Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When You're Ready

Canon sd1000 sd750 100hs
Retail Therapy

I don't spend much on anything.  Maybe food, but I rarely go to places that are ranked higher than 2 dollar symbols on yelp unless it's through my work. I have a laptop and a point and shoot camera. And I probably buy a new shirt once a season.  I'm trying to think of the most expensive thing I own, but nothing comes to mind besides the two mentioned electronics... and maybe my iPhone 3G.  


I've gone through 3 Canon Point and Shoot Cameras since 2005.  Lost my first one in the bushes jumping parties in college.  The second one was dropped too many times.  The third one was actually Jimmy's.  During Bay to Breakers this year, the lens barrel jammed for no reason.  I could not fix it with compressed air so I invested in a new 100HS.  I really don't like the "Smart Auto" feature which determines the best presetting.  But it's more like a Dumb Auto since it thinks you want to be in macro and 1/3 of the pictures come out blurry.  Can there just be a normal auto please?  Anyway...


The other things that I own are sentimental trinkets or stuff that no one wants anymore like old clothes/furniture from friends and garage sales... So when I think of "retail therapy" I wonder what I could purchase that would make me feel better about my day/life.  I also think about how buying things would just clutter my room.

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#ratchet

Luxury

Jimmy's computer sits in a little cubby space in our room.  It's not mobile because the monitor hinge is cracked so the screen can't stay up without leaning on something.  The battery is dead and the power cord can only charge at a certain angle.  Forget about the DVD/CD drive.  He borrows my computer to burn music CDs because his car doesn't have an AUX port OR Tape player.

I hate that there was a time of about 2 years where new cars were built without the proper ports to play MP3 players.

Jimmy sits in his cave using a computer that he's had since college editing photos and applying for jobs until he goes insane from cabin fever.  The device is going to die despite how much he takes care of it. And I was waiting for the day he lost all of his data. For him, he can't just replace a computer...  that's a luxury that he does not have.

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grateful eyes
When You're Ready

When I came home from work last Monday I surprised Jimmy with a new HP laptop.  In a card I told him that I turned down an opportunity in New York.

The opportunity was an internal move within my company on a beer brand as a project manager.  But they couldn't meet my salary request nor did they offer relocation compensation.  I was relieved that my company made my decision easy by being so cheap.  To live in New York was never a life goal and even though Jimmy told me he would follow me, I knew that he couldn't.  And what I would be leaving behind wasn't worth it.

He told me he couldn't accept the laptop, but I told him that it's for his career.  So that he's motivated to apply, build his portfolio, be inspired so that he doesn't have to worry about keeping up with everyone.  It's a present to celebrate us and a reflection of both of our efforts to improve our lives, our careers and our relationship.

...and one day when we're BOTH ready, we can move to somewhere new and exciting.  But for now, Los Angeles is our home especially since we have keys to a pool. #LASunShine

Monday, July 16, 2012

Streamers

My work place does a good job at celebrating people's birthdays.  Your cube gets decorated with streamers, balloons and printed pictures of photos or things you like.  We love burning color toner.

Decorations more often than not stay up for a long time.  So folks wait until their birthday for others to decorate their cube for them.


A balloon octopus to match her octopus tattoo and a really good photoshop-ed mural of her as Martha Stewart.  Creepy.  Her floor was lined with black tarp to simulate the sea.


Folks get really creative with the streamers.  I guess this the person who did this was also an interior designer.  A very elegant approach.


The note on her desk read, "if you move any of these balloons, you are fired.  Please make sure to complete all your work."


For my assistant, we turned his cube into an app store and put in an extra desk.  "your cube mate is here!"  We tricked him all day.  We also convinced him that there was an Oprah sighting, only to turn around to say happy birthday.  He shouted, "NO!!!" like it was the worst news of his life.


The remains of my birthday - Batman themed madness.  It was pretty amazing.




My colorful view.


I also helped turn my other assistant's desk into a night club, complete with lights and VIP table.

Furry Animals


Bay to Breakers is my favorite.  It's an early morning street parade with costumes and outrageous street activities. There is so much interaction.  I love it.

In 2010 we wore booty shorts!
In 2011 we were gay military! MUAH!
In 2012 we were furry animals!!

It's tradition that we party the night before and stay hammered through the next day.  We found ourselves at Bench and Bar in Downtown Oakland where we mingled with the gay black community.  I felt like I was in Noah's Ark!  Before that, the boys treated me out to Homeroom for my birfday....yay!!  

Okay, time to prepare:


We are experts.  Hide the alcohol in a camel back and you are good for the day.  Perfectly concealed in your furry outfit.  In my bag was vodka soda with a splash of cran.  Szeto had whiskey... I think. R. E. A. D. Y. Ready!


This was the longest wait for the BART ever.  I was so excited to just get there.  We had missed the first train by 2 minutes!  Everyone off at Civic Center by 9AM and you're good to go!


It's impossible to see everything, but I felt this year was a little bit more tame with the ban of floats and visible alcohol.  Hide that shiz.  Those kids in orange hats were gatorades... I don't think they appreciated me yelling "TROLLS!" at them.


MC Hammer dance was definitely a highlight.  Every 20 minutes this group of people dressed in golden parachute would do the STOP Hammer Time routine.


I had extra confetti canons from Chinese New Years.  I found the perfect place to pop them at the Panhandle where everyone was dancing.  The crowd reaction was brilliant.

Next year: more canons!


Break time.  I was looking for my friend's house to grab a quick drink, but couldnt find it.


Break's over!  Dance party now!!!!!!  It's easy to just chat with strangers; especially when you are offering food.


Fierce and ferocious!



We crashed a house party and I told everyone to act like they belonged there.  Jimmy successfully stole some alcohol.  Joe failed at playing smooth.


This is what happens when you drink so early in the morning.


Okay bus!  Take us home!!!


Until next time San Francisco!

My Food Partner


Date night @Jar.  Fancy pants Beverly Hills restaurant.  Cocktails. Tomato bisque.  Butterscotch Pudding with Salted Caramel.


I love eating with Jimmy.  We fill our tummies with different things. Date Brunch @Street
Kaya Toast. Chicken Croquette on a Waffle with Spicy Maple. Cheese Burger.

All overpriced, but points are given for innovative spins on some classics.


Look what he made me for my birthday dinner.
Baked salmon on a puffed pastry with almonds and pesto!! And my favorite green tea Kit Kat!








You make my heart and stomach spin!

Superhero Sake Bomb


It was my 27th birthday back in May and this is how I celebrated.


I made reservations at Tokyo Delves in North Hollywood.  This "sushi bar" in notorious for being rowdy and ridiculous.   I've been here once and I've always wanted to return since it's a pretty unique experience.  When I heard they were having a superhero show I made capes for everyone using dollar tree table cloths.  This is what I learned from Key Club!


Looks good!

We were waiting in line and got some awesome looks.  "whatchu want" or as Mav puts it, "it's a cape hun" to a g-thug passerby-er.


People don't come here for the sushi.  They come here for the sake bombs and ridiculous atmosphere!  We got about 7 mini kegs.


Everyone else looked pretty normal.  Yawnerz!  I'm sure my friends were really glad I made them wear capes.


Everyone is encouraged to drink.  The waiters shout at you to do another bomb.  Everyone is yelling and cheering!


I wasn't the only one having a birthday.  They called about 12 people who were also celebrating to get up on the chairs and have a dance off.  Ern, my gay yoda, whispered some amazing advice when I made it to the second round.  "Body Rolls, you MUST!"

So that's what I did.  Body rolls on top of your sushi rolls and Andrew sticking dollars in my pants for about 3 minutes until I almost fell off. Yes, there's a video... somewhere hah hah. I was competing against some slutty girls, but all eyes were on me since you can't ignore when someone is on fire.. gay fire that is.  We were also a large group of gaysians wearing capes.

I won the dance off!  Got a free shirt and bragging rights.  WooHoo! Take that!



North Hollywood is known to have a lot of dance studios.  This waitress came over to twerk it with Sean.


Stop everything and do the cupid shuffle!!!! "To the Right to the Right to the Right!"  God I love this!

Made some black and white friends.  Say wahhhhh.


Can you find the "straight" and the "mid laughter" group picture?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Big Bay Bust

View from the 27th Floor

I took an epic trip to San Diego to view the famous Big Bay Boom for the Fourth of July.  We grabbed burgers to go and set up a picnic area in front of our viewing window at the Hyatt.  I was prepared for a great Fourth of July away from crowds, bad parking and uncomfortable waiting.  I noticed the ~500K hordes of people waiting in the streets from all points of the bay.

All of a sudden fireworks shot into the sky from three ships illuminating our view for 10 seconds.  "Wow!" I proclaimed, "I've never seen a fireworks like that before.  I never really enjoyed fireworks, but that was amazing!" For 10 minutes, car alarms went off as they were jolted by the sonic boom. And in a few minutes I discovered why.

We turned on the radio to discover that San Diego bay had shot all of its load prematurely due to an electrical glitch. Someone is getting fired! Fail 'Merrrica.

This answers the question:  What would it look like if thousands of fireworks went off at once?

@BenBaller
Dang Jubilee!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thai Town Tour

Source
"Go beyond pad thai and chicken satay and savor authentic Thai dishes from the only Thai Town in the USA, a hidden treasure in East Hollywood."

This was the description of the Thai Town tour by Six Taste Food Tours.  On a random Sunday morning, Jimmy and I took the tour.  I was suspicious.  How authentic was this tour... will I actually learn anything?  To my surprise, both my hunger for food and cultural history were satisfied by an amazing tour guide who was a real local.

We were first introduced to the welcoming gate to Thai town on Hollywood and Western.  Unlike the gawdy Chinese dragon of Chinatown, these "statue depict “Apsonsi” a mythical half human-half lion creature that is said to protect and bring good luck. The project had wide support as a way to promote cultural tourism and economic development."

Khanom Buang topped with Foi Thong served at Silom Market
When I was in Bangkok, Jimmy and I stumbled on these vendors selling these amazing Thai desserts at a high traffic mall.  They were thai tacos / crepes were topped with sweet shredded eggs with coconut creme fillings.  I thought I would never ever find this again after leaving Thailand.  To my surprise, here they were up the high way from my house.  This was the first stop on the tour.


We had some mango sticky rice at Red Corner Asia where I got to know other folks on the tour.  Most of which were local tourist like myself.



On the tour I learned a lot about the community.  I was exposed to some hidden eateries such as Siam Sunset which is nested in a motel.  This place is known for their Thai breakfasts and cheap lunches.  I learned that Thai leaders would discuss politics at this restaurant.


I forgot what this dish is called, but it's intense Thai sausage.


It was endless eating.  We share other familiar things such as this duck noodle soup from Sanam Luang Cafe.


We were given a challenge to eat raw shrimp dipped in lime at Ruen Pair, which I passed... of course.


I was introduced this Thai Pork Jerky which is served with sticky rice from a hollowed bamboo.  You wrap the meat and dip it in a special sauce.  #12 on Ruen Pair's menu.  NOM NOM


This is our amazing guide who was born and raised in Thai Town and works for the community.  She showed us a picture of her family that was featured in a "Thais of Los Angeles."  She answered all of my questions about Thai politics, food and lifestyle.


She made us guess which rice is used to make sticky rice.  I guessed incorrectly.  :[ though it was a trick question!



I learned about spirit houses (san phra phum) which are shrines to the protective spirit of a place such as a house or a store. "Most houses and businesses have a spirit house placed in an auspicious spot, most often in a corner of the property...The house is intended to provide a shelter for spirits which could cause problems for the people if not appeased."  The one above is a shrine for the Thai market.  Every weekend monks gather and pray to the spirit house early in the morning before people arrive.


If you want a protective spirit to guard your property, the market sells one for a couple grand.


This is our group.  Aren't we touristy?