14 December 2008

hard work

I just wrote all day long, and now I'm exhausted and hungry and I could use a drink and a nap and some water (I'm currently drinking a lot of water) and I'M TIRED.

Holy shit.

This doesn't feel bad. It doesn't feel bad at all. It's very strange.

12 December 2008


Oh, hello.

ONE DAY after I posted about all the things I've done with my bike, I jumped on an eastbound Wilshire bus, rode to Figueroa, hopped off, checked the address of my friend's birthday, and then noted, calmly, that my bike was missing.

And by "missing" I mean "no longer with me" as in "still on the bus." But it took me a while to realize this; my mind cycled* through assuming someone had stolen it in front of my face, to thinking I had left it unlocked around the corner, to realizing that I had just done something really quite dumb. Then I became significantly less calm.

[* Sorry.]

It takes three days to process items left on the bus. It was late enough that I (and the MTA) consider it lost on Wednesday. Wednesday + 3 + weekend = Monday.

In the meantime, I'm taking the advice of this guy and focusing on the things I can control:

Adding non-advertising work to my design portfolio
Getting better sleep
Changing my health insurance
Replacing these jeans

And taking the eponymous Squeaky Nishiki in for a re-fit:

Removing the fenders
Replacing 27" wheels with 700x23 wheels with a fixed hub
Removing the rear cassette
Adding an appropriately-toothed rear cog and lockring
Removing 1 front chainring
Adjusting/replacing brake levers
Removing some chain links
Raising the seat post and replacing the saddle

... But I'm not going crazy with the re-fit. I might leave it on a bus, after all.

08 December 2008

new developments on my bike

In order of appearance:

A couple months back, I bunged up a brake lever. I replaced the pair with in-line levers. (They're housed on either side of the stem, not on the drops.)

Old bartape plus a missing tube plug meant new sets of both. Experimented briefly with white bar tape, but a.) eh and b.) it got filthy in three minutes. Back to black.

I'd been riding with my seat too low. I didn't notice because I was focusing on the difference in riding with drops. A new seat post let me raise that sucker a good three inches, and suddenly I have a lot more power.

I went from 27" wheels with 1.5-inch diameter inner tubes to 700s with 23mm diameter inner tubes. A smaller, thinner wheel gives the frame more space and highlights the fact that it's really quite small (49"). Raising that seat made the bike look downright dainty.

I got the wheelset (or half of it) for doing some work for a fixed-gear shop, and so I was paid in fixed-gear parts. The rear wheel has a flip flop hub. So I flipped it. I'm learning how to trackstand.

New lights. Because when someone points out that those gummy Knog ones look like cystic outgrowths bulging from your seatpost and stem, you can never ever wash that imagery from your mind.

My bottle cage got in the way of hiking my bike onto my shoulder to take it up and down stairs. I've been doing more of that lately, for one reason or another. Off it goes.

My brakes screamed bloody murder. I replaced the brake pads, and now we're good to go ... downhill. (A fixed-gear bike negates the need for brakes, but I'm keeping at least the front one as a backstop. Maybe it's not so hardcore. I'm okay with this.)

And there you have it. It's like a whole new bike.

mind-blowing conversations

Tim: "Why don't you teach dance?"
Katie: "... Yeah, why DON'T I teach dance?"

I was a dancer, in high school and a little after. A serious dancer. Performing-lead-roles-at-the-age-of-15 serious. Missing-prom serious. I wasn't going to take the SAT because I figured I wouldn't need to. (Then I won a National Merit Scholarship and figured maybe I should.) I quit at 20 to study architecture in New York City, a city with which I had fallen in love during my dance training.

In the spirit of using the whole caribou, so to speak, and forgive me for using the phrase "using the whole caribou," not to mention the phrase "so to speak," wouldn't it be nice to put some of that training to use? I mean crap, I trained for years and at some damned fine schools. And what am I doing with that? Nothing. Wasteful, really. And selfish.

Thanks, Tim, for pointing that out. No really. You're awesome.

(He is.)

06 November 2008



I've been surly, brethren and sistren. Very surly. Mostly about voting lameness, alleycats, underemployment, and California's failure to grant basic civil rights to people based on who those people choose to love.

That's so gay.

But! This is not the first time I've been surly, oh, no. As such, I'm prepared. I have weapons in my arsenal. I have strategies and tactics. I have resources and support.

I have kittenwar.

Seriously. After five minutes of kittenwar, the world really does look like a better place. A place with kittens, and cameras, and a little basic code. If I live in a world where kittenwar can exist, there is hope.

May the cutest kitten win.

05 November 2008


N O V E M B E R 2

November 2 was election day in 2004. The shirt I'm wearing in this photo (actually an iron-on) was part of a grass-roots, non-partisan, get-out-the-vote campaign, and the agency was none other than wee, scrappy Wieden+Kennedy 12. (Which is a school. Well. An agency disguised as a school. OK, an experiment disguised as an agency, disguised as a school.) I wear the shirt every election day, local or national, because I believe that people, speaking together, as one voice, can make big change.

Kind of like what happened yesterday.

Also yesterday, debate raged about whether it's okay to tell undecided/uninformed voters how to vote on local measures on the day of the election, the idea being you're helping them by introducing them to the political process.


If you don't have opinions about issues on the ballot, and if you take someone else's suggestions without researching them, you are essentially letting that person vote for you, which is not the same as voting. It's a lazy, complacent simulation of voting. Voting is harder than that. Voting SHOULD be harder than that. Voting should take time & research & discussion, because you'd be surprised at how vastly your opinion might differ from people you know very well. And there's no real shortcut to finding that out other than research and discussion.


Telling someone else how to vote without references or citations is arrogant, condescending, and self-serving. Nobody has the authority to tell someone else how to vote, without discussion or debate, on the day of the election. No body. Doing so is not helpful to anyone but yourself -- you're making your vote count more times than you are allowed. To recap: You are allowed one vote.

In the olden days, if you got other people to vote the way you wanted them to, you had to pay them, and it was called "vote buying," and it was illegal. And it was not a true reflection of the will of the people. Which is

the entire


of voting.


If you're thinking of voting: Read. Debate. Listen. Think. Debate some more. Then go to the polls. Draw the curtains. And vote. But really vote, yeah? Don't vote blindly or vote the way someone told you to vote. Because voting with ignorance, apathy, & sloth is far more dangerous than not-voting with ignorance, apathy, & sloth.

If you're thinking of telling impressionable, undecided, lazy people how to vote: Don't. Just ... don't.

03 November 2008


Saturday, I helped my friend Shannon host an alleycat. Here are some of the spokecards, "designed" in roughly ten minutes, by yours truly. The theme was "scary, scary things."

Alleycats are hard on racers. 20-25 miles through the city, and you don't know the checkpoints til you start, and you have to do things at each checkpoint. Fun ... but hard. (A more thorough run-down of how they work is buried in this post about LA Brakeless' opening party. But they're also hard on planners. The planner has to research routes, organize props at the checkpoints, organize people at the checkpoints, figure out the party at the end, and otherwise keep everyone on track and on time. Which is hard with bikers. "Like herding cats."

So when only five people showed up on Saturday, it was a little disappointing. But we weren't fussed; everyone was full of candy and hangover, and even the racers looked tired. Much more disappointing was when three out of five racers decided not to finish. Decided -- didn't blow out a tire or bust an ankle or accidentally get on the freeway. (It happens .... ) Sat on their saddle and thought, "eh." One rider (I won't call him a racer) decided not to finish because his friend didn't finish. Actually!

If you say you're coming to an alleycat, then come to an alleycat, and be prepared to ride a goddamned alleycat. If you're too cool to try, to be seen caring for anything or exerting some fucking effort, then you might as well just walk up before the race begins and ask for the DFL prize.

You might as well ask. But you won't get it, because you won't have earned it. DFL is for finishers.

02 November 2008

this guy was pretty smart

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

-- Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass: By the Roadside (1855)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I think I've been ranging columns.
Goddammitt, Walt! Just ... goddammitt.

25 October 2008

freelance vs. nolance

I've been lookin' for work lately, and it's been a long process. I'm doing a couple side projects while I search, and the more I do this, the more I wonder if I need (or even want) a long-term, full time gig. There's something awfully nice about being able to do what I want for a couple days, whether that "what I want" is drawing, writing, loading up on 1930s UFA films, traveling, or ... watching ... more 1930s UFA films.

And it's come to the attention of everyone who uses money that the economy's for shit at the moment. So employers are less likely to hire someone on as a salaried employee, anyway. Which means I might be in the perfect spot to freelance. I certainly amn't going to thank any stars that my 401(K) won't cover my credit card debt, but said shitty economy might help me get a freelance gig that otherwise wouldn't be freelance. So yay.

The other option, as proposed by some dude from Ohio, is to get a job, not necessarily in my previous career path, and spend my off time (which I will have, because I don't sleep, which worked out well for me in advertising) doing what it is that I do. Drawing, writing, drawing-and-writing, makin' stuff. Fearsome! This option has a very strong appeal, despite the fearsomeness, which is to say I just might do it. Wondering if I HAVE to do it, now that I've written it down and now that I've told you three about it. Now that I've climbed the ladder to the diving board.

In sum: No ad-job means some other job means doing what I really want until what I really want pays. I find myself chasing a dream I didn't realize I had. It's almost as though the universe is conspiring to get me to do what really makes me happy. And that's neat.

Thanks, universe. I owe you one.

22 October 2008

competitive cycling

If I ride bikes like an asshole, and don't wait for my slower biking friends, and pass people every chance I get just to see if I can, can I put down that I'm a "competitive cyclist" on my resume?


OK cool.

15 October 2008

exciting julys

Weird stuff happens to me in July. I used to think July was unlucky or something, but this last one got me thinking maybe no. Here are six things in five Julys over 11 years:

JULY 1997
I decided not to pursue a career in classical and contemporary ballet after 13 years of training and performance. This was not an incident but a decision -- it didn't happen to me, I happened to it. It was hard. It was the right decision. No luck involved.

JULY 2001
A summer job at an architectural antiques showroom was cut short when the building fell down owing to dodgy construction. The owner had not gotten the proper permits and, in fact, had been told to cease construction twice. During the collapse, I was on the roof (which was unaffected). I was supposed to be on the 3rd floor (which was very much affected and would have meant a three-story drop alongside and under marble mantlepieces, ceramic bathtubs and sinks, and glass chandeliers). After I gave my statement to the police, I stopped to get a cup of coffee, realized I'd left my bag (with my wallet and paycheck in it) on the roof, broke down into tears, and discovered that the person behind me in line was a psychologist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. My aunt, herself recovering from a spiral fracture in her femur, said I was the luckiest person she knew.

JULY 2003
After being in Cambodia for over a year (drawing comics, tending a bar I co-owned, and freelance architectural drafting), the Assistant District Attorney of New York rang me up. He was finally bringing the building-collapse case to court. (The original court date was scheduled for September 12th, 2001, a.k.a. The Day After 9/11, in the courthouse across the street from the World Trade Center.) In a third-world country with limited phone and e-mail access on the other side of the world, I was the only employee they could find. "Where the hell did the other ones go?" I asked the D.A.. It got me thinking about going back to the States and provided the beginning of an exit strategy. I told them that I would testify if they would pay my airfare to New York. They agreed. Lucky.

JULY 2003
On a four-hour taxi ride from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The taxi hit a guard rail, flipped forward twice, and landed right-side-up again. I was in the passenger seat with no functional seat belt. The seven (7) people in the back seats were not injured; they were packed in too tightly to have room to bang around. I broke my arm, fractured my shoulderblade, and broke two toes, one of which was later amputated. On my flight back to the States, already booked for the court appearance, I got an automatic upgrade to first class, which was 14 hours of loveliness on Thai Airways. But I should never have agreed to travel four hours in a car with no functional seatbelt in the first place. No luck involved.

JULY 2004
Will, my sister's ex-boyfriend and at one time my good friend, died of a drug overdose at the very end of the month (he was found in the first days of August). I was sad and angry. This complicated, brilliant, troubled person who had acted very, very badly towards my sister, the sister who is my hero, who has saved my ass on many occasions, who is smarter and kinder and more everything than I will ever be ... he was suddenly a saint in the eyes of many. And I couldn't tell him how mad I was, hold him accountable for all the shit he'd pulled in the last months of his life. HOW DARE HE. No luck involved.

JULY 2008
I went on vacation. An old friend confessed his undying affection. I was laid off after two years to the day. I went to the ER with a kidney infection. All this happened in the space of two weeks. (The undying affection did die, after I pointed out we have nothing in common, including but not limited to values, humor, tastes.) It forced me to re-assess what I do, what I'm good at doing, what I want to do, and where. And why. Still doing all of that, especially the "what I want to do" part. Good luck, mostly, though I can't say anything good at all about a kidney infection.

Five Julys, six incidents. Three were lucky, and three were luckless -- neither lucky nor unlucky. I netted out lucky, and I have some good stories. I think I'm ready for some boring Julys, though. Maybe for a long time.

01 October 2008

what i would have twittered: flight edition


"This plane is smaller than the plane I took to Portland back in July. And that plane was totally wee."

"This plane is full of golfers. Or people who want to look like golfers. Giant golfers. #weeplane"

"Dude. I can't believe I scheduled a flight during the Obama/McCain debates. DUDE."

"O, grate! Loud-talker immediately behind me has decided to give life advice to his row-mate."

"Ever decide you just don't like someone on very little evidence? I do. #lifeadviceguy"

"My iPhone thinks I really REALLY like the following bands: Copy, Pistolera, The Dismemberment Plan (always with the Plan!), El-P."

"Turns out Christopher and I have nothing in common, including but not limited to values, humor, tastes. Go figure."

"Feels like wheels of plane made contact with tarmac, yet we're several thousand feet above ground. Worrisome?"

"When I decide to cut my hair, I want it cut nownow, so I often cut it myself. Want to cut it now. Resisting cutting in airplane bathroom."

"#lifeadviceguy taught Mexican row-mate to say 'yes' like an American (i.e., not 'tchess' but 'yes'). Life advice guy really proud of him."

"Actually plugging my ears so as to not hear #lifeadviceguy. Plane taxiing = no portable music devices allowed."

"It's hot and humid, and everyone has perfect teeth, and I'm within 20 minutes of my bike, and I smell doughnuts. It's good to be home."

29 September 2008

work values

I'm going to kick this off by stating that this is not a post about my feelings; it's a post about what helps me make good work. The following things will set the conditions properly for making good work, which is something I ... well, feel very strongly about. Dammitt, I guess it is about my feelings.


My idea might be great, but maybe you can help find a better medium for it. Or a better line. Or the perfect image I didn't know existed. Maybe it's not that readily broken down -- we both make ideas better as we talk them out, building on each other's thoughts & taking them to crazy, improbable heights. Then, we can break off & focus on specific aspects of it, let the brain wander then rope it back in. I don't believe in collaboration, exclusively, & I don't believe in lone brilliant minds, exclusively. I believe genius can be learned, & I believe hard singular work can also be learned. Let's make room for both.

If individuals (or the whole office, god forbid) is caustic, or apathetic, or inflexible, or defensive, bad work will come out of it. The work will reflect the ethos of the place where it's made. Smiling all the time is pathological, so let's not be total weirdos here. But remember why you like working here before you step in the door. Shit's not on? That's cool, let's talk about it. But keep a sense of optimism & benevolence with you throughout the day.

The free exchange of ideas is reinforced by wide open spaces where you can let unexpected influences leak in, make a suggestion to a colleague, or bounce an idea off someone without having to walk down a corridor or clutter their in-box. It's a messier and less precious way of working, and it's amazing. Also natural light. Natural light is really just so very sweet.

This isn't school, and this isn't a place for me to work on my fantasy portfolio & get paid at the same time. If the work is beautiful but no one understands the message, then it's a failure. If the work gets negative attention, that's also a failure. Our work must do its job -- to help companies get their brand message out there (without being gross). If our work isn't doing it's job, fire our work (KILL IT).

Medium-sized. Like, 25-150 people.

Only I can bring what I bring. Hire me for the whole package, with writing, and design, and biking, and ballet, and comic books, and bartending in it. Don't think I'll bring every ounce of my experience with me? You're wrong. Compensate me accordingly.

Meetings get bad press because most meetings are bad. They did earn the bad press. But there's such a thing as a good meeting. A good meeting has minutes, and agendas, and open dialogue, and strongly held opinions, and good will, and doughnuts. Honesty, benevolence, & baked goods ... now that's a good meeting.

Did I mention doughnuts?

If I have an idea that changes the brief, and I can support it, trust that I'm not doing so idly or for my own wily purposes. Allow me to present two versions -- the version that sticks to the brief like a barnacle, and my version. Am I asking you for permission to do more work? Yes. Yes, I am.

Those are the mains. Pretty much everything else is negotiable. "Doughnuts aren't negotiable?" Nope. How can I put this more clearly? I am going to need some doughnuts.


21 September 2008

C.R.A.N.K. MOB taught me: los angeles is good for biking

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my first-ever group ride in Los Angeles. That ride was C.R.A.N.K. MOB.

I hated biking in LA when I first moved here. I was bad at it. I'd moved from a city with three bike shops in every neighborhood to a city with more, bigger neighborhoods and fewer shops. I rarely saw other bikers on the road. Those I saw were mostly road racers, and I didn't have much in common with them. But I did enjoy it for its own sake, whether I had a community behind me or not, and I did learn more about bikes on my own, mostly by necessity. Then I found out about Midnight Ridazz from a co-worker who saw me bike in to work. (Thanks, Kristy.)

We went on that first C.R.A.N.K. MOB together, and I was stunned. It implanted in me the desire to be better, stronger, and faster. It shook the complacency right out of me, as suddenly I was exposed to a much bigger variety of kinds of bikes, of bikers, than previously. I saw how much more there was to know.

Over time, the more rides I went on, the more I rode to work, I got stronger. I got to know the city better. My sense of direction became a little less appalling. I could take care of basic repairs on my own. And my speed, hill-climbing, and handling skills improved. And C.R.A.N.K. MOB had a lot to do with it, alongside Midnight Ridazz and Los Angeles itself (all those longer distances and far-apart bike shops had a lot to do with my learning curve). For these, I'm grateful.

Thanks, C.R.A.N.K. MOB, and happy birthday.

20 September 2008

LAB grand opening #2

Yesterday (Saturday, Sept. 20) was the SECOND grand opening -- "Because one opening just isn't enough" -- of fixed-gear and track bicycle shop Los Angeles Brakeless.

They did swift business at their former location in Culver City which opened in November 2007. But when a vintage store went out of business at Venice Boulevard and Grand View, owners Anna and Dave saw an opportunity to move to a location with higher visibility and more street traffic. Other, complementary businesses in the area include a coffee shop, an art gallery, a used book shop, a tattoo parlor, and a costume store (if you've ever been on C.R.A.N.K. MOB, you'll know the importance of a good costume shop on the westside). All it needs is a repair co-op, and it could challenge Heliotrope and Melrose's distinction as Los Angeles' "bicycle district."

The opening-day celebrations were launched with an alleycat race -- a multi-stop event where the racers only find out the checkpoints moments before the race begins. Racers choose the order in which they make the circuit of the checkpoints, and one checkpoint demanded that racers take a large package with them for the remainder of the race. The requirements that the racers know surface streets well and be able to ride quickly with a large package strapped to their back were nods to the race form's messenger-style beginnings. Below are the front and back of the alleycat spoke cards and manifest (both designed by me).

02 September 2008

hunting & gathering

Gentle readers, some of you may know that I've been on a nearly two month hiatus from work during which time I went on a trip, became very ill, then left 72andSunny (where I'd worked for two years to the day!). During the 6 weeks I've been back in Los Angeles, I've been compiling work into a portfolio, something I had never bothered to do, and enjoying all that westside Los Angeles in the summertime has to offer, something I told myself I didn't have time to do. So that's the gathering part. Now it's time to hunt.

I've posted my resume at the bottom of this post. And here are some work examples from my time at 72andSunny. In addition to the hunting I'm doing myself, I invite y'all to take a look, tell me what you think, pass it around to anyone you know who might be looking. In the meantime, I'll post here about how the rest of my job search is going. It's an interesting process, very revealing about what I value, what I want, what I need out of a job. I'm looking forward to finding out where I wind up.

And just because it's been a bit of a habit lately, I'd like to give a shoutout to the awesome Tek for his very good advice. Mostly about milkshakes.

31 August 2008

root beer floats

My good friend Tek, one who tosses off spot-on advice on a regular basis, recently mentioned root beer floats in a night-out tweet. It reminded me of a period of several days when some bike-riding friends of mine (did I mention I ride bikes?) were planning a ride on the freeway during rush hour traffic. "If you rode a bike, you'd be home by now." People wore capes.

Debate raged about the ride's legality, which is absurd. Naysayers suggested skipping the ride entirely, and Yaysayers (or Sayers) looked for loopholes and suggested playing dumb. But why play dumb? This was my response:

I suffer from infrequent, short-lived, and severe bouts of insomnia. Once every three or four months, couple days. They give me very lucid dreams when I finally sleep, and then I remember the dreams very well. I dreamt about this ride last night. We fought up until the second we got on the freeway, but then the ride went without a hitch. Very slow traffic meant lots of weaving, lots of waving, lots of startled people but little anger. More like disbelief followed by honking and nervous laughter and even some cheering. Then, "If you rode a bike you'd be home by now!" and they were less cheerful. Then traffic picked up, and cars could actually move to the side to let cop cars through, and they did, and we hightailed it outta there. Then we got root beer floats. Well. I'm not sure if the root beer floats part was the same dream, or the next dream. But we should consider them. They were really good.
I'm being flip. But I'm also being serious. Yes, there are dangers, and most likely it will not happen as smoothly as I dreamt. Drivers will be mad, and maybe aggressive and confused, and they'll probably call the cops on us if the cops aren't already waiting. People will probably get arrested. I, not being the fastest rider on this thread, will probably get arrested. It's more a matter of whether or not I'm willing to accept getting arrested or not. People on this thread have gotten arrested for far less.

But think about it. Do you want to have it on your record that you got arrested for biking on the Santa Monica Freeway? I do. It's absurd and delicious and perfect, and it makes my nose tingle, and it makes me laugh, just like a root beer float. Of course I want that.

I think they must have been the same dream.

The results of the ride were a lot of hooting and hollering, mixed reactions (but a lot of support) from motorists, one law-enforcement warning (footage of the cape-wearing rider getting that warning at the end of this video), and no tickets. Some riders went out for root beer floats afterwards.

And I still want that ticket.

26 August 2008

the not-so-secret girls-that-kick-ass club

My friend Tek recently commented that fellow lady biker Shannon and I must be part of a secret girls-that-kick-ass club, unafraid of putting our buffness into action. I was surprised, as I never thought of myself as in-your-face about my physical strength -- there's not very much of it, for one, and that which I have is fallout from biking rather a lot. In contrast, if I became strong because of a conscious effort to become strong (with weights, say), then maybe I would be more proud of it.

But I was also surprised at the implication that anyone would be afraid of putting their buffness into action. Physical prowess may not be the defining feature of femininity, but if you've got it, hiding it seems odd. Especially since, in general, it's considered to be very positive. It would never occur to me to hide my physical strength.

But lady bikers might be an odd breed -- none of my biking pals would blink at outpacing a guy if she could, would bike slowly to stave off sweating, would shy away from a hill. The results are not only such unladylike things as sweat, strength, and speed, but also safety -- the more conspicuous you are, at any speed or strength, the less likely you are to get hit. Not putting buffness into action (being tentative, biking slowly in car traffic, being unable to control your bike) is downright bad biking. And it's more important to us to be good bikers than it is to be dainty. (That's not to say we don't clean up good.)

So maybe Tek's right -- perhaps I do belong to a girls-that-kick-ass club. However, it's not very secret. We're right there in the open, every day, in the streets and in the bike lanes. And we'd love it if you joined us. But try to keep up.

13 August 2008

the cambodian disabled volleyball team is not afraid of you and it will beat your ass

[ WARNING: This post has nothing to do with bikes. ]

Some of you know that I spent some time in Cambodia. My sister went long: She spent over 5 years in the country, during which time she co-founded a grassroots micro-loan organization primarily benefiting disabled people. So I've got some insights into the country that I wouldn't otherwise have.

_ In Cambodia, a citizen can't hold office if she or he has a disability of any kind;
_ The Cambodian landscape is still littered with unexploded land mines, & the disability rate is thus much higher than average;
_ The children of Cambodia's Civil War (1970-1975) -- many of whom are disabled too -- have grown up, and many of them have children of their own to support;
_ It's sanctioned by law to pay disabled people less than able-bodied people, even if their disability doesn't affect their work.

So it's pretty damned amazing to hear a story like this. The Cambodian National Volleyball Team, whose members are all disabled, is ranked third in the world. The prize money they earned from one of their recent conquests was equivalent to two years' salary for every team member. Dude. That's the best lemonade I've heard of in a long, long time.

[From GOOD Magazine.]

03 July 2008

oakland + portland = <3land

Hello, my friends.

July 4th-7th:
I'm coming to San Francisco to spend some time with my sister, the indomitable Deirdre O'Shea. I'll be staying in Oakland, with side trips east and west to Orinda and San Francisco. Come out and we can play.

July 7th -10th:
Monday, I'm flying to Portland. I will eat local, sustainable, organic food that was made by culinary artisans. I will drink coffee brewed with spring water and the souls of the innocent. I will drink some other things, too. There will be field trips to Wieden + Kennedy, Holocene, and Valentine's. Come out and PLAY, I said!

July 10th-13th:
Then, the fun begins. Caroline and I are driving back down to SF, taking the scenic route. There's noise of camping. I'll re-enter San Francisco at some point, but I don't know when. Then my bike and I will head back south again on the train. I'm thinking I'll wear that long brown skirt, the lace-fronted shirt, and a cloche hat. I mean, it's a train. I should dress appropriately.

July 14th onward:
Los Angeles. Storm the Bastille, then COME OUT AND PLAY!

I hope to see you soon. In whichever city you live.


This is how I'll look, biking around San Francisco, with like some flowers and an anvil. (Not really.)

*** UPDATE! ***
Photos from the trip here.

20 May 2008


They had me writing Valentine's Day haiku for a thing at work. It's a little late (or way early), but go ahead and take a read.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Valentine's Day is
kind of a weird holiday.
Sexy saint. Okay.

I don't like this day
any more than I like its
initials: V.D.

Flowers, chocolates, cards,
a fancy sit-down dinner.
No no no. Diamonds.

For someone who just
biked thirteen miles to see me,
you smell awfully nice.

This bar would be less
heartbreakingly depressing
if you weren't in it.

There's a tear in my
beer cause I'm crying for you dear....
Nah. I'm glad you're gone.

Why do birds sudden-
ly appear every time you
are near? Let's have sex.

You fart, you kick my
cat, your dad owes me money.
Will you marry me?

I remember how
you always frowned in your sleep.
I really miss you.

My one and only:
Sit with me, my beloved.
We have Syphillus.

We have herpes we
have herpes we have herpes
we still have herpes.

Scabies cookie.

16 May 2008

someday, i will master the reply-all button

From: Alex P.
To: The Zune Team + a couple other people

"Monster Tears" is now called "Tickle Party."
It’s official. Everyone agreed.
72 and The Client approved the change.

. . . . . . . .

From: Katie O'S.
To: The Zune Team + a couple other people


. . . . . . . .

From: Charlie S.
To: Katie O'S.

You are my fucking hero.

. . . . . . . .

From: Katie O'S.
To: Charlie S.

No, you.

. . . . . . . .

From: Katie O'S.
To: Charlie S.

I just realized that The Client was also on that e-mail.

. . . . . . . .


30 April 2008

< hey! >

Hanako. Hey hey, Hanako.

Song lyrics.

29 April 2008

apparently i have a crush on bekah

This is one thing I drew in today's series of meetings.

"Bekah is fucking gorgeous," it says. Sorry, Shannon.

23 April 2008

things i like finding in pockets

Ten dollars.
Three dollars in change [ + ten dollars = 13 dollars! ].
Chapstick. CHERRY chapstick. Leads to singing. You know the song.
A Muji eraser I thought I lost.
Directions to a friend's going-away party. Happy/sad.
Did I mention ten dollars?

That's two fives.

happy earth day

So I've been biking to work for months. I can't remember when I started -- in the summer, for sure, but not every day. I think I started biking in every day in September or October.

But sometimes I have to work offsite. Usually in Santa Monica, so I can still bike there; I just have a longer bike ride at the end. Hey, I love biking, so this is a good thing.

Except for yesterday, when I biked to the office like usual, then got a call ten minutes after I was supposed to be at a sound edit, cursed my apologies into the phone, glared at my bike (poor Doug), and hailed a goddamned cab.

First time I've been in a car in weeks. On Earth Day. Neat.

Fuck the environment, I'm late.

19 April 2008

actual shopping list

cape (superhero)

18 April 2008

i do not understand

Last month, a Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriff struck three cyclists while driving on the wrong side of the road in Cupertino. Two of the cyclists were killed, and a third was severely injured.

Last week, after a month-long investigation by the California Highway Patrol (to avoid the Sheriff's Department from investigating their own colleagues), a sentence recommendation was handed down. Two years. Maximum.

The following is my complaint to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, submitted to their Internal Affairs Unit complaint form via web. In the box where it asked for what type of complaint, I wrote "Improper conduct."

. . . . . . . . . . .

Hello. My name is Katie O'Shea, and I'm a cyclist. I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, currently living in Los Angeles. I visit several times a year with my bicycle. My brother cycles in San Jose and Santa Clara. And I do not understand you.

I do understand that Deputy James Council killed two cyclists and injured a third while on duty on March 9th, 2008. I also understand that investigators on the case do not believe there was any instance of drunken driving involved. I am not interested in what they believe; I am interested in what they know.

The CHP, called in to handle the case because it was a deputy sheriff in the incident, did not administer a blood alcohol test. Why not? A blood sample was taken, presumably several hours later, at the station. Which is "within the letter of the law." I would like to know whether it is within the spirit of the law. A deputy sheriff was spotted driving erratically for several miles, then crossed the double yellow line, then hit three cyclists, then wandered off in a daze commenting only about his life being over, his career being over, without attempting to help the three cyclists he'd just struck. That should have aroused suspicion. That should have merited a blood alcohol test. It did not. I do not understand.

How many instances of drunk driving did Deputy Council have in the past? Two. Did this inform the CHP's decision to take a blood test at the station and not a breathalyzer? With two previous drunken driving incidents, I would think it would be in the CHP's best interests to keep Deputy Council off the road. For everyone's safety, including Deputy Council's, but mostly the general populace. Sympathy for a colleague, I understand. But sympathy at the expense of public safety, I do not understand.

It's been suggested that Deputy Council may have been sleep deprived. How long had Deputy Council been on shift before the crash? Are the hours you get from your deputies worth two lives and a big hospital bill? Are they worth it to the Gough family? What about the Peterson's? You must weigh what is more important -- a few more hours per shift per deputy, or people. If you determine that the former is more important, then I really don't understand.

It has been reported that Deputy Council will serve a maximum of two years in prison for the senseless, reckless killing of two cyclists and the brutal injuries of a third. Two years. Two people. One year per person. That seems light-handed. If the reason for the light sentence is because he was sleep-deprived, then the Sheriff's Department should take a long, hard look at their policies on work hours. How many more people will die before they change their policy? If, instead, the reason for the light sentence is because Deputy Council was "one of their own," then the CHP should take a long, hard look at what this action means. It means that they are more interested in protecting their employees than in protecting the public. If this is the protection and the service that we can expect from you in the future, I decline it. Because I do not understand it.

Katie O'Shea

. . . . . . . . . . .

You can, too.

12 April 2008

i fucking love bikers


Schwinn Caliente 10-speed road bike - $80.00
Los Angeles : Garden Grove

Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; Let us go through busy downtown streets, The fluttering defeats Of traffic lights at one-way two-lane roads And inefficient cars with heavy loads. A bike as lovely as a poem — smooth flow, perfect form.

20 inch frame size as measured along seat tube
29 inch standover height
27 inch tires
Shimano Tourney back derailleur

09 April 2008

what i draw in meetings

When I draw in meetings. Which is always.

I blame Eric.

27 March 2008

art directors, take note

Or draw a diagram, or whatever it is you do.

Three new image search applications that will make your life easier. Well. Two new ones, and one old one that I like.




Go forth and comp, my countrymen-and-women. Make the magic happen. And I promise, I'll stop calling you "fart directors" ... just as soon as it stops being funny.

Which will be never.

24 March 2008

tiled & terrific: changing the lexicon

Once, not long ago, I tried to remove a word from my vocabulary. That word was "awesome." The word I tried to replace it with was "terrific." It means almost the same thing. (The meaning of "awesome" is "inspires awe," and that for "terrific" is "inspires terror." Awe ≠ terror ... but it's close.)

It didn't work. Mostly because "terrific" is something that junior high librarians say. That, and my own personal failure -- I kept slipping up and saying "awesome" anyway. I have no self-control, especially when it comes to words.

But this doughnut shop seems to be in alignment with my thinking. I'm wondering if they're also sick of the word "totally."

Not just terrific. Extra terrific.

A little further down is a tile store. Look closely and see that this lady is a mannequin with a swimsuit tiled directly onto her body. They can set a mood with a window, I'll tell you what, and that mood is "creeped out."

She looks lonely.

The other window has this guy. Now HE is terrific, in all senses of the word. LOOK INTO HIS EYES AND FEEL THE TERROR.

Help this robot!

And so I present to you the strip mall of discontent and loss.

09 March 2008

i think i know why speakerphone was invented

So you can talk on the phone with your mom

and also scribble on your hand

and draw a goose

and make the goose crap all over the place.

Yep. I think that's how it started.

05 March 2008

morning observation

Think about it.

21 February 2008

notes from louise, my nonsexual partner

We work together, on everything.

Even when she's not working on what I'm working on, we work together. She sits right next to me. Hi, Louise.

Oh, Louise.

And then Betsy's response, from Amsterdam. Oh, Betsy.

27 January 2008

have you ever ...

... wanted an album for a long time but not gotten around to it, because there's always new music to check out, and Horses will ALWAYS be around, and then your iTunes decides to put on a radio station, and it's your old college radio station (WBAR: ROCK ON WITH YOUR FROCK ON wbar.org), and the DJ's gotten lazy and just put on ... Horses? The whole album, beginning to end?

I have.

* * * UPDATE * * *

I think someone just didn't show up. The album's played through, like, 2 1/2 times straight. Either that, or the DJ is one lazy mothercrunker.

14 January 2008

a couple designers that i love

This first is by Elum Letterpress in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, which is near San Diego. I have big love for letterpress when it's done right, and these people did it just right. Careful, attention to detail. The number of colors on this print is insane -- to line everything up just right must have been a very time-consuming process, and it's fucking impressive.

These next ones, I forget who it's by. It's lovely and beautiful and simple for all the reasons that letterpress is not. Much looser, much less precious. But so satisfying. I love it.