maddening call

early mountain walk today. instead of the early snow, it was a proper autumnal rain. perhaps fall rain. falling down. everything. leaves. raindrops. time. at 645am, with clouds, it is rather dark and quiet. friday concert evening last night, so there have been much joyous activities at the living room of farrally, with the pulsing breathing fire at the fireplace, the living beat of the the community (as far as i am concerned, that is where it's at, not at m/s building or huts). it wouldve been quite fun to join them and ride the wknd excitement train. there are millions of concerts (or it seems) so i guess i wouldve been forgiven quite easily for missing the concert (i missed both concert and festivity). but sometimes there are times that just cannot be any different. my reason: as i was soggy from another dimension. so another time of being an outsider. however, this time, out of necessity.

i had a conversation from a long-time acquaintance. we used to be friends but nothing really so cement and close i didnt think? in fact i cant really remember when was the last time exactly that we were in contact. something like late 90s or very early 00s i suppose. however, ive kept one email addie from my green days and so that's how we got reconnected, briefly so.

and truly briefly so.

i had no idea that i would be conversing with him last night. hell i have not thought of him for ages, surely we spent some time in mutual company, talked about couple things, but kinda sorta kept one another a bit at a distance as we have first met in a very peculiar place, not a such a nice situation really (during the years of self-loathing and self-hate). i remember that time period being as one of the most vulnerable points of my life.

things are well and fine now, even though most of the time, i have a hard time saying that i am happy, i have found enough things out of my own self to be happy about and that makes my time worthwhile i think. book bomber put it rather simply in the past spring: live for others. a lofty goal for a such self-absorbed individual as myself, but i do think perhaps that's the key to my own life. let me forget about the pronoun 'i' and look into 'we,' and once i look into 'we,' despite of my own shortcoming (by boxes), there are often enough beauty in 'us' that someone like i, may be able to dream and achieve vicariously.

anyways. ya so, to receive a call from him was a complete utter surprise.
very civil introduction. sprinkle of social laughter. polite exchange of greetings and such. then came. bam. a terminal good bye. i do not see a possibility to see him in the little time he's got left, and i dont think it would add anything to anyone anyhow. in fact i felt curiosity - shock - despair (very short) - anger - and now at grief.

i have no clue for myself, to figure out why i was called. it is too much to carry for a casual conversation, an acquaintance friend. an once- friend. i have moved on and so has he, from that mess of black spidery web tangles of despair, angst, anxiety and hopelessness. and somewhat like jail buddies, we moved on, on tangent, and i was not missing his presence in that particular context. and then here it was. a news. probably the last piece of news. good for you to have the urge to wrap up properly. what about me buddy? do i look like emotions dump site?

he simply said that he called because he wanted to let me know and the longer he thought about, the more inclined he became. so henceforth, a call.

i have no clue what im supposed to do with the conversation. i am quite stirred. uncomfortable. sadden. angry. confused. he's got what he wanted (or so i hope), and now im supposed to find some sort of place to put this info. so i will. faster the better.

it is all saints after all. hallowed evening. of spirits, memories, grieving, manic fun and rampant commercial celebration. i dont know whether i should be thankful for the deliverance of such news, if timely. happy halloween everyone. wish monkey some good luck in finding some sort of comprehension.

oh and btw, whoevers been drinking my vodka from farrally fridge:
thanks a lot buddy. you were too eager you didnt even offer me an once from my own bottle. how civilized. i suppose that's what i get for trusting. you turned me into a savage as well, by robbing my chances to offer you a drink.
sincerely, monkey with less faith in the world, thanks to you.


maypole in october

ive been thinking and looking up on random things, or what may seem very random, but true (i have silly feeling that's all im going to do with life and hence not accomplish anything 'serious' and 'grown up', sigh). and one of them is maypole dance. well, dont worry, im not a pagan. they probably tell me that im not cool enough to be pagan or wiccan. sigh. oh the overeducated solitary monkey. true, i dont have dreads, dont have a strictly doctrinated consumer/diet guide or funky clothing but most importantly, i just never have this absolute devotion or conviction, even belief in anything. whenever something turns into religion and becomes self-martyr of a sort, i kinda.. start.. to walk.. backward.. fast and unsure. recipe for disaster. pāgānus(rustic, of country)(non militant civilian)(non-christian, as christians were hot about being this soldier of christ idea), paisent(peasant), πάγος (rocky hill), pag- (fixed, as of pact, stake, pole, etc).. words words words! i say believe what you will and be nice, and please stay sane, logical and flexible. shouldnt be too difficult.

this dude has a very interesting post on maypole as a mathematician and i cant help it but to slap it on. in my wanting-to-be-a-small-hofstadter, i couldnt help self (flail arm in helpless expression) but to start to draw similarities and parallel phenomenon.
the one real interesting thing he wrote here is when he start to discuss artin's theorem:
The braiding of the maypole ribbons is an interesting twist (har har) on this classic idea. Instead of the string being attached to two line segments, they are attached to two circles and we do not allow the strings to pass through the axis running through the centers of the two circles (the maypole itself!).
it is true isnt it. no strands will actually go through the pole and yes, they remain tangle-free, as long as none ever goes up! one direction in a sense, from the circle to another, braiding and mixing, however each strand will retain its own identity and only by retaining that identity, they create these wonderfully weaved poles, lovingly created with all individuals, responsible for one strand, but also responsible for the everyone around the maypole- listening and responding to the caller.
and now, a diagram:

as i meet many different people in my stream of life (let see if we could say a birth and death could be the two ends of the maypole, the circles in the perpendicular dimension and that i am travelling from the top of the pole to the bottom, the ground, as gravity travels down), i feel as if there are some very special ones, as if we all belong to the same pole somehow. and taller the pole is, the longer the ribbons are and further we may be located. but as the time progresses and things move in harmony (the music starts, may comes, dancers are ready and takes the first step.. towards weaving), in slow spin, one finds the next strand, and the strand next to it and so on.

as more intricate the calls go (who is calling? let's say the general stream of life. perhaps father time, or what about just the flow of time? i dont have the time to drag string theory into it, but it does assume that there are many more dimensions in this world, so perhaps the pole is consisting of all those extra dimensions that i as a monkey cannot always conceive or explain. doesnt hinder me from buying into it though), and as all obey a simple pact of being responsible and aware, reacting with grace and care, and not going against the flow of time/life/fate/whatever, the more intricate the call may become (why treat everyone like an idiot if there's an opportunity to try further? and life does try everyone on daily basis anyways, whether we like it or not), and only with the collective efforts of each individuals, beautiful strands by themselves, the maypole may be properly decorated. an all-in effort.

and it is interesting to note that every strand must have a solitary time during the dance, as it weaves through and rotates around the pole. that's correct. it cannot just simply become part of another ribbon. that doesnt work at all! (nevermind in simple maypole dance, it is just not a possibility unless you melt them or something. they call it attempted arson i think). each strand must put in its time in solitude to remain tanglefree and beautiful. if torn, darned, if dirty, cleaned. cared for. only if each strand could carry its own beauty, the maypole may become beautiful.

and as i am dancing my own slow maypole dance, i find my fellow strands. not very often, but surely, here and there. and it is a very poignant experience. hello. oh you must be also on this pole. nice to meet you. as we take the call, we may not see one another for a bit, or who knows how it'll be right now, or in a bit- under, over, straight, really depending on our caller here, but i am sure from this journey, i am going to be seeing you for a long time, till the completion. and then we shall see what it looks like. a proper weave of individuals. all beautiful and even more impressive as we weaved, being aware of connection, relation, care, being a true human. different yet beautiful because we are all different.

and in this short phrase called banff residencies, i have found spectacular number of fellow strands. newly found old friends if that makes any sense. and often i may lose the perspective, being mesmerized by each one's own beauty, however, as simple and erudite theorem, it really is very simple. keep skip hop jump duck soar with the pulse monkey. it's where you belong and these are your fellow strands on the maypole, a greater place.

and all of you thinking gigantic phallus this entire time, shame on you.

ooh and further injury, the pole will be always bigger than.. you. haha.


..let the wild rumpus start!

1630 rolston@banff ctr, 28.10.09.

well, okay, not exactly at 1630. but close to 1630, monkey`s going to attempt something that is fairly new and strange, wonderful and peculiar. beethoven cello sonata no. 4 is on schedule for the banff space audience, a la classical.

there are some things in life that i perceive as `very cool`but then somehow gets to be on the bottom of `must to do` list. what makes the distinction? i am not too sure but usually i think it has to do with either with amount. of sheer work that is necessary or the risk factor. i understand that no one wants to look like an idiot. though every village if not every house certainly needs one. i volunteer frequently because it`s always easier to volunteer (you look like a hero) then being designated as (you look like a loser). but today would be a bit different me thinks.

since i got here this fall, ive been working with conqueror bear cub cellist. barely different from the outside, this bear cub is closer to a bulb in some aspects. i have this mad fascination with spring bulbs. people think that it`s because i never had to plant them ever in my life so far (hey not my fault i grew up in a concrete jungle). tulips take the crown any day. so what makes the bulb plants so special?

well they are one of the first annuals that comes in earliest spring days. often even before the trees are awaken. and when you compare size of a tree trunk to the supple thin bodies of the tulips, well- it`s quite amazing really. they start to break the frosted ground, against gravity and late winter tantrum. and every day, they progress upward, filling up their little bits with water and sun, however as much as they can gather. and one day, the flowers come. and being minimally designed (i love that about the tulips), it`s one flower per bulb. each bulb takes all efforts to produce one single flower. with softest, velvety petals, with such vibrant colours- smashingly sexy, attractive, lovely, mesmerizing against the backdrop of winter-ravaged soils and debris of gravels and salts from the winter road cleanups.

and it is that very fact- one single flower per bulb, that i admire the most. rather than spreading self thin, like hyacinth does (i think that`s why they grow so close to ground. no possible way to support all that chatter from a single energy source). amazing plants. especially when you look at their stems (tears, yes, i am a sucker for buying them cut...i do feel bad about it, i swear), hollow, thin and perfectly round. delicate green ribbons.

so it`s always exciting to see a bulb at a store or something. it`s even more exciting when i see little greens peeking from the ground. what else could be so fragile and beautiful however strong and determined all simultaneously!

this conqueror bear cub has been eating the solid diet of olde music for awhile, im assuming. and good for him, because his knowledge of the this realm is fascinating and wonderfully rich. i have no idea what in this world have possibly conspired to bring the bear cub to banff centre where monkey wouldve been busy looking for gold (!)(in her nose probably) otherwise, but in anycase, with strange quarking, here we are, in midst of spaceship, transferring and hopefully retaining these new ideas. and here comes the first public attempt. i wonder how it`ll go. not worried terribly or curling under the bed with bad stomach, just wondering. i would hate to sabotage the efforts of last couple weeks!!

this is a fresh experience for monkey as i am extremely short on attention, patience, all those virtues and never really look at singular things for a long time. nevermind, even just for short time. im always running, late, tripping over, missing things. going toooo fast toooo many places. and that becomes a convinient excuse- ooh sorry, didnt see it, was too busy (busy being busy!) so there is no real risk factor as i can easily put the label `was too busy to do it properly, sorries mate` a fine translation for: i was too chicken to actually commit and give something an all-in effort. but not with this beethoven this time. and i suppose i could go and expand a bit more about the cbc, but i think i will hold that thought for awhile because my oatmeal is getting cold and i bet he`ll going to stick around for couple more episodes of monkey splat, if not longer! fascinating bulb dude.

in coincidence with the recent focus on where the wild things are (im dying to go see the movie; sendak is one of my heroes, for eons now it seems), i say: let the wild rumpus start. silly monkey and conqueror bear cub. hmm. spells not exactly a grandiose, serious classical music with high collars and square butts (molded to chairs). hopefully, instead, there`ll be much rumpus. air. movement. even joy? just like when tulips start to peek from the winter`s last mess, green lovelies.

and just for kicks. wild rumpus green tipped music.


skype script

about two-three years ago, you couldnt pay me to use a cell phone. and there are things i just wont be doing with technology though i do appreciate some things with new technology. and some of them becomes a lifeline of sorts. right now, skype is a big part of my life. free calling (WHEN IT CALLS) to europe. great. the time differences usually bites. so to call gmt and not cause shortage of sleep deliberately, i usually be seen wearing my tin hat and string-can phone around 4-530pm mountain time (thats pumpkin hours in gmt), catching glimpse of mr. salamander's fire through the window.

the funny thing is that now that he's got a G3 phone, he can connect to skype and work with the phone if he happen to be away from his terminal. so the usual point of communication for mr. salamander would be: kitchen computer, a little asus often in the basket, once in awhile bbc studio terminal and the smartypants G3 phone. it is that G3 phone that flakes out sometimes. for no reasons at all. beyond logic. i think it's just too full of character. so often there are these mysterious situations where monkey cant really peek on the window and that's a small but a sure blow for both.

poor phone has been swore to, cursed to and loathed upon many a times by now. but mr. salamander kindly have sent monkey a report of what happens in gmt, which made me almost choke and die on digestive biscuits. so i had to share. i am so glad that some people never grow up and stays bonkers. i am lucky hooray.i hope you will also (whoever you are) enjoy this script. and if you dont, well, too bad for you!

mr. salamander wrote on one evening smelling of soap:
i can't really blame the phone, it wants to help.

(dring, dring.. dring dring... asus raises one eyebrow, thinks

Phone: let me do it, let me do it...

Asus: (patiently) now listen here son, you're not really grown up enough
for this, you can't cope. leave it to me.

(phone goes ahead anyway, takes the call. it can't cope:)

Phone: (excitedly) hello monkey, hello monkey!


(electronic burp noise)

(click, distant voice of monkey) : mr. salamander? are you there? (short
silence; disappointed): oh, no...

mr. salamander: hello? i can hear you, sort of, can you...? hear... me?

monkey: hullo? hullo?

(phone gets too excited, blows fuse and bombs out, exhausted)

mr. salamander: bollocks.

Asus, meanwhile, looks on with grandfatherly air.

Asus: ok, phone, now stand aside. I will handle this. (tries to connect.
asus' brow knits as call mysteriously drops. it's phone again, ringing

Phone: monkey! monkey!

(same scenario ensues)

(mr. salamander attempts to send skype message using phone, as asus appears to
have fallen asleep. this is all rather too much for phone, who
enthusiastically suggests "Wer" for "yes" and "Hn" for "it" before
taking a picture of the ceiling and booking a holiday on the nepal
tourist centre website.

phone: look at me! look at me!

mr. salamander: (rolls eyes) damn phone.


the personal eclipse

when the pessimist comes out, the entire world is covered by his shadow. sink. sunk. fed to the wolves of the night.

there are many different ways describe one's emotional state and it is amusing (to me) that i always have so much more to say when i am feeling negative (in a conventional sense). i used to think that it is hilarious to look at introductory level language books. around some random chapter, usually anywhere between chapter 2-4, there comes the unnecessary greeting parts. the words and context differs at times, but basically it goes something like this:

A: hello
B: hello
A: how are you?
B: i. good, and you?
ii. it's alright, and you?
iii. could be better, and you?

no textbooks i have seen so far goes into the actual reply for less-than-optimal situations. and i figure it's probably because i. no one is expecting you to possibly take a stab at discussing one's darker feelings- in a foreign language ( ! ), or ii. the words and syntax that may be required to describe situations would be simply over the basic grasp of stuttering new speaker.

i do not think i would say that i am a depressed person, a bipolar, a panic or other anxiety disorder sufferer. i have been called with many different labels from funny to kind of serious, but at this point, i try to not to let it get to me. for awhile (well a big chunk of my life since im only 30 this year), many educated guesses were stabbed on monkey back regarding what the problem may be. as a young person, you think: well, these are professionals and they must know what they are talking about- if they would tell me that i suffer from condition A, then it must be true.

so then we do a simple flow chart. psychology, psychiatry, counselling, naturopath, school advisor, friend, your next door neighbour's plumber, they all have a very good idea how this problem should enfold and solved:

identify - discuss- isolate problem - introduce rebalancing agent (usually in form of ingestible chemical agent) - monitor --- (eventually) ---> back to norm.

it may involve years of therapy, behavior modification, taking many potent tictacs, tying down on bed, a rowdy night out for drinking and general debauchery, chocolate, bath, whatever goes really. and if one remedy does not work, ooh there are so much more.


at certain point, i gave up on trying to follow my labels as it made no sense. who cares what it is actually called? fuck it. it is a nuisance (or a problem or a temporary situation) and it needs to be resolved. i dont care what it is called, but the fact is that i cannot let it ruin over my life. especially if i take it as 'my' life, not some joint role with this mr. pessimist.

i often wonder if it is correct to call this entity mr. pessimist. pessimism has a grand root of 'something at its worst,' from french pessimisme (on the model of optimisme, optimism), from latin pessimus, THE worst. but the silly part is that once pessimism sets in, it's not just at it worst, you are on the slippery slope of getting to the worst part! it gets worse, you arent even at the bottom yet! one of the things that used drive me to point of real annoyance is when people ask: well is the glass half empty or half full?

smatass monkey would then think: dont you see? if it is less than half, it's half empty, if it is more than half, it will be considered half full. if it is at exact half, then you cant really classify it in either way, but to call it a half. a half is a symmetrical division, equal part to another, what do you mean the empirical quality of those halves can be further negotiated? gaaaa!
then monkey vocalizes: well, do you want the glass or not? can i drink it? let's get rid of the contention all together.
person: ha you think you are clever, blah blah--
monkey: (drink the water. ahh. life giving water)

however, with jokes aside, there are times when i feel obsolete. gone. stale. useless. absent. usually i am in company of mr. pessimist. i wonder where he lives most of the time. when things are high, it is difficult to even pay attention to him, as he is the probably the least noticeable character in my life. you cant even grasp him usually. then comes the real weird part. once he is out, however, not himself, but just the shadow of him is enough to cause a total eclipse of my world. colours, vibrancy, the depths of shades, they all disappear and nothing is left. it's just a black hole and monkey is scrambling to not to get sucked into the black hole. teeth clenched. jaw squared. nails dug in. feet extended.

is that a depression? is it a panic attack? well, doesnt matter does it? applying any of those fancy labels never helped anyone to figure a real solution out. i stopped going to the doctors at one point. i never was keen on pharmaceutical solutions. i dont like riding things out, but it seems that it would be the only solution really (not to mention these chemicals arent free- some side effects are quite nasty. enough to turn you from acute depression to suicidal case) and at some point, i found all need to do is not make any larger deal of it, but work through it. working through it- well it could be millions of different things from ingesting a large quantity of candies to self- prescribed isolation (mostly out of guilt so that others in contact wont have to deal with babysitting a basket case monkey).

today is an isolation day. i dont have much to offer to the world and i do want to take much from the world. now, that seems unfair. why should i make other peoples lives awkward just because i am having a shite moment? when i dont even really know why mr. pessimist creeped out? and seriously, what could they do?

i feel terrible for hiding out. i even had a rehearsal scheduled. but see, the other wonderful thing about feeling shit is that usually my shoulder/neck goes into these intricate knots that would make celtic knots blush. one of them goes... twing! then the other, then more. by boxes. and by the time you know it, you cant even lift your arms above your shoulders or turn to the side to check your traffic. brilliant. what do i do in a rehearsal? play piano with my arms/shoulder. well. for someone who really never had a playing injury, these occasional spells of crapness renders me completely useless. inapt. i hate it.

i cant hide forever, especially if i am an intern, if i am a musician and i play with others, if i am a friend, a community member, a (whatever really). at some point, i have to get out there and do stuff. and i really shouldnt be so concerned anyways- monkey usually plays shite anyhows, on a good days even. why would she play any better on shite days? i never was anything spectacular as far as being a musician. so why even use it as an excuse to defend my weak playing?

anyways. i smell a great deal of self-loath on that last paragraph. perhaps i should stop.

im going to book a massage therapy appt first thing in the morning (there goes more precious resources, gawd), and perhaps try to eat and sleep to a somewhat normal pattern. and show up and work. be responsible if im not going to be creative or helpful, at least. dont be a deadweight. i certainly do not need to accumulate more wealth of guilt, failure, disgrace, shame, weakness, uselessness (i can really go on. this may really be why those conversation chapters are so all about happy people!)

mr. pessimist has much power for someone who doesnt really exist.
this is not funny.


riverside scramble

after a night of somewhat low-quality sleep and aftermath of a performance anxiety, i set out for a walk this morning. no where in particular. letting my foot to land where they need to, as long as i dont fall of, it would be alright. and i thought perhaps i will head to the silence of the morning mountains, as it was set ablaze for no longer than 5 minutes, inverted cloud and fire. burn burn burn. while everyone's either burying their faces in the pillows for that extra 5 minutes of sleep or busy watching out for their own steps and graveyard holes of various sorts, the mountain burned, as if it laughed at the small troubles of mankind, always there, renewed by the morning. as the glory of morning will not be fazed by a simple dilemma about- daily musings.

somehow monkey ears needed stimulation not rest. quick turn to the south. following the lowland trails, down and roundabouts the curved paths, now covered with fallen leaves, like the golden brick road to oz, but even more magical- because it wont last much longer. crunching leaves and soft mosses, springy and forgiving on the rigid legs, body that has been stretched and mortified in funny positions and situations. petrified by fear, worries and the feeling of inadequacy. the earth kindly took the hardened knees and ankles, soften them up as i trudge up on it, not as a piano monkey, not as a woman, but as just another child of this earth, returning for a small period of relief, forgiveness- largely self- prescribed and a simple yearning to return, no reasons attached.

then comes the bow fall/river. the ice of recent cold magic is long gone and the river flows with vigor and power. at the edges of the water, where the big claws of massive glaciers which are long gone, there are small pockets of collective maelstroms. spraying grey mist. quite small, yes, however, if you chuck something light, it will disappear, to the bottom of the rocks, pulverized, dancing a mad gigue till the body is frayed and broken, multiple pieces, used, then spitted back out on the far end of the stream, where the once consuming water is quiet and calm, a small brook. but still with that turquoise fire within- dont look at me lightly, i am powerful enough to pulverize your spine in seconds, cold enough to freeze you through the entire winter, to pull you down in a second and bash your weak skull on the great bones of the earth.

scrambling near water is a quite a different experience from scrambling in mountains, just because of one primary difference: water moves. the bow fall, though it does not have heights, it makes some massively impressive sounds. with its mists and completely opaque white scrolling water, i know it would be a no problem whatsoever for me to slip once, land first with face then get mangled. the mountain is quite, it is still and it lets you breath and create your own rhythm. water, as you get closer to it, it will either cheer you further or break your ego. the first shard of fear you feel near your heart, the game is over. that's when one is advised to stop the scramble, recompose and return to leveled ground safety. once you lose confidence, the nature will no longer be accommodating to you. you decided to distrust it and yourself, it suddenly will become a menacing being, powerful enough to crush you in a second. if i were to fall into the river, there'll be not much negotiation. i lose.

and for some reason, probably because of the aftermath of yesterday, i felt the need to prove something- to myself, that i can scramble that hillside, to the great water. for those in the area, this is the area right across from the banff springs hotel, silly steep dirt/rock side down to the actual bow fall water. it's tricky because the rocks, sand-based, arent all that stable- they are pron to breaking and the recent heat have loosen the soil, which makes it a good time to slip and fall.

see going up is always easy. it's going down that is hard. a hero is not remembered by his rise to fame, but of exit. to head down, to follow gravity with grace, it's a fairly tall order. however, once you let 'it' take over, the rhythm of it will carry safely. for me, the easier way to head down on a scramble like that is to have your back on the earth and you dont ever step down, but find points to anchor your weight with your feet, place, then push up against the ground, your hands are just for guidance. rather than looking down over the shoulder, you face the downhill front-to ground. each step is an active step, not riding down with weight, but to support your own weight with each step, pushing up, balancing. rush. heartbeating. waterspray on your face.

funny point: i was kinda pondering what i should do next- as my feet were barely resting on soft stones that seems weaker than i thought. sprayed over the dirt hill, i wondered. am i going to let this cautiousness to turn into fear, then eat and spit me out? fingers dug into the dirt, i looked across. then found a small group of people (three), who were waving. and i really wasnt in the position to wave. ha ha. they prob thought i was rude. the water somehow became less supportive, if i may say- faster, louder, shaking the ground, and oh all i need is one short slip of the foot, ride and hurl self into the river bottom, crushed skull and marrow. lovely.
and this is why i dont like taking people. being in such situation with others around is well, unlikely. let me get self into trouble. not a dire one, but enough to make myself think.

eventually you decide: i thought hey ive done sgurr alsdair in melting march. ive done pic du canigou of pyrenees. ive been to monte coldai and monte civetta. ive climbed the frozen waters of ontario north. ive trekked across the vast northen iceland of canadian winter.

i can do this.

so you do. then it is all the sudden easy. your feet are awake, your nose, eyes, hands, everything. your body molds to the geography around you, your limbs push and pull with the ground, moving the centre of the weight with grace otherwise not possible- esp. with possibly threatening waterfall with its groundshaking noise. you lose time. you breath in dirt and mist. skin is cold as the earth- it no longer burns with icy prick. by the time i reached the water, i was teary. but it didnt matter. there was so much more water anyways it seemed almost natural to let it go. red nosed and all. the flow the noise it swallowed a small animal suffering into its own and let it flow away. gone.

that was my morning. in solitude. i faced the river and decided to be a simple child returning to the womb, where if i let go, i will be reabsorbed and nourished for. i needed to do it for no other reason than being compelled to do so. and now my body is loose (except one kink on my right shoulder blade- that one is hiding. donno where exactly), my lungs are free and head much clearer. and when i looked last time to say goodbye to river mother for today, it was not a menacing fall, but of quite brook-like river, moving slow and assured.


accidental loner

it is a bizarre feeling to be surrounded by so many people and feel completely alone. perhaps a better expression would be being an individual. in the banff spaceship, there are many characters and it is very enjoyable to interact with such variety on daily basis. at the same time, often, i cannot help feeling a bit like a one drop of oil on surface of water. i dont mix. damn.

the survival of the human being was dependable on a few but very important principles: food, shelter, procreation. just like single cell bacterias, though they may go through asexual reproduction process. and in order to accommodate that, we developed as a herd animal of a sort. humans have a rather long pregnancy and infancy, which make it necessary to have a group support to protect its young. so still to the days of 21st century, there are a few things that are deeply engraved in oneself, such as the need to belong to a society, have companionship, be understood/to understand, etc. as much as one screams for the independence of an individual and the daring hope to be different- that's why it seems so daring, to move away from the group. as the reaction to the group behavior, of course all of us tries to have that unique individualization. starting from simple things such as body modification, self-beautification to extremely complicated drink orders at starbucks or something.

in such environment as banff centre, one is then subjected to rather difficult pull between the two polls,i feel. one wishes to keep the self intact and grow further by stimulation from the external world, however, keeping a safe distance (here, it's almost comical that the concept safety just popped through my own consciousness. safe from what?) to not to lose the self. however, by keeping all to oneself, then one is negating the large benefit of being in such an environment. there are many possibilities for self-extension, mingling, collaboration and exploration, if one is up for it and is grounded for it.

i think it's almost funny that often i am perceived as a rather confident, solitude animal. my favorite pianist/ideologue glenn gould once said: for the x amount of time you spend in other's company, you must spend x amount of time in solitude. and though i do not like the idea (often i do have this incredible desire to go along with everyone and be part of a large mass, or a mess, whichever it ends up being), i know for myself, i do need that x amo of solitude. and so i shut the world off and be by self. like my morning walks. i think it is a nice thing to be able to share such precious thing as morning silence on the mountain. but whenever i think about the possibility of having to share that silence for other things as vocalization, verbalization, communication, i end up sneaking out of my residence like a small church mice. quiet as possible. not letting the door slam.

and then there are times (too many instances of it unfortunately) that i wish my company was valued, that it is sought after. that i want to be in the middle of the busy bodies, laughing and generating momentum, going along with everything that's around me. and i just dont seem to be able to. sigh. i was never one of the popular kids and i wonder if that's going to be one of those things in my life that i will never get over: to be liked, to be popular. even when i know that im nothing special- which means, why should i be sought after? silly monkey. if you are valuable, you will be sought after.

often i feel that if i shut up and turn my brain off and go along with whatevers around, life would be better. i will certainly argue less, i will be easier to get along wit, and seriously, who really cares about what i have to say anyways? there are occasions where my opinions become subject of light amusement and it is quite enjoyable. but that's where i am at the moment, im not anything spectacular. not amazing. just plain amusing, at times. and i think that's perfectly okay, thinking how much of the population are followers. like other herd social animals, we will follow a few leaders. and a leader is a not a position of proclamation, but of support. one does not claim a leadership, but does become a leader. it is not that i wish to be a leader, i just wish i was more social. that i can contain myself in a very nicely packaged self, not offending others or being too different, or being overly opinionated or sensitive. just to be average.

or perhaps the real problem is that i always want to be accepted, no matter what or how i actually am. just to be liked for the sake of being liked, even when i really have not contributed anything, even when i know that no one owes me a companionship or even an understanding.

i am just wanting some friends.
always wanting more from the others.
i wish i was independent as i seem.
i should try to think less.


sleep substitution

progress report: week 4 monday morning@ banff ctr for arts
projected dates till the big tin can ride: 9 weeks

work-related accountable things of notice: 3 recording sessions, 1 concert appearance. nice and easy so far this time.
:however needs to get on to a rather new stylistic language: classical performance. though much laughter and fun is related, still needs to actually learn/do stuff.

physical damages: minor discomfort on right foot (previously broken, probably aggravated by recent dealings with snowy trails and pedaling without shoes).
:smashed right hand 4-5 with unsettled clicky piano bench. ouch. too late.
:fingers: skin cracking (too dry. super glue time)

mental dealings: a hint of inadequacy regarding performance level (should take a chill pill and take one step at a time)
: meeting new people and making personal connections (a few with real potential for growth into real friendship, a few with intriguing if not complimentary situations, others are provoking and interesting. thinking there'll be more development over this next couple weeks)(treading carefully to avoid possibly complicated situations)

: being the silly monkey of s-m building: taken various role of band-aid solution, raid candy jar, be the candy fairy with imported toffees, run around like an idiot (perhaps does not need to chill out so badly as a very integral part of me does involve reasonless enthusiasm for insignificant things)

: learning to deal with distance/time stuff (but all is fine. the days are going)
: recent admittance to self: turning into a hopeless romantic. incurable i hear.
: really should work on sharing and being a better person in general. too many flat days or days spent for my own damned good only. need to serve others before self at times.

food habits: eats tons. need to work on conscious food consumption rather than the usual gulping activities with complete abandon (and abandon of reason). need to acquire more candies.
alcohol habits: have been good so far. a small bottle of dram and two bottles of wine consumed. coupla pints here and there, usually in multiples of halves.
tobacco habits: so far, no remittance.

tech situation: new batteries been ordered for camera- more pictures coming (yay).
: laptop bellyflop: kindly replaced by PO. start back your stuff up monkey!!
: pocket knife needs good sharpening.

music: mostly chosen and not given stuff. going through chopin/debussy phase with a strong scent of bach. the usual diet. would be lovely if i can actually learn how to practice after all these years.

physical activities: almost daily trailing. many mad dashes for late things and appointments. a small fall once on top of tunnel thanks to snow covered rocks. could do more. actually thinking about getting fitter (too bad it wont just happen as a wish). would like to lose about 5 lbs, hopefully not from the skull. there is enough shortage of dense matter already.

sleep: shit but wishful. gotta get through 9 wks somehow. then it will be all sleep for a bit.

general state: quite happy for no apparent reason. hint of hopes. daytime most full of dreads and unexpected laughters.

misc. notes: dont order a toasted sandwich at gooseberry at peak hours, check for cheap movie day for two movies: where wild things are and and metropolitan operan cast of turandot.

cravings: strangefish, some candies and perhaps a real nice warm meal made for me by someone else. sigh.

silliness level: off the chart.


chromatic fantasy-feud morning

promised chinook have returned to warm the frozen ears and piggies of banff residents. the ground melted and have shown what kind of things ice was busy gathering- children's treasure: rocks, branches, odd trinkets and sparkling bits of things. and they are left in very nice neat piles over the gentle dents on the sidewalks. as nature called, ice just left its toys where they are and went, probably hoping to come back to play with them later.

the white snow carpet that hides no one's track also have disappeared. now everyone can walk anonymously again, not being able to be tracked. just muddy tracks and small pebbles underneath the socks. how did they get there every time? only tracks that are left are left with some definite sense of pride: like gigantic pile of animal-processed plant fibers that one finds in the trails.

the trees have shed their icy fleece on the top of the mountains, baring its barks, tough and resilient, cracked in various rhythms. i kind of like the way fine snow flakes covers the branches, like the little fine hairs that covers the outer layer of deer antlers. i wonder if it would be warm- deer antlers. living branches. it amazes me- their construction. strong as bones and evergreen trees, however, still alive- it grows, full of little capillaries to keep themselves feed and those gentle furry skin on them.

outside is a muted pallets of various colours. none of them too aggressive or too bright. some may say dull. i say subtle. im surrounded by this whacked out track of uri cane's bach goldberg album, thumping electronica over the good old german drinking songs. oddly comforting in its disjointed but interconnected ways. ah the ways the human mind works- morphing a system into another. how interesting. while chewing on the last piece that i was reading- hofstadter's godel-escher-bach, capter on chromatic fantasy and feud, the idea of fantasy rules: a system with no axioms, but of only rules.

basically, in a crappy nutshell, it helps to explain that an idea can be pushed or popped back out from a fantasy rule, and the system may go on for awhile, adding more ideas on top of it. the funny thing is that in this case, in this recursion push and pop, a fantasy is nestled on another fantasy, then further located onto another etc etc. so then comes the carry over rule: inside a fantasy, any theorem from the reality one level higher can be brought in and used. like an old game of 'if-then.'

if: monkey is in her studio,
then: she may be completely wasting her day
equivalently: monkey in her studio- she's wasting her day
if: if monkey is in her studio
a NEW THEN: if she's got her computer,
then: she is back online,
then: it is the case that she's wasting her day
therefore: if monkey is in studio,
then if she's got her computer, she's back online,
then she's wasting her day
etc etc

the funny thing is that these if-then sentences/cases/theorems/axioms are each self-contained trivial and self-evident, however, when all mashed up together, it may not follow the usual morphological mapping between two separate things. and once you open that can of worms, you may be open to all kinds of things:
passive meaning, prudence vs. imprudence,

then to to quote good old lewis carroll again:
... you cant go on defending your patterns of reasonings forever. there comes a point where faith takes over.
that one can never give an ultimate proof in some system is correct. you can do proof on proof, then on proof, then another of a proof... till.... you still havent got to the unproven assumption, which becomes a belief, a faith. hence, the world: a fantasy. in order for me to convince you that i am, in fact, wasting time again, you have to believe that i actually exist! do i? aha. cant tell you.

it is relieving feeling i must say. nothing is for certain and there has to be a good reasonable amount of belief in life for one to not to totally lose one's sanity. and i believe today, in middle of muted colours and drizzling rain, i will find some bits of life that i will be completely bonkers over and that somehow, in between all these sensations and thoughts that goes through my head, there will be a few nice connections- as ive been proven that some axioms/theorems can be related and morphed onto one another. just as some pieces will have to wait for their time to be integrated to monkey splatter. when and with what? am not too sure yet.

but i think starting the day with debussy's poisson d'or- piece with all colours and light reflections and fast, whirling beautiful fishes, may be the perfect key for the today's unknown door. colours of goldfishes. as warm as the last few bits of few and rare foilage in the middle of rockies mountain. sparkles in the midst of grey-blue calm water. it's not still is it. it's still all there, just below my eyes. barely detectable. morphed into one another. and i believe both images are beautiful. i can put axioms and axioms by cases but it's easier and human to believe simply: ah, isnt it beautiful. i am going to step through that door, the door framed by quiet melty mountain drizzle, and let's see what one may find.


sometime i say genius shits (shouldve had another toffee instead of speaking)

sometimes i think what i say is brilliant (smarty pantsy brilliant that is). and sometime it totally blow chunks. it blows chunks so bad that it puts the yard shredders to shame. it's like: oops, shit, did i just really say that? hmm. i would like to take that back please. ah.. alas, it's turned into feed for mockery did it? fine, feed me to the wolves! i can take it! go ahead! you cold cold world!

then someone goes: dude, chill out. that shit's funny.
and i go sit my ass down and that's that.
i wonder why i am speaking in such a tone today. hmm. perhaps it is the cheeeeenok (well really spelled chinook)- it's warm enough, my nonexistent balls are dropping (ahh warmth) and now im talking like a true trashy teenage man. soon enough i be looking for the invisible stack of porn as well.

oh my gawd. really. monkey, stop. but then it's kinda hilarious. may be i will let it go for now. till it gets really unruly. like.. if i start to have body odour or something, ha ha. (cross fingers)

anyhows i said something spectacular last night and it's been stuck on my back, like a typical 'kick me' sign. you see, there is always this innate curiosity among musicians to 'improvise,' and in some disciplines it's a requirement: must know how to do stuff on fly, and do it well. actually i say it's most of the musical disciplines that requires improv skills. except in classical music (with a very very few odd cases really). and what i do for a living: accompanying, there's a certain comfort in having your score in front of you. i love you. i will never let you go. you are my lifeline. i dont care if you are wrong and i care even less if im not playing what you are telling me, as long as you are here with me.

sounds rather pathetic- like a proper teenage crush eh.

anyhows, so there was a session in the hut last night for improv. and monkey was wornout, it was dark, and i was feeling kinda stupid as it was an end of a rather excited for no reason day. ooh no i did have a reason: toffees. treacles toffees came in mail from mr salamander and that was a field day. so. bounce. bounce. bounce. oops. splat. crash. thump. so by the evening, well, i was being useless, as usual.

then came a small knock. i say 'yeah?' no answer. so i go open the door and comes a IN YOUR FACE SERENADE BY WACKO AUDIO SLAVE AND AUSSIE FLUTTER WITH COOKIES AND CHARANGA. i dropped a baby i never had. it must be like number 37 or something by now. sigh. anyways, it was an invitation- well, a coercion for improv session.

audioslave: so you coming?
monkey: well i was gonna go back to farrally-
as: so you are coming?
monkey: well im still in my flipflops-
as: you got wine?
monkey: urr
as: great!
monkey: (changes shoes)

i was really going to drop off vino say hullo and leave as i had ZERO intention of doing anything so honest as improv. then i ran into the tall bass man and decided to get the door for him.

tallbassman: you coming?
monkey: nah. i will just get the door for you
tbm: what? you should come, it be fun?
m: i dont do improv
tbm: why not? it's just about feeling and-
m: but what if i have no feelings?
tbm: - or just have something to say-
m: i have nothing to say?
tbm: okay, you write like 50 lines everyday and you have nothing to say?
m: ----

anyways. so i suppose it was all leading up to getting to elisse's hut. fine. and there i was greeted by the enthusiasts. scary people, enthusiasts. no one is more motivated than enthusiasts, screw the professionals eh. haha. so aforementioned gestures monkey to piano and she protests: im done working for the day!! so than as decides to give monkey a break and says: what about some tango tunes? and i say:

okay you got charts?

silence. oops. ha. sorry. i tried. hey. give monkey a break. give me something to hold on to. im not grown enough to state what i really think!! (rather probably irresponsible and does not want to take responsibility for my own action. ooh lazy). as just laughs his ass off. well deserved i think. and people, after laughing till tears, broke into playing. and i was thinking: this is one of those brilliant moment. good job monkey.. NOT!

it took a while to take a lot of courage to play a single note. well, i had some liquid courage and skipping dinner helps the causes of that. toasted in vino. nice. so who cares really. let's blame alcohol. without that i dont think i would have dared to make a noise, as i just stood there like a perfect moron for about half hour. how was improving after that? i think im real shit at it, but whatever. it's done.

it is a weird fear. i know how the piano operates and i am not the worst player of it. and since i never play the right notes on the page anyways, it really shouldnt matter to make stuff up (im very good at this by now; ask my last recording session- i dont think there are more than 3 takes let say, that i play the same notes, nevermind if they are right or not!). and it is a group of very forgiving and generous people. so why fuss?

because. i dont want be stupid.

i never really picked up a secondary instrument and i had all kinds of opportunities. but never did. why? simple. i hated the first learning curve. cant stand it. if anyone wants to hear me learn something, well.. they will be waiting for a long time. im too self conscious for my own damned good. and then i think: well, what do you think you are monkey? athena or someone, just busts out from zeus' head all formed, knowledgeable and perfect?


when there is a score i feel as if i can let go of things. many things. in fact i am frequently flecked for having the score to sit with me on the stage though i no longer need it. but wants it. crutch. safety blanket. whatever. and improv gets even worse- what do you mean now i have to be responsive, creative and honest? i can no longer blame reinecke for shit writing? (or any composer i happen to dislike at the moment. sphore comes close as well) i have to SAY THINGS AND MEAN IT?

tall order.

i talk lots of stuff. most of it is usually meaningless jumble i think. nothing really important or interesting. not amazing but amusing at best. im a crap talker. like background noise, blah blah. it's really hard to shut me up most of the time. but perhaps i talk too much because i dont want to think too much. or do much. or im trying to hide the fact that im really a simpleton and got not much in the skull. it's a party trick of the ages: if you wanna look smart, dont say anything and nod real seriously. i do the exact opposite. spilling odd bits out everywhere. so improv hits me right on the spot. ugh. i have to mean something?

well anyhows. that comment- 'where's the chart' made me laugh on and off this morning. i cant believe i said that. how classically dumb of me. at least im laughing on it. and i cannot guarantee that i will ever get myself near lady flutter's hut near improv session (it's fearful scenario even now brrrr), but it was a nice chance to be real about self: monkey, you arent anything special nor you need to be. be real and get your feet on the ground. and for fucks sake, listen, reason then act!

i wish i can follow my own advices.
or someone has a chart i could use?


tristan you fool! (insert own name freely)

let's face it. wagner was a mad man. a decandent mad man. not only he required the finest things in life (multiple silk pants and jackets, carpets deep enough to cover ankles, the rooms sweltering hot and curtains drawn so that he would be comfortable enough to compose), he extended his dear 'wishes' for the great arts in all ways possible- new instruments, a theater, someone else's wife, you name it. (it's also hilarious to note the von bulow just gave up his lady to wagner, not even an attempt for a real fight. hmm. really. is that a compliment for wagner or von bulow?)

but the point of differentiation (in comparison to the usual lines of men and women with enormous amount of power and wealth who rolled in gold) is that he actually managed to create a complete world beyond the norms of the nineteenth century. or the real life in general, including my own time, year 2009. mad scale operas. the opening prelude of the der ring des nibelungen: das rhinegold sill gives me creeps. massive. huge. if you think you never have heard it, think again. it was also featured in one of my favorite movies, nosferatu. (so im oldschool). just about appropriate to evoke the titanic world of the edda and tutonic mythology.

every year, selected number of very wealthy and fanatical people will gather at the little town of bayreuth and sit day after day until their butts are calloused and sore, for the manic presentation of the legend of legends. i say this without the need to justify simply because the fact that this festival in such format/context for so long is legend itself. woodstock? bonnaroo? gladstonbury? donauinsel? go grow up, drop your balls then come back and talk. it a myth that is still alive. the wagner saga.

however, my favorite always have been tristan and isolde. the story of tristan and isolde predates the arthurian sagas, and ever since its first apparence in 12h century, this particular sticky story have been told and retold, with many variations, all human and desperate. the two standard forms of this story is by thomas of britain and beroul, drawing from the old celtic romance. the prose tristan (c. 1240, possibly the result of three different authors) is the first version that deviates from the previous two, and this is what became the standard reference for the medieval model of tristan/isolde, thanks to sir thomas malory who incorporated it into the younger versions(ya, the dude who wrote le morte d'arthur in 1469ish). i mean the triangle of guinevive-arthur-lancelot had to come from somewheres. well, here it is: tristan-iseult-mark.

anyways.to discuss the actual legend itself would take well, lifetime's work so let's skip to the point that makes monkey nutters. it's the love-death potion. this potion idea is a very common thing isnt it- another blatantly obvious example would be that of romeo and juliet. the idiot lovers. but we love them anyhow. (i have no shame to admit that romeo+juliet of 1996 still is one of my favorites anyhows. for me, it is a quite a summary of my reception of mid 1990s- music, scenes, whatevers).

anyhow, when you look at the opera synopsis, it makes no sense. so lets add some stuff to make it all nicer to understand, shall we? tristan is your typical knight. tristan belongs to a country, in this case, cornwell. as a grown man, tristan goes to battles and stuff, and kills this irish man morholt. but he is also injured during the battle and he's gonna die. so we fid this miracle worker named iseult, who, alas, is the lover of now dead morholt and the lady of irish court. tristan takes a fake name and iseult heals the boy, then in full health, he fleds.

a bit later, tristan returns to ireland to claim iseult for his old uncle mark as the kingdom of cornwell seemed to be doing well (over the irish anyways). and he does. the lady's pissed, but she must go marry an old man. so she goes. now she's even double pissed that her escort is the man who she saved. life sucks.

the scene takes place on the ship, tristan is escorting iseult to his uncle, king mark as the tribute/prize and the old king mark is marry the girl. then iseult gets into a quarrel with tristan. see, this gets complicated: the girl is being shipped to an old geezer she doesnt even care for (actually quite despises), by a man who she saved his life from a deadly wound, and who also have killed her lover. wtfuck. angry, she asks her nurse for a death potion and demand tristan to be a man and drink it, as he owes her anyways. go girl. then decided to also take some for herself as tristan took some. then there are many versions to explain what really happened, but the simple truth is that it wasnt poison.

the most common explanation is that the nurse decided that death is not appropriate, so instead gives her the love potion (which apparently was supposed to be shared between iseult and old king mark, given by iseult's mom, hoping that it would work to keep her insanely devoted to otherwise hopeless marriage). so now they are in love. and the rest is history. typical love triangle, resulting in death all around. gosh medieval time was a grim time. you thought they could have a little more dram and drown in sorrows or something. another funny thing is in the courtly version, the potion is supposed last lifetime, and in common version, it wanes after three years. that really made me laugh.

anyways. this idea of love-death potion is funny. i mean the nurse could have made numerous other potions- potion of 'forgetfulness,' 'silliness,' 'lack-of-moral-less,' 'turn-your-anger-to-flowers' would have all worked. but no, it had to be a love potion eh. this love-death relationship is perhaps one of the oldest idea, certainly biologically anyways. as species, we are born, procreate and die. each one of us are product of some sort of love (whichever form it may be) and are destined for death. one condition almost garantees the other.

and there is nothing like love to poison otherwise sane persons. look at the mad ramblings when you first fell in love in your teens. the first real pain, sharp fang as the first love broke off. left you dead did it? ones who doesnt have it will go to distances to find it, ones whove tasted it cannot forget it. ones ho have it guards it with their life. it's primal. simple. and true. physical. mental. all these nonsense business about legalizing same-sex union, marriage and divorce businesses, courtships, valentine days madness, sleepless nights, inapproriate tears, screams, punching and kicking in bars, movies, books, people, lives, it's all about love and death.

like any potent poison, it also transcends, heals, changes. love does that for people. and for me, tristan/iseult is one hell of a stupidly mad story about something tha is so human (almost as stupid as dumb romeo and juliet. only if they waited for a bit eh, we are not even talking days, just an hour or so) and it being one of the oldest stories of the western civilization and being casted by one of the most grandious man in already decadent nineteenth century, it finally did me in couple years ago. it's everything hopeless in the most practical sense. give me love or death or both. urrr. give me something, just dont let me hang empthy handed- that's what feel.

and being im-too-cool-to-care kid, i always had myriads of reasons why i like tristan/iseult a la wagner. the tristan chords. arias. sets. whatevers. now that im really unable to keep the icy side (thanks mr salamander. you ruined my cool image, haha), i am now able to state my real reason for such fondness for such madness. it's the ultimate, over-the-top romanticism. no gods are required and no nations need be involved. it's naked humanism. pretentions and social niceties now have been burned away by fire, i can now stand on my own reason: i may be, ahem, okay, well, here it is, i am a foolish romantic. there.

smoldering heat.
well, for the rest of the days that i have to spend counting on, and for rest of us who are in yearning for the right moment to fall into such foolery (which will consumate one's entire being)(also funny that the word consumate is usually associated with relation to a relationship/marriage, while the word simply states 'having experience; having knowledge or skill from observation or participation'), here's something to chew on. just keep passing the time. till jumping onto the kiln.




for you, for another day that opens without me,
as it is hard for me, it is hard for you.
the slight suffering for waiting, somehow, unlike most pains,
does not get easier by the day, however, intensifies
whenever it takes hold of me and take a jab.
a sharp short intense ice pick.
it goes. then i wait for it. for the next prick.
like an old arrhythmia. a short skip.

with the joys you bring into my being, i cant complain but
am only a fragile human being. with you, completely vulnerable.
knowing that you hold all my being.
its entire content.

like anything else in life, i cant say for certain that this is new,
or perhaps, i would be better off to cast it as the old story.
as old as emotions go. the roots of every human being.

intelligence tells me that i will be there
soon as i could be
as much as i want to be
as you dare to hold me and make me yours
as you bare yourself with no reservation
as we can finally melt onto one another.
whirl of fire and air.

my heart tells me
that i would die
if i cant hold you feel you greedily claim you
die while living. like an apparition.
holding the both ends of my mind,
i am calling you. into the vast sky.
to depthless wintry night.
perhaps with the smallest salty stain.

romanticism is an old word, often ensnared with all kinds of extrinsic values.
but with its purest heart,
i dare to be a romantic.
a proper, all-bearing, embarrassingly naked romantic.
to become a longing
until the second
i can sink my body onto yours.

i love you
daringly and proudly


x-rated self confession

early snowfall in the rockies. thanksgiving wknd. fallen leaves and lingering tails of nights. paler morning lights and fading afternoon sun. tis that time of the year again, though this recent time-leap into winter is rather unnerving. i felt as if i was transported through time, directly to chrismastide as i sat and had glass of port by the fires of farrally hall. i think it is perhaps the best thing i have done this fall term, to reside in farrally. hooray. human conditions- or should it be humane?

anyways. as the first wk excitement turned into semi-concrete establishment of each individuals, i sense that people are taking a look around- not just the maps and locations of groceries and such, but of fellow residents. this artist colony is a fantasy magic world. we all escaped for a little, some longer than others, but same ideas: to leave the practical empirical world to be frivolous, impractical and fanciful. i keep thinking if one wants to be super efficient, the way to do it is dig a grave and lie in it asap. life itself is expensive (in all sense of the word) and impractical. only thing that makes the validation of such frivolous experience is perhaps that we were all born at a point of time and that we are all progressing through the passage of time. time- flexible and incomprehensible, as such geniuses- hawking and einstein have struggled through, is the equalizer. and since one isnt able to understand this base medium of human condition, one may as well ride with it. full-on. not half-assed, dozing off of boredom.

last night was the first real party at banff music/sound. one thing i do dig this term is that the audio slaves and instrument slaves are mingling quite well. i like these engineer dudes. they, for me, sits on the line between practical and fanciful worlds. they are the thickness of the coin- two different faces, still one thing. just enough material and thickness to makes the impressions of both places to make the coin a possibility. a reality. anyhows.

one thing i learned over the years is to read people in detail. that's what my job entails: to read, understand and collaborate. even to anticipate at some level. i do not have my own project and people from all kinds of background come and work with me. sometimes the situation is simple as i work for THEM, but often it gets complicated and wonderful as we work for US. so to go beyond the normal means of communication is one of the most wonderful challenges of my job, though i still kinda suck at it. gestures. upbeats. ques. the small movement that distinguishes the contact of the bow on string to actual 'pulling' of the sound. that kinda things.

and it becomes quite handy in all other situations of life. such as deciphering people as a third person. at the party, as winter approached in a hurry, it brought some kind of catalytic element in human bonding. and i dont mean to follow up on the general consensus on 'artist colony' about 'loose morals' and 'sexual liberation' (gosh these are such 60s-70s terms) as a given, as i think they are quite misleading. what i think i saw is innate attractions of very sensitive individuals to other flock of sensitive individuals. and as one learns to tune into self (as we all try to death in this profession anyhow; i am not saying it does not happen in general public, but i think it is safe to assume that musicians being frivolous by definition, there are definitely higher concentration and allotment for such 'tuning'), i think it is inevitable to be drawn to another person in all context- conversational, social to even physical partnership. as long as one is able and willing to handle such transition that is.

flicker of eyes. the small touches on skin to skin. synchronized laughter. these are all capable of expressing so much more. facial expression or smallest body movements can speak louder than any word could, and me being totally asexual in a sense, i am watching the world go by, and i am quite happy to do so at the moment, as i really do believe moments for each individual comes when it's the right time. for me, at this banff residency, in a peculiar sense, i am slowly gravitating toward winter solstice, which i may claim as my 'time' of fire- fire of the kitchen, of burning coals, of touches and entanglement. though the oldest game of the world, once again, takes place- with this weird sense of fatality, inescapable, i am not taking a part as it is not my game. someone has to watch sometimes and once in a while, it's even voluntary!

anyhows. i am sensing this magnetic pulls of people and i have to say that i am quite envious. not because i want to be part of the game, but because of the actions of the game- the touch, embrace, gracious sharing of personal self. i am not envious or jealous of actual individuals and their pursuits, but of their sensations. knowing how powerful a simple touch on the neck could be, or a gentle tug on the sleeves, resting on someones shoulder, spooned in a cocoons, i cant help but to be a little green. but like everything else in the world, this is not my turn to participate, but to watch.

one friend made a comment: what happens in vegas should stay in vegas so who cares? i think well, hopefully you will still be the same person, vegas or not. and the weird truth is that whatever i may attempt in desperation, let's say, is only going to be a stand-in for what i really want. the person i am meant to be with. the person i crave. the person i am terribly addicted to. so attracted that nothing-no one else could possibly even stand in for a second. it is the thinnest interest, a musing to even attempt to contemplate a diversion. because i dont want the diversion. and i rather have nothing than have something that is 'similar.'

but i couldnt help thinking about the human touch and the overbearing explosion of shared selves in the party. that flood of emotions, sensations and life that becomes thicker than blood. hot. coppery. real. salty. kindling the flames of kiln in my being, i am quieting the human desires. with the biggest hope i can muster- that at least, as always, time progresses forward. toward my axis. to home. where the flames will ignite and roar in the midst of the winter, proper mixing of air and fire.


... still. still... hold still...

current temperature -7'c. windchill -11'c. still about another 4cm to come. wind up to 20km/hr. expected lowest over night -13'c. it is the first real snow here in the mountains. no sprinkles, no sneak preview. a full out, proper snow. squick squick squick. compacting under the boots. the dark rubber soles of my boots are no longer visible, covered with this shades of fresh snow. but not totally innocent- it's got some bites. it's a proper snow, with a bit of steely sharpness. with that crisp smell that goes right up to the top of your head. cutting through the fuzzy head full of indoor air from artificial ventilation- which never changes, just as how its been set. exclusive- to be different from the surroundings, which are seen as comfortable, oddly enough. (how did we get so removed from living things? it's strange to live among the all things that are inanimate at times..)

i went out of a jog this morning. couldnt decide where to go, so i started moving toward tunnel (curious thing- why is that one always is inclined to 'incline'?) then decided to turn eastward, to hoodoos. however, instead of turning to north, i veered to south. ah. what i need was perhaps not the mountains or valleys but proper water. not the water that is contained in a small cup from a tap. not the water that has been swifted away from its path and was packed into this monstrous cooler bottles. but living water, now slightly changing on the edges, thinking about... freezing. just ever so slightly. a solvent. a carrier. bringer of changes.

the bow fall is still deep blue. aquamarine. though there is no salt, yet (am sure there'll be some starting today from the snow removal). it's an amazing sight, as you can see the ways that ice and water have licked through the bottom of the waterflow. strangely enough, it looks much like old tree barks. following their own strands, separated, all different, however so instantaneously recognizable. one look at the small ice cubes that graces the cup of mundane water. crushes it between teeth. another lick, gone. however, when you see these deep gauges from ice of eons ago, a gargantuan mass, flattening lands and carving out mountains, it is a quite a shocking sight. i still cant really believe it was ice that carved out these tall jagged scars out of the land.

the funny thing is that in summer, it doesnt look too impressive (for me anyways), because there is already so much colour around it. that plastic green. tourists and fellow animals who speak, in all kind of colours. eeeeek. but now that the sky is lower with this dove grey, with its wingtips tinged blue and darkest velvety navy, all the sudden the water is alive, like a real fiery opal. ever changing. reflecting light, basking in its last moment of freedom until the winter comes. it was already starting to form ices on the edges, which is.. triple exciting. and when it's barren, it will be a one gigantic canvas of my favorite colours.

however, regarding 'barren,' i think it is one of the most miscasted expression. i dont ever think winter is ever barren. it's pregnant, carrying massive amazing children in its belly- like gaea, carrying monstrously powerful titans. uranus, the sky will soon lost its monopoly on majestic vast openness as chronos will bring down uranus (much nicer than castration, we'll stick to change of season) and then gaea would find her proper place- pregnant, rich, the womb of the world. it will be brought to balanced again, through the blending and blurring of the edges- skyline, prairies, mountains hiding in snowflow, fjords hiding in clouds and almost visible wind. in that peace, many lifeforms will rest against her- the bulbs, silent trees, hibernating bears, each kindling precious flow of time in their own ways. including: fire for the speaking animals.

and now, it's all covered in snow. the first real snowfall. the world is still. the s/m building may be busy and noisy, but as the ventilated air, the building itself is artificial. there is no fault of artificial things, however, it becomes a true rich when one has such a strong contrast- as i have right now, frozen toes and warm heated air, the dark room and luminous snow. and i am sinking into. winter. slowly. but surely. nesting. like fellow animals. still. still. hold still.


big mama of hoodoo trails

instead of skipping up tunnel mountain, i have decided that i am going to try to go around flat trails, to northeast of banff center- which will get you to either bow falls or hoodoo trail. this was monkey resolution of two days ago. however, ive been foiled yesterday as i found some new tracks going up up up. so had to take it. needed to be done, or i would be left wondering the whole time. anyways. it turned out to be a light scramble up to the tunnel. so with a little surprise, i ended up doing tunnel yesterday. still not a bad thing. it was a nice find.

you see, the trails i know are learned during mostly in winter time. snow and ice covered. barely visible path unless- well unless it is the path that everyone takes. not boring, however, predictable. so finding these little capillaries of trails in this autumnal sliver of time have been rather interesting. hence, i am determined or rather, undetermined to stick to a path, but to go wherever it ends up being. the mountains are so big and strong, i never worry about getting lost. comfort. as one gets to learn about the surroundings without artificial means (arrows markers that kinds of things), it becomes incredibly familiar to learn the little clues of these so-called-tracks. especially the lightly tread ones. genius.

today however, i did try my best to stick to the main path, because i wanted to get to big mama and take a photo. mr salamander in his brief stint in banff centre has seen the bow falls and have been rather surprised by the quarks of involuntary memories (ie. storing of visual images without personal intention to do so) turning into an almost fictional recreation (ie. by painting what may have occurred as 'fictional' scene, with no previous recognition about the initial image), then a surprise reconnaissance (ie. running into the initial image with zero expectation, then finding it before his own very eyes). amazing. however, in quest for the grail-ish image (he knew that the scene 'may' exist somewhere in the rockies. so he was seeking, if passably i suppose), he never made the turn to the north and hence have not seen big mama.

big mama is a tree. a big tree. and you say what is the deal? there are enough trees in forest. in fact, that is what makes a forest a forest. surely, you dont think it's a surprise? well, there are trees. then there are 'trees.' the idea of what we see visually in its immediate presentation often is deceiving as one may miss a whole-a-lot at a glance. that's why a glance is a glance. but as one learns to finetune, i think one may start to see a lot more things, not hidden, but subtle.

big mama is not a fat tree or really tall tree but she is definitely big. not in the sense you want to weigh her or measure her. in fact i couldnt really get a good picture of her. she was big where she was planted, solid on the ground and you can literally feel her roots engrossing the earth around you- as you get near by. it just made no sense to to squeeze her into a small frame of a camera. that's not what she's about, i dont think.

she is deep probably much more so than she is tall, because the weather in the rockies can be quite hard (in fact im quite frozen at the moment). and when you are on the hoodoo trail and not just looking at the map or the end of your toes, there is no mistake once you get near her. by the way, if you are ever curious, she is after the two little curvy turns downward by the river flow (though strangely it's quite dried up at the moment), standing on the eastside of the trail. if you look straight at the eye level (not down, not up), she'll be right there, looking back at you and acknowledging your presence.

today i got to near her around 8amish. with loon calls. and i wanted to tell her hello. but with bit of snow falling and the wind caressing the trees, getting ready to hibernate, i dared to break the silence. silly you may say, but unless one has experienced it, it is impossible to explain that feeling i think. and i thought of my friend DO who once made a statement (he's a very gentle being and rarely suggest 'what to do' to others)- we were out there in last residency during winter. and the flock of girls immediately do what little girls do: to touch, give physical affection, to hug the tree, take pictures etc etc.

and he said: no. no. she may not want to be touched. she's...

and that was that. the girls were sort of stunned but decided to follow DO's suggestion. and i remember thinking- hey you also felt it. you also know. and big mama also recognizes you, as a returned gesture. of her grandeur. of her history and presence. and of your sensitivity and respect.

nature if a funny thing at times. we take it as if we have figured out the world and we know how things roll. but more and more i try to let go of the connotations of such things, i am more and more amazed about the way things are webbed. and i feel as if im just getting awakened from somewhat crappy sleep induced by all the industrialization. i like technology and such, however, as much as i dig it, i think it is another phase. an important phase. to be synced. with my surroundings and things that are not for me, but things that coexists with me. things that are generous enough to let me be at their proximity.

as well as the new wave of personalities i am finding. and the ones who i keep coming back to with rolling tides of affection. it's always rolling in. more and more. funny that is- the more you let it flow from you to another, even more rolls in.

aah sorry mr salamander, i wasnt able to do a justice. perhaps i may find an okay representation of big mama in my camera (it's also out of energy at the moment bleh) and monkey's frozen solid. but it'll be coming. as i sense that we'll be back. and visit big mama properly. in her element. with all respects.


winter came for a breakfast.

winter had its first tease with monkey today. when i got up 645, the air was different. i have a bad habit of keeping the window cracked-open, just a bit.i know it's terrible for energy savings and stuff but since i keep my room at 17ish i dont feel sooo bad... oooh (i mean, the lowest it'll get to is 15)

seeing that the temperature wasnt too bad at all (4'c), i thought may be i should go enjoy it now before it all disappear (and most of it did by the evening boo) so this is farrally in early morning banff. see the magic cottage?

and on the way up, i realized that i may be the first one up. the powder was fresh, not even a deer step on it. it made that squiiiick noise underneath the boots, compacting, melting. the only sound in the early morning snow magic. just barely detectable quartet of monkey steps, breath of cold but cozy wet air, occasional winds rustling through and heartbeats synced from here and afar.

and while we may complain about freezing our asses, these little guys will be happy to stay where they are. simpler they are and stronger they are. -40'c doesnt seem to affect them much at all.. in midst of monochromatic silence, they were the unspoken accents of life. bright. alive and however small, beautiful.

on way up to the top of tunnel mountain, where the rocks start to outnumber the trees. there was no one else until monkey was frozen cold and decided to be sensible and head down. i met couple kindred spirits who came out to have a small conversation with winter. but i had my quality time with winter mountain. in its upcoming glory. muted. quiet. grey. blue. black. light. silence. presence. absence. return of things and coming of early dusk and late dawn.

i will be walking along the path while it slowly darkens bit by bit. till the day of winter solstice. the longest night of the year. where i will finally be in the basket. rest. bliss.
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flirt of wintry flakes in autumnal air

funny i havent even noticed that the days creeped up and went by right under my own eyes. it is october! rather than looking at some arbitrary calendar, however, i have been so luck to be reminded by the beautifully cold morning air. those air that freezes your boogers and bring a bit of tears first thing the morning. the air that makes to think: knee socks. and the low clouds and disappearing mountains. at times the cascades just outside my window plays hide and seek during winter. when the fluff clouds come down and cover them in ambiguity. only hints, or only memories of them across the thick air. and these fogs are not the same kind that one see in summer- hot, wet and heavy. these are proper autumnal fogs: cold, fresh, sharp.

almost a week in banff have whizzed by and i casually just walked out from the first recording session. get music on monday. record first thing on friday. kinda tough no? much drama but am glad that it is out and done now and i think actually it will turn out quite alright. hooray. except a minor point. i thought the session was at 9pm. oops. it was 9am. so unfortunately i crapped out on classic jam @ wild flour (which i really wanted to go) and also a supper deal. i owe this dude. so hopefully i can make some supper today am hoping. or NEAR future. typical monkey blunders. but as things settle down (the last piece of essential equipment came today: speakers).

and so now, im killing a bit of time, catching up with peeps, sending emails, peeking on window to see if i can catch glimpse of mr. salamander that kinda thing. then since i accidentally cancelled a rehearsal (thinking that recording was in the evening), it's an open day from here till basket time. hooray. there are a few things i could do but also a couple things i would love to do. like. taking the hoodoos trail. sip tea. read some nice music that monkey likes and such. i think i would do that. rather than the things i need to do. an indulgence.

now that one pressure project is out of the way (learning something in literally 4 days and recording can be quite stressful) and i got my costello crooning and warm apple oatmeal, i am almost infinitely happy. almost. if i could have an extra thing, that would be salamander kindled heat. proper fire. warm. cozy. real. not the elusive duct-passed on warm air posing to be fire.

it's that time of the year when the days are getting shorter and outside is wet with dropping particles of half-frozen water. very small fine ones. silver sparkles. i am happy to be in banff room 151 and reminiscing the countless memories of such environment. this place- banff centre, is a good ground for magic. especially for fire-related magic, hot, strong, consuming and living. as it consumes it also give off amazing things to its surroundings. with a warm cup of tea, i am happy and appreciative to all that is here. including the hint of winter just outside the window.

i have waited for you. how nice to see you, the cold grey-blue-white-black winter. you look as i remembered- painstakingly beautiful. ah let me tell you where i picked up when we parted last winter. so many beautiful things have happened and in the peak of your presence, winter solstice, 21 december 09, i would have hit another cusp point of my life as well. let's be in touch and see how we both progress through the time. to a nice turning point.