Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm wearing two sweaters

Feeling much better. I'm listening to Mary J. Blige and just looked at a website for an artist that David met in Minneapolis at a conference. I had a great appt at CWHC (they are fantastic), and my blood pressure is still fine even w/my spazzball tendencies. The first bandage didn't take so now I have a Snoopy one. When I was paying, I noticed a woman sign in and she looked really familiar. I realized in the bathroom that she was a student at Ox-Bow last summer (not one of mine). My life is becoming one huge small world. I feel like I now only see people I recognize everywhere I go.

I walked to Lincoln/Ashland/Belmont after my appt, seeking food. I knew what I was looking for, but the last time I went, I was driving a station wagon. I found Whole Foods and got an apple, a blood orange, pineapples and strawberries, an Ethnic Gourmet dinner (my fave frozen line), a tomato basil salad, and an antioxidant juice (the lady behind me at the cashier asked where I got it and ran off to get some). My commuting read was David Sedaris' Barrel Fever, which kept me laughing. I've had the munchies all day and was able to stay in pajamas until after noon. It's kind of fun being in Chicago w/no one knowing or being able to find me. And it felt good to wander by myself on my own schedule, w/no one to come home to. I'm trying to enjoy my solo-w/o-panic status while it lasts.

CRAP!!! Ay. I keep leaving water on the stove to boil and forgetting about it. I've already scorched one of Tam's pots doing this. I just did it twice in a row tonight, but luckily didn't burn anything. I tried looking through all my stuff here, but it was so overwhelming that I closed up the boxes and put them away. It's shocking how many art supplies and how much art I own. I think I might start sending things to random people (does anyone need a glue gun?). I just need to find a few cassette tapes for my recorder, and I should have everything for Ragdale. Jay picks me up tomorrow.

[I'm turning into pre-cam Gili. Sorry, but I still don't have iPhoto so the picture thing is harder to organize on my computer. Hopefully I'll figure out how to operate w/o it on the prairie.]

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sitting here in Chicago, cold.

Gili's music is on behind me on my iBook. I'm working on Tam's iMac. So nice to be on a lovely, functional machine. I'm not going to disclose how many times I dropped my computer on the way here. But I do think that Apple needs to design a new laptop for me, one that works best when constantly dropped.

I made it! I don't know why I felt like this trip that I've done about 15 times since 2003 (LaGuardia <--> Midway) would be really difficult. I sat next to a huge man, which was not fun. A baby was screaming near the end, but you can't blame her: I'd be horrified if my ears were popping and I had no clue why or how to stop it. I am realizing that it's not so easy being a "petite" (I'm rolling my eyes now) woman w/really wide shoulders. Clothes are always too tight across my back and sitting side-by-side is uncomfortable.

I realized too late that my genius idea of bringing one big suitcase was not so smart; I panicked before I got to the airport on the bus that maybe I'd go over the 50 lb limit. I cleared at 46, but had a hard time w/stairs. I rode to Halsted and waited for Tatiana to get off of work so she could drop off Tam's keys (Tam's gone on business). Then I got back on the train, transferred, and got home about an hour and a half ago.

It's REALLY nice to be in a familiar place all by myself. I'm here two nights before heading to Ragdale. I forgot that I left SO MUCH crap at Tam's. I can't believe she hasn't kicked me out by now; I have enough things to live comfortably w/o buying anything new. Even toiletries. The power went out for a few seconds, though, so I guess I'll have to fix the clocks. Jack is horribly curious about everything, including my dirty socks. Funny cat.

Tomorrow: packing again to include things I left here, and a CWHC appt.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Possibly too tired for anxiety attacks

I fly tomorrow out of LaGuardia to Midway. I'm expecting the worst (like cancelled flights) b/c of the weather, but am praying that is not the case, b/c I'm not at all game for being sent home from the airport twice in a month. Packing was fairly straightforward but incredibly painful: this roving life is officially not fun anymore. Maybe it was the excessive packing and unpacking for the Japan trip, or being the rolling clothing master, but I've been sent me over the edge (maybe 17 flights in a little over a year would do it).

Good news: I had a Gilivention this morning, and was convinced that a walk would do me good. And it did, all snowy and quiet. I went along a path to a park I never frequented as a child. My arms were immediately sore after hanging from the monkey bars, trying to do chin ups. Here's to hoping that I work hard on an attitude adjustment. I've already ditched almost all of the apps I was going to do before I left b/c I just want to stay still for a minute. It's time to reassess.

For now, it's just time to sleep before another traveling day.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I can't even listen to my lesbian music

I am still completely unamused by my iBook situation. After trying to DiskWarrior it for a while, I gave up. Luckily, my dad's external HD suddenly showed up again on my desktop, so now I'm transferring files back to the computer so I can use it in Chicago for the next month. Though, for some reason, iPhoto and iMovie (and who knows what else) got lost in the reinstall, so now I've lost my picture organizing program. GREAT. The transfer is still chugging along, 2 hours to go for photos. I haven't touched the music yet. I am praying it doesn't crash in the meantime.

So that means for the next month, I have to be noncommittal about the things I do on my computer since I should be prepared for the worst (lost data) at any moment. I'm now utterly thankful that I didn't just give my ancient iPod away to a friend b/c now it's going to be my backup unit; I refused to carry my dad's HD to Chicago. It's too risky.

Today, instead of working on the 3-5 apps I have to finish by tomorrow, I got up at 6am and lolled around until it was time to go upstate w/my parents to shop for sensible shoes. I got casual flats and sneakers. We then drove down to Jersey for a Korean lunch, but the first place wasn't ready to serve even though it was open, so we had to go to a different place. I'm sad that Korean food has gotten so sweet. Just so everyone knows, Korean food is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SWEET.

I'm still getting crazy amped about my possible bindery job in a month. More so than my lifelong goal to get fit and lose weight. I'd rather be a potbellied book geek. Wait, did I say that? It's true. Even if I dropped the pudge, I'd be so sad if I couldn't inhale glue on a regular basis. I especially like the kind w/the minty smell. Mmm.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

More non-secrets

Somehow, I ended up wearing all purple/lavender today. Nothing I'm wearing is my own, of course.

Today, I suddenly imagined the positive side of a possible computer-less life. I mean, if I have operated sans cell phone since August, I can try going all the way, right?? It seems like it would be so wonderful to not be so attached to a machine. I know, wishful thinking.

A friend sent me a great link about a professional origami dude.

I almost cried today b/c my web designer is trying to help me fix my computer, AND continues to do amazing updates to the admin on my site. I wish I could help him as much as he helps me.

I was just feeling sleepy for the last six hours (watching "March of the Penguins" did NOT help) and now I'm brightened up. I think I was being too hard on myself the past few days, thinking I just got back from a trip in the same time zone. It's still the jet lag. I'm having really good correspondence w/old and new contacts about being on the outside of things. I have to keep that in mind for Ragdale projects. I'm excited. There's so much I want to pack into those two weeks!!

I'm getting more attached to the idea of being in NY for a few months this spring. Ivan told me I should appreciate my parents while I still have them and they're taking care of me. It would be nice to be someplace where I don't have to do tons of legwork to settle down for a little bit, and also not to feel so insane running around to do things b/c I only have a week or a month or so.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Secrets and no secrets at all

For the past 3-4 months, I've been using the central time zone setting so that I can make it on the day of, not the day after, when I post late at night.

I think Vermont aged me 10 years prematurely.


8:30am - I slept in. I immediately turn on my computer and the internal hard drive shows up, but the external still doesn't register. I check on dad's pc and it shows up so I do another backup on the new passport HD, though I fear I won't be able to access it b/c of compatibility issues. This is the least of my problems, b/c at
9am - iBook crashes. It's still not okay. Why bother transferring data if this machine is not going to work?? Diatribe below**
12:20pm - Meet Ching-In outside of NYU and lunch at Souen (I had a burdock & lotus root sandwich w/miso soup). I feel my VT bitterness rising up again. But we still have some good laughs. She esp liked the huge peace symbol on the wall in evergreen branches.
2:30pm - Swing by Gavin's to visit the bindery and say hello. It felt like home to see him pasting more leather onlays on clamshell boxes. I told him how I insisted on trying to fix a limp vellum (a book I use as my current journal) on the train from Narita to Tokyo station w/the tip of a ball point pen cap b/c the too-long endbands were haunting me in my sleep. Even he said that I was being too much of a perfectionist. I definitely have work if I want it in NY. What a relief.
3:20pm - Pick Cindy up from work to hit Sports Authority for swimsuits (my next residency has a deal w/a local school where we can use their pool). No deal. Good thing, b/c I found out later tonight from Gili that I don't belong in a lap pool. No one at Oberlin ever explained to me why I am every swimmer's worst nightmare.
4:50pm - Get through the huge MOMA line to see the Live/Work show. Eh. Good to see Lee Bontecou's work again, and some David Hammons, and a really poignant small drawing by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Realize that framing is the key to making anything look good.
5:30pm - Go next door to see the Martin Ramirez show again at the American Folk Art Museum, meeting Cindy & Ivan & Gili. It was like a sauna in there, and the drawings made everyone kinda sad.
7:40pm - Dinner @ Lemongrass Grill. I start to lose all energy. I accidentally knock Gi's chopsticks so she intentionally knocks my spoon. We should have switched seats b/c I'm a righty and she's a lefty.
9:10pm - Way too tired to catch the movie, so we wander into Filene's and try on bad hats and sunglasses. I somehow make it back to Grand Central, feeling about a million years old.

Re: my transitional, itinerant lifestyle. I am tired of constantly moving around, yet terrified to break that inertia to settle anywhere, even though I know any settling right now would only be temporary (meaning a few years). Any time I ever move someplace new, I immediately visualize moving again, even if I know that I'm staying for a while. And then I feel tired.

But tonight, having my bad ankle flare up again, I realized that maybe I'm just trying to travel enough to get rid of all of my shoes. I want to get rid of all my shoes b/c most of them don't fit right and make my feet hurt. I want shoes that I can walk in for a while and not feel like I'm crippled. I keep walking, hoping that I'll wear them out or find new ones on the way. My problem is that what I really want are custom-made shoes. All I need is a pair of sneakers, which I haven't had since last summer. I'm trying to prune all the useless parts of my life and self so that I can start over. But self-pruning is a bitch.

It's funny how everyone tells me how great my life is and how jealous they are, or how they live vicariously through me. When all I want is everyone else's stability. Or just my own place. Ching-In and I talked about that today. Not having your own space definitely drives you crazy.

**(long-winded speech where I anthropomorphize computers): My iBook is like a boy I once dated. I didn't want it and resisted it for a long time, gave in reluctantly, and was pretty quickly converted. It became part of everyday life. It made my life easier and I felt like I was part of a new club, that people considered me differently. I learned new programs, lingo, and customization. I couldn't imagine life w/o it; we were inseparable.

Then, there was an accident.

It started to unravel. I took it to experts and we tried to fix it. It continued to act out. I was horrified at first, but then just accepted it as flawed, blamed myself, and got used to it being unstable. I was constantly on edge, ready for its possible demise at any moment. People told me I should look into new models, that I needed to upgrade. Weighing the options, I held on, hoping I could get another year out of it. I kept putting off taking it in again for repairs, and instead adjusted my life to fit its inability to operate. Finally, after realizing that I might lose years of my life, I took it back to experts. I thought it was fixed. But secretly I didn't have enough faith in it, and maybe I never did. I feared it would let me down again, even as I hugged it tight and hoped it would last forever. Alas, it started to unravel again. And crash.

What now? I'll take it to more experts in Chicago (actually, Evanston), where I'll drop it off and then shop for shoes at my favorite store next to my old therapist's office. I'm starting to imagine life w/o it, and figuring out temporary storage for my data. I'm wondering if I'm ready to commit to a new one, or if I'll try to slide by with a portable hard drive and the kindness of people who own functional machines. I know I'll have to move on eventually, and that this relationship can't last forever, or even for much longer. But I still have a lot of mixed feelings for this one, and memories of the good life before all the malfunctioning. I've mishandled it, taken it for granted, and some damage is visible. The rest is hidden inside, and I'll never know exactly how I hurt it. As flawed and fallible it was from the start, I wasn't perfect, either. We both did our best, and had some high highs. It's a normal life cycle, this whole slow ending. I don't know what I'll do with it once I've moved on, but for now am just trying to enjoy its company and not expect anything more than I know is possible from a 3.5 yo G3 iBook.

Thursday, February 22, 2007



10:45 - drop by Gili's work
11:15 - arrive at Apple to get my computer fixed
12:30 - meet Cindy for lunch; go to bank to deposit grant $
2 - arrive at China Institute
3 - see the book show there w/Robbin; go to Folk Art museum to see Martin Ramirez show (which was AMAZING and i am so going back tomorrow to see it again)
5:30 - meet Shawn to see subversive knitting/radical lace whatever it's called show at Museum of Arts & Design
8 - arrive home and eat like crazy.

I am too tired to reinstall everything on my computer and put all the data on. I started, but then my HD icon and the external HD icon just disappeared. I can't deal w/that. I'm going to bed instead of dealing with it. That's what happens when I go to bed at 1am and get up at 6am in a panic about my computer. More on the computer-as-child phenomenon, and the genius bar being like a doctor's office, later.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The biggest con of all

My sorry, pathetic computer. It has started to completely unravel on me. Which is bad, b/c I haven't backed up my latest files. ARGH. Who knew that I could generate that much more stuff to back up in just two days? I had hoped I could at least back it up tonight but then it refused to open my applications, so I'm going to let it sleep for a while and see how it feels tomorrow.

Which is exactly what I want to do right now. I was online all day, adding a new section to my website, and to flickr, for my performance in January. I also had to wait for our replacement phone thing to arrive, preventing me from going to the library for a while. DHL finally came at 7pm. I watched "American Splendor" tonight. Eh. Cindy said it would inspire me but it didn't. That's fine. Tomorrow I see Robbin at PULSE, and then try to make the rounds. Let's pray that the iBook perks up a little tomorrow, enough to pull off the data, and then take it to the doctor on Friday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pros and cons of being back

[that is NOT me, it's Cindy. I am so jet lagged I can barely sit up.]

-No more perma bad hair day. Something about bathing at night and sleeping on my hair, combined w/Japanese water, dryness, and shampoo made me look like a monster daily. In the states, my hair looks GREAT when I sleep on it wet.
-I can lay in bed in the mornings and watch Justin Timberlake videos and laugh. Or dance. Or both.
-I can revert back to not being self-conscious about being big, loud, rude, and unfashionable. Since that's the essence of being American.
-I don't get shoulder pain from carrying around a camera all day nor do I have stress about missing good photo ops.
-No more being made fun of b/c I get excited about tools. Yukiko asked what I like to shop for b/c I didn't seem interested in normal things. I finally perked up at the crafts store: water pens (a Japanese product that no Japanese know about), pen nibs, pens, Olfa and NT knives (in pink!) and blades, string scissors, etc. Critiquing airport sign typography is now second nature to me. I'm a book geek in denial.
-Getting back to yoga. Reverting to old fantasies of joining a boxing gym or starting martial arts. Though, will that ever happen??! I hate sweating, pain, being winded, and being in close proximity to sweaty people. I prefer boys practicing pinning moves from jiu jitsu class on me, which I can get on a regular basis if I move to Cali. Wait, can't I just go back to hula classes? I miss dancing. Crap, I have to start research on getting a Fulbright to study breakdancing in Korea. I mean, papermaking.

-No more heated toilet seats!
-No more lovely, tiny, perfectly-coiffed food.
-No more having Cindy around to torment/gab at.
-Knowing I live in a country w/disgusting leadership and policies (border control is HIDEOUS. When you get to the US or its territories, these are the signs that greet you: "Dengue Fever Warning," "Orange Alert," "We Are the Face of Our Nation," etc. A guy who made sarcastic remarks about terrorism got carted off w/his wife by airport staff to the police in Guam. Cindy had to kick me constantly as we waited at Immigration b/c I was making snarky comments about the US govt being unacceptably alarmist and about how a guy who was in the citizen/permanent resident line was getting fingerprinted and photographed probably b/c he was brown. She was REALLY mad at me b/c I probably could have gotten us carted off. But it's horrible. Traveling to and w/in the US is a nightmare).
-Back pain from laying in bed and watching Justin videos. Or generally from being on the computer too much.
-Realizing that what I thought was my charming family from afar is still a very crazy family close up.
-Paperwork. Administrative work in general.
-Coming home to stories like this from my mom's workplace: her coworker approaches her and says, "I don't like Oriental people." Mom: "You're supposed to say 'Asian.'" Coworker: "I know. I used that word intentionally." DUDE!!! What is UP w/the ugly, overt racism?? I guess overt is better than subversive, but still, have some class. At least do it behind her back, the way that people call me the "oriental girl" behind mine! No, really, don't. Just don't DO that.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cold toilet seats

I'm back in NY; flew in yesterday afternoon on a fairly tolerable trip back. Thank god for the jet stream and an extra movie. I made it w/o any reading material besides a skimmer that Cindy had. She slept thru "The Queen" and most of the flight, lucky lucky. I wish I could do that: sleep anywhere. Unfortunately, I can't sleep on planes unless I'm desperately exhausted (like on the last connection from Detroit to JFK), so I was a wreck before we even landed. I decided to compensate today by spending almost my entire day in bed. I got up at 9am after going to bed at 8pm, did meditation and yoga for the first time in TOO long, had breakfast, and then stayed in bed until dinner. I was working most of the time and napping when my eyes hurt. I think my monitor is dying and making me blind as a result. I've been trying to avoid uploading photos or making changes or anything b/c I want to fix this computer pronto w/o doing a new backup, but I can't. There's just too much work to do. Despite my getting a good fortune, which is rare, at Asakusa, a big Shinto shrine in Tokyo.

I wish I was back in this kind of setting: a tropical island w/nothing to do but read trashy magazines. We spent one night and morning just laying in bed w/magazines, which was SO relaxing. Otherwise, Guam didn't have many other attractions. We liked Tokyo best, though Kobe was more manageable when we did our solo shopping day. I'm just happy that we got to see Maho's wedding and see how all of our friends have grown up. I was lax on photos b/c I didn't want to deal w/uploading a zillion, and b/c I was on vacation. Now I want another vacation where I lay in bed forever. I realize that I'm not built very well for traveling b/c these are the things I need most to be healthy and happy: sleep, water, and comfortable temperatures (mostly warm). As I mentioned before, I'm an overly sensitive sleeper, so that's thrown out the window when I'm on the road. Like Pauly, I have a small bladder, so staying hydrated means constantly peeing, which doesn't really work while traveling, esp w/other people who don't have the same issue. And Japan doesn't really have central heating in homes. Their saving grace is heated toilet seats. Which I miss VERY MUCH right now.

I've gotten about halfway caught up w/business. I've been avoiding art admin stuff, but DID get a really nice package in the mail: a grant from the Puffin Foundation!!! I feared it was a rejection letter but then a check fell out of it. Talk about fast turnaround. I like those kinds of grants. That will help me pay for crating and shipping parts of my thesis to a show in Massachusetts that opens this summer. WHEW. I am so thankful. Funny timing, too, b/c I was thinking in Japan the usual quitting thoughts about art, so coming home to money was a well-timed affirmation.

Japan rocked. The perfect antidote to belligerence. Happy New Year!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lists after dinner

Local time/day: almost 8pm on Friday

Today in Kobe:
Bento box lunches
A zillion stores on a big enclosed shopping street
Toyu Hands
Ikuta Shrine
Sticker pictures
Seer (at our home station)

What I forgot to mention earlier:
1. On our first day into Tokyo last week, I had a nasty fall (the kind they use in slapstick comedy) over a chain in front of the Hirabe's car and bruised my legs and threw my camera all the way across the street (yes, another reason why I should never own electronic equipment. My favorite thing to do w/such things is drop them). Then, I fell again later in the day while transferring trains, UP a flight of stairs.

2. We made paper in Tokyo! SO nice...Cindy can't believe that I do it. The people were super nice and after making washi and decorating it, we did some calligraphy, got a tour of the gallery and paper samples by the national treasures, saw real calligraphy, met a man who carves stamps, and then saw a wedding dress made entirely of paper (hi, thanks for pressure from Cindy that if I ever get married, I should make my own. Please. If I ever get married, I'd probably lose whoever signed up to marry me b/c I'd treat it like a solo exhibition. I mean, like preparing for one. HAHAAA. Though I just realized before I left for Japan that I am disturbingly well-equipped to be an amazing housewife. More on that when I come back home).

3. I think I have eaten enough bread for the year. Yesterday's alone: tomato, onion, potato and seaweed, cranberry, raisin, green tea, black tea, etc. But never enough mochi.

4. This is the biggest: I LOVE being somewhere where I blend in w/the crowd. Cindy talked about how damaging it is to grow up w/o people who look like you around, and I wonder what life would be like for me if I was surrounded by Asians. Lots of fodder for the next big art proposal I've been shopping around to various residencies.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More shopping

That was kind of a mistake, to get back online (though I really missed Gili). I have been a total stressball for the last two days, not sleeping at night, totally worried about my life and if I am a decent human being and if I'm a decent artist and what the hell am I doing w/my life, anyway? I'll just bombard Cindy w/all my concerns today during our massive shopping spree in Kobe today and she'll talk me down or just get mad at me. Yesterday, we went to Kobe w/Yukiko and her mom, and they showed us the ropes so that we can go back today alone. We're psyched.

We also ate obscene amounts of food yesterday. Yukiko's mom said that I looked like my mom while I was cooking breakfast in the kitchen. I'm learning to appreciate my mom a lot after being here and hanging out w/old family friends who love her. Must get offline now; Cindy needs to check email.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Alive and well in Kobe

Awww. I loved reading all those comments. Sorry I've been so MIA; it's just reallllly nice to not touch a computer. Bill Viola knew what he was talking about when he lectured us about the merits of being offline, and that being a political statement these days. WAIT! He gave that lecture back in 2003 and ALSO talked about his amazing trip to Japan.

We have been having a great time, and yes, eating tons of food. TONS of noodles. Not a bit of sushi. The ramen varieties crack me up (we had some in Harajuku that were like noodles in a broth of floating fat. Seriously. Big hunks of pork). The wedding in Guam was gorgeous and hilarious (more on that later, on Japanese people getting married in American ceremonies, in English, even if they don't understand English). Maho and Yoko and their parents treated us like family, and even better, which was soooo nice. We went to Tokyo twice, did some shopping, met a friend of Cindy's from seven years ago, etcetc. We just got to Yukiko's mom's place yesterday and today we've been sleeping and eating and staying in b/c the weather is windy and cold and rainy and we're ultra tired (we had to get up at 1:30am to leave Guam so it was another awake too many hours traveling day).

But we did ride the bullet train. Sadly, we slept thru Mt. Fuji. Hahahaa.

Okay, time to watch some Japanese TV. I'm still on an email boycott, but I need all that time to eat all the food in this country before I leave on Sunday.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Baptized in Japan

I made it!!! I am alive!!! I still cannot seem to find the apostrophe key on this Japanese keyboard!!!

The flying was pretty hellish and I ended up being awake for more than 24 hours in a row, which nearly killed me. I can't sleep very well on planes so I only got to nap twice, and napping for me means about 5-10 minutes. The movies were horrible. Gili would have started a protest b/c one was a girls love horses movie. I only watched one of the three and otherwise read tons of magazines, ate snacks, and squirmed around a lot.

It is soooo nice to be here w/old, old family friends and be far, far away from my life. I just checked email and it makes me not want to touch a computer until I get back. Last night, Mrs. Hirabe made us spaghetti and went out of her way to find American things like napkins and parmesean cheese. SO sweet, though all I want is Japanese food. We went to the 100 yen store, a department store, and a mall today. I cannot get over how amazing all the products here are. I don't ever want to acquire more clothing from America; I think it is the unhippest stuff on the planet.

I just took an amazing Japanese-style bath and am ready for dinner. We had udon for lunch; Cindy had really good fried mochi. That is all I want for the rest of my stay: noodes and mochi.

Monday, February 05, 2007

This country won't let go of me


Here is the story:

6:30am - cab to JFK
7am - check in, only to be told the plane is delayed 30 minutes for MANDATORY CREW REST. The boarding pass actually says it's delayed 45 minutes. We wander around, get magazines, and eat breakfast.
9:45am - start boarding the plane.
10:10am - pilot informs us that air traffic just called him to say that liquid is pouring out of one side of the plane. We have to stop taxiing to the runway and crawl back toward the gate. Only, we never get to the gate and stop short on the tarmac.
10:25am - "the mechanic should be here in 20 minutes."
10:50am - "uh, the mechanic is still not here. We don't actually have our own mechanics as of a few years ago, so we have to contract out for them. We called him and he is on his way. Don't worry, we're on top of it."
11:15am - "the mechanic is here!"
11:25am - "the mechanic says it's normal in such cold weather for fuel to pour out of the engine and then create a seal after a bunch of fluid has come out, so we should be okay to go, but we have to radio over to headquarters in Minnesota to decide."
11:30am - "we've turned on the engine and everything seems okay. We'll probably leave soon."
11:40am - "uh, the plane is not okay to go. We're going to go back to the gate and deplane."
11:50am - "uh, the gates are occupied by other planes, so we have to wait until a plane leaves. We have to wait for a tug to get pulled back anyhow."
12pm - "uh, we only have two gates at this airport and not enough staff, so we'll have to wait a while longer. Our mechanic was nice enough to ride off in his van to tell people that we need help. We don't have anyone to help us right now."
12:15pm - "they've just sent a bus to deplane you, but we need to wait for staff to help you on." The slowest bus in the world takes us from no man's land to the gate.
12:30pm - everyone converges at the gate to figure out where we're supposed to go, and make a run for the ticketing counter once we're told to go there. There is ONE agent at the counter, and about sixty people on line, who all need to go overseas. Another agent eventually shows up, but each of them spends at least 30 minutes with each customer. We're number five on line and wait about an hour to be helped, after the announcement that we should call Northwest on our cell phones and reserve tickets over the phone while we're waiting on line, b/c it's faster than doing it in person w/the agents.
1:45pm - We're told that there are no more flights at all going to Asia for the rest of the day, on any carrier. We're booked onto the same itinerary as today, only for TOMORROW. We ask for vouchers for cab fare back home and to JFK for tomorrow morning, but they only allow us a ride back.
2pm - We go downstairs to have a guy call a car for us. We wait an hour and a half for a car, keep asking the guy where it is, and get this answer: "it's really cold today, and everyone is taking cabs, so there aren't a lot of cars." We only finally got a car after that loser ended his shift and we asked a woman to help us. Sure enough, a car pulls up 2 minutes later. Oh, and the cab driver said he hadn't been busy at all today.

We got home at 4pm. My sister left her keys at home b/c she assumed we'd go to Japan and come back on Sunday, when her husband would be home. So we had to look for the super to get let back in. She had to email our friends in Japan to tell them not to come get us, and then collapsed in a heap to nap.

I've since run errands for a pencil, more snacks, food for dinner, and batteries. I also cleaned the kitchen here (in Astoria) b/c it grossed me out. I'm really tired and am sooooo not excited about doing this all over tomorrow. But at least we had a nice cab driver, who said that clearly, we were not supposed to fly today. I told him about my dream two nights ago, where a wing-less jet plane crashed in a parking lot where my sister and I had just parked a car. I was screaming at her to run away from it b/c it would explode soon, but I had to drag her away b/c she had hurt her knee. The cabbie said that we should just be happy that we're alive (we had a lot of time in JFK to contemplate why it's GOOD that we're losing a day of vacation and the airline is doing jack to compensate us). He says that since all this bad stuff got cleared away today, tomorrow will go without a hitch.

Needless to say, I will draft a grievance letter, put the cab receipt in it tomorrow once we get to JFK, and mail it. It was awful being trapped on that plane, b/c we knew we were missing a flight, and missing the next one after that to Narita (the connection was through Detroit). We SOOOO could have made a later flight if they only let us off the goddamn leaking plane!! A guy in the back actually saw smoke come out of it when we were still on it.

Anyhow. I'm still here. Clearly, I'm not meant to leave the country. I got in trouble at baggage claim b/c I climbed up over the moving part (it wasn't moving anymore) to get a better view b/c I was too tired to walk all the way around it to find Cindy's bag. An employee yelled at me as I was sliding off the top, as if I could give a shit. I wanted to say, "there aren't any signs!" and other nasty things, but I just walked away w/our bags. We helped two Korean women who didn't speak English that well, too. So those were our good deeds for this trip.

I tell you what: I can't wait until there is a time in my life when I'm not flying an average of once a month. OR MORE! I can't wait until I have a stable home. I can't wait until I'm finally in Japan. I am so glad that I didn't have to go through this ordeal alone.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Teetering computer

Ay. Dad let me use his external hard drive to back this sucker up, and then it crashed, and almost killed his, too. We're trying again to finish the backup. Keep your fingers crossed. Please, iBook, please don't crash!! It would make me feel so much better in Japan. Oh, so this is the warning: I will be gone until Feb 18 and probably not online as much as usual (at least I hope! This IS vacation...). I busted ass today and finished three enormous applications that I had to construct nearly from scratch, a huge letter to VT, and tons of paperwork for a show in Massachusetts. I'm tired but glad I'm done with that and now ready to shower and pack. Then dad will take me to Astoria. He just started watching the Super Bowl. I forgot to say way back that I was totally shocked that the Bears made it this far, and now they just had a ridiculous rush for a ridiculously early TD. What is UP??? Okay, time to pack. I'm so excited that Japan will be warm (40s-60s). This was one of my last moments in the studio. No more VT pics after this!! Wish me luck on the really, really long trip to Tokyo (via Detroit).

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Uhoh. Less than 24 hours.

I canNOT believe how little I got done today. I had the most painful visit to the dentist ever, ever. I felt like my mouth was being totally violated. No sleep from stress, and no napping from various other things, a fight w/mom, and more frantic un/packing. Plus a visit from Cindy and Ivan and a pedi w/her (my toes are now silver). I took a late nap after dinner and had awful dreams involving elevators and a lesbian couple where one woman's dad died, and then burned more DVDs for apps and organized some more. But I still haven't packed, touched my apps, or finished my grievance letter to VSC. Damn. I'm tired, so I think I'll just go to bed and hope that I can do ALL of that tomorrow and more in time to get to Astoria tomorrow night to stay w/Cindy before we head to JFK Monday morning. Wish me MASSIVE luck. [Ilga sent this photo today. I love it.]

Friday, February 02, 2007

Home, for two seconds

I'm back in NY. I'm so tired it hurts. That residency really did me in. I fly Monday morning for Japan. Tomorrow at 9am is more root canal crap. Too tired to do anything online but just wanted to say how good it felt to step off the plane and the little stairway onto NY land. I'm so glad that ordeal is over.

Good night.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Last day, and a long one

I am way too tired to throw a fit, but I am kind of close to it: now my external hard drive is on the fritz. I tried to do a backup today of all my data, and it kept freezing in the middle, and now it's just not even showing up on my computer when I turn it on. And it won't turn off unless I just pull the plug. Argh. As annoying as it is, it kind of makes me happy that I'm going to leave it ALL BEHIND when I leave for Japan next week. No computer. I haven't been away from my computer in probably over three years. I know how Ellen had a really good point about how I find my support and community online b/c I move around so much, but it's a little crazy how I'm permanently glued to this thing.

Anyhow. I finished my errands this morning, most importantly sending two more apps, and getting health food snacks for the flight tomorrow. I did a few rounds of packing and it will be fine; I have plenty of room and not too much stuff. Ching-In and James helped me shoot a few last photos and then she and Roko whipped into action to help me deinstall (AKA bag up wood chips and take them downstairs and out back. They'll be used in wood-burning stoves). They were so great; I feel really lucky to have had their help b/c it was done so quickly. Then I made them pose for pics before I packed my tripod (thank you SO much, Ellen!!! I swear I would be nothing here w/o it). Today was warm and sunny; everyone is so happy to leave. I'm just spent. Maybe it's just as well; otherwise, I'd have lots of energy to expend toward being upset w/my electronics.