Monday, December 13, 2010

yes! yes! in the face!

this year i moved into an apartment of my own. beforehand i was living in a three bedroom place, with two other people. and when i live with other people, i don't tend to care about anything more than function. my previous place had no theme, nor decor. nothing matched and nobody cared. the place was simply setup to be liveable. accessorizing was the furthest priority of mine.

but now that i've got a place of my own, ive got a place to decorate, accessorize, and enjoy. i'm still getting used to inviting people over and not having to send a "i'm having people over" email to roommates.

in doing this, i've realized that my preferred style is a mix of modern and vintage. in searching for these things i've come to know my neighborhood thrift stores quite well. in searching the thrift stores for knick knacks as well as furniture and decor pieces, the idea for a collaborate blog was brought up. jmz is a big fan of "thrifting" as well.

so we've created a blog, titled 'Thrifty', where we're planning to post our thrift store/garage sale/hand me down finds.

the address of the blog comes from a favorite movie that jmz and i share, see if you can guess it. here's a hint. the clip is the best i could find, unfortunately.

so go ahead and bookmark it, or toss it into your favorite rss reader and enjoy!

the eggling pt. 10

this blog has slowly turned into my eggling blog. here's to change when 2011 rolls around!

ray ray is doing well. i haven't harvested any of these delicious basil leaves as of yet (and my never) but he smells nice.

rondo has lots his flowers, but continues to grow nice and tall. at the moment he's about 1/2" taller than ray ray.

the peppers are getting shrively, i'll prune them off eventually and wait for new ones to take place.

and finally, here's the newest edition to the family! i don't have a name for this plant yet, nor do i have a set place to put it. all in time i suppose.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the eggling pt. 9

rondo is kicking ass and taking names. with his 3rd flower, which is dramatically lighter color than the last two.

notice the dark purple wilted flower in the top left of this shot. that's how deep purple the last few flowers were.

by next year, i may have to move this guy from egg to pot. i suppose we'll see.

as for ray ray (for those of you who follow the eggling posts) has made a full recovery!

he's even taller than rondo, by a leaf.

anyone know how to make basil chicken?

introducing the newest member of the small plant family!

i haven't come up with a name yet, but i'm thinking dr. pepper may suffice. thoughts?

i don't know if these peppers are edible, or hot, or both. and i'm not sure i'm willing to find out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the sofa king

when i first moved into the sunset apartment, patrick said he's sell me the chair, loveseat, sofa, tv, stereo, tv stand, and coffee table for $220. i said fine, i'll give you $200 and we'll call it mine. he declined in a rather rude tone and mentioned something about craigslisting it for more than my offer. so i said "yo, really man. okay, i'll pay you $20 more for it. hell, i just don't want to lug furniture up 4 flights of stairs." asshole.

after two years at that apartment, the time to move out of the sunset and into my own one bedroom matured. during a phone call with mom about my new place, neighborhood, and the logistics of moving she said that she'd buy me a sofa as a housewarming present, and to leave the sofas with my old roommates. mom said it should be a sleeper sofa, no more than $1000, and comfy.

after moving, i started the sofa hunt.

the first real day of sofa hunting resulted in 6-7 furniture store visits. i couldn't do it alone, and dragged a friend along for the tour. i am pretty sure he was thanked with pitchers of margarita that night, but i don't remember the details.

that first trip taught me that i could only obtain 2 of my 3 couch qualities.
-under $1000, and a sleeper, check. comfy? no way.
-comfy, under $1000 check. sleeper, nope.
-a comfy sleeper sofa does exist, but you will never find one for $1000. drats.

i dragged a different friend on a different day to 6-7 other furniture stores a few weeks later. we hit small mom & pop stores in the burbs, big department stores like macy's, high end you-can't-get-a-seat-for-under-$2000 stores, and everything in between.

by this time i found myself to be quite couch conscious. watching mad men i'd zone out on the dialogue and zoom in on the sofa, ottoman, rug combo. colors, styles, heights, widths, fabrics, legs, and more. i learned about tufting, down wrappers, kiln-dried hardwood frames, attached vs loose back, one cushion, two cushions, and three cushions.

i also learned that some stores build your sofa. the floor samples are just samples of what the store has had built. if you want it wider, shorter, taller arms or back, wider legs or two seat cushions vs three, you may have exactly that. enter the playing field, a completely customized couch.

so i got to some sketching:

i've seen and sat on plenty of sofas to know what i do and don't want. i like a deep sofa, with a wide arm. deep because i'm a slouching sofa sitting individual, and that wide arm can serve as a decent laptop stand for the complete tv+internet experience. i like long legs. well, 5-6" legs are long in my eyes. but the long legs make the sofa feel light and stylish, vs big, bulky, and unmoveable. in fact, i know every single dimension of my sofa, because i designed it. 18" back, 24" arm height, 5" legs, 6" rail, and so on. i knew i wanted a two cushion style sofa the moment i actually noticed sitting on a three cushion one.

somehow things always work out this way, but the first store i went to, ended up being the store i purchased from. furniture envy in san francisco's marina district. the wall street journal even wrote up a small piece on them recently. i've always been a sucker for custom. custom takes more work up front and sometimes a bit more money, but pays off every single day after the purchase date.

lastly, the color. upon any conversation that i was in the market to purchase a couch, the first question most interested people would ask is "what color?". the entire learning process for me had consisted of build, style, function, comfort, all the things that i think of when sitting on and using a sofa. it almost escaped my mind that i would have to also look at the thing.

i started my sofa color research where almost all research starts today, google. google image search "blue sofa", "red sofa", "green sofa", "aqua sofa", "orange sofa", "brown sofa", "white sofa", and the list goes on. i'd change the word sofa with couch, add words like stylish, or cool in hopes for better search results.

not only did i immediately realize that red sofas just looked better in pictures, but "red sofa" returned the most pictures of sofas with girls posing on them. this means that either women like to pose on red sofas, or set designers receive discounts on red sofas. regardless, i went with red. these were the three samples that i whittled my decision down to. i chose the fabric on the top left.

after all this bother, is it worth it? when i look at it, just looks like a regular ol' sofa, not a custom piece of art (maybe that's a bit of a stretch). but i say yes. it sits exactly how i want it to sit. looks exactly how i want it to look. and it fits exactly how i want it to fit. i'm ready to watch movies, take naps, and sit on a laptop while the tv makes noise in the background.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

the men of madison ave.

let me preface that only during a small fraction of my post living-with-mom-and-dad life have i subscribed to cable tv. i have always relied on the internet for my garbage consumption, vs. the tube. i'm a site surfer not a channel surfer.

the first time i watched every episode of a television show from the beginning of the season till the end of the season was ally mcbeal season 1. after a few episodes i was hooked. we (i had a female roommate, who was responsible for hooking me on ally mcbeal) would make sure to schedule our week in order to watch this show as it aired [before dvr and internet on demand services like hulu].

somehow having a season of ms. mcbeal under my belt felt like an accomplishment. i finally achieved what most people had first achieved in middle school, devoted time and energy to a single program for an entire season. i lay you ten to one most of my friends saw every episode of beverly hills 90210 seasons 1 through 3 as they rolled out.

the second occurrence happened with the office [american version], where i saw every single episode (but had to backtrack using the aid of to torrents and hulu). to date i've seen every episode of every season. and i know it's much cooler and more credible to say that the brittish office is better than the american one, but really guys? that's far from true for me. steve carell is amazingly funny, dwight, jim & pam, the whole gang make me laugh audibly time and time again. the american office is on season 7, the brittish one only had two seasons.

as i write this, i'm on my third.

mad men.

donald draper. never has the name donald registered as 'cool' in my mind, until this show came along and dramatically changed my perspective. i've always pictured the disney duck. in fact donald draper's character is loosely based on a man named draper daniels of chicago, a famous advertising man of the 60's.

but mad men isn't a wacky office-based comedy, it's an amc drama. i now watch amc dramas, oh boy i must be maturing. though, at this rate, what's next, lifetime?! okay, now i'm just being dramatic.

let me rewind and recap.

mad men stands for madison [avenue] men aka the advertising central in 1960's new york city. and my opinion is that not only are the men mad, but so are the women, and children.

the "most screen time" award is a tie between cigarettes and scotch. the second most screen time award goes to awesome set design, and wardrobe. after an episode of mad men i'm ready to spend whatever i need in order to find myself in a sleek 1960's suit, skinny tie, tons of hair grease, and a freshly pressed shirt with cufflinks while i'm en route to a smoky bar/restaurant where women are beautifully dressed pieces of meat and men are aggressive carnivores. however, knowing myself, if i were to somehow appear in this fantasy land of mine, i'd most likely geek out on the amazing scotch selections and art deco glassware.

the show feels like a super cool history lesson, an american history lesson. the president's assassination, gender roles, the value of a dollar, the technology that exists in the office and home, completely fascinate me.

the characters are compelling. i can't say i love any one character or hate any either. joan sure is fun to look at, and while i'll admit that she is deservedly famous for her curves, her facial features and colors are just as standout-ish. she's got amazingly fair skin, bright and bold red hair, and stunning blue eyes. then of course we have don, who is the definition of masculine. women want him and men want to be him (so i ripped that quote off of austin powers, but hey, it's more true in this context isn't it?).

peggy seems to be everyone's favorite. i like her struggle, and how she attacks it, but i just don't find myself rooting for her all the time. i wish she grew some balls once in a while, but again, she's a woman in the 60's -women having balls back then was basically illegal.

we're now on season 4, and i'm caught up to the most recent episode. that in itself has only ever happened three times in my life. i foresee myself watching every episode until they stop making episodes. the story is engaging, the characters are interesting, and the visual stimulation is stunning. i want to be a mad man!

Monday, September 27, 2010

the eggling pt. 8

ray ray has made a comeback. i've decided to let the dead sprouts wither and fall by their own. i expect 2-3 more weeks for ray ray to be back to his glory days.

as for rondo. well... a picture is worth more words than i'm willing to write right now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

concept doodling

i set up my video camera, pulled up a blank piece of paper, and doodled for 15mins. here's what happened (at 8x speed).

song: Rendezvous Potrero Hill by Architecture in Helsinki

Monday, September 13, 2010

nice guys finish last

a month ago my friend jumped. he was 31 years old.

i composed a letter on my computer, then hand wrote it, and mailed the letter to his parent's house. it's been just over a month, and i've probably thought about him in one way or another each day since then.

i have debated whether or not to post this here for the past few weeks, it's personal, it's sad, but it's real. i wrote this from the heart, which is how i try to write all my blog posts.

Dear Aquino Family,

It’s tough for me to write you this letter, I’ve got lots of thoughts and emotions stirring right now.

As you know, Eric was a large part of my life. Our ‘crew’ of Eric, Minh, Hong, Gene, James, Nancy, Elisa, Sunny, and myself was virtually inseparable during high school. I feel that each of these people have had a major impact on shaping the person I am today. And according to my proud parents, I’ve turned out a-okay.

I remember first getting to know Eric, during classes, lunches, and hang out sessions at different peoples’ parent’s houses. Eric and I had a very similar sense of humor, and we understood each other’s humor. Most of my early Eric-memories are of joking, smiling, and laughing. He always got better grades than all of the guys we hung out with, as well as most of the girls (mainly it was that darned Nancy getting the best grades, I think she was paying off the teachers!).

Fast forward to Eric letting us in to see free movies, feeding us free shrimp burritos, and of course plenty of snowboarding (or just talking about snowboarding).

Now, much more recently -with the student loan business, I worked alongside Eric quite a bit. His position in SD was parallel to my position in LA. There wasn’t a day I’d go without some sort of communication with him: phone, email, instant message, or even sometimes all three at once!

Eric was a honest and hard working co-worker, a positive influence in my critical ‘personality forming’ years, and most of all a fun guy to spend time kicking back with while having a few laughs.

I will miss him. I’ll never forget him. And I’m very thankful that I was able to know him for as long as I did.

I can’t understand the feelings that you are, and will be, feeling. But I do understand what has been lost. And the reason I’m writing this to you is to tell you just how much Eric has meant to my life. I love him.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

cd for testing audio

i love audio reproduction equipment: speakers, amplifiers, headphones, equalizers, mixers, record players, more speakers, more headphones! you get the idea.

i don't feel bad spending and splurging on audio equipment, because unlike almost all other electronic technology, audio equipment is ageless. sure you can tell me that the 2011 line of model xyz speakers are better than some 1970's crap boxes that i got from the salvation army. but aside from low level audio equipment (the cheap shit), audio reproduction equipment doesn't go obsolete. the same cannot be said for audio production equipment, but i'm not going there.

computers get faster, video gets higher definition, hard drives get smaller and faster with more space, connection types get smaller, data transfer speeds get faster, and thus phones, computers, tv's, gaming consoles, etc grow obsolete.

however, our ears can only hear 20hz to 20khz. and stereo systems developed in the 70's have been able to produce those frequencies with high volume and quality. sure there's been advancements in audio reproduction, but they haven't necessarily made older equipment obsolete like all of the other electronic examples i listed earlier.

i've polled a few of the older people i know who i'd consider 'into music'. and all of the people i talked to (all over 50yo), had audio systems that i would consider very old. some purchased their amps and speakers when they were in college, that's the 1970's! imagine me telling you my cell phone was from the 70's! or my TV, computer, hell -even my refrigerator! but their audio systems still produce high volume high quality sound, which hasn't and won't change.

which is why i do consider spending more money on audio equipment. life is too short to spend time listening to crappy speakers. it's also too short to drink cheap wine, hang out with shitty people, and watch bad tv. unless you love bad tv, then that's your own issue.

but i digress.

every audio setup is different. the songs are the same, but they can sound 100 different ways on a 100 different setups. which is why i've taken one variable out of the equation, my making my own cd for testing audio.

what is my cd for testing audio? it's 12 songs in a particular order that i am extremely familiar with. i know every word, every note, every second of each song is embedded in my audio memory. i've also listened to these songs extensively on my favorite audio setup. this prepares me to experience other stereo systems with a solid baseline. get it, bass-line.

it's one of my favorite things to do, spend an hour listening to songs i've memorized on a sound system i've recently met. playing 'watch the speakers' has been a favorite pastime of mine since i learned which knob was the volume on my dad's mcintosh amp + cerwin vega floor standing speaker home system.

here's how i've mentally categorized each song on my cd for testing audio:

acoustic guitar (live)
recorded guitar
rock guitar
pop rock
violins, keyboard, piano
keyboard guitar

you can download a .zip of my cd for testing audio. but the only way to have a real cd for testing audio is to create one yourself.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the eggling pt. 7

remember rondo, he was separated from ray at birth... and when i got him wasn't in the best of shape.
rondo is a lavender, and he's doing oh so well now. he must like loud electronic music.
he's even getting a little stubble. i guess it drives the chicks wild.
ray on the other hand, is NOT doing so well. i rarely use caps on this blog, and i just used caps.
as ray got bigger, he'd wilt faster and faster, due to a needed increase of watering frequency.
there's lots of death around ray now, but not all is lost.
we see a bit of hope.... it's been a rough and wild 13 weeks and 2 days since day one. these egglings are not for the feint of heart.
and i can't disregard good ol trusty rubber plant that has no name and will not die regardless of how bad i treat it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

a new way to make coffee

Friday, August 27, 2010


i love headphones.

i started this post with the three words above as a draft on 9/7/2009 at 10:58pm.

it's almost a year from then. what the heck am i waiting for? in fact, i have 25+ ideas in queue. some have a few paragraphs, some have a few words. i chose this one because it's simple, and i have no idea what i was thinking about when i started this draft, but it'll be easy to take this idea and write with it. i feel like i need to do that because every day that passes, and i don't post on my blog, it gets tougher to create/write a post. so consider this an exercise, picking back up a routine.

headphones come in so many shapes and sizes. over ear, in ear, canal, earbud, over the head, behind the neck, and even molded to your personal ear canal. one of my all time favorite headphone pictures is the album cover of ice cube's lethal injection album.

there was just something so cool about that syringe and the kid laying down with headphones on.

the thing is, headphones have been around for a long time. but just recently (err, the past 5 years) i've noticed that headphones have been on a huge increase in popularity. the biggest to blame, apple computers. i could dive into pages of data that prove just how much the portable mp3/ipod blah blah blah but what i'm getting at is that it used to be a pain in the ass to go mobile with music, which in turn made headphones not so popular.

instead of lugging around a disc player, which would skip if you weren't standing still, and could only play 15 songs lasting up to 4 hrs you can carry a small piece of metal that clips on your shirt and plays 500 songs for 24hrs. it's easier to do, so people do it, and headphones are required.

this works for me, cause i like how people look with headphones on. it gives them mystery, i try to wonder what are they listening to at this moment.

like i said earlier, there's not much substance to this post besides the fact that i like headphones, so i leave you with this music video, yeah yeah, where everyone seems to really enjoy wearing headphones.