lifestyle

Quite Possibly, Our Last Post Ever

Hello WordPress.

It’s been a long time, and perhaps some of you are wondering what happened to us.

Don’t worry, we’re not dead or broken up.

Actually, quite the contrary, Emily and I are engaged now. I proposed to her in July, on Pfeiffer Beach at Big Sur, y’know, the place with that cool looking rock.

DSC06046

Anyways, as the title suggests, we are most likely moving on from this blog. The nonexistent activity for the past 6 months probably gave that away.

Why? Well, a lot has changed in our lives, apart from getting engaged. We’ve both quit our jobs. I sold my house and most of our possessions a few months back. We’ve decided to see the world and spend a year traveling the globe.

That’s right, we’ve adopted the nomad life. We’re pulling an Alexander Supertramp, minus the isolation and general financial irresponsibility. We’ll be jumping around from place to place, and when we come back to the USA, we’ll be more evolved, refined, and better versions of ourselves (hopefully).

Oh, and we’ve started our own travel blogs! If you’d like to follow our travel blogs, please find us here:

Emily: http://happynfull.com

Chris: http://shotofglass.com

We really enjoyed A Couple Talks. It was pretty a therapeutic project for myself. I needed an outlet like this during a time of my life that was full of discontent and angst. I knew something wasn’t right with my situation back then, so I decided to make a dramatic change and experience life in a new way.

Thank you all for reading this blog, it was really nice to know that some of these thoughts and opinions written here resonated with people out there.

Live your life to the fullest. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Peace and love,

A Couple Talks.

Advertisements

Your Greatest Piece Of Art

Emily and I went to the LA Art Show this past weekend. The show was 200,000 square feet of eclectic paintings, sculptures, mixed media pieces, and live performance pieces, both foreign and local, traditional and contemporary.

In general, I was pretty impressed with the art. Of course, there were a number of how the fuck did this get here pieces, but overall it seemed like the caliber of art was high.

Art. What is art? It’s one of those super-vague, overly subjective questions that can bring forth answers akin to nails on a chalkboard.

Perhaps What is art? is not the right question. Perhaps the real question is, What is the purpose of art?

Art, if I may pontificate, is meant to elicit a response. The viewer should, in some form, connect with the art, and as a result, a feeling or a thought should come forth. If I look at a painting and think, I have no idea what this is, then the painting isn’t for me.

I bring all this up because there was one piece that elicited such a response, so much so that I’m still thinking about it now and, in fact, am writing about it in this very blog post.

Here it is:

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat. What can I say about this man that hasn’t been said already. His art transcended. He brought a new perspective and unique style to the world in a time where the New York scene was bubbling with the fullness of punk rock and the infant stages of Hip-hop. He dated Madonna before she became Madonna. He left this world too soon.

Basquiat. Yeah, his art was great, but look at his life. He was a slave to his addiction. As singular and one-of-a-kind as he was as an artist, he was also yet another heroin addict.

I have to say, that’s pretty weak.

When we think about art, hardly do we ever solely focus on the art, but instead we also view the artist with a watchful eye. It’s as if the artist is just as much a part of the art as the canvas and oil. There should be some congruence between the art and the artist’s lifestyle, shouldn’t there?

So what do I make of Basquiat? Yes, his art was awesome, but his life kind of sucked. Being addicted to heroin sounds pretty god-awful to me. Reading a bit on his personal history, his childhood and adolescence was full of turmoil and strife.

Should I be inspired by Basquiat, for all the timeless pieces he created, or should I look upon him with sorrow, wondering what could have been had he been able to conquer his demons?

And this leads me to my actual thought: For any creative person out there, the greatest piece of art should be life itself. If the art is badass, then the life should be badass as well. What’s the point of creating the next Mona Lisa or composing the next Bohemian Rhapsody if life sucks? At the end of the day, where did all the great art lead to for Basquiat, or Kurt Cobain, or Amy Winehouse?

Don’t get me wrong, I still find Basquiat’s art to be invaluable, but he’ll never be someone that truly inspires me, because he couldn’t figure out how to compose the most important piece: life.

It’s just a thought. Fucking art.

 

Chris.

Football, I Just Can’t Quit You

It’s been two weeks since my last blog post.

I’d love to say that I’ve been busy feeding the poor, saving the manatees, or doing 10,000 push-ups – pretty much anything productive.

The truth is, I haven’t done a damn thing besides watch football.

Hey, I can look at things objectively – spending an entire weekend watching football is about as ridiculous as waiting in line for the premiere of a Harry Potter movie in full-on Ron Weasley cosplay as an adult (and no, I have not done that). I know Emily loves my obsession with football. When she’s saying something to me during a game and I don’t even turn my face away from the TV to look into her eyes, she thinks I’m the biggest loser ever. And I am.

Let’s think about it – football is a sport marketed as being masculine and full of bravado yet straight males all over the country completely ignore their beautiful girlfriends and wives to watch grown men, in essence, wrestle each other over a ball.

In a weird twist, comic book nerds think I’m such a loser for watching gratuitous amounts of football, because surely collecting mint condition action figures and obscure limited edition issues only released in Japan is a way better use of time.

I get absolutely nothing done when football’s on TV. I’ll move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer and let it dry only to have it sit in my dryer for the whole weekend. I’ll hold in my piss until I can’t anymore because I don’t want to miss a play. My exercise for the day is getting into my car and driving to get carne asada burritos. I won’t shave at all so by Sunday night I’ll have the classic ironicly-thin Asian man mustache. I know, I know, I’ll stop – the ladies are getting too hot and bothered. Don’t want to get y’all too aroused – I am taken, after all.

Look, I know it’s dumb, but like Jake Gyllenhall famously said, I wish I knew how to quit you, football.

Hell, I’m watching a show about football right now as I write this blog post. This is sick. I’m a sick person. Then again, I’ve probably already established that by now, haven’t I.

This kind of symbolizes what’s going on in society today. As individuals, we have the potential to accomplish quite a bit, but what do we do instead? Watch someone else accomplish things on TV.

I’ve made up my mind – I’m going to turn this damn TV off.

After these highlights.

Chris.

Q-Tip, Q-Tip, Throw It Away

Yes, I just quoted Kevin James in Hitch.

That movie, for all its ridiculousness and unrealistic depictions of love and romance (when would a billionaire modelesque woman ever fall for her overweight doofus accountant?), does give some good advice to men out there seeking the affections of a certain woman. You do need to plan things out when courting a woman. You do need to put your best foot forward. And, when necessary, you should lie. Just kidding, don’t lie, but don’t reveal everything up front. Leave something to mystery, alright?

But this post is not about dating. It’s about throwing stuff away.

I recently changed office locations at my job, which meant that I had to pack things up in boxes for the move. This also meant that I had to look through everything in my office to see what I wanted to keep and throw away the things I no longer needed.

Boy, was there a lot I didn’t need anymore.

I had papers from 2005 lying around. I had old t-shirts from company events that I would never dare to be seen in public wearing, yet these were the types of things that I found lying around, untouched for years.

Let me tell you something: I love throwing stuff away. Few things in life give me more pleasure than dumping loads of useless filth into a trash can. It’s like hitting the reset button. You’re playing a game, and when things start to go awry you begin to wish that you can start the game over, so you hit reset. It feels great. It actually feels very similar to losing weight. You feel lighter, freer, and more flexible.

I just don’t get hoarders. I don’t understand why people would want to keep things forever, knowing full well that the possessions they want to hold onto will never be of use to them. Maybe I’m just not very sentimental.

But it’s not just the hoarders, it’s all of us that have a certain problem, an ill-fitted disposition, if you will. Whether we know it or not, we are raised to always be accumulating stuff. More clothes, more electronics, bigger homes, newer products. It just never ends. I admit it, I feel the need to upgrade my iPhone every two years, and as a result, I have 3 iPhones lying around in my home, with a fourth one probably on the way in about a month or two.

Now that I’ve taken care of my office, I should start looking in my home now. I’m sure there are tons of things I can throw away, or better yet, donate. As a man, I like to stay somewhat fashionable with my clothes, which means I have a healthy regular rotation of five shirts that I always wear. The rest of it I don’t need. There’s a whole slew of other things in my home sitting there, collecting dust from years of neglect. I simply don’t need them at all.

I know there’s enough pointless holidays already (Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day, etc.), but what if there was a Throw-Your-Useless-Shit-Away Day? A day that would be designated for everyone to stay home and collect all their useless possessions to either discard or donate?

Now that would be a holiday worth celebrating.

Chris.

No One Is Rooting For You

Is humanity inherently good or bad?

Where does morality come from? Are certain values innate or learned? Are some individuals naturally friendly and kind-hearted while others are born to be shitheads? I think about these things from time to time.

I’ve developed the general belief that no one is rooting for you.

If you have at least one person in this world that truly and genuinely supports you and wants your dreams to come true with no strings attached then you should consider yourself fortunate.

But for the other 99% of the people you encounter in life, let me break the news to you, they are not rooting for you to succeed. Hell, I’m not rooting for you. Do you think I want your blog to blow up? Do you really think I want you to have more readers than we do?

Recently, I decided to dive into the world of photography. Why? Obviously because there’s not enough Asian photographers out there.

It only took a day or two before I encountered a few people that wanted to take a big dump all over my pursuits. No, I don’t own a fancy Canon DSLR (it’s always the Canon users), nor do I have a $2,000 telephoto lens, but what’s it to you? It’s almost as if people are afraid that you’ll be successful so they want to put out that flame of desire before it gets bigger.

Everyone has their own worldview, the set of morals and principles that guide and reinforce the way they see life. Whenever something comes along that challenges or even shatters this worldview, they feel threatened and get defensive. We saw this when Elvis started shaking his hips on TV and when Bruce became Caitlyn. The polarizing reactions weren’t a reflection of Elvis or Caitlyn; they were a reflection of the individual viewer and the discomfort they felt seeing someone living life with a different worldview from theirs.

We all want to be ourselves, do we not? We want to try new things. We have different dreams and interests. I’ll tell you this much: the bigger the dream, the more hate you’ll get from your peers, your so-called friends, and even your family. You want to be a Hollywood actor or a rockstar? Almost everyone will be waiting for you to fail. Why? Because people are risk-adverse. In their minds, they would never dare to do anything crazy because they feel like they would certainly fail, and so obviously that means you should fail too. People want to be right. They want their worlds to make sense. But what if you’re crazy enough to take huge risks in your life and they actually pay off? These people may have a hard time with that.

So just be clear on this: if you want to try anything daring in your life, just know that most people will be rooting against you. It’s not so much about you, it’s more about their own insecurities and self-imposed limitations. It doesn’t matter though, it still feels equally shitty to know that you don’t have a whole lot of support. But that’s exactly why it will feel so much sweeter if your dreams come true.

Then again, they’re probably right. You’ll probably fail. But will you go for it anyways? That’s the question.

Chris.

The Art Of Contrast

For better or worse, I’m an LA guy. I was born and raised here, having never lived anywhere else. When I hear people say disparaging things about Los Angeles, I get defensive. “People are so fake here,” or “The transportation is horrible,” they might say.

The thing is, I know these things, but you are not allowed to say them since you’re on the outside. It’s like when a man fights with his girlfriend and busts out the line, “Jesus, are you on your period?” He very well may be right, but still, what the hell does he know about the menstrual cycle? On a side note, living with Emily, I’ve learned a thing or two about that, and trust me, you’d rather not know.

Another opinion that’s thrown out about Los Angeles is that it’s a haven for artists, and more specifically, the struggling artist. This is definitely true, as Emily and I spent our weekend around the art of LA.

My brother, an artist himself, had a private show over the weekend. Again, another LA stereotype coming to fruition: you have to know someone in the know to hang out at the cool spots. But this show was as LA as it gets: an art show, famous people, a DJ booth, live music, and drinks on the rooftop. Even I felt like a tourist, observing the cultured in their native habitat. I’m glad that I like my brother’s art; it would suck if I had to force myself to support something I didn’t enjoy. But I really believe in his talent so I can give my full support with a clear conscience.

My brother's private art show

My brother’s private art show

Emily and I also spent a day at LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA. Thank god we went – it was the last weekend that they were showing Kahlil Joseph’s exhibition, Double Conscience. If you’re a fan of Kendrick Lamar, this was a must see: a 14-minute film titled m.A.A.d that provided visuals to Kendrick’s 2012 album, good kid, m.A.A.d City, projected on a dual screen. The film showed video images of the hood, the ghetto, the neighborhoods between the 10 and the 91, between the 405 and the 710, if you know what I mean. But the images served to beautify an area that’s otherwise looked upon as dark and tragic, with Kendrick’s verses being played throughout. Being that good kid, m.A.A.d city is a social commentary of Kendrick’s upbringing and culture, Kahlil Joseph’s film blended perfectly with the music. Hopefully, they’ll show this exhibit again for more people to see.

Kahlil Joseph's Double Conscience at LA MOCA

Kahlil Joseph’s Double Conscience at LA MOCA

Kahlil Joseph's m.A.A.d. on dual projectors

Kahlil Joseph’s m.A.A.d. on dual projectors

Apart from Double Conscience, there was plenty of cool art on display at MOCA.

Emily admiring the work of Jackson Pollock

Emily admiring the work of Jackson Pollock

Artists are collectively unique, a different breed. It’s a feeling I can definitely relate to. After all, I do consider myself an artist of some sort. There are moments in life when I feel so weird and different from everyone else around me that I want to completely detach myself from society, go off the grid, unplug from the matrix, if you will. In those moments I believe that no one else knows what I’m going through or how I’m feeling, oftentimes including myself. I may not even know what the hell is going on but I know that there is this feeling inside of me that I want to get out.

I see these artists all around me, and yes they are all different and diverse, but really, the struggle is the same. We’re all living this life trying to make sense of it all. I read this quote once on Reddit: The meaning of life is to give life meaning. I think that’s what we’re all trying to do, make our lives meaningful in the end. It’s so easy to separate and contrast individual to individual, and I know LA is the land of struggling artists, but really, no matter where we are or where we’re from, we are all struggling artists, and the art is our lives.

Chris.

Taking Chances

When’s the last time you took a chance in life?

As we get older, we get smarter.

As we get smarter, we become more analytical.

As we become more analytical, we start to recognize the risks more readily.

Risk. That’s a dangerous word. There’s a fine line between using risk to our advantage and having it cripple us. I think it’s human nature to start focusing more on what could go wrong than what could go right as time goes on.

I read a piece of advice once. It said, “In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.” Are there certain things in life that you really want, but are afraid to take a chance? Maybe it’s a career change. Perhaps it’s asking that girl out that you’ve had a crush on for months. It could be an investment of some sort.

If you’re reading this, I hope you take a few moments to look at your life. If everything is exactly right where you want them to be, then I salute you and say cheers. But for the rest of us, surely there must be something in our lives that seem too risky to chase. Now ask yourself, “Why aren’t I going for it?” What’s the worst that could happen?

We’re all living this life in search of something. Some are searching for happiness, some seek a higher power, and some want their lives to mean something greater than themselves. Whatever it may be, there will probably come a time when a chance needs to be taken, where failure is definitely possible. That’s when you’ll have to make the decision to go for it or not.

As for me, I hope that I take the motherfucking chance.

Chris.