Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Abiding Never Ends

Because I don't know when I'll be returning to China or Tibet (hopefully by the time my students graduate next summer), and now that I'm back in Louisiana semi-permanently, it doesn't make sense to continue writing at here at Kham Abiding. On the other hand, I've made it through the obligatory readjustment period, and as such don't have a good excuse not to be writing at the moment. There's just too much goin' on, ya' herd?

That said, look for me to be helping fill out the content over at Cenlamar. The nature of that blog is considerably less personal than this one has been. But now that I'm back in the United States, I no longer have anything interesting or exotic to say about my personal life anyway, right?

If  you'd like to get in touch with me, leave a comment to this or any post and it will end up in my email account.  Or you can hit me up directly, dantsmith at gmail dot com.

Thanks for reading.

Peace like a river,

ps: "Strikes and gutters, ups and downs."

Friday, August 17, 2007


I spent most of last night with my friend who lives at N. Rendon and Ursalines, but because I took the bike along the bayou back up to Lafitte I didn't hear about what happened last night at Pal's Lounge until lunchtime today. One of my closest friends called my brother to let him know that he'd taken off work because a friend of his had been killed in a stabbing. He had known her from their work at the Road Home program.

The incident is senseless and tragically random. For those of us in the neighborhood it is more a reminder of how fragile things seem now. It doesn't play into this larger trope of the quickening pace of homicides in Orleans Parish.

It's Pal's, and that makes it personal for all of us in Midcity, so I will leave you to get the details yourself. Maitri has more. Sinn Fein.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Why should we leave America to visit America Junior?"

My eldest brother (not the twin) and I returned from a wedding in Canada the other night. Kusang and John were married in a simple ceremony next to a lake a couple hours north of Toronto. They had the kind of Christian wedding that gives you more faith in man than the almighty, a good thing in my book. John grew up near there, in a group of cottages that can only be accessed by canoe in the summer and not at all once the heavy snows have fallen. I've only known them from this year in Kham, but jumped at the chance to see Niagara Falls and Lakes Erie and Ontario for the first time. Here's the lucky couple before I knew them in Lhasa.

Chris and I were gone for almost a week, just long enough to enjoy the comfortable Ontario weather and slight societal differences without getting used to or annoyed by anything. For me, the familiarity of bracing the dark wall of sultry air that is the exit of Louis B. Armstrong International Airport for the second time in a less than a month was most telling. I've reached the point of no longer feeling like a visitor in New Orleans again, though vainly; in two days time I leave the Crescent City for an undetermined period of time to visit family and friends in Baton Rouge and Alexandria.

The blogging has been thin, as some of you have noted. Wireless internet is spotty among my Midcity acquaintances, most of whom attend school or work in the service or construction industries. The Fairgrinds and other shops would of course do, but the August sun has kept us inside on most days. I'm in fact sweating against my keyboard as I stand on the unfinished plywood that substitutes for kitchen floors in the shotgun where Chris is currently staying. I think he is bidding the tile contract to the owner sometime this week.

Those're his paintings behind me. It is lazy here but not in the ennui way. We have been catching a lot of fuzzy Simpsons and Seinfeld via the antennae on Channel 38. The first week I watched as Chris put together a couple of works for his summer session studio course:

Let's get a detail shot of that Chiru.

Chris is finishing up his B.F.A. at UNO at the moment, making a living with the side jobs that grew out of the construction work he did in the city all through 2006. He's also sold a couple of other paintings recently:

His interest is non-commercial painting, though I've heard him mention landscape architecture. That said, it may have just been a part of his Art Vandelay routine.