Guests of Doom

Today, February 21st, is the anniversary of Yoshie Izumi’s passing away.  Yoshie Izumi made a timeless impression on the Fergus household during her visit in 1987.  Therefore, I asked my mom to say a few words in remembrance of our mutual friend.

We were saddened to hear about the passing of Yoshie Izumi.  Ferg and Moose still remember the visit of the Yoshies—Kimura and Izumi, when they visited us in the winter of 1987.  They were so excited and full of joy to be visiting Washington DC and staying with an American family.  I remember hearing the two Yoshies wake up early in the morning and singing quietly together like the Mothra twins while waiting for the rest of the family to wake up.  I also remember Yoshie Izumi fixing a Japanese meal for us – Oyako Domburo.  I still have her Xmas card she made for us in 1988 about the sleepy Yoshie Santa.  I know that Yoshie Santa has awoken up in a better place and not missed Xmas this time.

030_hemipterabugs.jpgI run into a lot of experimental and ambient sounds on my music quest.  My life support system just won’t run very often on the lifeforce in the mainstream.  Out there, in the indepedent and unsung corners of the struggle to reach a civilized music culture, you find some real gems.

Lo and behold, my old college friend Jennifer Clemente (aka Solekandi) is in the music mines!  She has formed a party of adventurers with her husband Yanni Ehm (aka Kontakt) and canine companion Neo to bring forth glorious techno from the depths of the unconscious circuit.

They call their expedition Hemiptera, and have released a collection of tracks from their intitial forays into their chosen cave system.  These folks are no raw-faced newbies to the scene.  They’ve been honing their skillz in the hearty chaos of the San Francisco scene for years.  Scars and tales, they have plenty.

Their experience shows.  The six tracks are solid, without any gaps or waste.  The sound itself is a thick and hypnotic experience built around an organic base.  At times quirky or unsettling, but always with a relentless commitment to rhythm.  I particularly like the lurid pressure of “Darker Nights” and the squick anxiety of “Hymn for Heathens”.  This is music to make people nervous and give urges no place to hide.

But don’t take my word for it.  If you like your minimalist techno dark and weird, go check it out:

My aunt sent me a nice meditation on her use of calendars.  I found it a pleasant experience to contemplate the myriad ways in which calendars act as signposts and friends.  I asked her if would be okay if I posted to share with my visitors.  As a result, without further ado, here is some stuff:


For many people a calendar is just a place to keep track of one’s appointments.  They use a software calendar which has the wonderful feature of reminding you in some predetermined time period that an event is coming.  Often this is useful to give you a heads up that some sort of preparation needs to be done.  A useful tool.  But for me calendars serve so many purposes and consequently more than one is needed.

There is the calendar in my bathroom.  No appointments here.  It is meant to both please me visually and give me a sense of the passage of time in a more general sense.  This calendar is the kind that is hung in a frame.  The display consists of homey paintings.  Geese floating on a pond in the foreground with a snow covered house and evergreens behind.  I stare at this with my glasses off while brushing my teeth at the start and the end of the day.  I eagerly anticipate taking the frame apart at the end of each month to uncover the image that will be contemplated in the next month.

And then there is the kitchen calendar.  At the beginning of each year, on January 1, I remove the previous year’s calendar and place it beside the new one.  This calendar sets a theme for the year and holds all the birthdays in the family.  I carefully go through each month and copy these birthdays into the new year pausing to think about each of these people and our connectedness.  Last year the pictures were paintings of summer homes with the appropriate season’s foliage and lighting.  This year it will be porches – each with attractive comfortable looking chairs, pleasant vistas and quotes from literature that help evoke the sense of time and place.

At work I need two more calendars – not counting the one in my email.  One is a simple spiral bound black calendar which displays a month at a time with the other months shown down the far right column.  This is where I write my work, tennis and healthcare appointments.  I can see the whole month laid out and can easily page forward or backward to compare, calculate or plan.  It also has, at the very front, the entire year spread out across two pages.  Here I track my vacation and sick time so that as I daydream about my next day off I know exactly how many days I’ve taken and how many days are piled up like gold waiting to be spent.  At the very end is another two page spread of the following year.  Very useful for checking which holidays fall on Mondays and Fridays to yield a long weekend.  It also shows me on what day of the week will my birthday fall that year.

The second work calendar has pictures and is pinned up on my cubicle wall.  No appointments are recorded here.  It’s sole purpose is to give me a sense of escape while I am chained to my rolling chair in front of my monitor.  If I were to decide in a moment of frugality to skip getting one of my other calendars, I would feel a sense of loss.  But it would be a feeling like when you forget to put on your watch and keep staring at the emptiness that should be your watch.

This calendar I could not do without.  While grinding away at some tedious project, I glance up and escape for a moment and return refreshed.  This is the calendar that requires the most careful research before it is selected.  I begin in October when the new calendars start to appear online.  During times of extreme stress or boredom I go online to check out the new calendars and the images that they offer.  I stare at them and see if they provide the right amount of escape, fantasy and visual stimulation.

Many times I have considered the ones from and these have great quality images and often evoke outright laughter but then I realize that staring at them everyday in this setting would eventually leave me feeling…despair.  So I move on and try pictures of foreign lands.  Their beautiful countrysides and sense of adventure are very tempting.  Often I choose one of these.  2008 was a calendar of Wales and another year was Provence.

Beach scenes are popular.  Especially during the long grey winter of the Midwest.  But they are too repetitive and leave one longing for a pina colada to break the repetition.  I have considered tennis calendars but they all focus on famous players and feel like a strange form of hero worship.

This year I have chosen another porch calendar.  Different from the one that will hang in the kitchen.  This one has scenes that are less perfect and leave you with the feeling that this could be your own porch or perhaps a friend’s porch.  And it appears that we have all headed into the house to grab a pitcher of lemonade or another glass of wine – and we will be right back, at any moment, to take up where we left off… laughing and talking… sitting on the porch…with all the time in the world.  I can hardly wait to get to work on Monday and pin it up in my cubicle.

Happy New Year!

Voulant: paul’s blog….
Voulant: wow
Liephus: dude…
Voulant: i’m still back in september
Voulant: but its insane
Liephus: and it’s all freakin’ UFO Girl
Voulant: i mean
Voulant: yes
Voulant: i seriously think he’s crazy
Voulant: or will be
Voulant: “I had a dream two weeks ago, where I was trying to keep my mirage from waking up. He was in a coffin, and I was with a bunch of people, trying to convince them to help me before it was too late. I was chopping my mirage’s limbs off with an axe, afraid he would wake up and we’d all be jacked. His eyes were open and looking at me letting me know he knew what I was doing. Perhaps what I was doing was futile.”
Liephus: 🙂
Voulant: pauls blog reminds me of the writings Brad Pitt and Ed Norton found in the basement of the dilapidated house in the movie ‘Fight Club’
Liephus: hmm… been years since I’ve seen that movie
Voulant: ah
Voulant: ok
Voulant: its one of my favs
Liephus: it is awesome, just haven’t watched it in a long time
Liephus: November in Paul’s blog is all UFO Girl and random 70s stuff
Voulant: ok
Voulant: i’m still in sept
Voulant: so i have a ways to go
Liephus: with the occassional understandable post
Voulant: haha
Voulant: ‘occasional’
Voulant: haha
Voulant: paul… wow
Liephus: “I get back from my stupid search for the alien critter, and I receive the Mr. Megaphone treatment from UFO Girl. She just made all that stuff up. The big hoot was watching me blunder around in an area of high psychic radioactivity, with malfunctioning killer robots wandering around ready to smash skulls. The excitement of wondering whether I would fall down go boom or get opened like a can of tuna was a blast for her.”
Voulant: WHAT DOES IT MEAN!!!!!?!?!?!?!???!!!!!!!!!!?
Liephus: the funny part about that… it the BEGINNING of the post
Liephus: no explanation whatsoever
Voulant: oh dear
Voulant: haha
Liephus: I can’t wait for his book to come out! 😉
Liephus: we’ll be clueless 5 pages in
Voulant: completely lost
Liephus: I can imagine the IM conversations about it now
Liephus: “Who or what is the main character?”
Voulant: “are they fighting monsters, or aliens, or demons, or just imagining everything?”
Liephus: “Does this guy really have wheels for feet?”
Voulant: “ok.. so is the talking rock -really- a character?”
Liephus: “So… did the good guys win? Actually, who are the good guys?”
Voulant: back to teh blog
Voulant: “I’m driving to the parental unit’s batcave with K, and while we are waiting at the stoplight, we hear bagpipes. I search in vain for the source. It’s coming from the woods, and it sounds like some kind of battle march. Well crumbs that about sums up the times, doesn’t it?”
Voulant: WTF!
Liephus: It made sense, up until “about sums up the times”
Voulant: right
Voulant: exactly!
Voulant: i can see everything else happening
Voulant: until paul imparts upon us what he is thinking
Voulant: then it just goes to s**t
Liephus: rofl
Voulant: haha
Voulant: just sayin man
Voulant: i try to make sense of this crap
Liephus: sometimes you just gotta say to yourself, “Ok, whatever… next post.”
Liephus: sometimes being about 4/5 posts
Voulant: 85%
Voulant: haha
Liephus: maybe his posts are just madlibs that he does
Voulant: borrowing HEAVILY from fantasy and science fiction for nouns and adjectives
Voulant: “____ _____ went to the _____ for some _____ ”
Voulant: Voulant would say…
Voulant: “My friends went to the supermarket for some beer”
Voulant: Paul would say…
Voulant: “Radioactive space slugs went to the starbase in Sector 2.2 for some plutonic mental recharge nuggets”
Voulant: coming up with that gave me a headache
Liephus: lol

I give thanks for my friends on this day, because they know the DEAL.