what the beck?

So, I just spent the last hour walking around the hood with BECK (yes, Beck) and his (7-person) crew filming his newest video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ridiculous, huh??!?!?!??! It was pretty fucking surreal, and it got better....the main assistant guy, who I was talking to a bit, was the guitarist for Death Cab For Cutie!!! How you may ask? Well, my roommate's friend from college, who lives in LA, is Beck's stylist, and is actually staying at our place tonite. She told us about the shoot, and we show up with her, pseudo posing as part of the crew (my huge Nikon helped!) For the first 20ish minutes were were just walking around my hood, popping into taquerias (el toro, mariachis, etc), as he played some songs and shiz.... completely surreal...



the photo gods...

...are aligning against me! I didn't mention it in the last post, but anyone who knows me knows how much i love photography, and if I had said I have no pictures from Israel, it would likely seem odd.

Well, I have no pictures from Israel.

Yet. (I hope)

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Day 3: The Judean Desert. Wake Up, 3:00am

A moonlit desertscape, with the looming shadows of sheer cliffs shooting up from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. Up, up, up, we go, snaking along the rocky ledges to the abandoned desert fortress known as Masada. Eventually the morning sky glows with the imminent rising of the sun that bakes this earth for all but a few days a year. At the top, sweating and panting, light headed and dazed, the sun rises, setting the ancient land ablaze in an atomic, orange glow. It's now 5:43am, and the day is only starting.

Breakfast back at the Hostel is typical Israeli; veggies, hummus, egg salad, fruit, and a transluscent, slightly neon juice drink that seems to be popular. Hit the road shortly after.

Back in the desert, we wind through desert canyons and riverbeds, eventually arriving at an oasis worthy of myth. Wading through the cool water as the sun is at full height, the fragility of life out here can't be more apparent.

Soon back in the bus, heading to the Dead Sea. By now exhaustion, dehydration have set in. Standing in 100+ degree heat, on sand hotter than the surface of the sun, I run towards the shimmering expanse of water, and hit it's lukewarm waters at full gallop...

...with my camera in my pocket.

(shift to past tense, dramatic moments adequately described)

And in that fervent moment, brain functioning at half power, excitement tingling in my fingers, I lost the previous three days, captured in around 250 photos. The notion of not being able to take any pictures from that moment on was most devastating though, until Rachael, feeling BURDENED by her camera (identical to mine) agreed to let me use my extra memory card and her camera to document the rest of the trip. Rachael, if you read this, baby, you rock!

But...yes, there's a "but"...the story isn't finished. I dumped the photos (a 256 and 512 card) onto Maras hard drive, as Rachael was continuing her travels. Mara, who lives in San Francisco, was going to let me grab them back in the city, and i've been twitching with excitement. Until today, when I get this email:

"you won't believe this...

my computer completely died this morning shortly after
i emailed you! i am having it serviced and having the
data retrieved, but this won't happen by this
afternoon! very very sorry! i'll keep you posted"

followed by:

"So my hard drive is seriously compromised and it is going to cost me $1,700
to get the data scraped! *(&)*! SO, please pray with me that everything is
recoverable!!! EXTREMELY SORRY if anything at all got compromised. I'm 90%
sure your pix are all intact, but there is always a chance with hard drive
damage- can't believe this is happening!"

So i'm praying....and hopefully I can add to this site what so many of you have been waiting for. Until then, enjoy these from other people on the trip:



Sh'ma, Yisrael!

I'm not even sure who I told, but I just went to Israel. This was a life-changing experience, and the idea of writing down even the most fundamental aspects in a BLOG of all places feels like a cheapening of it all. But I'll ramble for a bit.

The themes: Survival, self-preservation, perserverance, identity, family. I can't explain how foreign, and yet familiar, the whole experience was.

generational, confrontational, inspirational...I will return Israel, the language less of a barrier, the politics less of a mystery. I learned I need to be more literal, be less intense. I need to make lists that I can finish. I need to stop feeling needed. "I know everybody here thinks they need you"

Avenu shalom alechem!