Bay Area Life

Life through the viewfinder

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SFIAAFF Launch Party

SFIAAFF Launch Party

Last night, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) threw a launch party for the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival’s 30th year. The festival showcases a wide array of Asian American media from music to film. The launch party this year was held at 111 Minna which is a space used as an art gallery as well as a lounge/bar. The night kicked off with a good large crowd; more people came than expected. Festival Goers and other friends are expected to visit the largest Asian American Film Festival in the United States this coming March. Festival kicks off on March 8th and will run until the 18th with eight days in San Francisco and three days in San Jose.

For more festival information, please check out http://caamedia.org

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Bazaar Bizarre

Bazaar Bizarre (click here for images)

Bazaar Bizarre hosted its second arts and crafts show and was held in San Francisco’s New People building in Japantown. Twelve vendors at the fair came out to sell some amazing things; items such as jewelry, felt animals, clothing, and other various items. The fair ran from 12-8pm with a sponsored cocktail and snack time running from 5-8pm in the art gallery on the third floor. Throughout the show a guest DJ came to spin some records which filled music throughout the entire building.

Entry to the fair was free with each guest allowed to enter a free raffle with some great door prizes. Each show hopefully will bring newly interested, as well as artsy people together in the hopes that buyers could support local craft makers. If you know others that may be interested in checking an arts & crafts fair with local vendors please check out the Bazaar Bizarre blog link at www.bazaarbizarre.org/sanfrancisco/blog for future shows.

Pictures of the Bazaar can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If you enjoyed this post and it was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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Funeral for a Loved One

T.B. Funeral (click here for images)

Several weeks ago I heard news that no one would want to hear… the news that someone had passed. Though the news to me was a shock, I was asked to photograph the family’s funeral. The ceremony was beautiful and the celebration of the life lived was exquisite. T.B. was loved by hundreds if not thousands. T.B. lived the American dream being able to come to the States and raise a good loving family and to be able to enjoy the passions of life.

T.B. has traveled to many places around the world with family and that is something very special. For myself, I’ve not been fortunate enough to travel the world, but one day I hope to be able to see the world and share memories with those that surround me. T.B. brought to the chapel many family and friends to the point where the house was nearly packed. Loving family members came up to the stand to share what T.B.’s life meant to them and how T.B. was just a precious person to have known. A special song was played and sung for T.B. by a grand daughter. In part of the service six grand children sung a song for T.B. and later the church choir sang a few songs. Just the impact of the ceremony is one that touched me. Although I did not know T.B., seeing the faces of loved ones just showed me how T.B.’s life impacted all of those around.

Following the brief message and viewing service family and friends joined together to the burial site where T.B. was to be laid to rest. As the crowd came to the burial site it was one last time to pay respects by throwing in beautiful flowers and placing on the top of the casket the pallbearer’s gloves and corsage. After the respects were paid, the casket was covered and a majority of family and a few friends went to dine together for a private reception.

For those that are interested in viewing some of the photos they can be seen by clicking on the link above. For those family and friends that would like to see more photos, please contact the family directly and they will give you information as how to access those images.

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Happy One Year Anniversary of MichaelJeong.com

One Year Anniversary

Well it’s been one year since my very first post on my website and thanks to all of you who’ve tuned in once, twice, or several times. Having been able to enlighten you or keep you posted on the happenings here in San Francisco has been my pleasure. I want to thank those that have complimented me on my work and I hope to do business with you in the future.

For those of you tuning in today and this may be your first visit to the site, welcome! I hope to keep your attention as I bring to you parties, festival, events, community types of service, weddings, funerals, and other various types of photo shoots to your attention. I’ve been practicing photography for many years, but last year I got a little more serious about sharing my work with the public. I hope throughout this new year that I will generate enough clients that I can be sure to share futures with. If you don’t know me, my hope is to provide a close relationship with my clients and hopefully become a part of their family, figuratively speaking.

As the new year begins, I ask that if you have any questions about events, special opportunites or things you’d like to see on this website, please don’t hesitate to ask and leave a comment.

As you know a majority of my work is strictly volunteer based and would like it very much if you could partner with me in contributing to my site financially to keep it going for years and years to come. It has taken me a tremendous amount of time and effort to bring to you everything that has been on the site and keeping up with the workload and it would help out a lot if you can help contribute financially to cover variable costs that are incurred throughout the year. Contributors whom would like to have a link on my blog, please message me for details.

Thanks everybody for your great support and I hope to bring you all up to speed on the weekly happenings of myself and the beautiful city that I call my home, San Francisco.

If you’d like to help MichaelJeong.com financially please donate by clicking this link or clicking the donate button on the right-hand sidebar. Donations are securely handled through Paypal.com. Thank you very much for your support.

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New Year’s Day 2010

New Year's Day (click for images)

Happy New Year!!! 2010 is here, a new year with lots of promises. It is going to be a little weird to be dating notes and messages with 2010 on them, but I’m sure I’ll get use to it. Last year was a pretty good year to remember. There were a lot of good memories that were made and some awesome people that I’ve come to meet and I hope that 2010 will be no different. A look back at 2009 would bring back some good accomplishments. One of the top things that I achieved was to get MichaelJeong.com up and running. It sure has been a blessing to be able to share with all of you things that are happening in and around San Francisco and I thank you readers for keeping up-to-date with me. 2009 was also a year that I took my very first vacation out to the Midwest for about 14 days alone. On that trip I encountered lots of people and were blessed by their presence. So much so that each of them showed their own type of hospitality to me, a stranger.

This new year, I hope to be able to inspire people with my photography and be able to build future relationships with my clients. I also am hoping to bring my visitors more festivals and events to keep you in the loop of the various things that San Francisco and the Bay Area have to offer. Traditional events and new conceptual events I believe are on the horizon and I just can’t wait to get started. Although, everything that goes up on this site is very time consuming I hope that it pleases you.

For you that have been following me since the beginning, I thank you. For those new to my site, I welcome you with open arms. I am pleased to be able to enlighten you on just a glimpse of my life through a viewfinder.

So you probably are thinking, what I did for New Year’s Eve. Well, it all started off with taking a drive downtown to watch the fireworks show out on the Bay. Took the freeway, which was surprisingly empty, and exited off 4th St. Drove down to the Embarcadero and searched for parking. Apparently, hundreds of other people drove downtown also to look for parking; however, thousands of people who took public transit. I needed to get over to a friend’s party following the fireworks so that was my excuse to drive. For over a decade, I’ve made it a tradition to watch the fireworks at the start of the new year. There’s something about colored light that fascinates me. Some years I’m out on Treasure Island where the view is awesome, but the crowds can be vast and the time to get off the island is insane. Anyhow, I found a pretty decent spot at a park out on the waterfront. The park is most notibly known for it’s large bow & arrow art piece. As I was out there, I took a pretty decent amount of pictures and I realize that while watching the show I felt that it was a less intense show compared to the one in 2009. No matter if the show was downsized or not, the show was pretty good still and I was glad to make the trip out to see them.

Following the fireworks, a mass exodus took place as thousands of people on foot flooded the streets of downtown. It took me about 6 mins just to cross one intersection with just two cars in front of me. I parked about four blocks from the waterfront and so there were not too many cars in the vicinity and so I lucked out again. After about 15 mins or so I made it to my friend’s apartment in the Outer Richmond to celebrate the new year. There I met some pretty cool people and just mingled over some cold crisp Martinelli Sparkling Cider. I took a few photos of some new and old friends there and I must say my friends have come up with a pretty cool backdrop for photo booth pictures. After goofing off and socializing for a good amount, it was time to call it a night. After several hours of sleeping, I ended up going back for brunch with a few friends that stayed the night and to help clean up the mess that we caused following the party.

With the start of the new year, I hope for a very prosperous year for everyone and I hope that things will only get better for my photography. If you’d like to help support me financially with a contribution to upkeep my website server and/or book me for future parties, events, shoots, and weddings do let me know how I can be of assistance. Many blessings to all and keep in touch.

Pictures of the fireworks and the New Year’s Eve Party can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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Christmas

My Christmas (click for images)

Christmas is that time of year when most people are eager to open gifts in front of family and friends, under a Christmas Tree, drinking hot chocolate/eggnog, eating prime rib and cookies. However, Christmas for me is usually just a simple family or friends gathering surrounding food. This year in particular I realized that I haven’t gotten one single gift, which is a little weird because I at least receive something for my birthday, but this year it was kinda sad. Depressing moment? Well you can say that, but on the brighter side of things, Christmas is not the presents that make the holiday it’s what the day in itself represents.

Christmas is a celebratory day for the birth of Christ Jesus. Although Jesus was not actually born on the 25th, it is a day for Christians to remember and celebrate the birth. Christmas is derived from the words “Christ” and “Mass”, when put together in the Old English it means holy mass.

This year Christmas was more meaningful to me more than any other year prior. I come to the realization that people are the important asset that I can have and the fact that gifts can temporarily make you happy, but it is the people in your life that will last forever. I also believe that even though not all the time people can be there for you in some of the most toughest of times, there is always Christ to be with you through thick and thin. He is the main reason for the season and for that I am truly blessed. It is that this day should always be a reminder for those that believe that Christ was sent to Earth to save the ones with sin, help the ones in need, and heal the sick. He did not come here for the righteous, but did come to change the world and make it a better place and to give the gift of life to those that believe. For that I will always be grateful.

Christmas has always been a time where I am the most happiest and I think that this year was a great testament to that. I had been able to spend my Christmas with family and friends and that was priceless. I spent the early part of Christmas with some friends playing, talking, and eating. Just had a great time with them. To top things off, I spent time with family at a large gathering where I spent most of my time having an awesome time taking part in a gingerbread house competition. I haven’t had so much fun in a long time and I wouldn’t mind doing that more often in the years to come. Dinner was just great.

For the earlier dinner at my friend’s we had some delicious veggies and beef stew with mashed potatoes. Then for the dinner to follow I had some great Chinese food. This year has not been any different than any other years in terms of food with my family. It just so happens that every year we have a potluck and the food that is brought ends up being Asian. Sometimes I feel envious of the families that have prime rib, but something about Asian cuisine brings comfort. Not to complain, but it would be nice one of these years to have a good sized rib roast on the carving block.

Anyhow, enough rambling about what happened this Christmas. If you have a favorite Christmas story or something uplifting that you’d like to share please leave a short comment. If I get enough comments I will post about it.

Pictures of my Christmas can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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Christmas Eve and a Heart of Compassion

McDonald's Swiss Mushroom Burger

Today on Christmas Eve, I returned back to McDonald’s to get a complimentary meal due to my horrible experience I had made earlier today an hour after midnight. Let me first start out by telling you all that I had a deep hunger for something to eat that night because prior to my cravings I had just played through almost 5 hours straight of Settlers of Catan. Settlers is a real fun and cool game, but the night was full of surprises and which ended up being one of the most intense games I’ve ever played with loud outbursts.

So six of my friends came together at my buddy’s place for a friendly game of Settlers. Since all of us were guys, we knew that there was going to be some trash talking going on, but we didn’t know to what extent. Anyhow throughout the game words flew out of our mouth like burgers come out of drive thrus. Okay that was a bad analogy, but you catch my drift. Anyhow, one guy says hey we should all go out to get some McDonald’s after this and I thought that perhaps that wasn’t a bad idea. So once we all made up from all that yelling and arguing from the intense three games everybody went their separate ways. I, however, had the urge to go grab a meal at McDonald’s.

I drove up to a local McDonald’s, location not disclosed, and I ordered one of the newest burgers that they have created. I ordered a 1/3 lb. Angus burger with mushrooms and Swiss cheese combo meal. I asked the worker over the intercom to have fresh hot fries. He told me that they have fries coming out every several minutes and that shouldn’t be a problem. I drive up and pay for my combo and as I received the bag of food, I opened it. I tasted the fries and to my dismay it was cold and hard. I then told the lady that gave me the food that the fries were not to my liking and that they were not freshly hot how I like them. She then told me that next time I should not taste the fries first. When I was told that comment I thought to myself that this lady is crazy because how can a customer tell if the fries are up to their standards if you don’t get to try them first. I thought that was rediculous what she had said. So that incident frustrated me. Then she came back with fries that were slightly warmer and she brought them out seconds after handing me the bag in the first place. So in disgust I drove home.

When I got home I opened up the bag of fries and realized that she filled the fries container 3/4ths of the way. She sure jacked me! I then opened the burger package to look at the Swiss mushroom burger. I looked at the burger and it seemed like nothing too special. I took a look at the patty and it seemed a little dry, but you never know right? So I took a bite of the burger with the Swiss cheese slightly melted and I bit into some dried mushrooms. The type of texture you would get with dried shiitake mushrooms in a bag at your local Asian supermarket. I was totally disgusted by it and I said to myself that I went through all that trouble of wanting a good satisfying meal and it ended up being unsatisfactory. So to voice a complaint I then called and spoke to the manager to see what he could do since I did not have a receipt which the lady did not include in my bag. He then told me to come in the next day for a complimentary meal. I then said that I would take him up on his offer and I returned the next day. I don’t normally complain about outright for something too many times, but this was just an incident that stuck with me.

The next day, Christmas Eve, I talked with another shift manager whom got a message that was written down that I would be back to receive the meal and the problem was sorted with ease. While waiting for my food a customer came up to the cashier and ordered a small meal. I overheard that he wanted some food, but he asked the cashier how much damage it would cost him. She said something about a little under three dollars. He said he couldn’t afford it and so he said how about two baked apple pies and he ended up paying for that.

As I looked at myself complaining for the smallest of things, I realize that more people are suffering more than I am. Currently, I myself am not working, but am trying to establish myself in the photography field. I thought to myself how would I feel if I was stuck in a less fortunate situation and nobody helped me out. I then thought about my trip out to the Midwest that I took out in September. Many people opened their arms up to me and showed me so much hospitality and kindness when I came as a stranger. One lady on the plane even invited me to stay with her and her family if I were ever to visit Wyoming. How generous people are is beyond belief. So after hearing what the wants of the man was I walked up to him and asked him would he like a meal and he said yes. He tried to rationalize with me that he just got out of the hospital and his leg is hurt and probably mentioned that he hadn’t had a good meal and I just told him don’t worry you don’t have to explain it. So I asked him what he wanted and I helped this guy out in his dire need.

The point of my entry today is that you should be aware of your surroundings. If a loved one and/or a stranger comes up to you or you see someone in need, take the time to go out of your way and help them out. You never know what a big or small difference you can make in their life. Something so small can change something so big. I’ve learned so much this year and my Midwest trip was one of the most influential trips that I’ve taken on my on in my entire life. My encouragement to my readers would be to lend a helping hand to those that are in need.

If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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A 3:18 Christmas

A 3:18 Christmas (click for images)

Thursday night was by far one of the most fun and entertaining nights with a group of friends to celebrate Christmas. The evening started out with a potluck. There was great food to be had and a surprise to me was a turkey that was seasoned just right.

My friend seasoned a delicious turkey and gave me the honors of carving the bird. When I sliced into the bird the breast meat seemed to be a little dry, but it turned out to be just right when the meat was soaked in the pan juice and drippings. The turkey was seasoned inside and out with salt, pepper, thyme, butter, a whole apple, and the kicker was Sriracha sauce. The Sriracha sauce is a Thai hot chili sauce named after the town of Si Racha in Thailand.

What made this dinner a pretty interesting one was that my friends and sometimes myself bring to the party some Asian dishes. This year there was some chow fun (thick rice noodle), chow mein (round noodle similar to spaghetti), and fried salt and pepper flavored spareribs. Some other interesting add onto the non-traditional celebration were sandwiches, ribs, and Waldorf salad. Don’t get me wrong the food was great, but just a very interesting palette when having to eat mixed flavors.

Following some quality time catching up with one another, we then began our White Elephant gift exchange. What we did was very simple. Each person that brought a gift picked a random number out of a cup. We then went in numerical order. The person with the lowest number started and chose their gift. In this case it was me. The second person would then go after I had gone and has the option of choosing a gift from the pile or stealing a gift from someone else that has already opened their gift. Since I was the first one the second person could only chose from me to steal from or select a new gift. This would go on until the last numbered person selected their gift. However, the twist to the game is that a gift could only be stolen twice and there after it has been stolen twice, the gift cannot be stolen again. The other twist to the gift exchange was that the first person to have gone has the option to steal a gift as being the last person if he/she so chooses. After that the gift exchange is finished. At the end of the swapping, I decided to keep my gift and end the game.

As gifts were being stolen and passed around for someone to check out the specifications, we all partook of some awesome laughter. It’s been a year since the last time we have done something like this and it’s just full of fun and just great times. If you haven’t done a gift exchange with your family, friends or co-workers yet you should do so quickly. When Christmas is over the people that are closest to you should set up a party where you get together to have a similar type of White Elephant party by playing the same type of game, but with gifts that you no longer want from previous years or something that may be of value to someone else. It’s fun and it’s guaranteed something to be remembered. The negative aspect of this is if you steal the gift from someone that really likes the gift, You will never be forgotten and you will be eating out of a trough come the next party.

Pictures of the holiday party can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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Crab Cakes

Delicious Crab Cake

So after having a delicious crab dinner last night, I ended up having about a pound of leftover crab.  What did I do with the leftover crab, you ask. Well, I sure didn’t throw it out. I decided to use the leftover crab meat to make some delicious crab cakes.

I looked up a couple of recipes online, but I thought that I would mix things up a bit and just make a crab cake to my liking. I ended up just using crackers, olive oil mayonnaise, salt, pepper, an egg, minced garlic, and of course the crab.  I then made a simple aioli/dip with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, habanero hot sauce, and green onions.

After making several crab cake patties, I heated up my cast iron pan with oil. I placed the patties on the hot pan and cooked for several minutes. I cooked the crab cakes until there was a nice golden brown sear on both sides. Once the crab cakes were to my liking I took them off and plated. After all the hard work of shell cracking, the crab cakes sure paid off. It was delicious and I can’t wait to think up new ways to make crab cakes in the future. I think my next trial will be with bacon.

If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.

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Black Friday and the Holidays at Union Square

Holidays at Union Square (click here for images)

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving where all retail stores go all out with discounts and free giveaways to get people to purchase products for their family, friends, and themselves. Retail stores see their highest profits on this day and for this one month that lead up to Christmas businesses see 25% or more of their year’s profit in less than 30 days.

This year, there wasn’t much that I was interested in purchasing so I just drove around anyway to see what there was if anything that I wanted. This year I’m pretty content with things and so businesses didn’t cash in with me.

After driving all over the upper peninsula, I ended up heading to Union Square in San Francisco to grab a bite with some friends and to look at the Macy’s Christmas Tree. This was Macy’s 20th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and begun about 6pm. The tree that Macy’s used was a Shasta White Fir 85 feet in height from Carlton Tree Farm in Mt. Shasta. The tree is a stunning sight to see on the western half of Union Square next to the Holiday Ice Rink on the eastern half of the Square. With both the tree and the skating rink in the heart of Union Square, one gets engulfed into Winter Wonderland emotions. The only thing that San Francisco lacks is snow on the streets, but I think I can safely say that I wouldn’t like the idea of having to shovel up snow every winter. If you haven’t been down to Union Square get down there quick before the holidays are over. If you plan on going ice skating get their early as lines can be long.

Pictures of the Holidays at Union Square can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.