Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Woke at 4 a.m.with a major yin anxiety attack wondering if I actually submitted the proposals I spent all day yesterday preparing for a midnight deadline and which could net the company a couple hundred thousand dollars. Log on to the submission site to find out all is okay, "There is no submit button, all proposals will be automatically uploaded at closing time." Back to bed after putting hydrocortisone on the new scratch from Lao Hu, the Yellow Emperor, who sneaked up behind me as I limped out of my study; the plantar's fasciitis is especially bad after being in bed. Then some prone breathing exercises to sleep and bring on a dream in which I was leading a marketing team trying to come up with a name for a food concession. Brainstorming in the dream yielded "Chic Chompers." French fast food maybe?

On the commute to work, contemplating the silence since I have been sans radio for about two months after it was stolen for the third time in 15 years (it's an old, but fun, car). I wonder if I should even bother to get a new one installed. A habit of silence can be attractive, no anxiety from right wing ranting and leftist lament, but time to think and just enjoy mindful driving. During time of war and political campaigns, silence can be golden: rare and precious. But I fear with a radio I will tune in again, breaking the non-listening habit I adopted after my Wudang Taoist retreat. Can I resist? I don't HAVE to turn it on. (It'll be iPod-ready and we do have fine classical and jazz stations.)

And can I continue to resist meat and alcohol, part of a routine fast begun at the Chinese New Year? I will be preparing a traditional sacrificial leg of lamb on Easter Sunday and in the fridge there is a bottle of Mumm's that's been chilling since Christmas, calling my name. Can I just observe a feast day and then return to fasting? How long does it take a new habit to become an established one? Which is the real habit?

As I am alone with my strange lunar pre-Easter/Ching Ming thoughts in the car, I wonder about those SUVs and trucks with memorial messages in olde English on their rear windows: "In loving memory of father/brother/son/mom, 1953-2006." Was the vehicle purchased as part of an inheritance? In there an urn of remains in a supersized cupholder? Is this only a Hawaii thing? Is this an extension of the creepy and tasteless roadside shrines at fatal accident sites, marked with balloons and teddy bears and deteriorating or plastic flowers? Is that even legal? Come to think of it, I saw some of those in Florida, which probably explains something.

I would hope that no one would put up such a shrine for me should I meet my fate on the road. But if one was so compelled, a taiji, a stuffed plush camel, and maybe Tibetan prayer flags would do. And on the car, a simple sign in Helvetica that says, "Just move on."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Trying to make this posting more readable. Is this font nice? My yang side has nice titles for posts. Why can't I find them?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I have created the yin and yang of blogs, somewhat by accident. Perhaps yin posts (reverse type on black ground) will go here, yang posts (black type on white ground) on the other (you can find it). Since it is evening, I suppose yin is the place to start. And also it is the Ides of March, if that is auspicious.

Today, went to a contest of Toastmasters...which I sometimes mistype as Taoistmasters. There is a big difference. I did not have to speak on the table topic, "Should we be judged by the company we keep?" And just as well. We were in a church, a simple stripped down folksy place of indeterminate denomination, with a flag, a podium, a cross, and I think a baptismal tub under a print of Jesus holding some lambs. As a Zen meditation hall might be compared to a gaudy Taoist temple, this church compares to a big bells-and-smells cathedral. The comparison ends there though, because I have a taste for the bells-and-smells. Still, had I been speaking in this environment, I would have suggested "Suppose someone was seen with a prostitute," and gone on to talk about Jesus and the disgraced Governor of New York. Both political figures with concern for their publics, they each had dealings with whores, both were sacrificed, both are judged by the company they keep. But one became a savior and one becomes needy of salvation. Indeed we all judge and are judged, but the key to the table topic seems to be, just what are we doing with that company we keep?