Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Still paddling the old knew...

I still exist.

Sometimes a competitive high school dance team serving pure 80s gives you the will to live.
Tomioka Dance Club, ladies and gentlemen.

Almost never listen to Western music anymore, but I'm pretty well obsessed with this MV and song. Super super super gorgeous video.

I basically decided to forfeit 2017. It was a despondent blight of fire and tears.

Trying to get things moving forward now. Or just... moving.

Following the solid week of crying grief over Jonghyun I rubbed my eyes lightly, exhausted, awake too long. Got a crazy after-image burst in my left eye that stayed with me for almost two weeks. Accompanied by a continuous headache. Probably a mild posterior vitreous detachment according to the internet. Could've been a stroke or aneurysm finally coming for me... wouldn't know. Still can't think about being out in the world enough to deal with seeing a doctor. I fully appreciate the depth of this foolishness.

Illness makes a fool of me on the regular.

I did some reading. Ready Player One was a miserable shock. I had heard so many good things about it. I was genuinely startled to experience how poor it was. It's just... yeah... it's just not good.

Got through John Green's Turtles All The Way Down with difficulty. Had to take breaks for a few days at a time because I was crying through so much of it. Then Jonghyun happened in the midst of that and I didn't come back to it for a while. It's very good. But extremely challenging to get through for someone who has OCD and mental illness on-par or worse than the protagonist. It was so damn real to my own experience that it could only be a painfully anxious ride. If you ever wanted to know what it's like to have OCD, read Turtles All The Way Down.

Saved The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage for the last of my reading stint. Figured it would be the most fun. I was right. Pretty harrowing tale. Pullman is such a beautiful writer. Effortlessly vibrant. His Dark Materials is a very important book series for me so I'm thrilled to have more stories within that universe. Eagerly awaiting the next installments.

Mostly I've been escaping into BTS. Bangtan Sonyeondan. Which is also foolish. I thought my Kpop group fangirling days were behind me. I'd never again follow a group as closely as I followed DBSK.
But BTS... is an irresistible force of nature.
They had impressed me early on with the steady pace and quality of their promotional periods. There was a clear difference between the dozens of other groups I see debut and disappear yearly. Their WINGS era at the end of 2016 really reached a critical mass of attention. Finally recognized with big awards. Then their unprecedented grassroots worldwide fanbase voted them into a Billboard award and all of the press, hype, and collaborations that came out of that launched them into the stratosphere. Completely wild to witness that happening in real-time.

The sheer mass of their content online is simply insane and it's the easiest thing in the world to fall into and luxuriate. Foolish because investing emotionally in such a thing has gotten me into trouble before. Grief-stricken, physically ill, trouble... when things have gone tragic or criminal. Namely DBSK. As I said, I thought I'd never let myself be sucked in again.

But here we are.


I've never seen an entire group be as tightly bonded as these seven are. A lot of circumstances around the creation and development of the group are unique in the industry, so it makes sense. The culture of affection runs deep.

They have a large body of socially/politically conscious material. Much of it written by them. Hard to not appreciate that considering the environment they're in. They have a category of material I refer to as their 'Hey, try not to kill yourself' songs. Lost, So Far AwayNot Today, 2! 3!, YNWA, etc.
My favorite of which is 'Tomorrow'.

I find them to be helpful, personally.

Anywhoozle, just popping in.

2018, have mercy on us.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Cross-posting this from my KPOPPY blog as it's relevant to personal matters.

Couldn't bear thinking about this post, but I think I'll do it now while it's still raw... for my own process. I will not be posting music videos for a few days. I'll try to catch up at the end of the week and weekend. Thank you for your patience.

Kim Jonghyun of SHINee has passed away.

In the full post there is SM's official statement, some links, and my personal response to what has happened. Everything is after the jump-cut so it can easily be skipped for anyone having too difficult a time with all this. Please do not read further if frank discussion of this event would overwhelm you.

To Shawols, I love you.
To the greater Kpop community, hold each other tight.
Provide all the support you can and embrace support yourself if you need it.
To Jonghyun, thank you for sharing your voice and your music.
You've worked so hard.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Life under a volcano...

The whole state is on fire. My hometown is on fire.
My nerves are on fire.
Fucking everything is on fire.

A few years ago I described wind thusly:
Wind is one of those things that I'm obnoxiously sensitive to. It's akin to that damn scratchy tag in your shirt that feels like it's stabbing you every two seconds. Except it's all over my skin and constant. Wind gives me a headache, makes me itchy everywhere, and makes my eyes and nose hurt, even if I'm not outside. Something about the atmosphere changes. Barometric pressure something-or-other. It makes me feel crazy. I want to peel all my skin off. Rip my hair out. Beat my head against a wall. Like... crazy crazy.
Wind like this makes it impossible to sleep and that makes me feel especially crazy crazy.
We had a wind event something like that a week ago. I say like that tentatively, because this wind was the most terrifying wind I've ever experienced. It had been going all day, making me cranky, filling my clothing and hair with static, giving me a headache, sucking all the moisture out of my skin, nose, and throat. But in the middle of the night, I was up like normal, doing work on the computer, wondering if I should just turn in for the night because there was no way the power wouldn't go out with the insane speed of the gusts. The whole house was shuddering.

And the power did go out. Came on again a few minutes later, but I left my computer off, assuming it'd go again. And it did. There was sound out in the neighborhood, voices, my folks were talking in their room. Left my room to discover the rest of the house was full of smoke. Neighbors were standing out in the middle of the street with flashlights. Once out in the street we looked to the hills set behind our house.

They were on fire. A ridge of flames surging down towards homes. The whole sky to the west was glowing orange, billowing with smoke. The fire was roaring it was so powerful. Explosions. Power transformers, propane tanks, ammunition stores in residential homes, etc, all blowing up like bombs going off in a war zone.
I pulled up local radio (KSRO) on my phone and listened attentively, shaking, and dumbfounded. We packed absolute necessities, not knowing if our neighborhood would burn. At 4AM we evacuated to the fairgrounds area, the first shelter area people were encouraged to gather. Thousands of people swarming and parking in the dark. Two major hospitals had to be evacuated, patients set up in a makeshift triage center. Families. Pets. Everyone in pajamas. The kind of scene you only see on the news or in disaster movies. Very fucking real.

Through the incredible generosity of wonderful friends, we had safe spaces to rest. Through incredible luck, we got power and internet back at our house within the first couple days. A house still standing.

Woken from a dead sleep a couple days ago to sounds that will haunt me forever, a mandatory evacuation taking place in the neighborhoods just across a highway from us. Very close. Close enough to hear the bullhorn calls, the doors and windows being pounded on, the sirens, the series of car doors slamming in rapid succession... all as if it was happening next door. One of the fires had jumped to the east of us, threatening residential areas in our direction.

That sick adrenaline. I could barely gather my packed bags again I was shaking so hard. But we weren't evacuated. Encouraged to stay put, in fact, to allow the mandatory area to use the escape roads as quickly as possible. Days later, that's still the most active fire in the region, so we're still walking on eggshells around here. But any immediate danger has essentially passed. We might even get some rain or drizzle soon.

Burned/burning areas in my neck of the woods right now.
It has been a hard fucking week.
And compared to a huge amount of my fellow city residents, insanely lucky and relatively easy.
But it's definitely a wild experience to barely leave your house for five years and then flee it halfway across the city ahead of a firestorm that's destroying everything in its path.

Everyone learns faster on fire.

I've had that old Alkaline Trio song stuck in my head this week.

Once the fires cool and the smoke has cleared and the ash stops falling like snow, I'll be trying to volunteer somehow in whatever limited way I can. I have to try. Until then, we're living out of packed bags. Edgy and anxious. Nothing else to be for now. There is some positive amusement in seeing a literal 747 flying low over my backyard while I eat breakfast, about to drop a metric fuck-ton of retardant on the hills nearby. Surreal. Never been so happy to hear multiple planes and helicopters circling all day long. Heroes up there.

Mostly been numb/terrified emotionally. But seeing pictures of the Luther Burbank Center scorched, where I performed for 9 years, and the Round Barn reduced to soot, an unforgettable icon of a hometown I've lived in for 31 years... made me want to shrivel up and cry forever. What happened in Coffey Park is shocking to the senses.

I've always hated wind.

I need a more violent word than hate for my feelings now.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


When your saviors fall to the same demons they saved you from.

I cherish the memory of seeing Chis Cornell and Chester Bennington sing live together many years ago. What a privilege.

I'm sure I'll stop crying at some point.
But there's no bottom to the well today.