Archive for 2006-09

Saturday – almost gone

02006-09-24 @ 06:09

Autumn came with a vengeance last night. It rained most of the evening and when I got up this morning temperatures were hovering around 30F.

Started reading The Desert Smells like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan, one of the books Jack Loeffler recommended to me regarding the Southwest. The subject are the Papagos and the Sonoran desert. Excellent book. Highly recommended.

I have no illusion about how much help we will be able to offer to Nomads in Kham during the next month. It seems to me that if we had pooled the money that is going into this trip and donated it to a local Tibetan organization it might have done more good. But, this is a really a pilgrimage, and it is us, the participants, who will be changed by this experience – more so than the people we are going to help. We will transform ourselves and return somehow different.

To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others.
Dogen (1200-1253 CE)

Transforming ourselves and helping others are not separate events.

Tomorrow morning I will turn off commenting on this Diary in order to prevent massive spamming from accumulating – in the past couple of months more than 2,000 spam comments were dropped on this diary. When I return at the end of October I hope to have lots and lots of photos and quite a few stories for you.

Be well.
With a gentle bow
– ottmar

PS: Many thanks for this and this and this and this and this.

PPS: one more link.

Friday: Pavement

02006-09-22 @ 15:09

I received two requests for photos this week. The first was from an independent Australian record label that wants to use one of my photos of the Newcastle Theater from this Summer for their 50th release, which will be a 2-CD commemorative set. Yes, of course.

The other one came from a gentleman at the University of Arkansas who is writing a book on the mathematics of symmetry and came across one of my photos on Wikimedia: Siena Pavement
Yes, of course.

Turns out some of my photos have appeared on wikimedia because of the Creative Commons license I am using. I searched for my Flickr handle o2ma on wikimedia and the result was 3 pages of photos. This is wonderful! Thanks to whoever took the time to look through my photos and upload them to Wikimedia!

This morning I read a provocative post by Momus on beauty, called Queen Midas. I think most musician are loners or at least start out as loners. If you are popular in junior high and high school you don’t have time to practice a musical instrument for hours every day. I certainly was a loner and spent a lot of time playing guitar and reading.

Had an important insight this morning: I was going to bring a couple of metal water bottles to Tibet, because I prefer them over the popular Nalgene bottles. Well, I realized that if it is freezing, my lips might get stuck to the cold metal – just ask any trumpet player, who has performed outside on the East Coast in Winter, what that feels like… duh!

Thursday: the leaves let go of the tree

02006-09-21 @ 14:09

Wonderful storm last night. The thunder was deep and the low end vibrated through the house. Sheet-lightning illuminated whole areas of town.

Tuesday morning I spoke to a local company that designs and installs grid-connected solar power systems. The system produces energy for the house and if it produces more than I need at the time, the electric utility meter runs backwards as the energy is put back into the utility grid. When I need more energy than the PV system produces, when it is overcast, or at night, the house draws regular energy from the Utility company. I hope to get such a system installed in Q1 of 2007.

Rahim called and we decided to do a couple of shows together in Albuquerque and Santa Fe in the Spring of 2007. Each of us would play solo and at the end we would perform some duets.

Skype-called my dad in Austria this morning. I mentioned before that I got rid of AT+T and make my long distance calls via Skype now. Works great.

The leaves,
in an act of faith,
Let go of the trees
And fall majestically.
If only we could let go
Of this world
So gracefully.

A poem by Rengetsu.
I found it here via Google, but first read Roshi’s version here.
I think the poem could be condensed to this without losing anything:

The leaves,
in an act of faith,
Let go of the trees.

There is that F-word again. :)

The trees don’t drop the leaves.
Leaves let go of the tree.

CA files global warming suit

02006-09-21 @ 10:09

Calif. sues 6 carmakers in global warming suit | Business News |

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California filed a global warming lawsuit on Wednesday against Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and three other automakers, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars.

We will see a lot more of this – as I suggested a while ago. Should the State and Federal governments have enacted stricter rules for car manufacturers many years ago? Absolutely. Am I glad that California is suing the car manufacturers? Absolutely. It will bring a lot to light. Hm, with their backs against the wall we might hear about some interesting connections between large car manufacturers, oil producing countries (it is no secret that oil producing countries own lots of shares in large car companies) and U.S. government officials! It promises to become enlightening as well as entertaining!

Compare and contrast. Read Bush’s plan. Then read this.
Which do you think will be more effective?

Death and taxes 2007

02006-09-20 @ 08:09

Death and taxes 2007 | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Want a truly horrifying look at where your tax money goes? Visit Death and Taxes 2007, where they have a big graph that can (fair warning) suck up an hour of your time. It breaks down federal discretionary spending visually, which gives a real, immediate sense of our priorities.

Well, it’s really not rocket science, is it. I remember having this discussion with my dad over thirty years ago… I was 15 or 16 and said something like this: If a nation prioritizes the military at the expense of education we eventually have idiots with a huge arsenal of weapons. If on the other hand we prioritize education over military we have a very intelligent community that can deal with whatever problems might arise.

Certainly, a healthy balance has to be found, but it seems to me that education is underfunded.

Some Women See in More Colors

02006-09-20 @ 08:09

Minding the Planet: Some Women See in More Colors Than the Rest of Us
This article discusses an interesting fact — some women have extra color receptors enabling them to distinguish a vastly larger range of colors than everyone else. Instead of seeing in 3 colors, they see in 4 – enabling them to tell the difference between 100 million different colors.

Tax pollution, not payrolls

02006-09-20 @ 08:09

Gore says tax pollution, not payrolls | Politics News |
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Monday suggested taxing carbon dioxide emissions instead of employees’ pay in a bid to stem global warming. “Penalizing pollution instead of penalizing employment will work to reduce that pollution,” Gore said in a speech at New York University School of Law. The pollution tax would replace all payroll taxes, including those for Social Security and unemployment compensation, Gore said. He said the overall level of taxation, would remain the same. “Instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees it would discourage business from producing more pollution,” Gore said.

I think it is a brilliant idea. Read the speech in its entirety here.


02006-09-19 @ 23:09

Minding the Planet: Dolphins are Smarter Than We Think
Her cunning has not stopped there. One day, when a gull flew into her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish. This seemed to give Kelly a new idea. The next time she was fed, instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish. After mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the dolphins.

Open your Diebold AccuVote-TS with a minibar key

02006-09-19 @ 10:09

Open your Diebold AccuVote-TS with a minibar key
Remember those guys from Princeton who recently dissected a Diebold voting machine and wrote a serious academic paper laying the smack downon our favorite shady e-voting company? The plot thickens with those Jersey brainiacs: after giving a presentation to some computer science colleagues last week, Prof. Ed Felten was approached by Chris Tengi, a member of the department’s technical staff, who pointed out that the key that opens the AccuVote-TS voting machine is very similar to a key that he has at home. Tengi’s key opened the voting machine, and upon further investigation, the Princeton posse discovered that both keys are actually a common office furniture type used for hotel minibars, electronic equipment and jukeboxes. Furthermore, said keys can easily be bought on eBay or from various online retailers.
(Via Engadget)

The safest way to vote might be by absentee ballot.

Laptop Batteries

02006-09-18 @ 15:09

For Apple laptop owners:
Coconut Battery
Scroll down the above web page and ownload the Beta widget if you are running Tiger – if you don’t you can get the regular version. Both are free.

My laptop battery is sucking and I just ordered a new one. According to the Coconut Battery Widget my old battery is on Load Cycle 652 and batteries have a lifetime of 300-500 loadcycles. In other words: no wonder!!

You can order a replacement battery by Newer Tech at OWC. Each new battery includes a label to return your old battery for proper recycling or disposal. They are also Mercury-free.


02006-09-18 @ 10:09

Autumn is here. The mornings a brisk and clear. It is apple season and at the Farmers Market one can find delicious varieties from Northern New Mexico. I have been going to the market every week as the produce is superior and it is a nice community event.

SSRI News: We added Barrett Martin’s album Painted Desert to the ListeningLounge. Tentative arrival of Stephen Duros’ Thira CD is mid-october.

I will perform by myself at GIG in Santa Fe on Saturday, November 18th.

Lunch with Canton at Annapurna resulted in the new bar below each Diary entry that allows you to add the entry to a variety of different networking sites.

Two bumperstickers seen in the Casa Solana parking lot:
My other car is a bicycle
My Hybrid beats up your Hummer


02006-09-17 @ 17:09

Why is it so impossible for Americans to bring a cloth shopping bag to the grocery store?

Layers and Meaning

02006-09-17 @ 09:09

I saw this piece at the James Kelly gallery on Wednesday. What you can’t see because of the small size of the above image, is that there is a lot of text below the photograph of the river Thames in England. The text contains numbered statements that relate to points on the photograph itself that are also numbered. The day before I had written:

I like the idea of writing kanji characters on photographs, exposing a hidden meaning. For example: describing an emotion that is not at all obvious from the picture, maybe even contrary to the image. A serene landscape with kanji of violent emotion. Or, busy street or photo of butcher with kanji of peace…

Friday: Adventures with Ed

02006-09-17 @ 07:09

On friday afternoon Jack Loeffler dropped by and we had a very nice 2 hour visit. He brought me a copy of Adventures with Ed, his book-portrait of the famous Southwest author Edward Abbey, who was Jack’s best friend. Time flew as we caught up after not seeing each other for about a decade. Jack told me that he is teaching native americans from several different tribes to record and archive their language, history and stories. I turned him on to the Long Now Foundation and their Rosetta Project (The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers building a publicly accessible online archive of ALL documented human languages). Turns out Jack knows one of the founders of the Long Now, Stuart Brand… and so the two hours flew by.

I lent Jack my 722 recorder, because I won’t need it next month and he is looking to replace his Nagra.

Started reading Adventures with Ed in the evening and love the book!

Microsoft Zune will violate Creative Commons licenses

02006-09-17 @ 06:09

Microsoft Zune will violate Creative Commons licenses
The new Microsoft Zune player applies DRM to all the files you move onto it, even the Creative Commons-licened music. The problem is that CC licenses prohibit this. What’s more, CC licenses are machine-readable and could, theoretically, be detected by Microsoft, if they cared enough about copyright to ensure that they were adhering to the license policies set out by creators.

There currently isn’t a way to sniff out what you are sending, so we wrap it all up in DRM. We can’t tell if you are sending a song from a known band or your own home recording so we default to the safety of encoding.

(Via BoingBoing)


02006-09-16 @ 10:09

How to finance your monthly coffee or yearly TerraPass: Tip #10 | Home energy use, Chargers, Appliances, Energy conservation & technologies
Are you plugged in? If you have ever left rechargers or unused appliances plugged into the electrical outlet, you may be in for a bit of a shock. The U.S. Department of Energy tells us that not only do appliances continue to draw electricity while the products are turned off, but in the average home nearly 75% of all electricty used to power electronics is consumed by products that are switched off.

A tip from Ideal Bite
Use power strips to turn off TVs and stereos. You’ll save the energy equivalent of a 100-watt light bulb that is always on.

With stereo or TV or computers one should use a power strip with surge suppressor anyway – I use this brand. In my studio I also use their UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies).


02006-09-15 @ 21:09

GM ready to push into fuel-cell car market |
China is far more committed to replacing imported petroleum than the United States is, and we’re just a little bit disappointed at the lack of will in the current administration,” Lutz said.

Interesting quote by the vice-chairman of General Motors. A bit of the pot calling the kettle black.


02006-09-15 @ 11:09

Mushroom Visitors - 2
I will leave in a week and will return at the end of October. Before I leave I will turn off the commenting option for this Diary, because I have removed more than 1,300 spam items in a little over a month! Commenting will be turned back on once I am back.

Boris commented on September 14th, 2006:
Will you have to be w/o guitar when travelling Tibet like last year in Italy? I could imagine that the altitude wouldn’t do fine with the guitar, no?

I would not dare take one of my guitars on this trip. I expect to buy a guitar in China and hope to find something for a hundred bucks or so. The guitar will be carried by a yak and will have to endure quite a bit in terms of temperatures and handling. If it survives I will gift it to a local person at the end of our journey.

Place and Name

02006-09-15 @ 10:09

On 8/22/06, DK wrote:
On your recommendation I bought The Practice of the Wild. I am taking my time reading it; reading each section of a chapter 3 times & then rereading the whole chapter because there is so much there to absorb. You had an entry in your diary in which you mentioned learning more about the place where you live & I didn’t think a lot of it until I started reading the book. I have lived in southeastern Massachusetts for 41 of my 44 years but now I want to know more about my place: what’s the difference between the oak with pointy leaves & the oak with rounded leaves, the white pine vs the “scrub” pine, etc. The list goes on. I’ll be buying a copy of the National Audubon Society’s guide to New England. I really do believe it will help make me more complete.

Thank you very much for your note. It is time I learn the names of all the rivers and mountains, of the plants and animals in the biosphere around me, and that I become intimate with the landscape by walking in it… and then we can teach our children.

I have been thinking a lot about this earlier post of mine, specifically the line It is obvious: the subjects we talk the most about must be the most important! That also goes for naming, that is, those items we can name must be more important. Well, when asked by a child to name things, I don’t do so well with nature – hence that is an area I must improve. I grew up in a city, and remember taking walks on Sunday mornings with my dad when I was a toddler. By the time I was four I new all of the car brands and could tell you whether they had a boxer engine or a wankel engine or an inline four etc.

I was reading Robert Fripp’s diary yesterday and at the bottom of that page a random aphorism appears – see link on my sidebar to the right. The aphorism that came up was: In naming myself, I recognize who I am. Very true. I will add to that: In naming my world, I define myself. You can never name everything, and the selection you make and maybe even more importantly the items you exclude, define who you are. And, that will certainly shape our children’s lives.

Neon Rice

02006-09-15 @ 07:09


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