, I got sick. The only photos I took were shot half-heartedly at best, while I either had a fever, a deep desire to be in bed, or a hacking cough. Huzzah. I’m entering them anyway.

And I did get one I love:
st. peter and paul church, with Coit in the background, at night.

Yeah, it’s a little cliched, but I don’t care. I love night photography, and North Beach is STILL my favorite part of the city, even decades after I sipped my first cappuccino there. I was a little horrified by the crowds on a weekend night, however. It’s been a while since I partied like that, if I ever did. I kinda prefer a dive bar on a Wednesday to a dance bar on a Friday.

By the way, seconds after I snapped this pic I heard a very clear male voice coming to me from the bushes in Washington Square park. “That’s a really bad idea.”

“What?” I stammered, looking up and meeting the eyes of a bearded, 20-something. It was too dark to tell if he was a partier or a bum, and that area has a lot of both. “Am I in a bad spot?”

“Yeah, the bushes are a bad spot.”

I had been a little nervous about being in the square with a (semi)expensive camera and tripod, but it was pretty busy, and I felt confident I could whack any would be thieves a good one. That tripod has some heft. But I was on the sidewalk.

“Um, I’m not in the bushes, I’m on the sidewalk.”

Apparently I was the only one meeting eyes. “This is a bad spot, but I wasn’t talking to you.” It was then I noticed the stream of urine coming from well below his eyes. Ah. Partier, then. I promised him my camera was turned the other way, his friends assured me that wasn’t necessary, I’d need a telephoto lens to catch anything, and I hurried away to offer him a tiny bit of privacy.

It was only as I was hurrying away that I realized I was still missing my picture for the “Bad Idea” category. Darn missed opportunities.

I don’t think there’s any rule about not sharing, so here’s what I’ve got so far. Meh. Coulda done better with a bit more health points, but there’s never a magic potion when you need one.

Torn between two sides

July 16, 2010

I’m so excited! Tonight marks the beginning of WAM’s I ❤ SF Visual Treasure Hunt! They seem like a new(ish) group with a very sketchy (in the ‘bare bones’ meaning of the word, mostly) .org website, but I think this is an awesome idea. I can’t wait to get out there and start shooting purposefully.

And yet, I’m torn. All of my favorite images have come from the East Bay recently.
building in West Oakland

I know I was born in Oakland, and I really, really like living in Oakland, it’s an awesome city, but I’ve never really considered myself OAKLAND, ya know? I’ve always said I’d move back to SF (right after the next big earthquake, when I can afford the rents on a non-profit salary), and I’ve kinda felt like I’ve been biding my time.

Time’s up. Looks like I’m heading back west. And now, of course, I’m sad. I’m already missing my sisters, and my gorgeous apartment, and the images that I’ll miss from Oakland.
community garden between Oakland and Emeryville

Because you know that Bay is a giant divide. Even being ridiculously purposeful about it, I will probably see my EB friends less. But you know what? I might hella like Oakland, but I ❤ San Francisco. And I can’t wait to get out there with my camera and remind myself of that.

Wandering the past

July 12, 2010

I may be late to the party, but I think this is a fabulous idea.

Dear 20-something Bethany,

Hey. What’s up? So, I guess I’m supposed to tell you what to do, or to not do, or offer sage advice or something. Guess what? I’m still clueless! I’m still bouncing around – though I have settled down enough, you will be happy to know, to have a very nice bed. And a dog. But not a motorcycle. Not yet, anyway. Maybe I’ll pick one up on the next bounce.

Anyway. I guess I do have some advice after all. Being clueless is kinda okay. Don’t sweat the fact that you don’t have it all (or anything) figured out yet. It’s cool. I still don’t have anything figured out, and yet I’m still damn happy. If anything, being clueless and aimless will just make you into a flexible, capable person, and that ain’t bad, right? So don’t worry when your friends start finding “careers” and having “babies” and stuff. Your bumbling way is a perfectly viable life path.

What else… Oh, thanks for doing regular maintenance on your dear little red truck Tach. Nearly 10 years and 200,000 miles later he is still running like a champ, and he massively appreciates it. Keep defying the disposable culture! Eventually people will see your wisdom. Oh, and if you could take a little bit better care of your teeth, that would be awesome. Otherwise you’ll end up in some very cold, broke places while you’re paying for chipped teeth and root canals.

(And yes, I said 200,000 miles! You will make it, girl, to every state but two! And you were totally right to make travel a priority. Your Mega US Tour will rock. Do try to hit Louisiana and New Orleans, though. Without going into spoilers, you’ll seriously regret it if you decide to skip it and return when your head is in a better place and you have more money and time. I know, you’re saving it for later because it’s the one spot in the country you want to visit the most; just listen to me on this one.)

Everything else I have to tell you I think you already know. Write more; your memory sucks. Hang out with Mom more; she’s pretty awesome. Stop putting the hard things off. Eat more veggies. Have more sex. Wait, scratch that. Just fall in love more. And since you don’t have control over that, do what you can: make more eye contact and smile at the boys. You’re fabulous at chatting up people, so stop concentrating that fabulousness on only old men and women, ignore all of that nervousness, most of which is due to… okay, add back in that sex bit of advice.

Oh shoot, and if you can, take better care of that UC Berkeley sweatshirt that you adore for sentimental reasons. I can’t for the life of me remember where I left it.

Much love,

30-something Bethany

Amnesty Day

July 8, 2010

I’ve decided there should be an Amnesty Day for friends. Not because of any one thing or person (in case some thing or person is reading this blog post going, “wait, is this for me?”), but simply because it occurs to me that this would be a nice thing.

It’s something I would personally appreciate. If my friends are afraid of telling me that I actually have breath that can kill a horse at fifty feet, or that I made them cry by forgetting their birthday last year (something I do with appalling frequency), I would like to know, and more than that, I’d like to have it come in a frame of “Oh My God, This is Totally Not Important Which is Why I Never Told You, but Today is Amnesty Day and This Is, Afterall, Something I Have Thought, More Than Once.”

For one day, you can tell your friends the niggling little things (okay, thing. One thing a year. If something else bothers you, save it ’til next year) that annoy you; hurt your feelings; made you embarrassed to be seen in public with them. With all joking put aside, so you know that someone’s not just “giving you a hard time.” It’s real; it not as important as your feelings, or your friendship, but it’s real.

Is this an awful idea? Will the world implode and men turn into self-isolated hermits full of paranoia and loathing? I don’t think so. In the interest of Amnesty, feel free to leave me a peeve in the comments. With the full understanding that I will reply with a peeve (if I have one; I won’t make one up out of pique), and please, one peeve only, with an expiration date 24 hours from now. I’m feeling tough and inspired to improve myself today, but tomorrow may be another thing, and Amnesty Day is only once a year.

I don’t even know where I am… in a Nyquil daze

July 3, 2010

Oy. My chest. A co-worker, describing the illness he recently got over, put it best: I have become a phlegm-monster. Or at least She From Whome Alle Phlegm-Monsters Flow. Seriously. There are things coming out of my body that surprise and horrify me. And they may try to take over the city soon.

But that’s enough of that. What else… let’s see… Lots of time on the internets recently…

I learned that there’s a fake door in Paris, installed as an art project years ago, that still stands to this day. I wonder if people send pizza to it, like the fake house near Paddington. I’d love to live near something like that. I’d decorate it for holidays; leave little notes on the door; challenge my friends to ding-dong-ditch one of them.

And I learned that New Zealand is the number 1 country to live in, if you want to avoid world conflict. Like that’s a surprise.

I learned that I’m desperate to travel again. I am so hungry for a road trip, I can feel my head starting to vibrate. I’m not sure how that equates, it’s just what came out. Actually, wait. Yeah. I get so high-strung and tensed-up that my head just starts to shake, and the only thing that knocks the shimmies out is an equal and answering road shimmy. Cure like with like. Or meet force with force. Or something. Just get me moving!

At the top of my list is Alaska. It’s one of the last 2 states I need to hit, and I’ve been wanting to drive north past Vancouver for as long as I can remember. Since I listened to Tom Bodett’s “The End of the Road” on a book-on-tape in my parents’ old station wagon. I must have been 10 or 11 when I first heard it, and it was the phrase and location more than the stories that stuck with me. Even then, before I could drive, I knew that if there was an end of the road somewhere, I wanted to drive there. And wow, huge google sidetrack. Publisher’s Weekly gave The End of the Road a horrible review! Brats. I think I’ll go re-read it, because I’m sure my 10-year old reading was much more valid than theirs.

Then comes Texas, a state of such girth that I feel I skimmed much too quickly over. Plus there’s this AMAZING new studio out there, MMOV, that I am dying to check out. But… it’s summer. And I’m still in good ol’ Tach, my valiant pickup, he of the absolutely-zero-frills, especially-not-AC-are-you-kidding. Therefore Alaska is taking precedence.

So. Anyone wanna go halfsies on the gas up and back? Quick trip to the Yukon? We just missed the midnight sun, but I bet it’ll be pretty darn awesome still. You’ll have to split the bed in the back of the truck with me, since I’m too cheap for motels. But it’s cool; I’m sure my phlegm-monster will have moved on to Manhattan by then.