Irony Loves Me

I drank a lot of tap water in NYC. I drink tap water at home. Tap water is safe.

Yesterday morning I came down with horrible stomach sick including stomach cramps like you wouldn’t believe. Stomach flu, food poisoning or something.

Nope. Portland OR has a “boil your water” warning out and I (probably) have e coli.

Why does irony love me? I spent the last twenty four hours chugging water in an attempt to stay hydrated because of my stomach thing which is probably the result of drinking that same water.

Photos of Me

I am fortunate enough to have a friend who is a photographer. That means when we hang out if I want my picture taken she is happy to take my picture. Even happy to arrange a photo shoot. I consider this to be something of a graduation photo shoot. I’m graduating from being sick to being well.

We went up to Mt Tabor with a little yellow umbrella I brought. I feel so in the now having these pictures. I am not me of ten years ago or five years ago. This is me now. What I look like, how I feel, the whole package. No misplaced sense of my self. No image of me in my head that is years out of date. Just me in the now.

Here are the pictures she took.

She edits and adds as she edits. My new user icon is from the set and here’s a preview of one of many fantastic images she captured.
Me by Karen

This is her web site. I don’t know how much time she has for her freelance photo work but if you live in Portland and need photos taken you should consider sending her a note via her site. She’s still underselling herself and her work is amazing.

Capabilities and Activities

The other night I chose to see a dance performance instead of playing D&D.

The other night I was invited to go to a dance performance with a friend who offered me a ride in contrast going to play D&D at a house I’d never been to that was at least an hour public transit ride away.

The other night I sat passively at a dance performance with a friend who would leave if I needed to rather than going to play D&D which is a highly interactive and creative story telling experience often with multiple voices overlapping and at least an hour public transit ride home after.

As I post openly about what I do with my time I worry about one of my D&D friends seeing that when I cancelled on D&D because I didn’t feel well enough that I then went to a dance performance. It makes me feel lame in that teenager way of saying “that’s lame.”

For each thing I choose to turn down and each thing I choose to pick up as I recover from surgery I do a careful measure of my capabilities. How much effort goes into transportation? How easy will it be to leave abruptly if I need to get away quickly? (This one is huge for me.) What level of brain or body wellness is required to do this? Sometimes my information is inaccurate and later I find out I could have gotten a ride or something like that.

Anyway, this is my disclaimer. I plan on being very active but I also plan on declining a lot.

Review: Being Moved at Headwaters

As I get better I am getting out more. As getting out more tires me less I know am I closer to being able to make it through a whole work day. In case anyone was wondering why I’m doing things here and there but not yet back at work. Brain surgery stuff aside let’s talk Butoh.

At the turn of the last century a woman named Isadora Duncan planted the seed of modern dance with the concept of “naturalistic movement.” The idea being that instead of stances, postures, poses and patterns the dance should be a flow of emotions and nature. Her work was met with shock and horror by many of the Victorians of the time.

Butoh holds a similar place in Japanese culture. It is avant garde performance art sometimes called “anti-dance dance” where the object is not grace but experience and expression and often the awkward or shocking is paramount. It reminds me a bit of the Jim Rose Circus but with much less Discordianism and a greater sense of Art.

Saturday night I went to see Being Moved at the Headwaters Theatre with my friend Molly. The long title is “Meshi Chavez presents Being Moved | Ten dancers were chosen to embark on a journey of self inquiry, transformation and creation… a butoh workshop performance”

The performance was split into two parts, the first was four students who had partaken in a workshop with Meshi and the second (post intermission) was a performance by Meshi.

To begin I want to say that Lisa DeGrace, Adrian Hutapea and Roland Toledo did an amazing job with the music. Having had some experience with electronica, sampling and noise manipulation in the 1990s I admire what they did for this performance. I would gladly go to a concert just to experience any of those three in combination again or with others.

I spoke to a Japanese friend afterwards about having seen a Butoh performance and she stated she didn’t like Butoh. She said the goal seemed to make one feel awkward or uncomfortable.

To me the performers with their strange body shape movements and angular inclinations were both inhuman and the perfect expression of what it is to be human. I kept thinking “This is what it is to be human.” There were moments of intense emotion, feelings expressed by the dancers that seemed to dig through my own experiences and bring to surface personal regrets. There were also moments where I felt myself pull back and think “this is ridiculous, this writhing, this shapelessness, this not-dancing.” The push and pull of entrancement and judgement had its own interesting effect on my mind.

After the intermission Meshi performed. The curtains were drawn and he appeared almost larva like. I did not know if Meshi was male or female, beginning as female, moving to “it” and then becoming male. The sense of beauty vs the ridiculous was even stronger with Meshi. Most profound for me were the echoes of earlier performances. It was as if the teacher were echoing experiences he had learned from his students. I found it incredibly touching.

The first portion, the student performances, made me want to write poetry, which I did on my phone during the intermission. The second portion, Meshi’s work, made me want to dance again.

There are certain things I consider great or beautiful but I do not know if I would recommend. The movie The Pillow Book is one. The book Surreal Numbers is another. I found beauty in the performance and am glad to have seen it. I would have to know a person well to recommend going to another similar work. That said, when Meshi performs again in March I will probably attend.

We’ll call this one “special interest.”

Review: Zell’s Cafe

I eat at Zell’s sporadically, generally getting delicious brunch items like scrambles or omelettes while my friends get things like German pancakes or French toast. The food has been consistently good since I first went there about ten years ago and the little scones that come to every table like bread in an Italian restaurant make it a magical place for me. Tiny little magical scones!

I decided to write a review now because I had lunch there today, got something totally different, and also have always wanted to write reviews.

Today at Zell’s I got a small salad and a cup of chicken noodle soup. The salad was good, everything a salad should be which is one of the things I love about Zell’s; that consistent level of quality.

The chicken noodle soup was excellent. It not only was everything a chicken noodle soup should be (falling apart perfectly cooked chicken like grandma put in, both dark and white meat, celery, onions and parsley) it also had an additional savory flavor that put it over the top. That flavor, as the chefs on the tv show Chopped say, elevated the soup. Somehow I got both the traditional grandmother’s soup I craved with just a hint of a flavor that made it something more. It could have been tarragon. It could have just been that they let everything cook together for the perfect amount of time. Either way I’m glad I got the soup.

That’s why today is the day (besides all the personal wanting to write reviews parts) that I’m writing a “go eat there!” review of Zell’s Cafe.

Go eat there!