Tuesday, November 28, 2006

“The brightest lights in the darkest night”

My mind is awash in feelings, thoughts, ideas and images right now, and I wonder if I can capture a few of them. I just got back from the film Babel, which profoundly affected me - and that is primarily what I want a film, or any piece of art, to do.

Make me cringe in my seat, grip the arm of my chair, throw my hands up to cover my eyes, grind my teeth in suspense and fear or shed tears in commiseration or even joy. Break my heart, make me laugh with barely restrained glee, illuminate me, edify me, lift me up and make me see and feel the world, if only for a moment, from a wider and more passionate perspective.

Babel: "For my children...the brightest lights in the darkest night." I expected to have children by this point in my life, or soon after, and this quote crystalizes the main reason as clearly as 유리. They must surely be the brightest stars, the centers of the deepest warmth and the focal point of the fiercest love, devotion, pride and pure, simple happiness.

Any love is like a star in the sky or even a feeble match in the deepest darkness. Both the star and the match can cease to burn and go icy cold in the core - leaving the chill of the dark night.

But from a child that love is perhaps the least corruptible and the most risilient - virtually unassailable and thus unmatched.

Electronica: A heavy bass beat, synth riffs, strobe lights, laser lights, chemical visions, heat, sweat and smoke. In Seoul we used to go to MI and dance our asses off. We would arrive at about 9 or 10:00pm, fuel up on liquid fire at "Route 66" and hit the floor by 11 or 12:00. And dance til 4, 5, 6:00 am.


Every freak in Seoul! And back then it really was. NBINB had just opened. Underground and Joker Red were electronica temples. Hod-gee Pod-gee was still in that little attic, with slanted ceiling that could hurt the head and collected the smoke at the apex like clouds shifting over the floor.

Man. The smile on that girl's face when she was dancing. Beads of sweat on sweltering skin and flushed cheeks in a halo of flying, long, sleek, jet black hair.

The whole crew: Blane, Laurie, Jamie, Dave, Alison, Unjena, Kelly....

Fragility: "Oh these little earthquakes / Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces." The stories of Babel sum it up very well - small moments that can instantly change your world or gradually add to change you as a person.

A woman felled by a sniper's bullet on a remote road in north Africa. A girl outside of the world we see and hear everyday, who feels like a monster for her seperation and isolation. A child who only knows to trust, and not to question that trust - beautiful and terrifyingly vulnerable.

Resilience: But equally little things can embolden the spirit, lift the heart and bring rays of sunshine down onto a face lifted to receive it. The kindness of a stranger. The taste of a soft persimmon or the indescribable comfort of a warm spoonful of Kimchi Jjigae slurped on a cold winter day. A picture captured at the right moment between light and dark. The strains of music or line of a poem that encapsulate a shared thought or feeling . The sensation of carressing the smooth skin of the one you love.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Newfoundland Biscuits

So all joking about the "real Canadian Thanksgiving" vs the "fake US Thanksgiving" aside, yesterday was the big day in Portland. I joined a crew of fellow out-of-towners for an "Orphan's Thanksgiving" at "K"risitie's place. She had a massive bird prepared - succulent, juicy and oh so perfectly done - along with cranberries and an old-fashioned pumpkin pie. Who could ask for more?

The rest of the crew pitched in with appetizers, mashed potatoes, vegetable, banana bread and liquor - decidedly a lot of the latter!

And I showed up with nothing less than Newfoundland biscuits. Food makes up a lot of our sensory memories when it comes to childhood, and I have, lamentably, never had too many of my Mom's recipes around to experiment with.

However, I was in Canada in October, and came across an old cookbook with a few gems in it - including, light, fluffy, slightly sweet and memory-laden Newfoundland biscuits. I highly recommend you all try these out and report back - for the celiac among you you might try a potato flour, while the vegan are well out of my area of expertise but I know you have tricks up your sleeves.

So with no further ado (cause, as you know by now, there is always "ado" on this page):
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 egg (in measuring cup - fill to 1 cup with milk)
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
Combine all dry ingredients. Cut in margerine. Add egg and milk mixture and knead on a well-floured board. Roll to ~3/4" thick (experiment with this, I think thicker might even be better) and cut out desired shape with a biscuit cutter (or a water glass with the rim dipped in flour). Bake 20 minutes in a 400 degrees oven. Do not overbake - pay attention to your nose, it will be the best judge of when these are exactly ready to take out.

Enjoy the biscuits and leave me comments with your review.

Thank you a million for your hospitality Kristie!

Friday, November 10, 2006

"Baby Can I Hold You Tonight"

Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like sorry like sorry

Forgive me
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like forgive me forgive me

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you'd be mine

I love you
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like I love you I love you

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you'd be mine

Tracy Chapman

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Let it rain...

They are not kidding about this west coast rain thing, let me tell you. For the last two days solid it has rained - hard and steady. The two days before that, you guessed it, RAIN.

But that's no problem, that's all in the past. What might be a problem, however, is the three months of rain that is rumoured to be on its way.

Now what could make those three months a little more bearable?

How about good friends, a job you like and someone special to hold on those cold wet evening. You know what I mean, curl up into each other and hide from the real world - escape into an embrace that is warm and welcoming and accepts you just as you are.

Man, that could make you feel like rays of sunshine were beaming down into your life - you wouldn't even hear the rain drops or believe that a damp chill waited outside your pillow fort refuge.

I told a friend last night that I had never felt so alone in all my life as I do in Portland. I told them that sometimes I go whole weekends - days on end - without talking to another person in this city. I told them that I had often felt alone in my life, but that this experience was a new one.

And I managed to hide from it in the summer warmth - by hopping on a bike and feeling free, hitting a trail and meditating to the rise and fall of steady feet or paddling out into the running river and being part of something so much bigger than myself.

But then the shadows of this wet winter closed in...

And all I can say right now is thanks to that friend. Even if a chill breeze wafted into the corner of my mind now and then, it was good to spend an evening under rays of sunshine.

Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain