|Out On a Lim|
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|Out On a Lim (7.13.10 - 11.4.11) >>|
Scannin' my archives, the earliest mention of the Pixies on my blog was on 5.21.03 (see OUT ON A LIM 5.21.03), when I did a list of ranked top 5 favourite Beatles related fanaticisms, like "Top 5 Fifth Beatle" (number one bein' George Martin), "Top 5 Misheard Beatles Lyrics" (number one bein' "I get high" ("I can't hide") from "I Want To Hold Your Hand"), and "Top 4 Beatles Songs With 5/4 bars" (number one bein' "Don't Let Me Down"). Anyways, even if I'm lyin' to you 'bout bein' a fan of the Pixies durin' the early '90s, the datestamps on my online journal prove that I've been listenin' to 'em for at least the last 8 years as the number one "Top 5 Beatles Song Covers" is "Wild Honey Pie" by the Pixies.
And maybe there's some credence to the cliche that the audience/public creates its own great rock bands/gods outta necessity, but for what it's worth, the Pixies were my contemporaneous Beatles/gods and goddess as I was born 2 years after the Fab Four broke up, but was college aged, which seems to be a fertile time to worship ideas that're springin' up in psychological theories and consumer culture studies whilst hopped on hormones and herbs, 3 years before Black, Kim, Joey, and Dave separated ways. I gotta admit, their music's blastin' from the past, cause there's a distance between me and early Dylan/Beatles called "time". I'm hearin' 'em thru whoever's writin' the history of rock. And Radiohead's another era.
Believe it or not, but there would be no Larry McFeurdy without the Pixies. Even the idea of an obtuse pseudonym comes from Black Francis. And although I ain't kneelin' for any religion at the moment, the closest metaphor I've got to be in awe of the "divine" is thru music. I've got no communicateable idea how it works beyond the melody, harmony, and rhythm. However, I've some faith in hopin' that music's not loaded with trace amounts of negatively collapsed wave functions. Anyways, my blog's filled with Pixies references. If I may footnote two, there's 5.10.04 when I wrote 'bout their reunion and 9.28.04 when I saw 'em live at my alma mater UCSD. The latter blabbers 'bout goin' "full circle". Here we go again.
My brother once generalized that people who drive Audi automobiles're assholes. I never bothered to ask him to elaborate any further since I didn't take his claim too seriously. I mean, he probably'd some bad luck with a few of 'em and thus exaggerates the probabilities. And I'm not gonna go so far as to agree with him, but lately it's been in my experience that he seems eerily close to some truth. Not all Audis manoeuvre like maniacs on the road, but more often than not, those that do're Audis.
There're two new television shows, which I won't advertise by namin' 'em, that on paper're perfect premises for me. One's got dinosaurs and the other a once favourite actress of mine. Whilst I understand my lack of interest in the latter as she's a former "favourite" who seems to be playin' the same quirky character tiresomely, my dispassion for the dinosaurs're more of a mystery. I mean, as a species I'ven't outgrown 'em, but somehow they really'ven't improved much CGI-wise in the last 18 years.
Today I felt like I'd woken up in some other quantum universe. It was Hallowe'en and even though I'd arranged the bulk of music for this year’s show, it got postponed at the eleventh hour 'til the followin' holiday due to "technical difficulties", which wasn't so freaky, but I did imagine along another parallel timeline that the songs were gonna be performed.
Anyways, so I spoke with a friend who previously seemed enthusiastic 'bout me doin' the Pixies next year, but somehow flipped his opinion. Not that anythin' he said convinced me otherwise, but I do suspect that he's been influenced by my ex-first violinist, whom at this point I just wanna erase from my world. I'm just waitin' for her to graduate.
Cause I figured out that, for lack of a better term, I'm "happy" in the sense that I'm not sufferin' any of the classic torments, like injustice or torture. However, any dip whatsoever in my "happiness" is not only noticeable, but if I can help it, avoidable, especially if I can see it approachin' from a light year away. I mean, I don't need luxuries like love and purpose.
The older I get, the more I laugh at words like "legacy". I hear it thrown 'round, like so-and-so head of the library is renovatin' a buildin' as his "legacy". Which is fine for anyone who cares 'bout such things, but to me, it's ultimately pointless. Sure a few generations might enjoy what you left behind, but then time moves on and what's important now ain't then.
Askin' 'round, none of the current students that I'm in contact with, includin' my string quartet, know who the Pixies were. That's fine with me, as their exoticism stock rises, and it gives me some breathin' room as expectations're blinded. Perhaps I'm hypin' 'em too much. Maybe they'ren't as cool as I thought. Regardless, I ain't changin' my mind.
It's not as if I'm makin' any grand statement with these little concerts. There's absolutely no reason why I should be doin' 'em. I'm just creatin' an excuse to collaborate with some cute musicians. I've got no message other than "look at me havin' fun up here playin' the music that you might not care 'bout but I like". And if that's my purpose in life, that's fine with me.
I kinda knew her answer before I texted a friend who said she wanted to check out my Hallowe'en musical tonight. Even though it got scrapped, they were gonna do a show from the past along with one new number as a preview for next year. She was sick and couldn't make it. And I don't wanna say I wished it to happen, but it's convenient how things turned.
I'm in biker scout mode, checkin' out the chicks, and waitin' for better moments to mingle'n'single out. I sat in on a master class taught by the Calder Quartet'n'heard my new 'cellist for the first time acknowledgin' her status as such. I mean, I've listened to her playin' in recitals'n'concerts before, and I've always admired her for her artistry, but that was before I enlisted her. And I'd my eye on the second violinst.
I granted permission to someone askin' to translate a portion of my webpage into Estonian. Essentially I said "knock yourself out". Likewise, I've been sayin' "yes" to a bunch of requests to rebroadcast some of my images on other internet sites promotin' a coffee table book. If all vice versas're true, then it shouldn't come as a surpise that I don't care 'bout anybody stealin' my copyrights. I guess it's only polite.
To ask. Immediately that night, after the master class, I arranged "Cecilia Ann". I'd envisioned my 'cellist pluckin' away on the bassline, my violins rhythmin' the chords, and my violist takin' the lead. Meanwhile, I've got my ears on a certain singer that might fit Kim Deal's vocal role. She's gotta sweeten my screams. I didn't bother her cause she seemed preoccupied with her piano part at the master class.
I'm brinin' a chicken tonight.
Yesterday, at work, a book crossed my desk that I immediately mentally flagged as bein' topical for my first violinist's dissertation. I dissolved some salt and brown sugar.
But instead of rememberin' to tell her later, I emailed her 'bout the new acquisition right away. On the drive back from a piano recital, I sketched in my head a string quartet arrangement for "Rock Music". I'm followin' a citrus recipe, so I tossed into my dutch oven with a viscera removed chicken a squeezed lemon, orange, and grapefruit.
She replied gratefully and requested that I put a hold on it after it gets catalogued. That song's lyrics were never transcribed onto the original pressin' of the CD, but on my vinyl copy, they're printed, so I'm goin' by that text when I scream it. Oh, and she noticed that we'ven't been bumpin' into each other lately, to which I suggested that we eat our lunches together sometime next week. And that's why I'm brinin' a chicken tonight.
It's so that I can roast it tomorrow. The reason for that is twofold. The first bein' I've been replicatin' rice'n'bean dishes that've been callin' for chicken stock. And suspectin' that it's probably not too difficult to concoct my own, I looked up how online. Of all which resulted, I'm adherin' to one that requires the carcass of a roasted chicken, thus the brinin'. And secondly, I wanna make some chicken burritos with frijoles de la olla, Mexican rice, and avocado ranch dressin' on a flour tortilla, all homemade. The rice'll be cooked in chicken stock.
I like the way she uses commas. They're like musical bars, with the full sentence bein' the phrase, as she shifts between interrelated chords without losin' the subject. I've also been testin' out various hot sauces, as rice'n'beans seem to call for some dowsin'. My favourites so far've been the ones with garlic or chipotle flavourin'. Anyways, in the unlikely even that she decides to endure me durin' lunch, I think I oughta bring to the table somethin' that I both, hopefully'll, enjoy eatin' and can brag 'bout in regards to how I assembled it, which in the end is all that I probably should dream 'bout at this universe splittin' moment, so goodnight. Encatuse.
The CD player in my car's been skippin'. Now, this could be the result of several possible conditions, such as the roads these days'ren't bein' maintained, the air pressure in my tires need to be adjusted, or the disc I burned was a faulty product. It's especially noticeable when I'm tryin' to sing along.
So here's my solution. I bought an MP3 player. Don't worry, I'm loadin' it with WAV files, cause it's got plenty of memory. I mean, the last time I bought a Walkman, it'd half the capacity and was twice the cost. And I'll plug it into my car stereo to listen to unskipped tracks. But there's another benefit.
I uploaded my MIDI simulations of my Pixies string quartet arrangements and played along with my guitar. I found myself walkin' 'round my apartment strummin' to the sampled violins, viola, and violoncello. I closed my eyes and entered the music. I'm definitely gonna practice likewise from now on.
It's obvious to anyone who's been readin' along to my blog that any setlist from a live performance of Pixies music'll include "Letter to Memphis", although it ain't so for the actual band as I can't seem to find any "bootlegged", I put that word in quotes cause anyone with a semi-recent cellphone can commit digital piracy, version of the song uploaded yet. And second to that number, I'd add "Velouria", which's been represented in the current repertoire, I mean, I personally've heard 'em play it onstage. Don't get me wrong, I've found the early '90s concert renditions of "Letter to Memphis", but I'm curious as to how they'd interpret it now, post reunion-style. I don't know if "Velouria" lives up to today's standards of contemporary popular music, cause one, I'm not versed in the modern scene, two, I'm way too biased to give an objective calibration, and three, even if I could say that it's one of my all-time favourite tracks in my limited collection of history, I wouldn't know where to begin other than I sense that each bar's got its own world, with a chorus that's got the simpilest, yet yet to be overused, gimmick in the rock'n'roll formula of progressin' from the I to the IV, slide into those chords from a half-step below. Kim's vocals overfill its impossibility to ever hate hearin' it.
Today was when I got confirmation from a singer to join my string quartet. My violist took her doctoral qualifyin' exam in the seminar room of the music library, so I helped her afterwards with a minute to spare at five fifty-nine, ploppin' books into her professor's suitcase, and elevatorin' 'em down to the basement studio. We unofficially closed 'round fifteen after eight, a quarter of an hour later than officially posted hours, cause the circulation student whom I supervise on Tuesday nights found some lingerin' scores to shelve on the mezzanine. So nearabouts eight twenty I locked up the library, kept the lights on cause a facilities crew were fixin' the fluorescents, unhooked the key to the media room, grabbed my guitar, unlocked the media room, turned on half of the two electrical switches, opened my guitar case, tuned up, strapped on, and cued up my latest MIDI string arrangements. As of this writin' I’m five songs into Bossanova. I like how the Boston Paradise DVD misspells "Allison", like Jefrey with one F Jeffery. I also emailed my first violinst regardin' the hold I put on a book for her. I'm bottom heavyin' it on the power chords heavy arrangements. The next chair that needs fillin' is the second violin. I've got some subconscious applicants.
Wishes'n'curses were bein' hurled thru the infinite fishnet when I remembered that members of the homeless and pornographic societies're contactin' me via their mediums of beggin' at the bottom of the corner of a freeway exit and strip teasin' mannerisums in a modernly styled digital manor. The other night, as I drove to the market to pick up some oranges to squeeze for breakfast juice, there was a bum jammin' on a violin. I would've stopped to listen and/or make a generous donation if the light wasn't green as cars'll've backed up my rearview. I mean, he could've been an undiscovered drunk virtuoso. Or he might've been a discovered sober idiot, I'll never know. The point is the violin.
Now, I personally don't download porn, however my buddy Larry does, and he said that he doesn't either, but heard that there's this one where a star's undressin' and in the background's an abstract oil with a bunch of black outlined shapes, but in the bottom lefthand corner, or so McFeurdy claims, is a non-abstractly rendered violin. So I asked him the obvious, "What 'bout the foreground?" Strike two. Or three if you count the one hangin' off the shoulder of my first violinist. She came in grey clothed and to pick up her requested-to-be-held material, of which there were three items shelved under her name at the circulation desk. That little compressed chit-chat was the highest point of today.
Next up on my arrangement table is the acrostic "Ana". Tonight, I ran out of very light grey 1 x 1 plates for the commissioned portrait that I've gotta finish before Xmas. I did place an order whilst on the reference desk this afternoon as I was bein' pelted with negative vibrations from my ex-first violinist who defiantly sat within ocular range. But tomorrow night, barrin' any end-of-the-galaxy scenarios, I should be able to switch constructive gears and begin sketchin' out, in my opinion, the Pixies most beautiful song. Yeah, generally when I think of that band I don't think of "beauty" per se, but I'd go out on a speed limit and say that nothin' in there catalogue's as "beautiful".
And perhaps by equatin' "Ana" with "beauty" I'm definin' my perceived ideal, musically speakin'. Well, at the most basic, the rhythm's not too fast, allowin' for a slower intake of what's bein' enchanted. The poetry's lyrical to my ears. Come on, any song that begins with "She's my fave undressin' in the sun" is an instant karma police classic in my bookend. And the chord progression is insane, changin' keys horizonatally'n'vertically, and yet so compact in chromatic simplicity that those alone would be cause for induction into inspirationality. But the melody, by my wager, belongs up there with the most celebrated romantic lines of all time. Then again, I could be imaginin' it all.
On a night cold enough to nurse a cup of warmed sake held in both hands, I maximized the volume on the other end of my headphones and pulled up the twenty three minutes that I've got arranged so far of the Pixies for string quartet.
The first eight songs of Bossanova. A few nights ago, two buddies and I were drivin' to a 50's diner after an early music concert at the university library rotunda. Behind the wheel, my friend cued his CD player and quizzed us.
"When do you think this was recorded?" It was a track by Lightnin’ Hopkins. "1958?" the shotgun rider replied. "This is the Rosetta Stone for all of rock'n'roll," the musical instrument conservationist by trade offered as a clued.
"1954," was the answer. "Is he playin' the guitar and singin' at the same time?" I asked back. "Yeah." "Nice." Meanwhile, the recordin' engineer up front wondered how many microphones were used to get that drum reverb.
Last night, like most, I had multiple unrelated dreams, other they usually involve me interactin' with some widescreen landscape and often a related to reality character from my awakened life, but there was one that I keep returnin' to.
It's a chilly midnight in a vividly lit upper floored hotel room. The sake is bein' heated. I'm conversin' with my deceased aunt 'bout infinitely numbered parallel universes a millimeter away from this dreamt space and time.
"I'm lookin' for a new violinist," I added.
There've been six musicians rotatin' in my string quartet over the last three years as college students graduate or move to other cities. And this upcommin' ensemble's gonna see two new faces appearin' on 'cello and violin.
"Oh," she raised her hand and said "pick me."
I'm lucky in that so far I've gotten all my first choices. Or rather, I've played with the musicians that I think'ren't bad at the school. Some others've even asked to be in my group, which is flatterin', but the lineup's already set.
"Do you wanna join my string quartet?" I double checked.
Last week, at the library, I was up on the mezzanine and peered over the edge. Below were every member of my string quartet includin' my singer. This was the first time I'd seen 'em all in the same room. Like puzzle parts.
"Yes," she answered.
Sacrificin' the theremin for an expanded power chord, my justification is that "Velouria", at the song's core, demands the latter more than the former, otherwise the Pixies would have a theremin player with 'em at every gig. Last night, I was holdin' Xmas lights as two of my oldest friends from elementary school wrapped roof beams with memories of our shared childhood.
"Why're you cookin' so many Mexican dishes?" my sister wondered. "Is there some Juanita?" We'd Thanksgivin' at her house, with my brother's family, a year since I'd seen his son, who's now walkin', but not yet talkin', although he's capable of vocal sounds. Another musical variable that I don't hold sacred is the octave. Those notes're moveable.
Yes, I know that some older folks've got longer lastin' friends, but over thirty years ain't short, especially since none of my string quartet'n'singer're close to that age. It's weird, but I'm not runnin' to see the new Muppet movie. I don't think I've matured since the first time I saw Kermit on the big screen, way back for their motion picture debut. I'll know when my time's up.
Let me be the last person to determine whether a keel's even or not, but today every finalized raindrop of doubt 'bout my ignorin' my ex-first violinist was windshield wiped away. Granted, I'ven't lost any sleep over her, but the mere act of pretendin' we don't know each other not to mention kickin' her outta my string quartet rubbed me kinda wrongly, enough to rethink thoughts that up 'til today I could've reconsidered. One of the questions I had was how to end "The Happening". On the recordin', it fades out. Initially I sketched a landin' on the root of the chorus, which sounded super cornball, cause those chords're already cheesy, outta context they're your standard '50s doowop harmonies, however it's imbedded in some psychotic screamin' 'bout Area 51. Anyways, so yeah, there was this line at the library circulation desk. I verbally assessed the patrons. There was a student behind her who wanted to check out one book. And without losin' a beat she reaffirmed her position in line and demanded somewhere 'round fifty CDs. Seriously, I should've been kind to the next customer, but the first person in line's always right, right? So I concluded that if she'd've shown a shred of courtesy to the next guy I'd worry 'bout justifin' my actions towards her. I mean, I'm fine with her abusin' the library staff, that's my job. But when there's collateral cruelty, well, that finally crystallizes my conscience. There was some lame internet list of "truths" 'bout life that I skimmed, like "fashions fade, style is forever", "lyin' is bad", "no one's perfect", etc. Nevertheless, one of 'em, to paraphrase, said "mean people are always gonna be mean, take note when they're the first time, and the second time get away from 'em". I dabbled with addin' a ninth or a major seventh, but they still didn't sound right. So I found a kinda rare, in that they don't play "The Happening" these days, of the Pixies performin' the song. They ended on the V chord. It sounded so much cooler than the root. Thus, I'm gonna follow that route.
I got summoned to jury duty, or as I like to call it, "time to read a book", which's currently appropriate as I'ven't'd the opportunity to finish Dick's The Divine Invasion after startin' it at the end of summer. Not that it's not any good, I mean, I dig the continuation of the VALIS thread, but with Hallowe'en composin', portrait buildin', photo shootin', burrito cookin', and Pixies arrangin', the last thing I want to do often gets put off 'til later. I did sneak in a few chapters over Thanksgivin' weekend, and I kinda didn't wanna put it down, not to mention I was relieved that I didn't need to reread any pages to reacquaint myself to the story, cause it itself shifts between memory states, if only I didn't need any sleep.
Anyways, I did my orientation online a day after I was eligible to do so in conjunction with miscellaneous other media absorbin', cause the videos dragged on with what's probably aimed at the elderly styled editin', like five second chapter segues and judges speakin' slower than the subtitles, so that I could read what they were sayin' fast enough to simultaneously listen to vintage Kim Deal interviews, check my email, search for rice'n'bean recipes, catch up on entertainment blogs, look up images of a cute actress, map out a route to a museum, network socially, watch the latest episode of a television comedy, and still answer the questions correctly 'bout jury duty, if only books didn't need so much attention.
A few days ago I went into a soda relapse, whereby bein' too lazy to walk to the store a couple of blocks away from my office to purchase a bottle of sparklin' apple juice, I dropped my spare change into a vendin' machine in the closest courtyard to my desk and bought whatever was cheapest, namely a can of cola. And like a rat in an electrocuted maze, I immediately remembered why I don't drink soda as my teeth began to buzz with hurt the followin' day. Likewise, cut the cola and the toothache disappeared. Gee, I wonder what I'll drink tomorrow...
A few astute of you might've noticed that today (12.1.11) I didn't post a blog entry. Well, that's cause I took the day off from work and attended a George Harrsison museum exhibit. I mean, I could've posted somethin' today, but I was too lazy to wait thru my dial-up connection at home, as I can update my webpage from work in mere seconds, which I normally due on my Reuben sandwich lunch breaks, thus one skipped day ain't the end of the world, right? My favourite artifact was his 12-string Rickenbacker. I wonder how many dreams it's strummed....
|It's been a week since I found a spider in the corner of my bathroom. It wasn't botherin' me so I didn't feel like botherin' it. I can't remember the last time I consciously killed one, although I know I've stepped on a few by accident, and I probably drowned some in the shower whilst not wearin' my glasses. I've trapped some in cups and relocated 'em outside if they were hangin' out in my kitchen. But so far this one's been livin' with me for seven days. It's alive cause I see it twitch and sometimes disappear and return to its spot later. I'm guessin' that it's stayin' fed with whatever else is crawlin' in my bathroom. Or maybe it's just chillin' until the weather warms up outside.
Speakin' of which, I'm goin' on winter break. If the spider doesn't kill me, I'll be back in 2012...
So the very first entry of my blog is date stamped (2.12.03), and as I've often alluded to my "I'm callin' it quits after ten years" designation, I'm aware that we're roundin' the approximately final fourteen months.
The freckled Asian 'cellist asked where the oversized section of books on music teachin' in the library was. I pointed to the back regions of the ground level stacks. Tonight's dinner was a chili cheeseburger.
Three nights ago my dinner was a chili cheeseburger. And four nights ago my dinner was a chili cheeseburger, all from the same joint located within diagonal walkin' distance to the beach location where I housesat.
All winter break, plus some extra vacation days, I followed a fairly regular schedule of wakin' up at noon, readin' for a several hours, eatin' a chili cheeseburger, and jammin' in the cold basement on Pixies songs.
In between, I'd hang out with my second violinist. Two night ago we ate at a Singapore dinner before we watched an animated 3D movie. Afterwards, we drank milkshakes at a '50s themed cafe on Santa Monica.
Five nights ago we ate at a ramen restaurant in Little Tokyo. Anyways, tonight I'm done housesittin' and am back at my pad, bakin' rye bread, arrangin' string quartet music, rememberin', and back to bloggin'.
As an employee of a public university, it's a pain to receive, after jumpin' thru a labyrinth of red tape, financial compensation for doin' a job outside of my unit, within the department, on my personal time, and for the online benefit of the school's image. For example, if some offshoot of the math department hired an independent photographer, that photographer'd get, barrin' any weird legal restraints, a check cut easily. Whereas when I get "hired", a check can take two years to squeeze outta the university's stash. Luckily, there're some more immediate informal loopholes.
Like when the library associates unit published some photos that I took of a football player for their fund raisin' flyers. Rather than pay me with a check, they gave me a generous gift certificate to a camera store. Or last month, which was December, when the undergraduate library "hired" me to do some portraits of their staff which could be displayed on their social network page. I mean, truthfully, I don't expect to be paid for my extracurricular jobs, which outnumber those that I get compensated for. Cause I enjoy takin' pictures irregardless of my gettin' "paid" in any way.
That bein' said, a friend's asked me to give her a price quote on my doin' her weddin' photographs. I consulted those that I know who're whores in that sector, took what they charge, and halved it for my friend. She's gonna talk it over with her fiance and we'll fly if it sees. Anyways, my point was I got an email from the publicity department of the undergraduate library sayin' their staff'd a holiday present for me as a "thank you" for my photographs. Of course, I accepted it. It was wrapped in white wrappin' paper. And was 'bout the size of a 900 page hardcover novel.
I mean, I knew it was a book without openin' it. If you've ever held one, you know how they feel, with the spine, the overhang of the cover, and the pages indented inside. Not to mention, it was from the undergraduate library. If they gave anythin' other than a book, they'd be hypocrites. I carried the wrapped present to the student store where I bought a bottle of sparklin' apple juice to accompany my homemade burrito. As I walked back to my office, I bumped into my second violinist. And the next thing I knew, she was somehow at my desk, lookin' at photos that I took of her.
Previously on OUT ON A LIM...
Henry receives a book shaped gift from the undergrate library for takin' their staff photos. While walkin' back to his office, he meets his second violinist, who ends up at his desk, lookin' at pictures that he took of her...
I'm not into braggin' anymore. Especially 'bout the plastic toy brick episode of my life, which's fame, for better or worse, seems to continue beyond my embarrassment. And I especially feel uncomfortable when a friend brings it up in a conversation with a third party that's unaware of my past. It's been ten years since I built anythin' crazy.
The photos were of her string quartet when they performed in the music library. Apparently no one passed 'em on to 'em. But that's not what matters. We were scrollin' thru the ten images, the zoom angles that I got from the mezzanine, and all I heard her say was how much she loved to read books by Haruki Murakami. In her palms was a pocket paperback edition of one of his books which she'd checked out from the East Asian Library.
However, I don't mind when I'm bein' featured in a coffee table book. Especially one that's located on the shelves of the bookstore that my second violinst and I browsed thru after watchin' an animated 3D movie. Cause I was able to say "Hey, check this out," as I flipped to the six pages that indexed me. Try that trick and spin it, yeah...
"Have you read any of his books?" she recommended. "Nope," I fumbled. "You should read his books," she repeated. "I'll check the library catalog," I half committed. I mean, I've got other things I wanna read at the moment.
The book shaped gift was a novel by Haruki Murakami.
"What if we meet a monster?" she wondered.
"Then I'll've to protect you," I joked, "unless I faint." I pretended to go limp just before we went subterranean as her laughter bounced off the reflective surfaces of the stairwell.
Once below, she more than twice expressed the coincidental match that took place three crossroads ago.
"This is just like a Murakami novel," she pointed.
Two weeks ago, whilst housesittin' durin' the holidays, I read the gift that I received from the undergraduate library, the hardcover English translation of Murakami's 1Q84. All 925 pages, in five days, which is extremely fast for me. However, I forgot to report that even though I got summoned to jury duty, durin' the week that I was on-call, I never got asked to wake up early in the mornin' and drive my self, with readin' material in hand, to court. I never got a chance to finish Dick's The Divine Invasion before I blasted thru the Murakami, although, after IQ84, I not only completed The Divine Invasion (I recommend readin' it if you'ven't yet, it's got some cool time/memory warps), but I also sailed thru The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (another, in my opinion, thumbs up book).
Two nights ago, we drove over the hill, saw the electrically illuminated valley, and appreciated warm sushi. Afterwards, we alternated bites dividin' up a chocolate marble cake. She drank coffee, me tea.
"Have you ever explored the steam tunnels?" I conversed.
"No," she suggested, "what are they?"
I semi-guided her to the bridge. I mean, it's been nearly six years since I've been down there, and my short term memory kicked the directions to the underground campus landmark out of my head long ago, but was able to find it thanks to the graffitied directions, like the arrows pointin' the way scribbled with "bridge". There was one turnin' station where we held hands as I helped her down a ledge. That was a fun section.
"That was a fun section," she read and said.
Not to mention, I not only but also absorbed the words of two Pixies books. One was an oral history. The other was an analysis of Dolittle. I've found several quotes online from Black Francis himself, who as late as within the last decade, answered the interview question "What's your favourite album?" with Bossanova. I'm friends with the lead guitarist of the Pixies on a social network. And I can trace a published article from last year that agrees with the lead singe'’s accessment. Kim Deal was the only Pixie to not participate in the Doolittle book. There's a HILARIOUS commercial for a video game system that uses a sappy rendition of "Where Is My Mind". Search for it on tube you effect kinect.
So the pages turned with vacationin' ease.
And there's a major character in 1Q84. Her name's the same as my second violinist's.
"This is just like a Murakami novel."
This afternoon, I finished readin' Murakami's After Dark. Although significantly shorter than IQ84, I enjoyed it more in that it was better at bein' "succinctly poetic".
Today, I also put the final adjustments (a minor/major correction) on my Pixies string quartet arrangements. Now all I gotta do it edit them on my notation software.
We're gonna be performin' 24 songs. All 14 tracks from Bossanova, plus 10 from the other albums and B-sides. We've got two possible dates for the concert.
But it's up to my second violinst to pick which one we'll go with, cause after she finds out when her master's recital is, then we can figure out a convenient concert date.
Tonight, I fried some oysters. Yes, I'm aware that I'm on my last four and a half months of eatin' beef, and I should be eatin' more chili cheeseburgers, but I took a break.
For dinner I had a fake chili cheeseburger. It's obviously not better than any of the worstly made real ones, but due to laziness and far away distances I drove to the nearest fake chili cheeseburger joint instead. Or maybe I'm just resettin' my taste receptors, you know, with a fake chili cheeseburger mouth wash which'll clear my senses in anticipation of experiencin' the next real one.
I gather that the Pixies were highly self aware of their style of dynamics, I mean, they created it. So I find it kinda cool that in their lyrics there're references to both the Mariana Trench and Olympus Mons, the lowest underwater point on earth and the highest mountain in the Solar System, respectively. The latter's 'bout 14 miles tall and the former's nearly half as much miles deep.
I'm tryin' my best to not use the "N" word. Ever since Cobain generously name dropped the Pixies as a significant influence, I don't wanna seem desperate whenever I find someone who's never heard of the band that starts with a "P" and I gotta sell 'em based on who came up with the formula and who copied it. And the more I listen to both bands, the less similarities apply.
My reusable lunch bag was wearin' out. It'd a tear on one side, which didn't render it unusable, but its end was near. And on the day that I decided to purchase a replacement, a coworker offered me a new reusable lunch bag. It'd been in the lost and found bin for over a year. No one claimed it, so it became mine.
As always whenever I housesit, I overdosed on television, usually whatever's on past two o'clock in the mornin', like stand-up comedy, cartoons intended for mature audiences, and music videos. Cause I figure I might as well do I what I can't do when I'm in the comfort of my own place, or at least what I won't do.
I'm aware that documentaries'ren't necessarily depictin' the whole story. Characters get ignored if they don't serve the director's thesis. I kinda can relate cause I know of innovative sculptors that got overlooked for a book that features some of my work, some of which were doubtlessly influenced by said persons.
I drove a Lexus last night for the first time in 'bout a long while. The ride was just like I remembered it if not grippin'ly sharpened due to the fondness enlarged in absentia. Some things'ren't inconsistent in their simplicity to ever bore me no matter how often I abuse 'em. Like tuna fish sandwiches or coincidences.
I've been rentin' documentaries. I saw one on origami that my brother recommended and liked the genre so I followed it with one on the font Helvetica, its history, its champions and its haters. There's a shot of the White Album cover as a prime example. And in contrast was a closeup of the Pixies typography.
Obviously, my share of television viewin' included commercials, of which one in particular, in my opinion, is the most depressin' product that's bein' sold right now. It's an energy drink. Now, I've never touched the stuff, let alone have I ever drank more than a dozen cups of coffee in my life, but to me it seems otherworldly to take somethin' to keep oneself awake.
The advertisement underscores some mid-afternoon feelin' with scenes of office workers yawnin'. Granted, I don't get to work by noon, yet if I do the math, assumin' the typical person's nine to five schedule, accordin' to the announcer, I ought to feel groggy 'round 5:30. But nope, that'd only happen if I was up all night. And no, I don't need a pill to put me to sleep.
Rather I get plenty of dreamin' time. Enough to get me thru the day without takin' a nap. I won't go so far to say I'm "awake" in any metaphysical sense, but physically I think I'm doin' fine. I mean, that's why I go to bed at night. To rest. And yeah, my life's pretty stress and responsibility free, so I've got that excuse. I could laugh, but instead all this makes me cry.
Cause I don't care how tired I am, I try to enjoy whatever moment I'm livin'. Even the so-called "mundane" can be reimagined as "excitement". Sure, I'm at a windowless desk job, but there's the internet at my disposal, which's immediately hours of fun. Not to mention, simply rememberin' what I dreamt of last night can put a smile on my face. That's enough.
Well, I guess it helps that my coworkers'ren't pains and my duties'ren't cutthroat. I suppose that kinda nonsense'll make boredom look like a temptin' alternative. And add to that the lack of a good night's sleep and yeah I can see how someone'll do a shot of an energy drink if they wanna keep their job. Which is all the more sad. That there's a market for this stuff.
She did her homework at my assistant's table whilst I'd my feet up on my desk as I read Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase. For an hour we were in the same room, quiet except for her sometimes shufflin' in her seat or my turnin' a page. It was early Saturday evenin'. "Let's go get dinner," she finally said.
We'd some Japanese soul food with warm sake. It rained in the mornin' and as winter goes in Los Angeles, it wasn't the coldest I've felt, but I did wear a jacket. Ok, that probably ain't gonna mean anythin' to anyone livin' anywhere where it snows, but the atmosphere in the restaurant was perfect considerin'.
Every wall space hung either a framed Japanese paintin', Japanese mask, Japanese fish kite, Japanese calligraphy, or Japanese carvin'. She wore her handmade earrings again. Later, at the coffee/tea shop I mustered a mention that her ears weren't bad lookin'. Across the street, there were two police cars.
Their lights were flashin', but their sirens weren't soundin'. Soon an ambulance drove by followed by some fire trucks. We talked 'bout words as we sat at the same table we did the last time we patronized the place. Later, a demolished car was trucked away. "Can they still repair it?" she asked. "I doubt it," I guessed.
Generalizations notwithstanding, the Pixies can be an adrenaline rush. Their faster songs don't've extreme tempos, but perhaps it's the energy, the tension and release brought on by the dynamics, or the primal associations expressed in the screamin' that pumps the listener's blood.
My nephew, who's 18 months old, already knows how to navigate a touch screen tablet. He can select and replay his favourite video clips, mainly the ones that feature him, and be entertained. Meanwhile, his grandparents are still figurin' out how to use a computer, let alone tablets.
I'm beginnin' to notice that, with few exceptions, I can't look at people in the eyes, figuratively speakin'. And it's not them, it's me. Cause it seems like nearly everyone I encounter is aspirin' to better themselves, in socially obvious, qualitative, and quantifiable ways. Good for them.
Not that I'm a virtuoso with programmable machines, and I wasn't born with the head start that my nephew inherited, but I don't squint at the screen, look for letters on the keyboard, am confused 'bout which button on the mouse to push, or believe every story I read on the internet.
Cause when you see behind their pupils, they're not in the here and now, rather they want to go up to the next higher level, etc. And sure, they're workin' hard to realize their ambitions, and I'll help 'em if I've got somethin' they can take from me, but it's like talkin' to passin' tourists.
Increasin'ly, I've been gettin' photography gigs. I suppose part of the appeal of the medium is the freezin' of time and space. A picture, especially a portrait of someone, locks that person in that moment, regardless of where they hope to be in the future. The money's good, too.
The university environment consists of students who, by definition, are there to expand their potentials. As well, my job is all about spendin' money. I've never had to competitively consider, devious or not, how to make money, which I gather is a motivatin' factor for upwards mobility.
And there's nothin' wrong with any direction anybody decides to head towards, nor any reason why, if briefly, I can't connect with 'em at my stationary junction. I guess I'm just lucky that I find my current position in life not bad. However, I don't remember ever tryin' to reach for it.
Budget cuts've limited promotions and hirin'. So when a coworker retires, instead of refillin' their role, it might make sense for me to reclassify. In other words, it'll be cheaper to give me a raise as I help pick up the slack. I don't mind given that my speed's probably faster than the retiree's.
Some might call it what they deserve after payin' their dues. I think of it as extra income to save stupidly or spend wisely. It could be worse. Either way it was a nice buffer to fall back on when one night I turned up the volume of the Pixies in my car. A highway patrol car caught me.
Basically, I can subdivide my life into two frames of mind, one bein' in orbit with a girl and the other not, of which the latter last occurred before those beacons began colonizin' on my teenaged female classmates' chests. Ever since, I've always'd a chick in my head, imagined or real, young or old, but mostly and increasin'ly younger, and odds are a string player of sorts. I mean, I can't say I've'd many, but there's usually a weekend when I'm sake'n'dinin' a graduate student, cause they're less likely to be illegal agewise, unless they're wiser beyond their years, which some of the feisty Asians ones seem to challenge my...
"Temptation," she attempted to pronounce.
"Do you know what that means?" I asked in Japanese.
...patience with their elaborately etiquetted entrapments, etc. So currently 99 percent of the multiple copies and campus library holdin's of Murakami books're checked out. Mathematically, that's slower than I'm readin', thus I ordered some personal copies online with a gift certificate from my brother, his wife, and son. For my nephew, I signed a copy of the coffee table book that features me. I'd wrapped it up in aluminum foil for a gift exchange game me and my extended family experience every Xmas, whereby everyone brings a gift, we all pick a number, the lowest number goes first gettin' to pick from the pile...
"Foil wrap!" everyone, inludin' me, chanted with mockery.
"Choose the foil wrapped present," I whispered to my sister-in-law.
...the later numbers can either pick from the diminished pile or steal an unwrapped gift. In my hand, unwrapped was a scrap of paper with greatest number possible, namely the highest, which granted me final authority as to who gets what, cause everyone before me'd made their choices, and I held the ticket to upstage 'em in the end. Thru the game, my brother's family at one point had in their possession some sorta tin box stocked with twenty bucks, give or take, worth of candy, a couple of decent DVDs, and finally the "undesireable" cause it was the last one opened, my foil wrapped copy of the coffee table book that features me. I bumped into my first violinist...
"Have you read this?" I flashed the spine.
"Not that one," she caught sight, "but another one."
...after I'd retrieved a copy of Sputnik Sweetheart, which I know's kinda wrong to do, but nonetheless've got charged to my library card even though I'm readin' Norwegian Wood first in case my second violinst wants to check out the movie next week. I mean, if it's based on a book, I'd like to've read it before seein' the cinematic interpretation. After which, I'll hit Sputnik Sweetheart. Luckily, I've got a weekend where she's got "too much homework". I like games where the rules'ren't unbreakable. Unpredictible is a given with her, all seductive durin' the photo shoot, and school girl routine waitin' outside my office. I took a shortcut...
"Well, good luck," I offered.
"Thanks," she waved, "see you later."
There's this clock that I could've sworn was broken cause the second hand wasn't movin'. But it turned out that it kept the time, just that one hand wasn't workin'. Cause I double checked later and it wasn't wrong.
Someone told me that someone'd a miscarriage and it bummed me out. You can't've a good day regardless of what nice things happen after hearin' such news. And if the day's already bad, well it got worse.
She planned to hang out. Yet there was somethin' 'bout the timin' that was off. I knew exactly how it was gonna play out. "Sorry," she texted. The plan fell thru. You can't be bummed out when it was expected.
The other day I rehearsed with my singer. We collaborated in a practice room and sung our parts. She was a little shy, but I can't believe how perfect her voice is. Give her a microphone and I think she'll be more than OK.
But back to today, everythin' was wrong. From the second I woke up to writin' this entry. Somethin' was terribly off. Either I'm payin' for some slight I commited in the past, or I'll get compensated in the future.
We're supposed to've seen Norwegian Wood tonight--the foreign film taken from the Beatles song, scored by Jonny Greenwood, and based on the Murakami novel that I recently finished readin'. But she forgot that her sensei was playin' a concert of some Mozart sonatas. As discreetly as I could word, I texted her if we could go together. She replied, likewise, with a rejection. But with a hint of "Can we go another time?" Last night, she was in my dream...
The sky was Sven Stromson Blue. And she was at the wheel. We made a left 'round a seashore corner, but missed and hit the water. But instead of drownin' the car, we made it swim. I saw seagulls give us a winged thumbs up as we traced the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, guacamole in the breeze, burritos on the brink of burnin', and the mutilatin' waves. She said she was sorry and liked my unique Japanese and I'd inspired her to read Murakami after midnight.
Of course I admitted beforehand 'bout a dream I had with us disuccin' the book, which wasn't a lie, although I might've failed to've revealed our nudity, but that's another story. Instead, I treated myself to a chili cheeseburger tonight. One of the last in my life, so I might as well enjoy it. And today wasn't a day not to indulge. The rhythm was torn. The melody lost. The harmonies didn't occur, unless you count the disembodiment of cellphone texts.
How to cure car cassette adapter "auto-reverse flip-flop".
Some photos by me (see credits).
Photo by me (uncredited).
My spiritual advisor would always say, hell, everyone I that I know of wouldn't disagree to the fact that many of my extracurricular activities're instigated by whoever I'm interested in's interests. Like the time I was tunin' into Dodgers games...
"Shut up," my sister would remind me whenever I'd acuse her of suddenly likin' a sports team. "Remember the Dodgers..."
"Dodgers," my spiritual advisor would nod.
Last night I felt like royalty, upper classed, exhalted, honoured, bestowed, etc. as I made myself comfortable on a couch, a glass of red wine within reach, my fifth Murakami novel under my eyeglasses, her voice in my head, and her violin sight readin' along with the music library's head of circulations acccompanyin' on piano.
"Cause, like," I explained, "a long time ago, nobody had CDs, so they'd hire live musicians for entertainment."
"Yeah, he's right," my violinist seconded.
In the car, on the drive over, she was my stereo as she sang Japanese folk songs in a pixie voice. "Do you know any Beatles songs?" I asked, not cause I didn't like her music, but I was just wonderin' what was on the other channel.
"I'dn't deny that the only reason why I read Sylvia Plath was cause some chick recommended it," I'd say.
"Disney flicks, Bach fugues, and that certain baseball team."
She picked the izakaya called Eight (in Japanese) outta a list of three that I'd looked up as bein' the nearest to the university, the other two bein' a samurai word and somethin' to do with bamboo. We drank sake as we discussed themes from the books of Murakami. The followin' night on the eastbound 10 freeway...
She's singin' the soundtrack to Yellow Submarine. The title tune, "All Together Now," "Nowhere Man," and "When I'm Sixty Four". She's wearin' glasses, I won't subtract. I felt like a king with my own personal radio station of live singin' renditions of my all-time favourite band.
Number two: the Pixies.
I think it’s a policy of mine to glorify whoever's on second fiddle. I suppose you could analyze psychotically that it's cause I always got assigned to that seat in orchestras in my failed career as a violinist back in high school. Or that I know that's traditional a borin' seat fill. Harmony to the first violin's melodies. Or maybe I've been lucky to've'd second violinsts that aren't bad lookin'.
Although in my non-traditional string quartet, I usually assign the melody to the viola. The scorin' of which always provides a challenge, cause traditionally, the upper registers register as the musical lines to follow. In other words, the middle, namely the viola, essentially supports the support of the second violinst, or thickens the bottom with the 'cello. So you gotta carve out the arrangement so as to bring the audience's focus on the viola, be it introduced as a soloist within the first few bars, or secludeded as an arco when the rest're pizzicato. Otherwise, she'd get lost in the mix.
Anyways, after a salad, pizza, and wine dinner, the music library's head of circulations cat entered the kitchen, immediately strikin' up a conversation with my second violinist, who was wearin' her favourite jacket, the one patterned with cartoon cat faces.
"What's its name?" she inquired.
The cat's name was the same as the cat from her favourite Murakami book. We exchanged wide smiles.
Today I took a razor blade to my wrist. No, I wasn't tryin' to kill myself, and I apologize if I sound like I'm mockin' the suicidal method, but whilst showerin' I discovered a single hair sproutin' there. At first it looked like a stray strand, cause last I checked that's not a normal location for my follicle growth. However, it didn't wipe away. So after I dried myself, I shaved it off.
And I thought, in some parallel universe I bled to death.
It's like I felt the echo in this dimension. Cause, I mean, perhaps I'm somehow connected to all the versions of me branchin' off in some other times and spaces. Maybe there's a me somewhere who's depressed, who's desolate, and who desires to depart. It might've been a tiny deviation from the path that I'm experiencin', but has extremely snowballed in another direction.
Not to say any course is incorrect, but simply possible.
Consciously, I can't remotely recall ever havin' any thoughts of committin' suicide. It's just the juxtaposition of "razor blade" and "wrist" that made me think of such, why I applied that tool to that part of my body notwithstandin'. Anyways, I wonder if as the me that has slit his wrists takes his last breath, right before he passes on, glimpses a recently detached single hair.
Henry Lim and His String Quartet Perform the Pixies
UCLA Powell Library Rotunda
Saturday, April 21
UCLA Music Library staff member Henry Lim on vocals and acoustic guitar supported by his string quartet featuring graduate students from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will perform the Boston-originated alternative rock band the Pixies' 1990 science fiction surf album Bossanova in its entirety along with the singles "Gigantic," "Planet of Sound," and "Debaser," among other songs. Special guest undergraduate Rosalind Wong will provide additional vocals.
The average human incisor is, from crown to root, 'bout 16 mm. Picture such a distance between my index finger and thumb. That's how close I was recently to makin' an appointment with a dentist. I'ven't'd my teeth looked at by a professional in 18 years. And I can't claim to take even the slightest care of 'em. I rarely brush. Never floss. Several've fallen out. Toothaches come and go. But durin' the years since my last dental visit the distance between my index finger and thumb's always been a light year apart, indicatin' how ridiculous it would've been for me to make an appointment. My theory is if nothin' hurts and everythin' works, there ain't no bother. My remedy: sleep on it. If the next day my teeth're fine, I'm fine. So that ought to give you an idea of the pain I felt this time 'round.
The problem was, I couldn't sleep on it. Bein' Sunday night, I'd been wakin' up at leisurely hours over the weekend. This normally backlogs a rhythm that'll take me thru the week, givin' me a nice distribution of rest, even if I only average six hours per work night. However, this only becomes insomnia with a toothache cause I don't naturally feel tired. I mean, it's fine that I stayed up all night in pain as I wasn't gonna feel unrested the followin' day, but I was at the very least hopin' to pass out durin' the final stretch, which happens to be mornin' for most people. And the curse laughed as it continued. That mornin' my neighbour decided to hire a loud speakin' Spanish crew to chainsaw some trees. Without a toothache I could've slept thru it. I've done so before. But this time I could only roll my eyes.
Needless to say, the next day was miserable. Not debilitatin' as I was able to do my job with everyone unaware. I mean, it's a toothache, not a broken heart. Anyways, I get home and jump early into bed. I was definitely a little tired from losin' a night's sleep. Not dead tired as I was able to read a few chapters of a book. I swish some whiskey on the infected area which slightly burns and temporarily distracts the pain, turn off my light, and fall asleep. But before I begin to dream I wonder if this toothache's different. Is it the one that'll inch my index finger and thumb closer together and finally force me to go to the dentist? After all, the pain's lasted longer than ever before, not to mention was gettin' worse. And so I told myself, if in the mornin' it still hurts, I'll concede. I woke up fine.
Accordin' to my mom, when I was an infant I never spoke "baby talk". You know, that phase before babies start to actually speak where they make noises that sound like they're tryin' to talk. The topic came up as my nephew was doin' it the last time he visited, which was durin' New Year, when he was 'bout a 17 months old. He could kinda say simple words like "mama", but overall the "words" outta his mouth weren't literally far from "gaga" and "googoo".
Anyways, my parents got worried 'bout me. They thought I might be retarded. Cause not only did I not speak "baby talk" when I was 17 months old, I didn't make any noises with my mouth at all. I was mute. I rarely cried and if I did, I was quiet. They had me medically checked out to see if physically I had the capacity to use my vocal chords as well as measure my mental acuity for that age. The doctors couldn't find anythin' wrong and told 'em to be patient.
Now, I'd be exaggeratin' if I said my mom's not a liar, but she claims that the first words I ever spoke was a full sentence. The fact that she can't remember what that sentence was makes me suspicious of its truth. Nevertheless, she describes it as if I skipped the developmental nonsense, be it noises or "baby talk", and began talkin' sans bullshit. This blog notwithstandin', but definitely as my philosophy of speech, I can't say that that'sn't been my manner ever since.
Recently, my eyes have seen things that they'ven't seen before. Nothin' extraordinary, mind you, you've probably seen such perspectives a thousand of time, but personally, they were firsts for me.
Let me back up by sayin' I got new glasses. There was nothin' wrong with my eyes or my old pair, just that I felt like reapin' the benefits of my vision insurance plan. Plus, I wanted to see my optometrist.
You know, the one from Duluth (see OUT ON A LIM 9.9.08). I pretended that I forgot 'bout her as I sat in her office, but I remembered. And as soon as I faked a "oh yeah, now I recall", we started talkin'.
Like our conversation didn't skip four years. It was all 'bout music. Bands we've seen since my last exam, concerts she's got tickets to, festivals to recommend. And of course, the Pixies.
I consider myself lucky not only to have a pretty optometrist (which I believe, given my line of work as a photographer, is a good way to calibrate my eyes), but one that appreciates the Pixies.
Unfortunately, she'll be seein' Radiohead on the same night as my concert. Oh well, anyways, I got a new pair of glasses, which're fashionably different, but really my eyes're still the same.
So back to what I've seen. The first thing was in a fittin' room. My jeans, which I normally purchase from my favourite clothin' store in Japan, were fadin' as I'ven't shopped there in three years.
I like this Japanese brand cause they've got sizes that're closer to my body type, namely the shortness of my legs. As well, they'll do in-house alterations for free. Not to mention, they're cheap.
It's lookin' likely that I'll be vacationin' in Japan this summer, but in the meantime, I bought a pair of jeans to hold me over 'til then. They're way too long. I gotta fold up the bottoms.
Anyways, as I was tryin' 'em on, I noticed in the dual mirrors that I've got a bald spot. Not that I care, in fact, I'm glad that I'm losin' my hair as I can't stand how much it never stops growin'.
To be bald is a dream of mine (see OUT ON A LIM 7.10.03). And to see it actually reflected back at me made me smile. Yes, I am gettin' old. Yes, I am closer to death. Yes, I am human.
The other thing I saw, on a separate occasion, was I caught someone lookin' at me. This, to my knowledge, has never happened to me before. Yeah, I realize, if I'm in a room, eyes register that I'm somewhere in that space.
Or whenever I perform, I know that my presence is bein' acknowledged. However this was different.
It's like I caught her eye, and by catchin' hers she caught mine. Yeah, I know that sounds very "so what", but imagine the first time that's happened to you.
I felt younger. I felt more alive. I felt human.
We were the last to leave the sandwich catered reception. Yet after four glasses of champagne, I still didn't know who she was. To be fair, I revealed nothin' 'bout myself either.
She was definitely the prettiest girl in the room. Nice big brown eyes.
"So what do you do for a livin'’?" she asked first.
"I work at a music library," I answered. "What do you do, besides this gig?"
"Oh," she turned away, paused, and replied before takin' a sip, "my job right now is kinda ad hoc."
Fair enough. No point in me interrogatin' her if she didn't wanna elaborate. Of course, I kept my other means of income to myself.
"I don't even like champagne," she said as she brought me another glass. "So where do you live?"
"Redondo Beach," I stated. We shared some stories 'bout our experiences with the area. She's got a cousin who lives somewhere nearby and I told her I've got no complaints. And as the subject went nowhere, I relayed it back.
"I think I live 'round Brentwood," she tentatively confessed.
Again, I didn't feel like gettin' a clearer answer, nor tellin' her how long I've lived in same apartment.
We continued with vague small talk. Nothin' clicked. Well, to be honest, my mind's on another girl.. And there's no way this one'll think twice 'bout me, so there's no point in carin'. We were just two guarded people not lettin' anythin' pass except the time.
"Dig For Fire"
I'ven't stalked a girl since I was a college student. Back then, I'd wait 'round at some pretty girl's place of employment, oftentimes a library, 'til she got off work. And I'd ask her out, only to be rejected. You do that enough times and you're an idiot if you don't give up that tactic.
Well, "stalk" isn't the right word. I've never gone stealth and targeted a girl. Yes, I've hid behind a newspaper at a table in a library pretendin' to read. But I've always done my huntin' in public spaces. Even I can see how creepy it is to pursue someone at their private residence, dormitories included.
So the other day I found myself followin' her from a distance of 'bout 50 feet. I didn't plan to, but it just so happened that as I was headin' out for dinner I spotted her with the Stradivarius case strapped on her back walkin' towards the student center. I didn't know if she also was on a meal break.
And so I chased her. Yeah, "chase" is a better word. Cause from the music buildin' to the student center my feet moved faster, closin' in on the space between us. My eyes steadied on the back of the Stradivarius case as other people weaved thru the sidewalk. I was gonna catch up to her soon.
Speakin' of the Stradivarius, I can't stop laughin' that we used it for our Pixies concert. Nothin' against the instrument or the band, but I'm bettin' that it's pretty rare you'll ever see the words "Stradivarius" and "Pixies" in the same sentence, let alone hear 'em performed together.
OK, maybe in a hundred years the Pixies might suddenly be deemed highbrow and violinists'll covet those notes originally played on an electric guitar. Hmm, I just read that last sentence and realize how far fetched that future might be. Nevertheless, that's what makes it so hilarious.
I mean no disrespect, but I believe that there're more people than not who'd object to the Pixies bein' played on such a revered world treasure as a Stradivarius, but honestly, if every instrument goes on a journey, in this case nearly 300 years, I think it's a funny footnote that this music crossed its path.
Anyways, back to the chase. Just as I see her descend the walkway someone calls my name.
"Henry," a librarian stops me, "I saved one of your posters and put it in my office."
"Cool," I pause.
"It reminds me of that Peter Gabriel video," she continues, "you know, that one where he's surrounded by beautiful ladies playin' guitars."
"You mean Robert Palmer," I correct. "'Addicted To Love'."
"Oh you're right," she remembers. "Except you're more classier."
"Thanks," I wave.
I lost ground, but not my sight. I hurried to the descendin' walkway and spot my first violinist headin' towards the food court. She's gettin' dinner, I confirmed. I'll conveniently bump into her and ask if she wouldn't mind eatin' with me. Sure enough, I catch up to her in line for some Chinese.
"Hey," I slipped in behind her, "may I join you?"
"Where Is My Mind"
I can't remember the last time I went 'round on my old walkin' route. For whatever reason, most likely laziness, I've neglected what used to be a nightly routine, especially durin' the first year that I quite smokin'. It's 'bout a half hour stroll thru my neighbourhood. All the streets're flat for blocks, so it ain't strenuous. Well, besides bein' lazy, I'ven't been able to fit it into my schedule.
Not that I'm swamped, but nearly every night I give the excuse that I'm workin' on some project, be it photo editin', editin' string quartet arrangements, or arrangin' toy blocks into the shape of a violin for a birthday present for my second violinist. I mean, for the last few months, I didn't even've a chance to write this blog. Also, sometimes I'd rather read a book than take a walk.
This afternoon I finished readin' Pinball, 1973, thus completin' my survey of the dozen Murakami novels currently in print. There's a collection of short stories and a non-fiction book that I still need to get thru to've then gone thru all of his works that've been reworked into English. These orders haven't arrived yet, so my evenin' was lookin' wide open. But first, I cooked me some curry.
Japanese curry, to be exact. My favourite dish, now that I ain't eatin' chili cheeseburgers anymore. I made a batch with pork. And as I sat down to dine, I thought I'd watch the movie Contact. I'ven't seen it in a while, and I wasn't averse to some extra-terrestrial amusements. So I ate my curry in the dark with the volume turned up. Oh, and the climatic scene is set in Hokkaido.
After the movie ended, I did the dishes, and I returned to my old walkin' route.
Contrary to what I might've professed, the final cow meat that I devoured was not a chili cheeseburger. It was a double cheeseburger. Not that the memory of the last chili cheeseburger isn't recorded in my memory, it was last Thursday.
Of the four concerts that I've performed with my string quartet, two of 'em received standin' ovations. The first was for The Beatles, but I believe that was more outta courtesy for the orchestra and choir's surprise guest appearance.
I had to plan my meals accordin' to my schedule. Friday I'd two evenin' concerts to shoot. I use the weekend to cook my meals for the rest of the week, this one bein' dedicated to curry. Monday I was workin' late, so Thursday was it.
I mean, applause is easy to get. Even if you screw up and show half an effort any decent audience'll give you a clap at the end of a song. But an ovation's harder. You gotta earn that extra enthusiastic gesture. Knock 'em off their seats.
Now, I'm not tryin' to make my abstinence from beef a big deal. So I look at that final chili cheeseburger as nothin' special. And perhaps because I overworshipped its perfection, I found it easy to dismiss it after the last bite.
Of course, I never perform with the intention of gettin' an ovation. My first and foremost goal is to please myself, be it with the arrangement, how I rehearsed the string quartet, or whether I represented to best of my ability, the music.
That left Monday. I had to close the library, so I had a limited area of dinin' options. Not that I needed to eat beef. In fact, had I not, the last of that meat ingested would've been Thursday's chili cheeseburger. I could've lived with that.
If the audience doesn't get it, so be it. I know what I sound like. However, there's a tiny bit of sympathetic ego which extends to my girls. I want them to know that what we did onstage together was "good". If for them, not me.
So I walked to the double cheeseburger joint. And again, I didn't hold any ceremony. I ordered it, with onions, waited for it to be cooked, ate it, and returned back to work. I'm not a huge steak fan, so I can't think of a better endin'.
The second was for the Pixies.
"I'm turnin' 40 tomorrow," I said to the pianist. She turned that age 'bout two'n'half months ago. "What's it like?" I asked.
"It's great," she exclaimed. "You'll be more wiser and more enlightened."
"Whatever," I brushed off. "I wanna be less of those things."
"Oh really?" she questioned. "Life begins at 40," she quoted.
"That's what John Lennon said," I referenced.
"It's true," she tried to confirm.
"Yeah," I added, "and then he got assassinated."
"Really?" she emphasized the awkward coincidence.
"Yup," I deadpanned, makin' a gun with my hand and aimed it at her.
"You should be assassinated," she laughed.
"That would be cool," I agreed as I turned the gun on myself.
I texted her on her birthday. Last year, we raised our glasses in a Hollywood bar with her boyfriend and whoever I was seein' at the time. A couple of months after that and I'dn't seen or heard from her since. No, that's a lie, I got an email from her sayin' how The Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" reminded her of me. I replied with a "Hey the other night I took my first violinist to the sushi restaurant that you introduced to me." So I wasn't exactly expectin' her to respond to my textin' "happy birthday" to her this year.
I doubt she still has the same phone number. I mean, I deleted whoever I was seein' at the time's digits. Who's to say she kept mine. I know that she should currently be in another state. Plus the last time we hung out, her phone was practically fallin' apart. I wouldn't be surprised if she, like her life, discarded the old and bought a new one. And not that I'd held hope in any of these trivialities, but the least I could do was send her my regards regardless if she acknowledges or even gets it. Sure enough, she didn't.
Again, I didn't give it much thought, however, yesterday I was awoken early in the mornin' (for me that's like 10am) by my ringin' cellphone. I glanced at the caller ID and it was her. So I answered. "Hello," I said. All I heard was background noise. Apparently she accidentally dialed my number. I hung up. Two seconds later it rang again. It was from her phone, or whoever has her number now. Same deal, mistaken dial. Well, the chances that someone else's got her number and mine is slim. At the least, it probably was her.
As someone who likes the theory of cosmic balance, the word "stalemate" seems pretty cool. The idea that no one wins or loses, despite every effort to thwart each other, is a nice example of keepin' metaphysical dimensions from total annihilation. Those last few chess pieces...
Accordin' to an online encyclopedia, "stalemate" comes from the game chess, and the metaphor, accordin' to chess players, is inaccurate cause most real world stalemates get resolved, in one way or another, whereas strictly speakin', a stalemate is a pure deadlock. I see their point...
Like in a Mexican standoff, you've got your gun pointed at someone who's also aimin' at you. It's either lose lose, win win, lose win, or win lose, dependin' on who pulls the trigger when. There is no no winner or no loser if you've gotten that far in a gunfight. Not that I've participated...
I don't get into arguments. If someone wants to make their point, I'll let 'em. I'm not an athletic sports person. And if I were, I'd definitely forfeit. Competition ain't in my vocabulary, although in evolutionary terms, I understand the concept. Survial of the fittest. But what if...
You pool all your efforts into advancin' over someone, and they do likewise, yet you reach an impasse. To me, such a result is more interestin' than any clear advantage or disadvantage. A tie without a tiebreaker. Equality and balance on a basic level. You've met your true match...
I'm the official photographer of the annual UCLA opera production. A few years ago, for fun and camera practice, I'd sit in the lightin' booth and aim down at the singers all costumed up. I don't know how the director found out, maybe my engineer friend told him, but the next year I was asked if some of my photos could be used for the department's website, or somethin' like that, I forget the details, but eventually, come opera season, it's understood that I get to not only sit in the front row durin' dress rehearsals and get full access to whatever shots I want, but my pictures get printed and displayed in the lobby come the performance dates. I don't get paid, but there's always one girl that ain't bad lookin'. And I'll never refuse to snap a pretty face.
This year wasn't an exception. Not that my tastes are universal, but there're certain types that, to me, are easier to photograph, namely blondes. I read that the guy who shot Deborah Harry described her hair colour as "reflectin' light", which I can see, and since light is pretty important in photography, the speed of my lens agrees. In fact, darker hair colours, conversely, tend to "suck up light". That isn't to say I hate takin' pictures of Asians, they’re just more difficult to bounce light off of their hair, cute as they may be. Anyways, I snapped a bunch of photos of this one singer. She didn't've a huge role, but it wasn't hard to track her name down on the credits, which I did later, on the Facebook page. Not that I wanted to meet her. But you never know.
So along with documentin' the sets and costumes, my main duty as the official photographer is to get a shot of all the main characters. The first few years I missed some, be it blurry focus or my ignorance of who's who, and had to return on the night of the performance and huddle in the lightin' booth just to fill in the missin' singers. I'm not exactly an opera fan, I mean, I'll sit thru a dress rehearsal, but commin' back for seconds ain't too fun. I've learned to avoid it. And I got pretty good at capturin' everyone. However, this year, the director's assistant emailed me after I turned in the photos sayin' that I forgot to take any pictures of the girl who I thought was the prettiest. I was sure I didn't miss her. It was my favourite photo from this year's production.
"Oh never mind," she wrote later, "you got her."
I fell off the beef wagon. Well, technically I really didn't, cause I never said I'd NEVER eat cow meat, the exception bein' if it's bein' served to me. As long as I didn't purchase it or order it specifically, I'm OK. I know, these're lame rules, but aren't they all...
My birthday fell on a Tuesday which'sn't too convenient to get together and celebrate amongst family members who live in rush hour zones, includin' myself. So we moved it to lunch on Sunday.
My parents, my sister, and her boyfriend and his two kids were gonna be there. I invited my second violinist.
I picked her up and gave her a tiny construction toy flower. But before we drove to Hacienda Heights from Westwood, she'd two appointments to look at potential apartments that she might move into for the next school year. They weren't far from the university.
For the first one, I waited in my car with nothin' to do for 'bout 10 minutes. I rolled down my window and watched the walkers and car parkers come and go. I flipped thru her Bach score, but all her scribbles in the margins were in Japanese. After playin' the Pixies, lately, all I want to listen to is silence. I get that way after my string quartet concerts. It lasts for 'bout a month and then I'm ready to hear music again. Decompression.
At the second apartment, she tossed me a copy of some Murakami short stories translated into English. I'd just finished readin' the collection, and I told her so.
"Read it again," she commanded as she got outta my car.
For 'bout 10 minutes I reread the preface and the first few pages of what I thought was the best short story amongst the batch.
As we hit the eastbound freeway, she read outloud that exact same story.
Her voice is melodious, like her playin'.
Anyways, at my parents' house, for lunch my mom made some beef'n'bell pepper dish. It wasn't bad.
Of the two blonde dancers, the skinnier one won my attention. Nothin' to write home 'bout, but she looked dumber than the fatter one, so naturally I was turned on.
The music was way too loud in the bar. My second violinist and I're conductin' a survey of local izakayas and've so far determined that the noisier the sound system, the less we can converse, cause naturally our voices'ren't in the yellin' range.
Anyways, I'd'd two whiskeys and wasn't drinkin' anymore, not cause I was drunk, but rather I'm a cheapass at bars. My saxophone friend from high school had an energy drink, his girlfriend some white wine. She blurted out the specific type of white wine, but I don't remember the name, let alone, I believe the bar didn't stock it so she settled for another, which wasn't as "sweet as she wanted", said she.
He waved to me with his hand at his neck. I nodded. Outside I congratulated him in the average decibel airspace of the sidewalk outside of a bar on his saxophone skills. He'd played in the well chopped jazz band specializin' in cross pollinated pop tunes spannin' generations that opened for the amateur dance show afterwards, you know, the one with the cute blonde.
"Happy birthday," he belated.
"I was chattin' with my sister," I relayed, "and she noticed on an online social network that it's actually your sister's birthday today."
"It is," he sighed, "but we'ren't talkin' with each other at the moment."
The next day I relayed that chat to my sister. And it made me think of the last time she and I weren't on speakin' terms. Never. I can't say that we've got anythin' close to similar to whatever shared philosphies 'bout life we might've, her bein' in advertisin' and me a devout Bill Hicks follower of said comedian's doctrine that anyone who does a commercial is off the artistic role call, but we've NEVER disrupted communications. Not that we speak of transmigrated discussions on topics like psychedelic experiences, but we've kept in touch.
And I wondered, why haven't I been a bad big brother to my younger sister. I remember my brother's weddin'...
It was in Taiwan, and many of my Japanese relatives were in attendance. It was in a giant hotel slash business buildin'. So my cousins came, an older brother and younger sister. And as we lined up to enter the reception, my male cousin said somethin' quickly and beyond my translation capabilities to my female cousin.
She tear bursted.
"Why can't I do that to you?" I asked my sister.
"You use more wit," she replied. "Like the time you Tom Sawyered me. Mom told us that we have to clean the leaves off the lawn and wipe the windows. You do one, I'll do the other. I chose the windows. You picked up the leaves on the lawn, but you laughed and made it seem like it was the most funnest thing to do in the whole wide world. So naturally I wanted to pick the leaves the next time this dual chore came 'round. However, given that you didn't watch me havin' fun pickin' up the leaves, you immediately wiped the windows and spent the rest of the afternoon watchin' cartoons. I felt swindled as I didn't laugh pickin' up all those leaves."
"I just didn't've the patience to deal with someone like that anymore," I explained.
"What?" she sounded confused. "But you're the most patient person I know."
Wait a minute, I thought, how do you know I'm patient? Granted I don't keep track of how the world sees me. For all I care I'm pretty patient with some things and not with others. Although I do know that I generally keep my impatience to myself, so it might appear that I'm not bein' bothered, but then again, as in the above situation, I'd rather steer away from things that try my patience than stick 'round. And yes, some of my projects do take time and can be considered exercises in tedium, however I see 'em more as fun activities, otherwise I'dn't do 'em, and in that case it's not really patience but me enjoyin' myself.
Cause to me, by definition, patience is endurin' somthin’ not fun, which is different from waitin' to do somethin' fun. Maybe I'm sick, but I like anticipation. Like really like. But yeah, I can see how that might've given her the impression that I'm a patient person. Or had she tested my patience in the past?
There's an Aziz Ansari joke that kinda goes like this: he's textin' a girl, back and forth, meaningless chatter, and then he asks her if she'd like to go out for dinner later. No response from her. He goes nuts. I laughed cause she does it all the time. Although, I don't go nuts cause I'm one, just happy to've been textin' with her, and two, don't question the actions of a girl. I just go with it. As long as I'm havin' fun, I've got all the time in the world.
I took to the reference desk nearly five minutes before my shift. I logged on, pulled up the library's online catalog in case someone was gonna ask me a question such as "I'm doin' a report on mariachi, do you have a book on mariachi?", which 'bout ten minutes into my session, sure enough someone sat on the guest chair and said those exact words. I helped her find a single book which was located at our depository, meanin' it'll take a day to page it, because everythin' else on the subject had already been checked out.
"Is there a class that's been assigned to do a report on mariachi?" I guessed.
"Yeah," she replied with a Mexican accent.
"It lookes like everythin's been snatched up," I pointed to the screen showin' the status of several checked out books.
"I don't want to be greedy," she whispered whilst slippin' me her library card, "but can you get me that last book?"
"I already paged it under your name," I described as I handed back her card.
"Thanks," she deployed.
I turned to the bookmarked page of Sophie's World which I'd borrowed from the college library. My second violinst recommended it. I'm 'bout two-thirds done with it. It's not bad Fifteen year old girl learnin' 'bout philosophy.
The killer blonde entered the library. Peripherally as I read, I followed her to the table at the far side of the reference stacks, which from my perch was the longest view via my domain. She wore a long summer dress, appropriate for the early warmth of a Los Angeles day in May. Creamy, with flowers. Her stride was determined to turn my eyes each way she manipulated her legs back and forth in front of the reference desk. Which was many. She kept goin' outside, either to answer her phone, or presumably use the restroom or whatever she needed to do, like come back with a bottle of water, and slowly returnin' with her hair blowin' in the air conditioned room. Once, she had it tied up, and let it loose halfway across the floor of the reference stacks. Shook her head, let it all fall down her back. Like golden tunnel vision. Another time, the circulation student called me over cause she needed help, and the killer blonde was like a foot away from me, crossin' paths. And then finally she left for good. I ended my shift.
Despite what it might seem, I did get plenty of readin' done.
|Yes, I'm aware that I'm on the last nine months of this blog. I'm shuttin' down in February 2013, markin' the tenth anniversary of OUT ON A LIM. What I don't think I was aware of was it's all been a chronicle of my thirties. Ever since I turned 40, I'ven't been goin' thru any existential crisis, not yet at least, but it did hit me that, for better or worse, if I want to relive my 30's decade, it's mostly written down here. Not that it was special, I mean, there're moments in each ten year chunk of my life that I thought were meanin'ful, or not, but nothin' as concentrated in written form as these entries.
Not to mention publicly shared. One of my favourite links to my blog questioned whether or not it was real. Truth be damned, all the text is for lack of originality, real. It's all there, archived somewhere online, regardless if my website dies, for anyone to read. I probably won't reread it all after I'm done, but someday, if I'm still alive, I wonder if I'll wonder what was real. Hell, even as I write a week's worth of entries beforehand, I still scratch my head on the actual day that I post 'em. Nevertheless, I look forward to relivin' whatever I wrote. After all, it's my journal. You're only readin' it.
I pissed my pants in public only once. Back in kindergarten...
It's the late 1970s, afternoon. Like everyone else I'm wearin' bell bottoms. I'm waitin' in a long line amongst my fellow classmates in the tree shaded area where we normally board and deboard the yellow school bus. However, today, we're lined up to receive some complementary ice cream from the neighbourhood street vendor. I wasn't in the mood for ice cream. I wanted to take a leak.
I don't remember specifics, like who was in front of and behind me in line. Or what flavour ice cream I picked. I do remember my bladder burstin' like it never'd before nor since has. And I don't remember why I didn't get out of line to use the restroom. But it felt inevitable when I unlocked my muscles and let it go...
It felt like an hour, but must've been less than a minute as my legs warmed up. Nevertheless, no one noticed. Nobody near me said anythin'. I retrieved my ice cream, sat on the asphalted playground, and ate it, wonderin' why I wasn't the subject of mockery. Couldn't everybody smell my urine soaked pants? I stood up when we finished our treats and were called back to our classroom. There was a wet spot under where I'd sat. Yet nobody cared.
And for the rest of the day I went unnoticed, despite my embarrassment.
Most of the time, I can tell when I'm dreamin'. I'll sarcastically do things that I know I can't do in real life, like fly 'round the backyards of a suburban neighbourhood. Every now'n'then I'll do some laps in some bourgeois pool, only to get barked at by their spoiled dog. However, there're a few times when I'll forget that I'm dreamin' and think that the circumstances're real. Like when I get arrested by the police on suspicion of drug possession. Yet, as my blood pressure rises, I'll somehow know that I can wake up, and all'll be OK.
Contrarywise, there're times when I'm high when I think "Oh yeah, this is real." It's like when on my walkin' route I come upon a dead streetlight. As I approach it I play a game with my mind. "Turn on," I repeatedly wish. And I gotta say, 9 times outa 10, it works. The funniest is when the bulb flutters. I'll pass the lamppost and think "Oh well, I'ven't taken enough Cortexiphan." (Sorry for the Fringe reference.) And then it'll suddenly buzz back to life as it illuminates me from behind. You know and I know that it's all a coincidence, wink, wink.
I got fired from a photo gig recently. Or rather the PR department with whom I was associated with got replaced, so they brought in their own photographer. No big deal, I've got other jobs. I'm not one to get offended, cause heaven knows I've stepped on a bunch of feet in my time, it's no surprise that I'd get trampled sooner or later. But as luck would've it, the new PR group's photographer couldn't make it to the gig, so I was called back at the last minute. Now, I can't say I wished for it, but it seemed like a dream that I'd reimagined.
On my walk tonight, I passed a homeless person sleepin' on the doorstep of a mattress store. He or she was huddled up in a dirty blanket right outside of the partial lit showroom of clean new beds.
I've gotten several requests for my next string quartet concert. All of which seem to be based on breakup music. My lawyer wants me to do U2's Achtung Baby, which came 'bout after The Edge's separation from his wife and three children. My engineer suggested Hank Williams, whose songs're mostly 'bout chicks who've done him wrong. And my 'cellist said she really likes Beck's Sea Change, an album composed after he found his fiance cheatin' on him.
I never'd a plan for my life, unlike some people I know who had to get married in their 20's and expected kids in their 30's, or whatever. I kinda knew that I'd go with the flow as I let time guide me thru my years. And so it seems, my 20's were a time to figure out what I'd hone in my 30's, namely artistic endeavours, be it sculptures, photography, or music. The way I look at it, as I enter my 40's, I can kick back, have a drink, and make a fool of myself. Like Dylan. If I somehow survive, I'll find what's truly my callin' in my 50’s, and ramble on with it 'til I die.
It's my theory, based on my limited experiences with women, that they portray themselves in public exactly the opposite of what they're like in private. For instance, the ones that come off as extra confident're really these insecure little girls talkin' shit 'bout everyone else when if you get 'em alone, they'll break down in tears 'bout their own lack of confidence. Or the quiet ones'll yap away like crazy given the chance. And then there're the cute and ditzy ones who're really ugly and cruel, or vice versa. There's no end to the characteristic dichotomies girls embody. As a male who courts 'em, it's both funny and sad.
I finally met a Henrietta, a wish of mine since forever (see OUT ON A LIM 10.25.05). And she ain't bad lookin'.
Well, let me clarify that she's only a character on television. However, it's the first time I've ever come across anyone with that name. And at this point, I could care less if she's fictional. Let alone she lives along a possible timeline in a parallel universe on the show Fringe.
She's introduced in the 19th episode of the fourth season titled "Letters Of Transi"”, which flashforwards to the year 2036. She’s a Fringe Division agent teamed up with Simon Foster (played by Henry Ian Cusick, who portrayed Desmond Hume on Lost).
Speakin' of that other show, these days I've been replayin' in my head the moment when Desmond met Penny at the monastery, along with the hindsight of their epic separation and reunion, and I imagine that initial meetin' with your soul's equal to be magical. You'll feel somethin' extraordinary, like unusually high number of coincidences linin' up, or her eyes catchin' yours. Somethin' noticeably "right".
Anyways, throughout the Fringe episode, this cute blonde girl with big round eyes (the actress' real name's Georgina Haig), who accordin' to FringeWiki is 25 years old, is constanly bein' addressed as "Etta". I thought, hmm, cute blonde girl with big round eyes...
Incidentally, FringeWiki also estimates Simon's age as 39, which for the sake of argument, was my age when the episode aired (on 4.20.12, haha). But get this, my second violinist is 25. And her name's actually very similar to my name in Italian, minus the letter N, and substitutin' the C for a K. She'll be in Italy this summer...
So it turns out that "Etta's" full name is Henrietta. At long last I grinned.
The penultimate street that I turn onto before I pick up the freeway on my commute can be accessed via two left makin' lanes. The right one's more convenient cause the on-ramp'll be commin' up on the right. However, like today, when there's a slow movin' truck in the right lane, sometimes I'll take the left cause it's faster. I can cut over to the on-ramp before the truck makes the turn.
My hair's due for a cut. It's been nearly 13 months since the last one. I think I'll walk over to the nearest barber tomorrow. Oh, and I'ven't shaved in month either. Might as well buzz that off, too.
Two seconds after enterin' the parkin' lot I found an empty space. It's not bizarre, but the usual scenario finds me climbin' to the top of the structure, all seven floors, and gettin' one of the last spots. And it seems that today, those extra minutes saved weren't all for naught.
Not that I was in a hurry. I took my leisurely steps towards my office, waited at the crosswalk, thought it was time for a haircut, and headed towards the buildin' entrance by the loadin' dock. And then I recognized her from behind.
I reckon she was 'bout 20 feet ahead of me. I chased her down. Even though I picked up my pace and she was takin' her time, I couldn't help but think of the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise, whereby the faster never overtakes the slower due to the infinite space within finite distance. Thus, motion is an illusion. I couldn't've planned it any better. Nevertheless, I finally caught up to her and handed her some flowers.
"Thanks," she said. We caught up a bit as she was 'bout to catch a bus. I had to get to work, so we waved see you later.
The followin' day, like I planned, I walked over to the nearest barber. I'd gone there the last two times I needed a haircut, namely once 'bout a year ago and another a year before that, by an old man the former and a middle aged woman the latter. This time, however, there was a young lady with multiple facial piercin's behind the adjustable chair.
"I only do buzz cuts," she grunted.
"You don't do haircuts?" I asked as I gestured scissors with my hands.
"Sorry," she stated and revved her electric clippers.
"But I came here before..." I mentioned.
"The middle aged woman?" she guessed. "Yeah, she doesn't work here anymore, sorry."
OK, I thought, and left. Perhaps she didn't want to bother with my long hair. Oh well, so I drove to another barbershop. One next to a takeout sushi joint that I thought would be nice for dinner.
As I entered, the barber, who was finishin' up a customer, sighed and said, "Ah man, I was gonna leave early today."
"Sorry," I sincered, but I needed a haircut and this was the second place I'd gone to. I sat down and the barber started to complain 'bout how he'd been workin' since 6:30 in the mornin'. It was a little after 15:00.
"You've been workin' more than eight hours," the customer calculated.
"Yeah," the barber continued, "and if it wasn't for that guy before you, I'd be home by now."
I sat down and hoped that this was all a joke.
As the customer got outta the chair and paid his bill, the barber pointed to a car across the street.
"He's gonna get a ticket," he explained. "Do you know why?"
The customer stared at the vehicle and shook his head.
"Cause he doesn't've any hubcaps," he described. The customer, as well as I, waited to hear more. "It's against the law. It's indecent exposure. His nuts're showin'."
I laughed, but the customer didn't get the punchline as he nodded and accepted it as the truth. The barber winked at me. At that moment, I knew everythin' was cool.
I hopped onto the chair, removed my glasses, and told him I want the same cut you gave that last guy. Soon enough, we were exchangin' stories. Where we live, how long we've been in town, and sushi.
"I've been workin' here for 50 years," he proclaimed.
And then the phone rang.
"Be quiet," the barber told me quietly, "pretend you're not here." He picked up the phone. I heard him say "I'm goin' out the door now...I just finished sweepin' the floor." He hung up and confessed, "I hate that guy. He wants to make a last minute appointment. But I'm done after you. He can't take a hint."
And somehow as the back of my neck was bein' lathered, I thought 'bout those last words. They harmonically chimed for some reason.
Currently I'm readin' King's 11/22/63, which so far's been 'bout time travel and the butterfly effect, you know, goin' back, divert a tragedy, and seein' if it makes a difference. The title refers to the date of the Kennedy assassination.
Sometimes I feel like I'm from the future. And I've come back on several occasions. That's why I've got a perpetual sense of deja vu. I can't say what's gonna happen next, cause it can all change. Yet some touchstones remain. No matter what I do, there's a hint that I can't take...
"There," the barber revealed as he placed a handheld mirror before my newly shorn head.
"Great," I honestly reviewed. And I meant that, even though I generally don't give a crap 'bout my appearance. He did a great job in that I genuinely felt like I looked better than before, for what it's worth.
He had one more joke to tell. "Do me a favour," he asked.
"What," I played along.
"Roll up your car windows," he deadpanned, "cause otherwise you'll catch a cold."
I chuckled.and gave him a $12 tip, which was a dollar less than the cost. He shook my hand, asked my name, and invited me to come again. If fate permits, I will.
On my walk that night, I listened to Beck's Sea Change and thought 'bout the past.
My string quartet and I'll be performin' that album next year. It makes sense that my 'cellist recommended it cause whereas usually I transcribe guitar lines for 'em, this time they'll get to play some actual string parts. And given that with the Pixies I was more than a bit self indulgent on my behalf, playin' music that only I was familiar with, I think it's only fair to listen to my string quartet's suggestion.
Accordin' to an online retailer, I bought the CD back in '05, 'round the time I was hangin' with Christine, who let me borrow her copy of Guero (see OUT ON A LIM 4.29.05). And though the album was two years old back then, I thought it was better than that more recent release, which I probably, along with other things, never admitted to her. Namely, I liked the string arrangements.
So I purchased the '09 remaster, mainly cause it included the bonus track ("Ship in the Bottle") from the Japanese edition. I thought the original was pretty good in terms of sound quality, I mean, it ain't like the 22 years between the Beatles remasters. But the newer version actually has a clearer separation of instruments, which'll be, for my purposes, pretty helpful when I pick out the notes and assign 'em to the violins, violoa, and 'cello.
I also gave it a whirl with my voice and guitar. Immediately, upon the first note that I sang as I strummed "The Golden Age", it felt right. The range returns me to my preferred, meanin' relaxed, baritone register, and for some reason, perhaps it's the whiskey or after all that Black Francis screamin', my throat's got a newfound country croak which's prime for this music. Now all I've gotta do is get my heart broken...
Not that that's necessary. As a performer, I think it's helpful to imagine the state of mind in which the songwriter was in when he or she wrote their music, and yes, I agree, ideally to actually live thru a similar experience, such as a romantic breakup, can better harmonize the sentiments. But a good performer can fake it.
Yeah, we can chase our tales of authenticity 'til we're dizzy. But in the end, if you can't tell the difference...
Which reminds me of my favourite Pixies rehearsal story. The first time we rehearsed "Havalina", I got on my pedagogical pedestal, cause I always like to teach my string quartet a little somethin' 'bout the songs, if not show off how loyal my fandom is by prospectin' nuggets of trivia.
"Do any of you know what a havalina is?" I smirked.
I went across the room, eyein' my first violinist first. She shrugged. My second violinst, whose English is secondary to her Japanese, shook her head. My violist gave me a "beats me" expression. And then my 'cellist raised her bow.
"They're wild pigs," she answered correctly. "I saw 'em at my uncle's place."
My singer, who was next in line and probably just as clueless, listened as my 'cellist continued.
"We had to wait inside once," she detailed, "as they passed in the yard." Soon they were askin' her questions. "Are they cute?" (Kinda). "Do they look like Pumbaa from the Lion King?" (Kinda). "Are they dangerous?" (Kinda).
I let 'em mull. Actually, it was the first time that they all really bonded together. A little background, half of my string quartet were half of another string quartet, one that made it to the final rounds of a national competition. Unfortunately, as our Pixies practices began, that other quartet disbanded, on unamiable terms. Nothin' between my two members, of course. There was a tenseness at the time. I mean, they were very professional with me, but I could tell their minds were elsewhere.
And so we ran thru "Havalina" for the first time.
When my singer and I got to the line "Walkin' in the breeze, on the plains of old Sedona, Arizona" my 'cellist smiled and said outloud:
"That's where it was..."
We all laughed, but continued, as if we'd been there with her.
I've never owned a bathroom scale. And I can't remember the last time I stood on one. I could care less 'bout my body, other than hopefully I'm not over or underweight. That bein' said, when my pants started to slide off, it was time for an adjustment.
I'd bought new jeans a couple of months ago. They fit fine at the time. But lately I couldn't keep 'em from fallin'. I must've lost some pounds. I was on the last hole so I drilled another notch in my belt.
My diet hasn't drastically changed. Yeah, I've stopped eatin' beef, but I doubt that's a reason, unless I'm grossly miscalculatin' chili cheeseburgers. I can only guess that returnin' to walkin' has caused this. In accordance to the length of Sea Change (plus the bonus track and a song from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), my route currently takes me 'bout and hour and three minutes, which is twice as long as my previous distance. I've found side streets that loop back and expand my time.
It felt like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich week.
I never cease to enjoy the energy in the room whenever all the members of my string quartet are situated within the same four walls. We were all in attendance to my first violinst's recital, at a church in Brentwood. My violist accompanied her on the first piece, a Mozart duo. My second violinst, 'cellist, and I sat in the pews.
I made the bread and the peanut butter, the plum raspberry jelly was concocted by my boss.
Afterwards, we congregated in a room behind the altar and ate my first violinst's homemade cookies as we congraluated her, surroundin' her with hugs and compliments.
Monday's sandwich wasn't toasted.
By now the word's been out on what we're playin' next year, and it's cool that for the first time I'll be workin' with the same four musicians as the last concert, which I've never'd the luxury as members graduate, move on, etc.
Tuesday's was toasted.
I like this group. They're easy to work with and're more friendlier with each other than past ensembles. But then again, you never know with girls. One day they'll all get along, the next they could secretly hate each other behind their backs. It's always a gamble, but that's what makes it excitin', I guess. Well, at least this time we're teamwise continuin' from where we left off.
Wednesday I'll substitute my boss' peach jam. Thursday ginger plum. Friday whatever I thought worked best.
Yeah, it's gonna be a long week...
You can't say I never Googled myself (Part 1)
You can't say I never Googled myself (Part 2)
You can't say I never Googled myself (Part 3)
My mother is 15 years older than her father.
Today the ghost of Bill Hicks played tricks with my perceptions. I tuned into an early Texas standup performance whilst I worked, as well as surfed tangent websites. There was one 'bout mysterious celebrity deaths. At the exact moment I flipped to Van Gough's, the comedian did his joke on the artist. Or as I was reviewin' a musical score with the word "breakfast" in the title, at that very instance Hicks did his schtick on high school nurses who asked him "What did you have for breakfast?" And this one might be a stretch, but as he was laughin' at an historical site from 1819, I happened to double check the date of this particular routine: it was from 1981.
Her father is 15 years older than me.
So there're 12 songs on Sea Change. With the Japanese edition's bonus track, that's 13. I think "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" (a Korgis' cover) fits nicely with the song cycle as it's close chronologically (two years after the album's release) and continues the lovelorn theme, with strings. That brings the total number of songs to 14. I could add another. There's "Ramona" from the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack, which's a reunion with producer Nigel Godrigh, but as much as I dig that tune, it seems like a parody of the Sea Change tracks, bein' eight years later. And then I found a Hank Williams cover that Beck did in 2001.
I'm 15 years older than her.
You probably won't believe it when I say this, cause honestly I've got a hard time convincin' myself of what I saw was true, but the other day, in my shower, as I was dryin' myself off, my stray hairs on the wall spelled the word "GO".
The main character in Kafka On the Shore is 15 years old.
The last book I read was Dick's Mary and the Giant, a non-sci-fi story 'bout a young girl and an older man and an African American singer. The latter character ate a sardine sandwich, and I thought, hmm, I wanna try that.
The main character(s) in Sophie's World is(are) 15 years old.
I've been cuttin' back on my tuna fish sandwiches, not by choice, but cause my Oregon supplier hasn't been havin' a good season. I hope I'ven't contributed to the decline in the species' population. And then I read 'bout sardines.
When I was 15 years old, I wrote a song called "Out On a Lim".
Sardines're on the bottom of the food chain. There's a bunch of good health statistics that I'll ignore, but the notion that they're not as endangered as tuna, and just as tasty, I'm all for puttin' 'em on my lunch menu. Sandwiches.
And so I found a recipe for sardine avocado sandwiches. Two ingredients that don't taste bad, in my opinion. I experimented with a roll type bread to hold these squishy items together, cause the original dish's open faced, and I'd rather bring somethin' less messy for lunch to work. Anyways, I liked it enough to add it to my roster.
Don't get my sympathy hangin' out the 15th floor.
I started to read Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, and I'll admit that I'm behind on my Philp K. Dick, but like Mary and the Giant, as well as the handful of other titles which I've borrowed from the library, I gotta say, his female characters aren't fictional, science or otherwise. They're the closest to reality that I've met in literature.
15 blows to the back of your head, 15 blows to your mind.
My other latest favourite food is steamed vegetables. I bought a steamer a whiles back with the intention of cookin' tamales, which I've yet to do, but meanwhile I've been puttin' broccoli and asparagus into it to add some accompanyin' flavours for Japanese fried chicken and Chinese BBQ pork. With rice that's dinner.
15 steps then a sheer drop.
I've been contemplatin' visitin' my brother who's gonna be movin' to Ithaca in July. I've got some extra cash via photo gigs and my job's got plenty of vacation time allotted, so it'd be silly not to go. But there's always second guesses. Nevertheless, the stray hair in my shower guided me towards the only answer that I could accept.
"Are you OK?" a coworker asked. "You seem sad."
"You look happy," another coworker remarked. "You've got a spring in your step."
I laughed at both of 'em, but in the back of my mind I thought "Cherchez la femme..." Which was funny cause last night I had a dream where my brain fell outta the back of my head, like jelly seepin' thru pores.
Sometimes you get so close, but the timin's somehow off.
On paper we're a match, yet the fire just didn't catch.
Every girl's a nutcase, period. Most of 'em lure me with their "I'm not crazy" introductions, and some of 'em can pull that off for a period or two, but eventually there's that moment when I register "Uh, you're insane."
And yes, both of the coworkers are female.
I was listenin' to some stand-up comedy by Patton Oswalt when an audience member interrupted his act. I won't go into details, cause I think how comedians handle hecklers are jokes in themselves, and so I'd rather not spoil 'em. Needless to say, Oswalt handled it hilariously. And it got me thinkin', yes, I base my favourite comedians first and foremost on their jokes, which in my opinion, need to be grounded in some kinda subversive philosophy. Yes, I categorize comedians as philosophers in that they ask social, political, and spiritual questions, albeit for laughs, but then again, I've always thought the "truth" to be funny. Anyways, secondly, their off the cuff methods to deal with unruly patrons contributes to their rankin'. Cause, if you listen enough, you'll hear the same joke over and over again. It's a routine. However, when the act gets cut off and the comedian launches into an improvised retaliation, if it's good, it's gold. Jim Jefferies kills his hecklers, and their parents, and grandparents. But the best's gotta be my top comedian, Bill Hicks with his infamous "Freebird" explosion. Nothin' beats it. Well, maybe Dylan's response to "Judas".
I've lived at my current apartment for the past 18 years. Sometimes the portions of our conversations that resonate most are the ones that I hear peripherally. I'm now on my fourth or fifth purgin's of her texts. And then, the next thing you know, she's pourin' me sake at our favourite izakaya.
That's longer than anywhere else I've called "home". They don't come outta her mouth directly, rather she seems to be makin' a comment 'bout a comment and then she seems to make a metaphor. But as of today, I've saved four of her messages. "I've got a present for you," she said as she handed me a book shape.
Longer than my childhood in Hacienda Heights. So she bought a used car from a friend of her ex-ex-roommate, who's 60 years old and despite their age difference, gets along with her. I'm hopin' to add more tomorrow when we discuss attendin' my sister's BBQ. It was a Japanese travel guide.
Other than that, I've been briefly located in San Francisco and Diego. The last time we went late night grocery shoppin', I asked her if she thought it was strange that I'm older than her. "I'll see you there" was the last thing she wrote. I can't read it, but the colour photos'ren't bad.
I suppose I'm a Redondo Beach resident now. Cause she didn't answer me as we roamed the vegetable aisles. I kinda know her new address, cause I drove her to it when she was tourin' places, but I asked her to send a map link to confirm my memory. "Don't forget to bring it when we go on our trip."
It was the last day of final exams week.
Two days later, I'm poolside with Baker's The Fermata, a book 'bout a guy who can stop time.
Besides the graduations that were happenin' on the lawns outside, nearly nobody was indoors.
So far, it's sorta like the movie Cashback, whereby the time stopin' is used for undressin' girls.
I turned a corner and there she was, headin' towards me in the long hallway.
I mean, I just started, so we'll see where the story goes.
"Hi," she cautiously smiled. All I could do was stay neutral and wave.
But so far, so good.
I'm happy if that's the last time we're ever alone together.
She was the Aria Stark to my Syrio Forel some 25 years ago. Granted she was only a year younger than me, but in high school, that difference between a sophomore (me) and a freshman (her) is more noticeable than if we compared our ages now (40 versus 39).
We were both in the marchin' band. For football games, I performed in the halftime show on marimba, she on cymbals. It was at the opponent's home stadium, which we got bussed to, where we escaped the bleachers and explored the rival school.
She guided me thru the every few feet lit corridors, 'til we ended up in a dark gymnasium. I found the light switch and exposed the foldout table filled floor. Like it was bingo night yesterday and they're procrastinatin' the packin' of the basketball court obscurin' furniture.
There happened to be a pair of brooms. And like any other horny teeanagers we pretended to swordfight. We jumped up onto the tables and proceeded to pretend swashbuckle, as if we were enemies. Clack, we swung and one-hand behind our backs pirated on the plank.
And then the foldout table crashed onto the polished hardwood basketball floor. The gravitational change was a surprise, yet neither of us were hurt. It was like an exponential rush of "we shouldn't be here". She placed her head on my shoulder as the bus returned us home.
Anyone who's read entries in my blog from before 2010 might've noticed that in the last two years there's a certain possessive adjective modifyin' a noun that's been missin'. It's OK if you didn't catch it, cause by now, even I've dropped any sense in figurin' out what's what 'round here, let alone kept track of who's who. Pronouns're coded for privacy, misdirection, and bullshit. Antecedents'ren't revealed. Nonetheless, when's the last time you heard bout "my assistant"?
Despite recession era budget cuts, I've still had a student helper at work. And I've got nothin' but thankful praise for this person, who never let me down, maintained the flow of tasks, kept the spirits up in the office, and I'd hire again if not for their graduated status. We've conversed as much as I have with past assistants, at least from behind our desks, cause we'ven't really hung out outside of our place of employment. You see, my assistant, who'll leave at the end of June, is a "he".
And not to be sexist, but I couldn't seem to incorporate him into this blog. I mean, I've been lucky in that all the female assistants I've'd've been fun enough to write home 'bout. I can't say they've been better or worse at their job, but in general, the stuff that comes outta a girl's mouth is always more quoteable, to me that is, especially if we've spent any quality time elsewhere. Plus a drink, a rave, and/or dinner. Please note, none of this is a complaint 'bout my current assistant.
Like I said, he was great despite my lack of reportage. And at the risk of soundin' like a sexual harassment creep, I've never disrespected any of my chick assistants, my suggestive tales notwithstandin'. Remember, I tend to exaggerate. They're sorta characters in my story, real or not. Inspirations, some based on some version of the "truth". That bein' said, for the next academic year, my new assistant'll definitely be someone I won't be able to stop talkin' ‘bout, if I'ven't already.
Sometimes I think girls are like drivers that don't use their car's turn signals.
You know the ones, like when you're waitin' to make a right turn into the flow of traffic as you wait for a vehicle that's approachin' on your left and it's not goin' slow enough for you to cut in front of, only to find that they'll turn, without any indication of their intention, onto the street you're on.
Thanks. Was I supposed to read your mind?
Hell, some girls are like cars that don't even use their headlights and you're supposed to guess their position in the dark. Ooh, the mystery. She could be anywhere and everywhere, headin' in directions that she'll never share with anyone.
OK, I know this is a cliche, but some girls, well fuck it, I'll say it, most girls don't've any sense of direction, period.
But luckily, every girl that I've gone out with will inevitably lose the keys to their cars.
And I'll be there to help 'em find 'em, cause I'm a nice guy. We'll spend hours retracin' steps, ransackin' apartments and bags, etc. Somewhere we'll eventually locate 'em, and by then I'll just glad that the needless hunt's over. I mean, I've NEVER lost my keys. I keep 'em either in my pocket or in my key tray at home. Simple. "Girls don't've pockets," they'll point out. I can't win that argument.
Anyways, we'll get into her car and I'll say somethin' stupid like "Hey, I think most girls don't've any sense of direction" and I'll get kicked out of the passenger seat and made to walk the rest of the distance.
Meanwhile, in the dark she'll get lost and somehow backtrack to me. She won't see me crossin' an unlit intersection cause she'll've forgotten to turn on her headlights. But just before she runs me over, she'll neglect to use her turn signal and avoid hittin' me at the last moment, oblivious to the hurt she could've caused.
I don't take notes. I usually borrow books from the library, but even the ones that I own, I never write in the margins or hightlight passages. That isn't to say that I'ven't come across library books that've got interestin' scribbles in 'em, but as someone who's a library employee, I've never had the urge to deface public property.
A colleague aired her frustrations 'bout her life. I tried to sympathize, but there's only so much I can say when "I'm havin' the time of my life" is my true feelin'.
And the same goes for music. Cause I memorize everythin' before I play. I don't mark up the score or lyrics. OK, that's not entirely true as I do take extensive notes when I'm proofreadin', however the final draft is always spotless. I do get a kick outta decipherin' the notes the members of my string quartet write in their parts.
A friend who's a year older than me noted that he feels like he's bein' slowly ignored by the opposite sex. "I don't know 'bout that," I remarked, "I feel the opposite."
In fact, I don't keep a calendar, daily planner, or schedule of upcommin' events, meetin's, etc. Nor did I really write down what my teachers taught me, rather most of my notebooks're filled with sketches of dinosaurs and naked ladies. Cause I fnd that if it's worth rememberin', it'll get remembered. It's all in your mind.
So if this blog were a television series, we're on the tenth and final season.
If this were a book, and every year was a chapter, we're on the last one.
And if this were an album of ten songs, we're 'bout a third into the concludin' track.
Last night I watched Time After Time, the 1979 movie starrin' Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen, and David Warner, based on the novel by Karl Alexander. McDowell plays H.G. Wells who chases Warner's Jack the Ripper from 1893 London to 1979 San Francisco. Steenburgen is Wells' futuristic love interest. It was fun, moreso cause it itself feels like a trip back in time. I mean, 1979 is well in the past, and watchin' a film that's got that soft lightin', cheesy special effects, and overly dramatic music is a glimpse at another time, when women's lib was takin' off, cars were losin' their curves, and phones still had cords.
Well, the reason I rented it was I'm on a time travel kick after readin' King's 11/22/63.
Here's some trivia: the date that H.G. Wells travels to is November 5, 1979, which is the same month and day Marty McFly goes back to in 1955.
Steenburgen also played Doc Brown's wild west love interest in the Back to the Future series.
I'm almost finished readin' Baker's The Fermata. I was originally gonna hit Finney's Time and Again, which King recommended in his afterword. However, I think I'm gonna explore some of Baker's other novels. Cause besides time travel, my other favourite subject is perversion.
Have a nice summer.
'Twas her again on my caller ID, and like the last two dozen times, I assumed her phone was accidentally dialin' my number, whereby I'd answer not to her voice, but to random noises of movement that sounded like the shufflin' from within the bottom of her purse. Sometimes in the distance I'd recognize her speech patterns ridin' the waves of displaced air, I'd say "hello" at least three times vainly, hang up, and she'd "call" again with the same cacophony. If I let it got to voicemail, I'd play back five minutes of her non-call, and delete it. Cause I don't've time to obsess over decipherin' her background talk. I mean, ten years ago, yeah, maybe I'd've copied those phone messages onto my audio editin' software, isolate her frequency, slow everythin' down without alterin' her pitch, if need be, and get all voyeuristic towards what's kinda like the aural equivalence of reverse stalkin', but I'm too lazy to hook up my phone's this to my computer's that. Anyhow, these days she's outta state and outta mind. Except when she unintentionally rings me up.
This time, however, she was on the other side...
No, I don't've a pick-up-line. I've always improvised my initial line, if at all, cause my rule of thumb is wait for her to say somthin' first, then I'll jump into a conversation, thus the lack of my need for an openin'. She showed me her shoes as she strode past me into the lawn with her phone up to her ear. So yeah, the other males displayed their pick-up-lines, such as the buff athlete's photos which were stored on his phone of himself swimmin', bikin', and runnin' in a triatholon, or the chubby backup dude boucin' off of every comment everyone else was makin', includin’ himself. Obviously, I kept silent. Cause her shoes held some nice feet which in turn were beneath some legs that weren't bad lookin'. And boom, I'm back at the table waitin' for my turn to impress her with a pick-up-line that I gotta come up with on the spot or I'll look like a mute, which I don't mind, but here goes anyways, I mean, her eyes're under her bangs, her aforementioned legs're a kick away, she's eyein' me with a "it's your turn now", so I give it my best and ask “Who are you?”
"We've met before," she says as she shakes my hand...
I brought two books with me on my vacation to Ithaca. One was a copy of Asimov's Prelude to Foundation which I'd borrowed from the library, and happened to've finished on my flight from Los Angeles. So I asked my sister-in-law, who's family I was visitin', to check out a copy for me of the next book in the series, Forward the Foundation. I finished that in three days. My brother recommended Gladwel's What the Dog Saw as the followin' paperback for me to read whilst in upstate New York. Three days later, I was done with that as well. Luckily, we visited my spiritual advisor, who's currently at a retreat 'bout three hours away from my nephew's apartment, whereupon I was presented with Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. And again, I needed somethin' else to read after three days. This became the other book that I packed for my trip, Murakami's Dance Dance Dance. The week before I left, my assistant mentioned that she started to reread it. I replied with a rundown of my queue, but squeezed it into my carry-on nonethess.
On the return planes, I returned to that story...
Opposed to our nearly botched departure whereupon she misguided us to the wrong airport includin' an extra bus and taxi ride to the check-in counter of the correct flight to Sapporo, our return journey's another story. You see, there're three airports in the Kansai region, all of which accommodate domestic travel, but only two aren't international. And thus she kicked off our tour with a half hour to catch our breaths after mixin' up the locations.
Meanwhile, she seemed extra happy on the rental car drive out of Sapporo, on our last day in Hokkaido. I'd taken the hybrid wheel on the opposite side of the road without any traffic incidents other than often mistakin' the windshield wipers for the turn signal or parkin' a car badly. Cause in Japan, those switches are reversed And everyone parks heads out. Whereas where I'm from, most of us do it heads in. It was worth the $15 driver's permit.
I mean, I wasn't always steerin'. The first day we were there, the traffic near 'bouts Sapporo looked too metropolitan for me to dive into drivin' in a foreign country. But once we were outta the city and programmed into the GPS towards Otaru, I was nervous at first, but after a single turn in the road from a backwards-to-me comfort zone, I was groovin' to the Mozart, Beatles, and Radiohead that we'd jukeboxed. We'd just finished visitin' a sheep farm.
However, the night when we were lookin' for our hotel in Sapporo, she'd gotten us goin' in the incorrect direction of a one-way street. I remember flashin' horns and honkin' lights. But like the earlier-in-the-day airport mishap, we somehow sought survival successfully. Not that I'd any fear. Rather, I'd look into the mirrored illusions and acknowledge that in the end, what difference does it make, as long as we got to where we were goin'.
I find that it's hopeless to ever assume that I can correctly believe in everythin' she says. Like when she seemed to've conveniently've forgotten what she'd worn that initial time she came over.
We were at a beer museum when I reminded her. I'd three glasses, she'd none cause she'd gotten a sticker from the entrance attendant which pointed her out as the "designated driver" to the the alcohol sellers.
The first glass was the original formula, the second was the current commodity, and the third was a taste of a special brew that's usually released on rare runs. Afterwards I was blabberin' 'bout her.
Cause my memory still retains her see thru outfit. Cause she wore black underneath. "I don’t remember,' she replied.
Today, it was brought to my attention by my assistant that no one else on this globalized illusion of a "world" or within the unblocked memories of all possible future branchs of the past and present senses of "time", no one else's company that I've spent intimate proximity with seems to've made me laugh harder than when I'm alongside my cousin. Which really ain't sayin' much cause the next in line's pretty much anyone that's shared any sorts of minor moments of hilarity amongst my presence. What can I say, my cousin and I share a funny bone.
"Ms. Fitzgerald," I addressed my assistant.
She halted all activity on her tablet, stood up from where she was reclined in her perfectly folded yukata, straightened her back as quickly as she bowed, and enthusiastically replied, "Yes, Your McFeurdy."
"Stella," I continued as I shifted down to a lower form of formalities, "statistics."
"Ask away," she commanded as her fingers slid and waved open folders on her portable screen.
"Music videos," I inputted, paused, and narrowed my query with "Pixies."
"In third place is 'Gigantic' with 163 views," she mouthed, "in second is 'Where Is My Mind' with 220 views, and in first place, after bein' uploaded four months ago, is 'Dig For Fire' with 325 views. Next category please."
"Dylan,' I stalled, more to hear the sweetly laced overtones of her voice than to actually care 'bout these numbers.
"25,432," she yawned like a cat.
"OK," I sensed her boredom. "Who do I think is the funniest person alive?"
"Who do you think is the most funniest person alive..." she rephrased and repunctuated as the tungsten lights bounced between her eyeglasses and her calculations. "Just a minute..."
Apparently I'd stumped her, so she meanstead hacked into some computers beyond the fourth wall.
The followin' foggy day, our hair, well more importantly hers, cause she kept pullin' locks up to her nose, would unpleasantly smell like sulfur after discussin' suicidal topics and stoppin' briefly to go encirclin' a boilin' pond of steamin' clay (see tomorrow's photo). I would dream of it that night as well as she'd shower it all out.
"Your cousin," my assistant answered.
"My cousin..." I soaked.
Obviously, despite havin' four cousins, I'm mainly closest to one, the daughter of my mom's deceased sister. We'd spent the most time together, her havin' stayed at my apartment at the yet to be mapped crossroads aplenty age of 25 (I was ten years younger than the 40 that I am now). We'd get drunk and make the appropriate vocal sounds to accompany absurdity. Plus she cooked.
The saddest valley I traveled thru on my vacation in Japan was with my uncle whose wife, my mom's sister, died three years ago. He's all skin and bones, and every other word outta his mouth is his dead wife's name and how he can't eat at any of the restaurants they ate at durin' their 40 years of togetherness, talks to himself as if she's still 'round, and published a book showcasin' her art.
His daughter, my cousin, can't help but consistently mke me burst into hysteria.
"Your cousin," my assistant agreed.
There was reminders of death everywhere. My other aunt (my mom's brother's wife) drove me to the train station from where I'd ride and transfer over to my funniest cousin's place, located up in the hills overlookin' Biwa Lake.
On the side of the road was a dead raccoon.
My funniest cousin's son's all into catchin' bugs. Beetles (with an E), dragonflies, and cicadas. Unfortunately, all he could successfully handle were the one's that weren't alive. Which in the weirdly hot Otsu summer of 2012, were littered easily for him to grasp. I followed closely behind as she took a pregnant nap.
And even though we didn't drink together, cause she's expectin' in October, we still've got that consensual obligation to make each other see the funny side of life, even if offspringed responsiblities make it seem otherwise.
"Can you give me the exact date?" I submitted to my assistant.
"August 22, 2012," her tongue double stopped.
Hmm, yeah...I remember the day. She was drivin' me to the train station. I'd spent an hour chasin' her kid in the insect infested park across from her buildin' as nothin' availed from his hundredth uncoordinated attempt at nettin' flyin' bugs.
"Let's go," I dispatched.
"Your McFeurdy," Stella Fitzgerald laughed, "what the hell does that mean? 'Let’s go'. Go where?"
"What?" I snapped outta my daydream.
"You said 'Let's go' just now," she repeated.
"I did?" I didn't remember.
"Read what I transcribed from yesterday's blog entry," she spun and shoved her tablet into my ocular trajectory.
And sure enough, those were the words that I'd "written".
"Oh," I explained, "I wasn't speakin' to you. I was merely driftin' away with my memories of August 22, 2012. I was back in the park across from my cousin's apartment on the asphalted walkways that brushed up against the shrubs where my cousin's son spotted dragonflies. I check my cellphone, which in Japan didn't get a cheap signal, so it became my watch. It was time for me to wake up his mom and have her drive me to the train station. So I said 'Let's go'."
"Sorry to interrupt," my assistant paused, "but someone just posted a comment to your 'Gigantic' music video."
"Really, Stella?" my concentration was broken to the point of nothin' else to say other than, "Really?" My sarcasm, however, never did translate well into Japanese, so I gave her the answer in the tone that she understood, "OK, what does it say?"
He understood those English words, as I'd spoken them with a Japanese accent: Retsu go". As well, I'd say it in his native language, just to find twice the assurance that he got my meanin'. But he kept on gettin' bug crazy whenever somethin' flew across his field of excitement. So in reality, my watch was tellin' me it was early, but I knew that he wasn't gonna walk back home without the energy of a four year old. Up the stairs, we found another dead cicada, so we paid our respects with a quick prayer.
"Um, Your McFeurdy," Stella spoke. "Did you hear what I said?"
"Um, no Ms. Fitzgerald," I awoke. "Just daydreamin' again. What does the latest comment on our 'Gigantic' music video say?"
She rolled her anime eyes and rehashed, "It says 'Not interesting, fucking awesome.'"
"Is that good or bad?" I couldn't figure out.
"I think it's good," she went back to readin' her electronic Bronte book.
Simultaneously, I mirrored back to my bound volumes of Asimov. "But it says 'Not interesting'. That can't be good."
"Yes, but," she mumbled to herself, "you gotta read the precedin' comment. It says 'Interesting'. So the next commentator answers with 'Not interesting, fucking awesome.' Do you get it? Hello...are you there...?"
"We're back," I announced, wakin' up my cousin.
"Welcome back," she rubbed her eyes. I was offered some choice views of her sleepin' legs, but her bein' related to me, I denied those upskirt opportunites. And really, since her mom died, she's been a little bit more bluer than before. I've yet to get a frame for that reference. But that's yet to stop us from sharin' a good laugh.
She poured a final cup of tea for me as her son begged me to stay and watch cartoons of ancient Japanese legends with him.
"Dude, I'm sorry," I sorta said, roughly translated, "but it's time for me to leave."
The day before, his mom pressed play on a Tom and Jerry digital video disc. We'd mimic the main characters as she fell asleep.
And today, as we strolled thru the historical museum of the town of Otsu, mainly cause it's air conditioned and everywhere outside is hot and nasty, there on the walls was a three centuries old scoll that depicted a cat chasin' a mouse.
"Tom and Jerry," I noticed as my cousin smiled.
The happiest valley I traveled thru on my vacation in Japan was off in the distance ahead thru the windshield of the rental car I was drivin' to Otaru, my lovely assistant in the passenger seat.
"Look at that," she gasped. And no joke, it was better than any work of art I'd ever seen or heard. The music of angels couldn't reproduce its representation of dropped jawed beauty. For a brew of clouds reflected the sun upon yonder mountain range. "Nice," I mentally photographed. "It's a good sign," she blessed the moment.
"...Hello...are you there...?" my assistant flanged.
"Hi," I closed my third eye, "yes, I get it. It's not a bad comment. So back to August 22, 2012. We'd seatbelted ourselves in my cousin's van, my travel bag at my side, her son in the back row singin' the theme song from his favourite animated ancient legends show."
"We're outta rum, Your McFeurdy," my assistant whined.
I sighed for the millionth time. We're in a weird underground bar. Normally, as in the Murakami novels, we'd drink on the top floor, but at our hotel in Sapporo it was reversed. She ordered a glass of rum flavoured juice, I some whiskey straight.
We saw a handful of momentful sheep, too.
We're still on holiday...
My niece was scheduled to be born durin' the first week of my two weeks in Japan. However, she was born a week early, so I was able to not only see her before I left, but share my first hand impressions of her with my relatives.
"She's got lots of hair," I'd describe as they all agreed via a photo on my cellphone.
"And big eyes, just like her mom," they’d further recognized.
"Your McFeurdy," Stella squeezed into the scene.
"Ms. Fitzgerald," I returned to our original conversation.
"Um, I can't find the key," she confessed as I was bag-in-hand ready to leave at the hotel room door. So I put it down and helped her search.
The ten o'clock in the mornin' sun streaked the drapes as she didn't conceal much with her droopin' black shirt and super short blue jeans. There was a bed, of which I'll always remember gropin' behind every corner. The sweaty blankets and sheets to rummage thru, the nearly empty bottles of liquor on the table between two chairs, the clinically clean bathroom, the wooden desk drawers, the narrow hallway mirror, and tuft carpet. It turned out that she'd packed it in her suitcase.
"Suddenly," I concluded, "everyone was laughin'. Me in the passenger seat, my cousin at the wheel, and her son from the middle row of the van. And it was like, this summer I'd seen, except for one, all of my siblin's and cousins and their kids, makin' me the only descendant of our common grandparents who hasn't reproduced. Which is cool, I mean, no offense, but everyone seems so resigned to continuin' the species, whereas I could care less. There's a profound tiredness in their bein', which I've no idea what such's like, nor do I've got half of a responsible shoulder, but come on, you all fell for the grand carrot on the stick, which is what you make of it all anyways, and so I wish I could, but can't gather any sympathy. Except for my funniest cousin."
"Honesty" was a popular subject durin' our Hokkaido drives. Actually, one of the reasons I stepped in to assist in the rental car duties was that when my assistant drove I got the feelin' I shouldn't distract her with too many concepts such as words. With my international driver's permit, I was able to relieve her of that one too many of tasks.
"Where's my cellphone?" she gasped as I pulled over.
Granted, my funniest cousin is pregnant and's supposed to be extra worn out, but somehow, with the death of her mother and the ridiculously comfortable doctor's wife's lifestyle, she seems the most offshore than everyone else in my family. At least compared to how her sense of humour was before. But that's just me, I'm stuck in those days when we were closer. Nevertheless, I don't doubt that outta all of us, she needed the best laugh.
My assistant tour guided me to several temples in Kyoto and 'round Sapporo. We did the customary washin' of hands, donatin'of coins, ringin' of bells, and prayin'.
And there, on the side of the road, was some random man takin' a piss.
"What?" my cousin asked.
"What?" I echoed..
"WHAT?" her son yelled and infected us all with a contagious doseage of laughter.
We retraced our path along the docks of Otaru to find my asssistant's cellphone where she'd left it: at an automatic teller machine.
But if I'd to pick my favourite memory from our trip, it'd be the flight back to Osaka. Backtrack a bit and we're returnin' the rental car and ridin' a shuttle to the Sapporo airport. Other than her losin' the hotel key earlier that mornin', everythin' couldn't've been better.
The night before, Stella spilled her coffee onto a cigarette display at a convenience store. She was wearin' her sheep jacket. The clerk refused her offers to pay for the damage.
On that last day in Hokkaido, I drove us, per her GPS skills, to a park. There were several spots to see, but we'd only time to enjoy one, as we needed to get the car back by noon thirty. There was a map. And there was a hill which I'd randomly chosen to be the final tourist site on our vacation. It wasn't a small hill as our breaths intensified with each step upwards.
"I forgot to count," she blurted in the risin' wind.
"Count what?" I conversed.
"The steps," she smiled.
And when we reached the peak, it was not unlike the time a month ago this summer when I visited my spiritual advisor in upstate New York, when the night sky was panoramic. Good luck tryin' to take a photo. Anyways, atop the hill in Sapporo our credits rolled. The grand finale. 360 degrees of metaphorical fireworks.
Cause for what it was worth, which was nothin' cause the park had no entrance fee, that view from the top of that hill couldn't be topped.
However, at the airport checkin counter, we're given the option of either sittin' separately in normal seats or together in the emergency exit row. We chose to be together.
Roll your eyes all you want, but yes, the airplane's environment glowed. It was a couple hours into the afternoon, and the sun outlined her nose as she fell asleep.
I'd glance back to my book and reread from where I'd left off.
The plane casually banked as her head likewise landed on my shoulder.
I was boastin' to a friend from high school 'bout how I squeeze my own orange juice. Normally, whenever I tell people this, they are either impressed or could care less, cause some of 'em can tell the difference and have an idea of the cost and work involved, and some can't, or rather never really've drank it straight from the fruit, so they don't know one way or another. But my friend from high school was the first to be unimpressed.
I mean, I can't go back to the mass produced liquid. The disparity, to me, is worth it. I'm close to payin' twice as much for half, and it's a chore, but I'm hooked. I guess that's what I get for ignorin' advertisements...
It's like the freshly laid egg my sister gave me from the chicken in her backyard. I made mayonnaise with it for my week's Spanish style yellow fin tuna on homemade bread lunches. I've never tasted the flavour of a raw egg 'til now. It's like the egg you buy from the standard grocery store chains, but in colour.
Or the seafood in Hokkaido. To me, fish and crustaceans in America are good, but they're better in Japan. However, they're the best, freshly caught, in Hokkaido. They say it's in the water.
Anyways, my friend from high school happened to've traveled 'round the world several times, him havin' been a saxophonist on cruise ships for years. He's the only person I know of that's set foot upon more places on this planet.
"Nah," he drank his tea in the British pub replica and concluded "you gotta get the freshest fruit from the land, not that stuff they sell at the market. There ain't no better oranges than the ones straight from the tropical trees."
I couldn't disagree. The closer you get to the natural source, the tastier. And once again, I found myself conveniently in the middle of the spectrum as I drink orange juice that's not the best or the worst. I'd like to try some straight from the tropical trees someday, but I won't regret it if I never do. As well, I'm gonna stop boastin'.
I'm writin' this entry towards the beginnin' of September, 'round Labor Day, when practically everyone else in America's given up on their chances to cling onto, in realtime, whatever common sense of hopefulness they'd dreamt of durin' the just ended summer.
Kinda like my life...
Most kids've started school by now, if not a month ago. They're back in assimilation mode. At most, they'll be encouraged to share their vacations with their classmates, but it'll be graded, if not with a letter, a mental check in the teacher's evaluatin' spreadsheet.
Summertime's for kids...
Football's back in business, or so my personal film historian gossips. Thru him I get the favourite team stories of my lead guitarist's wife, her husband's cousin's ex-friend with whom he'd had an almost fork assault with on New Year's, and others of their adult crowd.
It's not autumn yet...
For me at least. You see, the university where I work at is still on summer vacation. We've got a few more weeks left. The rest of the country can embrace the demarcations of our greatest grandparents' harvests, but I've yet to, especially in eternally sunny Los Angeles, grow up.
Until there're no more next times...
It was like I was in a movie, a dream, or a simulation of my real life when she paused, turned to me, revealed her pink and black mini-dress, and begged with her blonde hair and green eyes "Can you watch this for me?" whilst she slight handed me her perfumed notebook.
Meanwhile, the followin' day, me and Stella're at the local social security branch, waitin' for her number to be called so that she can submit her forms to get her card, which she'll need if she wants to get legally paid as my assistant. I guard her violin when it's her turn.
"I can start today," Stella confirmed as I'd expected her at the door to my office.
"Cool," I smiled as I allowed her official entry into her new part-time university job.
On her second day at work, she'd left her tablet behind. I texted her of her forgetfulness. She replied with an apology and a sad face. "haha," I replied. Soon enough she was retrievin' and leavin' again.
I'd't lost my cool. Her candy scented notebook was secure, but I wasn't gonna read it. I mean, I briefly glanced at her clip-art decorations, but cannot remember.
I'll be blunt. All my inspiration's funneled into my string quartet and singer. Where it comes from is a mystery as I don't chase conscious interpretations. But I've begun arrangin' Beck's album Sea Change. Well, actually, I began with Hank William's "Your Cheatin' Heart", the Beck cover. Everyone's pizzicato 'cept the viola. It's like underwater country music. And the perfect opener to the long-player proper. Drown, drown, sailors run aground...
Desperate questions allow desperate answers.
"Somethin's strange in my universe," Stella related from the passenger seat of my car.
"Nothin's strange in mine," I remembered.
Everyone I know's got memory loss.
Well, actually, the new Dylan album hadn't arrived on its September 11 release date.
My online vendor emailed that they'd shipped it on Monday.
Tuesday, nothin'. Nor Wednesday (yesterday).
Of course, I'dn't've been able to call it strange to Stella yet.
I was over at my personal film historian's, watchin' an episode of Shameless.
When Stella called.
I had to leave the TV program and get to her.
So I drove straight from Hacienda Heights to her apartment in Santa Monica.
Nevertheless, I found Tempest in my mailbox today (Thursday).
I was laughin' for the first nine tracks. The tenth let loose the tears.
"Tomorrow is Friday," sings Bob, "we'll see what it brings."
So last night my assistant and I snuck into the music buildin' after hours.
There's construction surroundin' the only door that I've got a key to.
Tree removal. "Not eco-friendly," she commentated.
She called. I responded.
"Do you wanna get dinner tomorrow?" I slipped into my supervision.
She gave me the the thumbs up.
Most of it was, as usual, hilarious, like when he rambles on 'bout his transfiguration. Anyways, somewhere in the middle of the questions and answers, within three consecutive paragraphs, are these combinations of words: "lost cause" (in quotes), sea change, and change your heart. The first's a song off the album that I'm coverin' with my string quartet. The second's the name of said Beck album. And the third's a lyric from a cover he did of "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime", which we're includin’ in our playlist. Of course, I reread that section a few more times just to make sure it wasn't a misprint. I blinked to check my state of awakeness. I counted again the three exponential coincidences. But reality remained the same.
I always assume that Stella'll change her mind at the last minute. I mean, just cause yesterday she gave me the thumbs up 'bout dinner tonight, there's always the chance that she'll call it off. It's happened before, it'll happen again.
So I woke up this mornin' hopin’ for the worse, me eatin' dinner alone, which if you really think 'bout it, it ain't so bad given that somewhere else in the world people'll starvin' all by themselves. In other words, I wasn't expectin' anythin'. Hell, I'm lucky enough that she graced me with an acceptance to my invitation, her carryin' thru notwithstandin'. I still can't believe she's not a dream.
Cause I keep thinkin' I can't be here, this can't be happenin', surely it's all a cruel illusion.
But she didn't flake.
I picked her up at the gym, the new Dylan album was playin' on my car stereo. I referenced the interview I read earlier in the day, mainly his observations 'bout a performer's duty to make an audience feel emotions, but he himself should be void of feelin's. We sat in our favourite corner in our favourite izakaya.
Some context: the first time we ate there, I was impressed by their bacon wrapped asparagus, which she'd ordered for me. The second time, that dish was dropped from the menu, never to appear again whenever we frequented the place. Regardless, we always had a good time, drinkin', laughin', high fivin', etc. We think it's the best in LA.
However, today, it got better.
"I feel like we're characters on the TV show The Office," my assistant observed 'bout our work environment. "And I'm Pam."
We tapped our glasses of alcohol together for the second round. But yeah, the bacon wrapped asparagus was available again. There was no doubt, we found our hangout. So we got more personal.
"The fish is fresher, too," she noticed.
Everythin'd changed, improved even.
I dug for her a deeper confession, she did likewise. Our newly minted memories of Hokkaido flashbacked. It's like a game of chicken. Whoever backs down first loses. The stalemate escalates.
I disbelieved everythin'. There's no way someone like her'd be sittin' next to me. I can't say that I've ever done anythin' to deserve such magical moments, but skepticalism's more in order.
"You've got the most perfect proportions."
"Thank you," she received my compliment.
"Don't forget how we met, dig those memories..." Larry McFeurdy sang. And so we did, again and again. Who knows what the future'll be, but if the past's got a story, it might become a legend.
I didn't take her bait and ask if she thought I was Jim. Although, the other day we did share earbuds. And we now're coworkers. But that's television. We're real. Or are we? Who really knows...
"youlooknicetoday," I mumbled. Cause she did.
Earlier, I'd opened the back door to our office for her to enter before the library opened. She wore tan shorts and a white top that had a shiny back along with her bamboo heels.
She unstrapped her violin off her back, put down her bags, sat at her desk and asked, "What did you say? "
"YouLookNiceToday," I still couldn't untie my enunciation.
"You...look...nice...today," I expanded slowly.
"Oh," she muttered quickly, "thankyou."
Takin' a break...
Willa the Witch Is Comin' To Town (Rankin/Bass Version)
Henry Lim and His String Quartet Perform Beck's "Sea Change"
UCLA Powell Library Rotunda
Saturday, April 20
UCLA Music Library staff member Henry Lim on vocals and acoustic guitar along with his string quartet consisting of current and former graduate students from the Herb Alpert School of Music will perform Los Angeles-based alternative singer-songwriter Beck's 2002 country psychedelic breakup album Sea Change in its entirety. Undergraduate student Rosalind Wong will supply additional vocals.
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