I would definitely say I had a successful vacation. I didn't think about Chinese restaurants at all (there weren't any nearby) & barely looked at the clock, except to be able to tell that I was sleeping at least 9 hours every single night. So nice!

Then last night, only my second night home, I dreamt about Chinese restaurants! I'm not even kidding! I dreamt about taking pictures of a Chinese restaurant somewhere in Wyoming. I am very far gone indeed.

I like being home for Halloween though. Have a good one!


Well, kids, I'm off for a week of vacation! Do I ever need this! No email, no phone, just long naps in the sun. In theory, when I get back, I'll be all fresh & fluffy. That's how it's supposed to work, I'm told. Not like I would know from experience, but we'll fix that, won't we?

Be good while I'm gone, y'all.


"You're a trivia question!" exclaims Donna. So I am. These 15 minutes of fame are getting kinda weird.... Now if it could only translate into some money for the project, that would be really great. Not that I'm complaining. Actually, I'm supposed to be writing a grant proposal right now instead of blogging compulsively. Ok, off I go to work like a good girl.


Yesterday I brought all my work home from Mills; it was a good show (if I do say so myself) & now it's over. Now what? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but these delightful photographs are in fact available for purchase. C'mon, art lovers, step right up! You know those studio sales can be quite a bargain since there's no middleman. Better the Chinese restaurants should grace your walls than hog space in my studio, don't you agree?

In other news, guess what, Ben Fong-Torres himself emailed me & I get to meet him this weekend, prompting my wise-ass friends to ask if I'm gonna be in Rolling Stone. No, no, nothing like that... do I look like a rockstar to you? My fabulous bro will turn up in there a lot sooner than I will. Maybe he already has? I'll have to ask him.


It makes sense that all kinds of enthusiastic folks would email me about the amazing & fabulous Inspector Collector. Thank you everybody, but I already know him! In fact he has given me more menus than anyone else so far! How's that for a challenge? See if you can get me more menus than the Inspector....

By the way, all you lovely new readers: you might be interested in reading my piece on stretcher.org about the Wisconsin roadtrip.

I have been absolutely inundated, in a good way, with responses to the Chronicle article, which has mushroomed into links from other sites, people's blogs, &c. Thank you everyone! It's really nice to get so much enthusiasm emailed to me!

Here are some people's earliest Chinese restaurant memories....

Lori: I think I was about eight or nine years old. I was a girl scout and our troop was on a field trip to Chinatown in San Francisco. I don't remember which restaurant, but I have a feeling that it was the Golden Dragon. I liked the crispy fried stuff, but I cried when I was given a giant prawn with a long, red vein.

Leon Sun: My first encounter with a Chinese restaurant in America was in Grand Rapids, MI. It was the only one (or one of two) in the city at the time, i.e., 1966, when I saw it. It horrified me. It was a dark, gloomy place with grease and dust on the windows and walls. It was one storefront among a row of them on this one block. The corners of the block were anchored by a Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors on one end and a Chicken Delight on the other. The dining room was divided into booths. An old man - looking about as old as the restaurant came out with a toothy grin and pulled the string to turn on the ceiling light over my booth. The rest of the place remained dark till another (rarely) customer came in.

I ordered chop suey, as I had always heard about it but never knew what it was. I also ordered chow mein, which was horror #2: crispy fried things that looked like dried up packing material (shaved wood, in the old days). If you've ever eaten "Chungking" "Chinese" food from a can, you'd know what I had - a lot of bean sprouts and celery and corn starch gravy. The soy sauce looked like cockroach piss - a dark brown ooze, tasting of nothing in particular.

Josh Raub: I was about 8 or 9. My family was at a Chinese restaurant in Burnsville, MN. I hated cream cheese at that time, but we ordered cream cheese puffs. I didn't know what was in them, all i knew was that i loved them and couldn't stop eating them. My mom kept asking, "Do you know what's in those?" I immediatelly realized that it would be something that I didn't like, so I told her not to tell me. She told me anyway. I couldn't eat them anymore. It took me almost ten years before I could eat them again. Needless to say, I love them now.

The same night my brother was with us. He was about three at that time. Before the waiter came to our table he said something to another waiter in Chinese. When he arrived at our table and asked us if we were ready to order, my brother turned to him and said, "Hong, Chau, Pyang" or something like that. He was just immitating what the waiter had said to the other waiter, maybe he thought he was speaking Chinese. Everyone was embarrassed, my parents, me and the waiter.

Jim: my family and relatives ate Thanksgiving dinner in a chinese restaruant in Kalamazoo, MI in 1977 when i was about 12. they served regular-style US turkey dinner that day. i remember i asked for a second glass of milk, but the waitress lady made me finish completely the first glass i had, and she took that glass back and refilled it. i found that stressful.


Check it out, me in the Chronicle! It's already doing wonders; my mailbox is filled with survey replies! Thank you, Annie Nakao! Love me some publicity....


Way off-topic: For some time now, I've been regretting not having bought a button I saw that said "Where am I going & why am I in this handbasket?" Thinking again of this in the past day or so (gee, I wonder why?) it occurred to me that I only ever hear "handbasket" used in the phrase "going to hell in a handbasket", never in any other context. Which is what makes the saying on the button work; anyone reading it knows the reference. A search in the American Dialect Society list archives turns up some interesting discussion about "hell in a handbasket", including the related "heaven in a handbasket" which I'd never heard of before.

Anyway, I wonder if moving to Canada is a good alternative to this handbasket we call California. I can feel some singeing around the edges already....


I have a lot to say today, & cowboy music & cowboy hats seem to be the common thread. I began my new program of rest & relaxation yesterday by going to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in the park.

Dave Alvin, sporting a nice straw Stetson, played a rockin' set of California-themed songs. At first I just thought, oh how cute, but by the time he rolled seamlessly from the Woody Guthrie classic "Do-Re-Mi" into Deadhead favorite "Promised Land", he had successfully reawakened all my fiercely loving, protective feelings about my home state, & with them both outrage & just plain rage about the imminent disaster California faces. Do I have to spell it out? Get out there on Tuesday & fill your ballot with NOs! NO on the stinking recall, NO on the racist 54, & if you're not a California voter, call your friends & family who are, & bug them till they promise you they'll vote down the anti-democracy extremists who are trying to hijack this state!

Rant concluded.

I love Dave Alvin's voice; it's clean & clear & deep, seems made for country music.

Thanks to all the lovely people who came out for the opening on Wednesday. Art fans were treated to the usual cheap wine, the slightly less usual lemon cake, & the extremely rare sight of me in a cowboy hat. Yes folks, I actually put a cowboy hat on my head for the first time in, what, 20 years? Maybe longer!

I haven't been able to articulate my exact objections to wearing a cowboy hat; it seems especially strange considering the enthusiastic free rein that I give to my cowboy boot fetish, but actually I think these two things are related. It's like I only get to choose one cowboy thing. More than that feels ridiculous for an urban chick o' color like me. Something about not wanting to give the impression that I actually buy into the cowboy myth, or keeping a check on my own susceptibility to it, perhaps? Not sure.

Anyway, I did play up the cowboy theme at the opening. Many jokesters pointed out that I was showing next to Henri Matisse; fewer noticed that ol' Henri graciously accepted a boombox in his space so we could have Cowboy Nation for ambiance. (You can afford to be gracious like that when you're super-famous & super-dead.) All of this in order to give more weight to the two Wyoming photographs, not that they really needed help to hold their own in the mix with five photos from Wisconsin/Minnesota, plus the Wisconsin-oriented Stretcher piece.


The show is up. I think it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. On Monday night when it was all up (thanks to Mills' intrepid pro preparator Stacie, who has my undying gratitude) I looked around the gallery & marvelled at the 2-dimensionality of it all. I haven't put up a 2-D show since, what, high school?! (& that doesn't count!) It's very weird to have everything flat on the walls like that, with nothing taking up physical space in the room. But then at the same time, there is all this space inside the pictures.... I know, I know, this is really old news to painters & printmakers & all kinds of people (photographers!), but it's a whole new world for me & it's messing with my mind. In a good way, of course!

Nobody can accuse me of staying stuck in a rut, that's for sure.

Now I think a vacation would be good. Maui? Zihuatanejo? Hmm.... send me your vacation tips, people, I'm all ears!