Saturday, September 10, 2016

Contact Building 101

I meet her by chance. She says she has some 50 pairs of shoes mostly from Italy. She also says there must be more than 2 dozen she’s hardly ever worn. She asks for my telephone number. I make her swear that she won’t share it with anyone. She swears she wouldn’t. I believe her. I write my number down on a small piece of paper along with my name. On the same paper, I write down her name and number. I rip the page apart handing one piece to her and pocketing the other.

I go home.

I have lunch. I want to grab my phone. I can’t find it anywhere; not on the counter or the top of the shoe cabinet – its usual place. It’s on the bed. It must be on sleep mode.

I am excited and ready to call my new contact. I fish out the piece of paper of my pocket; a small crumpled ball. I flatten it out. What I am staring at looks way too familiar: it
s actually my name and number.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grammar Crash

It's like you misspell a word and you can't see the mistake you made. What's worse, the misspelled word happens to be an actual word, but naturally with an entirely different meaning from the one you intended to use. Great. 

You go back and correct your spelling but something is still not good with your text. Now what? You get mad and grab your oversized earring. Telling yourself that it's too heavy for your ear, you make a pendant out of it to let off steam. And what to do with the other half of the pair? It's easy. Just make a second pendant and gift it away.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Old-New Flats

Waiting for her train to arrive at a train station in Holland. She didn't like being photographed, but was okay to pose for a shoe shot. The flats were newly bought at Roodismooi, a now defunct red-themed shop in Amsterdam. She got a 10 percent discount on her purchase for being a redhead. 

I wonder how challenging it might be to showcase an all-red collection without making it visually overwhelming. And how about having people come see red yet keep them happy? As I was writing this my jewelry stand nose dived from the top of the desk crushing into the floor. It might just be a sign that some dusting has been overdue. I noticed a small dust cloud billowing above the crush site. It's definitely a sign. It must be. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Striped Tee

About a month ago, a new boutique opened at the mall offering great introductory prices. So off I went to check out the place. After trying on a few different items, I headed to the counter with a striped tee in my hand. It would be my first purchase on my "tap and go" card and asked the sales associate to show me how to use it. Show it she did with a startled expression on her face.

As she was folding the shirt I also asked her to remove the price tag and the hanging label as well. It was hot. I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and was seriously considering changing into the tee. The startled expression remained.

Finally, I politely told her I would not need the bag in which she was just about to put my tee. That may have startled her even more. As I was leaving it hit me: she might think that the card was stolen. What I left with was just a tee -- a modest purchase well below the transaction limit.

I couldn't help smiling at the thought because the first thing I did with my card was to lose it along with my bus pass a few days before. Since I remembered exactly when and where and, with the return address included on the pass, I was hoping I could retrieve it quickly. I made a couple of phone calls. No such luck.

Then I got concerned and reported my card lost. The good news was that no purchase was made on it and I got a new one within a few days. The same day I picked it up, I found a white envelope in the mailbox. It contained my missing bus pass, my old card and a note: "Be more careful next time." With no return address or signature, I could not say thank you. So I decided to celebrate my luck by buying a new T-shirt.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Unwearable Knitwear

This is my first attempt at knitting with extra thick wool and I decided on to use 5 needles. I had a failed attempt years ago at trying to make socks. Now I wanted to make what else but socks again to face my demons. It proved to be a challenge. I was told that I am using the wrong size needle for the yarn. What I've produced is a tube shape which is what I wanted. It looks fine. I tried it on. It even bends but more like pipe insulation material than a piece of garment. I need to unravel the whole thing and start over. What a drag. The project will take twice as long to complete, but next time I'll know what needle size to pick for my left-over yarn. 

The only other option would be to leave my half-finished piece as is and use it for pipe insulation. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Importance of Saying No

It took me quite some time to learn the importance of saying no. I've learned the hard way just how challenging it can be to give such a definite answer to a request. Depending on the situation, saying no could go against cultural expectations or occasionally, even one's best intentions. My experience is that being able to say no with confidence can be just as important as saying yes. It clears the path towards one's goals and it helps a great deal to define boundaries.

There are really unexpected situations that might seem puzzling at first, but can turn out to be fun and an important learning process. This art project is about when to say yes to have fun no matter how crazy it sounds at first. A group of 9 hairdressers in the video said yes to such a project. Sticking with their individual styling ideas that they wanted to realize, they teamed up to give a haircut to the same model. It just seems an impossible challenge to take considering that hairdressing is no teamwork and yet each hairdresser tried their best to give the model as good a haircut as possible. And that's exactly what a great hairdresser is supposed to do, even when there are 8 other equally great hairdressers around trying to do the same thing on the same model's hair. 


A haircut by 9 hairdressers at once (second attempt)

Director: Koki Tanaka

Location: Zindagi Salon, San Francisco
Production and Commission: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Monday, February 1, 2016


As I walked through an underpass yesterday, I heard a violin solo. It was a classical piece too good to be coming from an amateur street musician. I just knew I had to stop and listen to it. I changed my course to get closer to see the performer. With his eyes half-closed, he was fully absorbed in the music. I wanted to tip him, but had no money with me. I had to cross the underpass to get some and walk all the way back to the violin case that lay open a few feet away from him on the ground. I dropped a handful of change in the case. He nodded without looking up.

I wish I knew what he wore, but I was too captivated by his music to see his outfit. What I remember though is his winter coat. He wore a heavy black winter coat partially open. It was an especially cold night. I was shivering.