Breaking Badass: I Wanna be Cool Like a Laid-off Chemistry Teacher

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I know he doesn’t exist.  And I am usually not one inspired by tales of fantasy or fiction; but Walter White, who’s both the protagonist and antagonist of the show “Breaking Bad”, is the most bad-ass man who has ever lived in the tubes of my television.  Previous exposure to White and the show is not necessary to empathically understand how he inspires me; therefore, I find it utterly captivating that behind the curtains of the most milk-toast chemistry genius, who lectures on ionic and covalent bonds to disrespectful, non-appreciative high schoolers, lives Heisenberg: the only chemist in the world capable of synthesizing 99% pure meth.  Heisenberg, of course, is Walter White’s street name; he penned it after the German quantum-physicist Werner Karl-Heisenberg. Walter White is a Walt Whitmanesque character – prevalent from the numerous allusions utilized in the show – who prides the little-man, which…

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Kuratani Onsen

Abandoned Kansai

After *a surprisingly successful recent exploration in China* it’s about time to write about a surprisingly unsuccessful exploration in Japan I did 3.5 years ago.
On a nice spring day I made my way to Wakayama prefecture to check out the Kuratani Onsen, which had a reputation for being one of the most beautiful abandoned onsen in all of Japan. The next train station was about 1.5 hours away, but I didn’t mind the walk towards one of Wakayama’s gorgeous mountain ranges. Along the way I saw a small abandoned house, emptied, windows smashed – rather uninteresting, despite me being rather inexperienced back then. Probably somebody’s weekend home in the 1990s.

A few minutes later I finally reached the Kuratani Onsen… and I was shocked by its condition. Parts of the building complex were collapsed, probably under the weight of snow in the winter – the downside of unmaintained wooden…

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The mystic landscape is the desert. Where the indomitable spirit flourishes and the imperfect turns to dust. There is a lot of sand in the desert.

The endless sky gives refuge to the imposing sImageun and moon. Pagan rituals honor it for its greatness. 

In the desert, animals hide under brush and atop cacti. The Saguaro cactus can withhold many gallons of water for extended periods of time. Ask the Code Talkers.

Much can be said about desert rain. Its fragrance surpasses the most expensive Parisian perfumes … The Creosote bush is the Chanel Nº 5 of the desert.  The overwhelming feeling of joy one gets as the desert sky starts to cry, lash out, and scream.

All that is in the desert is hidden by what is not here. You must look past what isn’t to see what is.

In its empty skies you see the sun set. Through the bare basin you see magnificent mountains. Within the beige you see the green of plant life and pigments of flowers. Engulfed by its silence are the songs of sparrows, rhythms ofrabbits running, and balancing of your breath. As you look out to the desert, you see a reflection of yourself. As if you were looking into an elusive desert pond; seeing yourself looking back at you.

.uoy ta kcab gnikool flesrouy gniees;


I waited 30 secs. for something to happen – then realized nothing ever would.

Not sitting on a park bench or in a railway station, a briefcase not in my hand.

I did not own a trench coat or a hat.

I was not looking down at the pavement.

I didn’t smoke.


A group of men made music.

They had no instruments.

They did not sing.

They walked and talked on their cell phones.

It was bad music.