|Out On a Lim|
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|Out On a Lim (5.18.04 - 8.31.04) >>|
|I attended a Raas-Garba.
As the story goes, Shri Krishna, the divine love, dynamically expanded into Krishna and Radha--the compatible roles of male and female, who when connected, express the transcendental exchange of love. Krishna was the eighth incarnation of Vishnu and was born in Mathura some 3000 years ago. He was seductively admired by the gopis (cowgirls) for his big lotus eyes, soft blue complexion, and kickass flute playing. Even though the cutest gopi Radha was married, she couldn't resist Krishna's charms. Cheating and shame be damned, cause Radha's love for Krishna was all compelling, she worshipped him via consummation of passion. He let her have her way. And in doing so, he experienced the best gopi action ever--after all, they shared the same soul. Krishna and Radha liked to dance the Raas--a circle dance involving dandiyas (sticks). Thesedays, the Raas has become a folk tradition, often danced at wedding celebrations.
After a few rounds, I sat down and took the above photograph. Note the dandiyas on the table.
I can't remember which. It was either Xmas or her birthday when my dad gave my mom a giant present. She was, of course, wildly excited. But after opening it, she discovered another present within. We all laughed as she unwrapped it to find another present. And another and another. She started to get annoyed, yet curious. Continuously, the gift shrank until all that was left was a small box. Inside was a ring. Whatever the occasion, I'll always remember that gift as a happy example of my dad's romantic sense of humour towards my mom.
Anyways, happy birthday, Mom.
I entered a room. A party was ensuing. Balloons and the smell of alcohol. Girls.
"Hi Henry," Christina Aguilera (circa "Genie in a Bottle") smiled. I was surprised she knew my name, but I wasn't gonna ask any howabouts. She took my hand. And all I could think was, wow, I'm holding Christina Aguilera's hand. I was floating on the buzz that she picked me out of all the other blokes in the room to hang with. This couldn't be real.
We stepped outside. The Hollywood freeway spied us during twilight rush hour from below. Hot coals glowed on the ground, depicting a pathway down the hill. I recognized other famous chicks romping around me, but I held Christina's hand tight--I'd rather be with her than no one at all, than to take my chances with someone prettier.
Every tree had a television set carved into its trunk. Indian pottery was abundant. Christina wore black thigh boots. A continuous stream of unconscious inducing chemicals coursed thru my diasappearing brain. I looked thru the pinhole in the sky...
I passed out.
"Where the hell am I?" I asked the cute punk nurse attending me back to an awakening state.
"You're back home," she comforted. "You were just having a dream."
I knew her name was Krush. And we were lovers. There's that initial disorienting minute upon re-entry that confuses the jump in logic, but soon I was glad that that party I was at was only in my mind. Strange how it felt so real. But I was back in New York. I got up and washed my face.
In the studio space, I studied Krush's Indian pottery collection as if I were looking at the artifacts for the first time. On TV, there was a nature program about tree trunks. Krush slipped into some black thigh boots. I took a hit on the bong by the easel.
The windows seemed to be widening. I stared out, but didn't see the view, rather a white light consumed me. I understood on a symmetrical plain of memory how lucky I was to be with Krush. She saved my life. The glow of these thoughts blinded my mind's eye. I was riding the apex of an inverted whirlpool...
I came to at an all-night diner. Across the table, a DJ girl was eating chicken strips.
"Oh man," detailed me, "I just had a weird dream--I was an artist living in New York dreaming I was at a party in Hollywood."
"That's silly," she munched, "you should've been dreaming about me..."
My legs jolted as I woke up in my bed. I was alone, ergo I was really awake.
"I did," I replied.
Editor's note: "Out On a Lim" will be holidaying on Labour Day. The regularly scheduled programming will resume next Tuesday. Banzai.
"Of all the female practitioners of the craft of acting, whether in the lead or supporting role, of whom I recognize as being amongst my semi-serious superlatative fancyings, she's got the most cinematic of foreheads--an emphatic curve, symbolic of the pathos she retains. I prefer it under a mane of dark and dirty unmaintained hair, especially from a profile angle. But straight ahead, 'tis fine, for it bears down with weary weight upon her insouciantly shielding eyes, ever unblinking at the unbelieveable. She's got a gaze that's comforting, hilarious, desperate, and quiet. Like her voice, which hits her overbite before expellation under her upper lip. This upper lip drags her frown, but pulls her smile. However, more importantly, she's one of the few actresses that emotes characters that I can relate with, obviously within the confines of metaphorical empathy. I know what it's like to be mute and awkward. And I know what it's like to have a ridiculously big forehead."
-Henry Lim, on Samantha Morton (Academy Award nominated actress of Sweet and Lowdown and Morvern Callar)
|The Meanwhilers (l-r: Larry McFeurdy, Mike Zaggs, JM Allevato)
Azusa, CA, 2004
photos by Ted Ed Fred
she's always telling ME about
how she can never figure out
whether she likes ME or is scared that i care
that i care
i'm always telling HER about
how i just think she should chill out
cause she won't find ANYONE anywhere who really cares
who really cares
take me with you little girl
we can f o r g e t about what we were talking about
i will give you little girl
something to scream about if only you dream about ME
dream about me
we're always telling US about
with some words and some without
how there can't be ANY POSSIBLE doubt that someone cares
that someone cares
give me something little girl
something to scream about if only i dream about YOU
dream about you
|Tina's henna hands / Ted & Tina / Reception dance floor
Newport Beach, CA, 2004
photos by Henry Lim
"Wow, what are you doing here so early?" is the common reaction amongst my co-workers whenever I show up at the office anytime before noon. A followup question is "Did you not sleep last night?" Cause generally, if I need to be somewhere in the morning, I forego sleep, as it's useless to wake up when I'd normally be going to bed. I've got a surplus of shuteye. I can skip a night or two, no prob.
Today, I had a tutorial on book repair at 10:00. The conservation specialist and her crew came to my library to give me and my boss some pointers on simple bindery fixups--broken hinges, how to tip in pages, taping up cuts (straight and tattered), etc. Cause there's a right way to do these things, according to conservation standards, regarding which types of glues and tape to use. We were given special tools, such as cutting boards, bone files, and scalpels. The hands-on practice was helpful.
I really didn't take a vacation this summer. Not that I needed one. However, Eric invited me to a puzzle party that he's having with a bunch of cute college chicks next month over at his house in Auburn, AL. I think a week off would be fun. So I booked a flight. I mean, cute college chicks is incentive enough.
My engineer returned from his vacation. He stopped by my office as I was about to leave. We talked about upgrading Stair 7 Studios to a computer based recording system. I let him do some research in the library--reading up on the latest software reviews. As the facilities were technically closed, I told him to turn off the lights when he finished.
"Did you take today off?" my neighbour asked--she was taken aback by my presence during normal hours.
"No," I laughed, "I went to work early today."
Larry McFeurdy took the detour.
They closed off the exits onto the 405 off the eastbound 105. As he took Aviation home instead, via La Cienega, he recognized the route--all the taxis use it as the quickest way to LAX, to and from his apartment. But he never took it at night. It looked different in the dark. Dead. Desolate. It demanded his attention.
Rehearsal at JM's house in Azusa was a blast tonight. Pumpkin and Wong were in attendance. Larry and them talked about Seymour's wedding before the pizza, Zaggs, and Ted Ed Fred arrived. The weather was cloudy--there were grey brush smudges on the twilight blue sky when Larry gave Pumpkin a private piano lesson on a Bach prelude, parallel scales, and the heuristic advantage of learning chords. Two medium pizzas and a root beer for $17. Zaggs wore an Amsterdam tshirt. Fred brought his digital video camera.
On the drive home, Larry listened to the latest released remastered Beatles album. He had to turn it down when he noticed the detour sign as he neared the tunnel that spits him onto the southbound 405. Cause his 2 o'clock in the morning autopilot mode was being disrupted. He had to wake up. Otherwise he'd be driving on the wrong side of the road.
After pizza, JM made everyone some kinda coffee concoction--except Larry, he's Coke and cigarettes, thank you. The exclusion made him mentally reread the email he received today from Brian's assistant. She was gonna grab some sushi with him tomorrow...
Fred forgot to turn on his microphone. So everything he shot was minus sound. Luckily, Zaggs captured the rehearsal on his MiniDisc recorder. Imagine stoners trying to sync video with audio playback and you'll get a hilarious picture of their tripped up dilemma when The Meanwhilers tried to watch Fred's footage. There were moments when Larry's mouth matched what he was singing. And there were some that were off by a microsecond. Nevertheless, Fred got some cool angles.
A couple of years ago, Larry made Brian's assistant a record case out of LEGO and gave it to her for Xmas. A few weeks ago, she returned it to Larry, cause it was broken--he had to replace the hinge pieces. He had since fixed it and reminded himself not to forget to bring it when he'll see her tomorrow...
There's construction on Aviation, near Manhattan Beach Blvd. The road is blocked off with striped cones and flashing dividers, with only a single lane permissible. Larry lit a cigarette as he neared his driveway. After the automatic light in his garage shut off, he unloaded his guitar and backpack by the glow of his inhalation. He turned on his computer and connected to the internet, so that he could write in his web journal--about rehearsal, about detours, and about tomorrow...
Yeah, I've been posting photos on "Out On a Lim" lately. I got the idea from Mandy, who's been doing such on her blog. Initially, I didn't want to one, waste disc space on my website, and two, I was concerned that readers with slow internet connections would get impatient whilst the image files loaded. But it just so happens that my host upped my disc space without changing my fees--I've now got 20 times more storage, meaning I've got the luxury to fool around. And I figure by now, most people are, or at least ought to be, accustomed to image heavy sites. So with all due apologies to those still hooked up via modem, here are some photos:
|<< I call this one "Sanity", cause it reminds me of mine, hahaha. But actually, it's the corner of a pillar wherest I take most of my smokebreaks at work.|
|<< This one's called "Lawndale", cause it's a shot of the new Lawndale sign by the 405 at the Inglewood Ave exit. I took it whilst filling gas..|
|I've been goofing off with blue and yellow tinting. There's a b&w photo of Dylan on the cover of the '94 reprinting of his Tarantula that employs partitioned colouring. I like the effect--cool and warm. And it's snazzier than monochrome.
I made Amanda a copy of the Garden State soundtrack. She said that she'll need to recopy it, cause her car stereo doesn't play CDRs--except music specific CDRs, or whatever. Hence, we didn't listen to the album when she drove. Which didn't bother me, as it's been on constant repeat on my playlist. Although, it wouldn've been cool to've heard it with her.
For a while there, whenever I met her she'd donate a Coke to me--she being well aware of my addiction. I'd started to feel like I was being treated like a charity case and wanted to give her something in return. Coincidentally, those LDraw committee members left a case of bottled water in my fridge. And me not being a water drinker whilst Amanda is, I repaid her accordingly. Tonight, she had a 12 pack of Coke in her trunk for me. I forgot to retrieve it.
I like the mellow flow of pop tunes on the Garden State soundtrack--Coldplay, The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, Iron and Wine, Frou Frou, et al. It's been sustaining the buzz I got from the movie. I wish I could say that the CD doesn't remind me of Natalie Portman, but I'd be lying. Well, at least now I can associate it with Amanda, insomuch as she's got a copy of it.
Before I saw the movie, Christina sent me a link to the trailer online--she recommended that I notice Frou Frou's "Let Go". Zaggs dug The Shin's "New Slang" and asked if it was on the soundtrack (yes, it is). Ted and Tina used a remix of Iron and Wine's "Such Great Heights" during their photographic retrospective slideshow at their wedding reception. And Amanda seemed genuinely interested in hearing the soundtrack.
Ok, what goes thru my mind when I'm in the zone, where the soundtrack has spun so frequently that it becomes warmly comfortable, is the timeless tempo of what it must be like to be Natalie's concern--it's light and silly, but immensely powerful. At this precise moment in my life, it's what I imagine love to sound like.
After our sake, hamachi, and rainbow rolls, Amanda and I had a smokebreak in front of the historic Mann's Village theatre in Westwood. Garden State was explicitly displayed on the marquee.
The summer of '88, just before I entered my junior year in high school, the marching band got invited to tour Australia--Sydney, Canberra, and Brisbane (in support of the Expo). We spent two weeks away from our parents. And anyone who knows teenagers ought to know that it was wild and crazy, well as wild and crazy as band nerds can be. Nevertheless, there are infamous tales of everyone getting drunk at loosely chaparoned parties, who hooked up with who, and the consequences thereof. It was an awakening experience, to say the least, where many of the studious geeks let loose--their first taste of alcohol and pent up fun.
At LAX, as we waited in line to board the departing plane, Fred, Juan, and I noticed a pack of cigarettes under the airport seats. We all knowingly nodded at each other. Smoking was bad, therefore we were gonna do it. Plus, none of us had tried it before. So I grabbingly dashed for the pack. And I kid you not, it contained three perfect Lucky Strike cigarettes with our names on them. I stashed it in my carry-on and we vowed to smoke them somewhere in Australia. The flight was painfully long as we kept itching to light up. Which didn't bother me, as it took my mind off Genevieve.
I met her a few years previous, at an orchestra rehearsal. She played flute, I played violin. We spent many a break talking about someday going to high school and how the marching band is so cool. She was going to join. I wanted to follow her wherever she went. Even though violin ain't a marching band instrument, I adapted by convincing the instructor that I could play the xylophone--which I hadn't ever touched before the audition, but magically knew how to play. Well, it's the same as a piano, except you hit the keys with mallets.
After our initial performance at our Australian host school's auditorium, Fred and Juan got impatient as I loaded my xylophone onto the instrument truck.
"Dude, hurry up," Fred insisted.
"Yeah, now's the time to go smoke our cigarettes," Juan informed.
The band was released to spend the rest of the afternoon on freetime. Some kids went to hang out with their host families. Some partied with the host school students. Some took city tours with the supervising parents. Fred, Juan, and I ducked to the field behind the host school and coughed our first choking tokes. We loved it. So much so that we immediately went looking for a store that sold cigarettes. I suppose it was the happenstance of it all, the dangerous rebel aspect, and the commradery. We were gonna be smokers.
Everyone knew who smoked in high school. You could smell them. I remember how Terry reeked whenever he snuck into French class late. You couldn't help but notice Victoria's burnt scent. After Australia, I joined the smokers in the bathroom, behind woodshop, and under the bleachers. However, the thing is, smokers can't smell themselves--the stink gets normalized. Genevieve didn't approve when I smelled like a smoker.
But at that point, I could care less. She had a new boyfriend. I was jealous as hell. And hey, I forgot about her when I inhaled sweet smoke.
The twins Stephanie and Christine joined Fred, Juan, and I in our room at the hotel on the Brisbane coast. They heard we had cigarettes. We sat around a round table, lit up, and laughed alot. The girls were more experienced and taught us how to inhale correctly. To suck the smoke into our lungs and stream it on exhale. And ride the wicked buzz. They showed us some neat ring and curl tricks. Booze was drunk and we all got drunk and schmoozed til we couldn't remember where the hell we were. Oh yeah, Australia...
Genevieve hated it when I flirted with the drill team girls. That's why we weren't talking to each other on the plane.
It's only fair that she decided to get even. Cause as I was losing myself in cigarette clouds, she got friendly with Anthony somewhere in Canberra. I was completely oblivious, insofar as my denial will allow. Fred and Juan tried to get it thru to me that they'd seen Genevieve and Anthony holding hands and macking out on the bus. That I should kick his ass. But somehow, smoking put up a blinding haze between me and reality.
The next thing I knew, we'd broken up.
Sally the Salamander made conveniently sure that my glass never went empty. She was so perpetual--I'd finish a drink and BAM, she'd bust me another. This went on for an hour, inbetween childhood and aspirational stories, side splitting laughter and damn the world tears, until I noticed that the candles crackling with their orange shadows casting the potion pouring out of her hand tipped bottle, blended into the bending walls. The colour in my peripheral vision inverted. I put down my glass, conditioned to expect it to be, as usual, refilled, but she dropped the ball. I felt my blood and soul drain. She denied me.
I'd been addicted to loneliness for the last few years. There's a redemptive quality one aquires whilst spending days on end in the company of one's self. You appreciate the converse, being with others, simply on the basis of prolonged isolation, with memory and imagination convincingly keeping you warm at night. However, it's seductively easy to get trapped in such comfort, to the point whereby you forget what its like to be in the arms of another. Until you meet someone who invites you over.
The beauty of the moment slowly evaporated. The walls relinquished the shadows. I became all too painfully self conscious of my existence as I fell into her couch. She cruelly laughed as she playfully licked her lips. I noticed that neither of us was saying anything, yet I could hear the echoes of our conversation bouncing around in my ears--certain words resonating with delirous hope.
I met her at work. She wore ripped stockings and cussed like a drunk. We knew that we were both condemned to clerical duties in this dimension, so naturally, we hit it off, with the implication being we'd been knocked around in the past and weren't looking for any more trouble. I mean, it could get funky, with us working at the same place and all, especially since there ain't nowhere else in the whole world that offers such a cushy job. It's tempting, but we shouldn't take advantage of the situation. It could be heaven or it could be worse.
But we don't remember being so logical that first night together. We ignited the candles and waded thru our selections from the bar. She was extremely angelic up until she stopped the flow. And then she left the room. I was alone again. Maintaining my grip, I caught my breath trying to escape through my eye sockets. Just as I released, she returned, out of focus, and air flipping her hair. Gravity gave out and I gently loop'd'looped around the room. Her face sharpened--I could see her features come into definition amidst a whirlpool of sour perfume. I felt her before she hit my mouth, and her aftertaste bell curved down my tongue.
I was doing the fetal curl on my futon, lost in a dream about a documentary on the life and times of Mandy, Queen of 31st Century Photographic Surrealism, when my phone rang in the darkness.
"Larry?" Zaggs helloed.
"What's up, dude," I woke up.
"What're you doing?" he continued.
"Uh," I eye rubbed, "I fell asleep on my futon."
"Sorry, man," he delayed his response.
"Nah, dude," I said in my Chinese accent, "'tis cool."
"Really?" he unsured.
"Yeah," I assured, "what's up, dude?"
"Uh," he formulated "aren't you supposed to be at work?"
"What time is it?" I needed more info.
"7pm," he stated.
"Oh, yeah, no," I said as a little sleep zapped down my spine, "I took the day off. My car didn't start--I had to get a new battery."
"Hahaha," Zaggs further analyzed. "That's a good one. Can I tell that excuse to my boss on Thursday?"
"Go ahead," I permitted. "Hey, where are you?"
"I'm at UCLA," he laughed.
"What the hell are you doing over there?" I tripped out, cause on any other day I'd be the one at UCLA and he'd be the one crashed on a couch.
"Rebecca wanted to use the library," he explained.
"Well," I interrupted, "it's actually closed right now. We close at 5pm--summer hours."
"Oh," he brushed his cellphone aside to repeat what I said to his ex-girlfriend or girlfriend--I'm not sure of her current status.
"Sorry, man," I couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Ok," he derided. "See you at rehearsal on Wednesday."
"Wednesday," I agreed.
Sometimes it seems like there are days when everything goes wrong, as if I'm tumbling on the aftershocks of some misfortunate hex. I also sometimes imagine, with fair certainty, that everyone is manifested in everything that they do and happens to them, including what may appear to be nothing of their fault, for we're all riding intricate reflections of ourselves. Like the flu, bad luck spreads amongst the population. And our afflictions signify the states of our souls, even on the most seemingly mundane level--cause spiritually speaking, nothing is superficial.
I noticed something was off kilter the Tuesday before last week's rehearsal.
Last year, before some bowling night, I burned the complete audio soundtrack to The Big Lebowski. I thought my bowling buddies would get a kick out of it whilst we drove to the lanes, since we fully blame that movie for our quest for strikes. So I just took a phono cable from the audio line-out of my dvd player and digitally recorded the classic dialogue. It took two discs.
So anyways, last Tuesday, I was making a copy of the CDs for Zaggs, cause he's a Little Lebowski Urban Achiever. Disc one ripped fine. However, my drive wasn't recognizing disc two. I couldn't even play it. That was weird--I've heard disc two many times before. Luckily, I've got a secondary drive that read and extracted the data.
Really, my car didn't start today.
I was gonna check out the director's cut of THX 1138 on Sunday night. As I flipped my ignition, something wasn't catching. My engine wasn't turning on. I called my sister to see if her boyfriend was car smart. They came over and gave me a jump.
"You need a new battery," was my sister's guess.
"Maybe," her boyfriend lectured, "but it seems like there's some acid leakage on your battery--try scrubbing it off with some baking soda and water."
I kinda trusted my sister's boyfriend more than her, and complied.
I missed the showing, so I figured I'll go to the next one, as I parked my car in my garage. But an hour later, I was stalled again. Rats. This was the very first problem I'd encountered with my automobile since I got it four years ago. I went back into my apartment and reorganized my schedule for the following day--I'll try to wake up early, get my car jumped by my neighbour, take it to the shop, and maybe make it to work by my usual afternoon start time.
"I told you," my sister triumphed. "You needed a new battery."
We were chatting online--I'd just explained to her that I'd gotten a new battery installed at the shop. I woke up around 11am, which is super early for me, although I turned in earlier, too, around 4am instead of my normal 7am. My neighbour helped me start my car and I was at the shop around noon. But it seemed like everyone else was getting their car fixed today as it took four hours for the mechanics to work on the backlog before they got a chance to deduce that I needed a new battery. Thus, I called work to tell 'em my excuse.
On the drive back from the shop, I popped in my disc two of The Big Lebowski. My stereo couldn't read it. Annoying. So when I got home, I burned myself another copy using my secondary drive. I went to my car to test it out. "Phone for you, Dude," faded into my speakers. I was happy.
Insung got hit by a car two weeks ago when he was riding his bike. He's been recovering ever since. He left a message on my machine over the weekend, whilst I was asleep, saying he made some corrections to the credits on his film Donnie's Tree--"music composed by Henry Lim" instead of "musical arrangements by Henry Lim". He made new labels for the dvd, I just needed to pick them up whenevers.
Due to my whacked out bio-rhythm today, I fell asleep on my futon. After I hung up Zagg's call, I rang up Insung to tell him I was going over to pick up the new dvd labels.
"Tough day at work?" he joked as I read my semantically correct credit.
"Oh," I forgot to tell him, "I didn't go to work today--my car didn't start. I had to get a new battery."
"That happened to me, too," he shocked, "on the day before I got in my bike accident."
"Whoa," I remembered, "yeah, you couldn't start your car on that day of the screening."
"Yeah," he warned, "that's what started this whole series of events--I couldn't drive my car so I rode my bike and I got in an accident..."
"Well," I knocked on wood, "here's hoping it don't happen to me. Thanks for the new labels and get well soon."
I went to catch THX 1138 a day late. At least my new disc two of The Big Lebowski works. And my new battery.
Addendum: Bridget's also having car problems. She's been using the rolling start method.
Jenny, the pizza faced pizza delivery girl, wore a thick black belt. I wanted to unbuckle her.
I've decided, at least for now, to make it a habit to take at least one photo per day--for the practice, the challenge, and the boredom.
My sister locked herself out of her apartment (again). She left her keys in her car, which she couldn't get to cause her car was parked in her garage and the key to open the garage was also locked in her car. Her spare car key was in her apartment.
Everyweek I try to learn at least one new song--to get some ideas for my own songs, to use as warm up material before rehearsal with my band, and for the fun of it.
I got a mysterious manila envelope in the mail. Inside was a survey + $2 cash. I was unoffended, so I filled it out honestly.
I broke the B string on my guitar. I replaced it, but also changed the other strings. It was time--they were getting dull.
I had a dream that I threw an empty wine glass across a room. When it smashed on the ground off in the distance, I woke up.
Ted called to tell me that his honeymoon in Cancun was humid and sticky.
I called Teresa from my office as she was stuck in rush hour traffic.
The blonde surfer chick that delivers my mail smiled at me today.
I emailed Jaime asking her if she'd be interested in doing some production design for my upcomming concert.
For dinner, I had leftover pizza.
I've been conditioned to hear the Pixies whenever I drive on the I-5 between LA and San Diego, cause I used to wear out my tapes on my car stereo when I was a student at UCSD, going up and down the coast. There's a certain California surf vibe evoked by the tunes and the scenery. Or maybe it was just perfect college music.
Driving down to UCSD last Tuesday, I probably would've heard the Pixies on the I-5 even if I didn't play their CDs.
JM introduced me to the Pixies, just before we formed a band. I remember my reaction being negative--they didn't make any sense, and I suspect they don't for most upon initial hearing. Cause they're wickedly odd phrased and at the time, obnoxiously dynamic, before such became the fashion. It wasn't til I got to college that the Pixies became one of my favourite bands.
It was JM's idea to bring some Pixies CDs for us to listen to on the drive to UCSD.
I credit the movie Pump Up the Volume with the beginning of my Pixies fascination, as it featured their song "Wave of Mutilation". One of the first things I did when I was a freshman was go to the campus music shop, Assorted Vinyl, to buy the "Here Comes Your Man" single (which has the Pump Up the Volume version of "Wave of Mutilation" on the B-side). I not only replayed it a million times in my dorm room, but I had it stuck in my head for a year, walking to class.
After I parked my car and started to head towards the RIMAC Arena, I caught a whiff of the ole UCSD breeze--a mix of ocean and eucalyptus. And it took me back to those college days, replete with the Pixies in my mental soundtrack.
That freshman year, I read a review in The Guardian (the campus newspaper) for a Pixies concert. They played the Price Center Ballroom. Little did I know that missing that gig, I'd have to wait 14 years later to finally see them perform live at my alma mater.
It was worth it. I can't think of a better time, place, and buddy to've seen the Pixies. It's one of those "going full circle" things. Driving back after the awesome show, I heard the Pixies again.
Dearest readers and subscribers,
I'm gonna be in Auburn, AL for the next five days. I'm attending Eric Harshbarger's Puzzle Party. I'm using my vacation time at work, so I'm considering it to be such. Yeah, that means no "Out On a Lim" entries til I return, unless I get killed in a hurricane or arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a cute minor...
So have a nice break and pray for me.
I gave Samantha the Bantha Girl a light. We'd just made out in the darkend empty abandoned movie theatre, which we'd stumbled upon in this tumble weed town in the middle of somewhere. The tangy smoke was beginning to numb my nostril hairs when we heard some transient awaken from behind the screen. It was a bum who introduced himself as JS Bach, or at least the reincarnation thereof. Although he didn't harm us, rather he just mumbled some delusional manifesto regarding the answers to world peace residing in his harmonic blueprints, we nevertheless were a little self conscious of ourselves invading his shelter.
"I bet he couldn't, in what we rationalize as reality, acknowledge us in any way other than some static in his dream," I tried to logically explain to Samantha as we got back on the freeway and continued to lose ourselves in the Great American Desert.
"What?" she didn't hear a word I said, as she looked out the open window thru her sunglasses.
"Nevermind," I minded.
That's the moment, to my traceable knowledge, when things started to become boring with her. From then on, I kinda piled up the nonsense just to annoy her. And she'd likewise ignore me. To the point where we'd lose any common communicational sense between our divergent dialogues. When it got silly to even try to connect anymore, we split.
But I've never been one to get overly mad over such. It's pointless to betray my balance with something as dull as losing a chance for love. Sometimes I think we're all neutrally content by default. It's just how we fool ourselves into enhancing or denying our happiness that we try to find a better disposition via additive or subtractive contingencies--anything with the illusion of change. When in the ultimate end, after good and evil have taken their courses, it's back to zero for everyone. Alas, 'tis the fear of nothingness and the greed for anything resembling its converse that kills our spirits whilst we're alive.
Yet, there is the danger of becoming too self aware of self awareness. For true neutrality doesn't give a crap either way about one's identity--not to mention, it's nothing worth mentioning about. Perhaps Samantha was right. I should ignore myself.
Four years ago, desperation took hold of me as I got Star Wars Episodes IV-VI on Singapore import VCD. The thinking was the DVDs weren't gonna be released til later and I needed to watch these movies somehow. VHS was an option. However, reading the reviews for the VCDs I figured they'll do--they were cheap and were comparable to VHS. Indeed, with the exception of some nasty pixelation during busy scenes, the VCDs did their job. They kept me entertained, despite being fullscreen editions without 5.1 mixes.
Obviously, I got the DVDs. And gee whiz, they're nice--widescreen and surround. Not to mention, they look really cleaned up. No film scratches betraying their age, rich contrast, and sharp detail. It's as if I'm watching new movies.
I find it hard to be objective, having such a sentimental connection to these films, but some (not all) of the special effects appear more realistc than most computer generated spaceships and whatnot. I wonder what the supposed more visually sophisticated kids think of the old school models and miniatures. To me, the "realism" is achieved thru a sense of mass and gravity--that these spaceships occupy space rather than are virtually superimposed. And maybe it's the real lighting that casts real shadows that creates the more convincing illusion. Also, call me old fashioned, but I think puppet Yoda is cooler than cartoon Yoda.
I can't help but try to think of the entire series as a whole. Visual continuity is gonna be shot to hell what with almost three decades worth of developments in cinematic technology between the first movie (Episode IV) and the last (Episode III). Then again, as Obi-Wan refers to the "dark times" in A New Hope, the universe probably looks appropriately drab--computer generated characters are less prevelant. I can buy this leap in logic, but doubt younger generations will be so forgiving, especially as movies are such a visually dependent medium.
Anyways, I'm glad the pristine DVDs have replaced my crappy VCDs.
I thought I'd hit the jackpot.
There's this girl that I've been off and on trying to track down. Every so often I'd do a search on her name to see if I'd get lucky--the usual Google, People Search, White Pages, etc. For the last ten years I'ven't found much other than alumni sites that have a "?" in her "where are they now" listings. And yeah, I could fork over the investigation fees to get her criminal record and whatnot, but that's creepy. I'd rather do the snooping on my own. I mean, I've got plenty of sleuthing techniques from library school at my disposal. I figure, if I find any info for free, it's meant to be. I'm not one to aggressively prod fate...
So anyways, for some reason, there was a bevy of data available today. I got a trail of addresses that followed her around the country to places where I'm certain she's lived at, such as college towns and her parents' house. Also, I found her correct birthday. There was no doubt of her identity.
And I found her phone number.
But the kicker is she's got a local number--if it's her home number, she supposedly lives in my town, if not very nearby. Same area code. Sure enough, she's currently in my neighbourhood phone book.
I got that rush of excitement which comes from feeling like you're solving a mystery that's been stumping you for so long. Before rational fears could catch up and stall me, I called the number. I didn't have any plan as to what I'd say. I'd just wing it. Sometimes it's better to just ride the windfall. Honestly, I never've given much thought towards what I'd do if indeed I located her again...
"We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service."
I sat in the waiting area of Gate 58 at LAX around 06:30 Thursday morning. I hadn't slept, cause I figured I'd just sleep on the flight. I took a photo of the ceiling. From my seated angle, not to mention my ready to fall asleep mental mode, the shadings created by the embedded lights gave me some sorta abstract comfort--maybe it was the curves. I exaggerated the contrast of the image with some blue and yellow tint.
Most of my recollection of the flight was supplanted by my dozing. And no, I didn't sit by a cute girl--the seat next to me was empty. I woke up three and a half hours later at ATL. I met Eric near baggage claim and ground transport. He mentioned that the last time I visited, it was before 9/11, cause he remembered greeting me at the gate. As well, I previously didn't have a digital camera.
We drove the hour drive down to Auburn. I was rested enough to go get some lunch. We headed downtown and grabbed some BBQ sandwiches. Yeah, it's been about three years since I had a Southern style shredded BBQ pork sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. Afterwards, we wandered the campus--most of which remained the same as I rememebered. Crossing the street, I took a photo of Samford Hall. It's the main landmark of Auburn University. It's a red bricked building, but my camera captures that colour badly--it gets all blooming. So I grayscaled it and added a blue tint. I prefer cloudy skies as they add some random character to a photo, but as I can't control the weather, I had to settle for a clear background. I faked some depth with artificial lighting.
Every Thursday night, Eric and his buddies get together and play games--board games, role playing games, etc. I attended Game Night and played Trans America (a board game based on railroads). It was fun, even though I lost, but I'm blaming the three and half hours of sleep on the plane for hindering my gaming. Everyone was invited to Eric's Puzzle Party on Saturday, so we said "See you on Saturday" as Eric and I headed for Wal Mart to stock up on supplies for the event. I also needed to get some Coke and orange juice for my stay. We stopped by the Firehouse sandwich store to say "hi" to Sarah. She was going out of town for the weekend, so she wasn't gonna be able to make it to the Puzzle Party.
I caught up on my sleep on Friday--waking up sometime around 14:30. Eric was busy finishing the details on puzzles for the party. We spent most of the day lounging. I got bitten by mosquitoes, which was odd given that I normally ain't delicious to bugs. Here's a shot of Eric's roof. Tracy drove down from Huntsville and crashed in the guest room. I didn't mind kicking it on the couch that night as I got to check out some of Eric's DVDs (Bottle Rocket, Fried Green Tomatoes, etc.).
Saturday was the big day. Eric wrote a detailed account of the Puzzle Party on his webpage. I was busy tackling the puzzles so I didn't take too many photos--Lauren, the official photographer, handled the pics that day. It was an intense contest. Everyone was into the puzzles for four grueling, yet fun, hours. Note which team won...
The party was deemed a success, especially as there wasn't much of a mess on Sunday. We drove to Opelika, about a 20 minute drive from Auburn, to have dinner with Eric's parents. They live on a farm, which was challenging to photograph, as animals aren't the most cooperative subjects. Here's the butt of a pony. Nevertheless, I think the shadows were neat in the barn. I got lucky with this shot of a goat. I wanted to get some photos of the chickens, but they were too restless. There was a cool looking birdhouse. Eric's dad let me take this closeup photo of his 1949 Ford tractor. And his mom gave me a tour of her garden, including this fairy fountain.
Lauren stopped by on Monday after her class. We went downtown to grab some lunch at Moe's. She's thinking about getting a gun. I can't speak for the safety of someone as small and defenseless as her, but I found it odd that she's even considering arming herself in Auburn, which to me is the safest place on earth--nobody locks their doors and people are generally friendly. It's my ideal image of Southern hospitality. Case in point, we dropped by Bill's bookstore later that afternoon and chilled, sharing stories of the Puzzle Party and whatnot. And when Dorothy arrived, I almost forgot we were in a place of business. It felt more like hanging out in someone's parlour.
That night, Eric took me to his favourite coffee shop, Taylor's. Lately, he's been a regular there. Puzzle Party attendees Sean and Jimmy were inside studying. Harry, who just got back from Colorado, sat nearby and got filled in on what he missed over the weekend. I had a smokebreak with Samantha outside. My hands aren't steady enough to hold my camera during long shutter exposures under low light, so I put my camera on a handrail and took this nighttime shot of downtown Auburn. It's kinda hit and miss as the composition is determined by wherever I set my camera. But I think it aptly depicts the luck I had in finding a nice little vacation in Auburn.
"No you didn't," Ted cellphoned from his car somewhere stuck in the rush home after work traffic.
"Yeah, I did," I telephoned with my feet on my office desk, "I called her up last night cause she sent me this email whilst I was in Alabama wondering if I'd like to go to her college reunion."
"Are you going?" Ted questioned.
"No," I answered, "I've got to go to a wedding that day."
"Who's wedding?" Ted went off topic.
"My 'cousin', but that's not the point," I highlighted the main idea of this conversation. "The point is I called her."
"Oh yeah," Ted resumed, "go on.....are you going out with her?"
"Well," I admitted, "I kinda sorta was maybe gonna ask her if she'd like to go and see a movie on Friday."
"And?" now Ted was jumping ahead of the story.
Meanwhile, I was instant messaging with Mandy. I asked her how the parade thing she went to over the weekend was. To which, she replied "it was so fun".
"Uh," I splitscreened my attention between the computer and the phone, "but I ended up feeling sorry for her and couldn't find it in my heart to ask her out. I mean, we talked for almost two hours, during which all she kept revolving about was getting married. It's just not fun."
I gave Mandy the link to my archive of photos from Auburn. "Those are seriously awesome," she wrote back.
"Her clock's a tickin'," Ted summarized.
"Tell me about it," I allowed him to elaborate, leaving me space to listen and type.
"I knew this girl," Ted recounted, "we went to law school together. This was way back in San Diego. She was pretty fine back then. And I had this thing for her. But anyways, so I met her recently and she said she had a kid. It was such a hard-on killer."
"Way to go," Mandy congratulated upon reading about my victory at the Puzzle Party.
I heard some girlish footsteps flooring around behind my cubicle. It was Joanna. Gee, I hadn't seen her all summer. She noticed that I was on the phone and escaped. I reminded myself to go bother her after I finish talking with Ted and chatting with Mandy.
"Yup," I agreed with Ted.
I emoticoned a smile to Mandy.
Hmm, Joanna cut her hair.
"I don't know," I incoherented with Ted, "maybe there's a part of me that wants to try and see if things will fly this time around, cause it was nice hearing her voice again, she's got a cute voice, especially when she speaks in Japanese, and I started to remember what I've been trying to forget, like when we used to call love a temple, and how I fucked it all up, but it's like she's trying to grow up to some advertised packaged fantasy of companionship to divert loneliness and insecurities, as if weddings were compromises, when I'm not convinced that my imagination is capable of losing hope in following my dreams, you know, and it's just so damn sad seeing these thirtysomething girls getting pulverized by their self inflicted, albeit biological, desperation and losing their perspective on the pain versus enjoyment quotient of life, plus she kept bringing up her ex-boyfriend, which just added to the humiliation of it all, oh and she even asked if I was seeing anyone right now, I mean, there's a reason why I have a penchant for twentysomething girls, they're not so bitter at the world."
"Gotta go, talk to you later," Mandy winked.
I simultaneously concluded with Ted. After a smokebreak, I swung around Joanna's post and caught up with her giggles. She's thinking about getting a banjo.
Baby Busters, Slacker Generation, Generation Bof, The Thirteenth Generation, Generation X, or whatever the label is for us born in the 1960's and '70s, I understand the convenience of such categorizations, including the self conscious rejection of social and economic generalizations. Yet, it's funny to see the attempts to define us.
I haven't seen Reality Bites since I saw it in the theatre ten years ago. After recently viewing it on laserdisc, I couldn't help but laugh at how seriously it tries to be nonchalantly '90s. It's definitely a caricature of the times, especially for those of us just graduating from college. Nevertheless, for better or worse, despite its pretensious intentions and how it'll be remembered, it sums us up. Cause I think we tried valiently to define ourseleves in the wake of the Baby Boomers, armed with post-modern contradictions. It's our tired sense of forced irony that's sticking as our humourously reluctant catchword identifier and ironically Reality Bites represents us so.
This was 1994. I remember the recession and the anxiety to find a job, the fear of AIDS, the pop culture fetish, the morals of selling out, the pseudo intellectualism passing off as coolness, and the music. Looking back, it's easy to say our worries weren't as catastrophic as they seemed--but every generation goes thru some quarter life paranoia. Cause things work out. Note how there is nary any computers in the world of Reality Bites. The dot.com explosion (and bust) was still off the radar. And that's often credited as our generation's doing.
I also got a kick out of revisiting the cast after a decade's passing. Winona Ryder, the perennial '90s chick, can't escape her current bad press, giving her character a suspicious sympathy. Ben Stiller has become a joke. Ethan Hawke and Janeane Garofalo have taken their personas to abnoxiously bloated conclusions. No one would give a crap if they all made a sequel.
Yeah, there are more acclaimed cinematic expressions of our generation--the films of Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Richard Linklater are toned with our self important outlook, and Fight Club is a worthy coda to the '90s, if not the 20th century. But it's the embarrassing achievements that we can't hide from. I can't speak for the Rebel Without a Cause, The Graduate, The Big Chill, or the Garden State generations, but I'm sure there are details in each portrayal that makes members of those cultural demographics cringe, mostly as time goes on. There's a scene in Reality Bites where the characters do an impromptu sing and dance routine to "My Sharona" at a convenience store. Theoretically, it's supposed to symbolize our generation's effortless sense of fun. But actually, it just desperately wants to be an iconic moment, like the rest of the movie.
It's been the darndest year in terms of cool concerts. Seems like I'm finding myself attending live performances that don't suck more often than not thesedays. And it seems like each one tops the next. Let's see, I started 2004 with tickets to the Grammys, then I went to Coachella, there was the BNL/Alanis show, and of course the Pixies. It can't get any better...
There's nothing like seeing an act in concert for the first time. They might put on more satisfying shows later, but that initial gig is the one that's filled with the pinch me sensation of facing the reality that yes, such and such singer is really real and they're playing in front of me. It's loaded with extra tingles by virtue of the novelty of the moment--you can't go back to not ever seeing them, you either have or haven't.
I've been to concerts of nearly every performer that I'm a super fan of, granted that they're still alive. Hence, prior to this year, I'ven't'd the urge to challenge the law of dimishing returns, cause it's safe to say that I ain't gonna get that same rush of excitement seeing some band that I've already seen.
Well, I've never seen my favourite band, Puffy, in concert. That's always been my dream. The last time they played LA was two years ago. Unfortunately, in a switcheroo twist of circumstances, I was in their home country, Japan, during that show. But yeah, seeing them would fulfill all my concert going desires, period. I'm talking Puffy is perfect--two cute Japanese girls singing crazy fun pop songs. And they're so current, I mean, to me, what they're putting out now exceeds their earlier stuff. They're the crown jewel of acts I'd like to see.
"Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one...Happy New Year!"
Last Sunday, as the final encore at the House of Blues in Hollywood, Puffy filmed a faux New Year segment that'll be aired on Cartoon Network at the appropriate 2005 date. Confetti and balloons dropped onto the audience after the countdown as they rocked a jumping performance of "Joining a Fan Club". A crane with a camera swerved over the celebrating crowd. Maybe you'll be able to spot me. I'm the one with a silly grin. Cause as far as I'm concerned, the year is over. It can't get any better...
This ain't my pillow--it's too limp and thin. And I don't recall having multiple pillows. Wait, yeah, these aren't my sheets either--mine are blue, not white. The sun's entering the room from a disorienting direction. I'm used to seeing the light come at me sideways, not directly over my head. My torso shifts but doesn't feel my accustomed mattress support.
Did it rain last night?
Hilary's got an incredible G-string. I've always admired her discreetly articulated lines. She also has insanely perfect intonation in the upper positions. But it's when she goes down that the real magic begins. Resonantly anchored, she drives me bananas with her sweet growl.
I like the aftermath of rain in LA, at least until the smog refills the air.
My dad sleeps to my mom's right on their bed. Sometimes I wonder which side I'll sleep on next to my darling. My parental archetype will always be in the back of my mind, so it's likely that I'll gravitate towards a similar setup. However, that's just my psychoanaylitical preference. It's really not up to me.
With the rain comes clouds. With the clouds come cool sunsets.
I enjoy doing stereophonic field research, whereby I test my music on other peoples' systems. Per the subjectivity of hearing, everyone's receiver is different--calibrated audio components highlight certain frequency partialities, not to mention acoustical configurations shape the sound in uniquely indigenous ways. Thus, I can listen to my music from another perspective.
My car got soaked in the street. It wasn't parked in my garage last night.
I guest lectured a World Arts and Cultures dance class at UCLA. The professor asked me to speak about the convenience of downloading music. Now, I'm not an expert, and it's most likely that the kids are savier than me about the topic. But I did my best--giving the scientific cons for the inferiority of compressed sample rates, the pros of uploading original compositions for the world to hear, and tight wiring the copyright law. I felt a little out of place. Nevertheless, the cute girls in the front row reassured my authority.
I wonder if it'll rain tomorrow as I woke up in Calandra's bed.
Editor's note: Happy Birthday dad
|Ted Ed Fred incessantly noodled the above riff inbetween Meanwhilers' rehearsals. "I'm writing a song," he'd declare as he'd play it on his bass, a cigarette dangling from his laugh, "and this is the main riff." The band would do a fermata on the final chord to a song--Mike Zaggs filling in the rounds on his toms whilst JM Allevato, Larry McFeurdy, Seymour Greenwood, and Fred rip the concluding triad on their respective strings. McFeurdy would raise his guitar and signal the group to release the ending. To which Fred would afterthoughtfully punch in with his catchy little riff...
That was nine years ago. When The Meanwhilers went their separate ways in '96, Fred joined the party punk band Nicodemus. And after all this time, he's never composed his alleged song beyond the riff. However, it's been preserved on magnetic tape--it can be distinctly heard on The Meanwhilers' impromptu Amygdalectomy album, during the chatter following "Neptunisia", as well as on the countless bootlegs of their practice sessions.
"I want to write an album that sounds like The Meanwhilers," McFeurdy wrote in a press release last fall announcing the plans for his solo album entitled Hacienda Heights. "It'll sound like what I've always imagined us sounding like, had we've continued--but with me playing all the instruments." Unbeknownst to him, he'd record a new track with his old band a year later.
The rumour started here at OUT ON A LIM. At first there was an unconfirmed buzz about an informal Meanwhilers reunion that happened at Greenwood's house around the beginning of 2004. "We may have gotten together and played with just acoustic instruments, but I can't really comment on that," Allevato mentioned when I interviewed him. "There's rumours," likewise, Zaggs leaked, "we'll see what happens--nothing's confirmed yet." And McFeurdy hinted, "Dude, just between you and me...don't print this...but yeah, The Meanwhilers are back."
Greenwood found the sweet spot on the amplifier where feedback occurs. Last weekend, at Allevato's studio, he recorded his contribution to McFeurdy's title track, completing the first official Meanwhilers' tune in nearly a decade. It's an instrumental ode to Hacienda Heights, the band's hometown. All the Meanwhilers are accounted for--Zaggs on drums, Allevato on guitars, McFeurdy on bass and guitars, Fred on tambourine, and Greenwood on auxiliary noise.
"I was listening to Amygdalectomy and took Fred's old riff," McFeurdy explains, "and developed a melody." (see below)
|"Notice how it continues where Fred left off," McFeurdy continues, "I inverted and elaborated upon his riff, supporting it with a descending chord pattern. Of course, the riff segues into and from the melody, cause you can't have a new Meanwhilers track without that infamous riff." Indeed, the riff acts like a chorus, played as octaves on distorted lead guitars by Allevato. McFeurdy's melody, realized on twang inflected guitar by Allevato, hence becomes the wordless verses, which get variated embellished accompaniments. Bridging McFeurdy's take on Fred's riff is an overdriven fanfare-esque intro written by Allevato, which recapitulates under the guitar solo proper (see below).|
|All the while, Zaggs keeps it all together with his beats. "As a nod to the origins of the riff," McFeurdy furthermores, "I play it on bass during the funky fade out. The Meanwhilers were never really a funk band. We were more punk rock than funk. But it fantasizes a direction we might've gone..."
There's a place where everything falls
Everything falls into place
So without further ado, OUT ON A LIM is proud to present the world premiere of Larry McFeurdy's "Hacienda Heights", from the album of the same name, and featuring the newly reunited Meanwhilers.
someday s o o n it'll be ALOHA AGAIN
maybe b a b y we will still be friends
so please be PATIENT
and don't waste your time
waiting for me
i've got y o u burning in MY MIND
when you g o thoughts will stay behind
so look to the FUTURE
and don't waste my time
waiting for you
i'm waiting for you
to tell me to tell you a l o h a again
we've been g o n e longer than IT SEEMS
that's o k cause life is but a dream
and when you WAKE UP
don't waste your time
waiting for me
don't be waiting for me
to tell you to tell me a l o h a again
"Two and a half years," Kimberly, the double ponytailed wedding photographer's assistant divulged during a break in the reception, sometime between the video presentation and the cake cutting ceremony. "You'd think you'd know someone after spending that much time with them."
As I patiently listened to the painful details of her recent breakup, I couldn't stop thinking about the cute violinist who pleasantly entertained the cocktail hour--I pretended to take photos of the trio she played with, but actually I zoomed in on her. She had a nice forehead. And blonde hair.
Kimberly's black hair vanished in the darkness of the terrace which overlooked the palely illuminated golf course. I was having a smokebreak. "I mean, I knew he kept things from me," she countined her blah blah blahing, "but I'm an open book--I told him everything."
I must confess, I don't know how to tie a tie. I kinda just fake it, if that's possible--make it look like I put some effort into it. Also, I've got a personal suspicion that ties are symbolic of submitting oneself to the noose of polite society, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the flock has some positive aspects, like group support and the division of responsiblity, but it ain't me. So I'd rather not bother with learning how to correctly apply the chokehold. However, if I must be appropriately dressed, I keep my tie loose, often with the top button on my shirt unlatched.
"And he was a Buddhist," Kimberly admitted, "I'm a Buddhist, too, so I thought we had things figured out."
I made the mistake of assuming that just because I'm in my photography phase other photographers might be interesting. I bet that violinist was cool...
"Are you a Buddhist?"
"No," I didn't smile back.
Convenience is seductive. Sometimes I wonder how many couples are thrown together because of convenience, be they obligatory, self conscious, over compensating, close proximity, or desperate circumstances. Using dime store psychology techniques, I count the number of vocal ticks and body language signals to get a rough estimatation of how much in denial a couple is of their convenient situation. Even at weddings, when projected image is heightened, somehow the tally comes thru. Brides and grooms included.
I've got a bad habit of mentally listing girls in order of prettiness whenever I'm in a crowd. I scan them, catalog their attributes, shift their standings based on second glances, and pick a winner, so to speak. Yeah, it's juevenille of me, but hey, I need to entertain myself somehow at these pretentious functions. And if I'm lucky, I'll get to talk to the prettiest girl. Tonight, it was that violinst. But it seems she packed up and left after her gig. Next on my list was Kimberly.
"Well, you've just gotta move on," I advised her.
Five years ago, I met Alan in the line for Episode I. He mentioned that every Halloween he puts on a musical show and asked if I'd be interested in composing that year's production. I said "Yeah, sure, why not."
He gave me a rough guide vocal outlining his melodies that he taped on his cassette recorder along with his scripted lyrics for 1999's "Eve of All Hallows" show. From these I derived harmonies and orchestrated the songs in the vein of your traditional Halloween instrumentation--creepy harpsichords, wicked strings, thumping Celtic drums, and an ominous church organ. I patched together the arrangement with my trusty sampler, synth, and drum machine, running thru Pro Tools in the basement of the UCLA Music Library.
The catch was, and this was part of the fun, I had a couple of weeks before showtime on Halloween night. I stayed up most nights writing the background music. It reminded me of film composition. And it was just as rewarding--to see it performed live before a crowd of costumed kids ranks up there as one of my favourite musical memories. They had a fun set design replete with smoke, a giant singing skull, mock tombstones, and jack-o-lanterns everywhere. I was happy to've contributed to the show.
The next four years I continued the tradition, composing new musical numbers for the holiday. 2000's show was a massive 30 minute history lesson on the "2000 Years of Halloween", which was a blast to tackle as it allowed me to mimic the various musical styles thru the ages, everything from medieval to rock'n'roll. The year of 9/11 had us scale down the show due to the shellshock everyone was still feeling. The show was called "Under a Pumpkin Moon" and it paid respect to those we lost that year. For 2002, we did a more upbeat production called "What Halloween Means To Me".
I reluctantly backed out of last year's festivities due to my overbooked schedule. Alas, with this year's traveling, wedding, and Meanwhilers commitments, I couldn't do a show again. Nevertheless, 2004's event will be a retrospective of past shows, including the ones I composed. So if you're in the Westwood area this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, I invite you to come see it at 1902 Midvale Avenue.
"Fuck me," she reminded, "I'm high..."
I think I think too much, cause I couldn't figure out her double entendre. Did she mean she's bummed cause she's realizing what a crappy situation she's in--one that's in constant need of drug induced happiness? Or what I hoped she was suggesting.
She wore her black spiked high heels, the ones that extend her already long legs. I remember the first time she adorned them. I licked the straps til they were shiny. Alas, familiarty breeds something that I can't stand, and those once horny inspiring foot apparel had become commonplace. Cause you can only do the same thing twice before it starts to feel like a repetitive dead end, unless you've got an obsessive fetish problem.
Plus, she's been getting stoned way too often as of late.
But I'd also be more than happy to obey her wish. Cause I've got an imagination--I can trick my mind into believing that we're having fun, even if we're really experiencing the same depressing scenario again and again. I can find new ways to elaborate upon the tired tried and true paths towards releasing the reality based conscious mind. It's essentially what advertisers try to do to their target audience--sell new and improved merchandise with the latest angles and hip perspectives. Only I sell myself to her. Which isn't hard, due to her constant state of intoxication.
Yet, I'm a creature of habit--some bad, some good. For instance, I keep to a routine menu for lunch, usually tuna fish sandwich. But I believe I follow this regime so as to free my mental capacity in order to come up with new variations on the diversional theme. My brain is constantly running. It doesn't have time to stop and decide upon what to wear or eat. Hence, having a patterned schedule set to handle such mundane tasks allows me to keep my thoughts on more exciting ventures going. Like cartographing the multiple dimensions in her timeless hair.
Futhermore, steady habitualness puts me in a trance, which when broken becomes a noticeable surprise. It's these deviations from the norm that open my eyes. An analogy would be breathing--you only pay attention to your respiratory system when something's wrong.
Everynight she'd come over and smoke her self silly.
I resolved her inflected meaning.
I had a dream that The Coca-Cola Company created a new chocolate flavoured version of their famed soft drink. Chocolate Coke has never been a wish of mine, so it was odd that I'd dream of such. Nevertheless, in my dream, I was excited as hell. So much so that I remember running to the store to get my first can. I mean, I was running like I did when I was a kid--super duper fast, any faster and I'd take off flying. I zipped thru the parking lot of the grocery store and headed for the beverage aisle where there were stacks of 12 pack cases in the standard flavours--classic, cherry, vanilla, oh and that diet crap. My eyes desperately searched for the new chocolate Coke, but couldn't find any. I started to get nervous. I mean, I was sweating like I did when I was a kid--kinda like I was all alone, lost in the dark. I dug around the shelves, cause you never know, there might be some hidden in the back. Damn, there was none. I suspected that it had sold out already. I sighed. I mean, I sighed like I did when I was kid--all melancholic and at an utter loss of hope. My mouth was pissed off at me cause I didn't get to try the new taste. But as I walked out the store, I found on the ground a battered brown case of chocolate Coke. It had been pillaged, with all but one can taken from its ripped open packaging. I felt lucky. I mean, lucky like I used feel as a kid--whereupon the best things always seemed unexpected. I bent down to pick up the can as shopping carts swerved around me, their wheels spinning in wobbly orbits. The can was still cold. I wiped the top with my shirt, just to be safe. I popped open the tab and heard that cool burst of carbonated release. And just as I gulped my first guzzle, I woke up. Now I've got a ridiculous desire for chocolate Coke.
Every Friday, from 13:00 to 16:00, I'm on reference desk duty at the UCLA Music Library, whereby I answer patrons' questions. I had two queries in the last half hour--one from someone wondering where the "lost and found" is, and another from someone asking if she can connect to the digital reserves server from her home computer.
I've been questioning whether or not I should double date stamp these journal entries--one to document when an entry gets posted, and another for when it was actually written. For instance, this entry will be posted on (11.3.04), whilst it was written on (10.29.04). Hence, the date stamp would read (11.3.04 / 10.29.04), or something to that organizational effect.
So I'm writing this from the reference desk. It's kinda slow on Friday afternoons--that's kinda why I volunteered for the time slot. Anyways, from my station, I've spied two cute girls in the library--one was a bespectacled redhead who was immersed in a search at the computer terminal, and another was a freckled brunette checking her email.
Off the top of my head, I can think of two positive reasons for double date stamping--one being it'll give a reference point for both me and the reader as to when these entries were really written, and two being it'll keep track of how far or how behind I am in terms of my self imposed writing regiment. Cause sometimes the topical subjects can come off as being out dated by the time I post them. And cause I like to stay at least a week ahead of myself, meaning I ought to have at least five entries waiting in the queue to be posted at all times. This provides me with a goal to maintain, which provides me with the discipline to keep writing. Otherwise, laziness will take over. Double date stamping ought to assist in clarifying these confusing and objective matters in the time space continuum.
Yeah, I'm behind in my writing. My excuse is I've been busy in the studio. Last night I recorded two instruments for my latest song--drums and vocoder. Tonight, if my plans don't get disrupted, I'll be editing these tracks so as to clean up my mistakes and ready them to be overdubbed with guitars and vocals. And to be honest, given the choice between recording music and writing journal entries, the former usually takes precedence.
Actually, I share this time slot on the reference desk with another librarian. We've agreed to handle the duties depending on how each of us feels on Friday afternoon--usually the other librarian likes to interact with the public more than I do. Also, in the event that one of us is absent, the other can cover. The other librarian went out of town today, thus I'm at the reference desk.
Two negative reasons for double date stamping are one, for the casual reader dual dates might be too perplexing, especially if he or she hasn't read previous entries in the OUT ON A LIM archive stating my schizophrenic writing schedule, and two, sometimes I'd prefer to be timeless, in the sense that it really shouldn't matter when I write or when someone reads these entries. And despite my implied attempts to delude myself into thinking that I'm ahead of everything, I've yet to truly catch up to the future.
Recently, I've gotten two emails from the media asking for permission to use images and sound files from my webpage--one from a Malaysian magazine which wants to interview me for an article, and another from a Bavarian radio station which wants to play the recording of my LEGO harpsichord. I always get a kick out of these things in that in general, publications and broadcasts happen much later after they've contacted me. So I'll receive a copy of the magazine or a CD of the radio show someday and remember, hey yeah, I remember granting them my usage rights. Case in point, next week I'll be mentioned in GAMES magazine--they interviewed me six months ago.
There ought to be a reference desk for Halloween costumes. Cause Mandy invited me to a party tomorrow and I've yet to decide on what to be. I've always been intrigued by what other people wear as costumes--are they expressing their true inner fantasies or disguising themselves with false identities? But I think I've narrowed my options down to two potential costumes--either a generic yukata garbed Japanese peasant with a banzai headband and geta or just plain unmasked me.
Oops, I gotta go to work--someone needs my assistance...
I used to not pay much heed to cold weather. Even as recent as a few weeks back, my sister, whilst riding in my car, was complaining that my opening my car window to smoke was letting in the freezing air--I didn't notice a shred of slightness in her apparent hyperbole. In fact, in general, at least in the past, as a matter of my opinion, most of my entourage would seemingly overdress winterlong. Obviously, I'm not at a Nexus 6 level of impertinence to frozen eyeballs, I mean, I've worn thick underwear in snow country. But, I live in Los Angeles--any sway in the thermometer is exaggerated for cinematic effect rather than the reality which harsher places suffer. And I've always believed that the concept of "cold" was a state of mind, or heart, or soul, or whatever. If you're fine, your surroundings shall be likewise, regardless of what is statistically perceived as undeniably intolerable.
Perhaps it's my office at work. See, normally, the air conditioning is pumping way too noticeably, which doesn't bother me. However, I've been privy to seeing coworkers wear sweatshirts to keep warm during the summer. I've always thought that it was perfectly set. Well, except a certain January ago when it was chillier than the icy rain outside. Anyways, this week, the air conditioner turned off, and the heater went into overdrive. I had felt a change in my expectancy patterned lifestyle. Things had changed.
I like to listen to the wide dynamic range of a symphonic orchestra, albeit it as a recording, when I'm in the middle of equalizing and mixing the compression laden multracks of a pop song. The distinctive bass clef activity of classical music is a good contrast to the more singular steadiness of a rock'n'roll beat. Comparing the two aesthetics emphasizes what the other lacks and/or showcases, thus keying my ears to those frequencies that need boosting or dimishiment. It's recalibration via reassimilation.
Hence, feeling the heat in my office probably flicked on my sensitivity to the cold. Cause the other night, as I got into bed alone, I started to shiver.
I'm not a Hyperspace member. The official Star Wars website created this fee based club whereby members have exclusive access to info on the upcomming film. Whatever. I'm a fan, but I'm not that big of a fan.
One of the main selling points of the internet for me is how everything is virtually free, even, if you're lucky like me, the connection. There's a wealth of knowledge available on the World Wide Web for anyone who knows where to look.
As with the last movies in the prequel saga, the release of the trailers has always been a major event. Especially the first teaser, which premieres the first ever glimpses of the film--there's only so much inchoate rumours can postulate that real scenes deliver. Not to mention, per the machinations of PR, previews generally hype a movie beyond what it'll disappointingly offer. The audience may bicker about the quality of the films, but most would agree that Star Wars trailers look good.
But are they worth paying to see? As a Hyperspace member, you get the privilege of viewing the new Revenge of the Sith trailer in advance of moviegoers by a day, the internet by a few days (depending on your service provider), and a few hours if you've got a television tuned into the entertainment gossip shows.
What I've learned from the internet is there's someone generous out there who'll set up a temporary mirror to a popular site. These divert and ease the deluge of traffic, and in many cases offer the same content for free. But you gotta be quick, cause the Lucasfilm goons have probes searching the internet for these mirrors and hands them cease and desists.
So I found a mirror and downloaded the trailer. I got comfy in my chair and pressed play. Yup, it looks cool.
I was admiring your nude form in the metaphorical mirrors of my imagination, when I drifted off into a self indulgent question and answer session with myself.
"Why am I keeping a journal?" I wondered. "Is it to keep a relatively regularly updated up to date recorded record of my thoughts and whatnots?"
"No," I replicated a reply, "because my journal doesn't necessarily represent all of my thoughts--I think about a million other things that don't get converted into an electronic text based format. And as for being 'up to date', oftentimes I'll digress from my contemporizings and reflect on thoughts that I thought of in the past, for example, ten years ago. I thusly succumb to a more pragmatic form of storytelling, which I characterize as grammar school level writing exercises whose primary lesson is to explore the craftier side of the subjectively generic objective art of blogging."
"Please elaborate upon your statement about thinking about a million other things that you do NOT write down in your journal?" I politely pestered. "Aren't your entries, as with all writing, a product of your thoughts in organized form? I mean, yes, there is static amongst the noise within your head--there are randomly unformed, beta subconscious, and redundant loops of thoughts that, for pure communicative functionalities, are useless. Whatever you write is equivalent to an average sampling of your thoughts, including your so-called 'grammar school level writing exercises', as you so referred."
"I disagree," I annoyingly explained to myself. "I'm not talking about miscellaneous thoughts. Akin to a movie, wherein scenes are edited together to simulated the passing of time, for instance they don't show every instance someone uses the restroom, yes, I don't write down every little detail of my life--that'd be as you say, useless. However, in terms of organized thoughts, I'd still qualify a 'no', largely due to subject matter and informal confidentiality agreements. And although a majority of my thoughts do indeed get recorded in my journal, there are nevertheless inevitably some that just aren't proper for a semi-public forum such as this."
"No," I was confused, "you're still maintaining your thoughts. You may not realize it on a surface level as you're too close to your close relationship to yourself. There's an infamous precept which states that one can never truly see the back of one's own head."
"Use a mirror," I suggested.
"That's still a reflected representation and doesn't exisit in the third dimension," I reminded. "I'm talking about using your real eyes, literally and figuratively. So what I'm saying is, although you think you're censoring yourself from exposing your nominally inappropriate thoughts, you can't hide. Subtextually, whether you intended to or not, everything is recursively coded--from vocabulary to sentence construction, paragraph structure to subject predication. And sometimes it's obvious what you omit. I'm not remotely qualified as a psychiatrist, let alone capable of comprehending beyond the modern paradigm, but I'm pretty sure someone someday ought to be able to reconstruct all of your thoughts, written and unwritten, via the advancements in interdisciplinary field interdisciplinary psychology, literature, and brain research."
"So you're asking why I keep a journal," I remembered, "despite the blatantcy of my innermost thoughts being posted on the internet for past, present, and future ghosts to reassemble and read."
"Yeah," I assumed. "And don't be mobiusly formulaic and say 'to admire your nude form in the metaphorical mirrors of my imagination'--that's been done to death in this journal. Really, why do your write?"
"Because I know you read my journal."
Eleven years ago, I regularly visited JM and Seymour (at the time, The Meanwhilers' lead guitarist and bassist respectively) when they were roommates at UC Riverside. I'd usually drop off demos of new songs and spend time in their company, whereby I met JM's friend, Amanda, who had this quasi-superstitious, mind you, not absurdly serious, obsession with the number eleven, most notably when it was represented in double, such as in the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour (11:11), or the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11.11). She liked the elegant row of vertical lines so much that whenever the clock struck that magical time she'd go bananas. And ever since, I'ven't been able to hold back a grin whenever I see elevens.
My engineer has been touting the "mind opening" pleasures of Poodles and Flan--a random paramusic composition tool, whereby you select scales, modes, polyphonic density, etc and grade their shades of elaboration, press play, and the program spits out music. Mostly it sounds weird, but I guess that's the point. Sometimes my engineer swears that he's figured out the code to the madness, and sometimes he just accepts the chaos. Anyways, one of the things the program requires you to input is a string of digits (or letters) to be "use[d]...as a seed pattern to create a self-similar shape". Guess what number I picked.
It takes me an hour to get to work from the moment I wake up. Barring any traffic jams, I've kinda perfected a reliable routine of taking a shower, getting dressed, combing my hair, making my bed, drinking a glass of orange juice, and driving to work that's been consistently on the dot exactly an hour after the moment I open my eyes in the, ahem, morning. Lately, I've been arriving at my office at 12:11.
Happy Eleven Eleven
ABOUT A SONG: PART ONE: "HEAVE-HO COMMERCIAL", op. 8a (copyright 2004 Henry Lim)
- quarter note = 120
- key of E major
- music composed, performed, recorded, engineered, edited, mixed, mastered, and produced by Henry Lim
- special thanks to Paperclip Studios, Redondo Beach
- under an exclusive licensing agreement with Paperclip Music, OUT ON A LIM is registered, by law and by the American Music Association's National District Agreement, to state that the following mp3 is legally unrestricted to download
"Heave-Ho Commercial" mp3
So you've downloaded the above mp3 and are wondering, what the hell is this?
Well, unless you'ven't been hibernating in a cave your whole life, and are down with the underground film score scene, it probably sounds exactly like a cue from the soundtrack to the student budget blockbuster Office Ninja, specifically as the background music to a commercial within the movie advertising Heave-Ho cupcakes.
And yeah, that's me on the upbeat strumming acoustic guitar and muted electric bass, as heard in the center channel. Doubletracked onto the left and right stereo fields is me humming the doowop over the once looped riff. As well, I'm clapping my hands and slapping my knees.
I really don't know how the tune popped into my head, other than I wanted to compose something yummy--like a Heave-Ho cupcake. I mean, the commercial's got grandma and a kid going bananas over their cupcakes. It had to sound cornball.
Hmm, I thought, it ought to sound McCartney-esque, circa McCartney (1970), which coincidentally, was how I felt during the summer of 2004 when I was in the middle of working on Larry McFeurdy's solo album, in regards to the multi-tracked self performed instruments, and singing about his lovely Linda. Happy go lucky shit despite the recent breakup of The Beatles. I mean, as first solo albums proper go, that is post-Beatles era Beatles, not the ilks of the vanity pressings of Paul's The Family Way, George's Wonderwall, or John's Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, rather of Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and Harrison's All Things Must Pass caliber, cause these represent the ex-Beatles expressing themselves in a more obviously popular language, namely popular music, McCartney is pure cornball, and foreshadows his fade into domestic bliss, unlike the stripped down primal screaming and spitefully bloated epic of the other two chief songwriters. Thus, with grandma and a kid starring in this commercial, I figured I'll just imagine what kinda family values someone ensconced in such a scenario would hear in his head. And the goofy little melody is what bounced in my mind's ears--like something I'd aurally hallucinate whilst winking to my wife.
The jingle mentality, in order to create a likeable vibe, is obligated to be short, simple, and sweet. It's all promises of keeping it lightly peppy, happily forgetful, and obliviously inoffensive. Harmless stuff.
The "Heave Ho Commercial" is my second venture into demographically based composition, albeit as a work of fiction. My first work actually was non-fictional--an inverted satire of a John Williams based space opera motif which I was commissioned to compose as a commercial targeted to an audience enticed via televised broadcast to spend their money at Hollywood Park.
And it's the riff from the faux "Heave Ho Commercial" which mutated into McFeurdy's aptly titled song "About" (track 8 on his solo album Hacienda Heights).
TO BE CONTINUED...
ABOUT A SONG: PART TWO: "ABOUT (BOOTLEG)" (copyright 2004 The Meanwhilers)
- tempo con moderate rock jam session
- off key
- music composed by JM Allevato, Larry McFeurdy, and Mike Zaggs ; performed by The Meanwhilers ; recorded, engineered, mixed, mastered, and produced by Mike Zaggs
- special thanks to JM Allevato's home studio
- under no exclusive licensing agreement with Beat Quest Records, OUT ON A LIM is not required, by the law nor by the Azusa Minidisc Anti-Non-Distribution Act, to state that you need not be granted permission to download the following mp3 for your courteous sake of curiosity
"About (bootleg)" mp3
As a musician, bootleg recordings fascinates me, especially in the form of works-in-progress rehearsal sessions, as they offer glimpses into the mysteries of songwriting. The countless hours documented in U2's legendary Achtung Baby outakes are a favourite example, revealing all the warts involved in the developmental process of crafting together the musical elements. Some songs go thru radical variations before congealing into any recognizeable stasis--words and notes aren't set in stone as they get tossed around in negotiated informalities. And it's the search, journey, and eventual arrival at a song that interests me. It's music about music.
However, I understand that the general population could care less about how a song's written, much less endure listening to a jam session, as it'll hardly make sense to non-musicians. Not to mention, sometimes it's best not to peek behind the scenes and just hear the final version of a song.
That said, the above mp3 is a track off The Hacienda Heights Rehearsal Sessions Volume 2 bootleg, whereby The Meanwhilers jam on Larry McFeurdy's "Heave-Ho Commercial". McFeurdy begins on distorted electric rhythm guitar as JM Allevato follows along on bass. But it's Mike Zagg's disco hi-hats that drive the band. The lyrics are aphasiatically ad libbed--"When I wake up in the morning...I can't find my ???.....so I talk to the moment you drown?.....so don't be paranoid if I try to be avoiding you...don't take me along for a ???" Soon McFeurdy goes exploring for a melody on lead guitar. There is no polish, no plans, and no right notes to worry about. Just the joy of finding a song somewhere in the fun. The band concludes with laughter. "Something like that..." McFeurdy jokes as the possible routes for a song are speculatively mapped.
In sonata parlance, it's the development of the expository riff, the recapitulation of which shall be fully realized as a song.
TO BE CONTINUED...
ABOUT A SONG: PART THREE: "ABOUT", WoO. 164 (copyright 2004 Larry McFeurdy)
- quantized at 120 bpm
- A Lydian and E Ionian mode
- words and music by Larry McFeurdy ; all instruments produced, performed, programmed, recorded, edited, and mixed by Larry McFeurdy ; engineered and mastered by Umberto Belfiore
- special thanks to Stair 7 Studios
- under a limited licensing agreement with Paperclip Music, OUT ON A LIM is recognized by the online About Many Anecedotes (None Demanding Attention) club, which promotes the copyrights of artists without copyrights, to state, per membership ordinance, to include a disclaimer stating that the following mp3 is free and safe to download
With the exception of the title track, I've pretty much composed the Hacienda Heights album in the order of the tracklist. Not that I had any pre-planned scheme for the sequence of songs, as for this record, I chose to just go with my luck and hope that the flow of musical and poetic ideas would juxtapose meaningfully.
The number one question I get from fan email is "What's [insert song title] about?" I don't know if 'tis a sad reflection of the lack of public imagination or the annoying reliance on the equation that authorship means authority, but I wish some people would insert their own meanings to the music they hear and trust their own interpretations to create their own significance to such insignificance as someone else's song.
Well, actually I had a vague concept of the stylistic shifts during the progression of the tracklist--such as the placement of the '90s grunge "Over the Line" and the '80s new wave "Lady Delirium" and so forth. This was done to evoke the fickle history of pop music. And helps with the composition, as I, for instance, anticipated something with a '70s atmosphere following the '60s tinged "Now". Something with a disco beat...
I mean, to be honest, my lyrics have different meanings for myself, given whatever mindset I'm in when I listen to them. They evolve as I discover subtextually subconscious references to simultaneously different intented associations within their rhyme structures. To tell someone what I thought one of my songs is about is like telling someone what time it is--it's gonna change.
The Meanwhilers' drummer, Mike Zaggs, nailed the percolating sizzle of a disco beat when the band jammed on the "Heave-Ho Commercial". That was the groove I wanted to use for the song following "Now". Testing out different timbres for the recording, I thought that a vocoder to make my voice sound like a robot and a cry baby wah-wah peddle to make my guitar solo whine would be appropriate, as those effects were prevalent during the '70s. Oh, and autoharp glissandos. The setting was established. All I needed was to plug in some lyrics.
At the risk of contradicting myself later, I'll attempt to explain what I think the song "About" is about, as of 11:11, 11.11.04:
'Tis about driving down the 405 at 4:05 as the oncomming headlights zip shiny in the dark and circumference the corners of my eyes. 'Tis about the magical fire in her heart when she figures out that she's eternally safe from getting burned. 'Tis about the Blue Angel that keeps reminding me to follow my dreams. 'Tis about the spoiled little brat trapped in a goddess, and vice versa. 'Tis about the Queen of the Universe. 'Tis about dreams of holding her hand. 'Tis about the multiple meanings in the phrases--"we can forget about what we were talking about" can imply opposing sentiments, be they anger, bliss, regret, clarification, and wishful thinking. 'Tis about milking a song out of a riff. 'Tis about the road backwards connecting with the road forewards. 'Tis about pronouns of affection. 'Tis about blurring cheesy MIDI patches. 'Tis about screaming about dreams and dreaming about screams. 'Tis about imprinting future memories with old ones. 'Tis about depth of field. 'Tis about understanding that there's no such thing as misunderstanding. 'Tis about beginning with the subdominant of three chords. 'Tis about waiting to say aloha again...
Thus, with "About" now complete, there is only one more song to record and I'll be done with the album. The status report is: I'm on schedule to finish studio work by the end of the month, rehearsals with The Meanwhilers are readying the band for the live concert to commemorate the release of the album, Jaime's signed on to do the production design for the show, my brother has agreed to give me a tutorial on overhead projection options, Umberto's upgraded the gear at Stair 7 and is set to do a final master, and Mandy's gonna take photos of Hacienda Heights for the artwork. Cause that's what it's all about.
There's a fellow named Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille, who is the chairman of a marketing research firm called Archetype Discoveries Worldwide. He uses his background in psychiatry to identify cultural and product brand "codes"--everything is reducibly "coded" on a collective cultural subconscious level, and these "codes" instigate the patterns of archetypical meaning. Needless to say, advertisers love this man. They pay him big bucks for advice on how to sucker consumers.
For example, shampoo sales in Japan were declining. The commercials were focusing on seductive chicks washing their hair. Dr. Rapaille conducted a case study of Japanese women and their relationship to shampoo. He discovered that, in Japanese culture, shampoo is psychologically associated with fathers and duty--fathers are authority figures whom girls are obligated to learn from, not seduce. After these "codes" were rectified and implicated in commercials, shampoo sales in Japan went up.
I lent my copy of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to my sister and her boyfriend, who both, incidentally, work for the advertising industry. They had it for nearly a month and never watched it completely thru, claiming that it was "boring". This was odd to me, cause it's one of my favourite movies of 2004--it really hit me hard on a personal plane of existential and romantic entertainment. I mean, it's a classic Charlie Kaufman screenplay, widespread with his trademark quirky characters in surreal situations framed by a psychoanalytical mise en scene. It's got all my "codes".
But apparently, it's "off code" for my sister and her boyfriend. So I went to retrieve my DVD, cause if they weren't gonna watch it, it'd go to better use in my possession. As I mooched some free dinner from them, they turned on their TV and watched a TiVo'ed episode of The Apprentice. I'm not gonna judge their devotion to this show, cause admittedly my main purpose of visiting them was to reclaim my beloved Eternal Sunshine. However, I was completely lost at the world of The Apprentice--it's all cut throat business competition and money, money, money. Totally "off code" for me.
One of my fondest memories from childhood is playing with my mom. We'd goof around the house with games and silly adventures under the furniture. If there's one person responsible for my sense of imagination, it's my mom. She truly gave me the self confidence to enjoy myself. However, my sister, who is two years younger than me, must've felt challenged by the fact that I had our mom's complete attention before she was born. And as we all grew up, the competition for parental approval intesified. But I never felt subconsciously threatened as those impressionable moments I had alone with our mom blinded me to any competition from my sister. I've never known what it's like to struggle for recognition from my parents. These are the "codes" that define spoiled first born children.
Furthermore, I doubt also having a younger brother helped my sister's identity crisis, as the baby of the family received an especially warm welcome--middle kids are naturally in a competitive bind. Sometimes when I see my sister working her ass off at two jobs trying to make enough money to join the upper middle class as I kick back and use my sick days for a little vacation for myself, I feel slightly guilty for being so detached from competition. I wonder what kinda fearful life she inhabits wherein everybody is an opponent to be beaten and tomorrow is another vicious game to win. She's always trying to prove herself--there ain't no time to daydream, or she'll lose her ground. Yet I've always figured that life's a dream--it's something to feel lucky about, not exhausted. Games are fun, non-stressful activities, as likewise, victories are nothing to get too excited about. But I suppose I'll never understand her "code" as neither she'll mine.
Hacienda Heights, CA, 2004
photo by Amanda Whiting
"I'm sorry," I seriously commiserated.
"I held out as long as I could," my poor buddy rationalized, "but it was that damn three and a half hour commute the other day--I still can't believe it took me that long. Man, it was a nightmare. Three and a half hours of traffic just to travel 30 miles."
"I usually just turn up the stereo and smoke lots of cigarettes," I tried to relate.
"No," obviously he went thru some deeper shit than I'd ever experienced, "you don't understand. At that point, the stereo and cigarettes don't matter. You're just trapped. And you go insane. There was this lady in front of me--I'll always remember the back of her damn car, damnit. But she started to multi-task. She'd be drinking her coffee and doing her work at the wheel. Oh man, did she scare the crap out of me. I do NOT wanna be around her outside of traffic. I can imagine if I were a drinker--I'd've gotten smashed by the time I got to work. Hahaha, I bet some people were. And there was this moment, at the halfway mark. I thought, 'I could turn around and go around the hill, but it might take me even longer...' There was just no way around the mess."
"Why didn't the construction workers work on the freeway at night, when traffic ain't so heavy?" I attempted to focus the blame on something.
"The water main broke," he explained, "so they had to work on it right away, or all the rich people wouldn't get their water, boohoo. I seriously thought about stopping at one of the mansions and asking them to use a phone--'Uh, excuse me sir, but may I use your phone to call in to work to tell them I'm gonna be really late today...' It was that bad, man. You gotta believe me. You know me, I'm the last person to on earth who needs a cellphone. But after that three and a half hour ridiculousness, I had to get one. I'm sorry, man."
"Well," I continued my pity, "you gotta do what you gotta do. But I better not catch you walking around with it and talking like a teenager."
"Oh, no way," he pshawed, "I'm keeping it in the car. I'll use it only in emergencies, like when I get stuck in traffic."
"Sure," I wasn't sure. "I've heard that one before. And then you'll conveniently retract your 'only in emergencies' edict because it'll be more convenient for you to use your cellphone all the time. Yeah, I can see it now."
"Well," he apologized, "I'll try not to..."
"Yeah," I shrugged, "good luck with that."
I've been an avid reader of OUT ON A LIM ever since you began your blog back in (2.12.03). I dig your whacky stories. And I can't wait to hear Larry McFeurdy's next song "Aloha Again"--I think his Hacienda Heights album is tight. Whoa, and he plays all the instruments and sings, too. Crazy cat. Is it true that The Meanwhilers have reunited and are planning to play a concert? That would rock. To hear "Kung Fu Girl" live would be so rad. Anyways, I have one request of you--could you make your whacky stories even whackier? That'd be cool, thanks. Keep up the good work. Oh, and who is Larry McFeurdy?
Your biggest fan,
Thanks for reading OUT ON A LIM. Your email means tons to me. But, uh, do you actually read my journal? Cause, if you did, you'd know by now that Larry McFeurdy is me. Yes, The Meanwhilers are back and are gonna start performing live again. And as for making my "whacky stories whackier"...hmm...I think you're whacked.
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