Out On a Lim                            
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Out On a Lim (6.22.07 - 9.6.07) >>
Aisubeki hito wa doko ni imashou
Yotei no chouwa nante youi dakedo

                                            -Ringo Shiina

I dreamt that I went blind.  Or more specifically, I was driving up Halliburton in Hacienda Heights, and at its apex I noticed that everything was on fire.  To be exact, smoke was everywhere, and from my perspective, being enclosed in a cloud, it seemed like my eyes had lost their ablity to see.  I mean, the sun was up, and its light was behind the fumes, but as far as I could tell, I couldn't see farther than the end of my nose.  So I opened my eyes wider.  From the edges inward, the ceiling of my apartment slowly came into view as I awoke in my bed.  During that brief moment when my dream overlapped with reality, I felt simultaneously dead and alive, even though my speculation is as good as anyone's about those states of being.

I've seen some hilarious signage on my walking route.  Well, more specifically, I don't think they're meant to be funny.  For exact example, one says "Please keep dogs off grass".  Now, I understand the context, as it's hanging on a tree in someone's front yard.  Nevertheless, the multiple meanings of the words "dogs" and "grass" make me laugh.  Another one lists "hook-ups" as a selling point for an apartment complex.  Anyways, I suppose it's cause I pass these signs everyday that I've been encouraged to read more into them than I'm supposed to.  But sometimes I think synonyms, double entendres, and Freudian slips don't happen by accident--that they actually mean exactly what they say on every level at the same time, even if everyone's awareness ain't conscious.

Last night I watched
Marie Antoinette.  More specifically, not to confuse it with other versions, I saw the 2006 movie written and directed by Sofia Coppola and stars Kristen Dunst as the title character.  I know it isn't exactly a French film, and it doesn't even try to be, but it's set in Versailles and well, that's enough for me to include it in my Franco-Japanese Netflix queue.  Anyways, throughout the story, I kept mentally fast forwarding the events, cause I happened to not be ignorant of that history, and I couldn't help but metaphorically pause on Marie's ignorance of the world beyond the palace walls as the times changed.  It's like witnessing a royal train wreck.  And by not explicitly depicting her fate, I view the final scenes as actuality intruding on fantasy and vice versa.

I've been listening heavily to Ringo Shiina's album
Heisei Fuuzoku.  To be more specific, it's essentially the original motion picture soundtrack to Sakuran.  Like the anachronistic music in Marie Antoinette, 20th century spawned styles are imposed onto the Edo period setting--more exactly, rock, jazz, and techno.  The lyrics are sung in a mixture of Japanese, English, and French.  And the production is brilliant--I've never heard an orchestra integrated with electronics so symbiotically as usually one's an afterthought to the other.  Yet her voice is raw.  It scrapes and howls between escapes of coy desperation, all the while insinuating indecent innuendos in inviting invectives.  I mean, the movie's about an oiran (courtesan).  The combination of these various concepts suggests to me both liberations of the imagination and confinements of fleshly pleasures.

The real is but a dream

                            -Ringo Shiina

(9.7.07)

With precise accuracy I divined the future in a dream--a Japanese dude was smoking a cigarette outside my apartment.  The details were easy to remember cause I was speaking in Japanese, which takes some concentration on my part, moreso than when I speak in English.  The cigarette, although it smelled nice, didn't bother me--this was memorable at least for me in terms of having quit a month ago.  And a recognizeable setting such as my place of residence is simple enough to store in my brain without too much strain.  Of course, a week ago I'd received a call from Makoto, a vistor from Japan.  He's a student of my aunt and wanted to hang out.  I agreed.  So there's some foreshadowing to my foresight--it didn't appear out of the blue.  However, I had no idea that he smoked.  As well, I didn't plan to take him to my apartment.  After having dinner I asked him what he'd like to see in Los Angeles.  Half expecting him to answer with some typical tourist attraction like Hollywood or souvenir shopping, he fulfilled my prophecy when he requested to see my sculptures.  From that moment onwards, I knew exactly what would happen next.  Again, I've had the same questions asked about my sculptures a million times that it's not really predicting anything on my part--it's all automatic pilot for me when I give my stock replies.  Likewise, it was a little boring to relive my dream as he asked if he could smoke a cigarette outside my apartment.

On a hot day like today, owning a house is pretty worthless.  At least in my neighbourhood it's cooler outside than it is indoors as there's a nice ocean breeze.  And if one did stay home, the air conditioner probably needed to be turned on at full blast, which is a total waste of energy.  On my walk tonight, it seemed like someone was out and about on every block--walking dogs, riding bikes, smoking pot, watering their lawn.  All the properties just took up space, crowded up the land, and added unnecessary heat to the already record high temperature.

I caught myself smoking in a dream.  To be fair, I was with Jaime, and sometimes I forget what I'm doing in her presence.  I remember once chain smoking with her without a second thought nearly three years ago.  Anyways, I immediately put the cigarette out.  Luckily, it was only a dream.  And despite my uncanny tendency to glean the future in my sleep, this prediction won't come true.  Cause recently Jaime became my friend on Facebook--this is probably how she snuck into my dream.  Anyways, I wrote on her wall about my non-smoker status, figuring she'd relate somehow cause she's a fellow addict.  She wrote back on my wall saying that she quit at the beginning of the year.

(9.10.07)

I hate my new neighbours.

Even though I woke up at 9:30, I didn't feel like going into work today, it being Labour Day yesterday.  So I went back to sleep with a hot dream of Kyuti Hani and reawoke three hours later.  My bottle of green apple shampoo is almost empty--I've got it upside down on my shower ledge so that the last drops of the accordingly coloured slimely solution sit at the bottle's opening for easy dispersal.  The holiday haircut that I had requires less maintenance.  I mean, my estimated date of action for the new bottle that's on deck under my sink has been postponed.

I'm not sure which apartment they moved into.  I believe it's one of the ones across from mine.  Myself and someone on the bottom floor are the only occupants in the five unit building--the nurse next door is often off at some bedside job, the young couple that laughs at their non-stop television programs below my apartment aren't around, I'm guessing they're on vacation, and the mother and son business team that was operating out of the other door next to mine vacated before last month ended.  Anyways, today my new neighbours pissed me off.

After combing my wet fresh after a day's cut hair, I called in to the library to tell the staff that I was gonna take the day off, see everyone tomorrow.  Before practicing some Puffy, I hung up my cellphone.  Somewhere during the lyrics of their as of this writing masterpiece "Sunday in the Park", I thought of taking my nightly walk in the late afternoon.  By the time the first automobile crossed my path, which is more than I see on average at 3 in the morning, I vowed never to go on my route at such a ridiculous hour--there's way too many gas powered vehicles polluting the sidewalks.

There's a chatroom conversation in
Riri Shushu no Subete (All About Lily Chou-Chou) where fans raise the question of what other musicians besides their idol are part of the Ether, a mystical realm beyond mortal comprehension that gets communicated via these pop stars.  "The Beatles for sure," someone writes.  An argument breaks about Ringo Shiina.  Granted the movie was made in 2001 and so far my favourite Ringo album, Heisei Fuuzoku was released this year.  In other words, before hearing that CD, the debate about her Ether credentials wouldn't matter either way to me.  However, after a weekend of listening to the album straight thru twice daily, I'm doubtlessly convinced that the song "Yokushitsu" ("Bathroom") employs the house orchestra of the Ether's main concert stage.  So Ringo is connected to the Ether by association.

Due to the heat wave, my new neighbours cracked open their windows all the way.  Ever since my exploding sense of smell after my final cigarette, I've been catching whiffs of scents that are the olfactory equivalents of songs dipped in the Ether.  There's a verse in "Papaya Mango", which Ringo covers, that goes "Now if you like the way I cook, and if you like the way I look, then step inside my shady nook" that came to my mind as I walked up my stairs to my apartement after my walk.  The delicious smells trapped in the driveway between our apartment buildings made me wanna cry tears of jealous defeat for whoever's got such a cook as a wife.

However, even though I agree completely with the categorization of Lily Chou-Chou, The Beatles, and Ringo Shinna as Ether music (the chatroom fans also post inclusions for Debussy and UA), I think Puffy should also be named. 
Their new video is Ether to the max.  Come on, no other band can get away with wearing those Panda hats, with full commercial backing by ANA (All Nippon Airways), on a song written by ex-Unicorn member Tamio Okuda, and still rock.  Obviously, I'm only kidding--I trust that everyone's part of the Ether.  It's not exclusive to musicians, super mortal beings, or masters of the kitchen.  We're all on the same proverbial page.

(9.11.07)

"Hello, may I speak to Mr. Lim?"

"Speaking."

"You owe $100 on your Hbc credit card."

"I have no idea what youíre talking about."

"Are you Henry Lim?"

"Yes."

"You owe us $100."

"I don't have an Hbc credit card."

"Are you Henry C. Lim?"

"No, I'm Henry J. Lim."

"We're sorry to have bothered you.  Have a good day."

A few days later I received the same obscene phone call.  I'm pretty sure it was the same person, who had a racial accent which I won't name.  I reminded the bill collector that I'd received a similar call a few days ago.  He claimed to make note of the fact so that it won't happen again.

Today, I got a fishy email from my bank warning of suspicious charges being made on my credit card.  It looked official, with authentic domain named links that seemed to've real letterheads on their website.  Nevertheless, I opted to call the 1-800 number instead of accessing my info online.  After being put on hold, which if this were a scam, I gotta give props to the great detail in selecting bad phone transferring music, I spoke with an operator, who also had a stereotypical ethnic dialect, and learned of a fraudulent $100 transaction.  My credit card was cancelled and I'll be refunded when I complete the bureaucratic paperwork that'll be sent to me.  As well, a new one should be in my mailbox within five days.  "Thanks for catching this," I politely concluded, still unsure whether or not to trust all this.

A few hours later I received another call.

"Hello, may I speak to Mr. Lim?"

"Speaking."

"You owe $100 on your Hbc credit card..."

(9.12.07)

SEVEN TRACK SEVENS


1. Edge of the Sky (track 7 from the CD Chine Reverie by Wai Sum & Chan Kum Loong)
2. End Tag (track 7 from the CD Serenada Schizophrana by Danny Elfman)
3. Yokushitsu (track 7 from the CD Heisei Fuuzoku by Ringo Shiina)
4. Kissing Through Glass (track 7 from the CD Un Long Dimanche de Fiancailles by Angelo Badalamenti)
5. Contrapuntus VII (track 7 from the CD Die Kunst der Fuge by Johann Sebastian Bach)
6. Fuga (track 7 from the CD Violin Sonatas by Bela Bartok)
7. Sunday in the Park (track 7 from the CD Splurge by Puffy)

(9.13.07)

For no other reason than my boredom of the English language, I watched
Corpse Bride in French.  And I actually enjoyed it more.  I think there's a certain je ne se quois about the songs when they're sung en francais that I never noticed before.  The last scene with the butterflies, which I've always thought was the most mind blowing moment in all of Tim Burton's films, resonated with greater intensity after following the story's emotional arc build in a foreign language.

The last DVD that arrived from Netflix was
Kyuti Hani (Cutie Honey).  It's a silly live action interpretation of an anime flick about a super hot heroine that shares the name of the title.  The director, Hideaki Anno, who also directed one of my all time favourite films, Love and Pop, was the primary initiative to rent the movie.  And although Cutie Honey was everything I dreamed of, her friend, the nerdy cop, actually got most of my attention.

Puffy's latest single "Oriental Diamond/Kuchibiru Motion/Neji Potion" arrived today.  I think it's their best effort yet.  I still am amazed at their consistently outstanding output.  I mean, earlier this summer they released a kickass single "Boom Boom Beat/O Edo Nagareboshi IV/Kimi ga Suki" that I never expected to be topped, but they did with this new double A-sider.  It's like they've hit every angle that I can imagine in this world worth admiring.

I couldn't find
Shigatsu Monogatari (April Story) available elsewhere other than on eBay--and for $3.99, no less.  The director, Shunji Iwai, who also directed one of my all time favourite films, Hana to Arisu, was the primary initiaitive to watch the movie.  And I wasn't disappointed.  Along with Riri Shushu no Subete (All About Lily Chou-Chou), I've yet to see a crappy movie by Iwai.  I'm not hesitating to discover more of his filmography.

Contrary to an early post, I caved in and bought a Walkman.  Well, given my past credibility, such as my hypocrictical stance on cellphones, I'm not surprised at this recent purchase, which goes against everything I stand for, which obvious ain't much.  But I figure, I'm planning on extending my walking route and I really need to have every Puffy song in my ears as I explore farther down the road.  The beach is my next destination...

There're several movies by Iwai that I've gotta check out.  Unfortunately, his cinematographer, Noburu Shinoda, passed away after
Hana to Arisu--his style is such a vital element in Iwai's stories.  Those're some huge shoes to fill.  Anyways, I ought to be lucky enough for what he left behind.  I just ordered Swallowtail Butterfly.

(9.14.07)

Editor's note: This entry was written on 9.9.07

Yesterday was football.  I have no idea who we played or who won.  I remember when I read the original "80 days until football" note on someone's dry erase board in the student union at the beginning of summer.  On Thursday the countdown was at "2 days until football".  So Saturday must've been game day.  I wonder if it was everything that that person hoped for, or if he or she was disappointed after the wait.

One of my tail lights died.  I risked getting a ticket until yesterday, when I had time to get it replaced.  The light bulb only was sold in a two pack.  I figured that I'd keep an extra for when the other one'll eventually burn out.  But it happened to be that at the exact moment when I fixed one light, the other one also needed attention.  So I lost the spare.

I've grown impatient with the piano.  Nothing against the instrument, rather it's my incompetence that's limiting my playing as I'm beginning to yearn for no dynamics.  I'm losing interest in loud and soft distinctions and am trying in vain to maintain an even level for every note, in particular when peforming polyphonic music.  So instead I've been playing organ samples on my keyboard.  There's no point in fighting expressive notes when there're other instruments that aren't so nuanced.  Plus, the unfluctuating sustain is worth the trade.

Today I learned Unicorn's "Yuki ga Furu Machi" ("Snowfall Town").  The original recording of the song is too low for my vocal range, so I transposed it up a whole step with a capo.  Lyrically, it makes no sense to me, being born and raised in sunny Los Angeles.  Neverthelss, I think the music, especially the chord changes, is tight.

Negative one day until football...

Yono naka wa iroiro arukara
Douka gennki de
Oki wo tsukete

                  -Unicorn

(9.17.07)

I used to take pride in my shit.

I crafted masterpieces that impressed all those who witnessed my fine work.  Of course they had to overcome their disgust, but once they saw past the medium, they couldn't argue with my talent.  If anything, the sheer size of my sculptures caught their eyes.  But I eventually realized that any skill that I possessed, regardless of how much I practiced and developed my artform, was ultimately luck.  And so I can't be proud of abilities that are beyond me.

When I was younger, I left them in the toilet without flushing so that I could share them with the world.  Sometimes I'd sacrifice not wiping my ass so that I wouldn't clutter the bowl with toilet paper.  On a good day I could make them longer than a foot.  I once made a car, four wheels and all.  My family would get pissed off upon discovering them, but laughed at the audacious lengths, resemblances to everyday objects, and after awhile, a trademark of my existence.

Henry was here.

I never stuck around to observe the reactions towards creations I left behind in public restrooms.  But then again, I never did it for the attention.  I simply wanted to pass on my message to the world, one dump at a time--that wonder can be found in everything.  I doubt anyone got it, but hey, I put it forth, and in my book, that's as much as anyone can do.

However, lately, I've been questioning the act itself, especially in the face of oblivion.  I'm less and less concerned with proving my point--after all, there is none.  Not to discount what comes out of everyone else's asses, but I don't think it matters if mine's unique.  Besides, I'm eventually gonna disappear from this meaningless world, if I haven't already got one foot in the grave.  I could keep telling myself that there's something worth expressing, but really it's as self-important as so-called "art". 

Nowadays, I just don't give a shit.

(9.18.07)

I was in the presence of greatness and I didn't even know it.  Ok, that's an exaggeration--everyone's great to some extent.  But not everyone's recognized as such.  Sure, being mentioned in the media can be hardly categorized as an accomplishment--I mean,
if my name's been in the newspaper, any idiot ought to be able to do the same.  Anyways, if one considers Wikipedia as a reliable souce of information, I got played by a bone fide imposter.

She's not listed, as of this writing, on the
"notable" list.  But I think she ought to be--definitely moreso than her fellow imposter, Azia Kim.

I actually remember reading about both stories.  Earlier this year, two individuals were caught posing as students at Stanford. 
Azia was exposed first, so she her notoriety had an advanced buzz.  However, she only got away with pretending to be someone that she's not for a mere 8 months.  Soon after, Elizabeth Okazaki was discovered.  She lasted an impressive four years before getting banned from that university.

And yes, Elizabeth is the same Elizabeth from the dead cat story (see OUT ON A LIM 9.4.07).

The UCLA campus police sent a memo to the Music Department alerting everyone of a suspicious person who's been lying about her status as a "visiting scholar".  Immediately I connected the dots and knew who they were looking for.  After relaying my experience, other students shared similarly bizarre tales of their encounters with this "crazy homeless person".  Apparently we're her "friends".  Anyways, security officers escorted her out of the library today.

One of my biggest mistakes was giving her my cellphone number.  On my way home from work she called--her number's unlisted, as with some of my other friends, so I foolishly answered.  Fortunately, I'd established a neutral and passive tone with her from the last time and continuing that stance kept her at a distance.  We've been advised not to upset her cause she's still got some books and CDs checked out on her questionably acquired library card.  But I did notice, assuming the campus police are telling the truth, that whenever she told a lie, she'd preface it with an "OK"--for example, "OK, so I'm really a visiting scholar, and OK, so I don't know why they called the cops on me."  It was kinda chilling.  She tried to get me to check out materials for her under my card, but I didnít fall for that trick.

Cause I'm not worthy to be in her league of smoke and mirrors.  Sure, I've lied here and there, but nothing on the level of her infamy.  I mean, I felt really self conscious about pretending to not know about her illustrious background during our last phone conversation--I tried my best to not say too much in fear of her figuring me out.  And yeah, I understand the moral boundaries, but I gotta admire anyone who can keep up a charade for that long.  Not to get too philosophical, but everyone's a fake on some level, so I won't jump to any condemning conclusions.  Afterall, most of us pretend that some of us aren't great.

(9.19.07)

Here's an addendum to OUT ON A LIM 9.14.07: I received
Swallowtail Butterfly two days ago.  I watched it yesterday.  And today I ordered the CD Montage by the Yen Town Band.

Here's an addendum to OUT ON A LIM 9.12.07: Well, I guess the fraudulent charges on my credit card were real.  Today my new credit card arrived--I doubt a scammer would go to the trouble of sending me a replacement.

Here's another addendum to OUT ON A LIM 9.14.07: My Walkman hasn't come in yet.  Meanwhile, I tried walking with my old portable CD player.  It kept skipping ridiculously--shock resistant, my ass.  I now understand why MP3 players've been adopted by the exercising crowd. 

Here's an addendum to OUT ON A LIM 9.19.07: Elizabeth said that she'd call me today in regards to extending the due dates on her checked out items.  Yesterday she tried to get me to check them out for her under my name, which I flat out refused and expressed suspicion on her sketchy behaviour.  OK, so she really needs this research material, and she said that she'd call me so I could transfer her to the circulation head tomorrow.  She never did.

Here's yet another addendum to OUT ON A LIM 9.14.07: Next on my Netflix queue is
Kekko Kamen.  Like Kyuti Hani, it's yet another live action version of a horndog anime.  This time it's about a super heroine who's dressed only in a red mask, red gloves, and red boots.  Yeah, she's pretty much naked.  Yeah, I can't wait for her to come.

Here's an addendum to OUT ON A LIM 9.11.07: Having watched the new Puffy video a million times, I can't help but notice Yumi's cleavage and her obscene hand gestures.

Here's an addendum to OUT ON A LIM 6.22.07: I saw Kanae at the end of last week.  It was the first time since "80 days until football".  She was in her car as I was waiting for the crosswalk to change.  She seemed busy so I pretended not to notice her.

(9.20.07)
Pacific Palms
City of Industry, CA, 2007
(9.21.07)

I encounter several kinds of bugs on my walking route--armadillidiidae, araneae, and coleoptera.  Lately, heterocera have been flocking my path.

I just realized that Yui's album isn't called
Can't Buy Me Love rather it's correct title is Can't Buy My Love.  I believe her previous album From Me to You created the optical illusion.

The moths seem to flutter away from their luminous lures and find it in their wings to follow me for a block.  Not that I mind, but I don't want to lead them astray.

After a month of fighting traffic, I've decided to double my estimated commute times.  I think it's safe to assume that the roads these days are twice as conjested.

A tour bus pulled up in front of my parents' house.  Out of it came a load of Taiwanese travelers en route to my brother's wedding reception.

Whilst sitting in my car during rush hour, I noticed a modern relative of the delizchala bitterfeldensis.  I daydreamed of projected prehistoric aspirations.

It's my understanding that anyone who claims to be humble isn't so.  Cause a truly humble person wouldn't brag.

The scene from
Swallowtail Butterfly in which the title is elaborated upon is the closet approximation of flight, literally and figuratively, that I've ever seen on film.  I almost forget that the major character is topless and a minor.

(9.24.07)

It ain't no huge plot twist in my life when the first songs that I transfered into my 4GB Walkman (at 352 kbps ATRAC Advanced Lossless) were by my favourite band of all time, Puffy.  I fit their entire discography, including all their B-sides, minus any overlapping English versions and remixes (I think I'm only missing two cover songs that they recorded for tribute albums)--a total of 126 tracks.  I've got plenty of space left for their future albums.

Today was the first day that I took my Walkman, which shall henceforth be referred to as my Puffy Walkman, to work.  And it was like I was in heaven.  I walked around campus with their sweet voices in my ears.  I never knew life could be so cool.  It was like Ami and Yumi are at my side at all times. 

I'm not backing down on my initial reason for NOT purchasing a portable MP3 player, namely that I don't like music enough to warrant me listening to it constantly.  I'm still not a big music fan.  However, I believe that I love Puffy better than music.  Cause I think most music is too serious, too self absorbed, too self conscious, too complicated, too self righteous, too ambitious, too real, too important, and too much to be associated with constantly.  Puffy is exactly the opposite.  And that's enough for me.

That being said, I packed in some other tracks into my Puffy Walkman--some Unicorn, Tamio Okudam, and The Blue Hearts.  As well, I put in some other albums that're totally unrelated to Puffy, such as Chihiro Ontisuka, aiko, YUI, Hajime Chitose, Ringo Shiina, Lily Chou-Chou, Mariya Takeuchi, UA, Shunji Iwai, and Ai Otsuka.  The latter's been getting frequently played on my DVD player--her greatest hits CD came with all her corresponding music videos.  Anyways, I like hitting "shuffle".  It's like having a radio station that plays what I want to hear plus a lot of Puffy.

(9.25.07)

The seven henchmen had their own costume trailer.  It was parked last in a row of movie backlot wagons lining the street between the law and architecture buildings on the southeastern side of north campus.  And they each had their own door--for example, "Henchman #1", "Henchman #2", etc.

Yesterday's IMDb quote was from Emmet Ray in
The Sweet and Lowdown--"This is my one day off, I want a talking girl."  I didn't understand its significance until I watched Wandafuru raifu.  There's a character who doesn't speak when she's at work, cause she's only an assistant.  However, she talks when she's not on the job.

I set the volume on my Puffy Walkman at 10 when I'm in the library.  Everywhere else I crank it up to 15.  I think the snooty crowd likes to upgrade their headphones beyond stock.  While I agree that there're better ways to listen to music, I like to be able to hear the outside world.  It adds a level of variability that I want to observe.

Today's IMDb quote is from Jimmy in
The Rookie--"You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball."  I have no expectations.  It does sound like a curve ball, though.  Sometimes I'll read a sentence a million times and still not understand what it means.  Afterwards I simply give up. 

(9.26.07)

Sometimes I feel like everyone's pushing towards some future that's supposedly gonna be better than the present.  Whether it's busying themselves with building their credentials or accumulating mindsets for maximum usage later, I always feel sorry for these people cause they've got so much hope for themselves.  Meanwhile, today is just another stepping stone for them.  It's this ambition that escapes me as I find things perfectly fine as they are.  And I'm not saying that the world ain't a nightmare, but I think there's a fine line between being content with imperfection and greedily striving for improvements.  But that's just my opinion.  And I'm a hypocrite.  Cause just as I slam everyone for having their eyes on some prize that's down the road, I often ignore them as I wait for them to find themselves--instead I should just accept that they're restless.  There is only the now.

Pearl looked like she was protecting herself from an impending storm as she wore the hood of her coat indoors.  "Are you expecting rain?" I mocked.  "It's cold in here," she replied, which I suppose was true if one focused on the temperature.  She told me about her car problems.  A drunk driver crashed into her parked car earlier this summer.  And after getting it fixed, it got smashed again by a valet.  Luckily, she had a sense of humour about her bad luck--she was distracted by the set backs, but not enough to exclude laughing about it all.  After she gets it fixed this time around, she's gonna sell it and get another car entirely.

Based on what Kelly was listening to the other day, I assumed that she was blasting more East German rock.  "No, this is Justin Timberlake," she corrected.  "Sorry," I claimed as I wasn't hip enough to tell the difference.  Actually, I initially thought that she was a little weird for listening to foreign music, but then I realized that my Puffy Walkman is filled with Japanese songs.  I'm not exactly one to talk.

The last time I watched
Hauru no Ugoku Shiro it was on the big screen and dubbed in English.  I recently rewatched it at home in its original language.

This weekend I'm gonna walk to the beach.   

(9.27.07)

I've got three criteria that need to be equally filled for me to fully enjoy a movie.

Proving once again that my mind changes as often as the grains of salt that accompany every word that I spew, despite my honesty at the time of writing, I went and added
Riri Shushu no Subete to my DVD collection.  I watched it again on YouTube (see OUT ON A LIM 8.27.07) at work due to my slow connection at home.  And I was drawn into the haunting visuals, especially the kite suicide sequence.

Number three: cool cinematography

In contrast to my former drug dealer's appreciation of the movie
Harvey (see OUT ON A LIM 8.6.07), namely, whenever he feels sad he watches it to cheer him up, I watch Riri Shushu no Subete whenever I feel happy and need to be brought down to earth.  Besides wanting to hear the sad music in stereo, another reason for my buying the DVD was to be able to watch it in the privacy of my own home.  From the first scene to the last, it's hard for me to keep a dry eye.

Number two: cool soundtrack

Ageha from
Swallowtail Butterfly is also in Riri Shushu no Subete.  She's cute, even though her character gets fucked up, literally.  I'm not one to pick favourite directors, mainly cause I'm not a big film buff, but I'm getting close to declaring Shunji Iwai as a forerunner, if only for his usage of the same actresses.  Arisu from Hana to Arisu is heartbreaking as the kite suicide girl.

Number one: cool chick

I could care less about anything else.

(9.28.07)

"Do you believe in the coincidences?" Jeannette implored.

"Sometimes," I lied.

We were working on a project in the basement, which she often commented reminded her of a morgue due to the dead acoustics.  The popular music collection was being relocated to the depository in order for a spatial renovation of the reading room--those shelves are gonna get knocked down.  So we were manually marking property inscriptions and transcribing accession numbers onto sheet music, filing them in free-standing containers, and sending them off to their next subterranean home.

To kill the peace she accessed her network drive and played a copied CD of renditions of pop hits performed on an antara.  The sonorities of the Andes, albeit cheesed up, eroded the dusty air.  The first track was a chirpy version of "The Sound of Silence".  We began to work only to freak out and put our stamp and pencil down--the first folio that she grabbed was for the music we were concurrently hearing.

"Are these the words?" she wondered as she showed me the lyrics.

"Yeah," I confirmed.

"No because," she disbelieved, "we sing it with other words at church."

"Oh really," I believed.  "I think that's the original text--that is if Paul Simon didn't steal them from somewhere else."

"No because," she explained, "when I was leading the prayer I told everyone to be silent because God speaks to us when we are silent..."

I heard her gulp.

"...and a lady came up to me afterwards," she continued, "and she thanked me because her son is, how do you say?"

"Mute," I supplied the term.

"Yeah, mute," she thanked.  "No because also the man who gave me a ride home, he played this song in his car so I asked if I could make a copy of the CD.  And now I'm looking at the music."

"Wow," I enthused.

"Can I make a copy of the words?" she eyed the photocopier.

"Well," I warned, "legally you're not supposed to, but I'll look the other way."

As she fired up the copy machine, I grabbed the next sheet music from the stacks.  It was titled
666 Popular Fake Song Book.  Rather than bringing it to her attention I kept quiet.

(10.1.07)

Watashi no ashi ga umi no soko o toraete

                                                   -Hajime Chitose

The change in the weather plus my relented laziness permitted me to wash my futon cover.  Because this summer was extraordinarily hot, I sweated a lot, and hence waited til the temperature dropped for me to put the sofa bed's canopy in the laundry--it'd only get smelly again, so why repeat the struggle.  Anyways, it rained this afternoon, which convinced me to clean my futon, but was a concern for my weekend's plan--I wanted to walk to the beach today.

During lunch my taste buds returned.  Ever since I quit smoking I've been anticipating the moment when food'll sideswipe me, like my sense of smell did a month and a half ago--my nose overloaded as it caught up on what I'd missed all these years.  So I was eating a tonkatsu plate.  And the sesame sauce knocked me out.

Last night I watched Iwai's
Love Letter.  From the opening scene, with the super fine Miho Nakayama walking in a brilliantly framed snow shot accompanied by a pleasant piano on the soundtrack, I was hooked--it captures those fateful crisscrossings of happenstance that make relationships so intriguing.  It's another winner from Iwai and another reason to vote for him as my favourite director.  Next up: Picnic.

Puffy's playing a concert in LA in November.  I'm gonna pass on seeing them cause I've seen them before and I don't want to ass anyone out of enjoying their live show who've yet to experience their crazy performances.  Also, I'd like to preserve the time I saw them as the greatest concert I've ever attended.  Sure, they might be better now, but I'm happy with what they've already given to me.  It'd be greedy of me to buy another ticket to heaven.

My G-string unraveled.  I didn't've an extra one so I replaced it with a D-string--it seems I keep busting that gauge.  I'm gonna be housesitting for my boss next week and I intend to bring my guitar.  Nevertheless, I ordered another set of strings.  They probably won't arrive before my stint, but for now I'm just glad that I've got six strings.

Tonight I watched Kurosawa's
Tengoku to Jigoku.  Without a doubt, it's masterfully directed, even though there're hardly any chicks or music in it.  The black and white cinematography is tight.  And the ethical plot is captivating.  I hate to admit it when I fall for the classic reasons for liking a movie cause it's as if critics have determined what to look for as opposed to the audience finding their own personal enjoyment.  But I can't argue with Kurosawa's legendary status as a great filmmaker.

I wouldn't mind seeing Puffy live in Japan.  Cause they play big auditoriums there as opposed to the small clubs here.  And yeah, I prefer intimacy, but the larger venues call for a more exaggerated act.  As well, their interaction is related to the size of the crowd.  Of course that's hypothetical gravy.  I really can't think of any singer that I'm dying to see in concert and haven't before, except perhaps Hajime Chitose.

It took me an hour from my door to the ocean--the downpour passed.  Actually, I my feet didn't touch the water, cause there was a warning sign which stated that contact with the beach is dangerous cause it's been contaminated by a storm drain.  On my way back, I went on an adventure that took me far from the path that I took to the beach--I followed roads that, although seemed to backtrack, took me to corners of my neighbourhood that I'd never find otherwise.  Cause I prefer not to retrace my steps

(10.2.07)

I cancelled my Elfman standing order.  Not that I don't like his film scores anymore, I just didn't really dig his last two albums--
Charlotte's Web and Meet the Robinsons.  Plus I didn't see those movies in the theatre, so my disinterest drifted distinctively during disassociation.  I mean, I hope to hear what zaniness the Maestro's capable of later in his life, but call it a break, disappointment in his current slump, or just his lack of successfully holding my attention whilst the Japanese attack and take control of my entertainment budget.

There's a cool button on the bottom of the Amazon.com webpage that takes you to the .co.jp storefront.  The customer service is awake during my normal hours of leisure and sent me an email requesting me to retry my newly replaced credit card.  Apprently it's OK for me to make purchases at Amazon.co.uk, but it's not good enough for .co.jp.  That's cool cause I've got another card that got approved within a minute after I edited my payment options.  My films of Iwai soundtrack backorder have an estimated date of arrival three days from today.  Them .co.jp's are damn efficient

Included are CDs to fill in the discography that I initially began when I obtained a legal copy of Lily Chou-Chou's long player, followed by the
H & A score.   There are titles that I've yet to watch on DVD--I'm confident that they'll be alright at the very least, afterall the director is a composer, and I trust musicians more than I do any other vocation with my admiration.  In other words, I equate his talent to match actresses with equally matched cinematography and musically matched equations as a worthy subject worth investigating in my Puffy Walkman.

Needless to say it's not cheap to import these items from overseas.  So I diverted funds to cover the extravagance.  But I think it's worth it, cause I'll briefly allow non-Japanese acts some flash drive space, but in general, my policy is to keep the playlists on a strict Japanese-only rotation.  Not that their music is better than any other in the world, I just jive with them more than any other ethnic demographic, namely their seifuku (school girl uniforms)--probably the greatest invention, ever.  In my opinion, those sailor style designs surpass the wheel.

I value my CDs more than I do my DVDs.  I'd rather listen to music than watch a movie.  Cause I can do other things when I've got my Puffy Walkman playing thru headphones, as opposed to being tied to my futon in front of my television set, not to mention the concentration that's involved on my part during paying attention to plot points.  The way I look at it, the DVDs are inspirational viewing material, but the CDs compliment the scenes with my imagination, which ain't usually directly correlated with reality.  I mean, I tend to pretend that I'm a character in a film when I hear the soundtrack, where I can interact with the actresses, oftentimes in interactive action within some demented dimension.

Technically speaking, the Iwai soundtracks feature the piano in a pseudo classical style that I believe captures the fabric of those seifuku.  I certainly don't find any authentic hints of such in Hollywood.  They are here when I hear that music from scenes that displayed widescreen shots of seifuku wearing main characters.  Strangely, most of these films aren't available to rent on Netflix and I've been scouring eBay for Korean editions.  Like I said earlier, I don't mind getting ghetto versions of the films cause I'm not attached to their visual artistry.  But I don't mind watching them repeatedly, if only to relearn their remembered resemblance in realms of restricted resonance.

(10.3.07)

There's a certain furnishings store whose current slogan is "home is the most important place in the world," or something along those party lines.  Whilst I don't value any particular place in the world more important than any other, after all, it's all the same to me, if I were to qualify such, my home is only sometimes the most important place in the world.  Cause it depends on whether or not I'm there--the most important place in the world is wherever I'm at.  I mean, otherwise I wouldn't go anywhere else.  So their motto is right, but it's also wrong.

Circumstances led me to catch the entire live broadcast of the president of Iran's United Nations address.

Normally, I'd've been at work and oblivious to the day's political show business.  And even on my average absences from my office, the chances of me watching television in the afternoon are scarce.  But I was in the waiting room of the car repair shop, which I generally spend asleep in a corner couch.  However, today my usual seat was occupied, as well as most of the other places to bide time, leaving me almost no choice but to lounge by the TV.  Thus began the speech via a translator.

Last night, my car's battery died.  On any other given situation, I'd've waited til the following day to jump start it--call in sick to work, take it to the repair shop, get it checked out, etc.  But I was scheduled to house sit for my boss as she's on vacation for a week.  And I would've brushed off my duties had there been no cats involved.  For their sake, I deemd it imperative for me to, at the very least, get across town, feed them, and clean their litter boxes.  It was midnight and it just so happened to be that I was on the phone with my spiritual advisor when I discovered my standstill.  Fortunately, he's unemployed and had nothing better to do than to help me out.  My car was really dead--I couldn't even get it into neutral.  Hence, it was trapped in my garage and too far to reach for my spiritual advisor's short jumper cables.  So we abandoned it and he graciously drove me to my boss' house to care for the cats.  I returned to my apartment so that I could tend to my car when the rest of the world was awake.

Every diplomatically cloaked word from the president of Iran's mouth (via the translator) was right, but also wrong.

And it got me thinking--as much as religions are stereotypically to blame for conflicts, I don't think it's unreasonable to hold the phrase "home is the most important place in the world' just as responsible.

(10.4.07)
(10.5.07)

My MIDI orchestra comes with a sample of ambient hall noise.  By itself it sounds like background hiss with the occasional scuffling of people who can't sit still.  However, mixed with the MIDI orchestra, the ambient hall noise adds some smoke to the mirror of reality.  Cause the ear is accustomed to hearing background noise, but often filters it out--listen to a recording of classical music, or any live performance for that matter, and the sound of the room and the people in it are usually present.  The music is often the focus of attention, so the background noise is commonly ignored, unless of course it's annoyingly noticeable.  Likewise, remove the background and the foreground can sound fake.  Illusions are about distracting the audience.

I'm reading two books right now.  Well, they're not really books in the conventional sense, rather they're visual media.  The first one is ISBN 1594482640 (
The Magical World of Long Tack Sam) and is a graphic novel about a Chinese vaudevillian.  It's a neat story and is filled with scrapbook clippings from the era.  It's so neat that the actual drawings, which look like a kid's stick figure scribblings, almost go unnoticed.  Cause it's the story that really matters.

I bought a car adapter for my Puffy Walkman.  It's handy, but I'm afraid that it reveals the defects of compressed audio all too well.  Like a good pair of headphones, listening to ATRACs (Sony's version of MP3s) on speakers sound like the sound's been dulled and squashed--in other words, less alive and present.  The audio quality doesn't bother me on cheap headphones, especially when my surroundings intrude.  Cause it's about the actual music and convenience thereof that outweigh the technical compromise.

The other book I'm looking at is ISBN 1861540728 (
Visceral Pleasures).  It's essentially a v23 portfolio--they did album artwork for 4AD.  Back in the day, 4AD was the coolest label.  Along with bands like the Pixies, Cocteau Twins, and Lush, they had a distinct look to their sound.  Obviously, words fall embarrassingly short when I try to describe the graphic designs.  Nevertheless, it's difficult to separate the music from the artwork, which is a compliment to how they complimented each other.  

My Iwai soundtracks arrived.  I've noticed that the scores use a lot of samples.  It took me some getting used to--most Hollywood films hire real orchestras, and it's generally a low budget production that resorts to synthetics.  Plus, I've been spoiled with hearing actual instruments.  But whether or not economics are involved, the aesthetic decision to use electronically simulated sounds seems to fit--there's a "childishness" and "innocence" evoked from a digitally sampled piano that the "mature" and "complex" textures of a real concert grand can't fake.  Besides, listening to these albums on my Puffy Walkman, the difference is negligible.  Ultimately, what matters most is if can relive the movies thru the music.

(10.8.07)

I shook the hand of someone who played on an organ which was once played by Bach.

Last night I had a dream that I saw myself in bed having a dream of myself in bed having a dream of myself, etc.  And the loop produced feedback in the form of instructions from the beyond asking me to contemplate the similarities between an atomic explosion and urination.  The only thing that I can think of is after a zillion years both acts'll be most likely rendered as equally long forgotten.

The chair of the music department held a start of the new school year party for the the faculty and staff to which I was peripherally invited due to my position at the music library.  Alex begged me via email to join her and my engineer in suffering thru the event.  I was shuffling polite rejection phrases in my head as I was about to compose a reply when Kanae changed my mind.   

The day before, I was searching for photographs--I was asked to snap pictures for the library's webpage.  Desperately, I was eyeing the directory that hangs in the hall for textual imagery.  "Henry," Alex called from the other end.  This was the first time seeing her after she got back from her vacation.

I used to poke fun at Kanae cause her name wasn't listed on the directory.  I mean, you gotta be nobody if my name's on that obnoxious sign and you ain't.  Maybe I was jealous cause I didn't want to be on it.  Anyways, as I welcomed Alex back, I noticed Kanae's name on the updated directory.

So pretty much everyone was there.  I mentioned to Alex afterwards that if someone'd nuked the party, UCLA would lose its music department.  But actually, it was a big pissing contest.  Everywhere I turned I heard some professor brag about their past accomplishments, current projects, and future plans.  And behind every person of distinction was their parasite.  During times such as these I'm proud to be a lowly technical services assistant at the library--the object of no one's envy.

I'm only aware of a few of the tensions that brewed beneath the surface of the brushed shoulders, namely some of the controversy regarding names on the directory.  And I can't call anyone out for being a phony, cause I was just as fake in pretending that I had no feelings to hide.  But I guess that's academic.

Nevertheless, the highlight was finally being introduced to Kanae's teacher and shaking his hand.

(10.9.07)

I'm detecting a behavioral pattern on my part having been detective material in my quest for material to question my motivation in the passing motion of the passive invitation that invites my attention to attend the end of sense and sentences.

My night's adventures are coordinated with the contents of my mailbox.  For example, I often watch my Netflix selection on the day it arrives, mail it before I go on my daily walking route, and depending on my inspiration to do something before I go to bed, I'll follow thru on whatever form of self satisfaction I feel like gratifying at the moment.  For futher example, I was expecting the new Puffy CD to arrive tonight, which I plan on putting into my Puffy Walkman, and experiencing for the first time on a Puffy Walk.  Alas, my hopes were crushed as my mailbox contained immediately trash bound advertisements.

I used to take about 30 minutes to complete my walking route.  That's not enough to cover the duration of most albums.  So I've been stretching my stride on the sidewalks to encompass an hour.  I figure that's ample time to accommodate the average CD--give or take 20 minutes.

Today I received an email from the associate curator of the Art Museum of South Texas (located at 1902 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401) about getting involved with a sculpture exhibition.  I replied basically saying that I don't keep up with the scene anymore, leave me the fuck alone.  Cause I've decided after my last confidential gig that I can't work as an artist under monetary conditions.  I mean, that last commission was a greedy job of mine.  I really didn't need it, but I accepted it purely on the basis of getting paid.  Needless to say, it was about as fulfilling for my soul as being a whore who ain't desperate for cash.  Thus, I've decided to only sculpt for kids, per their request, and for free.  Right now I'm making my cousin's kid's favourite cartoon character for him, whom I'll be seeing in Taiwan at the end of the month.  I believe this custom began with Renegade's Tinkerbell.

Some nights include writing an OUT ON A LIM entry, practicing some Unicorn songs on the guitar, playing Bach on a synthetic pipe organ, or retrieving a yellow 2 x 3 plate from my bin of yellow 2 x N plates.

I'm a casual fan of Liszt's piano sonata.  I listened to it the other day on my walking route--I've got a recording that lasts 33 minutes.  And I still don't get it, at least in terms of declaring it worth learning to play.  I've looked at the score, but that's as far as I'll go as far as furthering my appreciation of it.  Personally, I think it's a little too decadent.  Nevertheless, Kanae's teacher asked to see the facsimile edition of the original manuscript.  Of course, I obliged.  After seeing her release her hairdo and flash an eyebrow gesture in plain view and behind his back, respectively, I see no other option.

She wrote a followup to my official dispatch patching up her following thank you note thanking me for staying until late the other night with another night of neverending summer never beginning until some mercy is met in the middle of the nonsense.

(10.10.07)

I got Puffy's new album
Honeycreeper.

Yesterday, my former drug dealer screened a documentary on
Citizen Kane.  I thought it was entertaining, but somehow I couldn't take it seriously.  I mean, it seemed like Orson Welles was a joker, in the best sense of the word.  And I'm sure a lot of the controversy surrounding his masterpiece and the battle with its not so subtle subject, William Randolph Hearst, was real, but I wouldn't past Welles to've milked the myth.  Cause legends aren't anything but publicity.

I can't look at the world the same way after listening to
Honeycreeper.

As well, my former drug dealer mentioned that Radiohead's giving away their next album online.  This was supposed to be "revolutionary".  Whilst I don't doubt their musicianship, I can't help but feel like the free download (with the option to pay) is a marketing stunt.  Although the news didn't hit my demographic, I can see kids eating this story up.  And after all, in show business, it's the attention that counts.

Honeycreeper is the greatest album ever.

(10.11.07)

My engineer and Alex were either watching or editing a video, I couldn't tell, at Stair 7 Studios.  They had the lights down low and I felt like an intruder as I knocked on the open door to signify my entrance, just in case I was interrupting any private business.

"Have you seen Penny?" I frantically asked.

"No," they responded, dreamily.

"She left her wallet in the library," I explained and left them as unbothersome as possible.  "I'll look for her in the practice rooms..."

When I was a kid I used to stay up all night worrying about what'll happen to me after I die.  I kept picturing oblivion and couldn't accept the total absence of my existence.  To help me fall asleep, I'd run as many ideas thru my head as I could gather regarding the afterlife that I could find--heaven, hell, reincarnation, haunting the earth as a ghost, neverending perspectives, it's all a dream, etc.  Most of the time these fancy notions'd put me to sleep, but the possibility of the bleakness of absolute nothingness remained, if only as a suppressed truth in the back of my brain.

I heard Penny's voice in the basement hallways--she was talking to two other girls.  I reminded her that her wallet was upstairs in the library.  She double checked her bag and after confirming my allegation, followed me to retrieve it.  Earlier this week she'd told me that she was returning this quarter as my assistant--she wasn't gonna take the weekend supervisor position.  However, tonight she informed me that she was gonna accept a special collections grant.  So as it stands, she's my former-former-former assistant.  I joked that she'll return and then leave again.

"Your phone number on the directory is wrong," I corrected.

"That's my parents' number," she laughed.

"Well," I advised, "you should fix that."

"Yeah," she agreed.

I'm staying over at my sister's tomorrow.  Her husband's attending a bachelor party and she's gonna be all alone so she asked me to keep her company.  She wants to see the latest Amanda Bynes movie.  Plus some Mexicans are doing her crown molding the following day--my presence is supposed to protect her peace of mind.  She says she'll cook me dinner.  And that's really all it takes to get me to do whatever she commands.

Actually, my assistant Dena and Penny are friends.  Well, at least I've seen photos of them sharing a bunk bed at band camp on Facebook.  I was looking forward to supervising the two of them as they helped me technically process music library stuff.  Oh well.  I told Dena that we should all go bowling someday.  She said that that's a good idea.

I'm not saying that oblivion is a certainty.  But all things being equal, it's just as likely as any other guess, with all due respect to the religions of the world, about the after life.  And my logic was to assume the worse--by expecting my soul to be completely erased from the cosmos, any other possiblity'll be a pleasant surprise.  Hell, even damnation seems better than a definite end.

The commercial has yet to be released (as of this writing), but the new Puffy album has a sticker announcing that one of the tunes ("Closet Full of Love") is to be featured in the Walkman campaign.  It's a little too late to convince me to get one, but cool nevertheless.

Kanae is hilarious.  When she snuck out of my office the other day, she pretended to be a thief, replete with shifty eyes and her arms tightly clinging to her loot.  I wrote an email to her that night to one, tell her that her silliness is amusing, and two, to ask her if she'd like to go to the Puffy concert in November.  Of course, I didn't expect her to accept, cause she's a little too high brow for that kiddy music.  Yet it gave me an excuse to reply to her rejection with an apology for my childish behaviour these past few weeks--ignoring her in broad daylight, being an asshole in general, etc.  And she wrote back, somewhat annoyed with my immaturity, to say that she still remembers what I've been conveniently avoiding, namely the dinner date from the beginning of summer.  I think the best traps are the ones that don't make anyone feel like they're being cornered.

I can look at a score for a Bach fugue and feel the presence of heaven, or at least something that feels holy--it's in the polyphonic equality.  Granted, I'm a freak.  And it doesn't only apply to Bach, but with all the deemed "great artists", it's easy to find an intangible epiphany in their works.  I've been moved to proverbial tears during a Shakespeare play, a Mann novel, an Iwai movie, a Beethoven sonata, a Parker solo, a Beatles song, etc.  But who hasn't?  I think it's harder to find life changing messages in the opposite of art, such as blatantly commercial pop music.  But it's there if you want it to be.

Every song on
Honeycreeper is a killer tune.  However, if I had to break it down, the opening track, Okuda's "Oriental Diamond" is the finest gem--old Puffy fun, yet new.  The other singles, "Kuchibiru Motion" and "Boom Boom Beat" rock.  "Kimi to Ootobai" blazes.  "Youkai Puffy" is pure laughs.  "Island" is totally left field--an Irish melody.  And my head shifted like never before when I heard "Sayonara Summer".

Apparently Kanae's teacher thinks I'm "intelligent".  I hate to break it to him, but my opinion of his smartness drops if he can't figure out how lame I am.  Anyways, she says that he'll be out of town next week and Wednesday is her day off.  As well, she's got Thursday free.  So we're gonna eat sushi on Wednesday night...

Here's what I realized after listening to "Sayonara Summer": oblivion is OK.  And somehow that flattened my fears of the end--I don't care anymore if I completely disappear, am forgotten, and nothing mattered.  Everything is truly wortheless when all purpose is eliminated.  I'm no longer mildly paranoid about the fact that life's got no point.  So be it.

I've never slept so soundly.

Editor's note: I've got several projects that I'm working on right now--this year's Halloween show and some miscellaneous LEGO sculptures for kids.  And I'm going to Taiwan for my brother's second wedding celebration.  In other words, I'm busy and don't've time to keep up with OUT ON A LIM.  My apologies as I'm gonna take the rest of October off.  Sayonara until November...   

(10.12.07)

I've been noticing that birds don't fly at night in my neighbourhood, at least during my walks.  During the day, flocks are often kicking back on the wires or punctuating the blue sky.  Maybe my eyes can't see them in the dark, but I've been squinting in the moonlight for signs of feathers in the air in vain.  The closest I've gotten is mistaking avian shaped shadows and fake Halloween props sitting on fences.  When I took a walk in my sister's neighbourhood, I didn't see any birds there either, however I did meet a rabbit.  And it almost got me lost.  I'd planned to stroll the unfamiliar sidewalks for an hour--my Puffy Walkman was with me and
Honeycreeper plus the B-sides from the singles is about 58 minutes long.  I figured I'd walk for about 24 minutes and then turn around.  But seeing the same Hummer parked by a fire hydrant and recognizing the repeating street names suggested to me that I was walking in circles.  The problem with my sister's neighbourhood is that every street looks identical with not much variation in the architecture.  For a second there I felt like I was trapped in a suburban concentration camp--every block being a nondescript prison cell.  My sister recommended that I take my cellphone with me in the event that I fail to find my way back to her house.  I was about to use it when I saw the community park peeking thru two similar styled homes--it was enough of a landmark for me to regain my bearings.  Anyways, it didn't help that the landscape was flat.  My neighbourhood's also evenly leveled, but the streets are strewn in a perfect grid pattern.  My sister's neighbourhood's got too many curves that either end up nowhere or connect to other roundabout pathways.  You've got to be a real idiot to get lost in my neighbourhood.  Although, I wouldn't mind a few hills--maybe I'll explore further, cause I know it's not totally flat.  Zaggs called me the other night to tell me that he hates walking his dog cause his neighbourhood's got too many hills.  Apparently he's tired of all the ups and downs.  I suppose it's natural to yearn for a change of scenery.  My former drug dealer got a new car.  I was riding in it when he got his first scrape--his rear tire didn't clear the drive thru at El Pollo Loco during an ice cream run.  Needless to say he was pissed off.  My spiritual advisor joined us later and tried to cheer him up by showing off the damage on his vehicle--he had a broken rear view mirror.  My former drug dealer then cheered my spiritual advisor up by showing off the damage on his former car--he had deer dents.  I couldn't compete with their past misfortunes. 

(11.5.07)

Goran hora ne waza to aetan da
                                       -Tokyo Jihen    

I had a dream in which I got shot in the hand.  It was a very vertical dream, I mean, there was a heightened sense of the up and down and not so much the left and right, or horizontal dimension.  I dangled on the edge of cliffs and atop giant monster turtles.  Anyways, a few of my Indian friends and I got arrested on suspicion of software copyright infringement.  As I raised my hands in the air per the request of the police, I caught a bullet in my left palm due to my suspicious oriental affiliations.

I'm addicted to my Puffy Walkman.  My coworkers are annoyed that they can't make small talk with me due to my constant headphone wearage.  I'm so hooked that I've stopped watching TV during dinner.  Instead I eat listening to JPOP on shuffle.  Actually, I've given up on television altogether.  After three strikes, I've struck out the Nissan Rouge, a.k.a.
Heroes--the show seemed to be going nowhere this season.  To be more exact, I got accustomed this summer to not tuning in that when fall came around it felt unnatural to be paying attention to plots and characters.  I watched three episodes and felt unfulfilled especially after the long hiatus.  So I gave up on waiting for something cool to happen.  I'm sure something will (a.k.a. Veronica Mars), but I'd rather listen to my Puffy Walkman than watch TV.  Plus food tastes better without being distracted by commercials that make me feel like shit.  I'll try to watch Lost when it resumes next year, but I'm not gonna be so lenient--after one episode, if I don't feel a "moment", I'm given up on it, too.

Even though my hand was in super pain, I chose to not dignifiy the cops with acknowledging their damage.  Instead I ignored the bullet hole and acted as if nothing'd happened.  When I woke up I found this to be kinda strange--I was pretending that I wasn't hurt in a dream, which wasn't real to begin with, yet I'd convinced myself that I felt no pain.

This year's Halloween show took about a week to compose, give or take the start and stop events of my dinner with Kanae.  It was definitely easier to tackle than last year's hour long extravaganza--this year's show clocks in at about a quarter of that duration.  It's called
Sittin' in a Pumpklin Patch, and is Vince Guaraldiesque in that it deals with The Great Pumpkin (if you're curious, here's the instrumental track).  I tried to keep it simple, writing for piano, bass, drums, string quartet, and xylophone.  The challenge was to keep it rolling with subtle variations.  With the lyrics, I think I pulled it off.  It's a shame that I won't be able to see it performed live.

However, I did wake up with my hand numb from being asleep, so there's some credence to my sensations and disassociation thereof.  But ultimately, it's all in my head, or what I think is my head, if I've really got a head at all.

So Kanae had a last minute recording session last Wedneday.  She offered to retain our scheduled consumption of sushi despite the unknown length of her detainment, so I relented that she ought to concentrate her time on her work and not on me--we can eat the following week. 

I'd presumably resigned to
Honeycreeper being the greatest album of all time.  Almost to the point of not listening to any other music, I mean, every recording artist should give up and accept the fact that they'll never attain the genius of Puffy.  However, I got the latest Tokyo Jihen CD--I'm a devout follower of Her Ringoness.  And it isn't too bad.  Not as mind exploding as Puffy, but the bomb nonetheless.  I sometimes forget that there're other potential perspectives.

This entry was written on 10.15.07.

(11.6.07)

But you will never know just what you want and how the hell to say it
                                                                                               -Puffy

I'm certain that an ATRAC version of Hajime Chitose's song "Haru no Katami" is in my Puffy Walkman.  I mean, I dumped her entire last album
Hanadairo onto it and that song's track six.  And granted I've got about 30 CDs shuffling around (I can still hear Penny's accent making fun of that trivial fact) but I've yet to hear that track come up.  So much so that for kicks I'm playing a little game with the chances of it randomly playing--for example, I wasn't pro or con in terms of hanging out with my former drug dealer on the night before my dinner with Kanae.  Rather than flip a coin, I said "If 'Haru no Katimi' plays on my Puffy Walkman sometime within the distance from where I'm sitting (at the time it was outside of Pauly Pavilion, during my snack break with a lemon pie and a carton of milk) and the loading docks of Schoenberg Hall, I'll phone my former drug dealer with some flimsy excuse as to why I can't get high tonight", such as "I need to put the final touches on the Halloween music that I'm working on," which was my legitimate reason for bailing out on him last week, but would be a lie now that Alan (mastermind of the Halloween show) gave me his blessing on the final version that I sent him last night.  Hey, I've written on OUT ON A LIM that this journal now contains no false details, but I never committed to telling the truth in real life.  Needless to say, "Haru no Katami" didn't contingently come around.  And the chances don't seem to increase over time as I've heard other songs repeated, implying that the randomness resets before every track gets an opportunity to play.

The other day a girl who works the circulation desk was laughing at me during my cage duties--the "cage" is a section of the my music library where we store our newly arrived materials and is appropriately protected from stealing hands, which is how I answered her "What're you doing in there?" question.  Today she was staffing the circulation desk and I returned her wave.  Unfortunately I had to ask "Uh, I'm sorry, but I totally forgot your name."  "Carly," she replied.  I did what I think most kids these days do--wondered if she's on Facebook.  She answered in the affirmative, looked me up, and added me as a friend via the standard confirmation procedure.  Naturally, I accepted.

"Did you see the preview for next week's
Heroes?" my former drug dealer egged, anticipating my excitement based on my well documented love for Veronica Mars.  "Nope, sorry" I honestly acknowledged given that I really was working on Halloween music during its broadcast.  "Well," he didn't argue, "I recorded it--you can watch it tonight."  I did, in a smokey haze that was cloudier than normal given that it's been two weeks since I last got stoned.  And yeah, Veronica Mars was exciting to look at.  I might tune in for just her, if I remember, depending on my state of mind next week...

Cause the way I see it, I'm leaving it up to fate to decide what it will for me.  I'm thru begging for what I think I want from it when it'll just fuck me over with its predetermined will anyways.  I've really got no say in the big scheme of things so there's no point in putting up a fight.  It's as simple as waiting for a song to randomly play on my Puffy Walkman.  If it does, it means I'll do X.  And if it doesn't, I won't do X.  Theoretically, the odds should be relatively dispersed evenly.  Maybe it's with age that happenstance as on option for action becomes appealing.  Cause after a lifetime of pushing when destiny pulls, I'm finding that letting go of my direct involvement in things to be less of a hassle.  The struggle is not worth it, especially when values are arbitrary to begin with.  I'm giving up on proving that I matter.

Even though I've got the right of way, I relinquish it to the cars on my walking route.  Tonight was no exception as I waited an extra beat on the curve as a truck took a ridiculously long stop.  All the while I listened for "Haru no Katami" to show up on shuffle play.  Kanae's been giving me email updates these last few days regarding tomorrow's dinner status.  I might be reading too much into her mixed signals, but I can't decide how I should feel about tomorrow.  So I told myself if "Haru no Katami" plays before today is thru, I guess I should look forward to our dinner, which seems to be gearing up to actually be happening after a prolonged preemption that I originally requested nearly four months ago.  If not, I'll let it all slide as a terrible miscalculation on my part.

I hate how grocery stores move shit around.  I'll get used to seeing my traditional product in its normal shelf space only to find that it's been relocated for some promotional sale.  I'd rather not go looking around for my brand of orange juice when it's highlighted as a special buy this week, so I'll just settle for what's less inconveniently located.  This is probably some trap to get me to switch o a higher priced brand, but whatever man, next week they'll rotate again and I'll be back to my usual brand loyalty.  The change won't kill me.  And I've got the patience to endure these little games.

"Haru no Katami" finally played on my Puffy Walkman tonight an hour before I fell asleep.

(11.7.07)

I've got a bad habit of not realizing that not everyone takes my flippant remarks as meaninglessly as I do.  For example, at my brother's doctorate ceremony, I joked to my sister that she's the least educated sibling in our family.  I'd nearly forgotten about my offhand observation, but she brought it again up, jokingly in the form of a kinda passive aggressive grudge, when she made it a point to point out that her husband didn't've a minor in college, which she's got.  I should've apologized, but laughed it off in a kinda passive aggressive ignorance towards the entire matter.  Another example is that amongst my friends, who're mostly familiar with my private life, the line "lay off the drugs" in reference to mental slips is considered funny, for obvious self-referential reasons.  However, there've been several occasions when I've used that same line in the other contexts, such as amongst acquaintances and co-workers, and either they'd get really upset about my insensitive prying into their personal business, or they'd remind me that they don't take drugs on more than one occasion afterwards.  Depending on their tone, I'll give them a single opportunity to turn the joke around on me, cause that's comedy 101.  But more than once and I'll feel like shit for saying things that they're probably taking way too seriously.

I admit that I'm a horrible storyteller, especially during conversations.  I mean, I don't even try to speak in paragraphs.  Not to mention, I dislike repeating myself, so any stories that I do remember run their course after a few retellings, and then they're wiped from my repertoire.  As well, I really don't know how people'll react to what I've got to say--sometimes I think I get more of kick out of their responses, positive or negative, than they do from my stories.  Cause I like to limit myself to the first person, and I remember plots based on my point of view, which I'm learning is kinda numb to normal human emotions.  So any reminder of how I should've felt during said situations is always welcome.  Case in point, the dead cat story that recently occurred--incidentally, I'm retiring that crazy adventure as of tonight as I'm tired of telling it, regardless of how outrageous it is.  It's time to move on.  Anyways, it seemed to've been a hit.  My engineer said that he felt like he was in a dream as I told him the story, which I can see from his perspective, even though I saw it as how to remain as morally neutral as possible.  I suppose his reaction gave me the confidence to try the story out on Kanae today after dinner.

My eagerness couldn't be hidden as I arrived early at her house--honestly, I thought that they'd be more traffic at 5:30 on Sunset Blvd.  So I sat in her living room as she noisly ran around upstairs getting herself ready.  As we headed out, after she locked her door, she realized that she'd forgotten her keys.  Scrambling around the backside of the house, she cursed the fact that she didn't unlock those potential entryways.  Luckily, her next door neighbour just arrived and was unloading groceries.  She pleaded her case and begged if she could climb from their window onto her roof and into her house via a window that she knew was unlocked.  Her neighbour agreed, with the condition that we figure out how to remove her window's screen door--that's where I came in handy.  So she carefully (later she told me that she got a fright from possibly slipping) crawled from her neighbour's roof onto hers and was able to retrieve her keys.  Although she tried to dwell on the subject during the drive, I told her that it all ended fine, so there was no point in pointing it out to me--after all, I was there.

And for some reason, at that moment, I craved a drink.  Maybe it's cause I've come to associate sushi with sake, but I needed something to promote the upcomming meal and calm my nerves during the drive--she wasn't looking bad sitting in my passenger seat.  So I joking asked if she takes a shot before teaching her class.  She seemed shocked at what I assume she thought was an outlandish remark.  Then I presumed to tell her that it's not uncommon for professors, who most likely have super sized egos, to use alcohol to cope with what they probably see as demeaning jobs.  And somehow she couldn't understand this concept.  I wasn't convinced of her blindness to the depravity of society, so I jokingly called her naive--I mean, really, I thought it was funny that I thought she was pretending to be so ignorant of the possibility of drunk professors.  Later, she reminded me several times that I accused of her such, in so many words.  Oops.

I've got to thank Mandy, one of my former assistants, for introducing me to Sushi Nozawa.  I think it's one of the best digs in town, if only for the legendary Sushi Nazi that mans the bar, in addition to the insanely delicious creations.  Well, I took Kanae there, cause she'd never been.  We got the special, which is whatever the chef wants to make.  Everytime I've eaten there I've done the same--it's sorta like rolling the dice as to what'll be served.  And everytime I've never gotten sea urchin, which is like the jackpot, in my opinion, of sushi dishes.  Tonight we did.  It was heavenly.  Or maybe it was the sake...

After dinner, she fixed elements of a traditional tea ceremony at her house.  There was a pause in the dialogue.  So I proceeded to tell her of the hell that I endured with the dead cat story.  By then I'd practiced the story with others, fiddled with the timeline, and fine tuned the most effective style in which to tell it.  So I had her attention.  And I really enjoyed her response--she said that the story gave her a "chill in her spine".  Sometimes I'm amazed at the seemingly random circumstances that seem to happen to me, and how they all seem to fit together seamlessly.  I mean, I'd like to believe that I experienced the dead cat story specifically so that I could use it on such an occasion.  Of course, I can't predict the future, but the present seems to be OK, given its development from the past.  I believe it was a great night for all.  But please don't take my word too seriously...

(11.8.07)

Gee whiz, it's the 20th anniversary of
The Joshua Tree.  To be honest, it was never love at first listen for me--this was when I was in high school, in the early stages of my long relationship with The Beatles, and really, U2's not in the same league with them, melodywise, which was what my ears paid most attention to at the time.  Plus, talk about trendy, I remember all the cool kids going to see U2 in concert, and I wasn't insecure enough to be a member of the herd, so I never experienced any blind frenzy mixed with adolescent memories that such fans of my generation surely must associate with the album.  Of course, after the mania died, and my appreciation for The Beatles cooled, I started to perceive listen worthy elements in U2--mainly The Edge's guitar.  U2's later lyrics made better sense to me, so I wasn't quoting lines from "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (which I'm still confused about--dude, look for nothing and you'll find what you're looking for...) but I gotta say, that ringing looping ping ponging guitar effect was hypnotic, enough for me to count myself a fan of The Joshua Tree.

So they're releasing commemorative remastered whatnot editions.  Again, I don't recall the album being monumental enough for me to upgrade my CD.  Nevertheless, I listened to the original 1987 mix with the intention of purchasing the 2007 mix if I don't get a chill down my spine--cause if it can't do that, maybe the new version will, thus I should buy it like all the other suckers who've got extra money to spend on redundant products that promise to replace the past with a presently better representation.  And I'm conscious of the "thin" and "digital" sound that audio geeks complain about regarding recordings made in the 80's.  But I figure, if the music is good enough, sound quality shouldn't matter.  That being said, I don't take remastering for granted--The Beatles albums can sound much better than they do, which incidentally were digitally remastered 20 years ago.  And so I took
The Joshua Tree for a stroll on my Puffy Walkman.

By "chill down my spine" I mean there's gotta be a moment during the album when I receive such, which doesn't necessarily mean that the music causes me to pause, but something coincidental must occur to make me feel that twinge of the transcendental.  My eye's've gotta water and this dimension must disappear from my consciousness.  It's like being high, with or without drugs.  And so I heard "Where the Streets Have No Name", which is a great opening track--probably the best in U2's opus, cause it's full of wide expanses and the wandering spirit, as depicted by The Edge's masterful guitar work.  By track three, "With or Without You", I was immersed into their sonic world, but I still awaited that "chill".  Weatherwise, the night was appropriately temperatured for the autumnal season.  And then I felt it.  At the denoument of "Running to Stand Still", I thought I heard birds chirping in the background--I'll never truly know if they were there as the darkness cloaked their existence, and maybe I imagined it, but I distinctly felt a chill down my spine at that moment.  Hence, I won't buy the new 2007 mix.

It was 12:58.  I was looking up the full score of Mozart's third violin concerto for some chick--she needed to learn the solo part, which was for an audition and every piano reduction was check out, so she asked me as I was at the reference desk to find any available edition whilst she went to class.  About an hour ago, Dena, my assistant, came into the library and announced in a voice that wasn't quaint--"I threw up in the shower today so I'm not comming in to work today."  I replied "Ok, get well soon," in between laughs.  She's too hilarious.  Anyways, as I was writing down the call number for the full score of Mozart's third violin concerto, Kanae came into my view.  Last night she kept me at work longer than my clockout time as we discussed Beethoven sonatas in the stacks.  'Did you eat lunch yet," I asked today in Japanese.  "No," she replied.  "Eat lunch with me," I begged, "I get off at 1:00."  "OK," she kindly agreed, "I'll wait 2 minutes."

Coincidentally, I felt a chill down my spine as we walked to the business school's eatery in the unusually summeresque afternoon.  We were passing by Powell and Royce, which I offhandedly mentioned were being renovated after the earthquake when I first came to UCLA, back in 1994.  She stopped and realized that her teacher, who she constantly gushes about at almost every possible juncture, also arrived on campus that same year.  Time froze for a minute, and then we continued to the business school.  I'm assuming it was Jose that called her on her cellphone, cause she seemed annoyed, and I felt like Miguel as I agreed with Juanita's impatience with his intrusion.  Anyways, eating lunch with her, amidst conversations about marriage, deadlines, marijuana, and 50 percent of the notes in a piano reduction being realized on her part, I was absolutely sure that she's my black stallion upon my cube.  My former assistant Penny passed us on our walk back to the music building at the exact moment when we were talking about getting physically beat during piano lessons.  The pain ain't politically correct, but it's arguably the most effective method.   

I'd never eaten at the business school before--I'm grateful for her introducing that part of campus to me, and we're calling it our "secret" spot.  Although, I've been to the business school's library on a photo assignment a few years ago, which fortuitously garnered me a gig next week--we've changed our copy card system (patrons now use their ID cards) and I was asked to shoot a revised picture, which seemed to've snowballed into my name being tossed around as a "photographer", yeah, I know that's beyond ludicrous, but I've been offered jobs to photograph student employees and athletes.  Hey, I'm not complaining, cause I think that of all my miscellaneous talents, photography is the one that's easiest and the least of which I feel guilty for making a buck.  I mean, I know that my photos aren't art, so I've got no personal stake in whoring myself for their sake.

Well, I'll be God damned, 2007 is also the 30th anniversary of
Star Wars and the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper.  However, I find it odd that there's not much of a celebration, at least to my knowledge, of the 10th anniversary of Titanic.  I was expecting some remastered special edition, if not in theatres, on DVD, despite the three disc collector's version that was released in 2005.  Cause, it's the all-time box office champ, Academy Award winning masterpiece, etc.  That being said, I'm not ashamed to say that I love that movie.  I recently watched it again and it's not lost any of its legendary status--yeah, I know everyone thinks it's a bunch of sentimental crap, but I'm a sucker for that shit.  I mean, come on, the goofy love triangle is enough to drive me insane with personally related experience, then and now, cause for lack of a better word, the story is timeless.  Spinal chill deluxe.  And I think the film solidified my anti-rich people stance--I've always been slightly disturbed by the upper class, but after Titanic I can't see them as anything other than a huge joke.  Perhaps it's too early to remember the good ol' days.

(11.9.07)

Two days before I left for Taiwan, I suddenly found myself with three photography assignments.  The first was reasonable, if not expected--the library system switched copy card protocol and needed an updated image for the webpage.  The second was somewhat related, but not predicted on my part--human resources wanted a picture of student employees to lure future recruits.  And the third was totally out of the blue--the associates program asked if I could conduct a photo session with Alterraun Verner, a UCLA football player.

I met up with my research and instructional services contact to discuss payment.  Now, I don't mind charging the university for my photography skills, cause frankly, I've got none, at least in terms of proper training, let alone I've got a cheap camera that could get upgraded if someone paid me to buy a new one.  Anyways, it was agreed upon that I be appointed the official in-house library photographer--my past work for the webpage sealed the deal.  Hey, there're far worse jobs in this world than hired photographer.

The first two assignments were easy--they weren't stretches from what I'd done before for the library.  However, the third was a little bit of a challenge.  I'd never done a photo shoot with a sports figure before.  Hell, I'm so out of tune with that scene that I'm ashamed to not've known who Verner was, especially as everyone buzzed about his spectacular play that won the game over the weekend.  But I was professional about it and trusted happenstance to get the shots that I needed.

Anyways, meeting Verner, who obviously was a dedicated player, I realized how undedicated I am with my skills.  I mean, he puts forth 200 percent, at least in regards to the last game he played.  And here I was some hack photographer taking his portrait.  My doubts about my talents compounded later that day when I dropped off the CD for this year's Halloween show.  Alan, the director, gave me a tour of the set, which'd been knocked down by the wind.  Nevertheless, his enthusiasm was at 200 percent--I felt honoured to hear him describe the show as he envisioned it in his mind.  And there I was some hack composer who'd never taken a single music theory class in his life.  As well, that night, I attended a DMA recital that Kanae accompanied.  Again, here were people working at 200 percent of their ablities.  And I was some hack audience member.

But hanging around all these enthusiastic humans is kinda inspiring.  I may not be recognized as one of the best football players, Halloween show directors, or pianists, but if there were a category for wannabe photographers who compose music on the side and sit in concert halls, I hope to blow away the competition, if only for the fact that no one else is silly enough to spread their hack 600 percent so evenly.

(11.12.07)
(11.13.07)

Last night I watched
Kiraware Matsuko no Issho (English title: Memories of Matsuko).  It's the saddest movie I've seen in a long time.  Despite and diametrically, the rose tinted CGI enhanced cinematography confirmed my view on life--it's meaningless crap, crap, crap, and more crap.  Yet the actress, the excellent Miki Nakatani, as she sang childish songs of hope, kept me cheering thru my tears.  It was like a melancholic technicoloured dream.

I'm well aware of the holes in my blog, especially regarding those people that've crossed my path yet've fallen by the documented wayside, such as the deadly cute stewardess on my transpacific flight and the humourous homeless folk that I met on my morning walks in Taiwan.  I wish I could keep track of everyone I that meet, but alas, sometimes I feel like I say way too much, so perhaps it's best that I let my words remain impressionistic.  Besides, it's my dream.

Today Kanae and I were in attendance at a mutual friend's wedding.  I'd arrived yesterday from my vacation and checked the messages on my voicemail.  Two were from my dad on the day we left reminding me to bring my cellphone charger cause he forgot his--in addition to my watch, I also forgot to heed his request.  Another was from my former drug dealer wondering if I was home.  And another was from our mutual friend who also questioned my whereabouts and if I could attend his wedding in the event that I was in town.  Initially I'dn't plan on fighting my jet lag, but I had a dream that convinced me otherwise.   
       
Lately the visions in my sleep've been lucid.  I mean, I enter my nocturnal fantasy realm every night, but up until recently they've almost taken place in the third person--I'm just another character in my mind's movies.  However, as I slept in my aunt's ninja nook in Kyoto, I somehow regained my own perspective, and felt that mind fucking blend of reality and reverie.  Although, in hindsight, I can see how the day's experiences were influences--my pregnant cousin made me watch her ultrasound video.  And that night, after a cat seemed to snuggle into bed with me, I swear my aunt bit my knuckles with a skeltal mask.  If dreams are real, then I'd glimpsed futuristic themes in my waking world.

The day after arriving in Taiwan, my parents and I waited in the lobby of our hotel for my brother and his wife to pick us up for a tour of the foreign country.  Based on my dad's watch, my brother was late, which wasn't unreasonable given that, according to my mom, he's always behind schedule.  My dad proceeded to entertain me with his recent discovery that the internet is an unreliable source of information.  "No shit," I rolled my eyes.  However, as I tipped him off on the possibility that there is no such thing as the 'truth", he looked away in denial.  An hour later, they arrived.  And as I sat in the backseat of my brother's wife's family's car, I noticed that their clock wasn't right.  "Is that the correct time?" I pointed.  "Yeah," they laughed.  "Dad's watch is an hour early," I remarked.  I'm fairly certain that this slight had some hand in shifting my dreams, both in terms of clarity and temporal displacement.

On the airplane I got bumped up to business class.  This wasn't the first time--I seem to get lucky on every other trip.  My parents were jealous as they sat in economy, both of whom love to insecurely flaunt their Rolexes, yet've never flown above the bottom class.  Meanwhile, I, watcheless and riding in luxury, was living their dream.

I had a hard time finding postcards in Taiwan.  I couldn't find any in Kaohsiung, the major city where my brother's wedding was held.  The only ones that I found were nearly hidden in the back shelves of a souvenir shop behind the restaurant that I ate at in Kenting, which is the southernmost tip of the island.  And even then, I couldn't find the time to write anything as our tour whisked back to Kaohsiung for a shark finned dinner, harbour boat ride, and an early wake up call for the flight to Japan.  That night I had a quick dream of the Autobahn.

I never did send the postcard that I bought in Kenting.  My mom, the poor planner that she is, not only had me land in Tokyo, which is a bullet train ride away from my aunt's home, but had me inconveniently lodge in Kyoto during the final days of my cousin's preganancy.  "There's no speed limit on the Autobahn," my uncle incidentally mentioned.  I felt like an intrusion as I was shuffled between relatives.  And my backpack was left in Nara as I slept like a ninja.  So I improvised and fit as many words as I could onto the back of my aunt's latest exhibition announcement, including how I fulfilled my dream of watching a Japanese movie in a Japanese movie theatre.

Of course at the wedding today, I didn't reveal to Kanae that I sent her a makeshift postcard--I returned before it'll arrive.  However, one day in the library stacks, before I left for Taiwan, she'd explained to me the differences between American and Japanese movie theatres.  Tickets are more expensive and audiences are more mannered in the latter.  "What do you want to do today?" my aunt provided on my second day in Japan.  Well, given that I've been addicted to Japanese movies as of late and she was asking, I answered "I want to see a Japanese movie in a Japanese movie theatre.'  We saw
Jigyaku no Uta (roughly translated: Song of Masochism).  Obviously, it didn't';ve subtitles, but I understood about 90 percent of the northern dialect.  And yeah, tickets are more expensive (about $18) and the audience was more mannered (laughter was covered by hands and everyone sat still until the final credits rolled).  The movie was a perfect dream--it had excellent cinematography, excellent music, and the excellent Miki Nakatani.

Even though it's fairly easy to procure Japanese CDs and DVDs thru the internet, I first handedly purchased Lily Chou-Chou's latest single, the newly released Tamio Okuda tribute album (with Puffy covering "Kenkou"), and
Kiraware Matsuko no Issho.  I listened and watched them in that order when I got home yesterday, after playing the Taiwanese pop music (Jolin and A-Mei) and a Yui single ("Love & Truth') that my brotherís wife and my cousin gave to me, respectively, as gifts.  Maybe it's the jet lag, maybe it's the time folding chronology of Jigyaku no Uta and Kiraware Matsuko no Issho, or maybe it's wishful thinking, but afterwards, I had a dream that projected exactly, down to special postures and spatial positions, today's events so much so that I was compelled to see them thru.

(11.14.07)

As a musician, I'm well aquainted with themes.  They come and go with recognizeable frequency, sometimes variated in inversions and modulations, sometimes handled by different instruments and ranges, and sometimes developed into other themes entirely.  But it's all the same basic idea.  Yet it's an abstract ideal that tries to make neat sense of reality which is concretely messy.  And somehow, I can dig themes in music, cause it's generally an obsessive form of organized thought--I mean, taken out of context, the repetition of themes is a little sick in that it's akin to hearing a crazy person say the same thing over and over again.  So as a high school student studying English literature, I always thought that it was a stretch for books to have themes.  I was like, alright already with the same idea being hammered by authors, life's usually not like that.  And as recently as a few years ago, when I was a judge for the library's annual book collection contest, I found it sorta lame to narrow my criteria to thematic consistency.  I was a firm believer in variety for inconsistency's sake, cause it's a not healthy to focus on one thing, especially when there're other things in this world that might not necessarily fit into defined themes, yet are possibly more significant than we choose to ignore.  Sometimes identifying themes is a circle of self created pattern recognition.

That being said, one of the predominant themes of my trip to Taiwan was babies.  I think I've previously blogged about my ignorance for BMWs until a friend purchased one, and I distinctly conversed with Alex at a party about not being aware of the Ukraine until I met her and her stories of her homeland.  Well, it's the same with infants--I never really paid much attention to them until my recent vacation.  Sure, I know what children are, and some of my friends've had them, but the concept'd never really hit me.  Maybe it's seeing a family member, namely my cousin with her 11 month baby in tow, which drove the idea home--here was a kid related to me.  As well, another cousin and I shared a drink at the hotel's bar one night and his kids kept creeping up into the discussion.  And then I noticed crying babies everywhere I went.  There was one on the plane, another on the train.  Of course, I visited another cousin in Japan, who was pregnant, and I felt like I was in some motif heavy symphony.  As well, everytime I see a kid in a movie, I immediately see them as babies being born.  Now, as far as I know, I'm far away from being a father.  And I'd like to believe that if I can identify the theme, then I've defeated its taking control of my subconscience.  Nevertheless, it'd be cool to be a dad.

(11.15.07)

Hadaka no anata o motto motto shiranai to
                                                        -Tamio Okuda

I live close enough to LAX that it's not impractical for me to take a taxi to and from my departure and arrival terminals.  And I've done so, this last excursion not excluding, nearly every time I've traveled by plane out of city, state, and country.  However, I've gotten accustomed to riding in silence in the back seat as some foreign driver, be they from the Middle East or Africa, barricaded any communication with languages unfamiliar to me.  Not that I mind--I could care less about making small talk with anyone, regardless of their profession or place of origin.  Nevertheless, the taxi driver that dropped me off on the departure level of the international flight terminal was a hoot to chat with, from our drug induced impressions of the music of Morton Subotnick, to America's hypocritical self righteousness regarding genocide, the missed marketing opportunities of Fordham University's initials, and the apolcalyptic colour of the brushfire skies that were laughing at Southern California that day.  I shook his hand as he wished me a pleasant trip.  It was a pleasant surprise.

Yosui Inoue is a famous Japanese singer from the '70s.  Legend has it that he wept when he heard Unicorn's "Yuki ga Furu Machi' and sought out the song's composer, Tamio Okuda, which began their illustrious collaboration.  Of course every Puffy fan knows the rest of the story--Inoue and Okuda cowrote "Asia no Junshin" and music as we know it has never been the same.

Today was my first day back at work after my week and half long vacation.  And whilst I went thru a bit of decompression from the time off, a coworker who took a two year leave of absence had recently returned and rendered my short break meaningless--I can't imagine how the workplace looks and feels for him.  I met him in the basement during my scouting for a Beethoven facsimile for Kanae and picked up where we left off, namely our mockery of Paul McCartney.  It was like old times, two years later, and adjusted for inflation.

After being impressed with a Unicorn's greatest hits CD, I also picked up a two disc collection of Tamio Okuda singles, mainly cause Puffy performs a lot of his songs in concert, and I was curious to hear the original versions.  Obviously no one can compare to Ami and Yumi, even the composer--there's something effortlessly silly about Puffy that escapes all other musicians, who seem to be working towards at least a toe of credibility.  Anyways, of all of Okuda's songs that I've heard, my favourite has to be "The Standard" (spelled upside down), a heavily Beatles influenced tune--imposed minor chords, implied descending lines, Mellotron flutes, and lilting andante drum fills.

"Long time no see," I joked with Kanae, cause technically we didn't meet over the weekend.  I asked her if she saw my photos from Taiwan.  She complained that the first one, which was of a plant in a pot, seemed like it could've been shot anywhere, so no, she didn't look at them.  I told her to stop by my office later, cause I'd retrieved the Beethoven facsimile that she requested.  Although, it seems that there are two editions--one of which she'd already checked out.  Well, I had access to the earlier version, which is probably the same, but maybe not--her eyes are better than mine.  Before then, she fed me a miniature apple.

Yosue Inoue covers "The Standard" on the Tamio Okuda tribute album.  I've never liked his voice--it's too cheesy, with a dragging sentimentality.  And his arrangement is too busy--there're way too many instruments and sounds cluttering the production, be they strings pushing the chords upwards, swooshing noises, and ricocheting pan flutes.  Yet somehow the song's never made me cry before.  Amidst the tame bourgeouis realization, the melody seems to soar moreso than the original's heavy psychedelia, and the song itself hit me with a "fuck it, I'm flying outta here" that leaves the ground way more easily than I could've ever imagined.

I have a hard time distinguishing the colour purple.  Perhaps it's my red/green deficiency, but purple and blue look awfully alike.  So I thought Kanae was drinking a blue boba drink, but according to her it was purple.  After she finished, she ducked into my office, ninja style.  Her main concern was a critical crescendo during the second movement of Op. 111.  And although the 1968 edition of the facsimile is essentially the same as the 1922 printing, the earlier version seems to've been reproduced more faithfully--the smudgey dynamics are much more visible, if not entirely missing from the later, lesser quality copy. 

Tamio Okuda plays "The Standard" in E flat major.  Yosue Inoue plays it in C major.  I play it in G major.

Before I left work, I caught Kanae updating her teaching schedule on her laptop in the reading room.  The word around the music stands, despite my repeated affirmation, caught up with her--I was now officially a hired photographer.  The inertia of my reputation allowed her to double check my photos from Taiwan with established worthiness.  She liked the "colourful" one, even though it was in black and white.

(11.16.07)

I'm not certain of anything, but sometimes I get dangerously close to clinging onto the assumption that this world may not be heaven, however it's most likely not hell due to the fact that my cousin lives in it, too.  I mean, she's as far from what I perceive to be evil as I've ever encountered, thereby simply thinking of her is enough to escape torture, which if this indeed were hell, should not be an option.  Of course, there's the chance that my life's some short tease before the infinite damnation.  Either way, I'm glad that I met my cousin.

This would be a much darker place without her.

She's not only the weakest and skinniest person I know, but also the slowest.  Her sense of time is completely out of sync with society's.  Everyone in our family gets impatient with her dragging ways.  Not that she's lame or disabled, on the contrary, I admire her for following her own pace.  Which is probably why I get along with her.  However, I was a little concerned when she got pregnant.  Not that I don't think she'll be a good mother, rather I can't imagine her tiny frame handling the stress of childbirth.

I've been worrying about her during these last few days.

My mind played back what could possibly be my final memories of her--the curry that only she knows how to cook for me (apples are the secret ingredient), trading Unicorn verses (from the twisted "Daimeiwaku"), watching a video of her sonogram (agreeing that her kid has her husband's nose), and waving goodbye (to her and her belly).  Each of those seemingly meaningless moments can destroy me in the event of her death (the parenthetical details being the kickers).

A tear came to my eye when I heard the good news.

(11.19.07)

Konna toki ni sutoorii wa
Tenkai wo isoganai
Naraba sukoshi machikirenai de iyou
Omoi ni shikaketa wana wo zenbu hazushite
Kizamou donna imi datte kamanai to
Douka takanaru kono mune wo
Kirameku yogisha ni nosete tsutaetai
Shimeshite kasukana aizu de
Chikazuiteiku

                -Chihiro Onitsuka    

I always trip out when the powers that be conspire against my desires to go on power trips.  Not that my confidence gets knocked down, but it'll get built up to the point of fooling me of its omniscience, only to get pointed out that a single knock is all that's needed to stop me from being such a fool.  I used to seek my revenge for this blissful denial, but squeezed the sweetness from those gripes, until all that that remained were sour apologies for my prayers--afterwards, I abandoned those lines of wishful communication.  I don't want anything that's granted as settlements for greed. 

It's been two days since I let the kunoichi escape.  She stole an important manuscript from the vaults which I'm supposed to guard.  But something tells me she'll return it.  Cause this is a trap--nothing escapes my watch.

The pervert police tried to bait me.  Every now and then they pose as innocent teenage girls doing their art project on me.  I've yet to get suckered into their luring pleas for overpleasing correspondence.  I maintain my professional profile, even though I'm not profiting from them.

I got called to meet a human resources officer.  My job description is under question--namely, a possible rewrite of my duties to address my illusionary contributions.  I didn't beg either way, but someone's noticed my work.

Currently, I'm flipping thru
New Design Tokyo.  It's about eight years old--which coincides with the kunoichi's invasion of America.  I'm pretending to research it under the pretense of recreational reading.

The faster I write these blog entries, the further in the past they'll be from the present when they get posted in the future.

(11.20.07)

This is what I'm thankful for.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving   

(11.21.07)

My grandfather was a nationally recognized master of Japanese calligraphy.  I remember him conducting classes in his house as students practiced brush strokes whilst he pointed out what they were doing right or wrong.  After he died, he left a bunch of scrolls with his famous handwriting.  I've got one in my entertainment room.  My mom horded some and they decorate her house in not so humble schemes.  Anyways, I noticed that he liked a certain four character poem, which is replicated on numerous framed scrolls, including the one that I claimed.  Short of the nuances of the artform, it essential says "Drink sake, write a line, and let the cup flow down the river for the next poet."

Back in 1991, my cousin gave me a JPOP single--Chage & Aska's "Say Yes".  It's one of my first exposures to the genre and I gotta admit that I never thought it was anything special.  The B-side is a song called "Kokuhaku".  Of course nearly 16 years later, it all makes sense to me, mainly after building my Japanese vocabulary, my expanded appreciation of JPOP artists, and personal coincidences.  Seemingly at random, it was playing at the CD store that I was browing thru.  It gave me a sense of circular familiarity and the "right place at the right time" vibe.  That's where I bought the DVD
Kiraware Matsuko no Issho.  I've watched that movie four times in the last week.  It's gotten better and sadder with each viewing.  Needless to say, I ordered the soundtrack.  Also, there's a passing plot point that pertains to "Akane".

A lot of Japanese gets lost in written translations, especially names, whereby phonetics are reproduced, but meanings aren't represented.  For instance, "Akane" can be written several ways in Japanese, all of which sound like "Akane", and'll be transcribed as such in English, but the actual definition of the name can only be gathered when the characters are seen.  However, the "Akane" in
Kiraware Matuko no Issho was depicted in katakana, an alphabet, rather than kanji, which are logograms.

I've always told myself that I'd get a better camera once someone pays me for my photography.  I mean, I'm curious about high end equipment, even though I'm perfectly content with my cheap consumer model.  However, if someone else's encouraging me with monetary backing, I'd rather invest in a decent camera than let the checks sit in my savings account.  So I've been researching digital SLRs.  My loyalty to Sony got me interested in their top of the line model.  I ordered it along with a lens that's three times the cost of the camera that I'm currently using.  We'll see how these toys work.  I'm willing to spend some time figuring them out.  That is, like with most of my gear, be it musical instruments and software, I'd rather not read the manual and fool around until I stumble upon my own style.

Actually, I've been taking the hints that I've been getting from circumstance, namely that I should be focusing on photography.  And it's not unreasonable given that I think it's a simple artform--"simple" being the operative word, given that every other hobby of mine's much too complicated for my peace of mind.  I mean, music is cool, but it's got too much baggage, let alone performance and production means, attached to it's self importance.  The simplest form that I can reduce it to is a guitar a voice, and even then, language gets in the way.  And I don't even wanna think about LEGO.  Granted I'm considered a "master", at least by the radio stations and airline magazines that are currently interviewing me, I'm thru with that medium, which is just another consumer product.

Photography is as direct as I can get to communicating my thoughts.  It doesn't take the duration of a musical piece, it doesn't require thousands of tiny toy bricks, and unlike this blog, it can be fairly understood amongst non-English speakers.  And in the digital age, it can be freely distributed in its original format--that is, I don't give a crap about copyrights.  Not that all my other endeavours aren't related.  Cause there's something musical, fabricated from smaller elements, and literary about my approach to photography.  I wouldn't mind being a master photographer.

I read that when trying to quit smoking, one shouldn't drink alcohol.  It's been three months since I've had my last cigarette.  So far sake's not brought on any cravings other than my poetic inspiration...

The girl working at the ramen shop ain't bad looking.

(11.26.07)

Well, today was a shitty day.  It all started when I broke my record time on sudoku by six seconds.  Fuck.  I don't know why my mind's been so acute as of late, when all I want is to forget about my brain.

My lawyer informed me that he solved the Rubik's cube.  Good for him.  Now I don't feel like so much of a freak.

I listened to
How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb on vinyl.  It reminded me of the vast difference between analog and compressed digital audio.  Unfortunately, my record player ain't portable.

I've never been in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship.  I'd rather be alone than be with someone that's available yet distantly incongruent with my personality.  Come to think of it, the majority of my life's been spent without the company of others.  Not that it bothers me, but I do have an affinity towards being alone.  Of course, it's fun to be with another, especially one that's in sync with my ideals, but I think, comming from my perspective, it's a luxury beyond all else.  The way I see it, the default is loneliness--anything in addition to is a bonus.  And needy compromise is not an option.

It's not everyday that my voice's got a scratchy overtone.  Conversely, when I try to sing with it, it's unattainable.  Yet, when I least expect it, it rips thru my vocal chords like an unexpected surprise.  I think it compliments my "fuck you, I'm tired of giving a shit" voice nicely.

The kunoichi gave me some mixed signals.  One, she squinted at me with a look of distrust.  Two, she blared about the virtues of love in public.  Three, she mentioned that her father hates foreigners, including the English alphabet.  And four, she rubbed her eyes when she denied me lunch.  She's confusing me with her confusion.

I had a dream that the past can be relived via memory.  The illusion of time can be destroyed with sufficient remembrances of what's gone before--recreate it in the mind and it'll happen again.  And taken to it's logical conclusion, the present is the future's memory.  Time is a facade.

I've been tuning into the light that bounces off the top of my glasses.  It's blurry, and sometimes duplicates what's in focus, but it's more clearer to me than what my eyes perceive to be reality.  A spark of divided light from a distance appears to be souls dripping in lava instead of traffic being blocked by construction.

Yet, after being not alone, loneliness becomes more apparent.

(11.27.07)

Today, I inadvertently glanced at a digital photograph of the kunoichi and I at a wedding.  Cause the groom misunderstood my easily mistakeable explanation of my ordering a new camera.  He'd just bought a fancy new laptop, so I figured that he's into technological toys, and for small talk, just to keep trench morale positive, I thought he'd like to hear about the money I spent on an SLR and lens.  I'd offered to do his promo shots for free, as an equipment test in preparation for my main goal of taking candids of the kunoichi, but instead I think he interpreted me as saying "Do you have pictures from your wedding?"  I cleared up the miscommunication before he brought up the files, but out of courtesy, asked to see the photos from his and his wife's life changing occasion.  And there we were.  My thoughts focused on a several "what if" scenarios.

Next up on my Netflix queue is
Hula Girls starring the soapy Arisu.  However, it didn't arrive in my mailbox tonight, so instead of watching her dance the aloha boogie, I'm gonna write in my blog.  My toy brick orders, nevertheless, were waiting on my doorstep when I got home from getting stoned at my former drug dealer's presentation of an American perspective WWII miniseries.  I'm building another Anpanman for my other cousin's kid--apparently all Jap kids love that character.  Also, I'm recreating Noe's upright piano for a jazz pianist in NY.  These are part of my "Free Sculptures for Kids" series.  I've yet to give Radar her Tinkerbell...

Originally, I'd thought about writing about the difference between Puffy and Ringo Shiina.  The former being the silly, yet older, goofball singers who happen to rock.  And the latter being the super sexy, yet younger, serious singer who without a doubt rocks.  But they paled in comparison to the mere idea of the kunoichi doing me wrong based on a paranoid flash forward gained from a photo of us at a wedding.  Another potential contrapuntal topic might've been a slight disagreement I've got with my spiritual advisor, namely, he mocked that the spiritual advisor who advised my sister, namely that she was an angel in a previous life--I think that there's a possibility that the charlatans are right and the Dalai Lama is wrong.  Not that I'm correct, I'm just saying, the chance is enough for me to not discount my sister's karmic status.  But even that was not ahead in my head in terms of this journal entry.

I spend equal amounts of time in the presence of so-called geniuses (professors and mathematicians) and social degenerates (drug addicts and the unemployed). 

To take a backward step, it's the camera that's guiding my current frame of fate.  There are three reasons for my revamped interest in photography.  One, the slew of attention I've been getting as a photographer by the university that employs me.  Two, a book with ample money shots of Ami and Yumi celebrating their 10th anniversary as a duo.  And three, the kunoichi--that would be heaven, to manually rotate my swiveling barrel as it trains on her kimono...

I lost my garage key.  The bottle of sake that I drank originally broke.  I keep the key that opens my garage separate from my key chain proper so that I don't've to turn off my engine when I park my car in my apartment complex.  The cashier bagged my plastic bottled barley tea with my glass bottled sake.  I accidentally dropped my garage key in the dark driveway.  The weight of both bottles broke the grocery bag as I lifted it off the checkout counter.  With the aid of my cellphone's illumination and a candle, I found my key in about two minutes.  The store manager replaced my broken bottle of sake with a new one in about two minutes.

But I would have no reason to continue forward if the kunoichi fucked me over.  And so I'd pack up my new camera and bolt it for a the war zone.  I wouldn't start smoking again, cause I made a promise to her dad that that habit's done.  However, I'd stop all associations with music cause that artform is too tied up with her memory.  So I'd forsake my guitar--music won't compensate for her betrayal.  Likewise, I'd leave my Puffy Walkman behind.  I would, though, seek the crappiest situations on earth and shoot them, be it the life and death situations in some Middle Eastern country, the Third World's sex industry, or the beaches of some tropical island.  Anywhere but here.

Sometimes I think the wedding was staged for the purpose of me inadvertently glancing at a digital photograph of us.  Cause she did grill me on my parental status on marital expectations.  And she did wear her hair down--that's an instant knock me outta of my wits move. 

At the end of the day, it isn't necessarily what people say that matters, but what one hears.

(11.28.07)

The fog was heavy tonight.  Otherwise I ought to be able to peer down a dozen blocks along the grid.  But as it was I could only see halfway to the upcomming streets crisscrossing my walk.  The streetlights illuminated the mist in pyramid shaped translucence.  I listened to
Heisei Fuuzoku on my Puffy Walkman.  And somehow the weather enhanced the proximity of the strings--they didn't vanish into the distance.  I burned a copy of the CD for Rehan.

Two days ago I went to Annie's kid's birthday party.  It was a mini high school reunion--Brian, Cindy, and Julie were there.  I noticed that Marie had a fancy camera.  She shoots weddings and whatnot.  I told her that I just bought a new SLR.  Unfortunately only the lens has arrived.  It's kinda lame without the body.  The tacos were good.  I had three beers.  And I hate to say it, but no one really's made any dramatic personality changes in the last 17 years.

Afterwards I picked up my brother and his wife from the airport.  They'd arrived from New York, where they were scouting apartments--they're moving there on account of my brother's new job.  So they returned to Los Angeles for a final farewell to family and friends before they drive their California license plates cross country.  I took them to my sister's house for dinner.  The ribs were yummy.  I had one beer.

I've been getting into the bad habit of falling asleep with the TV on.  Not that I pay much attention to it, rather it's more of a background hum to lull and intertwine with my dreams.  Although I do remember hearing a children's program brainwash kids into the virtues of breakfast--supposedly if you don't eat in the morning you'll be grumpy.  And there was one show in which my friend Eric's friend Julie, who we had sushi with, was being interviewed.

Last week, Alex and my engineer ate at the faculty center.  It's the fanciest eatery on campus.  The menu was filled with filets.  We talked about food fights as a female Asian pianist playing Debussy in the corner.  I self served some soup.  I ordered the salmon, which wasn't bad.  And the deserts were decadent--I had the chocolate cake which was predominantly icing.  We shared a complimentary bottle of wine.    

Yesterday, the kunoichi wrote an email saying that she received the postcard I sent her.  Supposedly she thought I was a "real Japanese person" due to my logogram emulations.  I replied with a laugh and an apology--my strokes are rusty and I had to squeeze my sentences into the makeshift postcard.  Nevertheless, I invited her to my office for some youkan.  I also told her that I bought a pair of jeans from Uniqlo.

(11.29.07)

I totally understand.  If I were selling semi-professional cameras, I'd make sure that the customer signed for it in person upon delivery.  Cause it makes it harder to steal off their doorstep by cutting down the chances of my having to be responsible.  Not that I wouldn't trust my neighbourhood.  Unless the package is obviously labeled to hold an overpriced electronic gadget, I believe that it'll be safe from hands other than mine.  Sure, there's a possibility that it could get swiped if someone took the time to poke their head around the second story corner that hides my front door and guesses that the online bookstore which happens to also sell semi-professional cameras left a nondescript package for anyone that's destitute enough to rob from the modestly meaned apartment dweller.  Hey, if they go thru the trouble, they deserve to have what I don't necessarily need.  However, it was a bummer to've missed the delivery of my semi-professional camera.  The anticipation's killing me.  I was beginning to think that it got snagged by scavengers.  But the note from the postal service assured me otherwise.  Nevertheless, it's kinda like knowing that my new toy's arrived, but not being able to play with it just yet.

The streets of Kaohsiung are filled with scooters and the traffic flows semi-chaotically.  I mean, it's totally different from the rules and regulations that govern the mostly car dominated roads of Los Angeles.  Both locales drive on the right side of the road, but making a left in Taiwan doesn't go by the order of vehicles lined up to turn, such as the direction changing specified lanes in America.  Come to think of it, it actually seems more freer when everyone fends for themselves.  Not to mention, safer--in the four days that I roamed around Taiwan, yeah there was rush hour, but I never saw one accident, whereas every other day someone's crashed and clogged up the 405.  There's something to be said about overprotection when it promotes a more dangerous situation than it supposedly tries to control.  I never wore my seat belt in Taiwan, nor did I worry.  Of course, pedestrians don't've the right of way over there--they've got to watch out for cars, not vice versa.  And accidents still happen, as exhibited by my brother and his wife when a hairpin turn knocked them off their scooter.  Although, they did explain that the Taiwanese emergency health care system ain't as crooked as here.

I shouldn't've invited the kunoichi to my office for some youkan.  Cause I've been jumpy ever since as I keep expecting her to show up.  A co-worker went on vacation and's left me in charge of closing up the library, with or without student help, especially when the holidays've sent most of them outta town.  I don't mind, except that everyone who walks thru the door has an invisible string tied to my nose, pulling me to check to see if it's her.  I did assist a round faced girl who wanted the full score to Dvorak's cello concerto--she seemed to keep my mind off the kunoichi, if for an all to brief moment of losing myself in my job.  I'm kinda ashamed that I caught her name in the circulation records, not the socially accepted reception via conversation.  And before I knew it, I was hallucinating.  Any peripheral resemblance sent me off balance.  I guess it means something when eating my words seems more desireable than their resulting nail biting.  Each disappointment made me realize how entrenched I am in my patience.  Either I'm going insane or she totally understands me.

(11.30.07)

I had a dream that was probably inspired by the movie
Memories of Matsuko in which I found myself in prison.

In reality, I tried to read the name tag on the girl working the sushi stand.

My captors were trying to torture me by depraving me of sleep and food.

I handed her the yellowtail for her to register at the cashier.

I suppose, and I could've been physically and mentally off kilter, that I possessed some kinda secret knowledge.

Before I paid, I added a bottle of apple juice to my order.

I was about to talk, but a disgruntled girl slipped me an apple to settle my desperation.

Her name tag was upside down--it read "Matsuko".

(12.3.07)

Our pa's each own one of the World Trade Centers
For a kiss and a smile I'll give mine all to you

                                                     -Bruce Springsteen

"How's Hermione?" I asked the kunoichi, who due to her lack of a command of the English language, is reading the Rowling books.  Not that I cared much, as I've gotten tired of that character, not to mention the series in general.  But such is small talk.

I used to be a fan of
Born in the U.S.A.  I remember being in junior high and getting duped by the video for "Dancing in the Dark" into buying the cassette from Music Plus.  I listened to that album a lot, although I never did upgrade to the CD--we've got it at work where I've checked it out many times, as well, I bought it on vinyl, but hearing that version is dependant on my vicinity to my record player.  And yeah, I realize that itís a "sellout" album in that I can't take any of the Boss' prior work seriously since it inevitably leads to this commercial success, and everything after, with the exception of the sour Tunnel of Love, is tainted with the bland aftertaste of Born in the U.S.A.  I mean, in this post 9/11 age, the album just sounds ridiculous for all the wrong reasons--ironic patriotism, working class nostalgia, hometowns, glory days, etc.

If it were up to me, I'd never watch another English language movie again.  But as it were, I was bored enough on the plane to Taiwan that I caught the latest Harry Potter movie.  Mind you, I thought the last one was a huge pile of crap, so watching the next chapter is evidence of how desperate I was to kill time.  Well, I wasn't hooked--I really don't give a shit about the main characters anymore.  Even Hermione, who I'd once thought was one of the most beautiful cinematic manifestations, was getting stale.  However, Luna Lovegood wasn't bad looking.

Maybe it's Dylanís fault.  Cause I can't take any other English lyrics seriously after hearing his.  Especially anyone, such as Springsteen, who tries to sound like life's got some meaning.  Please.  And even Dylan sounds too poetic in light of Puffy's abandoned hope.  Give me the lack of pretentiousness over artsy fartsy nonsense anyday.

Luna's a breath of freshness.  She's wide eyed and not as hung up as Hermione.  Of course, I'll admit that I'll someday get tired of her, too, but as it is, I'd rather bask in her silliness than her antithesis' calculated uptightedness, which was entertaining back in the day.  If I were honest I'd've asked the kunoichi about Luna, but since she wasn't up to that junction in the story , I pretended to also be behind, even though the future holds other alternatives, which I'll take. 

(12.4.07)

I woke up to an infomercial about some skincare formula.  That explains why I dreamt about applying anti-aging cream onto my wrinkly face.  After taking a shower that reduced my soap to an unusable slither, I got dressed whilst blasting Bach's BWV 1007 on my stereo.  With a glass of orange juice, I checked my email--a fan letter from Australia.  I really had no plans for the day other than perhaps getting some raw fish for dinner.  I was in the mood for salmon.  A beer wouldn't hurt either.  But before that, I put in an hour of busking some Tokyo Jihen and Tamio Okuda on my bamboo guitar.  My neighbour knocked on my door.  She dropped off two LPs that she wants transferred to CD.  I asked her when she needed them done.  "Whenever," she answered.  I complied.

I wasn't sure if the shipping store was open for business, it being Sunday, but drived by on my way to the Japanese market.  I need to mail the miniature upright piano that I built for some kid in NY.  Yeah, it was closed.  I picked up some dried seaweed, a slab of salmon, and a 12 pack of beer.  The check out girl wasn't bad looking.  I liked the dots on her face.  On my way home I remembered that I'm on my last roll of toilet paper.  And while I'm at it, I'm also on my last stamp.  So I grabbed more of both at the conventional grocery story.  The check out girl there wasn't skinny, but friendly nonetheless.  "Did you find everything that you were looking for?" she probed.  Besides her weight, I couldn't complain.  The music playing in my car during these errands was Bach's BWV 1027-1029.

As I cooked some rice, I helped myself to a couple of cold beers, and continued strumming JPOP tunes on my bamboo guitar.  And then I remembered that Sunday is when my friends usually go bowling.  I called them up--some were going, some weren't.  Renegade was, so I decided to show up with her Tinkerbell sculpture.  The rice was ready just as I got a buzz.  I looked at the clock.  It was still a good two and half hours before we were gonna roll.  That's plenty of time for me to sober up.  But first I ate my dinner, with another beer, and Bach's BWV 1008 in my ears.  I took an early walk, cause I figure after I get home from bowling, I probably won't be in the mood to go strolling.  I timed it so that I heard Beethoven's Op. 127 in its entirety plus Bank Band's "to U".

Traffic was clear as
Goraku transmitted from my Puffy Walkman into my car stereo.  I bowled a 173 the first game, 141 the second.  Renegade was infatuated with some hiphop dance which she demonstrated between frames.  She also brought along her Mr. Hankey ornament, which was about the same size as Tinkerbell.  They made a cute couple.  Afterwards, I had some ice cream at JM's house.  He got me caught up with Black Francis' latest recordings.  I drove home with Heisei Fuuzoku shooting me down the mostly empty except for the occasional delivery truck lanes.

I wrote this entry as I listened to the soundtrack to
Jigyaku no Uta.  I think I'm gonna be "sick" tomorrow.  Cause UPS is gonna make their third and final attempt to hand me my new camera.  Sure, they'll hold it for me if they miss me, but I'm eager to play with it.  I got a gig the weekend following next.  As well, I'll probably need to rig it with accessories--memory cards, battery packs, etc.  I didn't pre-order these things cause I wasn't sure what to get.  I can go to the local electronics store after I ship off the miniature upright piano.  I think I'll put Beethoven's Op. 130 (including Op. 133) on my playlist for tomorrow.  And the cute ramen girl ain't gonna be missed.   

(12.5.07)
(12.6.07)

I remember the first time that I discovered fake reverb.  There was a kid named Glen in my second year of high school French class that played the electric guitar.  I was a self proclaimed rock star, so he invited himself over to my house with his gear.  Nevermind that he was technically a better player--I never, and still don't, give a crap about technique, and will always favour anyone who plays without conforming to the standard practices of the day, which seem to fluctuate anyways.  Glen had a fancy jazz guitar--a hollow body.  At the time, I had a piece of shit Sears solid body that I plugged into my tiny Casio synth amp.  He had a giant Fender amp.  And it had reverb.  From that day on, I couldn't not hear the simulated echo effect, even if it was real.  I suddenly was aware of the concept of distance in terms of sound--the original source would bounce off another, and the delay would be transfixed in my attention.  Immediately, I saved up the money that I made from tutoring geometry students and bought a reverb box from Radio Shack.  Looking back, it wasn't the greatest unit, I mean, later I got professional rack mounts that blew it away, but I couldn't resist drenching my recordings in what I thought was better than nothing.  Of course, after a while, I got conservative with my application of reverb--I'm more into making it sound transparent whereby it ain't obvious, but noticeable when absent.  However, I once did a test recording with my engineer in the organ studio with natural reverb.  I can't explain it, but it's something that electronics can't faithfully mimic.

I remember the first time that I discovered fake blur.  My sister was giving me lessons in Photoshop and I got carried away with the effects, namely the gausian and motion blurs.  Along with the brightness and contrast adjustments, I thought that those made the application worthwhile.  Needless to say, I blurred everything I could.  This was before I knew anything about depth of field--the concept of separating subjects with focus was, to me, like pushing things backwards and forwards in a sound mix with reverb.  Anyways, when I got my first digital camera, my experience with Photoshop encouraged me to apply blurs.  Thus, in nearly all of my photographs, the depth of fields aren't real.  Which isn't to say that I didn't try to create the illusion of reality as I studied where blurs could occur.  Not that I learned anything about optics and focal rations, but like my untrained approach to music, I prefer my photographs to feel like they belong to some dimensional space--a sense of foreground vs. background.  Of course, my cheap camera never could achieve what my eyes saw.  And it wasn't until I played around with a semi-professional lens that I realized how real blurs work.  Actually, it's less work for me in post production, as I set the focus when I take the picture--I don't've to Photoshop the blurs.  Sure, blurs are standard practice in modern photography, but the way I look at it, I've got an unconventional appreciation of depth of field as I spent years electronically mugging it.  Again, it's something that computer programs can't truly impersonate. 

(12.7.07)

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Out On a Lim (12.10.07 - 3.26.08)

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