• 10.22-23.8 Couchsurfer Meysam Haddadi – Hang (CS introduction)

    Couchsurfer Meysam

    Couchsurfer Meysam

    I heard about this couchsurfing website somewhere along the internet buzz line. I never gave that much thought about it UNTIL I suddenly found myself laid off of my (near) 6 year job. This brought me to reexamine my life. The first thought that comes to mind is that I want to travel everywhere all over the world. But for the specific moment, my situation has to be drastically reconfigured. In the meanwhile, I was looking around for  ways to travel when I visited the couchsurfing site. Looking at it more closely, and it dawned on to me that it might be the answer! What a concept it is… people networking with people, across different cultures, all over the world. I was immediately sold. 

    Since I’m not going out into the world anytime soon, I thought I’d bring the world to me. I’d better collect traveling brownie points by start hosting first. SO – my first was to be Meysam, from Germany, traveling through for a few days before heading to the east coast. Somehow our schedule didn’t connect, he ended up with a different host instead in West Los Angeles area. 

    On Wednesday, I picked him up from his host to take him to Rockreation, an indoor climbing gym. I failed Meysam by not passing the procedural belaying test using the stupid atc belaying device. So we could only messed around bouldering instead. I was hugely disappointed by letting him down. I haven’t climbed for ages, and when I did, I never took up the responsibility of belaying….. and if I ever did, it was some years ago with the figure 8, and shady piece of gear.

    Afterward I drove him across town to my place for a hang. On the way we passed downtown LA, so he got to see the magnificent city’s center (magnificent being sarcastic.) We had some wine and chatted about this and that. A moment like this I recognize for being unique for couchsurfing community – As you are being open to host someone, or to be hosted at someone’s home – you seem to be more open and chilled. I supposed it maybe the same personality trait, and our type just found the right channel to connect. At the moment of my writing this, I can think of ZERO of my friends… that would even considered surfing or hosting. I wonder what the percentage is?

    Meysam, a German of  Iranian descent living in Koln. His German accent makes me smile. He does some sort of engineering work back home. His demeanor was always considerate and easy going. We had fun chatting for a couple of hours before I took him back to Nagat’s.

    Thursday I checked in about 7 to see what he was up to. He happened to be finishing up cooking dinner for his host and invited me to join. I drove over and got there a little bit late, but he whipped out a plate for me anyway. The food was so delicious, being as simple as chicken, rice, with spices. His awesome host Nagat made a really incredible salad using pomegranate.  Then we hung out chatting with Nagat and her husband Bader for a bit before heading out for a drink. I took him to Marina Del Rey’s famous turtle racing Thursdays at Brennan’s bar. But we got there too late and missed the turtles. So we each had a drink before I took him back to Nagat’s and bid farewell. 

    Meysam at rockreation, West Los Angeles

    Meysam at rockreation, West Los Angeles

    Maysam at dinner table

    Maysam at dinner table

    CS Meysam with hosts Nagat and Bader

    CS Meysam with hosts Nagat and Bader


  • 9.20-22.8 Santa Cruz/Big Sur with Phebbie and Josh

    Santa Cruz

    Santa Cruz

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    Mystery Spot

    at concert in Big Sur

    at concert in Big Sur

    Big Sur

    Big Sur

    along a highway in Big Sur

    along a highway in Big Sur


  • 9.12.8 Tricky at the Henry Fonda Theatre (courtesy of Phebbie & Josh)

    This was the first time I got to see Tricky. My friends Phebbie and Josh took me along to the show. I didn’t bring a camera due to my lack of pre planning. But I thought it’s still worth making a note of it for such incredible show it was. Tricky, explained in the wikipedia as having the “dark, rich and layered sound” style, was an easy draw for me. The contrast of his singing with his singer Martina Topley-Bird, as appeared on the albums, precisely translated in the grander nature of live performance – was dramatic, creating a very intense theatrical vibe. We had a really great time just watching him.

    OR it could all be intensified by the substance of mushrooms. This great night… ended with my watching the movie Matrix for the first time (and later Celebrity Death Match!?!?). I think I forever changed. Maybe.


  • 8.8.8 My day – with friends

    A video diary of a day.


  • 8.3.8 KM’s fight club – with friends II

    Still into it. I made another one for more laughs.


  • 7.27.8 KM’s fight club – with friends

    Having fun with some video footage. I took the video as an aide to see our progress over time. I couldn’t help it but made a little 3+ minute video to share with some friends. I’ve taken a lot of time trying to figure out the compositioning of moving images. This was also an exercise of low key video editing.


  • 6.21.8 Catching up with Diana, Kurt and… Sophia

    I met Diana 6-7 years ago here in Los Angeles, when she was working at a photo studio Smashbox. I fell in love with her immediately. Something about her was so easy and comforting to be around. A California native to Nicaraguan parents, Diana speaks several languages and a natural diplomat. She studied international relations and later got a job at the UN before soon after she moved to Vienna with her awesome genius architect wine connoisseur husband Kurt. 

    It’s been about a couple of years since I last saw Diana. She and Kurt were here last to get a break from Austria winter. Since then, Diana and Kurt produced an adorable offspring, Sophia. It was so nice to catch up with them at Jennifer’s wedding.

     

    Diana and Sophia

    Diana and Sophia

    Kurt and Sophia

    Kurt and Sophia

    Sophia sleeping

    Sophia sleeping

    Kurt, Diana, and Sophia

    Kurt, Diana, and Sophia

    Kurt, Diana, and Sophia

    Kurt, Diana, and Sophia

    Kurt, Diana, and Sophia

    Kurt, Diana, and Sophia

    Sophia

    Sophia


  • 6.20-21.8 Jennifer and Ross’s wedding

    I know Jennifer for many years now through our mutual friend Diana. Her pursuit is in academia, majoring in Anthropology with the focus Peru culture. But our contact had only been around the typical southern California stuff – that is – parties, movies, and a strip club.  When she moved to the East Coast to go to Harvard, our exchanges become sparse. When I got her text message asking me for an address, it hit me by surprise that she was getting married!

    After receiving that invitation, I got a chance to look up ‘their story’ – as posted on their wedding info website – such – an incredibly sweet story.

     

    Jennifer and Ross

    Jennifer and Ross

    Jennifer and Ross

    Jennifer and Ross


  • 5.24-25.8 Cass and Mike’s Wedding in New York

    New York bound again! Second time this year, and how I was excited. This time the mission was to attend Cassandra and Mikael’s Greek Orthodox wedding. I was to meet up with Nels who flew in a half day later. I wanted to catch the rehearsal dinner which he missed.The dinner was held at the church where the wedding ceremony will also be. This was at the Washington Square… and the reception was at a the Manhattan Penthouse.
    It was a little bit surreal, being that I only knew just a handful of people. I was up for it. I love weddings. Customs fascinate me. And I happen to adore this couple.
    before the ceremony

    before the ceremony

    before the ceremony

    before the ceremony

    Greek Orthodox Priest

    Greek Orthodox Priest

    ceremony

    ceremony

    reception dancer

    belly dancing at the reception by one of many bridesmaids

    New York view

    New York view


  • 4.27.8 Sam Sade discusses Middle East solution with Ben Kermode

    Former Israeli military, currently Krav Maga head instructor Sam Sade stayed after class to passionately discuss Middle East conflicts and his solution with my classmate Ben. Ben, half Australian, and half Egyptian scholar, was in for a fierce debate. Regretfully, in my view, Ben was not well equipped to get into “this” – namely he was not bull-headed enough about the issue to be getting into it with someone like Sam. Since Sam could always and did cite his personal experience of having lived in Haifa, and fought in the (first) Lebanon War, he will inevitably be more than emotionally attached to his side of argument.

    Ben remained extremely polite, carefully listening to Sam’s point without disqualifying it directly.  It was difficult to watch as I was certainly in support of Ben. But just as Ben, I was not equipped with the point by point historic opposition against Sam’s. I mostly restrained my expression, and decided to just watch. Though I occasionally chimed in to disagree with Sam, but stepped back as soon as I know I was looking at a … brick wall. I’d quickly step the hell back and rooted for Ben to cover it. And in his best manner, Ben did. (Can’t say the same for Sam’s)

    What I did learn that day was that, for sure – one can NOT begin to discuss politics with a known opposition by accusing them of being ‘wrong’. One can certainly be too close or too far from the issue. The best thing to hope for is for those of us who care to shift the world’s direction, to affect anything positive, one must win argument by learning to listen, acknowledge emotions, and plant perspective seeds in your opponent’s mind. Then continue to question the origin plus the goals of your opponent. This is the point of dialoging, is to bridge understanding. With the difference in style of discussion, I was clear on who stood the chance to a better and positive solution.

    Sam and Ben

    Sam and Ben