|Out On a Lim|
|To subscribe, send an email to SUBSCRIBE@henrylim.org|
|Dear Faithful Reader,
In the past this space has been home to randomly selected quotes found from songs or movies. These were exchanged on a weekly basis. As an attempt to drum up more fans, I've decided to change the format. It will now be a place where I can spew out little anecdotes, on a quasi-daily basis. Kinda like a weblog. So don't miss out on the fun. (But if you do happenstance can't logon one sorry day, just click on the "Out On a Lim" link below to view the archives). This being the first entry, I'd like to personally welcome you to the next phase in www.henrylim.org. I will extend a grace period: this message will stay up for a week, just to get everyone settled. Oh, for those who wish for a free subscription via email to these storytime sessions, just send an email to SUBSCRIBE@henrylim.org. (This is an introductory special offer). Thanks, and I apologize to anyone who'll genuinely miss the old format, but I hope you'll find it in your heart to give the new one a chance--perhaps you'll dig it.
Here's a historically suspect recollection of the counterrevolutionary background behind this web journal's namesake, "Out On a Lim". It is the year 1987. I am a 15 year old high school sophomore who spends most of his hobby hours occupied writing songs in his garage with a guitar, synthesizer, and drum machine. I had been working on new material for my third album, the aptly titled Garage Music, when during a prodigious recording session, I penned a song called "Out On a Lim"--note the pun on my name. The following year, in a desperate bargaining negotiation between the journalism teacher and myself involving my upper handed talent as a citywide champion cartoonist, I was awarded relatively complete freedom (in terms of high school) to publish a weekly column of anecdotes in the campus newspaper. Thus I called it "Out On a Lim".
The articles themselves were a creme brule of surrealism floating atop parody, splitting off into contrapuntally insane directions, spiraling along the lines of imagined exponents, somewhat akin to the quadrillesque wonders of Lewis Carroll and the acid warped lyrics of John Lennon. Subjectwise, I sensationalized my unextraordinarily entertainingless life and its misguided missile launching misadventures, generally in the first person. My favourite episode tragically retraced all the clumsy steps between my selection process, courage inflation, self-doubting fears, cosmic rationale, and final bravery in asking a girl to an upcomming dance--only to be rejected. Yeah, I often laughed at myself.
When the weekly manufacturing of articles cauterized into routine, I converted the column into a laboratory, which investigated word collisions, intertextual inbreeding, and the hidden art of hiding messages. At first it was subtle. Two words would smashtogether. Thenasentence. Someofthemwouldlooklikethis. I made it a game to hide curse words in the jumble, a test to see how incomprehensible I could be, and a glimpse into the structurally impossible designs of writing. It was fun. If you happen upon the opportunity to write your own column, I highly recommend it, as it developed my disciplinary reactions to the expressive algorithms necessary for transposing my thoughts into words.
Thirteen years later, out on a whim, I decided to reawaken "Out On a Lim", after cryogenically putting it to sleep in my own personal hyperspace, where it fermented itself on the meditative metaphor of self induced kaleidoscoping often found in the gyroscopic overdosage of boredom. I am conjuring the conjunction of culminating pipe dreams and redefining myself after the fractalizing facts, so that it can now reincarnate back as a carnival of perverted excursions in and out of my mind, where time thinks it's infinitely paved with paradoxical dimensions traveling between and beyond its frame of self references. Where music is heard not as recorded mediums, but experienced on a spectrum that cannot be measured with any physical sympathy. Where interpretations are determined to be terminated only if they are widely accused of underestimating limitations. Where everything is potential exploration, late at night, under the influence. Where I will find my perfect balance. Where I am out on that proverbial limb.
The rain flooded Wilshire, making it a river to traverse. Some puddles along the sidewalk were such obstacles that stepping in them destined to be unavoidable. But we safely arrived at the museum, closed our wind swept inverted umbrellas, and entered the dry galleries. We had nothing else to do but spend all afternoon browsing the widely lit halls and having the publicly displayed art inspire our intimate conversations. Soon enough, we forgot about the weather outside.
Behind the glass were voluptuously shaped ancient South American artifacts (utensils, pottery, sculptures). We extended our imaginations and pretended to grasp the objects, to figure out their functions, and to play out possible scenarios (eating, praying, decorating). The room transported us to a hot summer evening, dirt beneath our bare feet, and the sounds of the tribe surrounding our village abode. A flame was heating our dinner pot, stretching distorted shadows up the walls. She smiled at me as we moved on to the next exhibit.
Neatly displayed was a teacup collection showcasing variations in designs over time and place. She asked me to pick my favourite. Amongst the typical circular rims was a square shaped cup from Germany circa the early 20th century, ominously kilned in black. It was intuitively my choice. She agreed at its pattern deviation, however remarked that she owns a similar teacup, on the basis of its strangeness. We then immersed into a discussion on our shared gravitation towards odd curiosities in this world, that one strange shape comfortably cohabitating next to multiple rows of normalcy, and the perfect alignment of circumstances allowing for us to both be in a museum appreciating the symbolism of a square teacup.
As we departed that room, we noticed how empty the place was peoplewise. Guards staffed their corners, but beyond them, she and I had the entire museum to ourselves. We smiled. It was as if the outside world evaporated, leaving us the only two people to explore the collective caverns of a leftover civilization. We laughed. There is a heightened slice of seclusion reflected in the reverberations of our own voices, focusing on the depth of our solitude, and zooming in on how special our moment together was. We continued.
Upstairs was a photography installation which had some partitioned panoramas that made her dizzy, so we took a momentary seat on a bench. Across that room were some woodcut printings--she gave me some background on her own experiences in that medium. In the Japanese pavilion she translated some calligraphy hanging between the ascending curved paths. We exited out to the tar pits. The sky was dark, but the rain had stopped. The row of museums was closing. Again, we were alone. Twas a strangely uncrowded day, perfectly mirroring our preferential conditions. We went home.
When I was 13 and just discovering the Beatles, my father encouraged me to admire the excellent craftsmanship of the early songs in their oeuvre as heard in "Yesterday", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", and "She Loves You", but warned me never to listen to the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. "This is when they took drugs and went crazy," he said in the record store as he pointed to the multicoloured artwork on its cover. Instead he bought me the compilation 1962-66, or in the parlance of our times, the Red Album. As we drove home, I looked at the dullness in the over two decade photo of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, all proper, clean shaven, and attired in suits. But in the back of my mind I thought about that drug album.
One of the perks of being a teenager is the discovery of rebellion, so I took it upon myself to make use of this opportunity to defy my dad. And if I can trace back my life's path, it'll conclude at this junction as the pinpoint in time when I chose the tangent that sent me as far apart from him personalitywise--he's a respectable citizen, conservative, practical, and fathered me when he was my age, whist I am dreamy, carefree, and childless. Hence, one day after school, I rode my bike to the record store and purchased Sgt. Pepper with the money I'd earned from tutoring students less capable of solving geometry problems.
I was listening to the album the other night. I've heard it a million times, but have never particularly interpreted the dichotomy between McCartney and Lennon as symbolic of the differences between my father and myself. McCartney tends to assume a bourgeois perspective (ambiguously sarcastic or not) as represented in the songs "She's Leaving Home" and "When I'm Sixty Four". The lyrics depict suburban lives and middle class domesticity. The music provides stable structures supporting romantic progressions. Meanwhile, Lennon blows his mind out and lets his restless insanity paint psychedelic tales such as "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" and "Being For the Benefit Of Mr. Kite". The lyrics depict trippy characters in surreal landscapes. The music is sonically layered in processed effects that shift over time signatures.
However, it is their collaborative coda "A Day in the Life" that contextualizes their divergent perspectives, not in harmony, but as a juxtaposed contrast bridging together logically--it resembles a dream within a dream. Lennon's verses about expansive bafflement towards the mundane world triggers a crescendo that sends him to another dimension. This awakens McCartney for his well-mannered daily routine, which gets sidetracked by a bit of daydreaming. Lennon returns and concludes the song with a recapitulation of his earlier mind explosion which fermatas on a chord consisting of the notes in the home key of McCartney's section.
Recursively entwined interpretations regarding whose dream was within whose abound, I can see myself dreaming about my father's life in all its vast incongruity with mine--the family, the house in a nice neighbourhood, and the responsibilities thereof. No doubt he wonders about the incompressible behaviours of my lifestyle--staying up all night, living without any attachments, and the freedom that such entails. Perhaps one day I will have a son. I will encourage him to listen to Sgt. Pepper. But based on generational probability, there's a chance that he will rebel against his father and choose his own identity. And dream his own dreams.
I credit The Big Lebowski for my current bowling phase. It didn't hit me the first time I saw it, with a poetic girl, during its initial theatrical run--I mean, it was just another fun little date movie. It still didn't hit me when I watched it again on DVD, although, kicking back in the comfort of my home, in a certain frame of mind, helped appreciate the drug references better. But somewhere amidst the thirteenth viewing, lulled by the cadences of the goofy dialogue and the homage to Los Angeles, at that certain late hour in the night when my brain gets ideas by the baked dozen, I suddenly got the urge to go bowling.
It was almost subliminal. The phrase "Fuck it, let's go bowling" began to appeal to me like the answer to all my problems. Seeing the widescreened lanes in slow panned, gliding sweeps opened my eyes to the simple serenity of the recreational sport. And hearing the weight of the balls rolling on the polished wood til they tumbled the echoing pins.
However, as the Lebowski characters seemed to use bowling as a harmless escape from this cruel world, it also served, like most hobbies, as a point of departure for storytime--those entertaining moments when friends can share tales, discuss in dialogue, and attempt to figure out what this life is about. It's not unlike poker night, D&D campaigns, smoking out in a college dorm, garage band practice, and all the many other methods of gathering together people with mutual interests and letting the stories fly.
Luckily, I have two friends who are devout Lebowski fans. Quotes from the film occur in their speech patterns at regular intervals. They know the name of the real life porn star in the beaver picture. So it was no surprise when I submitted my proposal for "Bowling Night" that they chuckled and immediately got the reference. "We should drink White Russians," was a suggestion. Sadly, the alley in which The Dude, Walter, and Donny did their bowling, Hollywood Star Lanes, is no more. Fuck it. Instead our games shall find us all over LA, wandering this great city, catching each other down the trail.
For my last game, I cryptically bowled my highest score (104) and my lowest (52). I've got my own shoes. I've got a Lebowski poster hanging in my bedroom. For laughs, I burned the entire movie's audio tracks onto CD and listened to it while I drove us to the lanes. We often argue about what character we'll be that night. For some reason, they think I'm The Dude, what with my lazy life, acid flashbacks, and late night strolls down the dairy aisles. But really, I am the walrus...
I was having one of those mornings when elaborately lucid dreams funneled into my hypnapompic waking stages at a billion frames per minute. Between the opening and closing of my eyes, the digital clock bedside betrayed the speed of these subconscious chapters. My alternate dream self was leapfrogging from teleportation terminals to vividly constructed destination points beholding series of seemingly unconnected scenes.
Cameras were literally in every corner, in every room I entered, unrestrained on my every move. Their lines of sight followed me like lasers. I pretended to maintain unbothered steps, all the while looking for an exit to the labyrinth I was lost in--some open area where cameras couldn't track. Casually, I peered out a window to see the building that I was trapped in extend its architecture both upward and down, a snaking monolith with no logical escape.
Candles surrounded the dead girl's body, deflated on the floor. Hooded monks prayed to the carcass. With every chant their faces elongated. When their heads attained their most vertical length, the girl's eyes leaked blood, and I heard her spirit yell in pain. I feigned impression, but seemed to have remembered seeing this ceremony before. The lights turned on, and the girl's body was dumped into the trash.
I'm riding in a jeep, four wheeling on the shores of a tropical island. Giant millipedes beach themselves. I steer around their multi sectional bodies and squiggly legs, trying to ignore them as I drive onwards. I reach the village. Hundreds of Japanese schoolgirls with loose socks ask me if I've seen anything strange on my journey. I smile and stare into their stellar reflecting eyes, avoiding their questions.
I wake up. During my shower, per habit, I mentally catalogue the dreams I just had. I get dressed. As I drink my orange juice my eyes zone out on her picture magnetically attached to my refrigerator causing me to attempt to convince myself that I'm unbothered, unimpressed, and ignorant of the obvious hopelessness in ever catching up with her outside of my dreams.
A pastime of mine has been jetstreaming down the relatively empty freeways of Los Angeles around 4 o'clock in the morning, with no particular destination, and music just at the threshold of overblowing my speakers. I go through stylistic phases depending on my state of mindwarp--ultra presto fugues, densely layered chase cues from crappy movies with cool soundtracks, bluegrass, and Radiohead. My current fad is finding just the right velocity to match cybertrance's bpms and all its rushing electronic energy steering over melodic fast lanes and harmonic butterfly junctions. I've concluded that when my baby hits 88 mph, I can see some serious shit.
At first, the four to the floor kick drum super imposes down to my spinning tires. I can feel them pound and strobe the beat as they simultaneously match revolving grooves with the ground. Thin divider lines stripe by on the upbeats synchronous to the hi hats, segmenting across channels, pong pinging on dyslexic speed. A reverse crash opens the windshield to the streetlights streaking finely detailed delayed trails that trace the aerodynamically flanged arpeggios spiraling outwards of my tunnel vision. I climb a trill inducing ramp, curving its peak, admire the downtown view, and am released to the next flow of direction.
Out of the blue, a new perspective perpendicular to my previous path emerges, wide angling my consciousness. Saw toothed waveforms propel me forward and soon upwards. I am flying, barreling under overpasses, riding the shifting wormhole. As dodged graveyard shift delivery cargos and single passenger filled taxis blur in my rearviews, I submit to the empty stretch ahead. I am alone. My equalization flatlines. And then I don't hear anything anymore. The space-time continuum fades to white...
Anthropomorphic caricatures multiply in greyscale, patiently revealing themselves, accumulating to form pixilated resemblances of my younger self in thousands of three dimensional holographic motion captured still frames, running circles around my childhood home, never getting anywhere, but having a blast from the thrust of imaginary perpetual motion. Zooming in, I not only see each step I took during my connected route, but every probable step I could've taken, shooting off to parallel, alternate, and void realities, most of which inevitably, by averaging, lead me back to my current self driving around a city having visions of my past within visions of my future within visions of my past, etc.
The kick drum kick starts my heartbeat again. The seconds of blindness from the oncomming side of the median dissolve out of my eyes. I find myself back in my car, slightly disoriented, but at peace as I rejoin scattered traffic. I open my window and touch the air as I enjoy a smoke. The music continues and I go for another lap.
I was feeling kinda spontaneous. I wanted to do something that I normally wouldn't do, just to experience a different perspective. Nothing fancy, like driving on the wrong side of the freeway or listening to rap. Something simple. Like reading my horoscope and actually believing that it's giving me hints on how to live my life.
Normally, on occasion, I check my astrological forecast for laughs, cause it's usually so off base that I can't help but be amused at how it's supposed to supposedly help--real estate advice (when I'm not looking to buy property), romantic tips on how to surprise my lover with a candlelight dinner (when I'm not involved with anyone), and most hilarious of all, encouraging me listen to more music (when I couldn't possibly fit more into my neverending playlist). Sure, I can interpret some clues as vaguely relevant to what I might've remotely considered doing. Maybe I ought to buy a house, get a girlfriend, and play three CDs simultaneously on three different stereos.
But this time, just for added entertainment and impulsiveness, I thought I'd take it seriously. I'd fixate on some coincidental aspect of its edification, and follow it to conclusion. Anything that personally engages me will be game. I won't question it's authority, planetary alignment, and silliness. But perhaps that's all it takes--to let go of my distrust, have faith, and allow some "cosmic" knowledge to guide me. And then it'd make sense. It couldn't hurt. I mean, what are the chances of it telling me to slice up my own eyeballs?
So I was excited at the novelty of escaping my patterned biases and trying something on whimsy. My mindset was calibrated to relinquish my chaotic existence and embark on a journey courtesy of the psychic powers that bind the universe. I felt that tingle of energy when everything seems to flow with smooth concordance as if these circumstances were undeniably supposed to happen. No obstructions, just skating on fate. I consulted my Taurusian charts.
It told me to do something spontaneous.
She sent me a Valentine's card. It arrived slightly late, but was neverofless welcome--the delivery lag between her exile and my outpost being yet unreliably uncalculated, even after several clandestine correspondences. Intricately cut tiny paper snowflakes overflowed from the envelope as I opened the seal, evocatively reminding me, in a playfully simple gesture, of her below freezing fugitive localization and her sense of humourous ability to uplift my smile. I unfolded the card to reveal a giant handmade heart, curvaceously chiseled lacelike out of thin opaque paper. Akin to her voice, her signature slowly drawled from the bottom corner, "with love".
I'm a hardcore fan of the old school, handwritten, physically delivered, exchange of letters. What is lost in the efficiency of email's ease is counterbalanced by the added personality and expressiveness that is much more obviously readable between the lines of penmanship. Maybe it's my inability to separate the message from the medium. Or perhaps I remember too well how the world was before it became virtual, but I appraise real letters with more sentimental value. Besides, she doesn't have access to a computer out yonder.
She adds little drawings to her ballpoint text. Pastel pencil abstractions, stars, and hearts skim beneath the paragraphs. Scribbled out false starts and insertion carets are common. She blends cursive in and out of noncursive letters, sometimes during mid-word. And it just kills me to see her draw an arrow directing me to follow onward to the next page.
I'm straightforward. I print in all caps on lined paper with my beloved razor pointed pen.
Obviously, I'd prefer her presence over her letters, but tragedies be as they are, stretch mere distances beyond paranoid probabilities of hope. All my restrained bravery and idealistic delusions can't bring her closer. Agony mocks our separation as my memories of her bloom into obsessed exaggerations. It's easy to release my imagination on what could've been had her destiny not sent her afar to snowy frontiers and I to hallucinate her hand in mine. But for now, she exists only in her letters to me.
I enjoy browsing record stores. Even though lately I do most of my shopping and downloading online, I still get a jolt from handling the actual albums, seeing them alphabetized by genre, and serendipitously finding something that absolutely belongs in my collection. It takes me back to my college days, pre-Amazon, pre-Napster, when I spent all my time and money on compact discs. I remember when hunting for music was just as fun as listening to it--exploration by every definition. Everytime I visited another state or country, the first places on my tourist stops would always be the record stores, in search of out of print and imported titles. Last weekend, I went to my local shop, but wasn't too interested in browsing, rather I wanted to talk to the cute clerk.
It kinda was like a scene from High Fidelity--the independent record store setting and myself being the loser with nothing better to do than chat up the bands I like and dislike with the employee, minus any highfaluting arguments. It wasn't hard to find topics. The obvious is to comment on the song playing in the store and branch off from there. When that snagged, an autographed publicity shot behind the counter started another diverging strand. The latest release from so and so triggered comparisons with his older, more substantial work. Concert reviews led to personal anecdotes thereof, which inevitably segued to other fields of discussion--movies, hobbies, educational background, and life in general. She offered me a tortilla chip.
I joined her for a smokebreak, outside on a ledge overlooking a parking lot. Traffic shot down the adjacent street's perspective lines as we shared "when did you smoke your first cigarette" stories. And for an impossibly brief, yet perfect moment, as she laughed, I remembered my youthful enthusiasm for pop music, with all its naive lack of overcriticism and analysis. When listening to a CD for the first time was fresh and unconvoluted with elder layers of interpretations and memories. Time was new. Each song's structure wasn't hallowed yet. Patterns and formulas were yet to be categorically discovered and therefore incapable of inviting comparative dissection. All that mattered was my hunger to hear more. It felt like I was smoking my first cigarette, again.
I don't wear a watch and I don't have a cellular phone. It's not that I'm against these technological toys, or time and mobile communication in general, but I tend to prefer my freedom over such trappings. I like to be as disconnected as possible from the constraints of demarcated minutes telling me when I should be doing whatever I'm doing, and unreachable wherever I roam. The converse is often the pitch of advertising slogans--knowing what time it is and being connected to the world actually buys more freedom. That may be true for most people living in this fast paced, busy little world starving to be included in society. But not me. I live my life like I'm on vacation. I just don't care about time and I like being left alone.
Ok, I'm not completely timeless. I've got a job (although, I keep rough hours based on whenever I wake up). But I use surrounding clocks--it's hard to go anywhere that doesn't have some time keeping device. Actually, I own a watch. However, its sole purpose is its stopwatch function, which comes in handy when I compose music for film and I need to sync my cues with a scene. Oddly, the only limited time I wear my watch is when I'm really on vacation, as keeping track of transportation and rendezvous schedules seem to matter.
I'm a regular user of the telephone and have been known to talk for hours about myself with unsuspecting listeners. Yet the idea of expanding those hours while I'm walking around or driving in my car seems absurd. I savour those moments of solitude when I can actually organize my thoughts, on my own, without anyone else's second opinions. I like to solve my own problems. And luckily, I've yet to be in a situation where having a cell phone to call for help could've saved my life. I doubt most people often have or ever will--convenience isn't life threatening, unless, of course, your watch says you're late.
I realize I'm apart from the norm, maybe a tad insane and a bit antisocial, which makes my thoughts on watches and cell phones incomprehensible to those who actually rely on the functions thereof. However, one of the benefits of ignoring time is that I get to live my life with less stress. No more dependence on worrying about adhering to the concept of "when' which makes it easier for me to concentrate on the "now". The words "early" and "late" lose their meanings. Theoretically, this should make me lazy, but actually it has the opposite effect. Daunting projects become manageable, if not easier--I don't focus on how long they'll take, which is a deterrence to begin and continue. Time doesn't scare me.
I won't comment on the proliferation of people talking on their cell phones in public places, cause gee whiz I'd probably do the same if I had that many friends. But because there are more lines of communication, doesn't mean I need to abuse them. It's not hard for others to reach me (I've got an answering machine and I check my email). I've got plenty of time to talk later.
My mind was still in Vegas, even though I'd woken up in my own bed after driving home last night. So it was odd when the afternoon sunlight shifted behind passing clouds. Everything was under a thin shadow, yellowishly saturated through my waking eyes. Afterglow.
The water pressure in both my bathroom and kitchen sink died. All I got at full throttle was a dribble instead of the usual gush. I wasn't in the mood to be annoyed. So I calmly opened them with pliers and found their heads clogged with tiny white pebbles. After clearing the blockage, everything flowed.
I was reading Kurt Cobain's diaries. One entry describes how he saw "amoebas" swimming in his eyes if he looked hard enough. I get that same view sometimes, but was never as fixated on the phenomenon, nor able to put it in so many words. He expressed it perfectly. I nodded in agreement.
I admired the overlapping chaos reflected in the golden foil of a Rolo as my teeth slowly punctured the caramel contained within the chocolate. The sweetness buzzed inside me as if it were just the right dosage of sugar to remind me to keep my footing just slightly out of step with reality. My surroundings started to gently waver. I was wandering in a mirage. Optical illusions aren't fake to the viewer tuned in their specific mental frequencies.
A day like this was predisposed to be accompanied by the lilting voice of Hajime Chitose--her Okinawan vibrato bouncing on the walls, carving calligraphic aural traces along the ceiling. She enhanced the colour of the world, accenting the orange hues.
Opening my windows, I heard seagulls singing. The ocean breeze filled my rooms, replacing the smell of smoke and Vegas. It was great to be home.
Now that Fred's dead, I guess can admit that I watched Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. It wasn't cool on the kindergarten playground to say one watched that show instead of cartoons. I learned at an early age to keep my mouth shut when it came to unpopular opinions and to pretend to be interested in the rules of the majority. But I secretly tuned in, mob mentality be damned. It's not that I particularly enjoyed the show's boring pace and polite propaganda. I sat through all his trite rituals--changing his cardigans, feeding his fish, and psychopathically talking to his trolley. All for those few whacky moments when I got to hang out in the land of Make-Believe.
Honestly, I can't spout any curricular lessons I might've learned from watching, but I'd bet they were of the standard "be kind to your neighbour" and "sharing is good" fare. I probably was brainwashed into becoming a decent member of society--I mean, I don't have a criminal record, yet. However, I needed my Make-Believe fix. Mr. Rogers taught me how to appreciate my imagination.
Yeah, I could've timed my viewings to catch only the glorified puppet shows and skip the less entertaining segments. I picked up on the programming pattern (Make-Believe sessions started in the later half of the half hour). I tried it once, but it wasn't the same. I needed the contrast between normalcy and craziness. I liked the progression from daily dullness to madness and back. Boring routines are foreplay for topsy turviness, which inevitably cancels itself out yearning to return to structure. Rinse and repeat cycle.
I've lived my life accordingly ever since. There's the mild mannered me who goes to work and keeps his mouth shut. And then there's my make-believe alter ego. I need both separate identities. They feed off each other in some ying yangy symbiosis--reality recharges my imagination, and vice versa. I'd go insane if I had to assume either identity full time, as I'd lose my patience for life. I like sitting through dullness for the anticipation of something exciting later. It doesn't matter what, just as long as my imagination gets to play, for a while.
The following is an imaginary transcription of an imaginary chat I had with my imaginary buddy, Larry McFeurdy. It occurred at 02:09 Saturday, March 1, 2003. If you're reading this on subscription email, I recommend checking out the colourized version online at www.henrylim.org for the best representation of the text.
(A cute, skinny girl with a highly melodic, hushed voice, ushers you in: "If you're tuning in right now, find a seat, storytime's about to begin, kick back and enjoy the show." The lights dim. Curtain rises. Applause.)
HENRY LIM'S IMAGINARY CHAT WITH LARRY McFEURDY
Written, directed, and produced by:
The producers of this production would like to personally thank Henry Lim and Larry McFeurdy for their kind permission to publicly reprint their chat, in its entirety on the internet.
copyright 2003 Out On a Lim
droideka13: May I speak with Larry McFeurdy.
droideka13: [whispering] Uh sir, are you fucked up?
droideka13: All your words are running together, it's hard to understand you. I lack the patience to find the words in your sentences when you talk to me like that.
LarryMcFeurdy: Oh sorry, my bad. There is that better. Can you fucking SEE THE WORDS in my sentences better now. Whatdoyouwant?
droideka13: I wanted to ask you some questions.
LarryMcFeurdy: Sure. Hahahaha. I'm sorry for smushing my words together. I forget that it's hard for dumbasses to read. I sometimes forget that others might be reading this.
LarryMcFeurdy: Oh dude, you're fucked up.
droideka13: Shhhh. The music's beginning.
LarryMcFeurdy: Oh man, you're really fucked up. What are you listening to?
droideka13: NICE by Puffy (copyright 2003 Epic Records, ESCL 2357). Puffy rocks. This latest album has a post-Beatles McCartney, Beach Boys meets pre-TRAGIC KINGDOM No Doubt, early 1980s vibe with a dash of The Supremes, except it's sung by two cute Japanese girls. You should check out their remix album PRMX (copyright 1999 Sony Music Entertainment, ESCB2060) which takes their already borrowed and reinterpreted styles and dresses them up in happy raver colours--it's happier than happy, man.
LarryMcFeurdy: Whateverman. Hey, don't forget to get cigarettes at the Discount Cigarette Outlet, blank CDs from CompUSA, food from Sakae Sushi, and hang out at Go-Boy Records tomorrow. And work on the remix of "Ave Maria". What questions did you want to ask me?
droideka13: Oh, yeah. Uh, why have you chosen the AIM chat format for this episode of OUT ON A LIM?
LarryMcFeurdy: Four magic reasons:
LarryMcFeurdy: 1) I was bored and wanted to try something different from my standard paragraph structure.
LarryMcFeurdy: 2) I figured this format is recognizable to today's kids. My research shows that youngsters like to chat, so I decided to cater to that demographic. Plus, it's visually cool, with the alternating colours. Very hip and geeky. Very early 21st century internet culture.
LarryMcFeurdy: 3) This being a pseudo web diary, which is already voyeuristic, I thought I'd add another level of peaking into how my mind works in the form of eavesdropping on an imaginary conversation with myself. Detect the homage to the Glenn Gould interviews with Glenn Gould about Glenn Gould, the Charlie/Donald Kaufman dual roles, the Tyler Durden syndrome, and the shades of Gollum talking to himself.
LarryMcFeurdy: 4) You said that if I write in AIM chat form, I could have a beer.
droideka13: Mama said knock yourself out. There should be 3 Asahi's left in the fridge. Grab me one, while you're at it.
LarryMcFeurdy: Here you go.
droideka13: Are you worried that people might think you've lost your mind conducting imaginary chats with yourself? Hey, and if we're chatting to ourselves like Gollum, are we fiending for some metaphorical "ring"?
LarryMcFeurdy: Dude, I'm you and you're me. If I'm crazy, then you're also crazy. And yeah, we're just waiting for THE RING to come out on dvd next week (fiending for Naomi Watts). Oh, btw, that photo of you in BPM magazine was mega cool.
droideka13: Hey, did you watch the 13:13 recovered video made by the Columbia crew moments before the disaster? It's online. Besides the obvious creepiness of watching them go about their mission oblivious to their doom, what killed me was the duct tape that was visibly holding together wires in the cabin. It looked so ghetto. Like some kid's science project.
LarryMcFeurdy: Yeah. Bummer, man.
LarryMcFeurdy: Hey, let's reverse our colours, for the fun of it.
droideka13: No, don't do that. It'll only confuse the readers.
LarryMcFeurdy: Hahahahahaaha, I did it.
droideka13: Ok, cool you switched the colours. Good for you. Now back to the questions.
droideka13: Oh man, see what you did when you flipped the colours.
droideka13: It's tripping me out.
droideka13: Am I talking to you or are you talking to me?
droideka13: I forgot what I was gonna ask, man.
LarryMcFeurdy: Dude, you're fucked up.
droideka13: Sure, if you say so. Hey, who was that hottie that ushered storytime at the beginning of this session, you know the one in parenthesis?
LarryMcFeurdy: You've met her before. She's been borrowed and reinterpreted from your real life and symbolically cast as an usher in this imaginary chat. It's your web journal, you should know who that is. You've got one demented mind, my friend.
droideka13: She said to "...kick back and enjoy the [following story]". Where's the story?
LarryMcFeurdy: Well, the story is THIS story, all the lines of this chat.
LarryMcFeurdy: Disjointed mumbled jumbles.
droideka13: Jointed jumbled mumbles.
droideka13: Hey, it was fun chatting with you. I gotta go.
droideka13 signed off at 2:53:13 AM
LarryMcFeurdy signed off at 2:54:00 AM
A DJ friend of mine is currently taking a class on The Beatles. I volunteered to compile a mix of my fave tracks for her, not necessarily as a study aid, but as a "The Beatles According To Henry" sampler. This proved to be harder than it seemed, partly due to the limitations of condensing their musical legacy down to a single CD.
I consider myself a middleweight in terms of Beatles fanaticism. I'm not as versed of a collector/archivist as some of the freaks I've met, yet I'm certainly not a casual fan. I've got a sizeable collection of official releases and bootlegs (over 50 CDs). That's several hours worth of music, all of which I think is consistently worthwhile. Ideally, one should listen to them all, in chronological order, to fully appreciate their evolution from skiffle band to pop culture phenomenon. Alas, this perspective constantly interfered with my selection process.
It's like weeding out the best of the best quality tracks. I decided not to focus on the certified hits ("Yesterday", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Let It Be"). Those could be heard anywhere at any given time on some classic rock station. Yet I wanted to include some of their widely popular songs ("All You Need Is Love", "Hey Jude") as signposts of their popularity amidst their more "obscure" tracks (if there's such a thing in the Beatles catalogue), i.e. B-sides ("This Boy"), demos ("Something"), and alternate takes ("Across the Universe"). Mixing the silly ("You Know My Name"), the pretty ("Michelle"), the rocking fun ("Birthday"), and the child book cuteness ("Yellow Submarine") in a contrasting mishmash helped to highlight their patented sense of humour that is so significant to their charm.
And of course, I had to include some of my ultimate choice selections ("Strawberry Fields Forever", "In My Life", "A Day In the Life", "Rain", "Dear Prudence")--masterpieces that kicked off and keep revitalizing my obsession with them.
Incidentally, my fave Beatle is George Martin. He gets props in the final track "Pepperland". Nevertheless, the other members get sufficient representation, with perhaps a slight favouring towards Lennon. Yes, there are some painfully absent songs ("Penny Lane", "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", "If I Fell"). But I think I came close to summarizing what their music means to me.
1. Cry For a Shadow (1961)
2. All You Need Is Love (1967)
3. Sie Lieb Dich (1964)
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1968)
5. Something (1969)
6. Rain (1966)
7. Michelle (1965)
8. Yellow Submarine (1966)
9. Birthday (1968)
10. This Boy (1964)
11. Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)
12. Hey Jude (1968)
13. It's Only Love (1965)
14. Come and Get It (1969)
15. Here Comes the Sun (1969)
16. Dear Prudence (1968)
17. In My Life (1965)
18. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)
19. A Day In the Life (1967)
20. Across the Universe (1968)
21. Pepperland (1968)
I'm glad Rory got into Harvard.
There's only one show on television that I'm mildly interested in watching: Gilmore Girls. I'm not addicted to it. I've missed most of this season. But I enjoy the spitfire dialogue and lighthearted drama--it's set in the quirky little town of Stars Hollow, where the quirky little residents have quirky little lives. So the drama isn't overly dramatic, which I prefer. The music is pretty good, too. Sometimes I live in Stars Hollow in my dreams.
The title characters are a mother and daughter. The catch of the pilot episode was that the mother was 32 and the daughter was 16--do the math. Ok, I'll admit it, the real reason why I watch the show is to see Rory, the daughter. She's incredibly cute--round face, big forehead, sparkling eyes, stiff movements. Her goal in life was to get into Harvard. She's been studying hard at a prep school, blah, blah, blah. So in last week's episode, she got that big envelope of acceptance to her dream school.
There was a previous episode in which Rory and her mom embarked on a roadtrip to Harvard. Rory was super excited to walk on the campus, check out the dorms, and even sit in on a class. But I noticed Harvard wasn't really Harvard. It was UCLA (I should know, being employed by UCLA). I wasn't mad at the goof. Plenty of movies use UCLA as a generic college setting. There are crews almost monthly doing shoots. I've gotten so normalized by it that I don't pay attention to who or what's being filmed anymore. However, I was mad that they filmed Gilmore Girls right under my nose. Ever since, I've been pulling for Rory to get into UCLA, I mean Harvard.
So, congratulations Rory.
There once was a kid born out of wedlock to a man from a prominent upper class family and his lover of lower class status. The dishonour drove them to escape the restrictive rules of society and start a life on their own, without the acknowledgment or support from the man's wealthy background. Unfortunately, the man and woman died from illness, leaving the kid to be brought up by the woman's parents.
There was a neighbour who noticed the kid's intelligence and recommended that he ought to enroll at the best school in the district. The kid's caretaking grandparents agreed, but alas couldn't afford such luxuries. Luckily, the neighbour was a teacher at the school. And out of kindness allowed the kid to study for free.
As the neighbourhood was notorious for breeding gangsters and troublemakers, education gave the kid an advantage to avoiding a life of crime. At graduation, he had the grades to choose any profession, to choose his own path in life, and to climb out of the lower class. Remembering the kindness of his neighbour, he chose to become a teacher.
After years of teaching, he advanced to principal, and soon head of the district. His methods and philosophies earned him prominence in the field of education. He opened up opportunities for kids with less than fortunate backgrounds to get an education. At the end of his career, his efforts were well respected and recognized on the national level. For he truly believed in the possibilities that education offers. He experienced it personally. It was his life.
That bastard was my grandfather.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I can only see five reflections of me:
1. my reflection in the mirror
2. my reflection reflecting in my right eye
3. my reflection reflecting in my left eye
4. my reflection reflecting on the right glass of my glasses
5. my reflection reflecting on the left glass of my glasses
Try as I might, my eyes aren't good enough to see the theoretically infinite reflections of myself within each eye. But at least I can recognize my reflection--some autistics lack that ability. And don't worry, I'm not schizophrenic enough to lose myself in the mirror, yet.
Although, I often wonder about the conflicting warnings and advice people give regarding mirrors. If you spend too much time in front of a mirror you're "vain". If you've got personal problems, a common recommendation is to "take a good look at yourself in the mirror".
I remember visiting a tall building at Tokyo University. The top floor was notorious for being the diving board of suicidal students. All the mirrors were removed from that floor cause apparently what they saw in their reflections convinced them to jump.
Lennon used to trip out on mirrors:
"When I looked at myself in the mirror at twelve, thirteen--when you become very conscious as a teen-ager of your appearance, and spend a lot of time combing your hair--I used to, literally, trance out into alpha. I didn't know what it was called then. I only found out years later that there is a name for those conditions. But I would find myself seeing these hallucinatory images of my face changing, becoming cosmic and complete. I would start trancing out and the eyes would get bigger and the room would vanish." (John Lennon, The Playboy Interview, September 1980)
I've only seen my face blur and turn green when I looked into the alpha mirror.
I think I think about mirrors more than I use them--I don't use my mirror for grooming, other than a quick halfassed comb of my hair in the morning and a weekly (at most) shave. I am haunted by images of mirrors:
- Alice's adventures Through the Looking Glass
- Kilgore Trout's mirror in Breakfast of Champions
- Agent Cooper's final scene in the final episode of Twin Peaks
- Medusa's mirror
- the medicine cabinet mirror in Contact
- "She's delicate and seems like the mirror" -Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna"
- Galadriel's mirror
- Neo and the mirror in The Matrix
- The drunk lady crying in front of a mirror in Breakfast At Tiffany's
I suppose I like reflecting on these mirrors within the metaphorical mirror that literature and pop culture holds to society/reality. Somewhere in the reflections within the reflections is a reflection of me.
I liked reptiles when I was kid. This was way back before the "dinosaurs are birds" theory gained popularity and was disseminated in layman science books. I remember going to my corner public library and checking out every book on dinosaurs, in both the children's and adult's sections--in fact, I first learned about dinosaurs there. I spent years reading and rereading the vital statistics of the various species. And letting the illustrations devour my imagination. However, the common knowledge of the day was that dinosaurs were cold-blooded vertebrates. Reptiles.
My fave reptile living in our modern Quaternary period is the turtle. They've got the life--mellow, lackadaisical pace, and always at home with themselves. Most of them don't bug any other creatures, and other creatures mostly don't bug them. And they've got all the time in the world to kick back. I bet they've got such low stress, partly due to their simple, yet protectively effective shell. It's the coolest self defense mechanism in all of nature.
My answer to that standard, childish, and quasi psychologically probing question "If you could be any animal, what would you be?" has always been "a stegosaurus". But most kids and silly adults have requested me to limit and update my answer to non-extinct, currently living animals. It's gotten to the point where I just give the shorthanded response, saving my and the questioner's time: "a turtle".
I'm aware of the negative stereotypes applied to turtles--slow, lazy, weak, and passive. Personally, I think it's just backlash following the victory of the tortoise over the hare. I blame the media, which is subliminally accelerating society to become figuratively jackrabbit fast, nevermind the moral of the fable. Turtles only appear to be slow, lazy, weak, and passive, but if you empathize with them, you'll notice their other quality: perseverance. Hell, they've survived for 200 million years--since the Triassic period, alongside the dinosaurs. From an evolutionary standpoint, they must be doing something right.
I once had a pet turtle. It was a boring pet. It never did anything but hide in its shell. Sometimes it'd stick its head out to eat some cabbage. I kept it in big bucket. One day, the bucket was overturned. My turtle had escaped. I looked all over my backyard, up and down the spilling hills beyond my fence. After giving up hope in finding my turtle, I realized I wanted to be one.
I don't watch enough television to warrant getting cable. The only time I watch cable is when I'm visiting my parents' or friends' homes. Or when I housesit at a house with cable. Even then, I only tune in to the music video channels (MTV, MTV2, and VH1) to catch the latest trends.
For the last decade, I've felt systematically eliminated from the target audience--trends didn't make any sense. There was the post-Nirvana faux grunge phase, the boy band gimmick, the teenage girls trying too hard to be sexy craze, and the hip-hop gangsta flyby over my head. I was getting to the point where watching music videos was a big joke, with me as the brunt. Why watch anymore?
But there was this one night. I was housesitting in Culver City during the summer of 2002, watching Insomniac Music Theater on VH1. I was starting to ignore the crappy music videos and began focusing on the focus of the camera, the depths of fields, and the composition within the frames of the cinematography. In other words, I was bored, and ready to turn off the cable. Until I saw her.
There was this skinny, blondish tomboy on a sk8board. Her cuteness was right on target, perfect down to her goofy smile. She had an all around fun vibe with her pseudo safe punk getup looking so ridiculous that she actually was cool, in a "fuck you what you think about me" with a pinch of "cuddle me" sorta way. I was so distracted that I stopped paying attention to the focus of the camera and locked my eyes on her silly poses. For once, the marketing machine delivered its preproduced and prepackaged product straight to me. A momentary lapse into paranoia questioned if my mind was being read by top-secret technology that could download my private fantasies. I mean, this girl had to have been created in such a manner--the evidence was beyond coincidence. But I reasoned, if she was really my dreams made real, then she'd be sitting next to me. I didn't catch her music, but that's beside the point. I was hooked. As the song ended, I thanked whoever was looking out for me in that glorious pop culture conglomerate factory.
Thus was my introduction to Avril Lavigne.
Dear Josie (and the Pussycats)
You ROCK by all definitions and innuendoes of the word. I've been eternally listening to your CD and watching your DVD. I wish you were a real band, and then maybe I could sneak backstage after a show and party with you. Oh well.
Your fake fan,
PS: Why do you sound like the singer from Letters To Cleo?
PPS: Wasn't Letters To Cleo cool in 10 Things I Hate About You?
PPPS: Wasn't Julia Stiles not only cute in 10 Things I Hate About You but also slammin' in A Guy Thing?
PPPPS: I didn't care for Selma Blair in A Guy Thing, but I liked her whacky costar in The Sweetest Thing, Cameron Diaz.
PPPPPS: But as silly as Cameron Diaz was in The Sweetest Thing, nothing compares to her insanity in Being John Malkovich.
PPPPPPS: Catherine Keener was way cooler in Being John Malkovich than she was in S1m0ne.
PPPPPPPS: Evan Rachel Wood had more screentime in S1m0ne than in Practical Magic.
PPPPPPPPS: Nicole Kidman was a headlining star in Practical Magic, but was uncredited as the voice of the "girlfriend on the phone" in Panic Room.
PPPPPPPPPS: Jodie Foster played a mother in both Panic Room and Little Man Tate.
PPPPPPPPPPS: Diane Wiest was stiff and cold in Little Man Tate, but was stiff and bubbly in Edward Scissorhands.
PPPPPPPPPPPS: Winona Ryder's hair was blonde in Edward Scissorhands and dark brown in Little Women.
PPPPPPPPPPPPS: Kirsten Dunst was one of the March girls in Little Women, which also starred Claire Danes.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Diane Venora, who played Claire Danes' mother in Romeo + Juliet, also played Natalie Portman's mother in Heat.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Natalie Portman was one of the beautiful girls in Beautiful Girls, along with Uma Thurman.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: All the characters in Pulp Fiction have become icons, i.e. Uma Thurman's Mia Wallace and Amanda Plummer's Honey Bunny.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Mercedes Ruehl's Academy Award winning performance in The Fisher King often overshadows Amanda Plummer's mousy role.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Even though Mercedes Ruehl was hilarious in Married to the Mob, she could not compete, not a chance, no way, to Michelle Pfeiffer's comedic genius in that film.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Michelle Pfeiffer was mindbending in The Fabulous Baker Boys, which also had Jennifer Tilly in its cast.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: I forgot that Jennifer Tilly was in The Doors--I mainly remember Meg Ryan's fucked up character.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: But I often forget that Meg Ryan was in Hurlyburly due to the fact that when I watched that movie all my attention went to Anna Paquin's bitchin' character.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Anna Paquin was as equally beautiful in She's All That as Rachel Leigh Cook.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: Rachel Leigh Cook ROCKED in Josie and the Pussycats.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS: No war.
Some chums and I ventured out to Laughlin, Nevada to kick back with the poor white trash that can't afford Vegas and the retired grandparents partying with their oxygen tanks along the Colorado River. It was during the course of an otherwise relaxing weekend that I earned the nickname "The Narcoleptic Mongolian".
We gathered in Whittier, California at 9:00 AM, Saturday. I usually go to bed around 7:00 in the morning, so I decided to skip sleep and just embark on the roadtrip semi-awake. I'm a sucker for storytime, which began from the get go. And kept me from any serious napping. Listening to Dave Matthews, Sting, and The Nerds, the 4-hour drive in the rented mini-van seemed shorter as the passengers swapped tales. Soon enough, we were cheering our beers in the Flamingo's casino bar.
After a lounge at the pool that included several rounds of drinks and gagging at the grannies in swimsuits, we went to our hotel room to refresh before a dinner down at the buffet. A guitar was passed around the room, each of us strumming a few chords. I might've played too long, cause as I stood up, I felt a little dizzy, as the tune continued jingle jangling in my ears. Starved, we headed for the elevator.
I don't remember anything after the elevator doors closed. Witnesses state that I "body checked" an old lady as I fell over. Everyone thought I was having a seizure of sorts. Slices of reality intruded my disappearance into the void--I was being assisted back to the room. When I came through, I was in bed, my entourage hovering around me, concerned. I must've passed out. I bet my legs had locked as the elevator dropped, causing me to keel over. That and the combination of drinking and playing the guitar after a sleepless night. Luckily, as I returned to my feet, I felt recharged for dinner and the rest of the evening, but not without someone feigning a faint in jest.
The next day, we rode a river taxi to Harrah's. At the bar we noticed that the waitresses were starring at us. Flattered we thought maybe we could score with some weathered beverage servers, or get some free drinks at the least. Oddly, we weren't being served--just gawked at. A brave member of our troop confronted a waitress to see what was up.
It turned out they were afraid of the Chinaman (me). "But he's harmless," said our delegate. "Did you see what he's wearing?" she whispered. I had on a t-shirt advertising my fave Westwood eatery, Mongols. She went on to explain that the previous year, during the River Run biker convention, the Hells Angels brawled and gunfought with their rival gang, the Mongols, nearabouts the spot where we were standing. Despite my apologies for my ignorance in wearing an unintentionally insensitive logo, the waitress couldn't snap out of her shell shock.
For the rest of our trip, I was the badass biker who had a tendency to fall asleep in elevators.
During dinner with an old friend, whom I'ven't hung out with in awhile, I began my topical rant on the annoying proliferation of spoiled crybabies who need to go to therapy to solve their petty problems.
"Wait a minute," he said, stopping my mockery, "I was in therapy?quot;
Shit, I thought, my bad. It seems like thesedays I'm the only one NOT in therapy. Another friend of mine (also recovering from therapy) later confirmed that I'm an oddball. Damn, what am I doing wrong that's keeping me independently sane?
Perhaps I'm not living life.
But I think I've felt some of the relative lows. The shivering depression, writhing on the pavement, all roads lead nowhere, what's the point of this horrible life episodes. I've had my heart broken, leaving me catatonic, blank, and disinterested in everything. I've felt forlorn beyond loneliness--not only disconnected from the world, but also completely shut out, go away, don't even try to participate in life. I've known ultimate failure beyond any chance of redemption. I've been pressured by everyone I know to lose myself in unsympathetic labyrinths. I've dislodged my mind for years, unable to discern reality from nightmares. I've confused confusion for confusion. I've given up hope.
All of which I've dealt with on my own. Cause frankly, I'm spoiled, too. I've never had to really struggle. If I've got food and shelter, I've got nothing to complain about. Even less than those basic necessities, things can always be worse. My "problems" are meaningless from a wide-angle perspective, thus I don't need anyone's help.
I remember accidentally falling off the jungle gym in elementary school during recess. My whole body buzzed with pain. It was the first time in my life when I felt the terror of being helpless. However, everyone just laughed. I wasn't embarrassed, rather I knew then that no one was ever going to help me. I closed my eyes and killed the pain, picked myself up, and walked away like nothing happened. Every stumble since has been easy.
Or maybe I just get off on figuring out my own solutions. In the final analysis, my answers are just as good as anyone else's. No one's got it all solved. My life is my own little challenge. If it didn't have any problems, I'd probably need therapy.
Every then and now, I go on these 32-week binges whereby I obsess on each of Ludwig van's piano sonatas, chronologically, one per week. All I listen to in my car, at work, and at home is that week's sonata--the merrier the more interpretations, everything from period instruments to synthesizers, performed by Gould, Brendel, Ashkenazy, Gilels, Rosen, et al. I visit each sonata's self-contained galaxy, shack up in one of its motels, and take in its subcultures. I follow the score, I play them on the piano, and I read the background legends and myths. But most of all, I enjoy the narrative and development of Luigi's story, nicely told in 32 "chapters", chronicling his exploration of himself via the instrument.
I've gone through my symphonies, string quartets, and sonatas for piano plus other instruments phases, all of which were academic, but too socially active for my tastes--too many musicians yapping away in either histrionic choruses or argumentative sakes. I take my Beethoven solo, just his two fisted keyboard ideas, nothing more. No stage props, no fanfare armies, no accompaniments. Cause stripped of all the bullshit, his music sounds more personal. These were his templates plotted out before erecting fancy architectural forms around them. Where he had the most anger, fun, sadness, and transcendence.
I've taken up weekly residencies in the piano sonatas of Mozart, Chopin, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Schubert, and Haydn, but they don't have the same consistency of acute evolution towards self discovery as Beethoven. Yeah, there are the cliches--"Pathetique", "Moonlight", "Pastorale", "Tempest", "Appassionata", "Waldstein", "Adieux", and "Hammerklavier". But within the context of the series, they resonate like famous landmarks on his journey. The 'lesser known' inbetween sonatas connect his dots. They form a map of his introverted escape into the deaf unknown. And when I finally reach the final movement of the final sonata, hearing that last pianissimo chord, with the weight of all that preceded it, I can't think of any better representation of "the end".
|I could watch her thread beads forever.
We hold our collective Kirin breaths as she chooses a microscopic plastic ring amongst the thousands that laden her colour coordinated trays. A few phrases later of the Ego-Wrappin' jazz playing on my surround sound system and she's eyeing the tip of the thread through her shower wet hair spiking over her glasses.
"This music is cool," I purposely interrupt her concentration.
She starts to giggle like a schoolgirl simulating distraction from her semblance of homework.
"Don't talk until I thread this bead," she imperatively flirts.
I light a cigarette and watch the smoke interweave inbetween the inverted chords straining from the digitally recorded piano. My laughter infects her as the little bead fumbles out of her clumsy fingers.
"See what you made me do?" she playfully slaps my shoulder.
"Forget about it," I grin into both of her smiling eyes and tell her as she gives up hunting for the fallen bead lost in my carpet jungles, "I'll find it later when you're gone, and I'll remember this night."
She picks another bead and continues until her craft patiently begins to resemble a necklace. She mock wears it and asks me what I think.
"Cool," I say, peeking longer than a second at her chest.
She walks behind me and drapes her under construction handmade jewelry around my neck, not without her thumbs randomly kissing my beard.
"Cool," she says, after I hold it in place as she peeks at me from a frontal vantage.
That's enough bead threading tonight.
We turn off the overhead illumination and had a smokebreak by candlelight. I upgrade the retired prelude CD for some cut-to-the chase Yann Tiersen. The carnivalesque spinning accordion riffs ricochet above our exhalation. We wingspan across the futon, coifs touching as we blow smoke upwards.
"I was grandmother's favourite grandchild," she jumps in, sporting the comparative affection tallying game.
"No, I was," I counter move.
"I visited her more," she checks. "She cooked me many yummy foods. We'd go to the park. We'd go shopping together. We'd make fun of grandpa. She taught me how to knit."
"She talks to me in my dreams," I checkmate.
"I can't remember my dreams," she intones, implying to reveal my technique.
I smash my butt, dragon steaming out of my nostrils. "It's simple, really. All you do is when you wake up in the morning remember at least one thing from your dream--the people in it, the setting, scenario, dialogue, colour of the sky, music, anything. That'll heuristically trigger the rest. A little reassembling and you're redreaming your dream."
"I'll try that," she extinguishes. "So what does grandma say to you in your dreams?"
"That I'm her favourite grandchild."
"Liar", she sits up, nudging me with her elbow. "Really, that's what she says?"
"Yup," I swear. "I had this dream where she floated down to me like an angel. She was crying. She said she was going to leave and wanted me to know that I was her favourite grandchild. And then she flew away. The very next day she died."
She wipes a tear from under her spectacles. Out of empathetic respect, I put my hand on hers leaning. The candle flickers and momentarily goes extra bright, intersecting the glowing walls with protracted shadows. She stops parting her hair out of her view towards me and bewilderingly opens her mouth. My suspenseful eyes divert sideways, glancing at our metaphysical enclosure. I copy her jaw drop.
"I think her spirit's trying to tell us she loved us both," I verbalize, interpreting the spookiness.
She reclines, rolls face down, and begs, "Give me another massage..."
There's a road that descends between distanced and abandoned storefronts before it climbs towards the clouded horizon. I keep vividly picturing this road on my deja vu sensors, like I've seen it before in flashforward. I can't determine what dimension it belongs in--if it's a reference from a dream or a filter on a subdomain of reality. Or some horrible memory burrowing. Sometimes I think it might be a premonition of where I'm gonna die, but my instincts have another image that intuitively foretells the last thing my eyes will see--some cold, concrete room, with a window view of greenery. Nope, the road has some other significance.
"Larry, are you there?" I hear myself echo on the headset.
"Dude, I'm there, man," McFeurdy says after clearing his foggy throat, "The missile commands have obliterated everything, so I'm living underground now. Tis cool, cause I hated living all phony on the surface. I love it here, man. I was thinking about tagging with the water colony, what with their plentiful seafood, but I concluded, at the eleven and eleven sixtieths hour to go subterranean--I mean, I've already got a lifetime's supply of canned tuna. Plus, I like how the government has that silly law that won't allow anyone over 18 to live at the water colony, which means that all the hot snatch is underground. Now that's what I'm talking about, man."
"Oh dude," I delay react, "You're so fucking far away. I'm at the road, man. Ghosts blowing the tumbleweeds, vultures peppering the sunset, tremolo twanging the telephone wires, dust powdering the peripherals, and a drunk senorita's neck in my sweaty armpit. I've got the hellhounds smelling my trail. My gun is cocked. After I impregnate my bullets into her, I won't care anymore if the dogs eat my consciousness."
Larry farts, "Fuck that, man, that's fucked up. No, no, check this one out. I'm underground and all the rooms are cold and made out of concrete. Huh, what do you think of that?"
"That's not funny, man," I unjoke, "Don't go there, man."
"No really," he goes there, "I told you I was there, man. Underground, man. Unfortunately and to the miscalculations of geologists, living underground proved fatal. I should've listened to my heart and not my jailbait, cause the water colony was safe from radiation. I get shot up with some happy drug. I lay my baldhead on my pillow and look at the shrink-wrinkled skin on my skeleton for the last time. I see a hallucination of a window undissolve on the nearest wall. My soul enters the greenery scenery."
Drat, I've got a crush on Lexus. Of all the stupid nom de porns she had to pick the one shared by a motor vehicle manufacturer, which I see many examples of, thank you. Everytime I see a luxurious Lexus, I get a conditioned associative response to pop a boner. But, sigh, that's her charm spell. It's cast via the rose tattoo on her fake right tit, her blonde tornadoes, her splendouring legs, and her island eyes. Yup, I was duped by her ditz. You see, on the high plains of passionate perplexity, she actually iterates omnipotently--her bimbo lingo making more sense than any philosophical wisdom. For there ain't nothing more goddessly profound than her screams of "Oh yeah".
But I don't want to meet her in real life. I know I'd be disappointed in her makeupless forfeit of a face, her missing halo over her flat hair, and her rotted brain. Hell no am I gonna listen to her whine. Granted all this is superstitious assumption having never shaken her hand--luck of fucks, she might actually retain her screen persona, or at the least be a sweet lady. However, I'm not gonna risk the shattering of an ideal fantasy. It's just not worth it. I'd rather appreciate her character than the actress that plays her. (This rule only applies to starlets of the raincoater variety).
I like looking at a Lexus and dreaming that I'm driving her. But I'd hate to own one.
(I was feeling lazyass, so today's entry is a rerun of an Out On a Lim originally published in the February 23, 1990 issue of Paw Prints (Volume XXII, Number 16). I'm laughing at my inconsistent naivete (hey, Shakespeare's cool and Joplin ain't contemporary culture), yet I'm smirking at how I managed, 13 years later, to somehow uphold the sense of wonderment I had as a 17 year old high school senior.)
Please don't squish me Mr. Giant...
The day after three and a half years of high school I found myself to be a new pupil in the eye of education. What more could be learned from the love and dedication of my mentors before I get locked into the studying habits of college? Now was the ultimate time to pursue personal endeavors while still retaining the youthfulness of adolescence--in other words, kick back, Jack.
Ever since I was a sperm in an egg I've wanted to take in the culture of today rather than Bill Shakespeare. But now that I've got all this time on my hands, I can spend some quality reading periods on an Alan Moore comic book. Or I can go see a play or a musical without worrying about extra credit. Even movies have plenty of school nights open for viewing. And I spend hours glaring at a TV screen flashing my Nintendo action. Rock concerts are cool because they produce a loud bell-like noise in my ears kind of like class is over, over and over again.
Time also allows the mind to construct patterns of irrationality in the shape of mock rationality. I bought a slab of clay to fool around with my dreams of creating little people then squishing them with my forehead as if I were a giant. I purchased a Scott Joplin songbook to soothe my fantasy of being a piano player in a whorehouse pumping out those ragtime tunes. Also I invested in a Russian dictionary in order to translate the sleeve of my bootleg imported Paul McCartney album just like any old top secret agent.
Whether or not the weather permits, the Pacific Ocean is a gorgeous thing to behold--and listening to the waves folding I get a sense of being on an island with my head pillowed in the sand; stressless, responsibility-less and regular attendance-less. As I lay there topless I feel the pull of the earth's gravity and I become a speckle of dust in harmony with nature's prehistoric lifeline. Perhaps I'll never feel so relaxed until I retire as a senior citizen...
I, however, do hope the process of life won't be so cruel to me in the sense that I don't lose my respect for entertainment or ever lose my imagination. I've seen adults who are so bland that it is queer to believe they ever were a kid, much less capable of sleeping peacefully. Somewhere down the railroad tracks must be a place where people result to hardcore serious. Well, I hope I derail with a serious case of childitis.
Welcome to second semester, senior year.
Time multiplies when I listen to a fugue, based on the number of contrapuntal voices. For example, a 3 minute fugue of 4 voices seems to last 12 minutes. It's as if my brain pays discreet attention to each line, resulting in a temporal illusion--the separate layers expanding the duration of the whole. This seems to be especially pronounced with canons (successive imitation), applicable to a lesser degree, but nonetheless with harmonic progressions (chords) and overt multitracking.
I vividly recall the first time I was consciously aware of polyphony. I was probably around ten years old. It was during a sing along session after dinner at summer camp. The dining hall was divided into four sections. Each section additively and perpetually sang "Row Your Boat", overlappingly beginning at different bars. As the round continued, I stopped singing and admired the dizzying texture. I lost track of time as my ears latched onto each voices' axis within the swirling dimensions of sound.
I've always been keen in picking out layers within music. Partly due to playing orchestral violin--recognizing my contribution to the ensemble. And inadvertently via my years of listening to music in mono. My parents had a monophonic tape recorder that I plugged headphones into. I was ignorant of the dual channels being routed into a single signal. Nevertheless, the years spent discerning the compressed layers most likely overdeveloped my sense of hearing. This was very apparent when I was blown away by stereo. I appreciated the clarity of left and right separation as it widened my focus. A similar reaction happened upon my initial experience of 5.1 surround sound.
Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy multitasking because I listen to fugues, or if I listen to fugues because I enjoy multitasking. I'm writing this at 4 o'clock in the morning, in the midst of duplicating a sculpture for a client, as the glue dries, between email correspondences and an overseas telephone call, all whilst listening to Bach's Wohltemperierte Clavier (Teil I).
So the sequel's been greenlighted. I got bored of the last one. I can't remember what exactly happened--there was a storm in the desert. But I suppose the antagonist escaped, cause he's back in this next installment of the franchise. And the son of the protagonist is taking charge. Thrilling.
Maybe I'm getting older, cause I just can't get excited about the tired plot. There's nothing redeeming about dramatizing the bottom line no matter how updated the patriotic special effects are with rides on the coattails of fear. I see the kids getting all riled up about it, but I guess every generation needs something to occupy themselves with. I've witnessed emailing lists degenerate into arguments about how they think the rumoured spoilers will pan out. Perhaps because the last one was such an ambivalent drag, I'm tending to not get duped by the publicity machine. I've learned to lower my hopes. Let the greedy producers and foreign investors make their buck and move on. Win the awards, sell the series to syndication, rent out the home video. Just don't kill the audience. Although, historically, 9 times out of 10, sequels are crap. I'm betting this one'll suck.
Of course, I'm not completely out of touch with reality. I like to think I can still differentiate between the mutually occupied borders of news and entertainment. But the truth is too complex and profound to be whittled down to either side, which is why simplistic capsule reviews and fractions thereof are dispatched. And yes, I realize that war is no joke. It's symbolic enough, no metaphors needed. The punchline always dies.
I almost ran over a mailman's hat. It was one of those round safari types. The wind was blowing tough on my driving route thru my neighbourhood when it rolled in front of my car's nose. I braked. Mr. Postman smiled and gestured thanks as he caught his hat.
I drive under the 405 freeway before entering it--so I can preview the traffic by the speed of the tops of trucks as I underpass. Today's was a slow jam. Unconjested conditions warranting, it takes me 20 minutes to commute to work. It's pretty bad when it takes 20 minutes just to reach 1/3 of the distance.
Luckily, I don't have any dire schedule to adhere. Sitting in traffic doesn't bother me, rather I get to listen to more music in the meanwhile, check out the pretty girls in the other lanes, and read the bumper stickers. However, on this day, I kept my eyes on a flock of helicopters perched in the vicinity of my destination.
Of all the places to put a federal building, they had to put one on my exit street. War protests closed off Wilshire. I detoured with seemingly everyone else at the next offramp. Another 20 minutes of rolling my thumbs in clogged paths into UCLA. The flashing of the red lights on the signals signified that they were broken. Dutiful deputies directed the flow with windmill arms. It's finals week. I could see some pissed off students trying to get to class.
It took me 20 minutes to drive back home after work. I decided to eat at Shisen Ramen--a delicious blend of Japanese noodles and Chinese flavourings, with cute waitresses in cute Oriental outfits. Exiting on Western, I came upon a pyrotechnic display of road flares and emergency disco balls. An accident traversed all lanes ahead. I was directed to side street it.
I got home and checked my mailbox. It was empty.
I'm choosing to take spring break off next week. I'll be on the road to Vancouver, Canada--taking digital photographs, listening to music in the middle of nowhere, exploring my world, disconnecting from the internet. Thus, dear reader, I won't be a contributing writer to this web journal. Don't fear, I'll return.
See you next week.
Conundrumly, I'm equaling in love with two different girls. They're too famous for me to profess myself in person, which proved upon my mental indulgence into both, keeping my imaginary love a double fantasy. That and their boyfriends. At first it was difficult to concentrate on both simultaneously as society blocks such thoughts of polygamous amore. Yeah, I admit I was first drawn to one before the other. And then I got tired of her. I started to pay attention to the other. And then I got tired of her. I was just about to ditch both, when in a moment of slapping my face at the obvious, I listened to them in harmony. Their unison exponentiated their cuteness over their already charming individual identities. However, in the small but nevertheless possible chance that they drop their lovers, I become famous enough to be taken to a love motel by them, and given an ultimatum to choose one and only one of them to be my true love, I doubt I'll be decided enough to split hairs. I might as well coinflip.
The two girls in question: Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura (aka Puffy).
Ami Onuki was born on September 18th, 1973 in Tokyo. Her blood type is A. She's 5'2". And her favourite colours are green and brown. She's got a thin, nasally voice, a thin, dully angled face, and a thin, petite physique. She's sweet, girlish, and floppy. She seems shyer than Yumi, per her polite speaking style. I wouldn't mind chilling with her and a couple beers, listening to Rickenbackers. I read that her childhood dream was to a stewardess. I like it when she smiles. In most photos of Puffy, she stands on the right.
Yumi Yoshimura was born on January 30th, 1975 in Osaka. Her blood type is A. She's 5'4". And her favourite colour is dark blue. She's got a thin, warmly husky voice, a thin, rounded face, and a thin, squarish physique. She's cool, funny, and floppy. She seems friendlier than Ami, per her boisterous speaking style. I wouldn't mind partying with her and a couple pills, listening to 808 kicks. I read that her childhood dream was to be a fashion designer. I like it when she makes her goofy facial expressions. In most photos of Puffy, she stands on the left.
One of the side effects of taking digital photographs is a burst of nostalgia upon revisiting the site of a picture. For instance, whilst walking past a past snapshot, for an instant, at the exact angle and light source condition, I'll relive that photo. Memories return of who I was at the time of the shutter click--I am in the photo again, yet seeing the scene in the present tense, noticing all that has changed since.
There is a water drain that looks exactly the same, not accounting for the variations of water ripples. It's as if my eyes construct a rectangular cropping of the view--a mental framing. If I fiddled with the colours, my vision will adjust accordingly--sometimes I even go greyscale. The permanence of certain landmarks gives off a certain sense of stability, that some parts of my environment remain the same even if my identity loses consistency.
There was a section of asphalt that was cracked and crumbled when I captured it with my camera. Now it's been repaved. Or a skeletal building under construction that is now furbished and operational. I can see the development of these places as I remember what they looked like before. And the passage of time becomes apparent.
But these various stages of change only underline the banality of those sites that are impossible to see again. That photo of a brilliant sunset with galaxies of clouds over a smoggy gradient never returns no matter how often I step outside to see what it looks like each day. Here's when nostalgia goes beyond fondness for the past and becomes bittersweet. Those moments are gone forever. I should be so lucky to have been at the right spot at the right time. The photo is all that's left.
There's a book vendor that sells his merchandise under a canopy at the local market. Whenever I walk by, I see the photo I took of my darling browsing the paperbacks. And am reminded of how empty it all is without her.
Whilst hiking the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver I got the munchies and found myself at the New Amsterdam Cafe in hopes of a sweet snack. Besides the lazy hippy vibe, kiddy craft decor, and generic mellow electronica, the most noticeable characteristic of the place was the smell. I've attended my share of rock concerts and have hung out in plenty of college dorms to recognize that tangy stink of reefer smoke.
However, it wasn't just one idiot sneaking a joint--the entire clientele was puffing away. So much so that I got a second hand high. I ordered a chocolate eclair and an orange juice. It turns out that, per the cafe's namesake, it's quasi-legal to smoke marijuana there. It's illegal to sell it, but quasi-safe to publicly indulge in the drug. Hence, looking at the tables, I could see giggling people partitioning their weed from their little ziplock baggies, rolling their papers, and clicking their lighters. Groups of young adults, couples, loners, and elderly librarian looking ladies all contributed to the clouded haze. Across the room was a gift shop selling curvy glass pipes and intricate bongs alongside self promotional t-shirts. I likened it to yet another commercialized bohemian hangout. I really don't care if grass is accepted, people'll do it anyways, and it's their option as a lifestyle. But I'm not a big fan of the watering hole hangout model, i.e. bars, coffee shops. I'm too antisocial.
I wanted to smoke a regular cigarette.
Punchline of punchlines, I wasn't allowed to smoke in the main area of the cafe. Nicotine addicts had to either go outside or smoke in a designated, closed off booth. I chose the latter, in which I joined a cute girl. We joked at the irony of being separated from the potheads in order to smoke. We stared out of our enclosure's window and wondered if the outsiders were looking at us as if we were endangered species on display in a museum exhibit. And then we conversed about the war, her giving me the Canadian perspective. She was stoned. I finished, bid her farewell, and exited the smoker's chamber. I then left the cafe and inhaled the outside air.
My teeth are falling out. I neglect taking care of them other than a quick brush before I go to bed (if I remember). Drinking Coke, eating candy, and smoking crack probably doesn't help. And I'm too lazy to go to the dentist. Hence, they're rotting away. At most, I've only got shards left in the back of my mouth. Some have fallen out. I think one of them is green.
I'd get them checked out if they caused significant pain and/or I couldn't eat anymore. Generally, a tooth will fall apart during chewing, leaving a spiked corner which jabs into my tongue. This hurts for about a day and then the puncture into my tongue heals. I like exploring the changing landscape of my mouth.
I remember staying up all night as a spoiled crybaby due to toothaches. I either don't get them anymore or I've gotten used to them. Sometimes I'll get a vicious yanking pain in my mouth, but it's not enough for me to worry about. Unless I'm conscious of the pain, it's not a bother, and not warranting of dental care. Pain is easy to ignore.
I've got no problems chewing tough meat--I've eaten notoriously tough horsemeat. I figure the main function of my teeth is their digestive breaking up food. I could care less about their appearance. Anyways, I don't smile enough for anyone to notice.
My cousin got scared whilst we were watching Sleepy Hollow (1999, music composed by Danny Elfman, Hollywood Records HR-62262-2). We were just chilling on her futon, high on sake, when barely through the opening credits (during the moment when, paraphrasing the director's commentary, the composer gives himself a bravado brass build as his name appears onscreen, in other words, for those of you who bought the soundtrack, circa 2 minutes into track 2), she turned to me with her hands covering her glasses, burying her head into my shoulder. "Turn it off," she slurred in Japanese.
Now, besides the fact that she might have some psychological problems that I'm not aware of, my guess is that the soundtrack drove her shitless. The music is pretty scary. For the ignorant listener, it comes into her ear subliminally, relying on the zeitgeist's palette of mood inducing sounds. For the soundtrack geek, he's over analyzed it to the point that he can recognize its existence.
The legendary tenet states that good film music isn't heard. It's supposed to hypnotizingly induce the audience's kneejerk emotions, on cue. When someone hears the music, he crosses the fourth wall, and becomes aware that he's being manipulated, especially if he's musically literate with his ears tuned into the layered tracks of music, dialogue, and sound effects, not to mention has listened to the CD a million times.
A good way to test whether if one's an ignorant listener or a soundtrack geek is to hear the music from Sleepy Hollow on it's own, apart from the movie, and observe your reaction. If you react to your feelings, then you're an ignorant listener. If you're able to discern the abuse of minor chords, the drunken reliance on the diminished fifth, the beautiful choral harmonic structures, the Herrmann quotes, and the wicked dissonance in the upper string registers giving away the obvious style of Maestro Elfman, then you're a soundtrack geek.
Of course, I could be wrong. Music isn't the only element in the movie that could've bothered my cousin. The conjunction of the gothic imagery and the introductory scene's tense setup could've contributed. There's always the alcohol mise en scene--I mean, that moment in the score is climactic, but shouldn't prematurely blow the audience's wad just yet, rather save it for the movie's money shot. Anyways, it doesn't really matter, cause we had fun doing other things after we stopped watching.
I'm gonna do my report on the Noe Valley. The Noe Valley is located between the northeastern slopes of Twin Peaks, near San Francisco. The Noe Valley is named after Jose de Jesus Noe. Jose de Jesus Noe lived from 1805 to 1862. Jose de Jesus Noe was one of the last Mexican alcades of Yerba Buena. An alcade is like a mayor. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco after the Americans took it over in 1846. Jose de Jesus Noe got many lands in the deal, such as the Castro, Glen Park, Diamond Heights, and West Portal. Many vegetable farmers, cattle farmers, and sheep farmers lived in the Noe Valley. Many immigrants lived in the Noe Valley. The immigrants were from Irish, German, Italian, Russian, and Scandanavian. Jose de Jesus Noe died in 1862. The valley was named after him 100 years later. Today, some movies are made there like Sister Act and Nash Bridges. The Noe Valley is like a small town. It has many dot com workers, yogas, aids, and moms. The Noe Valley has many businesses. The main street in the Noe Valley is 24th Street. Many people who live in the Noe Valley walk their dog on 24th Street. So that is my report on the Noe Valley. I want to visit the Noe Valley someday. The end.
With all due respect to the real girls in this dimension, the closest realization of my ideal idea of beauty is the fantastical character Chihiro Ogino from the Academy Award winning movie Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. She's clumsy--she's constantly tripping over herself, rolling on the ground, and bumping her head. She's hilarious--her face sizzles with comedic expression. She's got a nice back (when seen bare) and a goofy hand wave. And she's got the greatest legs ever committed to celluloid.
There's a scene in which she slowly crawls down some steps, the camera close upping on her exposed (she's wearing shorts) wobbling legs. I've paused my DVD during this rad scene and admired its perfection for hours, not to mention I've stared at it in two speeds of slow motion and in retrograde, over and over again. It gets better with each viewing.
Sticks. That's the best word to describe her skinny boned legs. They're super thin, like arm width. Her yellow shoes seeming out of proportion. I tread against the societal grain of fully shaped curvy legs, and go bananas over straight vertical sticks. Chihiro's are beyond imagination. Any skinnier and she wouldn't be able to walk.
I commend the director for not only choosing her as the heroine, but also exaggerating her legs by showcasing them. The reasoning, I suspect, was to symbolize her frailty, her spoiled upbringing, and to contrast her gained courage later on in the film. For as her adventure concludes, her transformation from brat to brave young lady is truly beautiful. In the end, I completely lose sight of her superficial legs, appearance, and gestures. I see her inner beauty. I see her as a human soul. Even though she's just a cartoon character.
(The below text following this introductory parenthetical run-on sentence is an electronically word processed transcript of an originally transcribed short handed dictation taken down by the cutest student with the highest grade in advanced spring quarter traditional brush calligraphy of a lecture given by guest lecturing professor Prof. Larry McFeurdy at the prestigious Noe Valley Private Junior High School for Exceptional Girls.)
Esteemed faculty, valiant staff, and studious [cough] students, I am here today to teach you by living proof example about your abilities to imprint your immeasurably mesmerizing powers upon your elder suitors. I see y'all have an advantage [giggle]--y'all are wearing uniforms, mmmm, starchy stiff white shirts traced with pinstriped folds accentuating your teenage torsos stuffed into petal fanning grey, like mosquito climate summer seasonal rain on concrete sidewalk grey, skirts. Wickedly classic [sigh].
Anyways, you blessed residents of mythically renowned Eastern religious concepts of heaven can choose whatever you want to wear, the more ragingly outrageous form fitting outfits to Zen striptease, the better. Although, personally, I recommend the school uniform. Exactly what y'all are wearing right now, right down to the black and white patterned patented leather shoes under knee high elastic socks. [Semi-melodramatic pause to light a cigarette]
[Off to the side of the podium] I can't smoke onstage? Oh, my bad.
[Microphone feedback] There was this girl...hey, fuck it, man, I'm smoking a fucking cigarette. I'm Larry fucking McFeurdy. I can do what I want, man...[Zippo flick, slow inhale, long exhale]...so there was this girl, five years younger than me, which isn't much, but I was eighteen--you do the magic number math [puff]. I spent a month of schoolnights with her on her tatami, shooting into her shotglass eyeglasses, tugging her pigtails as she did her rote memorization homework. The humidity sweated opaque spots under her armpits as my eyes went faux x-ray brassiere strap vision through her back. I pulled the hanging string on her hanging fluorescent light bulb. "Turn the light back on," she whined through her overbite. I re-illuminated the buzzing electricity only to have her slap me on the wrist. In addition to her wiggling socked toes, her nonexistent tattletales to her mom tell told of her reciprocal involvement with our playtime. Thus, she lazily daydreamed with me. She gave me a tour of her trinket-endowed chest drawers, introduced me to the dirty members of her stuffed animal collection, and obligingly let me sniff the uncandid candy scent of her hair grooming utensils. All the whilst in her standard issue schoolgirl uniform, not unlike what y'all are wearing right now [drool].
Ever since, I've been hence hardwired by this fetish. [Audience applause]
So in conclusion, dear girls, good luck with your seductions, and may you inspire the next generation's undeletable subconscious memories. [Claps and whistles].
I'm riding my BMX Mongoose after seventh period seventh grade in the opposite direction of my house towards the westside of Stimpson, heading for Barro's Pizza. I ditch my mag wheeled bike against a wooden support column and enter the dive, pulling out a dollar from my blue Velcro wallet. The greasy man behind the register changes my bill to quarters. I run over to the recreation corner and slot the fifty cents to start the first of my afternoon's two Dragon's Lair adventures.
After dinner, my dad tells me to get into the car, we're going for a ride. To my surprise, he takes me to the local Malibu Grand Prix, where we roll the Centipede trackball for hours--shooting mushrooms, dodging dropping fleas, and getting disintegrated by dangling spiders.
I exit the rink at Skate Country and skid stop at the Tempest machine. The centrifugal disco music accompanies my rotations around the vectored tunnel as I hold down the fire button for continuous blasts. I'm getting extra lives.
Hi-Hill Liquor usually had a long line of coins along the cabinet head of its Donkey Kong. It took awhile before I got to play, but one day, before an audience of afterschool hooligans, during my turn to jump the barrels, I made it to the fourth level--the pie factory.
My favourite game on the Atari 2600 was Ms. Pac Man. It was revolutionary for its time with its squashed bit interpretation of the blipping theme music and multicoloured multiple mazes, despite ghost sprites. This was when the consumer version truly hinted at its inevitable technological advancements towards faithfully approximating the arcade version.
I got tired of video games when the fighting games came out. I can't even remember the titles, Fighter Street, or whatever it was called. Sure I did my time on the Super Mario Bros. series and I went through a Tetris phase (I think my dad sold his soul to that game), but overall, I escaped being addicted. Thesedays I still get a little finger twitchy at the note perfect classic emulators that are online or packaged on a Playstation disc. And if I find a 20 year old low resolutioner in the back of an arcade, I'll instinctually check my pocket for a quarter.
I'm gonna faultline breakup with her, after tonight's perverted subversive meta rave in the collective subatomic consciousness of decoded reality, cause her love ain't real. Or at least take a short sabbatropical--maybe when we meet again, down the superduperhighways of our hypersouls, our beats per multimillennia will be better polysynchronized. Not to mention some of the bulldozedshit we did together is tootrippy and killegal. I was starting to massociate the translingual concepts of discounterpointed fun with her, which would just lead to a descrepantependency for my analog wave filtered familiar kicks. I despercolately need to conveniently convince myself that I can live without her. It's getting out of handlebar.
I find it hard to keep from losing, confusing, and defusing my concentration whilst easy to forget my short terminal memorycards. It became increasingly inviting instead to envelope into her, rather than to facelift this cruelworld. She made music sound ultramaniacally entrancing, phase propeller shifted, and greedily networkaholic. Her movies riddled and knob twiddled with coincidenavigation, coincideception, and almost most importantly, coincidefacement of the accidental latitudes of probabelittling chaos which guarantweedledees the tweedledumbing down of randomness. Sex with her splurverged on endlesspiral oscialligator sweeps peaking at cubistro refractalizations along profoundical cosmicatapultingrooves. Nevertheless, I mused what I could from her during this sampledelic ride around the karmic o'clock. We'll meet again, promise.
Besides, my heartistry belongs to another. Someone with a deeper deep ended history, a slower passive pace, an unparalleled unconditional kindness, a masterpiecesque connection beyond mercurial blood, a lobsterclaw of tattooworthy narrow rivers flowing at an advanced time difference, and a shyly mispronouncing yet coyly implicit saved phone message voice that's been replayed etcinfinitely since the oppostioning quadehydrants of the galaxyuniverse began. She awakes me making me expotentially self aware of my macro crossword puzzle, my tetraheadshot sliding tonegenerator, my electromagnegative polarpositivestatic scribble on the blankback of my handshake, and my inner revolving maverick samuraidentity--I'll break all the rules for her.
Tonight, I shall drink to the forever her.
I paid a reasonable under the table price to my top secret vigilante government connection to gain access to the background files on this Larry McFeurdy character. It turns out that he was the fictional creation of a thirteen year old Henry Lim. He originally appeared in the short story "The Adventures of Larry McFeurdy" in which he purported to trip through time and alternate dimensions assuming a multiple range of identities, such as a guerilla scientist waging a toilet design revolution in the purple jungles of the 90th century, a masked miniature train robber during the Jupiter Civil War, and a lazy king of the rabbit people. Mr. Lim decided as he typed the last period of this insane character's travelogue that he was going to consider himself a writer.
During the years 1992 to 1996, there were reports that Lim used McFeurdy as a pseudonym for his grunge star persona as the lead singer/rhythm guitarist of the band The Meanwhilers. Accordingly, Lim was able to ham up his alter ego--living the sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll lifestyle. But it took its toll. McFeurdy burned out, penniless and unloved, after a shotgun divorce. No known recordings of his music exist. Some people swear they remember seeing him perform seedy Hollywood gigs. Alas, he disappeared into urban legend.
Lim later gained semi-notoriety as a composer, sculptor, and photographer. In his pseudo autobiographical web journal that is currently a work in progress, he regularly refers to McFeurdy in dialogued scenes, as if he were projecting a debate between his psychological self analysis and his imagination as a writer. It makes sense that Lim would invoke the McFeurdy presence as the character was initially developed for storytime inspiration. Lim won't go on record giving credit to the charge that McFeurdy is in fact actually Lim, or vice versa--his case of split personalities is under investigation. Hopefully, high ranking spies will get to the bottom of this mystery soon.
I've always dug Cyndi Lauper over Madonna.
I don't disagree with Madonna's pop cultural phenomenon and chameleonic iconography--even some of her songs are listenable. Admittedly, I logged many of my horny teenage hours imagining myself sleeping with her, but hey, she arrived on the scene exactly when I hit puberty, replete with her suggestive writhing and enthusiastic posturing whilst fashioned in slutty slapdashed costumes. "Lucky Star", "Like a Virgin", "Material Girl", and "Into the Groove" were my fave softcore grinds. Even though I took her for what she was worth, namely a glorified whore to enjoy for the moment, I completely understand how her empire was built on sex appeal.
But Cyndi was kindred on another level. She was a goofball with goofy coloured hair, goofy mouth contortions, goofy bouncing movements, and most of all a goofy voice. She was like a ridiculous cartoon character. Anyone who hung out with Captain Lou Albano couldn't be taken seriously. However, whereas Madonna aimed below my belt, Cyndi hit my sympathetic heartstring vibrations on target with her ballads "Time After Time", "All Through the Night", and "True Colors". There's something charming about her when she subdued her goofiness--the sad clown motif. She taught me how to acknowledge the brilliant dimensions beneath the surface of silliness, that sadness is sadder when contrasted next to ecstatic fun. Nevertheless, I can see how such overdramaticisms can seem gimmicky, and how my perspective can be ignored by the general adolescent thrill seeking population.
Today, it may seem incongruent to suggest Cyndi and Madonna as being in the same league--one's an 80's triviality who hasn't had a hit since, the other is an established institution with current reverence (despite her anti-anti war fickleness). But I distinctly remember when they were considered equal peers. There was an article in the March 4, 1985 issue of Time Magazine titled "These Big Girls Don't Cry: Madonna and Cyndi Lauper Are the Hottest Women in Rock. Why?" in which the author, Jay Cocks, compared the two's then burgeoning fame, when they shared vis a vis airtime. He even went on to predict that Cyndi would outlast Madonna on account of her better singing voice. Two months later, Time did a cover story on Madonna, and the rest is history.
But it's nice to see and hear echoes of Cyndi thesedays. She's in a Dr. Pepper commercial alongside Anastacia. There's a nice trance update of "Time After Time" done by Moonchild (Ravelab mix). And Celine Dion's latest commercial jingle "I Drove All Night" is a remake of a 1989 Cyndi song (albeit it was originally recorded by Roy Orbison in 1988 and posthumously reconstructed by Otis Wilbury in 1992).
I respectfully admire Madonna's calculated business model--she deserves all her success, having outsmarted the flock. But I outgrew her a long time ago, like any other centerfold. I hear her oldies and remember nothing more than making my moves at the junior high sock hop. However, when I listen to Cyndi, on studio quality headphones, in the darkness of my room, ultra late at night, my contemporary conditions are timelessly consoled.
I never consciously intended for this web journal to be my surrogate HTML keyword metatag depository. Honest. In fact, I don't code any keywords behind the scenes of my webpage--there are sufficient cyberlinks and major search engine listings pointing to me, thanks. But if I mention a popular name, it's most likely accidental that some keyword string including it will hit my page. I apologize to those readers who stumbled in looking for something else.
I check my statistics on a regular basis, to measure which of my pages get the most attention. And to follow the referring links. I always get a kick out of reading, pro or con, what others have to say about me. I mean, how neat is it to see a link from some Russian site with my name imbedded in Cyrillic babble, or to hear an opposing perspective on how I've got "way too much time on my hands". I like floating and deflating my vanity--it keeps me grounded. Plus, there's no such thing as bad press.
Via my stats, I can also check keyword referrals. Most of these are understandable as they correspond with whatever was searched, namely any of the titles of my assorted projects. Nevertheless, this web journal has attracted some curious keyword searches (words that appeared in my entries, not necessarily in these orders):
AVRIL LAUGHLIN - I'm guessing that this is a misspelling of "Avril Lavigne".
MERCEDES RUEHL'S PAST - Sorry for mentioning her. It won't happen again.
EVAN RACHEL WOOD GIRLFRIEND SURPRISE - Damn, I wish I really had that on my web journal...
MOONLIGHT AND MAGIC BEATLE FAN FICTION - Dude, pass it over here.
KURT COBAIN SUBLIMINAL MESSAGES - Killyourself.
ANNA LIEB SCHOOLGIRL THUMBS - I don't have a clue who she is, but I'd like to see these.
PUFFY AMI YUMI PHOTOS - Hey, I'm in the same boat, Sony seems to have cracked down on most of their photos online.
HOODED MONKS - Ah, it seems I wasn't the only one dreaming about them.
TEACUP PUDDLES - I know I've written some sissy imagery, but this is too much.
USHER PICKING OUT GIRLS FROM THE AUDIENCE FOR EVOLUTION CONCERT - ?
Sue me if this reckons as old news, but at the risk of depreciating my coolness quotient, I'll confess that I got a 192 Kbps copy of the latest Radiohead album a week and a half after the masters were swiped and seeped online. But hey, I'm still a good two months ahead of the squareheads who'll actually remove the security seals off their officially purchased CDs and nonchalantly brag to their fashionably liberal tennis buddies that they've got it in the six-disc changers of their Mercedes SUVs, clueless to the cyber tradition that any self proclaimed fan will think it's an oldie by then.
I got my burned Hail To the Thief from the trombonist/keyboardist of the LA-based underground band The Hanks, who claims to know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows the guy who originally ripped it off. My excuse for not downloading it earlier, cause I could've T3'ed it easily the second it went live, was that he offered to give me a duplicate of his copy. So rather than wade through dummy titles (files claiming to be "from the new Radiohead album, really, this isn't fake") and the hassle of reconstructing the tracklist, I thought I'd just sit back and wait for him to deliver it to me.
Post-Napster, I've previewed leaked Radiohead albums before their street dates--it's the prerequisite within the already exclusively cool W.A.S.T.E. community. I have a theory that Radiohead markets itself (in cooperation with NME) as arty snob music to cover up what's just slightly oblique pop. By passing themselves as "too cool" for the masses, they lure the insecurities of their nerdy fan base who wish they could be too cool, too. Some Advertising 101 graduate is calculating their disenchanted image--they're on the Capitol Records payroll, for fuck's sake.
Hence, there's this inherent competition to be cooler than the cool Radiohead fan. I was in the audience at a live show where an idiot behind me tried to predict when "Idioteque" was going to be played. Check out the fan sites for lyrics to not only the upcomming album, but tracks that didn't make the cut. Innocent downloading doesn't count anymore. A true fan needs to be cooler. There's an unfounded rumour that Radiohead themselves do the uploading of their "stolen" album as a means to generate a buzz.
Magnum was stay in LA to learning Engrish. She is pretty girl from Japan. I wish I meet her while she stay here but she is home sweet home Japan now. I could teach her how to Engrish and drink beers. She keep journal on internet when she stay here and write she like drink beers. I read her journal on internet so I know this, fufufu. I was grad everyday to read funny words she write. She cook Japanese food for her dinner. I think her food would be very good to eat. Especiary with beer, fufu. I think she was sad to be away from friend Anmaru. Anmaru is also pretty girl from Japan. But Magnum do many experiences in LA. Like go to beach, rock and roll concerts, and shopping. Sometimes she talk with Anmaru by phone. They share many good times. I imagine most people in America do not recognize Magnum even but she is very pretty and very famous in Japan. But I think she want to be private in LA. No one bother her. Anmaru and Magnum record new CD in LA. I miss them when they came that time too. Even they play concert. I was in Japan when they play concert in LA. Why they play when I was in Japan? Why? I would recognize Magnum if I saw her walk on street. I would say "Hey you are Magnum-chan, yes?" And we would go to rock and roll concert. She say "You Engrish very good." And I say "Yes can I teach you how?" And she kiss me with beer smell mouth, fufufufu. But that which not happen not true. I wish very happy to come true but no. I become sad. I hope Magnum good luck in back Japan. Maybe we meet later I think so. Bye bye Magnum.
Weissup, this is the last starfighter email I'm gonna yours truthfully write for awhile as I'm on the cannonball run from the federales. Some of my spy vs. spies on the inside told me that someone's snoopy and woodstocking a background file on me. Last night, on the outminiskirts of VeGaS, I swear I was being Peter Sellared like in Lolita. Don't worry baby, it'll be aight. Candy raver Mona Lisa Simpson swears her age anagrams over 81. And they'll never catcher in the rye me.
Neverthelochness monster, tell Queen Ami Dali that the albino archaeopteryx needs to be fed chili cheeseburgers at least once a Cretaceous period. She'll know what I'm talking about. Tell her she can't whiteout the asteroided past, even if she fossilizingly blackouts. And she can have all my records that have titles beginning with the letters N, O, and E (exempli gratia: Bobby D's Nashville Skyline, Sammy P's Omnipop, and the soundtrack to the Gwyn Gwyn Paltroweth interpretation of Emma).
Blue meanywhile, I'm gonna partay like it's 6661. I've been calvin and hobbes nobbing around at an unclosed dislocation and got some genie messages in a bottle that'll put me malcolm ecstasy in the middle of the metaphorical vinyl scratch. Desdemona Lisa Simpson and I've got this footloosing dance that crane kicks ass--all the breakfast clubbers denominate that it's phats domino.
I think the gov't just wants me to shut my trapeze act, cause they know I speaketh the unspoken truth serum. If there's anything I taught you, remember this: Your imagination is better than you think. Use it. Don't let the bastards fool you into thinking otherwise. You don't need prefabricated entertainment that's only trying to sell you shit. Pull your own strings to release the muppet within you. Create your own soda pop culture. Free yourself from the dominatrix.
I'll understand if you wuss out and don't post this on your little web journal--you might get arrested for pearl harbouring a fugitive. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da. If they ask, first tell 'em that I'm a psionic science fictional character who happens to like oingo boingoing cherry blossomed chicklets, and if they don't believe that and continue to still trivial pursuit you, tell 'em I'm naked and hiding out at Hogwarts, good luck finding me. Those idiots deserve no less than such lies.
I'm no exception to the general rule that anyone living within driving distance to Hollywood yearns to be in the movies. One of my life goals is to get listed in the IMDB as a composer. And as one of the formulas for entry states, it's all in the connections. Thus, I've been hanging out with student filmmakers, writing scores, and learning about the collaborative process. All of which, for better and worse, includes schmoozing at parties.
I attended a wrap party for a student film which I've written the music for. An actor made me a drink and we went thru the standard "What did you do on this film?" conversation. "I'm the composer," I replied. At most of these parties, I'm usually the only composer, and dialogues usually end there. That and it takes more than one drink for me to get talkative. But I also don't understand actors, especially all the crap they endure offscreen with agents, auditions, rejections, and such. Undoubtedly, they don't relate to any of my synchronization problems, MIDI instrument crashes, and mixes. These topics, at least more tangentially, are better discussed with directors and editors. Now if the actress was cute, that's another story. Alas, most actresses have boyfriends.
I wandered around in the background, contrapuntally listening to the various exchanges of triumphs and tragedies between actors, for they always seem to dominate such parties. And even though I don't participate, I enjoy listening to their exaggerated phrasing--actors sure can deliver their words, oh the drama. Sometimes it's not too difficult to get carried away by the Hollywood dream they all propel. I may not connect with their art, but I can sympathize with their hunger for that big break--the struggling artist syndrome. I don't wallow in the struggle half as seriously as most in this town, since I don't mind my day job and I've luckily got plenty of other outlets for self expression, but being in their company reminds me of what others go thru. Thankfully, I can't contribute any complaints.
Arguably, it's my comfort that prevents me from cracking the IMDB. I lack the incentive to break my back to get a gig. I mean, the director of this production is a friend of mine, there wasn't any true struggle. However, I tend to believe that fame and fortune will happen beyond my control, beyond my efforts, and even beyond my talents. It's not up to me to decide, so there's no use in fighting for recognition if it doesn't happen. I should be grateful for the little work I do get, just the chance to compose. But that's just me, and I've got other artistic endeavours that keep me satisfied professionally, and most importantly personally. Nevertheless, I admire the commitment of others. Their struggle is inspiring. That's why I enjoy going to Hollywood parties. If anything, just for the night, I get to act as the introverted struggling composer.
I cut my sound sythesis chops on a Casio CZ-101. The dual phase distortion oscillators with 8 waveforms was my introduction to programming sounds. I learned how to chart the ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) parameters of the eight-stepped pitch, waveform, and amplitude envelopes so as to mold the waveforms to my liking. Granted, the sounds I created weren't "realistic" in the acoustical mimicry sense, but I got as close as I could to crudely evoking the properties of strings, percussion, woodwinds, brass, and electronic sound effects. My apprenticeship with this keyboard was invaluable, for without it, I'd've been lost when I graduated to the more advanced synthesizers.
The mythical Yamaha DX-7. Anyone who lived in the 80's knows what this instrument sounds like. But just as ubiquitous, it was also notoriously complicated to program--six badass operators, 32 killer algorithms, awesome touch sensitive aftertouch, and cool keyboard scaling. I slid my data entry slider until I went blind staring at the LCD of this baby. But it wasn't so hard to transpose from PD to FM, just keeping track of how each operator was carrying and/or modulating the sine wave was a bit of a juggle. The years of studying with this synth without a doubt shaped my views on sound design and manipulation.
I applied my knowledge acquired from pure synthesis and applied it with glee to programming the advanced vector, digital subtractive, acoustic simulators of the Korg Wavestation's 484 single-cycled samples. And the 5,500 internal wave sequencing steps was a blast. Signal processing became an industry standard when this instrument came out, so that added some effects to the shaping of sound. Concurrently, I got heavily into sampling. Eventually, I turned the tricks I picked up thru the years onto the good old-fashioned acoustic piano, fucking it up til it sounded like other instruments, such as guitars, drums, and electronic synthesizers. My theory was that I could reverse engineer any sound out of a single sampled source.
But theories aside, it's hardly coincidental that my background in sound synthesis became influential to my outlook on life in general. The Casio CZ-101 taught me how to custom design my personality, my surroundings, and my actions, all within certain parameters. The Yamaha DX-7 took it a step further and factored in multiple layers of manipulation, each dialectically pushing and pulling my characteristics and my reality. The Korg Wavestation added vectored dimensions whereby my world could be sequentially analyzed. And sampling made me realize that given certain circumstances, raw materials, and ideas, all dreams begin as possibilities--they just need to be synthesized into fulfillment.
The following conversation actually took place, but the names of the characters have been changed to protect their identities, the situations involving these characters have been slightly altered to sanitize what really happened, blah, blah, blah. With those legalities out of the way, I had the unique opportunity to have lunch with a certain author, who shall remain nameless, of a certain bestselling novel, which shall remain titleless. Now it's no secret that this author loosely fictionalized the people in her life, not necessarily in the best of terms. For example, it's obvious that the main character is based on the author herself, and her evil mother is beyond happenstance a ringer for her real mother.
"What did your mother think of your book?" I questioned.
"Well," she answered, in her prim and poised manner, "after I finished writing it, I let her read it. If there was anything she was offended with, I was more than willing to change it for her. But she called me after reading it and said it was wonderful. That I had depicted my father perfectly. 'What about the 'mother' character?' I asked. 'Oh, I know the difference between fact and fiction,' she replied. Later on, my mother would even send out copies of my book to her friends. I was surprised. But I learned a valuable lesson--you can never tell how your real life characters will react to their fictionalized counterparts."
Remove the gratuitous gangsterisms, the incidental religioso/politico themes, the dubious guilt vs. redemption plot, the overhanded opera within the operatic metaphors, and the third chapter of The Godfather series ultimately is a touching love story.
Granted, I'm not remotely a fan of the venerated predecessors of the trilogy--I only watched them upon recommended viewing, a mistake I don't make anymore (I've learned that no one has a clue as to what I yearn from a movie, least of all popular opinion). That and I think it's obvious that greed leads to corruption, betrayal, and misplaced "honour for honour's sake" ideals--I don't need it dramatically played out.
But love's another story, especially the tight love that can only be shared between cousins. During the opening party scene celebrating what's his face's saintly achievement, Mary Corleone (played charmingly by the exuding Sofia Coppola) slides over to her father's brother's son, Vincent Mancini (decently acted by some actor, I forget his name). She looks at him with mischievous submissiveness, electrifying what would otherwise (to the untrained eye) be some unconvincing non-cousin act of flirtation. From there their relationship gets hotter. My spine evaporates whenever they call each other "cous"--the cloaked innocence bursting with tense passion. This progresses to the all too realistically executed moment at cousin Vinnie's club's kitchen, when he intersperses his fingers between the flour on hers. They kiss as the camera fades out. Perfect.
The formulaic tragedy of the final act is lame. I mean, there's no choice between eloping with one's cousin and becoming the next Don. Thus, Vincent gets what he deserves--all the headaches of having power go to one's head. Mary suffers unnecessarily, making her death all the more misfortunate. Ok, I'll admit it, I was suckered into crying during this scene, but hey, I get emotional whenever a cute girl dies. And her being his cousin makes it doubly tragic. Damn, I wish I had a cousin like Mary.
I shook her hand as we parted.
Sometimes I think ridiculously futile thoughts. Like despite the both of us contemporaneously living in this world and given ample chances to run into each other again, say at another social gathering, or randomly finding ourselves sitting a row apart at a matinee, we never exchange handshakes again. Maybe someday our cars will obliviously pass each other, heading in opposite trajectories on the freeway--that blurry moment between the median, when we are at our closest range paranormally making us smile, if for a second. We never get within such fleeting distance ever again. Or whilst one of us vacations abroad some summer, at our furthest vicinity from each other, we momentarily feel like crap. And we'll drift so far apart that we won't know if the other is dead.
Sometimes my thoughts vainly peer into some wishful timeline. What if I just shook the hand of my destined bride? Our children will tell their children of that fateful day we handshook. Or I see thru the eyes of a clairvoyant ancestor who briefly sees me shaking her hand during an opium induced dream, long before it will happen. Perhaps in some futuristic hall of records, there will be some family tree charting out the multiplying branches of our heritage--we'll be represented by a point of conjunction.
Sometimes my thoughts traverse this blessed dimension. Every thought I have shoots out to parallel realities--the paradox of us meeting again exists within our never crossing paths. Contrary to rational belief, all angles beyond sensory perception can be seen, and rather than overwhelm my linear representation, I freely roam these nether realms. What makes sense cancels out with what doesn't, yet the crux of all possibilities intermix, balancing simply because of a necessary imbalance. She's an illusion of an illusion of an illusion...
And sometimes I think of less delirious possibilities, like maybe I shouldn't think about things that'll only overdrive me into insanity.
Stress. I try to remove myself from the daily bullshit of it as much as possible. I'm in the lucky position to set my own hours at work, thereby avoiding the stress of rush hour. However, on the very rare occasion (about once or twice a year, and even then it's by choice) that I need to adhere to some silly 9:00 am schedule, I just sit dumbfounded in traffic, in utter incomprehension as to why people put themselves thru such nonsense. Yeah, I'm sure they're all groveling for some salary, but I don't think it's worth the trouble--I mean, just look at their tired faces, their dead eyes, their millions of things they need to do that they really don't want to do, they're killing themselves.
Drones. That's what they look like to me. I'd shoot myself if I ever had to wear a suit and tie. I don't care how much anyone pays me, I'm not gonna clown around in some stiff uncomfortable outfit. Fuck what others think about my appearance. They can hire someone other than me to pretend to enjoy doing someone else's bidding. I read somewhere that the worst kind of slavery is the kind in which the slaves don't even know that they're slaves. Well, at least they're nicely dressed.
Like always, I could be wrong. Maybe some people enjoy playing the upward mobility game, take comfort in being an ant in the communal anthill, and require having their thoughts controlled. And there's nothing wrong with that as long as they dream of nothing more in life. Perhaps it's a curse that I can see beyond this flimsy world. Or even selfishly overindulgent with my freedom. Ask me why I'm wearing a suit and tie after I get married and have kids to support. However, I've got no regrets. I've lived my entire life relatively stressfree and undronelike--more than anyone deserves.
|My mom and I were having lunch--Japanese ramen in the Japanese quarters of Torrance. We talked about the usual, how's it going, what's up with dad, did you see this movie, have you heard from our relatives in Japan, etc. Also included was a discussion on the latest news headlines concerning the safe return of POWs from the war in Iraq.
My mom, who's Japanese and lived in Japan during the tail end of WWII, remembered what it was like for Japanese POWs after they were released from captivity. Unlike in present day America, where POWs are given heroic welcomes and are treated like celebrities, POWs in 1940s Japan were treated like complete losers. They were ridiculed for being crappy soldiers who got caught. They were given no awards for bravery, no recognitions of honour, and were forced out of society. And adding to their insulted lives, they brought shame upon their entire family. Photos of returning POWs were hardly glamourous or joyous--no smiling, no hugging kids, no balloons. Instead, they hid their faces, hoping to avoid the cameras.
Not to belittle the plight of POWs, but I think it's interesting to see how other countries in various times have treated their soldiers, especially when the treatments are exact opposites--imagine what a Japanese POW must think of his American counterpart, and vice versa. I don't think any country's perspective is inherently "right", it's just cultural differences, regardless of who "wins". I mean, it's all in the name of training soldiers to be efficient, whether by positive or negative reinforcement. War tends to showcase a country's ideologies. That said, I'm proud to be of Japanese decent, and lucky to live in America.
I have this theory whereby for every cool experience I encounter, there will be an equal but opposite bummer experience later. I became conscious of this phenomenon when I got over changed at a Jack In the Box drive-thru. I gave the register a $10, but got change for a $20. However, the next time I drove-thru, I gave the register a $20 and got short changed for a $10, despite my claims that I handed the larger bill. It all balanced out in the end.
Ever since, I've noticed that everything that happens to me eventually equals out in my cool vs. bummer ratio. From my smallest everyday details to the grandest progressions of my life, to date I have yet to disprove this "balance theory".
Here's my latest example:
I downloaded a video clip of Natalie Portman visiting Sesame Street. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. She plays dress up with Elmo. At first she's a princess and Elmo is an elephant. And then she protests, saying she's always the princess, this time she wants to be an elephant. So they switch. Ok, my description falls flat on the coolness of the vignette, but trust me, I enjoyed watching it.
Later that day, I planned on attending a free performance by Daniel Lanois at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. I was stoked to hear some cool music as I arrived early to find a good spot in front of the stage, but all the lights in the store were dead. There was a sign at the entrance apologizing for the power outage. I didn't mind the darkness, but without electricity, the amps couldn't work. The performance was cancelled. I was bummed.
I know it all sounds hokey, like some yin yang Chinese proverb, some "what goes up must come down" physics equation, or some "Even Steven" fable. But this "balance theory" has gotten so comically consistent that I'm too busy laughing at it to get pissed off about some bum experience. For beyond and within the fulcrum are infinite points of coolness and bummers, each sliding into balance--I see the good within the bad, and vice versa. Yet, I'm not foolish to brand this as universal law (thus the questionable "theory" status), cause I don't believe in believing in some all-encompassing belief, including the belief in such a non-belief. And I don't recommend everyone to view the world as some perfectly compensated spreadsheet--I can only speak from my subjectivity, everyone has different definitions of the relative values of cool and bum experiences. Nevertheless, at this moment in my life, this theory is keeping me balanced.
I was kicking back, having a smoke, when a little squirrel, ran down a tree, and stopped at my feet. He looked around with his beady little head to see if anyone else was nearby. He fluffed his little tail in confirmation that the coast was clear.
"How's it going?" he said, nervously glancing sideways.
"Cool," I replied.
"Hey man, do you wanna get high?" he whispered.
"Nah," I laughed, "I'm cool."
He rummaged his pockets and pulled out a joint and quietly asked, "You don't mind if I get high, do you?"
"Knock yourself out," I granted.
The little squirrel took a couple hits. "Are you sure, man? This is some good shit." I waved a no thanks as I finished my cigarette. Some birds took off in the distance, making the squirrel instinctively flinch. Either he realized that we were alone or the weed was taking effect, but he soon became relaxed, and spilled his woes.
"Don't ever get married, man," he started babbling. "Cause it sucks. Like royally sucks, man. It's all about the wife saying 'Do this, do that'. Argh, I just wanna strangle her. She's all 'Go get more acorns'. So I do. And then she's all 'Go get more'. More, more, more. That's my sorry ass life, man."
"That sucks," I attempted to console.
"You got a girlfriend?" he interrogated.
"Well," I started, "there's this cute..."
"Get out of it now, man," he interrupted. "Take it from me. Don't get suckered by their charms. It's all a trap. It all seems fine and happy now. And it'll be sweet up until the wedding. But afterwards it's hell. Cause she's got you, man, and she knows it. Don't even think about what happens when you get kids. Fuck. You think you know what hell's like, but it gets fucking worse. Argh."
"I see your point", I pointed out. "But I would give everything to be in your position--the wife, the kids, the life with defined purpose."
"You're fucking joking, right," he guffawed.
"No," I straight faced, "You're fucking high, man. You've lost all perspective. I mean, and I'm not judging, but you chose to get married. You're choosing to do your wife's bidding. And you're choosing to support the kids that you chose to have. No one pointed a gun to your head telling you not to walk away from it all at every moment you had to make a decision. You've got no right to complain. Take responsibility for your actions. But most importantly be grateful for what you've got. I don't have a girlfriend. I wouldn't mind meeting a nice girl to explore this world with. However, I won't feel gypped if I never meet her. I don't depend on anyone for my happiness. I can get by on my own, despite what society mopes about--loneliness sucks, blah, blah, blah. Yet I think we both suffer from 'the grass is greener' syndrome. Which is cool, but always remember, you have a choice."
"It's not that easy," he moaned.
"Well," I semi-agreed, "it's hard to predict how any choice will unfold, thus making it even harder to make one. But sometimes it's easier when your head is, ahem, clear. And that's just the way I see it. But I mean, you're the fifth stoned squirrel that's bitched about his wife to me this week. Meanwhile I'm here struggling to muster up the courage to ask a girl out on a date. Think about your options. Try to find some outlet for yourself within your confined situation. It'll work out, man."
"Thanks," he glazed. "Oh shit, I see my wife in that yonder tree. Hey, talk to you later, man." He waved goodbye as he skirmished away into the bushes.
Whilst I was asleep, Mary ate all my pepper jack cheese. I thought about calling her yesterday, but I didn't. The last time I did, I got her mom. I hate talking to most girls' moms, cause I hear all the horror stories about them, making it hard to listen to their phoniness. But I like talking to Mary's mom, cause she's an artist. I think I get along with artistic moms rather than the home and garden variety. I mean, it's not every girl's mom that I go karaoke singing with. I guess I'll have a tuna sandwich without any pepper jack cheese today.
I'm glad Mary can read music. It makes it that much easier to communicate with her. I scribbled some notes on her birthday card. She was able to discern the reference. However, it's one thing to read music, and it's another to be able to transcribe it. Cause she can't for the life of her play what she hears, it needs to be written down for her. Not that it matters. She's cute enough that I can forgive her incompetence. And music ain't everything.
Mary's going back to school. She got a scholarship to study international relations. Good for her. She's still young and idealistic.
Meanwhile, there's this mountain in my recurring dreams which is populated with fancy schmancy rich mansions, kinda like a Himalayan Bel Air. I'm usually driving up the steep roads, past the castles, heading towards the peak. Sometimes, for fun, I offshoot and meander onto cul-de-sacs of diamond encrusted gates guarding golden cathedrals. Cirrus clouds string diagonally as I continue upwards. Anyways, last night, Michelle was in my passenger's seat, eating Thai curry, occasionally looking out the window at the opulence. "This is fun," she bounced. I agreed with an agreement that felt over saturated in contentment. It was too real. So I woke up.
Amongst certain circles, I use the term "Lefou" to mean copycat or blatant ripoff. For example, Christian Slater "Lefous" Jack Nicholson. It's a derogative reference to the character in Disney's Beauty and the Beast--the sidekick of the antagonist, Gaston. Even though I'll be the first to admit that I steal my ideas, the impetus behind using the term is to promote originality. Although, "Lefouing" isn't always bad, such as when paying homage, building upon a derived idea, or spoofing. It's acknowledging when one has "Lefoued" that matters.
That being said, I'm gonna "Lefou" today's entry from one I've read over at another web journal. It's a standard personality questionnaire, which itself is a variation on a common chain email. I'll play along and give my own answers. Yeah, I know it's cheesy, but I'm always on the lookout to try various formats and styles here at "Out On a Lim". Here goes:
IF YOU COULD BUILD A HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE? - anywhere's fine
WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? - whenever I please
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? - I don't have any favourites
IF YOU COULD EAT LUNCH WITH ONE FAMOUS PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? - Frances O'Connor
FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX? - forehead
GOLD OR SILVER? - neither
WHAT'S THE LAST CD YOU BOUGHT? - The Good Thief OST
WHAT WAS THE LAST FILM YOU SAW AT THE CINEMA? - The Good Thief
WHERE'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? - wherever I happen to be
WHERE'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? - none
FAVORITE TV SHOW? - I don't watch TV
WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? - orange juice and a cigarette
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BE MASSAGED? - ears
WHAT WOULD YOU HATE TO BE LEFT IN A ROOM WITH? - kids, except girls
WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT, STRONG IN MIND OR STRONG IN BODY? - strong in mind
CAN YOU TOUCH YOUR NOSE WITH YOUR TONGUE? - no
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? - beer bottle opener
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? - everything
WHAT MAKES YOU REALLY ANGRY? - silly questions
WHAT'S YOUR MIDDLE NAME? - John
IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? - piano
PREFER BEACH, CITY, OR COUNTRY LIFE? - beach
FAVORITE COLOR? - yellow
SUMMER OR WINTER? - summer
WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV? - sports car
FAVORITE CAR? - 1976 Buick Century station wagon
DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE AFTERLIFE? - isn't this it?
FAVORITE SANDWICH FILLING? - tuna
FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? - Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
TRUE LOVE? - come whatever...
WHAT'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE HOUSEHOLD CHORE? - waking up to let the maid in
WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU DESPISE? - greed, needy, overzealy
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? - cooking
FAVORITE FLOWER? - strelitzia reginae
DO YOU HAVE A TATTOO? IF SO, WHERE? - no
IF YOU HAD A BIG WIN IN THE LOTTERY, HOW LONG WOULD YOU WAIT TO TELL PEOPLE? - 2 seconds
CAN YOU JUGGLE? IF YES HOW MANY? - yes, 2
PREFER FIZZY OR STILL WATER AS A DRINK? - I don't drink water
THE ONE PERSON FROM YOUR PAST YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO? - some girl
WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BATHROOM? - white
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE DAY? - Friday 13th
HOW MANY KEYS ON YOUR KEY RING? - 7
WHAT'S IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR? - tape recorder, violin bow, drum brushes, bowling shoes
WHERE WOULD YOU RETIRE? - anywhere's fine
WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? - sushi
WHO'S MOST/LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL? - Larry McFeurdy won't respond to this crap
RED OR WHITE WINE? - either's fine
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME? - Back To the Future
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR YOUR LAST BIRTHDAY? - my family took me out to dinner
DO YOU LIKE SPORTS? REGARDLESS, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? - no, baseball
DO YOU CARRY A DONOR CARD? - no
HAVE YOU OR WOULD YOU EVER GO TO A NUDE BEACH? - yes, I've been to a nude beach
WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? - reread Lolita
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? - rereading Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? - Doctor Faustus
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? - Bob Dylan
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO LEARN TO DO? - to unlearn what I have learned
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? - tuna
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? - Japan
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY? - visiting my grandparents
WHAT WAS THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU VISITED LAST? - Takamatsu
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST BOY/GIRLFRIEND? - I forgot her name...
WHAT WAS THE GREATEST THING YOU EXPERIENCED THIS PAST YEAR? - trance music
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB? - any job that allows me to dream
INTERESTING IDEA FOR A PARTY YOU WANT TO HOST? - Hot Carls for everyone
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT TO TELL THE WORLD? - I love you
WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? - sculpted and watched Le Mepris
IF YOU COULD COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? - stegosaurus
I've lost track. There are days when I don't sleep, but I can't remember if I'm ahead or behind the rest of the world. Early in the day is late at night for most people living in my time zone. As well, late at night for me is early in the morning for those waking up when I go to sleep. Oddly, I'm on Japan time--17 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. Cause when I'm there, I'm on "normal" schedule with everyone else, waking up at 7:00 and going to bed at 23:00. However, I live in LA. And arriving at work when most people are winding down their day sometimes gives the illusion that I'm lagging behind. Or am I ahead?
Part of the confusion is I'm always at different stages on various projects. I could be starting a sculpture whilst finishing a film score as some photos from last week are being digitally tweaked. Sometimes I get so engaged in whatever I'm doing that I lose track of time and forget to sleep. On a micro level, I'm both ahead and behind myself on the linear start/finish timelines of my projects.
I do know that these journal entries are written several days in advance of their posted dates. I like to keep a backlog (or forwardlog) of entries in a queue. The purpose for this is to 1) write an entry with the option to edit, revise, and/or delete it after rereading it a couple days later, but always have something ready to post, 2) in the event that I get lazy, or am working on some other project, I'll always have something ready to post, and 3) I'm anal and hate to procrastinate, so I like to stay on top of my entries rather than have nothing to post.
So dear reader, hello from the past, or future...
Folklore has it that iconoclast composer Bernard Herrmann used the Oscar he won for his score to All That Money Can Buy as a doorstop. Bullshit of the allegory notwithstanding, it's a fact that he didn't give a fart about awards, so it's not hard to imagine him appropriating it to more practical usage. Whatever works for him. Although I can also picture the general public gasping at the unimaginable possibility that someone could display such "ingratitude" towards the "highest honour" in the movie business.
But it's all relative. I'm always surprised not to see the label "Academy Award Winning Actress" next to Anna Paquin's name during trailers for her films. It makes more sense than calling Ben Affleck an "Academy Award Winner" for a movie he's starring in but didn't screenwrite. Or I laugh at how advertisements dip into desperation by calling someone an "X Time Academy Award Nominee". If audiences are that inept and keep track of such quantitative details, then why isn't John Williams recognized as "41 Time Academy Award Nominee", much less "5 Time Academy Award Winner" (one of which was for "Scoring Adaptation", but most people don't nitpick). Ok, composers never get the voice of God treatment in previews, but it's not more blatantly self-promoting.
Speaking of which, composers get no respect, period. I haven't watched the broadcasted ceremony in years due to the endless commercials and shenanigans of the show. I get the results elsewhere. Every year, the first thing I check (even before Best Picture) is Best Score. I could've sworn that the newspaper I consulted reported Catch Me If You Can as the winner. It wasn't til later when I logged onto www.filmscoremonthly.com that I discovered it was a misprint. I guess I can stop using my Frida CD as a drink coaster.
hey i was happy. i got what i wanted. free beer and everyone too bewildered to nag me anymore.
raver boy (who was way too old to have that nickname) and his non-raver girlfriend (who was barely hanging on to that status) started it when they urged me to knock out the bar's resident piano player (who was singing tired versions of yer standard standards) and kick out the jams. moping college boy (who just got dumped and was highly likely to find a fat college girl who'll be less likely to cheat on him) made it more enticing by offering me to buy me a drink. i couldn't refuse that.
ah, but one beer can't make me an asshole, so i dragged it on. "come on, you had your beer, now play," half mutt kid commanded. i made the lame excuse that i can't play unless i've got more alcohol in my fingers. so i got another free drink.
now half mutt kid's half sister ain't half bad looking. too bad she don't smoke, but i could still lure her to the deck for a cigarette length conversation. she extolled on her experiences of backpacking thru vietnam and packing in the sins of thailand. as we compared digital cameras, i brushed her breast. accidents happen.
"get to it," raver boy annoyed upon noticing my return, which dominoed everyone else's insistence. i was getting impatient. and thirsty. half mutt kid's half sister read my mind and bought me another drink. i lied to everyone and promised to play after this beer. hey i was gonna squeeze as many benefits out of this situation.
eventually it was time to face the music. i put one foot in the direction of the piano and the drunkards immediately egged me on. the poor guy who had entertained us up until now took a well deserved break as i replaced him at the keyboard. everyone quietly waited for me to start playing. i mischievously grinned...
it's a shame that bach isn't bar music. i think it should be.
after the last fugal line resolved, i could hear polite applause--more confused than genuinely entertained. i returned to the silent crowd. "what the hell was that?" raver boy shouted. "yeah, that was depressing," cried moping college boy. "you're not supposed to play classical music in a bar," lectured half mutt kid. i smiled. i had my fill of beer and i doubt they'd waste their money on me again. i slid over to half mutt kid's half sister who nodded and said "that was pretty." she got it.
Ancient Chinese legend says there was a carp that lived in a lake located at the bottom of a mountain. This lake was comfortable and a happy environment for many generations of carps to grow up, learn from their elders, mate, and continue their species. Occasionally there were predatory hawks that swiped some carps out of the water, but overall it was peaceful. The carps were content with their lake.
However this one carp was bored. He thought it was pointless to swim around in the lake, get fat on plentiful food, and to breed with cute girl carps. He would often gaze at the mountain looming over the lake and wonder what was beyond his surroundings.
So one day he swam to the base of the mountain. He discovered that a river flowed down the slopes into the lake. Just then a hawk flew down, ready to pick him for a meal.
"Hey, before you eat me Mr. Hawk, do you know what is at the top of this mountain?" asked the carp.
"Ha," laughed the hawk, "you don't know? If you follow the river upstream you'll reach a magic gate. Any carp that passes thru will supposedly transform into a dragon."
"Oh really," carped the carp.
"Yeah, it's some ancient Chinese legend," explained the hawk.
"Has any carp gone all the way up?" inquired the carp.
"I don't know," answered the hawk. "Why? Are you thinking about trying it? Ha, good luck. It's impossible. Look at all the rocks and the upstream is a killer. And there's no guarantee that you'll turn into a dragon."
"Well, I'm bored and why shouldn't I give it a try?" retorted the carp, eyeing the challenge.
"Ha," mocked the hawk. "Go for it. Just for your idiotic dreaming, I'll let you go. And I'll just wait here for your dead body to tumble back down. Free meal for me."
So the carp thanked the hawk for not eating him and started up the river. At first it was painfully hard to fight the current. Soon he developed blisters on his fins as he climbed the rocks. But eventually, the struggle became easier. For he convinced himself that there was nothing else his bored self could do than to try this uncommon route. It sure beat pretending to be content with the rest of the carps. Not that it wasn't difficult. There were times when he lost his balance and got backtracked. Especially after going at it for so long--he couldn't just give up. So continue he did.
He reached the mythical gate. And sure enough he metamorphosized into a dragon. He flew up above the peak of the mountain and looked down at the lake that was once his home. It looked so small and meaningless. The hawk zoomed up to him, amazed at the carp's success.
"Dude, you did it," the hawk gawked.
"Eh," the dragon mumbled.
"You must be proud of your accomplishment," congratulated the hawk. "You're no longer a measly carp. You're a freaking dragon."
"Well," the dragon sighed. "It wasn't so hard. If you put your mind to it, anyone can do it. It's no big deal."
"So what are you gonna do now?" pestered the hawk.
"Eh," blanked the dragon. "I guess I'll just fly around. See you later."
So he flew away until he came upon a misty valley inhabited by a herd of dragons who were hiding away from dragon slaying men. The herd allowed him to hang out with them, cause dragons are rare and they let others of their magical race into their group. However, it soon became apparent that the herd of dragons had the same social rules as the carps--fly around, fatten up on food, meet cute girl dragons, and raise dragon babies. The dragon who was once a carp got bored. Eventually he left the herd.
Upon his wanderings he found a tall mountain that loomed above the clouds. Just then a dragon slayer pointed his sword at the dragon's neck.
"Hey, before you slay me Mr. Dragon Slayer, do you know what's at the top of this mountain?" fire breathed the dragon.
"Ha," snickered the dragon slayer, "you don't know? If you fly above the atmosphere you'll reach a magic gate. Any dragon that passes thru will supposedly transform into a god."
"Oh really," dragged the dragon.
The dragon slayer laughed at the dragon as he let him attempt the challenge. And the dragon struggled to the top of the tall mountain. At the peak he went thru the gate and became a god. He now had unlimited powers, including the ability to transform himself into anything he pleased.
Some say the god who was once a dragon who was once a carp vanished from this dimension and is continuing his journey thru various guises beyond infinity. Others say that his spirit lives within all restless creatures who aspire beyond themselves and find contentment in the endless search for self discovery.
I rented Blue Velvet. I haven't seen it in at least 13 years, and even then it was on videotape formatted to fit the ratio of a television screen. Seeing it now, on widescreen DVD allowed for a better appreciation of the creepy retro production design. No doubt, the movie is an unsettling experience regardless, but having the peripherals untruncated opened up its world, for better or worse, as I got sucked in.
It just so happens that I recently got new glasses. They're wider than my previous pair and looking thru them I can't help but compare their difference to the transition from 1.33:1 to 2.35:1. It's as if my world looks more cinematic as opposed to being televised. I'm more aware of the little details lurking in the corners.
Anyways, the love theme from Blue Velvet is a haunting song called "Mysteries of Love". It's crooned by Julee Cruise above appropriately 50's-esque pop harmonies as provided by Angelo Badalementi's 80's synth treatments. The cornball lyrics are written by David Lynch, yet fit in the context of the movie as a contrastingly innocent and tender moment within the twisted malevolence surrounding the young lovebirds.
Hearing the song brings back personal memories. 13 years ago, I'm a freshman at UCSD, taking my first steps into a wider world. All the awkward boy meets girl situations apply. However, listening to "Mysteries of Love" kept me romantically idealistic, as most 50's love ditties seem to--glossing over the despair and professing hope above all else. It's hard for me to disassociate the song from my college days, even more so than from the movie.
Coincidentally, I'm doing an exhibition at my alma mater. Adding to the nostalgia of revisiting the campus, having that song freshly stuck in my head really brings me back. Nevertheless, I'm amazed at how the years hence have broadened my perspective. The world is darker, stranger, and far more fucked up than I could've ever imagined as kid. Love ain't any less mysterious either. Credit is long overdue, now more unveiled than before, to that little love song for keeping me wide eyed thru it all, and hopefully onwards.
It's been my observation that most people are lazy and if they do get off their asses they'll do things to serve their own self interests. This is most apparent in regards to building internet communities. Personal experience in the last ten years of lurking and half-heartedly participating in newsgroups has been more often than not a study in watching enthusiastic posters get their expectations crushed as they rally for a thriving community only to see it piddle away into a ghost town of a bulletin board.
I mean, I'm nobody special--I'm a lazyass and if I'm gonna contribute I gotta have some personal incentive. But every now and then, someone gets the futile idea to start an online club on the basis of sharing stories and such. Even if a mass invite is sent amongst friends, it never gets farther than the novelty of "hey, welcome to my new webpage, send your material". Yeah, I'm guilty of selfishly not sharing--hey, I got my own webpage to maintain.
However, there are exceptions that take advantage of the newsgroup medium. These often revolve around some geeky hobby whose participants are already obsessed enough to blabber endlessly. Science fiction franchises, video games, and building block toys come to mind--connecting already established subcultures. Alas, open-ended storytime is too broad a genre to coalesce into a community, let alone most writers are over critical bastards.
There was a cool webpage maintained by some Harvard students dedicated to sharing original writings and graphic arts. It was a source of daily entertainment for me. And it made me jealous not to belong to such a group of creative personalities. But as soon as the curators graduated, it sadly dissolved. So there is some hope.
I wait impatiently unabated
As long longitudes of calendar columns elapse
For a silent compliance
Or at the very least an unreleased perhaps
From your reassuring allure
That speaks bespectacled shades of shamelessness
Like a wing shorn caterpillar rewinding
All that can be counter clockwised and unconfessed
But I hesitate to rephrase my statements
My desperate separation from your conjured appeal
Your suspicious suspense
Towards the swords you presume I purposely wield
Because I've fallen all ensconced
Somewhere between beware and belonging replies
With underhanded understanding
Of how the end is tormented whether nether or nigh
I had a nightmare involving myself winning a $1000 spending spree at my local Tower Records. So I go to the store to redeem my prize and stand frustrated in the aisles as to what CDs I should get despite the fully stocked inventory. Apparently (hey, I don't make up the rules in my dreams) the regulations stipulated that the money expired after a day and is limited to only CDs (no DVDs)--I had to make my selections now.
Don't get me wrong I love music. The problem is I've already got all the CDs I need in my collection. Since 1987, when I got my first CD player (on account of The Beatles being digitally reissued), I've accumulated nearly 2000 CDs. Over the years and several thousands of dollars later, all of my favourite recordings have been acquired--I'm up to date on the latest releases and pretty caught up on my "wants list", including out of print albums and bootlegs. And my collection is streamlined. I've weeded out anything I've gotten overly tired with. Thus, my collection is well maintained. I'm never at a loss to listen to something I like.
Add to that, I work at a music library with over seven times worth of CDs available for me to peruse (not to mention a bevy of vinyl). These are practically mine as I can enjoy them whenever. Also, with the copyrights on the internet game for piracy, almost any recording can be obtained online, not that the compression qualities are perfect, but I've burned all the miscellaneous music (single tracks not worth buying entire CDs for) that I like. Hence, presently there isn't much that I don't have immediate access to, rendering record stores less significant.
Well, let me qualify that to "mainstream" record stores, such as Tower Records. There are still glaring holes in my collection that I'd like to fill. $1000 would be very helpful towards certain promotionally released rare soundtracks. In fact, I could see myself spending the entire $1000 on a single CD (Elfman's private pressing of his unabridged score to Dolores Claiborne). And lately I've been listening to Japanese pop music, which is often neglected in the import section of Tower. Blame it on my aberrant tastes, but most record stores are useless to me, $1000 or not.
So I gave the prize money to a cute girl who would better appreciate spending it.
Amy killed herself two months shy of graduation. I was never intimately associated with her apart from sharing a few classes and the occasional casual chats. Yet of all my high school memories, her suicide remains the most persistent.
She still recurs in my dreams.
Oftentimes I meet her as just another character. I never freak out when she appears, because in my dreams it's as if she never died and has aged accordingly. We go on adventures--criminals escaping the police, surfers on the lookout for killer waves, scientists on the verge of discovering quantum answers, etc. And sometimes we're romantic. When I wake up, I can't resist remembering the few remarks she divulged to me before she left this world.
She always had an uncanny ability to read between my lines. Most readers would get a little kick out of my "Out On a Lim" stories, but wouldn't recognize the metaphors. For example, there was this one about my slapstick self being trapped on a deserted island. "That was funny, but why were you on an island?" was the consensus response. Amy would clarify "The island represents school." She was dead on.
Obviously the tragedy of someone killing herself, especially at a young age, expands in terms of curiosity, reasons, and mortality in general. There were rumours abound regarding makeshift answers, but I think she took the truth with her. And every detail of her personality, however flippant at the time, has gotten over sentimentalized--every word she said to me has taken on haunting meanings. Her memory continues to exaggerate in my head.
I didn't get invited to my high school reunion. Supposedly the organizing committee couldn't track down my current address. However, a classmate showed me his invitation. It had a list of people that they couldn't reach with the hope that maybe the official invitees could clue in on their whereabouts. Amy was one of those listed.
SUBJECT: What I Did Today
Ok, here's my attempt to write in pseudo standard web journal style. Don't worry, this won't be the norm here at "Out On a Lim"--again, I'm trying something different, and I apologize for the mundane tone, but hey, I'm going for that "hey look at what I did today, isn't it interesting?" kind of straightforward writing (if you can call it that, it's more like compiling a list).
Let's see, I woke up at around 14:00. I took a shower. I had my "morning" glass of orange juice and a cigarette on my balcony.
I received no mail, which is a bummer, but at least I didn't get any junk adverts or bills.
I wrote about a girl who killed herself in high school.
I ate a slice of pizza (sausage, onions, and jalapenos) leftover from last night. (I've lost count on how many Cokes I drank today).
I cranked up the stereo in my bedroom and listened to Spike by Puffy. At a louder volume I can pick out the echo within the snare drum better.
I worked on my fish sculpture. I'm almost done. I'm at the tail.
I small talked with my neighbour about how I don't get the LA Times for free anymore. We figured the blunder has been fixed.
I watched Josie and The Pussycats. That movie gets funnier with each viewing. Go Rachel Leigh Cook.
I finished off the leftover slices of pizza.
I copied some Puffy b-sides that are only available on 3" CDs. I did this so I can listen to them in my car (which only plays standard 4.75" CDs).
I won an auction on eBay for an LP version of Fever Fever by Puffy. Now I need to get a record player...
I went to the market to buy some tuna, chili, eggs, sour dough bread, and Coke. I like shopping after midnight to avoid the crowds.
I drove around listening to my Puffy b-sides.
I went online to research "web journal style" writing. I wrote this thusly.
Yawn. Get a life loser.
Amongst less technologically inclined cultures there's a superstition that your soul is stolen when you get photographed. Aboriginal tribes often refuse the photographing of their rituals based on this fear. And there are some witty twists on this notion that confirm how over exposed celebrities have indeed sold their souls.
Whenever I get engrossed in a story, I sometimes feel as if the storyteller is sharing his or her soul. I get temporary flashes of empathy--I relive the recounted story from the storyteller's perspective. The soul propagates through stories not unlike genetics when passed from person to person and thru the generations.
I just did a photo shoot for the local paper. With each crank of the camera coupled with the popping of the flashes, I could see how being photographed can feel like having one's soul sucked out. Well, having to put on a portrait friendly face, being told where to direct my eyes, and posing as "naturally" as possible ain't my idea of letting my soul roam free. It's more like being the freak on display in a circus.
Smile for the camera.
During a break in the session, I struck up a conversation with the photographer's assistant. She's an aspiring photographer in her own right and she waxed about the joys of the profession, in particular meeting interesting subjects. She retold of her assignment in Tijuana when she had to track down some grease painters. And of the frustrating time she had to coordinate the redressing of scenery on a deadline whilst fighting traffic.
Tell me more.
As I listened to her, I realized that even though my soul just got captured on film, I was getting refilled with her tales. I could vividly see her assisting her photographer going around setting up their lights and lenses on missions to steal more souls.
So conversely, she might delight in photographing amusing people, but I get the benefit of listening to stories from all these photographers. Lately, I've had a rash of them visit my workshop. Each one has kindly shared stories about themselves. I've heard about the perks of getting into raves for free with a press pass, taking stereoscopic photos of desert landscapes, and of chasing movie stars in paparazzi mobs. I've actually gotten bored with the novelty of seeing my picture in a magazine. However, I like having photographers over. They've got great stories.
I've been riding my bike again. It's not that I'm especially exercise conscious--I could care less about my health and I don't give a rat's butt about my whatever physique. No, it's the thrill of pedaling down empty streets, the wind in my face, and the wheels of my mind metaphorically spinning. For I like to hit my usual trail along the relatively flat layout of my neighbourhood at 3 o'clock in the morning. Not a soul awake, just me in the darkness. I get a lot of thinking done on my bike.
It's always a chore to get back to a regimen.
The seasons other than summer are too cold for me to get any speed.
My tires get flat as my bike sits unused in the corner of my living room.
I'm too lazy to do anything requiring muscle activity.
My lungs are too smoked for huffing.
The hardest part is getting back in a groove, but once that's overcome, the routine of riding around nightly for about an hour gets easy.
I can't blame the weather, I mean, I live in Los Angeles--it's never too cold.
I can pump my tires up at the gas station located a couple of blocks away.
The more I ride, the less the muscle stress.
My lungs are fine, hey, I even smoke whilst riding on my bike.
When I was a kid, I often dreamt of myself completely alone in the world. I'd be in the mall when it was empty. Or wandering the streets void of cars and pedestrians. The solitude was intoxicating. When I'm riding my bike, I revisit those dreams. The silence of late night hours gives the illusion that I am alone.
And it's this feeling of being the only person awake that's inspiring--thoughts seem to flow easily. Maybe it's the rhythm of the wheels revolving, the elegance of such a simple yet effective form of transportation, and the sense of motion that contributes to the unclogged coursing of my mind. Then again, that could also just be my blood pumping. And the outdoors is generally stimulating for contemplation. Either way, I've solved many a personal puzzle in this manner.
I can't think of any other physical exercise as cool as bike riding. I've tried walking, but that got boring--I like moving at a faster pace. Running is real exercise, no thanks. Swimming is fun, but dependent on the public pool's hours. I've never been to a gym. I slept thru most of my physical education classes. I remember the teacher waking me up by dangling a jump rope to my unconscious face. I'm just not the physical type. Bike riding to me is more of a mental exercise that happens to involve my body.
Seeing the moon flank the corner of my eye as I bank a corner, the shadows of the wheel treads aliasing under the lamplights, a telepathic chat with a cat at the crossroads, letting go of the handlebars, remembering my dad teaching me how to ride a bike, circling the route, riding the refrain, returning home.
On a 01:00 run to the 24hr Ralphs to replenish my orange juice supply, I detoured from the main streets and shortcutted behind the mall, thru its parking lot, which was vacant except for a circle of Mugen Powered cars--the small Japanese sports cars fixed up with extra large tail fins, showy tire rims, stickers proclaiming some racing slogan, specially redesigned bumpers, and bodies super lowered to the asphalt. As I inconspicuously drove by, I could see a gang of young Asian kids mulling around their shiny vehicles. I couldn't tell whether they were having a friendly show and tell convention or about to challenge each other in some furious and fast race. Some of their heads turned in my direction, so I looked away, minding my own business, rathering not to find out.
I circle "Asian American" as my nationality, but I'm so incongruent with the culture that has been immigrated, let alone the underground racing scene. I don't have an accent that hints at the language of my ancestors--on the telephone my speech patterns have often been mistaken for a white person's. This automatically gives me away when in the company of Asians who are obsessed with those particular car fetishes. That and my unmodified car. But honestly, I don't feel any expressive connection with my car other than as a mode of transportation. It's not me.
16:00 smokebreaks on the loading dock with my recording engineer buddy are always cool. Aside from the view of the cute coeds walking to and from class, I like to listen to his stories of bygone rock'n'roll eras. How he shook Hendrix's demonically huge hands. Being smashed at a Who concert and watching the guitars do likewise. And the history of surf music. Even though he'll start to complain about the decline of the quality of guitar players after the 1970s, I often agree with most of his opinions, albeit they're biased towards his youth.
According to the calendars, I'm 31 years old, but I've always been musically inclined towards the sounds that predate my birth. I find it hard to pledge allegiance only to the music of my generation just because it's contemporary. Indeed there is a built in nostalgia for the bands that peaked during my teenage and college years, and I'll never escape the time and place I first heard Nirvana, et al. Nevertheless, I also can't overlook tracing the lineage. I've always heard music, especially pop music, as a continuing dialogue passed on thru the decades--sometimes in progressive accord, sometimes in violent rebellion, but not as "revolutionary" as each generation declares. Honestly, I can't say my generation is any better than the others, or that I feel any expressive connection with the music that was produced during my youth other than as a point of reference to the past and future. It's not me.
I wish she didn't have to leave so soon.
But I'm thankful for the brevity of words exchanged between the handful of minutes I had within her perimeter. Any more and I might've actually said something. I'd rather hear her say nothing than not be within earshot. Even for a second. Even if I never get so privileged again. Simple appreciation of the simplest moments is hard to appreciate in the moment until it's simply gone.
Instead I drift about like a ghost. Never speaking or interacting, just floating thru scenes. I eavesdrop upon the boring stories of a girl sitting next to me. She's afraid to shut up, as if silence is socially unacceptable, not realizing I've heard every tired topic out of her mouth already, and even then they weren't interesting--yes, the kids today have a different mindset than us of the older contingent, gripe on. However, I don't have the right to complain about her right to complain. I could always change the subject.
I attended a play written by a friend's brother. I sat in the front row, to the side of the stage. There was a cute girl who played a jester character. She spoke in rhyme. She taunted poor souls. And lured them thru a door that led to the metaphysical beyond. I like the live performance aspect of theatre, that it's being acted out in my presence. Sometimes I get the urge to break the invisible wall between the audience and the actors. I wanted to walk onto the set, take the jester's hand, ask her to prop open the door prop for me, and lead me thru.
I had another series of dreams within dreams dream again. I kept waking up only to wake up in another dream, etc. I'd find myself on the brink of death (free falling in an broken elevator, being eaten by a tyrannosaurus rex, getting assassinated in the head, losing control of my car) and shaken to consciousness within consciousness. It wasn't as confusing as it was neat--like living lives within lives. There was one dream in which I was skating on a rolling quarter, spiraling down a mountain. As I descended, I could see her up ahead. But as I curved towards her, she disappeared.
I wish she didn't have to leave so soon.
TOP 5 BEATLES SONG COVERS
1. Wild Honey Pie / Pixies
2. Across the Universe / Fiona Apple
3. Dear Prudence / Siouxie & The Banshees
4. Two Of Us / Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
5. Something / Paul McCartney
TOP 5 SONGS COVERED BY THE BEATLES
1. Dizzy Miss Lizzy / Larry Williams
2. Words Of Love / Buddy Holly
3. To Know Her Is To Love Her / The Teddy Bears
4. Long Tall Sally / Little Richard
5. Lonesome Tears In My Eyes / Johnny Burnette
TOP 5 BEATLES TOURIST SITES
1. Strawberry Fields (Liverpool)
2. The Dakota
3. Abbey Road Studios
4. St. Peter's Church
5. 3 Savile Row
TOP 5 BEATLES INSTRUMENTS
1. Rickenbacker 325
2. Hofner 500/1 "violin" bass
3. Rickenbacker 360/12
4. Ludwig black oyster drums
5. Gibson J160E
TOP 5 BEATLES SONG GIRLS
TOP 5 BEATLES GUITAR SOLOS
1. Hey Bulldog
2. The End
4. Nowhere Man
5. Free As a Bird
TOP 5 MOVIES WITH BEATLES REFERENCES
1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
2. Vanilla Sky
3. The Big Lebowski
4. Sliding Doors
5. Panic Room
TOP 5 SONGS WITH BEATLES REFERENCES
1. Sounds of Silence / The Beastie Boys
2. Life In a Northern Town / Dream Academy
3. Kore Ga Watashi No Ikiru Michi / Puffy
4. 1962-70 / John Cage
5. Glass Onion / The Beatles
TOP 5 PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE BEATLES
1. Linda McCartney
2. Astrid Kirchherr
3. Michael McCartney
4. Robert Freeman
5. Richard Avedon
TOP 5 BEATLISMS
1. descending bass line
2. major/minor chord shift
3. time signature changes
4. backwards sounds
5. rum & Coke
TOP 5 RINGO DRUM INTROS
2. She Loves You
5. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
TOP 5 BEATLES OFFSPRING
1. Julian Lennon
2. Zak Starkey
3. Stella McCartney
4. Dhani Harrison
5. Sean Lennon
TOP 5 MISHEARD BEATLES LYRICS
1. "I get high" ("I can't hide")
2. "Everybody smoke pot" ("Everybody's got one")
3. "She's a prick teaser" ("She's a big teaser")
4. "Someday monkey won't play piano song" ("Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble")
5. "I buried Paul" ("Cranberry sauce")
TOP 5 LENNON/McCARTNEY VOCAL HARMONIES
1. If I Fell
2. Hey Jude
3. The Ballad Of John and Yoko
4. Baby's In Black
5. Drive My Car
TOP 5 INFLUENCES ON THE BEATLES
1. Lewis Carroll
2. Bob Dylan
3. Buddy Holly
4. Johann Sebastian Bach
5. Brian Wilson
TOP 5 NUMBER NINE COINCIDENCES
1. October 9, 1940
2. West 72nd Street
3. "All we are saying is give peace a chance"
4. Parlophone R4949
5. December 9, 1980 (UK time)
TOP 5 FIFTH TRACKS ON BEATLES ALBUMS
1. Here There and Everywhere
2. And I Love Her
3. I'll Follow the Sun
4. Dig It
5. Little Child
TOP 4 BEATLES SONGS WITH 5/4 BARS
1. Don't Let Me Down
2. Across the Universe
3. Good Morning, Good Morning
4. Within You, Without You
TOP 5 SONGS ON THE BILLBOARD HOT 100 CHART, APRIL 4, 1964
1. Can't Buy Me Love / The Beatles
2. Twist and Shout / The Beatles
3. She Loves You / The Beatles
4. I Want To Hold Your Hand / The Beatles
5. Please Please Me / The Beatles
TOP 5 FIFTH BEATLES
1. George Martin
2. Stuart Sutcliffe
3. Pete Best
4. Magic Alex
5. Yoko Ono
I remember being called to the principal's office as a kindergartener. Not because I was a troublemaker in the traditional sense, rather I was colouring my drawings kinda oddly--apparently I wasn't using green crayons to colour in grass. So I was politely escorted to one of the back rooms of the school's central headquarters, and interrogated like a suspect. My artwork was presented as evidence.
"Did you draw this?" asked a man, eating a banana.
"Uh, yeah," I nervously replied, not knowing what the fuss was about.
"What colour is grass?" the man continued.
"Green," I answered the simple question, wondering where the hell my lawyer was at my time of need.
The man sighed, finished his banana and pulled out a book with several illustrations, all of which were circles made up of multicoloured circles. He pointed to a circle. "Do you see a number in this circle?" the questioning man pressed on.
"Uh, no," I laughed at his idiocy--c'mon, it's just a blot of colours.
This kept on, page after page of numbers mysteriously in circles, and myself wondering if all this was some joke. Hey man, I was missing out on naptime, which all the other kids were pleasantly enjoying concurrently. I wondered if the cute glasses girl was missing me, sigh. I had better things to do than look at this lunatic's crappy portfolio of circles. Alright already, there are NO numbers in these damn circles.
"Oh, I'm sorry, would you like a banana?" the man insisted during the ordeal. I accepted. I might as well get a snack out of this nonsense.
Finally I was excused. I was given a note to give to my parents and told to return to class. But never told what my wasted time in the principal's office was for. Well at least I wasn't being punished.
Thesedays, the most frequently asked question I get from someone upon discovering of my colourblindness is, as they point to a nearby object, "What colour is this?" Somehow people get a kick out my inability to discern colours, like it's funny, well, I suppose it is, I mean, colour recognition should be an obvious feature of vision. And because I've ignored colours for all these years, I'm not especially aware of the esoteric names given to the various shades of off hinted tints. But ever since I was a kid, I've been humbled by the relativity of perception, granted there are average physiological standards. I'm pretty patient with such questions. I always answer with a shrug.
I've not only been fortunate to have been in the audience to many a concert put on by my fave musicians, but I've felt that rare yet thrilling tingle, when it seems like the performer is playing just for me, connecting on a level beyond music, and sublimely celebrating such perfect moments--the culmination of all the happenstances that has led me to being there, listening.
Hilary Hahn precisely double stopping the multiple lines of a Bach fugue, Paul McCartney graciously singing his Beatles songs, Bob Dylan mumbling his elliptical words into undecipherable code, Liz Fraser crooning banshee melismas, The Edge fractalizing delayed riffs, David Bowie staring at me with his mismatched eyes from no less than a dozen feet away, Deborah Harry pouting a memory from her heyday, and John Adams conducting his churning arpeggios. I'm glad to have been so lucky.
But nothing compares to the time I heard Emmylou Harris.
I'm at the Roxy to check out guitar god Adrian Belew as the lights fade for the opening act, Meghann Ahern, whom I'm curious to hear, given she's the daughter of my all time fave vocalist (currently living), Emmylou Harris. There are pockets of people standing around the stage. Understandably, the crowd is more leaning towards the art rock guitar geek variety, and could care less about some country singer's kid--let alone even know who the hell she is. So I mosey on closer.
I can't see any obvious physical resemblance between Meghann and her mom. She plays solo, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, running thru some country tinged folky material. Her voice is pleasant, although distinctly different from her mom's--still youthful, not as smoky, vibrato weary, or subtly expressive. However, as I continue to strain my ears to comparison listen, I start to hear Emmylou's angelic tone hover in harmony. I try to shake it out of my head. It must be my imagination.
But it persists, clear as a whisper. I turn to my side. Emmylou is standing next to me, literally singing in my ear. I double take. Trademark silver hair and wanderlust eyes (behind glasses). Well, her voice can't be mimicked. I mentally go down the list of history, the legends she's sung with: Steve Earle, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison, John Denver, George Jones, Don Williams, Daniel Lanois, Gillian Welch, Tanya Tucker, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, Beck, Alison Krauss, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, and of course Gram Parsons.
And now she's singing beautiful duet from the audience with her daughter, with me the only one close enough to hear the private performance. I acknowledge thanks with a nod and a smile. She returns the compliment. I listen on.
Fortnightly I go to my local smoke shop to buy cigarettes. The clerks there don't know my name, but they've picked up on my consistent purchases of the same allotment of the same brand--a carton of Marlboro Lights. I don't have to verbally tell them anymore. I just walk in, they retrieve my item, ring it up, I pay them, exchange "thanks", and I leave until the next time. I'm a regular. Predictable.
The same goes for a sandwich vendor I frequent. I think after the tenth time of custom ordering a tuna fish sandwich on wheat, with mayo, mustard, and onions, they had figured out my pattern. The usual.
Maybe my favourite word is "maybe". Maybe it's its ambiguity, it's neither affirmative nor negative, that confuses people, making it both useful as a default answer to prying questions and a coyly polite way of expressing disagreement via indecision. But maybe I overuse it.
However, there are those who supposedly know me who supposedly think they can crack my "maybe" quandaries. As if they can read my mind and figure out my true responses, be it their deductive reasoning in conjunction with their so called familiarity with my standard operational procedures. Sometimes they're right, sometimes wrong.
Perhaps in the future, uber psychologists will definitively demystify liars--they'll conclude thru some subtextual reading of word choice and phrasing exactly when someone is bullshitting. This'll be undisputable. Only the truth will prevail.
In my first year of graduate school, I was randomly selected to participate in an experiment for some cognitive scientist's thesis. I was given an extensive personality questionnaire. Then I was told to write a 1000 word autobiographical summary of my life, with the option to fib some of the details. This was inputted into a computer that ran an algorithm checking for anagrammatical acrostic patterns. It was designed to detect lies. Alas, the results were inconclusive.
Kippered herrings were commonly called "red herrings" in 19th century Britain, which itself was an old fashioned reference to a "smoked herring" (literally, herrings turn red when cured by smoking). These fish were renowned for their strong smell and in turn were used to mask other scents. Poachers ever clever to distract hunters and claim game for themselves would drag red herrings across the trails to mislead dogs. Thus the term has come to describe distractions that lead down false paths.
Lately, I've been getting emails from female acquaintances wondering if I'm writing about them in my web journal. They've gotten confused by my cloaked usage of the pronoun "she". One of my policies here at "Out On a Lim" is to protect the identities of my subjects, since this is publicly posted on the internet and read by subscribers. Hence, I try to avoid using real names. But I also mix and match characters and situations, semi-fictionally, and sometimes altered for dramatic license--some of this really happened, some of it is purely imaginative, and some of it is an amalgam of both. So yes, dear girls, you are represented in these stories, or at least aspects of you, as you have been inspirational characters in my life. And I'm not gonna deny that I sometimes write with the hopes of maybe impressing you.
There's a bootleg recording of John Lennon's version of Lloyd Price's "Just Because" that is painfully akin to listening to a drunken train wreck. It's one of the saddest things I've ever heard. And it's not for the weak hearted. Instead of the commercially released track's playfully nostalgic spoken intro "Ah remember this? Why, I must have been thirteen when this came out. Or was it fourteen? Or was it twenty-two? I could have been twelve actually..." this outtake begins with a vulgar plea to "suck your nipples" and doesn't get any more sober. It drags on for nearly six minutes--a cathartic out of tune improvisation (including a quote from "Yes Sir, That's My Baby") interspersed with self loathing ("I need some excuse for doing this...I need relief from my obligations.") and wailing that makes his previous Janov primal screams on Plastic Ono Band sound like a prim tea party in comparison.
This was the nadir of his life. Forget the grinning, smart aleck Beatle. This was during his infamous "Lost Weekend" circa 1973-75, separated from Yoko, threatened with deportation from the US for his political views, sued by everyone's brother, and finalized from his partnership with Paul, George, and Ringo. He ended up carousing with the LA party scene only to be kicked out of clubs for belligerence. Embarking on his ill fated Rock'n'Roll album, helmed by a gun toting Phil Spector, he hoped to find salvation in the classic songs of his youth. The publicly available record presented a professionally produced facade that hid the troubles he was enduring at the time. Any doubts can be dispelled as the bootlegs belie that it was all rockin' fun.
I've always considered "Just Because", in all it's incarnations, a cool song with its subterfuge regret fronted with a brave face ("Just because you left and said goodbye/Do you think I will sit and cry/Even if my heart should tell me so/Darling, I would rather let you go"). I put it on whenever I'm feeling rejected by a girl. I rarely dip into such depression to dwell on Lennon's outtake. It's way too bleak--a total breakdown resulting from hopelessness. No shame, no composure, and no defiance. It's the sound of hitting bottom.
Granted, from another perspective, it's also the sound of a spoiled rich man having a self indulgent intoxicated tantrum. Oh boo hoo, his girl left him and he's paying the price of fame. You can't have everything, man. There's always gonna be someone else that's got it far worse than you. There are plenty of bluesmen that have traveled further into despair with their dignity intact. Not to mention, taking it in the context of Lennon's lifeline, things eventually turn out for the better--well, at least until he gets murdered five years later.
The crazy bitch still has my Leonard Cohen CD.
She was cute--short, blonde, and spunky. But she was scary. She told me how she hated her mom, like really hated her to the point of drawing a knife to her throat. She's been to juvenile hall. She's been institutionalized. And she was homeless, living out of her red Honda CRX.
I could see how my roommate dug her. He was the crown prince of a family restaurant franchise. Like most rich kids, he was going thru his rebellious phase, distancing himself from his spoiled background, and trying to live the life of a grunge surfer. We had wild parties everynight. Punk music pumped out of the super stereo, keg after keg, all courtesy of daddy's credit card. He was trying hard to be a bad boy. So when bad girl showed up, he wanted her badly.
Girls drive boys mad. It's their modus operandi. I know she made him insane, cause he'd pull his hair out trying to figure out her next move, spilling to me his victories and defeats in the courtship game--how he first kissed her, how they got arrested for drug possession, how she's not talking to him anymore. Of course he put on a cool composure whenever she came around, but I could see him cracking under her spell.
Nevertheless, she was nice to me. I shared smokes with her on the occasions when she was sitting around waiting for my roommate. Sometimes she'd tell me secrets that I ought to keep from him. Like how she was thinking about leaving this stupid town, just taking off to wherever the road took her. And she enjoyed listening to my CDs. I introduced her to the slow burning melancholy of Leonard Cohen. It made her cry. She asked to borrow it, promising to return it later. That was the last I ever saw of her and my CD.
I've commenced upon my latest psychopathic obsession, whereby I fall stupidly in love with some preposterously unobtainable starlet, in yet another example of my ample time transfused with my introverted cowardice to stalwartly confront girls in real life. This includes cyberstalking her via her fansites, researching her filmography, wallpapering my screen with her glamour shots, and annoying my friends with verbosely overweening acclamations of "Oh, isn't she dreamy" and "When I die, please leave all my possessions to [insert flavour of the month actress' name]."
These phases come and pass, as prognosticated as their career arcs, yet I can't resist their sweet sweep. Some have lasted a couple of days (Anne Hathaway), and some have lasted a couple of years (Sarah Polley). Some have been embarrassments (Ariana Richards), and some are timeless souls posthumously transcendent (Audrey Hepburn). I adore them as much as any weirdo can--I become their biggest fan. However, subdue your concerns, for I'm mentally stable enough to contain my sick devotion within the boundaries of restraining orders.
Anyways, my latest faux sweetheart is Samantha Mathis, her of forever reaching forehead, endlessly endearing facial flounders, and smugly tender eyes. She's so cute. I just went thru a film fest of Pump Up the Volume, Little Women, and The Thing Called Love. The latter being slightly mournful as she starred opposite River Phoenix, who was also her off-screen beau til his death. It's difficult to separate the impending real life doom with the lighthearted hoedown of the film, which adds an unfortunate colouring to her appeal. She's been attributed to the quote "The night River died is a nightmare that will never end." Aw.
Yeah, it's useless trivia such as that, along with watching lame movies (I'm dreading to check out her role as the Princess in Super Mario Bros.), which constitutes my loony methodology. We'll see how long she lasts.
<< Out On a Lim (5.30.03 - 9.1.03)
<< Back to main page