January 2008 Archives

tea has been good to me lately. finely ground tips of fresh leaves grown in some very experienced soil in the depth of some Japanese plantations. first thing in the morning. then first thing after sunrise. more often on weekends. when left alone as a boy i would lick the little souvenir from the wieliczka salt mine, as if i were a young deer, lost in a forest. in some ways i was. now the tea comes out of the little aluminum can, onto the curved bamboo spoon (chashaku.) the first spoon is for the idea of tea. the second spoon is abundance. i used to sift the powder with a special metal spoon. now i just use gravity and time. vibrations. the water is pre boiled. i make it hot, yet leave it a liquid. the chasen whips the tea into a beverage that has managed to swallow enough air to hide its surface. brought some of the plants closer to the window this morning. it is winter here in new york. i have to give them the opportunity to see as much light as possible even now. the humidifier in the bedroom uses high frequency vibrations to turn a tiny stream of water into a myst that makes everything softer and closer to its original shape. have been listening to more podcasts on the train. scheherazade in the pocket, telling me about people around the world surviving on much less a day than it costs me to take the train into work. i speak in my sleep of pieces of work. not good. the tea is delicious though. and it is calming. and brings focus. and some good perspective.
driving home after a night full of rather intricate experiences, with packages blocking my sight almost completely, the rest of the windshield made opaque by the condensation. mona, the monkey cat, holding on to me as if we were in water and i were the only island. all the dogs i ever had did not want to come back home with us. we are on a highway, it is the end of the day, there are many of cars on the road. i am in the passenger seat yet driving, at a speed fast enough to kill someone on contact. i need to leave the highway, need to leave the highway, need to leave the highway. and so i move the wheel, or at least something in the area where the wheel might be, just enough to get onto the next exit ramp. we slow down a bit, enter a large and busy city, a large and busy intersection, there is traffic from all sides, the car slows down a little bit more, a bit more, a bit... and that's when we hit the front of a very, very old vehicle, packed with a very large family. father, mother, maybe five children, maybe a little pet or two. i let my car roll out. into a side street. there is some grass. return to the scene. i just now see how ancient their car really is. it has no doors, it has a cloth roof, the engine looks like a beat up bread box. anything out of metal appears to be almost eaten up by rust, or now, after the accident, bent into the direction where my stuffed car is parked. "i am so sorry." "oh, the first thing we will need to get fixed is all the rust. we will need to polish things up a little bit." the very fragile looking man (and he could be Indian, i really do not know,) talks to me as if he were an independent evaluator, not the father of the petrified family staring at me from the seats of his car. (why isn't he upset with me at all? i just interrupted something important he was doing.) "of course, of course." i do not want him to have to scratch off all the rust and have his car bent back to shape. i just want to give him mine, i want to give him all of that stuff in my car too, everything. i just want to keep walking, mona the monkey cat still clinging on to me somewhere between my back and my side. more and more people arrive at the scene. i wake up. and there is a triangular shape on the wall created by the light of the rising sun coming in through my bedroom window, a very bright triangle, glowing. and i notice it because i am holding a corner of a pillow and this very corner has precisely the same shape. not just that, they are aligned perfectly next to each other. to the left the corner of the pillow, and immediately next to the right of it is that triangular shape on the wall. their color is almost precisely the same, but the angles within the triangles are perfect copies of each other. it is unbelievable. it is so unusual that i stare at them long enough for the wall triangle to begin to move on to the next shape cast by the sun coming through the window. wow. not able to make any clear conclusions from all this, or any of the individual parts of it. going to the dentist today. would like to schedule the extraction of my wisdom teeth. perhaps this is going to help ease some of the pressure in my skull. i wonder how mona is doing this morning.


It was a bit of a timing issue. I wanted to buy two ten pound bags of fine Tilda basmati rice, but it was far behind the butcher's table, all the way in the back of the store. it was available only to those who knew to ask for it. I just did not want to ask the butcher. He was handling meat without visible refrigeration, the traditional way, on a marble table, with a saw. Lamb, I guess. So I waited until he left his station and then pulled one of the people working in the store to the back and asked for the bags of rice. I had run out of it about two weeks ago. The price has increased about 30% since i last bought it. Perhaps because these are the last bags for this year? Harvest just happened, I guess. Or maybe the prices are simply higher now. $13 for ten pounds. It used to be under $10. Still a really good price. But I think I might actually be in the midst of so called Little Bangladesh, in Kensington, Brooklyn. I did not want to buy only rice, so I picked up some ginger as well, a gigantic root. Oh, and then there were these other roots. They looked a bit like wasabi, maybe. The lady in the front of the store was not able to tell me what these roots were. Instead she pulled out a box cutter and scraped a piece of the plant. "Just clean it, then cut it, then cook it. It is a vegetable. Here, take it." She gave me the root. "Take a second one. They are free." I wanted to pay her. "They are free." Very nice of her to give me the mystery vegetable. I will most likely not use a box cutter to peel it. Will try to cook it though.

time and space travel

biological clock reset. micro and macro level. just burned my tongue. the murakami show i travelled to in los angeles (and which was really worth all the travels, i thought,) will actually travel as well. the show is going to come here to brooklyn. the brooklyn museum, which i can see from my bedroom window, is going to be the home of the show for a few months. then the show is going to travel to frankfurt. need to take a nap now.

mo mo mo ca la la la

it looked as if the moca were just blocks away from my hotel. w*lking distance (this is los angeles after all. nobody really w*lks here.) it did not look rainy despite the 90% rain probability, and so i walked towards what i imagined to be the takashi murakami retrospective at moca. i ended up on deserted melrose avenue, in front of a closed pacific design center. most of the stores were closed all around. a spiritual bookstore was the place i ended up visiting. a throat singers tape made the experience especially smoky. back at the hotel i actually gathered my courage and got a cab that brought me to the actual moca, the one across the street from disney's gehry hall, or gehry's disney hall? (oh, and the ride was $40 or so. turns out los angeles is a huge place.) i managed to buy a little orange moca sticker which allowed me to see shows that looked not very much like any of murakami's work. apparently there was a third moca. now that moca would indeed have the show i wanted to visit. the w*lking distance to the other place was 10-15 minutes according to one person, 20-25 minutes according to another. oh, and they were of comparable body type. it was just obvious that they had actually never w*lked the distance. i followed the simple directions and made it to a place called "little tokyo" right beyond that magical place was my final destination, the third moca, a packed place with more than 90 pieces by takashi murakami. the show was beyond anything i had expected. there was a grace, a fragile layer to the work, which does not reproduce very well, it seems. yes, some of the pieces are obviously factoresque creations. many hands were involved in their creation... but apparently also many minds and many hearts. the work looked really really great. i could have spent a much longer time in the show if the place were not closing at five. perhaps where will be an opportunity to come back at some point. maybe not. and there was also a line to the store. (which looked a bit as if santa had been here and picked up all the better gifts.) dinner was eaten at a very tiny japanese restaurant in little tokyo. and then a cab was called by an incredibly friendly japanese lady at the miyako hotel los angeles. now i will need to actually sleep. a three hour walk, a moca moca visit, little tokyo... i might just give in to my body's internal clock. it feels like it is almost midnight again. oyasuminasai and sorry for this rather simple entry.

in a hotel room somewhere in america

it was exactly 12 years ago that i found myself writing down the path towards that january day, trying to understand how i managed to land in a hotel room near times square. jetlagged, ready, happy. and here i am again, in a hotel room. jetlagged, ready, happy. a very different kind of everything though. and i am also not near times square but in west hollywood. learned so much in the last 12 years. not enough yet. tomorrow will be a great learning day again. so glad about it. very glad. i hope the plant i rescued from the gutter somewhere in beverly hills today is going to make it. gave it its own window. i also will give it the next seven days or so to decide. it feels like it might make it.

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