the loss of an aux | a fairey tale

so i got a car in august – a 2005 slate-green-metallic honda odyssey – the van from my childhood.

and it’s great, it has a navigation system, dvd player, 6 slots for cd’s

and no aux cable.

there’s a button for switching from dvd to aux,
but no plugin, cable, bluetooth or anything of the sort that lets you play music from your phone without tearing the dash apart.

that means i am doomed to memorize songs from the selection of cd’s me and my friends have made, or i have to listen to the radio.

and 90% of the time, i opt for the radio.

and i have loved listening to the radio,

and it got me tickets to see shepard fairey,

or

“the guy who made the obama hope poster and that andre the giant brand”

asking for money is difficult.

asking for money to fund a project you want to do is even more difficult, because it seems like begging, and no one likes a beggar.

having fundraised before, i sympathize with those who ask me for money. it’s really difficult and plays with my heartstrings, so lately i’ve been giving my money to a number of causes, just because i know receiving money from someone unexpected is an encouragement i have felt and loved, so recreating that for someone else is nice.

basically, i’m spending my money in better ways than probably you are.

i listen to the radio now. the ad’s on the music stations are awful and play more than music ever does and every other channel is static, so i tune in quite regularly to NPR, which is administered through a little orange county station called KPCC.

i drop of my roommate at school twice a week, and i listen to the radio on the way home (because she thinks the news is boring and doesn’t want to listen to it on the way there) and there was an interview one morning with shepard fairey, the guy who created the brand OBEY and made the obama hope poster.

he was talking to alex cohen about his new exhibit in downtown la, and that it was called damaged, and that it was opening soon.

now, this was during the station’s ‘fall member drive’, and after every story, the reporters were asking ‘listeners like you’ to ‘please please please consider donating, because without your support, stories like this one with shepard fairey wouldn’t be able to happen’

it was 8:30 in the morning as i was considering this.

and i waited for the commercial to pass, because the commercials on KPCC are like thirty seconds and have kind of bouncy music so they’re very bearable.
but this time it lasted way longer.

and i drove all the way home with alex cohen begging me to donate, because at 9am this certain grant closed and if they didn’t have enough people then they would lose it, and it was $11,000 and that was so much money and they needed 100 people to just give anything, and right now they were at 50 people and the end of the hour was coming in 15 minutes and that’s not much time, and there was even an incentive, you would be entered into a drawing to see shepard fairey’s new exhibit, you and one guest, you could go for free, and your chances were super good right now, if only you just donated one dollar even, just so they could get this grant so they could keep doing what they were doing and telling these amazing stories, their passion projects, all day and night to listeners like me, that i just pulled over with 3 minutes to 9 and gave $10 on the internet through my slow slow phone, my heart pumping and hands fumbling as i was trying to enter my credit card information before the hour was up.

i went back home, and lived the rest of my day, wondering who i would take to that exhibit should i win, and then got stressed about that, and pushed it from my mind.

i probably wouldn’t win anyways.

two weeks later, i was baby-sitting my friend’s twins, and i got an email from KPCC.

CONGRATULATIONS!

it said.

by now, i was receiving promotional emails from the station and various thank-you’s for supporting them, so i thought this was just another one of those.

but it turned out that i won the contest, and would see shepard fairey’s new exhibit in a month, me and one friend.

so i texted that roommate who i drive to school twice a week to see if she was free, and she was, and i thought i would go with her until i decided i wanted to go with a different friend, so i went with him and felt like a jerk for a split second, but she was ok with it, and then me and that other friend had a grand old day!

we got free bagels, took a funny picture with shepard fairey, and even found $20 on the ground.

and i am so thankful for that fall members drive for it.

visit vsco for pictures

x

workman in the light

There is nothing particularly interesting about Workman. Just in the thick of the boredom of being a single thirtysomething, just tall enough to change a smoke detector without a chair, and with less hair than before. He works 9 to 5, collects blackened coins from the ground, and is friends with all street animals (that is stray cats, rabid squirrels, schitzo mice, and dirty rats, to name a few).

He fits into the world by being a wall, holding up the house, but often pinned over with more colorful and exciting things.

Things that will eventually, fade and crumble away…

he slumped out of the small office meeting room, eyes to the floor. the interviewing team seemed uninterested and unimpressed with him. again.

we are happy having you in the basement, you’ve been doing a wonderful job there the past few years. if a position is available in the front, we will be sure to let you know

he wanted to see the light. 

walking into work everyday, the most enchanting part was seeing the stream of sunrise come through the curtains in dusty lines. it sounded a lot better than being underground in the green-yellow fluorescent lit basement.

but apparently, today was not the day.

so Workman went back to work,

taking the industrial elevator down, watching the last bit of natural light disappear with the doors.

it was late afternoon. Workman finished his shift and decided to walk home instead of taking the train.

it was a pleasant early fall day, the sun barely hanging in the sky, warming everything that stayed still in its sight.

the sidewalks were empty, which was not rare for this place.

people cared too much about staying in their tidy suburban homes than visiting the city these days. Workman crunched red and brown leaves under his feet. ahead, there was a small rustling in a twiggy bush. a pigeon with two stump feet was trying to eat a bottle cap, flipping it with each peck.

bending over to help the disabled bird, Workman rustled through his backpack and took out a sandwich bag filled with dry, brown crusts and offered some to the bird. curious, the pigeon pecked, and then grabbed the whole piece and jumped back into his bush. 

Workman dumped out the rest of his crust and continued walking.

Workman lived on the bottom floor of a short, brick-walled apartment building. inside, it was neat. a paper thin magnet of dust seasoned every belonging. that was the consequence of living in the city — constant construction means constant dust, no matter how often you try to wipe it away.

he pulled a 30 minute lasagna from the oven, and sat at the small square table in his small square kitchen and opened up the small window by his head to let the city in. cars rolling by, high heels and brogues snapping on the concrete ground, and a cat, softly peaking in.

a dirty yellow cat with a bite out its ear poked its head through the window, drawn in by the

lasagna.

Workman extended a hand. tentatively, the cat sniffed. Workman scooped up a bite of the store-made meal and offered it to the stray.

it flinched at first, then slowly, slowly tasted the offering and bit off a chunk.

the cat eased on the edge of the window, and Workman split his dinner with a new friend.

a light rain and gloom fell onto Workman the next morning. nothing too bad to walk through, so he went about on his way to work.

before he got too far, a small black circle in the center the cement caught his eye. with just an edge of copper showing, Workman bent down to pick up the dirty penny. as he crouched, a small black nose poked it’s way out from behind some trash cans.

he turned just his head to see what was attached to the nose, but it retreated.

Workman slowly rose, and walked steadily over to the cans, eyes low to avoid the rain sprinkle from falling into them. A quick rustle let him know that the little nose had scurried further away. he stayed still, patient to see if it would return. it didn’t.

Workman came back with a plate of eggs and sausage, and an umbrella. he sat next to the trash cans, nibbling and staying dry.

the nose returned, this time attached to a matted brown dog, who sat at his side, asking for a bite. Workman lowered his plate to the pup, who licked up the breakfast in a matter of seconds.

as the two sat on the curb, the drizzle turned to an even lighter mist, and the clouds cracked, sending beams of yellow light through the haze, warming Workman’s face.

Workman stood and continued on his walk to work, umbrella tucked under his arm, and a little black nose following not too far behind.

 

x

thoughts from inside the mosh | april 24, a chance the rapper concert

yeah i’ve been to a few concerts. i’ve seen maroon 5 twice, but our seats were way in the back…

mosh pit? no, i’ve never been in the mosh pit before.

why?

small girls with big phones.
big dudes with small phones.

people furiously text friends blurry pictures of the stage.
snapchat, facebook, instagram messaging every single person
they know
to show off that the are standing and sweating in a forest of people
they don’t know.

peer pressure to smoke the blunt, it passes around me and my small squad.

the hesitant girl who took a drag immediately looks concerned.
what has she just done???
she brings her hands up to her throat.
it hurt and she feels bad now.

it moves further on,
and the air fills with ever expanding clouds of smoke
giving us our very own second-hand high.

during the openers it gets super aggressive.
people are trying to get up to the front by way of jumping.

‘we gotta wait for the mosh then we gotta push thru!’ 
-some guy behind me
 
locked knees, i’m not at ease.
the jumping subsides as the spaces are filled
and the crowd backs up, realizing that they are smashing feet
and getting feet smashed.

the openers finish
random popular music plays on an empty stage
and my discomfort at standing among hundreds of sweaty, overalled, twenty-somethings steadily rises.

i am increasingly more aware of my body
and what it’s touching.

behind me, the in’s and out’s of a guy breathing rocks me like a boat, only i don’t get seasick, just claustrophobic.

i don’t know what to do with my hands.
down,
and i end up touching people’s butts
up,
and i end up hitting people in the head,
because my arms are weak and can’t stay up without support for that long.

i am small

this mosh pit thing is not for me
and just when i think i will reach my breaking point,
an hour with my closest companions,

chance graces the stage.

oooOOOOOoooorrRROOOOOOooooOOoo!

his voice rings, playing with us as he hides in the dark of the stage.

i jump,
i knock into people,
i yell in their ears,
and hit them in the head with my weak arms.

i enjoyed the hell out of that concert.

 

######physicaltouchisnotmyfirstlovelanguage

underneath the colosseum pier | the living water

8 april 2017
jesus, i hope i can play with you tomorrow

9 april 2017
easy acoustic guitar, soft singsongy voices, and citrus lime cake.

we sit quietly in the car afterwards, speechless really. golden hour approaches, the 6pm sun is setting. we are headed to the beach.
when we park the car, the street is sunday busy, so not really busy at all.

we are barefoot before we hit the sand, flip flops in hand.
stephen starts us off as we run to the water, sand slowing our speed, but not our energy.

we jump and splash and kick in the puddles. it’s cold but it feels good

activating

a spring of life, the first taste of summer.

it wakes up the children in us.

we run to the pier,
against the wind, our jackets and towels picking up air like kites and capes.

underneath the pier, it feels endless.
as big as a colosseum, with the sun slowly lowering over white foamy waves, falling over, folding over, each column they run into.
standing ankle deep in clear water, feet playing with the loose sand, and little sand crabs, and tiny baby sand clams,
gently brushing our soles.

we stand there for a while, watching the liquid land in front of us wave in and out
the unblocked sun steadily burning our skin, eyes, the tips of our noses – unable to look away – thinking about how we got to this day.

we walk back, the edges of our shorts soggy from the last wave
smiling, overwhelmed at what we were doing.

stephen picks a washed up stick and runs in a spiral
circling it along the sand as justin, jordan and i chase him
completely careless and stupid happy
children playing tag before supper
this is a life that’s full of color

the wind picks up as we take our time back to the car
the sand behind us, a thin grey haze itching our ankles.

justin grabs a handful and lets the breeze push it from his hand
it follows the wind

we are kid_s
this is wonder_ful

x

the blue and the pink haired fairies | storytime

hello again. happy monday!

step i: bleach

there were these two friends who thought they knew everything there was to know about hair.

it’ll be easy

the one with dark-hair said.

now, these friends were pretty different, but pretty similar, too. one had dark brown hair and the other had this thick mix of browns, and what she liked to think of as gold, but was really just light brown.

one day, they decided they were tired of their old hair colors. and they did something about it.

they got the supplies they thought they needed, and quickly found out that they were wrong.
they needed so much more.

fat bottles of powders and thick creams, and small bottles of nose-hair-singeing liquids, and mixing sticks and bowls, to mix with the mixing sticks the powders and creams and nose-hair-singeing liquids, to slap and spread out onto their unsuspecting heads.

what was so unsuspecting was how cold it would be.
and how itchy it would get.
and the burning. oh, the burning.
but the worst of all was how long it all took.
transforming hair from one color to another takes a very long time, and so patience was something these two friends learnt.

it took a week to get their brown heads blond.

cycles of bleach, day after day, the substances slowly sucking the natural oils from their scalps in between deep conditions, or feeble attempts at keeping the hair on their heads from drying out.

but they got it done, step one, and then got to move on to the next.

step ii: color

tiring of the process and lack of results, it seemed like nothing could excite them for what they set out for.

but then, the day finally came when they could add color.

pink… i want pink… one tube should be enough, right?

skeptical, but certain she could make it work, the previously dark-haired friend agreed.

when they got back home, they worked in the dark, empty kitchen all night, the previously dark-haired friend painting each strand of hair on the previously gold-haired friend’s head as best she could with the very little dye she had, as the previously gold-haired friend sat, watching movie after movie, and turning her head when necessary.

it seemed an eternity later, but at long last the previously dark-haired friend finished. the tube was squeezed dry, and every bit of coloring smattered onto the previously gold-haired friend’s small head.

then they left it in for thirty minutes, balled up in a hair bag, and let the hot pink to settle deeply into each piece of bleached out hair.

then

head in the sink
faucet pouring water from forehead to the tip of the hair
towel dried, then combed.
the previously-gold haired friend was now
pink!

it worked!

the pink-haired friend exclaimed. it was so exciting they whooped and whooped at the fact that they didn’t do it all for nothing.

do you like it?

the previously dark-haired friend asked.

i do! i feel… different somehow, too…

different? why, just because your hair is a different color?

no! i feel different… maybe it is just because my hair is pink… but maybe not… anyways… it’s your turn now!

the previously dark-haired friend pulled out a box with an obviously photoshopped model on the front.

well i want silver… and the picture on the box looks silver… but it’s called ‘smokey blue.’ should we do it?

looks good to me. let’s do it!

thick rip of cardboard.
wrinkle spread of the instructions on the table.
poke puncture of the shiny tube of coloring.
crap squirts of the gel into the mixing bottle.

shake shake
squeeze squeeze
spread spread
onto the one with the previously dark-haired head

this one took only twenty minutes to put in. another thirty-five to leave the dye on the hair for the color to attach to the hair, until it’s washed off.

a spot rinse, then full on shower.

when she got out, the mirror was too foggy for her to see what she actually looked like.
so she opened the door to air out the bathroom, and get dressed. when she went back in, an involuntary scream of shock .

it’s blue!

the dark-haired friend, who now had blue-hair, stared at it in the condensated mirror, water dripping slowly down the reflective surface.

she ran back into the kitchen, to show her pink-haired friend.

IT’S BLUE!

yeah it is!

and i feel different too… somehow… is it just because it’s a different color?

i don’t know… it didn’t feel different after bleaching.

hmm. that’s right.. well i’m sure we’ll find out in the morning. but it’s late. let’s go to sleep.

yes. sleep. yes.

the blue-haired friend and the pink-haired friend and their slightly damp heads laid on pillows and cozied up under many warm covers and slept a deep dreamless sleep.

step iii: magic powers

the pink-haired friend woke up first, in a bundle of blankets that took her a long time to free herself from.

but once she got free, she was astounded.

the pink-haired friend looked down from the top of a mountain of blankets. she did a quick spin, and looked up at her room… everything was huge.
the bed was the size of a building.
the blankets were spread across the floor the span of a football field.
and her blue-haired friend was just as small among it all.

the pink-haired friend ran down the blanket mountain – or thought she did. as she descended, it felt like she was floating. she looked down and saw that in fact she was! her feet did not even touch the soft ground.

oh my!

she exclaimed, and sped down to her friend, still asleep in the comfy mass.

she shook the blue-haired friend awake.
no budge.
she shook her again.
no budge.

so she summoned up all the energy inside her, and in one quick swoop jumped up thirty tiny fairy-feet in the air, and came back down, hand out and ready to slap her sleepy friend on the face.

but as her hand swiped across the blue-haired friend’s face, it went right through – like a ghost.

the blue haired friend woke up.

what are you doing.

i’m trying to wake you up! look! we’re small!

the blue-haired friend looked around, quite in shock.

how did this happen?

i don’t know.

she stood up, and touched her face.

did you just slap me?

no. well, yes. i mean, i tried to. my hand went right through you face. look.

the pink haired friend went to poke the blue-haired friend again, and as she did, her finger quite unmistakably met cheek.

hey!

what? that didn’t happen before!

and before the blue-haired friend knew it, the pink-haired friend was winding up to slap her across the face again, and as she did, her hand went right through the blue-haired friend’s face.

they were too in shock to scream.

are we fairies?

the pink-haired friend asked.

i think we are.

the blue-haired friend replied.

and so, the two of them walked and floated down blanket mountain, the start of a new life as small fairies.

step iv: montage of powers

the friends used their powers for fun. the pink-haired friend floating around, and the blue-haired friend walking through walls and things.

it was pretty cool.

and they went on many adventures that day.

the pink-haired friend flew up to the counter to retrieve a giant cookie, and the two of them devoured it, stuffing their tummies full of the sweet treat.

the blue-haired friend passed through walls and found interesting things within them. pennies, buttons, small crumbs and dried up flowers.

it was all very magical.

as the sun began to set, and the friends began to tire, they decided to do one last thing before falling asleep on blanket mountain.

let’s fill up the sink and go swimming! 

the pink-haired friend said.

yes yes yes! 

the blue-haired friend agreed.

so they stopped up the sink and filled it with water, making sure to add a bit of hot water so the temperature would be just perfect.

as the sink finished filling up, they jumped in, and quite suddenly, things got crowded.

the two friends began to grow at an unsafe pace.

not unlike a ‘grow your own dinosaur’ the friends got big, and ended up on the bathroom floor, very much normal sized.

they looked at each other.

your hair’s not pink anymore!

your hair’s not blue anymore!

they looked at each other again.

upset that the color did not stay for very long, but grateful for the adventures they had that day as fairies.

maybe they would do it again sometime.

but for now, their hair needed to rest.

they went to sleep in the bundle of blankets, and dreamt many dreams about magical things

 

the end.

 

x

Late in the Mourning//My Former Distraction

img_5331

a print from my big sister

25 May 2016
My eleven year old golden retriever sits in a box on the mantle, no heavier than a gallon of milk, and it disturbs me more than I thought it would.

When I was away at college, I always forgot that I had dogs at home. I got used to not seeing them everyday, and that was totally fine, because I knew they would be waiting for me when I got back.

So after Koa died, and I went back to school, it was an easier transition than I expected.

I was already used to not seeing her. But because of that, I never really mourned her, and now that I’m home, I’m beginning to feel the effects.

Walking around the house, I catch a glimpse of her for a split second before realizing she’s gone. And I still wander around when I’m bored or procrastinating, in search of my former distraction to hug and hang out with. But she’s not here anymore.

I see the way my family still clings on to our dog. My older sister wears Koa’s dog tag around her neck. My younger sister keeps Koa’s old bed in her room. There are pill bottles from Koa’s last pain meds on the kitchen table.
My mom even waited for me to get home to fill out the insurance forms for Koa’s euthanasia and cremation.

I don’t want to forget my first dog; she was a milestone. After years of persistence and a year of pet-sitting to earn the money to buy a dog, my parents finally gave in.

But I don’t want to hang on to something that’s not here, either. She’s a phantom limb. She’s here but she’s not, and it hurts when I think of her.

The day Koa died was strange. My sisters and I slept the night in the sunroom with her, taking her out when she needed to, but mostly just being with her.

Mom took photos of us, which I’m thankful for now, but at the time I couldn’t help but think how strange it was that at the end of the day, my dog would no longer be alive.

It felt rushed, like we were trying to fit in as many activities as we could before Koa had to leave.

As the hours went by, we gave Koa more treats and crowded her so much more. Then at 9pm, the vet came to our house, and we all sat on the floor with our love. Everyone was crying as we whispered our last “I love you”s to Koa, hugging and petting her for the last time.

Then she was put to sleep.

I walked away at that point.
Koa stopped moving.
It was horrifying.
I had never seen something die before, and I couldn’t believe it happened.

Koa was my childhood, she was half my life.

I hid in the front room until the vets took her away.

The next day, I went back to school for a retreat, and then forgot about my dog for a while.


13 July 2016 
Life goes on, and sometimes faster for others. My 95 year old great aunt was admitted to the ICU in late June. Her kidneys were failing and she was put on life support. No one knew how long she had.

We were to decide what to do with her with a social worker, and when he told us to make plans for her death, I was hit hard with my final mourning for Koa.

In a room of ten people, spanning over three generations, who care deeply for my great aunt, I began to cry for my dog.

Us sitting in the family meeting room at the hospital felt like when my mom and I were at the emergency vet, and the doctor who had never met me or my dog before was telling me that I would have to put her down.

I hadn’t cried for Koa since the day she died.

It was a quick release. But it felt good, getting it out.
It was an incredible relief.

I loved having a dog growing up. Coming home after school and being greeted by the happiest face, a cold wet nose nuzzling you in the middle of homework, asking you to take a break and go play.

A friend to wake you up in the morning, a headfirst burst through the door, a lick on the face, and wag on the tail, leading you to the kitchen for breakfast and a walk.

I’m thankful for all of it.

x