A Run for Your Money


Oh I, I’m running out of breath, but I // I got stamina

It’s nearly 3am here in Los Angeles. I can’t really sleep, even though I’m physically exhausted, because I have been napping in fits and spurts all day. There’s a pretty awesome reason behind this, though: my friend and I went to Joshua Tree National Park last night to take star photos. And by last night, I mean that we hopped in the car at 11pm and drove for three hours until we reached the middle of the park, then set up our tripods in the frigid air to shoot the night sky for a couple more hours. By the end of it, I was extremely cold and tired, but as the sun came up, it woke me up enough to appreciate the desert beauty around me. I was inspired to take a few more photos on the desert floor, remembering that I am trying to raise money for a charity run I am doing in a few days. Narcissism aside, I hope the photos will get more people to click through to my fundraising website and contribute a few bucks to the cause.

I am running the Oakland Half Marathon in support of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee. They are an organization based in Oakland that works directly with prisoners at San Quentin and Solano state prisons, as well as the reentry population in the East Bay. They contribute to education, advocacy, and community activism with the ultimate goal of ending the modern incarceration crisis that affects prisoners who are of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and the low-income and/or immigrant communities they come from. I strongly support the work that APSC does and volunteer with them from time to time. After reading Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, I knew that I wanted to do something to raise awareness about mass incarceration (other than simply recommend to all my friends that they read the book). I think that raising money for my run does a lot of things in tandem: it gives me a fitness goal, it helps take my mind off of my upcoming qualifying exam, it can inform more people about APSC and the under-reported incarceration statistics for the API community, and, of course, it will directly help APSC! The money we raise will matched by the East Bay Community Foundation.

Will you consider donating to the cause? My run is on Sunday, and I am aiming to raise $1,200 total. At the time of this posting, I need just $100 more in the next few days to achieve my goal. Click here to go to my fundraising page, and please share! Thank you!

And now, without further ado, photos from Joshua Tree National Park!


This photo probably needs some editing first, but that’s all right. Long-exposure shot of the Milky Way (!) between the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. Facing southeast from Keys View, that’s Salton City glowing yellow at the bottom.


A natural arch at Joshua Tree. The rock is all white tank granite, exposed after millennia of weathering.


Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) were named because their oddly-extending branches reminded mid-19th century Mormons of Joshua raising his hands toward the sky to stop the sun in its tracks. (Joshua 10:1-15)


Word of the Day: yucca is a plant species native to the arid regions of the Americas. The name has an unclear etymology; it may be from Taíno, an Arawakan language of the Caribbean (Haiti), and originally these plants were confused with the cassava (or ‘yuca’, or also ‘manioc’, which can be fermented into a pungent beverage that many fieldwork linguists at Berkeley are familiar with…). Anyway, yucca is not the same as yuca; the french fry-type snack you might get at a hipster cafe is made from the latter, whereas the former isn’t often used for eating. But it is pretty when it blooms in the springtime.


About Andrew C.

I'm a grad student at UC Berkeley.
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One Response to A Run for Your Money

  1. Oh, I didn’t know where the name Joshua tree came from!


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