Sunday, April 30, 2006

Walk in High Park

Dogwood Spring

Pop Quiz: Biology

Q. What, if anything, is the student biologist able to reason from this set of pictures?

Picture (a): The romantic Potomac riverside - 12 months ago
Picture (b): A fertile time of year - 12 months ago
Picture (c): A child - 3 months old


Phelan, California. This high desert town is where I spent grades 6-12 in the 1970s. Except when I lived there there was mostly nothing where that whole development in the middle of the picture is. But we never felt deprived or lacking anything. The desert actually has a lot going on simply because it's the desert----snakes, lizards, coyotes, an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, and of course some real characters. And what wasn't there our imaginations made up for. (For example, a real skatepark might have been nice, but we didn't have one, so we build our own ramps and plus we found some great skate spots in the desert, like the Knolls and the Lost Pipeline.)

Every time I visit Phelan I am shocked to see how much it has developed. I think there is pretty much everything there now---even sushi I hear. But I can still feel the ghost-like presence of the desert town I knew 30 years ago.

Even in this recent picture I can see some houses of people I knew. I wonder if they still live there?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bath Time

....just moments ago. He hasn't taken to the water too much, but at least he doesn't scream bloodly murder like he used to a few weeks ago. I think he will end up liking baths as much as we do.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Descarga Numero Dos

Even though I loved The Motorcycle Diaries and Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal is one of favourite actors, those that know me will know that I'm not a huge fan of Che Guevera or Fidel Castro. But I don't hate them either, as some do. I just think folks (especially those on the left) should have a more realistic view of them. It's hard for anybody who's read much about Che to discount his violent acts and nature. That's hard for a 99% pacifist like me to swallow. I'm enough of a realist to know that revolution is not a nice business and is sometimes necessary. But, in my opinion, that doesn't mean those on the left should idealize Che and the Cuban Revolution too much either. There's been tons of terrible crap purpertrated by Fidel and Che. I know too many Cuban exiles not to understand this perspective.

I haven't seen this movie, but I believe it's important to hear all sides.....

The Lost City
(KP International) Andy Garcia's latest flick, 'The Lost City,' is being banned in a number of South American countries due to the less-than-favourable light in which revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara is shown. Cuban born Garcia, who coproduced, directed and starred in the film, worked on the project for more than 14 years. Now, after a long road to its completion, the film is being criticized for its politics.

"There have been festivals that wouldn't show it," said Garcia. "That will continue to happen from people who don't want to see the image of Che be tarnished and from people who support the Castro regime. He still has a lot of supporters out there."

The 50-year-old actor said, "Some people think Castro is a saviour, that he looks out for the kids and the poor. It's a bunch of hogwash. In the 45 years since Castro came to power, Cuba has been in the top three countries for human rights abuses for 43 of those years. People turn a blind eye to his atrocities."

'The Lost City' costars Jsu Garcia as Che, Bill Murray and two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman.


As I'm sure Wendy will be happy to tell you, I am totally addicted to the website This is a bit torrent site devoted exclusively to "lossless" recordings and videos of live performances. The moderators are quite strict and only allow previously unreleased, non-commercial material on the site. Every morning and night I check the site for new postings. I suppose that I've downloaded about 500 shows since I've discovered this site in September, the vast majority of which I haven't listened to. It is a very good thing that my wife is an addiction and mental health counsellor. [Above: Luther Allison rocks on...]

Here are my downloads for just the month of April (so far....):

*Jethro Tull, July 7, 1973, Dallas, TX (Passion Play tour)
*Santana, Nov. 11, 1993, Polofields, San Francisco (Goodby Bill Graham Concert)
*Neil Young, Encores Greendale Tours, 2003-2004
*Neil Young, Feb. 13, 1991, Hamilton, Ontario
*Miles Davis, July 1963, Antibes
*Pat Metheny Group, Dec. 18, 1981,Shimin-Kaikan, Sapporo, Japan
*Miles Davis Quintet (with John Coltrane), Feb. 16 & 23, 1957, Peacock Alley, St. Louis
*Ozomatli, April 22, 2006, Breckenridge Spring Massive Festival
*Los Lobos, Sept. 9, 2005, Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for Arts & Education Los Angeles
*Santana, Oct. 2, 1988, Costa Mesa Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif., with Los Lobos, Stevie Ray Vaughn & The Fabulous Thunderbirds guesting.
*Los Lobos, Wolf Survival Kit #1Crack's 2003-2004 Los Lobos sampler
*Los Lobos, Wolf Survival Kit #2Crack's 2004-2005 Los Lobos sampler
*Night Music DVD (1989), with Randy Newman, Warren Zevon, Lou Reed, John Cale, Santana, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray.
*Milton Nascimento with Wayne Shorter DVD, Montreal Jazz Festival, July, 1990
*Baba Olatunji 12-31-91 Oakland, CA Excellent SBD
*Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (DVD), El Mocambo, Toronto, 13 jul 1983
*Wayne Shorter Quartet, April 5, 2006, Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario Canada
*Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin, Sept. 1, 1973, Chicago
*Los Lobos, MAR 12, 1987 The Inferno, Buffalo NY
*Neil Young (DVD), 1984, Austin City Limits, Austin, TX
*Santana, 08.26.1990, World Theater Tinley Park, ILFree Radio Concert - WXRT FM Broadcast
*Los Lobos, Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA, February 25, 2006
*MILES DAVIS GROUP, LIVE UNDER THE SKY '85 (DVD - Complete Version)Yomiuri-land OpenTheatre East, Tokyo, Japan, July 28th, 1985
*John McLaughlin "Free Spirits" Trio, Live at Summer Jazz Days in GDYNIA, Poland, 1993-07-09' PART II


Thursday, April 27, 2006

As go cities, so go people

"There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served."

--Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (R.I.P.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Strawberry Top

Wendy bundled Amadisto up yesterday and took him out for a walk. (It's still pretty cool here in Toronto.) You can tell the boy's already quite the fashionista!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stand-off in Caledonia

There's been a major stand-off between native people from the Six Nations and the Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) going on near us in Caledonia, Ontario. For a couple of months the native people had been peacefully occupying a disputed piece of land next to their reserve where a developer had started a new housing development. Last week the O.P.P. raided the protest at dawn, tasaring and arresting a dozen or so protesters. Then native reinforcements arrived from the reserve and took back the land, forcing the police off. Now, with native supporters blockading a major highway in the area, all hell is breaking loose as seriously inconvenienced non-native residents have launched their own counter-protest.

As you might expect, it's all very complicated legally. At root is several hundred years of broken promises, shady deals, and suspect laws that have led to thousands of disputed native land claims that the government isn't addressing. I've heard that the average wait in Ontario for a native land claim to be heard in court is about 30 years. I can understand why folks would be frustrated.

Hopefully the situation in Caledonia will be resolved without any more violence. It would probably help if the native people took down their blockade of Highway 6. That would definitely get them more support in the local community. The O.P.P. also needs to back off---it was their raid that escalated this whole thing. And the local, provincial, and federal governments need to step up to the plate and make sure this claim and the thousands of others are dealt with in a timely manner, even if it isn't politically expedient for them to do so (which it isn't).

I don't have a lot of sympathy for the housing developer. Apparently the federal government sold them the disputed land, but there's no way this deal could have been done without both parties knowing that the ownership of the land would be disputed by the Six Nations. Somebody was trying to pull a fast one and get rich. For many years the claim on the land wasn't an issue because the land was agricultural. Does southern Ontario really need another housing development? There's a growing housing shortage in the area, but I say leave the land alone, built more condos in downtown Hamilton, Kitchener, and Toronto, and centralize everything so the environmental impact of our growing population will be less severe.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blue Jays vs. Red Sox

Wendy's mom Kathy and I snuck off to a Toronto Blue Jays game yesterday afternoon. We went together a couple of years ago too---when the Jays lost to the Yankees after 17 innings. Yesterday's game against the Boston Red Sox didn't go that long, and it was a good one, except for the fact that the Jays lost 6-3. They had several chances to win with players in scoring position, but couldn't seem to get them in.

A couple highlights were seeing Boston's David Ortiz ("Big Papi") slam a three-run home run into left field in the first inning. Later in the game Big Papi laid down a bunt to the third base side against an infield that always shifts ridicously to the first base side when he bats. It was an easy infield single, even with the not-so-blazing speed of the big man. Anyone who follows baseball will know what I'm talking about. Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun also hit a three-run homer and later nearly tied the game with long fly ball to the right-centre gap with two men on. Boston right fielder Trot Nixon made a great running catch right at the wall to get Boston out of the inning.

Pictures: (Top:) Boston's Manny Ramirez at bat---one of my favourite players even though he plays for Boston. He's "different." (Middle:) The Jays' slugger Vernon Wells up to bat in the bottom of the ninth with two men on. He struck out. (Bottom:) Kathy and I at the game. I had a great time and might have looked a little happier for the picture except that 1) the Jays were losing, 2) there was a wild screaming woman in our section that was blowing our eardrums out the whole game, but at least she was a Jays fan, and 3) the stadium was about half filled with Boston Red Sox fans who cheered loudly everytime the Red Sox did something good. That was depressing. But all in all, the Jays look good this year---they did beat Boston 2 out of 3 times this weekend---so watch for them to take the division this year. That's pretty optimistic when they share the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox, but nevertheless, MARK MY WORDS!

P.S. Here is a link to a Toronto Star article about Ortiz's bunt.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Mother and Son

Three Months Old!

Here's our little guy. He's very cute these days and is really starting to explode with animation and expression. When you're holding him and looking at his face he seems very big. He's right there with you. However, when you look at somebody else holding him, you see he's just a small boy, still only three months old.

He had his first round of vaccinations this past week. He had two shots, one in the front of each thigh, and they didn't seem to bother him too much. I put up more of a fuss when I get a shot. While at the doctor Amadisto weighed in at 14 pounds, 5 ounces and 65 centimeters long (25.5 inches). Compared to other three-month-olds, he seems very big. Is it our imagination? He has pretty much grown out of his first round of clothes, now on to the second round!

We love him a lot!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Amado's Dream

...hmm, has Daddy been taking a PhotoShop course or something?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Amado's Store

Check it out, down in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize they have already started naming things after our son Amado. He is that beautiful.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nothing is as Permanent as it Appears

Today (or tomorrow?) is the 100th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake that destroyed that city in 1906 (lower picture). I remember hearing that the hills around the University of California at Santa Cruz, 60 miles to the south, were bare of redwoods because they had been cut down to rebuild San Francisco. Could this be true? In any case it must have been a truly traumatic event for the whole region.

Santa Cruz too was hit hard by its own earthquake in 1989. I lived there then, but at the time I was in Bali, Indonesia. At about the exact time of the earthquake, it was nighttime in Bali and I had a vivid dream that my family was gathered in a room and being shaken by an earthquake. It literally shook me awake. I asked Lynne, my partner at the time, "Did you feel that earthquake?" She said no, what earthquake? The whole morning of the next day, I asked everyone I met, "Did you feel that earthquake last night?" and everyone said no, what earthquake? Then we ran into somebody who told us that an earthquake had leveled San Francisco and "thousands were dead." We saw a piece of news coverage on Indonesian TV, which we couldn't understand, but the images of burning, collapsed houses and freeways let us know it was really bad. Just thinking of all my relatives and friends who lived in San Francisco sort of just stunned me. I wasn't sure if they were alive or dead, but judging from the pictures we saw, I was pretty sure they couldn't have made it. It wasn't until a couple of days later that we heard the earthquake was actually centred in Santa Cruz. Then we really freaked. If it was that bad in San Francisco and it wasn't even centred there, imagine what our home looked like! We tried to call home, but there was no phone service. We spent a terrible two weeks waiting to hear what really happened, which was bad enough, but not quite as bad as we imagined.

One real casualty of the Santa Cruz earthquake was the downtown strip along Pacific Ave. I'm not sure, but it seemed a majority of the buildings were effected and many had to be torn down in the weeks after the quake. One of saddest losses was the Cooper House (pictured at the top, and then when it was being torn down). The Cooper House was one of the most joyful places in the city on a sunny day. Everyone would sit outside in its patio, then had a great Latin-influenced house jazz band that played outside. The leader was an older man, a William Everson look-a-like, who played the vibes, with a conga player, sax, and keys. There was a great spirit woman who danced out on the sidewalk, fully decked out in fantastic, flowing, rainbow clothes.

The only thing that ever surpassed the utter loss I felt reading my Mom's note: "They are tearing the Cooper House down today."---was about 12 years later on September 11 when a collegue came into the meeting I was in and said, pretty casually, "You know, those big buildings in New York? Well one just fell down." A dream of similar images had also kept me up the night before.

If I had know all this would be gone, I would have taken the time to enjoy things more than I did. Just goes to show you. Watch out, cause you never know what's right around the corner.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Story for Good Friday

From Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century by Joy Harjo and John L. Williams:

I shared a half hour of my life this morning with Rammi, an Igbo man from northern Nigeria who drove me in his taxi to the airport. Chicago rose up as a mechanical giant with soft insides buzzing around to keep it going. We were part of the spin.

Rammi told the story of his friend, who one morning around seven - a morning much like this one - was filling his taxi with gas. He was imagining home, a village whose memories had given him sustenance to study through his degree and would keep him going one more year until he had the money he needed to return.

As the sun broke through the grey morning he heard his mother tell him, the way she had told him when he was a young boy, how the sun had once been an Igbo and returned every morning to visit relatives.

These memories were the coat that kept him warm on the streets of ice.

He was interrupted by a young man who asked him for money, a young man who was like many he saw on his daily journey onto the street to collect fares. "Oh no, sorry man. I don't have anything I can give you," he said as he patted the pockets of his worn slack, his thin nylon jacket.

He turned back to the attention of filling his gas tank. What a beautiful morning, almost warm. And the same sun, the same Igbo looking down on him in the streets of the labyrinth far far from home.

And just like that he was gone, from a gunshot wound at the back of his head - the hit of a casual murderer.

As we near the concrete plains of O'Hare, I imagine the spirit of Rammi's friend at the door of his mother's house, the bag of dreams in his hands dripping with blood. His mother's tears make a river of red stars to an empty moon.

The whole village mourns with her. The ritual of tears and drums summon the ancestors who carry his spirit into the next world. There he can still hear the drums of his relatives as they accompany him on his journey. He must settle the story of his murder before joining his ancestors or he will come back a ghost.

The smallest talking drum is an insistent heart, leads his spirit to the killer, a young Jamaican immigrant who was traced to his apartment because his shirt of blood was found by the police, thrown off in the alley with his driver's license in the pocket.

He searches for his murderer in the bowels of Chicago and finds him shivering in a cramped jail cell. He could hang him or knife him - and it would be called suicide. It would be the easiest thing.

But his mother's grief moves his heart. He hears the prayers of the young man's mother. There is always a choice, even after death.

He gives the young man his favorite name and calls him brother. The young killer is then no longer shamed but filled with remorse and cries all the cries he has stored for a thousand years. He learns to love himself as he never could, because his enemy, who has every reason to destroy him, loves him.

That's the story that follows me everywhere and won't let me sleep: from Tallahassee Grounds to Chicago, to my home near the Rio Grande.

It sustains me through these tough distances.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

William Sloane Coffin

Thank you for fighting the good fight...

"The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a former Yale University chaplain known for his peace activism during the Vietnam War and his continuing work for social justice, died Wednesday at his home in rural Strafford. He was 81."

“Bill’s voice was part of a chorus of conscience for a nation dealing with issues of poverty, war, disarmament, racism and bigotry,” the Rev. Frederick J. Streets, Yale’s current chaplain, said Wednesday. “He distinguished himself by rising above and emerging out of his own background of privilege to speak on behalf of the poor.”


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Viva Los Chorizeros

My boyhood friend from East Los Angeles and fellow baseball lover, Dylan "Red Ryder" Sepulveda, sent me this amazing LA Times article about the Chorizeros, a team from our old neighbourhood that dominated LA before the Dodgers came to town. Even though this team was gone before Dylan and I were around, perhaps our dads knew about it. It reminds me that there is so much that I miss about the old East LA. (And not just the Tecate breakfasts.)

"In the years after World War II, the Chorizeros ruled over a loose affiliation of Latino amateur and semi-professional teams that played every weekend throughout Southern California and across the border into Mexico."

"The Chorizeros — the "chorizo makers" — had uniforms with the team name stitched in cursive across their chests, smart-looking ball caps and jackets. Lopez brought packages of chorizo to give away in the bleachers, and afterward invited everyone to a nearby restaurant, picking up the tab for tacos and cerveza."

"Oh, we'd run up a big bill," says Rich Pena, one of nine brothers who for many years formed the core of the Carmelita roster. "It was nothing but first class with him."

"The man who ran the club — he owned a chorizo factory down the road — made sure the lineup was always well-stocked, his guys dressed in crisp uniforms. The Chorizeros won strings of games, claiming one city championship after another, but this wasn't about just hits and runs."

"Fifty years later, as Los Angeles roils with demonstrations over proposed immigration changes, the legacy of the Chorizeros is entwined with the story of the Latino community. Frank Lopez, the owner's son, could see it in all of those faces at the games."There was a lot of prejudice in those days," Lopez says. "This was a way to do something. Something for us."


The Secret Gardener

Look Out! An old story about me is featured in Katie's Blog! Thanks Katie for sharing a sweet, old story that I was on the verge of forgetting. And don't worry. I have a lot of old photos and stories about you that I am looking forward to posting very soon. Like the time that.....


"a wild ragged figure"

This is [part of] what I believe:

"If Democrats want to fight Republicans for the support of an institutional Jesus, they will have to...turn away from what Flannery O'Connor described as "the bleeding stinking mad shadow of Jesus" and "a wild ragged figure" who flits "from tree to tree in the back" of the mind."

"He was never that thing that all politicians wish to be esteemed — respectable. At various times in the Gospels, Jesus is called a devil, the devil's agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality."

"The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats."

From "Christ Among the Partisans," a nice New York Times article by Garry Wills.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Another failed 70s teen idol.

Sharon, I'm sure my many fans will thank you for sharing this picture. I'd hate to know what else you have in your secret archives. Considering how everything turned out, I bet you wonder what you saw in Leif Garrett anyway. He doesn't seem so foxy any more, now does he?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Will the Wolf Survive?

I'm on a big time Los Lobos kick. This is the authentic Chicano rock-n-roll, straight from the neighbourhoods I grew up in. No baloney. Los Lobos also does great straight-up Mexicana---the kind you will hear coming out of a million resturantes in East LA. Guys, I owe you a couple tequila shots for making me feel better, but I will have to pay you back later. Limes don't come into season for a couple more months here in Canada and you couldn't find a decent bottle of reposado if your life depended on it.

Good Morning Amado

We are starting to get a nice little smile when we greet Amadisto each morning. He acts like he is happy to see us, but perhaps he just knows where his breakfast is coming from. (Actual tattooed adult human hand pictured to gauge the size of the creature.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Today's Hot 19

Another pleasant afternoon of music selected by the iPod shuffle....

1) I Man a Grasshopper – Pablo Moses
{this is a great song from a great album of revolutionary 70s reggae. I love this stuff and I spent the 80s in Santa Cruz listening to it. ...This song asks the question: What do grasshoppers want? Why "grass," of course.}

2) Lester Leaps Again – Lester Young

3) Junk Food – Mutabaruka
{I vividly remember being at the front of the stage in Freedom Square, Washington D.C. one 4th of July while Mutabaruka--a barefoot, dreadlocked Rasta prophet/poet--played this song. My friend Samad was rockin' to this positive message.}

4) Take the "A" Train – Duke Ellington and his Orchestra

5) Shadow Waltz – Sonny Rolllins

6) Bilolo – Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca

7) One With You – Carlos Santana
{this song makes me cry}

8) Touched – Rachel Smith
{Rachel is a very good friend of ours and a tremendous musician. She now lives in Boston. Her music is on my iPod and every time it comes up, I'm like "who is this amazing singer?" Of course, it's our dear Rachel. We miss you Rach!!!!!}

9) Waiting – Santana
{the first Santana song from the first Santana album}

10) El Preso #9 – Mariachi Los Camperos
{old school, oh yeah}

11) Don’t Rock My Boat – Bob Marley

12) When It Hurts So Bad – Lauryn Hill
{The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is such a good album. I was a big fan of Lauryn Hill back in 1998-99...I hope she makes a comeback one day.}

13) Temba, Tumba, Timba – Los Van Van
{Cuba's best contemporary band, imho}

14) Dub is the Roots – Mad Professor featuring Mickey Dread
{I can't get enough dub...especially in the summer}

15) One Foundation – The Wailers

16) A Todo Cuba Le Gusta – The Afro-Cuban All-Stars

17) I Mean You – Thelonious Monk
{kids, Thelonious is one thing you can never O.D. on}

18) G.M.S. – Jane Bunnett

19) Pressure Zone Dub – Mad Professor
{more dub!}

Church Politics

As the recent discovery and translation of the Gospel of Judas shows, church politics have always been with us---apparently there was a major row when it came to decided which of the words attributed to God would make it into the Bible.

Check out this New York Times article on the Gospel of Judas (which, as you may or may not know, is not part of the Bible):

"The Gospel of Judas is only one of many texts discovered in the last 65 years, including the gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene and Philip, believed to be written by Gnostics.

"The Gnostics' beliefs were often viewed by bishops and early church leaders as unorthodox, and they were frequently denounced as heretics. The discoveries of Gnostic texts have shaken up Biblical scholarship by revealing the diversity of beliefs and practices among early followers of Jesus.

"As the findings have trickled down to churches and universities, they have produced a new generation of Christians who now regard the Bible not as the literal word of God, but as a product of historical and political forces that determined which texts should be included in the canon, and which edited out.

"For that reason, the discoveries have proved deeply troubling for many believers. The Gospel of Judas portrays Judas Iscariot not as a betrayer of Jesus, but as his most favored disciple and willing collaborator."

Apparently, the Gospel of Judas shows that even Jesus was doing some behind-the-scenes manuveuring during Holy Week.

What else might have ended up on the cutting room floor when the Bible was put together? I'll check straight with the Source and get back to you.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

April Snow

For those of you reading from afar, the Toronto area had a bit of snow last night...pretty good for April 5, though I'm sure it will melt soon. I always say that as a Californian, I moved here for the exotic winter weather. But this year was sort of a dud. Overall it was the warmest winter in Toronto since temperatures have been recorded. I was looking forward to trying out my new cross-country skis (new to me anyway...I found them in a dumpster), but there was never really enough snow in town to do that this year. Now that I'm a dad of a Canadian kid, I imagine I'm going to have to learn some new winter skills such as ice skating to keep the tyke occupied---in fact, as a winter baby he will probably be having ice skating parties for his birthday, as kids do around here. I'm drawing the line at hockey and curling though. I may have left sunny California, but I'm not totally nuts.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A note from the bottom of a well.

I recently finished one of the most amazing books I've ever read. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, is so weird it's difficult to describe. The basic plot is about an underachieving man who is left without explanation by his wife. As he tries to figure out why she left and where she is, he meets a lot of very strange people: a psycho teen, two psychics who are sisters, a rich woman who is a psychic healer and her mute son, a World War II veteran who is still trying to break the curse of war on his life. He also discovers that his evil brother-in-law, a prominent politician, is somehow involved in the disappearance of his wife. So, our protagonist does what would be obvious to any introvert like me--he seals himself down at the bottom of a dry well until he can figure out the mystery himself, alone, in the silence and pitch dark.

I guess you could call this a postmodern novel...everything that happens happens by chance, things are seen in multiple perspectives, and the world of the "unseen" and the world of the "seen" are given equal weight. Or maybe it's magic realism, but in a different, more realistic, contemporary way than the Latin American magic realists. But to me this novel is even more connected with the shamanistic journey and the courage one must muster to face the unknown and utterly terrifying in order to rescue yourself and your loved ones. This is one of the oldest stories known to humans, and I think it's a challenge we all must face one way or another if we want to be whole and mature people. What can provoke us to face up to our own darkness? Something has to, for it is only by going through it that we can find the light.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

India Joze

Ikan Taotjo, Thandua Korma, Lamb Sis, Walnut Lamb, Atjar Kuning, Paprikiascirske, Sate Daging, Kofta Kari, Mushroom Vindaloo, Masak Ajam Bumbu Bali (aka "Hubba Bubba"), Pursindahr, Calamari Titi, Dragon Chicken, Krupuk, Opor Udang, Gado-Gado, Persian Prawns...

This is just a small sample of some of the amazing dishes we cooked when I worked at the world's best resturant, India Joze in Santa Cruz, California. Just writing these words makes my mouth water. I'd happily take an emp tumis or bowl of dahl now.

I worked there, on and off but mostly on, from 1983-1990. It was hard work, and sometimes a pain, but now that I look back I realize what an incredible experience I had during that time. We worked with some of the most creative, beautiful people in Santa Cruz, we cooks were famous all over town for our wonderful dishes, and best of all we got paid for being creative and exploring the world through cooking, eating, and making people happy.

Joseph Schultz (aka JSFTW, His Imperial Jozeness, Jozseph Schultz) was the founder and inspiration of the resturant (in the top and bottom pictures above). He is one of the most creative people I've ever known---a true artist who to this day provokes me to be more creative in life.

Paul Lenik (aka The Big Guy -- pictured above in the middle picture) was the day-to-day heart and soul of the kitchen at India Joze. I have never worked with somebody who worked so hard every day. Paul was an amazing chef and a really nice guy too.

India Joze has been closed for some years now, but I'm still in touch with a few of the people who worked there (hi you guys!) and I'm always wondering what ever happened to everyone else. If you're out there and beat the astronomical odds of seeing this website, give me a shout.