ChrIsuzu – A 26-year-long Surprise Love Affair [part 1]

November 6th, 2010 Chris Kim A Posted in Meandering, Misc | 2 Comments »

My 1984 Isuzu i-Mark

My brand-new 1984 Isuzu I-Mark diesel.

The story of how I came by this wonderful machine really begins with its predecessor, a 1976 AMC Pacer, but to explain how I came to own that car, I’d have to go into what happened to its predecessor, a 1969 Mustang, so we’ll leave it at that for now.

The fact is, I was in need of a new car, and a co-worker had just purchased one of these and worked out a good deal with the salesman, and he thought I’d be able to get the loan with my trade-in allowance, etc.

It seemed like a good move for me at the time (remember this is 1984 and I’m in my early 20’s) — I needed a car, and a new one would be nice; I needed to get a credit history going, and my job seemed stable enough to at least last the length of the car loan. When I test drove it the first time, i was really impressed by how it felt and handled.

The second test run was the night I signed all the papers and drove away in it — the dash and panel lights, the way the headlights shone, the way the park and running lights looked…all convinced me that I would at least not be that unhappy while I paid off the loan so I could trade up to my “real” car (whatever that would reveal itself to be).

"ChrIsuzu 1985 road trip"

1985: My brother Bill and I showing off our new wheels in front of our Dad's house.

There was absolutely no way I would have known at that point, or for several more months that this would turn out to be my “real car”!

A 4-cylinder diesel car wasn’t particularly sexier in 1984 than it is today, and Isuzu discontinued the consumer passenger diesel line after this production year. Not a jack-rabbit off the starting line, or a fast-climber on inclines, either, I suppose I can understand how it didn’t compete with the other mid-80s consumer conveyances.

Fast-acceleration-issues aside, I very quickly became enamored by its increasing good-fit for me. Every time I got behind the wheel, it just felt a little more right. Besides, a fast-moving car on the freeways, streets and by-ways of Los Angeles would have just be a bad, short-lived idea for me in those days. Plenty of room in the front and back seats, and a surprisingly roomy trunk for a vehicle of its relatively tiny size. It even turned out to be comfortable enough to sleep in on several occasions (not the trunk, of course, but the front seats reclined nicely even with the seat position set back).

Look for more on the ChrIsuzu in upcoming posts…


  • Stolen and Returned – Bullwinkle Testifies!
  • California From Your Car – The Book That Wasn’t
  • 250,000 Miles! Return Trip From The Moon
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Kim A Gallery :: Other Drawings :: DevilDebbie

January 28th, 2010 Chris Kim A Posted in Art, Meandering | 4 Comments »

Ah, Little Debbie! Few things have been as consistent in my life as the Swiss Cake Roll queen, Little Debbie. I think I was enchanted by her depiction on the box before I’d even ingested the delectables in the box. In her girly bonnet, she kind of looked like someone that would be in my Sunday School. Somewhere along the way, I learned that the owner/proprietor of the McKee Baking Company had named the line of snack cakes after his granddaughter (Debbie), and that we are about the same age. I used to wonder if her friends had a direct line on all free Swiss Cake Rolls they wanted, which was just idle thinking, since there was little chance my family would be moving to Collegedale, Tennessee in the foreseeable future.

It seems for a time, the treats were only available regionally (in the MidWest), and after I’d moved to California, I would bring 2-3 boxes back to L.A. every time I’d go back home for a visit. Fortunately, they finally started carrying them locally, and I could stop being a Swiss Cake Roll mule for my transplanted midwestern friends.

Kim A Gallery :: Other Drawings :: DevilDebbie.

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Flummoxed Adopter — Me, Tech, & The Early Days

January 27th, 2010 Chris Kim A Posted in Misc, Technology | No Comments »

Here’s the thing: I’m as shocked as the next that I’d end up having anything at all to do with computers, let alone have them play such a utilitarian and seemingly seamless and natural role in my everyday life.

In fact, there was a fair period early on that I was relatively convinced that computers and such could well be the gateway to perdition (frankly, I’m still not completely unconvinced, especially on days I get to help with the one Windows machine we have at the office).

When I was in junior high school, my grandmother bought me a DIY binary computer kit, with little spring contacts, bridge wires, little incandescent light bulbs, and sliding switches. I’m pretty sure there must have been a manufacturing defect in some part of the device, as I could never get it to appear to function the way the instruction manual indicated that it should. Computers: 1, me: 0

It’s also important to keep in mind that back in my high school days, portable hand-held calculators were just becoming affordably available to the average family, and were typically verboten in class. The computer “lab” class was a DECwriter connected to some machine that ran enough BASIC to program the printout of a big green-bar paper banner. However, to even get that close to the machine, you had to have made your way through Calc and Trig, and my loose grip on math skills got derailed somewhere early on in Algebra II my sophomore year. Computers: 2, me: 0

It wouldn’t be until I had moved to California and found myself in the position of operations manager for Pacific Bell’s paging services vendor that I would finally break through my old notions as SysAdmin on the 3b2/400 mini mainframe from AT&T that ran a solid System V Unix. The score was about to even up, and even a turnover would seem plausible…

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Over vs Under: How do you lace _your_ Chucks?

January 25th, 2010 Chris Kim A Posted in Methodology, Misc | No Comments »

Over or Under?

For most of my adult life, Converse’s Chuck Taylor low-tops have been my standard non-sandal footwear. While I prefer the unbleached canvas ones, I’ve had to settle for bleached white on occasion. Rarely (as in almost never), will I buy my low-Chucks in any other color or trendy style (that double-tongue thing, that laces sewn down thing) — for me, shoes are those things you put on your feet to protect them from poop and sharp things on the ground, not particularly a statement of fashion or anything in particular. As you can see, I’ll wear my Chucks thoroughly before replacing them.

Which brings me to the point of my query — each time I start out a new pair, I puzzle over how to begin the laces: over or under? In the box, the laces are decoratively laced through the eyelets, and here, over does look better, but as you may know, the laces are rarely functional from the factory, and must be redone from scratch. To be fair to both camps, I alternate from pair to pair (the shoes depicted are from two different pairs), but am curious how others go about getting their Chucks’ laces started.

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When in Doubt, Wing It

January 25th, 2010 Chris Kim A Posted in Meandering, Misc, Self-Advocacy | No Comments »

Fly Pig, FlyThere was a time when it was a lot easier for me to come up with some way of doing something I found interesting (whether I knew what I was doing or not) and just doing it. In hindsight, the greatest ally of my youth seems to have been not being weighed down by knowledge and experience.

The great blessings of my curiosity, busy eyes and hands have always compelled me to investigate, create and fabricate artifacts of my experiential journey. Setting off in one direction to explore an idea, the path frequently begins branching out in other directions, many of which seem worth pursuing. Along the way, I may temporarily suspend the initial investigation to fathom the usefulness of the new branch’s offering, or I may abandon it entirely for the new branch’s potential for new and shiny.

Keeping notes of things to get back to used to appear to help — but the more I take in, the more my interests seem to branch out. Computer-aided organization of these ideas and pursuits was a reasonable and logical solution, but there are more and more new and shiny things down that rabbit-hole, too. Over time, my researching has become a bit of a morass of indecision and barren of artification, or artifacting or even much annotation. “Too Much Information” as the Police so aptly put it before I realized it had happened to me (and well before ‘TMI’ was to become co-meme-erated).

Unexpectedly, I’ve allowed the variety and voracity of my unbridled curiosity to short-circuit the documentation of the process (the art or artifacts, or at least some notes). In the absence of any clearer notion than this, I find myself in the familiar position of just jumping in anyway. Okay, to be honest, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that one more pointless, meandering, whatever-pops-in-your-head personal blog on the interwebs actually has neutral valence in general, but may well be a good move in self-advocacy for me, personally. Really.

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A Day So Nice the Sun Wouldn’t Give It Up

January 11th, 2009 Chris Kim A Posted in Misc, Venice Locals | 2 Comments »

A Day So Nice the Sun Wouldn’t Give It Up
Originally uploaded by Chris Kim A

Watching the Sun set tonight on Venice Beach, as I am very blessed to do, frequently.

The weather was so very nice today, that even the Sun seemed to take its time going down. Minutes after the official setting time, a band of clouds just on the horizon still held the brilliant light afloat, making it look like the Sun had simply flattened out against the edge of the world.

Even Catalina and Anacapa were clearly visible to the South, their purple profiles etched sharply into the orange sky beyone Palos Verdes Peninsula.

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To change the World, change your mind…a lot…and often.

December 19th, 2008 Chris Kim A Posted in Misc, SocioPoliSci | No Comments »

The recent U.S. Presidential Campaign stirred up the country in an unprecedented way. Whether you watched, participated in, or avoided it, practically everyone was swept up in the hope of a World changing for the better. Hope is great (certainly better than not having any at all), but it won’t get the job done on its own.

It dawned on me that the frequent, compelling, nagging feeling I get to make some kind of difference in the world has been even more frequently squelched by the terror of the sheer immensity of the task. I mean, really, change the World? As it is, I barely have enough energy left at the end of the day to change the channels… but, somehow, almost miraculously, I seem to muster enough to at least distract myself into a temporary state of blissful, beautiful, backlit LCD denial that lasts long enough to convince me it’s too late to do anything tonight, anyway.

The real shocker was this: while I really do want to broaden my part in making this world a better place, I’d really prefer that it not be too uncomfortable or inconvenient. Yikes. Am I as selfish as that sounds? or just human? or both?

Okay, now, I don’t feel this way all the time (thankfully), but it certainly pops up often enough to notice that it weighs in unpleasantly heavy far more often than not. Wow. Making a difference was turning out to be different than what I imagined, in that I had to start with changing my mind about what it takes to change the world.

Change can be daunting, usually because it means something will be different. If it turned out the same, it wouldn’t be change. For a real headache, consider that change may the only constant in the observable universe. But the newsflash is in: Science has proven that the universe is made up of an unfathomable number of virtually unobservable, imperceptibly discreet movements — teeny, tiny changes — that aggregate into a galactic-scale difference.

Honestly, I get it: everyone is busy. Some more than others (okay, so if you’ve found your way here, maybe you’re not so busy). Perhaps some of this sounds familiar: throughout the day, moments are filled with anticipating the next task, event, obligation; barely getting through the task at hand before multitasking efficiently on to the next actionable item. New items and opportunities squeeze their way into the schedule and the dance card is getting crowded, but the flurry of activity is exciting and exhausting at the same time.

Now here’s the thing: between the time you start and end your day, you likely have interacted with some of the rest of us who live here, too. Here in the world. The one in which your bubble (and mine, and everyone else’s) is an integral part. In most cases, no one is out to thwart your efforts to get on to the next thing. In fact, they’re probably just as frustrated and harried by the whole experience as you are.

So, where to begin? Tackling it all is too much, and although what I’ve been doing has helped up to now, I’d like to dial up my efforts where I can. Even if it’s just a few seconds here and there. Starting to get the idea?

No matter how full my day is, in the course of getting it all executed and performed and delivered, etc., I can take a moment or two, a few seconds, at least, to have a kind word of salutation or well-wishing for the other humans in my way…er, I mean, in my day.

Thus was born A place where suggestions, reminders, and the like of simple, little, even discreet things that can not only ease the human relations of the day, but maybe even add something to someone else’s day.

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4th of July, Middle of the USA

July 4th, 2008 Chris Kim A Posted in Misc | No Comments »

4th of July, Middle of the USA

Originally uploaded by StarvArt

Visiting the folks out in the rurals east of KCMO. Sitting on Dad’s front porch (they’ve long been to bed), listening to Eat A Peach and watching the neighbor’s all try to outdo each other in pyrotechnics; all the while competing with the spectacular lightning bug display.

Way way way too many mosquitos for such a lovely night!

[sent from my iPhone]

PS: I really should apologize for the photo. Had I thought of it earlier in the evening, I might’ve done better, in spite of the iPhone’s sketchy camera. It was sort of a test of getting the iPhone to e-mail a photo to flickr to post to this blog.

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trout phishing in america

April 7th, 2008 Chris Kim A Posted in Meandering, Misc | No Comments »

Trojan Barbie Surely, someone must have come up with this catchy title already. Gee, it’s so Web 2.0 and all.  Don’t worry, this has little (or nothing) to do that spurious web practice. If you really want to know about that, there are surely more credible resources than me, so be sure and check out Wikipedia’s take on phishing . I just needed to get a blog rolling, and this is what came to mind. Must’ve subconsciously been the Trojan Barbie inspiration.

Bearing this notion of forward motion in mind, I’ve resolved to resume my mission to seek out new life and new civili… no, wait, that’s not my mission…

Ah, yes, that’s right! It’s the old what have you done to be Bringing Art and Humankind Back Together Again lately? ploy. As missions go, it’s always seemed like a good one to me, but what does it mean now as we tread past the threshold of the 21st century? Good question, eh? Seems like there are quite a few people asking similar questions now, and I’d like to get a bit closer to where it’s happening and see what they’re up to along the lines of figuring out how to make the tangental more tangible.

So, between what may accumulate here, or certainly at (and any/everywhere else), my only agenda now is to cast my bread upon the waters with renewed curiosity and wonder. It’s not like I’m new to this Internet craze , after all. Maybe I burned out (or up) or just got bored with it early on waiting for people (read: my non-virtual friends & family) to catch up while all the developers were discarding standards so rapidly that there weren’t any anymore. (Heh. There still doesn’t seem to be any real strict ones when it comes to the web beyond its most basic, but what do I know? Dammit, Jim, I’m an artist, not a software engineer.)

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