Friday, December 25, 2015

The Tasmanian Christmas Gift for Mom - (Part 4 of 4)

The inside of an abalone shell
Getting the abalone was only half the quest, now I had to bring it home. I froze the meat.

In the morning, the couple made me coffee again. They were leaving on the ferry with their SUV to the mainland of Australia soon. I gave the wife one of my abalone shells - a trophy and prize for her too.

Before they left, I thanked them for their hospitality and kindness. They drove off.

I stayed longer to rest. Then, I gathered up my stuff and hitchhiked on the side of the road. My gear was heavier now because of my abalone catch.

An older, gay, married couple picked me up in five minutes of hitchhiking. One was from Sussex in England and the other was from Germany. They now both lived in Germany. The German was the older of the two, and I assumed he was the one with the money because they lived in Germany instead of England.

They dropped me off at the fork in the road. I hitchhiked there for 40 minutes. Nobody was going to the ferry port, but people were coming from there because it was a Saturday and not a Sunday. Then, a young Chinese couple picked me up.

They had never picked up a hitchhiker. They had never toured on their own either. They weren't in a tourbus, like most Chinese that travel.

We had a conversation. The girl was very pleased I spoke Mandarin. We switched in English and Mandarin but we spoke mainly in English. She was an accountant, and he was an engineer. I was surprised a Chinese couple picked me up, but maybe it's perhaps it's because I'm Asian. In China, people don't hitchhike. I told them I had caught abalone, and they were surprised.

Eventually, I admitted to them I was an attorney. I'm surprised they didn't stop the car and throw me out. No. No. They were actually also amused by the fact that a lawyer didn't have a car on holiday and was hitchhiking. She told me in the far West of China, in the area near Afghanistan, there are travelers like me, who travel on a shoestring.

We arrived 2 minutes before the ferry departed. After the ferry sailed into mainland Tasmania, I thanked them and took an hour bus ride back to Hobart - the capital city of Tasmania. Along the way, the bus picked up these two German girls. They sat behind me.

I was tired and exhausted. I had another dive before I left and didn't catch anything because the currents were too strong again. I was cold. I didn't sleep well. So, I slouched on my bus seat.

To keep awake, I eavesdropped on the German conversation behind me. I could pick up a few things here and there and thought to myself: I really need to learn better German.

I walked back to the hostel carrying my heavy gear. I unpacked it. I froze the abalone once again. I met my roommates for the night. A couple was Dutch. We got along. They started teaching me Dutch, and because I knew some German it wasn't so hard. I actually corrected them at one point that the word they taught me couldn't be a correct translation because I knew the German word for it. They agreed, and we laughed.

I sat outside by myself. Then the German girl, I met on the bus, was there. She sat next to me. It took me awhile to remember where I saw her. But it was obvious, she remembered me. She even mentioned that I looked tired in the bus. (I was.)

I asked her if she'd like a shot of whiskey I had brought with me. She agreed. Then we chatted, until I was ready to sleep.

The next morning, I said good bye to her. I brought my abalone and caught a shuttle into the airport.

My flight was over 25 hours long from Tasmania back to Los Angeles. I laid over in Honolulu. There, Customs inspected my catch. The officers knew what I had and said, "You know, that's worth a lot of money."

"I guess so," I said.

One officer said, "I can smell it." It smelled fresh like the ocean.

The officer in the back said, "Enjoy it. I'm sure it'll taste good."

I boarded my flight to Los Angeles from Honolulu and made it back with the abalone. Outside the airport, my brother and mother met me at night at the airport. It was a long flight, and I wanted to go home.

I handed her the ice chest of abalone. I said, "Take it. Isn't it heavy?"

She said, "Yeah. What is it?"

"Abalone. It's from Australia. It's your Christmas gift."

 I looked at my younger brother and said, "I'm the favorite son now."

He laughed.

We went to my favorite pizza place by UCLA. I told them about my travels. My brother ordered so much food and said, "It tastes better when you pay for it." We laughed.

I walked home. I saw my cat, Jeh Pan. I picked him up and hugged him. Mother turned on the heater, making the home feel warm and cozy. After about six weeks, I slept in my own bed.

When I woke up in the morning, "I smelled abalone soup cooking." I was back home.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Abalone Catch - Part 3 of 4

Quiet Corner, Bruny Island
Copyright PC1134 of RedBubble
Inside the kitchen shed, shivering, I struck up a conversation with the couple. They were in their 70's, married for forty years, and traveling the world for retirement.

I kind of adopted them, like a cat adopts a family. They took kindly to me too. They offered me food and drink because I was cold, pathetic, and didn't bring enough supplies.

After awhile, I warmed up to them and asked them how to have a successful marriage. They both look surprised I asked such a question because they didn't really know the answer to it. They just seemed to have a happy marriage for forty years. The most I got out of them was that you should have similar values and get over being hurt and just make it work.

At about 10, we all said it was time to go to bed. It was cold outside. I had a thin tent.

I slept inside. But, at about 1 am, I was woken up. The rain pounded down so hard, it flattened my tent, and my tent collapsed.

And as I woke, I had a number of thoughts racing through my head. They weren't keeping me up, but they were on my mind. I started to pray. I wondered if it was better to stay in my tent, or go to the kitchen and sneak in and sleep on the couch. It'd still be cold in there, but at least, the rain wouldn't smash down the tent I was in.

But because I was in such peace and meditation, I felt better just continuing on in quiet thought. Then, I fell asleep again, until the cold, rainy morning, woke me.

The couple was in the kitchen before me. They made me coffee. That was nice. They also offered me oatmeal, which I refused, because I didn't want to take so much. They were very a kind couple. After the rain eased, we walked to the local cafe.

There, I bought them hot chocolate, which warmed them and made them feel fuzzy inside. I ordered a cappuccino. We all ordered scallop pies and took our time eating them.

That was the last day the cafe was in operation. And the owner was ugly and mean to us because that was his temperament.

I procrastinated to gear up to go diving. I didn't want to get back into the icy water. But, I put on my wet suit and grabbed my gear and went back to my dive site.

This time, I went during low tide. The water was much calmer. And within ten minutes of searching, I found huge abalones. And like a sea bird, that plunged in the water, foraging for food, and rising for air. I dove down, and used my knife to scrape them off the rocks. I'd only come up for air. Within an hour, I had collected 10 abalones, and placed them in my cheap, grocery, plastic bag. They were so big and heavy, that my bag ripped.

I felt victorious. I took the ripped bag and my ten abalones, and retied the bag. I shucked the abalone shells from the meat. One of them, had some caviar in it. I ate it raw. It seemed savage, but it tasted good.

I hurled the guts into the water, until a seabird noticed and started catching them in the midair - only to the abalone guts. I felt bad because I was killing abalones. And that was taking life.

I kept the two largest shells. And I walked back to my camp ground with a heavy bag of abalone.

The locals looked at me, upset that I took what they thought they owned. The cafe owner shouted: "I'm gonna call the police on you."

I thought - whatever, there's only one officer in the island.

I told him: "Go ahead! I have a license." And yes, I did purchase an abalone fishing license.

After taking a shower, I entered the kitchen. The couple was there. I told them, "I got my full catch."

They both told me well done.

Later that night, I took an abalone, which the couple never ate. I cooked it into soup. We all ate it. We all liked it.

She asked me, "Are you cooking it from a recipe?"

"Yes," I said. "My mom's."

I felt satisfied I earned my catch for Mom. It'd be her Christmas gift. It was raining hard still that night. This time, I decided to sleep in the kitchen shed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Abalone Quest (Part 2 of 4 of the Quest)

Bruny Island
I had only a small backpack on with a few clothes on a sunny day, and I was also lugging around a heavy weight belt and dive gear in my hands, when I boarded the ferry to Bruny Island. Bruny Island is a remote island off of Tasmania, and it only has 500 people that live there. It looked like this trip was becoming visits to remote and extreme islands.

When I boarded, a blonde teenager of 15 was the only other person without a car who boarded Bruny. His name was Hector, and I told him I was going to Bruny to dive for abalone. He told me where to go. Hector was shy, and he seemed excited to meet someone from Los Angeles. Later, he would tell all his friends he met an Asian-American on the ferry from Los Angeles.

Hector also told me that there's no public transportation on the island; so, I had to hitchhike to get to the camp ground. Another hassle. Soon, Hector left downstairs where his friends were.

Without having a car, it was a hassle to come onto Bruny Island with heavy dive gear: a two piece wetsuit, a lead weight belt, fins, and a mask. As a result, I was ill prepared for the harsh weather of Bruny because I only had a small pack. I didn't have enough clothes. I didn't have enough food.

On the ferry, I saw a jeep that had the label Dive Bruny Island. I chatted the guy up. I asked for a lift. He said he would.

Peter drove me to my camp on Bruny Island. He was most hospitable. He pointed out the most southern wheat that grew in Australia and the smoking house for fish and the chocolate factory and the oyster farm and the cheese factory.

It was a most sunny day. But because it was my first day on Bruny, the first day of fair weather deceived me. It was cool and sunny, but no wind. That would change later.

Peter pointed out a good dive site for Abalone. It was where Abel Tasman and Captain Cook landed hundred of years ago. Then, he went out of his way to drop me off at my campsite. I pitched my small little red tent. I geared up and went for a dive in my wetsuit.

As I walked to the spot, Hector and his friends found me. Hector kicked a ball across the road and ran to the ball to run up to me. His friends came. They were shy too but were happy to be introduced. One of them said, "So, he's the one from Los Angeles."

I smiled and nodded. Then they went off their way to play more soccer in the sunshine with the ocean on the coast next to them.

I reached my point. I plunged into the water. I felt the icy water swish against my skin. I hate the cold.

I swam through the great Kelp Forest and couldn't see anything. The seaweed kelp grew massively, and sometimes I felt engulfed by it. It certainly tangled me up a lot. And when it tied up my mask, I felt like I couldn't come up to the surface for air, which felt like suffocation.

The currents were also strong. It was like a whirlpool against the tides. It was like a great sea monster was sucking in the water and me with it. Then spitting me out. Then it'd suck in the water again and spit me right back out.

After about 30 minutes of this, I felt seasick. I think it came more from the dizzying effect of seeing the moving seaweed (like when someone can't read in the car because of his peripheral vision) than the strong currents.

Yet, there was a point when the swishing water calmed, and I spotted one. An abalone. And it was huge. I took in a few deep breaths and swam down to take a look. Yup, that was it. I went back up for air. Caught my breath.

Then, I took my knife and tried to pry it off the rocks. But because I hesitated, the abalone suctioned itself on the rock. I pried and pried with excitement, but I was losing my oxygen from doing so. Then the current swept me away, and the knife got stuck between the rock and abalone. I was dizzy from not having enough air.

I surfaced and inhaled more and more air. I couldn't find my abalone and knife because of all the seaweed covering it. So, I had to wait once again for that split second when there was a pause between the waves, and I found it.

I dove down. I grabbed the knife and wrenched up. The abalone flipped over. I picked it up. I was awed by how big it was. It was the size my hand. I put it in my bag. Success. I captured my first one.

But as I went to the surface, I felt dizzy and sick. I took out my snorkel and vomited my lunch into the water. A red mist of stomach acid and chunks of food mixed with the ocean water. Oh, I thought - I'm not feeling well.

But on I went, and later I found another one and called it a day.

I was cold and shivering. I got two abalone. I must've been in the water for a little over an hour.

Upon coming to shore, I took my catch and stabbed a knife between the shell and the meat of the abalone. I felt bad for killing the creature; I hadn't killed game in awhile. And to do it now, made me realize how awful death was. I told myself, It's for Mom. I cut off the abalone gut and tossed it into the ocean. I thanked God for my catch, and put the meat and shell back into my plastic bag.

I went to my campground kitchen. I boiled some water. I put it in an instant noodle soup. I drank it. It felt good to touch the warm bowl. My hair was cold and wet. My body was icy. My body sucked out all the heat when I drank the soup.

I went to the restroom. I had no change for taking a paid shower. So, I turned on the faucet and cupped my hands and then poured the hot water over my body. It felt good.

I was successful, but not very successful as you can get 10 per day. I was annoyed I got seasick too.

I changed into my regular clothes, and in the kitchen was an elderly couple - who was now drinking Bailey's Irish Liquor. It looked good.

I sat and slumped on the couch, looking worn and pathetic. But I thought to myself, if I caught two, that means I could get more.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Quest for Mom's Tasmanian Treasure (Part 1 of 4)

I had to end the trip with a treasure hunt. Boys must be boys, and sons must be heroes in the eyes of their mothers.

After leaving New Zealand, I could feel that the time was running out on me. It's like when one is having a good time and wishes it would never end. And unlike money, you can't borrow more time. When a good time is gone; it's gone, and don't let anyone tell you different.

It's hard to find a gift for my mother. She doesn't like jewelry or clothes or other ornaments. But the one thing she does appreciate is abalone.

Abalone is a delicacy in Asia. It's a shellfish that's worth much, tastes good, and is wonderful to eat.

I heard that Tasmania, the furthest southern point of Australia had a lot of it. So, I took a flight from Wellington to Hobart, Tasmania. Along the way though, I had a layover in Melbourne, Australia.

There, an English friend named Luke invited me to stay. I met him in Bali.

He showed kindness to let me sleep in his bed, while he slept on the couch. Nonetheless, his flat was dirty because it was two bedrooms with eight people. There was black mold that was growing in the restroom.

With that said, I still appreciated the hospitality and stayed with him. Luke took some time off work for me, and we ate by the Melbourne river and explored the city. We caught up some. Then, I caught my flight to Hobart - the capital of Australia. (I almost missed my flight - by the way.)

From Hobart, Tasmania, I hitchhiked. A friendly 19 year old Maori (indigenous person of New Zealand) guy picked me up. His name was Jessie. He was doing well in school and was an athlete and worked at the airport.

He drove me around Hobart and pointed out the landmarks of the Tasmanian capital city. That was nice.

I asked him where to dive for abalone. He said he didn't know.

Jessie dropped me off at my hostel. There were a lot of Japanese and German people there. They all seemed to be having a good time.

I asked the hostel owner Theresa, where the abalone was. She said, perhaps on Bruny Island. Well, I suppose that was where I had to go.

I was tired though. I didn't sleep enough in Melbourne; after all, it was a two hour time difference, my flight was late, and I went to bed really late.

I wanted sleep, but I was hungry. So, I grabbed some fish and chips from the pier - where there were heaps of Chinese tourists getting fish and chips. I ordered crumbed scallops and trevella (a fish native only to Tasmania). All the while, it was on my mind - where was I going to get abalone?

The day I arrived into Tasmania; it was nice and sunny and fair and warm. It was slightly windy.

I had the room to myself, even though there were seven other beds. I thought about things that were on my mind for some time now. Although it was early at night, I soon fell asleep and didn't remember my last thought.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Having Fun in Wellington, New Zealand

Silly Picture of Us Being Silly
In Wellington, New Zealand, the windy, capital city, I left feeling like I belonged, and that made me realize that I need to come back sooner than later. I used to live in Wellington for three and a half years. This was the first time I was back in six years.

Because people wanted to see me, I changed my flights. I cut my days short in Australia and extended my stay in New Zealand for five more nights. During that time, I stayed at three different households. I had dinner and lunch every day with different friends.

People kept asking me to stay longer, but there was not enough time. It's as Jim Croce sang in Time in a Bottle, "But there never seems to be enough time / To do the things you want to do, once you find them". (Incidentally, it's one of the main theme songs in X-Men's Days of the Future Past.)

A lot of this trip has had some exciting adventures: like when I walked through the clouds on the Kepler Trek or when I spotted Kiwis on Stewart Island. But, coming back to Wellington, made me appreciate the quieter but more valuable aspects in life - the ties I had and the strengthening of them.

For instance, my friend Kirill and his wife, took their entire weekend off to take me on a small hike, make me breakfast and dinner, and to go to a winery. My friend Andre invited me to his home, and he took an entire day off of work to spend time with me. His family and I walked through the city, bought ice cream, and watched the sunset together.

You can't really buy moments like that. Either you've invested enough in the relationship or you haven't, but there's not much in between.

My time in Wellington made me reflect on the busy and lonely lives that Angelinos live - where you're expected to earn more and work more and be someone. But to what end? It's almost like community doesn't exist in Los Angeles.

I've observed that people want to be happy and have friends and have community. But those things, take a sacrifice of time and resources. How many people are willing to take time off work, just to spend time with a friend that's visiting?

Well, it's as Oscar Wilde once said, "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Second Summer in Christchurch

Jumping off a pier in the French Village of Akaroa,
Canterbury Plains - New Zealand
Climbing out of the water
I was grateful that Shen, my former coworker, a programmer and amateur comedian, took half a day off of work and took me to the French Village of Akaroa, an hour's drive out of Christchurch. Although it was December, it was a hot and wonderful day.

It may be obvious, but because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, we're approaching summer; while, back at home, we're approaching winter. So, it's quite nice that I had a summer in July, and now I have a second summer in New Zealand.

I can't say I was that impressed with Akaroa. People have told me it's a lovely French Village; so, having been to the South of France, I was expecting people to be telling me Bonjour everywhere and carrying baskets full of bread and cheese. Nope. That didn't happen.

But, it was hot and nice and I was able to jump off the pier a couple of times to cool off. And, that was good fun.

We also entered the 1887 historic courthouse, and I walked passed the barrier and pretended to be a barrister arguing in front of the judge. Shen was a killjoy and told me I wasn't being respectful for trespassing into the historic barrister platform. I told Shen he was being a killjoy and to let me have some fun. Oh well, don't tell the Kiwis I did that.

In the evening, Shen showed me how the earthquake destroyed the downtown area of Christchurch. In many areas, there was nothing left. There was also construction everywhere I looked. It was no longer the lovely city I remembered.

It was good to catch up with Shen. Must come back to New Zealand, again. I fly next back to Wellington.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Last Frontier

In the French Village of Akaroa, New Zealand on Dec. 2, 2015:
In contrast with the picture below, I finally got a haircut.
From the Fjordlands of New Zealand, I wanted to see the last frontier of New Zealand - Stewart Island. Stewart Island is the furthest south you could get in New Zealand, and I've never been. There's nothing between Stewart Island and Antartica, except ocean. You're only three hours away from Antartica by flight from there.

Stewart Island has all the wild birds that the rest of mainland New Zealand doesn't have because it's mainly undeveloped and introduced animals such as rats and stoats don't exist. So, the birds can exist.

Did you know - that in New Zealand - there are only two native mammals: they're both bats? Everything else, such as dogs, cats, mice, possums, and stoats have been introduced.

I had to hitchhike out of Te Anua to Invercargill to go to Stewart Island. In total, it took four and a half hours, about two hours of drive time, and two hours of wait time. I've never waited so long to be picked up, but nobody was leaving to the city down south called Invercargill.

The first person who picked me up was a furniture maker that was a Kiwi. The second person who picked me up was an Irish carpenter and fisherman. The third person, who I waited an hour for, was a swim coach. I felt tired from trying to convince people on the road to pick me up and take me to Invercargill.

In Invercargill, there was a motorbike championship called the Burt Monroe challenge. Burt Monroe is a Kiwi Hero for setting the world record for the fastest motorcycle of a 1000 cc engine. You can watch the movie sometime called The World's Fastest Indian - starring Anthony Hopkins.

The town was full of bikers. And I bumped into one of the bikers coincidentally. He was a former manager of my former employer. We chitchatted, had tea, had coffee, and ate biscuits. He was in town because of the Burt Monroe challenge.

After being in Invercargill, I flew to Stewart Island in a tiny airplane that could hold only ten people. I was so lucky because the pilot let me fly in the cockpit with him.

Me, flying in the cockpit with the pilot
After landing on Stewart Island, I took a speed boat to a place called Freshwater Creek. You have to go in high tide. Because at low tide, the ocean water doesn't reach the freshwater river. Then the speedboat gets you across the river and drops you off in a swamp.

Walking through the swamp is dirty businesses. I've never been through a swamp before. But it looked like pictures out of the Florida Everglades. And you walk through mud and water and it's just really wet. Nonetheless, it was beautiful to see the sharp blades of long grass grow. It was also nice seeing all the small birds come up to me and watch me.

The Swamps of Stewart Island, New Zealand
At the end of the trail, you reach a hut at Mason's Bay, where a farm used to be. There, I met two hunting families. I befriended one of them, who I gave eggs for his breakfast bacon.

Mason's Bay is reputed to have the most kiwis anywhere in New Zealand. A kiwi is a native bird, that's like a mini turkey, except with a long beak.

At midnight, we went to spot Kiwis in Mason's Bay. Twice, I saw them. I was quite surprised by how big they were. They looked like miniature turkeys.

The next day, I had to return back to Freshwater Creek to get my speedboat back to the main town on Stewart Island. While waiting for my next speedboat, I met the hunter who I gave eggs too.

He was kind and repaid me. He gave me a piece of meat from the deer he had just shot. I was grateful.

Kaka - the endangered New Zealand Alpine Parrot
Then, I took my speedboat back to the mainland. At my hostel, I saw the other only alpine parrot, called a Kaka. It's endangered; so, I was lucky to get its photo.

On my last day of Stewart Island, I needed to catch my flight from the small city of Invercargill to Christchurch. A fog came in. The flights off Stewart Island were cancelled.

After two hours; however, flights reopened. I was able to catch my flight from Stewart Island to Invercargill.

My next post is about being in Christchurch with Shen - my former coworker and friend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Taking That Once in a Lifetime Photo

Picture of a Kea - the only Alpine Parrot
Photo shot by Paul Cook on an iPhone 6
on the Kepler Trek
I snapped a picture that every tourist wants - at the ridge of a mountain - which was so high - you were walking in the clouds and being pelted by snow and hail. This is the story of how I got that picture.

I journeyed to the Fjordlands of New Zealand, which is in the Southwest corner of the country. Fjords are where the glaciers have cut through the mountains and the forest and have let the ocean flow in.

I hiked the three night - four day - Kepler Trek. On each night, there's a cabin with about 50 beds in it for travelers.

On the first night, I hiked up and up and up to through the forest, all the way to the top of the mountain ridge. I was slow because my pack was heavy. My pack was heavy because I packed too much food and good food.

Most people pack dry food, like instant noodles and spaghetti. But how could I eat like that? Seriously: cardboard and dust. I don't think so.

So, I packed wet food, like potatoes and steak and smoked salmon and red wine poured out into an empty coke bottle. Of course, this added to all my weight. And that, in turn made me slower. This is an important fact for later.

On the first night of the hut, I met some Irish people; some English people; a young Canadian; and some high school boys from a New Zealand school. The New Zealand boys were the first to say to me.

On my first night, I ate boiled young potatoes and steak and had a cup of pinot noir. The other hikers couldn't believe I ate like that.

The next morning it snowed, and it was beautiful. When I woke up, this is what it looked like outside the cabin:

View from the Luxmore Hutt on a snowy day

On the second day, I walked on the ridge of the mountain. The mountain ridge reminded me of walking on the scales of a dragon's back, with sharp points and constant hiking up and constant walking back down.

The mountain was a mile above sea level, meaning I literally was walking through the clouds and the gale force winds and snow. The winds were so strong, if a snow flake hit your face, it felt like a rubber band being shot at you and stinging you.

I was by myself on the ridge because my pack was heavy and the other hikers were further ahead. Then, the bird spotted me, screamed, and called out to me. I looked behind me and it was about 300 feet away. I could see him standing at a scenic point (which you could see in the next photo.)

I dropped my pack and walked back to him. At first, he let me get about a yard away. I talked to him calmly. So, he let me closer to him. And he was making eye contact and scoping me out. Once he found me safe, he let me get half an arm's length away. I could pet him, but the keas are rumored to bite and claw; so, I didn't.

He let me snap a number of photos of him. Then, I asked him to fly - and he did. And I took the shot above.

Then we talked some more, and he got bored after 30 minutes, and flew away. At first I thought he was after food, but I don't think he would've spent so long getting to know me if that's what he was after. The Kiwis say the bird is as smart or smarter than a dolphin.
Kea perched on a scenic point on the Kepler Trek.

On the next day, we stayed in a cabin in the rain forest. There, I met two young flight attendants from Air New Zealand. It was one of their birthdays, so the other one baked her a cake and brought a candle. It was quite an amazing thing to do for her friend. The cabin sang happy birthday to her.

On this night, one of the high school teenagers gifted me with smoked bacon because they were leaving the next day. That was kind.

The next two days were spent walking in the rain forest, which was interesting but not as spectacular as what I've shown you above.

On the final night, I made smoked salmon and risotto. It tasted really good, but was far too difficult to cook for a hike. On the other hand, you need rice or bread when you hike long distances. And this was a good tasting one.

But, I made too much food. So, I had two and half meals from it.

On the last day, I walked out through a swamp and made it back home. The last picture I'm showing you is rare sundew plant, which is a carnivorous plant. The fly gets stuck on the sticky tentacles of the plant, and the plant eats it. I was surprised to see it.

Red Sundew - a fly eating plant - taken in the Kepler Swamp.
I finished the trek on the fourth day. My knees hurt from all the weight and my shoulders were sore too.

Anyways, it was worth it, and I enjoyed it much.

Next destination - Stewart Island.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Father's Dangerous Journey Back to America

A Family Torn Apart
Today, my client Rafael Valdez will be walking to the American border and declaring asylum, which means his life is being threatened in Mexico. For security purposes, I won't be telling you when or at which border, until he makes it across.

Some people have thought the only cases I do are against the City of Baldwin Park because that's what I primarily write about. Nonetheless, I do have other cases that are just as important.

In September of 2013, the United States government deported the father of a family because he was undocumented in Washington State. He was brought to the detention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over a traffic stop. The Washington Sheriff asked him, "Are you an illegal?" And when he answered, "Yes," the next thing he knew, he was in federal jail - separated from his American wife and two American children.

You can read all about that story here: White American Mother Suffers Because Of American Deportations Against Latinos

You can also watch on YouTube how it affected the family: A Disrupted American Dream

Because of a complex family situation, the American children ended up residing in the State of Zacatecas with the father, while the mother worked in the States as the bread winner. During that time, Valdez's brother was kidnapped for ransom.

Also, a gang member kicked down the neighbor's door in their village and shot the victim in the chest. Nobody in town talks about it.

And there's more. Several years ago, Rafael's elderly relative was shot in the head and the throat in a field. The Mexican police decided not to investigate.

It certainly wasn't a safe situation for the American children, the father, or the mother (which is why she doesn't live there). I flew down to Zacatecas in August of 2015 to gather evidence.

My read on the situation is that the Mexican drug cartels control Zacatecas, and the government turns a blind eye to any crimes related to the cartel. (I wondered, as I saw the people looking at me, if they were thinking about kidnapping me too for ransom.)

Now that the evidence has been gathered and processed, I submitted it to the appropriate authorities. Today, the client crosses the border with his children. Please pray for their safety and well being.

To be continued . . .

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hitchhiking Through New Zealand

Cathedral Cove - Coromandel, New Zealand
If you guessed, I was in New Zealand - you're right. I gave you three clues to guess my location.

In the last post, I stated, Here's your hint: It's a "humanly riddle", solved by the final conquest of the earthly frontier.

"Humanly Riddle" is an anagram, meaning that if you rearrange the letters you get a new word or words. For instance, "Pat" can change to "Tap." In this case, "Humanly Riddle" can change to "Edmund Hillary." 

If that was difficult for you to figure out - "final conquest of the earthly frontier" refers to Hillary's conquest of Mount Everest. Edmund Hillary was the first man (along with Tenzing) to scale Mount Everest - the final piece of land at the time that had not met human conquest. How does Edmund Hillary tell you I'm in New Zealand? Because he's a Kiwi and a New Zealander of course. 

Your other clue was earlier in the post - I told you I was at the "Edge of the World," which New Zealand is commonly referred too. This is my second home. 

I flew once again on my miles, but as a result, I had a very difficult trip to New Zealand. I had a layover in both Honolulu and Brisbane, Australia. My layover in Honolulu wasn't so bad, since it was only an hour and half, but in Brisbane, it was quite challenging. I had to wait at the airport for 12 hours - four of which, I used by falling asleep on the airport seats. That's the problem with using miles - you can get what you need, but not always what you want.

The first few days, I spent at the top of the North Island. A german guy and I found a cave up there. We entered it and it went about 12 feet underground. It was dark and black in there. You can't see anything without a flashlight. But at the top of the cave, there are glow worms - which produce bioluminescent mucus, which means spit that glows in the dark. Might sound disgusting, but when you turn off your flashlights, the top of the cave looks like a constellation of stars with all the twinkling lights produced.

We trudged through the icy waters and it eventually came up passed my chest. It hurt the most when it went to your waist, because the icy water definitely freezes the groin area, which brings pain. It was still worth it, because we could see the cave spikes on the ceiling and spikes coming up from underneath the ground.

The german spotted a crayfish, and I grabbed it. We ate it later. Too bad we couldn't find more. I spotted a blind eel in the cave. It swam away from me.

Afterwards, we laid outside on the grass and baked in the sun. We needed to warm up because we were shivering from being in the frosty and icy caves for too long. 

I stayed at a hostel - and the hostel used to the city prison. The owner of the hostel converted the prison into a backpacker's hostel, which I found to be quite the creative touch. There were plants everywhere - and the place had a good vibe to it, rather than the dark vibe of a jail. 

Finally, after my time up North, I hitchhiked back down to Auckland to catch my flight to Wellington. It took me five minutes to get my first ride. Then, it took me 45 minutes to get my next ride

I liked the guy who picked me up - who was a New Zealander, who was born in Zimbabwe. I couldn't have asked for a better hitch. The guy was a smuggler - who brought out the wealth of Zimbabwe, during his revolution. He told me his war stories and how much he knew about the world.

He then taught me about diamonds, since his brother was a diamond miner in Zambia. It was all quite fascinating. Then he told me he was barely literate and didn't learn to read until just a few years ago. He was 68.

He said he tried to read when he was 31, and attended an adult school in London. But the urchin teenagers (street kids) made fun of him every day, and he told them to stop. When they didn't stop, he brought a fan belt from his car to adult school and he whipped the street kids to teach them a lesson. Then he threatened to whip the teacher too for not stopping the bullying.

When he told me this, I started laughing. And he said, "Served them right - what I did to them. Those kids were bigger than me - so they thought they can just pick on me. So, I let 'em have it." The police got him and threw him in jail that day, but when he asked for his lawyer - they were tired of him, and let him out. In the end, he got kicked out of adult school.

It was a good ride, and I was very glad he gave me a two hour ride into Auckland. There, I met my former Judo master. She bought a restaurant and turned into a place that reminded me of place out of Seoul, Korea. We hadn't seen each other in six years.

For my arrival, she brought out fresh and raw scallops, raw pieces of fish, and boiled pieces of pork belly. The food was fresh and tasted very good. I could see why she was doing well in her business. We caught up, as best as we could, in the short time that we had. It wasn't many hours and the time went by fast.

Then, I had to leave to the airport - where I caught my flight back into my second home - Wellington. There, my former roommate FX picked me up. I took him to eat Indian food, and we caught up, again, as best we could. He prepared a spare room for me. 

We drank a couple glasses of ruby wine, and talked about our travels and our future travels. I was home.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Where In The World is Paul Cook?

It's that time again: the time to see the world. A few days ago, I took a rough journey across the oceans to bring me to the edge of the world.

I'll give you a hint as to where I am (and in a few days); I'll give you the solution.

Here's your hint: It's a "humanly riddle", solved by the final conquest of the earthly frontier.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Did Ex Felons Hijack Baldwin Park's Election?

The Real Mayor Manuel Lozano
The city election results are in, the old "gang" can't be ousted: Manuel Lozano is Mayor and Ricardo Pacheco and Raquel Monica Garcia are council members again. Pacheco and Lozano have been career politicians for 18 years now. Did the felons cheat the vote?

Cruz Baca was running against Lozano for Mayor, and with all the votes not being counted yet, she's allegedly 16 votes behind from ousting Lozano. According to the data, Lozano received 1,638 of the votes and Baca 1,622 of them.

There needs to be an investigation into this election. On it's face, there are a number of suspicious activities. For instance, most of the votes are done by what's commonly known as absentee or vote by mail. Nearly 50% of all the votes come from vote by mail. That means, that about 1,500 votes are done by mail in vote. So - what you say?
The Real Council Member Ricardo Pacheco

Well, like in the City of Bell, vote by mail has a higher chance of defrauding the votes. In November of 2011, I interviewed women in the nursing home, who told me that the Mayor was around asking them to let others fill out their vote by mail. Furthermore, other witnesses have confirmed that the Mayor's relatives pick up the votes and deliver them. Now, while those votes are in the hands of the self-interested, is there a chance that the vote can be changed? I think so.

The Real Council Member 
And when 50% of the votes are being done in this manner, can a crook win a seat for life? I think so. And when government money is given to cronies of these crooks to have free housing or discounted apartment space, do you think those cronies are going to vote for certain crooks? I think so.

Well, this year's election was extraordinary when it comes to the election data. In other words, it looks like the crooks got so desperate that they made it rather obvious they committed rampant voting fraud in this year's election.

There are two great irregularities in the numbers. The first one, is that in the first time in Baldwin Park's history, did you know that nearly 3,800 people voted.

That's a historic jump of 27% of the most voters ever coming out to election, which was about 3,000 people in November, 2011.

The devil's advocate can say, well, Paul, that's possible, but maybe it was just a great year for civic participation and the people came out?

Sure, but how come the numbers don't add up then? They don't add up because it looks like these crooks defrauded the vote and created 774 missing votes.

The data states that 3,026 people voted for the council people, but in total 3,800 people votes for the Mayor. What I'm saying, is why did over 774 people ONLY vote for mayoral candidates and not the council members or the other elected officials or the water board candidates or the school board? 774 votes are missing.

There's a discrepancy of 774 votes, not a small figure. 20% of all Baldwin Park's votes experienced a Second Coming. They voted for their Mayoral candidate, and poof; the votes disappeared for the rest. Where did their votes go for the council members?

Why should this concern you? Well, think about this. Baldwin Park is a real dictatorship because there's no way to remove these people with the vote. When the votes don't count, the people don't rule, and when the crooks rule, they can rule forever by cheating the vote. And that leads to all the problems I've been chronicling for the last two and a half years. These people do whatever they want for themselves, which essentially amounts to coming up with every way under the sun to launder taxpayer money back to themselves.

As Charles Bukowski said, "The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Perfect Day in San Francisco

When I came into the Bay Area, I told Jeffrey (who is one of my best friends) that we had to go into the City - perhaps, my favorite city in the world because it's a city where you can be free and be who you want. Jeffrey, who cares less about the City, rolled his eyes and said fine.

Jeffrey and I walked the streets of San Francisco on a perfect day in the fall; it was so perfect, you could see Alcatraz Island clearly without the rolling fog, as the glorious sunshine smiled on the City. On this perfect day, the haunted prison looked like a crown on an island.

The air was crisp, and the crowds of people walked through the streets of San Francisco too. They whispered about everything and nothing and created empty and meaningful chatter.

First, we waited in line at one of the most famous bakeries in China Town called the Golden Gate Bakery. It's infamous to be open and closed on a whim, and Jeffrey told me every time he came, it was closed. But this time, it was open. We waited in line for 30 minutes, even though there were only about 8 people ahead of us. But they ran out of their famous egg tarts, and we had to wait and wait. And I was getting impatient, when Jeffrey said, "Patience, Paul!" Just like, he would tell me in college.

I was first in line to get an egg tart, and right out of the oven, the egg tart was hot and piping and steaming, and the custard was thick and warm and when you ate it, it made you feel good. It even made me feel better that when I ate it outside, the throngs of people watched me eat the highly sought after egg tart.

After, Jeffrey and I walked to Little Italy. I ordered a cappuccino. He ordered a pastry. And we chatted about the world and everything in it.

Then, we went to the famous Light House bookstore, and I found a book for my god daughter.

We then drove to the Fisherman's Wharf and walked together - where we got lost amongst the crowds and the hustling bustling people - all of whom talked of chit chat and chatter. The sun was kind to us, and it felt like a magical day.

We ended our day by eating at Haight-Ashbury - where we ate small oysters on the half shell - which were only $1 because it was happy hour. The empty oyster shells were the only reminders of our carefree happiness and day.

Afterwards, Jeffrey dropped me off at my host's place - Frank. I felt healed that Jeffrey took time out of his day to spend time with me.

And Frank and I went back to the City to eat once again. We had a sweet potato gnocchi, which was perfect in how it was made. We also ordered a persimmon salad, which was rich in oil and sweet and fresh in taste. The pork chop was succulent and wonderful. We were in heaven.

Before that, I was in Santa Cruz with a person of knowledge. It took awhile to pry it from him, but he shared with me some deep secrets of this world, but obviously not enough. Rabbi will have to share more, next time.

I received a kind note from the Court of Appeals when I was in San Francisco. It was a good omen to say - Have a wonderful voyage away. I certainly will.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Was Council Member Ricardo Pacheco a Rapist? Identity Disorder Series Part VI

Ricardo Pacheco in a Prison Uniform
Council Member Ricardo Pacheco (also known as Jose Ricardo Pacheco) may be a rapist. Heralding to be a Council Member for 18 years, Pacheco claims to have graduated from Rosemead, California. Nothing could be further from the truth.

According to the Texas Sex Offender Database, an undocumented man (pictures below), of a Ricardo Pacheco raped a 34 year old woman. His birthdate is Oct. 12, 1965, making him 51 years old this year.

The court sentenced Pacheco in Huntsville, Texas on Feb. 10, 1994. The court convicted Pacheco of raping a 34 year old woman.

Hence, like the rest of these crooks, is Pacheco going to claim he was in Rosemead and Texas at the same time? I think that's impossible, unless he can travel at the speed of light.

Now, Pacheco's biggest scam in Baldwin Park is running two sham businesses, which he uses to sell overpriced solar panels: AMG Energy and American Municipal Services. The scam works this way. He offers his products to cities (such as Baldwin Park) at an overpriced amount, a mark up, which goes back to his business. And the taxpayer pays for solar panels it doesn't need, at a very expensive price.

Notice the similarities between Pacheco and the rest of who have been outed: Carrillo, Manuel Lozano, Raquel Garcia, and Michael Taylor. They're all from Texas and convicted felons. By the way, in California it's illegal for someone to run for public office without disclosing their felonies. Did the Mayor Lozano and Council Member Garcia do the same thing? I think so.

The point is basically this. Baldwin Park looks like it's run by the Mexican Mafia. I'll tell you how they do it. Find convicted felons. Give them a new identity and a new social security number. Move them from Texas to California. Put lipstick on a pig by giving them plastic surgery or a stomach stapling. No one in California's ever heard of them. Cheat the vote by mail ballot by forging them or by offering free or low income housing to others loyal to the gang in exchange for the vote, and presto chango - you get a city run illegally by criminals - whose main aim to steal from the taxpayer to line their own pockets.

I was asked why one should care. It's pretty simple. This is why I've been outraged from the beginning and people don't understand it. Being at the boxing gym, I look the youth, whose future is being stolen from them. They don't get the education they need to compete. Furthermore, they're running our city into so much debt, that my generation and the next one will be enslaved in paying it. If we can't pay it, the Chinese (which they're already doing) will buy it. Then, we'll have to give them citizenship, our education, and they'll rule over us instead and take the future of those who need it the most.

And because they're all criminals, the person putting them in power, has something over them - so that they can always blackmail these politicians to keep them under control. And because they're all the same peas in a pod - no one can snitch on each other because they're all the same kind of people.

More to come. But that's it in a nutshell folks.

If you care about your city and the future of the people, you need to look into the background of the people in public office and administration.

Here are some more mugshots of Pacheco.

I just wanted to remind everyone that it's come to all this because Mayor Lozano, Council Member Pacheco, Garcia, Rubio, and Director Manuel Carrillo wouldn't extend the hours of the boxing club, which would've cost the City a $100 more a week.

What's disturbing is that I received a flyer in the mail today that says the Baldwin Park Police Union is supporting Pacheco. Why in the world would the police union support a rapist running for public office?

Coming next: Shannon Yauchzee, current CEO of Baldwin Park.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Was Michael Taylor - Chief of Police - a Pedofile? Identity Disorder Part V

Mugshot of Michael Taylor
Baldwin Park Chief of Police
Does it get anymore ironic that the Chief of Police of Baldwin Park, Michael Taylor may have been a pedophile (and perhaps still is)? According to the Texas Sex Offender Database, Michael Taylor had sexual intercourse with a 12 year old girl. Now, my disclaimer is that I base my factual allegation on the state database. Certainly would fit the profile of two victims, who have complained that Taylor sexually harassed them.

In any event, besides having multiple bankruptcies, a Michael Taylor from Rialto has been indicted for mail fraud by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The fraud worked by a Michael Taylor collecting unemployment monies under Michael Taylor Jr., while Michael Taylor St. (same person) worked in a job.

Michael Taylor, it appears, spent substantial time in Waco, Texas. He originally went by the name of Robert F. (J.?) Weathers. Weathers was a part of the Jaycees and used to be a radio host. Picture posted below of Robert Weathers.

From Lubbock Avalanche 1976
(Looks creepy to me)
Like the rest of the Baldwin Park Council Cronies, looks like Taylor-Weathers had a bit of plastic surgery, and like Raquel, lost a significant amount of fat. Though, reports are telling me that his alcoholism is catching up to him, and he's becoming porky again. As they say, you can lipstick on a pig, but it still makes him a pig.

A number of reports have been coming out from Baldwin Park City Hall that the Council Members and Mayor have been unhappy with Weather's performance as Chief of Police. As a result, the unofficial message is that the's been forced to resign before the end of the calendar year. Evidence seems to substantiate this claim.

If you can't be a crooked chief of police, why not become a crooked politician? That's right, Michael Taylor (Robert Weathers) is running for the Rialto Waterboard now. And why? Because he knows his days in Baldwin Park are over.

Weathers tenure is one of Baldwin Park's most shameful. First, he arrested and jailed an undocumented person and held him in jail for days for "being an illegal." He reinstated Baldwin Park Police Department's racially motivated DUI checkpoint programs to steal cars from the undocumented. Did I mention as Captain, he had Royal Coaches (the police's towing company,) do free auto bodywork on his vehicles? Now, in this city, let me tell you - nothing is really free.

Weathers also fired a boxing coach and signed off on it. He conducted two police investigations on whether there was sexual impropriety with a minor - you know something he might do. And when there was nothing, then he hired a private investigator against the coach and myself. And when there was still nothing, he trumped up charges. By the way, this was all because the coach who worked there for 17 years received a 40 cent an hour raise.

Weathers, however, may have been collecting two pay checks while in office. For about seven months, he was acting city manager and chief of police. Was he collecting two paychecks? Once again, the City refuses to release the documents to me. Again, why hide something damning, unless it's true? Can you believe he did all this in less than two years? Is this what a Chief of Police is supposed to do?

Furthermore, Taylor, knowing his days are done, was attempting to manipulate the City's financial database to collect even more money (illegally) before his departure.

My most controversial article on this blog was my article on previous Chief of Police's daughter, who was caught at Motel 6 with a strange man and drugs. I received comments saying it was the best piece I've ever written and the most unprofessional one. I stand by it because it did what a good journalistic piece did, it provoked a conversation and the question was: Families are separated by over-prosecuting drug offenses everyday, but should a different standard apply when it's the Chief of Police's own daughter?

Now, Taylor wasn't my source (so I could out him). But he did plant that evidence against the former Chief of Police; so, that my source could find it. By doing so, he shamed the former Chief of Police - so he could take her job - just like he's taken so much else.

If you know anything more about Michael Taylor aka Bob Weathers aka Robert Weathers aka James Weathers, please let me know. I have evidence that a Weathers murdered his former wife and a prostitute, but I'd like to confirm it's the same Michael Taylor/Weathers we have in Rialto and Baldwin Park.

Regarding this shameful Chief of Police - I can say with certainty that a pig is a pig is a pig is a pig. But Orwell beat me to that punchline: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

If you want to know more about the secret society that Taylor belongs to, download this Methodist Journal. Method 1975 Journal (This guy was just so sloppy, it was easy to trace this evidence down.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

On Cheerfulness - Quote of the Week

Grove of Olive Trees
I was reminded this week on being cheerful. The Scripture I read stated, "Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time." (Proverbs 9:22 NLT).

What it means is pretty simple. It means one who is in good spirits (being cheerful), keeps you well and healthy. Being down and depressed is a slow death.

I've actually seen this too many times with people I know. I've witnessed so many times a bitter spirit lead to heart attacks, cancers, and other ailments. My theory on this is that the stress and anxiety triggers an autoimmune attack, leaving the body vulnerable to other illnesses.

The verse is insightful because it certainly suggests that you can chose to be cheerful or gloomy. In short, while adversity may choose us, (although difficult) we can choose to be gloomy or cheerful about it.

I selected olive trees as my picture on this post because they certainly look cheery to me. Some translations of the verse say that good spirits is like good medicine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Is Council Member Raquel M. (Monica?) Garcia a Criminal Too? - Identity Disorder Series Part IV

Raquel M. Garcia's Mugshot (Back then: 200 lbs)
From a Government Texas Database
Was Raquel M. (Monica?) Garcia (also known as Jazmin Hernandez) an ex-felon as well? According to the databases, all of which have disclaimers on the accuracy of the information, one would say: Yes!

The mugshot on the left was pulled up of a Raquel M. Garcia from Texas, when she was 200 plus pounds. In present day, she's lost most of the weight, but I'd recognize that face anywhere.

Before we get into the details of why I believe the mugshot of the girl on the left is our Council Woman Raquel Monica Garcia, I'd like to point out facts that suggest Ms. Garcia misrepresented her past.

When I first met Ms. Garcia, she claimed that she attended Olive Middle School in Baldwin Park. She also alleged that she graduated from the University of Southern California. Finally, she called herself "Monica" instead of Raquel, which is allegedly also her first real name. None of this added up.

First, if my newspaper sources are pointing to the correct person, Garcia can't be from California. She originally attended school at El Paso, Texas. Hey! Sounds familiar isn't that where Manny Carrillo is from, and like Raquel, didn't Carrillo also claim to come from Southern California? (People, are we seeing a pattern here? I think so.)

According to the Del Rio News Herald, dated Feb. 13, 1985, Raquel M. Garcia actually made Honor Roll in the Seventh Grade at San Felipe Middle School. The young teen, who at that point seemed to have a potential academic future, runs into some problems during high school.

What happened to her in high school is a mystery, as it appears from certain articles that she may have ended up in continuation school. According to one database, in 1988, the family moved to Glendale, Arizona in Maricopa County. The only thing that I feel certain of is that the picture in the yearbook is matching the woman, who calls herself Council Woman Raquel Monica Garcia. Again, we see that she's overweight for her height in the picture.

A source tells me that she told him she went to USC. The source said he went there too. But then, Raquel couldn't talk about any of the classes she took or any of the landmarks on campus.

Another story confirms that Raquel never went to USC. Several Baldwin Park employees went to USC and Raquel was to give them a tour of campus. They met at campus, and she said she was going to her car to get her walking shoes. She made the employees wait for an hour, and at that point, they realized she wasn't coming back.

Like our friends: Manuel Carrillo, Manuel Lozano, and Robert Tafoya, why do people misrepresent who they are and their past? Because as we've been seeing, they don't want you to know their real history.

A search in the Texas Criminal Database pulls up 51 criminal filings for Raquel M. Garcia, which tend to have the same pattern of crimes: property theft. Hey - then we put someone as a Council Woman, and then, we have the same thing happening - except our City Council steals from the taxpayers instead of from individuals or stores.

In 2004, our darling, is still in Arizona with a baby. She's lost significant amount of weight at this point. The mugshot above, where she's overweight must have occurred between 1988 and 2004.

Raquel never told she had a child. Why am I posting this picture? Now, I know people would say you don't involve family, but hey she posted her child's picture for everyone to see in the Arizona Republic - not me. I'm just pulling up an old archived news clipping.

Does it matter? Yes! I come from a Judeo-Christian belief that states that you should not lead the people, unless you take care of your family first. Raquel never mentions her child. She's never shown her child in public to the people of Baldwin Park (a strange thing, no?). Therefore, the most likely probabilities are that the child is not with her anymore, or that she's too ashamed to mention she has one.

Now, one as devil's advocate can argue, well, perhaps a fatal tragedy happened to her child? Sure, but in general, people who lose their children through fatal tragedies still tell people that they had a child and that he or she was tragically lost. Hiding a child usually indicates some type of shameful past. But hey, I don't have all the facts, I just have enough to write on and enough to publish pictures of.

(Just as an aside, I learned in law school - thanks to Professor Binder - that almost all evidence is circumstantial. And furthermore, in general, circumstantial evidence is more powerful than direct evidence. Remember that, these small pieces of evidence, in my view are more insightful into seeing the truth to me than a direct piece of evidence, like a film - which can always be doctored.)

Anyways, again, looks like we have another criminal from Texas running the City of Baldwin Park. If she's following in the footsteps of Mayor Lozano, it's also very likely that the two of them are undocumented.

As Aesop of Aesop's Fables said, "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."

Yearbook Photo of Raquel M.? Garcia (Glendale High School, AZ?)

Lost lots of weight, with her baby - where'd she go and how come she never talks about her?

Photoshop and plastic surgery does a lot for a photo

Copyright San Gabriel Valley Tribune
This is how she really looks today

Saturday, October 17, 2015

On Finding the Truth

Stingray - Maori Design
Dear Readers,

I've been asked often how I crack open a case and how my mind thinks. This short article gives you a glimpse into how to do it.

On the left, is the Maori (that's New Zealand native people) design for a stingray. I remember, when I entered the worship house of the Maoris, called a Marae, I instinctively felt drawn to the stingray designs. They were painted on the columns of the Marae.

The chief of the Marae told me that stingrays represent wisdom because they search through the sands, foraging for food. Humans too must sift through the murky waters hunting for the knowledge they need.

I've mentioned it a few times, but I used to be a biologist. Think about this. How do animals like stingrays or crocodiles, which live in cloudy waters hunt for its prey? I mean, it's harder to get prey in water than air because the third dimension of water means the prey can hide in a three dimensional realm, rather than in a two dimensional one. Only birds and bats have the advantage of a three dimensional realm in the terrestrial environment right because they can fly - and everything else can't. Everything else is on the ground, limited by gravity?

The answer lies in their ability to sense electrical pulses through their skins. In other words, they're not using physical sight to see. They're using another sense. But which one?

Remember, those old karate movies, when the sensei (master) blindfolds the pupil and hits him so often with a stick to ensure the pupil learns to harness the other senses he has. Likewise, the search for the truth in a murky waters, requires that one learn to see it without the use of only the physical senses but also the extraordinary ones too.

The best insight I have into this is encrypted into my cat's name (Jeh Pan) - Korean for Trial. All Korean names have a Chinese root. The root word for Trial in Chinese is Shen Pan - . Shen roughly translates into investigation. Pan translates into discernment. Since Trial is about truth, the Chinese have it right - truth is discovered through an intensive physical fact finding process, BUT it also includes the spiritual, emotional, and psychological aspect of discernment. Therefore, the insight of the Chinese version of Trial is that truth needs to be discovered through both physical and extraordinary senses.

In the Western World, we write off any way to arrival of the truth that is not physical in process, such as statistics, the scientific process, or mathematics. These are not to say that these are not valid tools, but we've idolized them into the only methods of arriving at truth. If you're really interested in understanding the fallacy of our process at discerning truth - Owen Barfield (C.S. Lewis's mentor) wrote a book titled Saving the Appearances on it (but I warn you, it's a difficult read.)

Now, before, I conclude this piece, I've often quoted George Orwell as saying that, "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Now, I tell you that we live in times of universal deceit because accepting the truth is also a revolutionary act.

When accusations and perjuries can easily be falsified in movies, photos, and testimony, the divining of the truth must come from not seeing with the eyes, but seeing with the heart - and to see with the heart, the heart must be clear and cleansed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Is Robert Tafoya, Baldwin Park's City Attorney a Former Felon Too? - Identity Disorder Series Part III

Mugshot of Richard Tafoya
aka Robert Tafoya
What if I told you that the City Attorney, Robert Tafoya aka Richard M. Tafoya aka Robert Hernandez probably has the worst identity disorder that the City of Baldwin Park has ever seen? In 2011, Santee, California, which is near the border of Mexico and California, near Tijuana, a Richard Tafoya was caught with 16 fake driver's licenses.

In 2011, one Richard Tafoya was finding the identities of mentally disabled people. Then, at home, he had a machine that could make fake driver's licenses and fake checks. After forging checks with the bank accounts of these victims, he would cash checks at various stores using the fake driver's licenses that were forged by his machine. (People; let's not forget he forged my signature in a court hearing - is this all coming together now?)

The brazen Richard Tafoya violated his bail condition in 2011, and subsequently the court set bail to $500,000. He didn't pay and so he had to stay in jail while he awaited trial. The trial court sentenced Tafoya to 9 years in prison.

Now, how is he out so early? Well, that's a question that people should be asking.

There's also a handwritten memo, which shamelessly writes all types of codes, which appears to suggest he belongs to some syndicate that should grant him leniency. For reasons you can expect, I'm not publishing it here.

What's more shocking is the rap sheet of this guy - which I've posted for you below. By doing a DNA extraction and analysis on This Richard Tafoya, it's been proven he's been busted a number of times for theft and drug felonies.

Here's my disclaimer; it's not 100 percent certain that the two following cases below are linked to the man caught in Santee, California, but it fits the chronology and appears to fit the Modus Operandi of Robert/Richard Tafoya.

A Richard Tafoya was also in prison in 1967 for robbery in Arizona. On October 16, 1971, the local newspaper in Florence Arizona said that Richard Tafoya stabbed a person in prison. The same Tafoya was being held in prison then attempted to escape and flee but was caught by the Sheriffs.

In 1986, a Richard Tafoya was convicted at the trial court for breaking into several apartments and sexually assaulting six women.

One may question the credibility of my findings because one can ask how do I know the man captured in Santee is the same city attorney of Baldwin Park? Well, the pattern of operation matches the same man, who has been stealing several hundreds of thousands from water districts and the City of Baldwin Park. Also, a handwriting analysis of the city attorney's Robert Tafoya exactly matched that of the file of the man in Santee.

Also, if you look below, I had a friend in intelligence compare the mugshot of the City Attorney with the one taken above. It was a perfect match, except for the nose, which our city attorney had plastic surgery on (checked and verified by a practitioner of plastic surgery abroad.) The only way that you can discredit that the mugshot is not the same city attorney of Baldwin Park is suggesting that he has a twin; otherwise, it's a perfect match.

Well - that leads to several other questions, doesn't it? Like, how did he get a University of Michigan Law Degree in 1995, when he was arrested and convicted in 1994 in prison? Does that mean he was like Nelson Mendala and doing correspondence for his legal degree while in prison? I didn't know such a program in University of Michigan exists. People; the realistic probability is that he either took the identity of someone who graduated from there as Robert Nacionales-Tafoya or that the law school may have issued a degree it shouldn't have?

And why are all of Mr. Tafoya's crimes purged and all the records difficult to get? And what about all the shameless code he tried to tell the trial court?

It sadly looks like the system was trying to protect this individual. If this is true, I'm sadly disappointed that this happened because this person has done so much harm to so many individuals.

I live in one of the most poverty stricken cities in Southern California. When you see that half the teenage girls are pregnant before 18, that the children have a shameful education, and that the water is so toxic that is causes the birth of handicapped children, people like Richard/Robert Tafoya are to blame? They make decisions that steal from the community, and the poor know nothing about it.

In any event, here's the proof. The first picture is of the mugshot. The second picture is of the city attorney. The third picture shows you how the two people are the same - except for the nose and all the plastic surgery and botox injection he's had. (As a note, he claims to be 50, but he's more likely to be 65.)

I've also added in his rap sheet and the photo I found, when he most likely robbed someone. Pay no attention to the dates of the mugshot; they're most likely incorrect because of the "system."

The truth is revealing that the City of Baldwin Park is run by an organized crime syndicate. Is this happening in your city too?

Robert Tafoya City Attorney

Mugshot of Richard Tafoya

Perfect Match of the Two People
Thanks FX for doing this!