Upstream of Consciousness wants to be a collection of interviews that only contain answers. I will provide 5 phrases, words, quotes, links, pictures, or videos (in italics) and your consciousness will provide the rest. Responses can be short or long, real or fictional, words, links, or anything in between. In return, each of my "subjects" will give me 1 item back which I will then respond to (under the heading Ripple, with a number next to it). Come, swim for a while.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ripple (10)

10. [Bri]

Oooh, New Age website!

This website might as well be written in Mandarin, or some other language I don't understand, because that's about how well I follow what is written here (There is a NEW READERS section, but what's the fun in that?).

Instead, I first clicked on the link to "Becoming a Messiah" and then "Homework Assignment" here, and was disappointed to find the homework to be much like my homework in college -- download these articles and read them.

I think on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd be about a 7 of a Messiah -- sort of your garden variety, good guy, not the one to save the earth but not the one to lead everyone off a cliff to hell either kind of a Messiah.

Joking aside, this seems like a pretty hardcore version of New Ageism, although I could be wrong, because I know very little about it. I do have friends, including my oldest childhood friend, who ascribe to some New Age beliefs.

Personally, I'm of a very scientific mindset -- life is a product of genes and environment, which is to say we are born with a rough blueprint and then our experiences and interactions with others fill in the rest of the lines. Even belief itself -- that comes out of genetic predispositions and biography, neurotransmitters firing away. Everyone and everything is connected in that molecules are constantly bouncing off of each other, my words are read and enter someone's thoughts, etc. I haven't really thought about how the universe beyond Earth comes into play, although it must, in terms of the gravitational pull of the moon, our perception of the constellations, and of course, the Sun. But I think it all happens on an atomic particle level, something tangible that can be measured and studied and seen using science -- if not now, eventually, with better tools.

I'm willing to admit that I might be wrong, that there might be some 258th dimension of reality and truth that my genetics and my history have tuned me out of. And so a conversation about beliefs, unless your beliefs cause you to hate people, is always interesting to me.


A link of this beautiful video was passed around on my Twitter feed on the anniversary of 9/11 and I became curious about the person behind it. I highly recommend looking at Bri's website, (where you can find among her digital art, the work in number 4) and her blog at -- her art and stories are both fascinating and inspiring.


=D! Love this song. I've made a career out of making music videos, but this industry has always been intimately linked with record labels-- who are now nosediving as a collective whole. When I first started a "cheap DIY" video cost about $40k, now labels are offering about a quarter of that. This means way more work for me, and way less money. (boohoo)

The Download Divide -

2. "I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And who's in charge?'" - Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

3. The Iran You Don't Know

Though I'm not seeing anything particularly interesting about those two images of the show, I obviously dig the sentiment. Iran is nothing like how the majority of Americans see it- traveling and seeing different cultures should be requisite for life-- especially, especially if you are going to have an opinion about them. I'll be headed back to Iran early next year, and hopefully Jeddah as well, pretty psyched about it.


In 2004, after dusk, two jets flew over my apartment in Allston, MA (I was then living with the sexy, famed Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls). The jets were part of an airshow at Fenway Park. They tore through the atmosphere and, as I ran to the front door to catch a glimpse, my brain was hit with the most electric & intense headache, migraine, I had ever experienced. I had to hide under my dark blue down comforter for about a week, everything hurt my brain.

While sitting in the silence, I started to feel a certain sentience fill the room-- the air would get lighter. And as I would lay down at night, I felt many invisible creatures put their hands on me (I imagined they all looked mostly human). There was a current flowing from them to me. It felt like some sort of healing ritual... and, in some parallel dimension, my body was completely glowing.

After about a week, the headaches went away but the imaginary friends did not. I felt a really intense love for them, and one in particular. After moving to the South End (Cloud Club, the same building complex as Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls & Michael Pope, director extraordinaire), I was having regular visits from a recurring cast of invisibles.

After moving to NYC, I don't have nearly as many of these experiences, though my brain often composites faces out of random patterns (in a brick wall, in a spill, in cracks of the sidwalk)- and I imagine this is some sign that there is someone invisible in my presence. This digital painting series (Elgin, Eastor, etc) began under my assumption that if I dump a set of colors onto a page, I can find that face, or figure, to be revealed. As they reveal themselves to me, I revel in assigning them personalities, voices, eating habits, etc.
Elgin is kind of a grumpy prickly guy who ultimately has a heart of gold!

5. groove

Monday, September 7, 2009


The wonderful New Zealander Briar writes about, among other things, cupcakes (!) at and will write beautiful stories and poetry for you at Go check them both out!

1. "I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within." -Lillian Smith

This is such a true statement, although I might rephrase it slightly if it were me being quoted and not Lillian Smith. Her wording seems to assume that one needs an intent to journey into oneself for the external global journeys to have true meaning and distance. I guess this may be true in some cases, but in my own personal experience, and what I hear from other people, the moment you leave your comfort zone, whether it be your house, your suburb, your city, country, continent, hemisphere, once you leave the place that you know and venture out, it's inevitable that your mind and heart will open and allow passage inwards. Whether it's self-discovery, or change, or just understanding, I'm not sure. It's probably all of them. You can't leave for another world, no matter how many parallels it might share with your own, and expect to come back exactly the same as you were. You could come back looking exactly the same (although obviously that's not necessarily the case - you might come back with short hair dyed a different colour, a pierced nose and a tattoo on your shoulder - hypothetically, of course) and yet when you go to sleep at night, your dreams are on the trains of a different city.

2. "A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked." -Author Unknown

Sometimes I think I'm entirely cracked, and yet those who have seen me at my most shattered (this metaphor could get terrible reeeally fast) are certainly among my best - and truest - friends. That's not to say that those who haven't seen that side of me aren't true friends, but there are definitely those who don't know exactly what's beneath the shiny bastardised accented, New York obsessed, music sharing exterior. Although the interior is also all of those things.

I think it's good to know what's inside. If you aren't cracked at all, not even a little bit, how can we see in and understand?

3. [Article taken down -- It was about a New Zealand burger restaurant called Murder Burger where the employees wear shirts that read "Meat is Murder". No, they do not serve vegetarian options. Their weird website and menu can be found here.]

HAHA. I've never been to Murder Burger, even though I've been a very very bad vegetarian of late. They'd only get away with that sort of thing in Ponsonby, at least at first.

Either way, the best burgers in New Zealand, and, in fact, probably the whole world, are at Burger Fuel. The Combustion Vege is particularly excellent. They're very open to vegetarian and vegan stuff there.

If there is one song that I wish I had heard Amanda Palmer play in my time in the US, it would have been Truce. It used to be the track I would ignore, the long one at the end of the CD that I didn't really know, when I skipped through to Girl A and Coin Operated Boy and Missed Me, because that was the way I segued into the Dolls - didn't most of us? Now it would be one of my absolute favourite DD/AP songs. I have to say, despite the gorgeous orchestration on many of the WKAP tracks, and the fact that I ADORE Zoe Keating, I really think that The Dresden Dolls records will always trump her solo material, in my opinion.

I called out Truce from the merch table at the Twitter show in Cambridge, I texted my friends to get them to call for it as well. I knew there was no longer any point in begging her to play New Zealand, and really, Truce is more deep and meaningful than a song about periods being late, even if it IS also about my beloved home country. It was playing the first time I saw the New York skyline in February, was it? I don't really count New Years as having seen NYC. I didn't really know where I was, what I was looking at. But the second time, the real time I saw the tapering skyscrapers and felt the tingle of excitement (the same excitement I would feel every time I crossed the Williamsburg Bridge on the J or the Manhattan Bridge on the N or Q and looked towards the city, even after I'd been calling NYC my 'home' for two months), the Dolls self-titled was coming to its conclusion, and even though the specific microcosm places mentioned in Truce are all in Boston, not New York, it still meant something.

The next time I was on the bus coming into the city, I played Sing. That meant something too, but it wasn't quite the same.

5. slap bracelets

The beginning and probably end of my modelling career involved them, in fact, for the first time in weeks, there is one, the only one I own, on my wrist. It's a little disconcerting having that eye around. There are four bracelets on my wrist - that one is NYC, AFP, music. Another is family, childhood (a silver charm bracelet with a netball playing kiwi, a ballerina, a cursive letter 'B' and a book complete with bookworm). The third is friendship and slightly different childhood (a woven friendship bracelet, given to me by my friend Anna when we were probably ten or eleven, yellow and pink and green), and the last one is school, the world, and jobs (a beaded bangle that I wore to my Year Thirteen school ball, to match my golden sequinned 20s style dress. It came from Trade Aid, the first shop I ever worked in, which promotes and supports ethical and fair trade. I think it's from Tanzania). I've decided I like to jangle a bit - but only on one wrist.


About Me

I am interested in the human condition.