Tuesday, December 25, 2012

First Christmas in a new home

I made cookies.

Our wheat grass is huge and there is wool and some knitting in progress.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cycling Gloves

Lately I've been sad and tired and preoccupied with life mysteries so I hadn't had the spirit to write about this experience.

But I cooked and ate well. I socialised and entertained, I even went and saw exhibition "Elves" (Vilenjaci) in Zapresic.

I cycled and ran and hiked and practiced aerobics and stretched and did some yoga. I bought less and saved more and I managed to focus my energy on small steps that add up to big changes. Like acquiring new skills while still using them to make useful and usable things.

Exactly as this lovely new pair of Ringwoods made using new bind-off and weaving ends techniques.

I finished them yesterday during knitting group I thought to try for size and organize at my place on Thursdays.

They'll keep my hands toasty while I'm cycling on cold days.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mark Lanegan @Pauk

With first news of Mark Lanegan playing in Zagreb I binded myself to seeing that show. Now, after being there to testify to that experience I am rather irresolute writting about it.

It was a mixture of pleasure and pain, scintillating bitter sweetness of rapture and regret, missfortunate chain of events attesting to nothing more than to current sociocultural era of vapidness, vanity and poverty that leads to having strange bedfellows.

Maybe I am snobbish in my approach to concerts but me being a snob does not change the facts and the fact is PAUK should never ever be used as a house of music. It is too disjointed, has too much reverberation points and distorts even the simplest and clearest sounds. It does no favors to artists and it tramples the experience for a listener. This concert was not announced to be at PAUK but, awkward enough, concert was sold out and moved from NKC Park (400 tickets) to bigger venue, horrible PAUK club (1300 tickets).

I am very sad this happened because of two things: because I am absolutely sure Žedno Uho would appreciate better venues for their concerts as Mate is nothing short than true connosseur of music and also artists' promoter, caring deeply for artists and treating them as dear friends, but I'm also aware that there are non-insignifficant financial and other reasons behind concert ending up where it ended. Second thing that bugs me is the situation behind this concert being sold out.

I would love nothing more than concerts being sold out to fans, friends, simpatizers and people open to new experiences but being there I would not dare to say that 30% of people in PAUK ever heard Mark Lanegan's music, no matter which his career era we're talking about. Rather expensive tickets these days in Zagreb go mostly to people of all ages who know (or care) nothing about music but like to be seen attending events, people who cannot find their place in slim to nonexisting 30+ club scene, misfits who use concert-night as an excuse not to be somewhere where they think they ought to be.

Sad but true.

On the other hand, there were upsides to this story also.

Creature With the Atom Brain were very interesting  and hearing them there I immediately wished to know more about them and listen to more of their songs.

Mr. Lanegan was Dr. Cool.

He was so cool he stood in his own coolness bubble and he owned the space spreading five meters in every direction. He hardly moved and scarcely emoted and he was utterly magnifficent. When he started singing I had such visceral feeling of content and excitement that small hairs on the back of my neck rose with tingles...

... and as my ears hurt and my soul bled I scoured PAUK in search of a better listening spot and I found one, just behind the sound station.

This is the only spot without awkward echo because it has extremely low ceiling and I stayed there for the duration of the show. They played my current favorite, "Grey goes black", while I was already "in the den" and I was grateful and pleased I did not stay at front.

After the encore, guy from CWAB came on stage and said: "Just one more announcement, dear friends: after the show Mark will be at merch stand talking to fans and signing whatever you want signed." and this was so warm and welcoming I loved the sound and the idea of it.

In the end I thawed a bit to this experience and went home pleased.

I'd like to see him sing again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fjodor and Zechs Marquise @ NKC Park 10Nov2012

As I entered NKC park Fjodor were just beggining to play and I was immediately captured with their stunning display of ability.

Wonderful stuff.

Their music is clearly propelled by drums and the guy playing them was all just one flexible muscle, in shorts, full of energy and already dripping wet. Sound was not too loud and it was cristal clear, vibrant and refreshing and beautiful.  Bass was communicating with the audience and guitarist played impressively fast changing chords with lightning speed and with exquisite audio-results. I just stood there in front of the stage, my jaw hanging open, transfixed and overjoyed through their set. I liked how they communicated with each other and I loved how they looked happy and surprised by audience reception. Can't wait the album that they announced and I'm really looking forward to seeing them play again soon.

After some rearranging, Zechs Marquise assumed positions:

The thing with me and Zechs Marquise music is simple.

They were introduced to me by a friend when their Getting Paid album just got out. This is firm rock stuff, King Crimsony melodic figures and psychodelic overtures envoking kind of lust for life, joie de vivre, unleashed passion urging scenes and feelings Hunter Thompson could think of and peruse. When I listen to it I am overrun with desire and kind of fine nostalgia of times passed, times containing unsafe sex, smoking and illicit substances. Later on, I got their earlier album Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare (2008.) which is more ambiental and wonderfully theatrical and instead of  producing sense of dissapointment (as it wasn't similar to Getting Paid) it just made perfect sense. Where they're coming from and what are they coming towards. And I hardly waited (lusted, actually) to see how it will sound like live.

It was great.

As they performed songs from both albums it also made perfect sense live. Sound was really good and audience attentive so all the parts, even ambiance sounds and odd pings, were audible. Guys were in good spirits and talkative and I was impressed with how fresh they seemed in the light of their busy itinerary (I suspect I would be less than perky if I woke up every day in another country and had a gig to perform every night). There were oodles of couples in the audience and people danced, Saturday night was imbued with festive feeling, even Mate Škugor danced and had good time and didn't dedicate whole evening just to control if everything is running smoothly.

Yet smoothly it ran. And it was great.
After the show I scuttled absent-mindedly through Park Ribnjak and into my car followed by my ferverous nostalgia. Bubbling cauldron of x-rated ideas bubbled away happily in my mind.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Family Affair - The Revival Tour 2012 @Mocvara 06Nov2012

Most people, even the ones that surmise to know me well, I do not strike as a familial person that values much bonds of biological connectedness and for most of the concept those people are right.

Family is not blood bond. Family is love bond.

Even my brother, about which I most of the time feel only mild contempt, is a person I fiercely fight with and whose opinion I take into consideration even when it is polar opposite of my own. We grew up together, laughed together, cried together, broke each other's noses, ended one another's relationships, spat on one another's values and in the end we always found it in one's self to say things as they are and have a cup of coffee together afterwards. It is a demanding, turbulent love that never ceases to expand the borders of our tolerance and it is a love that gives the greatest gift of all - certainty that there will always, no matter what I do or what life will bring, always there will be that person in my corner giving me support and cheering me on.

That is what I mean saying that "family is a love bond"...

... and that is what Chuck Ragan's music speaks to me.

I could hardly wait his Revival Tour to come to Zagreb and now I've seen them play I can only say I wish I knew more musicians like that. More people like that.

They started as a family - all together on stage, sharing goodwill and good music with one another and with us:
And they continued to play, coming into spotlight one by one, communicating and supporting and performing.

I especially liked Cory Branan who proved to be excellent storyteller in live performance. He is so cute; with wavy hair and big blue eyes and yet so expressive and explicit  it was wonderful to see that discrepancy in action.

As you can see, Ginsberg lost his mustache (I was shocked for a minute or twenty - he looks great with them I was perplexed why he'd give them up).

Emily Barker is so beautiful none of the promo pictures give her justice and also has exquisite voice. As I usualy dislike female vocals and can bear only few of them this fondness surprised even me.

Jay sang some king of sailor song that I cannot remember the name of for the life of me but that was really great...

... and as there were so many of them and they just played one after another without pause it was a bit much for Tuesday after work. Nevertheless, the music was great and the feeling of camaraderie warm and persuasive.

They even bonded with one of the audience as our ambassador of goodwill:

Great, heartwarming performance and emotion-stirring experience.

Chuck Ragan has a tatoo "Forever Family".

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reading Minds

Qualia is a term assigned to subjective conscious experience, "the way a thing seems to a person" and it is extremely personal and ineffable. It is redness of red, taste of beer or feel of touch/pressure of lovers lips pressed against your upper thigh. It is pure perception; raw material used to make each of us the person we are.

Qualia is important to me.

I see world as a sequential place. Adding and subtracting variables makes for different pictures. Better recognition and knowledge of mechanics and timing of puzzle pieces contributes to finer, more sophisticated pictures and those pictures are what I work with and deeply care about. Sometimes I write stories or poems celebrating this experience, other times I make people's relationships work or facilitate efficacy improvements in their daily routines - those are all pictures I deeply care about. It takes a lot of observation, some directional small scale experimentation and a bit of persuasion lovingly wrapped in personalised gift wrappers.

But in my relationships I forget to behave, I forget to emote, I just do not share. I'd like for my significant others, friends and lovers alike, to just read my mind. My rational self knows for a fact that that can not and will not work no matter how hard I wish for it to work but my emotional self will not have that notion and me being so stringent in my daily business somehow gives unwarranted leeway to my emotional self to kick ass of my rational self.

So where does qualia come in in this picture?

It precedes all the notions, all the pictures, and as such it defines them in my universe. Sole recognition of the existence of qualia (unique personal ineffable conscious experience quality) makes everything I do, everything I see, everyone I think about or work with unique: we may go down the same path, meet same objects/subjects, observe same events but our brainbox will always dish out personalised data track contributing to different attributions and resulting in behavioral variations.

I'd actually like to be treated like that. Similar but unique. That is my expectation from my significant others that often stays unmet.

Why is that?

                                       x                             x                               x

This is second post in On Relationships (tag) series.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Relationships

On a beautiful autumn morning I drive to work through town, admiring crisp yellow sunshine and leaves that turned red. Arriving to Kennedy square my retinae are splashed with million shades of green since different kind of trees are planted there and they have not yet heard that autumn is here. There is silence in my ears and my soul is at peace. At that moment I bask in the sun of pure content, bliss of enjoyment in present moment.

For some time now I rumminate on things concerning relationships which I see or which my friends share with me, things that sadden and exhilarate me, blissful things, sordid things, things that are. I'd like to put them into perspective of my own life. I will do this for my own education, pleasure and amusement. I will do this by listing them here and by inspecting and re-thinking them here so there will be written proof of how I once considered them - proof to remember and to return to when needed.

The biggest issue in the story about relationships seems to be incongruity of expectations.

What expectations?

Many, actually. Whole whirlwind of expectations falling victim to false consensus bias. Expectations we often have just because we never questioned their desirability or worth. Things we accepted at face value just because they were always done like that, because it is safer not to question them so we could have some structure in this treacherous, unpredictable territory.

The thing I'd like to start with is qualia.

                                                x                           x                         x

This is the first post in On Relationships (tag) series.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maybeshewill @Attack! 28Sep2012

Back in February 2010 while I was getting my festival accreditation for Žedno Uho #11 I exchanged  few e-mails with Mate Skugor suggesting that he brings Maybeshewill to Zagreb. He was very receptive and polite but, as it often happens, life brought unforseen turmoils so this fell off the radar.

Two years later, Maybeshewill was announced to perform at Attack! on May 11th 2012 and I bought the ticket the minute they were released. There was a bit more waiting involved but on Friday September 28th 2012 I finally got to see Maybeshewill perform in Zagreb.

It was well worth the wait.

As usually, I got to Attack! early to see everyone and poke my nose into everything. First thing I noticed entering almost empty Attack! was minimalist setup on stage - fact that left me flabbergasted. As evening moved along I was no less confused but after the gig I have to say that it was the perfect greeting for this evening of pure perfection.

First ones on stage were Rens Argoa.
From the first moment they began to play I was utterly impressed with beautifully set, christalline sound that covered wonderfully whole Attack! floor. Small supporting bands usualy get served short end of the stick as sound is set up for headliners - but not today! Sound was beautiful and, as you can see in the photo here, there is really minimal amount of equipment on stage. Guys play bravely and I was shocked I did not hear about them before as they were really really good. I could swear I heard something James-Bondish in one of the songs they played. Fun idiosyncrasy I also noticed is that their drummer plays with no shoes on, wearing only socks. They have some great music put up on their soundcloud page so go there and check it out.

After a short break Portman went up.

After a bit of commotion with the drumset they started out slowly and a bit pingy at first, with a bit too much cymbals which made whole sound picture dirty and unpolished but after first song it cleaned beautifully and Portman played their set of firm metal/stoner warp interwowen with classic postrockish weft. Another great discovery worth listening through from their SoundCloud page.

And then, after a minute change in stage setup, Maybeshewill went on stage...
... and they were all I imagined and hoped for and then some.

Sporting stickers and T-shirts by Nothing But Hope And Passion they were living, walking, music making epitome of that phrase. Surprised and moved by loving reception from Attack! audience they played their hearts out.

Song after song was beautifully clear and impeccably delivered and it felt so fulflling and overwhelmingly beautiful I was sincerely moved to tears. It was so utterly marvelous that if I closed my eyes, while standing amidst the biggest crowd a meter from stage, I could be so lost in exquisiteness of the music I felt no people surrounding me,... like I was standing in the middle of the field, immersed in beauty to such extent that music came from within me, not from outside.

They played and played and then played some more...

...and I did not feel the passage of time at all. They could have played their whole discography over and over again or just one second of one song - I was so filled with love I felt completely zen.

... heart's content...

After the show, in contrast with my usual routine I did not run away home immediately trying "to keep the music in my ears" but I stayed and watched the crowd disperse slowly. I did not talk. I did not drink. I did not move.

I just stood there letting the world flow by me and it felt like nothing I ever felt in my life.

Leaving Attack! I passed Jamie Ward in the hallway and I thanked him for the show and he smiled and nodded and it was perfect end to a perfect show.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn Beauty

I drive through town from my new home to work on the other side of town.

Mornings are cool and beautiful, air is crisp and Soundset Plavi radio show hosts are making me laugh out loud in my car as I travel to work. I make my rounds, talk and pack and ship and negotiate and I leave for home tired and smiling.

I pick up my offspringess from school and she says: "Home, sweet home." as we enter our flat.

I cook dinner and she tells me about her day. We analyze and we plan ahead. We receive guests and play with friends. Often we share dinner with loved ones and we whine and motivate and preach.

In the evening we watch Star Trek or Mythbusters or Bleach or Lie to me or Life and we talk as I knit.

Later still I carry offspringess from my bed to hers and enjoy streching out some.

I hope I will never ever forget how I missed these simple pleasures of life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Japandroids @Purgeraj 08Sep2012

I took some time off here, at the end of summer, and I was on vacation last two weeks after working the summer away. In this time information bombshell fell at the office and I was called home for consult on something every #*%$#* day... So opportunity for some R&R presented itself in a form of Japandroids concert that was announced at new Zagreb venue, NKC Park, and I went there to check up the place and soak up some noisy emotion-provoking goodness.

As is happens, my camera-phone fell into tub of water earlier that day and I was so pleased it was still working after some drying and tinkering with I naturally assumed it would serve me well at concert site...

... but it was so hot there, at small hall in Purgeraj, that the remaining water in the phone condensed on inner side of the lens and all my Be Forest pictures turned out like this.

Soft-edged, dreamy, retro-feel grainy. I love them. Just as I instantly loved Be Forest and their somnambulate, nostalgic sound of times passed, evocative and sweet, sensual yet performed by people so young and fairly attractive it was a paradox in itself to let oneself enjoy it fully. And I loooved them.

I mingled a bit and poked my nose around the venue and I enjoyed the company of friends as crowd gathered for the main event. Concert was sold out which did not surprise me but I was a bit surprised by multitude of people and compactness of space at Purgeraj. Small hall was jam-packed with people and it was difficult to see and difficult to breathe for me as I am not much of a people's person and I like my personal space unpopulated with people I'm not intimate with - so I squirmed out of the concert hall and back into the bar and there I noticed, with no small surprise and happiness, that there are screens in the bar space and in the outer terrace space showing camera feed from the stage!!!

I have heard and read oodles of silly remarks during past few days on how "this is not the same as watching the concert from first rows" and that "you can watch the concert like that from the comfort of your own living room" but I say: "Don't be daft!".

If I had wanted to watch the concert from first row I would get there in time to experience it like that. If I had wanted to press against people in the hot oven I'd do just that. In addition, you are forgeting that there are people that do not feel the inclination to jump into mosh pit but they still like being out with their friends that do. There are people that are just very short, or maybe disabled - having medical conditions like MS or are in a wheelchair that would very much appreciate having such a great opportunity to watch the show from few meters away but still to be sheltered and have full comfort of motion.

So I poked around some more and I mingled and I spoke with super-friendly bartenders and waiters and drank blueberry juice from ice-packed glasses with lovely giant straws and I still enjoyed the show very much. I had unparallel opportunity to observe friends and acquintances engulfed in wild extasy of singalongs, stagedivers, unknown secret lovers AND I still had enough time and space to take some more awful pictures of stars of the evening with my dried-out phone. Japandroids made for a great, energy-filled flying carpet of happiness and their showmanship and communication with the audience, both before and during the show was endearing.

This was one great night out, rapturous and multilayered, remedial for body and soul.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Plum Strudel

I somehow find myself in the habit of making desserts on Sunday mornings that later on in the day travel with me to various social gatherings. I like this state of affairs because I love baking but I hate throwing food and I don't eat that many sweets that this would fare well if I baked just for us at home. As an added bonus I get lots of practice in this craft and that is what I love the most.

So today I opened the fridge and there were some perfectly ripe plums waiting for me there.

I cleaned the plums (there was about 300 g pitted plums), diced them and added a pinch of salt, two tbsp vanilla sugar, 4 tbsp fine crushed oat flakes and 1 tsp cinnamon. I mixed it all together and set aside.

I rolled out three sheets of store-bought filo pastry, brushed them with 1 tsp olive oil each and sprinkled them with 1 tbsp water each and then rolled one third of prepared plum filling in each sheet and arranged them into lightly oiled ovenproof glass dish.

It looked like this before baking:

And then I put it into preheated oven on 180°C for 20 minutes and 5 minutes more I turned on the oven fan so it will get more golden on top (total 25 minutes with fan, I suspect it would be about 30 minutes total without fan) and now it looks like this:

When it was out of the oven I sprayed it with a little more water and wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil so the steam from the plums will soften the strudel.

At noon it will travel with me to friend's place for lunch and I plan to serve it plain, dusted with some confectioners sugar, but it would also go well with scoop of vanilla ice cream per portion.

Have a lovely Sunday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Praying Mantis

In my new home I especially like the fact that I can sleep and sit by opened window and that there is so much nature and so many interesting creatures so close by.

Few days ago we had a visitor; wonderful, 15 cm long (plus tentacles) praying mantis in prime condition, green and well hydrated, bright-eyed and responsive. I took lots of pictures and have looked her over well without damaging her and in the end I have showed her out.

She flew magnificently and watching her fly I remembered when I first played Fallout 2. There were swarms of mantis there in the beggining of the game, when I was still weak and my weapons pitiful. It is nice to have so precise memories even though it took an arm and a leg to force myself to store data differently, so not to succumb to rosy retrospection. I still remember silent despair and constant re-loading. Sense of urgency with heartbeat drumbeats in my ears.

Sometimes I wake up in the dark of night and wish for magical simplicity of resolving issues with spiked knuckles or pickpocketed porn magazine. In the morning wishes wane and all that is left is sweet soothing warmth of intimately knowing one's self.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


In the eve before Assumption day mother calls and asks if I will join them for lunch tomorrow ("as you are spending far too much time alone in that apartment"). I say I will think about it and we say our goodbyes.

I bring a cake.

We make the table together, I cut tomatoes as she puts down plates and father finishes mashed potatoes. Everything smells great and is piping hot. We sit down to eat.

During soup I make my announcement:

"In this time since we last saw each other I managed to get back together with I."

Father smirks happily into his plate, knowing that only I will notice his grin.

Mother puts down the spoon, lets out giant sigh of relief and says:

"I'm glad."

Usually, she knows better than to ask anything personal about my life. In usual circumstances I would never have her appraise my business. It's always just sour grapes with her. But this is important to me and I do not want silences, omissions and lies cloud how much this is important to me. So I volunteer the information.

But her reaction surprises and startles me:

"What do you mean: "I'm glad."?!

"I'm glad. I don't like you being alone. It is nice to have someone to talk to and share your life with."

"You're a real parent.", I say, half in wonder; moved and surprised.

She says: "I am. I want you to be happy."

We continue to eat in silence, munchin' away happily from our plates.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Argies @KSET 01Aug2012

I went to see Argies play at KSET on Wednesday. I did not listen to them before but I was intrigued with the description of their music as "combat street rock" and I did my homework going through their stuff on youtube and investigating online so I was prepared. I also wanted to get a taste of what Monteparadisians were gonna get this year, to satiate my newly discovered desire to plan endeavor of going to a festival next year.

When I came to KSET, around nine-ish, an hour later than KSET homepage prophesied for door to be open (to my wild disbelief), club was still not open, and after it opened there was not any live music until about hour and 20 later. I see the wisdom (or should I say profit) in getting the people clubbed and spending money hours before gig they paid to see but it ticks me off beastly nevertheless. Oh well, cest la vie. Very hot vie also, because KSET was melting down from accumulated heat, and no cold beverage in the world could put a dent on that heat.

First I got to see No More Idols...

... and they were very, very dissapointed by low turnout but once they started to play they were great. Added bonus was that familiar crowd made NMI play very playfully and unrestricted, like they were alone, somewhere on a practice session, communicating with friends. I felt bad at one point not being so familiar with the scene as blondie there (far left on the photo there) sang one song with NMI and I could not place him. Blondie surely belongs to another band becouse he without doubt has mad performing skillz and I'm sure this will all be revealed in due time.

40-ish minutes later, Argies climbed the stage - and they were a different class altogether.

They started with a few chords from London Calling, just to get our attention and they continued on to play fiery mix of their own songs and covers - I forgot half of them but I remember we heard Nicaragua Sandinista, I fought the law, La Bamba, Psychokiller, Guantanemera. They were beautifully set up and I can't remember I ever heard drums in KSET being set up so explosive and loud but it worked wonderfully, not overpowering other instruments and giving whole performance one nice old-school big-space sound.

One other thing I noticed is how they are very clean, exquisitely well prepared warderobe-wise (wearing clothes that look great on stage and also can go through all daily errands including travel and high-end dinners), sensibly chosen shoes and it all looked deliberate and planned ahead. I liked that very much as I keep good dress code and travel-packing at very high regard. Last but not least, their bass player is so damn hot he deserves richly to be spoken of separately from on-stage performance.

I also decided to include one more photo, 'cause Argies were such good sports and they let the stage to be overtaken by home team a bit more:

We all had a good laugh and it was great, great night out.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Green Bean Stew

Green beans are in season and I'm enjoying the fact I can now make light and quick stews having new place with great kitchen and all. This is one incredibly simple yet satisfying dish and I'm posting this quick recipe here to remember to use it many, many more times.

Serves 3-4:

small pack of fresh green beans (cca 300 grams)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, cleaned and cut to smaller chunks
2 potatoes, diced
1 tsp ground sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
pinch black pepper
small sausages, frankfurters or wieners

Fry onion in small skillet on medium temperature until it is translucent, add paprika and stir until it is nice and fragnant. Add carrots and green beans and enough water to cover. Cook half-covered on medium flame for 10 minues. Add diced potatoes. Turn heat on low, add salt and cook for 10 minutes. Add sausages of your choice (whole or cut into smaller chunks) and cook for 10 minutes more. Taste. Adjust seasonings. This quick stew tastes great both hot and cooled down (if chosen sausages aren't too fatty) , keeps well in the fridge for two-three days.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Meszecsinka @Močvara 27Jul2012

Začarana Močvara (Enchanted Swamp) is low-key project of Močvara club and it hosts world music or indie  bands with artsy proclivity. Friday night we had an oportunity to see three bands - number that I usually consider too big for a live show but it turns out the program was well pieced together.

First ones on were Amarchord, if I understand correctly promo materials for the evening, project that only got together after they were invited to perform at this show. Their singer is magnifficent rubenesque creature of unearthly, etheric beauty and even greater voice and for the next show I'd put spotlight more on her than current  band lead. I hope he was just very very nervous and that he really is not a person that always divulges point of a joke before telling the joke itself. Musically they werent bad but I think they should strive for a bit more coherent act.

Second act was a surprise to me and I was so taken with auditory affluence of their voices I got goose bumps all over.
Trio Vuge are singing fairies, part of Etno Udruge Vuge (Ethno Association Vuge) and they sing, sometimes accompanied by old instruments music, bunch of beautiful traditional songs from Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Romania,... They were dressed up and adorned by flower garlands and they sang wonderfully. I did not understand half of what they were singing about but I immensely enjoyed their playful voices - cornucopia of sound - spilling over audience, makin' us forget all except the music. Fairies, I tell you! Wonderful stuff!

And then there were Meszecsinka - stars of the evening...
... band from Hungary consisting of three middleaged guys and very sensual girl singer. They played bunch of Balcan-sounding ethno songs and many Spanish ones. You can sample their work on their bandcamp (link above) or soundcloud pages - they do not offer same selection of songs. They played fine and had good connection with people but what I liked the most in their act (beside Annamaria's wonderfuly skittish voice) is their body language: very relaxed, joyful, at ease and notably gender-defined. Annamaria is so abundantly feminine and guys so masculine and protective that it oozes from ther act and makes this one extra-special crossover experience. It's a bit sad they are visiting here in the height of summer, when it is too moist and too hot for meaningful loving because this would make glorious first date, one after which everyone would most certanly get lucky.

I love how live music experiences never are just music.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Graf Orlock @Attack! 25Jul2012

Last night's Graf Orlock gig at Attack! made stunning entrance into top 5 of my favorite concerts of all time.

Allthough it started over an hour after announced time it was well worth the wait. Guys from the band were talkative and friendly, they set up stage in front of the stage close to an audience and they were so well played in and rehearsed it was raptutous to watch them play. Sound was set up loud, real loud, and there were few objectioners in the audience but in my opinion it was not over the top. Also, albeit loud, sound was crystalline clear - ringing clear - with a warm ting that was very distinctive and pleasurable to listen to.

Cinematic grindcore sounded like an interesting concept while I was browsing through their work on Last.fm and I am very pleased I went to see and hear that because I feel that Graf Orlock have successfully wed two of my great loves - punk and movies. I especially liked the fact that there were no visual cues to this parade. As opposed to recent Meniscus gig in same venue, which had a lot of visual material to accompany the music making it a crossover experience modality-wise, this gig and its auditory directiveness was refreshing and vivacious, grabbing attention from the very start and making this experience intense and personal. In fact, it was so personal that I stood there grinning and taking pictures and tapping and hopping and enjoying the moment so much it resembled the  experience of "being churched" (you can read about that on this great Virtual Church of The Blind Chihuahua: What is Church, Anyway? page or if in need of more scientific explanation here are some notes on limbic resonance).

Which brings me to next logical point - Why do I go to "real" punk concerts anyway? I do not listen to that much grindcore or hardcore or any kind of punk exclusively. I dabble in indie and enjoy piano driven Japanese nu-jazz  post-rock. WTF?

Well, no indie Japanese post-jazz gives me the feeling of joie de vivre and absolute invigor'ation punk gives. When I stand there and listen to punk musicians, as good as those four were last night, play, my consciousness is wiped clean of everything except pure joy. All I feel is happiness, destructive wonderful happiness, sexually arousing exculpating happiness, violent and deafening happiness pure as the blood that runs through all our veins. No white, black or yellow, no straight or queer, no vegan or kosher, no inprisoned or free. It does not cross boundaries, it negates them. There is no "do". Only "be".

It is such a wonderful and liberating feeling, hologramic, wholesome,.. like being a cell and Consciousness Embodied simultaneously.

Here you can sample some of Graf Orlock work and by all means do support artists by buying their stuff.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Descendants (2011)

Picture/Poster property of Fox Searchlight 2011.

I watched The Descendants yesterday.

I liked it.

It takes a  few minutes, especially during his voice-over beginning of the movie, for me to overcome waiting to see if this is going to be another one of George Clooney's beauty movies. In this movie his beauty does not carry the plot. I kinda like that kind of movies because he really is beautiful and it seems to me that because he has been like that for such a long, long time he somehow looks "more natural" in roles powered by his charm and good looks. But this is not that kind of movie.

The Descendants is real life drama. I have not seen real drama, good drama, made for a longest time. Filmmakers somehow went overboard with dramas lately, traversing hyperrealism and serving us with unnecessary private details without any meaning, l'art pour l'art-isticly and stupidly treading across any real emotion that could come out of movie experience for a viewer. But this movie is not like that.

The story keeps description to a minimum - sharing only details that life would serve us in a similar situation. Feelings are shown as they are; discreet, muffled, difficult to understand from both ends - to a protagonist and spectator both. There are no tractates on both sides of a story just fragments of truths, half-truths and blatant lies. To watch it gives an impression of watching real life play out in front of you.

George Clooney's acting is exquisite. He actually makes us believe this could be his life. "...backup parent.  The understudy." he says in one voice-over and it FEELS GENUINE. Fervor in his realestate lawyer worktasks, silent despair in parenting tasks, anger smothered by decades of good manners - all this becomes him so oddly yet it rings so true. "Paradise can go fuck itself." resonates with living loss.

Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller both did a great job in their roles, more so by being so similar in their demeanor, expressiveness and non-verbal mood indicators as to make beliavable King family; sanguine yet composed, emotional yet deliberate - as royal family descendants ought to be.

Lastly, it is a movie of identification and comfort, movie that therapeutically shows us our own flaws and short comings and makes ways of resolving them not merely ostensible but real, true, authentic.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"There is only one greatness in life: seeing the world as it is and loving it."

Many things are happening every day - horrible, heavy things - happening in the midst of all my happiness with new place, visiting friends and re-vigoured life. There is so much going on I'm afraid I'll let something important slip by me and I'm going to make some notes here to compare them once things tide over.

I managed to help my parents return their life on track - it has been three months already and things still look very good.

One of my friends was hospitalized after botched suicide attempt that revealed many, many of things in his life have gone awry and this does not look good at all.

Another friend was nearly murdered by someone close and subsequently all kinds of horrible stuff, including rape and molestation, surfaced.

As my ex-husband is very explicitely threatening to kill me I went to report this to the police and they said that they cannot help me but they'll make a notice of me reporting this that will be useful if I decide to raise civil lawsuit against him or if he really does hurt/kill me.

Many, many things are happening.

          x          x          x

Some days, like yesterday, good and awful come together hand in hand. Same actions produce laughter and tears. Funny ol' world, that is. So many, many people barely coping with interpersonal relationships that they hope to make romantic in nature - so many thinking they're failing on daily bases.

Some time ago I shared some insights with a dear friend and did not think about it much at the time. But days flow by and it still resonates with my inner unease so I'll make a notice here - publicly - and I think it will make me good to do so. In this exchange of insights I said:

"I do not want these things from a lover, ones you talk about

I do not need them to carry my bags or change tires
but I do not need them for fucking either
or to bounce ideas off of them
or to affirm me
or to spend time with
or to share interests
or "to love me" because love is a thing I GIVE to someone to show them attention, and the experience of being loved is a feeling inside me - one that can be unprovoked by another person's actions

high correlation of "showing attention" from someone with "experience of love" could really mean that they love me, but it can also mean that they have good manners or that they have been trying to trick me

either way , love (toward someone) is inside me
that experience, chemistry, thoughts or emotions
are my construct
one that is easier to maintain if there is someone outside me who positively responds to my behavior
but that is neither sufficient, nor critical factor

I feel I can say that I "love all people" and "I do not love anybody"
and both of these statements are equal in value

Up until now I have loved men and women I dated in many ways and I have showed them my love in many ways
but if I would have to sum up most important bits - the reasons I engage in relationships at all - I think that would be:

1. because they have some excitement in their personality/behavior/coping that intrigues me
2. because I think they can teach me something
3. because I want to do things for them - from carrying bricks to cooking lunches or directing their lives (psychological category - it seems spending time with me cristalizes other people's intereses and affinities)

I do not need them for fucking because as much as sex is fun social activity, one can give more pleasure to oneself  alone

I do not need them for company because I know how to be alone and that is not unpleasant to me

I do not need them to formalize relationships because to cave under peer pressure once was enough - and they can bite me now

Luckily I do not need them for raising my life standard either (and I am very happy and grateful because of this)

All things considered, the only reason I would engage in a relationship is because I'm madly romantic. I unbeliavably like the thought of a partnership with a person that is aware of, and can handle the fact, that my thoughts are my own (and his coversly).  I like the idea of existing through time with a person while acummulating knowledge about each others' lives what in time makes for communication void of excess reiterations. Partner for experiments and partner in experiments. One that has his own intrests and we share the resolve to be pleasurable PARTNERS.

That seems like an ok plan to me. To hope to find someone like that."

          x           x           x

I thought about those words, my words, a lot lately - many times engaged in my evening workout as pictured in photo above - and it reaffirmed my oppinion this is a worthy goal. I will search high and low, through time and space, under rocks I already turned over and through landscapes (peoplescapes?) I am yet to come to.

And we'll go to PaxEast for our honeymoon.

Because "There is only one greatness in life: seeing the world as it is and loving it." and that is home.

          x           x            x

This is tenth post in the series "What is home?". Read posts one, twothree, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine below.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Penny Arcade Sells Out

There are only two comic-based sites I love in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, come hell or high water - and Penny Arcade is one of those two. I cannot count how many times something Mike or Jerry or Gabe or Tycho said made me pause my default existence to think, investigate, browse, research and explore. Numerous times I veered off PA  to Kotaku or somesuch just to get back and finish my reading enriched for a bucketfull of information. And now my favorite comic/gaming source of information and inspiration has decided to try to use crowdfunding to run ad-free for a year and in addition serve us with more free content as a reward for us helping them deliver us this kind of service.

Idea train is in station and I'm getting on!

Watch here, on Kickstarter, short movie about how this came to be and maybe cry a bit, as I have, watching this video show us the world as it really is - a beautiful and fun place powered by someone's fervor and ideas. Not everyone is made to lead, and it is a good thing 'cause it would surely crowd the goal zone, so in this here instance just try to follow.

Follow +5K of people like you and me, backers to this project, in donating cash so it can free good people providing us with free content.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Simple Peanut Ice Cream

As I have recently bought ice cream machine now I'm making fresh batch every three days so there will be many succesful experiments posted here. Usually I get inspired by beautiful photos like the ones here on Oh, Ladycakes - and then I scale down sugar and improvise with what I have on hand.

Few hours later I have some simple peanut ice cream and to make it mix in a blender:

one handful of peanuts
2 tbsp honey
400 ml milk (or 200 ml milk and 200 ml heavy cream)

Blend into more or less smooth liquid according to taste, pour into container that can be covered and refridgerate few hours or overnight.When thoroughly cold pour into your machine and churn according to manufacturer instructions.

Eat immediately or freeze in freezer-safe container until you're up for it. Thaw for 10 minutes before serving. Looks and tastes great crisscrossed with some chocolate sauce.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rosetta @ Attack! 12Jul2012

I do not usually come late to concerts but things became complicated really fast on Thursday so I just managed to arrive to Attack! as Man Zero were closing. I was not pleased because I like Man Zero quite a bit but Biškup said I was excused so it all went well. Short conversation and some laughing later Kings Destroy took the stage.

I managed to listen through about half of their act before I was so upset I had to go out and have some air and release steam and I will eventually get to what ticked me off like that - after I type a few words about Rosetta act.

Rosetta performed beautifully.

From the first moment throughout their act their sound was superb and there was so much love and devotion in the air that it was moving to watch. Lead singer was so thrilled with the reception he almost never wandered two feet from the audience. He hugged with them, allowed them to sing with him, smiled, had people climb on stage and take his picture from a foot away, he seemed to enjoy the attention and crowd loved to see him enjoy it. It was a beautiful experience as it seemed like a personal performance - acoustically exquisite and emotionally fulfilling - like having your favorite band perform in your living room, like songs are all bits of conversation flowing effortlessly between loving friends.

Which brings me to Kings Destroy and me being apalled, hurt and confused.

Kings Destroy were so utterly fucked in this endeavor I cannot fathom to understand how this happened.

I did not listen to their material before nor did I know anything about them but from this here experience I can say that they can play, they have handsome and adaptive frontman who tried to make the best of it and has great showmanship "string" - communicating and bonding with the audience both on and off the stage (as opposed to Rosetta gang who were autistic off stage, never leaving their smartphones for a second). Also I can say that it is not seldom for supporting band to be wronged by equipment and sound being set up for main attraction but this was not funny at all and if it was me on that stage performing - hearing how it all comes together would cause heads to fly. Last thing I do not understand is - how this fit was made?! Who got up one morning and said; "Hey, I got it! I think Rosetta should tour with Kings Destroy!" because that guy should have his head examined. Final impression seeing and hearing these two bands together was a lot like Miss Pennsylvania going out with a fat girl-friend. It does not raise her rating, it does not look like friendship, it just looks like somebody sat on her self-esteem and now verified beauty queen wants someone to go out with who will make her look beautiful by contrast.

I do not know how this actually happened and I am fond of fat chicks personally but this did not look good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Today I wanted to type about silence, about conflict avoidance, about  how expensive some inactions are, about how my first three posts in "What is home?" series are all about very pricey experiences that could have been avoided with me speaking for myself and how relationships are fleeting but love lasts forever.

But I'm not going to.

I came home and made myself one pot of ridiculously hot chilly - with sausagge slices and bacon bits!! - and now I'm going to have myself a bowl of chilly with freshly toasted bread and frosty cold glass of beer. After that I'm gonna put my feet up and read Mushishi manga or two and later still I'll go to Rosetta at Attack! and treat myself with some socializing and maybe another beer, if opportunity arises.

Because more than anything else giving chances - not closing myself to the world - is home.

          x           x           x

This is ninth post in the series "What is home?". Read posts one, twothree, four, five, six, seven and eight below.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cooking is home

I've been living in our new flat for almost a month and I've been cooking like crazy: cookies, cake, pasta, veggies, sandwiches, stews and snacks.


Even ice-cream and sorbets.

I even made tarts for friends at work.

Shelves and pantry are filled with everything I could need. Fridge is tidied daily. No dishes spend the night uncleaned. My vast cookbook collection is searched through every day and home-made meals are enjoyed both at home and carried to walks and work.

I've really, really missed my cooking.

And cooking is home.

          x           x          x

This is eighth post in the series "What is home?". Read posts one, twothree, four, five, six and seven below.