dMo's blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Some new versions of songs are up:
and some new profiles of collaborators:

Friday, February 03, 2006

What if a cockroach woke up as a human being? That's the topic of Polas latest.

Pola was involved in a role as Kafka's 'superEgo'. 1 Week of rehersals & 6 shows. That's a punishing schedule but they pulled it off well-- the three of them (Pola, Antoine & Christian) really bonded to represent Kafka's three personalities: the man, the cockroach & the amused all-knowing observer.

The element of the show that really got me, however had nothing to do with the story, or with Pola. It was a set / performance piece in a toilet the audience walked through as part of their promenade from scene to scene in the theatre (the audience actually changed its location from set to set within the theatre, at various times crowding around the stage, getting on the stage, going backstage, going through the actor's toilets, going through the cafe and winding up back at the stage.) The toilet was made to look like a bedroom, with all sorts of crap scattered everywhere. An actor in a face mask & bunny ears moved a collapsed ironing board back & forth (as though ironing). The Ironing board was connected, via several bits of transparent fishing line to different objects in the room making them dance: an umbrella opening & closing, a shoe tapping, a mirror changing angle, etc.. The effect was marvellously random & absurd. And I totally identified with it. That was me, in the rabbit ears, at work, making a big to do (and being paid for it) over a ridiculous premise. It encapsulated the absurdity and jacked up uselessness of corporate work. Kafka was a clerk. So are most of us. OUCH!!!

Went for dinner with mom afterwards. Marcia, in her usual blithe, good spirited way crashed the party. Zac showed up as well. Discussed the play & my new website.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sometimes when I'm really 'on' I wake before my alarm clock goes off. Literally 30 seconds before. Some signal from my dreams or body just catapults me into my waking life. Today it was a cramp in my calf. The seizure took about a minute to let go. Try fumbling with an alarm clock while clawing a searing knot in your calf! Not the gentlest method of waking, but effective!

Went to yoga @ 06:45. Every day is different. Today I saw that none of that forward bending stuff is safe unless I hold it with my core abdominal strength. Backed off a bit and worked it from that angle. More space in my back. Less pain. Good deal.

I started doing Yoga when I threw my back out a few years ago. That's when I became aware of a traveling 'heart of darkness' in my body. I chase it around, isolate it and hack away at it by doing Yoga. I'd call it a 'knot of pain' but that's cliche and doesn't even describe what I mean. It's more like a black hole. A complete absence of feeling surrounded by a fierce network of blazing nerves & contorted muscle. Every day it's in a slightly different place. These days it's mostly in my back on the right hand side just below my kidney.

Sometimes I imagine what it must look like. An ugly fucker oozing green puss... but actually I've no idea what it is. That's what makes it such a bitch. A big puddle of the unknown. Right in my body. And my body reacts violently to this foreign substance - contracting, squeezing trying blindly to force it out. The Yoga on the other hand helps me isolate it and investigate. Surely it can't be foreign. Surely it must be me? If I could just stretch that mass of congealed muscle I can maybe sneak a peek at it and if I'm lucky recognize a piece. Such recognition goes hand in hand with physical release, increased strength, flexibility & (temporary) decrease in pain.

Got a post from Nomka today that inspired a need to fight. Challenge. Overcome. My personal cure for madness is steady work. Labour. I struggle with uncertainty -- inability to decide daily, and turn to work for direction-- writing, music, my job even.

Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

Don't know why Yeats sprung to mind -- something about labour being an antidote to self destructive behaviour and despair. Something about being rooted and blossoming. Something about a unity between action and what's being done -- the dancer and the dance -- that makes all metaphysical angst moot.

"Why?" is a question that demands distance. When that question / distance becomes a habit, it's crippling -- there's no answer, it doesn't 'feel' like anything -- despair sets in. That's when labour is required to break that stasis & re-establish a connection / a unity between specific action and a larger blueprint, yet unseen.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Yesterday morning...

At least the birds were out en-masse. Feb in London can be dreary at 05:30. Sometimes it's cold. Mostly it's damp. Always dark. There's something SAD about leaving home before daybreak & leaving the office after dusk. I think the flourescent light above my desk has burnt a permanent scar on my reitna. Or maybe it's my Russian melancholia.

The Yoga cheered me up though. & a mostly productive day working the Robust Optimisation problem at COR.

Left work before dusk actually ("so that's what this city looks like!") to get my glasses fixed. It's a story worth a couple of paragraphs... A couple months ago, in a moment of bleary idiocy, I rolled over my brand new glasses at work with my office chair & bent them all out of shape. I promply put the glasses into my bag & forgot I ever owned them. Selective memory loss is a great pain / embarrassment management technique.

It was harder, however, to forget that I need glasses to function. This was clearly evident from my sorry attempt to drive Zac to Oxford in safety at the start of his January term. We made it. Just. The real (mis) adventure didn't happen till I got lost on the way home. It didn't help that the weather in typical english fashion was contradicting itself: the full moon was out, it was raining, the sun was setting to the left & the brightest rainbow I'd ever seen was getting waning on the right. Driving Dad's car without a valid english driver's license, getting lost & the constant anxiety of tunnel vision on narrow roads prompted my trip to Brompton's optician's on Clapham Common.

I retrieved the glasses from my bag, (which gets carried about everywhere I go), where thet'd lain for 2 months without being used or even acknowledged and showed them to the tech. I made a fool of myself, got a few laughs describing my blundering -- getting lost, squinting at the approaching busses & 5 minutes later I was wearing my glasses again. Fixed. Free of charge. A pair of needlenose pliers and a set of precision screw-drivers! And a helpful Optician who knows something about Customer Service... Bloodly hell! Why'd I wait so long! & why'd I carry them about when they were useless like so much dead weight? (Rhetorical Question...)

Celebrated at the Bierodrome with a degustasion of Belgian beer. I must have tasted 6 or 7 beers. I'd list them if I could remember what they were. Was joined by Pola for dinner & a lovely evening was made lovlier.

Capped the evening by going to see Munich. Finally a film from Spielberg with balls. It rates a mere 2 on my cheese-o-meter. Not manipulative and beautifully shot (now that I could actually see) by yet another polish cinematographer. And that final shot, with the towers on the other side of the east river... brilliant.

Small misadventure on the way however, as it turns out folding bicycles (even tiny ones measuring 18"x18"x6") are a cinema fire hazard. Even when the cinema is half empty. It took a while for the appeals process to reach the branch manager who didn't bother disguising his pleasure in denying a drunk yuppie and his girlfriend access to an artsy picture.

Salvation came in the form of a local artist who'd come to see the film, overheard the issue and offered to store the bike in his adjacent studio -- which just goes to show that: for every self-important resentfull bureaucrat there's a thoughtfull creative type to find a workaround. Hallelujah -- mysterious ways indeed!