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Out On a Lim (3.4.05 - 6.3.05) >>
Emily enlisted me in a marathon performance of "Vexations".

It's believed that the proto-avante-garde self described phonometrician Erik Satie (1866-1925) composed the enigmatic keyboard (no instrument was specified) piece supposedly in 1893.  On paper, it simply consists of three non-metered lines--one theme and two variations.  The snag is it's to be repeated 840 times.

An upright piano was rolled out to the patio of UCLA's Schoenberg Music Building.

The most famous public performance of the piece took place at the Pocket Theatre, New York by a team of pianists organised by John Cage on September 9, 1963 and took 18 hours 40 minutes.  It has also been notoriously performed by individuals who've played it completely thru.  Taken at the instructed "tres lent" tempo (which is open to many interpretations), most performances go for about 24 hours.

I signed up to do an hour.

I'm a horrible sight reader.  But I've got a good memory.  Emily claims that the piece is super difficult to memorize, if not impossible--which I highly doubted, I mean, I've never seen any music that wasn't easy to remember.  So I looked over the notes the night before, cause I didn't want to stumble whilst reading it during the performance.  And I saw how it can seem confusing--it's notated with overly complicated enharmonic equivalents (for example, B double flat = A).  But once decoded, I had it.

I played 27 repeats between 18:00 and 19:00.

I had fun.  After a while, the music really dissolves into the background, especially outdoors with traffic noises.  Although I didn't channel any of the "vexing" emotions others felt as they concentrated on the curveball notation, which some say is the point of the piece, nor enter the legendary trance state that the mantra motif induces after extended submission to the loop, I did enjoy not being tied to the written page which afforded me gazes into the upright piano's reflective surface at the world behind me, which appeared much simpler than it deceivingly tries to seem.

And before I knew it, my time was up.

(6.6.05)

I've been accused of having a pretty good poker face.  Indeed, my deadpan sarcastic reactions are often confused for being serious and vice versa.  But honestly, I don't try to throw people off, rather I believe that I might be suffering from a case of multiple perspectives--I truly see several angles to any situation and by default resort to a neutral expression.  The result is it's kinda hard for most people to figure out what I'm really thinking.  Which doesn't bother me.

My coworkers have been going on strike lately.  They've been bitching about our employer taking advantage of us and whatnot--I don't follow the exact details.  I couldn't in good conscience join the strike cause as much as my employer might be screwing me, I know I'm far more guilty for taking advantage of them.  I mean, seriously, I should be thankful that I get away with the "work" that I do.

Unfortunately, I don't play poker.  Some buddies taught me once long ago, but I don't remember the rules--it wasn't my idea of entertainment.  So no, I'm not jumping on the current poker fad, which officially is uncool per the edict that television commercials automatically kill coolness.  Not that I had any intention of using my supposed poker face.  I understand gambling as much as I do sports--I see no need for abstract notions of "winning" and "losing".

Not that I'm a bad worker, as I actually get the job done, otherwise I'd've been fired by now.  However, in the meantime, I know I'm cheating the system.  Of course, granted I do enjoy a certain amount of luck in my financial situation, and I should support those who might feel like they've been dealt a bad hand.  But no matter how good my poker face might be, I can't complain about anything.

(6.7.05)

My brother and his girlfriend lent me their copy of
Tonari no Totoro--the widescreen Japanese edition.  I've never seen it before as I was waiting for a better version than the currently available English dubbed pan and scan DVD.  Yeah, I know that's not a good excuse since imports are easy to acquire in the global online age.  And any self respecting Studio Ghibli fan ought to've seen the film from which the mascot derives.

Well, it's a cute movie--cute characters, cute story, cute soundtrack.  However, what got my attention most was the depiction of the Japanese countryside.  To me, Miyazaki really captures the look and feel of rural Japan, cartoon or not.  I mean, I can feel the heat in the air as the outline of trees glow in the summer twilight, I can smell the swampy frog infested water that quietly streams next to the dirt roads, and I can see the spirits.  It's akin to feeling homesick.

The night before, I watched
Lost In Translation for the millionth time.  I've yet to grow tired of it.  Cause pretty actress notwithstanding, I think Coppola really nails Tokyo, especially from an American perspective.  It's all clean, crowded, and colourfully grey.  There's a claustrophobic emptiness in the soulless pursuit of passing the time.  Oddly, the busy bustle looks like a video game.  Which is exactly how I remember it.  And whenever I think of the city, I dream of the country.

(6.8.05)

Last month was unexpectedly busy here at www.henrylim.org.  101,269 hits in 30 days--31,115 of those in a single day (I usually average about that much total in a month).  Just when I thought things were settling down, some referring link sends spikes thru my statistics.  I'm relatively certain that a blurb on
www.gizmodo.com caused the first wave.  Coincidentally, news about the Xbox 360 shared the front page that day.  Soon geeks on various video game bulletin boards were spreading the post. 

Which is all cool.  I mean, I'm thankful that people still stop by--after all, it was three years ago when I built the LEGO harpsichord.  I'm surprised my little webpage has survived this long.  To imagine that that many people are visiting boggles me.  And it's relentless.  You'd think that it'd die sooner or later.  But it has a constant pulse--'tis very rare that it dips below 1,000 hits per day.  Part of me morbidly wants to see it fade away, whilst another part thinks it'll be hilarious if it outlives me.

(6.9.05)

They think they're the best
Just because they're so picturesque
But to me they're just scenery
For the girl in the background

   
Back in 1992, I laboured inordinately for a year on a single song.  I don't know what my problem was--normally I can knock off a tune in a few days.  It wasn't a case of writer's block, cause I had tons of ideas.  Maybe I had trouble condensing those thoughts.  After all, it was my sophomore year in college.  Exciting and confusing times.  Anyways, I'd sit at a piano and run thru infinite variations on the theme, which itself got revised and updated endlessly.  Not that the final product was anything worth singing about.  I never made a decent recording of it--after all that work, too.  But looking back, I kinda understand its place in my development as a composer.  Before "The Girl In the Background" my method was of the shoot in the dark variety.  I can't say I had any clue as to what I was doing.  After that song, I must admit that I'm still lost, but at least I found some hints towards what I'm capable of musically.

Around that same time, a friend told me about a girl he met.  He dubbed her "Poem Chick".  I forget the details behind the nomenclature--something about a poem I'm guessing.  Nevertheless, I thought that the concept of a "Poem Chick" was cool, sight unseen.  She was an ideal.  And undoubtedly influenced the song I was writing.  Lyrically, the image of a "girl in the background" took shape.  Of course, I don't consider myself a poet.  Some of the words that I used make me cringe today.  "Picturesque".  Please.  But I suppose, the lyrics represent the music which reflect how I thought at the time.  Sometimes you just gotta laugh at the past.

As a song, "The Girl In the Background" is unfocused.  It goes thru too many chords, the melody hogs up all the space between phrases, and the meter shifts unnecessarily.  However, I could never write a song like it again.  Even if I tried, I can't see the world as I did then.  All naive and sentimental.  Thus I thought it'd be funny to hear it updated.  I made an instrumental version, which retains the clumsy composition's missteps, albeit the arrangement is new.  Thirteen years later, I can finally listen to it.

The Girl In the Background (Poem Chick Mix)

(6.10.05)

Dear Meanwhilers,

I slapped together a cheeseball MIDI version of
"Genevieve Again At Thirteen".

It's based on the old 1993 arrangement--I kinda wanted to hear how it might've sounded like had all the unsynced delays not killed the listenablity of the original recording.  Of course, it's just for my own indulgence.  Nevermind the 303 arpeggios, the straight 8ths bass, the drum patterns, and the slightly different form.  Do NOT follow it for our new version as I think what we're doing now is cool.

However, I do think that the tempo is as fast as the song can go--117 BPMs.  The melody should sorta float, not chase the beat.  Also, I wanna try the harmonies that I added.  JM, I think that my voice sounds better on top, so the part I wrote for you is on the bottom, which ought to fit your register.  Furthermore, I think you should sing the overlapping lines.  Oh, and I changed the D before the Fmaj7add9 to a Dmaj7.  That shouldn't affect anyone other than my rhythm guitar, but just clarifying that that's what's going on there.

I like the sparse Police arrangement that we've got going currently with the instruments.  I won't be adding keyboards to this track--save the nerdiness for the other tunes.  This leaves space for the multiple vocals and the bass to move around.  Although, Zaggs, if you've got some percussion ideas, go for it.

How's
Poem as the title for the new album?

Laters,

-Larry  
               
(6.13.05)

(6.14.05)

"Ew, you've got a pimple on your lip," was the first thing my sister said to me at the gate of the Long Beach Airport as I picked her up from her business trip to New York.  I noticed it that morning.  However, I thought that my facial hair blocked it nicely from view.  Like I care.  But my family displays weird methods of showing affection.  I've never hugged my sister.  We just make fun of each other.  Like we care.

"Yeah, Henry just picked me up from the airport," she answered her cellphone.  "We're on our way back--just meet us at my apartment...bye."

"Who was that?" I casually asked, as if it was important.

"Dad," she replied, as if she was seriously concerned.  "He's gonna drop off some plums that he picked from the tree at home."

"What?" I laughed.  "Doesn't he have anything better to do?"

But we knew better.  It's just like him.  That's his way of welcoming her back from the trip.  Nevertheless, we made fun of his desperate behaviour.

Anyways, my sister has a strange way of noticing little flaws in other people.  Things that I completely dismiss until she points them out.  For instance, I once thought that Lucy Liu was cute.  My sister called upon the fact that she was crosseyed.  And from that moment on I couldn't stop zeroing in on Lucy's messed up eyes.  To this day, I can't look at her without busting up.  Not that all of my sister's criticisms convince me.  She tried to direct my attention to Audrey Hepburn's crooked teeth.  But I think that's part of Audrey's charm--the awkward parts that equal the beautiful sum.

Of course that doesn't exempt me from making fun of my sister's little flaws.  Like the insecure way she notices little flaws in everyone but herself.  She's so immature.

(6.15.05)

(6.16.05)

Genevieve (Polyhedra Mix)

(6.17.05)

Whilst it might seem silly to wonder if our collective memory has been tampered with during our sleep I think it's equally absurd not to entertain the possibility.  No one would know for certain anyways.  Either way, we're running on assumptions.  And maybe 'tis a waste of time, but perhaps time is one of those concepts that's been messed with.  Cause sometimes life seems so damn long--I ought to be dead by now, yet everyday feels brand new. 

I went to a classical guitar concert tonight.  Amongst the baroque and 12-tone pieces what stuck in my head most were the Brazilian folk songs.  Maybe I'm simple minded, but they sounded cute and more than anything reminded me of the uncertainty of it all.  As I had a smokebreak during the intermission, I listened to the crickets in the June night.

Today my stapler broke.  So I dismantled it to see what was wrong.  A spring popped and a little pin rattled loose.  I couldn't figure out how to fix it, given that I've never tried before.  But instead of uselessly struggling, I grabbed my boss' stapler and opened it.  I copied the mechanism's assembly and sure enough my stapler was back to form.    

Last night I had a dream that the latest fad was decorating streets and freeways with fake roadkill--punks would make some incredibly lifelike carcasses and jokingly fake people out.  I took a bus to Chicago and the old lady who sat behind me couldn't stop gasping at the squashed dogs that lined the streets even though I kept reminding her that they weren't real.  She asked me if I was certain I could tell the difference.  And she said that regardless, she couldn't find it in her heart to mistakenly ignore the dead.     

(6.20.05)

The sun has faded away.  If the sun has faded away, I'll try to make it shine.  For tomorrow may rain so I'll follow the sun.  It's so fine it's sunshine.  So we sailed up to the sun.  Good day sunshine.  I'm in love and it's a sunny day.  We take a walk, the sun is shining down.  When the sun shines they slip into the shade.  When the sun shines down.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes.  But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down.  Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.  If the sun don't come, you get a tan from sitting in the English rain.  Set me on a silver sun, for I know that I'm free.  The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful and so are you.  See the sunny skies.  Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering in the sun.  Swaying daisies sing a lazy song beneath the sun.  One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover.  Now the sun turns out his light.  Here comes the sun.  Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.  Here comes the Sun King.  Two of us standing so low in the sun.  Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on.  Everybody saw the sunshine.

(6.21.05)

Sometimes I think that the modern world ain't fast paced enough.  Either that or I have no patience for idiots who drive too slow or fat people who can't find their wallet as they hold up the checkout line at the supermarket.  Not that I'm in a hurry to get anywhere, but it makes me feel sorry for the lame and less coordinated.  Being blessed with motor and memory skills means squat in a world full of slow moving retards.

I've been experimenting with microwave dinners.  Normally, I dine out everynight, but was in the mood to change the scene.  That and there was a sale, buy 4 for $8, at the grocery store.  Although I'm way too lazy to prepare food, I thought that the frozen meal route might be a compromise that I could handle.  Ha, it's all puncture holes in the covering, heat for 3 minutes, uncover and stir, recover, rotate, heat for another 3 minutes, let sit--if I wanted to cook...

As I stood in the checkout line waiting to pay for my microwave lasagna, country fried pork chop, roasted chicken, and fettucini with broccoli, I flipped thru the latest issue of In Touch magazine.  Apparently Lindsay banned Jessica from a party and now they're in a feud.  Dude, I hope they make up cause I totally hate to see them mad at each other.  If they don't, then I'll have to boycott their respective summer product placement cross promotional tie-in excuses for movies.           

So my experiment was a failure.  Not only do microwave dinners require too much work on my part, but they taste like shit.  I liken it to eating with a condom on my tongue--there's no taste sensation involved.  Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever cooked or reheated anything yummy with a microwave, except popcorn.  They should've just called it "The Popcorn Maker".      

And then I slapped myself as a reminder that I've got it good.  The fact that I can be critical and finicky is proof enough that I'm a spoiled brat.  Instead I ought to be thankful that I can eat anything at all.  I mean, I've never known what it's like to be really hungry.  Of course, that doesn't necessitate me to continue eating microwave dinners.  It's back to paying people to cook for me.

(6.22.05)

Last Cigarette: I'm smoking now
Last Alcoholic Drink: beer
Last Car Ride: from Hollywood to Westwood
Last Kiss: some chick in Japan
Last Good Cry:
Revenge of the Sith
Last Library Book:
Man of La Mancha vocal score
Last Book Bought:
The Complete Far Side
Last Book Read:
The Complete Peanuts 1955-56
Last Movie Seen in Theatres:
The Empire Strikes Back
Last Movie Rented:
Eulogy
Last Cuss Word Uttered: bullshit
Last Beverage Drank: Lime Coke
Last Food Consumed: pho
Last Crush: Zooey Deschanel
Last Phone Call: Christine
Last TV Show Watched: some PBS thing about crowd and mass social behaviour  
Last Time Showered: this morning
Last Shoes Worn: Sketchers
Last CD Played: Teenage Fanclub's
Man Made
Last Item Bought:
The Complete Far Side
Last Download: Howard Jones' "No One Is To Blame (Rupert Hine Remix - 1985 Remake)" mp3
Last Annoyance: remembering last annoyance 
Last Disappointment: couldn't remember last annoyance
Last Soda Drank: Lime Coke
Last Thing Written: OUT ON A LIM (6.22.05)
Last Key Used: A major
Last Words Spoken: "See you later."
Last Sleep: last night
Last Ice Cream Eaten: green tea
Last Chair Sat In: Pho 99
Last Webpage Visited:
http://news.yahoo.com/comics  

(6.23.05)

I'm scraping paint off my fingernails.

Two weekends ago, the receipt checker at the exit of Home Depot specifically handed me a business card.  It was for the Fast & Furious Auto Center--body repair, detailing, and window tinting specialists.  The guy mentioned that he was part owner, or something.  Apparently he read too much into my
2 Fast 2 Furious t-shirt.

The houses on the hill were outlined with neon blue for about a minute before dusk took over.  I enjoyed that brief transitional moment during a smokebreak on Christine's new balcony as she unpacked her kitchenwares.

After picking up the paint, she got coffee and I hot chocolate at our old hang out in Marina Del Rey.  Other than Jerry's Famous Deli changing their logo, everything was still the same, ten years hence--the Indian restaurant, Tower Records, Barnes & Noble.  It was kinda like starting over. 

I'm not so sore from brush painting the trim last night.  Not like my arms were from using broad roller strokes on the walls the week previous.

We munched on baked Cheetos between coats.  She found a globby ball of the crunchy cheese snack whilst I resisted the urge to lick my fingers when I was done--didn't want to eat paint.

"Dude, there was a huge accident (car is totaled with person trapped inside) in front of the apartment complex and now I can't get out..."

When I arrived at her old apartment, sure enough, there were two cop cars and a crowd mulling around a crashed automobile.  How it got into that predicament, it was behind a wall at the bottom of a blind alley, was a brain teaser.  As the story goes, the driver was trying to escape a hit and run, went speeding down the dead end street, rammed a tree, and flipped over the wall.  Unbelieveably, he survived, but was unable to get out of his smashed vehicle.  The fire department released him.  And he tried to continue to run away, but was obviously caught by the nearby police.

"Want to just drop by my old place first and we could go eat and then head over to the condo?"

Round the bottom of the living room, up and down the kitchen threshold, above the fireplace, tracing the hallway, and aligning the bedroom, we taped the borders before painting.

The demolished car was being towed away as we left the garage of her old apartment and headed to her new place.  We talked about brains, STD gurus, and Christian choirs on the drive across town.  Meanwhile, I thought of the traffic patterns in seemingly random events thru the intersections of time and how I ended up in a car with her.       

I used a miniature crowbar to open the can, a wooden stick to stir the contents, and a rubber spout to pour the paint into a pan.  Somewhere along the way, it must've gotten on my fingernails.

(6.24.05)

I have this recurring dream in which I'm in a video game arcade.  It's a huge warehouse filled with a million rows of standup consoles.  I can't say I've ever been to such in real life--I think it's a conglomeration of the old Circus Circus arcade in Vegas, back in the early '80s, and whatever memories I have of ancient Chuck E. Cheeses, however expanded for the sake of filling up the infinite quadrants of my dreamscape.  Anyways, I keep wandering the labyrinth of games, quarters in hand, in search of something fun to play.

And there're some cool games--
Donkey Kong Jr. 5, Centipede vs. Millipede, Ms. Pac Man 13, Xevious X, The Continuing Adventures of Dig Dug, etc.  There's always a new game everytime I return to the dream, tucked away in a corner somewhere, behind the aisle of classics.  Last night I found a wicked version of Super Tempest.  Most of the time, when I play a game, I suck, kinda like in real life.  I'm more fascinated by how the themes are variated than winning.  I usually have a wow buzz keeping my eyes widened at the novelty of it all.  But on a good night, I can kick ass.  I'll zone into the game and enter another dream...     

There's a secret passage on level 999 of
Super Tempest.  You've got to sacrifice your lives, but it's so worth it.  Just keep dying as you spiral around until the last villain sucks you thru.  Don't worry, you've still got control of your ship.  Spin to the right as fast as you can and you'll find a wormhole that leads back to the beginning of the game.  Only this time you're not tied to the grid--you've got complete freedom to fly anywhere you want.

"Are you done yet?" monotoned the half-Japanese girl who was looking over my shoulder.  She was sucking on the straw of her ice coffee as I turned around. 

"Yeah," I mumbled as I walked away from the game.

(6.27.05)

The Countess (Violet Mix)

(6.28.05)

Popularity schmopularity.  Everywhere I look thesedays, it's all lists and polls charting who or what is number one in the opinion of the so-called masses.  Which is all fine, but I keep falling out of favour with the picks.  Maybe I'm not cool.  Which gives me the grumpy right to criticize the critics.  Things like movies (and movies within a series), albums (and songs on a album), and personalities are too complex to reduce to a hierarchy or a thumbs up/down, in my opinion.  My feelings vaciliate not to mention hinge on several interconnected dimensions to pick a favourite.  Yet there's this democratic notion that a choice must be made.  And there's a sissy jury mentality going around, making everyone scared to deviate from the majority rule.  Everytime someone mentions "I read bad reviews..." I just roll my eyes.  I avoid that crap and make up my own mind.  Call me an individualist, but I highly doubt that anyone else's judgement is anything similar to mine--unless they've lived my life exactly and have the same criteria by which reasons for liking something have evolved.  But I suppose that's how society works.  It keeps everyone in line by maintaining arbitrary notions thru the reliance on quantitative proof and the fear of deviating from the "norm".

That being said, I think it's kinda fascinating to look at statistics, mainly cause they're unpredicatable--even when you've got expectations, there's always a few surprises.  The temptation to make generalizations is great.  And in this day and age, they're so easy to gather in a timely and precise manner.  No wonder there's this fetish with numbers.  Anyways, I was going over the rankings of my digital photographs in the galleries on my webpage, to see which ones were being hit the most.  Cause I've been getting requests for permission to use certain images and was curious if there's a pattern.  There are a few that seem to be consistently singled out, which is all flattering, but hardly what I consider my best shots--the older photos get more attention cause they're linked to my front page.  That's why the newer galleries, which I think showcase more craftsmanship than the dumb luck of the earlier pics, aren't ranked higher.   As well, Gallery One had about a two year head start over Gallery Seven.  Nevertheless, sometimes the title of the photo can be a factor--common terms and proper names are referring keywords from image search engines. 

But enough of my overanalyzations, here're the Top 10 Digital Photographs at www.henrylim.org as of 6.21.05:

1 .
Dictionary (8379 hits)
2. 
Time (7898 hits)
3. 
Speedometer (4569 hits)
4. 
Puddle (3945 hits)
5. 
Tunnel (2760 hits)
6. 
Universal City Walk (2390 hits)
7. 
Rickenbacker (2300 hits)
8. 
Asphalt (2172 hits)
9. 
Wigheads (2003 hits)
10.
Bamboo (1950 hits)

I had a hunch that "Dictionary", "Time", and "Speedometer" would be at the top--I get a request for those every month.  But I would never've guessed their order or differences in hits.  Of course the majority (6 out of 10) of the Top Ten are from Gallery One.  Note, however, that keyword titles "Universal City Walk" and "Rickenbacker" are from Gallery Six.  And for anyone who cares, the least popular photo is
"Etude", ranked #145 with 325 hits.  On a side note, I wanna thank everyone who's written to me kindly asking for usage rights.  It's fun to see reproductions of my simple little photos on CD covers, quilts, t-shirts, posters, and webpages.  Honestly, I don't mind anyone stealing my images--I'm not in it for the money.  Besides, no one really cares about my digital photographs.  The actual number one image on my webpage is "Stegosaurus1" with 50759 hits--that's way more than the above top ten gallery photos combined.  If I could get a dollar everytime someone saw that...

(6.29.05)

My friend and I had a time machine.  Well, it wasn't really a time machine, rather it was a path we took up the hill of our elementary school--a steep dirt climb.  It led to a fence, which conveniently had a hole under it that enabled us to crawl thru.  Everybody else who used the sidewalk had to go all the way around the school grounds.  We saved a good five minutes cutting across the hill.  Thus we called the path "The Five Minute Time Machine".

"Did you hear?" Christine gossiped on the way to dinner.  "Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are engaged."

My lawyer conducted thorough research on pornography.  This was back when he was getting his degree and was working at some legal firm that settled smut industry contracts, or something or another--I never fully understood what he did.  Nevertheless, I swear, he amassed quite some knowledge about XXX flicks--who the pornstars were, which companies had them signed, and what conventions they were appearing at.  And he had an impressive collection.  Of course, his "research" just happened to coincide with his personal enjoyment.

"Is that what they're calling it?" I replied.

My sister likes to refer to our family friends as "cousins", even though they're not related.  Albeit, she spends more time with them than our actual cousins, so a honourary status somewhat applies.  Besides, sometimes it's the affection that counts, not the affectation.  I have no problem with her harmlessly lying--I think she craves for some sense of family in America as our real cousins live in Japan, plus she doesn't speak their language.  However, no amount of wishful thinking will ever change the truth.       

"Yeah," Christine educationally guessed, "she's in it for the career boost and he needs a beard."

(6.30.05)

Dear readers, cheaters, and pumpkin eaters,

Away I shall journey on a tour of Europe that, in the event of successful planning, will absorb a fun soaked two weeks of arousing surroundings amidst lasses, meisjes, fillettes, and frauleins.  Alas, my lazy staff claims that I must be dreaming if I think I pay them enough to cover for me and pretend to write journal entries on my behalf.  So rather than ask them ever so kindly for a puny favour such as get off their whiny asses and go slightly beyond their undemanding job descriptions, OUT ON A LIM will officially be on vacation whilst I'm away.  Of course, I can't guarantee that I'll get'em any souvenirs.   

Zest in my absence

-Henry

(7.1.05)

Photos of my EuroTrip

(7.18.05)

Whenever I go swimming in a pool, I like to touch the bottom of the deep end.  I take a big breath and submerge, my senses blurred by the chlorinated water, with the singular goal of feeling the hard floor under the palm of my hand.  And kick off back to the surface.  I can't say which part of the ritual I like best--the descent, the contact, or the ascent.  Cause they're all equally thrilling in their own ways.  Sometimes in particularily deep pools, it takes several attempts to reach the bottom, which makes meeting the challenge all the more exciting, not to mention the victorious release upon returing and breaking the surface for a gasp of air.       

Likewise, whenever I'm concentrating on something, working on a project, or dreaming, I fish the depths of my mind til I hit an idea--anything that's concrete and can push me toward an epiphany, realization, or consciousness.  Oftentimes it's an obsessive dive that can take forever for nothing.  But when I'm lucky, it doesn't take any effort.  So much so that I find myself hardly thinking at all.  I'll touch the bottom of my subconscious and let the propulsion guide me back to the surface, my mind clear of distracting thoughts.  It's sorta like zoning out, but having focus so as to not harm myself or others.  I suppose there's a bit of faith involved--that if I relinquish my mind's control over itself, I'll be ok.  Cause the deep end is nothing to fear.  Just don't drown.

(7.19.05)

I've got to be honest, my life hasn't been going so well lately.  I have three theories as to why my life sucks:

1. I haven't been getting enough sleep.  I acknowledge the fact that ideally everyone should get no less than 12 hours of sleep, but that's a ridiculous standard.  No responsible adult employed in modern American society has the luxury to sleep more than 8 hours tops.

2. The other night, whilst playing poker with my crew, my buddy let his brother Austin, who was visiting from Texas, join the game.  That lucky son of a bitch cleaned out everyone.  

3. I recently met a hot chick at the mall.  Needless to say, we hit it off and've been dating.  She's fun--a little crazy, but fun.  However, yesterday, as we were fooling around, I noticed that she had a tiny tattoo of a dagger on the back of her shoulder.  I'm kinda scared...

(7.20.05)

I happened to catch some of the news on television.  All the headlines were old and stale already.  Ok, I'm spoiled with up-to-date information posted almost immediately online.  And I realize that not everyone's plugged in and they gotta get the news somehow.  But geez, it's not even funny anymore how the once deemed immediacy of television is now unacceptably slow, at least for me (I don't have CNN).  Not to mention reading the newspaper the next day.  Or a magazine the week after.  Yes, the internet ain't helping my patience.

Speaking of which, conversely, it's also ridiculous for blogs to be left hanging with old entries.  And yeah, I realize that not everyone has the time like me to post on a regular basis, but I think it's courteous to put a "temporarily out of service" sign up.  Especially after three months (hint, hint, Hilary...).  It makes television look like it goes at light speed.  I know, I know--I need to get a life, a clue, etc.

That being said, due to my vacation, this entry might seem outdated, as it was written on 6.28.05--I've got a backlog of entries per a little habit of mine to stay ahead of myself.  Anyways, I read today that Avril got engaged.  What a bummer.  I guess she doesn't love me.  Oh well.  Such is life.  Again, I apologize for sounding like yesterday's news.

(7.21.05)
John Williams isn't fun anymore.  Not that that's a bad thing.  His fine craftsmanship has matured over the last 50 years--it'd be kinda sad if his style didn't evolve.  And I really admire the tight command of atonal chaos that he currently perfected for War of the Worlds.  But I grew up on the old Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, and Raiders of the Lost Ark scores, when his themes got stuck in everyone's head.  They were very much characters in their own right within their respective movies.  Like pop tunes, they were catchy.  And as anyone besides snobs will agree, catchy tunes ain't easy to write, even with the advantage of being associated with a blockbuster film--cause arguably, the music holds everything together.  However, for some reason, "catchy" doesn't cut it in the world of "serious" composition.  Of course, I can't speak for Maestro Williams, but it sounds like he's been trying hard lately to be "serious", which has zapped the fun out his soundtracks.

Perhaps 'tis a sign of the times, but modern film music in general has been downplaying big, loud, and in your face themes.  Take the
Batman scores as an example.  The classic TV show had a goofy, but memorable, little riff.  The Elfman theme is the most famous, if not the one that will forever follow the superhero.  Goldenthal's theme was a little too smartassed to be taken seriously, but I think that was the point.  The latest incarnation might have a tiny motif, but it's not easily identifiable.  'Tis safe to say that it lacks a theme by most textbook definitions.   Or when in doubt, use the simplest rule of thumb--ask a kid to hum it.  The same goes for Revenge of the Sith and its effective, but barely noticeable new theme.  And yes, I recognize that the darker subject matter and murkier heroic tones don't call for rambunctious themes.  It seems like the zeitgeist relishes in dour solemnity, which I don't blame given the state of the world.  Simply, no one's in the mood to hear a fun theme thesedays.

Personally, I like the elder Williams style--it's densely lean, cleverly pretentious, and dissonantly polished.  True, he's more about background textured serialism thesedays than he was in the past when he used to drench the screen in gooey romantic cues, but the cynic in me likes to hear him thinking with his head not his heart.  I actually am slightly embarrassed at his earlier greatest hits due to their childishness, however sentimentally attached I am to them.  Cause maturity is a challenge.  And the fun might be gone, but there are other things in life that are equally worth experiencing.

(7.22.05)

My mom always yells at me whenever I walk around her house wearing shoes.  Cause according to Asian culture, you're supposed to take off your shoes before entering a house.  And even though I grew up with this custom, I think it's a little ridiculous, especially in America.  So I often conveniently forget to take of my shoes as an act of feigned idiocy to piss off my mom.  But more importantly, cause I like wearing shoes.

There's a reason why Asians take off their shoes in Asia, at least back in the day.  It's a muddy place due to the damp weather and hot humidity.  Although they historically didn't wear shoes per se, rather sandals, the footwear tracked mud in the house.  And because they sit and sleep on the floor, the only way to keep it clean was to remove their sandals.  So to this day, despite Westernization, Asians still maintain this custom.  In Japan, for example, the entryway is a dedicated space to shoe removal--it's called a genkan, which is a recessed area that commands its own etiquette.

This all makes practical sense in Asia.  But it ain't so muddy where I live, not to mention I sit on chairs and sleep in a bed--the floor doesn't get too dirty, nor does it need to be clean.  But yeah, logical practices become customs for customary sake regardless of transplanted cultures and reason.  I respect that.  People like to hold on to some sense of continutity with the past even if it makes no sense in the present.

That said, I suppose my affection for wearing shoes is a bit odd.  To me, they're more comfortable to keep on than not, especially when my toenails are long.  And comfort is key.  Without shoes I'm more conscious of how my feet feel on the floor.  With them I don't give much thought to my every step.  Plus, it's too much damn work to untie and retie everytime I enter or leave my abode.  Nevertheless, I acknowledge that I'm probably reacting stubbornly to my upbringing.  But I like to think that the future belongs to the rebels.

(7.25.05)

I didn't pick up the penny.  It fell from my hand as I fumbled with the keys to my office.  I just let it go.  Cause it's just a penny.  And I wasn't gonna bend down to retrieve it.  Maybe some little kid'll find it and get good luck.  I sure didn't need it.

Earlier, I walked all the way to human resources to pick up my paycheck.  I've been away on vacation, so it was waiting for me since the first of the month.  I prefer to physically pick up my paychecks rather than have them directly deposited into my bank account on account of a previous mishap due to someone else named "Henry Lim".  I gotta see the check in my hand.

After depositing my paycheck into the ATM and withdrawing some spending money, I bought some lunch.  There was a long line at the register.  And one person working the checkout counter.  I took a deep breath and prepared my patience when a store clerk motioned to me that he was opening another register.  What luck.  For change I received the aforementioned penny that I passed onto the floor for someone to pick up.

On the drive home from work, I hit a wall of traffic on the freeway.  So I exited and took a side street.  You've got to have several backup plans when driving in LA.  For instance, yesterday as I drove Christine to the airport, I took a few improvised detours from the most obvious route, some of which she advised--she claims that she could be a taxi driver in this town.

Anyways, I got some fast food at a drive thru for dinner.  I received some pennies in change.  When I got home and emptied my pockets, I noticed that one of the pennies looked different from the others.  It was similar in shape and copper colour, but had a big starfish instead of Lincoln.  Upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was from the Bahamas. 

Just my two cents...

(7.26.05)

Rules that I live by:

1. From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or oblique motion.
2. From a perfect consonance to an imperfect consonance one may proceed in direct, contrary, or oblique motion.
3. From an imperfect consonance to a perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or oblique motion.
4. From one imperfect consonance to another imperfect consonance one may proceed in direct, contrary, or oblique motion.

(7.27.05)

I got two free shirts today.

A friend's been working for
iZotope, an audio processing software company, and gave me a cool shirt with their logo.

i268, a student organization of Tabor College, sent me a shirt promoting their summer tour, which features
a design based on one of my digital photographs.

Yeah, all the shirts I wear thesedays've been free--they're taking over my wardrobe.  Just the other week, my sister's boyfriend (my main supplier) gave me shirts for
Cinderella Man and Land of the Dead.  And in a weird way, they've sorta become my trademark style.  Not that I'm fashion minded, but I think I've kinda developed a unique look for myself based on dud movies and esoterica.  Most of my friends and associates have come to expect the fact that I don't really care for the writing on my clothes--especially after I keep answering them that I haven't seen the movies.  Yet, my shirts aren't common everyday items.  You can't walk into a store in the mall to purchase any of them.  And in a way they're limited edition items, but not necessarily collector's items cause no one in their right mind would seriously go out of their way to collect lame movie shirts.  Thus, my unique "style".

Hey, it went over well in Europe.  I was walking thru Hyde Park when this little girl pointed to me and yelled "
2 Fast 2 Furious" as I passed by.   Priceless.

(7.28.05)

Nqtgo kruwo fqnqt ukv cogv, eqpugevgvwgt cfkrkuekpi gnkv.  Wlsslualzxbl zltwly, thzzh uvu shvylla altwvy, spnbsh thnuh apujpkbua abywpz, pk zhnpaapz sljabz alssbz hjjbtzhu wbybz.  Gvccvekvjhlv tfddfuf rttldjre ufcfi.  Ncakm qv umbca.  Nwklatmdme dsgjwwl mddseugjhwj lmjhak.  Lxw fhexlmbx ihlnxkx ebuxkh.  Lwvmk kwvamkbmbcmz umbca cb tmkbca.  Dhvfdhr nhthr ahap, gvapvqhag ng, grzchf dhvf, irfgvohyhz iry, ravz.  Wywtirhmwwi tsxirxm.

(7.29.05)

I'm gonna refrain.

I wasn't aware of any alleged cults dedicated to chicks in diet cola commercials.  But do a search on any of the popular brands and you'll find shrines and blogs worshipping these girls.  Which makes sense--geeks are losers.

So one of these gals caught my eye.  I'm not gonna mention which low calorie soft drink she was promoting cause I'm not sick.  Let's just say I did some cursory research and found myself far behind the times.  There's a pack of nerds already lined up.       

Turns out that some of these so-called sites are planted.  It's part of "viral marketing"--the goal being to create unconventional ad campaigns, seemingly homespun to generate buzz amongst the unsuspecting surfers.  The entertainment industry uses this fabricated word-of-mouth tactic often.

According to Google's patent application for its ranking algorithm, a site is considered more legitimate depending on when it was registered.  This is supposed to weed out spam and bogus sites.

Well, that's the last time I fall for some crazy dame...

(8.1.05)

Ok, the summer can officially begin.  I've found a song to get me thru the hot weather--Puffy's "Hajimari no Uta".  It's their newest and latest single (number 15 if you're keeping count).  And it's a gas.  It's pure Puffy coolness.  I can't help grinning like an idiot as I play it (and the equally bouncy B-side "Nice Body") on continuous repeat.  They released it just in time.  Summer rocks.

I must say, Puffy's status as one of my favourite bands is holding steady.  They're definitely the top contemporary band that's actively recording.  I credit their consistency--they keep comming out with great songs on a regular basis.  I won't pretend that their music is "innovative", "important", or whatever.  Yes, they're derivative, silly, and they probably won't get inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame.  But that's what I like about them.  In a perfect world The Beatles would've been cute Japanese chicks.

I remember hearing their debut album back in '96.  Instantly I dug their sound and craftsmanship.  However, I never would've guessed that they'd maintain their level of excellence for nearly a decade.  I can't think of one bum song they've sung.  Of course, they've got a great production team behind them.  But what could've been a passing fad (their first single was for a commercial) has lasted, if not improved over the years.  Amazement has always been criterion for me to like a band.  Puffy's run is nothing but.

Admittedly, there is the exotic factor.  I like having to actively keep up with them, cause they're not exactly being promoted in America, beyond their cartoon show, which lags behind what their doing in Japan.  They aren't being overplayed which allows me to enjoy their songs more exclusively.  I imagine that's how the kids in Liverpool used to feel when they coveted American music via the Cunard Yanks and Radio Luxembourg.  Special relationships are built when music is personally sought out.

I wasn't alive during the '60s, so I missed the thrill of hearing each new Beatles single as they were released nearly every season.  Thesedays most bands (and/or the recording industry) seem to be lazy with their releases--sometimes it takes years for an act to put out a new song.  Yeah, it creates anticipation.  But it also runs the risk of spanning the attention of the fans.  As well, putting out too many singles in rapid succession can hit saturation.  That is, unless the songs are cool, in which case each single becomes an event.  Lately, I've been associating the latest Puffy songs with the days surrounding their release.  Good times.

(8.2.05)

The way I see it, photography is screwing with the way I view the world.  I'm getting too self conscious about framing and composition, to the point where my eyes are conditioned to look at things as if they were potential photos--I'm always mentally imposing a rectangular border around subjects.  Angles are positioned.  The balance of objects is distributed.  Perspective lines are centered.  Focus.  Yeah, it's kinda nuts.  I often catch myself taking photographs, even when I don't have my camera handy, and I try to step back and acknowledge my surroundings.  I know I'm missing the bigger picture.

I started to notice that my vision was messed up when I couldn't immerse myself in a movie.  I kept noticing that it was enclosed within the screen, which destroyed the illusion that's supposed to captivate my attention.  Nevermind that I couldn't relate to any of the characters or the plot, I became too aware of being in a seat in an audience in a theatre in a city in a world in a universe in a dimension, etc.  And then I thought about my soul, or whatever it is that inhabits my entity, and how it's probably more profound than I can possibly comprehend.  Yet there's this slice of life that I'm experiencing.  It's framed by my ignorance of the presumed beyond.  My eyes can only see a portion of the entire picture.

(8.3.05)

Dear Mr. Lim

I just want to say I enjoy reading your blog.  I get a kick out of it at work.  Thanks for writing it.  I also want to ask you about an entry from last week, the one that's in code.  I've been trying to figure it out.  As far as I got it's some Latin text using
Caesar cipher, something about "love and pain and seeking".  But I can't get it all.  Any clue would be helpful.

-Megan


Megan

Hey, thanks for reading my web journal.  Uh, the coded message is meaningless.  Really.  It's an excerpt of the
Lorem Ipsum, which is commonly used as dummy text for typographic placeholding.  Don't kill yourself trying to decipher it.  Gnvdudq, gdqd'r z ghms: sqx z cheedqdms rghes enq dzbg rdmsdmbd.

-Henry

(8.4.05)

My assistant Kate broke the lock on the cabinet in my office.  To be fair, it was bound to bust sooner or later--she just happened to be the last one to touch it.  Cause it's been flimsy for some time, the latch being particularly troubling for poor Kate to figure out, much to my laughter.  For it never gave me any problems--I knew how to handle it just so, with a simple push and twist, the magical knowledge of which my assistant never grasped despite my many attempts to teach her by direction and example.  In the end, I let her suffer the inevitable.      

The first guillotine used by France as a standard method of execution was designed by Anton Louis.  In fact, the device was originally called the "Louison".  Mechanized capital punishment by Louison was gleefully endorsed and encouraged by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, whose name by popular misuage became associated with the decapitation machine, much to his descendants' embarrassment--they've since changed their surname.

My boss determined that it's gonna be too much of a bureaucratic hassle if not impossibility to fix the broken cabinet.  Yet it had to remain safely locked somehow.  So I was assigned to move it to a secure area--I emptied it of its contents, unscrewed it from its earthquake safe brackets, dragged it into our storage cage, and refilled it.  Now there's a gaping space in my office where the cabinet used to be.

The Eiffel Tower is bigger than I expected.  Especially as I stood at its base, I had to push my head far back to see it stretch into the Paris sky.  So much so that I strained my neck.  I felt a cutting pain.  And for the rest of the day I couldn't turn my head too quickly.  As my tour bus drove past the Louvre the tour director told us to look to our left at the Place du Carrousel, where many people died by the guillotine during the Revolution.  I couldn't look.

(8.5.05)

"Hey," I declared after a pause of recognition as I nearly walked past Christine somewhere between terminal 6 and 7 at LAX. 

There are several theories as to why watch ads freakishly almost always have their hands placed somewhere near 10 past 10--it's symmetrical and therefore aesthetically pleasing, it doesn't cover up the manufacturer's name, it's a significant time in the history of clocks, it's a secret conspiracy, etc.  But my favourite is it looks like the watch is smiling.

It was 10:30.  According to the monitor displaying arrivals, her flight landed half an hour ago.  It shouldn't take her that long to disembark.  Something was wrong.

Much has been speculated about the abrupt unfinished ending to Contrapuntus XIV of Bach's
Die Kunst der Fuge--some like to romanticize that the composer died on those notes (which coincidentally spell B-A-C-H), some more realistically blame his blindness and failing health for not continuing beyond measure 239, as well some have attempted to conjecture the finale.  I actually like how it's unresolved and

So I checked the monitor displaying baggage claims.  It said that her flight was routed to carousel 6.  However, at the terminal for her airline (terminal 7), there were only 4 carousels.  I asked an official where the hell carousel 6 was located.  "Oh, that's at terminal 6".  Damnit, I was waiting at the wrong terminal, even though by conventional wisdom I should've been right.

I can't believe how many people don't remember the movie
Teen Wolf.  And more specifically, Coach Finstock's infamous three rules to live by.  Cause I've gotten several emails from folks who believe I'm dating a chick with a dagger tattoo.  Uh, I think if my web journal actually depicted my life, I probably wouldn't be keeping it.

Hurrying over to terminal 6, I stopped to notice a cute girl.  "Hey."

(8.8.05)
There's a DJ who wants to remix a song from my Hacienda Heights album.  I think that'd be cool.  I'm all for remixes--I think they display a composer's true chops, moreso than creating the original work, cause imaginative abstraction is difficult to pull off well.  And I dig the whole wiki approach to letting others tinker with your music.

A common request that I get from people wanting to reuse my digital photographs is "Do you have them in higher resolution?"  This is cause printing them, especially blowing them up to poster size, looks like pixelated crap otherwise.  Unfortunately, when I began the hobby I never foresaw the need for higher resolution other than for the web--I figured, that's the only medium which people'll look at, afterall it's the internet age.  Hence, my stock response is "What you see is what you get."

Alas, I had to regretfully reply to the DJ in regards to allowing access to my original multitracks.  Not cause I was against the idea, rather I'd deleted them.  See, I've got a personal habit of conveniently losing all the components involved in a recording after I've completed a final mix.  I'd rather have them out of sight and mind once I've got a master.  The reason being I know that if I kept them, I'd still be tweaking the mix.  Cause I'm never truly happy with my mixes.  But in order to keep my sanity, I'll settle on a decent mix, and erase all possibility of remixing.  A song is truly done when it's all that's left.  Plus, I look at my recordings as snapshots in time--the past is gone.

However, it just so happens that I took most of the photos of the LEGO sculptures with an analog camera.   Thus I've been able to supply magazines with higher resolution scans.  And of course, those get the most attention.  Sometimes I believe that you don't choose proliferation.  It chooses you.

(8.9.05)

Where did the time go?

I stopped in mid keystroke.  I was zipping away at work.  Another mindless task.  I've gotten pretty adept at all the commands and macros, to the point where I could do it in my sleep.  But that was the problem.  I got a little too engaged with it.  I almost lost myself.  I'm vowing never to submerge into my job.  I'd like to appreciate the moments that otherwise would pass by in a blur.

The first time I ever drove a car was a few years before I was legal.  I snuck my parents' station wagon out for a joyride.  The thing I remember most was the initial awkwardness of being in control of such a large vehicle.  My foot wasn't acclimated to the gas pedal.  At first I pushed too hard and jerked the automobile ahead of myself.  But once I figured that out, I had a blast driving around my neighbourhood.  The streets looked different from behind the wheel.

Last week, in the neverending rerun
Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown faced a heartbreaking dilemma.  The Little Red Headed Girl was moving away.  Linus urged him to go over to her driveway and say "goodbye".  Charlie Brown couldn't--his excuse being he'd never said "hello" to her before.  As she got into her parents' station wagon and drove away all he could do was scream "AAUGH!"  I nearly choked on my sandwich during my lunch break whilst I read this episode.  It was the saddest thing ever.  I almost wanted to get back to work just to forget about it all.

(8.10.05)

The ushers reeled the rushes as the cleric circle leered.  A stoker versed in stroke genres struck trucks served and buried in rubied greens...

Yeah, I've got to stop playing
Text Twist.

My highest score: 54,340.

Unreal neural...

(8.11.05)

The first time I heard "Todos Santos", the last track on Daniel Lanois' latest album
Belladonna, I didn't get it.  I was in my car, which isn't exactly an ideal place to listen to subtle textures due to road noise, however enclosed I may be.  I thought it was another one of his Enoesque artsy fartsy indulgences.  It sounded like mellow noise--imagine an airplane passing by, but it's frozen, so the Doppler effect is stuck in some flanged loop.  This lasts for a good five minutes.  Ok, I know his music makes more sense on hallucinogenics, uh, I mean, that's what people have told me, but the track seemed pointless.  Pity, cause the rest of the album was so cool.

The American composer Henry Cowell (1897-1965) did extensive research in overtones and upper partials.  Accordingly, within every musical note there are clusters of clashing dissonance dangling above--most people aren't aware of hearing these registers.  It's because dissonance exists within the perceived consonance of a single note that Cowell theorized that dissonance is a natural and musical phenomenon.  It's always been there.

I find it odd that Prince didn't include "Batdance" on his compilation
The Hits.  Afterall, it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1989.  By most definitions it was a worldwide "hit".  Indeed, it's one of his weirder songs--loads of samples from the movie Batman, patchwork grooves, and silly lyrics ("Ducky, let me stick the 7-inch in the computer").  But it's like he deliberately unwrote the song from his oeuvre of popular accomplishments.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I heard the tune in public since it was released as a single.  Talk about novelty songs.  It's seemingly been erased, some might say for the better, from our collective memory.  Although, I've always thought that the guitar solo rocked.       

The second time I heard "Todos Santos", I still didn't get it.  I was in my bedroom listening on headphones, which is a totally different experience than hearing music on speakers--there's no space between your ears and the music so sounds sound closer and way more detailed.  It's like being in the music.  Anyways, the rest of the album was really neat.  I've always admired Lanois' ability to drench instruments in ridiculously wet effects, yet keep each sound discreetly defined in the mix.  That's not an easy thing to do--it's a near paradoxical feat to balance murkiness and clarity.  However, maybe it's cause I was influenced by my initial dismissal of the last track, but it still sounded like nothing.  An empty drone.

One of Cowell's innovations was plucking and scraping the strings of a piano, most notably in his landmark work
Aeolian Harp, which Cage credits as an inspiration for the prepared piano.  The idea of reaching inside a piano to produce sounds was nifty not only for sonic possibilities but as a new perspective on old concepts.  Sometimes people think too much outside of the box that they miss what's inside.

I just saw the film
Broken Flowers.  It's got a killer nude scene.  I don't wanna spoil anything, but let me just say that I'ven't gotten excited about a naked actress in an R-rated movie in a long time.  Maybe I've seen too much porn, uh, I mean, that's what people have told me is in porn, nudity that is.  And it's like sex is all over the place thesedays, it's practically static noise.  Plus, I'm not a teenager--the novelty's long worn off.  Nothing I'ven't seen before.  It's expected.  But I especially noticed the nudity in Broken Flowers

The third time I heard "Todos Santos", I got it.  I had it playing in the background on my little boombox.  I was sorta half listening to it as I was reading my email.  Nevertheless, I heard a tiny line faintly wavering melodically amidst the overbearing hum.  It's slow and almost transparent.  And you gotta stop to hear it or it'll blend into the noise.  Afterwards it becomes obvious and I can't believe I missed it, duh.  But it's a beautiful surprise--it makes you look inwards.  It's always been there.

(8.12.05)

I don't know if it's good or bad that I can't think of anything that really offends me.  Not that there's anything wrong with keeping values and beliefs--you should hold something dear, everyone does to some degree.  Yet I think that you can't take anything too seriously.

The drum instructor of my high school marching band had a day job--fixing hospital equipment.  We all looked up to him cause he had a grown up job in the grown up world, drove a grown up car, and had a grown up girlfriend.  But one day he announced to us that he was quitting everything.  No more jobs, no more chicks.  He was gonna focus his life towards becoming a professional drummer.  He was in his early twenties.  And to us young teenagers, it seemed so cool that he was serious about following his dream.

My assistant invited me to her boyfriend's comedy skit show.  She warned, though, that it was "really offensive".  I told her that nothing offends me, I'll be there.

I remember the last conversation I had with my drum instructor before he left.  "Life is short," he philosophized, "and I want to give my best shot at making a mark in this world."  I wished him luck.  I wonder whatever happened to him.

As I suspected, the comedy skit show wasn't offensive, although objectively, I can see how others might be sensitive to some of the racial, religious, and just plain indecent material--I wouldn't invite young children or my parents to it.  Nevertheless, I had a good laugh.

(8.15.05)

Carl was a bum.  I'd say from his white hair that he was in his fifties.  And from his unkept appearance he was homeless.  He held a cup for spare change on a corner in Westwood Village.

During my first year of graduate school, I was assigned to park my car in the lot farthest from my classroom.  It was a good 30 minute walk, usually early in the freaking morning.  I think there was a shuttle, but I kinda liked walking.  It was good exercise, I got a lot of thinking done, and I got to be pals with Carl.

At first, I didn't pay much attention to him--he was just another beggar.  I'd put a dollar in his cup and be on my way.  But soon it became a routine.  I'd see him on the same corner at the same time each morning.  Until one day he asked "Hey, what's your name."  "Henry," I answered, "what's yours?"  "Carl."  From that moment on we'd greet each other by name.

The corner where he stood was at a crosswalk with a stoplight.  So we'd get a good little conversation in whilst I waited for the light to change.  "I wanna get my life back together someday," he'd mention hopefully.  To which I wished him well.  I'd put another dollar in his cup and we'd say "See you tomorrow."

After a few months, Carl started cleaning up.  He made noticeable improvements to his appearance--his clothes weren't dirty and torn anymore, he combed his hair, and his skin wasn't grimy.  He even got lively during our daily meetings.  Sometimes he'd do a little dance, which often ended with him saluting me.  I'd put another dollar in his cup and return his salute.

By the end of the year, Carl was looking cool.  I mean, he was sharply dressed and wore hip sunglasses.  "Hey Henry," he'd yell as I approached his corner.  "Good morning, Carl," I'd greet him as I put another dollar in his cup.

And then one day he shook my hand.  I never saw him again.

(8.16.05)

I've been watching
Veronica Mars.  Cause there's this really cool looking photo hanging in the Mars Investigations office.  It's black and white.  It looks like a bridge, or iron girders, or something.  It's neat nonetheless. 

Ok, I lied.  I could care less about that photo.  I watch the show cause Elliot DiMauro is a funny actor.  He makes me laugh with his slouchy posture and hilarious timing. 

Ok, that's another lie.  Elliot was funny in J
ust Shoot Me, but Veronica Mars ain't a forum for his comedic talents--it's too dramatic.

Ok, I might've lied again.  Actually, I like the intelligent drama on
Veronica Mars.  It's one of the few well written shows on television.  I get so drawn into the mystery and twists.  The acting is superb, too.

Ok, that's a total lie.  There's no such thing as a "well written television show", unless you're illiterate.  And I couldn't tell the difference between good and bad acting if my life depended on it.  No, the real reason why I watch the show is for the snappy music.

Ok, I admit, that too is a lie.  I can't remember a single musical cue from the show.  Maybe cause Veronica is so cute.

And that's the truth.

(8.17.05)

HENRY'S GROCERY LIST FOR 8.10.05

- toothpaste
- toilet paper
- Coke
- orange juice

(8.18.05)

Christine said she was awakened by a loud noise, like a big explosion, early that morning around 5:00am.

I was about to go to sleep around 4:00am when the television news rebroadcast was interrupted for a special live report.  Apparently there were some serious lightning storms in Florida, so the space shuttle Discovery was gonna land in California instead--in about an hour.

Honestly, I'ven't been paying much attention to the latest mission.  Yeah, I know it's the first since the Columbia mishap and there's been special focus on the safety of returning to space, blah, blah, blah.  But I've become so desensitized to the whole thing.  Voyages into space are a common enough occurrence, at least to my generation.  Sure, there's gonna be some setbacks and tragic accidents, but those are bound to happen when you do it a number of times.  Eventually space travel continues.

I remember watching the first space shuttle launch.  I was 8 years old, which was just the right age for me to think that it was the coolest thing.  I obsessed over every article I could find about it.  I made a LEGO model.  And of course, like most of my fickle interests, I got bored and moved onto other fixations.

I almost forgot about the space shuttle until one day in junior high when a television set was rolled into our classroom and everyone watched the Challenger blow up.

I decided to watch the Discovery landing.  I wasn't that tired anyways.  It's funny how the media can sensationalize every little detail--ooh, they're turning on the re-entry engines, will they work?  I dozed off for a bit.  But as it made its final approach, they showed an infrared shot of a little dot moving in the sky.  Maybe it was seeing the space shuttle in real time or the time of reality I was experiencing, but I found myself hoping that it'll land safely.  Afterall, I'd stayed up for this crap.

Slowly, the wings and tail came into view and the dot resembled the space shuttle.  "Here comes the sonic boom," said the announcer.  And thru my open windows came a loud noise, like a big explosion.  That's when it hit me that even though space travel is hardly in any way directly related to my life, it's part of the world that I live in, and it's something that humans will give their all to achieve--I gotta commend the effort.  Plus, that sonic boom sounded badass.  I mean, there ain't a subwoofer in the world that can pump that kinda thud.

And when the wheels touched down, I couldn't help but to smile and think "goodnight".

I explained to Christine what that loud noise was.

(8.19.05)

POEM CHICK MIX CD #2 TRACKLIST

1. Annie / Willie Nelson
2. En l'Homme / Etyl
3. Smothered in Hugs / Local H
4. Possesso (Aria) / Gabriel Yared
5. Honey / Ami Onuki
6. 3eme Gnossienne / Erik Satie
7. Strangers When We Meet / David Bowie
8. That's My Desire / Buddy Holly
9. Smile / Grant Lee Phillips
10. Come Here / Kath Bloom
11. Drive Away (End Title) / Thomas Newman
12. Lost Unto This World / Emmylou Harris
13. Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera) / Julia De Palma
14. Baidin Fheilimi / Sinead O'Connor
15. Only With You / Teenage Fanclub
16. Across the Universe / Fiona Apple
17. Charade (Main Title) / Henry Mancini
18. Happy the End / The Innocence Mission
19. That's Life / Bono

(8.22.05)

I spent tons of time in the Applied Physics and Mathematics computer lab at UCSD during my undergraduate years.  Cause I didn't own a personal computer, so I typed all my papers and whatnot there.  It was all UNIX based, which took some learning, but once I figured it out, I couldn't go back to using a typewriter, which, you might laugh, but many of my classmates at the time still used.  I liked how the lab was free and open 24 hours.  Yup, I'd be there late into the night--sometimes all alone under the bright fluorescents surrounded by the hum of the monitors.  And I'd get these nice laser printouts of my papers.

The interface was nothing as fancy as the desktops thesedays--just a green screen terminal hooked up to some unseen mainframe.  No mouse.  A blinking cursor on a command line greeted you.  Although it was free to use the lab, you still needed to get an account and password, which I renewed every year.  So you entered your little code and you were good to go.  I don't think the computer lab was very popular for non-science majors, and even then, those that were serious about computers probably had one, or were hanging at the super computer lab on campus.  Cause it was rare, especially during my freshman year, to not be able to find a vacant computer.

Oh, and when your registered for an account, they gave you something called an email address, which I thought was useless.

However, in my four years (1990-94) of college, the computer lab, and computers in general, boomed exponentially.  I noticed more and more students sitting at the rows of terminals.  The technical help staff, who dressed in referee uniforms, became more of a presence.  I remember the first email I ever got--my sophomore year a buddy at UCSD sent me a simple greeting, which didn't bode well for my understanding of the usefulness of the communication medium.  Anyways, junior year was when it became increasingly difficult to find an available computer in the lab.  Midterms and finals were the worst when the computer science nerds were doing crazy calculations and busting the printers with their reams of data.  By senior year, I was actually getting psychology assignments that had to be electronically handed in.  It was required to subscribe to discussion groups. 

But I still didn't think email was all that special.  Well, none of my friends outside of UCSD were connected.  It seemed sorta convenient for homework, but I wouldn't've said it was revolutionary.  I had no idea how ubiquitous email'd become, not to mention how reliant I'd be on it.  I've gotta say, of all the communication options available thesedays, email is my preferred choice.  Cause it's so damn convenient--you can answer whenever you like, you can spam, you can keep in touch with people all around the world, etc.  And most importantly, I can be more eloquent when I write.  As anyone who's ever talked to me knows, I'm kinda clumsy with millions of awkward pauses.  I'm amazed at the cellphone generation and their ability to keep a conversation rolling, even if they ain't really saying much.  But with email I can construct full sentences.  In musical terms, I've always been more of a composer than an improviser--I need to craft what I want to say before I say it.  I suppose it's just the way I was brought up.  I must've spent too much time on my own or in computer labs.

(8.23.05)

Previously, I stored the sound files for my piano sonatas at
IUMA (Internet Underground Music Archive), which was one of the pioneer free music sites online.  This was before I had my own webpage.  So I uploaded my piano sonatas in the hopes that someone'll listen.  It was a novel idea, which has proved to be a popular function of the internet.  And I got some good feedback from people who downloaded my music.  There was even a nifty statistics feature--on a good month I'd get about 100 downloads.  That's really not much, but hey, someone was listening.

Recently, I've been getting emails from people having problems downloading my piano sonatas.  So I doubled checked the links on my webpage which I've got pointing to my sound files stored at IUMA, and sure enough, they weren't working.  I've been having problems accessing IUMA in general.  So I decided to upload the piano sonatas to my webpage.  The reason why I didn't do so initially was I lacked storage space.  But now that I've got plenty of room, I've got no excuse for not housing them at my webpage.

So yeah, the
piano sonatas are back online.

Just a note, though, a few of the files might sound like crap, cause some of the movements are so damn long and I tried to keep them within reasonable size.  But I think it's better to have them available than not at all.

(8.24.05)

There's this college chick that thinks I speak with a Southern accent.  She might just be being silly, but she swears I've got a drawl.  Um, I ain't aware of any accent, at least not consciously.  I doubt I could pull one off even if I tried.  Nope, I try to speak with a neutral accent, well, as "neutral" as LA can be.  My friend in Alabama laughed when I mentioned the preposterousness.  However, Christine says that sometimes I do drawl.  Hmm, maybe I'm a wannabe hick.

This might sound a little nuts, but sometimes I'm certain that there's some kinda hookup/breakup equilibrium going on.  Cause I seem to be aware of such as a friend hooks up with someone whilst a couple breaks up.  There's always a balance of single people versus couples.  And it's not necessarily amongst my social circle as I'll read in the tabloids about some celebrity hookup and on the next page another celebrity couple'll be reported to've broken up.  I know I'm being paranoid.

I must admit, though, that I think the Southern accent is one of the more musical of the English speaking accents--it's good for grace notes and ornaments.  I do find myself slipping into a faux Southern accent when I sing.  Hey, if most white singers try to sound black, I don't see the harm in me trying to sound like a hillbilly.  Cause the neutral accent is just that, neutral, and isn't too expressive.  Plus, with a Southern accent, syllables can shape interesting phrases as the rhythmic emphasis gets shifted.

And it happens in waves.  There'll be a bunch of couples that'll split up, like a domino effect.  But just as I'll think that maybe the balance has gone haywire, wedding season'll hit.  Maybe I'm at an age when these things seem more apparent--thirtysomething is traditionally a time when most people think about settling down, if they haven't already.  Or maybe there really is a set amount of happiness that gets passed around.

Today I found out that the first girl I ever dated just got married.  I reckon some Southern girl is gonna lose her accent tonight.

(8.25.05)

HENRY'S LEGO ORDERS FOR THE WEEK OF 8.14.05

Black Slope, Inverted 45 2 x 1  (x100)
Castle Expander Pack  (x10)
Dark Gray Brick 1 x 4  (x100)
Dark Gray Brick 2 x 2  (x50)
Dark Gray Brick 2 x 3  (x100)
Dark Gray Brick 2 x 4  (x500)
Dark Gray Brick 2 x 8  (x88)
Dark Gray Plates, Assorted  (x10)
Dark Gray Tile 1 x 1 with Groove  (x10)
Dark Gray Tile 1 x 2 with Groove  (x50)
Dark Gray Tile 1 x 4  (x50)
Dark Gray Tile 1 x 8  (x100)
Dark Gray Tile 2 x 2 with Groove  (x100)
Light Gray Baseplate 48 x 48  (x4)
Light Gray Brick 1 x 1  (x100)
Light Gray Brick 2 x 8  (x56)
Light Gray Brick, Round 2 x 2  (x300)
Light Grey Bricks, Assorted  (x20)  
Light Gray Fence Spindled 1 x 4 x 2  (x102)
Light Gray Plate, Round 2 x 2 with Axle Hole  (x50)
Light Gray Plates, Assorted  (x10)
Light Gray Plates, Assorted 2 x N  (x10)
Light Gray Technic Brick 1 x 8  (x83)
Light Gray Tile 2 x 2 with Groove  (x100)
Sand Blue Brick 2 x 4  (x1)
Tan Brick 1 x 1  (x100)
Tan Brick, Round 2 x 2  (x120)
Tan Plate, Round 2 x 2 with Axle Hole  (x50)
Tan Tile 2 x 2 with Groove  (x175)
Trans-Clear Brick 1 x 2  (x200)
White Brick 2 x 2  (x644)
White Brick 2 x 3  (x376)
White Brick 2 x 4  (x536)
White Brick 2 x 6  (x92)
White Brick, Round 1 x 1 Open Stud  (x100)
White Brick, Round 2 x 2  (x100)
White Plate 2 x 4  (x100)
White Plate 4 x 4  (x117)
White Plate 4 x 6  (x20)
White Plate 6 x 8  (x54)
White Plates, Assorted 1 x N  (x10)
White Plates, Assorted 2 x N  (x10)
White Tile 2 x 2 with Groove  (x100)
White Wedge Brick 3 x 2 Left  (x50)
White Wedge Brick 3 x 2 Right  (x50)
White Window 1 x 2 x 2  (x120)

(8.26.05)

As I've been overdosing on late night talk shows, the source of my addiction has become identified.  It's not the boring movie stars or the unimpressive musicians, rather it's the comedians that've been keeping me comming back for more.  Besides the monologues from the hosts, which are somewhat entertaining on a slick professional level, it's the stand up comic guests who've usually got to fill the last slot that get me laughing. 

Well, like any drug, it's hit or miss--sometimes they can bomb, but when they've got the good shit that's when I get hooked.  It's both positive and negative that they get a few minutes to tell their jokes, cause when they suck, it's a relief to see them go.  But when they're on, they get me jonesing for more.

So I decided to take it up a notch.  I borrowed some Lenny Bruce and Jeff Foxworthy CDs from the library--I'm not inclined to purchase comedy recordings for myself, cause jokes aren't as funny upon repetition.  Anyways, as I listened to their extended routines and laughed at my desk at work, I got a nice high.  However, I needed more.

And then I remembered that there's this thing called the internet.  I did a search for free online radio services, cause I'm a cheapass.  Supposedly, unlike regular radio which has a very limited range of stations, the internet caters to way more preferences, including comedy.  Sure enough, I was given a wide selection from which to choose.  I've been plugging into
Live365.  Now I'm freebasing comedy like there's no tomorrow.  I plan to die laughing.

(8.29.05)

It's 1980 and my 3rd grade class is having a '50s and '60s night.  We're all gonna dress up in old fashioned clothes and put on a show for our parents.  I suppose my teacher thinks that it's cute to see us pay tribute to her youth--well, I'm sure our moms and dads will get nostalgic, too.  Anyways, so there's gonna be several song and dance numbers.  And we're supposed to audition to see who's best for the different roles. 

As usual, I'm bored out of my head.  Cause the '50s and '60s seem so long ago--way before I was born.  It's all grainy and faded.  Yawn.  I'd rather be drawing pictures of dinosaurs... 

So the teacher forces us all to dance as she plays some oldies on the phonograph.  She watches us closely, picking out the ones who're jiving with the beat.  I sigh at the silliness of it all as I flop like an idiot.  Then she makes us all sing songs about itty bitty yellow polka dotted bikinis, surfin' USA, and rockin' round the clock.  Again, she intently listens to those who've got some sense of being in tune along with the required enthusiasm.  I barely go along with it, slowly fading to a lip sync, and finally just shutting my mouth altogether.  Needless to say, I'm not selected for any of these acts.

The painful auditions continue.  Kids are separated into groups, which are whittled down to the final cast for the selected song and dance numbers.  Apparently, there's enough students left and room in the show for one more tune.  Another audition is in order.  Anyone left was gonna be a non-singing, non-dancing background character--I could see myself faring well in such a role.

But something suddenly possessed me.  The song we were singing was so damn catchy.  It's almost as if I was born with the chorus in my vocal chords.  And I was actually having fun singing it.  I had a silly grin on my face throughout the audition.  "Henry," the teacher announced, "you'll be singing 'Yellow Submarine'..."

(8.30.05)
Kite Operations, Alhambra, CA, 2005
(8.31.05)

Dear you, et al.

Well, I'm currently busy with a LEGO commission.  Normally I can maintain my web journal whilst tackling a multitude of projects--peruse the OUT ON A LIM archives and you'll find that I've kept a prolific run.  But maybe I'm getting older as I don't seem to possess the same insanity as before.  And I'm not gonna kill myself doing too many things at once.  So I'm gonna've to stop writing entries for a while.  Sorry.  (Subscribers, your subscriptions are still valid and will resume immediately upon my return).  Again, this is a temporary pause, NOT an indefinite neglection of my readership.  Although this time I'm planning on being away for much longer than my usual two week vacations.  Give me a month or so.  Hopefully, this won't become a habit, but I believe this'll be for the best.  Cause let's face it, my writing's been sloppy as of late--I mean, come on, posting my grocery list is such a cry for help.  A break'll give me time to distance and reinspire my storytelling.  So thanks for understanding and farewell. 

-Me

(9.1.05)

The hiatus is over. 

OUT ON A LIM shall henceforth resume zaniness...

But first, here's what I did during the intermission.

(10.10.05)

I got my Mitch Hedberg DVD and CDs in the snail mail yesterday.  If you'd've asked me a week ago if I'd ever purchase a personal copy of any comedian's recorded performance on video and/or audio formats, I'd say I'd never do such due to the law of diminishing returns from relistening to humourous monologues.  With a tentative expection for the recently late Mitch Hedberg.

Everyday at work, for the last month, I've been getting drip fed full length and uncut comedy albums by the likes of Lenny Bruce, Carlos Mencia, Richard Pryor, Kathy Griffin, Steve Martin, Margaret Cho, Patton Oswalt, George Burns, Eddie Murphy, Dennis Miller, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Martin Lawrence, Pablo Francisco, Robin Williams, Eddie Izzard, Sam Kinison, Chris Rock, et al.  Each one's killed me with their jokes--especially when I'm the last one in the office whereby my laughs can bust free.  But no one's nailed my funny bone to my coffin like Mitch Hedberg.

Even if I'd've never read the factoid that he died early this year, I'd still call him my favourite comedian--he's got the most insanely hip phrasing and the coolest jokes about red bananas, fucked up rabbits, broken escalators, talking fans, and other absurdities.  Of course, after I did some further research on this Hedberg dude, I've noticed that his shit's been smelling more bittersweet.  And I seem to tolerate his act upon repeat listenings.  So much so that I started to get withdrawals whenever he wasn't on a day's playlist.  The only solution was to order his merchandise.

Smoke one for Mitch...

(10.11.05)

It was the middle of nowhere so I hit the gas harder and sped down the fast lane.  It was just me and the freeway.  No one else was around.  Or at least as far as I could see.

When I was a kid, my mom would drop me off and pick me up from swimming lessons at the local pool.  One day as class was over and the students were drying themselves off, she asked "Did you ever notice how Ken always has his towel over his shoulder?"  I hadn't.  My mom advised me to pay attention next time.

Up ahead was a car in the adjacent lane.  It was moving slower than mine.  But as I was about to pass it, I noticed a car tailgaiting me.  Relentlessly and rudely, it seemed as if I was in its way.  So I tried to let it pass.  But first I had to go a little faster to overcome the car in the slower lane.  And then I'd make a lane change.

Yeah, Ken draped his towel over his left shoulder.  "Do you know why?" my mom continued the curiosity.  "No," I replied--nothing seemed odd about Ken's towel.  "He's hiding his left hand," she revealed.  "Why's he hiding his left hand?" I wondered.  I had to look closer if I wanted to know the answer.

As I sped up ever so slightly, the car behind me started flashing its headlights at me in broad daylight.  This guy was a weirdo.  After switching lanes and allowing him to pass, he honked.  I looked over at him as he pointed to the side of the road and mouthed "Pull over".  It turned out he was an undercover cop.  I got a speeding ticket.

Ken's towel obscured his left hand.  I kept trying to see what he was hiding.  But one day I got out of the pool before he did and watched as he reached for his towel.  My eyes were locked on his left hand.  Or lack thereof.  He had no left hand.

(10.12.05)

What little visibility was afforded by the polluted night skyline of Los Angeles didn't stop Larry McFeurdy from cashing in on his perspective of the stars.  The balcony of his upper storied apartment was under his feet as he looked up at the infinite beyond.  And he lit a cigarette.

It was 04:00.  Streetlights were the only indication of artificial illumination as the sound of tires rolling in the distance hummed in unison with the breeze.  A phantom airplane followed its sonic reality diagonally along the horizon.  The tip of Larry's cigarette crackled and glowed in the dark.

This was the only time that he'd agree to be interviewed.

"Ok," he huffed, "let's get this over with."

"Thanks for letting me interview you," I humbled.  "The public hasn't heard much from you since your
Hacienda Heights concert.  We're all wondering..."

WHAT'S LARRY McFEURDY BEEN UP TO?: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ROCK LEGEND POST-HACIENDA HEIGHTS (copyright 2005 Henry Lim)

LM: Hey fuck you, man.  You never posted a review of my album.

HL: Oh, my bad.  But you kinda slipped off the scene.  It's been hard getting in contact with you.  I wrote a review, but I wanted your approval before I could post it.  Wasn't that part of the deal?

LM: The deal was you write a good review for my album.

HL: Even if I hated it?

LM: Even if you hated it.  In exchange for exclusive rights to my tracks for downloading off your webpage and being responsible for CD distribution, you were supposed to write a positive review of
Hacienda Heights.

HL: Uh, well, then I guess I'm gonna've to rewrite the review...

LM: You bastard.

HL: But I had fun at your concert.  How'd you feel after that performance?

LM: Fuck, let me see--it's been so long ago.  I'd forgotten about it already.  When was it?

HL: April of this year.

LM: Oh yeah.  Hmm, it was a rush.  It was like a nice way to finalize the songs.  By which I mean, for me, performing that album live was my way of saying "Here you go world, this is my music, hope you like it."  It's the penultimate step in the composing process, from a composer's point of view.  After spending about a year with those songs, playing them before an audience was sorta the official send off.  And now, finally the album is purely for my listening pleasure. 

HL: I liked how you ended the concert with The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love".  It was a nice compliment to your songs.

LM: Yeah, thanks.  I actually choked up on that song .  I don't know why.  I've played it a million times before, but for some reason as I strummed it alone in the dark before my friends and family the words somehow made more sense.  Especially the word "love".  Yeah, that was the single most memorable moment in my live performance career.  I doubt I'll ever top it.  So I wanna kinda keep that memory fond.

HL: And that's why you've declined requests to perform live again?

LM: Yup.

HL: Aw, come on, man.  I know tons of people who're dying to see you play live.  There's a set of new fans that've recently discovered
Hacienda Heights and missed the concert.  

LM: Tough shit. 

HL: Are you working on a new album?

LM: Nope.

HL: Would you perform live again if you had a new album to promote?

LM: Maybe.  But I'd've to think it was a good album that was worth getting up on stage for.  I mean, I don't care what you think, but I think
Hacienda Heights is a damn fine album.  It captured perfectly how I imagined myself sounding.  It says what I wanted to say musically, lyrically, and sonically.  I hate to be egotistical, but I listen to the album all the time now.  There was a period when I couldn't listen to it cause I'd just finished writing, recording, mixing, and performing it.  But nowadays it's a good listen.  And that's all I wanted to do--make an album that I'd enjoy hearing.  I'm happy with it.  At this point in time, I can't think of anything that won't repeat what I already did.  Thus, I don't see the need to make a new album.

HL: Fair enough.  What are your favourite
Hacienda Heights tracks?

LM: I like them all.  Duh, that's why it's a good album.    

HL: No favourites?

LM: I can't slice it up.  It's a whole.  But if you'd put a gun to my head and asked me to pick a favourite, currently I'm digging "My Fair Fraulein".  It sums things up neatly--simple chords, simple lyrics, simple arrangement.  I like my voice on that track, too.  "Aloha Again" is also pretty fitting for me thesedays.

HL: How so?

LM: Well, let's just say that there's this girl in my life that matches that song's mixed sentiments.  Not to mention, I like "My Fair Fraulein" and "Aloha Again" cause no one ever seems to pick those songs as their favourites.  I'm just giving them their share of the spotlight..

HL: What's the news on The Meanwhilers?

LM: The Meanwhilers are on hold.  We've got some songs for a new album, but we're not ready to record them yet.  They're really a bunch of old songs that never made it onto any of our albums.  We'll see...

HL: So, what's Larry McFeurdy been up to?

LM: Listening to
Hacienda Heights.

Editor's note: Here's my review: "It's a good album."


(10.13.05)

With last month's cease and desist of the WinMX network, I hereby tender my resignation from peer-to-peer file sharing.  Which ain't to say I'm against illegal downloading, rather I'm not gonna bother with looking for a new network, what with all the spyware and adware infections--sometimes I get the conspiring feeling that the legal download sites are planting the viruses in a racketeering effort.  Regardless, the thrill's gone.

Back in the day, during the height of Napster, I was downloading like a motherfucker--all the tracks that I'd ever liked but didn't want to buy entire albums for, all the b-sides, all the live tracks, all the studio outtakes, all the rare stuff that I never thought I'd ever find.  I was looting whilst the looting was good.  And I burned them all onto CDs.  Thousands of mp3s.  I remember listening to albums before they were released, getting a flashback memory that triggered me to go searching for some song that I'd forgotten, and the scurry to find a new free network after Napster sold out.  I got some mileage from Morpheus.  But I liked WinMX the best--it had a simple and clean interface.  And I could usually find what I was looking for.

Of course, I'd be more inclined to go looking for a new network if I had some incentive.  I haven't downloaded much in recent years.  Part of it is music sucks thesedays.  Yeah, call me a cranky old man, but I don't feel the same jolt from the shit that's being crapped today.  It's not even worth downloading for free.  Maybe it's the scene.  I'm waiting for whatever's comming next...

Anyways, I burned my last CD of stolen music after WinMX closed shop.  The mp3s were collected over the last year or so--an indication of my lack of interest as I used to burn CDs on a weekly basis.  I listened to this CD a lot during my latest late night LEGO building sessions.   

Here's the tracklist:

Dirty Little Secret / Sarah McLachlan
More Than This / Roxy Music
I Always Get What I Want / Avril Lavigne
Do They Know It's Christmas / Band Aid 20
India / John Lennon
To Love Somebody / Billy Corgan
Heaven / Bryan Adams
The Blower's Daughter / Damien Rice
Hands Down / Dashboard Confessional
The Chauffeur / Deftones
God Only Knows / Mandy Moore
Inside Of Love / Nada Surf
Bam Thwok / Pixies
Cool / Gwen Stefani
Make It Real / The Jets
Such Great Heights / The Postal Service
Do You C What I C? / Vitamin C
Wonderfalls / Andy Partridge

Thanks

(10.14.05)

"Why'd you bring your guitar?" Kate asked.  She was sittng at her desk, her computer monitor glowing.  And I'd just entered my office carrying a guitar.

"No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do..." I replied.

Yesterday, my engineer was showing me his new toys.  He'd just gotten a new pre-amp, stereo microphone, and portable recorder.  The pre-amp's capable of thickening inputted sounds thru a compressor and equalizer.  The stereo microphone doesn't go out of phase.  And the portable recorder allows convenience for gathering data on location.

"Bring your guitar tomorrow and we'll go to the organ studio to do some tests," he laughed.

The organ studio is a cavernous acoustic environment--hard surfaced, high ceilinged, with a giant pipe organ in the center of the room.  I walked around with the guitar, strumming random chords to find a spot that aligned with the echoes.  Along one of the walls were a pair of sneakers.  They belonged to Ana, who at the moment was at the Bulgarian bebop concert in the main auditorium, sneakerless I presume.

"Hey, I brought my guitar today," I mockingly told Bridget as she walked by my office.

She went bananas.  She peeled the pick form the fretboard and caressed some diminished riffs from the worn strings. 

The other day I took her to see the Wallace & Gromit movie.  All I have to do is do my impression of Gromit and she'll roll with reminiscent laughter. 

"Why'd you bring your guitar?" she asked after warmly embracing my guitar.   

"My engineer wants to test out his new stereo microphone and portable recorder," I explained.  "So we're going to the organ studio tonight to see how well it can record a guitar."

"Ooh, he always has to best toys," she giggled as she continued playing with mine.  Kate joined us in my office and partook in Bridget's brilliant impromptus.   Afterwards, Kate and I applauded.

"Hey, boss," Kate addressed me, "I'm not gonna come in to work tomorrow."

That's what she said yesterday...

"I know you haven't made your mind up yet..." I thought.

I was chatting with Mandy a few weeks ago about my engineer's interest in purchasing the portable recorder that her company was producing and if she could cut him a deal.  She happy faced a "Yeah, but tell him to wait about a month."

"I know Mandy could've gotten me a discount," my engineer explained, "but I had to have this portable recorder immediately."

When evening shadowed and the stars appeared, I looked into the darkness of the organ studio as I spewed a few Beatles, Dylan, and McFeurdy tunes.  My guitar gave me the harmonic chessboard upon which I moved my vocal pieces.  I sent my pawns looking for the queen in the natural reverberation.

"You ain't seen nothing like me yet..." I sang.

Because I shot myself in the foot with Christine last month, I'm not gonna try to walk over that burnt bridge.  So I deleted all her emails from my saved folder in an electronic attempt to purge her from my heart, including the invitation to Karen's baby shower.  Tonight, Christine re-forwarded the invitation.

Normally, when I sing at my apartment, I keep my voice and guitar at a low volume.  Cause I don't wanna wake up the neighbours.  I usually sing with an almost whisper.  And there ain't much aural excitement in the architecture.  Also, when I do sing at my natural decibel, I'm more often than not going thru amplification and artificially recreated reverb. 

Playing in the organ studio made everything painfully obvious.
          
Make You Feel My Love

(10.17.05)

Recess grounds at the Mesa Robles Elementary School in Hacienda Heights, CA were defined around a central chalkboard coloured asphalt which was laden with patterns of squares and circles demarking boundaries as declared by the common playground games of the day--dodgeball, four square, hopscotch, tetherball, basketball, etc.  On the north edge of the main roadlike surface were jungle gyms caught in sandtraps with grassy borders that extended to the chain link fence which locked the first thru third graders in.  The outhouses were located on the west side, opposite of which was a field of grasshoppers and strolls with cute girls--a hill with tall hedges cradled the the east side of the playground.  The south side was designed for the more mature fourth thur sixth graders.  Its practical benches and functional pull up bars eliminated the space for a true sandbox.  And from there, the oldests kids on the playground could look off in the distance at the junior high baseball fields and race track.

I've always thought that I didn't really go to school, rather I went to recess.  I mean, I sat in the plastic chairs, at crayon filled desks with pencil sketches of prehistoric monsters scrawled on the surfaces.  I zoned out looking at the spiraling construction paper scaps.  It was easier to fall asleep than to pay attention to the teacher.  I'm certain that I dreamed about all the letters, numbers, and rules thereof which were bestowed upon me.  Anyways, it was all meaningless compared to running around silly during recess.  The chain link fence notwithstanding, the playground was the pinnacle of freedom.  We could do whatever we wanted--within reason, of course.  Everynight, before going to bed, I'd mentally go over my plans for the next day's recess.  Should I play four square with the Fresh of the Boats, chase the bad girls, sit alone atop the monkey bars, or dig a hole in the sand?  These matters were far more important than homework.

(10.18.05)

My sister's boyfriend was in San Diego watching an air show, so she called me to see if I'd like to drive her to the local Japanese market--she needed some yellowtail.  And she forgot how to get there, so she pleaded with me to drag her.  It was 16:00 and I'd just woken up.  I told her that I'd pick her up after I took a shower.  Give me half an hour.

For some odd reason, I found myself browsing the "S" section of the video store.  It was Saturday night, I had nothing to do, and no where to be.  So I thought it'd be fun to rent a movie.  I walked over to the corner video store after I finished doing my laundry.  I really didn't have any particular movie in mind--I figured I'd just grab the first DVD that caught my eye.  I walked back and forth down the new arrival shelves.  Somehow I ended up at the titles beginning with "S".

My brother is having reservations about the upcomming
Memoirs of a Geisha film.  According to him, he's not convinced that a Chinese actress can play the lead.  She needs to be Japanese.

"He's stupid," my sister shrugged as we waited for our dinner at the Thai restaurant.  We'd just dropped off the refrigerated fish that she bought from the Japanese market at her apartment--it'll be her dinner later this week.  She chose the cuisine as she never gets to eat Thai food since it doesn't agree with her boyfriend.

"It doesn't bother me," I gave my opinion.  "But it'll take me out of the reality of the movie if I notice any of the actresses not displaying Japanese-isms."  Having both read the book, we were anticipating to see the movie regardless.

My brother and I walked past a sign in downtown Osaka for a bar that featured Caucasiod ladies dressed in imitation Playboy costumes.  The tagline was "Bunny and you".  We laughed.

The Stratosphere Girl
is a masterpiece.  It's about an 18 year old Belgian blonde girl who goes on an adventure in the Mizu Shobai.  It's got thematic parallels to Memoirs of a Geisha, albeit the setting is modern and the girls are European.  Which got me to thinking that the "hostess" story, or any plight where women are taken advantage of, is translateable across cultures because it's almost a universal archetype, at least in the version that gets represented in the Western media.  It doesn't need to be specific to be understood. 

"I should play the lead role," sometimes I can't tell if my sister is joking or not.

"You can't," I reminded.  "You're only half-Japanese.  And you're too old."

I drove her home.  I thought about renting a movie after doing my laundry.

Happy Birthday Dad

(10.19.05)

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the first of The Beatles' last two one fourth posthumous commercially released songs, "Free as a Bird".  And hopefully Paul and Ringo won't ever get into any dire need for more cash that'll drive them over the edge of reasonably comprehending the fact that John and George are dead, which might give them bad ideas about using recording technology as a Lazarus machine.  I often vacillate between considering the Threetles tracks as part or not part of The Beatles canon.  On the the one hand it is the illusion of them mocking death and playing together, as well as being the closest listeners should dare to hear them as a reunited band.  Yet, I also keep thinking that the absence of John's say in whether or not the rest of the band could finish his demos is little bit opportunist, ethically speaking.

12/8 is my 9/11.  December 8, 1980 is the official day any real Beatles reunion forever after would never be.  Yet, there've been several false alarms between then and the regroup of the surviving members for "Free as a Bird".  I specifically remember everyone hoping that Paul, George, and Ringo would play together at Live Aid.  I'd hear about George soloing over Ringo's beat at some royal benefit concert.  Or Ringo would multitrack his drums on Paul's latest attempt at a lame album.  But never the three of them.  Needless to say, I got swept up in the surrogate fantasy of believing that even though John ain't alive, getting Paul, George, and Ringo back together would be better than imagining what might've been.  So I settled for hope.

For me, the promotional efforts to build anticipation for "Free as a Bird" were unnecessary.  I was beyond excited to hear it for the first time, during the world premiere broadcast on television.  Soon after the taps of the snare kicked off the intro, I was in the song--that was Ringo.  The killer slide guitar got me hooked--that was George.  The patented Beatles chord progression was grounded by a hypnotic bass--that was Paul.  And John sang--the living voices harmonized with the dead.  I splashed a tear on a cymbal crash.  That was the first, and hopefully last, time I'll ever get the first hand opportunity to hear a new interpretation of the word "new" in terms of a "new song" by The Beatles.

Ten years later, George's ashes are floating somewhere in India.  I didn't get Paul's latest album cause he lost me after his song about freedom.  And I saw Ringo on the cover of a recent Modern Drummer issue.  Yeah, it's safe to say that The Beatles might as well be dead as they can never relive the past.  Hearing "Free as a Bird" now, I think of its pathetic impact on pop music which borders on passing curiosity, especially when compared with the paradigm shifting songs of their heyday.  I've yet to hear it in an elevator, busked by a street bard, elaborated upon by improvisationists, or stuck in everyone's head.  I mean, in 1975, ten years after "Yesterday" was released, it was well established in the standard repertoire of not only pop culture, but the collective conscience of culture in general.

In the future, capitalism will probably be replaced by the next economic model--wishfully, anything that neutralizes the side effects of greed.  Historians with the benefit of hindsight lacking in the current hegemonic value system might laugh at the desperate corporate mentality of "Free as a Bird".  They'll hear the separate committee styled drafting of the song, the decisions thereof made on behalf of the board of trustees, and the bloated yet empty notes wrought on by a billion dollar enterprise.  And they'll only refer to it as an example of how clueless we were.

I still think it's a good song.

(10.20.05)

Every year for the last couple of years I've attended Henry's Movie Fest.  It's a week of movies--I'll watch five movies over five consecutive days.  The week isn't predetermined, so it occurs at different times each year.  In other words, it's organized according to convenience, namely there're a bunch of cool films playing in theatres at the same time, or I'm bored.  For whatever reason, it's become an annual event.

I didn't watch any movies during my month long LEGO stint--I just didn't have the leisure time.  Missed movies accumulated on my "to see" list.  So after I finished gluing the last brick on a sculpture, I thought it was a perfect time to go on Henry's Movie Fest 2005.  Here're the official selections:

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Monday)
The Corpse Bride (Tuesday)
A History of Violence (Wednesday)
Proof (Thursday)
Elizabethtown (Friday)

All in all, this year's Fest was a success, with the exception of me missing
Proof (I was goofing around in the organ studio on Thursday).  The rest of the films were entertaining, The Corpse Bride being my favourite.  Anyways, I wanna thank all the movies that were involved with Henry's Movie Fest 2005.  And I look forward to next year's Fest.

(10.21.05)

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