Holi and the Festival of Colors!

To many of you, that might sound like a great name for a children's book. Actually, I think it IS a great name for a children's book. But for a good billion plus people, Holi is the celebration of the coming of Spring. It's generally a Hindu celebration, and we're lucky! We have a Hindu temple within a couple of hours in Spanish Fork, Utah. (A little deviation here...why in the world would they choose Spanish Fork, Utah!?!?!)

Anyway, a good friend of mine went last year and made a documentary on it (there are so many interesting things all around us!) and I thought it looked fantastic. Another friend of mine reminded me on Tuesday-ish that it was on Saturday this year. I decided I had to go and experience it, so I told some other friends and we trekked down there. Well, actually, everybody was *supposed* to meet us there. Zacharia and I trekked down ourselves.
We realized that once we got past Provo that there was going to be a TON of people there. You see, traffic was getting worse, not better, and we passed two major accidents involving halves of about 5 or 6 cars. Ouch. The Spanish Fork exit had a line about a mile long, so we decided to go to the Benjamin exit, which, as we soon found out, had only a line a half-mile long. There were cars parked EVERYWHERE near the Krishna temple, and it was quite evident that this was more popular than we'd ever imagined.
Another deviation...I have never given Utah County the benefit of the doubt for anything, which has usually proved to be advantageous and even true. However, I was mega-impressed that such a counter-(to-Utah-County's-)cultural event could thrive, let alone survive, in such a place. Kudos, Utah Countians, you have brownie points in my book.
Holi concludes with a great throwing of 'coloured chalk.' I use quotes because once upon a time (2001), a study was released pointing to the toxicity of the chalk. It was bad news, so now it's colored (and fragranced, I may add) cornstarch.
Regardless, when Zacharia and I showed up, the emcee was trying to get everyone ready to throw the chalk at once. He said that the chalk was sold out (!), and on ten everyone would throw the chalk up at once. Zach and I ran into the crowd and prepared ourselves--pulling out shirts over our mouths and noses.
As the countdown hit one, something absolutely awe-inspiring happened. It was immediately dark all around for a slight instant, and then the cloud that surrounded us turned pink. Yellows, blues, purples, reds, greens started streaking the inside of the cloud. Zach was two feet away from me and I lost sight of him for a moment. You could see no sun, yet you knew it was somewhere, actually as a giant key light being diffused to all inside the cloud.
The cloud lasted for approximately 2 minutes. They also put sandalwood into the chalk, so it smelled amazing. You didn't want to breath, but then you did. After two minutes, we emerged from the mosh and made our way up to the temple, absolutely exhilarated from the experience. It was awesome!
We finished the day with some good hot Indian food, met up with the friends who were supposed to make it (they eventually did and were jealous of our coloration), and generally enjoyed the positive atmosphere that such cultural events radiate.
I really appreciated the Hindi faith for opening their doors to allow the general population to celebrate with them. As the emcee announced that this was the largest Holi gathering in North America, ever, I was filled with happiness to think that so many people were there with little disrespecting the celebration's faith. There were some, obviously,--in a group with numbers nearing 3000, there are bound to be reckless and stupid people--but I was pleased nonetheless.
I also invite anybody to plan to come with next year. I promise it won't disappoint!!



Wow, I just got spammed in my comments. COOL!! Well, I think it's cool because it's in a foreign language. I thought about deleting it, but I then thought..."I don't think anybody that reads my site is gullible enough to start clicking those links," so I'm keeping it up. Don't let me down, people!

In other news, I was made aware of a very interesting NY Times piece the other day. It's titled, "CONGRESS PASSES WIDE-RANGING BILL EASING BANK LAWS." It talks of how this deregulation bill would negatively impact the economy and how the bill made it easier for financial entities to enter other financial markets (i.e.-it made this current recession possible.) It's publication date? November 5...1999. You can insert your own ironic/sarcastic rebuttal now.
Interestingly enough, this bill passed the house and senate with majority votes from both parties, indicating that although Clinton signed it into law, and Bush did nothing about it, it wasn't just the Executive Branch that royally effed our economy up back then. I'm started to really dislike the majority of congress-people. I WANT TERM LIMITS IN CONGRESS!
I can't prove that they would have prevented this, let's not be naive, but I can't help but to wonder how much they were influenced (for a lengthy amount of time) by lobbyists. Term limits would not only harbor in stupid congress-people, but I imagine they'd also impact the lobby...in a good way (for Americans, that is, not the lobbyists).


Small clarification

Obama does not equal socialism.
For all of you have who have been misled through Fox News, Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hanity, or your own fear of progress, please read this.
Thanks, Brett!

Big Update

Wow. So, I haven't had such a low-post month for a while. My apologies. I've been going crazy getting donation packets ready for the Peru trip, I've become an IT consultant for two companies, and I'm trying to help market a few others. On top of that, I have seen so many things for which I'd like to blog, but I've just been lazy in making the decisions as to what to actually post. But now that I can buy Quantum of Solace on Blu-ray, I think I'll give you all an update.
First, off, a demo-film for all. I saw this the other day and was happily surprised at the quality and the general feel. Although I admit that there were some things I was disappointed in, I thought it was well done for what seems like a proof-of-concept. Check it out:

Also, check out this short animation by a good friend of mine. She's living in Atlanta now, and just got a job with a design firm. I've always enjoyed her work, and this is a great example. Here's the link.
I'm also getting ready to do a photo series. I haven't decided on content entirely (I have some ideas) but I'd really like your input. The thing is, all of these photos will be developed by coffee and Vitamin C, a.k.a. caffenol. Crazy, eh? It works, and it produces very distinctive prints. I'm excited, so if you have any ideas for themes of this series, let me know in the comments!
Finally, in other news, India's Tata Motors just released the world's cheapest car ($2000!). It's cute as well as fuel efficient! Hulu for academics at academicearth.org. I've found this very good for studying, especially when your professors aren't the best.
Ever wonder what goes in to making a font? Check out this story, it's good.
And finally, cold fusion is back in the news. This could be a very important advancement. Check it. (Plus it has a great reference to the cold fusion experiments at the University of Utah which nearly destroyed the prestige of the chemistry program here. Good thing we've earned academic respect again.)


VIDA - Peru

Hey everyone! I have some really exciting news. I've been asked to go down to Moralillos, Peru to help with a humanitarian project and be the project's official documentarian. Awesome!
We're going down to a city called Moralillos, and we plan on building four new compost latrines to replace the ONE deep-trench latrine that the city of 560 rely on.

We're also going to help them find a solution for their wells, which are open pools of spring water. As you can imagine, both of these make for highly unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions. Malaria is a problem (they're near the Amazon), and a lot has to do with the open-air springs.

Most importantly, we want to TEACH them how to make these latrines and wells, so they can eventually build one latrine per household.
All the volunteers have been asked to raise $1500 to pay for the project to happen, and I figured I wouldn't try to target just businesses for donations, but get friends, and friends of friends--and even friends of friends' friends--involved in making life better for those less fortunate in their societies. Of course, I don't expect everyone to donate their life savings--generosity is always appreciated, but never should be waried--but even $5 will make a difference. But I also want to ask one other thing of everyone here with a blog: will you put this donation button on your site? I've put the code below, and even if you don't donate, putting this on your site would be AWESOME! For more information on VIDA, the organization I'm going down with, check out http://www.vida4all.org

UPDATE: I have since decided to remove the donation link (people weren't using it, and PayPal sucks). If you would still like to donate, you can make a paypal payment to my e-mail address (t s o e l b e r g A T g m a i l D O T c o m; remove the spaces and put @ for A T and . for D O T), or you can mail me a check written out to VIDA. Address is 1781 Lake St, SLC, UT 84105.