Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sunsets and other things

Sunset in Sequoia
(See this picture bigger here)

As most of my group rushed ahead to the end of the trail to get back to the cars, a few of us hung back to bask in the warm glow of the setting sun over the horizon. We ambled ever-so-slowly, keeping our eyes fixed at the end of the valley that was bathed in the most wonderful light.

I slowed down even more, quickly losing my group and ending up alone on the trail. In my solitude, I had the freedom to climb atop boulders and search for the angle that I would take this shot. Some time later, with my battery nearly dead and my memory card almost full, I found what I was looking for in this particular photograph - sprawled across some rocks, steadying my hands to take a sharp picture.

It was a moment that remains burned into my memory - feelings of wonder and excitement at seeing such an amazing sunset, the anticipation of a hearty dinner well-earned, and a great night's sleep after a day of grueling hiking.

Thus was life in the outdoors, and I loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Second Skin - Eleven months in. Two washes.

11.5 months

11.5 months in

11.5 months in
Jeans - Rogue Territory Stantons, T-shirt - Spurr, Boots - Allen Edmonds

Thanks to Nick Clute-Reinig for his photo assistance.


These jeans received a bit of a break over summer, as heavyweight denim isn't particularly comfortable in the Los Angeles heat. But as the weather has finally cooled down over the past semester, these jeans have once again been used and abused. To the utter elation of my friends, these have received a second washing recently.

As expected, they continue to fade magnificently. The topstitching and details on the butt pockets are beginning to break apart, while the side seams are showing heavy wear and fading. I also finally got them hemmed by Karl at Rogue Territory, which has been a huge improvement. After a weekend in Sequoia filled with campfires, hiking, and scrambling, these jeans received a boost of wear that have pushed them into what I would consider "heavily worn." They also smell of Islay malts and smoke from sitting around the campfire so much.

Though this project technically ended five months ago, I still continue to wear these as much as possible and delight in all of the stories (and grime) that they accumulate. It's only a few more weeks until the one year mark, and I look forward to seeing what's in store for the future - mine and the jeans'.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A most sacred stone.

Womb of Zuigu-Bosatsu
The Womb of Zuigu-Bosatsu. Kiyomizu Dera, Kyoto, Japan

As you enter this temple, you are pointed down a dark stairwell into a maze devoid of even the tiniest sliver of light. You wander through twists and turns beneath the temple - sightless, stumbling - until you finally turn a corner and are greeted by the most interesting sight. There before you, dimly lit but shining through in the darkness, is a large stone with a single raised Sanskrit character atop it.

The character symbolizes Zuigu-Bosatsu, the motherly Buddha, who is said to grant wishes to those that are sincere. The narrow maze is seen as the womb of Zuigu-Bosatsu, with the close walls leaving no room to bring your worldly attachments with you. When the stone appears, you are supposed to make a wish. If it is successful, the stone will turn on its own (I had to do it manually).

Once you leave the womb, you are supposed to be purified and to have undergone rebirth with the virtue of Zuigu-Bosatsu.

What an interesting ritual.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Second Skin - not quite my own.

Ian Byers' RKs

Ian Byers' RKs

Ian Byers' RKs

Ian Byers' RKs

Ian Byers' RKs

Rogue Territory RKs, 2.5 months in, 0 washes

My friend Ian's been breaking in his RKs these past few months to great effect. The jeans are starting to break in nicely, with slight fading along the belt loops and other areas of heavy wear. The denim itself is something of a dream - incredibly lightweight and pliable, but with a noticeable toughness about it. I'm pretty excited to see how these break in over time.

The giant mud splatters come from a little spill that he took when we were hiking through storm drains to take some pictures, some of which can be seen below. It took a bit of effort to convince him to keep the jeans nice and muddy so that I could take pictures of them. Heh.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

I could get used to this.


Dockside chillin' in Massachusetts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Second Skin - Finally washed.

6 months in

6 months in details copy


About 6 months in, one wash.

I finally gave in and washed the jeans a few weeks ago. They are no longer stinky (to the joy of my friends and other people whose beds I sit on) and have developed a much deeper range of blues and whites. They're a bit softer, a bit more faded, and much more comfortable. The stitching along the inseam continues to fall apart, but I'm not sure if this speaks to the craftsmanship of the jeans or normal wear and tear. In either case, I'm still quite satisfied with how these jeans have been working out these past few months. Beautiful fading, an extra layer of protection from all of my shenanigans, and pockets that aren't too deep. I noticed the other day that with my other jeans, I'm forced to swim around in its deep pockets to find my personal effects. These pockets are just the right size that things don't fall out, but are within easy reach.

Just a little over a week until I can switch over to summer pants, though. And boy, am I looking forward to that. Heavyweight denim isn't the best clothing option in this desert heat.

These jeans continue to amass a body of stories that they have been with me for. If only these jeans could talk.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nick Hurwitz has no pants

In visual arts, the audience is only allowed to view specifically what the artist intends to be seen. But what would happen if you could see the other side?

Nick Hurwitz

Nick Hurwitz

Nick Hurwitz

Nick Hurwitz

Nick Hurwitz

Saturday, April 9, 2011



A preview of my incredibly entertaining photoshoot with Nick Hurwitz.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Second Skin - Five months in.

5 months in

5 months in


These jeans still look surprisingly clean despite the fact that I've been wearing them for the past five months. That few people have noticed that I've been wearing these every single day is a testament to how little others actually care about that I'm wearing, which is beautiful and relieving.

Heavy wear. More threads coming undone. More fading slowly setting in. My ongoing list of things that I've spilled on these jeans is becoming a bit indicative of the fact that it's getting high time to wash these jeans. Finally. I'm also looking forward to sending these jeans back in to Karl so he can hem the ridiculously thick cuffs that came about from my desire to wear jeans with a 37" inseam right away. With that extra denim, maybe I'll make myself a wallet, or glasses case, or something fun.

I'm pretty excited for the initial sixth months to finally be over. There have been a few hot-as-balls days on campus, and the heavyweight denim is becoming a bit uncomfortable in the heat. Shorts and chinos, here I come! Tally-ho.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Photo by Nick Clute-Reinig

It just hit me that I'm going to be flying out to Japan this summer to fight in the World Naginata Championships. Flipping so many shits right now.


Thursday, March 24, 2011


Once again
Photo by Nick Clute-Reinig

The time comes again for me to suit up and prepare for another pivotal event in my martial arts career. My performance this weekend will determine whether or not I'm going to compete in the World Championships in Japan and find out if I have what it takes to fight with the best. If it all works out, then I'm not nearly as bad as I think I am. If not, I have three years to work my ass off and try again.

Let's see how this whole thing plays out, shall we?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another bit of longing

Sam Gold

Sam Gold
Model: Sam Gold

I look at these pictures with an incredible sense of longing. With costumes and locations, I have the ability to create moments of existence that I can dream about day in and day out, but will probably never quite attain. I want to pack a ratty old bag, pull on some boots, and head out into the world. I've been fortunate enough to do that to some extent, but it's never enough.

I won't create conditions for my sudden departing. None of this "when I have enough money" or "have time to travel." Damn it, I'll make it work.

It's funny how these little rants/revelations tend to pop up right as I'm about to study Ochem.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Once in a blue moon.

Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a Blue Moon


I duck out of the frozen night air of Seoul into the warmth of a jazz club, softly lit, not too crowded - the perfect place to be in that particular moment in time. I take my seat by the front of the stage, order the tastiest scotch that a broke-ass college student can afford, and wait as the singer and her trio takes the stage. She sings - and oh, can she sing! A bit of Alicia Keys, a touch of Diana Krall, and life's good. The night moves along wonderfully. Her voice slowly warms my soul.

Or is that just the scotch?



Two people, sharing a subway bench, living in completely different worlds.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting back into the flow

Digital negative, Van Dyke Brown printing

With the final try-outs for the U.S. team coming up, I'm finding myself falling back into my old training habits. Training in the morning, practically dreaming of fighting someone in a match, tying everything in my life back to martial arts. Every movement that I make is in a fighting context. How I grip things, how I stand - I look at it all with a critical eye. It's a place that I was comfortable being in during high school - a part of my identity that I'd let slip away as I went to college.

But then I had a particularly good training session, where everything just felt right. Putting on my armor, flying full-force at someone with my weapon in hand... all of the madness puts me in a surprising state of calm. And now I slowly reclaim an aspect of my existence that I'm not quite complete without.

A Second Skin - Between three and four months in.

Random update

Random Update
Jeans - Rogue Territory Stantons, Turtleneck - Uniqlo, Boots - Lands End Canvas

I've been wearing these jeans particularly hard these past few weeks. As I'm coming up on four months, a date that I've arbitrarily set as some sort of landmark, I felt the need to get these jeans to really start showing some wear. So I dragged them through hell and I think they've come out the better from it.

It's still a bit funny for me to have these as my visual anchor through this crazy thing that we call college. Everything around me, as well as myself, is changing so rapidly. And yet, every morning I go through the same motions of putting on my jeans, shoving my notebook in my back pocket and my cellphone in the front, and going about my day. The world around me shifts and moves, and my morning routine stays the same. These Stantons are sort of helping to keep my feet on the ground as my mind slowly wanders away to... somewhere or other.

Existential crisis aside, these are still a damn well-made pair of jeans. The material and stitching are holding up well, the indigo is fading through beautiful shades of blue rather than going straight to brown/white like APCs tend to do.

Although, I'm pretty sure the whole "no washing" thing is starting to make people uncomfortable. Heh.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pinholes and Political Meaning

My professor told me that I need to try to put more meaning into my work. So there you have it. How's that for a message?

And more pinhole fun, because I much prefer to whimsically take pictures for the hell of it.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Something or other

Locks, Seoul Subway Stations

Nothing particularly interesting here. I was just drawn to the variety of details surrounding the padlocks in the Seoul subway stations.

Playing around.





Having some fun with the pinhole camera that I just made for my Light Explorations class. My photos aren't coming out nearly as sharp as I want, probably due to my messing up with the camera's construction, but I'm slowly becoming a fan of the dreamy, vintage feel of it all.

Also, it's wonderful to be back in the darkroom after all this time.

A Second Skin - Three months in.

3 months in

3 months in

It's surprising how well the rough rocks of Joshua Tree help to break in a pair of jeans. Rock climbing, scrambling over boulders, squeezing through narrow canyons, and overall just running around and getting injured makes for a great formula to fade raw denim.

I now have access to the photo studio at school (yay art classes) so I can finally take some pictures that aren't completely horrible. These are probably the most color-correct shots that I've taken so far. I'm quite happy with the increase in quality, in any case.

About the jeans themselves - I've worn through the edges of the back pockets, have increased the wear in the knees, and my pocket notebook fade is setting in nicely. And no one's commented on any unwanted odors or anything like that, so I'm gonna say that I'm safe with not washing these things for now. Ha.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A study of temporality.

Amber Ale, Brewerkz Brewery. Clark Quay, Singapore.

I could go on about how this is symbolic of the fleeting nature of life, but that'd be stupid. I just really enjoyed this beer. As well as the other 11 beers brewed on site at Brewerkz Brewery in Singapore. Top class beer, an incredible selection of whiskeys and gins at the bar, and lots of friendly people who could hold a conversation about ethanol in all of its lovely forms.

Inexpensive, delicious pints. Wonderful company. Lively conversation. And life's good.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Second Skin - Two months in.

2 Months In

I've been wearing these jeans everyday with the exception of a few days of unbearable heat and humidity in Singapore, and they continue to perform excellently. I now feel strange whenever I have to wear another pair of pants, I've become so accustomed to these jeans.

Nothing to much to add, except that I'm incredibly satisfied with the fading of the natural indigo in all of its lovely shades of blue. I'll be putting these through hell when I take them to Joshua Tree this weekend.

Thanks again to those who have been sending lots of encouragement and compliments my way. It's much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here, there, everywhere

From the frigid snows of Korea to the warm beaches of Singapore, one right after the other.

Pictures to come soon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Good to be back

Disney Collage2

While I was at Disneyland, I felt myself slowly losing hold of reality. Lines became blurred. I couldn't focus on any one thing. I felt as if I was walking around through a thick haze.

Disney Collage
Perhaps it was the jet lag, or maybe I'm finally losing my mind.

It's cool either way, I suppose.