Click on the picture of the friend below to see more pics and details.
You Gotta Have Friends...
Consists not in the multitude of friends,
But in the worth and choice."
first met Desiree Acosta back in 1989 when she was Karen Wang's roommate
in Hendrick dorm at UCLA. She was a young and inexperienced sophomore
and thought me some kind of wiser and more mature college senior; this
always struck me funny since I was pretty much an oft intoxicated bore
at the time. But when I emerged from the beer induced haze of college
and saw that we were still friends I was ecstatic. Des is a great talker
and to call her up is to no doubt spend over an hour on the phone. Des
has become quite the businesswomen, which surprises me some knowing her
in a different context. We have spent many a good time together, including
one awesome weekend in San Francisco.
Des recently graduated with her MBA from
New York University and returned triumphantly to Los Angeles. She has
the world at her feet and has only begun to make her presence felt on
the scene; but she has gotten a killer job with an Internet company,
is putting all her training to good use, and has delved into the next
stage of her life. What can I say? I am totally impressed! I met her
when she was barely out of her teens and I have no doubt that shortly
I will be reading about her as a "mover and shaker" in the business world.
Nevertheless, I will always honor and remember her primarily as a great
lover of D.H. Lawrence and William Blake.
first met Francisco
Ayala when he came to the United States in 1994 on behalf of the
Mexican government in a program to bring Spanish-speaking teachers to
help immigrant students in the Los Angeles Unified
School District. Consequently, we met at Berendo Middle School where
we became friends and shared a "core" of the same students
where he taught math and science and I English. He with time became even
more disgusted with the LA school system than me - something not easy
to be. I warned him not to live near downtown, but he did anyway and
so suffered through the loud music, police helicopters, endemic crime,
gunshots at night, overpopulation, etc. that typify the area. With time
Francisco learned to hate Los Angeles even more than I do - also not
easy to do. He recently bought a clue and moved to a condominium out
Francisco has been a welcomed guest at my
parents house and frequent tennis partner. He is one of those men who
always has his act together and is utterly organized. For example, Francisco
can repair or build just about anything with his own hands. He is the
type that should run a school instead of teach in one. And so Francisco
and his beautiful wife Jazmin are saving up money for their dream of
buying and running a school in Querétaro, Mexico. Jazmin recently graduated
from college and also works at Berendo, earning her bones at a beginning
When we met through mutual friends a couple
of years ago met Andrea
Arias and I immediately hit it off with a shared love of Spanish
poetry and literature in general. Andrea is a native of Viña del Mar,
Chile who at the beginning of adulthood just picked up everything and
moved to the San Fernando Valley one day to live with her aunt. Andrea
has adjusted well to life in the States and speaks an almost flawless
English - one of the benefits of having a Mom who was an English teacher
in Chile. It would be hard to find a bigger fan of Pablo Neruda anywhere
and her expert Salsa and Meringue dancing is not to be missed. :-)
Andrea currently works for The Children's
Hospital of Los Angeles and attends night school at Los Angeles Community
College. She is recently engaged to her boyfriend Fabian from Argentina
and they are busy themselves planning the wedding and life together.
I am very happy for the two of them!
first met John Barich in
1978 when he moved into a house just up the street from me in Newport
Beach, California. We grew up together going (mostly) to the same schools
and church, getting in trouble, playing football and baseball together,
etc. Eventually, John even lived with me
and my family for a summer after high school graduation. We had the messiest
room imaginable, and I never saw him since he was always out slinking
around with his girlfriend somewhere until the wee hours of the night.
John was a big-time football player at Mater
Dei High School who did little else besides lift-weights and hit people
for four years. But an eye injury ended all that and John turned to the
books and graduated from UC Berkeley and earned his Master's Degree at
the General Theological Union. My father
still marvels on John's metamorphosis from grid-iron bruiser to egghead
John's is a mind which is rigorous and highly-trained
and both he and I share an affinity for the life of the mind. He is always
reading and trying to learn new things and is a good example of what
Dr. Samuel Johnson meant when he said: "Curiosity is one of the
permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind." And
his wife Rachel has more brains than John and I put together. John and
Rachel presently reside Atlanta, Georgia, where they live in a giant
house out in the suburbs. They just had their first child, Micah Jerome
Barich, and are busy being broken in as first time parents.
Check out John Barich's
Burns and I only met during our senior year
in high school, although we had known of each other since junior high.
But we soon were almost like brothers and that has not essentially
changed in the thirteen years since. Like in the case of Phil Marshall
and Rick Roshan, I have very special memories of spending time with
his family as a teenager. There is something about the bonding which
takes place in those burning difficult years of adolescence which renders
them unforgettable and invaluable to the understanding of who you are
as an adult. High school graduation, martial arts, atrocity Mexico
trips (that Brent would like to forget), USD and UCLA partying (and
my 21st!), the Cannery boozing and Alberto's in the middle of the night, "Diamond
Club" and finger painting in Charlotte, and all the rest of the
stories that I probably have forgotten. Almost all the major events
of my life have had Brent present - or at least at the periphery -
and I would do just about anything in the world for the big lug.
Brent has computer skills the like of which
I will never see and currently does UNIX work for First Union Bank in
Charlotte, North Carolina. He just finished building a beautiful new
home in Moresville (a suburb of Charlotte) and is happily ensconced in
the southern way of life. Brent recently converted to Roman Catholicism
and married the love of his life, Nilsa. Brent is in a great place in
his life at the moment, and I cannot but think that it is well deserved!
Ruseell and I met way back in September of 1987 while in college.
We grew up together in many ways as students living away from our parents
for the first time and trying to figure it all out. Yvette eventually
graduated from UCLA with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Over
they years we dated, didn't date, kind of dated, didn't date, etc.
At any rate, the roots are deep and I am very glad to still be friends
with her after so many years.
I don't think I have quite met anyone with
as devoted a work ethic as Yvette's. She works her ass off in whatever
she does and takes great satisfaction in a job well done. Yvette
earned her MBA from Pepperdine and works in the food brokerage business.
She lives in Huntington Beach, California with her beloved dog, Bogey.
Yvette recently married her boyfriend Kurt and could not be happier.
I did two tours of duty with my ex-roommate Jim
Downs. We first met back at UCLA where we quickly became good friends
and we now know each other about as well as two people would after
living together for years. Jim is an unusual person in many ways, not
the least in his desire for anonymity and fear of loss of privacy.
As he himself sums it up, "Even paranoids have real enemies!" I could
tell you more about Jim, but then he would probably kill me in the
desire to prevent further. Without a doubt Jim is one of the brightest
people I know who always has done well despite self-described "under
achievement." He is an enemy to be feared, but you will not find a
more loyal friend. I myself have greatly appreciate his friendship
and support over the years in some difficult times.
I will, at great personal risk,
venture the following Jim details: he is a GOP and UCLA basketball devotee,
gun and Internet enthusiast, and (worst of all) militant Macintosh advocate.
Jim is a practicing attorney, and teaches HTML at various community colleges.
But Jim's heart is to be found in UCLA basketball and he has created THE Internet
source for UCLA Basketball. If you're into basketball, you owe it to
yourself to check out Jim
Downs' UCLA Basketball Page. Jim also covers Pac 10 basketball news
in his college
basketball column for College
Hoops Insider, a Web-based college sports magazine. Maybe someday
Jim will be a famous sports broadcaster. We shall see.
I could tell you more about Jim, but then he would most likely kill
(Tonya) Flores and I met through mutual friends in September of
1995. We dated for a few months and went on trips together to San Francisco,
Tahoe, etc. Tonya is a native of Santiago, Chile and has been living
in the Los Angeles area for a number of years. I very much enjoyed
getting to know her family and friends; one was able to feel as if
one were truly in Chile in their lively household which was never empty
of company. I was also able to recently enjoy the hospitality of her
family in Santiago de Chile with a great meal, interesting conversation,
and excellent pisco. Not very much of a student of literature in her
youth, Tonya was surprised to like so much the love sonnets of William
Shakespeare that I introduced to her. Of course, I had to explain them
a couple of times. :-) We have read together, line by line, Romeo
and Juliet, Othello, and Much Ado About Nothing. We have
also gone to see some of these plays live. I very much enjoy introducing
Tonya to new literature; and she greedily reads up novels by Jane Austin,
Victor Hugo, Charlotte Bronte, and Charles Dickens as fast as I can
buy them for her!
Tonya currently lives in Sherman Oaks, California
and decided to stay in the United States even after her family returned
to Chile. I admire her courage to strike out on her own in adult life
in California! She has a job with Bromley Foods, Inc. and has just earned
her way into the California State University at Northridge where she
hopes to graduage with a degree in information management. I am so proud
of how much she has grown in the last couple of years. She is a loyal
and devoted worker for her employer, attends class regularly, gets good
grades in school, and has shown herself to be generally responsible beyond
her years. She continues to impress me more every year! Tonya is one
those late blooming students whose maturity and single-minded pursuit
of a college degree never fail to amaze and impress me. The world is
at her feet and she knows it! How exciting!
I met Joe
Giove on-line after he read my European
vacation journals, as he prepared for a similar adventure. Joe
wrote up his
odyssey in a similar format, and it still ranks as among the most
entertaining reads I have ever had on the Web. There is something about
Joe which I think of when I read the newspaper and feel my heart sink
below my shoes as I conclude the world is overridden with liars, predators,
weasels, opportunists, thugs, and all-around scoundrels. Ralph Waldo
Emerson has said, "The world is upheld by the veracity of good men:
they make the earth wholesome"; and as long as there are people
out there like Joe, I do not despair entirely for mankind or the earth.
The Joe Gioves of the world rarely make the newspapers, but they serve
to highlight how even as vice and corruption so often get the headlines
and spotlight for a week or two, goodness and decency have a way of
enduring. (I wonder if everyone on the planet made their own webpage
like Joe and took the time to really read and try to understand each
other with an open heart, would we not live in a more peaceful and
less hateful world?) Of course now I have probably totally embarrassed
Anyway, it is a pleasure to share the earth
with Joe "Highrock" Giove; and his down-to-earth judgement is something
I highly respect whether he is talking about basketball, poetry, movies,
the cure for cancer, sea foods, morality, stuffed animals, morality,
Photoshop, or religion (talk about diversity!). I will of course keep
reading with much interest his webpage as
it grows organically over time. I recently had the pleasure of showing
Joe around Southern California and meeting him in person. Yes, all you
Web surfers: Joe is as genuine and decent a person as his website suggests!
Come have a cappuccino and watch Joe
slam dunk at The High Rock
I met Rosey
Goodman on-line after she read my Bosnia:
The Disgrace page and felt the need to comment. Rosey had just
returned from a stint as a guest of the Canadian Armed Forces in Bosnia
working as an independent journalist and had something to say. For
anyone wanting to contemplate the final word on the Bosnian disaster,
check out Rosey's haunting view of the
old Olympic sports complex in Sarajevo and see what they've done
with it lately. It is only because of journalists like Rosey who bore
witness in Bosnia and documented it that the outside world
knows what happened there.
Possessing a biting sarcasm and incisive
wit, Rosey has definite iconoclastic opinions about the world. Rosey
is one of those who will not go quietly into that good night. In my opinion,
if more people had Rosey's spunky passion, the world would be less of
a cold place of cruel indifference and casual apathy. Either that or
it would be in a state of war with anarchy everywhere and local utilities
company directors, Rush Limbaugh, Yuppie-women-from-hell who drive brand-new
Volvo's, and pretentious corporate types hanging from the trees by their
necks. The Kingdom of Rosey.... now that would be an interesting place
to live for those who hate the money, the machine, the rules, and the
insentient monkeyishness of this world! Methinks it would be kind of
like Mexico but without the government. A Mexico where aged scotch and
fine wine flow down freely from the hills.
Rosey is currently enduring the frigid winter
of the Great White North and spring could not come too soon for her.
She lives with her husband John and son Adrian in Winnipeg, Canada. A
grand adventurer in the classic Hemingway-style, Rosey is always looking
for an editor to send her overseas on her next photoassignment. And to
all you editors: HIRE HER! She does good work and is worth it!
Check out the wine list at Raunchy
Hubbell was probably the girlfriend I got along best with in terms
of truly having a communion of the souls. We started dating back in
1992 when I was a wet behind the ears recent college graduate of 24
years and she was a fully mature woman of 33. We met while working
together at the UCLA Emergency Room and before we knew it the thing
had turned into this blazing-hot out of control romance. Kelly was
the closest I got to making big "life decisions" with respect
to marriage and family. I learned many important things from Kelly;
it was a time of rapid maturation for me - perhaps a relationship from
which I "entered a boy and exited a man" (Kelly's own words).
And I still continue to learn from her as we remain great friends to
Kelly is presently a veteran emergency room
nurse who is the Nurse Educator at the UCLA ER. She is also a recognized
expert on domestic violence and issues relating to emergency room nursing
and often is found lobbying in Sacramento or testifying in front of the
LA City Council. She works too hard, and I continually have to tell her
to stop and smell the roses. But Kelly likes her work and feels fulfilled
in it, and that is something not many people can say.
I first met back as students at UCLA where we worked for the campus police
department providing security for the UCLA Emergency Room. Keith was
just a wee bit of a lad back then, utterly unable to contain his alcohol.
We played many a practical joke on each other in the long hours of all
night shifts in that crazy emergency room where anything could and did
happen. Keith and I having spent many a marathon 'Net cruising session
with the Stone Temple Pilots playing in the background utterly exhausted
yet glued to the screen. There is no computer problem so complicated
that Keith and I cannot resolve it given enough time!
is now a police officer and is one of the few people I know who truly
loves his job. He is also good at it, and has been awarded the Medal
of Valor by his department. Keith is one of those outstanding individuals
who excel in whatever they do: he graduated Cum Laude from UCLA
with a degree in Spanish, finished second in his police academy class,
prestigious high school wrestler, entrepreneur, all around-stud, captain
of men, etc.
Keith is making a good life for himself and I am always in a certain
awe of his ability to take life by the horns and force it in his direction.
He is engaged to be married to his beautiful and classy girlfriend and
has grandiose plans with regard to the future. Knowing Keith now for
more than a year or two, I would bet good money he will realize them!
Martin and I first met at UCLA and since
then we have worked, lived, and traveled together. Martin and I have
one of those friendships where if you need to move in a hurry you can
call him at midnight and say, "Hey, can you help me move tomorrow
morning?" and they will do it - no questions asked. This,
of course, has happened between us many times.
Martin and I did Europe together, the LA
riots and the Northridge earthquake, disastrous girlfriend breakups -
the whole nine yards. I enjoy living vicariously through his many (sometimes
concurrent) amorous adventures. Recently we both toured Hong Kong together
and had our typical wild time. Especially with women, there is never
a dull moment with Martin. Short, tall, fat, pretty, intelligent, dumb
- Marty likes them all; the man is a true lover of women and this is
something I very much respect about him. Marty earned the nickname "the
vat" in college for being like a vat of simmering testosterone
brimming over. There are some who say that I had something to do with
corrupting innocent Martin in college. This, of course, is utter hogwash.
the first day of school our seventh-grade year Rick
Roshan (AKA the Hunter S. Thompson of the beach cities) was a brand-new
student at Lincoln Junior High when he arrived late to Mrs. Mohs class
and was told to sit next to me. At first I thought he was one weird guy
since all he did was draw elaborate pictures of rock bands in his notebook
and invariably fail the weekly spelling tests. Yet before long we were
school-yard buddies and the rest of middle and high school, college and
beyond is history. Ricky, myself, and his sister Michelle had
especially good times in high school with our biology study nights, track
meets, pizza nights with my family, etc.
Ricky is well-known for his aggressive partying,
guitar playing, banzai skiing, home
beer brewing talents and enjoyment of the female species. If you are
ever in the County/Long Beach area in some bar or club and hear someone
yelling savagely like a primeval caveman, chances are likely it is Ricky
or one of his sybaritic roommates.
Ricky attended the California State University
at Long Beach where in addition to being a very active member of the
Sigma Chi fraternity he majored in business and art. The business degree
was to placate his father, but art was really where his passion lay.
Ricky heads up the family business Pacific Coast Management, Inc. of
Newport Beach where he spends long and stress-filled hours. He currently
lives in a beautiful house high up in Spyglass area of Newport Beach,
I met Karen
Wang at my fraternity house back in the fall of 1987 and we immediately
got along well. She became my "little sister" in the
fraternity, a role I have been more or less playing since. Karen was
a nascent UCLA freshman at the time we met and I have had the pleasure
of watching her develop into a dynamic and independent young woman. She
has changed in some ways, but in others she is exactly the same as
when I first met her. It has been a lot of fun listening to all of
her dilemmas and crises over the years; Karen never lacks for drama
in her life. A typical rejoinder from Karen is "can you believe
what 'x' did?... But even if Karen tends to complain a lot, you
will have trouble finding a more generous and devoted friend.
Karen graduated from UCLA with a BS in Psychology
in the spring of 1992. She currently works as an agent for Mark Lindren
and Associates, Inc. in the Century City area of Los Angeles, California.
Unlike myself, Karen has always been enamored with the "industry" of
Hollywood and probably always will be. She works long hours and I have
little doubt she very soon will be one of the "movers and shakers" of
the showbiz scene. She is finally engaged to be married to her long-time