|Out On a Lim|
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|Out On a Lim (10.24.05 - 2.13.06) >>|
|Legend has it that the Santa Ana winds are responsible for evoking depression. Supposedly, the influx of positive ions in the air has a negative affect on people. (Conversely, negative ions, such as found on mountain tops, have a positive affect). Anyways, 'tis the season for the Santa Ana winds.
There's a dip in the street a couple of blocks away from my apartment. It's an official dip--it's got a sign warning drivers to slow down. The first time I drove thru it I followed dip driving protocol. However, it's not really a dip, at least in terms of you don't really need to slow down. I mean, you can't haul thru it, but you'll survive if you don't apply the brakes.
Initially I wondered who were the losers visiting my webpage on Superbowl Sunday--I had a spike in hits. And then I remembered, not everyone lives in America or cares about football.
I attended and enjoyed performances of Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at UCLA. The stage design was cool--minimal, but conveyed a grand illusion.
And maybe it's the weather, but reading blogs thesedays seems to put me in a depressing mood. All those people jotting down their little lives--their hopes, dreams, and digitally photographed smiles. Partly I think it's pathetic, partly I'm glad they're sharing a peek into their worlds. Thanks.
The last time I notated music for a musician to read, I got a lot of questions that could've been avoided had I written more legibly. I can read my handwriting, but it's useless if I want someone else to play my music. And in this day and age, I've got no excuse for not using notation software. I needed to transcribe some brass parts so I decided that it was time for me to find a program. Nothing fancy, just something that can print the notes clearly. Preferably, it should be able to import MIDI files so that I won't've to reinput notes. Oh, and seeing that I probably won't be using it too often, it should be cheap.
I did some research online. I found a program called Lime. It fit all my requirements. And best of all, it's free. Well, it's recommended that you pay for it after the trial period. I don't plan on using it much, but if I ever need to, I'll be glad to buy it--$65 is a great deal. Furthermore, it's easy to use. I simply imported my MIDI files and did some minor editing (denote key signature changes and consolidated rests). Of course, most importantly, my trombone player had no problems reading it.
I've generally had good experiences with software. But in this case, I'm more than satisfied with the program, especially since it perfectly accommodated my needs. It's nice to know that people still make good products and aren't out to rip anyone off.
The closest post office is just down the street. It's a small branch. I dispatch my merchandise there--the workers've come to know me as the guy who sends packages of LEGO. Sometimes there're long lines, but I don't mind waiting. And it's got a thick bullet proof glass partitioning the customers and the workers. I'm guessing that they're afraid of someone going gun crazy, either from past experience or future odds.
I had to pick up a package (I ordered some ethnic instrument samples from Italy) that was delivered via registered mail. It was waiting for me at the main post office, which is about a 10 minute drive away. The main post office is much bigger than the small branch that I frequent. Oddly, the lines are always short there--then again, I don't go there often enough to make any assumptions. And they don't have a thick bullet proof glass partition. I'm guessing that they're not afraid of someone going gun crazy.
I haven't consulted a real bank teller in a long time. I usually use the ATM machine. But the last time I entered a bank, I remember the thick bullet proof glass partition. Also, I once visited a Jack In the Box that had such security. It made me feel like I was ordering a burger at a bank.
Anyways, in lieu of a thick bullet proof glass partition, the main post office has a portable radio on the counter playing adult contemporary music. (The small branch doesn't pipe music.) Perhaps it's their last defense. Like if someone goes gun crazy they might think twice if they hear Phil Collins. Although, personally, if I worked there and had to hear that shit constantly, I might go insane. Actually, the reception was getting lots of static. I don't know if most people tune out irritating white noise, but to me it's even more trigger provoking.
Theme from Sven Stromson Blue (Remix)
I was wearing my Doom shirt. It's grey and's the word "DOOM" written in black on the front. It's a promo for the movie, which's based on the video game. I guess if you didn't know the background behind the title it might seem like I've got an ominous message on my chest. "Doom," someone sarcastically said in a scared voice as I walked past them.
The Hammer Museum's currently got an exhibit entitled Masters of American Comics. I went to check it out. They've got some cool stuff--original panels from Krazy Kat, Popeye, and Dick Tracy. Sometimes they put clippings from old newspapers, which seemed a little funny. Who'd've thought that these things'd end up under glass in a museum. I guess it's how you look at it.
"Hey," someone mentioned as they stared at my shirt, "did you know that 'DOOM' spelled backwards is 'MOOD'?"
But what I really wanted to see at the exhibit were the original Peanuts. I mean, I acknowledge the historical and artistic significance of the other comics, but for me, Charles M. Schulz is the king of the medium. To see an original ink drawing of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, et al was a religious experience. They're actually much larger than they appear in print. And I gotta say, of all the art that I've seen hung on museum walls, seeing the Peanuts is the only time I've ever shed a tear.
"Hey," someone mentioned as they stared at my shirt, "did you know that 'DOOM' upside down spells 'WOOD'?"
The way I see it, comics get to the point. They don't need fancy paints, brushes, or even perspectives to get a message across. Simplicity. When I used to be the cartoonist for my high school newspaper, there were times when I offended cafeteria workers and cheerleaders with my not so flattering caricatures. I've had my share of provoking emotions with my pen. And I've always been intrigued by the lines that I drew and crossed.
So I was wondering why my Doom shirt caused such reactions. Do people think that cleverly twisting the word around will defeat its definition?
In response to Kate's mentioning that she tries to read the news everyday I said that I read the comics everyday. If there's something newsworthy it'll filter into the funnies. Oddly, there's a blasphemous cartoon that's been causing a violent reaction amongst Muslims. The comic became the news.
Sometimes you just gotta face it. Not everyone's got a sense of humour.
I had a dream that my hair went white. Not grey, but ghostly white. Of course I can't see my own hair unless I'm looking at a mirror. However, it's rare that there's a mirror in my dreams--I think the last one I saw was in a dream I had when I was a kid in which I looked at myself as my skin turned black. Anyways, lately there've been many security cameras in my dreams. I went to the central security bureau and reviewed the tapes. Yup, I had white hair.
This didn't bother me--I thought it looked cool. But I did find it peculiar that I'd skipped the grey phase. Perhaps I forgot. It's likely that my memory faded with my hair colour. One day you'll wake up and you're old.
I used to get annoyed when I couldn't continue dreams. I'd wake up briefly from a fun dream and try to get back to it either right away or on the next night. I had no control. After years of this, I decided to just forget it--I accepted it as a part of life. But these past few days, I've been able to slip in right where I left off. This could just be a passing fluke. Nevertheless, it's been handy, especially when I meet angels.
Sometimes I think everyone is an angel at some point in time. Our angel status fluctuates depending on our relationships with others. Even within relationships. So there'll be moments when I'll be someone's angel and vice versa. But it's kinda pointless for two angels to hang out together. Someone's always helping someone else. Otherwise we move on.
Back to my dream. I had white hair. And I met an angel. The thing about angels is you know they're angels, even if they don't've wings, glow, or any other of their mythological symbolisms. Well, they do have such traits, but it's intuitively understood. So this angel that I met wasn't flying around or dressed in white. She was an ordinary looking girl--young, tall, black hair, black punk clothes. She guided me thru the underground sewer system, fending off the demons that lurked in the tunnels, and protecting me with the usual super heroics. Upon ascending safely to the surface, I thanked her for her kindness. She gave me a lock of her hair. I looked at it as it turned grey.
My earwax is wet. I read an article about a study on earwax and why some people have wet and dry earwax. Apparently most Asians have dry earwax. Everyone in my family's got dry earwax--they all use some Asian utensil to pick it out, whilst I use Q-tips to clean my ears.
And so this is yet another example of my non-Asian-ness. I mean, theoretically I'm Asian--I've got black hair, slanty eyes, and yellow skin. But I don't turn red when I drink alcohol, I've got an unusual amount of body hair, and I've got wet earwax. Not that I wish I were anything other than who I am, but sometimes I wonder where I got these genes or if I'm taking assimulation into American culture a little too far.
Before I forget, I thought it'd be cool to finally let readers hear the song that shares the title of this web journal. I wrote it back in 1988. I think it's a silly little tune--hey, I was 16 years old. But when're you ever gonna hear someone named Lim singing about being "Out On a Lim"? (Yes, I know I call myself Larry McFeurdy...)
Out On a Lim
But that's not all. Today's you're lucky day. I've included a special bonus track. I was bored and decided to re-record "Out On a Lim" with more of an Asian flair.
Out On a Lim (Peking Duck Mix)
Hmm, I'm in the mood for some cereal. I don't've any so I'm gonna've to go get some. It's one o'clock in the morning so I'll've to go to the 24 hour grocery store. Hold on, I'll be back...
Ok, I'm back. I got some Cheerios. And some milk and bananas. I'm gonna eat it now. I'll return after I'm done...
I'm done. That really hit the spot. Nothing like cereal in the middle of the night. Actually, I had a difficult time picking out a cereal at the grocery store. There's so many to choose from. And for me, there really isn't any bad cereal--they're all so good. Yet all so different. There's the sugar bombs, the rice crispies, the grape nuts, the honeycombs, the frosted flakes, etc. All so yummy. So I randomly chose Cheerios, which are cool, even though they need some bananas to spice them up.
I used to eat cereal for breakfast when I was a kid--that's how I came to be acquainted with the different types. Of course, I went thru a phase whereby I chose a cereal based on the toy that came with it, namely Cocoa Pebbles, cause they came with glow-in-the dark dinosaur skeletons. I had to collect'em all. The cereal was yummy, even though I got sick of them.
Anyways, I don't eat cereal for breakfast anymore. A glass of orange juice is enough for me in the morning. Occasionally, when I'm on vacation in another country, I'll grab a bowl, but I'll feel stuffed for the rest of the day. Sometimes I think this whole "three meals a day" regiment that's been recommended to everyone is a little too much. However, cereal's a good snack.
I'm cured. I used to suffer from a disease that drove me to win auctions on eBay. No matter the cost, I'd've to always put in the highest bid. It was a sickness. Especially for rare soundtrack CDs. Money was no object. It wasn't uncommon for me to spend over $100 per CD. I just had to've the CD in my collection. And I always won auctions.
Recently, I was bidding on the promo for A.I. I waited til the last day of the auction and put in a bid for $200. I was automatically outbid. For a moment I panicked. And I wondered what kinda loser would pay over $200 for a CD. But just before I was about to submit another bid, I saw myself as the loser. I took a deep breath and let it go. Painfully, I watched the auction close. My winning streak had ended.
I suppose times've changed. Ten years ago, I'd'nt've blinked about paying twice as much for a CD. But with the advent of the internet and DVDs, the rarity of soundtracks is becoming rare. Sure, the A.I. promo has some unused cues, but essentially, if I wanna hear the music that's not on the commercially released album, I can just watch the DVD. Or find someone online who'll burn me a copy of the promo. It's all digital anyways. I'm not finicky about "original" copies as long as the sound quality is the same (illegal schmillegal). Thus, I couldn't justify bidding more than $200.
Speaking of John Williams, we've got some of his Signature Edition full scores at work. I checked out Raiders of the Lost Ark. And per my current hobby of studying orchestra scores, I ran it thru my MIDI samples. In particular, "Marion's Theme"--I've always thought that she had a cool theme, albeit it's a little schmaltzy, but it contrasted well with her spunky character. Here's my rendition.
I was curious as to what other titles were available in the John Williams Signature Edition series. I found some online and ordered the "Love Theme" from Attack of the Clones--a cute tune to dream about Padme to. I'm looking forward to reading and programming it. I'll post the results.
As one sickness ends, another begins...
Sometimes I've my doubts. About everything. About my perspective on the pointlessness of it all. About myself.
I was walking thru the empty mall. The megaplex theatre stays open past the mall's business hours, but they keep the lights on and the background music playing til the last show ends. My movie finished at midnight. It was a slow Friday night--hardly any crowds. I peripherally window shopped as I headed to the parking lot. Somehow looking at all the merchandise and realizing that none of it appealed to me made me feel happy. I guess it's sorta like a reverse rush that shoppers feel.
I had my doubts about writing this entry. It was supposed to be a list of doubts that were gathering in my head about my life. The punchline was gonna be "And then I'll've doubts about my doubts."
It's been a bizarre winter in LA. For the last few weeks it's been hot. Like summer hot.
Every year I email a Xmas wishlist to my friends. Cause I wanna make it easy for them to find a gift for me. Usually it's a list of DVDs. Especially since not everyone is familiar with the titles in my library, let alone I keep adding to it so it's hard to keep up, the wishlist helps them to avoid getting duplicates. This year I made it simple--any movie starring Zooey Deschanel (except Elf, which I already own). Simple.
Instead of waiting to get seated at The Cheesecake Factory, Mandy decided that we go to the Italian restaurant. No lines. Plus, she was starving. We were celebrating her birthday.
Cause I think it's good to've doubts about oneself. To look at one's life and consider how wrong everything is. I get a huge dose of it whenever I'm working on a project. The more elaborate, the more doubt I'll've about my sanity. But oftentimes it'll come somewhere in the middle--when the excitement of starting a project has faded and the relief of finishing seems impossibly out of reach. For example, the latest film score I've been composing started off being super fun--writing for scenes, playing whacky instruments, and staying up all night in the studio. But somewhere in the middle of the multitracking, it started to get tedious. I just wanted it to end. What the hell am I doing?
Insert punchline here.
The wine at the Italian restaurant made everything afterwards taste good.
The moment the recording sessions took a turn for the better was when I had a guest musician lay down some trombone tracks. We had a blast, literally. And there's something about brass instruments, which I've never written for before, that adds life to the music. Especially a real brass instrument. Also, I think having another musician on the tracks besides myself lifted my doubts.
However, my friends've kept postponing our Xmas gift exchange. It's now February. I kinda wish I could watch Zooey. I've been losing my mind without her. I was tempted to just buy one of her movies and tell everyone, too bad, but I couldn't wait any longer--get me something else. Luckily, Winter Passing is in theatres (at least in LA). I went to a late showing at the megaplex in the mall.
I admit I've been a reclusive bastard these past few weeks. My standard excuse being "I'm busy recording". I'ven't hung out with anybody. Dinner with Mandy was a good change of scene.
It finally rained today.
I'm neither here nor there regarding dragons. I mean, they're cool and all, but I'm first and foremost in love with dinosaurs. So to me, dragons are just subpar dinosaurs--I don't care about who can beat who in a fight, or who's smarter. Maybe it's cause dinosaurs are real, despite the imaginative license scientist take to visualize them. I suppose I need some ground based in reality for my fantasies. Dragons, like aliens, are a little too far fetched, regardless of the mythological consistencies that define them. But don't get me wrong. I like badass fire breathing dragons as much as the next nerd. However, if I had a choice, I'd rather kick it with a herd of stegosaurus.
Anyways, desperation is the mother of compromise. The dinosaurs in King Kong got me all excited again about their representation in movies. I almost went to see it again just for the dinosaur scenes--afterall it's playing at the discount theatre. But against my good judgement I rented Reign of Fire instead.
For whatever budgetary and dramatic reasons, these types of creature features always play the strip tease game. You know, make the audience wade thru boring stuff with pointless characters, briefly show a leg or tail here and there, and ultimately give you a few seconds for the money shot. However, this strategy only works when the creatures are worth waiting for. Cause I'm willing to sit thru hell to see a dinosaur stomp across a field for one precious scene. The dragons in Reign of Fire weren't worth it. The actress wasn't cute either. Sadly, it didn't help my opinion of dragons. And's made me yearn all the more for a good dinosaur movie. I washed the bad aftertaste of Reign of Fire with The Lost World. Hence, I promised to never compromise again.
13 years ago I had a crush on the 13 year old girl in Jurassic Park. Don't do the math...
I've been reading the hairs that've fallen in my shower. It's sorta like tea leaves. Today they spelled the letters "n" and "r".
"Call me back when you get this message," I heard someone desperately say into her cellphone. "Please, call me..."
I don't usually buy Maxim magazine. But the latest issue featuring Veronica Mars is tempting. She's the cutest 25 year old playing a high school student on TV.
I saw a truck for "Henry Roofing". And I thought, "Hmm, my name's got an 'n' and 'r'..."
I was listening to "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. It instantly took me back to the '80s. Namely, that song reminded me of when I used to tape songs off the radio. I can still hear the damn DJ talking over the intro.
I totally froze. A pretty girl walked right by me and I got all nervous. I felt like a kid again. I wanted to say something, but I couldn't move my mouth.
Bridget asked if I had change for a two dollar bill. I did. Actually, I keep all the two dollar bills that come my way. So far I've got $12.
Do the math.
I think thumb twiddling is underrated.
My new method of distracting myself whilst bored is visiting online digital photo galleries. Now that everyone's got a digital camera there're a ton of sites devoted to exhibiting the results--everything from the crappy shots that people take of their friends doing things that only they think is silly to the slick professional stuff. Oh, and lots of nudes. But mainly I'm looking for trends and ideas to steal.
I mean, I'ven't twiddled my thumbs since a teacher forced us to do so in class back in 2nd grade. And I use the expression, or vulgar variations thereof, but really I'd forgotten how fun it is. It truly passes the time.
A lot of the higher end photographers like to show off how sharp and clear their expensive equipment produces. Which is fine, but somehow to me it seems too clear. I don't see the world that way. Things are always slightly out of focus, like in a dream, which allows for the imagination to run wilder. The eye automatically tries to sharpen images so that objects can be recognized. Moreover, it's what the mind thinks it's seeing, which doesn't necessarily need to be blatantly in the shot, that I'm interested in.
At first my thumbs kept hitting each other. But then I got in a groove. And soon they were twiddling on their own. It's when my mind stop being conscious of controlling my thumbs that I zoned out and time went by in a blur.
I've also noticed that some photographers screw up cool pictures by being slightly off center. Like the classic spiral staircase shot--you know the one where the photographer either looks up or down a set of spiral stairs and thinks it's a clever illusion of infinity. Of course maybe they like to shoot things uncentered, but to me, I like to be dead center. It's about symmetry. Then again, maybe to their eyes they're centered. As well as myself. It's hard to see one's imperfections when one's skewed.
After awhile, each revolution of the thumbs became an eternity. There's something calming about circular motions. Soon it all balances out--the beginning becomes the end and vice versa. And I projected the universe spinning in my hands. Afterall, I think if there's anything that knows how to pass the time, it's the planets. It's hard to feel the earth's orbit when you're on it.
A plum fell from a tree. And during its descent, somewhere between the branch and the ground, it magically came to life. It had a dream that it was a girl named Molly.
My sister's wedding is six months away. She invited our family to the venue, an art gallery in Laguna Beach, to scope out the scene. Maybe get ideas for decorations, taste the food, etc. I get the feeling that she's got it all planned in her head already. None of our opinions really matter. We were mainly there to show our support.
Molly wore her watch in public. Normally she doesn't keep track of time, but she wore it to bed last night cause her clock was broken, and forgot to take it off today. For an experiment, she accounted the responses she got from people who noticed that she was uncharacteristically wearing a watch.
On the living room wall of my sister's apartment is a huge checklist chart of all the things that need to be planned for her wedding. It's a little obsessive and control freakish, yet fits her personality. Like the whole operation is some product launch. I can see her staying up late at night observing the progress and plotting her next move.
Some people commented on how nice Molly's watch looked. She thought they were idiots--all watches are ridiculous and anyone who thinks otherwise is a slave to time. Some people didn't notice. But secretly she hoped that they would, cause in her passive aggressive manner, she wanted it to symbolically tell them "You're wasting my time".
I can't imagine the pressure my sister is under to put on a good show, let alone deal with my mom's interference--oh, the complaints I hear from both sides. Anyways, after we visited the art gallery, we all went to eat lunch. After parking the car, my sister's nose gushed blood. It was at that moment that it hit me--my sister is getting married.
Molly took off her watch before she went over to her boyfriend's apartment. She didn't want to give him the wrong idea. Unfortunately, tonight he decided that she wasn't worth his time anymore. They broke up. Her heart felt like a crushed plum.
Walking towards me were three nerds. They were laughing their heads off.
Wong let me borrow a book about astrological love compatibilities. I mentioned that there's this Taurus that I think is cute. And I've never went out with a fellow Bull, so I had my questions. Mind you, I'm only a recreational zodiac observer. I don't take it seriously. At most, it's entertaining.
As the three nerds approached, I began to discern bits of their conversation. "Shut the fuck up, Donnie..."
The first red flag that this astrological business is a bit suspicious is how everything seems to be qualified with a "there are always exceptions to the rule". In other words, they're covering their asses. Another thing which irked me was it mentioned that the Taurus hates mind altering drugs. But there are exceptions.
"I wanna be Donnie," one of the nerds complained. "No, I'm Walter and he's the Dude, so you're Donnie," explained Walter. "But..." "I said shut the fuck up, Donnie..."
In short, two Tauruses are a good match. I don't know if that conclusion made me happy or sad. This whole interpreting signs and quest for channeling one's "Third Eye" is starting to sound too lofty for me. Supposedly each of us holds these so-called spiritual powers within us. They only need to be accessed via proper training, meditation, etc. Call me a simpleton, but I'd rather be entertained than attain enlightenment. Cause there are no exceptions to the enlightened.
I've no idea what those nerds were talking about...
The Diana Garcia incident is over (see OUT ON A LIM 5.23.05). I happened to answer the phone the other day and told the hassling creditors that no one by that name lives at this number. And they haven't called since.
My engineer has a cool mastering program that takes a "snapshot" of a recording's EQ settings. So you can take a song, say by The Beatles, put it thru the program and it'll analyze the frequency curve. And then you can put another song thru and match its EQ with The Beatles. It saves a lot of time. Especially if you're trying to sound like someone else. For instance, instead of guessing the EQ settings for an opera recording, my engineer just matched it with a commercial recording. Of course it isn't perfect and it can't change the mix, but it gives a good ballpark range to start from.
However, I'm now getting these phone messages:
"Hello, may I speak with Henry or Angelina Lim..."
Larry McFeurdy's been sending off copies of his Hacienda Heights album. Most of them to people living in Hacienda Heights. He thinks that's cool, but cautions that the album ain't necessarily about Hacienda Heights--other than the title of the instrumental track. Nevertheless he says "thanks" for listening. And he apologizes for misleading anyone.
Did I miss something? Who the hell is "Angelina Lim"? Is some chick living with me that I don't know about? She's got a cute name...
I've sat thru countless crappy movies just to hear music written by my favourite film composers. But I think it's worth it. Especially to listen the scores in the theatre. The way I approach it is it's sorta like attending a concert, albeit the music is a recording heard on a good sound system. The movies themselves are secondary. After awhile, I tune out anyways.
I just attended the latest Elfman score Deep Sea 3D. The music was cool, as usual--it's adapted from his concert piece Serenada Schizophrana. However, the movie wasn't bad either. It's an IMAX film. And the 3D presentation rocked--lots of aquatic animals swimming in your face. It certainly is something that can't be experienced at home, unless you've got a six story tall screen. I heard a rumour that film producers are pushing towards 3D as a way to draw people back into theatres, not to mention curtail piracy. I say go for it.
Speaking of piracy, my brother's been downloading lots of current releases. In this day and technological age, plus the high cost of movie tickets, I can't argue against the quick and easy access that's available. I say go for it.
Speaking of my brother, I'd like to recommend Deep Sea 3D to him since he's a fish freak. But he had a traumatic experience as a kid with 3D movies. When we were kids we went to see Jaws 3D. And he kept removing his glasses during the film. It hurt his eyes so much that he started to cry. So I suppose 3D ain't for everyone.
Anyways, back to Deep Sea 3D. It's educational, to say the least. There're so many creatures in the ocean that I've never seen before. Nature never ceases to be beyond my comprehension. The narration hammered the symbosis theme--the shifting balance of predator and prey. Yet, I found it odd that it warned the audience that man's been killing way too many fish. As a seafood eater, I found that to be not only offensive, but contradictory to the theme. Things'll balance out whether we like it or not. Predators, prey, producers, pirates--we all are connected in more dimensions than we can imagine.
Across the Stars
I just took a walk. It's my tried and true method for getting inspired. Especially in the middle of the night. Under the stillness of the stars, it's hard NOT to think about something. Here's what came to my mind...
Sometimes I wish that I'd get writers block. And then I'd've a new excuse to put OUT ON A LIM on hiatus, instead of my usual "I'm going on vacation", "I'm in the studio," or "I'm working on a LEGO sculpture."
Alas, I'm going on break for the latter again. I got commissioned to do a Bar Mitzvah portrait. It's pretty straightforward, but it needs to be done by the end of this month, so I'm gonna be spending most of my time meeting the deadline. And sadly racking up ideas for OUT ON A LIM entries.
Anyways, I apologize for my lack of a better excuse. I'll return in April. Until then, pretend that I can't think of anything to write about...
Ted Ed Fred called. "Hey, I was listening to Bob Dylan and thought I'd give you a call."
"I'm honoured," I replied.
"Do you wanna get high?" Fred laughed.
"Thanks for asking," I responded, "but I'm working on a LEGO project right now. And I gotta be able to count. Maybe later..."
"Cool," Fred coughed. "Yeah, give me a call when you wanna get high."
So I finally braved up and talked to the pretty girl. She was sitting in the library typing away on her laptop. I figured there wasn't gonna be any better opportunity than this. Immediately I fought off the terror that froze my mouth--such is the result of intimidation and excitement. I fumbled around, trying to appear occupied with some magazines, swallowed my nerves, and walked up to her.
"Hey, I liked your performance in the opera."
"Uh, keep up the good work."
I tried to walk away calmly. A longer conversation and I'd've made a fool of myself. Cause it was as if I was high--everything about her is unreal. Likewise, I want another chance to talk to her.
My DVD player is old. It doesn't play CDRs. And if there's a scratch on a disc, it'll just lock up--this isn't a problem for any of my discs, but occasionally a rental'll've a scratch and be unwatchable from that point on. Fred relayed that he got his DVD player for $90, it plays CDRs, and doesn't have problems with scratched discs. I went online and found what he was talking about for $80. I ordered it without blinking.
I gave a copy of the Wallace & Gromit movie to Bridget, cause she enjoys them so much. But she doesn't've a DVD player. Coincidentally, I didn't need my old DVD player anymore. I told as long as she didn't mind that it didn't play CDRs and'll freeze up if a disc has a scratch, she could have it. She didn't mind.
"It's better than nothing."
I'm gonna eat the words that I wrote about Netflix (see OUT ON A LIM 4.21.04).
It's all Hermione's fault. Crazy as it may seem, I never saw her last film in the theatre, even though I said I was going to, however reluctantly (see OUT ON A LIM 11.7.05). Anyways, as it's available on DVD now, I figured I've got no excuse to not watch her further adventures. Which meant it was time to go to the video store.
And I knew that there's a big chance that all the copies would be checked out. But somehow it hit me as I sighed seeing that I just wasted a trip to the video store--there's gotta be an easier way to rent this movie. Even if it means waiting awhile, I'd rather have it shipped to me when it's available. So I signed up for Netflix.
I'm on the cheapest plan, cause I don't see myself renting that often. Or as I said before, I can see myself having too much fun with such convenience. One movie at a time is plenty. So I made a little queue of films to rent--mainly titles that I never seemed to find at the video store (Havoc, Grave of the Fireflies, It's All About Love, White Lies, Paranoia 1.0, Chased by Dinosaurs, Gokusen). We'll see how long before I get bored of this.
Oh, and my new DVD player (see OUT ON A LIM 4.4.06) also was a factor for this about face.
So Hermione arrived one business day later. That was quick. I watched it (I thought it was boring--for some lame reason the movie seems to focus on some character named Harry), returned it, and got the next movie on my queue. I gotta say, I'm glad I joined.
Never say never...
Addendum: According to some friends Netflix is cool for the first few weeks, when they send movies in a quick and timely manner. But after awhile, they'll take their sweet ass time. I'm not worried. Cause if it ever gets really annoying, I can always resort to downloading movies online.
Nelson always took a long pause before he spoke. So any conversation with him felt like a delayed transmission. Or drug induced retardation. Not that he's stupid--generally, he says intelligent things, but it just takes an inordinate space of dead air before his sentences take flight. Maybe he thinks before he speaks.
Today was my sister's birthday party. Her fiance cooked his traditional prime rib and invited their friends for a dinner celebration. I arrived early. The food wasn't ready yet. Jane came early, too, and asked her standard "So are you seeing anyone right now?" question. I looked for some beer and answered in my automatic "I see a lot of people" reply just to get her off my back. There was a tub filled with sodas and beers. No ice. Jane kept the topic cold which was enough to convince me that there are more horrors in this world than warm beer.
"Dude," I commented to my sister as I twisted the top off the bottle, "you need some ice."
"Nelson's bringing the ice," she replied between salad tosses.
Actually, today's not my sister's birthday--it was on Tuesday, but it's more convenient to have a party on a Saturday. However, today was Teddy's real birthday. And the custom amongst my friends is to call each other up on one's real birthday. Instead of having parties, we individually drop a "happy birthday" line and ramble onto tangents aboud. Nothing vastly divergent from our normal telephone conversations. From "happy birthday" we hit Netflix, investment houses, Bar Mitzvahs, new restaurant owners, IMAX, cameras shoved up one's ass, Godfather video games, Hermione's ball gown, people who get eaten by bears, and Tom.
"Yeah, I remember Tom," Teddy hesistated at first, but the confidence in his statement arrived before the end of his sentence.
"Hmm," I lacked his memory, "I have no idea who he is. Wong said he knew him, too."
"He was Wong's year," Teddy stated, which didn't contradict what Wong mentioned in regards to Tom's graduating class.
"Anyways," I continued, "my sister's having a birthday party today. I'm going over there for some free food. Hey, happy birthday, and I'll talk to you later."
A couple of days ago I forwarded an email I got from a writer for the LA Times to Kate. She's got a journalism background and I wanted to know if she knew the writer. Nope, she didn't know Jennifer. Anyways, Jennifer said she was friends with Tom, who said he knew me. I guess it's a small world.
"May I see some ID?" the security cop commanded.
I pulled out my wallet, retrieved my driver's licence, and handed it to him.
"OK," said the security cop as he returned my ID. "It says you live here. Just don't steal anything. Goodnight."
Tonight I broke into my parents' house. Well, technically, I didn't break in, rather I fumbled with the alarm system. For some strange reason the security code that I typed in on the keypad didn't work. So a minute later a siren sounded and the phone rang.
"Is everything alright?" the caller from the security service asked.
"Yeah," I admitted with embarrassment, "I forgot the security code. My parents are out of town and I stopped by to feed the dog."
"Uh, sure," the caller seemed skeptical. "What's your password?"
This has never happened to me before. Thus, I'd forgotton the password. "Uh, I don't know," I sighed as innocently as I could.
"What's your name?"
Five minutes later, two security cops arrived at the door. If anything, it's nice to know that the system works.
It seemed like everyone at my sister's birthday party brought a kid. In other words, they were the wine drinking, German car driving, poker playing, and socially ambitious crowd. If it weren't for my sister, I doubt I'd ever be invited to such a gathering. Or wanna attend. I just don't relate.
Bobby showed me his $180 bong. And some device that conceals pot smoke. He packed a bowl, took a rip, and exhaled into his cloaking box. For some reason this made me laugh.
I didn't make eye contact with any of the kids, even though their proud parents shoved them into everyone's face. The chit chat inevitably revolved around bringing up children--how in-laws love to take care of kids, how the preschools have two year waiting lists, and how they want more kids. This almost made me barf the warm domestic beer that I'd finished. Instead I grabbed a plate and piled on some prime rib.
Wong and Zaggs also stopped by Bobby's pad. The contrasting facets of different varieties of marijuana were discussed--flavour, light reflection, and price. It all seemed the same to me.
Luckily, I had an excuse to leave my sister's birthday party early--my parents were out of town and they asked me to stop by their house to feed the dog. So after scarfing down the yummy prime rib, I drove to Hacienda Heights. And after a little run in with the law, visited Bobby to see if he had any weed.
However, I promised my sister that I'd return to her birthday party. Cause I was gonna want some cake later. Not to mention, she'll give me whatever's leftover of the prime rib. So after kicking it with Bobby and company I went back to claim my munchies.
Ice was in the tub of drinks.
"So how's the furniture business?" I asked Nelson.
"I've been making clocks," he declared. "Out of scrap materials. Like when we have extra scrap from a cabinet, I'll take those scraps and cut them into little blocks. I want to make practical things, you know. I like the idea of using scraps as art."
"Cool," I cut him off. "How many've you made?"
"I wanted to make 30," he regretted, "but I've only made three so far. There just isn't enough time."
One day whilst reading the daily comics online, I accidentally clicked on the title above my usual Preteena selection. And I entered a world that I've yet to return from. It's a zany place inhabited by an egomaniacal rat, a stupid pig, a hoity-toity goat, and a paranoid zebra. They have adventures and discussions that perfectly capture the hilariousness of life. Especially as many of the old war horses such as Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, and The Far Side have either retired or are in reruns, it's nice to saddle up to comic strip that's currently relevant.
Pearls Before Swine
There's a cool scene in Winter Passing in which Zooey rides a bus. A self loathing song plays on the soundtrack. Normally, I'm all about peppy music--there's enough depression in this world for me to want to listen to frowny tunes. Anyways, I'll buy anything that Zooey endorses. So I bought the CD, which maintains the low key vibe, but since it's got a cute photo of Zooey on the cover, it's got my approval. Although, the key track is the bus ride song. The more I heard it, the more I wanted to hear more songs by the artists. Thus, I went online and ordered their latest CD. They're my new favourite band.
My anti-virus software popped open an officious message box that notified me about my computer's outdated protection and that it needs to be updated as soon as possible. I'm given two choices:
1. Run updates now
2. Notify me in [blank] days (whereby [blank] equals how many days I want my computer to remind me later)
I chose 2, with [blank] being "1".
It's probably obvious by now that I'm slipping. I'm sure it's been brewing inbetween my lines for some time now, but I humbly believe that the most blatant warning sign's been my joining Netflix. If that's not a desperately trendy cry for help, I don't know what is.
"HAHAHAHA," my brother laughed on the other end of the line. "Oh, and remember to charge the battery only when it's really low. Don't charge it everyday or like when it's just a little low. It's a Lithium. It'll last longer if you don't keep recharging it."
The latest arrival from my Netflix queue, Havoc, stars the lovely Miss Anne Hathaway (no relation to William) in a cutting edge dramatization of "bored rich kids" and their pursuit of "reality" in East LA. It's about the economic divisions in America. The sedation of the upper middle class. And the havoc that ensues when the poor mingle with the rich. In the end, only the "what's real" theme is all that prevails. Blah, blah, blah. The real reason I rented it was cause Anne's naked in it. Period.
"No", the first girl I ever asked to dance replied. Rather than sulk, I hit up every other girl in sight. And they all said "yes". However, no "yes" could remove the stinger of that initial "no". I'd settled for less than my first choice.
Word on the street is there're a few people of utterly no importance in the advertising industry that've been so blinded by the bullshit they spin that they actually are declaring me as a "true artist". Supposedly they admire how I'ven't sold out like they did--sitting in their posh offices, designing their graphics on Apple computers, and sipping their coffee whilst chatting with their spouses on private lines. Man, if they only knew half the story. Everyone sells out.
I got a cellphone.
Henry Lim's The Beatles (2001: 160 x 80 cm, 20,000 LEGO pieces, glue), a California masterpiece by a less-known but definitely original artist, became an immediate icon. It was covered in the press by journalists as well as by ROR itself: an interview with the enigmatic Lim was published in Swedish ("Intervju med Henry Lim", Kontur 2003: 4, 6), a language, where Lim, if pronounced accurately, means glue. Glue was the crucial key for exhibiting the work, which arrived originally in a more or less unintentionally psychedelic state: the glue keeping together all the 20,000 pieces of lego had actually deformed the picture. The problem was solved just in time for the opening ceremonies, and the portrait of the four revolutionary hippies became a marvel as much for the artworld as for rock-oriented viewers, who have always formed an important part of ROR's (as well as Beatles') audience.
Yeah, the glue I used was Oatey Heavy Duty Clear Lo VOC Cement for PVC. Dig the health effects.
Another article about yours truly.
My engineer's been hanging out at an anechoic chamber. He says that you don't notice the silence until you clap. I asked him about the receptionist, cause according to Jeff, the girl working the desk is something to behold. "Nah," my engineer regretted. "But get this, and this'll sound totally fucked up comming from me, but they've got some scientists in there trying to contain sound waves in bubbles and making them glow." "What the fuck?" I puzzled. So I Googlescholared "containing sound waves in bubbles and making them glow". There's an article titled "Sonoluminescence and Sonic Chemiluminescence" by E. Newton Harvey that sounds sorta related.
There are two moderately sexually active young girls living in the apartment below me. On occasion I can hear them moaning thru the opened windows on warm and fuzzy nights. One of them wakes up at 4 o'clock in the morning. I've heard her take showers during my late night glue sniffing marathons. I talked to her briefly once when I went on my balcony to have a smokebreak. I kept my cool. I don't want to scare them away. The last thing I want to do is expose my bonkersness to my neighbours. Although, it might be fun...
Anyways, sometimes I can pick out words in their conversations thru the thin floors. For example, right now I just heard Girl #1 say "I get distribution rights." Taken out of context and possibly misheard, the first thought that went thru my head was "Shit, they're gonna steal my shit. She's a government spy. She's renting the apartment below me to stakeout my arrest. And I bet she's got a tap into my computer. All my rearrangings of the appropriate digital data are being siphoned. Not to mention my life's story. The greedy bitch wants distribution rights to my life's story." But then I calmed down and rationalized that hey, that's pretty cool. I mean, my life's story is not about being molestated by money. She can have the distribution rights.
However, in the end, I concluded that the voices in my head should pay more attention to what they're saying.
"No," The Hooded Bandit consulted on his cellphone. "You just gotta give it your all from the get go. Trust me. Don't wimp out and wait for her to come to you. Start with a bang. Let her know she's the bomb..."
I was driving home on side streets. Friday traffic. And I drove past a bus stop that had a poster of Anna Paquin. At the next stoplight I remembered that The Hooded Bandit had a V for Vendetta bus stop poster at his pad--it kept falling down at the corners as he made several attempts to stick it back onto the wall. And I recalled that he said that his friend can get any bus stop poster, which got me to thinking about possible bus stop posters that I'd like to get my hands on, now that this avenue of procuring bus stop posters was separtated by two degrees. Cause that Anna Paquin poster was sweet.
"Check it out," I spoke into my brand new mobile communication device. "I got a cellphone."
"Hahaha," The Hooded Bandit laughed. "Hey, I heard that you're gonna be going to Vegas."
LARRY McFEURDY: Yeah.
THE HOODED BANDIT: You're gonna need a piece.
LM: I'm gonna be at peace?
THB: No, a piece.
LM: Oh, a piece.
THB: Hey, can I come over? I'll bring my piece. We can chill. And yeah, I can borrow your Bob Dylan albums?
LM: Come on over.
THB: How do I get to your place again?
LM: Take the 605 to the 105--towards LAX.
THB: Ok, yeah west.
LM: Get off on Inglewood.
THB: What direction do I turn off Inglewood?
LM: Make a right. And a right on Manhattan Beach Blvd. Make a left on Rindge.
THB: How do you spell "Rindge"--R-I-N-D-G-E?
LM: Yeah. R-I-N-D-G-E. There're gonna be a million stop signs down Rindge. But keep going down the street til you hit Gates. When you get there, you'll remember the rest.
THB: I don't know...I've taken a lot of bong rips.
LM: Well, if you end up on a beach where skeletons run backwards, you'll know that you've gone too far.
THB: Hahahaha, you're such a schizo...
I've been getting some really cool emails lately. I got one from one my subscribers telling me about how she enjoys reading OUT ON A LIM. How somehow it gives her comfort knowing that it's in her inbox and she can choose to read it or not. And how she discovered the artistry of sentences. Well, I'd like to publicly say thanks for her inspiring words. It's sorta like the search for extra-terrestrial life. We've got giant antennas pointing towards the heavens waiting for someone to reply to our radio waves. And when we pick up something on our receivers, it's nice to know that the life beyond our galaxy is just as nuts as ourselves. So thank you Ms. Subscriber, whoever you are, for opening my eyes to your world.
LM: I can't believe that you couldn't find anyone else that has access to any Bob Dylan albums. Doesn't Zaggs have any?
THB: He sold his whole collection to get high.
LM: Oh yeah, damn, I forgot.
THB: Yeah, but Zaggs made a good point. Dylan would totally approve of Zaggs for selling his albums to get high. I mean, come on, it's Dylan.
THB: Here, let me call him up...
The Hooded Bandit hits his cell and puts Zaggs on the speaker phone.
ZAGGS: I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can.
LM: Things have changed. ..
Z: Yeah, the girl who I sold my bootlegs to said "Are you sure you wanna sell these..."
Kate predicts that I'm gonna get addicted to my cellphone. That instead of waiting to get home to call people, I'm gonna wanna call everyone everytime something happens, in real time. That I'll be driving on my way home from work and I'll want to call people everytime I see crazy shit on the road. I doubted her. I've survived happily without a cellphone for all these years, so I don't think having one will somehow make my life better than it already is. Nevertheless, I asked her for her digits.
LM: Here, I'll let you check out this book from my library.
THB: Tarantula by Bob Dylan...
LM: Yeah. Do you remember it? You gave it to me for my birthday back in the day.
THB: Damn. See, I told you you're my Bob Dylan connection.
LM: You'll dig it.
I cc'ed my cellphone number to my loop of friends. Everyone was in disbelief. Tina wanted to know who I was and what did I do to Henry. Amanda Michele theorized that the universe must've turned parallel or something.
THB: I met this sick chick at work today. Oh my God. She was so fine. But I don't want to talk about her cause she'll go away if I do. She's that kinda fine. So check this out, when I saw her, my heart just started pounding. And she came to my register and I just had to say "You're so fine." We got to talking. So get this, my friend's mom is next in line, but I like totally hold the line up so I can talk to this girl. Anyways, she leaves. And I go, damn, I should've asked her for her number. So I say to my coworker, "Dude, cover for me." And I run out the store and find her in the parking lot. I help her carry her shit and say "I just gotta say that it'd be a shame if I didn't ask you for your number." And she gave it to me. She was all "Your phone is cute." Oh yeah, she was so fine. You gotta let her know up front.
LM: What's her name?
LM: That's rad.
THB: Oh yeah.
"I'll take care of your Bob Dylan CDs like they were mine," The Hooded Bandit affirmed. "Take it easy. I'll see if I can get that Anna Paquin poster for you. Laters." And he drove off to his next adventure.
I smiled back at the Opera Singer today. She was sitting in her usual corner in the library, wearing her headphones, and typing away on her laptop. I didn't want to bother her, cause it was finals week, and she looked really busy. I pretended to be minding my own business, glanced her way from a distance, caught her smiling at me, and returned the gesture.
I stopped reading the news, cause it's too depressing. All the sanitized, dramatized, and twisted stories about "cruelty", "injustice", and "sorrow" make me wanna puke. If you wanna know the true predictament of pain and suffering in this life, just look into my eyes and tell me if you've ever seen such dead serious sadness. Everything the media reports is a joke. I laugh at all the readers, listeners, and viewers who can't tell the difference.
Some of my favourite days are those in which I don't leave my apartment. Those days when I wake up whenver I want, which is oftentimes late in the afternoon. No one calls, emails, chats, small talks, or makes any other such interfering interactions. I mean, it's cool and all to hang out with other people, to share ideas, and to mix opinions during and about appropriate occasions. But I believe in observing my alone time, if only to check my reality.
The first time that I ever was referred to as an Oriental punchline was in the first grade. I was playing in the sand, sculpting a dead tyrannosaurus--it was sprawled with its belly on the ground, its eyes closed, and part of its tail was beginning to rot. "Hey, look at what the fucking Chink made," mocked a third grader. "He made a slanty eyed dragon..."
I woke up today around 16:00. The sun was beginning its landing approach. My answering machine was beeping--I hadn't heard any calls during my sleep. I must've been totally knocked out of my head. I listened to the message:
"Hey Ham," it was my brother, "call mom. She wants to know if you got a haircut."
I wasn't in the mood to make any phone calls. I mean, the very least, not this early in the morning. I zoned out under the hot water of a long shower. It was too soothing.
I never heard a racist comment on TV until I saw a biopic about the love story between John Lennon and Yoko Ono. There's a scene, sometime early in their relationship, when John was attending one of Yoko's exhibitions. And two ladies were in the background, feigning to be making comments to each other as they conspicuously slipped a slur against Yoko into John's ears. "Yoko Ono--is that Chinese or Japanese? Hmm, well at least he'll have clean laundry..."
"Did you get a haircut?" my mom asked me in her Japanese accent.
"I told you," I said in Japanese, "This weekend I changed the oil in my car. So I'll get a haircut next weekend."
People treat you differently when you've got long hair. They assume you're on drugs, radical, or insane. I think they're missing the point. One of the most oftenly overlooked reasons for having long hair is it's a pain in the ass to drive to the barber.
I think that to some degree, everyone, whether they're aware of it or not, is waiting for some kinda revolution. When the world as we know it will spin off its axis. The tides'll turn and destruction will ensue. And a new world will rise from the ruin. Metaphorically speaking, I believe that it's not only an inevitality, but all things being equal, has happened already. All it takes is the smallest disruption in the cycle of fate for the snowball of change to roll. For example, right now, maybe a comet passing our solar system will happen to get knocked off course by another floating rock in space, redirecting its trajectory to intersect with Earth's orbit. Supposedly this has happened before, according to dinosaur extinction theories. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is, if you want the revolution to begin, then make it happen.
My idea of a perfect world would be one in which all chores are abolished. Luckily, most of my life has been fairly kick back. But every now and then, I need to do my laundry. Some might think that I'm kidding when I say that it's back breaking labour, but every perspective on pain and suffering is relative. I've got better things to do with my time than my laundry. I ought to humiliate someone into doing it for me...
Every 5000 miles, I take my car in to get serviced--oil change, checkup, etc. I'm too ignorant and lazy to do it myself. Anyways, it usually eats up a Saturday afternoon. After reading the magazines in the lounge, I usually take a nap. Some college basketball game was on TV and most of the other people waiting for their cars to get fixed were watching it. So I didn't want to intrudingly doze off on the couch in front of the TV. Instead I decided to figure out how to use my cellphone.
I mean, I totally missed the cellphone revolution. I have no idea how the buttons and functions've evolved. These things might seem intuitive to the experienced cellphone user, but to someone who's never handled such technology, it might as well be some alien jigsaw puzzle. The red and green coloured keys don't help when your colourblind either. At first the buttons seem way too small--I kept unintentionally pushing buttons next to the ones I wanted to hit. I'm still getting used to talking into a little hand held device whilst standing outside.
For all I know the mechanics are ripping me off. They called me to the garage via the overhead loudspeaker. I was threatened that I needed to replace such and such chain cause it runs the whole system. Instead of listening to their techno babble, I gave them my permission to fix everything. Cause frankly, I don't really care about being cheated. Somehow I've got faith that everything'll balance out in the end--for every penny that gets swindled from me, I'll get one in return somewhere down the line. I went back to the lounge and scrolled thru the cellphone menus.
Hmm, there's a chatting function. I wonder if it's the same as the one I use on my computer. Wow, it is. I logged on. My buddy list popped on the tiny cellphone screen. Cool. However, soon I was getting incomming messages. I started to panic. Cause my hand to eye coordination with the telephone keyboard is nil. I've got to push the "7" key four times to type in the letter "s". After a tormenting couple of minutes, I mustered a reply. "I'm on a cellphone. It's hard to type. Sorry." Thankfully, they understood that I'm a novice at all this.
I'm so lucky that I took a typing class in high school. Back then it wasn't required (I don't know if is now). But there was a cute girl who said that she'd be taking the class, so I enrolled. Everyone sat at a manual typewriter. The teacher taught us about the home row on the keyboard, what fingers had access to what letters, and how to execute proper carriage returns. Ok, besides the outdated machines, I never would've predicted that of all the things I've learned in school, typing would be the only thing that gets used most frequently. Not that I probably wouldn't've learned it on my own sooner or later, but I'll never forget that class and how practical it turned out to be.
My parents don't know how to type. Watching them look for the letters is hilarious. One of my friends, who's a computer programmer no less, types with just his index fingers. He types crazy fast. Almost everyone thesedays knows how to type. Some are faster and better than others. I can average 100 words per minute. Like my teacher said, if you're a musician, you've got an advantage. It also doesn't hurt that some of the stuff I type at work is repetitious data entry, not to mention playing the piano helps with endurance, speed, and avoiding muscle tension.
Yet I'm all thumbs with a cellphone keypad. I heard that kids are masters of this form of typing. Of course they use shorthand and shortcut techniques, which to me are even more foreign. Well, I figure the more I do it, the more I'll get used to it. My cellphone has a "To Do List" function. I'm practicing my typing skills with it, as well as taking advantage of this handy feature--I've been jotting down OUT ON A LIM ideas (including this entry) in it. Now I've got no excuse for forgetting what I was gonna write about.
I walked to the sushi restaurant to get some lunch. I purchased a tuna roll set. The price tag said "$7.99". But somehow I got charged $7.13, including the $1.25 for a Coke. I handed $8.00 to the girl at the register. She hesitated before she handed me my change. I didn't say anything. Yeah, I know it's hardly equal to what the mechanics ripped off from me. But it's a start.
|Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever take my quote unquote all-time favourite photograph. I mean, of all the snapshots that I've taken during the last four years, which I consider to be the beginning of my fascination with the medium, some get more attention than others, in terms of ranking as my all-time favourite. It's like I've got a Hot 100 list in my head that changes from day to day--some tie for first place, some come out of nowhere to earn my respect, some look lame as time passes by, and some sadly fall of the chart completely.
"Can I take your picture?" was the first thing I ever said to Mandy.
When I first got my digital camera back in 2002, I took it with me everywhere. It was like I was seeing the world for the first time. Everything looked like a photograph. So I crammed all the new angles, glimpses of dreams in the waking dimension, and illusions of infinity into megapixels via my cheap consumer brand lense. Fortunately, I'd been playing with Photoshop over the years--my sister, a professional graphic designer, had the program on her computer and kindly allowed me to fiddle faddlingly discover its role in digital image enhancement. This allowed me to easily familiarize digital photography and Photoshop editing.
The cool thing about Mandy's reply was she didn't question why I wanted to take her picture.
I used to unacquaintedly approach girls and ask them if I could take their picture. Cause, as my eyes opened up to cool images, I naturally was lured by the female form. Somehow having a camera gave me the balls to pop the obnoxious request. And although every girl I asked said "yes", they always suspiciously prefaced their reply with a "what for?" To which I'd explain, "for fun". I suppose they all agreed cause I semed sincere--I'm serious about not being overly serious to the point of creepiness, even though I can see how initially I might seem so. I'd quickly line a shot, open my shutter, give my humble thanks, and be on my way.
Mandy grabbed my camera, took a photo of her shoes, and dashed to the corner to pose for her picture.
The concept of an all-time favourite photograph implies that a single image can remain at the top of my list forever. This is both an idealistic and depressing thought. On the one hand, it means that I've achieved my masterpiece, at least in my mind. Yet, it also says that I've exhausted my capabilities as a photographer by mocking my assumption that there's always gonna be a better picture later. Hopefully, when the day comes, I'll be able to not only identify, but accept my all-time favourite photograph as my pinacle.
"Hey, I'm making a webpage and was wondering if you'd be down to doing a photoshoot," Mandy emailed.
I jokingly told her that if anyone ever broke into my hard drive, they'd wonder why I've got so many photographs of her. Cause ever since she first posed for my camera, she's been a significant focus--I've got a folder stuffed with pics from her early DJ gigs, desert parties we've attended, and various other formal and informal adventures. Anyways, we've also developed a collaborative trust. We jointly contributed images for the UCLA Library webpage. And she took pictures for my Larry McFeurdy CD. So, yeah, most definitely was I down to do her photoshoot.
"Cool," Mandy confirmed. "There're some cool looking quarries over where I work. I'll scout them out. Come by next week..."
It'd just rained the day before when I picked her up from her office. She burned a copy of her new CD and we listened to it as we drove to the location. The sun was setting fast so we wasted no light. A lot of the shots were blurry. But what I did manage to edit are some of the best photographs that I've ever seen. Well, it kinda helps that she was looking her hottest. I mean, if I died today, that photo of her with her hair all messed up, mouth all pissed off, and eyes all pointed at the edges of an urban landscape being sucked into the sunset has got to be my all-time favourite photograph. I can't imagine a better image. But then again, that's what I thought when I took that first picture of her.
I've never taken a sleeping pill. Not that I've never had a sleepless night. However, I've never resorted to the mere contemplation of going to the drug store with the intention to procure a good night's rest remedy. I wouldn't even know which aisle they were located in, due to my spatial ignorance of that section of the pharmaceutical layout. But if I ever did stumble upon the sleeping pill shelves, I'd recognize Ambien CR.
Call it heartless denial, but the first thing that went thru my mind when the WTC fell was "I guess I'm gonna've to take down the WTC". Cause at the time a friend and I were working on a LEGO commission for NYU. It involved the recreation of landmark Manhattan buildings--Washington Square monument, Empire State, Chrysler, and WTC.
"What the fuck's this white powder?!" Jeff yelled as he sprang back from the ziplock bag containing the suspicious substance. He recreated the scene for me. Apparently, his initial thought wasn't germ warfare. He instead had a cocaine flashback. Paranoia took over. "What the fuck was I gonna tell the cops, man?!" he remembered screaming. In the end, he decided to give it to his supervisor. Let him deal with it, but understand that it's not his coke.
My guess is that my levels of stress aren't enough to keep me tossing'n'turning during the night. Almost everytime I get in bed, I'll spend a few minutes going over my mental daily planner for the next day, roll over, and crash open the door to my dreams. But I can see how most people've got too many problems to be so lucky. And pop their sleeping pills. Although, I've heard that a Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed might also be their solution.
Nevertheless, the collapse of the WTC hit me when I drove home that night from work. My commute passes LAX. I'd been so accustomed to seeing planes fly over the freeway that the absence of flashing wing lights in the sky on the Eleventh of September created an eerie emptiness within my gapping mouth.
The white powder turned out to be baking soda. Jeff's supervisor tasted it and came to that conclusion. This made him laugh, cause he was shocked that his supervisor could conceiveably recognize what cocaine doesn't taste like. "So does that mean that he gets fucked up on coke on the weekends?" Jeff wondered with a sniff of admiration.
It's taken me some time to remember that nowadays the common usuage of the abbreviation WTC isn't in reference to the Well-Tempered Clavier. But I have memories of when Bach's monumental two volume treatise on preludes and fugues thru all the major and minor keys claimed those letters' notoriety. Sometimes it seems that the world's been changed for the worse.
You see, I've seen the late night commercials. Oftentimes, per my nocturnal schedule, I'll take a smokebreak from a project and tune in to reruns of Leno and Conan. If the guests are cute young starlets, I'll watch longer. Anyways, every other commercial that interrupts the interviews seems to be for Ambien CR ("Tomorrow will thank you") and Select Comfort Sleep Number Beds ("1-800-SLEEP-NUMBER"). And because I don't belong to this dysfunctional demographic, these sleep product advertisements not only don't work on me, but actually make me feel dead tired.
I received a fairly credible email the other day from someone representing a music software corporation regarding my prices for purchasing advertising space on my webpage. My first impression was "this must be a hoax..."
But then I noticed that it was addressed to me personally and listed flattering comments that were too specific to be artificially composited by some random robot searching the internet for sites to sponsor--it reaked of human desperation. I clicked on the link to see if my wannabe benefactor's logo was aesthetically pleasing so as to not be a distraction for my webpage visitors.
And then the devil on my shoulder spoke, "Don't do it, man. Don't sell out. Don't be controlled by their money. They're gonna tempt you with the illusion of giving satisifaction to your greed. But don't be fooled. It's a slippery slide they'll push you down. Soon you'll be hypnotized by material possessions. You'll covet a fantasized pride that you self-justifyingly deserve for being selected as one of the rich few, never realizing that the more you succumb to their view of the world, the more you'll get attached to it. And before you know it, they'll have you doing their bidding."
Or so I gathered from between the lines...
However, the devil had a point. Even though the cost to maintain my webpage is more than paid for by the considerate contributions of commissioning patrons, making some extra cash on the side couldn't hurt. I mean, I doubt I can command any serious numbers, but it'd be nice to have some spending money to buy unnecessary stuff.
As I scratched my head, hoping to trigger any brainwave data file that contains the search string "things I'd like to buy if I had more money", the angel on my shoulder spoke, "Do it. Don't think about yourself. Do it for your future wife and children. Give them the best security and protection that only money can afford. They do not need to suffer the indignations of poverty. Let their well being be your reason for living in this world. And it might seem evil, but for better or worse, this world is based on how much you have in the bank, so you must play its game if you want to survive. Sacrifice your pride for your family's sake. Let that be your true reward."
Hmm, this made sense, too.
What complicates matters is lately I've been weighing the pros and cons of going to heaven vs. going to hell. The crux of my dilemma revolves around the idea that any desire to go to heaven implies greed, which from what I assume based on my limited experience, is always a bad thing. I've been toying with the idea that if I indeed got invited to heaven, I'd turn away from its open gates, and run to hell. Cause I believe that I should try to be good regardless of any afterlife destination, and if I can take that to heart, my conscious will be fine wherever I end up. Hell, just the proof that heaven exists ought to be enough to keep me safe. But that's just a theory. I acknowledge that it's got some holes.
Anyways, so I replied to the email with a "thanks for the offer, but no thanks".
Be My Baby
"...incentive and discipline to write..."
I'm gonna take my new boombox for a test drive. Wait, let me light a cigarette first. Ok. I'm listening to the soundtrack to Robin Hood--the version starring Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Anyways, I bought a new boombox today cause my old one was fucking up. Any little scratch on a CD and it'd stop playing. Sometimes it'll skip, which is acceptable. However, completely dying after a case of the hiccups ain't cool. Especially when I'm riding a groove whilst writing.
My new boombox is bigger than my old one. They're both Sony's--yeah, I'm a creature of brand loyalty. I liked my old boombox. It was yellow and round, sorta like Pac Man. And it was conveniently small enough to take up less space on my shelving so as to allow me to stack albums beside it in a "next up to bat" manner. Of course Sony doesn't make that model anymore--in a perfect world I'd replace my broken equipment with the same exact model, cause hey, it worked fine when it worked, but for some ridiculous reason they keep "improving" their products. The closest comparable model that they currently have is slightly bigger. And silver.
So yeah, it's sounding good so far. No skips. I chose the Robin Hood soundtrack cause it's an old CD--one that's been scratched up thru the years. The volume is set at a lower level than before. So the bigger speakers are kinda redundant. I suppose I'll get accustomed to not being able to queue CDs next to my boombox. Whatever's next'll be determined later. Damn, I never realized how lame the Robin Hood soundtrack is. I mean, I hear it in the background, but it's just that--background music. My inner ears are listening to bossanova.
Before I started writing, I took a walk to the mailbox. I have a postal box at my apartment, but I'd rather hike the block to the public mailbox when I've got stuff to send. If anything, it gets me walking outside late at night. I was returning my latest Netflix flick--Next Stop Wonderland. It's a cute movie about Hope Davis and her adventures with fate. One of the things she liked to do was pick a random book from her library, close her eyes, open the book to some random page and read whatever her finger was randomly pointing at. I thought that was neat. So after the movie, I picked a random book from my library--a biography on Jack Nicholson.
"...incentive and discipline to write..."
I was saddened to learn that some people of lower income have budgeted their paychecks to not include purchasing music. They're scrounging on subpar free mp3s that are being contaminated by the industries that seek to commoditize music. It's times like these when a Robin Hood character should step in. Someone who has access to a huge collection of sound recordings, say such as someone who works at the music library of a major university. And this person could burn copies of CDs and give them to the poor.
If only movies were real...
Hmm, so I thought about it. I think my incentive to write is to keep my mind busy. Otherwise I'd go insane. As for discipline, well, I think incentives create discipline. If the incentive is worth it, I'll go thru any means to maintain discipline.
So the Hope Davis character liked to listen to bossanova. In my mind it's actually drowing out the goofy Robin Hood music. Uh, my bad. The CD's been over for sometime. Huh, I didn't even notice. Nevertheless, this is a good thing cause that means that the CD didn't skip--at least I don't remember missing any beats. Well, that's it for this entry. Time to listen to some better shit. Let's see. I think I'll put on a CD of ancient Chinese music that an ethnomusicology professor "gave" to me...
My boss attended UC Berkeley during the 1960s. Some might say that his current day appearance makes him look as if he's still enrolled. Having smokebreaks with him every other day is always a trip. The stories he tells seem to never ceasingly have that hippie cadence echoing the vibrations of the psychedelic revolution circa UC Berkeley during the 1960s. He once recounted the season for protest--spring semester, which was after the tension of winter, and before the release of summer. And he closed his eyes to listen to the crowds chanting in the background of his memories.
As I mentioned before (see OUT ON A LIM 3.5.03), the university that employs me also rents out its campus to Hollywood movie shoots. Sometimes it's cast as a generic unnamed college. As well, it's often a stand-in for other schools.
"I was walking to work this morning," my boss said as I lit his cigarette. "And I saw the 'Welcome to Berkeley' sign drapped over the entrance to the music building..."
"Hahaha," I laughed after lighting my cigarette. "Did you've a flashback?"
"Yeah," he took a drag, "I didn't see the cameras or the crew. All I saw was the sign and I pinched myself to see if I wasn't dreaming..."
I spent most of my elementary school years in the 1970s. This was during an economic era when public education couldn't afford the then new technology known as video cassettes. So we watched films instead. Film day at school was hailed as a special day. The teacher would announce that we were gonna watch a film and the students would all cheer--some of us so excited that we literally leap from our seats. The screen of fun would spool over the cloudy chalkboard lessons, I'd put my pencils in the metal mouth of my wood topped desk, making sure that they were pointed towards the cutest girl in the room, and get all comfy in my plastic chair as the lights go out. The projector would rev up to speed, flickering light onto the white canvas, and put us into a brainwashing haze.
However, my earliest recollection of film day involves an absurd misunderstanding. When the teacher held up a grey plate-sized canister and indicated us to "watch this film", I thought that she meant "watch this grey plate-sized canister". My eyes followed it as she took it to the back of the room whilst my mind noticed her seductive skirt walk. She unscrewed the canister, took out a plate-sized reel of celluloid, and threaded it thru the projector. Some switches were flicked. And in the darkness I kept staring at the clicking film going around in circles.
But best of all, the teacher came crawling to me.
"Henry," she whispered. "Watch the film."
"I am," I stalled.
"No," she cooed, "watch the film on the screen." She pointed to the front of the room. I could smell the bubblegum that she was chewing.
"Oh, that film," I pretended to be retarded. I figured, I'd gotten her to give me special attention. It'd be overindulgent of me to keep the charade going. So I obeyed her command and turned my head to the illusion of motion. Ever since, I haven't been able to watch a movie without remembering that clicking film going around in circles.
"Are you leaving right now?" I overheard my coworker Frank ask our boss from behind the partitions of our office.
"Am I leaving right now?" our boss contemplated. "If you mean am I leaving right this second, no, not really, I don't think I'm leaving right now, which I take you to mean leaving right this very second, no. But if you think about it, nobody really knows when they'll be leaving, so who am I to answer such a heavy question..."
I looked over at my assistant Kate. She was shaking off a laugh.
Meanwhile, I was chatting with Amanda online.
"Do you wanna smoke a bowl?" I innocently typed.
"Henry," she warned, "don't write such things--not when my boss can read my screen. (And yes I do). I'm clearing my screen right now..."
Sometimes I believe that smart people use their intelligence to construct elaborate lies and keep them secure within their actively abundant brain cells. Cause it takes a certain kind of imagination to patch together scenarios that never happened, as well as a keep the threads of make believe consistently flow despite the truth's attempts to unravel the bullshit. Dumb people are too busy trying to stay alive--their minds'ven't'd the chance to wander and expand. Not that dumb people don't lie. But most likely their fibs aren't as complex as the smart person's. And I'm not implying that complexity is something to brag about. A lie is a lie regardless. However, as I've got an average IQ, I'm assuming that my mind can probably figure out if a dumb person is lying. But I'd've a difficult time matching wits with a genius. Which leads me to the conclusion that smart people are not to be trusted.
I know that I'm not smart or dumb. I don't understand upper mathematics--I see nothing in the formulas. But I can do simple arithmetic. I don't know too many big words. But I know how to use a dictionary. I get lucky with puzzles--it's hit or miss depending on my alignment with the stars. Cause I'm dumb enough to endorse astrology as a lame excuse for entertainment. And that's one of the mishmashes of not being smart or dumb--I'll recognize the shams, but I'll still get duped. Furthermore, I've got my lies. Actually, I keep them as little brain teasers. They help to keep my mind active. Not that that's necessarily something to strive for. But it's a means to pass the time.
I'm either smart or dumb to assume that lies are neither good nor bad. Yeah, I've heard that I'm supposed to adhere to the "lies are bad" policy. But I've got my suspicions. Cause that rule seems to benefit smart people who want to take advantage of the dumb. For instance, if I schemed for power, it'd be to my advantage to lie about my intelligence, thereby giving me control over the masses, who'll confusingly hail me as a good leader whilst been duped to believe that lies are bad. And if I play my cards right the dumb masses won't know if I'm bluffing, which'll bring them to fold their hands. Yet I can also see how being an egomaniac might get lonely, especially if the only thing your friends can offer you is your own lies back. Which isn't to say that lies are good. But they do seem to counterbalance the truth better than anything else.
Some OUT ON A LIM readers have accused me of being dumb for lying in my journal. Ok, that was a lie--I've never gotten such comments. Nevertheless, the truth is, some entries contain pure lies. My recurring reminders to readers that not everything I write is real remains in effect. Cause the way I see it, my journal will reflect the truth about who I am despite the lies--at least for the smart people who are dumb enough to take my nonsense seriously. I mean, this entry itself ought to be blatant enough to convey my opinions on the truth, regardless of the lies.
I went to the vending machines to fetch me some lunch around 15:00. I had $3.75 in three easily feedable one dollar bills and three slot quarters--$2.50 for a protectively sealed sandwich, $1.25 for a bottle of teeth rotting pop. Money in hand, I approached the nearest vending machines.
There was a cloaked girl starring at the selections. I stood in line behind her.
"Go ahead," she said with an ancient accent.
And she laughed.
"Whatever," I thought as I squeezed between her and hit the rotate button on the selection carousel. I was in the mood for tuna. None was going round. Screw it, I'll just've a pastrami.
I put in my $2.50. However, as I tried to pry open the pastrami's slot, nickels began pumping out of the coin return. $2.50 worth of nickels. I collected all 50 ridgeless metal circles and put them in my pocket, ditched the vending machine, and heard the cloaked girl go hysterical.
There's another vending machine round the corner. I'll try my luck there.
It had tuna.
I walked back to my office where I can eat whilst reading my email. As I was about to open the door to my office, Jeff called my name. He was having a smokebreak. I joined him.
"My mother fell on her driveway," he sighed.
"Is she ok?" I condoled.
"Well, she broke another hip. She's 87 years old. She's got heart problems, she's had breast cancer, she's got liver problems, and stomach problems. So the doctors are worried about operating on her. So I've got to go and see her."
"I hope she'll be fine," I added.
"Yeah, she just won't die. Nothing can kill that tough bitch. And I mean she's a bitch--she'll kick and scream if she doesn't get her way. Her aunt lived to be 107. So my mom thinks she's got another 20 years in her. I mean, she's gonna outlive me. And she's sharp as nails. Very smart woman. She was a teacher. She's always reading, doing crossword puzzles, and keeping her mind busy. Haha, she called a few weeks ago and said 'Jeff, your sister got married.' I said 'What the fuck?' Cause who in their right mind would wanna marry my sister? And then my mom said 'April Fools.' She still kills me."
After the smokebreak, I had my lunchtime.
Before I got situated in my seat, I remembered that last week I housesat for Calandra--played with her cats, smoked on her deck, and watched music visualizations on her computer. I still had her keys in my pocket. I put them in an envelope, sealed them, addressed it to "C", and placed it on her desk.
Now I can start eating.
I received an email from the LEGO convention organizer confirming a commissioned musical composition for their next gathering. I'm excited about this project. It'll give me a chance to use my orchestra samples. They want a fanfare and some themes. Another email was from Kong Audio. They've got a new virtual guzheng. I listened to the example. It was sweet. So I purchased it on the spot. Hey, maybe I'll use it in the LEGO piece. The director of the film I scored emailed me requesting some sound files of single note hits on a xylophone and vibraphone. After finishing my tuna sandwich, I went to Amazon to buy the MirrorMask soundtrack--I'd watched the Netflixed movie over the weekend and liked the score.
Ikumi was my interim assistant for the day. She forgot her iPod again, so I talked her ears off. She's graduating this quarter and'll be going to New Jersey for her master's degree in music pedagogy. For some reason, she thought this was hilarious.
Throughout the business hours, I expected a call from Tony. He phoned last night about an assignment. He needed some bumper edits for the Kentucky Derby. I did some work for his television channel a couple of years ago, which he paid me most generously. In other words, I owe him. He said that he'd give me a call today about getting me the recordings that needed fixing. Maybe he'll call tomorrow.
Down the asylum halls, Hilda waved to me. I responded to her with generic pleasantries.
"I'm ok," she replied. "Hey Henry, can you save your empty cigarette boxes and give them to me?"
"Sure, no problem."
"Cause I can trade them for stuff like hats," she mimicked a hat over her head with her hands.
"Cool. Yeah, I'll save them for you."
Back at work, Bridget told me about the banjo dream she had. Apparently, she was supposed to peform a banjo solo at Disney Hall. However, she doesn't know how to play the banjo. Needless to say, she agonizingly fretted about the fastly approaching banjo concert. I told her that she shouldn't worry, cause she's more than proficient on the acoustic guitar. Sure the banjo is another instrument entirely, but it can't be much more difficult to play than an acoustic guitar. She'll be fine.
Music from the film Sven Stromson Blue
2. Main Titles
3. Sven and Paco Run
4. Nancy Gives Up
5. End Credits
Produced and directed by Joseph Campanale
Recorded and engineered by Umberto Belfiore
Recorded at Stair 7 Studios
Henry Lim, programming, piano, bass, xylophone, vibraphone, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, celesta
Gianni Schicci, drums, percussion
Gustav Mahler, trumpet
Gordon Theil, trombones
As if having access to the internet at work wasn't distracting enough, this YouTube thing ain't helping. I probably would've stumbled upon it sooner or later, seeing that nowadays many of my frequently visited sites are linking to it, but actually my boss first turned me on to it when he showed me a commercial the Rolling Stones did for Rice Krispies. Anyways, here're some clips that've especially made my time in the office unproductive:
- A short film called Sweet Friggin' Daisies starring Zooey Deschanel. It's kinda sappy, but hey, Zooey's incredible as usual.
- The new Puffy video.
- Japanese TV is always zany. Here's Dakota Fanning being interviewed by some goofy Japanese kid.
- Of course I had to watch videos (or as they called them "promotional films") by The Beatles. All of them are cool, but my favourite has to be this wicked version of "Revolution".
- And this.
I hear Scandinavian scales surprise guessing the spatial relationship between the chord clusters and tremolo curtains.
The Opera Singer's tall statue rode the light waves to my eyes thru the window of the library's entrance. I heard her voice thru the glasses of my schizophrenic receptors. It seemed to be calling my name. Needless to keep my mouth shut, as I approached her, I noticed that she was faking a tiny release of intimate laughing gas to some dude. So I pretended to look at the floor as I passed behind her. My speech for her was written, memorized, and ready to go.
Music bounces with immoral abandon, jumping from the spiderwebs of nostalgia to the implied desolation of contemporary judgement via imaginary harmonies.
Come to think of it, I deserved The Opera Singer's obvious betrayal. Cause the other day, she spied me blowing smoke rings around my assistant. However, I must admit that I was momentarily weighing the dividends between extinguishing my cigarette and distinguishing The Opera Singer's presence over my assistant's. I resigned to the latter out of respect to both of them.
Somewhere in parallel delirium is the cello's echo...
But the musette must end someday, even if the last note runs behind the safety of eternity and mocks the perpetual momentum of the final faux coda like an apologetic apocalypse.
I'm gonna do a system reset on my birthday. Don't worry, OUT ON A LIM will still be online. I mean, it'll look and sound the same, but I'm gonna review everything on my webpage so as to find any bugs, typos, misalignments, etc.--a regularly scheduled general maintenance. My staff and I can do all this live, so we won't be in anyone's way. To be specific, we can edit pages whilst visitors still hit the site. You won't noice a thing.
However, we'll be gathering and studying the data that we retrieve in hopes of checking the stats and correlating some new theories on patrons' erratically fluctuating attention spans. For example, just the other day, the young cheerleader squadron that I employ to monitor referral links reported a significant percentage of hits comming from the Mathematical Association of America. Perhaps the answer can be found on my birthday.
Which makes sense, as it's a conveniently consistent reminder that the end of the road is only getting closer. And I'm the sorta person who likes to give time a break on my birthday. What have I said that I haven't said before? What mistakes have I made in the past that can be corrected in the future? Should I even give a shit about my birthday? Hey, is that me smiling in the mirror? I can't wait to sleep with the head cheerleader...
That sorta deal. So reevaluating my webpage can coincide with my birthday frame of mind. And I'll forget about everything that's happened before as I recover from the hangover, pick my naked self off the head cheerleader's bed, find my clothes, get dressed, sneak off to my car, light a cigarette, and drive back home. Wow, those were some crazy times.
Anyways, again, don't mind us in the background.
-Henry Lim (namesake of the Henry Lim Webpage and general manager of OUT ON A LIM)
Driving south on the 110, after having a satisfying sushi dinner with Amanda, my cellphone rang.
"Dude," my drug dealer excited, "I've got the Master."
"What?" I had no idea what he was talking about.
"The Master," he repeated. "It's the best tickets that I can get thru my travel agent. This deal only comes around every six or seven months. Are you in?"
"The Master?" I still didn't understand.
"Just come over," he emphasized. "Trust me, it'll be worth it."
So I signaled over onto the ramp for the 60 east. I had about $110 left in my wallet. "This better be worth it," I thought and/or said to myself.
There's an unwritten rule amongst songwriters that no one is allowed to own an acoustic guitar. Sure, the instrument might come into your possession for several years, but it's only yours as a loaner. Think of it as a temporary muse. You'll metaphorically fuck her til she grants you a proverbial glimpse into her heart, from which inspiration'll be easily audible. But one ought not to hoard such notes of burden. Strum an acoustic guitar, but pass it on after you're done.
I cellphoned the Monk.
"Dude," I informed, "Monsieur Rourke says he's got the Master."
"Oh shit, the Master," the Monk gasped.
"What the hell is the Master?" I continued to question.
"The Master is the Master," the Monk, as usual, spoke in circular language.
"So, I guess you want some," I assumed.
"Fuck yeah," the Monk cursed.
Thus, I was blessed to procure the Master for the Monk. However, I didn't've enough money to buy two full vials. I did the math in my head and came to the solution that I'll buy one full vial, and split it in half with the Monk. I mean, I don't know what the hell's so special about the Master. I've got enough Purple Velvet at home. Having more of this incriminating evidence hidden in my apartment'll just make me more paranoid. I figure the Monk should't mind--after all, he's supposed to be practicing abstinence from worldly pleasures.
"You're right," my engineer bowed, "it's easy to write songs with this guitar."
"Keep it," I thanked. "Yeah, it gave me an album of tunes."
"But like you said," he remembered, "you've got to play her everyday. Only then does she give you the melodies. Are you sure you don't want to keep her longer?"
"Nah," I rethanked, "I had my turn. Besides, she'll only be a distraction. I'm gonna be composing in orchestral mode for the next month. So having her around'll just tempt me into writing song structures. Keeping her out of reach'll force me to hear in terms of symphonic staves. Yeah, you go ahead and have the guitar."
There was a secret party at my drug dealer's address. A crowd of happy customers were covertly collecting their orders. I snuck in with a junkie who kept muttering praises to the Master. "Damn," I wondered, "this is weird--I've never seen my drug dealer so busy." I reached the second floor and entered the main office, where the stash is refrigerated. My drug dealer likes to use the speaker phone function on his cellphone. He was in the middle of a conversation with the Monk as he shook my hand and materialized my vial.
"The Master," I overheard the Monk chant, "is the Master is the Master is the Master."
"Ok, whatever you say," my drug dealer hung up. "So you're gonna split your tickets with the Monk," he explained to me. "Here, let me weighing it out for you." He emptied my vial onto a scale and precisely balanced two piles of the Master.
"So that's the Master," I observed.
"Oh yeah," the addict on the floor enthused.
"It's that good, huh," I skepticized.
"Take a rip," my drug dealer offered on the house bong.
It reminded me of the sushi I just had with Amanda--soft and smooth, it melts in the mouth, and there's a brief pause of disbelief before divinity overcomes any doubt. I understood why it was deemed the Master. My money qualmlessly left.
"I told you," my drug dealer chuckled. "Ok, so I put your tickets in this vial, and the Monk's in this one. Hey, can you get me some Coltrane CDs?"
"Sure," I close captioned after deciphering what my drug dealer said via his television ventriloquist act. "Just search for the titles on the OPAC, type in 'john coltrane sound', and email me what you find. Or if you know of a CD that's not listed, send me its title and publisher number--I'll order it for you."
"Cool," my drug dealer nodded like an abominable snowman bobble toy. "Hey, hang out for awhile. Take another rip."
"Nah," I much obliged. "I've had enough of the Master for tonight. Did Zaggs stop by?"
"Zaggs," he sighed, "he can barely afford Cat Piss, nevermind the Master. He's been hanging around at parking lots and bumming it with tweakers. Plus, he's been angry at the world lately. But can you blame him? Ever since he got sick, he's been convincing himself that he's got every right to be pissed."
"That sucks," I schemed. "Hey, give him a call. Tell him Larry's in town and he'll pack a bowl of the Master for him."
A second under the influence after my drug dealer hung up his cellphone, Zaggs was taking a rip.
"Thanks," he choked.
Outside, cars were flashing their headlights in transaction signals from across my drug dealer's driveway. As I walked to my car, I passed an overzealous zombie who was writhing his hands in rhythm to his refrains of "the Master is here". I drove home listening to Amanda's latest mix CD.
The next day, before I delivered the Monk's portion, my engineer told me that the acoustic guitar's been giving him some good songs lately.
I'm gonna retract my previous statements regarding Veronica Mars (see OUT ON A LIM 8.17.05). I'll preserve that journal entry intact in the archive, cause I envy the compositional form that I employed, but as of this writing those opinions aren't accurate.
To be fair, my initial reaction to the show was based on what I caught on broadcast television--episodes were watched out of context so character backgrounds were unknown or misunderstood at best, which screwed up my appreciation of the plots, not to mention the annoying commercial interruptions never gave me a chance to invest in the dialogue as the flow of the scenes were subverted by advertisements for aspirin, wireless networks, hair products, etc.
I've given up rearranging my Netflix queue. Admittedly, when I first joined I got a kick out of changing the order of the DVDs that'll be shipped next--trying to figure out my upcomming moods. But I've been too busy to be anal. Instead, I've entrusted the chronology based on when I added my selections.
Originally, I'd kept pushing Veronica Mars down on my queue, mainly cause it's a daunting six disc set. It'll eat up alot of time, not to mention lock me into its tone, that is, if I got sucked into it. Cause as opposed to the standard two hour movie in which stories generally don't continue, a television series, by nature, is designed to be addicting. It relies on hooking the viewer to tune in next week. It's a longer term relationship.
Eventually Season One, Disc One of Veronica Mars arrived. Granted, I rented it cause the lead actress is cute--that part of my earlier journal entry remains true. However, watching it in order from the beginning, I've come to inhabit her world with genuine interest--the noir humour, the socio-economic tension, the twinges of metaphysical pain, and the flashbacks to more surreal times. Plus, in one episode, Veronica snoops around my old dorm at UCSD, which for me was neat to revisit. Thus, I take back every sarcastic remark that I made about the show. As a matter of fact, I'm eagerly awaiting Disc Two.
I drive a white car. At a stoplight today, the sedan in front of me was red and the van behind was blue.
I'm guessing that racism is dying. I mean, it's still around, but I'm assuming that it's less prevalent than during my parents' generation. Not to name names, but I know of several "friends" of my parents that still look down upon anyone that's not Oriental. However, I can't think of any acquaintance of mine that'd openly own up to such sentiments.
It's no secret that I like white girls. Of all my past girlfriends, only one was half-Asian. The rest've been descendants of various Northern European mixed breeds.
Nothing against Asian chicks, but I've yet to meet one that can compete with my vanilla fever. Perhaps it's cause I was born and raised in America. As well, my parents immigrated on their own--they left their families back at the rice paddies. So my childhood impressions lacked any direct link to traditional Oriental values. Nevertheless, my parents've reminded me to "find a good Oriental wife". Their cop-out being they don't hate non-Orientals, but the rest of the world ain't so forgiving.
At least they used to in the past. They've kinda relaxed their racial requirement regarding who I should marry. I didn't consciously plan to passive aggressively pressure them, but I've got my suspicions that as I've waited 34 years to even consider marriage, their desperation at this point in time to see me wed anyone at all might've been somewhat influential in their dissolution of racial conditions.
Not to forget, my sister and brother've hooked up with Asian significant others. So I've got them to thank for clearing the road.
Red lights eventually turn green.
The Century City mall revamped its food court. It's all slick and modern looking--lots of sharp steel lines and plasma screens. Personally, it all leaves me kinda cold. Something about the cleanliness of the design feels like some arty business lounge. Sure there's fancy money on display, but you can't buy warmth--it's earned.
Actually, as I wandered the eateries, I felt like I was in some sci-fi cafeteria aboard some starship. The rich brats that were getting a snack inbetween their shopping had these futuristic cellphones clipped on their ears whilst yuppies updated their portable electronic notepads. I checked my old fashioned cellphone to see if I had enough time to eat a quick dinner before my movie started.
At most food courts, I have no problem deciding on where to dine--it's usually the first thing which catches my eye that I pick. However, I circled the Century City food court twice without any clear choice. I started to suspect that all the clever designs were compensating for a lack of anything good to eat.
When in doubt, go pizza. You can't go wrong terribly wrong with pizza, no matter how it's dressed up. I pointed to the pepperoni under the glass counter. A chick scooped a slice and heated it the oven. As I waited, I noticed a fly on the rest of the pizza. At least the bugs are happy at the new food court.
Let's say, hypothetically, that as a child, I was sexually molested by two ladies who briefly abducted me during a family vacation in Las Vegas. It's not entirely unthinkable--I get lost on the crowded casino floor, two ladies find me, they notice that I'm unattended, they take me by the hand, lead me to their hotel room, remove my clothes, tickle, and abandon me. I get dressed, walk back downstairs, and rejoin my parents, who've enlisted the help of the officer in charge of security. They question me. "Where did you go?" "Who were you with?" "Did anyone touch you?" And let's suppose that I feign no recollection of the events.
I remember the moment that I solved the Rubik's Cube. I was a shy kid who'd spend hours goofing around with the puzzle--imprinting the tactile sensation of rotating the three dimensions in my hands, noticing the corresponding effects of the opposing faces upon each turn, and mentally cataloging the recurring patterns. It wasn't long before I stumbled upon solving one side, which was exciting in itself, not only because it seemed like I was getting closer to figuring out the puzzle, but also due to my obsessive delight in being able to repeat the feat. Cause I'd unwittinglingly developed and subconsciously memorized algorithms--if this corner needs to go to the other side of the cube, I'll do these moves, etc. Eventually, the boredom of solving only one side and my overwhelming compulsion to finish the puzzle led me to that evening in my bedroom when I completed the last layer and shouted "I DID IT!"
Continuing the hypothetical situation, let's assume that karma is real--what goes around, comes around. And add to that the belief that reincarnation karmically extends, so that what goes around in a previous life can come around in the next. I'd say that given that I was a child, it's unlikely that I could conceive of sexually molesting anyone, let alone inflinct such negative karma upon myself. So I'm guessing, within my mortal capacity to understand the cosmic logic of crime and punishment, that the events in the Las Vegas hotel room with those two ladies wasn't what I deserved in this life, but must've been the poetic results of me being a child molester in a previous life.
My Rubik's Cube solution is indebted to Singmaster's popular layer by layer method. I tried to read his book, which my dad, in his dastardly attempts to finish the puzzle before me, purchased and thought he'd hid under his stack of pornographic magazines. Needless to say, most of my time was spent going blind as I stared at the two-dimensional centerfolds. But I did gather the vital gist to Singmaster's solution--solve one side as a top layer, then solve the middle layer, and finally solve the bottom layer. The book supplied the necessary algorithms, but they were all coded in jibberish--F2LFU'R'. I'd rather look at naked women than refer to some abstract key. Anyways, based on these clues, I cobbled my own solution.
So the choices that I have in the hypothetical situation are, do I continue the karmic cycle by molesting a child in this life and get molested furthermore in the next life, do I seek any form of revenge, or do I call it even. Keep in mind that the temptation for self addressed justice compounds with lustful and spiteful desire as the kid in me keeps a reminder of the tickling pleasure and pain. Also, whatever choice I make will affect every soul that I chance upon in all my lives. And I can change my mind anytime.
Later on, I properly studied Singmaster's method and noticed that it's got too many algorithms. Without counting the top layer algorthims, which I solve more on intuition than determined moves, my solution can be done with five algorithms--a fraction of Singmaster's. Of course, competitive speed cubing under the Fridrich and Petrus methods require genius amounts of algorithms, so I might appear slow and lame without the elegance of strategic inversions, but I favour the economy of memorization over breaking record time. Incidentally, I finished the puzzle before my dad did.
Hypothetical situation aside, my parents tell me that when I was a child, I was briefly abducted by two ladies during a family vacation in Las Vegas--that much is true. But what happened next is a mystery. I kept my mouth shut. Honestly, I really have no recollection of those events other than being abducted--I remember being whisked away by two beautiful ladies. Maybe they molested me, maybe they didn't. I forget. This is weird given that I can still remember all my algorithms for solving the Rubik's Cube. Nevertheless, I'm calling it even.
"I'm glad I wore my sneakers today," Kate said as she tapped her feet on the ground.
A few days ago, Frank was telling me about the steam tunnels at UCLA. I'd heard of them before--the legendary labyrinth under the campus that no one that I knew of ever ventured thru. Supposedly, parts of the university were built on a landfill. There once was a ravine running underneath. And all of this can be explored via the steam tunnels--a network of dimly lit secret passages that burrow beneath the buildings. Of course, the locations of any of the entrances to the tunnels are officially a mystery. They aren't publicly marked on the sanctioned maps. However, Frank not only knew where one of the entrances was located, but how to sneak in.
"We'll wait til Gordon gets back from dinner," I told Kate after complimenting her sneakers.
Gordon's been at UCLA for over 30 years. And in all that time, he's never been down in the steam tunnels. Obviously, he's aware of them and's always wanted to check them out. But up until I told him that Frank knew how to access them, he's been under the impression that they were tightly guarded and part of the school's folklore.
"You gotta take me with you," Gordon pleaded. "Let me know when you guys go down there."
Frank returned from reconnaissancing the entrance. He advised that we wait til evening before we head in, cause facilities workers are usually down there during the day. Gordon told us to wait for him as he went to eat dinner. Kate came in for her shift and signed up for the tour as we stood by for Frank's all clear.
"Gordon's back from dinner," I signaled to Frank.
"Ok," he waved us to follow his lead, "let's go."
The entrance was actually located in the basement of our own building. It's just an ordinary looking door. But behind it is a pipe filled room that leads to the tunnels. Frank showed us the way as Gordon, Kate, and I remarked on the coolness of the adventure ahead. Although, due to the steam in the pipes, the temperature in the tunnels got kinda hot. Some areas were tight--we had to crawl under and between pipes. The graffiti displayed names and slogans of previous visitors along the walls as signs warned us of high voltage danger. Other than the steam occasionally expanding the pipes with a banging noise, it was quiet underground. I could hear Kate's scuffling sneakers.
"Where are we?" Gordon wondered. "What's above us right now?"
Indeed, it was easy to lose a sense of direction in the tunnels--the curving and confined space gave a distorted perception of distance. It seemed we all had a different guess as to our whereabouts. Even Frank wasn't sure what buildings we were under. We came upon an exit door that gave us some clues. Carefully, in case someone outside might notice us, Frank opened it to get our bearings. It appeared that we'd only traveled across the street despite having winded around seemingly much further in the maze. Anyways, we now knew where north was. We continued thru the tunnels only to lose our coordinates again.
"I think that exit door led to another dimension," Kate laughed.
Most of the ceilings were low enough for me to touch. And I was the shortest in our expedition--Gordon often had to duck. Here and there refreshing vents of air broke up the heat as the smell of dust filled the subterranean cracks. We went down some short stairs. At times it felt like the floor angled us towards a lower sea level. I found an empty Coke bottle, Gordon discovered a desk, and Kate picked up a can of WD-40.
"This is so Indiana Jones," she observed.
And then we arrived at an open space, where the air was damp and girders rose from the underground canyon. This was the old bridge over the ravine. Kate noticed a strange buttery popcorn scent as we paused and took a moment to appreciate the buried landscape. It was definitely the photo opportunity of the journey. Regretfully, I didn't've my camera.
"Here's another exit door," Frank mentioned. "Do we wanna use it or should we go back the way we came in?"
It was too much fun to leave so we retraced our steps.
On May 15, 1946, Tommy Koulax served his first chiliburger to the public. As a loyal customer since 1986, I'd like to most humbly wish Original Tommy's World Famous Hamburgers a thanks and all the best on this day, your 60th anniversary. May your heart stopping food continue to grant me the honour of being the death of me.
I was a freshman in high school when I took the "magic pill". That was 20 years ago--more than half my life. And I've never been the same since. I can't see the world as I did before I swallowed the mind altering chemicals--after peeking behind the curtain, it's hard not to see thru the transparent illusion known as life.
A social custom amongst geeky marching band members after Friday night football games was to round up your fellow instrumentalists, pile them into an upper classman's car, and drive towards your late night food joint of choice. There was an In-N-Out on the rich side of town. Within our suburban shopping districts, there were your generic fast food chains--Taco Bell, Jack In the Box, Burger King, Del Taco, and McDonalds. And over in the seedy neighbouring town, a Tommy's.
Thesedays, all my friends've deserted me. They chickened out. I think the shortcut to oblivion scares them. Some've given me health and moral excuses, but I say put your trust in the last sunset, and everything'll be fine. Let go of your fears regarding not accomplishing what you're supposed to in this world. Cause it's kinda arrogant to assume that your life deserves any meaning other than being grateful for being so lucky to be alive. Don't rudely covet more time--when your's is up, leave without questions or complaints.
There were many Friday nights when I feared for my life. The hoodlums that hung around Tommy's would often get into knife and gun brandishing showdowns as the innocent bystanders hit the ground. Frustrated gangbangers would cut in line and stare you down if you blinked. Nevertheless, the chiliburgers were worth the wait.
Maybe I'm the only one who got addicted. Cause I still get a buzz whilst others've lost their faith. I'm not afraid to die from processed poisons--my body hasn't complained. Call it my way of showing my appreciation for life by way of testing my fate. If I died tonight, I'd be content with having had the fortunate opportunity to've experienced the boundaries of my existence. And so I shall go alone. I can taste the tomato, onions, mustard, and chili...
I've got a crush on a girl.
Ain't it funny when the sidekick overshadows the heroine. You thought that you weren't supposed to fall for her, but fate pulled a fancy switch on you. In other words, you acknowledge which league you belong to and who's within ballpark range. Anyways, you drop everything to follow her down the tracks.
I've been dissecting the final scene from City Lights, in particular the love theme for the blind flower girl, as part of research into the emotional vibe that was flowing thru Hollywood circa the Golden Era--the legendary sound that blended ties to traditional early 20th century European romanticism and the burgeoning renegade American dream factory. Compared to today's technologically advanced and cynical outlook, the classic soundtracks of yester-generations, like the films they accompanied, seem more black and white in their characterization of musical punctuation. They almost seem overly melodramatic about making it a clear point as to who's the romantic interest of the movie via her obvious theme which is repeated in a patiently slow, yet exaggerated heart pounding crescendo that haunts your head for several days afterwards.
My tastes in chicks must be changing. I used to be really into blondes--the younger the better. Personalitywise, a ditz would make me go nuts. And of course, the skinnier the sillier I'd get. Maybe it's cause I'm getting older and bored of the ridiculous types of babes, but I'm starting to notice the brunettes, preferably with blue streaks. Plus brains are beginning to become a prerequisite. I believe that I'm realizing how stimulating conversations can be, so engaging in one with someone who's smarter than the average slut, seems to be attracting my excitement. In addition, mellow demeanors have been driving me bonkers.
From the moment that the flower girl, cured of her blindness, notices the tramp, til the fade to black, the music, because City Lights, not including the brief gibberish during the opening scene, is defiantly silent, cumulatively charts the final scene's emotional route--near silence for the tender reunion that travels from mushy mezzo-piano to double forte teardrops synched to cinematic idealizations of hope and love. Such bold and honest notions thesedays seem naive and corny. Some might call it immature, old fashioned, or insane. Nevertheless, at the time of the film's release in 1931, it must've been near sensation overload for the audience, considering that television, rock'n'roll, and computers were yet to be forms of entertainment. Although it can be argued that people back then relied on their imagination more than we do today--we've got more excuses to distract our attention away from our own dreams. At least, that's what I hear in Chaplin's score.
So it previously might've made sense for me to have a crush on Lily Kane. Don't get me wrong, I still wouldn't mind breaking the law with her, but nowadays, I'd rather have statutory action with Veronica Mars. Despite being blonde, her tough smarts give her a cuter appeal. That being said, the more I got to know her, the more unworthy of her love I became--she's just way too pretty for someone as unsophisticated as me. There's no way that I can compete with any of her boyfriends. I mean, the most I'd get from her with what little charm I might be able to nervously muster would only amount to a chance to bat. She'd easily strike me out simply with her intimidation. However, her friend Mac is just my style.
Thinking about thinking of you
Summertime think it was June
Yeah think it was June
Like most pseudo beatnik college students, I went thru a Keroac phase. And thus the summer after my freshman year, I hit the road in search of the spontaneous American expansion of land. I drove for miles, intentionally heading nowhere, with bubblegum 50's pop songs blowing from my tape deck. Somewhere in the Dakota Territory, I recognized my guardian angel in the form of a dead bird on the side of the highway.
Laying back head on the grass
Children grown having some laughs
Yeah having some laughs
Every Lennon fan knows about the number nine. Besides its superstitious absurdities, it's a heuristic device to memorize the location of the Dakota--the corner of 72nd Street (7 + 2 = 9) and Central Park West. And thus upon arriving in New York, I shot towards the scene of the crime. Standing on the sidewalk, I had every Beatles song simultaneously stuck in my head.
Drinking back drinking for two
Drinking with you
And drinking was new
Today's Strange Brew depicted an American Indian father and son sitting outside their tipi. It's a Rockwellian scene, abeit seen thru a single comic panel--that classic moment when knowledge is passed onto the next generation. There's an uncompromised beauty in the sunset coloured clouds over the distant snowcapped mountains. And thus the punchline is spoken by the father--"Someday, son, none of this will be yours." I laughed insofar as the ghosts of the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota allowed.
Sleeping in the back of my car
We never went far
Needed to go far
Betty Spaghetty has friends from all around the world and beyond--Olivia is from New York, Lucy is from London, Nikki is from Paris, Tess is from Australia, Mandy is from Hollywood, and Solar Eclipse is from outer space. Some of her friends've pets--Nikki's got a pet cat named CoCo and Tess's got a koala named Mel. And thus Betty's got a horse named Dakota.
Wake up cold coffee and juice
What happened to you
On December 17, 1935 (the 32nd anniversary of Kitty Hawk), the first DC-3 took to flight. It's generally acknowledged as one of the planes that popularized US air travel--it could make transcontinental trips with a single refuelling stop. During World War II, many airplane designs were drafted. And thus the DC-3 was militarily reconfigured as the C-47, C-53, R4D, and Dakota.
I wonder if we'll meet again
Talk about us instead
Talk about why did it end
A Dodge Dakota was crashed into the meridian of the 405 during rush hour. All I saw of the injured driver was her bloody blonde hair covering the steering wheel. A broken pair of Dakota Smith sunglasses was amongst the crumbs of her windshield on her dashboard. I didn't want to hold up traffic. And thus I drove away.
Made me feel like the one
I don't know where we are going now
So take a look at me now
"Quit your laptop," I mocked Mac.
"Just let me just finish checking my email," she delayed.
"Did you get a reply from Veronica?" I asked.
"Not yet," she responded. "I so know that you've still got a major crush on her."
"I don't know what you're talking about," I fibbed.
"Whatever," she likewised.
"No really," I continued. "Veronica's been deleted from my mind."
"Oh really," she doubted.
"Really," I wished.
"Then why do you own the soundtrack to her television show? Why're you always listening to it? And why do you want to know if I got a reply from her?" she proved me wrong.
"Hey," I argued, "but who am I fooling around with right now?"
"What's your favourite song on the CD?" she retorted.
"'We Used To Be Friends'", I answered.
"The Dandy Warhols?" she confirmed.
"Is that who sings it?" I trivialized.
"Yeah," she shrugged, "I don't like that song."
"Then which song's your favourite?" I countered. "Spoon?"
"What song do they sing?" she admitted her lack of the tracklist.
"Something about a camera," I recalled.
"No," she tangented. "They use that song in the Jaguar commercial. I'm so mad cause they're playing in London with The New Pornographers. I so want to go to that concert."
"Why don't you?" I followed.
"Cause," she excused, "hello? London is far away."
"Take a plane," I suggested.
"You're nuts," she got to the point. "I bet you'd rather go to London with Veronica than me."
"Please," I begged.
"Oh," she read, "the Santa Monica Aquarium just got a shark egg."
"What kinda shark," I wondered.
"I don't know," she reread, "it doesn't say other than it's an egg from a shark."
"Cool," I assumed. "Hey, are you done already with your email?"
"OK," she quitted. "Hey, are you gonna be a dork and write about me in your blog?"
"No," I swore.
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