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Hating Sansa Stark (and Not for Her Femininity)

By on Apr 27, 2015 in All, Books, Writing, Publishing, Culture, Feminism, Movies and TV, Writers, Writing |

Readers hate Sansa Stark and feminists argue that Sansa is a strong character, hiding behind her feminine whiles. Here’s why they’re both wrong.

Holi Hindu Festival of Colors at UC Berkeley

By on Apr 19, 2015 in All, Bay Area, Berkeley, Culture | 1 comment

As Spring festivals go, Holi is among the most fun. Forget about the Maypole, during the Indian Holi festival people douse each other with bright colors. It usually takes place during March, but UC Berkeley’s Indian Student Association has their Holi celebration in April. The UC Berkeley Holi festival is a dance party. The DJ mixed house hits with Indian pop music. The event is free, and you can buy color from the Indian Student Association ahead  time, or day of, until they run out. Ten packets (500 grams altogether) is sufficient but you could use twice as much so it really depends. Try to hold your colors until you make eye contact with someone. Though it can be tempting to merrily toss color into the air when the bass drops or even to toss a little color on someone’s back if their shirt is looking a little too naked of the stuff in your hand. More than once I gave in to...

Diwali Lights in Bollywood 2014 (Bandra, Mumbai, India)

By on Oct 23, 2014 in All, Culture |

I’ve always wanted to go to India, and here I am in Mumbai. Life is good. There’s a holiday here called Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights. Imagine it as the Hindu version of Christmas: shopping, lights, and family dinners. But instead of Santa Clause stories are about Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi; instead of Jesus offerings are to Ganesh. I’m staying in Bandra, Pali Hill which is where many of the Bollywood stars live. We took a walk around the neighborhood. Here are some of the lights we saw.

Decompression San Francisco 2014

By on Oct 14, 2014 in Bay Area, Culture, San Francisco |

Decompression is a street festival celebrating the return of Burning Man participants.  It’s a way for those who’ve returned from the Playa to get one last whiff of that Burning Man magic while giving tourists a chance to see some of the art, mutant vehicles and outfits still freshly covered in dust. I’ve attended Decompression for years now, but it was my first time going after my freshman year as a burner. I found myself seeking people who’ve been there, not because I wanted to be exclusionary. I’d arrived several hours before my friends, which meant approaching strangers. It was easier to approach burners because I knew they would be likely to practice the principle of radical inclusion. I met some beautiful people in any case. Below are some of my favorites moments. The San Francisco Mission Brass Band I’ve seen these guys around San Francisco...

Yoga Is Primal

By on Oct 7, 2014 in All, Culture |

  I have a hedonist friend who would rather die early from a sustained binge of wine, women and bacon than to devote a second of his resignedly short life eating vegetables and lifting weights.He smirks in condescension when I praise yoga. He thinks it’s a bunch of superstitious mumbo jumbo and—worse yet—exercise. It may be those things. But it also feels effing fantastic. Sure it may be a “practice” and a “discipline” but yoga is the discipline of getting in touch with your primal self. In yoga you are trying to find that part of yourself that is more animal than human, the part of you that is wild and naked and doesn’t give a damn, but it goes even deeper than “animalistic” in the primitive sense. The cat does not know she is a cat on a human’s rug. She doesn’t know that the sunbeam she leans into comes from a giant...

The Burning Man Principle of Radical Inclusion: Take It to the Tourists

By on Sep 8, 2014 in Culture |

This post was inspired in part by Radical Self-Reliance and Rich People at Burning Man by Rosie. If Burning Man is a city, then those who spend the week following its ten principles are the Black Rock City citizens. Likewise, those who know nothing of the principles and come just to party the weekend the man burns are known as tourists. It’s easy to be irritated by the people leaving solo cups in the port-o-potties while burners are cleaning the playa of other peoples’ tiny sequins and bussing out all their own trash and recycling. After all, if there are too many tourists, Burning Man ceases to be a participatory event. It becomes little more than Coachella with nudity. My first run in with a tourist was obvious. It was just after the man burned Saturday night, when the tourists come in droves. I’d just met the fabulous, beautiful Dawn, whom I was looking forward to...