Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Further Adultery

Yesterday and today, I finally (FINALLY) got it together and set up a new blog.  I'm not sure if I'll continue in this space--probably, for now, so that I have somewhere to post the silly videos and crap I share around.  I also did a run-through of my photos today and realized that I have a lot of shots that I never shared from Morocco, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere--so perhaps I'll start throwing those up here too.  For the 1.5 of you who still check on things here (I love you! Thank you!).

One day, I'll have my own site up and running, but it was really scary when I tried to deal with it today (I have a domain name; I may have a host, but I think not; there was enough money involved that I wanted to wait until I can talk to someone who can use a computer better than I), so I cracked and went with a free Wordpress account for now.

My new blog, Glancing Blows (tagline: truths, secrets, and lies in the city by the bay) will be a collection of vignettes about the history, present, and future of San Francisco and all of the little contradictions and oddities that make this city so wonderful.  Basically:

Everywhere has a history, but San Francisco’s is more tumultuous, more chthonic, than almost anywhere else.  Everyone here has an underground group, a shibboleth, a hole-and-corner meeting spot.  There are cultures that I will never find, much less understand.  Cryptic street art, the Bohemian Club, ships buried in the ground.  In this space, I’ll try to capture those unknown histories, those secrets, those glimpses you catch when passing a narrow alley or a doorway, on the bus, in the park, on street signs.  San Francisco is a place where you can come to get lost or where you can come to find yourself, or anything in between that isn’t quite so conventional.  This is the edge of the frontier, no matter the direction whence you came, the place where, when we could go no further, we looked up, saw it was good, and put a stake in the ground.

So, that's that.  Thank you, again, to everyone who's stayed with me through this small dark age of cop-out link days and video posts.  I'm trying to get back on the writing wagon now, and your support and patience has been wonderful.  Onward.  Upward.

Wilderness Break

I've stumbled upon two lovely short videos about possibly my favorite place in the world: the Sierra Nevada of California, the mountains that shaped my childhood and began my love for the wilderness and for camping.  One is a trailer for a film about the John Muir Trail (Yosemite to Mt. Whitney, over 200 miles).  The second is a timelapse of Yosemite Valley.  They filled my heart with joy this morning, so I wanted to share them.  Watch them on full screen.

Almost There - The Muir Project from The Muir Project on Vimeo.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Music Break: L-I-V-I-N Edition

From Butch Walker and the Black Widows, the music video return of Matthew McConaughey's Wooderson from Dazed and Confused (one of my all-time favorite films).  It's kind of a cool song, too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Adultery Fridays

It's a rainy, horrible, no-good day in SF.  We can't complain much, though, because it's been gorgeous up to now, California desperately needs the precipitation, and the skiiers/snowboarders have gotten the fuzzy end of the lollipop this season.  Today was a great time, however, to bake some bread, light up the Merlot-scented candles on our hearth (our fireplace, tragically, doesn't work...#firstworldwoes, I know), and learn a little bit more about totally drug resistant/extensively drug resistant tuberculosis.  Yummy.  Take a look at my new post on the matter over at the Foreign Policy Association.  And kids, the next time the doctor tells you to take all of your antibiotics (or other meds), for the sake of a safe and drug-resistance-free world, do it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Link Day

Almost everyone (including hipsters) derides Thought Catalog for being a den of hipster iniquity, but they do some really great stuff over there.  So I don't care, I'll like it all the same.  Check out this piece by Stephanie Georgopulos called "Who You Used To Be."  And in lighter fare (maybe), Brad Pike's "Dumb Day."  I think every day for the past month has been one for me.

In much more serious news, a crowd of prospective students trying to get into University of Johannesburg in South Africa trampled a student's mother to death and injured others.  There were several thousand students and parents waiting outside the school to register for a few hundred final spots, and the crush at the gates had tragic results. The NYT coverage is here.  This story just broke my heart and is so indicative of the difficult place in which South Africa is currently situated--politically, socially, and economically.

California is set to close seventy state parks in July of this year.  What a huge shame.  As always, environmental issues get short shrift in budget negotiations: environmentalists' hands are tied and must vote Democrat, and Republicans, generally, just don't give a shit.  Furthermore, 20% of state rangers and all seasonal lifeguards will be laid off.  It's clear that the California governmental system is broken.  Outside Magazine has more information, including the video below.  It's a trailer/short film for The First 70 by Heath Hen Films, which recently reached surpassed its goal on Kickstarter (awesome idea, BTW) of raising $35K to complete a film about the seventy parks and the effect of the closures on communities.  The three-minute version below is awesome.

In breaking and important news, BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z's new baby, Blue Ivy Carter has, among other things, a $600,000 gold rocking horse.  I know that gossip blogs are not bastions of journalistic integrity (though who is, anymore?) but D-Listed has the story (warning: D-Listed is not 100% safe for work or sensitive eyes.  Never stopped me though).  I am disgusted with everyone.  Additionally, you can kill me with fire for (1) knowing the name of Jay-Z and BeyoncĂ©'s baby, (2) caring about any of this, and (3) forcing you, dear reader, to look at it.

Finally, via Belle, Japan-born and SF-based Toshio Hirano, who has a serious jones for some old-school folk-country-bluegrass Americana.  I feel you, sir.  And I'll look out for you next time at HSB.  Below, he sings Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'."  Want more?  Check out his incredible version of Jimmie Rodgers' "Peach-Pickin' Time in Georgia."