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Ebates.com is the bomb!

Just a quick note to anyone that is reading, I have to mention ebates.com. I just renewed two of my domain names, I got a 30% off coupon and 15% cash back (16 bucks!) on a GoDaddy.com purchase. I also used it for my taxes through TurboTax.com and got 7 bucks back. If you’re not using it, you’re dumb.

Sign up here!
http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=ZArsYZnulaWgqbyBBcbOJg%3D%3D

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Japan Journey – Day 12 – Dancing Fish Flakes

Work today involved meetings in the morning to discuss a design change, then over to the Proving Grounds for quality meeting. I didn’t get to see much of the Proving Grounds due to our schedule, but it was still interesting. I got to ride on one of the straight away tracks and see a few of the other tracks. We saw several interesting new cars driving around. On the high-speed loop we could hear an incredible machine whining through gears like nobody’s business, but were unable to get a glimpse. The entire ring is surrounded by very tall (maybe 15-20 feet?) shrubs to keep prying eyes out.

Lunch was Japanese style fried chicken chunklets again, with a cabbage salad. Today’s twist, the chicken was covered in egg salad! Different but good, but I’m sick of fried foods. There was a cabbage and seaweed soup, which was okay. A pasta salad in a mayo style sauce, some kind of greens in a vinegarish sauce, and the usual rice.

We took a taxi home from work today because the traffic looked absolutely terrible. We told the cabbie that shortcut was okay. He took us down many back roads and allies. The cabbie was probably late fifties or early sixties, however he drove like a teenager who just gotten the keys to dad’s car. We were flying around curves and darting out into traffic. He gunned the engine anytime he had the chance. I’m certain my wife would have gotten car sick had she been along for the ride. It took about 35 minutes for us to get to the hotel, probably would have taken 1.5 hours on the bus. Cost was 4930 yen (58.88 USD).

One of our native Japanese coworkers/friends promised to take us out to dinner. He picked us up at 7 in his Honda Vamos. He apologized for the small size of his car, we said it is no problem. His car is actually relatively big for a Japanese car. We three American’s fit without too much trouble, my knees were in the dash, but it was not so bad. He had a manual transmission and explained to us that Japan actually has two different licenses, one for manual and one for automatic. The automatic is what most people have because it is cheaper and easier to get.

He drove us to his favorite Okonomiyaki restaurant. Okonomiyaki is typically described as a Japanese pancake, however it is closer to an American quiche. It is similar to yakiniku in that you cook it at your table, only it is on a hot griddle instead of a coal-fired grill. He ordered us medium marbled beef and pork (which ended up similar to bacon), as well as two different types of salad, an appetizer, and two Okonomiyaki bowls.

The beef and bacon were both flavored with some type of sweet soy sauce and had an excellent flavor. Both were very succulent and we were able to cook them exactly how we wanted.

One salad was similar to western, was large leafy greens with sliced yellow peppers, and sliced diakon. I don’t typically like the diakon, however in its raw sliced form was actually pretty good. It is usually served as mush and flavored. The dressing was light and mild, I think a type of soy sauce. The second salad was a bit more interesting. It had some type of bean sprout, miscellaneous small greens, and what appeared to be pasta. Our Japanese friend would not tell us what it was until after we had tried it. We all tried it and agreed it was good (it was). Grinning like a small child who just pulled one over on mom, he told us the “pasta” in the salad was intestine; I do not know what type. Even though it was good, I couldn’t bring myself to have seconds.

For the appetizer, again he refused to tell us what it was until we all tried it. All three of us thought it should have been cooked on the griddle before eating, but he insisted no. We tried it, none of us particularly cared for it. Robert liked the taste but not the flavor, Matt and I did not like either. It was fishy, incredibly slimy, and very chewy. It was a very strange combination of slimy and chewy that did not work for me at all. I came close to spitting it out, but did not want to offend our host. I swallowed it down with some Chuhai. After we all tried it, he told us it was raw octopus, one of his favorites.

Chuhai is an alcoholic fruit drink in Japan that is made from Shochu, soda water, and fruit juice. Shochu is popular liquor drink in Japan. It is similar to vodka, except it can be made from sweet potatoes, rice, or sugar cane; sometimes it is made or mixed with fruits or other flavoring. I tried a lime Chuhai and one with a Japanese critus that I cannot recall the name. Both were very good and had not alcohol taste. One could easily drink many of them and be drunk before you know it. Later in the night I tried Shochu (served over ice) that was mixed with tantaka flavoring. I’m not sure what exactly tantaka flavor is, he told me the English translation, but I cannot remember. The taste is kind of pine like with a hint of lemon balm.

The Okonomiyaki bowls where assorted greens, rice, a raw egg, spices; one had beef and the other shrimp. He mixed the bowls up and them poured them on the griddle. He let them cook for a bit then flipped them and let them cook some more. After it was cooked he brushed on “bullfrog” sauce, I’m not sure of the exact Japanese spelling, and sprinkled them with dried fish flakes. The bullfrog sauce like a sweet American BBQ sauce crossed with a soy sauce. After he covered the pancake in fish flakes we watched them dance. The fish flakes are so lightweight that the heat from the food/griddle makes them move around and dance. It looks like your food is crawling over the griddle. It continues to do this for a few minutes, even after being transferred to your plate. It do not seem right and was very surreal. There is a video embedded below, but unfortunately, due to YouTube down sampling you do not get the true effect. I liked both dishes (beef and shrimp) very much, even though I do not care for fish or shrimp.

After Okonomiyaki, we crossed the street to a small restaurant/lounge/bar. We were seated in an area that was a hybrid of US and Japanese traditional style seating. The room was sunken and you sat on a common bench with a further sunken floor, so you it was easy to sit cross-legged or with your legs down. We were surrounded on both sides by tables of girls in their early 20s. They stared and giggled at us most of the time. Our host ordered us several dishes and more drinks. He ordered chicken, which was similar to prosciutto. It was uncooked and salted, and smoked. We were all hesitant to try it. I tried a small piece and so did Matt, Robert refused. I did not care for it, it really tasted how you would imagine raw chicken tastes. I hope I don’t get sick and die. He also ordered us some yakitori, again he insisted we try before he told us what it was. The first was okay, but fatty tasting. The second I did not care for, it tasted of blood so I guessed it was kidney or heart. The first was chicken hip, the second was heart. Think I’ll pass if ever offered again.

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Psychedelic Salon – Podcast 308 – Terence McKenna

I love Terence McKenna’s ideas. He was incredibly ahead of his time.

It is irrational for people to addict themselves to the consumption of products, to money fetishism and to linear ideologies. All of this is irrational, but is practiced with a vengeance inside the high tech industrial democracies. I maintain that we have drifted very very far from a viable social system. In order to return to a viable social system we’re going to have to revivify our archaic styles. This is going on all around us throughout the 20th century, as I said, in an unconscious fashion. But I’m suggesting that we do it in a conscious fashion, and that we admit that hegemony, monotheism, print created culture, obsession with stuff, that all of these things have played as faults.

They do not satisfy. And what satisfies is authentic experience. And authentic experience has been made almost impossible inside the world of media manipulated symbols and manufactured ideologies that constitutes the modern world.

So whats required then is a radical act of disassociation from these value systems. And what that means is boundary dissolving psychedelic intoxication, allowing the Gaian agenda to manifest itself by dissolving the ego. And by standing outside the structures of consumerist society.

When this is done, People will not tolerate the kind of human societies and the kind of allocation of resources that we’re witnessing today. The obscenity of great wealth in the presence of great poverty, The obscenity of further destruction of the earth in the presence of spreading deserts and cities, the obscenity of the destruction of our educational system with the knowledge that our children require education more than anything else.

All of these failures of will can be overcome if we can connect to our feelings. Because what we are is a person sitting in the corner of a room hitting themselves repeatedly on the head with a hammer. If we could feel what we were doing we would stop instantly. But we cannot feel what we are doing. We have ideologies, we have excuses, we have government spokesmen, committees, commissions, study groups, white papers, so forth and so on.

It’s perfectly obvious that Western civilization has shot its wad. Its perfectly obvious that Christianity has produced a nightmare of repression, of anti-human intolerance. It’s perfectly obvious that the nuclear family is a cauldron for the production of neurosis and the employment of psychotherapists.

It’s perfectly obvious that the most destructive drugs that we have ever discovered are peddled freely in every shopping center. It’s perfectly obvious that the drugs of transcendence that connect us up to the earth, are the drugs that those who govern us are most interested in repressing. We are living inside an impossible set of contradictions!

http://www.matrixmasters.net/salon/?p=580

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Welcome to Shpongleland

Went to Shpongle last night at Club Zoo. It. Was. Awesome.

Here is the show intro:

Shpongle Intro

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New pictures uploaded

I’ve uploaded pictures from Alana and my honeymoon in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  We went in August of 2008.  There are two galleries linked in the Album page.

Albums

I’m also still playing around with the layout and theme of the site, expect changes in the future.

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