December 2002 Archives

My grandfather Paul


My grandfather had a very soft face. Not only was the look of his face very soft, there was also something different with his nose. I would always want to be there when he blew his nose, because it would just bend out of shape beyond what a regular nose could do and then return to its old glory as if nothing ever happened. My grandfather was a large, strong man in his 70’s when I met him. He did not say much, as far as I remember. And whenever he would speak I would be only barely able to understand him. He had gone through two strokes when I was old enough to remember him. He would still show me things and explain things to me, but it would be more through actions, like feeding the birds, or making little bread “soldiers” for me. Or we would spend days browsing through old German books of which he seemed to have a library. They were mostly books with medical illustrations and strange folding out pictures of human insides and outsides and cross-sections and explosions of color and form. My grandfather used to work for the red cross when the place where I was born used to be German. He then worked for the rail. For maybe 30 years or so. Most of the years were during the German times, just a few years in Poland. Then the accident happened. He was connecting two train cars by hand, when a young kid put the train in motion. One of my grandfather’s legs was cut off half way above the knee immediately. He managed to almost pull himself away from the moving metal wheels, but his second boot was caught and he pulled his leg out of it, tearing away the muscles and tangens and ripping off the skin. His left leg later had to be amputated just below the knee.
My mother told me that when she first saw her father in the hospital after the accident, she did not recognize him at all. All of his hair went from black to a complete white. He was the only bread winner for the family of four and this was just a few years after the war, some of the toughest times. He received a pension for the few years he worked for the Polish rail.
I would take walks with my grandfather. I would watch him put on his prosthetic legs. He would then somehow walk using only a cane. I do not believe this can be quite true, but this is how I remember it.
My grandfather died in when I was 6. It is so sad that I remember more of the preparations for the funeral and the funeral itself than of the actual time spent with my grandfather. I remember my father taking on another fight with a priest, and then with the Catholic church, to get my grandfather to be laid to rest on the cemetery right by his house, the one behind the hospital where most of us were born. I remember my grandmother going through the secret drawer to which my grandfather kept his key to his death. I remember my grandfather being buried with his prosthetic legs, and yet with two different socks. And I remember walking right behind the casket with my cousin and laughing. We laughed all the way, from church to the moment when it was time to throw soil onto the casket. The entire procession was crying and we were just laughing like insane. And the more we laughed, the more my mother cried.
I later found a large annotation in a parenting book on one of the back shelves in our apartment. The book stated that it was normal for children of my age to behave oddly in situations requiting piety, my mother wrote down the entire story of the funeral and how my behavior was hmm, normal.
My grandfather somehow became a great childhood friend of mine in the years after his death. He was such a survivor, managed to overcome so much pain, such hardship. He became the super-hero I wanted to be like as a boy. I think he still is, he still is the best example for me on how to overcome impossible situations of any kind. Yes, he definitely was my super-hero and he always will be one for me.
Tonight at midnight, my Grandfather would have turned 100.



Every time the thermostat on the heater turns the monster on or off, there is a jolt in my headphones, even though they are connected to my powerbook which is running off the battery. The speakers of the stereo also make a sound. There must be a little shockwave of electrostatic energy every time this happens and it just becomes apparent through such simple devices as headphones and speakers. I am glad that I do not have a pacemaker. But my right wrist hurts more today as do many other parts of me, but this has not much to do with this little observation.

trzy pietra

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The elevator stopped on the third floor. A large green suitcase on rolls entered, pushed by a tiny woman wearing a red business suite. The lady asked me to hold the door, as she went back to get an even larger suitcase and a matching bag. In the few seconds we were in the elevator, she told me that she lived overseas, which happened to be Warsaw, and once we switched to Polish, hers was so heavy on the American side, that I did not believe her when the door opened again. And out went the huge bags and the tiny lady with jet black hair. It took me a while to leave the elevator and to realize that she might not have been a really Polish lady with an American accent, but an excellent speaking American lady living in Poland. I guess three floors are not enough to get to know anybody in any proper way.

Asleep on the 2

Most of us were asleep in the last car of the 2 Express uptown. The train was making all local stops, at this time of the night, so it was a long trip. At around 1am the few people in the car were of the kind who are afraid of those who ride the train after midnight. So it is quite possible that everybody was as asleep as I was, with my eyes sly open from time to time to see if I was still in the right train moving closer and closer to home. Soon the car I remembered before opening my eyelids was very different from the one I saw when I actually opened my eyes. Around 66th street the lines of reality and dream were completely blurred. Was this man across from me really this worker in his 50’s returning from somewhere downtown?, or was I pressed into the corner of one of the old red-bird subway cars, and across from me was a woman solving puzzles on one of the last pages of a book. Was I riding on the 2 at all? or was it the 7 going to flushing, the city skyline moving slowly outside of the scratched windows?
One person in the car was definitely asleep and would probably wake up somewhere in the bronx in a few hours. She was a woman probably in her 40’s with long black hair and an ivory colored skin. She traveled with a large bag which she used as a pillow. The entire bench area across from me was now her bed. She spoke loudly and cursed in her sleep and one more reason why everybody might have been pretending to sleep could have been her left hand quite deep in her leather pants. Her dreams were apparently quite vivid. Not sure they were all natural, or all the human kind.
I almost missed my stop. Jumped out the door as the announcer prepared for “ North, 110th Street” after warning of the closing doors. The worker across from me got out as well.
I took a short walk on Broadway, just a few blocks. The snow was almost melted now. New York smells like winter.

Merry Christmas NYC


The wind was very cold this morning when i got out of the train downtown. It was early, Christmas day, the streets were empty. I walked to ground zero to just say hello. There are still the signed banners and the little objects across church street, but the new fence around the site itself is clean and there are boards for tourists explaining various facts of the site. The design is very information focused. On one of the buildings by the site is a gigantic declaration of patriotism and photoshop layers. There are guards at the entrance to the site. The transportation hub is being restored. There are machines down in the site. Only the tips of the large heavy cranes are visible.
I took the train back uptown. Went to the 24 hour dunkin’ donuts across the street for the first time. The seating in the back is limited to thirty minutes since 1976? The place was empty. My two glazed donuts were gone before I even crossed Broadway. The first gulp of coffee tasted like America, or at least as I remember it from my very first visit here. The rest of the coffee tasted like not sweet enough. Until I hit the sweet lump of not dissolved sugar on the bottom of the styrofoam cup.
I know this sounds like a very strange composition of events. They somehow paint the wrong picture. But I saw my love this morning. I saw New York before sunrise, through the cold rain. I saw the top of the Chrysler building as a group of floating arrows pointing towards the sky, I saw trains and dirt and I was cursed at, and I saw a dog being happy and a tiny graffiti on a subway platform that made me smile. It is all so much more than I can put into words. I love New York, more than ever. Merry Christmas home.



Today is the day. Today is the day that defines all days, at least according to the tradition I grew up in. Anything that would happen today would then happen for the entire upcoming year, so today was the day to really behave well, not complain, wear the white shirt, walk the dog for the longest walk (today was also the night on which animals could talk, btw) and just help and do and get ready for the presents.
I really found it interesting that we were not allowed to eat all day though and that my mother would spend the entire day in the kitchen, while my ... I do not quite remember what my would do... probably also not eat all day.
My mother had to be in the kitchen all day because of this other amazing Polish tradition to have twelve (12!) dishes on the dinner table on Christmas eve. Twelve vegetarian dishes, and fish. The fish would be carp. Oh, now I remember what my would do on Christmas Eve. He would kill the Carp. It was a horrible event, because by the time Christmas Eve came, we all got used to the fish in the bathtub. It was not easy to get a living carp in Poland, but somehow everybody had to have one and then keep it in the bathtub for the last days before Christmas. This meant that there would be evenings spent in front of the bathtub, watching the big fish go in circles or just stare at us and say all those quiet things fish say in anger. So in the morning my dad would kill the fish. A horrible event, of course. It was supposed to be a reward for us kids (me the kid) to get the “toy” out of the animal, which were the two connected air bubbles that allowed the fish to float. They did not look like part an animal organ at all, they were just these two connected white air bubbles. Disgusting, I know. Carp is probably the least appetizing one of the fish. Maybe Fugu fish could have been worse, but at least it would be somehow tingly and interesting in taste. Even my mother could not make carp taste like anything but this bland stuff filled with bones over bones over bones. I think the first tradition we dropped when moving to Germany was the carp tradition. This way we could be clean in the days before Christmas, because we could use the bath and not leave it to the fish, my dad did not have to kill an animal on Christmas Eve, the defining day of the year and my mom did not have to prepare this really strange tasting stuff.
The other 11 dishes on the table actually tasted really great, maybe especially well after a day of not eating anything and playing and walking the dog. The dinner was packed with little rituals. There was the cross on the table and under the cross and under the best table cloth would be my mother’s purse with whatever money she could find in the house. There was the extra setting at the table for those who might come by the house just by accident, or the ancestors, or those who could not come. I think the door was unlocked to allow them to visit as well. It is very interesting that this particular tradition seems to actually come from the Passover dinner tradition, which is obviously much older than Christmas, because Jewish. There was the prayer at the table, and then there was the breaking of the Oblaten, an especially shaped communion bread, with pictures of the nativity scene. We would go from person to person at the table and just wish each other the very best for the upcoming year, while breaking off little pieces of the bread.
The dinner would start with a barszcz or more likely with a fantastic Christmas fish-soup and then go through all twelve dishes until the final one, the poppy cake. Only after eating this greatest of dinners, would my and I go to the other room and look for the first star in the sky. I always found this part of the evening a little silly, because it prevented me from seeing how the presents got under the tree. (The bigger ones would end up behind the curtains.) The presents were not brought by Santa, as he did not fly over eastern Europe, but by the Christ Child itself, which never abandoned the Polish people, not even in the darkest hours of Communism and cold war. (The politically correct, official version was that the presents were brought by a “star”, a symbol that worked for party members as well as church members.)
I discovered pretty early on that the presents were actually brought by my mother, who would then try to hide them as well as she could in places I knew around the house. This might have also been the reason why my mother would always get the lamest presents.
The evening would traditionally continue with a midnight mass, but we were always too stuffed to get out of the house. Sometimes the mass would be on television, while my parents were asleep and I was busy integrating my new toys into my childhood dream solutions.
Sometimes after dinner, my dog would just attack the Christmas tree, just because there was some piece of candy somewhere in the branches. Some other times I would just look out the window over the valley and look at all the candles in all the windows out in the city. And sometimes, when my grandmother was there to make sure things went well, we would walk through snow for several miles, to get to the church late and to just stand outside, freezing.
Today is the day. And I am wearing a white shirt. I will probably not eat all day and try to reply to all emails. I have plenty of work to do today, am running late for the office. I will have dinner tonight, will have twelve dishes in a Japanese Restaurant on the Upper Westside. I used to go to Veselka on Christmas eve, the Polish place on 9th street. They have barszcz and some other Christmas favorites. I think it will be nicer to have twelve little dishes though.
My parents went back to Poland for the holidays. The Christmas dinner there will be a real family event. Eight people will be at the table. And there will be a ninth plate there. Maybe for me.

out of focus?


What happened in the last few days is quite astounding. I feel almost as if my brain went a little blind. Yes, this sounds very dramatic and maybe overly dramatic, but I do not know how to better describe this very odd state of mind. I am still myself, the world around me is still the same, I have not moved away from New York, I have the opportunity to work on a very extraordinary project. All seems like the perfect ground for fresh observations and fragments and opinions. Yet they do not seem to be there. I would like to write something, and yet there is nothing really to write home about, or there is and I just can not put it into words. Such a strange situation for me. It could have something to do with the cold I had? Very strange. It was a good day, but I seem to barely remember anything. Very strange. Hmm, thinking about the subway ride this morning...
There was a with his maybe 4 year old daughter on the train today. He seemed like a serious older executive now temporarily dressed up in a “relaxed” hunting outfit. She was this little red haired princess in a long, rich navy cashmere coat, white stockings and these shiny lacquered shoes that looked exactly like the ones Alice wore in Wonderland, at least as depicted in the illustrations by John Tenniel. Her eyes were opened into this blank stare at the advertising on the other side of the subway car. Her was preparing her for a party they were probably about to attend. He was telling her about a hotel, and that there would be other people. And that it would be exactly like the wedding of so and so, or the other celebration there and there. The girl never turned her head. She looked a bit like a biscuit porcelain doll with immobile eyes. Her just kept whispering something again and again, bring up names and locations and events. He was seemingly trying to program an entire family tree into her. She just stared. She then asked about Santa, and if he would be late this year. The gave some really silly reply, decorating it with more names of aunts and uncles.
A mother with her daughter came into the train on 59th street. She was of Native american descent, or at least looked like the cliche picture of a native american woman. The only thing missing seemed some native decorations in the girls hair. She turned around however and there they were, in one strand of her long black hair, beads and corals in a very interesting little composition. The woman sat down and without a word the girl sat down on her lap.
It was a bit of an interesting composition in the car now. On one side was the whispering with his staring, dressed up daughter, on the other side was this mother, with her daughter on her lap. The mother did not say a single word. The daughter pulled out a loop of string out of her pocket and began to make shapes. No word was spoken on one side, a brook of anglo saxon names was flowing on the other.
I had to leave the train, just in the moment when the girl with the loop of string managed to make a shape that reminded me of the games with the loop of string as we used to play them on summer afternoons, behind the house in Poland.
I wish I knew how to describe it all.

As time goes by.

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Real YuGoP fans definitely know this little piece, but I just saw it for the first time and I can not stop staring at the seconds being drawn and erased, over and over and over again. Such an effective use of animation. And great fun as well. How many days till Christmas? (Or something like that.) Thank you for the link, Em!ly.

A sad smile...


This morning, I urgently needed a smile, even a tiny one. I pulled one out of the bottom drawer on the bottom of the dresser by the window. It was there all along with the socks and other things. I must have just dumped it there on a day when I had many lying around. And now it was all folded and wrinkled and sad. I tried to find more, but they were all gone. I do not even know where to look. I am wearing a smile now, this dark wrinkled smile, and I hope that no-one will notice. But it is in my face and so all I can do is to not leave the house, and just hope for the best. But tomorrow will be even worse?
And while I was looking for the smile, I also discovered that I had lost the sense of rhythm.

under the bed

There are no monster under my bed. They moved on to scare other children. There is now plenty of other things there, unopened envelopes and opened ones, collections of all kind, an entire IS department, the special gifts, the things I will need to return as soon as possible, some of the silly photographs, CDs, LEGO remote controlled cars, the other things I do not like to write about. All wonderfully organized into stuffed bins.
I managed to throw out large bags again today. Now there is room for new and better things.



33 times around the sun. Would make this one a 11880 degree spin... how would one add the daily turns of the planet into the calculation? Just add 4336200 degrees? Hmm, feeling a tiny bit dizzy. Thank you for coming by today. How are you doing?

two cute ones


I am really enjoying Anna’s absolutely-vile blog these days.
I thought she could not top the little photo story of Pickleberry, the sock-dog, but guess what, today she wrote about Burton, the rat. Fantastic.


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One of my favorite e-Christmas cards this year comes from the friends at Max Weber in Wroclaw, Poland. The Polish Text reads something like:“Despite the occured situation, we wish you a lot of warmth, joy, happiness and love.” Sounds just like my life. Take a look at the cute Max Weber X-Mas Card.

Seat by the door

She looked exhausted from reading the Dining section of the Times. Her makeup barely covered some of the sleepiness in her face. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the stainless steel bars next to the doors of the train. Her hair was short, flat, and out of control. There were maybe 7 gray hairs hidden in the wildest area of her scalp. She might have been somewhere around 25. There was dirt under her fingernails and the cuticles on the fingers were bitten and swollen and red. She pulled out a brown bag and out of it a mint Snapple. She drank the rest of it without a straw. Then came her station.
Her seat did not stay vacant for long. The new passenger had a very clean haircut. Dark hair. He was in his 30’s. His long kashmir coat was closed and his shirt was just two tiny pink triangles divided by a matching necktie. He made his phone peep, then sing, then vibrate. It was a tiny silver model. He closed it and rolled it from one palm to the other as if this were a lump of really slow quicksilver. Until his stop came.
The kid who took his seat wore a pair of snake-leather adidas. He was reading the third book of Naruto. He had also brought other manga, but these did not have their English title anywhere on the cover. I wonder what he might need the extra shirt for, which he bound into a knot and placed on his lap. His clothing seemed rather basic (except for the snakers of course), but the tiny colorful tags in unexpected places told me that this was the cooler kind of stuff.
The man next to me kept repeating the announcer. Just not at clearly as the recorded voice. Maybe because his lower lip was a bit too relaxed? He also read out the stop names when the train was in the station. It was as if he were discovering each letter and then putting them together into these magic words. Ti-me.s Sq u a-re. Please stand clear the closing doors.

a tiny full circle


My plan was to go to Germany and to visit my good old friends. We had developed so many ideas together in the past and it just seemed like the right time to spend some time with them, working with them from within their offices. I sent a very excited email ahead and boarded a Singapore Airlines f to Frankfurt in the beginning of December 2001. The planes flew relatively empty back then. I was so excited to visit my old friends. It was supposed to be a happy, and eye opening trip. My friends at meso were with in the midst of a collaboration with 3deluxe on a large project for the Expo.02- Swiss National Exhibition, I had not seen one of my best friends José for years, it seemed. Alex Hefter had just brought his the look of ZDF onto a new level completely, Klaus, the man behind km7 had just published his second book and was working on major redesigns for audi, the place I co-founded, arosa2000 was now calledsaasfee. It was supposed to be an absolutely packed trip, I was excited. I also had not seen my parents in a substantial while, so staying with them would help me show them that I am still the same son with the same good intentions.
One of the in f movies on the way to Germany was this European hit Amelie. I was so happily playing with my airplane food.

I hit the ground running in Frankfurt, visited all those whom I had not seen in ages, it seemed. Meso gave me the keys to their office and so with full speed I was ready to finally pull together something more than what I called my soon to be website, which was nothing more than a splash page.
I was in Europe again and everything felt so much closer to each other. I was considering visiting Tom in London on a weekend and it felt pretty much like a stop on the way there, when I ran into Neilleon IM. I could just drive to Paris and then take the Eurostar to London and visit Tom.
I simply drove to Paris, found a free and legal parking spot near Neille’s apartment in a very cool part of town and knocked on her door. Ok, the drive is an 8 hour drive and it was a bit stressful to find my way around one of the worst possible places to be with a car, but all felt pretty good. I could visit Louvre for free (Neille gave me a special ticket), and it was down the street, so I could visit some really old friends and even finally execute a little project.
Neille showed me that her website now contained a blog. It was a bit like a diary, but it was all online and in the open for anyone to read. She even claimed that she had a real readeship. I was a tiny bit sceptical about that. It was just hard to believe that one could write a diary and expect that there would be any kind of audience. However it seemed to make perfect sense to write down a little thought every day, just to make sense of things and keep a clearer mind.
I left Paris in good spirits with several bottles of Bordeaux in my trunk and with even more happy plans and ideas. (I also somehow decided against visiting Tom.)
I think it was somewhere in the Champagne, when the cold December wind somehow caught up with me. I felt a little sick when back in Frankfurt. After a lecture a day later, I had trouble finding my car in the middle of a cold snowy rainshower. The car completely broke down on me in the night after, when I was returning home from a visit to my friend Alex.
I had to wait for hours for the German AAA, the ADAC to arrive. I got a room in a hotel at around 4 am that night. Exhausted.
It took maybe another 24 hours or so for me to find myself in bed, in my parents’ house, with a fever somewhere around103F. The world around me turned into a blur. It went from bad to worse. I could not sleep, each breath was filled with pain, I was trapped in a room filled with the things I really wanted to throw away when I was 15 and which my parents kept as souvenirs.
These objects really worked quite well turning my fever visions into horror trips.
I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back to New York. I did not want to die in my old room in Hanau, Germany. I did not get better.
When I finally went to the doctor, he confirmed that I had a pneumonia and put me on KETEK(TM), a drug not yet approved by the US-FDA at that time.
I did not even wait for the entire ten days needed for the therapy to pass to board the plane. I had to go back to New York, I had to go back home, I was not supposed to stay in Germany.
It took a few more days in bed in New York for me to fully return to my senses. I had left Germany without saying good bye to many of the people I really wanted to see. What I had planned as a happy and inspiring trip definitely had started as one, but ended as one that cost me more than I had bargained for. Some of my friends were quite upset that I had not found time to visit them as promised. My sickness sounded like a bad excuse.
So on December 16th last year, in the morning (a year and a day ago) I wanted to try what Neille was doing from Paris. I looked as well as I could at BLOGGER, and began to write my very first real post.
I was not sure if I should write in German or English or Polish at first.
I managed to write at least and entry almost every day for the last year, so more than 1200 entries later here I am, posting again, from another sunny and cold New York morning.
This past year was quite incredibly packed with new learning some exciting projects and thoughts and events. Thank you so much for coming here and reading and exploring the site. I am working on things to make it more interesting. It is hard to believe that this place here is just one year old, even for me, really. Thank you so much for making it possible.
Sorry if some of the recent posts were not quite as good as they could have been. (And I just read through this one, and boy... I should probably just rest.)
I am sick in bed again. No serious pneumonia and no high fever, just a medium bad cold so it seems.
I am looking forward to getting better though. And there is a New Year ahead of this blog... and I am not sure if the entire site can grow at the same rate as it did in this past year. It went from 1 to about 1500 pages.
Thank you for making it all possible. And thank you for your encouragement in comments, emails, and in person. Thank you.



Have not dreamed in a while, or so it feels for me at least. It is as if living on Broadway were somehow linked to some sort of a deal. I am allowed to experience portions of my day as a dream but my night dreams are taken away every morning, just seconds before i wake up. I try to somehow steal the last glimpses of my nightly adventures at least by waking up as early as possible, but as soon as I open my eyes there is New York calling again and I find myself thrown into another day. Who knows, it might be as well. Since I was a little boy I have spoken a strange language when asleep and am known for even rushing up, speaking this language, as if an urgent event were about to happen.
So maybe I do not really want to know about all of the layers of my mind.

Going, going...

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I'm happy to announce a very special benefits auction organized by
The event features 31 artists who have all donated their work. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations. It is a good auction for a good cause.
This is also a rare opportunity to own one of my original drawings on shikishi paper.
Here a description from 20 things:
“The piece is one of a series of Riedel's recent "high density drawings", which bypass the western idea of composition and conventional use of space by following various rules as they are allowed to grow from a predetermined group of centers over a predetemined period of time. This drawing, created specifically for the 20 Things Benefit Auction, is a 20 Minute drawing.”
The bidding started today and will be ending on Saturday, December 21st. Bids start at $20 (as in
Click here to find out how to bid.
To see all the work available during this auction, click here. (There are some really exciting pieces. Do you have favorites? I do.)



And now my sternum hurts. My books used to be filled with descriptions of various pains from those of the body to those caused by sharp edged thoughts and feelings. Things got so much better since I moved to New York almost 7 years ago. The city has some amazingly healing powers on me. (My bad allergies I used to get in Germany are basically gone here.) So why does my sternum hurt? Who would like to come forward and tell me about their voodoo skills?
I have spent the day working and barely talking to anyone and now in the evening my sternum hurts. It does not hurt really. It is just as if somebody placed a fist on my chest and just tried to push me out of the chair. I will be fine, things will be allright. There are worse things. Having some tea now. Working and working and taking good breaks. It will be good. See, Todd, now I am complaining. : )



Often my body wakes up hours before my mind does. It takes the brain for a walk, it shows the eyes around. It picks up the head and walks it to the front door, where the New York Times have been thrown. Then the eyes are moved along the letters, the words, the sentences, the articles, the columns, the pages, then just pictures, the weight of the heavy paper wants to pull the body back to sleep. But it does not want to go. It then drags the brain to the desk, places the head between headphones, to create a bit of a sonic privacy, opens the PowerBook, the browser, the mail.
It sometimes takes hours before the mind knows what is happening, and by that time some emails are sent and some posts are made and all just by fingertips on keys, as they pretend to be the storytellers by a campfire or even the writers who need to sink the quill into ink after every slow and scratchy sentence. Tip, tipp, tipp, on warm and shiny keys.
The phone rings around that time and if I was lucky enough to mute the answering machine the night before, I might then stay asleep for one more tiny while. Like now. I am dreaming, am I not?

The white in the eye...


My uncle could do it. (The uncle who was also able to blow smoke rings on request.) He could turn his eyes upwards and make it appear as if he had no irises, just white eyeballs in their sockets. Very scary and fun, back in the day. (Especially when combined with the smoke rings.)
Katsuki Tanaka has a little colleciton of people turning their eyes in this scary way on his website. look UP!. (No smoke-rings though) Not everybody in this experiment is really great at this silly trick. Bunny is best, isn’t she? How did I find this exciting corner of the web? The New Shift is out. It is issue Number 073 and I love the cover animation which is taken from a DVD by Katsuki Tanaka. This dance is called "uncertain". Excellent.
Oh yes, and then there was the wolf man. (but that’s a completely different story.)

what is there to do?


I discovered a google search in my logfiles and it frightens me a bit. Somebody was looking for the answer to the question: what to do in the event of a nuclear blast. Hmm, a worried question to have. What worries me more though is that comes as one of the top 30 sites knowing the answer. I do not know the right answer, other than one should hope to be close enough to just evaporate, or very, very, very, very far away. (And hope that it is a single event somewhere in an empty desert and that it will not have a major influence on the ecological balance.)
So one would think that it is not so bad if a site like appears to know the answer to such a life and death question, if only the top search results are helpful. They are not helpful and they are very frightening.
#3 talks about sending nuclear missiles up to comets to deflect them, or rather not. (Not sure what will show up on the page when you go there, but my Banner-Ad said: “Compose while you burn?”, what a placement.)
#2 looks very much like classic British humour.
And the #1 site providing the answer to what to do in the case of a nuclear blast. Is a German Chatroom.
Scary. Oh, by the way. On the page there was also a “Sponsored Link”. Ready? Check out:! I wonder if they ship worldwide.

i am witold, buy me.


Chris DiClerico had a blog to which I used to post until some of the political opinions there got so much the opposite of what I think that I pulled my contributions just to save my soul.
I do not think that Chris is a bad person, quite the opposite, he might be one of the most reliable people out there and if I ever were in any kind of trouble (from lost sense of well being to attack by burning psycho zombies) I would certainly call Chris.
Chris is probably the most amazing guy when it comes to creating the feeling of family, the kind of family you get to see in commercials and never thought existed. Look at his blog. He has basically given it to his friends, no matter what their opinions might be.
He just somehow manages to make people feel at ease and inspired and good, no matter if they are little kids sitting behind him on the plane or some top executives in supercharged suits at an international billion dollar corporation.
And that’s an incredibly valuable skill.
Chris also has another amazing talent. He can draw tiny pixel people that actually work quite well as portraits of people you know and people he knows. I am one of the people he knows, so there is a little picture of me there, in my regular uniform, with my leica minilux at my hip.
My hair used to be sly different when chris made the Pixel Witold and the titanium Leica has been stolen, but that is, of course, not the point, so the pixel me might be one of the more accurate depictions of me out there. (Chris really knows how to work these pixels.)
And now you can buy the pixel-me on some fun products. Just in time for the holidays, Chris made a whole CafePress powered “Shopping Center” where you can buy cups and shirts and thongs and lunch-boxes with some of his pixel creations. It is quite amazing, because there actually now exists a set of Witold postcards, a long sleeve shirt with the pixel me on it, a mouse pad and a t-shirt. And they all say “i am witold” and I am laughing because he did a fine job. I am happy he did not make a thong with my picture on it. I am hoping for a lunchbox though.
I am not sure if anybody will ever buy anything with my picture on it, but now everybody can. The prices seem pretty low, the things look pretty funny, so who knows, maybe one day I will run into somebody in the street who will have a t-shirt on that says “i am witold”...
I hope that some of the people who buy the postcards maybe send me one, because I am going to wait with my purchases and I certainly do not get a portion of the profit generated by Chris’ new merchandising empire. (Or maybe I should talk to Chris about it?) : )
What do you think?

not complaining


My email is down. Completely. No Email goes out, no email goes in. I should be complaining, I should be worried, but how could I be. I just discovered that Todd of did this. (Note the link under the picture.)
There is a happy smile on my face and I will now close the computer and draw on paper again.


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Today’s Circuits section of the New York Times focuses on The Wi-Fi Boom and the slow arrival of the unwired future. There are several articles about the topic, somehow not easily accessible on the site. So Many Nodes, So Little Security, Tapping Into Public Wireless Networks, In the Home, a Tool Kit for a Wireless Network and the collection of related links could only be found by using the search function and the paper version of the paper. (Or is it just me?)
If you have WiFi installed in your laptop, you might want to look at, a directory of public 802.11b hot spots for finding WiFi wireless Internet access network nodes and
Or if you would really like to pay for your cordless internet access out there, take a look at Welcome to T-Mobile HotSpot, Boingo Wireless - The Nation's Easiest-To-Use Wi-Fi Internet Service Provider, Welcome to Surf and Sip,, is now, Welcome to, GuestTek High Speed Internet Access for Hotels.
The favorite site to visit is again a little New York Specific. Take a look at NYCwireless, those are the folks who made Bryant Park and Tompkins Square here in NYC accessible. (For free.) Way to go.
There are so many more links I could have posted here. So please add some in the comments section, thanks.
(A first one could be: AirPort).

Inka Essenhigh @ 303


Some of the work in Miami was really spectacular, some was just a hint to what the artist shown really has to offer. When visiting Victoria Miro Gallery near the entrance of the fair, I really liked (among many other works shown by this fantastic London gallery) a little square painting by Inka Essenhigh, called “Sunbathers” (1998, Oil and Enamel on Canvas 127cmx127cm). The paint layer was so perfect throughout the piece almost as if applied by a machine. The painting was mainly a large area of one color with a few strangely complex figures placed in a triangle, connected with something that looked like a mixture of hair flowing in the wind and pulled apart chewing gum. The characters looked as if taken from a sadomasochistic phantasy, but it was difficult to say that for certain because each one of them seemed to be assembled of individual elements only available in this combination on this particular painting. The piece seemed to whisper and shout at the same time. All of the elements frozen in space yet ready for action. Wild stuff.
I later discovered that Inka Essenhigh had a large show at Victoria Miro in London, but that it closed on december 7th. I wonder if there is a catalogue. There probably is. Victoria Miro is as serious as Galleries can get.
Actually, I did not need to travel to London to see more Essenhigh work. 303 gallery on 525 W 22nd street currently shows eight truly spectacular paintings by the 32 year old artist. I had to see it, I had to go.
The paintings are fantastic. Inka now uses oil paint on panel, which lets her give more modulation to color and create spaces with more dimension than the incredibly perfect enamel work used before.
The paintings tell stories of intimate dramas of every day life, but in a way that turns them into events of gigantic proportions. Her visual language is somewhere between finest calligraphy, comics, surreal fantasies, graffiti bombs and hiroshige woodprints. The paintings seem to tell stories from a universe where dimensions shift and grow and float, where everything melts into incredibly intricate and elegant and yet violent constellations. She uses color very intelligently creating islands of color on all encompassing sky-like landscapes. These islands of color also often happen to be the main characters of her stories which even though barely recognisable because built out of many elements, somehow let the viewer experience the work as a set of episodes, variations, new angles. When stepping back from the paintings, the viewer can then somehow combine the pieces back into a complete, stunning composition.
One of my favorites in the positive section of the show was probably Romantic Painting (2002, oil on panel, 52 x 64 inches), two lovers embraced in a kiss which is not only performed with their mouths but truly directly from brain to brain. Their bodies entangled in an incredibly dynamic dance. The man seems to be a tsunami wave with plants and eyes and birds growing out of his back. The woman melted and stretched into a complimentary force of energy. The image online can not express the great detail of the painting. The hair of the man alone seems to have enough complexity to be a theme for its own painting. All elements here are fluid, liquid, melting.
Optimistic Horse and Rider (2002, oil on panel, 74 x 70 inches) is an even larger explosion of organic puzzle pieces. A woman rides a horse through a dark disk with the rim decorated by a rainbow? Each seam on this piece seems to burst, the hoofs are as much exploding as even the soles on the shoes of the rider. All hair is flying in a strangely invented wind. Wow.
Gray Wave (2002, oil on panel, 70x 74 inches) seems somehow quiet, more of a painting, less a drawing, but here too the forces are much more intricate than wind, sun, gravity and water as we know it. It is as if each tiny blow of wind had its own childish mind, each wave a personality, and all of them somehow hid unspeakable secrets yet to be explored.
THe exhibition consists of paintings bursting with joy and some portraying spiteful moments or acts. Same virtuosity is used to explore the wild jolt of a kiss as to express something as uninviting as Toilet Paper Painting (Suburban Outcast) (2002, oil on panel, 80 x 84 inches). This painting, located in the last of the three galleries might be the densest and have the highest precision in the drawing. The figures here are shown in a spectrum ranging in detail from recognisable elements like cell phones stuck into the backs of jeans to just pure exploding flesh trash color. Some legs have several shoes on them some lack any footwear, even feet. The faces are grotesque, the gestures familiar. And then there is the Toilet paper, the calligraphic element drawn with precision all the way to the perforations of each sheet.
There are no really weak pieces in the show. It feels like a real feast for the viewer it is what exhibitions used to give, before there was cinema. I really hope that all of the six pieces which are for sale will find their home in places accessible to the public. These works of art just want to be revisited again and again. The show will continue at 303 Gallery through December 20th. A catalogue accompanies the show. I will go back to see the work more than once in the next week, if only possible.

Let’s Shrine


If you have Flash installed, (I know you do) and would like to take a look at an interesting site from Boston, move your mouse over to the :|| S H R I N E ||:. Adam Larson used to work at Razorfish, among other places, has won many awards for work like and much, much more. What do you think? And what do you think about Cindy Moon’s site? She did some serious coding for Shrine.
One more question about Shrine... Is “Molly” who I think it is?

is this Blurbism?


Rob just sent me this very interesting link that leads to a little gallery containing 20 very minimalistic, very abstract, very focused, very interesting little photographs. Blurbism is from Toronto but the pictures are true international style. Take a very close look at the quiet and focused world of Blurbism | Photography. Thank you for the great link, Rob.

mass destruction

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A pretty scary interactive feature on Enter the Nuclear Blast Mapper.
(This feature is part of the “American Experience. Hmm.)

Art Basel MiB 1

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Samuel Keller needs to be congratulated. Really. I am certain there are many people who do. Bringing Art Basel, the largest Art Fair in the world to Miami beach has the boldness of bringing the Dokumenta to Ibiza. The cultural atmosphere of Switzerland and of Florida could hardly look more different. But who am I to judge. I have to admit that I know far too little about the real strings and levers of money and art and power. So I can only observe, enjoy and be thankful. Oh, and I can write about it in my blog.
I was gone to Florida for 10 days and some of the readers also know that I went to see Art Basel in Miami Beach. Not exclusively. I ended up visiting the event only for one day. I missed most of the work, of course. I will return. The event was incredible, surpassed my expectations, gave me a push, inspired, made me smile, made me write and work and this is so much more than one could expect from a fair, isn’t it?
I did not have a VIP pass. I did not attend any of the parties. I did not attend any of the external festivities. I was visitor #51 of the main event. I saw work presented by 150 international < a href="" target="_blank">Galleries (selected from about 900 candidates.) I will try to describe some of the impressions in some upcoming posts. There was just too much to see and of too good quality to be just mentioned in one post.
Congratulations to Samuel Keller, the very first Art Basel | Miami Beach will have me coming back for more next year. (And the years after.)


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The paper just hit the outside of the door as a cold slab of printed matter. It is cold outside. We are far from the Florida temperatures I grew so easily accustomed to over the last 10 days. My weather station says it is cold outside, about 20F ( Fahrenheit which is -6C.)


At these temperatures even the air conditioner on the roof of the bank across Broadway turns into a little cloud making machine as do all the cars and even people and their pets. Just a few birds dare to open their beaks this morning, and it is a barely noticeable hello between the loud sound of the trucks rushing downtown and the trains being on schedule. Here we are. Back in NYCold. (It is December after all.)



Some artists take photographs with mysterious secret machines and they then work with skilled print makers to get the best out of the information captured on film. The results are what matters and it is judged according to rules much older than photography itself. There is the washing, the spinning the drying and all that seems to matter to some afterwards is the clarity of the image, the size, the composition and all the other factors that in context of the particular creative world make the work a great one or not so great.
What if showing the secret information, the guts that are hidden inside of the photographic process mattered as much as the end result called the image. What if the process itself the thing that happens behind the washing spinning drying were turned into the actual piece. What if the exposure time, the settings of the machines involved in making the image were not hidden from the viewer, but displayed, part of the work of art. What if the values were so incredibly pushed to the limits, the piece somehow still looking like a photograph, but the actual process such incredible tour de force, a balancing act on a high rope so much so that the photograph becomes almost secondary. It is about the dishwasher, not the sparklingly clean glasses.
Take a look at the following Photograph called Erratum (10/7/2000), by Christopher Williams, on show at David Zwirner in SoHo.
Read the description of the process and be amazed. Or is it just me? Am I seeing things where I should be just seeing a beautiful piece of dish washer design?
At least this is what the press release seems to indicate. Hmm, very fascinating. I like this one.


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The driver must have been a chief in his previous life. He did not say a word or make eye contact, not even as a reply to the destination, corner of 95th and Broadway in Manhattan. He wore a large black fur hat, even inside of the car. His face looked as if it were carved out of incredibly ancient wood. His eyes hidden, very quiet, focused. He used rubbing alcohol straight from a plastic bottle to wash his entire face while driving. He did not use the phone like many others do. He paid for Triboro Bridge toll using his EZ-Pass. (A first in my New York experience.)
He intelligently dodged traffic. Ran two red s where it made sense. (He seemed to report to a different authority.)
When nearly at destination, he used one single word: “WHERE?”
There is no such thing as a typical New York Cabbie.

Loobylu? Really?


Yes, I made it home. I had my breakfast special before 3PM at the Broadway Restaurant and am now back at the table trying to figure out all the little cards and notes and drawings I brought from the Miami trip. (There are so many and some quite fascinating discoveries, and I was just too overwhelmed to actually put them into the computer so they are still in my little Moleskine notebook. Oh, and my handwriting is this incredible way of ancoding information, so I will need to decode quickly, or just rethink.)
I just looked at my logfile (ahem, yes) and noticed that one of my absolutely favorite bloggers in the entire world, i mean really, seriously, Loobylu just linked to me. Woowie. This is incredible. This is amazing. I mean I am stunned. Her blog is so great. Wow. I will now need to just close the computer for a little while, I think... I am having a great Sunday.

Fort Lauderdale

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The future is here boys and girls. I am blogging from a seat in an airport where the floor is bondi and the main spoken language is Español. I had to pull out the PowerBook to get through security. A big machine sniffed through all of its brownish cavities and here we were, on the wanna be Eames pleather seats waiting for the Spirit to come. (Spirit Airlines that is.) I opened the book, turned on the AirPort just for kicks and it felt like Christmas and Channukah arrived all at the same time. Well, maybe not quite as exciting, but pretty close. About 600 messages poured into my mailbox, System update let me know that it is time to install new Software and the blog just came on as if we were at home. Now that is nice. This is what they told me the future would look like when I took the first Powerbook 100 home about 10 years ago. So this is the future I guess. I can be in an airport, use the airport and just log on.
I only wish this future could certain buildings and exclude certain wars.
I am very much looking forward to landing at home in New York. The good old New York. And I hope some of the plants survived. I think I left the windows open.


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One of my favorite little memories from Miami might be this portrait of George W. Jenkins in a Publix supermarket.
(I checked. The portrait is still there. I went to visit.)

under pressure.


it is impossible to write anything interesting with a whole room of library visitors breathing down my neck, the lady next to me on a cell phone, the gentleman to the left chewing gum. Can't wait to be back in New York. I hear there is snow in the streets and it is just perfectly cold. Exactly what I need right now to write more about the place here. (45 minutes are not officially over. I have to stop writing. I will need to leave the library.)
And outside is a warm day.

The good and the bad.


“One of the juices went bad.” The stewardess was very serious about this when she handed me two cans of Tomato juice. They were tiny, airplane size, and one of them was drinkable, the other not. I did not have time to ask what made her be so sure, because there was tomato juice on my shirt and on the seat in front of me. She was not kidding. “Oh, that must have been the bad one.” She just turned around and smiled.


Nobody had told me that there would be animals in the bay of North Miami Beach. I was really amazed when I first saw the dolphins the sharks and manta rays in March 2002.

3am post?

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One of my professors once told me that the best work happens in the middle of the night, when the energy is gone when there are no excuses. And it took me a long time to realize that this concept has not really worked for him. It is a different story of course when the middle of the night of one time zone is the middle of the afternoon for another time zone.
Posts written at 3am somehow lack the punch, don’t they?

Orange dreams

The best dreams are orange. I usually dream in black and white but now and then there is an orange dream. A most beautiful incredible floating experience. It encompasses all senses, in incredible, unexpected ways. It never lasts long enough and the memories remain strong. I love the orange dreams.
I sometimes close my eyes just to look for them, somewhere, there, deep in my chest. Orange dreams are best dreamt in day. Maybe it is our ability to see color only during the day that makes them so brightly saturated in the first place. I am not surprised that buddhist monks wear orange robes, or that foxes have orange fur, or that the most beautiful during the day is the golden orange of sunrise and sunset. This is the magical . Yes, magic is definitely part of each orange dream.

Public Access


There is a fluffy wall next to me here. I am in the children's section of the Miami Dade Public Library, which is across the parking lot of the Aventura Mall. I am spending my 45 minutes with public internet access here. My station is #202. I have about 10 minutes left of my worldwidetime. Perfect to leave another little live post.
I was almost escorted out of the mall just minutes ago. I was taking pictures of fish in a fish tank there, and because fish are not my family, and only pictures of family are permitted, I was instructed by two security officers to stop taking pictures. "Sir, the of your Flash... oh you have no flash on your camera." I was given the Aventura Mall Code of Conduct, which was supposed to instruct me how illegal it was of me to take pictures of fish in a fishtank. I could not find the rule, which did not really help me. There was the little universal Police Notice which allowed the officers to remove me off premises, so I did not want to test their patience. They were kind enough to show me the directions to the next public internet access point.
The library here is very friendly. THere are many computers and they are really being used quite well. I received a little Time Pass with a number (I am user #71 for today!) and a time limit. (5 more minutes left.) The setup does not allow me to surf at very high speeds, but I was not asked for any form of identity and was even given a little Alcohol Cleansing Pad. (I wonder if it is for the mouse or the screen or both.)
My adventures in Miami continue. I am looking forward to Thursday when it will be time to visit Art Basel, the famous art-fair which comes to Miami every year. (After Basel, of course.)

Miami relaxing


So called “relaxing vacations” were something almost sinful to me. I did not want to go to Miami anymore. I wanted to explore things, wanted to find new things. The idea of sitting in one hotel for a week made me a bit angry and frustrated. It took a day or two to turn off the Television set. It took a little while to realize that there were birds outside and that the shells on the beach had fantastic colors. There was a house cat in the hotel, there was a house bar in the hotel, there was a huge building next to the hotel. It was all a bit bizarre and very invisible to a drive by eye. Certain realities only begin to appear to those who take the time and do absolutely nothing. I still no not really like “relaxing vacations”, but I am looking forward to discovering the incredibly unexpected.

Miami 1993/3


They told me that there would be plenty of models at my hotel. They were so incredibly excited about it. It was almost as I were a model too and we models were made for each other. In the imagination of my hosts in Miami the models and I probably jogged through the early morning mist of Ocean Drive, had some breakfast at Time Café, where we would meet even more models and then end up at the Versace villa, having some sort of model orgy. Neither Christy, nor Naomy nor Linda were at the Betsy Ross with me. There were actually many very hard working Models for Neckermann Versand. These girls had to wear the most hideous looking clothes at 5 am in the morning and then hide from the sun for the rest of the day, go to bed early and be up for another “magical ” shoot early next morning. I was the youngest and most important new Art Director for a record label at that time (I do not think I was, I just thought I was,) yet it was impossible for me to even speak to these girls.
One girl spoke Polish. She did not seem to be a model. She looked quite smart. She was there with her grandmother, who turned out to be her mother when I asked her about grandma. This was the worst possible start to a conversation. She studied in Harvard, her was the publisher of the largest and most influential Polish Newspaper, and it took about 5 minutes to put me into my place. I was not the grandest Art Director of Miami Beach, I was just a boy who happened to be sent into an amusement park which was part of somebody else’s phantasy. I could not even explain what I did. I had some tiny scrap of an Iris print of a cover I designed for some techno compilation. A sad moment, but so very important. Miami brought me back to planet earth. My feet suddenly hit a layer of sand. And the sand was soft and shifting.
I went to have lunch at the Time Café thinking what had planted me into this sunny hell of a cutely molded “town.”

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