Dracil’s BlogJournal

June 30, 2008

San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade ’08

I knew it was going to be crowded when I looked at the real-time Muni schedule this morning and saw that if I missed the next Muni, I would need to wait almost an hour for the next one.

Anyway, I got there early so I looked at the booths being set up. BTW, drinks are pretty much a rip-off. :P You’re basically forced in to a $5 donation to get a sticker for $1 off drinks, which is still about $1 more than they should be.

After that, went to line up and get a good spot. Luckily, they said tripods were allowed so I was able to use my tripod for the first time. :D While I tried to pick a position that would minimize the possibility of people hitting it, people still managed to find all sorts of ways to bump into the tripod legs (mainly kids). UGH. Also, it was just my luck to be stuck with a group of chainsmokers who were upwind from me. I think I inhaled the equivalent of 20 second-hand cigarettes. Actually, I was more concerned about the ash and particulates getting onto the sensitive parts of equipment since it was fairly windy. Thank goodness for lens hoods. That said, I did develop a bit of a rapport with one of the women, since we were both yelling at the event security people to get out of the way of our cameras. :P

The parade itself was LONG. It went over by about 2 hours. Lots of newly married people, many with signs stating how many decades they’ve been together. Also quite a bit of celebrities like Margaret Cho and Gavin Newsom.

After the parade was over, I made the stupid mistake of actually thinking I could go look at the exhibitions. Very bad idea. I managed to escape and left immediately. The food wasn’t exactly appetizing anymore since it was the exact same stands that I’ve seen to every other event in recent memory (e.g. Carnaval, Precious Cheese North Beach Festival, Alice’s Summerthing). Instead I got food from a place called Broaster Cafe, which actually wasn’t too bad. The drink was way overpriced though (when I’m paying over $1 for a “fountain drink” I expect at least a large cup, not “go pick a can from the fridge”

I never did meet up with Tili (my new housemate) who was supposed to be there as well because they were at Montgomery and I didn’t stick around long after the parade because of the huge crowds.

June 29, 2008

Moving around

Filed under: personal — Tags: — dracil @ 3:27 am

Mmm, almost forgot to blog.

Anyway, today was spent moving from my old room to the new room.  Having closets/cabinets *really* helps to organize my stuff.

The room’s larger/colder/bigger bed/doesn’t have a light (requires lamps)/smaller sliding doorway/has two big cabinets/smaller closet (for hanging stuff) but more divisions to put other stuff, bigger but lower table (not as ergonomic?)

Played with my tripod/ballhead to make sure I know how to use it.  Not sure if I’ll bring it tomorrow, but I’ll definitely need to bring it for July 4th for fireworks.

June 28, 2008

Tea Garden, Critical Mass, Birds, and Aliens

Had a surprise call from Joyce who was free for lunch (she’s usually not free).  So we went and got stuff from Tea Garden.  Boba was good, I thought the meat portion was a little small but otherwise ok, but Joyce said her noodles had been cooked too long so were kinda mushy.  This ended up being a bit of an extended lunch break.  But it was a pretty slow day at work.

After work realized that it was Critical Mass today and I actually knew the time and when it would start, so I actually had time to go prepare unlike the previous times where it caught me completely by surprise.  As such I was able to get some shots of people waiting to start.

I put on my telephoto lens (Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS) and then had fun with it as this was my first time actually using it.  Critical Mass actually became a lot less interesting with these lens and instead, I started photographing birds instead because I was able to get a lot closer (image wise) to them than I’ve been able to before.

Watched Aliens with Ching later on.  This is the special edition version, which is different from the original version I’ve watched countless time back home.  I’m not actually convinced that this version’s better though.  It fleshes the story out more but it also breaks the flow a bit and diminishes the impact of the alien encounter once Ripley and co. went down to the planet.

Then Ching insisted on showing me Death Becomes Her, which I eventually realized I’d seen before.

June 27, 2008


Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , — dracil @ 1:57 am

Watched Alien with Ching tonight.  I guess it’s starting to show its age, since it’s almost 30 years old now.  It’s really not that scary anymore.  It’s a classic for sure, but I never really liked it as much even when I saw it years ago.  I liked the second movie more, maybe because there was more action.  But seeing the first movie also helps you understand some plot elements from the second movie so there’s value in that.

June 25, 2008

Photographers’ Rights

Filed under: Controversy, photography — Tags: , , , , — dracil @ 11:02 pm

One thing that’s come up a few times when I or people I know have been out taking pictures is whether we are actually allowed to do so.  Apparently, in the US, the answer is YES most of the time.  Note, this is purely in the legal sense.  Using common sense and possible ethical dilemmas are another matter.

Situations that I’ve personally encountered so far are:

1) Whether it’s ok to take a picture of a “haunted” house even if the owner is willing to call the cops on you
2) Whether movie theaters have the right to confiscate your stuff if they find you taking pictures inside the theater
3) Whether you can take pictures of people in general even if they object.

The answers to these three questions appear to be yes, no, yes.

In the first case, as long as you’re not on their property, they cannot do anything.  You’re not trespassing and that’s really the key point.  In the second case, nobody can take your stuff without a warrant basically.  If they do, they set themselves up for criminal charges.  The third case is probably the most complicated, because the context matters, during when the picture is taken, and whether or not (or how) the photo is published.  Generally, if the person is in a public place (even on private property) and cannot expect privacy, they’re fair game.  However, you cannot reveal private information about the person or misrepresent them in any way.

Two documents I’ve found quite useful are listed below:


Now, again, this is just the legal stuff.  It’s not going to stop a thug from breaking your camera (or your neck) or protect you from being lynched when some overly paranoid people decide you’re a pedophile because you took some pictures of kids.  So common sense is still a necessity.  :P

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Don’t have Internet connection at home. Lost Internet in the morning actually and nobody fixed it despite my leaving instructions on what needed to be done (call the ISP). So I called and they may need to actually send someone up here, so no Internet for a while. Blah.

Anyway, I was *supposed* to watch Wall-E with Jenny today, but after getting dinner from Tu Lan and then going up, we saw a huge line. Eh, seemed like we would all fit. Turns out pretty much everyone who was still in line was screwed. Doh. So we weren’t able to watch it. Pretty big disappointment. So all we got out of that was a game demo disc and a poster. That’s the SECOND set of advance screening passes that I have not been able to utilize (the first one simply mysteriously disappeared in the mail). Live and learn I guess.

After looking up stuff we could do, we decided to just watch Indiana Jones 4, which wasn’t bad. I remembered enough from the third movie to catch some references, and there were some similar plots/moral lessons. But Harrison Ford looks too old for some of the physical antics he was pulling off though. It’s time for Indiana Jones to retire, I mean the movie’s still set during the mid-Cold War era, before James Bond’s time I think (maybe). Even an Indiana Jones successor would be pretty old if set in modern times.

Also, Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs is out. MUST GET! :D

Note: When I wrote this there was no Internet, backdated to the proper time. Called AT&T this morning and they provisioned a new line for us and now it’s ok.

June 23, 2008

Stuff to do this weekend

Filed under: events, personal — Tags: , , — dracil @ 9:15 pm

Ah, decisions, decisions.

Saturday+Sunday 7:30-4
Wilderness in the City! Glen Canyon Park – Seems interesting, more interested in the camping, but the people I was interested in camping with won’t be here. But sounds like I should visit the park anyway.

Saturday 12-6, Sunday 10-7
San Francisco Gay Pride Celebration – transportation’s going to SUCK, especially on Sunday

Saturday 11PM
Midnight Picnic and Bonfire at Ocean Beach – Sounds fun but I don’t know these people

Saturday 12-2:30
Union Square: Mini-Chocolate Salon – free chocolate tasting? Yes please.

Sunday 2PM
The SF Symphony Plays Stern Grove – close to home but conflicts with Gay Pride stuff

Edit: Whoops, forgot to actually publish this.

June 22, 2008

Alice’s Summerthing

Aww, I got ditched by everyone.

Anyway, got up early in the morning and went over to Leqi’s new place. Brought over some books for her to read while she’s back home. Since there wasn’t really anything to do and she had been up all night and I have not been having enough sleep, we just napped until she had to leave for her flight.

Took the bus straight to Golden Gate Park after that for Alice’s Summerthing. It was… fun. Trapeze looked interesting but the line was long and I didn’t want to leave my bag unattended since I was alone since all three people who were supposed to go didn’t go. :P Besides, the musicians were making (nice) fun of the people on the trapeze.

I did have some of the best garlic fries I’ve ever had (well, it was really the fries), though I think that’s just from them soaking a lot of oil. But the outside was really crunchy while the inside was really smooth.

I should’ve probably just put on my telephoto lens but since I wasn’t able to get a lens hood for it yet I didn’t want to risk it bumping against people. The nice thing about having a 12MP camera is that if I’m not showing the photos at their original size, I can always just crop it instead of resizing it to make it seem closer (which I did for the second and third pics). I also experimented with zooming while taking the picture, a modified version of a technique I learned from Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2 (mainly ’cause I remembered the general idea, but not the specifics). I think it turned out pretty well, though it’s not perfectly steady, which would only really be possible at this distance (no flash) if I had support, like a tripod, which would be pretty hard to set up there anyway since it was so crowded. I got lucky with this shot as it was taken just as Lifehouse’s Jason Wade jumped up. The other bands here today in the order of the photos were Marie Digby, The Last Goodnight, and Ingrid Michaelson. I didn’t get a chance to take a pic of Secondhand Serenade (mostly ’cause I was eating at the time away from the stage and crowds and I was taking pics of everything else).

Aside from a movie on Tuesday, I will finally be able to get some much needed rest. :P

Saturday Outing

Urk, though I woke up around on time, I thought Leqi wasn’t up yet, so wasted a bit of the morning.

We went to eat at Osha Thai first since we were already there.  Garlic Pepper Lamb and Crab Pad Thai and Thai Iced Tea.

We went to my office after that since I needed to print out the tickets and check where the restaurant for dinner was.  Leqi got a very quick tour of my workplace and surprisingly there was actually someone working at the office today.

After that, we looked at the the arts and craft being sold at the Farmer’s Market since she was looking to buy some souvenirs for people back home and then walked our way to Pier 33 since the bus stops looked extremely crowded.

Very long line to get on the Alcatraz Island tour boat though it went by pretty fast.  The boat ride was cool since the wind was REALLY strong.  There were a lot of seagulls there which I hadn’t expected, but it made sense.  The audio tour itself was pretty neat as well, as I was originally disappointed that we weren’t going to get a tour guide (it’s only for night tours).

We then made our way to Ghirardelli Square where we had some sundaes and she got some chocolates to bring back as gifts.

Then we took the bus on over to Foreign Cinema, but since we were early we walked around for a bit first.  We shared the meal again since neither of us were really hungry, but we got half a crab, soup, and a fish dish.  We tried to drag it out so we would actually be there when the film started (it starts when it gets dark, which was around 9 today).

Ching then decided to show up and sorta became a third wheel.  :P

After dinner, we walked her to the Bart station as she was going to go watch the new Hulk movie with her friends, and Leqi and I went home after that as she still needed to pack and I’m watching the movie later with other people.

June 21, 2008

Friday Outing

Ok, wow.  I pretty much didn’t sleep last night.  Think I’m gonna crash soon.  But still so much to do today… eep.

So we went to watch Get Smart first.  That was a pretty cool movie.  I was pretty happy to see that Masi Oka (of Heroes fame) was in the movie, which I didn’t know about.  The main character was also a lot more competent than I’d expected from the trailers.  I thought he was just gonna be a useless deadweight.  :P

Afterwards we ended up going to the Cheesecake Factory which may not have been a good idea as it turned into quite a wait.  We just had calamari and fish and chips and even that was too much really as we had to box the cheesecake immediately.

After going home, we ate one of the cheesecakes with Ching and watched a few random Youtube videos and previewed some movies while deciding what to watch.

Eventually we decided to watch the 40 Year Old Virgin, which also has Steve Carrell in it, so I guess it was a Steve Carrell movie night.  :P  By the time we finished downloading and watching it, it was about 5:30, and I’m going to bed now.

Edit: Wow, just realized there was a gap in events between Cheesecake factory and watching 40YOV.

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