Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Class is over

Well last night marked the end of the six-week class at the for Tony’s latest book, .  Not surprisingly, the class consisted mainly of regular practitioners, but we also had four who stop by for classes and the occasional practice session or two. One has been testing the waters much more as of late, and one has become much more interested so he may well start exploring a bit more, I feel he may try out the Sunday evening classes for a bit.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand, the class. It was an excellent class that pretty much challenges the conventional notions of peace, and challenged us to actually do something other than contemplate peace. The most involved of the homework assignments occurred on week four. The homework was to create a “Peace Network.” Some things were simple, such as sending the following text message to three people, “I Wish You Happiness” (better know as IWUH for those of us who do this frequently with each other). Others involved finding a space to sit quietly and observe, the idea being not the couch, rather someplace else, a park, a museum, a waiting room, someplace with some energy going. The most difficult one to arrange, but by far the favorite was the ‘Peace Picnic.” This involved finding three people will to get together for a meal. Each person would bring one dish that has a story behind it. During the meal, each person would take their turn to tell the story behind the dish. While this was the most involved of the homework's, I think it was also the favorite.

During the class, several of the passages were reviewed and discussed. One that I quite enjoyed was given yesterday:



The truth is hidden

because we refuse to admit

it isn’t about us.

Peace is not a secret teaching.

The only reason peace appears hidden is because we try to think our way to peace. That idea is an obstacle based on a faulty assumption that loving-kindness is logical when it isn’t. Look at all the great teachers. Each one of them seems a little daft in their rational mind, and the reason for that is because their lives defy logic. Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed would find themselves locked up today with their “crazy” talk about peace and love. Peace is concealed because we are addicted to violence. It is in our movies, entertainment, sports, and politics. peace is boring, conflict is exciting. Would you stay up all night watching CNN’s coverage of peace? Of course not, your violently habituated mind would be bored. And yet, when we invaded Iraq, for the second time, you stayed up all night being entertained by the death created at the hand of “shock and awe.” Peace is hidden because you are selfish and that is no longer a secret.


I enjoyed this one because it points out so many things. Typically, we are the reason that peace does not appear. We get in the way with what we want, try to superimpose our personal ideas of what peace should be on any situation. Peace is not about be, it is about us, about community. I also love the bit about Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed, mostly because I had that argument when I was a teen living in Texas. My friend, who was very devout, said that there was no way that Jesus would be committed and put on Thorazine because he would know, heck, everybody would know, after all, it’s in the bible. Ah, the childhood memories.

Crossing the street

So when did it become unfashionable for parents to teach their children to look both ways before crossing the fucking street? Not ten minutes ago I nearly hit some high school kid, backpack slung over his shoulder, headphones on, thinks that walking into the street from behind a parked mail truck without looking, type of kid. He of course shot me a dirty look when I had to slam on the breaks to keep from making him one with the pavement, as his obvious coolness obviates his need to look for vehicles, the vehicles should be looking for him.

As the weather has begun to warm, it has been insane. So far, I have seen one child actually look and stop when he saw a car in the road. Every other time, not so much as a thought before dashing out into the street. The kids on bikes are probably worse as they just tend to weave in and out. You think they are getting out of the way, when all of a sudden they just weave back in front of you. It has been far worse this year than last. As of right now, assuming things do not improve, I think there is a good 15% percent chance that some kid will get hit by a car on the two blocks north of my house by the end of September.

Maybe I should stop by the local church and have the minister mention the issue to his congregation. I know a fair number of the local people attend it, and with a bit of networking it may well work.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Time for a totally scattered post. First off, congrats to my friend @Walker25Film for getting over 1.5 milliWheatons in followers on Twitter. Went to see him earlier in the week to give him a hand with some website development, but I must admit, our html kung-fu is about the same level, so I wasn’t much help. Fun to do the basic layout and get the direction going, plus a cool toy or two.

On the Zen front, the garden is looking very nice. The trellis looks good in its new home, the paths all have at least a small covering of pine needles. All of the Spring flowers are in bloom, the trees have leaves again, all is green once more. I even had the chance to rake the Zen rock garden for the first time. It was nice to get some pointers from Master Teacher Tony on some of the finer points of raking the garden.

It also looks like our guy Paul is finally in his final location in Iraq. He will be spending his tour at the lovely Camp Slayer, which is reputedly quite nice. I’ll have to head over to Zen one of these days for a few extra hours to crank out another dozen or so malas to get out to him. We still have that two or three dozen we made for him a few weeks ago and I would like to get a dozen or so more ready for when we ship him his first care package.

And finally, straddling the border between coffee and Zen, I have been roasting up a special batch of coffees for Janine and Scott to give to one of their sibblings/cousins/relative-of-some-nature for some type of special occasion. This is my first time doing a “special order.” Technically, it was just a request for some fresh roasted coffee for another coffee connoisseur, so I have decided on roasting up some Java and Mocha separately, so they can be sampled individually and then mixed together for the classic Mocha-Java if desired.

I hate to admit it, but I did one batch of the Java a bit longer than I had wanted, so that batch was dumped into my grinder for personal use. I whipped up a small pot earlier in the evening, and let me tell you, that was a damned good cup. If the over-roasted batch was that good, I can only imagine how good the properly roasted stuff will be.

Tomorrow (well, technically later on today now) I will roast several batches of the Mocha for them for delivery on Saturday. By the time they are consumed (assuming they don’t wait a week of course) they should be properly degassed and just at the peak of flavor. Maybe I will steal a scoop or two for myself….

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sounds like Wheaton’s new book will be out soon…

In a Twitter post from earlier today, Wil Wheaton let it be known that he is entering the final stages of editing on his book, Memories of the Future. For those of you who don’t know, this book is based on the write ups he did for TV Squad several years ago about the early years of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Let me just say, these things are hilarious, do yourself a favor and read one or two of them (assuming you are a Trek fan). I do hope that this book continues on where he left off on TV Squad, and it’s bound to have more in the reviews.

As for tonight, we get to go play Zen and if Wednesday holds true to form, I will be leading Wednesday night meditation practice. I am actually planning on trying my hand at the moktak during chanting practice since for this one time per month, I’m typically the only one there for evening chanting practice.

I should point out that the first Wednesday of the month is the Teachers meeting at the Zen Center so they tend to do the morning practice. The evening meditation does not have as big a draw as the morning practice, so that tends to leave me heading the practice once a month. Add to the fact that fewer do the chanting practice that precedes the meditation practice and I find myself chanting solo most of the time. Due to that, it seems ideal to learn the moktak in a “live” setting without messing anyone up should I mess up.

Oh, and before I forget, Happy Jedi Day to everyone!