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.


20th century towers

I love Friday Week B. Having dropped English Extension II, I now have a double free for periods 1 and 2, meaning I can sleep in until just before 10am. Ah, that’s the life. Being able to sleep in for three days in a row feels really good because that’s even more sleep caught up, which I’ve lost during the week.

In other news, today was Shave For A Cure. At recess, JGan and Swami (almost) had their hair completely removed, while John and Bobby had theirs done at lunchtime. I must say, all the people that got shaved don’t look as odd as I expected them to look, so I guess that’s a good thing. It must suck to have all your hair removed during winter, though, since it’d be super freezing everyday. Ah well, I guess it’s more incentive for them to wear a beanie all the time, which is cool (or is it warm?).

The main point I wanted to talk about on the topic of today’s shaving is the issue of the year eight girl selling her hair on eBay. What was her name again? I remembered it earlier but I’ve forgotten since. Anyway, so she’s selling her hair for $500 or $600 on eBay. My first thoughts: wow, what an investment. But what is she going to do with that money? Technically, she should be adding it to her sponsor fund for the Leukaemia Foundation, but I’ve heard that she’s using it elsewhere. Then comes the question that everyone’s been asking: why would someone pay so much for it? It’s been reasoned that anyone who wanted human hair for wigs or hair extensions or the like could easily get it for free or much cheaper from barber shops and hairdressers anywhere, but I came to the conclusion that the reason it’s worth so much is because having hair cut off at that length (she cut off entire ponytails) is very rare. It’d be pretty hard to find someone (a girl) with hair that long who would want to cut it off in full, intact strands, and therein the value lies. A quick search on Google shows that human hair wigs can sell for as much as US$900 (for long styles), and so I guess this is the purpose that the girl’s hair is going to be used for. Still, it’s pretty crazy for her to even think of selling it online, and even moreso for the guy buying it. But hey, I heard he’s American, so I guess that explains it.

Anyway, speaking of hair, the girl in the video below has quite a bit of it. The video is called “Her Morning Elegance”, and it’s a stop motion of a woman in a bed shot from the ceiling; the bed, with the use of other objects, acting as the scenery. Definitely one to watch right now. The music it’s set to (“Her Morning Elegance” by Oren Lavie) isn’t bad either.

“Her Morning Elegance” was actually found by following some links from the next video, below, which showed up on one of the design blogs I follow, called Design You Trust. This one is called “Sorry I’m Late”, and this time it’s a man on floorboards, again with various objects acting as the scenery. It also very cleverly uses smaller objects such as a toy car and a doll house, shot closer to the camera to make it appear part of the scene. Anyway, you can see all that for yourself. If you want to see the-making-of, they have a collection of fairly detailed videos, photographs and explanations on how it was done at their website here.

Here’s another scenery, but this time it’s real. The photos below are of Hong Kong, where I’m sure many of you have been and know more about than I do. Heck, you’ve probably seen these photographs before (or in real life?). Anyway, so almost everyone in Hong Kong lives in apartments, much like Singapore, with which I am more familiar. Now, if you think about poor-ish places like India or Mexico with a high poverty rate, the poorest tend to live on the outskirts of large cities in their own dilapidated, often self-built, little houses. But in Hong Kong there’s no space for that. And so they do this:



These photos were found on Dailytonic.

And on the topic of buildings (don’t you love my shifts between topics?), on Tuesday May 26 a ceremony was held to mark to start of construction at the site of the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi, a joint project between France and the United Arab Emirates. To say the least, it looks amazing. While it appears to be a flying saucer from another world, the shallow, perforated dome (which produces a very nice lighting effect inside) is actually inspired by traditional Arabic architecture. I’m really looking forward to when this is finished in three years’ time, but for now, here are some images of what it’s been planned to look like (for larger photographs go here):






And there ends today’s blog. Today’s title is once again a Death Cab For Cutie song, from The Stability EP. This post will be the last following the Death Cab For Cutie song title theme, as I’m finding it increasingly difficult to use a title that relates to the topics discussed in the post. From now on I will simply be using song titles or memorable lines from any of the bands I like, not just Death Cab.

Until Sunday, as the French say it, adieu.

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.




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.

May 22, 2009, 11:59 pm
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I’m not really sure what I should blog about today. It rained and we got our reports. I got most of my orange form signed and enjoyed a double free when I would usually have Extension II English.

I kind of like the rain. It’s cool and refreshing and it feels really nice to eat or drink something hot while it’s raining. As long as I’m not getting wet, it’s all good. Except for those days when I really want to play basketball. Then, I hate rain.

I played that game that everyone’s been playing today: Plants Vs. Zombies. There’s only so much you can do with a game with that name. I kind of feel like a zombie right now- it’s very late.

I don’t think I have anything more to say tonight.

I should sleep earlier. It’s tomorrow already, even though the time fibs.

no joy in mudville

Today was a very interesting day for me. This blog will be a timeline of my day.

8:15am: I am awoken by my alarm clock. I turn it off and remain in bed for five more minutes of sweet sleep. It’s weird, but it is this five minutes that somehow allows me to wake up more alert than if I got out of bed immediately.

8:20am: The alarm on my phone goes off; I turn it off and proceed to the bathroom for a shower.

8:30am: I have showered and dressed for school. I then move to the kitchen to eat breakfast- peanut butter on toast and a boiled egg, with milo.

8:50am: I have finished breakfast very, very slowly and packed my bag and my lunch for school. I then go to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

8:55am: I am outside of the house. One of the few fortunate things that happens today is that my mum happens to be going to work at the same time that I am going to school. I save a five minute walk, taking about twenty seconds to get to school by car.

8:56am: I am walking through the gates of James Ruse Agricultural High School. I then proceed to L-block to sign in, then to the common room for my free period. Here, I attempt to do the very difficult crosswords in today’s paper. I don’t get very far. I do, however, figure out the target word- PIMPERNEL. No-one believes me when I say that it’s a real word, so I look it up on the internet and find that it is some sort of a European salad. To skip the boring bits, I then have chemistry and mathematics before recess. During recess I obtain an orange form from Ms. Connors to drop Extension II English. After recess is maths again.

12:08pm: I very quickly walk to the bus stop on Pennant Hills Rd to catch the 546 to Parramatta Westfield. I am with Janet, following Bryan, James and Thashan.

12:17pm: I am on the 546 to Parramatta, sitting in the back seat. I make my first mistake of the day: I walk on to the bus without paying the fare or dipping my Travel Ten. Why? Because apparently I’m too cheap to pay the $1.60 fare in cash, or the $0.70 with my Travel Ten. Stupid.

12:35pm: The bus stops somewhere just before Parramatta station, near the Aldi. It just so happens that Sydney Buses have chosen today to station Transport Officers along this route in an attempt to catch fare-evaders and those using bus passes that do not go to Parramatta. After a few very nervous minutes of the five or six officers checking the passes of the people in front of us, one finally reaches us in the back seat. Everyone checks out except Janet and me; I didn’t pay the fare, nor do I hav a bus pass. Idiot. We are taken out of the bus, joining the dozen or so others from our school who are also in the same situation. One asks for my ID and takes down all the details on my driver’s licence. He does not look happy. He gives me a stern talk about what I’ve done, questioning me while writing. He tells me that I will be receiving a letter in the mail as a warning, and that next time I am caught I will be fined. Phew, it’s not so bad after all. He then lets me go, and I go over to Janet who is in the same situation with another officer. Luckily, he’s a nice guy, and he lets us on to the next bus to Parramatta Westfield.

3:25pm: We board the 548 bus back to Carlingford, and I am careful to dip my Travel Ten this time. I think I’ve learnt my lesson. The bus driver is a lunatic. It looks like he’s new to the job. His driving is erratic; accelerating and decelerating very quickly and he misses a few stops even after people have pressed the button, needing to stop on the side of the road a bit after each stop to let people out. The ride is very bumpy and I quickly start to feel car (or bus) sick.

4:00pm: It is absolutely pouring outside, and I get off the bus in front of Carlingford station, hiding out under shelter there. I have given my umbrella to Janet as she didn’t bring one today, and so I proceed to run home in the rain.

4:02pm: I arrive at school, where I rest a bit in the sheltered area at the back of the hall, dripping wet. Luckily, the rain has died down a bit by now- it’s not pouring anymore- and so I walk through the sheltered parts of the school towards the Baker St side, and then walk home.

4:06pm: I arrive at my home, towelling off and sitting down in my warm room in front of the computer for the next hour and a bit.

5:45pm: I begin to get dressed for my Hills game at 6:15. But then I realise that my only pair of basketball shorts are in the washing machine at this very moment. I quickly fish them out and wring them out as hard as I can, slapping them against the door of my laundry to drive out as much water as possible before putting it in the dryer. While I am doing this, my mum tells me that it’s never going to work, but I persist.

5:50pm: My dad arrives home and we are about to leave for Hills. I remove the shorts from the dryer; they are still wet but I make do. I end up putting on a different pair of shorts for the drive there, intending to change just before the game so that I don’t have to sit on damp shorts. You can’t tell they’re wet just by looking at them and they’ll dry out during the game anyway.

6:00pm: Crap. I am stuck in heavy traffic on North Rocks Rd, and it looks like I’m not going to make it to the game on time.

6:18pm: I arrive at Hills Basketball Stadium, three minutes late for my game. I quickly change my shorts in the car, not bothering to find a parking space yet, and run into the stadium, letting my dad park.

6:55pm: The game is over. We have lost to a team called “CHB” (from Castle Hill High). I then exit the stadium and proceed to drive home. When I arrive home, MasterChef is on, and dinner is waiting. From there, nothing more interesting happens…

12:50am: I begin to write this blog.

1:19am: I am sitting here completing this blog, very tired after a very hectic day.

1:21am: I am about to tag and title this blog before changing the posting time to 11:59pm on May 20 and clicking Publish, because I’m OCD like that. I will then get into my bed to sleep, hoping that tomorrow is a better day. Goodnight.

“No Joy In Mudville” is from the album We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes. It was raining today, hence “Mudville”.

different names for the same thing

Once again I’m blogging at a time that’s not the said posting time above. In fact, it’s well past that time; it’s 12:53 and I am really wasted. So, this will be a relatively short blog due to my current state of mind and the fact that I’ve found very few things that are worth blogging about lately.

Actually, if I stayed up and began this blog in an hours time it’d probably be really great. Isn’t it weird how that works? There’s always a certain point in the night when somehow all previous fatigue disappears to be replaced by a somewhat euphoric and receptive mood. For me, my day usually runs in a cycle of tiredness to alertness. Usually (on a school day), I begin the day with a horrible mood. Anyone who’s ever seen me in the mornings (my family) will know that I am definitely not a morning person. If my mum or brother try to talk to me in the mornings, it’s usually returned with “Mmm…” or silence. Following this tired stage is my alertness for the day. I’m usually fully awake by period two, and this goes on during the day until I get home. When I first arrive home I sometimes feel kind of tired, and I eat and just do nothing until about 5pm when I’ll start doing work or things like that. I stay good until around midnight when it should be time for me to sleep. Like now. At this point I’m really tired and in need of sleep. Now, on those rare nights I stay up later than 2am or during sleepovers, I begin to shift into the aforementioned euphoria. From past experiences, it has kicked in at around 3am. At sleepovers when I have pulled all-nighters, I am usually in this stage until around 7am when I get completely and utterly tired and I actually do sleep. Thankfully, I only reach the latter stage on very rare occasions.

Wow, that was weird. I think my brain flows a little bit better at night. By now I can’t even remember what I wrote in the last paragraph. I’ll probably have to read it again tomorrow.

Anyway, the main point of this blog was to showcase an artist I found today, named Justin Taylor (Belle, you will recognise the name, but it’s not the guitar one). His style is a kind of realism with some elements of impressionism, often using bright colours; which I really like (as mentioned in my previous blog, lack of color). Almost all his works are of the human figure, and his usual medium is oil on canvas or panel. A few of my favourite artworks of his are below, and you can check out his gallery on his website, linked above, for a larger view.

Coincidentally, Justin Taylor is also the name of a guitarist and songwriter introduced to me by Belle in our free period today. When I got home and looked him up on YouTube, I realised that I had already heard some of his songs, as I’ve been subscribed to the channel for CANdYRAT Records, a label that supports talented acoustic guitarist such as Justin Taylor. Below is the song Belle showed me today, called “Cheesy Little Love Song”.

And that is all for tonight’s blog. Goodnight, everyone.

PS. The title of this blog is from the album Plans.

PPS. Maybe it wasn’t that short after all.

sleep spent

It’s 12:35am and I really should be sleeping right now. The reason I’m blogging so late is due to the fact that I had more homework than usual today. But alas, the show must go on, and I will blog. Because it’s so late, there won’t be much in the way of detailed comments or things like that like I usually do, but it’s better than nothing. Also, it’s going to be a bit of a break from all the art I’ve been posting lately, and rather it will be about another of my passions: music. 

As you may have noticed, the title of every single blog post to date (including the title of my entire blog) has been a title of a Death Cab For Cutie song, this blogs title being a song from Something About Airplanes. The one exception was the very first post, which was a line from “The Passenger Seat”. I guess this is sort of a theme to my blog, but I’m not really sure how much longer I can keep this up. I think they have about eighty or ninety song titles, so there’s still a lot for me to work with I guess. I may move to Anberlin or another band once I can’t use any more of Death Cab’s.

The reason for my use of Death Cab For Cutie titles is simply because they are my favourite band. Period. They have been for a long time now (it’s measured in years), ever since Janet first introduced them to me. What I love about them is their trademark instrumentation, which is usually calm and relaxing, with easy and clean tones that are very soothing to the ear. On top of that, Ben Gibbard (singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist for the band) is a genius lyricist. So many of his songs relate to something I’ve experienced in my life, and so I can really relate to what he’s singing about in each of his songs. He writes love songs, songs about family, separation, loneliness, anxiety, society… often using very original extended metaphors to get his point across, which I love. His voice has a kind of rawness to it; and it is the honesty in his tone that really sells his lyrics.

Death Cab’s style has been described as indie rock, indie pop and alternative (although technically they are no longer indie as they are signed to a major label), and they have made six studio albums, numerous EPs and a few live albums. Their latest album, Narrow Stairs, peaked at number one on the US Billboard charts. As well as these, Ben Gibbard has made two albums of his own and Chris Walla (guitarist, producer) released his first album early last year.

Formed in 1997, Death Cab For Cutie consists of (from left to right in the image below) Jason McGerr (drums), Nicholas Harmer (bass), Ben Gibbard (vocals/lyricist/guitarist) and Chris Walla (guitarist/producer).

My favourite album by this band usually changes over time, but right now it is Plans, from 2005, with Transatlanticism (2003) and The Photo Album (2001) as close seconds.

That’s all for today. Tomorrows will be a more in-depth blog on another topic, possibly a comic or maybe more art…

But lastly, this is my favourite song by Death Cab For Cutie, “Transatlanticism” off the album of the same name. The lyrics and music really resonate with me everytime I hear it.

the atlantic was born today and i’ll tell you how:
the clouds above opened up and let it out.

i was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere
when the water filled every hole.
and thousands upon thousands made an ocean,
making islands where no island should go.
oh no.

most people were overjoyed; they took to their boats.
i thought it less like a lake and more like a moat.
the rhythm of my footsteps crossing flatlands to your door
have been silenced forever more.
and the distance is quite simply much too far for me to row,
it seems farther than ever before.
oh no.

i need you so much closer

i need you so much closer

so come on, come on