Friday, December 19, 2008



"Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it." — Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) Thus the novel persuades and pervades through our imagination the smell.

Why do I want to read this book?
I want to read it to see how the author transcribe a scent on to words.
One incident which stood out. It was when Grenouille pays the prostitute to get her scent. Well this explains a lot and it makes the narrative plausible and it makes his motives for murder clear. The prostitute is freaked out by the scrapper and the lard that he applies to extract her scent. If she would have let him do it then he would not have murder other girls. Well, he was to get a scent of the virgins. She was just his test subject. So I suppose that eventually he would murder. It does explain that it is not normal social behavior. So even if he advertised for girls to contribute their scent, they would not have. Besides, he murders her on impulse because he is obsessive about the experiment.
He is only concern with the scent and not even the physical touch.
So this is more then a story, and much more then just murders. It bring in moral questions. In searching for art, science, and perfection, he has committed these crimes. Was there a better way to extract this? In those times, it was not possible it seems.
His motive is more then just money, fame, and power. It was his mere curiosity and he pursuit of the purest and his obsessiveness. To him and to the writer, the scent is the essence: the soul of a thing, or a man or a woman. He had a gift for this sense. He is a freak of nature, like most genius who bares the talent or gift, it is a burden. So this is how the author makes the reader sympathize for the criminal. We, the reader, don't know much about the virgin victims, except for the final precious 13th victim, she has a bit of a story.
I might add here that the writer has a gift as well. Sometimes, he is a freak and is obsessive about certain ideas, theme, and words. The novel is the way he conducts the experiment. The way he can distill smell onto the page is remarkable.

Root Canal

Over the weekend, I had an experience of a Root Canal which last night caused me to gain some insight into pain. It caused a little bit of insomnia and made me understand the nature of insomnia too. I was thinking of what I was going to say. I rushed head-long into the future. My body was on the bed but my mind was with the blog, but first, the Root Canal. I have been reading Eckhart Tolle's book 'The Power of Now'. Basically, it's about the concept of time as in the now. It's funny that we don't think of spending time in the Now. We are busy worrying about the future and regret the past. These are two concepts of time that preoccupies us. We worry about projects, where we have to be etc. Now is also a time concept but it is also a much harder concept to grasp. Now is especially hard to practice in the time of multiple tabs browsing, and multi-tasking.

I was worried and became anxious of the appointment already weeks before and now in the car driving in the 6 a.m. fog. But the fog also taught me a lesson. It didn't allow me to look too far into the future. I just had to worry a few hundred feet ahead of me. I was worrying about how much I had to pay and the pain it would cost me. All that worry disappears as I sit in the chair, when the long needle injects the numbness into the gum. I felt the cold drop of liquid from the syringe. "This is going to hurt a little," she said. The root canal is not performed in the future or the past. It is performed in the now. I was sitting in a chair not moving. I might as well be tied down. All of my energy is focus on that tooth. I had to control my breathing, but not too much control but a relaxed breathing. I thought about the future briefly and I started to choke on my own saliva because I forgot to swallow. I was anxious for it to be over so that I can go out to the sunshine. I was not living in that moment. But I had to live in that moment to get through to go into the sunshine again. Doctor Adjaj was my Indian mystic and dentist. The assistant is also a Gypsy mystic from Romania, although they did not know that they perform these roles for me. We were practicing in a three person Sangha of meditation in the moment of now. The Gypsy informed me that the tool is hot. Smoke came out of my mouth. She handed him the paper pointer. He wore a plastic ring with pyramid foam to hold all of the pointed metal drills. The procedure of root canal is so specialized. This is what he does all day. They even have a special name for people like him call Endodontist. He uses all the elements of air, water, fire, gel, and compounds. The procedure is to go into the root of the tooth deep down and suck out all of the nerves that are dying, some even have become abscess. The procedure is painful to remove the pain. But once it's done, the tooth can survive, with less feeling and almost dead. His work is like a sand painting of the Tibetan monks. He can't take it home and put it on a wall, nor does he care to. Once it is done, the work belongs to me and I walk out into the world. I was so admiring my Mystic Adjaj until he said, "Is someone going to help us with the X-Ray or we'll never gonna get out of here." Already, he was thinking about the future.

I thought this is a perfect metaphor for looking at pain and suffering in life. We all have to perform this root canal on our being, our soul sometimes. We have to dig deep down into the root and remove, drop the emotions and some of the illusions, our misinterpreted perceptions in order for our life to survive. It is like we are not aware of the tooth until it begins to hurt. I can tell you all about it but you will not feel it until you have gone through it. That is the moment of now which makes it real for you. Sometimes children can't understand it because they have not suffered enough, they have not grown a wisdom tooth, nor have a root canal. When we were children we didn't have such concepts as suffering much. It is like a tooth. Teeth can survive a fire, and even death. It is the living that decays it: the sugar, the food, and the bacteria of life that destroy it.

I lost some sleep thinking about this post. And I don't know if it was worth it.


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Yellow Robe

The inspiration for Monk (yellow robe) came from attending the Kwan Yin temple near North East Glisan. The image of the yellow robe monk stayed with me after many prayer sessions. I try to recreate this vision inside the studio. I started with an acrylic layer to sketch out the shape because it was quick and easy, the medium allows me to work right away. It was meant to be just a sketch but a year later I went back to this painting and apply several layers of oil and abstract the image further to extend beyond the reality and into another element. The small paintings are precious and most of them are done quickly and spontaneously but always going back to further improved upon after a time.

‘Duc Ly’s paintings are textured abstracts that hint at Asian or perhaps Extraterrestrial Landscapes. His oil painted on Mylar is an exquisite vision of the moon surrounded by shapes that could be alien pictographs or characters from an exotic tongue.’
- Dave Johnson, The Asian Reporter

‘An acrylic on paper, titled “Gate VII”…shouts bright swaths of color while muttering subtle passageways to the unknown.’
- Dave Johnson, The Asian Reporter

Thursday, August 14, 2008

jessica bruah

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

flocking on blogger

testing post from flock to blogger
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, May 23, 2008

design is mine
pdx blogger

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