Friday, January 30, 2009

I want to be this cool.

All I can say is if I make it to 80 I want to annoy all the neighbors in my home with Nick Cave, Tori Amos, and Nirvana. Cause that would just be so cool.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yeah, I got Kicked Off...

Sunday was a wholly different beast after the pummeling I had done to myself the day before with the wandering too and fro. I woke up around seven a.m. and after ten minutes of debating with my headache, backache, and ankle ache, I decided I wasn't going for day two. Then I woke up again at eight and decided I was going. Then I woke at eight-thirty and decided I wasn't. Then I got out of bed at nine, soaked in the tub for about twenty minutes and decided I was going and got ready to go.

I thought about walking but after two minutes of walking I realized that was a bad idea. It was ten-forty and I figured I could get breakfast in one of the myriad restaurants on the wharf. Alas what I discovered when I went to the wharf was that most of the restaurants did not start serving until noon. After walking around for about five minutes trying to find a place I finally gave up and walked back to the one cafe that seemed to have people sitting in it. The very nice waitress happily came by to ask me what I wanted to drink.

"Coffee, lots of it, hot, and in big amounts."

"What kind of coffee?" God I hate the Starbucks era. Obviously as much as I just wanted a bottomless cup of coffee I was still not in Chicago.

"Coffee coffee."

"Would you like a long black, a tall short, a full white, a half dark..." She continues with various selections and I'm completely flummoxed about what any of these mean or if they are related to coffee. Finally I stopped her and asked if they had espresso.

"Sure, you what a long pull, a short pull, a shot, or a double."

"Uh, huh. Can I get a double shot and a glass of water?" She cheerily brings me these things and sit grumpily with my swelling ankle and try to pretend I'm happy tourist which is not working out so well. I drink about two thirds of the coffee then dump in the double shot making what amounts to a cold cup of coffee which I then quickly destroy.

I order a second round of coffee and then work my way down to the lineup for the ferry boat. I'd missed my original boat time but since there were only about fifteen people at the wharf they put me on the boat without any trouble. I sat towards the front to enjoy the view and the breeze and the sun. Several people walked past but then one turned around and walked back to sit next to me. This turned out to be J who was coming not to see Nick but to see the Laughing Clowns and the Saints. We chatted each other up on the twenty minute ride out and parted ways on the island figuring that we might run into each other again at the Clowns since that was on my Sunday list.

Once on the island I took in Beaches which was lovely, sitting on the lawn with all the people, watching the skin head punks dance around to the music. The sun was shining bright and I dug through my bag looking for the sunscreen and discovered to my dismay that I did not have it. I figured I had put some on in the a.m. so I should be okay and would just have to keep an eye on it. I walked back over to take in Dead Meadow and was suddenly stopped when I heard my name. I turned around to discovered J hanging out in the shade. Since I knew who I was there to listen to and he did not he joined me for the Dead Meadow show which was just amazing. The sweet sixties reverb sound blended with grunge sensibility just worked so well.

The rest of the day J and I spent hanging out, meeting new people as the day was more relaxed and people seemed more inclined to talk to each other than on Saturday. In the end the sun got to be too much and I ended up moving towards the shade in the back by the bar. Alas I did not move before I ended up with pretty nasty sunburn on my nose and my hair part. Poor J fared worse being a pale red head with no sunscreen he looked to be glow in the dark red before the sun was ready to go down.

Since it was still a while til the Saints J joined in and we spent the rest of the afternoon taking turns buying each other drinks and watching the bags. It was nice and mellow. When the Saints started up I watched the bags so J could rush the stage as I was more than happy to sit away from the sun and just listen. Nick was after the Saints so I moved the bags over to to a nice square bench where eventually J managed to find me after only momentarily worrying that I had run off with all the stuff.

As the night fell down around us Nick came on. The audience was less crowded and still swaying beautifully. The sound was exquisite. In the bay the boats bobbed up and down, freeloaders coming out to enjoy the show. I laid about on the bench as the sun set and watched the stars come out on the moonless night with the sounds of Nick drifting gently on the breeze. Eventually I'd had enough wine to stop feeling how badly my ankle hurt and I got up to dance and sway and sing along to the music as it played until it was finally finished.

Since we were still hanging J was curious about the Fuck Buttons after who much I had talked them up, so we wandered over together for the show. The music was glittering and beautiful and only about forty or so people were out to watch. So we all danced together, the pretty punks, and the goth girls, and the hippies, and the piercers, and hip hop all stars.

As the show was winding down I had the bags. J and I wandered back over to listen to one of the DJ's back around where we had listened to Nick Cave. Security was wandering the island at this point as it was close to midnight. The ferry was to run until after one to get everyone out after the end of the rave that was going on. J took off to find a bathroom and I had all the stuff, I laid down in the grass because it was cool and I wanted to watch the stars which were so pretty in the dark night sky. I was rather enjoying it until suddenly I had a large flashlight in my face.

"Are you Sara?"

Well this is new, I thought. "Yes, I'm Sara."

"You have to leave now."

"Um, why?"

"Look, your boyfriend is taking off so you might as well go. He told us to come get you."

"Uh huh. I don't have a boyfriend."

"He's on the boat."

"Wait, you mean J? He went to the bathroom."

"No, he wanted to leave, he's on the boat."

"Look, he's ditching you and the boat is leaving in five minutes so you have to go." says security number 2.

"But, it's only midnight."

"Yeah, and you need to go."

"But I don't want to go."

"Well, look the guy is leaving you you have to go now."

I'm annoyed at this point and want to be combative. But then I remember that these guys have been paid all weekend to work with a lot of loud music they have never heard of, goths, punks, rockers, and queers, and after two days and sun they might not be the best people to argue with.

"Yeah, okay, just give me a second I have to get all my stuff."

"No, you have to go."

"No, look, see that pile, that's my bag I have to get my bag."

They discuss this between each other and finally decide I can go back and get the bags and then they take me gently but firmly by the arm and lead me towards the ferry. I don't see J anywhere but I get on and eventually find him upstairs.

"Oh, thank goodness you made it they wouldn't let me go back."

"They said you were leaving and you told them to come get me."

"No, they told me I was leaving and I told them I had to go get my friend and my stuff but they shuffled me onto the boat."

We laughed and were amused about it and did the final bag sort of the evening before finally getting off the boat where a cab was grabbed, hotels were arrived at, and finally I crashed hard and slept.

The next morning as I emptied out my bag and started to go through everything I found two things that annoyed. The first was J's mp3 player. The second was the sunscreen.


Footnote--

Since my contact info is easy to remember I have a habit of giving it out without getting contact info in return. So J if you are out there and reading email me so I can send the MP3 player your way.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

That Moment

The problem with seeing this in concert is I cannot really totally describe my experience. I waited in front of the stage for four hours so I would have a good spot. I dealt with the press of concert people and random strangers to do it. I stood on an ankle that was throbbing with pain the whole time, and to make matters worse I'd popped a muscle in my back on the plane that was also making it difficult to turn my head. And with all of this going on, nothing can take away from how overwhelmingly mind numbing it was to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

From his entrance over "Night of the Lotus Eaters" to his five minutes of standing on stage as Stagger Lee demanding that the entire audience suck his dick he was exquisite.

There was this pounding sensation this sense of total being. All moments boiling into that single moment. The preparation, the planning, the cost, the travel, the time, the waiting, all coming to the point where he walks on stage and takes up that microphone. Watching his skinny and aging person swing about as Lazarus, as a Heroine addict, as a Father, as a Lover, as a musical god. It became a pinpoint in which the entire world was right then, that space, that now. It was in it's moment the reason to keep taking in breath. One the speakers thrummed I could feel it radiate through my entire body, his words penetrating as cleanly and clearly as a scalpel and digging into all the feelings I have shed to his music over the decades. It was everything it needed to be for me and more.

The ending was bitter sweet vibrations of sound thrumming off nerve ending, pricking through my spine, the cold wind blowing across my body where minutes before it seemed like insanity had pressed against me. It was over and there was a single moment where it felt almost like empty, like the air let out of the tire, like the end of the world. All words, all things, the crowd chattering as it moves away.

I stood in front of the empty stage for a while just to be there alone with my muse, my thoughts, my desires, and my happiness in that single hour and a half in time. I asked myself if it was worth it?

I'm a fan of live music and catch it whenever I can. I have lots of favorite bands and I've managed to see some great acts live. But in some ways this was more than just the music it was the need to act and for me to be a part of myself in this way. It was selfish and complicit and I loved every second of it. And now the secret smiles when I listen to his music are more the sense of knowing that I managed to achieve this. That it was something I could do. I might see him again in concert and I'm sure if I did it would be just as fantastic but this was my  Concert Moment. That singular piece in time where you see just the right act in just the right minute and anything before or after will never overshadow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What can be wrong about two Japanese girls rocking out?

topI knew who I wanted to see and how. I showed up for the earliest boat which I did not have a ticket for but jumped into line as soon as the organizer said there were twelve extra spaces. We were headed out to Cockatoo Island. On the island there would be a number of events.

First there were three stages. The Foundry stage was the main event rightstage set up in front of the old foundry building. The Ship Builders Stage was overlooking the harbor and where the ships were constructed. The Barracks Stage was on top of the island overlooking the harbor. It was in front of the old guard house. The islands various construction buildings and working points where built by convicts. And this is where they decided to have a rock concert.

Aside from the three stages there were four food courts set up in various locations and also four bars. Slightly above the Barracks Stage in one of the old prison quarters they were having a movie exhibition all day long. Alongside the Mess Hall they were having an art exhibition featuring art by Louis Wain. It was an event to end a lot of events. It was brilliant.

I knew that this was going to hurt me. So I planned the first day well as soon as I got on the island and realized the third stage was up a steep incline I decided I would see everything I wanted to see up there on Saturday so on Sunday I could be more laid back and just walk back and forth between the two lower lying stages. I was worried for only a moment that there would be sound interference between the three stages when they were all going at once but soon realized that whoever had planned this thing was masterful. If you were at one stage you couldn't hear what was going on anywhere else on the island.

I was alone the first day having traveled by myself. It seems like everyone else on Saturday came with a large group of people. As with many festivals people got of the boat at ten and headed towards the bar tents to start with the drinking. I wasn't drinking I had a plan. I scoped out all three stages and headed up the hill for the first act, Hunter Dienna at the top of the day. As soon as they were finished I had to run down the island to get back to the main stage for Bridezilla who I had to hear the first day. Once that was finished it was one in the afternoon and I decided to break for a quick bite to eat at one of the tents and wander about a bit as the next show I was desperate to see was Afrirampo and they weren't on until two. So I wolfed down some food and headed to look at the island.

The island was huge. The big Foundry building had DJ Jack Shit on all morning and so was mostly empty. I walked through as this would be the site of the rave later on and I wanted to know how big it was. Then on the other side was the Doglegg Tunnel that went under the big mountain on the island. Inside the tunnel they broadcast a history of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds which made for interesting listening. The tunnel was short and came out near the Ship Builders stage so I made my way over to wait for Afrirampo who would shortly come on.

As I was waiting I heard people talking in English all about me. This may be why I didn't make that many friends on Saturday. It freaked me out. There is an even weirder kind of culture shock when you leave Korea and head to an English speaking country that is not your home country. It's almost not quite exactly like home except that it is so obviously not home. And yet it is equally so obviously not Korea that the brain spins.

I was near the stage for the concert waiting for the sound check to finish and I listened to the talk around me.

"Hey, you made it," said one mate to another.

"Yeah, yeah, what we watching here, mate."

"Aframpo, or something. Two Japanese chicks."

"I don't know about this one, the description sounded kinda out there." Said a girl accompanying them.

"Sure, ya right, but what can be wrong about two Japanese girls rocking out?" Asks mate one.

I smiled. I'd checked into the Afrirampo catalog. While the recordings were alright I suspected they were one of those groups that will just astound live. I saw them earlier in the crowd, they were the only girls that looked like home to me. But I knew they were not Korean so it wouldn't help me at all to try to strike up a conversation.

They where introduced offstage. The drummer for the Laughing Clowns was in the wings to watch them. They ran out painted in red war paint with silly straws and boa constricts in their hair. They raised two beers to the sky. They started to chant.

" I want.... to have a party.... at Nick Cave's house... in Melbourne." They started it slowly quietly and let it build up until the crowd joined in, which of course they did laughing and giggling the whole time. The girls tried to open their beers but they didn't have a key so instead they put them down and continued the chant spinning it into the first song. I was near the drummer and her legs moved like a mad rabbit intent on pounding the earth to warn everyone of imminent danger. The guitarist grimaced and cheered. They sang a song called Hari-kari. The jammed and were exquisite in the red velvet jumpsuits.

For the last song they explained that they had lived for a year in Africa with the pygmies and they wanted us to enjoy a pygmy inspired tune. They started to chant in unison some exquisite tribal tune, lovely, uplifting, to the heavens, to the crowd. The guitarist turned and grabbed the drum bringing it down off the drum stand to stage level. Then before the crew realized what was going on and before anyone could stop her, she unhooked the mikes, grabbed the drum and lifted it over her head and jumped off the stage.

She jumped over the barrier with the drum overhead and the drummer, still singing, jumped off the stage and over the barrier after her. They ran into the crowd and the crew ran to the front of the stage starring out in shock at what was going on so obviously unexpected. The girls put the drum down in the middle of the back of the crowd and started to beat the rhythm again while chanting the wild pygmy song and the crowd started to dance and spin.

"They've gone tribal." Someone said almost in disgust. I felt a bit cheated for being at the front of the stage. The crowd danced and spun for ten minutes before finally the drummer beat the last beat throwing a handful of drumsticks into the air before taking a bow. They walked back through a parting crowd carrying the drum overhead and back to the stage. The crowd roared the whole time.

They took the final bow and cleared out while the roadies tried to fix the mess they had made. I prepared to run off to the next stage and was amused when I caught a comment from behind me. It amused me for a lot of reasons, the most because I teach youth in Asia.

"That was great," they said, "And the broken English just really did it for me."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Talk about Timing

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are basically no more. Mick Harvey, who has been with Cave since the Birthday party, just officially released a statement that he is leaving the band.

This means I saw the last two performances of the BAD SEEDS. I'm a little in awe.

Sure, Nick will play again but it will never be the same without Mick. However having heard Grinderman, a Nick Cave side project with a couple of other artists, I'm quite confident that this is not a setback just a big change.

I think right now I got the No Pussy Blues.




Or some kind of blues.

Second Day Line Up

There was no way I could have seen everything I wanted to see the first day. However I also knew before I even got to the concert there was a good chance I was going to be seriously infirm by the second day. And indeed, this prediction did turn out to be correct. As I am a music junkie I went out of my way on the first day to not only catch the shows I wanted to see but to be front and center for the shows during the day.

This means I spent all of Saturday from ten in the morning til one in the evening on my feet. And in some cases, or at least at the rave, dancing my pretty little ass off. When you have a weak ankle this is not the best of ideas. In fact when you have a weak ankle doing things like being on your feet all day at a concert or climbing the Great Wall are phenomenally bad ideas.

And yet this doesn't stop me.

So on the second day I still had bands I wanted to see though slightly fewer. I decided to be less a music junkie and take it a tad easier.

So for Beaches I was on the grass and did not get the best picture, but what a great band they were.



Then of course after beaches I worked my way hobbling back over to the main stage to catch Dead Meadow which I'd heard a bit of the previous afternoon but really wanted to catch the show. I'd never heard of these guys and they were a late addition to the bill but I was absolutely blown away. Enough to pick up their new album.





After that I hung around to see the Laughing Clowns a popular 80's gothy type band that was coming together to preform with the original line up. And they were lovely and dark and amazing. The sound reminds me so much of Nick Cave but with a twist of Joy Division. Happiness.



After this I actually found some shade and just hung out near the main stage until Nick was back. So I listened to the whole Spiritualized show and confirmed that it was just not a great act. Caught the Saints again because I could and because they just don't tour that often, and this put me in the back on the beautiful lawn next to the harbor for Nick's second nights performance. Which was again worth it. And this time he played "Jesus of the Moon" which he had not done the night before. And a triple encore. I listened, and danced, and swayed, and enjoyed the open sky and stars. 



Afterwords I went over to catch the Fuck Buttons full show. The name may put you off but after a Nick Cave concert has finished nothing is more beautiful on a starry night than walking over to hear the crystal charm of "Sweet Love for Planet Earth". You could not pick a more perfect act to follow Nick Cave.



After this more chilling and dancing continued until I got kicked off the island. More on the stories soon.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First the Line Up

Just too much coolness to describe it all at the moment. On day one I saw about ten acts total but failed to get pictures of Michael Gira who was good but damned if not a little depressing.

Hunter Dienna had the most amazing voice and a beautiful physical presence at eleven on the blustery morning on the island.


Then there was one of the top bands I was looking forward to seeing, Bridezilla!




Afrirampo, two Japanese girls who rock like you wouldn't believe. And the stories I've to tell about them.



I then caught Michael Gira who was just before Psarandoinis, a Greek lyre trio. Who can help but wanting to see a Greek lyre trio? Generally if I have even the remotest option to see Greeks I fall all over myself to do it. Especially if they have either togos or lyres.



Following this I took in some of Spiritualized but was not really impressed with his live show. Which is odd, usually you like the band the live show it better but his was really quite disappointing.



However, the Saints more than made up for it with their live set. Drinking out of the full bottle of Absolut and all!



Following that of course we had the most unbelievable live act, sex god, musician on the planet and I was front and slightly to the right for the whole thing. No one in front of me but a barrier and everything else was just Nick Cave!



Afterwords instead of melting into a puddle of go I thought I'd try to go check out the Fuck Buttons but with so many people I figured what the hell and skipped that to head over and catch Sounds of Seduction a DJ spinning a rave in the old refinery. He was fun and he had Go Go Dancers!



Stories to follow, I have a few.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Open Note to J

I have your MP3 player so drop me a line.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Movies are so unhelpful in real life situations


Most of what I know about Australia I
learned from Mad Max movies.

So imagine my surprise and
perhaps disappoint when I disembarked at Sydney international airport
to find rather seeming normality. As the plane came in over the
tarmac I noticed a great absence of stacks of burning tires. While
waiting for my bag I only saw one guy sporting a Mohawk and he was
Korean. When I made it out and to street level I was let down by the
site of smoothly moving traffic instead of motor gangs with supped up
bikes that had dual side cars for throwing out midgets or children
armed to the teeth.



And no one, as far as I could see, was
wearing (spiked shoulder gear). I mean, come on, this is supposed to
be Australia for goodness sake! I was only further let down when
boarding the train from the airport to downtown Sydney. Not only were
people polite to one another, but they offered seats to the elderly.
The train lacked any kind of reinforced plating for potential
apocalypses, did not have spikes, and as far as I could tell no
cannons or gun shoots either. It did have a nice announcer who told
me politely when to exit at my stop. I did see some graffiti but I
hardly think that counts after what I had been lead to believe by Mel
Gibson. I really just sort of assumed some kind of post-apocalyptic
oil fueled war where I would be forced to match wit and gun skills
while speeding down long stretches of outback. Alas, it's not to be.





Further, I have been in Australia for
about eight hours now and I still haven't seen a Koala, Kangaroo, or
Platypus. I almost feel like holding the entire country to blame. I
have also not yet met anyone wearing a cowboy hat covered in
crocodile teeth or hear anyone say “Put another shrimp on the
barbie.” My entire weultenshaung is crumbling here.





Pretty much the only thing that seems
to hold true from Mad Max is the weather. It's freaking hot. Terribly
terribly hot. I broke a sweat. I'm holding it against Sydney. The
temperature here is holding at about 78 with a breeze coming off the
harbor. It's also insanely sunny. Burn your eyes out sunny. The kind
of sunny that makes you want a pair of sunglasses that act more like
an eclipse blocking out almost all the rays of light and just leaving
a smidge to guide you where you are going.





After arriving I walked the eight or so
blocks from Hyde Park to where I am staying. I didn't want to check
in insanely early but I suspect that was mostly travel weariness
stupidity. For some reason the last three times I've flown more than
eight hour trips I have found it absolutely impossible to sleep. This
makes me cranky and completely incoherent upon arrival and even more
dizzy than usual. Having not had any food since leaving Korea (I
turned down all plane food as I couldn't eat any of it anyway) I
realize I was hungry and figured it would be a good time to get
coffee. Which I did. As I started to fall asleep in my coffee I
realized I really needed to just get to my room and get a nap.





The nap was nice.





The shower was amazing.





Then a bit later I walked about (Yes, I
just went there) the area I'm staying in so I could figure out where
the wharf is that I need to be at tomorrow morning bright and early
to catch my boat for the island and the concerts. Can I get a yee-ha!





I did not manage to find the correct
wharf but ran into a nice Aussie couple who took my little map and
drew lines and x's and dots to point me from point A to point B. It's
about a 2k walk in the morning but should not be bad at all. I'm very
much looking forward to it.


At least I know the concert will
include a certain amount of craziness. But I'm still a little upset
about the lack of midgets jumping out of kangaroo pockets with knives
clamped between teeth and guns in each hand. I'm sure it will pass.







Thursday, January 15, 2009

The pornographer, the stenographer, The fashion photographer

I'm hanging out with these people for a couple of days.

Yes, this video is twenty minutes long and so big they had to chop it into two parts, and totally worth it so just give it time to load. Nick Cave is a god. A sexy, singing, lyrical, genius god. And I'm about to go worship at his alter.
















Oh, yes. Sweet Lord Yes.

More about Cave and Australia to come.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On the Notion of Settlement

After a quite day at home entertaining some friends of the roommate I was ready for a less quite evening out in Korea. I'd already braved the cold once for dinner but as the clock rolled near eleven I figured what the hell again and tossed on the coat to brave the cold yet again for a night of drinking at the Lonely Hearts Club. The nice thing about insanely cold whether is that less people are willing to brave the cold so the bar was somewhat busy but reasonably quite enough to be enjoyable on a Saturday night.

As soon as I walked in the door I saw the petite and pert picture of loveliness that is my Korean love interest and desire and close friend, the exquisite Student. She was for a while in Pakistan but had returned to Korea and then returned to school to finish a degree. She now sits and drinks with me six months away from her degree in Anthropology. We talk like girls about the future and the present. She wants to go and study in France or Germany. I want to go and study in Chicago. We sip our drinks and smile at each other. We talk about the now, the today, the economy, Korea, life, the universe, and everything else we can think of.

The evening was normal as it is becoming the norm that I know hardly any other body in the bar and I end up talking more and more to the Koreans who have been around long enough for me to know. H stops in and I buy him a drink while he hangs out with his friends. Hyun mans the bar and is drawn into the conversation I am having with the Student on the very changing nature of my life in Korea.

"I just can't be here forever," I say to her.

"You could, if you want."

"No, it's impossible. I, I just get tired of being so much a freak everyday."

"No, no, Korea changes."

Hyun who is listening pipes in. "You can stay if you want. You can become Korean. It's not that difficult."

I just kind of stare at him a second. "Hyun, of course it is difficult. No matter what I do I can never be fully Korean. This is what I love about Korea, but it is also what I must be aware of."

"Why not?" From all three Koreans who are now drawn into the conversation, the Student, Hyun and Gun-ho the bar tender replacing H.

"Look, look at history. Here is Korea. Here is China. Here is Japan. China comes to Korea. Japan comes to Korea. But even in the middle of all that Korea doesn't change. Now many foriegners come to Korea. Korea doesn't change. It's Korea. It will always be Korea. This is okay. I can stay here for a long time. I can learn Korean. I can have a house here. But I can never be Korean, because Korea is for Korea first, always. And that's okay. I accept that. But it's not home."

"It can be home. You learn enough Korean, you can change your citizenship and then you are Korean." Says Hyun.

"It's not that easy." I shoot back.

"Sure it is, you make an investment and you can become Korean."

I turn to the student and repeat that it's just not that easy. Plus I don't have five million US dollars lying around, which is the minimum investment to essentially buy Korean citizenship.

The student explains this to Hyun slipping into Korean as now our conversation is switching back and forth from Korean to English.

"Okay," says Hyun " but you can still have a home here. You know, you stay as long you like. You can be Korean."

"It's just not that easy Hyun. It can't be a home. I want to have a home eventually."

"Well you can get a home and be Korean!" Hyun shoots back.

"Hyun, the only way for me to even remotely be Korean without investing an insane amount of money is to marry a Korean."

"Hyun." says the Student.

"What?" I ask.

"You can marry Hyunshick."

"Oh, my darling," Hyun pipes in and falls across the bar clasping my arm. We all fall into giggles at that and share another drink together thinking.

"I can never be completely comfortable here," I say into the quite spaces. "No matter what I don't fit in. I only fit in so much."

Hyun looks at me over his drink for a moment and breaks the silence. "Sara, no one ever feels completely comfortable here, not even me."

We laugh again as we all agree that we are all never completely comfortable. And then we share another moment of silence as we sit and think.


We all think about home.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's a Singular Thing

I have only one obsession of late.

My mind is fixed on it. I think of nothing else. I wake, I eat, I sleep. I live through the banality of daily life. I wake. I drink coffee. I check news. I go to the gym. I go to lunch. I work. I go home. I work. I make dinner. I watch t.v. I drink wine. I go to bed. I wake. I drink coffee. And it goes on.

This is not a spiral it is a circle. There seems to be no ending. The blip, the kick off the wheel is the particle of the brain that is worked over by inexplicable obsession. If I get off the wheel I lose all focus and fling myself blindly towards a fire that only burns me.

In my spinning I find steady cadence, normality, existence. Outside of this is only chaos.

I want the chaos. I want the cacophony of being thrown to the ground, led, controlled, destroyed by everything that is outside of my happy little wheel. I desire delving into the well of mysterious anything. Possibility.

The attraction of chaos is the infinite possibility. To become in a singular moment anything. Nothing. All things. I want to get up to get down to get where I am going. I want to get nowhere to be everywhere.

I want it all.

I want my happy little spinning wheel of banality to return to, but maybe for a moment I want the hot thrusting spike of absolute loss of self, abandonment and the hedonistic abstract of pure freedom.



Saturday, January 03, 2009

In the Hood

It took me about an hour and a half to put this together form start to finish.


The velvet is a nice crushed feel to it, a little thin and slightly tinted purple, but I was very pleased with the find. The hood is large and has a lot of drape. I wanted drama.


I used a basic button up blouse pattern as the base for this as I did not have a hoodie pattern.

The sleeves were free thrown as was the hood. I had the idea in my head and really just need a basic pattern to get the size right.
It has a long zipper in the front.

The zipper is roughly twenty-five inches long.
What I like about the zipper is that it has little crystals embedded all the way up and down adding a very interesting detail to the front and sparkles all the way which works perfectly on velvet.



And of course, the whole thing was approved by Emily Strange.



Blessed by Emily Strange

Do you know that feeling you get when you wake up and suddenly realize you absolutely have to have a velvet hoodie? Yeah, me too, and this is what happened to me when I woke up on Saturday morning. I opened my eyes and I knew, I just knew, that I had to have a velvet hoodie and nothing was going to make me happy until I had said hoodie, and was wearing said hoodie.

There was only one problem. I'm cash poor at the moment and did not want to break into my bank account to get the money that I would need for the fabric to make a velvet hoodie. I'm saving all the cash I have at the moment for my concert but the need for a velvet hoodie was just overiding everything else. I woke up, played on the computer, tried to distract myself but the need for a velvet hoodie just got stronger and stronger. Finally at 10 am I found myself going through change boxes to see if I could scrap together enough paper cash to afford the construction materails. I would need about twenty bucks all together to buy the fabric and the zipper I would need for the hoodie and at least six for cab fare to and from. Although worse case I was willing to walk.

I start turning out change and boxes and was working my way towards twelve bucks. I went through coat pockets and pant pockets and finally started going through bags. My Emily Strange bag was slung over a door jam and she seemed to call at me, almost like winking at me, so I walked over to Emily and started to rummage through the bag to no avail. The large part of the bag was empty. I unzipped the side zipper and started to fumble around in the pocket and nothing.

Then my hands slipped through a hole into the pocket, into some secret hidden space where it had not been before and there I suddenly felt my hand closing around a wad of cash. It felt big, I yelled jackpot and pulled out my hand. I had one of those moments where I was afraid to open my eyes because I wasn't sure how much I had and was hopeful that it was at least the other ten dollars I would need. Finally I willed my eyes open and then my hand and happily discovered that I had indeed hit the jackpot. I found $50 bucks. Yes.

With Emily's blessing in hand I skipped out the door to the market. Not only did I land the fabric and materials for the velvet hoodie that I desperately need to have, I also picked up some extra sewing supplies, a piece of black knit for a nice pullover, and a beautiful piece of printed knit that will get made into another sweater later. But for now at least I can wrap myself up in the velvet hoodie blessed by Emily Strange.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I suddenly feel so inspried....

Not to actually do anything, but I feel a bit better about my procrastination.

Ringing in New Years

I realize before I go out that I have an unnatural dislike of the New Year's holiday. I can't think of many that I have ever enjoyed. All day I've been trying to figure out when I started to dislike the holiday. I suspect it goes back to my childhood, so many things do.

I'm sure I enjoyed it on occasion as a child, but I had more opportunities to build bad memories around the holiday than I did to build good ones. New Year's was a holiday full of drunken relatives, or stoned parents, or drunk siblings and children. The happy moment for me was the knowledge that school was coming back soon, blissful escape.

Passage of years seemed more a timeless droning of the prison I was forced in, stuck to endure. I found it hateful.

I didn't fare much better when I did manage to escape. In college I found myself distanced. I distanced myself from the party sometime in high school and have not found a way to return myself. I remember thinking in 1998 that I had to go out to join a party since it would soon be 1999. I ended up sitting in a stair well crying and before the clock could tick around I was on the streets of Waukegan when the gun fire started. Probably not the most 11:50 pm on New Year's Eve is not the best time to leave a party when the building across the street is full of gun totting lunatics.

Granted 1999 to 2000 I was hiding under my computer desk with my dog and cat as the clock turned over and I stayed in my apartment alone. To broke to go out and the roommate working nights. Living in upper north Indiana is a lot like living in nice neighborhood of the old South Side, only on the Indiana side fireworks were legal. That and, unlike Waukegan where only one of the near neighbor buildings was full of gun totting lunatics, the whole damn city was full of gun totting lunatics. I remember when I first moved into the apartment there that my next door neighbor informed me that he liked to fire his guns on New Year's eve and I was welcome to join him. He had plenty to go around.

Korea has been a mix of good and bad. I think the best was last year but then in thinking about it I am not sure if it was the best because it was good or if it was the best because I was going to wake up in Chicago on New Year's day. There were certainly parts of the night that make me cringe now in memory but I worked through it because the goal was Chicago, and Chicago was what I wanted.

I think about all this. I sit in my bar to see the bands, forcing myself to smile, to be nice. I keep telling myself I'm going to enjoy this. The Korean cover band opens with Pantera. It immediately puts me in a bad move. Aside from the volume being ear bleedingly loud the music the chose to cover was not improving my mood very much. When they launched into a Konglish rendition of Cowboys from Hell I finished three drinks in quick succession. After that I was mostly on my own, the few people I knew that night had either gone to other places or to the park to see the ringing bell. I had promised Hyun I'd stay but fifteen minutes after midnight I wanted to go home. Hyun looked at me and said no, no, stay, The Singer is coming on and you love The Singer. It's true, I like the silly top 40 cover band because the lead singer is charming and loves what he does. I find his devotion to the bad music endearing and I'm a sucker for a good voice.

So I stay for the band.

When it is over I leave. I walk home, crisp cool night air, New Year's Eve and I'm miserable and unhappy. Full of ennui and maliase and an undefinable feeling that I am doomed. This is well on the twentieth time I've had the same feeling at the start of a perfectly good year.

During the night I toss and turn a combination of the alcohol and the ennui. I wake up at ten and lay abed thinking all these thoughts, anylaizing, metacognating the process that leads me to such misery, self created at this time of year.

And as I rose I made my single resolution. At the end of this year I'm going to figure out how to enjoy myself and have a good time. I'm not going to ring in another New Year in past tinted dreariness. I'm going to move on.

Happy '09 everyone. I mean that sincerely. We have a lot to look forawrd to. A new president, a new congress, and a world that suddenly feels less brave new.






Plus, I'm going to go see Nick Cave in concert in 14 days.