drinking wine alone isn't sad, it's romantic.

I've been driving around a lot lately,  listening to music and thinking a lot, and I just want to get a few things off my chest before I forget.

Also, I've just had a couple glasses of wine so I'm feeling pretty chatty.

...also, I just need to add that I didn't just drink and drive...I wouldn't do that.

...also, drinking wine alone isn't sad, it's romantic.

OK...here we go.

I know it's selfish of me to think this way but the more I think about it, the more I know it to be true.  I've been listening to a lot of songs that mean a great deal to me and the more I get sucked into a song, the more alone and sad I feel because I don't think anyone could possibly be this affected (and yes, I mean affected not effected) by music.  I know its fucking cheesy and I know I'm going to look back at this post tomorrow and cringe but for now I need to word vomit and get this out of my head and move on.

I'll start naming off songs:

Idris Muhammad - Loran's Dance
I can't remember when I first heard this song but I really listened to it for the first time last year around spring.  I had just pulled over and started to gather my wallet and the things I needed to get breakfast at D3.  This song was playing and I was paralyzed until it was over and it was the first time in a long time that a song was so captivating that it brought me to tears.  It's a fucking instrumental so I don't think it was meant to be melancholy but in that moment it was just what I needed and the most beautiful thing I had ever heard (or had heard in a long, long time).

I snuck it into the Apartment Tour video I did with Austin Leis and was kinda bummed that no one had mentioned anything about how beautiful this song is cause people always bring up the topic of music.  Oh well.

In any case, my buddy Nate Cole (I have 2 buddies with the exact same name) has this album on vinyl and was playing clips of it on his Instagram stories and I was so happy for a moment because I didn't feel so alone.  Cause in that moment I thought "maybe he gets choked up every time he hears this song too" or "maybe this song has the same exact meaning to the both of us---isn't that amazing and beautiful?"

And then I got upset cause it hit me that maybe it doesn't mean the same thing to him at all.  I realized that this is a fucking instrumental and can be interpreted in any way.  And what if to him, this song is for cleaning the house or for watering his plants.  What if it's just background music?  What if he never even listened to it all the way through cause it's a long ass song.  I don't know why this makes me so sad but it truly does.

Alright, I just graduated to my next glass of wine so here is where it gets lighter...

On the topic on long ass instrumentals that don't really have a real meaning cause instrumentals can be interpreted anyway...Queen St. Gang 'Arazachel' always reminds me of a 90s pop song in a film like The Beach or something were its the closing scene and you're driving away, off into the sunset or whatever but now that I'm really listening to it, I would kill to know how they interpreted it.  It's obviously not about Leo D driving off into the sunset.  It's probably not even about driving anywhere for that matter.  Oh fuck...there are so many ways to interpret this song.  It pains me to know that I am completely wrong here.

Funkadelic - I'll Stay and The RH Factor - I'll Stay (same song, different meaning?)
I really listened to the Funkadelic version of this song spring of last year when Ian and I were on a bike ride through Joshua Tree and I had it blasting on repeat into my earbuds.  I've never felt an attachment to the guitar before...always thought it to be a cheesy instrument.  I dated a guy once who used to serenade me with gentle guitar strums in the AM and lets just say it didn't work out cause it was too fucking much for me.  I just can't even make eye contact with that amount of cheese.  Either way---this though, is so painfully anxiety ridden...I can't get enough of it.

Again, I don't remember how but The RH Factor version of this song showed up and it completely changed the meaning of this song for me.  Suddenly, everything I thought this song was about changed and this is so much more heart breaking in a sense.

See, when I heard the first version, I could've sworn this song was about a woman who is cheating on a man who loves her so much he'll put up with it cause he thinks it's just a phase and she just needs to mature.  The second version though is so clear to me that it's about a woman who's addicted to some substance she'll leave for days and do questionable things just to not have to substitute this addition.  I could be completely wrong---it may not be about either of those things at all.  What a fool I am if it ain't.

Rotary Connection - I Am The Black Gold of the Sun
The more I think about it, the more stupid I feel.  I guess I just love Broadway/musical theater voices...maybe even more than I like "super Vegas Tom Jones voices".  I know its so so painfully cheesy but I always sing along at the top of my lungs and blast it in the comfort of my Prius... alone, driving in the mundane LA traffic.  Is it racist if I'm not even black?  Either way, this group has some catchy ass sing-alongs.  'Life Could' is bomb too.

On the topic of "musical theater voices", singing along to Eugene McDaniels 'Cherrystones' is so much fun.  He's got phenomenal vocal variety.  Also, 'Jagger The Dagger' has to be one of the most difficult songs to sing a long to.

Frankie Valli - The Night
I didn't know then but I know now but I first heard this song about a decade ago when I was going through the most difficult relationship and personal emotional problems---it was giving me so much anxiety and I had to cope.  I was at dinner with my employees at Mesa and the DJ put this song on and it was the first song I had ever really listened to the first time I heard it.  I hope I'm making sense...I'm on my 4th glass of wine.  I don't even know how to explain "listening" vs. "hearing"...it's like when you're working a thankless retail job and the client starts to tear up cause their decision fatigue hinders them from picking one impulse to the next and you...well, you are dying inside because your friend had just been killed in a car wreck the day before and you have to "check your attitude at the door".  You hear them when they speak and fake empathy but you just can't connect.

Woah, this got dark quick---word vomit went too far.  SEE YA


Kirill and Alysha --- Olympus MJU-II with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

We had breakfast at Lauren's house the morning after Emo Night.  I was hung over and made brussels sprouts with bacon.  She had to leave for work so Alysha, Kirill, and I stayed to clean up.  In this kitchen in real life, the lighting was beautiful.  I, obviously, had a hard time capturing that.  

I get so eager to finish a roll of film that I don't think about lighting sometimes.  Sucks to suck.

Emo Nite, LA --- Olympus MJU-II with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

I went to Emo Nite at the Echoplex with Nick, Mike, and Greg a couple weeks ago.  I haven't hung out with these dudes in a really long time.  I think the last time I saw them all together was at Nick and Lynnsee's wedding.  I was a groom's man, wore a rented suit and everything.  It was the best of times.

In any case, our buddy Morgan (another groom's man) has this night that I keep saying I'd come to but never go cause I'm a grandma and need to be in bed by 10PM every night.  It's been a couple years and I finally went and man oh man was it so much fun. 

Oh yeah; that chick posing with Greg...her name is Kennedy and she and I got locked into the world's longest conversation about golf.  All I remember from our convo was I used to get high in college and that got me MVP but I can only commit to 9 holes.  Everyone says stupid shit when they're drunk, right?  She stored her number in my phone so we can golf together.  Haven't heard shit from her WHERE YOU AT, KENNEDY??!!? 

Also, I love that double-chin photo cause it reminds me of myself as a kid and how adults would always tell me to lift my chin.  Fuck you, I'm a grown ass woman now, I do what I want.

Sidney Prawatyotin --- Olympus MJU-II with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

The photos of Sid in his kitchen with the e-cig and Heath cup are there cause I told him that these cups are made specifically for "coffee and cigarettes".  I believe this to be true, I mean, look at how perfect it fits in his hands!  

Also, I quit smoking although I was never a real smoker so it's not much to quit.  That said, I've never had a cigarette I didn't like and this makes me kind of want to get in my car and take a long  drive somewhere.

There was a time in my early 20s where a pack a day was the norm for me.  It was 20 delicious breaks from whatever I was doing just to work on my breathing although it wasn't ideal.  It was 20 excuses for a short break, 20 excuses to pause and think.  It became an expensive habit and I was always broke so of course I stopped.  

Man, I just got a flood of fond memories from that past-life.  Khoa and I would always get coffee together, smoke cigs, and work on our computers---and by work, I mean I'd edit my YouTube videos or blog (fluffy shit) and he'd actually work on his graphic design projects.  I really miss that.

Yeah, I could really use a cigarette right now.

Billy Campbell --- Olympus MJU-II with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

Ian took this picture when I was in the lady's room.  Either way, Billy is a rad guy; never too serious, always joking around and lightening the mood no matter how grim we can all get.  Oh, and he's an amazing bowler too. 

Eddy and Wednesday --- Olympus MJU-II with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

Wednesday is Donny's dog and Eddy is Matt's pup.  They really like hanging out together although Eddy has a bit more energy than Wednesday and she gets kinda cranky and will try to hide and go to sleep.  I really like it when Eddy is around cause he's such a happy dog and so well trained.  His expressions are so sweet too.  I don't usually like medium-sized dogs either but he's an acceptation.

Austin Hua --- Olympus MJU-II with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

Looking through this set of photos of Austin, I just realized that he looks so much like my uncle on my mom's side.  I always thought of him as the "cool uncle" growing up cause he was really into records and cool music.  Always had interesting things to look at around his house like books, weird travel things, toys...that kind of thing.  Whenever he watched us, we got to eat cake for lunch and shit like that and take us to do cool things our parents didn't let us do otherwise.  Turns out as I got older, he ended up not being such an adult after all.  I guess some of us will aways stay kids.  He's the most like me in our family and people always point out how similar we are.  He's also done some things I will not speak of here which most people will not agree with.

That said, Austin is not much like my uncle but damn, they look so much alike in these photos.

Sidney Prawatyotin --- Canon A1 with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

Still learning to adjust with light. 

This is Sid.  He and his husband just bought a beautiful house in West LA---styled so charmingly.  Here is their home together in Brooklyn.  Sid has a way of styling his home that I completely envy.  There are times when I thrift shit and ask myself, would Lauren (or Lauren) buy this?  I love artsy-minimalism but sometimes, quirky things just make me so much happier.  So I risk the clutter in exchange for cheap quirky thrills.  I love Sid and Sean's place cause it's right in between and everything, paired together, makes sense.   Oh and all this dish-ware is Heath (life would be complete if I had the means to collect all that).

Sid and I met when he moved to LA from NY.  I was working at Illesteva and he is friends with one of the owners.  He would come in and chat for a couple hours at a time, it was really the highlight of the day when he came in cause he was able to life the weight of a gloomy day so easily with that amount of witty sass.  Something about this guy---truly a positive spirit.  

Oh and I don't usually like small dogs but I love this two; Zoƫ and Eno (after Brian Eno).

Austin Hua --- Canon A1 with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

Austin came over so that I could help him take photos for his web-shop, AU Handmade.  I practiced some shots on him here.  

It was a weird day---I wasn't feeling myself and was forgetting my shit here and there.  Very A.D.D. that day, not so good.  I hope he liked the photos I took though, been practicing product shots with my Canon 80D, watching a ton of tutorials and playing around with different lenses.  

Austin makes really cool leather inventions, he'll be a hit if he sticks to it.

Chrystene Ai Newman --- Canon A1 with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

Not so stoked on how these photos came out---I'm having a hard time keeping up with which photos were taken on which camera so I made a decision to start switching up the film I use so I can better remember.  

In any case, this is Chrystene Ai Newman.  We share almost identical names, both pisces, both really into plants and cooking...practically the same person.

My sister, Kim just got laser eye surgery and she said it's been amazing.  I'm thinking about doing that cause I'm having a difficult time focusing the camera (as you can see from some of these photos on my A1).  I'm not saying that I'm thinking of getting that surgery cause of this particular reason but it's just one of the reasons.  It's almost $5k to do it and I figured it's worth the investment cause I wear contacts everyday and all those expenses add up.  When I turned 27, my dad said that he would buy me a nose job which I turned down (jokingly asked for a sex change instead)---maybe he'll fund this eye surgery.  

Also, my dad didn't say that to be hurtful.  Vietnamese people have a way of saying things out of a loving place so I knew what he meant and wasn't hurt by it...it's funny cause if he would've said that to anyone else, I'm sure (cause so many people I know have done this) they'd cut him off completely and never talk to him again.  I'm happy with my nose.  If I'm not going to dye my greying hair, there is no chance in hell I'd get a nose job.