Kayaking the LA River

Kayaking the LA River

A few photos I took while at the grand opening of the LA River Kayak program. A lot of people in the water, some people fishing along the banks too. It was a perfect day for it, and everybody seemed to be having a lot of fun. 


I really think I’m going to try this pretty soon. 


Monkey Skull

Monkey Skull

My buddy’s little monkey skull. He keeps this on his kitchen counter, so sometimes it watches me while I drink. Taken with my Olympus EPL-1

The Digital World is Leaking

I’ve noticed a trend among people lately. It’s a weird sort of unspoken gossip circle that is full of events and drama I am not privy to. It’s the people who are heavy Facebook users, and it has to do with the fact that I deleted my account a couple of months ago. Maybe a year ago? Not sure. I want to make this clear, I’m not hating. I was the worst facebooker. At dinner, movies, when I’m supposed to be listening, while merging onto the 405 freeway at 100 mph.  That’s when I would facebook. So, like your great drunk friend who once drank that whole bottle of whiskey just cause he was thirsty, I eventually had to recognize my problem and quit.

Now that I am no longer a part of the great feed, I’ve noticed that sometimes people will ask about others in an offhand way, but with a whole lot of information at their disposal via the fb.Totally showing their hand, and being really obvious too.
For example, asking about somebody that maybe somebody else used to date. The person asking would do so to see if the other knows about something that transpired on Facebook, but didn’t in real life. Poking around an issue, waiting to find out what you know so they can fill in the holes in their little soap opera. What do they care? Why would they ask? Ohhhh, Facebook.
Or when somebody asked me, “She had a really nice body huh?”. Straight out of left field, because I hadn’t seen the girl in forever, so I asked my creepy friend what it was that made him ask about her. Facebook. He saw a pic on Facebook. So here he is, looking at pics of a girl I used to see, but had not seen in forever. And he likes what he sees. He doesn’t think it’s weird at all. I don’t understand the thrill of two dudes sitting around talking conquests. I’ve never understood that.
Or another who tries to get familiar with every single person you introduce them to in real life. Not that this is a bad thing, but it’s the awkward person at the party who doesn’t talk to anybody, but suddenly is all over the new acquaintance’s inbox on a pretty regular basis. Trying to be cute and maybe even taking pot shots at me, or asking what terms the relationship is on. Transparent. I would have no problem if they made a total move in person, and it sucks to have a girl ask you to stop your friends emails, she’s married thank you. Creep.
Am I right to think that this is a little creepy? Even if we put aside all the dramatic little bullshit that makes these things so awkward, and strip any personal attachment, removing our own interests from the situation entirely.
Asking ourselves, “Isn’t it just a little weird, that people are living more life in a virtual space, are better at life, and have more social skills on the web than they do in flesh and blood?” There are events that happen only online. There are web exclusives, and e-albums, digital accounts and transactions where nothing moves but the merchandise, and your fingers on the keys. I couldn’t personally care less about the social drama, I have problems of my own over here, but the tool that is facebook, makes the snooping way too easy. Like the most efficient gossip machine ever.

It’s amazing how terribly online drama translates to real life. Punching someone over something done online would just have to seem pathetic, right? Yet a young man sits in jail for some song lyrics he posted on the site, that referred to threats he made in a manner that was just a little too direct for the powers that be to allow.

I was in a thread online somewhere where some older guy was dead set on the old “Kill them all and let god sort them out” mentality. He said the kid basically could be done away with for all he cared. I just asked “who gets to decide where to draw the line?” and basically sat back to watch the “debate”, but there wasn’t much of a debate. Was more like a bunch of guys trying pick a fight, puffing out their chest and making bold statements, waiting for someone to take the online bait, and lose it. If somebody broke a nose or got physical over this thread, I think it would be equally lame. Equally pathetic.
Still, all this activity, digital or analog, has consequences in real life. When somebody loses it online, to me it looks a lot like road rage. You would never talk to that person that way if you were outside your car walking next to them. But the fortress of your vehicle and your control over your environment has been altered by this foreigner cutting into your lane, and you lose it. You lose it because you’re in your car. Same difference online, total E-Peen ego dents causing anger and real rage. Just like there are deadly, and violent road rage cases. The exceptional ones where the wrong dude was messed with, and actual fisticuffs are thrown roadside.
Well, here we have an exceptional online free speech case, where actual cuffs have been slapped on, and a young man sits in jail over words thrown out there online. It will be interesting to see what his fate is, and what this means for freedom of speech, an ideal us so-called creative types hold very dear. A man’s life hangs in the balance here. He may be an idiot, but he’s still a man, and your rights are measured with his fate.
The constitution is not a suicide pact, that’s one of my favorite principles of government, and one of the most challenging to define. We could all imagine a situation where rules would have to be broken, and precedents will be set. This is one of those times. This is one of those cases.

Insane vacation dream.

I wrote the stuff below when I woke up one morning in Vieques. I was pretty delirious when I wrote it, still half asleep, but purposefully, willfully writing like I do for my lucid dreaming exercises at home. It was such an intense dream, I’d call it a nightmare.

You can tell by my tone at the end that I was pretty bummed out after writing this. I remember I went back to sleep as the sun was coming up, but having spewed out this dream in one big flurry, I was now wide awake, and so I woke up and went swimming.

Anyway, I posted this up here after changing some names. If I get permission, I’ll change names so people know who they are….

There are some grammatical errors, but editing would not be appropriate here.


I woke up this morning from a vivid dream. I had been accused, while working at Bug Music, by GV. (a friend of mine) of not doing any of my work for a whole year. She had reported me to the government somehow, and I was summonsed to a trial In front of all my peers. I was livid, having worked very hard there and not understanding why she would be saying such things. I went to defend myself but everybody seemed to believe her, which made me more mad. Official government people, my mother, sister, brother, co workers, all materialized before me to say I was some lazy bastard who deserved to be fired, or worse. The dream seemed to bring in those people whose judgement means the most to me, but that I’ve lost contact with. Like my late grandmother, or my uncle KQ who we don’t really talk to anymore. They all seemed to be hovering around somehow, quietly convinced that the accusations were true.
So, in the dream I head to where this hearing or trial is…..and right before I enter, I’m suddenly transported to a market called bi-rite (closed recently), right down the street from my high school. A couple of my old marching band buddies are there, camera in hand, to ask me details about what I did and what I was going to do with my time in prison.
I told them the charges were bullshit, and to fuck off, but they put on airs of superiority, and mocked me, pointing fingers, and were very angry with me, as if they were ashamed of being even from the same high school.
Then people who were really close to me, like my little brother, started asking me if the charges were accurate. If I had been lazy at work, or if it was true that for years I had been eeking by, doing as little as possible. My mother started telling me to let her know what I’d done, and when I told her nothing, she didn’t believe me. she seemed to just be hoping that whatever I did, wasn’t that terrible. My aunt GP who we are also close to, came out and pointed fingers as well as my sister and again my late grandmother. All of them seemed so ashamed of me, and I remember thinking in the dream, “It doesn’t matter what I’ve done, I’ve already been judged. I’d already been through the worst, let’s just go and see what it was all about.”
In the dream, this was all happening in this big noisy chaotic procession, with all my family around me, mocking, pointing, some children laughing at me, and strangers wondering and throwing around theories on what i had done, or what work it was that I seemed to have not done. It seemed a big theme of the dream was that I was accused of not working, not doing my job well, at Bug Music. I couldn’t believe this, and was already somehow checking my email DONE folder, which shows a day to day of all my tasks that are actually completed. This is something I’ve done since working at a tax firm back in 05 or so, and finding it was the easiest way to substantiate my work flow. I was ready to face my accusers, and redeem myself in front of all those important people, and thought “let’s do this.”
So in the dream I ran. I ran to the hearing, or courthouse or whatever it was. In the dream, it seemed to remind me if the gym at the Cypress Park rec center in my neighborhood. I went in defiantly, confident in my innocence, and a clear proof and record of my work ready to even show off a bit at how hard I work, and how organized I am in my work.
I got up there, in front of all the most important people ever, and suddenly, this was a drug case. Confused, I asked what this was all in regards to, and the judge mentioned something like “This stems from a matter in 1983” and right away I knew I’d beat it. In my dream, I did a little quick math, which I thought was impossible until today, and said confidently “in 1983 i was 8 years old. I didn’t work at bug music then, and I never tried drugs until I was about 15 years old. You are wrong. Also I want everybody to know that I take great pride in my work, and I would never do anything like that. I would leave a job before getting that lazy or being that unhappy.”
And just like that, this satisfied the judge. I as obvious to everybody in the courtroom/basketball gym that I was completely exonerated, and they all milled out. Nobody expressed any happiness at my innocence, they all just walked out, and I never go to know that my grandmother knew of my innocence, which seemed to be the most important thing about the whole dream.
A couple of things that were really weird, when I woke up, I woke up still stressed from the dream, but the Pink Floyd song “the trial” was in my head, and it seemed to describe what I went through in to a t. I was like I was waking up to the end credits music of a kafkaesque story adapted to film. I even thought that Kafka’s “The Trial” has a lot to do with this dream. Also, my father wasn’t there, and now I’m wondering if that means that his judgement on me doesn’t matter, not cause he passed away, but because I knew that whatever I did, even if I went to prison for a decade, he wouldnt care. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Not that he would be indifferent, but that he could relate to this having been in prison himself, and that he wouldn’t judge me as others would having actually gone through it himself in real life. It’s strange that I thought of this so much right after waking up, because he wasn’t even in the dream at all. I just felt it.
This was an interesting feeling because the reasoning seemed to be that since he had gone to prison twice in his life, I didn’t have to be ashamed in front of him for going to prison myself. So he didn’t even make an appearance, probably because he doesn’t weigh on my conscience as much as say my sister, brother, or of course my mother. When I do really well at something, sometimes I think “My dad would be really proud of this” but it’s not like I have to face it in real life.
I think this may stem from the fact that I’m on vacation right now for the first time in a long time. As long as I’ve had vacation time, I’ve always used it to be as productive as I could, so I would use it for band functions, or take days off here and there to handle business in town.
This is the las day of my stay on Vieques island, and I woke up to a beautiful sunrise really stressed out, even thinking I had WASTED 5 days of vacation. Like a weird guilt for relaxing. I’m still feeling it. It’s pretty bad….so bad, I don’t know if I’ll be able to take another vacation like this for a while. I’ll probably be over it in a few minutes, but right now it’s pretty intense.

Well, uh, Good morning?!

Progress on my 1968 Dodge Coronet

I’ve had this car since I was about 18 years old. Bought it with $900 of my college grant money. This is the third motor I’ve put in her, and I built the motor’s guts with my own two hands. Here she is firing up for the first time in around 10 years.

The exhaust is just headers at the moment, Flowtech ceramic coated full length headers. T.T.I. exhaust is en route to the car now. Once that’s in, I need tires and maybe rims if I can afford them, and she’s ready to road test and break in.

This video is the culmination of years of stubbornness, knuckles being busted on the car, blood sweat and maybe even some tears. It’s an amazing feeling to hear the engine turn over.

I was also relieved that the thing didn’t just explode in a million pieces, but I guess I built her up pretty good! Formula one pit crew here I come.

Brand new transmission from Bob Mazzolini racing, the entire engine is new, every part of the drivetrain is new or rebuilt. Radiator with transmission cooler, front disc brake conversion, new drums in the back, and complete new wiring harness complete and ready to go. No mystery parts, spaghetti wiring or mickey mouse fixes any more. Only recognized genuine parts, with extras like a complete MSD ignition system complete with BIllet distributor, big ignition module and coil.

All the new parts that used to collect dust in the car are now working and breathing fire. Soon I’ll pop a radio in there and take a cruise out on the road with her, and really get to enjoy the fruits of my years of labor. So happy right now. Can’t wait to tackle paint and interior and be completely done with her. 

More to come soon! 

– Fred.