Thursday, March 24, 2011


Sunday morning I'm going to take a short trip to Lumbini, famous for being the birthplace of the Buddha. There's also one of Asoka's Pillars from the third century BCE and temples from various Buddhist traditions.

My main purpose is to visit The Lumbini International Research Institute, which has a collection of about 35,000 volumes on Buddhism. So hopefully I'll be able to find some good references for some of the things I'm thinking about. I'll post some pictures when I get back to Kathmandu.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sometimes it happens ...

Though I try my best to keep it to a minimum. Thankfully it happens less than it used to ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Holi, the Hindu "Festival of Colors" was a few days ago. Hindi movies make it out to be more colorful than it seemed to be here (like this). Here it seemed to be mainly gangs of kids roaming around with water balloons ('lola') and people on rooftops dumping dirty water on people walking on the streets. The kids in the next building were jumping between their rooftops while taunting and throwing water:

Totally safe
One kid kept shouting "Tenzin is a loser, Tenzin is a loser" and they replied with "skyag pa zo!" (Tibetan for "Eat shit!"). Good old family fun!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

okay okay ...

I'm still getting used to the ink / paper situation here but I made this little sign for my room. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm finally able to make nice coffee at home now; in fact, I'm making better coffee now than I ever made in America! My parents sent me a moka pot (trivia: a moka pot does not technically make espresso because it doesn't make enough pressure, but it makes strong coffee similar to espresso) and I can get good coffee roasted freshly from Top of the World Coffee. Since the moka pot works on the stove, I can make delicious coffee even when the power is out. I've been using coffee grown in Nepal and I'm really happy with how it tastes. Most days, I try to approximate my favorite drink, the cortado. The cortado is usually 2oz of espresso with 2oz of steamed milk (with a little bit of foam). Here are some photos:

Moka pot & coffee

I learned that using a medium or coarse grind gives you less "sludge"

I also learned that you have to use low heat or else the coffee will be too bitter.

You can get the milk a little bit foamy by pouring the heated milk into a jar and then shaking it for a minute or two. It works pretty well!

That's my daily ritual. I'm really happy with how good they come out now!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Philosophy by Candlelight

I've been pretty productive and sometimes I wonder if it is despite load shedding or because of it ... 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More birds

Here's a bird from my porch today. Last post with bird pictures, I promise.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Current reading: William Hazlitt

I hate people who have no notion of any thing but generalities, and forms, and creeds, and naked propositions, even worse than I dislike those who cannot for the soul of them arrive at the comprehension of an abstract idea. There are those (even among philosophers) who, deeming that all truth is contained within certain outlines and common topics, if you proceed to add colour or relief from individuality, protest against the use of rhetoric as an illogical thing; and if you drop a hint of pleasure or pain as ever entering into 'this breathing world', raise a prodigious outcry against all appeals to the passions.
It is, I confess, strange to me that men who pretend to more than usual accuracy in distinguishing and analysing, should insist that in treating human nature, of moral good and evil, the nominal differences are alone of any value, or that in describing the feelings and motives of men, any thing that conveys the smallest idea of what those feelings are in any given circumstances, or can by parity of reason ever be in any others, is a deliberate attempt at artifice and delusion - as if a knowledge or representation of things as they really exist (rules and definitions apart) was a proportionable departure from the truth. They stick to the table of contents, and never open the volume of the mind. They are for having maps, not pictures of the world we live in: as much as to say that a bird's-eye view of things contains the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you want to look for the situation of a particular spot, they turn to a pasteboard globe, on which they fix their wandering gaze; and because you cannot find the object of your search in their bald 'abridgements', tell you there is no such place, or that it is not worth inquiring after. They had better confine their studies to the celestial sphere and the signs of the zodiac; for there they will meet with no petty details to boggle at, or contradict their vague conclusions. Such persons would make excellent theologians, but are very indifferent philosophers.

- William Hazlitt, "On Reason and Imagination" (1826)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011