2 strange movies

Tim had eccentric taste. Being brothers, I easily understood 99% of it. Whether it was his skateboards, shoes, or movies, I could trace the reasoning. But then there was that elusive single percent; elusive because even Tim couldn’t explain all too well why he liked something so much. Today, I’m going to share 2 movies that Tim loved that I simply don’t share the same admiration for.

The first: Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate starring Johnny Depp.


In summary, Johnny Depp plays a sly book dealer who goes in search of an occult prize with a commission too high to pass up. He eventually finds himself messily tangling with forces too super to be natural using only his wit and ingenuity.


Tim had talked to me about this movie on more than one occasion, meaning he really liked it. Even loved it. Personally, I give this movie a B- at best, and that’s being uber generous. It has all the ingredients for greatness, but it lacks tone and atmosphere. The danger is never menacing enough to unseat you because the performances are over-lit, and Johnny simply never gets frightened enough to justify how badly the odds are being stacked against him by some unseen menace. You can watch this movie with both eyes open, you can’t watch The Exorcist without both eyes being shut.

Now for the second: Equilibrium (or what I call “How to do Gunkata”).


Christian Bale? Check. Sean Bean? Check. A ton of martial arts co-mingled with awesome gunplay? Check and check. SO WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?


Look at that image! This movie is supposed to be so amazing you would have to shoehorn your own eyes back into your skull afterwards. We all have the Matrix in our dusty dvd collections. And that movie starred Ted “Theodore” Logan from San Dimas High! So why aren’t we enamored over Equilibrium?!?

Because stars don’t align despite best intentions. Maybe the plot fell short, maybe the fight scenes didn’t get the micro-attention they needed in editing, or maybe the financing executives demanded easy to consume mediocrity versus a really good movie.

Who knows, but Tim loved Equilibrium despite all its flaws. For him, this movie will always be this:

I watched both underachieving (IMO) films with Tim. He owned Equilibrium on dvd and had The Ninth Gate on his laptop despite it being a 12 year old movie at the time.

“That’s pretty cool right?”, was all he could say in defense of both. I didn’t care for either afterwards, but I immensely enjoyed the time spent with Tim watching them. In my opinion though, I think he loved both of these flawed films because they provided for him “a goto space”. When and where Tim first saw them made a huge impression in the most positive of ways. So much so, that when he re-watched either, he was probably able to return to those happy moments figuratively.

Hah, now that I think about it, I’m going to order both of these movies from Amazon once I’m done writing:)

Tim and the Zuck


It’s roughly 2006 I believe that this occurred.

While Tim was busy studying away on a Friday night flipping thru the dense pages of another engineering book full of graphs and no color pictures of anything interesting, he gets a call. It’s one of his CalTech buddies.

I assume the conversation went something like this:

CalTech Dude: “Hey Tim, wanna go with me to this private party in this suite at The Standard Hotel?”

Tim: “Um, I got a lot of studying to do.”

CalTech Dude: “C’mon Tim! It’s at The Standard! It’s like a private party with all these cool people! No boring engineering stuff tonight man! I got this private invite.”

Tim: “Ok, I’ll go.”

Tim and CalTech Dude get all dressed up for a night of partying at one of the hottest Los Angeles scenes at the time. They arrive at the hotel to find a huge line of overanxious people waiting to get into the club. I can picture what Tim probably saw: a queue full of young girls with dresses too tiny to cover anything, struggling to stand straight in 6 inch heels, packs of males everywhere with mouths agape circling about with their shirts unbuttoned wreaking of Coolwater and Old Spice (Axe had not come along yet).

Tim was most likely intimidated by this human moshpit of Maybelline meets Hilfiger.

CalTech Dude probably turned to Tim at this point and said (in his suburbia slang): “Look man, this line ain’t for us. Let me give my guy a call. We’re VIP status tonight.”

Tim (wide-eyed and bewildered): “Ok.”

CalTech Dude (grinning ear to ear): “We’re cool, the guy is coming down to get us. We’re set man!”

The elevator doors opens. Out walks Mark Zuckerberg. Invisible at the time to anyone, Mark’s nervous. According to Tim, sweating profusely.

Mark: “Thanks for coming. Look, the hotel people are giving me funny looks. I think they’re onto us holding a party in the suite. I’m going to give you a key. Let yourself in. If anyone looks at you weird, just keep walking past the room.”

CalTech Dude: “Cool man, btw this is my friend Tim.”

Mark: “Nice to meet you, but I gotta get back. Remember, be careful. It’s crazy in our suite right now. You think it’s crazy down here? (Laughs)”

Mark hurries off pretending to buy a soda at the vending machine.

Tim: “Is that your friend?”

CalTech Dude: “Yeah and no. I’m part of this website called The Facebook. He’s the guy that started it I think. He wants to meet all the college people on it. They’re doing like a west coast tour, maybe recruiting.”

Tim: “Ok.”

CalTech Dude and Tim nervously strut past the dense line of towering females with legs for days being courted by men who use more hair gel than common sense. Like two champions, they hit the “Up” button. The doors to Valhalla slide open.

Their heart rates increase with every floor surpassed. I don’t know what imagery flashed through their heads during that ride, but it definitely wasn’t a bland dorm room full of text books nor overpriced college paraphernalia. This was their moment. A real Friday, with adventure beckoning. No more studying alone, no more boring textbooks, no more Cup O’Noodle. Tonight, they would be men!

The doors slide open. The entire floor is quiet. Too quiet. The first beads of perspiration from anticipation form. They proceed down the well lit cavernous hallway. Cautiously, they approach the door, pausing to regain their composure.

CalTech Dude: “You ready Tim? This is it.”

Tim: “Oh man!”

CalTech Dude slides the room key into the slot. The instant before the electrical relay clicks open, they stop breathing.


CalTech Dude slowly opens the heavy door. It’s party time.

Their eyes open wide, wide for two Asian males. What they see is nothing compared to what they imagined moments ago. Their mouths probably slacked open from the irony all too real before their eyes.

A very quiet suite not quite filled to capacity. And standing around, 11 awkward guys, all with hands in their pockets. Engineers.

Tim never said if he had fun or not, but the whole experience of it was the more interesting part for him. What he stressed was that everyone at the party was strange and a tad anti-social, even from an engineer’s perspective. Tim mentioned this could had been his chance to have been part of Facebook at its infancy. Ultimately, he couldn’t hang with the crowd in that room long term. So he never pursued it.

“The Room Collage” Image #3


#1 Tim’s designer glasses. Both of us were killing time at a Rowland Heights shopping center and happened upon an overpriced eyewear retailer. Putting on earnest customer faces, Tim and I coaxed the hawkish salesperson into showing us a multitude of choices. Invoking the ancient ninja technique of team distraction, while I was asking questions regarding color and fit, Tim surreptitiously copied the serial numbers of the chosen frame(s). We ended up buying them for 2/3rd’s of the asking price direct from the interwebs.

#2 This has to be the coolest and simultaneously most overkill gaming mouse. Tim bought random things all the time, but his purchases shared one universal quality; fun.

#3 Working in SIlicon Valley does have its benefits. A particular one is a flexible spending account for medical necessities. The premise is simple, use up the credit, or lose it completely at the end of the year. So Tim decided to spend his at the dermatologist! I never realized how much Tim was into skin care.

#4 Tim ran on average 30 miles a week, roughly 5 miles a night with one day off for recovery. Here’s his souvenir for his first half marathon he ran in 2012.

#5 For a quick surge of cheap energy before each run, Tim would suck down one of these packs of gelatinized Gatorade.

#6 The last website Tim visited an hour before his accident, a map of Mt. Hamilton.


Fun Food

Timmy once told his older sister that he didn’t know how to enjoy expensive food. That he only liked the cheap stuff. Rachel never realized his inexpensive diet was so much fun though. Also, amongst his inner circle, the running joke was that Tim ran 5 miles every night only to eat more the following day.

Some notes:

Whenever the barometric pressure dropped a little too much resulting in gloomy skies, Tim would direct everyone to his favorite Vietnamese haunt, Pho Nam.

Tim loved McNuggets with barbecue sauce.

Every Tuesday was teriyaki cheesesteak day at Ed’s Teriyaki.

Tim did not cook for himself. I tried teaching him one late night, but to no avail. Any meal he didn’t eat with friends/family was most likely from Yoshinoya or Chipotle.

Tim would never order guacamole from Chipotle because he thought it was a ripoff. He opted for sour cream instead.

Despite claiming to be lactose intolerant, Tim loved ice cream. His favorite flavor was mint chocolate chip. As a child, Tim hated when dad would accidentally buy pistachio, both were artificially dyed green years ago thus the confusion.

Tim disliked eggplant and asparagus.

Tim had eaten at arguably the two best American restaurants, The French Laundry in Napa and Momofuku in New York. But, he preferred fun over fuss always.


“The Room Collage” Image #2


#1 Tim has mad style and flavor. Check out this floor mat. Need I say more?

#2 Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. There are shoes hiding everywhere. Under the bed, in the rack, under boxes, by the front door. Tim had a shoe to go with every outfit he carefully coordinated. Anyone who knew Tim, knew he took personal style seriously. Good man.

#3 Tim loved playing Angry Birds on his phone. In addition, his sense of comedy and irony boiled over into his purchases. Combined; the result was this 1:1 scale Angry Bird! I remember how proud he was of it.

#4 Like I said, Tim loved The Beatles. They fell into a category Tim termed “Happy Music”.

#5 Tim began to design his room aesthetically. He began with this installation of skateboards as art. He took much pride due to the numerous pictures I found on his camera of it. From right to left: a Rodney Mullen board, a Ryan Smith board, and the left most one I believe to be a generic with an Andy Warhol print.

#6 Laundry detergent! Not for jeans though. Tim and I dry clean(ed) our denim. We’re admitted snobs.


Tokyo Timmy


To say Timmy loved Japan is an understatement. Since his days as a toddler, Tim loved the dubbed/butchered/repackaged animation they used to show on over the air broadcast television. Eventually, that lead to much more sophisticated narratives such as Gundam, Initial D, and the penultimate Evangelion. You can blame Julie for that last one:)

To celebrate Tim’s UCLA graduation, and to brute force kickstart a rite of passage for him, I dragged Tim across the Pacific. Though intimidated at first, Tim acclimated quickly and delved into all that was Japanese pop culture. He never told me he had a great time. But, I think this excited photo of him says it all.

The following gallery comprises of images Tim took during his multiple journeys to the land of the rising sun. Please enjoy what he did.


“The Room Collage” image #1




This is the first image of a series I’m calling “The Room Collage”. It’s the room as Tim left it. The number call outs represent different facets of all the cool randomness that made up Tim.

#1 Tim, like me, discovered The Beatles late in the game. As a gift to both Tim and our mother, I purchased them tickets to attend the Cirque du Soleil performance of “Love”, a tribute to The Beatles. As I predicted, Tim’s first formal introduction to the Fab Four from Liverpool wouldn’t be trivial! As an aside, his wakeup phone ringtone ever after was “Hey Jude”.

#2 Though my sister and I have never heard him play, Tim’s friends can attest to how skilled he was jamming at the guitar. Any hobby he decided to pick up rapidly became an obsession. Only after gaining some pretty serious competency chops, would he then progress onto the next mountain to bulldoze over.

#3 Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. It’s awesome, and in my opinion, it’s this great 20th century American author’s opus magnum. Tim powered though books 1-4, but I’m not sure if he ever read 5-8. But, you should.

#4 Tim skateboarded during highschool. According to him, he was pretty damn good at it. Though I find it hard to visualize, he told me his greatest trick was an ollie impossible from a height of four stairs. For the skating illiterate, that’s elite pro-level stuff. Knowing what an overachiever Tim was, he most definitely pulled off this appropriately named “impossible” trick. Recently, Tim was venturing back into skating as evident by the four skateboards he owned.

#5 Empty Amazon boxes were Tim’s last priority. What came in them was first. He didn’t bother with throwing them out if it took time away from him enjoying what came in them. Santa Claus for Tim drove a big brown truck with 3 gold initials stenciled onto the side year round.

A test post

This is Timmy’s site first test post. After numerous false starts, here we go. The image of the Adidas Stormtrooper has no significance, it’s just something cool I found on the interwebs. It’s awesome epitomized, and Tim would agree.