Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Music fanaticism.

I love music. I obsess over my "currently listening to" like a teenager. I play the violin whenever inspiration beats laziness. I am going to play creative nu-metal covers at an upcoming gig. I take karaoke ever so slightly too seriously and get mad when people ruin the vibe of the song in question. I would actually commit murder to see Kraftwerk perform in a live setting. Perhaps most importantly, I may never outgrow the adolescent tactic of using songs to define moments and emotions in my life.

Everyone has different methods of cataloguing their highs, lows and middle grounds. I just happen to rely primarily on the dates on digital photos to keep accurate timelines, and on songs and bands that feature prominently in remembering.

The Horrible First Heartbreak was "Cut Here" by The Cure.

My First Scandalous Affair was "Beating Heart Baby" by Head Automatica.

The Great Pants-Peeing Psilocybin Adventure of Boxing Day 2008 was "Electric Feel" by MGMT.

Stupid Bout of Really Awful Depression in Japan was "In der Palästra" by Sopor Aeternus and the Ensemble of Shadows.

etc forever.

My mother doesn't give a rat's tail about music. While she is familiar enough with relevant songs so as to narrowly avoid the "pop culturally autistic" moniker, she has no interest in music as a form of entertainment on a daily basis. There is never, ever music playing at my parents' house. Music is just something dad does when he's driving solo. I had to find the joy in enjoying and obsessing over and loving music independently of my family, though I give them lots of credit for encouraging me to pick up violin.

On the "fandom" end of things, it all started with Limp Bizkit. Arguably the worst band ever to become even marginally popular. I fell in love with Wes Borland, but I would have let Fred Durst take me to bed if he'd asked. I obsessively read fan websites about Wes Borland - the best was "Obsessy With Wessy," hosted on Angelfire - memorized his favorite food, color, shoe size, all this stupid bullshit. I actually think I cried once or twice thinking about how frustrating it was that we might never meet and he would certainly not fall in love with me. I was just an overweight teenager with acne, had no boobs to flash at concerts like some of the other female fans did, but I loved him with all my heart and then some. With this unstoppable love came a fervent fanatic addiction to Limp Bizkit as a musical entity. I owned every album up through "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water" (which was obviously bought the day it was released) and I memorized the chugtastic guitar riffs, lead AND backing vocals, and the ins and outs of every song. I went to the bathroom six times before the opening act came on the one time I scored arena tickets to see them (I remember the date - it was December 11, 2000). This went on for some time.

Ten years later I look back on how silly it was to be so obsessed with Limp Bizkit and feel jealous of my younger self! If I were that passionate about anything, at this age I could conquer the world.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Wicked! Down from a US 10 to a US 6.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Not a bad use of a national holiday.  Roller coasters, fair food and no lines because Space World is a sad bubble economy theme park!  Photo courtesy of Chris Harber.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why can't I quit you?

I'm going to Germany again. This will be my fourth time in less than three years, and I have not lived on the western half of the Eurasian landmass for any of those three years. I'll be there over the New Year holiday in Frankfurt and Berlin. As if that weren't awesome enough, I will be accompanied with three of my best friends from Japan, who all happen to be English and therefore already nearby for Christmastime. To say I'm excited would be an insincerely understated lie.

It's funny how any given place represents different things for everyone. For a friend who will be joining me in my travels, Germany is synonymous with uptight boring people who wear socks and sandals. For plenty of Americans, the first things that come to mind are Nazis, shit porn and Oktoberfest. For me, it is (incorrectly) a futuristic haven of minimal techno producers with cool names, power plants, Kraftwerk, and kinky shit. I studied the language rather casually and by this point speak extravagantly poorly - just well enough to survive, file a police report, and say "tee hee" to cute strangers.

Obviously it is just a country, with all sorts of variations in language, dress, geography and politics. In my short but sweet times there I've watched the sun rise over Berlin on New Year's morning after in the company of a druid, danced the night away at a pro-Israel/USA communist squat, and I've also been yelled at by a cranky middle aged woman on a train for having my feet on my own seat.

It's these mundane occurrences that become "unforgettable experiences" and define how we think of X locale, and this update exists solely for my own purposes. I'm including a few photos from the prior three trips that I find particularly nostalgia-inducing or representative. Enjoy!

A chilly pond by Ravensbrück concentration camp memorial site: Brandenburg, March 2008

Revelers at Icon, first "real" clubbing experience in my lifetime: Berlin, March 2008

TV tower in Alexanderplatz on a snowy New Year's Day: Berlin, January 2009

Summer flowers on top of a mountain: Baden-Baden, August 2009

Maren, a notably excellent Couchsurfing "coffee or a drink" host who introduced me to some lovely people: Munich, August 2009

Monday, September 6, 2010