adrian is rad


me, as a comic

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:50 am


My new buddy Jesse Lonergan is a comic book artist. He’s been drawing sketches of one moment each day and I appeared in one from last week after we watched a baseball game together. I’m the one in the hat.

Also worth checking out: his dancing Star Wars drawings and A-Z of crushes. I also just read Joe & Azat, a graphic novel based on his time in Turkmenistan in Peace Corps; I found it entertaining and thoughtful.


Filed under: — adrian @ 5:24 am

woman at petrol station
woman at petrol station

I realized my photoblog turned one a couple days. That surprised me because I didn’t realize that much time had passed. About 325 photos in 302 posts in that time. I’m not sure if my photography has gotten better over the course of theyear but I have definitely taken more photos and seen more of my surroundings because of wanting to constantly post new and good stuff.

I suppose my favorite parts were right when I got to Cape Town, in in rural South Africa, and chronicling my road trip but I have favorite photos from many different times.

ferry building
ferry building



Filed under: — adrian @ 4:32 am

I installed captcha to help prevent comment spam because my current comment spam filter was starting to let a lot (~20/ day) through. Let me know if it’s not working for you or bugs you. You can use email (a@ab) if the comment box won’t work for you.


(yet another) new blog, twitter

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:28 pm

I have a new blog. It’s called Secret Cape Town. Check it out if you’d like. I’m hoping it’ll help me learn even more cool places to go in the city.

I also have a twitter channel if you’re into such things.


how to filter mail bcc-ed to your non-gmail address in gmail

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:24 pm

Maybe I’m the only one with this problem but I thought I’d share if there are others.

I have a few email addresses that are all forwarded to my gmail address. I have a blog that produces a lot of email with a fair amount of it being bcc-ed to the blog email address. I want to filter all emails to that address to be filtered into their own folder. It took me a while to figure out how to do it, but here it is. It’s definitely a bit of a work-around, but it can be done.

So for this example, I have these email addresses: (currently forwards to gmailaddress) (secret gmail account currently not used)

We want everything that goes to to be filtered whether it’s bcc-ed or not.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Change your forwarding address for from to
  2. Log in to secondarygmailaddress and go to Settings->forwarding and set it to forward all your mail to (‘something’ can be anything, but it should be unique).
  3. Go back to your gmailaddress account. Go to settings->filters and create a new filter. In “has the words” section put in “” (without the quotes) and set it filter that mail into a new label. Have it skip the inbox if you’d like (that’s what I wanted in my case).

If you want it to filter only bcc-ed email (but not email to the address or cc-ed to it), change the last bit to “” (without the quotes).

Don’t use secondarygmailaddress for anything else. If you have mail sent there, you’ll start getting those in your filtered mailbox, too.


I forgot a couple music-related things

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:32 am

I forgot a couple music related things.

My music blog recently hit two milestones: two year anniversary (some of my favorite posts and comments; remember when it all started?) and 1000th post (10 desert island albums x 100 desert island songs).


the mythical expanse of the karoo

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:07 pm

I’ve been reading the Africa is a Country blog recently. Honestly, it’s too frequently updated to really read most of it and some of the stuff is not particularly engaging, but there have been some interesting things on there as well.

The most recent thing of interest is this Guardian travelog across the Karoo, a pretty sparsely inhabited dry region of South Africa. Having heard descriptions from family friends and a book I read once, I’d already wanted to go there, but the article’s description is even more alluring:

We pulled up beside the church and the owner of the Die Rooi Granaat cafe, a smiling matronly Afrikaner, looked astonished that we might want food, but quickly prepared a delicious lunch of boerewors, literally “farm sausage”, and pumpkin cakes topped with brown sugar. Children circled the church on bright yellow bicycles. Loxton had almost died out before people in search of solitude turned up and remade it, apparently casting off the stresses that trouble other parts of the country. It was lovely.

We headed north to Carnavon, the very heart of the Karoo. Chris was driving, enjoying this last trip in a car he loves, while I gazed over plains of sweet thorn trees and aloe, spiny shrubs and fleshy succulents. Dassies – ground squirrels – bolted across the road and I searched for the heads of meerkats as the blades of the water pumps glinted under a sky awash with the colours of the dissipating storm.

It sounds almost mythical. Can it possibly live up to the description? I’d say it can’t, but my time in Blyde River Canyon, another mythical-sounding area of SA, proved that such areas can live up to promises.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll have to go see for myself.


once-Mexican cowgirl quits job, flies to Sweden.

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:42 pm

My old friend* Christine has a new blog about quitting her job (in Mexico), driving back to Pittsburgh, then taking a one way ticket to Sweden.

It’s one of the best written blogs that I’ve read recently. Flowing prose and narrative arcs guide one through each long and detailed entry. I also love her footnote flashbacks that she sticks at the end of each entry.

Here’s a quick quote from the most recent entry:

Before we go anywhere, however, I have an appointment with Al Garcia. He’s the body shop manager at Varsity Ford on Highway 6, and he’s promised to jerry-rig the driver side door of my car – the one that’d been broken into just a few days before in Austin. If done properly, the job should take four to five business days, but I’ve got a plane to catch in Pittsburgh, so there’s no time for a proper repair.

Al tells us that it will be a few minutes while he and his crew perform this makeshift surgery. As we wait in the lobby entrance, I hear the body shop employees singing along with an all too familiar voice. It’s Chente, my 69-year-old Mexican Sinatra. Two workers simultaneously let out a melodious cry into the morning warmth. It’s a sad cry, like a Johnny Cash caw only more guttural. Mexicans remedy this call with a cold gulp of tequila chased by one long swallow of an icy beer. I know this music very well. It penetrates me, and once more I reach toward something familiar, toward the past four years, until Al Garcia pulls me back.

“Ms. Waller?” he leans his head and shoulders around the corner from inside the workroom. “Your car is ready.”

*She’s actually fairly young, but we’ve been friends for a while.


I can’t believe I live here.

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:52 pm

[Warning: American Apparel’s ads, which are featured some of the links, tend to have people in moderate states of undress. Some links are somewhat NSFW.]

So my neighborhood in San Francisco is the Mission. It’s split in two parts–broadly generalizing–young, white hipsters and Latino families. The center of hipster commerce is Valencia Street, while more of the Mission Street.

American Apparel is a brand that appeals to hipsters. They make tight fitting clothing and make it in America. They wanted to put in one of their stores on Valencia Street–a perfect fit, right?

by gretchen robinette

Apparently not. People were up in arms (well some people were). People, plenty of whom were probably wearing American Apparel at the time, said they didn’t want a chain store on their Valencia Street. They wanted their unique and pricey boutiques instead.

Blogs and newspapers were abuzz with developments. There was a protest (where the above photo was from).

The Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition was against it but pointed out that the pricey boutiques were also displacing older stores. (Irony.) They also pointed out that people weren’t up in arms about the plans related to an old movie theater on Mission Street.

Eventually the San Francisco planning commission voted against allowing the store. American Apparel apologized and offered Mission residents discounts at their other SF stores.

Wow, what a strange place this is.


recent readings and thoughts, political and otherwise

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:13 pm

Here’s some stuff I found interesting in the last while or thoughts I’ve had, largely without comment.

NY Times spends 36 hours in my neighborhood (photos)–here’s the article. Not entirely unrepresentative.

I think there’s some reasons to be hopeful about what’s going on in Zimbabwe, but like pretty much everyone, I’m going to see what actually comes of it.

Here’s another NY Times piece about Palin as a stepping point to different ideas of the American West (NYtimes login required; bugmenot helps).

I’ve stopped buying Cavendish bananas, for now at least. There are other cultivars available around here.

NY Times Magazine had a piece on Bush’s last stretch and his sometimes contentious relationship with McCain.

There’s an project to find the first black African cyclists that will compete in the Tour de France.

I watched a video of two suited guys longboarding down Berkeley Hills. It’s about twice as long as it needs to be, but it’s pretty spectacular. Make sure you see the turn around 3:26-3:30.

Adam Kimmel presents: Claremont HD from adam kimmel on Vimeo.

72% of Americans apparently feel that it is important for the president to have strong religious beliefs.

Biden and other Catholic politicians have been refused communion (or its been strongly suggested they don’t present themselves for communion) regarding their abortion stance. Have their been similar suggestions or outcries for Biden (or other politicians) because of their disagreement with Catholic Church’s stance death penalty? I haven’t heard any. Maybe it’s just that evangelicals make up a louder voting block and there’s no unified position there on the death penalty.

I find adultery appalling–once I very nearly threw up when I saw a friend kiss a girl that wasn’t his girlfriend–but it’s legal and don’t think it should be illegal. I’d never thought of it (and moreso its implications) that way before.


one year on…

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:40 pm

One year ago last Friday I moved for Taiwan. Right after I returned in December, I gave you a debrief/ by the numbers sort of post so if you want to see a lot of specifics of the trip.

When Dave, my friend and coworker who was there for the first week I was, and I arrived in Taipei, it was hot and humid. Sweltering, muggy, suffocating–whatever you want to call it. We were tired and it was hot and we didn’t understand the language. We attempted a day of work and made it most of the way through, though, to be honest, I don’t think either of us were productive in the least. Dave’s luggage didn’t arrive (except, of course, his tux for a wedding he was going straight to after Taiwan) so that 6’6″ guy and I went to the store to get some clothes to tide him over. He found a shirt that fit and some socks but the largest underwear in the store, as Dave hilariously recounts, wouldn’t make it past his knees when he tried them on later.

We went to get some shabu shabu for dinner that night. The menu was entirely in Chinese and the people working there didn’t speak English at all so we ordered by pointing randomly to a line on the menu. The beef, which–as it turns out–we had ordered was pretty good. A thus I started my almost four months in the country.

It’s so hard to sum up four months in a place with so many varied experiences. Theer was the time in Jianmen, the Taiwan (Republic of China) island 2km off of mainland (People’s Republic of) China that I went to because it had a very interesting history of isolation followed by English colonial-by-way-of-Singapore influence followed by heavy military presence and bombing. It was a fascinating place. The people there also spoke very little English and even though I was near the end of my time in Taiwan and I’d had a one-on-one Chinese tutor, my language skills were not enough to get me by. I was in way over my head. At a noodle restaurant that was drying its fresh noodle on racks outside, I pointed and gestured that I wanted a bowl of whatever everyone else was having and that I was just one person to be seated.

After 15 minutes of mulling around near the entrance, I took the proprietress’ pointing at a bowl to mean that it was mine and I should follow. It was not my food and when I sat at the tableful of strangers, it was obvious I had sat in someone else’s seat. One guy, who was at the table with his friend–the other person at the table, an old woman, seemed unrelated–got me a chair. Later he offered me some of the chicken he and his friend were sharing. Pointing at the chicken and then the three of us: “together.” He also gave me tips about the hot sauce: “good”, pushing over one bottle. Later when the proprietress gave me a funny look while he was paying I didn’t make much of it–after all, as far as I could tell, I was the only white guy on that island, so I got plenty of funny looks. He came back over to the table “you no pay.” I felt ridiculous for nearly crying in the middle of the restaurant but I couldn’t help it.

There were the hoards of guys in Bangkok that tried to sell me fake tours or “massages”. There was the cab driver in Taipei that short-changed me.

I obviously stuck out, perhaps not as much as my 6’6″ tall friend when he was there, but I did. Sometimes it was fine, or even good. I’d make a faux pas or get myself in a jam and people would give me some leeway or help me out. Other times it just felt more like I was a complete outsider. In four months of taking the bus every single day, both ways, and often again in the evenings, I saw another westerner on the bus exactly once. I’m sure the women on the bus thought I was a bit odd.

It’s hard to explain what living there was like because there were so many different experiences. On an average day, my activities were mostly the same: wake up, shower, eat, work, eat, work, maybe run errands, make dinner, and go out or watch TV or write or read or play guitar or whatever. It was just what I was eating was different and the surroundings and people were completely different; the language and writing were (for the most part) not understandable.

I’ll try to give you a better taste through some photos. I’ve picked out some of my favorites because they give a feel for the place, because I like them artistically or because I think they’re quirky or funny. Feel free to ask more about any of the photos if the caption isn’t sufficient and I’ll give you more info if I remember.

You can also read some of my posts from when I was in Taiwan or otherwise traveling.

Taipei, early September

Shabu Shabu restaurant on XingAn Rd.

taxi at an intersection

Danshui Night Market, at dusk

Longdong Park along the northern coast

Scooters near Keelung

seafood market along Fuji harbor

sales/ net girl at seafood market along Fuji harbor

a mock-up (machine) shop

(many more below the break)



trip (and other) photos up on ghm

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:48 pm

I’ll be posting a lot of my trip photos–and some older photos too–up on the collective photo blog over the next week or two. Check in there for new photos. Here are a couple so far:

You Go Girl, Brooklyn

Monk outside Snake Alley, Taipei

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