Kamchatka Project :: Explore to Conserve

Below is the email my friends and I spammed to all our contacts, launching our latest project:

Dear Friend,

As you know, kayaking has played a huge role in my life. This summer I
have the opportunity to realize a life long dream of using kayaking to make
a difference in the world. Our team of 6 kayakers will travel to Eastern
Siberia to explore and document 3 rivers on the Kamchatka Peninsula. We are
working with the Wild Salmon Center to survey these rivers for protection
by the Russian government. In 2009, the Russian government will make
sweeping designations and we have a unique opportunity to play a role in
this critical process.

The cost of this trip exceedes my personal budget and I am asking for your
support with this project. Your tax deductible donation of $25 or more will
make this trip possible.

To learn more please visit our website: www.kamchatkaproject.org
To donate please visit: www.active.com/donate/kamchatka

Thank you for your support,


President Obama!

President Obama

More ... including the video of this acceptance speech.

I can say without exaggeration, that I have never been more proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. Here is some video of more proud and jubilant Seattlites on the corner of Pike and Broadway.

My one personal observation from this historical event was that as I woke this morning, I heard two (black) kids on the street corner waiting for their school bus yelling, "Barack Obama! Barack Obama!"

It was just one of the many reports from around the world today that minorities sensed a new sense of pride and opportunity in this country and the world.

Progress ...



It has been a long and terrible time since tomorrow mattered as much as it does today.

* * *
Tomorrow is a place of definitions, where change may come and be welcome even in the smallest degree. Tomorrow will see millions upon millions from every national nook and cranny pour forth in celebration of their own lone and lonesome voices.

* * *
What they call change is nothing more than choice. Tomorrow is another choosing, perhaps the greatest of our lives. Something will happen, and afterward, we will know.
Tomorrow has come at last.


Pine Ridge on NPR

A story about the tribe and reservation I have been working with lately. Although this story (about voting) is not the issues my work deals with (uranium mining).



An Article and a Video

First, I have enjoyed the recent trend against bottled water (at least here in Seattle it has especially become the green target). I have never been a fan, and really tried to limit my own consumption except in instances when the convenience just outweighed all other factors. Anyway, this article highlights the real lack of common sense in buying this stuff.
Desalinated seawater from Hawaii, meanwhile, is being sold as "concentrated water" — at $33.50 for a two-ounce bottle. Like any concentrated beverage, it is supposed to be diluted before drinking, except that in this case, that means adding water to ... water.

Also, I have been on the producer of Iraq For Sale's spam list since buying the movie. Most of his subject matter I find a little too partisan and one-sided, but his latest project has been much more interesting and you can see the latest and best interview here. (30-ish minutes long). And in the producer's words:
You are not a progressive until you have seen this interview with Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein.
Not sure that I go that far, but its good.


It's the Environment Stupid

The obvious environmental impacts of plastic have long motivated me to reduce my plastic consumption. Jen's studies in Naturopathic Medicine, especially Environmental Medicine, have caused a great reduction in the plastics around our house. And this excellent article gives me even more motivation to NOT buy that next whatever that has more plastic in it. After all,
Aren’t disposable razors and foam packing peanuts a poor consolation prize for the destruction of the world’s oceans, not to mention our own bodies and the health of future generations? “If ‘more is better’ and that’s the only mantra we have, we’re doomed,” Moore says, summing it up.

So as,
awareness of just how hard we’ve bitch-slapped the planet is skyrocketing.

Remember to do something this Fall!


Going Bananas, Gone?

Bananas now represent a special significance in my life. I can actually attribute bananas in a large part to where I am today. Cliche as it may sound, I was literally sitting in a bus, riding across the landscape of Ecuador (in 2000), reading The Ecology of Commerce, and watching thousands of acres of banana plantations go by. All the while these bananas were being sprayed with pesticides by farmworkers wearing only a bandanna for protection. It was at this point I decided I wanted to work in a career that could affect change in today's world. It was also at this point that I became committed to eating locally and organic as often as possible. Eventually, I would meet Jen, we would move to Seattle, she would study Naturopathic Medicine and learn that Bananas are mucogenic. She would eventually convince me to give up bananas in my diet (at least in my purchases). I fought a little, given the convenience and affordability of bananas, but ultimately what they represent in corporate oppression and a huge eco-footprint made the choice easy enough. Now I do not even miss them.

Anyways, that was a long-winded way of saying that I found this recent article in the Seattle PI particularly interesting ... and of course, I recommend it!


Five Words

Patagonia's The Cleanest Line, one of my favorite blogs, has a recent post I think is worth archiving and keeping an eye on as I think the comments will be great.

Check it out.


Revelstoke, BC

Just wanted to record a few useful links from out recent trip up there. The occasion was to celebrate me finishing the bar, and Jen's Birthday which was the first day of the bar exam, and thus, was not properly celebrated.

We stayed in town at Revelstoke Lodge, which was nice as far as motels go and cheap - $80 for a queen size bed.

We spotted this place and wish we could have stayed there. Its a little pricier, but would be nice ... especially with another couple.

The Mountain is amazing ... can't wait to go back.


Having fun in college

Biking onto campus this morning I was stopped by an elder lady who needed directions. After sorting out where she needed to go, she thanked me and offered this:
You know I went to college once. I took my time; it was eight years before I received my degree. But I only took one class per quarter ... it sure was fun!

She then wished me a fun experience through college.


Jen's Graduation Surprise

I have been a little quite on this blog of late. So, while this is old news, I wanted to get it up here for posterity and its pretty funny. Thanks again, Yoko and Tara for making Jen's graduation special, especially since I couldn't make it. Enjoy.

First Amendment Law meets Yoga

The Law, at least in our society, is almost omnipresent across all topical areas; however, it is a rare event in my studies when the Law makes references to YOGA - one of my newer favorite pastimes. Well, I guess this isn't yoga exactly, but rather Yoga's predominent language that is mentioned when judge is discussing whether computer code should be treated as Speech for purposes of the first amendment.
If someone chose to write a novel entirely in computer object code by using strings of 1's and 0's for each letter of each word, the resulting work would be no different for constitutional purposes than if it had been written in English. The "object code" version would be incomprehensible to readers outside the programming community (and tedious to read even for most within the community), but it would be no more incomprehensible than a work written in SANSKRIT for those unversed in that language.

Universal City Studios v. Eric Corley, 273 F.3d 429 (2nd Cir.2001).


Time for a Vacation

For the next month, I will be in Peru on the VACATION TO HELL, attempting to kayak the Rio Huallaga. For details and updates on our trip, go HERE: www.huallaga.irvacationtohell.com


Spain Wrap-Up

Ok, I have been trying to sum up my recent study-abroad trip to Madrid, Spain for friends, family and memory's sake. I am getting tired of typing and explaining, so I'm gonna let the photos do most of the talking at this point. Feel free to comment with questions if you are curious. Also, there are several other posts about Spain below this post, so keep scrolling down until you get bored ... (or I think you can click "Spain" in the labels to get all the posts. Cheers.


El Escorial

This turned out to be my favorite day trip (and I guess my only single-day trip) from Madrid. But it sounded better than the other day trips my friends took. So its the best as far as I am concerned. And for any would-be Madrid tourists, I am not the biggest fan of sight-seeing for the sake of sight-seeing, but these sites turned out to be very cool and well worth the time and money to see them ... in my opinion!

The Monastery were most of the Spanish Royalty are buried ... and an amazing cathedral inside.

The Tomb Franco had built for the civil war fatalities and he is also buried here.

Its BIG and located in the mountains surrounding Madrid.

My traveling partners for the day ... Martin and Erin!

Bullfighting - Fan or Hater?

I was very intrigued to learn more about Spanish bullfighting. This interest, which may seem peculiar to some of my friends, stems from my family's participation in Mexican bullfighting. My Aunt Carole was one of the first women to ever bullfight in Mexico, and my Dad and his brothers and sisters used to all go to Mexico for the weekend to watch the fights when they lived in SoCal. Add to that the paintings of both my Dad and my Aunt that hung in our house, watching a bullfight on my first trip to Mexico - Mazatlan - and a unique understanding of human's relationship with animals and killing them, whether it be for food, sport, or art (in this case), since I grew up in a ranching family. But this post will only be a tease, as I want to incorporate more family history for posterity into a more complete story. So stay tuned if you are interested ... otherwise, fear not ... no bloodshed to come for a month or so.

One picture and a short video for a teaser:

A poor performance by the videographer (taken on my still camera, so I forgot that I could not turn the camera to frame the shot ... doh!) But an impressive performance by the Matador and even more so by the horse makes this still worth turning your head to watch:

The Food Culture of Madrid

Anyone that knows me, knows I love food; and when you travel I find that food is one of the things that leaves the biggest impression ... at least on me. After all, eating is one of those things you do more than most activities, and in Spain it may even dominate sleep in number of hours per day.

Before I traveled to Spain, friend's opinions of the food of Spain ranged from amazing to horrible. One of my absolute favorite restaurants in Seattle is a Spanish Tapas place just down the street from my house, so I was pretty excited for anything that even was of resemblance.

More than the quality or style of food in Madrid, what left the biggest impression upon me was the schedule of how the Spanish people eat and how much meal times dictate the the flow of the day. In the states, we are very accustomed to being able to get a wide variety of food whenever you want it. Not the case in Spain. To illustrate, I'll walk through a typical day of eating in Madrid:

9am :: Madrilenos do not go to bed early, so the day begins late. And breakfast is a rather simple affair. The typical meal in the morning would be a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) - often a mix of hot and cold milk - a croissant, and a glass of orange juice. For more of a gut bomb, one might get churros (fried bread - see below). Eggs are not common for breakfast in Madrid.

Cafe and pastries

Noon :: Hope you aren't hungry, because if the place is a lunch cafe they won't even be open for another hour, and probably not serving for an hour and half. If the place was open for breakfast, you might get lucky with a limited menu and a strange look.

2pm :: Madrilenos like to eat a late lunch, and this is the most important meal of the day. The classic lunch is ordered from the menu del dia (meal of the day). First, a drink (wine, beer or soda - drinking at lunch even as a business person is very common ... no taboo here!) and of course some pan (bread). Then start with a first course - gazapacho being my favorite (cold tomato soup). For the second course, maybe some fish and patatas fritas (french fries), but likely it will be some form of pork. Finally, you get a postre (dessert) or cafe to finish. Or with a smile and a wink to the waitress, both :) My choice: Flan and a cafe cortado (espresso with a little milk on top).

One of my favorite lunch spots:

4pm :: Don't bother the service business ... while the siesta is proclaimed to be dead by many, especially the lawyers in Spain, this time of the day is a time to slow down and prepare for the night.

7pm :: Cana and Tapas time. Cana (Supposed be Canya but I don't know how to put the squiggly on top of the n) is a small beer and the tapa was invented as a small plate of food placed on top of the beer so that people wouldn't drink on an empty stomach. Brilliant! Many places carry this tradition on with a free tapas. The freebies might be olives, potato chips, or even Chorizo or Bocarones (fried spanish anchovies). But the list goes on with just about anything open for Tapas. There couldn't be a better institution than the tapas for seeing a city. Just walk around getting drink and a little food for hours as you take in the sights.

10pm :: Again, a late meal. You are probably not that hungry at this point after many tapas and drinks, so sharing some Paella with a group is common or getting what are called Racions (big tapas). The small peppers where one of my favorites and squid cooked in its own ink was also very good. btw, Spain eats more seafood than any other country per capita. And only 2nd to Japan in total amount.

Paella with my Valencia friends

A little video clip I took from my room around 10pm one night. We would often open the windows (cuz it was hot) to enjoy the street music. I even threw money out the window a few times :) Notice that there isn't an empty seat, even this late on this non-significant street.

1am :: The night isn't even close to being over so maybe a treat to keep you going. Churros con Chocolate:

Well, mix in some school, studying, and some sight-seeing and you get my typical day. I also took full advantage of the siesta to survive this schedule!


Kayaking in Spain

A quick update ...

The goal last weekend was to try and go kayaking. I left Madrid with only a little direction from a contact I had made via the Internets. That led me to Murillo de Gallego, where I found a very small town with a couple raft company, and therefore, raft guides, extra gear and of course good people.

My Internet friend and now real friend, Leide and Raul, picked me up the next morning and took me to the Pyrenees to the town of Torlo on the Rio Ara and to the Ordesa National Park.


From there, I was handed off to more kayakers from Madrid who took me to Plan (that is the name of the village pictured) and the Rio Cinqueta - The Classic Section - and ultimately, all the way back to my place in Madrid.

It goes without saying that it was hugely successful weekend that I enjoyed thoroughly, especially because I had low expectations for actually pulling all the logistics together with minimal gear and no transport. The Spainish boaters were overly accommodating and thus, I am joining them again for another weekend of fun in the rivers and mountains. I'll post a big trip report soon at www.theRangeLife.com and more general reports from Spain coming soon here as well.



Images from Spain

I've been trying to motivate and draft a good update, but some photos with brief descriptions will have to suffice for now:

This is the Plaza Mayor in the heart of the city. Madrid is famous for its expansive plazas throughout the city where cafes usually sprawl onto the sidewalk and fill every table during lunch. As you walk through the streets you almost stumble onto this plaza as you enter through arches like this.

A Madrid Garden:

A day at the bullfights. Stay tuned for a more PG-13 post on the subject if you care to know more at all.

Another shot of the Plaza Mayor; this one from within. Once you have stumbled in, you are surrounded by buildings like this in all directions and must escape through one of the arches ... somewhat disorienting.

Some high-brow site seeing ... The Royal Palace.

The art museum - Renia Sofia, full of modern art including many works of Picasso and Dali

The famous Museo del Prado

And the also famous ... Milou


Finding a groove

Today is the fifth day in Spain, and I feel like I am finding my rhythm here. Not sure if there is any significance to the fifth day of a trip, and I think if there were it would only hold relevance to a fairly sustained trip -- I remember on the Grand Canyon (an 18-day trip) the fifth day felt like I settled in. But after the challenges of travel (restlessness and poor sleep on the plane, jet lag, gaining bearings in a new place); the shock of a new culture (smokers in the booth next to you during lunch, businesses that you need closing at 2pm - siesta, miscommunication results in large bill); and the adjustments to new cuisine (first meal is a leg of pork = skin/fat/muscle/bone/veins/more fat and skin, veggie sandwich = wonder bread, some veggies and lots of mayo) I found my self today feeling the groove of daily life in Espana. Waking at about 8am, simple desayunos (breakfast), off to classes (Euro Human Rights, Civil Law, Urban Planning Law), followed by a stroll down one of the many great boulevards of Mardid until I found a cafeteria for almuerzo (lunch) at 2:30pm, Spanish lessons to follow, skipping the siesta today and studying for three horas until a meeting with some classmates at a tapas bar for pre-dinner snacks and some futbol - the Champions Cup (or something similar), Milan won - back home for dinner at 11pm (Spanish dinner time), and then some studying, emails and blogging before falling asleep to more studying. The highlight of the day was a marked improvement in my Spanish skills and confidence, which I am sure helped the rest of the day along. Ok, time for bed. Pictures hopefully in the next post.


Transitions: School - Kayaking - Madrid

Busy times … the transition from the end of spring semester (exams) to catching up on life and leisure (KAYAYING) to preparations for travel and a study abroad (SPAIN).

I thought about making this post a big catch-up post with everything I have been up to lately, but alas, the to-do list requires a triage sort of approach at this point.

Two links worth noting to those who might be interested are:

THIS ONE, which is an interview of John Stewart by Bill Moyers. I am a fan of both, and this is a great interview. Btw, Moyers is back on PBS with a weekly show … look into the show times in your neck of the woods.

And THIS ONE, which is a pretty good (and uplifting) article by Paul Hawken, who I owe a great deal of my current way of thinking to. His book, The Ecology of Commerce, which I read while traveling through Ecuador, was a transformational book for me and I can definitely say that I would not be in Law school and who know what other ventures had it not been for David Gregory introducing me to that read.

By the way, I’m always curious to know if anyone is clicking on these links and finding this information interesting so feel free to comment as you are so inclined.


The Progression of a Take Home Final

Before receiving the exam: Complacency - I don't need to outline and cram as much because I will have soooo much extra time to organize and review the material most pertinent to the issues posed on the exam itself.

Receiving the exam: Skipping a beat - You get that gut reaction of nerves, and the reality sets in that the clock has just begun.

The first read: Holy $@*t! - I don't know any of that material, I better starting learning this subject (of course now that the semester is over).

Several hours later: Realization - oh no, I'm not going to be able to learn all of this, I better start typing some of the stuff I know.

Several more hours go by: Panic - I have used the alloted amount of time suggested for the entire exam on the first half of the first question. The typing quickens

The next day: Comparison - How many hours is everybody else dedicating to this? Maybe I should have woken up earlier?

The final push: I don't care any more. I just want to finish it, because this is not my only exam, in fact its only worth 2 stinking credits!


$4 Corn

This ARTICLE on the current rise in the price of Corn (to $4/bushel), which I stumbled upon in my local coffee shop, is well worth the read. I found it particularly interesting as it brings together many of my interests - the environment, agriculture, farming, domestic food production, alternative energies, government subsidies, food security/safety, and the corporate intersection of all of this.

For a tease of the article:
Four-dollar corn. The price probably doesn't mean much to many Fortune readers, certainly not the city slickers who wouldn't know a combine from a planter. But in farm country, $4 corn is more than a big deal. It's a phenomenon. "It's the center of conversation in the center of the country," says Elizabeth Hund, head of agricultural lending for U.S. Bancorp.

In the span of just eight months, the price of the U.S.'s most important crop - our biggest agricultural export as well as the staple feed for our livestock - has doubled from $2, about where it had been stuck since the late 1990s, to $4 a bushel. The cause is soaring demand from ethanol plants, which bought 2.2 billion bushels last year, 34% more than in 2005. Previous price spikes were short-lived and usually caused by drought, but the futures market thinks this rally has legs.

May 2008 corn recently traded at $4.20 a bushel, while December 2010 futures were at $3.74. This means farmers can lock in terrific prices not just for the 2007 crop but for the three after that as well.

Problem is, what's good for farmers - and even better for the companies selling them tractors, seeds, and fertilizer - has started to roil other parts of the economy. The feed costs of cattlemen and hog farmers have skyrocketed. Ethanol producers have seen their profits slashed. Food companies are being squeezed and are starting to pass along higher costs to consumers. (This isn't just a U.S. problem: Mexico is in an uproar over soaring tortilla costs.)

I know people have been quick to point out that this is the hidden evil of alternative fuels, but I don't see it quite that way. This goes to the whole Free Market argument ... when the true cost of farming is realized, the cost of subsidized livestock feed and exported crops will be balanced out my local economies demanding the most efficient use for the resource. Read on to realize just how complicated this issue may become.


Take a moment

Take a moment & READ THIS. Then take another moment.



I need to hear some simple

Its been awhile ... and maybe that is why I need to hear some simple so badly. Say what?!

From Patagonia's new in-house blog, THE CLEANEST LINE, I love that name and its underlying meaning by the way ...
Fifteen year-olds scare me to death. I’ve never been cool, and 15 was when my nerdiness fleshed out in all its glorious fullness. And now, the great karmic card dealer has dealt me this hand: I’ll be living with a whole posse of them in the Tetons for the next three weeks.
* * *
This crew—all boys—is LOUD; all loud voices, noisy bodies, clamorous movements. They come from loud places where they have to struggle to hear and to be heard.
* * *

Just trust me on this one, you need to read IT, your gonna love IT, so just click IT.


Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants

The title of this post is MICHAEL POLLEN'S boiled down and simplified advice to the ever-complex and often confusing answers to the proverbial question: What should I eat. He explains this and elaborates in the excellent article that recently appeared in the NY Times:


I strongly recommend reading this article. For a sneak peak:
Of course it’s also a lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a potato or carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over, the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming about their newfound whole-grain goodness.

“The problem with nutrient-by-nutrient nutrition science,” points out Marion Nestle, the New York University nutritionist, “is that it takes the nutrient out of the context of food, the food out of the context of diet and the diet out of the context of lifestyle.”

Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is shameful, but most of us can: Americans spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their income on food, down from 24 percent in 1947, and less than the citizens of any other nation. And those of us who can afford to eat well should. Paying more for food well grown in good soils — whether certified organic or not — will contribute not only to your health (by reducing exposure to pesticides) but also to the health of others who might not themselves be able to afford that sort of food: the people who grow it and the people who live downstream, and downwind, of the farms where it is grown.

If this kind of reading is of interest to you, (and I think it should at least concern everybody, if not fascinate) be sure to check out Pollen's book: OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA

cheers ...


Pillow Lines

When you look near the upper, right corner of this blog you get a sense of the contents of this particular blog. PILLOW LINES is not whispering sweet nothings to my girlfriend, but rather jargon from the ski/snowboard culture. I am guessing that many people who have looked at this blog do not understand what that means; however, I have not recieved a question on the matter. Maybe nobody looks up there. Well, "Pillow Lines" was my way of saying that there will be posts relating to my skiing exploits.

Recently, my good friend Jonaven Moore - Pro Snowboarder - sent me these pictures, and I realized it was the perfect opportunity to further explain and illustrate to anyone who may not know what a pillo line truely is. These two pictures show the very essence of a pillow line, albeit, a quite large and bold line that happens to be right off the Trans-Canada Highway, adding a certain frogger element to the mix. To add just one more degree of explanation, the unique feature of a pillow line is that it allows you to descend over a large cliff or boulder field using the pillows to check your speed and directionality. Ok, everyone clear now??? In case you don't know, I have started a new blog dedicated strictly to my "on snow" adventures: www.SurfaceHoar.blogspot.com


IP update

This semester I am pusuing a focus in Intelletual Property at full speed. After last semester's IP survery course, I am now taking International IP, Trademark, Trademark Lab, Patent Litigation Lab, IP Audit Lab, and Copyright Law. Professor Townsend-Gard was my IP Survey course instructor and I am excited to be in her course again for Copyright. She is a bundle of energy, talks VERY fast, is never dull. She incorporates several presentations and videos keeping things very current and fun. The latest video is below and is the buzz of copyright law right now illustrating the degree to which we all copy each other's creative works to make more creative works. Enjoy.