Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Reading is Sexy

At least the printed tee that two of my friends have thinks so. Maybe because we are often buried under a pile of text, the take on a treasured hobby and necessity is extra funny.

My studious look consists less of tee's and more of cashmere sweaters and dark denim to help with the chill of early morning or late night walking to and from the libraries and cafes. Maybe I can have the image transferred onto a canvas bag: I suppose that would make it a book bag, I digress.

Here are some of the little treasures I unearthed this week in no particular order...

"In return they expect her to be what Antonio Gramsci (1971) would call one of their 'organic intellectuals.' She has made it through a racist economic and educational system. She now has the academic credentials and the writing skills to be among a select community of experts, authors..." On Angela Valenzuela in The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, Denzin & Lincoln, 2005.

"But if we are in the business of knowledge accumulation, as Stephen Gould (2003) has written, 'replication with difference, builds the best case for generality. And the way to begin this process is through data sharing." On the secondary analysis of qualitative data in Building a Scientific Community: The need for Replication, Schneider, 2004.

"A more radical response is to argue that the design, conduct and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative research are always contingent upon the contextualisation and interpretation of subjects' situation and responses." On methodological consideration in Secondary analysis of qualitative data, Heaton, 1998.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Luna, Arena y Mar

We drove west towards the ocean for the first time this fall. Both noticed how quickly the sun had set, and how long it had been since 'we'. The night unfolded like poetry...

Velvety Dark sky
drums in the distance
moon kissed sand

greeting the ocean water

We landed
armed with a corkscrew
red wine

elements our witness

Bonfires dotted the distant
music spilled
from the boardwalk

voices carried

Songs of
Santo Domingo
de Cuba
y Puerto Rico
made us contemplate


Instead we
a ship
glide by

bathed in moons light

Smell of ocean
feel of sand
rhythms of music

welcomed fall

In this place
I went first
to leave you
fire, sand, water

Oshun has made us one


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Time Marches On

Sakinoma, BRC, 2007

Bios to edit, lecture to finalize, and my beloved dissertation...

Ended the summer on the most amazing note. My friend from first grade, flew in from Los Angeles and brought all her joy and love with her. The term, 'best friend,' had no meaning before her.

We went to school together till eighth grade and continued our friendship at different high schools and universities. She chose me as the maid of honor in her wedding and nothing has ever caused a conflict in our friendship- ever.

She left her beautiful son in the care of her devoted husband and made her way to the city. We drank lattes outside the French cafe and I promised she had arrived the morning of the first city rain. "Lo, I don't believe you," point blank tone. I insisted really, it was sunny up till yesterday! "Shut up!" We both laughed and I said, you are soo LA.

I told her we really did walk a lot in the city and since her last visit I had learned to use the public transit system. Yet we drove to the nail salon. Later and less sober I tried to explain the difference between BART, Muni, and taxies.

Parking goddess activated, finally made it to the flat. Toasted her arrival with a little pink bottle of Nigori sake I had picked up for the occasion. I shared the photos of my first burning man, she read up on my blog, and we walked down to shop.

Made our way through the neighborhood in and out of shops. Decided for our night out we wanted large luscious- lashes. I didn't know estheticians actually trained in this. She went for volume I went for a set with a glittery band on the base. It was silly and fun.

Time was moving too quickly for all the things we wanted to do. Before we knew it we were ready for the evening and somehow I was running late. We joined my friend for drinks at a very comfortable and well appointed downtown lounge. We were getting very comfortable but still had another stop to go, we said goodby and hailed a taxi. Again behind schedule my friend was already holding our place in line because it was reaching capacity quickly.

Once inside the very attentive host at Pink personally poured our complimentary cocktail and the four of us toasted the end of summer...Miguel Miggs or Julius Papp were deep in their set and as we made our way to the coat check I turned to see my best friend grinning.

Time Marches On by Layo and Bushwaka streamed from the sound system and it was all just perfect.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


"Organic Intellectuals," bell hooks coined it in the preface of Homegrown:Engaged Cultural Criticism, co-authored with Amalia Mesa-Bains. I was standing in the aisle of Marcus Bookstore in the historic Fillmore District, when I read, "people who critically think and engage in dialectical exchange wherever they are."

As every customer found their way to the shop keeper a natural dialogue followed. It was so personal and warm, I couldn't help but try to over hear. I imagined these exchanges had been going on over the last two years I had been coming into the shop. Honestly though, I had never noticed them before. Life as a writer for me, moves at a more leisurely pace, slowing down has helped me to appreciate more of what is around me.

For about two years now I have been taking my former student there about three times a year. She prefers to read the very contemporary fiction. I pick up and show her books I think she should read, and then she rolls her eyes and we laugh. At some point we sit down at the round table and she hands me her stack of books and I hand her some I would like her to consider.

In her selections I look for the message, long over the photos of, 'bling, half dressed women, or thug sexy men,' on the cover I try to see a little about the author. Over the last two years this process has gotten easier. This trip C just handed me one book, and I was surprised.

"Really, I only get one choice?" She smiled, "It is the same author as the last book we bought, and she is an Essence award winning author, the story is about a girl in college trying to leave the street life behind- but she gets tempted." In that moment I knew we had come to an unspoken understanding, she would read fiction with a good message, at least when I was treating! In all fairness to her good choice we got both her selection and the book I had chosen about growing up strong. I liked that it was written by a counselor and served as a sort of journal. C likes to write also.

Although the school had felt some of the books she brought in were too racy and prohibited them during free reading: I took the issue up with her Mom and Grandmother they both said they didn't care what she read as long as she read. I agreed, cultivating reading for enjoyment in today's fast paced digital era is even more challenging than before.

Yet, there we were picking out books we couldn't wait to read...

"I think another way we move towards radical multiculturalism is through engagement and dialogue. Most young people learn about cultural differences in the public schools as they are growing up. But we are still struggling to build educational enterprises where interethnic intimacy can grow, where we can choose to exchange our histories, our similarities, and our differences without it passing through the purifying, manipulating and dominating centrality of whiteness. We are struggling with that now, as it's becoming more and more clear that our ability to build alliances is essential to our survival as people of color."
Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism, bell hooks and Amalia Mesa-Bains, 2006.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Best Things in Life

Are FREE...

I have the best flatmates ever! This weekend we picked a night to explore the city and found our way into the Rickshaw Stop. Not our usual spot but we could still make it to the Bhangra dance lesson. I have long been a fan of Bollywood and regularly watch Showbiz India. The Non-Stop Bhangra nites have been on our radar for a while and my friend knew the instructor.

We took our spot on the crowded dance floor for the lesson, drank a little liquid courage, and continued to dance and sweat and laugh and have the best time until, our feet could no longer take it!
Participated in a three site videoconference and the think tank mentioned the importance of podcasting and how they would be outfitting us all with the tools to create them (read new ipod)I love research!

After the videoconference I got the email that they were funding me also to go to Florida for a writing 'retreat,' wee...all I had to do was call their travel agent and I was booked. And hooked to the comfort and ease of using a travel agent all over again.
I walked up to the local 'La Boulange,' and as I waited for my latte, chocolate croissant in hand, recognized my mechanic in line ahead of me. After a brief hello and car talk he insisted on getting my breakfast. The cashier that rang us up said, 'wow I wish people bought me stuff.' I smiled and said they are the friendliest garage in the neighborhood.
Giving thanks, I firmly believe in practicing it. I must say after facilitating a group and presenting a workshop to urban educators Saturday, my regular university lecture on Monday, and then a guest lecture the next day...receiving thanks for your knowledge and work is just all-together a new kind of good. I think my friend calls it 'value added.'

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Monday, September 10, 2007

The Muse

9/13 Update: "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation." So it goes, my first adventure into You Tube, seems MTV did not approve!

A more soulful performance on the 2007 MTV VMA's than Alicia Keys could not be found: No One.

Thanks to Google I was able to make the link to You Tube back to love and writing...


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Writers Make Out

Still on Playa time we find it difficult to be timely. We caught the N to the BART and noticed how quickly the time had gone by. We thought we would make it to the 7pm Writer's with Drinks event at the Make Out Room by 8pm.

It was now approaching 9 o'clock and we still had two blocks to walk. My friend thought a featured poet might be the same one she had met the week before. We finally walked into the dim, red lit bar.

One writer was a no show and last up was the poet...nope not a match for the playa poet. But his chosen theme, "hey fucker," was funny.

Poetry over, we debated staying for a drink and when a regular picked up conversation with us decided to stay. He went on about how starved for cultural events he was in Palo Alto. 'Really? Stanford doesn't provide for a thriving scene I mocked?' He went on about how alternative his tastes in politics and art were. We listened politely deciding still to engage in conversation or not. I was thinking about the ATM I had to visit and how I wanted to call my dad again- it was his birthday and I enjoyed bugging him all day.

I ditched them to step out to the ATM and make my call. Back inside they hadn't moved from where I left them. I got us drinks at the bar, and he was now talking about an anarchist father and son he had met. He was nice, working hard to establish his image. So, I said, 'did you go to Burning Man?' No, he said his friends went, I told him we had gone. "No shit!" his exact response.

We made our way to an open booth and I said from all you shared, it seems you would enjoy the art and community in Black Rock City. He just wanted to know if we had gotten naked. 'One of us did I smiled.' My friend pulled the photos from her Picasa Web Album onto her crackberry.

New friend in tow we decided to pub crawl in the Mission. On our way he pointed out a banner, 'Ya Basta con los ricos y sus conduminios!' At first I translated it as stop the gentrification then I literally translated it. We went into the Latin American Social Club, my first time. Carved our space in the crowded pinata cieled room and continued to drink. The pool table seemed over-sized for the small space, but we agreed, the fact that they insisted on having it in the room, made it just right.

Drinks done, soccer talk, and technology conversation exhausted we decided to continue on. Making our way out the front door, deciding where to go next I had one of those moments that any city girl knows is inevitable...In a 7x7 city with only 750,000 inhabitants.

On the sidewalk with a small group of people a guy caught my eye. I almost stopped walking as my friends moved forward. Across the way he smiled and nodded towards me and my mind quickly went through the rolodex of names and memories.

There was no avoiding him, I smiled. He said "hello," in his syrupy voice as I attempted to breeze by. So I stopped, 'really is it you?' "Yes," he moved forward and gave me a hug. Insignificant small talk aside I decided sometimes saying less is so much more, it was good to see him.

Our new friend asked who that was. 'My ex.' "Oh, but you are over him, right?"

'You are such a guy I told him. Yes, I just haven't seen him in two years. He was my first love in the city- the French Algerian, that by the way I met at Ruby Skye.'

The conversation about nightclubs resumed and now over the initial shock I skipped forward, 'Wow that was fuckin awkward! Where to next?'

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lotus an the Playa

Some things you just have to experience for yourself...a beautiful time that I would repeat time and time again.

Photos by Particity )'(