blivet – 5/11/2002


A happy little guy. Taken on 4 May 2002

Just a happy little guy sitting in his scooter thing. Taken last Saturday on 4 May when he was six and a half months old.


Scott (PapaScott), Frauke and Christopher Ryan Hanson were in town a while back. We had a very pleasant evening and finished up outside in front of the Paris Hotel and Casino fountain. Christopher was a tired little guy, he was recovering from the chicken pox.

Note to locals:
Tonight’s soirée is at the Lohan Temple of Shaolin Kung Fu, 5150 Spring Mountain Road at 6 pm. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re a Buddhist. That is not the important part. Come on by.

It is going to be an interesting day in some ways, but a day like every other one in others. I will become publicly associated as the spiritual head an organization I have be involved in for some 14 years, but never as the leader of it. It can seem strange how things work, but not really. Things work how they work. I think the best way is to ride the river. Sure you have a paddle, but the more you use it the more you have to use it. You can have the river channelized and it might seem like you’re riding the same river, but it may take a long time to realize that all you have done is kill the river. What we don’t realize is that we are the river and this person in the boat is just a construct that can be discarded. There are not two things, only one. There is only flow, there is no riding or steering or struggle. I don’t know if that makes sense. What I do know is that I hear Ian waking up and it is time for Dad.

blivet – 3/1/2002 Thanks Brent!

Sometimes I feel like I should just put up ‘just go to garret‘s, it’s all there. If it isn’t, go back tomorrow.’

garret pointed to this at the BBC: Meditation mapped in monks. The research suggests a type of confirmation for the venerable quotation, "there is no "there", there."

It is amazing how much better those urls work if you format the html properly.

Dave has expanded some of yesterday’s posting and given it a home at Another Look at Power. It is very good and addresses a root cause of many things, both in how we work with each other and how we work with ourselves. Non-trivial and well worth a read. Thank you Dave!

It has been one of those days at work during one of those work weeks. Nanci Griffith is on the CD player. That helps…

Some Nanci Griffith stuff from Craig:

"The only Authorized Nanci Griffith website.
Comprehensive Nanci Griffith Discography.
The Nanci Griffith Web Pages. Maybe not “authorized”, but still interesting and useful. There are links to guitar tabs."

Thanks Brent!
Brent Simmons is leaving Userland. I know a lot of the things I take for granted concerning this Manila site have several sets of fingerprints on them, along with the echoes of furrowed brows, nocturnal coding sessions, sweat, choice epithets, and more than a few exultant whoops as a bug is fixed, a new feature is rolled out that just works, or when the version number to the left of the decimal increments. A lot of those fingerprints are Brent’s. You done good. [later:] Brent has said a lot of nice things to me and about me. I’d like to return one to where it belongs. He is one of the nicest people on the ‘net.

blivet – 10/28/2001

Chop Wood, Change Diapers

Everything is part of practice, if you can let your your life be your practice. I’m not saying I’m there, only that I can see it from here. It is extremely hard for me to look at Ian and not leave the moment, Though the paradox is that I am never more in the moment than when I hold him, look at Audrey holding him, of watching him sleep. Beginnings are laden with possibilities, perhaps never more so than when you look at your week-old child. Still, what remains is what needs to be done. That serves as a grounding effect. Que sera, sera anyone?

repeat pointer: Mothering as Meditation Practice by Anne Cushman at Tricycle Magazine. via wood s lot

Did you remember to ‘fall back’ since we are back on Standard Time? I didn’t, but that didn’t seem to matter much. We’re on Pacific Baby Time.

blivet – 6/17/2001 Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers and grandfathers out there.

It is also Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. via Jeff

Congratulations to Olov Schedin and girlfriend Sara on the birth of another daughter! Olov is Jonas Beckman‘s business partner.

I have this mental image of a very determined garret on his knees in the corner of the yard with a pair of scissors. A trail of light industrial flotsam and jetsam (come apart grass clippers, broken electric trimmer, dull reel mower) leads back to the garage. cut to: <sandra in the doorway> garret, the lawn can wait… <garret> No, it’s become a matter of principle! <scissor noises> snip, snip, <garret mutters> going camping next weekend <fade scissor sounds> I hope today’s hike is bug-free.

Pictures of Ireland from André’s trip.

Sense objects.

upcoming: 7/20 at the las vegas house of blues :: warren zevon

I’m trying to find a certain photograph of my Dad to scan and post…
I never located that particular picture album pfffbbbt!

Audrey is gone to Boulder, Colorado for a week to take a short course in Hyperspectral Imaging and Data Analysis using ENVI software at The Center for the Study of the Earth from Space. The course is offered cooperatively by CSES, Analytical Imaging and Geophysics (AIG), and Analytical Spectral Devices (ASD) at CSES facilities in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has been using the software quite successfully for over a year, along with ERDAS Imagine and ESRI Arc GIS. The instructors are the people who wrote the software, so I bet she will come back able to make ENVI jump through hoops.

She is going to stay with her parents in northern Denver and commute to Boulder, then spend the weekend with them before returning to Las Vegas. I’m going to miss her terribly… sigh But, I have things to do…

I’ll leave you with this from Daily Zen:

Every day priests minutely

Examine the Dharma

And endlessly chant

Complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though,

They should learn

How to read the love letters

Sent by the wind and rain,

The snow and moon.

– Ikkyu (1394-1491)

blivet – May your new year not suck

May your new year not suck comes from Doc Searls. I can’t improve on that sentiment, but I would leave you an image from Thoreau’s Walden. May the streams of your life overflow, flooding the areas around them. May you find your life and the lives around you richer and more joyful than you dared imagine. May you find yourself with upraised clenched fists shouting Yes!

Audrey and I, along with the vast and talented staff here at blivet, wish everyone a healthy and Happy New Year!

Kilshore also pointed me to Doc’s log by bringing up several Quaker-related sites.

Doc mentions “In Quaker meetings, one is moved to speak only if one can improve on the silence.” This is something we teach overtly in Ch’an (Zen) as well, to raise awareness of the inner dialog so it can be stilled. Though if you come here very much you’d never know it. Many Monastic orders (the Benedictines spring to mind) overtly foster this through vows of silence. Its hard to kill the ego if you’re always letting it frolic about. Not improving on the silence is anathema to most ‘business’ meetings. Leadership qualities often seem to be recognized by upper management through excess comment polishing during staff meetings. Leaders listen, then improve upon the silence if necessary. At least, thats how I see it.

Al says: Thank you, each and every one of you, for sharing this place with me. Good Sir, it is we who thank you for having a place so companionable to share.

… Everything is possible. I always enjoy reading what Commander Dave has to say.

Likewise with Andrea. Happy New Year to you and André too!

I haven’t made an appointment to be evaluated for sleep apnea yet (it may be that my wife is too patient, it may be that I need to be urged a bit if I’m not going to take the initiative), but I decided to try those adhesive strips that you put on your nose while you sleep. The idea is that they help keep the airflow going through the nose, thus discouraging the mouth breathing that is snoring’s precursor. I was very impressed. Last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months. Well, there was the small matter of Mr. ‘I’m so happy to be home with you’ cat walking on my head, but that was unrelated. Actually, at 14 pounds (5.23 kg) he is no small matter when he is on your head. The only downside to those strips I see (but a big one) is that even following the recommended procedure of ‘remove in the shower or while washing your face’ I managed to remove the upper couple of layers of epidermis off my nose. It was quite painless and I was blissfully unaware until I splashed my face with the soapy water. Then I became aware. I think that will be the extent of this patient’s trials with the adhesive strips. Later: Al is right, and thankfully, his urging is polite as well…

SirDeath, Audrey, and I just got back from seeing Chocolat. I think it was perfect little magical fable, just perfect. I recommend it highly. A lot of people on the IMDB discussion group seem to be down on the film because it was shallow or not done in French with subtitles because it is set in a rural French village. Another claims that the performances were ‘excruciating’ while Dame Judi Dench was ‘merely bad’. Whatever. Obviously your mileage may vary.

I’ve been enjoying the quotes garret currently has in the random rotation at dangerous meta. Chief Joseph, Chief Seattle, Wovoka, Thayendanegea, Black Hawk. Great stuff!

This will probably be it for the year 2000 edition of blivet. We’re going spend a quiet evening at home. If you’re going out to celebrate, please use a designated driver. Alcohol and motor vehicles are a very poor form of natural selection.

Oops, I lied. I was having a look at my Site Meter referrals (that rainbow thingie over on the right) for the last couple of weeks and noticed a google (thru yahoo) search for “suppressing libido”. The stream of searches for “Harry Potter” and “Penis Puppeteers” are one thing, that has been pretty constant. But as for suppressing libidos, well, I’ll leave that for others to advocate. I still have never figured out where the “nude Japanese” searches of a couple of months ago came from. (now I guess they will be back …) Just as a postscript, I think the libido suppression thing came from mentioning Kellog’s creation of Corn Flakes during the ‘obsession with colon cleanliness and bowel movements during the late 19th century’ from several months ago. Or something like that.

I’m going for real now. I hear The Iron Chef marathon going in the other room. Be careful out there, I want to see you in 2001. Thanks for a great year. –Hal

blivet 4/22/2000 It is by thought alone …

It is by thought alone I set my mind in motion

19:30 PDT

[Science Fiction – Books] The 2000 Hugo Awards nominations have been posted. Thanks to backup brain for reminding me of such things.

13:45 PDT

Terra Institute is a nonprofit organization founded to develop and promote independent political, economic and environmental ideas and values. Thanks to Dave at Scripting News for pointing out this new site. BTW, its a Manila site too. update – just minutes laterToo cool! Its one of garret‘s (of array) projects! It looks great! That quote of Aldo Leopold’s in the banner is one of my favorites.


[UniSci] Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Not From Bad Parenting. "Researchers have laid to rest the myth that another mental disorder stems from “bad parenting.” A new study from Johns Hopkins has shown that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, tends to run in families and has a strong genetic basis. " Sometimes its nature and sometimes its nurture. This certainly looks like nature. The confusion arose (I suspect, I certainly don’t know) from the familial connection. When you have this (heck, any) disorder you seek out the familiar which will be someone else who understands how the world works in the matrix of the disorder. They marry and reinforce the genetics. This works for alcholism, mania, whatever. IMHO.

I said I wouldn’t bring it up again and I won’t. I just hope its over soon.

Saturday morning

Today’s title reflects how I feel this morning. My body certainly isn’t cooperating, it wants to stay low, sluggish, inactive. Too often my mind is a willing accomplice, traveling the low road as well, all three of us planted in this old swivel chair, surplus from IBM when they shut down here in 1992. So thought comes to the rescue, if you can call it that, getting the body up, cajoling the reluctant personality (ego) into some semblance of activity. If I could tolerate watching TV I could probably be the ultimate couch potato. But, for whatever reason most TV bores me into activity, especially reruns, most sitcoms, dramas, especially anything with doctors, lawyers, or ‘military life’. Movies on TV don’t fare much better, even if they’re ‘classics’. I’m not sure what happened, but I really don’t care much for movies anymore, I used to like them, especially going to theatres. Lately, I seem to be seated very near someone who thinks they’re part of the movie, or at least thinks the character can hear them. Action movies often appear to trigger some sort of catharsis in their own life, especially if it involves blowing away someone in authority like a parent or boss. I’ve stopped asking for quiet. I just don’t go anymore.

There seems to be a conspiracy of audible clutter in our lives, ranging from the whirings, clatterings, and beeps of the machinery that infests our houses and business space, to the incessant drivel of what passes for radio disk jockeys. Somebody else’s music is often bad enough, but why do the DJs tell us so often that they ‘play more music’? How can you be doing that if you’re telling me about it? Once I agreed with the cultural critics that there was an attempt to keep us distracted so we would be more susceptible to purchasing suggestions, that there was a conspiracy by someone, ‘them’, to stifle introspection and by that, thought and growth. I think now that personal deconstructions reveal far more about the deconstructor than the deconstructee. You learn far more about yourself…

Ming Zhen once commented to me "do you think yogis like going off and living in caves with bugs and dirt?". So it is by thought alone that I seek to wrest my life back from the passivity that creeps in through fatigue and the assaults of 21st century life. We all have the power to do so, just because we hear it or see it doesn’t mean that it is part of us. It is part of the pageant of our collective lives and society, but we can choose whether or not to incorporate it into our personal lives. We must simply make the choice.

blivet 2000/03/30 eschew ostentatious obsequiousness

The Democratization of Science at First Things. I can’t improve on the comment that Garret excerpted on array where I first saw the link. “scientists have had a glorious free ride for a while; now they have to justify their work to laymen … in layman’s terms. otherwise, they assist this modern return to medievalism.” If you haven’t read Carl Sagan’s last book The Demon Haunted World yet, I recommend it highly. Scientists, and I mean all of us who do science, have our work cut out for us. Could we pass on the ‘Dark Ages’ part please?

[Burnt Rock] The potential of what we’ve done and how good the writeup might be continues to seep in. I’ve done archaeology since 1976, but this is the first project I’ve really felt like I was a part of the design, direction, and focus, and not just crew. Meanwhile we’ve got to get the body of the Little Spring House report out Monday. I did the analysis of the lithics and cartridges today. Greg is doing the historic material.

[Classic Movies] The Razor’s Edge (1946) was on TV tonight. What an superb movie. I read the W. Somerset Maugham novel that the movie is based on ten years ago at the reccomendation of Chuan Yuen and loved it. This is the first time I’ve seen the movie and wasn’t disappointed. Two thumbs up! All I have!

[PBS Code Rush update] URLs for the PBS site and there is a thread over at slashdot.

[The Antiques Roadshow Update] WGBH has dumped two appraisers. This is a step in the right direction. I had the wrong link earlier, sorry. Thanks for the link Garret. update to the update: Turns out it was linkrot! Linkrot half-life for certain news sites usually starts the following day at the fastest. I’ve never seen it less then an hour.

[Maxwell’s Silver Hammer] My wife had a portion of her thesis work (being done in conjunction with her job assignment) presented at a conference by a Ph.D. (not her advisor, not on her committee) without acknowledgement of her work. In other words presented as the Ph.D.’s work. Graduate students get treated like shit. Zen does not hold that you shouldn’t be angry in a situtation like this. It does hold that you should not dwell in that anger. Ego renunciation does not mean that you become a doormat. I’ve been screwed this way more than once. Yeah, I’m angry at the academy. Again. And I’m working to not dwell in that anger. Again.

[The Public Interest] When Psychotherapy Replaces Religion. A thought provking article which discusses how morality is taken frrom the milleu of private convictions (read ‘framed by personal sense of morality often grounded in religion’) to a secular framework based on ‘self-esteem’. This highights, for me, one of the problems I frequently encounter with Zen instruction. Zen is rooted in Buddhism – a mix of northern Indian Buddhism of the 5th century and southern Chineese Taoism . When removed from the structure of Buddhist and Taoist religion, which includes structured notions of morality, Zen becomes an impotent pop-culture exersize in appearing calm and peaceful. Nice for disilusioned surburbanites who want some Ego massage I suppose, but it isn’t Zen. Zen is about the eradication of Ego and the end of suffering caused by Ego. It will change your life, but it has nothing to do with the Western notions of self-esteem. Link from array.

“Zen is a cauldron of boiling oil over a roaring fire.”

Super (P)Fat Tuesday

[Burnt Rock Mound] I was part of the crew profiling the first dissection of the mound today. I was working in Unit D of the soil series defined at Tule Springs by Vance Haynes. This soil unit, or rather the time period of and the evidence found in this unit holds the answers to the questions we’re asking.

I’m listening to Bill Bradley on NPR as I put this together. To me it sounds like he’s not only conceding the various Super Tuesday primaries, but setting the stage to end his campaign in a couple of days, if not tomorrow. I like Bradley and have been following his campaign since he announced he would run several years ago. It looks like it will be a race of the Democratic and Republican establishments, which are two wings of the same party, the Business Party, IMNSHO*. I’m not very political, but I find the process that we use to decide who runs the country is mesmerizing.

[UniSci] Driving Mechanism Behind Ice Ages Lies To The South.
It seems reasonable to think that global ice ages result from climatic forces at work in the Northern Hemisphere. After all, that’s where most of the world’s ice periodically accumulates into the massive sheets that then grind southward over Europe, northern Asia and North America.

[Scripting News] Dave Winer posted this on Scripting News today:

I just realized something about Microsoft. To most people, including people at Microsoft, you’re either anti-Microsoft or pro-Microsoft. Then thinking about it some more, this isn’t just true of Microsoft. It’s also true of Apple. And it’s also true of Linux. And Open Source. And it’s not just about computers either. It’s pretty much everywhere. And it’s total bullshit.

Dave, I couldn’t agree more! This is a classic series of ‘dualistic thinking’ examples in the Buddhist sense. It is so enmeshed in Western thought and is the root of the first Noble Truth, that be alive is to suffer. The Universe is not composed of Hegelian opposites. To view things this way will make yourself and those around you miserable. To recognize that that path is bullshit is a big step in the right direction. (I know you’ve taken that step loong ago Dave. I’m just completing the thought here)

Fat Tuesday – Mardi Gras is upon us! Live Cam on Bourbon Street! ~ Mardi Gras Guide – History

Best of New Orleans Mardi Gras Information

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Mardi Gras Information

Mission to the Magnetosphere. The European Space Agency plans to send four identical satellites which will function in concert as they pass through the magnetosphere this summer. The quartet will collect data and map the Earth’s magnetic field which will provide a critical tool in the relatively young field of space weather forecasting.
European Space Agency

Cluster II home page.

This is part of the orbital system I wrote about several weeks ago that will eventually protect the ever-growing fleet of satellites that provide us with communications, locational information, and a hundred other things.

*IMNSHO stands for “In My Not So Humble Opinion”.

blivet 2000/03/02

For Steven, who asked
There is a lot of misunderstanding about Zen, especially in the West. The tendency seems to be to make Zen soothing and comfortable, a kind of fashonable decorator scheme for personal philosophy. Sadly, most people don’t have any idea about what Zen is and is not. Zen is perhaps the most brutal of all spiritual regimens which makes it hard to ‘sell.’ It’s goal is nothing less than to strip away all of our comfortable rationalizations we have about our selves and our lives which people have to be hungry for and really aren’t unless they’re desperate. Of course it will also strip all of the uncomfortable delusions we may have about inadequacy, inferiority, and inherent stupidity which does appeal to many. Someone once said that “religion should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. With Zen, the comfortable and the afflicted are within the same person.

Long ago, in our extreme youth, far earlier than we can recall, we constructed a shell between our selves and the rest of the world. Kind of a command interpreter between our software and this strange hardware of the world. (OK, its a stretch but imagine it as something impenetrable between two things that can not communicate.) There are fatal flaws in the implementation, and yes, it does work, sort of, but there is so much to be gained by moving to an advanced system. Sadly, this advanced system won’t work until the person is older and few people realize its there. Its kind of like having a Microsoft Bob shell on top of a perfect implementation of Linux. You’d have no idea what could be done because you’ve always dealt with an idiot. The sad thing is that the idiot thought he was in charge and took all the messages, hogged all the processor cycles and crashed without warning or reason. Your Ego is like Microsoft Bob. It’s not your friend and it will do anything necessary to keep you from finding out that there is a completely different system lurking behind the scenes.

That is more than enough for the computer analogy. It was tenuous at best. Perhaps it was illustrative.

“Zen is a cauldron of boiling oil over a roaring fire.” Who in their right mind wants to go on a journey that will expose all their hypocrisy and self-serving idiocy to themselves? Someone else once said, “start where you are”. For many, that is with an aesthetic of calm, simplicity, and peace. Thats the destination. First you must look within through right meditation and follow the seven other parts of the Eight-Fold Path. So if you want to light candles, sit on cushions, wear black, and say little phrases about the peace of a flower in the hushed tones of a National Public Radio classical music announcer, go ahead. Just don’t delude yourself that you’re doing Zen. Any more than wearing black and telling yourself you’re ‘tortured’ makes you an artist. It’s the function that you’re after, not the form, and here, form does not follow function. You can pretend you’re calm but watch how quickly it evaporates under stress and you end up snapping at people, harboring grudges, and just continue being deluded that somehow you’re justified because of the circumstances of your situation and life. Thats not Zen, just the window trappings. Passing through the gates is extremely uncomfortable and many feel like they’re becoming psychotic. Which perhaps makes Zen as its practiced in the West indelibly Western, because we really don’t like to do things that are hard, uncomfortable, disturbing, take a long time and will change your life.

I think what is truly filled with cosmic irony is that the simple little phrases about Zen are completely true. It is just paying attention and being in the moment, but there is so much difference between saying it and doing it. Adepts are in the moment because they are doing nothing other than what they are doing at the time. Nothing else, no background chit-chat in the mind, no ‘oh wait a minute, did I do such and such or call so and so?’ Just the moment, which is connected to every other moment in an eternal string of ‘Now.’

[SETI@home] The Macintosh version 2.0.3 of the client for the collaborative effort in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence is out. When I went to the SETI site this morning at work I could only find the 2.0.2 versions listed (Mac and Windows), but you can download it directly through Version Tracker. I apologize for not knowing how to find the latest versions of Windows applications & shareware/freeware, so if there is a VT equivalent for Windows you might check there. So far I’ve done 181 units and donated 4348 hours of computer time on multiple machines to the search.