i cant exactly remember what was going on, but i tried to collect and remember as many things as possible, as it left me feeling a bit sorrowful.
i was driving somewhere in a car, with my dad. we were at the intersection near my parents' house and somehow, while making a left turn, we got T-ed by a passing red car. so we all got out of the car and started to pour out individual frustration- for some reason, we were on way home and we were late for something, mom was supposedly waiting for us. then a bizarre thing: a spot light came up from nowheres, i initially thought it mustve be the police light, as we were blocking a huge intersection of 3 lanes each ( ! ) but boy, i was wrong.
that light was supposedly from a ufo. yep. this is the point i shouldve realized that im in a silly dream and that it will really have nothing to do with anything else really (often one could tell that they are in a silly dream, no?) but in this case, it made all sense, actually i wasnt even sure how it happened really, but i assume that the light was from a ufo, as we were instantaneously transferred to another physical location, what looked like an airport lounge. boring sofas and florescent lights and such.
and then all the sudden, the dudes who were on the other car just started to take their jackets off- not only the cloth, but of what appear to be a make-up faces! (i love how one's unconscious can be so creative while hitting every cliche there is)
alien 1: well, at least this time, the stop was short
alien 2: i know, it really was getting a bit tedious-
monkey: excuse me, what is really going on?
alien 1: urr you are a local, what are you doing here?
monkey: you tell me- you made a crap turn on red then-
alien 2: dont worry about it, it's all fine.
monkey: what's all fine?
alien 2: the captain says that this is the last time we'll be stopping here for a bit
monkey: stopping where?
alien 1: see, earth always has been a money-losing stop in the cruise-
monkey: a cruise? what the-
alien 1: yeah, weve been doing this ship work for a while-
alien 2: and earth is always problematic, especially-
monkey: wait, okay, so you guys were just stopping by and-
alien 1: yeah, we were trying to get to the pick-up point then-
monkey: ah well, okay but you see, we need to get back-
alien 2: well, urr i dont think that'll happen,
alien 1: captain was saying that we wont be back to earth for at least 20 years
alien 2: and we would hardly miss it really,
monkey: but you dont understand, my mom is waiting for me?
alien 1: well, seriously, there's not much we can tell you.
dad: - shit. fine. screw it then. (flops on next couch, flabbergasted)
monkey: i dont think you understand,
I NEED TO GO BACK
MY MOTHERS WAITING FOR ME
SHE ALREADY LOST A SON LAST YEAR
I HAVE TO GO BACK
PLEASE ANYTHING I WILL DO ANYTHING
i buckled down to my knees and start to bawl.
then i woke. only to be completely lost- and tasting the salt of my own tears. what a confusion. minnow was holding me, gently soothing: everything's alright, what happened?
i have no idea. perhaps a dream is just a dream.
ive been busy tagging along with minnow to various things- bbc concerts, new dr dee tech rehearsal for manchester international festival (minnow is leading the pit orch, which is pretty awesome) which opens soon, and the latest, series of six concerts of threads orchestra (jazz fusion band minnow plays with; they do some wicked music, check them out, im not saying it just because he's involved in it, serious). in fact, we were staying over in the little town of burnsall, as part of yorkshire tour.
whenever i see a roadside monument, i think of my little wee brother. it's a habit- i dont think it's necessarily bad, but the fact i cant help it kind of bothers me.
helping the band out with surveys and cd sales, striking the sets and etc., has been alright but i did start to feel a bit weird- as if their tour started to accentuate the fact that i am a musician who IS NOT playing at the moment, which makes me take a second look at my own identity: if im a musician and i am not playing, what does that make me? anyways... on that, i will be back to practice shortly i think (yay), with renewed self interest, which is a necessity.
i didnt get a chance to call them on sunday, ive been trying to call twice a week but with tagging along, often i miss the time to make the calls (thanks, time zone difference), and i was starting to feel a tad bit guilty for not calling. of course, i could easily say: they can also call, buggers.
the truth is that they would have, if they could, i believe. me doing the things that they cannot comprehend makes it impossible for them to reach out to me actively- but at least we are on open communication now, especially after loss of gabe. if it is excruciatingly difficult for them to call me, then of course, i should call.
and perhaps that's where it all added up. aliens- well, i suppose there HAS TO BE some element of comical surprise in a random dream. heh. what's even funnier is that on that airport lounge-ish place, there were other 'cruise' workers passing by, and some of them were actually my friends who have worked for cruise lines (they even waved! how silly)
with the salty awakening, i felt a bit empty. i miss mom. mom must miss me. family is a difficult but a very real thing. important aspect of one's life. i always wonder if there's better way to speak to my parents, especially mom, who is a major softie- only if i was a bit softer, things could be easier. and i am making my best efforts. and there it was, in middle of this silly mental fiasco, a simply whacked dream:
i will always return.
i am a daughter. i belong to a family.
i do love-
alive, a bit far, little difficult, but nevertheless,
warm and connected,
gone, always close to my heart,
no longer conflicted yet a hollow point in my heart,
i love you.
in the days of 4G networks and smart phones, communication is becoming cheaper by the seconds i feel. i am still holding onto my old school motolora phone; there are times when i am super tempted to upgrade to the fancy android phones, but somehow i have managed to avoid such splurge YET. i try to do most of my communication through email- thanks to god, email format still seem to cling onto some old practices as proper addresses and closing/signatures and stuff, unlike the shorten txt gibs. but you see, you need to be on the network (hit he panic button) and it does seem rather convenient to be able to check one's inbox couple times in an hour ( ! ) - during the peak season, i did lose couple gigs as people have replied with lightening speed (through phones, of course) and i thought over and over about conversion. but suppose im still 'considering.' how unfashionable of me!
so why such cling to old conventions? well i do love snail mail. once in awhile, i will get something in the post- letters, postcards, even small pkgs ( ! ) and boy, it feels so much nicer than another email. i still like to go to post office and send off one-liner post cards and such. often i even take the risk by hand-writing my letters. and i am somewhat irked about the cheapness of the fast communication. things like twitter makes no sense to me, as it is directed to all people, hence no one in particular, and unless you have been aware of the previous chains (and keep up with later chains), it hardly makes any sense at all, which means people are often trapped in this texting loop. help!
and also because i have a one recent (well, if you can call it that) memory, which i will never get to make it up for. last year, when my wee bro was travelling, he was keeping taps with me through emails, as he knows how allergic i can be with phones. i usually turn my phone off once it starts to ring. but one evening, shortly before his crash, i was on skype and the phone rang. i glanced to look at the number: gabe. i casually thought: no probs, i will call him back. and he texted right after: will be in touch tomorrow.
there was no tomorrow for that text.
often i see younger kids who takes their raw thoughts with gusto of whim and confidence, sending them out at lightening speed without thinking of the consequences. especially when one is angry. beside, i think we are all aware of 'drunk' text/calling... and we all think there'll time to make it up. with pride, often one goes on, pretending and assuming that things are always going to be okay. except it may not be.
since gabe's last text, i always jerk to check my phone when it rings/vibrates. i may not pick up the phone, but i will always check as soon as i can. i never got to call my wee bro back. and whenever i see people throwing their thoughts in the cheapest way possible, a small corner of my heart rings in loss-
wee bro, im sorry i didnt pick it up.
ah, how i wish i have given my thoughts the right prices for them.
it's a bizarre phenomenon for me. unlike all other allergic reactions i had in the past (the worst one being the one i had when i was 15 years old, probably ate something silly, which lead to poisoning; i took the subway to downtown to see the family doctor, in high collared shirts and hat, because my body was literally full of angry red welts. this resulted to gracious slap on the ass with a steroid shot, which sent everything away in flat fifteen minutes. it was awesome. truly a miracle), this particular one waited for a bit- a good three-four days, till it literally erupted.
a quick search have led to numerous discussions on sun sensitivity and sunscreen allergies. in order to avoid a small sun sensitivity, i ended up getting back a whole a lot of trouble; back in korea, they have a saying close to: try to give a pint, instead ends up receiving a quart. and this is too true at the moment. ha.
my sun sensitivity isnt too bad, actually. it only happens on my neck/shoulder/face, where after a while in the sun, 'prickly heat' appears- but sun does not seem to bother any other areas- ex. legs, arms, torso. but because it can be a quite a nuisance, i have decided to invest in a sunscreen product for the summer. since i have had problems with the generic sunscreens (breakouts and irritation being common reaction), i decided to go to an expensive specialty shop (ie. sephora) and seek advice from the ladies. i explained that i do have a sensitive skin (though how sensitive, i dont really know, as i tend to avoid putting stuff on skin as much as i can), that i want a sunscreen product that will cover upper torso and may be the face. and they recommended this clinique product.
sun is a rare thing in england, even in june. so when the sun was out last wk, i took a slap of the sunscreen and went out and we all had grand time. no major problems that day. then on the day we shipped PO off and had minnow progeny no. 2 for a dinner, i started to notice unhappy skin. then later in that evening, it start to feel itchy, like wildfire sparks on my face. next morning was a quite a rude awakening-
my face and shoulder were covered with this tiny blister-like urticaria, med peeps refer to it as papules. and this skin cells begin to produce generous amo. of histamines. it's a bit late, dont you think? i mean- after four days? really? anyways. i wondered if it's sun allergy- but no, further reading would lead to the case of photosensitive eruption. it is created when an individual had applied sunscreen products which may contain irritants; the irritants must be on the skin and upon exposure to the sun, then it turns into the proper basket case.
what to do? well, there isnt much to do. take some oral anti-histamines, apply topical cortisone creams. only if my lips/throat begin to swell, go see a physicians (which at this point, they will give you those wonderful shots of steroids to make everything go away, i believe. or i can be dreaming as well). but till then, just keep quiet and ride it out. dont scratch as it may break skin.
then it reminded me of this particular facial cream i bought- with spf 15 factor. could they be sharing ingredients? i remember putting it on my face and i ended up having small bumps on my pores, as if i had blocked pores/acnes. it kind of burned and stung a bit, so i gave it away. so i went up to the bathroom to take a quick look at the both jars/tubes. voila. it seems that both octocrylene (a fairly new compound used in high SPF factor cosmetics, less than ten years) and benzophenon compounds are the link between two different products (a daily calming cream for sensitive skin, ironically, and sunscreen with trademarked solar smart compounds) and the irritation/urticaria case.
apparently it is only a small percentage of the population which experiences delayed photosensitivity. lucky me. but i thought it may be of some use for others to hear about this sunscreen allergic reaction, as it is quite surprising and most unpleasant to endure.
with such angry skin, i dare not to step out of the door, which is quite surprising to myself. i always thought that i would be alright with disfigurement and that i would be able to rely on my 'personal strength' to overcome, but on fourth day of close-to-insanity thanks to irritated skin and countless reapplication of topical cortisone cream and ice packs, im starting to doubt this; for instance, i thought of heading out to get some air, then folded the idea when i looked self on the mirror: dotty bumpy red-blotchy face!!
and with another dose of benadryl, im slowly sinking back to sleep.
may be when i wake, i will be clear again. damn you delayed photoallergic eruption. painfully itchy, dotty, temporarily-ugly-monkey sends world her love. but no, i wont come out till this is done with.
this wee monkey had her shoulders out in the sun
with its little hound teeth
the sun left itty marks on pale monkey skin
which have not seen the sun,
working in the depth of indoors at the ivory tower.
small odd heat bumps
carrying the anger in size of sesami seeds
looking like a constellation chart
the monkey remembered the advise of experts:
put your sunscreen on,
before the sun eats you up!
pondering at the aisle of magic potions
of all colours shapes and of course, prices,
she read the lables:
sunsmart, oil-free, perfume-free,
lost in fancy words, she picked one
and exited the shop with people cheering after her:
'you will be beautiful! you are being careful!'
all she wanted was to not be bitten
with itty hound teeth of summer sun rays.
the fact that the magic potion costed her a handsome sum,
everyone chirped about the 'high quality' of the product.
it's not a drug-mart quality, they beamed.
a blob on her finger, she did her
neck, shoulder, face, and yes,
behind the ears.
alas, this was the golden days of the old,
when she was hopeful and still smooth.
nowdays, they talk of her,
behind the pharmacy desk:
there's nothing we can do,
no steroids cream for you, as it's on your face.
take your 10mg loratadine and chill out.
it'll be gone when it's gone.
spotty and bumpy monkey now sits in the house
with wine bottles against her itchy neck
a pinot grigio, a dry white,
bringer of short-lived relief on her blotchy skin.
sun-sensitivity it began.
sunscreen-allergy she found,
all along the little curves of her neck and shoulders,
the chin line and yes,
behind her ears.
itchy blotchy days of
ill-made match of organic chemicals!
*you can send your sympathy in forms of chocolates and other tasty forms to the green hills of chinley, where a frazzled minnow looks after bumpy monkey, wincing and moaning. yet, she seldom scratches. it IS making some sort of strange saint out of this one.
i remember feeling a bit confused in high school as i was not part of their music curriculum. at that break where the preteens were taken into the band room and were asked to select an instrument, i was in my english-as-second-language class. by the time i have learned english, i have missed the boat totally to join music classes. our high school music teachers refused to let me in and i used to look at the kids going to band practice with bit of envy. i didnt like brass instruments and i still dont. but i remember thinking it couldve been nice to see how it all wouldve pan out.
i went to university to study music only after i have stopped playing for awhile and i never thought i would make it as a player. i auditioned as music education major and as my friends did their third and fourth year undergraduate recitals, i felt a bit envious. in fact, if my old teacher did not encourage me to attend my very fist music camp/festival at a young age of 21, i probably have stayed in the city to do teacher's college. then what? i have no clue.
it was all bizarre, this music camp stuff. kiddies came with their stuff prepared; i remember asking a boy how long he has been working on a particular piece- he said: over a year. i thought, what? really? you are only fourteen or so! the idea that they have been in music camps since they were children and that they had parents and family/friends who were musical were inconceivable for me. i realized that there were kids whose lives were saturated from music and that whatever they do, they would always be supported. in contrast, my parents were a bit shocked and displeased when i decided to ditch med school for a sketchy career choice (or lack thereof) of music. thank the lord, they thought, at least i wasnt into pop or jazz music. at least you can be a school teacher when you get out of music college.
after that bizarre summer, i went and played in an international masterclass, all the way in orlando, florida with big name faculties. it was such a surprise to everyone when they ask what im studying in school and i would answer: elementary music education. at least they didnt know that i failed the entrance theory exam for undergrad program as i couldnt even really understand the questions- i have never taken music theory at that point, age 19. luckily i was appreciated for where i was and left the conference with invitation to come and study in cologne, germany (which i didnt take on, as i couldnt bear to struggle through another language, after learning english and french simultaneously when i moved to canada).
it was a fortunate thing that i left yyz to go study in the states, specifically in kansas. my advisers knew very little of my past and based on what they saw, they continued to push and nurture me. it was a heck of a learning curve from taking remedial basic theory course to tackle 900 courses straight on from the first semester of master's prog* i never read so much and learned much. i was the youngest and clearly the imbecile of the class at the beginning. haha. it does make me snicker a bit as my colleagues mustve wondered where i came from-
*in north america, the first digit usually describes the difficulty level: 1st year courses would be in 100s, 2nd year in 200s etc., master's will start from 500s-600s, and 800s-900s being reserved for doctoral courses, usually in seminar formats.
i suppose i caught up with the crowd and by the time i finished my phd, things were at an even ground. at this point, i do like to think that im capable and able to research and learn, that i am apt and i do like what i do.
however, whenever i see the young kids who came from musical families and the likes (including habitual musical families and kids who were encouraged/begged to stay in music and play etc), it does make me wonder: who would i be if i had that particular sorts of supports? minnow was studying bartok and berg at chets at age 18. at age 19, i wasnt even capable of understanding one of the most basic question: complete this melody harmonization in SATB, from tonic to dominant, back to tonic. while the kids became veteran of creme de creme festivals such as banff, tanglewood and interlochen, i was busy working making pocket money for concerts tickets and such. often people speak longingly about their childhood grand pianos (still at home) or first 'real' instruments, i wonder what it must be like to have an instrument of one's own ( i do not have one).
listening to a musical discussion between two generations this evening, it makes me wonder: where am i and where would i have been? would life been different if my parents simply agreed to let me audition at a specialty middle school? what if i grew up in a house where i was supported and i had my own grand piano? if my progress from my twenties was jump started a bit earlier, would i be in a different place?
quite rare but i feel envious of such things, once in awhile. i try not to be bitter- as even the most supported kids never had a guarantee that they would succeed in field of arts in general. and no, it's not my parents' obligation to meet every wish of mine. they certainly gave me plenty- a good balance of wish list and a vigilant recommendation list. who knows? i couldve been a burn-out. mostly, it's amusing to think- a small monkey whose life did not revolve around music at all, had no clue that she would be working in music at all- playing, recording, producing, teaching, house managing, you name it. the road not taken, then road that was built. the roads found once youve given up. the roads we traveled while being unaware. interesting lives we weave.
but i should have thought of it from mom's perspective- after losing gabe, i bet she's a bit more attached to the other two kiddies that she conceived, gave birth to and still continues to eat her love, if a bit messily (insert lots of cut-eyes and unpleasant phone exchanges). and yes, that's what it was- she wanted to do something for monkey. she wasnt saying 'you shouldve stayed' to make me sad, but really because she wanted me to stay. oops sorry mom. i do love you. I LOVE YOU! anyways.
this year, i had a proper birthday party. minnow called up on chinley friends. and PO, my best mate, who i dragged to england as a forced holiday ('and no, you cannot install any audio-related program on your laptop! you are going on a damned holiday!'), also was born on beginning of june. so two birthdays were celebrated in this old pub, in the back room. sound dodge? well, yes, it couldve been.
it is a proper 16th century pub with a great beer selection. and food is good. not as good as the company though. my/PO's b day cake was baked by the daughter of cello chair no. 3 and english horn lady of the phil, a nine-and-half-sassy-lady, who showed up in her 'grease' costume dress. the table was full of odd combinations of things: firelady, both principle double reeds, violist who really is an accordionist at heart, a romantic cello boy, minnow's longtime section friend, appropriate off-spring and lovely accompanying family member(s). and yep. i had a beer ( ! ) and a glass of red ( ! ) and a huge piece of cow meat ( ! )
why such a decadence? from usually-hard-nosed-austere monkey?
because a birthday is not really just for me. i finally found this revelation. as death day (or funeral day) wont be really for me either. i used to think birthday are stupid- as far as logics go, a day of a year had to be a birthday. the odd of it being 'today,' which would be 1: 365, is actually quite a good odd (if my odds are this good consistently, i would gamble) therefore people who demanded 'bday treatment' were deemed as 'morons.'
and yes, they will still be *morons.
*please dont be offended about the term: moron. it still is a psychological term at its heart, describing a person with mental age between 8-12. in fact:
idiot (IQ 0-25) < imbecile (IQ 26-60) < moron (IQ 51-70)
however, it would also be a moronic thing to tell one's loved ones to stop all expressions of love for oneself. a birthday party belongs to a group of people, not a person. in that case, who am i to say: cease the festivity? let me be loved by my peeps. and a glass of red and a nice former derbyshire bovine being is hard to resiste. especially in a 16th century pub and paid by others.
so i had a grand time. they all had a good time. though i am sure that the sum of everyone's enjoyment is a lot larger than its parts. one can have a good dinner any day. especially if one starves. but it's not about food. not about being in a pub. not about having friends. nor about not dying- yet. it is the sum of all things that leads to that random focal point. i couldve celebrated the a gold mean date based on my birthday within the year. but really, that's too much math. so why not pick a date that is agreeable, easy to remember (so they say) and meets the initial requirement of being one of the 365 days within the year?
well, so we did. did i tell you that it's also mataharis' birthday? yep. crazy gemini dates.
it was nice to experience shared love from people's lives that overlaps with mine. it was an occasion to express gratitudes and be gracious to one another. birthday it was, and it belongs to everyone around me. and i am lucky to have such great people in my life. so a small thanks everyone! i shall try not to die soon nor painfully. good wishes for all!
anyways, at the ripe age of 31, i suppose i do have an idea of how things roll in this world and i did mark it down on my calendar as 'whacked out gig,' except it turned out to be one of the biggest fiasco i ever got involved with. its unique angle was daunting enough that i dared to ask my friends to attend, especially at 22 a head. so goes email no. 1:
...well for college kids/young professionals who are responsible for their own finances in the city (ie. no mom/dad), i think 22 is a bit stiff especially when it has been specified that tickets are non-transferable.
for instance, most shows at lee's palace/dakota tavern/drake hotel/gladstone hotel/c'est what/sneaky dee's/rex hotel/el mocambo/horseshoe are either PWYC or under 20. or in case of emmet ray and many other spaces, lot of them are free. looking at the prices of these places, i cant justify asking them to pay 22 dollars for a show.
though you are making this into more of a multidimensional event, i suppose. and you are the organizer, not i.
i understand the cost of running things however i think that such event should have accessibility as a priority and though it is nice to hang around with apps and stuff, i think perhaps lower entrance fee with optional food tickets could have been appropriate.thanks for reply. good luck with prep,
let's just say she simply said: my friends wouldnt pay 22 to see you?
no! i hope not! if so, they need to pay me 22 dollars to whack them on the head! are you nuts!?
wait. you are? you are! aha! eureka!
we all got paid about 60 a person for the quartet (and that's when our lovely cellist got squat! we owe her huge) in an event that charged advance 22/door 30 bucks to attend. well, the ticket sales added up to $1160 apparently, which was a quite a feat i think, though this venue apparently costs half a thousand for the day! was it amazing? well, what we had to do was amazing (look at the picture above). i was quite amused that they never realized that there's a thing called music rack on a piano. well, when shaman first wrote about the piano, she did say:
Also, Monkey needs a piano right? there is an upright at the loft but it might not be tuned to her standards.Monkey, you can call (loft owner), all the details are on the website too.well. hahaha. gosh. now, thats- eeer, new, i never had to request music rack as a tech requirement for a piano. but yes, they are proud that it is a very professional music venue with... acoustic piano. mind you, we did find a bench of a sort after... an hour. anyways, i understand there are sketchy venues. it's not a new thing. i suppose ive been lucky to dodge certain kinds of gigs. ha.
and then there was the math part: without a disclaimer that the bands were paid based on times they played for the audience, a loose figure was given initially. then based on good old nepotism principle, she kindly wrote:
For (tango band) and (friend's band), I did a mathematical breakdown relative to length of performance.and i started to laugh. anyone who does math like that for payment clearly doesnt know anything about how to run an event. now all was clear. this was a gong show in a fancy house! it's a funny thing, shaman thought she was trying to 'change the way people look at arts' but man, what she did for me was to 'change the way people get paid.' for all timed gigs i have done, it's always pre-stated. if not, one is paid for the presence, meaning in multiple acts, the fees are given in somewhat of a fair-manner. and hence it was never mentioned, it was quite a surprise. i mean- we would have put on 3 hours set if we knew playing more would mean more money! haha. we simply thought she would know what she was up to. oops. bad me. how silly of me to assume people to understand things they never thought of.
act 2 - performed 50minutes = $180 (27% of 660)
act 3 - performed 110 minutes = $400 (60% of 660)
I hope you find this fair and reasonable. I am so proud of all of you and thank you for sharing your amazing gifts and love with me and everyone there. You were fantastic.
so after a bit of thoughts, i thought it was only fair to let her know how phantasmal the event was. certainly one of a kinds i say. so here it is. and i really think it'll make her a bit happy to know that she did organize a party based on our amazing gifts. three highly trained classical musicians (royal college, london; new england conservatory; me with doctor thing) are amazing when they play together, especially when we have a good friend, wee young one with us! but man, the most amazing thing was the this phantasmal impresario shaman lady. the world never cease to amaze me. so we may as well enjoy every bit of the unexpected!
dear phatasmal shaman impresario lady,
it was the most amusing event that i ever have taken part of, and koodos for arranging such a house party.
it is a shame that it did cost half a grand to throw a house party, because only in non-pro venues would have fail to provide the basic requirements, as illustrated in lack of contract/ insufficient tech support (i was quite surprised that your venue person never have heard of piano rack on a piano) and the payment math.
it is fine to carry on one's plans; however, do not make a grave mistake of taking yourself seriously as a professional organizer. and if what you have wrote to me have anything to do with how one sees arts (about ticket prices), based on your capacity during this occasion, i see the arts-create joy event relation as not a failure but a complete non-match.
i understand that you may not understand the finesse and dedication of serious musicians as you many not have seen: ex. banff centre, international festivals, universities, proper venues such as SXSW.
it's all alright, there are time and place for every kinds of events. but please do regard that for you, it would be crucial to integrate the appropriate quality of performers for such events.
i was happy to donate my time to a block party, as i am quite happy to play with such musicians but i hope you arent making a mistake of seeing this event as a professional event, as it would be a gross miscast and it may come to a personal embarrassment at some unfortunate future instances.