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beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Archive for February, 2009


Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I’m headed East today; getting into DC at about midnight, then down into the Shenandoah valley.  Then, on Friday, up to Philly/Swat via DC.  Just so y’all know.

Also, my arm is full of shots.  Well, just Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever.  Then there are Typhoid oral vaccines and antimalarials to take.  That’ll be fun…

Become a fish

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Scuba is totally awesome.  So, a day half spent underwater is a good day.  But there’s not much to say about a pool dive.  However, the swim test at the start caused an interesting realization.

The first thing we did in the pool was the swimming test: 6 laps of the pool, constant swimming, and then 10 minutes of treading.  The last time I did anything like this was about 4 years ago, during orientation at Swat, and it was a pain, but not too bad.  Now, doing it again at higher altitude, I found it… not hard.  But when I first came here and was swimming laps, I only made it up to “a whole six” after almost a month.  Here’s the realization: I could have easily done six laps then, too.  It’s not that I lack physical endurance, as I often claim I do.  It’s only that I lack mental endurance.  And when I have an external motivator, I will rise to that.

This makes me want to achieve similar results from internal motivation.  That’d be good.

Bread and Water

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Not nearly so bare-bones as it sounds.  The bread is here, and the water will be here and here and here.

Further thoughts

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Two things:

First, an addendum regarding Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet.  If there were an extended musical scene at Jabba’s palace in Firefly, they would be the band: the mix of Chinese and Appalachian influences makes that clear.  But also the moment of musical apotheosis when two banjos, a cello and a fiddle play Eleanor Rigby, really, was just amazing.

Second, I watched a wonderful movie last night, War, Inc. John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Ben Kingsley, Dan Akroyd.  Sort of a spiritual successor to Grosse Pointe Blank, a favorite movie of mine.  It is a sort of near-future corporate dystopian view of war, and a satire of US foreign policy and corporate greed.  Blatantly but excellently done.

Under the moonlight, something happens… and the race goes on

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

That line is a translation provided in the show I went to tonight of a song they did, in Mandarin.  This show was amazing.  The Sparrow Quartet, consisting of Casey Driessen, Ben Solee, Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck.  Four amazing musicians on their own terms, and so tight together.

The Sparrow Quartet in action

Their music has all something needs and more: it has the old, the ancient, the modern, and the future.  A song inspired by making a mashup of Turandot and Woody Guthrie songs, bluegrassy Chinese and, in one case, Kazakh songs.  It would be inspiring if it were just done alright, but it is done so well.

There was one thing before the show that was a bit distressing, though: three police officers subduing a woman, and really hog-tying her, then putting a bag on her head before taking her off.  We didn’t see the cause, but those ahead of us in line told us that she had apparently been in a bit of a brawl with some young guys who were also at the scene; it had stopped, and then, apparently unprovoked, she had rushed one of them and knocked him over.  I am unsure that the police response was quite commensurate, though…

Sushi Tora

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Short version: the best sushi in Boulder, and some of the best I’ve had outside of Japan.  Of course, I’ve never been to San Francisco.


West End Tavern

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

This place is great.  Totally great.  I want to write about it while it’s still in my head, but this is from a few days ago, and so may be sketchy in details.


Pasta Jay’s

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

(I’ve decided that I am going to try posting restaurant reviews here, in their own category.  They’ll mostly be around Boulder, of course, but when I travel, I will try to get in reviews, too.  Here’s the first.)