omar's thoughts

Thursday, March 19, 2009

what joy

to gallivant around the house with my nephew jasper. to smell the back of his head and smell absolutely nothing -- pure clean. to do the same for his butt and recoil in horror. to hold him in a superman position and fly him around the house, here to save the day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


while flying to canada, i spent an hour or so listening to maps by the yeah yeah yeahs (thanks L). great song. really awesome video. but when you hear a song that much, you start to notice everything. and there is a very strange cymbal beeping sound at time 3:04 that is driving me bonkers. it kind of ruins the song for me.. just a little. i need to figure out why they put it in! here's the song:

Thursday, February 12, 2009


i love the sprint ad with the brooding, suave looking guy who, at the very end, gets a closeup and holds up the samsung phone and says "instinct" with much facial bravado. love it. and here i've captured a shot:

speaking of instincts, last night i debated at the exploratorium on the resolution: "whole genome scanning should be done through doctors" (or something along those lines). i don't have time to delve deep right now (hopefully i'll update this with more one of these days..), but i just wanted to share two things. first, steven pinker's article on the topic, and if you scroll to the end of this colbert repot, you'll see an interview with him which is very funny, but also touches on some of the major issues.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

the green bookmark

a long time ago, in a country not too far away, there lived a young high school student, circa grade 10. he was just exploring the idea of being close friends with the opposite sex, and he had happened upon a nice girl who seemed to be doing the same thing. they smiled and started talking to each other.

they would share weird little artifacts: strange books, odd objects, funny laughs. and talk on the phone for hours. there was one phone in his household, and his parents would pickup the phone and say "oh hi who are you talking to? i need to use the phone" and he would blush with embarassment (luckily impossible for her to see) and say "give me a minute dad!"

he would ride the bus to school and hope she would be on the same bus. it was a fun, exploratory time. 

at christmas they exchanged gifts. her gift to him was little women by louisa may alcott. inside the book was a simple, green piece of construction paper, fashioned in the shape of a bookmark.

he held the bookmark to his nose and inhaled -- the scent was floral, wonderful, and overpowering. in her letter to him, she noted that she mistakenly dropped a bottle of perfume on the bookmark. such a fantastic mistake to make!

years would pass, and he fell out of touch with his friend. he lost letters, the weird objects, perhaps even little women. but, he still has the bookmark to this day. and just today he sniffed at it, and the scent was gone. but it is still burned into his mind, something he won't forget.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

my nephew

i have a nephew! he was born about five weeks ago, and i am so excited, as you can see below.

for those of you who don't know, on the left is my sister seema, and in my hands is baby jasper.

today i've been reading thich nhat hanh (whose name i've butchered so many times.. thin naan han, tic tac toe, oy oy oy.. for those of you who know how bad i am with names, this will come as no surprise) and his sage words, when connected with the new baby in my life, have been quite inspiring.

he's got a good sequence of aphorisms in this book my sister gave me:

a child is always able to live in the present moment.

the child in us is always alive.

maybe we have not had enough time to take care of the child within us.

when we live in the present moment it is possible to live in true happiness. 

seeing jasper smiling and flailing about (i will post a good video when i have it) reminded me that i used to be there -- i used to be flailing and demanding milk and living from moment to moment. there is such simultaneous peace and intensity in his eyes. no wonder he sleeps "like a baby" -- he lives like a baby, which is all senses on the now.

ok, i'm still making sense of this, but i haven't felt like there's something quite important in this mindfulness stuff until i saw jasper and connected him with some of these ideas.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

passing of a friend

i learned yesterday that someone i really respected had passed away in fairly unusual circumstances. dan kliman, a doctor, activist, and energetic debater, was found dead in a san francisco elevator shaft this past weekend. the police are emphasizing that this was an accident, and what a tragic one.

i knew dan from sf debate at the commonwealth club. we had argued a number of points, and had always had vigorous conversations about a myriad of topics after the debates. i probably only met dan around 5 times. but in those 5 meetings i grew to greatly respect him and his good humor and willingness to listen and defend his points. and what a laugh -- such a boisterous guy, full of so much verve.

what struck me most about this unfortunate incident is that it hit me so hard. i was in utter shock and very sad. i had a headache almost immediately after i heard about dan's death, and then dreamt that i had gone back in time and had a chance to tell him what was going to happen.

as i told a friend last night, learning of the passing of such a passionate soul makes me want to redouble my efforts in this life and take advantage of every living moment.

thanks to everyone who i spoke to and chatted with -- your support has made this easier.

Friday, November 28, 2008

cajun spiced nuts

made a great spiced nuts recipe from my brother-in-law's family. jane lee gave me the recipe. fanstastic stuff. loved by all.

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup (we did fake maple syrup, you can likely experiment)
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tobasco sauce
  • 3/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 pound almonds (or mix of other nuts)
(NOTE: double the spices if you want realllly spicy nuts. we did 1.5 times, and found it not spicy enough, but others loved it. gauge your audience)

  • preheat oven to 250
  • melt butter
  • mix all ingredients in butter pot, simmer and let boil for 1 to 2 minutes
  • stir in nuts, coating well
  • cover baking sheet with tin foil, line with slight amount of oil or pam or whatever non-stick you use
  • bake for 1 hour at 250, stirring nuts every 15 minutes to get them well coated
  • let cool and break nuts off sheet
The nuts keep for 6 weeks. Beyond that, you can freeze them to keep for a long time.


so, we actually doubled this recipe and made 1.5 pounds of almonds and about half a pound of pecans. realllly good!

inflating tires, inflating dreams

while jogging around in the cold of boston, i noticed a number of cars with visibly low tire pressure. i wanted to leave a note for these folks -- not only can you save on gas, but you can save yourself (neha once blew out a ridiculously low tire on the highway!). a lot of fun has been made of obama's call for people to inflate their tires. but it is something small that can make a difference. from a government efficiency site:
You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
then i got thinking: what if joggers had a little note they carried around with them that they could drop on any windshield they saw. the green joggers! but that might be annoying for a jogger. then i thought of something better: what if parking enforcement officers had such a little note? they could drop it on the windshield of cars with visibly low tires. not only would they be helping the driver in more ways than one, they'd be helping their image -- no one likes these enforcers! sure, this might mildly slow the officers in doing their work, but i can imagine a city like san francisco thinking this was a good thing to do.