Doan Chung-Hernandez

The blog about the life of Doan

Archive for the ‘ 2007 ’ Category

In March of 2006 Ray and I moved to Oakland California from Vacaville. We had only lived in Vacaville for 3 months before we realized the commute was killing us. I would drop him off at work, drive back home and then drive back to the bay area and pick him up, a total of a 4 hour commute, without traffic each day. Anyhow, while looking for a place to live in the bay area we stumbled upon this building. It was an old warehouse that use to be a French Fry Factory. I would of never, ever, ever, even considered living in here, but Ray, well, lets just say he has more vision than I most do. At first I thought it was asinine, I mean have you guys seen the photo above? But I have always been one to just go with the flow, and Ray is what I like to call a hopeless visionary.

But you got to admit, it totally has potential. Even I could admit that. But again, did you see the photo above? It was taken through a hole in the front door. The building was 8000 sq ft. Uh, no that’s not a misprint, there was not an extra 0 put in by accident. Yes, we lived, worked, renovated, bled, sweat, cried and even threw a few parties in an 8000 sq ft building for an entire year. Crazy kids, I’m sure that’s what everyone was thinking.

The pile of trash we had hauled away almost reached the second floor.

It even had two walk in refrigerators, one of which I was planning on turning into my walk in closet.

We flew dad down because there was no way we could of done all this work without him.

We put a lot of work into this building. In the beginning it was scary, but I got over it and soon it was as though the Universe had answered our dreams, but with a little sacrifice and hard work on our part. Ray had always dreamed of renting out a huge warehouse that had a urinal from a rich old man that gave him a super cheap deal and turning it into his modern urban living dream. Yes, our warehouse even had a urinal. And I had always wanted to have my own massage business, with 4 rooms, one for myself and the other 3 I would hire or rent out to other massage therapist. The front of the building on the second floor had 4 rooms. The more we thought about it the more uncanny and perfect it seemed.

But soon, life just took a toll. Ray detested work and the more he saw his boss the more he loathed him. I was getting burnt out on massage. What once was filled with passion and energy fizzled and soon I felt like a well paid slave. Ray and I decided to call it quits and tackle yet another dream of mine, to live in Hawaii. Somehow, this dream seemed so much less painful and stressful. We had a 3 year lease so we took on the role as property managers and sublet the building for the remainder 2 years of our lease and for over twice what we paid, split the rent with Mel, the nice old man Ray dreamt to life, every month and started a new chapter of our lives in Oahu Hawaii.

Hawaii was a totally awesome experience. Every month we used the money we made from the building to pay off the debt we put into it. I’d like to say it was easy but it wasn’t. I can say it was a huge learning experience. This last trip to California was to find a way to come to an agreement with Kevin, the man we rented the building out to. He ended up subletting the building to Raphael, a total pathetic douche bag that couldn’t pay rent on time to save his life and couldn’t move out when asked to leave. But our main concern for coming out to Cali was to make sure we uphold our contract with Mel and leave on good terms with him. When we got to the building it was in shambles. All the hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and money we put into it seemed wasted. Did I mentioned that Raphael had secretly turned the building into an illegal club/bar he called the Radiance Factory. Just a word of advice for Raphael, it’s not smart to advertise an illegal club. Fucking retard.

Here’s a before us and after us photo.

And after then after we did more work and started to settled in. In the very back behind the glass windows is where where the 4 massage rooms laid.

From the opposite direction. Ray loved his pool table.

A closer look further back. To the left was our bed room, middle was Ray’s desk and to the far right was our closet.

A better view of our closet. I had a lot more shoes back then.

Our living room in it’s earlier stage.

The kitchen area and dining area. Ray and I built that wobbly table one night when we had nothing better to do. He swears one day he’ll redeem himself.

Here’s what the building looked like on our last visit.

Looks like they built a kitchen room.

We turned this room into my workout/yoga room.

This is what it looks like by the time we were done with it.

And this is how it looks now.

This was suppose to eventually be a massage room #4, but in the mean time we just made it a guest room and it was also Chris Miller’s room when he stayed with us.

And this is how it looks now.

A before and after of Massage Room #3.

Same room, present day.

Before and after of Massage Room #2.

Massage Room #2 today.

My Massage Room before.

My beautiful massage room after. I actually worked countless hours in this room. It was the perfect massage room.

And this is how it looks like now.

A few before and afters of the lobby we fixed up. We were planning on getting more furniture to fill it up but I think we did a pretty spectacular job.

And here it is today. Animals.

We took back our blinds.

A before and after of the mens restroom. Behind the wall next to the sink was where the men’s urinal was. I forgot to take an aftermath photo but it’s probably for the best because it was bad.

They badly built what looks like lounge rooms downstairs. But the whole are downstairs area was pretty muck a junk yard.

Oh, our mistletoe was still hanging up. I bet it launched a lot of kisses.

I’ll never forget the day we lifted the super industrial air condition unit up on the rooftop. It was insanely crazy and scary. We had to set it on top of a shit ton of pallets in order for Ray and his dad to reach it. Ray had originally wanted to tie the heavy unit to a rope and pull it up. That made no fucking sense to me so I walked over to the Chinese produce factory and asked if they would help us out with their fork lift. It took some per swaying but my charm won in the end.

There were more pallets than what you see here. Trust me, people came out of their buildings to watch. It was totally wobbly and insanely scary.

Oh course it wasn’t only us that sweat for this building,

we put our loved ones to work too.


Kola did a lot of supervising.

Of course it wasn’t all hard work. I miss our parties


Drinking wine on the rooftop.

Having friends over to play pool. Hell, I miss having friends.

I even miss the skaters.

It was definitely an experience. But I gotta tell ya, I’m so glad it’s over.

The End.

My mother’s birthday past, December 29 and although I called and wished her happy birthday on her birthday I wanted to document it because she’s the bravest, strongest, most beautiful women I know. Not all my good qualities are from her, some of that is all me, but a lot of the good ones are. I am fearless, witty, funny, and cheap all because of you mom. I would be nothing without you, obviously. I love you so so so freaking much and I thought about you all day on December 29th, especially every time I ate. I wish I could of been with you. Your the best mom ever. Happy Birthday!

I love you.

Bea, Me and Marci. Photo taken on the rooftop of Marci’s old apartment in April of last year.

Photo stolen by Bea the Playa

On September 15th Ray and I packed our bags, loaded up the car and headed straight to New York. It took us a little over one full day to get there from Texas. I swear Ray and I are road trip professionals, we don’t fuck around. Of course we brought Kola with us too. He basically slept the whole way there.

We’re staying with our good friends Bea and Guav and they actually live in New Jersey, one stop away from Manhattan, New York. But they both work in New York and so far I feel as though we’re in New York just as much as we are in New Jersey. Here’s the view from Bea’s work.

Pretty sweet right. If I worked here I just might have to take up smoking just so I have an excuse to see more of this. I feel like Ray and I do a lot of walking here. We’ve been walking everywhere. Which is a good thing, gives us time to soak everything in and if we’re tired we just stop and rest.

Oh, also Ray and I decided to started eating meat again, but only for this trip. Since we both love to eat and eating is part of the whole New York experience we felt it was only right. Ray’s pretty happy about it. I’m not sure if he wants to convert back. I just finished reading the book, Skinny Bitch, and I am so totally over meat. Really over it. As a matter of fact, I’m not really feeling cheese or any thing else that has to do with dairy. Yes that even means ice-cream. We had some soy mint ice-cream at this amazing vegetarian restaurant the other day and I could totally convert to soy ice-cream. No problem what so ever. It was del-rish-ous.

Our commute route pretty much goes like this, we take the Light Rail to Hoboken and from Hoboken we take the Transit to New York and if we want to get around in New York we either take the subway or walk.

At Time Square.

Outside of MTV.

Wall Street.

This was our first street food affair. Street food was the main reason I had agreed on eating meat. We got hot dogs and some kind of kabob. It was not everything I had hoped for and over priced because we were in Time Square.

Another thing I wanted to do was to go to the bridge in Central Park that’s alway in the movies.

Isn’t it pretty?

So far Central Park is definitely my favorite. I love parks that are actually utilized to their full potential.

We had to sit for a few and just enjoy the beautiful day.

Ray likes to take pictures with his iPhone.

We’ve also been dividing our time up in Hoboken too. Hoboken is a lot like Jersey, but cleaner and more expensive.

One things for sure is that there’s definitely not a shortage of pizza parlors in the east coast.

This hardcore granny stood her ground and wouldn’t let anyone take her spot. All I gotta say is I want grandma on my team.

The view back in Jersey.

Oh, what a hard life Ray and I have.

A real hard life.

This is the oldest cemetery in New York. It so old that you can’t even read the tombstones.

Along with all the site seeing we’ve been enduring we’ve also had the pleasure of helping our friends move. Bea and Gauv just bought a place in Jersey Heights. They are officially homeowners, Yay!. It’s real nice and now they get to come home to a sea of boxes, literally, a sea of boxes.

Luckily, our we have our own room upstairs. It’s real nice.

When I get board I like to write in my journal or draw pictures of Ray. He’s not the only artist in this relationship.

The view through a fence from Jersey Heights.

I’ve been eating delicious vegetarian food since I’ve been here.

We took Bea to IKEA in search of a new closet.

She went crazy.

There was just enough room for her little body to fit inside the car with her new orchid.

When we got home we wasted no time and started on her new closet right away.

It got a little dusty and they had to resort to glasses.

Of course Bea did the honors of devirginizing the walls of her closet.

Wow, that’s pink.

Ray is a tired, dirty, Mexican. Yes, honey, this is how real Mexicans feel everyday because real Mexican’s work. Oh, what’s that, your half white, oh, that explains everything.

Ground Zero through a mesh screen.

I love New York!

When Ray and I moved to Hawaii Ray suggested that I start up a food blog, since I not only love love to eat, but I’m so gosh darn critical when I eat.  Before Ray I was computer illiterate and after Ray I’m like a computer genius.  That’s a bit of an overstatement, but I am a computer whore.  I’m addicted to being on the computer so it only made sense to broaden my horizons and start up my very first blog.  I wanted to make it more of my own so I called it Cheap Places To Eat In Oahu Hawaii, because of the very obvious, I’m super cheap.  Not only did it allow me to taste food but I also got a taste of my love of photography.  I’m not claiming to be a master photographer or anything.  But hey, you got to start somewhere right?  I got a new camera that I actually don’t plan on returning, Cannon G9.  It’s the perfect camera for a beginner photo enthusiast such as myself.   Every time I go out to eat, which is like everyday, I bring it along and snap away.  I love my food blog.  I try very much to make it my own by putting a lot of my humor and personality in it, which means I’m brutally honest and I talk like sailor.  I’ve gotten tons of comments of how much people are enjoying my blog.  It’s really flattering.  As of today I have almost 500 daily readers, that’s including the people that subscribe to my feed.  The other day I even go a check in the mail, so I can now say that I’m a real food critic, since I actually got paid and all.  It’s been about a year now and I’ve written on over 160 different places, not bad.  I’m not gonna lie, at times it does seem a bit tedious, especially now that I have this personal blog; it’s a lot more interesting writing about myself.  I guess my ego’s starting to grow because there are times I get tired of always having to take photos of my food.  And I only get tired of it because I know I’m capable of taking some amazing photos, and it restricts me from doing so.  Anyhow, I still love my blog, it’s my baby and she grows bigger and bigger everyday.

Here are a few of my favorite photos.