“No Lines, No Reservations, No Waiting”

For those of you fortunate enough to follow my twitter, you’ve been updated with every turn, scenery, and interaction I’ve managed to run into on this past 52 hour journey across half the continent. For those of you who don’t…sign up for twitter and request to follow me.

I think I had a realization today that my life has made a completely drastic turn and from this point forward, it's going to be so very very different...but I'll go more into that in a later post. For now, my travels:

A lot of people said I was crazy for deciding to make the 2,438 mile trek to Chicago via train instead of plane. Well, 52 hours, 4 microwaved sandwiches, 6 diet cokes, 2 flasks of whisky and a fun sized cabernet sauvignon later, I can agree. I am fucking crazy.

But it was all worth it.

In case you don’t know me very well, then you’d know that I seem to have a penchant for doing stuff just for the sheer hell of it. And why not? I love telling others “how many people can say that they…”

But yeah, why, when traveling across this long of a distance would I decide to take the road (literally) less traveled and go on a trip that lasts 10 times as long as it would if I had flown instead? Cause getting there is half the fun, to quote Clark Griswold (who? Never mind.) I mean, I could have paid a few extra dollars, I could’ve spared another day at home, I could’ve put on my headphones, gone to sleep, and wake up 5 hours later in a different state. But then I wouldn’t have been able to see Nebraska. And that would have been a tragedy.

The Amtrak “California Zephyr” which travels from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago has often been called one of the most popular and scenic train routes in the United States, passing through the Rocky Mountains and California’s historic Donner Pass. I can attest to that. Yes, it is indeed. There are majestic mountains, mighty rivers, and historic natural landmarks:

But for every amazing view, there’s a whole lot of this:

That’s right. Turns out a lot of the western half of America is full of barren deserts, endless snow plains, and empty cornfields. In other words, I never realized that there is a whole lot of nothing in between California and the rest of the country. Well, I did realize it. I just had to see for myself, and in doing so have reaffirmed the fact that I should never visit Iowa again. Davis and Sacramento have got nothing on the cow-town-ness of Nebraska and Iowa, to quote my tweet (seriously, if you don’t have a twitter already, you really should get one!)

Maybe it just means that train tracks run through these boring and empty places on purpose. No one wants to live near a passing train (but maybe Mr. John Deere shirt and NRA cap-wearing with the Bible in his hand might think otherwise).

Needless to say, I had to find something to pass the time while I would ride through the (very often bare) buttcrack of America. So what did I do? Watch movies! I purposely held back on watching a lot of the movies I had downloaded recently, for the purpose of this trip alone:

Religulous: Funny man Bill Mahr calls into question and attempts to compromise the religions of people all over the world (and he picks on everybody!) Spoiler alert: he doesn’t succeed.
W.: A sort of biopic/reimagining of the life and coming of age of our 43rd president, which really focuses more on his relationship with his father than on his actual presidency and legacy. Spoiler alert: George Bush wins the election in 2000.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Turned off after 20 minutes for the lack of actual funny jokes. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time, but the problem was that I could tell when they were trying to be funny, but it just wasn’t. You disappoint me, Seth Rogan.
I Am Legend: The last living man on Earth attempts to find cure for a disease that has already wiped out the rest of the world’s population anyway. Spoiler alert: the adorable dog dies. Kinda wished it was Will Smith that was killed first.
Lars and the Real Girl: Awkward loner Lars falls in love and has actual conversations/arguments with sex doll he orders online, while oblivious to the fact his coworker and his doctor is soo hitting on him. Overall good movie, but seriously, the best part is the shocked look on his brother’s and sister-in-law’s faces when they finally meet Bianca, the doll. Spoiler alert: the doll dies, somehow.
The Day the Earth Stood Still: Keanu Reeves plays every role he has ever been in, this time in alien form. Came to destroy the Earth for some weakly explained environmental reason, and decides at the last minute (literally) to change his mind after he sees some mom argue with her stepson. Kathy Bates is Secretary of Defense and John Cleese is a physics professor. Who the fuck did the casting for this movie? Spoiler alert: as adorable as he is, you will want Jaden Smith to die in this movie. I take that back, Jaden Smith is too annoying to be adorable in this movie.
Role Models: Stopped watching after I realized the bootleg copy I have of it cuts off the whole right side of the screen.
Milk: San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk’s political career is followed, leading up to his assassination by the same guy who plays George Bush in W. How about that? Spoiler alert: Sean Penn wins Best Actor. Too late?

Aside from all the things I did to pass the time that seemed to pass by very slowly, I’ll say it was a fairly good experience I had the past three days. I’ve met and ran into lots of interesting people, saw a lot of scenery that most people would never view, and found a legitimate excuse to not shower or change clothes and sit, watch movies, read, and play video games for 3 days straight.

But don’t ask me to ever do it again.

“Hello everyone and welcome to the East-Bound California Zephyr on Amtrak. My name is Johnny, and I will be your lounge conductor for the duration of your trip. Down here in the lounge we’ve got a variety of assorted foods, such as quarter pound cheeseburgers, piping hot pizza, all beef hot dogs, hot and cold turkey and swiss or ham and swiss sandwiches, Italian and Chicken breast hoagies and your choice of ice cold beer and or wine. Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers are in effect. Oh, and good morning everyone.”
-Johnny C, the lounge conductor and snack bar worker. This was the speech he gave after every single stop, and with 35 stops, well, you get the idea.


Leaving on the Midnight Train to Chicago...woo woo!

And so here we go, the final few hours of my melodramatic countdown to the day in which I would be making my foray away from the life I had grown to know (woo melodramatic-ness!) While I may maintain a mellow and even low-key nature about my plans for the future in person, those of you who read my blog may know that for the most part, it's almost all I've been talking about. And I say, hey, I'm pretty level-headed in person, I'm sure...why not let all the drama out online, huh?

The past month has been fun, exciting, and full of the scariness and anticipation that comes with knowing your life is about to change. I've come out of it with a little more nostalgia and a lot more memories, thanks to seeing people I hadn't seen in weeks, months, years, or even decades (okay, not so much decades) and appropriately ending with people I would see everyday. Good times. The past week has been just as fun, exciting, and full of the scariness and anticipation that comes with knowing your life is about to change as well. Packing to unpack to only pack it all up again to later unpack, I've managed to keep myself busy with family, old friends and even new ones. I've come out if it with a little less bitterness, and alot more hope. Also good times.

Thank you.

And so that brings us to today, right now, while I wonder why Matrix Revolutions is on BET and continue to finish packing what will be my life into four bags. To answer the question I have been asked 23 times today (I counted), I'm feeling a mixture of emotions. That's all I'm going to say. I'm tired of people asking me how I feel about leaving.

This isn't "goodbye." It's "good luck."

"I had an interpretive dance for I believe I can fly lined up for you...and it involved a cocoon!"


if it's one thing I learned recently...

it's that although the rent is cheaper in Chicago, so is the pay for alot of the jobs I've been looking for there. it's all relative people!

2 days till I take the midnight train to Chicago (woo woo!)

"wait, Chicago has a basketball team, right? the Illinois...Pacers?"


"Don't text back yet--but we finished the end of an era!"

...and really, that pretty much sums it up.

sure the end of many eras can come in many different forms. I finished an era when I left home for college, I finished one when I moved out of the dorms finally, when I retired from "the business," when I quit working at on-campus housing, when I graduated from college, when I first started working full time after college (which ironically was two days before my college graduation)...

but this one is big. in case you don't know me at all or have no idea what I've been posting all over the place on facebook, twitter, and here, I'm finally moved out of a small town named "the angels" in the southern part of a relatively sunny but unknown state on the west coast. and it only took me 5 years.

for now, I find myself in the world I left behind (and I really did truly leave it behind...I don't talk to ANYBODY who is still in the bay), leaving me to reflect on the other world I left behind. the questions have been coming in (do you miss LA yet? when are you gonna come back and visit? are you gonna send me a pizza?) the way I figure it, I'm sure I'm gonna miss the wood in the west, but it's gonna come in stages. being that I knocked out on the floor early last night because I couldn't find a good place to sit and use my laptop and didn't have anywhere to sleep makes me miss my bed down there. and I'm sure I'll miss having a good job in Santa Monica when my savings begin to deplete. and I'm sure I'll miss everyone I've come to know and love as soon as I make it to Chicago and realize that I don't know anyone there.

but I can't dwell on that too much right now. I've got some packin' to do (amongst other things).

one last thing. I referenced this back in an old August post and I figured now would be an appropriate time to continue the list. I said I'd eventually come back to this...and here we are. how many people can say they:
-played in the band at UCLA
-MC'd a banquet for 100+ people on a yacht
-participated in UCLA's undie run (research it, for you who are not aware of it) not in my underwear, but in a gorilla suit
-have driven back and forth between the Bay Area and Los Angeles at least 97 times
-one of those drives was in the middle of the night, in which the tire blew out resulting in the car spinning out of control in the middle of highway 5 at 4am, forcing the rest of the drive to be done on the spare tire going no faster than 50 mph
-got high, cooked dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, and watched the Land Before Time
-open up a bottle of Andre ($3 champagne!) and watch Russell Peter's only good stand up every other night
-had a roommate who would leave notes on the door asking to stay out because he's having a "serious talk with his good friend," who happened to be a guy
-walked in on the above
-had a roommate who didn't shower often, or ever
-played a role in putting together conferences for 300+ high school students
-mix pancake batter, stick in the oven, and call that dinner
-open up a can of pork and beans, open up a soda, and call that dinner
-threw parties in which there were at least 50-70 people crammed into a single roomed apartment
-got trapped in a tiny elevator with 2 other guys and a huge laundry cart flowing over with stuff, on the last day your friend is spending in the neighborhood
-worked from 9pm-5am, partied till 7am, got breakfast, knock out the rest of the day and wake up in the early evening to start the whole process all over again
-started playing guitar hero at 8pm, your friends would go to work, and by the time they got off work at 5am, you'd still be playing
-could get away with taking a few shots at a party that's happening 8 floors above your work while on your 30 minute break
-walked from apartment to apartment, depending on whose door was open, and drink a beer at each of these places regardless of who you knew
-could attend or host parties that would occur every single friday night for 3 months straight
-have friends who lived downstairs and would have cute little dinners by candlelight every week in each others' apartments
-could go barhopping on a Tuesday night. I mean, it is Tuesday night, of course.
-stayed up till 3 am writing a paper that's due in 6 hours, fell asleep partway through until an hour before it was due and then somehow spewed out 3 pages, printed it and walked it over with 3 minutes to spare
-it's 3am, and you've got work at 7, but hey, your friend wants to go get pho. let's go!
-it's 2am, you've just had 4 beers and you're craving some garlic fries...but you ran out of oil! but wait, there's some pam. spray that shit on the fryer and throw in the potatoes! now you're totally making fries!
-walk down the hall to your friend's room, knock on the door, and just chill there cause she and the rest of her roommates are "just chilling" too
-walk down the street to your friend's apartment, knock on the door, and just chill there cause he and the rest of his roommates are "just chilling" too
-be in class from 11am-5pm, have meetings from 5-8pm, and work from 9pm-5am everyday...and still have enough time to study, party, and have study-parties
-spend a whole day trying to speed run through Zelda: A Link to the Past or Super Mario Bros 3, and not feel bad about not stepping outside the whole day
-spend the whole day in bed till 6pm, and not feel guilty
-get up at 3pm and still be able to get pancakes and bacon at 4pm in the dining halls
-have the time to rehearse and learn multiple cultural dances within only a few months time to perform it in front of an audience of at least 1000...I mean, I never did, but I applaud those who did
-have the time to hold a directing position in 3 different community service groups all at once
-enjoy winter, spring, and summer breaks...with the ability to do so on your own terms because you're not at home anymore!
-completely furnished a living room for free, thanks to the many nights spent driving around the neighborhood searching for furniture left on the streets
-took a school bus to a club (once again, I never did...but to those who did...ha.)
-but I did take a university owned van that's meant for community service to a club
-and also thanks to the aforementioned van, we also picked up all the free furniture on the streets!
-rode on a crowded stretch hummer to hollywood

...the list will continue! when I find the time and effort to continue it.

and the countdown starts over...5 days till I take the midnight train to Chicago (woo woo!)

"hey, a handicap space...you know, my hip does hurt"


Happy 100th post!

I've finally finished 100 posts! And it only took me 564 days. Which is equal to exactly 1 year, 6 months, and 17 days. It could also be 13,536 hours. Or even 812,160 minutes (try singing that, Rent!) It's even 48,729,600 seconds.

I would like to commemorate this moment by recognizing all 100 of the funny things that I have overheard or read from other people that have made my blog as witty and intriguing as it could be. Thank you, quotable friends and strangers.

09/17/2007 "I don't get it, Mark. You're not that great."-LT
09/23/2007 "Rieber 1 to OCH Dispatch, I'll be signing off my radio for the year. If you need to reach me, you can do so via facebook, email, or landline. Thank you and have a good night. I have officially stopped caring." -Solo's last radio call
09/24/2007 "I applied for a job at the mental hospital today. They said I need 24 hours experience with a retard. So uh...do u want 2 hang out?" -RM
09/28/2007 "it is in the nature of us Filipinos to complain to get what we want. that is the only way to make change." -Prof. Andersson
10/03/2007 "Kids, if you really wanna piss off your parents, buy real estate in an imaginary place." -Imaginary Places - Busdriver
10/10/2007 "I thought by this time we would be having rampaging sex." -BM
10/17/2007 "you are full of wisdom =)" -TC
10/28/2007 "you better be gettin laid." -EB
11/01/2007 "getting my degree has been the worst thing ever" -LN
12/01/2007 "Stop being emo and find some damn meaning in your life!" -SK
01/07/2008 "maybe now you can find out how the orange slayed the rake. probably had a rotato. something to think about while on the john." -CT
01/21/2008 "On a side note, if you're one of those people who type f*ck or f_ck, my respect for you has been lowered considerably. If you don't wanna curse, just use another word. Censoring the vowel means you're acknowledging that it is a curse word, and you're using it. Get bent." -SS
02/13/2008 "Wow, it actually happened. Youre gone forever. I'll miss you always and I love you forever. <333" -MVS
02/17/2008 "Okininam!" (the spelling is questionable, but that's what it sounded like...you Ilocano speakers probably know what I'm trying to say) -FS
02/25/2008 "Wow. Your students are so...urban." -an observer of PREP's 25th Annual Day In A Life High School Conference
02/29/2008 "Come on! Turn that frown upside down and take a flyer from me!...(silence as 5 people pass her by)...oh God help me." -As heard and seen on Bruin Walk
03/10/2008 "...then out of nowhere, she just goes 'the black eyed peas are hip hop royalty.' fuck the black eyed peas." -KV
03/19/2008 "Don't stress out. You are going to die anyway." -MH
04/06/2008 "has anyone given you a hugh hefner-type robe for this?" -RI
04/20/2008 "You know, Michael Jordan was a geography major. Maybe there's hope for at least some of you." -Prof. Fan
4/20/08 "donde esta...the music room?" -lady who assumed me and the group of filipinos I was with were Mexican and spoke Spanish...our reply: "you mean schoenburg? that's up the hill."
04/29/2008 "i post, therefore i am." -JW
05/07/2008 "Whatever you do, don't fuck Mark Solomon." -CB
06/05/2008 "I wanna go down on u & make u extremely happy, come back up slowly, and fuck you real good. Yours truly, gas prices." -EB
07/02/2008 "yeah you know, the greek drink ouzo. it's like being bitch slapped by a christmas tree." -JC
07/14/2008 "...and feel free to shit on my pillow and toothbrush too." -BM
07/18/2008 "our fucking couches are haunted!" -CV
07/31/2008 "uh, look, I'm probably about to get laid right now, so is it okay if I email you afterwards?" -JU
08/02/2008 "I wanted to be a geology major but I'm fat and I can't walk" -SN
08/04/2008 "guess who got a B+ in art history? not me, cause I got an A!" -NB
08/12/2008 "I don't read blogs-I look for pictures and bold lettering so I can skim through" -JRT
08/17/2008 "fuck growing up...wandering around in the mountainside with crazy youthful abandon forever" -KV
08/26/2008 "a pick and roll? a pick and roll? I fucking play football, I don't know what the fuck a pick and roll is!" -KF
08/30/2008 "I have a pimple on my nose that's making me cross-eyed." -JG
09/05/2008 "How am I? Well, I'm down to 8 cigarettes per day." -MC
09/09/2008 "you know, this inner turmoil of mine? it's hungry. give it some nachos." -AS
09/24/2008 “I now know where the bad Asian driver stereotype developed.” -AR
09/24/2008 “So you know how they eat balut on the American version of Fear Factor? Do they eat burgers on the Filipino version of Fear Factor?”
09/24/2008 “We get raped and pillaged and colonized by the most powerful nations of the world, and what do we do once we get our freedom and independence? Build the biggest malls in Asia.”
09/24/2008 “Tita Ming and Amanda look fine. You look like you just got darker.”
09/24/2008 “Wow Mark…you certainly got darker. A nice tan.”
09/24/2008 “Boracay made you dark!”
-Mom’s neighbor and friend
09/24/2008 “You look red, like roast pork. Have you been drinking?”
-Lolo Asterio
09/24/2008 “I’m not shy, you are the one that is shy…(to the tune of that one backstreet boys song) tell me why…ohh…ay jusko…”
09/24/2008 “Lolo always said when in Rome, do as the Romans do. You’re not trying to do that at all!”
09/24/2008 “Well since we’re all together, shall I bring out the Jack Daniels? The Johnnie Walker? The weed?”
09/24/2008 “Maybe I should upgrade my phone. You know, to a redberry.”
09/24/2008 “Two years ago, 500 people died at the taping of Wowowee. They were trampled because the prize was 400 pesos. Imagine that.”
09/24/2008 “I just got married 2 days ago! Life is beautiful! God bless.”
-The 57 year old Caucasian man with the 22 year old Filipina woman
09/24/2008 “And to your right, are jail cells where Spaniards imprisoned many Filipino revolutionaries. Today, it is a bar.”
-The calesa driver
09/24/2008 "Gas goes down, pan de sal goes up"
-The Manila Bulletin
09/24/2008 “Ah, back to work, na.”
-The guy next to me on the plane
09/24/2008 “Have you met Ina? She is so pretty. And you are so guwapo.
…But you are cousins.”
09/30/2008 "it's kinda mean, but it feels good" -NR
10/01/2008 "today, I am going to research the average lifespan of yellow highlighters." -JG
10/12/2008 "no I'm not gonna pick you up right now, I'm at the DMV! go get up and find yourself a damn bus!" -overheard at the Department of Motor Vehicles
10/19/2008 "we may suffocate, but at least we won't starve. at this rate, we'll run out of oxygen before we run out of tacos" -ST
10/25/2008 "you don't need to use all these facial creams, just eat bananas...have you ever seen a monkey with a pimple?" -RB
10/28/2008 "wow, the moment you said that, I imagined you about 30 years older." -CP
11/01/2008 "I feel like I should be dodging fireballs" -KV
11/04/2008 "if you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen. I can eat my garlic wherever I want." -Motor Coach Operator Ranshowlee
11/05/2008 "you've got Eucharist crumbs on your shirt" -JCB
11/11/2008 "The toilet paper is softer here" -JC
11/16/2008 "Happy birthday, Mark! Please do something illegal." -FM
11/23/2008 "...but what if pigeons could become lawyers?" -was said drunkenly, probably by me
11/25/2008 "how could I forget the guy who gave me Christmas in my mouth?" -LS
11/27/2008 "so...what do you think of the dunkin donuts conspiracy?" -JW
12/02/2008 "what if someone put a spell on me?" -VS
12/04/2008 "I'd wanna be friends with Snoop Dogg someday. He seems like a cool guy." -BS
12/07/2008 "Oh God, he's so conceited, he actually thinks he has a chance with me." -JG
12/08/2008 "Who's Hitler?" -VR
12/10/2008 female:(whistles) male: (looks up) is that Bob? female: do I look like a Bob? -heard on the streets of Westwood
12/15/2008 "you remind me of my stepdad." -JRT
12/21/2008 "he wanted white cake, ain't that ghetto? "naw, chocolate cake is ghetto"
12/24/2008 "Bing Crosby? Is that the black guy or the white guy?" -VS
12/31/2008 "ooh you know its brand new when it's not opened" -VS
01/02/2009 “could you get me a crappy souvenir from every state you stop by?” -BM
01/11/2009 "I totally thought that was a penis on my McDonald's bag, but it was really a chess piece" -KE
01/18/2009 "once during truth or dare, we had someone make out with herself in the mirror. that was awesome." -FS
01/19/2009 "I am in respectful awe of #14" -CK
01/20/2009 "black people arent the only-people who have crazy sex you know " -YK
01/22/2009 "This is Riverside? This sucks." -KV
01/25/2009 "will someone sign me off please? I wanna get out of here!" -as heard over the loud speaker at Ralph's
01/27/2009 "I've had 6 wives, and currently on my 7th. But I know I've lived my life, and I have no regrets. Well, except for all the money I lost." -AR
01/28/2009 "i remember you said you were gonna throw up and we totally didn't take you seriously and you totally did and we were bewildered." -PV
02/04/2009 "Wait, that was an inside joke. You're not supposed to know what I'm talking about." -JG
02/05/2009 "Pomegranate juice? You are old." -JC
02/07/2009 "keep eating burritos, you're gonna start looking like a burrito" -MG
02/08/2009 "don't wanna end up pulling my hair out...even though I don't got no hair" -WP
02/12/2009 "Watch yo' back skank, or i might have to start spreading rumors... juicy juicy rumors. Have a great day =) *HIGH FIVE*" -KI
02/18/2009 "Have you ever lived on the East Coast or the Midwest? No? Ha-ha, ha-ha, you're gonna freeze, you're gonna freeze" -AT
02/22/2009 "Come on Mark, lie to me, tell me everything's gonna be alright after graduation" -JCB
03/04/2009 "just seeing if a visit could possibly be in order and if you would have the hospitality skills to meet my…meet my…oh whatever, if I could crash at your pad…"
03/11/2009 "too bad I can't hit them." -ED
03/14/2009 "I miss this." -RI
03/16/2009 it's all about the color. if it looks beautiful to you, it will taste beautiful to you." -SN
03/19/2009 "Why the hat? You look like a beatnik." -LT

here's a few more fun things to entertain yourself in case you didn't bother reading any of the above. a video with people aged 1-100 from all over the world, beating the same drum:

and 100 movie quotes, 100 numbers, all in over 100 seconds

see you at the next centennial! ...or even the next post. whichever comes first.

1 more day.

"if you chase 2 rabbits...they will escape"
-a fortune cookie


#1 On My Charts, Pt. 6

My favorite Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Radiohead tracks

So I decided to switch things up a little this time around. Normally I would concentrate on a particular genre, encompassing many artists, some obscure, others not, whatever whatever you know what I mean. In case you hadn’t noticed, I didn’t include any of these artists in any of the previous playlists. I mean, they’re just that good that they deserve their own category.

By good, I mean influential, musical, revolutionary, experimental, world renowned, etc. I really can’t find the words to describe the amount of artistry and talent that was required to create these tracks. No really, I can’t. My vocabulary isn’t that large.

So why these three artists? For one thing, on more than one occasion, I’ve been asked “What are your 3 top (Beatles)(Radiohead)(Michael Jackson) tracks?” I remember I was asked once. Figured out a list off the top of my head. Then I was asked again. That’s what I realized that it was time for me to make a post about it (hey, being asked twice is still more than one occasion). And to those of you who have read this and actually partook in that conversation, you’ll noticed that I changed my mind about some tracks being my top 3. Believe, me, if it were up to me, I would choose all the songs of these artists as my top…I mean there’s just too much good music. But I can’t. A playlist with over 500 songs wouldn’t work out, and it would probably crash your computer if you were gonna try and read my blog.

#1 On My Charts Pt. 6

The Beatles
Let’s face it. Love em or despise em, they’re still the most influential group in all modern music history. No one doesn’t know who the Beatles are. If you don’t, well, either you’re 6 or you have dementia. Wait, I take that back. My 90 year old grandma (RIP, Grandma) had dementia. Even she could sing the Beatles.
Now, I’m no expert on them, I will admit. That job’s for my friend, whose blog you can find here.
I’m simply here to appreciate and enjoy the music.

In My Life
Across the Universe
A Day in the Life

Michael Jackson
There’s been too much press coverage and too many things already said about Michael Jackson that I really have nothing else to say about him. His recent buzz and popularity about his tour in London is enough to prove that Jacko can still draw a crowd.

Billie Jean
Remember the Time

While not nearly as commercially successful as the previously mentioned artists, I’d have to give these guys a spot as one of my ultimate favorite bands of all time. If any group has influenced my taste on music the most, it would be these guys. Maybe this is just me, but I see a parallel in styles of Radiohead and the Beatles. While both groups may have begun as just another rock group, their sound evolved as they aged. Over the years in their respective times, both groups evolved into something more “experimental,” that while accepted by some was questioned by some. Radiohead may not be for everyone, especially in their work as of late. It’s a little too much for some to comprehend. But the same could be said for the Beatles’ later stuff, when experimentation and psychedelic-ness dominated their style. And, the fact that they just dissed Miley Cyrus just bumps up my respect even moreso.

Paranoid Android
How to Disappear Completely
Talk Show Host

2 days.

"Why the hat? You look like a beatnik."


On this day in 2004...

5 years ago on this day, I received a letter from a certain school in Southern California, stating "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted for admission to UCLA. Congratulations!" ...or something to that effect. I don't entirely remember exactly what it said. You know what I mean.

Just wanted to point that out.

5 days.

"it's all about the color. if it looks beautiful to you, it will taste beautiful to you."


The Final Countdowwwn

As my time here at that which defined my life for the past 4 and a half years whittles down, I've gotten the chance to spend time to reflect and do and experience all the things I won't be able to do and experience again once I leave. Now feel free to hold this against me in the future and I will eat my own words if I do end up contradicting myself...but let's face it. I'm not planning on living here ever again.

As a result, I've also managed to get the chance to reconnect and talk with alot of the people who have played some sort of role in my life here. Some of these people I haven't seen in years, others more often. All these people have had an impact on me in some way in the past 4 and a half years, whether they be former coworkers, old friends and floormates, fellow org members...

Though it's sad that I'll be leaving this all behind, it's still a pleasant reminder of all the companions and memories I've gained here.

It's nice.

7 days.

"I miss this."



In the past few weeks, since I've made my official announcement to move on with my life in a completely different city, I have been inundated with inqueries as to what and who (yes, even who) I'm doing and where, why, and how I'm going. And since then, I've probably told the same answers and stories to at least 603 different people on numerous seperate occasions. And though answering the same set of questions in the same order (you'd be surpised at how similar the progession of questions is with everyone) can get tiring, I secretly enjoy flaunting my accomplishments (but who doesn't, really? I addressed this in a previous post.)

Those of you who read my blog or who talk to me on a regular basis already know all the answers to the questions that have flooded my conversations in past month. But I say it doesn't hurt to have the answers down in writing (and to use as a reference in case for whatever odd reason, I forget what it is I'm going to be doing). I guarantee you that at least over half the time I have this same conversation:

Upon mention of me leaving...

What?? You're leaving? Where to?


But why?

I was accepted into this grad program.

At where?

DePaul University.

Oh...what city is that in?

Um, Chicago.

Oh yeah. Wow, well congratulations! What are you going to be studying?

GIS, geographic information systems...


...um, satellite imaging, GPS, the stuff google earth is made of.

Oh! Ha, that sounds...good, I guess...


So is this like a master's program?

No, it's a professional certification program.

Oooh...what's that mean?

It's a shorter program that's more hands on and less theoretical in terms of experience...so I'll be doing alot less reading about the kind of work I might be doing and will actually be doing the work I could be getting into.

(obviously stopped listening to me at "less")...oh that sounds interesting. So it's not an actual master's program?


Oh. (their admiration slightly fades...) Are you going to be living alone while you're out there?

Actually I have relatives I could stay with in Chicago. They're like, 2 miles away from the campus and they're going to help me out while I get settled in.

That's nice of them.




Are you going to drive out there?? What are you going to do with your car?

Actually I think I'm going to fly or take the train out there initially, since I will be staying with my family and won't need everything just yet. Then when I find my own place I'm going to fly back, pick up the car and the rest of my belongings, and make drive out to Chicago.

OMG! That's such a long drive! Are you going alone?

Possibly. Unless someone wants to come with me on the 2 and a half day drive.

Ooh I would definitely come with you, but I might have work or school **I get this same response 90% the time**

It's alright. It's only 2100 miles. It'll be like that one movie, National Lampoon's Vacation.

What movie?

Never mind.

What are you going to do about your job?

I already told them I was leaving. My last day is on the 12th.

Are you gonna work in Chicago?

Hopefully. I'll only be a part time student, so I'll have the time. If I can't find a real job while there, I'll probably just work on campus. I may be working for access control again!



When are you going to be leaving?

I'll be leaving LA on the weekend of the 21st, gonna spend a few days packing and preparing the bay, and then leave for Chicago probably on the 27th or 28th.

That's so soon! We should totally hang out before then!

Yeah we definitely should (but I guarantee if this is someone I don't talk to on a regular basis, it probably ain't gonna happen)

Dude, you should throw a party on your last night here.

Eh. Too much effort.

Or get wasted.

That's probably more likely.

Or smoke out.


10 days.

"too bad I can't hit them."


Can't you hear me knockin?

They say when opportunity knocks, you should answer. If something big or exciting or interesting is coming your way, there's no reason you shouldn't take a chance to revel in the impending awesomeness that might ensue (yeah, like remember those old honda commercials? mr. opportunity is knocking on your window).

Now I can safely say that there were times in my life in which I shouldn't have let opportunity in that door (the story of both my middle school and high school debacles comes to mind), and plenty of times when I just didn't answer when opportunity was ringing the doorbell and yelling at me to get my ass out there. Case in point: I SHOULD have accepted the offer to go to Japan with my high school my first year in college. I turned them down because I thought I would have midterms to worry about. The trip turned out to be on 2nd week. I SHOULDN'T have agreed to sell my brother's ninja stars from Tijuana to my classmates in 8th grade in 1999, when Columbine was still fresh on everyone's minds.

So let's fast forward to today, well last year, really, when I've matured and learned the dire consequences of attempting to establish a lucrative business in dangerous and exotic weapons on a Catholic school ground. It's the latter half of my senior year in college, and I'm down to my last 2 classes I'll need to finish my major. The class was Remote Sensing (studying images of surfaces through remote or external sources...or rather the stuff google earth is made of), and as a class project, we had to study a certain region of our choice. There was a special project that we could have opted to join, a team project per se. Since this was a geography class, and my professor, Tom Gillespie, was a biogeographer at heart, placed the special team project to study the region of Afghanistan. Using geographical theories, such as spatial theory, the team would try and discover the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.

Now, originally I was a part of this group. I couldn't think of any other region I'd wanna do, and joined. A few weeks down the line, the work piled up for this project. Longer hours of research had to be done in order for this project to fly, and our professor held our hands along the way. He wanted to make this as realistic as possible, so he even contacted government agencies such as the FBI to offer some advice and some information. He always joked that we could use this project to actually find Bin Laden and collect the reward money for it....

But my laziness got the best of me. It was halfway through my last year of college, I enjoyed my free time, and I was starting to get back into making stupid parodies of commercials again.
someone on facebook told me this shit is sick. I'm validated!

So with all those factors coming into place, it was only natural for me to pull aside the professor, and tell him I wanted out of the project. Why, he asked. I told him I wanted to pursue a project in a different region...say, Dubai. And he made sure I wanted to do this, and I did, and so just like that, I was free to wallow in my lethargic sloth-ish self at home.

Fast forward a year. My friend sends me this link to a video of Rachel Maddow (on MSNBC, for those of you who are 24 hour news cycle-illiterate), and she asks if this guy was ever my professor. I watch. My jaw drops. My heart sinks.


Turns out my professor was serious about making this official. Turns out he published the project that the team that I was formerly a part of onto a reputable science journal. And it turns out that the team that I was formerly a part of and the fruits of their labor got major mass media attention. Not only did my professor interview in the aforementioned video, the published project popped up on major news sites everywhere, including The Telegraph (a UK based publication), USA Today, the LA Times, and apparently here, here, and here.

Super. Imagine that. I could have been part of a media praised (though technically flawed) theory that would have provided accolades, national attention, and one hell of a point to put on my resume. But no. Instead, I decided to research and praise (according to my report) the "the most fantastic and fastest urbanizing and growing region on the planet," a region today that is literally stewing in its own shit.

So there you have it. I could've been part of a major university study that has caught the eyes of scientists and government agencies all over the world, but instead I decided to research a small, relatively failing country which shares the same name of a cheesy Filipino romance flick.

But my lesson is learned now...again. When opportunity knocks, check and see who it is before you open that door and let him in (unless opportunity happens to be delivering a pizza). Then let him in regardless. I'm hungry.

17 days.

"just seeing if a visit could possibly be in order and if you would have the hospitality skills to meet my…meet my…oh whatever, if I could crash at your pad…"