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June 11, 2008
Winding down: last visit to the gym this morning (so tired of that place, and its irritating, all-too-familiar regulars, but so close, convenient distance and very pleasant walking there); last cooking in the apartment, and the last load of laundry; tonight, my last night, the last bath! Yesterday, my last haul taken to the recycling center, the 16th filling-up of the Tercel with trashbags full of crushed plastic containers. My year-long gathering campaign netted a little over $750, but now I'm retiring from all that... and tomorrow I go.

June 9, 2008
Argh -- my comfortable life is about to be completely, irrevocably disrupted! As I dismantle Rash HQ, the exercise is a kind of inverted Material World. Instead of taking everything out and arranging it in the front yard, I'm then putting everything in. It's a huge puzzle, stowing it all efficiently. And when complete, this Thursday, I'll be homeless -- instead of returning to my dim, wonderful loft-bed, home these past four years, almost every afternoon or evening for the next two months! will involve the search and negotiation for the night's room. However, I know one gets used to the routine of a different bed every night.
  • Concerning the hangover: from A Few Too Many by Joan Acocella, in the New Yorker.
    Prehistorians have speculated that alcohol intoxication may have been one of the baffling phenomena, like storms, dreams, and death, that propelled early societies toward organized religion.

  • David Sedaris was on today's "Fresh Air". You won't read this part at that link, but if you can get the audio to work you'll hear him at one point say
    I first went to Japan just to cross it off my countries list. I didn't know anything about the food... I didn't know anything. I thought it was going to be all fans and kimonos, but it wasn't, not at all. It turned out to be this most ... incredible ... place.
    He went there to quit smoking (I believe trying to break a habit by moving somewhere new's called "doing a geographical" -- and it seldom works. You can't get away from yourself). However, I'm glad David managed to quit. Hmm, it's June, let's see... the 26th will be my twenty-year anniversary! I should take a big long trip, to celebrate.

June 8, 2008

June 4, 2008 (link corrected)
Just one week to go, now transfering everything into the storage unit, a potential catastrophe. As I survey that closet I can't help wondering, what if everything doesn't fit? Some overflow can go into the car, of course -- it'll be living in a little-used driveway in San Jose for the duration, and the futon already has dibs on the back seat.

Other bloggers are doing this, so why not me? Seven Things I've Learned Recently:
  • "Kirkwood" is Costco's house brand name. (Incredulous? Well, I've only been inside a Costco once or twice in my whole life.)

  • The Japanese use kudzu roots as an arrowroot substitute. The Southern scourge of kudzu hasn't reached California, but I've observed its relentless march in North Carolina. Interesting how it has a use (although the only recipe I know which requires arrowroot starch is one for peach pie). Also, the Japanese call gensing 'Korean Carrot'.

  • Many cultures celebrate March 8th as Woman's Day.

  • The Castaways' singer doing Liar, Liar wasn't a woman.

  • The travel advisory doctor said we're eight times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident in the developing world. YouTube reality check, city view from an upper window: India Driving.

  • The copying company was founded in 1970 by Paul Orfalea, but in February 2004 it was bought by Federal Express, and now the latter part of the FedExKinko's name is being dropped from their stores' signs; they're becoming "FedEx Office". Farewell, Kinko's!

  • The British left India in 1947 but the Portuguese got there first, and didn't leave their colony of Goa until 1961! (That party spot is not on my itinerary, too far south; and I first heard of it in the context of trance many gaps in my knowledge of history.)

June 3, 2008
  • I'm a little late with this one, you may have already heard, but a Tokyo customs official planted cannabis in a passenger's bag in order to demonstrate their dogs' keen abilities. However, the airport canines are in disgrace, and several ounces of the deadly contraband were not recovered. Also in the news, elsewhere in Japan, the feline stationmaster of Kinokawa, a very small town. Reminds me of the company mascot when I worked at corporate HQ, an old tomcat who'd hang around the entrance. His friends even got security to issue Officer Katz a badge, but he wasn't universally loved, and was discovered dead one morning -- poisoned, it was said, although I don't believe there was actually an autopsy.

  • Steve Sillet's photos from up in the redwood canopy -- illustrations from Richard Preston's fascinating The Wild Trees which I'm reading, and thoroughly enjoying.

  • Every cyclist-pilot's dream: jet-powered bicycles.

May 31, 2008

May 26, 2008
Super Chief logo
  • Been reading about the Super Chief and what a fine train it was; and just discovered the General Motors Train of Tomorrow -- every car with an Astra-Dome.

  • NPR reported on the Urban Verbs, including news of a reunion concert Saturday night. Their guitar player, now the public radio music librarian? Remarkable. Back in the day I saw this band at least three times, and still have their records.

  • Listen to a lot of public radio, in fact, and the weekend is prime time. A highlight since living in LA's been Harry Shearer's Le Show. Before it on Sundays, what's become my current favorite: Philosophy Talk, ironic because of its hosts' names, Ken and John. The last couple years I lived in LA, on my way home I'd listen to a very different program, John and Ken on an AM talk radio station, KFI.

  • Congratulations to everybody on the international Phoenix team in Arizona and at JPL for their successful polar landing on the red planet.

May 23, 2008
  • Men -- are you masterbating correctly? Do you know how your technique might be injurious? Check with to be sure.

  • Telectroscope
    Hardly anyone knows that a secret tunnel runs deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean. In May 2008, more than a century after it was begun, the tunnel will finally be completed. Immediately afterwards, an extraordinary optical device called a Telectroscope will be installed at both ends which will miraculously allow people to see right through the Earth from London to NY and vice versa.
    More intriguing, were such a tube to exist, would be to slide a small wheeled capsule down the incline. If the tunnel was straight enough, and smooth, the capsule would slip back and forth, a Telectric pendulum.

  • YouTomb -- a store of report on withdrawn YouTube videos.

May 22, 2008
My turn, finally, for the computer catastrophe, but relatively painless as its demise has been expected for a while now. Used essentially for email, and there's the big trouble -- I've suddenly lost the last few years' messages, and of course all y'alls addresses. My laptop now shoulders all computer duties, and the Monorail 7245 (with disc removed) goes to an eFriendly transfer station nearby. Bought this odd machine for $1000 from CompUSA a week after moving to Silicon Valley in 1997, in order to do the Internet at home, and was actually planning to jettison the unit just before Departure (now three weeks away -- yikes!) so it died right on time, just a little ahead of schedule. The cause? CMOS battery: insufficient voltage; vital settings lost, won't boot off 'cause can't find the hard disk.

May 20, 2008
The local Trader Joes is to be commended for its great Muzak, upbeat oldies. I was in there and down the aisle noticed a kid bopping to the Beatles' exhuberant "Tell Me Why" which I know as a running song, and that tune was followed by the Gentrys perennial "Keep On Dancing" from 1965. With a smile, I realized it was the exact same tempo, so would work as well, and now it's on my seventh running tape, played in my Walkman during treadmill time. The usually reliable library failed me as a source to copy, however, so instead I turned to the Internets and found quite a nice video on YouTube, from Shindig. Reading the comments we learn the lead singer became known as the Mouth of the South and after the one-hit-wonder thing petered out, he became a wrestler. As for the running music, I've been cataloging it onto a new page in the Miscellaneous section -- never has there been such a diverse playlist.

May 19, 2008
So, moving yet again, the boxes are out and it's a frenzy of packing, purging and cleaning. Always like how the exercise forces evaluation and ordering of everything I own, but it gets wearying. Tony said "Last big trip, eh?" and after a moment's thought I responded, "Well, certainly the biggest trip" but I couldn't rule out any future journeys to far-away places. And where am I moving to? As yet, unknown - will be in a motel at least for my first few nights upon return, but for now everything but the car is going into a five by ten by ten foot storage unit.

May 14, 2008
Less than a month till departure -- so busy, no time for updates here. I will be exiting the apartment, however; and (unrelated) my new, post-COBRA insurance starts tomorrow.

May 12, 2008
  • Jay McInerney from a year ago, reviewing two new books about Sushi. The only of his books I've read is Ransom, and although my raw fish consumption is way down (due to the expense, and guilt about over-fishing of the oceans) the subject still fascinates.

  • Regarding another author, Tony Horowitz, I've read two: Baghdad Without a Map and Confederates in the Attic, both recommended. A review of his latest, A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World -- Is everything we know about American history wrong?

  • One more video: the Freeway Ride - on Bicycles -- pedaling through slow-and-go LA traffic during rush hour (mostly on the 405, I believe).

May 9, 2008
Say, what's going on here? The ALL VIDEO post I put up a few days ago disappeared -- somehow, a file overwrite wiped out an update. Herewith, a reconstruction.

May 7, 2008
Spring 08 Int High
My afternoon group, taken a few days ago, unfortunately when several of the other women were out. To my right is Ayako, and this was her last day -- she's back in Japan now, and with luck we'll be meeting up in Yokohama this August.

Turns out I won't be teaching my usual afternoon session at Cupertino HS next Fall, as that school's taking back some of the classrooms they've been loaning to my organization. Instead, I'll be at nearby Lynbrook (which they say has better facilties). My time at 'Tino's been enjoyable, but I won't mind moving on.

May 4, 2008
Major decision looming, difficult -- should I stow my gear during, and move out; or deadhead the vacant apartment for over seven weeks!? Since a long-overdue rent increase was just announced (15% - ouch!) been leaning towards the former, even though it'd mean being essentially homeless for awhile. I was contemplating this same thing during my previous jaunt overseas, in 2005, and was then glad I hadn't after returning with my leg in a cast. A week before I must decide... and also where to park, during -- there's another vexing issue.

May 1, 2008
New products:
Bamboo laptops. Absinthe lollipops. The wall cleat outlet keeps electrical cords tidy. (This from the wonderful materialicious, latest addition to my blog-roll.) In Mexico, an all-pink Barbie Edition VW New Beetle. Speaking of cars, the Durango 95 from "A Clockwork Orange". As for the surfaces driven upon, here's an idea: intelligent paint turns roads pink in icy conditions.

April 26, 2008
  • Yes, you know of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake, but what about Michael Heizer's monumental City, still under construction at a classified Nevada location?

  • The April 10th issue of The Economist featured a multi-part report on the new Nomadism enabled by wireless tech, and how it's changing society. Connected presence, mediated vs. co-present interactions, tele-nesting and 'linguistic whateverism' are samples of the jargon contained within.

  • Prices at the Gas Pump around the world.

April 23, 2008
  • Inspecting my pocket change at the end of the day, I found only two quarters, both Rhode Islands. Checking them on a whim, I discovered they were a complete set -- one, the usual West-coast D, the other, a P, from the East. Am I a lucky guy, or what?

  • The upcoming trip's long duration is forcing me to upgrade, automating various routine banking tasks, which will save me time, postage, and the occasional late fee; but it's a little unsettling to this late adapter.

  • Interesting CONUS map distortion showing Where News Breaks.

April 17, 2008
Another trip up to the City yesterday, to the Powell-Market tourist nexus via BART in order to retrieve my passport, with its new Indian visa. I've only had transit visas previously (most memorably, through Yugoslavia in '77). India's requirements are kind of complicated, kinda convenient how San Francisco's one of the few places in the US where they have a consulate or Embassy. But now, they've outsourced the procedure, so it's a little more costly, but less hassle -- at least for me, who allowed plenty of time. Many travelers don't, of course, and they can get quite irate when things go off the rails at the last minute -- see my Indian visa outsourcing nightmare, worthwhile for the comments, which have no sympathy for the haplass American's struggles, like nothing compared to what those coming to the USA endure. Since reading another travel nightmare/story somewhere about how instead of a visa in the passport, just the receipt for the visa had been installed, I'm wondering -- what's this visa thing look like, anyway? Well, it takes up a whole passport page, but unlike the example shown in how to read a Indian Visa, the fields are filled in.

April 15, 2008
  • It's Not You, It's Your Books, by Rachel Donadio -- dealbreakers on or missing from his or her bookshelf -- or even, is there a bookshelf at all?

April 13, 2008

April 9, 2008

April 4, 2008
  • An appreciation of a 70s book called Nomadic Furniture which suggested assembling a whole bunch of styrofoam cups by attaching their edges together to form a sphere, and then maybe placing an electric lamp inside. The text says the result's so common in college dorms it's become a virtual cliché. We read about this when I was in college, when the book was new, and decided to build one, naturally referring to the project as the Virtual Cliché. Took us many days, working in the living room of a group house just off-campus; but after completion, nobody wanted it. This guy does similar work with paper dixie cups which results in smaller, more manageable creations; but we used the standard-sized cups, so ours was huge. Later, the Cliché was discovered languishing in a basement, and it's a shame we've no photo of a formally-attired friend wearing it on his head out in the backyard, en route to a wedding reception. I was reminded of the Cliché by this hula-hoop sphere in the news, shown in that enclosed Galleria in Milan. Is anything calculated, or do the connected hoops just assume that dome-like form during construction?

  • About mis-pronouncing words intentionally -- saying it wrong on purpose. I'm guilty of this, as well; it was an adolescent affectation.

  • Change We Can Believe In -- the new British coins vs. the new $5 bill. More at the Royal Mint about their updated metal currency.

March 31, 2008

March 29, 2008
Northern lights - from space!
origami spacecraft an art installation on the banks of one of Sao Paulo's most polluted rivers
They're thumbnail links, three Photos from Current Events. Above, the Northern lights -- from space! Lower left, about origami re-entry designs; and the lower right, an art installation in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Also in the news,

March 25, 2008

March 23, 2008
morning class winter quarter
Above, my morning class, just ended, a great group. That old Korean guy is a retired preacher. The final session during the traditional pot-luck he was prepared to lead us in "God Bless America" but I nixed that. Below, my afternoon class, kinda low-res 'cause it's a scan of a glossy but it's okay, we'll see a better photo of these people later, we'll be together until the end of May.
Afternoon class, with Sunisa

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