I’m still not sure how I ended up in Tijuana, I’m still not sure how I ended up being a writer.
My days in Tijuana are mostly a blur and just like that, it’s been 2 years and a half in this city. TijuanaAdventure is about to become 1 year old. It’s been a year since I ventured down to El Bordo to help document deportees with the Frenchman of YouMakeMyTrip.com.
I’m not sure what I’m doing as a writer, but it’s working. Just when I was getting discourage about being a writer, BAM! 4 publications in the San Diego Reader on a row (3 of them one day after the other). A diverse group of articles all in Tijuana:
I’m not sure what I’m doing in Tijuana, the desire to travel is strong. Though I love Tijuana, I feel completely stuck in here and need to get on a plane as soon as a possible. That’s why I am inspired to keep writing more, maybe find a part time job, find more guitar gigs and do more tours. At least Tijuana Adventure is growing by itself and I have a couple of tours lined up in the next days.
I need a vacation pronto, not anywhere new, but places that I’ve called home before. I have three choices:
1. Los Angeles would be the easiest choice, but not the best one. It would be cheap to get there, but expensive to enjoy a couple of days. I could stretch it up to San Francisco if the money is good.
2.Querétaro would be the cheapest and a guarantee relax/fun rest for me. Maybe I can visit Guadalajara if the money is good.
3. Minneapolis because of an old love interest and to reminiscence my days in college. But is a risky choice of just spending a week in the cold tundra. I can visit Michigan if the money is enough.
I’m sure any of them will remind me why I live in Tijuana and will give me perspective on what to do next. Traveling the world plans will come later as I try to make my living as moldable to any scenario possible to be able to be anywhere with any concerns.
As for this webpage, I get many readers thanks to my clever SEO. Some people search for “Donald Faison’s dick” and they find my post about him and Bob Saget. The rest of the people that come here, I have no idea what they do so. But the few that send me encouraging messages, I truly appreciate it.
Now, I’m sure there’s not that many people looking for Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks) pictures, but I’ve been obsessed with Fresh Prince of Bel Air and he is the only person I saw from that show. I never saw Will Smith, but I’ve heard he was a great guy. I did see Jada, Jaden, and Willow, but they weren’t in the Fresh Prince so I’m not going to bother looking up their pictures.
Also, I grew up watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air in Spanish which is called “El Principe del Rap” and it sounds like this:
Most the jokes are translated to fit a different narrative. Binge watching all the seasons of Fresh Prince made me realize how genius this show really is and not only a shitty comedy.
Alfonso Ribeiro at LAX with his daughter on April 8th, 2009.
It’s been a confusing month.
It’s been a confusing year.
These are very confusing times.
It was only a couple of years back when Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and more where just little rich kids running around Hollywood and I was chasing behind them (weird…) Now they do crazy different shit and people hate them. I mean, they truly hate them. Without even knowing them or even coming close to them, they despise them. Then we all act surprised when a celebrity kills themselves. It seems like celebrity culture will never evolved since it happens to all idols through the decades.
“Celebrities! They are just like US! They kill themselvesl!” I wish US magazine had an honest headline from time to time. And I do not mean to disrespect Robin Williams, I am a huge fan of most of his work. Though I never saw him in person, I heard from fellow paparazzi that he was always nice, kinda weird, but super funny. But people think it’s funny to say things like “Wish it was Kim Kardashian that died instead of Robin Williams.” Fucking hipster hating culture saying shit for the sake of spewing words.
Robin Williams, thanks for Jumanji. That was the first movie I saw twice in the theaters in my life when I was 9.
I received plenty of hate on my direction. But not even 1% of the hate Justin Bieber receives on a daily basis. It was even a clue on Jeopardy “President Obama received over 1,000 signatures to deport this Canadian pop star” – who is Bieber. Is it seriously worth your time to hate someone? Can you just ignore him? If you are going to hate, leave it to the experts, because all of you are doing it wrong.
Bieber’s music is horrid. We can all agree on that (except teenage girls, but their opinions are meaningless). But to me, he was just some normal Canadian kid with luck playing a game that he doesn’t even understand. His bodyguards were dicks, the airport handlers were bitchy, but Bieber… he was just having fun. I saw him a few times and when I won the game, most the time he would just give up and let his picture get taken. Only once he was quicker than me, outran me and I couldn’t get a picture.
Because I know all of you wanted to see some Bieber pictures, here he is in all of his magnificent little lesbian kid like glory.
Pictures taken in 2010 and 2011. He is probably much more of a dick now… but seriously, what did you expect?!
Now me. The SanDiegoRed stopped publishing me because they could not afford outside writers anymore and at the same time the SDReader rejected a couple of my articles. Like everyone in the world at some point, I have felt like giving up. Just flush my dreams down the toilet and go back to slave work. But a friend asked me… “What do you think you will be doing next year?”
The future is highly volatile, but I do believe I will be doing what I am doing for the next couple of years. The real question is what am I doing? I decided to freelance everything I do, but I’ve only been writing, the rest of my jobs are basically on hold. As a writer I have leaped over a lot of steps, so it is time to ride on the comfortable position I am in and get side income.
Tijuana Adventure turns 1 year old at the end of August and that business venture has grown by itself. I’ve had a few tours through the year but not enough to really count it as a side income. Tijuana Adventure also has an Instagram account now and I’m changing the angle of the tours and the website in general. Event promoter, Caliblablabla, will be helping with some adventures.
Besides that, I need to get back to all other things I like to do, music and photography.
I will be offering music lessons and pursuing students again. Location, prices and schedules to be announced later. Hopefully, I’ll get more paid gigs in restaurants and/or weddings.
I will be needing a better camera than just my iPad mini for photography work, this will take more time but will get back to being the photographer I once was.
When you freelance all your life, it is bound to have some ups and downs. My birthday month was definitely an up. I dedicated all my time and energy on a project (TRF) that when it ended, it felt like going down on the Dragster (Cedar Pointe) reaching top speed and in an instant, it is all gone. Just like that, I was at he bottom again. If it wasn’t for friends and family, I would be on the streets right now. Luckily, I have plenty of support, but also, plenty of debt.
More than 20 days have passed since TRF and it feels like it has been years. I felt like I needed to escape from Tijuana or myself. With no money, my escape was to shave my head. I actually just wanted a regular haircut, but my friend that cuts my hair was on vacation. I told a couple of male friends to just shave my head, but they did a horrible job that I ended up doing it myself. I didn’t do a good job myself since I looked like a crackhead mental hospital runaway. Luckily, I found the kindness of a stranger that bought me a beer and help me finish the job (weird huh?)
I already posted about Britney in this blog before. I was there after she shaved her head and talked in weird accents. In the eyes of the world, she acted insane. I don’t think there’s nothing insane about wanting a change in your life and opting on shaving your head. Of course, its way more of a shock when a female does it, but the relief of getting rid of dead weight feels magnificent. In other words, I feel like I comprehend Crazy Spears (to a certain degree).
June is now an uphill battle almost conquered. I’ve been working almost everyday of the month and remain at $0, which is fine since the desire to go out and socialize is null. Instead, I’ve got the World Cup fever, making me miss my first official writing job. I started writing about soccer again, just for pleasure. And luckily, a section that I didn’t know existed in the San Diego Reader picked up my writings.
The last World Cup I lived it in Los Angeles when I lived in Mariner’s Village. Mexico played the opening game and I woke up at 6 am to drink a six-pack of Heineken and watch the game, no one in the area cared about the World Cup except the European paparazzi. Of course I saw many soccer players and took their pictures. In fact, the first picture that I took of someone famous was in January 2001 when my brother recognized Ronaldinho in the airport of Rio de Janeiro. He quickly ran to him and told me to grab a camera. We only had a disposable camera and that did the trick.
(December 13, 2011)I also saw El Pibe Valderrama walking around Tom Bradley terminal, seemingly lost. I decided not to bother him.
I have no idea what is going to happen to Tijuana Rumble Fest, all I know is that it happened and it changed me forever. Yes, I am is in serious debt and no profits were made. But there was some success. There was never an accurate count of people that went to the festival, but a large percentage were Americans. A lot of locals made an appearance as well, the idea from the very beginning was to mix the two Californias in art and music again. Being one of the organizers was one of the most difficult tasks I’ve done in my life, that I can’t wait till I can simply be a writer and a concert goer instead of the one behind the scenes.
“I feel…. thin. Sort of stretched, like … butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don’t expect I shall return. In fact I mean not to.”
For some reason, I feel like Bilbo Baggins did when he let go of the one ring.
Was it worth it?
From the very beginning the only thing I asked for was to enjoy 100 Onces, and I did. Carlo Magaloni came up to me while rocking out to them and gave me a hug “esto es tu mero mole,” he said. That was my only moment when I thought “this was worth it.”
I’m not trying to be condescending to the other bands, but I was too busy with everything else that I can’t give you a full honest review of how you sounded. But from the comments I’ve heard, everyone was fantastic, except the sound engineer who gave us a lot of problems.
It was a true rumble of the egos. Not only between the bands who all wanted the prime spot after there was only one stage, but between the three stage managers, Chad Deal, David Villegas and myself. Managing and trying to please so many talented artists at the same time is next to impossible. I will never see a festival the same way I did before and I applaud all event organizers that somehow manage the unpredictable.
I’ve showered a handful of times since the fest. I still smell like TRF.
And now to add a paparazzi bullshit touch to my post:
50 Cent and Matisyahu just had an AMA on reddit. I’m sure they didn’t read my comments but here’s what happened.
50 Cent was on March 13 of 2009. Fiddy was arriving with his posse from a flight from who the fuck cares. I was reluctant to take his picture, but said fuck it, there’s nothing he can do. He came out of the elevator and pretended to attack me. I yelled out “don’t pull a Kanye on me!” He laughed and got in the limo repeating my joke. Kanye had just attacked a paparazzo friend and it was all over the news, hence the joke.
Matisyahu was a complete accident. It was January 18, 2010 and I was waiting for someone else (I saw Dita Von Teese, Edward Norton and Josh Groban). I saw Matisyahu and thought to myself “fuck yeah, that dude is the man,” I had my camera and snapped away. He was super awesome.
I had a great birthday.
One of the best I ever had.
The most memorable birthdays I ever had was when I got Super Smash Bros. for the N-64 when I was 13.
The other was three years ago when I turned 25, quit my job and went on a road trip.
Then this last one that I turned 28. I won’t get in to much detail, but it was four nights straight, almost 96 hours without sleeping (small naps now and then but not for more than an hour). It started with a San Diego Reader party on Wednesday. Thursday we had a TRF meeting with the whole team to finalize some details. At midnight it became my birthday and we started celebrating heavily. Didn’t sleep for more than an hour from like 9 am to 10 am and somehow I forced myself to stay up my whole birthday to crack of dawn on Saturday. That morning I got up early (slept for like 2 hours maybe) for a video shoot with a model from San Diego for TRF and I took the opportunity to take pictures with my iPad.
It made me miss photography work a lot. Not with celebrities, but with models (in LA you get asked for pictures a lot when you have great gear). If I could do that with just an iPad (plus a bunch of editing), imagine what I could do with my old gear? I used to have such good gear. My favorite was my last setup with NPG when I had a Nikon D3 with a 70-200mm/2.8f lens in one bag (it was my boss’s old camera, the same one that snapped Britney Spears shaving her head and showing her lady parts coming out of a car). And a Nikon D700 with a short-lens (kit), flash + grip in my other bag.
My freelance life is growing. In an ideal life I could do each of my jobs for 3 months a year (with some flexibility of course). And travel all over.
I’m currently juggling all of this somehow:
1. Writer: San Diego Reader, San Diego Red, b1mas4 (in Spanish), translating and ghostwriting for a French guy that hired me all the way from Thailand to do work on his webpage. In addition to updating this blog, Tijuana Adventure and TRF. Other small writing jobs come at me often.
2. Musician: Even though I haven’t gone to practice with them, once I have a car, I know I can get back on the groove with The RockinJazzBigBand as their bass player. I’m also getting gigs by myself with my classical guitar music thanks to a friend from the jazz band as intermediate between the sets of their band (The Zinchiladas). Finally, with my alternative math-rock project Donkey Chow. We had a show at Mous Tache bar in Tijuana the other night and went great. The name might change and recordings will be coming out soon.
3. Tijuana Adventure is going great with more visitors to the site and emails every now and then with people interested in a tour. However I’m way too busy with the music festival and the VIP tickets Tijuana Rumble Fest! Which takes us to #4.
4. Tijuana Rumble Fest. I’m organizing and co-ordinating the event. It has been a lot of work since a friend invited me to throw a festival with him back in March. From a tiny idea, it caught on fire and turned into a huge festival.
5. Photography. This is still not for profit and I don’t have gear except my iPad. But working with a model was so much fun and I know I could get way better pictures if I had better gear and if it was magic hour instead of 2:30 pm. If there’s one thing that I’m super grateful for my 4 years as a paparazzo was learning the best of many amazing photographers. People depict most of the paps as idiots with a camera, but trust me that taking pictures of someone that doesn’t want their picture taken in the middle of others in a public space is not an easy task.
The rest of my birthdays have been utter shit. I remember in one of them I got air-kicked on the chest by simultaneous legs of two different people that were friends of my older brother. We were playing Caballeros del Zodiaco and I went flying and smashed against the wall dramatically, fell down slowly and was injured for the rest of the day. Of course this a decorated story, I was 8 at the time and that’s how it remember happening. I cried the rest of the day because my thumb had a huge bruise and I had scrapes all over my knees and elbows.
Anyway, one of the favorite people saw back in the day was Henry Rollins. This was in September 1st, 2008.
There were a lot of paparazzi waiting at the Tom Bradley International Terminal for someone I didn’t get pictures off and that I completely forgot by now (it was probably Victoria Beckham or something). But Henry Rollins came out before her and I snuck out of the way and into the parking lot where he was headed to take pictures. He approached me and for a moment I was scared of him. He asked me if he take a look at my camera, I gave it to him nervously. He then commented on the grip for the flash and asked me about what sort of camera gear I used. Apparently the PunkGod wanted some recommendations on what camera he should buy.
I don’t give a shit about Megan Fox, much less now that fucking Michael Bay cast her as April O’Neil. I know, I know…Megan Fox is hot, but there are a lot of better looking women with much more talent than her. And for TMNT they didn’t even try to make her look similar to what she looks like in the cartoon. Why didn’t they cut her hair and dye it the right color?! Anyway, rant over…. the reason I mention Megan Fox’s birthday is because we were born in the exactly the same day.
I’m 28 today and so is she. I told her this one day at LAX on August 7th, 2009. Megan and Brian were arriving from a flight on terminal 3 and they crossed the bridge to the parking lot (trying to be sneaky, but LAX was my territory and it was hard to get past me). Another rookie photographer was there, he didn’t get any good pictures since Bryan was not cooperating and neither was Megan.
Before they got into the town car I started telling her that we were born on the exact same day. I simply blurted out “we have the exact same birthdate! May 16th, 1986!” She just looked at me confused (but at least I got her to uncover her face for a picture). The airport handler, who was a friend of mine, got in the car with them (tsk tsk… guess where paparazzi get the tips). I saw him later that day at the horrible excuse of food court that LAX has and told me that Megan commented on the stuff I said and she told the handler that she thought I was making it up.
That was five years ago. Both me and Megan were the same age, one behind the camera, the other just walking around being hot. Now a days I don’t do that job anymore and I couldn’t be happier, while she is still doing her “job” and with the help of Michael Bay she is destroying my childhood.
I saw her many times before this. Once she was already through LAX security and I got far away pictures that you could barely tell it was her, this was in June 4th, 2008. I wasn’t a good photographer, she wasn’t that famous.
I saw her in Hollywood several times. From what I remember, she used to drive a black Mercedes Benz with tinted windows and lived closed to Zac Efron on Woodrow Wilson Drive off of Mulholand Drive.
But enough about her and now it’s about me.
I never cared much for birthday celebrations. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my birthday, people tend to be super nice and I appreciate everyone that takes a second off of their life to congratulate me. But I simply don’t enjoy the pressure to have a good birthday, much like I don’t like New Years. This time it’s on a Friday and I have nothing planned (I never do). I can guarantee something, I’ll be out in downtown Tijuana in my favorite eateries and drinkeries. Want to join me? You could through Tijuana Adventure!
It’s been a bit over 2 years since I moved to TJ out of necessity because I didn’t want to work ever again and I had no money. Now I work everyday, but it doesn’t feel like it. My writing career took off and now I’m making as much money as I was when I was taking pictures of celebrities. Besides freelance writing for several sources, I’m getting paid guitar gigs. Soon I will be able to purchase a camera and get more work there. BUT besides all of this…. TRF!!!!
I’m one of the main organizers for TRF. I can add that to my resume of things I do with my freelance life. Like a dream come true, I got offered to create a perfect festival with no investment. TRF was just a tiny idea by a friend of mine (Danger David) and it suddenly became a huge team of people working for a common goal of throwing the best party of 2014 (and many years to come).
May 31st, save the date. This festival is going to be amazing.