Tuesday, January 31, 2012


In an attempt to learn adult real-world-like skills whilst traveling, I've taken it upon myself to learn how to cook like a non-collegiate person.  Ergo, cutting back on things like pasta and toast.  Or, at least serving it in a much more classier way.

-| Rolled pork loin with duck gravy, wine-baked plums, and green beans with toasted pumpkin seeds. |-

-| Ratatouille with goat cheese and couscous. |-

-| Salted soft boiled egg with buttered soldiers. |-

Unfortunately, I haven't photographed all the dishes I've cooked, but here's a not-so-very-comprehensive list:

-| Marmalade glazed chicken with vegetarian pasta. |-
-| Pan fried steak with homemade spiced macaroni and cheese. |-
-| Shepherd's pie served on summer salad and white wine dressing. |-
-| Honey glazed basa fish fillet on warm spinach with green beans, almond, and thyme. |-
-| Rum-soaked double layered chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese frosting. |-

Suck on that, real world.


Monday, January 30, 2012

The Flame

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

The Boy had been hit with a kind of dry spell over December and January.  Except the occasional venture out into the city, to the country, to the wineries, to long lost relatives, and especially to the week-long dance intensives at Restless, all of Australia seemed to take a break from being eventfully stimulating [contrasting the experiences had in India and Uganda, where he had to painfully decide everyday what he would attend and what he would have to miss].  Apparently, dancers needed a break for the holidays too.

He remembered, almost a year and a half ago, staring at the poster for the fellowship in the dining hall.  He knew the answer.  Almost anyone who knew him could answer the question:

What sets your soul on fire?

He also remembered the day ten months ago, the one in which he opened the email after an agonizing morning of research set in the middle of an island.  First, the sensation of being dropped from the top of a tower.  Then, a small spark that spread from his chest to his fingers to his toes and then to his face.  His hands began to sweat, his jaw paralyzed ajar.  Leaving behind the microscope and the agar dishes full of lobster hearts, he ran with her to the edge of the island and stared to the eastern horizon.

"I can't breathe," the Boy said, over and over again.  She just smiled.

Something had been set ablaze that afternoon.

Classes back in the theater and the train station dance studio were bathed in a different light since that day.  It's going to be like this, he thought, only all the time.  And everywhere else.  Every step on the marley floor sent a warm pulse through his feet that settled in his chest.  Maybe it was even then he started to look different in the mirror.  One year of this feeling, he told himself again and again.

Months later, he would practice in the living room of his bharatanatyam teacher, on the outdoor marble stage with his kalaripayattu teacher, in the storage house of the Gulu Theatre Artists, in the cement hut of Breakdance Project Uganda, and in Restless' studio.  The same feeling came back every time.  So this is what it's like.  My soul's on fire, he would think, smile, and wave it away.  Okay, that was a little pretentious.  No need to start writing "Eat, Pray, Love: Magno Edition" yet.

The teacher at AusDance had used music that kept his fire burning; he wouldn't mistake her choreographic style or song choice for coincidence.  Too much had happened this year that was too perfect for random happenstance.  Three hours of moving across the floor in front of the mirrors and he was still looking for more, almost as if he would never run out of fuel.  And it was all so very strange: his sudden ability to pick up choreography, to let it stick in his mind, had sharpened since his days back at college and high school.  He hopped from foot to foot, impatiently waiting for the teacher to move on.  Whatever the fire was feeding on, he had plenty of it.  It certainly came as a disappointment when the class had ended; it wasn't enough! The bike ride home did little to expend this energy.  He decided that he would find more classes, more styles, more teachers tomorrow.  And the day after that, and the day after that.  He wanted to keep feeding whatever was inside him, whatever had awakened back on that island.

The Boy was sure it wouldn't extinguish, not for a while.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Head Over Heels

He didn't know which had embarrassed him more that night:
  1. Being physically unable to enter - or even desire to enter - a club alone that night [that is, without close company or the knowledge of meeting up with close company], or
  2. Jamming his toe into the spokes of the wheel of his host's bike - not sure how that was possible - and catapaulting over the pedaled contraption's front onto his back, onto the side of the road and not into passing traffic.  At 11:30 p.m.
Blinking, He stared up into the night sky.  He counted the cars that passed.  One.  Two.  Three.  In his peripheral, red and blue lights began to flash, and his ears picked up the growing sound of sirens.  That and something ugly.

He lifted his head, and saw his legs tangled in the bike's body, the iPod scattered off onto the sidewalk and the cord of the ear plugs [still half-hanging from his ears] dangling from the handles.  Scraping himself from the pavement, He frowned as he noticed that he had fallen only a few meters away from an occupied bus stop.  Perhaps it was a good thing that two weeks prior, He had been pulled over and warned by the Adelaide Police to wear a helmet while using a 'push bike,' as it was the law.

He imagined the voices to come from the offspring of a Gremlin and one of the witches from Hocus Pocus and raised to compete with a fog horn.  As he edged himself away from the traffic and the oncoming ambulance, He couldn't help but notice that the boys had done absolutely nothing but point and laugh.  Yes, he knew this would turn into a funny story later, but whilst He was still in pain and under this bike and close to being hit by a car, couldn't they have waited to laugh about it later?  When He was far from harm?

He knew the ambulance wasn't sent for him; he watched it pass in slow motion.

Pushing the bike up and pulling his legs from around the bike took longer than expected; this actually gave the boys enough time to give one last final point and cackle, and board the next bus and vanish into the night.  He pushed the bike, realized it wouldn't move, and spent the next twenty minutes assessing what had gone wrong.  Fortunately, many close friends back at his college were bike enthusiasts, and he had picked up bits and pieces of bike maintenance and care over the past years.  He had learned to assess the chain, true the bike's wheels, and take apart the brake mechanism.  As he examined the bike, he noticed that the dark material caking itself all over his right hand wasn't grease from the chain; blood had been gushing from his middle finger [which he should have given to the boys who had boarded the bus] and palm.  Using his non-dominant hand, he removed the quick-release on the front tire and readjusted the brakes.  He pedaled back home.

"That's all?" Sean asked incredulously.

He nodded.  After locking up the bike [he would check the following morning for the damage done], he had gone into the bathroom and analyzed his right hand.  All that he could see was a good layer of skin scraped off, here and there, but no bone showing.  As for the rest of him, everything was still wiggling, albeit with a slight buzz to it [shock?].

"You got off lucky.  We were biking around Mclaren Vale when I had done the same thing, but that's how I broke my wrist.  Look at you, you didn't even tear your pants."

He looked down, and was surprised to find this as well.  His knees hurt, but Sean was right; no tear, no blood.  It bust have been a fairly graceful fall.

"You're also lucky you can clean it out with all of that and not get sick.  I couldn't even watch the doctor bandage my wrist; blood makes me feel ill."

He sighed, and proceeded to wash the wounds, scrape the dirt out from the gashes, and apply hydrogen peroxide [slight burning sensation], friar's balsam [incredibly painful burning sensation, and also staining], and betadine [a brown version of Neosporin].  Once he was done, his hand looked as if he had gone to the toilet which was devoid of toilet paper and refused to wash and rinse before leaving the bathroom.

He didn't think 'lucky' was the word of choice for the night.  'Humiliating' was one candidate, another was 'excrutiating.'  

It was possible these would scar, and that he was sure that he would have a somewhat entertaining story to tell at dinner parties and other social venues.  He would bear proof of certain people's inability to empathize, and he would be able to make commentary on human altruism [or lack thereof].  But the one thing that had certainly made a lasting mark on him that night was that in the moment of aerial suspension, in the moment of being lifted from the bike seat, over the handles, and approaching the concrete with his head, He knew that everything was going to be fine.  Sure, there were going to be some scrapes here and there - hopefully no fractures or broken bones - but things were going to be okay.  Regardless of the fact He was going to perform a face plant into a considerably busy street, He was going to be able to pick himself up, and move on.

Mmm.  Symbolism.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Used to Be

From the collection of the year's theme songs.  Enjoy.

Yes, I saw it in a Corona ad with friends at the movies.

[Miles Away]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Like a Wolf

Despite recent name givings from dear pseudo-family members, He wasn't sure what it was really like.  But he wanted to know.  Perhaps that was why the mysterious powers that be in the universe had somehow led him to this moment, this week's workshop at Restless, and this specific group of dancers...

"Eleni," Zoe asked, "Do you want to explain the story behind the title of Restless' newest production?"

The dancers had gathered for the first time in 2012, and before any of the creative-making process was to be done, the Directors had decided to talk about the theme of the show.  Eleni, a performer from Autism SA, appeared caught off guard and suddenly shy.

"Howling Like a Wolf?" Eleni asked.

"Yes, Eleni.  Want to explain to some of our new members about how we chose that title?"

"We... we were talking about flirting.  Back in November."  Eleni curled her fingers as she slid nails between her teeth.

"We were talking about emotions back in November, when we were doing a workshop with Rawcus Theatre, remember?"

"Oh.  Yeah."  Eleni paused, unsure.

"And we were talking about what certain emotions look like, remember?  So we did an exercise, where each person showed what an emotion looked like behind a curtain we held up.  Do you remember what emotion we were talking about, and what you did?"

"It was brilliant," added Philip, "If that helps you remember it."

"I...  I looked like a wolf, howling at the moon."  Eleni said, staring at the floor.

"Right, Eleni.  And do you remember what emotion we were talking about?"  Zoe tilted her head.

"It was...  Love."  Eleni hand dropped from her mouth.

"And do you want to explain why you chose to howl like a wolf to show love?"

"I saw a card in the store before, with two wolves howling at the moon."  Lynne explained.

"And you said, back in November..."

"That's what love must be like."


Monday, January 16, 2012

Next of Kin

NOTE:  As per usual, a long story.  The case in point may be found at the very bottom of the post.

| email 1 |


Can you send me your address there [in Australia]?  I [happen to] have some friends/relatives there.  They might be able to meet you if you're close to where you're staying.


| internal monologue 1 |


| email 2 |


Your Auntie Nora lives 15.62 km|9.71 m from you.  About 25 mins. by car according to Google maps.


internal monologue 2 |

NO WAY.  What were the chances?  Additionally, how many random relatives will my dad keep a secret until the most opportune moment?

| phone call part 1 |

Joshua:  Auntie! - Auntie? - Nora!  We finally got in touch!
Nora:  Yes, Joshua!  ...So, how are we related?

online chat 1 |

Cass:  I didn't know you had family in Australia.
J:  Me neither.
C:  Magno, you have to meet this woman.
J:  I know, it'd be good to meet some family members I've never met before.
C:  How is she related to you?
J:  No idea.  I guess I'll find out when I meet her.
C:  Mmm.  And your dad's not sure?
J:  I don't think so.
C:  Wow.
J:  It didn't really sound like my dad spoke with her a lot.
C:  What if there was a kind of family schism?  Drama?  One half didn't talk to the other?
J:  I don't think we're that kind of family.
C:  You never know.  Who knows how many secrets the Magno family harbors?
J:  Like I said, we're not that kind of family.

| phone call part 2 |

J:  And you?  What are you doing here in Adelaide?
N:  Well, I used to be a full time bartender at the Hilton Hotel in Victoria Square.  Now, I'm a full time lecturer at Adelaide Hospitality & Tourism School.  I teach 40 students 5 days a week on how to mix drinks and deal with rude customers.  Oh, and I just won a three year scholarship to live and study to be a hotel manager for the Australian equivalent of a very fancy Swiss Hotel.
J:  Jeez.
N:  Yep.  I guess winning awards runs in the family.  You can tell your father that.
J:  Will do.
N:  Oh,  and I have three sons you have to meet.  One is 16, one is 10, and the other is 9.  I guess that makes you their cousin.  Or is it uncle?  I don't know.  Oh, how's the economy in the US by the way?

| meeting |

N:  Ah!  So I finally figured it out!  How we're related...  Your father is my cousin, I think, because his mother and my mother are cousins.
J:  So we're not even sure if we're actually blood related?
N:  No, but I'll ask my mom again.
David [Nora's partner]:  So we're not even sure if you're his aunt.
N:  No, Sweetheart.  We Filipinos call even the most distant relatives our Auntie or Uncle or Niece or Nephew.
D:  I'm not sure that's how it works.
J:  So how'd you do it?  You know, move to Australia, get into the bar tending scene, then all of a sudden go up into hotel management?
N:  Through hard work.  You must know that already.  But it's doable.  Not easy, but doable.  Why?  Are you thinking of moving here?  How's the economy in the US?
J:  The economy...  Well, if I were to have stayed at home, all I would be doing right now is being sad and jobless.  So yes, it makes sense to come here.
D:  You know, Josh, Australia is the only country in the world where you can be unemployed, and you'll still have a home, be able to send your kids to school, and put food on the table.
J:  How?
D:  The government funds all of it.
J:  You're sure?
D:  I would hope so.  I work for it.
N:  Joshua, it's easy to come here.  Especially if you want to study.
J:  Even dance?  I'm almost considering going to a TAFE school here, maybe even getting a bachelor's in dance performance.  You know, getting official dance training.
N:  Yeah!  You could do that, IF YOU WANT.  Here, a TAFE education costs about a quarter of the price of going to a university, but you're actually getting an applied education, not just one in theory.
J:  ... I don't know.  It just sounds like it'll be more expensive because I'm a foreign student...
N:  So move here!  It's easy, especially since you're an American citizen.  Your points will be higher.  All you need to do is apply for a job here - David and I can even help you with that, if you ever want to bar tend or maybe even work for the government - so you have a working visa [I think you need to be contracted here for a two year job], but once you arrive, you can apply for permanent residency.  Then you'll get all the Australian government privileges, especially the ones under the TAFE schools.  Oh, you won't be able to vote, but who cares about that?
J:  Wow.  You make it seem so...
N:  Easy?  That's because it is.  Australian life is better, Joshua.  The cost of living is cheaper, and the government can help you in so many ways.  There are jobs just waiting to be had, but if you really wanted it, I can help get you a job or David can.  That's what family's for.  And since these jobs pay enough so that you can easily support yourself, you'll be able to apply and attend for ACArts like you want.  
J:  Like I want.
N:  Really, that's just the point of it all, and it's exactly what I did.  You just have to set a date for yourself - let's say two weeks after you go back home to the US - and just decide on what you want to do.  Then do it.  But for now, finish your year.  Do what you had set out to do on this scholarship.  It might change by that time.

| internal monologue 3 |


| Case in Point |

It was at this very moment He realized that it was more than just coincidence that the third|senior and second|junior year dance show at ACArts was presented one week after he had arrived, and that his father just happened to have family in Adelaide.  Seeing it all was enough to convince him that this was something he wanted, and if she spoke the truth, He was determined to work for it.  After all, moving to Australia didn't sound like such a terrible plan after this year, did it?

[ Nora's Mother's Cousin's Son's Son ]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stolen Dogs

If one ventures out to the southern outskirts of Adelaide, towards a small town known as Willunga on any given Saturday, one will inevitably notice the farmer's market held in the center of town.  It is in this market one may realize that a good part of this town's population consists of environmentally conscious persons; dreadlocks grow heartily, organic produce sells heavily, and free samples are offered frequently.  Willunga's concern and love for their canine companions are also as strong as that of their environment; one will notice that, in the window of almost every cafe and shop, posters for missing canine companions and feline friends hang.

My favorite so far is shown.  For those who would rather read a typed version of the print, I've taken the liberty of reproducing it below the photo.

In Feb 2010 some heartless people stole my much loved, little show dogs.  and companions.  They were irreplacable..  I have been heart broken ever since, and still miss them every day.  Animals have feelings to.  and would have been frightened and confused.  It is a selfish, an cruel thing to do, to owners and their pets.  I have done nothing to these people to be treated this way.  All I wanted was for them to be safely returned, no questions asked.  Please if anybody knows where they are, or even have my dogs call me.  Even if they are return anonymously.  Having my dogs back would mean the world to me.  It would be better than being sad all the time.

Missing are

Long coat Chihuahua female DIVA

Short Coat Chihuahua female CoCo

pomeranian female Chewy

Ph [blocked out]


[Hoping for Heather's Help]

Monday, January 2, 2012


everything will change.

-| Bye, 2011 |-

Let go.
Stop caring.
Do it for myself.

[over last year]