Sunday, July 31, 2011

Days 7 & 8: Pastime With Good Company

It took one week before people told me that I looked relaxed.  I slept for most of Friday, got up, went out to the armchair, and fell back to sleep with a book on my lap that I had intended to read.

Laurie's friends, and my new friends (hereafter shall be known as "our friends"), Robin and David had invited us to dine with them at Primitivo Wine Bistro in Venice, CA.  Past the line of gourmet food trucks, Primitivo is a chic little tapas restaurant (the bacon wrapped medjool dates were transcendent.)  I am given to understand that it has been over 25 years since Laurie and Robin had seen one another, so, in a sense, we were all catching one another up with a lifetime. 

We rose early on Saturday and drove to the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts.  A high school chum of Laurie's is the proprietor of the acclaimed Watts Coffee House.  Gathered were six or so friends.  The conversation was lively and delightful.  The food was some of the best of the entire trip.  I had chicken sausage, lightly spiced, eggs which I doused with the Louisiana Rooster Sauce provided at each table, and waffles.  The waffles did not need butter.  We tarried, enjoying the food and company, well beyond the time in which the establishment closed. 

The Backhaus Dance Company was formed in the early 2000s by a handful of dancers who went to Chapman University at the same time as I.  I knew several of them and The Facebook has been ablaze for the past several weeks with news of their recital from other friends from my graduating class.  The preeminent New York dance venue Joyce SoHo has numbered the Backhaus Dance Company as one of the seven emerging North American dance companies to watch.  Needless to say, I had been eagerly anticipating taking in their performance for some time.

And the performance exceeded our expectations.  It was a wonderful night of dance, very smartly infused with commentary and choreographic exposition by Jennifer Backhaus.  These interludes served to draw us deeper into the performances and, much like the brilliant decision to have the dancers warm up to the performance onstage in full view of the audience from the moment the doors opened, gave a tour of the clockwork behind such a performance.  I especially remembered their Disintegration piece which, if memory serves, was performed at the Kennedy Center back when I lived down here (and which I believe I saw in a student recital.)  The Pink Martini piece Love and Other Impossibilites was delightful.  Capping the evening, however, was their new piece (performed by long term members of the company, rather than Backhaus Dance Intensive graduates who, I think, comprised the other pieces) Duet(s).  We were stunned by the perfectly bridled mastery and emotion of the piece.  It was a meditation on love, the accompanying pain, separation, and I would go so far as to say what it is to be human, all expressed in dance.

Oh, guess what.  God bless the internet, because here the entire piece is on Vimeo!

If you ever have the chance to see their work, do everything in your power to see them.

As a personal aside, the performance took place in the Waltmar Theater which used to house Shakespeare Orange County.  I spent hundreds of hours in that theater in my 20s.  Of supreme sentimental value to me, when I went upstairs to use the restroom, I saw the doorway to a room which housed props and leads to the catwalk far above the audience.  I used to live there, occasionally literally.

It was a week of epiphanies.  Boy oh boy, I miss the theater.

Day 6: At The Getty

One rainy morning in 1777, a fifty year old man walked into the parlor of a lush, opulent, and one might daresay stately home in Chesterfield.  It had been a long, rainy journey from London and the man worried about a slight tickle that was gnawing at the back of his throat, developing into a sniffle.  He began to set up his canvas.

The Count walked bruskly into the room with a train of men, functionaries of the Royal Society (the so-called "Invisible College") precariously holding stacks of papers in their arms, one or two trying to direct the Count's attention to the matter they found important.  The Count's eyes locked onto the painter and said, "Ah, so you made it through the deluge, Gainsborough.  Very good.  You're early.  Anne shall be down when she's finished with her morning prayers."

Thomas did not look up from his work.  He lifted the nine foot tall canvas and placed it between two grips which he tightened.  "I thank you, sir.  I shall be ready."

The Count cleared his throat and continued out of the room, his retinue in tow.

Thomas thought briefly about Johann Christian, the composer's son, whose portrait he'd recently completed. Such a warm and intelligent man, so earnest and devout, salt of the Earth.  He thought of Mary and dear Margaret so patiently posing for him with his gamble, his promise to them that once he was satisfied with his exhibit for the Royal Academy they would all quit the city and their life with galling deference to the vapid upper-classes.  No more of setting ruddy old tool merchant's children posing in lavish blue suits for a few week's worth of rent and pub money.  They would retire to the country, buy a modest cottage.  Thomas thought of that dip in the road, about 20 miles south on his way up, that fell into a dark, wooded valley, with mottled sunlight speckling the dark brown, moist leaves.  For the rest of his life, he would remember whenever life became difficult that that place existed somewhere.

In July of 2011, Paul Mathers walked into a room in an art gallery in Los Angeles and saw the Portrait of Anne, Countess of Chesterfield by Thomas Gainsborough.  His first thought on reading the plaque was of a verse from a Noël Coward song about the stately homes of England and their tendency to house portraits by Gainsborough.  He also thought of how this was painted when his nation was but a fledgling making it's first unsteady trip out of the nest and how Gainsborough, as a patriotic Englishman (with somewhat of an American view towards social class), probably did not have a favorable view of the colonists revolting for tax purposes.  He also thought that where he was standing was Junipero Serra country in those days, almost as far removed from all of that as Paul Mathers in 2011.

The plaque mentioned Gainsborough's frustration with his great and immediately recognized talent for portraiture and his desire for a pastoral life of painting pastoral scenes.  Paul thought of poor Franz Schubert who thought his great talent was as an operatic composer but, indeed, was actually in everything but that.  He thought of J. Paul Getty's own description of art collectors as those who have all of the eye and love of beauty of an artist, but lack the skill to create their own artwork.  And, indeed, Paul thought of Paul.

He sat in front of the grand canvas on the sort of round red ottoman provided by the museum in the middle of each of their major rooms.  He found it to be stunningly beautiful, the fast dashes of oil resolving into a gorgeous portrait of a graceful young lady when one stood a good six feet away from it.  He wondered about the young lady in the portrait, a hint of mad, instant love tugging at his heart, and resolved to see if he could find any biographical information on the subject, perhaps for a blog entry.  He thought about his life, wondered what it's going to amount to in the end.  A group of five young college students walked into the room and stood between him and the canvas, blocking his view.

Laurie and I took far too many pictures at the Getty Center to post here, but I did make a photo album of them on Facebook.  You can find it here:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Days 4 & 5: Bijou, Bijou!

Laurie and I spent a day shopping.  Window antiquing mainly.  Above is a photograph I surreptitiously snapped in the yard of an antique complex in the city of Orange.  I was especially interested in the castle doors.  I joked that we could replace the entire front of our house with them.

Naturally, we went used booking as well.  Picked up a copy of Collector's Choice:The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe by Ethel LeVane & J. Paul Getty.  It's a biographical (and, in parts, autobiographical) account of Getty's art collecting.  The section I'm reading right now reminds me quite a bit of Rudolf Bing's account of his years with the New York Metropolitan Opera House, 5,000 Nights At The Opera, especially the accounts of John Christie's Glyndebourne and how problematic the political climate around the second world war made operating in the world of the arts, especially those arts historically dominated by the Germanic and Italian.  Laurie purchased a few books on the Inquisition.

Next to the bookshop was an indoor reptilian zoological garden.

Then to Downtown Orange and the many antique stores thereabouts.  Laurie and I window shop here in the same way we did at South Coast Plaza, which is to say with an eye toward sparking creative ideas that we might create on our own budget.  Outside of George Antiques I saw that a simpatico graffito scribe had also passed those hallowed byways.

The next day I spent with my father. He took me to the LA County Fire Dispatch complex where he works and I was given a grand tour.  The building sits on shock absorbers, rather than any traditional foundation, which are able to withstand at least an 8.5 earthquake.  I was taken to the basement where I was able to see them (photography in such an environment, however, seemed like it would be frowned upon, so I refrained from asking.)  The dispatch room looks like something out of an action film and, indeed, I am told has recently undergone a $4 million renovation.  LA County is, in my estimation, in very good hands.  I was honored to find that my father has two of my paintings in his office.

We then went to the movies, which is something both of us, in our respective lives, rarely ever gets to do.  We saw a satirical film about a super-hero in World War II.  It starred Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones.  Or, at least, it did for me.  My father came out of it having seen a film about motorcycles.

That night we went out to dinner with members of Laurie's family.  A splendid time was had by all.  We tried (and failed) to get to bed early as the next day was our day at the Getty Museum.  More soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 3: Other Temples, Other Gods

Among the copious ways in which I am similar to Truman Capote is that I have both a side that has seen some of the truly horrible things that happen on this little blue rock in cold, uncaring space, and a side which is dazzled by the beautiful, the lovely, what others sometimes call the frivolous.  Having a strong inclination (if not talent) toward the visual arts, I enjoy stuffing my eyes, as it were, with things that are lovely in hopes that the lovely is what will come spilling out of me. 

Also, try as I might, I am incapable of not loving beautiful things.  It is in my hard-wiring, deep in my imprinting, woven into my fabric.

There is a place in Costa Mesa called South Coast Plaza.  It used to be structured in such a way that, while no one was physically prohibited from going anywhere in the shopping area, one half of the building was designed and occupied in such a way that people without a consistent disposable $500,000 would likely feel more comfortable avoiding that side of the plaza.  I assume it's my Quaker "don't doff your hat to any fellow human" streak that gives me the mutant ability to travel freely in that area in spite of my economic handicap.  On this visit I noticed that the high end fashion has creeped around the corner of the plaza from where it used to be relegated.  At first I chalked this up to the poor economy and conditions where the middle is erased but high discount items and high luxury items continue to thrive (just as the middle-class disappears).  But then I realized that South Coast Plaza has actually built a separate building to house the more "baseball cap" stores.  It has become a capsule for that insulated world of la belle vie.

Personally, the haute couture section of the plaza is a bit of a comfort place for me.  In times of high stress, I literally have dreams about the Chanel store.  I think it's because my times visiting that place have been much like visiting a museum. 

When I go to the Getty Museum on Thursday, I do not expect someone to give me a Toulouse-Lautrec because some curator sees how much I am able to appreciate the work.  Nor do I expect for someone buying an Armani suit to instead decide to use the money to pay off one of my mortgages.  Of course, I understand the arguments against the avaricious culture of conspicuous consumption. However, I think I also understand deep in the dark parts of my brain that thinking something shouldn't exist just because I cannot have it is another form of avarice, wrapped in envy, and painted like righteous indignation.

And so, I enjoyed an afternoon of looking at extremely beautiful objects.  I enjoyed it tremendously.  Then we went home.

We also enjoyed dinner with my grandmother at a splendid Cuban restaurant.

And that was the third day of our vacation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The First 48: Rendering Unto Caesar, Rendering Unto God

For those who don't know, we are on vacation in Southern California. Please do not burglarize our house.

While we've seized the opportunity for extra rest and nourishment, we have also turned our eyes to a different sort of nourishment, which is to say that which comes from forming future memories and broadening one's experience.  Our first night in Orange County found us at Shakespeare Orange County.  Indeed, we actually planned our trip with seeing their production of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar in mind.  It was a marvelous production.  The cast was, without exception, superb and they breathed lightning and thunder into the words of The Bard.  I would especially note John Walcutt who played Cassius. Not usually a piece that I associate with this sort of reaction, his performance of the speeches imploring Brutus to join in the murder plot were so beautifully played that I was moved to tears.  I cannot recommend SOC enough.  If you ever have a chance to see one of their performances, let nothing stand in your way.

I also was able to see my old friend and Shakespearean mentor Tom Bradac.  Naturally, we were unable to bring back any photos of the event, but here are Laurie and I on our way to the show.

We were invited by our friend Cynthia to attend church with her on Sunday morning at Saddleback Church, which, for those of you who don't know, is the church of Rick Warren, the pastor who (among many other things) gave the prayer at President Obama's inauguration.  I think I'm being only mildly hyperbolic in saying that the church is about the size of Chico both in acreage and population.

I have something I do so often in life which I've recently come to describe as Warhol-esque tourism.  It came from a handful of Andy Warhol quotes (i.e."I think everybody should like everybody" and "I've never met a person I couldn't call a beauty") and applying them more broadly to institutions and ideas.  I also tend to take a lot of photographs.  It came from realizing my own natural propensity, and that of the world around me, to dislike things.  I do not wish to be a person marked by his capacity to dislike things (quite the opposite, in fact).  Put simply, I like to keep an open mind inclined toward liking things.  

There are a lot of people who dislike Pastor Warren's ministry (and, clearly, a large number who do like his ministry.)  They have their reasons (which I have heard at the usual nauseating protractedness that marks the speech of the hater.  Please restrain yourself from telling me why I'm wrong in how I reacted to my personal experience.) I came with an open mind and was delighted.

Here's me in front of the children's ministry building, complete with didactic playsets.

We were in the "Gospel tent."  There are apparently several sites on the campus to accommodate different worship music tastes.  Sheila E, she of The Glamorous Life fame, was a featured performer.  She looked fantastic and the music was excellent. 

Both Laurie and I found the sermon edifying.  Afterward, Cynthia took us on a tour of the campus.

I noticed two things about the demographic of the congregation.  I shall be blunt and state that so often I've found that the majority of church congregants, in our post-Christian age, tend to be the elderly, the infirm, the marginalized, or young couples with children seeking to raise their progeny with some religious foundation in hopes of inspiring character and what not.  The spiritual needs and wounds are immediate and at the forefront of the mind of the congregants.  Sort of a spiritual Naked Lunch atmosphere. 

At Saddleback there was a great deal of wonderful and heartening racial diversity.  The people (in general) seemed prosperous and in the prime of life.  They wore nice, well-crafted clothes and exuded an air of physical health.  I remarked to Laurie that so often these are the people who are not attending religious ceremonies because they have the illusion of safety in their lives, but that they are a group who ought to be reached spiritually because everyone is one cancer diagnosis or car accident away from needing spiritual comfort.  And, needless to say, we are all dying.  It is a church tailored perfectly for Orange County's needs.

Apparently, Pastor Warren took a large survey of non-church attenders, before organizing this church, and asked why they do not attend church.  The results lead to a great deal of the choices made in the organization of the church.  I would also hasten to add that the church is thriving, and I do not simply mean in numbers.  There seemed to me to be an abundance of earnest Christians, the outreach for a first time visitor was nothing short of astonishing, and the multitude of ministry opportunities were manifold.  They even had a youth building made with painstaking attention to environmental standards. 

Also, I found the entire campus to be quite beautiful.  In short, it was a lovely visit and a memory which Laurie and I shall treasure greatly. 

Also, there was an aquarium.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Cry For Help and Another Contest!

Friends, I need your help. My next poetry writing entry is Bouts-Rimés. As you well know, this form is when the poet uses rhymes provided by someone else. Here's where you come in: give me a list of 14 rhyming words and I shall compose a poem using the rhymed words from the list I like best. 
As an added incentive, whoever provides the winning list (the list that I choose) will get a free copy of Death in Venice by Thomas Mann and a handwritten, signed copy of the poem (which will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars if you happen to still be alive 100 years after I'm dead!)
So, friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your rhymes!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let's All Write A Blues Poem!

We have now reached one of the forms that absolutely terrifies me. It seems like embarrassing myself is an inevitability here. It's not that I don't like "the blues." I think it's a beautiful form of music that serves as an outlet for a certain type of basic human anguish.

Our textbook offers a quote from Ralph Ellison which I think expresses the spirit of the blues.  He said that the blues "at once express the agony of life and the possibility of conquering it through sheer toughness of spirit."

I am going to sit this form out on making a video of myself reading an example poem aloud for two reasons.  The first is that the thought of me reading the blues strikes me as going beyond absurd and nearing the realm of the disrespectful.  I am that far from a credible blues man as you shall see anon (or, as you can see by how I finished that sentence out of the abundance of my heart.)  The second is that I feel that this form would be better served by giving an example in the musical form.  Here's Leadbelly:

 But we also want to include an example in the form of poetry.  When one looks to the form of Blues Poems, one could not find a better place than the works of Langston Hughes.  Hughes was one of the golden children of the Harlem Renaissance and wrote a great deal of blues poetry.

Morning After
by Langston Hughes

I was so sick last night I
Didn’t hardly know my mind.
So sick last night I
Didn’t know my mind.
I drunk some bad licker that
Almost made me blind.

Had a dream last night I
Thought I was in hell.
I drempt last night I
Thought I was in hell.
Woke up and looked around me—
Babe, your mouth was open like a well.

I said, Baby! Baby!
Please don’t snore so loud.
Baby! Please!
Please don’t snore so loud.
You jest a little bit o’ woman but you
Sound like a great big crowd.

Ok.  So, I'm going to take that as a permission slip from Langston Hughes to use humor in my blues poem.  I've decided that I must needs go meta with my piece.  I am also borrowing from the first stanza from a joke blues poem I posted on Facebook.

The Paul Mathers Style Blues
by Paul Mathers

Oh, I looked in my cupboard this morning
I was out of Earl Grey tea.
I made Kadota Fig Tarts
and the Pinot Grigio wasn't chilled properly.
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.
I'm just a nebbish who's feeling devilish,
I've got the Paul Mathers style blues.

Well, I'm a raging neurotic.

I've got my ennui down. 
My existential dread 
is known all over town.
I read the German philosophers 
and tend to agree with their views.
But my poetic cathexis compels me to employ this form,
I've got the Paul Mathers style blues.

The blues, it isn't in me.
I'd rather talk interior design.
The pedant in me recoils
from how I used too many beats in a line.
I've bumbled up this form poem.
I'll never be a Langston Hughes.
And that's why I'm a'wailin' 
"I've got them Paul Mathers style blues!"

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Few Thoughts After A Few Days of Google+

I almost had an anxiety attack while setting up my Google+ account.  I've been on Facebook for a long time and I find, to steal a line from Tom Lehrer, that Google+ is so simple that only a child can do it.  I thought I might post some of the pros and cons that I'm already feeling from Google+


Every photo I've ever uploaded via a Google platform is immediately available on Google+.
I can actually identify my step-kids as family (major failure, Facebook!)
It seems to be moving toward a conglomerate internet experience.  I am sensing cobbled together elements of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and those sharey sites like Reddit or Tumblr and so forth.


Extraordinarily baroque.  It's like getting a stereo with an intricate graphic equalizer and no clue how to use it.
Very few people are on it whereas most of human life is on Facebook.
Starting work on building my own internet conglomerate experience isn't practical for me.  I want it to be done for me, which is why I don't understand why people keep telling me that Google+ is intuitive.  If it's so blasted intuitive, why is there so much I have to do to set it up?  Those sites I listed in the pro- column which I said Google+ seems to be employing (or exploiting) elements of, I never needed a single article to explain to me how to get started on any of those sites.  I've read at least five to try to figure out Google+.  In short, I don't have time for this.

Currently, in my experience, most of what's going on on Google+ is people discussing how Google+ works.  I suppose that is as natural as my neophobia, but I would add that both point to something gang agley.

There are elements that defy pros and cons like the access to one's Picasa account.  I had a personal Picasa account once, long long ago, and I used it liberally until I filled it up to the point where I would have to start paying for more.  At which point I forgot that the thing even existed until I logged on to Google+ and found pictures of Laurie and I with vastly different haircuts than our current ones.  Then I apparently had Picasa accounts associated with my Blogger accounts (unawares) which do contain some more recent pictures of me, but mainly contain pictures of covers of books that I was writing about in a specific entry (images which I gravely doubt having a legitimate claim to any right to use.)  Facebook, on the other hand, contains many recent pictures of me that I've uploaded one by one over the past few years.  It is a Rome that I've built over time.  Now I'm being called upon to build a new one and I find the prospect unattractive.

Also, and I know I'm being difficult, but I can't tell you how much I wished when I first logged on that there was a tool by which I could find which of my Facebook friends are on Google+.

I also wish to say a few words about Circles.  The advent of Circles has taught me something that I like about what Facebook has done to me that I didn't even realize it was doing.  Facebook is a place where I have a couple hundred people watching and I write messages to them, share videos with them, and photos from my personal life.  The person I present in those messages is, I hope, the person that I am.

In life, so often I have found that I am at my worst when I say things to one group of people that I wouldn't want others to hear.  I don't want to speak behind people's back by any means.  People who know me know that I am politically to the Left and religiously towards Quakerism, and while I do have issues that I feel passionately about, I love people who I know are neither of those things.  So I seek to tailor myself to incline towards that love rather than stroking my own self-righteousness.  That love I have for those people is the reason I am there in the first place and not just off in some corner reading a book.  In a way, Facebook's limited capacity to limit one's viewers within one's peer group demands a certain amount of integrity on the part of the user.

Mainly I talk about literature and tea. 

However, I am not seeking to damn Circles (ten bucks says someone has already categorized their friends into Dante's nine infernal circles.)  As with any technology, it is not the technology, it is those who wield it who decide how it will be applied.  I remember the old accusation that Twitter is vapid, to which I always say, "Try following @stephenfry or @alaindebotton."  I could see Circles working very well in a situation like a book reading group.    

I am admittedly middle-brow as far as internet culture goes.  I have the natural interest when some shiny new gee-gaw shows up, I get an account, I see if it's going to enrich my life.  I refuse to sacrifice an ounce of my quality of life on the altar of new technology.  I have a sense that Google+ may end up only appealing to a certain type.

To borrow a gimmick from The Motley Fool: Buy, Sell, or Hold Google+?  I would say Hold at this point.  Hold until the platform is rolled out in full for the general public and watch for the first few weeks.  The moment it seems to be crashing under its own weight (like, oh say, a Wave?): Sell.  My primary concern is that I am only marginally internet savvy in a purely utilitarian way.  For anyone less internet savvy than I, Google+ seems to be totally perplexing.

My own plan is to have the account that I have, let it sit there, and see if it catches on.  If it does, I can swoop back into my account and play.  If it doesn't, I'll let it go like putting an opossum in an unsealed Tupperware storage container and letting to drift out to sea, making a lot of noise and commotion, signifying nothing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Divers and Sundry Minutae

So, Gina returned from points far Eastern (Republic of Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, et al) with red wine and dark chocolate, craving Mexican food.  We are delighted to have her back.  Her arrival did occasion a few changes in our lives, all, I think, for the better.

We finally closed down the used book business.  For newer readers of this blog, for the past 8 or 9 years I have run a used book business, primarily online.  For about 5 of those years (the bachelor ones) it was my sole source of income.  Like all of life, it was subject to external mutations.  Economic tides mixed with advances in technology mixed with increasingly greedy seller's fees on the part of the online selling venues mixed with our total inability to have anything to do with maintaining new inventory and repricing due to having real jobs finally came to the crossroads where the business was very nearly only managing to tread water each month.  I had a liquidation garage sale this past weekend.  While the sale did make more money in one day than the business had lately been making in a month, I still have a garage full of used books.  So, there are more blow-out sales to come with even more severely reduced prices in hopes of getting our garage back.  

Laurie had been driving Gina's car while Gina was out of the country, so we also had the issue of transportation to deal with.  We bought the Volvo pictured above two days ago.  We are a little nervous because it was far too cheap, but it seems to run fine and they didn't impound it as a stolen vehicle when we registered it, so we've decided to adopt the narrative that we stumbled upon a great deal.  Now all that remains is to get the Grizzly Reaper to mow my old truck.  I like Volvos because of their reputation as safe cars.  I can't tell you have often, while whizzing around in automobiles, I become hyper-aware of being propelled in tons of metal with other tons of metal also whizzing around.  I am such a fragile 200-some-pound sack of meat in a world where so many others walk freely while mad, high, drunk, insane, unlicensed, despairing, all able to get behind the wheel of automobiles and hurl themselves around the planet.  I like the idea of my wife being in a car known for surviving accidents well.

Other than that, I still hack away at the script I'm writing.  I've moved on to rereading Truman Capote's Music for Chameleons.  Caught with a bad case of the mean reds, I still have set St. Augustine aside on a shelf, looking on dourly.  There is a niggling voice in the back of my head that knows that I have to return to and finish his Confessions.  I will not let Augustine derail my reading project, although the reward system I've promised myself for getting through his work will even further extend that reading project.  More on that soon, but needless to say, my recent Summer Reading post is turning out to be as outrageously inaccurate as New Year's resolutions and astrological forecasts.

Also, we're going to by grandparents this December by way of my step-son Tony.

Also, we are going on vacation soon.  

Also, for those who were worried, the fuchsia is doing well.