Sunday, September 24, 2017

Agung 2

One of my neighbors back in Portland, Oregon, was Mt. St. Helens, about 70 miles north in the State of Washington. Thus it happens that angry Gunung Agung brings back some memories.
In 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted. It turned out to be the deadliest, most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. The eruption itself reduced the elevation of the mou...ntain's summit from 9677 feet to 8363 feet. Ash covered the earth all the way down to the streets of Portland and hung in the air like a thick, acrid smog. People were advised not to go outside without wearing a facemask due to elements in the cloud harmful to the respiratory system.
The house I lived in at the time just happened to be high on the slope of one of Portland's higher hills, Mt. Tabor. The big picture window at the front of the house faced directly north, such that it became like a movie screen. We watched the whole thing, never having to turn around the look at the TV at the back of the room.
Praying now for the folks in the danger zone of Agung, and that old man Agung, the axis of the universe, may soon take a deep breath and reconsider more peaceful options.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Here in Bali, the island is on a level 3 (of 4) warning for an eruption of Mt. Agung, the highest point in Bali at a bit under 10,000 feet. The mountain last erupted in 1963-64, killing more than 1500 people. Villages within 7 kilometers of the base of the mountain were destroyed. Mt. Agung is believed by the Hindus to be a piece (replica) of Mt. Meru, brought to Bali by the first Hindus. It is the site of the island's most important temple, Pura Besakih. This time around, people are being evacuated from the area in an orderly manner, just in case. We shall hope that the mountain settles back to sleep soon.   

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Humor and MS - a Free Online Lecture

On Sept 27th, GeneFo, a free medical community platform, will be holding a free online lecture titled :The Medical Benefits of using Humor to Manage MS". The speaker will be Ms Yvonne deSousa (author of MS Madness). 

Please take a look at the following links. 

Link to register:

Facebook Post:



GeneFo is a free  medical crowd sourcing platform that allows people affected by chronic conditions like MS  to track their condition management and also get access to free tools like clinical trial matching, comparative tools (so people can see what others like them are doing) and  educational resources. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

American Horror Story

Interesting new season of "American Horror Story" (so far). The American horror in this case is the election of Donald Trump Seriously. God bless free speech. Of course, it goes deeper than that. When is fear reasonable, and when a matter of personal issues? Which threats are real, and which imaginary? At what point does fear itself become one's greatest fear? What is really unravelling - the world or one's own psyche?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gut Feeling

An interesting article on the latest culprit in the cause of  MS. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ah, The Arrogance

I was just reading a copy of The Bali Advertizer - well, as far as possible, anyway before the pervasive stench of the paper begins to make your eyes water. Of course, there is the always interesting column by Richard Laidlaw, a friend of mine, a long time resident of Bali, originally from Australia, but other than that ... nada. But the thing that really caught my eye was a small ad about learning bahasa Indonesia, featuring the happy news that one might even learn to talk to "staff". I'm sorry, but this just struck me as hilarious. I couldn't stop giggling for the the longest time! Talk to your staff That which had previously been a flowerpot or a broom has now become a real person!


As far as it is possible, I prefer for everything to proceed in the exact same way every day. I'd like to say that this is because I'm just naturally a creature of habit, or because familiarity is naturally comforting to me, but the fact is, it's because my brain doesn't function properly. If the unexpected is encountered, it's as if I have suddenly slipped into an alternate universe. What happened? Where am I? What do I do now?

I always take the same exact route everywhere I... go. Nearly every day, I go to the Starbucks at Plaza Renon. I take the same route and I park in the outdoors lot.

As I pulled into the lot this evening, however, I was told by the parking attendant that the lot is full.

"Jadi, harus ke mana?"

"Harus ke bawah."

"Oh. Di mana itu?"

"Um ... di bawah."


But I had never been to the underground parking lot. Where exactly was it? Pasti, underground, but where is the entry. And how do you get out again? Hmm. I could just go home, but ... No, by God, I'm goin' in!

So I found the entry, took my ticket from the machine (though parking is free anyway - it says so on the machine - go figure), and down I went.

I parked my bike, rushed up the escalator (asyik!), entered Starbucks, bought my latte, cozied down at my table ... But damn, I'd forgotten my cigarettes in the bike compartment.

Back to the parking lot. Should just take a couple secs ... but hold on ... where the hell is my bike?
After I had toured the fairly small lot for a while, the guard asked whether he could help with something.

"Ya, uh, ha ha, I can't find my bike."

"Ok. I help you. What is license number?"

Damn! I should know this. I do know this. Except, at the moment, I don't.

"Ok. Nggak apa-apa. What color?"


Whew. I feel like a Jeopardy contestant. What is white!

So we tour the place together, eventually unravel the mystery. The bike happens to be where I parked it maybe 10 minutes ago.

As I walk back to the escalator, I note the point of entry. Enter here. Turn left. Easy.

My coffee has gone cold, but at least I have my cigarettes.

Resy comes over and we talk a while, then Iadi comes over and we talk a while too, and then I read a chapter from the book I brought.

Upon descending ke bawah lagi, I exit the door, turn left, and ... Well, how about that, my bike has disappeared once again.

So I begin the search for the second time this evening, and I begin to vaguely worry that someone will report up above that there's a suspicious looking white dude lurking aimlessly around the parking lot below.

4655! Bingo! That's the number! I feel like finding the parking attendant from earlier to let him know I've remembered the number - but, of course, that doesn't really make sense at this point. I'm not crazy. Just stupid.

Ah, there it is, praise God, my bike!

And now one final question, Alex. How long do you reckon it takes for me to find the exit?