Sunday, November 30, 2008

portfolio of a wasted vacation

um, is it really sunday night? sunday night the last night of thanksgiving vacation? what happened to that enormous expanse of time i thought i'd have to organize my dust collection and catch up on homework and write overdue thank you notes and visit with neglected loved ones and and and....?

instead of doing any of that, i've tinkered around laboriously on my two-years-in-the-making christmas gift project. oh my god, if this thing ever succeeds, it's going to be colossal! i've mentioned this before. if i can't finish this year, i will indeed hang my head in shame. what a waste of this time it would be! i mean really, i haven't even finished my homework! oh, but i did bring greenpoint to eddie and maria in the form of an insanely deliscious pierogi dinner. because yesterday was maria's due date. and little diana hadn't yet made her appearance....

so i'm supposed to be putting a portfolio together for my 'business practices of professional photographers' class. and all semester long every one of our guest lectures in the field insisted our portfolios must be consistent. except mine is all, hi, here are some portraits...
um and here are some landscapes...

oh, and while we're at it, how about some mundane life details?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

greetings ms. seagull

a couple weeks ago i called the boss on my way into the studio. often times when i show up he'll be groggily wrestling with his first cup of coffee. but this time his voice was super gravelly, "i'm hungover. and there's a seagull with a broken wing living in my bathtub."

all in a day's work, i tell you. the only thing that surprised me about that statement, was the fact that i wasn't the least bit surprised. perhaps those of you who know about the adventures of mr. squirrel aren't surprised either. oh wait, more squirrel. um, and more squirrel.
let's just say the boss has a weakness for wounded animals. regardless of their historic compatibility in the human environment.

so, yeah, i guess my experience with mr. squirrel primed me to a certain extent for facing a wounded seagull in a domestic situation. but a seagull? i said to myself, not so cute.

but i was kind of wrong. granted, the seagull wasn't quite as cuddly as mr. squirrel and my god, is that enormous quantity of putrid smelling shit really necessary?! all. over. the studio.
yet, as i held the seagulls beak closed (so it wouldn't maim the boss), as the boss futily tried to stabilized its broken wing, i felt a huge connection and compassion for this creature whose nervous gulps i felt on my fingers.

i called her esther. she followed me around the studio for a couple of days--her webbed feet and off-balance gait making adorable sounds on the wood floor. i also really enjoyed donning rubber gloves and throwing sardines at her. it was like i was working at the zoo. but alas, she really wasn't meant to be an apartment dwelling seagull. sadly, her wing had long since reset itself in the broken position. it was clear she wouldn't fly again. so the boss did the obvious. he brought her to a party at a ship in the gowanus canal, where she was embraced as a mascot by the lesbians living on board. i only regret that i didn't get any photos of her total studio domination...

with perfect timing, emre sent me this video which you may have all seen. i particularly love this version though, scottish accents and all....

Friday, November 28, 2008

our lady of moisture

a few days ago, i asked you to all to grace my comment section with a sentence describing me. this was not merely a cheap tactic for ego boosting--though next time i need one, i surely will consult your responses. jeez! you guys are nice!

my assignment, of course, was for my photographic self portrait class. i was supposed to illustrate a sentence written about me via a photograph.

perhaps i should have clued you in to my intentions, because the responses i got, while supremely kind, didn't much lend themselves to the assignment. additionally, my teacher's preference was to ask a semi-stranger for the line...which prettty much left you out in the cold. thankfully, i met a friend of rafter's who was willing to offer up the following:

the sparkly, ginger-topped kitty joe gave me moisturizer i had previously refused.

while the sentence was grounded in mundane reality (rafter asked that i school his drummer in the difference between day and night moisturizer as a way to deter his habit of slathering his face with rafter's night moisturizer twice a day), my mind spun off into the divine, the religious, the kitch. the virgin mary. hopefully the above image made you think of something along the lines of this treasure brought from mexico by kim and tristan:

i imagined our lady of moisture dispensing lotion and more to the parched, withered and bored. the gold frame from the dollar store was a total necessity for presenting the image, as was the sharpie i wrote on the glass identifying our idol as 'our lady of moisture'. convinced?

the outtakes:
i thought maybe the dripping pool of lotion may offend some sensibilities (cause i'm so good at caring about that!), so i tried one with the bottle.

the third shot happened as i walked toward the camera as the self timer was already set.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

what do vegetarians eat, anyway?

first thanksgiving meal down (with a couple of foreigners, no less). one more to go. make room.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

closed for a life celebration.

return tomorrow for the results of my 'write a sentence about me' assignment. it's all finished, but i must leave the house now to support my friend who has lost his father. rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

five years

okay, so i realized after i'd posted a photo of emre's brother at one am yesterday that it may have been more appropriate to post a picture of emre, considering yesterday marked five years that we've been a couple and all. that's makes five years and 8 days that we've lived together. don't know that story? another time.

so five years. wow. i thought i'd post some photos from our picture perfect romance (taken recently by abbie during her nyc visit).

what? that's not romantic? it's just like sleepless in seattle around here every day!

um, so maybe if you've met one or both of us you may have noticed that we're a wee bit stubborn. it's our biggest debate: which one of us is more stubborn. this question never gets resolved because neither one us of will back down from our position that it's the other. i think that makes it a tie. but don't tell emre i said that. he's totally more stubborn than i am!

so being that the world and our world has been upside down and chaotic lately (and by lately i mean for the past three years), i wasn't sure if he'd remember our anniversary. no one had mentioned it, but there it loomed. i asked about his evening plans a few days ago and we decided it would be nice to go out to dinner, but of course, neither one of us would say why, sure we'd catch the other forgetting.

when we met at the subway he wore a smirk and handed me a rose. and suckka!--i pulled out a hand picked assortment of nine truffles from max brenner the bald chocolate man and he nearly fell over right there on a pile of locked up hipster brakeless bicycles as the neighborhood prophet yelled at us exactly how the world would end.

okay, better?

Monday, November 24, 2008


today haley and emir got to experience the madness firsthand that usually only emre gets to see. that of me doing my self-portrait class homework. first it consists of me trying five million different ridculous ways of securing my camera into as suitable position, usually resorting to the use of electrical tape and various t-shirts and boxes to prop it up to the right angle. all because i don't have a tripod. whose stupid idea was it to take a self-portrait class without a tripod? i guess it was mine. then they got to see me doing stupid things with chotchskis from the 99 cent store and donning silly costumes and make up. emir was kind enough to be a stand in model for my focus. assignment to follow. it's so not done yet though.
what i've learned: i'm a terrible model. have no idea nor control whatsoever over what my face is doing. had to prop up a mirror to get anything decent at all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

the stuff of tattooing

found these retro medical jars at a brooklyn medical supply store collecting dust on the top abandoned shelf. took 'em to the shop for a steal.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

help! i need yours!

alright, internet, it's time to pony up. i need your help with my homework. listen, it can't be all fun and games over here all the time.

i know, i know. i'm a cruel person. and worse--it's going to involve MAKING A COMMENT. gasp! i know, heaven forbid. but i especially need you lurkers. i especially need those of you who don't necessarily know me that well.

so here's the deal. i have a homework assignment. i won't tell you what the final outcome will be (till next week when you hopefully see it for yourself). but...

what i need from you is this: WRITE A SENTENCE ABOUT KITTY JOE. a descriptive sentence. that's it. write it in the comment section. just click on the (0) comments at the bottom of this post and write! you don't have to sign in. you can just write your name or anonymous.

now get to it! the time of turkey and laziness isn't for another few days.

please? how about this--i'll send a PRIZE to the person whose sentence is used for the assignment. now don't everyone crash bloggers site at once....

Friday, November 21, 2008

amazing photo by lizeth santos

okay, so tonight i totally messed up. my forever friend rafter called me a month or more ago to let me know he's be doing an east coast tour. i had this great idea that i'd send an invite out to all friends from disparate parts of my life and have a huge party gathering at cake shop, thereby providing a huge audience, sharing my high school buddy and his totally awesomely visionary pop music with my friends in new york. it's been busy lately. but that's okay. rafter wasn't coming till near the end of november.

and oops, rafter called me from the road this afternoon, and gee is it already near the end of november?!

so ola it was.
awesome show though. sample his music here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a day in the life of...

okay, so it's almost midnight and i'm freaking out because i just got home and see i'm doing this silly blog challenge where i have to post every single day in the month of november....because i have so much free time on my hands these days. i've always thought that i lost readers when my blog went idle, therefore i felt that a nice bi-product of marathon posting would be a reinvigorated readership. this hasn't seemed to happen. but anyhoo. i've made it this far and must prevail!
below i will share homework from three weeks ago, because i realize i've really slacked on that, and hello? easy blog post!
this assignment comes from my photographic self-portrait class. i was to take a photograph every two hours of the day. i thought this would be easy, but i actually found it quite challenging. in fact, i started many other days but was simply too busy to slow down long enough to carry on. finally, i chose a slower day. i feared making boring images. but come what may, here they are...

8am-ish. i rise. emre does not. emre is grumpy that i am taking pictures of the bed while he's still trying to sleep in it. i don't blame him, so i kind of honor his request that he not be in the pictures. but his arms are twisted up too lovely not to include in the composition.

10am-ish. been working from home. the morning light is lovely in the kitchen. my very orderly pile of pressing things to take care of waits messily beside my mobile office (laptop), as i procrastinate and update my blog. the once-fragrant lilies that haley and emir gave me for my birthday drop pollen on the table runner as they die.

12ish. time to leave the house. my favorite thing about working from home--pajamas until noon! i catch myself in the bathroom mirror as i brush my teeth. this scene is actually slightly unusual, as i usually am anywhere but the bathroom as i'm brushing my teeth.

2ish. afternoon light streams into the boss's drawing studio. the drafting table is supported by an old clawfoot bathtub. the chairs have all been used for notetaking. seashells to be made into mosaics litter the floor in mysterious plotted patterns. my desk is on the other side of the studio, with a window looking through the brooklyn ship terminal into the downtown manhattan skyline.

4pm-ish. i've left work early because it's emre's birthday. i point the camera up the brooklyn sky.

6pm-ish. i've met up with the birthday boy and we're running errands. the reflection as we pass 'soft spot' our neighborhood bar, is lovely. emre, appropriately, stands in the 'soft spot' of the frame, that is, the place that's fallen out of focus, as well as bearing the name of the bar. you could take the pun further and say that he occupies the 'soft spot' of my heart.

8pm-ish. we walk together hand in hand.

10pm-ish. dinner at planeat thailand. i stare at the totally awesome 'fountain', which consists of a row boat hanging from the ceiling. many holes puncture the bottom of the boat, through which water falls in streams. some of this water falls into tin cups which hang from the boat's oars, rigged with counterbalances. once the cups of water become heavier than the weights, gravity flips them over, thus moving the oars as though the boat is paddling through the air above. and the whole thing starts over. i've been mesmerized for ten years.

midnight-ish. i stand on the subway platform. the yellow edges of the tracks are a warning not to fall in. they are punctuated with raised dots which massage my feet when i walk on them after a long day of trekking.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

hide 'n seek

rushing off to class. here's my homework. it took me ALL day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ah, the joys of long term love

when labels are being passed out, you may choose to call me a commitment-phobe, considering i've expressed that marriage is not my personal calling and having kids does not interest me. however, you would be wrong. i've spent a startling short portion of my adult life single. more accurately, i have been called a serial monogamist. this means i've followed one long term relationship with another and another. this is not what i've consciously looked for. in fact, i quite enjoyed being single. but what can i say, i'm a libra. i fall in love. and i stay.

this has give me the unique opportunity of being observed very closely in that way that only someone who has woken up beside you for many many years can feel comfortable expressing. generally, from the outside, these observations seem rude. perhaps sometimes they are. like micha, who told me that my spine resembled that of a greyhound, or nicknamed me 'huge' to counter his 5'6" napolean complex.

but mostly i think they are just born out of pure, boring, in depth and involuntary research. and often they make me laugh.

last night emre told me that i swallow 'wrong'.

me: wrong? how do i swallow wrong?

e: well, it's mostly when you're drinking soda or beer. i've noticed this with girls since i was a little boy. they don't know how to swallow soda or beer in the correct way.

me: wait, you've been noticing the way girls swallow beer since you were a little boy. who were these beer swilling turkish little girls?!

usually emre can recognize when he's totally cracking me up to the point that i feel the need to share it with the internet. but not last night. dead serious. which made it all the funnier as this conversation stretched on for fifteen minutes.

and now i can't swallow without listening for my lack of finesse as pointed out by my correct-swallowing boyfriend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

animal meets the swedish chef, meet buttcheeks

kim and tristan reminded me of these few indispensable minutes of video. gym suits, kitchen appliances as percussion, excessively hairy nordic men, flashing cheeks and a bizarrely grandiose set. really, what more could you ask for?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

turn around bright eyes

sometimes song follow me around. does this happen to you? three times in the past three days it's been 'total eclipse of the heart'. naturally this leads me to ponder. what is the significance?! and just as i pondered those achingly heartfelt lyrics on the third day of its dominance of my personal airwaves, just as the music reached its dramatic climax, the waiter rushed to the back and skipped to the next track. i was left feeling completely interrupted, as though i haven't heard this song 9,587 times in my life. but you know, every now and then i fall apart....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

secret daddy*freckle mommy

rosie and daddy
ginger and mommy

from the category of 'one of my favorite families' come the above display of twin cuteness. four special peeps.

oh, but wait! you cannot stop this tsunami of cuteness. kim made ghost costumes for the girls' big birds for halloween.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a welcome welcome

allow me to assault you with a photo perhaps worse than a cell phone would take, snapped while coming up the subway platform stairs, juggling many bags and being regarded suspiciously. but the photo quality doesn't matter here. what matters is that you are looking at a trigger to my most exciting moment this week. this week and beyond.

see, election night was exciting. but when i watched obama give his acceptance speech, i was still in that whole 'pinch me this can't be real' phase. it couldn't actually be happening. then the joy didn't have much time to sink in before the unexpected sting of the passing of prop 8.

so i'm walking up the subway stairs after a long day, schlepping the aforementioned and customary bags of stuff i need for the myriad of activities i engage in on any given day. i see the usual scene as my head clears the top of the stairs. turnstiles and the token booth with its uniformed workers. i've seen this same scene many times a day for 12 years. but this day something different catches my eye. a rip in the usual visual program grabs my attention.

someone in the subway booth has posted a full page newspaper photograph of obama on the wall behind. it's not a campaign photo, it's a victory photo. on the bottom it reads, "president barack obama". when i see this i'm taken completely off guard. i realize i still haven't accepted that i don't have to wake up from this good dream. eight years of seeing portraits of a big eared idiot who i'm ashamed to identify as the leader of my country fly out the window. i feel lighter. shame is lifted, and pride takes its place. i'm so damn proud of my country for making this happen. i start to cry. here i am in the subway having that moment that i was too conditioned against believing could happen on election night. embarrassed, i wipe a tear away and shake my head. "i just can't believe...." the man beside me grins and says, "you gottta take that picture!" and i'm too flustered to even focus the lens.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

my little shop--post renovation

the contractors hired were flakes, so most of the work was done by hand, by us. this is where i spend about 1/4 of my work time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

mr. fish

rented a fisheye lens today so i could photograph the shop for a promotional article. they are so much fun...
just love the slight warp to the guitar neck.

and okay, just in case you didn't know, let me let you in on the pun (while destroying the humor in it for those of you who do know): emre's last name means 'fish' in turkish. get it? mr. fish? fish eye lens. oh i'm too funny.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the war torn left pointer

so apparently i'm starting to qualify as full blown accident prone, as opposed to the simple and less dramatic moniker of clumsy i'd formerly given myself.

no, i didn't slip on the wet linoleum, setting off a chain reaction of a clattering mountain of precariously placed metal chairs. because that wouldn't involve enough blood.

seems like lately i just can't keep from slicing my skin open. you remember the sub incident, right? about a year ago when i elected to pick up a million ton hulk of rusty steel with my bare hands, in the rain? brilliant. we all know where that landed me. in the doctors office after two days worth of people telling me i was going to DIE a painful death of lockjaw if i didn't get a tetnus shot, then getting yelled at by the doctor for not getting stitches before it was too late.

doctor doom took fiendish delight in explaining the consquences--a slow as hell healing process as my desparately trying to mend finger cracked open every time it was bent. how many times do YOU bend your finger in an hour? MORE THAN YOU REALIZE.

yet did i learn my lesson? no. yesterday i was out in the wetlands of queens bailing reeds. don't ask why, unless you want to get in on the fun next time. so i'm bailing reeds and the work gloves i've so poignantly learned from example to wear are driving me crazy. they're too big. they're flopping around and getting tied in the twine. as i chunk them into the bushes in exasperation, a flash of the night of blood creeps into my mind. a warning? a premonition?

but wait, there's a big difference between rusty steel and reeds. harmless plants. right? within five minutes i'm bleeding again, my hand having come violently and perpendicularly into contact with a hard and coiled vine stem. jesus! who knew they were making vines out of metal these days? because really, it felt like barbed wire dragging down my arm and through my finger.

i saw the skin flap open, and then the flood of red. my reaction? total and complete annoyance at what a FOOL i was for taking those gloves off. the clumsy kitty doll should come with a built in set of anti-cut-your-hand-open gloves. like barbie and her painted on underware.

i tried to stem the gushing blood falling out of my hand with pressure. had to walk, pale, hand over my head, trying not to drip blood on my hat, across two lanes of traffic, to get back to the project base and the first aid kit. my cut was pronounced 'not as bad as last time' but less than an inch lower than the last one. thankfully it's not on the joint. so i got all sterilized and neosporized and taped up tight and went back to harvesting reeds. and i didn't even lay down. i know. pretty tough for me. i think my annoyance overtook my squeamishness. but still, when someone said the s-word--you know, stitches--i ran the other way.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

take me to your alien unicorn leader

halloween was 'take your visiting friend to work' day, at least for kiyomi. so i spent the afternoon supervising kids coloring on trick or treat bags and serving as the volunteer p.r. photographer for her organization. it's always great seeing your friends in action at work--such a big part of their lives that you usually only hear about. so it was i found myself surrounded by 200+ kids at a park in san francisco's chinatown, all hopped up on sugar and the 'ghostbusters' theme, which played every fourth song. the above photo is my absolute favorite. i can't tell you why. i just laugh every time i look at it.

not pictured: the unruly bunch of displaced elder chinese gamblers who trickled back into the area when they heard about the free dim-sum. sorry kids! have some carrot sticks.

seeing kiyomi wrangle all 200 kids simultaneously gave me total faith that she is ready to be a mom. of course, i knew that already when she was 8 years old, dealing with a little sister and triplet brothers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

case closed

on the airplane out to cali for my stealth kiyomi mission, i drafted that post about the yearbook mystery. the strange details fresh in my mind as my hostess welcomed me to her home, i brought it up as a strange curiosity. we sat on stools in her little sf kitchen eating the insanely delicious vanilla ice cream and lemon sorbet (lemon-sicle!) she'd made from the familiar fruit from her parents' sebastopol tree.

me: so, yeah. it's totally weird. my name is misspelled. who is going to send me a birthday gift who doesn't even know how to spell my name?!

kiyomi (face turning pink): hmmm...

me: and who has a sebastopool post office box?!

kiyomi: (face ever pinker): yeah, um...that's strange...

me: it's so weird!

at this point kiyomi's face is not only red, but also slightly shaking with the containing of a secret, her chin retreating back and down with the weight of a failed poker face.

kiyomi: okay, okay! it was me! i had skip write on the envelope and intentionally misspell your name!

aha! mystery solved. apparently, a mutual friend of ours who i'm no longer in contact with was moving out of the country, discovered my yearbook on her shelf, and passed it on to kiyomi. what, i gave it to her to sign and never noticed i didn't get it back?!

i have to admit, it was a little anti-climactic to get my answer so quickly, from the first person i shared the strange circumstances with. however, it was pretty funny to be reminded of what a bad liar kiyomi is.

case closed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

why don’t i just get a subscription to AARP and get it over with?

last week my sister, amy, and i traipsed my niece, allyson, through a shopping tour of manhattan. as i’ve mentioned before, now that allyson is thirteen, her interests have radically changed. not surprisingly, therefore, my suggested activities based on yesteryear produced only scoffing and eye rolling. planets and dinosaurs at the museum of natural history? BORING! ‘miles and miles of books’ at strand bookstore? NO THANKS!

so up and down snooty fifth avenue and through the flatiron district we did traverse, the imposing facades of prada, fendi and louis vuitton sneering at us along with the uber cool and unaffected sales people, giving even gung-ho-allyson pause and reminding us, she’s still our little girl, ‘mommy, you go in first!’

this inspired a rule that excused us from many stores: if you want to go in, you have to open the door yourself. once inside, i marveled at what these labels can get away with selling as such ridiculous, out of nowhere prices. a whole line of shoes looking identical to the trashy end of a bridesmaid heel line wore $1000 price tags thanks to the red sole branding them laboutiens. many items amy and i had to restrain our facial reactions to, knowing for a fact allyson would wrinkle her nose at if they were purchased from the goodwill (as it would appear). instead, these drew excited gasps which were only last year reserved for the latest nancy drew mystery novel. where does she learn about this stuff? why does she care?

the answer: project runway, miley cyrus and the likes of other ‘tween idols.
it’s an incredible thing to watch a younger generation evolve. especially when you sometimes still remember of them as toddlers like it was yesterday! having not chosen the path of motherhood, this is something that’s only recently snuck up on me completely unexpectedly.

suddenly you go from the cool auntie who can do no wrong to just another adult. actually, most of the time i was a little too cutting edge for her, prompting her to beg as soon as she could speak, “take that nose ring OUT!”

enter uncool auntie: at juicy couture, where i felt surprisingly much more at ease, allyson said something teasingly to the effect of, “i’m the only one of us dressed stylishly.”
a quick survey of my outfit yielded nothing embarrassing in my perennial standards, the kitty classics, if you will. i sported grandma’s costume jewelry and vintage blouse offset with designer jeans (a gift!) knee high boots and a cropped black leather jacket (another gift!) akin to those recently showcased in ‘us weekly’ (i know, i should be proud) by Katie holmes and even the young gossip girl crowd. the whole ensomble struck me as rather pulled together. and did i mention my super cute new STYLISH haircut?

such comments from a thirteen year old are to be expected (though a new milestone for me) and easy to shrug off. i remember saying similar things to my own mother. except i’m pretty sure her year-round uniform of biker shorts and oversized animal t-shirts (love ya mama!) were worthy of such commentary.

yet, i noted with amusement, that my ego was still stinging the next day. perhaps i am unrealistically tricked into picturing myself as vaguely and eternally hip and youthful due to the fast paced city environment i live in, combined with my tradition of careful consideration my own unique and funky style.
weird, i’ve been called. ad naseum.
unstylish?! never.

as i performed one last hotel room check after amy and allyson departed for the airport, i discovered allyson had forgotten her new black trench from forever 21 in the closet. on a whim, i put it on, imagining a cloak of style would envelop me and inspire me to go shopping to update my image. but eh, no change really. still looked like me, like auntie kitty. that’s when the realization came.

i hadn’t necessarily become UNSTYLISH, rather, i’d simply become OLD.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sherlock holmes returns to Greenpoint

package arrives in the mail for me. it’s a couple days past my birthday, so it’s not anything super suspsicious or unusal. but we all know how much i love to analyze my mystery mail. so, without further ado, the clues…

1) there is no name on the return address. cause for suspiscion.
2) the return address is indeed from my hometown of Sebastopol. but a po box? my peeps are from the boondocks--the outskirts of this already small town. we don’t have no city slicker post office boxes.
3) what’s more, my name is misspelled on the puffy, beat up, media mailed envelope. again, not a freak occurrence. we all heard about katty joe stemarce. even the misspelling is totally common. st. marie is the way my parents spell their name. my sister and i reverted to the true french canadian spelling back when i was fourteen, just to ensure my life was a total pain in the ass. coincidentally (?) my sister took a married name soon after. nevertheless, even my parents have taken to the ‘new’ spelling. i think.

i open the package, and sure enough, it appears to be a gift, wrapped as it is in birthday paper and ribbon.

4) the wrapping paper is worn and creased, like it’s been used at least 10 times previously. this definitely makes a case for a family member. if my grandmother were still alive, i’d swear she was behind it.
5) disposal (and not reusing—gasp!) of the veteran wrapping paper reveals… yearbook from 1991. my junior year of high school. all the signatures are there. eddie’s telling me i’ve taken a beating for my brave sense of fashion. kiyomi talking (still!) about how long we’ve been friends. all kinds of other people i haven’t talked to in years, not even on facebook are telling me how much i mean to them. there’s an old, dead and yellowed flower pressed in it’s pages. it’s a time capsule.
6) there is no card. there is no note. there is no return addressee. i am obsessed. who the hell had my junior yearbook? and why? i don’t recognize the handwriting. amy could have gotten a po box in Sebastopol, but she wouldn’t have misspelled my name and never would re-use wrapping paper.

what. the hell? come forward anonymous yearbook sender, you!

the above photo is my most prominent photo in the book that particular year. the art club. i LOVE the description of how pathetic and non committal we were as a club. clearly i started early on in my career as a misguided artist.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


thank you, america, for restoring my faith in my country and my people. really, during this entire campaign, i felt so terrified and cynical, shell-shocked from the previous two elections. america, i thought you were stupid or blind to your own self-interest for electing (kindof) george w. bush.

in the past couple of days, despite my dour election outlook, i started to feel elated by the possibility that obama could win. and i knew that if he didn't, i would again be crushed, but all the harder.

halle-frickin'-lujah. that's all i have to say.

oh, and i know it's kind of late, but i only just saw this last night. must share. take 4 minutes to watch both.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

it is decidedly so (best halloween costume ever)

hopefully you're all too busy voting to bother looking at my blog.
but just in case, i have to share kiyomi's ingenious halloween costume.
kiyomi is 7 months pregnant. not only did she brilliantly use her round tummy to perfect effect as a magic 8 ball, but cleverly, she used it to broadcast her feelings at this timely pre-election halloween, as a magic 'no on prop 8' ball.

for those of you who live in california, you know what i'm talking about. others who don't: it's a frightening proposition which aims to write discrimination into the california constitution by making gay marriage unconstitutional. illegal. it's a giant step backwards in civil rights and wants to tell you what 'traditional marriage' should be. back up a few decades and replace the word 'gay' with 'interracial' and let's all take a lesson from history.

unfortunately, kiyomi's costume was a bit undervalued, as the 200+ kids she led in halloween activities at work aren't too familiar with the propositions. and no, it didn't get the chance to end up front page of the sf gate as kim had expected, as the 8 ball was feeling a bit exhausted, and we opted to lounge on the kiyomi-sized pink sofa and watch the ancient black and white version of 'little shop of horrors' instead of going out. my jet lag didn't complain.
vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote
oh, and by the way--i voted at 7:30am this morning. expected scary lines but instead waited for two minutes. don't delay! go vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

more celebrations--it's too insane!

today is as good a day as any to share the photos from maria's baby shower. actually, today is a better day than any as (i think!) it's eddie and maria's seventh wedding anniversary. and clearly they got the seven year have a baby.

may will be bittersweet, as eddie, my high school friend who's been living in new york for 5 years, will graduate from medical school. sweet because--duh--he'll be a doctor. bitter because eddie and maria will pack up their 6 month old baby diana and leave new new york city forever and ever. and my how i've loved having them as my hometown oasis in this big city.

oh, and by the way eddie, i expect you to act like more of a 'virtual' friend when you get wherever you're going, and look at my blog!

for a better look at these pictures, click on my flickr play link to the right and go to maria's baby shower set.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

colin in light

sometimes there’s photography and lighting and planning and careful exposure and painstaking composition.
and sometimes there’s magic.
photo by naomi campbell (my cousin—not the crazy bitch supermodel!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

in lieu of a baby shower card...

there’s been this post in my head for months. it’s such a major post that i put it off and i put it off some more, because it’s so major, and so important that i fear not devoting enough energy to it. and i don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but since i’ve been in this whole school thing, my attention span has been less than stellar. my following up habits are nil. my dedication has been kidnapped. i’ve caused friends to doubt me, and other ones to give up on me altogether.

i’m hoping once i graduate this can change. of course, then i sometimes think that maybe there is no catching up. maybe i’ve taken on too many interests, made more deep connections with amazing people than one can possibly maintain. will i always be known as the crazy multi-tasker who can’t slow down long enough to be there? i hope not.

in the meantime, there is this year. this has been an exciting year, a busy year, a frustrating year, a sad year, a blissful year. this year has been all over the place. and yet, i have not. at least, where all over means 'back home'. in fact, were it not for the surprise weekend trip i took to my neice’s first birthday party back in may, the bulk of this year would be spent with nary a visit to good ol’ californ-eye-yay. homesick? terribly. but what makes being absent from california worse, is the fact that my dear friend kiyomi is pregnant.

she announced her pregnancy to me back in may, during my comet-like stay in cali. i saw her. she was pregnant. but….she could have been lying. since then i’ve seen some pictures of a cute little belly. but….she could have stuffed her clothes with pillows, like we used to do at wendy’s house, then ‘jump the pounds off’ on the trampoline. i wouldn't be any the wiser.

kiyomi, like so many of my peers, is really taking this leap, not just pretending, into territory unfamiliar to me, territory where i’m not headed. that’s what the bigger post was supposed to be about (i’m hoping i’ll get to it later). it’s all about my peers going through with traditional roles that i’ve been talking for over a decade about shunning. it’s just, now that they’re here, it’s trippy to watch it all go down like dominos.

but the awesome thing is, even though i’m not choosing this path for myself, and perhaps, because i’m not choosing this path for myself, i’m so frickin’ excited about each one of my friends who walks down that aisle or brings a baby into this world. it’s not my thing, but it sure is a lot of fun watching it happen and bathing in the glow of that radiant light that comes from it.

but the thing with kiyomi is this:the thing with kiyomi is that we’ve been friend since kindgarten. since i was four years old. time in and time out we played together. we built forts. we tortured her little sister (amazing she’s still throwing kiyomi a baby shower!). kiyomi was a sassy little girl. at one point she was banned from my home. so i went to hers a lot. we invented really crucial things together. like strings that turned your bedroom light off from the comfort of your bed. who didn’t need a LAZY LIGHT system? and then there was VAMPISM. together we decided to forever dress in black, worship martin gore, spell out anti-sun-worshipper messages in the grass outside our high school in acorns (yeah, our geeky male counterparts had dungeons and dragons, we had acorn public service announcements), and be KOOL. except it was kind of me imposing my obsessions on her and her doing what she did which was quietly nodding and backing me up, then thinking i was crazy, and running off to an island in the caribbean for peace corps and a really big tan.

all thoughout our childhood we were a big part in each other’s lives. even in fourth grade when we spent all of our energy hating each other. even in seventh grade when she lived in japan and we talked into cassette tapes about the profundities of our pre-teen lives, like the locker-cleaning fairy. god damn we were nerds! that’s right, we used to go up to the junior high school on weekend, since i lived down the street, and break into people lockers. i had swiped the master list of combinations, being a devoted member of the student senate (ooh…corruption!). and how did we use this knowledge? did we steal lunch money? snoop on the boys we had crushes on? well that one would be an automatic negative, since in all of our years kiyomi would NEVER admit to having an impure thought about ANYONE to me. until skip. skip, i love you.

oh, but back on track. we broke into the lockers to organize them. to ORGANIZE THEM. are you hearing me? we straightened the books and threw away the candy wrappers and left little notes signed, ‘the locker cleaning fairies’.

and then, one day, on our conquering of the west road trip, while driving somewhere in the middle of montana or some such rugged territory, post high-school graduation, i said something about how life would be at our school. our new school. UC Santa Cruz.

and then we were quiet. that quiet came with the realization that uc santa cruz wasn’t OUR new school. it was MY new school. hers was University of Oregon. then Japan. and then i went and moved to new york city.

that was the moment that we both realized, really felt that our built-in reality of taking each other’s constant presence for granted was over.

it would be this catching up on holidays and forever wishing we could stay in better touch.

it would be almost missing her entire pregnancy even though i’m thinking of her nearly every day.

so all summer i’ve pined for a visit with that round kiyomi. that rare kiyomi. that mother-to-be kiyomi, my life long friend. and it hasn’t happened. this weekend is her baby shower. she’ll be nearing her final days of pregnancy just as i’ll be nearing my final exams. the thought of missing her whole pregnancy when i’ve tried my damnedest not to miss a phase of her life—even flew down to dominica to visit her on a 15 x 10 mile island—has been killing me. so, other factors in homesickness out the window, obligations out the window, a few hundred bucks out the window, come hell or highwater, i’m gonna be there.

i’ll spend two days with my kioymi. it won’t be enough. my phone will be off because though it drives me crazy, it surely isn’t enough to catch up with everyone else. but i’m shoving my guilt to the back burner and being frivolous and san francisco here i come! rocky, pk, kiwi, twin sister, save me a cupcake!