Thursday, August 30, 2012

April: Go Read It

Here's all the blog posts I wrote in April 2012, with the holes in my memory filled. Have fun reading through it.

Some of them have pictures.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Retroactive

I'm going to retroactively catch up on some things that have been missed out here. They might not pop up in your RSS or news feed, but be aware. I'd like things to be in order. Cause I'm like that. I may make a new post to ping your RSS readers that will get deleted. Not sure. Try to keep up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Late Night Vice Fest

Tonight I engaged in my vices. I had many vices and I had  probably been indulging them too much of late. The reality was that life had been painful for the last few months. So painful that I couldn't think of how to progress with it, or what to say, or what to write. Who would read it all anyway?

And then some people, some of you, dear readers, pointed out that I had  not written. It made me realize that I did this to express and understand myself, but also as a window into who I am. I buried things so deep and never talked about them, and when I completely closed down, there was just nothing. Part of it was forgetting. By not writing, I pretended  that life was not actually happening to me, that it wasn't real, that there was just nothing there. No me, no reality, no Sara.

The reality was that I was there, and I had been denying myself. There had been so much living, and I was forgetting all the living I was doing because I was wallowing in all the pain that happens and forgetting that life came with an acceptable amount of pain. Without pain there was no living.

And I didn't want to cut myself off from living.

So there I was tonight, engaging in all my vices, and one of those was to express myself and the reality of my feelings and who I am. Some of you who read (actually most of you who read) are so dear to me. You have guided, supported, and advised me and in return I had given you no insight into what went on inside of my head. My vices included this writing, this self expression, this time to share who I am and to work out the feelings that I have and the thoughts, crazy and otherwise. Both so I could understand and so you could help me understand myself.

I had in my hand a clove cigarette and I let it burn down while I wrote. I had in my hand a glass of wine as part of a bottle that I might or might not finish. I had in my hand a spoonful of chocolate and sugar, a treat I hadn't had in months over months. I had in my hand a television murder mystery, a way to lose myself in the pain of someone else. I had in my hand a phone that I used to look at my various on-line musings. I had in my hand a computer, and on that computer I poured  words, and those words had meaning, and those meanings explained who I was.

Since January I had experienced loss after loss. I thought so much about what I was losing that I forgot what I was gaining, I had forgotten what was happening and how it was happening, and why it was happening, and why it was important. I wanted to wallow in my loses and not accept all the things I had gained. Some loss was good, progressive, helpful, and useful. Some was hurtful, painful, and made me hate myself. All of it was a part of growing and living.

There were so many transitions; some of these had been more painful than others, and I did not suffer those transitions alone. There were all kinds of transitions. The Irish, my favorite Irish, was transitioning. There was now the Designer, who was transitioning. The Roller Girl, the Electrician, the Kiterunner, the Pirate: we were all transitioning. The Greek, the Muse, we were all transitioning.  Once upon a time there was the Australian and the Volunteer, and they transitioned too. The Bard was transitioning, the Balance was transitioning, the Molester was transitioning. Young Kubrick was transitioning, we were all, equally, right now in a state of constant flux and we were all embracing it in our own way.

So much change.

Hiding from it, closing myself off to the world was not making it less real. If anything it made it not only more real but more painful. I don’t know; I wasn't reflecting, and that was what wa missing.

Those of you I have mentioned, I don’t mind if you still read, if this will pop up for you and ping you and make you take a moment to stop and read. I hope you will read, and if you don’t want me to tell the story of your changes through my prospective, then I won’t share.

But I need to start sharing my story again.

The One.

She’s at the heart of a lot of it. She is a huge catalyst for change. The Artist and her Writer, they also drive change. The Astrophysicist, the Music teacher, the Brewer, they are all there too. Some of these are new characters, characters who are so terribly important to my life and I have not even brought them into the fold.

It’s time to talk.

That is what I am going to do.

I’m going to talk, for myself, for the Saradevil, for the voice that needs to be voiced, for who I am.

Right now I am going to engage in my vices. I will lift this glass of wine to each of you. I will eat this piece of chocolate for each of you. I will inhale this sweet smoke for each of you. I will write for each of you.

And maybe through it, I will find myself again.

I am going to start writing again. It will come in fits and starts, it will come as it always comes, sometimes too much poetry to be understood, sometimes out of order, sometimes lengthy and in sequence. It will be very much who I am, and if you read it,  you will get to see it again, and if you don’t read it, it won’t matter too much. It matters to me.

Perhaps that is my greatest vice: I need to discuss those pains.

A long time ago my mother cautioned me never to write about my life. Because if you write it down someone will read. And I have worked so hard to never follow that advice, because maybe it should be read, maybe it should be known, maybe just maybe sharing it gives insight to the ones you love and insight to yourself. Somehow over the last few months I stopped sharing, and closing myself off and the result has made me more nervous, more volatile, more lost than I have ever been. I need to follow my heart and share it all, painful or not, my truth, my life.

And maybe when I’m done, you’ll all still want to read, and still be there for me, and maybe when I am done you will all think I am crazier than you could have possibly imagined. Either way, it’s  time to begin to indulge again.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Really Wasn't that Drunk...Protested the Drunk!

When we somehow managed to crawl out of the hotel the next morning we walked out into absolutely fucking soaking, pouring, you-have-to-be-kidding-me waterfall-type monsoon rain. It was everywhere. There was no sign that it was going to let up. Since it was late enough for us to be hungry, we decided to go and try to find some food to eat, as we knew that there was not much to eat at the festival. (Also all the eating places were outside and we figured they  might be rained out.)

This meant we waded down the sidewalk looking for a restaurant in an area absolutely none of us were familiar with. It was the black dark of monsoon rains in Korea and we could barely see anything; we were huddled tight under the centers of our umbrellas. At a corner, about to give up, the Author called out, “How about this Indian place?”

We all turned around and sure enough there was a sign for a place that did Indian, and while the place was dark and a little warm and out of the way, it was exactly what we needed, so we ate the food that they gave to us and discussed how we wanted to play day 2 of the rock festival.

It was agreed that we had had enough of stage squatting and so we would do something a little different. I also knew we were going to meet up with the Kiterunner at the show and she would have seats. “I’m too fucking old to stand all fucking night for something like this, man. I got seat,” she'd shouted at me over the phone.

“That’s cool. We will meet you at the seats.”

We figured since we had not explored the potential for drunken revelry the previous day we would hit the Jack Daniels tent and get beer for the boys and booze for us girls. Had I been a smarter woman, I just would have found a place to buy a bottle of vodka, because I know (I have empirical proof) that I should NOT be allowed to drink whiskey under any circumstances. However nobody asked and I didn’t tell, which ended with me and the Goth filling up water bottles full of Jack Daniels and bringing them into the concert hall with us.

The boys got plenty of beer.

Then we staked out our spot for the show with the Kiterunner.

“Where’s mine?” She asked when we all showed up, starting on a good slosh. Bottles of whiskey were passed around and we waited for the first act of the afternoon that we wanted to see: The Vaccines.

How can you solve a problem like the Vaccines?  You can’t; they were awesome. We proceeded to drink and take over the bottom row of the balcony section we were at. Literally, we stacked out that territory until we had a full row of about 15 seats for all of us and we proceeded to get our party on. The Vaccines was an awesome, fun singalong show. They were followed shortly later by Foster the People, who also got our blood pumping.

At this point the alcohol was flowing pretty good and I was feeling it just enough to be almost over the edge.

I kept asking people to keep me from jumping. They all knew better than to try to keep me from doing anything, seeing as how drunk we all were. It was all for the best. Sometimes you needed to take care of your ridiculously drunk self on your own. This was one of those times.

After Foster the People the air was full of excitement as we braced for Tears for Fears.

And, while a great show, I remember almost all of it.

I also remember at some point that I had reached my level of ability with whiskey. Then, I went to the bathroom and flushed my phone for good measure.

Finished with the bathroom, I went back to the row and took a nap on the concrete for the hour between Tears for Fears and New Order.

Fortunately, I did realize I should stop drinking. Unfortunately there was not enough water in  the world to cut through the amount of whiskey I had pumped into my veins. I wasn’t alone, as apparently the Roller Girl had to be located via phone after basically losing the ability to walk due to a whisky-and-dancing overdose.

New Order was amazingly perfect and ended with some old Joy Division songs. We somehow managed to get our drunken selves together, meet back up, and head toward our hotel. We somehow managed to let ourselves in, but how the passing out happened was very much unknown.

The show was amazing. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. with a hangover (possibly still drunk) to beat the band, a small annoyed dog stealing blankets, a drunk Irishman snoring and sleeping it off, and the realization that I had to be on a train in 20 minutes to get to Gimcheon (because I thought it would be a good idea to schedule a teacher training that day).

I made the training and everyone thought I was amazing. I don’t remember much of what I did that day.

When I finally managed to get  home at 5, I happily crashed through until the next day.

It was still the best rock festival ever!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yes, Those Smashing Pumpkins!

It was me, the Irish, the Author, and Roller Girl, who ended up at the concert. All of us bought tickets, we took the train up together, and I found us a cheap hotel room not too far from the venue. We also brought the dog, who was happy to hang out in the room.

We hit the Sonic festival early because I wanted to go to the merch tent; however, I was sadly disappointed as the merch they had was really abysmal, which put me in a bad mood. However we did look around and finally gave up and went into the auditorium where the Pumpkins were going to play.

“Okay,” I explained to the gang, “We are going to sit on the stage, and we are going to be there until the Pumpkins come on. We can take it in shifts, but this is happening.”

Everyone was basically in agreement, which was awesome. I had never stage squatted with a crowd before, so I was excited for the experience. We had stopped by the Jack Daniels tent before getting all holed up on stage, but I was too excited about anything related to Billy Corgan to be thinking too much about the potential for booze.

We danced along a bit to Yellow Monsters, an outrageously powerful Korean punk band in the vein of Green Day who absolutely tore up the stage and most of my expectations.

“They were not half bad,” remarked the Irish.

“Indeed they were not.”

When Yellow Monsters ended we were able to push up on the stage and managed to get to about center stage. That was when I noticed that we were surrounded by teenage Korean girls. Seriously. They were packed around us. Being that we are all English teachers we started chatting up the girls standing around us and asking questions to them about the band that was up next.

“I don’t think you will like them very much,” said the girl next to me with a pretty strong New Zealand accent, clearly having studied abroad some years.

She was not wrong. It wasn’t just that the music was bad. It was that the lead singer had so much cocky attitude, like he just didn’t care that all these screaming teenagers were her to see him. His disinterest was infectious and we ended up being four very disinterested waygooks before it was over.

Fortunately it didn’t last too long, and before long we were waiting the next hour while the next band queued up. During this time we all took shifts guarding our spot, which was not dead center stage, while taking quick runs to the bathroom. We had been stage squatting for about three hours, and the next three would be without end as this was the Pumpkin hour, or at least, it was fast approaching.

I had taken a quick listen to the next band, and wasn’t overly impressed but I could sit through anything for an hour and half of Billy Corgan. The band coming up was Gym Class Heroes. The crowd really filled out then, with quite a good-sized throng behind us by the start of the set.

When they started to perform, I realized this was not going to be a painful wait sort of thing, Gym Class Heros was an absolutely awesome act. I recognized a lot of the tunes from regular radio play and as the sort of background music you hear in shops and don’t think about. The lead singer brought a wonderful power to the stage, bouncing around, engaging the audience, encouraging us to love the music and our friends and the strangers we were there with. His presence was awe inspiring. He knew how to work the crowd and we loved it.

The Irish was most definitely infected by it, and since this was basically his first rock concert, I was happy to watch him enjoy it. Perhaps a bit too enthusiastically as when the Lead from GCH jumped down off the stage, we were all reaching over the bar to touch him, like a rock/rap God, and it was the Irish who made contact. The Lead reached out and grabbed his arm for an embrace and practically pulled the Irish over the bar. The Irish not being one to give up in a fight held on…and that was when the bouncers started to rush us. Right before they descended the embrace was mutually released, and the Irish turned to me, smiling ear to ear and shaking his hands in the air.

It was that kind of show.

It ended with none of us getting roughed up by security and as the stage cleared the four of us sat down to wait for the final act. I passed around some nut bars I had brought with me, as I figured we were going to need it, and we waited some more. At this point we got accosted by a bunch of foreigners who literally stepped over the Koreans in front of us and tried to push us out of the way for the barrier. None of us were having it and we also made it clear to the Koreans, in Korean, that these idiots were not with us.

This hour of waiting passed quickly and we were up and hanging over the rail when the lights went dark.

And my heart fluttered.

They walked onto stage and picked up their instruments. Billy Corgan lookked every bit like a man in his forties, but he still commanded the sort of respect you would expect from a professional. The long-legged and very attractive bass guitarist in her perfect hair and red lipstick was also a happy bit of eye candy.

Then they started to play.

Within seconds we all recognized the opening bars of "Zero."

That was when I lost my mind. To be standing in front of the Smashing Pumpkins, with Billy Corgan so close to me (I’m almost positive at one point during the set his sweat was brushed into my face), was like a culmination of every moment of waiting that I had every experienced. I was transcendent. As "Zero" became "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," and "Bullet" became "1979," and "1979" became "Today," there I was, jumping, screaming dancing and shaking so hard.

I burst my ankle.

It was worth it.

Somehow we managed to limp out around midnight and tried to unwind in a chicken shack, but really, how do you comedown from something like that?

And the next day we were going to see Tears for Fears and New Order. This was the best rock festival EVER!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So, did you hear about the Smashing Pumpkins?

I had been waiting for this moment for so long. It felt like I had been waiting for this moment my entire life, but to be on the train, headed to Seoul to see Smashing Pumpkins....my heart was pumping constantly and all I could think about was teenage daydreams, and being fourteen, and getting off to "Cherub Rock" or "Geek U.S.A.", or being fifteen and entertaining myself to the head-banging misery that was Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Or being in my late twenties and singing over and over again in my misery and loneliness and fighting through depression and getting lost in the refrain of "Ava Adore." Or being in my early thirties and jumping around, and fucking, and laughing, and drinking to "Today," and the refrain was still the same, and it was still the truth, that no matter when or where, 'Today is the greatest day I've ever known.' It meant as much now as it did then.

And it would tomorrow.

It was all I could think about. The concert had consumed my August. I needed it, I wanted it, I would not be complete until I had experienced it. This was to be my first Korean rock festival and I didn't know what to expect at a Korean rock festival, only that it would have Smashing Pumpkins and nothing else mattered.

It came aboutlike most things doin the Lonely Hearts Club. I was drinking with the Roller Girl and we had promised earlier that we would just drink and then go home. The night had started rough with a rather pointless aggravation from another friend, so I was feeling angry and selfish and needing a drink. At the time I was drinking alone and rather enjoying it, and as ten o'clock rolled around I considered just going home. Then the Roller Girl called.

"Where are you?" She had a way of emphasizing both the first and last word of any question that makes it both at the same time a question, a plea, and a command that you had better be somewhere in her vicinity.

"The Lonely Hearts Club. But let's meet at Buy the Book."

Only to get a call a few minutes later that Buy the Book was closed and she would meet me at the Lonely Hearts. So I drank another glass and got an empty one for her, and as she came in we proceeded to work our way through the bottle, giggling and talking, like girls do. Hyun came in much later than that, around one in the morning and we were both salty and staring at each other with mischievous looks, and my feelings about the evening were rapidly improving. Where it had begun with me being put down about my attitude and my looks it was quickly winding into a cheerful, caring romp with a friend who truly enjoyed my company, attitude, and looks, regardless of where they were.

Then Hyun spoke up.

"So, Sara, did you hear about Smashing Pumpkins?"

And in that moment my mind focused through my wine-tipsy-happy time like a laser sight and everything in my brain was Billy Corgan and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," and "Zero," and "No, I haven't heard about Smashing Pumpkins." And I was thinking something awful had happened to Billy and my brain was preparing itself to feel the same kind of wailing loss it had felt at the death of Kurt.

"Yeah, they are going to be playing in Korea. The Sonic music festival. Do you want to go?"

"Yes."

"What about me?" Again the question was emphasized on both the first word and the last. We conspired, us girls. We would go together, leave our friends behind, and make a girls weekend of it. We would get tickets and the world could go to hell and be jealous of our good fortune when they heard that we had seen the Smashing Pumpkins live.

"Who else is playing?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah, it's the Smashing Pumpkins, New Order, and Tears for Fears."

I think my heart stopped.

We asked Hyun to put us down for tickets, and over the next couple of days, once we had gotten out of our rage at the world and at our friends, we let it slip to the Author and the Irish that there would be such a show and we already had tickets and asked them to join us, because really, when it came to music that defined so of your life how could you not share it? So the party had been assembled and we were off to Seoul, lunch, and literally 9 hours before I would see Billy walk on stage and sing for me, and I could barely contain myself with how much I was looking forward to it.