Sunday, April 29, 2007

Boeing 747 Cockpit View - Hong Kong IGS13

Great video taken from a 747 cockpit, of the famous approach to Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport runway 13.

Probably for the best - this approach is now history.

Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong until July 6, 1998, when it was replaced by the Chek Lap Kok Airport.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Ecology of Work

This article by Curtis White in Orion Magazine has some radical, but fair, ideas about the inherent conflict between capitalism and protecting our environment and our humanity.

He doesn't simply beat up on corporations, but takes an even-handed approach and includes affluent card carrying Sierra Club members, like me - who talk the talk, but don't really walk the walk - as part of the problem. We do what we can...and hope that there is some magic bullet that will allow us to continue on the path that got us here.

Basically he's saying there is no way to reconcile - a capitalistic society's dictate that we work to earn, spend and consume, with the planet's need to conserve and our human need to be in touch with the natural world.

He also has some things to say about how helpless we are when it comes to being able to do practical things for ourselves (frame a house, grow and preserve our own food), in our specialized "knowledge worker" type of economy.

It's very interesting - I recommend taking the time to read it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

525,600 Minutes

(365 days)*(24 hrs/day)*(60 minutes/hr) = 525,600 minutes in a year.

That's a lot of moments when you think about it.

Seasons of Love - Rent (Music Video)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

austin 07

austin 092
Originally uploaded by yustyack.
Things I learned about the state of Texas...

Motto - "Friendship"

Tree - "Pecan"

Flower - "Bluebonnet"

Bird - "Mockingbird"

Dish - "Chili"

Snack - "Chips and Salsa"

Fruit - "Texas Red Grapefruit"


They have some cool old and new buildings, lots of coffee shops, lots of music, flowers and trees... there's a couple of big snapping turtles and some fish in the stream beside the stadium at the U of Texas, and lots of pretty Gibson guitar statues placed around town.

America Starts Here

I was fortunate to be able to see an exhibition of works by Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler called America Starts Here at the Austin Museum of Art this week. After Austin the show travels to Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute; and the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati.

On rare occasions I have found myself moved to tears by a work of art - the piece called, "The Smell and Taste Remains", was one of those times. It's a 19th century pie cupboard lined with etched glass bottles, filled with a particular scent - with the names and recipes from people who have died, etched on each bottle. It was very moving to think about that in context of people we have known and how we remember them.

If I could sum it up in a few words, it's all about connections.

If you can't make it to Austin, Kansas City or Cincinati - MIT Press has published a comprehensive 216-page catalog of Ericson and Ziegler's work, filled with images of the products and installations from their collaboration, as well as writings from many of the original curators of their shows.

The book America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler is available from Amazon. The picture below is a house in Charleston that they painted using colors imposed by the local architectural review board to preserve the historic look of the area. Combining these approved colors and the Charleston's strong military history, the artists came up with this piece called Camouflaged History. It was a real house - there's a model in the traveling exhibit.

1991, Spoleto Festival U.S.A., Charleston, South Carolina, From the exhibition: America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, Tang Museum, October 1 – December 30, 2005


decor8 has a bazillion pretty pictures of design things for you, your home or garden. It would be a good resource for ideas for creating your own spaces/objects, shopping or just browsing and daydreaming.

It's one of those blogs that I would like to see as a coffee table book...but then it wouldn't be so up to date I suppose - and certainly less accessible price-wise.

From the about decor8 section -

"decor8 is a quick fix for design addicts that love decorating their homes but find it challenging to shop online. Your time is important, so we search the internet, attend shows, read books, magazines, etc. for the latest tips and trends so you don't have to. We sift through it all extracting only what we strongly favor, posting it right here on decor8. We lean towards modern, fresh, clean design, but also enjoy vintage modern style, flea market finds, and eco-friendly design when possible.

In addition to product and store reviews, we feature a steady dose of designer interviews, indie goodies, budget finds, event news for Boston and New England, beautiful art, and design tips."

Their are links, on the right column, to all sorts of interesting design-related places to check out, organized by city. I randomly picked Big Red Sun and was pleasantly surprised by the photos from this eco-friendly landscape design company...very nice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Jos Coffee Blog

I'm blogging from Jos Coffee in Austin Texas this fine morning.

It's a great location - right across the street from the Austin Motel, Amy's Ice Cream and the Zen Cafe.

Lots of birds chirping, people with - kids, pets; people on their way to work (yipee! I'm off today). I have the whole day to explore and hang out.

Interlude: Meditation

If you've never checked out Interlude: Meditation of the Week, I highly recommend it as a source for good useful ideas about....for lack of a cleared term - "how to live a good life."

For example, the meditation for April 16th is titled, "What is the Self?"

In it, Tom Barret writes -

"We might think of this model of self as made up of an accumulation of roles that you play quite effectively and those that are less well developed. For one person, the role of musician may be well developed. The person has studied music, practiced, performed and received applause. That part of self is well established. Another person, perhaps with the same latent talent never studied, practiced or performed, so has an undeveloped musician role. In this type of model, there is no point in calling oneself names. It would not make sense to think of oneself as being unworthy or being a loser. Instead one would be able to assume that problems are the result of having less developed skills in a particular role or set of roles."

That sounds like really good advice to me.


The Interlude: Meditation of the Week, for April 9th, from Tom Barret is called "Let The Universe Breathe You."

It's got some great advice on becoming aware of our breath to relax, become more open to the moment and clear our thoughts.

Some of the information is from Dr. Andrew Weil who I've thought has some good advice about slowing down, eating right and basically ways to be happy.

I thought his idea of a "news fast" where we disconnect ourselves from the everyday, generally bad news, on the radio, TV and in newspapers - was a particularly good idea...

Coming to Terms With Life

Psalm 90 has one of what I think is the wisest bit of information in the Bible (not that I'm an expert by any means) .

Psalm 90 asks the Lord to, "teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart."

Todays thought of the day at inward/outward is on that theme. It's called "Coming to Terms With Life"

By Etty Hillesum

"I have come to terms with life - nothing can happen to me, and my personal fate is not the issue…. By ‘coming to terms with life’ I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it."

Source: An Interrupted Life: the Journal of a Young Jewish Woman, 1941-1943


Here's the whole text of Psalm 90 from Oremus Bible Browser, in case your are interested.

Psalm 90 - A Prayer of Moses, the man of God

Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust,
and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are consumed by your anger;
by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years,
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you.
So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!



Postscript - June 12, 2007

The Virginia Tech tragedy occurred the day I posted this, and I've considered taking it down for fear that someone might think I was trying to make a comment related to that terribly sad event. That is not the case. I wrote this post early in the morning before I heard any news about the people who were killed that day.

All I can say is that I am very sorry for anyone who lost a loved one, friend, teacher, family member, fellow student or aquaintance on that day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday In Austin

It was beautiful today in Austin. Perfect weather and very uncrowded downtown on this Sunday. I got to see the Austin Art Museum, the state capital and learn some things about Texas - and Texas history.

I'm really lucky the weather is no nice. It's mid 70's and nice and sunny - the pool at the Austin Motel felt great (it was cold at first).

I have to say this is one of the nicest cities I've ever visited.

I've taken lots of pictures and notes and will write something later.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hanging Around The Denver Airport

I'm taking the long way to Austin.

My original flight was Seattle to San Francisco to Austin. There were weather delays at San Francisco and I got to my gate about 7 minutes after my flight to Austin departed.

The United customer service people were very helpful and got me a flight to Denver and then on to Austin.

I got to fly on a 757 (nice), and then a 777 (very nice), so that's fine with me...I'm not in any big hurry. I actually slept a little on the 777 - it's a smooth, spacious and quiet airplane.

I thought maybe San Francisco had free Wifi at the airport -but no luck. Wifi at the Denver airport is $7.99 for 24 hours, and since I'm here for a few hours I sprang for it. I packed a lunch and brought some snacks, so I figure what I'm saving by not buying airport food I can use for wireless access.

It's amazingly bright and sunny outside in Denver today (I think I'm used to the filtered sunshine we get in the Puget Sound), so this high mountain air and sun feels really good.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Welcome to the Austin Motel

I've been to Texas a few times, but never to Austin, and have been curious to know what that city is like. I found a great fare on United this weekend so I'm going to check it out.

I wasn't really too excited when I saw the bland hotel/motel options on Expedia or Travelocity, but I found the Austin Motel on one of the Austin city pages and it looked like something more my style - fun and funky.

I'm really looking forward to walking around Austin, riding the buses, listening to the music, eating some new food, taking some pictures...I don't know about that bat bridge though - sounds scary.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

5 Cents a Dance

bellingham 023
Originally uploaded by yustyack.
This is a cool looking neon sign in the Lucky Monkey in Bellingham.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Family

We took this picture on Easter Sunday while the girls were home for their break.

The little dog is Bill. He's a Jack Russell Chihuahua mix - very smart, and fast. He likes to play, dig, fetch things, run around in circles and jump...or just lay on your lap and sleep.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Little Peace

bellingham 026
Originally uploaded by yustyack.
I'm spending Easter morning in a hotel lobby in Bellingham, Washington - at least this early early part of the morning.

It's 4 a.m. and I couldn't sleep.

We really enjoyed Arlo Guthrie's concert last night in the beautiful Mount Baker Theatre. It was Arlo, his daughter and her four year old grandaughter, his son and a friend. Arlo is a great entertainer and the show flew by in 3 hours.

Near the end of the show he talked about "little peace" being the road to "big peace". The idea being that if we all can find some inner peace, and share that peace - then world peace will eventually follow.

Wishing you a little peace this Easter morning.


Here's a couple of other snapshots I took of the Mount Baker Theater, the first one is of the ceiling (doesn't really do it justice) -

bellingham 027
Originally uploaded by yustyack.

bellingham 014
Originally uploaded by yustyack.


Postscript - I was lounging around in my pj's Sunday morning in the hotel room, when B left to go to the lobby to get coffee. A little while later she came back to the room and said she had to hurry back because Arlo was outside.

As coincidences so often happen it turned out that Arlo and his family were staying at the hotel we were in. B had a nice visit with him and his daughter, and got his autograph on the CD she had bought at the concert the night before.

It's a small world sometimes.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tulips Are In Bloom

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1st to April 30th and the tulips are currently in bloom.

This is a link to some pictures I took a couple of years ago.

Head to Mt. Vernon, Conway, La Conner in Western Washington for some of the most vibrant and spectacular colored fields of tulips you can imagine.

I was amazed the first time I saw them. The tulip festival is a great place to take pictures of the kids, or paint, have lunch or just take a nice slow drive.

Here's a picture I took years ago of a couple of cuties in the tulip fields -

Wishing you a restful and refreshing weekend.

As always


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Reasons to Play

According to an AP article in Technology Review Sony has cut the price of the PSP from $200 to $170 to compete with Nintendo's DS which sells for $130.

The Nintendo DS outsold every other console in the U.S. in February with 485,000 units sold. The Nintendo Wii, sold 335,000 units during the month, followed by Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 with 228,000 units and Sony's PlayStation 3 with 127,000 units.

The Wii has been a hit with kids, women and older players - customers beyond the typical "hardcore" gamer niche of young men.

The Wii sells for $250 vs. the PS3 which starts at $500.


If you think video games are a waste of time it might be worth your while to check out Steven Johnson's book Everything Bad is Good for You.

I wrote a bit about the ideas in that book in We're All Getting Smarter and Kids - Too Wired Today?

Activities that challenge and exercise our mind, body or spirit are valuable in maintaining and enhancing our abilities. We are naturally drawn to solving complex problems, pattern recognition, and systems thinking (understanding how things fit together and interact). Some video games fit into this category. There are lots of options.

You could learn to knit, climb a rock wall, play a challenging video game, learn to ride a unicycle, volunteer, do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, blog, read, plant a garden, study the Bible, take Yoga, cook or eat a new food, learn about meditation, paint, write a Haiku or a name it.

It has to be something outside your normal comfort zone if you want to Think Like Leonardo (the painter/architect/scientist/inventor....not the Ninja Turtle).

Anything that requires "you" do something is goodness, which rules out a lot of TV watching, web surfing, newspaper/news reading, or video games that primarily require "thumb" skills.

Mindless activity in a Zen sense would be good - doing and thinking nothing, or as little as possible, is truly relaxing - and clears out your mind so you can think clearly about what it is that gives your life meaning. Try doing nothing sometime - it's a heck of a lot harder than you might think.

To paraphrase John Prine...

Turn off the TV, throw away the paper, take a trip to the country, eat a lot of peaches, try to find Jesus (enlightenment) on your own.

Oddly enough that enlightenment, or finding meaning in your life, may not come from sitting on a mountaintop, gazing at your navel or living in a convent but rather by becoming as fully engaged as possible with people, places, creatures and things where you are right now. The more open you are to new experiences (of course with a good anchor and a compass to keep you from getting swept away into some kind of weirdness) the better - you'll be more interesting and find others to be as well.

At least that's my story for today.

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Inviting The Spirit

From Sacred Space, the prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits -

"Some people find help in the centered prayer as John Main describes it: Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly begin to hear a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase Maranatha. Recite it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything -- spiritual or otherwise. If thoughts or images come, these are distractions at the time of meditation, so keep returning to simply saying the word. Meditate each morning and evening for between twenty and thirty minutes.

Christian meditation calls the person to enter within, to move to the realm of silence and solitude, the level of the heart, to let go of thinking and imagining or controlling and to cultivate simple presence to the Divine Presence. One is lovingly attentive to the Divine Indwelling.

In Christian meditation, the mantra -- which is usually the Ma-ra-na-tha (Come, Lord Jesus) -- is spoken throughout the prayer as an effort, not only to be totally attentive, but to be empty and silent and alone before God. The mantra is the instrument that creates the emptiness; it hollows out the soul. Meditation takes seriously the teaching of the masters that creating silence and emptiness is the best invitation to the spirit."

A similar theme from inward/outward -

"The one journey that ultimately matters is the journey into the place of stillness deep within one’s self. To reach that place is to be at home; to fail to reach it is to be forever restless. At the place of ‘central silence,’ one’s own life and spirit are united with the life and Spirit of God. There the fire of God’s presence is experienced. The soul is immersed in love. The divine birth happens. We hear at last the living Word."

Source: Foreword to Search for Silence by Elizabeth O’Connor

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The New Yorker Conference

The New Yorker Conference is May 6th and 7th in New York City.

The copy for the event says, "See what happens when the right brain meets the left brain at the first New Yorker Conference, a dynamic day and two nights of new ideas and eye-opening innovation."

Tickets are $1200 and include all programs, meals, receptions, and entertainment.

The event is presented by Microsoft.

This is a Feb 23, 2007 press release from Business Wire on MarketWatch -

"For the first time, the creative minds at The New Yorker will come together for "The New Yorker Conference: 2012: Stories From The Near Future."

The one-day, two-night conference will be held at the new, Frank Ghery designed IAC building in Manhattan over May 6th & 7th and will host over 25 speakers, including leaders in the fields of ethics, culture, science, technology, health, medicine, politics and entertainment to discuss the future of their current work and how it will impact our lives in the next five years.

The Conference will reflect the character that has come to define the magazine - a dynamic and informed collection of eclectic voices speaking to the issues most relevant to us today. According to New Yorker editor David Remnick, "The Conference is about breaking the mold, about confronting a world in the midst of incredibly rapid change. We hope that our writers, in conversation with innovators in various realms of endeavor, will generate ideas that can be shared and even used by everyone in the room."

New Yorker editors and writers, David Remnick, Ken Auletta, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Specter, James Surowiecki, Jeffrey Toobin and Judith Thurman among them, will lead in-depth discussions with such leaders as: Craig Newmark, of Craigslist, who will discuss the internet; Mike McCready, entrepreneur and music executive who will talk about what makes a hit song; Dr. Anthony Atala, who has grown human organs in the lab, will discuss regenerative medicine; Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker prize winning architect, will discuss the future of architecture; Yves Behar, designer of the $100 laptop, will discuss emerging trends in design; Kari Stefansson, a leading Icelandic geneticist who has identified 15 genes associated with diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and osteoarthritis will explore what cures may exist in the recent future; Will Wright, designer of the video games Sims and Spore, will discuss gaming; as well as many other world leaders from art to industry.

The Conference will begin in the evening of Sunday, May 6th, with a cocktail reception and program, and continue through Monday evening with a full day of one-on-one interviews, Q&As and vivid presentations. A concluding program will be held at MILK studios."

Not surprisingly the tickets are sold out, but you can be put on a waiting list - or I imagine, watch videos of the discussions after the event.