Late Night Chinatown

“Hey, are you busy tonight?”. Those are the words I got from Primo. No warning, just a question. It was already close to about 9 o’clock at night on a weekday when he called me with that query.

However, I knew exactly what it meant. Having Primo calling you for no reason late at night only one thing: a late night photo run. He loves to do environmental photography of Los Angeles, taking pictures of buildings the areas around them. Doing this, however since going out late at night with the camera he uses in downtown LA and its neighborhoods can be somewhat risky. Something that most people would not recommend to do by themselves. He asks random friends from time to time to accompany him, and when he asks me, I’m… honored.

Primo in motion
So a few hours later we set off, with our goal of late night photography in mind. We done it plenty of times before. Primo wanted to try out his new camera so I came up with an idea- why not Chinatown? I’ve taken pictures and video all the time in Chinatown usually in the middle of the day, when the place is bustling with activity. The neon lights in Los Angeles’ Chinatown seems to accentuate the individuality of that district from all the others.

At night, it empties out, save for a bar or two in the area. The idea of its neon lights in the late night on empty streets seemed like a perfect idea, so we set off to LA’s Chinatown.

The streets are deserted, no one around, exempt for the cockroaches that skittered past my feet, daring me to step on them. I simply stood, watching the streets for people as he darted about with the camera, taking pictures of random objects.

He squints his eyes, looking at something in the distance. Examining for a shotHe turns to me and asks my opinion for it. Being someone with some skill in photography (not much, really), I’m happy when he asks my opinion. And I do so with a sense of pride as I give him my two cents. I’ll keep watch out for anyone, as Primo focuses on the photography itself.

We talk about random conversations, about memories of the past, and catching up since we’ve seen each other last. I tell him about the maddening amount of customers at work, and he tells me about his latest photography projects and clients. It’s a nice way for us to have time just for ourselves, even if it’s in a roach-infested Chinatown.

I come home exhausted, usually a few hours later. I’ll see the pictures maybe a week or so later. I look upon them with fondness, a bit of pride as I was able to, in some small way, be of some help to Primo.

(This was something I wrote months ago, but neglected to put on the site until now. Go look at Primo’s work, you jerks, he’s great!.)

Late Night Chinatown

New Website Launch: Primo Catalano Photography

I’ve been out of designing and coding sites for some time now, but I just recently got back into it, thanks to my friend Primo. He needed a site to show off his work, so I made him one. It’s all mostly done in JavaScript, using the wonderful gallery system from One Mighty Roar named Supersized. I had to make a few changes, and well, more is to come. I have a laundry list of things I want to accomplish with this site, mostly seeing if i can get the hang of combining jquery elements without fucking up the downloads. Also, I want to have the images hosting on a separate site- perhaps some sort of CDN (content delivery network). I want the site to be at least up and running now, just so that local clients (who don’t have to wait long anyways, because the server is in Los Angeles) can take a look at his work. After that is done, I should have more regular pushes to the site done. It feels great to code for the first time in a long time, even though I’ve become utterly terrible at it. Drove me up the wall, but I might dedicate some time to hopefully learning more javascript.

The Prop Room

This past week, I had the fortunate chance to go visit a prop room to assist my friend Primo with a photo shoot he was working on. We went to the Hand Prop Room, out in LA. While we were there just to pick up a bear trap and shackles (not going to explain it), we just got lost in their warehouse, and it was wonderful. Floor to ceiling, there were all sorts and kinds of toys, gadgets, even simple housewares. We wandered around, looking at the selection of all these kinds of things with a sense of wonder. The best part came at the back of the warehouse- a closed off room for all of their prop guns. Primo and I just peeked inside in wonderment, seeing all of the random things they had there.

As we looked in, a man working there greeted us. With our mouths agape, Primo commented, “This is amazing.” The man shrugged his shoulders as he calmly unloaded the weapon in front of him, the click of the bolt being pulled back. “Eh, you get used to it” he said in a nonchalant manner. All we could do is sit there to his reaction. So many times, we encounter amazing things in our lives, things we consider normal, but to others, it may be something out of this world. We take things for granted, even if it’s a wall of fake munitions.

my friends can be assholes.

I usually find my friends to be helpful, kind people which I rely on time and time again. This is not one of those times, unfortunately. This is one of those stories that ends up on the opposite side of the spectrum. I arrived at my friend Primo’s house one Saturday evening quite hungry, as i had not eaten anything that day. As I am inclined to do time and time again, I raided his fridge for food I came across about two and a half squares of brownies cooked by his girlfriend, Michelle- moist and very appealing brownies to my quite hungry eyes. I tore off the note she left on the note and- to put it simply- I “went to town” on the brownies, eating the baked goods in a slovenly manner. I didn’t care, I was famished. Primo and another friend, Nick, watched with amusement in the kitchen as I ate the brownies. They waited for me to finish the brownies before laughing hysterically, leaving me quite puzzled as i started picking out small chunks of the brownies still in the inside of the pan. I questioned them on the reason of their laughter, so Primo showed me the note Michelle wrote. It read: THESE ARE “MAGICAL” BROWNIES! ENJOY! I froze in shock, looking to the obscene mount of brownies I ate, the pan hanging off of my fingers as my wrist went limp, eyes wide as I glanced back and forth between Primo and Nick in pure horror. Nick chortled and observed that, “Those brownies are going to hit you HARD”. To say I had a bit of a freak out is putting it midly. I tensed, waiting for the brownies to hit me, to really be stoned for the first time. Primo and Nick took extra care to observe me that night- even going as far as to have Primo instructing Nick to watch me in the car as he went to the ATM so I “don’t have a freakout”. I was tensing up a lot- sweating, clenching my fists and hyperventilating, waiting for (and I quote Primo on this) “the munchies to kick in”. We decided to go to In and Out Burger, a popular fast food joint for dinner. Primo and Nick continued to watch as i ordered another obscene amount of food to eat for the coming munchies. I sat there as cars went past us to pick up the food. My palms were sweaty, i was trying to calm myself the best I could. I was going to enter an altered state of mind I hadn’t been to before. Primo and Nick watched utterly amused, giggling. I stopped to look up to them and asked them what they were up to. They giggled and waited for a few minutes before they told me that the pot brownies were a lie. I ate regular brownies. And I thought I was high. No one at In and Out took a second glance as i started to choke Primo out. Goddamn you, placebo effect.

schoools out, for the wiintterrrrr

Thank god, school’s done. Well, until February, that is. I’m currently relaxing at a freind’s house, letting him and his brother sate their addiction to various shooters and fighting games on my PS3, which I had left at their house in order for me to concentrate on my studies and finals . I swear, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is has been played more often on my PS3 than any other game thanks to those two. It’s a game that’s aged (for the year or two since i’s been out) quite well. Their current addiction is to go through each and every one of the levels on Terrorist Hunt, trying to beat them on the hardest difficulty setting. Their conversations and arguements while playing games together have been utterly amusing to me, down to brotherly bickering (mocking falsettos being one of their favorite methods over the use of a certain weapon or tactic to use. I might record their arguments and have it overlaid recordings of their gameplay, once I get the necessary equipment. There are no plans for classes for winter inter-session for me- i personally don’t like it, but i haven’;t been able to do any major work on my own projects during the semester, but i hope to get this time to get the projects done. I’m writing up proposals and such for the projects, as they’re going to require quite a bit of manpower. I hate talking like this in a vague sense, but I’m waiting until deals are finished and some major work is done and out of the way before i start talking about things. Some of the projects i’ve been working on have had me searching for the proper CMS engines to build upon. While I don’t want to build an outright blog and have a chronological order to all the data, I’d rather have a hybrid of sorts- to hold the information I wish in a spacial order, but have a front page blog that can keep people updated on the overall information on the site. Well, only heavy testing will help me turn out results of any kind, really. Oh yeah, I turned 21. Go me.

the new camera rocks

Primo Originally uploaded by djmayhem

Yeah uh, this is not a photograph, but a screengrab from my new camera. HV-30. HD footage. I’m busy working on some projects with it. Will write more when i have a chance. Or not being pre-occupied with twitter.

Updated, at last…

So I haven’t really posted on here. I can’t really explain why, as i’ve probably had plenty of times the last couple of weeks to do so, but i didn’t. Perhaps it was just my state of mind, being worried about one thing or another, but now, my schedule has cleaned up- i had a rash of tests the past week, and a couple more coming up this week that for once, i feel prepared for. New things have happened, actually… My friend Primo and I (along with two other friends) went on a photography excursion into downtown LA. We traveled out into the area of Fairfax/Hollywood, checking out the graffitti in the area. Most of it was done by the extremely talented CBS crew (google image the words “CBS Graffiti” to check out their work.), and it just had me thinking. Talking to Primo about it, there was an appreciation for this type of art in the neighborhood, something i had originally considered to be a nuisance. Now, I just sat in awe at some of this work, some of it so wonderfully blended, a mix of colors that made a blank wall just… so amazing. But anyways, back on subject. We were walking down an alley to find a photoshoot. Primo, being the usual loudmouth, started talking to the people on the photoshoot. “What are you guys shooting for?” He asked, pushing his chest out to show that damn camera that he won’t let me touch (too expensive). “deviantArt, an art website.” One of the people near some boxes said. I basically froze, and Primo grinned. We both have dA accounts (Primo’s and my own). We started talking freely to some of the people there, admitting that we both had accounts. One of the ladies there introduced herself as Heidi, and asked for our accounts. We both wrote it down for her, and gave it to her. Day later, we both are now subscribed to deviantArt’s pro accounts for four months. Pushed me enough to get new crap on my page. It’s sweet. Thanks again, dA people! On some other fronts, I’m finally shopping for a video camera of my own. I’ve always had to borrow a camera of my own, and it proved to be a bother for a while. Finally, I decided a while ago I’ll probably be getting one of my own, at least a very good one with 24p support. Doing my research, I think i might even just go completely HD on that side, go 1080p. Any further than that, and I’ll probably won’t be able to edit anything (2k/4k range is probably not even possible with a pro-sumer camera). So, probably a Canon HD camera. Going to do more research on that. Websites… I’m going to make a somewhat intersesting announcements on my future website plans. Not just yet, as i have to get some of the sites fixed up soon. I’ll make the announcements once the time comes for them.

Sometimes, you creep yourself out. this little ditty was done by my best friend Primo, and I volunteered to be the model after he told me the idea over the phone. I find this picture completely and utterly creepy, something that haunts me, yet I can’t help but to be really proud about it. I was in tears the entire time, yet I came out of it proud of my work and contribution to the piece. There might be another one, too.

mmmm weekends.

You gotta love them. I personally took time to relax and unplug from the computer. No forums, no chat all day Saturday and most of Sunday. It felt great not having to worry about when to do different things, and I basically took it pretty slowly. Hung out with my friend Primo, taking a good bit of work to help him work on a patio his family is trying to build over winter. I got to pick up a book for class, The Traveler, right before the mall closed at 10 pm. Already around 200 pages in, its a decent book. It really does try to push to have something of a really annoying secret culture crap. I can kinda ignore it, but hell, oh well.

Took a picture of my best friend and his new cat, Chow Fun. He’s gonna kill me after this.