I’ve felt lately that I complain too much,...

Forbidden Paradise – Deep Forest

I’ve felt lately that I complain too much, get tired too easily [I’m twenty four!], and the beginnings of stagnancy have crept into my perspective. The last of these is of course the most alarming, for I dread if my experiences ever give me a sense that I know the best way, and that others are wrong or misguided. “Why can’t they just do it this way?“, etc. As a youth I’ve seen that intractable look set in my parents’ eyes occasionally, a mantle of frustration on their shoulders, my grandmother even more so.

Having caught glimpses of a beauty in orthogonal thinking from a myriad of people with backgrounds so far from my own, I mentally reaffirm to myself that I know nothing, and no way is so much better that another. They are just divergent roads running out of sight from one another, each one starting at the core of the needs and wishes of all living things: to exist in peace and to be happy, without suffering.

This lives in the music I believe, and that is why so I consider electronica so much a voice for utopia. It is a baseline of thought formed with technology aiding in celebration, a love bringing people together from everywhere, the joy of the event a unifying glue. I am especially looking forward to visiting the some clubs and Buddhist temples of Thailand this week, a new style of the Way is exactly what I need.

When Thai express gratitude or a sentiment of respect to one another, they press the hands together across the chest and bow slightly, keeping eye contact with the other. That’s the kind of attitude I need more of. When you think about it, that’s exactly what the word means. Whichever way you’re pointing, that’s where you will go. Up? Or down?

I think the first time trance ever really affected me deeply was when I started listening to Tranceport on my Walkman as I’d go for runs in Redmond. That was probably the fittest I’ve ever been, though I feel I can get back there easily now that I have the means to cook for myself and live comfortably again. I’d race down to lake Sammamish, past the houses at the docks and up the sweeping parkways canopied by trees near Marymoor. The sun would have just set over the deciduous horizon, and a stitch would begin to form in my side after the first mile and a half. The sweat foaming on my brow, I’d find my weak mind wanting to rest. The long incline began to wear, but the music kept me going. Seventy four minutes of nonstop energy. I had no choice, whether it was “Words” or “The Gamemaster“, the beat put wind under my shoes, lifting me over the desire to stop.

My calves would burn, but I welcomed it. The pain reminded me I was alive, and I knew I was growing stronger. Hurting was a blessing; stabs of transformative joy, that is life, not another ten minutes in bed on the snooze bar. Sleep is a necessary evil to sustain health, not something to perfect and enjoy like model ship building. It’s hard to remember this some mornings, but when the mind is not awake there is no oxygen, and when there is no oxygen there is not a state from which rational judgements can be made. Such is the true necessity of breathing. Breathing and listening and feeling.

I can’t sleep, and trying to just makes me...

Badhead/The Debt Collector

So far
I’ve not really stayed in touch
Well, you knew as much
It’s no surprise
That today
I get up around two
From a lack of anything to do

I can’t sleep, and trying to just makes me feel worse. It seems like being able to rest on planes is like a college quarterback, some days it’s so natural, and others it’s just a mess and best left alone.

And I might as well just grin and bear it
Cuz it’s not worth the trouble of an argument

I keep hearing “chokedee” (good luck) flash across my mind as my eyes close. That Thai rap might have done more damage than good. :]

I wonder why old movies move so fast, like everyone was on speed: cars, flags, people motioning. Was it because everything was at a lower framerate or the camera recording was out of sync with the projector? I’m sure a visit to howthingswork (coincidentally the name of a sleeper physics class favorite of many UVa non-engineers) or a simple web search would provide the answer, but as a kid I believed that everyone was just in a real big hurry back then. Or robots.

So many moons, quiet in the Milky Way.
Sun sun…sun…sun…

Yes! Yes yes yes yes yes. Those gone little Thai girls are exactly what I’m talking about.

Lost in Translation started here last week. Mikiko and I tried to go see it but it was crazy sold out so the celebration was postponed. I know it’ll be worth more of my eighteen dollars than Appleseed, which was pretty much a let down and a waste except for the music (Paul Oakenfold/Boom Boom Satellites). Too bad, the trailer looked wicked. Problems:

too much talking *
very bad writing *
action went downhill after the first ten minutes *
climax/ending had no build up or meaning *

I think that it has a purpose, but not as a movie. I’d just hack up clips from it and put them in a music video, or a rave, or viz, or something. But not as a movie with a story and worth a hundred minutes.

What is your one purpose in life?
To explode of course.

I’m on my way to Bangkok (surprise!), though...

Clover Over Dover and me over the sea

I’m on my way to Bangkok (surprise!), though this won’t be up until after I’m back on my little island again. Of course, I’m listening to bittersweet Blur and feeling the requisite sigh and choke in my heart that comes with international travel (or maybe just no sleep the night before). Again I find myself with a single rucksack and a journal to sojourn with to yet another place I have pretty much no idea about, except what I’ve gotten from movies and music. So let’s get them all out on the table before I arrive and have it all torn down:

Tiger uppercut!

The King and I: getting to know you, shall we dance, kiss in a shadow, etc. *
One Night in Bangkok“….yeah *
Street Fighter: Sagat, tiger punch, giant Buddha on his side, and the Shadowloo crime syndicate *
all those wonderful mass-produced goods *
peanuts, peanuts, peanuts…bad! *

Ok, I suppose that’s about it. I spent a meager but intense few days preparing to not look one hundred percent the fool, so I skimmed some webpages for maps, sights, customs (e.g. no touching people’s heads in public or sitting with one’s feet pointed towards another). The pinnacle of my research was my “Thai rap”, an MP3 playlist of half-second long useful sayings, rhythmically placed in eight beat granules, over and over, for most of the afternoon Wednesday at work. The total sequence is about seven phrases in series for about forty-three seconds, and seeing as how I listened to it constantly for three hours, I suppose I heard “thank you” about seven thousand times. So of course now I can say perfectly (to my ear):

thank you *
yes/no *
I don’t want it *
it’s expensive *
it doesn’t matter *
how are you *
good day *

in addition to other choice things with less accuracy. Just for kicks, I got a simple Thai handbook to read on the plane. The kicker is it’s written for Japanese people, so I get double duty translating in my mind Japanese->English->Thai. Keen, huh? Fortunately this is all basic, simple stuff so it’s just slightly above my reading level, and the pictures help. Nutty.

Two quirky memories triggered by my flight: 1) A play we read in one of our English textbooks for fourth grade about food poisoning on a flight to Minnesota in bad weather. The pilots get sick and we had to figure out how to fix all the things that went wrong so people don’t die. It was like a decision-making/risk estimation kind of thing. One of those scenarios to test critical thinking in groups. I think we debated about it for an hour before we got to read the ending.

Definitely in the top five for Enhanced Graphics Array software.

2) The way clouds were drawn in the old EGA PC game Pirates!. My dad and I used to play a lot on Sunday mornings and I remember how the clouds looked like popcorn. I lent the paper map to Gary Cooper (kid in my neighborhood, not the actor) and he drew on it with pencil marking the locations of buried treasure, but later I realized they change every time you play the game so that was pretty much useless.

Japanese television is..happy; like ridiculous happy...

Japanese television

Japanese television is..happy; like ridiculous happy. Strange, as in public most people are quiet and reserved; straight faces, tight-lipped. But on the screen, virtually all commercials are fast-paced, and have some sort of cheery theme song. Also, nearly every person has a grin on their face that puts the best of forties and fifties US propaganda to shame. The TV programs themselves often contain a panel of celebrities and a show host, all commonly sitting at a long table, laughing together. Certain folks in the field may periodically report back from some tourist destination or restaurant. Food is a _very_ big deal here, everywhere you look there are closeups of noodles simmering, bean paste being stirred, or a team of brightly-dressed commentators oohing and aahing over a dessert plate. It’s insane how wired everyone is, like someone bottled all the electricity in Akiba and put it in oolong tea.

Every show has technicolored blocks of text popping up summarizing what’s going on or key words of dialog, occasionally with sound effects. Right now some guy in a tux and tortoise shell glasses is running around this woman’s house screaming about how she has maximized the space in her home via about three thousand space savers and homebrew rollaways. Wild. Very wild.

As a another crazy “go figure” note, I have counted three separate individuals drinking beer at the train station and airport, all between six and nine in the morning. I’m not sure if that’s really early or really late.

I had my camera temporarily confiscated upon entering...

Tiesto in the moment, afterthoughts

I had my camera temporarily confiscated upon entering the event last night (though most politely by a meek scrawny teenager), but of course I didn’t let that deter me from capturing a little more rave art. I kind of improvised on the seven hundred yen technology in my cell phone and got some pictures in between hammering out a few simple thoughts on the keypad. Unfortunately it seems that the phone is incapable of sending emails over 6k, which actually makes getting the full-resolution photos off the camera impossible, so I’ll have to look into getting a cradle or something. In the meantime, here are two smaller sections I cropped from larger images.

pound great destiny underneath pan pot stars. rangewave siren treble burn ballad. peak resonate cry. smoke and tile and black and pink. chorus and verse over drink tickets and love. drink tickets and love.

girls in big pants girls in small tops. lollipops. moving slowly. smiles. dampened. grinning boys shouting boys.

Watching people being happy brings me immense peace in itself. Hundreds of followers, young and old, not knowing each other by name, but by soul. Smiling, shaking hands, hugging, laughing. Just sitting calmly, nodding my head, one girl turned around to me and smiled. I grinned and she punched the air, beaming. Later, a man far my senior met eyes with me once, and laughing, leaned over to say simply in my ear, “It’s good.” Exactly! A statement so plaintive and pure, but probably the only way really describe the experience with justice. We did a double high-five and clasped arms, bliss in our eyes and sweat on our foreheads.

My favorite raver discovery of the night was another of Kerouac’s beat “buddhas”, a girl with pigtails and an underbite, moving slowly, remarkably slowly, as if there was no one else that existed in the world. Her eyes were closed and her arms unfolded like a new flower, gently stretching out to take in the warmth of the sun. Though completely undisturbed by the bouncing, cheering, crowd, it was apparent she felt it all, far deeper and more intently than one can normally hope for. She was always smiling, her mouth occasionally forming words to some silent mantra, like a potter does with clay. I found myself thinking of an outdoor party in a mountaintop in Yoshino two years ago, of another separated prophet slowly spinning for hours in rapture. Yes, it was just as the man said to me, “good”.

I’m on the subway, back to Kawasaki to pick...

Late night to sunrise

I’m on the subway, back to Kawasaki to pick up some grub and Mikiko, and then to Yokohama for a very special late night show with one of the “big three” patron saints of my aural salvation, DJ Tiesto. The opening show of this “Heineken Thirst” tour in Europe sold out in three hours. Fortunately Tokyo youth aren’t quite as hip en masse to the master of trance vibrations, so I was able to stumble across the website six weeks late and still mange (after half an hour of fighting with a Lawson vending machine) to get a pair of tickets to the grand affair at the Yokohama Bay Hall [which in retrospect is more aptly-named the Yokohama Fishing Closet for its size].

I ran a very quick mile and a half or so and took a little nap after some Vice City to juice myself for the evening’s celebration. Even though this jam sports a corporate sponsorship, I know Tiesto hasn’t sold out. It will be a rising surge of ear-drumming mania until the moment the lord of vinyl starts the Technics turning, and a provisioned throng of loose souls bend eastward in search of sunrise.

A hall of bells and wires run through my brain, a fibre network of outlets and junctions full of stardust and dreams and feelings both tangible and primary. Fight! Fight in the only theatre allowed: internal, for mastery of personal balance. Life is a pulsing stream pressed through a valve of control and freedom, acceptance and denial.

Cass & Slide – Perception
You can see forever
Look inside of your mind
Find a sense another wonder
Just release the fears you left behind

Feel your way through the darkness
Guide your soul into the light
Swim into the open water
Drift on the tides that you may find

Find your soul in the sunrise
Look around you can see it in their eyes
Be as one together
Rise up as the emptiness subsides

You can see forever
Rise up together
Search and you will find the answer
If you look deep inside of your mind

Fresh from the “The Grand Gathering”...

Leftovers, piety, and trips to The Castle

Fresh from the “The Grand Gathering” yesterday, my refridgerator has little in the way of free space. This of course causes the great pecking order of second-hand food to come into play, with the oldest (or least appealing) of organic refugees receiving papers for exile to the wastebin (or if they can generate a smell quickly, the purgatory of Freezer Bay Six). Today’s casuality of cooking is a failed attempt at arrabiata from last Saturday, doomed from the onset via the machinations of a less than honest produce vendor, and a less than intelligent cook. Since I was late to work Monday and had no time to part with my burnable waste at the time, the culinary death sentence has been delayed to Thursday.

This brings to mind the time-honored tradition of what I like to call “feeding the little animals”. Since leaving the Southern Living splendor of my mother’s domicile, I have been without the aid of the cooking mistake eraser, the garbage disposal. Of course trash doesn’t go out every night, so what do we do when a souffle’ is scorched or a fish phased out from the realm of edible (and identifiable) matter? Why we do Woodsy, Smokey, and Mr. Wizard all a good service by leveraging mother nature’s garbage disposal system: compost. Rotten bananas, fermented chili, and moldy pasta all have one thing in common– they all decompose into basic compounds at a (relatively) quick rate, leaving soil-enriching nutrients where once Betty Crocker’s nightmare died on the operating room table.

Now of course most of us live in big cities, and don’t have the luxury of a spacious, wooded backyard to house a 4-H quality filth internment center, so we make do with what we have; the closest several square feet of natural terrain via a front door or window. With the latter, the degree of risk and “splash zone” increase exponentially up to the fifth floor or so, whereupon the spaced required for the target area levels off as your “gifts to the earth” reach the terminal velocity of sludge. In this case, it may be more prudent to be selective of where you deposit your little presents. Behind hedges or under cars on blocks work well, especially if you live in an area with less than sympathetic neighbors. It should also be noted that this procedure is best carried out in the vicinity of three a.m., as such is the time when most of your target benefactees will be about panhandling for sustenance.

The faint of heart need not bow out, for there is great solace in the belief that there are many, many rodents and other quadripeds less fortunate than ourselves that may reap the benefits of our dining mishaps. Squirrels, rats, and some less discerning dogs love three week old sausage and furry minestrone with legs. In fact, some may go so far as to say it’s our duty as further evolved beings to chuck whatever biodegradable materials we don’t care for outdoors, as in a landfill it’s doing no one any good except bacteria, and we have enough of that as it is. If you still don’t believe the benefits of recycling via urban compost, ask any one of my converted followers.

Tangentially related (but perhaps inappropriate at the moment), I feel it necessary to pay homage to all those wonderful establishments which partake in similar practices, with only a slightly higher grade audience in mind. There are scores of hamburger joints, steakhouses, and other time-sensitive eateries that at the close of business, may be burdened with a vast array of perishable gems. By loitering around such vendors for a good half hour until closing, you may be fortunate enough to receive discounted wares as they have outlived their usefulness/sellability. This is of course a more dramatic step beyond the “daily special” bread and cookies grocery stores place in the first aisle of the market that you’re sure to pass on the way to the milk. Of particular note is the fine nutrional dining venue The Castle, from which many destitute students living in the Old Dorms of Virginia frequent for unwillingness to walk the extra quarter mile to the Treehouse. Many a time have I seen chubby sorority rushees and wrestlers come back bragging of how many slices of Castrol-lined pizza they received for the price of one.

So to the all the second-hand food saints of the world, God bless, and bone appetite.

That’s pronounced “Oh my good”,...

Oh My Gooooood!

That’s pronounced “Oh my good”, with extra extension on the “uh”. This is the new advertising campaign for my camp favorite of all Japanese beverages, Gokuri. For those not familiar with the wonder that is produced by Suntory, Gokuri is a pulpy grapefruit beverage which is quite refreshing and slightly sour. Of special note, it is the first Japanese “cuisine” I consumed when I came here. Mystified by the seemingly endless variety of non-soda products in vending machines (which seem to outnumber trees six to one), I first chose Gokuri for its excellent conveyance color combination (blue and orange), and the fact is supposedly contained grapefruit (my favorite of all fruits). I fell instantly in love with this slim, chilled, Asian beauty, and enjoyed at least one daily, usually at breakfast with Marie biscuits and yogurt for a solid three months at the lab. At the apex of my heavenly citrus relationship came Gokuri Man, a fellow in shiny blue spandex who would run about the country and rescue thirsty, dehydrated families from boring picnics with armfuls of Gokuri. More recently, there was a series of charming, doctored photographs of various small animals chugging the refreshing beverage.

Unfortunately, it seems that Suntory felt Gokuri needed a marketing push to elevate its status from a cult favorite. This has resulted in not only a distinctly less kisch (and more trendy) logo, but they felt the need to alter the flavor from the traditional pure yellow grapefruit, to the sweeter “pink grapefruit mix”. I suppose this is to appeal to that large swath of consumers that enjoy mocha and candy throat drops. As this shift of merchandising strikes down one of the few bellwethers for sour/bitter flavor loving individuals like myself, I did what any other fervent beverage fanatic would do and shot out of work and stormed every super market and convenience store within a half mile radius and bought every last remaining bottle of the old recipe. This was an interesting experiment in advertising/product placement synchronization, as the Gokuri website proports strongly that April twentieth is the date of change, and already every convenience store carried only the new bottles. It was only the last vestiges of legacy product scoured from the slower-to-be-hip grocery stores that I was able to muster. In the end, I managed two and a half cases, which are all marked good until about September. So, one last hurrah before the curtain falls. I’m sure I’ll hold onto at least one bottle unopened for several years out of prosperity, perhaps I could get Gokuri Man to sign it someday. But for now, I’ll enjoy a couple more slow mornings with an old friend and some biscuits n’ yogurt.

Like an army of willing clones, or raptor DNA samples.

To experience the fresh, new look of Gokuri, check out the commercials here and here.

There are moments where I feel a surge, or a ghost...

Flashes of Nara / Love Hina

There are moments where I feel a surge, or a ghost; instants where my consciousness is suffused with an overpowering rush of recollection, like an unexpected wave over a sand dollar drying in the sun. I lose all awareness of my previous train of thought, and I sense I am at a time before, as if my eyes just opened in a yellow, sunny room with an eternity of precedent. These possessions of the heart far exceed the common phenomenon that merely tugs at one or two of my senses, they envelop my cognitive mind so seamlessly I involuntarily draw a sharp breath from the cold shock. Apparition precedes willful retrospect, and I see it as a sign, a chemical message: that my soul is pining for an adjustment in the orientation of my perspective.

I dreamed of Nara the other day, the sun so bright through the curtains of my danchi. I was half-sitting up on my futon, and in an instant counted every blade of grass and ragweed that grew like a jungle along the tarmac sidewalks. Ten seat karaoke bars and the scuffing sound of tiles below my feet in Takanohara station. The small shopping town and all the worn, hundred yen coins I put into the UFO catcher to collect a string of character keychains. I bought Midnight Cowboy on VHS, and borrowed a VCR from work to watch Joe Buck on his own adventures in promiscuity and exploration of a culture so foreign and different from his small town conceptions. Tatami is a grace, and simply walking upon it causes my head to spin with piety… conveyor belt sushi bars, impossibly low doorways, following maps in cities with no clear numbering systems, hiking over a mountain sparsely populated by the elderly and wandering monks, those infinitely wiser in their soy and silk reverence than I may ever hope to attain through a lifetime of self-humiliation.

Wo, how have I come so far and what does my life mean now? Is it no longer an experience? Am I insulated? There are so many roads I wish to straddle, but my knees grow weak and I may fall on the urban turnpike with exits more than forty miles apart.

After finishing Trigun last week, I have decided to wait on starting a new title and revisit Love Hina. Though what many would write off as “basic otaku” fodder, I draw a deep meaning from the series. It was the first Japanese show I watched, fansubs obtained through broadband while in my first year at the ETC. Though admittedly the some of the visuals and gags pander to sex-starved male youth, the underlying meaning of the story and the intentions of the characters are simple, pure, and idealistic. Keitaro steadfastly wants to get into Tokyo University (the Harvard of Japan), for a better life and to keep a childhood promise made fifteen years ago. He fails again and again miserably, but despite the beating he takes from his clumsiness (and the other characters), he perseveres, looking to beat the odds and achieve a better life. Everyone is well-intentioned, though frequently not true to themselves, suppressing that which exists most naturally inside of them. Such is learning, such is life.

Aside from the thematic elements of the show, it has sentimental value for me, as it echoes and mirrors my own struggle against impossibility to get to Japan and into game development. It brings back so many starry-eyed observations and rose colored daydreams, writing the names of all those fanciful destinations over and over in my notebooks. Now here for nearly a year I consider myself lucky to be not jaded, not disappointed, and not feeling let down by a country and culture that seemed such an ivory tower in that issue of Wired that started it all. Quite the opposite, in fact… I am all the more emboldened to expand my passion and learn with innocence and no prejudice, to redouble my efforts into absorbing all I can of this beautiful world, and having it enhance the latent beauty inside.

Am I on Pause with Robert Miles’ Children

Live at Sydney, awash in sun falling memories, Charlottesville, then Pittsburgh. My room, the smell of late seventies carpet, nylon pile, polyester comforters…dust…

Round and round the loop bends, up an octave and down again. Shake and burn the journey haunts me, my face resting deep in those old, trampled fibres.

Time is an infinite place
But it may pause
The tide still falls
My time is an infinite space
Am I on pause
Or will I fall
In love again

Things and possessions and boxes and photos and water rings and towering Cerwin Vegas on either side of the dark walnut shelf I’d known for twenty years.

Why am I fighting a collapsing paper bag with glassy insides, forced to remember every crack in the parking lot at Grady? It’s as if I’m slowly moving downhill, slipping, grasping at bits and pieces of lovers’ keepsakes, statuettes’ arms breaking and plastic bead gravel sliding out from under my feet.

Who is romantic, what is this ideal? How can I not be a lost and weary dreamer? I’m hungry for all of the crumbs and drops that fell between the seat cushions, but what is this constantly pushing forward in smaller circles and only eating bread?

Where trance meets reality.

There are times when I slow down for a second and...

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

There are times when I slow down for a second and finally take people’s advice and it pays off like a whole bouquet of mom and pop hardware stores and side street laundromats. Junior year in undergrad, I was fortunate enough to discover American Beauty, Life is Beautiful, and Enter the Dragon, all within two weeks of each other. The past couple months have been rough with work and running back and forth across the international date line, but I’ve been lucky to find The Last Samurai, Lost in Translation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I saw this film (as opposed to movie) a couple weeks ago when I was in San Francisco and it’s bothered me not taking the time to write about it ever since.

Movies left of center are usually the best ones in my opinion, because they are able to unlatch themselves from any preconceptions or mainstream expectations. Though not all blockbusters are bad (see: Spider-Man), the odds of finding a film that affects you in some minute, transformative way increase linearly as cookbook elements are removed from the storyline and/or cinematography.

This isn’t a review, and I’m not a critic. But for those that are slow to pick up good pieces of art out of ignorance (like myself), I recommend the film. It’s good and it may very well make you smile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The footnote of this entry is that so many of the sweet things in life I’ve had the opporunity to experience have come under recommendation from Michelle, so eternal thanks to you!!

Standing up straight and not knowing about being...

Standing up straight and not knowing about being old

I suppose normally I have really bad posture. I mean I slouch and hunch my shoulders. If you’ve ever seen me, the way I present myself must give you awful conceptions about the kind of person I am. My mom used to get on me a lot about it. I like to think it’s because I’m so tall, and I don’t want to look down to see people, so they don’t think I’m a snob; but that’s a really lame excuse.

I thought about it today consciously, then I looked up at the sky and realized how big the world is, and then why should I crawl along the surface when I have all this space to fill above? That’s generally the idea in Japan. There’s not enough space horizontally, so you compensate by building upwards.

I seem to be more wiry and limber this week, I’m not sure why. Each day’s taiso has been a pleasure, not a chore. And my neck isn’t as stiff. Mikiko says it’s because I’m wearing clean pants, though I’m dubious as to how much that really matters. I didn’t do laundry for a month because of moving, travelling, and not having a washing machine. Though I’m not one to wash jeans anyway really, because this girl in college, Becca Missal (who wore the same ones for three whole _months_), said they were more comfortable that way. … It’s weird, I’m only twenty four and already it seems like thirty percent of everything I do is because someone I used to be close to did it. I guess I’m really anxious to integrate and evolve myself into people I admire. So now I HAVE TO wash between my toes everytime I take a shower, and I used to never do it at all.

I saw a lady that reminded me of my grandma this morning. She was wearing a yellow rain slicker and directing kids across the street. I can imagine my grandma doing the same thing, maybe I should suggest it to her.

crossing guard in a yellow hat, showing the kids the way to school…

I actually feel kinda bad about the whole grandma situation. She lives alone with her dog (who’s getting up in years), and she’s probably kinda bored and lonely. I wonder if anyone imagines that when they’re young. “When I retire, I’m going to live by myself and kinda just do not much of anything.” If I ended up with an empty house and no job I’d find some old friends to move in with and start a band, or form an art consortium, or _something_. That’s probably a really irreverent thing to say, and indicative that I have absolutely no idea what it’s like. I mean, I want to live with her a lot. I want to take her up on all those offers of rent-free, home-cooked paradise, but I can’t. As much as I want to keep her company, tell jokes, try to explain what I do, the things I think about…but it’s like she was young and she lived her life as she saw fit. And not it’s my turn, to live my life the same way. But that’s a very American thought, as some would say, and selfish.

Another way of looking at it is that your parents and grandparents took care of you when you were young, so in thanks and respect, you later take care of them in return. So everyone’s always caring for someone, except when you’re a kid and unable to. It seems like this cycle leaves a lot of people unhappy, because if it’s always for someone else, no one really ever gets what they want. Unless that’s all people want is to care for someone else. It’s two ways of thinking. I know my mom would say that what she wants is for me to be safe, healthy and happy. And to the things I want to do. But that sounds like baby-boomer talk, if you believe all those sociology books about each generation having certain circumstances and that affecting how they are as parents and in turn how their kids decide to act as parents.

Anyway, I wish I could make my grandma happy, but I know I can’t live in Virginia. At least not now. I gotta keep running down this crazy red and green path that shot off from where everyone else went, I-95 or 101.

Watch and tick and tock and I’m awake in a...

The bass and the reverb and the organic swing

...listen closely...

Watch and tick and tock and I’m awake in a world where the window’s left open. Cherry blossoms are blowing and petals brush my soft cheek, how many times have I walked in the door and smelled an old room again for the first time?

Carol, consort, coffee and detergent, I’m walking with my head held high, meandering slowly after my heart on a string, above and ahead of me like a latex balloon. It tugs and bobs, and it bounces into other people’s, making small hollow thumping sounds before making a humble dip.

Awake! Alive! Breathe the air and kiss the tin rooves. The body is a choral hall, vibrating and echoing with the pitch fork inside. Trapped, not so, in an office, my mind is somewhere else, and the is flower dancing and swings with a crisp breeze of sunlight.