Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 78

The List:

I want to go in the
morning either way

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 77

This no talking Tuesday found me at the grand canyon.
Stupidly leaping thousands of feet in the air from one jutting rock ledge to another,
all in the name of photography.
I left before sunset though which made me feel dirty inside.

The List:

Ask the girl you think is cute
what there is to do here
and if she wants to join us
when she finishes her shift

Your opening line to her should
be to ask if there is any
"non white people food" in this
town. That way you get to talk
to the girl and I have a chance
at eating something decent.

Make sure you didn't leave
any charging devices
plugged in at the room

You go first and
when you get back
take a photo of me out
here so we can brag
about it later

Open hand = low left ledge
First = stand on middle rock

I will make these hand
gestures to you

I just peed in the woods
like the good lord intended

There's Antelope valley/canyon

It's near here

I don't feel right about leaving grand
canyon before sunset, but i guess
it's our best option

Monday, March 16, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 76

The List:

There’s that one we went to once
that was a little swanky, on Santa Monica
and federal

First let me say you're rather smartly dressed
your blouse in particular suits you

Iced tea

Thank you for picking

So tell me everything that's been going on

So explain how the pilot came about etc.


Does it follow kooky twenty somethings?

Do hipsters play a role?

So what was S.F. all about?

I know nothing

I didn't realize we were so backlogged

Too much to write!

But hey I’m thinking of throwing a
house warming/goodbye/pajama party
this weekend, might you
and Christian be down?

Have you ever looked into being a
staff writer on a show?

Troy still

But my friend’s brother is
moving into the empty bedroom
in a couple weeks

Shauna grey butt?

Very tall?

Hey you know that pop song that's
about kissing a girl and cherry
chapstick? Apparently we went
to school with that girl.

I don't remember her name but when my
friend said it I definitely recognized it
and knew I heard it in high school

For desert maybe
especially if it's "pillowess"

Definitely order something if you feel

The Yucatan one is still going
and a Egypt one is in production

But there will be many lines
but to answer your
---> ok I get the line thing now
previous question
I will be
doing a cross country
road trip for two weeks
then be in S.F. for
two or up to the end
of summer and in Greece
for the fall, and outside
chance of Japan late year
and dare I say very super
outside chance for Egypt?

But I'll be here in between
these things

In the living room!

But I’ve been nesting
and it's starting to become
lighting, cookware etc.

D.P. work?

I ordered so many things that will
aid in making me further ridiculous
including but not limited to ninja
booties and socks. They all arrived while
I was gone so I'm going to have
a grand time opening and situating
all my gifts

Ninja booties are
just the beginning
I've gotten more
absurd since we
last hung out

I've become much
less compromising and
have begun taking steps
to have things the absurd
way I have always
wanted them

It saved you from yourself

Jefferson and Overland

You can just go straight
south from here
or to 405 south

It doesn't work in Europe

I carried it walking for
10 hours every day in Paris
also I uploaded most of my
Paris photos I should
show you

Tell him: "Ali 293"

Tell him I'm Ali

Did you want to come up?

All that stuff strewn
about is my roommates

Clearing his stuff out
for the new guy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Road Trip

Tomorrow morning my German Friend Ingmar and I are embarking on a two week cross country road trip. We’re loosely prioritizing our stops around places with the most photographic potential, specifically abandoned towns being reclaimed by the surrounding environment, a theme I’ve been looking to explore recently. But we’re playing the whole adventure pretty fast and loose. All we know for sure is that we're stopping over in New York City for a few days and ending in Florida. I hope to return in a couple of weeks brimming with photographs that I’ll no doubt be overwhelmed with scanning and color grading. If you have any recommendations for where we should stop along the way send me a message. Look out for a bunch of photos in a couple weeks when I get back.


I recently got back from Paris. Where I stayed with a friend for two weeks.
I opted to spend my time as I would if I lived there,
instead of mindlessly riffling down a scavenger list of tourist attractions.
As a result I spent the two weeks walking the streets, ducking into little café’s for cheese and pâté deliciousness, drawing and photographing the excessively beautiful surroundings, attending dinner parties, cooking, going to strikes, concerts, movies etc. The experience was everything I could have imagined and more.

If you want to bypass all this pedantic drivel and get right to the action go here:


One of the first things I did was go to a local farmers market. And I almost cried when I saw the variety and quality of the produce available in the middle of winter. I spent almost half my time in Paris cooking and over feeding my gracious hosts until one of them declared “Ali if you keep cooking for us, I’ll be forced to throw up all over you.”

One of the things I walked away from my Paris experience was an appreciation for quality fresh baked bread. Since I’ve been back and working in San Francisco, I made it a point to walk every morning to a good local bakery and get whatever was most recently pulled from the oven and still hot. There is something really nice about waking early and taking a walk in the brisk air for a quality loaf of bread still steaming from the oven, and eating it with butter and honey or cheese. I just starts your day right.

One of the things I love best about Paris is the prevalence of small family operated specialty stores. I love the idea of going into a little hole in the wall that specializes in cheeses, or bread, or whine etc. And being met with a crotchety old guy who knows more about that thing than anyone else in the world except for maybe his father before him, as the family has been running that little cheese shop for decades. And you can fire a long convoluted description of what you’re looking for and he can immediately find you the perfect cheese and tell you where it’s from, what it pairs best with, the process in which it’s made etc. All with an inspiring level of earnest subdued passion and extreme competence. It’s something I have to assiduously dig for in Los Angeles and San Francisco amongst the scores of faceless supermarket chains and the like. So you can imagine how pleased I was to be lost amongst a web of small picturesque alleyways generously peppered with these little specialty stores and stands.

I was surprised how well my default attire fit in with Parisian fashion. Specifically all the ways my pansy artsy’ness makes me stand out in America, only insured I blend right in Paris. People walked up to me in the street to ask me questions in French so often I had to learn to say “Sorry I don’t speak French”. I don’t know if this was a good thing however. Much like how strife based eco systems insure that no single species dominates out of proportion with the environment, I feel the frequent checks to my artsy excesses in America are judiciously tempering what could otherwise prove to be far too indulgent artsy douche-baggery on my part. Case in point, being unfettered for less than a week in Paris I bought a pair of black cashmere gloves. The insanity!

French Attitude:
My strategy to deal with the Parisian attitude I had been warned about from multiple people was as follows: When ordering food at a restaurant for example, I would make my best effort to order in French. To achieve this I would ask my friends beforehand how to say some useful phrases in French I would write phonetically in my sketchbook and reference/memorize for my ordering. The plan being that the waiter appreciating the effort and taking pity on my horrible butchering of the language would consent to speak in English. (I had been warned that if you just brazenly speak to people in English they pretend that they don’t know how to speak to spite you, though almost everyone can speak English)

The plan worked like a charm and I had nothing but positive experiences. It worked so well in fact, and I found myself getting such a kick out of it, that I began to refuse switching over to English myself, and would commit to speaking in French the whole time. It became really fun, and not a little nerve racking once I had fully memorized my phrases and could properly pronounce them, because once I got to the point where I could fool the shopkeeper/waiter into thinking I was French they would often rattle off in French to which I would knowingly nod to, hoping I wasn’t committing myself to a full lobster dinner unawares.

It was often that I found myself ensconced by people speaking in French, whether at a dinner party or even just hanging out with my friends. I certainly had no issue not understanding what was being said, and in fact found it somewhat comforting to feel the social embrace of friends without the distraction of comprehending the conversation or feeling any need to assert my own views. It was fun to notice that when people switched to English, often when they were saying something particularly clever and wanted to make sure everyone at the table could hear it. I started playing a game with myself where I would pretend that the conversation was about raccoons and would imagine what each person was saying in turn trying to match the made up raccoon laden conversation in my head with each person’s mannerisms and intonations etc. Sometimes it would be so funny I would start cracking up, which is admittedly confusing for everyone else, as I had been mutely and vacantly watching a conversation for some minutes earlier, then laughing for seemingly no reason.

There was a “general strike” in Paris while I was there which I attended. And for those of you who don’t know, it was just that, a general strike. A day where everyone strike’s for whatever reason they want. Subway workers were striking, teachers, students, basically anyone who had a bone to pick with anything/anyone else, all chose this day to go out in the streets and strike for it. If this sounds kind of bizarre, it was! But also really fun.

The friend I stayed with dates back to my high school days, and she had stayed in touch with another one of our school mates who apparently is one of the members “Of Montreal”. They played a show in Paris while I was there, and besides getting on the list for the show we had dinner with the band before hand and partied with them at a fashionable reserved bar afterward. As the hours wore on things quickly degenerated into us going back to their tour bus, and trying to fashion a late night snack with questionable slices of meats left on the floor and atop piles of underwear. Good times!

While in Paris I met with the director of the Egyptian Nile documentary I will begin working on soon in San Francisco, and also enlisted in helping man a bookstore in Santorini Greece for a few months this autumn. So though I decided beforehand my Paris stay would be an exercise in frivolous adventure, it ended up being a worthwhile decision in unexpected and delightful ways.

All in all Paris was a terrific experience for these and many more reasons I’ve chosen not to mention, and though it makes me retro-actively regret having waited so long to make it out to Europe, I’m glad I finally did, and look forward to making travel a much more prevalent part of my life.

More Photos

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 75

The List:

So I finished the sculptural detail.
But I'm not entirely satisfied with
the resolution, what do you think
about me subdividing another level
and crisping up the edges of the
scales etc and adding niks and cracks
and impressing slightly an overall
stone texture etc?

One veggie taco
and one chicken mexico city taco

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