Friday, December 27, 2013


The Friendship Between a Girl and Her Cat
It's that time of year, and I feel I've done a great deal, so I'm going to relax and post content that earlier...let's say that earlier in the year, I was trying for higher standards, intellectual wit and whatnot, and right brain just feels like looking at cats. You can click on the link for more pics. Go ahead, I dare you. I will now go read some Nabokov.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Merry Christmas!  As I have no tree and I live in an small apartment, this is realistically my best alternative. If you click on the link, there are also many other creative ideas as well.

I hope you have a lovely holiday! 

Monday, December 23, 2013


I went ahead and pulled a few posts that I liked: both to share, and because I'm glad I was able to commit, to give myself a virtual pat on the back.  Here they are, in no particular order. 

Friday, December 20, 2013


“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” 
- Aristotle

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


There are many social applications out there, and for some inexplicable reason, I use them all in different ways. Each of them seems naturally inclined towards a different function and/or audience. Here's what I've noticed, correct me if I'm wrong:

Seems to attract young people. Really young - underage young. How do I know this? All lot of people put their age in their profile. (I'm 17!) It's also incredibly easy to get content from other users. Not so easy to upload your own content, but to reblog from another user? Easy peesy. I say this because it takes two clicks to reblog, and a whole process to post an image you first have to save onto your computer. Tumblr functions best as a self-contained universe. Not so many people put on original content. Most reblog - it's easier, but then you can end up in a virtual loop, seeing the same images over and over again. 

What I post: visually intriguing photography, calming interiors, epic landscapes, clever sayings, all while citing sources (Note: this is unusual, a lot of the time, you have no idea of an image's original source. I see this as a bad thing). I basically use this as my virtual inspiration wall and actively look for original content. I try to keep it highbrow (no porn). I do not write anything on Tumblr, because it feels wrong. And it looks ugly, like words aren't meant to go there.

Well, here I am. I write here. Other people's pictures go on Tumblr, but my actual words, my own photographs and my thoughts make their home here. I think it's because I can better control the formatting and like the overall look of it, and I can dig a little bit deeper into a topic. However, blogging is isolated. Blogging is an island. People may find you, but only if they're looking. People on Tumblr are actively looking - even if it's to reblog your photographs to show their followers, at least they're out and about. You can amass followers relatively easily on Tumblr, depending on your interests. Blogger not so much.

Ideally, I see this as an open market information exchange: I upload content I find useful and interesting, along with links to this blog, along with my own photographs. It's a good place to interact with other writers as well, and to gain useful information. Eventually, I hope to promote my own book. But with restraint, of course. 

In reality, it's a lot of digging around, like searching through a virtual flea market to see if there are substantive gems to be found. There's a lot of auto-tweets and auto retweets. Hashtags sometimes make communication incomprehensible. But I've found some gems alongside the rough. So that keeps it interesting.

Honestly, I have an account, but I don't ever go on it. I can't even be bothered to complain about it, because I've already complained enough times that I bore myself. If I do something "official" I will probably have to open a Facebook page and start pimping it out to everyone I know to "like" it. I feel sorry for my future self. 

I don't use this very often. Some people find Instagram to be the most personal account because it shows pictures from people's daily lives, like little personal vignettes. I know the contents of my daily life. It's boring. Here is what theoretical pictures from my Instagram account would be: an office cubicle (multiple angles), tupperware (not restaurant food), a cheap gym (where I would look bad), and possibly some screenshots from my laptop, where I spend an inordinate amount of time.

I haven't associated my Pinterest account with this blog, be perfectly honest...this is where I lose all self restraint and am an unabashed consumer whore and virtual chef. It has to go somewhere. On this blog, I made an intentional choice not to talk too often about shopping or fashion or makeup, because I think that adds to consumerism and unhappiness by promoting unrealistic ideals. Well, those choices get thrown into the garbage on Pinterest. It is just too easy to pin things that you want to buy, or pretty things you like to look at, cats - things that range between shallow and embarrassing. I have a recipe for homemade twix on Pinterest, and that's one of the better ones, because twix at least is a food group. Right. We all need a virtual outlet, and although ideally it would be exercise, in reality it is Pinterest.  

Monday, December 16, 2013


Broken tree

There is something eloquent about a broken tree. It looks almost human, bent over and hunched, with all its branches stripped away.

I went traipsing up Mount Diablo recently, before it became completely unbearable and you risked windburn rather than sunburn. The good weather has gone away, and it is now goodbye nature and hello gym treadmill, with all its sweaty friends. Disgusting.

For the time that remains, I have scuttled together some pics taken from up high, after dragging myself up rough terrain and down loose gravel (it's named Mount Diablo for very good reason). The sky was feeling accommodating that day, and it was sunny the entire time. I should have brought a bigger hat.

There were two hang gliders out. First the one, and then a second joined the first. I watched as the second made his way on over to the first and then sort of hovered around the person. It must be faintly irritating, if you're out hang gliding and this other guy's hang gliding, and even though you both have the entire sky at your disposal, this other person has to glide next to you and steal your wind. 

Then I thought about it. Maybe this was aerial vocabulary at play? If you want to speak to someone in the sky, mayn't it be a tad difficult to make them hear you? Maybe you can only touch wings? Maybe you throw your shadow over the other person, and that's how gliders say hello.

For every activity, there's usually a new set of vocabulary that you have to learn. It's part of the reason why I like poking my nose into unfamiliar territory and sitting on buses. In rock climbing, if you climb a route for the first time and nail it, you flashed it. You can google the phrase "cashed" and see what you come up with. Over the weekend, I stupidly bricked my phone. So, I wonder if there was some glider speak going on in the sky?

Fall branches Hillside Hillside2 Handglider Walking

Thursday, December 12, 2013


"Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself."
- Alan Alda

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Image Via
So, I like to take photographs, you know, because it reflects reality through the filter of my lens. The camera is a way to see the world through my eyes. I also like to have an imagination, which is a colorful place, frequently surreal, and which I touch upon to tell stories. Never the two shall mix.

Then I came across JeeYoung's photography, and she quietly blew that distinction to hell. These are actual photographs that she takes, of settings that she has created. In real life. When reality isn't photogenic enough, she takes the time to bend it to her will. There's a lesson in there somewhere. 

Friday, December 6, 2013


If there ever was a human being who could embody the seemingly impossible, who could be steeped in ugliness but never allow it to touch him, that would be Nelson Mandela. I like that picture of him, rising above the fray, both physically and symbolically. 

Here's an excerpt from his 1964 speech:
"During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
The lessons you can take away from Mandela and his life are potentially legion, so I will just point out a few:

  • forgive
  • release yourself from the burden of hatred
  • embrace humility
  • speak with eloquence
  • accept all people, equally
  • hold passionate ideals and be willing to fight for them

Mandela encapsulated that quality of transcendence - when you become more than who you are, a man, and you become that instrument whereby others can recognize their own potential, for the qualities that you exude: acceptance, compassion, and change. You become that enduring mirror that others can hold up as a reflection of themselves and as an outward projection of hope and all that is good in the world.  

Whenever I think that I was alive at the same time that Mandela was alive, whenever Mandela makes a cameo in my subconscious, he leaves behind him the residue of a smile.


Image via Bolig
I've been MIA lately. No particular reason. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and/or Crazy Monday might have been involved. On the plus side, nothing has been able to stop me from browsing around in the online universe and - since unique lighting can really make a dramatic difference - I thought of some things it might be interesting to try with hanging bulbs, metal poles, and ladders.

I really like that kitchen above, with the lights strung across a metal pole and dangling down at different lengths. To be honest, I like the entire kitchen, the house, and the minimalist black and white decor, but since that's not happening, I'm just going to stick to pointing out the lights. So - the lights. Nice, eh?

Now below, if you can get your hands on an old stick ladder, you can wrap a light around it - and behold! Another light fixture. There are an infinite number of ways to add a little bit of light. That one's not bad, and the punk print's not bad either.

From March Collective


This is the adult version of the Christmas lights I used to string up in my college dorm room way back when ago. And old habits die hard. Possibly you see a picture and the idea resurrects itself in the dark nether regions of your mind - should I do this? And more importantly - how?

The short answer is Yes.  Cup of Jo has thoughtfully provided the source of the lights as One Forty Three. Below I have thoughtfully provided a nice closeup of the more mature, adult bulbs involved. Do what you must. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


"Failure has got its teeth in me... and it won't stop shaking."
-from Where'd you go Bernadette?

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!  

And because no one can express this sentiment better than Pharrell, I have attached this video chock full of subliminal messages and excellent dance moves.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
- Ellen Bass 

Monday, November 25, 2013


As it's Thanksgiving weekend coming up, I'm going to up my link quota.

Nanowrimo Punctuation Tips
How to properly use dashes, hyphens, parentheses, quote marks (double and single), apostrophes, ellipses, brackets, slashes, question marks, and exclamation points.

Dating and Inspiration
The Craziest OkCupid Date Ever
They traveled 8 countries in 21 days. With no luggage and no money.
They visited all the places I've always wanted to go: Turkey, Croatia, Hungary, except they did it in a way that I can only recreate in my imagination.

The Successful Writer's Work Ethic with Kerry Wilkinson
This man writes 1000 words per hour. My God. This post makes me deeply ashamed of the amount of time I spend trolling Craigslist for used bikes.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Filmmaking (in 240+) Links
Ever thought/considered/dreamed/fantasized/fetishized/investigated/vaguely mentally analyzed how to make a movie? I have. Here's a link.

How Squinching Will Make You Look Good in Photos
Squinching: to slightly squint your eyes. It has never occurred to me to do this - I usually just smile so it looks like I'm having fun regardless of reality, but could this work?

You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids' Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self Esteem?
True? Not true?

10 Travel Web Sites Worth Bookmarking

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Well, hello there, Bed. These images are from actor Vincent Kartheiser's home, as profiled in Dwell magazine. The style here is Japanese industrial, and that first shot is of Kartheiser pulling his bed down from the ceiling. That wooden slab in the background there? It's the headboard. When the bed is up, the slab folds down to become a desk. That's right: a desk.  

To offset the weight of the bed, there is a 300 lb. weight hidden away somewhere, in a way that is built into the cabin. There are so many different ideas going on here (Red as an accent color anyone?), I don't even know where to point (Red curtain??). It's all just too good. It baffles and astounds me. I have no words. Look and enjoy.* 

* Okay, one small final point. This cabin was designed by Funn Roberts. How did this creativity happen? As Kartheiser puts it: "Funn is an artist, he's going to do his best work if he's trusted. You trust the artist and you don't micromanage him." There, all done.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Image via Cinema Fanpage
Wow, when you dream - dream big! Miles Scott asked to be BatKid as his wish for MakeAWish Foundation. And he got it. I am in awe of this kid.

Batkid from San Francisco Chronicle on Vimeo.


This series from photographer Denise Grunstein caught my eye recently. It looks like the good part of a dream. Everyone carries an idea in their head of what the world they've created looks like. I know I do. The world I create is always different from the world I observe - it's an enhancement. The colors are stronger, and objects more meaningful, or are possibly a plot device to be referenced later. Grunstein captures that unreal quality here. It's reality, but better kind.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Image via Hitta Hem
I saw this hanging hand lamp on the Hitta Hem website. On occasion, while walking next to houses that turn on their lights but don't close their curtains, I've noticed that overhead lights are not all that flattering. They usually cover everything in a flat yellowish color, which become apparent if you look at walls that are white in daylight, and yellow at night. One possible way to mix things up is to have multiple light sources. Once easy way to do this, is to hang a hand lamp off a shelf or to a desk, as shown above.  

There are two ways I can see to replicate this: 
  1. There is the cheap industrial version from Daniel Woodhead (Search for an incandescent hand lamp or wet location hand lamp). Then add an edison bulb.
  2. On the more high end, you can go to West Elm for their wooden cord set, add their selection of edison bulbs, and add a light guard so you can hook it to a shelf. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



There's nothing new under the sun here. I'm not here to blow minds or take names. What I am here to do is to remind you of thoughts that you probably already know, but may tend to forget.

Certain feelings, I have found, are detrimental to the soul. There are certain mental habits that come almost automatically, without conscious thought or action. I consider these fallback emotions; they take over when you are weak or tired or simply reacting. Breaking these habits takes constant vigilance and practice, and possibly random reminders like this one.

One of my personal favorite habits is thinking "Oh, I should have done that." That being whatever was the opposite of the choice I just made. I've never consciously said that, even in my head. The "should have" feeling is just that - a strong negative emotional...intonement. Let's go with that. 

The "should have" feeling is pretty much a guaranteed path to unhappiness. Most decisions are not about life or death. They're just decisions, but when you add the "should have" or "could have" into the mix, decision making becomes a miserable no win situation.  Nothing good comes of thinking in "should have's." It is a bad mental habit. If you have this habit, throw it away. 
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Monday, November 11, 2013



Mostly classics, but they're also classics.

I'm always on the lookout for ways to continue learning.

It's probably clear by now that I haven't read this. 

Eventually, I would like to go to Nepal, and I would also like to return alive. I have this bookmarked.

If you don't want to buy all organic produce, just buy these.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Image via Braid Creative
I've been feeling stressed and overwhelmed lately. Strangely enough, listening to Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly on audiobook really helps me to unclench those stress muscles. There is a magical collaboration that takes place between the written content and reader's vocal delivery that just hits the spot. Also, the book is good. 

I don't think I can add anything that hasn't been said already and better, such as by Braid Creative where I got that pic. What I will say is this: the audiobook relieves some of the burden of stress by putting emotion in context. Brown talks a lot about vulnerability, and in doing so she gives it a purpose. You are no longer swimming aimlessly in a sea of discomfort and anxiety, but moving towards a goal. That knowledge, and the repetition of that knowledge, sends a series of neural signals to the part of the brain specifically geared to relax. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


High end fashion is like the island of Santorini in Greece; it is a beautiful jewel in a land far away, and only accessible with a significant investment of cash. Then I came across the above interview with Isabel Marant from the Wall Street Journal magazine. The interviewer is very good; he notices little details about his subject. He notices the way she cuts open and rolls her cigarettes, and the pleasure she takes in simply being herself. 
"I do fashion because I'm happy when somebody gets joy from a new garment. There is a magic side to this."
What is particular to Marant is the deliberate choices she makes to balance between two edges of a spectrum. On the one hand, Marant is a high end fashion label. On the other, she herself embraces a low profile way of life. She notes, "When people meet me, they think this cannot be her, because I look like a bum." It's interesting how despite being immersed in the fashion industry, she can hold herself separate from it, and embrace a separate set of standards for herself that are uniquely and entirely her own.
"If you have a nice house outside of have to fix the heater or the roof is broken. I don't need that. On weekends I want to empty my head and be surrounded by green nature and breathe. I need balance." 
So on weekends, she leaves for a cabin in Fountainebleau outside of Paris with no running water or electricity, and this is the other side to being a fashion designer for her: commuting from city to nature and back again. This is her balance. This is what she needs to create.

It's not too far of a reach to say compare writing to design. The goals are the same: the creation of joy. There is alchemy in both.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I love my rejection slips.  They show me I try.
- Sylvia Plath

Long story short, I sent out a draft of my book* to a friend for a review, and the review came back that she had stopped reading at about 70 pages because she just couldn't get into it, and that if you haven't hooked the reader by 70 pages, then you never will because they will stop reading. 

So, the first reaction was feeling that this was a personal stab to the heart; it's like she told me my child looked like a gnome. I don't think that part is avoidable. It was a first draft, and I don't think anyone's first draft comes out anywhere near perfect. I read that part of her email again, and...nope it was still a stab to the heart. 

Then, I did what I did when I was back in college. I used to bounce back quickly back then. I remembered that I really enjoyed self-identifying as a problem-solver. For some reason, rejection never seemed to be a surprise then, it used to be something that just happened, and something that you turned into a problem to be solved. It's an old skill that I used to do instinctively, and that I'd like to learn again. 

I'm going to try to break the 70 pages of unreadability into manageable parts. What exactly worked or didn't? I think her assessment was useful and timely - I'm at a place where I can do something about it, but I would like something more concrete than that she couldn't get through it. I have some guesses on what went wrong, and if I think on it a bit, I can come up with some solutions. So life goes on. 

*Co-book. I've co-written a book, but to lessen confusion, I will use "my."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign to fund Jihae's album. She has one of those deep textured singing voices. It's not exactly pretty, but the kind of voice that pulls its own weight, the box that houses her soul. When she sings, she releases a little bit of soul out into the universe. It's my kind of voice. 

It was probably listening to the pitch that did it for me. Sometimes, when people talk about their passion, you pick up on their enthusiasm, you feel happy that they're happy, and their success becomes yours. That is the essence of a good pitch.  

She included this song on her kickstarter page. I looked up some of her previous music and they're not as good. There's a promise here that better is coming. I believe it. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become."
 -  Carl Jung

Friday, October 25, 2013


Photographer Petra Bindel
I'm not delusional. This is not at all easy and it may take forever - but this is an interesting idea: attaching boxes to walls to act as shelves, and painting the interiors to add a little bit of visual interest. There are two views here, from the front and from the side, to provide a little perspective. Takers?

Monday, October 21, 2013


I've never given a prompt before, and I've never even taken anyone up on one, they've always felt weird, but in the spirit of creative innovation, I will from time to time give out a picture prompt.  If you look up, I have provided a visual location for an event to take place. The streets are empty. It's a sunny day, and the point of focus is the house with the archway of flowers over the door.

To test this out, I will respond to my own prompt. Here goes:

She moved forward with an economy of movement, with minimal swinging of arms, or jutting of elbows. She walked the way a turtle swims, with inborn naturalness and casual elan.  She walked until she stopped, quickly and abruptly, in the precise center of the block, a movement that while sudden, was also completed smoothly and with consent.  Looking out in front of her, she arced her eyes over the entire length of the street. There were no cars, no other people. Instead, there was a pervading sense of waiting, for someone who had missed his mark, who should have been here. Waiting for her.

From the corner of her eye, she could see a flood of crimson blossoms arching over a doorway. They waved at her like hands, fluttering in the wind. Above the door, reflecting the sun, was the closed glass of a window. Behind the glass, she was sure, someone was watching. Attractive women could always tell when they were being watched. Over time, they learned their better angles. She knew that when she tilted her head back to turn, the sunlight would split across her face, haloing her features. He should have come out then; he should have already been there. The door was only steps away from where she stood. But the door remained closed. No one came out to greet her.

Of course, there were options. She could knock on the door. She could be polite or persuasive, but that went against one of her key guiding principles: never to reward cowardice. She waited a beat longer, and when the door remained closed, she adjusted her handbag over her shoulder and walked on.

Self-critique: This was self-indulgent and possibly made no sense. It's a jumble of images and descriptions with very little editing. I consider this part of a creative burst (or diarrhea or explosion) that I think is necessary to the act of creating. You have to give yourself the freedom to look bad.

This excerpt is also what I would consider a layer. French actress Juliette Binoche once described good acting as being like an onion - there are many layers to a performance. In that same sense, this scene is one layer in a larger piece that I've been constructing inside my head recently, and I will lay another perspective on top of it later, and then I will keep going, layering away until I have something substantial.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Here are some creative ways to improve your photography.

23 Hacks to Learn Anything Faster and Better
True learning takes reinforcement and work, so maybe this will help.

Catchy title, isn't it? Doesn't that make you want to read it?

There are some skills that will make life better, such as saying "no."

All the Things You Don't Need
I've been doing a lot of culling lately, both physical and mental, so this seemed appropriate.

How to Self-Publish a Best-Seller: Publishing 3.0
This is one of the most thorough and informative articles on the topic I've come across. 

And related to the above article, I have to agree that making your own audiobook sounds like a great idea - I listen to a lot of books on audiobook (multi-tasking), but the reader's voice has a huge effect on the experience. On that note, I highly recommend audiobook reader Scott Brick. I really notice when men read as women and vice versa, and the results can sometimes be jarring and/or offensive. Scott can do both genders in ways that are insane.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I don't own this book and I've never read it. I'm sure it's good. Amazon seems to like it, but that's not why I'm talking about it. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but seriously, just look at it. Just look. It's beautiful. I found this on a design website because she thought it was beautiful. Again, neither of us was talking about content.  The yellow is striking and inviting, the writing is in a personal script, and the juxtaposition of freehand script against a geometric book pattern is simple, minimalist perfection.  

What struck me is how fresh and modern this cover is; this is a deliberate and calculated choice, as all covers are, and I believe that it works. By "it works," I mean that it will make a reader curious about the book, to want to take a peek inside, and sometimes that little push is all you need.

This cover would look beautiful hanging out on your desk or on the face of your iPad. I am by no means a book designer or cover artist or whatever the official title may be, but this is something worth considering, yes? 

Friday, October 11, 2013


To be perfectly honest, hanging wall art isn't easy, and it probably will take more than a weekend and that will ruin your Monday. That said, I ran across Spain's Glamour website (I think - it's in Spanish and I don't speak Spanish, but I do speak the international language of interior design) and they have some very good ideas. Above, I really like the idea of mixing large and small art pieces, even if the smaller pieces are of insects and this may be the dining room.

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