log (2006/01/13 to 2006/01/20)

I was watching the end of the little daughter's ballet class (over the years as the girls have gotten bigger the group of Moms standing around looking in at the classes through the big one-way window has gotten smaller; some of the girls are driving themselves (and each other) now, and for whatever reason more of the Moms wait outside in their cars instead of coming in; but I'd hate to miss it, myself), and at the end as they always do the teacher put on the slow contemplative music and the girls lined up across the studio floor and did slow stretching things, and bending things, and cooling things, and improvised bowing and posing things. And it reminded me of lines of monks bowing, or old people in a park in China doing tai chi, and I thought to myself "it's a practice".

A practice in the sense of Zen practice (which was what first came to mind; monks sitting facing the wall, eating in slow elaborate rituals, all facing the same way just like the girls were all facing the same way), or Yoga practice (or football practice?).

And (having recently come home from a long day at work of not entirely unfrustrating meetings and not entirely stimulating sessions with PowerPoint) I thought to myself that it was good that they had a practice like that, and that work ought to have a practice also.

So what would that mean?

The monks, and the dance company, have a practice because (perhaps) they are (among other things) developing themselves, caring for themselves, being concerned with themselves. Whereas at work (perhaps) we're more concerned with the ends, the results, the bottom line, and not so much concerned with ourselves except as an afterthought or a side effect; that we are concerned with ourselves primarily as tools to those bottom-line ends. Now the dance company are also in some sense concerned with themselves as tools to that recital end, that performance; but it's perhaps not quite the same.

What would it take to introduce practice into work? So many of the things that one could try would be silly, embarassing, or alternately scary and regimented and smacking of groupthink and company songs coming over the loudspeakers (which would just be creepy). Many practices are religious, of course, and that would be a problem at work; but the dance company's practice is not religious (at least not in the relevant sense), so that's not a fundamental problem.

Group stretches every morning? Every meeting ending with an official joke, or a round of communal Sudoku? One minute of eyes-closed silence at the start of each hour, just to remind the mind to rest and calm itself?

It would be interesting, I think.

The Goddess herself writes:

Hey partner,

I know you soundly enough to understand that you love low-priced luxuries, so stop by this web page!

Best regards,


I didn't actually visit the URL at the bottom of the letter (although I was tempted), but still it was kind of Her to write.

I have produced more content: Some words about a book, and some more words about some Sims. (Allegra and Martin have graduted and moved out of the "Bright" place on campus, and Camryn has moved in with Hermes.)

In the ol' Ajax input zone, readers write a buncha marvelous stuff (some of which was also written by Wells, by Orwell, by that crew, and some of which are as far as I can tell achingly original):

And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity.

The end had come sooner rather than later. At five in the previous morning to be exact, when her sister had sucked him dry and he, in a moment of depletion had chosen between them. Oh well, she had heard there were still tilting windmills somewhere. Over in Idaho maybe. She'd pack her tools and maybe have a looksee for herself.

Check one two, check one two. Phht, phht, is this thing on?

She had no plan; no map, no plan, no knife, no flashlight. All she had was a copper penny and his class ring. With only these, she'd have to navigate the treasonous straights, most likely alone unless things changed real soon.


Moo, or foo better yet!

She wanted to know what shored up his DNA, and the state of his telemeres...ever the questions about telemeres blowing and bouncing like tumbleweeds through her mind. But these were likely not the type of questions he meant right now when he asked if she had any questions, after he had spent the better leg of the afternoon grilling her on her grant proposal for the study of "Proto-Linguistic Use o...

She was a researcher and he a close relative of her subject. We all are, of course, but he, strange for an institutional grant reviewer had such an air of orgone about him that she wanted to get out her calipers and measure the girth of his testicles right there. In the world of research, new data is tangible wealth, a commodity, though no-one is likely so crass as to call it that, nor to measure

The paper had that lovely smell of damp that reminds you of eating paste as a child and when everyone wasn't allergic to everything.

Her eyes were open in a closed fashion and her ears too. His words were, of course, sweet... smooth and powdery like the sugar in the bowl on the table between them. She put some on the tip of her tongue and let them slowly dissolve, mulling the light agenbite of afterthought.

By 1920 they will be half-way down the Amazon. I fix 1950 or '60 at the latest for the discovery of Europe.

IF 0 THEN IF choice% = o THEN IF choice% = o THEN IF choice% = o THEN IF choice% = o THEN

He was almost frightened to even look now. The last time he looked the arbutus branches were covered in little monkeys working studiously at pulling off the remaining bark. There never used to be monkeys in Beacon Hill Park and now there were and what was next he wondered? So unsettling. He'd have to get out the good whiskey he supposed when the Crumwhistles came by.

I don't suppose anyone recognizes, say, that Idaho one from anywhere? I think we have some talented microfictionalists in the readership.

Wonders o' the Web Dept: Whilst confirming the authorship of a couple of the above, we ran across this inexplicable page ("The man with the white face myeloscintigraphy paused.")

While Googling on some words of our own the other day, we found this weblog, and then this entry in it, which led us to this rather comprehensible page about postmodernism) (which I like despite "Similarly, a writer named John Gardner wrote a novel in the '70s called Grendel that's a funny retelling of the medieval classic Beowulf"; "funny" is just too small (see notes)).

And somewhere along that path we got here, which I point out to anyone who shares our interest in Buddhist reality. It's not the flavor of Buddhism that appeals to me the most (stuff like "Every time you recite the repentance text and do the 108 bows, you wash clean one transgression" sounds suspiciously Christian, and awkwardly exact), but it's still inneresting.

In "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (which I asked M to put on the Netflix queue the other month and which came the other day and which I watched and which was really very good and I should write up sometime), why do I remember a variant or a related story or something in which it turned out at the end that Gort was the master, and Klaatu was like a pet or something?

The thing on the weblog here that pretends to be a Moveable Type comments field in hopes of catching amusing spam caught a post claiming to be from "deneglka", saying "Cool site of course people!". Which is relatively ordinary except that there was no URL included, and therefore no apparent point at all. And I'm not the only one. What can it mean?

From Metababy again, we find another odd image, which leads us to the site the image is on, which leads us to a site with some naughty pulp magazine covers which are kinda fun (although there aren't as many as there might be, and it actually seems to be tempting one into a maze of pr0n sites, so be a bit careful).

Looking through ancient input box input that's sitting patiently waiting for the End Times, I came across one week that seems to have attracted an usual number of texts. Some of these are easily interpretable as straightforward (and/or twisted) responses to Before eating, always:

wash your hands
hack a web cam
pet a penguin
hack paltalk

Which tells us, if nothing else, that we have some British readers. *8)

"Before eating, always hack a web cam", however, points to eighteen more (I counted) consisting entirely of various combinations of the words "hack", "yahoo", "web" and "cam" (with the occasional "view" or "permission" here and there). And an additional eight "Halle Berry"s (in various misspellings), an "iris chacon", one "helen", one "naked helen pictures", and one "Helen Chamberlain", as well as




naked cowboys eating cats



And, summing it all up:

v cnv,mfdjkafkahrgjhrigitiwturuyit4iytaklriu eterutru rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The first and the last sections are of course due to the incomparable creative genius of my readers. The ones in the middle are presumably because that page has lots of search terms (haven't done that for awhile) and so forth on it, and therefore lots of references to hacking webcams without permission, and nakedness, and halle berre and so on. Which explains how those people got to the page in the first place, but not really why they entered their search terms into the input box. "Couldn't hurt", I suppose.

Next time: how to hack into yahoo webcams that show Iris Chacon and Halle Berry naked with cowboys (also naked) eating (naked) cats!

(They'll have to be like Gummi Cats or something, though; otherwise it'd be like gross.)