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December 2012

Beer of the Year

As per Tiffany’s suggestion I’ll do a list of my favorite beers of the year. Clearly this is going to be limited by what I’ve tried and my lack of brewing knowledge. Next year I promise to do better since I’m going to use craft brewers as my PhD pitch (holla!).

Beers I loved in 2012

1. Narwhal – Sierra Nevada

An imperial stout, so not for the faint of heart. I love the chocolate-y texture and taste that completely washes over me when I drink this. Unlike other stouts, this doesn’t leave as much of a bitter/acidic taste afterwards. I think this is available at Whole Foods, so if you get your hands on it try it as a float because I can imagine it would be perfection.

Continue reading “Beer of the Year”


Remakes and Tortilla Soup

Imitation may be a form of flattery, but when it comes to movie remakes I consider it an insult (until now). In this blog I will be addressing the movies in the US that are a blatant reproduction (or attempt at reproduction) of “foreign films.” Think of Paris, Je t’aime and New York I Love You. What the hell was that? Paris was such an offering of love to the diversity of the city and New York became a cheaper, less tailored version. Having each vignette be authored by a different director and team gave way to the richness and flavor that is the amalgamation of Paris, while New York just ran together like an overly ambitious romcom.

So I hate remakes. Continue reading “Remakes and Tortilla Soup”

Sierra Nevada

Yesterday we went to the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico because, despite being students at the university here, we never actually took a tour there. We had no idea what to expect, but we knew we had to do it, and we were so glad we did.
I learned way more about the brewery than I had known before (surprising because I’ve gone to a few talks on the brewery and it’s kind of legendary in Chico). They included some information about their sustainable practices, but as always, they are super modest about how much they’ve done.
We got to see the whole beer making process Continue reading “Sierra Nevada”

I wasn’t doing fieldwork, I swear!

Yesterday my best friend took me over to her grandparent’s place and they made us a massive breakfast. They cooked and cooked and cooked and we kept begging them to stop because we were already stuffed! It was sweet. They also yelled at anyone who tried to clean up.
Later they patiently taught us how to make tamales (sweet ones!). My friend and I can understand Spanish better than we speak it, but the grandparents didn’t speak a lot of English at all. It was amusing. We would occasionally nod and pretend like we totally understood what they meant. It was messy work, but after having experts show us the methods we got the hang of it. At one point, we only have four tamales left to make, the grandmother came over and told us we were making “very ugly” tamales and rewrapped the ones in our hands to be correct, she hadn’t noticed that all the ones we had wrapped were the same “ugly” style. We laughed over it. We would all have to eat the tamales for dinner so it wasn’t a big deal.
I’ve noticed in farm worker homes that there is a lot of pride around providing for families and making their homes nice. I feel like that’s a part of my project I’d like to touch on because of all the stereotypical images we get from movies and some news agencies. Stock photos really. I’ve been looking at a few books on the history of fieldworkers being photographed and it’s an interesting pattern of making them look poor and dirty, not highlighting the aspects of life that they take pride in.
I have two more days of blissful break before I head back to reality/my bookstacks of research material at home. I best enjoy myself.


I feel old

I’m in Chico and last night I went out for the first time in forever. Essentially everything felt very different, as I knew it would. Different people now frequent my favorite bars, different music is played and overall things just didn’t feel the same. I was glad. Change is good and I think the sooner we realize a place has moved on, the easier it is for us to move on too. Some people stay here and get lost chasing the nostalgia of this place, which they will never catch up to.
It was great seeing a few old friends. Catching up and bragging about my amazing connections at USC. I guess it brought home how lucky I am to have gotten so far and the amazing resources I now have at my fingertips.
I was only able to down a couple of beers and ended up going home early. I felt old. Faces looked younger. Alcohol made me sleepy. Bar food felt extra fattening. Even watching my favorite local band felt odd.
Anyway, I woke up in a really comfy bed in a place surrounded by orchards and now should get up and get coffee. Or go back to sleep. Since my body is trained for early rising I’ll just stay up.

Chico trip

Woke up early today inadvertently and just stayed up because my body hates me.
I really need to get up and get coffee, register for classes, finish a vlog and then pack, but when it’s cold I have a difficult time leaving my bed.
Of course, it’s a lot colder in Chico, which is where I’m going today. It’s the first time I’ll be there since graduating so I’m expecting it to be different, but I knew that change would come. It’s like going home after being in college, it doesn’t seem the same and it will never be what it was. What I experienced at Chico was a unique experience because of what classes I had, who was still a student and what my job(s) were like. So many people have graduated, my old job has changed (but the classes I had probably still prevail as they did).
I’m excited to see some familiar faces, be farther from LA and eat delicious food. As I’ve said before, I need a break. I need to be refreshed before going hard again. I need to refocus and I think the only way to do that is through this stepping back of sorts.
I still feel like I have so much to work on, but for now I will burrow into my familiar hovel of books and cheap beer that is Chico.


I woke up around 4 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep for ages, but now I’ve slept past the time I naturally wake up so I feel off. Today will be unpleasant.

I’ll be leaving Walnut Creek tomorrow for Chico to visit a friend, see the old campus and relish the amazing food. Also I needed an escape from the chaos LA makes me feel like I’m a part of.

Anyway, today I hope to do laundry, cleanup the house and then get any research for my project done. As I said yesterday, I need a break from stress so I’m not overly concerned with being productive. It was so bad that my chest would feel really tight. I know that can’t be good.

I want to take up yoga again to force myself to take time for relaxation every day, but like my morning jogs, I’m sure it will get overcome by class work.

Anyway, I need to make coffee and start cleaning. This isn’t a productive post, but at least I’m finally awake.

Breakfast in Bakersfield

I didn’t write first thing this morning because I had to pack the car and grab breakfast with my dad. Since my student group(s) are in this area I could have done a lot of work, but I am so damn tired. Grad school has exhausted me physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.
I feel like I can’t even function around non-grad students now. You mean you don’t want to talk theory and method with me for hours? My project isn’t compelling to you over dinner?
I’m taking a slight break from intense readings too. Not a complete one, mind. Just enough to refresh my mind so I can tackle difficult ideas. I think toward the end of this semester my mind hit a damn wall.
On a sad note, by leaving LA early I will missing tons of really cool events. There’s a doc showing that I could have made mad connections at by attending and then there’s an office party (open bar!). In the end I am ok with my choice to work my ass off the last few weeks to finish my final papers so I would not have to stay for actual finals week. I get to make a trip to Chico this week to visit my undergrad haunt and my best friend. I pine for the small town, especially after months of living in LA.

Are you going anywhere for break? Are you a fellow grad student who is way to excited to read for fun?

Hobbits and Trivia

Last night I went to a Hobbit themed party and it rocked. There was beer, fire, trivia, food and more food. I was supposed to come in costume so I made myself a map shirt. I used pics of the map from The Hobbit to do it.


I made the shirt on the metro with a Sharpie and I figure I can use it again for future Hobbity goodness. Also, the shirt is from Goodwill so it was only $2. Win.

Today I have to pack, clean the house and make my way North for break. I’m a major nerd so I’m taking mostly books. I’m kind of ridiculous. But in amazing ways.

Grad school is amazing and all, but being able to relax for a few weeks (and yes, still work on my stuff) while reading some amazing ethnographies and compendiums on visual anthropology will be sweet. I’ll try to post short reviews of said books, but most of them will probably be fiction.

Are there any grad students out there excited to read for break?

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