• 2.14.9 Couchsurfer Adam Schutzman – Hosted

    couchsurfer Adam Schutzmancouchsurfer Adam Schutzman

    I answered a post in a forum offering Adam a place to park his car as he hopped off of his around the US road trip to Hawaii for a few weeks. Needing a place to stay over night before his flight he lucked out and ended up staying with me. The house was already full of couchsurfers that weekend. Every floor space and blankets were all taken and distributed.  Luckily for him, one of the couchsurfers bailed to be somewhere else for the night. He then took up that 5th spot. Mind you this house is tiny. But Adam was very sweet, super easy to get along with, and down to have any kinds of conversations.

    Not until the next morning we discovered that we had a mutual friend, Nels Cline! Nels, the guitarist most prominence from my blog here, and one of my dearest of all friends, has been doing music for a very long time. Adam knew Nels for over 10 years having gone to all Nels’s gigs in Portland, Maine since he was in high school. Luckily Nels was in town – so I made a point for us all to grab some dinner together. When I first told Nels about Adam, he thought that was incredibly wild. Adam, Nels recalled, was at all his shows back when he was still playing for an audience of a few. This – was a main indicator of what I like about Adam the most, his music taste. He had with him vinyls he collected over the trip, and a little portable record player.

    We haven’t been in touch so much, but I’m sure I’ll run into him again.

    couchsurfers Adam Schutzman and Ulrik Lund

    couchsurfers Adam Schutzman and Ulrik Lund in the background


  • 2.12.9 Couchsurfer Abbéy Odunlami – Hosted

    Abbéy Odunlami

    couchsurfer Abbéy Odunlami

    Nigerian born, Detroit raised, and a current Chicago resident – Abbéy is one of a multi layered character. I hosted him for several days in February and got only glimpses of him. There are many titles to throw at him – film maker, screenplay writer, camera man, avid runner, capoeira practitioner. He has experiences and stories you can’t help but admire. One of his stories he told on my friend’s radio show where he spoke about how he signed on to couchsurfing website was quite interesting. It had something to do with his determination to get into Sundance film festival in Utah. I loved listening to his dreams and ideas, but more of his work he has in progress.

    I got a chance to talk with him extensively only just a few times. He came to stay when many of couchsurfers were here. He got along with everyone especially with John. They both specialize at different sides of the entertainment industry. Conversations flew over my head a bit listening to them talk about funding and distributing functions of various entertainment media/formats…. or something about green light process.

    Abbéy has some pretty strong views. Friendships that can come after airing out our views on politics, social, religions, personal philosophy and relationship are ones that I cherish. Our group discussions often turned intense, but not without much laughter. He definitely knew how to quit when debating with women. I enjoyed exploring the parameters of his opinions. I learned a lot from him, of ambition and conviction. It will be fun to get him into a debate again. I hope to get to see his scene in Chicago first before he gets back here in Los Angeles.

    Abbéy Odunlami

    Abbéy Odunlami talking on Mike Watt's radio show

    Abbéy Odunlami

    Abbéy Odunlami on Mike Watt's radio show

    couchsurfers Abbéy Odunlami and Hanna Rosendahl at the Griffith Park Observatory

    couchsurfers Abbéy Odunlami and Hanna Rosendahl at the Griffith Park Observatory


  • 2.3.9 Couchsurfer John Day – Hosted, Roommate

    not the usual couchsurfer John Daynot the usual couchsurfer John Day

    I met John the same day I met Marco and Ulrik. Yes, it was an interesting – meeting strangers – day. The difference was John didn’t leave for a long time. I took a risk on hosting someone without any references, on the last minute. He came to Los Angeles to investigate the next step of his career. He ended up becoming my roommate for a couple of months before he headed back out to New York. Beyond that, he is now one of my dear friends. 

    On the first few days, I found it a little difficult to relate to him. Straight from financial and banking industry in New York, with attractive friends, he’s not someone I thought I’d have much in common with at the first glance. Southern boy born in Alabama, he went to school in Florida, Georgia, then did an MBA in New York. Over some days of many conversations, usually involving goals, strategies, dreams, and …. practical approach to life, I soon got used to having him around. We had a similar streak of suspicion over ‘some’ social units.  We have similar cynicism in some human behaviors, and we bonded over personal drama, and our amazing advices to each other’s problem/oversights. Oh, and we gave each other a lot of shit for the fall out in each of our exercising routines. We both were definitely weren’t happy of getting ‘smallish’. 

    His die-hard devotion to Florida State basketball team was something I can ignore but not over look. Because of him I ended up watching some games at a bar where I should have been paying attention to my company. Also his snobbish interior design and fashion sense only made matters worse in my self consciousness. Yet, overall, John, as an individual, taught me a lot about all kinds of different worlds he embodies.  

    I look forward to have him around again when he heads back to Los Angeles.

    John Day

    John Day

    John Day

    John Day

    John Day - Los Angeles, CA

    John Day - Los Angeles, CA


  • 2.3.9 Couchsurfer Ulrik Lund – Hosted

    Ulrik LundUlrik Lund, Los Angeles, CA

    There was a post in a forum by someone looking for something to do on Superbowl Sunday. I replied and offered to take him to a party I was going to. That was how I first came about Ulrik. He ended up changing his flight to arrive later, and asked me to stay over night. I was fine with it. However, as a duty, I usually convince people to stay a bit longer, and he was one of those who did.

    Ulrik was from Denmark. He came to the US to conclude his 3 month holidays. He flew in from New Zealand. Coordinating the initial meeting was quite difficult. He didn’t have a telephone on him. I was already with another Couchsurfer Marco and the day was fleeting. I needed to provide entertainment. I finally left a note at my door telling Ulrik to meet up with me at the Jazz Bakery, a venue across town. This was the night Wayne Horvitz’s Sweeter Than the Day group was playing. Our first meeting was a bit off – I was a bit agitated for not being able to communicate. (What did we do before the cellular phone was the norm???) And Ulrik was also annoyed for having to drive to the other side of town after just getting off of a very long flight and dealing with car rental at the airport. 

    When Marco came back around to do some really touristy things the next day, Ulrik joined us. He finally made it out of town a couple days later after dropping me off at the airport at the crack of dawn. I was on my way to San Francisco, and he was on his way to the Death Valley. He came back a couple of weeks later when I had a ton more couchsurfers in the house. Through various moments of conversations and activities, we became quite good friends. We keep in touch – this is also because I became his ally in a transformation he was seeking. After much considerations and serious planning, he’s finally transitioning out of working on computers, to get work doing something active outdoors. I’m more than proud of him – I celebrate his courage. Something I said to him in passing, that struck him enough for him to quote it back to me was “right now you have the facility to go crazy – make mistakes and correct mistakes, heart breaks and all that good stuff”. I wonder if I even believe me? I suppose I appreciate him most for taking me seriously – so I can, in turn, take myself seriously. 

    Ulrik Lund at Mike Watt's twfps radio recording

    Ulrik Lund at Mike Watt's twfps radio recording

    Ulrik Lund tolerates an elevator in Hollywood shopping center

    Ulrik Lund tolerates an elevator in Hollywood shopping center


  • 2.3.9 Couchsurfer Marco Junghans – ran around town with and hosted

    couchsurfer Marco Junghans

    couchsurfer Marco Junghans in an elevator in Hollywood

    I volunteered on an impulse to hang with a couchsurfer from Germany, Marco. We met up in downtown LA where he was soon shown that there wasn’t alllll that much to see there. I found it oddly adorable, even as I should be used to this by now – of visitors from other countries that may like to see actual city’s “landmarks”. Marco was one of those, completely and purely excited by all. I now call this an “East German Thing”.  We went to Griffith Park Observatory to see the sunset, looked for path to get to the Hollywood sign. In additional days of his staying in town (he was hosted in Orange County – and consequentially became quite tight with the Orange County couchsurfing bunch), we went to the walk of fame, Chinese Theatre, drove in and away from the Hollywood Cemetery. All the while he would translate his German guidebook of the history of my own city. It was quite fun in the non-expected, expected way. Maybe because I never feel so inclined to do such things myself. That was our first batch of meetings. He left for the Bay Area but later drove back down to spend more time with Los Angeles/Orange County people whom he found more friendly.

    Always smiling, I attempted over a handful of times that we hung out together and dove our talk into more of his stories maybe not commonly shared. After many conversations at many different settings, I did get a good sense over all and I ended up quite fond of him. He’s so sincere. On a search of his own to identify himself, making his way for a 2 year stay in Canada – He’s now getting into all kinds of things he wants to be doing, like working at the Winter Olympics. He’s quite capable, another computer person and with an equivalent to an MBA, he was still down to do whatever jobs it takes to support his traveling lifestyle.

    I’m keeping in touch with him even as I doubt I’d ever make it into the winter of Canada. That’s where we differ most obviously, he’s into the cold, and I’m very much not.

    couchsufers Marco Junghan and Ulrik Lund

    couchsurfers Marco Junghans and Ulrik Lund in Hollywood

    Marco Junghans - surprised

    Marco Junghans - surprised


  • 2.8.9 Phebbie’s surprised birthday party

    Phebbie and JoshPhebbie and Josh
    Phebbie and Anita

    Phebbie and Anita

    Mychelle and Kyle

    Mychelle and Kyle

    Josh's parents

    Josh's parents

    Phebbie, Josh and taquila

    Phebbie, Josh and taquila

    Phebbie and sister Nr

    Phebbie and sister Nr

    Phebbie versus cake

    Phebbie versus cake

    Phebbie and Josh

    Phebbie and Josh


  • 1.29.9 He was 67

    Funny. I want to just say it. Life is funny.

    I received an out of ordinary phone call from a restricted number. I picked it up, which was unusual. On the other side was a sound of a young woman, obviously struggling to find words, combining Thai and English – “This is May, I’m calling about our father…”

    And the story started from there. Father was in the hospital, and just in case I was curious or inclined – information was being given to me to do whatever I wish to it. Within 20 minutes, I left the house. The hospital was near Hollywood where my father and his family had been living in for the past 5 years, It’s about less than 7 miles from my place. This was the first time I heard about him in years, before I told him I was no longer interested in talking to him. 

    It took me awhile to convince the staff that I was a relative. No big deal. Once I got inside, I stood there in a hospital mask for about a half an hour. I still didn’t have any words. He wasn’t conscious. So it was perfect. No one knew exactly what was wrong with him – to be expected from the Kaiser hospital. All they knew was that he was in a coma, in a serious condition.

    The next morning, about 10 hours after my visit he was done. May, my half sister called later in the morning. They (May and her mother), decided against resuscitating. That was that. But the finalization of things I knew was yet to come.

    Oh, right, the funny part : Father died on January 30, my mother’s birthday. 

    last day

    last day

    last time

    last time

    hospital

    hospital wall


  • 1.11.9 The Breskins w/Nels

    David and daughter Billie

    David and daughter Billie

    Thelonious

    Thelonious

    Nels and Thelonious

    Nels and Thelonious

    David and Ornette

    David and Ornette

    Nels and Thelonious

    Nels and Thelonious

    Ornette and Thelonious

    Ornette and Thelonious


  • 1.1.9 The Watt From Pedro Show – New Year eve from my turf

    Mike Watt brings in the new year

    Mike Watt brings in the new year

     Mike came by to do another radio show on new year’s eve. It was an interesting evening, to say the least. He brought with him a bottle of Jim Beam, plus a six pack of beer. Only just a few days back from Japan, Mike was running on some kind of an exhaustion high. He downed bottles of beer impressively while nursing the Jim Beam. The recording was a little rough because the microphone he brought was … shitty. We had to retake some stuff. By 1 am, after ring in the new year, Mike was pretty much done and out. Still he woke up at the crack of dawn fully ready to go to his Polar Bear annual jumping in the ice water event in Pedro.

     

    Mike Watt with Cat 1 New Years Eve 2008>2009

    Mike Watt with Cat 1 New Years Eve 2008>2009


  • 12.28.8 Cousin Ked and his newborns, The Twins

    Kid A - JadenKid A – Jaden Rochanayon

     

    A few days after the twins were born, I got a chance to meet them. I was told that premies are normal for twins. The pair were born about a month early… Jaden and Aiden. 

    The father, Ked and I are first cousins. I often tell people that we are more like siblings, almost twin-like in the way we were brought up. We both were relocated from the US at a toddler age to be raised by our grandparents in a small town of Bangmulnak, Pichit province, Thailand. Ked is 6 weeks older. We both together then got pushed off into all the same classrooms from kindergarten on to 6th grade. We would get drafted for many annual school dance performances. The 2 of us made a 3 person school ‘band’, consisted of 3 kids playing daily morning national anthem over a microphone on our sassy melodicas….  in front of a captive audience of a few hundred kids. Gone were the day of us being in the spotlight.

    Ked is probably one of the main sources of how I became who I am for my reaction to him. He is what I am not; reserved, focused, punctual, peaceful, kind, and later disciplined, hard working, (positively) religious, (slightly) nationalistic, etc. For sure, growing up with him made me eat a LOT more fruits and vegetables because he was a picky eater since very young. I guess that could have initiated me to be more adventurous in general, setting out to take on the world on his behalf, or in compensation of. Curiously, however, his memory of our childhood is exactly the other side of the same coin.

    Actually, his nostalgia recently became a point of my fascination in a case of objective comparison regarding cross cultural immigration. He was plugged out from where he was in Thailand at the age of 14, sent to Los Angeles for better chance of education/survival skills. That was a year before it was my turn to get a new similar path handed to me. He persevered through a series of difficult situation, and now is settled in his life he carved for himself, happily married with a stable job in his desired field. Comparing my feeling with him over what Thailand is or isn’t, I keep in mind always of the significant point of transition. The teenage ideals and impressions were kept to help us move forward as we struggled to redefine our identities. In my view, he turned out a little bit (Thai) conservative and nationalistic. His romanticism highlights the greatest part about being Thai, and his childhood that made him so. He holds high a lot of values our family believes in, the Buddhism guided social harmony, honesty, modesty, and humbleness.

    I, on the other hand, somehow turned out non religious with heavy mistrust of any social and political systems on BOTH cultures. I sense that the gender difference is also a significant issue. I don’t know where I picked up the cynicism streak from, seeing no trace of that in Ked. All that is still unexplored entirely.

    Speaking of the unshakable cynicism streak… Oh yes, babies … How can one be a cynic around babies? I’m not really, but I can’t help to wonder why are babies so off-limits in rational discussions. I mean, rationally, the world has way tooooooo many humans living on earth, lots of babies are still being born at a faster and faster rate, taking up spaces and resources. I truly believe that a lot of frictions, warfare, social, and international issues stem from the fact that there are TOO MANY humans in relation to the resources to support the species’ sustainability. Rationally…. people should look into population control, making it an individual responsibility to care for the bigger issue, the world, which has the full implication of its relation to the quality of life 

    The opposite from rational is the emotional context of being humans. There is really no need nor a perfect way to explain LOVE, the ultimate of all emotions. Love’s one of those things no one has pinned down yet. Same as consciousness or time. It gives everyone a chance to learn, grow, experiment, regret, and forgive, a coming together as a collective entity. It is the irrational drive that help us maneuver around different stages of our lives. And babies… babies are a physical manifestation of love, or that connectivity. In a way, a rational mind can’t really deny that.

    As I visited the helpless little beings struggling to survive, but not without medical aide, I can’t help but notice how fragile they are. Years and years from now, these little beings will grow, and learn, and form thoughts and opinions on their own. All the transfer of Ked’s whole life’s worth of stories, feelings, impressions, world view will influence them. I personally have my own agenda, by sheer proximity, to infuse them with cultural awareness along with art appreciation, and maybe some Muay Thai if I can steal them from time to time. Yes, I’m excited to see what these blank slates will turn into.

     

    sign

    sign

    Ked and Jaden

    Ked and Jaden

    Jaden

    Jaden

    Jaden

    Jaden

    Jaden open eyes

    Jaden open eyes

    Nurse says new born can see black objects. My camera is very black.

    Nurse says new borns can see black objects. My camera is very black.

    to the right, an x-ray monitor

    to the right, an x-ray monitor

    Kid B - Aiden designation

    Kid B - Aiden designation

    Doctor advising procedural options for nourishment at Aiden's stage

    Doctor advising procedural options for nourishment at Aiden's stage

    Ked and Aiden

    Ked and Aiden

    Aiden is taken care of by a nurse

    Aiden is taken care of by a nurse

    Ked signing a consent release for a routine but optional procedure

    Ked signing a consent release for a routine but optional procedure

    Aiden

    Aiden

    Ked looks at Aiden

    Ked looks at Aiden

    Aiden

    Aiden