Monday, October 12, 2015

The Secret

By the time I exited my marriage my self-esteem was bunk as well as my ability to see good in the world. There were just too many examples of failure and cases of implementing changes to no avail. Being told you're no good becomes toil of taking the life out of every action so even when the flood of accusations dries out the prevalent feeling of bad spirit and lack of control remains.

When asked about it at a thousand and one mandatory meeting at social services  I could only muster the will to summarize the feeling into:"I do not want to be this person he's turning me into anymore."

At the core of my being nothing remained but a fear; fear that the experience will leave me forever devoid of my soul, that I would never find my way back into respecting and enjoying life. It was a fear so great it could not even be voiced lest I'd be devoured by it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mark Mrakovcic and Sleepyheads album promotion @ Tvornica 01Oct2015

Back there in June I went to see Zur-arranged gig at Attack! and during that gig  prettier half of Zur introduced me to Sleepyheads frontman. Other than my utmost confusion with stuff she was talking about I also remember she said not to miss their upcoming album promotion and that it is going to be absolutely awesome. So I remembered that when Sleepyheads album link appeared in my Facebook stream and I went to bandcamp and bought myself the album and also jumped over to Entrio and bought ticket for the gig. I love this internet age and wonderful ease of getting my shit without having to do with live humans in the process.

Having my folks babysit my 11 yo kid just gets more and more taxing over the years. One would think that people who I eat lunch with every mf Sunday would manage to remember I do not own a TV set and that they have to find another activity to pass the time for those 3 or so hours every few months that they spend here.

But, I digress; I was out in time to pick up my friend over at Cvjetno naselje and we drove downtown and had a nice walk before appearing at Tvornica. Some nice socializing (including meeting some cool new people) and a cold beer quickly thawed my frozen heart and before soon I was quite enjoying the evening. Zvonka was going back and forth greeting friends and acquaintances and after one such ellipse she returned with twinkle in her eye and a big grin and she said: "That is Mark. He is.."

"I know. The producer." I interrupted.

"Yeah." she said. "You're gonna LOOOVE him."

Few minutes later we were in front row and they started to play and loove him I did. Mark Mrakovcic (guitar, vocals) and supporting band (keyboards and drums) play with such wonderful ease and relaxation which only complete mastery can bring. Sound was set very loud but also lovely clear and with warm, pleasant timber.Their music is very old school (was reminded of Ozric Tentacles at Mocvara I watched few years ago) but pervasive feel is that of energy and mastery. It was all so unpretentious and had such a good, neighborly flow, I was just smitten with that impression. I liked how the guy on the keyboards had that familiar vibe of brother introvert by appearing completely out of place when walking around before and after the set and completely transforming into a blues sensei during the set.

I managed even to get my hands of setlist after they finished. I seldom care about any kind of mementos from the shows (and have exactly one other) I go to but it felt so appropriate to collect this one.

Few minutes later equipment was collected, removed, rearranged and Sleepyheads were on stage. All the usual indie and hipster suspects were in attendance and the gig that was recently being described on social networks as:"only for true music connoisseurs"  could start. I have already done my homework listening to the album and I saw that there were many prepared like that in the audience. Frontman had changed hairstyle since I last saw him (and this one suit him much better) and was visibly nervous but once they started to play it was smooth sailing all the way. Songs were much more alive then on the recording and they were well rehearsed and eager to please.

After four or so songs I had enough of front row, loudness and smoke so I moved to the back, closer to mix station and found myself a spot.

That was an impressive crowd. I liked this view better and the sound was awesome in the back. Some tipsy girls were constantly bumping into me but I was amused and benevolent. I was thinking how Vedran's pronunciation was really nice and how I would love to hear them play again somewhere less smoke-filled when they will be less intimidated by big audience.

You should keep an eye out for their next gig and come to hear them too.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


When I think about what it took for me to leave the institution of my marriage there seems to be a million things on the surface; the alcohol, the lack of respect, the anger, silence, dissapointment ... A million things. But, in actuality all these things boil down to the minute it was truly over - when I no longer considered him and me as us.

I remember that moment and that train of thought so vividly as if it happened two minutes and not eight years ago. 

I remember despair and furiosity and the frustration leading to that moment. I remember thinking to myself:"But how am I going to do ALL THIS ALONE?!" and I remember my inner voice answering to that voiceless plea with:"You are already doing all this alone."

And that was the truth. Humiliating and empowering truth. There was noone to lean on and share responsibilities with, there was no other for a very long time. There was only me keeping the illusion alive. Me cleaning, me parenting, me paying bills, planning and networking. Me. Not us.

And that was the moment I was out, moment of terrifying clarity stating that all bets are off.

It takes some people a lot more time and effort, it takes lifetime for some and they never come out and yet for others still all it takes is just one bad decision that seals the deal for eternity. Like it sealed for Mr. Stylman here in the third episode of Life. All it took is a bit of fear that illuminated his true colors.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Anna Silvers

Marriage is an institution of beauty. Or despair.

As a psychologist and also as a divorced person I read a lot of stuff on marriage and personal relationships. It is a prolific field of research and even more prolific field of abundant anecdotal evidence and heated  unsubstantiated opinions. No other area holds more interest for me than interpersonal relationships and it is as much labor of love as it is the quest for quenching intellectual curiosity thirst.

With that being said real live examples, often quite immediate, are falling close to the heart so to speak, engaging me on levels both private and professional - bringing true discomfort along with captivation.

In the second ever episode of Life there is a great exchange in the beginning, one that captures in its essence the internalization of societal expectations in its full terrifying ridiculousness, one which ends with Dani Reese kneeling over a dead person in a wedding apparel. As we, the viewers, pick up from there it is so easy to overlook that in daily life we may not always encounter complete people lying like that but frequently there are bits of our beliefs left thusly; betrayed expectations, un-communicated fears, hopes given up upon that finally leave us void of our ticking mechanism, nonfunctional. Broken.

At this time in my close proximity in real life there are two open "case studies" so to speak, one with male and one female party being undone by a destructive relationships right in front of our eyes. It is truly disconcerting how little can be done to help other than making ourselves available for them in some possible future event of actual need.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Night Overpass

I wake up around three-ish each night; I feed the cats, take a leak and then usually read a book, catch up on my emails or scroll through twitter feed tinkering with some or the other issue that will only come back into existence with my morning alarm. 

It is a productive and peacefull time and I've grown quite fond of this night overpass between one day and the next.

Once that the munching and slurping of tasty catfood subsides ears are filled with only the white noise of household appliances and occasional outside noise. Books feel like vast oceans in that unusual lack of stimuli and attention has unique physical presence.

When I'm particulary unsettled, like I am now, I soothe myself with meditation of listening to my own heart beating in this engulfing silence. Worries become huge menacing beasts, dragons of disquiet, whose fierce might just burns themselves out, leaving but a fading memory by the morning light. 

Many times the act of putting down tablet or turning down the reading light reveals the fact of not having to also turn off the radio, even if some music has followed me quite persistently through my reading hour. Sometimes the music within me is so strong it does not even need to come from the outside. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"There was all that proof."

In the beginning of Life there is this quick mockumentaristic mashup of parts of interviews with Charlie Crews's friends and family, real attention-grabbing stuff of the small things from the unknown context burning its way into our mind and this gentle female voice, repeating twice:"There was all that proof."

Transfixed blank stare and leafing through Path to Zen.

I love that show.

                                               x                     x                      x                

Lately, when I'm highly stressed I go running.

Through the day I give the impression of being preoccupied, yet in control. I take things and I solve them, one after the other, efficiently and disconnectedly. And  feel extremely efficient because truly I am. There is all that proof.

... and yet, I also know there are things I'm not resolving and stuff I'm not in control of and those I can only leave to unravel and become clear.

Runing helps.

Not really, but in a way how push-ups help a prisoner in solitary. It gives focus, supplies endorphins, eases the mind.

I ran 4K today. Went running when the kid was already in bed. She said:"Now?!" when I gave her a kiss before going out. Yeah baby, now.

It was a beautiful night with smell of autumn in the air; crisp, heavy with overripe grapes and tired foliage. I ran well and I listened to Skrillex's Bangarang like I always do when cannot bear sentences. It has an awesome beat and I feel like a winner entering the finish line with every song. It pushes me to work on my cadence without even thinking of it.

While running I noticed there was my shadow always there before me, running in front of me, always. Mocking me. Playing with me. Challenging me.

Showing me the Path.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Teledrome, Juzni and Neon Lies @ AKC Medika

I only hold lower most contempt for "summer break" in Zagreb concert season. Year after year I hear explanations but they offer no more than lame excuses. With that said, I do understand the issue of overstretched expenses in many of venues and that makes my respect for AKC Medika bigger and bigger each year. I love their shows, their activism, function in front of form approach. Year after year it ensures interesting and fun summer in Zagreb and I never ever leave their commons disappointed.

One such example happened this Thursday. There was Teledrome gig in Attack and Juzni and Neon Lies supported them with their performances. I went there with high expectations and I left more than ecstatic.

For starters there was this great flyer by Biblical Violence Illustrations:

I did not know much about the performers before the gig but this is all my fault since AKC Medika social media person spares no effort to collate and present A LOT of information about all their happenings on Facebook, Twitter, and Attack homepage.

I knew there would be Sven from ### so I was sure there will be something interesting there. Not to beat around the bush - this performance was just awesome! Usual Juzni setup is Sara and Eva from Žen and Goran and Sven from ### - but due to some unforeseen circumstances Goran was absent from this gig and we were notified in advance on FB/twitter that the performers will be "Dražen i Lidija Transjužni Improvizacijski Trio".

I loved this set. It was majestic in sound just as much as it was pretty.

Dražen i Lidija Transjužni Improvizacijski Trio
They opened with something experimentally post-rockish (Sven is playing with some kind of drumsticks on a bass guitar laid flat - if I saw this correctly - and girls are blazing good on drums and guitar) and soon into the set the strobes started to flash and the music heated up and flowed - for 20 or so minutes - without ever ceasing to be really exciting and interesting. I loved this gig. I'm already hoping there will be more of their music.

Second act was Neon Lies.

Goran Lautar - Neon Lies - performing at Attack.

This was a surprise for me. I was so baffled seeing Goran Lautar is Neon Lies that it took a few minutes and half a dozen of funny smses to ascertain and confirm the situation. In this act first song was like first pancake; sticky and behaving weirdly, threatening to ruin your pleasure for the whole batch - but, sound got better and everything got adjusted and whole set was surprisingly smooth. I do not know the guy that well but he seemed quite freaked out before the set and he was very happy with the reception and his own performance afterwards. It will be good seeing Neon Lies again after this first ever performance. I have a feeling it could grow nicely.

And then, Teledrome.Teledrome was great.

There was this awesome mixture of Hemendex vibe with how Handsome Furs used to expend their energy while performing. Plus punk-ishly short songs. They have an album here so you can sample it.

I danced my ass off.

They were in good spirits, very relaxed and played with fierce energy. I loved how they just spread that cool, self-confident tone everywhere they went during the intermezzos in the commons and then took it to stage to wash over us like a tidal wave. It was a great, rejuvenating, energizing experience. I could have it three times a day without ever getting bored.

All in all great, great gig and another night well spent on Attack grounds.

*gig report also published at in English.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


I've seen Birdman today.

I did not just stumble upon it. It was recommended to me.

Some time beginning this year (on January 22nd to be exact) Killing Time posted about it on his blog. I love reading his stuff. I love watching the movies he recommends and I love comparing our notes, even when I'm not writing them down. Usually I see where he's coming from but our views differ dramatically and it seems we appreciate completely different accents of the same content. I do not actually know the guy but I've grown to respect his style and his mind. It is a kooky bag of crazy if there ever was one and I admire it tremendously. We'll return to this.

So, Birdman.

I absolutely loved the movie. Sat smitten in the dark, even when the credits rolled into nothingness and there was only the fan of my computer whirring through the sound of my thoughts. I love how beautiful it is, each scene so saturated and beautifully lit. Motion. Following the characters around. Close-ups. Not so much claustrophobic as much as engaging. Personal.

It actually felt like the inside of my mind.

Yes, the chili pepper Christmas lights. This movie definitely feels like the inside of my mind.

I loved the veneer of the movie, the parallels it extends to real life (which the Killing Time so aptly describes in his review here) but I love its feel of transcending experience, of a shared common woe much much more. Boldly written dialogues of things being said in a transparent way, way we can mostly only dream about in the real life. I love desires boiling over the pots of characters's minds, over and out into the world. I love how the scenes inside the scenes behave in a beautiful and compact way, void of triviality.

One example of this is how all the people around the reacting dyads are just... scenery. Or, in the best case,  props to advance the action. This is also true of real life, that we give our attention to few things in our surroundings, and are mostly completely oblivious to the rest. Usually filmmakers try to create sense of normalcy by giving roles to these props, but this one filmmaker did not go that way.

I love how it is accented that each person lives in his/her own mind even though they live through same life situations (the taxi scene, last anniversary party scene). I love how the difference in their experiences is translated into words subtly but directly ("Two years and he never told me something that beautiful."). I love how they are beautifully surprised with sudden overlaps ("Look at all these roses. And you hate roses" plus "I hate roses.").

Sudden overlaps.

Lately I've been thinking about our idols, my idols. People living or made up whose existence and/or endeavors I hold in high esteem. I've noticed that people often pick for idols someone who in one way or the other has something that they themselves do not have. I, on the other hand, seem to enjoy immensely picking idols that I already share something with; crazy persistence (Tite Kubo, Harrison Wintergreen), fascinating adaptability (empress Teodora from The Female), signs of usable intelligence (Killing Time) to name a few.

My mind is in love with sudden overlaps.

Like the overlap of Birdman's common woe with mine.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Invisible Support = Invaluble Support

Last year in August I had pneumonia and I spent almost a month being acutely sick and then some more trying to feel better.

You see,
I lost my footing completely.

Before the pneumonia, there was me - feeling strong like warrior queen - 
running 3 times a week and pushing as hard as I can in other things in my life
and when pneumonia came it felt like nothing I ever felt in my entire life.

I felt weak. 
Felt completely without control.

Physical fitness means a great deal to me. For such a long time already I live without some kind of support for daily stuff like getting around and carrying stuff and I rely only on myself for earning for food and roof over our heads and this new weakness was truly humbling experience.

When acute part of pneumonia ended I was still not bouncing back as fast as I wanted so I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle. I joined Calorie Count and started to look into the foods I ate to diagnose places ready for improvement. I decided to spend more time doing stuff I loved and to be more sincere in cutting the bonds of relationships I had no wish to maintain and pursuing ones that I find mutually rewarding. 

I think it works.

Now, almost a year later I am 24 pounds lighter and I have doubled monthly run distances. I truly enjoy the time I spend working out instead of doing it as a chore. My eating and cooking habits have changed so much that instead of convenient canned goods, rice and pasta I came to our seaside vacation carrying loads of veggies, grains and clean meats with pressure cooker and wok to boot.

I repeatedly surprise myself. 

Maybe that sounds crazy to someone following this blog but I do not always feel as adamant as I sound, and I frequently search for some strength inside me - not finding it.
Because of that it feels so great - now and again - to look behind, sometimes even using this blog as baseline, and to see where I have been and where I am now and - surprise myself!

Thank you, invisible visitors, for being the part of my journey! Please always feel free to drop by or send me a line.

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.