Monthly Archives: June 2008

dinner and a movie

Today was the first time in awhile that I dedicated a block of time to Chrissie. It’s been ages since we truly hung out together, let alone have dinner and a movie. For the past month, most of my time has been spent working. Either for TigerLogic, working on our new product ChunkIt! or side photography stuff, processing photos from weddings and events, or book design.

We met up with Grant and Jenie who had just come back from Hawaii, and had dinner at Outback Steakhouse (The United State’s poor excuse for Australian food). Though I somehow doubt that’s what they ate in Australia. Afterwards, we headed home and watched a movie we Netflixed, titled “Charles Bartlett”. I initially at first read the description and thought to myself, wow, this movie is going to suck. Turns out it was one of the better movie’s I’ve seen in a long while. It was about adolescents, and wanting to fit in and finding your place in the world. I’d give it a 4 out of 5. As old as this makes me sound, some scenes actually took me back reminded me of my own high school experiences. Then Chrissie and I just ‘hung out’, which I haven’t done in a long while.

I’m not Japanese, but the whole bury myself into work bit reminds me of an old saying. “Japanese men are said to be married twice. Once to their wives, and the 2nd to their work”. Maybe it’s a psychological thing. Maybe I work a lot out of guilt? I really don’t know the reasons. I do remember growing up though, my parents worked their butts off. In some way, perhaps I feel that I’m atoning for all their hard work. If they worked hard to try to raise us, so must I. Which is really odd, considering most of my youth and throughout college, I really hated school and studying (one can argue that it’s analogous to work).

So kids really do try to emulate their parents, or role models. So then the question is, what do children do when no parents or role models are present in their lives? I think of my niece, who has essentially been forced to grow up too young and take the responsibilities of taking care of her siblings, because her dad is a deadbeat. Or countless other less fortunate children who just grow up with one parent, or even zero. Do they move about in the world, paving their own path? Do they feel lost? Who do they emulate? The phrase “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” doesn’t even apply if there is no tree to fall from.

We’re all hitting 20 + 10

Today is my friend Johnny’s birthday. I’ve known that kid since Jr. High School, and it’s odd. Most everyone I know now is either already 30, or just about to get there. It’s not a bad age, I guess it’s the point in our lives where we’re considered ‘established’. Funny, I don’t feel that way. I can’t be established! I feel like I’m barely getting started! During the drive to Buca Di Beppo, an Italian family style eatery (which literally translates to Guiseppe’s Hole ), I got called by my friend Danny at work. Now, when Danny calls, it either means one of two things. A) We are going out to eat Pho! or B) Something is wrong at work. Seeing as we did a major release today, I immediately answered “What’s wrong” when I picked up. So the funny scene is, I’m pulled over on the side of a parking lot with a laptop, and my blackberry which I rigged as a makeshift modem on the edge network (Highly not recommended, but since it was just using a terminal to a Linux box, it wasn’t too slow). So here I am, getting a call from the Vice President getting this one issue resolved, I thought to myself. I’m in a parking lot…with all this computer equipment, and two cell phones going on my lap. Some cop is going to drive by and probably wonder what the heck am I doing? Spying on someone? The whole thing just seemed rather comical to me. Anyways, so once it was ‘mostly resolved’, I drove along my merry way to eat some pasta. Unfortunately, I knew I had some more work later that night, otherwise I would of definitely imbibe in more alcohol.

1st time for everything

I just had a rather cool day. Went over to my parents after work to eat dinner, and my mom asked if I wanted to go swimming with her at the pool. I said, “sure why not”. So she changes into a cool cute little bathing suit (sorta like the ones in the pictures that you see ladies wearing at the beaches in the 60’s), and then we head over to the community pool out where they live. I told her next time I’ll have to bring my camera to get her in her bathing suit (though in application, I fear that’s impossible as I highly doubt she’ll want a picture taken of her in her bathing suit).

It dawned on me, that this is literally the first time I’ve seen my mom in a bathing suit. EVER. So we’re there, (she has no clue how to swim, neither do I as a matter of fact) but we just doggie paddled and splashed around the water. Had small talk, it was sorta just fun alone mom n son time. Which I thought was rather cool, considering…we haven’t done that since…hmmm..maybe I was a little kid? So then another epiphany hit me. This was also, literally the first time I hung out in a pool with my mom! She got some exercise, and all in all, it was a good fun time, which I will have to do again another day. And a nice lady who was at the pool just stopped by for some small talk. I told her I was a software engineer, and also a photographer. She said to stop by, she’d love to see my portfolio, etc, so w00t. Maybe I’ll have a client for 2009 booked =) It was funny, she asked what kinda of camera do I have? and that She had just bought a Sony one. I told her, that’s kinda a interesting question, considering I own 3 larger ones, and a smaller point and shoot one. Anyways, the cool part was spending time with my mom, and afterwards I got a home cooked meal! (Though, that’s not saying much considering Chrissie gets me a home cooked meal almost every day), but this is “mom’s’ home cooked meal, which we all know is quite different.

Pictures of You

My Uncle from France scanned and sent me a lot of old photos. I told him I wanted to see pictures of my father when he was younger. I’m trying to piece together my family history. This picture I guess is dated at 1940.
Based solely on the fact that my Dad (who is the kid standing next to the lap of my grandfather, the gentleman sitting in the middle on the chair with the black tie) looks like he’s about 6 years old? And he was born in 1933, so I’m dating this at aprox. Early 1940’s.
Le Family Portrait
Second to the left in the front row is, Bac 8, (don’t know his name, just his number), Bac Phuoc( Uncle from France), my grandmother, Bac Hanh(Uncle from Canada), and my dad, then my grandfather. I don’t quite know who the rest of the people are, except the women behind in the second row must be my aunts. It’s strange…I always knew my Dad as, well…My Dad! Here he is, a little boy, probably running around, causing mischief, etc. He too was young at one point, and it’s just strange to see him as anything other than my father.

And here is a picture of my Dad who I’m guessing is my age now (Or a little older). I’m guessing he’s 35 years old here, which would date this picture at 1968
Here he is with my Oldest half brother, “Bang Le”, and my grandmother who passed away 1 year before I was even born. Which is a tale to be mentioned later. It was quite sad when I heard the story of how she passed away. My mom was in tears when she told me. I find these pictures extremely fascinating. It takes me back to a whole different world and era that I never knew. Since stories are few and far between in my family, the people in these images only live in my imagination. What’s even more scary, is all these children are now about 85 years old now. My father is the youngest child and he’s 75 years old. This means, as eerie and odd as this sounds, in about 10 years or less, an entire generation will be wiped out. My Dad’s older sister was born during the first World War! All that’s left will be their children, and children’s children (of whom I barely know). So this got me thinking, once the old guard fades into memories, there will be no-one to pass on stories of that era. So It’s really my duty to try to accumulate these stories, so I can somewhat make an attempt to pass it down to my kids.

studio photography

Up till now, I hated studio work. I had always thought they were bland excercies of aim and shoot. However, I watched this documentary this week on Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and his studio work and it was quite interesting. As with many things, studio work is much more than meets the eye, and it’s much more difficult than it appears. The notion of getting a subject into a small 10-12 foot space and then come out with a visually appealing, lighted, usable image can be quite daunting. I’ve avoided it thus far, but after watching this documentary, I was compelled to give it a shot. To this point I always thought that everything within the studio was so contrived. But realize that portrait work, or posed work was pretty important even in event and wedding photography. So next month I’m going to tackle it. I plan to start simple. Not a big fan of the ostentatious backdrops, I’m going to just focus on simple white, and start strobes for lighting, and using volunteers. I’d like to try hot lights, but they’re quite expensive, so I’ll tackle that later when I get paid the big bucks for my work. Which I think I can achieve within the next five years. Looking back, my first wedding I did a few years back, using a XT, 10D, 20D combo, and charged a paltry 1000 dollars. Now my standard package is 3.5k to 4k. I’ve achieved one of my first goals awhile back, which was to have someone…anyone…pay for my work! Next goal for me would be to do some product work or commissioned work, where images can fetch hundreds if not thousands of dollars. It may seem very distant now, but then again, a few years back I didn’t think I’d be where I am today, especially for someone with absolutely zero film training. Which sucks, I think I would like to take courses one of these days to get a bit more formal training under my belt, or work/assist someone.


Chrissie, myself and the hippo went to the Original Pancake house that just opened up near my neighborhood on Chapman. We tried to go last time, but I had an emergency bat phone call from work, so we couldn’t make it. This time, all was quiet on the western front, so we got to eat some tasty pancakes. First….my review. They were good looking, but nothing to write home about. I got the blueberry pancakes, and Chrissie got the ‘Dutch Boy’ (which I admit were tasty). The Blueberry one on the other hand was lackluster. Now for the icky part. They don’t give you sides, so you have to order them separate! A side of potatoes and sausages were like 6 dollars extra. What’s that? Highway robbery you say? Well I wouldn’t mind, except I think they were by far the worse sausages I’ve tasted. It’s like they steamed them in a vat of fat. People….You are supposed to fry sausages! At any rate, we have tried, we have ate…and next time….we shall go to Mimi’s or dare I say…IHOP or Dennys.
Their coffee was meh…too strong for Chrissie (I thought it was fine), but their coffee mugs…tsk tsk. They were tiny. Call me silly, but I’m used to a big fat mug of coffee at home, so when these itty bitty mugs came out. I kissed my two plus dollars goodbye! Don’t get me started on how yummy McDonalds Iced coffee tastes (for the same price)


1 terrabyte later

Well, Costco has a sale on external hard-drives, and since I’m about to fill up my 1.5Terrabytes of data worth of pictures, I’ve decided to increase my storage capacity. so I’m free to do more pictures! yippeee

So lately I’ve been on a ‘Crossing Jordon’ kick. I’ve started at season 1 and am moving my way up. It’s a pretty cool show on forensics (Not to mention I think Jordon is pretty hot). Though I think my favorite character is Nigel(sp), he’s a quirky, yet brilliant British bloke. It was so interesting, I looked up what a medical examiner gets paid. On average, about $150k a year. Though I guess it’ll take a lot of work, not to mention an M.D. to do so. And I guess, I was never quite fit to be an M.D. I remember just the other week I cracked open one of my dad’s old books and I think reading the pathology book hurt my head with all of the chemistry involved. I’m gonna stick back to engineering and the arts. Sorta a good mix.

You know you’re out of shape when….

So I took a good look in the mirror today and noticed a niiice round tummy. Not the round cuddly kind, the the rotund kind. You know…the ones where you’re embarrassed to take off your shirt unless all the lights are turned off. You all know what I’m talking about!!! So I woke up one day and decided to do something about it. I started jogging (very light short jogs because they’re quite painful) two days ago. And today, I picked up my 20lb weights. Now…this was when I realized I’m out of shape. Aside from the usual dust build up on all of our workout equipment, I noticed there were cobwebs! Yes, cobwebs! I laughed at myself, dusted off the webs, and whipped out 3 sets of 10. Ahh…the pain begins. Hopefully I can bust out and lose approx 10 lbs before the years end.

In other news, my dad started Chemo today. I was fearing the worse, but my mom said that the side effects for this type of dosage does not kick in until about a week. So for now, everything is still good. I’ll be swinging by tomorrow to eat din din.

package has been delivered!

W00t! My dad received his fathers day card/letter from me.
I was of course too embarrassed for him to read it in front of me, so I asked if he could read it when he got home.


Today we had our first family outing at a park in um…lets see…30 years? It was pretty neat, we had boatloads of Asian food. Yum… I met a lot of nieces and nephews today, which was rather cool. Met one of their friends who wants to be a photography major, so I had fun teaching her a bit about Fstops and what those silly numbers mean. Then gave her an opportunity to hold 6k worth of gear and take pics with it. But I’m glad I got a chance to meet the rest of my family. And my sister in law’s family was really cool. They visited my dad while he was at the hospital, brought him flowers, etc. They’re just generally fun to chill with.
Well back to processing wedding pics. Should be good to know that today I left my crutch lens at home! Didn’t even bring it, and you know what? I felt fine! Now there is talks of a family Fourth of July get-together. Course this is all contingent on how my dad does with his Chemotherapy treatments this coming week.

An odd discovery and a random childhood memory

I had a rather long and painful day at work today (I’ve had worse, but today was pretty icky). I get home at around 20:15, settle in, and as I’m standing there in my kitchen waiting for the water to boil from my coffee (need the juice for the 2nd part of my day), a pleasant random memory popped into my head.

I remember once, a long time ago when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I did store a lot of junk and toys underneath my bed. Except one day (fairly close to Christmas), I looked down below and discovered a completely unaccounted for, blue, plastic device. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was for. All that was in my mind was, wow! a new thingymagig toy to play with! (despite not knowing that the heck it was meant to do).

I played with my blue, square, plastic box for a bit. It got dull really quick of course. I mean, how many things can you come up with. It was literally a blue plastic box. It wasn’t until days later, when my parents presented me with the other pieces of the puzzle. It was a toy construction set. But it was nifty because it had automated parts, and choking hazards galore! (this was clearly pre mad crazy litigation days). But I put the pieces together, and it was somewhat akin to that one board game (mouse trap), only instead of a scrawny rodent, they were battery operated construction vehicles, that went around a track, pushing, shoving, transporting these little white pellets that would make a modern day lawyer cream in their pants. Gee, lets make kids toys look like cereal pellets so they can swallow them whole! I digress, clearly I a small modicum of intelligence and knew it wasn’t the best idea to start cramming foreign objects into my mouth.

At any rate, so my random thought was, It occurred to me they never quite gave me the box to unwrap, or even the instruction manual for the thing! And I realize now (yeah, I’m a slow adult) that they most likely purchased it for a garage sale, or goodwill. Some hand me down place. parents, we had very little, and what low income they did have, they took the time to allocate a small percentage of that to my choking hazard. That’s love right there baby.