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Bhavatu sabba mangalam.
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Vipassana meditation.
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« October 2002 | Main | December 2002 »

November 25, 2002

Mad Cowboy

Earlier this evening my Aunt took me to the Chicago Vegetarian Society's Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Dinner. The meal, all vegan and mostly organic, was out of this world- were I blindfolded, I would have sworn I was eating stuffing straight out of a turkey. It tasted exactly like it! The chef, it turns out, won a gold medal at the International Culinary Olympics back in 1996, and was singlehandedly responsible for the creation of a vegetarian category there.

After dinner, Howard Lyman gave a passionate, inspiring speech about his transformation from being raised a 4th-generation Montana cattle rancher to a full-fledged vegan and social activist, from eye-witnessing the horrors of the meat industry all his life. These range from using rendered animal parts (scraps left over from cow/chicken/hog/fish processing including bone, tissue, blood, etc.) in cow feed, to the rampant use of antibiotics, insecticides and growth hormones while raising the animals. All of these, of course, can result in nasty things like Alzheimer's Disease, Mad Cow Disease, and numerous other food-borne diseases.

Seeing Lyman speak was perfect timing for me, given that I've somewhat recently become vegetarian, and am almost finished with Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation." This is definitely a must-read book, along the lines of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle." Especially for you carnivores in the audience, and anyone who eats fast food...

Posted at 00:30 | TrackBacks (0)

November 23, 2002


Two fellow American travelers (Jason & Meg) just encountered their first MegaVendingMachine over in Paris. We encountered ours in Dusseldorf back in January. I recall it being quite thrilling- cat food, hair spray and ketchup, all in one automated monstrosity!

Posted at 02:21 | TrackBacks (0)

November 20, 2002

Surfing injury

Well, it didn't take long for my first minor surfing injury to manifest. We were paddling around during a medium-sized swell at the Princeton Jetty (Half Moon Bay) and a bigun caught me... I flipped right over the top of the wave and down into the white swirl below, along with the board. Underwater, I felt something painfully smash into my left calf, and true to surfer style, I didn't bother checking it out until we got out a half hour later. My board (affectionately known as "The Battleship") was missing a fin, my calf was swollen, and I've had a slight limp ever since. Bitchin'!

Posted at 00:19 | TrackBacks (0)

November 16, 2002

Lunch at Google

The road trip to San Francisco on Thursday was uneventful, and yesterday KTB treated us to lunch at Google HQ. (You may recall that she got a job there back in August.) The meal was divine, and Google's head chef used to be the Grateful Dead's head chef, we learned.

In the lobby is perhaps the coolest thing I've ever seen- a constantly scrolling list of query results from Google searches worldwide, projected on to the wall. I took a movie clip of it which I'll be posting sometime soon- the text was in all sorts of languages, including the kanji characters of Japanese. I could easily have stood there all day just gazing at it...

The people we met were all smiling and happy, including the HR lady who hired Katie. She's a kiwi, so we chatted about NZ for a while and browsed through some of her [and my] pictures; she was also heavily recruiting Raz and me... I must admit, I'm sorely tempted- 3 organic gourmet meals each day, unlimited access to snacks and drinks, workout room and sauna, phat bandwidth, as well as location in one of my favorite places- northern California (read: extended family, nature, and surfing). Many perks, yes. And Google's business won't be slowing down for a while, either.

Posted at 23:04 | TrackBacks (0)

November 13, 2002

El Porto

I got totally Porto'd this afternoon. The waves (6-8 foot faces) were breaking 4 times before reaching the shore, and I only made it out past the 4th once or twice. That's paddling non-stop, through 3 major waves, just to get far enough out where you sit on your board and watch for the right one to catch. It's absolutely exhausting. Raz caught some great ones though, at times cruising 100-150 yards down the beach. Trouble is, once you've ridden one in (Raz) or been sucked back to shore (me), you've gotta paddle *all the way* back out there again. El Porto kicked my ass, period.

Posted at 17:18 | TrackBacks (0)

Surfing- County Line

surfersMy SoCal surfing odyssey continued yesterday afternoon at County Line, north of Malibu. We surfed through the sunset, which was magical. Of course, I still can't quite stand up on the thing, but I'm improving with each wave. I think I've now got saltwater and surfing on the brain; when I lie down to go to sleep at night, I feel that ebbing sensation, like when we used to ride rollercoasters as kids. And whenever I look at a beach anymore, I'm not just seeing anonymous, relentless waves, but I'm evaluating their surfable qualities... The rest of the pictures are here; we're heading to another beach this afternoon.

There's also been a slight change of plans- rather than fly up to San Francisco tomorrow, Raz (newly unemployed) and I are going to road trip up the PCH in his truck. We're going to stay at my cousin Sarah's place in Half Moon Bay, home of Maverick's (be sure to scroll to the bottom to see the significance).

Posted at 09:29 | TrackBacks (0)

November 12, 2002

More Michael Moore

Last night I took Raz and one of his housemates to see "Bowling for Columbine." Second time 'round, it was still just as powerful. Question- of y'all reading this, how many have been able to see it yet? If you haven't yet, here's where you can: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, and the rest of the United States and Canada.

So after the movie, the guys were asking me about Moore's other films. I knew he had several, and Todd suggested that we go rent one. I was thinking, "Yeah right, what mainstream video place would carry this sort of film [hard-hitting documentary]?" We walked 5 minutes down the street to Vidiots, now my favorite video store EVER. It's all independent stuff! Films are arranged by director, and Michael Moore had his own section! So we cleaned out what was left- "The Big One" and The Awful Truth Volume 1." Folks, especially Miami SBA grads, go check this stuff out, it's powerful. It's the first time I've encountered true, honest insight into why big corporations do the things they do.

Posted at 09:28 | TrackBacks (0)

November 11, 2002


Raz is teaching me how to surf; we got started this morning at Bay Street/Santa Monica, coincidentally where skateboarding was born. The first big winter storm just rolled through over the weekend, sending SoCal a nice N/NW swell. The waves had 6-8' faces but were mostly closed out, and there was a gnarly southern lateral current that yanked us down the beach all morning. Don't you love surfer lingo?

Posted at 18:37 | TrackBacks (0)

November 10, 2002

The Quiet American

Via Sieburg, here's a movie I can't wait to see.

Posted at 11:31 | TrackBacks (0)

LA - The Quiet American

It's all good here in LA; Raz picked me up as planned and has been showing me all around. Last night we went to Garden of Eden, a posh Hollywood club. Ohmygod, girls girls girls! A traveling Buddhist pseudo-monk (me) + dance club = trouble... I just cruised around the place drinking my glass of water, not (consciously) sending out any specific vibe, keeping my internal awareness strong, observing all the craziness around me, Vipassana-style.

They just appear out of the blue, in your face! Staring right into your eyes with a big smile, or a not-so-coincidental touch on the dance floor. Then I hear some line or another about the club scene that night, or the music, or how I look or whatever. "Don't believe a word they tell you," Raz says. "Far out, mate, bizarre!" I kept telling myself. After a few minutes of utterly meaningless conversation, some would say that had to go to the bathroom and I'd never see them again (hah!). Others kept reappearing time after time, with this friend or that friend in tow, more dancing, more physical contact, quite intimate at times. Now I know what a fish out of water must feel like... Bizarre indeed.

Posted at 10:30 | TrackBacks (0)

November 8, 2002

Flying to Los Angeles

I'm taking off shortly for Los Angeles, Qantas flight 3255 out of Honolulu. Hawaii's been awesome and I'll (hopefully) get the pictures online soon. Raz is picking me up at the airport and has also promised, and I quote, "a night out on the town raz friday night i will be introducing you to sleep on the plane......" Uh-oh... I'm also gonna try and catch up with Drew and Brendan, who I met in New Zealand long, long ago. Drew used to work at Dreamhost, the fine Web Host in LA that hosts this web site. Geek-tour, anyone?

Posted at 10:24 | TrackBacks (0)

November 7, 2002

Bowling for Columbine

Just got back from seeing "Bowling For Columbine," Michael Moore's latest documentary. WOW!!! It's... well... brilliance epitomized. Here's the description from Michael's web site:

"Extraordinary! No American film will be the subject of more debate and attention this year. It asks the questions most of the country wants to have answered... There was a standing ovation, and a willingness to begin complicated arguments about how our nation functions... You have to see Bowling For Columbine!"

Here's where it's currently playing in the USA and Canada. I'm not sure where else in the world it's playing, alas. Anyone?

Posted at 22:58 | TrackBacks (0)

Stupid White Men

Two quotes from Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men," which I've just finished reading:

The first, from page 206, regarding capital punishment: "The United States is among only six countries that impose the death penalty on juveniles. The others are Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The United States is also the only country besides Somalia that has not signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child."

The second, from page 174-175, printed here for the benefit of those of you who firmly and blindly believe that the USA is the Best Country in the World: "Among the top twenty industrialized nations,

Obviously Moore gets a bit sensational (understatement) in his reporting of these "facts." Obviously some of these numbers are twisted for the purpose of shock value. But my reason for posting them isn't to promote the facts themselves, but rather to raise awareness of the mass inequality present in the world today, broadly and generally represented by these facts. Inequality that we as consumers and US citizens have played a large but surely unintentional part in spreading.

Posted at 11:31 | TrackBacks (0)

November 6, 2002

Iraq cartoon

My sentiments exactly! [via Jonas]

Posted at 06:54 | TrackBacks (0)

John Pilger

Wicked, you can (mostly) watch all of John Pilger's films online. Pilger's name has been popping up in political conversations this entire trip, but I'd until now been clueless as to how I might find copies of his documentaries to watch. No more worries, as long as there's broadband. Attention war supporters- be sure to check out the one about Iraq.

Posted at 06:46 | TrackBacks (0)

US and metric system

From a currently active TidBITS-Talk thread: "Only three countries in the whole
world - USA, Liberia, and Myanmar - have not adopted metric as the
official measurement system."

Liberia (in western Africa) is just now recovering from an 8-year civil war. Myanmar/Burma (in southeast Asia) has been a military dictatorship since 1962. It's not that the US hasn't tried, however...

Posted at 06:38 | TrackBacks (0)

November 5, 2002

Around Honolulu

Craig scored me a free ticket to the Hawaii/San Jose football game Saturday night, which I attended with a few of his friends (he was playing with the band). Wow, American football, all those pads... no pads in rugby! Since there aren't any professional sports out here, college football is hugely popular- ~36,000 people were at the game, and the stadium was pretty empty.

Today I hiked around Diamond Head, the highest point of an ancient volcanic crater that overlooks Honolulu. A typical Hawaiian day, ~85˚F, no rain, bright and sunny. It's like this every day here. Literally every day of the year. Amazing place, Hawaii. I also finished Michener's book about it this morning, which is a must-read whether or not you ever plan on visiting.

With Les Miserables temporarily on hold, I'm digging right into Michael Moore's Stupid White Men, which also appears to be a must-read for you politically-minded folks.

Posted at 18:30 | TrackBacks (0)

November 2, 2002


Also via Textism: the Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto (for the paranoid nationalists among you), and its elegant counter, the Anti-rhetoric non-manifesto (for the peace-mongers among you).

Posted at 19:51 | TrackBacks (0)


Textism: "I direct your attention to Stand Down, a group web site comprised of writers from all political camps who oppose the invasion of Iraq, started by the terribly sane economist Max Sawicky."

Posted at 19:30 | TrackBacks (0)

Hawaiian girls

Hawaiian girls... I'm absolutely speechless.

Posted at 19:04 | TrackBacks (0)

Bush Playstation II

The "Buy Bush a Playstation 2" campaign: "I've also received numerous e-mails telling me that the proper game to send Bush is 'Conflict: Desert Storm,' a tactical shooter in which the goal is to kill Saddam Hussein. Of course, this game is a perfect fit for the campaign. I also got several messages asking that we buy an extra controller so Cheney can play, and a few people even insisted that we buy the president a memory card." Brilliant! [via Sieburg.]

Posted at 15:16 | TrackBacks (0)

in Honolulu

I'm posting from Craig's office here at the University of Hawaii's Music Department. Two nights ago in Sydney a few of us grabbed some Thai food then went to Club Acoustica for some live music (Rambunctious were my fav, I bought their cd with the last of my $AU). Lots of folks were dressed up in costumes... ahh, Halloween!

Then I arrived in Honolulu around midnight last night and Craig picked me up at the airport. Cruising around on the way to campus, I see all these people wearing costumes... halloween? Yes! It seems I flew across the International Date Line yesterday, and thus traveled backward in time a day. Therefore, I left November 1st and arrived October 31st. Halloween x2.

Posted at 08:27 | TrackBacks (0)