Monday, November 27, 2006

Evolution of a Bipedal Primate

I've been a slacker in putting up Hikaru's photos online, so I'm catching up now. In this photo, Hikaru officially "walks" at 14 months old -- another human milestone has past. As you can see, he's quite happy about it.

Right now, he ain't wearin' no shoes yet, and still a good ol' country boy. Supose it's 'bout time now to git him a par.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Once In A Lifetime

As a native Middle Westerner from Ohio, I'm still getting used to the desert plants found in the American Southwest. They appear alien to me. For example, take the "agave" plant. There are many species of agave that grow in this region, and they seem to grow quite well in the dry climate. (Tequila is made from this plant.)

Normally it's a fleshy-pointed-leaf plant (that sort of looks like an artichoke). But after about 20 to 25 years, a very strange thing happens. A vertical shoot rockets out of the center of the plant with a spectacular bloom of yellow. I took a photo of this agave bloom where the stalk was over 10 feet high.

Here's a close-up photo of the flower below. (You can click on the photo to get a larger image.) The very sad thing, though, is that this plant flowers only "once" in its lifetime, and then it dies. I suppose, it's a good way to go, if one has to eventually go.

I'll try to post other photos of desert plants and cacti in my future blog entries, so please look forward to them.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Weekly Market Activity

People often ask, "So what did you do this weekend?" Our primary family activity is going to the market. Yes, we gotta eat, and we have a growing baby to feed.

For Hikaru, though, the trip might be like going to the aquarium. In the photo below, he enjoys watching some of the fresh fish.

Take a look at the "gobo" (called burdock root in English). What a deal for 98 cents!

Hikaru's not so thrilled about the vegetables, but he likes to eat them. He looks ready to go home in the photo below. We've learned to be efficient, and to keep our shopping trips short, so we're heading to the checkout line right now!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

The Color Orange

The English word for the color "orange", comes from the name of the fruit (orange), which might have its origin from a Sanskrit word "nāraṅgaḥ" for orange tree. (Yes, I looked this up on Wikipedia.)

The other year, we planted a "Satsuma" dwarf orange tree. For most of the year, the oranges are green in color, but this past week they are turning orange. I took a photo yesterday.

The Satsuma orange is a seedless Mandarin variety. It was introduced to the United States from Japan, but legend has it that it was originally introduced to Japan from China more than 500 years ago.

During the first year, our tree produced only "one" orange. But this year we have twenty five! I guess, the tree likes it here. Our part of southern California (the San Gabriel Valley) has been known historically as a major area for citrus production.

In fact, in places like Riverside, California, many Asian American immigrant laborers were involved with the harvesting of oranges. Here are a couple web links that might be of interest...

Japanese Americans in Riverside

Oranges and Independence: Ahn Chang Ho

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Routine Things

I never was much of a person for routine things. Too boring. Some examples of routine things are washing dishes, folding laundry, mowing the grass, sorting mail, paying bills -- well, you get the idea... Just thinking about it is enough to bring about a big sleepy "yawn".

But in my "older" age, I'm gradually figuring out that it's all a matter of perspective. Life is what you notice. Even in a life filled with routine and repetition, there can be things to keep our minds active. In our urban fast-paced stress-filled lives, those routine tasks can provide a much-needed "calming" effect.

A few weeks ago, I started a new "healthy" routine, a morning exercise routine. Where do I find the time? I get up at 5:30 am with the rooster. (Yes, we do hear the crow of the rooster -- and the baby rooster Hikaru wakes us up early. )

I'm not a laborer or farmer, but "early to rise" is good for the soul. I take a 40-minute walk up and down the hills of our neighborhood, and followed by practicing some of Tai Chi Chuan (Yang style). Usually I go alone, but sometimes the baby and Mommy come with me too.

So far, the new routine has been going well. The photo above is what I often see on my daily walk, and its wonderful to take in the quiet beauty of the San Gabriel mountains in the colors of the twilight. My routine provides a certain "rhythm" to life, and I'm finding myself feeling more in tune with the dynamic changes in the weather and the cycle of the sun and moon.

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Global Consciousness Project

There are some research projects out there to make you go "hmm..."

I came across the following website during one of my random (or maybe not so random) walks in cyberspace. It's called the "Global Consciousness Project" being conducted at Princeton University and directed by Roger Nelson.

Basically, the research looks at the output of many random number generators (computers) placed around the world. They are networked together, and the data is transmitted and stored on a centralized server. The question being investigated is whether the collected data have deviations from "randomness" that correlate with human events that happen in the world, especially events that have a global impact.

Some of the results of this study suggest that there might actually be a global mind and matter "link". Some of the published papers suggest that there might even be correlations with the events surrounding September 11, 2001.

Yes, there's plenty of material to make you go "hmm..."

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Difference a Week Makes

A week ago, the darkness of a virus (the biological kind) entered our family, and spared no one. During this time, in our confused and scattered thoughts, we couldn't see beyond the next day -- weak with fever, nausea, headache, thirst and dehydration, drifting in and out of consciousness. We were also immersed in worry and concern.

The virus entered our baby's brain, causing a series of seizures. We helplessly watched his small body, eyes rolling, shaking uncontrollably in convulsions. We called our pediatrician, and rushed Hikaru to the hospital where they performed a number of tests, and where he stayed for four days of observation and recovery.

It was a terrible stomach flu where vomit and diarrhea for four days reset our digestive systems to zero. I was the last one to get sick, but also the last to physically and mentally recover from it. We were exhausted, and our immune systems ran a good marathon.

But that was last week. Today is the moment, and we felt the need to visit a spiritual place, so we went to Hsi Lai Temple which is located not far from where we live. By some mere coincidence, we arrived to hear the sutra chanting from a special celebration to the birthday of the "Medicine Buddha", or the "Buddha of Healing".

On this hot bright sunny day in LA, the darkness has left us. We offered some incense and a brief prayer of thanks. Our health is a gift (as they say), and not having it for a while shows us how much we really do have.

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Desert Moonlight

We made our annual "pilgrimage" to Joshua Tree National Park a couple weeks ago. The beauty and solitude of the southern California desert, is something we always enjoy. We often leave the car and the road at a random place, and just "walk" for a few miles.

When one is in the desert, it could be simply the clearness of the air, or the clearness of the mind, but it's easy to be content -- just watching. I can happily sit for hours just watching the rocks and the sky, and the shifting of the sunlight and shadows.

We only spent a few hours here in the park, but the timeless flow of life goes on, whether we're here to observe it or not. On this trip, we saw some quail and a desert fox, as the sun was setting; as the full moon was rising.

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Tao of the Blog

This is my personal web log. This is the first entry. I would say that this blog arises from nothingness, and before this entry, there was nothing...

I call this blog the "Tao of Cyberspace", because I wish it to be a humble flow of my online writing, often generated in the spontaneous nature of the moment. I'll only post a new entry whenever I feel like writing, and when time permits. This website doesn't have a set purpose or agenda except as an expression of an idea, opinion, thought, or event that captured a particular moment in time.

It is my sincere gratitude and joy that I was able to share my writing. The Internet is a place flowing with incredible streams of data. Thank you for visiting this one blog of many, and may the Tao of cyberspace be with you!