Tuesday, March 30, 2004


protect ya neck

The bizatch of being bizack from a long(ish) vacation is simply readjusting to a normal routine. Don't get me wrong - I LIKE being away from home and not worrying about shit like 1) my dissertation, 2) writing deadlines, 3) the price of gas in S.F., 4) Passion of the Christ, etc. But especially when you write about music, 10 days might as well be like 10 weeks. Like...what's the "Fallen" remix? Who are the Federation and what's "Hyphy"? Why do I keep hearing about Nellie McKay even though I have yet to actually hear Nellie McKay? People are doing mega-mixes of songs over ring tone beats? Holy christ, now I know what Rip Van Winkle felt like (better him than Robert Van Winkle)

S and I were in Shanghai until Sunday (and due to a family emergency, I still haven't even gotten back to my own apartment yet, but instead, had to fly to LA ASAP where I am currently enjoying the beauty of jet lag. I've seen two sunrises in a row and believe me, that never happens). I still haven't even remotely gotten around to piecing my thoughts together to create another travelogue but I wanted to share one story before I totally forget it. This paraphrased anecdote comes from my man Mike, formerly of NYC/TurntableLab.com and Staple Design's Reed Space, now teaching English in Shanghai:
    I was mentioning to Mike that I needed a haircut badly and like me, he also wears his coiffe razor short. He laughed and said, "around here, if you a shaved head, people either think you're A) a monk or B) an ex-con, freshly released from prison. I got into a cab with a friend of mine and the cabbie asked my friend if I had just gotten out of jail." Apparently, the baldie phenom has not yet swept China. Maybe if Yao Ming starts rocking a chrome dome like MJ, it will start a new trend 'round these parts.

Back at home...in one of those weird time-machine-like experiences that can only come with int'l travel, S and I flew out of Shanghai at about 10:30am on Sunday and landed at SFO at about 8:30am on Sunday. Yeah, we GAINED two hours and managed to go from morning, through midnight, and back to morning whilst crossing the Pacific. Alas, after managing to take much needed five hour nap, I woke up to my cell phone buzzing, with my sister on the other line, telling me that my 94 year old grandfather in LA had just suffered a massive aneurysm. Within two hours, I was back on a plane, this time to LA where me and my sister were the only family members around until my dad (China), his sister (south Jersey) and brother (Maine) could fly in the next day.

At some point, I'll have much more to say about all this, but between being dog tired and suffering from diminished mental capacities on account of the dog-tiredness, it's hard to be articulate or insightful. Just to put it out there - I'm doing ok with all this. My grandfather had a very long and healthy life and in comparison to my two grandmothers, one of whom died from a long, hard bout with cancer, the other who was felled by a stroke before passing away a year or two later, my grandfather suffered relatively little before easing into his current coma. From what my sister told me, he's actually been in great spirits of late and that actually makes me feel better knowing that.

One more thing for now. This is the first time I've seen my dad and his siblings together, in a single room, in years...I can't even remember the last time actually. My uncle is like a shorter, skinnier version of my dad - I mean, they're brothers, they're meant to look alike but it's just kind of uncanny, especially since I never see my uncle. Anyways, this was the conversation within the first 10 minutes. 1) My dad brought everyone up to speed on my grandfather's condition (suffice to say, it's worst-case scenario), 2) my aunt voiced her concerns that my grandfather's housekeeper may have been stealing money from him and 3) the three of them began to compare how they got tickets to come out (aunt=frequent flier mileage, uncle=Priceline.com, dad=paying United through the nose). I wouldn't call the conversation surreal but it was kind of funny seeing them go from grief, to anger, to comparison shopping.