A while ago, Jupe (his name is Cristian but I still call him Jupe) invited me to a Discord server called “Dummy Lit”. Jupe and Reach (also known as Nick) planned to visit LA for a month or so. Eric (Oksami — I actually call Eric by his name) offered them to stay at his parents’ place. Since they were all going to be together at the same time, I asked if I could tag along.
Last year, I also wanted to visit some friends in LA for the 4th of July weekend. It seems as though everyone on Twitter flocks to Southern California around that time. Unfortunately, I caught a stomach bug on my way back from Electric Forest and decided to cancel the trip. I felt similar (but less intense) symptoms the few days before I was leaving. This made me worried that I would need to cancel the trip again. Fortunately, that bug cleared up before it got worse.
I left in the morning of July 4, took the shuttle to Vegas, and flew out to LAX. For those of you who keep up with me on Goodreads, I finally finished reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck during my commute. The story made me cry on the plane. You may or may not be surprised to hear that. I highly recommend you to read it.
While I was at my gate, ready to board, I was leaning against a thick support pole. Suddenly, I felt dizzy. At first, I assumed the movement was from the janitor behind me, since he was replacing the trash bags. I turned around, but the shaking also confused him, and he glanced around the room. My eyes followed his to the hanging, swinging TVs. Someone pointed to the passenger boarding bridge and whispered to their friend, “Look, it’s moving.”
Apparently, there was a 6.4-magnitude earthquake near the Mojave dessert. Jupe texted me that he felt an earthquake (in LA), and I responded that I felt it too. Luckily, it wasn’t huge or damaging for either of us. I also got a text from my other friend Richard asking if I felt the earthquake. He thought I was already in LA, so I told him that, yes, I felt it (later estimated MMI 2.5) all the way in Las Vegas.
Eric, Reach, and Jupe came to pick me up from the airport. It was my first time meeting Reach and Jupe, but it was my third time meeting up with Eric. We all caught up a bit on the car ride, heading to pick up their friend Juan (Grizz Rivers) from his house. It was also my first time meeting Juan; I had only e-met him on Discord a few weeks prior to the trip as we were planning. First live impression? “Wow. That guy can ollie.”
After we finally reached Eric’s home, we sat around, talked, and played our own music for a few hours. It was similar to our usual Dummy Lit voice chats, but we were together in person, eating Eric’s mom cornbread muffins. It was so inspiring to hear everyone’s works-in-progress. I also finally got to witness Eric’s perfect-pitch-recognition in action. My mind melted.
The Dummy Lit 4th of July BBQ
Closer to dinner, two of Eric’s friends came over — Richard (apparently anti-social-media, but he’s confirmed on Tinder if you want to find him) and Jeff (of POPeye Media). We got to work right away. We spent an hour or two cooking up turkey burgers, hot dogs, and steak. Reach spent a fair amount of time on the grill, and for him, we are forever grateful.
Eric and I kind of messed up on our first batch of turkey burgers. Neither of us knew how long to cook them for, so we just kind of guessed. The instructions said to cook them for 15-17 minutes, so at least we passed that amount of time. Honestly, no one really trusted the turkey burgers. I took one bite of gristle and pushed the rest of it to the side of my plate. Luckily, we also had Eric’s mom’s peach/avocado salad, honey butter chips, some Asian drinks, and Reach’s blessed hot dogs and steak.
The entire night was full of laughs and good food. We had three disposable cameras, and took turns taking pictures.
If anyone ever remembers to develop and scan them in the future, I’ll be sure to include those photos here Juan got the images developed! If you’re reading this after August 9, 2019, congratulations. They’re sprinkled around the post. Looks kinda cursed, but in an aesthetically pleasing kind of way.
After we had eaten, we headed toward a closed hill and climbed up to the top. From there, we could get a view of all the firework shows in LA at once. It was mesmerizing. Those who were familiar with the surrounding areas were pointing and naming cities. The rest of us just enjoyed.
The road was blocked off, so it was relatively quiet. There were two cars that managed to bypass the barrier; the second one surprised us from behind. I threw myself to the side of the mountain to avoid impact. I remember seeing Reach’s face very vividly because he was reassuring me that I was alright. I hate cars.
We were really craving something after the fireworks shows. Some of us were craving something cold, others craved something sweet, and I craved something hot (because I am always cold). We went some place for shaved ice, but there was a 45-minute wait, so we went to another place across the parking lot. Eric and I split a nice, warm red bean soup with taro. Everyone else got sweet drinks.
We closed the night out in an outdoor lounging area, swapping stories and getting to know one another. I loved every moment of it.
Dummy Lit Takes On…
The next morning, I believe I woke up earlier than anyone. I went to the restroom to shower, stared at the foreign contraption, turned on the water a couple of times, but could not intuitively figure out how to switch the water from “bath” to “shower”. So, I gave up and went back to my room.
About a half hour later, I heard the bath water turn on, then off. On, then off. I giggled to myself as I received an Instagram DM from Juan asking if I knew how to turn on the shower. After a few minutes of squeaking, I heard a “woo!” and the sound of water rushing from the shower head rather than the faucet.
Bodega Ping Pong
After everyone had woken up and gathered at the table, we decided to head out for the day. Juan had told Jupe and Reach about a street-wear shop called Bodega, so we wanted to visit and see what they had to offer.
A produce shop masked the store-front, which was unique and a great point of conversation. Juan told us that it was because they didn’t want to take business away from the real produce shop near-by.
I’m not Bodega’s target demographic, but I appreciate the style of the shop and what they had to offer. They sold everything from sweatshirts to “thot water”. We also found their ping pong table hidden under a display some flat-bill hats, but we started playing on it.
Jupe was pretty much the only one willing to buy anything from the store, but he had really bad luck. I think he wanted a shirt or a pair of shoes, but they didn’t have what he wanted. So, Dummy Lit left the store empty handed. Eric and I had fun with ping pong, though.
The Parking Garage
As we were heading back to the car, Jupe and Reach decided to race. I thought it was silly. However, my emotions quickly turned to shock. Jupe’s legs gave in and he found himself on the ground. He got back up quickly, and moved out of the way of a car, toward Reach. As Eric, Juan, and I caught up to them, we noticed that Jupe had scratched himself up pretty bad from the fall.
Juan asked if I was okay, because my mouth was agape for probably ten whole minutes in shock. We made a quick stop to pick up a first-aid kit and water to clean up Jupe’s battle wounds.
Santa Monica & Venice Beach
We decided we were hungry, so when we arrived at Santa Monica pier, we set on the hunt for food. Because Jupe was still in pain, he waited at the boardwalk. Juan and Reach found a cute shop that sold quesadillas. I was craving McDonalds, so Eric and I went next door for it. As always, I got a kid’s meal and a hash brown with some chocolate milk. We brought a meal back for Jupe as well, and we all sat in the grass, enjoying our little family picnic.
After our late lunch, we continued walking along Santa Monica until we came close to Venice beach. I have no sense of direction, so I can’t tell you if we actually made it there or not. Juan and Reach branched off around this time, while Jupe, Eric, and I stuck together. From what they told me later, they visited Starbucks and also saw a famous Twitch streamer.
After a while, Reach called me to figure out how to meet up. Eric, Jupe, and I decided to try out the electric scooters to catch up with them. It was really fun! As aforementioned, I hate cars (and it extends to nearly any motorized vehicle as well as driving). So, I hitched a ride on the back of Eric’s scooter and paid him back later.
We rode forward for a while before we caught up to Reach and Juan. Reach got an electric scooter as well, Juan had his skateboard, and we all rode toward the area we parked. The ride back reminded me and Eric of a movie scene — kids being silly and riding in the wind. It was really cute and I wish I had captured it. That’s the main reason why I doodled it.
We picked up some venti waters from Starbucks, then some frozen yogurt from Pinkberry, dropped off Grizz, and finally went home for the night.
Dummy Lit Prod Session
I asked everyone if I could have a crash-course in Serum. The answer was an astounding “yes,” and it quickly turned more into an improv session. Eric and Reach started working on a really fun project — I hope they finish it so I can post it here. Jupe helped me with my bass in a Fresh Static Snow remix I started about a month and a half ago. It was a really fun and inspiring night.
I was the newest producer in the group, but I’m overjoyed at how supportive and patient everyone is. There was a point where I was embarrassed at the melody I had just written, and bantered with Jupe when he tried to listen to it. We had our first fight.
I also ate nearly an entire watermelon.
During the production session, there was another earthquake. At first, I thought Jupe was just shaking his leg, but he was not moving. All of us just kind of looked at each other around the table in a slight panic. I think we all thought it would end soon, but it lasted a really long time.
After about 20 seconds, the earthquake still hadn’t stopped, so I freaked out and dove under the table. It lasted another 25 seconds after that. This earthquake was a 7.1-magnitude — even bigger than the one felt just the day before. Where we were, it is estimated to have felt like a 3.5-magnitude. I can’t even imagine how anxious I would be for anything greater.
Dummy Lit And Friends
We had some relatively productive mornings this weekend. Everyone would slowly gather together, working on their laptops until we were all ready to head out for the day. On this particular morning, it was just Eric and I awake for a while, so we hung out on the floor in “my” room, showing each other our development projects.
Somehow, I managed to lose the instant coffee (that I packed with me) somewhere in Erics’ parents’ house. So, Eric and I also took a quick field-trip to Ralph’s for some Starbucks. I’m not really one for Starbucks anymore, but I ordered my classic high-school favourite: the Skinny Vanilla Latte. I told Eric it’s “skinny” because it uses almond milk, but I know he’s reading this, so I just want to admit I was wrong. It’s just non-fat milk. And also, it’s discontinued.
Dummy Lit Acquires Duumu
After Jupe and Reach finally joined us, we headed out to pick up my friend Charlie (Duumu). I’ve mentioned him a bit in this blog before; he stopped by my town while I was working on the Better Not remix and gave me a ton of tips. He’s also just a genuine and supportive friend. We love Duumu.
We stopped for brunch at a restaurant called Eggslut. I’m a sucker for egg and cheese sandwiches in general, so I give this place five stars.
Abandoned Zoo & Milkbar
After brunch and some planning, we decided to visit the abandoned zoo. There were lots of bugs following us around. Regardless, we explored the empty exhibits, cracked jokes, and had a good time.
We wanted to find something else to do after, so Eric spent a good amount of time trying to book a mystery escape room. Nothing really seemed appealing to the whole Dummy Lit squad, so instead, we headed to a popular bakery called Milkbar.
As soon as we walked in and saw all the sweets, Charlie said, “this is a Maryn store.” 🙂
Eric highly recommended the pie and cookies. However, one of the staff members came out with a tray full of ice cream samples. After one taste, I knew I had to have more. So, I did.
We stood around and talked as we ate our sweets. We decided against the mystery escape room, and instead thought about renting DJ equipment. So, Eric made a few phone calls, but couldn’t find what we were looking for. Ultimately, we decided to hit up Lewis from SMLE and visit his studio for a while.
I only talked to Lewis on the Dummy Lit server once before this trip. We were all playing Minecraft, and Lewis let me help him build his really cool house.
At his house, we sat in the studio and (once again) played each others’ works in progress. Eventually, it became a game of telephone, where one song would remind someone of another song, and another song, and so on. To emphasize, we went everywhere from heavy bass music to mid-tempo, to Latino pop. It was really fun! I had a wonderful evening there.
To close out the day, we visited a night market in Arcadia. If you recall from my Second Sky blog post, you know that I have been craving Taiwanese food lately. With that, I have also been craving night markets in general. Maybe one of these days, I’ll just have to take a trip back to Taiwan.
Well, during our drive to the night market, Jupe, Eric and I made a semi-impromptu visit to Claire’s. Jupe and I had previously discussed getting our ears pierced when we were to finally meet in person. Eric made it a reality. I absolutely love how it turned out. Originally, I wanted heart-shaped earrings. However, the pair offered was not cute enough, so I got stars. You can’t even tell in the photo, though.
The 626 Night Market
When we finally got to the night market (and miraculously found the rest of our Dummy Lit group), we were famished and ready to dive into the night market culture. Charlie, Lewis, and Reach were in line for some meatballs or something. Jupe joined them, while Eric and I headed out on a mission to find something to split, since neither of us were too hungry. I had craved fried popcorn chicken for a few days at this point, and we found some! I was so happy.
Apparently, the meatballs weren’t great, so the rest of the gang got pork buns. I tried a bite and it was absolutely heavenly. Everyone was raving about them for the rest of the night. If you have the chance to visit 626 Night Market, try the pork buns!
Our little group walked around the night market for a bit, just talking, making jokes, and enjoying the night.
We saw several people carrying giant novelty baby bottles, and I really wanted one. I filled mine with mango juice, and everyone shared it as we were walking around.
When we decided to head out, we all said our goodbyes and gave hugs. It was a really good night.
See You On The Server, Dummy Lit
The next day was kind of a blur. Jupe and I spent the morning talking and hanging out. Reach was still asleep when we wanted to visit a shop called Donut Man, so Jupe, Eric, and I left without him.
My favourite donut is a maple bar, so that’s what I got — although it was huge and I couldn’t finish it.
When we got back to the house, I got a text from my airline reminding me about my 11:30 AM flight. That’s weird, I swear my flight was at 12:40… Oh. Shit.
We rushed to the airport. I worried that I would miss my flight. We were about an hour away, but Eric was very reassuring that I would make it. On the drive to the airport, it didn’t feel like I was leaving. And I knew I really didn’t want to leave.
I somehow managed to get on the plane with 10 minutes to spare.
Also, fun story, Jupe and Reach were supposed to help Eric build a shed for his mom as payment for staying at her place. Since we were in such a rush to leave in the morning, Eric later built it by himself. I drew us in the instruction manual. I’m in the plane, not helping.
Hopefully, I didn’t forget anything. It took me a while to finish writing this blog post because whenever I would start re-reading about the trip, I would get an aching sense of nostalgia. I was also waiting for someone to develop the disposable camera films. This weekend was definitely on my top 3 list of good weekends. I miss it a lot.