Author Archives: bffsf

A SXSW Smattering- my 2009 video compilation

Here’s a collection of videos I took of each band I was impressed by at this year’s SXSW Music.  Was unable to include a few due to loud bass distortion but this is a good smattering of my favorites.

Each of these bands put on an excellent live show. Find the bands you like, find their website, and see them live yourself!


SXSW 2009 Favorites

Efterklang at SXSW Music 2009

I just made an imeem playlist of my SXSW 2009 favorites for you lovely people!  In the outstanding live performance category, I’d name Efterklang, Port O’Brien, The Thermals, and Alaska in Winter.  Also really enjoyed Microfiche but couldn’t find their content on imeem.  I included a couple of bands I didn’t get to see but learned about in the process (Loch Lomond & Grizzly Bear).

I thought I might be tiring of the whole no-sleep, stand-for-hours SXSW music process but I was just as thrilled during the process as last year and arrived home invigorated once again to devour & share some new tunes!

Quick & Dirty Guide to Online Dating


This week I was asked by one of my roommates to send some online dating tips to her little brother who had recently joined the fray.  I have used online dating on and off for about 9 years and, in writing my email, I realized that the way I date online now is much different than how I started.  It certainly would have been nice to have some of these bits o’ advice when I was starting.  So I’ve decided to share some of these with you nice people.  As with all things subjective, I’m sure my experience will not mirror everyone’s but these concepts certainly worked for me!

So here you have it,  my far-from-comprehensive, in no particular order Quick & Dirty Guide to Online Dating

  • You always want to spend a little time on your first message to someone.  Be sure to reference things you liked in theirprofile to let them know you liked them beyond their hawt photo.  Don’t worry about coming on too strong – you want to seem really interested.  On the other hand, you don’t want to spend forever on an email.  Just put a some thought into it beyond ‘You’re cute.  Let’s grab a drink.’ 
  • Some will disagree on this, but I will never date anyone who doesn’t include 2-3 photos of themselves.  Likewise, I’m always willing to send photos of myself.
  • As far as messaging twice, I generally wouldn’t.  If you’ve done a good job on your first email there’s no need to write again.  They’ll write if they’re interested.  Most people don’t say ‘No thank you,’ if they’re not interested, which can be frustrating but seems to be how it goes.  A couple of times I’ve had guys write again and it hasn’t really bothered me, but generally the reason I didn’t write them is because I wasn’t interested.  Some people do like to be pursued though so if it’s been a week and no response, there’s probably no harm in a follow-up.  
  • Don’t spend too much time emailing with someone online – generally one email each & then asking on a date is best.  This is mainly because you can have great online chemistry and none in person so you want to get to the date part as quickly as possible before you waste a lot of time emailing.  I wrote back & forth for 3 weeks with my first online date- then phone calls, & when we met, the chemistry was SO not there. 
  • Happy hour dates are best.  You don’t want to plan a whole big evening together because you may realize in the first 30 minutes that you’re not really into them.  I used to say I had plans later in the evening and then I ‘cancelled’ them if I was having a good time but now I think you can just be honest about wanting a quick date to see if the chemistry is there or not.  I like a really quirky, fun, well-planned date but maybe save it for the 2nd date when you know the chemistry is there.
  • If you enjoy the date, let them know at the end that you’d like to see them again.  Follow-up with an email the next day.
  • Message lots of people.  Don’t get hung up on one person you find.  Online dating works best when you put a lot of feelers out there.  Also, open yourself up to going out with some people you might not be immediately excited by (not totally unexcited by but folks that seem like maybes).  It’s good experience and I’ve sometimes been really surprised that someone was a lot more articulate, interesting & attractive in person.
  • Have a few people go over your profile with you & make suggestions.  Sometimes we’re not always the most skilled at presenting the best parts of us.  Make sure it shows your personality.  Make it funny & quirky rather than just saying “I’m funny & quirky” (although it’s good to say it too).  Also, make sure you’ve got good pictures, and get a few opinions about this too. 
  • Get used to rejection.  The wonderful part of online dating is that you have access to a lot more opportunities to date than you’d normally have.  Along with this, you’re going to experience a fair amount of people with whom you are not a good fit.  Try to think about dating as a chemistry/fit thing rather than a ‘they didn’t like me therefore I must not be good enough, smart enough, etc.’.  The truth is that there will be people you have mutual chemistry with and people you don’t.  You can make sure you’re presenting the good parts of you, of course, which helps, but basically there’s little to do to change the fact that some people will have the hots for you and some will not (and vice versa!).
  • If it’s only one date, emailed rejections are ok.  There’s no need to tell the person at the end of the date that it wasn’t a good fit (although some people do).  I think it’s best, if you’re not interested, to email the next day & say nice things about them but that it wasn’t a good fit chemistry-wise.  If you have gone on more than one date, or have had sex, a phone call is more appropriate.
  • Limit the percentage of your life you spend online dating.  Especially when you’re getting started, it can be exciting and you might be tempted to spend too much of your free time engaged in browsing, writing, and going on dates.  Set aside 1-2 days a week to go on first dates. 
  • If you find yourself wanting to go on follow-up dates with multiple people, that’s great, but make sure you stay connected with the other parts of your life- friends, hobbies, alone time.  This is what will help make dating a reasonable part of your life rather than all-consuming and will likely make you a healthier and more interesting person to date!

So that’s it for now.  As many of you know, I have recently started writing a book on dating, exploring why we make poor dating choices and how we can begin dating in healthier ways.  I’ll probably have a short piece regarding onlinedating in the book, so any ideas or thoughts about what I’ve written here are welcome!

Videos That Have Recently Caused Me to Feel

I like music videos for all sorts of reasons but probably my favorite is their ability occasionally to elicit from me some sort of emotional response – a visceral reaction that gets me out of my head and in touch with my body.

Here’s two of my recent favorites- Gotye’s ‘Heart’s A Mess’ and Bright Eyes ‘First Day Of My Life’.

Before Roe v Wade

This is an excellent essay by Waldo Fielding, recounting some of his experiences as a doctor before Roe v Wade. Another strong reminder of why we need to keep vigilant watch over our reproductive rights.

It is important to remember that Roe v. Wade did not mean that abortions could be performed. They have always been done, dating from ancient Greek days.

What Roe said was that ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel, in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally, the full rights of first-class citizens — and freeing their doctors to treat them as such.

Organizations working to protect women’s healthcare rights. A good way to help is to donate!
Planned Parenthood
National Organization of Women

As If We Needed Further Proof that David Byrne is Awesome

Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing interviews David Byrne about his new music/art installation in NYC. He has hooked up a pump organ to an entire building and now anyone can, literally, play the building. It’s enough to have me browsing plane fares to NY. Yet another reason why David Byrne continues to be one of my creative heros.

Prison Blues

Just catching up on my ‘need to blog this’ list…

The NY Times recently ran this article about how 1 in 100 U.S. adults are currently incarcerated.  Even more startling is the racial disparity.

“Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.”

As the article points out, being tough on crime is political glitter used when budgets are fat and little effort is spent on rehabilitation such as counseling, mental health & drug assistance, job training, etc..  Then when budgets start tightening, we see prisons releasing many long-term prisoners with little assistance towards re-adjusting to their lives, thus increasing the chances that they may re-offend. 

We’re starting to see some interesting effects from this at San Francisco General Hospital where I work in the ER.  I’ve had 3 people in the last month who were released from jail after 25-30 years of incarceration.  I’ve witnessed total Shawshank Redemption-esque incapacitation as there isn’t nearly enough case management of the folks who get released & they no longer know how to manage their lives (one diabetic, for example, who had no idea how to administer his own insulin).

I think there’s a clear answer, whether we’re willing to do it or not (and it’s what I’ve said since I was working to develop drug court programs in Georgia) – shorter periods of incarceration with long-term intensive case-management and counseling.  It’s worked amazingly well with repeat drug offenders who show significant decrease in recidivism rates in these types of programs (note page 13 of this study). 

Of course, it would take an incredible overhaul of the system so I’m not terribly optimistic that the idea will ever catch on other than in small pilot programs – which is probably the way it will go if it goes at all. 

It’s time for us as a newly-enlightening society to stop looking to punishment to solve the problem of crime and start looking at the root of why people commit crimes – cycles of poverty, racism, mental health issues, education, & addiction.