the passenger seat


walking on a dream

I had the weirdest dream yesterday. It’s probably only the second long dream I’ve remembered recently. A couple of months ago I had a really vivid and long four-part dream involving Transformers, but I might recount that another day.

Anyway, the only dreams I’ve ever remembered are just like SY said in her recent blog (which prompted me to write about this dream): “I find that when you fall back asleep after being awoken by an alarm, you remember your dreams more easily..”

I’m really paranoid about missing things (or school back in the day) because I’ve woken up late, and so I use both my phone and an alarm clock. I started this system because there was a period of time where I got so used to my alarm clock that I was able to subconsciously reach behind me to turn it off while still in a sort of half-sleep, hence missing it and waking up late. So, I began to use two alarms where I would set my alarm clock 10 minutes after my phone alarm just in case. But then I got into the habit of using the time in between alarms to sleep some more (and those extra 10 minutes actually made me feel more awake when I woke up for real), and this is when I would often have dreams that I could remember.

However, yesterday was a different situation. After waking up early to go to Sydney Markets for some pre-Chinese New Year shopping, I came home wasted and found myself dropping off while on the computer. So I decided to have a nap, and that is when my dream unfolded…

The italic parts are what happened in the dream and the non-italics are things that happened in real life.

I walk into a store (not in a mall or shopping centre, but on the street) and it seems to be a weird hybrid shop that sells everything from guitars to boardgames. I spot a nice classical guitar with the price tag over $1,000 and I remember that I need to find one to buy for my brother’s birthday (my mum had a guitar that as a present the other day). The price tag is obviously too high so I go to the store assistant (a guy about our age) to ask him if there are any cheaper ones. But then a 60-70 year old man walks in and he is joined by two of his friends and they start chatting VERY loudly right next to the assistant and I. I go ahead and ask my question anyway, but the guy mishears me and starts telling me the days and hours that he works at the store, as if I am enquiring for a job (I have been trying to find a job recently). Soon the men stop talking but the guy is still going on about the job details, so I stop him and tell him what I really meant to ask. But he gets pissed and starts mouthing off about how he wasted his time explaining all the other stuff to me and that is when the manager comes over and sees what is happening. So I figure this is a good time to leave the store and as I walk out I see the assistant getting told off by the manager.

For some reason I decide to go back into the store soon after, and I go to the back where there is a desk with a computer on it, so I go to sit there (without using the computer). I stay there for a while but then decide to go outside again to check where the rest of my family is. I see them going into another store not far away so I go back inside and start using the computer (for what, I don’t know). After a while I decide to leave again but as I look through the store’s windows from the outside I realise I have left my phone and wallet on the desk.

So I go back inside to pick them up but the store has somehow turned into a library. As I walk past the desks I see people that I recognise (the only people that I remember seeing are Grubsy and Swami) but they don’t seem to notice or recognise me. I go outside and see my family walking into another store and so I follow them in, and it turns out that it is some sort of mall with a high ceiling. My family walks into Sanity (no idea why it would be that store in particular) and I walk ahead, coming across a staircase; the kind that spirals down in a square to get to a car park. As I walk down I pass a bunch of random people before meeting Janet at the bottom. She is wearing a black leather jacket (I think this was from seeing James’ new jacket).

We go out the door at the bottom of the staircase and we emerge into a large open-air car park. But somehow it is now night time and all the cars are lit up from underneath, some with their headlights on. Seeing Janet’s jacket and the weird light, I am reminded of the video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (I think my actual self thought of this and it became manifested in the dream). And so I make a joke, singing a line from that song out loud: “‘Cause this is Thriller, Thriller night”.

But then I look to my right and I see a big, flat-topped hill that has a really big blocky building sitting atop it, not unlike prison buildings. The buildings are all lit up with a sickly yellow light. Suddenly I hear some weird noises coming from the buildings and then the shrieking scream of a woman.

Then I see a woman with long dark hair and a white hospital gown running out of one of the buildings, presumably the same woman that screamed, and she is followed by a horde of other men and women dressed similarly, all running out of the buildings down the hill towards the car park while making lots of noise. It is then that I come to the realisation that the buildings are those of a mental asylum.

At this point we are both freaked out, so Janet and I rush towards the door we came out of but a hand reaches from inside and closes it. With the people still running down the hill we approach the door but it is locked and we are unable to get in.

Then I woke up.

The weird thing is, I’m pretty sure I was only half-asleep during the dream. I had parts where I would kind of wake up but I’d drop off again soon after and the dream would continue. Also, I found that I could actually somewhat control my dream. It was like my actual self knew that it was a dream and at parts I think I actually watched my dream self from a different viewpoint. When my actual self thought about something it seemed to immediately happen in the dream; like in that part about “Thriller”.

Another weird thing that happened is that I remember at times dreaming that I was asleep. This may have just been me waking up in a semi-conscious state, but when I tried to move my mind was telling me that I was moving but I found myself still in the same position after.

Is it normal for dreams to be remembered only when they are had in those light stages of sleep? Does this happen to anyone else? And has anyone else ever had any sort of control over their dreams as I had?

I’d love to hear your dream experiences, so leave them in the comments. But until next time, take care.



let the music play

Just a quick note: that movie post I mentioned in my last post will be posted tomorrow, after I have watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

This post will be about the music I’ve been listening to as of late.

My music taste has definitely changed a lot recently. I remember in year 7, Eminem and D12’s “My Band” were all the craze, as well as Usher and Chingy and all those guys. Man, those were good times. I look back and wonder “what the hell was I thinking?” All I did back then was go with the latest craze and listen to what everyone else was listening to. I remember going onto Take40.com, seeing any cool songs up there and downloading them on Limewire. Yes, Limewire. Awesome times. I was so naïve, and that was probably when I first started actually getting into music. I really didn’t know anything about music before then except that John Farnham and Human Nature were cool and the Bee Gees were okay, because these were the only artists I ever heard in my household.

Shoot forward one or two years and I only listened to indie rock and acoustic guitar artists. Remember back in the day when everyone listened to bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco (back when they had the ! in their name)? Yeah, I was part of that craze. That was the only music I listened to for a long time. Throw in Death Cab For Cutie, who, as you probably know by now, are still my favourite, Anberlin, who I’d like to think are set apart from the other indie/punk/alternative bands are are also still a favourite, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, who I actually have not listened to for a long time.

I think my music taste has matured as I have matured. If any of you remember my blogs some time ago, I talked about listening to bands like Lymbyc Systym and This Will Destroy You- indie instrumental soft rock/post-rock. That was a phase where I somehow really got into a genre I had never heard of before and it was nice for a long time. The soft, gentle background music got me through that exam period and it was great.

After that, you might remember my post about MGMT and Empire Of The Sun. That was a short electronic phase. After discovering new post-rock bands, many of them were heavily electronic- and synthesiser-based, and I guess this stems from my liking of The Postal Service (of which Ben Gibbard is the vocalist, so, naturally, I like them).

From there, somehow I’ve started to like Hip-Hop and RnB a lot, mainly since I was introduced to Kanye West a while ago when his latest album was released. Some of my recent downloads include:

  • Mos Def – The Ecstatic
  • Mos Def & Talib Kweli: Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star
  • Ne-Yo – Year Of The Gentleman
  • Ne-Yo – In My Own Words
  • Akon – Freedom
  • The Foreign Exchange – Leave It All Behind
  • The Foreign Exchange – Connected
  • Wyclef Jean – Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs Of An Immigrant

A lot of these have been due to James’ influence. Right now I’m really feeling The Foreign Exchange and some of Wyclef Jean. I’ve pretty much been listening to only those artists for the past few days. There’s just something about the beats and production of some of the tracks that sounds really fresh to me. They feel clean, too, unlike to mess of guitars and drums and things like that in other music. It’s easy on the ears.

Actually, I’m listening to Norah Jones’ album Come Away With Me right now, which I’ve been meaning to obtain for a long time now. Really nice stuff; soothing.

I’ve noticed my music taste has really broadened in recent times. I find myself liking songs on the radio that I never would have thought I’d like, and that I know other people don’t like at all. I guess I’ve grown to be more open with this sort of thing, and I’m no longer trying to follow any trend or be “cool” and go with the crowd. I’ve just been listening with my own ears and deciding what I like and going with that. I think this is a result of growing up and having a lesser sense of peer pressure and more individuality. Oh gosh, that’s made me think about English. Yuck.

On a completely different topic, today I went to the city. Picked up a few bargain shirts which I’m really happy with, but while shopping I saw David Lam and Gavin shopping together at General Pants. Does anyone remember them? The crazy baller guys from a few years back; they were in year 12 when we were in year 8. Anyway, they were good friends back in the day, and I just find it really nice to see them still going out together and hanging out even four years after they graduated from Ruse. This is what I hope for in the future. I still want to be hanging out with my high school friends throughout university and beyond, and for those that this is not possible, I definitely want to at least keep in touch online or something like that. Reunions every now and then would be awesome, too, just to see everyone’s faces again and to catch up and see how people have changed.

But yeah, I think that’s enough sentimentality. I really love my friends here at Ruse, and you’re all awesome people, so thank you for that.

Anyway, that’ll be all today. Expect that movie post tomorrow, but until then, adios.

PS. Blog title? It’s a song by an artist I liked for a short time a while ago, after going to a concert… Well done to Swami for picking up the blog title, “Too Much Food” by Jason Mraz off his album Waiting For My Rocket To Come. You can have twenty points for that. And also thanks to everyone else’s comments. It’s nice to see all the different opinions on MasterChef.



the feel good drag

This will be a fairly short blog, since it’s late (actually it’s a lot earlier compared to when I usually blog) and I have some things to do (Edit: crap, I knew it wouldn’t be short). I need to blog because it just kind of takes my mind off other things during the time I write it, and it’s a nice break at the end of a day. Also, I love the feedback that all of you give me in the comments after I blog; it makes it feel that much more satisfying. However, I’ll probably end up writing heaps because I kind of get into a flow once I start writing.

Firstly, there are a few things that need to be mentioned.

The first: UAI –> ATAR. I don’t really want to say anymore because it’s been well-discussed already, and after hearing all the information it doesn’t bother me at all.

The second: ANBERLIN! Thanks to Joseph, I found out that Anberlin are playing in Sydney on August 28 this year, at the UNSW Roundhouse. Conveniently, this is a week after our Trials end. I bought tickets last night, so I’m very excited about it! I love how it’s going to be in a small venue, since the atmosphere is better. I’ll even be able to drive myself to the venue by then. Actually, I’ve never been to a concert in a small venue, but that’s what I hear. I’ve been to Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was at Acer Arena, and that was cool since we were relatively close but with seats. And of course there was Jack Johnson at Centennial Park. That one tops any other performance I’ve ever been to by far. We (Harry, Laura and I) sat outside the gates for about six hours so that we would be first in line when they opened, and it paid off, since we were directly in front of the stage, literally as close as you can get (we were leaning on the front barrier), with tens of thousands of people behind us, the furthest ones more than one hundred metres back. Ah, that was an awesome day. Here are some photos from that day (15 March 2008):

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While writing this, Kanye West’s “RoboCop” is playing. Right now Kanye is one of my favourite artists- I was introduced to him by James a while back when his newest album 808s & Heartbreak was released. His music is very different to what I normally listen to, which is a mixture of alternative rock, indie-style bands and acoustic guitar stuff. Although, I’ve noticed recently that my music taste has really been widening. Some of the albums that I’ve downloaded recently are: Jamiroquai’s A Funk Odyssey (jazz/funk/disco), LP3’s Ratatat (electronica) and Empire Of The Sun’s Walking On A Dream (electronica). These three are all a big change from my regular listening, and it seems that I’ve taken a liking to electronic music lately. Yesterday I also downloaded Bright Eyes’ Cassadaga and Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, of whom I’ve been a long-time fan. His style is folk; it’s usually just him with an acoustic guitar, but the latter album is actually electronic-based.

Another thing that has happened to my music taste is that I’ve been listening to movie soundtracks. Two weeks back or so I obtained the soundtrack for The Lion King. Yesterday I downloaded the soundtracks for Gladiator and The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. I love the epic-ness of all the songs.

Anyway, a few blogs back I mentioned the movie Up, a movie that I really want to see. Well, tonight I found and watched the short film Partly Cloudy, which will be shown before Up in cinemas. For want of a better, less gay word, it’s cute. It’s only just over 5 minutes long, so I really recommend that you watch it below. I hope the video doesn’t get taken off YouTube because of copyright, as all the others have, so if you notice it doesn’t work, please let me know (Edit: Damn, YouTube blocked my re-uploaded version too. I’m afraid you’re going to have to find it on your own. Trust me, it’s worth it).

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Did you know that Baby Mario and Luigi were delivered by crane also? Yeah, I learnt it from playing the Yoshi’s Island series of games on Gameboy Advance. Well, here’s a really nice rendition of the Super Mario Land theme, by David Choi (whom I’ve mentioned before) on guitar and his friend Paul Dateh on violin. I love it.

Another great YouTube artist is AJ Rafael. I’m sure I’ve mentioned him before. Well, at the moment he has a Disney series going, and the second song of this twelve song series is the introduction and the theme song for Beauty And The Beast. I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for Disney songs. Love the Mulan soundtrack, and of course The Lion King mentioned earlier. Don’t judge me. But watch the video below.

Lastly, here are some photographs (well, each image is a bunch of photographs put together) by a photographer named Martin Wilson. They speak for themselves. More images are at his website linked above. The small versions don’t do them justice at all, so click on the images for a larger view.

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Anyone recognise the “Big Yellow Taxi” lyrics, by Joni Mitchell/Counting Crows? That was a great song back in the day. Still is.

Anyway, I think that’s all for today’s massive blog. Come to think of it, I think I will go on that hiatus I mentioned in the previous blog. I realised that however I try to blog quickly, I always end up going for ages, and I can’t really afford to spend that much time on this coming up to exams. It’s been forty minutes since I began this blog, and that’s a short time for me. The next time I blog will probably be after exams, unless something really compels me to blog before then. I doubt it, though.

So, until then, good luck to everyone for their exams and don’t stress too much.

“The Feel Good Drag” is by Anberlin, from Never Take Friendship Personal.



title track

This post is going to be a video post. I suggest you watch every single one of them; I only choose videos to post that I think are worth posting/watching.

I’ve liked Norwegian Recycling ever since I first heard his first mash-up, “How Six Songs Collide”. Norwegian Recycling is Peter Bull, an amateur music producer from Norway who, interestingly enough, currently lives in Byron Bay studing audio engineering. Norwegian Recycling is famous for his mash-ups, where he takes a bunch of popular songs and sticks then together to make one song. He does this by choosing songs with the same chord progression (it’s amazing how many popular songs use the same four chords) and then takes samples of each to make the track. He also mashes the videos of each song together to match up with the lyrics. It’s kind of hard to explain and I’ve done a terrible job explaining it, so you’ll just have to watch and listen for yourself. Below is the aforementioned “How Six Songs Collide”, which includes “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz), “Collide” (Howie Day), “Superman” (Five For Fighting), “Always Getting Over You” (Angela Ammons), “All That I Need” (Boyzone) and “Here Without You” (3 Doors Down).

This next one is “8 Become 1”, the eight songs being: “Where Is The Love” (Black Eyed Peas), “Crash And Burn” (Savage Garden), “She Will Be Loved” (Maroon 5), “You’re Beautiful” (James Blunt), “It’s OK!” (Atomic Kitten), “With Or Without You” (U2), “Summercat” (Billie The Vision & The Dancers) and “Fair” (Remy Zero).

His most recent mash-up is “Viva La Viral”. I’m sure you can guess what the main song in this one is. It also includes “When You Were Young” (The Killers), “Because Of You” (Kelly Clarkson), “Livin’ On A Prayer” (Bon Jovi), “Walking On A Dream” (Empire Of The Sun), “Starlight” (Muse), “All Of Your Love” (Hellogoodbye).

Many of these have been dubbed “4-Chord Songs”, since each component song uses the same four chords throughout, making the mash-up possible. The Axis Of Awesome, an Australian musical comedy trio, did their own of this on The Footy Show. I really love this one because they use like a million songs. They’re not bad singers for a comedy trio, either.

One of the songs in “Viva La Viral” was “Walking On A Dream” by Empire Of The Sun. I’ve taken a liking to this band recently after hearing them on the radio then downloading their album. The first song I heard of theirs was “We Are The People”, from their first and only album Walking On A Dream, and I really liked it. Empire Of The Sun is an Australian electronic music duo and their style could be described as MGMT-esque; the two bands are very, very similar. They also have a sort of costume theme that could be described as quirky, to say the least, but I actually like their weirdness, even though it’s reminiscent of drag queens and Mardi Gras.

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Hmm, I noticed that all three artists I mentioned in this blog are Australian. It seems that we do have some talent, after all. And I mean real talent, not the kind that originates from Neighbours or Australian Idol. No disrespect to those two shows (I used to watch Idol every week, before it got boring), but I’m kind of sick of Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Jessica Mauboy constantly playing on the radio.

But I’ll stop there, before I go into a rant about mainstream music. Maybe another day.

I hope I didn’t overload you with song titles in this blog, but here’s another one:

“Title Track” is from We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes by Death Cab For Cutie.

Wow, it’s 2:30am and I don’t feel even the slightest bit tired. I woke up at noon today, so that might be the reason. I’m used to spending about seventeen hours awake each day (8am to 1am), so that’s probably why I don’t feel tired right now since I’ve only been awake for fourteen hours. But then this is pretty normal for a weekend, catching up on sleep by staying up and sleeping in.