Saturday, January 1, 2011
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
"There have been times I've had to work on my birthday and couldn't have been happier to be doing so, heh!"
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
After I walked the barren maze of the taxi waiting zone with my carefully balanced trolley, I was appointed the cab at the front of the line, which thankfully was a station wagon to fit my bicycle case and two large bags. I hopped in the front seat with the Pakistani driver, who plugged in the address of Simon's parent's house in to his GPS (CHEATER!!!). The cab driver was friendly as we discussed the purpose of my visit, my work experience and family. It was when I mentioned that my father is a blues musician that he got really animated and interested. He asked if I liked music, and before I could answer, he started rummaging through his console next to him, swerving a little, and slowing down to 30km/h on the highway with a posted speed of 70km/h Out of the wreckage of contents of his console, he pulled out a burned disc, and popped it in his CD player. He went on about how “This guy is the best, the best!” and “Do you know the tabla? He is the best! And he sings, beautiful, amazing and plays harmonium” “No body does this, no body can do what he does. He is the Best!” He put in the CD labeled "Medhi Hassan" and chose track three off the album. Let me just say, I love me some tabla and harmonium, so it was a pleasant surprise when I heard the slow seductive push pull of the harmonium's chords, mixed with the rhythm of the tabla from steady and smooth to roaring around beats, as if you were standing in a brook and then stepping beneath a waterfall, all the while Mehdi's melody is seamlessly passing through the quarter tone Arbic scale to paint a mystical melancholic picture. I mentioned to the driver I had first been introduced to the tabla by my steel drum teacher and mentor, CJ Menge, who also taught tabla method, and I still wish that I had taken a lesson... As for harmonium, my friend Elliot Cole, who is a world class musician, and only learning more now that he's at Princeton working on his doctorate in composition; he uses the mighty harmonium in some of his compositions. I told this much to my new music friend and driver, and we were digging the CD all the way to Rose Bay. When we pulled up to Simon's parent's house, he fished out a CD jacket and handed me the disc! I was floored, I really did dig the music, and I had never been gifted an album by a cab driver before. I graciously accepted the disc, paid the exorbitant $60 for the lengthy ride, and unloaded my luggage to the curb in front of my new home for the next two weeks.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
On the flight from Auckland to Sydney, I had a brief chat with the guy sitting next to me. I noticed on his seat monitor in front of him he was listening to Mika – like if Queen, Prince, and Madonna had a three-way, and Mika is the baby Eddy Mercury birthed from the spliced seed of Madonna and Prince – I asked him if he had listened through to the bonus track on Life in Cartoon Motion, a favorite track of Bryan and I from our Denton days together, a beautiful haunting song on piano with dark and ominous tones, sorrowful and reverent vocals full of suspensions – he said he hadn't. I followed up by suggesting, if he liked Mika, that he would probably like the Bird and the Bee, their album, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future, is also on the Quantas airline's music library. He works for Quantas as a(n) _______ - can't remember, but it sounded boring and corporate-y and like he was much too young to be doing that sort of work, in my opinion.
We landed and disembarked – “I'M IN AUSTRALIA!” I exclaimed to myself, and later out loud when there were fewer people to think I was another deranged tourist. I went through the passport check, and went to the baggage claim, the one worry I had, it was killing me: did my beloved bicycle make it all the way???! To my surprise, all my bags made it to the carousel. SO relieved, I balanced my three beastly bags on a trolley, and once again, thanks to my first class tickets, I was placed in the express line through customs. At the Aussie customs, my passport was stamped, but no visa requirement checked, and my bike was inspected for half a second, just to make sure I wasn't bringing in foreign terrain. Luckily, I had just bought the ultra slick, super narrow, extra thick hipster tires for Yoshimi, my steed, which makes her impervious to the mud-bots and dirt-droids.
But I digress. Having made it successfully and without hassle through the Australian customs, there was one thing haunting me, was my mother on the next flight over to beat me for not calling her the instant I deplaned?! I immediately went and exchanged my greenbacks for Australian currency and a phone card, as my iPhone was from that point forward, simply a mini-computer. I rang my mother up just before she boarded the Midnight Mommy Express direct flight from Austin to Sydney, let her know I had arrived safe with all my luggage yata-yata. She was happy she could still get a refund for her express ticket and that I was safe and sound, but being that it was nigh on midnight in Austin, and she being a working woman, she was ready to turn in; and I was ready to find a taxi to take me to my one known contact in Sydney, Simon, who was at work, however, his mother had broken her ankle a week before and was home bound and around to meet me at their home in Rose Bay when I arrived...Great?! I went outside the airport with my trolley to look for a cab, and that's a whole other story....
Friday, September 24, 2010
A cornucopia of compadres came to say, 'ta ta for now,' and it was a long glorious HOT Sunday at the park. Friends, food, refreshments, frisbee, football (EU, both for alliteration and correctness), flapping gums, a few tears -fucking fantastic bon voyage! It was a good 12 hour 'goodby' bonanza, but I had to wake at a reasonable hour, for I of course had not packed on item for my evening flight the following day. I work better this way, under extreme pressure in that last minute, all or nothing moment. I like to think it focuses my mind on the important task at hand, but it's really just procrastination – or perhaps a Freudian move I was subconsciously making to keep me from going!?! Naaaaa, definitely procrastination and maybe a little ADHD.
My dearest mother helped me roll up my wardrobe to tetris them all in my luggage. A few more friends dropped by and helped me procrastinate a little more, and then it was time... for my mom to go get my last ThunderCloud sub for a while – a large roast beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, both cheeses, mayo and spicy mustard on wheat *triste. When she returned, with sandwich in hand, we loaded up the car with my luggage, I brought with me the following: Yoshimi, my beloved bicycle packed away in a hardshell shipping case that I scored on craigslist for one fifth of the original cost! thank you, Gran, for the bargain gene; one large duffleish suitcase full of clothes, 10 copies of my dad's album and 10 copies of the Marmalakes EP Wonder Winds; one large backpacking pack, from my Europe 07/08 adventure, also full of clothes, toiletries, and my MacMini, minus the power cord, and iPod with entire 120GB+ music library (I KNOW?! What an idiot! I still haven't gotten over that one), but luckily I loaded season 1 of Bored to Death, Glee, and full movie of Dear Reader: Wizard People by Brad Neely on my iPhone; this pack also has a small detachable backpack I filled with four books – On the Road (given to me by Michael, my ex-upstairs neighbor – fantastic cook, excellent talker, and gracious), Musicophilia and Existentialism both given to me by my mother (best bitchin' birther – Nuff said!), and Honeymoon with My Brother (given to me by Annabanana, my mom's bestie and a key player in my life) – Bananagrams (yes, I hyperlinked this because people must know the joy!), two light jackets for warmth and plane ride pillowage, The packs would be my two carry-ons. I left for the airport around 5:30, just in time for post-work Monday traffic... This would be an obstacle for anyone else, but for my mother, this was merely a challenge. One she scoffed at and threw caution right smack back in the face of that foolish blowhard, the Wind! Willikers!
The flights were completely bearable, thanks to my grandparents buying my Business class ticket with their stash of air miles. I can't thank them enough for that. I slept great in the deluxe seats with no one next to me, big hearty meals microwaved just a few seconds fewer than the Economeals, dry scorched and rubbery; and due to the free booze – three Bloody Marys Austin to LA, two champagnes and an orange juice LA to Auckland, and two Glenlivets on the rocks Auckland to Sydney. I also watched Exit through the Gift Shop, and the Best of Mr. Bean on in-flight entertainment.