Thursday, April 24, 2008

Watakushi no kioku ga tashika naraba

...or, If my memory serves me correctly!

Ryori no Tetsujin, the Japanese version of Iron Chef is coming back to the American airwaves. This is most welcome news.

Check it out on Fine Living TV. Don't have FLTV? Me neither.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
Hey, that's my train! I ride the elevated train above Barack Obama in this picture every day. He wasn't there to greet me today though.

I went out canvassing this afternoon in a last-ditch GOTV (get out the vote) effort. Most people I spoke with said they had already voted. I had a showdown with a lady who was out on behalf of the Clinton campaign. We were actually having a nice conversation when a raucous crowd started to gather, chanting "fight, fight, fight." So we started to fight. She had the weight advantage, but I was more athletic and had a six-inch reach advantage. Things were about to get ugly when a guy walking by and accused the Obama campaign (proxy: me) of unfairly strong-arming women (proxy: Clinton-lady). That knocked some sense into me and I stood down. Then she sucker-punched me and I went down. Typical Clinton tactics.

Ok, I'm kidding. none of that happened (except the part about me running into a Clinton canvasser and our having a nice conversation.)


Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Latest

Sup? Here's what I've been thinking about:

- Got tickets to the Radiohead show in August. yippee!

- While canvassing for Obama today I was surprised to find several pockets of like-mindedness. If I found an Obama supporter, there would be several Obama supporters nearby. Stumble upon an undecided? There was another right next door. And then there was Hillary Avenue. One house at the entrance to an area had a Hillary sign in their front yard. Everyone that I spoke with on that street was either a Hillary supporter or ambivalent about politics. Very strange. Maybe we're not the independent thinkers we all fancy ourselves to be.

- If you're reading this in Pennsylvania, Primary day is Tuesday, April 22nd. Polling places will be open from 7a to 8p. Don't know where your polling place is? Click here. Choose ye this day who ye will vote for, but as for me and in my house, we will vote for Obama. (Of course I'm not coercing Janean to vote like me. Just a micro-pocket of support, I suppose.)

- Got new glasses.

- Went on a great bike ride last night. Schuylkill River Trail from Conshohocken (Translation: with shohocken) to Phoenixville (almost). Great ride. Form is starting to come back. Slowly but surely.

- Don't forget to vote.

(Artwork by Shepard Fairey)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Girls @ the park

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Art of the Title Sequence

I was watching The Incredibles with the kids the other day and was struck by how cool the title sequence at the end of the movie is. "Someone ought to create a website where they collect the coolest title sequences around," I thought. Well, thanks to Jason Kottke, I now know that someone has. The Art of the Title Sequence.

What's your favorite movie title sequence? In addition to The Incredibles, I really like Casino Royale (the 2006 version).


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery...

Good stories take us to another place. They cause us to forget our reality for a time. Great stories transform, forcing us to reconsider the concept of reality and our place in it. Thanks to his well-honed story telling skills and the touching subject matter of an amazing life, Deepak Chopra's Buddha falls squarely in the camp of transformation.

I had a hard time putting this book down. I found myself looking forward to my 40 minute train ride (each way) to and from work for the reading time it would offer. Chopra takes us through the life of the historical buddha, laying out out a set of events that have their climax in Gautama's attaining enlightenment. Because it aims to tell a story rather than to convert the reader, the narrative is inviting and engaging. But more than simply a story, it facilitates introspection into the mind, into one's personal sense of freedom and into one's attitudes on compassion.

I was about to cite my own myriad experiences with Buddhism and state that this book isn't for everyone, but on further thought, that would not be an accurate statement. There is something in this book for everyone. For some, it might shed light on a mysterious school of thought. For others it could represent an opportunity to consider well-worn ideals from a new, refreshing angle. Still others may determine after finishing the book that they want to learn more about Buddhism. And then there are those who are experts in Buddhism, but have likely not heard the story told from such a personal, approachable viewpoint.

Those who would marginalize Buddhism as a strange Eastern religion for a misguided segment of the world's population are making a mistake. Buddha's teachings on the transient nature of the human condition and on alleviating suffering are a source of inspiration for millions. We owe it to ourselves to seek to better understand each other. This book is an ideal first step on that path. In a similar vein, if anyone is aware of an eloquently told story that serves to bridge the chasm of misunderstanding between the West and Islam, I would appreciate the recommendation.

I didn't mean to write a book report when I got started, but the material is that inspiring. If you have the means, I highly recommend you pick this book up.


All I Need

Radiohead's In Rainbows is a fantastic album. Two tracks especially stand out for me. All I Need and Videotape. What's especially great about All I Need is that the guitar tab is nice and playable, critically important for a novice like me.