Monday, May 31, 2010

Some People Shouldn't Fly

To Live is to Die

Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.

~ Ray Bradbury

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Best Sunday of the Year

Congratulations to Dario Franchitti, whose dominant performance earned the entire team a well deserved win.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I am a soul. I know well that what I shall render up to the grave is not myself. That which is myself will go elsewhere. Earth, thou art not my abyss!

~ Victor Hugo

First Strike

Let your plans be dark and as impenetratable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.

~ Sun Tzu

For as the moon is thus led by its angel
the heavens draw near to the Balance.

~ Nostradamus

The Last Seven Minutes Of My Life

One of the finest long slow ass-kickers that I know of. My favorite part is at 3:30 when they crack the snare and drop the hammer with that massive riff...

Awesome shit.

With eyes of blood and bitter blue how I feel for you. ~ SG

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

~Victor Hugo


When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.

~ Confucius

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Line

View Larger Map

This is a motorcycle trip I'd like to take. "The Line" is also a brothel in Winnemucca, Nevada, but that's just a coincidence.


unknown existence
undiscovered beauty
that's how you are
so far
one dawn
just like a sun
right from within
you will arise


A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

~ Chinese Proverb

A Prayer For Humanity

Please heal the wounds inside us that correspond to the wounding of the Earth. Help us release the misconceptions that keep us separated from the Spirit that moves in all things. Help us release the fear that keeps us blocked from living as creative beings in harmony with nature.


2 Stroke

"Four strokes choke on two stroke's smoke." ~ Devon

The Science of Dynamics

The mind loves order, the heart loves chaos, and the gut loves action.

~ Antero Alli

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good Vibration

Some things are just simple, fun, and meant to feel good. If this doesn't make you move or at least smile, you must be dead!

Secret Nerve

In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.

~ Christopher Morley

There Are Other Places

...and other forms of consciousness.

If you sing alone in your shrine, the vibrations return to you as a reaction. But in community singing, what you have is not a reaction but a wave of vibrations. They enter into the atmosphere and purify the polluted air.

~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian Spiritual leader, b.1926

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fight Fire With Fire

Ha! What a great pissing match.

Personally, I don't care what Arizona does. It's their state to govern as they see fit, and if Obama doesn't like it, too bad. It's called the 10th Amendment, part of the Constitution he swore to uphold.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Crystal clear.

Green Means Go

Say yes to your dreams.

True Power

Eternal Life

The Upward Flow Of Spirit


Orange is the happiest color. ~ Frank Sinatra



Flying Colors

High On The Hog

Man thrives where angels would die of ecstasy and where pigs would die of disgust.

~ Kenneth Rexroth

I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

~ Winston Churchill

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Would Be Fun

Good Job, New Mexico

Undecided Wanderer

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Monday, May 17, 2010


I am tired of talk that comes to nothing.

~ Chief Joseph

The Bullshit Never Stops

"The citizen soldiers and airmen of The Washington National Guard are dedicated to the mission of safeguarding lives and property in Washington State."

~ WSNG website

Oh, okay, that explains why more of them are going to Afghanistan.

This isn't Washington.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

~ Jack London

Saturday, May 15, 2010


"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country.
A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit.
Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation,
therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.
We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely
controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world.
No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by
conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by
the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."

Tell you what, Woodrow, just send me a hundred grand and we'll call it even. I'll kill off my debts, step out from under duress, and split the rest between me and my friends. We have a trip we want to take.

Engine Song

An awesome driver ripping a hot lap is like an awesome guitarist ripping a hot solo. The hybrid of passion and mechanics yields the sweet scream of speed. From the same country that gave us Vivaldi comes the singing soul of a beautiful machine...

I think it's cool that I live in an era where I can ride along with Felipe Massa at Monza as if I'm a disembodied entity hovering above his car. Thank you, technology. My life is more cool with you than without you.

Note to fellow aficionados: My favorite sequence of notes is just between 1:05 and 1:08 to 1:12. It sounds cool coming off that straightaway into those quick downshifts and then back up to pitch.

Friday, May 14, 2010


You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

~ Mark Twain

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bring Forth

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

~ Gospel of St. Thomas


Pilots are a rare kind of human. They leave the ordinary surface of the word, to purify their soul in the sky, and they come down to earth, only after receiving the communion of the infinite.

~Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra

Fly The Friendly Skies

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Silence is a fence around wisdom. ~ German proverb

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Guardian Spirit

No one cares what you say, so show them.


"The wait is over." ~ Rihanna

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ride & Fly Weekend

My motorcycle class was awesome. My teacher Roger and his helper Jesse were very good. Cool friendly guys who both helped me immensely. I learned a lot and I had a great time. I also did well in testing, scoring 100% on the written exam, and 90% on the riding section. The ten points I lost were a result of entering the corner too fast. Specifically, not braking enough to allow smooth application of the throttle into and through the corner. Consequently I had to slow down, something they were watching for, as it showed my improper entry speed. Maintaining the throttle helps stabilize the motorcycle's suspension when cornering, which is important because case studies show that running off the road, usually in a curve, accounts for about 37% of total motorcycle fatalities. I don't think I'll be one of them, but it's a greater incentive to ride well than the injury to my ego over not being perfect right out of the gate.

That was really my only error in an otherwise flawless and beautiful weekend. Saturday and Sunday were perfect days, weather included, and I got a flight in after class both days. Conditions were rowdy and thermic yesterday, with the air frequently moving at 550 f.p.m (just over 9 feet a second). That's nothing compared to the 2000 f.p.m lift that other pilots have experienced, but it felt fast to me for my experience and skill level, which I don't want to exceed too much because then it starts getting freaky. At the top of the lift was a turbulent layer that I wasn't able to punch through, but my friend did and made it to 5800 feet. After my not-fully-controlled launch and getting knocked around by fast, sharp-edged thermals, I was content to soar at lower altitudes simply gaining more experience and time in the harness. I won't say it was a poor decision to fly, but I do think I was a bit tired from riding, not selective enough in choosing my launch cycle, and not fully prepared for the conditions in the air. Of course I can't really know them until I'm in them, but Spring air is typically dynamic, so I should have been more in that mindset before launching. Anyway, lesson learned. On the opposite end of the flight, I once again could have turned in sooner on the base leg of my final approach, but it was difficult to tell how strong the wind really was in the LZ, nor did I have a radio to ask anybody (another mistake). Despite that, I didn't get caught in the local sinkhole above the swamp and swooped into the LZ as if I've done this 120 times already, safe and on my feet without incident.

That was enough sun, wind, road and sky for one weekend. I'm going back to work tonight to rest. Ha. In between the tasks that make me money so I can fly and ride, I'm sure I'll be thinking about the next cool thing I want to do. At the moment I'm looking at an additional rider course that would give me another 4.5 hours riding practice before hitting the road.

In other thoughts, I have observed that most traffic on the road is cars, and most of the cars have only one passenger in them, including mine. That's a lot of empty space and weight moving around that doesn't need to be. It doesn't take a four-seat car to move one person. How much money and fuel could America/ns save by riding motorcycles instead? I haven't crunched the numbers, but common sense says that 60 mpg vs. 30 mpg multiplied by millions of drivers would prevent a lot of waste, or save a lot of resources, however you want to look at it. It takes less energy (in every form) to produce and move two wheels than four. I no longer see the point of driving a car where a motorcycle will do. Unless I'm hauling something, moving other people in addition to myself, or need additional protection from the elements, why would I pay money to transport empty space back and forth to work? This could be part of a big "lean down" in our thinking. How many of us have cars to haul stuff we don't actually need? Get rid of that stuff, and we get rid of the need to haul it. Rather than building more roads for cars, we could free up existing road space (including parking lots) by replacing our cars with motorcycles. More people could get on the freeway, spending less time stuck in bumper to bumper traffic jams. Although I'm an advocate of car-pooling and mass transit, I also think people's lives are too individualistic to make either fully effective. It only works when we're all going to the same place at the same time, which usually we're not.

For those who want to pull the "danger" card, okay, yes. Because motorcycles are smaller, less visible, and less protected, they are more vulnerable than cars. But I see thousands upon thousands of cars on the road every day, and the vast majority of them are moving along just fine without incident. Crashes and breakdowns are the exceptions. It stands to reason that if millions of people are generally safe car drivers, they will be generally safe motorcycle riders. We could save a whole of everything by making the switch, and the beauty of it is that no one's "individualism" (we Americans love that) would be compromised. Everyone could still go where they want to go when they want to go, but with more fun, a greater sense of freedom, a more visceral experience of travel, on less money and with less waste.

Riding motorcycles probably isn't for everyone, but it's easy to learn and worth trying for the experience of something new. It's already made me a better driver, increasing my awareness by having learned to see the road and its hazards in a new way. I really enjoyed the instruction, the teachers, the riding, and the other cool people I met. They had good attitudes and we laughed a lot. Most memorable quotes of the weekend were "Thou Shalt Chill" and "Balls Against The Tank," the former in response to my initially over-zealous emergency braking technique, and the latter a reminder to move my ass forward off the passenger's seat (!)

Kawasaki KLX 250, my first ride :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another New Beginning

So I've officially entered the world of motorcycles. Yesterday I went to Seattle Cycle Center to check out gloves and helmets. I bought a $50 pair of black Powertrip Grand National gloves with carbon fiber knuckles, and just putting them on made me feel cool. Next up was helmets, and I was amazed (though I shouldn't be) that if you really want to, you can spend $900 on one. My head is worth it but my wallet hasn't yet caught up to the idea. On the opposite end of the scale (mine) was the equally DOT-approved $80 version from HJC. Good enough. I probably should have picked it up, but since a helmet will be provided for me on the riding range this weekend, I decided to wait for the tip can to fill up a little more before buying it. A white helmet would be safer, but I like motorcycle gear just like I like my_________.

A. Women
B. Coffee
C. Metal

It can be a bit intimidating walking into a world where you know absolutely nothing, but I've been there before with paragliding (not to mention birth), so essentially this is no different. I was fortunate to meet a nice woman behind the counter named Lisa (from Montana, no less) and started off by saying, "I know so little about motorcycles I'm not even sure how to ask an intelligent question." From that point we just started talking about getting the right size bike for a guy my height and getting a bike with enough power to get out of trouble on the interstate. Evidently a 250 isn't going to cut it, whereas a 500, 650 or higher will. I envision myself riding back and forth between Seattle and Issaquah a lot this summer to paraglide, so I want something strong enough that I don't get blown off the road. On the recommendation of a friend, I'm looking at Kawasakis, but after visiting Renton Motorcycle Company tonight, it's obvious that Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki all make similarly bitchin' rides.

Renton Motorcycle Company is an enormous place filled with beautiful motorcycles of every variety. Given my Asian persuasion, I was naturally drawn to all the crotch rockets. Cruisers are cool too, but I'm sick of always settling for less than what I actually want in life. This time my desires are going to follow the compass to true north. After sitting on a dozen different bikes and talking with a salesman, my class with "Roger" (my instructor) and eleven other people started. We introduced ourselves and quickly launched into all the basics of motorcycling for novices like me. You can see my student handbook here. Surprisingly (or not), most people there also had zero experience. That made me feel better, as I've always sort of assumed that everyone interested in motorcycles has been riding in the dirt since the age of 6, or younger. There were only two women in our class, the rest dudes, and ages ranged from early 20s to mid 50s. Class was three hours long and we spent it receiving instruction, talking about risks and safety, participating in group exercises, watching videos, learning the pre-ride checklists, and identifying everything on the Honda 250 Rebel that was parked in our classroom. After years of motorcycles being a complete mystery to me, it's nice to finally have an elementary grasp of things such as where the fuel supply valve is, and what it's for.

Saturday and Sunday I will be on the range (a parking lot by the airport) learning how to actually ride, and hopefully not running over too many cones. Roger has been a great teacher thus far and I expect he will be equally good when we fire up the engines this weekend. I'm really looking forward to it. After driving home from class tonight I felt excited and confirmed in my feeling that despite everyone's warnings of danger and dire consequences, doing this is right for me. When you're by yourself, pumping your fist and saying "fuck yeah," that's a sign your soul's on the right track. Being a fan of skydiving, paragliding and guns, it's only natural that I would one day end up on two wheels. I'm aware of the risks and I'm confident that I'll be able to learn how to manage them effectively. I've learned from paragliding to err on the conservative side, and judging from tonight's class, many of the same mental skills apply to riding.

In the quest to live a life that matters, I've had to ask myself, "What's important to me?" There's different ways for me to answer that, but I must be challenged in something I enjoy learning and doing. There's gotta be a certain level of excitement to it too, or those buttons in my brain just don't get pushed. If I don't keep expanding, my experience of life withers. I like hands on activities -- writing, typing, playing the guitar and keyboard, flying -- things that require manual input or dexterity. There's also certain things that I just have to do before I die to express my adventurous spirit, and riding a motorcycle is one of them. In my mind, as with paragliding, this is another exercise in good judgment, thinking before I act, and considering the consequences of my actions. It's simply a matter of slowly building that up until I'm able to enjoy it at higher speeds. Even at low speed, I'm keen for the freedom and independence of riding. I can already tell it's going to be a great feeling once I hit the open road.

One of the things I learned tonight is "SEE," an acronym for "Search, Evaluate, and Execute." Whatever you're doing, it's a tool worth remembering. My focus now is on the execution. This is as they say, where the rubber meets the road. There's probably no hell more dreadful than an unlived life, and thus the consequences of not taking action are far worse to me than any fears of people who don't want me to die. I don't want to either, but one day I'm going to anyway, and that's why it's time to ride.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Liberty & Oppression

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

~ Thomas Paine

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kawasaki Ninja 500 R

Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 150.

~Author Unknown

Max Speed

Holy fuck...

After going 299 mph, 194 seems slow.


Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Monday, May 3, 2010


Death is for many of us the gate of hell; but we are inside on the way out, not outside on the way in.

~George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, May 1, 2010