Monday, February 24, 2014

that will buff right out, aka cover up tattoo

despite what modern pop culture might teach you, the great thing about tattoos are that they are a reminder of who you were at that time and place when you got it. they shouldnt be a mistake at 3am at a biker bar.

when you look back, you remember, for good and for bad, all the things you were into, what kinds of stupid shit you would spend your time on.... sometimes they are a symbol of how much youve grown, and sometimes they are a symbol of what will never be forgotten.

when i was younger, i got one of those "han mun", "kanji" "chinese" character tattoos. at the time, i thought it was actually more meaningful than the random white or black dude getting one, cause hell, im asian, and well, theres back stories to its meaning too.

i used to get into a lot of stupid trouble when i was young. i remember one time, i must have been about 17 or so at the time, my mother took me to a fortune teller. she wanted to see if there was anything she could do to keep me out of trouble. the fortune teller told her i was "wood", that i need to be around water. he said i feel at peace by water, the beach or in the snow. he said fire will kill me, that fire for me are women, drinking and fighting.


of course now i look back, ok, what kid doesnt like a trip to the beach or the mountains? i was hungover and probably stunk of remy martin and i had a black eye. it doesnt take a genius to call this "fortune".

anyways, that added with the rave culture of the late 90s, and what was popular in tattoo culture at the time, i got "water" tattooed on my shoulder with blue waves crashing around it. (i know, it looks more like wood, but thats another story too)

when youre that young, these tattoos are kinda cool.

in your mid 30's, not so much. in your late 30's well, if you have a bad one, you should really do something about it.

ive been meaning to get a cover up, but the blue waves and solid black lettering right in the middle are hard to cover up. and besides, i want to do it right this time. i was determined to do this cover up right. (dont go to a biker bar tattoo place like last time). research and take my time.

i found an awesome artist. colin stevens. i got super lucky getting him to do it. good luck finding him, let alone getting an appointment, but i can point you in the right direction if you need.

i went through the process of working with, coordinating schedules and sitting through the session after session after session. (harder since he doesnt have an online presence, nor does he have vm or a person to make his appointments for him. you just have to know what to do.)

right to it.

i had to get four laser sessions to remove some of the pigment first. OF COURSE blue is the hardest color to remove....

this is after four laser tattoo removal sessions. do yourself a favor, if you ever do get laser tattoo removal, no matter HOW INTRIGUING it is, do not sniff the burning tattoo. 

at the studio, you can see the purple stencil still, halfway through the first three hour session.

after first three hour session. 

all sessions were three - four hours long

first shading session. colin is a genius with the negative space shading

getting some color. fyi color takes much more effort than black ink. hurts more and takes much longer. be prepared!

i love the "white dots" on the red feathers. my photo skills, especially after a four hour session, are a bit shaky. sorry for the bad pics.

after another color session

colin stevens is a money. 

the details on this is amazing. he didnt like the way some colors looked so he did  them over again. you have to respect that.

missing a couple after session pictures but you get the idea. for the most part, the piece currently looks like this. 

its not quite done. id say at least a couple more sessions, but like life, its an on going process. i think this piece really does represent me right now. its covering up some mistakes of the past and although its beautiful and amazing the way it is, its not quite done yet.

and yes, i know, i need to work out more and lose the gut. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

bamboo blu, mammee bay, jamaica, aka, sometimes it pays to try new things.

we were getting the vacation bug pretty badly.

we didnt have any place in mind.

while randomly inputting destinations on expedia, i came across jamaica....


we both hate the idea and concept of places like sandals all inclusive resorts. why the hell would you travel so far to eat pizzas next to the perfect candidates for ugly americans?

so what did i do? look for the exact opposite.

i found a perfect little old world resort in ocho rios called the jamaican inn. this place is amazing. it feels as though you walked into the time of marilyn monroe, or you entered a james bond movie... well that makes sense because marilyn was a guest and ian flemming was a regular. more on the jamaican inn later.

though the jamaican inn is amazing, we dont travel to stay at a resort.

reading a few reviews on trip advisor, we chose bamboo blu.

and are we glad we did.


if you arent familiar with the public transportation, you might want to hire a private driver, but PLEASE only hire one associated with your resort. the cost? about $30 each way.

we were "seasoned veterans" with a day of public taxis so we decided to ride a westbound public taxi to the end of the ocho rios loop where everyone gets off, "the clock tower". public taxis are shared taxis and act more like tiny, little toyota corolla hatchback buses that pick up and drop off people anywhere along a loop route.

we hop on a cab at the end of the loop, parked at the gas station. we ask if he could drive us to mammee bay. he asked for a very reasonable $8.

no problem mon.

i asked him to come back later, got his number and the return trip was $8. i ended up gaving him $10 and everyone was happy.

as far as directions, bamboo blu is not that well known. even private drivers didnt know where it was. heres a step by step guide

tell your driver you want to go to bamboo blu in mammee bay, next to the riu resort. they might not know bamboo blu, but they will know mammee bay and the riu resort. the entrance is directly west of the riu resort entrance. theres a white gate with a guard.

left is the white gate into mammee bay. right is the riu resort.

tell the guard you are going to bamboo blu and he will hand your driver a ticket and open the gate. drive all the way down to the end of the path, about a few hundred yards and follow the road to the right. about a hundred yard or so, you will see a bamboo fence on the right. drive on in.

heres a google map, i zoomed in to exactly here bamboo blu is.


bamboo blu isnt just a restaurant, its more like a very modest, little resort restaurant. theres a couple of buildings.

one has a small gift shop which also contains the bathrooms. awesome that they provide showers, just in case you feel like you want to jump into the water.

theres a jerk hut which wasnt completed by the time we visited, but im sure is finished by now.

off to the side of the main building, theres even a volleyball court.

the main building consists of a kitchen, a bar and a little dining area with covered and uncovered seating areas.

along the beach, theres a few day beds, tables, the perfect area to soak up some sun. 

but we didnt come all the way here to just soak up the rays.

bamboo blu is a restaurant. food is why we are here. 

now while this isnt exactly authentic jamaican cuisine, meaning what you would find your average citizen of ochos rios eating at home, what i would compare this to is fresh local cuisine done with authentic touches. it was by far, one of the best meals we had in ochos rios. 

what did we eat? well of course, we had to try the jerk chicken, which was good and we had to try the lobster. when they say fresh lobster, they mean someone pulled it from the waters right in front of you, that morning. they asked what size, i said give me the biggest one from the mornings catch. 

look at the size of that spiny lobster! thats a red strip right behind it. this is really enough for a couple people, no, a few people. you can easily make four meals out of this lobster. this thing was huge!

for those not familiar with spiny lobster, its not the same as maine lobster with those huge claws. personally, i prefer spiny lobster over maine lobster. 

this particular spiny lobster was cooked perfectly. the flavor was amazing. and while the kitchen was nice enough to send out some drawn butter to keep us americans happy, i asked for some graces hot sauce and some jerk sauce. do it right.

easily one of the best lobsters ive ever had. how much? about 15-20 bucks USD. now this is very expensive considering local prices, but very reasonable vs resort prices and obviously dirt cheap compared to USA prices. 

we were happy to be out of the resort. we were happy to be here. amazing time.... then

yes, free live music. homie was actually REALLY good. live reggae music. on the beach. in ochos rios. you really cant get much better than this. 


oh wait, and after a flaming bob marley shot. ok now perfect. 

at the end of the night, we tipped the live reggae homie a $5 USD, tipped the super awesome waitress 20% (lets remember, these guys live on our tourist dollars) and our "private" public taxi driver picked us up from this little slice of heaven and back to our resort. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

PRK, second month, aka i can see clearly now the rain is gone

so its been nearly two months since i went through with PRK surgery on both my eyes.

long gone are the days of constantly putting medicated drops in my eyes. i do occasionally still use rewetting drops as my eyes do get dry. do they get dryer than before my surgery? perhaps, but nothing too noticeable.

pain? after the pain i was experiencing after the first week after the surgery, there is no real pain to speak of. i DID have some sensitivity to sunlight and other bright lights for a couple weeks, but that subsided real fast. i DO wear sunglasses whenever i can when outdoors to protect my newly healing eyes though.

i was, however, very concerned about a vacation i was going on. i spent the first weeks of december in jamaica. it would be the first time i would be outside the the normal safety of home and my office. i would have to be in situations i couldnt plan everything out.

its a bit sunny here in jamaica

what happened? snorkeling, walking up inside a giant waterfall, fishing, swimming... sunny weather... no problem mon.

my vision?  during my one month follow up visit, i tested out at 20/20 and 25/20 vision. my vision does fluctuate still, some days better than others, but it seems to stabilize more and more with each passing day. i also notice a DIRECT correlation between how tired i am, (how much i drink) with how bad my vision is the following day and how much better my vision is with how healthy i am eating and the level of exercise i have done that week. basically, my vision is as good as i feel.

the only things i can really report back about two months after the surgery is that i take 1000mg of vitamin c  (helps the healing process) daily, i have to use rewetting drops and i wear my sunglasses a lot more. thats it.

oh and also that i see perfectly fine without contacts or glasses.....

yes, this has been one of the best decisions i have ever made.

i have one last visit with the doctor at six months. this will be my final check up. they will do a vision test then. seeing that i already have almost 20/20 vision, i am not too concerned about this at all.

Friday, November 9, 2012

first week after PRK, aka dropping them drops

so perhaps i was way too excited after my surgery. i thought, meh, i must be tougher than i thought because this is a breeze. no pain....

day two

i walked into the day after follow up around noon feeling just fine.

a few hours later, im thinking holy crap, this shit does hurt.

that night, i realized that it wasnt going to be a breeze. my eyes started to hurt significantly more than before. i took a couple of advils, i took the nerve medication they gave me and honestly, only a couple glasses of wine seem to help. yeah, terrible i know, so shoot me.

i was very much on the dot with all the medication and antibiotic and anti inflammatory drops i was prescribed, but in hindsight, i did one thing very wrong.

i was told i could use one drop of rewetting drops per four hours to help after the surgery. i shouldve clarified this bit. i can use as many drops as i wanted to. i only used one drop every four hours the first two days and that was my mistake. i started to use the rewetting drops once every 30 minutes and the pain was reduced dramatically.

one note on the rewetting drops. i chose to buy these two small pocket size bottles of SUSTAIN ULTRA eye drops. these are just fine, but, with further research, i found out that the "single use" version of this is better. the bottles have some sort of preservative, even the "sensitive" version has preservatives. the "single use" ones dont. the "single use" ones obviously have more than two drops in them, more like 6...heres something that isnt so obvious, the part you break off, its also a cap. i uses all 6 drops, but dont use these longer than a day. remember, no preservatives. last thing you want is an eye infection because you used old eye drops. also remember, though you have a cap, its not waterproof. it will spill in pocket if not carried properly.

my eyes started to get the "third day PRK haze" one eye more than the other, than both eyes... at one point i couldnt make out thing right in front of me. now i understand when they suggest to do nothing for three days. you will need at least a couple days to recover from the hazy eyes.

i stayed on a strict regiment of all the different eye drops. i made sure to rest up when i could and i no time at all, my eye sight started to get normal again, well normal for being without my contacts or glasses.

a day or two later, my vision was better than before the surgery.

my second follow up, they removed the "bandage" a clear no prescription contact lens and i was right back to recovery mode.

a week later, im looking out my office window and i can see just as good as i could before with my glasses. except for the small hangup about the rewetting drops and the annoying factor when showering (remember you cant rub your eyes), this was easy.

i am very excited

(part three will be after my last follow up appoint, one month from now)

Friday, November 2, 2012

so i got PRK surgery for my eye, aka LASERS!!!

so this will be part one of a three part series.

part one

so ive been wanting to get lasik/laser eye correction for the longest time. of course, i didnt know there was a difference between PRK and the different LASIK surgeries, but for me, what mattered was i would never have to worry about contacts and glasses, i could swim and see, i could wake up in the middle of the night and see perfectly!!

(see PRK for technical information)
(see LASIK for technical information)
*there are videos of the procedures

but of course i had my concerns as well.

the first person i knew who got any type of laser eye correction surgery, i met in 2000. he had the procedure done in the mid 90s. he has trouble seeing at night, he sees halos around lights.

that was enough for me to stop considering this. for a long time.

2010, im getting interested again. i mean, its been long enough for them to tweak it our right? i went for a free consultation at scott hyver. i cant lie, i choose him because i alway heard the commercials on the radio. i also thought about it a slightly different way. he is the most well known doctor for these procedures in the area. he does more of these procedures than anyone else.... and most important for me, even though he might be more expensive than some other places, i know hes not going anywhere. if something goes wrong, he will be here.

so i got my consultation and i learned a lot. apparently, my corneal lens is not the optimal shape and thickness to do LASIK, but i did qualify for PRK. the main difference between to the two? of course you can look at all the technical information i linked above and of course you should contact your local surgeon for specific information, but for me, the main difference?

PRK has about three day down time.

LASIK has no real down time.

PRK they remove a certain layer of something or another and it heals.

LASIK they cut it and reshape it and it heals.

ok got it.  i qualify a PRK. thats what im going for.

two years later i finally got it done.

you go in for a preop, where they dialate your pupils. very familar. they make sure your eyes are healthy enough and you walk out with a prescription for some stuff you will need prior to your surgery.

for me, what i was told to do was

starting a week before, everyday, 1000ml of vitamin c a day and continue for six months.

24 hours before, one drop every four hours of this antibiotic eye drop.

dont wear contacts for 4 day prior.

i aslo picked up something called bromday and an anti imflamitory eye drop, to be used after the surgery.

day of, i walked in at 400pm. they give my some mouth soluable valium type medicine to calm my nerves.

15 minutes later, im walking to prep for surgery.

a few drops are put in my eyes. numbing agents i would assume. then 5 minutes later, im walking into the surgery room.

you lay down on the table.

more drops.

more drops.

more drops.

then the tape and device they use on clockwork orange. basically, its an adjust clamp that keeps your eyes open.

then the part that hurt the most. yes this is the painful part....

cold saline solution. HAHHAHAH yep, that was the most painful part....

the surgeon then uses a tool that remind me of the teeth polishers on your eye. it dulls it up a bit. then he swabs and scraps around a bit. then your aligned with the lasers.... ZAP.... they place a contact lens bandage on and youre all done!

there were times my nerves did get the better of me, but once you relax, theres nothing to it.

i walk out feeling just fine. my vision is a bit blurry, but nothing too bad. infact, i can see better already.

after? im putting in some drops. taking some meds, but all in all..... totally worth it. oh... and i cant rub my eyes for few months, along with being very careful, no contact sports, no trauma to the eyes at all.

with PRK, you are supposed to have three days where you shouldnt be doing much. the third day, your vision gets worse while that certain layer they removed is healing up. for a week, you dont wont be able to use your eye for periods of time, then for up to six months, your vision stablizes.

how do i feel right now? i typed this entire entry with no issues. im doing ok. and im on my way for my day after session with the doc.

OH YEAH and i got these awesome goggles i have to wear for ten nights while i sleep.

Friday, September 14, 2012

congratulations New England Lobster on their new location, restaurant/market, aka i love fresh seafood

so ive been a fan of new england lobster (nel) for a pretty long time now. I was introduced to nel by a friend back in 2006 and ive been picking up live lobsters and dungeness crab from them since. two of my favorite dishes i make are garlic crab and lobster sashimi. while you might be able to find decent live dungeness crab from other sources in the bay area, but i wouldnt trust anyone else to supply the lobster for lobster sashimi other then nel. when dealing with live seafood, turnover is key. they have shipments come in multiple times a week. they supply live lobster and dungeness crabs to many of the supermarkets you see throughout the bay area. they supply the live lobsters and dungeness crab to a whos who list of restaurants in the bay area. thats good enough for me. there old location in south san francisco was a no frills, warehouse/retail location. they opened up a lobster roll cart next to it recently and had great success with it. now, with this new location, they upped the ante. to a totally different game. like total awesomeness.

located at 824 cowan in burlingame, this location is a full on restaurant and a market. today, i was able to get a sneak peak. today was their first day the market was open at their new location. the restaurant, however, will not be open until mid october, but remember, you still can buy your fresh seafood here in the meantime.

street parking is a bit tough here.... no problem,

they got you covered with a nice sized parking lot in back.

on a nice, picturesque bay area day like today, these outdoor seats will be PACKED. think fresh lobster, a nice bottle of sauv blanc, a wonderful group of friends... i cant wait till the restaurant is open.

but of course they got you covered with indoor seating as well when weather doesnt allow for outdoor seating.

theres something really special about a new kitchen.

i think there should be a sign on this. we caught our first lobster on the boat. no really, we did. ok maybe not.

though im really excited to see what they do with their awesome restaurant venue, lets not forget why they made it so far. this is their cold counter.

might as well grab some live kicking dungeness while im here. i grabbed five dungeness from a local market yesterday to make some garlic crab, and while still good, these are obviously better. grabbed five more for more garlic crab tonight.... and its a dollar a pound cheaper than the local asian market?!?!. and you can ask these guys where they were caught and when they were brought in? thats just awesome to be able to do that.

i snuck a peak into the operations side while i was at it too. i mean how can you NOT sneak a peek into a warehouse labeled TANK HOUSE.

thats one big live tank....

happy little lobsters, sorted and ready to go.

 im really happy for the nel guys. i wish nothing but the best for them!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

new blog post series announcement.... aka ZAP

wow, its been a REAL long time since i posted anything on here. there has been a lot of post worthy subjects, like the autocross day at laguna seca... but for out of sheer laziness and being so tired all the time, ive totally lamed out on posting things. well, im all juiced again. will give this more effort! that being said, i will be starting a new series of posts on here, ZAP, Zombie Apocalypse Posts. about a decade ago, i started to bring up the idea of prepping because of a zombie apocalypse. people used to look at me like im crazy. well, they looked at me like i crazy most of the time anyways... anyways, now, its all the rage, whether you have shows on natgeo showing how people prep, or companies branding their goods as "zombie", its pretty normal to these days to prep, whether its for a real zombie apocalypse or not. (mind you i live in san francisco. south san francisco is the biotech capital of the world. colma has a dead population of about 2 million. we are just one bad video game plot line away from a full fledged umbrella corp end of the world scenario!) these post will be about the tools of the trade and what you can do to get ready... and a great excuse for me to buy some crap ive always wanted. first up, testing out a camping stove that recharges electronics via usb. coming this weekend!