stuff for my brain to cling to, april 5

in this new and hopefully temporary era of staying at home, i’m experiencing many emotions slowly. less rapidly than i would if things were normal. for the past two weeks, i’ve been wanting to write reflections on how coronavirus has kept me from burning out, but it may be too soon to tell. 

it is certain, however, that in through this situation, my current life routines have slowed down a lot. my mind is at peace and i don’t rush. living and working in places that are about an hour apart make it hard to get away from one to do or enjoy the other with enough time left for sunlight, dinner before 10 pm, doing nothing. 

now, those two places are the same. and it’s incredible for the most part. at least, that’s how i feel so far. i’m spending more time outside, inside, with myself, and others. i’ve abandoned routine. i’m seeing my friends and family more often.

what i like:

» proximity to golden gate park. note that i only go here to exercise. i distance myself from others and am always cautious of keeping my distance on sidewalks and trails. 

i’ve spent a lot of time at the park, but it’s becoming more clear to me lately that there’s still much to see. a couple weeks ago, i went on a run with marcus where the goal was to only run on small trails and no main sidewalks. there are many options. 

i’m enamored by the polo field that has both a paved bike track and packed dirt running/walking track. it’s vast and feels like a big, hidden pocket in the middle of the park, hiding among the trees and framed by main roads and so many small trails connecting people between the richmond, sunset, and the panhandle. it’s not far from home and to have full control over the length of my runs without having to worry about a longer run back home. it’s widespread, so that makes it easy to stay away from other people. i get distracted by the tall trees and feel like i could be alone out here. that feeling is eerie and enlightening at the same time. you could relate if you’ve ever been stoned at the park as the sun is going down and everyone is leaving and your mind is racing through sticky emotions of nostalgia and wonder. maybe just me!

another place i like is the golf course, especially now it’s closed and empty. those great, tiny white flowers that i’ve been told are weeds are growing back now that it’s spring. i’ve spent a few days now taking a detour into the golf course on my runs back home, laying out the grass and letting the sun hit my face. at the same time of day in the normal world, i’d be sitting in the back of the 5R or driving to/from the gym feeling exhausted and even a little sad. this is a small peek into my rote world filled with exciting activities that some days lose their luster because i know what i’m doing every day, monday - friday.

i prefer to spend most of my afternoons after work at the park. it’s what i look forward to the most these days. i’m trying to burn into memory the paths into the park from 43rd and fulton. these walks are probably sacred to me than i realize now.

» recognition of space. i’ve lived in this apartment for over a year now. we’ve made careful, thoughtful adjustments and additions to this place with our art, books, music, and spaces for settling down, but a majority of the time i spent here before all this was distracted. always working on something or getting ready to leave. these last couple weeks, i’ve liked sitting on the couch next to the window and reading in silence. or just staring out the window and noticing the gardens my neighbors have taken really good care of. the neighborhood is lush and sleepy.

i’ve never spent as much time here just noticing things before as i have in the last 4 weeks. we own a lot of knick knacks and they bring more personality and story to different corners of the home than i expected they would when i first put them there. this space feels like an honest extension of my identity and that is comforting.

» mental clarity. this is the most obvious to me on my runs. when my mind is distracted, my brain feels dirty during a run. i can’t focus on breathing, i’m thinking about what i need to do afterward. the run is more taxing than relieving. this is happening a lot less these days.

» seeing my family. ariel is my niece and she just turned 9. my parents are getting older and they’re out of work through the end of the month. i’m in a group facebook message with my parents and kim. ariel sometimes messages in the group through my mom’s phone, too. we video chat once a week. it’s good to see them doing well. my dad seems to be getting more sleep now that he’s less stressed.

another great by-product of staying at home is all the cool stuff there is to find on the internet. that’s really what i wanted to write about. this is a mix of music, photos, informational articles, and other nice things to look at, many of them a part of my blackhole dive into sites/articles related to design resources i found while doing reading for a class i’m taking. 

i’ll share more later

til next time…


i spent the weekend in cazadero, california to go away and work on this. i’d only learned about this town through chaz bundick to be painfully honest, although i hope i can buy back some cool credit by mentioning i have been to jenner and up the sonoma coast. like many others. 

2 years later, im reading through my posts here, cringing, laughing, and admiring how much i feel things. i am slowly admitting to myself that is who i am. is this what happens when emo grows up?

anyway, i recognize a big reason for this outlet is my own achievement of self-importance by establishing an identity and individuality totally separate from whatever i currently do for work, whatever that i think i view as stiff/corporate/lifeless. but the truth is, i am really loving what i do for work at the moment and maybe don’t mind the association. it comes down to how i will never stop writing and trying to understand people. and the latter can be a really nice, constant daily challenge.

i’m working on some other personal projects that explore just that. it’s cooking. i’ll share later.

trust the process

it’s been a few months since i’ve created anything not work-related. i don’t feel much genuine inclination to create either – just the inkling that i should be making something to keep up with my peers. i don’t really care that much to. 

i’m focused on my day job and i feel good about having a 9 to 5 grind that’s kept me more busy than usual for the past few weeks. there are higher hopes to make something that matters when inspiration strikes. i leave this here as a reminder that up to something, that i am aware, that work isn’t my life, that i am capable of building personal brilliance out of nothing.

page 26: this one’s for kai

on the day i found out kai passed away, i was riding muni on my way to work, scrolling through facebook on my phone. alotta times when people talk about death, they talk around death. so no matter how much i clicked and clicked through facebook, i couldn’t figure out what exactly happened to him. a little bit of me was certain he was gone, but mostly i was trying to confirm that. “rest in peace” is straightforward but at the time, unconvincing. 

kai was elliott’s kid brother. he was 18 when he passed, but i’d really only known him long before that. happy go lucky guy with a knack for getting pretty good at anything he picked up – piano and bmx, from what i remember. my memories of kai are hazy and endearing…frozen in time. he had a quiet enigma, but when he opened up, his kindness was this palpable energy. i can’t explain it. in my thoughts, he’s a handsome and goofy 13, 14 year old boy who spent time with me and elliott in the summers at the beach, my house, their house. he’d also be the one i’d reach out to to let me into their apartment when elliott and i got into big arguments and locked me out to get some space. looking back, i appreciate his patience in those less ideal times. 

i never saw kai after 2013 or 2014, but when i saw recent photos of him, i had a hard time wrapping my head around him looking so grown up. to me, he was still a kid. but in these photos, he was a taller young man with muscles and facial hair and larger hands and that same big smile.

the first thing i did when i heard about kai passing was reach out to elliott. things were chaotic and sad after we broke up, so we cut ties. two years later, reaching out felt familiar and cautionary, but i wanted to connect, understand, sympathize properly. i think we’re much better now. less manic, more nostalgic and grateful. it felt good to reminisce, i’ll leave it at that. 

time grows. time passes. time heals. rest in peace kai!

shot on holga 135bc
sandy beach aka sandy’s, oahu, august 2010

page 13: prelude to makapuu

it’s been a while since i’ve written about me adventures, but over the weekend, i listened to an episode of blamo!, the one where he interviews writer jon moy, and i got a kick in the ass to keep pushing myself to continue sharing what i have created. i realize if you can make something, write/talk about it, share it somewhere accessible, and do those 3 steps regularly, you understand the bare bones of marketing. (going viral, getting traffic and followers…that’s another thing.) i’m in marketing. i think i do my job well. i think i do this okay. but i’m doing it, and it’s keeping me sane and helps me sleep at night, knowing i am working to archive a living, breathing account of my life outside of my day job. 

equal parts of the good sun in northern california and the scattered rain force me to get out and shoot, and to stay indoors and write. in other news, i recently traveled to japan and i’m in the slow and steady process of scanning photos. it’s sort of troubling to feel disdain for something so manual and rewarding. i  j u s t  w a n t  t o b e  d o n e  a l r e a d y. i can’t wait to share those photos.

in another installment of remembering my adventures with tyler and ed, i dig back through the simplest pleasure to a photo from winter break, 2010. another slow summer day spent roaming familiar, homey spots on the island via ed’s parents’ mini van - a spacious 2003 black chevy venture that i spent a handful of summer and winters sharing spaces with people, bikes, music stuff, and a foam skeleton head ed put makeup on (MAINLY eyeshadow, eyebrow color, and lipstick), stuck on his dashboard, and named mimi. i can’t remember if it was before or after this photo that they both told me we were going to keneke’s, a “beach” on the east shore of oahu, after i whined and whined about getting some sun. keneke’s turned out to be a plate lunch spot. smh

shot on holga 135bc
makapuu lighthouse road, oahu, january 2010

page 13: haiku stairs (stairway to heaven)

stairway to heaven is one of my favorite hikes on oahu. it’s just a few miles long (no info online is consistent), and is made up of nearly 4,000 steps going up and over the ko’olau mountain range. 

the stairs were build in the 40s by the US navy to give people access to the top secret radio station used to transmit signals to the navy ships sailing through the pacific. it’s been shut down since the 80s because sections of the wooden and metal stairs are totally decrepit, dangerous, and weak, but tons of people ignore the ‘keep out’ and ‘kapu’ signs to do the hike. 

this day in 2011 marks the 2nd but successful attempt doing this hike. the first time we went, my friends and i left the house too late (we were supposed to get the trailhead by 2 am), traveled through a sewage pipe and someone’s private backyard (wrong), and took too long to find the trailhead. by the time we got there (after 2 am), the guard was already at his post, a chair under a blue ez up, ready to ward off hikers. you couldn’t get in trouble if the guard was at the trailhead once you finished the hike. i’ve heard that if you do happen to run into a guard at the trailhead, you could probably bypass him/her pretty easily and wouldn’t have the cops called on you if you came bearing gifts – spam musubis, beer, malasadas…   my friends back home tell me that the guard is now there 24/7 and that there’s a pretty gnarly fine (anywhere between $600-$1000) for getting “caught” finishing the hike. 

we started the hike at 1:30 in the morning. i think i was better prepared this time around – gloves and good shoes were probably the most important things since so many of the pipes i was holding onto had rusted, sharp holes, and the steps were slippery. hiking stairway to heaven is like scaling a very long ladder, broken up by 3 platforms. it was dark, pretty misty and cold since we were out at that hour and i ended up taking off my cheap plastic poncho cuz all it did was get in the way of stepping up (i’m short) and sliding my hands up the pole. as we stopped off at each platform, we took a look out at the city lights in the distance and the freeway overpass way, way down below. stairs and stairs and stairs, platform – we repeated this another two times before we hit the radio building at the top along with about a dozen other people. it was about 4 in the morning, and so we waited for another hour, hour and a half for the sun to rise. at this point, we were hovering above the clouds, so the sunrise we saw were rays peeking through all the fog and clouds. 

on the way down, the sun came up a bit more, the rain disappeared, and all the stairs beneath us came to light. it was kinda hard to believe that we’d scaled those stairs in darkness. this post by unreal hawaii continues to be one of my favorite photo blogs of this hike. when we finished the trail, the guard was at his post but he didn’t give us any trouble. we took a different route back to the car and ended up in vast field of tall weeds and red dirt, seeing another mountain range out in the distance. when i got home, i slept til the late evening. 

i plan to do this in december and i plan to pay whatever price it’ll cost me.

shot on holga 135bc
stairway to heaven trail, oahu, july 2011

saltwater therapy

earlier this month, i went back home to oahu and spent a day surfing with eric and janelle at our homebreak in waikiki. we’ve had our fair share of surf days in california, but it’s been about 3 years since we’ve been able to surf together in this special place. 

being here makes me happy. since i started surfing seven years ago, waikiki has shifted from a beachy, concrete jungle of tourists, to a charming, charismatic place i hold in my heart. i mean that. i’d never spent as much time in waikiki as i did during the summers of 2010-2014. my parents work in the hotel industry, so as a kid, trips to waikiki often meant mom was picking up or dropping off dad, and vice versa, or that mom was going to give me and my sister a tour through halekulani and give us a box of chocolates before dad took us home. when i got older, trips to waikiki meant roaming down kalakaua and kuhio with friends, and prom season. 

on this day, i took a moment to reflect on how this place has blessed me with countless memories. i think about the first handful of times i paddled out, unable to catch a wave. i think about the next handful of times after that when i went out and spent those days kneeboarding. i think about the day i caught my first wave after the sun had set, feeling accomplished. i think about all the nice people i’ve met in the water – people who’d just moved there, already in love with the island, visitors from all over the world on their way out, and locals who were there most days we were out. all the funny flirting, all the talkin shit about some tourist who crashed into your board, all the simple conversations about yesterday’s and tomorrow’s surf conditions. it’s funny because im no pro but i get excited and real passionate when it comes to the last two. i also think it’s hilarious how confusing it is to see someone you know from the lineup out on land – sometimes it’s hard to recognize people with clothes on. 

i get attached to places and people, leaving is bittersweet and feels like quitting. i think that’s why i stay in places and with people for long periods of time. one of my favorite days was when we had a barbecue on the beach, cooked up some of the fish and tako the guys caught, and surfed between meals. on another day, we met up with david night fishing on the shore. one of the very last times i surfed in waikiki, i remember paddling after a sunset session back to shore as the moon appeared. i’d just graduated college and was spending some of the summer at home before looking for a job in san francisco. i floated on my back in the waters close to shore for a few minutes, looking up at the moon, thinking about how much i was going to miss those carefree mornings, days, and nights being so content with playing in the warm ocean. 

there is a spiritual cleansing i feel being in the water. if there’s one way to feel humbled, small, and human, it’s by getting tossed around and being fooled by the unpredictability of the ocean. waikiki is a forgivable place to surf - i learned how to paddle, get up, and turn on little 2-3 feet waves. but the one summer the waves hit 10-12 feet, i learned how to hold my breath for a long time, how to stay safe under violent waters, and how f ing painful it is to get smacked in your mouth by your own damn board. 

this past trip brought back a lot of good, old times! i’m thankful and still so obsessed. 

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
waikiki beach, oahu, june 2017

writing this was inspired by something i recently found on my old blogger, much of it still relevant, some of it funny to read in retrospect. :-)

November 19, 2013, 12:03 am

i’ve been thinking
i write this to remember because i like the way it makes me feel.

i’ve been thinking about how much i want to turn the dial back to the summers of 2010, 2011, and 2012. driving out to the beach around sunset, 9’0” in tow, picking up janelle, sitting in rush hour traffic for about 20 minutes, eventually reaching the parking lot, scouring the car for coins to feed the meter, stripping down, finding a smart place to store my key (either knotted in my bikini or a secret compartment in my car or in david’s lockbox), and walking down to canoes to paddle out to an already packed line up.

the sky is hazed a gradient of orange, pink, purple, and blue — the kind of sky that’s so pretty that every time you see it, you kind of forget about it a little less and less until one day, you leave and come back and realize what your eyes had been missing. we paddle out for some nice 3-6 foot waves, wading around, trading boards, soaking in what’s left of the sun. a set kicks in and everyone paddles for the first, second, third party waves. every now and then, janelle, eric, david and i catch the same wave. a few times, i tried hopping onto david’s board. i did it right once, and the other times i bailed and lost my balance.

i think about all the nice people i meet in the water. the ones who come in from out of town, after a work shift, or are there every day. 

i don’t care how packed it got from all the surf lessons and the canoes riding waves in. 6 pm rolls around, lessons clear out, and the hula show on the shore starts so we can hear all the live hawaiian music playing while we’re out in the water. waves start picking up, and slowly, people start disappearing. there are about 5-7 other people out there surfing with me past sunset, and each of us get our own wave. it’s nice. it’s peaceful. it’s surreal.

i remember surfing on friday nights, when the fireworks show would come on at 8 pm. i remember surfing on new year’s eve. i remember surfing on christmas day. i remember surfing at night on a full moon with the gang, and catching waves i couldn’t see too well; our marker was the way the moon shined on the wave’s peak, a two-second preview, then you sort of just trust yourself and start paddling to catch a…well, rogue wave. i remember the overwhelming fear that came over me every time i had to paddle back to the lineup, unsure if i would pull up my arm with each stroke because maybe a shark would get me. i remember the rush i got catching what felt like a huge wave. standing far back on my board, leaning back as much as i could, gripping the board with my legs bent, back straight, zipping down the line, and nearly running into a short boarder with a glow stick wrapped around the tip of his board. he was cool about it

i remember dawn patrols, and finding the best parking in waikiki at 6 in the morning. it’s pitch black, the moon is still out, and i’m paddling out with janelle, eric, and david into cold cold waters, and we have a bunch of waves to ourselves and probably 5 other people who were out there too. once, i went out alone and passed by a drunk couple walking home from the night before. waikiki leftovers. lots of folks think it’s a grody, kitsch part of oahu, but i love it. i’ve learned to love it.

i also remember leaving the house at 5:30 in the morning to drive out to waianae with david, eric, janelle, and joe to catch what we thought were gonna be some amazing waves. but it was flat. janelle and i slept in the car for about an hour, driving in the dark to get to the other side of the island. we were tired and sleepy, but i guess we’d do anything for that stoke. the beach was on some military ground, but joe was able to get us through. we surfed there until the afternoon and i got a really bad sunburn

once, we surfed at tong’s, right behind diamond head, a view that’s slightly different from surfing at canoes, and a lot more untouched. that day we went out, we surfed with scott caan, who was pretty good. there’s a huge rock that kind of sits to the left of the break and the reef there is a bitch. i scraped my fin on it, and bumped my tail on the rock. apparently, there’s a resident shark who lives there too.

i think about the days i go out with eric, janelle, and david, and the days i go out by myself. to think, to feel better, to feel good, to get better, to enjoy the ocean. some days, i bump into joe and catch up with his life. i remember when joe used to work at a surf shop, he let me borrow the in the pink takayama board and i thought i was dreaming. one, two paddle, and i was up. that thing was a floater, and i barely had to do anything to get in a nice ride. even on a two foot bump

i think about the days we used to go out to rockpiles. i never looked forward to driving around that parking lot to find a spot. i never looked forward to paddling out. all that reef and vana (sea urchin), and those steep drops. i couldn’t handle it, and i’m pretty sure i’ve only caught a handful of waves since i first went there. most of the time i’m out there, i psyche myself out thinking about scraping my back on the reef a second time. this is also where i stepped on vana for the first time and lodged a few needles in my toes.  

when i went back home in september i upgraded my board to a 9’0”chronic. something that was barely used and custom made. a green yellow white blue marbled board. it’s nice to look at and to ride, a bit different from my old yellow 9, my first board, the one i bought for $100 off a craigslist ad. that yellow board was my baby. i decked it out with pink wax and on a day i was feeling especially tacky, i’d also wear my rainbow rash guard with it. green bottoms on select days. there’s no doubt you wouldn’t not see me in the water from the shore.

page 10: maunawili, 2012

back in 2012, my friend aryan stayed in honolulu for a week and it was my first shot at being the best damn tour guide i’ve ever been to anyone. there are certain staples of home that i still love to show visitors, and this place is one of them. maunawili has changed a bit since this time. these days, it’s a little more crowded, there’s a bit more sunscreen in the water, and sadly there’s a ton of trash that gets left on the hike that’s threatening to close it down for good. 

but on this day and in this year, we caught maunawili on a pretty untouched morning. i remember ditching my shoes in the last mile of the hike since it was so muddy and letting the soil between my toes. 8)

aryan’s the guy in the blue shorts on the ledge, waiting to take his jump after another hiker jumps off from ~30 feet above. careful of the leptospirosis - keep your mouth closed and stay out if you have cuts

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
maunawili falls, oahu, july 2012

page 9: waikiki etc

waikiki beach, oahu. summer 2011

cockroach cove, oahu. summer 2010

waikiki beach, oahu. summer 2011

so here is where things get a little interesting and intimate. over the past week, i’ve been trying to figure out how i was going to talk about elliott. i knew the first photo above was next in the zine, and i wasn’t going to skip or overthink it really, but when it comes to speaking about certain people in your life, you want to do it right. 

elliott and i were together for almost seven years, from when i was 16 and 23 years old. i had a lot of fun, felt a lot of love, and tested many degrees of my boundaries - my patience, temper, willingness to understand, gumption. imagine seeing the person you cared about the most only twice a year for five years straight, living off facetime and text messages. even worse, imagine fighting with the person you cared about the most and putting up with a turned off phone until the other person felt like talking. long distance relationships are super fucking hard!   

ultimately, we grew apart, i started chapter 2 in san francisco and it didn’t work out. after we broke up in 2014, i went through some of my darkest, most challenging times in life. i learned what it meant to be single and feel lonely. i wrote a lot and read a lot and went on postsecret a lot. i also drove and smoked a lot and dug up old memories in my brain i thought i’d forgotten, and then wanted to forget. at one point, i remember i came across a whole roll of film photos of just me and elliott from some summers ago. man, i cried so hard looking through those pictures because i missed him. it felt like a cruel joke from god, or something. i found that roll again a couple years ago, and i tried to cry but i couldn’t. haha it sounds mental but i felt this sadness looking at those same photos because i felt like i was looking at a stranger. no emotions ran through me. i tried to connect with those memories and didn’t feel a thing. i went from knowing everything about him to absolutely nothing, and in that moment, i understood what i’d lost. 

it took a couple years for me to pocket the anger, confusion, and melancholy. i eventually learned what it meant to be single and have fun. holy shit, life got really exciting when i started to see all the possibilities and adventures i’d been holding back on because i was afraid to step toward discomfort and unfamiliar territory. that didn’t just mean spending time with people, but also relishing time alone. i went through some not-so-smart phases, spent too much money, gained weight then lost it, and party party partied. then i realized “eh this isn’t as much fun anymore”, started to wean off of that, started new hobbies like rock climbing and finally saved up money to bring back old hobbies in my life like surfing, learned a lot about what i want and definitely don’t want, and then re-met my boyfriend marcus.

now i hardly party party party and im in a healthy relationship having the time of my life. and of course i gotta talk about how loving, sweet (you have no idea), and hilarious he is. i remember i used to see pictures of couples on instagram, the caption “my heart is full” or some shit and not understanding what that meant. i get it now! it sounds corny, but i feel like that most days! life baffles me sometimes when it doles me some tough shit and then over time, serves up something great to make me realize why certain situations just don’t work out the way i wanted it to. chill

elliott in this zine is and isn’t about that. to include him and say i look past our relationship would be a lie because that experience had a formative influence on how i love, cope, argue, and see the world. to include him and say it’s a gesture of longing wouldn’t be true, because while these were good memories, i don’t look back on them with sadness anymore. besides, i caught up with him a year ago or so, and i think we’re a-okay. so now, i can say genuinely things like:

these are some of my favorite photos because as much as elliott hated the beach, we managed to often find ourselves at the beach in the summertime - mainly because i forced him to go. a girl’s gotta tan and swim sometimes, especially when summer’s got a time limit! i tried to take him surfing a few times but that just stressed me out too much so we stuck mostly to land/sand. unless there was some kind of activity, like jumping off rocks, going to the beach was a chore for elliott. i remember he told me what scarred his memories of the ocean was the time his uncle pushed him off a pier when he was really young. his uncle was trying to teach elliott how to swim. when he hit the water, he swallowed a bunch of it, padded and splashed to get air, and felt long, slimy seaweed at his feet, which is also why he never swam at makapuu when the kelp was washing in. these pictures make me laugh because his expressions in the first and third can’t be any more honest – stale vexation and disgust juxtaposed with hotel charm and natural beauty. in the second, a settled compromise in fun. i can almost imagine he’s thinking “welp, fuck it!” hahah gotcha!

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
1,3: waikiki beach, oahu, summer 2011
2: cockroach cove, oahu, summer 2010

page 8: lost in maunawili

marcus and i got lost as fuck during our hike to maunawili falls during our oahu trip in february last year. but let me back it up a bit…

the day started at 2 am. we’d just taken a nap after staying out the night before, drinking at tiki’s with our friend abe, from cali, and his coworkers and bosses on one of their many work trips to oahu that year. stupid decision, considering we had our head set on hiking the stairway to heaven early the following day. 

making it onto the trailhead means going at some graveyard hour right before the guard gets to his post. the thing is, hiking the stairway to heaven (or haiku stairs) is illegal. it’s dangerous - lots of the stairs/ladders are rusted, decrepit, and unstable. yet like most things that aren’t accessible, the payoff can justify the risk. 

for my friends and i some years ago, getting onto the stairway to heaven hike meant getting to the trailhead at 1:30 am, so marcus and i shot for about the same time.

of course we woke up late at 1:15 am, tired, still drunk. we packed up our gear and while we were driving, it started pouring. we got to the residential area where the walk to the trailhead begins. it was pitch black dark, and i instantly felt this pit in my throat like going out into the darkness, abandoned dirt field, and bamboo forrest to get to the trailhead in the RAIN would be a terrible idea. we’d also be one of the only people out there, too, so if we got hurt, that probably wouldn’t be so great. scaling those rusted, wet and slippery ladders up a mountain could’ve been trouuuuble. we went back in the car, turned around, got to my house and went back to bed

the next morning, we were still kinda bummed stairway to heaven didn’t work out, so we did another hike instead. maunawili falls is a fairly popular trail. it’s short, 3 miles, in and out, and ends in a waterfall. because it had rained the night before, the dirt valley trails turned into ankle-deep mud puddles. i’ll never forget how much they looked like large bowls of curry. squish squish squish squish… 

what normally would’ve taken 45 minutes to get to the waterfall took us about an hour and a half. it was hard to see the trail for part of the hike, so about halfway through, after passing over a few streams and a couple fern fields, we got lost. the whole valley was lush, towering, kind of like a giant cocoon. i spotted this prime banana tree, all silky and glossy from the rain, and i had to take a shot. we found our way back on the trail eventually but the detour was right. more photos from this hike to come. 

shot on olympus stylus epic
maunawili valley, oahu, february 2016

page 7: from here to eternity

to be honest, i’ve never seen from here to eternity. and i heard about the movie after visiting this beach. 

this is halona cove. (i like “cockroach cove” better.) it’s not too far off a spot called halona blowhole, which is where a tourist a few years ago died after getting swept off the rocks. that wasn’t the first time that happened either. stay safe people, and be aware of the warning signs. anyway, this beach is tucked away underneath a short turn on kalanianaole highway. it gets pretty busy in the summer, but on a normal sunny day, it’s easy to find a space to hang out. when it’s low tide, there’s a ledge on the far right you can jump off of and into the water.

i’m not sure what it is about this photo but it’s still one of my favorites to date. carmela’s dark brown skin, the lady in blue in the back, someone in the way back getting ready to lunge off. i took this picture on the very first disposable underwater fujifilm camera i bought at walmart, and i’ve always loved how this particular film saturates the blues and greens when i’m outdoors under clear, sunny skies. the two people in this photo are my good friend carmela and nick, her guy at the time. we spent this whole day out on this side of the island, a couple hours at this beach before we drove off to do the gnarly hike down to swim at makapuu tide pools. 

here’s a shot i took of cockroach cove from the koko head arch trail, one from the warped series.

first photo shot on disposable underwater fujifilm 800
second photo shot on olympus stylus epic
cockroach cove, oahu, summer 2010

page 6: kailua beach ed

one of the best things about shooting with a plastic camera is that its expected, okay, and charmingly modest to come out with shit pics. but sometimes the real appeal is in the story - what happened that day, and why i still love this picture and included it in the simplest pleasure

around this time, i had a cruiser bike that i loved to trek everywhere with. one day, ed, tyler, and i went out to kailua – me on a bike, ed on a bike, tyler on a skateboard holding a rope tied to ed’s bike. we went through the town and eventually made our way to kailua beach. the bike path on the freeway went right along the water, so we picked up our heavy bikes and went down the side of a short, steep hill off the road. at the bottom of the hill was a secluded area of the beach. no shore here, just tide pools. we spent a few hours here wading around, finding small stone stoops to sit, and watching the fish. these two guys are the biggest goons i know…i remember tyler pushing me into the ocean off the reef and i scratched up my leg. 

later, we hiked our bikes back up the hill, biked/skated to ed’s truck, loaded it up and headed back to town for gas station ice cream. simpler times are alright!

shot on holga 135bc
kailua, oahu. august 2010

page 5: waimano home road

to be honest, i don’t remember most details from this day. but from what i can recall, i spent the morning at the aloha stadium swap meet with one of my best friends eduard. it was some day over christmas break, and we walked around, got matching friendship bracelets and trucker hats that said “suck em up hawaii” over a beer mug.  

at the time, ed lived at his parents house in pearl city on waimano home road. there was hike at the end of the street he’d been wanting to check out for a while, so when i went home for christmas break in 2011, we trekked it. i don’t think we made it far past the steep hill of roots and soil before we got high enough to see over the tree tops and over to some mountain range in the distance. i can’t remember why we didn’t finish the trail to go down to the pond (and we never did) but i think he eventually did years later. 

for whatever it’s worth, ed’s one of those friends i’ve known almost my entire lifetime. we get along pretty well…similar music interests, bad dumb humor, and a soft spot for goodwill. it’s surprising how far those 3 things can take you. we’ve kept in touch despite me moving away, the kind of person i can hang out and enjoy a conversation with even if i haven’t seen or talked to him for long periods of time. i’ve always sort of liked and loathed that aspect of our friendship. 

ed’s talented, loves music and making music like nobody else i know. i remember one time he got really upset with me because i lied about listening to a deerhoof album he burned for me. i still feel bad about it today. in the summer and winter breaks i was home for college, we spent lots of time together hanging around chinatown or kaimuki, biking all around kalihi, chinatown/downtown, waikiki, and kaimuki, driving late night to vantage points and beaches on the island, cruising around walmart to pass the night. when i first got my holga, we took a bunch of funny double exposed shots like this one… 

i think my fondest memory with ed is from our junior high talent show - ed played guitar while i sang no doubt, don’t speak. and the mixed cd’s and letters he sent me while i was in college! when i was in the third grade, i had a harmless crush on eduard…so i asked him for his school photo. he didn’t write a note on the back, so i wrote one on it, in case my mom found it so she wouldn’t think it was weird.  it said “hi kathleen. here you go. from, eduard”

for a very very short time in high school, ed and i were in pseudo garage band with our other friend tyler. we were called parlor family and made songs about ed staying out past his curfew (999), going to starbucks (coffee), the days tyler accidentally became his neighborhood’s pick-up (1985 re deux) [not sure where the year came from since we were born in ‘91], and rabbits on wheels (whererabbit). tyler shouted/sang and did things on bass, ed played guitar, i was on the drums. we practiced in an empty room in tyler’s late grandma’s house that had a drum set, and some other gear ed brought from his house, and we spent some summer days making weird but good lo-fi music. 

so maybe i don’t remember much from the hike up waimano, but there’s still lots of love for these summer/winter friendships. it also happens to be ed’s birthday today. happy birthday, my friend. i’ll see you in a few months

all photos shot on holga 135bc
waimano loop trail, oahu, winter 2010/2011


last year, my mom gave me her olympus style epic. (it’s almost identical to the one i currently shoot on, but it comes with a panorama feature.) the camera was probably sitting in a chest for over 10 years in an area of the living room that’s warm and gets a lot of light, and luckily for me, there was a roll of kodak 400 ultramax already loaded in. color film ages so badly in the heat but i left the roll in there anyway and took a bunch of shots on oahu and in san francisco between febuary 2016 and march 2017. 

the pictures came out slightly distorted, and the low light shots have a haze of purple, and something like a narrow pool of oil running across some of the shots. my head hurts from looking at this photo set…as if staring longer would tone down the blues and add some brightness. despite that, i refuse to edit these (outside of removing dust marks). i thought some of these came out kinda interesting! the golden gate bridge shot has gotta be my favorite.

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

koko crater arch, oahu. february 2016

cockroach cove, oahu. february 2016

leonard’s bakery, oahu. february 2016

ggb from lincoln park, san francisco. february 2016

sweeney ridge trail, pacifica. december 2016

sweeney ridge trail, pacifica. december 2016

big sur. march 2017

big sur. march 2017

big sur. march 2017

inner richmond, san francisco. march 2017

the castro, san francisco. march 2017

page 4: alan davis

this is alan davis. 

from what i remember being told, years ago, someone dragged a fallen telephone pole from the street to this beach, lodged it into the rocky shore, and laid it out as a plank to jump into the ocean. alan davis is on oahu’s southeast shore, accessible if you veer right from the makapuu lighthouse trail and into a wide, grassy field. the nearest street/telephone pole from this beach is about a mile away. thank you, kind, committed, strong stranger…

jumping off at alan davis, the drop is nothing too crazy, maybe three or four feet. in this picture, there are a couple of ropes to bring you back to the rocks and at the end of the log, a tightly tied towel which i’m guessing adds a nice traction if you took yourself to the edge. not pictured (and behind me) is a view of what you jump into - a small, kinda isolated beach, and cliffs right off kalanianaole highway. i have a picture of that squared away for later… 

my friend ressiel, the one in this photo, told me someone sawed off the log into a dumb ugly stump. then more recently, i heard someone replaced it! (where are all these telephone poles coming from?) whatever’s happened to this place now, i hope it’s still a fun spot. 

god knows we love jumpin off stuff in hawaii…

shot on fujifilm quick snap waterproof disposable camera
alan davis, oahu, summer 2011

page 3: pali puka

this was photo was taken about an hour after marcus landed on oahu and met my parents for the first time. 

pali puka is a quick hike that veers off from pali lookout, taking you through a small bamboo forrest, then a steep, exposed cliffside path with sheer drop-offs, loose dirt, lots of tree roots, and a couple ropes to keep you on the trail. once you’re on the ridge, all you’ll see is oahu’s windward coast. it’s a short, dodgy trail worth the second guessing. the views of the lush valleys and mountain ranges kind of engulf you. 

something i thought was worth noting: this is the same ridge where the battle of nuuanu happened - a key event in hawaiian history and king kamemeha’s wars to unify the hawaiian islands. 

the trail peaks at the puka, a hole in the mountain that peers out to nuuanu valley way down below. i didn’t get too many photos of it, but unreal hawaii has a bunch of cool shots, as well as other pictures from some hikes in the islands. pali notches is another bold, way gnarlier hike directly across pali puka. i can feel those cliff drops in my throat…

shot on olympus stylus epic
pali lookout, oahu, february 2016

page 2: da spread

the north shore’s foodland holds a pretty close place in my heart. whenever i leave town and head up for a day trip to haleiwa, foodland’s a mandatory pit stop. and not just for me, but for so many other locals and non-locals on that part of the island. 

for those not familiar, foodland is a supermarket chain based in hawaii, well-known for its variety of poke, among other things. even their fish section’s slogan is hawaii’s home for poke. probably google “foodland poke bowl” and you’ll see what i’m referring to…

on any given day, foodland pupukea gets a packed mix of people. you’ll see people heading to the beach, coming from the beach, on a grocery run, or on a break from a drive along the coast. and on any given day, you can guarantee most folks are dressed light. board shorts, bikinis, slippers, etc etc, and yeah, tan. also, to put things in context, i have a friend who vouches for going on tinder while in this foodland.

a typical trip to foodland for me and my buds means loading up on the classics…poke, musubis, sushi. i think it was just on this trip home that i noticed foodland’s beer selection, a fairly impressive, wide selection of craft beers, some of them local. we pick up a few bottles of things too.

so, note this. before any trip to the beach, you gotta perfect da spread. a well-rounded mix of drinks, pupus, all kine grinds to keep you busy and full while cruising in the sun. 

on this day, we had wailua wheat - which for some time used to only be sold in hawaii - gigantic ume, and a lanikai IPA to go with some sushi, poke, spam and red hotdog (gotta be redondos brand, easily) musubis, and boiled peanuts. (man, boiled peanuts never fail to remind me of my childhood, walking through chinatown with my mom while she did her own grocery shopping. she’d usually pick up a couple bags for me and my dad.)

between me, marcus, and carmela, we barely killed this spread. the beer was donezo but i think we were a little ambitious with everything else. but whatever, it was cool…because on this day, we had the whole right side of the beach to us. swimming and laying out and diving into and under waves. hanging out, catching up, talking story. at one point, a couple guys came outta nowhere from the bushes near us, they started scrapping, then the cops came to break it up, but after that, it was back to normal haha. at this point, i hadn’t seen carmela in almost a year, so we were just pickin up the conversation from where we last left it. those are the kinds of friendships i miss the most. 

the whole day was all no worries. on this day, it was a monday. a really good case of the mondays.

shot on olympus stylus epic
waimea bay, oahu, february 2016

page 1: kuliouou, last leg

we headed to hike kuliouou…of course hung over from the previous night. 

the hike is only four miles long, but the trip up catches up with you quick. the area is just one ridge of a handful on the east side of the island. the first half passes through a small forrest, and the second half welcomes you to an open area. a narrow dirt path, framed loosely by ferns, moss, and young trees. crawling up a half mile further, walls of rock merge with the dirt, and a couple ropes act as a limp rail guard to take you closer to the top. it’s unmaintained fun, and practical. we reached the summit to a panoramic view of the east side of oahu. sloping, lush cliffsides. smaller, more spaced out homes, even smaller islands in the distance, and more ocean. 

it’s clear, warm, and super windy up here

shot on olympus stylus epic
kuliouou rige trail, oahu, february 2016

the simplest pleasure

this a product of nostalgia. 

sometimes you come up with ways to (tangibly) preserve really cool memories long past, so i made a little something of film photos from some of the favorite summers of my life. it’s kind of annoying how often i think of these times, usually because these kinds of flashbacks come when i’m most uncomfortable. like when it’s cold, when work’s hard, when i’m stuck inside. (so i put this all together while the weather’s still bad out.) this is kind of a reference book. 

‘the simplest pleasure’ is a compilation of photos taken on oahu between 2009 and 2016. postcard pictures of my indulgence up mountains, in waterfalls and oceans. no cares, no worries

some of these pictures were shot on the first camera i bought for myself, a cheap plastic holga that lived through rainy, muddy hikes, salt water, and lots of sand and dirt. others were shot on disposable underwater fujifilms, and the rest on a olympus stylus epic. 

here’s a peek:

i have a bunch to share…get in touch if you’re interested. $10 + every copy comes with a print of some place to be


i think i’ve had eleven blogs in my lifetime so far. 

the first one was a xanga, for ranting about boys in the hopes said boys would read. another one was a daily photo diary i kept for a couple years in college. (tiring and funny). a couple other ones were a blend of swipe files and blog posts. another couple were/are writing portfolios i’ve gotten lazy about updating. there was also another one dedicated solely to yolks and jokes – egg-based recipes and jokes i wrote. none of them had a crazy number of followers or made me internet famous (haha i’m good), but they ended up being really cool places to revisit after some time to see what life was like back whenever. for what it’s worth, ages 18-21 were especially interesting.

so here comes #12, and it’s current purpose is to share some of my favorite past memories, and photos/memories to come. it’s also going to become a place i share what i’m thinking, working on, or feeling inspired by lately. it’s also going to mold itself. it’ll be interesting, boring, and probably goofy. 25 has been a year of highs and lows but my favorite thing so far is picking up where i left off in documenting life and making things. you may or may not care, and that is a-okay.

i’ve learned these days, free time is so hard to come by and with that, creating becomes less of a priority. i’m making this a pocket of my universe to show my work 

a super first-hand account: turning 25 up north

i carry around this handy pink moleskine whenever i travel somewhere relatively far out of the city. i brought my travel notebook and camera with me last july on a backpacking trip to lassen volcanic national park for my 25th birthday. when i got this roll developed, i realized i had enough visual and written content to give you an idea of the journey, so here’s a bit of my captain’s log.

we left san francisco on july 1 to make it up to lassen, which is about an hour outside of redding, and at this time of year, a really hot place to be. on the last stretch of road before we turned into the park, the car thermometer read 98 degrees, and we watched it slowly come down 10 degrees just as we reached our destination. 

we spent that first night at the summit lake south campground near manzanita lake to get a solid night’s rest before kicking off our trip. this was my first time backpacking…i was pretty stoked but also nervous about being prepared (food, gear, etc.). luckily, i read online that lassen was super doable for people like me who’d never gone backpacking before.

july 1, 2016. 10:12 pm

summit lake south campground

i’m with marcus sitting in front of a camp fire, settling down for the night, talking about a diary entry i just found that i’d written before we started goin steady. (it’s kinda funny how things work out.) marcus and i walked around the lake after setting up camp. tonight, we had dinner by actual candlelight since we forgot our lantern and needed to save the one we bought for the trip. hah that was pretty cool.

tomorrow, we are off on our 20+ miles, 2 night trip.

july 2, 2016. 6:12 pm 

rainbow lake

marcus and i just posted up at rainbow lake on our way to snag lake. we’ve really only traveled a little over 4 miles, but the first trek uphill was a matter of getting used to all the weight on our backs. i quickly realized the avocados, hard boiled eggs, and apples were basically rocks in my backpack…but fuck sometimes you just wanna eat clean on these kinds of trips. im just glad i wasnt holding the whiskey

anyway, we just got back from swimming in the lake. that was by far the most fun part of the day. we bought some floaties at target a few nights ago and made space in the pack. i think this is the first time i’ve ever swam in a lake. love you cali….

snag lake was our original destination, but that would’ve been a little too far for where we are now. we decided to post up so we’d have some time and sunlight to set up camp and swim. tomorrow, snag lake. our tent is posted up directly in front of the lake. this is beautiful and insane to me!

july 3, 2016 - morning. 

rainbow lake

i woke up to the view of rainbow lake that i fell asleep to. i didn’t fall asleep for a few hours since marcus started freaking out while the sun set – scared we were gonna get eaten by bears or attacked by raccoons. instead, a few rangers gave us a warning for setting up camp too close to the water. haha! i’m glad we made it through the night. today is my birthday. 

our tent was (again) set up on a hill, so marcus and i kept rolling left and right, and instead of sliding up and down as we did last night. tonight we’ll get it right – or just find a flat spot. my phone’s dead so i’m not sure what time it is. 

today, our trek takes us through snag lake - a couple miles from here. where we’ve set up camp, there are dozens of dragonflies, flies, mosquitos, and other flying bugs. it was kind of gnarly the other day seeing a bunch of dragonflies, all hovering around the same area of water. right now, there are a few bees and flies traveling all around, getting their morning catch. they sound like mini airplanes – buzz. 

the sun is slowly making its way across the lake but it probably won’t be a few hours until it hits our camp. bees and birds and all that stuff in the distance, i can hear them. there are also a few other camps set up a little far out. it’s really cool to be immersed in all this. 

earlier i was thinking about how bummed i used to get about how i was surfing as much as i used to, and i started getting very nostalgic for those summers in college. but luckily, i’ve found an adventure buddy. this summer has been great so far

8:16 pm 

snag lake

a recap: after packing up at rainbow lake, we decided to head to cinder cone, about 3 miles away, and end the night at snag lake. after we passed through fields of burnt trees, we entered an area of pure lava rock grounds.  

with our packs, the climb up to cinder cone (only about .6 mile) was one of the toughest climbs yet! the sun was beaming from above and the ground beneath us was mostly loose rock – kinda like walking uphill in sand. 

when we finally got to the top, we bumped into a few people who decided to take their packs off before going up cinder cone. smart. we also ran into crowds from the butte lake campground nearby. i remember coming downhill and seeing lots of people headed uphill with a lonely, already empty plastic bottle of water. it must have been at least 90 degrees. 

 this area near cinder cone is called the “fantastic lava beds”. it was like something out of a movie. mad max or planet of the apes.

we hiked another 3 miles to snag lake, where we set up our next camp. marcus and i swam for a bit, took out our floaties again and then made some dinner. he taught me how to skip rocks…i’ve never done it before. this place is quiet, serene, and i get a high feeling so small. we are 2 of 4 people at this site - a whole lot of land around this lake - and its a little scary but also hard to wrap my head around. 

today marcus and i realized this is the longest amount of time we’ve spent alone together. we’re getting quieter and quieter but i honestly don’t mind the silence sometimes. we’re posted up a bit further from water, on flat ground in the trees. there’s a couple to the left of us – feels a little more secure having someone else nearby. off to rest now. long day tomorrow. 

july 4, 2016. 10:43 pm 

parking lot, summit lake south

finally home after an early morning, and a full day of hiking through lassen in the final stretch to summit lake. got up around 6 this morning and packed up camp, had some breakfast then we hit the path. as mad as i was with marcus for making us hike 3 miles into snag lake yesterday, where the road split to rainbow/horseshoe, i’m so glad we were able to shave off that distance for this AM. we beat the sun, so the first few miles weren’t too gnarly. 

we got through about 2 miles before 9 am, and ended up at rainbow lake. hitting lower and upper twin lake (1.5-2 miles) took no time, then getting to echo lake (another 2.6 miles) was challenging, though that was way easier than doing cinder cone yesterday with our packs on. hiking from echo lake back to summit/the ranger station felt the sweetest. i’ll always remember the feeling of my feet marching on the wooden board path that crossed over some creek, and then on pavement. my feet and body have never felt so thankful for pavement. it was also satisfying to know a bowl of pho was gonna be waiting for us in the sunset (many hours later). the things you crave after a long day…

we got to the car around 11 and cruised for a few minutes. it took some time to get used to not having that much weight on our legs. the first thing i did was open up the cooler in the trunk, grab the salsa, and bust out the tostadas. after that, we drove over to the manzanita lake campground and showered off the grime.

it’s crazy being back to this reality, especially since i’m going to work tomorrow but now i feel recharged to get closer to the weekend. life’s cool! giants game friday, bonfire saturday. im so stoked, and ready to sleep in my own bed. 

for reference, here is the amazing guide i used to plan this trip

half dome rejected me in june

if you’ve ever applied for a raffle ticket to hike half dome in the summertime, you understand how it’s practically impossible (at least now) to do so. i applied not once, but three times, and got turned away all the way up to the night before the hike. at that point, we (me, marcus, and cody) had already driven a handful of hours to yosemite, and were already posted up in a cabin near the valley, ready to go somewhere

plan a: half dome. plan b: cloud’s rest. 

at 11:30 the night before, i received the third and last rejection email. so we went to bed, woke up the next day at 5 am, and drove two hours to the cloud’s rest trailhead near tenaya lake. 

cloud’s rest is one of the gnarliest hikes i’ve ever done, primarily because of the varied, unpredictable terrain and altitude. 14 miles roundtrip, ~10,000 feet in elevation, bushwhacking and trekking through water, snow, trees, dirt, and marsh.

at 7:30 am and 30 feet into the start of our hike, we had to wade through cold, cold tenaya lake to continue on our trail. okay….coolio. 

it was thigh high for me, knee deep for the guys. we hopped on a makeshift stone path someone carefully laid out once the lake was dried up, kinda like a video game.

despite being surrounded by snow and sleet, we were pretty warmed up in the 60, 70° light.

during the first ascent, we managed to lose site of our trail and hiked up an untouched, snowy side of the mountain, walking across snow banks and fallen logs. what looked sturdy on the surface, was hollow or just about to break beneath. cody fell through a few boulders while crossing on a questionable log and cut up his leg pretty bad. a few minutes later, he fell through a snow bank. 

getting to the top was surreal. mountain ranges as far as my eyes could see. snow capped hills, trees, and countless tiny trails in the distance. this was it!! 

here we were, at cloud’s rest summit, staring out at half dome. arguably, i’ll say it was the better view. ;) we ran into a handful of people at the top. fellow half dome rejects + fucking crazies like us…but nothing in comparison to another breed of runner we met who was running peak to peak. the mountain that took us a few hours to scale took him maybe one (or less). we met him again later…us walking briskly, making our way back, him running more, like a maniac. 

i’ve been on many hikes that have ended with sandwiches, but none compare to the sandwich i ate up here. partly because by the time i got to the top, i was ready to eat five of these. simply: a couple of turkey slices smothered between two slices of now soggy wheat bread, very wet spinach, and a generous dollop of yellow mustard. i brought a tomato, avocado, and a knife to slice the two at the top (can’t afford to smush those, too), and some banana peppers for a kick because i’m a brat hahah

on the way back down, we needed to refill our packs, so we found a lake and brought out the water filter. it was the first time i tasted glacier water – pure, delicious, mountain liquid. i’ve never knew granite could taste so damn good. the melting snow caps offered a rushing river down each peak, so i got as much as i could to quench my thirst then and much, much later. i wouldn’t end up drinking the rest of my water pack for another few months after this trip. still very good. 

further and further down, we sped through what we spent a while navigating through. at one point, we were blazing down the snowy mountains, feeling high on reaching the summit, knowing we’d eventually make our way back to home base. 

the sun started peaking out and it was barely 2 pm when we made it back to the trailhead, where i forgot about/happily agreed to drive the two hours back to the cabin. we all came out with these funny tans…kinda like battle scars from a day that’s pleasantly burned in my brain 

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