Patience

coffee vendor sits in his van waiting for customers
Coffee vendor waits for customers. Morioka-shi, Iwate, Japan. Nikon FE2 and Silberra 50 Orta black and white film. November 2019.

Devotion to craft and service. Making a lot out of small spaces. Do one or a few simple things right. There is much to learn from how small business makes its way in Japan.

Get Lost in Joshua Tree

photo of graffiti at Giant Rock in Landers California
Giant Rock. Mojave Desert. Landers, CA.

A lot of people know about Joshua Tree National Park. The nearby town of Joshua Tree, CA has a reputation for being the odd twist of desert hippy. It also doubles as a retirement home for celebrity artists. Rumor has it that Robert Plant owns a home in the area, as does Cyndi Lauper. I doubt anyone cares to look, which is partly why people find it attractive.

In the vicinity of Joshua Tree are the Mojave Desert towns of Landers and Twentynine Palms. Out there space and privacy is abundant. Clocks tick slower, and people are unapologetic about doing nothing. Don’t expect a lot of on-demand economy.

If a visitor has Los Angeles’esque patience, or none at all, then misery awaits. If that’s your jam, go to Palm Springs instead. In the Mojave, 5:00 PM opening means a 5:00 PM opening. Not 4:59. And 5:00 can mean 5:08. But definitely not a minute before 5:00. In the desert, everything is relative and late is early.

There isn’t a lot to do if you’re not into hiking, camping, dirt bikes, or photography. And that’s okay. Nobody is in Joshua Tree to jet set. It’s a place to slow down and take naps in the hammock, and then enjoy a cold beer.

Looking for inspiration here? Then you’ll need to include psychedelics. But no reason to search for such things, when going off-path in the spirit of adventure has its own rewards. 

Find yourself lost in Joshua Tree.

landscape photo of dirt road in the Mojave Desert Landers California
Dirt road to Giant Rock. BYOB and vision quest. Landers, CA.

Glass Houses

I find the fetish for glass covered new buildings odd. Not being an architect, maybe I’m missing the point. Perhaps the new developments that I see in my travels are more efficient, when constructed this way.

If so, I still find them lacking in style and imagination. This aesthetic is common around the world now. There is no local identity or culture in them. It’s plain and boring.

It’s strange to me that we live in a world so consumed with the notion of privacy, that new office buildings and condominiums are seemingly nothing but window towers. People inside can watch passers-by on the street but would likely cry foul if the passers-by turned and looked at them.

This seems too insular and one-way to me, and it encourages distance and isolation in urban areas where vibrant public interaction is essential. New and old buildings are necessary. But Dublin, like many great cities, deserves better than repetitive glass houses.