Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Archive for June 2011

For Better (More Poignant) Interview Answers

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Via SF Film Society’s Blog –


Written by winniewongsf

June 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm

The Dreaded Farewell

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I guess we can’t live together forever. I still have a hard time grasping the fact that it was fours years ago when my friend James and I first moved into our Pac Heights two-bedroom. We met through our friend Kelly at UCSB and hit it off right away. I knew we would get along when I realized he never seemed to be in a bad mood, and he was always willing to try something new.

Less than a year after I graduated, James and I took a short road trip from the Bay Area down to visit Kelly, who was still living in Santa Barbara at the time. We listened to an impressive playlist he had made and talked about everything from food to family to friends to what we thought about our undergrad experiences. It was a chatty ride down and back up when the weekend was over.

James was ready to leave his job in Palo Alto when he decided to travel through China and Japan for six months, visiting friends along the way. I remember keeping in touch, asking him about the trip, and knowing that he was very happy to be on this break. You could hear it in his voice and through the words in his emails. Everyone needs time away. Employees should be required to take sabbaticals from the workplace.

When James came back from his trip, we were individually looking for places to live in SF and then decided why not – we’d give each other a try. Four years later and the only argument (if that’s what we call it) we’ve ever been in was silent and over a dirty bathroom. It lasted for a day.

Although I’ve known for some time now that he would be leaving to pursue a new job (and life) in Abu Dhabi, it hadn’t hit me until this week. I found myself distracted while walking to class downtown, thinking about what my daily life will be like without him in the next room. He has seen me through two relationships, countless first dates, every mood/hangover/anxiety attack, my best and worst states, a career change…he’s introduced me to some of my favorite people in San Francisco, some of the best music being made, and some of the best flavors in this city’s evolving food scene. Who can take his place? Not just in terms of living space, but in my general everyday life. He’s become my best friend, a confidante, a partner in crime, someone I don’t have to explain anything to – he just knows exactly when it’s best to talk and when it’s time to listen. He knows me like no one else could because he has seen me every day, even when I didn’t feel like being seen.

I know that embracing change is important, and this change will be an incredible opportunity for him. But, I can’t help feeling a bit of sadness. Sad that I won’t get to walk down to Polk to have dinners with him on Monday nights, sad that we won’t drive around looking for a new brunch spot, sad that I won’t come home to him blasting indie rock in his room, sad that I won’t hear the loud whiz of the blender on Saturday mornings when he makes his chunky protein shakes. I know this all sounds silly, that I’m holding onto something that would have come to an end at some point anyway. But he really has become family to me.

I wish him the best experience he can have in this place that I know very little about. I hope he gains perspective. I hope he makes friends who will love him as much as we all do. I hope he’s able to achieve more there than he was here. I just wish him well and will always think of the four years we lived together as some of the best in my life.

To James and everything bright that lies ahead…

Written by winniewongsf

June 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm

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A Message From The (Now Defunct) SF Underground Market

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A while back, I wrote about ForageSF’s Underground Market held regularly at Public Works in the Mission. I was disheartened to find this note in my inbox today.

“I started the Underground Market in 2009 as a reaction to the high bar of entry that has been created to start a food business, something that I experienced personally. Starting in a house in the Mission with seven vendors and 150 eaters, the market has grown to feed over 50,000 people and help over 400 vendors get their start.

As many of you have heard, the health department came to the last Underground Market on June 11th and served us a cease and desist letter, stating they no longer considered the market a private event.

The market was able to function to this point because it was considered a private event (hence the market sign-ups).  We organized it in this way following a suggestion by the health department.  Everyone who walks through the door is a member who knows they are eating un-certified food , so technically the health department doesn’t have to be involved.

They have decided (apparently with pressure from the state level), that the market is no longer a private event, and can therefore not continue as it has.  We have requested a meeting with the city attorney for a definition of what a private/public event is exactly, so we can determine where the line is, and continue running the market.

This was not an unexpected event. We’ve known that it was only a matter of time until someone became upset about the popularity of the event.  Because we’ve been expecting it doesn’t mean that we accept it.

Over the last year and a half The Underground Market has grown into a supportive community of makers and eaters. We see that in the 30-50 new vendors that apply every month, bringing samples of foods they clearly poured their hearts into, and the thousands of people who walk through the door each month to eat that food.

Our goal is to keep this momentum going. We would like to see the market continue to exist much as it has because we feel that it provides a necessary venue for people starting new food businesses. We’re interested in providing a space for entrepreneurs who for a myriad of reasons are not able to abide by the regulations put in place. The regulations, upfront costs, red tape, and lack of clarity in procedures all too often stop amazing food from ever being eaten.

The market is used in different ways by different people. Some are home cooks that have always wanted to sell, but for various reasons have not been able.  Cocotutti is a prime example.  She sold her first chocolates at the market over a year ago, and has since won national awards, moved into a commercial kitchen, and is approaching markets to stock her goods. KitchenSidecar worked at a bio consulting job, with a food blog on the side, before she found the market. Now she cooks full-time, caters, holds her own dinners, and collaborates on a Vietnamese pop-up restaurant called Rice Paper Scissors with another vendor, Little Knock. Nosh This was working as an architect before he was laid off and turned to the world of candy. Following his recent appearances in the New York Times, his wholesale accounts have exploded, he has moved into a commercial kitchen, and is working to make “Bacon Crack” a household name.

These are a few examples of people whose business, and some would say lives, have been changed because of their exposure at the market. People who have been able to earn money for themselves instead of populating the unemployment rolls.  People who are contributing to the local economy while at the same time expanding the local food community.

We want the Underground Market to be a space for food entrepreneurs to get started on a small scale. And we want to continue to offer them more resources to move forward.  We have seen the need for some time to have a space where vendors can produce their wares commercially.  A space where we can hold classes on food safety/business, have commercial kitchen space for vendor use, retail space for them to sell, and café space with rotating chefs for them to cook.  This space will be a hub, a place where people can come together around the wealth of food being produced in our city. We are starting work on looking for a space/getting details together on the project, and will send more information out soon.

On a personal note, I want to say that I really appreciate all the support people have shown.  From emails from friends to tweets from strangers, you have all shown that you think the market is an important event and that you want it to continue.

This shutdown is an opportunity to find a workable model that can help not only The Underground Market in SF, but similar markets all over the country.  The precedent we set here will ripple across the country. It will effect not only San Francisco vendors, but vendors nationwide. From cottage food laws to street food, we’ve seen an explosion of opportunity for small entrepreneur food businesses pop up over the last several years. We will continue to move forward toward our goal of keeping the market open, and our struggle can be an opportunity to find yet another way to help this movement grow.

Thank you,

Iso Rabins
founder, forageSF

——- How to be involved ——–

Contact your local city supervisor or:
– Call or email  the Mission District supervisor, David Campos

(415) 554-5144

There are also more tangible ways to get involved, especially if you have legal expertise, so please email us if you’d like to get help out:

1.     Keep the Underground Market
–       Legal and political organizing expertise, email
2.     forageSF incubator project
–       Investors, designers, contractors, lawyers email

We want to hear what you think, so if you have any other ideas, questions, or suggestions, please email To stay up to date on what’s happening, follow our blog at”

Written by winniewongsf

June 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Holstee Manifesto

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Cool poster providing simple inspiration. You can make your own (using your own thoughts) or get one here.

Written by winniewongsf

June 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Unfinished Business (aka The Project Plateau)

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A Light at the End of the Tunnel. My own little project. I’ve yet to find that particular person to tell their story. Apparently, Mexican migrants who have contracted AIDS/HIV in the U.S. aren’t the most willing to share their experience with the rest of the world. No surprise there.

It first started as a story about my friend, Fernando Castillo, the first chef of SF’s Project Open Hand and founder of El Grupo, one of the nation’s first Latino AIDS/HIV advocacy groups. When he opened my eyes to the larger problem affecting communities in Mexico, I decided to dedicate the film’s concept to exposing the epidemic abroad and the lack of coverage in the media. It hasn’t been as easy as I initially anticipated, with full-time graduate work and side projects to preoccupy my time. This summer, I’m only registered for two classes, Evolution of Media and Interactive Design, thus I should have more time to actually shoot some interviews and meet with medical/socio-cultural experts to talk about the film subject.

I have noticed that it is difficult to go back to project ideas that are incomplete. For instance, I have hours of great interviews and footage from the past three months that I should go back to, review, and edit into valuable content to be shared. However, I find myself pushing these tasks further and further out on my Google calendar – “things I need to do before summer’s over.” I don’t think I’m the only one with this problem.

Source: Brain Pickings

Scott Belsky (Founder & CEO of Behance) talks about ways we usually or can avoid a ‘Project (or idea) Plateau’ –

1) Escaping the Project Plateau with a new idea

2) Seeking restraints – set some deadlines, milestones, expectations, goals

3) Seeking competition/consider the timing (is someone else doing the same thing, if so, beat them to it – execution or distribution, that is!)

4) Look at the bigger picture

5) Determine whether it’s worth it

6) Consider whether you’d actually want to work on the particular project or idea everyday for an extended period of time. If not, review#5.

I’ve included Belsky’s talk in case you want to hear it from him. I came across this today on one of my favorite blogs, Brain Pickings.

Written by winniewongsf

June 6, 2011 at 10:55 am

Open Road, Endless Stories

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We’re supposed to see non-stop rain this weekend, which gave me the perfect excuse to pass on my friend’s pre-Union Street Festival house party and stay in pajamas this afternoon watching movies that have been added to my growing list.

I first came across the trailer for The Recess Ends earlier this week when an acquaintance from ad agency Mekanism, Evan Romano, tweeted about production team The WereHaus, comprised of two soCal brothers (Austin and Brian Chu) transplanted in SF, who completed TRE back in 2010. Yesterday, I headed to their downtown HQ to drop by, say hello, and meet the crew (after having written Austin the day before to make sure he was free, of course). Although SF State alum Brian was out, the rest of the guys were around and awesome. Super chill, friendly – they’re like your next door neighbors, only ridiculously creative. Austin is quite the character with what seemed like various wheels spinning in his head – constantly throwing out ideas and hilarious musings and feeling out who might catch (or match) them. I wouldn’t mind crashing a brainstorm/storyboard session with these guys any day – I’m sure by now they’ve nailed getting things done and having a ball doing so.

After chopping it up for a few hours about their current projects, how they’ve made their passion work and pay for their existence, discovering a mutual interest in solid breakfast burritos, and complaining about the lack thereof in the city, Austin sent me home with a free DVD of TRE, a warm hug, and an invite to The Werehaus designer’s birthday celebration that night. Like I said, awesome dudes who are going to go far.

So, a little bit about the film – TRE is a collection of voices (young and old), as well as images of deconstructed spaces, foreclosed homes, abandoned schoolhouses, from across the nation, supported by head-bobbing beats that move scenes along and serve as seamless transitions throughout the film. Starting in January of 2009, the Chu brothers went on an epic road trip through all 50 states to find ordinary people who had something to say about the recession. I won’t say any more. The film is really worth checking out (as is the music), and you can get it here –

Written by winniewongsf

June 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

This Makes Me Want to Go Outside and DANCE

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Haven’t seen something like this since Napoleon’s finale…this is getting me ready for the Governor’s Ball in two weeks.

Girl Walk // All Day from jacob krupnick on Vimeo.

Written by winniewongsf

June 3, 2011 at 10:22 am

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