5.24.2005

Release Me!

In my continuing efforts to free my life of material clutter, I am approaching all things, big and small. (The keyboard is still here, by the way, but I am working on it. Slowly.) Tonight I took an envelope of "sentimental crap" and sorted through it, pulling out a few items and ditching a bunch more.

Some of the things I tossed:
  • One of my brother's old business cards for a company, Pixelhaus, that he started himself
  • Ticket stubs for a bunch of old movies, including Titanic, There's Something About Mary, Addicted to Love, Lethal Weapon 4, and Career Girls. I'm a bit surprised I saw Addicted to Love in the theaters. I'm surprised I saw Lethal Weapon 4 at all, much less in a theater. I don't have any recollection of the film Career Girls. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I've never heard of it, yet apparently I saw it and paid full price.
  • Greg Ryan's phone number, written on a piece of paper ripped off a pack of cigarettes. I've got no idea who Greg Ryan is, but he lived in Brooklyn when he gave me his address and number.
  • Suzanne Vega's manager's business card
  • Some printed logos for the 1998 MTV Movie Awards
  • A luggage tag written in Japanese, which (I think) made it cooler than your ordinary luggage tag, and that's (I think) why I kept it all these years
  • A Tower Air boarding pass (who knows why I ever kept that. I hope it was accidental)
  • A visitor's badge to Bloomberg dated April 10 1995 (a j-school field trip I remember being really dull)
  • A ticket to a Giants game vs. the Colorado Rockies I went to with Homestead
  • THE MOST PAINFUL ONE SO FAR... A realtor's business card with a note scribbled to myself: "229,000 2BR" The property in question was a single-family Edwardian home in Noe Valley on Sanchez Street. In 1997.
Some of the things I couldn't...release...just...yet:
  • A bunch of concert tickets, to Sonic Youth, Neil Young, Tori Amos, Ben Folds Five. I remember all of these shows quite well
  • A VIP badge to a Blur concert at the Warfield
  • A napkin from 21, where Benj and I went during my last crazy days in NYC
  • A sticker from Antique Boutique, a store I adored when I was 25
  • My MTV Radio Network business cards
I know that holding onto these things only makes them more painfully sentimental, and they're worthless except for the fact that I have clung to them for so long. But right now I will keep them a bit longer, and if you've read numbers 62-64 you know some of the reasons why.

5.15.2005

Dreams

I think I've decided to sell this electronic keyboard I bought about eight years ago. I spent a lot of money on it back then, and I thought it was worth the investment because I was convinced I'd use it to realize my long-slumbering creative musical dreams. And I wrote 1 1/2 songs on it. (That half song becomes important when you've written so few....)

I've been lugging this keyboard (and it's real big and real heavy) around forever, but I've never really been able to use it. It's too complicated, and I've never had the time or motivation to actually learn to program it. I know plenty of boys (I'm sure there are girls out there too but I don't happen to know them) who can hook those things up to a computer and be writing cheesy techno in a matter of hours, but I'm just not one of those people. Somehow, inertia has prevented me from even taking up my musician friends on their offers to teach me.

Getting ready to let go of it has gotten me thinking about the spirit of musical instruments. As I attempt to rid my life of clutter and unnecessary objects, I look to my stable of instruments: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, cello, grand piano, flute (listed from newest to oldest)... heck I think I even have a violin thrown in there, and I don't even play violin. Part of me knows they should be the first thing to go. My flute needs a complete overhaul. My cello could probably be donated to some ailing youth symphony program. My guitars are almost an embarrassment, since I only just started playing those but I've already hit a plateau in skill level beyond which I might not realistically rise. And then there is the keyboard. The Kurzweil K2500 that has cluttered up many a sacred space of mine...

Instruments do have lives. Perhaps they do not themselves have spirits, but they do channel ours, and they deserve to be played. This one was used by a well-known band to record a major-label album. I think those guys remember me not because they know me so well, but because they know that I was the one who let them borrow the keyboard. They wrote songs on it and took it on tour with them and played music on it for audiences all over the country. They even wanted to buy it from me at one point, but I wanted to keep it. I remember telling the guy that I "still had my dreams" and he said, "there's nothing wrong with that." I agreed with him then, and I think I do still.

But my dream of playing my keyboard is reaching that frightening and very busy intersection with pragmatism. I only have so much space, and the truth is that this is one dream I haven't even come close to making true, in eight years. I always thought that one day I'd have a room in my house where I could keep all my instruments, where I could go to play piano and not worry about bugging my neighbors, where I could invite friends to play chamber music, where I could have my keyboard all nicely set up next to a computer and speakers and mess around with it and my other instruments and just see what forms of expression were born. That part of the dream is looking more and more unlikely. (I live in an apartment that can't even accomodate the keyboard comfortably, to say nothing of the grand piano that my dad is still storing for me.) Pragmatism is a bunch of cars zooming down the street, and I'm trying to get across carrying my keyboard of dreams. I can see that something's gotta go...

Even if I shed the baggage, I still need someone to hold my hand.

Unanalytical Fun

Shockwave's Daily Jigsaw

5.05.2005

Hair Crisis. Number 2.

This one makes my first blogged hair crisis look like an Andy Paige makeover. This time, my hair is actually messed up. It actually looks weird. It's such a bad color. I went to my hair appointment all excited. This was the woman who did my hair for my wedding! Something went very wrong in the mix, and after sitting in the chair for two hours, we discoverd that my hair just "wasn't taking the color" or so Doreen kept muttering to herself. She became a bit frazzled and started doing all sorts of additional weird processes to fix the problem, which made the original problem look damn good in retrospect. It's just hair, yeah, but... boy can a bad hairdo make me feel horrible about myself. Luckily I'm heading off for the weekend to Las Vegas, where, as my friend Amy pointed out, there will be plenty of people with worse hair than mine. I just hope I can actually get it fixed when I get back. Small, silly thing--vanity. Surprisingly powerful. Sometimes painful.

Especially when your scalp is all red and irritated from having had 6 hair processes in a 3-hour period.

5.01.2005

Garden Update


My lemon tree now has two blossoms and tons of buds. My cousin who's an expert at growing citrus says not to be too disappointed when half of my blossoms wilt and fall of the tree. He says it's normal, but not to worry because if the tree has lots of other buds, there will be plenty more opportunities for successful lemons. (Is that an oxymoron?)

The nasturtiums and morning glories, planted from seeds about 4 weeks ago, are growing like weeds (which, by the way, is how some people have described nasturtiums...growing as they do in cracks in the sidewalk, vacant lots, and other such untended gardens). No flowers yet but plenty of gorgeous new growth. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours before planting (as the packet advised and rather strangely called "scarification") really helped, I think.

The daisy seeds, too, have sprouted. I planted them about a week after the morning glories and nasturtiums. Despite the fact that the packet advertised them as the hardiest and easiest-to-grow, these seem to be taking a lot longer to push up. They're still just tiny little green sprouts.

Planted the same day as the daisies are the basil and cilantro seeds. Each defied my expectations by growing perhaps a little too readily. (I now believe I put way too many seeds in too small an area and some of the seedlings are going to have to die in order for their sisters to survive. I feel an unexpected sense of guilt about this.) Alongside them, I have planted both a cilantro and basil plant, which I bought at the local non-Home Depot garden store. It's fun having the plants in separate stages; one gives me an idea of what to expect from and look for in the next.

We also have three tomato plants, two of which are looking beautiful and one of which almost died when we brought it home from the store but has been slowly and caringly nursed back to life. The two big ones have plenty of flowers. Pray for tomatoes.

Last but not least, we have the sturdiest plants of all, the flowers that remind me of my grandmother, the marigolds. These have been growing for years now, after my mom gave them to us and Nick planted them. They hardly need any care and love and regenerate very vigorously. I heartily recommend them for beginner gardeners. You'll notice a few nasturtium leaves in the pot. I couldn't resist throwing them in there, thinking the oranges will look pretty together. I just hope they can all coexist peacefully together!

Not pictured: Geraniums, cactus, and dying Aloe Vera.