Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a first in what i assume will be many


i'm not so sure why that's a statement to follow with four exclamation marks, let alone document in capital letters. this will probably suck.

although i did squeeze in some studying every day during phil's visit, i still should have done a lot more. being the neurotic perfectionist that i am, i will be up for at least another seven or eight hours staring at my laptop.

on a positive note, i did make my very first venture outdoors at around actual people to read at a local cafe. i think the cabin fever dissipated upon phil's arrival, but once he left i got bored again. so i took my laptop and sandwich to the delores park cafe.

it was nice to people watch and read and look at all the crazies, the eccentrics and the tourists in my local area.

it made me feel like i was more of a resident being around other san franciscans. hell, it made me feel like more of a human sitting around other people outside of the classroom or muni train.

i shouldn't be confessing this as it really doesn't help me look like a good student. i probably should go back to work so i won't have to stay up until 9 in the morning. maybe ill make some tea... NO! work! no time for tea!

i have to go

love and loyalty (screw it, im making tea)

Monday, September 29, 2008

a wonderful visit

the past few days were pretty eventful, so i unfortunately could not make it to the blog to keep the world posted. again, my sincerest apologies. i was not only playing the part of a grad student, i was playing the part of tour guide. during phil's visit, much was seen. i took him to "the mission" area for some very affordable curtains, delores park for the sights, the castro for some drinks and so on.

he returned the favor by setting up some posters he took from my bedroom in new jersey and helped set up some other posters given to me as a gift from one particularly special reader who sent an offering to spice up my "jail cell" of a bedroom. many many many thanks to you <3

then i took him to the fisherman's wharf at pier 39 for some serious tourism. lots of good food, attractions, tourists, sculptures and smelly sea lions.

smelling the sea lions created quite an appetite for the both of us so we went to the crab house, a very swanky restaurant where we dined on some shrimp and crab

needless to say all of this activity was complimented with some napping.

on saturday night we celebrated the visitation with a bottle of champagne and overpriced organic pizza. good times all around

on our last day we went to the newly renovated california academy of sciences for its grand opening

we explored the aquarium complete with a penguin center

followed by a sigourney weaver narrated planetarium exhibit about distant universes

it also featured an actual swampland and rain forest environment that you could explore and study. insane. absolutely insane.

as if things couldn't get any more strange than walking around in a rain forest in san francisco, we closed out his vacation with a visit to the 25th annual folsom street fair. it celebrates, shall we say, a very different part of the city's population...

leather, naked people, booze, events, leather, display booths of leather and plastic wear, chains, leather, leashes, public displays of affection/drunken lust and leather. there were plenty of pictures not suitable for this blog, but i just had to post this one because how often to you see a centor on the phone? fantastic.

for now, i just dropped phil off at the airport and am read to get back to work... because there is a lot to do. it's nice that i get to wake up and see family and friends and other new additions to my walls. hope you all had a good weekend.

special thanks to nancy pelosi for that incredible speech that helped overturn the 700,000,000,000.00 dollar bailout. it's a historic speech and i couldn't be happier.

what? so you think that when phil comes to visit that i wouldn't pay attention to the news? please.

love and loyalty

a heartfelt apology

sorry i haven't posted in a bit, time has seemed to move quickly this past week. i'm on my way to drop phil off at the airport now. ill update you all on the last few days upon my return.

love and loyalty (and apologies)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a vacation

things are happening very quickly over here. i'm suddenly in the fifth week of class and the work has officially gotten out of control. this is when the research gets put into play and we have to start composing our own lit reviews while we also read articles for class discussion on top of presenting a group lit review on previous class readings along with presentations of alternate research articles... that's just for one class. it's a lot of work, no doubt about it.

at least i dont have any distractions...

... nevermind.

hey! check out my new curtain! now i can sleep past 7AM!

all joking aside, he is actually making sure that i do my work prior to acting as a tour guide for him. he actually pointed out to me that he isn't much of a sight-seer on his vacations, he prefers to rest. being my father's son, i never quite grasped this concept of "resting" so im learning about how to relax a little. it's nice.

i have, however, taken him around the local neighborhoods and showed him the sights. tomorrow i have another class but before then we will get to enjoy the surprisingly hot weather at delores park. then ill be taking him up to the super fun touristy places because i've actually been itching to see them myself.

are you tired phil? phil says yes. sleep time

love and loyalty

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

a stroke of good luck?

A new CNN poll shows that voters blame the Republicans rather than the Democrats for the financial crisis by 2 to 1. Forty-seven percent blame the Republicans, 24% blame the Democrats, 20% blame both equally and 8% say neither party is to blame. With the economy front and center now, this is an ominous development for John McCain and also downticket Republicans. The poll also shows Obama with a 10-point lead on the question of who would handle the economy better. Also problematic for McCain is that 53% said he will carry out George Bush's policies, which are toxic (Bush's approval is now at 19%)...

... it's time for breakfast. ready phil? phil says yes

Monday, September 22, 2008

a visit!

i'm on my way to the airport because...

love and loyalty

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a weak weekend

i'm reading all weekend.

it's so i can do as little work as possible when phil comes to visit on monday

my roommate is even out visitng friends in D.C., so it's literally me reading alone all weekend. atticus finch the cat seems to be warming up to me now that i'm the one feeding him.

to make things sound better, my research is coming along quite nicely. i've decided to focus on the use of terrorism in the media to shape political identity. sounds interesting, yes? well, to me it does. it just so happens that a professor in our department, joseph tuman, is a nationally known expert in political communication. he recently put out a book, COMMUNICATING TERROR. i found it, purchased it, and haven't really put it down since. here's a clip of the man:

by the way, many thanks go out to my family who is sending me recipes to improve my kitchen etiquette and posters for my jail cell of a bedroom. highly unexpected and greatly appreciated.

i'm off to make an omelet.

love and loyalty!

Friday, September 19, 2008

a kiwi

i want to be as committed to something someday

love and loyalty

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

a breath of fresh air

today is wednesday. i went outside once this week. it was sunday afternoon and i needed groceries. since then, i have been locked away in my apartment studying. i have class tonight so i get to go outdoors... thrilling!

this intro to communication class that i'm taking is basically there to separate the weak from the committed. i spoke on the phone with one of the second year students and found out some information:

1. during your first semester of this program, you won't be making many friends or socializing that often. the intro course is the most intense course that throws the most work at you. this isn't to scare people away. it's to figure out who really wants this. if people came here just to get the diploma and not really bother to work hard, they won't be getting a degree.

2. people in the program can tell which students have read the material... and it's a small program so people talk.

3. the work will be more manageable after this class is over.

after that little pep talk, i checked the online grading sheet to see if anything has been posted. i got a 94 on my first paper. looks like ill be in my room for the rest of 2008 if i want to keep this up.

love and loyalty

Monday, September 15, 2008

a month

i can't sleep. it's 3:30 in the morning. i shouldn't be watching "the family stone" right now but i needed something to keep me company. it's officially been an entire month for me in san francisco. i can't say that i am exactly where i wanted to be after living in the city for a month, but i think a lot of it has to do with not calling it "home" yet. i'm working on it.

i tried setting up a map or two on my walls to make it look less like a jail cell... although jail cells have beds and i have more of a mattress on the floor...

regardless, keep your spirits up and send some well wishes my way. i've got at least another 23 months here.

love and loyalty

Saturday, September 13, 2008

a ball or two ... hundred thousand

when i first moved here and saw the hills of san francisco, i kept thinking how cool it would be to roll a ball down the street and see how far it'd go.

well apparently it wasn't a very original thought.

get a load of this commercial filmed two years ago and then check out the way they made it.

i love the revamped version of the knife's "heartbeat" by the way

what fun!

love and loyalty... and bouncy balls

Friday, September 12, 2008

a bizarre coincidence

i was sitting in class yesterday and taking notes on my laptop like a good little student when sanam, the student next to me, noticed that my desktop's background changed to a photo of my friend emily and i in front of the louvre. she said that she also went to paris so we started talking about places we've been to and then i mentioned this place, chez georges -

it's a great place to have a real parisian experience. it's relatively small so it gets really packed, but it's not in a very popular tourist part of paris, so i would have never imagined her to say, "i've been there before and i loved it!" i was blown away! we started talking about the downstairs area where the tunnel like lounge is glowing red and plays old french romance songs that gets all of the drunken french kids to stand up and dance and sing.

it's a small world, friends. below are some pictures of emily, myself and french wine all enjoying each others' company

and just for the hell of it - here's some edith to get your weekend started because she's usually how i start mine

love and loyalty

a new discovery

finally! a social situation that doesn't involve heavy drinking and bad music! i made my way outside of the one part of the city that i know and went on an adventure. i took the 71 muni-bus westward and found myself at the haight/ashbury intersection. what i discovered was a prohibition-era styled lounge called "club deluxe" complete with old blues music and swanky patrons. all of a sudden, these five guys wearing doctor's jackets get up on stage and play the most entertaining live music i've heard in a long time.

here's a bit of dr. abacus' self described "cartoon jazz" sound:

once they started out with an up tempo rendition of "girl from ipanema" i went crazy. at the end they didn't leave time for applause because they went right into the "benny hill chasing women" tune and everyone started cheering. well, little did we know that we'd be entertained by a girl running around with her arms in the air getting chased by a man in a gorilla costume. it was hilarious. it was perfection. it was such a relief to find a place like this downtown. it kind of re-fueled my spirits to find places that i can look forward to enjoying after a long day of research. ill be sure to find more entertaining places once i am able to handle research and a job. call it an incentive

the research, by the way, is coming along nicely. the grad students from a year ago told me at the beginning, "it will get simpler to adjust to the readings and gauging time will become second nature." aka - i will be able to find a job once i get used to the amount of time that needs to be spent working on my master's program. fingers crossed.

love and loyalty

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a punishment

last night was pretty interesting. rather than finishing up my homework, i decided to go ahead and watch MANUFACTURING CONSENT: NOAM CHOMSKY AND THE MEDIA an old documentary that shows chomsky going into detail on his propaganda model. it was a wonderful film, don't get me wrong. i absolutely cannot stop reading about him and his theories. however, one probably shouldn't watch a film like this right before bed. i had some pretty rough dreams. on the plus side, i got to see some old, forgotten friends that i have been meaning to catch up with. worked out some differences, went for a drive, had some laughs. then it went to hell. i was trapped in an american torture chamber, chastised for questioning the media's underlying messages. apparently, one of my friends that i had these conversations with ratted me out. torture sucks.

as far as the program is concerned, next week i have to meet with my professor to discuss possible topics for my literary review. this is an intro course to graduate studies, but with only three semesters left, it's better if this review were relative to my thesis topic. this basically means that i really need to figure out what field interests me most. i do really like assessing the media's play in political communication and globalization, but i also like having a good night's rest...

below are clips of some of his most thought provoking lectures

love and loyalty

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

a quote

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough."

- barack obama

just to be clear, if he were to use this quote in reference to republican party (which he wasn't) the lipstick would be mrs. palin and the pig would be the mccain's policies.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

a bit messy

there's spoiled soup in my mouth. phil couldn't resist taking a picture.

i was preparing some butternut squash soup and phil suggested adding some ingredients to make it taste less bland: some salt, some pepper and a dash of cinnamon. a dash of cinnamon. well i tried getting a dash out and it turned into an explosion of brown dust all over my soup. i attempted to eat it and that was the result. i had to lay down for a good hour before my stomach stopped hating me. i really need to learn some simple recipes.

i also need to aquire some more blankets - summer (that collection of two warm weeks) is over and it's super chilly. i dont even want to get out from my mattress on the floor because it's soooo chilly. come to think of it, i've been spending a lot of time in my mattress lately. i've had some serious reading to do and so i've basically been hibernating all weekend just reading and sleeping and occasionally ruining a meal. it's time i started being a bit more active. im going to go prepare a breakfast, have a workout, finish a paper and see about some volunteer work. in the meantime, i beg of you - SEND RECIPES

i'll leave you with some great footage of something that entertained me all weekend...la princesse! this 50ft tall, mechanical spider was the largest piece of free performance art in the united kingdom's history.

love and loyalty

Friday, September 5, 2008

a little "shook up"

i just experienced my first earthquake.

well, i was actually in the shower and didn't feel anything. it was in oakland, but it was a 4.0 magnitude so i should have felt something. my roommate checked to make sure i was okay... but really i felt nothing. what a lame excuse for a first encounter with this particular natural disaster. at least the east coast has hurricanes and blizzards. we get crappy earthquakes.

i am going to go make friends with strangers now... at least now i have a conversation starter!

a comeback

he's back, ladies and gentleman.

love and loyalty

a fellow graduate's shame

"A Jamesburg borough councilman was arrested today after he allegedly held sexually explicit Internet conversations with a detective who posed as a 14-year-old girl, Bergen County authorities said.

Thomas Bodall, 23, of East Church Road in Jamesburg, was charged with five counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a minor and two counts of distributing obscene material to a minor, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.

He said Bodall, who used the computer screen name "capemayfantasy," held chat and instant messaging conversations with a member of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Computer Crimes Unit who posed as the teenage girl. On several occasions, Bodall allegedly transmitted photos of his private area to the investigator, Molinelli added.

Bodall is a Jamesburg councilman and works as a research and curatorial assistant for the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. He is the honorary Jamesburg historian and curator of Lakeview mansion, Jamesburg's town museum, and is a member of several local historic and civic associations.

He was held at the Bergen County Jail today in lieu of $15,000 bail and could not be reached for comment. His father declined to comment when reached by telephone last night." -

by Russell Ben-Ali/The Star-Ledger
Thursday September 04, 2008, 6:21 PM

when is somebody from my high school going to do something commendable? i sat next to this guy in chorus... eeeeew

looks like i'll have to be the first... im up for the challenge

love and loyalty

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a shot

bet you thought i was talking about a different kind of shot, huh? well, sorry friends, but i can't really stomach shots of the alcoholic persuasion these days. crohn's disease does have its limitations on fun, life and adventure. the only shots that i take lately are these lovely humira pens. it reduces the signs and symptoms of crohn's for patients like myself who cannot take normal medications. i have allergic reactions to traditional steroids prescribed, both physical and mental which have become apparent over the past year as i was hospitalized numerous times for negative responses to the traditional treatments. believe me, it was not pleasant. then again, neither are these shots, but it's the lesser of two evils.

and it hurts.

i guess im not terribly used to shooting myself with a needle. it doesn't just ease inside you as if you were getting blood taken. no no no. you press the top like a trigger and it shoots into you. it's not pretty. you have to hold it there as it injects the medicine and it is one of the most uncomfortable feelings i've experienced. i actually have had to employ the assistance of my parents or phil to watch me as i do it because i wasn't able to do it without someone else egging me on... until now. i kind of have no choice now.

as you can see, i got a little nervous...

but i pulled through.

i have to do this once every two weeks for at least the next year. i can really feel the medicine working, so i understand that it's for the better. there are worse things than this...

i'm off to enjoy another day of summer with my healthy body and functioning brain. hope you all are doing the same!

love and loyalty

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

a ticket

i'm currently reading an article by donal carbaugh about the effect discourse has on culture. in pariticular, carbaugh did field research on a group of native americans in montana called the blackfeet tribe. carbaugh finds them particular interesting because they listen to silence. sometimes they listen to the messages from the fields or listen to the silence from the earth. they also partake in listening to trees, mountain lions, ravens, rocks, etc. because the tribe believes that they coexist with the elements as embodiments of the spirits in the world.

a quote from two bears, carbaugh's tour guide:

"if you have a problem, or can't find an answer for something, our belief is that you can come out here, or to the mountains, or just about anywhere, sit down and listen. if you sit and listen patiently, you'll find an answer."

it struck a chord with me. particularly because i have been in silence for a majority of the time that i have been in san francisco. i may not be hearing the same things as two bears, but i do know that i'm really gaining some understanding about my life's progression. it's nice.

you know what else is nice? phil just booked a flight. that's really nice.

love and loyalty

Monday, September 1, 2008

a voter

i had little to do on friday so i took in a show alone. howard zinn's "marx in soho" dramatized the origins of marx's theory through his personal struggles and family life.

1. i've never gone to a one-man show alone before

2. the guy actually looks exactly like karl marx... that's really his beard

3. it was a lot of socialism. i mean, i knew what i was getting myself into, but he just kept shouting...

at this point, i was so exhausted from the play that i didn't make any attempt at going out to meet people downtown, so i went back home and fell asleep.

saturday i read. i read a lot. graduate school = nonstop reading. it's quite the challenge. i also went out to locate and purchase my very first muni pass. a very successful day was followed with a very pleasurable evening. i met people! i met a lot people! it was a friend's birthday and she introduced me to all of her friends and i made even more friends as a result. networking!

on sunday, the birthday celebration continued at delores park. the park was swamped! people everywhere. there was a stage set up with music, food of all kinds available, dancing and kite flying. we had memosas and burritos. then, in between my many naps, a man came up to me and asked me to register to vote. it made the day even better. i am now a registered california voter. feels good. my voter registration number is in my hand next to the septembet muni pass.

i ended the evening with a delicious vegan meal at herbivore, a restaurant that prepares gourmet vegan entrees in walking distance of my place. magic!

today is all about reading and diner pancakes...(the best in california)... and then even more reading. im also replaying a video phil sent me every so often. my parents were dancing to their wedding song yesterday at my aunt's pool on a final summer sunday ritual. it's pretty good.

love and loyalty