Jenny does some continental clean and jerks.
Jenny does some continental clean and jerks.

Last Saturday was Albany Crossfit’s first-ever Tri-State Throwdown, a crazy individual competition open to people at affiliates in the tri-state area.

And, perhaps surprising to some, I did not compete. Not to make excuses, but there were two gigantic reasons standing behind that decision, and neither of them was fear (holla!). First, competing is expensive! And frankly, as a hard-working grad student, I need to pick-and-choose which activities I put my money toward. (On that note…you wanna see me compete? Clicky-clicky on that “donate” button at the right!) Secondly, the competition happened to fall less than a month after I returned to Albany from my monthlong holiday free-for-all back in Portland. Historically, it takes me a few weeks (or more) to get back to where I was before I left, strength-wise. A competition would be begging for disaster at that point.

Miwa rocking some double unders.
Miwa rocking some double unders.


But of course, even if I wasn’t competing, I’d definitely need to be there. So I decided to take photos. Which was great, because that meant that I could sneak up extra close to the action.

Margarite getting some "encouragement" from a judge.
Margarite getting some "encouragement" from a judge.

If you weren’t there, that’s too bad; you really missed out. I mean, yes, you avoided a hot, humid, and STINKY gym, but you also didn’t get to see the massive amounts of tears, sweat, and PRs (and junk food in the judges’ “lounge”).

It was truly amazing to watch some of our athletes, and many athletes from outside our box, compete and fearlessly challenge themselves and everyone else.

Here are just a few of my observations:

1. Skill level? Who cares!

Carissa packin' on the weight for some continental C+Js.
Carissa packin' on the weight for some continental C+Js.

What was your excuse for not competing? You already know mine. Were you afraid to compete because you didn’t think you were strong enough? Pish-posh! Yes, you should have acquired some sort of basic Crossfitting skills before competing just to avoid injury, but to say you’re not strong enough is not an excuse.

The competitions that ACF has been hosting recently have all included both Rx and scaled divisions, and this time even included a master’s division. So…if you can’t do Fran at Rx…no big. Regardless of division, the Throwdown was clearly a place to PR and to celebrate those sexy, sexy muscles.

And let me tell you something: Nobody looks down on you for scaling. It’s true. If anything, they’re looking at you, wishing they had the balls to be competing. There was a 72-year-old dude competing on Saturday. Let me just say…not once did I look at him and judge when he suffered through modified pistols. Not once. What a badass!

2. If at once you don’t succeed….

Clark hits some pistols.
Clark hits some pistols.

…try, try again. You know the saying.

Are you afraid that if you compete you’ll fail? I understand and relate to this one. We all fail, and it’s totally terrifying to fail in front of a crowd of people. But you know what? It makes you stronger. I’ve had some pretty nasty failures myself. Like in the Strongman competition. The first event was a press medley. I got all the way to the logs, and I couldn’t get them overhead for the life of me. And that was an individual, one-at-a-time event. It was horrifying…until I saw other people fail, too.

We all fail.

At least in the competition situations, we can fail together, and we know that the WODs that are presented are sometimes impossibly hard. During one of the WODs, our own Clark got stuck on some pistols. He had six minutes to work through the WOD, and about four of those minutes was spent on pistols. After the first five failed attempts, do you think he gave up? Hell no! He worked those g-d pistols until the timer buzzed.

We fail. But we don’t give up.

3. Once an ACF’er, always an ACF’er.

Rogie is SUPER fierce.
Rogie is SUPER fierce.

I’ve talked about community before. Now I’m going to shove it in your face again. Because it’s this aspect that truly does set Crossfit apart from your local, run-of-the-mill globo gym.

When someone leaves ACF or moves away or whatever…their absence is felt.

When they come back…we’re quick to embrace them.

The competitions seem to be a great place for reunions, to see old friends, to cheer for their continued athletic success. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s just my way of saying how much I miss Roger, but can you blame me? The man’s a g-d beast!

Really, though…we’re all one big family. And the competitions tend to bring out the best in us. And that’s what we really want, right?

(Note: Want to see images from the Throwdown? Check out the album on Flickr!)


I love having plants, but I am terrible when it comes to keeping them alive. Let’s hope I don’t kill these babies.

My basil is sprouting!

I took an epic trip to IKEA this last week, and found a quick-start basil kit for super-cheap. I was planning on planting basil, anyway, so this was super rad. I planted the seeds just a few days ago, and look how much they’ve grown already! This morning, they’re even bigger!!

My baby plants.

One of my friends gave me some aloe sprouts, so I also got to repot those, too. Aren’t they cute? This is my adorable little plant family! Yay!

Anthropology? Yeah, I do that, too.

School is amazing and scary and hard and very, very rewarding. And part of being back into the academic swing means actually manifesting the role of graduate student. It’s much more serious than undergrad, you see!

About a month-ish back, I had the great privilege to attend a conference at Connecticut College, titled “Undocumented Hispanic Migration.” It was seriously AWESOME and was so relevant to my research. I met lots of people and had a great time.

But when it was time to exchange information, I had my snazzy business cards, but something was off. They’re still pretty snazzy, but the whole writer/editor/designer/photographer label just didn’t fit my role at the conference. Sure, I still actively do all the fun writing/editing/designing/photographing stuff, but now that I’m doing anthropology-related networking, I thought it’d be appropriate to have the proper representation.

More business cards!

After doing some research, I settled on a company called MOO, which works in tandem with Flickr. I was instantly enchanted with their mini cards, and equally smitten that I could choose several photos for card backs, and then design the front portion myself.

And the results?

card box

The box was pretty darned adorable!

Open Box

They even included little dividers!

all cards

Et voila! Here’s a close-up:

Close Up

I love these, and they’re an excellent representation of my work. On the front is my info, and on the back, one of seven different photographs taken either in Mexico or Arizona, which is the geographic location of where I focus my work. They’re pretty small, but I’m hoping they’ll make a big impression on people when I go to the AAA Annual Meetings this year in Philadelphia!

I’m alive!

Oh, blog, how I’ve missed you!

I’ve been trying to write all the time, but there’s something extremely whack going on with my WordPress backend. Every time I try to insert an image into a post, it gives me the white Flash screen of death! So I haven’t been able to post what I wanted to. In any case, if I can I’ll be posting things from my Flickr page…so more serious photography.

I made it to New York (yay!) a few weeks ago, and today I decided to do some exploring.

Albany (New York’s capitol) was settled in 1624 by the Dutch–almost 400 years ago! Needless to say, this place has a lot of history.

One thing that I noticed the first time I visited were the amount of cemeteries around. They’re everywhere…sometimes even smooshed between fast-food restaurants. Clearly, the McDonaldses and Burger Kings came later, but it’s still weird to see graves that go almost to the street.

Today, I went around and took photos of a lot of the graves. Some of them are extremely opulent and huge. Check them out!

Until next time…I hope I can figure out what’s wrong with my backend!!😦

This is the truth

originally uploaded by dmkphotography.
One of the abandoned "barn" rooms at Sergio 2.

I’ve been volunteering with Friends of Seasonal and Service Workers, and Western Farm Workers Association, for a few weeks now because after going to Agua Prieta, I’m interested in what happens to the people I met on the border after they cross it and come to the United States.

Today, I went out and participated in outreach at three different campos in Hillsboro and Cornelius, Oregon: Sergio 1 & 2 (owned by Oregon Berry Farms), and Heikus Farms. I knew vaguely that the conditions would be bad, but nothing really prepared me for the actual circumstances and conditions that these people live in. Most of the people that we spoke with were originally from Oaxaca, and travel from California for the harvest and move up to the Oregon region. Apparently Fresno, which is an area with lots of farms, has suffered from a drought this season, and work has been exceptionally slow.

This was the story across the board, at Sergio 1 and Heikus, too, although the living arrangements were marginally different at each place.

At Sergio 2, multiple families lived in “apartments” or in rooms like the one above in a “barn.” They share kitchen and common space, bathrooms, and laundry facilities.

At Sergio 1, multiple families share “cabins,” which are three or four connected rooms/apartments with a shared kitchen and common area. Families also live in single-wides crammed beneath a barn-type roof. They share laundry facilities and bathrooms.

I feel it relatively safe to say that Heikus had the worst living conditions, with several rows of truly dilapidated…wrecked…falling apart single-wides that seven or more unrelated people (it seemed to be mostly single men) lived in during the harvest.

Western Farm Workers Association works with these people who live in such conditions and earn meager wages to organize and help themselves. Today, we gave out countless bags of clothing, pinto beans, chocolate, and socks. During member canvassing, we take requests for said clothing and food, along with medical and legal requests.

It’s very haunting looking at my photos now. It was sad and eerie speaking with the people on the camps today. What really hit home, though, was when I met a delicate 22-year-old making tortillas in one of the small Sergio 1 kitchens and telling us her story.

Times like these make me realize that there is so much suffering and injustice in the world. The way we treat people doing essential jobs is saddening, and I am so grateful that FULL TIME and UNPAID volunteers, like some of the people who were out today, are working to organize and bring justice to these unrecognized workers.

To participate in this National Labor Federation organization (if you’re in the Portland area) through necessary donation or much-needed volunteering, please call 503-681-9399.