Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1969 Honda CLT 350


ASSIGNMENT 1: Participant observation

  1. Identify a task that you don’t know how to do at all.
  2. Find someone willing to teach you in person (could be a several hours project), and learn how to do it by participating with them in doing it. Ask the expert about the history of the practice and its place embedded within other cultural practices and roles. Find out as much as you can about the practice both through asking and through doing.
  3. Record the whole thing either by video or by audio.
  4. Record your “field notes,” describing how the task was done, the equipment required, the ideology behind certain “tips” or instructions for how to do things, and other cultural and social aspects.
  5. Use pictures, drawings, etc to make your account as detailed and accurate as possible.
  6. Comment on participant observation as a way to learn about aspects of culture.

1969 Honda CLT 350

I asked my friend Maclean to teach me how to ride a motorcycle.

Here are some of my field notes:
  • There are two models similar to the CLT: the CL has upswept exhaust pipes while the CB has both pipes going underneath on either side. It’s a model that ran from 1968 until the late 70’s/early 80’s. “ubiquitous motorcycle”—cheap and reliable and efficient
  • He points to a logo reading “350 CC”: engine power. Maclean describes the first bike he rode—2000 Yahama TTR 125, the 125 refers to the size of the engine. Therefore the Honda CLT 350 has double the engine power, and quicker acceleration.
  • The 350 is a full sized bike, but relatively small. Not ideal for highway riding. It can manage to reach velocities around 65, the gauge lists a top speed of 110, but Maclean doubts the bike can achieve this top speed.
  • “this bike is the biggest conversation starter”
  • Have the choke up and get engine warmed up, check the fuel line—when turned to the side it means it is off, must turn the fuel gauge on, turn to reserved fuel when low on gas to have enough gas to get to a gas station, turn off when not riding so to not damage the engine
  • Turn the key, a light will tell you if you’re in neutral or not, Maclean explains that sometimes the light lies or won’t turn on. To test if you are in neutral: without the clutch in, if you can roll the bike forward and back, then the bike is in neutral. If you switch bike into first gear, the bike is unable to move. Neutral is the only time you can start the Honda CLT 350. Maclean explains that this is not the case for all bikes.
  • Shifting must be done with the clutch in, Maclean points out front brake at right hand (accounts for 70% of stopping power) and back brake at right foot (only accounts for 30% of stopping power)
  • Apply a steady amount of gas while slowly letting go of the clutch; bike begins to roll forward—called the friction zone. If you let go of the clutch without gas, the bike stops and engine dies.

Still working on the paper write up...

Monday, February 17, 2014


My hair will probably start to fall out soon betweee all the analyzing my brain is constantly doing these day, the making and remaking of lists....never finishing any one list, thesis work and more thesis work, lack of thesis work as well like where are my photographs, and physics of course.


What have I been doing over the past few days...weeks?

  • played True American
  • reunion dinner with Mo' World Lit (freshmen world literature class + professor)
  • writing my thesis at Whole Foods
  • taking photos of a proposal
  • attending a strange house party
  • eating Taco Deli chorizo tacos
  • writing my thesis at Thunderbird
  • answer table topics with friends
  • checking out Haymakers
  • celebrating a birthday
  • writing my thesis at Pacha
  • eating the best pancake ever
  • writing my thesis at Whole Foods, again
  • watching Walking Dead

Vsco Cam Vsco Cam

I was going to add several more lists, but then my timer went off. 15 minutes are up. Back to school work.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Writer's Block

Sometimes, finding that point of creativity for my thesis turns into a complex formula:

an hour on the sun porch, a well earned respite to P. Terry's, a return to the sun porch, relocate to a chair with more sun, send some emails, check Buzzfeed, add to the To-Do list, switch playlists, check Facebook, examine other homework for the week, check my phone, think about the Walking Dead series return tonight, add more to the To-Do list, invite a friend to join, check Facebook, relocate to a table on the sun porch, lament about my thesis, look for more photography books to purchase on Amazon, take a break...

...return to thesis, occupy the library, sink into the leather chair, check Facebook, check Buzzfeed, check Snapchat, check emails, check blog stats, check this and that, but check nothing off my To-Do list, change playlists a few times, attempt to blog in hopes of overcoming writer's block, agree to go to P Terry's again...

To be continued.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Edit: I wrote this post earlier this week in that expanse of time where it is neither yesterday, today or tomorrow. I was near delirium. I have made some changes, humbling the whole piece. I have a love/hate relationship with my thesis. The following is the result of a good day:

My thesis is better than yours.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 1.46.07 PM

I wrote 8 pages last Tuesday, then 8 more on Monday and Tuesday of this week. I have a paragraph about the advent of crack in the 1980's, and I am pretty proud of it. Say crack again. Crack. (Mean Girls reference).

My thesis will also feature A.) photographs and B.) a discussion of photographers.

A.) Photographs

I am photographing homeless men and women in Austin. The idea of just photographs is currently evolving....and approval was secured on Tuesday, thanks to a productive meeting with my supervisor. I will still be using my camera. My little, albeit heavy, Canon friend that often accompanies as I conduct thesis research. (On a completely unrelated note, I think I could have been an anthropologist, research in the field). So photographs, camera, etc. But now a new element as well...modifying my aesthetic and methodology. Also, the interactions and new acquaintances, and the resulting conversations will be included.


B.) Photographers

As with any thesis, there is a written, research portion. Oh yes, I get to purchase the best books for my thesis. I have purchased several books regarding homelessness(count: 8), but I also purchased several books regarding some famous and some unknown photographers (count: 9).

Photographers like Dorothea Lange, Peter Beard, Lee Miller, Walker Evans, and Andrew Rothstein. I am forming quite a collection of coffee table books, all for the sake of research. My research consists of photos, beautiful photographs that reveal history, photographs that speak volumes still today.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Polar Bear 2014

Earlier in January, over the course of a long weekend, nearly 250 high school students and college leaders embarked on weekend retreat, dubbed Polar Bear, at Laity Lodge Youth Camp (LLYC)--Echo Valley.

Two summers ago, I had the great fortune to serve as a camp photographer at LLYC and photograph camp activities for four weeks. A week or two with a heavy Canon 60D dangling from my neck as I ambled around on crutches. So it was definitely quite surreal to be returning to this magic place in January to photograph some more familiar faces.

Ultimately, the weekend was a grand success--hilarious skit characters as per Young Life tradition, a rave with glow sticks and glow stick juice in your eyes, an epic epic epic paint war, the infamous Polar Bear plunge (which I photographed from the safety of a canoe), an 80's prom dance with fabulous photo booth, and talks provided by my good friend, Dan Alexander. Here are some shots from the weekend.

IMG_4804 IMG_3891 IMG_4615 IMG_4666 IMG_4771 IMG_4749 IMG_4953 IMG_5067 IMG_5564 IMG_5649 IMG_5582

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ideal Job Title

In applying to graduate, I must fill out an online graduation registration form. It seemed pretty straight forward until the UT form asks: "What kind of job are you seeking? In other words, what would be your ideal job title?"


I think this is the answer I most want to know myself. My parents as well. And relatives. Oh yes, winter holidays and family reunions were a real thrill.
"So what are you planning to do after you graduate?"
"Your mother said you turned down a teaching job...why?"
"What's your major again?....And what do you plan to do with that?"

But UT, why must I answer this NOW. With several MONTHS to go. Do you want to print this is the graduation brochure? Then I can think of plenty of occupations that would make my parents blush, fellow classmates giggle. Like lion tamer. Or professional Madonna impersonator. What did you have in mind?

By the time I come up with an appropriate job title, I think the site will log me out. Then I will never graduate. Then never amount to anything with my fabulous degree from the University of Texas, my double major in Plan II Honors and History, and my minor in Art History, and my business foundations certificate. Well, darn.

I guess I should just put something...anything down.
How about...
student of the world? (Maddie is fond of this title)
creative director?
unemployable? (maybe that's just an adjective...)

Or maybe I should completely fabricate something outrageous...
Ideal Job Title - Madame President....Or not.

This dude stole my job title. This dude's job title is Chief World Explorer. Shucks.

10 minutes later, and I still have nothing tangible. I even looked at the top 10 best jobs in the world as noted by US News, but I don't think software developer, dentist, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, or physical therapist will qualify. #27: Massage Therapist. #36: Substance Abuse Counselor. #61: Exterminator (seems perfect for me). #100: Painter. US have provided no real life direction for me. BuzzFeed lists seem more effective, and colorful in the very least.

5 more minutes have passed and I am not one step closer to answering this question.

Dear University of Texas,

I am seeking a job that I truly enjoy. A job that is about more than a paycheck. That allows me to help others. That allows me to travel. That allows me to be creative. That is stimulating. That is rich with new acquaintances. That involves brainstorming. That involves social media because I dig social media. That may be located in Colorado or New York or anywhere really, but I don't have to live at home with my parents.

Texas, I could list a million other ideal qualities that I would like to find in my future job. But maybe I should settle for a job...period. Any job.

Alas, I need an answer. The site demands one. (I tried to skip to the next page). Other tasks and homeworks insist my attention.

Okay, I will just pick one at random from my list of "Career Possibilities for ENTPs" and my list of "Career Possibilities for ENFPs" (since I'm both)
  • journalist
  • television producer
  • exhibit designer
  • public relations specialist
  • publicist
  • anthropologist
  • consultant
  • restaurateur
  • environmental lawyer
  • coach (haha)
  • entrepreneur
  • photographer
  • inventor
  • literary agent
  • attorney
  • ombudsman (ooh)
  • marketing researcher
  • strategic planner
  • politician
  • detective

"It has been more than thirty minutes since your last transaction. Please log in again."

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I had a considerable amount of momentum going into this new year; 2014. I redesigned this here blog, I made a mental list of resolutions (what were they again?) and I started the semester with a multitude of things to look forward to--Cabo, thesis, graduation, Plan II what.

But truly, 2014 is already passing by at an alarming rate. How am I going to finish anything?! Let alone take photos and blog.

Even as I write this, I feel rather guilty--I have a million other things that should take precedence. I feel embarrassed--I don't really have any photos to share. Distracted, solitary, anxious. I do not even have words to say.

Well, here are two excerpts from a book I finished recently (how I still manage to make time for novels...?) titled "The Night Circus." The first quotes Shakespeare's Prospero in The Tempest, Act IV, Scene 1.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

And from the penultimate chapter of Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus,"
"Stories, tales, bardic chronicles," Widget says. "What you care to call them. The things we were discussing earlier that are more complicated than they used to be. I take pieces of the past that I see and combine them into narratives. It's not that important, and this isn't why I"m here--"

"It is important," the man in the grey suit interrupts. "Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battle are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that."