Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Read two articles on memory in Guardian science section this morning.

We Can Never Fully Trust our Memory


How to Avoid Loosing your Memory in the Digital Age about memory athletes. Talks about how we can greatly improve memory through practice and effort. Methods of associating what's to be remembered with something else, the most common being rooms in a building one is familiar with. The article didn't mention it but that's an old method monks used to memorize scripture. I remember Peter Coyote talking about some method like that he used. I've used a list of items for years to recall items I don't want to forget. One to six is wan, tool, tree, fort, fife, sex. I remember driving somewhere in Texas when I was young. Stopped at a diner Bought a book on how to remember there. Read it while waiting for dinner. The author's method was to place each item to be remembered on some part of an automobile. Seemed good. Driving on I later realized I'd left the book back at the diner. Darn.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Forgetting Programmed Differences

Woke this morning lay in bed
memories came
summer 1964
walking neighborhood South Side of Chicago eve
with a guitar
invited to play freedom songs
at a CORE meeting
so all could sing
going to the South Side
to visit playful Stanley, photographer met at civil rights training camp
Stanley, wife, twice as old as me
dinner, relaxed
prior spring
lunch with a half dozen others
restaurant next door to COFO office
what a gift
times like those
boy from Texas
the only white in those scenes
forgot about race
just us doin what we were doin
that forgetting
wasn't planned

Monday, November 26, 2018

strange feeling

I walked into Tulane University, found the psychology department, met with a professor, and asked him about an unusual experience, a strange feeling I got now and then. It was hard to describe. It happened when I was calm. I can remember it happening while I was lying in the back seat of my mother's car taking a nap while she was playing music with some friends. A buzzing would start in my head, a feeling buzzing, not a sound buzzing. There'd be light, a little brightness, a floating feeling. strange time sensations as it increased, then a sense of everything being very fast and then slow and fast and slow at the same time as if one side of time were fast and the other slow, and I'd feel big and small at the same time, and other contradictory sensations. It was a little bit pleasant and a little bit unpleasant. I could stop it at any time by just getting up, shaking myself, and looking around. The professor said the closest he could come to was that sometimes writers, poets, artists express something like that. I said that Sartre described something in Nausea that reminded me a bit of it - how a doorknob would feel and I couldn't think of more to say nor he. - from Freedom Songs, Part XI

Friday, November 23, 2018


Here's a bit about banten in Bali.Our housecleaner has to switch days sometimes because she's making banten for a ceremony with other women in her neighborhood or extended family depending on the ceremony. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


The water filter salesman who was here was a neat guy named Kadek (like our house cleaner, a woman - Bali names are not usually gender specific) and  I found him entertaining so I offered him tea. Usually people here ask for water if they want anything at all - when offered. But he said ok to green tea. Of course he wanted sweetener and was happy to have honey in it. He spoke good English but we'd veer into Indonesian too which is fun and I always learn something. I can't remember in what context but he used the word bum for butt and asked if that was the only word for the rear end.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Nazava Water Filters

A Nazava water filter salesman came by. He knew we already had two of them and had been filtering our own water for over four years. We've saved a ton of money because we don't buy drinking water but make our own from tap water. Came to check it out and ask a few questions for a company survey. He was a funny, bright guy from the city of Klungkung bout an hour away. I had things to say to him about how to maintain the units that was different from what they teach. We don't use the blue straw that's connected to the drip thingy. Why? And I don't use their abrasive scrubber to clean it - just my hand, so it doesn't have to be replaced. I just went to the company website and asked them about those two practices and if there was some reason I should use the tube and clean it like they suggested. I suspected they like replacing the filters every two or three years for the money. But Katrinka who cleans it much less uses the scrubber so maybe we've got the perfect combo there.

One other thing I talked to the salesman about. I've noticed that most locals who get these things donated to them don't clean them enough so they clog up and stop using them. I've had friends with restaurants get them and cleaned them and refilled them myself when I see they need it. They're too much trouble. New habits hard to take on if it means going to more trouble than the old ones. Even poor people will buy water or boil water (which doesn't get the pesticides) rather than get into using them right. We know a guy who gets grants to to distribute them all over to the poor and refugees from volcanoes and earthquakes. He does one quick mass instructive talk and is off. Good luck. I suggest the company do a followup. Potable water from the tap is far superior. There are also many places with potable and non potable supplies running next to each  other.

If you got heavy metals in your water you have to move up to a more sophisticated system.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Cicak (pronounced chicak

Cicak are our little lizard friends that live mainly on the walls behind things. They can go across the ceiling too. They like to eat bugs and are good at catching mosquitoes. I think they're a type of small gecko. Every once in a while find one trapped in the sink or even in a cup. The other day at the front gate talking to a neighbor, one jumped on my shoulder, ran down my leg the sprang to the post and away. That was a start. I've seen them do that to other people on rare occasion. They like bread crumbs too it seems. Good to look inside the toaster before loading  We get excellent little cookies from a local bakery that are packed in a cup with a lid. The other night we finished off the last two for desert. The next morning while making tea I saw what looked like a bunch of cookie crumbs at the bottom of the cookie cup. I brought it up to my open mouth and threw it in. A cicak hit my cheek, bounced off, and scampered away. Glad my aim was off.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Song

Walking Down Dusty Road - Song made up while walking down the road to Grasshopper Flats at Tassajara in 1967.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Ghosts in Bali

Bali must be a magnet for ghosts - or maybe just stories about ghosts. There's a whole group of vacant villas near here because they're haunted. Our driver pointed out a big empty hotel by the road way up north somewhere. He said it was a ghost building. I hear a lot of ghost stories here without even trying. An American forester who's been working on Indonesian islands for a couple of decades told me about staying in a home in Java in a guest room and weird sounds waking him then a bright ball of light hovering in the air that scared the heck out of him. The next morning he told his hosts about it and was asked what color the light was. Blue he said. Oh, they said - that's a good one. Katrinka has told me that there are said to be water spirits around where we live. I don't know anything about that though - behind in essential research. When dogette Bandita was barking at nothing the other evening, uncharacteristically backing up a little, Katrinka said, "Maybe it's the water people."

Bali Ghost places

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Barking at What?

One of my office spaces, sitting on the bed, especially if I'm tired and showered. Dogette Bandiata lies near my feet. Suddenly she barks and leaps down to run to the back door, always open, out the little pet door at the bottom of the screen door, always shut. No more barking. False alarm? What did she hear? I didn't hear anything. That happens a lot. Sometimes I know why.

Katrinka and I were eating dinner and Bandi started growling low toward the direction of the back door, Kucita cat looking on. Growling punctuated with soft barks continued but they stayed back. That's unusual. I've seen Kuchi rush out with Bandi and scale a wall like a free climber to get to an intruding feline moaning up there on top. But they stayed back. Stayed back as if it was too much to tangle with but if it had been some ferocious tomcat outside they would have at least been near the door with Bandi barking ferousiously. No - these were cautious barks and growls from a distance, almost as if the object was inside the door. Barking at nothing it seemed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Child's Eyes

Friends are starting a homestay and restaurant on the nearby relatively small island of Penida and have been storing in our courtyard stuff they've bought to ship to their new place - lots of it. Big truck outside the gate being loaded. It's dark, overcast, smells of impending rain. Trish and her sis Christine directing and helping the local guys load. I'm tired. Swimming and tennis today. I gazed at the guys tying the truck down and something about what I saw - what s it? Sometimes I see like this - dreamlike - oh yes, it's how things looked when I was a young child, maybe a toddler. No names. No ideas about it. Mysterious feeling but no questions. Just gazing. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Brief Encounter

I saw Dr. Strange a few months ago. I'm was never that into Marvel Comics as a kid - somewhat, I'd read them - but I liked Little Lulu and Scrooge McDuck, the great horror comics like Tales of the Crypt, and above all Mad. These days not into big budget super hero stuff which tends to bore me after a while. But I'd just completed a lot of work, Katrinka was in the US, so I watched Dr. Strange. I enjoyed it and thought it was imaginative and fun. And I thought yeah - the guy who wrote this and some of those others, like I think Spiderman, did give us other places to go that left the zone of consensus reality. Couldn't remember his name but I thought I'd see it in the credits and go Oh yeah. At one point in the film Dr. Strange and his fellow good guys were in New York City running down the street from the bad guys, the main villain of which was folding space-time and hurling devastating power rays and so forth, when bang! a bus drove in front of their exit route and with a viewpoint from inside the bus we see them come to an abrupt stop outside a window where a man is sitting reading a book. The action hesitates for a second, the bus moves on, and they're off running from the bad guys again. Movies, especially big budget films, typically don't have any shot that doesn't serve a purpose. It was the brief lingering bit in the bus that made me curious. I thus paused the film, went back a little to watch that scene again and paused it on the reading man. Hmm. I could make out some letters on the book cover and yes - got it - The Doors of Perception, He was reading Aldous Huxley's classic on mind expansion. At the end of the film as the credits rolled, I watched and there it was! Man on bus .... Stan Lee. Oh yeah.

Farewell Stan Lee who just died at 95. And thanks for the trips!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Weather Report

Don't look at Sanur weather reports much because rain here is so often in clumps so that never know if it will hit here or a few blocks away. And if it's massive then it's pretty clear it's coming. For temperature, I gauge by fan settings. For warm, turn to one, for warmer to two, for even warmer to three, and for hot add a second one. As for humidity, I use the kitchen wiping cloth the first time I use it in the morning. If the humidity is low, the cloth will be dry in the morning. If it's high, it will still be wet. It's also fun to look at the thermometer outside, read the Fahrenheit and guess the Celsius - or vice versa. But the numbers don't mean as much as the fan settings. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

At Denpasar Renon Immigration Office

Went to get our photos and fingerprints for new residence visas today. Nice, polite people work there. Didn't have to wait too long and while waiting there was a big screen with Quebec's TV show Just for Gags which can be seen anywhere in the world because there's no voice track - just sight gags like the old Candid Camera. Natrually, I'll be laughing more than anyone. I've been watching Just for Gags there anytime I went for five years. This is the new fancier remodeled office and at first they didn't have the big screen and no Just for Gags and I thought that that era of wacky humor in a government office had passed. But today it was back with an even larger screen and all new gags. They obviously can get away with edgier material in Canada than we could in the states where there are so many sensitive issues the media is shy about. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Moneyya Said

Met Moneyya the monk at the Mertasari beach for an invigorating swim while dogette Bandita waded and snooped nearby. Before coming back in we floated for a bit and once on shore Moneyya remarked, "When I'm moving there's no motion and when I'm not moving there's movement."

Moneyya page