People, Photography, Travel

Why beach towns are like refuges | Santa Monica edition

When life gets so frustrating you realize you’re walking around clenching your fists for parts of the day, nothing quite washes it away like a day with the ocean.


When I hear the crashing of it’s waves I can feel myself pounding the sand.

The ocean is so patient. It slowly builds. Pushing itself as far as it can go onto the shore, stretching every last drop,  just to rescind again.


There’s so much life in it’s hands. Swimming, breathing, procreating, shitting, having lunch. It’s an entire system of things we couldn’t possibly imagine. The tiniest of creatures. The most vulnerable of species.  And yet it’s mostly indestructible and unknown.


I would say I want to be like the ocean when I grow up but it’s so bipolar. Some days it’s calm. Some days it’s muggy. Some days it rages.


I’ll never know what it’s like to have grown up on the beach, but I envy those that did. Beach towns feel like a refuge to me.


There’s something for everyone.


You can wear what you want.


Sometimes there are dinosaurs.


Sometimes there is really good beer.


And a lot of the time, there’s love.


People, Travel

I met a woman on a plane

She fumbled with her seat belt. Nervously mashing one piece of the buckle into the other, shaking so vigorously it could have been mistaken for a poor joke.

She finally clicked the metallic pieces in. Airline belts are like the dodo bird, unusual in nature and generally useless. Still shaking, she shifted in her tiny, long seat. Turning her head to look out the window but never really seeing. There was too much on her mind. Flustered she would appear to the man who hesitantly sat next to her.

Every few seconds she would clear her throat. Not too loudly but just enough for him to consider sly ways to change seats.

As she sat there feeling nothing, staring at nothing, she overheard women behind her talking about a teaching program.

“My son does that.

“Sorry to butt into your conversation, it’s just a select few who are chosen. You ladies have a nice flight.”

“No, please. Join us!”

“No really. You see, my father died today. At 11 am. He lived a great 91 years.

“But anyway, I’m not very cheerful right now.

“Thank you.”

She actually said this all incredibly cheerfully. Ironically even. But she didn’t notice. All she wanted to do was sleep. Sleep it all away.

Maybe some cold OJ would help. Not peanuts, no.

It’s disorienting when your mind is completely bare but your heart is heavy with pressure.

Is it still beating? Or is that pounding in my head?

The OJ didn’t help with her shaking.

He shut the air vent.

Is it cold? I can’t remember the feeling.

She touches her neck absentmindedly, surprising herself with the feeling of skin on skin. His hadn’t felt like any skin she had touched before. But it reminded her what cold was. Now she needed to hold herself from shaking too hard again.

She had frizzy, curly, dark, short hair. She wore glasses with a titanium rim. Round and wide like her. Jewelry that matched. Gold earrings, three rings, a gold bracelet, and a gold, half moon shaped necklace with diamonds in it. She was married but alone.

Big belly, boney knees, big ears, normal sized hands. She was wearing khaki shorts and a sky blue shirt with a white, patchy, brush print.

The experience of sitting by a window on a plane is completely dependent on the time of day and how close you are to the wing. When it’s utterly pitch black, sitting by a window can feel like being in space or having your eyes closed.

She remembered when she was a young girl she loved sitting in her closet in complete darkness and opening her eyes as wide as possible. And then closing them tightly. Reaching, straining to make the shapes she knew were there appear.

Whiffs of white, brushes of pink, lightning blue.

Thinking back it occurs to her that those colors and lights never existed. They were made up by her mind because she wanted to see something in the darkness so badly.

Now as she stares out the airplane window that yearning returns. She closes her eyes tightly, and clenches her fists, wanting to see something in the darkness. Wanting to feel something else in her heart.



Things you’ll learn during an excursion

1) Always check to make sure the places you want to go are open.

I like being spontaneous. But I’m also impatient and I devastate easily. Biking my heart out to find a locked gate isn’t as much fun. But it was a good lesson to learn. 

2) Sometimes things look soft and harmless but they are really spiky, ninja weeds that will fuck your legs up.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a kid inside. While that sounds whimsical and fun, it’s also very stupid. Like when I hypothesized about breaking into the botanic gardens in town and hiked up the side of the hill to check for holes in the fence and ended up being pierced by a billion tiny thorns. Picture below.

3) Not all U-locks will save your bike. Watch this jerk open one with a pen. If you care about your bike, take the time to find a good lock for it.

I don’t actually have one. But I’ve seen bikes get stolen and I figured now was the time to make my public service announcement. Thank you.

4) Always bring water. Even if you don’t use it, it’s just better to have it. Especially if you don’t adhere to rule number one.

5) Bobby pins will keep your cap in place. Especially when you’re using someone else’s cap because you’re too lazy to buy your own.

Keep in mind the bobby pins will also try to pull the skin off of your skull when you’re biking down hill. Worth it.

6) Any bag has the potential to be a back pack. Just keep sticking your arms through the straps until one way works.

Make sure it closes well enough or people will assume you’re santa claus gifting your belongings to random passersby. 

7) Try to use your phone as little as possible when you’re on your excursion.

When you realize how incredibly hard this is, invest in a wrist watch that has a compass.

8) At every place you go, take in as much as you can. Even if it’s how much you hate the place.

9) Learn to not be bothered by bugs.

Almost every human being on the planet is a predator of bugs. There’s a whole industry dedicated to their demise. If they were going to disappear, they would be on their way to extinction by now.

10) Some items are invaluable such as paper towels, clothespins, and pockets.

11) Most mean people are teenagers.

Those teenagers are mean to adults and that’s how you get mean adults.

12) At the end of every good excursion there should be a nice, cold beer. And maybe a shower.

photo (5)

People, Travel

The people and city of Los Angeles

This past weekend I was in Los Angeles cheering on a great man in the LA Marathon. To see blubbering photos of said man go here.

We  biked around a lot of  downtown Los Angeles. It made me miss home. There’s just something about a big city that makes me deeply happy.

cold pop man

hot dog vendor





food trucker



tree and birds

night art


Technology, Travel

Kony 2012: Invisible Children video. Some say cause others conspiracy.

If you have so much as signed in to Twitter today, you recognize the name Kony.

This movement has gone viral on so many platforms, you’re overwhelmed with it before you even know what it is.

Kony 2012 is a documentary film running rapid online in hopes of raising support and awareness for the arrest of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.

The video explains how Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has reportedly kidnapped up to 30,000 children and forced them to act as an army in order to maintain his power. The film was made by a campaign group known as Invisible Children, started by filmmaker Jason Russell.

The video tells the abysmal story of children in Uganda fearing for their lives. It explains how young girls are being forced into becoming sex slaves. Out of fear of being killed, young boys deform the faces of their victims to send a message that Kony is still in power.

So why is it all over your news feed?

To quote the organization behind this campaign, “KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

This group is harnessing the power of sharing to demand the world’s attention focus on these tragic and ongoing events.

They have planned an event in April called “Cover the Night” where people will, quite literally, paint the town in Kony 2012 propaganda. Much like your social media feeds are being dominated by this new trend, so will your streets.

The power of social media is truly astonishing. I never thought Twitter could make me feel this humble or leave me with such a great sense of community worldwide. I truly hope that by next week we are all sick of hearing about this and the news has turned to focus on his capture.

WordPress is being ridiculous: Here is the link to the video.

On the other side of the spectrum we have The Daily What. A popular tumblr blog that writes, “The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ‘misleading,’ ‘naive,’ and ‘dangerous’ by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of ‘manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.'”

I did some research and found that is published by the Council on Foreign Affairs which is a nonprofit think tank founded in 1921 with it’s headquarters in D.C. While they appear to be influential and blog regularly for CNN, they have also been accused of conspiracy theorizing.

Travel, Uncategorized

Walking with Orbison part three


The leaves finally changed.

This was actually at the Arboretum in Houston but I felt like it set the mood of this walk with Orbison.

evidence of rain

It also finally rained.

It’s been raining all week. Orbison hates showers. He acts like I’m trying to stick him in a boiling cauldron and maneuvers himself so forcefully into the crevasse of the wall.

But he loves the rain. He runs and runs and runs.


I was really impressed with this trunk face. I don’t know how they managed to get it to look like it grew into the tree. The lights looked out of place. I imagined how annoying it would be to have lights wrapped around my face.

No bueno.


Orbi finds the coolest stuff.

I’ve seen this one around town several times. Turns out it belongs to the medical center. It’s pretty.


This is my favorite picture from the walk. I saw all these birds perched on the branches by the boat. Orbison was off smelling things so he wasn’t scaring them. I knew I only had a matter of seconds to get the shot. I was also wearing boots so I had to tip-toe in boots. This is not an easy task. There are at least 3 boats in this neighborhood.

I love my walks with Orbison.


Paper airplanes

Paper airplanes are the most unreliable, inaccurate, unstable and unpredictable three dimensional object one could possibly construct out of paper.

The best looking airplanes are usually the worst. Maybe it’s the deceit.

I remember the first time I crafted one. I would have been unsurprised if you had asked me how long I’d been an engineer. Clearly I knew what I was doing.


It was magnificent and symmetrical. I could already see it soaring. I also pictured it coming back to me like a boomerang. Those were good days.

But as you cast more paper airplanes the aspirations and hope you had so carefully creased into the blades begins to fade.

This isn’t at all like you pictured it. They don’t do any of the things you expected them too.

Now don’t get me wrong. Some of those airplanes are fun. They’ll have you chasing them around giggling your ass off because they slightly hover over your hands while simultaneously gaining more momentum and gliding farther. Then you run faster. You jump, you slide, you stare up at the sky so much you almost fall backwards.

And then you get tired of course and forget the paper airplanes.

Until that day, where there isn’t anything to do. Humming around your apartment you see a solid object waving at you as if trying to get your attention. It is then that you feel that wind in your heart and a twirl in your hands again.This is the perfect paper for a paper airplane.

Some airplanes fly straight.

Perhaps not at first try but after some practice and adjustments, you can combine the flick of a wrist and the weight of shape in your hands to produce equilibrium and height.

Lately I’ve been wondering what to do with a paper plane I think would be wonderful. See there isn’t any room where I am. It is such a shame to waste what appears to be a good paper plane. Planes were made to fly. If you can’t fly them should you just forget them until you can? Or should you just find a way to fly them anyway?