Work & School:

  • Part-time internship at Red Table Studio in LA as a designer for my old teacher.
  • Design pitch for House Of Blues in Anaheim, minimal direction, 5 designs total for their store. Awaiting revisions.
  • 3 Designs for AFI.

  • 3 Designs for Green Day.

  • Speaking of Green Day, they have used a design I did for them to represent their online identity. It is currently on their MySpace, and their official website. I remember thinking of the idea of birds into planes a long time ago, when looking for something I can stencil that was 1 color. I have mixed feelings about what they did to the original graphic, and it’s general use.
  • Featured on Karmaloop, check it out! (On Sale):

  • First quarter back grades: A, A, A, A, B+

Personal:

  • The quest for good cuisine, international and all, begins. Talks of a Food Blog, Flog, ensue. So far this month and a little last: Ethiopian in Little Ethiopia, Versailles (Cuban), Pupusa Cafe (El Salvadorian), A lot of Indian, Sanamluang Thai, I’ve recently eaten duck fetus and cow tongue.
  • Been seeing some good movies: Slumdog, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and a lot of Stella.

Goals:

  • Plan my free trip to the East Coast before March 13th, when it expires.
  • Get in shape, I can always start running for a few weeks, but always stop, I need to find a way to stay committed.
  • Get a fresh sense of where I want my life to go in the next two years.
  • Stay practical, and stay sharp.
  • Move, but only when the time is right and smart.
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2008

January 7, 2009

I’m late on a New Year’s post. In fact, there has a been a huge absence of writing here, resulting from a generous mix of confusion, hesitation, business, and laziness. 2008. What a whirlwhind. I’m going to try to summarize it, using a list. Because lists are simple. Lists are black and white. Lists are easy. And if I know anything, I know nothing in the last year has been easy. So from beginning to end:

  • January to June : Living my last months in San Francisco. My first, semi-professional run at an actual career winds down. During the year or so I worked at Cinder Block Inc. I was able to get a nice body of work that would fully push my freelance status into effect. I am proud of a lot of the work I did there, and a lot of the skills I was able to work on and learn. This includes: Color seperation, basic screen printing practice and theory, designing with production in mind, client communication, professionalism, Illustration styles, digital illustration, mixed media, and the under-estimated art of RESEARCHING. I was making more money than I had ever had before, but I was not really savvy enough to save or invest any of it.
  • Outside of work, I was struggling to enjoy the last run of time with my friends in San Francisco, while knowing that it would soon come to an end. It took me awhile to tell everyone. I learned what it felt like to have a family away from my real family, a home away from home. Today, I still think about those trips to Reno, getting high and playing NBA hang time, or the endless rides on the 38 Limited Bus. I remember when the weather showed the sun, all the skirts and sunglasses came out, it was absolute heaven.
  • I rekindled a romance with an ex-girlfriend. To see if we really were meant to be with each other, to see if we could actually stand each other. It was all so hopeful, and there was so much pressure riding on it to work. It didn’t work, for a lot of different reasons, and realizing this would prove tough, frustrating, and sad.
  • July to August : I traveled. Manila, Mandaluyang, Boracay, Philippines. Bangkok, Thailand. Cafes with buckets of beer and acoustic sessions. Going clubbing with a stranger-turned friend that couldn’t speak English. Riding an elephant, going sailing, eating the best food of my life, immense culture shock. Intense family bonding, I feel like we made up for lost time.
  • I’m not going to sugarcoat it. The tail-end of 2008 moved fast, and blurry, and there was no mercy. It was about living in the moment, sober or intoxicated. It was about crossing the lines to know where they are. It was about first dates, and getting to know somebody new, and so, so different from what I’m used to. It was too many cigarettes, too much whiskey, being too high and sluggish, being too hungry and eating too much. It was my triumphant return to school, and I killed it, and took names. It was about refusing to get a job and working from home drawing pictures for companies and designing business cards and brochures and shirts. Winter of 2008 was about Living LARGE and fast.
  • I’m having shirts mailed to me. It’s Christmas time. I’m having checks mailed to me. I’m climbing the mountains of Corganville, never missing a Lakers game. I’m going to the hidden caverns in the park, and throwing paper airplanes off the hills. I’m owning at puzzle fighter, and living by the diamond.
  • I learned a lot about myself in 2008. I learned about who I want to be, and who I don’t want to be. Who I want to be with, and who I want to stay away from.
  • I’m going to write up a sketch, so I don’t forget: 540, Geary, 38, CB. The LODGE, the R.A.P.E., Airplanes, Islands, Animals. Lawr, Sister leaves, I miss her. Heart breaks, heart makes. Puzzle fights, Volcanoes, Rips, and Camels. Whiskey, Games, Friends, Close, Close, Close! Crew, Crush, Photobooths, Living in the Moment. Meeting Abraham Lincoln, Gummie Bear Bubbas, Phil’s too smart, B’s too nice, Everyone’s too scared. Porch talks, Coffee Bean, Tea Lattes. Art Shows, camera, back SLIDE.

I’m thankful. 2009, will be 2000-Fine. This will be about REaffirmation, REcommitting, and getting back on. I always thought I’d be different. I have to be. I have no choice. None of this bullshit about blaming the city, the people, the money, the equipment. There are absolutely, positively, no limits.

PS Go Lakers.

I’ve tried writing something here that would faithfully explain what has been going on in my life the past few months, but every time I hit a few paragraphs, I delete it all with disgust and frustration. (Command+A, Delete, repeat.) Partially because I’m unsure how to execute what I want to say in a dashing way, a way that might seem eloquent and graceful, calculated but semi-ambiguous. And partially to avoid repetition, worn meaning, and useless mental masturbation. After numerous failed attempts, I came to the conclusion that we tend to over-think things, taking longer routes for a simple result, waiting for the perfect words, the perfect moment, the perfect shot. The things I admire the most, whether it is people, music, or art or literature and conversations, are the ones that present the most honesty. The ones that act almost on impulse, giving little or no time to hesitation or fabrication.

I read that our gut instincts exist for a very specific reason- they are shortcut calculations computated in our head that automatically weighs in instincts, experiences, and outcomes in a half-second. What interests me even more is that the act of thinking is both a human being’s greatest strength, and greatest weakness. It allows for great advances in almost every area of life, but also limits our potential and actions- many times, irrationally.

I miss feeling inspired, and inquisitive. I miss the constant questioning, the striving towards something great, and feeling the progress roll out right under my feet. My life right now does not allow me to live the way I want to. Work is a daily 12-hour commitment. My friends might wonder why I seem obsessive with building an understanding of social dynamics and creating new connections. The reason being: I don’t work a social job. I don’t go to school, and I’m out 12 hours a day for my job and my commute and my errands, and attempt to sleep 6 hours. 12+6 = 18. 24-18 = 6 hours of leisure time a day, taking that I’m not completely exhausted, which I am most of the time. With that schedule, human interaction screams my name. I’m 21 years old, and I’m living like an ant. Unlike most of the people my age in this expensive city, I fully support myself, with the exception of the times my parents have saved my ass to make rent. But this is absolutely not a complaint, merely an observation. Complaining is silly- either act or forget. The “I’m a victim” mentality absolutely disgusts me, as I believe we are the sum of our choices, so I know I’ve chosen this life. And now I’m choosing to change it.

I will be moving back to the Los Angeles area before the end of June. I will be out of the country traveling from July 1st to the beginning of August. Upon my return, I will go back to school and attempt to live somewhere in the LA area, with the priority being learning, and growing and pushing myself. I suppose it’s time to start finishing what I’ve started… and this is only the first of many things.

San Francisco, you beautiful city. You have been a monumental learning experience. I’ve learned more this last year about myself and about my values than any other year that has come before it. Which is probably due to feeling more uncomfortable and “failing” more than I ever have. I wouldn’t take back a single second. I’ll approach the future with a stronger set of ideals and with a stronger sense of positivity.

PMA

April 3, 2008

I am a rusty machine that never sleeps. I leave the house at 7am and come home at 9pm. Bus, TRAIN, walk, WORK, walk, TRAIN, gym, walk, BUS, home, EAT. Wash, rinse… repeat. Half of me feels this contradicts the reason I moved here, which was to take a break from routine frustration, but the other half of me is satisfied that I am partially filling a career goal. This is not a complaint; I’d like to think that I take full responsibilities for all my actions, I have full control over what I do with my time.

With being this busy, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect to myself, and realized the importance of building a personal code of ethics and rules for you to follow that don’t compromise your genuine self. It’s important to embrace responsibility for your own emptiness and situations, (Money, social inadequacies, health) even edging towards other peoples’ behavior towards you– “What is it that I may have done to make him/her act this way towards me?” But I digress.

The bigger thing I’ve thought about is what really makes an outstanding individual. At the bottom of it all: it’s someone who has value to offer (knowledge, wisdom, personality, etc), and gives it to everyone around him/her, while keeping the integrity. The people I truly enjoy being around are people who are positive, and full of life. I love people who remind me exactly why life is worth living, and how anything can be exciting and enthusiastic.

As Stefan Sagmeister says,“Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.”

I’m ready to get back. The next few months are going to be a sever ass kicking, I will report my experiences to come. Imagine if you went an entire day making the opposite decisions.

Sucker? Free.

February 12, 2008

When I lay in bed, sometimes I think about everyone who has sat in it, every person who has slept in it. I think about the songs it has heard, the conversations it has absorbed, and the souvenirs left behind on it; cigarette ashes, drops of wine and late night food-binges. I think about when I first moved here, and was obsessed with the color brown, and bought that brown sheet, carrying it home on the 38, my first month in San Francisco. And how underneath it all, it resembles a picnic blanket. Sometimes it smells really good and I fly backward, like a time machine.

It’s been a rough year, full of different people old and new. San Francisco, the Big City. The city of missed connections and small ones, real ones and fake ones. Sometimes you wonder if it’s all worth it. Every night, I’m kept awake by the sounds of rushing cars and drunk people on Geary St.

When we want to get away, we charge through the Ocean on man-made bridge, doing man-made things. Scenery makes the moments significant, a photograph immortalizes and captures something sacred. It’s never perceived exactly the same among people. We are never perceived the same among people.

And when you look out, you take a deep breath and think, “I made choices to be here, at this exact moment.

Existence isn’t defined by where you are or who you’re with, but the choices you make to be present. We all have ideas of who and where we want to be, but the beautiful struggle is retained in the process of getting there. To be addicted to the process, is to find beauty in life.

Take chances, and whatever you do, don’t be bored. This is the most exciting time we could ever hope to be alive. At the end of the night, taking the train, you ask yourself again, “Is it all worth it?”

I used to be afraid to be myself, to show vulnerability in the warmth of human beings. But I’m not afraid anymore, we should never apologize for who we are. With that said… Yes. It is worth it.

It’s always worth it.

Vince Apostol

February 4, 2008

Vincent Apostol has been a life long friend of mine. We have independently pursued our own goals and it’s apparent to me that our lives are meant to be intertwined. It’s a friendship that seems to have some kind of surreal quality, one that isn’t common in life, one that you shouldn’t devalue in any way. The thing I love about Vince is his relentless determination to finish and push what he starts. It’s easy to have goals, we all have ideas and dreams of what we could possibly do, but we often hold ourselves back for the most tragic reasons… Fear and laziness being among the top. But every once in awhile, there are people who make their life their own, and prove their existence through the beauty of sheer tenacity. His band, Dear Life; have just been signed to Uprising Records, and their record fucking solid. It’s a revival of what I used to love in hardcore music. On top of that, he also runs a clothing line (I have done designs for, and will hopefully collaborate in the future) Loud & Obnoxious, and a screen-printing co. with his brother Matt, Glad Rags. We were having a conversation and it turned into a short, impromptu interview.

Vince: You’re basically my hero in the arts and literature sense…

Well you are my hero in straight up determination and hard work– we’re awesome. The world won’t know what hit ‘em. A few more years. See my problem is that I have a lot of ideas but I have a hard time finishing what I start. So when I see you guys follow through with everything you touch, it’s really inspiring. Keep it up, shit like that keeps me going.

Vince: Yeah man, we’re gonna team up. I know we always talk about it but I know it’s going to happen.

I think so too. It’s meant to, I feel.

Vince: I feel like an opportunity to do something together and something pretty big will present itself if we just both keep it up

Do you guys have any idea when your next tour will be?

Vince: We’re hoping for April to start full time touring because that’s when the label wants to put out the record but distribution wants us to be touring consistently to support the release. So our agent is really trying to get the word out now that we announced it. We’re hoping it will ease the process since its public that we’re a signed band now. There are a lot of people working to see that dear life is a success now. It’s a weird feeling… haha

That’s great. Does that feel refreshing to you? Or relieving?

Vince: I think its more relief to me because I did so much for the band to get to this point, you know? I spent a lot of nights worrying.

Yeah.

Vince: I read your blog about being addicted to feeling overwhelmed– I think I’m like that too.

Man it’s almost like a drug isn’t it?

Vince: For sure.

There’s something about being in the moment where something completely over takes you… like for you, to make great music, and see it in a tangible form; I think that’s the high that results from art.

Vince: It truly is out of control, but in a good way.

You’ve created evidence of your own ideas, thoughts that wouldn’t exist in a tangible way otherwise.

Vince:
Yeah, I’m always doing everything in my power to see that Dear Life, L&O, and Glad Rags actually become something… I never thought about it until people would come over to chill, and I’m still working on stuff and they always say, “wow you really are a workaholic.”

Vince: Dang, maybe I am. Haha.

But that’s such a great quality to have. I mean that drive that you have is almost the defining factor of success and failure.


Vince:
Yeah, I almost feel like we can’t really ever fail as long as we have this drive.

It’s that defining moment of action. Let me ask you: When you started Dear Life did you ever expect it to get this far? Did you have this goal in mind to be signed, etc?

Vince: No, not even close. It grew and grew over the years.

Were there any “ah-ha” moments that made you decide you were going to push it more?

Vince: Yeah, when kids started singing along in places we had never been, we knew we had to push harder. You know, come to think of it, it never really occurred to me that we could potentially be “big”. In the first few years as a band I just knew that we wanted to do more than a local band did… that was the real goal at first.

I see, that’s awesome, I could only imagine that feeling when you first see kids singing to your songs– when you can connect to an individual on that level… the goal is barely a goal anymore, and it’s just a direction that pulls you.

Vince:
Yeah, it’s intense especially because I write the words and a lot of the music.

Do you write all the words?

Vince: Yeah, except the song loss for words. Daniel wrote that, and I put it together to fit– he just wrote down all his feelings.

That’s great man. I didn’t know it was all you. I knew you had a big part in it because listening to the lyrics– they are very motivational and determined– which is so great. Most of the metalcore that I get reminded of, like the old school metalcore bands, were all very tragic, unrequited-love-esque lyrically, but your band pushes this really optimistic tone through the songs, which sets it apart. I really don’t know many other bands in this genre that do it very often, outside of the whole “posi-core” style.

Vince: Exactly! That’s exactly what I wanted to push… all this time, thank you.

Haha, I should use this as an impromptu “Interview with Vincent Apostol” for my blog.

Vince: That’s so weird, I was going to say the same thing. Wow man, we really are on the same page.

I’ll Never Forget.

January 1, 2008

(Above by Luke Palascak.)

On New Years, we all make heartfelt resolutions at midnight. Most of us break them by February. The enchanting quality of New Years is that we finally have an opportunity to stop procrastinating. The calendar generously gives us this illusion of a fresh slate, a blank canvas, and we’ll start over- creating what we never got to create before, making our lives what we’ve always wanted them to be. Despite it being just another day of the year, we’re all part of a club tonight. We’re all finally on the same level despite our differences, anxious, and full of hopeful desires– and our desires to cast out our flaws, and fight against our insecurities will be filled will ferocity and determination tonight, wishfully resonating through out the rest of the year.

And tonight, as we sing our songs, pour our drinks, and laugh together, we will do so knowing that we exist perfectly as part of something much bigger. We’ll know that we all have something in common– the desire to change and move to greater things than the year before. We’ll reflect the giant trials that we managed to survive, and feel everything… the sorrow, the misery, the laughter, and most of all, the love that we had, have, or are still trying to search for, flash light in hand, searching the corners of our minds. This love, is a much deeper one, a love that we are searching within ourselves and not only other people. Do you love yourself this year? The hopes and the friendships we feel are always worth fighting for.

What a fucking ride 2007 was. It felt like the perfect storm. As we get older, our problems become more complex, but it feels like we become more equipped to handle them. Some things are exactly the same, but I digress, this is still very much an exciting time to be alive.

So here’s to San Francisco, The Raddie couch, and Gordos. Here’s to the state girls and the state boys. Here’s to the OWL, $1.50 rides and Late Night Specials. Here’s to the Fucking Buckaroos, thug mugs, and being allergic to cats. Here’s to rolling deep and taking off, half-naked dances to Broken Social Scene, to Swimmers, and Ice Cream– the cold, night wind hitting our bodies in the back of Alex’s car. Here’s to 28th and Geary and 10th and Geary, Jack In The Box, Cafe Mono, mixed CDs and coffee shop dance parties. Here’s to 24 hour super markets, Baker Beach, Top Ramen, and shitty jobs. Here’s to Nell, Tutti Frutti, tears, smiles, heart break and confusion. Here’s to the Lucky Penny, Power Hour, and the comfy blankets, with close friends sleeping on wooden floors. Here’s to the park, the weekend adventures with my boys, the BART and Muni, getting into trouble and making it out. Mortal Kombat, Whiskey, Camel Lights, making great new friends I never had before, who I will always consider first. New rooms, home-made music videos, Taco Tuesday, and Mad Dog. Walking home, chemistry, mistakes. 6 Hour drives, This American Life, Monterey, rekindling, and rebreaking, Nappa, New York, the Oakland Airport and Cinder Block. The Geary Gang, the Sunset Skirts, and shitty parties. New Records, old records, and more whiskey.

I’m not sure if I’m getting wiser or just older. I don’t know if I’m more open to love, or more willing to settle. I don’t always know exactly what I am chasing, or how long I will be on the run. But I do know, that every person in my life is worth knowing, worth taking a chance for. I’ve made my mistakes, and I’ve hurt innocent people. I’ve been the products of mistakes and been hurt. We all have, but we’re all still here, and I am thankful for you, and you, and you. My friends, my family, and the ones I have yet to meet, thank you.

Take everything you can, hold nothing back. If you have someone close, hold them closer. Who knows what will happen next year.

This year’s resolutions (2008)

  • Quit smoking.
  • Sign up for for a gym… and go regularly.
  • Swear less.
  • Never lie… Ever.
  • Accomplish unfinished artistic goals.
  • Work on being able to talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything.