Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blaming the media

I am scared by the recent stance of Republicans in government to blame the media for leaks (for example, this San Francisco Chronicle article titled House Condemns Media Over Reporting).

The U.S. Government is based on the separation of powers. There are 3 branches of Government so that no one branch has too much power. I am a strong believer that we need to have this balance of power, and have written about this before in this Blog.

But in the past few years years, the 3 branches have all been controlled by 1 party, meaning that there is not a separation of power. The President and those in power in the Republican party have been very good at controlling their party members and preventing any dissent. So, in effect, no one inside the government is really watching to make sure that the government acts correctly.

So this job falls to people outside of the government - and the role has somewhat been taken up by the media. What has been reported by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post is something that could validly be questioned as to whether what the government is doing is legal and correct.

It also smacks of politics that the government is chasing after the New York Times, but not the other two newspapers (though all reported the same thing). Are the politicians less worried about giving secrets away to terrorists, and more worried about covering up what they wouldn't want US citizens to know? I am sure Jack Abrahamoff, Tom Delay, and the other politicians under indictment would love to have stopped newspapers from reporting on their issues...

If rules are placed which limit the media, this in effect makes me believe the terrorists are winning. One of the things they don't like is how we have such a free society - we can say what we want, believe in whatever religion we want, etc. If we start limiting what the media can say, it would be another step away from a free society.

Does exposure to some of this information potentially make it harder for the government to fight its war on terrorism? Yes. But their fight must be done under the rules and requirements of a free society.


Monday, June 26, 2006

alllowing space when passing a bicycle

Last month, Oklahoma instituted a law that requires cars to allow at least 3 feet of space when they pass a car. I wish California would institute this law, as all too often cars pass too close to me when I am riding my road bike.



Monday, June 19, 2006

Bike Race / 自転車のレース

I am coming out of retirement this weekend.

No, I am not going back to work for some company. Instead, after 6 years of not racing, I am entering into a mountain bike race. And not a normal race, but instead an endurance race. I am entering the 8 Hours of Lake Somona bike race.

I will be racing my bike for 8 hours straight. I have entered a few endurance events in the past, so have done this type of thing before. And I am in Ok shape right now. But it has been 6 years since I last did anything like this, and there is a lot of knowledge needed to keep going for 8 hours, so I don't know how well I will do. But I will do my best.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Medicine Eatstation Restaurant

photo from Yelp.comLast night, I went to Medicine Eatstation Restaurant in San Francisco. The style of food is called "new shojin", which is a Japanese Buddhist monk style vegetarian food. All vegetarian, with lots of tofu. We got the Kaiseki tasting menu with matching sake pairings.
昨日の晩「Medicine Eatstation」と言うレストランへ食べに行った。「Medicine」とは日本語で「薬」だ。会社のスローガンは「New Shojin」(新しい精進)だ。精進料理だろう。全部ベジタリアンで、沢山豆腐があった。かいせきのセットとお勧めの日本酒にした。

Last November, we went for Kaiseki food (non vegetarian) in Kyoto's Gion district and also had a tofu-based meal at the Nagoya train station. This meal seemed different than both of these.

photo from Yelp.comIt was all good. And the vegetarian shojin food was interesting, with many unusual ingredients. But the one challenge was that the meal is not very filling, so we could feel the sake affecting us. After dinner, we stopped in Chinatown and I bought a pork bun to eat on the way home.

The menu for Medicine Eatstation is online at:


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Birthday weekend

English only - sorry about that.

A while back, my girlfriend asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. She threw out a variety of suggestions, most of which would involve driving or flying some place. I suggested we try biking to Point Reyes and spend the night there. A friend had been to a B&B there that was owned by avid cyclists, and they offered discounts to anyone who biked to there. Unfortunately, that B&B was too far from the kayak place (we also wanted to go kayaking), so we booked at a different one. And after some more thought, we figured it would be too much to ride up and kayak on the same day, so we ended up kayaking on Friday (my actual birthday) around Alameda Island instead, and then biking to Point Reyes for Saturday night.

Sylvia kayaking, with SF in the backgroundWell, the no car part didn't work out exactly as planned. We were going to take the ferry to Oakland to rent the kayaks, but the ferry schedule was a bit inconvenient for us, so we drove instead. And good thing we did - as I didn't realize that it is over 15 miles around Alameda Island, which is longer than we have ever kayaked before. It was very interesting, as the channel and island have many different types of areas, such as the container port, industrial plants, an aircraft carrier museum, parks, beaches, and private homes. We stopped at a rocky beach on the far side of the island and I walked in to a deli (wearing my wet suit) and bought some lunch for us, as we didn't bring enough food for as strenuous an outing as this turned out to be. We finished the boat trip and returned to the city. Then cleaned up and went out for dinner. We must have looked like we were starving, as the waiter even commented about the amount of food we ate.

picture of our little cottage B&BOn Saturday morning, we jumped on our bikes and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge. Road up along the side of Mount Tam to Stinson Beach, and then north on Highway 1 to Point Reyes. Probably between 40 and 50 miles. The B&B was up on a hill, so we had a steep 500 foot climb to finish off our ride. This B&B was actually a small cottage which overlooked a nice garden, and being on the hill gave it some pretty good views of Tomales Bay. Very relaxing. The cottage had a full kitchen, so we decided to cook for ourselves, instead of going to a restaurant. But that meant we had to go back to town to get food (which wasn't bad, except for that 500 foot climb...). Polished off a pound of pasta and sauce, plus some dark chocolate for dessert. Then soaked in the private tub they had in installed in the garden.

Then Sunday, we headed back. Because it was foggy and chilly on the coast, we decided to go inland through Samuel Taylor State Park to Fairfax, and then work our way back to the San Francisco. Nice to go through the redwood forest.

Overall a good weekend. And it is nice to know we were able to do most of it without a car.

One birthday wish - I wish that California would adopt a 3 foot law. Oklahoma just became the third state (after Arizona and Utah) that requires cars to be at least 3 feet away from cyclists when they pass them. It is all too common for cars to pass close enough that you can feel the breeze, and it is very disconcerting. See here for information on the Oklahoma law.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Shwag Whore (シュワーグホーア)

Shwag is the term used for items given away by companies at trade shows and such that is used to get people to remember their company. The term supposedly is an acronym for "SHit We All Get". Sometimes it is also spelled "Schwag".
”Shwag"(シュワーグ)とは会社を思い出すためにトレードショウであげる物だ。 通り言葉だ。「SHit We All Get」の略語だろう。この略語に「Shit」は物だけだ。糞じゃないよ。時々「Schwag」も綴る。

Tomorrow, the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon is taking place pretty close to where I live. I am not competing in it. They have an Expo set up with various vendors promoting their goods, so I walked down to it and looked around the booths. While there I picked up a lot of Shwag. Too much, actually.
明日家の近くにEscape from Alcatraz(アルカトラズからの脱出)というトライアスロンがある。 私はしないよ。 でもエキスポがある。 歩いてブースを見に行った。 そこで沢山シュワーグを持って来た。 実は多すぎた。

Someone who likes to get a lot of shwag that they don't need is called a "shwag whore". It is not a positive trait, I guess.
シュワーグホーアは多いシュワーグをくれる事が好き人だ。 ちょっと悪い感じだろう。 

When I got home, I found I had many items that I did not need. Like a frisbee from Jet Blue Airlines. And even though I have many water bottles already, I took two more from REI. I have no idea what I will do with all of this.
家へ帰って、沢山要らない物だった。 例えば「Jet Blue」と言うエアラインのフリスビーだ。 そしてもう沢山を持っているくせにREIの水筒2本を取った。どうしようか分からない。

Yes, I am a shwag whore. When I go to trade shows or expos, I like to see how much I can get, even though I don't need most of it.
はい、私はシュワーグホーアだ。 トレードショウとエキスポへ行く時、沢山シュワーグを取りたいんだが、よく要らない。