Saturday, February 28, 2009

The (White) Roof is the Foundation

space and white - acting in an open way that supports others and supports everything -Buddha family and reality awareness

The roof of the world is melting. In this context, acting in an open way that supports others and supports everything means embracing changes that make one less wasteful and more resistant to the warming of the world. EPA has a tool for estimating household waste and the impact of correcting it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Think Blue

water and blue - acting in a well-coordinated way that reflects the general situation and in which everything fits together - vajra family and mirror-like awareness

This is Jeff Han talking about the Perceptive Pixel interface:

Marshall McLuhan said "We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us."

He also said, "We don't know who discovered water, but it wasn't the fish."

Sing Abundance (Yellow)

earth and yellow - acting with a feeling of being a substantial person with substantial good qualities to offer others and nourish everyone equally - jewel family and equalizing awareness

First, Difang and Igay Duana:

Next, the remake of the stolen song:

[From bafagu2]

Now, for proof of abundance in our own household, the flying squirrel who is apparently still living in our chimney and whom we have taken to feeding in the fireplace so he (she?) doesn't come into the rest of the house where the sniffy chi-dog or the panther will get him (her?):

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Green Spain

Green is associated with wind:
wind and green - acting with speed and force, without any unnecessary movements - karma family and accomplishing awareness.

I think this piece, played by John Williams, captures that effectively:

Music for the Morning After

Wynton Marsalis' Bourbon Street Parade:

Three minutes of happy to start your Ash Wednesday.

Today is the first day of Losar!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sleep, Little Star of the Morning


I heard Joshua Bell's version this afternoon, and being a studio piece the sound quality is better, but no one's uploaded it to youtube, sorry.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day! (Really, I mean it.)

I hope my imaginary audience finds this day a reminder of all the love they have received and given and its central place in their lives.

But now for something completely different, that may seem like a downer initially but is what it is:

Worried? I mean, it's possible I'll still be alive in 2050. If diabetes and congestive heart failure haven't quite finished me off by then, I'll be 83, which is the average age of people entering assisted living communities these days. What is that going to look like, a world in which 1 in 4 or 5 people is past the Social Security Administration's current idea of retirement age? Is this a Big Problem I should be trying to solve? Well, let's see what Zen Master Minsky said several years ago about Big Problems.

[Zen Master Minsky's koan:
In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
"What are you doing?" asked Minsky.
"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe," Sussman replied.
"Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky.
"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play," Sussman said.
Minsky then shut his eyes.
"Why do you close your eyes?" Sussman asked his teacher.
"So that the room will be empty."
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

What I actually said was, "If you wire it randomly, it will still have preconceptions of how to play. But you just won't know what those preconceptions are." -- Marvin Minsky]

So here's Zen Master Minsky's all-over-the-place thought cloud about population, world problems, Arthur C. Clarke's ideas, emotion, psychology, robotic get the idea:

Still with me? OK, I'm drifting, but there's shore ahead, I promise. The census bureau has this cool database-thingy where you can see these projected population pyramids for various nations including the United States, but it only projects out to 2050. We don't get to see what happens 25 or 50 years after the pyramids become columns. There are signs that some are beginning to invert, to actually have larger elder populations than youth and child-bearing-age populations.

What's really confusing to me in the middle of this Depression-they're-still-calling-a-Recession-like-that-makes-it-more-palatable is the economics of it. We had a Baby Boom when economies of scale made it more affordable for more people to make babies. Now we're having an Old People Boom, both because those Babies are aging and because in the industrialized world, advances in health care, nutrition, and public health and services have made it more affordable to age and to be old, while it seems to have become less affordable to make babies. It's unclear I think whether this shift will address the population issue, as though it were part of some process of achieving an equilibrium of world population.

So what does this have to do with Valentine's Day?! a member of my imaginary audience would not be blamed for huffing in exasperation. Nothing, I suppose. I'm just hopeful of getting another assisted living job soon, and it's reminded me of how I feel like the old people on the leading edge of this Old People Boom, the ones I would be taking care of, are important as a cultural and demographic phenomena, as well as for their individual experiences, and that the standards that people in my line of work set for meeting the needs of these folks will have far-reaching consequences that affect a lot of people over the course of the whole 21st century. It's important to do our best to get it right.

Too often, we think of Valentine's Day in the context of romantic love, and even when we extend it to encompass a celebration of the love we have for our families and our friends and for ourselves, I wonder if we are falling short of the day's possibilities. The men featured in today's videos have passion for what they do. If we are lucky enough and thoughtful enough and alive enough (at whatever age), maybe we can mark this day by reviving, nurturing, or honoring not just the love in our lives, but the passion.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Time Has Come...

'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings.'

'But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried,
'Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!'
'No hurry!' said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
[excerpt from Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and The Carpenter, of course]

Which is to say, my experiment with maintaining my weight or continuing to lose weight without keeping the food journal must end, as my weight has upped to the threshhold where I have to get serious again or get fat again, and I choose to get serious. But since we still had stuffed-crust pizza and white chocolate chip cookies today from yesterday, the food journalling will begin tomorrow, when I'll be able to be good, rather than today, when I had stuffed-crust pizza and a white chocolate chip cookie for breakfast.

I thought I had been pretty good this week - excepting the stuffed-crust pizza and white chocolate chip cookies, of course - but the scale says otherwise. I have been eating cereal for breakfast, alas, and I think this has been part of my downfall. I really do just fine without breakfast, it's an eating-habit rather than a hunger thing most days, and it probably adds close to 500 calories to my day when you add in the fruit on top and the sometimes bottle of juice alongside. It's not 3 pounds in a week (jeez!), but skipping it will be a simple step towards getting back on track.

So food-journalling and daily weigh-ins begins again tomorrow, ready or not, and by First Day of Pool, I plan to be in the size 10 Nautica tankini I haven't been able to wear the past 2 summers...

Saturday, February 7, 2009


This evening's loveliness is courtesy of Midge242, who is only 19!

Pan's Labyrinth is one of my all-time fav movies, and she has blended its trailer, slowed down, with Saint-Saens' Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals (I love this short film!) with Libera's Lachrymosa to beautiful effect. Lose yourself:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Too Cool to Pass Up

It's not just the season, now. This year's outbreaks have begun. Are you protected? Or are you placing people you come into contact with at risk?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Delight and Ruination

I loved this (when I was 10 or whatever), but when I heard the Habanera on the radio yesterday, I was hearing "from fair Ophelia, no one will steal ya" and didn't know whether to laugh or be appalled. So I was appalled with a smirk. Enjoy, if you can.

Oh, wow wow WOW, I couldn't help but put these up, too:

Here is an interview with Gil Shaham.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Instrument Plays Itself

[I swiped this picture from Dharmadhatu:dharmadhatu]

The quote is from the man who knew so much about joy: J.S.Bach:
There is nothing remarkable about it. All you have to do is hit the right key at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
As one would expect from someone who knows joy, this is about more than eliciting song from a keyboard.