Friday, April 29, 2005

Cat Friday

or, What I did last night rather than listen to our Supreme Commander lie about Social Security, mislead regarding his energy policy, and in general misspeak.

I began in contemplation. Since Wednesday, when I received the pictured Tibetan Singing Bowl, I have made this a regular practice. Well, it's only been two days, but I've got to start somewhere. Nu?
Singing Bowl on shelf by window
Here, we see the bowl back on the shelf. Just behind the bowl is another historical shot. Pictured are four generations of my paternal line: Brother Dave, Padre, Grandpa Will, and Great-Grandfather Marcus.

On the top shelf is a recently developed picture of my stepmother, Wanda. Judging by the group of negatives this was with, I believe the picture was taken between 1965-67. She was a dish, wasn't she? May she rest in peace.

After I took these shots, I sat down to read the May 2005 issue of Shambhala Sun. This has been my practice since Monday of this week. Sitting and reading for an hour or so after I get home from work is definitely better than flicking on the Glass Teat and becoming Instant Zombie. Oh, I still turn on the tube eventually, I'm too much of an addict to go cold turkey. Yes, it's only been a week, but I've got to start somewhere.

By the way, I ordered that Tibetan Singing Bowl from a company that advertises in Shambhala. Additionally, I'll mention that this is the second issue of Shambhala Sun I've bought, and I'm becoming a fan.

While all this quiet reading was going on, I had the camera at the ready so I could capture my weekly picture of our favorite Purr Ball. On occassion I would crawl on the floor and chase her in search of the perfect image. I caught two I really liked, and we'll see one of them in a moment.

I hadn't had much of a lunch, and I was getting hungry by this point. So I zapped a slice of left-over pizza and grabbed an O'Doul's. I read the latest Entertainment Weekly while I ate. Pizza leisurely consumed, and faux beer in hand, I was ready to get down to work.

On the way home I had heard that our Fearless Leader would be striving to construct intelligible sentences before a room essentially full of fawning journalists, and I knew that I wanted to avoid it. The mere sound of his voice raises my blood pressure. And who needs the grief?

So as I was driving, I considered what alternatives I had. I could watch a DVD. I could work on one of two or three ideas I've had brewing in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now. Or I could burn a lecture by Alan Watts onto CD.

Since this last item is what I chose to do, it perhaps deserves further information. As you'll see from this bio page (ff), Alan Watts was a student of Eastern religions. Among others (notably Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg), Watts was primarily responsible for making Zen Buddhism popular in America.

The lecture in question was a thirty minute program which aired on PBS in the early 1970s. In the program, Alan says the year is 1971, so I assume the program aired a year or so later. He died in 1973.

I don't remember why I watched the program, or why I recorded it on a cassette tape, but that cassette tape has traveled with me ever since. About a week ago, I decided to see if the tape had survived the ravages of time. Happily it had, and I immediately recorded it onto my computer. The quality of the recording is good. The title of the program was "Conversation With Myself".

My co-worker has expressed an interest in Eastern Mysticism, so I decided to burn a copy of the presentation onto CD for her. Since the "Conversation" was 30 minutes long, and a CD can hold up to 80 minutes, I decided to add some tunes to fill it out. In order, they were:

  1. Deep Peace, Bill Douglas
  2. Crossing the Water, Gordon Bok
  3. Ballad of a Runaway Horse, Emmylou Harris
  4. Since You’ve Asked, Judy Collins
  5. The Guests, Leonard Cohen
  6. Smithers-Jones, The Jam
  7. The 59th Street Bridge Song, Simon & Garfunkle
  8. Joan of Arc, Judy Collins
  9. Common One, Van Morrison
Three of these tunes were on vinyl LPs, so recording them required stringing a cable from the computer in the study to my sound system in the living room. Then, I ran back and forth as I changed albums and so on.

The intent was that this music would somehow complement Mr. Watts' conversation. A few of the tunes seem obvious to me (e.g., the "Ballad of a Runaway Horse", which is based on an old Zen story). Some may seem tangetical (e.g., "Smithers-Jones", which concerns a Brittish worker being down-sized). We shall see how my co-worker likes it.

Well, if you've gotten this far, you deserve to see this week's picture of her royal catness. Here, thanks to the magic of Photoshop, she meets the woman for whom she is named.

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