awaiting flower full moon of 2010

time has flew by and by the time i looked at the calendar today, it has been a month since gabe died.  i wonder what he was doing this time about a month ago? finishing things in tofino and starting pack up to head to kelowna, yes. that would be it.  i wonder if he knew that it would have been his last journey that he would carry on his own?  i say that specifically because in my opinion, his journeys continued on even though he lost control of the car- to a surprising conclusion. then another journey from the scene to the morgue. morgue to the crematorium. then a ride back home, in a silver projectile, as i carried him in a little neat box.  to the church for a farewell, then to the cool ground.  and would that be all? i disagree. i will certainly be carrying a part of him to uk when i head off in couple days.  what part? how much? i have no idea. but i can tell you that he will be permeating through my thoughts, as he does now.

i am somewhat reluctant to call my mother and say hello.  my parents, unfortunately, with granny, are having a very rough time dealing with it.  in conjunction to crazy schedule (which actually may be helping i think), they have not seen death as often as i tried to.  The riches of human thoughts- arts, literature, thoughts, daydreams;  being a musician or just simply a part time freelancer certainly gives me enough mental room to play around with such frivolities, thank the lord.  and yes. it has been such a silver lining for me to re-appreciate certain beauties of life, that transcends the very limitation of life and death.

the fact that gabe lived at home makes it a bit harder.  i tried to clean up his room as much as i could. and it's almost done. i still have to somehow open that suitcase and let my parents take the last dirty laundry load to the shop to get it cleaned.  i havent done it yet not because it is difficult thing to do, but am not so sure how mom would take it.  perhaps im fussing way to much.  there is nothing that would actually change from such thoughts.  in a perspective, i think it's worth every bit to accept things as is- though at times it may seem unreal.

nonetheless, they are trying to deal with it, and as mr. minnow have suggested, at least they have one another.  mom has dad. dad has mom. granny has mom and dad.  so though unfortunately there is not much someone else could do in aiding their grieving process, i think they will pull through. and they surely will, at some point. that some point- i wish it would be closer than far.  i know that both of them are deeply shaken every time someone asks how they are (as their regular customers at the shop and the korean community people have been told of gabe's death) and though i am desperately hoping that they are finding it easier to answer back each time, somehow i do not think 'now' is the time.

it is really funny. ive been trying my very best to get my own stuff done along the last month.  okay, so i had to pick up after the little bro (which is not the first time anyways so who really cares eh), but i havent really dropped anything yet.  i occasionally lost control of my emotions but so far, luckily, there have been no real damage.  the two recitals i played for- i wish i had a better mental capacity, as i could not play at the optimal level.  but kindly, people understood and made room for my failings, though they have every rights to demand better of me. but thankfully, work and the general stuff have been okay. even the crazy killer cold (or infection whichever it is) is going away for good (i hope) i think.  and i will have two visitors, dear friends from nebraska days, later this week.  i am making mental list to get ready to pack for a month in europe. i am trying to line some work for july and rest of the summer etc.

and somehow, in midst of concentrating on my own work (defense mechanism?) i realize that gabe have been always with me. more importantly, i find countless gesture of other individuals who reached out to me, purely offering whatever one could- which i have accepted with grace (i tried anyways), but i am sure there are some gestures i have not thanked properly yet. i am sorry- it certainly isnt my intention!

i am just getting around to start the thank you card process. i think it will certainly kill me as it makes no sense for me to write a generic one.  writing one genuine thank you card is hard.  but simultaneously, it is very happy occasion, to write so many thank you cards at once.  if i am being late, please do forgive. i am making my very best efforts to get on with it.  and even when you dont receive something hard copy, please do consider that i am in debt of others' kindness and generosity on daily basis.  because one cannot live alone, simple, isnt it.  best wishes and warmest thoughts from jungle-weather yyz to all of you.  please be well and happy.  if sad, do enjoy the sadness to its extreme, as one needs to understand the concept of valley in order to see the grandeur of the mountain peaks.

it is nearly a full moon.  the full moon of may is called flower full moon by the native americans.  it is also called corn-planting moon or the milk moon. on thursday 27 may 2010, the moon will be full again.  the time of lifted veil- between life and death.  according to the alchemist tradition, it is the moon of the water sign.  i am not superstitious.  but i think in all things that i may not understand fully, there may be a slice of truth, if not pure beauty.  and full moon is the midpoint of a moon cycle. the very top.  a cusp point.  i look out to my window and i see it bright and clear above all the jazz of downtown lights and noise.  the air is full of fragrances and invisible flowers, even more seductive when one can no longer see them.  like the spring scent in the air, weaved in so deeply with the still air of quiet evening, i am just putting another small weave into the air. a small one called thankfulness. of my brother. of hope. healing. of time.



(from community of st johns, princeville, illinois, 2007 visit)

the things i got done for gabe recently:
clean up his room (26 lighters found so far)
got his parking ticket sorted out
got his student loan sorted out
got his credit card sorted out
got his phone bill sorted out
got his banking sorted out
apply for canadian pension plan stuff
apply for b.c. insurance stuff
sent off 7 thank you cards

things in process:
waiting for his last paycheque
get his 407 ETR account sorted out
finish writing thank you cards (will kill me)
call the embassy

meanwhile, along with a nasty cold (i thought i was dying seriously, coughing my sides out), with sunshine (high of 28 yesterday), also with constipated sky threatening rain (that would be today), i am looking into the first long wknd of the summer, victoria day wkind, it is the unofficial start of the summer.  my god, where did the spring go?  well. i know and you know where it went.  cant believe it's going to be almost a month since gabe died.

geographically, since then, ive been to kelowna and toronto. that's it really.  many offices and many papers done.  articles read, phone conversations, moments of homicidal insanity, if occasional.

boring reality aside, i was in many different places. i lived like dr faust, going places, jumping through times, hanging onto the sleeve of father time, a bit better company than mr. mephisto i must say.   i was in good old bohemia of 18th century, with two dancing bassoons, graceful as larks. i was in midwest, in thoughts and open arms of my friends,who welcomed a tired monkey back 'home' for a few moments, as home is where (my) family is.  i was in paris in thoughts of mr bearcub.  i am sure i was also in india when i was dealing with the lovely people of capital one credit card company, if through very sketchy internet phone help line.  i was in the open prairies, where the cross is graced with vast sky, saturated with the wonders during the day- the dawn, sun and dusk, even in the velvety dark sprinkled with stars, standing with the kind brothers of community of st. john, who kindly offered me a place to work and reflect in august (which i will do my very best to take!)

i was remembered and conversed in frankfurt-wiesbaden-mannheim-koln, stuttgart-aachen and essen along with wave-following mr. minnow.  as mr. dixon so kindly casted the magic, i was in late 19th century central-eastern europe, saturated in perfume of b flat major. i looked into the nest with no more hatchling, just now occasional pieces of broken blue shells- and i felt the great loss of reversed flow of life, mothers losing child. i went back to berlin, where i once bought a sweater for gabe with my last 40 euros in the pocket.  i went back to old house in korea where we used live, childhood pictures and stories. fragments of life that i have forgotten, now nudging me and holding onto my pant legs, like small endearing puppies.   i was casted in good old new oleans, drunken in rhythm of loose jazz. i have fallen through handful of darkest cracks- true crevasses, i did not see it coming. i just had option of- falling. i was in canada's wonderland amusement park, with hint of summer thunderstorm lingering on the air, tip of my nose and just so.  i was drinking the scent of fresh lemon in my gin and tonic, accompanying fresh summer tomatoes and sweet balsamic reduction, along company of very fine gentlemen, as i have, last summer- dressed in white gauze-thin shirts. all of us.

i was in the old building where we used live, where my bro's friend daniel lived just a few levels off.  walking up and down, carrying plate of dinner or something.  i was there, in the depth of the soil, where life and death is recasted, in form of softest, richest earth- gently covered with mosses, as i have seen in spring scotland, as i laid my brother into the ground and thought of him leaving this phase of life.

no wonder i am worn and sick. i thought i was going to die, breathing through straws two full nights, congested and such.  i ve been busy. going places. times. living. revisiting. thanking. feeling. crying. laughing. not caring much about the restrictions casted by 9-5 boring real world.   it's friday night and i am quite snug happy to be home doing nothing much. thank the lord. monkey's slowing down. hopefully i can kick this chest cold thing off me.  haha. ya. i thought i was really sick, then my mom saw me for two seconds last night and said: where did you pick up such nasty cold? ooh. shit. it wasnt anything big was it. ahahaha. well. it FEELS LIKE IT when you lose a night of sleep. i tell ya.

there's nothing i can do about a cold. funny, just like there's nothing i can do about death. or life. it goes on. and the road keeps going. sometimes better paved than the others. but the important thing may be that i am able to perceive that it's just a journey. nothing more, nothing less. there are things i cannot change. there are things i can only remember as past. but it's all fine. it's beautiful as is.  love to you all.  i hope your weeks been also full of such magic.

screw clocks and maps. those are for babies.


self portraits

i do must add though, there are much happy things
and beauties. generosities. laughters.
just did not quite make it into these doodles.
anyone who have doodled extensively will tell you:
the pen/pencil leads you, not your brain! haha.
perhaps it is the aftermath of more paper works.
but! rest be assured. things are well and love to you all.
your monkey, not paying attention (doodoodoodling)


thank you mr dixon

(yellow birds on branches, brandi milosavich, mixed media on pane, 21x28, found on web)

the entire wknd was rather busy and full of emotions, overflowing into monday early morning... 230am already.   friday was the day of playing music and recording.  saturday was catching up, house work and taking my bro's best buddy (really, theyve known each other since the moment his family moved to canada. and theyve been... inseparable) whom i should come up with a suitable name.  giving someone a moniker on this blog is not an easy task at times, i say. anyways. i may call him mr. joe odagiri, after the japanese actor. yep. he is that stylish. always have been and still is.

i thought it was rather funny to meet him up for a sat eve sake at the ultra trendy and hot izakaya spot: guu, as it seemed almost too well-contextualized.  like one of those asian romantic comics.  loss of friend, meeting with the older sister of the deceased, young and full of emotions, expressing and experiencing the first real close death, in the trendy izakaya full of glamourous, loud and fashionable crowd, in the basking light of gold leafs and distressed wooden counter. ahahaha.  i thought: damn. the only miss is... monkey. shit. shouldve at least try to dress better and be more chill. oh well. monkey shall be a monkey i suppose.

it was nice to meet up with mr. odagiri.  i am glad to hear and share so many little things in life, related and unrelated to gabe.  just let things out and being able to listen.  to laugh and to feel it's alright to celebrate someone when they are not present. what a nice experience.  i hope he had a good evening and that he knows (and feels) that he can hit me up for a rant when necessary.  i havent seen him in ages but boy, it seemed as if i still saw him as often as i did when we were all in high school, living in the same apartment building.  gabe always had mr. odagiri in his life. somewhere. jude to punch.  dr. wilson to dr. house. simply two boys who are bonded brothers.  discovering. learning. laughing and pissing each other off to no end. well. you may argue it may be the end (because gabe is gone), though i suppose there'll be things popping in and out, like whack-a-mole, hint of gabe being ____ (annoying, charming, funny, silly, dumb, whatever goes) within our minds, hearts. therefore, in actions.

then there was the minnow swim.  the phil is hopping around the old deutschland and doing programs involving lots of brahms- the second piano concerto, with herr buchbinder.  i listened to herr buchbinder first time in wien, at the musikverein.  and not knowing much about him then, i thought: what a viennese sound. see, viennese things always have very peculiar stamp on them. the viennese stamp. hard to describe. it's a bit grand than it needs to be, it's a bit more refined than it really is.  it's a bit of waltz and nostalgia, sachertorte in the cushy seat of hotel sacher.  rather than being homely beethoven, it's a bit more of decadent strauss.   it's hint of old world, much of mahogani and pipe tobacco, of busoni's decadent, after-full-bloom scent, musk and vanilla too velvety for its own good, lingering well-over its due time, smudging the beginning of the twentieth century.  however, a viennese sound has another face- a janus, if you will.  older days wiener klassik of haydn, mozart, beethoven and schubert (absolutely beautiful, actually probably is my current obsession at the moment), is also part of the viennese signature.  mix of the clarity of belvedere symmetry with klimt's tension-wrought decadence- that's viennese for me.

he is doing brahms piano concerto no. 2, which has this amazing third movement.  a gentle caressing by the cello wraps the suffering heart of the piano.  here's take by nelson freire, who is one of my favorite pianists, weirdly enough he's a bit of a connoisseur's item as he tours.. every... 10 years.. or so. seriously.  but if you have not heard of him, i swear this is worth your time.

tripartite, the symmetry of the first and last section is quite violently disrupted by the development.  brahms' cello solos always have this amazing thing for me.  for instance, the c minor piano quartet has the one of the most beautiful cello solo in the third mvt.  piano and cello, a gentle conversation. however, the discourse never gets to a resolution. it's always interrupted or swallowed and gets lost by the rest of the ensemble.  at the point of crystallization, a complete turn of discourse.  the most important thing is left to be unsaid though probably understood even it was inaudible.

and it always reminded me of the relationship of brahms and the schumanns.  young brahms, in awe of clara, while clara was completely devoted to robert.  clara understands. but she wont budge for brahms either.  unacquainted.  yearn.  and then when think of schumann's own cello solo in 3rd mvt of his piano quintet, i cannot help but to think of the schumanns and their paired completeness.  unlike the brhams cello solos, this one is given its full presence and the piano and cello is quite happy by themselves, not requiring much more from life. at all.  in comparison then, the brhams piano concerto no. 2's piano is even more tragic, full of  pathos, hence cello taking the role of... consoler.

furthermore, this cello solo of the concerto gets recasted. you see, i think brahms really meant something.  by setting hermann von lingg's lied from gedichte (stuttgart/augsburg, 1857) to this melody, he creates even more concentrated form of 'hunger' and 'comfort': Immer leiser wird mein Schulummer, op. 105, no. 2 (1886):

Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer,
Nur wie Schleier liegt mein Kummer
Zitternd über mir.
Oft im Traume hör ich dich
Rufen drauß vor [meiner]1 Tür,
Niemand wacht und öffnet dir,
Ich erwach und weine bitterlich.

Ja, ich werde sterben müssen,
Eine Andre wirst du küssen,
Wenn ich bleich und kalt.
Eh die Maienlüfte [wehen,]
Eh die Drossel singt im Wald:
Willst du mich noch einmal [sehen,]
Komm, o komme bald!

My slumber grows ever more peaceful;
and only like a thin veil now does my anxiety
lie trembling upon me.
Often in my dreams I hear you
calling outside my door;
no one is awake to let you in,
and I wake up and weep bitterly.

Yes, I will have to die;
another will you kiss,
when I am pale and cold.
Before the May breezes blow,
before the thrush sings in the forest:
if you wish to see me once more,
come, o come soon!

and with minnow, i couldnt help but to dump all these musical mismash into the mix.  of what this cello solo means to me at the moment. of feelings of missing, hurting, yearning, desperate love for my brother. of my loss. of our losses.  then of hope. of healing. teary monkey making a mess of musicology, feelings and brhams, schumann, cello, piano, minnow, everything.  thankfully, minnow understood.  and after a short word with the kind cellist of the phil, the solo of this particular performance, a few remembered loss of gabe.  and i know that he was remembered through one of the most beautiful gestures possible. of humanism.  i will always remember, branded by a warm gesture shared despite of so many differences- of time, feelings, distances, people...  for part of that twelve minutes of brahms 2nd piano concerto, gabe's life wasnt just a loss. it was life. it is life. i owe the cellist a huge pint.  i know pint is a legalized size: one eighth of an imperial gallon. but trust me. this pint from me to him will contain part of my best thanks for all who have decided to live with me during this point of my life.  that's big.  what can be larger than life?

this post is rather long. thick. too much info. and i wonder if i am dwelling too much on my brother's death. i really should edit it. but i cant help it.  i am consumed by it and being the emotional wreck i usually am, i do not have any other choice but to live through it. soaked in it.  if you made it to this far, i thank you.  for your patience. for your time. for your love (as i cant imagine someone reading such a boring post without some kind of love, not necessarily for me or for gabe, but of a common experience of human love). for life.

with such mellow blanket of b flat major, i shall try to get some sleep.  the key of sagittarius, the mutable fire sign between the autumn to winter change.  endlessly flowing river.  often favoured key of wind instruments.  i do not believe in coincidences, but in hope in the string theory- that all things are related. and there are so much more meanings and beauties in small things in life. as they are never just small things.  it is just that we reduce them for convenience.  so let's dwell on small things.


koinobori of may

...tonight, in quiet city, soaked with a little rain,
like the nightingale blood on your card,
i feel a little thrust of fine needle
a little deeper in my heart.
thank the lord that it's strong and well
thanks to everyone, especially you,
you have loved me with no conditions,
you have let me be who i am and who i need to be,
and you still do love me, miraculously

and i am here,
i see the blood of my heart
and i see your blood.

nightingale, soothing a tired, red-eyed monkey,
taking my small tail over worn eyes of the day,
bringing in hypnos while keeping his dark mother nyx at bay,
carefully removing just a little more of my thorns,
which you took and took in with you,
with the bits that you like of me,
with other bits that you may still have to find from me,
and dropped the crimson dot on tabula rasa
with multitude of your feelings-
of sorry, comfort, love, humanism and unspeakable tenderness.

the tenderness of a minnow swimming with another minnow,
two small fragile silvery glint in water, in big vast blue water,
barely visible but still together,
keeping this minnow with busted and bruised cavity,
holding me together,
stitching me with the invisible threads of 1s and 0s,
caressing the wound of this small minnow,
teary and tired,
carrying my weight as yours.

through the cold water

thank you minnow.
if i could be,
i would love to be the line of the clarinet,
to travel with you, a beautiful line of oboe,
soaring just a step ahead, guiding, leading, swirling
as mozart have drawn, like the japanese water painting,
each start and fading of the brush strokes 
without sweats or tears
but of the flow of life, of universe, larger than you or i
intertwining in the large sky,
like the planes do near the open area of chinley,
the tails of invisible planes,
soaring, great machines now silent and graceful,
as we have seen,
in beautiful spring evening,
early summer dusk,
darkest winter night.

i think of you,
fast asleep,
like a silver bullet travelling in the vast space,
carrying my heart with yours.

with love,


trudging along with music

gabe, did you know that there is a tree growing for you in the faraway land of israel?
there is. a young tree. hopefully. upward. green. living.

gabe, so many people have sent you good wishes. even more have send me warmest thoughts.  it's been a real long two weeks, picking after you, including insurance folks, sketchy rental agency and the infamous cred card people. who know who else is still there. but i did laugh quite a bit with your bowling ball and 23 lighters so far.  of your little stuffy toys and silly pictures of you and your friends.

i have not gone back home since last week. i didnt have much time nor i wanted to go back. i have decided that i also need to tend to things in my life, even with a great disruption. much like the recent volcanic eruption and the traffic logistical nightmare in europe. there are only so much one could do, but it still need to be done.

ive been talking to a few people, especially my bassoon-related and trumpet-related folks.  you see, i am busy this wknd playing for a bassoon recital, then another one next wk for trumpet. and i am super happy to report that ever since i got in touch with them about the project, it's been just a great ride.

one person is dealing with selling the house, tidying a personal life in midst of caring for a sick mother. another is a reasonably fresh transplant to the city, trying to figure out the future.  another is a father of two boys, working hard and smiling lots. another man just had a crazy fun fit trying to help organize a presentation for childrens' charity work in overseas.  one of the professors, i have known him for a long time and i know that he suffered a great deal couple years ago when he have lost his wife. you see, we all have our hardships.  i just happened to be the young baby of this particular group with a bit of catching up to do.

i ran into mr. b-shiffman today at the conservatory glass lobby.  he was always kind to me while i was in banff and without him, i would have been in a very different place, possibly.  the first thing he did after finishing his meeting (he was in middle seat of some important-conversation table) was come and give me a hug: how are you cecilia? i heard-  well, barry, i am okay- well, no it's not just okay...
affection from former boss, hopefully a long-time friend-to-be. what a bonus.

then the girl i was meeting up with at the con for small work, also loads of sympathy. words werent important. i am very good at reading faces.

and then there was an unexpected arrival in the mail. a hard envelop. i thought now that the spamming mailers are so desperate that they are sending something with different wrapping, great. but no. it was a gift. a gift of tree of life. it's been planted, all the way in israel.  for my brother. by a friend.

that mail brought so many emotions to my heart.

peter, my house mate, is very glad to see all these supports coming into monkey's way.  i am, of course, touched. but mostly, i am so surprised. like the banff family card that arrived one day, along with minnow's red flower, as if painted from the deepest drop of blood from his heart.  and prof d's card, blue with tinge of grace.

with all these thoughts and well wishes (which easily override the petty mad people who are hoping to make money off dead people), i have gone back to being a musician this wk. it wasnt easy- i havent played, the rep isnt easy, i wanted to do well, the reasons were endless. if i were to believe the reasons, i should not have played at all. i should have stick my head in fresh concrete and die.

but with music, it was easier. i was so happy to be back, to work with these particular people.  it is a meeting of people initially put together by necessity, but i feel as if i could trust them to no end. crazy you may say, you normal people. but in music, sometimes that does happen, fairly often- you find people who will get you. understand you. make you better by being with them, ever so simply so.

during music, i have flew higher than the sky, i have heard the noise of big bang.  i have saw the end of the world and have tasted the first raindrop in the dry savanna.  i have lived through the eyes of all points of life- old, young, gullible and cunning, hopeless, in love, in despair.  i have died multiple death in all situations. the suicide in brahms c minor piano quartet. the ethereal grave wind in prokofiev violin sonata 1, the softest, reason-less comfort in mother's embrace in brhams 1st violin sonata.  i have heard the lost childrens' mothers' mad silence mutterings in mahler's kindertotenlieder.  the dying yet singing children in the cattle trains going to their death camp and the devil dancing with glee in shostakovich's trio.   i have heard the loss of all loss, the lowest of the list being that short cry of jesus in st. matthew passion.  the list goes on and on.

as impractical as my job is, as practically useless my tasks are, when faced with such harsh reality, where a natural law of mother and son, brother and sister is torn apart with such violence of blood and bone-crushing pain, i can look it into the eye and say: i have been here. i know what you are. i also know what i am.  you are just life. and i am also just alive. you are only another manifestation of my own self. i have faced you in midst of the rush traffic and i have faced you in the most loneliest moment in my life.  i have not conquered you yet you have not conquered me.

you are music and i am a musician.
i live through you, as you pulse through my vein.
the pain and the glory of life you have shown me,
i have not forgotten. they are here, in my heart.
in times like now, where i could so easily break and wring my heart out, every once of my own life, i dont have to do it.  because i have seen you and i have understood you.  as happy as i could be, as low as you could bring me.

i am happy to be a  musician.
i am happy to have friends who are artists and musicians.
i am lucky but i did work hard for it.
i am who i am and i wont be failing to be what i have become.
thank you all for making music a possibility for me.
with music, such powerless tool it seems at times,
i am going to trudge through life,
and death.
love to you all.


mothers' day

mothers' day is a different one this year
it will never be the same
a comfort of ritual,
of small gathering now
ripped away
furious violation of the young with the old

a mother with one less child
a mother with a child who have lost a child
it is a day that i cannot say
happy mothers' day

happy for what, i may ask-
why is it always about happiness
the world that is full of possibilities

as much as
of misfortune suffering grievance
of irreplaceable loss
of the days of unspeakable feelings

for twenty-eight years
she have spent in nurturing bickering
convincing and being convinced
for the days- for how long, we do not know yet,
she now can only
remember reminisce
the allure of graspable existence of
a lost child
deep in her heart
each beating moment

the mother consoling a child
who has lost one of his own

two different mothers
confined in the same invisible grid of bereavement
leans to one another
in front of a cemetery plot
still fresh without grass
the earth freshly sunken in
too new to be commemorated
in iron and steel

mother's day is yet just started
as a child died
as a child was buried
in their mind

*image found on web by artist leslie pearson,
silk-screen titled 'empty nest'


au contraire...

thank you. more glimpse of hopes in my mind.
lone bird pregnant with hope by ms. irene oore of halixa
the whippet with playfulness by mr. minnow


incredible, i say

are people mean due greed or stupidity? sometimes it completely baffles me and i am seeing lots and lots of ridiculousness recently (thanks gabe).  the latest one to join my hall-of-infame-of-incredibles would be gabe's rental car person/company/whatever it is.

so from the police's collection of gabe's things, i have found a small piece of paper that must be a receipt.  this lovely piece of paper has my bro's name and dates, total fee charged (356 i think?), a small note underneath of outstanding balance (36 bucks), decline of renting of GPS and unreadable signature (there's no information of issuer. no name. no address. no nothing).  on the back, it has a name and a phone number.  i thought: surely, this cant be the receipt?

so ive been trying to catch who he has been calling last week and ran into this rental persons.  according to the rcmp, it's all been taken care of (the wreck of the car) and there's no more to be discussed.so last week, i let it be. i had more important missions.

so yesterday, calling them about five times to get hold of someone, i was transferred to this mystery person, mr. kim. lovely. i explain i am the sister. i am collecting information so i can file them just in case. can you send me the rental contract and insurance information please?

kim: okay, well about the insurance, what do you need it for?
monkey: well, i know the car was covered, as explained to me by the rcmp officer. so youve got info and so does the insurance company.  so i would like to have it please.
kim: well there's no physical contract and i cant really see why would would need the insurance info.
monkey: why dont you just send me what info you have please?
kim: btw, he owes us money anyways, so i was going to get in touch with you.
monkey: look, i cant comment as i dont have any evidence or paper trail.  so please, do send me the info and if you would require further assistance, we can go from there?
kim: well, i was just waiting because it's a difficult thing to deal with the funeral and all the wrap ups-
(monkey: really? you are being a real pleasure as you know)
monkey: well, okay, thanks.
kim: my daughter died last year so i know how complicated it gets. she had a will so i was the executor.
monkey: great she thought ahead. well, he have not had any and there is no estate either. im just helping but i am not an executor.
kim: ya, so i am familiar with these things so-
monkey: can you please send me the info? i have to go to work.
kim: i will have the office girl draft something and send it to you in an email.
monkey: ok. thanks.

you were going to get in touch with me? how?  how would you have known who i am, or even, whether gabe had a family after all? so then when i call, the first thing you mention is i owe you money? how?

anyways. so i thought: okay. wait and see what happens.

so he sends me an invoice to estate of my bro.  clearly someone is not able to listen to a conversation that one is directly involved in. sigh.  it includes balance for GPS rental, collision deductible and vehicle towing bill.  just about a thousand. oh yeah. i also got a towing company's bill.

well. what did i call for?

insurance information.

did i get one?


what part of the conversation was not clear yesterday?

well, apparently all of it.
except for the part that i owe him money.

okay you fraudulent asshole.  what GPS rental? it says it was declined. where is the insurance info i requested? you did not provide.  why am i paying for towing expenses when you should have dealt with it with your insurance company? what copy of invoice? the one you drew up yesterday and dated back to 22 april 2010? isnt that kind of illegal? and where is the rentee's signature? there isnt one.

(trying to be calm)

i understand that you may think we now have some sort of money because of my bro's death. umm. no. he was actually in minuses (funny enough. he mustve spent all of it on lighters).  there was bank fee of 10 bucks. so the bank was being 'generous' to lose 3.50 on gabe (hahaha).  since there is no asset, there is no estate. there was no will, therefore there is no executor of will. so please. fuck off.  the first thing you mention to me is that you cannot provide info i ask you for (and still havent), and that now i owe you money- after i have explained there is no will/estate?  just because you are afraid of being sued and you are hot for some cash, that does not mean i am like you. people like you makes me ill to my stomach. as you have no morals. ethics. standards. just eager to get your grubby fingers on money. you make me sick.  for me, you are subhuman.  it makes me regretful i even have to talk to you.

so i wrote back:
thanks for providing invoice.  i will file them.  btw, as i have informed you, there is no estate, will or executor.  if you would like, i can send you the bank closing statement with final balance of zero and death certificate.  there's no one who is responsible for his financial situation but him.  please contact me through email as i work irregular hours.

trans: i dont trust you. so please. let's keep everything in writing. shall we?

i wonder what'll come back.  then apparently some insurance company from bc have called me. now. how the hell do they have my number? gaaah. i suppose i will call back on monday and find out what this jazz is about.

gene pool says that the kim sub-human should ease off, as he hoped for some easy cash and it wont be happening. i am hoping that would be the case. not because i dont want to pay- well, look, if we do owe this guy money legally, i have no problem. but i dont. and he's being a prime dick. so whatever. it makes me ill that such people exists in this world.  i never swore so much in my life.  well. okay. may be that's a lie.  is it so much to ask for oneself to be conscious, ethical and just plain old human- as of humanist? i am learning that it is actually difficult.

which makes me really think twice about my fortune- my friends and families all over the world.  thank you all. you make life hopeful. with hope, one can continue indefinitely.  the most dangerous but the most effective concept of human life. hope.  and with hope, comes love.  love to you all.  as i am really learning to appreciate genuine human brotherhood through all your presences in my life.

enough of dumb things.


thank you

*this was a beautiful speckle of compassion that landed on empty monkey hands during the trials of last (and this) week.  courtesy of beautiful silvery fish. thank you. you are amazing.

dear all,

it's been a  quite a long journey, the stretch of a week seems as long as- or even weirder, short as a flash.  the news, flight, phone calls, identification, cremation, funeral, now tidying after.  did i really go through so many people and did so many things? it seems inconceivable at times. however, i did identify him, just a bit hurt than usual, and once i picked him up from the airport, i did not let him out of my lap until the time i let granny hold him at home, finally.  during the service, i walked with him and i have carried him out and laid him in fresh ground, wet with a light rain and mixed sunshine.

and i am getting to know this wee kid in a very funny sense.  for instance, so far, i have discovered total of 23 lighters in his room. i think it's hilarious in a sense. you see, all the smokers i know never can find the light whenever one really needs it.  it is funny to think that he could have used a different lighter for every single fag in the pack and have three extras hanging around. except if you were smoking marlboro. they pack 25 per.

well, there are more silly things, such as a personal bowling ball (cant believe he's got his own), slew of fantasy nobles, etc etc.  he makes me laugh. and i am hoping that he'll make me laugh for the days to come.

i really want to get on to writing thank you letters but i am running out of time on daily basis. yesterday was my first musical rehearsal back from last week's journey. it was a tad bit difficult than usual (as i havent really paid attention to the identity of me as musician- shame).  however, i have to say that i was so happy to get back to playing. a piece of- urr life before all these events.

i am not denying the events. i am quite happy that i was here. i was happy to take my brother home. carry him as best as i could.  it was a nice chance given to my life, to be with my brother, with my family, with all my friends.  i know that i have great families all over the world. not just from here, but also from england. from banff. from nebraska. and now even more- as i met some of my bro's little friends- who werent so little anymore, but as young adults, standing tall and proud.

there will be days when i realize he is no longer alive, it would hurt.  i have tasted my first anger yesterday. it was larger than i have expected. and it came out from nowhere, into a completely unrelated scene.  i, silly enough, lost myself (i am very sorry dear silvery minnow) and was deeply surprised and embarrassed for my own actions.  it seemed almost impossible even to myself that i was able to get all those things done- the processes, travels, consoling and even the funeral, and then be suckerpunched when least expected.  i am hoping that i will have a greater compassion, for others, and also for myself, for i dont ever want to act in such way.

the times i was teary were in kelowna.  after talking to my father about how to bring the wee bro home.  i couldnt leave him all broken up any longer than i had to.  he was a dandy. he needs to look clean and neat.  so we agreed. gabe came back home in a smart black box. neat and tidy. that's him, not big but looking smart, hahaha.  and after the small service at the hospital, right before the service man came and took him.  i wonder if i will shed more tears. i dont think it's necessary.  but necessity and actual reality may not go together.  well if it comes to that. i think it will be okay.

thank you so much everyone for your words and supports.   there are no words that are sufficient to express such feelings, as you have expressed to me as there are no words to tell me the feelings youve had for me.  i miss all my families and i am hoping that you all know that though i am way behind schedule and being short for time for now, that you are all in my thoughts.  as i was in your thoughts. as my bro and i were in your thoughts.

love to you all and i hope to tell you more silly things in life.  but sometimes serious things are also necessary.  such as this post. there's nothing more real than feeling of compassion. of humanity.

ps. am still sorry mr silvery minnow.


gabe, look what you made me do!

sometimes i am amazed about the unexpected interactions with others.  some are good and some are better. some are worse and a few are truly outstandingly crazy.  i am starting to wrap my bro's life, staring from the phone bill to bank account, etc.  and there are many funny things that came up today.  for instance, i went to the bank to see how i would start to the process to close his account.  well, the current balance of his account was in triple digits, including the decimals.  i started to laugh as clearly, this young man knew how to stretch his cash (and vicariously, others' cash as well).  smooth roller. great. ahahaha.

however, i completely exploded on capital one credit card company.  i never had such an incompetent service in my entire life. and though i have lived not so much, i have called all kinds of financial institutions in all kinds of locations.  and this one, i swear, gets the WTF monument.  and it shall be larger than christ the redeemer of rio de janeiro.

here goes the first conversation:
monkey: ... look, i am not the account holder, but i am in charger of closing mr. lee's account as he was involved in fatal accident and therefore wont be able to take care of this matter directly.
agent: ... oh i am sorry. okay. i will look and see what i need to do for you.
(put on hold for 15 min)
agent: ... *dr. lee, i will transfer you to the appropriate person, thank you and please hold.
(some muzak)
phone msg:  this number is not in service.  repeat, this number is not in service.

brilliant. the agent have managed to connect me to the number that does not work. look, if you dont want to do the work for me (which you are getting paid for), just dont show up to work. if you do show up, do remember that you have to be somewhat competent.  that includes connecting your customer to the appropriate service line that is in service.

so goes the second conversation:
monkey: ... so my brother was in a fatal accident, that's why i am calling.
agent: ... so why are you calling?
m: i said he was in a fatal accident (wtf?)
agent: ... he cant call?
m: (angry) look, do you speak english? fatal means 'resulting in death.'  do you understand? that means he is dead.
agent: ... ah, you mean he is dead?
m: fatal accident, yes, dead, no longer living. do you understand what that means? or do i have to explain what dead means as well? if you arent competent in speaking and understanding english, why are you working in customer service on phone line? if you wont mind, can you transfer me to someone who is competent in english?
agent: ... well, sorry ma'am, the line is bad**
m: poor line connection makes you unable to comprehend? well, i am sorry, but the fact that you have a poor quality phone connection is unacceptable to begin with, and to blame that on your incompetency is not an adequate explanation. can you connect me to your manager please?

third conversation with the manager:
monkey: why do you have poor line connection that you cant hear me and i cant hear you?
agent: ... we are working on it
m: you are 'working on' it or you are supposed to work 'on it?'  why should i be suffering from your failed infrastructure? you are a business- you cost me money, you arent a charity. what do you expect me to do?
a: i am sorry.
m: i understand you will say there's nothing you could do. that solves nothing. your company in incompetent.
a: ... was there any other concerns?
m: why was i connected to a line that is not in service by your agent?
a: i will look into it ma'am
m: and how do you expect me to do a business transaction with you when your agent is not able to comprehend english?
a: i am sorry ma'am
m: okay, so for wasting an hour of my life by waiting, calling, being disconnected, repeat, you are sorry- okay. fine. could you get back to me after you have investigated why your agents were incompetent and what actions has been taken?
a: sorry dr. lee, we do not send out a report back for customer complaint.
m: so what assurance can you give me that it will actually be looked after? nothing. and are you expecting me to just trust you after an hour of most poor customer service i have ever received?
a:  well that's the way it is for us-
m: alright. let it be the protocol.  but do realize that your company, your staff and you have shown me what a bad customer service can be like. i never had anything so bad and i hope your company will pay for the lack of business ethics, as soon as possible.  is there anything you need from me?
a: well, thanks for registering your concern-
m: dont thank me. i dont trust you any more than i would trust the worst liar there was in history. do you need anything in addition?
a: ah- no,
m: i hope you have a day full of shame. bye.

* funny enough, sometimes i whip out my dr title. especially when people are rude. it's funny how some people change instantaneously.  what bunch of assholes.
** the line was exceptionally poor quality. i was hearing echoes of myself. means one thing: they are on internet phone line to save money, meaning they are outsourced far and far away. with the accent, i will be fairly on the money to say they were in india or other south eastern asianwasnt like i was asking them to spell and define words such as 'antidisestablishmentarianism.' wtf.

i was really pissed while i was going through it. i am still a bit angry. but when i wrote it out, it just looks funnier.  ohhhh... i will be spending lots of time on the phone in near future. i wonder what other joys await for me from the 'other side.'  gabe. i really wished you were here and you can call your own damned customer service line. service my ass. it's more like customer torture line.

but for a laughter: i found so far 18 lighters in his room.  i suppose that's what happens when you really enjoy smoking. there's nothing worse than missing lighter. ahahaha.  love to you all and good night.  this monkey is going to try to sleep.  may be i should take a day off from working on gabe's life? it sounds mighty tempting right now.


gabe farewell

my brother gabriel (korean name: geon, from chinese letter, 'to establish') lee was born as the third child, the baby of mr. and mrs. lee on 25, august, 1981 in seoul, south korea.  i dont remember much since there's only two years of age difference, but from pictures, he was a rather chunky little happy baby.

he grew up in seoul with granny, mom/dad and mike and i.  because we are all close in age, we have much bickering, beating, punishing and general tomfoolery.  the third kid was the one who had the fleet feet, keen nose for trouble and lightening-fast action for mischief.

we movedto toronto in 1992, and to my dismay, i was put into same school with gabe once again (right before that, i just started junior high and was pretty excited about going to school by myself).  at st. gabe's, we made much fun of our ESL classes and often tried to express 'academic' supriority over one another.  i went off to loretto abbey and he eventually went to brebeuf.

while in highschool, we were briefly concerned because the kid was so witty and smart (to dodge school etc), so we sent him offto robert land academy, a military-style private school.  so though he dodged the mandatory service in korea, he still served military culture, somewhat.

he went off to george brown college to study hotel management.  from there, he went to work as coffee export manager, sushi man@ ken sushi and eventually became a store manager of starbucks branch in 2004.  23 years old manager received many awards: bravo award, green apron award, numerous 5 stars from internal reiew and 100% customoer snapshot award.

apparently coffee wasnt enough. so he went to work for torotonian resto chain, oliver & bonacini, for french resto auberge du pommier.  he worked at flow@yorkville, fuzion house@church st, and recently the rooseelt room @financial district.

the recent trip was taken to go see some friends and wickannish inn@vancouver island.  wickannish inn was voted as the most excellet romantic hideaway spot in north america for 2010 and he was curious for some changes and the place sounded exciting.  so he hopped to west with the usual zeal for life.  after spending two days at the kitchen, he started the drive: tofino-vancouver-kelowna, 400 miles, to see friends in westcoast.

but unfortunately, on 26 april 2010, local time 2-230am, about 30 min away from kelowna, gabe lost control of the vehicle.  it was  a fatal accident. 

however, the police concludes that the death would have been instantaneous and he was wearing seatbelt (yay), wasnt speeding (hooray) nor consumed any alcohol (cheer).

we fought quite a bit.  but he's such a warm kid that i couldnt help but to think of him first at the mentioning of the word 'home' while i was away.  he was involved in the church as a kid and among his friends, the funny antics of gabe was legendary.  hard to forget.  at home, he was the most charming (not so hard to beat me, i know), most annoying (at times), the typical 'baby.'

his smile and joke toward mom/dad (which resulted in occasional annoyance on their part, as calculated and carefully caliberated), the beaming smile and all that,  i am going to miss it painfully.

but it is also great to think that he had a good visit in tofino, that he wouldve been excited to see his friends (though bit too sleepy).  the best thing, i think, is to live with the same enthusiasm for life, and to not to forget to smile or to laugh during the days to come, whenever he pops into our minds.

a loss would be terrible.
a headstart is bearable.
so no tears, but just lots of warmth for gabe.
he left much warmth for many people.

he fed the people with fire, and now he's cleansed by the pyre, starting ahead, just couple steps.  fiery kid, who loved much, laughed much and joked much, i will continue to live with that same mad enthusiasm.  and i hope you would.  and that you wont forget to send him a small laughter.

thanks all for making the time for him and attending this service,
fr. john who led the service,
fr. choi who helped with the arrangement for the cemetary,
mrs. roh for doing much work while i was bringing gabe from west,
and every single one of you, though i wont mention at this time individually,
the help and support of the choir and everyone,
i thank you sincerely.

after the service, the burial will take plae in holy cross cemetary at highway 7 and bayview section.  we will bury gabe's last bit of weight, and take all the heat for life with us.  then our family would like to welcome you to a lunch at the mandarin buffet located at 7660 woodbine ave., near 404/407.  please do come and say hello, especially to my granny.
love to you all and thank you,