and this shall be the new portrait

OH MY GOSH! 


I just think that's an incredible phrase to use that i just invented. Ok I didn't invent it and it's not, how-do-you-say, incredible -  but I've been using it and I like it. it's innocent and excited, Just like me when I was in 2nd grade and we went to Disney World and all I wanted to do was meet Goofy, and finally he showed up at our Disney Themed brunch and he stuffed an entire bagel into my mouth and the corners of my mouth bled on the edge of the razor-sharp-recently-toasted-cuts of the bagel. I was confused, and my innocence and excitement lost to the wind. dot dot dot

boy that turned a corner fast. But here I am, 24 years later with probably the equivalent of that same Goofy-character excitement. It's 7am and it's October, already we're off to a great start here. But it's also saturday morning and I am sitting here typing with a freshly brewed cup of my hario pour over and the last of some stump town beans that my brother bought me so generously-like. I've got some Mozart string quintets in my headphones so as to not wake my wife in her sleep. I really love the Mozart string quintets, they are perhaps one of my favorite things, but I keep them hidden from the morning air as I like letting Fiamma sleep in. Don't get me wrong, she's cute in waking life too, but she's extra cute when she sleeps. Sometimes I like to wake up and give her a kiss because her in-sleep-reaction is great ~ kind of likes it but mostly is slightly scared and annoyed, that's a funny combo and response to a kiss. But that's not all folks, I've also got Mousetrap the cat doing THIS while I write this musing > 



Well you combine all those things: the sat7am in october, the coffee, the mozart, the mousetrap and yes, I can say this is at least as good as a disney character to a 9 year old. But I'm up early because my dreams were annoying me. Either I was stuck at a weird religious camp retreat and forced to do a day of communal prayer, or I was just doing busywork in my dreams, either way I did not like spending my morning hours waking up from those nuisances of sleep-creativity and then pondering if I could keep my brain off long enough to fall back into sleep and go back into those boring realms. Sometimes my dreams are great, don't get me wrong, like the other week, in my dream, I was telling my newfound friend a joke I just made up, the joke went something like this: 

If I were a former white house intern that was involved in a sex scandal, and I was trying to use a false name in a contest to win recreational winter sports equipment, you could call me "Moniker You-Win-Skis"!




In the dream that joke reeeeally landed, I've tried it out on a few waking-life-humans and it just did ok. As do most of my waking life jokes, and I think that makes them all the better yes? But to get back to my annoying dream of last night / this morn, I did not like the forced religion dream. In real life, when I was a younger lad, just a few years older than that 9-year old gone to Disney World, I thought I had religion all figured out. I checked that off the box as "TJ's got this one figured out". I did that to a lot of things in my naivete of my youth, and have since come to realize that I was way too over-confident as an ignorant child. I guess that is better than the inverse of being a know-it-all now at 33 years of age, but even so, I feel sheepish about some of my youthful proclamations. My self proclaimed infallibility  as a youth extended to religion but nowadays I realize how little I knew. Now I do like religions in general, and I have oft used the phrase "I like a lot of religions, but not a lot of religious people". I think THAT statement is true, as people with religious fervor intimidate me in their inability to see the possibility of others' perspectives being valid. So anyway, I really like the vocalizing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and how he explained Judeo-Christian beliefs in an unsettling time of racial and social injustice in the world. I like his open minded-ness to other world views and his intolerance toward hurting anyone. I also really like the buddhist writings of a Vietnamese monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. He, similarly to drmlkjr, writes about the universality of spirituality which I liken myself to. I also remember liking the Tao of Poo by Benjamin Hoff as a younger fellow in college. I can even extend it to liking how Tom Robbins puts religious beliefs into the socio-political-historical context in some of his writings and reminds us how certain religious imagery spawned from prior civilizations. It is a reminder that our consciousness is merely a blip in the larger human existence, and even if we think we're right about something, someone before has thought the same thing about a totally different circumstance, as has someone before them, and so on. You can augment this notion and realize that the entire human-existence is a mere blip on the timeline of the world as we know it, and the world is a mere blip on the timeline of the grander timeline of all existence of anything. I'm getting ahead of myself here, but what I am trying to say is, to assume that some person from anywhereUSA in one particular time in the 20th century can make statements that he/she thinks is universally applicable and singularly correct is too much of an assumption for me to swallow. 



Ok, enough about religions, but this talk of someone-thinking-they-are-more-right-than-others extends to another component of my week that I'd like to divulge here. Her is the story of JIMMY ON THE BRIDGE. I was biking to work this past Monday morning, and I was feeling good, I had egg on a tostada and had plenty of time to bike slow. The weather was beautiful out for a morning ride, and I think I even said out loud "I'm going to bike slow and enjoy the morning". Well halfway down the Manhattan bridge, I passed a biker I later learned to call "Jimmy". Now on a pleasant morning on the bridge, I take the time to unclip my helmet and let the breeze run through my hair. On the way down the bridge I put said helmet back on my head and in doing so bike hands-free for a few moments. Now let me set the scene here, there is not much bike traffic on the bridge this particular morning, and I am a very safe and fairly confident biker even with my hands busied as I am readjusting my helmet. I see affront of me a slower biker with plenty of space to his left to pass, with no oncoming bikers I take the opportunity to pass him, and as I do I hear him shout something at me. All of the sudden the cloud of my happy-go-lucky-morning turns into a raincloud and I am immediately angry, because if there's one thing I hate about bikers, it's their assumed infallibility and their will to yell whatever they want at anyone and get away without legitimate dialogue. Boy that gets my goat ~ So I slow down and await this annoyed biker to catch up with me. I ask him to repeat what he said to me directly. He goes on to tell me that I am supposed to have both hands on my handlebars. At this point I'm annoyed that he yelled at me but I am trying to understand his point. In theory he is correct, he is right in saying that I probably should have both hands on my bike. But I more want to confront him on HOW he handled the situation. I ask him if I made him feel uncomfortable when I passed or if I was too close or in anyway showing that I did not have full control of my bike. He goes on to tell me that I have no respect for safety or rules and that I must be an ignorant person. I don't believe any of those things to be true, and was in no way trying to give this guy a bad morning, but he was out to ruin mine for some dumb reason that didn't even affect/effect him. So now I make it my point to show that you can't just yell at whomever you'd like in passing and not expect to deal with that person. So I decide to ride very close to this guy for the next few minutes asking him all about himself, what his name is, why he is so angry, if he has never ridden without hands or ever broken a rule, or how he can assume that I hate safety or have no respect. I come to find out his name is Jimmy, and that he is a grumpy person that just wanted to yell and extend his grumpiness to anyone. After showing him how he too breaks rules like going through police barricades, not stopping at stop signs or using his hand signals, I let him be and continue on with my day, annoyed for the next few hours. While I understand on some level the legitimacy of his point of riding with no hands (even if only temporarily and in obvious control of my bike the whole time), I do not like having my mellow harshed. I do not like people imposing their own perspectives and grumpiness onto others and especially don't like it done on a yell with no accountability. Because of those things, I wanted to have a real discourse with this guy and show him how infantile his approach is to a situation that could be handled much better. So I was able to make my point, annoy this guy and feel a little better about it, but at the same time I was affected by it for hours to come and feel in some way defeated too. 

So that's my long biking story about a grump named JIMMY ON THE BRIDGE and rest assured I am writing a song about him for my punky-rawk group JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCHING BAND. But the larger point is that, everyone has their own perspectives and their own approaches to things. I don't think people should impose their personal beliefs on anyone unless both parties are up for a congenial discussion. In fact, tolerance of others beliefs and the understanding that there are multiple approaches to many grey-aspects-of-life is an approach I find that leads to much socially healthier results in my opinion. but again that's just MY opinion.

Ok, well I best get going here, this musing is long enough and I got a few other things to do like write the NEWS section and post some pictures before I get started on the rest of my day. What am I doing with the rest of my day you ask?  Oh so kind of you to inquire! Well: 

After this webby-updating I am going to make breakfast for Fiamma. I think it will be an egg over-easy on a Thomas' English Muffin (obviously opened with the fork and rip approach and not a knife). I may also include some drunken goat cheese or some bacon but I am not sure on those latter elements. Then I hope to go on a run or a jog rather. I broke my foot 9 weeks ago and finally got the hesitant "ok" by my surgeon to attempt running after a long period of crutching, one-foot-hopping, hobbling, caning and now walking. After said run, maybe me and Craiggy are gonna see a mid-day Toby Goodshank show and then Fiamma and I will hopefully go see Birdman because Michael Keaton is the tops and Innaritu ain't so bad and I worked on some pictures of the movie. Also if time allows I have some music I would like to work on as well. A pretty cool saturday AMIRIGHT?! 

Oh also, Tugboat stole Mousetraps spot near my keyboard and is sitting pensively in a slightly-less-cuddly position here:




Oh, I took a break to make Fiamma that breakfast as she had to head to acting class, so here's a shot of what I ate as described above




As always, here are some photos for your/our pleasure:

These first two images come from the Artist Marisol Escobar. I am a little sheepish that I had not heard of this great artist until just this past tuesday on my visit to the MET. Anyways, she does this great combo of wooden sculpture with drawing/painting atop. A bas-relief sort of that I really enjoyed. Here are 2 images








Another great artist is Lee Miller. She's taken some pretty stirring photographs in her day, but was also Man Ray's muse and a classic beauty to boot, here are two images of her.








This next lady-image is a drawing that was in my hotel room when I was in Guadalajara 2 weeks ago. it's by another newly-known artist to me named Raul Anguiano. Some real nice stuff if you'd like to browse further online.





Last week on my day off I also had the chance to check out the Wayne White exhibit and here is one of my favorites:





And to end the musing, the other week I went and saw the Philharmonic perform a live score to Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. It was amazing. I mean, the music was great and all, but the film itself was better than I could've imagined. That guy really cornered his craft so well and so much of what we see now is because of him I realized that night. Here is a still from some of the beginning as it is an (almost) wordless film:




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