31.5.09

ode from a dented child



mother is a captain pirate at times
with her stern gaze and sharp whips
navigating the ship called a dysfunctional
but an average family through voyages
good and bad times
often we are in a trouble thanks to her
as much as we may be out of a trouble
rolling highwind and salt burns among
the edges of squinting eyes on water
we somehow survive the storm
which in retrospectively
wasnt too bad anyways

mother is sometimes a self-appointed mayor
of a town where no two are alike
more conflicts than resolutions suggested
she rules the town of a very small stature
non-important
non-existing to others
into times of surplus and great losses
everyday she dons her legal self
with hands rougher than sand papers
with all earnest of ah honest soul
on a toy map
she carefully draws plans and processes
with stains of optimism

mother never really got me yet
begotten but a lost child
much loved and much more loathed
probably more tears shed from both parties
though at least mine were all well-earned
streaks of stubbornness gritted teethmarks
the wishes and advices for
girl made with candyfloss and dreams
are lost as we sink
bobbles of a lava lamp
floats up and down continuously
always separated if closer
never quite in sync but
always around one another

i joke
a preemie
evicted early from womb
my entire meager weight in worries
grew small shells to curl into
like an armadillo

it is the soft touches
with blind luck of hers
always if not sometimes
reaching over the shells
the soft bits bruising from caresses
tender touch that make me bleed
like a terribly curious child
all she wants to do is
love this damaged child
that she never really knows

23.5.09

resident of england?


finally a nice sign from the weather in england today. it's been rather cold, rainy and wet. we resulted in making beet/carrot soup with welsh rarebits for lunch yesterday, that kinda damp, consistent and insistent rainy day. well, i cant really complain as we still had some real coal fire and lots of dirts to toss into the fire, including canadian chocolate bar wrappers courtesy of my great friends from toronto.

see, there is this consensus that the brits think their cadbury is superior than the canadian ones. and i say it's different, surely, but it is not any worse than the ones you get here!! anyhows, after sending a short emails around, we got a total of: 600g + 400g = 1000 g of canadian cadburies and with comparison samples from the local shop, have been working around the clock to determine if such urban legend is true: the conclusion isnt up yet, unfortunately. if you feel like sending me some more chocolates for the benefit of the science, i will be more than grateful!! hahaha. i never have eaten so much candies for such a short time. ah, shweet tooth! lol. hopefully with this weather picking up, i will be able to shake off some weights by trolling around the greens of derbyshire.

things in the great britain has been rather swell and i cant really tell you exactly what would be the best part of the trip so far, but i can surely tell you that both concerts weve put on(one viola/piano recital in manchester, then another viola/piano and trout quintet in chinley) has been very satisfying events. there's nothing like good, old-school chamber music, is there!!

it seems that people are curious to see what i have been up to in three weeks in england: especially the touristy bits. have you seen this, done this, whatever, blah blah? do you have plans? in fact, the very first wknd i was here, we were all up in the local pub having a pint (that's right, monkey now drinks bitters in half pints) and one of the bbc phil boys nearly lost it at the perspective of a visitor having a no plan. it was rather a funny scene i must say:

local: so whats going to be while you are here?
visitor: i thought i would just let things be and see what pops up.
local: you came all the way here to see what's up?
visitor: well, if i dont see what's up, how i would i know?
local: you mean you have no plan?
visitor: i do, the plan is to have no plan.
local: that is unacceptable! you cant just come over and be a visitor without a plan!visitor: really??
local: look, you just cant do things in this way...
(fill in with extra noise, some spits and enthusiasm)

btw, i like the dude. i think he's hilarious. and i think he may have missed a very small point- that i feel that i am rather a resident, not a tourist. it's all fun to go around and see stuff and do different things, but at the moment, i think i am liking the idea of a resident a lot more than anything else. so there. honorary or not, here i am, a simple resident instead of fussy, obnoxious tourist. much nicer, ahh.

anyhows, things have been real active today, the first day in awhile that we got to getout and do outdoorsy stuff like walking, laughing at the lambs, skipping over puddles, running out of breath walking uphills, hopelessly silly bantering, an attempt to a tandem ride (the tire, however, experienced a puncture), which then turned into a bike ride, a pint at local pub and now awaiting supper. it is also quite funny to see the little bahhhhh lambs growing up sturdier every week it seems! some of them are already displaying quite typical teenage unruliness. haha.

ah, and i should also say that now ive been to a proper locally organized british drama society's pantomime, which was hilarious really. all done by local, including mr. salamander's family members, both audiences and presenters, with all those contemp bits and oldest jokes of the world, etc. it did take about two hours and a half to get finished, and then i had my first exposure (it's all first times here isnt it? weird. i thought i was somewhat experienced in this world, but boy it proves me wrong every time) to a local conservatives club.

now i suppose without the political connotation, it was just a real nice, quite, somewhat uppitish pub. the nice thing about snotty people is that they will never even dare to disturb their own peace by possibly talking to you, ha! so there. nice place to hang. once again, some bitters were had and a leisurely stroll back to a nice sleep, the kind that knocks one off the feet to complete oblivion.

so there, that's what monkey's been up to, and now there's some casserole to be consumed with some stout. im gonna be a rather fat and happy monkey at this rate. but you know- i say bring it on. i havent heard of cases where people have died of happiness yet. we all wish such things, therefore, may as well just make a real effort for blissful death i suppose.
ttfn, greets from a slightly wornout monkey in finally green (not grey and wet!) pastures of england.

21.5.09

april rain in may and musing and musicing


things have been all kinds of colours lately, changing through the courses of the day- the warmest yellow of the morning to the opaque grey of rain clouds- reminiscent of april, sharp contrasting burning orange of the sun cracking through the haze of spitting rain, the blue-grey sky set on fire with magenta bright dusk and the deepest velvety royal blue of the night. and the way the fire crackles in the dark. now, am i referring to the actual fire or mr. salamander? ay- i guess you will never know. do i know? well, i should but would i? ah. not so important. just thought i would throw that out there in case you were wondering what fair creatures ive been watching. baa lambs are rather special though. esp. when wearing a neon pink coats. i still have no idea what that's bout, but nearby fiddler lady tells me it's a weathercoats for the young-uns.

well. that's style for you.
pink.
for sheeps.
gosh.

the high peak district, where i am staying now, is also full of little silly lambs and somewhat irritated mothers of theirs, dotting the green pasture with unexpected movements and phrases. even the quiet stone walls will change ever so subtly during the day. much music making as well- we had a local church concert of schubert trout which went splendidly. two new musicians i met here, steve and diane, were absolute joy to play with and i am super glad to have another chance to play such beautiful music. ooh and mr. fiddler (that would be mrs. fiddler's man, no joke really) and i have been some mutually respected butchering of piano four hands. that was really too much fun i have to say. and to report, yes, mr. salamander plays the fiddle brilliantly. gosh. i sound like a brit. someone bring some bitters for this monkey.
it's an interesting thing to play my bread/butter with mr. salamander because you see, he's really done everything else but that instrumental-piano bits. i can barely keep up. hooray for me for now.

am sure any time now, i be burned for so casually 'offering' to 'read' some stuff.
$hit.

while briefly looking over the net before the concert for some program note references, i ran into a transcription of a dialogue regarding the trout from ax, ma, young, frank and meyer session. and as one follow their discourse, it becomes impossible not to smile. very touching bits.

Pamela Frank: We all adored each other. And the "Trout" is such an open, happy piece. There’s no room for agonizing and debate. It sort of plays itself, if you have five people who are as attuned to each other as we were.

Yo Yo Ma: You can tell when you play with someone just by looking at their eyes, where their soul is. If they’re closed in, they can’t really look at you When you play with Pam, you can tell that she’s constantly looking, adjusting, thinking things out. She’s like a painter, trying to get the proportion and balance right. And all with a wonderful spirit.

things in england trip has been beautiful. i am exposed to many new things and am learning to open up and see some old things in new perspective. also found is a new appreciation for old values that i have forgotten, because well, life can so easily wear one out. and then you are left with a shell of who you once was, and like dried up twig, you lose yourself a bit by bit. however, i have been experiencing a new level or enrichment. and new appreciations.

well, it's not likely that all things always go well. there are some minor things that always turns up a bit shaky. things that one never expected or thought of. often unpredicted and perhaps a tad bit unnecessary; but i suppose that's life. i wonder how much of importance i may give it to the small things at the moment. one may be aware of such things, then one is left with choices: do i pursue an action or do i not take an action? if so, when/where, the list goes on and on.

small things are never less important than larger things. they just are smaller. vice versa, if you let it grow larger than it ought to be, it'll grow. consume. with fury and anger. like a smallest splinter underneath your nail. everytime you bother it, it moves another mm down your skin, causing immense pain and inconvenience. if you are really unlucky, you may even have to bring it to a doctor.
but at the same time, it is important that one keeps a good perspective on things i believe. as much as one could.

as much as i would like to be able to act upon the small however important things in life that may be surprisingly unpleasant in its present manifestation- like everyone in this world, while sitting, i think i can solve all problems of the world. how silly of me really. while i am at it, i may even be able to convince myself to be delusional and claim that i am absolutely right.

but there is no need i suppose.

like pimples, sometimes i need to walk away from the mirror. and give it some time to tend to itself. and may be no one will notice that pimple anyways. it's only afterward that youve told millions of people that youve got an annoying pimple that people take notices. and unlike the million-dollar budget ads, there's no real cure for pimples. you sometimes just get a bit of unexpected stuff and that's that. the best would be to leave that stuff alone and wait for a bit, see if it sorts itself out somehow. it always will. i never heard of anyone dying of pimple really.

personal dilemmas are funny things. like dirty or even clean laundry, i feel that perhaps even when i try to keep things anonymously as possible, it just may not be possible. there is a great temptation to use this anonymous space as a mental let out. hiding behind, rather than contemplating and taking actions to a situation. and more i think of such downfall, often more enticing it becomes. though things are as well as it could be, there always are couple things that just arent fitting exactly the way i want to be, and yes, i am bothered with small things, like just another human being. but what is to do? would my actions would actually bring out any positive outcomes at the moment?

my mother always told me: if you are nice to someone who's nice to you, you arent being nice, you are being merely civilized. now, when someone's done you harm and you squeeze the courage to be nice to them, then you are being nice.
how irritating when the old lady is right. ha ha.

whatever action i may take, i dont think it'll provide any useful discourse at the moment regarding these specific issues. often i just want to be irresponsible and do that old christian eye-to-an-eye thing. but. alas. to what end? bitterness and misunderstanding can stain anything with the deepest anger and hatred. like palestine and israel, which i consider them to be at the point of impossible reconciliation (due to too much suffering from both parties).

so, instead, im going to have a cup of real nice tea. and mellow out on the front of mr. salamander's fire in may. because, overall, my life is full of colours and simulations. it's too nice to be wasted on anger. and the fire burns tonight, with no real care of all those sufferings of millions of pimples. let the pimples be. someone has to be ugly.

i also should get on some post-card writing and such. mr. bookbomber, hope you are doing well this side of atlantic as well. godot never came, bastard. btw.

well, sometimes, at least. look at me, i start to get them as i hit late 20s. i am still young in a very special way. go me.

14.5.09

short report. take it or leave it.

this phenomenon is called riggwelt. a fat sheep goes down and cannot get up. this one, the grass underneath it was well.... rather...... hmm.... how shall i... well, it was shitty, really. amazing.

well, monkey has been pretty quiet online and peeps may think that she has finally given up musing on small useless thoughts. no, not true. actually there has been flurry of activities, unscheduled, somewhat foreseen- sprung up like mushroom colonies after a rain or something. you know, that sense that you never exactly know when they are going to come out, however, you can always tell it's just about time.
anyways.

england so far has been as good as one can expect. i am happy enough that i wont even complain about the exchange rate really (i think it's about half right now, which kinda sucks but i am sure that i will sort it out somehow.) where im spending majority of the time is called chinley, an old railway village in middle of derbyshire, used to be one of the major junctions when the line used to go right up to london. that has stopped for awhile, so hence, the area is depending rather heavily on sheeps and a bit of farming and interestingly, small, dense group of bbc phil musicians who works in nearby manchester.

now, about manchester, it's supposed to be fascinating and it looks interesting, however, monkey has been spending most of time rollicking around derbyshire and hence the detailed reports will have to wait a bit.

however, as of london, we just came back (mr. salamander and i) from seeing beckett's waiting for godot at the historic haymarket, spending some time with his gregarious friend, dave (who was very kind to take care of us and shown us around), walking around, national gallery, tate modern, but most importantly good british bitters and curry and such. it has been busy!!

i also had a chance to go see a traditional english wedding at a small village, thurstle (i think?) (forget thinking. i was just corrected: thursk. now that looks even more wrong.)(shit. apparently there's also an 'i'. crap. let's try: thirsk. if you dont find it on the map- well, then you may be right, who knows really??) in yorkshire, and meet some bonker dogs and just generally having a blast. it's almost enough to one to start to wonder:
well, it cant possibly be all that good, where/when would be paying for this??!?

well, it'll come when it needs to i suppose, just like tax day or something. so am going to leave that alone for a bit. the two concert are coming up which is very exciting and am happy to play with friends and friends-to-be. im exceptionally happy with the new peeps ive been meeting and i will hopefully have a better idea of them than the fact i just really like them and their company, so that i may write about them. this post is a bit shorter than i thought it would be, how interesting. i bet my head is kinda full of things to do for now and i bet i will have more to blab about once im back in canada for a bit.

times well spent, great company of cheryl and mr. salamander. the window have collapsed temporarily and it's been a whirlwind of a ride. how good it is, really, to be so lucky to have such company and aspirations. one may say that monkey's gone nutter, looking at the world with rosy window.

well, i looked at some real $hits in my life time, prob plenty enough for awhile. let me have this rosy window for a bit. who is so sure that it wont be here to stay? the window always will stay in one piece as long as 1. you dont break it, 2. you replace it.

so there.
content report from monkey from chinley, derbyshire, roger.

i left an 'i' there somewheres. and cannot find it. i will blame it on a certain puppy. now you may think im really completely nutters. well. kudos to you. and i do have to add that sometimes, things are just nice as is.
ya. you know what i may mean, and if you dont, boy you are missing out.

seriously, roger.
out
bzz

2.5.09

it's flying monkey time!



monkey's about to embark on a journey across a big puddle called atlantic. it is somewhat inconveniently large and it will be quite a feat of engineering and all that human 'achievements' that will make the long jump possible. things are packed and shoes are polished (why- i have no clue what so ever. it seemed appropriate for some bizarre reason.) a book has been chosen and music player is loaded. airtix has been printed and appropriate cables are packed.

it is interesting how many different 'kinds' of things monkey's packing for a trip that's got no serious plans. because the most serious point of all this is just to see what's what, as robin said.

robin engelman, the founder of nexus percussion, is one of my ahem, idols, really. ive known him through the group nexus for past ten years and still, i continue to learn more things about them- as individuals, as a group, as a teacher, a person, whatevers. they were one of the very first western classical percussion chamber ensemble, and i honestly didnt know much about them even when i was going to school here- i knew that they were bloody good, but the level of percussionists (who have literally climbed over the fences of the world to be @utoronto) was rather high, so i thought that just was the expected norm for the percussion kids. as far as western classical percussion goes, these men are superstars, seriously. working with seiji ozawa, sir andrew davis, jo kondo, takemitsu (who wrote a chamber perc concert to nexus for 1990 carnegie hall premiere for the centennial year of the hall), they even played in expo 86 and calgary olympics.

oops. and i didnt know. thankfully, i quickly realized that once i got out of toronto and started to go to school in the states. once again, one starts to miss something and be even more curious about it once it is no longer readily available! how ironic. i still remember listening to their 'farewell' concert back in 2003, the last concert with john wyre. the second half had no particular program, back to how they really got it started in 1971: improv. i love their cross-experimentation of african drumming, ragtime and contemporary western classical music- whether commissioned/ dedicated/ arranged by/for them, those works always spark a reaction. well, if one finds it boring, i think one may not be paying attention: perhaps it's that determination that one has, to find what one is looking for, rather than to find what one is exposed to. subtle and a world-of-a-difference.

anywhoos, lucky monkey and tonmeister peter gets to have robin's company every now and then. and during this spring, robin, on my teenager-ish begging, sent an entire collection of his mallets down to aussie land for my friend erica. up to this date, we dont exactly know how many mallets she actually got, but apparently tons. sticks that makes noise. awesome!! so in order to properly thank him, we were armed with a bottle of my favorite gin (hendrick's) and a short hop to a lunch stop.

and yes.. funny enough, every conversation we have, there's always this quark thing. for reasons unknown to us, there'll be a theme emerging, all-on-its-own. this time, conversation was on bruckner symphonies (i recently survived the 8th on a concert. it was maddening long. maddening because- when you are just about to give up, there'll be some really good bits... then... it gets that over-stretched-soup treatment... then... you fall apart, and about to melt off from the chair.. then comes... another bit.. repeat), which lead to him saying: well, just to see what's what.

haha. what a robin thing to say, after his work with cage, takemitsu and non-western influences. appropriate, concise, and even hurtfully right. this is the best thing about robin's company. you always leave with something to chew on for a LONG time. there's no substitute for talent and brilliance. and there's no way to get around lifetime experience. so when you add the two, monkey's just overwhelmed at times.

whats what? why is that so complicated?
it's not complicated. i guess that's why it seems so... weird. once one takes a closer look.

with this darwin-based scientific model society we have, it is so easy to get stuck on hypothesis-execution-result-analysis line of thinking. especially the things one does everyday, or the things one 'plans' out. the word plan itself defies any kind of guarantee really, it's more like a hope.
plan: a set of decisions about.. future, to think about and decide on action, the intention of acting hoping for a particular result (botched, ahem, abridged def from cambridge dictionary)
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=60438&dict=CALD

all we know about the future is that it's not here yet! it's always now! ha ha ha. bah... boo. lol. and more things one starts to incorporate into an 'expected results' list, the more things get 'set,' and the execution gets even more complicated and we end up living as if we are just running some 'serious and vigorous academic' research project. no sneezing, no handing of samples with hands, temperature control, all must be obeyed!

urr okay whatever.

we arent just some freakish experiment. life may be, but one, as an individual, is not just sets of plans. it's always the process isnt it. and to process something, whatever it is, it becomes truly important that one really observes and understands what it is this process involves: internally and externally. once one is able to see what's what, then- a true contextualization and analysis may happen.

so when im looking at this sojourn, i think i want to take this month of may somewhat seriously: i want some serious fun. it's all about fun. if it's not fun, why am i doing it??! and because i take it seriously (trust me, i am a doctor, ha ha), i think it is for the best that the integrated plan be: just to see what's what.

and the rest: gravy.

groooveeey. yeaaaaah.

just couple more hours now till the steel cage for monkey.

1.5.09

the riches of my world


includes things such as:
granola and bananas with milk for breakfast or warm stove-cooked oatmeal with chunks of candied ginger. my new recording of arvo part, alina, and craig davis/jeff buckley recordings. the fact sonicboom, the used/new recording store by the annex is in walking distance with its amazing selection. choosing children's book at a used book stores. walking around kensington with a keen eye for a gift for a friend. finding a potter who would go through the trouble of making a lid for me. my housemate who keeps me sane and in check. cup of spiced tea from communitea from canmore.

old friends who are willing to gettogether to brave bruckner 8th in its entirety. the fact i was just going to barely qualify for the cheap tickets at the symphony, and them extending the age limit to 35 starting this year. wondering how my trees are doing in banff. having time to stop and look at the free display of spring in its fullness in campus and on way home from all the trees, flowers and everything in between. that my phone company covers texts from/to international phones as included deal. nutella and teaspoon. rain and no hurries. blunnies that can withstand much moisture and puddles. anticipation for real fire.

my bicycle, black and sturdy, a worker. a rare bottle of scotch that is begging to be open in just couple of days. program that let me rip off my own damned informations from now-dying-but-havent-had-problem-since-then ipod. that indestructive camera that takes fab pictures of many things. a cat who i can be over to pet and play with. antihistamine. the ever-so-great internet and skype for 3TZ. flowers in my vase, given with care. street arts of obey, dolk and banksy.

and the people i love dearly.

and the people i appreciate dearly.

and the people i will be missing,

and the people i will encounter and be related to.

but especially some extra points for people who i miss during the day when i encounter something special. and not the kind of missing one gets teary or anything, just that little butterfly flutters in your stomach. subtle but true.