Friday, July 17, 2015

Pet Project

I decided to grow herb garden on my balcony this summer.

Pet project.

My ex-husband,
however large the differences in our lifestyles that keep us firmly apart,
is a truly sharp creature when assesing my actions.
He once said - while in the midst of our separation - that this is just who I am;
I decide to direct effort into some project
and I move heaven and earth to make it happen.
I learn whatever there is to be learnt,
make whatever needs to be made,
create time for the task and apply myself with crazy dilligence not to let anything go unnoticed.
I make it my pet project...

"...just like you made our relationship your pet project..."

...and if the project does not comply to my standard I dismantle it just as diligently.

"...until no stone on stone remain."

Wouldn't he just throw a fit right now if he knew that some pet projects do get revisited.

I already dabbled some with potted herbs
but that was a half-hearted endeavor
and this time I plunged into realization with my full might.

Lo and behold:

Herb garden and herb inspector.

My space is limited and I limited the choice of herbs on ones that I would truly use for cooking so here are the fruits of about four weeks of efforts; few basils, rosemary, mint, sage, leafy parsley and some newly acquired hot peppers in the background.

Zvjezdica is pleased and so am I.
Only chives missing from the picture but are planned and there will be some soon.

Basils were already harvested (twice)...


Basil harvest in progress

 ... and pesto was made:

Sunflower pesto making, first take.
... and devoured in many, many ways; in pasta sauces, greek yougurt dips, salad dressings, slathered over breads and tortillas and eaten with the spoon right from the jar. Especially second batch - one that was made with walnuts. Yum.

There's something intoxicatingly wonderful in seeing your effort turn into results.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Falling Pieces

I took my new running shoes for a spin tonight;
night was calm, air cleansed by early rain.

I did not run for a week,
my hip still hurts sometimes, after being inflamed,
so I only cycled to add some diversity.
It helped.

Lately, I listen to Echo when I run,
Nothing's Carved in Stone album from 2011.
It is completely awesome
- almost meditative -
with prominent bassline and great, luscious rich arrangements
and crazy, wonderful, un-English lyrics in songs with English lyrics
peaking into magnifficent Chain Reaction in Japanese.

I love that one. I cannot but sing it.
It scares patrons at the bar I run by at that point. It is quite funny.

Half way into my chosen route I forget myself and repetitive pace takes over.
It is undescribable, unreal feeling.
Pure bliss.
When I come around all the tension of the day has drained out of me.
I run into my building, up the stairs, unlock my place and shed my running skin.




I love doing my streching naked and cats love sniffing news from soles of my shoes.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Zagreb in Summer

I love Zagreb during summer
I love its clean, hot and powdery smell. I love its vibrant green in parks and meadows and dense pockets of shade emerging in the yellow gold of sunshine.
I love how the heat is intense and burning
and how the air shimmers to let you know this heat is no joke.

I love going to the store without a car and the rich yellow sun pouring over me like honey.

I walk slowly and breathe slowly and I drink double the water I usually do.
Coming to my dark and pleasantly cool lair I am both happy to feel the relief and pleasantly tingling with anticipation of yet another outside trip.

I yearn sex more during summer. I find it most sensual.

I wake up, get alive, speed up in the evening.
Spend my time outside, roaming the streets.
Swish of the wind and pervasive smell of hot tar coming off the asphalt is so inviting for a bike ride I do not even try to resist.



Running also changes;
it feels slow and I have to breathe a lot and huff and puff and I sometimes wish I had wet hat as soon as I exit my place for a run,
but soon my hair is wet from sweat and wind picks up near the railroad
and wind cools my head as I smile (and sometimes laugh from pure joy) and do some intervals.

Being happy in summer is easy.

People are usually annoyed from the heat and nervous so they keep out of the way so the city is free.
For me.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Seers - Quit Me

When in relationship I'm not much of a:
"What are we going to do today, dear?"
or
"But I've got nothing to wear!!" person.
In that regard, I'm more like my cat:

If I like you
I'll let you share my space
I'll let you do your stuff
and will go about doing mine
and then, once in a while (and sometimes in lots and lots of quite short whiles), I'll come to see how you are doing and show how am I
thus creating an opportunity for us to play.

Playing is good. I like to play.

All things considered this could qualify as quite unobtrusive relationship style
but, considering small quantity of mind readers among us,
it can also be interpreted as uninvolved
and so it often is.

Seers promo picture from Soundcloud.


About a month ago
I stumbled upon a wonderful song - Quit Me by Seers - while browsing my favorite music portal Stereofox "wares"
and I fell paralyzed by its beauty.
I played it a hundred times, immediately, on the spot,
and then I went and searched the interwebs for more detail;
I found Seers soundcloud page
but lyrics were nowhere to be found (!).
So I used Seers Facebook page reference to contact the band and ask them kindly for lyrics
since I'm a stickler for checking out if I hear them correctly
and they were so kind to provide me with them.

I intended to write about the song here but the song is so awesome
and so intimately visual
I just could not choose the words to describe this vast emotion storm it causes inside me.

Until now.

Let me usher you in.

The lights are low,
the static air, the sudden silence
tones that say it all,
a tendency to slow your breathing
before you take it in
and no-one knows 'cos no-one's noticed
but i notice it all

I love how this song is smartly designed. I love gentle, reverberating strings before it begins, exposing the setting. I love the sound of inhaling with "before you take it in" and the slight sadness in the vocal while saying "I notice it all" - like a butterfly taking off from a flower and then flying over a wonderful, terrifying yet beautiful, chasm that opens with this sudden revelation.

and when you're sleeping
i see this honesty
it says you'll quit me
says you'll go one day
and yet this feeling:
the sweet uncertainty
it's got this beauty

I love how this realization - "You'll quit me" - is spread out before us; the gradual recognition of the signs of relationship end and also recognition of uncertainty of that situation; one that does not always consist only of temporal uncertainty but frequently is also ingrained with knowledge that by changing the circumstance we change the outcomes. And that also comes with a price.

the music ends
and with it went a stolen moment
scent that lingers on,
intoxicates so unfamiliar
suddenly sparks it off
and they all know 'cos they're all watching
us dance into the smoke


I love how this part melds together the personal (private, let's say) and inescapable environmental
(public, social) and mimics the muddled picture we get while lurking into somebody's private life. It is so easy to pass judgement on somebody else's life since to all not directly involved relationship dissolutions are just scenes, like from a movie, with fake smoke and invisible = unexisting parts.


yeah when you're sleeping,
your body's honesty
it says you'll quit me
says you'll go one day
and yet this feeling
the sweet uncertainty
it's got this beauty


I love how in this last part they sing first the first chorus, the one with "i see this honesty" and then the second one: "your body's honesty" so it will not be unsaid, unacknowledged (!), where this realization comes from. And although sleeping body might seem an unreliable witness it is easy to see that this picture is just a beautiful, poetic synecdoche of a totality of quitting partner's behavior.



Sometimes we realize following a relationship that the other party has just slept right through it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rodin @ Art Pavilion in Zagreb

I do not see myself as stingy
but I’m definitely not a squanderer.
It may seem from my lavish lifestyle here on the blog that I easily part with money when tickets are in question
 - and also there’s that notion of spending on experience vs. spending on stuff -
but the narrative usually goes like this:
there is no amount too small not to ask myself: “Do you really need that?” over it.

So, there is Rodin exhibition in Art Pavilion in Zagreb.

Even though there is "NO photos" policy I sneaked one from the bag. Hence, blurred.


I enjoy seeing a nice art show
and I also enjoy sharing that experience with friends
so when I spoke about seeing the show
my friend immediately jumped on a wagon
and when she does very often this is a done deal so I always take good care NOT to lay out my plans prematurely.

But even so, when we arrived to Art pavilion last Saturday and were confronted with being able to see the entire showroom in one line of sight on one side,
and price of 50 kn (approx. 7.5$) on the other
my determination to see the show became week at the knees
and I asked myself: ”Do you really need this?”
and the answer was: "Yes, yes I do. I really do need to take this time to see this stuff in perspective and I am willing to give this dough to make it happen."

So I coughed up some minks for my ticked and we went in.

This was one extremely well thought out and presented show.
In the beginning there was this digest of information
in chronological order
but also in very layman-audience-friendly order
with not many academic references
and A LOT of real life references
putting his life and his work into perspective
thus making us empathize with the artist and see him as a fellow human being.

After reading this panel I went around and paid a short visit to all the works there
and there weren’t many
but they were chosen with care,
especially care to see the details from his biography on the wall made into metal and stone.

What I loved most:

Busts of his two lady friends
- Camille Claudel and Rose Beuret -
presented one next to the other.
It is not difficult to imagine one being attracted to same face at two different ages - all at once.

“I am beautiful” statue.
Strength, passion, attractiveness and juxtaposition of sexuality and emotion.

Balzac - nude study with protruding belly 
(Nude Study of Balzac (Type C))
This is such a wonderful piece I cannot begin to describe it.
Maybe it is best said that it was extremely hard for me not to grab this perfect, virile,
muscular yet also indulgent but cheek.
I think this nude embodies all that Rodin’s art was/still is;
a provocation at first glance but actually celebration of earthly beauty.
I can imagine the artist pondering over lunch
or some other seemingly insignificant time of daily existence
some elbow or but cheek or spine ridge
chiaroscuro
from his mind into reality.

Magic.

Exhibition is open until September 20th. Go see it.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Withered Hand and Woodpidgeon @ Attack! 03Jun2015

My workday on Wednesday, June 3rd was truly horrible
and it ended with teleconference full of bad news and fuckups.
At 5 o’clock in the afternoon
when I was leaving for home I was spent and annoyed and my head was buzzing with cusswords.
I waited for a friend to come down since we carpool home
and I sat into my car
- it was a giant toaster white from the heat -
the sun was rich and beautiful yellow sunny side up egg in the sky
and we drove to town on the side of the street where there are no poppies to please me.


I thought; ”Even though paid in blood, finding a babysitter so I can go to Zur party tonight will be all for nothing - ‘cause there is no way I could recuperate by 9 pm to enjoy the gig.”

But we drove
and we chatted
and we laughed some
and I came home, made and ate simple but truly inspired dinner (who knew adding crushed sour cream & onion potato chips could improve mixed beans, proteins and veg salad so much!?)
and had a short nap.

When I woke up, just half an hour later, there was a cat on my chest and he was purring so much he woke me up.
We played a bit and cleaned the house some and I went for my (surprisingly early) evening run,
came home, showered and dressed and jumped back into the car.

There was blood moon hanging on the horizon.
Evening was young and promising and it smelled sweetly of linden trees and unsuspecting vice.


I love Attack! commons.
I love the air of relaxation permeating the area and  whole this squat/diy/upcycle idea the residents are living so vibrantly.
As I came in I bumped into a friend
so we hugged and we spoke and I bought ticket and a drink
(never did a beer taste so appropriate than right then)
and evening was rolling out beautifully.

Then, there was Woodpidgeon on stage:


Mark Anderew Hamilton of Woodpidgeon performing at Attack!

I have listened to Woodpidgeon's music before, but not lately (I realized fuzzily how long it has been while commenting something to a friend)
but this guy (Mark Andrew Hamilton) is so endearing and so awesome that once the gig started it all came back, even the songs that I heard for the first time.
Very unpretentious, styled more like a tourist then an indie hipster musician he was both magnificent and completely adorable.
With excellent “bedside manner” when treating his audience he came across as smart, kind, mindful and a true artist.
His comments and ideas were transparent and diplomatic
and I truly enjoyed hearing him speak just as much I enjoyed hearing him sing/perform.

He said he does not write songs about politics and he sang a song he wrote disappointed that Canada decided to bomb Syria.
He was adamant that violence is wrong and then played Death by Ninja:

"I went to Ninja school
To learn how to murder you
With just one little punch"

There was an awesome intro he told us
to get us to sing with him
and I’m sure he told the intro thousand times already
but it was so great it will not grow old even with million more repetitions.

He did some magic with various doohickeys and doodahs he had in front of him on the floor
so he was singing and making samples and playing them and all at once and right in front of us
and I was smitten and amazed
and it was completely unexpected and fresh and great (even though I’m no stranger to delaying and pedals and beatboxing).
Later on he was standing outside in the commons talking with a friend
and their body language was so honest and so revealing
there has to be a great guy in there, behind those vigilant and intelligent eyes.

Little after Woodpidgeon had finished Withered Hand took center stage…

Withered Hand at Attack!


.. And I’m of mixed emotions (and impressions) of this gig.
Maybe the expectations got the best of me.
Withered Hand’s music, at least what I heard from it on the albums, just seemed more polished to me (then Woodpidgeon’s)
and I thought it will sound different live.
And it did.
But I was untouched.

It was well presented, and the guy was appropriately styled and in good spirits, and there seems to have been a lot of his ecstatic fans there
and I too felt a fan when he said:

"We're only on tour together for second time now... but that's only because I hate leaving my house so much"

and songs sounded well…

 I remember hearing Horseshoe and it did sound great live, and I’m listening to it now writing this and it truly is a great song...
But, at the same time,
It is like a magnificent ornate dagger someone is attacking you with
and you’re so frightened blood drains out of your heart
just to realize in the end that it is a switchblade mechanism, a theater prop -
one that retracts back into the handle when pressed against something so not to draw blood.

I've listened to a couple of songs and have tried to participate
but to no avail
so I got out, back into commons, where I conversed a little and rested my sore hip
(that was inflamed for past two weeks)
and got kissed by a guy who asked me to roll him a cigarette and was utterly pleased with results.

It was an excellent evening out, unexpected and highly pleasing, and Zur collective had closed one more season with awesome gig and a party.

*This concert review also available on Terapija.net portal here

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Solace Pill

"That day, slow and warm, a beam of sunlight caught in honey."



Sometimes I fall in love with a book so strongly I just don’t want the reading to end. Ever.

And yet it feels so sweet to thread through the pain of the last page and into the sea of appraising complete work afterwards, arranging opinions, weighing impressions, cataloging new entry in great library of my mind.

I really, really loved The Solace Pill Trilogy (omnibus edition containing Solace Inc, Solace End and Preparation 162) by Jason Werbeloff.




Original book cover taken from Smashwords book page.


I found my way to it through weekly NoiseTrade newsletter and I loved cover illustration so I downloaded the book. I started to read it on my iPhone (I find MegaReader app excellent for some reading on the go) and I instantly got enamored with the story so this mode of reading fast, short hits resisted transition to bigger screen for a long time and only when I entered Preparation 162 I decided to ingest the rest of the book in one final big gulp.

It is truly a wonderful idea, this choice of term solace pill. In a time already battling heightened stress conditions and dawn of #firstworldproblems concept this interplay of identity topics with sociological and psychological issues involved is both fascinating and food for the mind. Since science fiction is my favorite genre it is not that I did not encounter transportation/cloning identity issues before but the elegance with which the author Jason Werbeloff had resolved some of opened questions is absolutely endearing and gives this topic fresh look and feel of originality.

What I liked most?

I loved how the author gives us enough details about characters so we can remember their names and put their stories in context but not enough to make us distort the story so we can empathize.

I loved how relationships between characters are straightforward, showing genuine, visceral feel of human motivation. Not all behavior is rationally explainable when it happens and narratives are often chosen post festum, to justify rather than describe.

I enjoyed George and Kora storyline most, its dirty and unsophisticated veneer and rich and personal multitude of difficult questions beneath the surface. Being that personal relationships are always in center of my attention, both as a player of the game and as a psychologist specifically keen to research personal relationships I enjoyed gritty and down to earth process author decided to use for this particular dyad, making it a perfect small-scale example of every topic of the book; from identity to emotion, autonomy to dependence, from personal to social.



This is one wonderful story and I warmly recommend not only reading it but also reading it mindfully and thinking about happenings inside; inside the book and inside your own mind and inside the society present here and now - society already pregnant with solace pill seed.

* Book Review also on my Goodreads page here

Monday, May 18, 2015

Firefly Run


Neighbourhood stream by day. And also - some drakes.



I love this warmer part of the year
and
since I started running I love it even more.

Last night I ran by the stream in my ‘hood;
for the most part it is not lighted with streetlights
so I run into warm and pleasant darkness filled with trickle of water, rustle of leaves and cooing of lovers from benches set by the path.
Tall grass was cut last week and the hay smelled sweet and powdery.
Fireflies roamed through the air.

Couple of over-fragranced ladies with tiny dogs huddled over some rumor hogging the road
but my legs were light and I circled around them and through the meadow.

Dog barked out of a nearby yard, startled by me running by so close and then abruptly stopped, confused by his own barking ringing briskly through the night.
Far ahead poplar threads were carried by the breeze under streetlights.

My feet tapped rhythmically on the path and down the street
and another street
and another street. Wind rose and I took off my cap and shook my wet hair into the wind.
Head cooled pleasantly. Feeling of refreshment set in.
I smiled; wide and wide-eyed.
Felt my soul wiggle and relax.

Miles felt sweet and muscles pliable and alive. Road like a silver snake curved out of sight. Train rumbled by.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fjodor and Radar Men From The Moon @KSET 12May2015



On Tuesday evening I went to see Fjodor play at KSET.

I’ve already seen them perform and have already written about them here when I first heard them and here when I wanted to further express my admiration. I also did my homework before this gig and listened to that evening’s headliners Radar Men From The Moon to be informed of the program.

I got to Kset little bit before planned start of the program, as published on Facebook, so I managed to get a beer (they are selling Medvedgrad beers now, w00t!) and mingle a bit, even get introduced to some new people. Guys from Fjodor passed us on their way to the stage and some of us nodded to each other in recognition.

Gig was absolutely awesome.

Fjodor @KSET 12May2015  - Magic from the very start.


There are two things that got burned into my memory during that gig.

First: it was just like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Tension is high, excitement translates to elation and before a minute you are already wrapped in exchange like no time has passed at all from the last episode you spent together. The joy of shared experience wipes out any and every other feeling that would slow this summit down or make the exchange non-seamless.

Second: there is this organic quality of their music I find completely wondrous. Strong pivotal position of rhythm like the one of a beating heart is complemented with huge array of additional sounds provided by all kinds of knickknacks/pedals and it is very hard, at times, to believe all this sound is created by just three guys, three instruments. Just like before, I was especially smitten with drummers mad skillz but could savor more of complete picture now. I loved how their performance was very relaxed and seemed effortless and yet they were very emotionally expressive; exchanging glances, speaking without words, smiling and frowning to the instruments and to each other. They played for a long time, we even got an encore, and their music was still fresh and rapturous, not at all tiring but like a tireless spring overflowing with auditory novelty. 

Fjodor @KSET - pedals! A place for everything and everything in its place :)


It makes me happy even to write about that. I warmly recommend checking out their music and supporting them by purchase of the album here from bandcamp.

I may be a bit biased but after that Radar Men From The Moon seemed like an anticlimax.

Radar Men From The Moon @KSET


They were not bad; they were technically well presented and their music had powerful feel but they were also bit flat and repetitive. At times I wondered if their songs were not actually envisioned to have a vocal over the music as couple of beginnings sounded just like something U2 or alike could play. I’m not exactly sure that is a good thing. That “feel” of cover band was so pervasive and it went so well with nonverbal cues of their performance I just cannot let go of that impression. You can check their music here to check if they rock your boat when they failed to rock mine.

Even though it was Tuesday that was one excellent night out and I don’t regret any effort I spent to be there. I hope there will be even more Fjodor gigs in time to come.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jakob @Mochvara 04May2015

Jakob on stage @ Mocvara in Zagreb.
Somewhere in the midst of Invasion of Soul Society and main story progression
there is final battle between Kurosaki Ichigo and Aizen Sosuke
and as the story develops there is much talk of the power and of expectations
showing quite clearly how much of a discrepancy can arise between one’s abilities and external recognition of those abilities.

But facts are facts,
And acts, not words, bring down the final verdict of history.


I love this part of Bleach story and also I recognize this as a valid and common psychological fact in reality.

I speak of it right now because that is how it was on recent Jakob gig in Mochvara.


Jakob play quite nice, gentle and richly orchestrated post rock.
Their records are finely polished and show both knowledge and attention to detail.
Many, if not most post-rock bands have same general profile
And, by themselves, things spoken of above, are no guarantee of good live gig.


But this gig was good.
Really. Good.



I noticed it is this good when already stricken by its power, on my knees like Aizen Sosuke in front of Ichigo’s Mugetsu.
It was very tactful performance, streetwise and marked with modesty.
Maybe the best description (and surely most surprising for me) is that for part of that act I forgot I’m not home.
Sound was beautiful, delivery very unassuming and it felt so natural

That it felt like just perfect place to be at.



I cannot give bigger compliment than this, since venturing out of the comfort of my much beloved lair frequently borders on physical pain - and this felt so soothing I forgot I’m not home.