Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Don't Stop Me Now

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I'm having a good time... I'm out of control... 

Don't Stop Me Now, I'm on an obsessive compulsive Freddie Mercury binge. 

And you probably couldn't stop me now, even if you wanted, because on more occasions than I like to admit, I find myself hyper-focused on one thing until it takes over. Let me take you down this rabbit hole as I share my obsession du jour, Freddie Mercury. Explore the triggers, inner-conflicts and fluctuations of my peculiar behavior. If you get bored, skip ahead to the end, it's always the best part.  

Don't Stop Me Now photo from Rockin and Blogin

Prelude to the Obsession 
Long ago, I was the number one "Leyla Arsan" on the internet and I liked it at the top. When I slipped from number one to number two, I tried, but was unsuccessful at regaining my ranking - the other "Leyla Arsan" was too powerful. This put me in a state of obsessive self Googling, I searched my name until I could search no more, and finally, I decided to confront my problem. 

Against everyone's advise, I decided to contact the other "Leyla Arsan" - the one who outranked me in search results. I was fortunate and received a response from this other Leyla Arsan, her reply quenched my thirst and was able to move on (if you'd like to read the original letter, a transcription can be found in the post here). To diminish the volume of obsessive thought about a subject is to seek an outlet, or find a path, to exercise the subject from the brain.Yield to the temptation.

Obsession with Untimely Deaths 
I think many of us obsess over celebrities who died too soon. However, for the past few months, or maybe a year or two, it's hard to keep track of time when you're having such a good time and you don't want to stop at all, my obsessions have centered around men (mostly musicians) from the 70s who passed before their time. 

Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti

Frank Zappa leads the way, he's more of a reoccurring theme, maybe because his son and my brother share the same name (Ahmet). Whenever I am feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, I listen to Bobby Brown and the satirical lyrics lift my spirits almost immediately. Hearing the emphasis on the line "got a job doin' radio promo" makes me giggle. Why did Zappa choose radio promotions for Bobby's profession? Having known only one person with that title, I think I understand. 

Warren Zevon from some dude's livejournal

When Californication was released on Netflix, I re-watched all seven seasons in about three days (let me refresh your memory here). Warren Zevon's music is played frequently throughout the series because, according to David Duchovny (why don't you love me), Zevon was his touchstone for Hank's rock & roll alter ego. That was when I drifted into my Warren Zevon moment and held on to that moment for a while. While in the throws of my Zevon obsession, I uncovered many interesting things, like the episode of David Letterman dedicated to Mr. Zevon, and one afternoon while cleaning my apartment, I randomly stumbled upon a surprising cover of Carmelita by GG Allin.  

Freddie Mercury, My Current Obsession
That leads us to my present state, a mindful concentration on Freddie Mercury. Unlike the aforementioned, I grew up listening to Queen. I was eight when Another One Bites The Dust was released and clearly recall being tickled by the parody Another One Rides The Bus by Weird Al Yankovich. I also remember kids playing the record backwards to decipher a hidden message, something that was quite popular at the time. My brothers and I ruined a good number of records and broke many needles on my dad's record player trying to play records backwards. Yet we never found any hidden messages about satanism or drugs like we had hoped. 

Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury

Don't Stop Me Now, I'm Having a Ball Obsessing
I can't be certain how the Freddie Mercury obsession started, or when it will end, but I think the more recent playlist I created "Wake Up Leyla!" (music to help me get out of bed) may have triggered the ascent from healthy curiosity to compulsive thinking. Don't Stop Me Now and only three other songs are on that playlist, so I hit repeat about 100 times each morning. I probably should add more songs but I can't think of anything else that motivates me as much. I'm open to suggestion, your comments are welcomed. 

Apparently I've given up on crediting these photos
Oh well, they're probably public domain anyway

Who Needs Sleep? Let's Keep Obsessing 
I knew that Farrokh Bulsara, was born in Zanzibar, that he was a handsome singer, songwriter, showman, and the lead singer of Queen. But despite the fact that I was 19 when he died, I realized that I knew little about Freddie Mercury or his accomplishments - and absolutely nothing about his religion, Zoroastrianism. Saturday night I spent several hours listening to Queen while looking through photos and reading articles about Freddie Mercury. The fascination continued when I woke up six hours later, and still continues as I write this post. 

Freddie Mercury was an exceptional talented. He performed with the Royal Ballet, collaborated with the Spanish opera singer Montserat Cabelle, and his Live Aid performance was described as one of the most memorable, that he "dominated" the stadium (don't take my word for it, this guy will tell you why Freddie Mercury will never be forgotten). 

There are numerous stories about Mercury's flamboyant lifestyle and the extreme partying - he was a man with an insatiable appetite for excessive behaviors. A sex machine ready to explode. No judgements here. Mercury was also described by many as a kind and "beautiful person" - inside and out. 

The story that stuck with me most had nothing to do with his success or his overly animated lifestyle. I was drawn to a more intimate story, the story about the person that Mercury met when he was dirt poor, the only person he trusted for the duration of his fame, and the person who was beside him at the end. Mary Austin - his lifelong friend, the inspiration behind the song "Love of My Life" (among others) and the heir to the bulk of his fortune. Read more about Mary Austin here

Don't Stop Me Now - Let's Close the Loop on this Obsessive Compulsive Behavior 
If you have not figured it out by now, I've been quoting a Queen song throughout this post - Don't Stop Me Now. When I started listening to the song on repeat a few weeks back, I listened to the lyrics very carefully. And then more carefully. And then I got to the point where I could virtually see Mercury snorting lines of cocaine as he wrote each line of the song - like a hologram in my brain. 

I could visualize it so clearly, I wanted to bring the song to life through my eyes but I have zero graphic design skills, or any artistic ability whatsoever. It is impossible for me to depict anything that is in my head in a visual fashion, all I gots is words and them aren't so good either. My next thought was to interpret the song through a collection of curated visuals (like Neil Patrick Harris doing cocaine off a stripper's butt in Harold and Kumar), to build a collage of images that would depict the song Don't Stop Me Now. I could see the pieces coming together but couldn't quite pull it off. 

Neil Patrick Harris from Harold and Kumar
He Doesn't Want to Stop at ALL!

As I was searching for images to put into my Freddie Mercury collage, I realized that I was not the first person who had attempted to bring Freddie Mercury back to life via graphic design. I found Pablo Stanley, and lucky for me, this guy IS an artist! Pablo Stanley's animated version of the Queen song "Don't Stop Me Now" is what you see below. Good job Pablo! 

Pablo Stanley Don't Stop Now 

Thanks for defying the laws of gravity with me and reading my super long blog post... like Lady Godiva. See you on the other side Mr. Fahrenheit. 

Don't Stop Now, we can keep the party going, leave a comment OR follow me on IG or Twitter 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why Does The Sun Need To Rise Anyway?

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Insomnia: my oldest friend and foe

I don't sleep much, they say it is a problem I've been plagued with for as long as I've been alive. But as someone who has always preferred darkness over light, I often ask myself, why does the sun need to rise anyway?

Dark Shadows in Milan
A Perfectly Still Night in Milan, Italy

Certain mornings I will wake up before the sun. It may only be 5 am or 6 am but I'm wide awake and fully alert, even though I only went to sleep a few hours earlier. On those peculiar pre-dawn mornings, for reasons I cannot explain, I usually feel alive, inspired, creative, challenged, and full of energy - almost like I am in-tune with the rhythms of the night (but not to the beat of the rhythm of the night). It is on those mornings, when everything is still and dark and it feels so perfect, I ask myself, why does the sun have to rise anyway? 

I still in that stillness for a while and the thoughts race in my head. And then I think about it for a minute too long and I ruin it... 
Because we would all die without the sun, Leyla, that's why! We need sunlight for crops and food. Animals need sun too. The planet would get colder & colder, we'd freeze! And people would get depressed, they need light and vitamin D! There would be more crime, murders, anarchy! It would be like that movie, the Night of the Living Dead or the one where they get a 24 hour pass to commit heinous crimes.... 

Leyla at home

It continues like this for a while until I silence it with a blog post, or vodka. This is why I try not to think too often. 

This is my first post of 2015 - happy Thursday everyone! I hope to finish my posts on my 12 day trip Italy, I just have to get all my photos edited! In the meantime, you can see many here: @leylaruinseverything on Instagram. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

12 Days in Italy... With My Mom (Part 1)

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I am traveling through Italy with my mother for 12 days: Milan - Venice - Florence - Rome. 

If you do not normally read my blog, you might want to follow along for these series of posts from our trip. Not sure how candid I can get (she reads my blog a when it pops into her Facebook feed) but I am going to bank on her being preoccupied and reveal as much as possible. 

 Leyla (age 2) Already trying to escape

I corrected it 10X and I can not stop it from taking over! It's also adding capital letters for no reason! 

Backstory on our trip 
You may already know, but I like to travel - a lot . I used to travel alone (mostly), but more recently I have been taking family trips. Last year, my dad planned a family trip, shortly thereafter, my mom started to jump on the "family trip" bandwagon - "When are you taking me somewhere ..." So that is why we are currently in Italy. 

Originally, my mother and I were supposed to visit Iceland and Norway because I wanted to see the Northern Lights (a dream of mine). As I started to plan the Northern Lights trip, I got the sense That my mom was not really up for buying a snowsuit and heading up to the arctic circle in a ferry boat. And I was not really up for snuggling up with her ​​in the freezing cold while others (more than likely couples) cuddled underneath the fantastical skies and gazed at each in wonderment. I also knew that she probably would not want to hang out in the  Reykjavik nightlife scenes with me, so the itinerary shifted to something we could both enjoy. 

Departing for Italy 
My dad found us a really good rate (he owns in travel agency ) on Emirates flying out of JFK. Even after we bought our round-trip tickets from Chicago to NYC, we ended up saving about $ 500 per person on airfare. Not to mention we were flying on to much better airline than any of the other options departing for Italy from Chicago at Christmas time. I found all of our hotels and apartments (AirBNB - so far, so good, I'll keep you posted).

our loft in Milan

Since this is the first post, I will just get right to the point ... besides, I am still jet-lagged and I think We Both ate something bad yesterday. Either That or we are coming down with the stomach Both flu (Which would suck). 

Look at some photos first and then read on ... 

approaching the Duomo in Milan

 and there it is in all it's glory!
if there is a "Selfie-mecca" this place is it

Noteworthy things that happened on our Italy trip, so far... 
  1. When we were checking into our Southwest flight, the counter agent asked my mom if she wanted to sign up for Rapid Rewards and she replied, "Can I use them on United ? " 
  2. We had Christmas dinner in a diner at JFK, I had a burger, she had a Rueben and we both had light beers.
  3. On our flight to Italy, while the flight attendants tried to serve 300 people breakfast, my mom insisted That they bring her tea Because she can not eat her breakfast without her tea . Although the whole food service and beverage service concept was lost on my mom , the flight attendant was kind enough to go get my mom her tea. 
  4. Our first full day in Italy (Milan), it snowed. My mother pulls out her umbrella and puts on her sunglasses, she turns to me and says, " Put on your sunglasses, your mascara will not run . " 
  5. The tea saga went on well into days 1 and 2 of our time in Italy. She can not stand the "smelly" tea here and can not Seem to get a decent cup of tea. My response , "If you were so Concerned about your tea, you should've brought` some with you. " 
  6. Sitting in the bar having drinks my mother got a whiff of something pleasant and her immediate reaction, " Do you smell that? It smells wonderful ... is it me ? " My response , "WHO ARE YOU?" Who picks up a pleasant scent and automatically Assumes That they might be the one who is magically emitting this aroma? 
  7. Last night after dinner, she asked where the closest grocery store was located and the next thing I Knew, the manager was Bringing my mom eggs to take home so she could make breakfast in the morning. Two eggs went right into her purse and I had eggs for breakfast this morning. 

More photos of Milan for your viewing pleasure! 

 Cathedral fron the Aperitif

my artsy version of the Duomo from the Aperol Terrace bar 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II 

the cathedral this afternoon a when it was sunny and beautiful 
like how the framed it with the Christmas tree & cut out all the people but forgot to crop the M for Metro?

Montenapoleone (that's the Cartier store in the red package)

Stay tuned for more of my Italy posts! And follow along on social: