I have made a cooking discovery, and learned a new way of thinking about cooking stews in the process. As you may already be aware, the primary thing I presently cook is a spinach-spaghetti stew with lots of spice. Everything else I toss in varies, including at times black-eyed peas, beans of various kinds, cheeses, tomatoes, and similar. I basically toss whatever I feel like eating into the base, along with water and some oil, let it boil down for awhile while tossing anything else in I like, and eat. The new way of thinking about it is that I now have a clear conceptual divide between what I initially toss in and what I toss in later. Some things lose most of their flavour during the cooking or contribute differently depending on whether they're added initially or near the end. I have learned that mustard makes an excellent latter addition, but not a particularly interesting initial component (the discovery). I am glad to have a use for the mustard I got in France a little over a year ago at a mustard shop (don't worry -- it was sealed).
It's nice that when I got in Friday night, my cats missed me so much. They looked very upset when I grabbed my keys to head out to India Garden later that night. It's not quite the same as having a person to come home to, but it's similar in some nice ways.
Here's a pic Ivan took of me on the backpacking trip:
Today was mostly a day of cleaning, but I briefly went to yet another antiwar protest with Dmitriy to take photos. I'll put the rest of the photos up later, but I think this one is particularly amusing:
Apparently, they were FBI officers keeping an eye on the whole thing. They were looking down from the roof of a nearby building, accompanied at times by a very loud helicopter. If I had been somewhat more energetic, I probably would've stayed longer, but I was dead tired, and when my camera ran out of batteries, we went home. The next time I update the media area of my website, you'll see the other good stuff.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has provided a list of 8 "commandments" of Chinese socialist virtue. Some thoughts:
- Love and do not harm the nation
- I don't think this is appropriate -- I believe a good socialist should not advocate national loyalties, instead valuing the revolution and the society it aims to produce. National alliances stand in the way of world progress -- our aims are world communism transcending and eventually unifying nations. One should only love the nation insomuch as it is a system that creates socialism, and not for itself. National identity is a harmful and distracting vanity
- This is important advice that would be timely for the United States. I believe that capitalism as a system tends to create a delusion for many people that by seeking their own interests, society's interests are served. This relationship in a capitalist system is much more complex than that
- Also an important end.
- This is particularly relevant to a lot of bureaucrats and owners of business and other forms of capital, in that when they start to make a significant portion of their income from owning things rather than doing things, they are on a path of privilege and degeneracy.
- This fits into the above as well as #2
- Also fits well into above. This is probably worth separate mention because this is one of the primary struggles against human nature that is characteristic of all kinds of society, capitalist or those that would be communist. In more lassiez-faire systems like the United States, many forms of corruption are out in the open and accepted parts of the system, causing some not to recognise them as corruption at all (e.g. lobbyists, astroturfing, etc). If one is to compare this to corruption in other systems, one must be careful not to simply compare the sysystems by how they compare to their own ideals -- any system with suitably low ideals should not be considered the best society.
- The relationship between radical individualism and criminality is a complex one -- it's interesting to me to see them linked, even if merely by accident, here. I can imagine a connection between certain rationales for criminal behaviour and radical individualism, although that bears further examination. Hmm.
- This is another high virtue that would totally transform any culture that fully embraced it.
- Watch carefully for institutions of privilege, and try to dismantle/undermine them, or at least not support them, when possible
- Advances in phrasing do not entail advances in social conditions
- Do not tolerate those who would destroy society, do not aid those who would hold it back