Monday, November 26, 2012

Things are not

He gave me a box filled to the brim with little things. I brought it home, turned on a lamp, and sat down on the floor. Pulled out a card that we had given him for his birthday. One never expects to get their gifts back in this way. Patches from Nepal and Vietnam, books on the Black Panthers, Rapidiographs and pen nibs, Japanese stationary, Lakota Indian sweat ceremony instructions, my heart sank with every piece. How strange it is to be left with this. But how comforting "things" can be in their ability to allow you to hold on to what we perceive as lost.

Perhaps that is why people lose their shit grabbing for crap when loved ones die. In some cases it is cold greed, and sickening. But sometimes, I think the materialism that follows death is just another form of grief. Perhaps we should be a little more understanding of relatives who dive like vultures into pieces that are left behind.


  Hey everybody.... Guess what!

I'm going to Africa! 

Destination: Tanzania. Kilimanjaro Mountain. 

The picture above is me resting my aching legs. Also in the picture are our two friends who are hiking Kilimanjaro with us. They've been helping us train for a couple months. I never thought it could be that difficult to hike... or essentially walk miles on end, but 12 - 14 miles of uphill and steep downhill is no joke, crying loudest: my knees. 

In total there will be five of us attempting to reach the highest peak in Africa. And afterwards some animal watching/safari, and beach lounging/Zanzibar Island. 

Really I'm just looking forward to drawing and painting.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Godspeed Rider Show

My first full gallery show in Los Angeles!
Be sure to come by if you are in the area!
I'll be showing paintings and work from my art books and travel journals!

Monday, October 22, 2012


I am reminded why it is good to see documentaries in Los Angeles; half the time the filmmakers live here and are in the audience and half the audience is in the film or was working on it. Such was the case this weekend when we checked out this outstanding new doc,We Are Legion. Writer/directer, Brian Knappenberger was answering questions and we happened to be sitting next to the film's editor.  

If you are at all interested in anthropology, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, politics, activism, or power to the people, or even cheap laughs, check it out, by nature of the content they have uploaded a version to youtube already.     

What's it about exactly? Well, the film chronicles the pretty incredible way disorganized internet users  coalesced into the political movement called Anonymous, which is closely tied to and overlaps with the Occupy Movement.

 < Computer Hacking + Activism = Hacktivism >

Documentaries like this are fascinating to watch because this is not ancient history, in fact the filmmaker was saying that he was literally updating the film as they were editing in the previous weeks. Major developments are happening, one of the Anonymous leaders admitted to being an FBI informant, some of the hackers are on trial, there is still civil unrest in the Middle East. This is an evolving movement that we are watching real time. To have a reflection on how this all started so early in the game is immediate gratification, like watching 100 hours of news feed condensed into one entertaining and important story.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I had to post this because I think her views on this are so inspiring.

The original picture was of a Sikh woman with facial hair, taken by someone on an online forum for laughs. A friend told the woman, Balpreet Kaur, that the picture was all over the internet. Balpreet decided to get online and respond. Here's what she wrote:
"Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled However, I’m not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a separateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone."
The original poster obviously learned something. He came back and apologized.

Monday, October 8, 2012

bottom feeding is good

The word foraging always made me think of vultures and bottom feeders, but I have a new appreciation. We went out to the woods with a survivalist over the weekend and brought back enough edible things to make a gigantic salad. These are my notes and this is the salad.

Some of the ingredients include: Prickly Lettuce, Chickweed, Oxalis, Willow Herb, Watercress, Black Nightshade, Sow Thistle,  Scarlet Monkey Flowers, Mint, Curly Dock, and Nut Grass.

Only drawback was the worms. They kept popping up everywhere.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some sketchbook pages differentiating the harnesses, hooks, cams, atcs, belaying thingies, etc

Only one extra-curricular activity as of late: rock climbing. (In the gym, for now, so maybe I should say resin climbing, how sexy is that?) As much as my bruised up knees and hands. It's so worth it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


My best college buddy came to visit last week. We spent the week trying to have the ultimate west coast experience. No one can say we didn't try. Beach, palm trees, iced coffee, flea market, Sunset strip and shopping. I miss her already.

Side note: we got kicked out of Sony Pictures and banned forever. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

the fifth education

In Aborigine tribes in Australia, people change their names routinely. Once you outgrow the name you were born with and enter into a new phase of life, you take on a new name. Embracing a new identity, like a lizard leaving the old skin behind.

I remember, there was a guy who changed his name at Quaker meeting. Of course the Quakers were all accepting of him, but many forgot again and again that his new name was now Heartsong, so that caused some problems (albeit passive-aggressive problems.)

If the idea weren't considered somewhat self-indulgent in our culture, I'd go for it. It seems to correspond more to the tumultuous aspects of living, how we change, gain some things and lose others.

 Life does seem to be broken up into sizable chunks, like historical eras that we can look back on, usually punctuated by a location or significant relationship. After you move on, embarking on a new "era," you are not the same person, so why not change the name?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Click to see pano larger

The Sunset over Mount Shasta. A very enchanting place. From the locals you hear stories about aliens, strange lights and clouds, Lemuria and special cave entrances, disembodied beings and Native American spirits. People go here to be enlightened, cults visit for their cult activities and the town at the base is full of esoteric anomalies. I'll have to post a picture of the gas station converted into a crystal shop. The psychic readings happen in the converted fridge area where beer and chocolate milk used to be.

But it's definitely not all fun and games. Shasta is still one of the highest peaks in the US, only 326 feet shy of Mount Whitney. Many people under the spell of their mystic experience tempt the power of nature, and generally lose. Last year a guy practicing in a meditation group at one of the lower camps was (according to the rest of the group) called to do something on the mountain, so he took off his shoes and tried to climb, wearing only a t-shirt and sweatpants. He was found dead the next day. Only 19 years old.

Nature is a funny thing. You start feeling all warm and fuzzy enshrouded in a beautiful afternoon glow and surrounded by happy moss covered trees. You start thinking nature is on your side. That it loves you and would never hurt you. I guess that's when it's easy to do something stupid.

** These pictures are taken from a watchtower in Shasta Lake.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Manzanar & Camping

These are a few shots from last year's Manzanar Pilgrimage. Every year the numbers grow. It's really an outstanding event, well organized, inspired, and important. They will recognize Shibata this year for his contributions.. the biggest contribution... starting the whole thing.

The Taiko drumming is the highlight for me. It's moving with the backdrop of those mountains. 

Shibat himself with the rest of the camping crew. It's going to be a very emotional year, but I think it will be nice to share our memories. I can't imagine talking stories around the camp will ever be the same though....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” — Helen Keller

Some comforting words from a very strong woman.

I guess Miss Keller has it right. When we lose someone, they aren't really gone. You embody everything that has come before.

kawa no nagare no you ni - Misora Hibari

A lovely song for you today. It was sung by a Japanese musical legend, Misora Hibari. A star in Japan similar to our Aretha Franklin maybe?

Shirazu shirazu aruite kita  //  The path is narrow and long and
Hosoku nagai kono miti  //   We walk along it without much thought but
Furi kaereba haruka tooku  //   If we turn our heads, far in the distance
Furusato ga mieru   //   We can see our places of origin.
Dekoboko miti ya magari kunetta miti   //   Bumpy and winding; these uncharted roads,
Tizu sae nai sore mo mata dinsei  //  But then again- that is life isn't it?

Aa kawa no nagare no you ni  //  Ah, like the flow of the river,
Yuruyaka ni   //   Laid back
Ikutsu mo didai wa suguite  //  So much time passes
Aa kawa no nagare no you ni  //  Ah, like the flow of the river,
Tomedo naku  //  Endlessly
Sora ga tasogare ni somaru dake  //  The distant sky saturated with twilight

Ikiru koto wa tabi suru koto  //  To live is to journey

Owari no nai kono miti  //  On this path without an end
Ai suru hito soba ni tsurete  //  and people we love draw near us
Yume sagashi nagara  //  As we search for our dreams
Ame ni furarete nukarunda miti demo  //  Even though the rains may fall, muddying the way
Itsuka wa mata hareru hi ga kuru kara  //  Someday, again, another clear day will surely come

Aa kawa no nagare no you ni  //  Ah, like the flow of the river,

Odayaka ni  //  Calmly
Kono mi o makasete itai  //  We seek to release ourselves
Aa kawa no nagare no you ni  //  Ah, like the flow of the river
Utsuriyuku  //  As we wait
Kisetsu yukidoke o matinagara  //  For the thaws of the coming seasons

Aa kawa no nagare no you ni  //  Ah, like the flow of the river,
Odayaka ni  //  Calmly
Kono mi o makasete itai  //  We release ourselves
Aa kawa no nagare no you ni  //  Ah, like the flow of the river,
Itsumademo  //  Forever
Aoi seseragui o kikinagara  //  As we listen to the flow of the blue.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

All these years I took for granted that we'd have him forever. There's a gigantic hole now.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

croissants and more croissants

Now I know why everyone falls in love with France. I tried hard not to, just because there's a word for it.  (Are there any equivalents to francophile? Canadiophile? Americophile? Russiaphile?)

But if you can't beat them join them. France is so beautiful. The cathedrals are on every other corner. The other corners have cafes where you can sip delicious coffee all day and enjoy the perfect breeze off of the Seine. It's ridiculous. And the French people are so hospitable and fun. I had the best time running around the city with Ms. Anne-Marie!

If you haven't been, I hope that you can visit there very soon. My only advice is to learn how to say a few food items in French, so you aren't eating your weight in croissants like me, unless you want to of course.
(I had too much pride to speak English, so I just went to the baguetteries and said un croissant again and again, hahaha!)

Drawing Notre Dame, but got kicked out of the garden for closing time.

The ceiling of Saint Sulpice

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sinead O'Connor + Elizaveta UK Tour

I'm back from travels in the UK and France! Rock and Roll! We jammed to nothing but The Clash, Kinks, Beatles, Talkingheads and Bowie! Ah musical soil.

Elizaveta opened for Sinead O'Connor in some of the most amazing cathedrals in the UK. As far as venues go, I think they are better than ampitheaters. There's nothing like bass in a cathedral.

Note my map.

Note my Sinead.

Finally, note Elizaveta and me !

Elizaveta rocked the mic, opening for Sinead O'Connor. I never knew much about Sinead; she had her controversy with the church before I was really on to pop culture. After reading back about the pope incident, I'm inclined to say: good for you. She stood up for what she believed: that the Catholic church was (and is) condoning sexual abuse. Speak truth to power. I'm with you!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

crossing the atlantic and another dimension

Tea time.. getting ready for the British

I'm heading back across the Atlantic this week. This time our stops include: London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Scotland, and Paris! I'm a lucky lady.

Also meet my new friend, I haven't figured out its name yet.
Can you see him/her on the other side of the window?

Most every day that I am at home working, this same little birdy comes to the window, pecks at it and waits. I peck back, and we go back and forth for a while. It leaves, comes back and does this all through out the day. Sometimes I'll be in the kitchen and hear its sound and have to go say hello. Maybe little bird sees its reflection, or maybe it's trying to talk. It certainly waits around for the sound. I keep thinking that there is some kind of trans-species communication going on here. 

Imagining myself in its place, there is a huge plane of glass with various things flickering through it, when I make a sound it causes a ripple and sometimes comes back to me. But its not the same. Is it another living thing? Is it my echo? Is my brain too small to contemplate such things?

I can't help but think that there must be a parallel for humans, running our heads up against a plane of glass with no idea what is on the other side watching us, communicating with us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

random mansion tour

Last week I worked on a photo shoot at this mansion in the Silverlake hills. I took a bunch of clandestine pictures.

The mansion belonged to a silent movie star who's life was very similar to the main character in The Artist. I won't spoil the movie, in case you haven't seen it. His story also sounds a lot like The Great Gatsby, but maybe that's because his wife was named Daisy. They split and she died tragically on Mulholland Drive. Some people think that there was foul play and speculate that this might be why the house is haunted.

Some famous very bad rock bands have stayed and recorded here and claim to have seen and experienced all sorts of freaky things... being chocked in the night and bathtubs filling with water.

I can say that it was kind of eerie at first. There were some freaky angel and devil paintings and taxidermy everywhere. The souls of all of the poor African animals! Overall though, I've been in places that are much creepier. The only bad vibrations that I felt were coming from the guy who owned/ managed the house. Perhaps all of the bad spirits attached themselves to him. He was so rude that you had to laugh and play along.

The courtyard - also where they filmed a Brittney Spears video where a car goes into the pool??
This room was my favorite. Windows on all sides. (unfortunately some kind of rare taxidermied Toucan on the coffee table... oh and a stuffed peacock on the long table.) Click to see bigger
This is the room that was supposed to be really haunted. No one would use the facilities all day because they were afraid of something happening, like the bathtub mysteriously filling up with water. Creepy shadows...
Just happen to have a triceratops head in the study. Shot and killed that beast myself, that's right.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Melody Lingers On

I've been on a Roaring Twenties book binge this past week. I think this song perfectly fits the atmosphere. Elizaveta made this cover of an Irving Berlin song a few weeks ago. I really love it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Two weeks in a van.

Here with a quick one two of pictures from the road. I apologize for my mediocre job of documenting. I dont know what got into me, usually I'm so thorough. I have some drawings and things, so I'll try to post those later. Anyway it was a fun run, Elizaveta sold out all of her shows in Boston, New York, DC, and Philly. We got to meet a lot of interesting characters, see some of the cities. I got to catch up with some of my closest friends. All in all it was a great two weeks.

A few highlights for me.

  • First morning we ended up on WERS radio, that's Emerson College radio. I was amped, then disappointed, because my cousin who works there is studying abroad this semester. I would've loved to drop in on him unexpectedly. I did meet some of his radio comrades. 
  • At the Boston show a woman who has been following Elizaveta's music and my artwork for a long time gave E and me the most beautiful engraved compasses. How did she know I love compasses? Serendipity. 
  • The Boston opening act Sarah Rabdau and the Self-Employed Assassins did an amazing cover of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill
  • I got to jam at Sheik's apartment. FYI I have carried my red uke on every flight in the past year as a extra extra bag and the TSA has overlooked it every time. Sneaky little thing. Not to mention when people handle it in the overheads they are so insanely careful not to damage it. To see it, touches my heart. 
  • It was cold and rainy in New York so we bundled up and grabbed a coffee at one of Brooklyn's throwback cafes. Nothing beats that. Except coming in from the cold to Sheik's super comfy apartment. She's got style and a great view.
  • The headdress I made looked fanastic at Joe's Pub with the lighting and backdrops. 
  • E appeared on the East Village Radio show Belly of the Beast. The studio is a glass square right on the street with only enough room for a bench and a mixing table. We squeezed in out of the rain. You can listen here. I get .02 seconds of air time too. 
  • In DC Rome's family surprised me by coming to the show. I love surprises. We had a great time laughing over very choice sushi. 
  • My college roommate and closest thing to a sister came to the Philly show. I wish we lived closer together. 
  • In Philly, we had so much fun listening to Jake Snider warm up in the back. He was really talented and friendly. (We talked all about having a shtick.) 
  • On the way back to NYC, the bass player/tour manager (Tony Maceli) had us rolling in the floor with tales of his Sicilian parents. 
  • In NYC again, E played at a private club that was attempting to set a mood with tons of tea candles. They sound checked and all was good. When they returned for the show, tea candles on a strange shoe sculpture were sitting on top of the piano. Halfway through the first piano-thundering song the candles came flying off the piano. It was a near miss with disaster. The dress could've easily gone up in flames. 
  • On the way back to the hotel late one night, I heard the most incredible cellist on the subway. There is something about bass strings. I'm really happy Elizaveta tours with a double bass. It's my favorite instrument. 
  • An invitation to a banquet show in Moscow came out of nowhere one afternoon. For the entire afternoon off, we were scrambling to get visas. Mine didn't workout, see you next time Russia. 
  • Our plane was delayed on the way back to Los Angeles. As we were sitting on the plane we got a call about a show that night! So we flew back to LA, got off the plane, unpacked, dressed up, and went to another show. This one was in a swank restaurant in Beverly Hills. Incredibly glad to be home after that. I pity the insanely wealthy. They are as handicapped as the impoverished. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

on the road again

Taking to the sky once again and then to the van. We are riding around Boston, New York and Philadelphia this week and next in a white unmarked van, do not be alarmed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This is the perfect music to brood to on a rainy day or reflect over when the world seems a grisly place. Some people say "listen to happy music to cheer yourself up," but I think it's more cathartic to listen to something somber.

I'm not feeling particularly somber today, just working and enjoying the simple strum of the guitar and Lhasa's soulful voice. (Well, this live performance has an upright bass -  yes!, and a harp!)

Sadly she died last January of breast cancer at only 37.

She embodied the kind of female spirit that I think we all admire: free, loving, creative. Her father was a photographer from Mexico and her mother was an artist. She grew up in gypsy fashion, traveling the US in the back of a converted school bus. She started singing from a young age, moved to Canada to be with her sister, released an album, quit music to join a theater company in France, then returned to recording. A short life, but a life well lived. Viva Lhasa!.

She has the sweetest smile. Doesn't she? Still inspiring from the other side. Viva Lhasa.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"an absolute legend.."

I have never seen an epic battle like this.
Two Chinese women’s volleyball teams duke it out like you won't believe.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More on Synesthesia

I read Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet last week. The reviews for it were outstanding so I was expecting something phenomenal that would blow my socks off with insight, but there weren't many. Most of his memoir was a play by play of his life up to the age of twenty-six. It was interesting, but not ground breaking. Many of his experiences, which he described as if they were unique to someone suffering from autism, could apply to any child who had a terrible time in school and didn't make friends easily. Not to take away from his experience, because there were parts that really grabbed my attention, but overall I wanted to learn more about his experience internally.

In 2004, he set a record by recounting the infinite number sequence of pi up to its 22,514 digit. The feat took five hours and nine minutes. Imagine reciting numbers from memory for five hours. Insanity. As I learned earlier from the documentary (and book), he actually doesn't recite from memory, he sees the familiar landscape of the numbers in his mind and recounts them by their visual properties. This is the reason I am so fascinated by his synesthesia. It all comes down to one questions: Are his visuals of the numbers simply his personal experience or is there a larger connection between what he is seeing and the true nature of numbers?

He began sensing these numbers before he had any preconceived notions about superstitions, mathematics, or religion. So when his descriptions align with commonly held beliefs about certain numbers, I have to wonder if this is more than coincidence. For example, he describes 3 as rounded just like pi, 6 as a hole or void as in the Bible, unlucky 13 as ugly, and the divine 333 as beautiful. Coincidence?

Drawings by Daniel Tammet

Here is a more complete list of his numeral descriptions:

  • 1 is a blast of light.
  • 2 is a movement from left to right.
  • 3 is round and green
  • 4 is shy and quiet and blue
  • 5 is a loud sound like thunder clapping, yellow like lightening
  • 6 is so small it seems like a void, a hard number to experience, like tiny black dots, without distinctive shapes or textures, like gaps or holes
  • 9 is tall and imposing like a skyscraper, immense, blue
  • 11 is friendly
  • 25 is energetic and the "kind of number you would invite to a party"
  • 37 is lumpy like porridge
  • 23, 667, 1179 are big
  • 6, 13, 581 are small
  • 89 is like falling snow
  • 117 is tall and lanky
  • 289 is ugly
  • 333 is beautiful
  • Prime numbers are round like pebbles (2 , 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19,  23,  29, 31...)
Painting by Daniel Tammet of what two numbers look like multiplied. He sees the shape in between and recognizes it by its characteristics. That shape is a number. That number is the answer.