the great gatsby

carey mulligan

Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy Buchanan in the latest film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I am so thrilled! The photo above was taken when she auditioned for the role in New York. Isn't she stunning? I really loved her performance in An Education and I can already picture her in 1920s fashion with all those gorgeous drop-waist dresses and fancy hats.

Also, Leonardio diCaprio will play Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire is the narrator Nick Carraway. I'm not so sure about Leo as the enigmatic Gatsby but he's proven me wrong quiet a number of times so I hope he will nail this role. Filming has reportedly started this month and the movie is set to be released in 2012.

What do you guys think of this cast? Are you a F. Scott Fitzgerald fan?

(Photo from Deadline via English Muse)

where the heart breathes

a hairpin curve along highway 1

houses at dillon beach

A certain afternoon light, the kind that knows when to linger.

Lately --
I've been quiet sleep deprived. Running on caffeine. Though I don't mind the busyness as long as we get to keep our indian summer just a little longer.

I'm reading this book by Adrienne Rich. Taking film photos with a toy camera.  Watching this historical drama about the Qing Dynasty before going to sleep. There's something about period costumes and women who are ahead of their time that is so fascinating.

We are now starting to do pirouettes in my ballet class. I love the idea of it very much. But my execution, let's just say that I can barely do one without losing my balance.

What have you been doing on this first few days of autumn?

(Tomales Bay, August 2007. Photos taken by me)

photo time capsule, circa 2003



I found an old roll of black and white film taken 8 years ago and had it developed today. When these photos were taken, I had just moved to the U.S. and started grad school and all I had was a simple Canon film camera which took me about 3 months to save up for.

It makes me a bit nostalgic for those days. I was so poor that all of my money went to food and books and there were times when I'd burst into uncontrollable tears because I'd miss my family and my country so very much. But I was also learning and doing things on my own for the first time in my life and if I had to do it all over again, I would definitely choose the same path that I took.

Funny how looking at old photos can bring back so many sensory details. Like this song from a tv show that my best friends and I loved, how I'd listen to it over and over again until I would stop missing them. The taste of ramen and kimchi after long hours of studying and writing papers.  A warm spring night in a university cafe, sitting at the patio and sipping beer with someone who understands your heart, talking about everything mundane and profound, believing that you have it all figured out.

today's inspiration: art in public spaces


I just came across this New Orleans art installation by Candy Chang (via tea collection).  She had turned the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood to a big chalkboard "to invite people to share their dreams in public space". Isn't it awesome?







I really love all the responses. And sharing your dreams to others, especially with those who live in your community, just makes it even more meaningful. It will be interesting to make something like this around the same neighborhood a couple of years from now and compare what people will write then.

On a personal note, I also have a similar list about the things that I want to do in the future. Its a work in progress and constantly changing but I've always believed that writing down your dreams is the first step towards making them happen somehow.

How about you, do you have a "future" list?

All photos by Civic Center. Read more about this project here.

music monday: summer bits


Always, at this time of the year, I tend to collect images and stories of summer. It's the island girl in me, the one who never quiet know how to embrace the changing seasons.

This summer, especially, has been so poignant in many ways that I feel like I need a proper goodbye. So here are some photos taken from various times that I went to the beach. I'm looking at them now and asking, was the sky really this blue?




This double exposure photo was completely unintentional. (At Bolinas Beach)


I know I already shared my mixtape here, but this song by Seabear is definitely my Summer 2011 song. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this band and this video. And the lyrics is so beautiful too, it reads like poetry. Have a listen below.

I hope you guys are having a great beginning of the week. Take it easy! xo

(Video by Seabear)

writing picasso


These are postcards from the Picasso Exhibit at the de Young Museum. Most of the shots from my recent Diana film roll turned out terribly overexposed that you can barely make anything of it. But I love how this photo turned out. And the story behind it.

Inside the exhibit hall, a little girl of about 7 or 8 was diligently scribbling on her pink hardbound journal. I noticed her right away because she is standing in front of me and she had on the loveliest sweater cape I've ever seen, multicolored chevron stripes made of pastel yarn. I went up to her and said, "Hi. Your sweater is so pretty."

She smiled and said "thank you", then went back to studying Picasso's paintings. I couldn't help but notice her neat and precise handwriting. (I work with children with physical disabilities who often have problems in handwriting so I immediately notice these little details).

"Are you writing down the names of the paintings?", I asked.

It took her awhile to answer and finally she said, "I'm just writing down what I see."

I'm just writing down what I see.

I had to repeat it to myself. And there I was, in the middle of a Picasso exhibition, surrounded by some of the world's most famous artworks, suddenly struck by the truth behind her words.

music monday: end of summer mixtape







Some more Oregon photos from my disposable camera, mostly taken while we were on the road. It took us about 11.5 hours to get to Southern Oregon on the coastal highway. We saw a lot of windmills, birds perched on telephone wires, mountains and sand dunes, and stopped by numerous gas stations. When it wasn't my turn to drive, I alternately stared at the changing sky and played with my new iPhone.

Road trips are not all fun and adventure, people can get tired and irritable but thankfully we got along well that being inside the car for hours on end wasn't too bad. Good music also helps. Which is why I made a mixtape for the trip, an ode to summer's end.

Have a listen to my mixtape here.

Tracks: Kings of Convenience (Homesick) / The Flaming Lips (Its Summertime) / Bon Iver (Skinny Love) / Belle and Sebastian (Asleep on a Sunbeam) / Camera Obscura (Honey in the Sun) / Josh Pyke (The Summer) / Beirut (Nantes) / Grizzly Bear (Two Weeks) / Lykke Li (I Follow Rivers) / Shugo Tokumaru (Parachutes)

Hope you enjoy!

dispatches from oregon coast





The coast was draped in fog for the most part of our trip. Every now and then we saw pockets of sunshine, a glimpse of the Pacific and its rugged cliffs. It was breathtaking.

Sunday morning we stopped by a farmer's market in a small coastal town. An old lady was playing her guitar and singing for the crowd. Across from her were sisters selling organic soaps and candles. When she started singing Moon River, one of the sisters said, "it would've been our father's birthday today and this was his favorite song."

Two drifters, off to see the world,
There's such a lot of world, to see.

Indeed if I had to pick a favorite moment from our trip, it would probably be that one. The pine scented morning air, eating freshly made quesadilla on a market bench, watching locals go by, taking it all in. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. But I guess this is what makes travel so special. Not just the sights or the photos that you take, but those little moments that catch you unaware with the wonder of it all.

P.S. I think Oregon has the tastiest berries.

on the road

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
-- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

This book will always be special to me. Sometimes I read it again to remind myself of my idealistic youth, to be inspired, but mostly just to soak in the richness of his words.

We are going on a road trip up the coast to Oregon for the long weekend. Its kind of a last-minute trip so I have no idea what to expect but I'm really excited. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest before and I heard its all kinds of gorgeous. I will definitely share stories and photos from our adventure when we get back.

I hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of summer. And happy Labor Day weekend to those of you who live in the U.S. Cheers! xo

(Photo by Yoko Takahashi, scanned from Yu Aoi's Travel Sand Photobook)

a beginning of something

late summer

Every once in awhile, a moment comes and you know that it will turn into something. A poem, a story, a picture in a frame, just a beginning of something. These moments are too few and too fleeting but when it comes, I recognize that I must grab it both hands. And so here it is, inspired by the same moment I took the photograph above.

* * *

Let's walk in the late summer light
Pretend just a moment ago our hearts
didn't break. Let's skip the main road
and find narrow alleys lined with colorful murals
Pretend the yellow daisies in a pretty vase
draped with beads mean nothing
but offerings along the wall.

Someone must have died here, you say.
And I look the other way
Pretend to stare at the neighbors'
terracotta roof. Is that a cat I see
lounging by the window?

Still, more questions:
How old was she when she died?
Did she like yellow daisies and ride
down the hill in a pink bike?

Did she follow the trail of sparkling dusts
the sun left behind?

* * *

It's been too long since I shared a poem-in-progress here and I miss it. I'm thinking that maybe I should challenge myself and start a daily practice of writing poetry again. The lovely Poet Mom is also planning to do the same for the month of September.

Anyone else feeling courageous to join us for a month of poeming?