more path

More Path – Yesterday I spent the day hauling around stepping stones and crushed gravel to complete a little path behind the house. I also dug up the ground where I’ll be planting my bamboo, and mixed it with bark mulch to improve the drainage. The soil acidity is just about perfect, but holds water for far too long. Besides turning in mulch, I’ll finish installing a french drain system throughout the patch of ground next weekend or the weekend after. Depending on the weather, I’ll plant the bamboo tomorrow. The grove at the end of the little path will have purple bamboo, and the timber bamboo is going in at the corner of the property. The bamboo will probably not shoot up new culms next year, since it will concentrate on sending out rhizomes. The year after next the bamboo should start to grow above ground, and a few years later it will be unstoppable.

I also had an interesting experience picking up a Chenrezi statue I ordered from a monestary in Nepal. They sent the statue air cargo via Singapore Air, so I had to go to the airport to pick it up. I had to visit customs in downtown Seattle first, and apparently Nepal’s duty free status has expired along with a bunch of other countries, and congress has been too busy with more urgent matters to address renewal. The customs official was kind enough to offer me a reimbursment form so that I can get my duty money back after congress renews the duty-free status. After a light interrogation by the customs guy, I was able to pick up the package. The terminal I visited reportedly receives lots of Hasbro toys, garments for Nordstrom, and parts for Boeing. The whole process seemed extremely chaotic and easy to compromise.

Speaking of chaotic, the project I started on less than two months ago is being burned to CD today. This launch basically establishes a beachhead in what will be a longer campaign; but I am honestly surprised that we made the deadline and it feels soooo good to ship! Others on my team have just RTM’d two pretty significant releases; the MSDN links finally went live today. SQLXML 2.0 is one of my favorite products in the company, and the install includes MSXML 4.0, which also just released.

Madhu Menon pointed out this Arundhati Roy piece which questions the wisdom of a “war on terrorism”. I don’t really agree with that particular article. But when Shaadaab S Bakht slams the Newsweek/MSNBC piece on “Why Do They Hate Us?” today, I have to agree. The Newsweek piece is essentially a re-print of Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” and I am surprised that Bakht didn’t point out the disgusting similarity. Another interesting slip in Bakht’s piece is his citing Edmund Burke as supporting Islam. It is true that Burke had much to say that is relevant today, but one one of Burke’s more memorable beliefs was his idea that society functions best when the rich spend “just enough” energy buying off the poor to prevent them from having the will to revolt. This is close enough to a “rich man’s burden” that one would expect Bakht to see the same arrogant overtones as the Newsweek piece.

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