Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, a barrage of rain, some untimely winds, and a huge eucalyptus tree literally crushed my ability to post the rest of my self-preservation tactics aimed at surviving the holidays.  Days before Christmas I was standing outside as a falling eucalyptus tree down the street pummeled 7 power, cable, and internet poles.  It was awesome.  A week, stuck in your house, with your family, no cable, internet or phone.  A real Christmas miracle.  Anyway, the rest of my game plan would have had something to do with prescription drugs, Schindler's List, and my Great Aunt Kayleen.  It remains unformulated.

Music time:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Haphazard for the Holidays - Strategy for Survival #1

Alright, love 'em or hate 'em, everyone needs a strategy for surviving the holidays.  For me, I'm going to take it day by day, adapt, like a chameleon.  The Von Trapps are coming over for a sing-a-long, no problem, I just remembered I have to run to the mall for a last minute item real quick, where I will sit at Starbucks with my laptop for an hour. Insert nosy relative's name here wants to have a one on one chat about where your life is going, no big deal, confess to not having a life plan and grab some more pie. But even with this bullet-proof master plan in play, I've decided to nail down some specific tactics to ensure a Happy Holiday.  So:

Strategy #1 for Surviving the Holidays: find a completely refreshing and new band you just can't get enough of - and listen to them ALL THE TIME.  My pick: Warpaint.
Okay, they're not exactly new, having been around since 2004, but they're new to me. Four girls from Silverlake, hypnotic and psychedelic, intricate weaving of guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and a little dissonance as the cherry on top.  Needless to say, but I will anyway, I really like them.  Their newest album is called The Fool, check it out.

Don't worry with dysfunction running rampant through all those warm and gooey family holiday moments, I've got more strategies to come.  Stay tuned folks.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Helllllo December! So glad you're here!

I had a few ideas for this blog post...
  • FIFA - Russia, cool. Qatar...really? I mean okay I guess.
  • Pirate Bay - the "menacing" makers are going to prison.  Hmmm, well I get why companies/judges with their hands in the company money jar, I mean, ahem impartial government officials are angry, but private companies controlling the internet, well I don't like it
  • Cute baby polar bears who get eaten by their fathers, as seen on NatGeo; did not like!
Anyway, when it came down to it, turns out I didn't have it in me to actually write a post on any of them. Oh well, here's an article by someone not as lazy: What a third of the world has TB??? Okay, I knew that, probably has something to do with me studying diseases or something. But, really, wow.

Every time I hear someone cough on the bus, I cringe.  I'm convinced I'm either being exposed to TB or whooping cough.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"You could deal with this, Or you could deal with that"

Post topic: A cross-sectional study of myself, ie whatever the hell is going through my head at this moment...

The 405 is the bane of my existence.  Just for reference this traffic train-wreck of a situation was Dante's 4th circle of hell, worse than the DMV.  See traffic scenes in Garden State or Office Space for more on my exact sentiments.
405 in West LA.  Photo from here.
I'm currently in the process of de-frying my brain, two midterms done, one to go.  Don't lose motivation, don't lose motivation, don't lose motivation...I heard positive thinking helps, I'm skeptical.  But I'll test it and let you know.

Veteran's Day is right now my favorite holiday...I can't wait for that Monday (November 11th) off! 21 days (6 off them on weekends, so they don't really count) and counting, woohoo!

Realistically, I'm more excited for HP 7 to come out than all of the holidays in the coming months combined though.  Oh, HP 7, it's just an acronym we in the "I'd give an appendage to go to Hogwarts" club use for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  
PS I'm on the I think it's awesome the movie is split in two, and don't care at all that the next one doesn't come out until mid-2011 side; and also the "I'd give an appendage to go to Hogwarts" club is accepting membership applications.

Finally, as with all things Sonic Youth, I'm currently obsessed with this cover of Diamond Sea by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs:

The original is GD good as well.  There's a twenty minute version that has got me through more horrible bus rides than I've counted.

Post-title shout-out to Noah, an advertising copy-writer and another random traveler in Spain.  I guess I'd rather deal with this.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Museum-ing at the Reina Sophia

Melissa in the background!


Geurnica.  Many people in the Basque region argue this painting should be at the Guggenheim in Bilbao

Multi-media at the museum

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Check out what I saw driving down Wilshire Blvd the other day:

towing this thing:

Wow!  They're "artcars" done by Harrod Blank, who is also responsible for the photos on this post, found originally at the link.  Turns out the "cameravan" as it's known, actually takes pictures.  I bet he got some pretty good ones in the 30 seconds or so during which he pulled up right next to the bus and lingered, as probably half the people on the bus whipped out their phones and started snapping away while the rest gawked shamelessly.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Everyone - I have a very important public service announcement...*pause for suspense, no just kidding, I'm not sure even pseudo-melodramatic, attempt at humor annotations can save this post, but hey, we'll see...resume*
Los Angeles Metro Rapid Express Bus 920, traveling along Wilshire from Downtown into West LA, is propagating ridiculous falsities via the "FunFact" program on board.
Yeah, it's true though.  Believe me, I was on the bus this morning, and every weekday morning for that matter.  Today, I actually read the "fact": There is more caffeine in an apple than a cup of coffee.  Ummm, that's not true. Apples don't have any caffeine, only carbs.  Seriously Metro, pick up your game.

The 720 non-express rapid bus, I sometimes get stuck on after missing it's faster, prettier sister, the 920.  You can actually see me walking toward the bus in blue.  No just kidding, I found this picture on the internet here, that's not even my stop.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Music Opinions...on a blog? How original.

In a rare moment of musical decisiveness last weekend, my brother and I decided to respectively list our top ten favorite albums.  I pretty much universally shirk away from these type of things, I love to talk about music, but really it hurts my brain to even think about "favorites"...there's too many.  But both Rob and I did.

PS I hold The Love Thieves directly responsible this.  At that moment, listening to that song, I was sure it was in my top ten list of songs...even if the album didn't make the list.

10. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
The Beatles in their experimental stage, don't need to say anything else.
9. Horses, Patti Smith
I've been a sucker for Patti since hearing the song Kimberly...I mean yeah, of course I love it, it's my name.  On top of that she's an f-ing great rock poet, amazing lyrics, love her voice, love her activism.  Saw her last year at Exit in Serbia, still kickass and championing for a cause.
8. Deep Cuts, the Knife
Awesome electro pop from my favorite Swede siblings.  I really really like lead singer Karin Dreijer Andersson, pretty much everything about her, and this album is why it started.  Synth pop meets creepy.  Jose Gonzales covered the most popular track from this album, Heartbeats, gave it a bit more fame in the "indie" scene, but try the original.  Love the twisted lyrics of this album.  Favorite song/music video of the album: Pass This On.
7. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan
Like a Rolling Stone, Ballad of a Thin Man, Desolation Row, the title track...'nuff said. 
6. Doolittle, Pixies
Great great great Alt rock, my favorite kind of rock, yeah I grew up in the 90's.  And this album (from 1989) laid the groundwork for my favorite alt rock to guess, okay I'll tell you - Radiohead, big surprise, and on top of that it's ridiculous on it's own.  Some incredible writing on this album, plus I love it when girls rock just as hard as boys, and Kim Deal can definitely hold more than her own.  As Thom Yorke said at Coachella years back, "the Pixies changed my life."
5. Washing Machine, Sonic Youth
After the Pixies you suspected, but now you know...yes, I like noise rock.  And Sonic Youth is the cream of the crop in my mind.  Dissonance can be tough for people, mostly I think you either like it or don't.  For me good noise rock is intense, emotive, and yeah it goes there.  Sonic Youth goes there.  Washing Machine is definitely not SY's most accessible album, and according to most, far from the best, but I loove it.  The album's full of long jam songs, with highs and lows, three guitars going nuts, in this super intense, climactic way.  Plus I really like how much time Kim Gordon spent behind the mike this album.  Track suggestion: Little Trouble Girl to get a taste of K. Gordon, or if you're brave dive right in with twenty minute jam session The Diamond Sea and tell if you feel it.
4.  The Bends, Radiohead
The first Radiohead album I bought, first album I laid on my floor and listened to, first band I actually loved.  The album's just ridiculously good, probably the most accessible with so many hits, and weirdly simple in a refreshing way, nice to come back to after going crazy for the Radiohead that will develop over the 15 years after this album.  (Nice Dream), what a song.
3. The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Velvet Undergroud w/Nico
This is a really, really great album.  What better way can an album prove it than by being consistently relevant and universally considered great for nearly half a century?  Before the Beatles went experimental, the Velvet Underground were.  Before Frank Zappa was controversial, the Velvet Underground were.  Yeah, they're talking about drug abuse, prostitution, bondage, etc.  Love Nico's voice, too bad it didn't work out.  What makes this album all the more awesome is the fact that it was all recorded in one day with like no money.
2. White Album, The Beatles
What more needs to be said about this album that hasn't already been said?   The Beatles are the best, and this is a double album of the best.
1. Ok Computer, Radiohead
Did you think I could go anywhere else?  Honestly this blog is named after a song on this album.  Radiohead's magnum opus, the album every subsequent Alt Rock album will be compared to.  Great music that gets me every time I listen to it. Exit Music (For a Film), I have chills. 

Well, that wasn't too bad, picking favorites that is, wonder how long this list will stay the way it is?

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Gaia payed it forward the other day, tallied up all my karma points, must of given me an advance too, and got me Adobe CS2 premium edition for free!  I am beyond excited to have photoshop, not to mention those other ones I can't wait to learn how to use...ahem...Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.  With school starting this week and the new job, I haven't had time to really mess around with it too much.  But I did attempt to translate two old tricks I learned for gimp (open-source photoshop for the computer programmer or poor student).  So here's some early photo manipulation attempts:

Fake Dusty Light:

End Product

Gritty Movie Cross-Processing:

End Product

So I'm pretty excited about my good luck, think I'll take a photoshop class...really learn how to use this bad boy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer and the City

Helllooo New York in the summertime.  Since I used NYC as a hub to hop over to Spain this summer, I spent a bit of time in the City both pre and post-trip.  Most of my visit was spent in Yorkville, a neighborhood in Upper East Manhattan.  Back in the 30's, my Great-grandparents/grandparents immigrated to the US from Germany, did the whole Ellis Island thing and settled in a small second-floor apartment on 2nd and 91st in Yorkville, an old German neighborhood.  It was pretty cool to see the remnants of the old neighborhood, though most of it is gone now and it seems to be another upper middle class section of Manhattan.  But there's still an old grocery store straight out of Berlin, Schaller & Weber, and an old German bar/restaurant, the Heidelberg, which I heard my g-grandma spent a bit of time in.  Overall, it was super cool, this links to some old photos of my German side while living in Yorkville.

We checked out some of the more famous/visited places too.  Wouldn't mind being back right now, with tickets to the US Open, go Federer.

Brooklyn Bridge
Helllllooo Tourists!  Time Square, NYC

Friday, September 3, 2010

Top 8

I was realizing the other day that, though I have my suspicions to the contrary, I might in fact be a real adult.  When I hang something on the wall, it has a frame.  I floss each night.  And unlike my adolescent self, I'm usually up by 8:30 on a Saturday, gasp. But, as it turns out, weekends in my neighborhood are full of all sorts of weird things that wake you up.  So here I am, in front of my computer and thinking about THE TOP EIGHT NOT TEN WORST THINGS THAT WAKE YOU UP ON A SATURDAY MORNING:
  1. Housemates Cleaning...right next to your room - A double zinger, you're awake AND cleaning, not to mention sounds like you've got yourself a passive-aggressive roomie
  2. A Neighbors Coffee Grinder - Believe me, when you have a large, open, face-level window looking out on a sort of alleyway between houses in which your neighbor has a door opening to their kitchen, which is inexplicably ajar every wake up to the coffee grinder.
  3. Loud Inbred Dog - in my case Greg's age-addled mongrel who can't even bark right anymore, instead it coughs out a sort of weird and disturbing moan.
  4. Leaf Blowers, closely followed by lawn mowers - no explanation needed.
  5. Garbage Trucks - It sounds like gojira.  I hate it.
  6. The Neighborhood wild animals - You may think, hey don't you live in Greater Los Angeles? Yes, yes I do, but that doesn't mean there aren't wild peacocks, coyotes, and a number of nocturnal rodents, at the least.  And peacocks are LOUD, not afraid of people, and will probably damage your shingles.
  7. A Rooster - possibly addicted to crack, it's a total nuisance. My property has a rooster on it.
  8. Your Neighbors Crazy Horse - seriously we've got one, at night it makes these scary neighing noises and hooves the walls of its horse-cage.  I conclude he has PTSD and or night terrors.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here's Where I'm Not But Sort of Wish I Was

This photo's from Malaga, Costa Del Sol's gritty cultural center.  Wouldn't mind being there right now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I got Groovesharked

Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to Grooveshark, which recently beat out the roast beef sandwich with colby-jack cheese, a smattering of delicious greens, and yellow mustard on sourdough bread I'm currently eating to become my new best friend.  Grooveshark is pretty much an online music streaming/search engine/sharing site.  Unlike my ex-best friend (which hey, no need to make anyone who may or may not have been replaced feel bad with name-calling, cough cough *Pandora* cough cough), Grooveshark lets you search for songs and then actually play that song.  What a concept!

It too can create playlists based on a recommendation system, or you can create your own, replay songs if you want, fast-forward, add, delete...pretty much like your normal personal media player, a la itunes et al. except you have a huge cache of music at your playlisting disposal.  Also, it operates sort of like youtube in the sense that users can upload music files from their own hard drives and add to the Grooveshark library, ie constant growth, more music everyday.  (Careful though, also like Youtube, Grooveshark doesn't idemnify, you're on your own if your upload is unlicensed...but hey, according to Wikipedia no Grooveshark user has faced any legal issues yet!  Damn the man, free the music, screw bit caps! No seriously though, if I were a musician I'd want to make money too, make those little miscreants pay for my music, etc.  But hey, I'm not sooo...long live Grooveshark).

Anyway, best part and the real reason for my initial Pandora infidelity, Grooveshark doesn't interrupt the cohesion of your playlist, the zone, the movement of songs with ads for dish network, male enhancement, or low-calorie vitamin fortified PepsiMax, same great flavor, none of the calories, zero to max.  It's just the worst after hearing some awesome song to then have Flo tell you how you can save on car insurance in an ad that's twice as loud as your music was.  Seriously Flo?  Man, you killed it.  It's dead. Great. And now instead of enjoying the next song, I'm thinking about how my car insurance bill is due in a week and how much I hate paying that.  Thanks for ruining everything Flo.

So Pandora, we've had a good run.  We used to be inseparable; you made me so happy, playing anything I asked.  We went everywhere together, work, class, the library, Starbucks.  But you've changed.  I don't know why, maybe they got to you.  It doesn't matter.  I can't see you anymore, I've moved on.  You should do the same.  Know that we'll always have the summer of 2006 together though.

Paid for and Sponsored by Escape Media Group Inc. and PepsiCo.  Please drink responsibly.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cool Things

Two things I think are super cool: rooftops and graffiti.  And 5,000 pictures to prove it...

Annnnnnd graffiti

Also, for the first time in my five years as a legal adult I have jury duty...or at least maybe I'll have jury duty if I make it pass the selection process.  I'm sort of excited.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just This

Okay it's been awhillle since I last blogged.  We got back from Spain toward the end of June, and then spent an amazing week and half in New England, before road-tripping back through Canada, then to Salt Lake and finally ending in Los Angeles.  It's been a pretty awesome summer, meandering through the country.  But now I'm back in Claremont, setting up shop in at my parents until I can get a decent, affordable place in LA.  I'm finishing my degree at UCLA, which I'm super excited about...east coast living and those private schools are pretty pretty expensive, here's to state school!

Okay, we spent a month and a week, and saw a bit of Portugal, Morocco, and Spain...the last few posts are from the road at some of the spots we stayed.  Anyway, here's the itinerary:

Lisbon, Sintra (Portugal), Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Gibraltar, Fez (via airport in Seville), Seville,  Basque Country (San Sebastian), and finally Barcelona.
I feel like we got a nice taste of Spain.  We opted to stay longer at the places we went, versus cutting days here and there to add more places.  It was really I'll just have to go back some day to do those things we missed, I'm talking about you Camino de Santiago.  I have pictures to put up for probably the next few posts, plus I'll put some up on this traveling, city photoblog I started.

Okay, these are a few of my favorites and why I pretty much loved everywhere we went:

Granada, Andalusia.  Home of the famous Alhambra and also a super cool
underground street art scene in the old Arabic quarter.
Madrid. I loved Madrid sooo much.
The working Museum-bed-and-breakfast in Subugo, Portugal.  I can't believe how beautiful everything about it was.  Called the House of the She Pine Tree, stay there!
The Baixa in Lisbon
"Lady, lady, lady. Picture?"  Fez, Morocco
Tapas!  Iberian ham!  Madrid
Rooftops in Lisbon
Street performed on his way home.  Madrid
Courtyard in the Moorish palace, the Alhambra.
Musician in Morocco

There was amazing graffiti pretty much all over Spain.  Madrid
Flamenco in Andalusian capital Seville.  Home of all those Spanish stereotypes: fiery women, amazing guitar, Carmen, bullfighting, and the West Indies trading ports circa Columbus era.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New England in the Summer

We're back!  But also :( .  As of Wednesday, we have officially been back in the US, and, yeah, I miss Spain.  Buttttt, we flew into JFK in New York City and for the past few days have been in Salisbury, Connecticut staying with my sis's roommate.  I just love it here, it is so green and lush and beautiful.  And everyone we've met is so so nice.  Plus, it's my first time in New England, and seeing the area has been great.  We drove through three states in 20 minutes to get back to our friends house!  Pretty cool.  Also, please to do not be confused, New York City is not part of New England, I have learned it most certainly is not.  So for now, we're relaxing in CT, up next road trip out West.

PS Now that we're back, I definitely have some of my own photos from Spain/Portugal/Morocco to put up

Thursday, June 17, 2010

San Seb

As it is with traveling, we have been falling in love with each place visited - Lisbon, Madrid, Granada then Sevilla and now San Sebastian.  San Sebastian is cool and sexy and fun.  Somewhere you immediately want to be.

It is on the Northern Coast of Spain in the Basque Country.  It is soooo incredibly beautiful, more like Scotland than what I imagined of Spain.  It is right on the water and boasts some of the best surfing in Europe.

Photo from here.

Basque Country feels different from the rest of Spain, in a way like a different country.  The people are so nice, they love their culture - we happened upon a parade/all day party for the local soccer team, and the whole city was so happy and out on the street, and the region and beaches are the prettiest (in terms of city beaches) I have seen on this trip.  Unfortunately, it has been rainy, which in a way almost enhances the beauty - though does mean no trips to the beach.

San Sebastian tapas, photo from here

The area is home the greatest ratio of bars/restaurants to space in Europe and the best seafood as well.  The pintxos (tapas in Basque) are amazing. The eating is so good, all around best meals we have had, and the city is just so social.  This is definitely a place I can imagine settling in.

Up next Barcelona!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In Love With Seville

Hola Amigos!  We´re back in Spain after the whirlwind of Morocco, and in the capital of Andalucia, Sevilla.  Sevilla: where flamenco was born, Carmen rolled her cigarettes, religion is passionate and everywhere, bullfighting takes place twice a week.  All those stereotypes about Southern Spain, the fiery passion, the best nightlife, Catholic religious fervor set to Moorish architecture, moving Spanish guittar, tapas bars tapas bars tapas bars, they all come together in the ¨narrow, winding, medieval lanes and romantic, hidden plazas soaked in the scent of orange blossom¨ of Sevilla. I love it here!  I could easily pass months and months here, I´m really taking to the Spanish way of life.

As for the rest of the trip, we have 5 nights here (which are almost up), 4 nights in San Sebastian on the North Coast (must visit the Guggenheim in neighboring Bilbao and Hemingway´s Pamplona) and 6 nights in Barcelona (enough said) before back to NYC and and then our Canadian roadtrip which will somehow end in Salt Lake.

photos from here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Morocco for the week? Yes Please

The Medina

After discovering no-frills airline RyanAir offered flights from Seville, Spain to Morocco for only 16 euros, Melissa and I decided we could not pass this up and we jumped on a flight to Fez...UNESCO protected and home to a very old, large, car free Medina that has functioned in much the same way for hundreds of years.  It was incredibly overwhelming, in almost everyway, good and bad.  The Medina is a labyrinth of alleys and small passageways, covered and open...on the main routes souqs dominate with touts attempting to sell you any number of goods with leather work and ceramics a specialty, on the passageways and smaller alleyways there are shops but mostly its homes, which are more like slums.  In many of these areas the hygeniene is not great and the smells can be pungent - the donkeys which are used to haul goods everywhere also contribute to this.
Often gritty exterioirs house amazing insides with courtyards that are so incredibly beautiful.  It was like nothing I have ever seen before.  Basically, its is pretty much what you would expect from a ridiculously old bazaar in Muslim Africa where there are no cars only mopeds and donkeys...overwhelming.  We spent about half our days wandering the Medina, and by the end were relatively comfortable in such a completely foreign setting...the other half we spent lounging by the beautiful pool at our ridiculously nice hotel...have to love expedia.  Feels pretty, pretty amazing to relax in luxury after a number of weeks of roughing it.

Interior of a gritty building in the Medina

Photos from here.