Dracil’s BlogJournal

July 20, 2008

Tour de Fat

Ok, so as promised, here’s my entry on Tour de Fat at Golden Gate Park from yesterday.

I was actually kinda hesitant to go because of the beer theme (it’s sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company).  But I’m actually glad I went.  Despite the sponorship, it’s basically a bike festival.  I didn’t go for the bike parade but caught most of the other stuff.

As expected, I saw Frank Chu there as well (or his sign at least).

There was also this small area where you could ride these weird bicycles.

Most entertaining group was Nanda.  There was action, there was humor, and there was acrobatics.  Bonus points for the Wong Fei Hung music and the use of Che Ling (not in the same act).

Glad I used my telephoto lens this time as it let me get more shots away from the crowd though I wish I was taller.  Made use of the chairs a lot.


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 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.

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

May 3, 2008

WHO for Taiwan

I attended the walk at the Golden Gate Bridge today to help get Taiwan into the World Health Organization.  The issue is that Taiwan is not allowed to join because China claims Taiwan is one of its provinces.  If that is true, then Taiwan should have access to resources at the WHO, but it is denied access.  Ironically, Taiwan is allowed to participate in completely unimportant things like the Olympics (disagree?  When’s the last time not attending the Olympics caused people to die?)

Anyway, I was one of the first ones there, partly because I wanted to take pictures.  There were two buses, one from the South Bay and one from the East Bay, and there were a dozen or so people from SF.  The walk lasted about three hours including picture taking and lunch and just general waiting time.  On our way back, we passed a 4-car pileup, including a limousine.  The second car from the back had the most damage, but I don’t think anyone was hurt.  The support for our cause was pretty decent from the people around us though we did have one guy flip the bird at us.  He probably thought we were causing the traffic jam from the crash (which would be stupid).

The group makeup was mostly older, middle-aged folks.  The number of people younger than 30 was probably about a dozen, and most of those were from UCSF or came with their parents.

For lunch, there was sushi and dorayaki for the people who didn’t come by the bus.  The bus people also got some home-made zongzi by one of the people there though I did get one too (I think they were intrigued that a “young person” like me had come here by myself to support this :P)

April 25, 2008

Evolution: The Musical!

Evolution: The Musical! is one of the shows being shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which began today.

Yes, it looks absolutely cheesy and horrible.  And you know what the sad thing is?  It’ll still be better than Expelled.  And you know what’s sadder?  I may actually go watch it!  :P  Well, maybe not.  Being better than Expelled isn’t exactly a noteworthy achievement.

The actual musical seems to be only about 35 minutes or so, but since the event’s listed as 130 minutes, it looks like most of it will actually be some live stuff which might be interesting too.

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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