Dracil’s BlogJournal

June 12, 2008

Frank Chu and the 12 Galaxies

Filed under: events, personal, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — dracil @ 9:10 am

I’ve seen this guy around and thought the sign was interesting, so I finally decided to look him up.  His name’s Frank Chu and apparently he’s a bit of a celebrity now, if a bit mentally unstable.  I guess I’ll make it a point to take at least one shot of him whenever I see him, which may be pretty often.

May 31, 2008

Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival

So the Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival is back!  At a new, more convenient location (from Solano to Shattuck) too.

Leqi and I left a bit after 10:30 and we got to Berkeley at noon, where we met up with Jenny who was waiting for us at the People’s Cafe.  From there, we went to the Cheese Board Collective for lunch.  Along the way we passed the registration booth for the chalk art so we registered for some space in front of Chez Panisse.  We were given a free chocolate sorbet which was cool but kinda ruined Leqi’s chocolate appetite for the rest of the day ’cause it was too sweet.  We then got some chalk and then had our lunch (a whole pizza that we almost finished).  Sat in the road divider along with other people, pretty neat.

Brainstormed on what to design and we went through some photos and eventually settled on sunflowers with the Chez Panisse logo below.

We got tickets first and then went around trying various stuff (woah, I guess I do like coffee after all, though the caffeine didn’t really wake me) before finally doing our chalk art, which took about 3-3.5 hours.  People seemed to like it, I think it’s because it was so big and full of solid color (which really makes chalk art look cool).  Many said they should’ve given us a free meal.  The employees, particularly this one woman, didn’t seem too pleased by our presence though.  She didn’t even know there was a chalk art festival going on and had come out to ask what we were doing at the beginning.  Oh well.

Afterwards, we went and cleaned ourselves, but when we came back, it was already kinda damaged, I guess by people walking on it to see the menu and/or some kids we saw running around walking on every single art piece.  Ugh.

We ended up having dinner at Great China.  Food was ok, I liked the pork.  But the waitresses seriously need to fill the water.  That’s one of the things I look at when deciding on tip.  Best = fill automatically.  Bad is me having to ask.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Worst would probably be ignoring me and I’d probably withhold all tip in that case.  We gave ok tip I guess for this service, which is actually kinda bad, since I’ve been finding myself overtipping by a fair bit when I’m happy with the service.

Jenny took some pics in the Bart station and I followed suit.  She has a knack for finding interesting vantage points.  :)

May 25, 2008

Carnaval + Buddha’s Birthday Celebration

That was a lot of standing.

8 blocks were barricaded for the Carnaval which confused me, but it turns out the parade was part of a different barricade.  I ended up being 30 minutes late to the parade, but I still caught most of it, because it lasted over 4 hours or so.  I think seeing SambAsia is what made me start to really enjoy it.  Because the guy was singing 島唄 (Shima Uta), which is one of the songs I often sing at karaoke.  It’s a good thing too, because I followed them to a much better spot than the one I started out at.

The difficulty of picture-taking went up through the event though because the people next me kept raising their hands for random goodies being thrown at the crowd, and it got really bad when they got these balloon sticks that one guy kept banging right in front of the camera.  Then they climbed on top of the fence so I had to do it too.  But they kept shaking/kicking the fence too.  Blargh.  That was very annoying.

I managed to take almost 400 decent pictures though, with some videos as well (but since I kept pictures from Bay to Breakers, I had memory issues).  Besides SambAsia, the other things I really liked were the Pirates of Emerson, who had a really cool ship complete with a water/bubble cannon, and there was this group of people riding on cool bicycles that had designs like monsters, vertebrae, or the Golden Gate Bridge.

Afterwards, I went through the booths but that wasn’t nearly as interesting as the parade.  Glad to see all the Obama stuff out there though, including a voter registration drive (though to be honest, California really doesn’t need it :P)

Then I went over to the Buddha Birthday Celebration over at Union Square which wasn’t very interesting actually.  The only cool thing were a couple girls dressed up in Qing Dynasty clothing, but they were asking for $3 donations to have your picture taken with them.  Meh.

Also finally had my camera to catch John F. King II, the drummer guy who I’ve seen on Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building several times now.  He has a website (that doesn’t really work).  But here’s a video of him.

May 22, 2008

Summer Events

Things I’m interested in and will probably attend:

May 24 Tzu Chi Festival
May 24-25 Carnaval SF
May 31 Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival
Jun 1-15 Dine About Town
Jun 7 Berkeley World Music Festival
Jun 7 Worldwide D&D Game Day
Jun 15-Aug 17 Stern Grove Festival
Jun 22 Alice Summerthing
August 17-18 Golden Gate Renaissance Festival

Conventions I’d like to go to but probably won’t because of conflicts/too far/too soon:

May 23-26 Fanime
May 23-26 Kublacon
Aug 29-Sep 1 ConQuest SF

April 23, 2008

Pecha Kucha Night San Francisco

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — dracil @ 11:33 pm

I first learned about this the other day when my coworkers were talking about it at lunch.  It was created by a couple people from Klein-Dytham Architecture in Tokyo.  The word itself is the sound of chatter in Japanese.

The idea is simple.  It begins at 20:20.  You have 20 slides.  You have 20 seconds each.  You must give your presentation on whatever topic you want that’s related to the night’s theme.  That’s it.  It’s basically a way to get through a lot of presentations in a very rapid manner.

Not sure about other Pecha Kucha’s but this particular one was held inside a bar.  So not my type of place.  Mainly ’cause I don’t drink.  Oh sure, one day I’ll poison myself with yeast piss, but tonight wasn’t the night.

Anyway, there were only five presentations tonight.  The theme was “Then” because last month’s theme was “If”.

The first presentation was by Lorenzo Hinojosa, and his presentation was basically about photographing people, and how the act of photography puts you outside the event, and how it also pulls the people you’re photographing outside the event too when they notice they’re being photographed.

The second was by Andy Proehl, whose presentation was on different maps.  His stuff is on flickr under the tag amproehlmaps,  Since a lot of my visitors seem to be interseted in the China/Tibet issue, you may want to see his piece, A Political Map of China & Tibet.  He also called it China Over Tibet.

The third presentation was by Alberto Villarreal, about his now-dead website, algorritmo.com.  I think he said it was “algorithms” and “rhythm” in Spanish.  There was a slide about it being Math+English, but basically there were a bunch of two word themes, like Time & Space, Grid/Organisms, Time * Digital, and people submitted art pieces representing the theme.  You can still see bits of the site on the Internet Archive and the search results from Google Images.  He also has another website over at zanicdesign.com

There was a water break here and I met up with my coworkers where we discussed geeky topics such as how to run a dating site (use a Stable Marriage algorithm) and chess AI and chess grandmasters.  You know, engineer talk.  :P

After that, it was presentation four, by Franxisco Poncé Jr, who had a narrative to go with drawings he made to cope with his grandfather’s death in 1990.

Finally, the last presentation was by Paul Jamtgaard, who talked about mass transit systems, from how bad monorails are to cars on rails systems.  His solution was what he called the “Beehive” which is based on the ability for planes to refuel each other in flight at 400mph.  The idea is there would be “Hive” vehicles on the freeways, and cars would be “Bees”.  A car/driver could figure out when the next Hive was going towards whatever direction they want, then time themselves to get on the freeway at the approximate time, then basically dock to the Hive using the same guidance systems planes use for fueling.  Since cars should be using electricities, you could either pay for your ride by allowing the Hive to draw “honey” (electricty) from your car that was charged from home, or you could pay with money.

All in all, it was a fun experience.  A couple of my coworkers will probably present next time too.

You can learn more about it at http://www.pecha-kucha.org/ or its wikipedia entry.

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