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happy mother’s day!
my mom’s visiting me this weekend in PDX. hiking around mount hood today. :)
» How to write an Oakland trend piece


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or worse—working in a Manhattan-based newsroom—you’ve just found out that Oakland is now Brooklyn. No, this isn’t a figurative expression. Oakland has literally turned into Brooklyn overnight, like how Gregor Samsa awoke one morning to find himself magically transformed into a giant vermin. (We figured you Brooklynites would get the Kafka reference).

So now that this metamorphosis has happened, how does one go about writing an Oakland/Brooklyn trend piece? Well, we here at Oakland Unseen have developed a handy guide to save out-of-town journalists the trip to Oakland (because we hear it can still be dangerous), and to crank out their trend piece by following the tips below:


Oakland’s First Friday Art Murmur. (Image credit: Matt Werner, Bay Area Underground)

  1. Include these keywords: “Gentrification,” “kale,” “exposed brick,” “kombucha,” and “artisanal.”
  2. Out of Oakland’s 78 square miles, only visit 3 square miles: Oakland’s Uptown and Temescal districts during Art Murmur.
  3. Interview predominantly white people on what’s happening today in Oakland.
  4. Talk about how artists being priced out of San Francisco is exactly like what happened in Manhattan.
  5. Use racially coded words like “inner-city,” “immigrant,” “gritty,” “problematic,” “violent,” “up-and-coming,” and “emerging.”
  6. Scour Yelp reviews for what’s hot and write about good food, art, and music as if you’re the first person to make this startling discovery about Oakland.
  7. Use the phrase “In the shadow of San Francisco” at least 3 times.
  8. Use a patronizing tone.
  9. Steal writing from local writers (blogs, East Bay Express, etc.) who’ve written better local pieces before you and don’t give them attribution.
  10. Quote “accurate” statistics from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.
  11. Misinterpret a Gertrude Stein quotation.
  12. Make your title a pun on a Gertrude Stein quotation, as if that’s never been done before.
  13. Be oblivious to the fact that culture can exist outside of New York City, and constantly compare how something in Oakland has a corollary in New York.
  14. Under no circumstances should you presume that anything else has ever been written about Oakland. You are the first person on the planet to make your observations.
  15. Do not consider that a place could have its own independently developed culture, and have no convenient East-Coast-based referent.
  16. Assume that the residents of Oakland care deeply about your article published by an out-of-town publication, and derive their identity and self-worth from it.

yup.. thx nytimes.

oakland is oakland, no matter how much you want it to be like brooklyn in your attempt to make your “discovery” not seem hella late.


GIF of my “Highways of the United States" Maps
Just because.

when are you gonna put these together into book form??
pretty sure they’d be useful on a road trip!plus all the white space to draw own stuff/notes.
» Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

yes, it is kinda necessary to keep repeating the anti-helmet stance, due to heavy societal pressure to wear helmets.

Sharing (or wrestling) road space from a never-ending stream of one-tonne metal vehicles can be very intimidating. Cars and trucks are constantly zipping around you and there is no metal cage around you to protect yourself. So a helmet provides a level of protection from this danger. It makes you feel safer.

But a broader look at the statistics show that cyclists’ fear of head trauma is irrational if we compare it to some other risks. Head injuries aren’t just dangerous when you’re biking—head injuries are dangerous when you’re doing pretty much anything else.

Let’s be clear. I am NOT trying to say that studies definitively show that cycling is safer than driving or walking. The studies that are out there give us mixed messages about the relative safety of the different modes of transport. What I am saying is that these statistics raise an interesting question: If we’re so concerned about head injuries, why don’t we wear helmets all the time? Why do places that have mandatory helmet laws for cyclists not have them for drivers or pedestrians? A 1996 Australian study suggests that a mandatory helmet law for motor vehicle occupants could save seventeen times more people from death and serious head injury than a similar law for cyclists.

…we insist that children wear bike helmets (in fact, in some places, it’s the law) despite data that shows kids are more likely to die of head injuries riding in a car than riding on a bike. 

read more: howiechong, 24.02.14.


Lunch hour in front of Seoul’s historic old city hall (now Seoul Library)
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