Monday, December 26, 2011

home for the holidays

1. Which girl stuck a chicken carcass in her suitcase? This girl did!

2. Whyyy does this cold weather jacket continue to elude me?!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

early Christmas


"A free spirit but also a proud soul, Vivian became poor and was ultimately saved by three of the children she had nannied earlier in her life. Fondly remembering Maier as a second mother, they pooled together to pay for an apartment and took the best of care for her. Unbeknownst to them, one of Vivian’s storage lockers was auctioned off due to delinquent payments. In those storage lockers lay the massive hoard of negatives Maier secretly stashed throughout her lifetime.

Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side."

Source: About Vivian Maier



Sunday, December 18, 2011

a perfect day

What would be your ideal day, he asked her.

What do you mean?

You know, your idea of a good day, he said. You can do anything. You don’t have work. You can have fun.

I can do anything I want? she asked.

Well, within reason. Not like a crazy vacation or saving kids in Africa or winning the lotto.

Give me some parameters so I know what I’m working with, she said.

Ok, you’re in this city. It’s a normal day. An ordinary day in which you do things that make you happy.

And no work?

No work, he said.

Oh. Hmm. So, like a Saturday.

Yes, if you want. Your perfect Saturday. You wake up. What do you do?

Hmmm. I wake up refreshed. It’s somewhat early, early enough to get things done but not too early. I drink coffee and read the paper at a leisurely pace. I work out. Wait, no – I go hiking and have brunch with friends.

Ok, he said.

And I read and just enjoy myself. Hang out with friends. Maybe do some writing. I have a productive but fun day. Everything feels right with the world. Hey, did I say something wrong?


What’s wrong? she asked.


Tell me.

It’s nothing.

So then you can tell me, she said.

He said something unintelligible.

Ok, fine, don’t tell me, then, she said. She waited two minutes. So what would be your ideal day? she asked.

My ideal day?

Yeah, your perfect day. Nothing too crazy. Same boundaries. Go.

Ok. Probably start off similarly. But then my favorite day would be one spent with you.

Oh! Wait. That is definitely how I would spend my ideal day, too.

Copycat, he said. It’s too late to change your mind.

But I didn’t know I had that option!

Too bad.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I feel like such a jerk.

It’s ok, he said.

Of course I’d want to spend my day with you, she said.

Friday, December 16, 2011

quite possibly Best Video of 2011

Polite bear waves hello!


National Review article

Applying While Asian

"Celebrate your heritage — unless you're trying to get into college.

To check or not to check the Asian box? That is the pointed choice faced by Asian-American students applying for admission to what are supposed to be the most tolerant places on earth, the nation’s colleges.

The Associated Press ran a report on Asian students of mixed parentage checking 'white,' if possible, on their applications to avoid outing themselves as Asian. The Princeton Review Student Advantage Guide counsels Asian-American students not to check the race box and warns against sending a photo.

In a culture that makes so much of celebrating ethnic heritage, especially of racial minorities, and that values fairness above all, Asian-American students think they need to hide their ethnicity because the college admissions process is so unfair. If African-American motorists fear that they will be pulled over by the cops for the phantom offense of 'Driving While Black,' these kids worry about what will happen to them when 'Applying While Asian.'

Studies have demonstrated what every Asian parent and kid knows: Asians are discriminated against in the admissions process. They are disadvantaged vis-à-vis other minorities and perhaps vis-à-vis whites. In 2005 the Center for Equal Opportunity, a think tank opposed to racial preferences, looked at males applying to the University of Michigan from within the state who had no parental connection to the school. If the applicant had a 1240 SAT score and a 3.2 GPA, he had a 92 percent chance of admission if black and 88 percent if Latino. If white, he had only a 14 percent chance, and if Asian, a 10 percent chance.

Thomas Espenshade, the Princeton University academic and co-author of the book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, examined applicants to elite private schools with comparable grades, scores, athletic abilities, and family histories. He concluded that whites were significantly more likely to get admitted than Asians.

This accounts for what must be the first mass effort of a minority group to 'pass as white' since Jim Crow. If nothing else, you can see the emotional appeal of favoring black applicants over whites as a tiny, belated step toward making right a grave historical injustice. (Of course, the white applicants did nothing to deserve this mark against them.) But what have Asian-Americans ever done to anyone else? Do the sons and daughters of Asian immigrants immediately arrive on these shores and begin repressing Caucasians with their famously diligent studies and high test scores, such that the panjandrums of higher education must redress the imbalance with pro-white discrimination?

All of this is done to promote a 'diversity' of a crude, bean-counting sort. The private California Institute of Technology doesn’t use quotas; its student body is 39 percent Asian. The University of California at Berkeley is forbidden by law from using quotas; its student body is more than 40 percent Asian. Only a bigot would believe that these schools are consequently worse learning environments, or that they are places characterized by monochromatic, lockstep thinking because so many students share a broad-brush ethnic designation.

The author of The Price of Admission, Daniel Golden, calls Asian-Americans 'the new Jews,' a reference to the 20th-century quotas that once kept Jews out of top schools. The difference then was that Jews collectively didn’t stand for the policy, now a watchword for disgraceful bias. Stephen Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon and an outspoken critic of current admission practices, laments that Asians seem strangely accepting of the unfair treatment of their children. The official Asian-American groups tend to support anti-Asian quotas because they are captives of liberal orthodoxy before all else.

The Obama administration’s misnamed Justice Department has joined with its wishfully named Education Department to urge schools to get creative in circumventing Supreme Court limits on affirmative action. It’s not quite 'Asians need not apply,' only that they should expect their ethnicity to be used against them should it become known to the authorities."

— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: © 2011 by King Features Syndicate

Sunday, December 11, 2011


People who don’t live in San Diego for long periods of time don’t know about the fog.

Once in awhile, the marine layer descends upon the city. It slips in and accumulates until it becomes nearly palpable. It is never frightening or sinister. It envelops everything, gently but deliberately. The fog reminds me of being 18 years old and waiting for the campus shuttle in the dark and sort of rousing myself out of autopilot long enough to notice the fog and wonder why it was there.

Anyway, I was driving home tonight when I encountered the fog again. I was waiting at the stoplight, admiring the fog and watching people as they walked down the street in their holiday best and carried large white plates. I was aware of my clothes smelling like a fainter version of the dinner I just ate and creating a hotbox of hotpot in my little blue car. Earlier in the evening, I had waved off several invitations so that I could hurry home and continue reading this particular novel.

I had started and jumpstarted this book many times over. It was a challenge, each time, to keep going. (I get distracted. I am a mass of distractions. In addition, it’s a difficult novel to stomach.) And then I started it, for the umpteenth time, on a recent plane flight where I was strapped into my seat with a dogeared Southwest magazine that I had already flipped through too many times. I started to read the novel, as if for the first time, and it was so wonderful that I could barely stand it. I didn’t want to look up to breathe and I didn’t want to look away to sleep. It was a very uplifting, pure feeling.

When a novel like this one emerges out of the fog and captures my attention, I am content. I calm down again, I focus and refocus. It nudges this strange heart of mine, puts me in a good place because I feel kindly and inspired.

Since as far back as I could remember, I have expected to wring every bit of meaning/intensity out of every moment of my life. I have wanted to get to the heart of the matter every time. I have expected each second of my life to be the ultimate distillate of everything. I want tangible results. I want my socks to be knocked off. I want to be in awe.

I recognize these expectations to be harsh, unrealistic, and slightly unhinged. As a result: I dream in a million fluttery directions. My head houses a box of frogs. I can’t sit still. If I’m not accomplishing things, I feel listless and lame. I want to read everything and learn constantly and collect useless trivia about history and geography and the human condition.

When I can sit still because I am engrossed, the panic and the pressure dissipates. When I am reading in this place which I now call home and everything is veiled by quiet evening fog, it's enough for me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

a very bad thing

Over a week has passed since The Very Bad Thing occurred. It seems that I have placed enough distance between me and it so that I can sort of address/describe it:

What you feel when you realize, suddenly, that you are utterly alone and ridiculous and there is no one to turn towards for assistance so you better just get your shit together like right now you big baby;

What you feel when you want to cry big, primitive tears but they are lodged in too deep so you do nothing;

What you feel when you are terrified beyond belief and you must assemble rational thought and action together to make it to the next day and the day after that one and the day after that one;

What you feel when a stranger’s kind, unassuming expression can cause you to turn bats on the inside but you fabricate a smile which only looks like a small meniscus of a smile because what else does this poor stranger expect of you and what else is there left to do except pretend things are normal;

What you feel when you know all the crying and whimpering and self-pitying and fuming and knee-deep sorrow in the world won’t accomplish a damn thing and so you move on and it’s business as usual because there is always something left and life is good again.