image

Having recently heard of someone’s academic interest in spiritual possession, I was inspired to show that it can work the other way around: humans can possess spirits. Not only do I possess multiple spirits, I even consume them and recycle their vessels, but not to excess on a regular basis: that would reverse the relationship, and exorcism is complicated (which reminds me of yet another surreal junior high memory of seeing the movie in the theater). At first, I thought to wait until day to get a decent image (ToonCamera needs strong light), but night seems a shared realm for all kinds of spiritual possession.

Now that the weather is warming, my favorite has shifted from the unseen Armagnac (in the fancy bottle in the top back) to the Highland Park (top left) and the Nikka “All Malt” (bottom center). The Chartreuse has featured in this blog before. I recommend it in hot chocolate in cold weather and with shaved ice in hot. Nikka produces Japanese Scotch, and it took me some tries to understand and appreciate it. At first, I did not possess the vocabulary to articulate its ideas. My palette could not tell if it was calvados, bourbon, or scotch. After some experience, I find it is smooth and rich with suggestions of adzuki, mochi, and loquat, possibly with intimations of yuzu.

image image

These are murals outside International College on California Street. I think they are two different leopards because their eyes are graced with different colors and Jeremiah (13:23) said so.

image

My proverbial constellation of advice for all occasions (learned late in life and by costly mistakes). If it cannot be ignored, it should be avoided; if it cannot be avoided, it should be ignored; if it cannot be ignored or avoided, it should be forgotten.

image

image

The next time I am asked why I moved to Lebanon, I will claim it is nothing remarkable, because Lebanon is the second-most popular country for immigrants.

image image image imageimage image image

This phenomenon of positive shadows keeps attracting my attention (see “Negative  Shadow, 2014/03/07), but ToonCamera does not capture well the contrast appearing to the naked eye. The date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, the Jacaranda, and the carob, Ceratonia siliqua, among others, have pinnate leaves that can cast confusing, positive shadows. Note how the central stem of the leaf does not appear as shadow, but as light. The leaf shadows are complex, yet the phenomenon is more dramatic and obvious with chain-link fence shadows. I have an image of a chain-link shadow and my attempt at an explanatory diagram. Given the sun’s size and distance, the diagram is not to scale. That was humor. The penumbrae spread and the sunlit gaps diminish with distance until the pattern is reversed. I thought to calculate the distance at which a chain-link fence made of 2 millimeter wire would be most inverted, but I will save it for a day when I am willing to risk feeling stupid.

image image

Outdoors at AUB. Either our bedroom or the balcony provides fine listening: closer would be clearer, but being there must be deafening. I do not understand the theme this year, but I appreciated hearing covers of Queen “We Will Rock You!” (a junior high bus favorite that always brings back memories of Jana and the other back-seat girls chanting the chorus: it seems I am condemned to have my junior-high, bus-ride memories persist and dominate all others), the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No” (a high school favorite), and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” (a friend’s car favorite). The images suggest it is the latest layer upon many and that it is already receding into the distance.

The Hamra Street Fair is also today and tomorrow, and the neighborhood is full of visitors. Beware heavy traffic. Many young men have seriously coifed, non-Iroquois-approved-semi-Mohawks and white shirts are common. Such peculiarities distinguish them from the usual university and neighborhood habitués.

image image image image image

The Japanese are such masters of graphics that these signs still make me anxious. When I look at them, I hear screaming, sense the tunnel collapsing, and feel panic approaching. It could be that trains scare me just a little bit.

My very first night in Tokyo, I became lost. This was long after I stopped collecting lost pet signs, so I do not think it was a conscious ploy by some residual conscience. I would like to say I was only a little bit lost (like being a little bit scared), but lost has an absolute aspect. Had it been day, I probably would not have become lost. I was on my way back to university guest lodgings from the train station about one kilometer away. There are so many little alley-like streets that I must have missed a turn. Being on a bicycle contributed. It was really dark. I cannot remember if alcohol was involved, but I think not substantially. I realized something was wrong when I came to a railway. Without crossing, I stopped to think (when confused, I find it advisable to stop and think). While pondering my certainty of not having crossed rails and visualizing where my lodgings were in relationship to the Chuo line and Kokobunji station, a train came and passed at full speed. Having such a large mass pass so close at such a speed generated a stress response. I began to contemplate my situation seriously. On a random walk, I would likely never find my lodgings, any place I recognized, or anyone who spoke English before I succumbed to starvation. I could neither pronounce nor spell the name of my host institution. With such grim realizations, I chose to carefully retrace my steps until I recognized where I may have mispedaled. Less than one hundred meters back, I saw the lit 7-11 sign just around the corner from my street. A familiar beacon of salvation in a strange dark land, a light unto the world.

That phrase reminds me of another memory I worry could be false. So far, all my dubious memories have been validated, but this one is irking me. I remember a building in downtown Portland with a lit sign “Light Unto The World,” or some such fervid phrase. This was back in the early 80s, the grim days of Reaganomics, collapsing timber industry, black and white, constant drizzle, and soup kitchens. At least that is how I remember then. The black and white nags me. It suggests a memory of a photograph more than a seen scene, but at night, colors would be absent, and I certainly would not have noticed such a beacon during the day. Beacons are for night, despair, and the lost. I even wonder as to the vantage I could have had: across the Burnside? From the Ross Island bridge? When I think of downtown Portland in the late 80s and later, it is all sunny and hip, and the Salvation Army a bygone relic. Yet when I searched for any hint of that beacon in Portland photographic history, I find nothing. I do not know what is creepier: the beacon, that there is no record of the beacon, or that I recall something that never was. If the latter is true, I should turn from these attempts at creative non-fiction and just write what I remember and call it non-creative fiction. The spontaneous generation of fiction from memory would literarily be an emergent situation.

image image

If you happen to be up and about in Beirut very early in the morning and hear a loud, continuous noise and smell petroleum, it might be our daily morning fogger spraying insecticides. There may be multiple ironies here: Are the mosquitoes or insecticide worse for our health? Would we not rather Sukleen collect the garbage? Perhaps we do not notice the stench of rotten garbage?

Wikipedia: Pyrethrins have little systemic toxicity in mammals, but they have been reported to induce contact dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. Signs and symptoms of pyrethroid toxicity include abnormal skin sensation (e.g., burning, itching, tingling, and numbness), dizziness, salivation, headache, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, irritability to sound and touch, and other central nervous system effects.

 imageimage

I could not stop myself from buying this USB memory stick. I show her off to everyone. My silly appreciation for Hello Kitty combined with sillier KISS (and who cannot use another stick) overcame the junior high school memories dredged and murky. There was a group of guys who got on the bus about two miles north of the river who liked KISS so much they would dress up and do a talent show air guitar tribute act including the clothes, make-up, and blood spitting. I do not remember so many details (1977?), but I do remember being confused as to why they were so interested as to go through all the bother. They even made platform shoes in wood shop. Their little sub-division had the worst of rural and suburban (emphasis on sub) living: isolated and close neighbors. Imagine Sartre’s Huis Clos: hell is other people’s children. Those young couples moving out to the country for fresh air and clean living did not anticipate what music their neighbor’s children would listen to. We thought they might be some sort of devil worshippers who played albums backwards to hear satanic messages. Good thing cable TV had not made it out there and the internet had not been invented.

image image image image image

She’s back! Rumor had it that she fell in with bad sorts and was incarcerated for months. Whether she lost the eye in a fight or fashion statement is not clear. Her favorite eye too! I know she had always dreamed of being a pirate, but I did not believe it would come to this. I am just glad to have her back as Moustachio on the wall. She promised me to stay out of politics, lay off the rum, and finish her latest volume of poems, and I promised her number one status on condition she refrain from biting and scratching.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers