first real day in banff today; getting settled, still collecting scores, putting up bits of monkey life around my home for next.. well, 19 days. how much things to do? may be a tad bit much. enjoyment factor: could be very high. grave yards: everywhere.
sounds like a busy 29 days to me! hahaha.
today's list included: schelomo (bloch), beethoven 4th sonata and brahms 2nd sonata.
evaluation: lose the hat (oops sorry; gotta come up with way to keep hair out of face), dont cross your legs and look unprofessional (more to come about this), barber sonata outta my hands (somewhat bitterly glad).

monkey must have needed that sleep last night. from 11pm or so, i just neglected the world and slept in until 925. only reason i got up was.. there was a meeting at 930. gaa. which did not start until... 10 (grrr). then more meetings. then lunch.

vistas food is usually aright. except today.
not very amusing, but... vicious.

for some bizarre reason, it's really being unpleasant to me and my innards been dancing overtime, the proper old school twists. ugh. hence curling up like a snail. in korean expressions, we would say 'che-ha-da' or 'che-jung'.

che = being stuck to, something being immobile
jung= weight
things stuck together unpleasantly

che- ha-da: 'ha-da' would imply simply 'being' or 'have done,' meaning monkey's been stuck with things unpleasantly, this immobile glob of ingest foods behaving badly.

and the worst of worsts hit me during brahms 2nd cello sonata in middle of masterclass. im not to excuse self, but honestly, all i could think was 'life would be better after hurling,' ewwwww. and that had to be the time lydia dropped by (ma boss lady), which resulted in... extra offer to take barber sonata off my hands, which i graciously accepted. hence, bittersweet.

means that i can concentrate a little more on other big things but it also somehow makes me feel less competent. but then theres an important point to think about: is it necessary for me to put a deathgrip on a project, to make it mine, so that I could do it, so that it's MY experience? when i could let someone else take it over (which is exactly what she have designed so anyways, taking no immediate project), so that it may be better prepared and put-together for the cellist, and that I dont have to be possessed by my own need to 'prove' self?

nah. it's not necessary.

i have came here with a certain capacity. sure, it'll be nice to grow larger than the present capacity as a pianist, a person, whatevers. but i surely have to be careful that i am not doing this so that I feel better about self. what matters is i take my things seriously and let everyone else take their things seriously, if that means doing less pieces, let it be. she's not offering to take the barber because i am incapable, but that would make the entire situation flow a little better (or i so hope? haha. still this self-centered thoughts). it's not ever about the ego. unless you make it to be.

how simple and how hard.

well, monkey's gonna let barber float away and plug herself back to sleep so that tomorrow morning it'll be all alright again. stupid innards. the day vistas turn vicious (thats the name of the cafeteria), i am once again given an opportunity to learn: it's not about you. but about letting things be at their best potential, even it that means your ego may have to yield. hmm. much deeper lesson than.. indigestion.


short one here

monkey's back in banff to play some more music.
it's a strange thing in a sense, to be back here.
so many things have changed since that time i signed the initial contract in december 2008. not only professionally but inter/intra-personally, which not only involves self but others as well. i went from having no plan, hoping that plan will fizz out and that i will be another average person with average wage, doing the average things to, well, being a monkey.

calling self a monkey gives a great freedom somehow i think. just cannot take the self seriously. there will be much music playing starting tomorrow. already i have fit in a demanding rehearsal and there'll be plenty more. would i drown? i hope not! there are people who loves and believes in me which are priceless- it was great to see the old staff back, all smiling and welcoming. even when i had read the initial contract wrong and had to reprimand by showing up at the airport for 7am, ha ha. but the important thing is that logistics have been taken care of and now i can go on and try to do much music most justice i can. alrighty then.

it's falling a light blue dusk here and i am wondering if the stars are as bright as it used to be in the winter; the cold air really brings clarity to the atmosphere and being in the city, in middle of yyz, i have missed such calming presence. the same kind of stars i have seen recently in uk. cool, beautiful, too nice to have it all by self.

im going to fold that thought and put them carefully, perhaps wrap it in nonexisting muslin cloth. and then send it off with red balloons, tied to it, lighter than air. many good wishes from the mountains for everyone, from monkey. this is another starting point. so many things already have taken place in the rockies this year- finding self, music (again), joy, a daft comrade, many friends and the feeling that can lift the weight of the world, and most enjoyably, the idea of co-existing with another, which, by itself, brings a tsuanmi of warmth to my world.


dykes take over yyz

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every year, my neighbourhood turns into a gigantic party area for the toronto pride festival. on way back home from meeting my friend cheryll all the way up north, i ran into the pride crowd. young, old. plain, dressed-up. repressed, extrovert. hetero, homo, trans, bi. supporters, onlookers. it used to run for a week, monday to sunday- this year is the first year i noticed that they have started to cover wknd to wknd (hence, 10 days). and though it gets somewhat rowdy (what would you expect in party for over a million people?), i think it is incredible that it really is one of the best festivals in canada (and in the world- and i have been the berlin love parade and san fran and nyc pride as well), not to mention more than 150 year-round and +1200 additional volunteers for the peak days (last three: fri-sunday).

brought up in somewhat kosher asian culture, the issue of homosexuality has been one of the neglected one in my household. well, also probably because we didnt have to deal with it directly as all three kids turned out to be hetero. the majority. the only exception perhaps may be me, who was exposed constantly to 'alternative' culture as arts realm is full of 'diversified' stock. i hesitate to use these words and i put them in quotations, because it really doesnt mean much to me, nor it ever did. everyone is different and whatever one likes is whatever one likes. only thing that i know is that being part of a minority certainly takes more efforts- in all context of the word 'effort.' but it seems for the sake of clarity, such terms cannot be avoided. just because when talking in general terms, we need to marginalize, sigh.

it's like proposition eight in last US election in california (for those who missed out, that was the state-vote to reverse, to ban same-sex marriage in california). i personally think the term 'marriage' should be taken out from a political constitution, period. for my taste, a 'civil union' would do- whether it be common-law, xx-xx, xy-xy, xx-xy, whatevers. i know im touching a sensitive issue for many, but knowing the people i know and loving the people i love, i just dont see a point of majority approving or even 'allowing' minority's rights. since when does majority know what's good for minority? does/should gender-orientation of sexes of a partnership determine the value of a relationship? i would hate to think that i even have to argue about such fundamental things.

a relationship is a relationship, love is love, care is care. one should be encouraged and supported by others to be happy and responsible, even if that involves specifics that other may not like. for instance, a common situation may be a xx-xy relationship where one partner's family/friends protesting their relationship due to whatever the reason may be- socioeconomical, age, race, whatever. we've come a very long way to determine as a group that mixed racial relationships can be successful and effective. you dont have to like it. you dont have to actively support it. however, you should not protest and try to take away others' rights to a happy life. it's not yours. it's theirs. toleration is not what i would hope for such a situation, however, toleration and acceptance should be at least the minimal standard.

i have jokingly heard someone referring the pride week as 'heterosexual shame day,' which is laughable. if you are being ridiculous, fine. but realize all you are doing is dismissing your own self-worth (this was from a heterosexual being who is slightly homophobic), that you cannot find your own value without ridiculing the other. and that is not only unnecessary, but pathetic.

i saw many people filling out the pride area today. and i am thinking about all my alternative-life-choiced friends and acquaintances. not only in sexual context, but in all contexts- people who are in the minority. heck, depending on the context, i also belong to a minority (ie. people who may lead 'impractical bohemian' lifestyle, being in classical music of all things, sigh. i mean- the average income of musicians in general in relation to the ave. education is staggeringly low. according to my parents, being a classical musician is one of the most baffling things as effort-to-compensation ratio is just.. crap). gender, socioeconomics, race, education, whatever the divisible be. it's only interesting because there are people who arent like oneself. and nothing is identical- even if you plant same crop of seeds from a mother plant, under identical condition, they will grow to be slightly different. even more differently when the progress of time is considered- some ahead, some behind, often reversing and switching turns, etc.

and i saw many young kids, i mean teenagers and people in their 20s, esp. the gay ones, looking beautiful, hopeful and excited, just like any other people in that age who are in a context they enjoy being in. or like any other people who are participating in an activity they chose and that they like (let's get rid of age issues and all that as well). but this particular age group, i must say, are extremely beautiful, many of them. well-taken care of, well-groomed, hitting-the-gym, etc. and they are out, just two blocks away, strutting under the hot june sun, vibrating to the thumping beats from numerous stages and bars. street covered with rainbows of colours and activities.

when pride is over, they may have to face a situation of discrimination, just like every other one of us. being seen as 'different' from the rest and being put in disadvantage because of it (just like old people are made fun by young people, and young people being ridiculed by old people, girls calling boys dumb, boys calling girls overly emotional, riches thinking they pay too much for social services, poors thinking the wealth is never distributed fairly, the case goes on and on), and at that age, things can be rather sharp and pointy. i dont think it gets better with aging either. only thing that aging provide is more opportunity for one to be a little more open, tolerant and even willing to learn, to embrace something that is different from self.

today's saturday, a typical pride saturday in yyz, dedicated to dykes. tomorrow afternoon, after i have already left to the airport, the 'infamous' (this is the word that official toronto pride webpage used, ha ha) gay pride parade will roll down this area. good for them. i sincerely hope it wont rain and that all who are involved to have a great time. am i sorry for missing the parade? well, not in particular, as i do have my own immediate things to attend to (ie. get monkey butt to banff) but it would have been great to be there. and i will be thinking of all my non-majority friends, which ironically will include every single one of them. because we are all different.

happy pride toronto. dont ever let majority rule over you, minority. and i hope we all find courage to be who we really are- whatever that may be.


licking a wound

i cant exactly make head/tail out of the days recently. especially today.
crashed. roadrash. just like the times i have met the asphalt face first while i was working as a bike courrier. but when you are on ground with roadrash, there are no questions. the reasons are obvious. days like today where one feels defeated, there are no simple answer to give out. but to lick the wound.

perhaps it's the anticipation or an old realization that sometimes, things- whether good or bad, can never be quite so rigidly defined. the weight of the things- they fluctuate. for instance, that book bag on carries around, is quite light when you are starting out for the day. depending on what one packed, it even may seem lighter than usual (perhaps that new book or new 'something' that has been greatly anticipated; like new sets of pencils etc). then as the day wears one out, it gets heavier. even may cause you a pain- slouching, dragging, etc.

there are good bits within today, certainly. i scored some works and i ran into an old friend. i think i am as ready as im going to be for now for upcoming work session, i even found some eccles cakes in toronto. i have readied the house once again, for leaving, i am not willing to take myself so seriously. generally, am trying to stay afloat.

and then at certain point,

it feels as if i have stepped on a small thing- a splinter, a pin, a shard of glass, whatever you will- and whatever that's been sustaining you 'afloat,' gradually dissipates. feeling much like those birthday balloons past its prime, the rubber no longer taut, stretched out, and wrinkly. as one deflates, one becomes desperate, even hopefully. it'll go. it'll lift. and it will. it will all work out. it does. it has to. it better.

it feels red. a red that is tinted with blue. oxidized dark brownish red. despair. scott weiland's gritty voice used to be the sandpaper i used to rub my wounds with. today, i be a small scrawny pup licking its wound, with that well-worn sandpaper. STP's 1992 album, core was one of the very first music in english i remember listening to. and i ate it up. every track. every word. every pain. every pain that was imaginable and conceivable. angsty teenager, not angry, just wounded. curled up, i may as well just sink to nihilism. broken, fragmented, bit by bit. consumed then spitted out. not pity-worthy, pathetic, really.

...I am smellin' like the rose
that somebody gave me on
my birthday deathbed
I am trampled under sole of
another man's shoes
Guess I walked too softly...
(stp, core, 1992: dead and bloated)


not all days are the same

true, they are all measurable in this arbitrary unit of 'hours,' and we get 24 hours in a day. 12 for am, 12 for pm, usually 9-5 constituting as business hours, the standard time being UTC, Temps Universel Coordonné, a close derivation from IAT, international atomic time. UT1 included the time set at IAT and the standard deviation of the leap seconds to keep up with inexactness of the current system. for practical reasons, UTC/UT1 can be used interchangeably with to GMT (greenwich meantime)(however, uk is now in BST), and for monkey, toronto time is set in EST (UTC - 5)and soon, she'll be adjusting to banff time in MDT (GMT - 7).

all the same length, essentially; once inawhile, we make up that small difference with the leap year, and then it gets real complicated. for the sake of reference, im going to be a socialist and dip into the communal well of knowledge, the great wikipedia:
The Revised Julian calendar adds an extra day to February in years divisible by four, except for years divisible by 100 that do not leave a remainder of 200 or 600 when divided by 900. This rule agrees with the rule for the Gregorian calendar until 2799. The first year that dates in the Revised Julian calendar will not agree with those in the Gregorian calendar will be 2800, because it will be a leap year in the Gregorian calendar but not in the Revised Julian calendar.
...This rule gives an average year length of 365.242222… days. This is a very good approximation to the mean tropical year, but because the vernal equinox year is slightly longer, the Revised Julian calendar does not do as good a job as the Gregorian calendar of keeping the vernal equinox on or close to March 21.

it's quite elaborate and beautiful. so easy to forget the beauty of 'inexactness' and 'repetitious' nature of time. yes it is repetitious and it can be calculated; just something to keep in mind, that whatever the time you may think it is, depending on your source- it may slightly differ. for instance, when you are in a crap rehearsal, the time does GO backward. or so it seems. it's all relative isnt it, as we are all inexact beings and that we create this consensus of the world through interweaving of individuals to the environment. for a sidetrack, this also leads to interesting discussion of musical tempo markings. for instance, what the hell does one mean when they say: 'moderato assai?' for non-musicians, it simply means 'moderately + VERY.' well, depending on who, that could be anything isnt it. or there's another good one, 'allegro non troppo,' fast, but not so fast!

anyways. that could go on for days. i was just slightly mused by the days that just seems LONGER than the others today. call it what you will, but we all have days that are... soggy. you get up and you immediately regret the fact that you just got up. and then everything is a tad bit more difficult than it was expected. things are underfoot, you are slightly off the center, and boy, it's a continual climb up the irritation hill. and you know that there WILL BE NO WAY OUT till the day's done. if you can stay under the covers and do nothing (even fall asleep), that would be ideal. or just take a day off and substitute it with whatever - you - may - care stuff. i dont care if you wanna eat the entire chocolate cake.

as long as you arent going to tell me that and i live close enough to drop by for a piece.

and knowing that even $hit days do END.
like today.

to commemorate father's day last wknd, monkey decided to finally set up a desktop for the male gene pool unit. monkey's father is a peculiar man. there are many things that i could blab about, but we'll stop at this one point: he has to know why. i suppose it's a good quality and no wonder he became an electrical engineer. he wants to know what doesnt work and how; then you can fix it. and he'll fix it. for the years that he's been working at his own shop, there has been incidents where one need a technical help: ie. mechanics. he runs a dry cleaning plant and there are couple machines, all specialized to do different things. but largely, they can be put in loose category of: solvent - electrical machine (like drycleaning machine or a washer, dryer, etc) and steam - electrical machine (most of the pressing/finishing - related devices).

monkey's dad is a very good mechanic. he likes the blueprints, manuals, parts and above all, reasons. however. talking about time, i had a weird collision with that today. so last wknd when i was trying to set up the computer, monitor was going berserk. it was being difficult. not cooperating. not communicating. plain-out-no. and monkey's dad asks: why is it not working?

i donno dad.
but i will bring another monitor to see a comparative test to see whether it's hardware or software problem.

monkey's dad was curious. why wont something that used to work suddenly not work? i donno, and i have no answer. at that point, i thought: wont matter, it's not working, i will set it up before i leave to banff. so. let's pretend you arent too curious and let's say you have no questions. frown.

so today, PO and monkey went up, rugging monitor in backpack in transit. fun fun fun. so we get there. after a short period of time, problem diagnosed (dead monitor), problem fixed (replace monitor), complete next task (set up router, connect, update, test), and.... leave. except. monkey decided to call them and let them know that it's working. then. comes daddio on the phone:

male gene pool: why wasnt it working?
monkey: i donno
mgp: it wasnt working- but how?
m: i donno dad (irritated)
mgp: but it wasnt even used while you were away, so why?
m: i donno dad, i donno
mgp: i havent even taken it out of the box, so why wasnt it working?
m: i donno dad. ask the tech dude (pass phone to PO)
po:(after dad's inquiring) well, it's not working-
mgp: but why not?
po: well, it's not, and that's that and we fixed it by-
mgp: you dont know why it's not working?
po: (passes phone back to monkey)
mgp: alright, thanks, but if you find out why-
mgp: alright, call before you leave. thanks.
why does it really matter it's not working? it's been replaced dad. i have no idea why it isnt working. but even if i knew, it wont change anything. but like a child, he kept asking. such an engineer mind. gawd. so there it was. PO was laughing as monkey just lost steam. i guess it's funny. it's kinda funny. not really, grrr. then it made me think. i was like that, long time ago. buggering my dad: dad dad dad why is (is not) that? how is that? why not this and that? etc etc etc.

and there we were today, the roles reversed, but minds from same mold, similar yet different. however, still asking the same question: why and how? the fact that situation was resolved wasnt even the most important part. haha. he mustve been busting head when i was a kid. but boy while working on that desktop, it did seem that time was going eternally slow. then when talking to dad, time went.. well, backward. and i got to stay there for exactly 2 min and 35 sec, according to my phone. a mind inquiring to another: why?

it is nice in a way that we could be there just for 2'35''. and gawd am glad that computer's working now. happy father's day daddio. hope you enjoy it. and if you ask why it wasnt working ONE MORE TIME, im gonna break it on... well, i guess i cant really break it on people (including daddio), so i guess i will break it on floor or something: look dad, it's done, it's in pieces, so it doesnt work!!!!!!!!

ha ha ha ha ha.
what a long day.
perhaps that was what it was about, today being a slightly odd difficult day. time just proving that it's not always consistent and usual. just like monkey, today, on 24 june 2009, going from confused (thing not working) - infuriated (dad questioning) - relief (things working) - irritated (re-questioning) - reminiscent (brainsplattering) and now... to.... basket (hopeful for sleep).
i just hope if things are going to be this inconsistent, august may as well get here sooner than later.

though. an easier day. would be. wel.come.d.

tales from yyz: one early summer day

monkey's knackered. so without further explanation, here are some funny things from the city today. why/how does normal-plain-jane things get to be so hilarious when they are put into a new context? i will never know, but had a couple good laughs anyways.


1919 boston, molasses galore.

i remember thinking at one point in this particular june that things are moving rather slow, like molasses. ooh boy was i mistaken. now im thinking: just like the good ol'boston molasses explosion, it's rolling in with a furious wave. wait, really molasses? like the stuff you make gingerbread cookies with? the stuff you put in by spoonfuls in baked beans? toast topping we are talking about? the sticky, black, thick stuff that you can squeeze out of a plastic jar, or spoon out from old fashioned glass containers?


in boston year 1919, a molasses tank, 15m tall, 27m diameter, holding 8,700,000 litre of sweet goo stuff, exploded. pressure, pressure pressure, then the first rivet went and the rest is history. waves of molasses, high as 4.5m high, rolling at 56km/h or 35mph. simply crushing with pressure of 200kpa. over the railways, crushing buildings, flooding up to 60cm average; men, women, horses stuck on the big black mess like.. well, flies on sticky paper. approx. 150 injured and 27 died. hilarious but not really. i mean... it would be one way to go i suppose. sweet. not short though, depending on how it happened. gawd.

anyways, there should be loads of stuff on the web involving this incident. and monkey's gotta work on sleeping on somewhat regular schedule. so im keeping this brainsplattering somewhat short, but it's interesting as things are gathering momentum like vicious molasses, quietly and casually waiting till.. well, the right moment. a week today would be the first day at banff for summer sessions. monkey's furiously working on the list of rep, with that slight doomed bully clouds over her shoulder (not over the head YET), with that lovely feeling that 'no worries, more stuff are going to rain on laters anyways.'

but. at least some copying and revisions are done(well, for now) and it's as good as it's going to get today. thank god for 24 hours practice facilities. im excited, somewhat warm-stretched tired and amused. good place to be. and there are plenty of things that i keep to myself to be happy and motivated. yay. and luckily lots of things that i appreciate at the moment are offered from others, for prices that cannot possibly be measured. yes, it's not for free. it's got high costs- as people who are generous enough are making the efforts to share themselves and their lives (and these people, naturally, the giver/inspiration/renaissance man types, are busting busy- and i feel so privileged to be offered such precious section of their TIME and BEINGS). mr. salamander, bookbomber, my good ol'crazy montreal mentor, PO, the list can go on and on.

all i can hope is that i can contribute something back to their lives, and i do not need to know whether i do or not- as there isnt much monkey can offer otherwise. so let's scrap the idea of self-evaluation. right now, it's time to ride. and as lucky as i am, i may as well enjoy all bits of it- including the pressure bits. without pressure, those rivets would have never flown across the historic town of boston. without rivets flying, there would have been no such comic-tragedy. and lets remember..

heck, even molasses had time to ride 35mph.

dribbling slow, but.. you never know when it may strike!
alright monkey, to basket you go.
hmmm i think i want toasts with butter and honey tomorrow morning (lacks molasses). shouldve gone back in town to scoop some off the street.
less than a week to go for first time marker from this point.
49 to go for the next time marker. hooray.


green on red

Green how I love you green.
Green wind.
Green boughs.
The ship on the sea
And the horse on the mountain.

f.garcia lorca, a genius man said this. garcia lorca is one poet who entered my life one afternoon, by the side door. he sneaked in, like the blood spill, slowly spreading through the cracks of the floor, thick and coppery. with that metal gloss-sheen over. the bright red turning into deep burgendy as the weightless oxygen caressed its velvet surface.

it was my post-1945 musicology class. the subject of the class was not lorca, but of george crumb. crumb is a master of colours and evocations. he creates these massive pictorial scores, full of flow and rhythm, of curves and movements. and though it is not obvious to even decipher his scores at first as there are so many 'new' notations- the signs and symbols that he exclusively uses for these puzzles. we even call his graphic notational chart as 'key,' like alice's 'keys' in her wanderings. as she roams around the wonderland, alice finds various keys- which does not look like a key at all. but through her random interaction with these unknown objects with very simple descriptions such as 'drink,' she keeps opening another dimension of fantasy and phantasy.

and one of his muses, federico garcia lorca, is a definite evocator. his poems and plays are always full of life; eerie, even. they lie still, without movement in black on white. then once your eyes start to glance through them, they become alive- through their sounds, motions and shapes. it's not just ordinary texts, but INCANTATIONS. it is interesting to note that what we commonly call 'spanish' has so many dialects and each dialect is quite different from one to another. the continental european spanish, castellano- the official spanish for spain, for instance, was nothing like spanish i have heard in the spain-france border of pyrenee mountains- i was attending pablo casals festival and boy.. i was getting nervous whenever my collegues were joking about them all speaking 'spanish,' which meant castellano. i was worried that we were gonna get butts kicked as the region speaks catalan- as that independence issus is still a hot button to date.

garcia lorca, introduced by crumb lecture, one day, made a full circle in monkey head with de falla. both are from the region of andalusia (lorca from a small village near granada, de falla from cadiz); andalusia, the south of spain, containing well-known travel destinations of malaga, cordoba, seville and cadiz. lorca, being sensitive and aware as a poet, must have been finely tuned to the andalusian dialect. with centuries of moorish influence and its influence- arabic words and phrases, then heavily mixed with gitano culture (spanish gypses), the andalusian temperament is perhaps best cumulated in flamenco. in fact, some andalusian expressions are completely absent in castellano. lorca, dark-blooded, salvadore dali's lover, illustrates a tremendous feat in his 'ode to salvador dali,' conjuring and blurring the fine lines between the senses, indulging in heavy synesthesia, a strong influence from ruben dario. even when one does not really speak fluent spanish, this poem is worthwhile piece to just 'sound through,' a diction exercise (of course, along with a trans. text for reference..)

here's a english translation for us, the mere white-bums: http://www.artofeurope.com/lorca/lor2.htm

de falla, one of the few 'spanish' composers (as ironically, much of popular spanish music of the time was written by french- similar to the germans writing hungarian gypse music), wrote some art songs (lucky for us), one of my favorite cycle being the siete canciones populares espanolas. and how did de falla made collision with lorca? well, easy tiger, easy. the third one of the set, asturiana, a simple folksong, is built in colour green.

Por ver si me consolaba (To see whether it would console me)
Arrime a un pino verde (I drew near a green pine)
Por ver si me consolaba (To see whether it would console me).
Por verme llorar, lloraba (Seeing me weep, it wept)
Y el pino como era verde (And the pine, being green)
Por verme llorar, lloraba (seeing me weep, wept)

almost ironic how this image of green is set on the warm backglow of red. perhaps blood red. as one weeps. weeping for consolation. a consolation for what? one cannot say for sure, but the way it strikes me today is for an absence. a situation of absence, which may or may not be permanent, doesnt matter- because even if it were to be resolved in the future, for now, one is left without it. the presence of something being accentuated by its absence. a hole in a heart. and the heart, as it travels over time, pumps. every pump, the heart leaks. a bit by bit. eventually a small pond of sorrow. much like the image of lorca when he entered monkey's world. coppery. the redness of it further accentuated by speckles of green. the green of late spring and early summer, shooting upward and outward, full of life.

and how did i get to green and red? well, much like reading george crumb's score for the first time, the notations and symbols seem unrelated. but lorca, de falla, crumb, the green hills of england, the current 'obsessive presence' of red in monkey's world, all somehow melted into a rich pool of... feelings larger than words. ooh.. and then a touch of saura (that would be carlos saura, whose been making some of the most beautiful films i have ever seen: bodas de sangre, carmen, el amor brujo, flamenco, tango, goya en burdeos, salome and iberia)... the 90' angle, straight forward, somewhat dry and iron-disciplined north american air around monkey have changed into something completely different. like alice, whenever she interacts with something she does not really understand. the external world morphs into something new, which in turn, changes the internal, inevitably.

simple mental objects, stewn all over the place, much like unkempt storage room. and all i need for this magical incantation was simple intonation set in green. the magic catalyst. i received some pictures from newly made friends from uk today- full of green spring british hills and bright memories, red-hot. a fragments from mr. salamander from awhile ago- a reflection in green. and with this sludge of rich decadence, i am a little sorrowful-melancholic. for something i miss, just for now, a bit. i miss IT and am affected by it.

but i am consoled (unlike that maiden in 'asturian') because by realizing its absence, i also realize how valueble it is for me. as the striking green leaves falling on the coppery red pool.



i am there
where you are

wherever you are
whenever you are
if you let me and i know you will
there i will be
enclosed in your space
belonging to no one
but to you
i, with the space and its own progression
will melt into the fall foilage deep red of
vivid red tea
of a grey blue winter afternoon

i will be there
when you take the very next breath
as a faint scent of woody richness

more real
than the present
since you know
that i am there

peeking into my cup

woody riches

duke writes back!

i am somewhat skeptical when they say: we do really care about what you think, so please continue to hold, when we are done with whatever complains we are currently dealing with a high volume, we'll get on yours asap, well, kind of.
where have we heard that one before: well, on customer phone lines, from banks to doctors to tech supports to anyone really. i ve been tempted many time to put it on as my greetings message on the phone and see how many people would actually leave a message after all that hassle.

customer feedbacks are funny things. though it is essential, it is a pain on the butt to collect. and nowdays it seems that everyone thinks that anyone could collect quantitative data from the web (HA!), that customer feedbacks should be filed under 'ancient history' or 'ancient legacy' or even 'bad cumulative business practice.' well we all know how honest we are with our doctors (at least once you have lied to your doctor. anyone shaking their head, add another denial to your list. plus 5 points), so when it comes to a forced interaction (if not forced situation all together) with customer service, things just get real hairy.

i am not condemning the business practices of making complaints as difficult as possible. heck, i remember complaining about perfectly good packed lunch (which resulted in immediate transfer of duty: why dont you pack your own $#@% lunch from now on?), so knowing how creative people get, i am not surprised that they even have a real number for customer supports. ive been tempted to photoshop that back of package: 'customer feedback' with 'for good times, call...' haha.

anyways. anyone who has dealt with banks or phone companies, or even one up, the tech supports for anything computer related, we all know about one's 'now-newly-expecting' expected attitude about customer feedback: unless you have got all day and some energy to burn, dont even bother! but then there are occasional cases where the mundane expectations are creamed against wall. and one is left looking rather sheepish.

so where does this all fit into? what customer service am i going to talk about? well, you may be surprised. i am talking a real duke who lives in 21st century in a big house with all those fancy titles (he even signs his things 'devonshire,' apparently they dont even have to mention their names; we are supposed to know). and what does monkey know about the great customer service of the 12th duke of devonshire?

well, while in uk, mr. salamander and monkey decided to go look at some fancy houses. not just any, but we went to see the house of 12th duchess/duke of devonshire. yep, it's the house where the recent movie 'duchess,' featuring keira knightley and ralph fiennes was shot:

a grand house with whole bunch of arts and beautiful stuff, really. it even had a greatly classy tack shop, a rarity in these days. and so even though we were strapped for cash (just one of those days where one leaves cash at home by a mistake, leaving cash feeling snugly safe and happy and the individuals feeling somewhat endangered by lack of cash), we had to bring something back with us. and what else would be more appropriate but a marmalade, a great uk breakfast staple? you see, mr. salamander has these ability/facility to create old school coal fire at will, so weve been eating much toasts at this point. and butter and toast is as good as it gets sometimes. and having even more magic sprinkles on toasts- whether you prefer peanut butter, nutella or even marmalade, it all adds to even more excitement. esp. if you have the time to make real cup of tea/coffee to go with it and a bit of time to mellow out. ah. toast. i could so use one right now. notice i said i could use, not i need to use. haha. such is the nature of toasts. optional, however, desperately optional.

anyways, so there were couple different kinds of marmalade avail. but one particular section had jars with silver stickers, claiming it is 'duke's favorite,' so we had to take a look at that. and my, it was graced with a grand description of 'vintage.'
now, i am familiar with the term 'vintage' regarding wine. or even clothing. anything but... marmalade. and i dont think it's due to lack of attention. it just was... completely new concept. a vintage marmalade. who wouldve thought. so we read every letter on the label to see what qualifies it as 'vintage,' as i wasnt exactly hopping excited about buying a used jar of marmalade. or even, second-handed jar. or vintage without a year.

so one morning, eating toast with butter and marmalade, monkey took a pen and a paper, and start to write to the duke. handwritten, oldschool letter. inflamed by curiosity and no real dangers nearby, monkey wrote a full page of thanking the duke for opening his residency and how pleasurable it was to experience the 'proper' historic british mansion. then came the question: what makes your favorite marmalade a vintage?

mr. salamander didnt discourage monkey for wasting time; in fact, he suggested that we go post it that afternoon on way to another leisure walk, to the local small post-office. so the letter was dropped. and in addition, grabbing a full bag of treacle toffee, the two nutters went off to continue the walk. did i expect anything to come out of it? may be. may be not. the duke is a big title. may be he's busy.

then. came. one day.
a letter from the duke.

he apparently read it and tried to decipher the name of monkey and totally butchered it. well, he got two of four parts right. at least he's got the 'dr. lee' part. apparently monkey's handwriting sucks. ha ha. but i guess the rest of the letters were readable and so came his explanation. it was even signed. ha ha! as 'stoker devonshire.' another dovetail, stoker apparently is the term given to the back seater of a tandem bike. nice. at least the duke lets someone else drive (perhaps the duchess?)

in anycase, this letter was a real nice surprise. not only he went through the reasoning behind the 'vintage' lable, he took the time to respond back to a monkey. sometimes, these things really surprise me. how nice. oooer and the marmalade, wonderful. i hope to restock it sometime soon, hopefully this year. yum. toast, butter, marmalade, fire, mr. salamander and the letter of the duke. monkey's life is now at least six things richer. go monkey.

stok·er (stkr)
1. One who is employed to feed fuel to and tend a furnace, as on a steam locomotive or a steamship.
2. A mechanical device for feeding coal to a furnace.


[Dutch, from stoken, to stoke, from Middle Dutch stken, to poke.]


sending it your way, really.

yyz is having a sort of fuzzy evening. past couple days have been somewhat soggy and it finally decided to rain- well, however, with great resistance, it seems. it's been on and off raining here and there in late afternoon and evening, and now it's turning into a gigantic fog blanket that covers the pointy tips of the tall, imposing buildings of the day.

monkey is back from making some sort of efforts to learn e.bloch's schelomo reduction and have decided that it'll still be there tomorrow. so. it's. all. good. this particular piece makes me laugh a little, since it is somehow soooo anachronistic. the imposed grandness of it makes me wonder what/how it would have been back in the days where the colour films first made their way to the public theater. something like ben-hur all the way back in 1959. with the great big painted posters (not printed, painted!! imagine that!!) on the side of the theater buildings screaming 'techni colours!' it's that kind of grandness, kinda old, nostalgic, somewhat ridiculous from current perspective, nonetheless, still good.

hilarious, a small dovetail i just realized- the music was written by miklos rozsa. never knew that. oddly enough during one's day, things pop in and out, and often, one does not see the connection until much later. rozsa is an example. while talking to mr. salamander, the name popped up; now that i look up ben-hur, there he is! then further peeking reveals that he's been to leipzig to study with reger. hilarious. leipzig hochschule was my very first european experience way back in.. cant even remember with conviction- i would have to look it up. but it being about 2am, i think such things can be forgiven. now there's rosza, somehow spider-webbed with bloch. i bet he never thought about that, haha. then funny things still continue. he died in year 1959, the year of ben-hur. and if we flip coupla numbers, we get 1995, the year of rosza's death. apparently monkey's going nutters. time for some sleep eh.

anyhows, this piece, schelomo, with its grand title and character larger than life, has some ridiculous (in a good sense) colours and rhythmic complexity that is just a little bit too big for a piano monkey. it's slowly taking its time to settle, however, it's been a-okay-journey. at least the rhythmic figures are interesting. anyways. that was the reason monkey was amused till the wee hours. but. for. now. done.

on way back, the rain/mist is still there, in its hazy form, at best. a bit of wind, kinda chilly, the flickering of quiet, sleepy city night, the smell of cold, wet asphalt. and some kids having fun with spray paint cans. music making. the idea of 'collaborating,' creating something anew by reacting with another human being, the list could go on and on.

so im trying to make an effort to close this loop for the day, by posting a picture of one of my recent found interest, uk graffiti artist banksy. banksy arrived through the window with quiet sneaky ninjalike grace and he's been a quite a catalyst for many thoughts and conversations. and i do dig his works, politically and artistically. cynical at times, however, often achingly sincere.

here's one of my favorites. it was the grey walls that made me think of it. like the grey wet blankets over the downtown yyz at 2am, quiet morning. and i hope the wind is blowing to the west. i would love to get that little balloon to arrive for just in time for the morning on the other side of the puddle. with thoughts lighter than air, the ribbons dancing with such grace and curves in the wind. a nice tie that connects all these loose dots of monkey's evening: ben hur, rosza, window, bloch, collaborating, sharing, grey wet blankets, grey walls, wishes and curves.

with such childish wish, monkey's heading to basket. time out. good night to you all.



couple subjects have been floating in and out of my head today, it was a rather difficult to exactly pinpoint to one particular thought to hold on to. all kind of interconnected, however different. some a bit too private, some a bit too depressing. one a huge relief, a wonderful event. some ongoing process, some a surprise. anyhows, there is no point of listing them all. i guess i have settled into this particular thought of 'reviewing.'

review what you wonder: well, no, it's not a test revision. it's certainly not a performance review. where would i start? well, i was looking into my worldly possessions (which, miraculously there's always more than youve ever thought. i mean who really needs 6 pairs of shoes? one of my mentors used to say that he's got two pairs and it's a large conflict of interest because one could only wear A pair without looking, well, retarded) but then i did. i still donno if im going to keep them or chuck some. i guess the decision will come when it wants to. and then the storage room stuff- the pictures, odd bits of different papers (watercolours, drafts, tracing, etc etc., even some pre-stretched canvases. too bad i really dont like working on canvases. give me a paper and a sharpie anyday. bah), stuff that you hvae forgotten about entirely (and im usually very good about remembering things that i own)- i suppose that's what happens when one has too much. and i know for a fact that i dont even really own much. how surprising.

why all the sudden a need to review? well, very simple. well, there are several reasons. first, it is always important to appreciate the things that you own i believe. you have accumulated and you may as well enjoy them. however, if you dont know of its existence (ie. in shoeboxes, in memory sticks, whatevers), it's rather difficult to appreciate it for its full value. it just gets slammed as 'stuff in the box.' things that may take a place of dominance and importance (for instance, my degrees, the actual papers i meant), barely hides from a random act of purging just because.. well, the whole box was opened and looked into. though, i still have zero clue where my master's degree is. but if you want, i still have some official transcripts. perhaps that would help. haha.

secondly, im really living the life of transient this year. 3 + 1 + 3 months in banff ctr, then 1 in uk, and im writing august off for now as it wont be as practical (summer plans, yeeeees), so another invisible/perhaps unavailable 1 in yyz, adds to total of 9 out of 12 months that im in some sort of major flux. and living out of suitcase (banff winter) and a backpakc (uk), it really adds to the admirable, perhaps illusive enticing of 'minimal' living. and knowing that as soon as things settle, monkey wants to try a new location, hopefully by end of the year (or asap as god willing), it just cant possibly hurt to start to minimize.

going off tangent, the idea of new geographic location with some sort of permanence (well, i dont want to jinx it by say, yes, it'll be permanent. how silly of me) is a great excitement and the recent demonstration from monkey's gene pools (yes both sexes this time) has been a great source of joy. yay. now all i have to do is ask for the mercy of canadian government (processing papers) and look into the complicated process of uk government (that thought is also starting to hurt my head for now. eww. but necessary evil, both of them). regarding the year, the most tangible task of this year: banff ctr activities, have and continue to deserve a good chunk of dedication and attention from me for obvious reasons. another important point of taking the courage for relocation idea, well, that came rather on its own, and monkey's always game for another drift in the current. pretending to be a fish, haha. and there'll be plenty more to come about this point in future, so am going to drop it for now. ahem. i just realized that the last thing i wanted to was to talk about it. rather than talking, i would like to follow the flux and be excited about the perspective of 'now,' slowly getting there, when it's just right :)

thirdly, if there are things i dont need or want, i may as well put it back into life by donation/ gifting/ whatevers. there are things that were passed onto me from people around me, for instance, my bicycle, from a good friend of mine who was leaving the states, have been glued to my butt the whole time i am in yyz. my second bike (ooh greedy), which i hauled from states, thinking that it'll be a practice bike for learning the arts of cycle maintenance (im really not trying to be cliche here), have nicely relocated to one of my friend's life (i guess im 'letting her use it' haha, as i never sold it and have no intention to), getting her all over the places in toronto. so it's always good to put things back in life. better than gathering dust.

so with this feeling of being run down by things (all tiptoeing and demanding attention and care, 'me, me, me, dont downsize me, you will miss me i swear'), i started to go through small bits at a time. to little piles of: chuck, keep, recycle, donate. and the there is always an invisible 'maybe' pile. and i think everyone would agree- that mental pile where you put things that you just cannot decide at the moment. it's not to keep, but just to stall temporarily rather. i dont even know what i would be doing with my books. perhaps for the reasons of mental sanities, i should stay away from that subject entirely, just for tonight. (see, that's another maybe pile right there. spontaneously decided to appear. damn).

and i found some memory sticks. made me laugh, it's a very small one, capacity of 128mb. mustve been my first one. so i had to open it up, and there were some funny shites. some cheese ambient music mixed for some odd things, old papers (some of them obviously BAD), pictures, general fragments of life. and i was pleasantly surprised that even when things did look dicey, i could now look at it with much more appreciation and humour. and this, gives me a load of hope for certain process in my life at the moment, esp. for the things that i have no direct control of. the small splinter that i thought was really hurting, will also eventully be pushed out, as the wound heals. and it's a small one; but dont get me wrong, it's not any less important. it's just that there are some things that one needs to passively care for the time being, as messing with it is just not the right thing to do. how does one know? i have no idea, but i think one knows intuitively. and the rest, well, is hoping.

so there is a funny picture of monkey. i dont think the date is right ont he corner, no way that any school was open on new year's day to host a concert. phahaha. but i think that was my second master's recital. i look completely silly. the idea was to see whose gonna go down: piano vs. monkey. and i am happy to summarize the situation as: well, now, monkey and piano can co-exist. no competition or hard feelings are required.

for some reason, that last sentence brings much satisfaction. and i just realized that it's hitting the prime single-digit hours of the morning. crap. nto that i dont like staying up and wasting 'cyberspace' but there are things that i would love to get done tomorrow- re: piano, ha ha ha. so im wrapping up abruptly and curling up in a basket. and then i am gonna pretend that i am in my basket, the basket i belong to, not the one i happend to be in physical sense. in review, this wont be classified in maybe file- or chuck, recycle, share, whatevers. this idea goes on the top of list for 'surely keeping, get your own.'

good night,
and world, you are no longer cruel, so stop frowning.
you are gonna get some huge line across your forehead.
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dogs@yyz. fizz. fuzz.

some pictures of the dogs of yyz. you know, one day, i think/hope that i will get to have a puppy. well, really, what i would like is a rescue greyhound. but having a puppy means that one is settled and commited. since this year is going to be all about banff (7 of 12 months, haha. and i dont even know how many pages of music that may be. that would be.. hmm amusing to calculate it at some point). anyways, going back to the puppies,they are stylish, cute, some daring and some just.. (raise a finger, tilt head, wait 2 seconds, then) too cute.

perhaps one of these days in not too far in the future, i may be able to have a dog... well, at least hope to do so. i guess it wont be a possibility until next year at least, but whenever it happens, it will be. awesome. awe---some.
this guy was willing to sit up just for a cookie. i wonder what the owner have smeared on the cookie. depending on what it is, i think i know couple people off my head who may be willing to perform the very same task, haha. just joking. i think it's really cute. esp. with its ears hanging down.
often folks make a mistake of getting a westie when looking for a small-space dog. westies are still hunting dogs and need much exercise and space. they are hilarious, all looking fuzzy and fizzy. like small cans (those miniature cans) of soda pop that has been shaken couple times. barely contained in their skin. eyes up, ears listening. woof woof. wag wag.
the typical comical droopy ear expression. mellowed out, like room- tempertured single malt. a bit of spice, forest, peat, smoke and..... possibility for much amusement to come. and below, my favorite of the day, italian greyhound. i love them to bits. (thats not much in bits) well, italian grehound, whippet and greyhound, they all share that graceful curve, sinewy body, and eyes that is full of curiousity.
curiosity that brings life back to the most mundane days. the long dog days of summer's coming and it's looking promising. august, would you come a bit sooner??
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about to hit the basket, monkey decided to go for a short walk, which turned into a rather saga- like exploration of colours red, amber and all shades of brown to black. i like my city in the evening, where there are enough light to make things just interesting enough. any earlier, it is a mayhem and any later, it is a grave. so here are some. and ooh it does make me love the quiet evenings. where the bright days colours sleep quietly, and all you see is mere silhouette of the daytime buzz. muted, matted and sandblasted.

a random walk around kengsinton market, toronto. a new mural went up while monkey was around uk. art deco, rather mucha-like. beautiful. i bet in the daytime, it just burns in that passionate brick red. oooh passion.
a nutter skull - a la - mexican - day - of- the- deads. the post box and the passing car, apparently suppresses with flaming red.
a random wanted note in corso italia. we all wanted a good mom. haha. now, the video- is she being good or nutters in that video?
another last hint of glowing red on rather steely, matted surface. a fuse box on north-east corner of college and st. george. gritty evening but still, that hint of red makes the day.

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'someone likes you enought to be a true nuisance'

i am so knackered after a jolly pint (okay well more than one. now that's progress. back in beginning of may, you would had to pay a rather handsome, large sum of money for monkey to drink a bitter. now. well. im a total toast), a good practice session (nothing like a practice post-pint. somehow, it feels so much better though it probably is sounding so much more entertaining), a good long bike ride around the town and a killer shower/bath.
but somehow i have this compulsive need to make a public announcement.

there are a few people in this world that i really dearly love.
now, dont get smartypants on me and start asking questions such as:
what is love?
how do you define love?
what if your definition of love is different from mine?
what if it's love that hurts?
what kind of love?

those questions are reserved for semiotics discussion. perhaps etymology or cultural studies as well. pub talk, a general topic that gets chewed till the end. like an old piece of gum that is about to disintegrate in one' mouth. ewww. if one needs to explain the word, then clearly, we arent on the same page.

for the sake of monkey's short but somehow eternally far journey to the basket (i would sleep very well right now), we'll just leave the word love as is. and we'll just stick with the short point that monkey dearly loves her friends.

who are her friends? well, if you have to ask.. you may return to the 3rd paragraph. you know who you are. and ive been super duper crazy lucky about the fact that wherever i go, how long i am away for, some things never change. including friends. it's been a rather sparse as far as actual reconnection, email, phonecalls are concerned. after all, monkey's been a nomad for quite and bit and being a phonephobe does not help anyone at this point.


i am going to hope that such feelings needlessly communicate themselves for all parties involved, and that is that.
i dig my friends.
as individuals, we are all kinda wackos. somehow, a big group of mismatched characters. but with all our dents, past, present and feelings/ aspirations/ actions/ whatever-fills-yer-boots-at-the-moment, i know that we all enrich one anothers' lives. it just wont be the same even if just one small part of a person be missing.

and therefore, monkey's gonna continue to be a nuisance. after all, being a true nuisance takes some serious work and dedication. as the picture can exemplify: sometimes i cant believe im 30 and still making doodles on peoples' hands, whether they are awake or passed-out. squick.

but the truth may be that it wont matter if they are asleep or awake. we are all just happy to be co-existing and co-relating. ooooh more squicks. wagging. and now. to basket. mm..z. z. z...
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catalysis progress report: june 2009, toward july 2009

ahh. june. a slow month for a change (though some of you may groan in protest since i had a rather enjoyable month of may doing not much of required work but doing so much of throughly exciting activities) and it is starting to move inch by inch. the long awaited banff list have came and the assignments semi-settled, scores located, asked for, rented, printed and slowly but sure being organized movement by movement.

this banff experience is really a surprise dent in my life, in many contexts really. once again, quoting pollan, one cannot just do one thing (now this quote is from his recent book, in defense of food). but for this very specific amusement, i think i will concentrate on the music aspect of it.

LW is the lady who acted as a catalyst for banff bomb. not only she have re-inspired me to look at the classical music with enthusiasm, i am slowly rediscovering the wealth and legacy of this particularly rich tradition of western classical keyboard performance. by the time i was done with my phd, i was tired, or i thought i was tired. tired of music. we dont ever make any money, we are often considered bloody lucky if we break even- unless you get a second job (office gig, house gig, teaching snotty kids, whatever goes). even then, you are really hoping to 'even out.'

well, i say she has been a catalyst. catalyst is a funny thing; it is a substance that initiates or accelerates a reaction, however it remains neutral, away from the reaction itself. it participates in multiple chemical transformation. positive catalysts speed the reaction; with addition of promotors, the catalysis can be even faster!! the opposition, for reference, would be negative catalyst and catalytic poison (additional agent that slows down or cancels the catalysis). so LW definitely is a positve catalyst. and luckily there has been others who were essential promotors- my good old housemate/best buddy PO, mr. salamander, the book bomber, my dear banff saint julie etc., great musician/inspiration PLane, coaching and working with HG, the list may go on for a bit. so i will stop listing for now.

so here is monkey, back on the work bench, plogging away couple notes at a time, reading several staffs at a time, mostly enjoying and having fun. AND even making it even. i will even be completely out of the debt hopefully by the end of the year. that means i cleared all loans (well there really only was that student loan during undergrad years), no credit card bills, owes no-one-not-a-thing-by-numbers! only thing i would owe may be gratitude and thankfulness to all catalysts and promotors of this particular process.

i am getting ready to start to tackle the massive list of repertoire. i will be playing for cello and horn studios for banff summer instrumental program (that means.. i will be working under the great brit cellist r.wallfisch once again! i am so looking forward seeing him again, hooray). and for fun, here are the delicious-mostly-and-some-eclectic-list (well, as it sits for now):

barber cello sonata
bloch schelomo reduction
brahms cello sonata 1 and 2
carter cello sonata
debussy cello sonata
dutilleux cello concerto reduction
dvorak cello concerto reduction
haydn cello concerto 1 and 2
rachmaninoff cello sonata
respighi adagio con varioazioni
rochberg ricordanza
schubert arpeggione sonata
schumann cello concerto reduction
shostakovich cello sonata
shostakovich cello concerto 1
alec wilder suite for horn/piano
eugene bozza sur les cimes for horn
john mccabe the goddess trilogy for horn
oscar morawetz horn sonata
gunther schuller nocturn from horn concerto
mozart horn concerto
schumann adaio and allegro
strauss horn concerto 1 and 2 reduction

haha. now that i have listed them, they look somewhat more menacing. but i know i will not only get through it, but will try and def will enjoy learning - rehearsing - performing process. i like my job. i like being the key monkey. i take pride in fact that i do have very certain set of skills that makes me a good key monkey (ie. sightreading). but do keep in mind that i do lack another set of skills that wouldve made me a good solo pianist (which.. i think.. would be very unlikely at this point), and that i have particular goals that i would like to achieve- such as covering all major works for strings and winds repertoire, and to become one of the 'good' collaborative monkey wherever i would be.

that reaction will take time. heck, it's been taking its time- most notably in my graduate school years. playing non-stop. one of the best education i had was during my doctoral degree where i had the horseshoe to work with dr. bailey's studio, covering almost all of core flute repertoire. and then there's slew of other projects that added so much depth- musically and personally: working - studying- performing at casalmaggiore festival, leipzig-juilliard summer academy, hochschule fur muzik koln summer academy, pablo casals festival, scotiafest, college music society, collegium musicum, mannes school of music contemporary music festival, conducting classes, choir accompanying... and on and on and on.

and luckily there always been promotors and catalysts, pro-monkey, every step of the way. i try to keep in touch with everyone and i do hope that one day they will be happy to think that 'ya, monkey was a quirky, but a good kid.' and also for all the instrumentalists who i had some extraordinary times (ooh there are some that are very dear to my mind- for instance, i better email my brahms quartet cellist jan- as i was thinking of him much today while working on dutilleux and brahms 2; and recently mr. salamander. massive talent kolja lessing with massive challenge of second busoni sonata. also of particular andre-sebastian savoie of montreal, who i dont get to talk too often but is engraved to the back of my skull as an ideal musician model for me)...

i am not totally jaded to think it's all going to be just fun, shits and giggles in july. there'll be some days where i will just yawn and hope i can pop my jaw out only to get out of a rehearsal or something. but i know that i will put in my best efforts and that there'll be more connections and eventful moments to come, some that will last a life time. or even longer. who knows.

there are many small things that gets underfoot in daily stuffs of the day. but after all, me and very selected few in this world gets to have an occupation that one may perform their usually - professional - duty - as - a - serious - enjoyable -personal - activity. there's nothing like having that moment immersed in music, being in sync. communicating, creating, appreciating, inhaling life's best bits all at once. i already packed my bag for tomorrow's practice. i am looking forward to stretch over that exciting magic bit of driving suspence of second mvt of rachmaninoff cello sonata- that is SO gonna be the first thing i work on tomorrow; what a way to start a task!

also the main perk of meeting people and travelling all over, creating connections beyond the average-daily-dealios is one of my favorite point of being a key monkey. afterall, if im lucky to be at this point, being in one of the premiere classical music festival, for 7 out of 12 months of year 2009, why not enjoy and live it up? ya- i will be working, but i love my work. and watch out, monkey's gonna try to make some scary leaps and bounds this year. so that i may greet the next coming year with eagerness and excitement, another memorable cusp point, where sweet anticipations and butterfly flutters fill the quiet air.

remaining days of 2009 calender is humming with fizz. bsquick.
i am so lucky to be me and to have such wonderful people around me- catalysts and promotors. for now... i am to basket, to recharge, to get up tomorrow, to make practice leaps and bounds, to take notes and keep all the surprisingly stunning moments of the day, and ahh to meet up with my good friends for a friday evening pint and catch glimpse of many buzzing warm thoughts across a big puddle, however now so close through an invisible window. may be even a split second of fire from crackling-white-hot-coal-salamander to create a small explosion, with brightness of magnesium oxide!

fizz. bsquick. buzz. out. roger. out.
monkey is out to basket,
will be back tomorrow for another day of...
cracking exciting catalysis.


poison, poison, everywhere!!

the idea of poison is a funny one, really. paradoxical and amusing. deadly if potent, useless if impotent. weapon, anti-venom, medicines. pesticide, disinfectant, preservative and execution method. curative yet sinister. some strongly recognizable (those colourful rain forest frogs are deadly; trust me on this one) but some completely undetectable to naked human senses (such as carbon monoxide).

where did this thread start from? well, i was cycling around annex (one of my fav neighbourhoods in yyz) and dropped by my fav used/new bookstore. having seen a rather nice shirt with 'where the wild things are' earlier today, i couldnt help it but to go take a look at children's section. and of course there was a rather precocious child arguing with her parent:
mom: stop licking your hands! if you keep licking your hands after having an ice cream cone, you may get sick!
child: from what mom?
m: from all the dirty things on the road- remember? bacterias-
c: but i cant see them?
m: no, but that doesnt mean they arent there-
c: would i die?
m: if you have a bad case of food poisoning, yes-
c: but you said yesterday the green potatoes have poison-
m: yes?
c: but we eat potatoes?
m: yes, just not green ones
c: it's poisonous food?
m: food poisoning would be different, dear-
c: am i gonna die now?
m: just stop fiddling with your hands please!
(gigantic bottle of sanitizer pops out of nowheres)
-monkey sneakers-

it is so easily obtained nowdays that it's kind of ridiculous to see what poison one has around oneself: simple medications (aspirin, tylenol) including any kinds of antibiotics and most of chemotherapy (well, in this case, it would qualify as toxic rather than poisonous). alcohol. food (if you can ingest enough apple seeds or almonds, you could theoretically die from cyanide poisoning. though it would be more likely that you will die of busted guts. it will take a QUITE a bit of apple seeds to kill self. i wont recommend it) (however, if you are clever and fancy yourself as a cynic, you could take after the mathematician turing, who apparently painted an apple with cyanide and took a bite. good one)

ooh let's not forget neglected potatoes, lost but waiting patiently in the end of the fridge or dim cabinet corner space. with their evil eyes and shoots. haha. it stares right back at you and will even give you a bit of bite with their alkaloid- solanine and chaconine. solanine is fungicidal and pesticidal. once sprout, taters are no longer dormant. they'll defend their future (oooh picture little seedling potatoes now). when a tater turns green with eyes, the ball's in its court. once green, the average concentration could be high as 1mg/g, and you may only need 3-6 mg/kg of one's body weight to reach death through nausea/ cramps/ gastro-intestinal distress/ hallucination/ paralysis/ hypothermia. solution: just cut off the eyes and peel the damning tuber. eat them before they get a chance. like gremlins, in the right condition, they are perfectly nice and approachable.

i am sure everyone in this earth have experienced poisoning at certain part of their lives: including food poisoning. i had a pleasure of experiencing various kinds (fortunately or unfortunately, not dead yet), including radiation poisoning, which isnt really kosher to the definition anyhows. this was during an isotope cardiogram testing that i took as an undergrad. basically, in an isotope cardiogram, one is required to inhale a whole bunch of isotopes, which works like a dye in the body; you lie very still for coupla hours and eventually it will create a dependable visual representation of your cardio system. the trick is that if one is hypersensitive or the dosage was too much, one gets an acute reaction, commonly referred as 'creeping dose.' well, it really wasnt all that spectacular. i just was knocked out flat for two days. woozy monkey had found way home, then collapsed and slept. my housemate was concerned and called the cardiogram center and they casually said: well, sleep it off. long as she's breathing, it'll be okay.

i suppose if i stopped breathing, they didnt have to bother with further cardio-related testings! either way, it was quite interesting experience as i just totally lost two days of my life. i remember... not much! haha.

the curious thing is that the average, like you and i, will probably not die of poisoning, just merely suffer for a bit. temporary, really. the suffering from food poisoning, for instance, is tedious and annoying. and you get no respect what so ever. if you actually die, however, then it becomes something of a news. remember these guys?
socrates (hemlock)
adolf hitler (cyanide)
pope clement vii (death cap mushroom)
alexander litvinenko (radioactive polonium-210)*
*this guy was recent. 2006 death, russian ex-spy.
snow white (okay now im just being silly)
romeo (though i think he was really a basket case nutters and being that hot-headed and impatient, he was prob due for an early exit anyways)

anyhows. enough of musing facts.

it is also of an interest to note the expression: an agent that causes spoilage, destruction of an organism or death. as of 'posion someone's mind.' we, at this point, are all very familiar with that expression. like physical poisoning, we've all been through it at one point or another. and yes, like physical poisoning, it is unlikely that you will die (but surely, will suffer a bit) it is also oh-so-casually-surprising to realize that such reaction may take a place -a mental poisoning or non-physical poisoning if you will- without one's active involvement. michael pollan, one of my favorite non-fiction writer, makes a very good point in his book 'omnivore's dilemma':

.. the question of what to have for dinner assail every omnivore, and always has. when you can eat just about anything nature has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the potential foods on offer are liable to sicken or kill you...

omnivores like us(and the rat) a vast amount of brain space and time must be devoted to figuring out which of all the many potential dishes nature lays on are safe to eat... our inborn sense of disgust keeps us from ingesting things that might infect us... being a generalist is of course a great boon as well as a challenge; it is what allows humans to successfully inhabit virtually every terrestrial environment on the planet...

omnivory offers the pleasure of variety... but the surfeit of choice brings with ati a lot of stress and leads to a kind of manichaean view of food, a division of nature into the good things to eat, and the bad.

(pollan,the omnivore's dilemma. toronto: penguin group, 2007. p3-4)

similar to physical poison, one can tune into the potential mental poison i think. we dont like bitterness (alkaline) nor pick up gross, discoloured meat (bacterial poisoning scenario). sometimes if one look attentively, one may see a potential mental poisoning and go around it. like many plants, the mental poisons sometimes need to be left alone; interestingly many common poisonous plants are toxic only in selected parts and times- like tulip bulbs. please dont eat them. but if you want, i bet you could eat some petals without suffering. only a very few of them are entirely poisonous.

so, once the source of poison is identified, then one can take appropriate action, whether it be waiting (like planting that evil-looking potato and waiting to harvest the new potatoes in somewhat far future), limited or selective utilization of a plant (you dont have to eat oleander leaves, please, there will be suffering, but do feel free to plant them as ornamental shrub) or avoidance (cut the shoots off and peel the skin). the difficulty is that sometimes it feels as if the world will collapse if you dont take care of the potential poison RIGHT NOW. funny enough, the poisoneous organisms such as dendrobates pumilio (strawberry poison frog), toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)or cicuta virosa(cowbane or hemlock), when left to themselves, poses no problem at all. only with coercion, such things may become a problem.

the parallel between various contexts of poison is colourful and interesting. it is so closely interwoven with my (and yes, yours as well) daily life (though it's rarely thought of)- both mentally and physically. and i should really take one experience to another and learn to leave a short distance to a potential coercion, to realize that there may be a chance in the future to remedy the situation. whatever the reason or cause may be of the present, often, it is wise to give it some time to mellow out; if meant to be, there'll be a way to sort things out- i just need to keep paying passive attention to the situation. it's only when an organism is threatened or forced by another, the interaction for both becomes harmful. to not forget, but to let it diffuse. and new potatoes are so much nicer than old, wrinkly and now peeled naked, once-had-eyes potatoes anyways.

im gonna youtube some poison videos, the american glam rock band stuff. really hilarious. as lowbrow it may be to some, i think this just may be the antidote i could use at this point. matching potential poisonous coercion with another poison. now. that's life. how eloquent. and ooer no worries for monkey, this passing thought on poison is fortunately not coerced. a mere amusement.

now we wait. impatiently.

summer dog days are rolling in- lazy, hazy and kinda crazy. and perhaps a hint of lame-o. the way this year have been pieced together is rather interesting. the beginning of the year started with a surprising note, well, i guess from a bang from the previous year (thanks to all who made it possible for me to return back being a key monkey really, esp. a special lady LW).
of course, when one is in a hurry, often one shuts the door while parts of (choose your garments or luggage of choice) is half-way-hanging, creating somewhat inconvenient mess. and monkey was no exception. the early banff days, urr, was a great sorting process. one day philosophic, the other raging. hopeful then wistful, as one says good bye to an idea of a life (well, i did quite enjoy being a coffee wench really. never missed a working day, though i did get a fat ticket on a bicycle- more on that coming post 18 june 2009 am sure) then embrace the old puppy back, with its annoying habits as well as the familiarity and affection. as one lets go, what may seem like a loss may turn into an opportunity. well, opportunity is too-calculating-sort-of-word. may be a chance would be a better one.

there is absolutely no promise from anyone about anything regarding fairness of life i suppose. even the sense of injustice or perceived/inflicted pain is an uncertain one. i was casually joking to someone that being butt-kicked (by whatever your choice of kicker would be) is never a surprise; rather when and where from is more accurate source of a startle, perhaps 4mm or so. monkey mantra for these things are very simple: tabula rasa. and if that doesnt work, i get to chew on carpe diem. what do i have to lose? the more i hold onto, the more i will drop and lose.

however, it is also true that often one gets all sorts of nice surprises. i mean, yeah, couple thousands, even million tickets are sold every year in lottery circuits. it seems that no one ever really wins. i certainly never have (well, it would help if i would buy some, if i really want to win). however, what's clear is that eventually, there is a winner, even several at a time. though you and i never see that money back, someone will WIN at certain point. and unless you are like me, who never buys the damned ticket (because one tends to think that mathematical odds are just flat-out against you) (this is where spontaneity loses to reasonable, sensible logic i think), as long as youve got some tickets, you may win!

now, what one wins from who for what is an entirely different thing though, i should clarify. often a winning may not even seem like a winning. a good example would be drawing that one short straw from a whole bunch: guess who's gonna be up half hour earlier than everyone to make campfire on day 8 of a trail...? well, that would be the one with short straw... and it is your turn today! i dont think even mother theresa would rejoice for such opportunity. even jesus, perhaps. they both would gladly do it, but, as humans, it is only natural to think, hey, they may even think twice )though it may be subconscious) about which straw to pull out (unless good ol'j boy had the house stocked for him haha) (i hope this doesnt offend anyone. in fact, i think jesus would like it. he had some wicked sense of humour after all. and couple amazing display of temper and so on).

where am i going with this musing? well, now you are nosey. but since you ask so nicely... i may give you a peek. if you are to understand the term 'bobby squick,' it would make life so much easier. well, BSquick is a particular expression, mostly consisting of sound and not much words really. it's the kind of noise that ive encountered in uk when a hoped event become a realization. but with appropriate amount of waiting. squicking. fizzing. excited. bubbles. electrifying. okay. now it is turning somewhat frou-frou. apologies.

in any cases, the situation will evolve through the time and i quite enjoy the personal anticipation of waiting for something. this kind of waiting is somewhat similar to sneaking a piece of chocolate in a class while the lunch break seems hours and hours away, everyone around you is falling asleep- whether victims of boredom, hunger, lack of sleep, or laziness, whatever it is. one realizes that as soon as ONE other kid sees it, the joy of undisturbed chocolate, illicit and shocking in a quite, somewhat oppressive class room, will soon die. disturbance upon discovery. (ooh that was a nice one if i may say)

like the innocent-looking chocolate-consuming child, right in the front row of the classroom (since teachers always yell at the back, the biggie boys) im going to quite enjoy this fizzing. with slightly audible bobby squick. ah but fear not, eventually it'll all come clear what monkey's up to. for now, it is enough for you to know that this summer, once started with more elements of surprises and uncertainty, is now slowly rolling with gaining momentum, and fortunately, i just happened to hit a jackpot. hooray. not an expected event, but a hoped event is now another step closer to materialization and that sweet anticipation is like the most addictive crack. or any other personal vices (not that i do crack, ahem) (sheesh, i can HEAR your doubts all the way here, not even in real time, lol)

i cant wait till this summer unfolds to its entirety. it is going to be glorious, beautiful, smashing and... fantastic. if this is life, man, it freakin'rocks. and now... to basket, monkey.
im knackered.
all that buzzing and fizzing from excitement mustve burned quite a bit of energy. good night world, im going to bed with most wonderfully sweet sense of being properly knackered.
ooh.. and... still. butterflies.
and i love you curly haired girl. you rock.
you were the catalyst!
you so get a drink when i see you next.

i just hope it wont be such fluff drink like pina colada (ewwwwwww)


simply incredible. period.

quite a recent phenomenon, the smallest things in life have became ignitions for the brightest laughter in my world. through communication of the most ordinary means, whether it be a simple in-person conversational fragments or an invisible, physically-non-existing silvery weave of most delicate spider silk of binaries, the mundane, plain, even prosaic cogwheels of the daily habits and rituals have catalyzed feelings beyond the initially flat-looking brown of daily mud. incandescent, effulgent explosion of aspirations and riches beyond the normality of the days, quickly becoming something anew.

at unexpected moments- random dots loosely connecting the day, i am surprised to be surrounded by whiffs of near-delusional sensations. the normal rain drops, a quiet running sounds from my speakers, a tickle of dust riding the playful wind from outside- uproars strong enough to reach 32nd floor, they all become parts that results in somewhat exponential sum as a whole- general sense of happiness.

happiness, a word that is often frowned upon by many, including my-prior-self, somehow (well, actually, through process that is not-random-at-all) became a new faint tattoo across my consciousness. i am happy and content.

no, content wont do justice.

with gay abandon.

call me a fool.
but the poet neruda agrees:
You are like nobody since I ____ you.
such simple word have became so much larger and so much richer that one can feel the flutters of the smallest butterflies. a word that i cannot no longer simply pronounce, but need to announce, with utmost care. word that demands... respect, from me. a concept, a connection, whatever it may be- multifaceted, carefully crafted princess cut of million reflections, that is so much richer than just a word.

if i get more soapy i am going to have to think about going into the toiletry business. perhaps it is the jetlag. may be it's the 30s getting to my head. or could it be that i am simply enclosed in a newly found luxury?

Nur du befreist den Lenz in der Brust, nur du, nur du.