November 14, 2008

Day of the Dead Parade 2008

Filed under: holidays, Rachel's Wardrobe Remix, san francisco — maryparadox @ 11:53 pm

Holly and I went to the Day of the Dead parade in the Mission district of San Francisco — just a couple blocks from where we live. I’d never even heard of this event before, but was really excited to get dressed up as a dead person, ever since seeing this painting by Sylvia Ji in a magazine.


If I had been better prepared I would have bought some black eye shadow and liner pencils, as it was I only had brown, which didn't quite make me look dead enough. I think I need to work on the whole mouth-part too.

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Holly was much more prepared for the parade, having made this shirt with a rib-cage painted on it. Also check out her amazing white leather gloves!

One of the best parts of this event is that you get to dress up super cool, but also be completely warm. I wore wool tights and arm warmers under my dress and with the shawl, scarf, and hat I was pretty comfortable even though the night got chilly.

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Holly and me in full regalia. I got this beautiful mexican wedding dress from my grandmother, and neatly hid my sling with the shawl and scarf. Holly made her own dress and it has black and white flowers and skulls.

The parade ended at Garfield Park at the Festival of Altars, which was as it sounds — people had set up altars to the dead all throughout the park. They were very beautiful, and at first I thought that they were general displays, but then I realized that they were created for specific dead people, which made them quite sad, especially one decorated with baby clothes.

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I couldn't quite figure out what kind of animal these skeletons were for... but they are cool nonetheless.

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This was one of the only men I saw dressed up, and I thought he did it quite well.

The most amazing display was of this deceased married couple on a tandem bicycle with wings. The wings were made up of individual metal feathers with names of the dead engraved on them, and the wings were attached to a battery which caused them to beat up and down — while also engaging the pedals so that it appeared as though the couple was pedaling the bicycle.

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With the wings beating.

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Detail shot of the feathers, and you can see the artist connecting the battery in the lower left.

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The creator of the flying bride and groom, left, and another sightseer with great face makeup. I kept trying to get a good shot of this girl on the right because her makeup was so fantastic, and the contrast between her hair and flower was intense. I felt a bit like a voyeur, except I kept catching people taking my photograph as well, at which point I had to remind myself that I was looking pretty and fantastically dead myself.

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Hard to see, but the item on the left is a dead mermaid, and on the right a dead fairy, both made out of tinfoil. The item in the middle was just a paper bag with a candle in it (fire hazard!?) but it was beautiful and I couldn’t tell if someone made it by hand or bought it at a shop.


Halloween 2008

Filed under: holidays, Rachel's Wardrobe Remix — maryparadox @ 11:50 pm

Roger and Jessica Rabbit.

A couple of months before Halloween my mom bought a strapless red velvet dress at a second hand store — and when I saw it I immediately thought of one thing — Jessica Rabbit! When I was a kid my dad bought Who Framed Roger Rabbit and my sister and I watched it over and over again. Only as an adult did I find out that while the good-guys win in the movie in real life it went the other way — car manufacturers shut down the train lines in Los Angeles in order to turn it into the giant freeway that it is today.

Peter has never dressed up for Halloween with me before but I somehow managed to convince him to go as Roger Rabbit. His costume was really simple, consisting of bunny ears and a bow tie, but I think it got the point across and I loved it.

Us “in character”:

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After work I went to Miette, the candy store in Hayes Valley that Holly works at. She did the Halloween decorations for the store and I really wanted to check them out. She brought branches in from her parents’ house and made bats out of construction paper and cobwebs out of twine.


The Miette window display.

Her costume met all of the Fenn family criteria — easy to walk in and warm! I wish my costume had conformed more to these rules, I had to changes my shoes whenever I need to walk from one even to the next.

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Holly went as The Night for Halloween -- as in swirling blackness with a flock of bats circling the moon (i.e. her face).

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After I got home from Miette Peter and I went to Adam’s house for dinner and scary movies. Adam made boiled potatoes and brought out this crazy machine called a “Raclette” which consisted of a warming tray with a cover and a bunch of little spatula/dish things that slid inside of it. Each person took slices of cheese and put them in their dish thing then put it into the machine — and it melted your cheese. Then you poured your cheese over your potatoes, pickles, and sliced meats. It was pretty good, but seemed like an odd thing to dedicated space in your kitchen for.

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Kate and the Reclette. Kate made a "cop" dress, at the t-shirt printing shop she works at, as her halloween costume.

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Adam didn't dress up (he does all the time for band-related stuff) and Devin was a serial killer, "because they look just like everyone else".

November 13, 2008

Australia: Scenery, September 2007

Filed under: Australia — maryparadox @ 5:00 am

I went to Australia in September of 2007 to visit my dad. That was before I started this blog, so the picture have just been sitting in my flickr stream, viewed by relatively few. I figured, since I’m making posts about my other flickr sets, that I would do one about my Australia trip as well.

When trying to pick photos to showcase there just seemed to be too many to choose from. So I’ve decided to do two posts; one as a sort of “pimp Australia” post, showing all the beautiful scenery shots, and a second about my family/friend visits.

The flickr photostream can be found here.


The foggy view out my father's window in the morning.


My dad loves car camping and took me to this beautiful spot for a weekend.


From the campsite we drove through the wilderness in our gas guzzling Range Rovers trying to spot kangaroos (and succeeding).


Our drive took us to the coastline where we fished for our dinner.

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On the way home we passed this really picturesque cow and I had to stop to take a picture. The photo on the right is a wheat field right before harvest.

After leaving Perth I flew to Cairnes where the Great Barrier Reef meets the Daintree rainforest.

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The photo to the left is a stop at a swimming hole in the rainforest tour. The photo to the right is a vine in the rainforest which innocuously climbs a tree then strangles it to death — and when the tree falls down then the vine begins climbing the trees that it falls against.


Fitzroy Island off the coast of Cairnes.

After Cairnes I went on to Melbourne, which was infinitely better. While there I mostly walked around the city and checked out the neighborhoods, though I did pay to go up to the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, the “tallest building” in Melbourne, to check out the cityscape.

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The same shot before and after sunset from the viewing gallery. The “Skydeck” would have been infinitely better if it had been minimally lit inside, which would have maximized the view of the outside, which is what you are paying to see. Instead it was filled with televisions and moving colored lights on the floors, walls and ceiling. This caused reflections on the inside of the glass which drastically reduced the view of the outside.

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While also in Melbourne I got to hook up with my cousin Kristian, who had just moved there, and who I had missed while in Perth. He was kind enough to drive me around the countryside and take me to the (other) coast.


One small part of a fantastic graffiti alley in downtown Melbourne.

November 12, 2008

Austin, Texas

Filed under: Austin, Rachel's Wardrobe Remix — maryparadox @ 10:07 pm
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My housemate Holly and our friend Annie.

The week I was originally going to have shoulder surgery ended up being the same week that my friend Annie, who lives in Austin, was going to be in her first fashion show — as a designer. I really wanted to go but couldn’t bring myself to postpone the surgery, it just seemed too frivolous. But then, as luck would have it, the doctor canceled because of jury duty! So I flew off to Austin with my housemate Holly, and here are some of the beautiful people I met.

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Angel, before her fashion-show makeover. The clothes for the show are hanging behind her.

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Angel, on the left, after her fashion-show makeover.

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Chenoh using her hot-roller and hair spray magic to make hair big.

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Annie applying Sara's makeup for the show.

The fashion show was held by a community thrift shop that donates their proceeds to local organizations. All of the clothes in the show had to be made from 100% recycled materials.

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I love this shot, Melony looks just like a supermodel in a crazy fashion spread.

Melony is a ceramicist and she gave Holly and me two beautiful cups to take home with us — one pale blue with a pale yellow inside, and the other identical but with the colors inverted.

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Annie and Melony. Annie's hair was incredible, she should have been in the show as well -- she even had an extra dress that she decided not to show.

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These hair clips were the biggest success from the show, they are made of the same tea-stained stripes found throughout the dresses, and are centered by a grouping of fake teeth! Angel wore hers all week and had tons of people asking to buy them.

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Melony, Angel, Annie, and Sara before the show.

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Angel, Sara, and Melony in their dresses, getting instructions for the catwalk.

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Sara on the catwalk. You can see Angel in the right foreground and Holly and Chenoh just behind Sara holding up their cameras. I was sitting on top of a chain link fence trying to get a view.

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The girls on the catwalk. They were the best models because they went slowly and engaged the crowd -- by doing silly things like pretending to be Charlie's Angels.

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Holly, Annie, Melony and Chenoh reviewing the great video Chenoh made of the catwalk.

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Me wearing one of Annie's creations (the same one Angel wore in the show). I also got to wear the dress that didn't make it into the show -- and Annie said I could have it because it fit me so well!

The day after the fashion show we went to a birthday party in the woods where we played a version of balderdash, drank home-made root beer and hung out with friends.

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Sienna looking very glamorous in the woods.

Collin and Holly.

Colin and Holly crushing at balderdash and trying to look innocent.

On our last night in Austin we went dancing :)

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Angel and Holly rocking out at 50's night at yyy. Check out Annie in the background in her adorable child-sized dress and stockings.

November 11, 2008

Lviv and Paris: More Photos

Filed under: Lviv, Ukraine, Paris — maryparadox @ 4:58 am

So, when I posted about visiting Lviv and Paris previously I was only using Adam’s photos, because it was taking me a long time to upload mine. Here is a link to my now-uploaded Lviv photos and Paris photos and some highlights:

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Again with Adam, the pickle, and obscene amounts of food and vodka in Lviv. This was only one course of a six course meal!

Adam and Kate in the apartment we rented.

Adam and Kate in the apartment we rented.

Peter and me being silly in the courtyard of the apartment.

Peter and me being silly in the courtyard of the apartment.

Peter outside of the apartment in Paris.

Peter outside of the apartment doing a little happy dance.

Adam and Kate being cute in a graveyard.

Adam and Kate being cute in Pere Lachaise.

Foobar and Cecelia, really nice friends of Adams that showed us around.

Ryan and Cecelia, local friends of Adam's that took us to this really great Couscous place near la Bastille.

Sacre Coeur church in Montmartre. The guy in the lower right hand corner was singing cheesy american rock songs for money -- with quite a lot of success.

Around the back of Sacre Coeur.

One of Peters favorite thing in Paris was this hot chocolate as thick as pudding, found at TODO.

One of Peter's favorite thing in Paris was this hot chocolate as thick as pudding, found at Cafe Angelina.

The sheer quantity of bones was crazy.

The sheer quantity of bones was overwhelming.

Fun with dead people.

Fun with dead people.

More fun with long exposure -- Adam and Peter.

More fun with long exposure -- Adam and Peter.

Obligatory Eiffel Tower picture.

Obligatory Eiffel Tower picture with the peace memorial in progress in the foreground.

Arch de Triumphe

L'Arc de Triomphe.

November 6, 2008

Election Successes and Losses

Filed under: Politics — maryparadox @ 4:41 pm
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Me with my "I Voted!" and "Vote NO on PROP 8, UNFAIR & WRONG" stickers.

Just a quick note about the US and California elections. First of, woohoo OBAMA!!! His speech was amazing, and even McCain had a really nice concession speech.

But, in California, we had a huge disappointment. A constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage passed, and this makes me profoundly depressed and angry. California also passed a ballot measure requiring girls to notify their parents before having an abortion :(

Here is an inflammatory article about Prop 8 (Vote no on 8, no to hate!) the ‘California Marriage Protection Act’ that pretty much sums up how I feel:

“Here’s a good diagnostic test for whether a proposed law is bigoted: if it applies to a group of people, replace the subject group in question with “Jews” or “Blacks”, and see how it reads. . . In the case of Proposition 8, how would you vote if it read, “Only marriage between Christians is recognized in California”? Or “Only marriage between white-skinned people is recognized in California”?”

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