Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Freak Kitchen Accident

Knife Drop…
While slicing mushrooms, I put the knife down to reach for the cooking oil. The knife fell from the bench. I tensed, waiting for it to slice into my foot. No flash of blinding pain, but all the lights went out. The knife had cut through the wire on the floor. Not my foot. Lucky!

But there was damage. When the breaker was reset, the top-of-the-line houchou had a semicircular burn in its blade. Resharpening that will be expensive, even if doable.

From now on, I will not run extension cables across the floor and will wear shoes when cooking.

No wonder chefs acquire burns and cuts through freak accidents.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Om: Spirituality and Science

Ask freely...
Disciple: Sensei, the teaching says that chanting OM as a mantra reaches out into the universe.
OM symbol (Devanagari)

Guru: The vibration of OM began the universe, it became the name of God, it is divine energy. By chanting OM we connect with the universe.

Disciple: A man of science, called Murakami, says that when we chant mantras like OM, the sound of it affects our DNA. He cites experiments with DNA and with frogs.

Guru: Chanting sets up a vibration which reaches inside us and creates wellbeing and spirituality. Sound waves, and light waves too, affect us in ways science has not yet well investigated.

Disciple: So when I chant OM, am I connecting with the universe, or am I connecting with DNA and feeling good?

Guru: The outer, beyond us, and the inner, within us, may be connected. Neither view contradicts the other. They are in harmony.

The guru acknowledges observations of thousands of years, but accepts that modern experiments may reveal another explanation. He seeks understanding and accepts an alternative approach, and doesn’t insist on a differing dogma.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lighthouse White Rabbit

Lighthouse Rabbit


The lighthouse shines at night with a bright white light.
And the sight of a white rabbit is a mighty monthly delight.

Why the lighthouse? Well, August 7 just past was National Lighthouse Day
Slightly timely.

And there’s something poetic about lighthouses: “…a lighthouse starts its own nightlong address in fractured signaling…
Sinead Morrissey


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Obituary Picture of Robin Williams

Alfredo guesses it is a picture of Robin Williams… 
Grigor: How can you tell? I reduced it as much as I could.

Alfredo: The eyes, the mouth, the nose, they remain. A uniquely Robin combination. You got those. And the dark shadows behind are suggestive.

Grigor: I thought even when he closed his mouth, he was still speaking.

Alfredo: He still does. 80 movies. What's your favorite?

Grigor: Good Will Hunting. He played the therapist, Sean McGuire. Even though he was counseling Will Hunting, he might have been counseling his real-life self.

There have been many obituaries of Robin Williams. Almost all celebrating his talent, generosity and a hint at the obstacles he had to overcome.

Obituaries are a written statement celebrating someone’s life, character and achievements. Sometimes a picture can hint at much of that so Grigor elects to paint an obituary.

With all due respect to artists, the written obituaries can further flesh out the nuances of a life. The personal memories and public stories, the trials and the achievements, the career and the legacy. Robin Williams, a meteor blazing through movies, stage performances and voice-overs. “Five lifetimes in one, said Carrie Fisher.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Refloating a Boat

Anchorage Aftermath
A Post Man encounters an Ancient Mariner
PM: It sank?

AM: Too right it did.

PM: At sea in a tyrannous and strong storm? Spinning round and round then going down like lead?

AM: Just while at its moorings. No ice, no waves, no wind, no albatross. Merely a slow seepage of water gurgling in under its planks.

PM: A rather untheatrical ending. The planks look warped, will you refit and refloat her?

AM: This naked hull and rotting deck is a challenge. But I will make her sail again. Come by next week, and you’ll see us put to sea.


Would that we could speak as Coleridge wrote, our stories might be as bright as the silver sun on the silver sea and our conversations might lilt like a lyrical ballad. But we wonder whether even a minor unmourned hulk like this, will ever sail again and that it might become an albatross around the mariner’s neck.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Harry Beck, Map Man of the London Tube

Map A: Geographic
Map B: Connective
The design of the London Tube map is brilliant in its simplicity. It does not show the stations’ geographic relations above ground but rather their connective relations below ground. The approaches to map design could be characterized as spaghetti (Map A) vs loosely gridded (Map B).

Back Story
Eduardo: Harry Beck, who designed the original London Tube map was called Map Man in a BBC2 documentary.

Max: He is credited as its chief architect?

Eduardo: He wasn’t an architect, he worked as a draftsman for London Transport and suggested the original schematic diagram in 1931.

Max: And the public loved it.

Eduardo: They did but the publicity office at London Transport never actually commissioned Beck’s map and only accepted it as his voluntary experiment.

Max: Another uncredited originator?

Eduardo: By all accounts he only received five or ten pounds but they eventually did put his name on it. And there are plaques at Finchley Central Station and outside the house he lived in commemorating  him.

Max: So he eventually felt vindicated?

Eduardo: He defended the aesthetics of his vision. The verticals, the diagonals, the even distances between stations. And he didn’t take kindly to modifications to the design.

Max: Some designers can be protective and proprietorial about their visions.