Recently in observations and experiments... Category

Mumbai

Dear timezone,
you have to please let go of me now. I have moved on. I have moved on to a different season even.

I know we used to be like one, knowing each other without words, I used to wake up in you, no alarm needed, no warning.

You would watch me brush my teeth and eat my meals. I would shower for just the right amount of time, so I could stay in synch with you.
And we would go through the day together: The slowness of the morning, the focus of the pre-noon, the rush, the journey, the calmness of the finished day.
The glass of wine that helped us fall asleep.

This was great,
but now it is over,
please,
let go of me, let go of my internal clock.

It was even funny at first, how I would go to sleep in the winter of São Paulo, but then somehow magically emerge seemingly in the monsoon season of Mumbai.
But obviously not. Ha, ha.

Funny.

But funny
no more.

I can hear the wintry city outside slowly find its cosy blanket,
and here I am ready to jump into the steamy chaos of the day.

I am trying to make things work, and make things meet, but after only three hours of sleep, I am officially confused and barely able to describe a simple thought.

What was that?

It's time we move on. Really.
You have billions of internal clocks to worry about.
Let go of this little one inside of me.

I will try to sleep. Again.
Perhaps it is going to work out this time.

The ringing phone across the street is hopefully not you.
And stop making that skateboarder slide down the hill on the wrong side of the deck.
The cars. Let go. Let go.

Let.

Go.

It is obvious, so clear that our relationship is bound to find an ending.
We will be fine. All will be normal. We will go our separate, usual ways.

And I will be begging for you to take me back in September.

São Paulo

1/1/11

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Pinakothek der Moderne, a wooden necklace

after three weeks away from home, i am spread around the globe like fly on a windshield, except i am alive and will now reassemble myself slowly, before i jump off again.
first there was a week in beijing. and i have learned so much there about myself and life that i will need to think about it for a while, and maybe a while long enough to outlast me.
that is very possible.
the thinking i was pulled into on this trip to china was so fundamental and so deeply set in human existence that it is not something i can just simply put in words or write about as if it were just another occurrence.
not that i would write about any other occurrence here.
then the two following weeks were spent in germany, in some places familiar and in some places much less familiar. and the airline lost my baggage for about 10 days, so there was a very vulnerable quality to most of the time spent in bavaria and swabia.
i felt lost at times, even though i should not have.
and felt cornered, and angry. for no reason visible to the outside world.
so in a way this was also a very transformational experience, but maybe this time one i do not really understand enough to even interpret properly.

it is almost midnight on the first day of the first month of 2011. and i am awake as if it were around noon of the second of january. and my suitcases are still packed. i have not even looked at the pictures again that i took in the last three weeks. there is a hum in my head and my dreams seem to be straight out of inception's abandoned scripts.

it is incredible how i manage to throw myself into this similar state almost every year. it is not that i am placing any resolutions in front of myself. it is that giant shifts somehow happen around now. and it could just me that this might be the only time left for me to actually stop for more than a day or two and to look at my feet and the ground and the ground beneath the ground and to look at the sky beyond that.
maybe. perhaps this is the only time left when i can become a set of ripples in a pond.

and all of this will probably sound ridiculous to anyone outside. and it will probably all sound ridiculous to me in a few days from now.
but it will probably not make it less valid at this current moment in time.


Pinakothek der Moderne, a wooden necklace

looking at things...

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The shutter on the old Praktina did not really want to close. I had to let it find its way again and again and again. Eventually it somehow remembered how to get from right to left. I have let the camera sleep by itself for too long, displayed on a small tripod in a glass case, with the olympic lens attached, waiting to take another shot, for months. Maybe years actually.

There are boxes with film in the refrigerator. And there is a box on my bookshelf in the office as well. The film must be not only expired by now, the seasons must have turned the chemistry on it into a run away reaction.
I dare not to put any of it in the cameras.
Some actually still have the old film in them.

The Praktina was empty. I took off the back and looked at the sleepy cloth shutter.
It eventually got to where it needed to be.
I think it did.
How would I dare to remember what 1/1000 of a second looks like.

I looked through the lens. No matter what the camera was pointed towards, it looked suspiciously like an object from 1954. Somehow the world was a different place in that complicated glass. A grainy world. The ground glass made everything look as if it were a super 8 film; perhaps bad 16mm.
It makes perfect sense that the Leicas from the same period must have felt incredibly bright and clear.

A battery arrived today.
It is such a pathetic symbol of what is about to follow in the mail.

The Praktina would never ask for batteries.
It asked me to shoot with it. Even with no film in it.
It taught me to see the world as a potential picture.
Somewhere in the early 70's when I assembled objects on the table outside of the kitchen, and then shifted focus with the aperture wide open.
Again and again.
And again.

And objects would melt.
Then they would reassemble themselves.
Then melt again.
Soft cloudy objects.

It was brilliant.
Magic.

Even without film.
The best moments that were never recorded.
Only seen with intense focus.
But I guess that's the way things work sometimes.

The boxer looked at me suspiciously as I was on my way back to the seat behind his.
I felt a bit as if he were just about attack me. But I guess that's jst the way he looks at people sometimes. It was a bit as if his eyes were capable to generate a rede dot of light. The last warning before a bullet follows.

The three men who are with him, pudgy, loud and happy drinkers certainly do not have that sniperish spark. Or at least not today.

I met several flaneurs in Garmisch-Partenkirchen yesterday. Maybe they were far enough out of their element to be called something else. I met them for seconds at a time.

A woman walking down the path towards Partenkirchen gave me directions to a place she never had the opportunity to visit. A place called Schöne Aussicht simply had to have a good view. Or at least at some point in the conscious past.
I am now not completely sure if I actually ever managed to arrived at the Schöne Aussicht, or if i managed to walk beyond it without actually recognizing it.
The views were beautiful. All along. I might have passed the one recommended, of course.

Then there was the elderly couple who liked that I was using my umbrella to protect myself from the afternoon sun. Their dog Baloo could not know that it had the same name as the most recent friend of my parents. The one whom they had to bury in their neighbor's garden, after the poor thing was not strong enough to lift his leg. Or any leg. A smart little buddy of a border collie reduced to a shitting carpet. Blind. And yet happy.
The dog running around the Alm somewhere above Partenkirchen was still oblivious of his destination. It was a golden retriever. A dog not completely aware of the jobs available in this mountain environment. It even ran away for a little while.
That's how I knew his name.

Soon after I met two horses under the shadow of the tree. With them, hundreds of flies eating on them. The Horses' eyes were almost completely closed. They looked very tired with their bodies standing close to each other and in a way that would allow them to kick anybody with the audacity to get too close to the tree, the flies, them.

Ten cows, and their ten sucking calves walked up the hill not far away from any shadow. They had come to drink in a place prepared just for that occasion. The mothers were able to have the water. The little ones were hungry, and allowed to have the milk.
All played their part in the symphony of bells. Small and large.
The mountainside. Suddenly beyond romantic. The sounds. The sounds.

Down the road, beyond the gate made for cows and people, I encountered the snake. A snake I almost stepped on. It looked too big and its colors were too interesting for it to be harmless. And its neck had turned itself into an S. It was ready to bite me, or at least launch its head after me. Clearly.
We both stared at each other in a calm or perhaps even focussed way. Or at least that was my interpretation of it.
We just stood there for a while. Well, I stood there for a while. The snake obviously did not.
I wondered if it was my now stupid black umbrella that worried the animal so much. I imagined that I must have looked like a large bird? I could imagine how the snake did not want to die exactly here an now. I moved away slowly. And so did the snake.

Then there was the girl on the meadow. This one was dressed. She was unlike the one who lay there naked next to the train tracks a few miles out of Garmisch.
Staring at the passing by trains.
The dressed one on the meadow here had her head turned away. Privacy can somehow achieved by just not looking. It is true for the New York subway. And apparently also for the meadow just outside of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Further down the street, a little girl on the monocycle pedaled by me. "this looks incredibly difficult" I said. "it is incredibly easy. You just need to practice." she answered,
as she sped down the hill and between the painted houses.

The saddest encounters were not even with the living. At the St. Anton church, nailed to its walls, a cemetery of memories. Men and women who left the place for a war, never to return.
Their photos looked like those of friends.
Some of them looked the way I used to look when I was their age, 18, 20, 21, 30, 35. One was exactly my current age when he died.
Some were not even allowed to have died. They were just "lost". They were not even given the privilege to become actual bodies in an actual grave. No closure permitted for those left behind.

One board had been carved for two twin brothers and their older, third.
It was tragic enough that all three brothers did not return to their home here. But what seemed to make matters worse, was that one of the twins apparently managed to survive the war. He died in 1948 when finally allowed to go back home from siberia. Or at least I hope he was allowed to go home. I am not sure why in exactly this moment I remembered the two fly covered horses under the tree.
Did he die knowing of what had happened to his brothers?
Was he hopeful and looking forward to returning here? To the very spot I was standing on?
Most of the men seemed to have died in February; in Russia.
I felt privileged to be able to encounter a summer in the beautiful town they were forced to leave to die. And I was aware that there were many other photographs somewhere out there, tragically connected to these. Mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers in other villages somewhere far away. Connected to the same horrible events. Their family killed or "lost".

A man barely able to utter a sentence had sent me on the walk, actually.
He was a man in his twenties maybe? His eyes hidden somewhere in the depths of their sockets and stumbling words seemingly barely able to find their way out of his mouth.
He seemed to be a head taller than me, his arms somehow uncontrolled and randomly helpful and almost dangerous.
He approached me in the little chapel where I happened to be taking a picture of the "holy water to go" in a corner. It was a relatively large jar.
I refilled my bottle with holy water from the plastic barrel nearby. When I was taking the picture, the need to frame it correctly must have made me look pious. I was a person kneeling in the corner of a tiny church. Not even in any center of it.

The man was very helpful.

He sent me in the direction of the pictures, the snake, the girl on the monocycle, the cows, the horses and even the beautiful view of Zugspitze.

The train rides from and back to Munich were pleasant. Out of habit I had purchased first class tickets. And so I ended up being the only person in a car attached to an otherwise crowded train.
I paid for the solitude.
And the lack of conversation.
But perhaps also for the luxury of reflection.

I hope the boxer from flight LH410 will win his fight. The three pudgy men will undoubtedly be very happy when it happens. They will probably take the plane back to Munich with more joy then. And they will drink more and they will take more pictures of their boxer.
And he looked quite good with a yet unbroken nose.

like a not very well organized suitcase on a back trip, the collection of thoughts and observations allows for good arrangements, but only for those who take their time to make them.
and every little object is somehow related to another little object. the world is contained in each and all of them together as well.

in the past 12 months or so, i managed to circumvent the world no less than six times, a database told me. and yet i feel as if i were coming from the moon, and still the world appears a distant blue marble against the backdrop of the infinite soup of the universe.

i learn something tiny with every flight. i am getting better at selecting seats that allow me to look out the window during the day, and to sleep relatively undisturbed at night.
i try to select airlines that bring me to certain places in a certain way. and i prefer the ones that treat me in a certain way when i am on board.
the ability to make the choices themselves is probably the main luxury i managed to carve out of the experience of having been in the air so much.

there are always surprises, of course. and sometimes they are good. sometimes not so great. and every next flight is a mystery.
one plane recently was almost empty, probably because not many people like to fly on passover, leaving that to a particular breed of angels. then the flight coming back was so full because of the upcoming easter, that i ended up being pushed forward to one of the most comfortable seats. the ones that earn two chocolate bunnies per flight.

going to beijing next. on tuesday. for two days. and i know already that my internal clock will not arrive on time, and that i will be lost in a debilitating chamber of jet lag. 12 hours of time difference after an almost 14 hour flight. it is going to be bad. perhaps even horrible.
and i will need to be awake during the day. more than awake really.
what i am going to beijing for is certainly not sightseeing.

and in some ways i have been there for the last few nights already. a beijing assembled from little snippets of stories about the city, and even from whatever my brain seems to think about the world at large.
so what will need to happen is for my wrong expectations to trade places with over millennia assembled reality and for my old assumptions to trade place with completely fresh observations.

it happened that way all of the recent journeys. perhaps on all journeys ever taken?
oh yes, i remember it being much more difficult after watching too much television.
but for the innocent mind, the one that wants to see and learn all anew, the quote "Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it" still feels very valid...

and with the proper exploration of any little object really, the meta picture of understanding the world gets better and better. and it is the "better" in the emotional meaning of the word. i will never be able to assume any rational improvements.

and so my feelings about beijing are completely innocent. someone on the last call mentioned "we will feed you things you have never eaten in your life." and i know it is going to happen. and it will take me years and years for my mind to improperly digest them.

my office at home currently smells like the end of a catholic mass (i was cleaning the place and came across some old german incense. no priests were harmed.)
the books on my shelves are no better organized than when the "vacation" began a few weeks ago, last decade. and the snowflakes outside look a little bit like razor wire. so maybe leaving the house would be a very bad idea now.
especially since the sun is setting and the music streaming from the living room is quite pleasant, actually.
my 2010 horoscope on one of the polish newspaper websites i tend to visit predicted a year of confusion and something probably best described as doom.
glad it was not a chinese fortune teller telling me that i should not fly this year. that has already happened. and there is a nice book about a similar experience, about 17 years ago.

i should probably have another bowl of tea. is it good to drink tea until the mouth goes numb and my insides turn that freshly plucked, ground, bright green?

there are many more questions now than there were just a few days ago. and they are hard and challenging and actually pretty good. and they are the kind i could never dream of answering myself. the best kind.

hmm... another bowl of tea?

Moment left.

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The little tree that I had decided to bring over from the Park Slope apartment a few years ago is now beginning to turn gently yellow again. I had removed all leaves from it somewhere in the middle of the season, so it was allowed to age an extra year in 2009. The colors might turn out more vibrant now that it realizes that it is indeed truly going to be fall.
A different tree right next to it, took maybe 9 months to recover from being transplanted into the new and actually smaller pot. I had almost given up on the little guy, and just as a test scratched on the thin bark a few weeks ago. Underneath the color was green. Life. And soon after the leaves came out after all. Spring in July. The fall is recognized here too. The colors are shifting. The tree is getting ready for colder months.

I seem to have more journeys in the next two months than I could have ever expected. There is going to be some traveling to places in the US. Perhaps Kansas, though I am not sure if I will be able to go. Then probably some places on the west coast. Maybe some places on the east coast. Maybe a few more places somewhere closer to the middle of the country.
And then, shortly after columbus day, we will take off and finally go to Japan. It is a bit as if I had been preparing for the trip for decades. And now I feel incredibly not ready. There are such huge gaps in what I would like to know before I go, I am not sure I will be able to bridge them. But I guess the most important thing is to be open and to discover, not to be completely prepared and disappoint one's never truly complete expectations.

One of the challenges is going to be to actually go to Japan and to be there. I have taught myself to work on my trips. And often there is the sense of the presence in one place being the important preparation for some other place.
Very much like what I just mentioned actually.

And then there is the urge to report, and to record. What kind of camera should I bring? What kind of camera should I maybe buy? And what will I write?
Am I going to post our status here, or on Facebook, or Twitter?
"Currently relaxing, far away from it all."... What a lie. Pathetic really.
I wonder how many moments will be truly actually experienced as those that will actually really happen then and there.
And perhaps such a thing does not exist?
Perhaps this very moment was lost to this very reflection here.
What could I have been doing right now?
And what are you doing here?

I guess a new season is coming and it will be followed by the next, then by the next. Other rhythms will define the angle at which we look into the light of the sun.
Pretty much like the little trees I happen to keep as pets out on the balcony.

I need to leave the house today, I guess. Maybe not.

There was a bit of a problem with a part related to electricity on our plane from Newark to Copenhagen. The pilot tried restarting the entire system by shutting down everything and then starting it up again. But that did not really help. A part was indeed broken and so we were stuck in an airplane, in the sun, with bad air conditioning... I think for about four hours?

I kept sending emails and little sms messages back home and to the office, until the electricity on the blackberry ran out as well, so I reached for the iPod, the trusted little friend, to teach me some Japanese. Real beginner stuff; I can barely count to three. (And that's probably because I am also a bit of a Mr. itchy knee.)

The earphones I have had for my iPod for a long time now are rather great. They really block out noise without requiring batteries. That's why I got them. I can push them really deep into my ear canal and the world around me quiets down; so the music, or in this case a person counting in Japanese becomes really loud and clear.

Things were going okay, until one of the ear plugs fell out of my ear. The right one just fell out onto the seat. Very annoying because it did not just fall out, it also lost that rubber piece that actually makes the noise cancellation so good.

How was I going to find a little rubber piece stuck somewhere in the seat of a plane, stuck in the airport, with the night really setting in now, and the sweatiness level increasing all around me?
I tried to just move as little as possible. Perhaps the piece fell actually onto me. Maybe it was just there, all I needed to do it to look really thoroughly.
It took me probably a minute to realize that the the piece was not really as lost as I at first thought.

It had never actually fallen out really.
The rubber piece was simply stuck.
In my head.
I could now feel it with the tip of my finger.
A rubbery piece, fitted very snugly in the depths of my head.
Now that was a bit of an unpleasant feeling.

Great. So here I had an adventure on top of an adventure.
I had to share the story with someone. Hopefully someone who could somehow help me. Oh yes, tweezers are no longer permitted on airplanes.

A very friendly flight assistant, she could have been a long lost sister of pippi longstocking with dyed hair, seemed to react to my story and the way I told it.
Here was my iPod. There were my earplugs. One of them was missing a piece.
"Do you know where I lost the piece?"
I would then point to my right ear.
"It is stuck in here."

She wanted to help me. Flight attendants are apparently allowed to bring tweezers on board. She began to ask her fellow flight attendants is they had a "pinzette" that word is apparently the same in Polish and in Danish.
("Tak" means "Thank you" in Danish, yet "Yes" in Polish. And I wonder why.)

I went to the bathroom to check if I was perhaps able to see the object in my ear. The bathrooms on SAS airplanes are rather huge by airline standards. Two windows, all around mirrors. Do I need to say more?
I could not see the piece in my ear. Maybe a shadow. Maybe there were too many mirrors I had to use to actually see anything. All I could really see was that I am losing hair in the back of my head as well.
Big time.

The bathroom did not contain a "Pinzette" just a few towels (frottee), some lotions, cups, some abandoned sewing kit, a shaving kit. Nothing useful really, unless I wanted to sew up or shave my ears.

I left the bathroom and ran into the flight attendant again. She had rubber gloves on, and indeed a nice little Pinzette. She looked excited.
We looked for the brightest spot nearby. It happened to be in front of the still open door of the airplane. We were still grounded. Three airport workers spoke with the purser of the flight, a woman in her 50's maybe, wearing a butter colored dress that somehow matched the idea that butter might have been one of her favorite food groups.
The purser should have been the calmest person on the plane, but she somehow managed to make everyone slightly nervous, trying to look friendly when it was a bit obvious that it did not really come easy for her.

"I have to tell my boss what I am going to do," said my rubbergloved flight attendant.
I was seated on one of those jump seats the crew has to tie themselves to during the very moment of takeoff and landing.
The purser did not really seem to care what was about to happen, and so the flight attendant lowered herself to my height and began operation earplug.
I obviously could not see what she was doing, but it appeared that she was not really pinching the rubber piece very hard, and it kept slipping out of the grip of her tweezers.
What kind of tweezers were they anyway? They looked a bit like the cosmetic equivalent of a hammerhead shark. What I was looking for was something pointy and strong, this was not really going to happen?

"What are you doing?" The purser was here now. She had completed her chat with the airport workers and we were apparently the next little vignette in her walk of worry through the more and more chaotic airplane.
"The tweezers are too big." My friendly flight attendant said.
A brief exchange in Danish, or Swedish followed.
The flight attendant looked at me.
"Are you American Sir?"
I was not sure what she meant by that. I am a legal resident. I am a New Yorker... well,
"I guess I am almost an American, yes, you can speak English to me, why?"
I hoped that was the right answer.
The purser looked at my friendly flight attendant.
"Stop helping him right now. If you make a mistake he is going to sue you."
Her English was not fantastic, but clearly some understanding of the world was really somehow simple...
(And I had apparently not given the correct answer.)
"Maybe we should just..." and she made a movement with her hand that somehow indicated that she would just like to slap me in my face. ...
"We can't do this here right now. Get back to your seat Sir. We will now serve dinner. We will deal with this after dinner."
My poor helper had to take off her rubber gloves... "Don't worry, I have children. I take stuff out of their noses all the time."

Dinner was served.

I felt worse and worse.
What would happen once we closed the airplane door? What happens to the ear canal after takeoff? The pressure changes. And then what?
Was I destined to carry a piece of rubber in my head for the next few days?
What if it moved further inward?
I was not sure, but there was just a slightly uncomfortable sensation about all this.
Was I going to lose my balance?
My hearing?

I could not have dinner before I resolved the issue.
The sewing kit in the bathroom could actually be the answer.
I locked myself in and found the abandoned sewing kit again.
Several colors of thread, two needles, two small white plastic buttons, a small golden safety pin.
There was a solution in here somewhere.

I opened the safety pin and bent it to be more of a straight piece of golden wire with a point. I then inserted the point into one of the little buttons and bent it into shape until I has a golden little tool, a hook custom made to remove rubber objects out of my ear.
I obviously did not want anything sharp to go deep into my ear canal. The bent hook seemed like just the right thing to do.
I decided to not rely on any of the mirrors. They would just confuse me. I would probably end up poking myself in the eye.
So with closed eyes and as gently as I could, I slowly began to look for something that would give the hook just the right amount of resistance.
It was very obvious when the point touched the skin in my ear. It did not really hurt, it just allowed me to somehow create a bit of a mental picture of my ear canal.
After several attempts, the hook gripped something.
I pulled on it gently. A sound as if I were pulling out a shoe out of mud told me that I was indeed pulling something.
Then the hook slipped.
Okay, I had to try again.
I must have attempted to penetrate the rubber with the hook about eleven times. It was a fascinating experience in reality perception really.
There was the resistance, the hook was penetrating the material, there was more resistance, I pulled... the loud noise, the pleasant feeling of a foreign object being removed from the body...
a little more, a little more...
and there is was.
The result of my fishing expedition was in my hand, stuck onto the end of a golden hook. I had managed to bring myself into a dumb situation, but I also managed to get myself out of it somehow.
A pleasant feeling.

When I left the bathroom, there were three flight attendants looking at an instruction manual of sorts. "We are looking for safe instructions how to remove the object from your ear."
I showed them my little contraption.
My friendly flight attendant looked like she really wanted to hug me. I guess we were all relieved, but it would be a bit odd to hug someone because I just managed to pull a piece of rubber out of my ear.
So we did not hug.
She rubbed my shoulder.
I rubbed her shoulder.
We were both very happy this had all happened without any interference of the purser.
And actually before dinner!

For the rest of the flight, all of the flight attendants came by to see me. Some of them just looked at me, most pointed to their left or right ear and either smiled, or had an inquisitive expression on their face. Their lips would move, but they would not utter a sound. "Are you okay?" "How is your ear?"
It was pretty obvious what they were asking. The words were overly expressive.
Yes, I still had my ear.
And I can still hear.
All of my actions might have actually been very dangerous though.
On a tiny scale, of course.
Compared to us riding on two jet engines across the ocean.
But it was a personal story.

The ear incident.

We arrived in Aalborg about 23 hours after leaving the office at 2pm.
The baggage did not make it;
but that's not that special.

As I am writing this, the suitcase was actually delivered by the friendly SAS staff.

And Aalborg is alive tonight.

I will need to finish writing now.
Tomorrow will be a truly fascinating day.

ear_tool.jpg

washing lemon trees with sake vinegar.

burning plum incense now. two sticks. one held by the pewter bunny amy gave me for christmas perhaps two years ago, the other sticking out of a pile of the glazed tiles that came with this particular brand of short sticks. trying to cover the smell of sake vinegar. it was not the right kind of vinegar, i guess. much too fragrant for the job. but i did not want to leave the house to buy vinegar. and maybe vinegar is the wrong thing to use anyway. it does make sense somehow though. a cure i came up with myself, again over a year ago, when the lime tree was starting to die because of some bug infestation. perhaps the dead leaves on the smallest of my lemon trees was just a smart way to avoid the webbing bugs. the smallest one got it. it is in the window though, in the sun. there was not enough room in the sun for the little forest. the little forest is five little trees. all about four years old now maybe? all grown from pits found in lemons bought so i could avoid vinegar in the salad. and the vinegar felt like a cure. and i had to do the work outside. in sweater and jacket, with a pair of scissors. cutting off all the leaves. there were over a hundred, i think. some were very sticky from the liquid they released to get rid of the intruders. i gathered them and added them to the compost bucket. they will be gone around this time next year. after all the leaves were removed, i poured some of the sake vinegar into an old plastic container and with a napkin washed the little trees. they are twigs really, thin lemon tree twigs, and yet pretty mighty looking in their flat wooden container. i removed some of the younger ones completely. two in the back had already died. so yes, it was more than five. there are five larger ones. how had i not noticed earlier that there was a problem? i had not been paying attention to this particular set of trees. they were in the shadow, there were not enough clues for them that summer would return, and so they weakened. i hope that at least some of them manage to return to their senses. now that the little pests are removed, they should. i hope it is not too early into the short winter days. i hope they will make it. the trees look very handsome without their leaves. perhaps the procedure will make them age, just as it would age many other trees with leaves. there is an interdependence between the absence of leaves and winter. i hope it all works out. the smell of the sake vinegar is too strong. so now the fig incense is burning. it is better already. and the eucalyptus leaves i crushed earlier in the day now cover the ground for one of the young blueberry bushes. perhaps so the cold does not appear so severe to the young shrub. though it might be good for it to appear cold... i am not sure. trees are the expression of their surroundings. and surroundings are shaped by their trees. the proper cutting of a tree might look like torture, yet it might actually be good to the plant. there are other factors that matter very much. hmm...

the plastic bird was not enough. now a fine black mesh is wrapped around several pots and places on the balcony. some monster had arrived to put pig back with eons. there were bits and pieces of bits and pieces all over the floor. had a visitor tried to make me hate them? were the gifts of guano expressions of love?
i was not very good at reading the signs.
not sure the mesh will do anything. if it will not work, the next step is going to be the purchase of a bucket of toothpicks.

walking to mr. suds later in the afternoon, i noticed a pigeon that looked as if half of it were glued to the middle of the ocean parkway service road. the bird must have broken a wing and perhaps more and was now trying to take off, in heart breaking slow motion, maybe at a wave a second.
almost wanted another car to arrive and free it of pain right there. or was i supposed to break its neck?
was this somehow connected to how much i had hated pigeons just a few minutes prior?
i imagined that the best outcome of this would be one of the cats living around the building finding the pigeon, killing it gently and then feeding it to its young.

when i walked past the spot a few minutes later, that seemed exactly what i saw about to happen. a not very large female cat was carrying the freshly killed pigeon in its teeth. the cat had to walk almost upright because of her front legs being almost too short to carry the large bird without letting it touch the ground. the pigeon, with its iridescent belly facing forward, had its wings wide open, together the animals looked like a griffin, or some other yet to be described mythical animal.

looked down on my neighbours balcony. the mother pigeon was still sitting on the nest she had made in one of my neighbour's flower boxes. next to her was a small open eggshell. i at first thought that some other animal had taken the content of the egg and that the mother was sitting there traumatized. an odd thought but probably conditioned by my experience of seeing a pigeon killed just minutes prior. when i looked again and from a different angle, i could clearly see a yellowish, naked, freshly hatched thing under the mother's belly moving slowly.
it looked as if it were two little birds even. but i think it was just one.

then i noticed a second nest on my neighbours balcony, in a larger, round pot. what just a few days ago appeared to be a lucky accident now seemed to be a breeding ground for birds right under my nose. my feelings for pigeons was split back into pigs and eons.

quite a circle of emotions for a simple gray sunday, maybe as gray as the underwing of a pigeon in flight.

the hallway smells as if a pack of hyenas had spent the night going after a nursing home of tuna fish. the morning would have then been spent devouring the carcasses, leaving that signature scent of wild animal mixed with fish rot. it could be worse. of course. fig tree incents make for a good morning. had two of the plum colored sticks going at once. one held upright by three little ceramic tiles stacked inside of a shell, the other one protruding from the crotch of the little iron bunny amy gave me for christmas a few years ago. he is a hot little bunny guy. oh, the good saturday morning. the sun rose in in what looked like very unround shapes. it at first resembled a bean, then an air cushion that makes a new york city bus kneel, then a bit like one of those early fertility sculptures. now it is a blazing disk again, with that bright blue plate dancing in front of it, but only when i make myself stare at it. (if i do not, it remains the gigantic life accelerating star at the approximate center of something, somehow, somewhere.) the new york times came with a green issue of the magazine today, which is too complex of an equation for me to translate into words. a magazine. green. are they as related as ultraviolet and infrared? or is it all about the light?... my brain is too tiny to give me a the proper hint at that. my thermometer refused to give temperature readings for a few days. at first there was a blinking 70F on the display for the outside, while there were goosebumps on the leaves of my jades. then the temperature reading turned into a more honest "---." i thought about calling the manufacturer, but it took me some good old time. the thermometer (it is more of a weather station really,) seemed to be fine, except that all of its wireless communication had been knocked off (it listens to an outside sensor as well as to a mysterious atomic clock somewhere.) then yesterday the wifi connection on my luptup went down, making me immediately book an audition with one of the priests at the 57th street apple genius bar. my last mac book pro had also refused to recognize its airport card about 2.5 years ago, (which made me a burned child.) apple ended up giving me a completely new computer. we are talking new model and all. (which made me a smiling child with some ornamental scarification.) yesterday the issue thankfully turned out to be just a software glitch. i was given a conversation from high priest greg, as well as a freshly plucked battery. really, a new one! just for showing up for confession. toby is on my balcony now. he is a small jade guy who seems to want to commit suicide through starvation. the sun is helping me now to bring him back from his pre-shamanic state. he will hopefully make it. more lemon trees planted this morning (=pits from lemons stuck next to already grown lemon plants in the same pots.) marvelled at the brilliantly (or would the right word be "emeraldly") green leaves which sprang from the buds of the little orphan tree which had planted itself in an empty pot placed on the fire escape in my previous apartment. the light here must be better in a way much beyond what i can comprehend. the same tree did not open its buds until mid august at the other place. which reminds me that there might be a very gentle connection between the words "budzik," (which means "alarm clock" in polish,) bud, (which is a sleepy idea of a set of leaves ready to spring to life at a hopefully perfect moment in time,) and buddha, (which means "the awakened one" in sanskrit, i think?) a pigeon had just called me to help it find the seeds i had buried in a shallow pot for germination. we had a brief interspecies interaction about that new found bird detective luck. i hope the seeds spring to life at some point. we collected some of them near that massive tree on coney island avenue and it would be nice to see it have tiny children on my balcony. i should have probably not gotten up at 5:30 this morning. maybe i could go out and kick some pavement on my little scooter. i wonder if the hallway still stinks. maybe that's not important at all. and neither is much of the other stuff just mentioned. (though some really is.)
as it takes about ten thousand hours to be good at anything, i am perhaps in the exact middle of the distance right now, mumbling to myself that there is no water here and that it is not very pleasant to continue and yet that it is also of no use in turning back. so with every word added, i put myself closer to the spot where i will be allowed to see spaces again, and periods and dashes and paragraphs and chapters and headers, footers and blocks of things. of course it is not completely the case. every moment on the path is the beginning of the path and it is also the ending of it. this word here is the one i had been waiting to write all of my life... wait, which one of the ones i just wrote? here. no, now. argh. typing here without a safety net, on a head freshly drunk with the air of pre-sunrise sky, with the sounds of little machines entertaining themselves instead of me, mixed with the sounds of the city out there, mixed with the birds desperately trying to find their last surviving relatives to pick a fight with and perhaps also to make new ones... no safety net. well, language itself is always a safety net. it will take a while until sdlkj skljwidjvv isijjfi iisdgjhgo ookjgki ppsdjgkn again. and even that's obviously a space defined by letters which most likely were not intended to spend as much time together as they are doing here anyway. though they are not, maybe... this here is not even paper. as if paper... here it is, i can see the tip of the sun peeking its blurry dayglo head between the most proud buildings of flatbush. and i should not have stared just now, trying to figure out the color. there is a green blotch floating right in front of me now, right in front of the exact very me right here right... it is the mothership calling my eyes to return to the closed home between days. a seagull just laughed at me, yes me, as i just fed the seagull her name. orange rectangles are creeping up the empty walls of the living room. it will be just a few moments before they turn a bright yellow and then white and then just disappear in the flood of everything that will be them. more birds are shouting now. prospect park is stretching it's trees. pigeons are taking their best seats on the balconies around me. just another five thousand hours and i will be able to laugh at this very word here. no, i am able to laugh at it right now. and why did i have to try to look at the sun again? i knew it was an insane disk, with another bright blue disk dancing in front of it. i knew it. i obviously have no idea of what i know, don't know and do not know i don't know. and it will be a while until my knowing that i do not know will completely leave me alone. and i can wait.
there is a storm hitting the windows right now. the sky is a dark white, yellowish, sounding like sheets of steel tin bouncing against the sparks of a large bonfire. the newspaper just landed outside of my door. saw my parents yesterday. showed them around the apartment. they looked very happy. i helped my father with his mac a little bit. we looked at their neighborhood from space, we also looked a bit at ours. oh, and we did not really leave the house. their new imac arrived and even though there were some challenges with the power management in the room where my father installed the computer at first, we eventually managed to install leopard, the new operating system and we managed to power up the little cameras above our screens. it was great. no, it was beyond great. it was one of those moments that feel like the end of something and the beginning of something else. my uncle in poland asked if i could install skype on my parents' machine. he also now has a camera placed on top of his monitor in the room to which i was first brought from the hospital about 38 years ago when not many of us were thinking about live personal transmissions and computers and any of that. there were still storms, of course. the sky would turn a dark white sometimes. and the room in which i am writing this existed already as well. soon the sun will rise again. and then it is going to set. without ever doing either.

survival of the most cropped.

so it looks like the large mother plant survived my yearly clone harvesting ritual. tiny yellowish pairs of soon to be leaves are sprouting from the freshly induced wounds. for several days i was rather worried. now things do look much much better. will the clones survive? i have three planted from this round. several are very alive from last year's cropping. one has to reduce sometimes in order to grow in interesting ways. it is not easy to remember this. it is tempting to assume that there is a road to happiness paved with happiness. hmm... the road of least resistance leads to a dead end... that might be true for jade plants as much as for any living thing, as much as... i really do not know what i am talking about, do i?

all sticky, because it is nothing at all.

the scratch on the wall looks like a happy face staring at a different area on the same wall, which happens to look like nothing in particular. or maybe it does, just not to me. not now. the five photographs i glued to the wall a few years ago would rather spend some time on the floor. they have been curling into odd shapes. the model of a man in one of them is gazing through a stencil of a capital r. and it is almost midnight. many of the objects around me seem to have found their favorite place in the world for now. i just needed to help them get here. even the open envelopes under the descriptions of the house across the street appear to have begged to be here on the table. and what will i do with them now? the fantastic summary of that gutted condo on the other side of third street as well as the envelope that came to me from hamburg, just to threaten me that if i do not pay a certain amount of euros, the magazine publisher would stop sending me the publication which never made it here in the first place. i am not sure why i would keep such hostile correspondence and not just throw it out? (hmm... i tear them to pieces and place them in the recycling bin... that was not very difficult.) okay, they are gone now. they will soon be turned into toilet paper, or paper cups. the light from the lamp on the table here was generated by nothing more but the difference in pressure somewhere in new york or pennsylvania. and spinning things. i assume big ones. did this light also find me? the face on the wall seems to be staring at a different area of the same wall, which happens to look exactly like me. it is me, just seen from a rather unusual angle. the mere existence of this occurrence is maybe nothing unusual at all. and tomorrow i will hopefully be able to just throw out the rest.

Furry

One of the gentle moments of the trip was the second when I had a chance to walk up to one of the giant trees, around in that particular spot for more than 2000 years, and it was so very nice to realize that the bark on that living giant was like fur, it was like thick brownish fur, soft and warm and not threatening at all. And there were little animals crawling on the giant buddy everywhere. And the fire scars looked like stories. Good stories. New Beginnings. The entire tree looked like a giant invitation. It was like an invitation to listen and to hear and to look and to see and to just somehow invite others to pay attention as well. Let's all grow. Together? It was incredible to walk in the presence of giants. My father pointed out that only the very core of the giant sequoia is as old as it claims to be. Well, yes, I am about seven as well, or just a few weeks in some parts. Maybe the idea of any living thing is what matters. It was great to touch the outer fur of the giant. No injuries anywhere. Really. Just healing somehow.

looking at it in a very special way...

aliens are breeding in my eye lid. there is a purple bump where things should look rather smoothly. the left eye had been bent out of shape for a while now but since yesterday it is looking rather freakish. i had to let my parents know. they will be here on sunday and since there is a 0% chance of this condition going away by then i did not want to shock them. My mother is now going to bring my grand mother's special ring (made out of gold) and then this ring will be rubbed in the direction of the nose, while my father is going to sacrifice a few bats. (okay, I made up the bat part.) There will also be some chamomile involved and some special curses and prayers, i guess. I love time travel. One minute we are in 2005 another we are in 965. Once my grandmother's ring reveals that i have actually been cursed, wrath will unleash over those who dared to attack my innocent left eye. I will probably just end up going to the doctor anyway. and if just to get that experience of blindness for a little while. (An guy here at the office had both of his big toe nails torn off the other day. How bad could an eye lid operation really be?) huzzah

please stand clear...

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The time spent on a crowded train is a good time, I keep telling to myself, as it keeps getting longer and sometimes even longer than that. And it is okay. I should probably read a book, or maybe listen to one, or maybe at least draw on the train again, into a tiny something... as I had done years ago... just use the search field and type in a word like... subway... or moleskine... or... I was the guy with a big vornado fan today. I had a seat, at least on the way back. Across from me was a lady reading a rather heavy book with the name "good & food". It was about losing weight in some new and incredibly natural way. And the lady across from me did not look too happy reading it. I imagined what would possibly happen if she indeed lost all of her weight, and it was a very horrible thought. Hmm, I think she looked just perfect the way she was. But how could I possibly tell her that? We would probably both die if I did. The two women next to me (at least for a while) were talking about the pretty things on garnet hill. (or was it: "like, garnet hill"...) And one of them wore a very much admired charm bracelet. The other one had incredibly special eyelids. They looked as if they were made out of moss perhaps? Or could it have been cork tree bark? Maybe just a lush layer of thick, carpety velvet? Fascinating. Oh, and they were oh-ing and ah-ing themselves through a glossy and heavy catalogue filled with pornographically shot pictures of silver pinocchios and toy trains and dice and crosses attached to glittery things... or the other way round. There were two women at the other seats near the far window, one of them reading a book called "dry" the other one gasping and grasping onto her completely dieted away chest. As if she attempted to re-digest the last breath she had taken, sinfully perhaps. Or at least secretly and fearfully. I was rather concerned. The woman reading "dry" appeared to almost weep as well. Her head was of unexpectedly large proportions. Her incredibly heavy hait combined to two sculptures resembling sir Norman Foster's London City Halls. (He designed one. She had two on her head.) A new conversation was started next to me. A woman used very complex sentence structures, those that belonged written, not spoken, to describe, with quite a healthy amount of emphasis, how much she was concerned that her recent report on the differences of teaching "there" and "here" was not welcome with the deserved amount of enthusiasm among her peers, to the level where she began to have doubts if they were indeed her peers, or maybe just a pack of hungry wolfs, out there to... her good looking gentleman friend agreed, while using his fantastically shaped man purse in a very well rehearsed way. A woman with white shoes decorated with green hearts looked lovingly up from her soft cover book onto the salt and pepper colored hair of her suit wearing companion, while he, with his lips slightly open, gazed up from his sets of stapled photocopies straight under the skirt of a girl lost between two tiny white headphones. "Jason" and his girlfriend took over the space next to the door on the other side of the train. We all knew that he wanted her. She wanted more and used words like "stop" and "it" and body language like "yes" and "there" and "why not more, and why not over here?" Out loud. And then louder. And then so loudly that the lady reading the "food and good" book had to move sweaters out of the space between her and her book... A delicate person was reading about genghis khan in soft cover. The boy next to me read about the pursuit of happiness (his chapter: "the need to sin".) A gigantic man across from me managed to shuffle his tiny ipod in a rather dainty way and out of sight. And I should stop right now... because my next memory is of that lady solving a cross word puzzle in Chinese... but that was this morning... and now the Vornado wind moves over me very softly and I just knocked on wood that this might be a nicely environmentally sound alternative to a full blown air conditioner... I will complain in a few days, I guess... the wood I knocked on was painted. Please stand clear of the closing... ding dong...
The air outside has the perfect soupy thickness. I could probably create galactic swirls in it. Or maybe just pour colored air into it, make thick clouds, growing, pouring between buildings, into windows, through cracks in floors, all the way to the basements, the soil, the bedrock, beyond? -- Central Park looked as if it were painted onto a freshly wetted sheet of paper. The rocks protruding between the leaf covered grass: pitch black, lacking all features of three dimensional objects. With their own perfect shadows, they were the pure amplifiers for the surrounding hues. The trunks of trees seemed to also be players in this game. Black carriers of gold, red, orange, and still some greenish green. All elevated into the thick grey soup of the air. Even the youngest ones could play skyscrapers. A group of black birds tried to have a feast on new seeds released by a nearby shrub. The heads and the beaks of black birds were just not created for slippery hard-shelled hazelnuts. A bird would pick up one of the round objects half the size of his head, try to trick it into its throat, only to discover that the seed was too big and the beak was far too slippery as well. The bird's beak became a nut thrusting device. The object would fly a few inches ahead of the bird, the animal would then rediscover the found food, try to repeat the impossible task of swallowing the uncracked nut just to thrust it again, and again, and again. Some of the birds tried to do something with their thin red feet. Some tried pecking the nut. Most were playing beak-ball. On a little patch of freshly touched ground not far from the birds, some mysterious fruit: Bright green caricatures of grapefruits, a sticky sap sweating out of the sometimes hairy pores. The one I picked up as if it were an object from a crime scene investigation, might weight about a pound. It is about the size of a large grapefruit. It looks so incredibly alien. The logic of the texture on its surface seems beyond what one could dare to understand. Somebody must have kicked one on the ground as it was opened, empty inside, as if the skin itself were an arrangement of green mutations between pomegranate seeds and corn, made into an orange without fruit flesh. The object smells a bit like a citrus fruit... I am intrigued... -- The moisture of the planet ascends through the bedrock, the soil, maybe basements. Swirls of complexly mixed air dance in ever new formations around grateful trees and clueless humans. Thick clouds create a perfectly soupy thickness outside, letting even the youngest ones be skyscrapers.

Tannenbaum-Leichenschaendung

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The little fir is dead. I clearly over-watered the little guy. The droopy new growth turned from bright green to green to brownish green yesterday. I took my knife, put on rubber gloves, pulled out my butcher's pan and pulled the corps out into the open. Half of the roots just stayed in the pot in with the dripping-wet soil. I had clearly drowned the poor tree. All I could do now was to try some ad-hoc bonsai training, make the dead thing look good, for the last few weeks of its life. (Or the first few weeks of its death.) I cut off all the lower branches, I shaped the thing until it looked like a pathetic miniature version of a high altitude mountain fir. I then began to cut off the rotten the roots. My intuition somehow told me that a smaller root system would be only able to support a smaller tree. I cut some of the injured roots, some of those that looked as if they were nerves torn bare, tangens, in the open now, like bright wires stripped of their protection. It was then that I came across the spiral. It was this lump at the base of the tree, right under the surface of the soil. The spiral looked like one of those energy saving light-bulbs. The winding was much tighter though. The main root of the little fir was wound up into a very tight spiral, incredibly tight, like a single fingered fist, bare knuckles, ready to punch, like the tight knot on an executioners noose, except that the rope was the one to be executed. And the "rope" here was the now dead tree. I should have thought of that before. The tree might have been bred in a very tight cup in the first moments of its life perhaps? Had it been somehow made to grow quicker as its roots had been forced to take as little space as florally possible? It felt as if the little tree had been bred to just live a quick, effective, bright life... and then somehow destined to suffocate itself on its unnaturally wound up root a few months later? Was the tree equipped with a self destructive mechanism designed to kill it just before the return of the tree shopping season? I clearly drowned the tree. It was a perfectly good tree. It could have grown into a giant.. had I not drowned it... I then went on to killing some tomatos... not on purpose, of course... but many died... My father only told me the story of the two seeds today. The seed that did not want to crawl into the rotten dirt, the one that felt quite happy with the surface, the temperature, the good view... the seed that was worried what would happen to it if it had to push itself to grow roots, to push tiny leaves towards the surface... This seed was eaten by a stupid chicken... The other seed... the one that went through the trouble of sacrificing itself, the one that exploded in the dark moist dirt below the leafy surface, that was the one that ended up as something worth while... as... maybe even a tree, producing new seeds... I think my mind is going in spirals towards the rotten bottom of a tiny flower pot. enough. Good night.
...

clack clack...

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it was the first time that I saw the sands again. this time on the wall. this time they were contained in a window that would stop being there with every short push of the green button. (Though I the image is now forever burned into me, there on the wall... this perfect place...) the sands looked nothing like the heat and the wind and the danger felt when seen in person. the light from a glowing piece of metal now filtered through tiny colorful particles that were actually there when the picture was taken, i guess? do slides work this way? clack clack... "the wind was as if you were holding a giant hair dryer to your face." I forgot to mention that I could not really see the sand as clearly when i was there. the hot wind just made my eyes teary... the heat made my body panic. clack clack... "these are taken with this old camera, no light meter, the focus is very much off..." clack clack... "this is the day on which Ronald Reagan died. can you see the light through the stripes of the shadow of the flag?..." clack clack... I would spend long evenings projecting fairy tales onto the walls of my mother's office, onto the ceiling of my crowded room, even onto the stickers i managed to attach to the thickly painted doors of a cabinet in the bathroom. clack clack... Projections onto surfaces allowed me to focus I guess. My father's photo studio with its powerful light was the place where I discovered that to every image I saw, there was a parallel reality, a reversed, monstrous reality with glowing black dots in eyes, completely black teeth, other foreign shapes engaged in odd activities. clack clack... I would trace the outlines and be left with some really bizarre results. clack clack... The smell of dust being baked onto a painfully bright light-bulb. Afterimages for minutes, green stripes the shape of projector air vents, preventing me from seeing my room. again and again and again. clack clack... traces of pictures on the inside of the bathroom door. clack clack... shadow puppets. clack clack... the dog. the man. the man-dog. the dog-man. clack clack... more boyish experiments. clack clack... two candles.
He held his right fist into the air in front of him. He turned it long enough to make sure he was able to see a volume of blood, not four fingers guarded by a thumb. This was the size of his heart. He imagined it as a lump of space, floating in front of him. He removed the fist slowly. The lump of space remained. He imagined is heavy, pumping, alive, aging, slowly stepping through time, with him now, there it was, they were not traveling together. A sitting man in a barely lit room, staring at the air in front of him to others was a man sitting in a barely lit room, staring at what he just decided was a mysterious representation of so much more than a never sleeping organ in his chest. He closed his eyes, to see it a bit more clearly. A simple exercise in meditation really... He now could make it turn colors, pulsate faster and slower and rotate it, make it come closer, move a bit further. He now sliced it in half. A somehow random cut. Now again. Again. Now. cut cut cut cut and with each division more pieces were created, until his brain imagination could no longer hold them in front of him, or glowing, or pumping, or alive, or together, or apart, or at all... and so the exponential amount of pieces just burst apart, unimagined, out of focus, a soup with glibber chunks. He opened his eyes. There was still the table in front of him. On the table: his fist. A thumb guarding four fearful fingers. And he pressed the back of his thumb against the space on his forehead that indentation behind which there is no brain. This was where the two halves of his brain met. This is where the hot spot existed, approximately, perhaps, where all the information from the left had to pass the information from the right. This was ridiculous. He could not imagine his heart anymore. Not long enough in one piece to make it travel a good distance. His brain has just reduced itself into an organ working best in a space where it is not. He used all his fingers now to embrace his growing sweaty little forehead. The sockets of his closed eyes pressed firmly into the palms of his hands. It was dark at first... then flickers of color began to appear here and there. the pressure against his eyeballs felt a bit saur. his brain worked harder now to, independently of his will, create carpets of coherent shapes... all wrong. all just a buzzing noise. he lowered his own pressure a bit. he imagined a space, about the size of his fist, in front of him. motionless... there is was. about a pound of matter? grams? tons? alive? dead? certainly temporary. and there, it began to slice itself again and again and again... //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 2^64?... and so he finds, completely unexpectedly, this: raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu visayan indriyais caran atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigacchati
Who would have thought that there would be a man completely covered with pink paint. Had an elephant exploded in front of him? Was this some sort of security device souvenir? He looked very angry, his eyes flickered. He could have knocked me of that bench. Had I laughed he would have. Had I looked one more time he would have. It was all too surreal for me to react quickly enough. ANd so I did not and so he did not and so he was just a man completely covered with the remnants of some pink paint explosion who walked by me, disregarding paths of course, in Prospect Park at 9am. I happened to be drawing there, by the lake, straight onto little paint swatches. And so very quickly I realized that he had not even been pink. The color was more of a 8106 Minute Mauve (from deck 3-214)... More definitions, finer thoughts?, he still looked quite... hmm angry?

Some empty streets and open doors...

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The experience was a bit odd. It felt a tiny bit as if I had landed from planet New York, where there is danger around every corner and where sidewalks act as sponges for anything dropped, change, cameras, action and ideas. The neighborhoods I walked through this weekend were like jewelry, placed on purpose onto a soft carpet in the middle of the room. Houses with their doors wide open, cars with their trunks ajar, cats siting by the street watching me walking by as if I were myself a cat and they were watching me on ca-tv. I felt a bit inadequate. Maybe the doors were open because I was supposed to be in a car. I was not supposed to use my feet to get from one place to the next. Taking a walk in suburbia, especially with not even a bag on my shoulder, I really must have looked like some very strange being. Things were peaceful, nobody attacked. A little park by the bay was arranged neatly around a cute kind of lake. There was a small island right in the middle. On the island were ducks and geese. The birds seemed to be very concerned with their social status on the island. One poor chap actually had to sleep on the dangerous shore off the island. He had been voted off completely. He was quite ashamed, probably scared as well. I watched the amusing poultry interaction for a few minutes. I had not brought anything to write or draw and so I eventually got up an decided to take the road up a near hill. ON the table next to me was, in plain sight, a loaded classic nikon photo-camera. The lens was a good one as well. This was a beautiful classic tool. Next to the camera in the grass, in a carton, there were some jackets, some sort of net. I was for some odd reason worried that somebody might just come by and steal the nice camera. Somebody obviously had left it there, on that stump. I took one of the jackets and covered the camera with it. "Excuuusee mee!!!"... there were little humans, somewhere on the hill, in a car, one of them must have been the owner of the camera. I tried to shout back some explanation. I am somehow bad at this kind of explanations though... I just walked away from the newly combined arrangement. I walked up the hill, and past the people in the car, who avoided looking at me, as if my looks could kill, and i walked up the hill and further up the street, named after some trees, past more, bigger houses wide open, and cars with open trunks. And I imagined the odd things that were probably happening behind, well, not really even behind, these open doors... And the openness was of course an illusion. It was a bit of a challenge... or maybe not at all. Maybe I had really spent too much time on planet New York City. Maybe in the near future i would find myself right next to a very open door, waiting for somebody to just wander in... In some ways this site here is a location with wide open doors, isn't it?... doors and windows ajar... and yet it is not as easy as one would think to get to the private chambers... and not many even find them. And even I get lost sometimes. And this is probably an interesting thing to do, just in general. Though I am certainly not sure. I am never sure. And that is probably a really great thing.
We did not have those fancy glass marbles in Poland. At least I was not aware of them. The little round pieces of glass were something I was introduced to in Germany. This is where kids made up certain value systems for these round objects and then played with them to get them out of each other's hands. I did not really understand how this whole thing worked. Some of the nicer little pieces were less valuable than some really ugly ones. I guess the strongest kid with the cheapest marbles sometimes wrote the rules for the neighborhood. The only way to get the good stuff was to win it all. (And then give some away and make some new friends.) The games kids played with marbles in Germany were the same, or very similar to those we used to play in Poland. One would dig a little hole into the hardest possible patch of pounded dry soil, or one would use a well tested battle ground with a hole that had been passed on by generations of players and then the game would be a bit like golf, I guess. One would try to be the first one to get ones marble into that wicked little hole in the ground. Whoever managed that first... would just collect all the other marbles. Those with no marbles left would be sent home (often crying.) We did not have marbles in Poland. So we used... money. Cash. Real coins. This somehow made more sense. These game pieces had a system set up by much badder and stronger boys. This was like playing adults. (Oh, and btw. I tried to bring in some of that reality spirit to germany, just to discover that the kids there really did not get it. Now seriously, has anybody ever bought ice cream with marbles?) It is also far more difficult to play the game of golf with a coin than with a little ball, of course. I guess the putting irons even the playing field a bit. But can you imagine Tiger Woods trying to get a little krugerrand into a tiny hole in the middle of a well designed arena? I actually think this could be a good sport. There would be some really good educational value in that. I would watch superb players snip in vary valuable playing pieces of internationally regulated weight into a tiny little hole in the ground. I think there is some real potential in that... really... (I have worked in advertising for too long. I am corrupted.) Well, we did not always have a fighting ground and not always had the luxury of that little precisely dug round hole. One wanted to win back some of that lost cash during school breaks as well, of course. We knew that teachers would have certainly not allowed for us to crawl around on all fours, trying to get the best position for that killer shot to take the savings away from that slightly less skilled kid. New rules had to be used to be able to play under those much more difficult conditions. We had to be able to run away quickly, leave no traces, be mobile. So we simply used the wall. It was as if we turned the circularity of the game with a little hole in the ground into a two dimensional game of precise aim. Several players would line up at a certain distance to a wall, (and the older kids would sometimes just stand farther away, because they were more professional,) and we would throw the coins in a way so they would land as close as possible to the wall. Whoever managed to throw his coin closest to the wall, would get all of the other, less fortunate coins. Or let's say the equally fortunate coins of obviously less skilled players. Really some really tough kids were often able to throw coins so they would end up standing, leaning against the school wall. I mean there is no way to beat that... (except with a suicide throw that would remove that master of the game from his position, sacrificing the slightest chance to win that particular round of throws.) Oh, the game might sound very simple at first, but it is really a tough one. Coins do roll, they bounce off the wall and of each other. Sometimes a throw too daring would just mean the end of one's game. Hmm... I am trying to imagine this game again, played by a really skilled team of Canadians. Maybe on ice, throwing... hmm... some really beautiful game pieces.... I remembered the game of throwing the coins against the wall when I saw something slightly unusual in front of the building here this morning. It was almost as if somebody had played the game and then just left their coin, or their token, just there. It was the ultimate sign of a winner. The real winner would not even care about the winnings. All he cared about was the honor. The legend.... I really thought that some kids had played that game at night, right here on Broadway, right here in front of mandee's, in front of that sometimes quite cheeky clothing store with pictures of girls in the window wearing t-shirts that would say something like "I partied with Justin." Daring? Almost. More like a teenage thousendeere... (is this a word? I mean like almost millionaire.) Okay, so here is the meat of the story. The item on the sidewalk this morning was a raw piece of pork. It was a pork chop, a raw one, greasy, marbled. I think it was pork. I am not a meat in the street expert. It must have been there for a while. It was't there long enough for the rats to discover that bone marrow could be somehow especially delicious. But it had been there long enough for the rats to discover that the giant piece of meat looked delicious. There were some droppings right next to that found piece of animal. Maybe it was poisoned? Was this some sort of really bad joke? Is there such a thing as the meat joke? A store manager from mandee's saw me hover next to the red and fatty piece of pork. It was on the sidewalk in front of her little empire and so she came out of the store to ask me what I was examining. "It is just a piece of dead meat." I shouted in her direction. "Oh, okay..." she answered, and walked back into the store... Just a dead piece of meat on Broadway. Seems like a pretty normal thing, doesn't it?... I still think that those Polish kid's games could and should be turned into real sport, if only played with the right kind of coins. Imagine... olympians throwing their medals against a well branded wall... or maybe ultra-light airplanes throwing especially designed rings, against a billboard... I think the olympic potential of some sports is not yet fully explored. What about those knife throwing games mentioned here earlier? And did I ever speak about the beer cap tour de France? I do not think the use of meat is a good idea... in any kind of sport or game. Meat is best when it is alive I think... but then it is not really meat I guess? I really wonder where this red and dirty chunk originally came from... doesn't it make us want to hug New York?
The dreams last night were not heavy-lifting after all. And I was so looking forward to the drama, the fear, the close escapes. The dreams were all about architecture. Perfectly built interiors with some beautiful views. Some work needed. Nothing major. Six hours of that. I think. I do not know. Dreams are not something one can know? I remember falling asleep as being an adventure of the childhood. My body would beg me to be scratched here, to be tossed there. I would just be completely still in my bed, with my eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling, trying to resist all of these internal and external distractions. I would often even tell myself that after the third urge to scratch my head the sleep would just come and grab me. And sometimes it would, just perfectly on time. Sometimes sleep would just take over with all violence. It would be like a giant wave that would just grab my body and just make me feel as if I had just been lifted from the sheets and spun around several times and then thrown down again. I would sometimes wake up from the violence of falling asleep. And the counting would begin anew. And the staring at the ceiling. (And of course the fear of the darkness.) I worked in a school for children with disabilities for a while and the ones in my class were the ones that happened to have some issues that were really severely preventing them from doing certain things. And so we had to deal with the problem of seizures or the state right before one quite often. There was a clenching, there was this violence that would take over a little body, or almost. There were some very scary moments. And I really did not envy my little friends for being often trapped in that state where the brain decides that it is going to just make up its own reality for a few moments at least. I mean it maybe does that most of the time anyway, but it is the transition from one state to the next, the awareness of falling from one state of waking into the other. Does sleep still come violently and does it still throw me around? I think I managed to somehow be more prepared these days. I hold on to a pillow (I really sometimes do), my eyes tend to be closed (another thing learned), I listen to that slowly approaching echo of dreams. And then, when it pours over me, like a magic liquid wave that penetrates any aura, I am amazed, I watch myself dissolve into whatever my brain cooked up for me during the day. Just like that. And I actually miss those childhood dreams. Dreaming about architecture is just not the same as rescuing a smart and creative little princess.
Almost burned my tongue now, licking the outside of the lit, hot metal lamp. I should not have tried that. I did. Now... okay, the tongue is actually burned. Just the right half of the front (as I do not have a tip of a tongue). The pain is going to go away. It is okay. Managed to finish about 75% of what I wanted to get done today. At least on that one project, long overdue. The other project... oh and then the other one... Managed to burn myself out this weekend. Not just the tongue after all. The brain, the eyes the back. Right about now should be the time when the greatest ideas grab me by both hands and feet, stick their fingers in my nostrils as if i were a bull and tear me out into the meadows of never explored thought. But the only thing my head is hearing right now is that pounding of my brain mixed with the steady going air conditioning. We went from high to low to vent. It feels as if I had spent the last 48 hours in front of this screen, or at least at this table, in this room, the window invisible to me. The real thing at least. As I have opened and closed hundreds of virtual windows. It feels as if I have managed to disappoint so many in the last few days. It is so bad that shopping starts to feel like a possible therapy. And that's a really bad sign. That's a really bad sign. Especially when there is not enough money to pay the therapist. And there are such beautiful rare things that whisper and sing my name. They are so stunning and important and really, really worth it. I will not eat them. I will only look at them, maybe once a year. Maybe twice. Maybe all the time in my mind. Maybe I will just imagine how they are memories of moments that were so incredibly different than what I am experiencing right now. I know there is a fresh bottle of excedrin in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. It is behind that middle door, the middle mirror. I am going to go over now. I will open that door. A glass of water in one hand. I will make sure to take two of these little round soothing white inventions by the masters of western marketicine and I will then try to get that remaining 25% of the day done. And may it cost me some sleep. At least the pain will not be there. At least I will not feel that it is there still. I will be like the old man in the painkiller commercial. I will be like the actor who plays the man who runs a marathon after his knee, hip, foot surgery. With a gigantic smile I am going to enter the zone again and I am going to kick some... ach I will just move some more vectors around, then let some more ink bleed into the pages of a little book that does not belong to me. I will then just pass out and dream of a continuation of this beautiful day. Because it is a beautiful day. It will be a beautiful night. This is the beautiful life in a beautiful time. For some. Somehow. In some mysterious ways. Oh, and H.C. on a print means Hors Commerce. It describes a workhorse of a print. It is the print that actually gets to see people. It is the print that gets to see admiration and joy and rejection. It is not the print that actually gets to go home. It is the print that stays at the gallery. It stays at the gallery until all the good ones are gone. Then the H.C. is sold as well then... mostly after the APs, the Artist Prints are sold, I guess. The H.C. is the fruit everybody handles and nobody wants to taste... no it is the representation of the idea. Not as distant and abstract as the picture in a book. Or a picture in the mind. It is the working print. It is equal to all the others... it is just the one that gets touched and handled... a lot... My tongue is fine now. Maybe it was not burned after all. Maybe I could now try to lick the light bulb. Now here is a nice story to remember. Isn't it?
This one I had heard before. And it was in many contexts. It must have been a few weeks ago, at an Indian restaurant. A man with a whispering voice was seducing a woman by detaching her spirit from her body. He explained to her how much he cared for her spirit and how unimportant her bodily attributes were. He seemed especially concerned with her breasts. She apparently was using them in some unspeakable way. He explained to her how little he cared for them. Or their size. Or... I could not see either one of them. They were behind me I mean the man or the woman. I could hear him a bit better than her, as he was facing me. She tried to somehow make a case for her breasts. He then switched the topic to food and how it is our bodies. It was very interesting to see how he was managing to explain the woman away. She was right there in front of him (and behind me), breasts and brains included. He had the courage (as I do not want to use that other term), to remove parts of her slowly, to put them on the table and then to explain that each one of them did not really exist, making it easy for him to later somehow devour her, or the idea of her, I guess. He was spinning a web made out of clever little escape ladders. It was incredibly unpleasant to witness. Yes, evil requires the sanction of the victim. But here was this man turning a woman into pieces that were obviously lacking the ability to protect themselves. I wanted to just get up and spill some curry on that sneaky little guy. One of the things he said was the piece of knowledge which actually is as profound as simple. He stated that we are, in fact, what we eat. Yes, this is not a new thing to say by any means... he was just very serious and direct about it. It is an American thing to see food as a fuel for that machine we call body. What he explained to her though was that this machine that we fuel with food is actually also made out of the food digested by the very machine. It does make sense somehow. Where else is that matter supposed to come from. It is not like we can lean against a wall and then make parts of it our body. The food we eat is indeed our future body. The water we drink will, at least partially, be turned not only into a carrier of nutrient. Parts of it will actually become us. We are, as systems, much more open than we dare to realize. Somebody told me a few years ago that our body structure and the body structure of pigs is so similar, that certain pieces of information contained in the pork meat digested are reused in similar places as where they used to be on the animal. Interesting to know when eating that prosciutto. (Though I really have no idea how much truth could be in this one... though I know that we are indeed similar enough to pigs that they are called horizontal humans by some and are definitely "good enough" for some military medical exercises.) Okay... so it does make sense that we are made of all those pieces of nutrient that we push into our bodies. And it might be a good thing to remember that led can not be turned into gold. Just in general. Hmm... It was interesting to sit at a Japanese restaurant today ("Sir, you make the order more japanese than a Japanese person.") and to listen to the conversation next to me. It seemed as if two men were having a life altering talk. One of the men was older, and yet he looked as if he just stepped out of a Morgan Stanley commercial. The other man was younger, maybe less experienced, at least in life. Here it was all business. They spoke about money, (lots of it,) and about the stock market and about certain meta levels of thinking and how some people think in terms if short term thought and how some are portfolio building investors. I really do not really know what they were talking about exactly... It was fun to discover that they had a pad in front of them that actually was from Morgan Stanley. (It was also funny because of This little piece of info. We were basically in the Lehman Brothers Building which used to be Morgan Stanley and ... oh well... ) I first thought that the younger guy was the adviser, but in the course of the conversation the flow of information somehow switched. And things really became good when the older man said something that reminded me of the conversation mentioned above, and yet on a somehow different level of course. He said something like: As one goes through life, one has more and more of these important conversations. With each conversation a part of information is passed onto one. So as one goes and talks to the right people, ones mind becomes filled with this collected wisdom, or pieces of it at least. If one chooses to talk to the wrong people, ones mind becomes filled with the wrong kind information leading to further bad conversations induced by the wrong decisions and conclusions. Each conversation is important. Hmm... food for thought? Or as Nietzsche put a rather scary angle on it... "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." So would this also work in a positive way? When we manage to find access to the best people and to feed ourselves with the finest of thoughts and ideas... there is a better chance to somehow become helpful to others?... In the long run, as all of us can become carriers of some actually useful wisdom. I think the greater thought here might also have been that no matter what happens, it is a state of transition. Learning should never ever stop. On the way back to the office, I stepped into the St. Malachy's Church on 49th street as it appeared to be the only place where I could just sit down and think slower about the strange connections I was just noticing... no drinks needed, no service provided... just calm. I grabbed one of the worn out red books in the corner, stacked on a bench. I opened it somewhere in the back and the page seriously opened on this: I Corinthians 13:1-13 (I just googled it now and there it was.)... and it was a bit spooky... But in a good way... I have no idea what this all means... if it actually does mean anything. Because somehow "meaning" feels like a pretty silly thought to have right now. After all this...
The large tomato began to grow a bit of a penicillinesque culture in the place where it used to be attached to its plant. It also leaked some sort of yellowish liquid; I did not want to try out what it might be. One of the pots contained a whole variety of seeds in its soil already, and so it seemed like the perfect burial ground for the expired red fruit. I used some of those single use chopsticks to dig a hole into the center of the patch of soil. I dug by sticking the wood into the center and then spinning it around a few times. It eventually looked like a pot filled with funnel of soil. I placed the tomato over this hole in the ground. The fruit was far too large for even this opening. And so I pressed it with the chopsticks. This is when the tomato burst. It became two very wet halves spilling liquid and seeds all over the patch of soil. I tried to push the halves again, but they were also very soft and fragile. It took just a few seconds and I was looking at some sort of combination of edible red fruit-flesh, mixed with very black potting mix. It was a very odd combination. I was not really wasting food here, this was a moment of enriching the soil, of giving back to the soil. The tomato seeds just came with their first watering included. I began to stir the mix. It took maybe a minute or so for the tomato completely become part of the now very wet content of the pot. Even the sounds produced here were of a pleasant and soft nature. I was changing the proportions of a tiny living part of the universe. This morning the soil was still wet, covered completely with what almost looked like a layer of perfectly white snow. The mold cultures are of course the first result of the burial of an overly ripe tomato. A continued mixing of the ever drying soil is going to soon move us beyond this stage, at least on the surface of things. I am allergic to mold, btw, and this kind of mold is not the kind that seems to irritate me in any way. It was more of a soft and completely white kind. Almost as if the soil were impregnated with a camembert. I feel like an antibiotic gardener... selecting which life forms will be allowed and which will be not. It is all a game in which I am just teasing the eventual winners. I hope that one day some part of me is going to make a fertile ground for some yet to be born kid's gardening experiments.
The rotten tomato (or is it tommatoe?) tasted so incredibly horrible that I found myself looking at little pieces of it swirling down the watery path of no return just seconds after it had suicide bombed itself in my mouth. There were more pieces of it, this time much smaller, in the sink, then eventually none, it was just the taste of water mixed with a foul something on my tongue. There were still two little tomatoes in my hand, and I decided that maybe they also had not been created to end up as a part of me, and so I buried them. I filled up one of my many little green flower pots with some soil, pushed the little red guys next to each other into the soft and fluffy bonsai garden and poured a little bit of water onto them. The plant had managed to make me do all this, by just being tasty most of the time, but in the end very perishable and one time incredibly disgusting. I had been tricked by a tomato plant into helping it propagate. I have been bullied by a nightshade plant I am a plant doormat. But maybe not. Lets see what comes out of that tomato experiment. There seem to be many experiments in my silly little garden The lime tree is doing really well. Or at least I think it is a lime plant. She is too small to bear any kind of fruit or even flowers, but when I rub one of her insanely green leaves, it feels as if I were touching soft skin. Or maybe a hand that just managed to soak in just the right amount of hand cream. I touch the leaves and they make my fingertips smell like limes. This is miracle enough for me. I am thrilled. The plants have been doing really well recently. Even the little zombie of a Christmas tree, the last little guy available at the corner Korean deli on the evening of December 24th of 2003 is still alive. Yes, the core of the little bugger might be brown and look a bit on the dead side, yes, taking off the wet soaked plastic bow from its top removed some vital parts of the upper portions of the tree, but, even after all these months the little guy has really amazingly bright green little branch tips. The whole plant looks like a slow motion firework. And yes, touching it really hurts. How did we get here? Oh, that rotten tomato I really wish rotten eggs could be planted in a pot and they would turn into trees from which chickens would fall off, once they were ripe for eating or new egg production. Or imagine a cemetery that would over time turn into a forest packed with people trees, which we would visit from time to time to harvest little kids that would strangely resemble our grandmothers or grandfathers, or that guy that thought he had some unspeakable superpowers or maybe thats what that stem cell research is all about? Though then we should probably not think of a forest or garden, but start with places that feel more like Gramercy Park Oh boy, I am really bad with staying on track with my little fragments, am I not? Oh yes rotten tomatoes? Or just love apples?
M recently got himself a bluetooth mouse. I recently was given a pda that can bluetooth. Waiting for the elevator the other day, I checked if there were any other Bluetooth users in the neighborhood, I discovered M's mac and sent him a photograph. (Just casually.) He liked the idea of photographs arriving on his desktop out of thin air. (M is a guy who likes to work on projects that are somehow innovative in nature, I would say.) He came up with the idea that there could be a folder on his harddrive that would refresh his desktop every few minutes or so and that the images in the folder would be photographs, or whatever it might be, that I feel would be nice to have as a desktop. He just leaves the folder open for me now, and whenever I walk by his office, if he is there or not, I just drop in a picture or two, through the air, invisibly, just like that. Finally some good use for that bluetooth stuff. (I already began to feel like the man with the first fax machine at times. Whom could I possibly fax? Should I maybe just create a loop of black paper and let the machine copy until it goes up in flames?) I started spreading some of my pictures onto cellphones in phone stores, just for "fun"... I use bluetooth to sync my palm... (sorta lame, no?) I do not have a cellphone. This might be part of the whole issue here. Please do not feel sorry for me. I do not really need a cellphone... ... How sad have some of the entries become... not so long ago, there would be joyful compact posts here, praising the sunrise... now there are little stories of office adventures... i feel dilbertified. Not so long ago there used to be daily drawings here... now some of the entries almost make me cry, onto the same page, offline, online... efficiently. ... The plants are doing okay, at least. I will probably have to setup an alarm on my handheld device, preferably a vibrating one, reminding me to water the smart, though brainless green friends... at least every friday... what should be the time? Should it be a "whole day event?". ... Do you bluetooth? .
The freezer makes a squeaky sound when opened this late at night. And the cork in the bottle with flying french birds on it is not very quiet either. The glass should be far too cold to touch with lips, but it is not. And the liquid inside feels almost as if it were snow, at first, and then it just glows nicely and in a very clean way. Forget the weekend. Now. It was a good one, actually. I slept more in the two days or so than all of last week I guess. And it was a quiet sleep, packed with adventures and dreams involving owners of delicatessen playing the roles of art experts. My old Russian and English teacher even came forward as a life long artist painter, his back room of his tiny Florentine apartment packed with orange paintings much more vibrant than what Richter showed us at the Biennale in 2000. Oh, and there were the coffe cups, some really stunning designs. Who knew such things could be printed on paper. And a mail on friday (or was it Thursday?) reminded me that I really wanted to dive deeper into the two little leather bound books containing the Grimm's fairy tales (sans filtre, mind you,) the very stories that might be the origin of the word grim. Yes, grim they are indeed, and in no way as cute as uncle Walt wanted us to believe. Death is a brutal and inventive force in them, and sometimes it even does not arrive in person at the end of the story, it just sends a long shadow, just long enough to remind us of our own finite calendars. "Each day is a day less to live." My father has much better quotes in his collection, but this one was a fitting one for the day when I did not call. Oh, it was father's day, but only here in the US... the capital version of you and I.. the US... there could probably be just two countries now, the US and the they. At least according to some, who never had to be the "they" in their lives. Oh, the Grimm brothers. Yes. I would take the number three bus on Freiheitsplatz every weekday (Freiheitsplatz is "Freedom's square" in Hanau.) The bus stop of the number 3 line had a little plaque where I waited. It was a reminder that this there was the place where the house used to be in which the Grimm Brothers were born. Right there. Yes. The house, as 98% of Hanau was destroyed, when somebody was dumb enough to declare that Hanau was a "fortress." Well, two airplanes were stationed there, not actually even there. The US planes left the 2% or so standing, which happened to be the Casernes... (is this the spelling for military quarters?) So the Americans had a place to stay, aster they eventually liberated the city. The house in which the Police and the Gestapo used to be was turned into the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service, the Grimm House was turned into a bus stop... and the Synagogue was turned into a Car Body Shop for russian automobiles of the brand "Lada"... I would walk over the fields in the west of the city in the 80's and my dog would dig out the strangest things. Parts of dolls, little colorful bottles, pieces of ceramics. My parents have a recreational garden on that field these days. The food grows really well there... Hmm... enough of all this now... I will read some more of the Grimm Brother tales... hmm... I wonder why there was never a Disney version of "Das Mdchen ohne Hnde." ("The Girl without hands.")... (Oh, she has them in the beginning of the story, it is the father who cuts, them off, as he promised to the devil, you know...) Maybe this is the perfect time to open that squeaky door again. What did it taste like?... like melting snow? Oh, the beauty of things that happen without words...

strange corners...

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quick sunrise note...

to wake up at sunrise is to see a slow wave of spectacular color roll over the city. And because of the way things are built here and because of my windows facing west, it appears as if the day began with glowing buildings across the river, in New Jersey... Some are golden, burning, right now, and soon all of Manhattan will also dive, head first, into this golden bath, which will then turn into that color neutral daylight. Have to rush now. It will be interesting to take the subway on such a Sunday morning... or maybe I should just walk? 50 blocks... this morning will belong to Adobe and their butterfly... -- and then... (it turns out that the butterfly session will probably take place next week, and not today. It was just me and the security guy at the adobe offices... but that's really okay... it will be nice to go back to sleep now too...)... (8:44AM)
The first appearance of the acacia trees felt a bit like a miracle. I had just put the seeds that looked like little brown stones into the soil, forgot about them, then a few months later there was a bit of a mini forest of several little trees, one of them almost two feet tall. When I returned from my trip to Europe last September (was it last September?) the trees had been attacked by some little web spinning parasites. (I was told they could have been spider mites) These had built some sort of cocoons in the crowns of the young trees. The dry leaves made me believe that not only were the acacia trees dead, but that they were also just the first ones to be taken over by the very crafty parasites who would then continue and take over the entire minigarden. I cut down all the trees just very closely to the soil, made sure to immediately throw out the infested plants... The pot which used to look like a little forest was turned into the saddest confirmation that I had not the slightest clue what I was doing with my plants. The little stumps, each one thinner than a pencil, looked rather pathetic. I waited for them to wither away, so I could just take them out and give the tiny container with enriched soil a new start. The little trunks did not rot however. They remained very firm in the ground. It was rather strange and not as I imagined it. I tried to pull the largest one out, just to discover that it was firmly holding on to the soil. The tiniest one could be torn out, but it revealed itself as a rather strong root. These were trees I was looking at, I had given them an opportunity to live... then killed them, or at least I could have sworn that I had killed them... Then, a few months ago, one of the "dead" stumps produced a little branch. The branch was not as strong as the original plant, the leaves were not as large, there were fewer of them and they were a bit confused at times how to close for the night and how to open for the day. (The acacia tree leaves do that, except that we do not get to see it, because who would be insane enough to look at leaves of city trees at night...) The new plant was a great surprise to me. Clearly, the tree I thought dead, was now back, it was performing photosynthesis again, it was another "phoenix." I wanted to be a bit better with dealing with it this time. I inspected the leaves to make sure that no parasites would attack the reborn plant. And I also removed one of the leaves, just to allow the little tree to somehow expand into more than one direction. A bit of a bonsai training, or really the most primitive form of it... I am just learning myself here. I took off one of the larger top leaves. I did not throw it away, I just placed it onto the soil, next to its donor plant. I somehow knew that Acacias do not propagate from leaves... I just left it there... and I expected it to dry in maybe two days or so... it should have. It was cut off from nutrients... it was just a simple leaf. The leaf did not die. Not only did the leaf not die, it "behaved"... (am I glad that I am not a scientist, just a naive observer, so I can write that a leaf "behaved" in a certain way...) the leaf "behaved" as if it were still attached to the plant. It remained very green, it closed for the night and it opened nicely for the day. It was rather interesting. And it continued to perform this little dance for several weeks. Months. No decay. None. It was just a leaf, a living, opening and closing leaf. Last week, a new, completely fresh acacia tree grew out of the soil, right next to the living leaf. The tree looked like a little sprout at first, then the two protective leaves opened and between them appeared many little bright acacia leaves... a whole tree, ready for the new season. Wonderful. This happened yesterday... the little sprout became a tiny tree yesterday... and this morning... well, at least I noticed it this morning... this morning the detached leaf died. The detached leaf is now what I expected it to be a few months ago. It is now a crumpled up dry object. It is not going to open or close... it will just become part of the soil... I guess it is my point of view, and my experience of being a human being that allows me to group all these occurrences into one thought. My observations were not part of an experiment, I am not a biologist... maybe the plants are not even acacias. it is just that this strange performance of the leaf, the ever returning life... The realization this morning was a moment of first hand miracle... and unexplained thing happened there, right by my window, in a little plastic pot with some strange mystery plants. The situation felt as if the leaf were summoning a new tree, for weeks and weeks, until the tree actually appeared... the baton had been passed on... life continued... that was it... it was as if the plants were just the representations of a larger idea, as if Life were what I was breeding here, not plants. Life happens here, the plants just illustrate that it does, over time... It felt as if I received a glimpse into something so much bigger than me, much bigger than anything I know... hmm... very odd experience... very interesting and odd... at least for me it was... like a daytime ghost story... no, more than that...
as I was having my complimentary Ginger Ale in the rather tight quarters of my window seat on a late night flight, a reader in front of me enjoyed a magazine for women packed with rather aggressive ads. The interested observer will notice that the hand pouring the beverage in the ad seems to frequent the same nail salon as our anonymous reader. It really appears that we have a nicely targeted ad working its three second magic here... The magazine looks slightly transparent, as our reader flipped through the pages... a hunter, a reader, in flight, at night... Oh, yes... a reader...

Shooting Plants...

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It was nice to discover that the powerbook attachment for iSight fits perfectly over the head of one of my French Camera Lucidas. And so an optical drawing instrument from the late 19th century is now temporarily serving as the holder of an optical device that is somehow early 21st century. The Powerbook here is recording and broadcasting the images of a plant that decided to come back from the dead and I also use it to write this, and to shoot the little photographs below, documenting what is currently going on... It is a bit like juggling with different pieces of an unintentional puzzle... but I guess most of the things we do today are just like that... It is interesting to think about how incredibly temporary some of the pieces of this puzzle are... (Oh, and I am including myself here...)

growing...

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This is probably a very temporary entry, as it contains a movie of almost a megabyte (hello bandwidth!). A little spider plant which I saved from an office a few years ago is now in the third generation or so and it also likes to shoot out these explorer shoots, these extended probes, searching for new soil. I pointed a camera at one of these suspended fauna explorers... and using the quite brilliant software EvoCam, shot a movie that turns 50 minutes into one second. It is not a scientific movie, clearly, the light is from the window, the floor is the wooden floor, the plant is actually pretty much out of focus... But it is nice to see, that as the plant is growing (it grows almost a centimeter in a day, it seems,) it is also moving sideways, as if it were looking for something. It is also interesting to see that the plan t is more active in the morning than in the afternoon, something that makes sense, but which I never thought of. So, I wonder if anybody will be able to play the following little movie...

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