janelle monae:many moons

died young, stay pretty

trailer for the movie "died young, stay pretty", documenting the growth of the underground poster scene.

looking thru the b-sides

trailer for Saimon Chow & Golden Lucky's short about a skateboarder named Ollie and his search for a lost skateboard. nice stop motion animation at work here.

fall pickups

I recently sold off nearly half of my sneaker collection for decent money - it pays off to keep every pair pristine. My closet could easily be mistaken for a stock room at NikeTown with its claustrophobic skyscraper stacks of shoeboxes. Admittedly, I binged on some crazy kicks over the years and it felt good to purge. I must have inherited the shoe-collecting gene from my mom...or maybe it was an unconscious homage to Imelda Marcos. At times the materialism disgusted me, but that feeling only lasted until the next fresh pair of kicks caught my eye.

The connectivity of the internet never ceases to amaze me. Right now some kid is rockin' two pairs of my adidas on the streets of Reims, France; a Dutch-named dude is stepping through South Africa in my AF1's, and I mailed a pair of air max's to an employee of Goldman Sachs. Wonder if a piece of that Warren Buffet investment went into that purchase.

As for myself, I'm keeping things understated, clean and high this autumn with a trio of Clae Russells and a tough looking pair of Nike Blazers in black and taupe.

queen raquela trailer

stuff fil-ams like

Keeping in tradition of Stuff White People Like, here's an entry on stuff Fil-Ams like. I remember when I arrived on campus at Temple U., and a filipino girl asked me if I was joining TUPAC (Temple U. Philippine American Council). And I unknowingly said, "What? A club for the rapper Tupac?"

#1 Sushi
This satisfies the Asian part for Fil Ams. The rice and soy sauce are natural ingredients they are used to. Just add pork, grease, and vinegar and it'd be a barrio fiesta for them.

#2 Picture taking
Fil Ams love taking pictures of each other, even redundantly in the dance club. This custom dates back to when white people took pictures of them a century ago.

#3 Free sandwiches. Not this.
Fil Ams will gather around free food in general, so be cautious if your multicultural org's resources are limited.

#4 Latino Culture
This usually comes in the form of salsa dancing. Move out the way when "Esa Morena" is played at one of their debuts.

#5 Hawaii (Yes, that is Jasmine Trias)
This satisfies Fil Ams claim to be Pacific Islander (minus the whole genocide thing, of course).

#6 Afro-American culture
Fil Ams' fascination with Afro-American culture goes way back when David Fagen and African American Buffalo Soldiers helped Filipinos fight against American colonizers. They honor him through corn rows and sporadic copula absence.

#7 Sportin dark colors

#8 Rockin big shades (sorry Krish)

#9 Sportin bright colors

#10 Choreographed Dancing
These Fil Am dance troupes usually consist of an absurd amount of dancers, moving uniformly. Uncle Sam says: "You're easy to control. Yet, oh so funky."

#11 Pageants
Through consent or coercion, Fil Ams are socialized to participate in extravagant pageants. This relates to #2 and #14.

#12 New York
When you ask a Fil Am where they are going to vacation, they will usually tell you "I really want to go to New York" if Hawaii is not an option. This relates to #7 because of New York's connotation with hip hop culture. Coming largely from the suburbs, Fil Ams will grab any opportunity to be urban.

#13 Basketball (5'10" and under bringin the thunder)

#14 All-you-can eat buffets
Fil Ams tend to gravitate to all-you-can-eat buffets. This phenomenon relates to American consumer influence in the Philippines, like indulging in choice, variety, and extravagance (and endless cheddar-baked biscuits).

#15 Extended college life
But likely not this.

#16 Being late
Fil Ams are always late, even for job interviews. At some Filipino masses, you will notice church starts at fifteen after the hour. Too bad it doesn't end fifteen minutes early, when Fil Ams tend to leave after bread time.

#17 Head wraps and Kufi caps
This is a gesture to their Muslim and African roots. This kind of relates to #6.

#18 The idea of revolution
Fil Ams love proclaiming the need for revolution (while wearing dark or bright colors and a head wrap). Actual revolution, however, is kind of scary.

#19 The sound of vinyl scratching
Wicky wicky wicky. Got your attention (like a dog whistle)?

#20 Loitering in large groups
This is especially true after a Fil Am youth group or club meetin and usually takes place in parking lots. This phenomenon is related to #10, with less body movements.

#21 A Tribe Called Quest
When "Scenario" comes on in the club, you betta duck cuz Fil Ams will bug out. Why do Fil Ams like ATCQ? It might be Ali Shaheed Muhammad's fresh beats or the resonating, non-threatening Afrohumanist rhymes. Or maybe its because they are a "tribe."


Lupe Fiasco feat. Pharell, Sarah Greene & Q-tip | Paris, Tokyo Remix

People Under the Stairs feat. Odell | People Riddum

Kanye West | Love Lockdown HQ

Robin Thicke feat. Mary J. Blige & Wale | Magic Remix


But after punk was plasticized and hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of “counter-culture” have merged together. Now, one mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the “Hipster.”

An artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past and unable to create any new meaning. Not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. While previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction and decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society

Funny read at AdBusters calling hipsterdom as the end of western civilization. Although placing hipsters beyond fashion fad and in the context of prior "youth movements" is a stretch.

mad men illustrated

Despite all the hype, I haven't caught up to watching Mad Men. But that doesn't stop me from appreciating these cool illustrations by Dyna Moe. Really captures the style of that period.

el vez

El Vez restaurant is situated above Philly's historic gay district on 13th street. From a block away, you can hear crowd noise bursting out of the establishment as doors open and close. Packs of young-ish professionals dressed in afterwork/pre-clubbing clothes loiter outside around the sidewalk dining tables. The interior is a huge open space made intimate by deafening noise and crowds of standing people clustering around the centrally located bar and in random places. At least the vibe is more fun than pretentious. El Vez on a Friday night is more appropriate for group dinners rather than for couples - especially a married couple ready for a quiet conversation recapping the work week. The dimly lit room is splashed with bright colors and walls of mosaic art carrying a Mexican flair with a modern twist. Our table sat us near the bar with single people mingling and hovering above us. Nonetheless we were unfazed and I was prepared to tune-out stumbling margarita influenced pick-up lines in between bites.

We shared a bountiful Mexican chopped salad, which included watercress, corn black beans, tortilla strips and a lime/chipotle dressing. Really refreshing and tasty. My shrimp quesadillas were very light and equally flavorful. Nice harmonious blend of chile sauce, cheeses, fresh shrimp and crispy tortillas. Sitting by the bar, I couldn't pass up their renowned margaritas and ordered the El Vez version, which was as good as advertised. A wonderfully complimentary concoction with hand-squeezed lime juice and fresh lime puree. I was initially caught off guard by my main course - negra modelo braised short ribs. I expected actual ribs but received more of a beef brisket. Still, the meat was tender and worked well with the accompanying chorizo taquitos and creamy horseradish topping. My wife's yucatan salmon with green rice and chile sauce would have been perfect if the inside of the fish wasn't as undercooked. We topped off the night with a white chocolate mango tart and a cinnamon orange flan - both delicious and leaving us wanting more.

All in all, I was impressed with the menu at El Vez. Great splashes of citrus, salsa and proper amounts of cheeses and creams. The flavors of the food were as loud as the atmosphere - but in a light refreshing way. I didn't feel heavy or unhealthy after eating any of my selections...just a little buzzed from their incredible margaritas.


m.i.a. | hit that (prod. by bangladesh)
m.i.a. feat. rye-rye | tic-toc

tv killed the human star

Art by Prometheus. Nice rendering of blood splatter by network and corporate sponsor logos.

modular fridge

Where was this fridge when I was sharing a house with 5 roomates in college? Back then my compartment would have been filled with take out chinese boxes and junk. Looks like it would be touch to fit a pizza box in there...

crazy games

What's up with the bastardized versions of Japanese game shows on American TV (Wipeout, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, Hole in the Wall)? I'd prefer seeing the original in subtitles like Sasuke aka Ninja Warrior or Unbeatable Banzuke. And won't the American Hole in the Wall get tired real quick. The Japanese version was only a segment of a bigger show featuring other games. Anyway, here's more cool games:

Gettin' Up

Estelle feat. Sean Paul | Come Over Remix
T.I. feat. Kanye West, Jay-Z & Lil' Wayne | Swagger Like Us
Kanye West | Love Lockdown
Raphael Saadiq feat. Jay-Z | Oh Girl
Notorious B.I.G. | Machine Gun Funk (O.G. Version prod. by DJ Premier)

the bush years

*sigh* If this poster doesn't fuel you fire to vote...I don't what else will. Just think of how different things might have been if the 2000 election swung the other way...

eel squeal

Aside from an occasional work outing, my lunch usually consists of dinner leftovers from the previous night. Recently, my co-worker sniffed around my vicinity exclaiming, "Something smells really good...what are you eating over there?" With a mouthful of food, I replied without hesitation, "Its eel."

Her eyes bugged out, "Huh?" I thought she didn't hear me through my chewing and I confirm her fears, "IT'S EEL OVER RICE." Her jaw drops to the table. Unagi is one of my favorite dishes and I've been eating my wife's Japanese cooking so long that I forget that many of my fellow Americans would have the same reaction as this woman. They don't eat some of the foods we eat. I tell her that its available at the local Korean Mart - but she thinks a tour guide would be needed. I try to convince her that its worth a try...but no luck. She confesses good naturedly that she might be too white to attempt such foods.

She mentions a recent No Reservations episode in Japan which blew her away - especially the scene in Kyoto featuring artistic presentations of traditional Japanese seafood, sashimi and mountain vegetables. Now, salmon is adventurous eating for her, so these foods were completely alien. This only heightened my appreciation that I was fortunate enough to eat traditional Kyoto cuisine a couple years ago. She then mentioned the Vietnam episode showing the fish sauce making process that seemed "dirty". The concept of fish sauce escaped her "So if you use that everywhere...then everything tastes like fish?"

Its interesting that food provides such insight into cultural differences. It also retells history - for example Filipino food reflects exposure to Chinese culture and Spanish colonization. As for my coworker, her tastes reflect New Jersey suburban white mom. The "eel situation" reminded me of that "Bizarre Foods" commercial.

nagi noda appreciation

Innovative Japanese artist Nagi Noda passed away at the age of 35. Noda was known for her innovative music videos, commericals, short films as well as photography and sculpture. Some samples of her unique vision:


I recently ran a 5k for LIVESTRONG (Philly) - Lance Armstrong's bike/run/walk charity event promoting cancer awareness. I participated in support a friend who is successfully fighting liver cancer after being diagnosed a year ago. I was also informed recently that my aunt is undergoing a second bout with breast cancer - so I had even more motivation to run well with their conditions in my thoughts.
It is one thing to donate money to charities and pat yourself in the back, but its so much more gratifying to actively participate in a charity event attended by thousands of people. It was inspirational to see cancer survivors like my friend racing harder than anyone else and it was uplifting to unite with others in supporting the fight against cancer. This groundswell of positivity along with random people cheering you on from their porches and yards made the run feel like a walk in the park.


Random photo taken by my wife in Philly. Somebody hollowed out a bunch of black plastic trash cans and created a chute from a 5th story window.

keiichi nitta

Keiichi Nitta is a Japanese photographer who worked under Terry Richardson. His first exhibition: "I Think Japanese People Should Be More Open" just hit L.A.

daily hypocrisy

Jon Stewart exposes the Republicans

Mad'L Flip / Plus 63

Mad'L Flip courtesy of Freshmanila
My sister pointed me to this cool blog: Plus63.
Always nice to find an outlet for pinoy creativity.

ryohei tanaka

Imaginative drawings, papercuts and prints from Ryohei Tanaka.

slanguistics / labor day

Marketing people can oversaturate your senses with sarcasm, so it was refreshing to take our genuinely curious and appreciative Japanese friends around Baltimore on Labor Day weekend. Their command of the English language was fairly good but they - like many Japanese - are perfectionists and become reticent for fear of making mistakes when speaking. So we reassured them that actual content is more important and grammatical mistakes will disappear with experience.

My wife shared a very helpful learning method when she first arrived in the states: soap operas. I'm not saying its quality T.V., but soaps offer a multitude of situations beyond the textbook. And since the Japanese language tends to be flatter in tone, the overacting soap stars actually provide good examples of english enunciation and cadence. Then if you need to learn some slang, change the channel to Maury - where you'll learn about the proliferation of unwanted pregnancies and paternity tests.

Back to the soaps: I spent a good chunk of my childhood watching the CBS soaps lineup of Young & The Restless, As The World Turns and Guiding Light as my Lola took care of me during summers. Recently, I flipped on these same soaps during a sick day and amazingly found the same actors playing the same characters perpetrating the same nonsense storylines! And none of them look older ... just more plastic-y. Made me feel like I was 8 years old again. All I needed was Bob Barker back on The Price is Right.

Ft. McHenry seems like the typical tourist destination, but it was fairly entertaining. First presentation featured an old method actor playing an early 19th century sailor manning the canons. He squinted in the sun, sweated through his stained shabby uniform and mumbled out of the side of his mouth about his daily life - including drinking grog, sewing his own clothes, carving wood, twisting rope and being illiterate. He rambled to no end, but his mannerisms were peculiarly fascinating. Even after his presentation ended, he maintained his character while posing for pictures with kids. This guy deserves a shot in Hollywood! He could play the ubiquitous craggly old guy character that Jon Voight (National Treasure 1&2, Transformers, Glory Road) seems to have a stranglehold on.

Afterwards we made a brief trip into the Science Center for their creepy Body Worlds 2 exhibit on the human body. Informative in real representations of diseases, disorders and injuries. Creepy in that it uses real donated human body parts. Its never nice to see parts of a child corpse - even worse when they exhibit a skeleton child holding hands with an adult skeleton.

Back to Bo Brooks to overwhelm our guests with an avalanche of crabs. As usual, my father took joy in teaching the techniques of eating crabs. "The Key!" Its all about "key" in opening the crab. Nonetheless even the dainty member of our group enjoyed herself.

The Baltimore Museum of Art didn't wow me with their featured exhibit but they possess a nice collection of European art favored by our guests. And it was free - which led to one of our friends saying, "This is a great country!"

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