what have happened?

it is approaching end of another year and i cant help but to look back and how much life have changed in such a short time. as aforementioned, mr. banffmagic's been working nonstop here in the mountains, touching many people's lives. including mine. out of the blue, i had a small need to let him know that i have been touched and that my life in fact, have changed a whole a lot since i came to banff. perhaps though it is tad bit too dramatic, fateful may have the befitting word.

a year ago this time, i had no idea that i will be living among one of the greatest mountains of the world. or to play with such musicians and characters, to experience another phase, getting back into music, being able to enjoy what i do- playing music, communicating, opening up and creating a whole new life full of airlight spiderwebs. a year ago, i wouldve been still dragging my bicycle out at half past four, going down on yonge street, cold and dark, to get there in time for my opening shift at starbucks. then eight and an half hour of work- no surprises really, occasional music gig here and there and perhaps enjoying a low key wknd activities. and also watching some tv shows and trying to avoid anything that is way too interesting or provocative. a good solid worker of the society. dependable, expected and no variants.

i accepted the offer from the banff centre on the turn of the last month. in beginning of december. and i remember people asking- what would you be doing in the centre? well, i didnt know what to say- ive been to many different festivals as a pianist, but to go do a residency, would be different and that's all i knew. a residency. an artist colony. oh boy. i may be getting some good weeds. haha. but nicely enough, i wasnt too afraid or concerned about the exact tasks i would have to perform. it's playing the piano, what is the big deal? well, if i cannot do it, then i suppose i will be fired and that would be that.

but as we all know, you cant just do one thing. once you make an adjustment, everything else changes. and it did. i did.

the year of trial of a sort. going back and reconnecting with the idea of playing musician. getting back into the world of scores, rehearsals, headaches along with the deepest, most rewarding human connections. the first concert i have played here was on a wednesday, with bach fourth partita. it was traumatic in a weird way. but with such good people around, monkey slowly started to find a place, an identity. not a serious one, but the one that im still carrying with. from nothing, from void of performances and practices, i have started again, to build, connect, to consume the daily fires of life.

late night tea sessions with my favorite oz percussionist. late night youtube laughters and mindshattering comments and notes from the bookbomber. reconnecting with a very old friend of mine and realizing another piece of puzzle called my own self. the appreciative instrumentalists who came to rehearsals with smiles and unmarked scores. passing by my bosses and colleagues in the hallway, with humidifier water reservoir. being locked out from the building because i got there too early. the morning walks and the solitude winter. practice. piano. bach and debussy. enchanting. haunting. demanding. alluring. people who may have been simple passerby otherwise becoming major anchors in my life- julie, mr. salamander. dearest dani. commander horse lady. a little bird on wire. mr. banffmagic. then continuing into the summer, with lady lev, mad british violinist lady, and now, another term. more than half way over and it's already full, bursting at the seams.

the random bits of news i pick up from the great world wide web of my friends from old places- universities, cities ive been to, passing by towns. everything in between. to all these finest lightest shades of watercolours, i now add another layer. then another. some colours more vibrant and dearer than others. and i still get such a heartache when i really certain friends as i can almost recreate their presence with eyes closed. the laughs, pictures, their scent, little habits and nicknames. like the way my best friend javier used to tickle me on the side. like the way my favorite costarican would smile and dance in a graceful arc. like my favorite advisor in her cat-like behavior-friendly and soft all at the same time. the little kiddies i worked with- enthusiastic undergrads who laughed and gained a bit more confidence as they left the studio from rehearsing. the parties we have held, the cutting board that cut through many vegetables, sprinkled with salt, pepper and chatters. the icy road where we held onto one another to keep straight. the five in the morning gym bike ride in subzero, checking the bike rack to see if my favorite workout buddie have made it or if i had beaten him to it. the way days morphed to the gentle curves between human interactions. my adopted brothers who stood by me as i struggled through some rough times. my dear sisters who laughed and decorated my hairs with flowers.

and now end of another year close and i am feeling the fang of slight melancholia. but that's okay, it only exist because i have loved them all. all bits. the bits that i remember now and the bits that will float on the calm surface of memories when the times are right. and now with more things collected, i am richer than i think. and loved. yes. being loved for who i am. and also being able to love what i do. and being able to tell people thanks. as i mean it. every time.

spaceship ride of 2009 banff is still in its trajectory. and it's filled with thanks and smiles, yearnings and compassion, affections and generosity. and i am taking the plunge to soak myself through and through. breathing in and out. as if. it will be the last chance i would have to appreciate the presence. as it is. always. the last time. as the time never waits. with all bits from the past. glorious and warm, comforting, provocative and beautiful. thank you to you all.


flutters of evening moon, a sliver.

Chagall Paris juggler. 1969. Oil on canvas. 115,5 x 89. Sotheby\'s. 05.05.09. Lot

this is stokowski/philadelphia version of clair de lune. kinda cheesy but nostalgically beautiful i think. apparently clair de lune made it huge by being part of the recent vampire saga, twilights or something. anyways.

last night was another friday concert in rolston hall, banff centre, alberta. funny enough, collaborative monkey was playing a solo piece, suite bergamasque by debussy. if you are wondering what it is about- well, i am sure you have heard at least a part of it at a certain point- that would be clair de lune.

mr. banffmagic has been here for two weeks now, and he is staying for another week. hooray. there are several different aspects of banff magic, but i say this man is the core of the magic for me. an amazing musician and a human being, i think his best gift is that he could make anyone feel hopeful about the next phase of- well, whatever it is, whether it be a personal challenges or musical obstacles, fill in your blank really. technically, he is still my boss, but whenever i see him i think im looking at a source of inspiration. he makes things so easy and so concise. everyone leave his session feeling enabled. now, that's proper magic.

so whenever i get a chance, i play for mr. banffmagic. whatevers in my hands. whether ready or not, it doesnt matter, as i realize that with his incredible understanding of humanism, there is always going to be an amazing discovery or two in that short span of an hour. no wonder he's always pulled to all directions. that happens when you are good i hear! so this week, it has been mr. debussy.

suite bergamasque, a homage piece to the great french baroque tradition and a nod to the british tradition of the masques, now stirred with the atmosphere of lovely bergamo, becomes pure magic. unlike some of the larger scale works, it's music so light and precise, as my now edited score is all covered with pps and more ppps. as if they were being sold by buckets at walmart or something! opening with prelude, then a minuet, then famous clair de lune followed by passpied, it's music that is deceivingly simple but in my opinion, incredibly difficult.


because it is small and light. it is almost impossible to make something dance when there is no rebound. and rebound wont happen without a steady pulse and the want and the ability to control the smallest details. and well, monkey tends to be loud, noisy and messy at the best, so it is actually quite funny that she was drawn to the piece to begin with. but here it was. with mr. banffmagic. and it was on last night. the big friday night concert opener. a week earlier than planned. gulp.

surprisingly enough it wasnt full of jitters or worries. it wasnt full of self-doubts or need to prove. it was a pleasant experience. with all the supports from my colleagues in recent months- commanding horse lady, mr. guru, mr. bearcub, ms. precocious rabbit, occasional notes from mr. bookbomber, far away friends such as lady L, mr. salamander and yes, lovely julie (i still need the right tag for her...) and mr. banffmagic, i realized it will all be alright. recalling the recent night walk from the last full moon, where the forest and the mountains were turned into a bright high contrast black/white magic, the light that is cool and everclear, i dared to summon the night. all shades of p, pp, ppp, even to pppp and to niente.. to nothing.

banffmagic. it was. i still have to go listen to the recording i am sure, but there's that real sense of magic when you listen the silence, a collective silence of the audience and the stage, to listen to the very last resonance of... light that is just a thin sliver, a piece of night. like the thinnest ice on the edge of the late autumnal river. glistening.

recording will have some sort of reflection of what really happened, i am sure. and i am certain when i go listen to it, there will be some laugher moments with a bit of sheepishness. however, all i could say is that at certain point last night, during the debussy, there it was. nothing to do with me, the audience, friends, strangers, halls, instruments, microphones, whatevers-
silenced awe for communal appreciation of real beauty was there.

and i was happy to resonate with it. from the smallest flutters of my own heart. delicate, like the wings of the newly molted butterflies, stretching out, as the blood start to flow through the new veins. to set it free to the big open space of oblivion and warmth. ebbs and flow of life. and i also know that it wasnt just a flutter in my mind. as the other sensitive souls also have resonated with me. enchanted.



today i feel like im in a small paper box. cardboard box. like a small parcel that would cost about five canadian dollars to send. making small noises as i bounce from one side to another. not a heavy parcel, something light, with a bit of packing peanuts. webbing of thoughts and emotions, things that are important, im getting more tangled and tangled. as if building a cocoon for myself. another time to wait,

to wait...

till it's time again,
to molt.

meanwhile, im collecting. busy collecting, consuming, inhaling. senses so attuned that it's difficult to look at the vast sky- it's too bright, to open, to great. this morning when there was a brief snow blizzard, it was such a relief. as if i could finally open my eyes and look at the world without squinting, without the need for sunglasses. just enough for a small monkey to see just enough before she has to look away.

there are things to be done and im trudging through, actually, am quite enjoying the minutes of my day. how nice. there are some very small things of course that's not to my liking, but in general, really great. smallest parts with the utmost care and the need to breath in deeply, as if i could fill my entire body with present, and overflow through the smallest pores of my skin. permeated. soaked. saturated. little moving celias in my nose. one of the most primitive senses. scents.

things that are far and close.
things that are dear.
things that does not last.
things that are offered.
things that are morphing, continuously.
things that weave in and out.
things that are beautiful.
things that are impossible to grab onto.
things that are moving on.
things that hurts because they are so precious.
things that are real.

moment that is real.
moment that is now.
moment that is to pass.
moment that is delicate.
moment that is ravishing.
moment that is sublime.
moment that is the past.

in a small box, banff centre m/s rm 151, i wrap myself around with these strands. over and over and over again. i am my life. i am what i love, what i live, what i want and cannot have, what i achieve and what i need, what i have and what i desire. i am now and here.

one of my favorite banff people is leaving soon. two days.
i just want to soak my own life with her being.
till i see her next.
in same life. at a different point.
nutter oz flutter.
you bring me such grace to my life.
and when you are here,
i can so easily be my life.
by your enthusiasm and being.
a small blessing from a child to another,
for the journey ahead.


out-reached, it was dope

banff centre musicians were trying to outreach the normal society of town of banff today through a small musical adventures at the local high school. but really, who is outreaching who? who are we to be so separated from the very place we are? or to be so far from the very seeds of our own supports- the people around us. see, it's a difficult subject, the death of arts music. it did die somehow and it is obvious that there isnt much interest from the general public as far as classical music is concerned. all these new release budget recordings are repress from the old days, with their royalties expired. the audiences are much older than the performers much of the time and when i see young kids, i know better to talk about kings of leon and 30 seconds to mars than john bull or robert schumann.

to discuss the reasons or the mechanics of this present state of classical music would be way over my head. all i know that is once shown a proper example, most of people i know do not mind classical music so much- now that is when it has been disassociated with the current status quo of the music- whether it being the elitist, academic or dead music. but you know, there is a simple reason why all these literature survive through the time- it simply speaks. to all of us, at certain level, if you are willing to let it speak. and yes, it is the rock and roll of the past. why should we put it in a shrine and guard it? it's not dead body of stalin! it's okay! no state funeral is required. pst.

anyways, tis the mad oz flutter who organized this outting to the local high school and her and i have talked on and off about the idea of music, loosely based on jose abrau's idea of music as society's glue, where the differences are forgotten and participation and communal efforts can finally emancipate the different subgroups of the world. btw, jose abrau would be the founder of el systema, the venezuelan music ed program and ive written something in the past regarding the bolivar orchestra, so that's for another rant. all i know is that im too scatter brained or self-absorbed to organize such things by myself, hence, if the chance comes, i will gladly jump in- trying to make up for the guilt of not being proactive myself.

in last ten years, ive been working in the post secondary education institutions. as student, as a general teacher's assistant, hiring committee, anything and everything really. and it is so easy to overlook the processes of each individuals who arrive at my classes/studio/rehearsals. because there are much immediate works to be done, it's often overlooked who made it to that point, or who will go on without faltering. god knows that i falter at least once a year, thinking: okay monkey, let go of music. let's do something more practical- like coffee wench gig.

but im still here aint i? that objective did not last too well i suppose. secretly i do like playing i suppose. though it is difficult and rather too personal at times, i think music do let me express and communicate with such wide variety of people, it is impossible to stay completely away from it. even if that means i may be passive and being in a mashpit of tool concert (which i really dig)

working with these kids, age 12-15, brings particular challenge. this is town of banff, the town of mountains and sports. it's not a highest priority to stay around music room and be a pansy. it's more likely these kids will run around the field, being the free birds they are. but really, some culture wont hurt them either would it! not that we brought culture. it was just a day out of banff centre, musicians descending with free will to see if we could give them something to hold, to take. to remember and to see one day, that human expression matters.

so the usual. a small demo of performance. group activities and vocal/body percussion exercises, improv, exchanges, etc. and i think my highlight was to realize that at least couple kids felt that we, the artists (what a bloody stiff title), are just like them,that we arent far, nor we are different. just like them, we happen to like to express and be understood. come on, everyone does, with a very few exception of total sociopaths. there was this one kid who commented on exit, 'thanks for coming, you play the piano really sick' which i replied 'i know, it's dope eh.' and you shouldve seen this kid's face. and i could see him cracking into a wide smile, waving and chattering away-

'did you hear? she said it's dope!'

haha, i did. it is dope. it's sick from the little boy's perspective, that shostakovich cello sonata second movement, such a rock and roller (thanks to my amazing partner mr. bearcub who brought the house down with harmonic glissandi and pizzed chords. a proper rocker he is). it's all quite similar- a human drive for rhythm, joy, expression of uninhibited energy and explosion, humour and daring need to overstep the comfort zone. and this boy so carefully thought to be cool enough to pass on a simple compliment to a classical banff 'artist,' and the best expression he came up with was 'sick.' now, that's a real compliment. and for such expression of sincerity, i had no choice but to reply, 'ya i know, dope eh.'

when you speak sympatico, there is such ease and grace in communication. it's genuine and real. rich and irreplaceable. lovely. and im realizing once again, in life, that's all it matters. being open. to offer. to share. not to barter, but to love. cliche, i know.
but it's not every day you know, when they tell you, these snotty early teenagers, in your face with a huge serious grin,

'yo, you are sick.'

dope bro, dope.


winter ondine


banff is slowly being covered with ice. day by day, there are a bit more ice here and there. the days are quite warm with the sun and it's actually pleasant enough to walk around with shorts and long socks, much like british school children. around canadian thanksgiving we had a proper snow storm, where for briefly, there were icicles hanging around and the frosted ground were compacting under the boots, each step. squick squick.

i really love this place with its winter coat on. i am not so sure if the common grey blue mountains are the ideal for other people- in downtown, there will be many gay people, dressed in all kinds of bright colours, enjoying the festivity of the winter. bustling, moving with enough energy to stay warm and happy. bursting with activities. but the winter i really like of banff is the one that is silent. quiet. calm. almost muted. each stone slightly different, dyed dark with the dusk of the year. falling ever so gently.

like the expression from the summers of midwest, where one may hear the sound of the corns growing, i believe one can also hear the sound of snow falling and ices forming. like that smell first thing in the morning with the windows wide open. sharp. pine- rocks- coldness. hint of the velvety blanket of the newest, lightest snow. and sometimes, a real hard face from the nature. that of ice. solid sheets. things are captures and kept by ice. for how long- i dont know. thinking about the glaciers around here, holding the tales of thousands of years, it just makes me go slack. amazing.

so many stories and lives have passed through those times. and unlike running water, ice, in my mind, holds on to things. and the longer you touch it, the hotter it becomes. bitter? no. just hot. like the white flames of proper old school forge. white cold heat. burning through. unlike fire, there will be no blisters or open wounds right away. but it will freeze. cell by cell. fingers, each muscle strands slowing down to a halt. blue veins in immobile white flesh. no longer free. however, warm. the external ice sucking up the heat off the hand, until they are equal, both immobile, white, hot and joined. perhaps even permanently, like the oxygen bubbles and carbon particles trapped from eons ago, in that massive glaciers that still stands, silent but alive.

i envy the white heat of the ice today. the day out is fairly dark, it's only 4pm and i had my light on. weve been working on shostakovich cello sonata recently and i finally have the time to look at the later two movements in detail. and there it was, again. ice. the third movement. open, vast, frozen land with no hint of movement, perhaps just a touch of a wind, ever so slight and light, just brushing by one's already frozen ears. eyes no longer able to blink so freely, as tears freeze on the corners of the eyes. engulfed in the coldest flame. and as one stands in the cold, feet frozen to the ground, ice will wrap around you in continuous silvery embrace, every corner of the body. till slumber falls. like dusk. edges of consciousness getting frayed, until, it is melded and frozen all together.

i have been lost in a snowstorm once, wandering out foolishly by self during winter camping. while waiting to be found, i felt each digits of my fingers going away from me. to ice. then forearms. the ankles, knees. you try your best to stay awake and to keep moving. come on monkey, if you fall immobile, the ice fairies will caress you, to oblivion. till. you also are the child of ice. although i was found and everything was okay, that feeling of frozen stillness still remains strongly in my mind. fingers, wrinkly and white, with small blue veins. white hot.

with such beautiful things in my life, knowing that all things will end at a certain point (thank god for the idea of carpe diem), and though some spiderwebbings will continue on to the next phase of my life (as it always does), i am feeling foolish right now, wishing that i could summon the ice fairies. ask them to cast the spell. to freeze. to freeze ebbs and flows of my life, into beautifully comforting white heat. to solid. to keep. to be kept. like the glacier. to hold. silent. i know that the time will flow from one point to another, freely as it always have been, like the ocean. and things must obey the flow of time. meanwhile, it isnt too wishful to freeze some moments is it?


seed of frost

once in awhile, in course of human interactions, i would develop certain association. usually visual, sometimes a scent or tactile sensations, these associations then will sink deeply into my mind, until they become part of not just who they are, but of what i am to them as well. like images that one cannot dissociate anymore consciously, let say, christmas and father klaus, or coca cola and polar bears. though not as commercially successful, it's still quite a significant point for me- every single time, to let those images to come, whatever they may be, whenever they arrive.

in banff, with this spaceship fellow passengers, it is rather frequent that these images crystallize. because everyone is different and vibrant in their own way, all kinds of different covalent bonds forms over the time and each one of them are quite different from one another. i could honestly say that those connections i have made are ones that i will carry with me to the outside world, with much fondness and thankfulness. as if to form a covalent bond, both parties have to open, be vulnerable and share. and really, what could you ask more from a person? i think im extremely lucky to have such generous souls around.

and often those characters appear quite frequently in this blogging business. though sparse, mr. bookbomber always is not so far from my mind, as the idea of theosophy often wafts through my neighbours' studios. and as bits of my toronto life pops up here and there, a sprinkle, sliver of the best things of my ties to toronto. and there's mr. salamander, and especially this fall term, the tall-commanding horse lady, mr. guru (though he havent really made a solo entrance, he's been a real pleasure in all sense of the world. what a delightful character!). mr. bearcub. the list can go on for awhile. how nice.

and recently, a sudden image arrived. it trudged its slow steps in my consciousness and finally knocked on the door: am here now! the image of silvery frost on the window pane. ive seen some rel thin ices this week on the trail. as i was taken by awe inspiring late autumnal sunlight reflecting on the bow river, as i could not help but to weep (silly monkey). the edges of the river slowly falling asleep. a bit by bit. strand by strand. and soon the trail will be solid ice. encapsulating every bits of memories, life bits, beauties, love, compassion. letting things to sink into the end of a chapter. for this chapter to carry on, but in a different vessel, however, to next chapter, carrying all that have been through, talked, shared. all things that matter. as next steps of life gets ready for another courageous phase, like dormant-looking bulbs dreaming of spring.

frost on glass panes are quite different from the massive frozen bow river. they are quite delicate. each reflections like smallest and the most clear fish scales, translucent, luminous and weightless. each frost scale lies differently, nestled in angles with one another. each morning, different patterns and directions. still delicate to the point of disappearing. if one is to close and accidentally breath on it, it may be gone- flash, pop, gone. only appears when the conditions are right, only for certain times, hard to capture and impossible to force it to stay. as fragile as the lightest, smallest thoughts of human bond.

but if one realizes how it is formed, there's a very lovely feeling of anticipation, as the fox and the little prince waited for one another, day after day, moving closer to one to another. as 3 o'clock rolled up, as the golden wheat field have turned to a real image of a dear friend. and frost, as fragile they may be, are still snow crystals. snow. solid state of water. in its different form, it may be as delicate as the fall mist rain or wintry frost. or as strong as the maelstrom or avalanche. glacier, powerful enough to mold the earth and rocks, forming this very rockies i am residing in.

like true frost, this particular delicate beauty is not usually on the display. is it hidden? i dont think so. it's just taking its time to be at the right place and time to be found. to be appreciated for its sensitive beauty. you blink, you miss. once you saw it, however, it is ingrained to one's mind. and once in awhile, even a fast running monkey can catch glimpse of such beauty. striking. enough make the mad dash to halt, to get lost in its macrocosmic beauty. it is not hiding. but it's not boasting. quiet. genuine and absolutely magical.

in the great big mountains of rockies, one of the largest and highest peaks of the world, now i carry an image of frost dear to myself, along with all the beautiful things i have found in this particular trail. small and delicate at times, but strong and beautiful enough to cover an entire window, with its organic growth, arcs and trajectories, if impermanent, even more beautiful.


frost capillaries

in pale blue light of the dawn
such fragile light, as if it is made of frost,
you are a marble statue.
lines, still, gentle arcs,
just as you are. graceful.
like the trajectory of the loons
gliding through the late autumnal sky.
i dare to stir the silence
slight haze of breath and slumber.

it was unforeseen, proper magic.
and i shall keep it
in a safe place
to enchant
evaporate away from this physical state

in your absence
i cast the image
on closed eyelids

a proper bullet that goes through
fast, light, shatters the old world
like the cracked and broken old tv tube
it is no longer possible
to gaze with an old view

as life pulses through
the warmth of the blood
spreads, like spiderweb, like frosts on glass,
capillaries, carrying millions of


i am stained with
the very being of you.


autumnal walk

in the early morning
with delicate frost under foot
i walked among
the mountains and rivers
in their twilight toward
the long awaited slumber

the loons are no longer calling about
green needles now in raw sienna and burnt umber
occasional sun breaking onto
tenebrous mountain tails
the last splashes of gold, payne grey and terre verte
with the prosaic bow river bubbling about
i was just a lost dot
in the grandeur of the late autumnal poise

soon this land will sleep
blanketed in the woolly clouds
withholding all lives within
closer toward the quietness
where one can hear
a drop of a single snow flake

i thought of many lives past
and the cobwebs of history
of memories,
tarnished with patina of regrets, love, nostalgia
as i must let go if
i were to go on

i wept
along the river
before it freezes
into the long wintry silence
trapping all my words
within its taciturn solitude


chemistry 101

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i used to take chemistry as an undergraduate. as a hopeful pre-med, i had to take the holy trinity of basic science: physics, chemistry and biology, and my favorite used to be physics. for the simple reason i can see it! most of things, even small things, can be seen and felt through a well-built models and there was something about the fact that physics involved moving things. things that are in transitional space, reacting, bouncing off one another, transferring force, torque etc etc.

biology on the other hand, was completely boring. i bet it gets better as you get into higher level, but unfortunately at the undergraduate level, it's all about memorizing and little bits of very simple concepts. bah. don't we have sufficient biological catalogue for that? it was classes more closer to calculus and identification than actual meaty parts of biology (as i understood it must exist at some point, back then. i think it's one discipline that the introduction stage can be quite dull).

now. chemistry. i always had a curiosity towards things that moves and interact (see above), but because chemistry tends to work with very small things, only thing i could see are the physical reactions or results, rather. burning magnesium and going blind, using hydrochloric acid to etch lewd comments on benches, things like that. haha. though i do have to say there was something really nice and neat about doing molecular equations. adding things into a pot and see how they all turn out. it's rather simple things, but however very relaxing and comforting: life fits in!

then i learned there's a whole other world of mess called quantum physics. i have two friends at CERN and i can only imagine how cluttered their heads must be. i will often dabble into a very small part of such wonders (it is impossible to not to get involved in the idea of universe/time and so forth, dont you think?), as a very low level connoisseur of such intricate stuff. it is always more fun, i think, to be an enthusiast and try to draw many absurd parallels as much as i can. haha.

and one of the parallels that got into monkey head is the one of covalent bond. simple covalent bond. like hydrochloride. and so please, feel free to read the small monkey note for the explanation. but the funny thing is the word covalent bond. it is a two parts word, co + valent.

the first part: co-/com-: from latin 'cum': together, with, in combination. related to greek 'kom,' beside, near, by with.
then valence: from latin 'valentia': strength, capacity. the verb form is 'valere,' to be strong, to combine power (from an element to another, as of covalent bond)

in the spaceship, i get to meet many different people. some are complacent and happy (must be one of the noble gases; noble gases are found on the periodic table, vii a/b, the column going down. with complete outer electron orbits (of eight), they are stable, happy and doesnt really wanna do much. helium, neon, argon... those guys). and then there are some highly reactive, either negatively or positively charged. and what is monkey's role? i feel as if i could be the most indecisive, flaky one of all, hydrogen. the simplest one. the most impatient and curious one. so i float around and form the bond with other characters. and these bonds, if we subscribe to string string theory, will resonate. and behind the three big dimensions we know and see, down to 11th, all these interactions and resonating bond will have a fundamental shift in my own being, as well as the other, however small they may be.

it's comforting to play safe. even when one is drawn to a new idea and concepts, places and people. safety, like recently mentioned deathgrip, is easy. nice and easy. snoooooze. and often, not as a direct opposite, however, to let things in and out can feel quite risky. that's probably why the other day i started to laugh out loud in the middle of lloyd hallway. someone scribbled: go do something fun and risky! and i thought wtf. if you already know it's fun, then it's not risky. it's just difficult, inconvenient, or something- but not risky. if it is risky, you cant be sure YET if it would be fun- how can you be so sure!! so in order to determine what's fun, one must risk, but cannot experience both simultaneously. how silly and how stupidly simple, sigh.

but if i were to be a true hydrogen, i cant help but being a flaky, busy, unsettled small thing, darting around and disturbing everything, including my own. oh the inquisitive mind. or impatient, lack of attention, whatever you may call it. im probably having a very grand idea of self at the moment, however, i cant help it but to think how complicated one may feel about such simple concept. hmm. covalent bond. well. may as well live it through.


"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir"

it is difficult thing at times to go against one's grain, regardless how nice or gritty it may be- depending on the person, of course. how weird it is that we go through months, years worth of efforts to become something that is socially accepted and encouraged, however against the grain it may be. i am not so sure about the happiness of the average of the general public, however, i do think that the mean definitively exist and that it does crush on souls at times. inconvenient and often painful, however, one tries to see it as much as one could as the necessary evil, some sort of human trial thing: come on, you can! (insert music: eye of the tiger or something grande)

with no defined schedule and the kind of work i do (weirdly, it's the kind of work that if you want to be the average, it isnt too difficult, but if you want to excel, holy cow, you better the patient because.. well, i hear that you never get there. i donno. i hope they are wrong), i am left with much room in my brain to play around with. the intangible toys of the mind. ooh the good old self and the external world. and trying to undo one's habits or notions, it takes time. so along with much encouragement from several people, including mr. bearcub (i really wonder sometimes why is he so keen on the idea of working with monkey as it really must be more work for him than for me. perhaps it has some sort of value that i just dont see yet. i just hope that all these collective efforts of people around me regarding me, whatever it may be, isnt a complete waste of time), monkey's been trying to change couple things. and she may be able to.

and perhaps one day i will understand the way that my own grains fit onto the new concepts running around my head like mad chickens. the ideas, newer they are, become some sort of living entity. a good idea is never still is it- rather, like a proper catalyst, it goes around and causes all kinds of mayhem. proper mayhem, like bonfires, sanity sacrifices and all that. but at the moment, carefully lifting the layers of self-applied coatings of habits, i cant help but being touchy grey. why is that? because, well, i think i am kind of grey.

often i try to be fun. social. well-liked. some manic stunts and daftness abound. i enjoy those moments when i totally lose my sanity temporarily (like the recent incident where i ended up carving two apples in the dining hall, completely unprovoked. it was a bit hilarious. perhaps i should post the pictures in sequence, har har). it feels... uneasily free doesnt it. it is so easy to say that 'hey, shit happens and in between, we all die at certain points.' supposedly it's a good one-fits-all philosophy. and it is true. yes. then why dont i just try to be a one-man silly show? be manic. toss the care in the winds.

but it's a funny feeling. in front of strangers, i have no problem being an amusement sometimes. i dont really care about the impressions and such, as i dont really know them. and as they are just passer-bys in my life, who cares really? they will laugh, point fingers may be, then move away and forget about the whole thing in two seconds. gone. it's a passing interest, a small laughter. insignificant in the overall scheme of things. but when in presence of the people that i may care for, it is always a completely different story. it's such a dichotomy that i wished to sell off at every garage sale. once you start to care, you cant be irresponsible. your actions, words, thought are going to be accounted for, mind you, if one is a friend, not a foe, he/she will always find some sort of context to keep your presence in the warmest manner possible. why? well, i think that's just what happens naturally. if you are a friend. but because you care, you see, it becomes difficult at times. you cant just throws bits and pieces of junk. well, yes you can, as i do very often, but there's something to be said about offering/sharing something of a value with another person of a high esteem. a friend.

so though i would like to be as much as free as i would be and etc etc etc., i cant help but to watch and start to draw a line of safety. i shall not cross. because i dont want to offend/ harm/ misunderstand/ insert-any-verb-really. to acknowledge that i have drawn that line at a given situation is a hard thing. to skip over that is also quite hard. but without the crossover, one cannot be honest.

it is all about being honest again isnt it. being in acknowledgement of self-grain. and taking a responsibility or perhaps a sense of identity to be a whole person, not just a segment that you want present to another, but with all bits- that's a hard thing. because i am kind of grey. inbetween, never really knowing where i am, and easily tarnished into another colour. but i do know that grey can be quite beautiful. like the mountains here with the snow blowing around. all shades and depth.

today may have been a failure in regards to being honest and open. but may be i should keep that in mind. it's just today. there's always the next morrow. and it's all about living the today as is, because there'll always be another day. take the chance. be honest and let it go. let go of the deathgrip, monkey!


vectorize the following

the days are going to go faster from this point on- well from last week really. it's the cusp point in the middle of the residency. escalating. accelerating. speeding. break neck speed. concerts get longer and longer and once musing ideas become furious physical manifestation. all the sudden, november rolls over slow, mellow autumnal golden october with frosty bits and early dark evenings. the loon calls get sparse as they will move to a nicer place and the wailing elks will quiet as the season falls and the next hopeful seeds have been planted. the supposedly-existing bears will fall asleep in the deep secret den (thouh i wonder if they sleep less now that the weaterh is so different?). the trees are going to be still green around here, but they will somehow become paler, as if put through a color filter with an old camera, becoming silvery whispers of their summer formal mad bonker selves. entering an incubation period.

november is always a funny month in a sense, it's not the last, but very close to the last. by the december rolls around, things are usually manic in north america with all the travel, holiday plans, family, friends, enemies, acquaintances, parties, functions, socials, teas, lunches, dinners, churches, work, etc etc. just toss into the pot and let it simmer. there is no room? NO SUCH IDEA! there is always more room for something good. or something bad. if it aint so, make it do... so comes the best stews anyways. all it need is time. and variety. for some reason, the dash to the new years is a mad one. especially around the 20s of december. cusp and exponential curves. swoosh. then right after christmas, it slows down a bit, then picks up mad on the two days in the 30s. then it's over. happy new year everyone! then comes january. somewhat hungover, drunk and looking desperately for aspirin and some seltzer water.

so in order to make room for december, november becomes the starting point for the mad dash. somewhat leisurely still, but because the residency ends in mid december, it's really the last month in my eyes. the last 12 days of the spaceship will be spent in desperate efforts to finish things anyways, or- get it ready for storage. so it is coming. there have been people leaving and coming consistently, but it is a quite a feeling to realize that so many of us are out and abouts (i can tell that at least three boys are missing for actions, travelling out of banff), and that some of the residents are gearing to leave, to their next chapter. however it ends up being. and the ones who have left become harder and harder to contact, though the really connected people will always have a very special sense of belonging. like the vectorized graphics, the distances or the curvatures between two points will always be recalculated to reflect the true proportions of ideas and interactions. marvelous.

with the full mad moon november started. and on a such sunny thursday afternoon, i am seeing the glimpse of downward motion. the people i have became friends with, people who were always dear, people who were my friends even before i met them, all these people. i am starting to pay attention to remember each person, each coordinate. so i may vectorize once things are finished and we all may be far apart. more pieces of puzzle you collect, the finer each pixels will be and more clear the image would be. and with enough pixels it is possible to create a representation of a familiar image, in even greater details than what was perceived initially. fine combing. zoom-in.

spaceship attendants are getting more entangled as we have passed the midpoint marker. one becomes aware of another's presence and it is no longer a blind trust or expedition. between each individuals, an understanding and affections (or indifference in cases) has been created and shared. and now it is time to learn the details. closeup. slowly but surely. as i am sure that i will be making some connections that may last through my own history. it just has to start at certain point. and some of it may already have! as monkey is slowly no longer musing but materializing the tin can ride at the end of the year to be warmed up by mr. salamander's fire. on winter solstice night. soapy but true. mark my words.


lunatic monkey + co.

it was a full moon last night here in banff. with a bit of clouds around, not dispersed, but in thin layers, as if you were pulling cotton candies. it is amazing to see what happens to the (familiar landscape - sun + moon - people) + people. the perspective is everything, yes, we all heard it multiple times. but boy, it is quite something to experience a bright moonlit night in the mountains.

in the residency, there are many different people and one of my favorite person is a horse lady. really. as much as she loves us, i bet she's always capable of finding more love for a proper horse! for me, im just glad to be in the proximity of someone who is so aware of the things- esp. nature related, so that i may learn something vicariously. and i do. so as the calender flips and stuff, we conspired to organize a night walk. why not. in banff, without the artificial light, the moon really gets to shine on such nights. so much light and no colours. just gradations. like black and white tv. with so many city slickers among us, we thought it would be brilliant. so words out, emails bouncing back and forth, time and place have been organized. good! it was nice that the lady was in charge, as no one would have taken monkey seriously... what? you know how to navigate and lead people in dark for a trail walk? that is trail walk, not trial walk you know?? sigh. haha. i will never be a figure of authority, something tells me...!

however, some things dont change, and that includes monkey forgetting to watch time. well, in my defense, i did set up an alarm on my phone. on phone's defense, i did silence it. oops. so with the benefit of the doubt, i shouldve just walk down to the meeting place and count on everyone being late. oops. no- being a bit too eager, i set out, hoping to meet the group.

hoodoo trails. it is one of my three choices for the usual morning walks. i walked on it many times, through different seasons and i could probably start to describe the trail in quite detailed manner by now. esp. big mama of the hoodoos. however, after initial set off, i realized that 1. the night is kinda dark with clouds, 2. i am alone. now, i realize no dumb animals going to hunt me down. that's just too much work period. as much as i may be fearful of them, so would they be fearful of me:

monkey: aagh!
(animal of the day): aagh!
*both run opposite direction
monkey/animal: aagh!!

i trust that theory because.. well i think it's true. well yes there are bears and stuff, but seriously, the chances are very slim. i have better chance of actually learning a piece of music with all the right notes. sighs. too bad that it's still considered a near-miracle for monkey. anyhows. so im alone with the night sound. ive walked on that trail with less light before. but the difference wouldve been that it would get lighter as it was during the morning. in this case, well, it's only going to get darker. brilliant.

so you walk. then walk a bit faster. stop. listen. all kinds of sounds, including elk calls. thank gawd i knew what that was. otherwise, there wouldve been more uneasy feelings. i was a city kid in the middle of the mountain, the nature in its full night time glory with unapologetic moon. teaching me a lesson of some sorts. gasp. at certain point, i had to stop and think. okay. i know this trail. i know most of the big trees and rocks. the curves and the river banks. as i greet them in day, i can greet them in night. im the same person, as they are still same life forms. i am a small child of nature, if unfortunately kept a bit far from home, but still at home at this present moment. hullo mom. am back. yep, things are alright.

then comes this freedom frpm fear. what was i fearful for anyways? i have no clue. elks? loons? oh come on monkey. ridiculous. so i went. dark which is no longer dark but bright with silvery tint. full moon reflecting on snowcaps and river, rocks, trees, my own self. beautiful in limited shades but unlimited interplays between all of them. no wonder pierrot went mad with the moon. so i ran. you learn to walk quickly without your eyes but with your feet. as the shadows of tress overimpose on the ground, it becomes almost painstakingly slow to take cautious steps. much easier to go ahead with lighter footsteps with trust and flexibility.

about 45 min into it, i decided perhaps i should turn around, as there's no way they are ahead of me. so 180' turn back towards. and voila, there they are, banff ctr peeps by mama fir. funny enough you could hear the miles away then. ears got used to the silence and space i suppose. so monkey happily joined her crowd and later we were all joined by mr. bearcub, who had a similar ordeal- only difference is that he actually did take off later than the group. phew. but all happily united. so with chatters and musings, i came back to the land of electricity and hot showers. if somewhat reluctantly.

it is funny that we in general have forgotten about the night. all powerful night. magical, deep, enticing and often menacing night. now we just manipulate it as if it means nothing with flick of a switch. let there be light. being the mini gods of a small human cage, we forget what it is like. the flow of things.

so came a second night walk tonight. am still kinda cold- brr, but this time, the company was small, quiet and in all sense of the word pleasant. best of all, not planned. hooray. it is nice to have someone near by who also appreciates such beauties. and as a cherry on top, it was nice to also resonate with a sense of renewal, upward motion from the company. it is easy to say that one's situation will change and things will get better, but it is even easier to resonate with simple joy of another once you are attuned. how nice (and how grossly understated).

with many incomplete, stewing thoughts, the walk started and ended. both animals arms full of things to take to bed. stars. moon. proper night. ear-slapping wind. silence. company. fellowship. the full moon came bearing gifts, as usual, and boy i am happy to be so rich at the moment. good night everyone. finally monkey to bed- albeit one small stop at the shower for a warm-up. brrr. (well it is currently -5'c with windchill of -11'c. call me not a pansy)


putting the last touch

*repost from last year's musing somewhere on back of my pocket with dust bunnies.

on tired face still pale with the weight of the days
with the thickest paint and brightest glitters
one night a year, we celebrate another artificial holiday
once in remembrance of the deceased
now in rememberance of currently deceasing.

laughed out loud at foolish pageantry
another consumerism success,
i often looked with disdane
at this despearate escape to
fantasies of each one.

tonight i look closer
as a mobster in observance

the girls and boys with their unquinched wanting for
friendship and belonging,
dresses up as princesses and heroes,
going through strangers' door to another
breaking the daily rule of isolation and self-containment
giggling with excitement
not only for the candies
but for the rare moments of togetherness

the adults with even more thirst
crowd the streets with if overtly sexual, sometimes crude
often genius creative but mostly store-purchased icons of
dreams musings frustrations envies
once dismissing them as childish
i now see the insecurities and hopelessness of daily life
expressed in its negative prints
just like photos where the inversion shows
the attempts to obtain what they long for
but cannot have.

we'll get up with masks crushed on the street
already lost its glitters and feathers
probably a magic wand or a sceptor
that rules nothing
wings with gaping holes, torn apart,
capes that no longer hides

with massive headache and hangover
may be even a broken heart or two

we will already reminescence the glory of
phantasmata on earth
once a year on a halloween night
we will already dream for
the next halloween night
clinging into the fast-fading memories as
kings and queens
who ruled one night
a halloween night.

...comes november

hullo to all spirits passing by. no, unlike the cold and cruel winters that literally ate up the celts, there wont be much casualties due to the weather alone at this point of time. so please, feel free to do go on and do something else with your time- especially you wont be bothered with the necessities of life, supposedly, or are you? anyhows, the all saints day deserves some sort of commemoration and so here it is. however, we will continue to celebrate the old end-of-the-season party with sluttier-than-thou costumes and overflowing alcohol and ethanol- smelling bravura.

all sarcasms aside, it is the first day of november, and in the mountain times, i have about 27 minutes left of it. i wonder: where did all the time go? oh well, sigh. i thought that i would be able to grow further do more etc etc., but here i am, tearing another page of the calender and thinking: well, monkey is still monkey. nothing much new. only thing may be that i had such a rubbish time trying to gage the course of the time today. everything is slightly out of bound and it's driving me absolutely bonkers. because i get up and do things at certain speed in banff, it is quite irritating when i have to double check everything. for instance, when i go for the solitary walks in the morning, if it is early enough i can tell that it must be around 6am around here because there will be no smell of car fumes or noises of people. just quiet calm mountain air. it does smell a certain way- like a dew or frost i suppose. but now with time shift, it makes no sense- simple things like waking up time, meal time, rehearsals etc. but if that is the only cause of my problem, then life really isnt all that bad is it?

the first month of residency is already gone into the small grains of sand and here comes another. then in december, it's pretty much over. the wrap ups are always more busier, crazier and madder. so what is there to reminiscent about?

beside the old favorites like the horse lady, beautiful julie, madder flutter, there are very very small number of people who ive been drawn to, nicely and inadvertently. and month can be a short or a long time, depending on what the general scale may be. in the larger scheme of life, it is a fairly short time period, am sure there will be tons of things that i just wont remember next week, never mind post residency. then there ate the fact that you actually work with them constantly, interact on daily basis and physically spend a large percentage of one's conscious waking hours with them. in that case, in a malleable mind, it is a quite a bit of time i say.

some will go and some will stay. some will return and some will pass. some have already been forgotten, some will live onto others through me because they are such wonderful people. monkey the connector have been busy to think and see all the strands she could possibly see between these far-far located individuals, who happened to be here thanks to quarks. am not so sure if it is worth anything really, but i feel that i owe it to myself to make sure that once i realize who they are, i should go and find and connect them further with who they may become through synergy/symbiosis.

to do something, one requires energy. and during the course of things, one eventually runs out of energy if the expenditure is greater than replenishment. and everyone has a unique way of charging oneself, but i suppose the big difference would be the charging mode: do you recharge by self or with others? by being active or passive? etc etc. well, as the month turns, it looks that a number of us needed to recharge and as people grounded, there were much quietness, as if the dust after the dust in have settled down once again. esp. after the last hooray of the month, halloween.

funny thing, halloween. it goes back to the idea of celebration of life before inevitable and impending death, not personal but as real as it gets. before the season of death, starvation and cold, it was the on last big meeting for the villagers as they had a bit of excess from the recent harvest, if very little. the opposite of walpurgisnacht (funny how both activities happen late in the day, in dark. night used to carry so much more authority and power when light and heat were not so abundant and cheap. once the sun was down and fuel was scarce, there was no other choice but to transpire hope, change, desperation during the long nights, where it seems only conscious beings were the star, so cold and far that they shone brighter as the air cleared and all water turned into ice). all anger joy frustration love acquainted or unacquainted, they were all thrown into the fire pit, as winter meant cruel awaiting, no room to be spared for such 'excessive' musings.

it still remains excessive. probably even more so, as life got cushier, we lost the standard to compare the idea of 'excessive' to necessities. everything seems to be necessary. so in effort to experience excessive, instead of returning to necessity, we now turn to decadence. and somehow it gets crazier and crazier every time. in the world where 'danger' usually implies to the incidents that are created (ie. getting mugged, murdered/manslaughtered etc) rather than imposed (starvation, getting eaten by a bear or your fellow neighbour), we now look for 'terror' and 'horror' as sideline activities. to be scared is an entertainment- though yes, most of us do carry some bulls eyes for personal terrors, from environmental issues to mental sanity, etc.

this time halloween at the banff centre was decorated by the indie bands concert, fireworks (where else do they celebrate halloween with public fireworks? i thought i went mad), then usual gusto of costumes, alcohol, laughter, flirting (one of my friends recently said: oh halloween, the excuse to dress slutty, hahahah) and as the unspoken rule, the day after, a quiet hazed silence upon everyone. every one of us in need to recharge, to restart, something anything.

so it was the night of quiet bubbles of activities. cooking. sharing. laughter. conspire toward the full moon and organize a night walk, etc etc and i think we all left with a bit more charged than before. properly nourished. with love. from one to another. how nice is it to share the simple act of 'sharing,' as you cannot share much by being yourself and alone. haha. a battery shall not charge if it is only connected to a node, it need to be connected to both nodes, positive and negative. in and out. one and others. and if i saw correctly, some of us needed that badly. to be reassured accepted recharged appreciated cared sought-after, for just being an individual.

nicely charged, i forge ahead to the month of november. who knows what it may hold. im hoping that it will be still full of needs for energy expenditure (it is nice to be excited about something and become completely bonkers i think?) and more need to recharge. as it is nice, to gather. like the people of the olds. like the people of the new. to gather. together. in banff spaceship. in my heart.