log (2005/12/02 to 2005/12/08)

It's cold outside. My mind is full of ideas of sleep, of rest, of inactivity, of lying there doing nothing somewhere warm.

We (at least we in this latitude, on this continent) should just hibernate, curl up somewhere cozy in mid-November and not have to come out again until (oh, say) mid-February. In between we could rest and dream and think odd thoughts (or let odd thoughts arise and flow through and out of our minds without heeding or chasing them), and then when we came out again in the Spring we would be all relaxed and energetic and seasoned and wise.

I'm listening to this serial question-and-answer session between John Loori (see January) and some of his students, on a podcast from wzen. The theme is an old Buddhist saying to the effect that painted rice cakes don't satisfy hunger, and Dogen's statement that in fact nothing other than painted cakes could ever satisfy hunger. Some interesting stuff in it (I need to read more Dogen), and it's neat to hear actual interactions between a Zen master type and some real live serious students.

I think as a New Year's Resolution in a couple of weeks here I'm going to resolve to go up to Zen Mountain Monastery and do their "Introduction to Zen Training" weekend some month in 2006.

So, it's possible to write, if I take painted cakes as painted cakes, where I think to myself that these things ought to be cakes, or are tying to be cakes, or are related to cakes, but they fail or they're inferior or false since they're only painted, if I take them that way they may leave me hungry.

But painted cakes as a certain pattern of paint on paper, where the paint has a particular color and texture and smell and even taste, and the paper has a particular color and texture and smell and even taste, and the light falls on the painting in a certain way, and it was made with the sweat and attention and love of a certain artist, painted cakes taken that way are the only thing that can satisfy hunger, because taken that way they are part of Mind, part of the dharma, part of the universe, and only the dharma can satisfy hunger (because the dharma is all that there is).

I'd like to sit up on the dias and say that to the Roshi and see what he says. And the hope that he would think well of me for saying it is probably one of the biggest obstacles to my own progress. *8) Or maybe it's identical with my own progress. Since there is, after all, nothing to make progress on, or towards.

For like maybe the eighth year in a row we went up to Abel's trees in Verbank and cut down a Christmas tree and put it standing up in this stand-thing in the living room, and hung bright decorative items and small electric lights on its branches and stuff. It snowed last night, so we did our tree-picking in a couple of inches of light powdery snow, which was nice.

Also it was a Sunday so we got up comparatively (comparatively) early for bagels and all and then started right out, so we had the tree picked and cut down and brought home and set up and decorated well before dinner time. That was also nice.

(Then iPhoto got into some dumb state and refused to render the cover of the annual photo album as a cover and it looked like M was going to have to enter all the photo captions over again, and I said The Wrong Thing to the little daughter and she stopped speaking to me; but we managed to do some clever cut-and-paste that got nearly all the captions back, and now we're watching a tape of A Charlie Brown Christmas and the little daughter seems to be speaking to me again, so that's all good.)

This year the trees at Abel's are all $40 regardless of size. We got a comparatively small one this year (compared to the last two years anyway); maybe eight or nine feet and with a big bare spot at the bottom on one side, but it was prefectly tree-shaped, and we've turned the bare spot to the corner where it'll be useful for reaching in to water.

And this year in the obvious search, the top two hits are actually the Abel's site, the third one is a story about how the local government is trying to buy the Abels' development rights for a cool million dollars, and only the fourth and fifth are pages of mine. Which is mildly interesting.

From metababy of all places, today's Memo o' the Day (see also our award-winning short story).

On the other day's Portuguese spam, that helpful reader writes again:

I like your interpretation much better, but "Mensalidade nunca mais" means "No more monthly payments".

See how annoying it is to know Portuguese? All these seemingly beautiful and poetic phrases reduced to "no more monthly payments!!!!".

That's why I like voices singing in foreign languages, and maybe why all those Iris Chacon songs were so extra-alluring when I was little, and maybe why it's extra-easy to identify with The Sims; when you can't actually understand the words you can take them as saying anything (or nothing) that you want do. The lyrics of all those songs were probably "Oooh, baby, shake that booty thang", but since I didn't speak Spanish I could imagine anything I wanted (while still being able to admire Ms. Chacon's televised booty thang).

Speaking of Iris Chacon, 'way back in October we asked for Something Impossible, and as usual you delivered:

country gravy

acheiving some sweet and tender understanding with a llama

finding any darn pictures of Iris Chacon nude on this useless site

resisting the urge to type something clever here



Theism begs implosion.

"Crack squirrels." Well, I would have thought that was impossible.

to ask a baby not to cry

The return of Plurp?

nude pics

iris chacon


(Hear that, Plurpster?)

And more extendedly:

Spam subject line o' the day: "You shall appear even more more beautiful with a dazzling chronometer!" Which, of course, is true. Much better, for instance, than a barometer or an astrolabe.

Digital Prayer Wheels (a variety of them): [link]

Conversations via shared iPod music lists. No, really. [link]

PDF software that doesn't take 10 minutes to install: [link]

(Just to clarify, my guess is that it wasn't actually Acrobat taking ten minutes to install, but rather that it was some silly Windows function that thought it had to "configure" Acrobat, and that for whatever dazzlingly broken internal Windows reason estimated it would take ten minutes. Although who knows?)

Various Sims updates, as usual, the most significant (that I can recall) being Sally Raptor's finally fulfilling her lifetime ambition (in three parts). The Townie Project also continues apace, but I've only posted updates about that to that offsite BBS so far, and I can't be bothered to dig up the links; interested readers can subcribe to the relevant feed to Stay in Touch.

The Ajax magic from last week seems to be working surprisingly well (the permalinked page was broken for awhile due to an oversight on my part; it's fixed now). Readers have caused that page to display all sorts of clever stuff, all of which is being logged and may later be used as evidence against you. *8)