Soul Travelin' .:Dec 12 08:.
Its been about a year since I wrote my last blog. My Pops had just passed away and my Grandma (Mom's side) was in the middle of battling stomach cancer. God finally called her home this past Summer. This Fall, right before our 2nd Anniversary, my wife and I found out we are pregnant. The projected due date was originally on my Grandma's birthday, just a few days after my Dad's! As some cultures say, when one family member leaves this world, another one enters. BTW, my cousin (Mom's side) and her husband are expecting their son a month after ours.
My Dad's prolonged illness and subsequent passing have taught me invaluable lessons that continue to sustain me. I must say, this has been a pretty dang good year for me. There were mad challenges throughout, but somehow someway my Faith got me through.
For this blog, I wanted to highlight some of the positive experiences I had in '08, namely the trips I was able to go on.
My wife and I kicked off Spring with a trip to Europe. I had been to Germany, Austria, and Italy before but this was her first time out of the U.S. We flew into London, took a train to Paris, flew over to Venice, took another train to Florence, and finished the trip in Rome.
The first day in London was unforgettable-it was straight snowing! It was the beginning of April and the flowers should have already been blooming, from what people were saying. The weather was VERY cold, for us at least. We saw folks making snowmen as we took the train from Gatwick to city. Before we left the airport, the customs official was sweating us big time, asking us for the reason why we came to London. He even started to quiz us on our top 3 sites to see and asked how many Towers there are in London!
"Please look after this Bear." Paddington Station:
10 Downing Street:
My wife's cousin and his wife surprised us by taking us to enjoy Tea at the Ritz Carlton:
photos were not allowed inside =(
The apartment where we stayed in Paris had no elevator, so we had to take four flights of stairs each day. I would almost always munch on this one awkward step near the bottom:
Davinci code status. This was one of the few days in Paris that the sun shone upon the city:
Centre Georges Pompidou -Inspiration for Tinker Hatfield's Air Max 1
For da ladies:
Macarons and French Toast from LaDuree With all the calories we were consuming I thought I was gaining weight. All the walking we did during our trip, however, must have burned all those calories cuz i actually lost 5-6 pounds in those two weeks!
Huge paintings inside the Orsay Museum:
inside Notre Dame:
The Pantheon. Pops was an architect for several years, so he would always teach me to have appreciation for amazing buildings like this:
On our way to the Eiffel Tower, I got hit up by some hustler who "found" a gold ring on this bridge as he walked towards us. He insisted that I keep the ring after forcing it into my hands, but then asked for some change for coffee. After I told him nah, he got pissed and snatched back the ring. My wife then got pissed at me for falling for it. Apparently there are warnings about dude in the trip advisor forums and Rick Steve's books...
Dusk, near our room in Venice:
There were so many throw-ups in Venice:
This room in Florence was the dopest one we stayed in the entire trip. Although the city was small, it had beauty and charm that made us regret booking only one night here.
Inside the Vatican:
Summer started with a homie trip to Portland, OR. We needed to get away from the craziness of Killa Cali for a minute, so we chose The City of Roses
The Japanese Garden:
DO NOT, I Repeat, DO NOT miss this awesome pizza joint if you are ever in Portland. Anthony Bourdain was jockin' this place on No Reservations. I am so glad we were able to find out why. Man i am freakin salivating just thinking about their pizza:
Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. Y'all remember the Goonies, right?
For our Second Anniversary, my wife and I took another trip to Maui. She was experiencing really bad morning sickness, but still managed to have a great time:
On the Road to Hana, we saw a house with a few peacocks kickin on the front lawn. On the way back from Hana, one of the locals speeding down the hill freakin smashed a wayward peacock who must have been right around a corner. The owner of the truck was shooing another one back to the house. I swear that other peacock looked hella traumatized about his homie becoming roadkill!
Rest in Paradise .:Dec 17 07:.
4/2/33 – 12/06/07
Thank You .:Nov 12 07:.
My Dad was admitted to the VA Hospital today. Dude has been in pain for a minute due to a compression fracture, but that's a whole 'notha blog…
As I was eating my lunch in the lobby, two young women and an older lady came out from one of the hallways towards the exit. One of the girls came up to me, said "Happy Veteran's Day!" and handed me a homemade greeting card with candies attached to it.
I said thanks, and kinda laughed to myself for saying thanks in the first place. She had no way of knowing I had never been in the military. I was literally the only person in the lobby at that moment, sitting down munching on some pizza. After thinking about what just happened, I was reminded just how important today's Holiday is to a lot of folks.
All political views about war aside, I was really humbled being in the presence of courageous men and women who have served our country. Whether it be charging the beach with a rifle, or running around the kitchen with a spatula, these Veterans have sacrificed so much. I thought about how there are guys who are 2/3 my age and are coming back home as Iraq War Vets. My Dad's oncologist says the effects we will see from this war are going to last a LONG time. I couldn't agree with him more after seeing my Dad in and out of the VA Hospital for the past 10 years.
As soon as I finished up my last couple of bites, I went back to check on my Pops. He and my Moms also found it a bit humorous when I showed them the card given to me earlier. Again, I began to think about how much the Veterans should be appreciated. Later on, my Dad was assigned to his bed as my Mom and I got ready to leave. Another group of people, a Mother and three young kids, made their way to the wing from which we were leaving and began handing out Thank You cards to all the Vets.
We can argue about how the U.S. Military does or does NOT fight for our freedom til we are blue in the face. But for me, today was a day where I had to forget about all that. I had to take a step back, and honor those who have given much of their lives to our Country, especially those who are suffering from the effects today…
Firestorm 2007 .:Oct 24 07:.
My wife and I decided to bone out of our neighborhood as soon as voluntary evacuations were announced for our part of town. It was so weird because a few weeks ago at a work meeting, we had an icebreaker which posed the question: "if your house was in danger of catching fire, what 3 items would you bring with you?" My 3 were 1) emergency bag filled with clothes, first aid, water, food, etc. 2) our Dog and 3) Important documents.
It was just surreal having that scenario come to life this week! Fortunately for us, the fire threatening our neck of the woods was 12 miles away. We had ample time to gather up more than just 3 items so I decided to grab all of my reggae 7"s, most of my reggae LPs & 12"s, and some select Hip Hop/Downtempo records (had to take my doubles of Sade "King of Sorrow"). I also started to pack some of my favorite t shirts and kicks, as did my wife, both of us laughing uncomfortably about what we were choosing.
Before we took off, i walked across the street to talk with my neighbor, who was getting his pool pump ready for any potential flames. I asked if he was planning to stay, to which he replied "OH yeah...I'm gonna stay and fight for it." We chatted for a bit and cracked a few jokes to lighten up the situation. I threw my puppy in his crate and then my lady & I were audi. We stayed at my Mom and Dad's about 3 miles away, in a neighborhood that the fire had about 1% chance of reaching.
The next day we woke to watch reports of the fire being less than 1 mile away from our house!!! It was pretty crazy to see how fast and close it got. Our neighborhood was still not given orders for mandatory evacuation so we decided to head back to the pad to grab a few more cherished items. Upon approaching the development, we realized just how close the flames were getting. We got there just in time to watch 4 fire engines from the Bakersfield FD (BIG UPS!) roll up the hill towards the fire. The Police then began to drive thru the neighborhood urging everyone to leave.
Fortunately for us, it was easier for Firefighters to save our neighborhood. I was never really worried, though. I just kept the faith and pretty much accepted early on that if our pad went up in smoke we would be fine. After all, everything in the pad is from God, so if he wants to burn it all down, I ain’t gonna argue! What’s crazy though, is the one casualty of Firestorm 2007 was my homie’s coworker (RIP)! The reports say that he stayed behind to try to save his house.
This was most definitely a humbling experience. One of those moments where you honestly have to think about what’s really important in life. Anyway, my heart goes out to those who have been affected by the fires. I hope everyone keeps the faith.
I NEED TO GET SERATO .:Oct 19 07:.
Last friday I went to support Dojo Soundz at the Red C for their old school throwback sweatsuit night. I took my camera but there were only about 4 peeps (including me) who came thru dressed for the occasion! Despite the lack of participation, it was a good night. Charlie Rock and Jaba killed it as usual. Chuck (I remember him as DJ Sweetchuck) came thru as well to spin a 90's set. I havent seen that guy since maybe '96! He used to lace us with dope promos back in the day when 3 Deep street promotions was still around. They used to help with the http://www.myspace.com/dj_ultraman DJ Ultraman show at UCSD back in the day.
I was able to get into Club Heat next door to check out DJ Blue Ballz and DJ Virus spin for Victory Nightlife. It was weird to walk upstairs to the DJ booth and see a handful of laptops lying around instead of crates! I think its a sign. A while back i was stopped before entering Red C lounge for having a bag which was not recognized by the bouncer as being a bag of RECORDS. I definitely think its a sign when bringing actual vinyl to a club is no longer the norm haha!
http://www.djmarlino.com Dj Marlino and i were talking about how some djs want to "keep it real" by using vinyl only. He and i agreed that lugging crates around for over a decade should make us exempt from keeping it real. If any of you have seen me hauling my records around the Gaslamp with my big a** dollie, i'm sure you'd agee that I am a textbook example of "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong!" At this point, i could give a flying flub about being a "real dj." Real Dj's use vinyl, huh? Well, I have a "real lower back" that experiences "real pain" therefore i have a real desire to get me a serato.