Monday, September 28, 2009


Recently someone whom I have known for nearly ten years told me that none of their friends were held in higher regard than another. Personally, I find such point of view to be not only extremely naive but also self-centered. Not everybody has the same incentives for wanting to be associated with and apart of your life. No two people want the same things from you nor do they have the same expectations of you. I dont' know I guess when you date someone for six years, have argued back and forth with them for the past 3 years plus following the relationship, how simultaneously cried over them, shared apartment leases, cars, made love and cheated, grew up together, fought, kissed then made up, told one another to drop dead, changed cell phone numbers, dated others but always managed to end up needing them and remaining connected spiritually to one another in the end, you kind of put those kind of people near the top, somewhere near mom, siblings and oxygen.

I tend to visualize friends like an apartment building in New York City. Spatially within this building we are all close, and I truly adore al those people whom I consider friends, but within this close space we all interact differently. Some of these friends have keys to my apartment or just walk into whenever they see the door open. Some are my immediate next door neighbors, some metaphorically live with me for a period of time. Others take the elevator to my apartment and stop by occasionally to borrow sugar (which never happens in actuality in New York City), others speak to me in the lobby.

In fact, some friends only exchange that ackward elevator talk "how are you doing, how is the family?" or don't even bother to enter the building when they see me in the lobby but do hang out in front until they see I have gone upstairs or pretend they are speaking on the phone when they aren't. Lastly, some friends move out of the building in the middle of the night without prior announcement. But it's all a part of a self-sustaining ecosystem where everyone assumes a maleable role that they feel comfortable with in my life and are treated accordingly. It is not only the most rationale means of dealing with the important people in your life but acknowledges and distinguishes those who truly deserve the title of "close friend"...


Monday, September 21, 2009

never again...

Never again...

Never will I ever attempt to venture off in a city that I have never been to without first checking just how far a place is on Google Maps. Paper maps are deceiving, especially those little tourist maps you pick up at airports and stuff. I don't know what type of scale they are working with but maps of Vancouver from the airport definitely make the city look smaller than it really is. Truth is I had a specific itinerary all worked out and left it in the seatback of my red-eye flight so my travel guide went on to Hong Kong, I got off in Vancouver. In any case, a little trek that appeared to be 2.5 miles by my estimate turned out to be 7.2 miles and took me nearly 3 hours to reach my destination (The Museum of Anthropology @ the University of British Columbia). On the brightside, I was able to see all of the beaches of the southern half of Vancouver and take some amazing pictures of this charming little city. I even stopped to jump in the water for a little bit.

View from Granville Street Bridge

I decided to go for a short walk over the Granville Street Bridge. Almost freeway-like, it's a busy and noisy bridge with narrow sidewalks and the persistent smell of car exhaust. It's not the most romantic or breathtaking bridge in the world, but the view's certainly impressive. The Granville Street Bridge funnels the majority of traffic in and out of downtown Vancouver. With the gritty end of downtown to its north, glamorous South Granville to the south, and the whimsy of Granville Island underneath - there's always something interesting to observe.

Granville Island Water Ferries

Okay, so for years I was hearing about this great farmer's market on Granville Island. It sounded nice, but there was always something else to do or see. I'm not against a good farmer's market, but I come from New York City and we have a ton of them every weekend. How good could this one be? Well, this trip, I made the ferry ride to see what I had been missing. To call Granville Island Public Market, JUST a farmer's market is like calling the Grand Canyon just a hole. This is the granddaddy of all farmer's markets.

View from Burrard Street Bridge

Once you hit the front door, your senses go into overload. There are vendors all over selling all kind of foods. There are butchers, fishmongers, bakers, green grocers, and dairies all setting up shop here, selling their goods. You can walk around and find food stands from all over the world: Indian, sushi, German, Chinese or French Crepes. If you crave it, you can most likely find it here. I had a great time seeing all the local produce. In September, all the fresh, local blackberries were in season, and they were the biggest berries I have ever seen. I went over and saw the fresh salmon booth. I got a sample of local smoked salmon and it was outrageously good.

I was lucky that I didn't have lunch in Downtown Vancouver before I stared this trek out to the West end of Vancouver!

Kitsilano Beach, B.C.

Kitsilano Beach, is as popular a destination for Vancouver's sun lovers on hot, summer days. It's a great big beach with wonderful views over the Pacific Ocean, the mountains and downtown Vancouver. Another thing that makes this place attractive is the big pool. It's a salted pool, but heated so its open from late May til Mid-September.

Jericho Beach, B.C.

Jericho beach was one of my favorites as there's a grassy bank which is great for picnics and snoozing. It's not as busy as Kits beach or English Bay which is an excellent reason to come. As you can imagine the views of the Downtown Area and West Vancouver. It was from this vantage point that I first realized that I was venturing farrrrr away from the buildings of Downtown Vancouver and entering a point where I had to continue forward as I had already traveled too much to turn back.

Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Five and a half miles later...the little beach area known as Spanish Banks...

Finally...The Statues at the Anthropology Museum of B.C.

Would I do it again? Absolutely not. It wasn't that I did not attempt to get a cab halfway through but there were none in sight and nearly 80% through the walk I figured even if I did start to see any I would not even bother. But the time I reached the museum I did not even care about it's contents. I was in bad shape carrying that heavy camera for nearly three hours, tired, hungry, and dehydrated...I was more interested in the museum café than anything else...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

heartbreak diatribe...

Bad communication is fatal to any relationship and little mistakes made along the way can translate into eternal regrets. A death by a thousand cuts to love that seemed so promising...

...last night i felt my heart inscribing it's innermost pain on the inside of my ribs where it thought my soul would never dare look but alas it was found and I share it with you...

Je ne pourrais te dire,
(I could not tell you)
Ce que je ne sais pas
(What I do not know)
et je ne pourrais te donner,
(I could not give you)
Ce que je n'ai pas
(What I do not have)
et je ne pourrais te fuir,
(And I could not leave you)
Même si tout nous sépare
(Even if everything separates us)
tout ce que je te promets c'est un nouveau départ
(All I can promise you is a new beginning)

Relationships are filled with contradictions and unrealistic expectations we have of the loved ones. Often we want them to embody traits and characteristics that we lack ourselves. We demand too much and in our vanity we would rather scorn the perfection of their imperfections than choose to make love work...

(Tell me...Why?)
Qu'a-t-il pu donné
(What could he give you?)
De plus que moi ?
(More than I could?)
Qu'a-t-il que je n'ai pas ?
(What could he provide you that I could not?)

The heart has reasons that reason does not know of. Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Sometimes love just does not work. It takes real work and effort and not everyone is up for that challenge. But don't fear little heart, there is much work to do and time will pacify your anxious ways...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

reporting live from somewhere...

(Flight map from LAX to JFK, blogging from somewhere over Ohio)

I have been to LA only once in my lifetime, back in 2005, for three days, and not by choice...I went to spend a couple of days with my girlfriend before she headed to Indonesia for the entire summer to help with tsunami relief from that previous December (2004). I stood there for three extra days and absolutely disliked the city, much like everyone from New York City had told me. I live in New York City, a place that is stressful beyond measure but still maintains a veneer of authenticity and genuine(-ness) that is rarely duplicated anywhere else on Earth. Maybe it's the Hollywood effect, everybody is trying to be somebody from the valets, to the doormen, to the promoters so you cannot just show up from outside of the city and have a good time.

Besides all of that, I grew up in NYC during the 90's and was witness to the whole east coast/west coast thing going on in hip-hop during that time period. So in my heart of hearts I could never look at LA in a truly objective light. That being said, I find myself in LA 13 years after the death of Tupac Shakur, sitting in the lounge area of Terminal 4. Tupac is not only hip-hop's all-time top-selling star, he has also become one of its most recognized and revered icons. The troubled life of rapper Tupac Shakur was cut short just at the time he was beginning to emerge as an international superstar rapper. It was on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996 Shakur and Death Row Records' president Marion `Suge' Knight were leaving a Mike Tyson fight when he was mysteriously shot. Two years earlier, in November of 1994 he was shot five times during a robbery, but survived as thieves robbed him of $40,000 worth of his jewelry.

From birth, Tupac Shakur lived a devastating life. Tupac Shakur was undoubtedly one of the most successful MCs of all time. Even after his death, he has sold a total of 67 million records worldwide making him the highest selling rap/hip-hop artist of all time! However, 2Pac was much more than that. His strong lyrical content grew a huge array of followers, making him a hero among millions. He was a great poet and his theory on life influenced his fans to a huge extent. He was indeed the Rose That Grew from Concrete, whose ever-successful work couldn't have been more admired and loved...shoulda stayed out of LA...and Las

“we wouldn't ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals, don't ask me why, thank god, and ask me how”...

~Tupac Shakur

Thursday, September 10, 2009

to infinity and beyond...

Today started off with me in Chicago sleeping with my feet on a sofa and the rest of my body on the floor...i don't even know, but it sounded like a good idea and it worked! Then after running dangerous close to missing my 1pm flight to New York City, I was able to relax in my apartment for all of two hours before catching a red-eye flight to Vancouver landing at 4am eastern time. Needless to say, such as a thing as a regular sleep cycle does not exist in my life.

When am home, am up painting and creating, reading or blogging and when am traveling the change in time zones wrecks havoc on me and often disrupts my sleep cycle the entire time. Landing in any unfamiliar city at night is very depressing. Despite being very disorienting, it feels like any other city since no landmark stands out in the darkness. Am sure Vancouver is nice (as people have told me) and we shall see in the morning but right now who the hell knows if the cab driver is me with the route he is taking?

But in the meantime, my jetlag combined with my ambiguous feelings about Vancouver so far have led me to imagine other places I would rather be at the moment. Before taking off to Canada, a group of passengers in the waiting area at JFK kept rabbling on about space tourism and Virgin Galactic's attempts to commercialize space travel. Sounds nice, and I would jump at that opportunity, but I think we need to get realistic here; most tourists will not be either able to afford it, or not fit enough to travel into space (especially in the U.S. where nearly 40 percent of the population is overweight). Sh*t many Americans don't have healthcare on Earth imagine if you start panicking out there in space...they probably just open up the door and kick your ass out...

And forget about queuing up at check-in, going through security, or waiting in the departure lounge, if you want to venture up into space then you’ll have three days pre-training at the spaceport. Sorry, but I cannot take space travel seriously and I do not think we’ll see it happen in my lifetime. Virgin Galactic officials hope to begin commercial flights within two years (late 2011/early 2012). The company hasn’t yet proven it can take people into space and bring them back, but it’s already taken 300 reservations for $200,000 each and a $20,000 deposit...just a littleeeee bit out of my price range.

I hope the headsets are free...

Monday, September 07, 2009

note to self...

June ??? 2009...

I'm disapointed in myself. Seriously, have I been on drugs? No more sappy sad shit -- I don't know how or why it got to that point again. I don't even want to be with my ex but for some reason I was going back to being needy for her attention and affection. IDK; maybe it was because I started feeling lonely. I'm done with all that though I promise! For Real. I didn't cry last night... I prayed and thanked God (many of them actually) and painted. While rummaging through the ruins of the past in my mind I ran across a twitter post this morning and it read...

...the world is your garden; your will is the gardner.
Make your life beautiful!

It's so true...we have the decision to make our life beautiful or to keep ourselves from being happy. So no more complaining and bitching :) There are many people laying in hospitals all over the world, breathing their last breathe- wishing, hoping, praying for a few more minutes more of life...minutes that the living take for granted...merely existing on this Earth; never quite living at all...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

a walk down fleming street...

you will be a star one someone else's sky...
i am gone, there are more horizons to explore...

Those who don't feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don't drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don't want to change,
let them sleep...



The word love is derived from the Sanskrit word Lobh, which means desire, wish; the same word is used in the Russian language, Liubov. Love may be called in other words the desire to be conscious of the object of love. It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations. You intrigued me with your indifference during that dinner and eventually convinced my heart with your kindness that a distance of 85 miles could be as easily overcome as crossing the street. For my efforts I was rewarded with your love and loyalty, your hugs and adoration. It was greater than what I could have ever asked for and more than I was accustomed to receiving.

Love has nothing to do with the five senses it's goal is only to experience the attraction exerted by the Beloved. Afterwards, perhaps, permission will come from God: the secrets that ought to be told with be told with an eloquence nearer to the understanding that these subtle confusing allusions. You taught me that love is the reduction of the universe to the single being, and the expansion of a single being, even to God.

Alas, love and doubt have never been on speaking terms. When we started losing trust in our love, that is when the first crack appeared in our relationship. If you can’t trust your partner, happiness is gone forever. The amount I thought I'd won, I've lost. You were 5 feet (barely) of joy that lit up my life...60 inches of pure love. How wonderful it was to be with, if only for a while, with those who surrender. For this I thank you, but my prayers have become bitter and all about mere blindness. In this perpetual eclipse that has marked your absence there is no light and mere language is the barest shadow of reality. For the sake of love, thousands have renounced family and all worldly possessions, and kings their kingdoms, and they have retired to desert, jungle, or mountain fastness, striving to find in asceticism the secret of this bliss. For two years my Shangri-La resided a mere 85 miles miles away. Last night, I swore I saw my little 5 foot happiness disappear over the horizon on the tail of a shooting star. Such divine, heavenly objects were not meant for mere mortals like me...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

i forgive you...

Colossians 3:13
...Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others...

Forgiveness is not a feeling; it's not forgetting; it's not pretending you weren't hurt; it's not trusting the person again; it's not even reconciliation. Forgiveness is a conscious DECISION you make to give up your right to hurt the person back. Forgiveness protects the forgiver from himself. Forgiveness cancels a debt on our soul. Forgiveness is a process, it takes time, but it is an act of grace that reflects God's treatment to us...

1. Forgiveness sets you free.

”When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.
Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
- Catherine Ponder

I think this is a great point and one of the best reasons I have found to forgive. It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking that forgiveness is just about something you “should do”. But forgiving can in a practical way be extremely beneficial for you. As long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and - as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.

2. Forgive yourself.

”The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbour as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.”
- Eric Hoffer

What you think and feel about other people is pretty much what you think and feel about yourself. This is not something that may always be obvious. But we do tend to judge and think about people as we think about ourselves. A person who, for instance, is very critical of others tends to, deep down, be very critical of him/herself. How do you get better at forgiving others? You can start by forgiving yourself. Because when you start to forgive yourself you get some practise with forgiveness and you also realise how good it feels. You open up to how forgiveness can improve your life and lives of the people around you. By forgiving yourself – instead of resenting yourself for something you did a week or 10 years ago – you make this habit more and more of a natural part of you. And so forgiving others becomes easier too. Also, what you think is a question of forgiving others you may sometimes – after some time and inner struggle – discover is just as much, if not more, about forgiving yourself rather than the other person.

3. Remember to forgive everyone.

“We read that we ought to forgive our enemies;
but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.”
- Sir Francis Bacon

It’s often pretty easy to see the obvious people to forgive. People who have done something terrible or someone you don’t get along with at all. It’s sometimes hard to see that you should forgive yourself for something. It can also be hard to remember to forgive people close to you. There might be relationships where forgiveness could resolve some vague resentment or other negativity that sometimes arises between you and another person. When you feel such emotions is can be useful to ask yourself questions like: what is unresolved here? Or just: why do I feel this way towards this person? You may get some revealing answers. They might not come the first time you ask yourself though. So keep asking a bit more.

4. When you forgive, really forgive.

”Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.”
- Marlene Dietrich

”Most of us can forgive and forget;
we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave.”
- Ivern Ball

When you forgive, you have to really forgive. Or you will continue to wreck the relationship again and again. And yourself too. You can view forgiveness as a way to feel like you are the better person of the two of you and then hold you forgiveness over the other person whenever you feel like it to show your superiority. But it might be more helpful to view forgiveness as a way to release yourself and the other person from being trapped in the past. As a way to throw a big piece of self-inflicted suffering out the window and get on with the rest of your life in a more open and positive way.

5. Forgiveness is not a weakness.

”The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

It may sound like forgiveness is a way of giving up or giving in. As a way to be a weak person. While the ones not forgiving are angry, powerful and strong. Such ideas may float around in various parts of your world and society. But reality is a bit different. Not forgiving just seems to mostly eat you up inside. Your feel angry and may even wish for revenge. You replay arguments and memories over and over. While the person you are resentful of or angry at may often not even be aware of all your thoughts and feelings. And so you go on, creating suffering for yourself. Forgiving releases you from that suffering. It can also make you feel good about yourself. Doing difficult things you know deep down that you want to do tend to have that effect.

6. With forgiveness the future may become brighter than in your dreams.

”Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.”
- Hannah Arendt

“Let us forgive each other - only then will we live in peace.”
- Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

If you look at from a very practical perspective then forgiveness is the smart thing to do. It saves you a lot of painful expenses. It makes you clearheaded again. Forgiveness centres you in the now and in yourself once again. You stop regretting what is already in the past. You stop feeding your thought loops of negativity with more energy. And now you can use that energy and focus that was previously spent strengthening those loops to start moving forward again. Forgiveness might not be pleasant or something you necessarily want to do. You might think the other person is wrong and that you are right. But sometimes you have to do it anyway. Without really forgiving moving on will be impossible. So everyone has to choose for themselves.

Do you want to stay in this protected position of feeling right and superior?

Do you want feel like the victim who has been wronged for the rest of your life?

Or do you want make a real change in your life and world?

You will have a hard time getting them both.

It might not always be easy to forgive. But it has many big benefits. And personally I would be a bit wary of playing up forgiveness and what happened more than necessary. Many of our challenges – not all, of course – become so large and complicated in our heads that we build huge, monumental problems. Making mountains out of molehills is a good way to strengthen a victim mentality or feeling even more right than you did before. It’s an effective way to paralyse yourself. It’s not a pleasurable or an effective way to live your life and to explore your true potential...

Alas, is this refrain all that we have left:

"You do your thing and I do my thing.
You are you and I am I.
And, if, in the end, we end up together, it's beautiful"
- Boy Meets World

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

queen of the nile...

I had the opportunity to do some photography work over the summer in Paris running around Trocadero, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower (Champs du Mars), taking some 500 photos over the course of two days. Nothing is as lovely as having centuries-old buildings, churches, châteaus, as the backdrop for photos as well as natural light that extends from 7am until 830pm. There's Notre Dame, the area around Ile de la Cite, the Tour Eiffel, and the Champs Elysees with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

As a painter, I have learned that photography is not like painting. The simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression... In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever...

Il n'y a rien dans ce monde qui n'ait un moment decisif
(There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment).

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

ma chérie amour(s)...

I am a man of the world, having had, by an estimate I once made, more than fifty-four women and having visited more than twenty-five countries. I can say that I have seen women undress themselves in every way that it can be done. I have watched the curtains part on every variation of the final act. And yet, only a small number of women have enticed me by merely removing their sandals.

A byproduct of traveling internationally is that, by default, I am exploring the way people communicate and interact. When am out in the Latin Quarter in Paris or the barrio of Lavapies in Madrid, am dealing with other languages, different ethnicities and cultural codes and norms than those that I am accustomed to, despite my proficiencies in certain languages. Some time ago, when I first began networking and trying to expand my creative horizons beyond New York city, I thought words were the most important thing. After a chance encounter in Paris with a lovely Moroccan woman in Châtelet, spending 48 hours with her, winding our way in conversation utilizing French, Spanish and English (with her adding Arabic into the mix just so she could laugh at my blank-stare response) I now know words are not at all that important. There is a universal language that hearts whisper to one another, at a frequency that human ears cannot detect. Sometimes I find people who I feel are really close to my heart, and it's not because of the words we have spoken to one another...