Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cartography at the library

^^^^ This page definitely had a funny title, and a rough disparaging article on the Missouri Compromise. It definitely was, you know, a deal.

On Friday, I found myself with some unexpected time off after a couple of photo gigs.  I wanted to do something other than sit around in my apartment. But what?

I thought of going to a museum, but museums are expensive, and the only museum right by my apartment is one I've been to more recently. And then, I realized I'd never been to the main branch of the SF Public Library, other than a graphic design project in 2008 that involved a restricted collection. I do have a library card - under my maiden name, if that is any indication of things. Ha! So off I went for a small adventure at the library, 3 blocks from my apartment.

I suppose this is all too typical when you consider the rest of my life and the context, but I was wandering around blind, not knowing where I was going, and still, I managed to stumble upon the map section within 10 minutes of entering the building. Of course.

Apparently one of my hobbies is "go places and take pictures of maps" and I'm totally OK with that.

My favorite atlas is the one on the right, below. I just opened it and started reading and snapping photos. An hour passed somehow. What? Anyway, here's some history and pretty maps:

^^^ Left: Immigrants by nationality in 1890. Red = English (Mormons, my family, of course); Blue = Scandinavians (Gabe's family, bringing pasties to the upper midwest); Yellow = Germans (my mom's family is relevant here, they eventually settled in places like Illinois and Nebraska)

^^^ Right: Triangle Shirtwaist! One of my "favorite" historical moments.

^^^ Left: My direct ancestor invented "taps" and also I have a boyfriend who plays horns, so.

^^^ Right: ANOTHER important moment: Jacob Riis' "How The Other Half Lives" -- basically the birth of photojournalism and important for investigative journalism as well. So inspiring to me.

^^^ I actually have forgotten what this was (oops) but it's beautiful, so that is enough?

^^^ I thought this was a gorgeous series of maps and graphs.

^^^ Pre-Revolutionary War Stuff

^^^ This is probably my favorite of all. Isn't this AMAZING? A political cartoon from the 1830s, featuring Andrew Jackson with his "Veto Stick" (!) attacking the Bank of the United States, which he referred to as the "hydra of corruption" (!!) as Martin Van Buren tries to strangle the hydra, and some weird fictional joker type man sneaks up on the entire scene. The guy in the top hat is apparently the President of the bank. I really think people need to appreciate this. It's truly spectacular.

^^^ The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. Another extremely important element of modern investigative journalism, something I've idolized since I was young.

^^^ This is a map of Macedonia, from a different atlas.

^^^ BULLDOG CAFE AKA GIANT DOG RESTAURANT IN LOS ANGELES, which has long since gone away, but also it was in The Rocketeer, which I saw recently for the first time, so !!!

^^^ SWOON. The genesis of modern urban planning, which began in Chicago at the World's Fair in 1893. If you want to know more about this and other things, read "The Devil in the White City."

So the moral of the story is: go to the library, dummy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Project 365 | 001-014

 I haven't done a 365 project in years. I certainly am far removed from a time where carrying my large DSLR around with me at this point; I've long since moved into the professional stage of my career, and for better or for worse, photography isn't something I want to be doing with my DSLR all of the time. I work with my DSLR. I don't use it for hobby work anymore. For a long time I fought against that, and perhaps someday I'll get back to things like that, but right now there are other elements of photography to explore. 

For instance: the iPhone 6, which I got in September, is really amazing, and I'm having so much fun playing with it and seeing what it's capable of in terms of photography. I have it with me all the time, and it's light and portable, so this isn't a problem, taking one photo a day. Chances are I take at least one photo per day anyway, so this is more of a mindful, creative exercise than anything else. Well, and it's really fun. I even have lenses for my phone. Crazy, isn't it? I don't use them that frequently, but they're always in my purse and it's really fun to play with them.

I'm going to post the photos here in one or two week increments. Here are the first two weeks:

Jan. 1st: Patricia's Green, Hayes Valley, San Francisco. My favorite photo of the year so far. I love it so much. Ah, my neighborhood is the freaking best. The buildings, the trees, the parks, that yellow from the gingko. I love this photo so much.

Jan. 2nd: a view of my current puzzle, a bucolic winter scene that's kicking my ass! See also: a hard pear cider. 

Jan. 3rd: Sitting across the alleyway from Blue Bottle Coffee, Hayes Valley. 

Jan. 4th: Famous fishy street art // Jan. 9th: I found this card in a bookstore in Berkeley. I love the quote. It's so "me" !

Jan. 5th: I took my bike to the shop after work to fill its tires. I love my bike with full tires. So good. Taken at -- where else? -- Patricia's Green, so close to my apartment. I try to go to the park almost every day after work so I can see the sun set and enjoy the dogs and people and atmosphere, so I'm willing to bet that the park will appear a lot more this year.

Jan 6th: Hayes Valley street art. As in, it's literally in the street. 

Jan. 7th: Hayes Valley sunset. I hope there are a lot of these. 

Jan. 8th: Berkeley sunrise. This is basically not touched at all, and yes, it was an incredible sight. Sunrises are my favorite.

Jan. 11th: Happily, I found the very first signs of spring in Patricia's Green last weekend. <3

Jan. 13th: Feeling moody, I snapped this while walking to lunch in Berkeley. It hate the "new year - new you" stuff. A lot. 

Jan: 12th: Mission Bay, in color // Jan 10th: Mission Bay, in noir // Jan. 14th: Civic Center, from the farmer's market. SF <3

Friday, January 9, 2015


When I look back on all the stuff I did over the last month it's pretty amazing. There's a huge amount there! I'm proud of myself for taking as many chances as I did, signing up for classes, going to events, experiencing new things, experiencing old things, but doing those things regardless of feeling tired or overwhelmed by the season. It was a really fun holiday season, as a result. I really worked hard at it this year, because Christmas is a love/hate season for me, an emotionally difficult time that's been hard in so many different ways going back to when I was a teenager. I love the season, but it's a roller coaster. This year I really did a good job of enjoying it.

I guess it all started with a couple of workshops I attended through 18 Reasons. These workshops, though open to families and such, were really more for what I like to call children of all ages. I fully embrace San Francisco's reputation as a Peter Pan city, a place where no one grows up. Who wants to grow up? I mean, ew! Anyway, these classes -- cookie decorating, and gingerbread house decorating -- were mostly adults. And it was so fun and relaxing. A way to celebrate the holiday season the way I want to, with the things that make me happy:

Then, there were the holiday parties. Oh my goodness, were there ever the holiday parties. And I'm just talking about the ones affiliated with my job. There were three. I am an introvert. I truly know what it means to be "partied out" and three social work functions were more than enough. That said, the adorable reindeer cornhole game at one of these parties was gosh darn adorable:

Then, things kind of went crazy. I mean this in the best way. Gabe and I attended his work holiday party, which went down at The Chapel, an SF music venue:

My building lobby also got into the spirit: 

Gabe and I went to the Dickens' Fair, which is a really neat event held at the Cow Palace in Daly City each holiday season. Basically it's a large Victorian London ren faire type event. You can buy all your corsets and pewter mugs and swords and tophats for the coming year, of course, and you get to see all manner of folk -- chimney sweeps, Queen Victoria, Beefeaters, drunks, etc. They also sell a lot of food and drink (!), which included Cornish pasties and raspberry cider. It was so fun. I hardly took any photos there, but here's one:

Then we went and saw Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Haujobb, and Youth Code at the Warfield, which was awesome and wonderful and all the industrial

And then, we went to see Handel's Messiah at the SF Symphony.

Then, the day after Christmas, we went to see Infected Mushroom at the Regency Ballroom. It was a great time, our faces were melted off, as per usual. <3

And then! Then I had a few days to really try to relax, and ramp up for 2015. A number of good things happened. First, I visited my truly wonderful stylist and got the greatest haircut ever! I've only seen her twice, but we've clicked really well and wow, it's amazing when you have that relationship. She also is one of the only people I've talked to about various details in my life. I don't consider myself somebody who typically shares those things, but in addition to being a great hairstylist, Jessica is a fantastic listener. She remembered stuff from when I saw her in July. She also really seems interested in the mundane (or not-so-mundane) things going on in my life. She asks pointed questions and never seems bored, even if I'm babbling about how much I love pigeons or running! This is a very rare thing, and I'm so grateful I found her right in my own neighborhood. Anyway, now I absolutely love my hair. Another thing that happened: NYE. We went out to a concert and I got to wear my awesome new Nitzer Ebb t-shirt! I'm so cool (ha). NYE was fun and low key, and that's exactly what I wanted. It was nice to chill out and enjoy the night without overthinking it too much.

And I'd be remiss if I left out the puzzles I worked on:

Overall, I managed to avoid Christmas in most of the ways I wanted to avoid it, and celebrated the holiday season in almost all of the ways I do love celebrating them. The break was so good for me. Being back at work this week has been rough,but it's Friday, so I'm not going to worry about that now. Now ... now, we weekend.
site design by designer blogs