At times writing is effortless. Other times nightmarish. But it's always therapeutic.

Thomson Falls, Nyahururu.

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Let me tell you about Thomson Falls in a brief way. I will start with a tragedy. Many years ago, I was calming on the grass outside the Thomson Falls Lodge. It’s a big one, inexpensive and they describe it as a place of solitude, freedom and space in a wild landscape. Built in 1930s high up on the west side of the valley that hosts Ewaso Narok river, 2,377m asl, that description is apt. I know because I have been to this place countless times.

As I sat there one Sunday afternoon, I could see the top of the waterfall just as it rowdily cascaded 81m below. I then saw a man up there. He run to the edge and made as if to sit on the water. The water easily carried him, his red jacket marking his figure out well enough to be seen by anyone on the lodge’s lawn as he plunged. His jump and his descent were quick. After a while, his body hit the pool below with an explosion of sound. There is a wooden rail along the drop of the valley on the lodge’s side. I went there and his body then floated. Naked. His jacket apart. Water must be very aggressive to undress a man that speedily. Many die there that way, every year. 

One of the joys of the lodge is going down to the base of the waterfall. You follow well laid stone stairs half the way down. You then hold on to jutting root butts, rocks and logs for the rest of the way till you get to the river. In dry season you can hop on the dry rocks in the middle of the river and approach the base. Or else take a slippery path by the edge. The vapour is dense and you get wet fast. Few walk to the base though. It’s scary, but just a little scary.

My father tells me the stairs were built in the 1950s; mainly for access to a small hydroelectric generation station at the base of the waterfall that fed power to the settlers dairy factory that later became the once mighty KCC Nyahururu milk factory. Sure enough you can still spot the cables and up the river the water holding concrete walls and huge pipes are still intact.

Thomson Falls is still a memorable place to visit. You never get enough of walking down that valley to meet the raucous waters, save for the fatigue of making your way up. But the view from the bottom of the valley or from the shade on the lodge’s green lawns is outstanding, for a camera too.



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Written by coldturkey

August 27, 2014 at 12:10 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Nairobi to Dar es Salaam by Bus.

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In January of this year (the year of our Lord 2013 – sounds too English) I left my job. I resigned and left the building. Doesn’t that read ninja from every end? Maybe. For two years prior, I had thought, imagined and finally decided it was worth it. Mine was a cool job if that means working from the deep end, freedom, a love affair with the industry and flying around. Leaving was an epiphany, reinforced by many things. One of them was the need to go where I wanted when I wanted; freedom. And so on the Monday that followed the last Friday at work, I was on a bus for 13 hour, 920km long road trip from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The bus is named Sai Baba and I caught it from River Road, 0530hrs Monday morning, with a backpack, rubber shoes, and a pair of shorts. It felt so light in mind and body. There was not a return by date, there was neither going to be a work phone call nor a report to submit after this and I was not travelling to see a client. I could just alight in Arusha, Moshi or anywhere and sleep there. I could even get into any Tanzanian village, make a home and live happily ever after. Do you get what I mean? I was my own man in the truest form you can imagine. Answerable to no man; indescribably liberating.

The Sai Baba guys were decent enough to call me around 4:45am, but I was awake. With so many missed trips from travellers, they knew it; sleep doesn’t wake people up. I followed my receipt to a seat near the window, pulled the curtain and perched my backpack. Fellow long distance travellers joined, escorted by families or alone; bye bye wishes, it was good to see you handshakes, safe journey hugs. Nairobi wakes up really early. Everybody leaving from Nairobi was in, save for one lady. She will come by the second bus. The empty seats will be filled at the border into Tanzania. That next to me was one of them and my bag became such a packed arm rest. I kicked off my shoes, pulled Sidney Poitier’s The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography and we left the city, right on time.

We will pass by my former workplace. I will look out and being a Monday, realize that’s where I would have spent the day. At such a time, you ask yourself; what have you done? This is a Monday and you’re in shorts, away to Tanzania on a bus, instead of dressing up for work. Really?

Cruising on the newly done Namanga road is such a pressure. Kenya and its many newly done roads. Very smooth. The music in the bus was Zillizopendwa or Golden East African oldies. We heard, not listened to, these songs a lot on Saturdays as momma washed our school uniforms outside the house. It was not allowed in our house to listen to irreligious songs. Then, Kenya had one major radio station; the state broadcaster. I knew the words but not the meaning of most of them. The last time I was on this road was 2010. We were going to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro. 9 friends. We did it save for one. I liked it that I was unaccompanied anyway because I wanted to soak in, shed off the working skin and just be away like a tramp.

My wish at the boarder was that the bag seat would not be taken, so as to read Sidney Poitier comfortably. After Kenyan border control, I paid a fine of about 4 usd to Tanzania border control for not having my Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. I bought apple juice and korosho for good gnawing along the way. None of the new passengers took the backpack seat. It was going to be another 3 hours of fine riding. Sai Baba pulled up its anchors and left.

The road from the Kenya/Tanzania border town of Namanga to Arusha, one of the main Tanzanian towns, is very well done with clear markings, road signs and deep drainage troughs. It also has little traffic; any cruiser’s dream. On both sides are large expanses of idle land with shrubs and red soil. You will see the Maasai, their livestock, their manyattas and a few small shopping centers. The air smells fresh and when the clouds are clear, the caps Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru will show themselves. It is beautiful; the textbook road to ride in a convertible.

We got to Arusha. Arusha is quite eventful and almost all shops have a glass door. A hanging board or some thingamabob that lights up will either say closed or open. In Nairobi shops are normally wide open, even for jewelry. Sai Baba was in a rush. We dropped some and picked others. I gave up my seat to a well-built light lady, dressed in a leso with black and yellow flowers. We only spoke a little. I asked her the names of a few shopping centres as we left Arusha for Moshi. I continued with Sidney Poitier with the passengers’ noise and a Lingala song called Kasongo forming the background music. Kasongo Mobali na Ngai. Once again, I knew the words but not the meaning.

Sai Baba was fast, which made it hard to take good shots of Mt Kilimanjaro, whose ice caps were now clear. Soon we’ll be in Moshi town to drop and pick. We left again for the most beautiful Tanzania country side. This is the Usambara mountains on the left as you head east. The road is nearly straight and once again, with little traffic. Road construction was going on and for a good part it was a dusty ride. I put Sidney Poitier down to love the view. There are few shops along the road at Himo, Segera, Chalinze and Mlandizi areas as well as travellers’s restaurants at Mombo and Korogwe areas. Where you find them, traders leave luscious fruits by the roadside and get busy with other duties. Only when you stop do they come to sell. Most of the houses are done of red bricks and you can spot kilns all along the way. Sai Baba crew passed over drinks.

It was a long ride and Sai Baba was really fast now. It felt great. I had always wanted to do this. Stop working and take time out. It felt like a coup d’état. I had taken the jump, done the unusual and there was no going back now. What I can tell you is that I felt free, sane and very light in the head. I was ready to go and go, wipe off that sweat and feel better. There was a heartbeat too. What a young eagle feels once released by its mother to spread it wings. No safety net.

We soon got to Korogwe which was the journey’s halfway point. The lunch, water, pee and poop point. The centre is built specially for bus stop overs. The loos are chic and restaurants have great selection of samosas, sausages, vegetables, burgers, meat and blaring music too. I got a chicken burger, fruits and sat down on the footsteps leading to the restaurant. From here I could see the country well, munch and drink. No one knows you here. You’re alone in a nonchalant breeze, shoeless, having chicken in a foreign Kiswahili speaking land. Isn’t that a certain something?

We had 30 minutes and Sai Baba roared again. In 2 hours palm trees started appearing. We were now headed to the shores of the Indian Ocean before turning right for to descend upon Dar es Salaam. I packed Sidney Poitier and took a nap. I woke up to an argument between the driver and the police. He was driving fast but loudly insisted he wasn’t. He shouted at the police. I found that brave. In Kenya, traffic police rule. If they say you’re wrong, you don’t dispute because indeed you are. This is the second time he was in a row with cops.

Night was now approaching. More palm trees appeared, traffic increased and Dar kept coming closer. I saw the road to the historical town of Bagamoyo and recognized it. I had toured Bagamoyo 4 years ago. Shortly after, at 2030hrs, Sai Baba safely brought us. Long distance bus trips are big business in Tanzania because it is a vast country. There is a major and exclusive bus station called Ubung’o that handles more traffic than any in Nairobi. They can’t allow you in or out without a ticket. Well organized.

Before alighting, I was already examining the buildings for a place to lodge. Once out, I knew better than to look a stranger. In shorts and just a backpack, I was everything Dar. I took a road in search of any signs of a guest house. After a few meters, street lights kept getting scarcer and the road seemed to lead to residential areas, so I turned. I went back to the bus station and took a road that I thought lead to the city centre. Traffic and street lights will tell you. I knew a popular entertainment area called Sinza and it wasn’t far from there. I asked a cab guy if I was on the right path and he said yes. Go down, turn right at that lighted junction over there. That’s the road to Sinza. I just walked.

I turned right. With several shops and clubs, it was going to be easy to find a guest house. Dar unlike Nairobi is pretty safe and sleeping joints abound. I was not worried at all but getting to 2100hr, you can never be sure and tired I was too. There was a flashy glass door with lights around and the guard said it was a hotel. The reception told me I could get a single room at 20usd. Man, wasn’t I glad. I hadn’t walked around much and this was a proper cheap hotel. I paid, went upstairs to the room.

The bed was well spread in white sheets. The window was wall to wall with white curtains. I pulled them and watched the outside. What a pleasure! The small TV was however not working. Tanzania had just started digital migration in the capital city and my hotel was slow to buy the set top boxes. I was going to miss the purely Kiswahili TV stations which I relished whenever I had visited Dar before.

Soon I will be fast asleep, with my back pack empty and stuff strewn all over. I first went out and bought roasted bananas, fish and soda which I took away to eat in the room. I slept and heavily so. So much that I didn’t notice someone getting into my room and pulling out my 3000ksh (35usd) which was on the table. I hadn’t locked the door properly. Well, every other memorable trip gets a stamp of unfortunate events and that was mine.

In the morning I would have tea, oranges, eggs and bacon at the hotel’s downstairs restaurant and set out to see more of Dar. Daladala is the name of the public transport buses for city service. Really old mini buses filled and filled from bus stop to bus stop. Commuters are always getting in and it seems, none getting out. There was always a lady offering to hold my backpack while I held on to the roof rail. I found that very polite. I rode on, enjoying the street Kiswahili, Bongo style. The heat in the coastal city was abnormal. You sweat even where you normally wouldn’t, but for the few days I spent in Dar, it was a pleasure. I would stay late into the night in an open air restaurant outside the hotel, eat, make friends and watch football.

 On the day I took the bus again for the journey back to Nairobi, I had finished Sidney Poitier and bought SAS, a book on Australian Special Forces, to read on the trip back. There hadn’t been work calls and I was not on any assignment. I was just a man in khaki shorts, grateful and living the freedom in Dar es Salaam.

 I boarded Sai Baba again at 0530hrs but not before asking how much the fare is from Dar to Lusaka, Zambia. A longer road trip to Cape Town, long overdue, is next on the cards, God willing.

Written by coldturkey

November 16, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

The existence of God by faith.

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I have had great and ever growing interest for arguments as to the existence of God and evidence thereof. It has then followed that, based on faith and personal experience, I believe that God exists, supremely and actively so in our lives and in the universe. Within the various schools of argument for God’s existence, I lean more towards the faith school which bases its argument on senses and thoughts or faith and reason. Today I therefore would like to express my stand of faith as I understand it. However, this is very much on the surface and not a replacement of detailed exposition.   

Why, you may ask? Well, it’s a matter of conviction and also because I enjoy such orderly debates and the excitement that the exchanges produce.

First a little bit of definition and an equally little bit of history. The ontological argument was developed by a monk called Anslem of Canterbury in the 13th Century, which was an important age for Scholasticism which meant the kind of theology that was developed in schools and which took its own distinct methodology. Anslem’s argument is that;

‘When one thinks of God, one is thinking of “that which no greater can be thought.” Is it possible to think of “that which no greater can be thought” as not existing? Clearly not, for then an existing being would be greater than it. Therefore, by definition, the idea of “that which no greater can be thought” includes its existence.’

What I pull from Anslem is his method which applies reason to a truth known by faith in order to explain it better. This method was further expounded by the famous St. Thomas Aquinas, born in 1224 in the outskirts of Naples, in how he related faith and reason.

‘Some truths are within the reach of reason and others are beyond it. The existence of God is a revealed truth and therefore an article of faith. But this does not mean that is it is a truth beyond the reach of reason. In this case, reason can prove what faith accepts.’

Here therefore is my argument in two fold.

Firstly, the beginning of knowledge is senses. This is Aristotelian approach. We move from sense to knowledge which means all that is known has been sensed and all that is sensed is already known. Before we examine the idea of something, we have to sense it first. This being the case then, my belief that God exists stems from senses. I have sensed his being and so I believe he exists and so I know he exists. (You may argue that it is enough to examine an idea itself to know it, without sensing it first. That pure ideas are the beginning of knowledge. I will come to this later and briefly.)

Sense (from which faith grows) therefore being the starting point of knowledge, does it exclude reason? When I’m asked to explain my existence of God and I claim faith, am I running away from reason? No because cause is an important factor in any argument. Cause serves to explain the basis of a conviction. A belief in God’s existence or non-existence has to have a basis. My basis in this case is faith and I reason from a basis of faith. I do not need extraordinary proof from this extraordinary being for me to believe in him. No evidence is necessary as to give substance to my claims.

The early Christians were often viewed as the wretched people of the society because they could not fit their faith in the philosophies of the day. Their belief did not make methodological sense like Platonism or Aristotelian did. This was the case until the development of Christian scholars and Christian philosophy which held that faith was the starting point of their belief, just as senses and ideas were to Aristotelians and Platonists respectively. Therefore, and this I strongly believe, faith and faith alone, with absolute zero necessity for evidence, is enough to be a foundation of someone’s belief for the existence of God and to form a basis for his/her argument for the same.

Secondly, it is entirely impossible to deny that which you have already come to the knowledge of. Our minds are initially an empty slate where what is written becomes indelible. Once written forever present. What we then do is chose to like some of the knowledge we come across and dislike the rest. However we can never deny that we do not have knowledge of it. For example I know that there is an act called a human being killing another human being or murder. I hold that murder is morally wrong. I however cannot deny murder happens or that it exists just because I do not agree with it. I cannot deny its existence. However I am free to hold it as correct or wrong.

Equally for atheists perhaps it is completely impossible for them to claim that God does not exist since they already have heard of God. Their minds have already been ‘contaminated’ to use this word. The being of God was already indelibly written on their minds then moment they were introduced to that concept. They absolutely have no choice. There is no way out unless they return to their original empty slate status of mind which is impossible. It’s not in discretion of atheists to say that God does not exist since as Anslem says they have already thought of God as a thought or idea greater than any other, and whose existence they have set out to deny. How is that possible?  They have already been ‘poisoned’ and the antidote does not exist. They are however free not to like God just like I do not like murder though I know it happens.

What about a Muslim or a Hindu, who does not hold the thought of my kind of God as the greatest thought? Such a person definitely holds an idea of another being which he/she considers to be his/her ultimate. He/she does not necessarily deny God’s existence but rather, still acknowledges the existence of a greater being which he/she calls God. Therefore God’s existence, with God being a supreme being, is still not denied.

What of those who have never heard of God…does their not sensing him, at least by not hearing of him, negate his existence in their case? A denial would be impossible to them since to deny you need an object. In their case they do not have this object since they have not heard of it. Therefore they cannot deny its existence. Once they sense this supreme being (either by feeling or hearing of him or seeing, etc), they would be free to deny or affirm his existence. However, as per my second argument, the mere fact of sensing this greatest being locks you out of the choice to negate its existence. Having been introduced to God, and being told he is the greatest, they would also have crossed the line of no return and it is impossible for them to erase this knowledge and claim that God does not exist. They are however free to replace this knowledge with the knowledge of another greater being of their choice, if they can find. Even credible is to doubt and remain a skeptic than to claim to go beyond doubt.

Now to my own reconciliation of reason and faith in affirmation of God’s existence. Notice that Anslem starts not by examining the senses but by examining the thought. That God is “that which no greater can be thought.” Thomas on the other hand starts by examining the senses and moves on to knowledge. That what is sensed becomes known.

Personally, I have not thought of anything greater and so that which I have though as the greatest is what I known to be God – from thought to knowledge. I have also heard of God, and upon hearing I have believed in God and so I have known of God by faith – from sense to knowledge.

Written by coldturkey

May 19, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

I was looking for the sleep command

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I have a couple of stories I want to roll out and which I really should. I think so. However for now let me tell you of how I caught my head pulling planks on me a few hours ago. Since 10 am I’ve been working on trying to make sense of a large dataset of English Premier League results on the back of tutorials for a new data analysis language I’m learning. The thing is huge and a particular function has been elusive since morning. I wanted to clean the whole thing up and then play around with it and get some insights.

Being new to this language and not being a programmer before, commands got me in a corner. It’s been trial and error whole day, putting me on the edge, feeling like a bashful nerd, sinking into it completely and not even eating. With a problem like that you can get fearfully obsessed. There was food around but lunch didn’t have me. Tea did instead. 3 mugs and that’s been all for the day. Running commands and failing, typing functions and getting errors till around 8 pm when I got it and took a break. I had repeated the same code repeatedly, modified it, googled and still it wasn’t working. The back and forth messed up my head.

I’m cooling off now. The machine is down, I watch the news, read a few pages of Nate McCall’s Makes Me Wanna Holler, spread myself on the couch like a desert lizard. I’m the cat’s meow, as he says and it feels fine. I decide to sleep anyway and this is where I catch myself going nutty. I try to remember the sleep command!

You got that? For a few seconds my mind is trying to figure out which is the right command for sleeping. The idea is to create it and the run it. I’m thinking of picking up the machine and trying out a code that will take over from here till morning. I have the vision of the screen, typing commands inside double brackets and jamming enter and wondering if I have the sleep code right! All this happens in a flash. Not a flash of genius, like what happened to the inventor of intermittent windscreen wiper as he drove in the rain with his wife and children, but a flash of fatigue and craziness. Maaaaaaan! Can you buy that?

I come back to my right state of head and stand up. I won’t lie to you but I was shocked. I absolutely can’t believe the thoughts. I laugh out loud and then go take a leak to take it all easy.

It’s time for body over mind; push-ups, spinach and stuff.


Written by coldturkey

February 21, 2013 at 11:53 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Easy Days and Pancakes

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I am watching a show from Tanzania. I like the country, the people and their use of Kiswahili. A lady speaks English and is asking for a taxi from a Kiswahili only speaking fella.

Do you speak English?
Huh! Mimi nimesoma mpaka mwisho hadi ubao ukabomoka. Ile blackboardi yote ile ikabomokaa! Kimombo naongea lakini sio hatharani.
Can you speak back in English?
Dah! Wataka kunibaka? Hehe! Mimi huwezi kunibaka mimi. Kwa taxi, wapi…haki ya mungu sikubali.
Mimi nikikaa nawe naona ukiongea kizaramo wewe. Binti koo yangu laita kinywaji. Drinki!
You want a drink?
Naam. Koo ni kavu…yaani cocking dry.

The show goes on and the conversation gets worse to the point where Johnnie Walker is called ‘beer walk walk.’

Away from Tanzania, I crossed the pastry divide not long ago by making some pancakes for the first time. I always thought it was too much work. I knew that when I finally do it, it was going to be a victory not just for the taste buds but for the mind. It’s like overcoming a macho spirit that kept saying you need not do some stuff really.

I only made two and as their browness looked back at me, begging to be mouthed, I was aware of the satisfaction in the mind, a feeling made of defeating something. Shortly afterwards, them gigglings got served.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey; ever read that 1962 book or watched the 1975 film by Miloš Forman? I’ll bet you haven’t but you need to as my end of year recommendation. What will happen? You’ll remember all the lines, you’ll laugh all through and you’ll watch it all over again.

I’m accustomed to being top man. I been a bull goose catskinner for every gyppo logging operation in the Northwest and bull goose gambler all the way from Korea, was even bull goose pea weeder on that pea farm at Pendleton — so I figure if I’m bound to be a loony, then I’m bound to be a stompdown dadgum good one.
― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I should say I have friends who visit this place often and to you, have the best in the new year, with the Almighty’s goodness on ya.

Image credit;

Written by coldturkey

December 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM

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Clean up day and cats

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Today I would have told you about my grandmother and her wanting to know if I now have a family of my own. The bad thing is that it’s a quarter to 1 a.m. and I badly need to sleep. Last week fornicating cats woke me up every night for five days. Cats are cute but they can make the most horrible noises in the world; it starts like a baby in distress and ends up in a groan of mockery.

I was fed up one night and shot out shirtless, after them. They are on the stairs, two of them. I can’t find a stone or a grenade so I go back, cut an avocado into two and retrieve the seed. I attack the cats with the seed but you know what happens. It’s useless to fight cats and hard to hit any. They make the same noise for two more nights, right from the same spot.

I visit home a few weeks ago and it happens that one of my many paternal grandmothers is visiting as well.

– You have neglected your first wife. Why?

– How can I do that? I haven’t.

– You don’t come to see her anymore. How many years now?

– I am in Nairobi making sure I’m earning enough to take care of her. That’s why.

– You never know these matters. How can I believe you?

– Well, how can I find another? You know you’re the only one.

We laugh and I don’t think much of it. Later my old man wants to know if I got the actual question grandma was asking. I say no. Well, it turns out she was asking whether I have a wife now. It is interesting how old folks communicate; text against sub-text.

Why the core of could be
But the periphery of being
Tumble in
Lest you fade.

Now, this piece of verse caught up with my creativity at a time when procrastination was almost catching up with my potential. There are times when you feel you need to move that cupboard to the other side of the room to catch up with order but you better do it later. Getting up and doing exactly that without ‘further ado’ has never been as satisfying as it becomes.

You feel like a child who has just caught up with how to wipe away mucus on his own: elated and light at heart. And that is where hurrying up means much more that the curse it’s associated with. You have to rise up if you are just lying there, wake up if asleep or stand up if sitting, kneeling…whatever!

Yes, do that and CATCH UP with that ability that is just sleeping inside yourself.

Written by coldturkey

September 3, 2012 at 12:59 AM

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Bold Interior Design

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I will share these photos captured from films using a media player. The next thing I want to do is sunset paintings for my place. I haven’t touched a brush since early 2000s when I sold a sunset to one of my college lecturers.

As I try to make the place look much in order than before, there will be some art on the walls. The thing is, I have believed in an expressionist theory for many years. That means I don’t interfere much with where something falls in the house. I let them be and viewed them positively. The profane would call that a mess. I have called it a bold interior design.

Expressionism as defined online, presents the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. That means for instance when you find a cup or pair of socks on the floor, though not intentionally placed (you may have removed the sock and thrown it behind you yonder), if viewed subjectively it may not be necessarily a representation of not being neat.

I especially appreciate these words by Czech art historian Antonin Matějček in 1910. He defined expressionism as the opposite of impressionism: “An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself… (an Expressionist rejects) immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures… Impressions and mental images that pass through mental peoples soul as through a filter which rids them of all substantial accretions to produce their clear essence […and] are assimilated and condense into more general forms, into types, which he transcribes through simple short-hand formulae and symbols.”

Am I trying to say that disorganization is artistic? Not really.

However, since time changes everything, the bold design will now have to go. Artwork as this and with such allure will adorn the place.

Written by coldturkey

July 15, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Posted in réalité