Monday, September 08, 2014
Today we began landscaping at The Buddhist Temple of Chicago. Two crews, 8 guys, 4 large pizzas, 15,000 pounds of stone.
Three of us were at the Temple today, and going to be there all week while a rather major landscaping project is executed: a few of us have been planning and meeting and facilitating this project for a few months. I really had a wonderful time today. I love organizing and getting this sort of thing done. I love the Temple which was designed around the Dahrma Wheel. You can see the Dahrma Wheel motif on the from corner of the Temple. Inside the Temple are all walls and furniture and offices that are made on wheels. The garbage pails are even on dolly boards with wheels. Our "bookstore" is on wheels. (I'll try to post a picture of that later).
The Temple was built ten years ago but landscaping was out of the budget until now. We had all these stones surrounding the property. and kids and dogs ran across it. Dog owners would use the stone property to walk their dogs (god knows why they would use such a building to let their dogs shit?) And kids having fun would run around on the gravel sending it out on to the public sidewalk.
So we needed to have a salvaging service remove the stones. Then a landscaping company is paving, and digging down 8 inches and removing gravel littered earth. Then pouring new soil in it's place. Then we are planting some small trees and flowers.
Saturday, September 06, 2014
"I GET IT!" Stagg and I finally did it. We watched THE SOPRANOS. Neither of us had even seen five minutes of the series, ever. We went in totally not knowing what to expect other than it being a goodfellas premise. Holy shit!!!! It's not unusual for me to watch a tv series years after it has been popular. It's kind of how I watched tv all my life. I watched Hill Street Blues, Rockford Files, Barny Miller, NYPD Blue all years after they had originally aired as reruns. Stagg and I already knew we would like this show... it was just a matter of getting time to watch it and getting our hands on all the seasons. This summer we began. We started out slowly in July. Taking a break and then binging like crazy the last two weeks. This really just might be the greatest tv show ever made. No wonder people obsessed over it. For me....every day I have been thinking about the episodes. Part of my waking state has been like a dream thinking about the actors body language, looking over my shoulder with paranoia. Filled with dread and laughing and laughing. I also cried a lot during the show. It is really one of the most saddest and profoundly life-affirming experiences.. At one point I had to stop and go research the writer. A some point during the seasons it becomes apparent that whoever conceived the show is a deeply thoughtful, wise person who has suffered...? And research about David Chase confirmed this feeling. The show is about the voice. I mean duh, right? "the sopranos". ha ha ha. It's about vows of silence, codes of speaking and not speaking. Decorum of words, rolling rules, breaking these rules. It's about "talk therapy" and keeping quiet. It's about the human act of speaking revealing who we are. All hyper infused with life and death. People live and die by what they say or don't say. A subtle comparison between the code of doctors, therapists is mirrored to the code of old world Omerata which existed because social structures and people in power were corrupt so ...the little guy made their own codes and laws. As we learn from the play Hamlet that humans know who we are by talking and listening and reflecting...The Sopranos portrays this all the way. There wasn't anything that wasn't pushed to the limit and explored completely artistically and professionally and spiritually. The last thing I expected was the show being a spiritual narrative (much like like David Lynch's body of work). So cleverly disguised as a crime drama. The series was totally self-aware of itself...down to characters almost saying they knew they were superstars and cult heroes. The characters endlessly watched movies and tv shows and referenced gangster stories and anti-heroic figures. Like us, they found themselves in art and in speaking and repeating and cycling...they replayed their lives and memories and grudges over and over like home movies or classic movies. In fact, the series has about 30 actors from "Goodfellas" movie...it's that self aware. (and there are only just so many Italian American actors out there). Over the years of the show James Gandolfini changed physically morphing more and more into a likeness of Buddha. In some scenes he sat in Buddha poses. When James Gandolfini died last year, I knew we had lost a great actor. I had no idea we had lost a soul mate.