Coffee again

Comment from Rusty Knorr on 2020-02-26 @ 17:39
Ottmar, with your current skill with bread baking the next step is roasting your own coffee at home! I have started buying green Ethiopian beans and roasting on the stove in a cast iron skillet. It’s really quite easy, and the experimentation with roast is very satisfying when you get it dialed in. There are inexpensive home roasters, and some even have good luck using a air popcorn popper, but I enjoy the manual method. Give it a try!

Hola Rusty! In December of 1996 we were fortunate to spend several days in Istanbul. We had an amazing time. I bought a whole bunch of CDs by Turkish artists, Jon bought the Saz that has surfaced on several songs since then, and I recorded the snippet of chanting that was used on the piece The Call from the album Leaning Into the Night. I had tea in a parking lot by the Bosphorus as the sun rose. I went to museums, mosques, and the bazaar, of course. I had Turkish coffee in the street, squatting next to the pan that was roasting the coffee over a burner. When I came home I wanted to try this myself. A friend, who grows coffee plants in Hawaii, gave me a bag with green beans for my experiments. I enjoyed the process, but didn’t buy more green beans when the bag was empty. I should have a look around and see whether some local shop has the green beans for sale. Thanks for the suggestion, Rusty.

About Love

Comment from JaneParhamKatz on 2020-02-26 @ 20:24
Ottmar, what have you discovered about love?

I have learned that love is a process. Falling in love is not the destination, a wedding isn’t mission accomplished, 25 of marriage can’t be the goal.

Love is something we can become better at. It’s like a muscle in that it can be trained and strengthened. Caring, empathy, communication, can all be improved. As in music, the tone one produces together matters.

Lovers regulate each other’s hormone distribution. The influence runs deep, down to a molecular level. Minds become attuned to each other. Sensitivity runs higher, we can tell what the other is feeling before they even say anything, and when they speak we understand the subtext better than with anyone else. The lover’s limbic pathways are changed and the parts of our neocortex that translate emotions improve.

Love is the best school. The best and quickest way to learn a language is to fall in love with a person who doesn’t speak yours. The same is true about all other aspects of culture. After language, it’s food and music and religion that are the glue in any group. Fall in love and you will quickly learn to care about different ways to view the world. This doesn’t mean that you will adopt these ways, but it will give you an appreciation for them. If traveling is a great way to expand your mind and see the big picture, so is falling love with someone who is not from the culture you grew up in.

Most of the time we don’t have much choice in the matter, because the heart wants what the heart wants, but be aware that who you fall in love with will have the biggest influence on your own life. They will change you. If you think that they are changing you into a worse version of yourself it is time to take stock and reflect about the relationship. If, on the other hand, you feel that you are a better person with your partner then you know you have something special.


I am reading several books at the moment, among them A General Theory of Love, a book by three psychiatrists that is surprisingly poetic and which I am enjoying a great deal. It dovetails nicely with the book by Robert Wright I mentioned recently. I am also reading The Reality Bubble, by Ziya Tong, but I have to read that one in small doses, because there is only so much reality I can process each day. Learning about mites mating on our faces takes a while to absorb. It’s the same with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. I feel that it’s important to learn about our bloody past, but, again, there is only so much I can read without turning into a puddle of tears. So I take small bites and give myself time to process.

Ice retreating:

Blueberry traces in a white bowl:PS: also started reading The Art of Solitude, by Stephen Batchelor, a book of new essays. You might say I am enjoying a variety of small plates, instead of eating one big dish.

Japanese Internment Monument

My annual visit, on the 19th of February, to the monument of Japanese Internment in Santa Fe. I am reminded that once again we are vilifying immigrants today.

Connecting Minds

I have been thinking about how musicians create inter-brain networks in order to make music together and wonder how that relates to love and relationships. Here is an article about musician-sync from the Max Planck Institute:

Making music together connects brains — ScienceDaily:

Anyone who has ever played in an orchestra will be familiar with the phenomenon: the impulse for one’s own actions does not seem to come from one’s own mind alone, but rather seems to be controlled by the coordinated activity of the group. And indeed, interbrain networks do emerge when making music together — this has now been demonstrated by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.


“When people coordinate actions with one another, small networks within the brain and, remarkably, between the brains are formed, especially when the activities need to be precisely aligned in time, for example at the joint play onset of a piece,” says Johanna Sänger.

The current data thus indicate that interbrain networks connect areas of both brains that previously have been associated with social cognition and music production. And such interbrain networks are expected to occur not only while performing music. “We assume that different people’s brain waves also synchronise when people mutually coordinate their actions in other ways, such as during sport, or when they communicate with one another,” Sänger says.

Then I came across an article that mentioned how love rewires the brain:

Limbic Revision and How Love Rewires the Brain – Brain Pickings:

In a relationship, one mind revises the other; one heart changes its partner. This astounding legacy of our combined status as mammals and neural beings is limbic revision: the power to remodel the emotional parts of the people we love, as our Attractors [coteries of ingrained information patterns] activate certain limbic pathways, and the brain’s inexorable memory mechanism reinforces them.

Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love.

Next I watched a video on Nowness, with the French philosopher Alain Badiou talking about love. You can find it here.

Here is a quote from Alain Badiou’s book In Praise of Love:

What kind of world does one see when one experiences it from the point of view of two and not one? What is the world like when it is experienced, developed and lived from the point of view of difference and not identity? That is what I believe love to be.


While funk can mean smell or a particularly moving musical beat in America, the German word Funk means radio or wireless. Therefore the Funkhaus in Vienna isn’t a temple to funkiness but rather a broadcaster.


They say the devil is in the details…

The sandal on the right is very comfortable but the suede is soft and gives in to gravity. It makes me fumble when I try to slip them on to walk off the stage. I guess I shall go back to the sturdier leather.


While drinking coffee at a Peet’s in the Phoenix airport yesterday afternoon I looked up who owns the large coffee chains… Starbucks is Starbucks. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is owned by a fast food company from the Philippines. Peet’s belongs to a family-owned German company that admitted last year that their owners were supporters of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Historical research revealed that the company used 175 forced laborers and employed a foreman who was known for his cruel treatment from 1943 onwards. A little deeper down the rabbit hole we find that Stumptown and Intelligentsia are both subsidiaries of Peet’s. Blue Bottle is now owned by Nestle, which already owns most of the water sources in America.

In other words… whenever possible I will continue to seek out the small indie coffeeshops…

The Coach House

Jon bowing his bass after soundcheck at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.