Monday, December 31, 2012

Hairchive - Abrupt

Looking for a new barber.  Thought I was happy with the current one I have, but realized that he didn't properly fade the right side.

This is "The Abrupt"

But it looks sort of cool on the left side.  Starting a collection of hair-inspirations on pinterest:

Thanksgiving - Gangnam Style

My dad is obsessed with Psy's Gangnam style.  When I visited on Thanksgiving I found my dad trotting through the house doing the dance.  He got all of us to doing it.

While visiting my grandma's grave, he got Mom to do it too with incents in her hand.

Aside from that Thanksgiving was nothing far from the usual.  We visited Grandma which involves cleaning her tombstone, placing incents all around, prayer and burning things for her to use in the afterlife.  Paper money is the usual, but this year we bought paper fabric to burn.  We wrote her name on all the sheets so that they would get properly delivered to her spirit.  I learned that this is a huge industry - people are burning paper laptops and paper cars to send to their late loved ones.

My auntie always hosts and provides a huge turkey.  All American feast is served. 

And we always take our cousin photos... this year in the style of Gangnam.

 AYYYY Sexy lady!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Los Angeles Visitors

When my mom asked me why I was leaving San Jose so early, I responded that I was cold and bored being at home.  Though she offered for me to sleep in the office, closer to the central heating, what I meant was that the suburb lacked the culture that I find so fulfilling in Los Angeles. 

Upon returning to Los Angeles I was invited to DiscoStan - Music from Beirut to Bangkok via Bombay which include the following:

Retro-glam Bollywood tracks
Turkish funk and disco
Bhangra bass
Gypsy boogaloo
Arabic shaabi and dabke
Balkan bangers
...and much more Eastward funk and style.

Dedicated to the collective history and experience of Iranians across generational and geographic borders.

This is my new home.  I danced to a middle eastern version of Michael Jackson, shook my hips and made friends with explorers.  Folks were friendly, we played guess the Asian with the bouncer.  He guessed that we were Thai, Cambodian and Mexican... the answer: Vietnamese, Indonesian and Filipino.

I love when people visit so that we can take them to places like these- Mony, Tim, Diana, Sandy, Johnny, Jen, John... of course all of them at the same time piling into our old victorian house built in the 1800's.  Some in awe our unique space, others disgusted by the Frat vibe only to clean for us or get a hotel.  Either way, you are welcome to stay.

I created a list for Jen.  On Saturday I will hand her spare keys and wish her luck with the overwhelming options I provided her below since I will be at Christine's funeral.   I was quite impressed and thought it be a waste not to blog the email I sent her. 

Below are a couple ideas and I must say I am freaking impressed with myself.  I made this list for you! ;)  All these things are yelp-able.

Echo Park Exploration (best options for white folks and hipster asians)
- Mohawk Bend : Old gutted out theatre, high ceiling, brick. 80 international beers on tap, Tapas, vegetarian options
- Gold's Room : tiny florescent bar with free taco with Tequila
- Masa : Deep Dish pizza, amazing Bread pudding
- El Prado : cute romantic slim bar 
- Short Stop : off beat dance, no cover, pool table, hipsters, eclectic music, cheap drinks, photobooth
- The Echo : Funky soul night - they play soul train on a big screen, imitate the dance moves, get funky $5 cover
- Local wine bar : small, cute chill

KTOWN  (Best option for gluttony, sitting, drinking, talking)
- Backdoor Pub / Heu / Gaam : Korean food all night , you'll feel like you're in Korea - wood, graffiti, skewers, shared stew, fried chicken, Soju ALL night - slutty asian girls, douche-y g-dragrons
- SanYa / Road to Seuol - $10-$16 all you can eat Korean BBQ, you will smell like meat, but very LA because KBBQ is ~29 everywhere else in the world
- Followed by Boba at I<3boba div="div">
- Palms Karaoke - $$ Karaoke bar, you'll feel like you're in Vegas

Little Tokyo (best option for Japanese Fanatics)
- Great area to walk around - think lanterns
- Sushi Enya : Monster Rolls
- Chin-ma-ya : my favorite pork ramen with thick al dente noodles
- Wurstkuche : exotic sausages with awesome cafetaria-like pub.  Think snake and rabbit meat - "very LA"
- Karaoke Lounge : private room
- FarBar : very New York - in between ally space for drinks

Thai Town (best option for must have Thai)
Thai Patio / Ruen Pair : Large selection of Thai food in Thai town from fish to noodles

Akbar (best option for against-the-grainers)
- Middle eastern themed gay bar
- Random music, like 80's music you don't know, electronic music you don't know and one dubstep song

Explore Bunker Hill during the day (lots to see, history, walkable)
- Disney Concert Hall
- NEW Grand Park
- Grand Market
- The shortest railroad for 50 cents
- That park from "500 days of summer"

Explore Griffith Observatory during the day (nature fanatics!)
- Beautiful View
- Hike to hollywood sign
- explore observatory - science science science!

Explore Sunset Junction (cute stores, coffee and random celebs)
- intelligentsia coffee
- Comic Book Store
- Hidden Spices Store
- Gay book Store
- Boutiques to your heart's desire

Explore Mid-Wilshire (shopping and museum lovers)
- The Grove : major retailers, but along cobble stone
- The "Farmers" Market - it's a faux-market, but it has tons of different food in outdoor food court style consumption - recommend brazilian place
- LACMA - some parts are free, see the tar pits

LATE NIGHT - Like 2AM munches
- BCD Tofu House - for Korean Spicy Tofu Soup
- Taco Zone Truck - for the best quesidilla w/ LOTS of different meats
- JJs - a bit far, but Hong Kong Cafe with amazing Turnip cake
- Hodori - for Korean foods like noodles, meat, dumplings

For breakfast - check out Brooklyn Bagel Factory before you go to Disneyland - it's down the street - bagels are fluffy.  They don't toast, but they have cream cheese and lox and its quick and local!

Also for breakfast if you have 15 more minutes check out:

Gigi's Cafe - Cube/El Salvadorian Bakery:  Huervos Rancheros, Cuban Burger, amazing Tamales, guava cheese rolls

LA has everything (except Halal Carts and hurricanes).  Let me know if there was something specific you were looking for!

I've also started a list on FourSquare that includes a lot more:  Where I would take guests

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Will Reconnect

Roadtrip to start my new life
I didn't realize how easy it was to virtually reconnect.  I did a search for Christine on my iPhone and found the last text that I sent her on January 12, 2012.  It read "Happy Birthday."

I haven't connected with her for an entire year, but thanks to tech I was able to "catch up."

I went to Picasa and found all the images that I had of her from the beach, graduation and culture show.  In all of these pictures we are embracing with our bodies so close that people would assume that we were lovers.  There were a handful of candid pictures of her taken when I was amazed by how particularly gorgeous she was at that moment and stole a snapshot.   I went to my blog and re-read the entries about her where I was inspired by her spoken word, intrigued by her ideas on love and appreciative for her support when I started my new chapter in LA.

I went to her facebook page and selected "See Friendship."  I'm reminded of our 107 mutual friends, 9 pictures tagged together and all the random gushes of affection on each other's walls:

Through email I found 26 gchat sessions.  One read simply, "i love you" sent on April 4, 2009.

Through facebook messages the last thing she sent me on November 23, 2011 was a random poem about performance and freedom; her last line written in Vietnamese after an attempt at Spanish: "Từ từ gặp nhau trong một nơi"

In my poor Vietnamese I translated in pieces: Slowly... we will meet.. in one .. space?  Or We will connect in due time?

My parents confirmed that this is a saying in Vietnamese that poetically means - Eventually we will meet in heaven.

I was asked to speak at her funeral on December 29, 2012.  I struggled with this idea since they were looking for a close friend from Berkeley.  It didn't feel right, I hadn't talked to her in over a year.  I only saw her a couple of times since graduating.  I felt like I was not the right person to eloquently talk about her at such an important event in front of everyone that was involved in her life in a more substantial way.  But as I tapped into old messages, pictures and posts I reconnected with the relationship that I had with her.  She touched me.  I initially decline because I had forgotten how much I loved her... and ideas began to pour in about what I would say about Christine as I accepted the honor of speaking during her funeral   

She was organic.   She owned a mangled water bottle that she took everywhere - it was dented and scarred and represented the struggles that she had gone through and because of that she became attached to it.   Her feet were always bare because she wanted to feel the earth beneath her.  She loved touch, sound, smells... she loved to feel everything and wanting to share the experience with others because it was so 'amazing.'  She was passionate about finding meaning.  She was always looking for something;  something she couldn't understand or define.  She was expressive though dance and poetry and wasn't afraid of making herself vulnerable.  She was a caring person, an inspiration and spirit that transcended beyond this world.

I've experienced enough death of loved ones to accept it as a reality of life.  Though it's now 4AM on Christmas and I can't stop thinking about her.  I tried to help her younger sister gather pictures realizing that there are 1000 posted on facebook... once again, tech.

I understand now that Christine was searching for freedom... which I believe she has found.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Ignia Christmas Party

I usually blog about the annual Ignia Christmas party, but I can’t figure out why I skipped 2012’s.  Maybe because it was a little off.  I took advantage of my 20 hour flight to Indonesia to really catch up on blogging, but this is so irrelevant that I wish I could just insert it where it belongs:  December of last year!  But I can't go on life without entering this event!

We tried something different: celebrate in the morning instead of the evening, but we were left with awkward down time after breakfast, games and presents… what do you do before dinner?  And you also can’t get too drunk.  But lesson learned I supposed.  Also Diana was missing and since the group is small, you can really feel it.

Caitlin’s dad hosts an amazing Christmas breakfast.  We usually head over the day after our evening Christmas party, but why not reverse?  That’s how the rearrangement happened, but we enjoyed a constitutional around Caitlin’s lovely neighborhood.

The gift exchange is traditional – Secret Santa, White Elephant and usually presents from someone’s travel – Sandy present scarves from Thailand… I think… it’s been so long.  This year, I got gifts from Indonesia, something small, but should be mildly fun.

The games were fun  - Reverse Charades is always entertaining.  Though I can’t remember what we’re trying to act out… CPR?  Aladdin? 

The question on the table is keeping the party exclusive vs. inviting other people, but as we get older we want to include significant others.  In 2012 Caitlin brought her boyfriend – which she recently married according to facebook the other day.  And Sandy’s man is always a sport when it comes to these hangouts.  I wonder if they’re still together.  It’ll be a challenge to bring Jimmy since he has his own family obligations, and I hope Alysia brings her OKcupid Boyfriend this year!  Let’s expand the family!  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"If You’re Not Single, You Shouldn’t Act Single"

I caved and bought the Nexus 7 tablet.  I feel ridiculous having so many pieces of technology, but each one really does serve a specific function with substantial overlap. Was that a contradiction?  I lucked out when an Office Depot manager sold me the 32 Gig for the price of a 16 Gig.  He matched the price for some generous reason, but I stepped out of the store feeling as though I had shoplifted.  The $50 savings validated the purchase even further.

While traveling for work, I discovered the wonders of reading blogs offline on my new toy using a tablet case I found at the Dollar Store.  The savings just don't stop.  Through Google Currents my favorite blogs are downloaded for consumption without connection.  Recommended to me was Thought Catalog which I've enjoyed on my entire plane ride/wait at the airport.  The entries are short and clever and perfect for my attention span.

I found a very interesting entry that was very thought provoking by Christopher Hudspeth about folks who act single when they aren't.  ARTICLE HERE.

"In a technologically savvy generation, we regularly see shitty boyfriends and girlfriends do disrespectful things with phones and computers..."
Though not limited to technology, but going out as well.

A month ago I deleted Grindr and Jack'd - very popular gaydar apps that locate horny/curious men around my lat/long.  My profile read, "Committed - looking for friends."  It was a boredom app and though I never met up with anyone I did make friends with this random Korean guy who was interesting to me since he knew secret spots in K-town.  I've since forgot his name.

...but this is problematic.  I have friends and most importantly I have a boyfriend.  Why am I on this app?  Why are so many gay people in relationships still using this app?  I believe it's due to a curiosity, a gay-riousity that stems from our childhood when we saw our first penis.  It's interesting to see gay people in close proximity; who else is a part of our exclusive deviant sexually driven club living a double secret life?  There's a social-ness and curiosity part of being gay that keeps us logged in.

I think that making friends is easy when you're gay.  Like black people who gravitate toward each other at work - in addition to the secret language and common life experience, minorities cling to each other to forge against the mass.  Gays in particular stick together and become "best friends" in the shortest period of time through apps and mutuals because potential friends are also potential hookups are also potential boyfriends.... and potential resources.  For me, though gay friends come and go, new gay friends mean - shared knowledge of hidden parts of the city, connections to low key events and my favorite, watching them stir the pot when my friends see fresh meat.

Though that sounds innocent (in my head and as my own personal justification), there's still a problem.  The guys I'm looking at are also the ones I find attractive. There's still an element of intrigue; I'm still checking people out no matter how platonic my intensions may seem.  And that's the irony that Condescending Wonka points out.

I'm not single, I shouldn't act single and though it has always been a hobby of mine to make gay friends, connect gay friends, normalize gayasianess I've decided that I should work on being a better boyfriend instead of making friends through apps that are clearly not meant for "making friends."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Richard Slimmons

Sally asked me if I wanted to take Richard Simmon's workout class.  I didn't even know he was still active!  Apparently he teaches two classes a week in his studio in Beverly Hills and though he is much older than when he made exercise VHSes, he was flamboyant as ever!

He is so vulgar!  "Get on your knees bitches!  I know some of you are already used to that!"

"Come on you sluts!"  I guess he kept it PG for his videos, but there was nothing to censor him in the studio.  It was amazing and I did break a sweat!

He asked these two guys if they slept with each other.  Awkward!   And after Charles confirmed that he was Korean, Simmons told him to lay off the dumplings.

We lucked out since that weekend was not too crowded.  And for $12, it's worth the experience.  We kept moving to dance and country songs mimicking his simple movements.  At one point, he had the class create a circle.  He pulled random individuals into the center and had them trot around to the beat of the song.

He pulled Jimmy, Charles and Me into the center and instructed us to take off our shirts.  We politely declined and he responded, "TAKE OFF YOUR FUCKING SHIRTS!"  So we obeyed while laughing awkwardly dancing in the middle in all of our glory.  It was exhilarating.

I'm sad that Sally moved to the mid west.  She always invites us to these awesomely random things.

Check out the class!

October Birthdays - Wine, Chicken and First Birthday

Jimmy's birthdays have always been outdoorsy.  Soon after the celebration, a handful of artsy facebook photo albums pop up since folks take the opportunity to use their SLRs and fancy cameras.  Last year was a picnic at the Getty.  This year was celebrated at Malibu Wines for wine tasting.

Dapper attire involves many many bow ties.  Bien thought of this awesome compilation.

Alysia - the woman in my life

No outside alcohol allowed, so we brought soju infused watermelon and vodka infused gummy bears. Slimy.

Some strangers said we were the best dressed group there!  Dress to impress.

More AMAZING pictures here and here.

For Jlo's birthday we had a huge potluck that involved chicken from around the world.

Honey Kettle Chicken
Zankou Chicken
Home made chicken adobo
Chicken Katsu
Gluton Free chicken



I also had a chance to make it to my cousin's daughter's first birthday!  I got her a toy cell phone, I thought it was funny but of course, she already had one.  So many presents!