Monday, April 21, 2014

nugget of pessimistic optimism

Kurt Vonnegut's MO, somehow he manages to be simultaneously jaded and giddy at the same time. He's just light-heartedly chuckling about the hopelessness of the human race. You know, that's all..

I read Cat's Cradle recently in which he makes up a whole religion that double backs on itself. The first tenant being: “All of the true thing I am about to tell you are shameless lies." I walked away with his point being that the lies of religion make people happier than the truth derived from science. 

I wouldn't say I agree, but I still think it is a sound argument. I see it like trying a case without a weapon, DNA, or witnesses. You put together the pieces as best you can, and it seems to make sense with what you have in front of you. But you are working with a short deck. There's this great book with thought-provoking ideas and reasonable assumptions based on a narrow scope of humanity, its actions and effects. Given what society works with, these ideas about religion and science sadly seem to make sense and I can appreciate the casework. But I do think the real picture is a much bigger mystery, outside of the scope of the duality of these two constantly warring sides - religion and science. The unseen knots that bind us, quantum physics, galaxies beyond ours, wave particle paradox and observer effect, the brain, memory, love. None of it can be explained away in terms of science or conventional religion for that matter. Though there may be answers in both, and answers enough for the individual, which is all that matters sometimes, especially if you think that we are only working with one lifetime. Those answers might be enough. For me though, there is comfort in all the questions. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

words from the past live on

Every time I read it, I feel it in my gut.

He wrote this poem back in the seventies, when gang life was prevalent, drugs abundant and communities falling apart. I always thought that the most valuable thing Victor ever taught me was related to acupuncture and energetics. But there are stories he'd tell sitting around dinner or in his living room about the Civil Rights Movement that were so captivating and inspiring, I feel as if I was there.

Really miss those times.

And I miss the truth in these ideals.

As life moves on, the battle to live freely becomes increasingly more difficult. Responsibility, expectation and ambition wear away that lightness of being. You need people around you who see the world this way, who push you on when everything around you is defying your convictions...and that's yet another reason why Victor being gone is a huge terrible hole.

Gonna go eat some sushi tonight with his old buddies to soften the edges.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

music video debut

The music video debuted today! Happy watching!
Congrats to my great friend Elizaveta for her new ep release "Hero" check it out on itunes.

Film Credits include:
Song: "Sorry" by Elizaveta
Dancers: Malece Miller and Nico Greetham from SYTYCD
Director: Nicolas Randall
Cinematography: Isaac Bauman
Choreography: Ryan Heffington
Style/Props: i102fly
Makeup: Kali Kennedy
Video Editing: Stephane Pereira

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sua Suday Chnam Tmey

Happy Cambodian New Year. I love this time of year; I get to vicariously celebrate Cambodia's biggest holiday, relive some of my favorite memories from parties in Phnom Penh, and rope my friends into going to LBC with me eat to unhealthy amounts of Cambodian food.

We usually visit Sophy's. The beef jerky is so good, though I should mention I never had anything like it in Cambodia. They do make lemongrass soup (Somlaw Machu Kreung) which has that "good old taste." I met a girl on the plane to Cambodia. She invited me to take a detour after I got off the plane to come eat at her family's house. I did of course and have that phrase stuck in my head, because that's what she said when her mom brought out the soup. "Ahh that good old taste." 

(pic I took from Cambodian New Years festival in Long Beach a few years ago)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sebastião Salgado and The Valley

A while back I caught Sebastião Salgado's show at Bergamot Station. I looked up where this place is (although it's probably doctored) Brooks Range, Arctic Alaska. Somebody send me on an expedition to the Arctic. I read a fantastic book by a Russian explorer not too long ago and have been dreaming of these landscapes ever since. Uncharted territory.

(The song is The Valleys by a now disbanded British group, Electrelane. The poem performed by an a cappella group is by Siegfried Sassoon circa 1918.)

Monday, April 7, 2014


chaz by swiss on Grooveshark

A playlist in honor of my older brother, who is one of those people who can play an album on loop for 24 hours/24 days straight without getting tired of it. We all shared the stereo when we were young, so I have (in hindsight) fond memories of being badgered with the above tunes for months on end. Now when I listen to them I laugh.

Prints!! Available on Society 6

Moleskin: The alternative to therapy. I'm a big advocate for journals when therapy is too cumbersome or expensive! For the overly active mind it's a great place to dump the waste product of life and come out with a product that not too shabby on the other end.

I'm only half kidding. Journals, art books, sketchbooks whatever you want to call them are my favorite art form, mainly because they are typically unscripted, uncensored and unrefined, so close to looking into the human mind.. I've been tossing ideas into sketchbooks since the beginning when I thought everything that was binded became a library book. Childhood misconceptions are pretty funny, no?

I scanned in a bunch of these pieces for a show last year, but they were only available for purchase locally. Now I'm happy to announce that you can pick up the high quality prints online at Society6. There's a good collection of collage, on the spot drawings, studies, mixed media concepts and whatnot.

I was particularly excited to see the other formats that society6 prints offers. I ordered a couple of these for myself to see how they come out.

Dig both of these clocks. They come in several colors, but I like the black with that mixed emotions face and the wood with the Cambodian text.
That pillow is too cool! They are lyrics to a Cambodian pop song, "where you from, where you going?"
Stationary cards. These two in particularly I like.

Wish I had a iphone just to utilize these things. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Music - Angel Olsen

This song would've been good for this film. She even reminds me of Sarah Polley a little bit. It's a good rainy day song. Happy weekend. Dont get too down with this song!

Photo by Sabrina Rush

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Climbing lately

Realized I haven't written about rock climbing lately, you must be biting your nails!  Let me regale you with some shots of our ventures around Southern California where the granite and sandstone run deep.

James and his lady friiiiiends at Echo. Learned to multi-pitch on this day! We got up around 150 feet over the beautiful Echo Valley.

Looks good from up here!

Done a couple days of bouldering at the legendary Stoney Point* just north of Los Angeles city. I'm still not very good at bouldering (Bouldering: climbing without a rope "short" routes, usually below 15 feet, usually big round rocks). I'm not muscular enough and falling is not an option once you get halfway through your route, ie when it gets hard. It is, however, exceptional for your balance and technique. I've free climbed things and then gone back to the high walls and been shocked at how much better my form was.

Hiking to Echo is a slug with the ropes and gear. Mostly we all complain the whole way and then eat everything we have the minute we get to the base of the cliff.

Are we there yet?>

Made it. Oh, NOW we climb? pshhhh

Ash trying to retrieve gear on a tough route. 

Black Face wall. We got the place locked down like a compound

Taking a break in a tree!
And Leang always looking like an REI or Prana ad. Seriously?! They should sponsor her.

Dylan and Nak hooking up some anchors at Stoney. He saw a huge tarantula, but I was too slow to get a shot.

I got a good perch to take some action shots.

haha this wasnt that bad, I'm making it look like the Alps.

Some not-to-be missed climbing links:

A nice little doc about Stoney
Climbing without a rope, in that dept. no one can touch Honnold

Monday, March 31, 2014

Newspaper poetry

Are you any good at poetry? I have always had a level of reverence for poets and even recreational appreciators. I find myself frustratingly too literal. But...

// Speaking of choices // Likely to become a long scrimmage of Will / They barely know // The efforts needed to top that big rock // 

A while back I started making these collages in the morning after "reading" the newspaper. Sometimes there's not much reading involved, I just channel aggression at the sports page and tear it up.

Found word poetry is however, really kind of nice and zen. And if/when the poetry sucks you can always hide behind the fact that, well you were just working with what you had. How can you make poetry out of the sports headlines anyway.

But what I've found amazing is that, even though the words aren't mine, they have a way of expressing what's on my mind often far better than if had my choice. Some people pluck their ideas out of the ether, I guess I might be more of an assembler. Either way I highly recommend this experiment, and if you do end up doing it, please post a link to a picture. Honestly, I'd love to see it.

// As generations of man return to God // The foreign limits of a world // bound by the memory of all that is lost // charges on waiting for happiness //

This one (I guess obvious by the first sentence) is about the older generations departing this world and the lessons that they are taking with them; lessons about being happy and how those of us left behind are wounded by that loss and simultaneously complacent about our own journey; "waiting" for happiness because we dont really have the secrets that our forefathers have taken to the grave.

// Goodbyes are nice // To finish off a rainy day and march ahead // Away from the fire of blame // And an overblown showdown // Making off with nothing but // Lessons from the devil //

This one is a little melodramatic. About relationships that are so trying, and how it's pleasant when they just fade away rather than end in a gigantic unnecessary scene.

// Money for power // Still the fleeing spoils of a solitary life // See you quietly losing yourself // to earth's unseen spell //

Idealism coming face to face with the realities of participating in the rat race. It's the resistance to the idea that money does equal power, even power over your own destiny. While the answer could be to step away from it all and live like an ascetic in the spiritual world unphased by the theater of power and money, even for an idealist the temptations of the material world are too much to withstand. To enjoy what the earth has to offer you have to pay.

PS The last one is available on society6 if you'd like a copy, as well as some other prints.