So long to an eternal optimist

Desmond Tutu speaks at Civic Center Plaza.

In 2008, I was fortunate enough to attend a talk and rally by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in support of Tibetan freedom at the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco. This rally was held ahead of the controversial 2008 Olympic torch relay that was making its way through San Francisco during the week.

Much later, I read “The Book of Joy”, a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In my opinion, it’s one of those rare and potentially life changing books. Two men, who have both faced many challenges, share how they managed to remain optimistic and hopeful despite the incredible challenges they’ve faced in their lives.

What a kind, beautiful soul and someone that we needed in our world today.

It’s kind of fun when a band gives you a call out…

In the early 2000’s, one of my favorite punk bands was Tsunami Bomb. I followed them up and down the West Coast, going to a ton of shows and meeting a lot of cool people in the process. They went on hiatus in 2005. In 2009, the had a reunion show up here in the Bay Area, so I went and took a number of photos.

(Interestingly, they reformed again in 2015 with a slightly different lineup… and I sadly haven’t gone to see them live yet).

Anyway, they recently had an Instagram post celebrating their anniversary and posted one of my photos. Nice!

It was a pretty awesome show. A few more photos…

Fox Theater in Oakland

This past Friday, we saw Beats Antique play at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

In fact, I’ve written about them before, 2 years ago! It was a fantastic show — featuring a combination of electronic / world music and belly dancing.

Here are few photos from around Fox Theater before the show (taken with iPhone 4 and Hipstamatic).





Deconstructing Pier 36 [updated]

I’ve been checking out the progress of the Pier 36 teardown the last few weeks along Embarcadero as I walk home from work each day. The pier is being torn down in preparation for the next America’s Cup regatta, to be held in San Francisco in 2013. It’s been a pretty fascinating process to see!

Earlier today, I snapped a few photos with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic photo app. Black and white make for some pretty dramatic photos of a construction site!

Updated: New photos added April 12, 2012.

Deconstruction at Pier 36

Deconstruction at Pier 36

Deconstruction at Pier 36

Deconstruction at Pier 36

Deconstruction at Pier 36

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Deconstructing Pier 36 in San Francisco

Exploring Oakland

Last summer, Kerry and I moved into the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. For one reason or another, life has been pretty busy over the past 6 months, leaving us little time to explore our “new” city.

Well, that ended today! We set out to Jack London Square and the Warehouse District for some good eats at Chop Bar. It was pretty good! According to various tips on Foursquare, they serve the “best hamburgers in all of the East Bay.” It’s definitely on my todo list for next time.

Walking around Jack London Square, we discovered some tall ships docked in the harbor.

Jack London Square

Then there was this awesome statue of Cheemah, Mother of the Spirit-Fire — it’s part of a worldwide project to celebrate ” cultural diversity, world unity and care for the earth.” Awesome!

Jack London Square

After that, we walked around Old Oakland. The buildings have this beautiful old architecture about them and the whole neighborhood was just awesome. So, obviously, the only thing I took a picture of was a sign. D’oh! Time to go back.

Old Oakland

From there, we walked back to our neighborhood in North Oakland. Interestingly enough, the Oakland North blog is running a series on the history of the Temescal District today.

Speaking of Temescal history, earlier this weekend, some friends and I explored the Kingfish Pub, an old dingy dive bar in the neighborhood. Some commenters on Yelp have claimed that it’s the “second oldest bar in Oakland,” but I’ve yet to find an official verification of this source.

The SF Gate wrote about it last year:

It’s a mystery what, exactly, keeps the Kingfish from collapsing.

The roof sags, the beams lean, the floors slope more than some East Bay hills.

“The whole place is twisted. There’s nothing square in it,” said owner Emil Peinert. “One of the windows just popped out.”

The Kingfish Pub in its natural environment:

Kingfish Pub in Oakland

All in all, it was a pretty fun weekend in the East Bay and I’ve found myself loving it more and more. Others have mentioned that Oakland is San Francisco’s own Brooklyn. I believe it!

It’s fun. Does this mean I’m about to start saying “hella” though? Maybe not quite yet. 😉

My impressions of the Fuji FinePix X100

  This piece was originally posted on gdgt. Check it out, here.

Finepix x100 2bs3 460

Alright, I meant to post this awhile ago — here are my impressions of the Fuji FinePix X100 after using it for a week.


  • The viewfinder displays all sorts of awesome live data.
    Holy awesome, I don’t know why more camera manufacturers haven’t done this yet, but the X100’s viewfinder has a live histogram. For me, it’s totally key when trying to nail a photo. I absolutely love using histograms to try and get proper exposure. Plus, there’s all the usual information (aperture, exposure, ISO, grid view).

    Another cool aspect of the viewfinder is that it shows a rectangle that shows the actual field of view of the image that will be captured. This means you can see outside this area and use it for anticipation, planning, or lining up your shot. I love it.

  • The lens is fast! It’s a fixed 35mm lens with an f/2.0 maximum aperture. The bokeh at f/2.0 is nice. It’s super sharp when stopped down to around f/4.
  • Hybrid viewfinder: So, this camera does something kind of interesting. It has a regular old optical viewfinder, but it also comes with an electronic viewfinder as well that can be manually engaged (or automatically engaged when in macro mode) that shows what your camera sees directly from the viewfinder. Sadly, there are cons to this (see down below!).
  • Design: The design is awesome. I love that retro style, and the camera is comparable in size to most micro 4/3’s cameras. Except it has an APS-C sensor inside!
  • The camera sensor: It’s an APS-C sensor — this is the same type of sensor you’d find in most DSLRs. Micro 4/3’s cameras (which are all the rage right now, and roughly the same size at the X100) have a slightly smaller sensor.


  • I wear glasses now, so when I put the viewfinder up to my face, I can’t actually see all the information displayed in the viewfinder. I can see the field of view of the image, but that’s about it.
  • Focus = slow: Oh, man. I lost a number of shots while waiting for the lens to lock focus. It’s actually pretty slow! And this is a problem that I notice happens a lot in low light environments (which the camera should actually be really good at shooting in!).
  • Hybrid viewfinder: This camera does something particularly annoying every single time you take a photo using the optical viewfinder. After you take an image, the electronic viewfinder pops up and shows you the most recent image you took. There’s no way to turn this off. Are you in the middle of trying to capture a series of action shots? Too bad! “Snap — view photos for 1 – 2 seconds — snap! — view next photo for 1 – 2 seconds — snap! — oh, my God, just let me take photos and look at things later!”

    The other issue I have with this (and all electronic viewfinders in general) is the general poor quality and low resolution of the image you see.

  • Slow to try and setup for a shot: This might be my limited amount of time with the camera and inability to truly get used to it, but I found it a pain to try and setup the camera properly for shots as I walked around Austin and San Francisco with it. Changing lighting conditions (which normally don’t phase me, even on my DSLR), wrecked havoc on my ability to take photos. There’s not really an automatic mode (for better or for worse) — this camera is for really seasoned professionals who know their stuff (do you know your Sunny 16 rules? If so, you can probably be comfortable using this camera).

I played with a Nikon D3x this weekend! Holy awesome.

  This piece was originally posted on gdgt. Check it out, here.

D3x oub 460

A friend of mine (see Marcie Lynn Photography) rented a Nikon D3x this weekend for a photo shoot. She took it along on a wine tasting trip a number of us went on, and I had a chance to play around with it.

The photos that came out of this thing were absolutely incredible. That said, it’s a beast of a camera and you probably need a Sherpa or two to help you carry around the camera and lenses.

It’s a 24.4MP full-frame camera. Coupled with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, this thing practically had night vision. It also absolutely nailed the focus on photos and the images were tack sharp.

The really interesting thing about 24.4MP is your ability to crop the image and still maintain high enough resolution for multiple uses. That was the most impressive thing, in my opinion. You could take a group photo of 10 people, then zoom into any one of them, and there was enough resolution and fidelity for a flawless 8 x 10 portrait. Incredible!

The other impressive thing was the image quality at ISO 6400. Properly exposed, you could barely see any grain! Seriously, that’s insane.

This is totally going on my “WANT-but-probably-not-ever-own” list. Anyone have $9,000 laying around?

The final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour

STS-134 NASA Tweetup

STS-134 NASA Tweetup and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour

On April 28th and April 29th, 2011, I was fortunate enough to participate in the NASA Tweetup for STS-134. It was to be the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the second to last mission in the Space Shuttle program. I traveled to the Space Coast from San Francisco and spent three fantastic days with fellow Twitter users and enthusiastic space geeks at Kennedy Space Center. Things didn’t always go as planned (you’ll see), but it was an experience that I’ll cherish and never forget. Godspeed, Endeavour.

Continue reading “The final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour”