100days – Day 26

Posted by Ted on Feb 21, 2010 in Photography

I’m now 26 days into my “100 days of photography” project, and there has been some great images since the last blog update on Day 14. I invite you to continue following along here, but if you would like to subscribe to the project itself, you can through its RSS feed. While I haven’t been uploading every day, it is more frequent than these summaries.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending NIMBY‘s benefit event, “DO IT FOR HAITI“. There were over a dozen different art installations, including this fire-breathing menagerie by the Museum of Unnatural Selection, and a fire-spinning neuron by the Flaming Lotus Girls. There was a man in a metal suit playing with a giant tesla coil, a life sized Mousetrap, and a 300 pound block of ice that shot multicolored fire. I love living in Oakland.
Last weekend was a triple whammy. Not only was it Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, it was the great San Francisco Pillow Fight. We caught this group walking down the Embarcadero on their way to the 6p thwap-off. Thankfully, our vantage point was from a hotel terrace a block away, where we would witness the madness in its entirety, without having to actually be in the middle of it. The thousands of flying pillows looked like white Mexican jumping beans.

It was also Chinese New Year, celebrating the Year of the Tiger. We had a small gathering on Saturday night, for which we shopped in Chinatown for dumplings, pineapple rolls, and sesame balls, as well as decorating the house. One of my favorite decorations turned out to be the lantern I’d purchased in Hong Kong back in 1999.

A quarter of a way into the project, and there has been so much to see and share. I look forward to the next 74 days!

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Posted by Ted on Nov 16, 2009 in Memories

I was in Boston a year ago, having just voted in the most important election of my 36 year lifetime and being excited for the future. I’d just had a small birthday/election celebration party, and had no idea that in a year I would be living on the other side of the country.

Yesterday I watched a dirigible land and take off again as I passed the Oakland airport just before sunset. This was after going to the Fruitvale farmers market (every Thursday and Sunday, year round), and an East Bay Bicycle Coalition appreciation BBQ, where I may have volunteered to help promote the building of a bike/pedestrian path across the western span of the Bay Bridge. Saturday, we drove down to Glen Park for brunch, and then made our way up to the Sutro Baths to walk around and through the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, watching a huge cargo ship come out of the horizon, probably from China, and most likely bound for the Port of Oakland, the fourth busiest container port in the United States. Then we met some of Liz’ school friends for Burmese dinner in the Richmond district, before heading back across the bay to Fruitvale, where we enjoy being a minority in a latino neighborhood with at least a dozen taco trucks within a mile radius.

Everywhere we go, we discover new nooks of the Bay Area that make us fall in love again and again. There is so much good food to be had, both in the groceries and farmers markets, and at thousands of restaurants of every nationality. I’m sure we could never eat in the same place twice for years if we wanted to. The geography continues to take our breaths away, from the majestic redwoods to the expansive Pacific and the sometimes rolling, sometimes leaping hills that permeate the bay area. There are 7 regional parks in Oakland alone, 51 in the bay area, and 280 in the state of California. We love it here.

We miss our friends and family in Boston and New York more than any of them probably realize. We left a vibrant community, closely-knit and deep-rooted, to pursue our dreams to head west. The ache we feel in being so far away is often palpable, and yet this has very quickly become our home. It’s been reminding me lately of my first burn. After the culture shock wore off, I felt completely at home in less than a day. There is a very good reason that Burning Man evolved out of San Francisco; we have everything here, it seems. Great local food, stunning scenery, and more going on than you’ll ever be able to go to. We have schools like the Crucible and Trapeze Arts, festivals like the Fire Arts Festival, Fleet Week, and Folsom Street Fair. We have blooming flowers in November, and a palm tree in our back yard.

I wonder when the honeymoon will wear off?

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Just a ride around the block..

Posted by Ted on May 28, 2009 in Biking

With a 70+ mile ride around Lake Tahoe coming up next weekend, I’m trying to get as much local hill training as I can.

Today was a short ride, just 7 miles around a very small part of this amazing city that we live in. As I rode, I could smell dinner cooking in dozens of homes. I found the end of a trail in a small park. I sat alone in front of a forest of trees as cars whizzed behind me at 50 miles per hour. Oakland has a surprising amount of green.

The late afternoon sun warmed me, and the damp wind chilled me. I clearly need warmer gear.



A perfect moment

Posted by Ted on Apr 7, 2009 in Biking

I’ve biked this route about 5 times now, between home and the nearest Home Depot. We’ve been here for about two months (three for Liz) and we’re getting towards the tail end of getting the house unpacked and ready to be lived in. Which is good timing, because as of this week, we’re both going to be more busy. This was her first week of acupuncture school and mine at a new job. We’ve been borrowing the car of a very gracious friend, but they needed it lately so we’ve been reduced to bikes, which hasn’t been too bad. The biggest pain in the butt has been trips to and from Home Despot.

Tonight however, I was rewarded.

There was a perfect moment as I left home and turned down 27th. It’s been stormy today, and the clouds were billowing, and they reflected a warm glow from the setting sun, just as a BART train on its elevated track zoomed by. I couldn’t help but smile, as every time I see it, I’m reminded of the monorail at Epcot (albeit much louder), and am just giddy at the fact that we live here now.

A half hour later I was biking home from the store with a small can of paint and some blue masking tape. I turned onto 9th, and was nearly struck by the overwhelming beauty of the city at night. There was a flow of red and yellow as cars rushed by on I-880, and the Oakland hills were sprinkled with lights. It felt like the first night on playa, walking down the esplanade, seeing the night city for the first time. A few minutes later, I saw a god effect of moonlight shining up behind some clouds, and as I stopped to take a picture, the moment was gone.

Just before home, I negotiated a complex intersection, and it was perfectly exectuted, as if myself and every car and pedestrian were a planned choreography. This also made me smile, as I realized the perfectly timed moment, where everything just falls into place, is exactly what I wanted to express when I got my last tattoo.



Getting out for the first time

Posted by Ted on Feb 26, 2009 in Biking

Today I decided to take advantage of the nice afternoon and go for my first ride. I’m not used to living in such a 3-D space, and will definitely use up brake pads quicker here.

I set out in search of Lake Merritt. Without a map and only a vague direction, I completely missed it, but enjoyed getting lost and ended up riding through part of Piedmont Park. After deciding to backtrack a bit, I ended up passing Montano Velo, where I picked up a local bike map.

So armed, I finally found the lake and the bikeway around it, before heading back home. Just over 21 kilometers in 90 minutes with an average speed of 14 kph. The best part of the ride though, was seeing confirmation that moving was the right decision, and that here is now home;

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