Monday, December 24, 2007

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Warmest Night of the Year

Time has flown by quickly this December and it's only mid-month! Here's a quick summary of what's been happening in my world:

Ezra and I dj'ed this Kiehl's event which gave me the opportunity to wear my Owley glasses again. I played one Xmas song which got me into the spirit of the holidays. Oh yeah, I was feeling the Holiday Cheer.

I had to report for jury duty and this time around, I was fully prepared, even psyched to be called in for a case. During the morning orientation, the judge's speech was deeply inspiring...

And because I truly wanted to be on a case this time around (there is no duty of good citizenship more important than jury duty), I wasn't called (mais oui) and was released by day's end. I've fulfilled my jury service.

There was Folkhands' Unfitney's Birthday Bash which was a hot mess all around. One thing that stuck with me was when I was introduced to this blond hair girl, she commented how I had the most beautiful "Asian" hair. wtf? Who says this kind of shit nowadays? wtf?

Happy Birthday Folkhands. Glad I got to spend it with you.

Colin took me to see Richard Hawley. It was awesome and I decided that rockabilly ala English is okay with me. Totes. And the best thing happened that night. I had heard through a friend that Bob Lind (yes, one of my heroes) was going to be there and perhaps play with Mr. Hawley?!?! As I was walking into the Troubadour, I ran into Ian and he introduced me to Mr. Lind!!! Apparently, Hawley is producing a new Lind record! It was the ultimate fan encounter experience, just totally out of nowhere. Just like when I had met Anthony Bourdain last year, I was 'tarding out like you wouldn't believe! The show and what happened just reaffirmed to me that older guys are the shit. If you look like this, please contact me as I'm interested...

An absolute stunner...

I went into Dublab and completed Part Two of my "To the left, to the left" set which I did earlier this year. The title is rather ridiculous but here you go. It should of been called this instead... I will cry at Christmas...

Part One
Part Two

You're welcome, tis' my pleasure... This goes out to Trumbull and Hartford... Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coldest Night of the Year

Nothing much to report this month, just trying to get fit and smart, playing records, buying stuff, drinking loads of tea (& vsop) and pigging out as usual. The best thing I'm doing is converting my favorite records from analog to digital on my new USB turntable I just bought. This is good winter music...

V. Bunyan's "Coldest Night of the Year.mp3"
Y. Ono's "Remember Love.mp3"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

One Stop Pop Culture Shop

On the first of the last month of this year, on a lovely chilly LA evening, I stopped by the opening of the one-month only pop up Rhino Records retail shop. I wanted almost everything in there (well 70% of it)... just in time for the holiday season. During my college years, I used to go to Rhino Records all the time when it was in Westwood ...This caught my eye. Weighs a ton and looks so good, this is what I want for Christmas.

Jimmy & Carlos, the Dublab DJs joining in on the festivities.

"Green Mind" and "Where You Been" next to "Psycho Candy," The Germs and Coltrane. What is there to say about this? This reminded me of my new BFF.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hook & Eye

Two fifths of LA's Finest supported another Finest this past Saturday as we celebrated Anna's solo show at Karen Lovegrove Gallery. Wiggles and I dj'ed at her afterparty.

Pressure was on to satisfy those who were yearning to dance. I really had to go through my records to find any "danceable" tunes as all I've been into lately is downcast stuff. Yeah it's been bummers... Yet everything this month has been telling me that the Seasonal Blues have ended early for me this year. Darn it, it barely lasted a month this time! I'm wondering if this is a good or bad thing. Maybe it'll return next month? I'm secretly hoping so...

People did danced (yes!) and I was thoroughly happy when Lecia said that she loved it when I played Ride's "Twisterella" (that's dancey right?) But what mattered was that Anna had a good time at her party. Congrats Anna!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Viet, Duy and Bun

Viet's new restaurant finally had its opening tonight. His new restaurant is called "Viet Noodle Bar." Well, what else right? Saw a lot of fellow VN friends and it was so good to see everyone looking so good. I can't wait until it opens next week. The menu looks awesome, a lot of old favorites with a lot of new dishes which, I won't doubt, will be delicious. Westerners will love it and I will love it because it will be tasty. Viet and his crew are such great people, you not only go there for the food, you go there for the company. And that just makes it so much better. It really is yum yum, piggy's bum...

Duy and Viet (I wanted to include lovely Bun but she wouldn't have none of it, she's camera shy she insisted... but it was really unfair that she got to only take pics of me on her camera but I couldn't take any of hers on mine.)

It was great to catch up with Duy, who has given me enlightening tarot readings this past year. After talking for less than a minute, he bluntly stated, "well, he's just not that into you." Ouch. Harsh. I started laughing so hard. That's like the best thing someone has told me in a long time. I love it... Vietnamese people have such a way with me...

J. Loudermilk's "The Little Bird.mp3"

Bobby Charles' "Let Yourself Go.mp3"
F. Hardy's "J'ai Coupe Le Telephone.mp3"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A man told me to beware of 33...

He said, "It was not an easy time for me."

And he's right. It's been a pretty tough (more like relentless) year but six months later, I'm getting through it. Lost the plot a few times but the one thing that did save me have been the awe-inspiring acoustic-gospel-strings versions of Spiritualized songs. And last night I got to see J Spaceman in his full Acoustic Mainlines glory. And it was glorious. When he sang "Stop Your Crying" and "Ladies and Gentleman...," I believed him.

The eyes are finally drying now and I am feeling happy to be alive. Feels like the New Year has started early for me.

At the Vista last night... definitely in the Top 10 of my all-time bestest shows.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Love the Game

Let's forget about the Seasonal Blues for a second... Let's just enjoy some sports, namely the best game, basketball.

Over my years of going to basketball games, I've gotten to see a lot of my favorite players in action so I jumped at the chance when I was invited to see LeBron James & the Cleveland Cavaliers play against my beloved team, The Clippers, tonight. My team lost but it was exciting to see LeBron slam a few good ones. It was also a chance to pig out: nachos camachos, Texas Dog (which consisted of bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon and onion rings on top of a giant spicy hot dog), peanuts, ice cream dibs and beer... It was a full on carb fest. D-Fense! Let's go...

Pyrotechnic introductions

With the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team. L to R: Nina, Kristin (captain) and Ashley R.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Becoming Ben Cho

Or rather, it's me becoming Wiggles becoming Ben. I like wearing glasses again. Going back to my old geeky ways!

Happiness is a Warm Gun

Actually it's not. Not for me anyways. After I made a yummy dinner with an even yummier cheese plate while watching "Survivor" (it can't get any better than this right?), ds and I headed down to the LA Gun Club to shoot some guns. Never having done any sort of thing like this ever, the excitement that had been building up for this night was replaced with apprehension and fear when I arrived. I mean it was real, empty shells were littered everywhere on the floor, the gravity of the gun, the ferocity of the recoil, and the noise, that noise was deafening. My heart could barely take it. I was traumatized.

My idealized notion that I would be good at this was completely shattered by the fact that I was too rattled by my surroundings, just holding the gun was almost too much. ds said I was too hard on myself, and I think he was somewhat right because afterwards, as we drove away from that soulless climate, I thought I would perhaps give this a go again. The shock was wearing off and that next time, I would be more focused and have more control. Maybe I just need to be really pissed off at someone. At least I know that I made the right choice by not joining LA's finest...

Bang, bang, shoot shoot. A total pro, ds had no problem.

A total novice, still trying to figure it out, totally shaking... But the smell of the gunpowder was attractive, like bonfire nights as a beach kid.

I'm now thinking that happiness might be a warm puppy instead...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

'Tis the Season

This is what my weekend looked like:

After playing so many Scrabulous games on Facebook this past month, I played a real Scrabble game at home with friends Jeannie & TED. Felt like old times.

Pre-Halloween moon

Malibu, after the fire...

And the NY Times did not disappoint again this Sunday. Another timely gem. Click here to read this article which was placed next to the wedding celebrations. Twisted... I recommend you check out the suggested websites relating to the article. Who knew such a thing existed? But then again, nothing is really a surprise to me these days...

And from that I found another parallel article which may be found here. 'Tis the season...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Who says blogging is bad? This is why I love my blog:

Example #1:
There must be a weird cosmic cloud hanging over me. The California neon pumpkin sun, burning hot as an oven, overshadowed by all the ash that's flying in the sky from the fires is creating the most fantastic connection for me today. I've been loving Laurie Styvers' "Spilt Milk" and blogged about it earlier this week. This morning, I got a comment from her niece and by evening, my wish came true. Laurie's son emailed me this mp3 and I'm so excited to share it with you. This is special.

Laurie Styvers' "Seasonal Blues.mp3"

Example #2:
I must not forget about last's year entry when I wrote about my time as a refugee in Thailand and someone from those unsettling days found me. That was mind-blowing. The world is closer than you realize. Your past and what you love will find you, even if it's on a Google search these days. You can't discount these ways and methods; they lead you to the same place. Who knew it would be this beneficial? I'm really glad I started this blog...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Numbing shots

I got some cosmetic dental work done today. My second cousin who acts as my dentist recommended I get this done cuz' a happy smile is a happy face (and life) right? Though not a fan of needles, I asked her to make sure the shots were in long enough so that I wouldn't feel any pain whatsoever during the procedure. She would even numb my tongue she offered. Yes please, numb me...

The anaesthesia was supposed to wear off in a couple of hours. So I thought it was safe enough to go have a quick bite with my parents since I was already in Little Saigon. We went to get some Northern Vietnamese food but I quickly realized that I couldn't eat what I had been wanting all day. What I wanted was too solid and still being a dribbling idiot, there was no way I could safely swallow something like that. Seriously, I could scarcely talk (I can barely move my mouth right now as I'm composing this post many hours later; that's why my blog is my only friend tonight).

During dinner, my mom kept asking if I had gotten a root canal and to my irritation, I snapped saying that "we're not in Vietnam anymore, you get shots for little things here, it's no big deal. And do you really thing I would get a root canal after you spent so much money on braces, etc. when I was a child? Geez, I wouldn't dare waste such a thing." After dinner, she asked again if I had gotten a root canal. I give up...

So I ended getting chicken pho with the works... Not knowing if I was chewing properly or not, I mostly stuck to the broth and the youtiao. I love dipping it in the broth and then eating it half soggy. One of the best feelings...

The works for me would include small hen eggs (more like premature yolk, and unfertilized), beef balls, bull pudendum (please, no lame dick jokes here), liver and gizzards, and oh yeah,. chicken skin. It all sounds delicious right? It is...

And on a random note, I just read this interesting article in the NY Times. Click here to read it. The last word has a nice tone to it...

The Seasonal Blue

I found this record last month while I was unpacking. It's an early 70s folk record from Laurie Styvers titled "Spilt Milk". It's been setting my mood lately. "Seasonal Blues," "You Keep Coming Home in the Mornings," and "Eat Your Cornflakes" just kill me. Actually, side two has not been moved from my turntable in the last month. I won't listen to anything else right now. I'm coming down with something. It's the Seasonal Blue.

I was trying to find a mp3 to share with you all but I can't find info on her anywhere online. She's not even on Wikipedia. You really have to listen to this. I'm going to have to figure this one out...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Love Kime

I've known Kime for quite some time now. I've always admired her, her art and her shop. Though we've never been that close of friends, I seem to think I know her quite well by just reading her wonderful blog.

I'm going to this tonight and you should too. She's a brave lady. Let's help her heal faster...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Please take a blanket before entering the freezer...

TED and I decided to escape LA for the weekend in SF. One has to do that once in a while. We flew on Virgin America. I'm impressed; brand new planes, super modern media accessories, slightly cheesy neon soft pink overhead lighting, and let's not forget the very reasonable fares. The best part was the new terminal VA resides in at SFO; very Schiphol...

Our mission was to eat good food (ala Chez Panisse et Tartine) and to go see the Olafur Eliasson show at SFMOMA. We accomplished both and then some. It was a weekend of reconnections and of "going back to one's old style."

Valencia at 19th, after the rain.

My sister picked us up and we went straight to Swan's Oyster Depot. The best clam chowder I've ever had and just the freshest, most delicious oysters from Oregon. Yum yum piggy's bum.

TED and I discovered wii at my sister's. Tennis was the game. TED surfs a lot so her right arm was fine. Mine, however, got quickly overextended and sore from all those forward-swings and backswings; I was trying to ace and spin the ball you see... that's the only way you win against TED.

This is what my sister sees everyday.

I love fire. I played with this until it died.

The highlight of the trip. Olafur Eliasson at SFMOMA. Felt like I was on the most elegant Acid trip.

We got reprimanded for taking photo's. Oh well. We got some in anyhow and now you're benefiting from them, aren't you?

Everyone must go see this show. It's the first US survey of this incredibly smart artist... he goes so beyond... It's crazy how far he takes you. I haven't used this many senses in a while. Now this is it.

Met up with Yoshi and Big Red as always... and Jess who I haven't seen in years. It was englightening how he would bring up certain memories which I don't recall. Jess asked in the nicest, most harmless way, "does your mom still yell?" Yes, she still does though it's slightly hushed these days.

TED has bad luck with punctually departing flights at SFO (and only here) so it was a good thing we booked an earlier flight home 'cuz we ended up taking the last flight home. Luckily, we safely made it on time to the Devendra show. Oh, the yin and yang of life. TED momentarily freaked out when Gael Garcia Bernal came out on stage to sing. Let's just say people were freaking out at this show.

Everything you would want in a show. Beautiful historic venue, clean sound, competent musicians, charismatic lead singer with awesome energy throughout the 2-plus hour show, heart-melting harmonies, nice volume dynamics with the sound climaxing at the right time which in itself is a good setlist and an element of danger when the crowd rushed the stage. If I was 17, I would of rushed the stage and danced my ass off without a care in the world.

Thanks TED for suggesting this trip. Perfect timing.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lay It Down Easy

I knew this feeling would perhaps return one day. So now that I've unpacked and have finished playing my Scrabulous games on Facebook, I have nothing to do but play my Wurly at night. It's been a few times these past couple of weeks but each time, I remember how fun it is to play music. Just plain old fun, like it used to be a long time ago. Tonight, I remembered the notes to "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," which sometimes I would play during soundcheck last year. It fact, I remember everything.

I love how memory is stored. The incalculable approach to it. Though I think Aristotle was wrong when he theorized that memory is physically stored in the brain and that it ages over time (and not like a delicious smelly cheese). But really, the time it takes to re "cover" can happen at any moment. Space is not limited and memory is infinite. The spiritual over the physical. But enough of this hippie talk (am still high from an insanely satisfying Devendra show last night so am still very lovey-dovey today), I just think it's cool how I'm loving it again.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Leave Them All Behind"

I'm still trying to unpack everything since my move back in mid-August. I can't believe how much stuff I have. Such excess. Boxes and boxes that have been stored in the garage for years. Going through them have been heavy; old diaries (I forgot I had actually handwritten complete sentences on paper before), birthday cards, photo's, hand-written letters and poems from exes, drawings, books, records, Hello Kitty stationary (yes!), precious keepsakes...

I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago and was bragging to my father about how I've managed to unpack almost everything and had donated A LOT of unnecessary goods to the Goodwill. Yep, how altruistic am I??? I'm an absolute Good Samaritan. Then my daddy mentioned that I still had a lot of stuff in the garage. "Would you like to take at least some of them now?" he suggested. "Sure, I guess. What do I have?" I replied. I ended up driving home with 5 boxes of records I forgot had ever existed. It took a while for those boxes to make it inside the house. But when they did, I spent two evenings this past week going through them. These are from my high school and college years, you know, those formative years. Now I've stopped listening to my AirTunes and am playing records again. It's been heavy but in such a good cathartic way. Music unlocks those forgotten memories. They're really helping me keep it together right now. Play and you shall receive.

I guess I must have forgotten how obsessed I was with classical music (RCA Red Seal Label, Angel and Nonesuch Records especially), late 50s female pop vocals, jazz and of course, early 90s indie [Ride, Lush, MBV, St. Etienne, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, Electronic, EMF, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Farmland (wtf?), Birdland (what was I thinking?), Jesus Jones (ditto), The Wonder Stuff (yes!), Chapterhouse (yes yes!), Tindersticks, everything Sarah & Teenbeat] were all faves.

Really heavy shit:

Pearl Bailey's "C'est la Vie"
Erik Satie's "Parade, Relâche Ballets et Gymnopédies"
Jean Martinon's "Symphonie Fantastique"
Ride's "Nowhere"
Ramsey Lewis' "The In Crowd"

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Great Smoke

I love this city. I could really live here and completely enjoy it. It's better than the Big Apple (that city is so overrated). Anyhow, the Big Smoke wasn't so smoky this time around, no fog, just clear blue skies. Like I said earlier, I bring the California sunshine with me wherever I go. That's just how it goes.

Met up with Joe at the new Rough Trade Shop on Brick Lane. Wow. It's like Amoeba size and the Black Lips were playing. Was excited to see them again but the sound was terrible and it was so hot and packed to the gills. They did play my favorite Dutronc cover which was a saving grace.

I guess it's energy efficient and good for the environment but geez, most European places do not have air-conditioning and it sucks. And on top of that, the body odor is crazy insane in this continent. I know it's a cultural thing and it's probably more healthy in the long run, but whoa, it's like you're perfectly content with what you're doing at the moment and then all of the sudden, it hits you, like a slap in the face and you're just like WTF? And then it goes away and you're okay but you're still traumatized.

After a pint in Brick Lane, Joe & I caught the bus to Stoke Newington to catch the Caribou show. He helped me learn how to read the bus schedule. That was one of my goals on this trip, to take the bus and not only the Tube. I want to see London above ground and not some Daily Mail on the floor next to a sweaty Brit in a suit or a Dizzee Rascal hoodie blasting music from his mobile sans headphones. Turns out I was there during the midst of another tube strike so there was no choice but to take the bus! (Man, I can't afford to keep taking non-licensed cabs...) Again, there was no ventilation and we were sardined. It was really like a slap in the face. But a good one.

Anyhow, oh yes, the Caribou show. Again, another slap in the face (it just never ends) with the heat and outrageous smells in a dungeon'ness venue. I was super surprised with their live show. It's not like their new studio record, melodic sweet 60s pop ala Lilys; it was more like Animal Collective/Battles with two drummers, so beat heavy with no audible vocals. The sold-out crowd was so into it, seems like it's the current trend in Londontown. I wasn't so much. Not dissing cuz' I love me some Strawberry Jam.

Caribou's "She the One.mp3"

Stayed with Katrina in Kentish Town one night. She's always there when you need her. Top mate.

Stayed a couple days with my cousin's family in Greenwich. Such a pretty quaint borough. You got the big park across the street, the Maritime Museum down the street, the cutest meat and cheese markets up the street, it's pretty ultimate...

Ava and Victor, the most precious kids I know. They speak French to their maman during the day and when their papa gets home from work, they instantly switch to English.

Not one to succumb to processed candy, I became addicted to these Haribo gummy treats. Had almost every flavor in this picture. Topshop evens sells them! I was like, "I wish we had these back in the States," as I devoured them everyday during my stay in England. And when I got back home, I was jabbering away to a friend about these delicious treats, he interrupted and casually mentioned to me, "oh yeah, you can get them next door at the car wash."

London was awesome. The best bits: catching up with friends, the British Library Sacred show, Haribo!, Greenwich with family, and of course, St. John, my fave restaurant in this awesome town. What can I say? My European holiday was just awesome. Paris, romantic. Newquay, breathtaking. Broadwoodwidger, magical. And London, just the best.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I traveled to Broadwoodwidger for Jeremy and Jamie's weekend nuptials. The special occasion was held at the latter's parents' farm, Orchard Cottage, in West Devon. I wasn't planning to vacation in England this year (I was thinking somewhere more exotic) but how could I miss out on this rarity of events? I mean I was there when they first met 11 years at Pop Stars in London. And they are still together after all these years, stronger and more in love than ever. That's almost unheard of these days! It turned out to be more captivating than anywhere I could of imagined going this year. Broadwoodwidger is a special place.

The blissed out couple

This is what it looks like in the morning as the sun melts the dew off the cobwebs, leaves and grass. At Orchard Cottage, there are chickens (they are used to produce eggs and are not slaughtered), a cat named Bramble, a rose and herb garden, a polyvinyl orangery, and a yurt where warm times are to be had at night (and they were). Orchard Cottage is a bountiful piece of land filled with every imaginable fruit and vegetable. You tune into nature's sounds and you know you're living the Good Life. Yes it does sound very hippie and I of all people should be suspect, but you can't deny how this is way better than your city life.

The upstairs view of the mysterious wilds of neighboring Dartmoor.

The first night was "Dad Night" with both barbecuing all sorts of delicious locally produced meats and the veggies were from the farm. On the left is the outdoor clay oven Jamie's Dad, Clive, built using materials from the surrounding lands. Homemade focaccia bread was made in that oven. Yum yum, piggy's bum.

With Jeremy breathing the fresh country air. It's hard to even try to explain how exquisite this all was; it was simply awe-inspiring. I mean there were fireworks at the night of the reception. Fireworks! J & J said they've never seen fireworks in this part of the country during their sojourn. It was just magic.

This is what it looks like at night. I've never seen stars like this before. Felt like the world was so small and I could just grab them if I reached just a little higher.

During the faery hunt, I repeatedly got stung by a nettle and it really did sting! Richard, Jamie's half-brother, found me a doc leaf, made me spit on it and rub it on as the antidote. Oh the country life! And on the train ride, Mark pointed at the chalk figure of white horses on the hills. We're in the country now.

I met a new friend there, Matt Wolf. What a charmer. We both commented how we felt we had traveled back to time, to the sixties, 1967 to be precise, the "Summer of Love."

Jamie tending the fire in the yurt.

Clive, made his own brew (COB) for the wedding. Yummy.

I've only played croquet once in my life... at least 10 years ago, at the very least... Everyone was playing and because I'm very adept when it comes to sports, I basically won all the games I played that weekend and was crowned Champion of the 2007 Orchard Cottage Croquet Tournament.

Lucy and Jenny, the flower girls

By honoring this special day, J & J planted a young walnut tree during the ceremony. Jeremy's mum gave a beautiful speech which left everyone teary-eyed. It's a lovely and powerful symbol of their love, a living, growing thing that will last forever.

The wedding party