|Out On a Lim|
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|Out On a Lim (2.14.06 - 5.18.06) >>|
|When it comes to old wives tales, I'm guessing that it's pure chance that predicts the gender of a child. However, the theory based on the father's history with women is fun to speculate. Accordingly, it states that if the father's been a gentleman with women, he'll have a son. And if he's been an asshole, he'll have a daughter. The proportion is distributed amongst his children. It's most likely baloney, but it gives me a chuckle whenever I hear a father complain about how much of a pain in the neck his daughter is.
I've heard that girls maintain windows of opportunity when it comes to the guys they'll allow themselves to fall in love with. There's a certain time frame that a guy has to prove himself worthy, otherwise the girl'll close her window and move on to her next suitor. Generally, the converse doesn't exist. Guys don't keep track of such things--they'll take whatever's available. This makes sense since girls are tied to their biological clocks, not to mention they're the ones being pursued. In contemporary Western society, girls have the upper hand in choosing their mates.
The gate to the parking lot at work is a flimsy zebra coloured plank of wood that goes up when I wave my entry card in front of a curbside sensor. Sometimes it's broken--either it's up already or someone crashed thru. In these events, the parking service attendants place a sign on the driveway stating "gate malfunction" and warn that proper permits are still required. This happens about every other day. I like it when the gate's broken cause I don't've to open my window to wave my entry card.
The music was too loud. Lately, I've been minding dance beat volumes in my head when I ought to be feeling their grooves in my feet. Counting the reflective squares on the disco ball revolving above the middle aged conga line gave me the incentive to finish my margarita and step outside for a breath of fresh nicotine. I wanted to listen to air that was free from the restrictive regularities of repetitive rhythms. Stacked jalopies were valetted in the pinto bean wiffed parking lot. I could still hear the salsa, but it was muffled by obese senoritas blocking the cover charged entrance. As I lit a cigarette, a stranger bothered me into commiserating about his breakup with his girlfriend, his dead mother, and his need to forget about both tonight. Communication inside the club could only be misinterpreted as extroverted shouting whilst the location of the ashtray provided for a more confessional application of vocal chords. Admittingly, that's where I wanted to be, wanted to hear, and why I was there. But not with a stranger. Cause of anywhere that I could be on a Saturday night, escaping loud Latin music ain't my dream scene. However, given reasonable hope that I might get a chance to share a smokebreak with someone worth my trouble, I risked the possibility of recycling my time in a nightmare. As I replied to the stranger with a "good luck", I heard the same cliche echo thru the overlapping grids of temporal continuity, etymologically fragement across a wishful timeline, and arrive back to me as an expression endorsed by my patience. I returned to the party, ordered a Mexican beer, munched on some nachos, and kept my eyes on the sources of illumination. Mentally, I pictured the room empty of crowded guests--the littered dance floor, upside down barstools, and burnt out lights. But the music kept reminding me of my whereabouts.
"I'll've a Neapolitan," Zaggs drive-thru ordered.
I reside in relatively safe neighbourhood. It's not a breeding ground for fearsome ghetto slang nor overpampered commands to underpaid housekeepers. So it's middle of the road--meaning, in one household, there's a likely possibility that one of the inhabitants might be a bored K-girl who impulsively decides to rebel against her hamster wheel parents whilst living next door is an ex-sorority chick studing for a degree in late blooming. There's a crossword puzzle crossed with a crossroad mentality that riddles my neighbourhood like a neutral zone between the impending rich versus poor war.
Ted Ed Fred's in charge of the valley. Milkshakes from Carl's Jr. sounded like a noble plan. So him, Zaggs, and I got in the bug mobile, swayed between the painted road dividers, and told tales of a thousand pyramids as we headed for the most conveniently located Carl's Jr. drive-thru.
"What?" the speaker replied.
"A Neapolitan," Zaggs colon double bar lined.
"What's a Neapolitan?" the speaker continued.
For some strange reason, a lot of my neighbours seem to be golfers. Cause it seems like everyone own's a club. Unless everyone's gone caveman insane and are arming themselves with the modern synonym of the weapon, or I'm guessing that maybe there's some casual swinging going on at the community park. However, everytime I drive by, I've yet to see anyone hitting their balls in the grass--not to mention, I don't think the park's big enough for any amateur practice without liable damage to any of the adjacent apartment windows. My only evidence of this weird fad is counting the high number of pedestrians carrying golf clubs in my neighbourhood. Another theory is perhaps when the war eventually arrives, they'll've a better chance of being identified in the rubble as a wannabe wealthy person due to their fine taste in recreational sports.
"A Neapolitan," Zaggs explained, "is all three flavours--vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry."
The waiter told us to be still for awhile.
"Sorry, no," the waiter resumed, "you can't order that."
"No?" Zaggs shifted. "Ok, just give me a chocolate then."
The other night, as I was walking my usual moonlight block to the corner mailbox, I noticed a gang of skateboard punks yelling slogans of anarchy and rolling down the street towards me. Panic ran thru my shoes. They outnumbered me, plus given their lack of respect to the courteous level of shouting at such a late hour, I wouldn't be surprised if for laughs they wanted to mug a weak and innocent bystander like me. All I had of value was the DVD that I intended to return. Running thru my head were potential sentence structures for the apology email that I was gonna be writing to Netflix. My legs weren't getting enough blood as the skateboard punks approached me. For a final wish, I prayed for a golf club to magically materialize in my hands...
"So that's three chocolate shakes," the waiter on the speaker clarified.
"Yeah," Zaggs confirmed. Pulling up to the window, he confided, "That dude is high. How difficult is it to make a Neapolitan?"
"Dude," Ted Ed Fred warned, "shut up. I don't want him to spit in my shake. Or worse, he'll whip my cream with his dick. Just be cool, man."
I didn't trip on the Neapolitan fiasco, rather I was happy to be alive. The skateboard punks turned out to be posers. Their anti-government barks were rooted in suburban boredom--they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a genuine wakeup call and an empty threat of revolution. Cause I sensed their fear via the dead silence that they observed as they passed my way. I contacted no eyes. And I'm a defenseless chicken. So any punks that're scared of a wuss like me's got to be the sissiest kids in the hood. Nevertheless, I acknowledge how lucky I was that night. The war could start any day now. I could've been a casualty.
"Here you go," the food server announced. "Two chocolate shakes and a Neapolitan."
Ominously, tonight, after I wrote a check to my landlord and ventured to the mailbox, I noticed a car parking across the street. The business suited driver stopped his motor and quietly sat in his seat. Again, I picked up on a fearful sense of survival as I walked by--this was made clear by the clicked automatic lock on his door and the trembling of his tie. He quickly escaped from his car when I reached the mailbox, which was a block away. Now, I know, or at least choose to believe, that I'm completely harmless. I seriously doubt people are afraid of me. But there's something strange in the air.
My shit reading material is comics. I just finished V for Vendetta, which was loaned to me by my drug dealer--it was much more 80's paranoia than the movie's modern mockery, although I gotta love Portman's portrayal better than the comic's. Anyways, I've got maybe two more visits to the toilet before I turn the last page of The Complete Peanuts 1957-1958. That should be enough time before my order for 1959-1960 arrives from Amazon.
Well, 'tis the supposed season for summer movies. And the films being buttered for consumption this year seem to be as appetizing as piss flavoured popcorn. I must be totally out of step with the target demographic which seems to be parading sequels to movies that I didn't think deserved to float at the box office the previous times around--Mission Impossible, X-Men, Pirates of the Carribean, Fast and Furious, Superman, Garfield. As well, all my favourite actresses seem to be chilling this summer off screen, or at least their promotional campaigns haven't hit me yet. It's kinda sad when the only thing that I'm semi-anticipating is putting Elfman's score to Nacho Libre in my Amazon shopping cart.
Which'd probably be a convincing argument for me to grow up and find an entertaining wife if it weren't for Netflix. As I patiently await the release of Veronica Mars Season Two, my queue'll tide me over til autumn--up next are some dinosaur documentaries, standup comedy routines, samurai anime, and Alice in Wonderland starring Mac. Yup, I've been spending way too much time watching rented videos than I ought to be. Luckily, I've got the luxury to indulge, but seeing as this summer's movie season looks dead on arrival, I might as well live it up at home.
Another possible excuse for not getting a life is Lost. My drug dealer highly recommended it and let me borrow the first season. I've'd it on my to-watch-shelf for the last month. It seems cool despite the cult status that precedes it--most of my pop cultured acquaintances swear that it's worth following. However, I've fallen in love with Veronica. I can't find it in my heart to get involved with any other show. Not that she should be worried since I don't see anyone half as cute as her on the Lost cast that's pictured on the boxset.
I wonder if anyone falls for junk mail. I mean, how lame and lonely does one've to be to not only not recognize an insulting advertisement but to actually read it as if it was personally addressed to them. But I guess there're some fools out there, otherwise it'd be a waste of all that artistic talent that goes into coupon designs. For me, it's just dirt surrounding the Amazon and Netflix treausures that I dig out of my mailbox.
"Quit your laptop," I mocked Veronica.
"Shhh," she was absorbed in her role, "I think I found a clue..."
"OK," I tested the waters, "seeing as you're all busy at the moment, I guess Mac won't mind if I kick it with her tonight."
"Yeah," she automatically responded, "I think she'll be cool with that."
"Cool," I got up to leave.
"Wait," she stalled.
"What?" I hesitated.
"This clue can't be right," she sidetracked. "This mystery can't be so obviously easy to solve."
"OK," I took her hint, "I'll stay."
"Hmmm," she typed on her keyboard.
"Mac's been looking cute lately," I monologued. "I mean, I didn't really notice her in Napoleon Dynamite. But ever since she moved to Neptune, her hotness factor's been rising. She gets me with that silly grin of hers."
"Uh, what did you just say?" she looked at me.
"Nothing," I mumbled.
"I didn't think so," she continued to organize her files. "I thought I heard you say something about Mac."
"Who?" I played along.
"Nevermind," she closed her folders.
"Anyways," I laughed, "Mac's been getting jealous about us fooling around so much. She keeps grilling me about some imaginary crush that I'm supposedly harbouring for you. Pssssh. If she only knew about us."
"Well," she advised, "just don't be a fool and write about us in your blog."
"Never," I tried to trick her.
"Oh," she exclaimed, "you're such an idiot. You wrote about us. Are you stupid? Mac's a nerd. She reads blogs in her spare time."
"But she doesn't know I've got a blog," I delegated. "And even if she did, I never gave her my URL."
"It doesn't matter," she went into her smartass voice. "She knows her way around a computer. She can not only track you down, but hack into your blog as well. You'll be sorry if she ever reads about you and me."
"Shit," I sweated.
"But you don't need to worry about that," she sarcasted, "cause you just confessed that you'd 'never' write about us in your blog. And by the way, I heard you when you were talking about her 'hotness factor rising'. Dude, she's way too young for you."
"How old is she?" I asked.
"21," she answered.
"Really?" I doubted. "I thought she was younger..."
"That's sick," she scolded.
"Well, doesn't she go to your high school?" I submitted.
"You dummy," she raised her voice, "we're acting. We're characters on a television show. We're not real."
"Yeah," I remembered. "I knew that you're older than you play on TV. But I never knew Mac was overaged."
"Haha, very funny," she joked.
"So if you're only acting," I assumed, "and Mac's only acting, then I can sleep at night knowing that no one's reading my blog."
"You tell me," she smirked. "You know her better than I do--is she the type of person who reads blogs?"
"Shit," I prayed.
"Just don't write anything in your blog," she reminded.
"Yeah," I agreed.
The financial advisor advised her fiance's potential investments in potato investigations due to the allegations that alligators were to blame for the increase in french fry grease sales. Supposedly, seals've been oversleeping along the Seattle shoreline. This's left the sharks in those parts empty tummied. So the predators preempted those feeding grounds in seach of beaches that offered species more willing to be linked below them on the food chain. However, upon scouting Florida, they encountered alligators that weren't so easily eaten. The sharks were scarfed by the prehensile reptiles--there was no contest for the best evolved beast. Needless to guess, the alligators got so unusually fat that the alligator eating community went nuts. However, shark fed alligator meat ain't the most appetizing dish unless it's served with some french fries. And not just regular french fries, but ridiculously greasy french fries. The ball's bound to lose its bounce soon, so it's prudent to research grease aborbing potatoes before the lucrative opportunity rolls away.
Happy Memorial Weekend
"Hey Mac," I asked, "can I borrow some of your Max Steiner CDs?"
"Sure," she headed for the "s" section of her alphabetized collection. "Why?"
"Well," I explained, "I'm working on a commission--music for a toy convention. And the theme of the festivities is 'Hollywood'. So I'd like to rip off some Steiner."
"Gone With the Wind?", she handed me the CD.
"Hmm," I read the liner notes. "Yeah, this'll be cool. It'll work. Cause I'm thinking it's near internationally recognizeable, at least in this day and age, to associate the golden era of Hollywood with that classic Steiner sound."
"Does it need to be old school?" she mentioned.
"Nah," I figured, "it doesn't necessarily need to be old school, but I'd like it to be. But the way I hear it, if I had to characterize Hollywood, I'd go with the heyday, which would be during the golden era. Today's just a tired version of those times--it's faded and rusted. Sorta like if you looked up Hollywood in an encyclopedia, you'll mostly read about how glamourous it all used to be. Today's just a footnote. And likewise with the music."
"You're a sentimentalist," she labeled.
"I guess I am," I supposed.
"What about all the technological advancements in the film industry that're happening right now?" she geeked. "I mean, hello? Computers?"
"Sure," I disregarded.
"And aren't you gonna record your composition with a MIDI orchestra?" she added. "You're not gonna use a real symphonic ensemble, right?"
"Yeah," I knowed. "I'm a contradiction."
"Oh, is that why you were deconstructing Chaplin?" she construed.
"What?" I missed. "How'd you know about my Chaplin research?"
"I read it on your blog," she admitted.
"Did I write about that?" I couldn't remember.
"Yeah," she seemed to be sure, "you did."
"Huh," I shrugged. "I wouldn't believe anything you read on my blog. It's full of lies."
"Sure," she distrusted.
"Hey," I confirmed, "Veronica says that you can hack into my blog. Is that true?"
"I also read that in your blog," she threatened. "And yeah, I can."
"Cool," I bluffed.
"But it's not me that you should be worried about," she elaborated. "If I were you, I'd be afraid of Veronica. She's got issues."
"Is that so," I listened.
"Yeah," she furthermored, "Veronica's just using you. But you already knew that, didn't you."
"I've had my suspicions," I doubted.
"Well, just be careful," she advised. "She's my friend and all, but sometimes she gets really involved with her private investigation business. And she can dig deeper than I can hack. She's got access to all your dirty little secrets. Also, don't fall for her helpless act--she employs that on everyone."
"Ok," I concluded. "Hey, thanks for letting me borrow your CD. You're too unreal. I gotta go."
"Bye," she grinned.
People started crowding the auditorium entrance. None of the chicks caught my eye as I scanned for the lady in charge of the stage crew. I'd previously done her some personal favours in exchange for a standing order on free tickets to concerts. I found her outside dressed in her black uniform pep talking with of her staff. After a few sly jokes, she shifted her glance, reached in her pocket, and handed me a ticket hidden in the palm of her shake.
A group of us from work were going to the concert--our coworker was the featured guest pianist. On the program were a Mozart symphony, the Copland piano concerto, intermission, and the Brahms violin concerto. The girls were at the ticket booth. I told them that I'd already obtained mine so we got ushered in and scavenged a row of available seats. "I love it when they tune up," the girls giggled. I agreed whilst noticing that the spotlight on the orchestra seemed to cast specific attention upon a cute clarinetist.
As the house lights dimmed and the audience applauded the conductor's entrance, I found myself in the concert zone--that hypnotic state which heightens the present tense and only can be experienced during a live performance. And with the first given downbeat, my ears surfed the soundwaves escaping from the instruments. There's nothing like sharing the air with an orchestra's intricately textured vibrations. Especially the wind blown thru a cute clarinetist's mouth.
I left during the intermission.
Early today, I was flirting with the receptionist at the horse racing channel's main office. Lately, I've been doing some freelance audio editing to support my drug habit. And I've frequented the main office enough to be friendly with the receptionist. I think that it's good professional courtesy to be nice to the gatekeepers--they might seem like peons, but they've got access to unforeseen favours.
Anyways, I dropped off some loops that I made for the upcomming weekend's featured race. Years of editing music's made the task, for me, performable with a blindfold. I mean, when I first started cutting up soundfiles on a computer over a decade ago, it took some practice--finding and positioning the scissors at the exact point where the waveform unnoticeably reconnects upon repeat was hit and miss. But nowadays, I can do it in my sleep. So I figured why not make a profit with the proficiency.
Yeah, I had some credibility questions concerning the affair. Cause the music I'm working with is interchangeable with the soundtrack to corporate whoring--it's purposely nonoffensive and caters to keeping the demographic's viewership. However, the way I look at it is it's not my music, anyone who falls for the bullshit deserves to be fooled, and as I mentioned before, it's no sweat for me.
Besides, drugs aren't free.
I ditched the Brahms violin concerto in order to catch a trio of female DJs that were spinning and pushing buttons at a bar in Hollywood. On the drive over, I listened to Mac's Max Steiner CD whilst scrutinizing the orchestra credits in the concert program for the cute clarinetist's name during traffic light stops. My ears drifted on the memory of her notes.
Ordering a beer was inspired by my view of the bartender's rack. I tipped her excellent attitude and sat at a booth as the DJs took turns at the turntables and laptop. The music wasn't loud enough to dance to, but quiet enough to carry a conversation without too much yelling. Nevertheless, there was a dame doing a slinky dance that deserves a mention.
And as I imagined her body working those moves in a bedroom, I recapitulated all the music that I encountered today--the horse racing loops, the cute clarinetist, the DJs. Some say that in a perfect world, music ain't necessary, cause people'll be too happy to be bothered by it. Which, to some degree, makes sense as music seems to've the ability to help forget one's troubles, if for a moment. But as the world's imperfect at best, I say the more music the better. Fortunately, I encounter it alot.
It's all about who you know.
The bum was too fucked up to cross the street. He fell to the gravel everytime he tried to get back on his feet. And when he did, it was a test of his balance to walk in a straight line. His "Give me money, I'm homeless" sign, which was cursively scribbled on a ripped cardboard box corner, fell from his hands and blew under the wheels of passing traffic. The bum didn't seem to mind.
I watched him struggle from the safety of my leather seated automobile. He had the light, but the intermittent "walk" sign changed to "don't walk" before he picked himself off the ground in front of my car. My initial reaction was to check for eyewitnesses--maybe there's no one around to point their finger at me in a courtroom regarding the "accidental" death of a bum. I mean, the light was green, you're Honour, and I didn't see him in front of my vehicle. My bad.
But then I thought, Jesus, this fellow needs my help. I should at least get out of my car and assist him to the other side of the road. And if I really wanted my angel wings, I'd provide unselfish guidance to his weary circumstance, for he must be suffering from some desperate disease whereby he's crying out for attention via his incapacity to perform the simple task of crossing the street. Never forget--he's human, too.
And then I thought, wait, maybe I'm being baited. Not that I've got a criminal background, but if I were to commit a carjacking, I'd sucker someone into opening their car door by preying on their desire to do good. I'd get an accomplice to act like a bum, fall in front of a car at a crosswalk, and jump into the empty vehicle when the driver's attending the "bum". It's easier than using a gun.
I had my hand on my horn, ready to wake the bum up, when I thought, man, this guy's too fucked up to hear anything, let alone understand the annoying sound. It'll just be a faded blur mixed with the "reality" that he's imagining. And I thought, hmm, I wonder what he's on. Alcohol? Drugs? Insanity? Which made me jealously aware of how my partying seems much more lightweight in comparison. I don't think I've ever been that wasted.
After deciding on not being an asshole with my horn, I fantasized that the bum was the greatest man alive. In some flipped cosmic joke, the universe, in all its infinite humour, decreed that what mankind's calling "socially acceptable" is actually bullshit. We're supposed to all be homeless, fucked up, and bent on sabotaging the rat race. So in the biggest picture, this bum was fulfilling his role. I just hoped that he wasn't dead.
I could call the cops with my handy dandy cellphone. I've never done so before, but from what I've heard, the response time in Los Angeles is pathetically slow, let alone for something as trivial as removing a bum off the street, ain't nearly as warranting as the other victims in the city. Especially when I can just drive around him, like the other cars behind me. The light changed. I waited for my turn.
I like to maintain a standard routine of simple tasks to do upon arriving home from work before settling in. Call it OCD, but I think of it as my way of warming up for the night ahead, which on weeknights is generally filled with neverending projects to complete. Having a routine helps me get in the zone--the repetitive actions, done in order, clear my mind of the day behind me. And I've got the motions down insofar as I can simultaneously plan the night ahead as I perform the tasks in the dark.
Of course there are variations, but the basic routine is such. First, I park my car in my garage. I keep the key to my door's lock in the flip case by my automatic gearshift--it's convenient for me to've it separate from my key ring, which is in the ignition. The actual parking isn't always perfect, but most of the time, I can do it three points, depending on if there're any obstructing cars in the driveway. After turning off the motor, I eject whatever CD I've been listening to from my stereo, and put it in its jewel case so that that text on the disc is straight.
Then I close and lock my garage. I go up my building's stairs and enter my apartment without closing my door. Immediately, I shelve the CD that I brought in from the car into my stacks. Then I'll turn on my computer. Next, I put my keys (the key ring and the garage door key) in a glass ashtray on my kitchen counter. I exchange them for another set of keys that's designated by a LEGO Darth Vader chained to the ring. This is for my mailbox, which is located downstairs. I go and check it whilst trying to remember why I don't've my mailbox key on my other key ring--that'd make it easier than going up and down and up the stairs.
Anyways, I throw away the junk mail and head to my bedroom where I empty the change from my pockets. Each coin is separated into denominationally specific jars. Then I put my wallet in my desk--making sure that it's perpetually stuffed with four 20 dollar bills. Finally, I'll wash my hands and face, relax, and let the night begin.
"It is hard to quit smoking. Every one of them looks pretty good to me right now. Every cigarette looks like it was made by God, rolled by Jesus and moistened shut with Claudia Schiffer's pussy right now."
In ancient times, delusional people of power made themselves identifiable as authority figures to the masses by holding a stick called a "sceptre". They'd wave it around as a symbolic gesture of their divine right to rule. The masses would gather around the one holding the sceptre and follow that designated person's magical accomplishment, namely holding a stick. Perhaps it was used as a weapon. Or a dildo. Anyways, during the Middle Ages, when the masses were used by kings to gather sticks, jesters mocked the old sceptres with a prop stick called a "marotte". They'd wave these at the king's court to dispense their doses of laughter, which in those days was mythically believed to contain beneficial fortune for the mind, body, and spirit.
"Not all drugs are good. Some ...are great."
Almost always, the Fool is unnumbered in the Tarot deck. The theme of the Major Arcana zero card depicts a character walking precariously along a high peak, often a mountain cliff, and seemly oblivious to the edgy predicament. As well, the Fool is usually garbed in the stereotypical jester uniform--yin and yang coloured clothes, Schellenmutze, and marotte. There are variations that update the theme, for example, I've seen a Fool card that had a naked man blowing his head off with a rifle as a nude girl wiggles her ripe ass in front of his face. Nevertheless, the Fool's card commonly represents connotations of ignorance, superconsciousness, freedom, enslavement, innocence, perversion, fear, and love.
"One of my big fears in life is that I'm gonna die, you know, and my parents are gonna come to clean out my apartment, find that porno wing I've been adding onto."
If art hadn't gotten so hierarchical, we'd still be calling those who create art "jesters" instead of "artists". Cause they superficially interact with the same materials and mediums even though their core ideas are the same--dance, music, juggling, palm reading, stripping, poetry, and telling jokes. Their jobs are to entertain, regardless of the pretentious definitions of "art". The practicioners of each facet of the traditional jester's repertoire descend along a lineage of proto-artists. Sure some specialized talents are "low brow", but it's up to the audience to subjectively roll their eyes. Like being dealt the Fool's card on the psychic gambling table, you can despise, ignore, or worship your hand.
"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. 'There's gonna be a joke coming...' There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show."
One of comedian Bill Hick's regular riffs involved smoking cigarettes onstage. Poking fun at the uptightedness of non-smokers, he'd argue that the future doesn't exist and death is an illusion whilst promoting the fact that legally sold cigarettes don't do shit for one's soul as illegal drugs "squeegee your third fucking eye". His style of humour, which included self inflicted gunshot impressions, remind me of the Fool--he's implying reckless suicide with his cigarette, which along with his microphone, can be interpreted as his marotte substitutes. And like the Fool, the one holding the stick is ridiculously brilliant.
"I wouldn't give Satan a snowball's chance in Hell against a woman's ego. He'd rule the earth for a day, then we'd see him outside, mowing the lawn. 'Hey, aren't you Satan?' 'Shut up.' 'Ooh, Mr. Prince of Darkness, you forgot the edge back there.' 'Shut up.' You'll see him at the supermarket buying 'Tampons, aisle three...' 'Aren't you Satan?' 'Shut up.' 'You're pussy-whipped!' 'No, I'm Satan! Grrr!' 'You're not Prince of Darkness, you're Pussy-whipped of Darkness!'"
"Hey," I asked Veronica, "can I borrow some of your Bernard Herrmann CDs?"
"Dude," she reminded, "kids thesedays don't listen to CDs. We listen to iPods."
"Do you have any of his stuff on your iPod?" I pardoned.
"Yeah," she breathed.
"Well," I pursued, "can I hear some of it?"
"Sure," she dialed up The Day the Earth Stood Still.
"This is cool," I shouted with the earphones on. "I gotta plagiarize that piano lick."
"Shhh," she yanked the white chord. "You're gonna wake up my dad."
"Sorry," I whispered.
"Are we gonna make out, or what?" she agitated.
"Yeah," I excited.
"Wait," she stopped. "What did Mac say about me?"
"What?" I complained.
"Did she say anything about you and me?" she moved.
"How do you mean?" I returned.
"Did she warn you not to see me?" she blinked.
"Well," I confessed, "she did caution me about your tendancies to investigate my private life."
"That jealous bitch," she twiddled her hair.
"So wait," I paused, "is she right? Can you dig up my deep dark secrets?"
"What?" she played her cute card.
"Veronica Mars," I patronized, "spit it out. What's the dirt on me?"
"There's none," she laughed.
"Come on," I annoyed. "Everyone's got something to hide."
"No really," she bit her lip. "All I found were your speeding tickets--no bad boy record. You barely use your credit card, so I can't trace what you've been buying, other than gas and your online purchases. By the way, the last thing you bought off eBay was flattering."
"The stroke mag?" I touched her legs.
"Yeah," she offered, "the one with me posing in my underwear. Did you've fun with those photos of me?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I ridiculed.
"You moron," she slapped my hand and adjusted her skirt. "You do realize that Mac's never gonna be in Maxim. She's a geek. And why are you two discussing the Grand Canyon?"
"What?" I defended.
"Cut the crap," she madly toned.
"Wait," I snapped, "I didn't write about the Grand Canyon in my blog. How did you know about that?"
"I've got access to your deep dark secrets, remember?" she disclosed.
"You're a stalking freak," I acused. "You've got a bug on me and Mac, huh."
"Don't fuck with me, Henry," she undressed.
I lost my virginity when I was 17. Her name was Lori, she shared my age, and was my violin teacher's daughter. I first noticed her upon arriving early one day to my scheduled lesson. I parked my car under a tree and rang the doorbell to my teacher's suburban home. Lori opened the door.
There are a handful of moments in my life that blatantly remind of my earliest childhood memory. I mean, I'm fully aware that every one of my experiences is shaped by how I choose to remember them, but certain memories seem to carry more conscious weight than others.
Another kid was being taught in the basement as Lori told me to wait in the living room. I denied her offer for a drink as she told me to sit on the couch. We'd never been alone together--I'd seen her go upstairs to her room or interrupt one of my lessons with a message for her mom about an important phone call. So her closeness charged my attention.
My earliest childhood memory is of me realizing that I was looking at my reflection in a window. I must've been around two years old. It was during the night and I was looking outside at the world from my parents' apartment. Everything before that is blank. However, after that moment when I saw my eyes in the glass returning my stare, my mind started to collect experiences.
Lori had freckles. She was taller than me, smelled of sour shampoo, and tasted like the mint she was sucking. The out of tune violin from downstairs ceased as Lori's pace began to quicken. I wiped my mouth as she ran to her room. My violin lesson consisted of imagining Lori upstairs on her bed.
And every experience that I remember since my window reflection moment seems to share a common awareness factor--that there's something else beyond what I think I perceive. The first time I heard music, the first time I had sex, the first time I dropped acid, the first time I had sex whilst listening to music on acid, and the first time I found out that I had a daughter were especially capable of hitting that notion home.
I was disappointed when I didn't find Lori after my lesson. However, as I walked to the tree that shaded my car, I felt a sneaking tap on my shoulder. It was Lori--she told me to meet her later that night at the park. She didn't kiss me as she dutifully checked her driveway's mailbox. Her dad was arriving home from work.
The summer grass was dry, the night air was warm, and the bushes behind the swings were conveniently concealing of any parental supervision. I'll leave out the private details, but I gotta gush about how I saw my childhood reflection in the window shooting thru the darkness, crossing my senses, and reconfiguring my theories of reality.
Officially, I was told that Lori got an early acceptance to Julliard. She received a scholarship based on her exceptional violin skills. And that's why I never saw her at my teacher's house again. After a month of disbelief, I accepted the story as an unfortunate truth. I hadn't heard from her since.
Last week, I discovered an envelope in my mailbox. I instinctively tried to recall if I was expecting anything and was surprised to read Lori's name on the return address. Inside were two letters and a photograph of a teenaged girl. One letter was signed by Lori, the other by Ann. I read Lori's first.
She never went to Julliard. In fact, she didn't go to college cause she ran away from home 17 years ago. Her reasoning delved into her abusive father, but mainly focused on her raising our daughter on her own, which she stressed with apologies rather than blame for keeping a secret on my behalf. I looked at the picture and saw myself in the young girl's face.
Ann's letter was a suicide note. It was funny how she inherited her dad's nonsensical style of writing--or maybe she's been reading my blog. In other words, her thoughts started off being disconnected. She kept referring to how she was 17, which was the age her parents were when they had her, and that we didn't fuck up--the rest of the world did. And then she delivered the kicker.
I like to think that I've got my life figured out--that there's some sorta recurring sense of cause and effect flowing thru whatever I believe I'm experiencing. The prophetic vision of seeing my reflection in a window as a child that I happened to fixate upon seems appropriate as my reality gets checked. I can see myself disappearing into the space between each self projected mirror image, facing my culmulative fate, and accepting my daughter's death. Ann's dead and I'm ok.
I cannot provide you with a hard copy of the data, but someone once upon a timed that a magical mystery troupe supposedly entertained the idea of reenacting a story about lords and rings before motion picture cameras. Although they sidetracked from the film project in favour of recording songs about strawberries and fields lasting forever, the story eventually was animated and live actioned.
Dinosaurs've left this world and've gone on to a better one.
At the clothing outlet store, beneath the computer chip patterned fluorescent pipes and sprinkler bulbs positioned on the ceiling, stood a pornstar dressed as a spy on surveillance from a distantly futuristic and clockless eon--her hair was frosted, her legs were shiny, and her hand swung a mateless high heeled pump. I dug thru the piles of shoes to find a plausible excuse for my following her to the footwear section of the store.
Time ends whenever it pleases.
Given that I'm gonna be flying on an airplane at the end of the week, I thought that it'd be superstitiously suspicious of me not to watch a television series about an airplane crashing on a lost island. I pounded the first season in three nights--two discs, with four episodes per disc, per night. Don't get me wrong, the show's a hoot despite the heavy handed philosophical nomenclature and coincidental symbolism. And I can see how it lures a following that resembles a religious cult. Every other command uttered by the cast seems to be "come with me", "follow me", "let's go" and any variable inneuendoes thereof. This started to get on my nerves, so I went online to research the creators of the program. Specifically, I wanted to investigate their intentions for my attention. There was an official looking transcript posted on a wiki credible reference site that quoted the creators' admitting the nonexistence of any past, present, and future dinosaurs on the lost island. Thus, I was relieved and continued to watch the show until my attention was looking down a hatch. Cause I can't seriously invest my involvement in a spiritual doctrine that doesn't've dinosaurs.
If god, or whatever it is, doesn't question my existence, then should I question its?
I found a shoe to match my tuxedo. The pornstar nodded approval for my choice from inbetween the aisles of untied and unmatched pairs. People were biding their precious moments in front of a portal leading to the warehouse behind the store. She fingered me towards the opening. As an employee pushing a shopping cart full of shoes appeared, people rushed to the portal to pick up their mates. After everyone was accounted for, I put my shoe in the shopping cart and watched it disappear into the warehouse. The pornstar did the same with her high heeled pump. During the wait, I tried to read her mind, but she had telepathic frequencies that were beyond my range. So I daydreamed about our escape, including the gratuitous money shots to move the plot along. Some of the dialogue involved poorly acted banter such as "do you watch tv?", "what shows do you watch?", and "me, too". It just so happened that we both watched the lost island show. I remarked that I liked Kate's character. The pornstar said that she knew someone who reminded her of the hobbit sporting the Beatles tattoo. The employee made his rounds with the shopping cart, we collected ourselves towards the portal, ameliorated our shoe situation, and went along our separate conjunctures.
We'll meet again if we haven't already.
"Veronica's listening to everything we say," I cautioned Mac.
"Right now?" she whispered.
"I wouldn't doubt it," I spoke.
"Uh," she swept the room for bugs, "Veronica is, uh, my best friend. Yup, she's super cool."
"Yeah," I agreed, "Veronica is the best. If she were on Lost, she'd crack that island's mystery in half an episode."
"Totally," she added, "and according to Maxim, she's hotter than the hottest actress on Lost."
"Really?" I conversed.
"Veronica Mars is number 11 on this year's Hot 100 list," she proved, "and Kate Austen is number 67."
"Wasn't Kate number 2 last year?" I remembered. "And Veronica was number 68?"
"Shhh," she didn't contradict. "Did you know that Kate's dating Meriadoc Brandybuck in real life?"
"No, I hadn't heard that rumour," I inquired. "What number are you?"
"4,815,162,342," she joked.
"I can't believe Veronica's not number 1," I supposed. "I mean, the list loses its authority otherwise."
"Definitely," she winced.
"Hey," I forged, "do you ever remember us talking about the Grand Canyon?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she traced.
"Me neither," I zipped. "We've never discussed the Grand Canyon before."
"Nope," she lipped.
"And you and I are only friends, right?" I noticed her body language.
"Yup," she moved closer. "I'd never fool around behind Veronica's back, especially since she's the world's greatest private investigator."
"Never ever," I swore as I stared at her black underwear peeking from her pants. "We won't even think of such things."
"Oh hell no," she shoved her cleavage in my line of sight. "Veronica's got nothing to worry about, cause, uh, there's nothing going on between us, right?"
"Uh...right," I smelled her bra.
"Did you, uh, hear about the new dinosaur species they discovered?" she changed the subject, but not the predicated placement of her breasts.
"Mmm...uh...no...I, uh, haven't heard about any, uh, newly discovered dinosaur species," I mustered. "What are they, uh, calling it?"
"Europasaurus," she moaned.
"What?" I concentrated.
"Mmm...Europa...Europa...uh, Europa...saurus...uh, Europasaurus..." she tongued.
"Mmmmwhat?" I mouthed.
"Mmm...I forgot..." she made out.
So I wrote some pirate music. It's for Brickfest 2006--I was commissioned to compose some themes for this year's convention based on the steadfastly held fan favourite LEGO product lines, such as Town, Space, Trains, and Castle. The project's been a fun challenge to musically depict what I associate as the core values of each genre. I borrowed heavily from Gershwin to rhapsodize on the hustling metropolitan bustle of Town and did a tribute to Herrmann's UFO encounters with theremins and electric organs in honour of Space's galactic explorations. These corresponding sounds were relatively easy to associate--I guess that's why the product lines've endured. Anyways, I attacked the Pirates theme from a counterintuitive angle.
I'd always intended to do a variation on Atencio and Bruns' "Yo, Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)", cause it's got the first notes that I hear when I think of pirates. To me, it sounds like a Jolly Roger drinking song--I envision it being sung onboard ships after a fun day on the job. And the chant goes round and round til everyone passes out.
However, initially, I thought about continuing the form that I'd been following for the other themes, namely highlighting the bombast, with the Pirates. Afterall, it's for a kid's toy--it's safe to go with the appropriate energy with the music. But then I got inside the mind of a pirate.
I imagine being a pirate, like most gigs, has its ups and downs. It's not all rape and killing. There must be days inbetween pillages that go by without the red flag of death flying. Plus, the sea is big--the isolation of being adrift from society probably encourages introspection after everyone onboard, including the parrot, becomes a bore. And I pictured myself as a rum drunk pirate who missed the wench that I left on land...
I grabbed my accordion and played a little tune to serenade her from afar. My merry band of peg-legged misfits accompanied me on strummed guitar, somber cello, and weeping violin. As the harmonies piled higher, I saw the wench's eyes in the watery flare of the Carribean sunset. And I wondered about my life--the cursed skull and cross bones, the price on my soul, and the lonely journey ahead.
Dear what's your face,
How's it going? Is everything cool with you? I hope so. Anyways, you'd better sit down, cause I've got some really bad news...
But first, let me bow my head in "thanks" to my editorial staff for putting up with my bullshit all these years. When I started OUT ON A LIM back in 2003, the thought of personally maintaining a daily blog seemed like a tediously ridiculous task--writing, proofreading, re-writing, posting, and archiving. Not to mention keeping my other non-literary projects in constant rotation. Having a dedicated staff made it all possible. Without them, there'd be no OUT ON A LIM. Period.
And my staff would agree that we've been totally lucky with our interns. They might've been free labour, but their dedicated relief of the more menial tasks at our headquarters afforded us to keep OUT ON A LIM afloat. Equivocally, thanks.
Well, three years of OUT ON A LIM has definitely been a learning experience. I don't know if my writing chops've improved, but they certainly got a workout--churning entries that challenged my spelling, grammar, and comprehension of keeping a journal. Sure, most of the time I felt like I was searching blindly for that elusive writer's bug, but every now and then, I'd get a glimpse of what it could be like to be a crazy old man typing on a keyboard on a dark and stormy night. It seemed like fun. And then it'd slip away.
Regardless of my grand delusions, I cannot forget my readers. They've been pals. For every hundred emails criticizing my "stupid blog", I'd get one nice fan letter telling me to "keep up the good work". And it's those few that I must apologize to as I neglect their words of encouragement and abandon ship.
Yes, OUT ON A LIM is shutting down.
At least for a week as I'll be on vacation in Japan. Since it's summer and the junior high school's in recess, my staff's also on break. So boohoo, no OUT ON A LIM for you.
Seriously, have a happy hiatus away from my jests.
|Henry and Marie
Otsu, Japan, 2006
photo by Bunta Hosokawa
My assistant offered to organize my file of supplementary documents. She'd noticed that some of my pullout centerfolds were grossly outdated.
"Dude," she scolded, "this one's from ten years ago."
Ten months ago my assistant pissed me off when she broke the lock to my serials cabinet. And ever since, I've been teasing her about her incompetence, especially around security devices.
"I put you down as a reference," she mentioned. "Say something nice, please."
"Sure," I confided. "I won't tell anyone about your bad luck with locks."
Maybe she tried to do one final good deed as atonement for her lock debacle. Perhaps she misinterpreted my promise to never mention her confidential uncordination with protection measures as a potential joke during a background check issued by her future employer.
"I'll organize this file," she emptied my supplementary documents from the drawer and started alphabetical piles on the floor according to periodical titles.
In no particular order, these are some of the things that I'm gonna remember about my assistant--laughing at the office equipment, her illegible handwriting, smokebreaks, checking the real estate listings, and reminding me that time's been standing still.
"Are some of those really ten years old?" I disbelieved.
"This one's from 1994!" she yelled.
"Well," I resumed, "now's better than ever to deal with this crap. Otherwise, it'll just keep backlogging."
"Yup," she waited for my decision.
"Here's what we'll do," I bossed. "Make a separate pile of anything that's older than five years. I'll finally handle those."
"Got it," she complied.
There's a rule stating that I can only employ a student as long as they're enrolled. Once they graduate, they're not allowed a paycheck.
"Did you get your cap and gown?" I jackassed.
"Hell no," rebelled my assistant.
"Well, thanks," I congratulated. "I had fun being your boss. Good luck with whatever you end up doing."
I didn't take too many photos whilst in Japan during my vacation. Maybe it's cause I've already taken enough pictures the previous times around. I guess going to Japan ain't a big deal to me anymore. It's sorta getting all too familiar. Not that there's nothing photogenic left over there. But this time I didn't feel the need to shoot everything that caught my eye. Or rather, I forgot that I had my camera with me--it slipped my mind often in the company of more interesting distractions.
Anyways, here're some that I took.
|That's along the main river that runs thru Kyoto. As a b/w photo, it looks kinda like there's snow on the roofs, but it was actually just an overcast summer day. I like how the buildings are a hodgepodge of historic and modern designs.|
|The last time I was in Japan (2 years ago), a lot of these fancy freeways were still under construction. I don't think they're anything special, but since they were new I took a picture from my uncle's car.|
|Yeah, I know, another stairwell photo. What can I say, I'm obsessed with the theme. This was taken in an alley in Kyoto.|
|That's the same river as the first photo, from a different vantage point..|
|On a rainy day, I visited my cousin's apartment in Nishi Otsu. She lives on the sixth floor. Looking down from her balcony, I took a bird's eye view pic (zoomed) of a roof below.|
|And of course, the main reason for my visit--my cousin's wedding. She's the bride. They're cutting the cake. The lightning was dark. As well, there was a bunch of other people taking photos of the momentous ceremony that were blocking my shot--I edited them out of the picture by fading them into the over-accentuated shadows.
A boat beneath a sunny sky
My favourite Lewis Carroll poem is the acrostic epilogue from Through the Looking Glass. An acrostic spells a message via the first letter or word of each line, sentence, or paragraph. Edgar Allen Poe's poem "An Acrostic", like Carroll's is encoded with a girl's name--Elizabeth for Poe, Alice for Carroll. To me, this is literature's closest approximation of musical counterpoint, whereby multiple ideas can be expressed simultaneously. Elucidated acrostics tend to evoke similar temporal distortions that I associate with fugues as the linear axis bisects. Likewise, they're just as fun to compose.
Lingering onward dreamily
Many movies have been directly and/or indirectly adapted from Alice's legendary adventures. A version starring Kate Beckinsale arrived at my mailbox for my convenient viewing. Early in the movie, it's established that Kate's an adult--she reads Through the Looking Glass to her daughter. The twist is Kate falls asleep and is the one who steps into the mirror. Effectively, every character she meets contains a layer in addition to the conventional child's view of subtext thru her older perspective. Later, Kate wakes up, and reads the acrostic epilogue to her daughter before the end credits roll.
In an evening of July
Music's ability to mess with time has always been a conscious and subconsious fascination of mine. As well, transposing those features onto other aspects of life is most likely the main contributing factor to my tangential observance of a single standard measurement of time. Each moment has its own rhythm. That isn't to say that time cannot be counted with regularity. Every observable rate should be accounted for no matter how ridiculous. Loosing sight of the musical convergence of different tempi isn't necessarily a form of blindness, but I've a difficult time seeing it otherwise.
Children three that nestle near
Making multiple sense can seem like nonsense whilst slipping lines inbetween the absurdness. Alice's Lewis Carroll got away with murder--the parliamentary, paedophilic, and psychedelic overtones are veiled in one projected light, yet highlighted under many. Entwined in a children's story, no less. There's something bittersweet about such blendings of the explicit and implicit. Especially when new shades are revealed from fangled angles. Look and listen for it.
Eager eye and willing ear
The CJK cultures consider the number 4 to be unlucky cause the logogram for "four" (which is pronounced "shi") is phonetically synonymous with the logogram for "death". Due to this syntactic superstition, most buildings in Asia don't've fourth floors. Of course, it's physically impossible to lack a floor between the third and fifth. Nevertheless, the signage insist otherwise--accordingly, no "four" exisits. It's sorta similar to a subjective lie.
The primary objective of my recent vacation to Japan was to attend my cousin's wedding.
My secondary objective was to eat some rice.
My tertiary objective was to compile data on the Japanese climate (seasonal, political, comical, and galactical).
My quinary objective was to spy on geisha.
The Japanese language is officially characterized by four writing systems--hiragana, katakana, manyogana, and kanji. The first two are indigenous syllabaries and the third is an ancient form of the modern fourth, which is believed to be based on logograms that came to Japan from China via Korea. Unofficially, the fifth writing system is the English alphabet, including Western numerals (formally known as Arabic numerals), and is mainly used for the commercial purpose of attracting (and distracting) tourism.
My cousin (not the one who got married) is pregnant. I got a chance to congratulate her since we're all related and were both in attendance at the wedding. However, I accidentally refered to her good news as "carrot"--the Japanese word for "pregnant" is "ninshin" whilst "carrots" are called "ninjin". This mistake was due to the correlated hiragana for the syllable "shi"--the syllable for "ji" is written as "shi" with dakuten (diacritic). Hilariously, for the rest of the week, she repeated my incorrection during further conversations.
Sometimes, the imagination can deceivingly pretend to be reality. The karyukai ("flower and willow world") depends on this concept not only as a legal loophole, but as a perennial perspective. My friend Veronica Mars taught me some surveillance techniques that came in handy during my reconnaissance in Gion, namely disappear into the crowd and identify the beneficiary. It wasn't long before a young girl dressed in a kimono and sporting a divided peach hairdo approached a souvenir store--note, however, that she wasn't wearing any makeup. Immediately, an American tourist, waving his cheap consumer camera, asked her if she was a geisha.
Politely, she laughed and told him that she wasn't, to which the American tourist embarrassingly apologized. This was the first of her "lies" that I observed.
I tailed her to the hanamachi ("flower town"). She entered what to the untrained eye appeared to be a tea house. But the cleverly obscene names (carved in manyogana) posted at the entrance revealed that it was the doorway to an okiya (geisha house). "Lie" number two.
Technically, she didn't lie to the American tourist, at least considering that she was only a maiko (apprentice geisha). Later that afternoon, she left the okiya in the telltale makeup--white skinned except for her hairline and a "V" on the back of her neck. A huddle of American tourists with cameras asked her if she was a geisha. This time she answered in the affirmative. Because a true geisha is only seen in nocturnal and expensive privacy, I'm calling this semantic grey area "lie" number three.
I respect the karyukai enough to not reveal or conceal any foreign illusions that geisha are prostitutes. The lines are deliberately crisscrossed to the point of possibly diverting Western morals whilst protecting Eastern traditions. Besides, some things are better left to the imagination. So in terms of the geisha, it's to their benefit that they can be considered as whores, not whores, or both. Nonetheless, therein lies (or doesn't lie) "lie" number four.
A giant fly was zigzagging on the other side of my hotel room window. My cousin hooked me up with the accommodations. It was a short taxi ride away from the wedding location, which was on the opposite inlet shore of Biwa Lake. The morning was hazy so the view of the water was neutral--neither extraordinary nor depressing. Thus, the giant fly seemed to be more entertaining. As I focused on its flight pattern a bird rushed from below, swallowing the giant fly. And so I resigned to stare at the grey scenary from my hotel room on the "fifth" floor.
Editor's note: OUT ON A LIM will be taking the third and Fourth of July off. We will return on the fifth.
Dr. Robert handed me my ticket. Destination--the Valley of the Galaxy. Luggage--none. Carry-on--backpack of personal accessories, including cigarettes, a fourth copy of Huxley's Island borrowed from an undergraduate library, a digital camera, an American passport, and a week's worth of free movie t-shirts and grey undergarments. Purpose of my trip--to meet Maetel. All aboard the Valley Express 666.
Of the two suspects in the "Who Was the Real Dr. Robert?" case--Dr. Charles Roberts (of Edie Sedgwick fame) and Dr. Robert Freymann (of "vitamin" shot notoriety)--Veronica Mars convinced the Neptune judge that the latter was the subject of the Revolver song "Dr. Robert".
After some local Earth stops, the train left the planet's gravitational lure, and headed towards Andromeda. I smoked a cigarette in the private investigator's lounge whilst on the mobile phone with young Miss Mars--she was beginning to piece together the geisha case. I trustfully pin numbered my computer's login password ("veronica") to her on the keypad so that she'd've access to all my recently reorganized files. "Good luck", I wished. "And call me if you ever get into jeopardy..."
Vijaya was with Dr. Robert (who was wearing his new Radiohead t-shirt) at the Starbucks on the ground floor of the shopping center that had, according to him, "the best candy store in the world" on the top floor. "Does it have any Palanese moksha medicine?" I joked. "Moksha medicine!" they laughed. Such was the banter during the smokebreak before scoring the Agricultural Experimental Station. They've got clearance that I lack, so I stayed downstairs as they made the transaction. Meantime, I had drifted visions of Kristen Bell's backside in the gutter of oversewn pages.
The night before boarding the Valley Express 666, Veronica (or at least her Maxim issue) and I got comfy in my imagination. We pretended to play variations on pseudo hardcore child porn positions that might be confused to be illegal in the reality of most contemporary Earth zones, even though she's of legal age. My journey ahead might take longer than I expect, if indeed I ever return, so I made our parting of ways seem effortless.
I returned to my seat, pressed the recline button, and turned on my personal overhead lightbulb. From my backpack I retrieved my recreational reading material. The receipt from the checkout was my bookmark. And as I read the name "Dr. Robert" on the page, I heard the middle eight ("Well, well, well") as a pharmaceutical cousin of the "yeahs" of "She Loves You".
Mac grabbed a flyer that some annoying urchin handed to her on the street. It was for some 10% off sale at some department store. Later that day, she used the back of it as scratch paper to draw an amateur police sketch of Maetel--long hair, mysterious eyes, and even more mysterious hat. "Ginga Tetsudo" she wrote in kanji and put it into my pants for future reference.
"Sometime around tomorrow," the ticket checker on the train replied as he returned my punched stub and answered my question "When will I see her?"
Akira Matsumoto was born on January 25th, 1938 in Kurume (which became a city within the Fukuoka prefecture on April 1, 1889). Legend has it that he changed his name to "Leiji" sometime around 1965--which translates to "Zero Warrior". Leiji Matsumoto is often believed to be responsible for the manga and anime classics Uchu Senkan Yamato ("Space Battleship Yamato"), Uchu Kaizoku Kyaputen Harokku ("Space Pirate Captain Harlock"), and Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine ("Galaxy Express 999").
The carpenter ordered another round of beer. He told me that his 2 year old son had recently learned his first English words from a McDonald's commercial--"I'm loving it". And as those words accented his Fukuoka dialect, the faux European decor, including the glass encased Chopin steel comb and the cooked oysters, faded into a freeze framed transparency of the midpoint of my destiny. Every sympathetic trace of the perceptive raster scan halted except for her long hair, mysterious eyes, and even more mysterious hat. She bee lined for a seat that I couldn't shake from my peripheral lense. And when she sat down, time unlocked.
I swiveled my personal entertainment screen. From my armrest, I extended the cord of my handheld controller. I channel surfed thru a barrel of Jonny Greenwood's Bodysong. Holographically, Dr. Robert and Vijaya transmitted their folding chair commentaries, most of which made circular sense during flashbacks of the soundtrack. After the onboard movie, the conductor announced that the Valley Express 666 was soon to be approaching the planet Andromeda.
"I Am the Walrus" includes a sample from a BBC reading of Act IV, Scene VI of Shakespeare's King Lear. Sir Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies) played King Lear in a 1997 made-for-television production of the tragedy. He also played the White Knight in Through the Looking Glass (starring Kate Beckinsale). Lennon's been quoted to've apologized for associating himself with the villain of Tweedledee's and Tweedledum's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter".
Emeraldas held a knife to my throat. "Cut the Nepalese spice packets," she ordered. I suspected that she was kidding, so I took her weapon and sliced the sealed packets. "Why aren't you wearing your wedding ring?" I joked. "What wedding ring?" she laughed and commanded "Put the spice into the pot and stir." I obeyed as she sliced some potatoes. Whilst rotating the wooden spoon, I noticed her skull and crossbones insignia carved on the utensil.
One of the trademarks of Leiji Matsumoto's spacecrafts is his fetish for analog gauges. Legions of geeks like to refer to these circular dials as Matsumoto Geji ("Matsumoto's Gauges"). Furthermore, many of the characters pay visits to each other from different storylines, despite flawed continuities. For example, there's a story about a Yamato character who assumes the identity of Captain Harlock after reading the space pirate's manga. Nevertheless, this crossover universe is commonly known as the "Leijiverse".
Susila doesn't like Radiohead. Hence, she didn't accompany Dr. Robert to the Berkeley concert. She was making a comment on the greyness of his new Radiohead shirt when I arrived at his office. "Dude," I remembered, "isn't that the same shirt you wore yesterday? Did you take a shower since then?" He played it cool. "I took a shower," he protested, "uh, but I forgot to change my shirt." Later, after Susila booked and I noticed that she wore a ring on her wedding finger, he confessed "You fool, of course I didn't take a shower--what kinda idiot doesn't change his shirt afterwards? I don't want Susila to think I'm unclean."
"Who was that girl?" I asked Emeraldas. She had stayed after the carpenter left. Even after all the guests had gone home, she still remained. I watched her Mandarin dress shine whenever she walked pass the dying candles. Her straight long hair curled at the ends. Mostly, I viewed her from behind, but when she looked at me, I felt all my questions kneel to her mysterious demeanour. And that fucking hat. "That's my sister," Emeraldas answered. "Her name is Maetel."
"Welcome to Andromeda," she greeted as I disembarked from the Valley Express 666.
Originally, I'd won tickets (including roundtrip airfare) off the radio for Driveshaft's Copenhagen show in support of their second album, Oil Change. Unfortunately, that show got cancelled. Emeraldas happened to be in Denmark at the time, and had I attended the show, I'd've made a cameo in her vacation. But since the show fell thru, I stayed home, and suffered her mockery--she sent me a postcard of the Rundetarn and a Driveshaft t-shirt from the Fyn show, which to this day, reminds me of how she couldn't stop bragging about how fucking cool it was to hear "You All Everybody" live without me.
Supposedly, a drug free spider can spin the most effect web--symmetrically detailed and meshed for maximum trappage. Meanwhile, a spider on speed'll do a quick, but poorly planned job with many holes in the design, whilst a spider on marijuana'll lose concentration and quit halfway, leaving huge gaps in the spirals. Furthermore, a spider on LSD'll only string out the diagonal threads, completely ignoring the interweaving connections. And a spider on caffeine'll make a hopelessly defeasible web.
There's a reference to the Mohe Jiashe (Mahakasyapa) in Huxley's Island. It's named after Buddha's disciple, Kasyapa, and the lesson learned from the Flower Sermon at Grdhrakuta ("Vulture Peak"), whereby Buddha inexpressibly handed him a single lotus. Kasyapa smiled and the sermon was over.
In Episode 3 of the television series Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine, "Titan No Nemureru Senshi" ("Titan's Sleeping Warrior"), Maetel takes Tetsuro to the conductor's cabin of the Galaxy Express 999--a room filled with Matsumoto Geiji. Tetsuro vainly looks for a driver to which Maetel explains that the train drives itself on intelligent technologies beyond those of humans. He doesn't dwell on the matter and accepts the idea that the train is the driver and vice versa.
"Who's that girl?" my dad asked. He tried calling earlier and got my voicemail, which was recorded by Veronica Mars. Apparently my dad's not the only one who's been had by the prank--the message makes it seem like she's answering the phone and hurriedly commands the caller to leave a message. Dr. Robert, upon getting the message, said that he thought my service was disconnected and some chick resumed my number. However, Mac got a kick out of it.
Before Queen Promethium's reign, the planet Andromeda was called La Metal. It was a lush environment for humans, before its orbit strayed from the sun. As a means for survival, the mad scientist Hardgear devised a way to turn people into robots, thereby enabling them to live in the cold climate. However, in doing so, he enslaved the populace's spirits and locked them into his interlinked mechanical power circuits. Queen Promethium regretfully had the robotic procedure done. She begged her daughters, Emeraldas and Maetel to follow suit, but they refused.
The funniest scene from Season One of Lost is when Charlie Pace (Driveshaft's bassist) is sitting on the beach with Claire Littleton. He's fooling around on his guitar and remarks about the songs that are comming to him, in particular the line "the monster ate the pilot". I busted up laughing, cause it's a reference to the show's pilot episode in which a monster ate the pilot of the crashed plane.
After spinning a web, a spider'll crawl off to a corner so as to hide from its victims. It'll keep a leg on the base of a strand and feel the vibrations that disturb the web. Thus, the elaborate and tightly woven thread is advantageous to not only catch prey, but establish a high resolution system for detecting motion.
Maetel scavenged the centerpiece flowers whilst Emeraldas changed out of her wedding dress. I hung around, smoked a cigarette, and watched Maetel carefully wrap the leftovers. She silently arranged them in evenly separated patterns. Suddenly, she turned towards my direction and smiled as she handed me a single lotus.
The Valley Express 666 whistled in the sky as it headed back to Earth. I'll spend the weekend on Andromeda before boarding the Galaxy Express 999 with my hostess companion. I have no idea where we'll be going.
To a certain degree, memory is selective--it retains what it wants to remember on a conscious level. It pushes scenes and dialogues into the foreground distinct from the background. Perhaps, for whatever reasons, these conscious memories hold personal values that are given special relevance, and are retained. And everything else either gets written off as the unexplainable superconsious or the disconnected subconscious.
There's a district in downtown Los Angeles called Little Tokyo, or J-Town due to it's concentration of imported Japanese merchandise. As a kid, my mom used to take me there often. Back in the late 70's, before it became common to sell Asian ingredients in LA markets, that was where she stocked up on her memories of Japanese food. Meanwhile, I'd browse the bookstore called Bunkado, where the manga were chronologically organized and encouraged to flip thru. I remember seeing illustrations of a flying locomotive.
"That's my sister," Emeraldas answered. "Her name is Maetel."
"What?" I had to hear her name again.
"Maetel," she repeated. "Well, that's not her real name really. But everyone calls her by her nickname, Maetel."
"Why do they call her Maetel?" there was something familiar about that name.
"Cause she looks like the anime character of the same name," she reminded. "You know, the heroine from Ginga Tetsudo."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," my mind dug thru my mental files. "She totally looks like her. I haven't seen that show since I was a kid, but it's all comming back to me now--the train that traveled thru space, the goofy kid, visiting other planets, meeting robots, and that lady with the long hair, mysterious eyes, and even more mysterious hat..."
"That hat's an Andromedian funeral hat," she explained.
Maetel didn't wear her fuzzy black hat on Andromedia during my weekend stay. Instead she mercifully wore her white teenage princess dress. And after blissing off on the yoga of love, she'd tell me about the evils of mechanization as a metaphor for man's narrowminded quest for immortality. This is done thru fiendish trickery. Everyone's born with a vision of the big picture, but is brainwashed by mankind's dominant machinery into forgetting that they ever saw it. Thereby those in power can fool the blind masses into using them as they please. However, humans that've escaped the roboticizing procedure can see the big picture--it comes from simply being alive. Thus, since death is a part of life, she wears her funeral hat as a symbol of her humanity.
"Did you get my fax?" I consulted Mac.
"The one about Ginga Tetsudo?" she confirmed. "I'm on it boss. I did some research, found some episodes online, ordered some DVDs, and told Dr. Robert to get you a ticket for the Valley Express 666--it'll take you to Andromeda."
"Good work," I thanked. "Can you draw me a sketch of Maetel?"
"Sure," she cautioned. "Are you sure you wanna see her again?"
"I've got nothing better to do," I assured her as she scribbled on the back of some scratch paper.
I folded Mac's drawing and returned it to my pocket as Maetel turned off the lights. We watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the Andromedian palace's movie theatre. This was my first time seeing it--I mean, I've seen it before, but never in one sitting, from start to finish. I've only seen bits here and parts there, so I've got a rough sense of the story reconstructed from my mishmashed ordering of the scenes. However, seeing it flow from beginning to end, I was able to connect the foreshadows--I finally understand why "When You Wish Upon a Star" is played on the soundtrack during the final scene as it's a reinforcement of the protagonist's earlier insistence that his kids watch Pinocchio.
The mynah birds on Huxley's Island were trained to repeat the phrase "here and now" as a constant reminder to the inhabitants to follow suit with their frame of mind. It's a cool literary device--whenever my thoughts drifted from the page, they'd immediately return to the book every time the birds were reintroduced like a slap in the face that awoke me to the present. As well, because the phrase keeps returning, the memory of the previous time it was read as well as the patience that it'll come up again, starts to become one all-encompassing "here and now".
Robots don't smoke. The nicotine is bad for their circuits. Nevertheless, I lit up at the train station as the Andromedian robots rushed off to work. Maetel was getting our passes. She wore her fuzzy black funeral outfit, including her cylindrical hat. Seeing her dressed thusly brought back manga memories, Mac sketches, anime episodes, Emeraldas' sister, future adventures, and the grand return of the beloved Galaxy Express 999. Majestically, it pulled into the station. Everything that I remembered about its iconic design filled my eyes with childhood tears. Maetel held my hand as we boarded the train.
My mom's sister is a Kyoto based artist. Lately, her paintings've been showcasing a new stylistic phase. Over the decades, she kept her focus on monochromatic schemes--all blue, all red, all black, etc. Thematically, she's still obsessed with swirly body parts, or at least that's what I interpret in her abstract shapes. But nowadays her paintings are full of multiple colours.
Every year, a periodical is published profiling the up and comming companies in Japan. This year's issue includes an article on REECOM (Reinforced Earth Engineering Company). I'm not entirely sure what the company does, but I'm guessing that its name has something to do with its services. Anyways, the president of the company is my mom's brother.
Around the time I was born, my aunt's son died during childbirth. Even though her following children survived, the memory of her first child's miscarriage has haunted her paintings--puddles of baby body parts and warped genitalia are often depicted on her canvas, all in singular hues. Perhaps if I was unaware of her son's death (he choked on the umbilical chord), I might've missed her otherwise grotesque imagery.
My uncle is a member of The Toliet Cleaners Club. Every morning, before going to work, he and other presidents of up and comming companies wear janitor uniforms and scrub toilets at the high schools in Osaka. Their mission is to assist the janitorial staff, which in turn'll motivate the students. Also, the club has membership dues (which pay for the cleaning supplies).
I first noticed my aunt's new style at my cousin's wedding. She exhibited a painting especially for her daughter's occasion. I recognized her trademark curves, even though they were now in the form of flowers. However, there were more colours than I was accustomed to seeing in her works. A few days later, I visited her studio. After talking about her grandson (her son had a kid two years ago) and giving me a preview of what she's working on next, she showed me a box of crayons. They were old and had the names of her children written on them--apparently her son and daughter had designated which crayons they owned. These, she explained, were her newfound inspiration.
All this time
And all is fine
Oh call me paranoid
But I think something's going on
When I was in the third grade, my class played with pretend money. The teacher gave each of us fake dollars--she'd cut and numbered coloured construction paper in the shape of bills. For a week, the students were given mock businesses to run. I think we were supposed to learn something about the silliness of playing with pretend money.
I know you say
It looks ok
Yeah but I've got my suspicions
But I don't want to be like this
I was forwarded a BBC story about Japan's current population crisis. My recent conversations with residents there confirms that concerns are rising about the decline in marriages which in turn has significantly decreased the number of children being born--Japan now leads the world in smallest proportion of children to adults.
A kinda sense for these things
So call me paranoid
But I think something's going on
The first few days playing with pretend money were fine. We bought and sold slips of paper declaring ownership of fictional products. The money flowed. Of course, some kids found ways to get a bigger share. Some kept their money safe in their desks. And some got tricked into spending all of their savings.
Because it seems alright
Oh but it's too damn quiet
And I tell you I don't like it
Oh God I wish it isn't so
The Japanese government is looking at incentives for couples to have children such as provisions for childcare and paternity leaves. As well, traditional matchmaking services've been in a resurgence supported by city councils. A relative of mine's getting setup in this manner.
Oh for goodness sake
Now you know I'd hate to come over obsessive
Because I'm really, really, really
I'm not like that at all
However, towards the end of the week, the pretend money went out of control. One girl started crying cause she misplaced her cash. Boys got into fights over accusations of cheating. Soon everyone's trust in each other failed. And the teacher scolded us all for ruining the game. We turned in our pretend money and forgot about the debacle.
Did I say too much
Yeah well not as such
Oh look but there I go again
No this really is not how I am
"Everyone can see something that only their eyes can see," the Nymphet alluded.
I wasn't sure where I was, but the path that I blindly decided to follow had led me to a nude beach. It was empty, so I kept my clothes on. The sun was nigh set and extended the prisms of the clouds. Up north along the distant coast I spied a little girl sleeping obliviously in the sand. And although the waves seemed to be level, the walk towards her made them appear to follow me at a deviating gradient. She grew in my fascination the closer I approached--long dark hair atop taut prepubesence. My heavy breathing awoke her.
"What the fuck?" she mumbled as she shaded her eyes.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I fabricated. "I didn't mean to disturb you. I was just on my way..."
"No," she prohibited. "Can't you see that this is a nude beach? Take off your clothes--you're supposed to be naked."
"Uh..." I put my hands in my pockets as the Nymphet parted her hairless legs.
"Come on," she begged.
"Wait," I unzipped. "How old are you?"
"Why?" she laughed.
"Cause I don't want you to get into any trouble," I warned.
"Don't worry," she continued. "Just don't act like a pervert."
"Are you at least 18?" I authorized.
"Age is meaningless," she illustrated.
"Well," I arrested, "just to be safe, I'll keep my clothes on."
"Whatever," she pathetically returned.
And then she redirected my stares away from her constantness with a comment that riddled my perspective. I looked for an answer--yes, everyone sees the world from their own point of view and what their eyes perceive is exclusive from all others. But she wasn't being philosophical. There was a simple and obvious solution hidden somewhere in her eliminating hints.
"I give up," I guessed.
"Close your eyes," she revealed. "And you'll see."
"OK," I did. "I see nothing."
"Can you see the back of your eyelids?" she suggested. "No one else can see that."
"Ha ha," I sarcastically admitted my defeat.
"Now," she persuaded, "open your eyes."
I thought of Veronica as I walked the plank onto the houseboat. It was three days prior to the next full moon. My free t-shirt source for the last three years was having his bachelor party at Lake McClure. We were gonna float around the weekend aboard a rented vessel in the manner of an RV without wheels--it had a kitchen (including a stove, sink, dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator), entertainment center (stocked with satellite television, DVD player, video game system, and surround sound), and sleeping quarters (on two floors). The name of our boat was "Mars".
When gripping a katana (sword), the thumb and index fingers hold the tsuka (handle) loosely whilst the lower digits tightly maintain control. The modern gokudo (organized crime syndicate) symbolically base their yubistume (finger cutting punishment) on the traditional katana grip--those that fuck up must chop off the tip of their left koyubi (pinky), and proceed thru the whole finger and its neighbours upon further embarrassment to the group. This was historically done to weaken the incriminated member's katana grip and thereby strengthen his dependence on the gokudo for protection.
As the houseboat left the marina and hit cruising nauts, I stepped out onto the bow and centered my eyes on the refracting sunlight that buoyed along the rippling crests. Refocusing, I caught the troughs multiplying as I followed their oscillation. And I recalled O'Neill's seafaring observation from Long Day's Journey Into Night--"I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself... I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life..." However, I didn't lose myself completely, cause amidst remembering that famous speech, I found myself being pretentious.
The silent gesture to signal the beginning of a Japanese mating ritual is proposed by the male--he raises his koyubi in hopes that a female'll pick up on his initiative. As well, referring to two people during conversation and lifting the koyubi connotates that they're a couple. For example, if I were to talk about myself and Veronica Mars with someone versed in Japanese courtship customs, according to etiquette I'd hold up my imaginary prosthetic koyubi.
On the second night, as the houseboat was docked in a secluded cove, I went to the stern for a smoke. The moon was missing its completing crescent, the stars were clearly reflecting in the still water, and the rest of the bachelor party attendees were snoring. My peaceful vantage was disturbed by my alcohol filled bladder. I was too lazy to go to the bathroom so I dropped my swimming trunks at the edge of the platform and unified my stream with the lake. Normally, I grip my member like a katana. But the overwhelming benevolence of the harmonically expanding rings in the sheltered bay compelled me to let go of my hold. And I disappeared into the moment.
At first, I was afraid.
Maetel held my hand as we boarded the train. And then there was a bright light. My intuition guessed that we were within the radius of a rebel's explosion. But I felt no pain. The rush of heatless phosphorescence induced a cordordance beyond comprehension that subverted my fears. Soon I was able to dislodge myself from the bond that was incarcerating reality.
In actuality, it was only the anime on pause for a piss break. Nevertheless, the childhood tears weren't fake. I didn't expect to see her so clearly--drawing upon the past and contemporaneously connecting with the future. I was caught off guard. And it quivered my emotions before I had a chance to defend my reflexes.
I felt like an idiot.
Cause the illuminated sphere that cradled us was always around. Sometimes I saw it peaking thru the holes in the galactic blanket, or when the sun squeezed thru the opacity of my closed eyes. However, changing the curve of my lense and distancing my overview revealed that I was, am, and always will be joining Maetel aboard the GE999--it's got an undestroyable escutcheon that conceals it from any harm in every dimension. I can't believe that my stupidity masked the absurdness implied by the thought of an ambush upon our quintessence.
Besides, death is inescapeable. Even on a metaphorical plane, it'll put forks in the tracks and divert journeys from dead ends as every decision ultimately kills all other projected possibilities. Furthermore, every path leads back, to, and from the light.
Emeraldas changed the channel.
Either the Nepalese spices were mixing with my blood or her hairclip in the form of a skull and cross bones was abstracting my senses as she put down the remote control and directed my stare towards the television screen. It was high noon--lunchtime for suburban housewives. Being broadcasted during the transfixed hour was an instructional program on the art of wearing a kimono. From the hiyoku (formal underwear) to the obi (sash), I thought it was the most erotic demonstration that I'd ever seen. Emeraldas breathed thru her lipsticked mouth.
Maetel's hand felt similar to her sister's--they've both got a forgiving grasp that follows as it leads. A fraction of chimaera after the resplendence that transpired between our matching strides, I blinked and discerned the inversion of light and shadows as Andromeda dislocated into the background and the threshold of the GE999 stretched in proportion to our approach.
"Are you sisters?" the sake imbibed sarariman (white-collar drone) double took at the bar.
Shy Japanese girls like to cover their mouths with the palms of their hands when they receive too much attention. Emeraldas reenacted her reaction to the sarariman for me.
"No," she hid her parallel amusement.
I was continuing to gather data on the contingent fantasy when reminiscences flashed behind Maetel and me as our hands wove fate lines. The GE999 welcomed us aboard.
Minfang drove me to the airport. There was a reggae song on the radio. "Have you heard this before?" she offhanded as she steered towards the departure terminal. "No," I replied. I turned my attention away from listening to the planes and tuned into the transmission. "Who is that?" I quizzed. "That's Paris Hilton," she buzzed.
Itsuka kodomo no koro ni mita yume
I heard UNKLE's "Rabbit In Your Headlights" before I saw Jacob's Ladder. So when the chiropractor quoted the sample, I connected the dots--"...if you're frightened of dying and...and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away...but if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth..."
Sora o haruka ni kakeru kikansha
I thought that the movie Pleasantville was discriminatory to the colour blind. It should've'd a warning at the box office to dissuade afflicted viewers from purchasing tickets. Cause I sensed that there were some symbolic colour changes during key scenes which I missed and thus had the hell confused out of me.
Donna tooi hoshi ni demo yukeru
Sometimes I wonder if the collective unconsciousness isn't bound by language. I mean, if we're all tapped into some parasociological phenomenon whereby everyone shares the same dream, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that we ought to be able to comprehend, even if only on a subliminal level, foreign words.
Sonna koto mo shinjirareta noni
Over the past four years, I've been visiting Japan every other year--2002, 2004, and 2006. And each time, with recommendations from my cousin, I've picked up a new Hajime Chitose album. Needless to say, listening to them revives corresponding triggers in my mind.
Yami ni muragaru takusan no hoshi
Paris Hilton's voice wasn't registering as being unmistakeable. But the lyrics she sang and the groove she bounced around were silly enough to take her for what she's worth. However, there was one line that coiled my mortal poignancy--"...if tomorrow the world ends...why shouldn't we be with the one we really love..."
Onaji mono wa hitotsu toshite nai
This could be just a publicity gimmick, but I read that Hajime Chitose's voice, which actually employs distinctive Amami Oshima effects, is said to produce a "relaxing sensation" for listeners. Supposedly, such's been proven via electroencephalograms. I can't disagree, but then again, everything, including so-called "annoying" sounds, can be relaxing if you listen close enough.
Tabun watashitachi no dare mo ga
Of the three colour coded Trois Couleurs films, I enjoyed Rouge the most, despite Julie Delpy's bitchin' performance in Blanc. My least favourite, even though it's integral for the French flag's colour scheme, was Bleu. The trilogy as a whole was sympathetic to the colour blind as it used bright and obvious primaries.
Sonna fuu ni umaretekitan da
I translated foreign text into English on Babel Fish before I saw The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'd previously thought that the application was a reference to the biblical tower--the one that's responsible for the world's language barriers. Yeah, I got the joke backwards.
Hontou wa kitto
Netflix has a pretty good selection of foreign titles. I've found most of the subtitled movies that I've been looking for on their virtual shelves. But insofar as I've searched, I couldn't track down Uchuu Koukyoushi Maetel ("Space Symphony Maetel")--the recently produced 13 part prequel to Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine. So I bought a bootleg copy off eBay.
Iron na deai ga dokoka ni matteiru hazu
When I returned from Japan, I downloaded the video for Paris Hilton's "Stars Are Blind". Somehow the song sounded better than I remembered it, or maybe I was hypnotized by her swimsuit. Plus, the chorus kicks ass as it switches to colour from the b/w verses. Anyways, I've since played it back more times than I'd like to admit. My suspicions are jerking towards the likelihood that I'll get tired of it before I fall for spending any money on her album.
Kodoku o kanjiru riyuu wa jibun de
I ordered the soundtrack to Rouge. Overall, Trois Couleurs had some cool music, and I knew that I'd wanna hear it loud in my car during late night drives. I thought about getting the Blanc score to relive Julie Delpy's dominating beauty, and I knew that I didn't want to blast the artsy fartsy Bleu. In the end, I based my choice on the storyline that I favoured most.
The bond between Maetel and Emeraldas was originally depicted as strong friendship in the old manga and anime. They being sisters is a newer perspective. According to Matsumoto's reimagination, "...Maetel and Emeraldas are twins--Emeraldas is the older...They can almost be considered one person--Emeraldas was sent out to fight, Maetel to love."
Hateshinai sora e kagayaku sora e
I've stopped reading the daily Peanuts cause it's mirroring the latest volume of the complete edition. I would read about the introduction of Charlie Brown's sister Sally whilst on the toilet only to reread it again a few weeks later at work during my lunch break. Of the 50 years worth of strips that could be rerunning right now, they just had to pick 1959.
Mirai o sagashi ni yukou
Watching the classic Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine television series brings back memories circa 1978, especially thru the music with its histrionic disco stylings. In comparison, the end credits song for Uchuu Koukyoushi Maetel is laced with a techo beat. I'm betting that in 28 years it'll sound just as dated. But it'll take me back just as well.
Tsutaeaeru eien no inochi
"I dreamt about it long ago when I was a child--a train that flies into the far off sky. No matter how far away, it reaches every star. And yet even though I believed, there were so many stars hovering in the darkness--every one unique. So I suppose that us, as well, were born the same way. I'm positive that out there all sorts of encounters await us. And the reason we feel lonely is no one's fault but our own. So into this endless sky, this dazzling sky, let's go in search of our futures. Our lives will find eternity, but I need you to believe..."
Chris tore a contact lense at work. He put on his backup glasses and drove home in the hybrid lane to pick up a new pair. Also, he had an appointment with the cable guy--their internet connection was acting up. I arrived at 13:35, just as the situations were being contained. The night before, my sister last seconded me to taxi Beverly, Jane, and her to the airport at said hour and minute--they were flying up to San Francisco for the weekend, where they'll be wine tasting and bachelorette partying.
The space pirate ship Arcadia is gonna arrive at my apartment tomorrow.
"Beverly's late," my sister apologized as she greeted me at the door. I purposely neglected to take off my shoes, despite her customary ordinance, and made myself comfortable on the waiting room couch. But before I could, Jane tried to ensnare me in a hug. I deflected it by extending my hand to her. She responded accordingly.
I'm gonna join the crew of the Arcadia for a voyage thru Emeraldas' side of the galaxy.
As we waited for Beverly, my sister previewed her wedding slideshow to me and Jane on the editing room's workstation. It had one cheesy water ripple transition, but overall, it was cool--well, it ought to be given that it'll be looping my digital photographs on the flat screen monitors during the reception. Jane claimed to be impressed.
I signed up to do an apprenticeship under Tochiro Oyama, the chief engineer and designer of the Arcadia, cause he's the lucky bastard who hooked up with Emeraldas. And their love story, in my opinion, is the great tragic romance of the Leijiverse. At first glance, you'd never guess that the two were a couple--he's short and awkward in a genius who spends most of his time building space pirate ships sorta way, and she's tall and tough with a don't fuck with me attitude. I've read about their legendary relationship and got a hint of it during their scenes together in Uchuu Koukyoushi Maetel. Their chemistry is a formula that I admire.
"That's hilarious," Beverly said without laughing. She arrived not too late, but there was a train blocking the road to the airport. Jane was relaying a story about her husband and his funny attempts to hide a refrigerator in his garage, which was against their neighbourhood's regulations--so he joined the townhome inspection board and conveniently didn't report any offences on his property. Or so I overheard as the train passed and I continued to tow my passengers.
Emeraldas drives a zeppelin pirate ship called The Queen Emeraldas. She searches the heavens for Tochiro's spirit.
I tried the same hug avoiding manoeuvre that I used on Jane when Beverly greeted me. But she was unresponsive as she forced me to pretend to be friendly. Somehow my boss didn't buy my excuse for comming in late today. "Why's your sister having a bachelorette party a month and a half before her wedding?" she interrogated. I couldn't fake a reason beyond the truth. After work, I drove home and saw a Goodyear blimp sail over the freeway at twilight's diminishment. Before I left my office, I watched an episode of Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine online--it was about the Traders' Crossroads, a major galaxy railways station, where the GE999 passed thru. Furthermore, I noticed that Tetsuro's cloak and hat were identical to Tochiro's. I finished part one of the two part adventure and shut down my computer. But before I closed my browser, I checked my email one last time before going home. My cousin sent me a photo of her friend--the one who goes by the name "Maetel".
Thankfully, I live by the beach.
My apartment doesn't've an air conditioner. On hot summer days, I can hear my neighbours cranking their electrical fans on high. There've been a handful of days when I wished that I had such mechanical means to circulate the air in my east facing room. But oftentimes, opening the windows and letting the ocean breeze blow my western curtains is enough to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
Luckily, I live on the second floor and am ideally positioned in the path of the winds from the Pacific Ocean--moreso than anyone else in my complex. The bottom floor is unfortunately blocked by the opposing upper story from the air flow and the other units on my level aren't aligned lengthwise like my apartment, whereby the maximum impact of the breeze can be felt. Of course, I never thought of these factors when I first moved in. But I'm grateful that I don't need to spend any money on a fan.
With my windows open, I've yet to've a sleepless night due to the heat. Well, it also helps to go to bed in the buff. Some say that sleeping naked is dangerous cause in the event of a fire, you won't've time to get dressed before you escape. I say whatever--I'm sure the rescue department'll've something to cover my indecency when I watch my apartment go up in smoke. And I'd rather've a good night's rest than to worry about what ifs. Plus, there's nothing like waking up to a cool breeze blowing on your privates.
Waga Seishun no Arcadia ("Arcadia of My Youth") opens with the darkness of night. A crack of lightening resounds in the sky. Recurrently, it strobe lights a WWI biplane's descent into haunted mountains.
The character Tochiro Oyama made his first appearance in the manga Gun Frontier in 1972. However, he was a samurai who joins the sea pirate Captain Harlock to the United States. Together with a mysterious lady named Shinunora, they search the Wild West for lost Japanese immigrants. Shinunora coincidentally strikes a resemblance to the familiar Matsumoto heroine Emeraldas.
I met up with my gang at Ted and Tina's house. We were bidding Wong farewell--he's gonna look for Buddha in Japan. After eating dinner at an Indian cookery, we returned to Ted and Tina's living room and watched vintage music videos, including the Duran Duran offshoot Arcadia's "Goodbye Is Forever" from 1986. We parted ways. And as I drove home, I saw a rabbit in my headlights.
Up next on my Netflix queue is Queen Emeraldas. I just finished watching Waga Seishun no Arcadia (the Space Pirate Captain Harlock prequel), which told of Tochiro's first encounter with Emeraldas. Before the opening scene, Goethe is quoted--"At the end of their lives, all men look back and think that their youth was Arcadia."
In 1882, the astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli named the northwest region of the Tharsis volcano range on Mars the Arcadia Planitia. 120 years later, the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) of the Odyssey Mission released geomorphic data of the area which suggests that it's made up of an ice and rock mixture.
Marie was cute in a Japanese pixie sorta way. Her violin case was strapped to her back like a giant rocket ship. She came my way during the intermission between the ceremony and reception of my cousin's wedding. We had about half an hour to sound check and rehearse our duet--I was gonna accompany her on the digital piano. The dining hall was empty as we ran thru "When You Wish Upon a Star".
Matsumoto has often been cited to've based Tochiro on himself. In Emeralda's galaxy, he's space pirate Captain Harlock's trusty sidekick, whilst in Shinunora's badlands, sea pirate Harlock plays second fiddle to samurai Tochiro. The Harlock character is said to've been inspired by Matsumoto's best friend--a dude who got all the chicks. And sure, Harlock can bag the anime babes, but Emeraldas belongs to Tochiro.
Maetel has a sweet camera--it's an SLR with a big lense. I'm assuming that she's somewhat serious about photography to've spent more than the average consumer does on a digital camera. But then again, she's Japanese--all of them stereotypically take up the hobby. Come to think of it, at my cousin's wedding, nearly half of the guests held high-end equipment, which is way more than the one geek amongst the masses of pocket and cellphone camera users in America.
Emeraldas gave me a chubby when she was tied to the execution stake. Her boobs were perfectly positioned and popping out of her red space pirate outfit. I lost it when a laser scarred her face.
I walked to the corner mailbox at 3:00 in the morning to return Waga Seishun no Arcadia in its prepaid envelope. On the way back, I looked up at the lightning that bolted above me.
A friend, who shall remain nameless, currently lives in fear of her identity being stolen. So she bought a shitload of premium protection that'll secure her bank accounts from scam artists and password hackers--voice recognition clearance is required for access to her assets and any suspicious transactions'll get reported immediately. But one day, she got suckered as she responded to an email that was a fake Paypal request for her identification numbers. Supposedly, she was in blur mode and wasn't paying attention to the authenticity of reality, ergo she was susceptible to losing her identity. It was too late for her to realize her mistake, despite her fancy protection plan, and panickedly called her bank to report her stupidity. Everything was fine, but after the fear subsided, she fixated on her financial status. She slept ethereally knowing that her net worth was still intact.
In Issue 9 of Watchmen, the exiled Dr. Manhattan meditates on the value of human existence from the solitary vistas of Mars. He comes to the conclusion that all humans are miracles--the odds of one sperm connecting are, according to him, astronomical. And that the commonplace of each human miracle oftentimes escapes us.
My credit card bill comes with the physical equivalent of online pop-up ads for identity anti-theft plans. Somehow I don't feel threatened enough to take their offers seriously. Cause, I limit my purchases to cash and use my credit card as a last resort, not to mention I really don't buy much of anything. Most of my money's locked up in a bank--the numbers for those accounts never get used. What I maintain for spending money is disposable. And finally, I don't let my mind drift when I read phoney emails. I mean, by default, I suspect that everything's some sorta scheme. Not that I'm foolproof, but I've yet to believe that the bandits are as sophisticated as they're aggrandized to be.
On the other hand, Bill Hicks ends his album Rant in E-Minor with the idea that no one's special. Sperm comes in galactical amounts, so calling each human life a "miracle" is overexaggerating things. There's nothing worth mentioning about people, other than they suck.
L'Estro Armonico op. III n. 6 (F. I n. 176) - Allegro
"Lolicon" is a Japanese term in reference to child porn manga and anime. It's short for "Lolita complex", in homage to the Nabokov novel. In Japan, the art of lolicon is not only legal, but a cultural phenomenon.
Everyday, I solve a sudoku puzzle to check my mental acuity. If I can finish under three minutes, all systems are nominal. Anything slower means my mind is likewise contemptible.
"The CPPA (Child Pornography Protection Act) prohibits speech that records no crime and creates no victims by its production. Virtual child pornography is not 'intrinsically related' to the sexual abuse of children." In other words, per the US Supreme Court, the CPPA is unconstitutional.
For the first time since I joined Netflix, I received a damaged DVD. As well, it took longer than the usual single business day turnaround--I guess it was comming from a further distribution center. Needless to say, my anticipation inundated when I noticed a crack on the Queen Emeraldas disc
The PROTECT (Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today) Act of 2003 defines "virtual child pornography" to mean "any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where...such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct."
I use the cross-hatching method of scanning the sudoku grid. I go thru the numbers in order. And I physically drag my mouse (or pencil) over the rows and columns, tracing the eliminating process. If I can overcome this bad habit and rely only on my eyes, I bet I could finish faster.
Last December, Dwight Whorely was the first person in the United States of America to be charged with the ownership of lolicon. He was convicted, amongst other crimes, for possessing 20 such Japanese cartoons.
Queen Emeraldas is an OAV (Original Animated Video, not to be confused with Original Adult Video) that follows the adventures of Emeraldas and her namesake zeppelin pirate ship a few years after the last episode of Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine.
I won't admit that I've got any lolicon. But let's just say that if I did, I'd destroy it. Cause it's not worth going to jail over. Besides, they're just drawings--if I get caught, it won't be for an abstract representation of a crime.
Today, it took me 3 minutes and 12 seconds to complete a sudoku. Something's fucked up.
I reported the problem to Netflix and shipped back the unplayable Queen Emeraldas. Hopefully, another copy'll arrive soon.
Dwight Whorely is currently serving 20 years in prison.
My space pirate suit arrived yesterday. It consists of a black t-shirt with a white skull and crossbones printed on the front. And although the eBay description line for the item used the keywords "punk", "Danzig", and "Harlock", I'm wearing it honour of Emeraldas.
"Can you edit a song for me," my dad cellphoned.
Ever since my sister announced her wedding date, her and our parents've been at war over relatively low ranking complications, such as whose name gets listed first on the invitations, who gets invited, and the location of the ceremony. I guess some people choose to express their happiness for the event in a manner contrary to the honourable occasion--it's supposed to celebrate the family as a worthy concept rather a belittling battle. Anyways, my dad threatened to not participate in the father and daughter dance. He even had the impudence to've asked me to dance with her instead, which'll be sillier than embarrassment.
The wedding's about a month away.
Kate, my potty-mouthed ex-assistant, taught me a new dirty phrase the other day--"F-bomb". Call me pop culturally retarded, but I've never heard it used before. Apparently, the kids've been using it interchangeably with the "F-word".
To be fair, the father and daughter dance ain't a tradition in the Orient. For example, of all the weddings that I've attended in Asia, none of them had a dance floor, let alone a father and daughter moment in the spotlight. It's a little more subtle over there. And even if an Eastern wedding was to include a father and daughter dance, it's a somewhat new custom borrowed from the West. So my dad wasn't brought up to be expected to dance with his daughter at her wedding. Nevertheless, we live in America--to not dance wouldn't be cool.
Luckily, the Queen Emeradlas DVD was broken. Cause, I wasn't worthy of wearing my space pirate suit a business day ago--I gotta commend Netflix's speedy delivery of a replacement disc. However, I know that Emeraldas wouldn't kill me for wearing the skull and crossbones today.
I am on her side.
My drug dealer enlightened me with the term "checking your ponies". It's supposed to refer to taking a piss at the very last moment--holding it in and ecstatically releasing it. The term originates from horse racing when the animals were made to similarily relieve themselves before the competition. It makes them go faster.
As my sister's wedding appears in range, the stress of the long battles is awaiting to be obliterated. I think that my dad either realized that no one's gonna win the war or he planned this dramatic tension all along for effect. Cause he's been secretly taking dancing lessons and obsessively researching songs that've been commonly used for father and daughter dances. Last month, he narrowed down eight tracks that he felt summed up how he felt about his daughter. He burned a CD of the selections and's been listening to it on all his stereos. This past weekend he called me up to announce his decision.
"But it's too long," he complained. "Can you make it shorter?"
I read an article about Veronica Mars and how they film the show at my undergraduate alma mater, UCSD--it's a stand-in for the fictional Hearst College, where post-high school Veronica and Mac'll be attending next quarter. The article used the unfamiliar to me, even when I was enrolled, nickname "UC Sunny D".
Space pirates've adopted the colour scheme for their flags from their comrades at sea--black as a statement of pirate identity and red as a promise of "no-quarter". Thus, a red skull and crossbones flag was most feared. The Arcadia flies a black flag.
The Queen Emeraldas hangs a red one.
I've always looked up to my dad's sense of humour. It's definitely not obvious and may even seem cruel, at least superficially. But having grown up with his jokes, not to mention stealing a lot of my material shamelessly from him, I'd like to think that I can predict his next jab. I mean, he plays it straight. And before you know it, you've been duped. When he's at his best, he'll make the tears come before the laughs.
I gotta hand it to him for his latest effort.
Music for BRICKFEST 2006
2. Hollywood and Town Themes
3. Space and Pirate Themes
4. Train and Castle Themes
5. Fanfare (Remix)
Executively produced by Joe Meno
Programmed by Henry Lim
I took three years of French in high school, most of which never got transferred to my long term memory. Besides the practicality of passing the class, I didn't've the opportunity to put what I learned to any use, other than skipping the subtitles for simple phrases during Nouvelle Vague films. Nevertheless, I think it's a cool sounding language--it almost projects the illusion of English going backwards with its accentuated elisions.
Visually, German is the neatest language--it tends to smash words together to make them look like long strings of letters. Whenever I play video games, I select German as the displayed language. Somehow "spielende" reads as more of an existenzbedrohung than "game over".
Anyways, my keitai (cellphone) doesn't've a German language option--it's got English, Spanish, and French. Seeing that I've gotten sorta familiar with it enough to be somewhat versed in navigating thru its features, I switched the language to French. I figure it looks better than plain eigo (English). And it's a simple way to relearn what I've forgotten. Not to mention "vendredi" feels more God thankful than "Friday". Maybe after I get bored of French I'll try Spanish.
One of my favourite painters is Miles Davis. Back in college, I spent a lot of time at the UCSD Central Library--a mirrored spaceship shaped structure situated according to its namesake on the main La Jolla campus. The M, ML, and MT's (Library of Congress categories for music scores, music literature, and music teaching materials) were shelved on the fourth floor (they're now located on the first floor of the west wing). Between classes, I'd elevator myself up to that level and randomly browse thru the various aisles, whereupon I happenstanced a biography on the jazz trumpeter. I jumped to the glossy leaves in the middle of the book and studied his paintings of warped ladies--their legs were giraffentine and lustered like flaunting plesiosaurs on an evolutionary nebula.
I ordered the Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine movie on DVD from an online Japanese anime dealer. It adapts the 113 episode TV show into a two hour story. My email inbox received a shipping notification eight days ago that notified me of its delivery as well as a disclaimer that it might take eight to fifteen days to arrive at my real mailbox. Today, I found a USPS slip that apologized for missing me and provided instructions to pick up a large registered envelope awaiting my signed presence at the post office. Tomorrow will be cool.
In 2004, the Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki-Gaisha gave the representatives of adult film star Lexus a cease and desist claiming that she "injures [its] business reputation by impairing the value of that mark as a singular identification of the highest quality products." Lexus, who's been in such hardcore porn classics as Debbie Does Dallas '99, Cream On 2, and House of Sleeping Beauties 3, changed her name to "Lexa" to avoid anyone mistaking her with the trademarked luxury line of automobiles.
The photo that my cousin sent of Maetel was taken towards the end of Emeraldas' wedding reception. It's a group shot with fellow space pirates--Kei Yuki, La Mimay, Revi Bentselle, and Tochiro. Maetel stands closely at Emeraldas' left. She's wearing her shiny Mandarin dress and countenancing a reserved smile. I must've been having a smokebreak when the portrait was taken. And as Emeraldas is still wearing her wedding dress, the snapshot was chronologically posed prior to her changing out of it, as well as before my formal introduction to Maetel. However, in the toki no wa (rings of time), our rendevous has been revolving beyond spherical recollections of the zeitgeist.
Two of my colleagues at the UCLA Music Department are moving to Seattle. My boss observed that we're in the midst of a California exodus--residents are getting sick of the state and're moving north. But this's annoying people in Seattle, who in turn are escaping to Canada. Taken to conclusion, he's guessing that the North Pole'll be where everyone's gonna end up living. I disagreed--they'll keep continuing around the globe.
The package was open.
I'm finding that whenever I'm asked to evaluate something, I tend to give an average rating. In general, I'm neither pleased nor dissatisfied with things. Or rather I can see the good and bad points in everything, which balance each other out, leaving me with no other choice but to brandish neutral opinions. However, occasionally, I'll be swayed ever so slightly to lean in favour of liking or hating something--but that's rare. Extreme positions are almost nonexistent.
So I went to the post office to redeem my package per the USPS notification slip.
Netflix allows customers to rate movies. They've got a five-star system. A glance at my returned items will reveal a streak of three-stars, with the notable exception of two-stars for the last Harry Potter bomb and four-stars for Veronica Mars' first season. Not that I've got any complaints--I'm accustomed to being mildly entertained. Plus, I joined Netflix to explore genres that've either been conveniently unavailable or curiosities for curiosity's sake, fully accepting that not everything'll blow my mind.
Nevertheless, the DVD was unharmed.
Of course, I've got my personal favourites--Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, Chinatown, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, to name a few. If I were to rate these movies by Netflix terms, they'd each get five-stars. Note, though, that my appraisals aren't definitive. They can change depending on my fickle state of mind, mood, and memory. Which I suppose has determined my unreliance on the opinions of others, cause I think that there are other factors to consider besides the "quality" of a film in itself.
After showing the postal worker my ID, he went to the back area, and took an unusually long time to retrieve my package.
An anime dealer in Malyasia was selling a region-free DVD of the Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine movie. It was cheap, so I took the risk of getting a bad bootleg. But I figure it's a central chapter in the Leijiverse that I've gotta see--Maetel's most famous journey, the destruction of Queen Promethium, and the only time Emeraldas gets teary eyed. It's the heart of all the connected series. Nothing makes much sense without it.
Whether it was accidental or a suspicious inspection, I dismissed the handling of my package.
Cause it's not everyday that I get to see a five-star movie.
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