the state

– of buying nothing. by vastate
Friday, 28 November 2008, 17:51
Filed under: -of jhumphrey, -of politik

a bit late for north america, but are you a “black friday” person, or a “buy nothing” type?


we’re supporting and participating in the latter.

Buy Nothing Day is your special day to unshop, unspend and unwind. Relax and do nothing for the economy and for yourself – at least for a single day.

read more here and here.

the coolest “buy nothing day” experience i ever had was in eugene, oregon.  we were wandering around the 5th street market, trying to buy something.   we went into this little cafe called “out of the fog“, near the train tracks.  we were hungry.  we tried to buy some soup.  they would not let us.  instead, they gave us, and everyone else, free soup and bread so we wouldn’t have to buy anything.  it was pretty amazing.

instead of shopping, consider watching this:



– of sushi. by vastate
Friday, 28 November 2008, 17:33
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

sushi jako (or cafe jako, depending on who you ask), we really want to love you.  really, we do.


everyone else does:

but we paid $19.76 for this:


that’s the chef’s special, entitled, “winter in the shenandoah” – with a puzzling, but delicious, filling of mango & spicy tuna, topped with krab and strawberry cream cheese sauce.  beside it is a basic avocado roll.  behind, are two tiny portions of miso soup – without the usual tofu or seaweed.

we thought it tasted great, but was tiny, tiny!  and expensive!  and i missed slurping up the tofu cubes and seaweed that usually sits at the bottom of miso until the last sips.

what did we do wrong?  i feel convinced that this was a case of “me, not you.”

the chef and staff were lovely.

the decor was cozy.  well done enough to fool you into believing you were not eating in a strip mall.


we have eaten a lot of sushi before.  really.  we used to go to koibito sushi in olympia at least once a week.  it was across the street.  and it doesn’t even get as good of reviews as cafe jako.  but we always got a lot more (like four rolls, two big portions of miso, and tea) for our money.

anyone have suggestions about what we should order for 1.) taste and 2.) value next time we head to this place?  we love sushi.  we love that there is actually a sushi place in harrisonburg.  we want to do better next time.


– of our favorite local market. by vastate
Friday, 28 November 2008, 16:35
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

greenwood gourmet grocery (of whose praises we have already sung), has a new website.


we love this place!

here’s their blub:

Local garden, meat and dairy products persist as the core of the business. The bounty from area farmers is available throughout the summer, and in autumn the spacious front porch is an apple lover and pumpkin fancier’s dream. Wines from two dozen of Albemarle County’s finest vineyards are on offer, and David and Nina have built a far-ranging collection of west coast and international wines along with a beer section so ambitious and exotic (400 brands) as to be unrivaled across the state.

The store boasts a full-service espresso bar and stocks a gaudy array of cheeses, cured meats, fish and poultry, and an assortment of cooked foods and sandwiches prepared fresh daily in its kitchen. A spot of gourmet heaven in an otherwise rural and scantly served run of country, Greenwood Gourmet Grocery is the fruit stand re-imagined. Stop in and see for yourself. We’re hardly a minute west of Interstate 64 at exit 107, Greenwood.

and, best of all – you can now order some things online.  so, if the jaunt over to crozet from the ‘burg seems too daunting, just check out the website:

For those who can’t make it out to Greenwood, we’ve created this new website. We’re starting off small with this first incarnation of our virtual store. For now, you can buy Virginia wine, gift baskets and some of our favorite goodies. When we’ve made sure we can provide the same level of customer service through our website as we do in our store, we’ll begin to expand the items we sell online.

although, we still suggest that you head to downtown wine and gourmet for your virginia wine needs…

the folks at greenwood have gone all out.  from not having any website or online presence at all, to a website, virtual market, and a cute blog.

check em’ out, y’all.


– of iceland in the winter. by vastate
Thursday, 27 November 2008, 21:16
Filed under: -of jhumphrey, -of sound, -of travel

i’m seriously trying to figure out a way to take advantage of the dire state of iceland’s economy.


check out iceland air’s site.


they are featuring such cheap excellence as…

Unity Fares: As a way of saying “Thank You” and acknowledging the unity with Scandinavia, we’re now offering visitors to the countries of Scandinavia a special offer across the board with our Unity Fares!

we’re talking $399 round trip, people.  to iceland, sweden, norway, & denmark.  from jfk or boston.

they are practically begging us to come enjoy their geothermal pools:

No one country has felt the effects of the current global economic environment more than Iceland. The difficult situation has been a noticeable benefit for visitors, but a struggle for the neighboring Scandinavian nation in search of financial relief.


in fact.  you and a buddy can enjoy a “winter wellness getaway to iceland”:

It’s time to slow down and get back into balance.  Revive yourself with a visit to Reykjavik, with its clean and crisp air, geothermal pools and dynamic people. Relax and recharge your body and soul and at the same time allow yourself to enjoy the spectacular nature Iceland has to offer.  Stay at the Hotel Loftleidir, which offers access to an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and Sauna. The Loftleidir is also the only hotel in Iceland offering traditional Chinese foot massages.  Guests of the hotel receive 10% discount off of the treatments.

for $699…! wtf?

or, if the above is a little steep, try a “winter budget getaway” for $479:

That’s right!  The Iceland Budget Getaway is now on sale for travel through March 2009!  This great package includes round trip airfare from either Boston or New York-JFK, 2 nights hotel at either the FossHotel Lind or FossHotel Baron and Scandinavian breakfast each morning after arrival day.

so.  i’m sold.

i want to stay here:


unfortunately, but not really important:

Winter months feature endless days and nights of darkness. Some days see only three or four hours of sunlight in December and January.

hey.  whatever.  i have actually been to Reykjavik for about 6 hours on a layover to europe.  i always wanted to go back.

my desire is only encouraged by two things:

1.) i like sigur ros a lot.  their documentary, featuring a series of non-traditional concerts in the far-reaches of iceland,  was unbelievable.

2.) Opposite of most of the world, Iceland lists its residents’ phone numbers by their first name. In addition to the name and phone number it also lists address and occupation.

– of drug wars. by vastate
Thursday, 27 November 2008, 20:48
Filed under: -of jhumphrey, -of politik

my post about guatemala got me thinking north.  to mexico.

this nov. 13 article from rolling stone was startling.  as were the images.


"I'm a cop-cowboy!" the note reads. "Ahoo-ya! There are going to be more soon!"

and this seems to be the typical story:

Mexico: Seven Bodies Found in Juárez

Published: November 26, 2008

Seven bodies were dumped before dawn Tuesday at a school soccer field in the Mexican border city of Juárez. Neighbors found them along a fence, with three banners allegedly signed by a Mexican drug gang. Officials did not provide details about the messages. The local prosecutor’s office said they had no suspects and were still trying to identify the victims.

i had some serious ethical questions regarding the intent and tactics of rolling stone reporter guy lawson, but that didn’t negate the intense impact of his story. in short, he writes about unsuccessfully trying to meet and interview a top mexican narco.  this guy:


he sums up the whole mexico/united states/drug situation like this:

In the United States, the War on Drugs is a political slogan for a policy disaster that has cost taxpayers at least $500 billion over the past 35 years. In Mexico, it is a brutal and bewildering conflict — a multisided civil war that has taken 3,000 lives this year alone and brought the federal government to a state of near-collapse. Narcotics are now one of the largest sectors of the Mexican economy, twice the size of tourism. Most of the country’s drug trade involves transporting contraband from other sources — especially cocaine from Colombia — to satisfy the nearly insatiable demand in the U.S. But Mexico’s narcotraficante cartels have also gotten into the production side of the industry, manufacturing 80 percent of the crystal meth sold in America, 14 percent of the heroin and most of the marijuana. What Mexico offers the global narcotics industry is proximity to the largest market on earth.

it’s a mess.

i don’t know what else to say.

do you?

– of street art. by vastate
Thursday, 27 November 2008, 20:21
Filed under: -of art, -of jhumphrey, -of politik

our friend, matt, has this blog. it’s mainly about art and revolution and ideas.  the images are great.  here’s one (from here) that i found particularly excellent:


“A revolution without art, is like trying to change the system with money, power, violence and greed.”

it’s from the university of san carlos of guatemala in guatemala city.  there are generations of protest art on the walls and sidewalks and buildings of this campus.  the one above is new.  apparently, it showed up during last month’s americas social forum guatemala.

this place has always been a hotbed of art and revolution in a city always in need of some protest or demonstration.  here’s an older, worker’s rights mural on it’s walls:


there is a book with more street art you all should look at:


and check in on guatemala every once and awhile.  it struggles.  and usually, nobody pays much attention.  you may have to look hard.  maybe matt can tell us how exactly to keep up to date on this country.  updates are few and far between in these parts.

– of thanksgiving induced stupor. by vastate
Thursday, 27 November 2008, 19:32
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of upcoming

all of the state’s energy has been used, coping with large amounts of lovely relatives, noise, and butter.  we’ll get creative sometime soon.  promise.

relativesroundtable + noise +butter