“Everything we do, everything we are, rests on our personal power. If we have enough of it, one word uttered to us might be sufficient to change the course of our lives. But if we don’t have enough personal power, the most magnificent piece of wisdom can be revealed to us and that revelation won’t make a damn bit of difference.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Shakuhachi Notation


Yesterday I had my first official Shakuhachi lesson (though it is our second time communicating). When I first purchased a Shakuhachi I also ordered a guide (book and CD) that includes instruction on reading notation. I couldn’t figure it out – and it was rather disappointing – especially because I was told it’s fairly easy!

Now I know better. There is no one Shakuhachi music  notation – there are numerous notations, each representing different schools, traditions and eras of Shakuhachi. Therefore, Shakuhachi notation is best learned with a teacher… and it is fairly simple. A teacher will choose a notation for you – and that choice carries with it hundreds of years of evolving tradition. Each notation is a doorway to musical pieces that come from that same tradition. There are even some well-known pieces that are written and played differently in each tradition. I am guessing that in time a teacher may present more then one notation to a student.

It is of course best to learn notation by learning to play a piece. As we started studying a piece and the notation required to read and play it, I encountered some symbols, such as the length of a note, which were not precise – as I had come to expect from western music notation. I asked my teacher “so this isn’t like rocket science?” to which he replied “no, it’s art”. What a relief… I was scared of notation because I had an unpleasant experience learning to play guitar some years ago – I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the theoretical aspects. Shakuhachi notation feels so different and so right for me. There is so much space for exploration, personal expression… so much space.

Aside from Shakuhachi playing I am reconnecting with the experience of having a teacher present. It is inspiring, supportive and already greatly affected my playing.

I am learning a well known piece called Take Shirabe in a variation & style that is typical of the Fudaiji temple. I have learned the first 6 breaths. This is an excellent rendition of it:

It is, for beginner Shakuhachi players kind of like Pink Floyd’s “Is there anybody out there?” for guitar players. It’s a great starting point – accessible and beautiful.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-25

  • if u r a WordPress (but not only) dev working with people who don't know much about tech – maybe this can help u: http://bit.ly/309h0y #
  • I get a recurring feeling something is not right with WordPress Community… maybe compassion? #
  • RT 10:10 @ronenk: @iamronen 10:08. #
  • RT @ronenk: איזה אפקט מגניב זה למזוג משהו לכוס צמודה לקיר כשרואים את הצל של הכוס והמשקה שנשפל על הקיר, מרגיש כאילו זה נשפך. #
  • YO Twitter engineers: Following 666, Followers 2, Updates 1 = SPAM #
  • Little waste to Zero Waste: http://twurl.nl/xl3z77 #
  • an old blog of mine is gathering great spam jokes: What do you get if you cross a giant and a vampire? A BIG pain in the neck! #
  • I saw an albino eating carrots, it seemed like the right thing to do #
  • listening to Leonard Cohen – Live at Isle of Wight 1970 – beautiful and delicate #
  • "It's a large nation, but still weak, very weak, needs to get a lot stronger before it can claim a right to land" Leonard Cohen 1970 #
  • some things you can try to practice pranayama with blocked nostrils: http://bit.ly/45lqpf #
  • Will you miss me? http://bit.ly/3Oq7bm #
  • RT @KathySierra: inspiring-yet-practical advice from Online Photographer (but helpful for all): http://idek.net/awN (via @Jeff_Bailey) #
  • I wish someone (Peter Jackson!?) would finally make good Dune movie #
  • @ronenk כחחחח כחחחחח in reply to ronenk #
  • had my 1st full Shakuhachi lesson, how wonderful that words like meditation,friendship,understanding are part of the notation and teaching #
  • @andreea_hl 's website http://www.feminitate.org has served over 100k pages of feminine knowledge to over 23k Romanian women #
  • fears are on the move, feeling like a failure, going to have dinner #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

Pranayama with Blocked Nasal Passages


Many people, myself included, frequently experience difficulties in Pranayama (breathing) practices that involve nostril control. The problem is usually due to some kind of obstacles that block or disturb the flow of air through the nostrils. This can be frustrating for people who want to pursue and develop a Pranayama practice. Fortunately there are some things you can do.

Choose an Appropriate Technique

Blocked nostrils usually inhibit inhaling more then they do exhaling. In Pranayama we are practicing lengthening the breath. When practicing with nostril control, in exhaling we use our fingers to partially block the nasal passages to control the outward flow of the breath. Blocked nasal passages work in the same direction – so in a way they are supporting the practice. The problem is usually on the inhale when we want to bring air in and blocked passages prevent us from bringing in enough. This creates physical, mental and emotional pressures and disturbance in the system. This usually leads to short and unsteady breathing.

In this series about Pranayama I have listed techniques in an order in which they are taught and should usually be practiced . The more advanced practices like Nadi Sodhana are subtle and require preparation – it is difficult to practice effectively with blocked nostrils. Alternately, a basic practice like Anuloma Ujjayi is more accessible and can be practiced even when the nostrils are partly blocked (and therefore also partly open).

Anuloma Ujjayi works within the limitations of blocked nostrils. Inhaling through both nostrils (using Ujjayi as a control) circumvents the difficulty of inhaling through one nostril. Exhaling through alternating nostrils gives us a chance to experience the more subtle qualities of nostril control. Exhaling also works in a direction that may push out mucus that may be causing blockage.

If Anuloma Ujjayi is not accessible then take up a breathing practice based on Ujjayi breathing without any nostril control.

Practice Asana before Pranayama

It is useful to remember the bigger picture of what we are trying to achieve in our practice. Pranayama is intended to regulate the flow of Prana. To do that effectively Prana must first be stirred and moved – this is what Asana (physical) does. An effective Asana practice will awaken Prana inside the body, generate heat, prepare your body for comfortable sitting and by practicing with Ujjayi it will gradually prepare your breathing. Often, I find that my nasal passages are more open after Asana practice. My experience is that after Asana practice there is generally less resistance in the body and a more fluid movement of breath.

Cleansing Breath

Kapalabhati and Bhastrika breathing techniques can also be used as a preparation for Pranayama. They can be very effective but they need to be taught and practiced under the guidance of a teacher. I am careful about prescribing them here because in addition to their cleansing effect they also have a potential for a strong energetic effect for which the body needs to be prepared. If not applied with care they can cause a disturbance that outweighs any beneficial effects. If you have access to a good Yoga teacher then you may consult with them on learning and using these techniques.

Give it Time

Pranayama is a subtle practice. It takes time to realize and appreciate it. My teachers have suggested that it takes 3 to 6 months of consistent & quality practice. Get yourself comfortable if you want to sustain yourself through this journey. If you constantly push beyond your limits you will experience constant friction and failure. Find a recipe that works for you (good preparation and an appropriate technique) and it will sustain you in your practice.

Pranayama is a practice of never ending cycles that go deeper into subtle aspects of breath and energy. There is no point in rushing, there is no finish line to reach.

A Little Trick

One day, not too long ago, I sat to practice Nadi Sodhana, event though my nostrils were slightly blocked. I felt I could sustain a quality practice despite the blockage. During the practice I found that I could actually use nostril control to bypass the blockage and create a better passage. I found that if I applied slight pressure on the nostril AND slightly pull it out (away from my body) – I was able to form a more open path for the breath to flow. I realized that my fingers can be used not only for closing and opening the passage, but also for slightly changing its shape.

Posted in Breath, Pranayama, Yoga | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Will You Miss Me?


This is my second morning waking up to a new day in a house without Andreea. Andreea has gone to Romania for 11 weeks to promote her work and hopefully bring us closer home. She asked me numerous times if I’ll miss her when she’s gone.On the day she left I recalled something I read by Robert Pirsig, and it moved in me the entire day. This morning I looked it up. It is in the afterword of the 25th edition copy I have of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:

“This book has a lot to say about ancient Greek perspectives and their meaning but there is one perspective it misses. That is their view of time. They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes.

The receding Ancient Greeks perspective of the past ten years has a very dark side: Chris [Pirsig’s son] is dead.

I tend to become taken with philosophic questions, going over them and over them and over them again in loops that go round and round and round until they either produce an answer or become so repetitively locked on they become psychiatrically dangerous, and now the question became obsessive: “Where did he go?”

Where did Chris go?… Did he go up the stack at the crematorium? Was he in the little box of bones they handed back? Was he strumming a harp of gold on some overhead cloud? None of these answers made any sense.

It had to be asked: What was it I was so attached to? Is its just something in the imagination? When you have done time in a mental hospital, that is never a trivial question. If he wasn’t just imaginary, then where did he go? Do real things just disappear like that? If they do, then the conservation laws of physics are in trouble. But what if we stay with the laws of physics, then the Chris that disappeared was unreal. Round and round and round…

The loops eventually stopped at the realization that before it could be asked “Where did he go?” it must be asked “What is the ‘he’ that is gone?”. There is an old cultural habit of thinking of people as primarily something material, as flesh and blood. As long as this idea held, there was no solution. The oxides of Chris’s flesh and blood did, of course, go up the stack at the crematorium. But they weren’t Chris.

What had to be seen was that the Chris I missed so badly was not an object but a pattern, and that although the pattern included the flesh and blood of Chris, that was not all there was to it. The pattern was larger than Chris and myself, and related us in ways that neither of us understood completely and neither of is was in complete control of.

Now Chris’s body, which was a part of that larger pattern, was gone. But the larger pattern remained. A huge hole had been torn out of the center of it, and that was what caused all the heart-ache. The pattern was looking for something to attach to and couldn’t find anything… The pattern is trying to hang on to it’s own existence by finding some new material thing to center itself upon.

Some time later it became clearer that these thoughts were something very close to statements found in many “primitive” cultures. If you take that part of the pattern that is not the flesh and bones of Chris and call it the “spirit” of Chris or the “ghost” of Chris, then you can say without further translation that the spirit or ghost of Chris is looking for a new body to enter. When we hear accounts of “primitives” talking this way, we dismiss them as superstition because we interpret ghost or spirit as some sort of material ectoplasm, when in fact they may not mean any such thing at all.

In any event, it was not many months later that my wife conceived, unexpectedly. After careful discussion we decided it was not something that should continue… So we came to our conclusion and made the necessary medical appointment.

Then something very strange happened. I’ll never forget it. As we went over the whole decision in details one last time, there was a kind of disassociation, as though my wife started to recede while we sat there talking… You think  you’re together and then suddenly you see that you’re not together anymore.

… It was a really frightening thing, which has since become clearer. It was the larger pattern of Chris, making itself known at last. We reversed our decision, and now realize what a catastrophe it would have been for us if we hadn’t.

… This time he’s a little girl names Nell and our life is back in perspective again. The hole in the pattern is being mended. A thousand memories of Chris will always be at hand, of course, but not a destructive clinging to some material entity that can never be here again.”

  • Andreea and I have described this recent period of our life as a process of dying, where old patterns are making way for new ones
  • I sense that we are, as individuals, in many ways already dead… yet there are powerful patterns of living still awake and moving within us
  • I miss having a life where those patterns can attach to real & material people & objects, and I know Andreea misses it even more then I do
  • There is fear in me that those patterns may not find things to attach themselves to again
  • I now realize that as a couple,together, we are alive and vibrant and reaching out
  • Andreea’s visit to Romania is an effort to make new connections which we intend to expand and follow to a new home
  • I’ll probably miss, at some point, Andreea’s physical presence and nearness.
  • I am looking forward to life that will bloom from Andreea’s visit, and I expect those hopes will outshine any short term pains I may experience from not having her near me.
Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Little Waste to Zero Waste


At Yellowstone National Park, the clear soda cups and white utensils are not your typical cafe-counter garbage. Made of plant-based plastics, they dissolve magically when heated for more than a few minutes.

At Ecco, a popular restaurant in Atlanta, waiters no longer scrape food scraps into the trash bin. Uneaten morsels are dumped into five-gallon pails and taken to a compost heap out back.

And at eight of its North American plants, Honda is recycling so diligently that the factories have gotten rid of their trash Dumpsters altogether.

It’s possible, and people are doing it – taken from Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None

Posted in AltEco, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Introduction to Getting Started with WordPress


Some of the WordPress projects I create are with people who have never heard of blogging or websites, though most people I encounter have basic computer literacy – some have just that. Yet they have something to say – and my intentions are to help them say it. This creates some challenges for me – since there is some basic knowledge that they need to learn and assimilate in order to make some decisions and get started with WordPress- and I take on the responsibility of providing them with it.

I am currently involved in a project where these issues are again coming up and this time I started off by searching for some “getting started” guides to which I could refer my client as we progressed in the project. I couldn’t find any. So I hooked onto this projects and it’s needs and as we progressed I put in writing the things I wanted to say to my client. I used these posts in communicating with my client – and it really helped –  instead of having to repeat myself – the client could refer back to the posts at any time.

Getting Started with WordPress

I wrote (and  hope to continue) this series in the hope that other people in the WordPress community will benefit from it as they work to help other people create their wordpress websites.

Posted in Open Source, outside, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

What are WordPress Themes?


A WordPress Theme is like an outfit for your WordPress blog – it contains information that tells WordPress how your website should appear and function for visitors. Besides your content, your Theme is what makes your blog unique and special.

Technically speaking you have to have a theme – without it your blog would be invisible. When WordPress is installed it comes with a standard built in Theme. You can add more Themes to your WordPress installation and decide “which one you want to wear”.

What’s in a Theme?

A WordPress Theme usually contains: (1)  Templates that that say what content should be displayed on your web-pages; (2) CSS files that indicate how that information should be visually presented together with Images that may be needed/used to decorate your web-pages.

There can be numerous templates in a theme – each one describes a different usage. For example:

  • What should be displayed when a list of recent posts is displayed? For example – for each post display: Title, Date & Time published, Excerpt, A link to a page where the entire post is displayed..
  • What should be displayed when a single post is displayed? For example: Title, Date & Time published, Categories, Content (the body of the post), A comment entry form, Existing comments, Links to previous and next posts.
  • What should be displayed when a category archive list is displayed? For example: Title, Date & time published.

These are just examples. But they go to show that there are plenty of options available in deciding what information is displayed in different situations. There are many standard templates so you don’t have to make all these choices – but you can.

CSS files are used to describe the looks of your website. They can be used to affect how things are arranged on the screen, colors, typography, etc. Images can be used to build and decorate your web-pages. Some images are used in an obvious way – such as your logo or header (at the top of every page). Other images are used by designers to achieve graphic affects for backgrounds or filling large areas.

Template building requires some programming skills and a familiarity with the internals of WordPress. CSS files & Images are usually created by designers who specialize in web-design. Creating a WordPress Theme requires a combination of programming & design skills.

Ready-made WordPress Themes

The most straightforward and inviting way to get a WordPress theme is by adding  ready-made themes to your WordPress installation. You will find a large and growing repository of themes on the WordPress.ORG website. You can also find many other themes & repositories by searching google for “WordPress Themes” but I would recommend you only use themes from the WordPress repository. Themes that are submitted to the WordPress.ORG repository meet certain technical and ethical standards which are there to protect you.

I started my way with WordPress using ready-made themes and I learned the hard way that this is not a quality solution:

  • My experience shows that many (if not most) of the ready-made themes are poorly built. They may look appealing, but under the hood they are poorly built and this will inhibit you and your blog in the short and long term.
  • You (and most people) probably do not know how to tell apart the poorly built themes from the properly built themes.
  • Inevitably most people turn to ready-made themes when they are just getting started – before they know what they want for their blog. As a result they end up settling for what their chosen ready-made theme does instead of exploring their possibilities.
  • If you do know what you want for your blog you will be hard pressed to find a theme that meets your expectations (form and function).

If you don’t have a better option and you have no choice but to settle for a ready-made theme, then I would suggest you invest in one of the commercially supported themes in the WordPress.ORG repository. These themes are usually backed by developers who offer commercial support services, including customization services, which may be a good option for you.

Custom Built WordPress Themes

If your intentions are clear and serious about expressing yourself online through a blog then, in my opinion, this is the only way to go. You can either take the long-way around and try all kinds of other solutions and then have a theme custom built for you, or you can skip directly to what needs to be done. I am tempted to say that if you are not yet sure about your intentions – then you may want to play around with the ready-made themes – but to be honest I am not even sure that is true. Your experience and exploration of WordPress will be completely different with professional guidance and a custom theme – in more ways then you can probably imagine.

If you do choose to have a custom theme built for you then your challenge is now finding someone who can help you do this. Here are some ideas on how to do this:

  1. Find a professional to help you at:
  2. Ask candidates to send you references to themes they have built – see if you like and can relate to their work.
  3. If you can, contact some of the people who have worked with candidates, ask them how the process was for them.

Theme Frameworks – Don’t start from Scratch

Imagine, just for a few seconds, you were going to order a custom made car. What are the things that come to your mind? It is most likely cosmetic stuff – like it’s shape & color. Of course it needs to have a good engine, gear-shift, air conditioning – but that kind of goes without saying. Building a WordPress theme is kind of like that, and if you want to be able to focus on the cosmetic aspects, you need to make sure they are built around a good engine. Your choice to use WordPress is already a step in the right direction, now you need to do the same for your Theme.

Building WordPress themes from scratch can be a tedious task (remember, there’s more then meets the eye). Fortunately some talented and caring WordPress professionals have done some great work to address this challenge. They have developed “Theme Frameworks”. Theme Frameworks are essentially naked themes – they provide most of the things a good theme needs to have under the hood and they are easy to customize. This is great for theme designers because they don’t need to start from scratch. For you this promises that your custom made theme is not only appealing but also well built.

There are, to the best of my knowledge, three quality WordPress theme frameworks: ThematicCarrington & ThemeHybrid. If your theme developer uses one of these frameworks it is a good sign. It indicates she values quality, recognizes the value of these frameworks, and is probably efficient (because it is much faster to build a theme based on a framework then from scratch). It means you are probably in good hands.

The Business of Themes

Theme framework developers are prominent and active members in the WordPress community and embody some of it’s special qualities. Their theme frameworks are offered freely to the WordPress community, some also offer free themes that are built on their own theme-frameworks. To the best of my knowledge, they all have successful businesses based on commercial support and customization services.

This is the Karma of the WordPress community. Almost everything is made available for you to use free of charge, if you enjoy and benefit from it you can send a nice thank you, make a donation or pass it on and help other enjoy it as you do. There are some commercial services which can address your special and personalized needs. BUT – the best commercial services are usually provided by people who are also contributors of free solutions to the WordPress community.

As in any community there are people who abuse the system and bend it to their needs. Please be warned – it you encounter Theme developers who only offer paid themes (or poor quality free themes intended to lure you in to buying the more luxurious paid themes) – stay away. Not only does this go against the nature of the WordPress community, but in my experience their solutions are technologically inefrior to what you can get for free.

Next up – some tips on how to work with Theme developers.

Posted in outside, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-18


Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

Dear Andy



Posted in AltEco, Business, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Making Stuff


Taking snapshots is not something I do often. This week it happened numerous times.

I am learning Shakuhachi music notation – and I drew these pages which contain the symbol and name of each note. I practice by looking at each one as I play each note separately. It’s coming along nicely.


At the same time, Andreea was creating a model of the female reproductive organs, as she prepares for her departure to Romania this teusday.


It’s getting cooler here, so before the weather gets to harsh, I again harvested of plants we use for brewing tea and hung them out to dry.


Yesterday morning I was mesmerized by this moth resting in the curves of some window drapes.


Posted in Expanding, inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to add your comment

Writing About Yoga


I was recently contacted by an individual who also writes on Yoga & Spirituality. This person complimented me on my writing and asked for my opinion on his. I visited his website numerous times and I had a hard time relating to his writing, I couldn’t read a single post all the way through. This is my experience with most of the articles I encounter about Yoga & Spirituality. This time, because of his request, I gave it some thought, and the bottom line is this…. I feel there is too much talk and too little practice.

We live in disturbed and volatile times (dominated by Rajas). We generally have more options, consume more information, make more choices then ever before – and it seems this over-stimulation is still on the rise. It is only natural that people are looking for a way to deal with this. It is only natural that people turn to Yoga for answers. It is only natural that Yoga gets caught up and affected by the prevailing disturbing energy. The popular and available Yoga that survives this process is mostly a disturbed and low potency Yoga.

I try to embrace this state of Yoga (it’s not easy for me). I am hoping and assuming that this is best for now – that people will find Yoga by practicing play-Yoga (as I did), by shopping for Yoga clothes and by drawing inspiration from promises for a better day and toying with ten-step recipes for self-improvement. Some intentions are good, others are abusive. From my vantage point the remains are not even the tip of the iceberg of Yoga – they are a melted residue.

As for me, I know that already there are teachings of Yoga that I will not receive from my teachers, as there are teachings they did not receive from theirs. What I write about Yoga is intended to make the teachings I have received available knowledge available and to give them a bit more reach and longevity. My choice is to focus on practical tools that can be put to action in the hands of people who will, when the time is right, be able to benefit from them by practicing.

Enough said. You can start practicing now! If you’ve never practiced Yoga and don’t have a teacher here is something you can do on your own:

  1. Get familiar with your natural breathing.
  2. Learn to do Ujjayi breathing.
  3. Find your preferred seated position.
  4. Learn about the four parts of your breath.
  5. Learn to count & time your breaths.
  6. Start a simple breathing practice that takes a few minutes and you can every day.

If you did start practicing I’d love to hear about it – please let me know by commenting on this post or contacting me.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Changing Our Information Diet


This morning I  read a well written article by Tim Young titled “Our Changing Information Diet”. As I read it, I felt Tim was on to something, but also that something was missing. So I am going to play it back … backwards…and see what happens.

Activity streams are quickly becoming a dominant form of information delivery on the web. These real-time, ever-flowing rivers of information epitomize the reasoning for being conscious of our information diet. Activity streams provide bite-sized information that is easy to snack on at any time, but it can be potent in calories due to the frequency of updates. In order to maintain a nutritious information diet, we will need tools and features that provide feedback on our consumption habits, as well as smart agents that help us optimize the amount of valuable information consumed per time expended.

Personally, I am eagerly awaiting the day when I discover an activity stream of information that comes complete with “Nutrition Facts” to assist me in making good choices. Not too far down the road, our information consumption will be guided by metrics that help each one of us determine the most valuable people and information sources, creating order in the chaos that has become modern information delivery.

I recall a Yoga lesson in which my teacher offered a fellow student a suggestion for a personal practice. The student replied with an answer containing “If I can find time”, to which my teacher replied “you will never find the time” = you need to make time. For most of the people I’ve taught one-on-one Yoga the greatest challenge was actually practicing (and making the time for it). What if you will never discover “activity stream of information” – because you have to create it (instead of waiting for some startup to make it for you)? I already have mine – a core principle in shaping it is “less” – less information, less real-time, less flow, less disturbance.

Every day, our environment is becoming increasingly complex. As we continue to increase the number of people we follow and the number of feeds we consume, we are all increasing the complexity of our information diet. Some have even begun to label this as “infobesity.” Increasing the complexity and volume of information we ingest can have a similar effect to increasing your daily intake of calories.

Expressions like “every day” & “we are all”, place these claims in error. My environment is getting simpler, I follow less people and consume less feeds (every time these numbers go up I usually make it a point to bring them back down, even lower then they were to start with). Amongst my “onland” social circles I am considered a very technically savvy and “online” person). But, even if it was just my life as an example (and it’s not) – these assumptions are false. They represent a way of life for some people, which despite all the chatter they produce are a small minority. For some reason (maybe many reasons) they assume that their problem is everyone’s problem – they operate in an imagined “global internet”. So they set out to solve the problem on a “global” scale…. and I have a feeling that this causes the problem to spread.

We have been incredibly successful at increasing the number and variety of places where we can forage for information. The convergence of social networks, mobile devices, and real-time activity streams have led to an explosion in the amount of information we can suck in and spit back out. It’s like an ever-growing information buffet – and we’re there for the ‘all you can eat’ meal. At the same time, with an overload of information available to us, our tools for finding, consuming and filtering this information have remained constant in their ability to assist us in making sense of the data. The result is an increasingly complex information environment – one in which we must constantly work to filter the myriad points of data presented to us.

This reminds me of when I learned how Ethernet works. In an Ethernet network (like the one you are most probably connected to now) all the computers are connected and have permission to talk (send packets of information). There are two “rules” a computer is expected to abide by when communicating on an Ethernet network (this is something that network interfaces do for you all the time, without you even knowing about it, kind of like breathing):

  1. Be Polite. If you want to communicate through the network you need to first listen that no one else is talking (the ether is clear). If no-one else is that you are free to send your stuff, otherwise  you wait until the network is silent. But this doesn’t always work, because, for examples, two computers may be waiting to talk, and when the network is silent they both send out information simultaneously. If the computers are far apart on the network this may not be a problem – but many times it is – and a collission occurs – which destroys both packets… for which there is a second rule.
  2. Be Helpful. Always listen to the network so that when a collision happens you can let the others know. When a collision occurs, the computer closest to it on the network (which is now silent – since both packets of information have annihilated each other) is expected to send a packet notifying everyone that a collision occurred (which is especially useful to the computers who’s information packets got lost in the collision) . A funny thing is that there may be two or more computers in the network vicinity of the collision – in which case there may be a collision of collision notifications.

It sounded to me ridiculously simple and wonderous that a system built around “collisions” actually works (and today drives most of the networks in the world). Yet I believe that Ethernet works because of another subtle element, it’s so obvious that it goes without saying – purpose! Ethernet was designed to enable communication. At the time, that was such a revolutionary concept that it was anything but obvious – and every decision in the creation of the Ethernet protocol (a rule which guides how an activity should be performed) was made to support this purpose.

‘We have been incredibly successful at increasing the number and variety of places where we can forage for information”

To what end? Is there purpose? I don’t have numbers to validate this – but I would guess that a tiny fraction of “information technologies” invented or in existence (many have passed out of existence) are quality means for either creating quality information or getting to it. The majority are disturbing technologies invented by disturbed people looking for irrelevant solutions in the wrong places for problems that don’t exist. They lack purpose.

Recently, I have been thinking about how our food consumption and information consumption habits actually closely resemble each other. Just as food is the energy source for our bodies, information is the energy source for our minds. Our body’s health is heavily influenced by the quality of our nutritional habits. Consuming foods high in fat, sugar, and other unhealthy elements can lead to a variety of health problems, causing a deterioration of one’s quality of life. Similarly, if we have a poor information diet (i.e. consistently watching reality TV and internet meme videos), our mind’s performance, clarity, and ability to achieve goals can be severely negatively impacted. Although network TV and comedic YouTube videos are fun, they can also be addicting like a sweet sugary snack. Consume too many of these snacks and you will soon find yourself gasping at the scale in disbelief. However, the rate and ease of access to these sugary information snacks has only increased in recent years.

There is a well known saying “We are what we eat”. Krishnamacharya is quoted as saying that “We eat what we are”. Think about it… if you want to… if you do you may want to check out the title of this post compared to Tim’s original article.

Finally, I wonder what would happen if, for a person who does suffer from “infobesity”, a dream would come true and

“…information consumption will be guided by metrics that help each one of us determine the most valuable people and information sources, creating order in the chaos that has become modern information delivery.”

…I believe the question was better phrased by Sting:

“You may win the war that’s coming, but would you tolerate the peace?”

Posted in AltEco, Expanding, inside, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-11


Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

WordPress Plugin NoGoogleSideWiki


I’d like to have a WordPress plugin that prevents Google from hijacking my web-pages using their SideWiki technology.

Here is a sample link:
(compliments of a Google employee)

I don’t know what the technical requirements are – but I’d like any request to my web-server that comes from the SideWiki technology to be redirected back to the main Google page (http://www.google.com).

This started from my writing about Courteous Linking

Posted in outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

Tsuru no Sugomori


Played by Kifu Mitsuhashi

Tsuru no Sugomori from naha Jaja on Vimeo.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Courteous Linking


My pingbacks & incoming links indiciate that some of my posts have been linked to on other sites. Some of these sites (to be honest, most) are empty shells which usually have very little to do with the actual content on my site. I don’t what their motivation is for linking – I am guessing it has to do with traffic manipulation. I’d rather they didn’t link to me.

I also recently encountered an article by Dave Winer on some invasive technology Google is cooking up. It’s called SideWiki and it enables people to annotate any web-pages (mine and yours included) – it does so in such a way that when other readers (using this sidebar) visit the page – they can view it together with the annotations that other people made. I agree with Dave – my pages are mine and should be kept that way. Other people are welcome to comment on them as I see fit.

This got me thinking about the one-sided dynamics of the internet – anyone can link anywhere else without any … well… courtesy. I’d like to be able to refuse people who link to my pages in a context or fashion that I don’t like. Technologically I can’t prevent them from linking, but from my limited understanding of web-servers, it is definitely possible to turn them away.

I’d love to have a technology that enables me to intervene in this way:

  • I’d like to benefit from services such as Akismet – and to be able to turn away links that are known to be spam.
  • When I indicate that a pingback comment is spam, in addition to being removed, I’d like it be diverted away (redirected).
  • I’d like to have links that are turned away redirected back to where they came from (maybe 10 times – so their servers would pay a penalty).
  • If possible, I’d like this to work retroactively, so that from the second I activate the plugin that does this, all known abusive links, sources in the past will not be able to link to me anymore.

I’d like to be able to turn away people, companies and technologies that are abusive and rude when they visit with me. After all it is my place.

Posted in outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 10 comments and to add yours

Parting from my first Shakuhachi


I am parting ways with my first 1.8 Shakuhachi, I am putting it up for sale.

[slidepress gallery=’1.8-meditation-shakuhachi’]

When I first purchased it (from Monty Levenson) I was looking to get acquainted with a Shakuhachi – I had no idea then, that it would take on a key role in my daily practices. It has, and I now I play another instrument.

shakuhachimeditation18I am selling it together with all of the accessories I purchased with it:

  • a leather utaguchi cover to protect the sensitive blowing edge
  • a beautiful flute bag – with moisture stabilizing layer to protect the flute from climate changes.
  • a new cleaning cloth
  • interesting written materials that came with the flute

if you are interested – please contact me.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to add your comment

Caring about health


I am not American and I don’t believe in medicine & doctors but I appreciate hearts challenging a long-standing and misdirected reign of  minds.

Posted in AltEco, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

I Shakuhachi – October 8, 2009


This morning I made first recording of a meditation session with my new Shakuhachi. I was inspired to record by yesterday’s discovery of Daniel Johnston. When I first listened to it I got some idea of what a full and projecting sound is (compared to the previous instrument) – I didn’t play any louder or put my effort then the previous recordings – most of the credit goes to the instrument, mother nature and father maker.

click to play shakuhachi recording

Shortly afterward, morning coffee & kanafeh with Andreea and a bright blue day.


Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to add your comment

True Love Will Find You In The End


“music is the funnest thing to do, but if everything isn’t right I just can’t write, if there is just one cricket out there making too much noise, I just can’t concentrate.”

Meet Daniel Johnston – I was drawn in and touched… thank you @ronenk and@NaamaSegal, both of whom I forgot to credit because I spent sooooo much time looking & listening, that I forgot how it arrived in my consciousness… see how much time you spend in it…

When he put out his first recordings he didn’t have a way to duplicate the album tapes – so each copy was recorded separately. There’s a wonderful, sincere and moving documentary called The Devil and Daniel Johnston – watch it.

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours