Halloween greetings to you!
Lately we are experiencing the brisk autumn weather. As the sun sets, darkening the cold blue sky, it drops to about 1 degree for All Hallows’ Eve here in western Canada. The neighbourhood is well decorated. Our neighbours harvested the last of their garden before the frost set in, mounding the soil and planting crosses and tombstones with punny names of the dead.
Earlier this month, before the snow fell in the mountain passes, we decided to take a family trip to Vancouver. Since shipping to/from Japan is very limited we can no longer receive the big care packages of food we would usually get each month. So we loaded up the electric car and headed to Richmond BC for a haul of Japanese food to last us through the spring. Luckily the drive was NOT a disaster like the first time. I have included some photos from our trip in the section below.
While we cannot send large packages, we were able to send a small box, comeletely STUFFED with candy to our old school on Iki. We sent 47 little packets with a lollipop, a red pencil with white maple leaf, and a small box of temporary tattoos — one box per student at Ashibe Elementary School. Luckily the package made it through customs and to the island on Thursday, in time for teachers to hand it them out on Friday, before Halloween weekend. Some of our friends sent us photos yesterday. So happy! I miss them all.
October is a long month, but full of changes. Facebook went down, and it was the 10 year anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death. I kept busy writing for some future publications (nothing to share yet). I was also engaged in a couple of job trials. Yes, the job-hunting has started in earnest. It has not gone as smooth as I would like. The global job market is undergoing a big shakeup right now, and things are very competitive. A job trial can take weeks, so it is very disappointing when you aren’t selected. I have had to come to terms with my limitations, and rethink my strategy. But chin up! An opportunity is sure to come along. It must!
Some good news though: I was accepted to the 2022 Birken Thai Forest Monastery Upāsikā Program! From January until December next year I will embark on a structured study of Buddhist canon and practices. I have been meaning to do this program for a few years now.
I have been intermittent fasting for 34 days, hitting the gym a couple days a week, Judo a couple nights a week, am on an 80 day meditation streak, and have lost a good chunk of the weight that I put on living the Car Life on Iki. Add that to reading some very interesting books, catching up on some cinema, I feel very fulfilled physically and spiritually. The only hole I have in my “Wellness Wheel” is the Occupational dimension. Hopefully I have good news for you next month.
The next time I write you the temperatures will likely be below zero. Bundle up, drink lots of warm liquids, and take care.
Nothing here this month!
Photos of Capilano Suspension Bridge Photo album →
Photos of Gastown (including revolving restaurant timelapse) and Steveston Photo album →
Speaking of Steveston, we visited the cannery museum which faces its historical racism head on Link →
A random hot air balloon landed near my house on one Sunday morning 🤷♂️ Video →
This scene from a 1957 Soviet war film blew my mind! Video →
Breathtaking sculpture of the Future Buddha Video →
Continuing the tradition of hand-making Fez hats in Egypt Video →
The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society by Binyamin Appelbaum
Errol Morris’s 2003 documentary “The Fog of War” explores the lessons learned by the US Secretary of Defense who presided over the Vietnam War, Robert S. McNamara, an economist. That film might just be the first time in my young life that I realized “economic efficiency” might not be the best measure for public policy, a rather radical position considering the era I grew up in, when “trickle-down-economics” was still common sense. Binyamin Appelbaum‘s book tracks how economists began to gain influence in all aspects of our society from the 1970s, introducing market ideology into all aspects of our daily lives. This is directly responsible for some of the major issues our society faces today, including inequality, lack of antitrust, failing public services, and the financialization of everything. Effectively, this book tracks the rise of neoliberalism. It is interesting to see the intellectual justifications play out in history, and compare to our platform overlords and bitcoin bros of today. So far it is a fascinating book. I am not sure if it is quite up there with Graeber’s Debt, but I will know by the end.