About A Foreign Sojourn

I am a Joe of many trades including professional cook, avid reader and ambitious adventurer-check out my latest photos and peruse my blogs for a sampling in regards to the worlds of eating and worldly adventures!

The Wonderful World of Mushrooms

Take a guess. What is the featured picture for this article? If you’re channeling your inner Google image recognition, you might say: “Best guess for this image: rock.” But, like Google, you’d be wrong. Instead, what you see are bricks made out of fungi obtained from tissues of mycelia. By taking fungi obtained from tissues…

via Mycelia + Sawdust = House? — Hackaday

A Salted Voyeur

The surf had woken me (or was it the slapping of skin and shrill moans next door?) I stood and faced the window, a young woman was sleeping in the bed. An empty tequilla bottle was on top of the night stand; some coins and crumpled Peso bills littered the counter.

I stood naked for a moment in the darkness at the edge of the bed. My heart beat fast- and faster yet as my ears and senses explored my waking surroundings.
Slapping. Moaning. A sharp cry. Slapping.
The pounding surf and roaring wind filtered in and mingled as an ambient percussion.
I moved slowly towards the broad door in a slow, hesitant way. What I had wanted lay beyond my own habitation and in the adjacent room. I turned to see if the being in the bed had stirred at my rousing or perhaps stirred at the oceans desire-
No, her breath was constant, stifled and she was still.
I turned once more, towards the door and reached for the brass handle, faintly illuminated by the trickling of light from the hall. I quivered and froze as I heard and listened to those noises that echoed through a cavernous stone house on a bluff by the sea.
I twisted the handle and pulled the door open. Slipping into a glowing hallway, the labored breaths and low sounds proceeded by quick gasps lay all but a pace before me. My heart beat a strange cadence and a warmness washed over my insides like some drunken inebriation. I felt blood in my eyelids, in my wrists and in my thighs. My back was against the door that I had exited and shut.
I perceived hands upon the door in front of me clawing and palming the wood from the other side like a cornered, primal thing.
I reached out and imagined the door ahead had been removed. What I seen there was a carnal and erotic thing. In my voyeuristic fantasy where my desire had painted bodies to match the lustful vibrations and calls, I shunned and cursed my own perversion.
I thought I had knocked. I placed my palm where hers might have been; the weight of her body supported and pressed like waves against the shore, but this, an utterly human force. My heart felt a squeeze at the cries and quickening frenzy of what was happening, almost, before me- A happening and circumstance that was none of my business or concern- but!
I thought I had heard my self call out in a low tone with my hand upon that door. I could make out her hot breath upon my neck and the hairs stood on end.
Futile!
My hand would not raise to turn the knob nor push upon that portal. My feet would carry me no further and certainly not into that domain; A voyeuristic perversion that remained as that, impotent.
The surf was breaking now louder upon the shore. I heard thunder and turned away. I thought I had smelled the sea like a perfume on the night and felt her facing me with some darkness. The calls that I had heard and the vision of passion in the chamber ahead slipped from my want. I tidal force swept through the halls of that mansion by the sea and chilled me to the core.
I turned and gave no look behind as I slipped back into my own quarters to a girl I had shared and enjoyed early that evening.
I closed my eyes feeling quite alone and thought myself somewhere isolated and driven out, peaceful, on the crests of a cold, dark sea.

Scotland’s Decision

Scotland, brave Caledonia, may see itself through a new lens on the 18th, as the Scottish Referendum drums up voters to the ballot. The decision is simple: yes or no.  Yes, Scotland should be it’s own country. No, Scotland should remain jointly with England. What lies in the hearts of the Scottish people are a different story and is yet to be seen.

Since the Wars of Scottish Independence and mighty Robert the Bruce, scores of ancestors, kith and kin to Scotland’s ancestry have appealed with bloody claymore and eloquent pen to achieve what may come to pass like a sigh under the decision of an ambivalent people. What Robert Burns could not achieve through wit or what Sir Walter Scott could not subdue with diplomacy, what neither the martyred William Wallace nor the exiled house of Stuarts could conquer-

March of the Guards Towards Scotland, Hogarth

March of the Guards Towards Scotland, Hogarth

the strength of the past has buckled under fate; rebellions quelled, leaders exiled, clans erased or fled from their highland roosts- the union all but swallowed Gaelic culture and the Scottish Clan system whole.

Perhaps Scotland’s decision on the 18th will be the catalyst for their cultural renaissance; that by breaking ties with the union they will shift and enter a new paradigm of a proud self-determination that their namesakes have fought and died for.

No, it is not ugly nationalism but an establishment of self and identity above agenda. It is a fresh beginning and a decision long past due.

My contribution to Scotland, regardless of the results on September 18th, 2014, is the digitalization of Andrew Lang’s, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, First Edition, 1900, by the Goupil Co., Manzi, Joyant & Co., Charles Scribner’s Sons. It is a limited, large format print, number 452 of 1500 copies made. It will be made available first as a PDF in the coming days and later, as an annotated book. The PDF will be free for all to view here, under, ‘library’ (or simply click this link). The text version is a work in a progress but will soon be ready by the end of the month.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart referred to as ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, sailed to Scotland from France in 1740’s. Following in his father’s boots, James Francis Edward Stuart, he incited an open rebellion against Britain to reclaim the throne for the house of Stuarts.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Scanned Facisimile in Colour, Largilliere

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Scanned Facsimile in Colour, Largilliere

The young pretender, Prince Charlie, bonded the highland clansman to fight under his banner in a war of unfathomable odds. The culminating battle was pitched on Culloden’s Moore. Stuart’s forces were no match for the Duke of Cumberland and the might of the Empire. The prince fled and the Duke of Cumberland swept through Scotland and devastated the people and land as retribution.

Sporrans and Dirks

Sporrans and Dirks

If you’d like to see Facsimiles, Portraits, etc. directly scanned from the text by Andrew Lang, please click on any image above to be directed to Foreign Sojourn on Flickr. Thanks!

Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1 : The Dragon (Conclusion)

To read the beginning of Chapter 1, The Dragon, click here, (Part 1)

To read the previous section in chapter 1, The Dragon, click here. (Part 4)


 

…The will of the elements was a collective thing and the way he asked for their assistance could be described as democracy; all elements had their own, “free will“. In his meditation, he had to present a persuasive case with the world around him for protection or support. But it wasn’t a case of eloquence in speech it was a discipline of will. To enter this mode, he must slow down his thought and channel his thinking to the fractions of a second that make up that world. If he was too fatigued, or mentally indisposed his connection with the elements could fail and leave him exposed to a dire situation.

As he would make his case, he would garner the support from a few parts of the natural. They would unify to grant what request he asked. When these natural elements felt inclined, Hart would be granted and thus given the aforementioned ability of, for example, balancing himself atop a long stem of wheat, the most petite of flowers, a light zephyr or the wisps of clouds.

Hart breathed through his nostrils, filling his lungs, than exhaling a gust from his mouth that rippled though the air around him. Hart held a cache of rare and valuable tokens and baubles of the psyche for Nature was his greatest teacher and in this respect he was forever a humbled student.

Indeed, he claimed a godly mastery and it is true he did tower over men with what he possessed. “It’s easy enough for me.” He clicked his tongue and thought about those teenagers who would turn into bones and dust in a coffin, his lesson and their future was but the glimmer of dew in the morning before his first cup of coffee.

He smiled at what he was given but shook his head- inside Hart wished to expire like the rest. He didn’t want to feel any more pain, emotional, physical or likewise. He walked back down to where he was seated before but he noticed a glinting aluminum can that was left behind.

It was unnatural and it strained his concentration. He knelt down to pick it up, plucking it from the broken flowerbed then crushing it in his hands, he tossed it effortlessly into his open rucksack. By the freshly painted bench he sat. He pulled a pen from his breast pocket and a pad of yellow paper and thought about that setting so long ago. He began to recreate a setting made of prose:

“Lo, there is a country meadow where broad acreage holds in its clutches sweeping fields of golden barley. The wind, I do recall, is sweet and its hushed melody caresses the summer’s day. Mother Nature exhales a deep, contented sigh and the fields undulate under her breath; the coarse wisps of grain brush against one another. When I listen closely, I hear a rhythmic harmony.

I can hear her whispering, “I love you.”

Lo, the brook, how it babbles amongst her children, those smooth gray and red stones. Leaves are set adrift in these refreshing waters, too. They and I enjoy this gentle rocking that is the ebb and flow of life, of love. An infinite lazy stream follows a near endless border. Along its sandy banks, willows bend low, dipping themselves in this cool splendor. Then over yonder, where the brush does bathe, my feet do take me.

Lo, the butterfly, how it flits past to see what nectar the tiny bumblebee has discovered. A grasshopper sits, pausing in reflection on the petal of a noble violet. The smell of rich earth and fresh blossoms sensuously mingle. The aroma of daffodil and honeysuckle are most noticeable and seemingly cling together as friends do on a long stroll.

A sensation of ease and comfort greet those whom chance serenity here. The afternoon is quick to part though. I am left with a growing twilight, a melting sun and a color-seared sunset. At long last, the sun winks goodnight to head westward, past rolling hills, then further down into the valley on its ceaseless journey.

He chewed on the cap of his Bic. “This will do.” He thought.

Events of Foreign Sojourn, Collage

Events of Foreign Sojourn, Collage

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Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1: The Dragon (Pt. 4)

(Continued from part 3, read it here.)
(Read the chapter from the beginning, here.)

Marcus addressed Hart directly. He stood a few feet from him, He opened his mouth, “Look here mutha’fu….”

His words were cut short as a slice of apple whipped into his mouth and lodged itself. He began to gag then fell to his knees.

“Anyone know the Heimlich?” Hart asked the group in a cold sincerity. The group looked at each other incredulously and in disbelief.

Holy shit!” One shouted.

The other called out, “He’s choking, holmes!”

“You know, a great man died once from accepting food which he knew to be tainted. The idea was that it is more important to always accept what is given to you.” Hart was standing and pacing like a professor, giving some lecture to his students. Marcus was spluttering and turning purple on his knees- the other 3 were in a wide-eyed panic, flapping their arms and shouting at each other.

He’s gonna’ die, dude!” At that, the ones who expressed their concern at the beginning, fled in terror.

With his hands behind his back, Hart repeated the words of Buddha,

…Who gives, his virtues shall increase;

Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;

Whoso is skilled in virtues, evil shuns…”

He paced between the stupefied teenagers who were trying to help their choking friend.

Hart said, “Ok, class dismissed,” he lifted Marcus to his feet. “Behold the miracle of science!” He shouted and raised his arms up.

He braced the kid then administered one deft back blow, as if he knew exactly where to exert pressure; it was somewhere between the shoulder blades but it was accurate and spot on. The apple slice dislodged itself and sailed through the air landing, thick with saliva, at the feet of the others.

A loud squelching noise could be heard coming from the pants of Marcus; fear and his extrication from death made him defecate. His body shook and tears welled up in his eyes. The others began gagging and cursing.

They reluctantly grabbed their humiliated, dazed and soiled friend who was slumped once more to the ground. Hoisting him up and throwing his arms over their shoulder, they hurried out of the park.

He knew beyond assumption that some combination of boredom, inexperience and unhappiness drove this hooliganism. “Truly and ultimately,” he thought, “…Why stoke these fires? Wouldn’t they just the same, find themselves unsatisfied at the end of it all?

He thought about the original motivation of that noisy troop and guessed it quite easily and surmised three things: the intrinsically fragile composition of popularity, how material gain makes foolish people want excessively and that vanity, public image or ego are grievous burdens. Hart removed himself from these vices as best as humanly possible. His was meditation and the peace of balance.

He had succeeded to make his life whole and fluid with his surroundings; those who passed tripped, stuttered and went fumbling as awkward mortals Prophetically, he scribbled on a notepad he removed from a pocket, “The flowers that bud with a surge of sugar and such vehemence in spring soon wither and give way to the mild browns and yellows of summer.

His hands went rummaging through his rucksack searching for something edible to satisfy his stomach while he idled on human truths provoked by the encounters of the day. “When all is said and done, after a volley of malicious remarks and after perhaps a physical altercation, no party is the better, right? Isn’t it true that violence only begets violence, Gandhi?”

He wasn’t quite convinced. His hand found what it was after. He had tossed the remainder of the apple into the bag after launching a piece of it as a projectile into the teenagers’ throat. “This chaffing tension,” he continued, “…Surely only serves to bolster an ego at the expense of the target but all things considered, what good does an overinflated ego do and what vampirism has occurred to swell such a thing?”

He heartily bit into the remainder of the apple, its juice dripped down his wrist and the acidity of the pulp made his mouth grin and tongue salivate the more.

Nothing, it’s all for naught.”

The previously mentioned Indian cultural icons inspired a natural progression in thinking. Hart considered the cheapness and baseness of all violence. Crunching and chewing away on this green fruit and moving his jaws stimulated his brain in some manual, mechanical way. He was still in the throes of pontification, “…That they give so much of themselves away in compromise… those who flare wildly also expose a soft underbelly.

He furrowed his brow in a sudden start of pity for all the shortcomings and ineptitude of his brothers and sisters. He had found himself among the wild fields, rolling hills, sweeping plains, forests, streams, rivers and the vast ocean. His questions were always answered and troubles always quelled when he looked to these marvels of the natural world. “The same nirvana could not be said to have reached most, Siddhartha” He was talking to ghosts that rose up from pages of philosophy he had memorized.

He thought about his true power, his unexposed side that was reserved for himself- his immortality and the profoundness of what he had learned form practice and discipline. He walked now to a roped-off section of the garden, hidden by tall, live oak trees. The grass was uncut and spotted with wild field flowers; it grew up to his knees.

At that moment, he decided to close his eyes. The sun was shining directly above him. He was asking favor of the air in a deep meditation to lift his body; he wished to use the petals of a flower as a pedestal.

He put one toe on a slender stalk then another till he balanced atop its colorful summit. (It was only two minute steps but in their exactness, almost infinite.) Hart defied gravity. His body for all purposes became not weightless like a floating feather or the seeds of dandelions in the breeze but supported by the elements around him.

Not a single drop of dew was disturbed. He balanced his entirety on a nary blade of grass and felt a breeze reserved for the heads of barley and wild long stems on his toes.

This skill came from countless lifetimes of experience; time and all that fill its precepts taught him a secret language that wasn’t available in any university: he pioneered the vastness of his mind and its emotion. These contemplations and reflections awarded him a mastery to manipulate the fabric of the natural world around him…

(To be continued)

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Middle East FS

Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1: The Dragon (Pt. 4)

(Continued from part 3, read it here.)
(Read the chapter from the beginning, here.)

Marcus addressed Hart directly. He stood a few feet from him, He opened his mouth, “Look here mutha’fu….”

His words were cut short as a slice of apple whipped into his mouth and lodged itself. He began to gag then fell to his knees.

“Anyone know the Heimlich?” Hart asked the group in a cold sincerity. The group looked at each other incredulously and in disbelief.

Holy shit!” One shouted.

The other called out, “He’s choking, holmes!”

“You know, a great man died once from accepting food which he knew to be tainted. The idea was that it is more important to always accept what is given to you.” Hart was standing and pacing like a professor, giving some lecture to his students. Marcus was spluttering and turning purple on his knees- the other 3 were in a wide-eyed panic, flapping their arms and shouting at each other.

He’s gonna’ die, dude!” At that, the ones who expressed their concern at the beginning, fled in terror.

With his hands behind his back, Hart repeated the words of Buddha,

…Who gives, his virtues shall increase;

Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;

Whoso is skilled in virtues, evil shuns…”

He paced between the stupefied teenagers who were trying to help their choking friend.

Hart said, “Ok, class dismissed,” he lifted Marcus to his feet. “Behold the miracle of science!” He shouted and raised his arms up.

He braced the kid then administered one deft back blow, as if he knew exactly where to exert pressure; it was somewhere between the shoulder blades but it was accurate and spot on. The apple slice dislodged itself and sailed through the air landing, thick with saliva, at the feet of the others.

A loud squelching noise could be heard coming from the pants of Marcus; fear and his extrication from death made him defecate. His body shook and tears welled up in his eyes. The others began gagging and cursing.

They reluctantly grabbed their humiliated, dazed and soiled friend who was slumped once more to the ground. Hoisting him up and throwing his arms over their shoulder, they hurried out of the park.

He knew beyond assumption that some combination of boredom, inexperience and unhappiness drove this hooliganism. “Truly and ultimately,” he thought, “…Why stoke these fires? Wouldn’t they just the same, find themselves unsatisfied at the end of it all?

He thought about the original motivation of that noisy troop and guessed it quite easily and surmised three things: the intrinsically fragile composition of popularity, how material gain makes foolish people want excessively and that vanity, public image or ego are grievous burdens. Hart removed himself from these vices as best as humanly possible. His was meditation and the peace of balance.

He had succeeded to make his life whole and fluid with his surroundings; those who passed tripped, stuttered and went fumbling as awkward mortals Prophetically, he scribbled on a notepad he removed from a pocket, “The flowers that bud with a surge of sugar and such vehemence in spring soon wither and give way to the mild browns and yellows of summer.

His hands went rummaging through his rucksack searching for something edible to satisfy his stomach while he idled on human truths provoked by the encounters of the day. “When all is said and done, after a volley of malicious remarks and after perhaps a physical altercation, no party is the better, right? Isn’t it true that violence only begets violence, Gandhi?”

He wasn’t quite convinced. His hand found what it was after. He had tossed the remainder of the apple into the bag after launching a piece of it as a projectile into the teenagers’ throat. “This chaffing tension,” he continued, “…Surely only serves to bolster an ego at the expense of the target but all things considered, what good does an overinflated ego do and what vampirism has occurred to swell such a thing?”

He heartily bit into the remainder of the apple, its juice dripped down his wrist and the acidity of the pulp made his mouth grin and tongue salivate the more.

Nothing, it’s all for naught.”

The previously mentioned Indian cultural icons inspired a natural progression in thinking. Hart considered the cheapness and baseness of all violence. Crunching and chewing away on this green fruit and moving his jaws stimulated his brain in some manual, mechanical way. He was still in the throes of pontification, “…That they give so much of themselves away in compromise… those who flare wildly also expose a soft underbelly.

He furrowed his brow in a sudden start of pity for all the shortcomings and ineptitude of his brothers and sisters. He had found himself among the wild fields, rolling hills, sweeping plains, forests, streams, rivers and the vast ocean. His questions were always answered and troubles always quelled when he looked to these marvels of the natural world. “The same nirvana could not be said to have reached most, Siddhartha” He was talking to ghosts that rose up from pages of philosophy he had memorized.

He thought about his true power, his unexposed side that was reserved for himself- his immortality and the profoundness of what he had learned form practice and discipline. He walked now to a roped-off section of the garden, hidden by tall, live oak trees. The grass was uncut and spotted with wild field flowers; it grew up to his knees.

At that moment, he decided to close his eyes. The sun was shining directly above him. He was asking favor of the air in a deep meditation to lift his body; he wished to use the petals of a flower as a pedestal.

He put one toe on a slender stalk then another till he balanced atop its colorful summit. (It was only two minute steps but in their exactness, almost infinite.) Hart defied gravity. His body for all purposes became not weightless like a floating feather or the seeds of dandelions in the breeze but supported by the elements around him.

Not a single drop of dew was disturbed. He balanced his entirety on a nary blade of grass and felt a breeze reserved for the heads of barley and wild long stems on his toes.

This skill came from countless lifetimes of experience; time and all that fill its precepts taught him a secret language that wasn’t available in any university: he pioneered the vastness of his mind and its emotion. These contemplations and reflections awarded him a mastery to manipulate the fabric of the natural world around him…

(To be continued)

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Middle East FS