Category Archives: discovery

Get Out Of My Car And Into My Dreams

Last October I rented a car with Renee for a week from the Fiumicino Airport near Rome that we used to drive through Napoli and along the Amalfi Coast. One night, in and around Nerano, a little silly, we went on a search for the ideal place to park the car and sleep. It was VW Golf, not quite a compact car, and the winding streets were often at a 45 degree angle and would barely fit three rugby players standing shoulder to shoulder. We had to fold the side mirrors and inch our way through many of the alleys. Renee completely trusted my channeling of Mario Andretti and although we didn’t find a new spot to sleep (we had already found a pretty great spot earlier in the evening and this was more adventure for its own sake), we managed to escape the labyrinth of barking dogs and angsty graffiti with only a 2cm scratch on the rear passenger side door. Tiny. Doesn’t even count as damage in the rental contract.

Weh-he-helllll, let me tell you. A few days after returning the car and to Brussels I got an email from the rental company, LOCAUTO (Please let this be a warning to anyone considering renting from them. DO NOT!), that said I owed them almost 700 EUR in damages and fees. Clearly confused, I wrote back, the only way, of course, was through a complaint box on their website. I am a bit tired of relaying this story, but to sum up, they tried to charge me for damages that were already present when I rented the car. The scratch that I returned it with was not even shown on the report. Because I was getting no where with their damned complaint box I turned to my credit card company to investigate. They reversed the charges and I hadn’t heard back from them for a few months. Done and done!

Not done. Last week I received an email from a collection agency in Italy informing me that I now owe 869 EUR for interest and fees. Ha! War. I filled an application for a small claims suit against them on Monday, but decided that since I now had a contact, despite that it was a third party and a collection agency, I would make one last attempt at resolving this before filing. I sent an email explaining my case to the collection agency, encouraged by a friend who had good dialogic experiences with these agencies (albeit in Belgium, and not the mafioso). That was Wednesday morning and I still have not heard back from them two days later.

Now yesterday, while waiting in the office of my unemployment syndicate I was reading an article in the SUN magazine that Renee had left me. It was titled “What Did You Dream Last Night?”. Great interview with dream specialist, Marc Ian Barasch. He speaks about how we need to pay attention to our dreams, that our subconscious is smart and catches things our conscious brain misses. Last night I fell asleep early. Around 11:30 PM. That is my early. I woke up to a dream:

I was returning to my apartment where a friend who was staying at my place(forget who) was packing up and leaving to stay somewhere else. She was afraid because two men had busted in and taken all my books and my computer speakers. They, interestingly, left my computer and everything else, and had left me a desk, which they placed the computer on next to my couch. It seemed they wanted the shock of seeing my wall shelf completely empty, which was actually kind of pleasing to my senses to see. Ha! Well, this friend was certainly rattled and I understood, but I simply knew I had to prepare for their next visit. It was clearly the collection agency trying to bully me.

It was 3:30 AM when I when I woke from this dream. I laid in bed for a few moments. Then I got up, returning with a heavy frying pan, my Bear Grylls Survival knife, and scenes from Deadpool rolling in my head. I think I’ll file that suit on Monday.

Next Generation

Three weeks ago I was skating down my hill. It’s where I got comfortable cruising down hill. I’ve wiped out a few times and considered it part of my warm up on my way to rehearsals. I go fast but am still in control. Earlier this summer I was cut off by a van cross and blocked the whole street because he suddenly stopped to watch a woman cross. There was a little space in front of him, but, of course, he just as suddenly started moving forward without looking as I decided to take that little alley there in front of him. I cut wide and dodged him but had to jump off my board because there was a large curb and a board with no way to kick up(I’m no good at that anyway). I messed up a back that was already blocked. He apologetically shrugged his shoulders and drove off. I was in a hurry to bring someone to the train station so I got back on my board and took off. As I got back on my board the woman the guy was distracted by asked if she should call an ambulance(ha!).

This street is a one way, so it is generally open for me if I make sure there is no one right in front of me when I head down it. I cruise down pretty fast and it opens my mind to the moment. I love it. But there is one intersection…. Traffic needs to yield to traffic from the right in unmarked intersection. There is one intersection with traffic coming from my left that can be a bit busy in the morning and cars often roll through without stopping. I usually take it wide and slow down to not get hit by some idiot. However, this morning three weeks ago: I was on my way to rehearsal. Was feeling pretty confident on my board. In fact, I had wiped out just after I started down the hill playing with lifting my weight up more in my carves and my board slid out from under me from a little wet gravel. Got a nice little road rash on my thigh from it. I got back up(in front of a school teacher and a parent), a little more ‘one with the road’, and continued down my hill. I rolled up to my intersection and saw there was a good amount of traffic. I slowed down and watched a silver luxury sedan pull and slow to the intersection. I started pulling wide to the right thinking he would stop, but he blasted forward clearly not seeing me. So I quick carved to the left. That’s when he saw me. Then he stopped in the middle of the street and my path behind him was blocked so I jump off my board. I didn’t catch my board in time and it kept rolling toward his car. It got just under his wheels and then he took off. There was a loud crack when my board broke in half. He kept driving. I looked at my board, then in disbelief that he was driving off. The next moment I had my board and was running after him. For two blocks. Well, it’s part of my warm up, I thought. Luckily, there was traffic in front of him and some road bumps so I caught up to him. He certainly saw me earlier than when I ran up tapping his driver side window. The indignant dickhead rolled down the window while I spouted, “Man, you ran over my skateboard two blocks back.”

“I didn’t see you! You can’t ride that thing in the street!”
“Yes, I can. I have the same rights as a bicycler.”
“Bah, that’s just a piece of wood. I’ll give you fifty euros.”
“No, no, no, no, no. This is tempered bamboo. I bought this in Hawaii for around $300. I can’t get a board like this over here easily.”
“Well, I only have 90 Euros in my wallet” He shows me inside his wallet. True enough.
“Ok, then let’s call your insurance company.”
“I don’t have time for this. I’ll give you 200.”
“Ha! No at least three hundred. I am late for work now, too.”
“Ok, let’s call the police.”
He pulls ahead to let the cars behind him pass.
He grumbles, “I don’t have time for this. 250.”
“No!” Exasperated. “Let’s wait for the police and insurance company.”
“Look, I don’t have a meeting. You’re gonna get what you want.”
He takes my bank account number and transfers the money on his phone in front of me. He speeds off, I write his license plate down on my iPad and walk to the metro, broken board under my arm. My first board. R.I.P.,  my beautiful, bouncing, bamboo baby. Maybe I’ll cut off your nose, reshape you, and give you a new life… if I have time.


I took the trucks and wheels off and stuck them to a little baby board I got at the second hand store last year. I rode it down my hill yesterday. I bit precarious, but carves like crazy!!!  I barely have room for two perpendicular feet on it. But fun!

I checked out the boards at the skate shop I like here, but didn’t find what I wanted. I finally found something that makes me excited on the Sector 9 website and ordered a full board since my trucks are worn. The wheels are ok, but I have to search/order the hardware for the drop mount style board I ordered. Here she is. Second generation:



I am super excited to get it. Got to send it to my mom first and have her send it here. I’ll probably still have to pay 50 – 60 EUR for duty taxes, etc. The complete board is $209(free shipping in the US!), so my request for 300 EUR was pretty accurate.

In the meantime, I will bike to work. Only in September my bike was stolen. Lock cut and stolen. Was a piece of shit, so the joke is on them, but I was left bike-less since. However, I found a really nice bike for cheap at the second hand store today that will keep me moving fast, awake, and saving 5 EUR a day from not using the metro!


Lanai Alumni at Golden City Chinese down from Kenny’s, which is closing.

Around the table.
One woman has a dark, black line 
between her gums and teeth.
The one across from her keeps flipping her tongue,
unwrapping an imaginary Starburst,
while the one next to her keeps saying,
“Well, ooh, that’s nice.” All brown.
The man across to my right,
the darkest one, wears a checkered red and white 
worker shirt. I hear my dad say, “Hey, is dat a Lanai shirt?”
The guy nods, but he can’t hear him. 
His wife made the deaf sign earlier, shaking her head
and pointing to her ears. The one 
with the black-lined gums, and is apparently known for her ong choy.
That’s what I had today at this luncheon, with rice and gravy.
The man directly opposite me, who
seems slightly annoyed with my dad, has cataracts 
so thick he looks like a blue-eyed filipino.
He’s a manly, stern kind of guy, but the ladies
are more friendly with my dad. My dad, Bruno, with his
high pitched laugh-sigh, is the most chatty of them all
besides the “ooh, that’s nice” lady.
The guy next to me hardly says a word, but he gently
puts his hand on my shoulder when he leaves to pay. He wears
glasses I remember seeing my grandfather wear in photos.
Malcom X kind, but brown. 
I can’t stop watching the lady with the tongue.
How she forms her words! It looks like it takes 
so much effort, but her speech is smoother than 
anybody else’s at the table. It’s a round table, by the way.
I look at Shirlene, in the corner, bagging the leftovers, been with my dad a long time.
I wonder if she is ever embarrassed that they aren’t married. 
The lady from my Auntie Connie’s class at the table next to us tells me,
“Hawaii has claim to two saints now!”
I offer Shirlene some of my rice cake and she wipes off a fork and takes a piece.



Boom! Cried the falcon passing the speed of sound.
She forgot her place in the chain,
not concerned with mice
but with the holiness of falling and flight
she breaks from her thunder.
Shout back to those now looking up
that you’ve found only death in the form of blood
before you dive beneath the earth and feed from the sun!

But don’t pass far from the bulbs buried beneath the moss,
the Rose of Charon. Dear, helps your soul
back from the dead!
You’ve found you can’t be a prophet if too concerned with loss.

Bald bird! Can you hear it, now?
Your song is polyphony,
your song is our bees!
Chase, until we give in
to your sol-sense soul!
Shake the air with your humming
so that we put our heads to the roots
where we find the bass line,
replaces our violent heart with rings.
Many, many strings with stories to let go like balloons.
And with free hands we dig to fold fingers with the oak.
And the blades just sway,
the blades sway, dull.”

There comes problem with blood.
A horse eats the grass
as his blood pumps hind legs to kick teeth out.
Blood flows and moves and violence.
The goose will chase, too, a game
children play in a circle. Until blood turns around, cuts off
head, eats and drinks blood ’round a table. Betrayed!
Life for life for life.

And the martians won’t come until we look like them;
They don’t take to complements well.

Wisdom from Rainer Maria Rilke

Both from Letter to a Young Poet. I need to read this.

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

Two more from ESSAYS IN LOVE

Just read the last pages of Essays In Love. Quite an amazing feat for a book published when he was 23 years old. Chock-full of good insight and wisdom. Here are two final quotes I want to highlight (fyi: they aren’t really spoilers, but they come from the final chapter):

1. It is the confrontation between wisdom and wisdom’s opposite, which is not the ignorance of wisdom (that is easy to put right), but the inability to act on the knowledge of what one knows is right. […] knowing we might be fools had not turned us into sages.

2. I realized that a more complex lesson needed to be drawn, one that could play with the incompatibilities of love, juggling the need for wisdom with its likely impotence, juggling the idiocy of infatuation with its inevitability. Love had to be appreciated without flight into dogmatic optimism or pessimism, without constructing a philosophy of one’s fears, or a morality of one’s disappointments. Love taught the analytic mind a certain humility, the lesson that however hard it struggled to reach immobile certainties (numbering its conclusions and embedding them in neat series), analysis could never be anything but flawed –  and therefore never stray far from the ironic.


It shouldn’t amaze me how closely my spiritual quest parallels my needs for love, but it does.

“Thin that I thawed before this batter.”

Bwahahahahaaaa! Thank you

#88 lyrics

Yes, it’s crystal clear.

Actually. I was checking up on a lyric for this song I’m digging, #88, by Lo-Fang. I have the song in my head a lot during the day, when I’m walking or on the train to and fro, but there is one line that just seems totally wrong, as in, poor choice. It goes something like, “An idea growing quietly from something within spreads quicker than the cancer that destroyed your mother’s skin.” I’m all for fresh analogy, but that is so insensitive and there had to be a better one to use than that. It’s one of those that seems highfive genius at four in the morning, but (should) make your toes curl when you wake up at noon and reread it.

However. I am really enjoying whoever made this attempt to get these lyrics online. I think I will sing these from now on instead:


Talk about originalogy! And a little post-modern repetition, to boot!

La Tsampa

Just under my noes, literally on the other side of my block, is an AMAZING vegetarian restaurant, La Tsampa! It’s tucked behind its organic store and the food is made with organic love! I had their full menu deal for 22 EUR which came with a starter, an main dish, and dessert. My starter was some kind of faux-meat samosa that had traces of fennel and pecans. It also came with a brightly coloured salad of various greens and shaved carrots and beets. I never enjoyed beets raw before, but I could taste the garden in them and loved them! My main dish was their Goulash Quorn and fava beans.  So perfectly seasoned and cooked I couldn’t tell/didn’t care I wasn’t eating meat. Also joining the goulash was dark green steamed spinach, bright orange squashed glazed with something that was sweet and savoury at once, and a temple shaped mound of brown rice with topped with toasted almonds! It was so perfectly presented. Enough food for while still having white space on the plate! For dessert I had the beautifully dense chocolate pie with crust made from pecans and a graham cracker type base. I drank a glass of Josef Ale, which is also a bio beer.

On my way out, I picked up some eggs and bananas and a load of bio beer and wine! About to dip into fairtrade Malbec a soon as I finish this sentence.