Friday, February 29, 2008

Midnight at the Oasis


Sticks-in-a-drowse droop over sugary loam,
Their intricate stem-fur dries;
But still the delicate slips keep coaxing up water;
The small cells bulge;

One nub of growth
Nudges a sand crumb loose,
Pokes through a musty sheath
It's pale tendrilous horn

-Theodore Roethke

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cluebonic Plague

The best-kept secret in San Francisco? The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt.

Every year, a guy named Jayson Wechter organizes a treasure hunt to take place the night of the Chinese New Year parade. It is completely unsponsored, all the proceeds go to charity, and it is the best bang-for-your-buck around.

Teams spend 4.5 hours running around the city solving clues and searching for "the 4 numbers next to the word 'Sydney'" or something similar, on some random plaque somewhere in the city. While this is happening, the parade begins. Lights, fireworks, costumes, crowds, it's mayhem!

My old housemates, G and Mike invited me to join them again this year for the hunt. It's the year of the rat, and all of the team names strive for a punny, cluey name. We were the Cluebonic Plague. Last year (year of the pig) we were Boar is Not the Answer. The winning name last year was I Never Sausage a Team. Oh man, I love it.

We didn't win, and we had no hope to. There are three categories, and the "Beginner" level is so hard, I can't even fathom the others. Last year we got about two-thirds of the clues, but this year we only missed 2 (out of 17). We were quite proud of ourselves, and we can't wait for next year.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dirty Art

I love being photographed, I'll be the first to admit it. My inner six-year-old runs up to that camera with her cheese face on every time. And lately my six-year-old has been very pleased because my friend Ryan has photographed me for several of his art projects.

This one is called "Playing Nice With Others". Ryan took portraits of seven of his friends, and printed the images with white paint on white paper.

Then we each took a pigment-like substance and applied it to the image (which appeared as a blank page) in any way we wanted. As we applied the pigment, the image of our own faces appeared on the easel.

One person used clay slip, one used M&Ms. There was tea and Hershey's syrup, pastels, and blood oranges. Me? I used compost.

The performance was an exercise in self-expression and self-representation. The final pieces are informed by the way that each pigment was applied, and the way that each person chose to pose at the end, as their photo was taken with their revealed image. To me, my final photo says "look what I did!," which I find kind of fitting.

I rubbed compost on a blank piece of paper, and my own face appeared to me. Compost is the medium that I am represented by, and it's through my own actions that this is so. Why did I choose compost? Can one medium really represent all of my complexity? It's a simplification that seems necessary sometimes. This is me, I can be represented by a pile of decomposed vegetable waste. Hmmm.

All (truly amazing) photos courtesy of M.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Even More Sur


Okay, it's a day late, but I can't be expected to post on V Day. Not when there are mushy things to do.

Here are some incredible pictures that my housemate Jaja took on our latest trip to Big Sur. The pictures are all from Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey. She took them with a manual camera and scanned them in, which I think gives them a really cool, old-fashioned, blue look.

Incredible. Can you believe that she just started taking photos this year? What an eye.

This last one was taken by my friend Lauren. It is documentation that I am officially a Californian: I did yoga on the beach. Twice. My parents will never let me live this one down.

I obviously have a bit of practicing to do (that's me on the left).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Amazing, I had to share

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms In My Mouth

Jaja and I made the oyster mushrooms with some rice that we seasoned with CA bay leaves (which are a little overwhelming). There's home-grown cilantro on top. A strange combo of tastes, and the verdict is still out on the mushrooms. But I have some shiitake and button mushrooms coming up, so we'll have to wait and see. Maybe I just don't really like oyster mushrooms.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Blooming Shrooms

My yellow oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus sp.) are "breaking!" Once the fungus colonized the straw completely, mushrooms started to form. The tiny mushrooms are called "pins" and once this happens the bag needs to be moved to a humid environment and cut open. We're using a humidity-controlled incubator. The mushrooms will get much bigger than this, so stay tuned.