A Report on my 80% Today

Today is a holiday in Ecuador. Independence day from the Spaniards, rather than the English. Tomorrow we’re going to a friend’s for tea. We met her in Spanish class and it should be entertaining. She’s Iranian. A fearless speaker, mixing English and Spanish in an animated stream that almost makes sense and leads to some bizarre and funny tangents of conversation. Often the teacher had to tell her that a word was English, not Spanish, and I completely understand. I’m trying to shovel Japanese in my head for our October trip, in the midst of Spanish lessons, and I know I’ll be mixing up the two. The brain is a funny thing.

I tried chochos the other day. A type of bean native to Ecuador and Peru, hailed as the next superfood. Better protein and nutrient profiles than soybean. Only drawback is it takes a few days to cook. Luckily they sell it precooked. It’s about the size and texture of a garbanzo bean, might be interesting to try making hummus with it.

Nothing too exciting going on, culturally anyway. I figure about 80% or more of my daily experience would probably be the same, even if we lived in Mongolia. Today, for example, I’m deep into the exploration of neural nets and tinkering with building my own for both experimentation and a couple of projects. I also have a sandbox setup for hackery and am surfing topologies of the network geography down here, mapping activity that invisibly overlays and shimmers atop the pre-digital physical and cultural landscapes. With a casual intent on updating my skills, perhaps towards a consulting gig in cyber-security. I have experimental oscillators and virtual instruments running, riffing a spectrum of novel sounds. I’m not sure what our neighbors think of some of the extraterrestrial vibrations occasionally pulsing through the walls. But I enjoy shaping and sculpting sound waves like blocks of wood or granite exploring what’s beneath. And finally, working on a little light particle project, shepherding the tiny scintillating flocks into simulations of fireflies across a darkened glade. With a dab of cricket song I sampled in Fort Collins out the bedroom window and a geometric sigil glowing in the stars to channel helpful energy from those viewing the piece into increasing the fireflies chances of survival in our light polluted environments.

So anyway, more of a picture maybe of what’s going on 🙂 Be well my friends and family. Here’s a metta meditation I’ve sent to each and all of you at one time or another. And will continue to do so

may you be safe
may you be happy
may you be healthy
may you live with ease

Rituals

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Easter celebrations have passed. Kept meaning to find some good Fanesca, a soup they only serve during this time, but missed my chance. There were weird festivals on the streets, guys dressed up like the KKK but in purple, rather than white. Escorting multiple Jesuses with crosses down the street. Evidently it’s the garb of the cucuruchos, which they used to wear in private in penance.

Went to a presentation on Andean cosmology and got to hear some strange ceramic “instruments.” I captured some on my Zoom. Here’s a mixdown of some of the segments, sorry for the random clunking, wasn’t really an optimal environment for sampling…

These are sounds you could’ve heard in South America 1000 years BCE.

The cosmology was interesting, but a little idealized with the same type of “noble savage” myths propagated up north. I believe we can learn much from our ancestors and earlier cultures, just as we can learn much from our children. But there is a spiral of growth in our brief evolution here and many stage 3 cultures have been romanticized while the reality, especially from what I understand about the Incas and when the tribes isolated by geography started actually having to interact with other tribes and groups, was far less glamorous. To be fair, we still have a good chunk of tribal and authoritarian mentality today, and it’s causing similar problems. We don’t really outgrow stages, we transcend them.

“Thus, in the evolutionary or developmental sequence “atoms to molecules to cells to organisms,” each of those stages goes beyond its predecessor by bringing something new and novel and emergent into existence—it “transcends” its predecessor, as molecules transcend or go beyond atoms. But each stage also fully enwraps, literally enfolds or “includes,” its predecessor—as molecules literally include atoms.” –Integral Meditation: Mindfulness as a Way to Grow Up, Wake Up, and Show Up in Your Life by Ken Wilber

Sundry

It’s 2:26pm and I’m still in my pajamas. Dinner out with friends last night, ate something sketchy, many trips to toilet subsequent. Was planning to fast tonight, from 6pm to 6pm tomorrow. Decided just to start early, counting from 9pm last night. There’s a little girl, lives down the hall from us. Never knew much of her story, but today the ambulance came for her Mom who has stage 4 cancer. The Mom who adopted her, the one with the cancer, is living here with the girl’s biological mom and they are all staying for two months. They cook a lot in their apartment, and we usually smell garlicky-butter goodness as we pass their door coming back from our roundabouts downtown. Other people living here are more mysterious. One couple lived for a while in the apartment next door. He played the flute everyday outside his front door; his wife approached me one day, having forgotten where she lived, saying she had to return a sweater to me. But it was her husbands. She had my name right, which was odd, as it wasn’t the same as her husbands. The sweater was her husband’s though. The architects from France all moved out, when the money dried up for the tram construction. The money is back now, but they haven’t returned.

The tram work is now right outside our window. They work unpredictable hours. Sometimes at 3 in the morning. A lot of manual labor. One day, after a heavy rain, a worker was bailing water out of a deep trench with a can the size of a drinking glass. Took him several hours.

Guayaquil is a dangerous place, we keep hearing. We have become recently acquainted with a couple living there. They are Japanese, have a young son and live in a gated community. But the wife is fearful. She heard from a teacher, a neighbor, that two children were found last week dead, their eyes and organs removed. They suspect gangs. I searched the online newspapers, in Spanish, but she was right, nothing was reported. Just the high profile case about the two girls from Argentina. We have no plans to visit, either Guayaquil or Quito except maybe the airports.

Each night I’ve been going out to the central park, two blocks from here to sit on a bench and smoke a single cigarette. After years of smoking, quiting, switching to vapes, stopping, smoking only on vacation, etc. I decided that for now, I enjoy smoking, but my body is less resilient than it once was, so I limit it to one a day. Five days of the week. Go through about a pack a month. On the bench I watch people. Some are friendly, we greet each other. One guy I walk past on the way, usually standing outside his restaurant, has started to holler “Hola familia!” I replied “Trabajando duro!” last night, which is like “working hard!” But he’s really not. But he kind of is, standing out there all the time…

A lot of making out goes on in the park. Young couples without privacy at home, with no car. Some break dancing over under the pavilion. Many nights the pavilion is taken over by the police band, who come to practice. I’m pretty sure. But they get scattered applause after each set, even with several wonky notes. Occasionally the big red tourista bus pulls up, double decker, open seating on the top, a smattering of people disembarking. Sometimes I can see the moon in the Andean skies which are usually overcast at night.

Miko’s operation for removing her cataracts went seamlessly. We had both done at once. I guess that’s not the usual procedure, but they accommodated our request on the fly (we thought we were having both done, they had assumed we were doing one then another a week later, as is the norm.) She’s enjoying her new vision, unfettered by glasses and contacts. Her eyes are still converging for distance sight, we have an appointment in a couple of weeks when it should be stabilized but so far she’s happy with the results.

Spanish classes, intermediate now, are in full swing again. And other than accidentally calling the teacher a monkey, our progress continues.

Yesterday(?) was the Spring equinox and Miko made an interesting observation that here it’s always equinox. The sun rises and sets the same time everyday on the equator with very little variation. Which gave me that kind of “aha!” moment. And I started thinking about cycles and how they influence life and perhaps escape from the problematic ones depend on where our vantage points lie. And some recent experiments that seem to shift my linear perceptions a bit into more spatial ones when I move my “awareness-from” down to my heart or below my belly button… and then my philosophy circuits switched back offline…

I’ve been experimenting with new types of fruit and posting the logs on facebook, so I won’t repeat it here. Wasn’t sure I was going to publish this or not, but it’s been a while…