Tuesday, May 30, 2017


i had been planning on returning to DC for a awhile now. last year, i almost booked a flight to return during memorial day weekend (which funny enough was the same weekend i arrived in 2014), but suckered out when i thought about how impulsive i was being. i chose the end of march because the snow is all gone, it is a government holiday in california (cesar chavez day), and it is around the time of the cherry blossoms (and lucky for us, i picked a good weekend to see these damn blossoms). 

as with boston, this was a go-go-go trip. after work during a wednesday last month, i went to the airport with my dad and took a red eye to boston. it was a rough ride. once again, i could not really sleep, but i had a blow up neck rest (which is such a genius invention). i always fly jetblue, but unfortunately they cut down their flights, so we took american airlines which has such a wonderful entertainment system. soooo many movies!!! i watched la la land, which i really enjoyed.

my redeye mugshot.

after arriving in boston, we took a short plane ride to arlington virignia, and then a metro ride into the city. the first stop, was my old place. it's funny how i remembered the exact route from the station. i would take that route everday before work. also, i never realized i lived by the projects. everyone kept to themselves so i never though twice. it looks exactly the same.

ronald reagan airport

my old place. it's huge, but i also lived with 16 people.

after, and also from memory, i tried to find prat manger. the last time i went there was in boston, but i had been many times when i lived in dc. man i wish we had some in la. it's decent/cheap coffee and delicious/convenient food.

we then mad our way to the national mall and tidal basin. i wanted to see the cherry blossoms the first day, because the next day it was going to rain and the blossoms are delicate and fall easily. it was busier than i had ever seen it but not too bad (it was a friday). even though it was not sunny, it was so pretty! you never know when the peak days are going to be until they start blooming and luckily this was the week. also, not too long before we arrived there was a crazy late snow storm and luckily the buds did not freeze. 70% of trees blossomed.

now some history (because i find is so interesting). in 1912, the mayor of tokyo gifted the trees as a token of friendship. we would then get involved in a war with them 30 years later. history is funny like that.

the jefferson memorial.

yea, people still picked them. i wanted to smack them so bad.

the washington monument.

above the cherry blossoms, a relevant message at my favorite memorial.

for all my visits to dc, i always take a picture like this (2006, 2010, 2014, and now 2017).

japanese pagoda.

the korean war memorial (my other favorite).

as with the fdr memorial, i always visit willie j. foster at the vietnam war memorial. do i know who this fella was? no. during my 8th grade school trip, all the students were given a carnation to dedicate to a veteran. i chose willie.

i knew for dinner i wanted to go to nando's, a portuguese/mozambican chicken place (i went last time i was in the city). luckily, it was across the street from our hostel. i wish we had these in california.

we then checked into our hostel (more on our stay in the next post) and called it a night.

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the next day was rainy (boo) and a museum day (yay). we got up earlyish. i made a friend in the kitchen. i forget her name, but she is a young woman from uruguay who works as a child caretaker/tutor in rural florida. when she went to florida, it was the first time she had been on a plane and out of the country. i always like to ask people what is the biggest shocker of the united states. she told me it was the availability of vegan food.

a cute little coffee shop down the street. it is an ethiopian coffeehouse with tons of photos hung up.

the first stop was the newseum. my most favoritist museum i have ever been to. i went last time and i knew i wanted to come back. it meant so much more for me this time. i think that is because of current politics (boo). i appreciate free (or free-ish?) press so much more now. unfortunately, one of my favorite exhibits was gone. i do not remember exactly what it was called, but it had interesting relics. one of them being a journalist's car that had a bomb hidden underneath. the journalist died. 

up ahead these are a few of my favorite artifacts. to add, one of my favorites (that is not pictured) is about the "conspiracy theory" known as cointelpro. spoiler alert: it was not actually a conspiracy theory. i studied cointelpro back in the ye old days of college.

a sign from berlin (i will be going there this year!)

looking up a east german death tower.

tippity top of the death tower.

bob dylan's draft of one of my favorite songs of his.

about the black lives matter movement.

part of the flagpole from the 9/11 terrorist attack on the pentagon.

the camera gear of bill biggart, who died in 9/11.

my blab: photojournalism is the form of art i appreciate the most. some people connect the most to movies, photos, dance, music, art, but for me it is photojournalism. it makes me feel the feels the most. it allows me to learn the most. i think it is because it incorporates both history & art, two of the most important things in my life. it tells a story. this may sound very controversial, but you know those people you meet who are very patriotic when it comes to the military & veterans. that's how i feel like towards photojournalists. they risk their lifes to tell the truth in the most accessible way for the public, pictures. and they die for the cause. 

in the museum, there is a memorial for journalists who have died because of their work or during their work. this includes those caught in an ambush, prisoners of war, or assassinated while abroad or at home (to name a few). every year they have a ceremony and unfortunately add more names. one of the most recent names, and most well known, is alison parker, the news broadcaster that was killed point blank while on virginia live television, or the charlie hebdo killings.

after, we went to the national museum of the american indian to get some delicious fry bread. i looovvveee fry bread, but it is hard to find. the next stop was the spy museum. my dad wanted to go. they made us memorize our secret identity's and they never tested me. i prepared myself, but no worker asked me for my identity. not gonna lie, i was disappointed. on a side note, some interesting artifacts was an umbrella gun & a little camera for a pigeon to wear around its neck.

the last stop of the day was the capitol building, my old stopping grounds. the weird thing was it did not feel very familiar, then again i didn't really spend time in the main building. it is not where the offices are and fortunately i never had to give anyone a tour.

the building i worked in (and also the same pose as before).

the supreme court building.

and across the street from the supreme court, a church with a message.

we then just went to union station for dinner and returned to the hostel and called it a night.

now for a song. i am on a showtunes streak. it also seems appropriate because this musical had its start in washington dc song. my favorite sone from dear even hansen, 'waving through a window.'

Sunday, April 23, 2017


it's been sooooo long, but it's the day after earth day and i thought, i really need to get a post up and this is so fitting. last month (and last minute) i planned a little road trip back to the mojave dessert. last septmenber, i went and wished i could have done more. one early friday morning we left in the wee hours of the morning to the mojave. the first stop was hole in the wall visitor's center.

isn't it cute.

happy pink cactus.

rings loop trail

i knew there was a trail here that had rings you could climb. honestly, i did not know how it was going to be. i saw a few pictures but that really does not tell you anything. surprisingly, it is kind of intense. you have to go up and over a butte. there are 2 sets, and you could really fall and hurt yourself. also, the footing is kind of tricky. at one point, you have to swing your body to move up. it was a lot of fun, but i definitely don't recommend it for people who have minimal strength or little kids. it was definitely worth the itty bitty half mile walk. there's more pictures of me than usual, so prepare yourself.

rings loop trail

me and the butte.

the next stop was kelso depot. i have been here before, but wanted my dad to see. we are both history buffs. this time, it was a lot busier. also i made the mistake of going the long dirt road path. it took us a lot longer, but it was an experience?

after was the kelso sand dunes. once again, i have been here before but only reached the sand and turned around. dusk was catching up. this time i had hoped to reach the top and even had a walking stick. i knew walking on sand was going to be hard, but not that hard. especially the uphill. in the end, i did not make it to the top, but i was still happy with how far i had reached. it's crazy how there are these random dunes just 3 hours from los angeles.

me and my fancy stick.

this was the last activity we did for the day. we drove back to barstow to spend the night. we planned for the next day to go to calico ghost town (expect a future post who knows when). after we checked in our hotel, we looked for dinner. we ended up going to di napoli's firehouse, a cute little italian restaurant filled with fire fighter memorabilia. i got my favorite desert ever, tiramisu. it's classy & caffeinated.

now for a song! this song is pretty & haunting (just watch the music video). when looking for this song i ran into a version with a choir. i'm a sucker for choirs. 'i found' by amber run. enjoy!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


on the way there and back, my aunt and i stopped at a few roadside attractions. on the way there, we saw primm. never knew this little casino town existed. there was not much that interested me, but there are some tacky roadside attractions. i love stuff like this.

primm, nevada

seven magic mountains.

our first real stop was leeds, a little town in utah. here there is silver reef, an old silver ghost town. the first stop was the civilian conservation corps (ccc) camp. the ccc was a public work relief program enacted during the great depression. it was part of fdr's new deal. in leeds, men built bridges and roads to st. george, the nearest big-ish city. this was exciting for me, because i have never known a ccc camp to be preserved.

the men built their temporary buildings out of the local sandstone.

inside the wells fargo vault. the bank is also the silver reef museum (c.1877)

you know how much i love little cute post offices.

ruins of the ghost town.

about another 45 minutes is springdale, the closest city to zion. the city really thrives off the buzz of the national park. the city also has a cute little visitors center.

in springdale, there are plenty of cute little shops

the first night, we had a quickie dinner, but for the second we treated ourselves. we went to a mom & pop diner/saloon in springdale. 

i got root beer, rainbow trout, vegetables and rice. for dessert, i got bumbleberry pie.

the next morning, we went to grafton, a ghost town. honestly, i expected more to see. the abandoned buildings were somewhere around here, but we couldn't find them.

the next stop was this little roadside attraction we saw along the way. it's called fort zion and apparently is open during the warmer months. what it is exactly, who knows, but i really like the whimsical buildings.

i also didn't notice a little beauty looking back at me.

he's adorable.

we have sinclair gas stations in southern california (it's a relatively new thing) and every station has its own dino statue. ever since i have laid my eyes on one, i've wanted to sit and take a picture with one.

my dreams finally came true in hurricane, utah.

the last roadside attraction was hlavka's bronze mustangs in ivins, utah. this was a bit hard to find. we first ended up going through this strange little planned community (it was the address to his studio instead, oops). we then found the correct address and almost passed it. turns out it is in the middle of a traffic circle, but if you strategically take a photo you can fool anyone.

we then just ordered a dairy queen blizzard, drove home, and called it a day.

now for a song. i never was into this type of music (i don't know how to describe it), until i started watching shameless. i describe it as soundtrack music. it's a baby between purity ring and bjork. my favorite part is when the guy sings. anyhoo, enjoy! 'time' by young wonder.

and as an added bonus. fuck trump (on the way home passing vegas).