• 9.9.10 Couchsurfer David Kay – Hosted in Bangkok, Visited in London

    David Kay in London

    David Kay in London

    David can talk, that’s what I remember from hanging out with him in Bangkok earlier this year from February to April. He came to stay with us at the house for about 12 days before and after he went to Burma. And because he can talk, he can make friend with everyone. The weirdest and most adorable thing, I think, is his even temper and dead-pan’ish British humor. You can’t miss his (rather tall) presence, and his constant having a say at something or someone. He participated in many activities including the most memorable one for being a part of the painting crew who attacked the first floor of our place.

    When I visited London briefly, I made sure to catch up with a few people, one of them was David. Luckily he was game to drive 45 minutes to the nearest Tube station to come meet with me. We caught up at the Paddington station. The rest of the day was running around a bit late to this and that. I wanted to go to this museum, which we finally managed to find, and to arrive right as they were closing. So I took a picture of him before headed off to find different places to have a beer.

    David Kay at Tate Modern

    David Kay at Tate Modern Contemporary Art Museum


  • 9.8.10 Couchsurfer Tim Nichols – hosted in Bangkok, visited in London

    Tim Nichols in his Stoke Newington neighborhood bar

    Tim Nichols in his Stoke Newington neighborhood bar

    At the end of January, Tim came to stay with us in Bangkok. Not until I visited with him for a quick dinner and a beer last September I got to snap a picture of him.

    Tim is reserved when you first met him, but he’s quite open to discuss much anything not excluding the complex level of politics. His work in child welfare in the UK is not only admirable but right. Not too many people I came across impress me in the proof of living what you preach, but he is one. Hanging with him always keep me in check of what do I really know about the social function as dealt through and with government officials. For pleasure, he has a ton of recommendations of museums, theatre, and even some musical bands. Even with entertainment, he will not let you take off your thinking hat. I’d rather appreciate people like this.


  • 3.14.9 Couchsurfer Event – Ben Walther’s “Flavor Tripping Party” in Topanga

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    .

    Max

    Max

    Mike

    Mike

    Max and Janice

    Max and Janice

    Rachel

    Rachel

    ..

    ..

    Janice

    Janice

    Ben Walther

    Ben Walther

    Jason

    Jason

    Aaron

    Aaron


  • 2.17.9 Couchsurfer Hanna Rosendahl – Hosted

    couchsurfer Hanna Rosendahl

    couchsurfer Hanna Rosendahl

    Out of all couchsurfers I’ve hosted, I think I miss having Hanna around the most. Nothing bad about all the boys that’s came through here but this girl is much tougher than anyone. A librarian by trade, a boxer by hobby, she carries my favorite quality – a super woman gene. That is – the nurturer of all strengths, inclusive of femininity, along were intelligence, wit, sarcasm, humor, fighting spirit.

    I sent couchsurfer Ulrik to pick Hanna up from Koreantown where she was sitting bored. She was couchsurfing with some college students who had no time to hang with her. I got a series of messages from her looking for actions. I already had several couchsurfers at my place, but figured what the heck could it hurt to add one more. Besides, seeing her interest in boxing, I wanted to get to know this girl.

    During the time of her stay,  I was only doing mostly fight classes (took a break from music attendance). Like a shadow, she went with me to both of my 2 camps, the Krav Maga training center, and Wildcard Boxing Club. We sparred a little in one of the boxing classes. She was a righteous partner. I got to introduce her to some of my favorite instructors and classes.

    It was also interesting to join a debate with Hanna. Luckily I was on her side and occasionally high-fiving at times. One such memorable moment was a ‘discussion’ we had with fellow couchsurfer Abbéy. It was a formidable topic of men vs. women and the view of dating / relationship. That was fun. It nearly went off edge many times, a disaster near miss. The result was yielded no alteration of anyone opinions. Just more awareness of each other’s level of stubbornness… and traces of any awkward humor.

    Schopenhauer: “Argument is not so much for those who want to learn as for those who want to dispute”.

    It felt as if she was my little sister. There were times I had to throw my hands up and let her run the show. All I could do was to accommodate, which I did gladly. I doubt if I would ever go visit her in Gothenburg, Sweden – but I would love to run around with her again. She’s pure fire.

    couchsurfer Hanna Rosendahl

    Hanna Rosendahl at Wildcard Boxing Club

    Hanna Rosendahl with the (in)famous Freddie Roach

    Hanna Rosendahl with the (in)famous Freddie Roach

    Hanna Rosendahl in a ground fighting class at Krav Maga Training Center

    Hanna Rosendahl in a ground fighting class at Krav Maga Training Center

    Hanna Rosendahl

    Hanna in Los Angeles


  • 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


  • 12.20-26.8 Couchsurfer Ingo Harzheim – Traveled, Hosted

    Ingo Harzheim, Las Vegas NVIngo Harzheim, Las Vegas NV

     

    A snapshot of a crucial moment : Sweats breaking down my temples, sitting next to a traveling German…. at a Thai restaurant in Los Angeles – my turf within my turf – we were. After a diligent assessment into how hot they should make the food for him, I ended up with a spice burn when he felt NOTHING. I couldn’t believe all the words of explanation mislead me of how insanely much hotter he prefers his food than I do. • I failed twice in one shot.• This was the evening before he departed for Mexico.

    I met up with Ingo Harzheim in Las Vegas. It was unbelievable how fast we befriended. Talking with him was easy and in short time I found so much in common. One main difference – his obsession over Cirque du Soleil which I found adorable…. up to a certain point. I’m still on the fence over his having Cirque du Soleil’s music in his itune collection… The day we met was my birthday, so he treated me to a “Mystere” show, ended up with quite an experience watching the massive live entertainment production, not to mention the unbelievable super human strengths and their acrobatic skills.

    The one activity that was quite uniquely memorable was actually the one I can only enjoy thinking about after the fact. We rode out on the motorcycle towards the Red Rocks, few miles outside of Las Vegas. It sounds awesome now, but then, I believed my hands and face were going to fall off (I’m sure his were, too). I don’t know how cold it was, maybe in the low 40s. It was the week after they got their “biggest snow storm since 1979”. So, yes, it was still – way cold. 

    Overall, hanging around in Las Vegas usually depresses me with all the bells, jingles, whistles, and crap jumbotrons. All that seemed secondary when taking a long walk on the strip with a good company. 

    I invited him back to Los Angeles for a few days to get over the christmas time. He also fast befriended my shy cat … however inadvertently, by having beef jerky or yogurt in his possession. Amongst other things, Ingo prefers a perfect cup of cappuccino (setting off a daily adventure in itself), and all his food to be ‘real’ (high suspicion of the ‘health’ trend). He’s an avid jogger, rock climber, hiker, an all around outdoors person, who happens to have a profession doing something software/computer related. 

    Every person that comes into your life and ended up reflecting the meaning of it is the greatest gift I cherish. It wasn’t the case that I was lost, but in one of our many many long conversations, Ingo said something that struck me deeply. It was quite a simple statement said in passing, but it pointed me to my new appreciation, then a sense of urgency for completing my project – THIS BLOG. (It may seem like just another blog on the web, but I hope it will prove other wise.) Just several days after he departed, having left behind a significant impression, I finished hand processing the 100 rolls of film sitting around for the past year. What I learned from talking to him is that what I’ve seen and what I’ve done is something worthwhile. For nothing else is the passion I put into it, the intrinsic value of having something I own, that I created, and produced. 

    Truly – truly appreciated the chance to meet him. I think it definitely changed a pace of my life in an important part I didn’t know I needed to change.
     

    Red Rock vicinity

    Red Rock vicinity - too cold to continue, I said (notice traces of snow in the background)

    Ingo after cappuccino

    Ingo with cappuccino

    Ingo

    Ingo

    Ingo endorses iphone

    iphone endorsement

    Ingo at Rockreation

    at Rockreation

    Ingo during a conversation

    during a conversation

    Ingo made dinner

    dinner

    drive

    drive