Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I've been doing

I got a job back in October. If I'm not working there, I'm working on projects. Life is busy, but good. Part of me misses hanging out every weekend but the other part of me enjoys having an income again. I'm definitely better off than I was a year ago or even three months ago. I'm sleeping a lot better, though I keep waking up briefly every morning at 5. Luckily I fall asleep again.

I need to cut back on the caffeine. I'm always up up up and trying to slow down, but sometimes I need a burst of energy. Too much too much. I didn't "get" adderall, amphetamines. I can't focus. I'm vibrating, I'm generating heat. I'm scrubbing a spot on a dish. Too much coca-cola. Lightheaded. Feeling "spicy," where all the blood rushes to my face. Too much caffeine and sugar tends to produce feelings that are almost like a panic attack. The worries and the spiral down into a path I thought I left behind. I need to hang with my friends because I'm sitting alone and when I'm alone I'm doing the same things over and over but sometimes it's okay and I need to get gummi worms for an art project and I need to do this and that and think about what to bring to LA and to finish my work in Illustrator and my InDesign newsletter and sleep better and talk to this person and fix this and...

I almost fell out of my chair. When was the last time I forgot to stop breathing?

Well, I can't complain too much about life. I'm busy, but it's the good busy. Unfortunately the 365 fell by the wayside. Between closing in SF, taking BART home, and then working on my own stuff I started to fall behind. I still love fine art photography and now that I'm in a place where I'm working on art every day, I don't feel so directionless.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ready to Roll

Wednesday I go to campus to register. The 4th I finally get to pick up my bigass totebag (hello, shoulder strain) and get my new ID (I can finally stop feeling like a slimeball when I use my old student ID), and head back for a job fair on the 5th.

Where did time go? I can't wait to start. What an area to be attending classes in--right in Union Square!

Today I got some bento boxes and chopstick. All are a matching pink. I now have a fancy neoprene lunch sack, too. Spam musubi, here I come.

I'm excited to be doing what's relevant to my life. I will be doing stuff I want to do. Memories of senior year--working on my internship project (sewing a dress from a muslin, which then turned in to sewing another one from scratch because I finished so early), pushing myself to not miss school at the detriment of my own health, even subconsciously holding my breath as I embroidered Saul Bass' golden arm on the back of my dress (and subsequently falling out of the chair when my lungs couldn't take it any more).

Junior year of high school I was a horrible student. I skipped a lot of school. I was depressed in a way I hadn't been for years. The kind of mornings where it just hurt to move. Everything looked bleak, including college. I was on academic probation for the majority of the year, but somehow, I swung it. I passed all of my classes and got out of the funk. I was determined to make senior year great.

Around July something felt weird. Like a lump in my abdomen. It hurt. I paid it no mind. It slowly grew, but since it was on my lower left I didn't do anything. I overate. It's a muscle. People can think up some awfully interesting explanations for something serious. I stopped wearing jeans because they hurt to zip up and button. And four days after my 18th birthday, it ruptured. By the time I got to the ER there were no cysts showing up on the ultrasound but an abdomen full of fluid was an indication that one had indeed ruptured. After a few very unfun hours in the ER I went home, worrying about an english paper I hadn't finished.

I didn't even take a whole week off. By Thursday night I was so bored of sitting at home, drifting in and out of sleep watching Miami Vice and Spongebob that Friday morning I more or less snuck out of the house and went to school.

I enjoyed my little summer extension but now it's time for me to do work again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

In which I remember why I stopped drinking black coffee.

So after a horribly mediocre pot of coffee I made earlier this week (It's been a while since I've used a drip coffeemaker) I perfected it. No longer is it coffee-flavored water but a tastebud burning pot of hellfire.

And no milk. Or sugar. I no longer have a taste for splenda. It's not that I don't like the taste of black coffee. But when you're drinking a few cups a day on an empty stomach, that's when you lose the taste for it. By cup 3 I'd be cursing the brilliant logic behind what posessed me to drink that much coffee. If I'm totally awake I'm able to pay more attention.

Yeah, that doesn't work so well, especially when you're trying to do work or if you're dealing with panic attacks. But boy it sure gets you awake. Now I like to leisurely sip my coffee and not shock myself into life in the morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


All I gotta say right now is wow, the weather is nice. It's been overcast but not cold. I'm sitting outside without being bundled up. It's very peaceful here. All I can hear is some cars now and then. I'll probably be shooting the pictures for Legoman tomorrow. It shouldn't be that hard to put together. My sunburn from Saturday in Santa Monica has healed. I'm kinda hoping the sun comes back, though.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Vicissitude of Legoman, Take 2

My senior year I misinterpreted a photo assignment. We had to take a series of photos that somehow showed movement. At least 8. So our teacher told us to think of it as a stop-motion assignment.

Well, I took it a little too literally. Come Monday my classmates had around 8 pictures each. I don't even remember how many I had. I got to make mine into a movie. Towards the end of its completion I was tired of it. Tired of the sound effects (scrape scrape, head rolls in to drumroll, pop as he puts it on, tires peeling out, sound of my friend bashing a PC case to simulate a car crash, and the Super Mario death jingle to signify the end of the little plastic man's life), tired of the first 30 seconds or so of Depeche Mode's "Suffer Well," and just tired in general.

And I lost it. After I graduated the computers were formatted and the DVD disappeared. But this time around I know I can make it so much better.

The Vicissitude of Legoman is about the fragility of life, our material desires, and molded plastic. But mostly molded plastic.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Packing, packing, packing.

I forgot how much fun this can be. See you Saturday morning LA.

I'm trying to fly without checking a bag. On Southwest you can check two for free but I cannot stand waiting for my bag. This is the first time I've flown to a place where I didn't need a heavy coat in a while so it's definitely easier to pack. I also need to learn how to pack light.

I absolutely hate the liquid/gel restrictions.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vacation Time

I booked my tickets to and from LA last night. Time to chill out and enjoy some beach time! This is the first trip I've taken since spring 09 to Wash U. I don't remember too much other than changing my flights because of someone's incompetence (leading to a million and a half layovers on the way back), disappointed expectations, admonishments about not trying hard enough and why don't you go here, and rain.

I have to admit I was weary of traveling again. What if I can't get picked up, what if it changes, what if...

Life doesn't have to be about what ifs. The past is not doomed to repeat itself. It's going to be a wonderful eight days.

I'm especially excited because I haven't been to LA outside of Disneyland since I was 4 or 5 when my mom and I went down to visit my dad after he covered the OJ trial.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to Our Normal Summer

The heatwave ended last night. After temps of 100F during the day it fell to 60-70 at night. This morning I woke up and it was overcast. Joy of joys! No more sun falling right on my bed and nuking me at 9 AM. I get up at 9:30 anyway but I don't like starting my morning feeling like I have to shower. I cleaned out my closet (again... seems to be a neverending cycle) and got rid of a lot of things that don't fit any more or just aren't my style. It feels good to get a bunch of things out and to get rid of things that remind me of not-so-good times.

I've also been playing Super Mario RPG. I'm glad I gave it a second chance (what, 13 years later?) and I'm fairly close to the end. I don't start my classes at FIDM until October so I have time to let my brain drain out more. Ah, relaxation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All Caught Up

I've been taking pictures for the 365... just lazy about uploading them.

After a backlog of 20+ pictures I think I'd like to stay on top of things again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No, that was definitely insomnia.

I need to stop downplaying problems. Not sleeping well for over a week at a time is not normal for me. I can sleep through almost anything (except snoring).

I couldn't even fall asleep to my own breathing one night. I think that's when something signaled being wrong.

Today I got my ambien. I took it about an hour and a half ago. Everything is pleasant. I know I am going to be sleeping tonight and man, that is a load off of my shoulders. I miss waking up and being awake. I miss remembering what I'm doing. I miss remembering where I'm going. I miss talking to my family without losing it.

Hello bed. I'd like to get to know you again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Running on Empty

Crunch time. Second FIDM interview Monday. The deciding interview. Application stuff needs to be finished, need two more reference requests, things that were supposed to happen didn't.

Tired of sitting in my chair all day. No matter how I sit it's not good enough. The old abdominal pain comes back and I freak out, envisioning another trip to the ER for a ruptured ovarian cyst. That's the kind of pain that brings you to your knees and makes you remember your place. You are human. You are not invincible.

I haven't been sleeping enough. I don't want to head back to Junior year when I didn't really sleep so much as wait until the next day. I don't know if I slept or what but for three days I don't think I did. Hiding from nightmares.

Of course I'm not doing that now. I'm just working too late.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Starting Again

The feeling I got from some of my peers at high school is that you apply to a bunch of colleges, sell your soul (and money) to the college board, get your hopes for your top school crushed and go to another one and be done with it. Or if you got into your dream school, that was it. Set.

I had an easy time. I took the SAT twice, couldn't care less, applied to my one college (and didn't have to pay any fees), and got in early. Set.

Or so I thought. What you want out of life can change. It's not the end of the world. Realizing what you're doing isn't what you want to do isn't the end of the world. It's just another path.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Change Abound

Well, a lot has happened in the last week. For a while I've been feeling that as much as I love my college, I'm not doing enough of what I want to do. I brought this up about a month ago and predictably, it did not go over so well. Since then I'd been turning the idea of transferring over and over in my head. I've been feeling more and more like I need to have a change of scenery, too.

The 14th we all talked about what I would do.

The 15th I officially withdrew. As soon as I got home I started looking at jobs, apartments, and getting stuff together to sell on craigslist. A job is already looking likely. A friend of mine is leaving a loss prevention position and his boss already likes my résumé and experience. I used to be an Explorer so I have experience in this area. It would certainly be interesting to work that position in the (very rich) community I went to high school in. The idea is to sock money away for college (it's a full time position) while applying to art schools in southern California.

I could comfortably downsize into an efficiency unit.

Yes, I'm looking to move to Los Angeles.

I need to think of a name for my plan. Operation: OutRun? Operation San Andreas?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tattoo, Part 2

Back in January I got Saul Bass' iconic Golden Arm inked on the inside of my left bicep. A symbol of success over struggle and some really damn good graphic design.
Today I got my inner right bicep tattooed with Mr. Saturn with a balloon tied around his nose which is how he fishes for birdies in Mother 3.

it seems my left arm is all about serious business and my right one is about fun things.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Love, My Lost City.

A long time ago, but more like it was five years ago, I met you. I don't remember how I met you. How I got to you. There's no memory of it.
Why? Well, there was a term the neuropsychologist I was seeing used. Irony is I can't remember it. Oh, the sweet irony.

I didn't like her. She was a nice person but she was more interested in telling me about the plight of girls at Albany High and how they spread rumors about each other and wasn't I glad that I didn't deal with that?

One minute I was fine, and then fear started to build. In the office I knew I would die. If I didn't get out I would die. I was deaf to everything but the high-pressure hum in my ears like a jet plane about to take off. I exploded out of the Victorian and rocketed down the steps to the street below. Safety? Not there. It wasn't the office that would kill me. It could be anything. Nothing but thoughts of fear and death and the End of Times came to mind.
It was too much.
And the fear and the panic and the terror, that's why I don't remember how I got there.
To end up in a place, just like that.

I found the Lost City of Letters, myself equally lost.

Five years later, I'm in a better place. The Lost City of Letters is not so lost any more. The neuropsychologist's card I so carefully taped under my mousepad ("In case of emergency," she told me) was long shredded to pieces. The other psychologist I saw, that card also became confetti. Perhaps it was unwise to do so, but it seemed like the right way to move on.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Boredom

Mushroom nails! I love painting my nails. I've lost count of how many polishes I have.

Pinkie: Sally Hansen "Blue It" (Mini Mushroom)
Ring: China Glaze "Solar Power" (Volt Shroom)
Middle: China Glaze "Turned-Up Turquoise" with China Glaze "Celtic Sun" (1-UP Mushroom)
Index: Maybelline "Cutie Pink" (Life Shroom)
Thumb: OPI "Got the Blues for Red" (Mushroom)

Dots made with Sally Hansen nail art pen in white.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Caring too mcuh

somewhere along the line I started caring too much what other people think. Mostly about actions. Why this college, why this career track, oh you should stay with that.

Normally I wouldn't let them get to me. But now I see the cracks in that façade. I love photography but I don't want to be doing just that for the rest of my life. Yesterday I had a panic about seeing myself stuck with doing photoshoots for shit I hated. I don't want to be stuck with that. I want to do ad design. Unfortunately my college doesn't offer ad design. I can, however, cross register. I feel directionless.

I found a catalog from my second photography exhibition. It was a big deal and it still is. But for me, that's it. That is probably the most impressive thing I have to show. I was burnt out by the end of it, not because of all the work and preparation that went into it (I loved it, actually) but because of a couple disparaging comments from my ex's dad and a fight afterward with both. I gave up. I was defeated. I lost all passion and I wish I hadn't let it get to me, but when you place trust and vulnerability into someone, you expect a reasonable understanding.

I do the same shit every day. I don't go out because I feel like I could be doing more. Even though I now know that I can go out and do otherwise, I still feel like I can be more efficient and helpful if I'm at home. I'm tied to a dog who doesn't listen to me and one of four cats that, if left unsupervised, will eat all manner of inedible items. I feel like I need to save money because yes, for the third fucking year in a row, I'm incomeless. Unemployed. I feel like a shitbag. Yes, the market sucks, yes everyone's being extremely selective, but that doesn't matter to me because I'm still UNEMPLOYED.

I want to get out, but a lot of the things I want to do aren't that fun alone. Friends are traveling, friends are getting consumed by summer classes. But I need to get out. I don't need a repeat of what happened in 2005 when I blocked myself off from the world in a last-ditch effort to stop suffering from panic attacks.

hint: it didn't work.

what am I so afraid of?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

4 Days

I've made it four days. YAY! In editing my picture for today I made it too "hot" but the point is to take a picture a day. I need to keep my practice up. I learn.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

365 project

Gonna do it. I need to be taking pictures of something, anything.

Still looking for my favorite vintage Versace sunglasses. I am going insane.

Monday, June 7, 2010


"I'm reading over your shoul-derrr!"
Perhaps a glowing laptop screen gave me away. Up on the second floor was mom.
Dad busts out of the kitchen door. "What?"
Upstairs. "What?"
Dad: "What?!"
"Mom's just messing with me."
Mom: "WHAT? I can't hear you!"

So, now to recenter after that interruption. Writing outside. It's fun until your fingers go numb.

I used to do this a lot. Specifically in 2004. Here we go remembering that "perfect summer" again. There's something inspiring about the outside, the light pollution gently turning the fog orange. All I can hear is a low rumble from the freeway. It's comforting though. It's the same rumble I could hear in the morning before the chaos of a day starts. I enjoyed those times when especially towards the end of the school year I'd wake up refreshed and breathe in the morning air and listen to the white noise from the freeway. Tonight it's too overcast to see any stars, but every now and then a passing plane fools me.

I know that wishing for the past does nothing, but sometimes I can dream. 13 and feeling like a hotshot. I had a job, real payroll and lunch breaks and being sent on errands in San Francisco. I spent the summer cataloguing dreams and exploring their meanings. I learned the guitar. I played my balalaika. I typed on an old battered Dell Latitude laptop whose battery life eventually dwindled to five minutes maximum towards the end of its lifespan.

If I could go into the past, what would I change? Lots of things. But mostly I'd want to enjoy the old memories again. Escape from current stresses. To a time when I was 13 and the biggest worry on my mind was, well, nothing really. Perhaps I just want to go back to sleep and have those dreams again just to have them again.

I love to watch the sky change, to look at the stars. It really makes us remember how small we are in the grand scheme of things. Every day we walk around wrapped in our own worlds. We become so used to our surroundings that they seem so small. Consider our places of living. We confine ourselves to the building until one day we say that's it, I'm going outside. Ok, so we're outside. And staring at the sky. We say "that's where I want to be. Up on that cloud there."

I saw Powers of 10 when I was, appropriately enough, 10. It zooms all the way out until it reaches the size of the observable universe. Then it zooms all the way back in until it reaches the quarks in a man's hand.

powers of ten :: charles and ray eames from bacteriasleep on Vimeo.

We are TINY. Powers of 10 amazes me so much because of the scales it goes to.

Looking at the great dome of the sky makes me realize exactly how tiny I am, that no matter how hard I jump for the sky I can't reach it. I'm not supposed to. I remember watching the stars with my friends in Hungary. I watched the sky in the Czech Republic. In France. A sunrise in Healdsburg, a day I stayed up nearly 24 hours. And it was beautiful. I'm an all-hours kind of person. I hate waking up past 10 AM on my free days. 9:30 to 9:45 is perfect for me. Sleeping until 12, half the day is gone.

I wish that I could jump into the sky and fly. I remember being awed by flying over Massachusetts. I'd seen the curl of Cape Cod a million times before in my books but flying over it I saw that it really was that curly. I would rank it up there in the wow-factor with seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time.

I want to be the hills watching the world revolve. I want to have a different point of view than some little tiny thing on Earth. Maybe this is why I ascend Mount Tam for stargazing, just to try and get a little closer to the sky.

Now, at 11:11, I can see the stars, but only if I don't straight at them.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shh, I'm having a moment.

Driving home with my windows down, Poets of the Fall's Late Goodbye pumping out into the city.

Memories of Junior year, crippling depression, anger, frustration, academic probation, and amidst all of this, hope.
Before that, Late Goodbye was the anthem of driving around Eastern Europe. A late night in Hungary singing along with Mitch. Good times.

I'm not sure why it decided to pop into my head tonight. I remembered one night I drove home from Marin in my thrifted Nine West leather jacket angry about something, but what wasn't I angry about? I pulled a Lucky Strike out of the pack bought in Austria and tugged the cigarette lighter out of my car as I sped down the Richmond Parkway. I fumbled it and dropped it. I watched the glowing red coils in the tube tumble down my battered jacket. Fearing a flaming end I picked it up quickly and sucked a drag off of the cigarette hard enough to make canyons in my cheeks. Even though it was a cold night I opened all of my windows and my roof.

And we keep driving into the night,
It's a late goodbye, such a late goodbye...

Oh, the moment. It's worthless trying to explain it to someone who wasn't there, who wasn't feeling it. It was just... perfect. I was Max Payne, but replace the hardboiled detective with a 17 year old with shocking pink hair.

By the time I got home my car had aired out and I felt better.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Well, last night did it. Or rather, the deep fried tofu did it. I started feeling it on the Bay Bridge and drove myself to El Cerrito before I finally injected myself. "Furious Angels" played as I pulled off of the Potrero exit. I rolled in front of the Super 8 and uncapped the epipen. I'd been second guessing myself all the way home--just a little longer and I'll be fine. And then I realized no, I had to do it. That is WHY I have one.

cause love like a knife in the back's caught me down and I'm bleedin', yeah I'm bleedin'!

Oh yeah, I screamed. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't feel the needle, but oh boy I sure felt it afterwards. I felt like I could throw cars. My hands tingled. My leg hurt.

My god, that stuff works fast.

Friday, May 28, 2010


The Mario Galaxy 2 soundtrack got me all nostalgic for Disneyland family vacations.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Work Memories

Six years ago today I got my first job. Wow, was it really that long ago? A golden day in May, just like today. I was on top of the world. I was almost done with 7th grade and rocking all my work. I would finish in an hour or less (to my and my parents' utter surprise) and play Perfect Dark until it was time to sleep. Oh, how good life was. A job, a real one, with payroll and lunch breaks and a boss, not some lawnmowing or babysitting job where I'd awkwardly wait around for the adult to dig out his or her wallet and extract some cash. No, this was a real job. $8.50 an hour was nothing to sneeze at.

I was excited. Real responsibilities. Running errands in the city--alone! Cashing MY paycheck! It gave me a feeling of independence. I've always hated asking for money. I was my own personal ATM. The First Bank of Lizz. And what would a 13-year-old buy? Video games... and the occasional splurge. At 14 I purchased my very own Burberry cashmere muffler. Brick red, of course. And on sale, too. Not that it made that much of a difference. It was the first expensive thing I've ever bought to wear. I loved (and still love) that scarf. I look at it and remember when it was new--before I had to get two pinholes rewoven, before the tag fell off and I sewed it back on, before the fringe twisted itself into dreadlocks. I remember the optimism, the joy, the power.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Adrenaline Junkie

I would describe myself as an adrenaline junkie. At 13 I entertained motorcycle fantasies sitting in traffic in San Francisco on my way home from work. I imagined myself zipping through traffic drawing the ire and jealousy of Commuter McEverymen in their cars. I took crazy bike rides down steep hills, through rain and hail.

I wonder if adrenaline junkies can get a fix from epipens. Three years after initially developing my deadly shellfish allergy, I finally went to the doctor to get an epipen. I used to be fine with eating food fried in the same oil as shellfish, but that all changed a couple weeks ago. The reaction is nowhere near as severe as if I ate shellfish (anaphylactic shock--I will puke everywhere first and then start swelling up) but it came on fast. Telltale nausea, itchy throat... all that good stuff.

Nothing is more terrifying than feeling your blood pressure drop. It's like riding an elevator too fast and you can tell what's coming.

I have two epipens and a training pen which has no needle or epinephrine. I was trying to use the training one and kept wimping out when it came to step 2, "Swing and push firmly into thigh."

Swing? Excuse me? I swing a baseball bat and I can swing a mean punch, but I am not swinging an autoinjector needle into my poor baby thigh.

After a few tries rife with wimping out I finally did it. And boy, you have to hit it hard. Here's to hoping I don't need it.

The Word

I've been home for a week and already a lot has happened. I applied to Trader Joe's, applied for a fit model position at Charlotte Russe (got turned down--too skinny and too chesty... they want people who are more or less within the exact measurements), and my parents are getting divorced.


One of these things is not like the other. Yeah. It would have been 27 years this year, but people change. I can't say it wasn't unexpected. A lot happened in a year when they first started having problems. It makes a lot of things clearer. And in a way it's good to have confirmation. Yes, it's tough, but it's for the better. Both of them went to therapy but neither went far enough to compromise. Yesterday morning it hit me. All the pictures of us as a family up on the walls. It seems like a betrayal to me. So I had my angry moments. I threw some patio furniture around. I beat up on some old wood outside. I screamed so hard I puked up breakfast. And then I felt better.

Last night was the first night I've left the house since I got home. All I'd been doing was cleaning the house, cleaning up my shit, and cleaning up more shit. I knew I needed some time to be hedonistic and selfish so I packed it up and went to hang with G.

Escape is good. It's not like there's World War III at my house but I'm sick of being in my box empire.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I got the two-day job! Just as I was getting ready to go to Crossroads I got the call. The best part is hearing "Would you like to take it?"


I mean "Yes, I would like to work this job."

Tomorrow I have an interview for a payroll position. I skipped around Rockridge today, even in the pouring rain. My flats filled up with water, but I didn't care. A few stores were hiring but they ALL want retail experience, in which I am sadly lacking.

A Funny Coincidence.

On my way back from G's Sunday I had to get some gas. Getting from Healdsburg to Oakland is a little intense, but I've done crazier things on less gas. I made it to San Rafael before I decided to fuel up. It seems the universe had other ideas.

I fought with 3 different gas pumps at 3 different stations in San Rafael. Conceded victory to pump #3 at station 3, which only gave me $3.33 of gas.

Something tells me the number 3 is very important right now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Wish List

I'm going to start small here. Little things. I don't want a Bugatti or a strand of Mikimoto pearls or even a deluxe espresso machine.
First off, I'd like a job. I'm applying for a two-day summer job at my college. Included in this will be driving a golf cart. Next to a motorcycle, a golf cart is a vehicle I've always wanted to drive. I'm also applying for a 10hr/week payroll position on campus which would go all summer. Decidedly less interesting than driving a golf cart for two days, but hey, a job is a job to me right now.

This job will help me attain my next wishes. I want a tattoo. I'm undecided on which one I'd like to get first--either Mr. Saturn fishing for birdies or the Little Prince's beloved flower. The flower would be on the inside of my right arm, Mr. Saturn would be on my right calf.
I also desire to stretch my ears. Nothing extreme, just a nice 6g or 4g. At around 18g-16g now I have a little bit to go before I get to enjoy the pretty plugs.

I have the whole summer ahead of me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Fitzgerald Kinship

“…Blue and gigantic — their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald and I share the same birthday. I grew up watching The Great Gatsby. I devoured the book at age 12. I loved the cover and even tried to do my makeup like it, imitating the green light dripping down the face like a tear.

I had an experience last weekend that brought back the gigantic eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg back into my mind. For three hours I discovered sights and feelings and talked at length about them. I was the manager of all this beauty in the world. I had to catalogue it for posterity. I drew, I wrote.

4:40 AM, 4/24/10. The Sad Eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg
I see them. I saw them on Delancey Street in 2003. They drew me onto the street, advertising Triangle Optical. Black glasses on a yellow sign with a big red O-P-T-I-C-A-L in case the point wasn't made. But they were lifeless, eyeless.
I saw the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg looking at me in the mirror every morning. My not-yellow spectacles passed over a nose that certainly existed. The eyes were full of life.
I saw the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg staring back at me after my first flashback. The face they sank into was not mine. The body wasn't. It wasn't May 26, 2005 but September 24th, 2004. Nothing was as it seemed. The eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg caught me from store windows and makeup counter mirrors as I ran from imagined deaths during panic attacks. The eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg were certainly alive, but how aware were they?
Just now I saw the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg regarding me from the mirror. The pupils engulfed the iris. In the early morning light objects still held an impossible magic lost since childhood. The face, certain to exist and wonderfully touchable, held a slightly parted smile full of a gentle ecstasy in drinking in the experience. The fog enveloped the landscape outside. If I wanted to I could have walked on it and slept.
The sad eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg are not imaginary. Their retinas are life-sized. They pass over the nose of a woman at least twice a day. The eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg belong to me--Erin E. Rinker, age 19 and 7 months.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sometimes I wonder about focus.

Sometimes I really wonder if I have issues focusing. Recently I've been completely unmotivated to work... that is, unless I enjoy the project. Everything else bores me to the point where I walk away. If I had issues focusing, I don't think I'd get my personal (fun) projects done. Maybe I am a selective lazy person. I find myself longing for my senior year where we had a month all to ourselves for an internship project. I spent my month sewing and churned out two dresses.

I can't wait until my final projects are over and summer is here. Free to do my own thing again. My eyes are drying up out of their sockets now. Thank god I gave up on contacts. My biopsy scar is hurting. I didn't realize a lump like that could hurt from typing so much.

But I can't complain. Life is good. My friend G went on a cleaning rampage Saturday afternoon. Thanks to him, dust bunnies and lint monsters have been eradicated and all my snacks are stacked up on my shelf. Classes are picked out for next semester--Contemporary Photo Practice II, Advanced Grammar and Translation (French), Turbo Kick/Kickboxing, Intro to Western Art, Basic Composition (Drawing).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Embrace it.

I have learned to face my aversion to West Side Story and embrace it.

If you grew up listening to nothing but version after version of recordings you'd understand too. Every time I hear a piece of music progress like a WSS song I go into defense mode and search it out. Case in point...

At around 1:10 it sounds suspiciously close to "Somewhere." I did whatever the aural equivalent to a double-take is. But not any more. Think of this as the Ludovico Technique, but for music.

Who would have thought? Two milestones in two days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I no longer fear the city.

Up until recently (say, in the past 3 years or so), San Francisco was just that to me. San Francisco. I had my first job in the city. I felt important, commuting to work at age 13. I WAS cool. My friends were jealous. They did odd jobs, but I was officially on payroll. Payroll! At 13!

But then something happened the next year. I suffered through daily panic attacks with no knowledge of how to control them. The Victorians lining Geary Boulevard leaned in to swallow me whole. The cars plowed through crosswalks faster than usual. The City began to go after me. I ran from imagined, terrible deaths only to confront a new and even more terrible (and still imagined) death. Every morning for four months I woke up with my heart pounding. I wouldn't stop thinking about the End until I went to sleep, and even then it followed me in my dreams.

The next summer I got laid off. The workload dwindled and dwindled. I'd come in at nine only to be done at 11. I left the office to eat a pastry at Royal Ground, or to walk along the shining counters of Neiman Marcus. Death no longer chased me in my black patent shoes, up and into the golden day, but rather it waited in the envelope of my last paycheck. What followed was depression, loss of interest in photography, a friend getting hit by a truck, and finally hope. The next summer didn't bring a job, or the one after that, but I could traverse the streets once again. Despite losing a contact while driving in circles in the Mission and subsequently making it home in rush hour traffic without slamming into someone, I was okay. I had the occasional well of fear now and then, but it was nothing.

Today I remembered my old route home for work. The City and I are friends once more.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Good news - mole turned out to be just that--Mr. Benign Mole. Bad news - my arm is still unhappy. I've been putting an assortment of bandages on it since I got the mole chopped out. As such, I have a square frame of hairless arm and a hairless band-aid shape on my arm. Worse yet, it started bleeding (despite being relatively closed-up) after I finished developing some film. The motion from agitating the canister was enough to piss it off because I started to bleed through my band-aid.

Looks like I'm finishing up the year in digital.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bye bye, mole.

Stitches look gnarly. There's still some lidocaine working its magic, but man, this feels funky! I got three stitches to close up the ellipse they cut out of me. My doctor is a great guy. Kept a good sense of humor throughout the whole thing and talked to me about his experiences with photography and photoshop. He told me he had the eye for composing pictures but anything more complicated than that (depth of field, etc) made his eyes spin. I'm willing to bet it's something he knows but doesn't know that he knows. The worst part was the lidocaine injection. It's a combination between a sting and feeling like a hair is getting pulled. No, not even the injection. The worst part is the waiting. In the days leading up to the biopsy I was starting to panic, feeling that good old anxiety creep back. Once I realized exactly how little (i.e., nothing) I was feeling after the injection I started to relax.
I told myself "don't look, don't look" when he began to cut around the mole but curiosity prevailed. And really... it wasn't bad. Watching him cut out the mole and pull it out with forceps was a little more crawlies-inducing. Right now it's looking like it belongs on a Silent Hill monster. My arm is a little sore from the tension from the stitches. Playing Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was not the best idea when I got home. My band-aid quickly detached itself from my arm and to my laptop. Cleaning neosporin off my beautiful shiny machine was not what I had in mind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Biopsy Day

Monday I went to the doctor. The first thing he said when he saw my mole was "I don't like it."

I like to reimagine him saying it like Mr. Horse from Ren and Stimpy.

So, what's not to like about my li'l mole? Well, everything. color, shape, size, pain, mutation... fun times!

I go in Friday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fuse is short and getting shorter.

Photography rage. Yesterday night I went to the darkroom to print some pictures. Let me start with everything that went wrong.
1. I couldn't find the light switch. There were two that I couldn't figure out what the hell they did. For a good amount of time I worked in the frustratingly dark studio.
2. Because I couldn't find the damn lights I messed up my locker combination god knows how many times.
3. Somebody left a leaky fixer container dripping away.
4. Somebody left beer on the floor.
5. Guess who cleaned up 3 and 4?
6. I printed the wrong picture.

Well, I can't complain. I did get one nice print and worked pretty much alone. I eventually found the right lightswitch and once I got the darkroom cleaned up I wasn't slipping all over the place any more.

I dreamed I had a job last night. Perhaps that was the worst part of my day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I think I am fairly patient but today I felt it wearing thin. I love photography but sometimes I forget I am in the beginning class. I was told I could have easily gotten into photo II but there were too many conflicts and honestly, there's nothing wrong with getting a refresher. Today I found myself foaming at the mouth as people asked questions to answers we were just told, or over what kind of shutter speed does what.
I need to remember that I too was once a beginner.

Monday, March 8, 2010


After a friendly sharpied reminder on my hand, I finally remembered to call the doctor. Appointments this week are impossible... f'n midterms. Perhaps the best part about this call was explaining why I needed an appointment.
"My mole mutated and fell off my arm again."
I'm pretty sure I spoke loudly and clearly, but I like to imagine the receptionist got the mental image of a mole hopping up and running away. Unfortunately, the soonest appointment I could get is March 22nd, a whole two weeks from now. Please don't pack up and leave on me again, Mole.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Time to say "ouch"

As a kid, the betrayal of doctors angered me. It still does. I appreciated their honesty in affirming my fears that the shot would hurt. After all, it is a needle getting jabbed into your skin. But when they'd say "You won't even have time to say ouch!" forget it. Of course there's time to say ouch. They seemed to reserve that for only the biggest, most painful shots out there.

I didn't realize how important the tip of my thumb was until I burnt it. Every minute I was running from my enlarger to plunge by hand in a drinking fountain or sink. For now it has hardened into a lump, awaiting its opportunity to burst at an inopportune moment.

I don't think doctors lie as much as you get older. When my second ovarian cyst ruptured February of last year, I got a very big needle full of antibiotics. I knew exactly where it was going to go. More than a little high from painkillers and slightly delusional from the pain I asked "Is this going to hurt?"
Knowing grin. "Turn over."
Needle, meet buttcheek. Yet, for some reason, it didn't hurt. It tingled and my whole leg went numb. The next day was a different story. My French class (at my suggestion) had a hot date at the de Young to look at the Yves Saint Laurent collection. The whole drive from Marin I was balanced on my right side, wincing whenever we turned. I was still a little loopy from all the painkillers I'd been stuffed with and a little woozy from the big dose of antibiotics. I took all the clothing in with wonderment as I shuffled more than a little lopsided in my worn Louboutin flats. This experience later manifested itself in one of my last art projects of senior year. In it, condoms and syringes rain down from above. Balloons fly up into the sky. Rings and hearts cascade down as tacos and ice cream cones take flight across the sky. Silhouettes of the shoes I wore flap into the breeze.

I've come a long way in dealing with needles. Perhaps it's the piercings or the tattoo. But now there's a new contender.

The mole. This mole and I have been locked in a stalemate all my life. When I was 8 (and compulsively picking at my skin) I picked it until it bled. A year or two ago it started itching and bleeding. One night I was in the shower and it simply fell right off. I watched the little spot circle the drain in horror. I picked it up and slapped it back on my arm. It promptly slid off and slipped down the drain. My mole! My precious mole! Why did you leave me?!
Oh wait, you regrew. And mutated. Again. Just last week you pulled the same stunt. Not cool. You and me are going to the doctor.

And part of me still hopes there's no time to say ouch.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Sometimes I'm amazed at my drive to continue photography no matter what it does to me. Freshman year, my papercut hands met with a spilled tray of fixer. I don't think they ever quite healed right because they scarred over like hell. Countless times I've pinched my fingers in an enlarger. I've been stuck in the head with rusty nails while crawling through an abandoned building. Today may just take the stupidity cake. While balancing a messenger bag, camera, and coffee I decided I HAD to get a cool picture of smoke blowing in the wind. So from my nearly 3 year old pack of Lucky Strikes I lit one. Well, lit isn't quite the right word. I fought the lighter. I have never been good with Bic lighters, especially since I accidentally got high in science class in 6th grade when the flint wouldn't strike. The flame finally popped out and promptly blew over my thumb. I have a nice round blister on the very tip. Oh my god, it hurts. But given the choice of a superficial burn versus burning out, I'll take the skin damage any day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Majesty of Colors

I've been writing a journal assignment for my art history class. Yesterday's lecture covered theosophy and Kandinsky, closely intertwined with color and feelings. A few weeks ago I bought a Missoni scarf at Crossroads Trading. It's in dark colors--black, blues, and purple. The schizophrenic zig-zag pattern combined with the colors led me to dub it "The Scarf of Nightmares."

When I was young I had a few very memorable, very artistic dreams. There was one done in a flipbook/sketch kind of view, one done in some kind of chalk flipbook style on black paper (it involved me opening up kitchen cabinets trying to find popcorn, but I found this evil blue box that grew and shot popcorn everywhere), and one that involved an evil bowling pin terrorizing a claymation town.

I had interesting dreams as a kid.

If you haven't heard of "The Majesty of Colors" I suggest you give it a play.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Like Tempest

Sometimes, given how connected we are on the internet, cutting someone off completely is like playing a high-level game of Tempest. You know, that Atari one. You spend all this time shooting down flippers, tankers, and the like (ie, blocking someone from your networks) and then you finally warp down the tube.

Except you gotta watch for spikes (those alts/networks you kinda forgot about) or you'll hit them and explode in a blaze of lines. It's frustrating, but I think I've got them all. I'm warping down that tube and continuing on with my life. No negativity, no more bringing me down.

In other news, I have a job interview tomorrow with the financial center on campus. They're also looking for someone who can work through the summer... which I can. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

brb hypothermia

Today may be the most consciously alive I've felt in a while. Sure, I feel great every day, but sometimes I fall into the monotony. Wake up, eat breakfast, go to classes... you get the idea. I decided to switch it up a little today. I had to go buy film for photography class. The campus shuttle drops us off at Rockridge BART during weekdays, and Looking Glass Photo is only on Telegraph. It would be good to get out. I haven't taken my bike out on the streets in ages. Three miles in a nice, flat area would be relaxing and beautiful.

Seems the weather had different plans. It was overcast when I woke up, overcast when I had lunch, and overcast when I waited for the shuttle. Now or never. I pressed my luck. If it's been overcast this long, it's probably going to hold on a bit longer, right?

The moment I stepped off the shuttle a raindrop smacked against the tip of my nose. Undaunted I pedaled down College. The rain held back, for the most part. When I hit Alcatraz it started to drizzle. There was no turning back. There never was. My lack of helmet and proximity to cars didn't faze me at all, surprising considering the fact that I almost got car-doored on purpose in Richmond at 12 and I once threw myself over the handlebars when I was 13. I didn't have time to worry about that today. I flew down Telegraph headlong into the rain as the wind picked up. Those little spiky balls from sycamores bounced all over the street, mingling with leaves and branches. I chained up Crockett (so named for his Miami Vice color scheme of pepto bismol pink and mint chocolate chip green with gorgeous neon purple lettering) and purchased 4 rolls of film.

Upon exiting, it was raining sideways. No shit. There was no other way back than to ride back. The rain poured on as I unlocked the chain and locked the seat back in. I rode straight into the rain, and then I felt it. Complete exhilaration. The water felt like needles as it hit me. I bounced between declaring "Oh Jesus this HURTS!" and "WO HOO HOO HOO! I'm fuckin' ALIIIVE!"

Rain has never felt so good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fear of Sleep

I'd felt pretty good since cutting him off. I know it's the right thing to do. All of the negativity was dragging me down, and that is something I won't put up with any more.
Sunday night I could tell something was up. I couldn't fall asleep. When I finally did, it didn't last. I woke up having some kind of panic attack or night terror. I mistook whatever it was for an asthma attack.
Whoops. Hello, heart palpitations!
Last night I got out of here and spent the night in wine country. And so I slept somewhat soundly, surrounded by vineyards. Perhaps tonight, back in Oakland, I will sleep just as soundly.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Creativity Surge

I seem to have replaced one thing with another. With caffeine cut off for me after 6 on weekdays, I now obsess about art. I stayed up until 1 getting ideas I wanted to pursue. This is a strange feeling for me. I don't recall being this creative for years. I have been antsy all day and waiting for a spare moment to actualize everything. I feel like I can do these things again. No more feeling like I burned out so early like a young star after Sam the Butcher. That was one success of many.
It's good to be creative again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today is Ash Wednesday. Today I went to my first church service. Ash Wednesday features the imposition of ashes, reminding us that we are dust and someday, we will return to our former state. I pause to think of the impermanence of life. I have existed for 19 years, Mills College for 158 years, and so on. How long exactly will things last? I contemplate the silver in my ring. It fits together like a puzzle. What was it doing before it got mined? Who made this thing, anyway?

I can recall a line from Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" pondered by Rick Deckard.
"This rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die, eventually the last score of music will be destroyed in one way or another; finally the name “Mozart” will vanish, the dust will have won."

Over the next 40 days I will say goodbye to Mountain Dew and caffeine after 6 PM on weekdays. Already I'm craving it. Perhaps now that I'm somewhat less caffeine-addled than normal, I can focus on more important things on my life rather than my next fix.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Photography is a labor of love. There is heartbreak, joy, and everything in between. There's pain when you pinch your fingers or the enlarger, or when you splash fix in your eyes. There's the lamentations until finally, the perfect print is achieved.

I have only eaten a single chocolate muffin today. This is bad. I went to photography and lost track of time. Also bad. My back is screaming at me, my heels are crying, but I am content. Physical pain is nothing. The satisfaction of proving that I am a photographer and have always been one keeps me going.

Now I'm off to go get some real food.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Working it Out

After a couple days of recent drama with a friend, I've cut him off. For now. He told me that I'm the only person he consistently shoves advice at. He expects me to take it and interprets me not using it as not listening. All I hear from him is "You're making a big mistake!" and "I can't wait to see how THAT ends!"
Sarcastic, of course. Over the internet. Right.
I don't need that negativity in my life now. Last night was the first night I got decent sleep. This morning, in self-defense class, I punched a block out of my instructor's hands. It's a good way to wake up. A good place to scream as loud as I want.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Working Woman

Once upon a time, I had an office job. This job was cushy and I got away with a lot of stupid things. But I always did my work. I did stupid things like beat up keyboards, filing cabinets, shoot zip disks out of zip disk drives (they FLY), and concoct terrible things on my lunch break. My work uniform was pretty much whatever I wanted - read: same black Pumas I'd had since I was 13, black shirt of some kind, and either a red linen buttondown or a cornflower blue blouse. It was my way of feeling like a little professional at age 13.
That blouse. Crisp, hanging in my closet for me every morning. Darts sewn flat. It gave me a sense of order. Paired with my favorite dark jeans, it made me feel serious, but not too serious. I could take on the world at my desk, flaunting my cornflower blue shirt, wielding my letter opener, and rocking out to music on the iPod I purchased all by myself. Yes, that shirt gave me confidence.
The next summer, something happened. Shortly after graduation I spiraled into terror. The world was out to get me. I could die any day, for any reason. I didn't know what to do with this strange new feeling. Irrational bouts of terror that I believed would ultimately culminate in death weren't something I could bring into casual conversation.
I dealt with it. Or tried.
Yeah, not so brilliant solution there. Cue four months of trying to look like you're not panicking, trying to keep it all from tumbling down. And I couldn't let it - how good I looked in my little cornflower blue buttondown, cuffs turned up ever-so-slightly with the little-bit-big black jeans (negative sizes don't exist) and the everpresent black shoes. Not a hair out of place. Brand-new black eyeglasses. Hoop earrings all lined up, three per ear.

I have a job interview Friday. The cornflower blue shirt won't be coming with me. I will march into the office, vintage designer wardrobe courtesy of Thrift Town. My skirt is printed with Ferragamo bags, gloves, loafers, scarves, and Hermès Kelly bags. My vintage cashmere cardigan is decorated with hand-sewn pearls. The cornflower blue shirt is back at home in my closet. Since I lost my office job I don't wear my cornflower blue shirt that much, but sometimes I take it out and look at it and feel sad, but triumphant.
Some days I still wonder if death is waiting for me behind a light pole, but for now, I've kept on walking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day of Memories

Today, a day of memories. It started with the smell of fresh-cut grass. All of a sudden I was back in Sea Ranch, tearing around on an ATV while belting out "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing." I stopped walking for a moment to acknowledge the sense of yearning I had for the past. I used to do that a lot to the point where I'd become completely distracted and totally enraptured by my memories. As I walked in the city today I felt as if I was in New York City again. The smell of cars, the air the right temperature.

Smell has to be my favorite sense. It brings back the strongest memories for me. The smell of soaps, perfumes, candy, places, food, and the people I associate them with. Liquorice. Chanel number 5. Cigarette smoke. A forgotten shirt.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Living Life

What can I say? The last few weeks have been great. I dropped that philosophy class like a hot potato and spent the next day running up and down Mills Hall trying to get signatures on my add/drop form before I realized that I could do it electronically. Oh well. All that matters is that I'm taking photography. I had some amazing Thai food in the city my first weekend back. Wednesday night I saw "Avatar," Saturday morning I picked up photography supplies. It's good to be doing things again.

Today has been productive. By 12:45 I had my laundry done, I'd dropped off a bunch of mugs at the chapel, eaten lunch, dropped off an employment application, and I had the laundry folded and away.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Class Review

or, "Why I will punch every single one of you in the face."
Yes, I am going to talk about my classes in terms of why I will punch people in their faces.

French 4 - Good ol' French class. Not much to say here. Why I will punch you in the face: During a particularly heated discussion of group work I will snap.

Personal Defense for Women - I cannot wait to start learning self-defense. I always try to look like I'm "walking with a purpose" and I know where I'm going even if I'm not. I learned this a while back. I can't quite pinpoint when. Perhaps it was growing up with a mom who'd shout "Pick up your feet!" when I'd drag my shoes along (thanks for that, mom. You've saved me so much wear and tear on my shoes), or maybe it was learning ballet. Maybe it was when I bought my first iPod and I didn't want to be anybody's target. Maybe it was when I wanted to show the world that I was put together even when I thought the world was dissolving beneath my feet. Why I will punch you in the face: Self-explanatory.

Art of the Modern World - Oh my god, I'm in love. Art history that I feel is more relevant to me? Sign me up! Why I will punch you in the face: The book. Dear god, the book. I will punch this $123 soft-cover thousand-paged book in its face.

Film in American Society - Three-hour twice-a-week Burke class. I love this man. His passion for his subject keeps my interest even when he goes on his crazy tangents that he somehow manages to lead right back to the start. Why I will punch you in the face: During a particularly spirited reenactment of the Sonny-beating-up-Carlo fight from "The Godfather" I will accidentally hit you. Sorry.

Aesthetics - I have never felt so grossly mislead. The course description sounded like it would be an exploration of why we find the things we find beautiful, the meaning of beauty, and all that.
Well, I was wrong. What I remember from the time I was there was our prof talking about how a good dictionary would be a good investment.
"But what about the changing definition of words? I mean, nemesis doesn't mean what it used to."
Oh god.
"Why do we use words anyway? What is the point of words?"
Get me out of here.
The same three or four people keep talking out of their pretentious asses. I sit in the corner and contemplate suicide by pencil. I don't last the two and a half hours and choose to duck out during break. Someone else can take my spot. Please, take my spot. Why I will punch you in the face: You will drive me up the wall as you muse on the meaning of words like "dictionary," "nemesis," and "the." Then I will punch you in the face.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Well, so much for posting.

Life happens. Today was my first day back in classes. Yesterday I moved in again and I can say it's nice to be back. Break was great, don't get me wrong. I just tend to go a little stir-crazy after a while. I finally replaced my aging G4 Powerbook with its awesome battery life of about 3-5 minutes max with a kickin' rad Macbook Pro. I got my wisdom teeth out and I can say that's a relief. For a while I was grinding my teeth pretty seriously in what I can assume was an involuntary pain management attempt. I like being able to sleep without grinding my teeth like an e-tard now. I got a tattoo, I played video games, and I churned out banana bread muffins like nobody's business. If there is anything I missed while at college, it's cooking.