@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Oct 12, 14 @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Believe it or not, after living in San Francisco for nearly 8 months (time flies!) I had still yet to visit Alcatraz. One of the top tourist destinations of the city, I figured I would wind up going with one of the many visitors we’ve had stay with us. No dice. So when a few weeks ago I saw a post about a new Ai Weiwei exhibit opening in the notorious prison, I knew my time had come.

For those who are unfamiliar, Ai Weiwei is a celebrated Chinese mixed-media artist whose work is deeply rooted in social, political and cultural issues. He’s been openly critical about the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights which has led to him being harassed and imprisoned. He is not allowed to travel without official permission. He has become a symbol of sorts for the struggle of human rights in China.

Further motivation to go: I missed Ai Weiwei’s installation in Toronto at Nuit Blanche 2013, but perhaps a few of you saw ‘Forever Bicycles’? Incredible stuff.

The artist’s works and what they represent made this exhibit the kind of thing that even if I had been to Alcatraz, I’d go back again just to see this.

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Kayaking in Point Reyes

Oct 06, 14 Kayaking in Point Reyes

One Sunday morning we piled into our car, picking up a couple of friends along the way, and headed to the Point Reyes area to kayak. About an hour and a half from downtown San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, we landed just past Point Reyes in a small township called Marshall. We reserved and paid for our kayaks on the Blue Waters Kayaking website the day before we left, so we were good to go when we arrived.

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Labor Day Weekend: Monterey Bay

Sep 15, 14 Labor Day Weekend: Monterey Bay

My husband Matt and I’s birthdays are two days apart, so we’ve got into the habit of exchanging gifts with each other on the same day. This year when it came time to exchange, Matt encouraged me to go first.

I opened up a bag full of colouring books geared towards adults (yay!) complete with a set of pencil crayons (colored pencils for my American readers). I actually talked about wanting this, because I find colouring is a great way to zone out and unwind from the pressures of the real life. He then handed me an envelope and said, “This is really your present.”

I peeled open the flap and inside was a one pager describing a weekend getaway in Monterey Bay complete with an in-suite couples massage. Awesome, right? I couldn’t help chuckling as I handed Matt his gift, an RCAF zip-up and an envelope containing the exact same thing except instead of a massage, I opted for a 1.5 hour flight with an instructor. Matt’s a huge aviation enthusiast and I’m a massage enthusiast, so it kind of makes sense where we deviated. Too funny.

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Biking from the City to Sausalito

Apr 14, 14 Biking from the City to Sausalito

The three superficial things which I would hate to live without are my laptop, smartphone and bike.

When the mover dropped off my big red bike in pieces, I struggled to put her back together. She survived the long journey, but has some battle scars on the seat, gear switch and fenders.  Thus she sat unused in storage for the first couple weeks of being here, while I continued to put the rest of my life together.

Her time came when my friend Katie invited me to bike to Sausalito this past Saturday – I simply couldn’t say no. Luckily, San Francisco is a bike friendly city despite the calve muscle killing hills, so finding a repair shop was easy. I didn’t have to wheel my chainless bike far to find a pro to get her up and running again. Market Street Cycles down the street from me had her road-ready within hours. A tune/set-up and a new bike chain cost me about $60.

Worth every penny.

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Three Confessions from Biz Stone’s Creative Mind

Apr 08, 14 Three Confessions from Biz Stone’s Creative Mind

I put my gifted Commonwealth Club of California membership to the test last night and it’s now officially in the running for the best Secret Santa gift ever. Taking the stage was Biz Stone, who is well known for being one of the co-founders of Twitter and more recently, Jelly. He was in conversation with Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of online tech publication Recode.net, about the book he recently penned titled Things a Little Bird Told Me.

Toward the end of the conversation, Swisher asked Biz for three tips for life, and the advice he offered built upon the stories he told leading up to that moment. Here are Biz’s three tips, along with highlights from the conversation which bring them to life:

 

1. Creativity

 

Creativity is a renewable resource and everyone is creative. Who can really argue with that? While some might discredit themselves because they aren’t a self-proclaimed artist, but people exercise creativity when solving all sorts of problems that life throws their way. So while you might not Picasso your way through life, doesn’t mean you’re incapable of creative thought. Embrace this notion and daydream.

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Cross-Country Road Trip Reflections

Mar 11, 14 Cross-Country Road Trip Reflections

Over the course of our great road trip from Toronto to San Francisco, I really started to understand the sentiment behind the patriotic song, America the Beautiful. We drove through mountains and rock formations of all varieties, we saw skyscrapers which left us in awe and took in mesmerizing ocean views. We saw the quaint and the elaborate sides of the US, as well as the trashy and a touch of the classy.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. We covered ten states in eleven glorious days, some of which we spent a day in, others we just passed through. It makes me want to see more of this beautiful country, more of my home country Canada, and more of the world. I feel like the idea of packing up and moving 4,000 miles away is a lot less scary when you know how much awesome also lays outside the borders of your hometown.

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