on growing up.

April 1, 2010

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact, due to me being older and being bigger than most people, that I was a kid once. I am the age of my parents and aunts and uncles, when i was a child, but a long time ago i was in fact a child. and maybe i mean that it’s easy for me to lose sight of that fact, i am watching the haircut that is my life, grow out, not enough perspective to notice change, but change is happening. And as a forewarning, this is not about being a teenager and then becoming an adult, at least not outright. There probably is something embedded in the subtext about that if you dig deep enough. But as a kid, i’ve always found my familial situation different than that of my peers. I tend to find that, amongst my peers, they are the older demographic when it comes to their siblings and cousins. There may be a few older people a few years older, but the bulk of cousins tend towards younger, and this pattern is what i find most common in my friends’ families. My family is different. I have a large family that is closely knit, and for the most part, we all grew up together. Counting my cousins and siblings, there are 17 of us on my paternal side, and 2 more from my mom’s side. And all of these people cover the span of 30+ years. so where do i fit in in all of this?

At 32, I maintain the same sort of status i did when i was a kid. Ahead of me, I have 5 cousins born between 1967 and 1972. All of them close enough in age that they all went to school together, went on trips, were allowed to wander and play and grow up together. I, on the other hand, was born in 1978, 6 years later. 6 years younger than my sister, and younger still than my cousins. That doesn’t really matter when you’re a baby, but when i was 4 or 5, they were 10-15 years old. doing things that 10-15 year olds do. and i wanted to be a part of that. When i was 11 or 12 they were 16-21. and I was never old enough. never able to keep up with what it was that they did. never able to follow along. and it wasn’t for lack of intelligence or maturity (because i knew enough to at least try to act older when hanging out with them), it was the simple fact that i was young and they were old. it was the fact that i was just a kid.

So all of that is a long way of saying, I know what it’s like to grow up in the shadow of people you look up to. You see, I am the original baby of the group. All my older cousins grew up together, while i grew up watching them, and after me my sister 5 years later. And after her there was a plethora of kids all close enough in age to be a new group of babies. But I grew up without anyone too close in age, and all i wanted was to be a part of that older group. And don’t get me wrong, we did do things together (lots of stuff in fact, those are some of my fondest memories, and we have the photos and home movies to prove it), I was an outsider looking in. And for all the cool and awesome things they did that I wanted to be a part of, I was usually denied access. Why would they want a pesky kid mucking up the cool things they were doing? They wouldn’t, and as i grew up I realized neither would I.

The thing about it was that it was really important for them to do that. Without any intention on their part, they made me understand (at least in hindsight) that there was a difference between being a kid and being a little bit older. They made me understand the group dynamic. And ultimately they made me grow up. Not nearly as fast as i was trying to pretend it to happen, no matter how hard i tried, but more organically. And in a way that my parents could never communicate (Besides, what kind of weird kid wants to act like their parents, when they can act like their cooler, slightly older cousins?). And when the time arrived for me to be one of the big cousins, it happened in a way that was natural, in a way that allowed me to begin to feel like these older cousins were my peers. Although i still acted like a little kid a lot of the times, I felt like there was a transition that i had been given access to, and part of that was me actually getting older, but the other part would come over time as i integrated into a new bracket. It was important for me to understand that. And it was important for me to know that these people i look up to believed that i was ready. And the same is true for all my cousins that had come after me. They had to or have to still make it through that transition. And i do my part in ushering that along, and passing that responsibility down.

And while this may sound like it’s some sort of test or gauntlet, it’s not. It’s just the normal way the world works, all i’m doing is looking at it and pointing it out. And this was not at all a traumatic experience, at least any more traumatic than growing up.

You have to be excluded before you can be included. That’s part of growing up, getting older. And at some point you have to go through it to realize it. So to all my little cousins and nieces and nephews, be kids. Don’t grow up too fast, because it’ll happen no matter what. Don’t try to be an adult or a big kid until you get there. Believe in the tooth fairy and santa claus. Don’t look behind the curtain just yet. And just to be clear, I’m not asking, I’m telling.

As for me, I’m still the same. looking up to (not physically anymore, mind you) my older cousins with my nieces and nephews, as they move through life that i’m not yet a part of.


how i learned to stay exactly the same.

March 28, 2010

my taste in music is fairly diverse. There are moments where my choices are eclectic, and other times when they are fairly pedestrian, but I always try to make it interesting. And i try to avoid the all-to-often ‘i listen to everything’ statement, because i don’t. Instead of listing what i do listen to, but i’ll probably do that as well, I find it easier to list what i don’t.

i don’t listen to the radio. at least not around here. not if i can help it. I spent years working at a sporting goods store that played the radio over the speakers. The station selection was hinged on who was the most in charge that day. so the selection was rather varied. But the thing that i noticed, mainly from working 8 hour days, usually long enough to hear 2 or 3 switches in the DJ rotation, was that even though the people changed, the music was on an endless loop. not to mention the commercials. There would be days that i would here mariah carey’s ‘fantasy’ or that one band’s song ‘sex and candy’ 4 or 5 times a day. at work. the same song. or a jingle for Fritz Ford or Ford of Upland or Tom Bell Ford, no wait, he was a chevy man, but like i cared. Like i even knew where upland was. Like i even know where upland is right now. (those were supposed to be read kind of sassy).

And even before the mind numbing torture of my working class early 20s, my teens were just as bad. I’d wake up to my alarm clock radio set to 99.1 KGGI, the inland empire’s version of an urban radio experience, only with a little more brown mixed in. the big draw at the time was the chance to win 99.1 dollars if you answered your phone ‘99.1 KGGI’ or something like that. They never called.

And a slightly smaller, yet still big, draw was the Art Laboe killer oldie show. Not so much for the music, at least at that time, more so for the chance to hear the dedications between lovers separated by distance, scheduling conflicts of employment, scheduling conflicts while serving a prison sentence, scheduling conflicts due to curfew, so on and so forth. Lovers kept apart physically, but music, killer oldies, could bring them together. I wonder how many ‘sleepys’ and ‘sad girls’ and ‘baby dolls’ there are in the world. and i wonder why couldn’t one of them pick up the damn phone and call in a request for me. i probably should have been in jail or something. They never called.

So there you go, my early teens burned by radio, my early 20s burned by radio, suffice to say radio and I don’t get along. And all of this is a roundabout way of saying that i don’t know popular new music. And when i hear it, it blows my mind at how awful it is. I feel like a geezer for talking like this, but i don’t understand the appeal of a lot of the music that younger kids listen to today. and i will definitely discuss this more in further detail.

And ultimately, in the most roundabout way, what i mean by all of this is that i don’t listen to music that’s too popular. I’m talking kiis fm popular, like the black eyed peas (although their first album was ok), taylor swift, and neo, or usher, or lady gaga, or gwen stefani, or most artists sold at target. I just have a hard time believing that that music is what i should be listening to. I’m infinitely skeptical that these artists are the best that music has to offer. and this point is a larger issue that i have with most things. popularity in general makes me skeptical.

and in a way that skepticism trickles down from macro to micro. so from mtv(whatever music they play), kiis, and power 106, to kcrw and kucr, i feel like these are people that are in control of our tastes. they do nothing to offer us any alternatives. not amongst their own playlists or in comparison to other radio stations or media outlets. there just isn’t enough variety. and what we deserve is variety, and the ability to find what we like, rather than have to like what we are given. and as a side note, my uncle once told me that 90 percent of all the music played is lost, never recorded, just people playing in houses and jamming. and with all the music out there that is recorded, why are we only listening to a fraction of things, and why the same things over and over.

but are we interested in kanye and katy perry’s music and that’s why they’re in people magazine and us weekly, or are we interested in their music because they’re in people and us. it feels like an oroborus or a mobius strip.

and i can admit that there might be something worthwhile in any of the artists that i’ve listed, or any artist that i haven’t, and really this is a matter of taste and personal preference. and so here is what i hate, and if i missed anything, i’ll be sure to add it, or you get the gist.

lil wayne, blink 182, mary j blige, nickelback, lady gaga, 3oh3, britney spears, rihanna, evanescence, ludacris, pink, american idol, drake, coldplay, brokencyde, youngmoney, kesha, green day, godsmack, slipknot, gwar, bon jovi, florida, linkin park, e40, too short, tupac,

ummmmm it’s so hard to go on. i feel stupid for trying so hard to find things i hate.

we’re on fire

March 13, 2010

one night we ate too much sushi, but it was totally worth it. then we talked nonsense.

While i’ve been gone

February 22, 2010

So this will probably feel like rambling and directionless writing, but i don’t want to do individual recaps of individual events that took place over the time between then and now. So without further ado, my life…


jan. 2x
got over whatever weird sickness was ailing me. got some rest, got some medicine, got some better. although i’m still tired, but i’ve been taking naps and sleeping in a bit earlier. I’m still teaching at 7 in the morning, but i’m figuring out how to handle it a lot better.

jan 28
went skiing with my cousin. and found out a distant (distant is the wrong word, i mean not my parents’ brothers, but a cousin-in-law of my dad, and not at all distant, maybe extended is a better word) uncle passed away quite suddenly.


jan 30
took my nephew and niece and sister to the snow to play. it was about 4 feet deep, so walking was pretty tough going, each step i was sinking down full leg lengths, but we went early enough that both kids were just walking on top without sinking. but the moment the sun hit the snow, all of us were having a tough time. we were only there for a few hours, and by the time we went back to the car we were exhausted and starving. and as we made our way down the hill we were looking for a place to eat.

i’ve seen ads for ruby tuesday for a while, and i find it strange when there are national ads on tv for chains that don’t really have a foothold in the west coast, i think most notably sonic burgers is an example of this. and out of sheer curiosity i always want to go there and try whatever it is that they sell. i like the idea of chains and the quality and consistency of going to the same place in different places, or different places in the same place. and by that i mean that these chains offer up something that is generically popular to a selection of people somewhere else, and ultimately they become generically popular with people in areas i occupy. (and part of this is why megan fox is appealing, she is this uber-hot woman and red lobster is her favorite restaurant, it feels like she is real and you can understand who she is.) but i digress, ruby tuesday, over the past few years ‘they’ have been making san bernardino ‘nicer’ by introducing a slew of various chain restaurants to the already saturated hospitality ave., and one of these is ruby tuesday. and as far as i knew it was close to opening or had just recently opened, however i’m not really over that way that much. So my sister and i decided to go and check it out. as we walked in, i noticed that there was a sign that said they’d be closing at 4 that day, and that sounds reasonable so i paid it no mind. then on entering our hostess was wearing yoga pants and a tshirt, and she led us to our table. looking around the place, it was a little busy, but it seemed like everyone working was wearing casual clothes, and that was a little strange. Because we were sat in the back it took a while for our waitress to even realize we were there, so we had some time to just look and take in the atmosphere. it was strange because there was an air of somberness. when we were finally greeted, we were told that the restaurant was closing at 4, and that would be forever. and because this was the last day they had super sales on their food. she started off by telling us that all of the hamburger plates were 5 dollars, and then she took our drink order and walked away. so we all decided on various burgers. when she came back with our drinks she also told us that steaks were 5 dollars too. so we ended up ordering 4 steaks. it’s kind of funny to see little kids with giant steaks in front of them, it makes them seem like tiny adults. and so in light of that news we tried to call everybody around so they could eat, but of course the moment that you actually have to get in contact with anyone, no one picks up. anyway, that’s a long way to go for a story on a couple of 5 dollar steaks.


feb 3

bought new skis

hung out with ryan


feb 5-7
went to mammoth and skied so much. snowing. fresh powder. new skis. perfect.


feb 10
went out for thai food with jenny. we always go out to eat. table for 2 in riverside is one of our favorites. we tried to video blog it, but everything that could go wrong did. but at the very least the food was good. and the day was pretty.


feb 13
prevalentine. went to redondo beach and biked up and down the strand. stopped into the fish market and grabbed lunch. went shopping at the marukai discount store, ate dinner at spires, walked around sports chalet. romance.

we’re not too big on doing things the way most people do things, so we don’t do valentines the way other people do valentines. i feel like valentines is this day of impossible sweetness and thinly thought out offerings of love. so i don’t do valentines because i think everyday should be as passionate as movies make it out to be. and more to the point, i really think that our lives shouldn’t emulate movies, rather movies should emulate our lives. And while it might not happen conveniently in 2 hours, my life is more exciting than movies. at least i think so.


feb 14
went to see the wolfman. meh. my issue with the movie was the pacing, it felt like it was ill timed and clunky. plus the acting was sort of phoned in. lunch at el torito.


feb 16
mardis gras. pre birthday celebration for myself and my brother. same birthday, not twins, 15 years apart. just dinner at home with the family.


feb 17
a quiet birthday.

32 does not feel old. i feel the right way i think. i feel like i can’t pass for my early twenties, but i don’t want that. life seems to be on some sort of track, but the thing that scares me is that i feel like i’m putting off certain adult things. i feel like i’m in suspended 20something, and i sort of want the next step, whatever that may be. i’d like to get a job that could allow me to, i don’t know actually buy a car or a house or a clue. but that’s not to say that i don’t enjoy what i do right now, it’s just i was raised buying into the same american dream as everyone else, and sometimes those desires creep in and become real.


feb 19
went skiing. almost killed by a bentley. happy hour. no mini golf. sushi contest. and like minami said to me, we all win.


feb 20
matthew gets a car and i go art supply shopping.

whew. the end.

oh yeah. i started a new painting somewhere in there and i should be done soon, fingers crossed.

sick and tired

January 26, 2010

I haven’t been sleeping all too well lately. Too late of nights, and too early in the morning equals me not sleeping as nicely as i should be. I could theoretically sleep earlier, but i can not execute sleeping earlier. Mainly because i’m not geriatric, but also because things are way more interesting in the night time than in the day. But whatever, i’m now sick from maybe lack of sleep and maybe from something going around. I don’t really feel anything other than the chills, and that’s from my high temperature, no sniffles, no aches, no cough, just the chills. But last week I had a super bad sinus thing. Not that i want to gross you out with any details of my ailments. so what that means is i’m going to take a few days to mend my self and get back to a healthier me. give me a little time off and i’ll think of more interesting things to write and post on here. see you in a bit!

pounding pavement

January 24, 2010

took the time saturday to make my way out to check out the galleries in culver city. it’s been forever since i’ve headed out that way, mainly due to a busy schedule, lack of motivation, and not really anything sounding too tempting. plus it’s not really fun to drive around LA alone, it’s much more enjoyable to go with friends and spend the day bumming around. So myself, my cousin jon, and friend ryan (MFA 2012? ucr) went out there and had a great time.

it’s the first time i’ve been to see the new spaces since most of the galleries moved. we started off driving around to get a sense of where things were located, and on our second pass hit up Roberts & Tilton first. the new space was pretty impressive compared to how cramped and tight their previous wilshire location was. that old spot is better suited the way Acme is using the space now anyway. the show at R&T by noah davis was alright. not horrible, but nothing stood out. it was ambitious in that there were a lot of paintings, and there were some nice moments, however the overall effect wasn’t grand. it was an exhibition, but it wasn’t a spectacle. i’d like to see what davis makes next, where his work goes and what it turns in to.

then we ventured into the maze of construction that kordansky is in the middle of. are they turning this place into an arts complex? the large amount of that bamboo/reed plant found at every other art type of place indicates that might be true. is it going to be bergamot station part 2? anyway, the space was nice and there was a decent group show with a few fun pieces in it. my preview through the parking lot window was deceptive, so much so i almost didn’t want to venture in. but since i was already there, why not. the paintings felt too reliant on formal issues that i couldn’t bring myself to care, whereas the sculptures were pretty lively. next door at nicodim there was a show of some paintings that felt on the nose germanic. i’m a stickler, but i don’t really like paintings that are done loose and then stretched over a frame after. it just feels sloppy and not really committed. but i know that’s sort of irrational. oh, and the space smelled like a cigar box or a grampa, kind of suited the paintings.

next we headed for the tom laduke show at Angles Gallery. one word to describe it, amazing. that show is amazing. if you can make it out to see it, you need to see it. not really sure what to expect, mainly because i got a message saying that laduke is maybe more than human and i scoffed a little at that. but i have to say that might actually be true now that i’ve seen the show. i don’t want to give anything away so i won’t, but it is really amazing. as far as the space, they’re in the old blum & poe space which was a pretty good sized, but they’ve since moved across the street, which was where we were headed next.

along the way, we stopped in to cherry & martin with a show by daniel dove. he was afriend of a friend i went to grad school with and i’ve met him a couple of times. he seemed nice enough and i’ve seen his work before and it’s competently painted but not really that engaging, or better yet it’s the same stuff he’d been doing when i met him last. slow and steady wins the race maybe.

then we crossed la cieniga in the middle of the street, stopping traffic which is always such an empowering experience, and headed to the new blum & poe. we wlaked in from the back entrance and we weren’t sure what we were walking into. the space is like a museum. it’s so impressive and overwhelming. two stories, awesome air conditioning, super bright, huge rooms. it’s really too much to take in. i want so much to go to an opening there because it’s going to be off the hook. anyway, B&;P stepped their game up big time and i can’t wait to see how the space gets used in the future. the show was eh.., i was way more into the new space. i will say this though, i went upstairs and went in to the small video room and whoever was in the bathroom before stunk that place up like something super gross. i couldn’t watch the video. yuk. but a great space none the less.

then we headed to LAx, but they were between shows. and i heard that vielmetter had an opening but by that point we were all hungry and not really wanting to deal with the any crowds. all in all a good day cruising around the galleries.

we decided we’d check out the farmer’s market to grab dinner, considering that both jon and ryan had not been there before. it is touristy but why not indulge and go to an LA institution. after adjusting to all the sights and sounds, walking around a bit to figure out what our taste buds were in the mood for, ryan and i decided to go to the brazilian place and get a couple of plates of rice, beans, plantains, and meat. and jon went cajun and got an oyster po’boy and red beans and rice. everything was amazing. i remember when i was little being brought there by my uncle to get weird meat and roasted chestnuts, or to show foreign relatives around LA. it had been forever since I was there last, so it was like it was all pretty new to me too. and after we stuffed our faces we got funnel cake. perfect.

Then we headed over to Kristofferson’s new studio in highland park and hung out drinking beers and telling scary stories until 3:15am. pretty much a perfect way to spend the first sunny day this week in socal.

what don’t i hate.

January 21, 2010

i hate haters. going through grad school i realized that it turns everybody into haters. when i started making art, when i started pursuing the linear path of artist through grad school, i started because i was excited about the things i saw in the world. i was excited to be a part of all of the goings on. that is not to say that i was not without taste, that i didn’t dislike things, but i liked more things than i didn’t. Then going to grad school, it seemed like any artist that came up in conversation was getting crapped on. classmate after classmate, all they could do was talk about how so-and-so is overrated and that their art sucks. the reasons were never really clear. or maybe i just don’t care about other peoples opinions, as in that the reasons of their ire are valid but only applicable in their brains.

and getting out of grad school, but still teaching around other grad students, it seemed no different. mostly haters. and hanging out with friends going through grad school. mostly haters. friends of friends going through grad school. mostly haters. people out of grad school. mostly haters.


why all the hate towards artists that have shows up? i have a hard time wrapping my head around it. why does grad school make hate? i don’t have an answer. i think it has a lot to do with being on the precipice of a career. a lot to do with ego and fear. a lot to do with self aggrandizing. we need a place in the world. we want a place in the world we are trying to enter into, and what better way than to puff up your chest and think you’re better than the competition. it seems that grad school is a necessary evil though. it promotes insecurity as much as it does big-headedness, and that is a dangerous combination.

but you do your time. you go through the system, and you learn the things you need to learn, and meet the people you think you should meet. i’m oversimplifying things. but you go through, people fade off and move away, and if you’re lucky you keep on going for it. and you think you’re doing the right thing, that you’re good enough to maybe have a chance, and that dangerous big-headedness and insecurity keeps on keeping on. but you end up okay. once you shake all the crazy academic stuff, all the mumbo jumbo art talk that only applies while you’re in the bracket of academia.

but it’s hard to shake. you just spent so long doing whatever it was you were doing and you’re supposed to try and not be that way. that doesn’t really make sense.

so why can’t these people get more excited about the work they see, about the things out there in the world? i think they do like stuff, it just happens to be dumb stuff. hip stuff. i think they like dumb things because it makes them feel better than what they like. and by no means am i immune to this. I am as much the problem as anyone else.

but i try not to hate. better still, i don’t voice what i hate. and i try to find something worth while in most things. that’s not always possible, but i try. i just find it a waste of time to think and talk about the things i don’t like. just give bad things enough time to figure out what it is that’s not good.

I like to ask people that hate so much, ‘What do you really like, really get excited about? What was the last great thing you saw?’ That tends to be a harder question to answer than asking what they don’t like.

here’s what i hate on.
– hawaiian barbecue. it’s okay, but not really great. and i like macaroni salad, but i don’t get why it’s there too.
– heat. when it’s cold you can put on more clothes to get warm, but you’re miserable either way if you have clothes on or you’re naked.
– i’m with coco. i like conan. a lot in fact. but he’s not the cultural messiah that everyone makes him out to be. his show is as stodgy and stuffy as his competition. it’s really a fallacy in the format of the show. and you don’t need to tell me how great you think he is. i’ve thought that since i watched him from the beginning.
-fanboy haters. they don’t like iron man or spider man movies because it appeals to a large target audience, but watchmen is genius because it’s based on a pretty good comic.
-graphic novels. i hate the phrase. their called comic books. attaching the word novel doesn’t make it substantial. substance does.
– american apparel. they make some shitty shirts in shitty colors. blah. even more generic than miller’s outpost ever was.
– mustaches on young guys. it doesn’t make you look older. it makes you look like a girl with a hairy lip.
-homeless people with funny signs. go sell oranges or something, you dirtbag.
-hip bad fashion. dressing ugly doesn’t make your ugly face less ugly. it just make you an ugly person with ugly style.
-fanny packs. get a better bag.
-v-neck shirts. yuk.
-records. not unless you are a dj a real dj.
-unflushed toilets. yuk.
-tight jeans. makes guys look like they have hips like girls should have hips.
-short shorts. great on girls. not so much any other way.
-fashion dogs. your dog should be a beast not a bitch.

more to come.

breakfast of first runner ups

January 20, 2010

I make my way to class at 6 in the morning. actually that’s not true. i wait around with my shoes on, and lie down with my eyes closed until my last alarm goes off at 6:17. then i get out there and drive. I try to teach what i can in the 50 minutes i have for class, clean up, drop off some papers in the office, then make my way back home. i drive back and forth almost as long as i teach. weird. it makes me miss the days of teaching for 6 hours.

it’s usually too early for breakfast for me. all i want to do is go back and sleep some more. but on the drive back today i was thinking about how limited this area is for breakfast options. i like bagels and there aren’t too many places to get bagels in riverside. and for full breakfasts, the options are run of the mill, i.e. coco’s, denny’s, mimi’s, ihop. I wish i had a place like cajun kitchen. out of everything from my life out in santa barbara, the thing i miss the most is that restaurant. but that’s neither here nor there now. mainly because i’m here, not there… wait so i guess it is here and there. i’m not sure how that phrase is supposed to be turned.

but today i got breakfast. drove through mcdonalds for an egg mcmuffin in honor of thinking of santa barbara. i’m pretty sure that it was invented there, at least that’s what the plaque on the walls said at mcds in santa barbara. so there you go, santa barbara, famous for egg mcmuffins and … halloween, i guess.

egg mcmuffins are pretty good. it’s like everything on a breakfast plate jammed between two pieces of bread. they should make it with scrambled egg instead of whatever you might call that egg that they use.

maybe i’ll get pancakes next time.

fresh start.

January 19, 2010

I’m not at all unfamiliar with this blogging thing. However, I am not used to maintaining my writing for any long periods of time. so that’s a minus. another minus is that I have a hard time writing about different things. and yet another minus is that i can be long winded on certain subjects at times. But we should look for the positives in life. we should aspire towards the better. towards the greater.

a word of warning. I am a bit of an oddity. It’s not that i’m not nice, or that i’m mean per se, because i am both, i just tend to behave in a more exact and rational manner. I’m not at all a tree hugging kind of guy, nor am I someone that prescribes to broad generals. Closer to an anarchical point of view, but labeling it feels contradictory. But then I joke a lot. and i’m also serious about a lot of things. I suppose, in person it’s a lot easier to manage interacting with me because i have some inflection. I tend to write a little sing-songy, so that makes my writing have more flourishes than i suppose it should really require. But not nice and not mean, maybe a little cold at times but usually leaning towards more fun ventures. that might be a good way to describe my overall attitude.

I also am inconsistant with using capital letters.

but that’s not all that important. I promise i’ll try to be interesting and have good stuff up here and be fairly regular. thanks.

August 16, 2008