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Saturday, May 06, 2000

High Thai'm

So we drove around the island today. The Big island. We left after breakfast, and got in well after dark. Stopped to see the volcano, but aside from a plume where it was hitting the water four miles away, there wasn't much to see (we weren't up to hiking 4.5 miles at noon over hot black lava flow).

We had similar luck at Kealekekua bay, where the dolphins usually play, but not today.

But our luck was better in Kailua-Kona, once we convinced Samantha we wouldn't find a reasonably priced meal on the main tourist drag and headed to the back streets. After a good bit of Brownian searching, we finally identified a little hole in the wall Thai place that had the hallmarks of a good spot -- even though it was tiny, it was clean and well cared for, if a little barren. We ordered a thai salad, Tom Ka Gai and the day's special of Fried Fish (which came with the body cut into two steaks and the head mounted nose-up), with sticky rice on the side... and everything was great! My curiosity more than my appetite moved me to order the Tapioca, and sure enough it was exceptional as well (huge pearl tapioca in a not-too-sweet coconut cream). They looked quite surprised by our presence and behavior the entire time, as if they'd never been patronized by outsiders before, and certainly not by outsiders who actually liked their food! Admittedly, your random tourist would not likely stumble upon the place, and most food in Hawaii is so bland I imagine they get a lot of complaints (Samantha, mostly raised in Hawaii, couldn't even eat the salad because it was too spicy for her). But for Garrett* and I it was a nice reprise from Hawaii's barren culinary landscape. The place was called Charley's Thai Cuisine, 74-5586 Palani Rd, Suite 16. Kailua-Kona Phone: 808/334-0891.

The rest of the day went to watching the scenery go by, reading bits of The Truth Machine during the boring stretches of road, and quite a lot of soul searching.

I didn't find it.

I really have no idea where, or even how, I want to live. Sure, if money were no object it would be easy -- I'd have a great house with lots of land and privacy near by a good selection of restaurants and entertainment in each of a dozen different cities and ruralities around the world. But short of that, having to choose just one place, and having to weigh the various virtues against each other, it's quite difficult. I could live here, on the Island Without Hope, for a penny and a song, but unless I can extract life through a 56K modem and the local TKS grocery store, I may as well just lie down and die now because there's not much else here. I certainly couldn't expect the same flow of visitors as I could, say, on Maui, since inviting them here would be akin to inviting someone to visit me in Hobokin, N.J.. But conversely, on Maui the land is already so pricey I'm not sure I could find what I want without strapping myself to a high-paying job -- in which case, once again, I may as well just lie down and die now because I want to live my life for me, for my goals, for my dreams, not simply as a cog in a wheel on a cart with no driver carrying some headless corporate agenda blindly down the profit gradient defined by the well worn trails of sheeple.

So maybe I should just sell everything and travel for a while. Live in Boston for a while; Europe for a while; give up on the earthy possessions thing (by which I mean a house). I just hate to be out of the market -- I have this fear that while I'm wandering around the world, the housing market will quintuple, and then I'll definitely not be able to get that house of my dreams... have a place for my server farm, for my garden, for my music studio, for my piano, for my mongoose and kinkaju, for my kitchen...

Speaking of kitchen, while in the University of Hilo library yesterday I happened upon an article who's title suggested it was debunking the notion that a restricted calorie diet might extend life. Having read The First Immortal recently, and having some Extropian friends on this diet, I was naturally quite curious... So I read it, and found instead that it completely supported the notion, and was merely indicating that there are efforts under way to get similar results through more direct manipulation (hormones, other drugs). But all the data cited in the article was very promising, with primate studies under way which show positive efficacy to the analogous tune of humans living to be 150 or so... just by restricting our diets to around 1500 calories a day.

So I've been reading labels a lot lately, just to get an idea of what it would take to eat 1500 cals a day. For a reference point, a cup of 1% milk is convenient at exactly 100 calories. So that's 15 cups of milk, or say five cups of milk three times a day -- if you ate nothing else, of course. Doesn't sound so bad. But then look at a bag of Doritos. Guess how many Dorito chips equal (in calories) one cup of milk? A big hand full? Twenty, say? Nope, just eight! And one Balance Bar takes two cups of milk on the other side of the scale to match its calories. And from the random box of cookies Samantha had, one lone cookie was on par with a Balance Bar. I need to get back online to check basic things like fruits, meats, cheeses, and whatnot. I'm curious to know what the Extropian diet would be, or how far mine is from it by default anyway.

Historically, I've tended not to eat much, being too busy to do more than feed myself minimally when hunger pangs necessitate it; but ironically I've developed the habit in the last few years of eating quite a bit more, thinking it was better for me that way... Now perhaps I'll try to revert the habit, abandon food as a hobby, and aim for seeing the year 2100.

And even this effects my current dilemma. Land is a good thing to buy if you're going to live 130 years. And, gosh, think how many generations of kids you could have in that time -- if I'd stuck with the family tradition of having kids at 20, a ten year old in the family could have met his great great great great grandfather. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

The mosquitos are attacking, and the coyotes are howling, so I think it's time to crawl under my net in my little corner near the coy pool and dream of electric sheep.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com