This one is a doosy. If this is your first time to my blog, I'd highly suggest reading some older posts before taking a stab at this one.

leafy greens

When driving from Austin to Houston you eventually encounter a curve about half-way that sends you Eastward on I-10. I remember in college hearing that a friend had passed away there along with a girl who sat in the passenger seat. Looking at it, the outside of the left turn doesn't have any railing at all. If you weren't paying attention for 30 seconds you could easily fly right off. Every time I pass by that section of the freeway I think of them and their last moments.

Suspended in air.

The impact of the collision.

The heat of the car's insides spewing everywhere.

I drive as close as I can to the inside of the curve.



The past few months, have yet again, been a roller-coaster ride of emotion.

The following bit was written during a low:

"Pat's doing well." That's the general consensus now. I'm working, I'm living the bay life. I'm getting drones in the mail as gifts, I'm still consuming all of these fine foods and drinks.

The thing is, I can't shake the feeling of being estranged to it all.

Sitting in the back seat of Brett's SUV, Elenor told me about her friends at school and how they were being mean to her, "I asked all of my friends to play with me but they wouldn't." I wish I could have told her something to console her, but it instantly reminded me of my situation right now.

Whether it's my fault or not, I have very few true friends. I try to deal with the loneliness, but it's eating at me.

Although very similar to depression, loneliness feels distinctly different. It hits later in the day, and instead of being something I'd want to personify(depression to me feels like a voice in your head that you can argue against), loneliness doesn't have a mind of it's own, it's just this big black void.

An encroaching, all-consuming, nothingness.

When you're alone even your thoughts don't have a friend.


I've been working my balls off. Who would have thought?

The first 4 weeks of my new job was spent working non-stop. We had a sharp due date of launching a re-design of our company's website, which was 200+ pages.

Go to work, go home and work some more, wake up and think about working before going to work, even on weekends.

The site has been launched, and it's a huge relief.

In comparison to my previous job, I'm finding my tasks easy to break into chunks and finish piece by piece. I feel generally appreciated by my coworkers and I think we get along quite well.

I'm even starting to learn a bit of design, It's all pretty dope.


Santa Cruz.

My last trip was for EVO, which was in late July. I again, coaxed Matt into driving me somewhere.

Santa Cruz, why not? I liked it quite a bit from my first time visiting. Let's go.


Most of the time was spent with Matt hitting up multiple skate spots, and me realizing no matter what I wanted to do, it lied in this extremely small downtown area. Having time to burn, I tried to get a haircut, but it seemed every single salon in the city was booked for the next 2 weeks, which felt odd since Santa Cruz feels like a town with not much going on.

We went shopping/thrifting and Matt bought some hilarious "dad clothes." I picked up a Chasity Belt record that seemed to call to me from a distance.

One of Matt's childhood friends said they were having a house party. It all seemed quite rushed and we had to get there ASAP. It was probably going to be wild, nuts, and have tons of alcohol, we were told to pick up a pineapple, oh boy.

There wasn't even time to go to a "fun" place for dinner. We ate at a fucking Whole Foods.

Upon entering the site of the "party" I was quickly offered a tiki inspired drink, "Here we go" I thought to myself. The thing I wasn't expecting was, I was asked, "How many cats do you want?"


I was offered a tray full of these plastic cats that you can use to put on the edge of your cup, I got two.

How many cats do you want?

Okay I get it now. These guys are grad students. They're slightly eccentric, but nothing that I wasn't used to. College vibes. They made a comment on how we didn't bring a reusable bag to the supermarket.

I felt immediately relived at this moment.

They even made one of the hugest bowls of guacamole I've ever seen.

Low and behold, it was the 150th anniversary of the Santa Cruz boardwalk! Let's go see some fireworks.

We set off into the night, walking at an extremely fast pace. Someone said, "This is my normal walking speed when I'm walking around campus." I was barely able to keep up.

The fireworks started before we arrived. *Boom*

We passed by a blur of people peeking out of their small businesses, beach-side motels, and those taking a break from dinner.

The special moment seems to awaken this sleepy town. The glow casted a beautiful shade of wonderment on everyone.

Finally arriving at the boardwalk, we could clearly start to see fireworks. The thing is, I could have really cared less about the fireworks, I was more focused on the entrancement and emotion from the people watching them.

"How can I be less estranged? I've seen fireworks before... big whoop. But how can I be in this moment?"

I tried to take a photo of people looking into the sky; the wonderment, the range of emotion, but no firework photo can quite match that one I took so many years ago on the fourth of July in Boston.

One of the girls, Maria (we were told that the proper way to say her name was with a Spanish accent), lead us to a house close by. She somehow had the key to this older ladies place, and we all followed her to a nice outdoor patio. We sat there, the fireworks still booming overhead, the glitter of lights, out of focus, disparaging into the background, as we passed around a decent bottle of Chardonnay that I had bought earlier.

Suddenly this moment seemed more spontaneous, unique.

We went to a bowling alley that also had a back bar with Karaoke. It all felt like something from a different time era, a slice of Americana.

I went with my go to song, "My Way" by Fastball. Singing it says, "Despite my appearance, I grew up here in America, in a sleepy suburb, just like you. I was right fucking there, and I know this song so well you can't deny it." It feels weird having such a tender bond with my upbringing. It may have been all Capri-sun commercials and Nickleodean, but the end of the day it's still culture, and it's ingrained into me.

Not in the mood to get a last second $200 hotel room Matt and I ended up driving back to Oakland after midnight. We were tired. Our last memory of our day trip was at a random diner, which was huge, totally empty, grossly over staffed with an enormous menu. I ordered eggs, sausage, and hashbrowns - probably the safest thing to get in that circumstance.

They still had pay phones. What a time warp.



As work started, I still found time to go to George and Lennie twice a week.

There's something about the way the cafe's speakers render audio. The guitar in acoustic songs ring and reverberate, there's a hallow yet deep ping in the percussion, the high's soar high without clipping.

Angel Olsen, Chasity belt... I'm slowly piecing together my dream record collection.

Records in 2016? right? haha.

coffee pinata

For it's birthday, there was live music and performances and Brett got a large coffee cup shaped pinata filled with bouncing balls and candy. Nathan came by with a bottle of Amaro as a gift.


I've always thought I'd lose my car in some sort of epic scenario... like finally breaking down on a cross country road trip, crashing into something, or like putting it into neutral and sending down a hill into the ocean.

I remember skipping school and parking outside of a friend's house and sleeping there the whole day, hiding.

Packing in all my college roommate's and my belongings and driving back to Houston for Summer break.

Going to my friends apartment and trying craft beer for the first time. I liked Shiner, so I could hang right? We got a dopplebock and dogfish head 90 minute IPA among other things. I couldn't get past the heavy bitterness, but I still plowed through those beers, got back into my car because I was too lazy to walk 4 blocks, and backed into what I thought was a house. Luckily it was just a poll, too low to see out the rear view mirror. That hole has been on my bumper ever since, I never bothered to fix it.

Packing all of my most cherished belongings into it and driving out to San Francisco.

For the past half year or so, I had parked my car underneath this highway overpass for 3 weeks at a time before ever checking up on it. The day Matt and I left for Santa Cruz, we drove past the spot I had last left it and it was gone. Turns out a tow lot had the car there for over 3 weeks, and the fine was over $2300. To relinquish the fee I gave them the title and keys to it. I no longer needed it, I was moving to the city where a car would have been even more of a burden.

Good bye car.



I've gone to Nathan's new restaurant Nomica... probably 7 or more times at this point. It's safe to say that I like it.

Stray Cat Rock

I wrote a review, which was heavily edited by Umami Mart:

My criticisms, which were left out of the post, are that the music and decor aren't great and the food is inconsistent. (I was a bit harsher than that)

nomica seaweed

I think the owners are too scared of creating an environment that's outside of people's comfort-zones, which doesn't make sense given the sophistication of the drink and food menu. It's a shame.


But definitely try Nomica! Go on a Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday and sit at the bar. Get lots of drinks!


At the end of one of my meals at Nomica, we decided to have after dinner tea. It was an enlightening decision. There's an oolong tea that they have from Song Tea called "Buddha's hand" that's just the perfect... mellow, deep, earthy, chocolaty way to end a meal. It sucks out the sweetness that's still lingering in your mouth from dessert, the warmth flows through you, calming you down at first, and then the caffine kicks in, giving you a temporary jolt of energy, a tea high.

song tea

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, after it had been raining the whole morning, I found myself at Song Tea. I arrived in my usual fashion, hot and sweaty, especially from having the humidity in the air trapped within my non-breathable rain jacket while I got lost in a neighborhood I've never walked around before.


Seeing that there was a group in the middle of a tea tasting, I sat in a lounge chair and read some of the new issue of Cereal Magazine. There's a small insert that has a story about a girl growing up in the US that was forced to move to Korea that I liked quite a bit.

I soon found myself the only customer left in the store, and the owners still offered a tasting to me. 3 teas, chosen from anywhere in the range of teas that they had.

I started with a white, which sucked the heat out of my body, an instant calm.

song tea

I'm not going to bore you with the details of each cup, but I did find the their whole "ritual" of brewing tea very soothing. The wait while the water is warming up, the measuring of the tea leaves, an initial small pour of water just to extract the fragrance from the tea, the small tiny tea cups for each taste, the way you bring air into each mouthful of tea to aerate it, each subsequent steep... the repetition. The whole process reminds me very much of the photo dark room. There's room for things to trickle, spill over, be wet. But in the end everything is weighed, timed, and deliberate.


If I meet you today, I'll be the first to tell you how this tea kettle has changed everything for me. I have seen the light. I can never go back. You're probably getting one for christmas, your wedding gift, your birthday, etc.


rainy day

In my dark times, I found myself purchasing a series of "self-help" zines titled "ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, DEFRIENDING" written by a supposed PHD. So far I've only read the defriending one(the other topics too scary at the time delve into) and it helped me out quite a bit.

In adult life, there's really no reason you should hangout with people that make you feel bad. It's as simple as that.

Up to this point, life has always felt like a race, a competition.

If you're reading this now, chances are that you're alive. Congrats, we made it.

We've all somehow figured out how to survive until this point, and that's commendable. We all have different goals and come from varying levels of wealth, base values, and levels of determination and commitment.

We're all so different.

subway terminal

The thought of that seems to send my mind for a trip.

You guys know how I am about food, right? The connoisseur, the reviewer, the guy with the insider view and connection.

My opinions now, especially after the fact that most of you guys have ate at more Micheline star restaurants and are more well traveled than me, hold very little weight.

hanae and nathan

It's hard for me to make a recommendation because I can't guarantee you'll have the same wonderful time at a restaurant as me based on so many different factors. My experiences are unique, and they're special to me.

For me, at this point, it's more important that I have taken a stake in my own little part of the world, than it is to have crossed things off a checklist, to consistently have the best of the best, and to experience things "the correct way."

smart baby

We've always been told what we should value. It's been instilled in us in all the media we've ever consumed since we were kids, and most of us are trapped in that world. Social media tends to be a new breed of the same, borderline-propaganda level, stuff. It all feels so direct. Ideas are affirmed in an instant, as if likes are telling us what to do more of, what path to go down, when the unpopular path could yield something more fruitful or unique. Even our friends are selling things to us. When I scroll through, I can't avoid the bad thoughts, it really turns me against everyone... and because of that I'm trying to interact with it less.

Matt and I want to go up on stage and just repeat "Facebook, twitter, instagram, linked-in, tinder." over and over until people leave. It's gotten to that point.

It's great that you guys are doing whatever, please continue to share. I becoming more aware that, like mine, your experiences are your own. They're special to you, and that's wonderful and worth sharing.

But if you find yourself empty and unfulfilled chasing these things, there's a high likelihood you've been on a wild goose chase this whole time with no real goal line. This may be a very "silicon valley" angle, but at this point in our lives, we can be whoever we want to be.

Don't let the baggage of others' expectations for you hold you down.


At this moment, I'm at a high. Almost everything seems to be going well. I have a job that I like at an amazing company filled with people I genuinely enjoy being around, I have my own apartment in the direct center of one of the most urban cities in the world, my experiences seem to be unique and authentic. I'm a lot less lonely.


It's so easy to go to Karaoke.



get high on mountains

I live right above George and Lennie, and their next project is a creative coworking space across the street called "Get High on Mountains" (link to their instagram)


I'm going to say this now:

I think my angst is gone.

That's right... I think my angsty years are behind me.

How do I know? How am I coming to this conclusion?

I'm sitting in a cafe in Houston. I haven't been here for over 2 years.

I haven't spoken a word to my parents in 2 years.

Sure I've thought about them, they could have died, something bad could have happened, etc. I still never contacted them, blocked them on everything. I even ran when they visited(the fact that they were out looking for me signaled to me that they were alive, which was enough for me). I slept in a private bathroom in the office and friend's house for a week.

Sure, hate me because of this. I see the "I want someone who treats his mom nicely" and "family is most important" on a ton of people's profiles. If you view me any differently now that you know this, you can go ahead and fuck off. You don't know me. (To me theres a distinction between teenage angst and having an attitude. :P) Sure I'm Asian and my parents were first generation immigrants, but my upbringing was different than yours, I can't relate to most of you.

It's taken me up to this point to be able to confront, and hopefully now control, all the rage, angst, and straight-up anger that I have had within me.

On paper, they never deserved to be ghosted, they've given me everything. To this day, I still believe I was the most spoiled kid out of anyone I've known, by far. I was never hit, not once. I'm pretty sure I've made my parents spend more money on pokemon cards and gundam models than your new car.

But when it became apparent very late in life that I was living in a bubble made just for me, everything changed. I felt lied to.

I was told to fear everything outside the realm of the house. I didn't bike around the neighborhood, I didn't travel much until after high school(I still have an ingrained fear of travel). Home was bountiful, safe, and fun. I was destined for something great, I was the smartest, the best at everything.


There was a lapse in this story sometime in high school. Suddenly school was difficult, I lived with just my dad for a few years, I got a car and had more freedom. When I first started to take photography seriously, my favorite genre quickly became street photography, which is the art of observing. It gave me a way to start answering my curiosities of this strange world around me. It gave me a way to relate, to exist in a world larger than myself.

Even though these cracks seemed to appear as early as high school, to this day I don't think I've "fully" left the fairy tail. My adult life has been a battle of trying to find my place in my definition of "real" society.

I can largely describe my personality as a mix of someone who has grown to be very cynical of the environment around him - someone who puts up a dull emotionless wall to anything around him, and that of a kind little kid, still in that dream world.

I bounce between the 2, have you noticed?

This trip for the most part has been completely normal. There's been a slight decay of things, but in general, everything is the same. I drove my mom to the Galleria so she could buy a Black Friday laptop. We ate at Goodie Taqueria, my dad got tons of salsa and burger toppings from the salad bar even though we ordered omelettes. I'm amazed at the amount of food the 2 of them can consume(they're both quite skinny). It's surreal, in the way that everything has stayed the same, and that my darkest fears didn't happen. But I know this won't be permanent. The hand of time is moving through us.

At 26 I can say, I'm okay with being weird. I'm okay with my family being weird. I'm mostly okay with the past and everything that's happened to me. I'm happy that I went through so many awkward social interactions later in life while trying to figure it out.

Because what's special about being cookie cutter? Things seem to becoming more and more standardized, perfectly white balanced. It's all so unachievable, so boring. How do we define normalcy in this strange world? How do we utilize our unique desires and personalities?

Like smelling the fragrance of a cup of freshly steeped oolong tea. I feel a calm has washed over me.

Hi adult self. Yes... I'll start contributing to my 401k...


Zine'd self

In my latest zine, "Jump Cut" I wrote this on the back as a closing remark:

"Adult life seems to sprawl out into a universe of uncertainty.

I fear the endless possibilities, the missed opportunities, the speed at which life passes me by.

I use photography to find a comfort in a small moment, a close interaction, a sliver of time and space."

Even with my newfound stability, I'm still worried. I'm slightly older than most of my peers and I still feel younger and inexperienced. While there's a voice in my head telling me, "It's okay! You're unique, you don't have to feel bad since you hold yourself to different values, be forever young, be free!"

I can't help but feel like there's something approaching around the corner. There's going to be an inevitable impact that will, for lack of a better phrase, shatter me. I can't live life carefree. There's going to be an age where I can't do the things that are open to me right now. There will be a time where my opportunities and wonderment with the world will be calcified.

I feel as if, most of the time, the magic has faded. I'm no longer as wide eyed as I once was.


However, every now and then there are brief moments that I truly find myself in a sense of wonder.

It was the day after I had finished moving all of my possessions out of my old Oakland apartment into my SF studio.

Ashley said she wanted to check out the graveyard in Piedmont. "Oh I've been there before, it's cool." was my response text to her.


It turns out she specifically wanted to see a place called "Chapel of the Chimes" which was featured in some sort of cult scavenger hunt. I had biked past this place before, dismissing it for a funeral home.

Walking through I could smell a faint scent of incense. Every path seemed to open up into another large compartment, all filled with memorials and graves sprinkled with a pattern of fresh flowers for the recently remembered and empty placeholders for the long forlorned. The only sound was made from the trickling of fountains, the occasional chirp from a single bird. Light gushed through from the sky, lush greenery filled every nook that wasn't cast in stone.

chapel of the chimes

The playbook in my head which tends to over-plan and map everything out is often wrong. Please let it be wrong for eternity.

urban stream

Another weekend we went to some place in Golden Gate Park. It was less impressive. At least we got jjajangmyeon after.


I could have easily stayed in my Oakland apartment for another year. But why wait? Why be comfortable? For me, something needs to be constantly shaken, there needs to be constant movement. In moving to my new 350sq ft apartment I threw away half of my possessions, it felt so freeing.

house warming

I had a small apartment warming party. There was a point where there were 10 of us sitting in a circle on my carpet.

house warming

We went up to the roof and sat around a fireplace. It felt nice to be surrounded by friends.


Company retreat

These are weird times. During our company retreat, after at first telling us everything was going to be fine, our CEO had his professor, who's taught at Harvard Business School for over 30 years, in a room with over 400 people, tell us in a 2 hour lecture that he's worried about what's to come.

Never before have I looked so hard at who I am and what I stand for.



It's easy to close your eyes and let time pass.

You blink.

Suddenly you're suspended, in that instance before the final impact.

It's not time to be still.



Again. I am happy. The happiest I've ever been. I really hope I can maintain what I have going for me now and use it as a launch pad to do more with my time. It's the end of the year and I haven't done any of the goals I set out in my previous posts. It's okay though, as far as personal development goes, this year has been quite productive... don't you think?

Come over to my new place for some tea sometime.

The above pic is of Ariel and her new Contax G2 that she bought unknowingly from a local photography legend Joe Aguirre, who's a member of the Burn My Eye collective.

zoo bomb

nori window

In Oakland, I still keep the window open at all times, even if it's windy and cold at night. The bay air is soft, cool, damp... it seeps in and reminds you that the ocean is close by. Almost every night recently, the sound of several fireworks can be heard coming from not far away.

*BOOM... fizzzle*

*BABOOM... fizzzle*

I don't know who it is or why they're doing it, but the startling sound keeps an underlying sense of tensity in the air. The swirl of world events, news, and media that I passively soak up on the Internet gives me a general sense of worry.

I'm a worrier. I'm adverse to things that may give me pain. I try my best to not let it get to me, but I always find myself coming up with assumptions based on very little evidence or interaction.

"Is this worth pursuing?" "Is this worth committing to?" "If I do this will the next year pass by in a flash?" Why do these thoughts continue to swim into my mind for almost every scenario and every person I meet?

I over think things into oblivion.

city bound train

There's a feeling I get whenever I step foot into even a remotely crowded place. It's the anxiety. I feel the whole room look up for a brief second, and suddenly I feel myself questioning everything about my appearance. "Are my shoes weird?" "Is my hair messed up?" "Do I look out of place?"

This stems from a deep uncomfortableness with myself. And while I feel hindered by these thoughts and feelings. I have to fight and commit to going out. How will I make progress else wise?

But then... Why am I even out in the first place? What do I want to do today? What are my goals? Who do I even look up to? Where are my mentors? Who am I striving to be?

These past few months that I didn't work can be thought as a "summer vacation." However I didn't travel much and I wasn't completely carefree.

// George and Lennie


I've become a regular at a cafe in the Tenderloin called George & Lennie. How much of a regular? I wash the dishes, make espresso shots, and have exclusive access to the wifi. It's like I semi-work there, except that I'm not getting paid (I sometimes get tips or a $20 bill).


It would take quite a bit to explain why I like this shop so much, but the gist of it is... the coffee shop isn't really a coffee shop, but a physical extension of Brett, the full-bearded, burly, tattooed owner of the shop who previously worked at Four Barrel Coffee for several years.


I was meeting a former coworker for coffee near his apartment. I immediately assumed we were going to Philz, but he guided me towards a small neighborhood joint I've never noticed before.

One of the first details I noticed upon entering the cafe was the large-format printer on the far side of the cafe. I remember several years ago trying to convince a business-minded friend to invest in a printer, only to have him dismiss it as "throwing away money."

My first conversation with Brett entailed me asking about what he did with it, and him responding with "Hey, I'm more about doing than talking."

He shut me out. Quick and efficient.

But I felt something there, so I returned and showed him some of my photos. We've been friends ever since.


The cafe is an embodiment of that "just try it" attitude, if he feels the notion to do something, he'll do it.

From the settings on the coffee grinder and espresso machine, the music, the interior of the shop... everything seems to be tweaked and fiddled around with constantly. In a given week a plant can be seen in different corners of the shop, on different table and bar tops, hung on the door, even hanged from the ceiling from a newly installed bracket. The music, which mostly comes from an extensive record collection near the bar, is constantly being changed based on his mood. Folk, oldie, indie, hip hop, metal, on rare occasion... EDM, you never know what's next, but it's always well chosen, and has a constant underlying aesthetic that you can't put your finger on.


The thing is, he doesn't run his cafe like a real business. He often doesn't charge people, a lot of the snacks and pastries come from his friends' businesses on a bartering basis, it's located in one of the worst parts of the city, and no one he hires can quite take his place.

store front

But it's easy to see why he's doing it all. Among the myriad of different customers, most of the regulars are active photographers and artists who have art openings across the city. It's truly a hub for creatives to gather and converse.

And that's why I like it. In a city where most people seem to be going at light-speed, where the consistent story is that the big bad tech companies are ruining the lives for the common person, there's this humble coffee shop, somehow existing in the middle of all, trying its best to go its own pace.

Now if only I could consistently pour hearts and ferns into latte's.


Brett is contained chaos. It's like he's constantly taking on new and uncomfortable things. Print jobs from extremely picky clients, pop up art shows, signing a lease for an office space across the street from the cafe. For me, an observer with a little more insight, everything he does has a high margin of failure, and man, the moments when it looks like he's failing are so cringe-worthy. He doesn't even have much money or assets, he just does a lot of things with this endearing, bold attitude.


On a fun-filled festival day in the tenderloin, we went back to his apartment on Divis for a bbq. Sinking into the sofa, the only thing on our minds was what Radiohead record to play next. After hearing my favorite songs on the second half of The Bends, I stood up to change the record to his choice, Kid A. "There's one more song you idiot! Don't touch it!" Brett exclaimed.

From his girlfriend Katie, his daughter Elanor, to all of his weird, quirky cafe regulars, his life is surrounded with a sense of warmth and true authenticity.

In my search for a mentor, I initially thought Brett would be a great fit, but... I don't really think I can call him that since he's still an immature baby 50% of the time. He's become more of a dear friend.

In the words of Brett, most likely after taking a bong hit after a cop has entered the cafe only to make enough smalltalk to use the restroom, "Fucking A."


ashley on polk

Unemployed lyfe has been a mixed bag of phases. At first I was lost, as if I couldn't even remember what I was up to before I moved to SF. There was a temporary feeling of freedom, immediately followed by a feeling of worry. What's next..? What am I doing..?

I tried becoming a photographer again. I created the site


While I really feel like this could have been successful, I didn't feel a love for the photos I was making. I didn't even bother to tell people I made the website...

I received advice from several people. "Sublet your apartment and travel to Asia." "Get in your car and drive across Utah." "I'd kill to be in your situation, don't waste this chance."

As much as I was broadcasting that I was in a "situation" and looking for suggestions, I fucking hate it when people tell me what to do.

Let me be confused, let my mind go astray, it'll find it's course eventually. It's more important that we talk about things that give off an air of inspiration or motivation than to talk about the immediate actions themselves and what I can expect out of them. (Actually you can give me suggestions, but don't make it obvious that you are, haha)

More on this later...

//Trip to Portland

portland central library

I would consider Portlandia to be one of my most cherished and beloved TV shows... right up there with Scrubs, The Office, and Insomniac(please tell me some of you watched this show). From the feminist bookstore, to the couple who is super over-prepared for any outdoor activity, to the scene of how extreme forgetting your re-usable bag can be. For me, the hilarity in the show lies in the high probability that these outlandish characters and scenarios are actually being played out everyday in the real Portland, that they stem from a close reality.

Over the past couple years, I've looked up airline bike-transport rules numerous times, dreaming of one day bringing my Surly Crosscheck from Austin and riding around the city. But it all seemed like too much trouble, and I never made it out there.

A week after leaving my job I convinced Matt to drive up to Portland with me, with the real motive being to strap a bike rack onto his car.


I would say Matt is the closest friend I've made since moving here, which is surprising since he's an adherent gluten-free vegan.

In the past I've been blown up with multi-page'd criticisms for blogging that you have to "find new friends" that will support your foodie-adventures. Even my so-adorned Anthony Bourdain has vocalized his disdain for vegetarians.

Matt definitely fits the stereotype to a tee, he will always ask if an item "has gluten in it", which usually makes whomever is serving us "check with the kitchen" - leaving us without service for several more minutes.

gluten free waffle

But I've found his "pickiness" to be a great vehicle for me to try things I would have never before. Vegetarian diners, gluten free waffles, Vegetarian meat-substitute Chinese joints. It's a great counter part to my chashu-laden normal eating habits. More importantly, while I do enjoy a great food establishment, I've learned to give less a fuck about it. The more days I have that are so busy that I need a quick meal just to sustain whatever I'm doing, the better. I don't have any favorite or regular restaurants in the bay area, except for maybe the Burrito Express down the block from my place.

After you get outside of the Silicon Valley bubble, everything suddenly becomes amazingly cheap. We stopped by an organic grocery store for a roadside lunch, and a container of pesto pasta that would normally run $12+ in the SF was less than $4. Gas stations were service-only, requiring an attendant to pump your gas.

Matt powered through the 9-10 hour drive by himself, making jokes about "syrup in my shasta" as we drove by Mt. Shasta.


In writing this, I actually forgot what we did after getting in. I had to go through photos which reminded me that after going to a pretend dive bar(the music was sooo bad), then to a ping-pong themed bar, we ended up at a weird ass late-night Cajun restaurant underneath a bridge at the end of the night.


I still find myself waking up and craving that spot's "garlic shrimp linguini." It's like the best drunk food ever.

pips and bounce

"Pips and Bounce." They had ping pong shaped ice cubes for their cocktails...

field trip, portland, OR

I found Portland to be very familiar and comforting, as if I've experienced all of the key entities of the city somewhere else. Food trucks, public transit, cute little knick knack shops and bookstores, trendy bars, dive bars, trendy restaurants, bike shops, vegan gluten-free restaurants. It's as if Portland was the source and mecca for all these bits of "new American culture."


It feels very much of a city that hasn't been "hit with gentrification" but a city that has naturally grown into what it is. A fantastic meal, a fancy cocktail, and a complete bike tune up could be found for under $10 each. Streets were clean, public transit was everywhere, people in general were all just having a grand time.

This raises up the question: "Could I live here?" Very much yes. But there's a sinking feeling in the back of my mind that my brain would melt after a few months from the lack of drive and motivation. There's too many cheap and relaxing things to do for a guy who hasn't "found it" yet.

Also it's worth noting that Portland isn't very diverse.

gluten free strip club

Some of the events that occurred were:

  • Matt and I played pool and got tater tots at a "gluten-free" strip club.

  • After a lap dance, I traded Instagram handles with a stripper at Devil's Point.


  • My bike got the best tune up of its life for $10, and I spent a lot of time exploring nooks and crannies of the city.


  • I got yelled at when trying to take photos of Matt at Burnside Skate park because I didn't have a skateboard. The guy then tried to convince me to buy him a beer.

  • I bought a bunch of useless clothes and gear at a Polar warehouse sale.

  • Despite being on a "printed material buying freeze" I bought a couple magazines and art books from a shop called National.

  • Tried the wings at Pok Pok. They were good, but I feel this restaurant is very much like.... "that popular restaurant your city has that everyone recommends you have to try, but in general is just an okay place."

  • Met up with Brian, former bartender at Oddjob who moved to Portland recently.

broder cafe

  • Had one of the best brunches of my life at Broder Cafe


  • I destroyed people at street fighter 3rd strike at a quarter arcade/bar.


While biking around, I came across the restaurant "Little Bird" which was featured on Munchies. Arriving quite sweaty and gnarly, I couldn't for the life of me, open the front door of the restaurant as bougey suit-wearing diners looked upon me. I actually had to step aside, and call the restaurant to ask if the restaurant was closed for a private event, which it wasn't, and then have them open the door for me. Soon after being sat at a mostly empty bar, a female single diner was sat next to me. I made small talk with the barista, and after quite a bit I mustered the courage to talk to the girl next to me. It was nice, she was from SF, we shared food, talked about whatever, and that was it, I biked back to the airBnB.

zoo bomb

The highlight of the trip was attending the Zoo Bomb, which is a group bike ride that meets every Friday in Portland. It involves taking public transit(the TriMet) up to the zoo stop, which leads to an elevator that takes you directly up through the center of a very large hill which the zoo sits upon. We ran into some punk bmx kids that gave us shady directions on how to get to the meeting point... we ended up down by a freeway entrance. After back up the hill for a bit, we came across 2 "more credible looking" guys who lead us on a 45 minute hike through pitch black woods, until we arrived at a clearing with about 10 others. It was definitely surreal, to be hanging out with strangers in almost complete darkness, to have the stars very clearly overhead, to have the city sprawled out before us in every direction, to have an older guy play funky arabic dance music from his customized speaker mount on his bike. But it was comforting, as if this whole event was saying to me, "There's room for stuff like this. For these underground gatherings that are totally separate from any of the normal course of things, "the man", normal society."

With a "3, 2, 1! Zoooooooo BooooMB!" we set off on a 2 mile, all downhill ride filled with curves, hair-pin turns, and patches of pitch black.

I can't believe Matt did it on his skateboard. He is a god.

// A trip to SF MOMA


(Notice how they capitalize the O in "Of")

Helen took me to SFMOMA a few days before it opened to the public.


My first visit lasted 5 hours and I skipped a floor... there's definitely a lot to see and do. As I've said before, to me, it's not so much that you identify with every piece of art that you see, enjoy the fact that there's a large space devoted to art right in the middle of the city. A venue for someone to cut off a chunk of their emotion and present it in another form. A place for someone to try to convey their emotions, even if they're esoteric and strange.

plant wall

There's a whole floor dedicated to photography. I thought it was a great exhibit, giving a thorough "history of photography" in it's context to California. From Ansel Adams and F/64, to the changing landscape of the SOMA district, to modern photos that have not been taken with a camera, there was a bit of everything. I'm looking forward to more focused and themed installations in the future.

Also, the SF MOMA ad campaign is by far the worst thing I've seen in my life. (link)

// Rayko Zine Fest

loaf life

I finally made a zine. It's called Loaf Life.


The Rayko zine fest was kind of a flop. I sold 5 zines out of the 70 I printed. In the end though, I'm really glad I did it. It's sort of a business card for me now days, and I've received a lot of positive feedback.

Here's a pic of me with Israel at our table.

If you want a copy of Loaf Life message me and I'll mail one to you. (I really should have an online shop...)

// Evo 2K16

evo 2k16

EVO is the largest fighting game tournament of the year. This year was definitely going to be different. New version of the game, new set of friends.


On the flight over I set next to a guy named Jeremy who asked if I was going to EVO (I do look the part), we talked about street fighter almost the entire way of the hour-and-a-half flight. We shared a cab ride from the airport to the strip where I introduced him to my friends visiting from Texas, and we got some Monta Ramen.


Street fighter 5 had a double elmination bracket with 5000 entrants. You only can lose twice the whole weekend. I went 3-2, it's okay, kind of expected since I didn't really practice or play the new version of the game. Here's a link to one of my matches.


Overall it was another ridiculous EVO. I got to bond with my San Francisco gaming group, the "Drunken Masters" and meet several members that have moved away and currently live in Germany and New York. We had a karaoke night at Ellis Island, which I recommend to anyone visiting Las Vegas.


We gathered in hotel rooms late at night, and had all sorts of "esports celebrities" drop in for some games.


The last day's finals were hosted in a large stadium. It was surreal seeing so many people show up to a video game event.

white castle

In general, fuck Las Vegas. The strip is a shit hole, full of overpriced crap (even the buffets), where the worst highlights of our American culture come to shine. Downtown is fine, but not much better. There's some good Asian food, but so what?


My flight was delayed a couple hours, but I ran into some familiar faces at the terminal.

Here are some random events that have occurred over the past 4 months:


Moyo visited.

holy roller

So did Jared. I'm suprised neither of them have met before.


I broke my 2nd digital Ricoh GR roller skating at Eunice's birthday. I've been shooting a lot of film with a loaner Film Ricoh GR1V, I'm currently getting them developed.


Nathan left Oddjob and is the bar manager at a new Japanese spot called Nomica. I can't wait to visit his new restaurant!

pokemon go

The beginnings of Pokemon Go really felt like a real life MMO. It was magic.


Went to a "down-and-dirty" Oakland backyard bondfire. It got weird when we started playing dead or alive (5?) on PS4 later in the night.

yumi zouma

I saw Yumi Zouma with Phil. It was fun seeing him go on stage to dance with the band, hah.


Hickey drove to California in his truck with a camper in the back. We did all sorts of touristy things and bought too much chocolate.

JDM senpai

I taught Pam how to drive in my 2002 Honda Accord that I've driven since I was 16. We drove around El Cerrito, ate crappy food at a 99 Ranch market, and quickly graduated from learning how to turn in a parking lot and drove through the Berkeley Hills. It was very stressful.


I went to Berkeley Bowl for the first time. What a wonderful place.


cross walk

Finding a job was hard. Almost harder than 2 years ago. The same emotions resurged. "Why are you even applying..." No after no. This time I had 20 phone interviews. I had onsites where they would cut me off mid day with "Sorry we thought you were more experienced." "You're a great culture fit, that's for sure, but your skills don't align with what we need now."

You'd think that after a while you would develop a tolerance for that feeling, but every time it's as sharp as a tack, a knife to the heart and ego.

If you talked to me a week ago, I would have lamented my stress and hopelessness in finding something.

It turns out I got my new job at CloudFlare through the guy I met on the plane ride to EVO. You... really never know.

While I know my experience pales in comparison to other's challenges. It was definitely hard for me.


I've actually had an idea of who I want to be for a few years now... but the path has been veiled in a cloud of uncertainty. Unlike school, there wasn't a complete road map or list of requirements to get me there. Because of that I never took any steps towards it.

For some odd reason, it was instilled very early in me that trying wasn't cool. In avoiding being a "try-hard" I've developed many destructive habits.

It takes a lot of effort to make something look easy. Making an effort is commendable. Trying and failing, as if you don't already know... is the only way we can grow and learn. Failure is the most painful when you can feel success around the corner.

I sincerely hope people can change, that I, myself, can make a change.

burrito girl

While it feels like I'm trying my hardest to hold onto the "tech-life" which is filled with frivolous first-world problems and useless luxuries like on-demand delivery for anything(I ordered socks one time), I know that I'd like to stay in the Bay Area at least for another few years, there's so much I haven't seen or done yet.

I've made my first headway into communities that I think are meaningful and that I find interest in. I can feel myself growing, and that's important.

The photo gallery with a tote/magazine shop in the front. A nightly or weekend class for teaching photography. An immersive art exhibit using technology as a medium. All of these things are waiting to be tried and felt out.

The possibilities, while endless and daunting, are quickly becoming within my arm's reach.

~Until we meet again next time. VapeNaysh, Yall.

high ball

I'm providing a narration of the first parts of the blog post, listen at your own free will.

glen park

I came to a moment of realization on the subway again, this time while passing over the scene of pastel colored houses on the way towards the airport. I remembered being overwhelmed by this sight before.. all these houses and people all packed tightly right next to each other.. I was fearful from how little I stood in comparison to this vast, seemingly never ending, expanse of unfamiliarity, uncomfortable from not seeing how I fit into any of it.

Now however, after 1.5 years since moving to the bay my feelings have changed. I saw my nook, my small dent in the city; I even mentioned in my last post that I had achieved what I've always dreamed of. But why was I running away again?

The other day I woke up to a familiar feeling. I didn't want to get up. I kept hitting snooze. I wanted to hide. To disappear.

Hi depression, you're back again, huh.

Why are you here?

Everything is going well.

What do I do. Fight? Flight? Both? How do you confront a mental state?

I ran to New York again. Save me.

east village

I found out soon after I booked my flight that NY was scheduled to have another blizzard. Laurence told me he was going to be away on a ski trip for most of the weekend, and the day before I left I found out the person I was going to visit forgot I was coming. What was I getting myself into?


On the first day I grabbed lunch at Zundo-ya, a ramen shop right around the corner from the famous Ippudo. I found their ramen to be "packed with flavor." Instead of being an interplay of textures, temperatures, and flavors, every component was aggressively seasoned to the max. The noodles were very bouncy, and the thickness of even the "regular thickness" tonkotsu broth turned out to be a little too much for me. The best part was how the beni shoga (pickled ginger), not only cut through the fatty broth and cha-shu, but paired beautifully with them. All this being said, I do think their ramen is better than Ippudo, and with news that my beloved Hide-chan has gone down in quality, Zundo-ya is currently my favorite pork based-ramen in New York. They were also really great with the "irashai" welcome.

uni pasta @noreetuh

That night, after going to the New York office only to attend a couple meetings, I met up with Michelle and had a lovely dinner at Noreetuh, a Hawaiian inspired modern restaurant. One of the most memorable dishes was an Uni pasta. The pasta provided a great bouncy, aldente "backbone" to support and prolong the flavor of the creamy custard of the sea that uni is.


We got drinks afterwards at Decibel, the underground sake bar in Astor Place.

chuko ramen

The next day I got lunch with Madeline in Brooklyn. I encountered the strongest, coldest burst of wind I've ever experienced that day. I remember laughing because it was just so endlessly brutal. We caught up over some ramen at Chuko, which I found serves a very shamelessly "American" bowl of ramen, but in a good way. Their miso broth reminded me very nostalgically of a deep and creamy chicken noodle soup. It tasted like childhood.


Afterwards, as a throw back to our Austin days, we went to a hip cafe/lounge called Freehold to hang out on our laptops. It was nice, you know, after all this time to do something that felt so nostalgic. It's not very exciting I know... but that's all what we used to do. Go to a cafe and sit there for hours. I've always admired her work ethic. Madeline would always be earnestly working on a project while I dinkered away at something on my laptop. She always seemed to carry herself with a sort of immaculate, elegant grace at all times. The best I could do was to keep her company and bring her a refreshment water from time to time.

You can tell when she's anxious or worried though. She'll begin to shake. It starts with a "jitter" of her knees, but soon it's her whole body. When it happens I always want to tell her that things are going to be okay, hold her hand or something.


This trip I didn't tell her I was coming beforehand. Have you ever felt fear from the thought of seeing someone you felt strongly for, but haven't seen in a long time? Every strand inside you wants them to be exactly the same as you left them, for things to be the same as they were (or have them be worse off in your absence, heheh). The reality is everyone grows, everyone changes, it's never going to be exactly the same as before. This especially applies to her in my opinion. She has always been moving at a lightning pace, and now she's been living in the busiest, fastest, most happenin' city for almost 2 years.

She reached out to me to meet up after seeing an instagram post, and yeah I had to say yes.

Over some cocktails at an overly vintage styled "old-timey" bar in Williamsburg, she told me she was interested in someone she met at work, a designer. My heart sunk, here we go, the moment I dreaded. I had 2 more shots of the delicious calvados the fedora-wearing bartender recommended.

She showed me some of his design and web work, and man were they slick and creative. When you've spent the better part of the past year bandaiding a buggy UI with subpar design you know some good shit when you see it. It's like the first time you had Fage yogurt, "This stuff is better." Later at night, we went to karaoke and I met him. I was relieved to find out he wasn't a knock out gorgeous, man-bunned, bearded douche hipster like I imagined, thank GOD.

He was such a nice guy, definitely older... you could tell by his taste in karaoke songs. But we got along, he has quite a quirky imagination. We went to another bar afterwards, and I continued to drink heavily.

Laying, drunk, semi-awake on the couch in a living room in Brooklyn, I used my phone to book a hotel room for the next day, Valentines day. Things were just too unpredictable, every way my mind played out the next day ended up in obscurity -- more like I didn't think anything was going to happen and if I stayed on that couch things would have been quite awkward.


In the morning I took an Uber to the hotel to drop my bags off before meeting Ariel for brunch. The girl who shared my uber pool kept taking light inhales of her e-cig, she exhaled slowly as to not leave trace at all. My opening, ice breaker line was "I have one of those." I took mine out of my bag to show her. She was apparently on her way to have brunch with a friend and help out with a valentines day surprise. I arrived a bit early and went into a store that sold different items depending on the theme of the month, the current one was "well being." I bought a book by Marie Kondo, which told me to pick up all of my possessions throw away anything I owned that didn't "spark joy." Without touching I could already think of a few things: my car which I hadn't driven in half a year, old pairs of underwear that I've had since freshman year of college, the obscenely ugly dining table we have in the apartment.


The last time I really hanged out with Ariel was in DC, and I was looking forward to another art, photography, and coffee filled day. Our plans fell apart pretty fast. The brunch place we planned to meet at in Chelsea was packed beyond belief, New Yorkers truly treat their brunch (which begins around after 12) very seriously. All of the art galleries in the area were closed. No problem. We took a taxi to Zundo-ya... which was also closed(I didn't even check). We ended up eating at Robata-ya, which was not as great as I remembered from going 3-4 years ago, but at least they had some great light coming through a window which we geeked out over as we ate. I think the reason why we've always got along so well is that we share an appreciation of good light and sentimental moments. If you look at her instagram, her photos are all bursting with life, light, and lushness. Hanging out with her is very much like that. In all of the catching up though, she did confide her struggles with moving to NY, which is a feeling I very much reciprocated from my experiences on the opposite coast.


After we ate I took some photos of her with the strong light streaming through the window that we admired earlier.


Walking around the East Village, we came across Sakaya, a sake shop that I would have never gone into in the past, but after visiting my local shop in Oakland, Umami Mart, I decided to go in. Inside, I found intimidating walls of pristinely displayed sake. I thought I was ahead of the curve because I knew about "Nama" a style of unpasteurized sake that's quite shocking due to it's range of wild flavors, and had 2 sake pairings before, but in reality I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily the guy working there, Rick, a former editor of Food & Wine who quit 8 years ago to open a sake shop, took the time to explain to me what was up. He pointed me towards the book that got him started Sake Confidential, and recommended a couple bottles for me to get as gifts. When we left he wished us a happy Valentines day, to which our reply was "this isn't a date."

Ariel told me the last time she drank sake she threw up and got sick. Most people don't have fond memories of sake, before you dismiss it though just think of everything you've had until now like the Natty-light or box wine of your past, there's a whole world of better stuff out there, just like the other branches of alcohol that you probably now enjoy.

siphon coffee @ Hi-Collar

Continuing down the block we arrived at a small coffee bar called Hi-Collar. Everyone who worked there was extremely Japanese, I enjoyed interacting with them and observing their quirky mannerisms. We ordered 2 siphon coffees from their list of 8~ bean options.

While I enjoy a good cup of coffee, I can't exactly quantify what I like about it, and I definitely don't need it to start my day. I generally like Ethiopeans, but that's as far as I know. It was fun listening to Ariel pour her encyclopedic knowledge of coffee upon me; I'm really not sure if I retained anything except that bean size is a factor that affects a few things while brewing. She really liked her siphon of "Buzi" coffee from Counter Culture. We wanted something sweet, and luckily there was a "Valentines dessert sampler" conveniently added as a special for that day. I really liked the matcha rice crispies.

guide to korean bbq

Sitting at the bar I received a text from Laurence saying he and his crew were headed back from skiing, and were going to grab some KBBQ at Kang Ho later at night. I had Ariel write me a "Guide to Korean BBQ" in my planner. The mean glaring eyes of an Asian girl on the bottom is a reminder that I need to have an photography showcase sometime in June so she can have an excuse to visit the Bay area.


We walked around taking photos for a bit, she showed me a bookstore called Strand Books, and we parted ways around 6. In a continuation of the stream of bad luck we had that day, the subway wouldn't take us to the right stop so we walked for quite a bit in the freezing weather. I gave her a parting gift of the bag of coffee beans that she enjoyed so much and a copy of a Goodbye to All That, the book that helped me cope with moving to a new city(it was located on the "best of the best" table at the book store).

When I got back to the hotel I started editing photos from the day, and cracked open some sake I bought from Sakaya. I had such a great time doing this for some reason. Editing acceptable photos and drinking sake is an unbeatable combination. I ended up opening the special bottle that I bought for Laurence, just a few sips right? He wouldn't notice.

By the time I needed to head out, I already drank all the sake that I bought for him as a gift. According to Laurence I was a character that night.

Looking back at things, this was the point where I truly fell in love with sake. It's around the same alcohol content as wine, but a lot less acidic and no tannins to hold you back from downing a ton of it. Sake holds such a wide variety of unique and pleasing flavor profiles, and it's currently my favorite type of alcohol.

below freezing

I walked a mile back to the hotel in sub 20 degree weather, however I didn't feel cold at all.


I spent my last day with Laurence, which involved going back to Hi-Collar, this time in hopes of trying some of their cooked food.

We ordered some hot drinks and the omurice. Everything about omurice is familiar to a western palate: it's pretty much just an omellete, rice, bbq sauce (called "demi-glace"), and a sausage. While it's normally not something you'd write home about... it's just a nice comfort food option very much like mac and cheese.

We sneaked some beer and snacks into a movie theater in Union Square to watch Deadpool. When we got out it was snowing. Snow in New York, how serendipitous, how magical right? My head was in a state of trying to figure out if this was special or not.

It really wasn't.
It's New York.
It's winter.
It snows.
It's a grimy, gray, slushy snow.


Afterwards we went to Raku(which I highly recommend going to). I would suggest getting the niku udon, a different take on a Chinese beef noodle soup, that comes with a ton tender braised beef and tripe. Although slightly hung over from the previous night we ordered sake, I appreciated that there were only 2 options on the menu.

This trip... why I often travel to places I've been several times before... perhaps can be explained by my yearning to find meaningful connections with the people I want to be close to.

The thing that has bothered me the most for the past few years is the thought, "If I told you the way that I felt, if I followed you, would there have been any more emotions there, any more feeling there?"

You gotta admit that night we had a couple years ago was pretty awesome(It involved pool and sticky rice), but it seems like it was more of a fluke, and I could never follow it up. Why did that matter to me so much? I don't know. I just wanted to have that much fun with you again.

I did think about you a lot since we both moved away. I was excited about the idea of you, the endless possibilities. Those expensive gifts and dinners honestly were just my failed attempts at showing you my affection. I placed you on a really high pedestal. It seemed for a brief moment that we were so... just so compatible. We always bumped into eachother at concerts, restaurants, and bars anyways. But in the end, whenever we actually sat down and talked, the endless pool of our restlessness, self doubt, and deprecating self images got in the way. Never again were we experiencing life in the moment, never again were we care free, but just dreaming of being so. We've come so far since then, and yet it still feels as if we're just as lost as that night we sat on those courthouse steps.

With a final cold, apprehensive embrace, those feelings that I once felt are now gone in a state of mellow closure.

Closure was the theme of the trip. I have a nasty habit of starting things up and never truly ending them. As part of my growth, I have to start confronting these things and people that I've run away from for so long. Or else the "what ifs?" will continue to cloud my mind, and the baggage will keep seeping into any thing new I choose to do, it prevents me from moving forward.

bar tartine

Turning 26 was great. I celebrated it for almost a whole week. On the day of I went to all of those cute shops along Valencia. I bought zines and a graphic novel called "Killing and Dying." I had a lavish dinner at Bar Tartine. I liked the "casualness" of the restaurant, it's spacious, yet warm and inviting. You can choose to go with the full tasting menu, or just go a la carte and just get some bread, various spreads, and drinks. We got this lard, onion, and paprika spread that we thought would go well with pizza, so we took some to go and went to the Arenell pizzaria next door.

one punch

I had the entire back part of Odd Job reserved, and had over 20 people show up with catering and drinks comped.


Around 1am almost everyone went home. Only Israel, Helen, Bhargav, Andy, and Michael were left, and at that moment, I felt an almost supernatural sense of empowerment. The night was ours, be it only for about an hour. We went to Festa, which was overly crowded, and then to Do Re Mi karaoke which is definitely the best after hours or budget karaoke I've been to in the bay area.

anime club

Just look at these cool kids...

What else can I say... my life is...

Eating too much: chicken paitan ramen @Nojo ramen
Chicken Paitan at Nojo Ramen

There's finally options for Ramen in San Francisco. Sort of a weird thing to say given how large the Asian and Japanese population is here, but there really weren't any good options in the city until recently. The 3 contenders that I've been to in the so called "Mission-downtown-ish" area are Mensho Tokyo, Nojo, and Orenchi Beyond.

vegan tantanmen @ mensho ramen
Veggie Tan tan ramen at Mensho Tokyo

Nojo and Mensho specialize in a chicken ramen called "paitan" which I've never had before. Mensho adds a sort of peanut butter to their ramen which adds a very unique complexity to the whole experience. Nojo's basic paitan with meatballs is a simple, rich, and creamy broth with some lemon zest that provides such a nice touch at the end of each bite. The line at Mensho has become so helplessly long, that you need to either go 30 minutes before they open at 5pm, or go close to their closing time. After 5 the line will begin to expand, as the people in line are actually holding the place for their friends who are getting off work.

miso ramen @orenchi beyond
Miso ramen at Orenchi Beyond

Despite it's 3.5 star rating on Yelp, I found Orenchi Beyond to be a nice place to grab a bowl if I'm near the Mission or Downtown. Out of all 3, Orenchi definitely has the best appetizers and other options. It's right across the street from Zeigtgeist.

All 3 of these places are expensive though, with basic bowl's of ramen being in the range of $15-20 base before more toppings and drinks being over $10 each. Bills tend to be towards $30-40 per person in the end. Hey, it's San Francisco, this is our reality.

Drinking too much: umami mart + nathan

Umami Mart hosted a benefit for their friends affected by the earthquake in Fukushima. I bought tickets for it reluctantly, not being able to convince anyone to go with me. Turns out Nathan, the new bartender at Oddjob was there and made everything so much better. I ended up downing can after can of sake, kanpai'd Japanese teachers from Berkeley, made friends with a Japanese businessman from Tokyo, and took 2 plants home with me.

unrequited love potion

Nathan made the best cocktail I've had in my entire life for my former coworker Albert. It had lavender that he foraged from the rich peoples' houses in the Mission. It was creamy, floral, rich, lucious, cut with just the right amount of acidity and alcohol. Last week Nathan got really sick and told me if he passed away that he wanted me to inherit his precious herbs.

Trying to be functional: on the road

Angela came to the Bay area for a wedding and we met for lunch. I really don't have a handle on good places to get lunch since I've had food at work for the whole time I've been here. We went to an okay Japanese spot and then walked around the upper downtown area. We popped into a gallery, and stopped at a few places to take some headshots of her so she could show off her new hair color on LinkedIn.


Despite her just getting off a 4 hour flight, this photo turned out quite well. I sent her a version with her sweatpants cropped out.

Trying to find my place:


I fear the routine, yet that's where all of the beauty lies.

- At the same time I feel apprehensive about letting out these thoughts... blogging: this combination of photography, writing, and web is currently my only way of expressing my feelings. It's only in this way, by going over the events that have just happened to me and blasting it out there for everyone to see, that I can one by one start to untie the knots in my head one by one. Here is the only place that I can truly feel, that I can cope, that I can revel in the qualities that me feel unique and empowered.

break time

On April 1st I left my job at Rocketfuel, and it's a really weird feeling. It's sort of like, "what was I even doing before this job?" And then I remember the state I was in a year and a half ago, realize that it's only been a short time, and marvel at how much I've been through since then.

Why would I leave a 6 figure job with flexible hours, meals, unlimited PTO… etc?

At the time of my previous post, I did feel content, but for me that's a feeling that's shortlived.

My senses told me that this wasn’t it. I’m 26. Life’s short. I haven’t experienced jack shit yet. It’s time to move on.

I have really no idea what I'm going to do.

civic center

All I know is that I'm restless. Anxious.

I need to focus, contain myself, and start taking all the ideas that I have in my head from just thoughts into reality.

(In a rare turn of events, I'll probably have another post for you soon about my trip to Portland :)