February 28th, 2006
I wasn't there the day they took this picture. I was off keeping a promise and learning some very tough lessons about communication, selflessless, and the like, the kind of karmic lessons it takes one years to compile and make sense of.
If you install a little game called Starseige and goto the root menu you can get to this picture by clicking on the head of the Starseige icon (top left corner of the screen). It's not something you've ever know to do unless you knew about it or just happened to click on the picture. It's what we in the software world call an Easter Eggs.
The guys you see in this picture (with the exception of that smuck behind and to the right of Rubber Chicken who was air brushed in because, as I mentioned before, he wasn't there that day) were my buddies. We worked long hours together testing the living crap out of the game and having an enormous amount of fun in the process. We went to lunches together, to parties together, and we went through countless layoffs together. I, as most of the people in this picture, lasted until the next to last layoff after we got shit faced (myself for more than one reason). After finding a new job and moving to Portland I saw on the news that the company had been officially closed down and I couldn't help but feel an enormous amount of grief and loss over a place that had brought at enormous amount of happiness into my life.
I can honestly say I loved that job and I loved the time I spent working with these yahoos. I really loved these guys, each and every one of them.
I digress, I was talking about Easter Eggs, wasn't I? And that's the point of the screen shots on my Visions page (at least the ones there as I write this). I found my old Starsiege CD's and thought I'd install it, give it a go, run through a few of the multiplayer levels and visit some of my old haunts, in particular my Easter Eggs. In that world I was known as Youth In Asia and though I am no longer young nor oriental my name was often the last thing you'd see before your Herc blew up in a column of flames and debris. Ahahahahahahah!
I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I'd found a way to put more Easter Eggs in an install ;) I wish all these guys and gals of Dynamix, the HMK and NHMK tribes, the testers, the developers, the artists and everyone else, a fulfilling and meaningful life. It was good but damn I sometimes miss you guys. May you find meaning and beauty in your life as I have.
February 27th, 2006
Don't be a Squid: How Motorcycling Applies to Every Day Life (or Don't Be a Dumbass) by Aslynn the Thunderbunny Meyers...
For those of you new to Motorcycling or to life (or whatever the case may be) Wikipedia defines a squid as, "Often young, this motorcyclist is identified by their behavior; (Reckless abandon, speeding, wheelies stoppies etc.) and by their inappropriate attire; (Shorts, ball cap, flip flops etc). Such a rider eschews all or most of the protective gear worn by many riders (helmet, gloves, leather jacket, riding pants, and boots) and the social and legal norms of riding behavior."
Now you'd think it'd just be common sense to protect yourself while riding a two wheeled beast especially with so many idiot drivers on the road but that's not true and if you don't believe me wait until the summer when there isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature is a gorgeous 85 degrees. "Wow," says the squid to him/herself, "It's gorgeous outside, I think I'll ride a bike and get a tan!" And so you're driving along and you see this biker on a brand new, shiny black Yamaha R6 and is your reaction "nice tan"?
Now I hate to be a judgemental prick but the first words out of my mouth are usually "skin donor". Why? Because my daughter's in the car and I want her to know the difference between someone who plans for the potential hazards of the road and someone who doesn't.
And so I teach my daughter about the three most important things about motorcycle gear and these are, in no particular order:
1) Protection -
Yes, the most obvious reason to have motorcycle gear is to protect your sorry ass from taking a 60 yard trip down the tarmac and using the concrete as very, very high grit toilet paper. Ouch.
The law, as lacking as some might argue it is, is that one must at the very least be wearing a Department of Transportation approved helmet and you'll know because it'll say "DOT Approved" on the back (don't have to have eye protection or strap it on--but then in Oregon it's legal to have a car without a windshield but illegal to have one without windshield wipers). Almost 50% of head injuries occur to the jaw area of the face so anyone with any sense will be wearing a full faced helmet with full coverage eye protection. Boots should cover the ankles, fit well (i.e. not be thrown off in an accident), and should not have laces unless you care to play Who Wants to Play with a Chain Drive at 60mph. Gloves should cover the hands and finger tips and preferably have padded areas protecting the knuckles and palms. The jacket should cover the chest, back, and arms, and have extra protection built into the shoulders, back, and elbows. A lot of riders just wear jeans but ideally one should have on pants with extra padding on the knees.
Of course us rocketeers are all invincible but we have to assume that out there somewhere is a sixteen year old girl with a cell phone and an in-dash DVD player and a newly aquired smoking habit who'll be the next person to say the most common thing a driver says after hitting a motorcyclist: "I didn't see you." (wah!) So just as a word of advice, protect yourself from drivers who are legally blind.
Which brings us to the second reason for not being a squid:
2) Visibility -
Yes, that's right, if people can't see you they're not going to see you and if they can't see you then there's no reason for them to stop or at least there isn't a reason until they realize oh shit their insurance rates just went up and now they feel guilty, oh darnit all!!! So is it smart to be wearing, say, black leather pants and a cool black bomber's jacket and a black helmet? It may look cool but nobody's gonna see you, especially at night!!!
Here are a few suggestions: White, silver, red, blue! Wear bright colours. Those guys on the crotch rockets, maybe most of them wanta look cool but I have to say at least their cool is smarter than some black leather wearing Harley twit. And make sure you're covered in retro-reflective clothing--that's a fancy way of saying you'll light up in the dark.
So to summarize: If most people hit you because they are blind make sure you're on their radar!
3) Comfort -
This is the one that most people forget and realize only after they've been riding for 30 minutes in 40 degree weather in 4 inches of rain. If you're not comfortable you're not focused, if you're not focused you're more likely to miss something important like a pot hole or that sixteen year old using her mirror to put on mascara. Comfort is important and the right clothing can make the whole difference on a ride.
Take last summer, I rode down to Mt. Shasta and back. See, I thought it was summer but when I rode up to Crater Lake the mountain had other ideas waiting for me. I was freezing my ass off--or more accurately, my fingers were frozen to the handlbars! I learned that I could warm my left hand on the engine while I was riding (but not the right as it was stuck on the throttle). So I speeeeeeeeded West towards I-5 knowing eventually I'd get warmer and thinking the whole time that $40 wasn't too expensive for a second set of gloves (you absolute dumbass!). And when I hit Eugene and rode through 4 inches of rain (literally) I was enormously happy I'd purchased my water proof Joe Rocket pants.
So to recap: Protection, Visibility, and Comfort. You need all these things. But there must be balance. For instance if your gloves are too thick and warm your hands might get sweaty giving you a poor grip on the throttle (not good). If your body armor doesn't let you bend and flex you might not be able to lean correctly into a corner (not good). If your helmet is the best on the market but it gives you a headache and you can't breath you might black out on a long trip (not good). And if you have water proof Joe Rocket pants and are doing 70mph through a rainstorm--and Vipasanna does not have water proof Joe Rocket pants and is doing 70mph through a rainstorm--plan to enroll in the witness protection program as your gear may protect you from the elements but not necessarily from the wrath of your roomate.
Your heart, your mind, your soul, the deepest part of you that cannot be destroyed, that is the rider. Your physical body, its organs, cells, blood and nerves, that is your bike. Protection, Visibility, Comfort, balance these three and you increase your chances of having the most beautiful ride. There are no guarantees, none at all with the exception of two: either you ride or you don't and you and I, we share the road, mate.
February 24th, 2006
I sat down with the intention of writing, though not about what I aluded to writing about the other day. And I sat down with an idea in mind, though I found myself tired and stairing the screen wondering when the laundry would be done so I have something clean (and dry!) to wear to work tomorrow. So I'm sitting here tired and beat, thinking about bed, thinking about my weekend, thinking about work tomorrow, and thinking about what I actually want to write here tomorrow and/or the next day and/or the next day, whatever the case ends up being.
For now enjoy this black & white of my bike, took it tonight, you can see a few rain drops sitting around waiting for their next ride. Tomorrow another b&w of both bikes and a little more information about the long way round to Wilsonville in the rain, in more rain, then in a river.
Take care and goodnight,
February 24th, 2006
I didn't attend high school my senior year. When I look back on it there are times I feel like I missed out on a year of memories with my fellow classmates but then I have to accept that at the time I was miserably Depressed and though I knew most of these sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year olds since I was in first grade, they were in very different worlds from the one I was in at the time. That was one reason I wanted to get to college early. Another, which I didn't admit so openly, was a deep insecurity that if I didn't go with my then high school sweetheart, who was a year older than me, that she would abandon me for some college guy. These were some of the deepest reasons that motivated me but the one that was always in my conscious mind was the thirst for a better education, one that public schools were prohibiting me from experiencing, one I thought I could find in college.
College itself was a huge learning curve and that first year was nightmarish. Writing 121 and 122 were mandatory classes below the level I was required to write at in seventh and eighth grades so my primarily articulated reason for heading to college early was blasted to hell. My secondary reason, to be with my girlfriend and other friends (since most of them were a year older and a grade ahead of me), was also blown away. She and I slowly drifted apart as my Depression started to course towards its darkest hours, three or four years later, and my "friends" huddled in their little groups forcing me to follow around like a destitute puppy if I wanted any attention.
If I could go back in time and make the choice again I'd make the same one and for two primary reasons.
First and foremost, my high school sweetheart, who is still a wonderful friend of mine and my family, had this little old Datson (or was it Toyota?). It was light blue on top and dark blue on bottom so we nicknamed it the Smurfmobile. It was a piece of crap, to be quite honest, a real jalopy of a car. In the morning it wouldn't start so one of us would pop the hood and hold the intake valve to the carburetor open while the other turned the engine, got it going, and kept it revved until the engine warmed up. And then there was just the fact that everything in this car rattled like it was just a half ton of pocket change soldered and scotch taped together--but that blue little Smurfmobile kept running until the day someone was driving too fast on a snow covered highway, crossed the center line, and smashed the front in.
Poor car, may you Rest In Pieces. You were loved.
The other reason I'd make the same decision is psychology 101, 102, and 103. I had a wonderful teacher. She was a woman in her late thirties or mid-fourties, tall, a bit gangly and a very angular looking face with long dark hair, as I recall. I sat there fascinated by all the history I was learning. All the theories, scientists, terminology, it was brain candy to an empath who knew all of these things but didn't have any labels to attach to them. "Oh," I'd say to myself, "so they call that projection!" or "Others have been scientifically studying it and calling it an anxiety disorder?!" In a way it was an ego boost every time I learned a new term for something I'd known since I was very young and in another it was just a rush of knowledge and excitement to know that one of my most serious pursuits was taken seriously by a group of people labeling themselves psychologists and psychiatrists (and later, I would find, sociologists).
And so for years my major was psychology and as with many who start out majoring in psychology my interests were two fold: First, to better understand myself and my own "disorders" and secondly, to help other people who were encountering similar difficulties in their own lives. Now, of course, I'm a software engineer but that's yet another story which is in large part thanks to my most respected of psychology teachers, Mr. Lindsay.
I digress, I was talking about labels, wasn't I, and being a shrink too. So we're going to play a little game. I have a minor in psychology but I'm not interested in pursuing a career in the field since I find it to be thousands of years behind. Still, it's fun to play so for today I'm Aslynn psuedo-Ph.D shrink monkey and as such I've discovered a new disorder which I'd like to describe to you. I've encountered it all my life yet have repressed my perception of it as my psyche could not cope (it would literally scream, "That CANNOT be true!"), but alas, some things smack you in the face so frequently and with such ferociousness that you finally have to give in, accept it, and give the damn thing a name.
Come back tomorrow for an episode of something I like to call: Reactive Transpositional Aggressive Disorder.
February 23rd, 2006
Ever have those days where you get to work and find that you wish you'd have instead stopped at the couch, covered yourself under a warm blanket, and cried? About 10:30 this morning I felt that way, it all just caught up with me and I wanted to get away from work and be alone and crash and have the tv running and be hidden under the covers with my eyes closed just listening quietly, relaxing, letting everything go, go, go.
I've spent the last six years learning how to let go of a thought, an idea, a goal, an object physical or non-physical. It's not easy and sometimes I think there's a certain insanity to it. I used to remember almost everything but now? Now I have an experience, inhale it, and let it go. Hanging on to the particulars when we have the written word, pictures, all these other great devices for keeping track of history, it just doesn't make much sense--and keeps us from being present and growing (at least in the long run).
Maybe that's why I've never liked trivia. Trivial Pursuit, yes, but then that's just an excuse for a bunch of yahoos to join around a table, a bottle of wine, and a game for several hours feeling moderately intelligent (or not, as is sometimes the case). But trivia for its own sake, not really. I mean, what does trivia tell you? Facts are facts, it takes a creative mind to string a bunch of facts together into meaningful and coherent ideas.
There are these chain letters that go around the internet that say hey, here's my trivia, send me yours! I'm sure you've seen them, a list of questions you answer and forward to everyone you know, sort of a way to shake the barrel of our trivia and learn more about each other. More trivia.
So just for fun I'm answering one of those here, in The Temple. I'm going to do something a little bit different, though, I'm going to ask you some other questions, questions I came up with myself. Trivia is interesting enough but it's based on the trivial, right? Trivia, trivial, get it?
So here's how it works. Questions with #'s are originals (asking for trivia). Questions with #'s followed by a letter are my follow ups (asking for the ideas)--which I won't answer because I can't be sitting here typing all night. Get it, got it, good, ready, start, go!
1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:45am (woke up to the alarm)
7:00am (got out of bed, took shower)
8:00am (after taking daughter to school took short snooze in car listening to NPR's Morning Edition)
8:30am (same as 8:00am but got out of car, grabbed back pack, and went to work)1a. When you first woke up this morning what were your initial feelings about the day ahead?
2. Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds. They're clear and shiny, beautiful and hard. "Pure". On the other hand pearls, pearls I have to admit a person hangup regarding. To me they're ugly, don't like the colour or much of anything about them (except for the scientific explanation for their being).
2a. Shop till you drop or make while you ache?
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?Underworld: Evolution. Vipasanna and I went out to see it a few weeks ago at my behest, I needed to get out, watching something mind numbing, and enjoy a large tub of popcorn (yes, some things never change).
3a. When you watch movies what atmosphere do you most enjoy watching them in and why?
4. What are your favorite TV shows?
The new Battlestar Galactica, 24, most British comedies (I'm a BBC America junkie), My Name is Earl, Little Angels, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Link TV stuff...
4a. Why do you watch TV?
5. What did you have for breakfast?
1 cup of something vaguely reminiscent of coffee
5a. How does your breakfast (or perhaps even lack thereof) reflect your answer to question 1a?
6. What is your middle name?
Roger, after my mother's father.
6a. What does your middle name represent to you?
7. What is your favorite type of food?
I don't know, the best answer I have is whatever my body happens to need at any particular time although sometimes my psyche kicks in and wants other things and sometimes my emotion kicks in and wants entirely different things!
7a. What goes best with food?
8. What foods do you dislike?Squash. Melons. Anything that I can tell what it looked like while it was alive. The food that would give me nightmares trying to eat would be a palmegranit (sp?).
8. How has your taste for foods changed over your life?
9. Your favorite Potato chip?
Don't have any favorite Potato chips.
9a. When do you eat potato chips?
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
Lately I've been packing my MP3 player with so much music I haven't had a favourite album but I've been listening to a lot of Madonna, some old Michael Jackson, techno, industrial, a few sounds tracks. Hell, everything's beautiful when I'm on the back of the hooligan.
10a. Name an album someone shared with you last that meant a lot to you. Why?
11. Favorite sandwich?
My world famous cheese sandwhiches (now with pure 100% soy cheese, ummy yummy for my heart and tummy!)
11a. Made by yourself, someone else, or bought?
12. What characteristics do you despise?Hypocrism.
12a. When was the last time you displayed this characteristic and what were the aftereffects?
13. Favorite item of clothing?
My motorcycle gear. Keeps me safe, looks cool, and my Joe Rocket pants give me the illusion of having a great ass ;)
13a. What kinds of clothes do you wish you had and why don't you?
14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
As I'm watching Long Way Round, a motorcycle documentary with Ewan McGregar and his mate Charlie Boorman, it would be a long, long, long motorcyle trip say, from Portland, Oregon up to Alaska then maybe back down through B.C. through Yellowstone National park then up through Montana and the Dakotas then the midwest, Maryland, and up to Main. After that I'd be on a boat for Europe where I'd do loops through Ireland and England and through France and Germany. How'z that for a small request!
14a. Shit, now I can't think of a question!!!
15. Favorite brand of clothing?Joe Rocket
15a. Do you still judge people for the clothes they wear?
16. Where would you want to retire?Canada, lol. I dunno, actually, but out in the country or forest in a log cabin would be fine by me!
16a. What does "retirement" mean to you?
17. Favorite time of day?
Don't matter as long as I've got 2 wheels underneath me.
17a. Have you had different favourite times of day during your life? Why or why not?
18. Where were you born?The one-sheep herder town of Hamilton, Victoria, Australia.
18a. Why were you born? (And don't give me the whole the mommy bird and the daddy bird speel!)
19. Favorite Sport to watch?Paint dry. Just joking, I don't really watch sports but the last time I did it was motorcycle racing.
19a. How do you feel about sports? Why?
20. Who do you least expect to send this back?I'm not sending it to anyone. 1,000,000 may read this page. 1 person may read this far in this page! hehe
20a. Do you spam or do you write?
21. Who do you expect to send it back first?
I expect the last person I want to send it back first to be the first person to want to send it back first and the first person I want to send it back first to be the last person to want to sent it back first.21a. When you answer questions like this do you really take your time to answer in such a way as to share something meaningful about you (not just trivia)?
22. What laundry detergent do you use?Whatever's in the garage.
22a. Is it eco-friendly detergent?
23. Coke or Pepsi?
23a. Why not water?
24. Are you a morning person or night owl?Night owl for most of my life but when I get up in the morning I like it best if I get up before the sun comes up and going outside and then going inside and then next time I go out it's daylight. It's a magical feeling.
24a. How do you interact with someone that's your opposite as far as morning person/night owl? In a friendship? As a roomate? In a relationship?
25. What size shoe do you wear?10.5
25a. Tell me about the shoes you own and why you bought them and what you think of shoe shopping.
26. Do you have pets?4 cats, a best friend, an 11 year old girl, and this crazy git that lives in the mirror.
26a. Do you treat people like pets? Do you treat pets like people?
27. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with everyone?Not really. Just installed a video camera mount on my 919 and plan to install an all-in-one communication system in it in the next month, take a ride to Walla Walla sometime soon. Otherwise life is work and eat and sleep and family and sleep and writing and riding and stuff.
28a. Do you ever say you don't have a life? Why or why not?
28. What did you want to be when you were little?Omniscient.
28a. What do you want to become now?
29. Favorite Candy Bar?Reeces Peanut Butter Cups. Or malt balls. Wait, those aren't candy bars are they? Fine, then Red Vines.
29a. What's your favourite desert to make and why?
30. What is your best childhood memory?
I don't have a "best".
30a. Do you learn more from your best childhood memories or your worst ones? Why or why not?
31. What are the different jobs you have had in your life?Librarian assistant, McDonalds, Dari-Mart, Video Game Quality Assurance Engineer, Video Game developer, InstallShield Developer, Build Engineer, Digital Music Encryption Engineer, Build & Release Engineer.
32. What color underwear are you wearing?
Wouldn't you like to know!
32a. I mean really, do you want to know? ;)
Aslynn...but only one person calls me that so there we have it!
33a. Coolest nickname you think anyone's ever had (and why you think it's cool)?
34. Eye color?Green-Blue
34a. What eye colour do you think is most attractive (and why)?
35. Ever been to Africa?
My brother has. I have no strong interest to go. Too much war, too much suffering, not the kind of place an empath wants to travel, you know?
35a. Ever been chained to a water heater in the basement of a serial killer? Yeah, dumb question huh?!
36. Ever been toilet papering?
No, but I've had to clean up such vandalism many, many times.
36a. Have you ever apologized to someone for toilet papering?
37. Love someone so much it made you cry?That's the only time I cry.
37a. Love yourself so much it made you cry?
38. Been in a car accident?Nope.
38a. Caused a car accident?
39. Croutons or bacon bits?Neither.
39a. Sliced organic veggies or croutons or bacon bits?
40. Favorite day of the week?Fridays. I know, that's a terribly unique answer (not) but that's all I got and for free you'd better take it!
40a. Favorite day of the year?
41. Favorite restaurant?None. See food favourites.
41a. What kind of restaurant do you take the people you love? Your aquaintances?
42. Favorite flower?Roses around my house but esp. as a gift.
42a. Favourite flowers to give others?
43. Favorite ice cream?Anything Ben & Jerry's
43a. Isn't it odd how many of these questions have to do with sugar? No wonder we'll all overweight!
44. Disney or Warner Bros?How about independent or foreign!?
44a. How often do you get out of your story box?
45. Favorite fast food restaurant?
Jack n the box. I think they inject crack into their food or something.
45a. Do they inject crack into their food??? Oh shit.
46. What color is your bedroom carpet?Carpetee.
46a. What does carpet colour tell you about someone, jeeze!
47. How many times did you fail your driver's test?0
47a. How did you feel during your driver's test? How old were you when you took it?
48. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail?Approximately 800 co-workers and 1 guest Toastmaster.
48a. Is most of your e-mail work related? Spam? Actual letters from people communicating? Flaming? What's the most common type you send?
49. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?Frys or Lowes or New Renn. Or how about I do something silly called "pay as you go"?
49a. Do you even know what "pay as you go" means? Does this apply to more than credit cards?
50. What do you do most often when you are bored?Movies/Motorcycle/Write/Music/Housework--I don't give myself much time to get bored, mind you!
50a. Why do you get bored?
51. What time is bedtime?
In 24 minutes.
51a. Should you have been doing something else while you were answering these questions?
52. Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire?Honestly, nobody.
52a. What do you assume that means?
53. Last person(s) you went to dinner with?Vipasanna & Daughter
53a. Last person you made dinner for?
54. What are you listening to right now?Long Way Round (see above).
54a. Can you multitask? Effectively?
54b. Do you yack on the cell phone while you're driving thus almost hitting other vehicles including but not limited to motorcycles? (Can you tell what I think about people using their cell phones while driving?)
55. What is your favorite color?Today it's blue.
55a. Have you always had the same favourite colour? If not, why/when does it change?
56. How many tattoos do you have?
None, but I hope to get a couple this summer!
56a. Have a tattoo you wish you didn't have?
57. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?Who gives a shit, I mean, your eyes don't bulge when an egg runs for your motorcycle's front tire now do they?!?
57a. Carnivore, vegeterian, vegan?
58. How many people are you sending this email to?None, I couldn't afford the stamps.
59. What Time did you finish this email?Technically it's not an e-mail but--after my bedtime.
60. Who sent this to you, & what was one thing you learned about them?
Vipasanna. She likes to steal my answers.
60a. Do you tell people goodnight?
Yes. And goodnight :)
February 22nd, 2006
On my run yesterday I noticed a cigarette butt in my path. I remembered how cigarette butts used to be a part of my daily life, usually in crumpled up dirty piles.
That was once the path I walked.
As I jogged I breathed in and out fresh air remembering a time where I would slap the back of a pack of cigarettes against my outturned palm before plucking out a single cigarette and flick, flick, flicking my Jack Daniel's zippo lighter to lips and I breathed in and out deeply the first puff. I could go through those motions again now and it would be easy. First, pack down the cigarettes, next trick one out of the pack, into the hand, into the lips, light, and wham, I'm there again. 1, 2, 3, simple as that.
It wasn't just the rush of the nicoteen but the rush of the habit, the pattern, the illusion of me-ness I got from the experience. It was beautiful, it was wonderful, it was just one of my rituals.
And so I jogged on thinking of Zazen and friendships and new homes and springtime and motorcycles and work I thought I prefer to choose the shoes I put on in the morning and before I get on my motorcycle and before my jogs and so on and so forth. And I was happy.
February 21st, 2006
Once upon a time there was a hungry man who wanted a pizza so he picked up the phone and called a pizza place.
"Hello," he said, "I'd like to order a pizza for delivery."
"What kind of pizza would you like?" asked the pizza telephone guy.
"Oh," responded the hungry man, "I feel like a cheese pizza but add olives, mushrooms, pineapple, and onions."
"Thank you," said the pizza telephone guy, "Would you like any bread sticks or soda?"
"No thanks," said the hungry man.
"That'll be $12.50," said the pizza telephone guy and so the hungry man took out his debit card and read the numbers over the phone.
Twenty minutes later the door rang.
"Hi," said the pizza delivery man. "Here's your order," he said lifting three boxes, a two liter of Pepsi, and an order of buffalo chicken. "That'll be $28.50."
"Wait a second," exclaimed the hungry man, "I think there's been a terrible mistake. I only ordered a single pizza with olives, mushrooms, pineapple and onions."
"Oh," said the pizza delivery man. "Well, there must be some mistake," he said showing a piece of paper to the hungry man. "This is where you live, correct?"
"Of course," said the hungry man.
"Oh," said the pizza delivery man. "Well, the order form says all of this is for the person who lives at this address so that'll be $28.50."
"I don't think so," said the hungry man. "I understand your position in life but I ordered a single pizza with olives, mushrooms, pineapple, and onions."
"Oh," said the pizza delivery man. "Well, it's here now and three pizza's is better than one, plus you can't do without a drink and the chicken is great!"
"Of course," said the hungry man, "but I'm a vegetarian, you see, and chicken is not for me."
"Oh," said the pizza delivery man shaking his head sadly. "Well then, here's you're pizza," he said handing over the one one top.
"I can't eat this," said the hungry man. "It's covered in pepperoni and as I've already mentioned I am a vegetarian."
"Oh," said the pizza delivery man shaking his head in disbelief, "If you'd have told me in the first place I would have taken the pepperoni off. Here," he said as he started to rip the meat off the pizza.
"I won't eat that," said the hungry man. "It's still covered in animal grease and as I've mentioned I'm a vegetarian!"
"Oh," said the pizza delivery man now with a flare of irritation, "If you're going to be that way, here," he said shoving the other two boxes out. "Pick one!"
"Fair enough," said the hungry man and he opened the boxes one after the other. "Well, this one's not what I ordered but at least it's vegetarian and I can take off the tomatoes."
"Good!" exclaimed the pizza delivery man. "That'll be $12.50!"
"But I already paid," said the hungry man.
"So?" argued the pizza delivery man. "My piece of paper says you didn't so hand it over or I'm outa here!"
"Hold on a second," said the hungry man with a deep sigh, "but this has gotten out of hand. I just wanted one pizza with olives, mushrooms, pineapple, and onions. I paid $12.50 for it on my debit card and you're clearly not hearing me. That's what I want, nothing more and nothing less. And I've already paid, if you'd like to check with your manager I'm all to happy to lend you my phone."
"You know," said the pizza delivery man with his hands now on his hips, "I think you're the one not listening. I came here with three pizzas that were better than the ones you'd wanted plus pop plus barbeque chicken and all you can do is complain! You know, I do this job every day and if I've learned anything it's that this goes a lot smoother when people take whatever I happen to bring to the door and pay up. So stop your fussing and hand over the dough!"
"I don't think so," said the hungry man, "but thank you anyway. Goodbye."
The hungry man walked into his kitchen and looked through the cupboards. "Ah," he said to himself, "I think I will have a peanut butter sandwich instead."
And it was good.
February 18th, 2006
Now it's Vipasanna's turn to be filmed on a ride. So click here and Join Her for about 3 minutes and 15 seconds as we both freeze our knuckles off. Why did we ride about in the freezing cold, you ask? Because the 11 year old finally, after months of learning about motorcycle safetway, was given the green thumb for a quick ride around the block.
I do need to get my butt in gear and put together an ASP page for all these videos I'm putting together. In my old age I'm not staying up till the butt crack of dawn doing silly things like writing web pages to contain any number of videos I might share here at The Temple so for now you'll have to forgive me as they will simply open in whatever media player you have.
Harp on me, though, I will fix it. I swear it, oh, I swear it!
Last thing, I rode the hooligan out to the Oregon Public Broadcasting building tonight and was on the phone telethon as I have been twice before. Didn't get any calls, my phone didn't seem to like me, but I met someone else who works at the same company who pointed me to a couple really cool local motorcycle groups (www.omrra.com && www.pssrtrack.com) where I can learn more skill--though if I do go I may be forced to purchase something with thicker hockey pucks on the knees--although the idea of going around a corner at 70mph leaning the bike over at 50 or 60 degress...oooooh baby! I digress, I didn't get any calls, I met a really nice gal, then I got back on and rode back through freezing temperatures but was quite warm in the many layers provided by my clothing and safety gear and mostly was keeping my eyes open for idiots heading home from bars and such on a Saturday night.
All in all a beautiful evening and a beautiful day but other than that no words of wisdom I'm afraid. C'est la vie and au demain, mes amis!
February 16th, 2006
What a long day, what a long week, and it seems everyone I know has a motorcycle. So many people at my work have them now that I suggested we start our own little bike gang, bunch of computer nerds shooting through the canyons at light speed. Maybe tomorrow I'll convince one or two of the guys to hit the road a little during lunch.
Speaking of bikes (as if I weren't already) yesterday I attached a bike camera mount (visit www.sportbikecam.com) to my hooligan and wanted to share a short trip I took this morning. It's about 30megabytes so if you don't have broadband it'll take a little bit to download but if you have the time and the hard drive space Take a Ride with me.
February 15th, 2006
I was born a natural empath. Some would have called me an intuitive, others "hypersensitive", but for the most part I was labeled "too sensitive" and that was the end of that. Long story short I could feel things other people were feeling, I could feel things many would say were impossible to feel, and until I was six or seven I thought everyone else could too. It was "normal".
My hyper-sensitivity was so integral to my experience that I more or less forgot about it. It was like air, always present but easily forgotten. When I was in forth or fifth grade my music teacher, his name was Mr. Cochran, said that shy people's feet tend to point inwards. So I looked at myself, I was shy, did I turn my feet inwards? Sure enough I found that most of my body language, not just my feet, was turned inward.
I remember being blown away by this, my introduction to psychology. For me the picture of someone else came as an overall sense of emotion. I could feel their character, so to say. It shocked me that to make similar judgments other people had to analyze every action and categorize every behavior then actually think about what it all meant! So I started focusing on every little action. What did it mean when someone smiled and walked fast? What did someone's clothes and interests and friends say about them? And so I added psychology to my study of the human experience.
I was born a natural empath. Psychology added another layer of understanding as did religious studies, spirituality, and philosophy. I slowly blossomed into a psychic empath and now, after so much evolution and insight I simply call myself what I have become, a full fledged psychic.
The great irony is I used to put a lot of time and energy into "reading between the lines" and that's what (in large part) kept me from seeing the "Big Picture." Then I tried something. I let get go. I let go of fear. I let go of relationships and friendships. I let go of preconceptions. I let go of myself.
When will you be ready to let go?
February 13th, 2006
Unless you’re willing to put all of your eggs in one basket there’s no ultimate handbook to life. The Torah, the Holy Bible, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, the Art of War, these are all great references but life is vibrant, dynamic, always changing and evolving yet always the same and though we can pull in moments of wisdom we’re not omniscient and the writers of these books, regardless of their argued points of inspiration, were human beings with egos and flaws and hopes and fears. The primary difference between these books and others, such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of intent—but not necessarily insight or wisdom, after all, a cat, a tree, a rock, and the hot interior of a glowing sun, these things all have Buddha nature and if your eyes and ears and heart are ready you will see and hear and be in that moment of the divine.
The same is true in any area of life. Sure, Positive Discipline is the best guide to parenting that I’ve ever read (and re-read), but it provides only a snap-shot, a glimpse, a set of examples of problems and resolutions that we can choose to model or not model. The Four Agreements is a popular book enjoying the spot light at the entrance to book stores but what good will reading it do if our agreements lean more towards our own personal status quo than pushing ourselves towards the flight that awaits a free spirit? And Sonia Choquette’s books on the psychic and intuitive world are by far the best, most honest, and to the point one’s I’ve ever read, but they do not provide a solid foundation for those of us who did not grow up with supportive role models but instead struggled as we were judged, ridiculed, and often misunderstood for our slowly blossoming skills.
Books are just memories written down in a language we all agree upon in advance. This is English, we say, and we write down ideas in this way and we consume ideas in this way. Doesn’t mean we can’t learn from sitting on a mountain after a ten mile hike and watching the sunrise, doesn’t mean we can’t learn from riding a motorcycle at 120mph around some long twisties, doesn’t mean we can’t learn from our laughter or our tears or our minister, our lover, or those that trespass against us. We should be learning from them, we should be sitting forward in our seats breathing as quietly as possible with the intent of soaking all the wisdom they have to provide us with. “I am ready,” should be the first and last words that come out of our mouths because we know that wisdom, the answers, our freedom, it’s out there.
I often want to share examples from my own life and the strong desire to get them out, to share them, to scream out, “This is who I am!” causes me to be less receptive to the wisdom that surrounds me. As the song goes, “There is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time for every purpose under heaven,” and so there is a time to say this is what I think, this is what I’m experiencing, this is who I am at this moment, and there is a time to stop…
February 12th, 2006
When I was in high school I was a D.J. and before I started I knew in my gut I'd be good because I knew all the cool music and I knew how to throw together a quick playlist. Granted, we didn't have the best equipment in the world--it was a startup business largly produced by my father--and I was known throught the school as the teacher's kid--but I knew, just knew, I would make people's butts wiggle and shake.
I was wrong.
I remember the first dance, we played two or three songs and most of the kids were mulling around, talking in corners. Soon someone came up to us, handed a tape over asking us to play the third song so we said no problem, we'd do that. One of us queued the song and found that the quality of the tape was horrible, as if they'd left it on a magnet for a fortnight. The music was muddy, the sound reverberated horribly against the bare walls of the high school cafeteria where we held most of the dances, and I felt as if my brain would literally start oozing out of my ears.
But they were dancing! People were getting out there and dancing and smiling and wiggling and shaking their collective asses. Did I feel like an ass? Did I question my perception of reality? No, I assumed they just didn't have good taste!!!
What does it mean to be a good D.J.? A good friend? A good partner? A good father or mother or son or daughter or co-worker or soul-mate? What is the lesson I only slightly veil here as I so often do?
Pay attention. Listen. And don't make an ass of yourself!
February 11th, 2006
Woke up this morning feeling hungover. Took me about five minutes to realize I hadn't had anything to drink last night but was experiencing the tail end of this cold which has been one of the strangest I've ever picked up. One minute I'm feeling fine, the next I'm dizzy, then I'm fine, then I'm tired, then I'm cold, then I'm hot, then I'm fine, then I wake up feeling slightly hung over. C'est la vie.
We were supposed to go to Walla Walla today to celebrate Vipasanna's brother and nephew's birthdays but she kept walking in and out of my room this morning saying she thought she would be okay to take the trip then she'd come back later very sick saying she probably couldn't go and I, partly out of want for a few more minutes of sleep and partly knowing the strange nature of the cold she was experiencing, suggested she wait. Wait she did and canceled the trip was.
So I took a shower then took my daughter out and about. We went through a drive through where I could pick up some coffee--and truly, I need to kick this habit as I have so many past habits but excuse, excuse, large mocha down the hatch. Then to the movie rental place to drop of DVD's. Knowing Vipasanna was sick I picked up four that we'd all like, one of which I will share with you shortly. Then we picked up some lunch before stopping by Goodwill to donate some clothes and other items we were no longer using. Next it was to the motorcycle dealership--my daughter was a little dissapointed not going to Walla Walla today so I surprised her by taking her to the motorcycle shop to try on jackets and helmets. "Oh, oh," she exclaimed, "This must mean I'm going to get to ride on the back of your bike soon!" to which I replied, "Well, don't get your hopes too high, this just means you're one step closer, there's still more work to be done." I wished Vipasanna was feeling better and the little one was ready to ride as today also happened to be The Sweetheart Ride, a yearly tour--so we see dozens of serious motorcycle enthusiasts. Next we stopped at ToysR'Us to find tires for her bicycle (the manual variety, small, pink, currently w/ a flat back tire) and not finding any there we ended up at G.I. Joes where I bought a tube for $4.99 and a girl working there said hi to me and smiled and I did a double take realizing, about thirty seconds later, that she used to work at 7-11 when I was still smoking--and she was the only person to remember my favourite type, Camel Lights. Friendly smile, beautiful eyes, and nice wherever she worked. Then back home. Daughter did some lawn work, I cleaned up my bike then went for a one hour ride enjoying the last of a beautiful sunset of blues and reds and bright moon and wonderful, fresh cool air over me.
One of the films I rented I'd never heard of before. Vipasanna had but I hadn't, I just saw that there were a bunch of big stars in what looked like an independent film--and there were "those" leaves, "those" leaves on the cover that said, "award winning film" or "this film is so noteworthy it will never be shown in the average American theatre"--and that's good enough for me! Interestingly she'd heard about the film from co-workers and an interview on NPR and while we're watching it in one scene I hit pause and say, "Hey, that's the inside of the Washington Square Mall!" and after that I'm looking around for signs that it was indeed filmed in Portland and indeed, too many area shots that look like places I've been or near areas I've lived or hiked or what not.
That's not why I want to tell you about this movie though. It was a good film, a movie you can learn something from. No, it's not an action film. No, it's not a love story. No, it doesn't have any mind-blowing ideas. And in a lot of ways this film, simply called Thumbsucker, reminded me of Me, You, and Everyone We Know.
Now one might argue I like these films because in a way they both confirm my world view validating me and making me feel safe--however, I must say I like them because they challenge my world view as well as give me strange characters I can identify with. And there's always this inner seed of hope that by sharing films like this I'll be able to share a piece of myself with you and also maybe share an insight into aspects of consciousness that may not necessarily be obvious. And of course it doesn't hurt that the soundtrack was largly helped along by Elliot Smith.
Here are a few lines I'd like to share with you:
"We're all addicted to something, maybe an idea of ourselves or our lives. Maybe some idea of success or failure or...being the mother of a 17 year old is a trip...you're supposed to have all the answers and you only have one. Even the idea that even if you have a family you'll never be lonely again...""Everything freaks you out. I hate it when you say shit like that, like you're the only one with problems. You ever think maybe you're so busy being weird that I have to step up and be normal? Everyone's always worried about you, all the bullshit you get yourself into."
February 10th, 2006
I'm not where I want to be, not quite yet, maybe never, but I'm farther than I was.
I remember back when I was a "smoker" I'd get a cold and it would kick the shit out of me--and of course being emotionally and physically addicted to cigarettes it didn't help that I kept smoking. Then after I stopped smoking I got sick a few times and those were pretty bad and I thought this is sooooo not fair, I gave up the habit, I "should" be getting through this a hell of a lot easier but no, always felt like I was dying.
So I caught a cold this Wednesday and the exact moment was about 1 or 2pm. I was sitting at my desk frustrated that I'd been called out of a training I'd been looking forward to (and getting a lot out of). I had a few nights of terrible insomnia so was also battling fatigue and on top of that the consequences of the five cups of coffee I'd ingested to stay awake during a training didn't help (granted, I was very interested in the subject matter but sitting in a room listening to a speaker for more than an hour tends to make me very sleepy). Add stress in my personal life, karmic realizations, more than a few empathic and psychic impressions, and a letter which sits unopened by my incense holder and I think my body was just saying, "Stop and take care of yourself for a few days, Aslynn."
So here I am.
That afternoon, though I was feeling stuffy headed I did my normal Wednesday afternoon 3 mile run. I thought, while pushing myself, that if I pushed myself then I wouldn't get sick, I'd miraculously get better. But I didn't. At the same time, since I've been jogging I don't get terribly sick either. A cold or flu that would have kicked my arse a year ago now turns into a minor annouance--though in one way a major one! By that I mean it's a minor annouance because I can still function, work, drive and my pains are minor, my flu-headedness managable. Major because the weather has been awesome this week and it's dumb, absolutely dumb, to get on a motorcycle when feeling even the slightest bit under the weather--and I sat here at home this afternoon looking out the window and feeling so desperate to get out there and ride and ride and ride.
I think I got Vipasanna sick too so I don't feel terribly good about that as we had plans for the weekend. So frack, frell, and stupid mother trucker she may be stuck at home in bed while I'm doing lawnwork--which isn't a bad thing as I do need to catch up at it. Maybe I'll take the little one out to a cycle shop. Ooooh, I want to go sit on a Duc, that would be too sweet and terrible and wonderful!
Other things to do...wash the car...go check out lumber for furniture building...finish taxes (they're mostly done, just need to double check them)...put together rss for The Temple...start putting together XML formatting library for The Temple...pick some photographs for the art fair coming up soon...jog...and of course, if I'm feeling up to it, get out on the hooligan and wiggle my butt to some Madonna. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.
Then again, Vipasanna may not be sick in the morning in which case I'll need to change gears and that's important. If you stay in first all the time or second all the time you'll wear out the engine. That's just how it is, you know?
Goodbye, farewell, and goodnight,
February 9th, 2006
Wisdom is everywhere. The universe it teeming with it. If you don't see it in something that doesn't mean it's not there, just means you don't see it. Not seeing wisdom where wisdom resides is not entirely a bad thing and perhaps, it can be argued, just another form of wisdom.
As a professional software engineer I spend a significant amount of my day working with computers. Some might argue that you can't learn anything about real life or Goddesss forbid "wisdom" from a computer but I disagree.
Case and point: Application Programming Interfaces (aka API's).
As defined by Wikipedia: "An application programming interface (API) is the interface that a computer system, library or application provides in order to allow requests for service to be made of it by other computer programs, and/or to allow data to be exchanged between them." In layman's terms an API is what allows one object to interact with any number of other objects.
Take for instance a tire. A tire has a common interface that all tires have in common. Each, for instance, have an interface that allows it to touch another object (usually the ground) and roll along it. Tires also have an interface allowing them to be attached to other things such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, roller coaster rails, or what have you.
Tires can have other characteristics as well. They can have colour, shape, size, and texture. They can be made out of one set of materials or another. Though tires can differ widely according to these characteristics a tire such as a truck tire has two primary interfaces, one it "exposes" to the vehicle and one it "exposes" to the road. Though these characteristics make it more useful in one setting than another they do not define the physical interface it provides to the outside world: axis and tread. Oh yeah, and don't forget another important interface (that most) tires have, an air valve!
Object interfaces allow other things to interface with objects. In other words it's useful for us to be able to use objects. A tire, for instance, is something we can Roll, Inflate, or Deflate. These are three common behaviors we'd expect to be associated with most tires. That doesn't necessarily mean it'll work, we might say "Inflate" and the tire is damaged so it returns a "I can't inflate, I've got a big hole in me" message or we tell it to "Roll" but it can't because it's been stopped by some kind of obstacle (say a wall, boulder, or roaming dinosaur).
What's important about this is that interfaces should be designed in such a way that we understand how to interface with objects and that when we request an object to do something it does what we expect it to do or it comes back saying, "Whoops, for some reason I'm not able to do that right now!" If we tell a tire to Roll we don't expect it to Inflate, that's not the expected behavior. And if we want it to Inflate we don't expect it to start bouncing around wildly singing a Brian Adams tune. That would just be weird.
Each of us presents an interface to the world, something we call a personality or persona. Others objects interfacing with us expect that interface to be straight forward and consistent. When it's not, when we start bouncing around wildly singing Brian Adams tunes, well, that's just weird.
February 6th, 2006
Using the toilet in the vacuum of space is an inconvenience. The first problem, of course, is that there are no toilets in space. This can be overcome if you happen to be a man and have an appropriately placed fly on your space suit. The second problem is a little more difficult to overcome, that is, the vacuum of space has a tendency to suck all of the breathable atmosphere from one's space suit which is one of the less pleasurable forms of suck one can experience in that general region of a space suit. And if this still hasn't convinced you to keep your zipper closed while taking a leisurely space walk consider having to thaw your extremities after they've been frozen by temperatures as low as 2 degrees Kelvin.
Ironically I found myself in a similar situation yesterday afternoon at Fry's Electronics in Wilsonville, Oregon.
The sky was sunny and the roads were dry, a weather phenomenon that causes strange tingling sensations in the stomach of anyone who owns a motorcycle--especially in an area where dry-sunny winter days seem to only occur between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday. Vipasanna left with our daughter to play tennis and I was stuck alone after having done my share of lawn work and garage reorganizing and the sun beckoned to me, "Come, Aslynn, come!"
And so I did.
Five minutes out I had to pee. Ten minute out I had to pee rather badly. Fifteen minutes out the bumps were starting to really bother me, I mean, I've had to go bad while on a long trip in a car before but on a bike it was more of a burden than an inconvenience. Instead of enjoying the ride I braced for every small bump (and for better or worse you feel every small bump unless your tires are low, which is more dangerous than having to go while your tires aren't). Ouch, ouch, ouch.
Once at Fry's I went into the bathroom and wondered what on earth I was going to do. You see, the inside of the men's bathroom at Fry's is a lot like the inside of a toilet, useful for capturing waste products but not something you would consciously choose to touch without wearing a bio-hazard suit. Normally this isn't a problem. Walk in, do not, and this is important, do not touch anything! Next unzip, go, zip, wash hands, and did I mention do not touch anything! Now try that carrying a helmet and wearing a motorcycle jacket and thick protective pants over a pair of blue jeans and you end up envying the urinals built into the crotches of NASA's million dollar space suits. How I was able to accomplish this superhuman feat without such technology behind me (or wrapped around my nether regions) I will not share with you presently, however, it is good enough to say I DID NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!
February 4th, 2006
The Universe is well ordered. By "well ordered" I mean there are a set of rules that govern what happens when you mix an acid and a base. There are a set of rules that govern what happens when a body in motion connects with another body not in motion. There are laws that govern gravity, electromagnetism, sub-atomic particles, and what words can and cannot be said on cable television within the boundaries of the United States. And then there are laws the govern the nature of existing as a living organism like a rat or a bat or a cat or a slug or even a human, like you and I.
Here are a few things I've learned about our well ordered universe:
- You can say, "The sky is blue" but if the person you're trying to share your experience with doesn't have their eyes open they'll never truly believe you unless they are capable and willing to give you their complete trust.
- A cornered animal usually becomes more dangerous.
- When in doubt take