Daylight Star-Scape

I have a new friend, Romy, and her animal powers match mine. She led me to a cathedral that held sacred space for daylight star-scapes, broken bottles, and asbestos.

Sitting sipping slurpies in an iconic location we made our own postcards with whiskey-lenses. I was bragging about the other day when I found unopened cans of Jim Beam soda, when I looked down and discovered an un-opened can of Jim Beam soda. I must be part of a secret marketing campaign for Jim Beam and I can’t say it bothers me. As we walked Romy noticed two more un-opened cans of whiskey-soda, these of the “Canadian Club” persuasion. “Canadian Club” must have been trying to one up Jim Beam. After crossing the Harbor Bridge, we reaped the shared rewards.

Because public drinking on postcard-view bay-benches is so nostalgic for the former underage-drinkers of Sydney, Romy and I proceeded to buy and share a bottle of Passion Pop. Sweet and purple.

If we didn’t catch the train at some point the conductor (who sweats ink) would have forced vouchers for “Sex in the City 2” on us. So we found our way through tunnels and forests and blue to 2:00 am, which was when our adventures took refuge in the dream-time.

 

The Real World is Such a Stupid Joke Pt. 2

 

I didn’t win $1,000 for my costume at the Ranch’s “Patriot Day” costume party, so I wasn’t in any position to travel over the two week mid semester break that is now dawning.

Like anyone, I have homework to do over spring break. I am reading the music cognition book I got at the library, writing out my experiment ideas, and work on a  DJ set. My pipe dream would be to learn to surf.

Friday night I was walking around campus looking for events with free food and ended up winning a poetry slam. This slam is an annual Macquarie event, and brings in poets on international tours. This meant that the event was well catered and I had free beer and samosas for dinner. Because I was being kept around by goodies, I ended up making friends with Jarryd from South Africa, who made fun of my “post-feminist serpentine diatribe.” Jarryd works at

Macquarie doing something involving finance. I also practiced booze-fueled mingling skills with a group of Mexican graduate students, an older Australian poet with a daughter at NYU, and another poet who asked what the hell my poem was about. I figured my running metaphor hit one over the head. I explained that it was a re-interpretation of the book of Geneses, from a non-sexist and non-patriarchal viewpoint, then like six of the surrounding people were like: “Oh I totally didn’t get that.” So apparently you can win a prize just for rhyming quickly, and with conviction, regardless of if content is comprehended. The prize I got was a $100 voucher from a company called Red Balloon, and am using it on surfing lessons!

Mid Semester Break broke through on Conception Day, which is a music festival at Macquarie. I was awakened at 8:00 to my
housemate playing a plastic horn and shouting: “Wake the fuck up and start drinking, I’ve had a liter of beer already!” I Donned my white button-down, tie, and broken shit-kickers, made some toast, and got a small cap with two sugars from Jimmy, the barista at the art building cafe. I showed up to class an hour early to do some slight tweaking on my project. It turned out that we were given the entire class period to work on our projects, so I worked on homework for other classes, and befriended a cool cat from my DJing class: Sean. I then ditched my neuropsychology lecture (which isn’t mandatory to attend), filled my empty coffee cup with red wine, and walked onto the lawn, where all the villagers were drinking top forty hits from a Red Bull DJ. A few people were celebrating “Pants Off Conception Day” and many were ladeling “punch” (a mixture of goon, juice, and hard liquor) from a trash bin. I noticed the piles of treasure everywhere, and spent significant time taking tabs from the canned mix-drinks, beer, and red bull cans.

Once everyone had left the massive pre-game to go to the actual music festival I made spaghetti and gave a bunch of wasted strangers water and permission to use our toilet. One wasted stranger had left her friend sleeping on my floor, so I ensured he was in the recovery position and would therefore not end up a dead stranger on my floor

I probably looked suspiciously sober to anyone at Conception Day, and when I ran into Sean and his cool friends I joined them for a long stand in line at the bar. Once I reached it however I was feeling too cheap to buy a drink and had some free water instead. My friend Michelle could smell how sober I was. She’s a character I don’t ever recall introducing in this blog, so I’ll do so now: Michelle is bright and pretty and is from South Jersey. Her heart is so open I could walk right in. She said she had had enough to drink and told me to down the rest of her vodka. I did as instructed.

I stayed until the headlining band, Art Vs. Science, dancing in the center of the crowd, until my feet were bleeding  and I was bored. I was heading back when I ran into Les, so we flailed for X until it seemed we were both ready to re-join the village scene. My housemates were a mixture of not-home and pissed-off and I thought I might like to check internet for the day so I grabbed my computer and rocked up to the tables outside the swimming pool, which is where I always steal internet at night. A kid on a razor scooter greeted me and I complimented his wheels. He said he wanted to find a party but didn’t go to uni at Macquarie, and stated that he would now be following me. I led him to the village, learning that he was also 21, named Christian, and working for his old man as a plumber. Jarryd inquired about village carousing (or perhaps some classier version of carousing) and invited me to the west side for chatting, friends, and red wine,
so that was where Christian and I went, juxtaposing the nice young men in button-ups with our muscle shirts, him with a sunburn and me with a tiger-hat.

The wine Jarryd offered was far superior to any I’ve drunken for months (which is not saying much since I oscillate between free goon and $5 red wine). Speaking of free goon, we all wandered a couple of paces into a crowded parking lot and I was immediately challenged to a goon drinking competition, wherein the purveyor of goon lifts the goon sack above the head of the challenger and pours it into their mouth, sort of like a reverse-keg-stand. Naturally I was the victor. Now I don’t mean to brag, but I am astounded by how much I can drink if given the chance. Usually I rely on my cheapness and good-decision-making skills and do not binge drink, but occasionally moderation itself must be taken in moderation. Within a five hour window I had consumed the bottle of wine

I found on the lawn while taking tabs, broken a goon record, and finished a half bottle of red wine that Jarryd found unpalatable. That doesn’t include the can of Jim Beam Soda I found on the lawn, the can of vodka-soda Michelle gave me, or the half bottle of red wine I had prior to said five-hour window. One would think that after all this I would be stumbling and sick, but one wouldn’t really notice I had been drinking, save for the fact that I was doing hand-stands.

Christian had to go meet his brother, and I reckoned this meant he would have forgotten his new scooter in some bushes. Sure enough, I found his new scooter in some bushes. My joy-riding caught the attention of my new friends, who joined in the fun. One rode my scooter and said that I wasn’t his enemy, even though I’m from America and he’s from Iraq. The other had swigs from my new bottle of wine. They asked me about a party and I led them to one. My second round of joy-riding caught the attention of my new friends. None of them were wearing more than underwear, and one was wearing less. Apparently they were still celebrating “Pants-off Conception Day.” They invited me to play soccer so I joined them in the field. It felt good to run. Then they asked me to lead them to a party so I led them to one. My third round of joy-riding caught the attention of my old friends, and they said the party wasn’t happening. I was out of parties but I led my newest friend, who sported a marching band jacket similar to my own, to the dregs of the party he was looking for. I sat down with some strangers and enjoyed some toast that a resident kept bringing out, finished my bottle of wine and went to sleep.

The Real World is Such a Stupid Joke

When I woke up Wednesday morning it looked like my peace lilly was dying. I didn’t have time to give it that much of a pep-talk, but gave it a little water.

I spent more time than intended reflecting on my dreams, and realized I would be late for class. I made myself two pieces of toast and a thermos of cayenne-hot-chocolate, and rocked up to class five minutes late. When I got there everyone was standing outside asking: “Is there anyone in there?” This was how I ended up the first person to the Neuropsychology tutorial on visual-spatial disorders.

I scarfed X-amount of corn-chips with the beans and fajitas I had effectively placed in a generic brand plastic container, rocked up to the library, and studied for 1.5 hours before going to a lab meeting.

Before studying abroad I systematically looked through each school where this was available, and found that the one with the best classes for me was Macquarie Uni. This was mainly based on the fact that they offered a class called: “Music, Mind and Message:” which specialized in music cognition, and was taught by the head of the psychology department, Bill Thompson. In the end that class wasn’t offered this semester, but the textbook Thompson wrote is available in the library.

The date of my 21st birthday was the deadline to get all the materials in for study abroad, and this happened to be the date I completed my entire application for study abroad, including a petition to the Academic Standing Committee, saying they should let me break a bunch of rules so that I could study abroad.

Study abroad is a complete privilege, and it’s consistently a statistically a life-changing experience (because, you can easily quantify that which is life-changing). 85% of community-college transfer students miss out on this life-changing experience. As a community college transfer student I was financially disadvantaged and was even discouraged from study abroad in official campus literature.

Tangent aside, here I am, in Australia, writing a blog, based on a heap of scraggly logic. I think what my scraggly logic turns into is a lot of white matter, just making connections like some sort of networking capitalist that lives inside HUMAN BRAINS!

So back to human brains: I ended up the first person at this lab meeting, because my life-story and college history has placed me in this position at a neuroimaging lab. The person who interviewed me at this lab noted my interest the brain and music, and mentioned the name: “Bill Thomspon” I emailed Bill, asking about any experiment ideas he might have involving MEG (that’s the kind of brain research lab I’m interning in) Instead of replying to me like so many professors would (with automated messages or “something something something bureaucracy and “No kid, you are a fool!”) He responded inviting me to a lab meeting, and to discuss experiment ideas.

Dr. Thompson seemed keen to use me as a buffer between the brain lab and his music-cognition lab and hinted at a role in designing/piloting my own experiment several times, only to realize that I will be here until December, which will not be enough time to get it passed by ethics etc. I couldn’t believe that my foolhardy dreams were being siphoned out into the little office with such ease, like it would just be possible for an undergrad with a small amount of lab experience to bypass the real world based solely on enthusiasm. I am so grateful for all the opportunities and support and wish I could stay here another semester. I may not be able to design a complete experiment, but we’ll see how much I can do.

How I Ended up in a Big Metal Box, In the Middle of the City, Naked

Because I was so excited about my music homework, I woke up at 7:30. I started the day off right with a handful of cold spaghetti, rocked up to the library in a light drizzle, and bought a small cap with two sugars and a chocolate croissant on the way to class

My teacher didn’t want the 1,000 or so words of powerpoint notes I had carefully formulated. She spent the remainder of the tutorial time trying to figure out what the hell was going on that disabled my project from functioning. In the end the time ran out and I was left to my own devices. I waded through technical difficulties for several more hours, until everyone else in the lab had left, stopping only when I realized I had forgotten to write a paper for my internship-supplement. I wrote that 1,000 words in about half an hour and quickly forgot about it again.

I was aggressively bored as I battled my computer’s low battery in the drizzle and the darkening day. Adhit said something about something that didn’t equal going out, but sent me a link to a laser dance party, and the description sounded good so I immediately committed to going.

I rode building thunder-clouds across campus listening to “Is It Medicine?” by The Knife, and ate the rest of my carton of passion-fruit yogurt on the train. Once I arrived at the Redfern station I loitered outside. An official old gentleman (you have to go through a lot of certification to become an official old gentleman) shot me glances a couple of times and I thought: “Where will I loiter if I am kicked out?” He came outside and said “Sgt. Peppers!” (I was wearing my marching band jacket) then walked ten paces and lit up a cigarette.

Adhit picked me up and we swiftly walked through some warmly-lit campus, which had Cole Wilson’s heart (red yarn) stretched across the light poles. DJ Tom Loud wizarded video clips into each track to great effect and the crowd was made up of hip students who were not afraid to really get down, gospel style. I almost forget that there are places where I do fit in, what with all the top-forty and Macker’s that surrounds village-living.

After exiting the dance-tent at a young hour, we encountered a group of people whom we had met earlier and said: “oh yeah!” They were standing around a shipping container in the middle of campus, with cameras and clipboards. They had previously invited us to come inside said shipping container to be part of their art project (take off our clothes and get painted in UV paint under a black light). “Are you keen?” The director inquired. When I was trying to get people to act in my art project (take off their clothes and get painted white in sand and snow), I always figured if someone propositioned me to do such a thing I would be keen. I was keen.

On the night before the biggest shoot of Coconut, when something like sixteen people had flaked out on me in two days, I was at a bar asking relative strangers if they would be down to come along on a six hour drive to White Sands the next day. One Australian said he would be completely willing, that this was what travel was about. I told him that if I was ever in Australia I would pay back the favor. I had no idea I would be in Australia around a year later. So that’s how I ended up in a big metal box in the middle of the city, with a group of strangers, naked.

When word spread that people were coming to arrest us for indecent exposure we called it a wrap, and I realized I had missed the last train by two minutes.  I had also left my bag, complete with wallet and keys, in Adhit’s car (Adhit left). I started inquiring about night busses in the area when the person with the best hair in the world offered me a ride home.

Inventory of Feelings and Colors

Adhit mentioned that his voice is deep-blue. I  agree. Saturday night the air was extra good. It was an all-you-can-breath buffet, made moist with sea. There were fireworks in the distance, creating calculated thunder, and not a sober person populated the happy street. On the train I noticed a spacious golden feeling had been unlocked in and around my stomach. I hung around, just on the outside of the feeling, gradually becoming saturated with something like stillness and joy. Misfortune is on a diet right now, but regardless of whether things seem good or bad, it’s never a good idea to postpone joy.

Sunday morning I had vivid dreams. I managed to get a few pictures of the cat with bird-legs that sat outside the dining room’s floor to ceiling windows, but I didn’t manage to bring them back to the waking world. Outside, the concrete had been made shiny by rain, and inside my mom, Adhit, and I were drinking bright red tea out of white bowls. When I awoke I was treated to hot-breakfast, which can be preferable to cold breakfast if one has the time ;) ;) ;)

After some slightly-sleep-deprived studying, I made myself some rose-hip and hibiscus tea to match the dream.

Live-In DJ

Some of the novelty surrounding the plentiful young-dumb-partying has evaporated and I am in pursuit of a wider scene, more in-line with my aesthetics. However, on Friday, whatever novelty had dissapated was pumped back out by a fog machine onto a tiny village-dance-floor. I had followed the people that were in my house to this party, or so I thought. Once I noticed the literal resident-DJ I started dancing, and after about an hour noticed that I knew no one at the place. This changed when I made friends with  “Les is more,” a finance student from China who’s flailing dance-moves came close to matching my own.

The preloaded tiger picture on my little Nokia always brings me joy, and seeing it on my phone on Friday brought no exception, nor did seeing a response to my text message from Adhit (aforementioned Laser-eyed stranger).

Trying to find my posse, I landed up at a stranger’s birthday party. After more dancing, a piece of cake, and a proposed library date with Les, I was ready to go to walk the three feet home.