Friday, January 30, 2004

MiniBosses is a cover band that covers themes from Super Nintendo (SNES) games. At first I thought this was some kind of post-ironic thing but the bandmembers seem fun and dedicated to their videogames. A lot of kids grew up on this music. I am not so familiar with many of the tunes but I am a fan of the often strange mix of the cartoony and the operatic. Here's some strange, sometimes beautiful rock instrumentals from MiniBosses:

Kraid Metroid
MegaMan 2
Ghosts 'n Goblins
Wizards and Warriors

Talking about post-ironic I had a strange Frank Chu sighting. It wasn't his sign about the Zegatronic Rocket Society or the latest news about the 12 Galaxies that was strange. I'm used to that, as is anyone who has been through San Francisco's Financial District.

This time though he was at 111 Minna, a nightclub here in San Francisco. Some friends and I were there this past wednesday because DJ Spesh was doing his first all-night set. Anyways, Frank Chu was there along with his sign, standing back a little from the crowd.

Now, Frank Chu has become a lovable figure here in the city. He is always there with his indecipherable signs walking determinedly up and down the street. I'm a little distressed though that he is now hanging out at nightclubs (though I suspect someone coaxed him in) since it polishes away some of his outsider status.

Its always disappointing to see the quirky and authentic dissolve as a crowd of people grasp at it, not unlike how old monuments vanish piece by piece inside the pockets of tourists.

(still, frank chu may not be so easily captured. He seems to show up at the strangest places (warning: nudity))

Monday, January 26, 2004

Wow, what happened to january? I never meant to ignore this little pet project of mine.

This month has been drab and sunless here in san francisco. There's something vacant in the air, like someone has just left. An absence.

As I was falling asleep a couple nights ago I thought I heard a door open and close, as if someone had walked into the house. I thought about checking but I was already drifting into dreams and it is not uncommon to hear stray noises from the street. A. had just left the day before and so I was alone in the house.

Later that night, my sleep was disturbed when I felt something like a human hand brushing my forehead. The room, I remember, was unusually warm and I was sweating. I opened my eyes and turned my body to look around. When I looked up I saw someone standing next to my bed. It was still dark and I couldnt make out much more than a silhouette. The figure had come in through my bedroom door which was half-open and I could see that the hallway light seemed to be on.

My first instinct was not fear but more like anger. I was angry at myself that I had let this happen. I yelled out 'Get out of here! Get out!' but my screams were half-choked. I felt as if I were gargling rather than screaming. I don't know whether I was dreaming or I had just fallen back into a dream. The room seemed real enough except for the presence of this figure who was now dissapearing. I fell back into sleep.

When I woke up a little later, I looked around and noticed only that my bedside clock had been turned upside-down. Did I do that myself in the middle of the night? My bedroom door was closed. I got out of bed and went around the house checking that all the doors were locked. They were.

It was still dark out. I stayed up in the kitchen until I saw daylight. Only then did I go back to bed to get some more sleep.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

What a gorgeous trailer! i haven't been able to track down the background music in the trailer but it seems like it might be from a band named Die Knodel.
I am so proud. I feel like an uncle.

Ian was my roommate at Harvard. I looked up to him because he was one of those magical people who just breezed through any task. He was the editor of Let's Go Spain and a talented writer. Alhough he was an East-Asian studies major (he had to learn japanese for this) he decided to take an advanced algebra course just for the fun of it. He aced it of course.

After graduation, he got a scholarship to go travel in Asia. It is as if a bird had been released. He traveled all over Asia - China, Thailand, Southeast Asia - and stayed in Asia even after his grant money ran out. He would send occassinal missives to me and to other friends documenting his journey and his continued efforts to find new creative ways to survive.

He wrote it all down for us furiously. There was a famous "letter" that Matt, another friend of his, received. It was actually a roll of toilet paper that had to be unwound to be read. The writing was crooked and nearly illegible, like a mad scrawl. Ian had written it in a bathroom where, he wrote, he had had to spend the night having no other place to stay. He was living close to life's ground level, holing up in squalid areas, getting involved in strange affairs. His letters were full of his adventures - families who took him in, girlfriends who attached themselves to him and supported him, short stints doing busywork for foreign companies in order to fend off starvation.

Later, traveling through India, he wrote us of meeting yet another girl - another in the endless parade, or so we thought. Her name was Jessica and she was bicycling through India by herself. They joined together for a while, partners in wanderlust, and traveled the southasian countryside together. They made a brief visit to New York then, I remember, and we, his friends, dismissed her as the woman of the month. We couldnt have been more wrong. Ten years later, they have never left each other's side.

They lived in India together. Later they decided to move to Tokyo together, where they each took jobs which were unchallenging but were also keys to a life in Japan, their lives filling up with more stories, of strange fights with their neighbors, of making a life for themselves in a land unwelcoming to foreigners, of social encounters and misunderstandings that bordered on the surreal.

They lived also in Europe. They took the Siberian railway and lived in Prague. Also Italy and then in Austria. Over the years I would lose track of these two nomads until a letter would suddenly arrive in my mailbox bearing strange postal stamps and warm regards. They always found me.

After being together for almost ten years, they decided a couple years ago to get married. The wedding was held on the country estate of Jessica's parents - just outside of London. I flew from san francisco to attend. Friends of theirs from all over the world were there. I stayed in a little country Inn with a couple from Tunisia.

I still tell people that this is the best wedding I have ever been to. The wedding was in a small old medieval church. This was a full british wedding with the men in top hats and the women wearing long gloves. It was a small spectacle. Each of the reception tables was named after a country that Ian and Jessica had lived in. Ian's family composed and sang a capella (his family is full of wonderful singers) a piece they had put together for the affair. We stayed up all night, drinking, teaching each other new dances, telling intimate stories.

As the dawn broke, the entire wedding party walked across the countryside, crossing farmlands single-file behind the bride and groom like one of those animated promenades from a fellini movie. We arrived at a small pub that had been expecting us all for breakfast. Many of us continued to drink and toast. The bride and groom announced that for their honeymoon they were headed off an another adventure - they were heading to Bangladesh.

I just saw them a few months ago on my way back from Germany and stayed at their house in London. I have never seen them so domestic, arguing about the plumbers bill or about what plants belonged in the garden.

It was only recently that Jessica told me that a child was on the way.
I've been hungover from 2003. Even as I am still waking up, hesitantly acknowledging the new year with one eye closed, I have already had some changes in my personal life. Also, my career is taking a big switch. I am leaving the company I own to go off and do some work for another company. And I have some new creative projects I am working on (more on that soon.)

Oh, and I also just learned that one of my close friends is having a baby. Not unexpected but still. I'll use another entry to plot his particular trajectory...