Friday, May 28, 2010

The Kitchen Readings

I know I have been abent from the blogosophere for quite some time now and I will get around to getting back to the other blogs in the circle as soon as finals are over.

surprsingly though, in the mist of my craze of stress and homework I always found time to read. mainly because it was my "get away" and it kept me sane. but also mainly because the book I happened to be reading was amazing. you guys have heard me post blogs "still reading..." it took me like 9 months to read that book about Howard Hughes (which i loved! but still couldnt just sit down and read it.) but this book was different.

this book is called 'The Kitchen Readings' its written by Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis. Never heard of them? don't worry you shouldn't know them, they aren't writers and although Cleverly is an artist, they aren't famous. They were two of the best friends of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and this book is full of stories about the great HST.

its in a completely different light though. its not all about his gonzo, firearms, illegal actions, drug snorting, alcohol using lifestyle. its in there, but in a completely admirable way somehow. you're reading these stories and the underlying "facts" come out that this guy is an asshole, this guy is crazy. But the way they write about him, and the way they describe who he truly is -- you find it all funny, charming, endearing, its really quite amazing.

I'm writing this blog, because I just finished the book (it took me 2 weeks to finish this book, in the heat of finals, stress, weird sleep patterns, I finished the book. They cleverly organized the stories somewhat choronically and with purpose. the last two chapters are about hunters death, which i was completely unaware of.

I knew HST had died, but through this book I learned how recently and the moment I started crying was when I read that Hunter took his own life. the book goes back and forth between stories from Cleverly and Braudis and the very last 2 chapters talk about the last time they were with Hunter when he was alive. Braudis was with Hunter the very night before and both of them recalled Hunter being in a great mood, having fun, what they referred to as "vintage" Hunter the last time they saw him.

Hunter had a spinal replacement surgery and that took a huge toll on him and what really started all his medical pain and "problems" he went through a horrble detox when he was in the hospital from alcohol and his drugs and the physical therapy rehab after he was released was just as painful as not doing anything. Braudis recalls nights when they would sit in front of the fire and Hunter would tell him about the stresses of his life - i guess an insight of why he ended up doing what he did. I think ultimately though it was the pain (physical medical pain)

the one thing I have to say though is that as much of a Hunter fan as I have always been ever since I read "Rum Diary" I always took Hunter for someone I would want to read about, and even maybe watch in a movie, but never someone I would want to meet, I always took him for this total junkie, asshole, out of control nut (which to some credit he is) but these "untold stories" provide a completely different side to him, in that he is someone I would completely want to meet and be friends with and I would want to sit in his kitchen with him and be part of that circle (Hunters kitchen was the "headquarters" and was where they all hung out and just sat around and discussed politics and everything else)

and so when I read about his death and how his friends felt. I was actually bawling, so much I couldnt see the words on the page. I had fallen in love with this man through these stories.

Michael Cleverly had two read great passages I just had to write down and now I want to share them

"perhaps when we age and our senses become less acute, our vision and hearing dim. its so that when we finally leave this world, we won't miss it so much."

and my favorite

"people are still reading Hunter, as they have been for decades. I dont know if his books have ever gone out of print. One reason people read him is because he was very funny. he was very funny because he was very smart and because he was honest. Hunter was a 68 year old man who spoke to young people. he was a boozer and a druggie who spoke to people who never embraced booze or drugs themselves and he was a liberal who spoke to people whose political learnings were far away from his own. we all recognized that there was something in Hunter hat we could only hope to see in ourselves; an utter lack of hypocrisy. when Hunter was being brutally honest with those around him it could sometimes be unpleasant but he was just as honest about himself. he didnt sugarcoat it."

the part i bolded was the part that I felt like jumping up and saying "that's me! that's me!" I always fear that people who dont understand what it is like to read Hunter will judge me when they know hes a druggie and a boozer thinking that I commesorate with him or have something in common with him. because I dont have a single thing in common with him other than our share for politics and stories.

needless to say. I highly recommend this book. I feel like in some ways some of the stories have actually maybe changed my life. which could launch me into a whole nother' blog and this one is long enough.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Overly Sanitary vs. Saving The Planet

I am known to be one to watch television, quite a lot of television actually, and I actually quite like commercials (good ones anyways, and ones they don't play 1,000 times so they drive you crazy) and I started noticing a trend in commercials and new products on the market. well two trends actually the first being Green, of course. and the second being what I can only call "overly sanitary" from swiffer mops to dryer sheets... is it really necessary?

lets start with the big ones.

1. Swiffer Mops - Now I use a swiffer, I love it, its really clean and I have a thing to be able to see the dirt I've just removed, its like a sense of accomplishment or something - but at the same time you have to put new pads on the "mop" every time you use them. you throw them away after you're done and without research I still say with a fine amount of certainty that those pads are not either compostable or biodegradable and they end up sitting in landfills.

Alternative: Real Old fashioned mops with the yarn or sponge heads; you do need a bucket of water and some kind of soap though.

Necessity: High

2. Dryer Sheets - now is the need to "fluff" your clothes or make them smell nice really all that important? does the static bother you that much? cause I gotta tell you, I haven't been using dryer sheets for months now; my clothes still smell good from my laundry detergent, i dont find I need them "fluffed" and I've never been shocked by static.

Alternative: Don't use them. OR I have seen a new product where you stick this "thing" in your dryer (im thinking its magnetic) for about 3-4 months and it acts as a dryer sheet each time you run your dryer. i believe its made out of plastic which is normally recyclable

Necessity: low

3. Paper Towels - I am totally a hypocrite on the subject of paper towels. they are the worst thing on the planet, yet I do use them, there is a sanitary aspect there, you use your towel or sponge that you've also used to wipe up raw meat, fresh vegetables I mean it just can't be sanitary. but your killing innocent trees; couldn't we wash our towels more often and have designated sponges?

Alternative: sponges, towels, and cloth napkins

Necessity: medium

4. Floss - I thought of this one the other night as I go on about these "cleaning" products I never stopped to think outside of the box. Floss- we need/use a new piece (usually pick a strand longer than needed) every time we floss and then throw it away. now my argument is this whole "disposable" idea however I don't know what happens to floss. its relatively almost microscopic; even if wasn't biodegradable i don't know if it would have any harm on the environment but its an interesting thought, isn't it?

Alternative: rotting teeth

Necessity: HIGH

5. Toilet Paper - again, like the floss, its on the same level however this isn't about the waste this is about the creation; do we really need to kill trees so we can wipe our bums? surely there are better alternatives out there, I'm not for the idea of using a cloth and rewashing them and the idea of a bidet is just different -- but whatever the alternative is going to be is going to be different than what we are used to.

Alternative: cloths, bidets and -- not using anything.

Necessity: high

those are my ideas. the end. can you think of any others?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stephen Hawking; How The Universe Works

So I wanted to really start a discussion about this whole thing because it was so intriguing to me. In my science class (my last Gen Ed of class! woo hoo!) we always start class by what science has been in the news and occasionally we bring up specials that come on the discovery channel and we talk about Stephen Hawking all the time (if you are unfamilar (cause before this class i didnt know who he was, now i notice him in the news ALL the time) but he's basically the Albert Einstein of our time and he's really quite famous having TV apperances and writing best selling books)

anyways, i just watched this special on the discovery channel 'into the universe with Stephen Hawking' basically about his point of view of how the universe was formed and then how its going to end. its actually quite fascinating because its breaking the rules of what some people have thought. he talks about the big bang theory (he believes in it fully) from the scientific point of view it makes complete sense, and he explains everything so brillantly (in COMPLETE lamans terms) which is always the true sign of a true genius (to be able to explain it everyone)

but the big discussion is this whole new confirmation of black holes (and there was a special right before this all about black holes so i got a little more education on it before i watched.) but basically a black hole is a completely real thing, i believe they have evidence and proof now and they are working on getting telescopes to work large enough to discover black holes and have visual proof.

a black hole is basically when a star burns out the energy starts disipiate and get smaller and smaller (but the energy stays the same so its smaller and smaller but just get more dense and then eventually creates this black hole where all this energy and gravity is pulling in EVERYTHING including light.) the theory that black hole is a portal that can transport you is just a theory and just a myth but some scientist say it could be possible, they just think it seems unlikely that if you end up in a black hole you die (although I think if there is that much energy in the center of this black hole - how would you survive?) and in the special before hawkins someone suggested that we could be living in a black hole

now I agree with him when it comes to the "creator" (i read online he doesnt talk about it much but he is truly agnostic; the i dont know religion) and people believe that God created this perfect world in this universe with a perfect sun (its just so unique that we live on a planet that has all the elements we need to live, from the perfect distance from the sun, with a sun that is big enough to burn for as long as we truly need it.) but his explanation was along the lines that there were several solar systems like this; but one solar system the sun was too close and it didnt last, another that didnt have enough hydrogen and it didnt last and ours was just the one that ended up getting everything and ended up working out.

but thats what makes me think (and he said something along the lines of life on others planets "but thats a whole nother story") there could easily be other life - but i just dont thik its life on other planets i think it other universes, in other solar systems and they are probably people just like us - not green 5 eyed things but it all just sounds like a good idea right now there is still the underlying cause "where did it all FIRSTTTTTT come from" the stars from the very beginning, everything before the big bang, where did THAT come from.

its actually still on right now and hes talking about how Mars is truly the next step (and Obama just passed some kind of bill to do more research about Mars and having life on Mars (I joked with my science class thats where we will put all the criminals (but it goes from 80 degrees to negative 120 degrees within a matter of minutes) but mars has no ozone layer to protect it from radiation and people might have to live under ground or in protective domes (basically living conditions wouldnt be great) but hes talking about ways of changing Mars to make it habitable and give it what we need.

the reason that mars is such an important research of "can we live here" is because (well in my opinion, we are running out of space due to growing population, and how we are slowly killing our planet) someday we might actually need to live there but "armageddon" is completely real - it has happened before and it will happen again but we dont know when its going to happen and theres nothing we can do to stop it, so we kind of need an evacauation plan - we need to be ready.

another issue is that the sun gets hotter and brighter by 6% every billion years and in another some billion years the earth will be -- well not the earth. (thats an adaption of what hawking said.) and the sun will get bigger and bigger and will eventually (billions of years from now) will obleteroate the earth

apparently there is a planet in another universe that is just like ours (all the same elements that provide us the ability of life) and there planet and sun is larger than ours...the problem is that its 20 light years away (with a certain theortical rocket) we could get to "lisa" (maybe its "glisa") which travels 11,000 miles a second but it would still take 320 years to get there.

the rocket that would travel to glisa's biggest problem is going to be financial - the generation now would pay for it and then never see it again (because it takes so long to get there we would all die before we knew anything) and so they say that the people going on the rocket would have to finance it but with the average light expectancy of only 75 no one would survive the whole trip they would have to bring children and reproduce large amounts along the way (which im sure would bring upon other problems im sure no one has ever 1.) gotten pregnant in space 2.) been pregnant in space and 3.) given birth in space.

its all such interesting discussion and it refreshing to hear these kind of off-the-walls suggestions and theories from the smartest man on our planet.