Saturday, July 26, 2003

Baila la Cumbia!

Cumbia is one of the world's great dance grooves. It is made up of merry guitars and accordions, torrid brass, and insistent, deep-toned drums and percussion, pounding out a lopsided, strutting 4/4 rhythm with a kick like nitroglycerine.
-The Rough Guide to Cumbia

It originated in Colombia but this is the music that fills dance halls in Mexico past the onset of darkness. Men with greasy hair and sharp suits. Women with backless dresses and short skirts. All wildly swaying their hips. The music is hypnotic, cowboy music, rural trance.

Here is Cumbia Sobre el Rio from Celso Pina, who is infusing cumbia with modern elements from rap and reggae.

Friday, July 25, 2003

I have been playing with light and how it falls around me. Translucence and shadows.

I grew up in a sleepy surf town but felt most at home in downtown manhattan. Cities are where I grew up, where my emotions developed (like the rough shine of tarnished copper.)

I think that I can feel time, that movement across spaces and habits of being. Sometimes it is abrupt, like a door thrown open, other times graceful, like a body moving through silk curtains.
I'm gonna eat you little fishy!

Fishy is a very relaxing game

Me, swimming with the fishys (sort of)

Sunday, July 13, 2003

The Creation of the Birds by Remedios Varo

Saturday, July 12, 2003

The imperfect mirror

if you make something perfectly symmetrical and then give it a small fracture you have an almost-symmetry. The nature of these things is that whereas in symmetry the focus is on the whole, now the focus is on the fracture.

Because we are all different, we are fascinated and consumed by different problems. Sometimes our individual obsessions may even define us. We are a unique accumulation of obsessions. One of my obsessions has always been the imperfect mirror.

The first place I discovered imperfect mirrors was in physics. Our universe is riddled with slightly fractured mirrors and yet physicists generally do not make a big deal of this.

Take for example, reversal in time. Forget all that entropy stuff you have been fed. The truth is that even particle processes are not reversible in time. Well, actually, most processes are with the exception so far .. of one! "Only the weak nuclear force appears to violate this symmetry, and this so far only in the behavior of the neutral kaon."

This is a good example of a fractured mirror. The same is true with actual mirror symmetry. If you held up a huge mirror to the universe, all physics you see happening in the mirror (objects falling under gravity etc) would be physics that happens here too. Well, once again with the exception of just one sort of interaction "Mirror image of a charged weak process has never been observed."

I have always understood, I think, that only imperfect mirrors can exist. Unbroken symmetry is an ideal only, a construction of our minds. For us to know left from right, light from dark, past from future, a transgressor must exist who by crossing the boundaries of the mirror brings the whole thing into definition. We can only tell light from dark because of the shadows.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

On the 11 hour Virgin flight, I kept listening to Junior Senior's move your feet. I have found that it is difficult to dance in your seat.

They also had 50 movies you could watch. This is Chavela Vargas' la Llorona , a haunting song, from the movie Frida.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I have been back now for several days but feel as if I am still settling back into my life in san francisco. It feels as if I am still waking up, as if I have emerged from a dream.

(For no particular reason I mention that the spanish word for dream is sueño (pronounced 'swen-yo') So, to say 'she dreams' I would say 'sueña' (swen-ya))

Orginally, I was going to visit old college friends. First, Dan in Heidelberg who works as an astronomer for the Max Planck Institut. Then Ian and Jessica in London. As it turned out, I spent most of my trip, 10 days, in Hamburg or traveling around Northern Germany with Mina.

First was Berlin which I mentioned below. Then Hamburg where we played scrabble in cafes and walked along the Reeperbahn and I learned about Barbapapas. Then Kiel, where we sailed on the Baltic sea and saw fireworks on the Bay and I saw Blandine again who seemed to be tailing us everywhere.

I also spent some time in odd cafes where we ordered two spezzi and yet paid 30 euros. I recommend you check the bill if this happens to you.

The Hamburg Harbor was magnificent. It was an enormous labyrinth of machines and shipyards and cranes and even water-filled residential byways. After taking a boat through the harbor we took an elevator down to an old beautiful tunnel still used by cars which are lifted up and down and then creep slowly beneath the waters along narrow lanes that were originally meant for horses. Walking along these tunnels was both strange and wonderful.

The whole trip was composed of moments like that. Short but timeless episodes.

These last few weeks have been amazing. It was more than a dream because it was real. When we wake up and we long to return to our dreams it is because we miss that sense of being in the present, of acting out something beautiful. In our dreams we can imagine and feel happiness (just as in our nightmares we can imagine horror) But that happiness is also real, as real as anything else. It is not imagined.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

London Town
(posted from an internet cafe in Trafalgar Square)

Waiting to meet up with Roderick then later Ian and Jessica.

I will post a lot more soon. This is a marker. I need to write about Kiel and Sailing and The Reeperbahn and barbarabar and about my adventures with M. and Blandine and Thorsten and Ricarda. Theres a lot more but I cant write about it all.