Friends, acquaintences, and other social matters.

The Twist (I want to spell it as Twissst)

I’ve now got a backlog of photos from the three birthdays I’ve been bombarded with over the past couple of days, but I now doubt that any of them will ever see the light of day unless I get very, very bored whilst on holiday. There are so many things clogging my mind that I don’t know where to start – but in exactly 7 days’ time all my jazz assessments will be OVER, signaling the end of my first year of university. I have mixed feelings about this, because I’ve just been so mentally drained and distracted this year that I’m not doing anywhere near as well as I would have liked – which is why I’m really looking forward to summer when I can recuperate and catch up.

Completely irrelevantly, something that’s crossed my mind several times in female bathrooms: everyone except for me and members of my family use the hand dryer. I’ve never used it because my mum brought me up telling me “so you’ve just washed your hands with soap, now why would you want to blow a bunch of germs back onto your hands?!” and taught me to find the least-touched parts of toilet door handles, etc. I’m not too sure about the whole “you’re attaining germs by using the hand dryer” idea, but it’s just been such a habit. Plus, those things are damn loud and I don’t like the idea of having hot air blown onto me anyway – but people always look at me funny when I just shake my hands dry or something. It’s just one of those things that I think is definitely nurture over nature; such as my thing for beer and whiskeys, and disliking sweeter alcoholic drinks.

Photo is from Lottie’s birthday dinner last week. The giant burger and that beer made me very, very full. Bloated, even. Urghh.

As for the thing about the twist. Maybe I’ll write a song about it. I’ve got all this stuff bottled up I need to write into proper songs, rather than just little snippets of ideas. Those are awfully frustrating and get locked in notebooks and see the occasional scrawl and smeared black ink. Romance lives on too bleakly when only expressed on paper.

Until Saturday, I had never tried Fanta

And, until Friday, I had never tried a peanut butter sandwich. Them jazz students are stealing my food-ginity!

Asides from Geoff’s 21st on Saturday night, this weekend has been one of the worst in my life. I can’t explain why right now, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to. On Sunday I succumbed to some major retail therapy after a long morning of errands on no sleep. The fruits of my labour: a kick-ass pair of Ksubi boots. I’m fairly proud to say that I didn’t pay full price, nor the sale price on them. Managed to talk them dooowwwwn, and the salesboy turned out to be the new drummer of a band I’ve shot several times before. How small the world is, in New Zealand.

All I can say is, in life, looks are deceiving. Extremely so. If you hadn’t just read that I just had one of the worst, worst, worst weekends ever, and had merely saw the photos below – you would never have guessed. I guess we all like to keep a smile on the outside and pretend we are okay – in the hopes that if we do that for long enough, we really will be. This is certainly the most tumultuous time I’ve been through in… ever.

And the cat just killed another bird. More backyard digging for me to do, I see.

Happy Birthday, loverrrr. (#3)

Rip up the proof before the damage is done

I’m not going to lie, and I’m not exaggerating, but I royally screwed up my technical assessment today, and I’m currently hoping I scrape a pass. You know something has gone terribly wrong when your teacher says you did better in a class for which you weren’t prepared, than you did in the assessment…

Anyway, I’ve told myself this is a kick up the butt, a wake up call, I need to stop procrastinating, or having bad practise habits. I have a bad tendency to get obsessive about getting one thing right at a time, and ignoring a lot of other factors I need to practise simultaneously. For the next couple of days I really need to focus my attention on completing an assignment and presentation for jazz history that is due next week.

The “substantial” text in this post is after the list.

A contrast to my usual “decent photographic posts” but all these photos are from the last couple of days and are just relevant in my day-to-day right now, I guess. They’re placed in a random, erratic order, but here’s the list:

1/ The star-shaped metal caged light – it was originally intended for a candle when we bought it, but we never used it, so mum got a friend to alter it into an electronic light. I like it better this way, and we’ve been leaving it on in the lounge at night, rather than a lamp. In fact, lots of changes seem to be taking place at home at the moment: we’ve had a new stove top installed the other day, and the new air vent thing that goes on top of it is coming in tomorrow; mum’s bought a new, oh-so-amazing mattress for her bed, as well as surprising me this morning with a big mirror over the fireplace this morning. We’d talked about getting one for years, but it never got done… til now.

2/ The cupcakes I made for Ed’s 18th on Friday. It was a bit of a scramble as I only got home from uni after 6pm, and mum made delicious scones at the same time. Our kitchen is small, and one entire bench was covered with stuff we hadn’t cleaned up, so it was quite domino effect when something was knocked over…

You can’t see it in the picture, but the cupcakes spell out “HAPPY 18TH BDAY ED”. They don’t look amazing, but it was a quick job – and luckily I had the sense to pick one up off the plate and force Ed to eat it, as they disappeared within seconds of being brought out into the party.

3/ Some of the most recent postcards I’ve received – I collect them, and always request them when people travel, or from friends overseas. I would be over the moon if I got more postcards sent my way, so please do offer! And I’ll send you one back. I loooove them. Most of these pictured ones are from mum and Liv when they went to San Francisco, Yosemite, etc before her semester started.

4/ This is the pile of books I plan on tackling tomorrow for references on Ron Carter. With the exception of Catch-22, which I still really, really need to finish, oops. Asides from that, and the Ron Carter biography at the top of the stack, the rest are all library books. That damn biography took an arm and a leg’s effort to get hold of. First I tried all the big bookstore chains in NZ to see if anyone had one, or if I could get it ordered in – nope. Then I had to order it off Amazon and try to get it delivered to my sister’s dorm in time for mum to bring it back for me, phwoar!

5/A pic of Rome and I from Friday’s party. He’s doing my usual photo-face!

Note the red cup. How American. I forgot to ask the birthday boy but apparently they bought them from an American shop. I wondered how much they cost cos usually country-specialised stores aren’t cheap. Those things were sturdy as heck, though, and I can’t wait until I get to go to the states and use them at a real American party furrealz.

There is something that’s been bothering me for a while, but I think I have mostly come to peace with: breaking up with a friend. There are big businesses made in the “help” industry with aiding people deal with breakups and heartaches – all sorts of seminars for the broken-hearted or books and stuff like that – but what do you do when it’s breaking up with a friend? It seems to be a taboo subject that is brushed under the carpet and we’re given a “live with it” kind of response from most people. But reality is, often times breaking up with a friend can actually be more painful than with a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Why? For starters, you’ve probably been with them longer (I know that’s true for myself, and for the particular person I have in mind). There isn’t meant to be some kind of ulterior motive and vested interest when it comes to a close platonic friend, therefore, if it seems that egos, face and other silly things are getting in the way, it really makes you wonder whywhywhy?!

I don’t know what I’ve ever done to a very close friend who is amongst the people I’ve known longest, but I have decided to give up seeking their approval and blaming myself for the demise of our friendship. Everyone agrees that their behaviour indicates that something is bothering them, but since they won’t tell me – I just have to live with it, and keep reminding myself that it is not my problem – at least until they have the integrity to tell me so, and make it that way. It hurts, it really fucking hurts. He was my best friend. For years and years.

I know, there’s the distance, growing up and growing apart… we’ve all been there and done that with a friend or few at some stage in our lives – where our lives simply take us different places but we drift, but that is on good terms, without feeling some sense of trauma over it. In this case it’s different, very different. I have said that I wished that we had some sort of huge argument and actual falling out, because then perhaps I would feel like I got closure, rather than constantly clinging to the fraying edges of this stupid, hurtful ordeal.

Left awake to the clocks, I think I’ve found you out

I’m not going to lie, I’ve got a couple of drafts half composed but never got around to finishing. As usual, my 2-week break has been fleeting, and in merely a couple days’ time I will be thrown back into the business end of the semester – and I am FREAKING OUT. And once again, I’ve been sidetracked since opening up this new draft and have completely forgotten what I was going to write about.

Okay, here’s something – my friend Takuma and I had a huuuge talk about everything and anything a while ago before he moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane. One of the things that we discussed (and I can’t remember where he had read or seen something about this) was the fact that, us people spend too much time thinking about life, about the past, present and future, rather than doing anything. So technically, based on this logic, me sitting here and typing away about this, is a waste of time, because I’m being far too introspective* and wasting time that could be better spent actually living rather than thinking about living. I see the merits of this view, but I can’t help but do it anyway. Can we really appreciate our lives if we never stop and pause to think how far we’ve come? But isn’t it a little self-destructive (yes, I’m taking the pessimistic route, I could have said hopeful, exciting instead) to then have to face the huge fear of the unknown future that stands before us? Or to contemplate how much work, effort, time and sweats we must invest before we reach our next intended goal/destination? Then again, based on the previous argument, should we maybe stop thinking about where we are going, altogether? And just be on our way?

But hold on, if we just lived on and on without ever thinking where we want our lives to lead us, does this mean we will live a more spontaneous, free-spirited and content life without stressing of “intended destinations” (because we all know things never go to plan, and roads crisscross more than we’d like)? Then again, where will the contentment and feeling of satisfaction, of achievement come from if we hadn’t aimed for anything in the first place? Is the plan to have no plan?

When people ask me what I am going to do for the rest of my life, or career – and trust me, as a music major they ask me quite often – I really am not quite sure what to say. Even to the closest of people, I don’t know how to explain to them that half the plan is to have no plan, just a general direction.

I was going to delve into this more but ended up going to bed after writing the above paragraph, since it was around 5am by then. A lot of things are ever-increasingly confusing me and bugging me, I wish it was all a bit more clear-cut. They say business and pleasure shouldn’t mix – well that’s not going to work for me.

Finally looked through some of the photos I took in Sydney back in June/July – I really love these two. The first is one of Liv in the corridor of the hotel; the latter is of Liv and Mum on a bridge over the motorway at night. I’m surprised I managed to do it at long last, but that photo is EXACTLY how I wanted it to look – with the original shot in the middle and the rest stretching out – kind of relating to what I mentioned in my last post, this is like, two moments in one moment.

Incoming, out clubbin’, not lovin’, slow your body down

I think I’ve run out of farewells for the year. Saying goodbye for 1-2 years to one of my closest friends, Takuma the other night was extremely difficult – he’s gone to study in New Orleans and neither of us can afford a visit within a year, I think. On top of that, 6 days ago I had to send my sister off at the airport, without knowing if the next time I see her is for Christmas this year, or worse (and more likely) to be in a year’s time, during the US summer season, when I will be a year older, and she will be turning 18. Thoughts like that are freaking me out so bad – I’m not going to be a teenager the next time I see my sister! I’ve been having difficulty over the past week living by myself, contemplating the fact that now, the four members of my immediate family are spread over 3 countries. It’s really hitting me: I will NEVER live with my sister again. I know this is all normal and part of growing up, but it just seems kind of whacked out she’s moved across the Pacific Ocean on a massively glamourous 4-year scholarship to play Division 1 College Golf, but I’m the older sibling and I haven’t even moved out of home yet! This whole “end of an era”, aka END OF MY CHILDHOOD thing is seriously messing with my mind. Despite the fact that for years it’s really only been a pseudo-childhood, it was much nicer than the huge push into the deep end of a very cold and icy pool. Sea, even.

Although I’ve only been at university since March (the NZ academic school year is different to the northern hemisphere, school years don’t cross calendrical years), it feels like I’ve been here forever. It’s scary thinking that in 2 months’ time I will have completed 1/3 of my Bachelor degree. Even scarier wondering what comes after, but extremely exciting contemplating all the traveling that I want to do – and all the people that I know scattered all over the world who have offered me “couch” accommodation just adds to the excitement.

In the meantime, this is how I spent Friday night procrastinating from practising for my recital tomorrow night: low light phone snaps by Elvia.

Black Motel caged-back dress. She convinced me to wear the shorter one of my two new dresses, over the mesh Asos one. Powerwalking from her apartment near the Sky Tower, we fended off drooling and drunk men on the streets. I was grateful for the height difference between us that allowed her to wear heels and me to stomp in my Dr Martens. The Bouncing Soles really put a bounce in my step. Winter nights are brutal to exposed backs and uncovered arms, the city air an unfriendly reminder of how inebriated we must be to ignore its scathing existence. Taking pictures whilst we are still straight and lips unsmudged by bottle tops and glass rims. They say a girl is sexiest when confident, but how much confidence is real? Leaning against the bar, girls try and skip the serving order by pouting, eyelash batting, whilst men blanket an act of confidence over a core of frenzied excitement. Classified as a depressant, I find alcohol full of connotations: suppressant, an activator, empowerment, enslavement to the lack of conscience that ensues. And for better or worse we can’t escape ourselves and the things we do or say under the influence. But I often wonder – isn’t it really that we’re under less “influence”?

At her apartment we talked about the differences between Taiwan and New Zealand – the contrast in cultures and perceived “normality”. She grew up there, whilst I grew up here. But both spending our young adult life here with different backgrounds and cultural upbringing gives us a rare view that others don’t have. I question the differences, the ones I know of but don’t live by, as she adjusts to the new set of social “normality”. It’s funny how people can come from the same place and end up so different. Or come from different places and still have so much in common. Sometimes the diversity drives me crazy, how people don’t understand, aren’t curious, don’t know to be curious, but variation is never a bad thing: “Six kinds of blue”.

Even though this last picture caught me by surprise and was a snap in a whim, I love how offguard it caught me, its blurriness being precisely as the moment was. Sometimes there isn’t a still in the moment. Does that make sense?

She asked me about the kinds of music I’m into, and showed me Taiwanese bands she’s into. There is a huge gap to bridge but I can see why that stuff sells. It’s depressingly not difficult to write and perform though, in my opinion. That is, relatively.

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