Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Malibu morning picture of the day - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

Time for your daily picture. Here it is:

Image result for wooden cart wheel
Another serene, blue, pacific morning.

I have nothing wise to personally report this morning, so instead I'll give you a quote from Courses on Effectiveness and Guidance by an unnamed Taoist writer:

Thirty spokes, the same one hub, where there is nothing is the function of the wheel.

Image result for pottery wheelWhen you work clay into a vessel, where there is nothing is the function of the vessel.

When you open up doors and windows, it is where there is nothing that the room is functional.

Image result for open windows at night

So you have something for its benefit, and have nothingness for its function.

You gotta love Taoist writing in English translation. It's always enigmatic. I suspect in literary Chinese, it's just as prone to various interpretation. But yes, by building boundaries around the void are we able to make good use of the void. I'll be thinking about that all day. My first assignment of the day is to start cutting down some verbose sales language ...

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Malibu morning picture of the day - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

It's a blue-on-blue day today at the Malibu coast:

Another cool, bluish atmosphere. It looks like this all around. And, it was about 60 Fahrenheit driving in today, so perhaps SoCal "summer" may be over, until the next heat wave.

No second look today. It's all pretty consistent just like above, so let me share something else with you.
Neiman-Marcus Christmas 1962. pp. 2-3.

Now, what the hell is this? you may ask. Why, it's the extravagant, showstopping offering in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog of 1962. For those of you who don't know, Neiman-Marcus always puts out an Xmas book which includes some ridiculously expensive thing that us mere mortals can dream about, and trip out on the vicarious luxury of it all. This is the catalog when I was but 4 years old--probably not even talking very well then.

I'm doing some writerly research of the time and on a lark I ordered some N-M catalogs on eBay that are from the time period I'm interested in. When I get bored of blue skies, I'll probably throw pictures from my early time period in once in a while.

So, for a mere 11,500 1962-valued U.S. dollars, you could get your own Chinese junk. I guess I was attracted to this pic because of the early 60s media-take on Chinese-ness. How exotic we all were back then! I like that the cabin man-boy has a slightly pissed-off look on his face.

What's funny to me is how nearly all the stuff on the pier, except for the radio and the ice bucket, looks pretty much like high-end stuff you'd buy today, especially the Louis Vuitton bags. The woman's look is extremely of her time, especially the now-politically-incorrect Chincilla fur shawl.

Anyway, hope this puts you in a mood start thinking about your Christmas shopping and what kind of junk you'll be giving and getting this year.

Love and Joy Gin

Monday, September 28, 2015

Malibu morning picture of the day - Monday, September 28, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

A happy Monday to you. As September draws to a close, we are getting morning moisture. Here's some clouds for you.

A lot of light blue this morning. And for your second look, some deer on the front lawn, eating the grass.

Yeah, they look like ants here, but what's unusual is for them to be out in the open like that. They always avoid presenting their silhouettes cuz that means trouble... (remember Bambi?).

Well, well, well, if these pastel Monday morning scenes are just a little too cheerful for you in your current mood, fear not. Since the light was diffuse on my way in, I decided to stop and get a snapshot of this moody little beauty on my way into work.

Artist unattributed, Abstraction 8133981600, paint on wood panel.

'int she great Ladies and Gentlemen? Let's give her big hand...

I have no idea what this is. The leaves are overhanging foliage and not part of the painting, but as such are a totality of the experience, as is the ever-present upper shadow of this tree of which the branches are part. I'm sure the artist took that into consideration in creating this rather thoughtfully ominous piece. It makes me think of a single-cell organism with all kinds of inner doo-dads going on inside.

You will find this with a host of other images in a parking lot across the street from Fairfax High School on Melrose. This falls outside of my East Hollywood specialty, so these will be presented as adjuncts in my "Out of Bounds" series. Stay tuned for more as time goes on. They'll go up whenever I feel like it...

If you want to see every piece of art I ever post, follow me on Twitter @vway3. I push everything there.

Image result for inside out movie
Hey. I finally went to see Disney/Pixar's Inside Out this weekend (mostly to escape the heat of the afternoon--seemed like as good an excuse as any). Actually my fellow bassoonist in the wind ensemble is a marketing exec at Disney and he highly recommended it months ago.

It's a hella weird film. And God! Is it a tear-jerker (at least if you're a parent I think); afterward I felt like I had gone through a combination psych-training industrial film and a breakthrough-catharsis therapy session. Talk about drained. It's at the end of the run at this point (that's when I usually go to films in deserted halls) but there were still about 30 people in the seats on a Sunday afternoon. Not sure how this one ever got the green light in concept stage, but I'm glad it got made. Check it out when you get a chance.

Thats' it for today.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Three Loves Seven, Chapter 29, Part 2 - "A Royal Family History"

Dear Gentle Readers,

Today we pick back up in the conversation that Clete was having with Mu, who has decided, whether Clete likes it or not, to disclose their immediate family history and why they sit on the island and just wait.

If any of you come out of a religious tradition similar to mine and you find the Islanders' tenacious clinging to this myth of triumphant redemption oddly reminiscent of something you once heard somewhere, I don't what to tell you ... other than just stay tuned.

Just a warning, there will be one more installment in this exposition chapter, and it will look just a little farther back into Island history. But for the time being it's time to learn a little more about the First Princesses ...

... as the story continues ...

     “And that is how Dog Island’s current phase of development, the era of exclusive royal exile, began.”
     “Have any of missing 47 every washed up or been recovered?”
     “No. But they remain commemorated in our consciousness. The Festival of Souls Lost at Sea is for them. Prior to the surge it was observed on the traditional date of Hungry Ghosts, on the 15th or the full moon. We moved it keep the memory of the 8th day, back-to-back with Seven-Seven. It was not fully explained to you, but on Lost Souls, we cook enough food to ritually feed 47 people, and that is what we set onto the ocean in the little leaf boats on that night.
     “And so, we were returned to The Island, but we were totally on our own for a year, living in a virtual stone age. But it was not too much different than conditions that we have today, and we just got used to it. Their legislature did not want to grant us any aid. We sued for independence, but they relented and agreed to provide a certain number of prefabricated buildings and materials for rebuilding our infrastructure. And our regular supply allowance of grain, medicine, and fuel.”
     “This cataclysm of 1988,” I said, “you said it was payback for a generation’s misconduct? Tell me about that.”
     “That would be our mothers. ‘The children who forgot their duty,’ the Tiny Empress called them. They were a great disappointment to Great-Grandmother. I suppose I need to tell you about her first.”
     “This was the woman known as ‘The Tiny Empress of the Moon?’”
     “The ‘Numinous Moon’ in English. Let’s get that right, shall we?”
     “So she was small?”
     “Four feet, six inches in your measurement system.”
     “Na told me about her.”
     “Ah, so you know the story of Na’s freckles then. Because there were so many unique things about her—her diminutive size, her great intellect, her miraculous healing from smallpox, her beautiful pox scars, her ethereal beauty, her ability to play the guqin with her tiny child’s hands—it was thought that surely The Prince would come in her time, but he did not.
     “At some time in an avatar’s life, she must give up hope for herself as a maiden in waiting and instead marry someone else and produce the next avatar, a daughter. This has always happened in an avatar’s mid to late 30s.”
     “So these are arranged marriages then?”
     “Extremely. The men who have been chosen as consorts do it out of duty and because they are guaranteed a male heir, a son.”
     “Late life pregnancies are rare and not easy. What if a son is never conceived? Or no child at all?”
     “It’s never happened. As I said. There are no coincidences here. A married avatar has always produced at least one son and one daughter. Oh, and once an avatar’s daughter has reached womanhood, the mother never lives too long after that.”
     “By that logic, your clock is about to run out. Right? Nu is certainly a woman now.”
     “I accept that. That is the way it is.”
     “Our mothers’ generation was unusual though. They seemed to hold on tenaciously to life. The gods tolerated it for a while, but in the year of the surge, they took them, one by one, on a strict schedule, in no particular order.”
     “They were not all the same age like you guys?”
     “Oh no, among the the nine of them there were three shared birthdays. The Tiny Empress had a multiple birth and produced three identical triplet daughters.”
     “The mothers of the Three Branches that Qi told me about?”
     “Ah. Exactly. A birth like that is considered portentious and it was thought surely that within their time, The Prince would come, but he did not. Like their mother, they all married, but also like their mother they each produced triplet births, but not in the same year. So, that successive generation was thought more auspicious than the previous. But our mothers took it for granted that one of their cousins would be the chosen wife for The Great Prince, so no one bothered to live faithfully in waiting, forcing the advent of the Prince to bypass their generation. Many of them married early. Like I said, they were a great disappointment to the Tiny Empress’ ideal of holding oneself until the end.”
     “Wai... , wai… , wait a MINUTE!” I said. “This system of yours will NEVER resolve. If this Prince shows up, he’s going to have to steal another man’s wife and child, totally violating your virtue of loyalty. If he shows up before the woman marries, there’s no child for him to claim as his own. This makes absolutely NO SENSE. If you believe this stuff, have you considered THAT’S WHY you’ve been stuck here for centuries?”
     “You are not the first to think that way.”
     “Yeah, well. Who am I to judge? Maybe you like it this way? Continual and eternal non-resolution?”
     “I agree it defies conventional logic. We will never find the resolution in reason. When he does come, and I believe he will, it WILL make a sense that we cannot currently see.”
     “Man, you guys sound like a bunch of Protestant theologians when they’re backed into a corner and forced to explain things like blood sacrifice, virgin birth, and the trinity. They end up saying something like: ‘It’s a mystery!’”
     “Well then. You should be quite constitutionally equipped to accept paradoxes.”
     “Not really. But it's where I unhitch reason from religion. And how does having all nine of you—you, Feng, Lee, Qi, Lum, Ting Ting, Mei, Na, and Lian—having children out of wedlock, but disqualifying their sires from being The Prince, make any sense either?”
     “That situation just sort of evolved. Lee was the one who first came up with the idea to bear a daughter while unmarried. As we all aged there was anxiety about what to do. She decided to arrange her impregnation with consent of the donating clan involved all by herself. She thought that by sacrificing her option of being the chosen wife, and by producing the next avatar it would take the pressure off everyone else. And it did for a while. But when Ling became old enough to be a conscious mind, Feng, who has great sensitivity in this, discerned that for the first time, a girl in the line of descent of The Empress was NOT an avatar. Our collective anxiety returned. Lee seemed to have created a sound approach to the problem, so we each took our turn, trying to produce the next avatar. Lian was to be the last maiden in waiting, but no young avatar had been produced and then Lian’s period stopped for months. We decided the gods revenge against our mothers was now fully enacted and that the only thing to do was to await the end. It was a time of great despair. And then Lian’s fertility returned. So she acted and when the ninth GIRL of that generation was born, Qin Qin, we felt the pattern was affirmed, but Qin Qin was not an avatar either.”

     “Do your daughters know all of this?”
     “No. We have not told them everything.”
     “So you’ve hidden your doubt? You’ve led them to believe they’re part of a cycle that you yourselves think has ended?”
     “When you put it that way, it sounds bad.”
     “NO need to yell Dr. Wong! Not all of us are totally certain, about the girls that is. There is some disagreement. It’s easier to support our ‘orthodox’ tradition. And so Professor, here we are, at the end of our reason, at the end of logic. The thing we feel, all of us First Princesses, is that we are now in a test of our original resolve, and faith, and loyalty to what we believe about ourselves. But it’s been hard the last few years as the Second Princesses have come of age. We are afraid that to change our beliefs will mean another cataclysm. It’s a difficult for us to know what to do. The pattern has changed.”
      “So you came up with this tidy idea of creating a Questor’s office?”
      “And now you’ve come and the incident happened yesterday. And I don’t know what it all means.”
     “What does it mean that Nu asked me to cut her hair?” I asked.

They looked at each other, and Mu nodded to Feng to answer.

     “It means that Nu has made a legal declaration that she believes you are the prophesied Great Prince, and that she acknowledges you as her real father and her sovereign ruler. It means that as your daughter, and subject, she owes you her loyalty, duty, and obedience in all things, and that you have a superior claim on her behavior as her father, more so than Mu, her mother.”
     “Holy shit! That means I have legal responsibility for her then?”
      “At this point,” said Mu, “she told me you had no idea what you were doing because she didn’t tell you. I’m pretty sure she figured that if she did tell you, you would have refused. So we should not consider you bound as her parent and king yet, but should you acknowledge her claim, then yes.”
     “What would that entail?”
     “Something as simple as giving her an order, as we would expect a father to do. So be careful in your dealings with her until you’ve decided how to resolve it.”
     “MU! You need to take responsibility for this fucked-up situation. YOU sent me out there, chasing a bunch of goddamned pirate kidnappers, flying your flag, dressed like the Holy Roman Qianlong Emperor. Andou and his crew ALSO think I’m some kind of fairy-tale character that can order them around and stick earrings into. What were you thinking?”
     “I’m sorry Clete,” said Mu. “That’s just it. I wasn’t thinking. I just knew I had to do something. It was an existential crisis. And that was the only thing I could think to do.”
     “Did you tell Nu all this?”
     “Yes I did. Last night. Over and over.”
     “It only made her more convinced that her instincts were correct.”
     “NOW what do I do?”
     “I don’t know. But I believe you were permitted here by our gods to be an intervening force, as you have proven.”
     “May I?” said Feng.
     “Go ahead.”
     “There is … one thing … that you could do to turn this into a resolution or a relatively ‘happy ending,’” said Feng, she leaned over into Mu. “I don’t know if Mu would agree to it.”
     “Marriage? No offense Mu. We could make as good a team as any arranged couple, but don’t go there,” I said, “I was married before and I am never going there again. It’s not a happy place for me. Plus it would be inauthentic. I suspect you’d feel like you were carrying on a charade.”
     “Clete,” said Mu, “I am not going to say anything on that topic right now. It’s premature. We need to let the matter sit. By the way, Nu made the fishballs for you so it would nice if you said something about them when you see her. For the time being I suggest that you just carry on your day-to-day work, along with whatever social obligations you seem to have gotten yourself into. What this I hear you are committed to being Qi’s bath attendant? If this is troublesome for you, I can intervene.”
     “Are you complaining? She been smelling a lot nicer ever since.”
     “And he is my music student,” said Feng. "I don't recommend discontinuing them. You've made good progress."
     “Has he? Well Clete, do you have any questions for us?”
     “OK, so now I know your immediate family tree, roughly. But how did this legend of return get started? Why are you here in the first place?”

© Copyright 2012 by Vincent Way, all rights reserved.

Malibu morning picture of the day - Friday, September 25, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

It's Friday and here is your picture of the day:

There is a nice lavender fog sitting on Santa Monica Bay right now. It won't last long. We have no second look today. It all looks pretty much the same, no matter how you turn.

Yesterday I learned a new word, "spoonie." I was reading someone's blog who used it a couple of times, but the context did not make it clear. My first impulse was to assume to assume it was a term from the drug culture--and if not that, from sex-and-intimacy culture. But it turned out it was neither. It comes from this article by Christine Miserandino. Go ahead. Read it. It's not long. And then come back.

A few years ago, I ran into a brick wall on my motor scooter, was thrown off, tumbled, and while nothing was broken, I was severely strained and sprained in my lower limbs, and they never have been quite as strong since. I don't think the accident was the cause, but it was certainly a turning point in my overall health and I have had chronic pain and fatigue. Someone I used to walk with on lunch periods (2 miles 3-5x a week on the school track) tells me I changed after that. I wonder if I may have an undiagnosed fatigue condition. But I'll probably never know since I'll probably never talk to a doctor about it. Even so, this article gives great insight into understanding people who have limited energy stores.

There have only been two other times in my life when I encountered a articulated analogy that fit me perfectly. Number one was as a college freshman I first heard a 15-minute commentary on libertarianism and anarchy by KPFK radio personality Lowell Ponte, and I found my philosophical identity. Number two was being sent a Meyers-Briggs report by a researcher who had selected me as a subject in his study of third-party political candidates, and I found I was an INTJ temperament. I do not have enough pain or limited stamina like a lupus or fibromyalgia sufferer to qualify myself as a "spoonie," but I think I'm on the way when you get to a point, like I have, where you think about the energy toll that preparing a simple meal will have on you and what you do the rest of the day (it's supposed to resupply you, not deplete you, it's perverse).

As "negative" as this revelation seems, it's really blessing when this coincidence of the outer world and your soul occurs. There are numerous folktales and stories that make a plot point of when a character meets a mage or a mentor or an enemy, and that person speaks the character's "true name." You hear that name as an outsider and you think "Big deal! That's not such a great name. 'Sparrowhawk?' The hell!" There is no ceremony for it. There is no sacred ritual though in invented stories, the authors create them. In real life, you're working one day in your job, and then Jesus comes by and says your name, and then you change.

Anyway, if you have unlimited energy stores, I envy you all. But now that I have a frame of reference, I can stop beating myself up about not fixing all the holes in the ceiling that I should, and start to budget the true cost, and eventually work up to such tasks and not feel guilty because I just didn't have enough spoons saved up. So cut slack to the people in your life who have chronic conditions. I used to not do so, and to all of you, I'm sorry.

Have a wonderful, productive weekend.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

iT'S STreeT arT THurSDay! in East Hollywood with Malibu pic of the day - Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dear Street Art Lovers,

Here is an interesting piece that I took a picture of nearly a year ago. It's since been hit with some add-on "hate-on" tags, but it's still there. It's really near my house, so I see it all the time.

Artist undiscernible, Remember Who You Are/Fuck You Dick, paint on brick.

We've basically got a face floating in space along with various boxes of matches and other prisms. I think the artist may have been tripping out on the Surrealist school and got an idea for this. I think the treatment of intergalactic space is SO great on this thing. There's also this galactic cloud or aurora kind of thing going on here too, not just splatter-stars.

Here's a detail. Rather than just paint the door like the rest, the artist created an open doorway. Cool no? Some would call this a very ironic, postmodern treatment.

You can find this on the side of a beauty shop at the corner of Santa Monica and Heliotrope. That brick building has been many things over the years. I most remember it as a laundromat when I was a kid in the 60s-70s, and it had a big ol' "FREE DRY" painted where this mural is now.

Painting "dark" murals like this always catches the eye when they're new, but they do fade a LOT over time. This one has held up pretty well. I'll try to snap a catch-up photo this weekend and add onto this page so that we can see the progression. I did not capture a context shot last year. This is not the most inspired or well-crafted mural of the East Hollywood bailiwick, but I like it because it shows some of the range of expression we've got here.


Time of this photo is 10:15 AM; we were called into a large staff meeting for a couple of hours. So here's what it looks like at the coast today. A bit hazy, but basically clear blue skies today.

Gotta pay the rent, so enjoy your Thursday.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Malibu morning picture of the day and "The Champ" - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

We've got another blue on blue day in the Bu today (see way below) so I think I'll lead off instead with a punch.

Artist unattributed, The Champ, paint on concrete.

This is not in East Hollywood, so it falls into our "Out of Bounds Gallery." You'll find this tribute in the heart of "post-production" Hollywood, the numerous little tech shops south of Fountain and north of Beverly between Gower and La Cienega that do things with motion pictures after the camerapeople have taken all the pictures that they're going to. Here we have portrait based on an extremely youthful Muhammad Ali, maybe even Cassius Clay, in a bare-fisted stance. Better duck.

And here is our picture of the day. A lovely set of blues as usual. Sorry I missed you all yesterday, I was being help captive in house arrest by my auto transmission shop who said I'd be ready by noon. They lied of course, but who really expects mechanics' estimates to be correct anyway?

Anyway, gotta run since I'm a day behind.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Malibu afternoon picture of the day and "Dog, Boy & Cat" - Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Gentle Readers,

No morning pic, but an afternoon pic follows later on. Had to mess with getting both my cars to repair shops this morning. One vehicle did get fixed early, so after got underway, I found this painting on a utility box. Had I not be so inconvenienced I probably would not have found this work.

Artist unattributed, Unconditional 3-Way Love, paint on sheet metal.

If you are a pet owner, I think you will probably love the sentiment in this piece, I sure do. I love how the dog is in the role of comforter here. The utility box is on Franklin Avenue near Cheremoya Ave. Elementary School.

Anyway, here is the afternoon picture of the day:

Lots of overhead clouds, giving everything a bright-white ethereal look at the coast. It remains hot in L.A.

And here's your second look, again with flags a-flying. I read a commentary by a pundit hoping that what he calls "the 9/11 ritual" will end sometime soon.

I do know what he's talking about. But it won't end anytime soon I think. I wonder how long it has to be before a significant portion of the public who was not conscious for an event overcomes those who do remember. Veterans Day is such a holiday of remembrance of societal tragedy, namely World War I. There probably no one alive today who remembers that war, and the remembrance has been generalized to fallen military members. The future of 9/11 may lie in a recognition of all those noncombatants who will continue to be killed by terrorists. I guess we'll see.

In any case, thanks for those of you have bothered to look in on my doings today. I don't really expect hits, but it's hard to miss with a dog and cat on the Internet.