Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Oct 18 2005

Last weekend was a long one for me. It started on …

Last weekend was a long one for me. It started on Friday evening, as I was headed home to do storyboarding for the shoot in Yangmei on Sunday. It was raining. I crossed the suspension bridge after getting off the MRT I heard a mewing sound, and I spotted a little kitten running around the middle of the bridge. It was white with black spots and, unlike most stray kittens, approached every passerby, but nobody paid any attention to it. I stopped to look at it, and it ran over to take shelter from the pelting rain under my umbrella, rubbing around my legs and effectively trapping me. Clever kitten, I thought. It knew exactly how to use its feline wiles to enslave me to its purpose.

Obviously I couldn’t just leave it there, but I didn’t know from which end of the bridge it had come from. There are stray cat societies on both sides. I was going home, though, and I knew a friend of mine, Chris, who had expressed interest in getting a kitten. I picked it up and carried it across, and it didn’t protest at all. The door downstairs was open, so I could get to Chris’ balcony, but she wasn’t home. I called her, and she said she wouldn’t be home until much later. Hours and hours later, in fact. And I was getting bitten by mosquitoes. The kitten was dry and relatively safe under the balcony’s cover, but it was obviously starving. I cleaned out a nearby ashtray and filled it with water, but there was no food. I had to get to an appointment, but I didn’t want the kitten to wander out again. Chris said I probably shouldn’t slip it in the window, but I could use the clothes washer. Seeing no other alternative, I put it inside the washer and closed the lid so it wouldn’t get out, and wrote a sign saying “Kitten Inside” to put on top.

A while later, when I was done and after I had contacted Sandman and Jojo about the situation, I went back to check on it. When I opened the lid the kitten was asleep at the bottom of the washer, but it awoke and started mewing again, sounding a lot like a rusty hinge. I had just taken it out and sat down with it when a couple of men, both Asians, came up the stairs, one older guy and one young guy with no shirt on. The older fellow seemed bemused, while the young guy was hopping mad. He was complaining in poor Chinese to the older guy, who was apparently the landlord, about the washing machine situation. When he saw me holding the kitten, he nearly blew his top.

“Did you put that kitten in there?” he blurted. “Did you?” His tone was very accusatory. He seemed mad that I would treat a kitten in such a fashion.

“Yeah, I did,” I said. I thought he was going to hit me, the way he glared. “I didn’t have any other place to put it while I was away,” I explained. He paced about for a little bit as I sat with the kitten, petting it and hushing it. It was licking itself a lot.

“Ok, just be honest with me, dude,” the shirtless young man said. “Did you put the kitten in there to keep me from using the washer?”

“Huh? What are you talking about? I don’t even know who you are.” Ah-ha, so he was upset that he couldn’t wash his clothes. The kitten’s welfare wasn’t in his mind at all. He and the landlord left, and I heard the young guy saying to him, “I want to move out! I can’t take this any more!” But because of his accent and poor tones, the landlord didn’t understand him or at least pretended not to understand him.

I turned my attention back to the kitten, who by now was making itself comfortable on my lap. I noticed then that it had a nasty puncture wound in its belly that it kept licking, and it limped when it walked. I also noticed that it was a female. Jojo and Sandman arrived soon after with kitty food and the greater portion of Jojo’s birthday cake. Jojo saw the spot of black on the kitten’s head, and promptly named it “Xiao Maozi” or “Little Hat”. It was around midnight when Chris got home, and she took to the kitten right away.

Needless to say, I didn’t get any storyboarding done that night. I had some leftover cake for a snack and went to bed. The next morning I had a little more, and immediately regretted it, as my stomach rebelled to the extent that I couldn’t leave my apartment all morning. I spent my time outside the bathroom doing storyboarding. It was Daniel Pearl Memorial Day, and The Muddy Basin Ramblers were playing two gigs that afternoon and evening. I had wanted to see the other acts, but I felt horrible and had to finish the storyboards, so I waited until right before I had to leave before I got dressed, loaded myself up with the euphonium, trumpet and washtub bass and headed out to Treasure Hill, where the event was being held.

There were a lot of people there, many of whom I knew, or who at least knew me. I wasn’t in the best of moods, however, and avoided talking with most everyone. We set up after Sky Burial, a rock band wearing white face makeup, and started playing. The sound guys seemed on top of everything, and people heard the washtub, if not the euphonium. At one point Slim started singing about the Xindian River. It sounded pretty nice, what he was doing, so I added a bassline, and soon everyone joined in. We made up the song right then and there, on stage. It was extremely cool.

After the Ramblers finished, I also played the bass for Tarry Bush, which was a pleasure as always, but tiring. My pen, which I use to pluck the bass, was showing signs of distress and the rubbing of the rope ate through it. Cracks were appearing around the washer that runs through the hole in the washtub as well. I had visions of it failing spectularly, the washers bursting through the plastic and hitting me in the face as I hit a high note, so I kept it down in the lower notes most of the time.

After we were done, I walked around a bit and drank some water. Slim and Thumper had gone ahead over to Witches, so David, Sandman, myself and Mark, who was playing accordion with us that night, caught a cab over to our second show that night. It was hard to fit all our stuff in the cab, and the cabbie kept saing “So much stuff you’ve got there! So much stuff!” We dumped our stuff at Witches, which was still full of diners at that point, and headed to the track on the NTU campus across the street for a warm-up jam.

Tarry Bush was on first, but we did one song as a sound test before anything else. The dining tables had been moved away. My stomach was feeling better, and I even helped Slim eat his pork chop and rice with no ill effects. I think I may be becoming lactose intolerant, or at least Taiwan-style birthday-cake-intolerant.

The sound at Witches was sweet, at least for the first few songs. I could hear the bass very well, and was thus able to get all the notes right, even if I was confused about the tempo at a couple of points. My pen, however, burst, covering my hand with ink, so I had to get another pen to play the bass with. I’d use my finger, but the effect isn’t as nice, and besides, it rubs my finger raw after a while.

The Ramblers came up next, and we have enough new music that we didn’t have to repeat any songs from the Daniel Pearl gig. We even got the euphonium properly miced, although the stage was so crowded we kept bumping into each other.

By the end of the show I was pretty tired, and I had to get up early the next morning for our shoot in Yangmei. I had a couple pieces of bread and planned to hop in a cab, but the fellas were off at the track playing again, so I went and played a little with them. It was just too much, though, and I had to leave early because if I didn’t, I’d have been there until dawn. At least that’s what usually happens.

As for the Yangmei shoot, I will post about that in the production journal as soon as I have captured the footage. Needless to say, I was completely exhausted by late Sunday night. What a weekend.

posted by Poagao at 2:31 am  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment