HELP FOR NEPAL: KATHMANDU’S DURBAR SQUARE AS IT WAS

City Tour 6

Here you have my ant’s eye view of Durbar Square in Kathmandu, a world heritage site as beautiful as they come. I have no idea what this looks like now and how long it will take to return. I’ll share these now because I was there to be documentation of how it was before the 2015 earthquake and to give an idea of what where your donation will go. This was taken during the Dasan holidan, so there are less people than usual, but it was still overrun. I try not to take pictures of people whenever possible, so all the people you see of people sitting on temple (Stupa) steps around are the result of me trying to actively avoid them. A post on Kathmandu city proper to follow shortly.

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DESIGNER SEBASTIAN HERKNER

“There is a sensitivity and identity to my work that emphasizes the function, the material and the detail. I transport and interpret characteristics from various contexts of society and culture and implement them in new artifacts. This character infuses the most everyday objects with respect and personality. In this manner, seemingly contrary things can experience esteem.”

Sebastian Herkner

Sebastian Herkner was born in 1981 in Bad Mergentheim. He studied product design at the HfG Offenback am main (Offenback University of Art and Design), focusing on objects and furniture that merged varying cultural contexts, combining technology with traditional craftsmanship.

He creates the kind of furniture that would only belong in the home of my darkest fantasies, where I have dedicated my life to the accumulation of beautiful objects at the cost of liberty and sanity and live in a state of perpetual anxiety-woven bliss wedded to inevitable financial ruin.

Read more here and here.

FUN LINKS

landscape
terraced landscape, Nepal

Because figuring out what to wear wastes a lot of mental and creative energy. I’ve figured out that this is not how I want to spend my time and I’m working on a solution.
This is probably the solution to how to work out while traveling. It is also a solution to working out period. This rope is the ideal, but any old rope will do.
See above for rationale. Mental energy! No more waste!
I really like Chinese brush painting. The concept is to paint with space as well as ink, so the image is constructed partly by the mind filling in gaps. It’s good to know this practice isn’t being lost.
Some basic tips, because I personally hate networking and small talk. 
Take note of how many other things you do just while reading this article.

HEART OF HUMAN KINDNESS

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Totaled car, side view

This was not the photo I had planned on posting.
Over the weekend, I was in this car which ran off the road, flipped over, and landed upright. The glass from the sunroof, back and side windows are completely smashed. That is not what I’m going to talk about.
I want to talk about the human heart. I was in the middle of a desert with no cell reception when the car flipped, smashing out the windows and throwing everything inside up in the air. The food, the water, all gone. I saw shrimp I had packed now marinating in gravel. In the end, the car was not drivable, and there was a backpack wedged under the front. It is times like these when you realize you are really and truly screwed. 
What happened then is solely the result of the innate goodness of other people. Cars driving by saw us by the side of the road disoriented and covered in dirt, and pulled over to help. I was told I might have a concussion, which made me afraid to take a nap. In short order, another driver was hailed who was going towards the nearest town, a backpack was unwedged, and we and our dirty things were put into a car and dropped off at a car rental agency. It doesn’t end there.
The rental agency had no cars available. We asked why – they were all on reserve for other people, every last car – there was nothing they could do. In fact, every rental agency was out of cars. Such is life in a small town. I should just pitch my tent in the dirt. But then – human kindness!  The manager (I assume) came in, pointed at us, and said “Look at them! Just give them a car – any car, washed or not – so they can drive back!”
  
So without these people, whose names are unknown to me, I would not be here today. I would be marinating in the desert. For these wonderful people, I am forever thankful, thankful, and thankful! 

WRINKLED, RIPPED UP, AND LIVED IN IS BETTER THAN NEW

Shoes from Garance Dore via this post

My shoes are my friends. Of course, the shoes above are not my shoes, because mine are in a worse state and she has better floors. 
Part of the minimalist thought process is to value what you have. There are articles of clothing that I have worn for years. I trust them, I know how they will stretch. I know what will happen when I have worn them for an entire 24 hours, and then the next day when I am too lazy to put together another outfit. Because I don’t want to expend valuable mental energy thinking about what to wear anymore. Or because I want to adopt a European lifestyle – whichever rationale sounds more sophisticated. 
Have you ever gone into a dressing room to realize that what you’re already wearing is better than the shiny new thing you’re trying on? It makes no sense.
There’s a certain anxiety I carry with me when shopping, because I have realized that new clothes, particularly new shoes, will f*** you. They will ride up, they will make you look like sausage, they will pinch. There is never a convenient time for any of these things to happen. The clothes you have, the ones waiting faithfully in your closet, they are like friends. You have broken them in properly. They are trained. They will treat you well. 
Every time I think about some new purchase, I think about it in terms of friendship. Do I already have a good friend that I can rely upon – then I should refrain. However, if there is a gap, a death in the family, then there will be a transition period that cannot be rushed, where I will have to carefully sort and vet this newcomer. As I would any new relationship.

MAKING CHOICES

At first glance, this seems to be a nice saying, set against a calming background. But the more I think about it, the more it grates. There is a minor nuclear war taking place inside the left hemisphere of my brain. It is slowly breaking down and sub-analyzing on subatomic levels the choices I have made in the course of my life, and trying to determine if these were “good” or “bad.” No one can sit in judgment of you, better than you. By the way, this is a destructive practice. I am in no way advocating that anyone do this if you can help it. The past is called the past because it has passed.
Then I came across this poster, and it seemed to reduce the inherent power that choices have into something pretty and quaint. There was a Daily Show segment where John Oliver asked a man what the statistical probability was of an event happening, and the man said 50%. When Oliver asked the man to explain his reasoning, the man said, the event would either happen or it wouldn’t, so the statistical probability was 50%. Oliver may have mentioned then that the man did not understand statistical analysis. It is this kind of over-simplification that will occasionally grate on me like sandpaper on soft parts.
I’ve been thinking about choices lately, and the power they have in shaping you into the person you become. When you filter out judgment, you can see a pattern. You can see identify the choices which were truly significant and see how they changed you. What I’ve noticed over time, is that I’ve become more aware of my recent choices. Before, I was running on instinct, a gut feeling, this “felt right” whereas the other “felt wrong.” Or I “felt nothing” and just sat around. I couldn’t put my reasoning into words; it felt somewhat like that part of childhood before you became verbal, and your two choices were to cry/scream or save your tantrum for later.
What’s changed is that my choices now are active and conscious. There are many changes I’ve implemented within the past 5 years, and each change has had a ripple effect.  I decided a little over a year ago, that I was going to spend more time outdoors, every weekend if possible (and since I live in California during a drought, this is entirely possible), and the results have been startling. I’ve traveled to countries it would never have occurred to me to visit previously. My imagination never stretched that far. You meet new people, and they put ideas into your head. You see the world with new eyes, with wider and strangely younger eyes, because the world has become a new place, a strange place, filled with the potential for adventure. Suddenly, you look into a mirror, and you have changed, and this new person is someone you etched out in your mind and then shaped into the person you have become.