26 September 2007

Defenders of the Literal, Unite!

The problem with words is their unceasing and often misleading connotations. How many perfectly good words are ruined this way.

12 September 2007

Falling on my own deaf ears

"Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth." ~ Madeleine L'Engle

02 September 2007

Last weekend here: a modified email

I went to a concert at the Philharmonie with C last night, part of MusikFest Berlin - he had an extra ticket. The Concertgebouw Orchestra from Amsterdam played a program of Wagner and Debussy, some of my favorite music. Chromatic, hesitant, full of interesting orchestral colors and instrumentation. We also went to an exhibition at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt beforehand. Last night was also the "open door night" at the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden; the opera house was open to the public past midnight to watch rehearsals and small concerts of the Oper singers and instrumentalists, held at different venues and areas of the opera house and surrounding buildings. Amazing, such a great idea. We stopped by after the Philharmonie, since it's on the way (on bikes). We saw part of a rehearsal on the main stage (the most gorgeous hall, quite small but tiered with 5 balconies, straight up) of a big opera, some singers in the downstairs bar (a large hall, really a work of art), some clarinetists, and then 4 cellists playing their own arrangement of pop songs in the huge, warehouse-like storage magazine - that especially was great. Lots of people were there to hear all the music.

A good way to enjoy Berlin before I leave for the fall.

I had the typical Sunday Berlin brunch this morning with A at a decadent Russian restaurant. The weather was lovely, perfect brunch weather, and everyone sat outside; the food was even lovelier, and A and I stuffed ourselves for nearly 3 hours. A is British; she works here in translation but, ready to get out, is looking for new programs and other countries to live in. But it's hard because she's been here 10 years. C and D had a booth at the big flea market at Mauerpark today - I guess it's a yearly thing for them, getting rid of stuff they don't want anymore - so I went over and watched weird Berlin people looking through all sorts of junk and not-junk (a lot of East German communist memorabilia) and goofed around and had a nice afternoon. I don't know D as well, but she's nice; her English is ok but not great, heavy accent, and she speaks so fast that sometimes I only catch half of what she says.

I don't miss many people in general, which is kind of mean, I guess; I don't do it purposely. But I will miss C and A. And I miss R. Three of the best people I've ever met. Absolute gems.

22 August 2007

Two Paragraphs

When I think of New York, I’m back at Lincoln Center surrounded by screeching yellow cabs hurdling around street corners and honking at pedestrians, dazed silhouettes against the gray slabs of sheetrock and metal, portrait-stills in the swirling vortex of necrotic fumes, gas, hotdogs, and roasted peanuts wafting across Broadway, almost poetic in this shaken snow-globe of cement. I can nearly glimpse the exploding chandeliers in the Metropolitan Opera beyond the square office buildings, promising something golden and spectacular to the ones lucky enough to escape the pelting rain or oppressive heat--opera or ballet, depending on the season, cool and velvet crimson, submerged in swells of sound, a place to go and dream. And dream I did.

Why my mind conjures up the colliding streets at 66th and Broadway is unclear. I didn’t live or study there, save for one summer of Fordham University classes, nor did I attend as many concerts as a New York musician should. Tourists imagine Times Square with its massive commercial impact, a slap in the face of one’s sensibilities, shoppers fantasize about 5th Avenue’s sleek glass windows and smooth facades, hipsters mourn the high rents of the Village and lost days of soul-brother boozing in the Bowery, but I think of Lincoln Center for no particular reason, maybe just to slight my nameless uptown college and my closet apartment as if they had feelings and could be offended by my trying not to remember them. Few things in Manhattan have feelings; the skyscrapers and turbulent crowds of passersby effectively smother any inner life, a little love-fern starved to death in the desert, strangled by a thorny briar which takes root in the soul and emits, from time to time, a high-pitched scream of rage.

19 August 2007

Different State of Mind

My new scheme is to visit countries that don't exist.

08 August 2007

Life is hard.

Yep, that just about sums it up.

I've read a few books lately, though, which shall be mentioned now:

Herzog - Saul Bellow
an academic work of great philosophic proportions (ok, sort of) - my friend - Cornell University Press, to be published 2008
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (incredible novel)

One must find an escape somewhere. Frankly, though, it doesn't work very well.

27 July 2007

Quoting a world traveler

I just read this on somebody else's blog. He gets it and says it exactly right.

"I'm sick of saying goodbye. It's beginning to jade me. You have the best times with the most fascinating world travelers and then you must always say goodbye. goodbye. goodbye. goodbye. I need more hellos, which end in tomorrows."

11 July 2007

A Different Kind of Morning Sickness

What am I going to do with my life?

05 July 2007

A Rainy 4th

The wintry weather in Berlin did not make 4th of July very festive for any Americans seeking sunny summer fun. I got rather drenched in a few downpours and ate dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant. Star-Spangled Banner indeed!

In sad news: 3 of my (um, like 8?) friends in Berlin moved away this week, two to London, one to Chile. :(

02 July 2007

A Good Reminder (Listen up, boys!)

This comment today on the PostSecret website from a 33-year-old father:

"True good guys are good guys for a reason: they walk the walk and are kind and considerate. They might be dicks once in a while (I still am), but at the end of the day, they call, they listen, they love."