Pat doesn’t worry about me. At first, I was hurt, but soon I understood.
And this is enough to make me believe that I’ll be alright too.
A demo reel I made for Rachel Beausoleil, using footage I shot of her jazz vocal performance at the NAC Fourth Stage, as well as snippets of an interview I did with her. As a way of getting more exposure for future gigs, she asked for some video that she could shop around to different venues. I agreed to make this demo reel for her in return for some tickets to the show for me and my friends.
It was a wonderful concert in an intimate setting. The repertoire was quite varied — from waltz to Bossa nova to ballad — but all songs were performed as a jazz interpretations. The setlist included Aquarius by The Fifth Dimension, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, and Evangeline by Isabelle Pierre.
Of special significance is that the performance was on Rachel’s 40th birthday. She had planned the concert over a year ago as a comeback after having two kids and giving up her time for them.
I can now embed videos in HD after acquiring a Vimeo Plus account; they look oh-so-sexy, and even better in full-screen.
One of the highlights of the night was Tom Posner’s bass solo during Caravan (a classic Duke Ellington big-band piece) clocking in at almost two minutes. You can see how surprised Rachel is when Tom loses himself in the music and keeps going on this great flurry of notes. This solo is some kind of awesome that I can’t even describe.
In any case, I’ve been working on my projects, though mostly trying to finish the ones I’ve started. Sometimes it seems like there’s no end. Aside from an awesome Friday night (and an hour after dinner on Saturday night trying to digest a big meal), I’ve been working non-stop this weekend.
At the very least, the days have brought much rain, and even more inspiration. I miss the snow, but the rain satisfies for now. I’m not even sure if I like how early the sun sets at this time of year. Both day and night affect the mind in different ways, bringing out (or masking) different parts of you that you forgot were there. Each has its own importance.
At one point, I realized that life is a series of Jens, from winter to winter.
There’s been much music too, so much that I’m thinking about starting up a podcast again. But it’s another project, another idea I have yet to do.
I could have written so much more about each one of these topics, but I tried to keep digression to a minimum. They’d end up being full-blown entries of their own, and I’d never finish writing anything. For these entries, the ones that ramble about no subject in particular, I always look for lyrics, or titles, or snippets from other people’s entries that sort of explain the mood I’m in. Yep.
I’ve been feeling disconnected, somewhat forgetting my Taoist teachings. This is probably a good thing, as I tend to be focused on the thought and theories too often, and not enough on the application.
There’s a fine line between resignation and acceptance. But sometimes I feel like I’ve fallen face-first to one side.
To be honest, I’ve been writing this entry for over a week now, but my thoughts and ideas keep branching out. Every time I sit down at the computer, I delete something that’s lost relevance, and add something more. Like this.
Eagle vs Shark is the new Postal Service.
The movie I can’t stop watching. The movie I can’t watch with anyone else.
Not because it’s painful in any way, but because it’s sacred. A movie where no one else would understand the way I see it. A reminder that I was adored once too, when someone loved me beyond limit or condition. (A memory that I need right now.)
But I will leave you with this little song, if only for a short while. You need colours and candles in your room when you listen though, and an imagination will serve you well. Having a makeout partner and wearing a costume of your favourite animal is optional.
That is all you need to know, for this is all I can say.
Sometimes, I have to get out, even when it feels like it’s 40°C outside, because I need my music loud, and I need to fucking strut, and the birds clear the way cause they know it’s serious, cause the pictures are fucking killing me, so I’ll just keep skipping songs until it hits me then I’ll CRANK IT until it hurts, walking it off like it’s nobody’s business, dancing inside to the bass pounding in my ears.
Sometimes, as I’m falling asleep, I think of her.
She’s lying on my stomach again, listening to my heart beat, hands tucked neatly under my body. Or she’s spooning me, her arm resting on the crook of my waist, with a finger drawing distracting circular lines on my chest.
Sometimes we’re in the tall grass, surrounded by colours of life with the warmth of the sun above us. A regression to a time when all I had to think about was the colour of popsicle I would have when I got home from camp. How unfair that our innocence is taken from us when we need it most.
And I lie there in bed, waiting for sleep to take me as the images lead me on.
My body telling me to let go, my mind struggling to keep her next to me a moment longer.
There’s so much to say, and not enough time to write. It’s obvious that I haven’t been sticking to any kind of posting schedule lately. The benefit is that I don’t feel the pressure of having to write something every day, the drawback being the fact that things I want to get down are often lost. When I do get a chance to write, it’s like I’m perpetually writing about thoughts, feelings, and events that are a month old.
I used to write my thoughts quite often. Things I had to figure out or get off my chest. Now, it’s mostly things that happen in my daily life, and something random here and there. It’s like I’m moving beyond my confused adolescence into some sort of reflective dotage.
The entries from the first year were written with so much more frequency — roughly three times a day. Then that changed to once a day, then every other day. A few times, I tried to write less frequently, without a set schedule, but that never really worked. The writing itch was always there. At one point I took a month-long hiatus.
Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m trying to say.
The thing I particularly miss are the entries written late at night. Spilling my soul out in words, with the music, the sky, and the empty streets guiding me. As tired as I would be (I swear, sometimes it was the exhaustion that brought it out in me), I always went to bed after feeling satisfied.
Now, I’m not sure what this all is.
Introducing Ryan Kevin Gensey, Aaron’s new baby boy, delivered right on the projected date. I bought him the turtle you see in the corner of his basket there.
I had the chance to hold him before he was a day old in the hospital. At first, I approached this idea with some trepidation, seeing as how I carry the preconceived notion of how fragile baby’s necks are, but I couldn’t resist. He’s a lot lighter than Dolly, but somehow just as warm.
Aaron has always wanted a boy first and a girl second — so the older brother can take care of the younger sister — and it looks like everything is falling into the plan.
I’m now officially an uncle.
I’ve been playing around with video all weekend, trying to get a bunch of things working to no avail, when really what I wanted to do was just do some editing and get a project under my belt.
Among the problems:
I hate giving up these things, but seeing as how I’ve spent countless hours researching and experimenting for solutions without any luck, I think I’ll have to for now. Hopefully full-frame sensors will become cheap enough that regular consumers (like me) can afford them, and maybe video standards will actually be more standard. Until then, I’ll have to accept this “highly-rated” camcorder that still lacks a manual focus ring, can’t produce any kind of shallow DOF with bokeh, and has an annoying amount of low-light noise.
On the non-technical end of video, one of the difficulties is that I’m always torn between telling a story, and saving a memory, both of which seem somewhat mutually exclusive. The former tends to be more concise but cold and mechanical, whereas the latter is filled with all the little details I enjoy but potentially boring.
Video is also less forgiving, as framing is more final without the cropping function of still photos. Then when you move into high definition, things like dirt on a car, blemishes on a face, stray hairs, become much more noticeable…and invariably end up driving a perfectionist like me crazy.
I still love the combination of movement and sound and dialogue that video affords though; it’s the medium that I find comes closest to real life.
I happen to have a chance to write now. It’s raining, so naturally the windows are all open.
My life has been somewhat chaotic lately. Weekends spent being social have been turned into introverted exile, a way of charging my batteries once again. The added benefit is that I have more time to tie up loose ends on my projects. I’m even getting back into the still photo medium again.
I installed these dry-erase marker boards next to my front door. I use them to keep track of my tasks, projects, and errands, so I can come home and immediately decide what I feel like doing. The two silver clips are used for hanging notes and letters.
Nothing feels better than putting that thick black line through a task. Writing on frosted glass is pretty tasty too.
I use the other board for quotes, a way to keep myself motivated — or grounded — every time I pass by on the way in or out of the house. It’s also a nice way for me to practice my hand-drawn typography, by trying to balance characters, words, and lines on the board in different variations in an esthetic manner.
There’s something familiar about this. A feeling like I’ve been here before, not in this situation exactly, but in the middle of the chaos.
All I know for sure is that I feel like I can handle it much better than if this was happening a year ago.
Knowing the consistency with which I go, she asked me if I ever felt like not going to my Tai Chi classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
I thought about it, and came to the realization that I didn’t. There have been winter nights where the combination of snowstorm and ailing transit system have suddenly left me with a welcome free night, but other than that, I always enjoy going to class.
Before Tai Chi was table tennis1, and some days, I’d have to force myself to go. But when I was there, in the middle of a good rally, then panting, sweating, exhausted afterward, I’d always remind myself that I was glad I went.
Tai Chi offers me something else though, a way for me to lose myself for an hour or two. Maybe because it takes so much focus, or so much focus to not focus on anything, that I’m able to forget everything else. Even when I’m practicing the form on my own it’s not the same. Being at the studio with the other students — learning from and teaching each other, applying the principles we can’t practice by ourselves — lets me get away. On top of that, I know that I’m improving, even if I may not notice it in myself.
And that’s enough to make me look forward to my next class as soon as I step out of the studio into the cool night air.
I’m the au pair with the jazz tapes, telling him to use Davis and Coltrane on the first date. The hero’s childhood buddy, who dies in mortar fire during their service in the Second World War. The awkward friend who isn’t attractive enough to play the lead. The sibling confidante, who contradicts the protagonist with cynicism, only to be proven wrong in a satisfying fit of glory.All my life, I dreamed of greatness, of being the main character in some quixotic story.
But I’m slowly realizing that I’m only a deuteragonist.
I wrote this entry about four or five months ago, but never published it. I held off because I wasn’t sure if it would be true a week after I wrote it. Weeks turned into months, until the sudden realization that I don’t feel this way now.
I regret not publishing it at the time. Even though it holds no relevance anymore, at the very least, it would have been a time stamp of how I felt in the moment. There are so many fleeting memories and emotions that change here, part of my ephemeral nature. But part of me thinks that it took this realization to give me the strength to say it.
Maybe I’m starting to believe in myself.