the funcrunch files
|Dec. 31st, 2020 11:59 pm Blog privacy query: please read!|
Edit, June 2010: I am reposting this entry, originally posted in May 2008, with a far-future date so that new readers of my journal will see it and can respond accordingly if they choose. Thanks!Make notes
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This message is public as it pertains to friends who read my journal but are not LiveJournal users. Comments are screened.
As most people who are more than very casual acquaintances know, I have what some call an "alternative" lifestyle. Specifically, I am bisexual and polyamorous (non-monogamous). I have become more open and vocal about these aspects of my life as I've grown increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the status quo of acceptable relationship structures in American culture. Hence, I occasionally blog about events or parties I attend that cater specifically to bi and/or poly people, or dates with people other than my husband (boyziggy). Any explicit sexual content (text-only; I don't post porn) is always protected as friends-only (I have no specific filters currently, if you're on my friendslist you get everything), but other such posts may well be public.
As I have some bi and/or poly friends who are not out about their lifestyles, I generally do not mention other people by name in these posts, public or private, unless I'm quite confident they're OK with it. But I do enjoy it when other people mention me in their blogs (in a good way, at least!), and so I like to acknowledge spending time with others if they are OK with it.
So if you have any doubt about what I know of your status and openness thereof, or have any preferences as to how and if I refer to you in my blog, now's the time to speak up. Comments are screened. E-mail me if you prefer, especially if you want a reply.
|May. 23rd, 2013 09:37 am Less sharing, more living|
I just spent way too much time reviewing the posts I've made on this blog and on the McDougall Program forums over the last seven years. I can't believe how much space I've devoted to talking about my weight, food intake, and fitness level. And that's only what I've posted publicly, which is dwarfed by what's going on in my head. This isn't a healthy mindset.12 notes - Make notes
The sun is shining, I'm going to step away from the computer and go for a run.
|May. 20th, 2013 10:14 am The language of music|
I was at my sweetie's place last night struggling through a Schubert Impromptu that I hadn't played in years, and swearing at my frequent wrong notes as I had originally learned it in a much easier key (G major vs Gb major; not my fault as the former was how it was originally published according to Wikipedia). As I was trying to keep up with all the accidentals and still pay some attention to the dynamics and phrasing, it occurred to me that it's really cool that I can read this special language, the language of music notation, which I began learning at about the age of 3.3 notes - Make notes
I've met many fine musicians who can't read standard notation. They play by ear and/or read only chord charts or tablature. I admire their abilities as I'm pretty much crippled without sheet music in front of me, until and unless I've memorized the piece. I've spent years trying to get better at improvising, but with some exceptions for rock and jazz vocals, it just isn't in me. I really prefer to have all the notes written out. I do hope I can get beyond this need one day, as it goes counter to the message of an amazing book I read recently by Victor Wooten, The Music Lesson, which I highly recommend to all musicians, especially bass players.
But, back to written music for now. I like being able to sight read. It's great to be able to sit at the piano in front of a piece of music I've never seen before and just play it. My first paying job was actually playing for a musical theater class at age 16. I played lots of auditions. Imagine the stress of singers throwing music you've never seen before in front of you every five minutes for four hours. I did this in college too, often for free. Do me a favor, watch "How To Treat Your Pianist" if you ever expect to sing in an audition yourself.
I'm not nearly as good at sight-reading on bass or voice. Bass because I've yet to get truly confident with the instrument, voice because I don't have good relative pitch (and definitely not perfect pitch). In that regard I really appreciate that our choral director is making us do sight-reading exercises at the beginning of almost every rehearsal. There's some grumbling about it, including from me as I already understand the concepts of key signatures, pitch, and rhythm, but overall we really need it. The musical skill levels of the chorus members are all over the place. I was showing some music changes to a fellow alto who couldn't make it to our sectional rehearsal, and explained that we were to sing a particular passage an octave down. It dawned on me after a short time that she didn't know what an octave was.
In any case, it's saved me a lot of time that I've been able to learn the choral music on my own at my keyboard rather than waiting to download and listen to the rehearsal files our director's been providing. It also enabled me to participate in a very special wedding proposal gig last weekend with only one rehearsal, after receiving the music only a few days before. (Most of the other chorus members had already performed this piece.) And with eight songs in our upcoming performance to learn, of which seven need to be memorized and at least one with choreography as well, I've got my work cut out for me.
|May. 18th, 2013 12:50 pm 5K race report and thoughts about marathoning|
Last Sunday, boyziggy and I competed in our first DSE Runners club race together. I'd signed him up for the club nearly a year ago as an annual family membership is only $5 more than individual, but he often works on Sundays and hasn't been able to compete. This race was one of the Marina Green runs, the same course where I set my 5K PR (29:49) last year. I thought it would be awesome if I set a new 5K PR in the same week where I ran my longest distance ever, 26 miles, but it was not to be. I was tired and had pains in my chest - not the scary heart attack warning kind, but it felt like I pulled a muscle in my sleep; it hurt whenever I turned my head.5 notes - Make notes
I finished in 31:05 (10 min/mile pace), with a field placement of 176 / 283 (62%). Not terrible. But Ziggy, who has barely been running at all, beat me! He finished in 29:59 (9:40 pace), with a field placement of 156 / 283 (55%). I'm proud of him, but grr.
Meanwhile, I'm realizing that since my long runs have increased beyond about 16 miles, I really haven't been enjoying them that much anymore.
( Thoughts on the marathon and long distance runningCollapse )
Jeff Galloway, whose book and run/walk method helped me complete my first half-marathon, wrote that after your first marathon you should wait at least a week before deciding a) to sign up for another one, or b) to never run another marathon again. Right now I'm learning very heavily toward b), but I'm going to take his advice and wait.
Regardless, I've got my bib number and wave assignment (wave 8, the last one, starting at 6:30 a.m.), and I will be at that starting line on June 16. Twenty-nine days to go till the marathon.
|May. 14th, 2013 08:38 am Singing in Pride concert June 22|
I'll be performing with the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco in our 35th Annual Pride Concert, "Ripped From The Headlines", Saturday June 22. Two performances, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street, near Market and Van Ness). We'll be performing with the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and the Metropolitan Community Church Choir at both shows. For the 6 p.m. concert we'll be joined by Vocal Minority, the small ensemble of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. The 9 p.m. show will include the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men's Chorus, featuring its small ensemble OnQ. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner will be our emcee.2 notes - Make notes
Get tickets here - sliding scale, $20-$30. Tickets will also be available at the door for $20 while available.
I've really been enjoying singing with the chorus. We had a very special gig at the Conservatory of Flowers this past weekend, serenading a female couple while one proposed to the other. (She accepted :-) ). We're working on some music with beautiful harmonies for this upcoming concert, and will be doing a bit of dancing too. Don't miss it!
|May. 8th, 2013 09:38 am Forward and forgive: 26 mile run|
4 notes - Make notes
Yesterday it was finally time for my "practice marathon", to see if I could run a full 26.2 consecutive miles without collapsing. I was absolutely determined to complete my entire planned route (above) and not cut it short like I did three weeks ago, even if I had to crawl to the end.
( The detailsCollapse )
I'm glad I survived this run, however slowly, and I'm glad I hit a wall during training so that I can learn from my mistakes and do better during the marathon itself. After this experience I'm no longer aiming for an unrealistic 5:15 time goal; I will just be content to finish within the six-hour time limit. And I'm shortening my last planned long run, three weeks from now, to 26 miles rather than 28. I want another chance to finish this route without the death march bit at the end.
Six weeks to go till the marathon. Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.
|Apr. 26th, 2013 08:29 pm This week in running|
Had some especially good experiences with running this week.1 note - Make notes
( Boston Marathon tributes and other running storiesCollapse )
Feeling good about having a fitter, stronger, more flexible body than ever before. So lucky to live in such a beautiful city to run.
|Apr. 26th, 2013 12:01 am Brafree|
I stopped wearing bras for the most part around the time I noticed my 36B bras were getting too loose. I'd always hated wearing bras, and hated shopping for them even more so, and didn't see the point if I was down to an A cup. I don't care about nipple show-through, and I don't (and wouldn't) work in a job that requires modesty in that area, though I (generally) won't wear a semi-transparent shirt in public. I still wore sports bras for running, however.3 notes - Make notes
Today, I did a track workout, and since it was only going to last about 15 minutes* and all my sports bras that actually fit needed washing, I didn't wear one. And I didn't notice any bounce or discomfort whatsoever. A great discovery!
So from now on, I only need to wear a sports bra if it's warm enough outside to run shirtless (which I do as often as possible, to enjoy feeling the sun on my skin and get a natural source of Vitamin D). And I'm really resentful I need to do it even then, as a woman's nipples really should be legally indistinguishable from a man's. The recent ban on nudity in San Francisco technically only applies to genitalia, but I'm not brave enough to test the waters. I'm very happy to be topless or completely nude around other people who are, in hot tubs and such, but I don't want to be the only woman jogging along the Embarcadero or the Marina wearing nothing above the waist.
* Six laps around a 400-meter track, for the Adult Fitness Test. It actually ended up being 1.6 miles as I was in a middle lane, and I confirmed that I can now sustain 9-minute pace for over a mile!
|Apr. 17th, 2013 12:29 pm A mile short|
2 notes - Make notes
While spending several hours on Monday watching coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, I noticed that some running clubs were encouraging everyone to wear a race T-shirt the following day. I was planning to anyway, as I had a 24-mile long run scheduled as part of my marathon training. The attack on one of our nation's oldest and most famous footraces was tragic and definitely worrying, but I wasn't going to let it deter me from continuing my quest to finish my first marathon this June.
( The detailsCollapse )
Two months to go until the race! Wish me luck!
|Apr. 11th, 2013 10:40 pm Running anew|
4 notes - Make notes
This week I decided to try a couple of new running routes. I've had trouble getting up early enough on Mondays to fit in a run before yoga class, and had been skipping these runs (and sometimes the class too) more often than not. So when I heard of a running group that meets downtown at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, I decided to check them out after Daylight Savings Time started (I really dislike running in the dark).
boyziggy and I opted for the shorter, 3.5 mile route, as that's about the distance I normally run Mondays anyway (my long runs are on Tuesdays), and Ziggy's not up to doing longer distances yet. Regrettably, I did not enjoy this run at all. This route (they are different each week), while a nice tour of some touristy parts of the city (Embarcadero/North Beach/Chinatown), had lots of traffic stops and pedestrians. Ziggy and I couldn't stay together easily as he tends to sprint and then slow to a walk, while I try to go at a steady pace. I also couldn't get my GPS watch to locate a signal for the first several minutes of the run, owing to all the tall buildings. Ziggy's smartphone GPS worked fine, however.
Despite being tired from inadequate training, Ziggy said he enjoyed the run and would like to do it again. I'm not so sure, especially on the evenings before I have my really long marathon training runs (such as next week, when I have a 24-miler scheduled for Tuesday morning). The organizers seemed friendly enough, however, and offered free Gatorade, peanut butter sandwiches, and samples from the yogurt shop where we met.
While waiting for that run to begin, one of the organizers told me about another event, the Divis Up or Shut Up Challenge, which normally occurs the first Thursday of each month. It consists of running up and down a steep, six-block hill as many times as possible in 30 minutes. I said it sounded awful, and I normally wasn't free on Thursday evenings anyway as that's when I have chorus rehearsals. But the run was the 2nd Thursday this month and the chorus has this week off, and the more I thought about it, the more I decided that it would indeed be a good challenge. I could always use more hill training, especially on the downhills where I am nervous about going too fast and losing control.
I walked the ~2 miles to the start of the challenge, which was a hilly endeavor in itself, especially going down an extremely steep portion of Jones Street. I was used to this as it's the same walking route I take when going to Monday yoga classes, but I still have to pick my way down slowly. I was greeted at the store by the organizer from the Monday run who had invited me to the event. I signed in and waited around, eventually striking up a conversation with a nice young woman who I spotted wearing a No Meat Athlete T-shirt, which gave me the excuse to ask if she was a vegan. She is, and I discovered that we're also both members of the DSE Runners club, so I told her I'd look for her at my next race with them.
We jogged over to the start of the course at Divisadero and Lombard, and soon began climbing the hill. I tried to actually run at least the first lap, but by the last block had slowed to a walk (my "running" was already at walking speed by then anyway). I already knew I could walk up steep hills, having done so frequently not only just to get around this hilly city I've lived in for 10 years, but also for exercise when I used to walk up and down a one-block set of 180 stairs for 20-30 minutes. (I got up to ten laps in 30 minutes before I got really bored and abandoned that exercise.) So I was hoping to do more running on this challenge, but it was not to be; I just don't have the cardiovascular fitness for that kind of workout yet.
It took about seven minutes to get up the hill the first time. My heart was pounding, and I was questioning the wisdom of doing this crazy activity. Took another four minutes to get back down; I was happy to have at least finished one lap. The second wasn't any easier on the way up, despite the faster runners cheering me on as they lapped me. But I willed myself to go a little faster on the way down, which left just enough time for me to get in a final half-lap before the 30 minutes were up. I actually sprinted the last few yards so that I could get to the top in exactly thirty minutes. Then I doubled over with exhaustion, and it took me a couple of minutes to catch my breath before I could walk/jog back down.
The top of this post shows a portion of a Google Earth screenshot showing the route with the beginning and end points marked. (If you haven't looked at Google Earth lately, the level of detail in well-covered cities like SF is truly astounding.) It doesn't really convey the steepness of the hill though. Here's another view, from my GPS data, which displays the actual elevation gain/loss underneath.
I finished with a pace of 16:05/mile, which I would normally refer to as "glacial" but hey, that was some hill. If I manage to complete another 2 1/2 laps next time (I believe the next run also happens to fall on no-rehearsal night), I'll earn a T-shirt. The more laps I run, the more and better T-shirts I can get. Something to look forward to I guess.
I enjoyed a free Coke back at the store (they also had beer) and then headed over to a restaurant across the street I liked, but they had a long line, and I didn't feel like waiting and dining in a crowded restaurant by myself. (Neither Ziggy nor Chad were available, and the woman I'd chatted with earlier, who I might have liked to invite, was gone by the time I got back to the store.) After the first two buses I waited for were both out of service, I ended up walking all the way home and fixing myself a homemade hummus wrap and a chocolate mug cake. Looking forward to more running adventures.
|Apr. 6th, 2013 11:41 am Musical adventures|
Since I joined the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco in late February I've been doing a lot more singing, and really enjoying it. I hadn't sung in a formal choral ensemble since the Berkeley Broadway Singers back in the year 2000. I also performed in a concert of popular music with the Berkeley Community Chorus that same year, but there's no mention of that show on their site, perhaps because it wasn't part of their usual classical repertoire. (We recorded an album though!)4 notes - Make notes
With the BCCO and BBS I sang tenor as they really needed more members in that section; in fact 1/3-1/2 of the tenors were female then. But after taking voice lessons and expanding the upper end of my range, I figured I would perform better as an alto, so joined that section in the LGCSF. I didn't end up needing a formal audition; I was just asked to sit and sing with the chorus at the first rehearsal I visited, and by then end of the evening I was writing a check for my first month's dues, having committed to becoming a member.
I wanted to join because I loved the humor and bawdiness of their "anti-Valentine's Day" show, Love Bites. This group clearly knew how to have a good time. I knew I'd fit in even though I'm bisexual, not gay; they welcome people of all orientations.
I was not disappointed; my first show with the chorus, Something Foolish, was a cabaret at Martuni's featuring lots of silly songs in honor of April Fool's Day, with bunny ears and a sing-a-long for Easter. I suggested the song "Chain of Fools", which I'd previously played bass and sung backup on at Blue Bear. Our director, Billy, found a choral arrangement that was in a lower key, so I ended up singing lead. boyziggy and I took a bunch of photos, which are posted on Facebook.
I was happy that numerous friends came out to support me: nine in total over the two-day run. Several of us went to The Mint after the first (matinee) show. I sang one of my karaoke standards, "New York State of Mind", and gained some admirers from the crowd. I mean people were coming up to me and hugging and kissing me and thanking me for making their day. Pretty mind-blowing. Of course, my friends James (first time at karaoke!) and Rick (first time at the Mint!) also got hit on by an overly-enthusiastic attendee, so alcohol might have been a factor...
Through the LGCSF, I also learned of a monthly open mic hosted by their former artistic director, Stephanie, aka "Miss Smith". I already knew about her, not only from the Love Bites show which she co-hosted, but from her hilarious video on "How to Treat Your Pianist" which, having played hundreds of auditions in high school and college, I could relate to very, very well. (Though I never minded being called an "accompanist", personally.) At the March open mic I sang "Mister Cellophane" from Chicago, which went really well, even better than expected as I had a slight cold at the time. I was hoping to audition with this as a possible LGCSF solo, but it looks like we're not going to have any solos for next concert in June. Hopefully I'll be able to perform it some time in the future. I was rehearsal pianist for a production of Chicago at Northwestern back in '89 or '90, but had only performed the song myself once since, at The Mint.
For last night's open mic, I sang "Home" and "Be A Lion" from The Wiz. I played piano for this show while still in high school, at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh. I was the only black person involved with the production. It was not only an all-white cast, it wasn't even all-Jewish; several kids joined the JCC temporarily just so they could be in the show. Our musical director only had experience leading choirs, and certainly not gospel ones. She directed everyone to "Enunciate!" and pronounce each word with no soul whatsoever. It was pretty comical.
I did sing these Wiz songs once each in voice classs, one in college over 20 years ago and one in my first (and only) Blue Bear group voice class nearly 10 years ago. I had a book of vocal selections, and practiced with Chad to figure out what would be a good key (both were written for a soprano). Settled on a fourth down, and transcribed and transposed "Be A Lion" myself with Sibelius. This took so long (as I was duplicating every bit of the entire piece, not just making a lead sheet) that I decided to pay $5.25 to MusicNotes to get the other piece in the new key. I should have just done that for both pieces. Anyway, fortunately Stephanie was able to sight-read both my hand-transcribed chart and the professional chart just fine, and the performance went off very well.
Before the open mic, I looked up The Wiz on Netflix and decided to watch it, since I hadn't seen it all the way through. It was dreadful, just a step above Xanadu in terms of plot and screenplay. Michael Jackson was excellent as the scarecrow and there were a few other standout performances, but making Dorothy a 20-something school teacher from Harlem rather than a teenage farm girl from Kansas, setting Oz in a vaguely post-apocalyptic New York City, and casting a non-singing and not-particularly-funny (in this role) Richard Pryor in the title role, were all just bad decisions. (The original director was let go after refusing to work with a 33-year-old Diana Ross, who had forced herself into the role, as Dorothy.) Definitely don't recommend this film despite the great music. I'll have to see if there's a filmed version of the Broadway show with Stephanie Mills...
|Mar. 28th, 2013 12:48 pm March fitness progress|
Fitness highlights for this month include two races, two 20+ mile runs, and lots of yoga.
( DSE St Patrick's Day 5KCollapse )
( DSE Walt Stack 10KCollapse )
( 22 mile runCollapse )
( Yoga practiceCollapse )
When my body feels broken down from all this exercise and I question why I'm doing it and whether it's worth the effort, I remember my idol, ultrarunner Dean Karnazes, who is the one who convinced me to run the San Francisco Marathon. Dean wrote, "Somewhere along the line we confused comfort with happiness." U-verse did a great video feature on him recently. Watching that last night lifted my spirits and boosted my resolve. The pain is temporary. My body is undeniably getting stronger.
|Mar. 14th, 2013 08:07 am A bit of Beck and Beatles|
For my latest Beck Song Reader cover, I decided to try an original arrangement rather than play the song strictly as written as I'd been doing. Make notes
While I prefer doing live recordings with minimal editing, as I was playing all of the instruments myself on this one (voice/bass/keyboard) it was necessary to record separate tracks. boyziggy did the audio editing as usual.
On a completely different note, my new friend Rick and I recently enjoyed an informal duet on one of my favorite Beatles songs.
Check out his channel for way better stuff (great electric guitar solos).
|Mar. 8th, 2013 08:36 am Lesbian/Gay Chorus concert March 31 and April 1, open house March 21|
I'll be performing in my first concert with the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, "Something Foolish", at Martuni's, 4 Valencia Street, SF, on Sunday March 31 at 4 p.m. and Monday April 1 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. I sent out an invite on Facebook to a bunch of people but everyone is welcome to attend.Make notes
Also, we're having a membership recruitment drive this month. If you're interested in joining the chorus (we have straight and bi members too!), we're having an open rehearsal the evening of Thursday, March 21. Contact me for more details, and look for some of our members busking in the Castro the next two weekends.
|Mar. 5th, 2013 09:21 pm Twenty mile tour|
6 notes - Make notes
Today was the point in my marathon training to tackle the longest run I've attempted to date: 20 miles.
( The detailsCollapse )
Many people cap their marathon training at 20 miles. I personally think this is nuts. I might have forced out another two miles today if I had to (and will indeed have to on my next long run in three weeks), but six? No way, and I'm not waiting till race day to find out if I can run the last 10K on willpower alone. I'm sticking with the Jeff Galloway method of running up to and beyond the target distance, and planning to get up to 28 miles three weeks before the race. Thank goodness I still have over three months to go.
|Mar. 2nd, 2013 10:53 pm Gameless|
Fresh off my unplugged day, and enjoyed the vacation from the Internet. Must have more of that.5 notes - Make notes
I recently realized that I have not played a single video game of any kind yet this year. For me this is unprecedented.
( My history of gamingCollapse )
So here I sit, two months into 2013 and I have not played a single game on my computer or smartphone, and can't say I've missed gaming at all. However, I can almost guarantee this streak will end, as I was a contributor to the Leisure Suit Larry Kickstarter, and am determined to get my $25 worth. If the game ever makes it beyond alpha, that is...
|Mar. 1st, 2013 09:01 am Offline for 24 hours|
I'm joining the National Day of Unplugging and avoiding Internet use for 24 hours beginning at 6 p.m. today. Will also avoid TV and other computer use, other than playing music via iTunes while I'm cleaning house. 2 notes - Make notes
This downtime is sorely needed; I've been meaning to incorporate more offline time ever since my June 2011 retreat, yet have been unsuccessful in avoiding the pull of the Internet, as was evident when our DSL went out for a day last month. I have cut way down on mobile use, at least, completely eliminating check-in services (Foursquare, etc.) and Twitter, and never checking e-mail, surfing the web, or texting while I'm in motion. I'm so tired of people on the sidewalk almost running into me because they're staring down at their phones rather than looking at the world around them. Switching to Ting for cell phone service has also helped, as my data use is now metered rather than unlimited; I can save $10 a month by staying under 100MB while not on WiFi.
Facebook is one app I would remove entirely from my phone if I could do so without rooting it. I'd long since given up trying to keep track of updates in my news feed, and after the unpleasantness with my photos last month I'm feeling even less inclined to use that medium. And yet, I seem to keep friending everyone I meet. I need to stop doing that. I don't have 680+ "friends". I like Facebook for the invite system (far better than eVite), yet it seems that the majority of the invites I get are from people I barely know, some for out-of-state events. I feel like I'm only wanted as a warm body to fill a seat, not as a genuine friend whose attendance would be desired and noticed.
I do still like longer-form blogging - both reading and writing - and one-on-one e-mail exchanges. I think I will stop cross-posting my LJ posts to Facebook and see who is willing to read my full posts here. When I've posted LJ links to FB I've gotten comments from people who obviously didn't read the linked post. Which is fine as everyone is busy, but at this point I'd rather have more meaningful interactions with a smaller subset of people. (I trimmed my LJ friendslist way down a couple of years ago after a privacy breach, but most of my posts since then have been fully public anyway, and will remain so.)
Better yet will be interacting more with actual friends in person. I've been doing more of that lately, as I met a couple of great people through my latest foray into OKCupid. I'm now spending more time making music with friends, which, besides running, is the main social activity I've wanted to do. To that end, I also recently joined the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco (they take bi and straight people too), and will be posting more details about our upcoming concerts on March 31 and April 1 shortly.
|Feb. 16th, 2013 11:36 am Photography, respect, and the law|
Even though I stopped taking on photography gigs six months ago, I have continued to license photos and do occasional self-directed shoots on subjects of interest or importance to me. One of these subjects is the fight for same-sex marriage equality in California, which I have been documenting for the past three years. So on Thursday I headed to San Francisco City Hall for the annual Valentine's Day rally and sit-in at the clerk's office. My friends thomwatson and jefftabaco, pictured above, were in attendance, along with many other familiar faces.
I spent a good 14 hours from the time I left for City Hall to the time I finally shut down the computer and went to bed after sorting, keywording, editing, posting, and tagging 85 photos from the over 400 I took at the event. As usual, I put the full gallery on Zenfolio and a smaller selection on Facebook and Flickr, and additionally uploaded a select few to my stock agency's live news feed. I encouraged people on Facebook to tag themselves if I hadn't done so already, so I could get more complete captions for the photos and also add people to my alphabetical list of participants in these events.
The following morning, I noticed a screenshot in a link one of the participants posted to a video about the event. The screenshot looked suspiciously like one of my photos. I clicked through and found that a CBS news affiliate in Fresno had used two of my photos very prominently in their 11 p.m. broadcast story about the event, without any notice to, permission from, or compensation to me. I was livid. I e-mailed the station, copying the news director and business manager and including screenshots from their video (which was not easy as the video shrunk to thumbnail sized whenever it was paused) and a link to the original photos in my gallery.
The news director soon phoned me and was actually very reasonable and apologetic. He explained that someone at the event had sent them the photos and he thought they were "fair use". He also claimed the photos had no watermarks or other identifying information, though they clearly did when I posted them. I explained to him that the sender(s) had no rights to those photos, which were not taken on their behalf; I owned the copyright, and the station's broadcast of them was clearly not fair use. He agreed with me, said he wanted to make it right, and asked what I would charge. When I asked what they normally paid for photos, he said they didn't; people just sent them in. I came up with what I thought was a very fair price (far, far less than they would have been on the hook for had they appropriated Getty's photos; a Getty photographer has also covered many of these events) and he agreed to pay it and asked me to send them an invoice.
Meanwhile, one of the people who sent my photos to the station left me a voicemail saying that she thought that since I posted the photos to Facebook and asked people to tag themselves, they were free to use. I left her a message explaining that that wasn't the way the law worked, that she couldn't just take someone else's photos and send them to someone else to use, and that I was not even notified much less asked permission first. I explained that I'm fine with people on Facebook sharing my photos and using them as their cover or profile photos as long as they credit and link back to me, and I've frequently offered marriage equality organizations the free use of my low-res photos as long as they get my permission first. But a general news agency needs to license photos from me properly, and really should have done their due diligence.
So as if this weren't enough, a friend of the person who sent the photos proceeded to slander me in comments on my Facebook album, accusing me of threatening the station with a lawsuit (I did no such thing), and of trying to profit off of the event. After several back-and-forths where I attempted to educate her about copyright law and basic manners, I removed myself from the discussion. boyziggy and Ben came to my defense, as did thomwatson in very eloquent fashion. But I have yet to receive an apology from the slanderer.
To top it off, numerous people from the event have been sharing my photos in their own Facebook albums without crediting me, sometimes with my watermark cropped out. Facebook strips metadata from images, so the watermark or caption is my only hope of establishing my ownership of these photos. But in today's culture, anything put online is apparently up for grabs for people to do what they like with, law and ethics be damned.
This unpleasantness on top of all the other obstacles and rudeness I've faced over my short photography career has seriously made me not want to pick up my camera ever again, no matter how worthwhile the cause. I've said this before and I'll say it again:
It is only by societal convention that we've decided that digital art and music are essentially worthless and can be duplicated by anyone at will with virtually no consequences, whereas stealing a loaf of bread, a physical object, can land you in jail. If I'm going to give away my time and work, I'd much rather the product of that work be food, which is essential to life, rather than digital photos, which are not.
And with that, I think I need to take a break not only from photography, but from social networking as well.1 note - Make notes
|Feb. 10th, 2013 11:27 pm Mostly offline weekend|
Our DSL went down Friday evening, and I wasn't able to get service restored until Sunday morning. I'll spare the tech garble details here, but this taught me some important lessons, including:Make notes
- I am way too dependent for boyziggy on help understanding the massive numbers of wires and blinky lights in our apartment.
- I am way too dependent on the Internet in general. I survived nine days without it quite well in 2011. This time around I was so stressed I lost sleep over it, despite still being able to check e-mail and browse the web on my cell phone.
- I (still) procrastinate way too much. A big web site overhaul I should have finished months ago I had planned to get a fair amount of work done on this weekend. My target date of Thursday is not going to happen at this point, but I have a fallback plan to get up the content I need up by then.
Despite the outage, I still had a great weekend. Friday night I went with Ben and his partner to see the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, which I enjoyed so much that I'm going to audition with them in a couple of weeks. It's been a long time since I've been in a chorus (Berkeley Community Chorus and Berkeley Broadway Singers back in 2000), and it would be great to do that kind of singing again.
Saturday afternoon, Ben and I performed three songs from Beck's Song Reader at our friends' Some Good Music artists' salon. For me this collection of sheet music is tailor-made for gathering around a piano in someone's living room, so it was great to have the opportunity to do exactly that.
Then we, along with Chad who also attended the salon and helped with the filming, had a great dinner at Udupi Palace, a vegetarian Indian restaurant in the Mission that I can't believe I've never been to before. I had wanted to go to Dosa across the street, but they had an hour-long wait, so Chad suggested Udupi. I love dosa. They make one that's two feet long!!
Unfortunately with the stress from the Internet outage, sleep deprivation from same, and the excitement from the salon performance, I completely forgot to do yoga on Saturday, thus ending my streak. Still going on the daily Spanish and music practice though!
Today after my Free Farm Stand shift (sunny and nice) I dug through my boxes of sheet music to find some jazz standards to potentially work on with Chad (who also plays piano). We attended a jam session at Savanna Jazz the other night but I didn't feel prepared to sing then, so I wanted to have something ready for next time. (Though if I get into the Lesbian/Gay Chorus, rehearsal nights will conflict with Savanna's current jam nights, there are certainly other places in the city that have them.) I gave him Satin Doll and a couple of songs from my last jazz recital which I've been dying to do again sometime, When Sunny Gets Blue and Triste. (It isn't jazz without Jobim!)
|Feb. 4th, 2013 10:21 am Birthday race report: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon|
Yesterday I began my 43rd birthday at 5 a.m. after a night of fitful and inadequate sleep. I needed 90 minutes to allow my brain and body to fully awaken before taking the bus to Golden Gate Park to run the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon.2 notes - Make notes
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So a Happy Birthday to me indeed: New PR, with 43-year-old me beating 29-year-old me at the same distance. Now a break from racing for a few weeks while I continue to build mileage for my first full marathon this June.
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