Thursday, July 20, 2006


Arcades in Paris- Passage Verdeau

Passage Panorama

"Writing and publication will be less and less a sign of distinction. In keeping with our electoral and industrial customs, everyone, at least once in his life, will have his page, his treatise, his prospectus, his toast--will be an author." Saint Beuve [U9,2] from The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin

This is my 100th post, so I will take a hiatus from this blog for the summer. I will re-visit it after September to consider how I want to proceed, if I want to continue; and where I want this blog to go- intellectually.
Instead, I plan to spend the summer reading more books, playing the piano, taking pictures, collecting more words, volunteering, practicing psychogeography (or just being a flâneur), learning more of everything, and trying to be a good friend.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Photos of Millenium Park

"The room on the Rue Saint-Jacques where The Society of the Spectacle got written was at once an austere cell- with nothing on the shelves, I remember, but a few crucial texts (Hegel, Pascal, Marx, Lukács, Lautréamont Poésies) laid open at the relevent page- and the entryway to Debord's miniscule apartment, through which friends and comrades continually passed." T.J. Clark (forward) from Guy Debord by Anselm Jappe

Thoughts of Chicago-

1.It is hot and sweat-induced.
2.There are mini-bunnies in the million-dollar Millenium Park
3.American cities are too spread out and rely too much on cars. Even though Chicago has the "L"- it seems not convenient enough.
4.The "no-smoking indoors" policy is slowly spreading across America- even into Mid-West Chicago, amazing.

The sad thing is that I did not read a damn thing- not even while on the plane (except for trashy magazines). I wanted to keep track of the conversation topics which were covered. I'm curious as to what people talk about. People talk so much, I wanted to break it down to common subject- 1st there's the usual "catching up or getting to know each other"
2nd there's the goofing around- non-topics about what is happening in the present-3rd topics regarding work.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

no new words

The things I saw in Chicago I enjoyed the most:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Since Sunday, I have been without a voice; one of the results of my illness last Thursday. This voice lack has created some interesting responses from people, as I am lucky to be witness to some behaviors one usually isn't privy to see.

The first type of response is: when you whisper, some people will whisper back- without even thinking of why you are whispering in the first place. Perhaps they think I'm weird and they're just entertaining me. This is very possible- I do live in the nut-out capital of the world, with people having all sorts of strange and irrational ticks- perhaps people who live here have been conditioned to accommodate all sorts of weird behavior.

The second kind of response is from waitstaff- I have gone out a few times and even ordered tea at Peet's. I write down my order and hand it to the waiter (it's only been men at this point). They nod emphatically to show that they "understand" and they also don't verbalize- as to show their solidarity with me. I find this behavior quite striking- I'm not sure how to interpret this- perhaps those drawn to this industry are more empathetic? I would not draw this conclusion from the service I usually get.

My co-workers have just resorted to teasing me-which is to be expected.

OK- enough of that- I included some pictures of Nantes, France from when I was there in early May 2006. These are pictures of our BIG lunch salad, Insane! And a picture of the sky overhead.
Tonight- off to Chicago and Washington, D.C. No posts for a few days- but I'll be back, with pictures!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Beware of yesterday

I finished reading The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig- here is my little review, as promised:

Zweig's name is no longer recognized as a major writer now, although he was the most translated author during his heyday. He was friends with some of the most well-known names of culture and intelligentsia: Rilke, Freud, Richard Strauss, Maksim Gorky and the list goes on. He penned a wide variety of works from biographical studies to novellas and operas. World of Yesterday, however, is his memoir, published after his suicide of 1942.
I was initially attracted to this book because of my current interest in turn-of-the-century Vienna; although I had heard of Zweig's name, and even read chapters of his large biographical work, Master Builders.

However, after reading WoY, new doors of inquiry have opened in my mind. I started to see Vienna in a pivotal historical moment, inhabiting a crossroads where decisions were made (not only my politicians, but by ordinary people who chose to turn their heads) that affected history's course, but also the face of Europe. Zweig lived during an incredibly divergent time. (Perhaps one can make the argument that all times are like this) Not only was culture brimming with prospects, but ideas were spilling forth and co-mingling within literature, music, visual arts and theory. Zweig traveled back and forth across Europe- writing, thinking and meeting other great artists. He writes of a moment he was privileged to witness the creative fire in Rodin. He speaks fondly of his encounters with Rilke- a gentle, sensitive man. And he gives a picture of Europe before it turn the corner into the two great wars. He expresses his disappointment of Europe's change after WWI- and the horrors which befell Vienna right before WWII.

This is an amazing read- and after reading it I became more fascinated by this man who lived through all experiences- in fact on Sat.- I went a bought a few more books on him!
I also saw a connection between what happened in Vienna and what could possibly happen here in the US- it is a warning. Although this memoir greatly informs, there is a strange elusive quality to Zweig. He does not really let you in, for example, as you are reading- all of a sudden, there is a wife! Who is this wife? What is her name? How did they meet? This he never tells you- nor does he tell you that this marriage ends and as he is about to leave England for Brazil, he gets married to another woman. Nor does he reveal what internal processes he undergoes, nor does he reveal some insight of why he has become the person he is. No matter- I guess one can read other biographies on Zweig to get these answers (there is one penned by his first wife, Frederika).

Nevertheless, it is a highly recommended read- perhaps the best book I've read so far this
year- links for more info:

Friday, July 07, 2006


No outside Oakland picture today- instead I bring you…my room- but it is in Oakland. And for those who wonder if there is a there in Oakland, there is! And I will prove it to you next week….

This is the view when you walk through the door.

And this is the view from the bed. I better start reading...

Yesterday I woke up feeling terrible. The night before I had gone to sleep extremely cold, then awoke in the middle of the night with twisted sweat drenched sheets wrapped around me. I had tense and stressful dreams. There were no images only voices- as though I was hearing conversation with my eyes closed or I was listening to a radio station. The discussions centered on political and governmental issues. But these discussions were argumentative and warlike. Why would I have such dreams- I think they were highly influenced by the book I've been reading by Zweig, which I have quoted in this blog. I have now finished it and will post a short review on Monday. And also this dream was influenced by snippets of radio programs and other things which have been trying to reveal the warlike nature of our current administration. And maybe it was mostly the fever I had.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July picture

A quick post- A picture taken on July 4th in San Francisco-

seems fitting....