Monday, July 27, 2009


The past two nights i have been drinking Yellow Tail Shiraz with my old high school buddy Maximillian. He was one of my first and best friends back when i was 16 and getting my bearings in Germany.

I had a friend walk with me in a dream last night, a walk i can barely remember because I was busy drinking wine and laying down by the fire in my back yard, he said he could smell my sweat and aftershave but i was like:

"That wasn't aftershave. it was the last hints of the wine bottle i finished off in honor of all my friends late late early early as the sun hinted hinted but i fell before the hint became a word"

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

off work early

i am better in group situations, then one on one
cuz in one on one I am too eager to reveal
I like to pass around planets
and laugh at jokes
or drift away
or just sit there and smile
i remember a show about a moment taken randomly
and how it could in a moment be divine
any second of the day i'll slip away
never to return
i love those groups so, i'll never take the final plunge
hold it off untill the day I die
the sweet rhapsody of simply doing nothing
or the laughter of a barbecue
or in the moment locking eyes and telling all

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Workin at Pok Pok

So for the past few weeks I have been working in the shack at the famous Thai spot called Pok Pok in Portland, on 32nd and Division. It was supposedly ranked one of the best spots in the nation in Food and Wine. All I can say is the food is excellent, the kitchen is the most badass I have been in ever and the morale of the staff is very high. We kick ass every night. We get SLAMMED every damn night. I am talking thousands of dollars every day in revenue. Its out of control. I work from 3pm till about 1130pm and every night when i bike (or sometimes get driven/drive) home I spend at least 2-3 hours winding down from the hectic ness of kicking so much ass. I have Khao Soi dreams and visions of roast game hen gettin chopped to pieces just in time. I move fast and keep movin all night.

My boy Wrisley, a known food critic, says he has heard of the spot and actually chums around with the owners buddy in Bangkok. Go figure.

But i have a decision I need to make. Come December, I will be moving back to China it looks like, and I have to figure out if I am going to continue at this spot or head south to Cali for the Fall and work on a farm. Usually, the money is better on the farm. From what I hear there is free room and board and enough work to walk away with maybe 7K over three months. If I stayed at Pok Pok I would be working 5 days a week, 40 hours a week for about 1500k a month. So it looks like there is more money in the farm than in the spot. But i find myself becoming loyal to the spot. So it is actually a tough decision. I am leaning toward the farm. But if any of you homeboys and homegirls have some insight, holler and let a brother know.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

She was my affair with Portland

and even though the morning afternoon and evening held sunshine sweet sunshine
oh lord the nights were demons in my belly
and i walked on creaky wooden floors
in my footsnuggies and sweatpants
where is my mind

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama in Africa

A lil sumpin sumpin here from another blog i post on:

Obama's sayz: Get your poo together!

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Rape is the Consort of War

That just kind of came to me earlier today while reading this story here about Somalis in Minneapolis becoming "radicalized" and then heading back to Somalia to be warriors.

I was envisioning the journalist interviewing one of the young boys who went back to fight and having the young boy go into a tirade about

"how sick he is of the media and the images the terms the media has placed into the minds of Westerners whenever they think of Islam, Jihad, Arabs, the Middle East, Somalia etc. and how furious it makes him that he has to convince this journalist not of the validity of his story but of his own sanity. He has to convince the West first that he is not a crazy men hellbent on self-annihilation in the name of an oppressive, backward religion. He has to convince everyone first, by saying things like: my home is on fire, and you in the West not only accuse me of inciting violence when i trry and put the fire out, but yu pour gas on my house as it burns!! but this does nothing either because all it is is a metaphor for a feeling that in the West is brushed away as impossible, just like all of the rapes that go on in war. Impossible, not by oour troops or our allies,. There must be a reason. We are Americans. We are the force for good."

I dont know if i believe all of this, but for a minute there i was sunk into a Somalis head as i can imagine it and there was a lot more but basically the above paragraph summarizes it.

BTW all that took place in my old neighborhood, the West Bank and if you read the story they say the place is called the Towers, but it aint, thats only what they told the NYT its actually called the Crackstacks and we all know it.

Anyway that story linked above got me thinking as did a movie i sat through yesterday called Four Fingers with Ryan Phillipe and Laurence Fishburne. Oh Lord that movie was wak as all hell. The ending though, was somewhat provocative, Thank God. Phillipe tries to do a Dutch accent in this movie and he fails so utterly that his entire character is reduced to a blubbering clown.

i dreamt of babies laughing in my arms yesterday or i guess this morning. That was a giddy dream.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Moses in the NYT

Dr. Russell Leigh, that is. My old Professor at the U of M was on CNN last year during the Olympics and now he has an Op-Ed in the NYT clearly and coldly explaining what is really going down.

Check it out.

In my last post i said that the Han arguments of "ingratitude" are laughably weak -- and they are -- but not the force that supports and enforces these arguments. In that same post, in the last paragraph, I share the sentiment that Moses clearly states in his Op Ed: Uighers and Tibetans are doomed.

Here, a relevant quote from Wendell Berry:

"A community, especially a rural community, is understood by its public servants as provincial, backward and benighted, unmodern, unprogressive, unlike 'us,' and therefore in need of whatever changes are proposed for it by outside interests (to the profit of the outside interests). Anyone who thinks of himself or herself as a member of such a community will sooner or later see that the community is under attack morally as well as economically. And this attack masquerades invariably as altruism: the community must be plundered, expropriated, or morally offended for its own good -- but its good is invariably defined by the interest of the invader. The community is not asked whether or not it wishes to be changed, or how it wishes to be changed, or what it wishes to change into. The community is deemed to be backward and provincial, it is taught to believe and to regret that it is backward and provincial, and it is thereby taught to welcome the purposes of its invaders."

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When i wake up i think to myself:

Ever notice how the convolution of simple tasks is at the core of many a dream?

Repeating myself.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Xinjiang protests continue

Here is the BBC on the protests ... there is some decent video here showing a large group of Han thugs headed to the Uigher part of town for revenge and also a crowd of Uigher women demanding to know where their men were taken.

The NYT has a repeat of yesterday's story with a little more from today added in ... not much different than the BBC version, but check out the slideshow, there is a great pic of the Han thugs as they march. You can see that for many of these guys, this is a show, some fun, something to take the monotony out of the day. Sure, they might hate Uighers because they're Uighers, but this whole gang thing is just a bit o the old ultra violence for them.

Whereas for the Uigher this is life and death. What does it take to take to the streets as a protester in a country where such acts result in life in jail, death and a heavier hand on all those left behind? How do you escape the futility that fills you up?

In this article in the Asia Times
, Dr. Jian Junbo gives a sober rundown of the situation and blames the unrest on a variety of factors that are basically breaking down the Marxist-era policy of making all ethnic groups within China "members of one great Chinese family" of laborers, with Capitalists and landowners as the common enemy.

He goes into Han grievances, which seem to revolve around the one-child policy and affirmative action in the universities and in some economic sectors. I find these arguments laughably weak.

First off, the Han are the overwhelming majority in China and the one-child policy is a function of over-population, not ethnic preference. Second, the minorities tend to live in rural, poor and/or remote areas like: the Himalayas, around the Taklamaklan and Gobi deserts, in the mountains of Guizhou, southern Sichuan and Yunnan. These are "underpopulated areas" (relatively speaking, this is China after all). Han far outnumber all the minorities put together, 1.3 billion to 123 million.

And affirmative action is also a very weak premise for Han anger, because the very very small number of minorities who benefit from affirmative action is absolutely insignificant compared to the advantages shared by all those who call themselves Han in China.

The real reason for bringing up these arguments is simple tactics. Did Rebiya Kadeer cause these riots? Or were they cause by one man posting rumors? or were they caused by simmering ethnic hatred? or were they caused by a failing Marxist system, as Dr. Jian proposes? For the majority of Han and the current Chinese leadership, the simpler the answer, the better. China wants their people to remain sheep -- money spending sheep -- but still sheep.

The most important thing to understand about this is that Uighers are actually X and Han are actually Y and these variables and the relationship between them can be superimposed upon any values (i.e. ethnic groups) across the globe.

If seen in this light, then we find a common mistake: one value is "heavier" than the other, resulting in imbalance and dis-harmony and then, eventually, violence. So far, across the globe, the common solution has been to increase the weight of the heavy value and hope that through an even larger imbalance, the problem will solve itself, perhaps with the elimination of the lighter value. All we have seen this approach produce is prolonged violence and suffering.

The real solution is to find a balanced, sustainable relationship. This invariably requires the heavy value (Han, Whites, Israelis,) to step back and allow the lighter value (Tibetans, Uighers, Blacks, Hispanics, Palestinians) to gain weight. "Gaining weight" can mean: gaining control of their religion, gaining control of their economic future, gaining control of their political future. These things will immediately remove the need for violence. People with jobs, a place to worship freely and a choice in who their leaders are will be content.

The rub is, of course, that the heavier values FEAR this above all things. Because this is an existential thing. To dominate and crush the weaker value ensures not only survival but sustained survival for whomever is doing the crushing. To step back and allow your "rival" for resources to grow sounds like suicide.


Sometimes, i feel i talk myself into circles and in the end all of this is quite meaningless. What i really believe? In this new world there is no place for Uighers or Tibetans or Native Americans or even Palestinians as they were. There is only one type of person who can and will make it and that is the person who believes wholeheartedly that the way we are moving is the one and only true faith. Progress, Modernity, Capitalism. All other faiths WILL die. The rest of us who don't believe better pretend or find a place to hide or be converted.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Violence in Xinjiang

Uighers in Urumqi rioted over the past 24 hours, destroying property, killing people and fighting the police. The immediate cause for the riots was a brawl in Shaoguan, Canton Province that began after some fool posted a note on QQ saying that 6 Uigher boys had raped 2 Han women. Han workers then rampaged through the Uigher worker dormitory and killed an unknown number of people.

Seems a lot like LA after the Rodney King verdict right? Well the similarities do not end there. The conflict between the Uigher minority and the Han majority is racial, cultural, economic and political. It spans the entire community. It is one community vs. another and the battle is very uneven. On one side is the state, and on the other is a minority incorporated into the state through force.

After the Communists liberated China in 1949, they went about pacifying and unifying the nation. That included invading and occupying Tibet and invading and occupying Xinjiang. Throughout history, "Uigherstan" and Tibet have been under the control of either local strongmen/religious leaders or split along local tribal/power lines or subjugated to erratic and temporary Imperial rule. Only after 1950, when the Uigher leadership -- on its way to Beijing for a conference with Mao -- all were killed in a "plane crash" and the Tibetan leadership escaped into exile in India, only after the leaders were disposed with did the regions of Tibet and Xinjiang come under Imperial/Communist rule.

This is nothing new in the history of these areas. The only thing different is that it is happening now, in front of our eyes, in a globalized world with the media there to project images and words.

Yes, the Han are absolutely oppressing both the Tibetans and the Uigher. In this old column here, I wrote about the Cultural Revolution-era techniques still being employed in Tibet and Xinjiang and the religious oppression that is a focal point of discontent.

There are other points of contention that add to the anger:

1) Han immigration: Han now represent the majority in both Xinjiang and Tibet. This is a recent development -- since 1950 -- and represents, for Tibetans and Uighers, the inevitable destruction of their identity and their way of life. There is nothing one can do when waves of "the Other" set up shop and start having kids. It is a peacful and highly effective tool of ethnic cleansing.

2) Han economic domination: Han Chinese dominate the government in both these regions. In both, the governor and/or spokesman is a native Tibetan or Uigher who is either completely brainwashed or completely venal. These "traitors" are in place to respond to crises such as these in the strongest manner, to give the rest of the nation and the world the idea that rioters and protesters are "inhuman", as opposed to demanding humanity.

Government domination by one ethnic group over another has another, more important effect: the unequal distribution of income and of justice. Funds reach Tibet and Xinjiang directly from Beijing and are then distributed "as needed" by the central authorities in Lhasa and Urumqi. No one needs to go into the corruption that hampers China's development as a modern nation. Now imagine that corruption in an area where domination and oppression of "troublesome" minorities is encouraged.

So in both Tibet and Xinjiang we have the following situation:

a leaderless, highly religious people ruled by a centralized, motivated non-religious people. The rulers have the economic and political power. The ruled find themselves with the choice: become Han in nature or die.

It is a soul crushing battle -- like between a boa and a small deer. Aimless dead-eyed young men watch their women choose stability and wealth over ethnicity and religion, watch their friends turn their backs on Uigher-ness in favor of a good job in some factory, watch their fathers retreat into the back room to pray and wait for death.

That is why they take to the streets, because making a Han face bleed, even for a moment and at great consequence, makes up for everything.

If you can feel the hate for the Han, then step back from this narrow view of life and feel the hatred and anguish of all the other peoples of the world that have faced this same dilemma and have already died, already forgotten their language, already retreated to the most remote outposts of what was once their home to slowly go through the motions.

When i traveled through Xinjiang I noticed that if the Han did not fear the Uigher as much, did not dread "splittists" as much as they do, there wouldn't be any.

It is the need to dominate that creates these conflicts, not the need to be Uigher, or be Black or be Palestinian.

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What it is

Drinking my favorite Honey Dew tea in the dungeon thinking about home births and bike rides. yesterday i biked aimlessly and ended up near Powell Butte. The path seems to lead straight to snow capped mount hood .. i waved and stared until the sky turned that shade of purple streaked with fading white and light blue that heralds the death of another day and the onset of a starry night. Portland is indeed a very beautiful city. right by the entrance to the butte I saw a small group of goats chewing on stuff. Three horses swished their tails nearby and rabbits chased each other in the tall grass. a tiny salamander wiggled its way cautiously across the bike path toward me. It held real still as i crouched a few feet away and we both listened to the birds calling each other out to dinner ... or whatever birds call that last meal before the sun sets and cats come out to play.

In the back yard the fading scent of raccoon keeps libberz the akita-sheperd pacing back and forth. She licks her chops and tried to look bored, but she places herself right between the cherry tree and the doug fir in the back yard. thats where the weak link is for tree-climbing rodents. The branches of the two trees reach toward each other but there is a good ten foot gap for libberz to exploit when squirrels try and make the dangerous run from conifer to berry.

One of these days, i'll be sitting out in the backyard pretending not to be eyeing up a squirrel and when he makes the dash, me and libberz will sprint to the base of the cherry tree and catch the little bastard just before he makes it. We'll get his ass.

its time to go camping again with someone who knows when to keep quiet so i can sit somewhere and spread all my senses out and try and melt into the forest never to return as a human, but as a wolf slowly unremembering days on two feet.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tea Tasting last Sunday

Last Sunday I invited a group of friends over to Paul Rosenberg's tea temple for a tasting. Paul runs Sacred Teas, a service for those who want to learn more about tea, its properties and how to appreciate the brew for all of the good things it can bring you.

In attendance were John and Louisa, Qusai and Roopa, Nicole and Emily, Bonnie and her daughter Donna and Willow.

We drank the following teas, in order:

Qing Cheng Bitter:
A tea that actually comes from the leaves of trees that grow wild on Qing Cheng Mountain. Qing Cheng Mountain is a Daoist refuge and for some the birthplace of Daoism. It is a very beautiful and magical place set in the Qingling Mountain Range, alongside the Min River. a very strong bitter taste with an even stronger sweet and smoky aftertaste. good for digestion!

Mengding Maofeng:

A classic green from Mengding Mountain in the Longmen Mountain Range not far from Ya'An. Tea has been in cultivation here for more than 2000 years.

Mengding Gan Lu:
A very high quality green tea from the same mountain (and grower)

Osmanthus oolong:

A very tasty Tie Guan Yin oolong infused with osmanthus flowers, from Fujian.

Da Hong Pao:
a very smoky, earthy Wuyi oolong also from Fujian. The quality and duration of this tea was especially surprising.

Aged Tie Guan Yin:
a treat to drink and pour. a 1991 oolong aged to perfection ... a very complex tea with different shades of earth and water and fire depending on brewing method and most likely also pot material. I used glass for all of these teas.

Mengding Huang Ya:
another feat of craftsmanship. This is a rare yellow tea made from an old Tang Dynasty recipe. This tea was "tribute tea" to the Emperor from the Tang to the Late Qing Dynasty.

Wellforth Rose:
Still the belle of the ball. A delightfully aromatic, sweet and somehow refreshingly cool rose hip tea from Gansu Province. A winner.

I had a great time and really understand the amount of energy and mental strength it takes to do a good pouring. It might seem far-fetched, but each of these teas demands respect and adoration -- its very palpable and if you ignore it, they will taste it.

Mad Love!

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Politics and asteroids

Yesterday i was talking with a geology student and she said her last big paper was about an asteroid that is scheduled to hit the earth in 2012. I was like, girl, you sure you haven't been youtubing or something?

and she said the information is only really available in universities and on lexisnexis and the media (and google) are actually very poor sources of information. good argument. so i was intrigued and decided to keep looking. All i can do for now is look at wak media sites and such, but I found nothing. Nothing about 2012 and asteroids except this dubious site right here which is a mish-mash of "we all gonna DIE" ish.

The i found this site, NASA's Near Earth Object Program and the most dangerous 'roid they have on there merits a 1 on the Torino Risk scale (if you look through the site, its easy to understand the basics) and a 1 does basically nothing. No talk about a bad-ass rock coming to get us.

The closest I could get were these two sites, one about a Japanese experiment with collisions and Stephen Hawkings telling us the obvious ...

The circumstantial social and cultural evidence is there. We as a species have some serious angst and it is evident in our literature, film and politics. But is this enough to sign up with that dubious site above and become a member of the Quack Brigade?

No not yet. I would have to see some science and numbers (like this girl was telling me she had yesterday) before I would change anything. And would I really change anything? her deal (the girl from yesterday) is that the media and the government would rather stab themselves in a soft sensitive area then let any of us plebes know that something is going down. I agree. But an asteroid collision in 2012? That might be hard to hide. Unless of course all those who spoke about it were Quacks, then most people would react just like i did.

Anwayz, in related news, ignorance reigns as usual in the White House, no matter who we got in there, as Iran spins along divided on what the REAL ISLAM is and Obama and Congress try hard to figure out what exactly is going on and how to react to it.

Again, i suggested to all and sundry to read Reza Aslan's book "No god but God" in order to get a little knowledge about Islam's origins and trajectory as a world religion.

Obama ain't peeping this site, though he should.

And even more related news, I am blogging periodically for this site here, "Who will win the 2012 election" (Coincidence? I think not.) Feel free to drop by and take a look. Its just a lil baby blog right now, though it looks good, but i expect it to be more robust in the coming months.


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