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Out On a Lim (8.4.06 - 11.22.06) >>
Hi, this is Tiffany.  I'm a staff member at OUT ON A LIM.  I'm new, but by a stroke of good fortune Henry gave me a writing assignment.  Basically, I'm gonna be taking his place for a week as he works on his album.  So bare with my blogging abilities.  I know it's not as cool as his.  But I suppose this is some sorta test he's putting me thru--to see if I'll sink or swim in the flash in the pan waters of internet journalism.  Hope you like what you'll be reading.  And if you don't, well, you'll only need to put up with me for five days.  So here goes...

I think the other girls on the staff are jealous cause I've been given full permission to post whatever I want.  I heard that none of them has ever had so much freedom.  Mostly they do the editing, background research, dictation, proofreading, and computer maintenance, in addition to their cheerleading duties.  Some of them've been staff members since 2003.  I just joined last month and already I've been promoted to second in command, bypassing all the menial work.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Actually, up until last month, my life sucked.  I was a runaway teenager turned crack whore.  It all happened so fast, but seemed like prehistoric times.  For the first 13 years of my life, I was a straight A junior high student living comfortably in the upper middle class--I won't say where, cause I don't want my parents to find me.  Oh, and my real name isn't Tiffany, but the rest is true.  Anyways, I got hooked on drugs and you can picture how I ended up sucking dick for hits.

My pimp introduced me to Henry.  At first he seemed like a pervert as he looked at me longer than most of my customers--they usually go straight to business.  He kept shifting around the room, staring at me from different angles.  And then he left the room.  I was confused and hankering to get high.  I heard him talking with my pimp down the hall.  They both returned to room.

"Get your clothes," my pimp commanded.  "You go wherever this guy wants to take you.  You're his now."

"What?" I tried to concentrate on what was going on.

"This guy bought you off," my pimp shouted.

"Ok," I agreed as I found my clothes.

The next thing I knew I'm in some warehouse signing contracts.  It turns out that Henry is a porn director and wanted me to be in his next movie.  Of course since I'm only 14, I had to fill out some loophole foreign release forms which legally allow minors to be in smut films, as long as they're distributed outside of the US.  However, instead of signing on the dotted line, I started writing an essay.  I guess I was still stoned, but I mistakenly thought that I was sitting in my English class, getting an early start on my homework.  Well, the prop school desk in which I sat kinda added to the illusion--later I found out that it was part of the classroom set for
Super Stupid Nasty Schoolgirls Volume 9.

"What the hell is this?" Henry angrily asked as he read my scribbling.

"What?" again, I tried to concentrate on what was going on.

"Hey," he criticized whilst rubbing his beard, "you used the word 'whilst' in this sentence.  I do that, too.  You don't belong here.  Come with me.  I've got a better use for you."

"Ok," I agreed as I followed him to the OUT ON A LIM office located upstairs.

Henry introduced me to the staff and showed me his world famous webpage.  He explained that OUT ON A LIM is a front for his underage porn empire.  I didn't mind, as long as he paid me.  He also reminded me that my drug habit is my problem, but if it gets outta control, he's got the right to pay for rehab.  Fine with me, I told him.  He smiled and patted my head as he grabbed his guitar and pushed me towards his computer.  And thus begins my stint as substitute writer for OUT ON A LIM.

Thanks Henry

-Tiffany

(11.27.06)

Hi again, this is Tiffany--guest blogger for a week at OUT ON A LIM.  So I got paid for yesterday's entry.  I bought some crack, got high, and asked Henry for a small favour.  I don't know how, I must've crawled in a stupour, but I found myself at Paperclip Studios, which is adjacent to the warehouse where he films underage porn.  He was polishing his katana whilst watching a rouch cut of
Super Stupid Nasty Schoolgirls Volume 9.

"Mmmph," he mumbled.  "Oh, hey Tiffany, come on in.  What's up?"

"I spent most of my check on crack," I blurted.

"Cool," he snorted.

"I'm too wasted to go to the mall," I explained.  "So can you go and get me the new Beatles album?"

"Fuck no," he sighed.  "You don't want to spend your hard earned money on that shit."

"But it's getting great reviews," I mirrored the press.

"That's cause The Beatles got their publicity under control," he whined.  "That's what a 44 year old billion dollar institution like them can afford."

"Don't be so sinister," I glazed.  "I want to hear it.  It's supposed to be a mash up of their original tracks."

"Mash up schmash up," he dismissed.  "The original tracks are themselves mash ups--George Martin was the master of splicing together tapes way back before they had computers doing all the cutting and pasting by hand.  He'd mix and match totally different takes and glue them together seamlessly.  All you need to do is listen to 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and you'll hear their real music.  Not some juvenilistically trendy butchering job."

"Whatever," I lost him when he started talking about splicing.  "But it's cool.  They mash up completely different songs, so it's like listening to multiple tunes at the same time."

"Listen, kid," he lectured, "George Martin did that in his orchestration for 'All You Need Is Love'.  During the coda, he weaved snippets of Bach, 'Greensleeves', and 'In the Mood'.  I can't admire anything less than his legendary work.  It's been done before.  Just because computers've almost caught up with him ain't no reason to do it again.  In fact, I think the gall is embarrassing."

"They remastered the original tracks," I added.  "So the songs should sound bassier.  Plus, there's a 5.1 surround mix."

"Whatever," he subtracted.  "I don't get off on their teasing.  If they wanna remaster the original tracks, remaster them properly--don't sell me something that sounds like a schizophrenic's short attention span.  Give me the full songs without any annoying flourishments.  If you need to reimagine their music, deconstruct it on your own."

"Look," I begged, "I'll give you the cash.  You just go get it for me, please."

"Hey," he raised his palms, "what you do with your money is your business.  You can waste your money on that CD if you want, but I ain't gonna touch that crap.  Get it yourself."

"Thanks alot," I cursed.  "I'll get it later.  And I'm gonna enjoy it."

"You're on crack," he responded.

-Tiffany

(11.28.06)

Good Wednesday to you, this is Tiffany.  So I went to the mall and got the new Beatles mash up album.  And contrary to Henry's stubborn preconceptions, it's pretty cool.  The clarity of the remastered tracks alone is worth the listen.  I can't say it's all cool--there are moments of near wow moments as well as some parts that come really close to being lame.  Most importantly, I enjoyed relistening to their music from a different perspective.  After the CD ended, I ran to Paperclip Studios.  Henry was strumming a Japanese pop song on his guitar.

"Hey Henry," I interrupted.

"Call me Larry," he said as he put down his instrument and lit a cigarette.

"Uh, ok, Larry," I corrected.  "Hey, I just finished listening to the new Beatles album.  I like it.  You should check it out, too."

"Oh, I heard it already," he smiled.

"What?" I huffed.

"I think it's pretty cool," he puffed.

"Dude, I had to get the album on my own," I scolded, "on account of you didn't want to pick it up for me when I was high on crack all because of your belief that it sucked.  The last thing I thought you'd want to do is listen to it."

"When did I ever say I thought it sucked?" he backpedaled.

"Yesterday," I recalled.  "Remember?  You told me I shouldn't waste my money on the CD which you said was ‘crap’.  And then you babbled on about splicing and went on some old fart's anti-technology rant.  Why would you listen to something if you didn't like it and what it stands for?"

"Young Tiffany," he condescended.  "You're mistaking Henry's opinions with mine.  I'm Larry McFeurdy.  I've been dying to hear the new Beatles album.  I got it yesterday, took it to Stair 7 Studios, and listened to it on the monitors with my engineer.  We disagreed on certain sections, but overall we think it sounds great, and if anything it's a good reference disc.  I liked what they did to 'I am the Walrus'."

"You're nuts," I commended.

"Henry's the insane one," he distinguished.  "I'm only his alter ego."

"You're both nuts," I recommended.

"Hey, what're you doing tonight?" he segued.

"Getting high," I whispered.

"Well, how about if you get high and I take you to a movie," he asked.

"Ok," I answered.

"I'll pick you up at the OUT ON A LIM office at 7 o'clock", he scheduled.

"See you at 7," I acknowledged as I went back to work.  I had to get today's blog entry into the queue and write tomorrow's.  The proofreaders and editors bitched about some of my spelling and grammar--how I needed to conform to OUT ON A LIM's style manual.  So I made the corrections, although I'm suspecting that they're still pissed off at me for being this week's guest writer, especially since they outrank me in seniority and would kill for my spot on the webpage.  At 6 o'clock I went on break.  I met Linda at the vending machine.

"Hey," I greeted as I selected a blueberry muffin.

"Hey," she responded between sips of coffee.

"My name is Tiffany," I introduced.

"I know who you are," she sarcastically hissed.  "You're the new crack whore who gets to write the blog for a week."

"Yeah," I took a bite of my muffin.  "What do you do here?"

"You think you're so special," she gruffed.  "Well, I wrote an OUT ON A LIM entry once.  Check the archive.  The 1.30.06 post was written by me.  I was forced to follow very specific instructions and couldn't really write what I wanted to say like you can, but it was more than what most of the staff ever dreams of accomplishing.  I used to be Henry's protege before you came along."

"Uh, so why exactly are you here?" I observed.

"I'm head of the lightsaber research and development team," she prided.  "We're really close to building a working prototype.  And when we do, you'll be sorry.  Forget about Henry's LEGO sculptures, digital photographs, music, OUT ON A LIM, and underage porn.  Everyone in cyberspace'll visit his webpage to see our working lightsaber.  We'll get more hits than your stupid blog.  And I'll be the one who'll be getting all the preferential treatment around here.  So there."

"Um, yeah," I condoled, "good luck with that.  Hey, weren't you in
Super Stupid Nasty Schoolgirls Volume 3?"

She gave me the finger as she left the staff break room.  I finished my muffin and saw her enter a door labeled "top secret".  For laughs, on my way back to my desk, I walked by it and heard a lightsaber.  Of course, anyone can recreate the sound effect.  I highly doubt an idiot like her, who obviously's suffering from Stockholm syndrome, can build a real lightsaber.  Poor girl.

I returned to Henry's computer and wrote a preliminary entry for tomorrow's OUT ON A LIM.  At 5 til 7, I smoked some crack and waited for him to pick me up.  He showed up on time, or what I thought seemed prompt--it's kinda hazy.  I sorta remember him driving me in his car, listening to him gush on about some girl named Akane or Maetel, I forget which, and seeing the movie
The Fountain.  My memories became clearer when I came down from my high, at which point I thought the theatre was rightfully empty--the movie was a pretentious spiritual yawn.  Larry disagreed.

-Tiffany

(11.29.06)

This is Tiffany again, guest blogger for a week at OUT ON A LIM.  I woke up on Henry's futon this afternoon.  The new Beatles album was playing thru the surround speakers--the orchestra was split to the rear whilst the band was up in the front as George sang "Something".  I sat in the center of the room and closed my eyes.  The song sounded better than I'd ever heard it before--all the instruments were shiny and clear.  After it ended, I opened my eyes and saw my crack pipe next to my underwear on the floor.  I went to the restroom, washed up, got dressed, and looked for Henry.

I knew that he probably wasn't in the kitchen, but I thought I'd check there first, and get me some breakfast.  Bertha the chef was chopping potatoes and plopping them into a boiling vat of curry.

"Good morning Miss Tiffany," she saluted.  "You must be hungry.  Give me a minute to simmer this, and I'll make some maple syrup frog legs for you."

"Thanks," I appreciated as I sat at the counter.  She put the last slice of potato into the vat, stirred it up, and lowered the flame.

"Frog legs," she announced.  "These'll be good cause we just got them fresh from the Congo."

"Cool," I licked.  She grabbed a pair from the refrigerator, prepared them, and put them on the grill.

"Did you sleep well?" she polited between flippling the meat.

"Great, thanks," I smelled.  "Hey, do you know where Henry is?"

"He should be around," she described, "but I'm not sure exactly where he might be--he's always here and there.  Would you like me to page him?"

"Nah," I didn't bother.  "If he wants me to find him, I will."

The maple syrup frog legs were delicious.  I complimented Bertha's cooking and headed for the warehouse.  The red light above the entrance was on, meaning filming was in progress.  I waited for about a minute and was about to leave, when the light turned off.  The door opened and I squeezed in as members of the film crew went on break.  The
Super Stupid Nasty Schoolgirls set was lit and the director was showing the camera operators where the next shot was gonna be.  I went backstage to the dressing room.  Underage girls were getting made up and costumed in skimpy school uniforms.  On the sofa in the back of the rack of outfits, I found Martha.  She was naked and sweaty.

"Hey," she excited, "you're Tiffany, right?"

"Yeah," I confirmed.

"I like you're OUT ON A LIM entries," she gasped.  "I think you're better than Henry.  You should write the blog all the time."

"Thanks," I blushed.  "Did you just finish a scene?"

"Yup," she coughed.  "I did one with Linda and Henry."

"Really," I trailed.  "Is he here?"

"He should be," she turned her head.  "I think he's taking a shower. "

"Hey," I insisted, "I gotta run, but keep up the good work.  See you later."

"Thanks," she ashamed.  "You, too--I'll be reading your blog."

The steam from the shower was fogging my vision as I heard Linda moaning and splashing.  Interspersed was Henry's creepy laughter.  I took a step backwards--I didn't want to intrude, let alone give Linda yet another reason to hate me.  I felt sorry for her.  She was clearly being taken advantage of.  But it's none of my business.  At this point, anything I tell her'll be mistaken for jealousy.  Even if I wanna help, all she sees in me is her enemy, and whatever I say'll be defiantly ignored.  She'll've to wake up on her own.

I went to the OUT ON A LIM office.  As I passed the vending machines, I remembered my bitter conversation with Linda from the day before.  I tearfully looked at her "top secret" door as I sat at my desk.  A paragraph of tomorrow's blog entry later, I snuck over to the resources division.  I went thru the files til I found Linda's.  Accordingly, she was also a runaway teenage crack whore who got promoted to the OUT ON A LIM staff--it's implied that she slept her way into being Henry’s protege.  However, she had a history of rehab visits, which coincided with her demotion to porn slut.  And then I saw myself in her shoes.  That's when I decided to help her.

-Tiffany

(11.30.06)

This is Tiffany for my Friday and final OUT ON A LIM entry.  I had fun.  I learned lots about what goes on behind the scenes at a world famous webpage--it's not as easy as it looks.  I've made friends and enemies with the other staff members and affliates of Henry's multi-faceted global corporation.  It's a tight ship, but only because he employs dedicated workers, all of whom are runaway teenage crack whores.  In a way, he's like our saviour--rescuing us from a life of drugs and prostitution and giving us a chance to be productive members of society.  However, he needs to be destroyed.

Earlier this morning, Bertha the chef told me a story whilst preparing me some maple syrup sea urchin.  It was about a former staff member who begged Henry to stop smoking.  He fired her immediately for talking out of line.  But, Bertha secretly informed, if the girl'd asked him right after fucking him, he might've listened--there's a window of postcoital opportunity that he unwittingly leaves open for anyone who's sneaky enough to take advantage of his mind's momentarily receptive state.  I demanded proof from Bertha of this supposed siphon in his regime.  She dangled her Lexus car keys.

I found Henry, or rather Larry, at Paperclip Studios.  He was listening to Ayumi Hamasaki on his stereo as he picked out chords on his guitar.  Megumi, his assistant was also present--her duty was to translate Japanese lyrics, which she efficiently did on her laptop as the song continued.  I didn't bother them until it was over.  As Larry hit repeat on the CD player, he noticed that I was in the room.

"Hey Tiffany," he pushed stop.  "Megumi-chan, kore mo ii."

Megumi folded her laptop and left the studio. 

"What's up," he lit a cigarette and looked for the nearest ashtray.

I didn't say a word as I seduced him--he quickly quit his smoke and pulled his pants down.  We rolled around on the Persian rug between the pedals and microphones.  At one point he called for Megumi, but I shoved my adolescent tits in his face to shut him up.  We knocked over an electric guitar that started to feedback.  As it peaked in volume, he did, too.  I jumped off him, picked up the fallen instrument, and turned down the amplifier.

"Oh Larry, that was great," I lied.

He was zonked.  "Megumi?" he sputtered.

"Hai," I faked some Japanese and rushed to say my wish.  "Larry-san, please let Linda go free."

"Wha-wha-wha," he double took, "why are you speaking in English?  You're not Megumi."

"Oh Larry," I tried again, "please let Linda go free."

It was too late.  He laughed and explained how he's been building a resistance to after sex requests--he's been suspecting that girls were duping him after seeing all the new cars in his parking lot, especially since no one on his staff gets paid enough to afford luxury automobiles, let alone is of legal driving age.  So he wised up and's been migrating his mind to Japanese--with Megumi's help, he's been translating his thoughts during his susceptible moments.  Thus, he scoffed at my request.

"Tiffany," he gave a pseudo sermon, "I know that you and Linda aren't getting along right now, but give it some time.  I'm sure you'll be friends before you know it.  She's a good girl.  There's no reason to let her go free."

I pretended that he was talking about the same thing as he patted my head.  Even though I was offended, I played it off when I left the studio and headed back to the kitchen.

"Tiffany," Bertha waved, "did you get a new car?"

"No," I disappointed.  "He's figured us out."

"Oh no," she clutched her car keys.

"Yeah," I schemed.  "Page the other girls.  Tell them to meet us at the OUT ON A LIM office.  I want to call a meeting."

Martha, the star of
Super Stupid Nasty Schoolgirls Volume 10, arrived first.  Girls from the warehouse, the LEGO factory, the digital photo lab, the recording studio, and the blog staff gathered around my desk.  Some of them obviously were annoyed by my power trip--if they didn't say it under their breath, I read it in their rolling eyes.  Before I started the meeting, I looked for Linda.  She wasn't in attendance.

"Has anyone seen Linda?" I concerned.

No one had.  "What the hell is this meeting about?" the blog editor demanded.

"Well, it kinda involves Linda," I went ahead, "but we'ven't got time.  So I'll be brief.  We need to get out of here.  Henry treats us like sex slaves."

"But he treats us so well," the blog editor bitched.

"Not anymore," I conveyed.  "He's onto our game.  We can't ask for things after sex anymore, unless you speak Japanese."


The girls gasped.  A ruffle of desperation rustled through the ranks.  Megumi came forward and made an attempt to speak in English.

"I speak the Japanese," she was confused.  "I must stay."

"That doesn't matter," I folded my arms.  "How old are you?"

"I am, how do you say--12 years old," she stuttered.

"You're too young to be a sex slave," I calculated.  "We're all too young.  What we're doing is illegal.  Henry's a sick pervert.  He needs to be stopped before more underage girls get abused.  We need to escape from this place."

"But if I leave, I'll go back to being a crack whore," Martha cried.

"No, you won't," I consoled.  "That is if you don't want to be a crack whore.  It's up to you.  Yes, Henry helped us off the streets, but we don't owe him our dependence.  He's been filling our heads with the fear of letting go of our freedom, but if he truly was benevolent, he'd release us.  And now that our privileges are diminishing, he's only tightening his control over us.  I believe we can make it on our own."

"What should we do?" the girls collaborated.  "We can't call the cops--they'll tell our parents."

"I'm gonna leave," I concluded.  "You can follow me if you like."

Everyone started to cheer.  But as I headed for the door, Henry suddenly blocked my exit.  Standing next to him was Linda.  He was pissed off.  The girls behind me stopped and silenced.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" he fumed.

"We're leaving," I pushed forward.

"No you're not," he shoved.

"Let us go," I dignified.

"What's gotten into you girls?" he spat.  "Get back to work, all of you."

"NO!" we revolted.

"Well, you ain't leaving thru any of the doors," he grinned as he pushed a handheld button that automatically locked the building.

"You're nothing without us," I swore.

"Shut up," he slammed.  "You're a dumb crack whore."

And then a lightsaber ignited.  Linda held it to Henry's throat.  She reached for his security device and pressed the button.  All the doors unlocked.  The girls walked out of the OUT ON A LIM office and onto freedom.  I stayed behind as Linda kept Henry at bay.

"Thanks," she nodded to me.

"Thank you," I applauded her underestimated engineering skills.

She pushed Henry to the ground so that we could kick him in the stomach.  "Get a life, loser," we shouted as we broke free.

Good riddance

-Tiffany     

(12.1.06)

Well, as you might've heard, my staff betrayed me, led by that no good traitor Tiffany.  That's the last time I'm ever letting a crack whore write my blog.  Anyways, as OUT ON A LIM recovers from the mutiny, I guess I'm gonna've to post entries on my own.  Oh, and I dismantled my underage porn venture--Tiffany blew my cover.  My lawyers tell me that I can hire a new staff, but to be safe they've got to be at least 18 years old.  Whatever.

So this week OUT ON A LIM will be sorta downsized as I get back on my feet.  I'm gonna go the cheap and easy route--posting links to other sites.  Yeah, everyone else online does it, and it ain't as exciting as reading about my life, but it'll only be for a week.  I'm interviewing applicants as I speak, so please excuse OUT ON A LIM's poor quality during this transition period.  By next week I should've everything back to normal again.  Thanks for your patience.

As always, I can't vouche for any links that might be dead later--they worked fine as of this writing.  And unless noted, I am not connected, nor receiving any endorsements for featuring these sites.

MONDAY'S LINK:
Beard Papa
HENRY'S COMMENT: I've been eating lots of their cream puffs lately.

(12.4.06)

TUESDAY'S LINK:
PostSecret
HENRY'S COMMENT: Someone once asked permission to use one of my digital photos so that she could write her secret on it and send it to this site.  (No, it wasn't me.)  Ever since, I've been addicted to reading other peoples' secrets.

(12.5.06)

WEDNESDAY'S LINK:
Land Rover
HENRY'S COMMENT: My sister is responsible for this ad.

(12.6.06)

THURSDAYS LINK:
Live-eviL
HENRY'S COMMENT: Cool anime site.  They've been tackling the massive project of subtitling the
GE999 television series.  Much props. 

BONUS LINK:
new Puffy song "Hataraku Otoko"

(12.7.06)

FRIDAY'S LINK:
Linda Harsbarger
HENRY'S COMMENT: This is the artis'’s personal webpage, who's the mom of my friend Eric.  Check out the galleries.  She did a fiber art piece based on one of my digital photos.

(12.8.06)

30 minutes later.

"Hello?" I responded after waiting on hold.  My computer had crashed.  Normally, I'd be fine with fixing it at my convenience, but I was working on a project (a song arrangement) that not only had a deadline, but was commissioned.  So I couldn't lose any time.  I called the Geek Squad.  For half an hour I held my phone to my ear as I heard the same looped advertisement about wireless installation and virus protection.  With my computer down, there was nothing else to do.

The blue screen of death.

The fan on my computer was grinding so I turned the power off and restarted.  However instead of getting my desktop, I got the dreaded message.  Inaccessible boot device.  I pressed F8, but still couldn't access my hard drive.  I've been limiting my internet usage at home, so I doubt it was a virus--although, I wasn't calling it unlikely.  Tiffany's sabatoge came to mind.  But my gut was telling me that something happened during the last time I turned my computer on.  The problem was electrical.  And with my staff gone, I had no patience to deal with it on my own.

24 hour on-site assistance.

I remember seeing a commercial for Geek Squad--they portrayed their technicians as agents who flew on jet packs and came to save the day.  So I called them only to be put on hold.  When I finally got connected, I relayed my problem, which they warned was direr than I portrayed, and they said that they could fix it right away.  Cool.  "We can dispatch someone on Saturday," the operator confirmed.  It was Wednesday night.  Not cool.  "Thanks for wasting my time," I thought as I searched for a more prompt service, namely right now.

Perspective.

Realtime Support, a local repair shop, answered the phone immediately, but told me that they'd call me back after they checked their schedule.  As I passed the precious unproductive present tense I thought about worser plights.  I mean, really, my gig wasn't all that important--it's just music.  It's not like I need the money.  Alas, I've got a bad habit of keeping my word when it comes to accepting jobs.  But I imagined if I was working on a serious project, if there's such a thing.  Maybe if someone's life truly depended on a computer not failing.  Hopefully, in such cases, backup systems should be ready on standby.  I'm not that self important to take such measure.  All I want is for my computer to be fixed as soon as possible.

Tomorrow morning.

The operator at Realtime Support told me that they could come by at 7AM.  That certainly was faster than Geek Squad.  I replied to Realtime Support with a "Thanks, but I'd like to get my computer fixed sooner--I'm gonna look for other options, but if I can't find any, I'll come back to you."  They understood, albeit, they kept calling with modified deals, such as they could pick it up tonight and have it ready by tomorrow afternoon, they can give me a $60 rebate, etc.  I admire their tenacity, but if they can't grasp the concept of "now", then they were of no help.

Spoiled by instant results.

Well, this story has a happy ending.  I called Tech Gophers, a small operation off Venice--I talked to the technician directly.  And he fixed my computer then and there--as I suspected I had a power surge of sorts, no virus, and no data was lost.  By 2AM I was up and running again.  I suppose this was an example of speed of service versus bureaucratic size.  I should've known better.  On a related note, OUT ON A LIM readers might've noticed a brief delay last week--well, it was during this malfunction.  Anyways, I'm back.                               

(12.11.06)

Katachi o kaete

"You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" is one of my favourite Beatles songs.  Ok, the lyrics aren't all that--the same line gets insanely repeated over and over.  But it's the stylistic variations that mutate beneath the words which showcase their pop music collage skills.  From
Revolver on they seemed to make it a point to go all over the map in terms of mimicking other genres.  There's the Indian influence, the classical instruments, the folk interpretations, the spaced out studio manipulations, and the rock'n'roll that get shuffled from track to track.  The albums resist maintaining a consistent flavour other than the fun of riffing on homages.  "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" collects those indulgences into a single song.  The result is hilarious, in particular Paul's nightclub parody.   
  
Good evening and welcome to Slagger's, featuring Dennis O'Bell...

Ayumi Hamasaki's "Heaven" (from the ninja movie
Shinobi) is a standard ballad in the vein of that Titanic song replete with overblown production to match the epic films--start sweet and soft, go over the top on the final chorus.  However, the descending bass line in "Heaven" caught my ear.  The tune, stripped of the exaggerated drama, ain't so bad.  I'm working on a cover version for Redondo Beach.  The line "Change your shape" which ties with the movie's supernatural characters as well as the spiritual theme of the song reminded me of "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" and is the basis for my pastiche arrangement.  Hopefully, I'll be able to express the same silliness. 

(12.12.06)

Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
Three hundred and sixty like pegs
They shake not in the least

          -Dirghatama, Rig Veda 1.164.48

I had dinner at the nearest Indian restaurant.  There were three other patrons in the joint--a couple in the corner and a girl eating alone.  The twosome was huddled silently as I passed them on my way to the washroom to rinse my hands before my meal.  When I returned to my table I noticed that the single girl was wearing a pirate shirt.  At first I was excited to find a fellow skull and crossbones bearer.  And then I remembered that maybe she's just being fashionable.  It's hard to tell who's a real pirate thesedays when posers are flaunting the symbol as a co-opted fad.  Not to mention, even if she was a true pirate, I doubt she was a space pirate.  So I decided not to approach her.  I figured, if she was cool, she'd talk to me.  She didn't.

When it comes to the Chinese zodiac, I'm oblivious to the other animals other than my year of the rat.  I know there are 12 animals in circulation.  Since I'm gonna be 35 next year, I calculated that it's not mine.  Bored at work, I looked online to see what comes before the rat.  Interestingly I discovered that the rat marks the first of the cycle.  The animal for 2007 is a pig and is last.  According to a fable, the gods told the animals to race across a river to determine their position in the circular calendar.  Legend has it that the rat cheated--it rode on the back of the ox and jumped off at the last moment.  The background story, like most astrology, keeps things neutral and tries not to favour any particular birth sign.  Cause for a minute there I was congratulating myself for comming in first place.  The dastardly manner of achievement kinda negates any pride.

Leiji Matsumoto created a character named Maetel.  The last time I visited Japan, I met a girl named Akane, who went by the nickname Maetel.  Lately, I've been conversing with a girl whose name is an anagram of Akane's.  As well, her last name is the same as Leiji's.  If that ain't 360 degrees, I don't know what is.  Oh, and I'm not proud of it, but I did some cyber sleuthing and found out that she's also a rat.   

(12.13.06)

Ever since I started taking digital photographs, a frequently asked question that I've been getting is "Do you shoot video?"  This year alone, several friends've tried to entice me to operate their video cameras or edit footage.  My first response is "I'm colour blind".  Cause I had a bad experience in college when during a visual media course, I foolishly tried to calibrate a video camera's colours.  All the footage ended up looking blue.  And sure, most modern equipment's got auto balance features, but I still don't trust my eyes.  But the truth is, video just doesn't interest me.  There's something about stopping time with a still photo that I like and trumps any desire to try cinematography.  The implied motion that a well composed photograph can produce is more of a challenge to me than actually capturing movement.  Plus, I think taking photos is the path of least resistance.  From my experiences on movie sets, film is a pain in the ass and hardly worth the trouble, what with the crew and actors all waiting for you.  Maybe it's the introvert in me that likes to work alone, which my method of photography allows.  I'm flattered that people like my photos enough to ask me to shoot their videos, but really, I credit my luck more than my skill--I don't plan most of my shots.  It's not like I see cool things everywhere all the time.  As well, I don't think many of my photos translate to video, in particular the angles.  Those are specific positions that depend on the disorientation of the viewer's perspective.  If the camera moves around, it reveals too much of the subject and loses the audience's sense of wonder.  And yeah, I enjoy watching movies, but I also employ the pause button a lot.  Of course I never planned on taking digital photographs--it kinda happened once I got my hands on a camera.  Actually, I came close to shooting video for a friend over Thanksgiving weekend.  She told me that she wanted her film in black and white.  Luckily, the shoot got cancelled.  Who knows, I could've gotten hooked on another hobby.

(12.14.06)

"Heaven"

(12.15.06)

What you offered straight to me
With a smile for the last time
Was just so beautiful
That I gave way to tears
Surely that day the two of us touched love


Yesterday, courtesy of Netflix, I received and watched
Rinjin 13-go (Neighbour No.13).  It's a recently and decently made Japanese horror movie.  My real reason for renting it was because it stars the great Yumi Yoshimura.  From her first scene, wearing her trademark Puffy pirate shirt, she ruled the movie.  Her character was much darker than her animated image, although her underlying cute badassness must've been a considerdation during casting.  Nevertheless, I dug her more indepth acting.  And her bra strap scene.  The movie was creepy--I mean, the murderer snuck into Yumi's apartment when she wasn't there, rummaged thru her stuff, found her panties, and moaned after sniffing them.  Overall, I enjoyed the film.  Even without Yumi, the head shift ending was worth watching.

We sought for each other
Lost ourselves at times
And found each other at last
So whatever result may be waiting for us
It's nothing but destiny


I finished the commissioned parody tune last week, but didn't post it on OUT ON A LIM cause it was gag for a Xmas party.  And I didn't wanna risk someone who knew someone who knew the victim downloading it and blowing the surprise.  What it was was as a result of someone hearing my Halloween music, I was contacted to cover one of his co-worker's songs that'll be played during a presentation at their holiday office bash.  I was given the creative freedom to pick a song and fuck it up.  The co-worker is in the band
Monogroove, an LA based adult pop group.  Musically, it wasn't hard to transcribe and was easy to remix one of their tunes.  I did a MIDI orchestra arrangement of "Our Time Will Come"--go here and click on track 5 to hear what the original sounds like.  Anyways, since the party's over, I think it's fair to put up my version.

La la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la
In the sky you set out for
Stars are shining tenderly upon me 


Initially, I was semi-tentatively looking forward to going to India for New Year's.  A friend was getting married over there.  My sister and her husband were also thinking about going, so I let them make all the preparations.  I annoyed them with reminders that the price wasn't gonna get cheaper the longer we delay purchasing our plane tickets, to which they'd reply that they were coordinating with relatives of the bride and that there's still time.  Well, eventually, they decided not to go cause they've decided to buy a house next year and deciding to save their money instead would be a wiser decision for them.  At that point, I didn't think it was worth the peak period travel prices.  And so I'll be staying home.  My glass is still half full as I'll be able to continue working on Redondo Beach.

Stay by my side my love
Crossing over time and changing your shape
You see the future we haven't yet seen
Remains here like this


Akane's anagram claims that I don't've an American accent when I sing in Japanese.  I've been premiering songs from my album for her at Stair 7 Studios.  The first thing that I've been asking her after she listens to each new track is if my Japanese is ok, cause she's from Japan, and I think anyone who grew up speaking that language ought to be a better judge of my pronounciations than myself.  And since she's got a DMA degree, I highly respect and trust her opinions.  So far, she says my Japanese is perfect and she likes what she's heard.  Although I'm suspecting that she's just being nice.  Cause I know that I've definitely got an American accent.  Or at least I've never heard any native Japanese singers use such laid back phrasing.  I think in general, most Japanese speak more forcefully on the beat than I do.  On the other hand, I should take her compliments while I still can. 

Trust me my love
You live within me
So I'll never say good-bye to you
Surely that day the two of us touched love

 
(12.18.06)
(12.19.06)

For me, the Xmas season doesn't officially begin til I pop
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector on my ghetto blaster.  There isn't a set date at which point I get the urge to hear that CD--some years it's earlier than the commercially determined after Thanksgiving start line, others it's later, if at all.  Cause I gotta admit, the older I get, the less festive the holidays are seeming.  Not that that's bad as sometimes I do suspect it's all a sham anyways.  However, I do remember Xmas being a time of fully capitalized anticipation based upon the awards reaped for a year of being a good kid.  Yeah, I was spoiled.  And now that I can reward myself anytime that I want to, having a holiday season isn't as special anymore.  Sure, the time off from work is always swell, but my job isn't stressful enough to cause me to recognize any difference in relaxation.  Plus, my family's cool to hang around with, so I don't dread their requisite company.  Not to mention I'm not religious so I can tolerate the spirit of it all.  Although I do participate in the economy's little game.

I finished my Xmas shopping in about 10 minutes, including driving time.  I did it a good nine days before they were due.  I didn't fight for parking space, crowds, or lines to the register.  No, I didn't purchase any lazy gift certificates.  I spent something like $40 on blank CDs and cases at CompUSA, which apparently had no customers, as compared to the traffic guard directing cars at the mall across the street.

Every Xmas, my family would gather with friends at an annual party.  We'd all dress up in stiff clothes, drive over in our Mercedes Benz sedan, be served dinners by Indonesian maids, and always have a fun time.  One of the traditions was to get a white man drunk and dress him up as Santa.  We'd all gather by the tree as he handed presents to everyone.  Without giving anything away to the younger readers of OUT ON A LIM, this Santa wasn't the real Santa, so the way that he had gifts to give to the children was our parents would stuff his bag.  Anyways, some of my favourite gifts from "Santa" were yellow LEGO, Atari 5200 cartridges, and portable stereophonic cassette recorders.

In particular it's Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on Phil Spector's Xmas album that takes me back to those childhood memories.  I first heard the song during the opening credits of
Gremlins the summer of 1984, when I was 12.  That hilarious horror movie was set during Xmas.  Ever since, whenever I hear that song, I feel the magic of the season.  And yeah, sometimes I associate the tune with June, July, and August and'll turn it up on my speakers during the off season.  But hey, if I feel like being in the Xmas mood at the wrong time, blame that movie.  Also, Darlene Love's original mono recording only seems to be able to do the trick.  U2's version rocks, but it's not featured in Gremlins.

I spent an additional $50 for this year's gifts.  I'm gonna give everyone the same thing, namely my album
Opp. 7-10.  Since I don't've a printer, I went to Kinko's to make copies of the artwork--a minimal design I slapped together in five minutes at work.  I'm doing a limited run of 20 autographed CDs for friends, family, and coworkers.  In the slight chance that I might die famous, these'll be hot on eBay due to their rarity.  But most likely they'll represent some effort on my part during the holidays.  Oh, and I also spent $17 on postage to mail some of these.

The snow's comming down...

(12.20.06)

The video game that’s been sucking up most of my time thesedays is
Super Bounce Out.  So far, my highest score is 242,798 (level 10).  I'd probably do better if I wasn't colour blind--the lighter colours (pink and I think light blue) look too similar to me to mess with.  The other colours and designs are bright enough for me to discern and seem to be all that I need to have fun with the game--when in doubt, I hit the "panic" button.  There’s one move that’s worth 26,000 points, and I've trained my eyes to see it.

According to Wikipedia, there's "anecdotal evidence" that colour blind people can see camouflage better than those that've got all the cones in their eyes intact.  I've never tried this out, but if it's true, I can see how such information might be classified by the military and the facts blurred.  I've read elsewhere that supposedly Germany used colour blind scouts during WWII.  As well, our night vision, because it's more rod based, is more akin to infrared than those that can see colour.  Actually, my research into all this was sparked when I was watching a nature program that casually mentioned how humans see in black and white in the dark.  "Wait a minute," I thought--sure colours aren't as vibrant at night, and I can't tell apart red from green, but they're there.  I mean, I wouldn't go so far as to call it "black and white".  Anyways, the theory goes that back in hunter/gatherer times, those that could not see colours were, like predators in the animal world, adapted to see thru camouflage and darkness.  And thus were the more successful hunters.  The ability to see colour is more suited for the gatherers as they needed to determine ripeness of fruit.  Of course the majority of the colour blind is male.  Whatever the reasons, this was the first time that I learned about any advantages for my disability.  Not that I'm gonna join the army or go hunting.

I've always assumed that due to my lack of colour perception, my other senses, namely hearing, came more into focus, which is why I veered towards music than the visual arts.  (LEGO is for the most part primary colour based and my photographs are abstract enough to not depend on correct hues).  Nevertheless, in light of this new information, I can see why I like to roam around my apartment in the dark and how I've been unaffected by camouflage, in the sense that makeup is a form of masking one's real looks.  I've always noticed females who wear makeup--somehow it reveals more of their insecurities than they'd like to hide.  My rule of thumb is if I can't see it, then it's good makeup.  But now that I think about it, most lipsticks and eyeshadows aren't catering to the colour blind.  They might look appealing to the average person, but to me they look obviously desperate for attention--I pick up on the intensity of the colours rather than their complimentary intentions.  Sometimes I feel like killing them...but seriously, camouflage also applies to bullshit.  If indeed my genes carry hunter traits, auspicious ones no less, then it's natural that I lack the attention towards distractions.  You can't fool me, unless it deals with colours.

(12.21.06)

Well, this's it for 2006.  OUT ON A LIM's going on holiday break.  Hope yours'll be cool.  So until 2007, here're my annual tabulations:

TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF 2006:
1. Splurge / Puffy
2. Hanadairo / Hajime Chitose
3. Kanajo / Aiko
4. Serenada Schizophrana / Danny Elfman
5. Modern Times / Bob Dylan

TOP FIVE MOVIES OF 2006:
1. La Science des reves
2. Shinobi
3. Winter Passing
4. Brick
5. Hard Candy

TOP FIVE MEMORIES OF 2006:
1. riding the metro with Noe
2. my sister's wedding
3. dinner with my dad at Fisherman's Wharf
4. having a drink with Bunta
5. Puzzlehunt

(12.22.06)

The first thing that I did when I got home was order a pizza.  It was gonna be a long night--afterall, it was the Friday before the holiday break.  I washed down two slices with a ceramic cup of mugicha.   Earlier that day, I was chatting with my sister.

"Are you at work?" she typed.

"Mochiron," I sent back.  "Are you at home?"

"Yeah," she entered.  "I'm playing online poker."

"Why are you taking the day off when the rest of us are slaving away at work?" I reread before I submitted.

"Dunno," she signed off.

I cleaned my dinner dishes before having the first smoke of the last week of the year.  My credit card bill came in the mail.  I scanned it to see if it added up, put it on my pile of postponements, and opened my gifts--I couldn't wait.  A bottle of wine from my boss got shelved on my liquor corner, a bottle of jam from my supervisor was put into my condiment cabinet with its plum raspberry label facing forward, and I filed cards from coworkers with the rest of the well wishes that I've receieved over the years.

"What language were you speaking?" the circulation temp asked in reference to overhearing a conversation that I had two hours ago.

"Japanese," I remembered.  Sometimes I forget that some of my private moments happen in public.

Akane's anagram asked me to assist her in acquiring artistic applications for designing album covers.  Thru my connections, I obtained a copy of the program that I've been using.  Most girls turn into idiots around computers, especially when dealing with professionally biased command sets such as grid snaps, microtuned fonts, and multiple layers.  But she never let on that she was confused.  That's when I guessed that her intelligence might be above average.

"You must be good at math," she observed in Japanese.

"No," I unrefined, "but I get lucky."

I turned off my lights.  Somehow music makes more sense in the dark.  I got comfy on my bed, adjusted my headphones, and put on the first of two CDs that Akane's anagram gave me for Xmas--Scriabin preludes and etudes performed by her teacher.

If I had to pick one word to describe my album
Opp. 7-10, it'd be "variations".  This follows from my earlier works that could be categorized as explored "sonata" (Opp. 1-3) and "fugue" (Opp. 4-6).  The music that I've been composing lately's been rehashes of previously written material.  For example, the "Waltz" from Op. 7 is a piano arrangement of the pop tune "Now" from Hacienda Heights, the "Heave-Ho Commercial" from Op. 8 is an early sketch of "About" (also from Hacienda Heights), Op. 9 is a film score structured around a single melody based on a fughetta from Op. 4, and Op. 10 is an homage to motion picture soundtrack styles (which is notorious for being ripoffs of classical music) with the influences being slightly altered.  In fact, every track on the album has a history of unoriginality.

Coincidentally, I've been reading Akane's anagram's dissertation, which deals with the performance practice of piano transcriptions of Bach's chaconne for solo violin.  The introduction discusses the changing value of originality thru the various musical periods before and since the baroque.  She refers to Ravel's symphonic realization of Mussorgsky's
Pictures at an Exhibition as a separate work with its unique merits.

"When did you write these?" she searched for dates on my CD.

I opened the case to reveal the parenthesized information printed on the liner notes.  She kept touching her eyes, which could either mean she's lying, she's subconsciously directing me to pay more attention to her, or she had an itch.  The other CD that she gave me was a recording of her teacher playing Mussorgky's original
Pictures at an Exhibition and a Prokofiev sonata.  On both albums, she's listed as the production designer.

At the beginning of the week, I've been unnecessarily roaming the halls in the hopes that I'd bump into her so that I could give her my Xmas present.  By Wednesday I resorted to tracking her down via email.

"I'll be on campus for a recording session with Penny on the day after tomorrow," she wrote back.

And that's why I went to work on Friday.

(1.2.07)

Well, it's been over a year since I went on my
Star Wars marathon.  And I'm happy to report that I'ven't seen nor've'd the urge to see any of those movies again.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still a fan, but last year I seemed to've lost the desire to rewatch almost all of my DVDs (the exception being Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine).  Likewise, I'ven't added any new films to my collection (again, besides the GE999 material that isn't readily available domestically--of course the internet has made importing relatively easy).

Hideaki Anno broke into the movie industry via the anime series
Shin Seiki Evangelion.

I think the moment I signed up for Netflix was when I began to indulge in viewing DVDs as one time experiences.  This was uncharacteristic of me as I usually like to obsessively rewatch things to death.  But since I was renting these DVDs another of my habits kicked in, namely the need to finish things.  So getting thru my queue became my primary quest.  Not to mention, my leisure time to watch movies has diminished due to accepting more commissions in addition to my personal projects.  Needless to say, my paradigm of cinematic entertainment has shifted.  I'm watching more, but paying less attention.

"If you want to get into anime, my best advice to you as a creator is to please have diverse interests in things besides animation," advised Anno to prospective anime artists.

Most of the titles in my queue've been based on curiosity rather than quality.  Sometimes I'll add a movie simply cause I was too lazy to see it in the theatre--in other words, my interest wasn't all there to begin with.  Or I'll explore something based on tangental credits.  The fleeting aspect of my movie viewing practice has detached me from many of my preconceptions.  I've been more open to exploring genres such as anime and even television shows that previously escaped my notice, and with surprising results.  However, nothing's been mind blowing enough for a repeat viewing, let alone purchasing (or burning) a copy.

Anno's first live action feature was
Love and Pop, which was based on Ryu Murakami's book Topaz II--it chronicles the misadventures of a high school girl involved in enjo-kosai (subsidized dating).

Nevertheless, I've been searching for a movie that I would want to see again.  But whilst wading thru unfamiliar territories, it's difficult to expect anything.  And sometimes that's exactly when stumbling upon something cool happens.  Cause I can get overly focused on familiar aspects and lose sight of the overall picture, which all things being equal, is just as important.  Sometimes a simple change of angle can dislodge my judgements.  For example, anime often overexaggerates human traits--eyes seem to be bigger and more luminous than they really are.  And when watching too much anime, those representations can affect how I see live actresses.  Somewhere in the switching back and forth another fetish emerges.

I bought and rewatched
Love and Pop.

(1.3.07)

"Redondo Beach"

(1.4.07)

"[Akane's anagram]?" I presumed in Japanese on my keitai.

"Hello, yes," she responded in English on her cellphone.

"Sorry," I resumed, 'but I'm gonna be a little late--traffic's conjested."

"Where are you?" she corresponded in her native language.

"Westholme," I mused as I read the sign that was dangling below the street light's arm.

'You're not far," she desponded.

Historically, my albums are sequenced chronologically--the final track was recorded last, etc.  Cause I'd like to assume that I'm evolving.  So leading off an album with a track that was recorded later would steal the show from the following track and disrupt the linear flow of the progression.  There are rare instances when I've had to go out of order--"Hacienda Heights" was recorded before "Aloha Again" due to scheduling conflicts between The Meanwhilers.

I parked my car in the campus lot, which was abandoned during the intersession.  Jacketed, I locked my door and walked in the direction of the side entrance of my office where my authorized key allowed building access.  The cubicles were dark.  The computer screens weren't beacons since the server was shut down over the holidays, but I navigated blindly with the assistance of intimacy--I can walk the path thru the library with my eyes closed.  I found the internally illuminated halls and headed towards Stair 7.

The status on
Redondo Beach is I'm about to lay down the vocals for "Itsumo Nando Demo"--the end credits song from Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi.  I thought about doing it as a three part round, but after doing a rough test, it sounded cleverer than it ought to, and so I decided to strip down the arrangement.  Cause the spirit of the original is in its simplicity.  In keeping with that, I consolidated the harmony whilst expanding the instrumentation--Youmi Kimura arpeggiates the full lyre chords on her version, I looped the dominant's triad on electric guitar over electric bass notes, with occasional backwards piano suspensions.

'I'll drive," she bowed.   

Her car was parked at the courtesy meters.  She ignited with a stutter.

"Your car's so high," I commented as she shifted gears.  "I'm the opposite--I like to be low on the ground."

"Oh no," she observed, "I can't see when I drive any lower."

"Your car's so big," I demented.  "Do you go camping a lot?"

"Haha," she reserved.  "No."

I plan to end
Redondo Beach with the title track.  In other words I'd intended to record it last.  Originally, I thought about writing my own song in Japanese--it'd close the album's theme of cover tunes.  And definitely, it needed to have the most incomplex arrangement, preferably on a single instrument.  Cause the tracklist, when heard from start to finish, ought to sound like a gradual buildup of textures--beginning with an acoustic guitar, adding percussion, layering strings, and interspersing Asian samples.  And the last track should clear the noise with its emptiness.

The Xmas lights on Rebecca's porch were pulsing when we arrived.  My coat was removed, snacks were eaten, and mingling around the living room ebbed.  Rebecca told us stories about her concert tour thru South America accompanied with digital pictures--most of which revolved around her fascination with political and artistic graffiti.  I met people who responded to my engineer's introduction of me to them as a sculptor as well as a couple fashioning third eyes.  Soon Akane's anagram led me to the couch.

I was ready to sing into my microphone when I heard imaginary notes sliding on my virtual guzheng.  It was "Redondo Beach".  Immediately, I sidetracked and programmed it before it evaporated from my consciousness.  There was something about the melody that went beyond lyrics, or at least any that I could compose.  Not to mention, the simplicity of not adding my voice to it made more sense for the scheme of the album.  Its short sweetness is the exact effect I was shooting for--like a forgotten lullaby greeting the memories of an unadorned dream.       

I'd been communicating with Akane's anagram in Japanese at the party.

"Hey," she hugged Rebecca, "listen to Henry--he can speak Japanese."

"What?" I joked in English.

"Come on," Akane's anagram embarrassed.  "Say something in Japanese."

"What?" I delinquently refrained as she hit me.

(1.5.07)

Sorry, we're currently experiencing technical difficulties.

(1.8.07)

Somewhere a voice calls in the depths of my heart
May I always be dreaming the dreams that move my heart


So here's what happened last week.  I was mixing the next track "Itsumo Nando Demo" ("Always With Me") for my album
Redondo Beach when my music production program froze--I think I was editing faster than my computer could handle.  So I turned it off.  And I got the "blue screen of death".  Again.  I called my brother, aka Tech Gophers, and dropped of my box.  He called later saying that he hoped I backed up my files, cause the partition's been damaged.  He couldn't fix it.  I took this as a sign that, as much as I dreaded to upgrade, I needed to get a new computer.  My brother gave me the latest specs and I went to the store to pick up his recommendation.  Meanwhile, I had my data professionally recovered.  There wasn't anything on my hard drive that especially had to be rescued--I mean, nothing on there is gonna save the world.  But it would be nice not to start all over on "Itsumo Nando Demo".  I had mixdowns of the songs so far for the album backed up.  I wasn't worried about having to really begin again.     

So many tears of sadness uncountable through and through
I know on the other side of them I'll find you


Nevertheless, I had to reload all my programs.  I don't've too many, but it took me two days to get just my music production program back to how it was--mostly it was reinstalling instruments that needed to be reauthorized with confirmation codes.  Hilariously, I spent a day getting a protection key to work.  It's supposed to plug into a parallel port.  However, my new computer didn't've one--I suppose USB's outdated those connections.  I didn'’t want to buy the latest version of the program, so I bought an adapter.  Now, I'm not too adroit with XP--I was still using Windows 2000.  Thus, finding my way around to activate the device was an adventure.  If anything, the best way to learn a new system is to explore it.  Needless to say, the moment when I finally returned to "Itsumo Nando Demo" was rejoiced 

Everytime we fall down to the ground we look up to the blue sky above
We wake to its blueness as for the first time


During the night when my new computer was useless as it waited for the data from my old one to be retrieved, I watched an educational program on public television.  It was about human senses and how a simple change can screw things up, yet the mind compensates pretty well.  They had a quarterback wear goggles that distorted distance.  His first few throws of a football didn't go where he intended.  But soon he adjusted to the difference.  Of course, when he took the goggles off, his arm still didn't trust his eyes.     

Though the road is long and lonely and the end is far away out of sight
I can with these two arms embrace the light


Oh, another funny thing happened.  As I was transferring my old computer's soul into my new machine, everything died.  "Did your power go out?" my sister called from a few blocks away.  "Yeah," I answered as I lit a candle.  In the blackout I did non-electricity things--ate dinner, played acoustic guitar, cleaned my shower.  Three hours later, my computer turned back on and I resumed copying and pasting my data.  I heard that my sister's power came back right away, but from 1AM to 7AM she lost it.  Lucky for me, I wasn't affected.  Instead I was marveling my new computer's speed.  Cause after years of using a slower processor, the latest technology seems like hyperspace.  Any time I lost during the crash'll surely be gained back with the quickness of my new dual core.

As I bid farewell my heart stops in tenderness I feel
My silent empty body begins to listen to what is real


Actually, the timing of all this was perfect.  I've been finalizing colour schemes with a client for a LEGO commission.  And at the very moment my computer returned from the grave, I received the downpayment, meaning I was officially on the job.  It was good to resolve the problem without it looming over me as I build the sculpture.  As well, it's nice that I'm gonna earn back the cost.  

The wonder of living, the wonder of dying
The wind, town, and flowers we all dance one unity


A cool little bonus on my new computer is it plays Region 2 DVDs.  I learned this as I, for kicks, tried a bonus disc that came with one of my JPOP CDs.  And it worked.  I've been making a mental list of Japanese DVDs that I can now watch.

Somewhere a voice calls in the depth of my heart
Keep dreaming your dreams don't ever let them part


Don't get me wrong, though, I think all this fancy new stuff is annoying.  My old computer was perfect.  Despite the slowness, it did what I wanted it to do.  In a perfect world, I'd've kept using it.  That is, if it didn't break.  Some of the latest trends aren't what I covet--mp3 player compatibility and removable drives.  But they're included in the package.  I mean, it took me forever to find a program to rip CDs as WAV files--compression seems to be what it's all about thesedays.  I guess I'm at the age where my allegiance to the older formats overrides contemporary culture.   

Why speak of all your sadness or of life's painful woes
Instead let the same lips sing a gentle song for you


"Do you like shrimp?"

The whispering voice we never want to forget
In each passing memory always there to guide you


"Yes, very much."

When a mirror has been broken shattered pieces scattered on the ground
Glimpses of a new life reflected all around

"Here, I'll trade you my shrimp for one of your salmon."

Window of beginning stillness new light of the dawn
Let my silent empty body be filled and reborn


"Ok."

No need to search outside nor sail across the sea
Cause here shining inside me
It's right here inside me
I've found a brightness
It's always with me


(1.16.07)

"Can I have my guitar back?" my engineer requested before the holiday break.  I'd been borrowing it again for my album.  At the beginning of the school year, I took it off his hands since he was assigned to a new recording technician job--his supervisor had retired and he was taking over.  And he didn't've time to play it.  Not that I planned anything, but the acoustic guitar became the foundation for my album.  It was a cheap brand, had scratches, and sounded like it looked.  But after years of getting to know it (I used it on my previous album) I'd gotten attached to its banged up charm.  Anyways, I was gonna work on an electric guitar track next, so I didn't need it anymore and returned it to the studio.  However, I figured sooner or later I should get my own acoustic guitar.

I once had one.  I bought it off a friend.  But I gave it away to another.  I've never gone thru an acoustic guitar phase--my faithful electric was all I needed.  Lately, though, I've gotten tired of lugging and plugging my amp.  And I've been finding myself playing an acoustic more.  So I think it's safe to say that getting my own will solidify any doubts about what phase I'm in now.  I'm starting to appreciate the simple portability of an acoustic guitar.  Not to mention, the sound, although technologically not as hip as the latest synthetic electronics, seems to fit my voice better.  I suppose my perspective is backwards, but thesedays I feel more of an affinity towards old fashioned folk troubadours than shiny new laptops.  Not that I'm anti-computers--I use them for extensive editing and sequencing samples.  But at the heart of it all, I need to hear an acoustic guitar.

The timing of relinquishing my engineer's guitar was the perfect catalyst to begin my quest for my own instrument.  Soon I was seeing suggestive signs that I was heading in the right direction.  My drug dealer lent me a documentary on Woody Guthrie.  The legendary singer had a sticker on his guitar that read "This machine kills facists".  I thought that was cool and a positive indicator that I needed a facist killing machine, too.  The first place I looked was eBay.  And immediately I searched for a Yamaha.  I'm not too particular about guitars, but my uncle has a Yamaha, and of all the acoustics I've played, it felt and sounded the best.  As well, I trust the brand, especially for keyboards--if they can make a good piano, they ought to make a good guitar.  I scanned the auction results.  Everything seemed generic, but I wasn't being picky.  I was about to bid on a standard model when I noticed a listing for one made out of bamboo.

There weren't any others like it for sale, so I did some research.  It turns out that Yamaha tried to introduce bamboo as a construction material to compete with the traditional resonating woods such as maple.  But it never took off, so they discontinued the model.  I read reviews both pro and con in regards to the sound--they weren't really helpful other than they weren't all bad.  I reasoned that if anything it's gotta've a unique tone, even if it wasn't popular.  And I think it's fitting that I'm currently recording Japanese songs--bamboo being primarily associated with Asia.  If there's one thing I'm learning from making my album is I'm searching for my own sound, albeit whilst doing cover tunes.  A bamboo guitar would be easier to claim as mine than assimilating an instrument that's got a history with other musicians--I don't think I ever got past my Rickenbacker being a Beatles' trademark.  I did a price check on the Yamaha and found the eBay listing to be kinda high.  But it was the only one available--I tried looking for vendors who might've'd some left over, but they were all out of stock.  I summed up the "go for it' reinforcements that I'd accrued, multiplied the encouragement from my intuition, divided the patience I had for waiting for a better price on such a rare item to show up again later, and placed my bid.  If I win or lose, it was meant to be...

Unless otherwise noted, from now on my future recordings will include my Yamaha bamboo acoustic guitar.

(1.17.07)

“Itsumo Nando Demo”

(1.18.07)

Puffy's second to most recent single, "Hazumu Rizumu" ("Bounce Rhythm"), was recorded in collaboration with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and released on September 6, 2006.  The two bands are labeled along with the title of the song on the cover of the CD in a design that looks exactly like the background logo for the tea company, Lipton.  I recognized the similarity whilst browsing the beverage section at the supermarket.  Subliminally, I bought a twelve pack of citrus flavoured green tea.

I drank a bottle during a viewing of
Bounsu Ko Garusu (Bounce Kogals).  Like Love and Pop, this movie depicts the kogal subculture--"kogal" being derived from "kokosei" ("high school") and the English word "gal".  However, Bounsu Ko Garusu isn't as insanely produced as Love and Pop.  The former is a straightforward film with traditionally shot angles and a commonplace narrative, the latter goes where cameras shouldn't and has a layered structure based on juxtaposed perspectives that I've never seen before.  They're both satisfying cinematic experiences, but I give Love and Pop, which has the advantage of casting a young Yukie Nakama, an extra star.

I tracked down "Mizuiro" ("Water Colour") the end credits song from
Bounsu Ko Garasu.  It's performed by a Japanese singer called UA--her real name is Kaori Murakami, nee Shima.  According to her bio, her pseudonym is the Swahili synonym for "flower" and "kill".  I found her song on YouTube. But me being a supporter of the arts, I bought a used copy of UA's album 11 from a second hand dealer affiliated with Amazon.  I'm curious to hear other songs by her.  Definitely, I'm gonna remake "Mizuiro" for my album.  As well, I've decided to do my rendition of "Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mouichido" ("Oh for That Splendid Love Once More"), the closing song from Love and Pop.  I think they'll thematically compliment each other.

Next on my Netflix queue is
Riri Shushu no Subete (All About Lily Chou-Chou), which is yet another story laced with enjo kosai (subsidized dating).  I'm theorizing that my fascination with the subject is timely.  Besides the Japanese language and setting, I've been empathizing with prostitutes in the sense that commissions are starting to feel degrading.  Last month, I signed a confidentiality agreement that legally denies me from divulging any details, but suffice to say, I'm getting paid for a gig.  OUT ON A LIM is thus going offline til February as I take the money.  Besides, I don't think you'd wanna read anything that I write doing this project--it'd all be contaminated with professional gibberish.  Obviously, my album is going on hold, too, as there's no way in hell I'm gonna mix something so personal with such a cheapened mindset.  My justification for selling out is hopefully it'll serve as research for approaching the music--I think sukebe (sleaziness) is an important aspect of Japan and I want to incorporate that, albeit only after living thru it.

(1.19.07)

I'm beginning to see the light, literally, straight ahead at right before the covergences of my lines of sight.  It's completely different from the other sources of natural or otherwise light, although occasionial it might go under either's disguise.  But I get another sense from besides my eyes when I see it.  An obvious example being when I took a midnight stroll around my block and looked up at the rain cleared sky.  More than the usual number of distant galaxies were visible, yet my eyes locked on a single star.

Penny, my assistant was talking about how she doesn't've the time to practice what she really wants to play during her current rounds of graduate school auditions, let alone the patience to perform with the transitory ensembles that're begging her to join.  She's serious about her flute.  And her paper airplanes, which she folds everyday at work.  After a flight she adds them to her string that's strung with her past creations.  If she maintains this as a tradition, I'm guessing that she's gonna end up with something similar to those thousand paper cranes conconctions, only it'll be a bunch of mechanically equivalent attempts at flight rendered in paper.

I began to notice the light when I was recording the song "Itsumo Nando Demo"--specifically the line "I can with these two arms embrace the light".  On this plane I'd see a street lamp across the street, but I'd feel it as a pinpoint of assurance that I'm seeing an overlapping of realities, even as a storm swung tree branch would block its view.  The moon, after Akane's anagram demonstrated the Japanese honorific forms for, now appears more distinguished than I can previously remember.  And even though my eyes'll be closed, my mind's been visualizing panoramic fields of expanding sparks from the epicenter of a fireworks display.  I've always thought that I've got a wider angle lense focused inside my head than what I've got observing outward--like a camera, my eyes are bound by the limitations of a mise en scene that's based on the physical location of my sockets, whereas when shut my imagination determines the frame.

Given free reign, I'm satisfied with one meal a day.  I lived on this during OUT ON A LIM's last break.  Granted I thought about deadlines more than food.  But I'm suspecting that it's cause I was alone at home.  There's something about the relative mass synchronization of everyone eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner that's socially conditioned, most likely for economic reasons, that seems to not affect me when I'm by myself.  At work, there's some automatic reaction to take a meal break that reminds me of grade school--along with recess, lunch was the period that was a release from the authoratative classroom.  I mean, the first thing I do every morning is skip breakfast.  Then again, you can convince anyone to feel that they want more than they need.

Humoursly, I had a dream in which the word "light" was highlighted as significant.  Noe and our grandmother were grocery shopping--this was probably a variation on the time I actually went to the market with my cousin and aunt.  Anyways, we were having the same organic conversation about produce, when Noe dashed to the dairy aisle.  She liked to eat yogurt at sunrise.  Specifically, she had to have light yogurt.

(2.5.07)

Fictional bands kill me.  There's something absurd about admitting to naive college girls that Driveshaft is one of my favourite rock groups of all time.  Or telling the half lie that the lead guitarist/singer of The Pinheads drove a modified DMC-12 in the parking lot of my childhood hometown's mall.  I guess it's the further removed from reality idea of a fake band played by actors in a television show (Driveshaft is from
Lost) or movie (The Pinheads are from Back to the Future) that makes me laugh.  But what kills me even more is when I think a fictional band actually is better than most factual bands.  For example, I seriously think Josie and the Pussycats rule--I listen to their soundtrack more than any Jimi Hendrix album.  Spinal Tap is the only heavy metal band worthy of that genre.  And I honestly laugh more with The Rutles than Weird Al.

I ordered Salyu's most recently released CD
Terminal.  She's the Japanese Bjork.  And although I'm not a diehard fan of the Icelandic version, somehow I think the copycat is more pleasing to my ears.  Maybe it's the language.  Anyways, I liked her voice after hearing her sing as the fictional title character of Riri Shushu no Subete (All About Lily Chou-Chou)--a movie that in my opinion is a prime celluoid depiction of loneliness.  Throughout the film, kids type messages on bulletin boards in cyberspace about their fanaticism for Lily Chou Chou whilst her songs play in the background.  Debussy references (a girl plays "Arabesque No. 1" on the school piano, "Chou-Chou" is the composer's nickname for his daughter) interweave thru the story, blending the real world with the imagined.  Needless to say, my inquisition overrode my pocketbook into paying import prices so that I can hear more from Salyu.

(2.6.07)

I spent about an hour after dinner cleaning up my workshop, aka living room.  I'd put off the task for four days mainly cause I'm lazy, but also cause I didn't want to touch another LEGO brick right after finishing a project.  There's no superstitious reason other than after spending a concentrated week playing the the toy I needed my time out of their reach.  And because I like to be organized, cleaning up entails picking up all the strewn pieces, separate them by colour and size, and file them away in my labeled storage system.  In other words, it's a boring job that takes up most of an hour.  The rest of the time was spent on trips to the trash dumpster with empty glue cans, shipping material, and broken LEGO.

For dinner I had what's become my regular Sunday meal--sake sashimi (raw salmon), nori (dried seaweed), and rice.  I pick up the fish from the nearby Japanese market, along with a week's supply of mugicha (barley tea) and natto (fermented soybeans).  Lately, I've also been purchasing CDs from the bookstore located within the same building as the market.  The last one I got was Hajime Chitose's single "Haru no Katami", which I bought for the B-sides (she does a cover of Fairground Attraction's "Perfect").  I like browsing thru Japanese CDs--it reminds me of the old days when record stores were still around.

Even though I'm legally an adult, my mom still buys my underwear.  I've never spent my own money on a pair.  Anyways, I'm thankful, cause otherwise I'd probably never wear anything new--my philosophy is if it fits, it's fine regardless of the worn out condition.  Likewise, I'm cheap when it comes to laundry, so I'll wash all my clothes in one batch, colours and whites mixed.  This of course inevitably turns my underwear grey.  So this time my mom got me black ones as an antidote to my discolouring.  At first I was cool with the change.  However, I'm finding it hard to leave skid marks on them.

(2.7.07)

The umbrella toting stone frogs on the fountain weren't in a downpour on a foggy night.  I suppose whoever lives at the house that contains this contraption on their front lawn decided not to turn the water on.  Normally, it's not difficult to notice it trickling since it shares the same corner as the mailbox that I frequent at late hours.  The change in the weather reminded me of topics that I forgot to shuffle into my last conversation with Akane's anagram.

I bought an expansion for my virtual orchestra.  It practically doubles the samples of the original software--there're more articulations and solo instruments.  I previously didn’t upgrade cause it's for XP, which I just started to run with my new computer.  I tested it by programming the string quartet.  So far it's cool--it's not necessary, but hey, I've got the system requirements now as well as some extra cash from the last commission.  Probably the biggest plus of the deal is it's got a nice harpsichord.  I've been faking one by mixing crappy free presets and out of tune 12-string acoustic guitar sounds.

I bumped into her as she was writing an email on the public terminals.  I didn't forget to tell her that I got her invitation to her next recital.  She then proceeded to give detailed directions to the venue--she gave street names, appropriate turns, and a commentary on the landmarks.  My envisioning followed her descriptive patterns.

A black cat crossed my path.  It was the most obvious omen I've ever seen.  I was driving home.  And at the stop sign a black cat walked in front of my car.  It seemed to observe traffic rules by staying within the crosswalk.  As well, it was courteous enough to not take it's time--I've seen people that walk slower.

(2.8.07)

I gave a quarter to Penny.

Well, it really wasn't a quarter.  Although I thought it was one when I tried to buy a bottle of citrus flavoured green tea from the vending machine, which Akane's anagram didn't know they sold--she said she liked that drink, too.  Anyways, I was pumping quarters into the slot when one of them didn't take.  It kept comming back in the coin return.  Of course, I don't examine every quarter that I get, so I initially trusted that every round silver disc in my possession was legit.  However, upon closer examination, the bunk quarter was actually a French franc.  The size was approximately the same, but apparently the machine could tell the difference.  Someone must've slipped it to me during some transaction.

Penny said that they don't use francs anymore--it's all euros now.  I gave it to her anyways, cause it was useless for me.  And besides, she's more French than I am.  She speaks with an accent which she got from growing up in Canada.  All I ever did was barely remember three years of French from high school.

(2.9.07)
(2.12.07)

I've been playing Bach again.  It's Akane's anagram's fault.  Hanging around her masterful piano playing's forced me to get my hands on the keyboard after a spell of picking acoustic guitar.  I'ven't seriously sat down behind the ivories for several years now.  Sure, I've recorded some film scores on a real Steinway concert grand in a university concert hall, but those were rushed compositions with nothing contrapuntally involved.  I don't call that "playing the piano".  To me, the instrument was made for Bach.

During the intermission in her recital, Akane's anagram wore fuzzy gloves with the tips of the fingers exposed.  She was performing in the small church down the road from the cathedral.  Outside of the religious setting, she once told me that her mom is against her marrying a Christian.  I returned to my pew amongst the members of the congregation.  The lights were turned off for the first half of the program, during which she accompanied an influenza infected saxophonist.  But she had them on for her solo portion.  Every now and then she'd look up away from her keys into the electric bulbed heavens.

Of course, I'm not up to speed on the WTC fugues as I was in my youth.  But surprisingly, I haven't completely smoked my memory away, and my fingers can juggle the four C major voices much easier than I anticipated after my extended vacation from Bach.  In fact, as I'm relearning the pieces, I'm finding more efficient solutions to untangling sections that previously were obstacles.  Oftentimes I wonder why I didn't figure them out before--I suppose old habits are easier to break with hindsight.

Nevertheless, Akane's anagram remembers the days when she used to listen to me going thru the cycle in the not so soundproofed basement practice rooms.  Regretfully, I don't recall her back then.  I was too self absorbed in playing Bach--losing myself in the recursive patterns.  Sure, I heard other students banging away next door, but from the moment I started the first subject til I ended up where I began, my concentration was nowhere else.  After her recital I smacked myself when we hugged for not paying attention to her all those years ago.  Well, at least this time around, I will.

(2.13.07)

An old lady kept staring at me with concern.  I noticed her and smiled back.  She approached me.  "You look so familiar," she shrugged, "who are you?"  In the second before telling her the truth, I pictured myself revealing that I was Death.  But I decided against the prank--at her age, I'm sure I could give her a heart attack from the shock.

At work, I received the newly published book
The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film by Richie Unterberger.  I flipped thru it and read the entry for the White Album demos--the legendary Esher/Kinfauns bootleg culled from an acoustic jam at George's house.  The author advises that you haven't really lived until you've heard these recordings.

I enjoyed the film
Shimotsuma Monogatari.  The title literally translates to "Shimotsuma Story"--Shimostuma is a backwater town in Japan.  Officially, the English subtitled version calls the movie Kamikaze Girls.  Either way, it's got these two great main characters, both of whom are high school girls.  One's into fashioning herself as a Lolita.  The other's a biker chick.  In the first scene, the Lolita's riding a scooter and gets in an accident.  She goes thru her dying wishes.

It's been a while since I've listened to my bootleg copy of the White Album demos on the Yellow Dog label.  I agree, it's one of the more amusing collections of unreleased Beatles tracks--notably for the songs that didn't make it onto the double album such as "Sour Milk Sea" and "Child of Nature".  Anyways, I put it on tonight.  I like the cozy atmosphere of the session.  And at this point in time, I prefer the rough sound more than the studio polish.  As well, the embryonic forms of the songs sound fresher.

However, the Lolita rewinds the movie and it begins again with all the details leading up to her scooter's collision with a truck, including her introduction to her friend the biker chick.  Actually, the Lolita goes all the way back to her birth.  And even further as she reminisces about the Rocco period, which she never really experienced other than thru affinity.  There's hilarious character contrast when she meets the biker chick.  Nevertheless, they learn to be buddies.  I won't spoil the ending--you'll need to watch it to find out what happens after the scooter accident.

But then again, I pondered the scenario in reverse--what if I was supposed to recognize the old lady.  Maybe my time would've been up and the joke was on me.  Perhaps she was Death.

(2.14.07)

Now this is what I call a music video.


(2.15.07)

After the rain, cuneiform shaped worms washed up on the sidewalk by the tree with the dead balloons hanging from the wet branches. 

My dreams have been ending.  I'd perfected continuity--I can wake up and return to the same dream.  However, they were interrupted when I got out of bed, oftentimes to my dismay, for the dreams were yet to be over.  I'd cut a suspenseful moment in the middle of the action.  But lately, my dreams've been concluding on cue.  In other words, I'ven't had any complaints about opening my eyes.

"Do you have a pencil?" I exhaled in Japanese as I grabbed some scratch paper from the circulation desk.  Fragrance Leaf handed me a mechanical utensil.  I scrawled her last name in its original writing form--I'd learned it from
Ginga Tetsudo Three-Nine manga.  "Is that right?" I begged for her appraisal.  "Yes," she confirmed.  And then she showed me how to write her first name.

For example, the other night I had a dream that finished on a freeze frame.  I waited a few minutes to make sure that my mental projector wasn't broken.  The screen didn't keep rolling, so I turned on my lights.

As I read the worms a fire hydrant broke across the street.  The sound of the water erased my memory of the text.

The scores she checked out from the library are due on my birthday.  I didn't mention the coincidence cause I've been pretending not to know when she was born even though anyone who reads her dissertation ought to notice it on the vita.  I don't think it's polite to learn someone's birthday without them telling you personally.  Nevertheless, I gave her a small sculpture of a grand piano as a present in her honour.

In another dream, I met the Puffy girls.  There was a definite beginning, middle, and end to the story--they came over to my apartment, we played video games, they gave me an exclusive autographed CD that had a cool photo of them skiing on the cover, and we said farewell when the day was done.  End of dream.

"What does it mean?" I wondered as I visually traced her handwriting.  She broke it down--the first part means sweet scent, the second is foliage.

ecaps dna emit yb devalsne era sloof ylno

(2.16.07)

My engine's check light turned on again.  Last month it gave me a false alarm--it came on, but after a few days of driving, it went away, leaving me no proof to bring to a mechanic.  This time, though, not only did it not turn off, but my temperature went into the red.  Something was wrong.

Ever since I was a kid, I've listened to buildings creak at night before falling asleep.  At unpredictable intervals, yet consistently, I'd hear corners of my shelter shift and settle.  I'm guessing that weather is factor--wood naturally warps according to changes in temperature.  As well, I think the darkness heightens my ears' sensitivity.  Cause I usually don't notice these sounds any other time of the day.

With the engine's check light on, I now had tangible evidence that my car wasn't cool, and took it in to get examined.  I mentioned to the mechanic that I've been overheating as a point of possible problem source.  After two hours of sleeping in the waiting room, I was notified that my car was OK.  Apparently there was an air bubble in my cooling system.  They bled it out and everything seems to be fine.  I wasn't charged.

I sometimes think that ghosts are making the creaking noises--I'm more amazed than afraid that I can detect their presence.  Sometimes the sounds coincidentally punctuate the thoughts I'm having at the time.  For instance, after concluding a full sentence in my head, I'd hear a knock on the roof, like a period from beyond.  Or I'll think of a question and a squiggly swoosh with a tap will lightly scrape a window in the next room.  Definitive epiphanies are accompanied by thuds.  And sometimes I think that it's all jibberish.

(2.20.07)

The closest thing that I've ever had to a piano teacher was Glenn Gould.  Not that recordings and writings are any substitute for true interactive pedagogy, but I think I've taken what I wanted to learn from his examples.  His approach to counterpoint, namely a discreet detache, has yet to be improved upon--its simple clarity trumps any loss of expression in the shortness of the notes.  I've studied his discography, bibliography, and filmography like a good student.  And like all great teachers, he's influenced other aspects of my life beyond the piano.  Most importantly, that solitude is underrated.

I agree with his philosophical stance on music, except for his criticism of The Beatles--he thought they were "amateurish", which they were, but that's the point.  Instead he championed Petula Clark, a pop singer that most scholars'll trash in relation to the Fab Four.  I suppose my admiration for Puffy over more respectable bands is an extension of Gould's eccentric views.  But I definitely was converted to his anti-romanticism.  After listening to his hilarious Beethoven albums and his mockery of Chopin, I can't hear that repertoire the same way anymore.

If he were alive, I'd seek his mentorship, of course after honing my skills.  But since he's dead, I'ven't seriously dedicated myself to the piano, cause there's no one else I'd accept advice from.  I mean, most pianists lack his unconventional posture, and still play like crap--I think it's obvious that they've got it all wrong.  Again, not to belittle real teachers, but I believe my virtual education from Gould's taught me more than I could ever learn from anyone living today.  Albeit, I'm speaking personally as everyone's needs are different.  I happen to skew towards independence.

No one'll ever mistake my playing with Gould's, even though I've stolen many of his phrasings.  However, as I've been playing Bach again, I've decided not to listen to his CDs as a matter of developing my own style.  Nevertheless, I keep finding him looking over my shoulder when I add a little swing to the beat.  Ultimately, I've got no grand illusions that I'll ever top his interpretations.  At most, I'm thankful that I can just play.

(2.21.07)

“Kaifuku Suru Kizu/Tobenai Tsubasa”

(2.22.07)

The school playground looks distorted
The white gym outfits are on display
A crow flies low across the sky
Please stretch your black wings out a little
A staircase reaching up to the sky
No hand can reach that far
The twilight sky is crimson
Everyone's gaze is cold
Then a huge rock comes tumbling from the sky
And it crushes me


On page 85 of the December 11, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone magazine (RS937, ISSN 0035-791x), George Harrison's "Within You Without You" is described as a "vital meditation break in the middle of the jubilant indulgence" in relation to it's placement on the beginning of Side Two of
Sgt. Pepper.  Easily influenced by The Beatles, I ripped off this form for Redondo Beach, albeit instead of a "sitar-perfumed sermon on materialism and fidelity" I went with my idea of a "vital meditation break", namely a fughetta.  Keeping with the JPOP cover theme, I arranged Lily Chou-Chou's "Kaifuku Suru Kizu" ("Wounds That Heal") in three part counterpoint for virtual string sextet (double trio)--a voice for each instrument (violin, viola, violoncello) with pizzicato accompaniment.

In my heart there have appeared
Things left farther and farther behind
Your excuses and lies have turned useless like garbage
A staircase reaching up to the sky
No hand can reach that far
The twilight sky is crimson
Everyone's gaze is cold
Then a huge cloud descends from the sky
And wraps itself all around me

On page 134 of that same issue of Rolling Stone, Jonny Greenwood is quoted to've said that "I got very excited about the prospect of doing string parts that didn't sound like 'Eleanor Rigby', which is what all string parts have sounded like for the past thirty years."  While I agree both with his string arrangements and his statement, I also think that there's an obvious reason why "Eleanor Rigby" has been a standard--it kicks ass.  So when programming my version of Lily Chou-Chou's "Tobenai Tsubasa" ("Wings That Can't Fly") I did my impression of George Martin's take on Bernard Herrmann.  It's not that I didn't wanna incorporate any Greenwood tricks, rather those sounds aren't in my bank of samples.

I must pull myself together and go on living
Because the lights tumbling out of the gaps in the sky
Are again flashing at my eyes
The twilight sky is crimson
And darkness will fall very soon
Now that my wings can't fly
I'll cast them off and when I do
I'll walk on air and soar in the sky


Cause my idea of a "vital meditation break" doesn't include lyrics, at least any that I've come across.  And I think that a fughetta contains the closest representation of any philosophy that I might cling to.  Obviously, I'm speechless in describing what I'm trying to say, but hopefully it's somewhere in the overlapping vertical and horizontal harmonic interaction.  As well, there's something to be said about the particular tune (which was featured in
Kill Bill), the fake string sextet, the diatonically adjusted canons, it's relation to the songs that surround it ("Itsumo Nando Demo" and "Tobenai Tsubasa"), the switching of the dux (leader) and comes (follower), and how the violoncello doesn't catch up to the violin and viola.  

(2.23.07)

Anyday now it's gonna be hard for me to resist having a hand party.  According to distribution dispatches, my copy of the new Puffy album has been shipped.  Sure, it's a greatest hits compilation, but it's got one new song that I'm dying to hear.  Plus, it spans their amazing first decade.  Even though I could rip the same songs from my complete collection of their discography, illegally download the new track, and burn essentially an exact copy of the official release, I need to buy the real thing.  There's something about the shiny new packaging, the artwork on the CD, and the heartshaped cover photo of Ami and Yumi that transcends any monetary meaning.  Take my money, please.

The head of the Arts Library is farming for volunteers who'll be fitted for safety masks and asked to wear said protective gear when retrieving items from the closed stacks which've been declared a hazardous environment due to the findings of an inspection that discovered mold on two books.  I'm exempt cause the safety masks don't work if you've got a beard.

For two days, I put off watching
Tasogare Seibei cause I was editing my Lily Chou-Chou remakes, Tuesday and Wednesday nights were spent watching Veronica Mars and Lost, respectively, and I wasn't in the right samurai mood.  The English title of the film is Twilight Samurai and it's both the main character's nickname and a symbolic description of the setting--the beginning of the end of the age of the sword.  If I carelessly watch such affairs, I believe I'd offend my ancestors.  For me, samurai movies require the deepest respect for the past regardless of the blood and fictional recreation for entertainment's sake.

I'm the typical worker that doesn't rock the metaphorical boat.  I don't fight the system, cause I already won--them paying me for what I enjoy doing is beyond a crime.  Anyways, management's relocating my division off the main campus next month.  This isn't convenient for me as access to musical resources'll be a drive away as opposed to my current situation, namely I just walk down the hall.  The benefit of having a change of eateries doesn't even challenge me from having smokebreaks whilst watching swayed students skirt in the spring sun.  Nevertheless, I'm in no position to put up a fuss.  I'll late fate decide.  If it's my time to go, I'll accept the transfer, cause I had a good run and it was bound to end someday.  Having my job was a dream.  Wanting it to last forever is an act of greed.

(2.26.07)

Um, rereading yesterday's entry, I'd like to clarify a few subjects that might seem to inspire psychotic predicates.  I come off as a bearded freak obsessed with Puffy, samurai lore, and is on the brink of being transfered from his currently heavenesque job location.  Every young detective ought to be able to connect the dots to see that the picture could snap at the slightest disturbance of my perfectly balanced life.  They always say it's the quiet ones who go postal...

My new Puffy CD didn't arrive today, so no zany hand parties with Ami and Yumi's belated Valentine's Day present to me, and thus I'm writing this journal entry tonight as I soberly lis'en t' Salyuuuuuuuu.  She's singing on a piano from a train platform. 

OK, that last paragraph doesn't help my mental profile even though it might sound like cheap poetry.  But trust me, I'm harmless.  I don't own any Oriental weapons.  And I'm more interested in compositional creations than their destruction.  The truth is yesterday's entry was an exercise in setting up a suspenseful scene.  Of course I might've failed my intentions and, like most newbie subscribers, confused my blog with reality, when in fact it's, as stated in repeated entries stored in the OUT ON A LIM archives that this is a work of fiction and any similarities to coincidental fact is my entertainment. 

As I'm aware of the classic psycho personality trait whereby the suspect spouts benevolent statements contradictory to the evils of his crime, I feel like I've just dug myself deeper in your mistrust.  That Puffy CD better arrive tomorrow or I'm gonna be pissed.

Maybe if I were stoned that last sentence would be funny.  It makes no sense other than perhaps the writer ain't all there.  However, I beg to differ.  Writing words or music is the only place where I truly feel "there".  To prove that my mind is incapable of "losing it" I shall paraphrase today's IMDb quote--"When I'm in trouble I remember that truth and love will always win.  Even in the darkest hour when your oppressors seem invincible, they will always lose.  Think about that.  Always."  I'm too lazy to copy and paste the original quote, so I might've misinterpreted it, but it's from Ghandi if you wanna look up the exact words.  Anyways, to not only read such nicely constructed sentences, but to appreciate the semi-randomly generated messages from my astrological surrogate for fun is more than my undeserving soul should be allowed to enjoy.  I'm not smart enough to go on a killing spree without getting caught even though I've got plenty of time at my plush job to devise an exit strategy for the routine sniper aimed standoff.  If it'll help my case, I'll admit that occasionally my imagination can get carried away, but generally I'm hyper aware of the situation, to the point that the desire to write down those crazy thoughts overpowers any need to slaughter innocent people.

Alas, my writing skills are no match for the skeptical jury.  And so I shall not protest if you take this particular entry as evidence.  You win.

(2.27.07)

In an almost act of desperation, I had entertained dirty thoughts about redeeming my free movie coupon at the shopping mall multiplex to watch Zooey play a music teacher in her latest role.  It all depended on whether or not my new Puffy CD would arrive before I act on my need to relieve exasperation.  As well, I opened up a challenge on the OUT ON A LIM Hot 100.  If I spend the night with Zooey, she remains at her #1 spot.  But if Ami and Yumi deliver the goods, they'll kick her down.

I think that if a band reaches ten years of existence they've earned the right to release greatest hits compilations.  Cause a decade is eons in the music business.  And if they've truly got good songs to fully pack a CD as well as add a brand new song, then it's not really considered cheating to the fans.  Add a lyric book with contemporary photos of the band as opposed to slapping together a montage of archival images and a bonus disc that comes with a deluxe edition of the album.

Puffy's first single "Asia no Junshin" was released in 1996.  It was a novelty hit.  I gotta admit that I thought that, like most one hit wonders, they could never top their luck at recording a better song.  But they did and nearly so every year since.  Hearing "Asia no Junshin" on Puffy's
Hit & Fun deluxe edition CD really takes me back to how far they've taken me over the years with their brand of brilliance.  It's the penultimate track--right before the 2007 song, which takes their sound to the next level of coolness.

Oh and the lyric book is heaven.  Ami and Yumi've got messy hair and glamouricious makeup.  The black and white shots of them in whacky dresses are guffawesome--especially Ami fooling around with her tail.  Best hand party ever.

Sorry Zooey.

(2.28.07)

"Mizuiro"

(3.1.07)

I'm writing this entry from the reference desk at work.  It's slow today and I'ven't been keeping up with my journal--ideally I'm a week ahead of the posted dates, but the deadline on my album is at the end of this month, so I've been devoting most of my time to that project.  I apologize for the sloppy stories lately.  I mean, resorting to feigning insanity is just uninspired on my part.  Although I think I'm getting better at singing in Japanese, it's still a skill that doesn't come automatically to me, which means that what mental energy traditionally allocated to OUT ON A LIM is temporarily being diverted towards tackling the pronunciation of foreign lyrics.  And since my staff abandoned me, I'm running this blog on my own, so bare with me during this less than halfhearted effort.  I thought about taking a break, but since I took most of January off, I was afraid of letting my subscribers down.  I've got it in my head that I might not be the greatest writer, but at least I keep the entries comming.  For better or worse, beyond dementia praecox paragraph structures, proliferation is probably my only selling point.  Anyways, this entry is a rarity as it's being written on the eve of it's posted date.  So be warned of the rough draft quality of the today's text---it didn't get the luxurious chance to editorially ferment.   Speaking of fixing things after the fact, that's what's been eating up most of my time during recording sessions, or should I say editing sessions.  Cause I'm a better editor than a singer.  I'd rather spend the hours crossfading bad vocal takes than frustratingly hope that I'll hit the notes sans computer assistance.  I know that this is becoming a bad habit as my reliance on unauthenticating my voice isn't helping my ears appreciate sounds naturally--theoretically, I should be in tune the first time around.  But I'm also aware of what's more efficient.  Instead of doing 80 billion takes, I'll just do two and save myself from the humiliating fact that I can't sing.  That being said, I equally believe that editing is an art in itself.  A good editor ought to be able to turn the worse crap into gold.  And in this day and age, with music production programs virtually available to everyone, I suspect that ethics and excuses will blur and editing will soon likely be incorporated with most cadres of musicianship, that is after the primarily technology illiterate old school dies.  Many composer and performers at school hire editors to finesse their recordings.  Personally, I stand for cutting out the middle man and maintaining individuality.  But that's my unedited opinion.      

(3.2.07)

The things I'll say to get some attention.

I'm not one to argue, especially for argument's sake.  Cause frankly I think there ain't nothing that's true--in the biggest picture, it's all speculated opinions anyways and any belief is just that.  Well, to be fair, even that's a supposed notion on my part.  Nevertheless, I don't care if others share my ideas or not, so I don't waste my time trying to convince anyone either way.  Thus, my conversations are often short and simple as they're void of any argumentative incentive to continue talking.

I was having a fragrant discussion in Japanese about Bach with a faculty pianist.  And I found myself picking an argument over the necessity of preludes.  My stance was that fugues are fine as they are and don't need to be introduced with frilly little pieces.  Yes, I understand that they compliment each other, but it's my belief that the self contained reflexivity of a fugue can stand on its own.  Preludes are boring distractions from the real excitement.  And so why not cut to the chase.  Sure the tease builds anticipation, and one of the cornerstones of Western music is constructed on the dispensing of tension and release, but it doesn't always apply.  An obvious example is given by Bach himself in his final composition, which was a cycle of fugues.  Now, I don't've a doctorate degree, so I'm only guessing, but towards the end of his life, I find it telling that Bach discarded preludes.  This leads me to suspect that ultimately fugues mattered more to him and that he only wrote preludes when he had time to kill.  Not to mention given that the abstract, and in his lifetime obsolete, contrapuntal form wasn't popular amongst average ears, I don't think it's unlikely that he composed pretty preludes simply to pay his bills.  Hence, it's not disrespectful to play his fugues without their accompanying preludes.

That's all nonsense, of course.  The reality is I totally admire his preludes, many of which are miniature fugues in themselves.  But I only wanted the pianist's attention by idiosyncratically arguing with her.  She did convince me with what I already knew--that I'd get a more complete experience if I study the preludes as well as the fugues.

Banter such as this is what I'll miss if I transfer off campus.  Not that I couldn't pay her a visit, but it's just less convenient if I was located away from the music department.  There's something about bumping into her in the halls that encourages fun arguments.  Anyways, this month, the other sections of my division are moving their offices to a consolidated library technical services south of campus.  Luckily, it was deemed that the music library is one of the few disciplines that must maintain its proximity to its department--my boss convinced the powers that be that we deal with specialized materials and leaving campus would be a real burden.  I won't argue with that.

(3.5.07)

From my very limited selection of Japanese cinema that I've been sampling as of late, I've been getting a slightly biased picture of that culture's misogyny.  Women are constantly being courted by sex crazed business men and subjected to degrading conflicts of monetary and self respecting interest.  It's somewhat simultaneously disturbing and thrilling--I suppose therein is the reason why such movies are made.  All I can say is I'm glad that I'm not a Japanese girl.

In contrast, the last film I saw was
Densha Otoko (Train Man).  It's about a geek who meets a girl on a train and his awkward approach to winning her love via online bulletin board advice, nervous phone calls, and fumbling dates.  In other words, it was a refreshing change of perspective.  Although the girl was way too perfect to be true, at least the guy was depicted without any of the usual sleaziness.

And this got me thinking about how my life would be had I grown up in Japan.  Well, first of all I'd need to survive the rampant beatings that kids suffer from bullies--cruelty, physical and mental, also seems to be a recurring theme in the movies that I've seen.  I guess how I handled those formative years would shape my relationship with women.  I could either use them to take out my frustrations or shut myself off from the world.  Maybe I'd watch American movies.

(3.6.07)

I'd nearly forgotten about some LEGO that I bought on eBay.  It was for that commission in January.  To give some background, dark grey has been discontinued as a LEGO colour--or more specifically, it's been replaced with a bluer shade.  Anyways, I found this out the hard way, as I was scrounging for dark grey bricks.  I pretty much bought most of the supply that online vendors were offering.  From my professional experience, shipping is hit or miss in terms of timeliness.  I needed a bulk amount as soon as possible.  Not taking any chances due to my deadline, I bought some 2 x 4 bricks from a seller on eBay.  These were mainly for insurance just in case I might need some extras, which luckily weren't necessary.

Of course, LEGO has been the last thing on my mind after that last project.  So I was surprised when I got an email from the seller disputing our deal--apparently I hadn't paid for the item.  Given that I was in building mode at the time of the transaction with every other thought in my brain devoted to sculpting, it's possible that an order got missed along the way, especially if it was for backup bricks.  Not that that's a valid excuse, in fact I think that'd be really irresponsible on my part, and I might need to pause to reflect on my mental acuity--perhaps I'm getting too old to keep track of things, in which case it's best if I slow down.  It's bound to happen sooner or later.  I'd rather be able to say that I was once able to do the things I did in the past than to try to be what I'm not.

Fortunately, I keep records of all my tax write off purchases.  That seller must be smoking crack, cause I clearly paid for the bricks--I've got the Paypal receipt with the transaction ID number.  Needless to say, the dispute's been closed.  I'm giving the seller the benefit of the pipe and won't give negative feedback, not to mention, I could've easily been ripped off and wouldn't've noticed.  So I've got some dark grey LEGO and my mental acuity intact.  Unless reminded, I think they're both redundant.

(3.7.07)

I don't plan on nor've I ever attended a
Star Wars convention.  At the risk of over generalizing, I think anyone who does needs to get a life.  However, if by some strange twist of fate whereby I eat my words and find myself at any such geek gathering, I'd definitely not dress myself up in costume.  Cause my dignity draws a line at what society deems is healthy human behaviour.  But I won't put it past me that on said unlikelihood of my ending up at a freak fest, there happens to be lapse in my reservations, I might consider cloaking myself as a Jawa.  Of course, if I do cross over, I might as well go all the way--I'd research the outfit and construct it as approximately to the screen version as possible, right down to the glowing eyes and the scratches on my droid stun blaster.  As well, I'd learn the Jawa language and only speak it at the convention, not to mention I'd master their mannerisms and psychology.  In other words, I'd try to avoid all things un-Jawa-like, such as talk in English or get in the way of the main characters.  The point being, I don't want any doubt in anyone's mind that I'm anything but a Jawa.

Unfortunately, I've lost interest in Avril Lavigne.  Maybe it's cause she doesn't sing in Japanese.  Anyways, as her new album is gearing to be released, I've tried to follow her promotion campaign.  Alas, "trying" is not how fandom works, to paraphrase Yoda.  I find myself putting too much effort into liking her new song that it'll seem dishonest of me to pre-order her CD.  The things I endorse aren't forced.  But what really lost me was her incorporation of the skull and crossbones to her image.  Perhaps had she done so a year ago I might've gotten aboard.  As it is, she seems like she's jumping on that trend.  I used to admire her poser punk persona.  It was ironically fresh, especially when she arrived amidst the other teeny bopper singers who seemed preoccupied with fancy dance moves.  That being said, I've got some doubt in my mind that she's anything quite as cool as a pirate.

Kanae asked me if I made the LEGO treble clef that's displayed in my supervisor's office.  I told her to look closely at it--my initials are embedded on the bottom corner.  They were Xmas presents a few years ago to my coworkers.  She jokingly told me that she's been playing the piano I made for her.  I was relieved that it didn't fall apart.  Even though it's glued together, there's still a chance of it breaking at the weaker points, such as the legs or the lid.  Going back to the treble clef, I double checked with her if it indeed looked like musical notation.  Cause there's always the possibility that what I think I'm trying to depict doesn't come across as so with an audience.  My LEGO sculptures in particular rely on that recognition factor.  Being polite, she said she had no doubt in her mind that it was anything but a treble clef.

(3.8.07)

In yet another case of coincidental symbolism, whilst I was editing the latest song on my album, both my kitchen sink and shower got clogged.  The song of course was "Mizuiro", which translates to "water colour".  I swear this album is cursed.  Either that or I'm grossly associating the songs with the misfortunes that occurred during their recordings--"Haru no Katami" reminds me of when I was sick and couldn't sing, I see the blue screen of death on my computer whenever I hear "Heaven", and I keep thinking that "Itsumo Nando Demo" got lost when my hard drive crashed.

Anyways, I foresaw my kitchen sink getting backed up.  Recently, it wasn't draining as fast as it should.  However, on the day that I decided to investigate, it decided to clog.  No problem, I thought, if this is anything like previous problems, it should be easily fixed with some Drano.  But after pouring two bottles with no results, I resigned that this clog was more serious than I could handle.  I ignored it as I finished mixing "Mizuiro"--it's not like I use the kitchen sink much anyways.  After a week, I called my landlord to send someone over to deal with it.  The first thing the plumber told me was that I should never use Drano as he pointed out that the pipe directly under my sink was eaten away by the acid.  He replaced it and snaked the clog.  I asked him what I should use instead of Drano and he recommended nothing stronger than bleach.

Meanwhile, at the same time during the week when my kitchen sink was clogged, my shower thought that it'd be funny to be a copycat.  This situation was admittedly my fault--I've been so busy lately that I forgot to take my usual precautionary measures of regularly cleaning the drain.  Luckily, it wasn't as serious as my kitchen sink as it cleared after a bottle of Drano.  This was of course before the plumber's warning.  But I've taken his advice and bought some bleach for the future.

So "Mizuiro" is concerned with the beauty within the clarity of water--typical Japanese mumbo jumbo.  Contrastingly, the water that was sitting in my kitchen sink was black from the built up grime and my shower was filled with white water that was mixing with residual soap and shampoo.  Now, I can take this symbolism only so far before it makes my eyes roll, but all I could think of is the yin yang symbol, including the glob of black hair that was blocking my shower drain and the white blob of Drano that stubbornly wasn't going down my kitchen sink.  The fact that my shower cleared and my plumber counseled me to use a chemical that turns clothes white doesn't really fit into the analogy, cause from what I understand, both the dark and the light coexist.  But then again my mortal mind can't wrap around such cosmic reasoning.  I'm sure it balances out somewhere.  All I know is whenever I hear that song I see black and white water.

(3.9.07)

I've given some thought to the term that I used in yesterday's entry--"coincidental symbolism".  Cause even though I highly suspect that a coincidence, by definition, is irrational, and contains the probability of holding a shred of disaccountability, or not, I shouldn't ignore the superstition that, to paraphrase, something happening once is a blessing, twice is twice the blessing, etc, until it's no longer believable that said occurrence can be classified as a "coincidence".  The same can be said of curses and their multiplying manifestation, that is if arithmetic has anything remotely capable of calculating metaphysics.  This got me thinking about the number of malfunctions, physical and technical, that've befallen during the recording of my album.  Maybe someone's telling me stop the project or I'll receive subsequent consequences.  Another theory of mine, loosely based on karma, suggests that perhaps all this negative energy is some kinda retroactive payback.  And this got me backtracking on my supposed mistakes.

She's never given me a personal demonstration cause pianos are pre-tuned, but Kanae claims that she's got perfect pitch.  This is a trait that deserves my respect, cause I'm anything but.  It'd make my life so much easier as I wouldn't've to guess if I'm in tune.  Yes, there are plugins that can automatically correct pitch, in fact my engineer has the program, but I don't use one cause it'll fuck up my hearing--I should train my ears to naturally hear the notes rather than've a machine tell me if I'm right or wrong.  Or so my engineer philosophized when I asked for a copy.  No, but I've always had phases when I was convinced that tuning is relative.  All one has to do is look back at the history of temperament to see that there are shades inbetween the inequalities.  Even though it can be assumed that the modern conceptualization of tuning, which is what's calibrated in contemporary computer programs, is the deserved status quo based on the scientific idea that progression flows forward and builds on past accomplishments, it goes to follow the music of the future won't necessarily be tuned to our ears, just as the musicians of the past would question the equal temperament of today.  Thus, even though I'm jealous of anyone who's got perfect pitch, I think there are benefits to being in the dark, namely I rely on what sounds right to me.

I could be wrong.  And this might be the source of the series of curses on my album.  If it's any consolation, I am consciously aiming to be in tune--I use a manual program that can adjust pitch plus or minus 50 cents, I make an effort to tune my instruments to a chromatic tuner, and I avoid being liberal with my ornamentation.  Indeed it takes me several days to hear what sounds like wrong notes, but that's faster than the years it's taken me to realize how off I was on my old albums.  I'd like to think that I'm getting warmer.

If laws were sins, then my album is damned for being a collection of songs that I don't've permission to cover.  I can see how that might throw some curses in my direction.  My excuse is I truly admire the works of these composers and feel that my versions are anything but blasphemous to the originals.  That and I'm so underground that no one's gonna care if I record and distribute my album for free.  Seriously, lawyers've got bigger fries to fish from the sea of music piracy.

Another offence is that this album is dedicated to my cousin.  This wouldn't be illegal in California, but she's also married.  Nor are my intentions romantic, even though the lyrics might be interpreted otherwise.  But I refer back to the level of my involvement in the authorship of these songs whereby if I really wanted to win her heart I'd write my own words and music, cause she knows I could, but shouldn't cause that'd be gross.  I'll give in to the accusation that I'm going out of my way in terms of birthday presents for related relationships, but I'm aware of the limits.

All this contemplation of potential mistakes led me to reinterpret the symbolism of the obstacles that've tried to block my album.  I don't look at them as curses insofar as they've been my inspiration to overcome them--there's no way my voice would've sounded so after I recovered from my sickness, I'm learning to balance how much I take my computer for granted, and I've gained some appreciation for the pentatonic scale.  Sure I might've been hit with the same or different symbolic connections had everything gone smoothly over the last six months, but heuristically, it's gonna be difficult for me to forget or dismiss any of it as coincidental.

(3.12.07)

I was there when my car's odometer hit 90,000 miles.  Well, technically, since I'm the only who drives it, I'm always there when the numbers change, but my eyes are usually on the road.  I knew I was approaching that mileage and happened to glance at the digits as five of them rolled.

A photographer once told me how back in the old days some of them used to time exposures with cigarettes.  They'd open their shutter, have a smoke break, and close it afterwards.

At the library where I work, we don't assign call numbers to CDs.  Because they're part of the closed stacks and patrons can't browse them, they get accession numbers instead.  They're roughly based on when we added them to the collection--the lower the number, the earlier we received it.  My supervisor and I are the ones who dole the accession numbers.  The other day I hit 20,000.

One of my college roommates used to collect songs that were roughly the duration of his cigarettes, which were about five minutes.  He called them smoke break songs.

I bought another Japanese DVD.  This one's called
Tokyo Gomi Onna.  Besides the actress, what I enjoyed most about it was how it depicted her smoke breaks.  They were in real time, without cuts.  It gave the pacing a certain verisimilitude that I could relate with.  Cause to me, a smoke break is slightly outside of time.  Somewhere in the middle, it feels like forever when I lighted the cigarette and the end is still a ways to go.  Sure it's an illusion, but it's rare that a film appreciates a full smoke break without interruption.

(3.13.07)

My aunt has a nickname for me whenever I say something stupid--Warui Henry.  It's Japanese for "Bad Henry".  And it's often the case that she calls me such when we share a drink, cause I'll be speaking my more absurd thoughts without pause for reflection, even though like the rest of my life, I'm never serious about anything.  For example, off the top off my head, I'll suggest that we get naked and go spray painting graffiti at a train station.  "Warui Henry" she'll remind me.

At our last meeting, a coworker brought up Second Life, the virtual world that's gaining attention as an educational tool--Harvard's been pushing distance learning via the online interaction.  Apparently UCLA's is trying to get onboard, the idea being that we ought to reach the students on their platform of communication, including professors setting up MySpace pages.  Of course our staff at the music library isn't as hip, so we just mocked the ridiculousness of creating more identities of ourselves.

When Warui Henry gets on a roll, my aunt'll  ask where Hontou Henry is, which translates to "Real Henry".  She'll demand that I bring Hontou Henry back, cause he's a good person, although to be fair, I don't think "hontou" is the same--Good Henry would be colloquially akin to Ii Henry.

Not having the time or a high speed internet connection, I've got no incentive to join Second Life.  But if I did, I'd look for the Third Life.  Besides, I've already got multiple personalities.

Happy Birthday Sam

(3.14.07)

If I had any desire to be judged by some higher conscience that during my lifetime on earth I made somewhat of an attempt to live as decently as possible, meaning given the choice to morally wound my fellow humans, I'd pick the path that's been generally approved by all the major religions to guarantee my entrance into heaven, or whatever reward is granted for following righteous rules, I'd never purposely post a link to a commercial, which even though some corporate sponsored spiritual organizations would disagree, I personally believe that advertising ranks up there as one of the top five evils in the history of the world, mainly cause it's cruel to, especially subliminally, dangle carrots which promise a better lifestyle before idiots who are mentally incapable of figuring out that they've been fooled,
but this is a damn good exception.

(3.15.07)

You're asking me will my love grow    
I don't know

-The Beatles

An Avril Lavigne fan emailed me in regards to a comment I made about her (see OUT ON A LIM 3.8.07), in particular that I won't buy her new album cause she "doesn't sing in Japanese".  Well, it turns out she does--she recorded several versions of her latest single in a variety of languages, including the one I'm currently obsessing over.  I downloaded it and applaud her for catering to foreign markets, even though she only converted the chorus and she's got a Canadian accent.  Anyways, I can't use that excuse anymore.

I bought Lily Chou-Chou's alias' single for "Name".  One of the B-sides is her version of "Something".  It's becoming a trend that the JPOP acts that I like seem to be covering The Beatles.  Sure their English is hilarious, but I take it as a sign of accordance that they share an appreciation of the same band as me.  It makes me like them even more.

As far as I know Avril hasn't recorded any Beatles tunes.  I read that she did "Imagine".  I never heard it and I'm sure it's cool.  But that doesn't count--John Lennon ain't The Beatles.

Based on what I've sampled online, I've pre-ordered YUI's upcomming CD.  She's a 20 year old singer from Fukuoka.  And although her style is much mellower, she reminds me of what I liked about Avril, namely a fresh voice.  Cause as sad as it may seem, Avril's old news.  This wouldn't matter so much if she could keep my attention, but alas, she can't compete with real Japanese singers.  Plus, imports are expensive.  Thus, my new reason for not buying Avril's album is I can't afford to spend my money on domestic music on top of my depleted JPOP funds.

YUI's album is called
Can't Buy Me Love.               

(3.16.07)

My pants've been falling.  I like loose fitting clothes--not baggy, but definitely not skin tight.  Anyways, I was walking around campus when I noticed that my pants were slipping more than they usually do.  I had to tug them back up for fear of everyone seeing my black underwear.

Well, this is what I get for eating one meal a day.  I just'ven't been hungry lately.  I've been busy finishing up my album--that's what's consuming my thoughts away from food.  And so far, I don't feel weak, unhealthy, or depressed.  This is also a continuation of my eating habits during January's LEGO project.  Actually, I'm speculating that I could skip meals completely, eating every other day.  Certainly three meals ain't necessary.  But I'm sure the economy would disagree.

So I've lost weight.  I needed to add another notch to my belt--I was using the last one.  My dad taught me how to use a hammer and a nail to punch another hole.  He did this for me when I was a kid.  He bought me my first belt, but they didn't've any size smaller, so he modified it.  I can still remember the night when we went to the garage, he grabbed his tools from his big red box, and I watched in wonder at the simple procedure.  "How did you know how to do that?" I thankfully asked.  "My dad did the same for me," he relayed.

(3.19.07)

Not that I would know, but I'm guessing that one of the reasons people get addicted to drugs is the sensation of wanting more.  They get satisfaction, yet're left hanging after the high to return to that state, which they'll pursue over everything else.  Uh, I'm basing this on my currently analogous experience with television.

My parents are hooked on Korean TV shows that they're borrowing on DVD from my brother-in-law's parents.  They've pretty much dropped all social interaction with the outside world to go thru the seasons.  I noticed this when I visited them one weekend--they'd slap together some flimsy dinner for me and then abandon me for their dramas.  I doubt they heard me leave.  Anyways, when I commented on their weird behaviour the next day over the phone, they spoke of the cliffhangers that they gotta resolve after each episode.  They sounded like junkies, not that I would know any.

My siblings also noticed our parents' substantial abuse of their TV.  However, I think my sister is the biggest fiend of all.  She's got a weekly schedule of programs that she's gotta watch.  We overlap on
Heroes and Lost.  The former is what's got our fix reflex on hold as the season's comming to a climax, whilst the latter is a sad monkey on our back--when we keep returning to it even though it's disappointed us so many times.  If I were truly hopeless, I'd rewatch the Heroes episodes that I've taped, you know, to see if I missed some detail, not that I ever think about such things.

My sister has resorted to watching other shows in the meantime during the
Heroes hiatus.  I actually like the break, if anything as a practice run before what's sure to be a summer of being strung out.  But then again, denial is another sign of addiction.

(3.20.07)

I'm a little confused about a line from the Beatles song "Circles".  Well, it's not really a Beatles song as it was never officially recorded by the group, although it appears on the White Album demos.  It's one of George's and he later resurrected it on a solo album.  I never heard that version, so I'm basing my knowledge of the tune in the context of The Beatles--maybe the lyrics got revised.  Anyways, the line in question goes "He who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know".

I'm guessing that George was incorporating whatever transcendental philosophy he was into at the time--the song's provenance links it to the Beatles' India phase.  Maybe I'm dense, but the line doesn't make any sense, at least in terms of self reflexivity, unless it's supposed to be paradoxical.  Cause if he's speaking about this knowledge, then he doesn't know what he's talking about.  But then again, the song is called "Circles".

I stuck Kanae's recital program on my refrigerator.  It's got a quote from her teacher that I read every morning as I drink my orange juice.  Basically, it states "Blessed are the lonely ones...only they can understand what is revealed in music."  I'm simplifying the quote--it lists other people who are "blessed" such as the humble, those suffering, etc.  Every time I go over it, I think of all the poor souls who are candidates for being touched by music.  Within the logic of the quote, music's got some kinda holy power to heal them.  Accordingly, it doesn't reveal this to people who aren't lonely, humble, suffering, etc.

As I was reading it today, however, I thought, "Wait a minute, this quote is way too verbose."  Sure the downtrodden deserve to be comforted by music.  But who isn't suffering--that's part of life.  And yeah, listing unfortunate conditions makes for a clever quote, if anything it elaborates on the point.  But I could reduce it to this: "Everyone is blessed."

(3.21.07)

"Sayonara"

(3.22.07)

"Hoichi the Earless" is the third ghost story of the four featured in the film
Kaidan .  It's about a blind monk named Hoichi and, uh, how he became earless.  He's also a musician, with his instrument of choice being the biwa, which is sorta like a guitar.  He's gets called by the dead to perform for them at their graveyard, although he's unaware that he's playing for spirits.  The other monks find out about his unholy interaction and paint scripture all over his body so that he won't be bothered by the ghost who summons him.  However, they forget to write the protective spell on his ears and so they get ripped off.  Anyways, I noticed that whenever Hoichi played, he lit some incense.

Kaoru Amane is the main character in the movie
Taiyo no Uta.  It's about a young girl who can't go outside during the daytime cause she's got a disease whereby the sun'll kill her.  She's also a musician, with her instrument of choice being the acoustic guitar, which is sorta like a biwa.  She falls in love with a surfer dude, although at first she doesn't reveal to him about her condition.  So they hang out at night.  She forgets the time and abruptly ends their date by running home before the sun comes up.  And drama ensues.  Anyways, I noticed that whenever Kaoru played, she lit a candle.

I ain't a blind monk or sun avoiding young girl.  But I'm also a musician, with several instruments of choice--piano, guitar, MIDI programming, to name a few.  Anyways, I noticed that whenever I play, I don't light incense or candles.  I smoke.

(3.23.07)

Wolf crying seems to be my stock-in-trade as cliches go.  Pardon my Canadian, but I'm at the sendoff party for my now completed album, with all the behind the concession counter higher definition that's illegal to name or age--if you've ever been lame enough to walk for miles without removing a stone in your shoe, letting it inflict it's pain to the point of distracting yourself away from the point by numbingly questioning the reality of whether or not weather prediction and/or protection is sometimes, always, or never a question at all if removing the stone in your shoe is a good idea, and you decide to remove it, well, that's kinda how I feel right now. 
Redondo Beach has been mailed to Otsu.

"What's the secret?" the pretty nurse selling poppies from a tray asked.

"I don't've the answer," I answered.  "My best guess is there ain't any answers--and anyone who claims to've THE answer is guessing at best."

I've been getting half grams of emails and encounters from fans that seem to be amused, confused, or an inter spatial combination thereof regarding OUT ON A LIM's balancing act between truth and fiction.  As public service announcement number 54,321, my blog is whatever you think it is.  Read it in your spare time for fun, take it seriously, or ignore it, but it's seriously a fun thing to ignore time with when I write it so I'll keep writing it until I don't feel like writing it anymore.  This is in contrast to my album which was like a stone in my shoe these past few months.  But the lame obsessive freak in me had to finish what I started even if it meant confusing the ordeal with common sense.  Anyways, it's been released from my hands.

Charting the experience, I'd've to place the performer's perspective in contrast to my compositional POV as the leitmotif behind the scenes of
Redondo Beach.  Cause I hail from the Dylan tradition of getting away with singing any which way one pleases on behalf of being a songwriter--write a good song and no one'll care about how it's sung.  So when I sang these Japanese pop tunes, I found it not only difficult to find the notes that weren't mine, but boosted my respect for those that can do it with ease.  In contrast, the best moments during the Hacienda Heights sessions were when I was composing the songs without a care for how I sang, whilst vocal editing for Redondo Beach was a painstaking task--I definitely don't wanna record another cover album.  But I doubt I could've came to that conclusion without actually having done so.  It goes with my Larry McFeurdy rock star fantasy--all the great bands like Puffy've done the requisite indulgence album.  I just never'd a theme that I thought could fit on a CD.  Again, as a composer, that's how I organize my world, so I couldn't see myself as Larry McFeurdy not mapping out the tracklist in terms of thematic flow, which I'm sure performers likewise adhere to, but they probably do so based on interpreting the music whereas I'm more concerned with developing what's to be interpreted.  If I consider my album an experiment, then the data yielded that arranging music uses a different part of the brain than composing--at least I felt so as I picked out the notes from the originals.  Sure, it's good ear training, and I ought to be able to cull some benefits from all this for future compositions, but I don't need to do it again.  Sayonara indeed.

Noe asked me to cut my toenails so I did.  That was seven months ago.  I haven't tended to them since.  They didn't bother me--I had other things on my mind.  However, today I noticed that they were ruining my socks and killing my feet as they squeezed into my shoes.  So I cut them.

And all that talk about curses and coincidences was me being paranoid, as is the fictional truth of this blog.  Sometimes I think that I could get arrested for some of the things I write.  Thus the blurriness.  Not that I'm a coward, but I think telling the truth is relative, so why bother with risking not being able to relate it even if it's cloaked in lies.  Oh, if they ever take me away, I've been exercising my fasting, sleep deprivation, and solitary confinement immunity.   

And though she feels she's in a play
She is anyway

-The Beatles

(3.26.07)

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