Tag Archives: adventures

obama on mount rushmore

My cousin got arrested yesterday. Not normally something you proclaim to the world. But here, look what he did:


That’s right. My cousin is one of the Greenpeace rock climbers who put up the Stop Global Warming banner on Mount Rushmore. No kidding!

When I first heard about it, I thought, a banner? Dude, what good is a banner going to do, no matter how well, and symbolically, it is placed? Why put yourself at risk for a banner?

But then I thought, it’s not the banner, it’s the act of hanging it.

Hanging that banner is the opposite of despair and apathy and going along. Hanging that banner says We Want To Be Heard!!! WE CARE!!!! Because sometimes you have to speak up for the good of your own soul. Maybe the message gets through, maybe it doesn’t, but there is NO WAY you can be heard if you don’t speak.

These guys had the stones to speak.

I think that is AWESOME.

I don’t do the news much, so I don’t know how they are spinning it, but I did see one piece that claimed the guys had defaced Lincoln, a lie that really pissed me off. The climbers were very respectful of the site, using pre-existing rock climbing tie-ins for example, so that nothing would be damaged. And they put the banner beside Lincoln, not over him, with Obama’s face lined up with the other Big Presidents, to emphasize the obvious: Obama can be one of the greats if HE has the stones to do the right thing and work to save the planet.

It sounds so scifi, ‘save the planet!’ but in this case, it’s true.

I hope Obama realizes that the message doesn’t come from a dozen big hearted rock climbers, but from the many, many other people who stand behind these guys. I hope Obama listens.

Noah, you’re my hero!

we love katamari damacy

Thanks to the magic of craigslist, we got a used ps2 and a stack of games this holiday. That’s Sony Playstation 2 for those who aren’t up on the lingo—including me, until recently. The ps3 is now all the rage, so an old ps2 is easily and cheaply acquired. Remember, a game that was fun and cool five years ago, will still be fun and cool today, even if it isn’t as fancy. Look at chess—still a good game, and it’s old.

We’ve tried a bunch of the games in our stack, including Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonu, Lego Racers, Okami, and Ghost Recon, and liked many of them, but the hands-down, surprise hit is Katamari Damacy.

What the heck is that?

Okay, here’s how it works. The King of the Cosmos, a pompous, self-centered, vain, and yet somehow so lovable, ruler,

has his son, Prince (the little green guy at the bottom), roll the things of Earth up into a ball called a Katamari. Then, once the katamari is large enough, it goes into the sky as a planet or a star.


Here, let me show you.

You can see here, Prince is rolling up small things, dice, strawberries, batteries, puzzle pieces. The more stuff he rolls up, the bigger the katamari becomes.

Here he is rolling up such things as a fire extinguisher, a horn, and a watering can.

And here the good Prince is rolling up buildings, trees, a hot air balloon—you get the idea.

The surprise is this:

Rolling things up turns out to be crazy fun!

I can’t explain it. It’s hilarious to go to the flower garden and roll up the flowers and butterflies and little bunnies and garden gnomes and see them stuck in this ball, wriggling their feet, trying to get free. It’s satisfying to get all the goodies, to clean up, to capture the items spread from here to there by the game. “I got a lipstick!’ “Hey, I got a cat!” “What the heck was that? A plate of sushi?” We all play, from the 3 year old to the 37 year old, totally engaged. There is a marvelous katamari battle for two players, as well as a cooperative version where two players try to roll one katamari. “Go this way!” “I AM going that way!” “No, the OTHER that way!” You can look at your stuff, or see the sky where all your rolled up Katamari’s are, up there among the constellations. You can also go to strange locations, such as outer space (roll up the Sun!) or here is a favorite, under the sea. Roll up sea shells, then fish, then giant squid!

Fun is weird. It’s unexpected and spontaneous, and comes from the oddest places. And the more fun you have, the better life feels. People who are all ‘video games are bad’ really can’t be imagining the connection and goodness of a group of people who love each other, cheering and yelling at the screen, while rolling up gobs of virtual, whacky stuff.

I knew it had totally entered our family gestalt when I found the kids giggling, pretending they were katamari this morning, rolling stuff up off the floor.

Oh how I wish it were true! What a lovely way to clean the yurt!