Thursday, May 29, 2008

bien francais

Pictured above is our herb garden filled with basil, mint, chives, dill and oregano. In another part of the yard we planted rhubarb - which by the way, takes two years to harvest, and hopefully the rabbits won't nab our strawberries this year. Our starter flower plants were all put in the soil. I also pulled out Voltaire's Candide to resuscitate my French. Voltaire uses the garden to symbolize the good life by cultivating and nurturing through this activity.

Through an inter library request I tried to rent the movie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly directed by Julian Schnabel, (a controversial NY painter) but received Jean Dominque Bauby's short memoir instead and rather enjoyed his first hand account of his last days in a hospital located in Berck, France. It is poetic and meditative. Bauby, the editor of French Elle suffered from a stroke which left him completely paralyzed but for one eye. Schnabel also directed Basquiat and Before Night Falls, both art flicks and both done very well.

Friday, May 23, 2008

some signifiers

Wherever you travel, there are a few messages worth documenting. One is from a hostel in Sarawak, Kuching, Borneo where the management requires that you leave your shoes before entering the facility - much like what we do in Alaska before coming into someones home. The t-shirt sign in Kuala Lumpur was unusual. I wonder if people really understand what they wear and its impact? This city is known to be very tolerant of all religions although it is predominantly an Islamic country. The night life in KL is bustling, colorful, and teeming with energy; ethic restaurants, one after another side by side can go on for blocks, and it is a manageable city to get from one place to another.
Singapore is known to be very strict and a heavily regulated city where one can get fined heavily for being caught spitting out chewing gum or jay walking. It is one of the safest cities in the world though, but the cost of living is very expensive. I could live quite comfortably in either city and Ken and I often talk about these possibilities.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

a bit of lore with cow lick

We traveled from New Delhi, India by train, for eighteen hours to the City of Light, known as Varanasi. The Hindus believe it to be the ultimate place to die. For 24 hours, people are cremated on the ghats on the holy river Ganges or called the Mother of India. It is quite a spectacle, chilling and other worldly. At a hostel where we spent a few nights, Ken snapped this photo of a poster of Krishna. In the Hindu religion, Krishna is the embodiment of love and divine joy, that destroys all pain and sin. He is the protector of sacred utterances and cows.
What I love about the Hindu religion is that they are known to have 330 million gods of India - allowing anyone to experience the divine in the way that suits best at the particular time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


There is a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

Friday, May 9, 2008

de milagros, myanmar and from one extreme to another

In 2006, Ken and I crossed over the border from Mae Sot, located in Northwestern Thailand, to Myanmar. It was Christmas day and we rented 5 dollar bikes. This border town was hot, dusty, transient and hectic. We happened to fall upon a massive Buddhist temple and photographed the myriad of iconography. What a beauty.
Meanwhile, I just finished reading The Miraculous Day in the Life of Amelia Gomez by John Rechy. It is a fast but full read, colorful, humorous and sad about an Hispanic family living in Hollywood. My next novel will be Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole. She is one of my favorite writers; her prose is dense and well written. Last summer I read Postcards and it is one of my recommended reads. I also posted one of my recent paintings........the collective unconscious working at speed; perhaps an expression of self indulgence but I think of it as gifts of gratitude.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

five easy pieces

Last night I rented the film Five Easy Pieces with a very young Jack Nicolson. His acting is great, unaffected (before he really went Hollywood bozo) and wonderful to look at. Karen Black is good too (where did she go?) It is a 70's period piece and wonderfully done. It is heady and I love the existential pauses; it can be tough and raucous too. There is a scene where they (Jack and Karen) are driving to Washington State to see his aging and dying father and they wind up picking up a couple of hippie hitchhikers. The gals are headed toward Alaska where the air is pure and there is no filth.

Another intelligent film I saw this past March along the same lines was The Sauvages with Laura Linney and Seymour Hoffman. What to do with their aging father? Their conversations and the reality of their time dealing with this situation was very realistic and human. It is a bummer of a topic but I love content films. It said something to me rather than leaving a vacant hole in my stomach.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

below and above ground

I find there is great beauty in the disheveled, the battered and worn. Pictured are some gravesites that we visited on our trip to Kuching, Sarawak in the Malaysian area of Borneo. One on the upper right is a Muslim cemetary where most of the burial sites are very plain and simple but they add a wonderful geometry to the landscape. Left is a dual (possibly for a couple?) Chinese tombstone. And lastly, I have included the Eklutna grounds in AK. It is quite explosive with color.