The gr8ful grind: December 2004

Let go of anger; It's an acid that eats away the delicate layers of your happiness

The reverse side has also its reverse side

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Eddie would go

Eddie Aikau was a friend of my primary spiritual teacher Steven Smith. They grew up together in Hawai'i and both surfed. Eddie Aikau's heroics are legendary, especially the fateful trip that saw him swim away on the open ocean to get help for his canoemates, never to be seen or heard from again. Several books and a movie have been made about Eddie's fateful final swim. Eddie Would Go is a rallying cry among Hawiian surfers and islanders in general.

Steven attempts to teach an annual retreat in Burma (Myanmar) in January. Some years the generals let Steven into the country. Some years they don't. He is a friend to Aung San Suu Kyi, the duly elected president and nobel peace prize winner there who has been under arrest off and on by order of the generals for many years.

I am not sure if Steven was able to get access into the country this year to teach his retreat, or not.

What I do know is that Steven arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, the day before the tsunami. Also in the country was a friend of mine and a colleague of Steven's, Sarah Hagarty, who was either teaching or attending a retreat. In any case, Sarah was caught in the horror of the tsunami, but was able to make it out and actually contact me within about 30 hours to let me know she was okay. Although approximately 125 of the yogis and staff were able to reach safety, 10 of those were not, including a young woman and child who were friends to Sarah.

Today, my beloved teacher Steven has made his way to Kho Pha Thong, where he has many friends. I received an email from a mutual friend that Steven is assisting in the recovery of the bodies of many of those friends of his.

In order to honor Steven and to assist those who truly need help, I am now working with the Buddhist Council of the Northwest to get critically needed funding to a temple in Sri Lanka who has spent the last 20-plus years attending to the welfare of locals. I have chosen this route because I am unable to contact Steven and I know that Sri Lanka is one country where the need is overwhelming, and yet has few if any resources to alleviate the suffering of its citizens this disaster has caused. I am working on a local level here to accept monetary donations on behalf of the Buddhist Council of the Northwest, and will send the funding to the BCN. The BCN, in turn, will wire the money directly to the temple so that 100% of the donated funds will actually get to the people who most critically need it.

While clothing and food are also needed, private organizations would normally spend a lot of money getting such donations to the Asian destinations. Much of these donations would wind up sitting and sitting because the infrastructure is gone to deliver these supplies. By actually wiring cash, it allows much faster access to such needs as the villagers require. The monks in the village will then be able to assist where it does the most good to the greatest number of people.

If any of you reading this would like to donate, please contact me off list and I can talk to you about where to send your check and to whom to make it out.

May all beings be free from inner and outer harm.

Photo of the Day: A bed & breakfast in Atlanta, GA, taken Oct. 29, '04.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Photo of the Day: A small cabin in the moonlight along the McKenzie River. Dec. 26, 04.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Photo of the Day: Dec. 24, 04, Sahalie Falls, High Cascades. Note the frozen spray behind the small snag in the right forground.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Photo Of The Day: Ankeny Fountain area, Old Town, Portland, OR, Dec. 19, 04

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Photo of the Day: Last holiday season pic of the year. I think. Pioneer Courthouse Square Mall, Dec. 19, 04.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Photo of the Day: I have no idea who any of these people are, but it captures a moment of the season. And that little guy REALLY likes his right hand. Yummy! Dec. 19, 04.

The Wisdom of Ekai

Spring flowers, autumn moon,
Summer breeze, winter snow--
When the mind is free from unnecessary thoughts,
Every season is just perfect!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

200 Things About Me

Another pop-blog activity is 200 Things About Me. The statements in bold are the ones that have happened to me. The italicized parts are my own statement about some of them.

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain. It was a small mountain.
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone.
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights.
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables.
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars.
21. Changed a baby's diaper.
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower.
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope.
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment.
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
31. Asked out a stranger Sometimes they even asked me out.
32. Had a snowball fight.
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier.
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can. Into a mic; on stage
35. Held a lamb.
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip.
38. Taken an ice cold bath.
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a begger.
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Ridden a roller coaster.
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days. It was really great acid.
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day. Use to do this a lot back when the Beatles first came out.
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment.
48. Had two hard drives for your computer.
49. Visited all 50 states
50. Loved your job for all accounts.
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced. Yes, I’ve been to lots of Dead shows.
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
53. Had amazing friends.
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales.
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe
58. Taken a road-trip. See No. 51
59. Rock Climbing.
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach.
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them.
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day.
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it.
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog.
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken.
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie. Do television shows count?
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch.
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Ridden a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo. At age 11. What was I thinking??!!!??.
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on. Uhm, nylon pantyhose *Shiver*
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
105. Got flowers for no reason.
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage Was a professional musician for 12 years.
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music. See No. 109
112. Eaten shark.
113. Had a one-night stand See No. 109
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off. But I had it burned off when my pants caught on fire. Still have the scars after 40+ years.
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour. See No. 51.
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did. Great-great uncle is Pancho Villa.
132. Called or written your Congress person. And talked to them face to face.
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over.
134. ...more than once? - More than thrice?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking.
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did.
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
140. Wrote articles for a large publication. USA Today.
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray.
145. Broken someone's heart More than once.
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job More than once.
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone.
150. Killed a human being
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Ridden a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100mph
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced.
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild.
157. Ridden a horse.
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing.
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor. But not willingly
170. Eaten sushi.
171. Had your picture in the newspaper. Many, many times
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes.
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read.
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them.
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Guitar.
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions.
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office. Mayor; special district board
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196: Dyed your hair.
197: Been a DJ. Well, actually a color commentator for local basketball.
198: Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal
199: Written your own role playing game
200: Been arrested

Photo of the Day: Okay, I'll pay homage to the Christian holiday over the next few days. This one was snapped at the Pioneer Courthouse Square Mall in downtown Portland, Dec. 19, '04. Obviously, there's a gap between these two trees.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Photo of the Day: I traveled to Portland yesterday and attended the last day of Saturday Market for the year. Snapped this one of a troupe of belly dancers while there. It was pretty cool, in the lower 40s (F), and I'm sure these ladies were feeling it. Yet they warmed the crowd quite nicely. (As always, you can click on any of the photos on my blog to see the fullsized version)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Photo of the Day: Snapped this one off this morning about a half hour from the house. The Three Sisters behind the farm. It was a balmy 27 degrees out (that's below freezing for all you Celsius folks). One of the crisp days we get here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Photo of the Day: The Dead, The Gorge @ George, WA., Sept. 2003. An incredible, meaningful show to me personally.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Photo of the Day: Okay, I didn't really take this one. I was taking photos of this grist mill at Stone Mountain State Park near Atlanta on Oct. 25th of this year. I was all alone and kinda wanted a photo with me in it to remember that I was actually here. So there was a woman walking by and I asked if she would be kind enough to take my photo in front of the mill. She was.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Questions NO.s. 67 & 68

Okay, it’s time to post the answers to the 3 questions game we’ve been playing. First of all, by asking more than 3 questions nonbeing wants to be able to play the game by other than the rules for everyone else. He better watch out or people will begin to think he’s American. We will leave it to just 3 questions.

Pearl wanted to know
1: What do you cherish most in my life so far?
Well I work hard on non-attachment, but I confess to being entirely human. I would say my family and friends.

2: What do you think has altered the course of your life so far?
Two things: drugs and the dharma. Drugs expanded my consciousness, while simultaneously causing me to be less than I could have otherwise been. I quit 20-some years ago, but the impact of both the pluses and minuses still linger; the dharma allows me to be a much better human being than I otherwise would have been.

3. What is my favorite ice cream flavor? Espresso.

Nonbeing asked:
1. How do I want to die?
First of all, I attempt to live in this moment. If one is always mentally involved with what has already occurred or what might happen in the future, once misses this moment, which is where our lives are actually lived. I can say that I have no fear of death. But I would guess the direct answer to your question is that I would hope I die with loving-kindness on my mind and in my heart to send me into the next incarnation and facilitate a fortunate rebirth.

2: What is the last thing you want to say to someone, just before you croaked.
‘Everything was beautiful, nothing hurt.’

3: What gives purpose of meaning to my life?
I take refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha. That having been said, service to others gives my life meaning, while music puts me in balance.

Justin asked:
1: What’s the best show you have ever seen?
Given the fact I have attended over 50 Grateful Dead shows, several dozen Little Feat shows, and scores of other shows by an infinite variety of other musical acts, plus played hundreds of shows in bands of my own, this is a tough one, especially since many of the hundreds upon hundreds of shows I attended or performed in were done in an altered state (Yes, I actually DID see the words come out of Garcia‘s mouth and swirl around my head on that January evening in 1970).

So, I’ll just talk about the 2 most memorable shows for me. (Note: This does not include the show after which I met Jerry Garcia alone in an elevator).

Show #1: I was in my early 20s. Clapton was God. He’d just left Cream and we heard he had a new group with Steve Winwood called Blind Faith that was coming to Portland. We bought tickets and attended. Blind Faith’s set was great, with Ginger Baker going nuts when the Portland cops pulled the pug on the electricity at 11:30 pm because of curfew issues. But what really made it memorable for me was one of the opening acts. The first opening act was good: it was a little 3-piece rock unit from Ireland with some guitar player I never heard of namedRory Gallagher, But it was the act just before Blind Faith that really blew me away. It was a large unit I’d never heard of before called Delany & Bonnie and Friends. They played incredibly great rock and blues; Bonnie’s voice and singing style made me cream my jeans, and the players. OMG, the players! (This was the first time I had ever heard of any of them) The lead guitar player was this strange white-haired, white-bearded guy named Leon Russell; the back-up singer was incredible and her name was Rita Cooledge (for whom Russell wrote Delta Lady); the piano player, bassist, and drummer would all become The Dominoes, as in Derek and…(Bobby Whitlock on piano, Carl Radle on bass, and Jim Keltner on drums); and the horn section was Jim Price and Bobby Keyes, the foundation of the Rolling Stones’ horn section for the past several decades. I was a puddle on the floor when that band finished it’s set.

The other show was June 12, 1980, a couple of weeks after the initial cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Paramount Theater. Grateful Dead. The second set started with drums, very unusual. And both drummers really got into it, calling up the spirits from incredible depths. This morphed into an extended Scarlet Begonias and jam. Then, without stopping they went into Fire On The Mountain. As they began Fire, I was thinking ‘Wow, they haven’t stopped since they began the set. I looked down at my watch and noticed it was 9:04 pm exactly as they began Fire without a single pause. After the show, we filed out of the Paramount and it was snowing! In June! Only, it wasn’t cold. Yet it was snowing and there was over an inch of snow on the ground. As we waded out into the snow, we realized it wasn’t snow at all. It was volcanic ash. The mountain had erupted again and the winds had blown the ash across the Columbia into Portland. We drove home through the stuff and as I read the paper the next morning, it said the mountain had had a huge eruption beginning at …wait for it…9:07 pm. The boys had called up Pele. The drummers no doubt had awoken her and Fire On The Mountain had enticed her to twirl along. Those guys!!!!!!

2: What is the most beautiful place in these states to live?
I hafta say for many, many years, I would have answered that if I didn’t live in Oregon (which is an incredible place to live!), I would want to live in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mystical, beautiful, hypnotic. But that was before I spent all those vacations in Lahaina. Love that town. (Did I ever tell you about the time I stood at the urinal next to John Sebastion only go out into the club and see George Harrison and Elton John?) But Maui is too expensive. If I could live anywhere and chose to live in the US, I suppose I would seriously hafta look at living in Eugene, OR. But for sheer beauty, it’s a tough one. Certainly, a very good case could be made for either the Black Hills, Lahaina, and Sedona, AZ.

3: If I could sit down and eat dinner with any historical figure, dead or alive, who would it be? Why?
My Libra scales really come into play with this one. I’ve been with my share of celebraties from my time as a professional musician and as a journalist: Meredith Wilson, Bob Hope, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, just to name a few. Garcia? Thomas Jefferson? Ajan Chah? In the end, it’s very obvious. Provided we could speak a language that we both could understand very, very well, it would be Buddha. To have instruction, receive answers, bask in his glow.

Thanks for playing.....

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Photo of the Day: The rising sunlight hits the top of Mt. Hood. Taken on the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Nov. 7, 04.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Photo of the Day: Forest trail in the high Cascades, Oregon, October, 2003

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Third Degree

Sometimes, the blogosphere gets hit with a blog-culture activity that speads like a virus at a computer newbie convention. One was 200 Things About. I tried to do that on this site and was not successful in posting it. Some HTML thingy happened I couldn't fix. So I'd thought I try another one since it appears so simple on the surface:

Ask me 3 questions about anything. Go ahead. I'll answer them as long as it doesn't ask me to reveal my debit card pin or some other thing I'm not willing to give up. I'll wait a few days to see how many folks submit and then answer a slew of them at one time.

(Bracing myself) Okay, go ahead......3 of 'em.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Photo of the Day: Sheltered cove, Vancouver Island, B.C., May, 2004

Friday, December 03, 2004

Photo of the Day: Antiquities at the Jefferson County Fair, Madras, OR, July 2004.

Computer help plea...again

Last time I asked, I was helped tremendously by JA Becker. So I thought I'd again put a computer problem out there and see if any of you in Bloggerville might have an answer someone about 1/4 way between computer dummy and actually being accomplished might be a able to follow.

I have Windows XP on my home computer. A couple of days ago I clicked on a Windows XP upgrade pop up sent from Microsoft and added upgrades to the program. The only thing is, now when I attempt to open any photograph on my computer, it uses one of my graphic software programs to open it instead of the default Windows XP program that had been opening up my pics for the past few years.

Can anyone out there--using elementary steps and language--walk me through the process so that I can again use the XP program to open my photos?

Bowing with gratitude for any assistance offered.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Couch potato, hold the sour cream

I'm a couch potato. Most people who know me would find that fact contrary to their experience of me, but it's true. Except for traveling, I can't think of much I'd rather do than sit on the couch all weekend and watch football, movies, concerts, news programs, and my favorite TV series: Stargate SG-1 and The West Wing. (Unless it's playing music in a band, but that's another post for another day)

I'm a sci-fi fan and Stargate SG-1 does it for me. I thoroughly enjoy how the writers have embedded very subtle humor, which the actors accentuate with very subtle facial gestures. There's a lot of humorous references to many occurances in past episodes the non-regular veiwer might not get, and I like that, too. In some ways, there's a Rocky & Bullwinkle adult cartoon humor injected into the show. I suppose that's because Dom DeLuise's two sons are so involved in the series as writers and directors.

I also appreciate the very, very subtle relationship that occurs between the series lead and the series leading lady, and how the pair must not let anyone, even themselves show it. It is an unspoke thing between all the main characters. In most series (Cheers, Ed, and others come to mind) the writers' tendency is to exploit the physical tension between the two characters for a season or two while they fall in love but fight it, have them partner for a season and then have them deal with a break up for a season. Stargate SG-1 has stayed out of this pitfall and can't tell you how much I appreciate that, although the leading lady is beginning to go on her own more and date others, perhaps even fall in love. I wish it would continue in the relationship vein it originally deal, but I'm not one of the writers.

It now appears the series is winding down which produces some wistful melancholy for me. But as Buddha so elequently pointed out: All that arises passes away.

The West Wing passed away the day Aaron Sorkin left it as far as I'm concerned. Or so I thought. I know conservatives called this sereis The Left Wing, but one should realize the fictional presidency is one of a Democrat. And I always appreciated the very real way legitimate middle of the road and legitimate conservative viewpoints were dealt with during Sorkin's tenure with the show. I've come to know every one of the characters and have at one time or another identified with each of them, appreciated them, developed affection for them.

When he left, it just felll apart as far as I was concerned. I came into the current season thinking I was going to watch one or two episodes to confirm my not watching it any more, letting it go. It felt like the end of an affair because these were my friends I was watching (okay, I don't want to get into the whole these are fictional characters discussion).

But I must give credit where it's due, and so far this season it appears as the new production people now involved with the series have gotten their sea legs and the series is beginning to feel more and more like it did the first 4 years. For that I am delighted.

I just thought I'd share all this with you....