Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Archive for September 2010

Shiyan Phool

leave a comment »

I was driving north on the 24 to go to my  parents house on Saturday when I noticed smoke coming from under the hood and exited.  After pulling over and calling AAA for roadside assistance, I walked over to the  nearest cafe to wait for someone to come out and ended up at Alem’s Coffee on Claremont and Vicente.

A few groups of dark, middle-aged men were congregated around small plastic tables of 4 or 5 throughout the establishment.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on what language they were speaking but later learned it was Tigrinya, one of the official languages spoken in Eritrea.

Knowing I had about 30 min. to kill before someone from AAA would arrive to help with my car, I ordered a traditional Eritrean dish, Shiyan Phool, as my breakfast.  It was a bowl of crushed fava and black beans, chili peppers, onion, butter, tomato, and crumbled feta and was served with lemon and crispy (but warm and soft on the inside) french bread for dipping.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about eggs and bacon for the first meal of the day, but this was the best vegetarian breakfast I’ve ever had.

If you’re in the area, it’s worth stopping by.

Alem’s Coffee, 5353 Claremont Ave. (btwn Cavour St & Vicente Way), Oakland, CA 94618


Written by winniewongsf

September 6, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Wheels on the bus

leave a comment »

Ok, three posts in one night.  Winnie, get a life please!?

(At least I’m working on Fred Korematsu sound bytes for my KI director, Ling.  If Arnold “Yes, we’re on a first name basis” signs the Korematsu Day bill over the weekend, we’ll need to have something to release to the press, if requested. So there.)

Today was the first day of the rest of my life.  No, actually, it was the first day of classes at Academy of Art.  Attending an art school is going to be a divergence for me.  I can already tell.  Female students mostly dressed in lacy, spandex-y, American Apparel dance wear.  Male students in pants hanging under the cheeks of their butts or jeans that looked like they would prevent them from ever producing offspring.  I’ve never attended a school where so much skin was blatantly revealed.   Well, actually, I take that back.  Santa Barbara saw its fair share of daisy dukes and tanned shoulders, so maybe AAU isn’t much of a stretch.  But still, I was surprised.  It was like being in a Flash Dance music video heading downtown to class in the school shuttle which I will now ride to go EVERYWHERE in the city.  Take that MUNI!

Most Overdressed Student at AAU…that’s right, this chick here. (Yup, I went there with the phone-cam-in-front-of-mirror pose.  Ugh.)

My Thursday class is MPT 625: Editing Concepts.  Similar to the Final Cut Pro class at BDFI, but I’m expecting it to be more in-depth and covering a wider range of tools/uses/effects.  My instructor seems like a lady who will not take bullshit from anyone.  Wish there was a Like button for that!  Very Irish, very headstrong, respectable, knows her shit.  I’m excited to find out what her teaching style will be.

On another note, it feels odd to be part of a student body again.  One where I will have access to a gym, a swimming pool, student health insurance (!?)…at least this time around, no cafeteria food.  Not that the food at DLG was inedible or anything.  Look what it did for Jack Johnson…

Written by winniewongsf

September 2, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Gettin’ they hair did

leave a comment »

I was strolling Divisadero for the occasional Art Walk tonight and happened to look through the front entrance of Chicago II Barbershop. I walked past the simple, straightforward shop, stopped in my steps, hesitated, and walked back towards the open door. Screw it. I had wanted to take photos of old-school barbers working on everyday Joes throughout the streets of Phnom Penh, but regretfully, chickened out every time thinking I’d be bothering them. This time, I walked through that doorway and up to one of the black barbers to ask, “Excuse me, but would you mind it if I took a few photos of you and your staff working on these guys here?” He said he wouldn’t mind, but I’d have to ask all the clients in the shop. There were 3 young men, probably in their 30s, sitting in those classic chairs either having their hair cut or their facial hair trimmed.  I raised my voice a few octaves and asked if any of them would mind.  They all turned their heads and proceeded to look at me like I was from a rural village stepping onto American soil for the first time.  The one closest to me even asked where I was coming from.  With a big sheepish smile, I said, “Oh, just down the street.  I live on California.”  They laughed.  I laughed.  We were good.

After a few minutes of kneeling with camera in hand, trying different angles, (insert dirty joke here), I thanked them and walked out.  Halfway down the street, I heard someone running after me.  I thought, I must’ve left something behind.  No.  The master barber, Kenneth, wanted me to come back and talk to him about “doing something” with the barbershop.  He asked me what I did for a living and why I decided to come in tonight.  When I explained my nostalgia, he handed me his card, took down my contact info, shook my hand, and said, “Alright, let’s do something here.  I’ve been wanting to do something to get the word out about business for some time now.”  Promoting their business in exchange for…services?  Wonder if they cut Asian hair – doubt it, but the place seems legit.  Curious as to how I can help.

Written by winniewongsf

September 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Something old becomes new again

leave a comment »

Written by winniewongsf

September 2, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: