Saturday, February 21, 2009

a moment of thanks

to everyone who sent out a letter of love this month...

it makes me so happy to read your messages. sometimes i get so wrapped up in school and this city's crazy situations that i often don't have the time to show my appreciation for your well wishes.

it means the world to me.

love and loyatly

a bad example of san francisco

check out this elitist tool on some show called "wife swap"

stephen fowler has become one of america's most hated husbands. there are interent community groups devoted to releasing their frustrations over this guy. it's pretty clear why he has earned such a negative following after he spent time with gayla long, a mother of four from rural missouri.

note: this is not a representation of the people of san francisco.

i haven't met anyone this twisted.

the wife isn't that great, either

and those poor kids.

it gets worse

...this is not san francisco

a lobbyist

i woke up at 4:45 in the morning on tuesday. i had a mission.

from 6:30 to 8:15, a member of the alice b. toklas democratic society drove me to Sacramento to help out equality california to lobby in support of tom ammiano's first act as assembly member for my district, proposing HR 5, a resolution opposing prop 8.

there was an introductory program, followed by speeches from geoff kors

and other men and women associated with the civil rights movement in california. the training was supposed to start after the welcoming, however due to the economic mess (41 billion) that california is in right now, the hearing on the matter was rushed to tuesday morning, so we were all taken across the street from the theater to the capital building, where i and others were allowed to sit in on the hearing to offer personal testimony.

i walked by this, which was so weird to see written in big, gold letters

you can actually watch what i saw in person below

(you'll see the crowd of us that took up the entire room along with the rest of the capital as well right before the first minute is up)

(im on the second floor, second row, third from the right in blue)

the testimonials come in a little later and some of them were just hard to listen to. i guess that's why the judiciary committee was mostly on their blackberry's and having side conversations when the people were was just too hard to listen to.

or a lack of interest.

it was getting all of us on the second floor pretty angry.

moving on


so what does this mean? it's a small battle won in a war that will continue its way up to june, where hopefully there will be further action taken with a senate hearing.

fingers crossed

after the hearing, we had made our way back to the rented movie theater to applaud and welcome back mr. ammiano. he gave a heartwarming speech of courage and social justice which only empowered us more to lobby in support of repealing prop 8.

well around the time that training had ended, we were broken up into groups to head back to the capital building to meet with our designated members.

out of all of the people, who do you think i got to lobby to? TOM AMMIANO. the guy who WROTE HR5. who SPOKE at the hearing... and who has basically helped launch and continue the civil rights movement since its inception in the 1970s by harvey milk.

i didn't have to do much lobbying.

instead, he gave a quick speech and only took a few questions.

who asked the last question?


getting to have an active dialogue with ammiano got me some attention. in fact, a few people had asked for my information and wondered if i wouldn't mind volunteering for their groups and causes.


we drove back at three in the pouring rain, jumped back into my apartment for my school supplies and hopped on the next train to school. i got home at 1030, passed out at 2 after doing homework and completed a successful first day as a lobbyist and representative of my first california civil rights organization.

love and loyalty

...and equality

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

a sneak peak...

...into what i'm studying this semester

"Inequality in political knowledge and turnout increases as a result of voluntary, not circumstantial, consumption decisions." - Markus Prior - 2005


love and loyalty

Monday, February 16, 2009

a pillow fight

not just any lame old pajama party, popcorn munching, fold out couch pillow fight...

the ultimate pillow fight.

apparently there are a lot of people in san francisco that are somewhat jaded by valentine's day. there is, shall we say, some aggression that needs tending to.

at first, my friends stefan and torsten were able to purchase pillows in the ever lasting line at a cheap bedding store nearby. every single person in that line was buying pillows.

i was not so fortunate... plus i didn't care to wait in a line that long.

by the way i have no idea who that woman was...she seems nice...

so to ease that frustration and tension, the angry mob meets on february 14th at the embarcadero station, waits for the clock tower to strike 6:00 pm and unleashes a barrage of pillows of all kinds on one another.

i just so happen to catch it on film

you can hear the bells ringing, the pillows flying and the feathers erupting

i had to get closer and dive in. luckily for me, a woman nearby was a little too nervous to jump in. i was more than happy to take to claim her pillow.

then i regretted it.

i was covered in pillows and very very very much pummeled.

but i kept going back in.

i wasn't as covered as this poor woman

her son said she looked like a chicken. terrific.

so torsten and i lost our pillows and stefan seemed to take advantage of it whenever we tried to take a photo... for example.

don't ask how long i tried to just get a decent photo...

anyway, not having a pillow didn't stop us from diving in and screaming random things at people.

at one point, i had found a helmet on the floor so i thought, "o sweet. now ill be safe."

immediately after i put on the helmet i hear, "THIS GUY'S WEARING A HELMET. GET HIM!"

i took off the helmet after a good pummeling. totally worth it.

the floor was covered in feathers for blocks. i was tired as hell. it apparently went on until about 10pm. insane. san francisco.

i still taste feathers.

love and loyalty

Sunday, February 15, 2009

a parade

last saturday i attended the chinese new year light parade.

it's one of the planet's top ten parades- according to the expert critics of international parades...or something.

it really lived up to the hype.

maybe it's because 2009 is the year of the ox (and i just so happen to be one), but the parade just had this effect on me. perhaps it was the combination of fireworks and floats that consumed me. im not sure what it was, but i turned into a happy little 5 year old, waving at every float and dragon and smiling from ear to ear.

embarrassing, yes, but totally worth it.

enjoy some images!

i also set up a youtube account so i can upload my videos and post them on this site.


san francisco police department's super large dragon with fireworks down the street

ok these poor saps had to swing back and forth at the end of this horrible song every time it ended. here's the catch: the parade was caught up and for 10 minutes these poor kids had to swing back and wave to the same group of people every time. at least they stayed in character. the more they opened, the more the crowd cheered. it was either hilarious or horrible. i'm still not sure

Friday, February 13, 2009

a spark of creativity

it's raining harder than i have ever seen in san francisco.

i'm listening to el guincho

and painting.

this will be messy.

how are all of you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

a confession

i went running on saturday and ran into a naked person.

it was crowded on castro street.

saw a friend i hadn't seen across the street.


ran right into a naked person.

why there was a group of naked people hanging out in the afternoon i don't know.

it's the castro, it happens.

i sprinted as far as i could to get away from the laughter.

right into him.


a bicycle

last week my friend let me ride her bike back to my place from the park so i could pick up something i forgot.

it was such a rush!!!

i want a bike. all i think about is owning a bike, caring for it, exploring.... .i want a bike.

i've been hearing similar things from people when i tell them a little about myself. most of the time i get, "you sound adventurous, why don't you have a bike?" or, "you would be fun to bike with," or, "michael - get a bike."

i want a bike

...and i've been hearing this song in my head ever since the craving started.

a new trend

yes, i caved.

people are lately posting a list comprised of information they may not often talk about on their internet profiles.

i must have received a dozen at least. in one instance, i received three of them in the course of an hour. at that point i knew: i must retaliate.

so, in the spirit of conformity, i offer you my list of 25 things that you may not know about me -

a bit of a warning, it was late at night and i wasn't entirely at my best.

1. I’m going through jars of Nutella on a weekly basis but I hate chocolate. I blame France.
2. I like to jump off cliffs, and in cases where I won’t safely land in water or snow, stand near the edge. Your feet are cold but your hands get clammy.
3. When I first moved to San Francisco, I didn’t have a home for two weeks and I didn’t know anyone. When I found a place, I slept on a twin mattress on the floor for a month. I now sleep comfortably in a queen because a fellow student’s housemate went to live in the mountains.
4. I like Fado, but I don’t understand a word of it. The songs are normally mournful tunes about the sea or the life of the poor, and that’s just fine by me.
5. I don’t like beer, onions, mayo, or the word "scoop." It just sounds terrible.
6. I won the male equivalent to Miss America… only it was just a pageant... for my high school’s graduating class. I think I won a gift certificate to the mall or something.
7. I like when my friends and loved ones back east send me little things (ahem). I don’t get any other mail.
8. My right pinky toe doesn’t work and generally never feels pain.
9. I don’t eat meat because it doesn’t sit well, not for animal rights or anything. I’m too concerned with my protecting my own rights.
10. I’m really getting into running on a daily basis. I don’t listen to any music because I’m afraid of not hearing an approaching vehicle or homeless person.
11. I wrote a limerick about a stuffed owl that would accompany my friends and me on adventures and it won me a scholarship at the end of my high school career. Thanks, Spotto.
12. Tempura rolls.
13. I live at the southernmost point of Hayes Valley, the westernmost part of Civic Center, the northernmost part of SoMa, and the easternmost part of the Castro. That’s a very good thing.
14. I once made fun of P. Diddy on television.
15. My favorite restaurant is in Little Italy on Mulberry Street.
16. I had two piercings at one time in my life. They’re both gone now. I swallowed my off center tongue ring and removed my septum because it just wasn’t the same without the tongue ring for some reason. Youth.
17. I like to request window seats on airplanes.
18. I once sang “La Marseillaise” naked in the Mediterranean with an Irishman, a French girl and some lovable New Yorkers very late in the evening.
19. I stress myself sick and I get it from my father.
20. I went through electroshock therapy to prepare for a piece I performed in New York. It was on low. We got to wear white coats!
21. James Brown helps me select groceries.
22. I wrote “God Bless” as my senior year quote because I thought it was funny at the time… but now I can’t remember why I thought it was funny. I wonder if people will think I was some born again or something. High school was a blur.
23. I haven’t owned a television for at least 5 years. There are too many remotes to go with one television these days.
24. This has successfully occupied enough time for me to finish my homework or fix myself some sandwiches but instead I am sitting here, aching to make it to 25. I can’t think of anything else so perhaps I’ll make something up to end it with a big, amazing finish. I like to make sure my friends enjoy themselves when I’m occupying their time.
25. My mother was skydiving when her water broke and had me upon landing. They told her not to do it 9 months pregnant, but she’s an adventurer and that’s probably where I get it.
26. Perfect.

love and loyalty

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

a state less golden

im not the only one here who feels the pinch

Sunday, February 1, 2009

a new semester

a bit of an intense week of classes.

when you enroll in a graduate course in quantitative research methods that is instructed by the head of the department, expect a challenge. she literally wrote the book on research. like, we're using it. she wrote it. she will be teaching with it. there is lots of work in store.

my other course is even more reading than anticipated. i needed relief.

it just so happens that the weather has been surprisingly warm with temperatures in the high 60s. i hopped in a car and drove down highway one, overlooking the crystal blue pacific ocean all the way to santa cruz. it was my first time since i had moved to san francisco that i was able to actually leave the city and explore california life beyond the golden gate. farmland, surfers, lighthouses, flowers, hidden beaches, mountains, real estate, tractors.. highway 1 was just perfect. absolutely what i needed to get a taste of california. i don't think i will be taking that view for granted anytime soon. it was a sight to be seen.

i played the beach boys (california girls) the eagles (hotel california) and basically any song that name dropped the state. it made the ride even better.

i didn't have this song but you get the idea.

we made it to santa cruz where we enjoyed a visit to ucsc where i had an even better view and a great sushi dinner, followed by a starlit drive home, complete with shooting stars and a brief pause in our travels so i could dip my foot in the pacific ocean for the first time as a californian. im a californian. huh. how do you like that?