Sunday, July 30, 2006

iceland: the great outdoors

halldor took us on our long trip

we walked on precarious cliffs

and saw waterfalls

and drinking boxes

not to mention blue blue pools

and finally ended up on a glacier

you can see more here

Friday, July 28, 2006

on our way to iceland

at san francisco international we heard the loudspeaker blaring our names and so we rushed to the gate to make sure everything was ok. we were worried that the flight to iceland was overbooked. when we got to the front of the line the guy said he had only good news, took our tickets, ripped them up, and handed us new ones: saga class! (a la icelandic sagas... it's their first and business class, rolled into one). when i think of "saga," i often think of a grand quest, with people getting killed by fierce vikings. not sure it's the best name for first class, but of course we accepted the upgrade.

now i don't think i can ever fly economy class again on long flights. i managed to sleep peacefully in saga class, with my eye mask on and my chair fully reclined, legs up. i can never sleep on long flights. this was a miracle! my theory is that the airlines all band together and have a big database of people who have been bumped up before. they track the effect of bump ups on later ticket purchases. for long flights i might now be a saga class traveller... (though i haven't looked at the prices yet :) )

when we landed in iceland, we were picked up by halldor and we headed to the blue lagoon. halldor is pictured below.

 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

chick pea soup, indian style

i've been reading bill buford's Heat and i'm loving it! buford goes to work for a famous new york chef and he picks up a bunch of cooking skills and funny stories along the way. and he inspires me to want to make a dish or two!

so i called my parents and got the recipe for chick pea soup, indian style. i love this soup... one of my mom's best. and the recipe is surprisingly easy. The output is pictured above.


  1. 1 can of chick peas, drained (19 oz can.. so in america they seem to have 15 oz cans so you need to improvise on the spices a bit)

  2. 1/2 can diced tomatoes (28oz can.. ie 14oz of tomatoes)

  3. 1/4 tsp red chili powder

  4. 1/4 tsp black pepper

  5. 2 tsp masala spice mix (i used mostly chana masala, which is the chick pea spice mix typically used to make curried chick peas.. it's a mix of a bunch of spices and can be bought at any indian spice store)

  6. pinch of salt

  7. 3 cubes veggie bouillon

  8. 3 cups water

  9. 1/4 cup chopped onion


  1. In a large sauce pan boil the tomatoes, water and bouillon.
    When boiling, add the chickpeas, onions and spices.

  2. simmer 30 minutes (until chick peas are done)

  3. puree in a food processor/blender

  4. serve and enjoy! (neha and grant suggested adding fresh coriander or some cream to the final soup to give it a more restauranty feel)

I doubled everything in this recipe and used 3 15oz cans of chickpeas and hence added a bit more to everything else. It turned out great.

Posted by Picasa

sitting in the bathroom vs being out on the town

as you live your life the moments that trail behind you accumulate and define your character. that character is evoked by how you act and how you're perceived.

when i think of my life as a series of moments that accumulate to define who i am (ie history matters, you are stuck with your past) inevitably i start to wonder which moments are most valuable. tonight i was thinking about going out on the town.

going out is fun, no doubt. you meet people, talk about their ideas, your ideas, the world, soccer, chit chat. sometimes it isn't fun... those times, the minutes were essentially thrown away, seemed useless, boring, unenjoyable.

now consider the bathroom. a great place for thoughts! alone time! reflecting. in some cases quite a bit more fun than an awful night. and don't forget the relief!

so in this calculus of character building, of who you are, how do things stack up? the thing i've considered is the potential of each situation. the bathroom is very structured. sure, i may have a eureka moment. but its positive (and negative) potential to change my character is likely quite small.

so in this calculus, for me, bathroom loses. which jives nicely with my normal thoughts, which are that a nice sauvignon blanc and conversation are wonderful, wonderful things.

ps: i think people are a lot more than just the accumulation and expression of their past moments. there's this potential to choose at each moment, and whether that choice is in a hip bar or a bathroom seems irrelevant. but the bathroom likely makes poor theatre.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


while sick this past week, i had a lot of time to sit around and reflect. as you've already read, i played and thought a lot about the cats. but i also had a chance to pick up my big book of hokusai, a famous late 18th, early 19th century japanese artist.

hokusai was a genius. his art and literature are fantastic, and he was constantly learning and exploring new themes. he worked up until he died, and is quoted on his deathbed as saying "If Heaven had lent me but five years more, I would have become a great painter." of course, he was fantastic. you probably recognize the woodcut at the top, one from his series on mount fuji.

i started reading all the fascinating articles in my hokusai art book. i usually just look at the prints, but i must encourage people to read the articles themselves.. they are so enlightening and fun! one article touched on hokusai's difficulties with his publisher. hokusai sent some woodcuts to his publisher, who would get them made by professional craftsmen. now the quality of these works is a function not only of what hokusai produces, but what the mastercraftsmen do in their shops. i guess hokusai had been burned one too many times, and so he sent this amusing letter to his publisher, constantly dropping the name of this one craftsman who he thought would do the job splendidly... hokusai even went so far as to say that he wasn't in cahoots with this craftsman (ie taking a cut when the publisher chose that craftsman because hokusai made it happen) but in fact loved his work. i'll add some quotes here when i get home.

here are some prints (i especially like the "small flowers" and "large flowers" series, but i couldn't find many of those online):

Poppies and Yellow Butterfly, 1833-34

The Ghost Kohada Koheiji

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

an inconvenient truth

i saw an inconvenient truth this weekend, and it was fantastic. before i saw the movie i thought that a movie which is mostly a multimedia presentation by al gore would be boring and stupid... i thought i'd fall asleep.

i didn't, and i was completely stoked to help out in some way after seeing gore's moving presentation.

that's where the movie failed.. at the very end, gore disappears and suggestions for what you can do are posted along with the credits. that sucked. gore should've said way more about this.. a whole section of the movie should've been devoted to that, because let me tell you i wasn't the only person who at the end of the movie was really ready to help out and wanted suggestions.

anyway when i went to the movie's website ( i found some links that indicate how you can help.

calculate a rough estimate of your contribution to the global warming crisis here

read some things you can do about the problem here

as an aside, i found it really funny how much they showed gore working on the presentation on his nice little mac. moving around slides and building slides. gore came across as quite mac savvy :)