Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ridesharing Stories

I enjoy this forced interaction with strangers when taking Uber / Lyft.  Something about learning about what people are up to and broadening my understanding of this complex, yet simple city I live in.  And they don't mind talking usually.  My questions are structured:

  • How's your day going?
  • Been driving for a while?
  • What neighborhood do you live in?
  • Is this your full time gig or are do you have other projects?
People in LA love talking about where they live.  This is how I learn about back lounges, restaurants, and venues and quickly bookmark if it's interesting.  They also have other projects and don't mind talking about them since Uber/Lyft is just a way to get some cash while they work towards something bigger.  These four questions are sufficient in getting a good conversation going.  And my rides are that much more pleasant.  Here are a few stories I shared on Facebook, but I want to continue to blog about them here.

January 2018
My driver this week told me that he managed the popular Nick's Cafe in Chinatown for two years. The owner told him to count every raisin that he gave the customers and would close the store randomly when the venue was used for filming. This is where most of the revenue comes from. The owner hated him and told him that she didn't need him. So he quite and the store remained closed for three months. "What? she said she didn't need me," he was sassy. "Any way, I'm going to open my own restaurant called 'Frit-Ta-Tas'. Everything will look like boobies...the eggs will have nipples."

December 2017 - Various
Today's driver told me about her Mac and Cheese recipe, her late ex-husband who's best friends with Muhammad Ali, and her sisters who love to drink. At the end she gave me a candy cane. .
Last week my driver told me how he worked in Office rental sales and how burnt out he became.
Another guy was a rapper and was interested in how I think cool neighborhoods die once they become wealthy and popular.
A passenger in a shared ride told me he owned two LA bars. Another passenger was an extra and was heading to film a train scene.
Another was a mom looking for a new place to live while going to school.
Another guy told me that he worked for movie studios in set design and that the hand on the volleyball (Wilson) from Castaway was actually his.
In LA, getting from here to there is a struggle, and for me story telling makes the journey more pleasant.

More stories to come.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Finding in Joy In Sharing Random Objects

When people see our elaborate photobooths from the parties, there's always two questions: where do you find this stuff and what do you do with it after?  OfferUp is my favorite app to buy and sell random things.  Craigslist isn't reliable and your listings expire after two weeks.  However, with every prop that I buy and sell comes a pretty good story.

The Locker - Andrew and I bought it from an artist who used it to "store his guns."  We didn't know if he was joking or not, but he was living in east downtown in a garage with a mattress on the floor.  He was moving out.  After using it for Try Outs and also our Halloween Party which was Mean Girls themed (Boo!  You Whore), I sold it to a barbershop owner who was going to paint it to match his shop and then let his barbers store their personal belongings.  Thought that was pretty cool.  He brought his buddy to bring it down the stairs.  Thank gawd because it took all 4 of us to drag it up the stairs and it was a bit of a hazard.

Locker room and Threeway Call with Cool Mom

The Lacrosse Stick ($4 at Goodwill) - It was just a prop for TryOuts and apparently worth $80-$100 new.  I sold it today to a girl who just joined a team in high school.  She was super excited.  I told her she could have it for free and he dad told me he would ship me some coffee beans because he was a coffee roaster.  They were such a cute family and super grateful.  They drove 40 minutes to meet me at Silverlake Reservoir and stayed to play with it.  That actually inspired this post.

New Years Decorations - Joe hosted a NYE party in New York in 2016 and didn't know what to do with the props and decorations, so he shipped it to me.  I gave it Nathan so that he can decorate his party "Fyre Festival: Till the World Ends" for this year.  Joe told me how happy he was that his things had a second life after I sent him a picture of the decorations up in Nathan's apartment.

The Glow in the Dark Barrel - The First "Asian Glow" Party we did in 2013 Andrew bought this barrel from a farmer and painted it highlighter yellow.  It was the first of 3 blacklight parties where I would install 8 blacklights and turn everything off.  This one was fun; we had highlighters and folks drew on each other. We also high neon yarn and made it look like lasers were shooting everywhere.  I've since sold the blacklights to some teenagers and also the barrel which is now in a music video.

Salon Chair - In 2016, we thought we were going to get evicted because the owner wanted to "move in," so we hosted a "Sia Later" wig party.  Andrew found this salon chair on Criagslist.  The photos were hilarious.  After that, I sold it to a young hipster who wanted to use it to decorate their house.  Weird.

ShenYun Legs - We had a party called "ShenYun: A Must See."  And Andrew of course, comes up with this crazy idea to make it look like we were doing the splits with PVC piping.  Of course, he based it off his 6'1 body so it didn't quite line up with everyone else who was normal Asian height unless you faced your back to the camera.  It was a Asian fabric dance party, not a Chinese party... let's be clear everyone.  The legs show up again in the TryOut showers and the MeanGirls Halloween party.  You know, when Caddy falls into the trash can in the hallway?  Stretching it?  I sold it to this lady who used it for some display/craft project.  Wonder where what really happened to them and I'm kinda sad I sold them cuz I feel like I could have reinvented them.  BUT we still have those red shoes that look super good on Charles.

David as Kimora Lee Simons

See the legs in the shower in the back?

Jurassic Park Jeep - For Andrew's birthday, we hosted a "Dat-Ass-Ic Park" party and our friend Daniel bought a barbie power wheels and painted it to look like the Jurassic Park Jeep.  You can see the purple interior on the wheel.  BTW, this photo made me laugh so hard when I found it.  I sold it to someone during Halloween who was competing in work group costume contest and wanted to roll into the conference room with it.  We've established that Andrew really really likes parties with Movie themes.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I buy super random things and it makes me sad to see these found objects just laying in the room after a good party.  I think trashing them is wasteful and donating them isn't as satisfying because you don't know where it'll end up.  It brings me so much joy when I find others who actually appreciate them, giving them new life!  Now... what to do with that random Titanic chair... ANDREW! UGH!

Try Outs: What Team Do You Play For?

When we were brainstorming the theme for our September party we didn't think we could top "Shade by the Bell" from 2016.   Then something clicked... Sports themed.  Try Outs... and then it just came to us "What Team Do You Play For?"  What was originally going to be another high school theme with a class photo backdrop evolved into a homo erotic locker room party replaying all of the nervousness we went through in high school during P.E.

I always want to make these themes easy for my friends to participate and I'm always impressed when they come in an outfit with some thought into it.  SeanCody / CorbinFisher / RandyBlue much?  But less white, more Asian.

A couple of favorites:

Rebel and Teacheer

Just me after a few drinks

Creepy nerd and Don made a 321 shirt!

Team fabulous

This is how you do it, right?

The Breakfast Club

Me.. being me

The only people who know how to play sports there

Typical Charles jumping all over everyone


Band geek!  Jimmy got nervous when he was actually blowing this around

Threeway scissors

He wore his cheerleader outfit!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Being Better in 2018

There was a moment in Hawaii after a lot of drinking when Jimmy called me entitled.  In the hotel restaurant at 2AM, I got upset when Jimmy wouldn't sit with me while the kitchen staff reheated my food.  I obnoxiously responded to his awkwardness, "I paid for this overpriced hotel, It's okay that I asked that they reheat my leftovers."  It was all inline with policy, but Jimmy wouldn't sit with me because he felt bad for the staff.  He was embarrassed and said that I was acting entitled.  I told him sharply in a drunken state that people can call me cheap, tacky, naive .. whatever, but to call me entitled or wasteful was the worst thing you can say to me and I did nothing wrong by asking the 24 hour kitchen to reheat some food.  I was upset that he made it a big deal and I was furious that he called me something that I was so disgusted by and took that opportunity to tell him that I hated hotels, but instead of lashing back at my ridiculousness he told me something that made me feel extremely guilty.

He told me that when he was young, his family couldn't afford to stay in hotels so they would just drive by and he would pretend that he was staying there.  To be able to stay on a beach side hotel now that he's older was an absolutely luxury for him.  While I roll my eyes at the extra fees and announced that I'd rather stay in a poorly kept AirBnb with no AC for a fraction of the price, he was enjoying something that he thought he could never have.  He was already thankful for being there.

I started to cry... cry heavily... because I was drunk and because I was so upset at myself and because of his story.  And I apologized and told him that I would be better.  "We had such a wonderful night, let's just live for that," he responded and that's what we did.

At times it seems like I do a lot for him, but he does even more for me by being patient, loving and understanding which is why we've been together for so long.  My new years resolution for 2018 is to be better.  A better person, a better boyfriend especially now that it's our 7 year anniversary.

I've made many mistakes that I've held close to my chest.  There is so much temptation to be selfish, but I need to remember that we're in it for the long run and that together we can be better people at least for each other.