Saturday, November 28, 2020

Headshot for application as synth-tech for Kraftwerk (1980)


New Wave Purina pet chow sales rep? (1980)


When I began to work for NASA Ames Research Center’s Climate Modeling Group, I put one of these pictures on my desk. The young guy who trained me complained that I was an egotist for putting up my own picture. I was so shocked by his cluelessness that I didn’t respond, but afterwards wished I’d said something about self-parody and not taking oneself too seriously.

History of Claymation and its takeover by Nike CEO’s son

 A friend tipped me off to this story of his college roommates development of Claymation and the takeover of the whole deal by a would-be rapper who is the son of Nike’s CEO/Founder.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Current musing on my meditation practice and experience

Buddhism has a lot of lists. One is the Three Times: the Past, Present and Future. Up to a few years ago, the first and third dominated my meditation practice, in the form of regrets, nostalgia, rehearsing and speculation - all repetitive distractions. In later years the Present became more prominent, as physical sensations - aches, pains, and especially discovering that I habitually clench various body parts without much awareness. In the last year I meditated much more as I committed to and established a reliable daily practice; now I find it easier to return to the simple awareness of the present. My personal process is now much more direct - awareness of drift usually leads to an immediate return. I think my experiences and experiments with methods during previous decades have led me here. For example, experimenting with degrees of tight and loose attention led to what now feels like a happy medium. And the decision to  “donate my thinking time” to my teachers helped overcome the tendency to make exceptions for thoughts or feelings that felt special or compelling. Now I find myself falling into a reliable pattern: thoughts which arise cause release and dissipation. Who knows what’s next?

Note for another post: Unfinished “work” of various sorts and excessive to do lists/Burn leaving no ash: antidotes inner and outer

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Cautious victory

 While I share the positive feelings around the defeat of tRump, I am not euphoric. 70 million people voted for him after witnessing his actions and words for four years and they are not going away. The Reeps in the Senate will do everything they can to block Biden. There are more than two months to go to the inauguration, during which all sorts of mischief can be accomplished, by tRump, by the Senate and by the MAGA fanatics. I saw a guy buying American flags and black dye to color them; he is not going to go along with the mission we are pursuing. Neither are the Facebook fascists calling the election stolen and Biden a fascist. I am not convinced that violence will be avoided nor that Biden’s cooperative approach will work. Well, we shall see...

Thursday, November 5, 2020

I encounter banal evil

 As I ate lunch last Saturday I overheard a conversation between two men, one of whom I vaguely knew. They openly marveled at the details of the Hunter Biden scandal story, mentioning child porn, political corruption, and story repression. While I see this routinely online, it was different to hear it directly. What struck me was the banal ordinary quality of the conversation, the way in which they assumed it was all true and well known by everyone. They off-handedly voiced support for Trump too. Because I was acquainted with one of the men, I was surprised and brought down; he is my age, a former punk musician from two bands I knew back in the Eighties, a nice guy and a hard worker, yet fully bought into the Earth 2 narrative. As I mulled over the conversation I was overcome with alarm, a sudden feeling that the Blue Wave would not happen and that perhaps Trump would win. Clearly Trumpism is more widespread than I and my friends believe. This feeling was prescient and borne out by the election (partial) results. I am very sad and discouraged by this, the ordinariness and ubiquity of something abhorrent.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Increasing discipline

 I am well into the second six months of my meditation program, so I can comment with confidence on new developments. After the first six months of 40 minutes/day every day I missed two days due to illness (violent allergic reaction to an antibiotic), but began a new program: two periods of meditation/day, usually for 40 minutes the second time. I also began to sandwich a 40 minute treadmill session between the two. This practice is inspired both by my experience in the previous six months and the report that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey meditates two hours/day. I feel on the right track. I have also lost ten of the pounds I gained during lockdown, via increased exercise and restricted carbs. The next step I am considering is an hour of book reading each day. Onward...