things that have been happening recently, that are reasons why i don’t want to be here any more:

#drumpf has finally got his “muslim travel ban” to stick. apparently, third time’s a charm.

“zero tolerance” and “family separation” for brown people, but, apparently, not for white people who show up at our borders “illegally”, whatever that means. criminal charges for the parents, regardless of why they’re really showing up, and separation from their children, simply because they thought that american’t would be better than wherever they’re from.

rumours of between 2,000 and 3,500 children who have already been separated from their parents, with no obvious way to reunite them with their parents. rumours of toddlers being forced into courtrooms to defend themselves.

and it’s all “the democrats’ fault”, but it would go away immediately if the democrats would agree to taxpayer funding of the wall on the mexican border… which mexico was supposed to pay for, but which mexico has flatly refused to pay for…

drumpf has announced a tariff on imported solar panels, and is encouraging the coal and oil industries, while saying that human-caused climate change is a myth.

they’re in the final process of more than decimating medicare, food stamps and welfare, while giving massive tax-cuts to the one percent, who have been buying up stocks rather than letting the wealth “trickle down”, like it failed to do the last time we tried it.

net neutrality bit the dust last month, and the only reason why things haven’t gotten worse IMMEDIATELY, is because washington, and a couple other states, went against federal mandate and imposed their own net neutrality legislation, which is bound to cause problems (drumpf has specifically said it will) when washington needs help from the federal government at some point in the future.

drumpf has announced the creation of a “space force” to augment an already heavily bloated military, while cutting things we actually need, like health care, education and housing.

anthony kennedy just announced that he will be retiring from the supreme court next month: drumpf is going to get to appoint ANOTHER supreme court justice… which means that we’re going to be battling against his repressive policies (specifically, abortion rights and same-sex marriage) for at least another 20 years beyond whenever we finally get him out of office.

yet another mass shooting by a white, american guy, who was taken alive, unlike what would have happened if he were brown. drumpf offers “thoughts and prayers”, but no actual action to bring these white, american guys into check. meanwhile, another unarmed black guy who was minding his own business, but “matched the profile”, is killed by white cops who won’t face any consequences for their actions, because they were afraid for their lives.

americans, generally, encouraged by SCROTUS drumpf’s very blatant actions since he weasled his way into office, have gotten more blatantly racist than i have seen since i was little. sure, there are more cell phone photos and video recordings of these things for me to see, but i don’t remember seeing blatant racism like this, even during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

seriously, drumpf is systematically destroying everything that made this society even remotely worth living in. this is why i wish i had died when i had the chance.

The Man Who Walked on Water

A conventionally-minded dervish, from an austerely pious school, was walking one day along a river bank. He was absorbed in concentration upon moralistic and scholastic problems, for that was the form which Sufi teaching had taken in the community to which he belonged. He equated emotional religion with the search for ultimate Truth.

Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by a loud shout: someone was repeating the dervish call. ‘There is no point in that,’ he said to himself, ‘because the man is mispronouncing the syllables. Instead of intoning YA HU, he is saying U YA HU.’

Then he realised that he had a duty, as a more careful student, to correct this unfortunate person, who might have had no opportunity of being rightly guided, and was therefore probably only doing his best to attune himself with the idea behind the sounds.

So he hired a boat and made his way to the island in midstream, from which the sound appeared to come.

Sitting in a reed hut, he found a man, dressed in a dervish robe, moving in time to his own repetition of the initiatory phrase. ‘My friend,’ said the first dervish, ‘you are mispronouncing the phrase. It is incumbent upon me to tell you this, because there is merit for him who gives and him who takes advise. This is the way you speak it.’ And he told him.

‘Thank you,’ said the other dervish, humbly.

The first dervish entered his boat again, full of satisfaction at having done a good deed. After all, it was said that a man who could repeat the sacred formula correctly could even walk upon the waves: something he had never seen, but always hoped — for some reason — to be able to achieve.

Now he could hear nothing from the reed hut, but he was sure that his lesson had been well taken.

Then he heard a faltering U YA as the second dervish started to repeat the phrase in his old way…

While the first dervish was thinking about this, reflecting upon the perversity of humanity and its persistence in error, he suddenly saw a strange sight. From the island the other dervish was coming towards him, walking on the surface of the water…

Amazed, he stopped rowing. The second dervish walked up to him and said: ‘Brother, I am sorry to trouble you, but I have to come out to ask you again the standard method of making the repetion you were telling me, because I find it difficult to remember it.’

Continue reading The Man Who Walked on Water

comings and goings

we got back from hawaii on friday, the 22nd. this morning, at 9:00 am, i took moe to the airport so she could fly out to las vegas, where she will be until wednesday. i think the dogs may have an inkling that she will not be returning today, but when they know for sure, they’re going to be PISSED OFF!!

we got to o’ahu on the 13th:

180613 first honolulu sunset
180613 first honolulu sunset

our plane landed, we were met by micah at the airport and whisked away to dinner, which was poke and pork chops. then we proceded to the Diamond Head Beach Hotel & Residences, on Waikiki. the next day we went to the honolulu zoo and were given a private tour of their veterinary facilities, and went to kaimana beach, which was on the same block as the hotel, which is where monique took a picture of me on the beach:

180614 salamandir on kaimana beach
180614 salamandir on kaimana beach

the bright green rash guard would come in handy in the next few days. we went snorkling at kaimana on friday, and i was still getting my feet under me (figuratively speaking), which meant that i was pretty exhausted when we went in, and wasn’t particularly ready to take on an activity that was guaranteed to exhaust me even further. i didn’t do too badly, but i was glad to have a piece of clothing that differentiated me in the water, so that i could be rescued more easily, if necessary.

after we went snorkling, we went on a dolphin swim at dolphin quest, which was exciting, but kind of sad at the same time. i’m sure that if i (and, by that, i mean moe) weren’t so educated about animal behaviour (and dolphin behaviour, specifically), it would have been a lot better, but, as it was, there were a lot of cues that weren’t followed through on, and the dolphins were basically offering behaviours that weren’t getting rewareded enough that they were getting confused. we did get pictures, though, and most of the other people didn’t even notice.

180615 salamandir and dolphin
180615 salamandir and dolphin

also, friday was my friend, and long-time band-mate Howlin’ Hobbit‘s birthday, so i went out and bought a postcard, and sent it to him.

180616 kahalu'u
180616 kahalu’u

180616 waiahole poi factory
180616 waiahole poi factory
on saturday (which, coincidentally, was International Sea Turtle Day) we went to the “north shore” to see “the property”, which, if everything goes the way micah has planned (which is still quite questionable), we may actually be living there one day in a few years. it’s all pretty much a secret, now, though, so i may have to take this photo down. we also visited the waiahole poi factory on king kamehameha highway, just north of “the property”.

we, then, proceded to drive around the north shore, where we saw the coincidental sea turtle. the photo tag says that it was at wahiawa, but i don’t think it was there, and i’m not sure where it was, because i was totally lost at that point.

180616 sea turtle
180616 sea turtle

on sunday, moe and micah took off to do some veterinary-slash-“property”-related stuff and i was left on my own to wander through downtown honolulu, and buy an authentic hawaiian aloha shirt:

180618 salamandir aloha shirt
180618 salamandir aloha shirt

naturally, i bought the most seizure-inducing colour pattern i could find. 😉 so, on tuesday, moe made me go out and buy shirts that weren’t so seizure-inducing. but before then, on monday, while i was wandering around in honolulu, a valet from some fancy hotel, out of the blue, asked me if i knew where he could get dimethyltryptamine, which, he said, was because i looked like a hare krishna devotee…
180619 salamandir waikiki
180619 salamandir waikiki

180618 diamond head hotel from kapiolani park
180618 diamond head hotel from kapiolani park
180618 kapiolani park from diamond head hotel
180618 kapiolani park from diamond head hotel

i wanted to mark up the following pictures with “we stayed here” and “here is where i took the picture from” circles and arrows, but, once i looked at them, it seems pretty obvious. this is the diamond head hotel & residences from kapiolani park, and the park from our hotel room.

figure it out for yourself. 😉

on tuesday, i went out and bought four other aloha shirts that were not so seizure-inducing. i paid $65 for the seizure-inducing shirt, which, apparently, was a pattern that they don’t produce any longer (big surprise), which increased its value. on the other hand, i bought four shirts for $35 from a thrift store (savers, also known as value village), including three “vintage” shirts that were actually made in hawaii (one was an original “Hilo Hattie” shirt with coconut shell buttons), which should have increased their value, and one that was made in korea.

on wednesday, we tried to go snorkeling at hanauma bay, but, even at 9:00 in the morning, it was so crowded with tourists that we were turned away even before we were able to drive into the park, so we went down the road a few miles to waimanalo beach, which was totally deserted…

180620 waimanalo beach
180620 waimanalo beach
because of the stinging jellyfish
180620 waimanalo beach
180620 waimanalo beach
but there were a few kids who had ignored the signs and were going in the water anyway. we were too smart for that kind of jazz, though, so we went back up the road a couple miles, not quite to hanauma bay, to the HURL facility at the Makai Research Pier, where we actually were able to get in the water and snorkle around for a couple of hours. i did a lot better, this time, and didn’t scare moe so much. 😉

although we did have an unfortunate incident at the end, involving a pile of shit that was not-very-deeply buried in the sand in the same vicinity that we left our non-snorkeling clothes which disturbed us a fair amount when we discovered it… 😠

thursday was our 20th wedding anniversary. we checked out of the hotel, and went to micah and shaya’s place, hung around for a while, and then went to the Honolulu Museum of Art, had a beer at the BeerLab on university street, had dinner at the sunrise restaurant, and came home.

i didn’t sleep very well on the red-eye that we took (approximately 5½ hours, with approximately 1 hour of actual sleep). we arrived home on friday, had a “recovery day” on saturday, and then, this morning, i drove moe to the airport so that she can fly out to las vegas.


Why Does Chocolate Make Some People Sneeze?

honestly, i did not know this… but i have sneezed when i eat chocolate pretty much my entire life.

who knew?

i know the photic sneeze reflex (apparently referred to by the medical term ACHOO Syndrome) has a genetic basis, and, according to 23andme, i have the photic sneezing gene… something which i have also been aware of pretty much my entire life. although, my impression is that the chocolate thing may have gotten worse over the years…
Continue reading yup


on wednesday, 180613, one week from today, moe and i are leaving for 10 days in hawai’i, in celebration of 20 years of wedded bliss.

in other words, we have been together twice as long as was predicted by my mother-in-law on our wedding day. we’re now looking for a new place for her to live, since she is in the process of being kicked out of the home that she’s lived in ever since moe was 16. i hope she remembers her prediction, some day. 😕

it will be the first time i have travelled away from the continental united states, my first trip to honolulu, and only the second time moe and i have flown together. fortunately, we’re not going to the same island that is currently spewing vog and laze everywhere, but we are going to visit micah and shaya, whose wedding was the first time moe and i had ever flown together.

i contributed to the building of the kadavul temple on kauai, but the first public tour of the temple is the day we return, 22 june, so i won’t get a chance to see it, which is sort of a disappointment.

on the other hand, micah has connections in the marine mammal world, and has arranged for us to swim with dolphins, and get a private tour of the honolulu zoo, while we’re there… and, rumour has it that he’s tracking down a half ounce of hawaii’s finest for me, because of the fact that, despite the fact that both washington and hawaii are medicinal cannabis states, for some reason they don’t have a permit-sharing plan that would allow me to bring my own cannabis with me.

i guess i’m supposed to be excited about this… maybe i am. who knows.