Thursday, December 31, 2009

In 2009, I...

decided to take a leave from my college in the Midwest

recovered from clinical depression and an eating disorder

worked in a doctor's office making as much per hour as my college-grad brother-in-law (muahaha)

funded, planned, and took a solo trip to Australia

registered my own domain

got pierced

stood in the Indian Ocean

found a major that I love (anthropoloGY!)

came into my own as a feminist

started taking good pictures

tested the waters of analogue photography, and fell accordingly in love with toy cameras

was a bridesmaid

developed an addiction to snail mail correspondence

saw Arizona for the first time

stood up on a surfboard

Monday, December 28, 2009

First roll of film back from my new camera

It's a little Holga 135BC that came in a brown-paper-and-string parcel from Hong Kong. Takes 35mm film, which is cheaper and more convenient to get developed than the film that Diana takes. Yay!


You my chorus

The end product of the poem-writing game:

I am a little stiller around the edges
Shift-shaping on the inside
now that you are gone from
the place where frost
reaches out
The days overflow quickly
as you kiss me too much
as the waves whisper against my toes
I wander through the wonder
wanting more
almost tasting a thrill
skipping over it like stones on water.


Credit to:
Every time it rains she just feels a lot better...

I will now pass the baton of hosting to Summermoon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday inspirations

Misshapen cutout cookies

Purposefully misshaping cutout cookies to make the gingerbread men into dancing gingerbread men.

Tights in bright colors.

Cleaning out my image files.

Deciding I'm done looking at fashion photography.

A mermaid in a martini glass.

The shape of orchids. It's so peculiar and architectural, no?

My current Firefox Persona.

Making a Greek-tragedy-mask face in pictures.

Celtic music. I miss Irish dance. My family went to see Riverdance tonight and it was great, of course, but I'm still not that great at just watching dance; I can't do it without overflowing with schemes to take it up again and maybe get back into competing and that last slip jig I was working on...etc. etc.

Dressing sharply.

Flamenco. Hottest thing I've ever seen.

My hips in a pencil skirt [I put myself on my own inspiration list? Oh my!]

Poppy's tumblr and her absolute astuteness in all matter sociological.

Sleeping pigeons on window ledges and fire escapes.

Sitting on a very steep hillside in a park overlooking my city, with my new headphones on, a little too cold, waiting to get my film from the one-hour photo place.

Pictures from floods.

Pretending to be dispassionate sometimes, just for kicks.

Reevaluating, on a case-by-case basis, the benefits of being inoffensive.

A red-tailed hawk flying right past my face.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day after Christmas

this morning

My parents gave me a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones for Christmas. Now I don't have to worry about going deaf listening to music on planes and buses. One less thing, as Forrest Gump would say.

I got in a bit of a spat with another flickr user today. I left a comment on one of his pictures saying that the model looked either very unwell or extremely edited. [Her thighs were nearly  the same size as her calves.] I don't go around looking for photoshopped models to criticize, but it was the first thing I noticed about his photo, so I decided it was worth saying. He got very defensive and insinuated that because I'm an amateur and American [read: used to obesity], I can have nothing legitimate to say on the matter.

It's been a long time since I've had a bad interaction online, and I wasn't really prepared for it. I'm not about to embark on a new career as a flickr troll, but I must say...there are some people I don't particularly mind upsetting.

I made a resolution a while ago to make more trouble. More on that later?

Anyways, that reminded me of  Noel's post about the word "amateur." Read it, read it, read it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Collaboration ahoy

From Q, to whom I apologize for being a slowpoke.

Time to write a poem.

Here's how it goes:

I start a poem with a single line. Then, each of you adds a line in the comments. You don't have to be a poet, and your line doesn't have to be brilliant--it's just a few words, after all. You don't need to copy and paste the lines before it into your comment, either. All you need to do is make sure it fits with the preceding lines.

I'll close comments and put the lines together in a day or two, putting in a last line if necessary, then post the poem with the linked names of people who participated (so don't be anonymous, either!).

Ready? Here's the line:

I am a little stiller around the edges

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread mannies and dough-sick day

Today my sister and mother and I cut out our traditional Christmas cookies. We call them Betsy cookies. They're basically sugar cookies, except made with brown sugar instead of white, and with cinnamon added. Also, we frost and sprinkle them later. They're thin and manage to have an almost-crunch while still being soft.

The rule has always been that for every rolled out sheet of dough that we slice up into angels/stockings/camels, we get to eat one piece of dough. I always end up a little dough-sick by the end.

I found a goose cookie-cutter this year. My mom called me goose girl for using it, which made me happy [see The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, one of my favorite books since I read it in 2005].

And I had the idea of manipulating the mannies' limbs before they bake so they come out looking like they're dancing. Best discovery of the year.

yellow tights, not jaundice

What's the Christmas cookie of choice in your home like?

On my piercings

As you may have noticed in this picture, or heard if you know me on Twitter or Facebook, I had my left collarbone pierced somewhat recently.

It looks like this: two little silver discs that sit just below my clavicle.

dermal anchors

My Ellie (also known as the astronaut sister), the friend from online who was staying with me earlier this fall, had always thought this particular piercing looked cool, as had I.

So a week or so before she left San Francisco, we trotted down to Body Manipulations in the Mission and got ours done together -- hers on her right side, mine on my left.

Side note: It might seem odd to get your collarbone pierced when you don't even have your ears pierced, but frankly, I don't like the look of pierced ears that much. Whereas I love, love, love the look of these. I was thinking about them when I wrote this bit in July.

These kinds of piercing are called dermal anchors, and can be put pretty much anywhere you can imagine. I've seen it on the nape of the neck, on a finger, on hips, on the cheekbone. The other advantage to them is that they have a much lower rate of rejection than other types of surface piercings.

They're not connected under the skin, and they're not just like stud earrings that someone stabbed into me. The backside of each dermal is a very small flat piece that lies just under and parallel to the skin.

Getting mine done--the jewelry plus the piercing and tip--was about $160. Pricey, yes, but so worth it. I absolutely love the way they look, I love having them right above my heart to play my fingers across, and it's something Ellie and I both have to remember each other by. [We have been through a LOT together.]

Did it hurt? Yes; enough to make me shake, but not cry. As they're my only piercings, I can't compare, but I hear that the main thing with dermal anchors is that the piercing isn't quick like piercing an ear. Each one took maybe twenty or thirty seconds of actual needle time, and there were a couple moments when it really bit, but once they were in, it was over.

Ellie and I both felt a bit weak when we got home, nothing that an ibuprofen and some snacks and water and couch couldn't cure. After that, there were maybe two days when I noticed the skin around my dermals were slightly bruised, but that's all. Neither mine nor Ellie's ever got gross (oozy etc.) or swelled at ALL. If  you're in the Bay Area and looking for a surface piercing, do yourself a favor and see Steve Joyner at Body Manipulations -- he is EXPERT.

So there you are. Dermal anchors 101.

eta: the story is continued here... (I did lose them after about a year.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If you would like to make a small Christmas present to me...


Thank you to gracious Perthite Vagrant Imp/@Vagrant for the account upgrade. It means so much to me that I'm not the only one who cares about what I do. I shan't forget it.

Hey readers,

I've become increasingly frustrated with the free image-hosting options available to me for blogging. Flickr is the best I've found so far, in terms of convenience and retention of image quality, and has the added bonus of being a great tool to connect with other photographers and bloggers. The only issue I have with flickr is the 200-image limit on free accounts.

I've been fine with periodically deleting old pictures from my photostream, but now that I'm using flickr to host the photos that I blog, that's an issue: I don't want my posts here to go image-dead after a few weeks in the archives.

In order to keep my older photos from being deleted to make space for new ones (and thereby also deleted from any blog posts they appeared in), I need to upgrade to a pro account...which costs $24.95.

If you enjoy my photos and this blog, I invite you to make a donation towards my flickr account upgrade.

[for those of you in a reader, there is a "donate" button right there ^]

Because I would like to keep blogging sustainable for me, and I also like to ask for what I need.

pro acount or not, I remain,


Monday, December 21, 2009

Perth leftovers

Some more pictures from the rolls I got developed a couple weeks ago. I was having some Diana-part problems with the colors roll so they are not so clear. My apologies for that.

The black and white prints settled it for me: Analogue photography has totally won me over.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday inspirations

Hands, fingers, fingertips, fingerprints.

Unfamiliar places.

"Rosyln," by Bon Iver. Makes me want to die, that's how beautiful I find it. Ah!

Being [not just feeling] out of place.


The idea of having interactions without having an agenda. Is this easy or hard? Unusual or common? How often do I already do it?

Dreams about sociology.

Ingrid Michaelson's cover of "Skinny Love."

A swing set on the beach [at night...]

Driving with the girl from the moon and her soundtracks.

Goat voices and sheep voices, how funny they are and how similar they sound to human voices.

An all-night Greyhound trip. Curling up by the window with my pillow, watching the road race by with Cat Power in my ears.

Body language.

Bohemian fantasies about living in a drab apartment building.

Being changeable.

Reminders that I am still a judgmental person.

Photographers who don't care what camera or film they use.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sydney leftovers

Queensland part six [last night]

Before dinner I say, "More rain, please." We listen to before-the-rain music.

Belle and I stand at the top of her hill, in the middle of the road. It's night but the sky is rimmed with lightness, enough to see the gum trees silhouetted. I see something which is not a bird--A bat?--She confirms this. Vacation skyscrapers in the distance, glowing up and down the coast. [We are a little angry with her parents.]

Rain's light fingers on my skin, to my scars. White-armed when her mother calls us inside [we sit on the floor a little sullen with her parents].

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lunar landing

You cannot speak underwater--stop,
I have difficulty seeing you when you talk like this.
Let me flood the apartment with water up to the skylight
We can stand across the room from each other
bubbles swimming from our teeth
and then I will be able to know you.

Days when I hate humanity I must remember that one of us invented the swing set. Up here, in the sky, in the noise of the ocean, a person with wind in my hair as much as any tree.

Wilted flowers--beer bottles--
in the morning's light trembling through the trees.
Note to self: go new places more often.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pieces of [my] Australia


Lying on my side in bed before I fall asleep
I write on my right thigh:
my eyes melting into sleep
& Billy Collins melting into
a dream I haven't had yet
ice into water
tea bleeding
I look forward to 
being a hellraiser

I dream my cold hands,
that I bury my hands in my thighs for warmth but the ink on my leg freezes
my old employer the doctor lets me press my fingertips
to her forehead to feel my temperature
and duly concerned
opens books all over the floor
full of worry and greed to know what I won't tell her.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday inspirations

The juice that moves under the skin of a wedge of mandarin orange. Like water in a blister. But delicious.

To see a maiko applying makeup. I don't even wear makeup, but the ritual of it enchants me.

Christmas tree shadows.

When I'm the last one awake and it's just the Christmas tree all lit up and me on my laptop, both of us in the dark house.

Carousel music.

Winter rains.

Astronauts, cosmonauts.

A roll of 35mm from a cheap childhood camera.


Finding out that certain plants in the holly family are highly caffeinated.

A small book called Green Angel which is half fable, half bedtime poem.

Lying on my bed with my cat after dinner, with "Into Dust" on repeat on my laptop, just spacing out sublimely.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jeanima in the mail

Compassion sent me some more information on Jeanima now that they have us officially down as her sponsors. You can click on the scans below to read them bigger.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Freewrite while waiting for cupcakes

Careful and careful, not for fear but for love of every movement, the single placement of each hand is thought of, is poetry. Sugar, heavy. Butter. Stir like you're mixing paint for your canvas. One egg. Crack it with grace. Your last night on stage, the flying exit into the wings. Flour. Careful, sweet, the dusting of flour, the smell. Vanilla extract, baking powder, salt. And stir. And scoop. Don't taste it. Let it be a surprise. Bow your here you are sir to the open oven. And wait.

Peel a mandarin. Be fastidious about the strands of rind. Listen to a song Belle recommends. At the sink in the bathroom, I watch myself in the mirror, think of how I did something twenty minutes ago that I admire, something two hours ago that I'm almost ashamed of.  I am right now, the one I make eye contact with in the mirror.