[…continued from the prologue…]

#1 of 5: Blue Scholars.

I’ve known of Geo for some time.  Known of him, but don’t know him.  Somehow we’ve run in semi-overlapping-but-not-crossing circles for a minute.

In jr. high and high school he was “Mo’s brother.”  As in, “Did you hear that new tape Mo’s brother got?” She was a close girl (space) friend to my circle of brothers, no less evident than in our universal daily high school rituals of lunch room table congregation and strategic locker placement selection.  He was her older brother and homie to slightly older homies you high five in passing and acknowledge with headnods when strutting through the neighborhood on foot en masse in summer.

But I didn’t meet him until college.  Over time, I will have met him for the first time several times, the first having been in Red Square at UW when a mutual friend and I were loitering for no reason and she spotted him in passing.  Based on quick intros and less than significant casual conversation, I remember him being an everyday average joe comfortable wearing a friendly smile.

A few months later I met him again at an isangmahal show, and it became evident he wasn’t just your average joe.  If you’ve never been to a spoken word show, you should go.  One by one, poets took to the spotlit mic and filled the dimly lit room with warmth, strength, passion, anger, agony and the beauty of life through words fired at the intimate gaterhing.  Geo was one of the first few to take the mic, and I was struck by how easily he commanded the crowd in not much more than the same even, steady speech you’d hear on the other end of a long distance call home.  No beats, just the commingling of silence and a strategic melodic delivery; he had the audience chanting along to his prose by the end of his verse.

“My wounded eyes seen through the lies, many soon to die.  Who am I? A student, I study to survive…”

It was so striking that the piece was burned to my memory and I recalled it almost immediately when I met him again a couple years later.  By this time, the Blue Scholars had been born, and by marrying Geo’s words over Sabzi’s beats, some magical force beyond the normal reach of speech or music was born into this world.  The same lines that quietly moved a small silent crowd off 7th & Jackson was now eliciting shouts and the rhythmic waving of arms.

I have video of Geo from the aforementioned isangmahal show, somewhere in the archives. I couldn't find it at the moment, but here's an old clip of Wounded Eyes. click the pic to jump to the video.

my autographed copy of one of the initial pressings of the debut album, picked up from Geo at the old Wing Luke. "Go Trojans!" -- our high school mascot.

Over the next few years, I would meet both Geo and Sabzi for the first time a few times over and over again, but will also have witnessed what I will call the most influential creative expression of my generation thus far.  Bold statement, I know.  But I can feel it.  It can’t be proven in record sales, Facebook likes, or bands that cite the Scholars as an influence on their Twitter bio.  Not even in the way Sabzi threw a paper faux-decorative-corinthian column into the 21+ crowd at the Croc last December causing them to go bananas.  It’s maybe instead in the volume of lyrics extracts I hear quoted, the countless times I’m surprised when I run into a coworker (seemingly not in the Scholars’ “target market”) randomly saying to me “now I don’t listen to rap, but…that [INSERT SONG TITLE HERE] song by the Blue Scholars…you gotta hear this,” or the way I can look out at a crowd at a Blue Scholars show and see a cross section of America represented that I’d be hard pressed to see elsewhere.  But mostly it’s by way of a more intangible creative force driven by Geo and Sabzi’s work — not just their music, but also their shows, videos, views, workshops, imaginations, and creative expressions in whole and in part.  As an artist, I admire their ability to infuse the essence of themselves into their art, and can only hope that one day I will produce a piece that comes close to leaving the same mark they’re constantly making on the scores they speak to.

my copy of bayani. geo on the left, sabzi on the right

obligatory horrible photo of me with subject. my most recent introduction to Geo, Dec. 2010.

They’re doing something great with their next album, and I highly suggest you check it out and consider becoming part of the next great awesome to hit this summer.

Local Lokal Plate

April 9, 2011

I’m all about custom.  Rarely do I leave things as they are, right out the box.  Cars, cameras, computers, barbeques, houses, food…


I’ve been known to fry up an egg and throw it between the layers of deliciousness in a standard Whopper-(with cheese)-to-go, split open a red bean bun and throw cream cheese in, or even sneak crushed and sliced pineapple underneath a slap of vanilla bean ice cream tucked lovingly between 2 slices of all american white bread.

These are all minor mods, mostly because I’m not allowed into the kitchen.  Dramatic messes tend to occur when I collide with that section of the house, so I’ve been blacklisted.  However, the wifey is currently out at Wai’s bachelorette party, so while she’s away I took the liberty of inviting myself into her kitchen to play.

The results?

My take on the loco moco.  Behold my Hawaii-inspired lunch plate holy trinity!:

1)  Homemade bacon and bleu cheese hamburger steak, over rice, and covered in 2 sunny side up eggs + gravy.  If I’m gonna throw a spin on it, it’s gotta be bacon-fueled right?

2)  Spicy crab mac (well, penne) and cheese, in lieu of mac salad

3)  Kona Brewing Co.’s Koko Brown ale (they claim toasted coconut, but all I tasted was toasted deliciousness), standing in for some kind of obligatory tropical fruit juice


Now… to search the web for news articles about that tornado that touched down in kitchen — I didn’t see it happen, but it’s the only explanation, and someone must have written about it by now… and to decide if I should pick up some Bubbies mochi for dessert…


March 24, 2011

I’ll be out of office over the weekend, leaving Chewy in charge.  Which reminded me of this photo.

chewy ordering custom blinds for his dog house and negotiating pricing. circa october twentyten.


March 21, 2011

Monozygotic triplets can happen when a single zygote splits into three embryos, each carrying the same genetic material.  It occurs naturally, within nature, at a rate of 1/892 or approximately at a rate of 0.013%.  Certain factors appear to increase the likelihood of multiples, such as age, use of fertility drugs, and association into and within a West Coast Media composite of photographically-inclined creativs.

That’s right.  In gearing up for this year’s season, we’ve adopted triplets.

fast asleep, fresh home from the nursery

Unfortunately, we’ll have to split the trips, with Cindi and I keeping 2, and the third moving down to LA where a loving home awaits.  However, we will be forever bonded through holiday greeting cards, birthday parties, and sequential serial numbers.

dispersed up and down the left coast to better serve you. we've got your photography needs covered

Our inaugural with these bad boys is set to be with Stephanie this weekend, but the forecast calls for rain… let’s hope for surprise sun.

What’s your style?

Probably the most-asked question that follows “I’m an artist / photographer / dancer / writer / designer / competitive eater…”

The list goes on, but the question remains the same.

What’s your style?

I don’t know.  I’m not sure how to quite answer that.  Dope? Fresh? Typical? Contemporary? Played?  Retro vibrance with a luminescent tinge of ballet?  Newsjournalistic krump with a hint of basil over nouveau haute socio-political web bboy?  Modern Louis Pasteur?

While I firmly believe it’s important to have a style, I’m less inclined to clearly categorize it.  I have somewhat of a claustrophobic fear of the boundaries that you, or others, may prescribe based on a subjective interpretation of semi-arbitrary adjectives.  I’m also not sure if we ourselves, creativs, can or should be able to say we subscribe to a particular style without unintentionally inhibiting a more natural organic growth.  At least not at first.  Can you really wake up one day and say ‘I will do [activity], and do it [adjective]ly,” having not yet fully explored the boundaries of your comfort with it?

I’ve had my hand in various media for quite some time, and still reach a little uncertainty in explaining my style.  Do I have one yet?  It’s relatively easy for some to recognize my work, point out commonalities and recurring themes, and identify traits of my handwriting written across the spirit of the piece.

At the fore of my mind I probably like to think I’m still distilling my style, digesting my influences, and finding my groove.  In reality, I’m probably like all other creativs — mostly satisfied with my products, but in constant pursuit of elusive perfection through perpetual revision, growth, and rebirth.

In truth I think we all have a particular style whether we know it or not.  We all have a voice, regardless of how low a whisper we think we keep.  Rather than describe the sound of our voice, I think it more meaningful to explore what feeds the words we speak.

And so, for those curious, I’ve taken an introspective look at my own personal influences…

stay tuned. who's got guesses

Being sick, I’ve spent a lot of time at night recovering.  By recovering, I mean sitting on my ass working my thumbs out on my iPhone.  Which reminded me, I hit an all-too-amazing landmark the other day….

…pause for suspense….

You know those leaderboards in games.  The High Score screen in Pac Man for instance, that everybody at the arcade would stare at, hoping to one day land a top slot so that they could carve in a 3 letter naughty word of their choosing?

Well, they’ve come light years into the future since the Pac Man-ing days.  I’ve always wanted to land near the top on one, but now with online gaming, they pull scores from across the country, so it’s soooo impossible to score anywhere near ‘high.’  That is…it was, until…

yeah, 680.4 doesn't seem that high....

..until you see the next screen, which proclaims it the most EPIC amongst all scores!...


I actually scored the 839.3 time as well, and hit #1 first with that, but I couldn’t figure out how to change the name. =(.  So I played it again, still couldn’t figure out how to enter my name, and then gave up and just screenshot’d it.  =\  Shameful… but still a success!!  Not very exciting, but exciting for me 😉

….I’ve used way too many smileys in this post.  Never again.

My face feels like it’s on fire.  Inside and out.

It’s the kind of heat where I’m almost certain smoke is emanating from each nostril (perhaps my earstrils as well), and I have 97.38% certainty that if I close my eyes for 3 minutes I will end up with perfectly soft-boiled eyes.  Nice firm whites.  Nice thick-running yolk.

On the outside it feels as if I’ve worn my nose and surrounding areas down to the hypodermis and beyond… the only upside spin I could possibly attempt to try to place on this is that I must be leaking adipocytes at a rate that can only spell surprised-unexplained-weight-loss-success.  Also, this morning the DEA stopped by to see if the voluminous amounts of pseudoephedrine in my possession was indicative of a quaint homestyle meth lab, and you know, visitors are always nice.

Between bouts of chills, I find myself either feeling incredibly hot (in temperature, not sexiness.  .. OK, sexiness too.), or having a nosebleed, or both.  I went in to work today for a meeting, and en route I thought I had my car’s heater on blast… until I noticed that whenever I coughed I could see my breath.  Yep, that’s not the heater.  That’s the AC.

If i had a steady stream of dedicated readers, this is where I would ask you all what your tried and true home health cures are.  But instead I’ll ask what I should purchase next.  Because nothing feels as great as shopping from the comfort of my couch.  And also because of all inquiries to not receive a response to, that would be the one.  My wallet is continually weeping.

To round out this completely disconnected and nonsensical post, I urge you all to sneak over to check out Lisa’s blog.  She and the wifey run in the same blog circles, and her husband and I seem to share a ton of random hobbies — tuning to boarding to tooling to koi-ing.  He even shoots with the same cam I usually do.  Lisa happened to throw up a fabulous little post on us yesterday, which was totally awesome and such a pleasant surprise in the middle of these nonpleasant mucusy days.  She’s also published, which is ahmaizing, so snag that for your Kindle.  Now, onto my shopping…


Roll presses

February 17, 2011

We’ve gone through I don’t know how many photos in the past few months… stacking, sorting, viewing, editing… but all via digital means.  It all seems so abstract and … funny, just a bit … without having the tangible photo in front of you.

I remember when I was younger I used to spend HOURS sorting through our family photos.  My mom had a drawer in her bedside table where she tucked all our old 4x5s, 4x6s, 5x7s, random 8x10s, wallets, unfinished albums and the mysterious undeveloped rolls of 110, 35mm, or Advantix film.  I was not only transfixed by the frozen familiar, albeit stiff and awkward, expression, but also fascinated with captured-memory lifecycle in front of me — unexposed film to exposed film to scattered negatives to prints to albums to crumpled forgotten photos pinned in drawer crevices.

My dad taught me how to use our first camera.  An old Kodak 110 of some kind that looked more like an intermediary between the Atari and the NES than what we see slung around pale and pasty tourists today.  That was his first mistake.  I’m sure in the 5 or so short years after that I managed to blow approximately $67,483,982.93 on film alone.  Forget the development costs.  I feel so spoiled today, in that I can go from shooting to seeing what was shot in 1 to 2 seconds, rather than 1 to 2 weeks.  Moreover, I can manipulate the look of the photo without worrying about bleach and silver.

Still, there’s just something missing with viewing a photo on the screen, as opposed to holding it in your hands or mounting it on your wall.

What’s my point?  I don’t have one, of course.  But we auditioned a new lab this week, and are uberhappy with the results.  We ordered a 16×20 print of one of our wedding photos (by the amazing Erwin), and 3 8x10s that are very special to us, each for different reasons.

Ami, Bryan, SLM+RJ, and Steph — hope you don’t mind, but we love you too much to not have you with us daily.  Onto the wall with you.

the holy trinity. each of these mean a lot to us, each for different reasons...

still have to score some 8x10s, but i already had a 16x20 for the b&w wedding print in the background

We’ve been playing with our new branding over the past few months, and will continue to do so over the next few more.  We’ve got our contracts, rate sheets, packaging, and watermarks all snapping to the new theme, and have our galleries, portfolio, and blogs in process… but it all started, of course, with the basic moo.

Moo?  Yes, moo.

Semitangent:  I am enamored of awesome things in tight little compact packages.  They’re so goshdern’d kyoot.

When it came to business cards, we decided to go with Moo.  Partly because they are simple and easy to customize (both sides!), partly because we collected (and loved) Ami’s, but mostly because they come in MINI!SIZED!

Stephanie clowned on me for <3ing pink last week, but trust me — pink is ganksta.

so ganksta. supar cool display case for holding / trading cards at say a trade show or mom's basement. there's even dividers to separate yours from mine.

We took 5 of our favorite images and printed them on the reverse.  Behold Vol. 1!  I already have some images in mind for Vol. 2.  This reminds me of when I was a kid and collected baseball cards, except infinitely more meaningful because I actually care about these folks…

As an added plus, Ty, head of our Street Team likes to hand out the ones with his picture on them as part of his grass roots promotion campaigns.  Get at me (or Ty) if you or your loved ones are interested in getting your mitts on one of these babies — freesshh off the presses!

'i got 2-for-5s over here! 2-for-5s over here baby! them cats got garbage down the way! 2-for-5s over here!'

Tomorrow begins the year of the rabbit, according to the lunisolar calendar used by many asian cultures.  It’s not used by Filipinos, so I’m not very familiar with it; however, my wife’s family is from China, and ever since we met I’ve gotten down with the lunar new year.  From what I gather, in lieu of fireworks, black tie affairs, and a large ornamental ball descending toward the earth at ultraslow-countdown-speed, Chinese New Year (in the US) means whiskey, excessive amounts of food, red, and an impressive imposing ascension of a representative animal to a metaphorical gilded throne (the size of which is rivaled only by that of the accompanying new year hangover).  The animal brings good fortune, stock picks, a free market analysis, prosperity, and the finest in sensible footwear.  And if it sees its shadow, we get 6 more months of rain.

I haven’t gotten it all sorted, but based on my observations and keen knack at deduction, I think it’s safe to say I’m about (conservative estimate) 97% of the way there.

Seeing as how it’s midweek this year, we kept it low key and hit up Chiang’s Gourmet in Lake Sizzle for easy eats.  Chiang’s is one of those neighborhood joints that snags a steady stream of locals and a deluge of anybody and everybody on special occasions.  One of those spots where it takes you 17.2x as long to receive your food as it does to annihilate it, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s just good.  They’re known for handmade noodles, a dual menu system — the ‘nothing-says-America-like-an-oversized-menu’ listing of standard Americanized ‘Chinese’ food, and a small unassuming, could be mistaken for a wine list, menu of authentic specialties.  If you’ve ever been one of those folks who’s always wanted to roll into a Chinese restaurant, order off the ‘other’ menu, and embark on a gastronomic adventure, but haven’t simply because you weren’t sure if there is an other menu… Chiang’s is your joint.  Not only do they not hide it from you, suitable English translations are listed right there, presented in plain sight.  Check your subconscious sense of xenos at the door my friend, you are welcome here, and the work has been done for you.

Me?  I’ll take the 炸醬麵 and, actually, I can get by just fine with a bowl of ‘Five Star Spicy Chicken.’  Which really arrives as a bowl of fried spicy Szechuan peppers.  Oh, with a side of the most addicting chicken in the world.

beneathe this fiery exterior lies a heart of gold...

behold! mined from the belly of the beast, nuggets of the 11th most addicting crack in the world, masquerading as chicken