The train to LA

Taking the train from Oceanside to LA is much better than driving.

Fame's a Bitch!

East Village, New York
Photo: Halle Heyman


Casbah bathroom stall

Bathroom stall at Casbah club, San Diego

I don't know how to use the editing software on this PC and I accidentally inverted the colors of the original photo and then decided to keep it.


laughing quietly to myself

About how Bart Connor was a river guide in my dream last night.


laughing quietly to myself

About how a guy walked into the room right when someone said to me, "Well you know one of the Teletubbies was a porn star."


Austin bridge

Pedestrian bridge
Austin, TX


Palm tree graffiti

I'd been waiting to see this, a palm tree tagging.


Michael Franti & Spearhead

I have a new old music crush. I first knew of Michael Franti in the early 90s through The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. After that I heard him with Spearhead but honestly, in the last ten years or so, his music and work kind of slipped off my radar. MY BAD. Because since last night, at a CARE event I was involved in, in Washington DC, my radar is bleeping furiously. It is bleeping for Michael, and for Jolene Rust who sings with him and for Jay Bowman, who plays guitar and has ones of the best all-time smiles I've ever seen. So beautiful to see, all of them, all of it. Gush gush gush.


Minnesota spring

I went to Minnesota for work and stayed an extra day to play with Gail in St. Joseph. When I was in school at the University of Minnesota, Gail and I used to drive from Minneapolis to St. Joe, where she grew up, to visit her mom and eat grilled eggplant and salmon. Gail and her husband Dave and their daughters are now living in that same house on Kraemer Lake so we did the drive up I-94 this past weekend.

Gail is on "spring" break from the school where she teaches. Minnesota should just be honest and rename that break because there is nothing spring-like happening in March up there.

There was snow on the ground and more fell as we drove. We passed several cars that had spun off the highway and were sitting patiently in ditches, waiting to be rescued. In fact, all of the stranded drivers looked so, so calm that we had to laugh. I suspect they keep books in the glove compartment so they're not bored in the ditches that they casually spin into from time to time. Drivers from elsewhere who freak at weather (San Diego = rain and Seattle = snow) could take a lesson from Minnesotans who just carry on.

Gail took me cross-country skiing twice in the 24-hour period that I was with her. The first time we drove to the trail at 5 pm with flashlights in our pockets in case it was dark on our way back to the car. I had no idea what cross-country skiing is like but figured that since it doesn't involve mountains per se it wouldn't be hard. That assumption was incorrect but after awhile I started to get the hang of the rhythm and the glide of the skis and wasn't just clomping awkwardly along.

I stayed on my feet down the first slope but must have psyched myself out because after that I started falling regularly. When the trail split and Gail asked me which course I wanted to take, I thought I was being gutsy when I said, "I think I can hang with intermediate." I didn't know we were going on the black diamond route the next morning regardless.

What are the muscles that connect your armpits to your torso? And the one on the bottom outside of your forearm? Those are killing me right now. Something I didn't realize about cross-country skiing is that you don't stick to level terrain, you also go down AND UP hills.

"Okay, Jess! To go uphill, turn your skis out and try to run! If you lose momentum, it's really hard!"

We saw this bench and Gail suggested it as a photo opportunity. I agreed mainly because it would be a solid excuse to take a break.

The next morning, we skied to the black diamond trail by cutting across Kraemer Lake with Gail and Dave's Alaskan Malamute, Iska, trotting alongside us. I was impressed that we were on frozen ice until later in the day when we were sitting at the table and I looked out of the window.

"You guys, is that a car driving across the lake?"

It was. Dave told me that it took him awhile after moving to Minnesota to be comfortable driving across the water. You have to be really, really sure that the ice isn't going to break, he told me. Um, Dave? Yeah! That occurred to me as well.

Earlier, when it was just us and Iska out there, our skis swishing tracks through the snow and our poles clicking against the ice, it felt so quintessentially northern and wintry that I half expected a National Geographic photographer to show up and document our efforts. Which just shows how grandiose one may get after exercising two days in a row if you are usually somewhat sedentary.

Waking up in St. Joseph, MN

Looking out on Kraemer Lake


Frozen land

I napped on the flight to Minnesota and woke up to this.


Call you in 5?

I got this new phone. It does all kinds of mildly useful stuff that I don't really need, like reject an incoming phone call with a text message. If I can't take a call, I hit a button for a scroll-down menu and choose the message I want to send to the caller. The phone came preset with messages - I'm in a meeting, I'm in class, I'm driving - and there is also the option to create a personalized message.

Jocardo and I came up with a message that I'm going to have to be very careful, when scrolling the menu, not to send to anyone from work. Unless I'm in a mood, then it will be perfect.

I'm up to my chin in ballsack. Call you in 5?

We were pissing ourselves when we made this up and I was dying for him to call me so I could use it on him. Sunny innocently called me first, though, and I was ready. I sent the message and waited for her response, expecting something.

No problem, she said.

3/3 of a family portrait

We have these half-assed training ideas for the dog, things we'd like her to be able to do like play dead on command and fetch beers out of the fridge. Unfortunately we never actually try to teach her to do these tricks, we just talk about how cool it would be if she could.

Once we tried to get her to jump through an empty picture frame a few inches off the floor and I have approximately 70 photos documenting that particular failure. No matter how many treats we held on the other side, she would only run around the side or bark frustratedly. Fine, I thought, she's not a jumper. I was therefore surprised yesterday when Matthew climbed into a tree in the park, told Patsy to jump up and she did. What the hell, dog? Why have you been hiding your awesome?

2/3 of a family portrait, in a tree

The backdrop of this photo reminds me of senior portraits, something I still think about because my experience back in 1993 was not a good one. 1993 was a grumpy year for me. I spent a lot of time feeling outraged and enraged and the day I went for my portraits, I absolutely refused to accommodate the photographer. When I got the proofs back, I became even more distraught. I had put my foot down on all backdrops and props so each shot was me looking into the camera with nothing to distract from my lukewarm expression and face full of acne. I felt like a gargoyle.

I'm sure my mom tried to console me, "They'll be retouched in the yearbook!" and "We'll get more Retin-A!" but I'm also sure it didn't help. Luckily we were allowed one retake and our exchange student, Joanna, who had just come over from England put make up on my face, brushed my hair, and suited me up in one of her leotard tops. The result was passable.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting near the beach making phone calls and set my camera on the soft focus setting that I never use. I took some shots that were laughably idyllic and then a few hand-held photos I thought might be senior portrait-worthy. Do I need more therapy? Maybe.

1/3 of a family portrait, not as grumpy as 1993