Writing to you all from Philly. If I was ever here before it was only as a toddler so I am experiencing all of this with new eyes. First thing I noticed were oil refineries, billowing smoke, and huge mounds of demolished cars on the way from the airport. What a way to make an impression. The members of Gemini Wolf were getting married and we witnessed a beautiful unification at a spot called the Old Mill. The vegetation here is so lush and green. Far more jungly than Portland. Things are plenty hot. I’m glad I won’t be wearing a suit again here. Believe it or not we have been here for several days and have yet to buy a single piece of music. I believe that will change in the next few hours. I found out before arriving here that Philly has the U.S.’s third largest population of Puerto Ricans but I’m not counting on being able to find the Reggaeton hot spots before we leave tomorrow. We came in on a red eye and going out at night has hardly seemed doable do to our weakened conditions.
I’m reading Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves” right now. You may not realize how remarkable this is. For the most part I haven’t read any fiction since the early 90’s when I had a few bad run-ins with academic creative writing programs. When I (very rarely) feel the need to read any fiction I pore through a stack of Henry Miller books I haven’t read yet. Most of the time I am content with music history books. “Queens Reigns Supreme” gets a recommend if you want some insight into the names commonly dropped by NYC rappers. “House of Leaves” was recommended to me by a coworker when I mentioned recurring dreams I have about living in a space that I discover is far larger than what I always knew (back stairways, underground chambers, undiscovered rooms and hallways). Well, I am quite engrossed in the book now. Last night my sleeping was quite compromised by my obsession with the book, along with being both simultaneously sticky from the heat and cold from the rotating fan, while cramped on a too-small couch. I kept finding myself paralyzed and having to exert a great deal of effort to snap out of it and regain control of my limbs. This kept happening on endless repeat all night. Since the book deals with being watched/hunted by something you can’t see it wasn’t reassuring to find myself frozen over and over again all night. Even though the book clearly sets itself up as artifice within artifice it is amazing how easily a piece of fiction can become more gripping and immediate than the events of the “real” world.
I currently can’t stand the taste of Philly water. Even run through a Britta it tastes like crap to me. Since I live on a diet of constant water I wonder if I will break down and start buying it bottled.
Gemini Wolf introduced us to Giannas’ Grille yesterday. Having been a vegetarian since the 90’s I never imagined I would have a chance to eat a Philly cheese steak. Well, Gianna’s is thoughtful enough to provide both vegetarian and VEGAN cheese steaks, sausage sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, pepperoni or sausage pizzas and a whole case of vegan deserts. I loved the sandwiches but the cannoli filling was far too sickly sweet and tasted like icing. Big recommend on the sandwiches, no recommend on the vegan cannoli.
It was cool to not only meet some more of Anjali’s family here in Philly but also to reconnect with some members who recenly moved stateside whom I haven’t seen since India. I even learned at least two versions of the story of Anjali’s Rajput great great grandfather. And I got a double Indian uncle recommend for the book “Freedom at Midnight” on India’s struggle for Independence.
I hope everyone is safe and happy wherever they are.