Monday, January 31, 2011

Velvet Underground

The band hanging out with manager, Andy Warhol

   Candy Says
   Pale Blue Eyes
   Set Free

For the better part December and January I have been having a mini revival of Velvet Underground. I would give a toe or something similar to see them perform at one of Andy Warhol's New York parties.

They are an interesting phenomena in that they were only mildly popular in the 60s. Today, they are an inspiration to bands all over the world and even ranked on the Rolling Stone's list of Greatest Albums. I agree, Rolling Stone. Good pick. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shabu with Shibat

Shabu Shabu at the creme de la shabu on Sawtelle with Shibat. 
This is a stock picture, because I was too busy eating to take photos. You just dip that meat there into the boiling vat in front of you and stuff yourself.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Wishes







Television Personalities - Three Wishes:

Three Wishes: (1) to meet a genie who can grant wishes (2) to try out being a bird for a couple days (3) to see the Beatles live

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Wolf painting made for a friend.

And just happened to be listening to SeaWolf last night while painting.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Work in Progress

This is a portrait I'm working on. This little kid has cerebral palsy and was unable to walk without being held up by his father (the hands in the photo).  

I'm painting from a blurry picture that I took at Stung Meanchey, the city landfill in Phnom Penh. It was almost dark and kids were everywhere laughing and jumping on me. Nader was talking to this kid's parents. They lived directly on the dumpsite in the first lean-to bordering the landfill.

You can see it with the tires on the roof.

Sreyka is their neighbor’s daughter. She’s sitting on the slat bench outside their house. I wish I could adopt Sreyka; she's the most amazing kid - such a fiery rebellious spirit.  

The child that I am painting was actually really surly. Nader and I took him to the hospital two months after this picture was taken. We were hoping to get him fitted with leg braces. That was quite an adventure; I'll save that story for when I finish the portrait. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Shibat

Today I would like to make a toast to one of my most favorite people in the whole world. 
Happy Birthday!
I'd give you both of my kidneys if you needed them, dear Shibat. 

Shibat was an activist during the civil rights movement in Los Angeles. Sometimes I feel like I was there because his stories are so vivid. Isn't that what the generations are supposed to do - pass on history? He started a community organization with a friend of his that has helped generations of youth get involved with the community (and stay off of drugs and out of trouble).

He now works as a chiropractor, acupuncturist, and natural healer in Los Angeles. He's the best at what he does, because he never stops learning. He has been a great mentor to me, and I am honored to know him.

More Classics

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

One of my favorite songs.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Man Who Sold the World

David Bowie looking more gangster than glam rock
Don't know why, but I've been listening to this all day. 
Man Who Sold the World - original Bowie

I heard a funny antidote from a Bowie concert in the 90s.
A group of young kids come up to Bowie after the concert and say, "Wow, Bowie, that's so awesome that you wanted to cover some current music in your show."
Bowie says, "What are you talking about?"
The fans say, "We love that song Man Who Sold the World, it's so rad you are covering Nirvana."
Bowie says, "Fuck you, ya little tossers."

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I'm an AUNT!
 Her name is Evie! Welcome to the world little one.
I'm going to be such a good aunt! My family said I already seem like an aunt because, for some reason, they equated my scarves with aunt like behavior. So I shall wear my scarves, have tea parties with her, do puzzles and paint with her, bring her exotic gifts from far and wide. And call on all her birthdays. My lofty goals...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Genius of Tolstoy: Excerpt 2

Siberian prisoners of war ~ 1941

He felt like a man who, after straining his eyes to peer into the remote distance, finds what he was seeking at his very feet. All his life he had been looking over the heads of those around him, while he had only to look before him without straining his eyes. 

In the past he had been unable to see the great, the unfathomable, the infinite, in anything. He had only felt that it must exist somewhere and had been seeking it. In everything near and comprehensible he had seen only what was limited, petty, commonplace, and meaningless. He had equipped himself with a mental telescope and gazed into the distance where the petty and the commonplace that were hidden in the mists of distance had seemed to him great and infinite only because they were not clearly visible. Such had European life, politics, Masonry, philosophy and philanthropy seemed to him. But even then moments of weakness as he had accounted them, his mind had penetrated that distance too, and he had seen there the same triviality, worldliness, and absurdity.


Now, however, he had learned to see the great, the eternal, the infinite in everything, and therefore, in order to look at it, to enjoy his contemplation of it, he naturally discarded the telescope through which he had till then been gazing over the heads of men, and joyfully surveyed the ever-changing, eternally great, unfathomable, and infinite life around him. And the closer he looked, the happier and more serene he was. The awful question: What for? Which had shattered all his intellectual edifices in the past, no loner existed for him. To that question: What for? A simple answer was now always ready in his soul: Because there is a God.

~ War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy translated by Ann Dunnigan

The Genius of Tolstoy: Excerpt 1

Moscow on Fire by J. F. A. Clar (1768-1844) 

"When a man sees a dying animal, horror comes over him: that which he himself is, his essence, is obviously being annihilated before his eyes--is ceasing to be. But when the dying one is a person, and a beloved person, then, besides a sense of horror at the annihilation of life, there is a feeling of severance and a spiritual wound which, like a physical wound, sometimes kills and sometimes heals, but always hurts and fears any external, irritating touch.

After Prince Andrei’s death Nathasha and Princess Marya alike felt this. Bowed down in spirit and shrinking from the menacing cloud of death that hovered over them, they dared not look life in the face. They carefully guarded their open wounds from any harsh and painful contact. Everything: a carriage passing rapidly in the streets, a summons to dinner, the maid asking which dress to put out, or, worse still, any word of insincere or perfunctory sympathy, sorely irritated the wound, seemed an affront, and violated the requisite silence in which they both tried to listen to the somber, awesome choir that still resounded in their imagination and hindered their gazing into those mysterious, limitless vistas which for an instant had opened before them.

-  from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy translated by Ann Dunnigan

Post Room

A very fun picture of my greatgreat grandfather, Mr. Barr


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Ever feel like this?
Reminds me climbing up to the rooftop of our apartment in NYC, while the parties went on downstairs.

San Diego Zoo

Went to the San Diego Zoo this past weekend. Here are some fun pictures from our safari in SoCal.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rabindranath Tagore

Fireflies by Rabindranath Tagore

A few years ago a dear friend of mine lost her mother who had been sick for some time with cancer. She sent out a clipping of her mother's obituary a few weeks later and with it included a quote from Rabindranath Tagore. It reads:

“Death is not extinguishing the light; 
it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” 

Isn't that the most beautiful, poetic way to describe death? Especially after so much suffering. If you believe in an afterlife, as I do, what a simple way to view the end of this life, as the dawn of a new day.  

My friend happened to visit this summer. She spotted this book, Fireflies, at a thrift store and later gave it to me! I can't describe what a profound book this is. I highly recommend it. Every little poem is so simple, yet so full of wisdom. 

"While God waits for His temple to be built of love, 
men bring stones."

"My heart today smiles at the past night of tears 
like a wet tree glistening in the sun after the rain is over."

"Life's errors cry for the merciful beauty 
that can modulate their isolation 
into a harmony with the whole"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heck Yeah New Years Resolution

One of my new year's resolutions was to start yoga. I've been sorely out of shape for the better part of 2010. - basically because I have a job that I can't bike to. Even if my daily workout only involved rolling downhill on a bike, stretching is a good amendment. So this week I've been counting myself as one of California's many yoga mat-toting New Agers.

I don't know anything about yoga.

Most of my meditation was concentrated on watching the girl in front of me to see what Adho Mukha Svanasana and Bhujangasana meant.*

Slowly I began to realize that the girl in front of me was either Houdini or a rhythm gymnast. And not only that, they all were. Every direction I turned, it was like a professional Yogi was ripping off a t-shirt, flexing some kind of post-Photoshop body and then hopping into an optical illusion.

My self-esteem power tanked.

Don't compare yourself to others; that's one of the first rules we are supposed to learn in yoga. That, or don't do yoga in Santa Monica.

*I looked those up, of course

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Snow in New York, New Jersey last week, the south this weekend.. 
they have nothing on this though.
Japan Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route via tywkiwdbi

Saturday, January 8, 2011


then ~ 90s

Miles reinstated my old CD collection this past week.
I was especially happy to reacquaint myself with these lads - Supergrass.
now ~ 00s
Sad to hear they announced in April that they are amicably
calling it quits after 16 good years!
Supergrass is a perfect example for me of a band made famous by its worst songs. I wasn't into Alright and Pumping on Your Stereo drove me crazy on MTV. Luckily I happened to hear them in concert and immediately fell into fanhood. They lit up the stage with some of my now favorite songs: Caught By the Fuzz, Seen the Light, and Sun Hits the Sky. However, their reputation as youthful fun rockers undermines the fact that some of their best songs are melancholic and introspective.

Exhibit A: Run from Life on Other Planets 

Exhibit B: Late in the Day from In It for the Money

Exhibit C: St. Petersburg from Road To Rouen

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes fans celebrate today as the indomitable detective's birthday. Why January 6th? Here's a clue; it's more tradition than logic.

The official fan club - The Baker Street Irregulars was started in 1934 by essayist Christopher Morley and Vincent Starret. Over the years, the club boasted some pretty noteworthy members including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Isaac Asimov. Morley, using his own sleuthing skills, came with the date January 6, 1854. The club has since enjoyed extravagant events every year on this day including a "full-dress banquet, an endowed lecture, a theatrical performance, cocktail parties and special breakfasts over several days." Sounds like a lot of fun. Just need to get myself one of those wooly cloaks and I'm there.

Speaking of style, I think the old Sherlock is a style muse for me. I love his cap. Also irrelevantly, the stars from the old films - Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce - had the coolest names in showbiz.

(nytimes article)

One stylish sleuth.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year

The more people I talk to, the more I discover that 2010 was a rough one. A rough one for everyone. I don't know what was happening in the stars but havoc was everywhere and there was just a feeling of unsettledness and anxiety. I'm using the past tense in hopes that the majority of this cosmic clog is over with.

I am no stranger to hardship; I even ask for it on occasion, because there is no better way to learn life's lessons. But this year I seemed to suffer from, not hardship, but stagnation. Somehow though the years, stagnation has turned out to be an unfit teacher for me. I know one could say that stagnation is a form of difficulty and that there are plenty of lessons to be learned from it. Unfortunately, we don't speak the same language.

Having this desire to go, be, see, and do so much is what makes people become monks. It's the unfulfilled desire that does you in. In this way, I truly suffer. I'd love to throw it all out the window and just be content, but I'm not there yet. So I am working on balancing my desires and ambitions with what is and having faith in fate and faith in my gut. Plus, I guess we all just need to relax a little bit.

I've had many blessings this year. Time to take stock: This year I.....
  • Visited Cambodia (and saw many people who became very dear to me)
  • Got certified in CPR (finally, you can, without panic, choke on a burrito in my presence)
  • Went rock climbing (even if the rocks were fiberglass)
  • Spent time with family (especially my little brother)
  • Worked with kids and art most days (our haunted house was epic)
  • Read and loved Anna Karenina and War and Peace (War and Peace! Life goal accomplished)
  • Started a nice collection of maps  
  • Started a radio show with my Romeo called Dimes on Mars  (work in progress..)
  • Saw Ghostbusters in theater (I had been waiting since infancy for this and also this...)
  • Had the infamous White Christmas in Virginia
  • Made costumes and shot film at Lilith Fair and some other shows and had good fun hanging out in studio with my friend Elizaveta. 
  • Moved into our own place  (talk about nice! Nobody barging in) 
  • And with our own place, was visited by my long-time best friend Abi, Linda and my soul sister Caitlin 
I'm quite happy it is 2011, and I hope that this new year beings lots of new leaves for everyone.