Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Shameless Promotion

If you're interested in what I've been up to for the past couple of years, or you're an audiophile looking for some nice, meditative music, check out my site on AudioStreet.net.

Now until the end of July, you can download mp3s of "Morna Linn," "Sarsen Caer," and "Tolmen Barrow." That's right: free downloads! Free like love & enlightenment & bliss.

While you're there, be sure to check out the links, read the reviews, and as always, you are welcome to purchase a copy of the entire CD from CD Baby, where the retail price has just been slashed to a mere $10.95. You can take advantage of the 10% discount if you buy more than one!

The CD includes my original photography of Caelum Moor just days before it was demolished and turned into a car dealership.

To hear samples of the other tracks, visit the official Caelum Moor site. Or purchase individual tracks at most online music stores.

Join Norm Hines--the sculptor who created Caelum Moor--and purchase your copy today!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Stink Bug

Check out Mz. Chrzanka's blog at halochrzanka. By the way, chrzan is Polish for horseradish; and I can confirm Mz. Chrzanka's horsiness as well as her radishness.

There was a huge stink bug (Stinkimus maximus) crawling up my front window. But it was not quite as huge as the spider spinning its nasty web out the backdoor.

Stephen introduced me to the genius of Soviet Kitsch. From the cover, you won't be able to tell what kind of music she writes, but you've got to hear Regina Spektor's voice and piano playing. I recommend "Carbon Monoxide" and "Chemo Limo," because if you have to choose....

Speaking of specters, here's a poem I wrote a few years ago:
The Leaving of the Ghost

3:52 in the morning
the black cat crossed himself
and crossed my stomach thrice
I woke up in your head
holding myself
with fat-free fingers
a word of love
on my low-cal lips
I became thinner and thinner
a white shadow instead of night
in my eyes
seeing dreams in my own dreams
magic left
with my will
I hear footsteps on the stoop
the clock—
four short bells
levitation, no longer my game
I pull the covers tight
breathe
my back back on the bed
finally a dog howls

Friday, June 25, 2004

Celsius 488.3

Was in Dallas’s first showing of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 this afternoon. I was surprised that in our very conservative village, there wasn’t more hoopla on its opening day. There was no line when we bought our tickets just less than an hour before show time. However, after walking around West Village for about twenty minutes, the press was beginning to arrive, interviewing ticket buyers in the lobby. The auditorium was crowded; the show was very nearly, if not completely, sold-out.

Throughout the next two hours, Moore convincingly argued the obvious. The most damning evidence against Bush was unedited footage of Bush speaking without Moore’s commentary. Or when Moore let the soldiers or the veterans of the war speak for themselves. Their words underscored their lack of experience and insight as well as their deplorable naïveté. However, Moore, although indicting not just President Bush and his warmongering cabal but the Democratic Party, the media, and corporate America as well, expresses great sympathy for our servicemen and women who are actually carrying out this administration’s seriously flawed policy.

The cuts and shifts in narrative were very well done and worked well to advance Moore’s gadfly politicking (of which I am a fan). I, however, would have preferred a bit more cinematic touch to the scene when Bush hears of the planes slamming into the World Trade Center while Moore ponders just what was going on in the president’s mind. Instead, a more compelling scene would have been footage of Bush reading with the children in Florida with audio from New York, or even vice-versa: minute-by-minute footage of New York/Washington with the children’s voices reading My Pet Goat.

Moore showed an amazing amount of restraint in both the footage he used and well as the issues he addressed. But, of course, he had the herculean task of sifting through what must have been thousands of hours of footage that could have been used to make his case. For example, there was no mention whatsoever of the many protests against the invasion of Iraq.

The story of self-professed patriot Lila Lipscomb struck a nerve. We first meet her raising a flag on her house in Flint, Michigan, and listing the family members (daughter, father, uncles, cousins, etc.) who have served in the military of the United States. Later, she reads the last letter her son wrote from Iraq, arriving just a week before she receives a call from the Defense Department with the news of his death. At the end of the film, she has traveled to D.C., where a witless woman accosts her, complaining that the protest in front of the White House is staged. “My son,” she starts, and then in tears, “My son was killed in Iraq.” All I could think of was my own poor grandmother who suffered through the loss of her youngest son in that other illegal and immoral war in Viet Nam. My family never survived his death, so much so that when I was a child—a few years after the fact—I had nightmares about my uncle’s death, and I never even knew him. I grew up certain that I wouldn’t live to be twenty because my namesake didn’t either.

Bush has lost the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he has lost the war in America. My hope is that this film will help us regain the government of this great country.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Glib Gibberish

Came across this brilliant & hysterically funny blog yesterday and wanted to share it with my cyber-mates: Glib Gibberish. I know she's written only three entries so far, but I've been laughing and sharing her stories for the past 24 hours.

Sent off the application for the residency program this afternoon. As we said in Japan, "Wish me ruck!"

So far behind on my to-do list that I can see my ass when I'm facing the mirror. Hope to get a bit more caught up tomorrow.

Tonight Los Lonely Boys are playing at the Pegasus Plaza downtown. If we don't check them out, then we're hitting the cinema for some celluloid escapism.

Question of the day: which is better, tai chi or chai tea?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Solstice

Struck by the realization that my life has been out of balance not the way typical of most people (too much work & stress and not enough bliss) but just the opposite: years of pursuing my dreams & following my bliss but not enough pragmatism & practicality when it comes to work or a career. Education-wise, I’ve perfected my mind in interdisciplinarity, but my mind has not been disciplined within any one discipline. I have breadth but no depth. Shayne’s analogy about jumping into a new pursuit with both feet but ending up merely running across the surface, only getting her toes wet, on to the next thing was particularly insightful about both herself and me.

I’ve spent years exercising my mind and spirit and body, so I thought that I was fairly balanced. But the bliss factor far outweighs digging down into the nitty-gritty and immersing myself completely toward the career I long for. And realizing that my travels have been distractions is certainly a new perspective. My sister’s signature file—the one that implicates me with every email she sends—includes “Bloom where you are planted.” Yet I’ve never felt grounded enough to bloom. (Mind you, I’m only talking about my professional life. None of these musing are to talk myself into settling for the first crappy job that comes along: I already have the job I want for now.) It’s just that I’m beginning to see that along the way, I’ve neglected some of the basic steps that will lead me to the career I want. So, it’s time I step back, perhaps even take a couple of steps backwards, and make sure that I’m as grounded as I can be professionally before jumping headlong into the next phase.

To celebrate the summer solstice, Stephen, Kris, Theo & I had a picnic at White Rock Lake. It was wonderful.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Invitation

Dear all who happen to spend your hours at work perusing my little corner of cyberspace: I would like to acknowledge your presence (or the always already absence of your presence) in my life by building a page with photos and/or brief bios of you who read this blog. So, if you are game, please send me a snapshot (or otherwise staged photo) and some (kind) words about yourself. Thanks for playing. And have a safe trip home.

Also, always feel free to comment on anything I've written here.

Two more weeks before I give up my weeknights. The second summer semester begins on July 6th, and I'm scheduled to teach two courses between 5:30 - 9:40pm, M - Th. Despite having to figure out a time to eat my supper four nights a week, I'm looking forward to the interaction with my students. It always makes me a little sharper than I usually am because I prepare so much before I get to campus. My main concern now is that I get most of my tasks done before class begins, including the release of my second CD and a few applications that need to be prepared.

Watched The 24th Day this afternoon. My only critique is that I wasn't really in the mood to see such a heavy film today. The acting was good; the script was well written, though a bit claustrophobic; cinematography was nice. It may have been more appropriately produced as a play.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

419

Dear Sir or Madam:

Request for Urgent Business Relationship

I am an underemployed intellectual from north Texas, and I have nothing to do with Nigeria. However, because of my socio-economic background--I was indeed raised on a farm--I am sure I know a Nigerian level of poverty and filth. For this reason (and many more), I am interested in the importation of goods (bricks of gold) and services (Thai transsexual “relief” massages) into my own Fortress Amerika. As a member of the ad hoc committee set up by my government-in-self-imposed-exile, I am currently seeking foreign payment accounts with which I will be able to live the life I grew accustomed to while serving my country (as a Little Ambassador) under the auspices of a Fulbright grant.

My request is anchored on my strong desire to establish a lasting relationship with you and your company. I hence solicit your partnership to enable me transfer into your account the said funds. You have been recommended to me in confidence and I was assured of your ability and reliability to prosecute business transactions that require maximum confidentiality. In other words, send me all your money, you cheap bastards.

Please note that this transaction is 100% safe and guaranteed since the law under which my committee was set up has empowered me to disburse all the funds found to be floating in the redundant account. I shall commence the transfer of the funds immediately after receive the following information by telefax:

(1) your company's name and full address
(2) your banker's name, address, telephone and fax numbers
(3) the account number and name of beneficiary.

Thank you, and God bless.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Political Bitchiness

God, how I love it when politicians and their ilk start talking trash. It's as if they are truly human after all. Case in point:
Ron Reagan, a television commentator, has frequently been critical of Bush. In 2000, he criticized Bush in Philadelphia during the Republican convention, which featured a tribute to his father. "What's his accomplishment?" Reagan asked then. "That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?"
--from Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Reagans not embracing Bush", NY Times/IHT

"Kinder and gentler than who?" Nancy sniffed after [Bush's] convention acceptance speech.
--from Maureen Dowd's "Epitaph and Epigone", NY Times

Being sick sucks. I've had some sort of respiratory infection since Monday evening. I'm sure the hour of tai chi, weight lifting, and 4-mile jog/walk didn't help, particularly after the shopping spree with Pablo on Cedar Springs, and driving to Las Colinas in the afternoon/rush-hour heat with no air conditioning. Yesterday I slept most of the day away, but today I feel much better but still feverish.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Bushmills Malt & Nicks

After spending a couple of hours last night preparing documents to send to London (regarding the great move (or not) this autumn), I ended up on the couch watching the Fleetwood Mac concert on PBS with a double shot of Bushmills single malt Irish whiskey ("aged 10 years")--on the rocks (of course)--with tears in my eyes. Stevie Nick's "Beautiful Child" always does that to me since "I was only 10." Here's an excerpt:
Sleepless child
There is so little time
Your eyes say yes
But you don't say yes
I wish that you were mine

You say it will be harder in the morning
I wait for you to say, just go
Your hands, held mine so few hours
And I'm not a child anymore

I'm tall enough
To reach the stars
I'm old enough
To love you from afar
Too trusting ... yes?
But then women usually are

I will do
As I'm told
Even if I never hold you again
Well, that plus the stress of trying to make a decision about London. After several weeks of bouncing from one extreme (I'm definitely going, come hell or high water) to the other (I am absolutely, most definitely not going), I've settled somewhere in the middle where I'd be happy to go and happy to stay. And I think that this position is probably more dangerous to my sanity because ultimately I have to make a decision. But right now I'm thinking I should probably pour another drink.

Instead, it's time to pop a sleeping pill to help battle the nightly insomnia I've suffered from this entire week. Tomorrow looks busy. Sigh. But Saturday morning I'm taking a meditation class at the Crow Collection, and I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Let the Rain Come Down

Today would be the perfect day to spend in a cafe with strangers, a huge bowl of cafe au lait, and a good book. But since I'm not in Europe or even Asia, I'm at home, online, listening to the rain drizzle down on the terra cotta planters outside my window, doing my laundry (because it's Tuesday, after all)--but in machines(!) that actually clean AND dry the clothes...--except that the dryer seems to be on its last leg because the clothes are still not dry. I have about another hour before I head to the studio to have my CD mastered, so I won't be able to head to Nodding Dog till this afternoon, if then.

The question of the day: if one were to buy Lori's car, would the inside smell like her hair? Any thoughts?

Stumbled upon Andrew Boyd's Life's Little Deconstruction Book: Self-Help for the Post-Hip last night while walking the aisles of Bookstop. His web site is equally brilliant. Two of my favorites:

  • 3. Dip into nihilism.
  • 6. Expose depth as another surface.

Monday, June 7, 2004

Ozymandias Memorious

"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The long and level sands stretch far away.


--from Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias"

I suspect, however, that he was not very capable of thought. To think is to forget differences, generalize, make abstractions.

--from Jorge Luis Borges' "Funes the Memorious"

The death of Ronald Reagan has me thinking about my America in the '80s, a world he ruled over yet had no knowledge of. It's only now at 36 that I can appreciate the ironies upon ironies of his administration: relentless challenges to Soviet rhetoric and ideology with no clear understanding of his own, certainly no critique of it; virulently anti-big government yet quick to increase military spending at the drop of a hat; and finally, what about AIDS? What about AIDS?

The Iran/Contra scandal was not the only thing he was "out of the loop" about. And yet, just as there was little mention of Watergate when the great President Nixon died, we, too, shall speak no ill of the dead. And America is whole and complete and united and blessed by the Hebrew deity YHWH, whose statues, too, must lie in ruin amidst the sand. America will share in his great amnesia, and all will be right with the world.

As part of my own most serious (yet somehow sardonic) commemoration, if it were not for Ronald Reagan, I would not have studied Russian in college, lived in and traveled extensively throughout Central/Eastern Europe, become politically involved, nor be currently teaching political science (where I most enjoy teaching Marxist theory). So let us not forget about what lies beneath those sands: the underground.

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Missing the Company of Food-Eaters

This afternoon, Stephen & I took the train from the Hampton station to downtown Garland to walk around the historical square even though we were certain nothing would be open. Nothing was open. But the trip was fulfilling in that sort of way that getting no fulfillment can be.

The fast came and went. We ended it a few hours ago--after slightly more than 48 hours of no solid food. Still not sure of the benefits, particularly after the headaches began this afternoon as we walked around downtown Garland in the heat with nothing to do except board the train back to our side of town. I certainly do feel a bit more lucid and glad to finally fast after so many years of unquestioningly eating my fill. My last real fast was at the age of 18, when I abstained from food for four days. At the end of that time, I had visions and began speaking in tongues. I pray such conditions don't return.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll break my fast from speaking to people as well: I need to return several phone calls as well as call several people to arrange things for the next few weeks. Tomorrow will be a good day for such things.

Saturday, June 5, 2004

Dear Stalker



Okay, any thoughts on the cover to my next CD, a mini (less than 24 minutes) entitled "Digital Tsar"? I know the text on the back is impossible to read, but on the actual CD cover at real size, there should be no problem. By the way, the binary code on the front spells out T-S-E-R-O over and over, the name under which I release dance music. (The more serious, new age/ambient work is released under my name.) I'll schedule the studio this week to have it mastered. I'm looking forward to having another item on the shelves of my sad, little shop.

Stephen talked me into this damn-fool fast this weekend: I haven't had solid food since yesterday around 5:00 PM. It's easy to control the body; the difficulty is in controlling the mind and getting it to accept that just because the body is hungry, it doesn't mean you'll be stopping at the next cafe for a bite. I even started salivating when we drove past a Church's Chicken!

I'm not happy about my stalker from the past year getting my home phone number and leaving messages from a local number. Get a fucking life, for fuck's sake. I haven't talked to you in over a year, and I only talked to you twice in my life! That's what I get for not sleeping with him: if I would've just fucked him, he'd be long gone by now.

Friday, June 4, 2004

Incommunicado

First, I want to wish a happy birthday to my 17-year-old nephew Tim. You mean the world to me.

The American Dream baffles me. How did such a lie become so pervasive around the globe? The only thing more laughable is the Protestant work ethic brought over on that ship of inbred fools. If all colonizers are sexual deviants, as Andrei Codrescu claims, then why couldn’t the good sexual deviants colonize this lost continent? Of course, I’d be happy if just one good sexual deviant attempted to plant a flag on my fertile soil. Sigh.

I have been working so hard these past few days, and I still have so far to go. Reacquainting myself with my reader & writer selves. Very pleased with the new CD as well as the cover design. Filled with anxiety, loneliness, and a bit of boredom, however. And a strong desire not to talk to anyone, especially those who would sidetrack and/or hijack me and my time. I’m not looking forward to this weekend even though I should be excited about the several free films that will be shown as part of the Asian Film Festival. Instead, I feel blech and want to sleep till Monday.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Water in Water

If it’s been 15 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, then it’s been 5 years since I was in Beijing, shortly before the 10th anniversary. Which means it’s been 5 years since I was last in Asia, specifically Japan, my home for 2 years.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I determined that if it were not for the ESL job, leaving Japan would’ve been a mistake, something regrettable. Now I know that it wasn’t a mistake in the big picture. But I do miss it sometimes. Despite the hardships & loneliness, I was able to make it a magical place, especially after meeting Tetsuya & Jihad.

Thankfully, I’m still in touch with Tetsuya after all this time. But I haven’t heard from Jihad in several months. Perhaps he’s enjoying the North American dream somewhere in Canada now. Or maybe he’s still in Damascus. Who would ever believe there is such a sensitive & sweet boy named Jihad?

***

It’s always disorienting for me when I visit sites of tragedies: Tiananmen Square, the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, Hiroshima. In some ways, it’s like the feeling I got when I used to stand on the roof of my apartment in Shimonoseki and gaze at the stars: sheer insignificance. But this feeling was not defeatist in the least; instead, I felt consumed by something greater than me (history, life, the universe), a part of this vast thing that somehow added significance to my own meager life. This is also how I feel when I visit my family graves every Memorial Day.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Free-Range Chicken

Tuesday, of course, is laundry day, and laundry day is quite often a time to decode the semantics and syntax of my clothes in an attempt to understand the body beneath them. After the final two black socks were paired, folded, and placed on the bottom shelf in the closet, I turned to put my underwear on the same shelf. But there was only one pair: white Calvin Klein boxer briefs with a snap button to close the fly.

Seven days of laundry easily translates into 7 to 9 shirts, 10 – 15 socks, an old pair of blue jeans, a couple of bandanas, workout shorts, and perhaps some khakis or pants. But what does it mean when I wear only one pair of underwear per week? Am I “as free as a bird”? Why does anyone wear underwear at all?

No, I didn’t wear the same underwear for the past 7 days. Instead, there was just one day this past week that I wore any underwear.

How many pair of underwear do you wear in one week?

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Buzzing & Raving

Buzzing from the double soy latte I nursed at Torrefazione as I finished Che's Motorcycle Diaries. Raving for the endorphin/adrenaline rush due to caffeine, a hard workout, shitty drivers, an empty stomach, and frustration. But the banana with a dollop of peanut butter on every bite, the last of the JumBlo bubble gum (red, no less), and the 2nd cup of milk I just slammed should kick in soon, and I'll be back to my dour self.

KittyBolesław looks like an orange angel sleeping on the couch as the light through the trees just outside the front window dances on his beautiful face. If he can get through this day with such a strong sense of ease & peace, then so can I.

Tomorrow morning my tai chi class begins. I'm looking forward to learning something new as well as practicing it consistently over the next month.

Peaceful thoughts to all who read what hopefully comes across as peaceful thoughts.