And a young man’s gonna make mistakes, til he hits the brakes

“By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction, the die is cast and the moment has long since passed which determined the future.” – Zelda Fitzgerald

I think it’s safe to say that I certainly do not live my life in a very safe manner. Wait, that sentence just sounded retarded. But it makes perfect literal sense in terms of what I’m saying. It’s true – I take a lot of risks, some calculated, but more often than not, I ignore such “calculations” and stick with what I want to do/think I should do/think I can get away with. The latter which sounds absolutely terrible, although thus far I have turned out quite “alright”. Point is, I wholeheartedly agree with the above quote, and I am living my life and making my “big decisions” as I see fit – not in the most “sensible” and “safe” manner at all. Instead, doing what I think will lead to where I’d like to be. I think that if I can’t dream big and try to fly towards such dreams up in the clouds at age 19, then there will be no more-appropriate time to do so.

I’m beyond grateful and appreciative towards my parents’ encouragement and support of me, even in times when they disagree with my decisions; I know there are many, many parents out there who simply do not provide such freedom and constant support towards their children. I’ve noticed (and mum’s also told me) that people are either in positive awe of how brilliant it is, or in absolute shock and horror towards my parents with regards to the fact that my sister and I pursue such “unconventional” pathways – and all with their full backing and support! Other parents that my family knows have either high-5’d us for sticking to our guns and going for it, or have taken it upon themselves to try and convince me that music is a stupid course of study that will lead to nowhere, and no career. They’d list all the reasons why I should study law or whatever instead (this is back at high school when I hadn’t decided on my university degree yet), and how I should just keep music as a hobby, etc. It’s as if the decision is so fucking obvious that only an outright idiot would choose otherwise. Even though I am always polite and try to deflect and then divert such conversations, it always maddens me, right to the very core. I just want to say who the hell do you think you are?! Don’t treat me like a fucking idiot; you say that as if I hadn’t thought of all of the above already, etc. Anyway, I don’t even know how that train of thought got here, because then I got distracted and have been reading something completely irrelevant for the past half an hour. Point is, I’m glad I still have a lot of things that I look forward to, because of the path I’ve chosen. Rather than having chosen one which I dread to face the end of.

Yesterday, with just a towel-bag of essentials, I set off for a very long drive out to a friend’s family house, south-west of mine. The weather hovered from very cloudy, sunny, and then cloudy, spitting rain, sunny, then back to the clouds and eventually decent rainfall. Photographically equipped with only a Canon point-and-shoot in the back pocket of my denim cut-offs, I didn’t take that many photos. The countryside experience is more about the intertwined smell of freshness, cow dung and grass in the air, the bugs that crawl on you, and the thorns, sand and mud on your feet. All in all it made for an interesting day – most certainly a very adventurous drive as I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to end up – with great company, great conversation, great food and great fun. In other words, a bloody great day:

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me

This is the jewellery post that’s been requested a few times… and now you can see why I’ve procrastinated from it.

The days are so happy, the air so warm, my mind is so alive but I keep listening to broken songs. The prose and poetry I keep scribbling in notebooks or drafting but not publishing on my blog are all so full of achiness. Not outright pain, no longer sorrowful, but some sort of deep-reaching ache like that of an old sporting injury that never fully recovered… which you completely forget about until you try to exercise that particular region and suddenly you tense up a little and find no solid strength that you can rely on.

I’m taking a really long drive out to the countryside to a friend’s house tomorrow, so that should inject me with some more positivity and creativity as well as a splash of saltwater and sunshine. Although chances are, knowing myself, I can still derive some other kind of ache to write about late into the night after that, I’m sure.

Anyway, here is the jewellery post that has been requested a few times now. It’s not my entire collection, but its the pieces that are frequently gracing my limbs or are of some kind of special value:

This is the chain that I got for Christmas on which I soldered my charms on today. I had been so careful to not burn my hands a second day in a row, but my sister startled me at one point and I burnt my knee instead. That’s two blistering burns in two days. The really painful background to this bracelet is that earlier this year (I don’t want to go into details again or I might cry), following some unfortunate series of events, I ended up losing my silver charm bracelet which my parents gave me on my tenth birthday. I had been collecting charms on it annually ever since, so I was so shattered when it got lost in rather unexplainable circumstances. Ever since, mum and I have been slowly buying back the same old charms, as well as new ones. I know it’s never going to be the same, but I guess I could think of this as the chain with my adult life on it, rather than childhood. I am the most sentimental person ever, and for better or for worse, I attach a lot of emotions onto possessions, so it seriously felt like I lost my childhood.

It was really hard to photograph all the charms clearly without being really anal about it, so I just couldn’t be bothered and will make a list instead. So far these are the charms I’ve got on the bracelet above, from left to right: Bell – which is a replica of what I got for my 18th birthday, mum’s intentions were that it signified or heralded me into adulthood… Kangaroo bought at the Blue Mountains in Australia; Cable Car I got from San Francisco; State of California (it’s at a funny angle in the picture) from my trip; Mickey Mouse from Disneyland; Spider which was originally from when I was 13; Bear which mum bought me from Yosemite National Park in America; Car for my 17th birthday when I was involved in a car crash and needed a car; Ballerina for my 12th birthday; Quavers and Treble clef originally for my 11th birthday.

I don’t know how I remember all that, but somehow I do – which just truly reflects how attached I was to my bracelet, I guess. It’s like I have to buy all my years back, in the form of a little piece of metal – which I know sounds retarded… but. Every time I think about it – such as now – I seriously feel my eyes well up in a gush of frustration and anger especially at self, with “what if”s and “if I could have changed my actions and reactions” that night. I need to let go.

This picture shows some of my favourite silverware. The write cuff at the back with the turkey stone is actually my mother’s – I just kind of have it on loan from her. She had it custom made for her when she was about my age as she couldn’t find any jewellery that fits her very small wrist. Nowadays, we have yet to find someone other than us two who can comfortably fit it. The turquoise bracelet is a high school graduation gift from mum and the key attached to the side of it is a charm from my sister. It’s not very visible here, but the silver bracelet in the foreground features a heart-shaped clip at the front. I got this for my 19th birthday, and I was supposed to put my aforementioned charms on this one, but I decided not to in the end. The bracelet on top of that is a Pandora bracelet that I got for my 18th birthday. The charms aren’t very clear here, but they are placed in the order which I got them: Rabbit, Mother of Pearl Hearts & Hedgehog from my mum. She was born in the year of the rabbit, and as for the hedgehog, we have an inside joke/nickname between us from when I was younger – she’d tell me I’d be nasty and prickly like a hedgehog whenever I got angry, and so it kinda reads like rabbit loves hedgehog/hedgehog loves rabbit. Just some cute, sweet mother-and-daughter thing I guess, haha.

Next to that I got a Suitcase charm from an old friend, signifying all the places I want to, and will embark on traveling to; the next two are from a handful of friends – a Four-Leafed Clover and a pair of Quavers – all were for my 18th birthday. The last two were from this year – a friendship knot from my friend Cara for my 19th, and a Kangaroo from dad when we went to Australia earlier this year.

The two rings were both self-bought in Taipei earlier this year as well, on separate occasions. The funny thing about this set of jewellery is that I often like to wear these turquoise pieces with my aqua Dr Martens because they’re the same colour!

This is just a bunch of my other bits of silverware. As you can see, I have a preference for silver, and I’m not really into gold. In fact, I don’t think I photographed any gold pieces I have, because I never wear them. The half-heart necklace on the right hand side has my sister’s name, Liv engraved on it, and she has the other half with my name. Mum bought these as Christmas presents for us last year, signifying the two pieces of her heart… Christmas was a bit of an emotional time for us in 2009 because we weren’t sure whether or not my sister would be home for Christmas this year (turns out she is though, but won’t be in 2011). I had worn it every single day since last Christmas, until November… (see below)

The necklace to the left of that was bought at Kinkaku-ji (a.k.a. Temple of the Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto when I went there in February. The huge chunky bracelet in the middle is from a Charlie Brown boutique in Sydney. On the far left is a feather pendant which I wear on a silver chain around my neck. Someone on formspring asked me why I wanted a feather tattoo, which is for the same reason that I have this necklace: the Chinese character for feather is part of my name, and also bares a lot of meanings, symbolism and connotations.

Here are some of the rings that have rotated as favourites of mine for the past few years. The middle one is from Disneyland; the 2nd one from the left is from Japan; 2 to the right of it was bought at the same time as a ring for a very old friend, years and years ago. The ring with the longest history out of this bunch is the band that is 2nd from the right – it dates back to the summer of 2005 when a bunch of mates and I were at the mall, and the boys found it. We all wrangled over it for ages, and took turns keeping it, but somehow I’ve hogged it ever since, haha.

This is by far the prettiest necklace that I own, and its entanglement and stranglehold of my neck was the only reason that I took off my aforementioned half-heart necklace (which my sister wears the other half of) back in November. Liv and I were shopping in Santa Monica and it was love at first sight when I laid eyes on it. Liv was quite taken with it too, but after seeing the little matching heart piece which dangles down the back of my neck when worn, she immediately insisted that it was stunning and that I had to buy it. Ironically she ended up paying for it, and the dress I bought from that store, yay. What I love about it most is how it sparkles in the sunlight… Oh take me back to our afternoon in Santa Monica under the Californian sun…

These are longer necklaces which I like to wear with loose shirts, and a lot of black. The key on the left is the backdoor key to my friend’s old house at which he no longer resides. It hangs off a piece of Kangaroo leather which I bought in Brisbane in 2008. The bullet casing in the middle is indeed a real one, from a friend who does rifle shooting. I’ve often forgotten I was wearing it whilst traveling and worry about it being confiscated at customs. For some reason I always fail metal detectors and even hand metal detectors several times; and my luggage has to get x-rayed over and over, so this doesn’t really help… I made it into a necklace using the chain and ring of an old necklace that had a broken pendant. The hourglass necklace does indeed work, and I bought this at Wasteland on Melrose Ave in LA last month.

The necklace on the left is something that I only ever wear when I’m wearing some nice dress for a fancy ish dinner or something. It looks kinda shit in the photo but based on several compliments about it, I’d have to say it actually looks pretty fancy and expensive in real life. Ironically, I bought it for $5 from Bling when it was shutting down at Botany at the end of 2008, I think. The necklace to the left of it is from the Free People boutique on Cahuenga Blvd, in Hollywood. The left two necklaces were made by me about a week and a half ago, as seen in this post.

Just a bunch of slightly quirky bracelets over the years, the newest addition being the rain and umbrella bracelet at the bottom, which I got for Christmas. See, it is really a widely known fact that I love the rain. The bracelet above that as well as the top two red and blues ones were from Aotea Square market years and years ago, all on separate occasions. The black one is a mass of dagger-like hearts. The fine silver thing above that is actually an anklet, which I don’t wear much because the bells get really loud and I feel as if I sound like a belly dancer when I walk around… The pretty flower bracelet in the middle is a handmade gift from a Japanese friend, from back in 2004, I think.

This is what I wear on my right ear. That’s one earring, looped through the three lobe piercings I have. I didn’t take a picture of the left ear, just in case newly-pierced industrial piercing (which I only got only last month, in Hollywood) was crusty or something… up close is not a good view. I just usually wear plain silver studs on the lobes, and occasionally a single, dangling earring. I’ve actually got quite a collection of quirky earrings, but I hardly ever wear them, so I couldn’t be bothered posting them today.

Wrist candy from this year. I love watches. At one point in time before I cared about comfort whilst bass-playing, I wore three, large-faced watches – each telling the time of a different time zone that was relevant to my family.

So there it is… the heavy metal that adorns me often. I didn’t really want to do this post for ages, because for one, look! It’s turned out fucking huge… since I can’t do something without going into details! and two, it just looks like a narcissistic showy post. But oh whatever, I’d waited until I got a fair few requests for it, so for once I am satisfying someone out there with a blog post haha! As if that’s normal for me.

we sway, we grab, at the strands, and the skin, couldn’t cause anymore friction than this

This day a month ago, I was spending the day at Santa Monica with my sister, gorging on frozen yoghurt and feasting on the novelty of simply being there. Just now I’ve attempted to add another day onto my California journal, which is a classic Moleskin notebook that I’ve lived in and lived out of for the duration of my trip. Currently the night of Friday 12th November is still being written out, if only in bullet points that include the details of what happened, what I saw, what I thought, etc. I want to get it all down ASAP before it all slips away from me… but the delicate tiers and layers to my sweet, bitter and bitter sweet memories are just so intricate and intertwined. It’s as if I have to write down every tangent I ever went on (somehow I remember, still, for now), because it was a part of the entire experience which I had. But in the process of peeling back the layers I’m afraid to lose something in the sensitivity and freshness of purely having lived through it and felt it, without ever thinking about it. Delicate indeed.

There is a very cute spider crawling around my ceiling at the moment. It’s the perfect spider size, aesthetically, I reckon. Small enough to be noticed and cute, and not big enough to make my sister scream and insist that I kill it. I still hope no one in my family comes into my room and finds it tomorrow though.

I’ve never really been a “fan girl” of any sort. Yeah, I’d say such and such guy from band/film/editorial/whatever is hot or sexy, but I’ve never really been one of those girls that actively drool over celebrities and such. This said, there are maybe half a handful of exceptions. One being James Franco. And the other, since the night of Friday 12th November, being Jamie Burke. At least I’ve met and exchanged a few words with the latter, you know, so I don’t sound like a complete dick when I say his voice vibrating through my eardrums was like audible sex. Would be very audible sex. Sorry. I’m often times against the supposed attractiveness of a man with a guitar in a band, because too many of these are put on some undeserved pedastool (by my standards anyway), and they aren’t even that great. But I think the combination of sexy man, ripped shirt, guitar, sexy voice, nice enough band, and orgasmic London accent is truly my weakness.

If there ever is a time where I wish I had my mythical “come hither” look tamed and available at my beck and command, it would be if I ever meet aforementioned half handful.

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve already. I’m not ready for Christmas feasting yet. I’ve consumed far too much food and drink this week to last me until the rest of 2010.

I know this entry is so scatterbrained. It’s literally everything I’m thinking of right now, in chronological order. Pretty typical-Amanda of me, I must say. Just for this post I’ve decided to start a new category on my WordPress: Males. Very appropriate way to begin the life of *cough* adult blogging? I was going to make it say “Men” but hey, I’ll keep it slightly broader, eh? Also, I’ve got two places I’d really like to take photos at. Namely, Lottie’s amazing bedroom and this other room with large windows. I fucking love large, photogenic windows. Why couldn’t this house have any like that?!

Current quote featured on my new whiteboard in front of me at the moment: WELL BEHAVED WOMEN RARELY MAKE HISTORY. That’s it, perfect. Motto for the end of 2010 and beyond, I say.

Green eyes just don’t cut it, quite, for me

Nothing ever quite pans out according to plan. I have a love/hate relationship with plans, because I love making and breaking them, depending which suits. The best occurrences are when things and people I didn’t know even existed suddenly formulate in front of me as our paths cross and intertwine, then part again. There’s been a couple of really stand-out occasions where that’s happened for me, and I guess a lot of feelings have been re-evoked in me tonight from watching “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”.

There’s always the lingering questions and regrets, l’esprit de escalier and the utter hatred at fate for having granted you such a movie-like scene in your life, only to make the circumstances unbearable. Have you ever met someone who you felt was utterly perfect for you, but just in the wrong place, at the wrong time? Is there someone in your life that would be utterly perfect for you, give or take x amount of years?

Also, I think one of the most interesting phenomena (or theory) I’ve experienced, is the time in Taipei where my friend Joel and I had met some guys on a shuttle bus out of the airport, only to meet them twice more in Taipei: once at the 101, and another time on a metro! What are the chances of that happening?! Imagine if we had been at opposite ends of this very full metro carriage? Or different carriages? And so on… it intrigues me how you could potentially be at the same place at the same time as someone, and would never have known it. We had joked that if we crossed paths yet again that we would buy each other drinks. Obviously this didn’t happen.

I would keep thinking, “had I not left that gig early, I would never have met…”, or “had I not been reading a poster in the hallway, then…” I know life is too short to dwell on these things, but at times one can’t help but wonder. It’s times like these I wish I had a very anonymous blog where I could spill all my juicy, deep, dark, sad, mysterious encounters with various “important” people.

Product of the day is the following Christmas card I made earlier tonight. The lighting ruins it, but it’s black ink on silver card with a touch of red.

I won’t try, I won’t try
to make our paths collide
because next time, next time
I won’t let us say goodbye.

say it anyway, I would say, wait for me

It feels like the dates of December have blurred into some form of collective humidity. November in California seems like light years ago. I’ve been too distracted in this gallivant lifestyle lately that I can’t seem to do more than three productive things in one day. But today I read somewhere whilst Christmas shopping that, “life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself” – an anonymous quote that just rang so loud in my head I couldn’t shake it off. So I’m glad that in about 15 hours’ time I will be having a jam with a man and his guitar, to hopefully put some music to lyrics I wrote some days ago:

If walking away was so easy,
Then why can’t we all?
What is this magnetism,
What is this draw?

Just because it’s there
Doesn’t mean you should
Just because I let you,
Didn’t mean you would.

Wandering through, your unknown house,
Learning your room, like I’m learning you.

If time was so infallible,
Then why can’t we count?
The moments are inconstant
And the moon isn’t round.

Just because you see it,
Doesn’t mean it’s there.
Just because I feel it,
Doesn’t mean you care.

Feeling up your walls, looking for the light switch,
Looking for my mind, afraid that I’m your kitsch.

When we walk so close together,
Something’s gotta give.
When you can’t move any closer,
Into me you start to drift.

It’s not about any one thing or person in particular, but rather like a snowball of how I feel, how people I know feel, and how it all somehow got magically regurgitated through this mind of mine. That sentence itself was like a snowball!

I’m going through one of those periods again where I feel like I am being too much of a Jane of all trades… If we set aside my old part-time cafe job, for the first time ever, I’ve made more money through my photographic work than playing music gigs. That said, the first year of jazz school and all the undesirables I went through this year has really shaken me from the core out. I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, on the plane, in the depths of the night with black ink trawling out from my fingertips, forming words and prose that didn’t exist on any conscious level until the moment they converged with paper. It’s hard to keep up all three outlets for me, balancing time, let alone all the mental factors – bass: practising jazz, refining my technique and writing music that spawns from some mysterious corner of my mind; photography: I’ve just not found the time to set up any of the photo shoots that I’ve plotted in my head, and have mostly just done spontaneous momentous work, which I must admit is my favourite; and writing… I’ve started up a couple of large-scale writing projects which are both hovering in my mind, with only a few pages of actual physical existence. This needs to change.

These photos are from the Viper Room where The Binges and Delilah played. Oh, Jamie Burke, what can I say? His London accent was like velvet to my ears during our far-too-short exchange. More will be uploaded soon, and I’ll be working on finishing my Californian journal.

Before I forget to mention it, one of my summer hockey teams (I play in four teams over two nights) is undefeated and we are playing in the finals on Wednesday night. Yay for a free meat pack to be devoured at a barbecue on Sunday! Yes, I’m already assuming we will hands down win. Hopefully I’ll get some satisfactory goals like I did last week.