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Portraits of Strangers

I recently went on a business trip to Shanghai and Seoul. One week in each city. Like many folks on Instagram, I enjoy taking photographs of people I don’t know in public. Strangely, I realized that the majority of photographs I take on the street are of men.

MEN

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Often, these men were in motion…

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Most of the time they don’t notice me. But sometimes they stare back.

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Sometimes they were from a distance.

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I noticed that I took more photographs of women in the subway.

WOMEN

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Sometimes they were asleep.

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Often, I was trying to keep up…

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Sometimes, I felt overdressed…or underdressed?

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Peeing with Strangers

Ah, drunkenness. Making you do things you would never do in real life. It’s an alternate universe where everything you do makes sense.

On a recent karaoke night, when drunkenness is mandatory, I was waiting in line to tinkle. When it was my turn, a very drunk woman said “Can I come pee with you? There are two toilets in there.”

By two toilets, she meant this:

Two for Pee?
Two for Pee?

Though I knew of this unusual urination situation before she proposed a dual pee, against my better judgement I said, “Sure . . . why not?” Pulling my pants down in front of a stranger was sobering. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of drunk squats in parking lots, driveways, porta-potties in driveways, but usually in the cover of night. Peeing in a well lit, very nicely remodeled bathroom made me realize the folly of my decision. I was trying to be forward thinking and sympathetic. She really did have to pee, as most drunk girls do, and there were two toilets in there. Besides, guys pee in front of themselves all the time in urinals, right?

I’ve been known to try to reclaim actions usually reserved for men. Chest bumps, for one. But we do have boobs and we don’t have penises. There have been female urinals and FUDs, or female urination devices, around for almost a hundred years (according to the most reliable source ever, Wikipedia). But you probably haven’t heard of them, right? And no, I don’t think it’s because women are more modest (see above, drunk squats). Our parts are just made differently. That’s why something like this probably would never work:

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You have to totally take off your pants so your buttocks are exposed to the world. Who wants to do that?

So, for now I will have to face the fact that men get to easily pee next to strangers and I don’t. Damn you glass ceiling! In the meantime, I find myself thinking of my pee buddy and wondering if she ever thinks of me. Or does she even remember me? Has she peed with other people since? Well pee pal, I hope you have a long future of successful urinations in front of you.

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12 to 13 inclinations

We had a great time musing and rambling this year about art, design, and social awkwardness. Thanks for reading.

I hate the word “trend” so we’ve compiled “inclinations” for you instead. These are some of our favorite things from 2012 that we hope will continue into 2013. We love:

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1. All that is hand-crafted, locally-produced, crunchy granola goodness. Shout out to Public Glass, Workshop, San Francisco Center for the Book, Allied Arts Guild, in fact to all craft fairs, art walks, um, Portland, popup hoodletterpress workshops, wood workers etc. etc.

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2. DIY lovin for food. Who in your life isn’t making their own bread, cured meats, cheese, pickling, and making a batch of micro-brew in their tub at this very moment? Mawana winery and micro-brew in Los Gatos is our fave (but we’re biased). It’s so local and micro that it doesn’t even have a website.

3. The back-to-the-woods look. Wood paneling, well, everywhere – in restaurants, cafes, apartments, bus stops. Cabin porn. Amish chic but with iPads.

4. Commune living (but with toilets), live/work lofts, and nude frolicking.

5. Reupholstering and repurposing in general. Why build new when there is so much out there already?

6. Moving our bodies in new (and I guess, old) ways. More walking, bike lanes, self-driving cars. Here’s hoping that BART actually gets extended from Fremont to San Jose (gotta believe it’ll happen guys).

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7. Knowing where our food comes from. CSA, food co-ops, exchanges, foraging. local, local, local. Urban gardens. Urban beekeeping.

8. Shifting from “users” to “people.” Standing up for our digital rights, and have a better understanding of where our data goes and who makes $$$ from it.

9. To start reading again. Big, hefty tomes at that.

10. Single-tasking.

11. Business models that don’t involve selling our data to marketers. For example, let’s take Louis CK. He produces his own content and sells directly to fans on his own website. Beautiful. Or take my friends’ design/build shop, Pas de Chocolat. Their motto is, “if we don’t do it ourselves, we do it with collaborators who share ownership.” Isn’t that cool?

12. Shorter commutes. I propose moving all of the Bay Area into San Francisco. Then we can make some real public transport and call it a day. This week I’ll drive to San Jose, San Francisco, and Berkeley for work. This is not OK.

13. Beards and the cool barber shops that go with them.

Last note. Something that we’re happy to see go: All things apocalypse related. I’m looking at you History Channel.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!