It’s A Dog Eat Dog World

April 2, 2009

As some of you may know, I brought my puppy Mia to the shop this week (when she wasn’t plastered in her own fecal matter!) because my parents took a little vacation to the Pacific Northwest.  She had a good time checking out the city.  At least she knows now to be afraid of cars.



She was quite mischievous today, nesting in the clothes (polybagged to retain freshness!).  Funniest moment this whole week was when she was playing out in the front of the shop and my buddy Gio walked in with an expression of awful trepidation etched across his face and when I walked to the front to see what was up, I literally gagged from the stench.  It was clear to me that Mia had found herself a cozy little area to squeeze out a pungent dookie or two.  The problem was that we are literally out of power in the front area so we didn’t know where the poo was so all three of us (Gio, Ian & me) were daintily stepping around trying to avoid stepping on it whilst using our noses to zero in on ground zero.  After a while, we came to the conclusion that either our noses had gotten used to it, or she had just let out one of the most rankest, most god-awful hell-raising farts I’ve ever encountered thus far.

What’s My Passion?

March 17, 2009

I gave my SD card to Crystal Jean to rip the pictures I took yesterday off so she can jump on the editing process so my updates this week will have to be less visual and much more content-driven.

I had a 2 1/2 hour work day today.  I first couldn’t find any parking on the tenant parking lot so I ended up parking three blocks away and walking to work.  I was observant enough to notice the street cleaning signs for Monday from 12-3pm so I avoided making a terrible mistake and incurring my third ticket of the last two weeks.  Parking so far away shouldn’t be that notable of an event but working in Mid-City, Los Angeles makes the mundane much more interesting when your neighbors spend their days riding around the hood on a bicycle doing only God know what, looking for God knows who.

I click-clacked my way into the shop, unlocking the vast array of dead bolts, twist-knobs, metal-prongs & sheet metal that bar the general public from the store during off-hours.  From my very first step in the door, I could already tell that something was amiss.

Silence.  Stone cold silence. I glanced around.  Where was the steady hum of the fridge holding ice cold beverages for the wayward customer?  The almost-undetectable whine of the computer monitors stuck in sleep mode?  The soft red glow of the power strip healthily chugging along?  I put down my things in the back office, and hit the light switch to get the business buzzing.

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.  That damned cricket stuck behind the counter is still living like a king behind the fire-hazard of coiled wires.

Electricity was out.  Nothing was working.  I wouldn’t be able to jump into my work like I wanted to.  I came in ready to conquer the world and moments later, I was sitting alone in a dark shop, defeated.

I eventually got my act together, shot my boss a call and he said he’d try to figure out what was up and that he was sure he had paid the electric bill last week, and I said I’d go check on our neighbor to see if they still had power.  I walked over to our new neighbor, who had just moved in.  The door was freshly painted a hippy-tree green, still glistening with wet paint.  She warned me not to touch the door as I inquired about the state of electricity on the block.  Obviously, all was still well with her electricity because her lights and displays were all vibrant.  I left dejected, and her blatantly homosexual hipster employee looked me in the eyes and told me that he liked my eyes.  He demonstrated by tugging ever-so-slightly on the edge of his eye in jest.  He said my eyes looked like they were painted on my face – all with an eerily-calm smile on his face.  I left the store hurriedly, not sure how I felt about that turn of events.

I walked back into the shop, not knowing what to do for the rest of the day since obviously, business could not be had unless it was old-fashioned, hand-written receipt business, and Mondays have never, ever in the history of my working there been even a decent revenue-by-foot-traffic day.  Ironically, there was a knock on the door.  One of our regular customers, Jesus (pronounced Hey Zeus!), was standing outside.  He’s a really chill guy, and he’s in with the right guys at the store because he can cop whatever he wants at a wholesale price.  He came in, said what’s up as I explained the no electricity situation, and started rifling through the racks.  I think if it had been any other customer it would’ve been awkward since the shop was dark and completely silent, but Jesus is just that chill of a guy.  He understands us.  He knows what we’re going through.  We don’t have to hide the fact that we’re hustling as hard as we can just to scrape by month to month.  As he looked around, I pulled out my laptop and started on the only project that I could do without the internet – calculating how much money I’m owed by the company.  It took quite a while to get this going cos I’m a noob at excel and I also have quite a few unaccounted pay periods to manually input.  As he looked around at different jackets, tees and jeans, we chopped it up a little.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what line of work are you in?”.  I decide to strike up some simple conversation.  He’s always been pretty well-kempt, and he always bought multiple items in the shop even during the heart of the recession, so I was genuinely interested.  Maybe I was scoping for a line of work to get into.  It turns out he’s a professional audio/music mixing technician and does mixing for a studio in the area and he was certified in a 9-month program at one of the LA-based academies.  His line of work wasn’t hit that hard by the recession because, well, music still comes out regardless of the hard times and his studio is frequented by the right people.  The conversation got to a point where we started talking about what we like to do, where we see ourselves and what we’re passionate about.

I thought for a moment.  “I like reading and writing.  No real particular form, I just like doing it.  I think that if I could, I would want to pursue that.  I’m still trying to figure out the rest of my life though.  God knows where I’ll be in a couple years.  With money as tight as it is now , I don’t think I can keep working here up very much longer and I don’t know where I’ll be even a couple months from now.  All I know is, if I can be passionate about my line of work, there’s nothing that’ll I have to do to stay motivated.  I wouldn’t care about the hours I put in, the sacrifices I’d have to make.  I’m not saying there won’t be times that I won’t be feeling ‘it’, but thats when you kick it into overdrive and see how far you can go”.

Essentially, Jesus didn’t even have to say that much, but he had said enough.  I’m not that sociable of a person.  I’d rather sit at home in my backyard on my laptop with my puppy running around than be at the heart of LA having to be a sociable creature.  It goes against my nature.  Then there are those moments when you really connect on a personal level, where it’s not even about the exchange of goods, but its about developing a friendship beyond that of a normal shopkeeper/customer.

After Jesus paid for the two pairs of Levi’s he bought and left, I felt good about the rest of the day.  I didn’t mind when my boss had me scour the outside of the building in search of the fuse box, forcing me to stick my hand into cobwebs to flip random fuses in search of an answer to our electrical woes.  I didn’t mind when my boss told me that he had indeed forgotten to pay his electricity bill and that my driving all the way to LA today was indeed a fruitless undertaking.  I didn’t mind that after plugging in numbers on my make-shift Excel workbook, I found out that I’m owed just about $6000 in back pay.  I didn’t mind that even though I left work at about 2:40pm, it still took me almost an hour and a half to get home to finally eat lunch at 4pm because I had no microwave to heat it up.  I didn’t mind that as I was working in my backyard, my dog took a massive dump and I had to scoop it up before she gleefully cleaned it up herself…with her mouth.

What’s my passion?  What’s my dream job?  Come back to me on that.  I know what I wouldn’t mind doing though.  I wouldn’t mind writing for a show like NBC’s ‘The Office’.  I feel like I could write family-friendly (yet at the same time) borderline-risque over-the-top mockumentary style humor set in an office, no problem.

The Crisis of Credit, Visualized & Personalized.

March 4, 2009

Part 2 Original

I’ve been seeing this video float around the interweb for a couple weeks or so now, so maybe you’ve seen it.  If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth the 10 minutes or so of your life to get a more holistic understanding of the ‘credit crisis’, ‘recession’, ‘economic downturn’ that we are all involuntarily partakers of.  Some of us may feel the bite of it more than others, and at least within my circle of friends, things might not seem so bad, but this video really hits you with the full weight of the situation with easy to understand visuals, script & delivery.

In good times and especially bad, we have to keep our priorities straight and know exactly where our money is going as it leaves our bank accounts.  The numbers in my bank account have diminished at a steady rate as of late, and this month especially, I’ve come face to face with ‘just scraping by’.  I work in small business, and small business owners, as a whole, are scrambling and scouring the earth, looking for the fabled investor.  It’s kill or be killed, and maybe even feigning death is what it’s gonna take for ELM to push through the threshold, but I’m glad that we’re still here, day in and day out, hustlin’ with blood, sweat and tears.


My iPhone screenshot of my overview of my bank accounts/credit cards. is free online money management software that divvies up your spending and saving into pie charts.  Nothing says you’re serious like a pie chart, and my pie chart is looking mighty puny these days.  Keep in mind, my mom transferred over $250.00 dollars because she thought I wouldn’t be able to recover from the automatic car payment I have scheduled.  Sighs all around.

Neo-Progresso Dinner Weekend – Welcome To Our World!

March 3, 2009

/WOTD/ acute \uh-KYOOT\, adjective: 1. acting keenly on the senses; sharp 2. quick in discernment; drawing fine distinctions 3. of an angle, less than 90 degrees 4. happening quickly, briefly, and severely

I once met a cute girl; she was quite acute.

Movie looks really eerie but I’m still interested.  Gondry never ceases to fascinate me.  It’s always awesome to see when people come up and get the respect they deserve.

I’m so friggin’ exhausted from this past weekend.  There was so, so much going on, and even though it was physically taxing, bodies can recover and it certainly was all worth it.

A bunch of us (@crystal_jean, @oogieoo, @imhenry, @hollyxann, @allanzzz, @jackiejlee, @jessecplee, @krispyapplebee, @ruthchu, @tiffrz to name a few of the tweeters) decided to put on a progressive dinner for the graduating college senior class at church (@g12eddie, @j0shhuang, @chesterhuang, @butterflikisses, @cheekz, @daving, @janeyou, @joobacca, @uhnivek – wow, tweeters be replicating!) to welcome them with open arms to the life we embrace post-college.  We divvied dinner up between three houses, progressing it slowly from appetizers to main courses to deserts, with drivers whisking each of the three groups away after the allotted thirty minute time period.

The day seemed to be one long held breath, at least for me.  First of all, we were a tad short-staffed.  One of the helpers became a driver, and another wanted to document the whole thing on video.  So we were down to three, and we set out to make the main course for 40+ people.

We slowly rolled through Costco (, whipped through Staters Brothers, and pretty soon it was go-time.  The whole preparation period had the feel of the latter half of an Iron Chef competition – time was ticking and the possibility of our imagined cuisine actually materializing diminishing.  With a focused attitude, I humbly began the first task at hand – grating a block of sharp cheddar to shreds.  Idiotically, I ended up grating off a sizable chunk of my thumb.  It ended up being kinda gross, but it was handled.  After that, I was relegated to chop duty, and even though that was the only relatively major hiccup during the whole process, time was still both our friend and foe.

Tick tock tick tock tick.  We finished on time but by the end of the preparation period, every member of the team was crippled in some way – Ruth’s ankle has been on the mend for a month now, Becca’s back had given out and she was perma-glued to the massage chair, and my wounded finger prevented me from being near any water for fear of infection (Score! No dishes!).

Relevant videos – 1 2 3 4

Cheers to a succesful night.


Hawaii themed dinner – See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil hula pigs in front of the kool-aid sprite cocktail.


Everything was so colorful.


Teriyaki pineapple meatballs.  So delicious.


LOADED mac & cheese.  Alfredo, sharp cheddar, bacon bits, bread crumbs.  I’m getting hungry just looking at it.  I conquered it, but I suffered later, since I’ve developed a semi-lactose intolerance.


The different meats you could skewer on to your kebab with their respective sauces.


This has nothing to do with the progressive dinner.  I just took some shots at work, looking for a suitable header image for the work blog.


Right outside the shop.  I liked the sky, the oncoming traffic and the church across the ways.


January 29, 2009

Once again, work is too legit to quit.


January 23, 2009

I got to work a bit early today, so I decided to shoot some before rain shooed me away.  See ELM Blog entry here.


December 17, 2008
What’s good y’all.  Not much to update in terms of the denimz, but I’ll probably take a pic and post it at the 1-month mark, just to have a record of its evolution.  That’ll be in about 4 days or so be on the lookout for that.  
The shop threw an always pc-friendly “holiday” bash that coincided with our heavily overshadowed five year anniversary.  If only times were better, a truly monumental party could have been had.  But I guess even being around at this time is something to mildly celebrate.  Here are some shots from the shindig.

Ah.  Nothing like alcohol and poinsettias to set the mood.

A little game of s-k-a-t-e as the night closes out.
I’m also anxiously waiting on the leather wallet/tether/belt loop Nicholas (Hollows Leather) put together for me the last week or so.  Mine is the one that is called “simple black set” on his flickr account.  He was super quick, super nice & had some good prices.  I can’t wait.  I asked for a card-holder slim wallet, since I charge with credit card most of the time & only rarely carry bills on me.  I didn’t want it too thick or too ornate for the sake of simplicity and also so my pocket isn’t bulging out two inches wherever go.  I guess I could’ve enjoyed it better if it came in natural & I could evo it over time, but my BSPs are very willing to share indigo with whatever they touch, and black is beautiful.  Tether came along for the ride, and the simple belt loop got thrown in for good measure.

I’ll get my own pics up when I’ve got the goods.