SF vistas

The view from the top of my street. The Golden Gate Bridge is visible far off to the right.

Viewing the city from the Observation Tower at the De Young Museum.

Warm day in Dolores Park with a crystal clear view of the city.

Beautiful architecture at every turn.

And diverse foliage.


Sita Sings the Blues

In moving to San Fran I wanted to be sure I got out and about as much as possible ... particularly to enjoy art/cultural events—even if that meant doing things by myself—which it certainly does when you only know a couple of people!

So when I found out that the San Francisco International Animation Festival was going to be happening, I checked it out and purchased tickets for a couple of the showings. Last Thursday was the opening night and the feature was a film entitled Sita Sings the Blues. I went in not knowing much about the film or it's director (and writer, designer, producer, animator), Nina Paley, aside from what I read on the website. I was completely blown away.

In this 82-minute feature, Paley employs the use of 4 main styles of animation and at least as many types of narrative, including song, to tell the story of an ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana, creating a textured, visual feast. She also manages to tell us a true story of her own heartbreak that relates the ancient tale to modern times.

There are innumerable elements to this piece. Paley uses everything from montage to digital vector art to "cliche" cartoon elements (sing-a-long and graphic expressions such as "BANG!") to hand-painted art in order to illustrate the story and reference her various sources of inspiration. You can see the genie of Disney's Aladdin in the digital rendering of Rāma and Betty Boop in Sita. Her hand-painted work clearly draws from Indian folk art. All of this combines to keep the audience enthralled and engaged not just in the story but in the art itself.

Perhaps my favorite element of the whole piece is the incorporation of Annette Hanshaw's songs from the 20's. Absolutely genius. It's just wild to see how Paley is able to connect all of these pieces to create a cohesive piece. Ancient Sanskrit epic, jazz from the 20's and a story of divorce in the 21st century.


Verterra Dinnerware

I just found out about this product called VerTerra. This is similar to a couple of products I talked about in this post over on No Trash Challenge. Everything is "sustainable this, sustainable that" lately so it's no wonder that products like this are popping up everywhere. While I think it's pretty cool that people are developing materials made from unconventional sources, there's a fine line between the sustainable aspect and it still being all about consumption. "Buy this to be sustainable and environmentally friendly". I think it's smarter to buy things (preferably used) that are durable and will last a long time rather than buy something new just because it's biodegradable or produced in an environmentally friendly way.

Despite that, this product is neat. It's made from fallen palm leaves from plantations where the leaves would otherwise be burnt. Though I suppose if we want to get specific here, the palm leaves are sourced and formed into plates in South Asia ... so once you factor in the fuel / transportation it takes to get them here, I'm wondering if that all negates the environmental friendliness altogether? And it's also not really that fresh an idea. They've been making plates from plants in places like India for a long time.

Anyway, the deets on this product from their brochure/website:
VerTerra is all natural—chemical/bleach free—made with only two "ingredients", the palm leaves and water. They are non-toxic, 100% compostable and naturally biodegrade in 2 months. They're microwave, oven (to a certain temp) and refrigerator-safe.

At $12 for a package of 10 plates, will you be trying them out at your next party?


Nelson bubble x3

What's better than one Nelson bubble? Three!!!
Three times as good. Three times as bright (well, not necessarily). Three times as beautiful (definitely). Three times as affordable!


GOOD Magazine / Motion Design

Good Magazine, in collaboration with VolumeOne put out this awesome motion reel about the cost of war.




A heartfelt, sincere, uniting, beautiful speech, given with ease and grace that brought everyone to tears.

I have to say that I'm still in disbelief. I just can't even believe this HAS HAPPENED in my lifetime. But it's beautiful. And while it is historic that he is our first Black President, this election was about much more than that and I hope that the news will talk about this in a broader sense—and not just focus on race!

Tonight in San Francisco it's a clear night, the stars seem to be twinkling a little brighter and the copters are chopping up the air!! It's almost 11PM and it sounds like there's an army in the sky. I wish I could record the noise for you. I feel like I'm living at an army base. Maybe there's a big party somewhere that I'm missing.



update : life

Well it's a rainy, chilly day here in San Fran. A little gloomy but it's OK because I got 4 tickets to the sold out She + Him show tonight at Bimbo's 365! I don't even have 3 friends here to invite!

Anyway, I love the area where I'm working. I'm at the intersection of Chinatown, Little Italy + the Financial District in an area known as the Jackson Square Historic District. It dates back to the California Gold Rush — in fact, the alley where our offices are located is called Gold St. Walking tours full of hipbelt-wearing tourists regularly congregate outside of our windows. The Transamerica Pyramid looms overhead.

And it's a great place to go out to lunch! Sure beats the Prudential food court. Today I had Udon for lunch. Last week we had Viatnemese, Chinese, Mexican and Indian. I'm getting extremely spoiled.

That hot pink and white thing on top is a thin slice of kamaboko: a halfmoon-shaped fish cake. It tasted as weird as it looks and I think it gave me a tummy ache.

My cube is beginning to look a little more fun. Today I ordered this letterpress print by artist Dan Funderburgh. It's printed on recycled paper and ALL of the proceeds go to the Obama campaign. Since I don't think I'll be able to vote in this election (believe me, I'm pissed: I've requested my absentee ballot twice and still nothing), the least I can do is make a contribution to the campaign.

I also added this lively, bright screen print (meant to be wrapping paper) by The Magnificent Chatwin Brothers which I found at the store Eden + Eden that I mentioned previously.