Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have negative time to do this...but I'm LEAVING like now. So all, I'll post as often as possible, with pictures hopefully, but definitely when I get back. Thanks for everything. See ya in August.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Well folks I've got more pictures for you. You may remember my last "photo shoot" around the LA river, I mentioned being uncomfortable under the overpass at a part of the LA River but vowed to go back. Well go back I did, and yup once again timing wasn't right. There were a few homeless men visible and one had a dog, not to mention kid gangsters (probably adding their work to the mass of graffiti). So, we decided against going into the concrete river. I did take a few more pictures of the area though, some areas I missed last time.

This is the underpass of the bridge, right by where you cut into the river.

Graffiti in the dry canal.

I liked this face (in the background), it was on each of those support columns in the second row.

Me scouting out some angles.

I was not going to be thwarted again though, I really wanted some river shots. Determined, we decided instead to try the 4th and 6th street bridges over the urban river (historic landmarks in LA). And BINGO!!! Though, I must say, cutting through the fence and walking down was DEFINITELY against my better judgment! I got a few great shots though. But, my adrenaline was pumping...and yes we had a run in with some homeless men...and I was scared out of my mind. But...worth it (only because I'm alive).

So we jumped on the freeway and headed downtown, to then explore the area by I guess what's considered the "bank" of a concrete river. The area was skid row meets industrial. Yes we saw someone pooping in a box (seriously), trany prostitutes and someone laying on the street bleeding a lot (probably a stab wound) police on the way (we did not linger there, yeah, it was scary!). A ways away from the bleeding man, we found this:

More of LA's concrete maze (aka freeway), some of my favorite subjects.

The street here wasn't even really a street, just pavement...I'm pretty sure we weren't supposed to be there...oh well.

Finally I turn down this street, directly perpendicular to the river, right next to the fence separating...eh...the city and the river.

I saw this hole, parked and said "Let's go in." Stevie was worried, but reluctantly agreed.

It was amazing, but quite scary. However, suffice it to say, we were not alone down there.

The view the other direction. The tracks are right by the river, but we didn't feel safe enough to venture closer to the river.

Directly to the left of where I was for this...yeah some dude start stirring under a tarp. Not that big of a deal, he wasn't going to bother us. But freaked none the less, we headed to the car.

Of course, when we get inside the car and I review my shots, I decide I have to have a few more. Steven wisely says it's a bad idea. But right as I'm about to jump out and grab a few more shots, BAM, two men are about five feet in front of me (I was still in the car, thank goodness). I OMFG'd but my only reaction was to wave...yeah I waved at the homeless men coming to check out who was invading their turf. They proceeded to climb through the hole and the fence toward us...and we proceeded to swiftly drive away.

After this, we stopped by Broadway in downtown. So here's some of that.

This part of downtown is so interesting, it's a conglomerate of beautiful, old (some of the oldest in LA) edifices, every detail noted that has been neglected and now plated with grit.

The lighting was perfect today...I call this time of day happy hour (because yeah it's happy hour in the bars but the sun is setting, so you get this dramatic side lighting, I love it...it was happy hour for all the shots I have from today).

I was so fascinated by the beautiful tile; covered in dirt...cracked...wishing, hoping for before.

The Orpheum, still beautiful, still open, but a bit seedy now.

Everything still had an elaborate sign from when this was THE place, upscale theatres, shops, etc. But now it's more of a street level flea market...who knows what fills the buildings...apartments in some I guess.

This was hilarious, this guy kept leaning into Steven's space, so he would lean away.

They both realized I was snapping away at the same time...so they turned at the same time, it was perfect. Plus, he was so little, he made Steve look like a giant.

More of the unique tile work around and Steven.

Edifices downtown. Look at the detail on the buildings, it's incredible.

I'm pretty sure no matter where I am, I'll always know what time it is in LA.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hello All! Mostly I wanted to do a short snippet today as I realized yesterday I had a post everyday this week...so why not finish it. Well, it was my birthday today, YAY right. I'm now a whole 23 years old. Don't worry, I feel crazy about it too.

Something cool I learned as I checked my email today, May 22nd was also Mary Cassatt's birthday. I flat out love her, ever since I saw this painting as a teenager:

There is something so real about her work, and relevant even now a hundred years later. Plus who isn't a sucker for the impressionists. Very neat that we share the same birthday. Anyway, it was a pretty good day...the real party will be next week, yeah in London.

Just another thought: I mentioned I would like to do a weekly music post (which started Monday I think), I just realized I probably won't be able to make good on this considering I'm leaving the country in a few...not sure I'll blog about bands I'm into if I get the chance to update this thing (who am I kidding, this will be the first place I go in those remote internet cafes, no worries). So this music post thing I hope to start will have to stay on hold until maybe after summer. Too bad, usually a lot of good shows in summer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Countdown: 4

I know, another post right? Yeah, well I felt today deserved note:  IT WAS MY LAST DAY AT WORK!!  It's making the whole "you're leaving in 4 days and have no idea what you're getting into" very real.  I have to say, I'm not nervous or anxious or anything anymore... although the trip is still pretty much unfathomable for me.  I have NO idea how this is going to work.  But, don't worry I have 28.5 GB of SD card space, so I'm pretty sure you'll all get the chance to know exactly how it goes...cause yeah, you know I'm going to take like a million pictures (I'm even bringing a back-up camera, ya know, in case).  Well, just a quickie today.

You knew you weren't going to get away without some sort of picture/Gimp production.  This one is both...a picture I took in Silver Lake painstakingly turned into a cartoon (it looks like it should be easy, and I'm sure it is but it took about a million layers for me).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just This

Just a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll downtown.

Well folks, I am sad to leave LA. I've said it before, but really it's a bit rough. Harder still by the fact that, unlike when I left for college, I am not sure if I'll ever live in the area again. But, I embrace change, and am definitely excited for lazy Sunday afternoon strolls around DC. It's a city full of history, which I love.

You may be wondering why I'm already getting emotional about leaving my city (I mean come on, you don't have to be in DC until September)...well, I'm leaving the country (as many of you know) in 4 days, not to return until late summer. And though I will be flying back to LAX, I have just a few weeks until school starts and I need to find a place to live in DC. So, I'll probably head to DC shortly after returning to the States. So, really it's like I'm leaving in 4 days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All Things Considered

Things I like:

Dressing up when I clean my room and dancing in front of the mirror.

The Internet - I spend a lot of time with you.

Wearing hats.

Wearing hats in the park while I read a book.

Eating - no qualifications...but I do like trying ethnic food.

Things I don't like:

Grossly inappropriate workplace chatter.
Let me elaborate - as I know I've talked about work place etiquette before. Today at work my forty something boss and my nudging forty co-worker proceeded to talk about their menopausal mood swings. Wow. Yes, mildly amusing for me, but I had to feel bad for the guys around. Their discomfort was palpable. I almost spit up the drink I was currently consuming from shock, when my co-worker (age 37) says out of the blue: I think I'm going to the change (yes that's right, they kept referring to it as "the change"...please spare me). Then she proceeds to talk about how young she is and that her doctor thinks there must be another reason. Of course my boss chimes in about her experience, and how "I'm not a naturally patient person, but now I have no patience." Yeah, we know. Wow, really please think of common decency before indulging in front of this type of discussion in mixed company who are not your friends.
Rakes on cement.

The Internet - I spend a lot of time with you.

Family Pictures in matching clothes, especially polo shirts - don't hate me for this one, it's just how I feel.

In an unrelated note, I cut my hair, like 3 inches I guess. From this:

to this:

I honestly was really liking my grown out hair, and think I prefer it, but it is so much more low maintenance shorter, so I figured the easier the 'Do the better it'll look when I wake up in a hostel with 8 other people and don't have access to a straightener.

Maybe I'll make this a common thread too, an outlet to discuss things I like and don't like. And yes, I totally ripped the name off NPR.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music of the Week

I had a thought the other day: my blog is named after a song...I really like music, and finding new music...maybe I should have a weekly installment about, yes that's right, music.

Today's featured group: The Jesus and Mary Chain. I've been totally into them for a while, and recently they have cycled back into my regular playlists. Now guys, this group has been around. They formed in 1983 and were active all the way through the 90's, when they broke up...but no worries they're back and working on a new album.

I'm going to go ahead and describe these guys as the Velvet Underground meets Sex Pistols with a little Belle and Sebastian. While the guys never had too much commercial success their albums are critically lauded. You can feel the 80s in there music, but it totally fits and transcends the decade, still relevant today. (Listen to Head On from Automatic to see what I mean). Full of rock and roll, indie introspection before it was cool, and a great vocalist, this band works.

If you're checking them out for the first time, try their singles to ease you in ( Sometimes Always, Just Like Honey, Happy When It Rains). Their sound has evolved over the years, and the singles may help initiate you into their music.

Check them out in Lost In Translation during the closing scenes, an epic use of Just Like Honey. Or listen here, Sometimes Always ft. the always delightful Hope Sandoval.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Last Call

Well, Melissa I think you're right, and because of my premium gimp knowledges I know exactly how to fix this picture issue. I'm actually pretty proud of how I did this...

The sky is from a completely different picture, but then I added a "sun" like light effect to make the lighting similar...and combined these elements with changing the layer modes to get the final product. Anyway, last post with these pictures, I hope.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Like Honey

As aforementioned, at the LA River overpass we wanted to take pictures at, we were...eh...too scared to stay and actually take time setting up pictures, etc. As a result, I just had my camera on the auto mode, however, the sky in all the shots came out infuriatingly overexposed. No matter, I spent a little time last night fixing that right up.

I swear, I'll make it to the actual cement river bottom before I leave in 15 days - that's right 15 DAYS!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How Can I Ever Leave?

I had a burst of WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING, YOU LOVE LIVING IN LA! anxiety today. Yesterday I mentioned I was going out shooting today around LA, which I did. And as I was once again blown away by Los Angeles and her culture, I was immediately very sad and anxious at the thought of leaving (even knowing I was leaving for another city didn't help). I LOVE this city; this conglomerate, spread out, proud, glamorous, gritty tinsel town. It's a crazy place, full of brilliant talent, and broken down yesterdays. I'm a sucker for this place, it's LA.

So we started out our urban photo adventure at a derelict totally sketchy section of the LA river.

Honestly it turned into more of a recon mission, as we were NOT prepared for where we were going. It was an underpass of the 5 and the 110 freeways, covered in all sorts of tagging and great old architecture.

It is no doubt trespassing (some of you may know, trespassing is my favorite crime), but more than that it was terrifying. I barely had enough time to snap a few shots (seen on this blog) before I was so scared of getting killed or raped by some gang of homeless people that we had to leave.

We didn't even make it down to the bottom, though honestly, we're not sure we even saw anyone...but still...too scary.

We vowed to go back with more protection (aka big guys and probably my pocket knife, not kidding). It was so amazing, a hidden gem of gritty LA. I must go back.

We stuck around this rundown section of town, full of good working people, criminals and meth addicts. All of which we I'm pretty sure we met up with somehow or another.

South of the overpass is an abandoned prison, shout out to the C block - large print on the cement building says C block. I would like to figure out how to get closer to that.

All the buildings were covered in steel bars, and half were abandoned.

The barbed wire was also abundant.

We then made our way into Silver Lake, center of Los Angeles's indie music scene (home of Elliott Smith, Rilo Kiley, Silversun Pickups, Karen O to name a few) and cool urban wall art, aka murals.

Of course, first up was Solutions Audio, with it's immortalized mural, featured on Elliott Smith's Figure 8 album cover.

Then we spent some time around Silver Lake and Echo Park on Sunset. No building in the area is plain.

Everything is so colorful, and people will put a mural anywhere.

The area's still seedy...strewn with the days after "better days"...and plenty of dark alleys to get into trouble in.

We then headed back toward home through some of the most azn places in LA. We wanted a good, disreputable, authentic asian meal. So we headed through downtown, and shot this building on the way. It's right near the music hall and library, but I don't remember seeing it before today. More interesting architecture.

So we ended up at a Vietnamese Restaurant. It was amazing, the only thing we could read on the menus were the prices. So I chose my meal by pointing at a picture...and yes it was so good. Then we topped it off with a crazy coconut milk drink, boba style, but not boba. I really enjoyed it. All in all a pretty great day.

Holy cow, my brother and I are watching The Decent right now, wow, what a scary movie.