Sunday, March 26, 2006

El Capitan Yosemite National Park

A recent photo of Yosemite. Less than a month away! I'm so excited!

Monday, March 20, 2006

what does it say when the smell is the problem?

A couple of weeks ago a co-worker sent an email about how a guy died while working in his office over the weekend, and he wasn't found for a few days. I thought how incredible it was that no one found him.

A few days ago, friends of mine found their upstairs neighbor was dead and that he had been dead for a few days. Apparently, he had lived there with a roommate. The roommate told my friends that he was moving out because the man was violent. A few days later, the man's relative came looking for him and discovered his body. The police came and the landlord was told that he better get everything out of the apartment fast because the man had been dead for a few days and if they didn't remove everything from the apartment, the smell would never come out. The landlord quickly emptied the apartment that same day. (I'm assuming that despite the previous allegation of violence there was no sign of foul play, or they would not have had enough time to process everything as a crime scene.) I've heard that there are cleaning crews that special in these types of thing, but where do you put the stuff? Just regular storage? How disheartening that the practical considerations so quickly take control of the situation.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

In search of material goods

While investigating islands in the South Pacific as a possible destination for our upcoming honeymoon, I learned of an interesting religion. On Tanna, a small island belonging to the nation of Vanuatu (between Fiji and New Guinea), there is a group of people known as the John Frums. The John Frums are followers of a "cargo cult" that worships a WWII GI named - you guessed it - John Frum.
Cargo cults develop when the material wealth of the outside world suddenly descends on indigenous tribes. Such was the case when Frum appeared in Tanna with jeeps, radios, motorcycles, canned meat and candy. Since these items could not be made directly from products of the land or sea, they were products of magic.
When Frum left the island, he promised he'd bring planeloads and shiploads of cargo - if the people would pray to them. They do to this day. Although he has never returned to the island, they say he lives in Yasur, the island's sacred volcano.

In worship, the men drink kava, and all observe kastom.

Originally uploaded by Graham Crumb.

February 15 is John Frum Day when they pull out all the stops.

Aside from the kava drinking, I can understand certain aspects of this religion. On a different level, I too appreciate the abrupt change in lifestyle an upgrade in material goods can bring. (We bought our first car on Thursday. I love it!)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar boycott hiatus

For the first time in several years, I actually watched the Oscars. I have boycotted them for a while because it seems to me that they don't always award merit - but rather decide on popularity. I'm not sure it was worth breaking my boycott - this year was pretty uneventful. EXCEPT, early on, Jon Stewart made some joke about Scientology and they panned the audience for reaction and my friend from law school with whom I lived in Ireland was right there next to Joaquin Phoenix!!! I think she was a seat-filler. How cool is that?
I hear there were a lot of great movies out there and maybe if I'd seen more of them I would've felt differently. The movies I watched: the short documentaries, and Crash - which I watched right before the Oscars started. Crash ended up winning, and it was a great choice. What an amazing movie. It was so painful to watch this intense movie - I haven't even fully digested it yet. I normally don't like the kind of movies where it's a bunch of shorts put together, but it came together pretty nicely in this one. I appreciated the portrayal of bigotry without making the characters into caricatures of racists. I also appreciated how there were only a couple of seemingly uncorrupted people in the whole film (out of many) without the obvious "good guys" that are typically written into such storylines.

I really enjoyed Reese Witherspoon's speech - she said she tried to live by June Carter's mantra which was that she lived her life trying to matter. Easier said than done.