Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Archive for March 2010

A dose of positivity, just for YOU!

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Written by winniewongsf

March 31, 2010 at 9:28 am

And the results are in…

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Winnie Wong #7174

San Francisco, CA, USA

Age: 26 Gender: F

Distance HALF MAR
Clock Time 1:59:08
Chip Time 1:58:32
Overall Place 753 / 2978
Gender Place 278 / 1875
Division Place 80 / 342
Age Grade 55.5%
City San Francisco
State CA
Divtotal 342
Sextotal 1875
Pace 9:03

Written by winniewongsf

March 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

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Oakland Running Festival Participants Stop Dead in Their Tracks to Get Hyphy

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That’s what the title would be if I were contributing an article to The Onion…

Yesterday at 9am, I (along with 3,400 others) ran an inaugural half-marathon on the other side of the bridge in a city not only notorious for its homicide and crime rates, but for its multi-faceted subcultures; the one, the only: Oakland.  It’s the first one held in the ‘hood in 25 years, and there could not have been a better course designed for this race.  Excitement, anticipation, and energy filled the crisp air as we made our way towards the START line and did last-minute stretches before the big countdown.  These minutes are my favorite.  I feel most nervous, yet exhilarated for what lies ahead.  I keep telling myself that I’m not going to do these races anymore.  Who am I kidding?  Being part of an event like this, especially training for a physical goal, has made life more rewarding since I started taking running seriously at the end of ’07.

It was gratifying to know that many out-of state participants were going to make purchases from local businesses, stay in local accommodations, and use the services provided by Oakland residents during this particular weekend.  Running through the various stretches of Oakland reminded me of what many people actually do for a living – work with their hands.  I recall passing various mom and pop restaurants, a number of stores where the word “Craft” was part of the signage – it was evident that the organizers of this race designed it to showcase different economic sectors of the city.  They were able to highlight the business and port districts, residential neighborhoods, small businesses, community colleges – places I had never really seen or had failed to notice in the past.   I think it opened a lot of eyes.

Throughout different points of the race, there were cheering stations where enthusiastic Raiders and A’s fans, talented Taiko organizations, Rastafarians, muscular firemen, jazz & blues musicians set up shop to provide inspiration and make sure we runners were thoroughly entertained, at least enough to keep moving.  There was even a group of people underneath an overpass dressed up in Gorilla suits, wearing masks, getting down to hyphy music bumping from old-school stereos.  Pounding the pavement through parts of West and East Oakland is not a typical route, by any means, for any runner who trains in the Bay Area.  These are sections of the city most people would think twice about passing through on foot.  The design of the course was perfect for those of us who don’t enjoy running hills.  I have to give major cred to the volunteers and members of  Oakland PD who helped navigate flawlessly.

We ran through an ‘arc of fire’ sponsored by an industrial arts education organization midway through the race (talk about something different), were gifted two beer coupons attached to our individual race bibs (I even forgave them for choosing MGD 64 –  runners count carbs, I guess), passed by succulent smells of barbecued meats, and were treated to a clean grassy park in the downtown area where everyone just sat and chilled in the warm sun immediately after consuming banana halves, downing Dixie cups filled with quenching amounts of Powerade, and golfing down nutty samples of Clif bars.

Most compelling thing about the race –  you could see the pride in people’s eyes.  Dads propped little ones up on the back of their shoulders.  Moms, aunts, and grandmothers threw their hands up in the air with signs full of colorful praises and words of encouragement laughing, smiling, showing us how positive their city can be.  I felt like what they were really saying was, “There are still good things happening here.  Good people do live here. ”  It’s unfortunate that this city has such a  negative reputation, partly due to what the media chooses to cover.  The murders, the drugs, the unattractive and extremely high unemployment rate – these are all things that members of the public choose to remember when they watch the 10 ‘clock news.

Throughout the race, I thought to myself – I’m doing this to support Oakland.  I think that can be said of many other runners who participated yesterday.  That thought was the extra push that I needed to help me cross the finish line.  And it felt damn hyphy good.

Corrigan Sports is planning to put on this same event next year.  If you didn’t make it out yesterday, I have nothing to say except DON”T MISS OUT NEXT YEAR!  (Your friends might even give you street cred for running through Oakland without a bullet proof vest.)

Written by winniewongsf

March 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

H-town Love

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Went biking in Healdsburg on Tuesday through different vineyards and visited several tasting rooms with Aaron.  What a gorgeous day – couldn’t have asked for better weather (or company).  Some photos I took…

If you make it out to H-town anytime in the near future, make sure to stop by UNTI to taste and say hi to Alex Hill.  Very knowledgeable wine guy and just all around down-to-earth.  (You’ll also notice they have good taste in music…)

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March 26, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Who is Vincent Chin?

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If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve been involved with launching the Bay Area chapter for APAP over the last few months.  In April, we will screen the little-known (at least to members outside of the Asian American community) documentary Vincent Who? in SF.   Who is this Vincent referred to in the title?  I’m glad you ask.

Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese-American beaten to  death in 1982 with a baseball bat by two Detroit men.  They thought he was Japanese, and in their minds, was responsible for the loss of jobs in the U.S. auto industry during that time.  Chin had just happily celebrated his bachelor party when a man and his stepson verbally and physically attacked him until he fell into a coma for four days and was declared brain-dead.  Controversy followed not only because many minority communities labeled this abhorrent event a hate crime – the consequences both murderers faced were minimal and to this day, completely incongruous.  The County Judge Charles Kaufman justified his ruling by stating, “”These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail… You don’t make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal.” (Source: Wikipedia)  This circumstance of advantageous racial profiling allowed the murderers to simply be “let off the hook” and served as a painful reminder to Chin’s surviving kin, as well as his fiancé, that justice was not served.  Civil suits were filed thereafter, and both men were later financially indebted to Chin’s surviving estate; however neither were sentenced adequate jail time.

One of APAP’s founders, Curtis Chin, a Los Angeles filmmaker and media professional, produced the 2009 film, Vincent Who? in hopes of documenting what young Asian Americans know, or specifically what they do not know, about the legacy left by Chin’s murder.   Director Tony Lam, along with Curtis, went on to interview college students and individuals close to the case to analyze the effects this case has had on the Asian American community, as well as find relevance to today’s efforts to move forward as an ethnically diverse nation.

If you’re curious about the facts of the case and have time next month the night of the 7th, come to the Chinese for Affirmative Action center here in SF and check it out for yourself.  I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews and will be at the screening helping to set up the event and guiding anyone interested in joining the Bay Area chapter of APAP.  To help us with headcount (we’ll be providing light refreshments) and since space is limited (seating based on first-come, first served), please RSVP on the Facebook page here.

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March 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

SF Women’s Film Festival

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This event will be coming into town on April 7th and last through the 11th.  (Think the low number of festival days is indicative of the low number of women filmmakers in the industry?  The SF Int’l Asian American Film Festival took over the city for 11 days, while the Independent Film Festival ran the town for 15…)

Film screenings, Q&A’s, workshops, seminars will be held throughout SF and the East bay.  Example venues are the Roxie Theatre in the Mission, 9th Street Independent Film Center, and David Brower Center in Berkeley.  A few that I’ve marked on the calendar to see are: Healthy Baby Girl, Orgasm, Inc., 21 Days to Nawroz, Sin by Silence, and Code Name: Butterflies.

Support femme filmmakers by getting your tickets here.

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March 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

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Come out and Walk!

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This Saturday, there will be a Campaign Precinct Walk in Alameda to kick off Wilma Chan’s race to reclaim her seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.  Come out, meet new people, and get to know Wilma Chan!

Here are the details for this event –

Date: Saturday, Mar. 20

Location: Zocalo Coffee House, 645 Bancroft Ave. San Leandro, CA 94577 (in the back room; parking lot and street parking available)

Meet & Greet: 10am-10:45am (pastries on Wilma!)

Neighborhood Walk: 11am-1pm (Kids, bikes, and dogs welcome to walk with us while we drop off literature in the community.)

Hope to see you there!

*If you don’t live in the east bay, pass this along to your friends (or family) who do!

Written by winniewongsf

March 16, 2010 at 9:26 am

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