Jul 23, 2009

makizushi bliss

i've finally, finally, finally put together that sushi. literally. mom cooked the rice. i just rolled it. and ate it with my boyfriend. i'm a tsukino usagi of sorts - my food looks sloppy but tastes great. better than restaurant sushi. i realize that's a coarse remark. but you know, they made sushi an art and then invented the sushi robot. japan, land of contradictions. i love you.

leechu roll ingredients:
  • rice [short-grain, also known as normal in romania]
  • vinegar [apples and wine]
  • white sugar
  • table salt
  • nori [they have it at kaufland]
  • strips of parsnip overboiled in sugar water [and i mean overboiled]
  • strips of raw cucumber [a classic]
  • shredded tuna [drain as much oil out as possible, spread thinly on top of the rice]
  • cooling the rice with a fan does pay off.
  • the roll should be a closed circle, not a spyral. and don't worry - the nori will stick.
  • japan does rule. they're just overrated for all the wrong reasons and therefore underrated.

academia blues

i've finally, finally, finally put together a number of songs i'll start recording soon, if that bitch self-love gives me some of that good ol' you-can-do-it. i might even make a self-released first record that will one day become a sought-after fan item - kitchenware instrumentation, hand painted cardboard sleeves, you know the drill. and for the heck of it, i've made a small folkish intro song to the bunch, called folktales.

which playfully disclaims the truth value of my songs in relation to my experience. whence i developed a theory. god, i miss school so much. i miss forcing myself to read a required minimum of literature and then teeming with ideas for essays i'll never write. i miss my theories. my kooky, rewarding, way-too-beautiful-to-be-disproved theories. my literary, linguistic, cultural revelations. i miss being radiant from the light of them. asking questions and giving answers in class. i kick and curse at the thought of you, but academia - we're not done, so sweetly not done. ok, that's not the theory.

theory: songwriting as the eventual printing of folktales - stories of past experience, orally transmitted from one former self to the next and thus altered inestimably before they're recorded. [woot, schizophrenia!]

no problem, you can write a song right in the middle of the life-changing hangover, fight, sex, epiphany, whatnot. but where i come from, that'll be a bad song.

i must show gratitude beyond my beloved words to mr. [not that] james brown the teacher, coolest foreign man ever to call romania home, for the course on english and scottish ballads that has:
  • opened my eyes to folklore [of other countries and my own];
  • narrowed down the meaning of folk;
  • bettered my understanding of song;
  • acquainted me with inspiring stories only rivalled by the bible and shakespeare;
  • thus strengthened my belief in metaphor [and showed me the metaphoric potential of a narrative];
  • expanded the horizons of my songwriting, creativity and intellect altogether;
  • made sense [a rare commodity in undergrad education];
  • been lots of fun.
hey, where was i when they were filling in those evaluation sheets?!

oh, academia...

Jul 22, 2009

three friends

i've come to realize my own idea of my musical, lyrical and vocal influences is somewhat distorted. sure, there are things i want to influence me because i think they're cool. and then there are those that just do. today i finished writing a song that, for the first time in a while, satisfies me in all the above respects. and have been reacquainted to these guys in the process:

the blues
once upon a jolly good time i wanted to be jack bruce. i used to feel the bluesiness propagate through my entire body like a warm quiver when i sang. then i got on my high horse of exquisite poetry and never again came up with a tune i'd wanna sing. i thought deep lyrics just didn't go with the blues. that's only correct to an extent that amounts to nothing in my pursuit of a voice all my own. and hell, look at jethro tull. no. look at jimi effin' hendrix.

the bible
i ain't no christian rocker chick. more like the catholic goody two-shoes turned porn star. but i ain't no crucifix defiling tori amos either. i just always find myself making analogies with the bible. if i do think it the book of books, it's because it has so many brilliant metaphors and parables. for me to use in songs. like such as go in peace [on saviours gone to pieces], blame it on the snake [my very own twist on genesis], rengashi [japanese for renga poets, which is a sort of brueghel's icarus to a landscape of jesus talk]. and somewhere in there, like duh, the absolutely irresistible pillar-of-salt thing. [i promise these songs exist.]

the buckley
i totally forgot. and that's what true influence is all about. it permeates your very artistic core and stays with you long after you've stopped obsessing about that particular songster. years after you last had them in your playlist at all. good lord, yes. today, those bluesy and theological vibes brought him back to me: jeff buckley, he whom i emulate unwittingly in my every croon and wail. the regina spektors and thom yorkes i added later are really just shadows on his water.

Jul 20, 2009

ani difranco

i found it.

it was a dreamy summer's day in 2006, the lush greenness of which i haven't known since. in googling my then obsession regina spektor, i came across one ani difranco. this clip is what smote me, the alpha and omega of my ani difranco. it was on youtube. bitches removed it soon after - to my fidgeting, cussing and forever unappeased dread, as the album versions don't hold a candle to these. last night a failed embedding of it sent my precious sidebar briefly but distressfully amiss - my most gleeful, warmest thanks to vidivodo regardless.

around 21 i realized three things. one: i'll never play guitar that well - therefore will never be that prolific - and that's good. two: i can no longer stand making my lyrics so damn obvious it's embarrassing - and why, when there is metaphor *mind-shattering orgasm* - and that's also good. always is. [note: i do not compromise my poetry. they were just embarrassing.] three: so much of ani, from the do-it-yourself mojo to being bi to being so american, just isn't in me - so maybe she's not it - and that's... that.

but she was once my god of all songs [see, i've a thing for deification]. the one who really got me - not my method, my fucking feelings. not my neurotic hairsplitter feelings [for which i already had fiona apple], my human being feelings. all of life's facets and the more there is to it. quite possibly the most balanced ratio of intellectual, perceptive and poetic vs. heartfelt, intimate and direct; so too, of big words vs. fucks and shits.

oh, and ani:

i just write about what i should have done
i just sing what i wish i could say
and hope somewhere some woman hears my music
and it helps her through her day

nicely put. and don't we all. and yes it does.

Jul 18, 2009


i've conceded a so-called opening week of rampant blogging to my graphorrhea. i've little reason to believe it's been appeased, but the time has come to channel it for the greater good, knuckle down and start doing those chores i've been so funny and witty about shirking. i'm drawing dangerously close to a spell of unfunny and witless depression. self-love is one moody high maintenance bitch. i put her needs above mine or she walks.

Jul 17, 2009

be a woman

i used to think joanna newsom was god's way of showing me how elevated and intellectually accomplished i'll never be.

1. i used to call her "eloquent elf". then i came across this interview. she had me at: i have trouble articulating feelings [...]. but i've found [...] that there's a sort of magical ability that the particular ideas i tend to fixate on have to fit within the form of a song. but outside of making songs, it's hard for me to put my ideas together sometimes. this and the dumb gaze. it made her human and worth believing, like there was more to her agenda than belittling every lyricist alive. it sent her rushing into my open heart.

2. i used to take mean comfort in her bad singing and rudimentary hooks. then she evolved with a vengeance. vocally [to where it's an enjoyable listen], lyrically [less hermetic yet more subtle], musically [melodic and rhythmic structures like whoa], and in terms of attitude [less of an elf, more elfish]. [play full songs for a better understanding.]

the horror:
the coolness:

1 and 2 combined, she skyrocketed from ear-shredding fling to larger-than-life influence, goddess of songcraft, big sister. she made me treat song as a friend rather than a slave. songwriting as a pleasant pastime rather than a draining exorcism. therapy still - but not as much by merely voicing feelings, as by making something nice out of them, for my aesthetic enjoyment. now i know. her love is my love and my love is her love - and it connects us through a cosmic wire, together with all the people who love words like we do.

and then i saw 20 too many photos. takes a lot of clicking, so just trust me: there is some smugness and sluttiness in there worthy of britney's circus. seasoned with corny i-want-to-marry-her and scary i-want-to-fuck-her type shouts. it's not the sexiness. that's part of being a woman, being a woman. and i'm not no common folk to condemn it. i condone it, as shown in the hall of infamy. and hell, i'd be in a beauty magazine if i could. it's the classless i-wanna-take-a-ride-on-your-disco-stick and/or you-ain't-got-shit-on-me look on her face.

this isn't really going to change how i feel about her, but the sweet eden of i have everything to learn from joanna newsom is a bit harder to conjure up now.

it's my blog and i bitch if i want to, bitch if i want to, bitch if i want to.

Jul 16, 2009


now this one might be offensive. anyway, i want to beat the iron while it's hot. do my minuscule part in ridding the world of ignorance and confusion - should the world care to read my blog. how are things japanese different from things chinese? i'll let music do the work: japaneseness is better left unsaid and speaks louder than words. [and yes, i'm embedding lots of videos because i can.]

j-pop cuteness: utada hikaru - keep tryin'. you see how it sounds like pop but with a twist? why do you think it's called j-pop? japanese pop, try as it might, will never sound like britney. yet i was shocked out of my skull to learn that this was a singular, big time effort on utada's part as opposed to what she does. you gotta hate her early stuff. but you gotta love her exodus record gone electro.

jazz & enka grooviness: tokyo jihen [shiina ringo] - kurumaya-san. this one is the closest to lee hom's endeavour in that it mixes occidental modern with japanese traditional, only in a more pretentious way. japs are pretentious like that. and a bit conceited. still, she's better like this than in her j-rock days. still, whatever genre she's tackling, the woman truly has the gift of melody.

experimental dreaminess: tujiko noriko & tyme - mata, rainen. now this is how i love my japanese music. in the flowery field of avant-garde, you cannot dare say they're copying someone else's culture. to some extent, they invented this [haco anyone?]. it upsets me that people liken tujiko noriko to bjork just 'cause she loops samples. icelandic weather is a tropical breeze to the stone cold perdition of 21st century japan.

fun fact: utada and shiina are actually their last names but they let us believe otherwise. tujiko noriko? no bloody idea.


i'm not being offensive. he coined the term.

this has to be the most beautifully crafted, beautifully sung pop song i've heard in a long while. no joke. the dude is actually doing something interesting and culturally relevant by blending good old-fashioned listen-up-yo r&b with good old-fashioned chinese traditional erhu music. in a most goodness-filled, tingling way [no pun here]. and he looks like my 8th grade crush [it's a myth that asians can't be told apart]. and right now i'm checking out lei qiang. eat your heart out, japan.

i was just about to label this raburii, but lao-lee strikes me as more appropriate.

Jul 15, 2009

the ghost story

it was 4:30 a.m. this morning and my attempts to stay up through the following hours were failing miserably. as i gave in to sleep and my limbs grew numb, the thought of inertia creeps suddenly popped up. and along with it, a hunger for massive attack i hadn't felt in years.

though i'm reluctant to put them in the hall of infamy for one record i couldn't get enough of at 18, it's time to reacknowledge it: "mezzanine" provided the oldest relevant brick in the foundation of what my songwriting is today. and by grace of liz fraser, i may have had my first glimpse into celtic coolness. the coolness. indeed, i owe these guys more than i'd have thought in my female-vocalists-and-seventies-prog bubble, had it not hit me unexpectedly. that something i call electro-spleen; that phlegmatic yet groovy, cynical yet mystical tone. while today i turn to the likes of radiohead or bjork for guidance in deliberating and fashioning said tone, massive attack made it feel natural - like it was in my blood and voice. that is, before i'd begun constructing my blood and voice. back when music to me was my parents' cassettes and cds from high school buddy tudor. back when music to me was a gift i didn't take for granted. back when music to me was sound, not trend awareness.

there's a feeling of being the younger kid who believes the ghost story and shudders under the covers, rather than the elder kid who makes it up and makes it believable. a feeling i laid in lavender once i started taking my songwriting as a battle plan. a feeling that waned as it started taking more and more to challenge me as a listener. to reach the high "mezzanine" used to give me, i now need the most insanely intricate havoc yezda urfa can wreak. the awe is gone. but there is gratitude still.

Jul 14, 2009

fun and games

why do we take it for granted that these two go together?

today, my guy had some friends over to play d&d. a geeky good time i had to decline in favour of chores i also then declined. at some point i called him. seeing as i could barely operate the new phone i'd just got, i found myself uhm-ing and erm-ing at a bunch of giggling people. then i found myself poking fairly witty fun at them and myself. i got out of it unruffled and well pleased that i was quick enough. but ultimately, it evoked the terror i used to feel towards games as a child.

i watched jeux d'enfants
the other night [strange coincidence]. the narrator lists a few staple games in the beginning. none of which i played much in my junior years. i did have a penchant for snakes and ladders - you roll the dice and move the pawn accordingly, yup. and scrabble [for the love of words, indulge me a little non-lameness]. but that's it. card games? i'll never learn the rules to whist. computer games? mortal kombat, baby: kick, kick, more of that kick. sports? love swimming.

come adolescence and young adulthood, this translated into painfully bad flirting and poor people skills. which, to salvage whatever pride i had left, i chalked up to a "no games philosophy on life". hitting on someone, for instance, requires a kind of doublethink i despise [and causes adrenaline rushes i can't bear]. i just wanna tell it like it is [except that too causes adrenaline rushes i can't bear]. yet today, with the remembrance of terror came another memory - one i'd fed, like many others, naughty or nice, to my ogreish subconscious lest it swallow the whole of me. a memory now half-digested in its unrelinquishing bowels: when i actually bothered to try playing a game, sometimes i got it right. delightfully so. some ten years back, at a seaside bowling club, my baby bro and i finished a simpsons console game, with the aid of a one-time friend we'd co-opted for the specific purpose of giving it to mr. burns and his evil balloon. hell yeah. but this dirty old cliché
"game of life"... i just don't know.

so ok. children play games to develop skills they'll need as adults. adults use those skills to compete for sexual, social, and professional gratification, all while exchanging sarcastic lines; and call it a game. that much i follow. still i need solid proof, other than my own constant stage fright, that games are indispensable to human existence. and then i will try. please.


minutes later, on that very same new phone i can barely operate, i'm lost in a frenzy of snake ex2, level 7, extreme mode. quick enough and well pleased. i mean, any day now i might need to know how to slither my way fast to some darned elusive eggs. ow, that sounded wrong.

Jul 13, 2009

on showpersonship

[gee, does my boyfriend have to be in the pic?]

he who sweetly fills the sandwich is alex kapranos of franz ferdinand. the picture dates back to july 3rd, same day as the klaxons anecdote. the man was all too effectively concealing his identity with those sunglasses, checking out ab4, one of the veteran prides and joys of our indie rock scene. why am i behind the camera and not in front of it? well. you see. i'm not a fan. there are enough real fans queuing to pounce on him and i've done enough rockstar bootlicking in my day to last me a lifetime of jaded concert-going.

who knew a short three hours later, struck by the inescapable virus of wow-that-band-i-saw-on-mtv[2]-is-really-on-that-stage-and-boy-is-the-frontman-hot, i'd make it my #1 life goal to produce industrial amounts of drool and scream myself deaf? yes, i fell hard and fast into franz ferdinand fandom. or rather: frantically, obliviously and irresponsibly in lust with the cavorting kapranos. i, as the whole crowd [girls and boys]. and if his grin of wild satisfaction was anything to go by, the idea was to make the whole crowd [boys and girls] fall frantically, obliviously and irresponsibly in lust.

strangely enough, the next morning i didn't wish i'd posed with the bloke or rush to download franz ferdinand's discography. i just drank my coffee quietly and, in between pleasurable flashbacks, took to questioning my showmanship. showwomanship, you know. showpersonship. am i, as joanna puts it, a sensitive bore? a poetic bonerkiller? could i ever be a true entertainer? make a festival crowd go rabid? could a woman do that unless she were katy perry? would i do that as a woman? i might feel objectified. could i do that as a woman? i sure hope so.

go kapranos.

Jul 12, 2009

sailor chibi-dork

i promise i tried to help it for obvious reasons.
  • this blog is for pretending i have a life and looking cool.
  • one day people will be reading this stuff. one day i will have fans.
  • if i write too much at first it'll be depressing when the posting grows sparser.
  • i'm mature enough to be comfortable with my love for sailor moon [not anime in general], but there are limits.
  • deluded bag of nonsense, sprinkle with futility and serve hot.
so here. me in future japan gig outfit. i said gig outfit. exquisitely tailored too, not all poofy and grotesque. let this much be clear: i loathe anime cosplay. they have it all wrong. as a kid, i used to cry at night because i had no place in the fleshless, tantalizing, excruciatingly beautiful visual realm of sailor moon. dressing up as a sailor senshi doesn't make you one. nor does it make you 2d. i realized that early on. i realized the best i could do was hone my manga drawing skills ['cause bad fan art is blasphemy], learn japanese ['cause the way we all sang along to those intros in a made-up language cracks me up to this day], and grow up to be an anime creator myself. got the first two down cold. waiting to grow up.

disclaimer: haven't used paint since i was 12 and started feeling too old for it.

i tried not to be redundant with the hairstyle and colours, while staying true to the concept - as i've embraced it: the demure sparingness of the first series, not the baroque shit they contrived later on to sell more. tango shoes, slick. could've made a magic wand of that mic, though.
  • my transformation: lovers' quarrel power, make up!
  • my attack: self-indulgent princess music p.m.s. wail!
  • upgrade i gain in my own special episode: boosting the attack with tobacco-induced hoarseness and bad breath

Jul 11, 2009

now seriously

i was shirking chores, doing what's truly important. giving birth. or rather midwifing, if i am to be more exact about the merits of my craft, this here piece of wisdom:

they're still playing on the sinking ship
and postmodernism once reared
its ugly head
and pounded art till art bled
and now they both lie dead
while their offspring, inbred
grows untended and unfed
[insert fitting adjective] like visions of an acid trip

deformed, i was going to say. or malformed. or ill-formed. or something to do with form gone bad, 'cause that's the downside to postmodernism and lacking in genetic diversity. but hey, i've never done acid. at twenty-two. sad but true. boo hoo hoo. so how do i know what i'm saying? what if it makes you see the most flawless ballerinas draped in lettuce riding art nouveau furniture come to life? but i wasn't about to drop the trip rhyme that had so kindly been sent to me from idealand [i know what i do or don't want to drop]. and i wasn't dropping acid either: weed - too meh, hard drugs - too nope.

so i thought, why not call friend x. who's done acid and ask them how it is. maybe i can find a word that both describes an inbred baby and an acid trip. which would be ideal and is possible. it's why i love words. they make bite-sized ideals possible. and then it dawned on me.

now seriously: i've had a revelation. and it may make some go "duh!", but that's what makes it a revelation. and one that has suddenly and prodigiously cured and cleansed my songwriting mind of sick questions like: "am i a snob?", "am i stuck up?", "am i following blindly where joanna newsom's taking it too far?", "is she taking it too far?", "will i get laughed at if i'm funny?", "am i belittling my music if i crack a joke?". it was getting to me, 'cause my lyrical persona had used to be quite the ham and at some point she became jerky. pun unexpected but intended nonetheless. by its own inner dynamics. it's why i love words.

said revelation in bold so i never forget:
i should never take mySELF too seriously, but always treat my WORK with uncompromisingly if ludicrously thorough seriousness. jamie will be proud. now i'm going to call that friend.

that's what i'm talking about, pink floyd. when you go naming your song "san [and not saint] tropez". that's what i'm saying, regina. when you go naming your song "bon [and not bonne] idée". and thinking you'll get away with it. 'cause it's so hard to look it, pardon my french, the hèque up.

and that's where my writing songs in japanese comes in. in the zone where dictionaries aren't any real help very often.

but no, seriously.

no introductions

i'm socially awkward and not good with names. especially my own. choosing one of three based on what kind of thing my first impression of you tells me we're likely to develop, saying it out loud without stuttering, and explaining its origin and/or pronunciation. why this, interesting that. repeating it. without stuttering. takes too long. and for picking the wrong name for a cherished-to-be autograph i'd almost end up not getting because of name-choice related cold feet, i may live to witness myself telling a couple of tired and embarrassed klaxons how it's actually a nickname. no wait, a stage name. better yet, how i'll be opening for them in say 2 years. oh also, that i write songs - how many really good ones have i? around 10 - and being looked at [by humblingly stern jamie - a tough pill he'd be to swallow without james' sugar *retarded screams of adoration*], rightfully too, like i'm a deluded bag of nonsense. and wishing i'd just said one instead. or none. or "i wanna have your babies". or "meow". or that i were dead. so i'd rather we did no introductions. but don't get me wrong. i do want to be friends.