Wednesday, March 04, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Fifteen

Someone has thrown paint on the Calvin Klein billboard with Justin Bieber on Houston Street.

I only know this because my office window looks out on Houston and I see the billboard ever day.  It didn't take long for the vandal(s) to strike - I think the billboard had only been there for two, maybe three days at most.  I can't think of this as defacing because I think it makes the ad more interesting.

Just as makeup is worn to accentuate features, something about the bright yellow on the black and white makes for a more interesting image.  It's not just that I like it when advertising is subverted but the splotches of color somehow make Justin look sad.  They resemble tears or little wounds; it's a shame red paint wasn't used.  The picture somehow seems soulful rather than just another empty advertisement.  I hope someone vandalizes the other half of the billboard and manages to create something artistic with it, too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Fourteen

Setting for a story:

Story to take place in a hospital ward where long term catatonic and comatose patients are kept.  The families and lovers of these patients tend to decorate their beds and the surrounding areas with items that were once significant to them, in the hopes that should they wake, they will be comforted by familiar objects.  Some patients have so many mementos around them that their beds have begun to look like altars, perhaps appropriate given how much praying goes on at their side.  The families of poor patients might feel some shame when they seem the elaborate displays around the beds of the wealthier catatonics.  The hospital should be the one place they don't feel lower class, yet even here...No doubt some families would find themselves competing with each other.  Each would be determined to have the most impressive display in the ward, similar to those that try to out-decorate
their neighbors at Christmas.

There might be a young man, a newlywed whose wife became comatose shortly after their marriage, who realizes that they didn't have enough time to build many associations or memories around any common objects.  There would be a severe almost Puritan couple who would no doubt embrace minimalism for their loved one, preferring the peacefulness found in just plain clean sheets.  Their artful minimal aesthetic would put the more gaudy presentations to shame, not that the other families would notice.

Monday, March 02, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Thirteen

My friend Andrea's blog By and Large is also posting something every day this Lenten season, namely work by artists in the Lancaster PA area.  Well worth checking out.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Twelve

Conversation from yesterday:

"So what are you reading?"

"I'm reading The Travels of Friar Odoric.  He was a monk in the 14th century who traveled through what is now Iran, India and parts of China.  So it's not only a record of what life was like in those parts of the world back then, but it's a record of what they believed in: monsters they saw, a tree that spontaneously creates babies, that sort of thing."

"Oh.  I'm not much of a reader.  The last think I read was the Left Behind series.  Did you read that?"

"No, no....(After searching for something positive to say) I understand that, no matter what else, those are really good action books."

Politeness trumps honesty once again.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Eleven

I'm listening to Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites performed by Yo Yo Ma. Ma recorded them twice. I'm listening to the first recording and I can say without hyperbole that it is one of my favorite pieces of music, if not the favorite.
I just found my copy of the cd after not being able to find it for a couple of years. My apartment isn't messy per se, but my books, dvds and most of my cds are not in any real order. Every so often, I would search throughout the apartment, look at every shelf slowly, rummage carefully through my piles of cds in search of this album.
Yesterday was not a great day and I was carrying the residual stress this morning, which meant fruitlessly arguing with people in my head. On my way to my computer, I looked at a shelf that I've looked at a thousand times over the last few years...and there was my Bach cd. It's like a little zen parable: you'll find something when you need it but not before. Perhaps the invisible gremlins I live with or my sentient apartment recognized I needed a pick me up and decided to return the cd. Whatever happened, I am happy right now. I could listen to these pieces forever and never tire of them.

Friday, February 27, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Ten

Overheard while walking to work this morning:

Toddler Chatterbox: that means there are three people in my class with broken phones.

Father: Mmm.

Toddler Chatterbox:  Daddy, do you want to know who they are?  It's Anna, Sasha and Jack B.

And on and on the kid went, speaking in one long unbroken sentence.  I wish I could have heard more.  It would have been worth being late to work.  I especially liked the fact that the kid is learning pattern recognition, finding a common thread between otherwise unrelated phenomena.  I hope I cross paths with this kid and his father again, if for no other reason than to see if the list of broken phones continues and reaches epidemic proportions.