Monday, October 29, 2012

still-sound 119. Blue

Today the moon is technically full but to my standards it was equally full yesterday as I drove home from work.  It hung heavy and swollen in the upper left hand corner of my windshield.  Against a pale pink 6 o'clock sky, it appeared translucent. 

When I walked into my kitchen I placed a bouquet of blue flowers I had been given into a white vase with water.  I noticed the fragrance of mint as I unwrapped the blossoms from the brown florist's paper.  Who knew to put sprigs of mint in a bouquet?  I'm glad someone did.

I reckon the flowers will live for five days.  Maybe six if it's not too hot.  It's an unusual and beautiful assortment.  Fronds of fern lift their prehistoric simple life forms out of the vase and point away from the orbs of hydrangea.

I quickly put on my sneakers and began to run through Elysian Park before it got too dark.  The moon had already lifted higher into the sky.  It had gained brilliance and saturation and reflected on the white coats of dogs going for walks, giving them an ethereal glow. I ran for nearly an hour.  I had earbuds in my ears the entire time but I never turned the music on.

Friday, October 26, 2012

still-sound 118. Oulan Bator

A nice guy called Todd sometimes comes into the perfume store where I work.  He has a beautiful shop down the street called Nickey Kehoe.  I stopped in a few weeks ago and discovered a selection of Japanese-made incense by a French brand called Astier de Villatte.  I sniffed all of them and selected one called Oulan Bator.  Todd wrapped the incense in paper and tied red and white string around it.  Somehow all of this seemed perfectly appropriate.  Expected even. 

I love the robin's egg color of the box.  I love the bird of prey. I love how Ulan Bator is written in the French spelling.  I love the French fantasy of distant, exotic places.  Like Tokjo.

It's difficult to describe the beautiful and elusive scent of the unlit sticks.  Leather.  Tea.  Spices.  Something fresh, like menthol.  A card inside the box describes the inspiration: Wild escape upon a desert steppe.  I thought about a documentary I watched about a young American boy with autism.  His father had a revelation (as one does) and decided that a shamanistic ceremony in Mongolia would benefit his son.  Sounds random and it kind of was, but compelling nonetheless.

The ceremony involved a long journey by camel into the desert, richly ornate animal costumes and drumming.  I don't believe that incense or smoke played a part in the ritual, but if it did, it wouldn't have smelled like Oulan Bator.  It would smell earthy, dusty and rooty, like the Tibetan varieties.  Rustic and rugged.  The incense in the pretty blue box, when lit, smells like a jewel box of a shop in Europe or America that sells Oriental antiques.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

still-sound 117. Cone

Uh oh.  Look who's in a cone.

She's not anymore though.

Some time during the summer, Rob came out of the bathroom after brushing his teeth to find Rosie's face grotesquely swollen.  Within a few minutes they were at the vet's and she was injected with steroids and benadryl and placed in an oxygen tent.  Little dogs with squooshed up faces can quickly die from a bee sting. 

This wasn't the first time.  A few years ago in Long Beach, Rosie was 'helping me' in the garden.  She found a lazy bee hovering close to the ground and ate it.

The cone was to protect her eyes.  The irritation from the sting made her scratch her face with such a ferocity that she, at some point, grazed her cornea.  She recovered after a couple of weeks.

Last night I meditated before going to bed.  Rosie hopped on to the cushion and settled on the sliver behind me.  She leaned her warm weight against the small of my back and didn't make a sound.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

still-sound 116. Rain

It rained all day last Thursday.  It was the first rainfall in Los Angeles since early spring.  When Rosie and I came back from a soggy walk in the morning, I baked a pumpkin bread from a Trader Joe's mix.  It seemed like a nice thing to do on a cold, wet day.  I ate slices of it, still warm from the oven.

I drove James to the airport in the afternoon and a downpour forced everyone on the freeway to slow down to a crawl.  On my way back I decided to pop into the CVS drugstore to get change for the washing machine.  The aisles in the front of the store, marked 'Seasonal' lured me with plastic pumpkins, black witches and bags of candy.  The air smelled strongly of cinnamon. 

I bought a can of Pringles for $1.50.  I delighted in the prospect of getting only quarters in change.  I asked the young girl at the cash register if I could please have my dollars back in coins.  Her face filled with a cheeky smile and she said "I suppose...just this once."

I came home and looked at a rainbow outside of my window while eating Ranch flavored Pringles.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

still-sound 115. Fountain pen

A few weeks ago I met a cool perfumer from Portland named Josh Meyer.  He has an interesting brand called Imaginary Authors and he stopped into the perfume shop while in Los Angeles.  It turns out we geek out over similar things: vinyl records, record players, whiskey, typewriters, fountain pens and all the other things market researchers expect artsy designy guys in their 30s to like.*  I bet Josh is interested in old cameras too.  I am, of course. 

Josh noticed the disposable Pilot fountain pen I was using and then pulled out a white object from a German penmaker called Kaweco.  I inspected it, doodled for a bit, admired the golden nib and decided I wanted one immediately.  He told me the name of a website that carries this and other beautiful writing instruments but I failed to write it down (despite the abundance of pens) and quickly forgot. 

A few days ago I spotted a black Kaweco fountain pen at the fancy stationary store across the street from the perfume shop.  It's the 'sport model' like Josh's.  I like the German idea of 'sport'. Like Ritter Sport, my favorite candy bar.  'Sport' includes things like portable fountain pens and chocolate.  I picked up a box of ink cartridges at the same time as the pen, anticipating the moment I go dry.

I've been slowly reorganizing and cleaning my apartment.  I haven't lived alone in many years and have decided to let all of my anally-retentive tendencies flourish.  I threw away all of the scraps of paper and torn envelopes by the computer, on which I would scribble any bits of information I'd most likely require later.  I replaced the messy set-up with a neat, brown notebook from Germany.  It sits, fully prepared for any notes I might write down with the Kaweco.  So far it contains the details of two art events that friends have invited me to, both on the same night at the same time but in different locations.  And on the second page of the book, driving directions to LAX airport.

*And the odd 40 year old

Friday, October 12, 2012

still-sound 114. Broomcorn

I saw these strange, black flowers at Trader Joe's the other day.  I couldn't resist them.  They're called broomcorn.  I like plants that are called broom.  Ginestra is also known as broom although I don't believe it is related to the gothic stalks currently arranged in my test tube vase. 

They have a distinct scent.  Like curry, or celery.

When I got home I wish that I had picked up another bunch to give my neighbors Tiff and Tom.  Tiff sometimes leaves gluten-free cakes by my door when she's spent the afternoon baking.  I show my appreciation by leaving them flowers in a mason jar.  They would have particularly liked these inky, curry-smelling brushes. 

Tom is a drummer and just got back from a tour with a band that opened for a famous '90s grunge act.  The singer is known equally for his drug addiction as for his manly singing style.  During the tour, Tom was able to hang out with the now-clean rock star -- who convinced himself during their chat that Tom was, in fact, an undercover FBI agent.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

still-sound 113. Geranium

Look at this odd contraption.  I cut back my geranium plant and attempted to regenerate some of the cuttings.  I kept them in a vase for a couple of weeks, hoping that roots would begin to emerge like fine hairs.  Two of the cuttings simply turned brown.  I threw them away.

One cutting, the heartiest of the bunch, seemed to be doing just fine.  Although I still didn't find any trace of roots, I decided to plant it in soil anyway.  The only cup I had that provided any drainage was a coffee strainer I made in porcelain.  It's too small to effectively support a paper filter so I'm glad that it serves a purpose as a geranium pot.  I placed the strainer on a vase, to lift it up a bit and to collect any drained water.

I really don't know if this cutting will take root.  Only time will tell.  I've had success in the past.  In fact, I'm pretty certain that the plant I have on the balcony came from a mother geranium I originally bought four or five years ago from Whole Foods.  I love geranium because of the scent it leaves on your fingers when you rub the fuzzy leaves.  Sort of like a cross between lavender and mint.

Look how new life sprouted from the plant I so viciously cut back.  Seemingly overnight. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

still-sound 112. Combs

This morning feels like a Sunday morning in Fall.  The heat was beginning to break through, but the night chill still clung to the ground as Rosie and I walked through Elysian Park.  There were few cars.  An older couple walked past speaking Mandarin to each other.  I often see them.  The man usually waves and says "Hi" when he sees me, but today he was concentrating on his conversation.

When I finish my coffee I'm going to have a shower, shave my whiskers and comb my hair.  I will use a comb I purchased at Ross Cutlery, an old shop in downtown Los Angeles that sells all manner of knives and blades.  I suppose their selection of barber's supplies came about as an off-shoot of their straight razor collection.  I asked the gentleman behind the counter which comb I should purchase.  He recommended large ones.  I didn't particularly like the way they looked.  I chose a small black comb made in Germany.  It says MASTER BARBER Junior in gold.  Apparently it's a barber's comb, not really intended for the amateur.  I like the thought of grooming with a precision instrument. 

The small white comb is for my moustache.  It provides a nice contrast to the black comb.  This is how they look propped up in a black glass jar in my bathroom:

I would love to go on a long bike ride today.  Except I have to go to work shortly.  And I don't have a bike.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

still-sound 111. Hocus Pocus

I particularly enjoyed drinking this wine last week.  It's called Hocus Pocus.  It's a pinot noir from Lompoc, California.  The label shows a stage magician with a perfect handlebar moustache levitating into midair.  Here's a closeup:

When I visited a clairvoyant in March, she revealed that I had been a stage magician in a former life.  As a kid I used to pray for magical powers.  I grew up Catholic and understood that persistent, sincere petitions to the Virgin and Jesus would grant your wish, however extravagant.  Maybe my young self was missing the extraordinary powers I enjoyed in my former self.  Though, as I understand, I was a stage magician, a conjurer, and probably had no special powers at all except to deceive. 

Right now I wouldn't mind having some magical powers.