mjj (flemmings) wrote,

One's pleasures where one finds them

I never quite understood the concept of a geekgasm. I supposed I'd had them but they seemed much more global-- a continuous state of elevated joy, not a single spasm of geekly jouissance. But now I get it, because I just had one.

The Weather Network is changing its page to frivolities-- videos and cute pics, catering to hand-helds, rather than, yanno, weather data. TWN is unsatisfactory anyway- offers you historical weather for the years since 2001, except that anything before 2009 is 'data is not available for this date.' Can I check my surreal memory that ten years ago, round about the birth of a little friend, we went from a summery 28C on the Monday to winter's return 4C on the Wednesday? No, I cannot.

Someone mentioned Environment Canada, that I'd always found unnavigable. But they've changed their wp too, to something as useful if not as pretty as TWN. I bookmarked it and went poking about the site to see if *they* at least will still tell me what phase of the moon we're at, which TWN won't. Found their historical weather menu. 'But it only has month and year, what good is'... a chart that gives you highs and lows and rainfall and snowfall (not just 'precipitation') and 'snow on the ground' and 'greatest wind strength' that day and a whole bunch of other stuff for every day since 1937. OMG. Can such beauty be?

What have you just finished reading?
Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. Bread and butter Buddhism, part re-read, because I bogged down somewhere round Right Effort of the Noble Eight-fold Path. Also because Thich Nhat Hanh gets a little too trad diction in these areas and one needs a translation.
The four practices usually associated with Right Diligence are 1) preventing unwholesome seeds in our store consciousness that have not yet arisen from arising 2) helping the unwholesome seeds that have already arisen to return to our store consciousness 3) finding ways to water the wholesome seeds in our store consciousness that have not yet arisen and asking friends to do the same, and 4) nourishing the wholesome seeds that have already arisen so that they will say present in our mind consciousness
becomes more comprehensible when stated as
Four Great Efforts
1. The effort to avoid any new unwholesome, negative thoughts or actions.
2. The effort to overcome any existing unwholesome thoughts or actions
3. The effort to develop only good and wholesome thoughts and to lead an enlightened life.
4. The effort to maintain the goodness that already exists.
What are you reading now?
Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You.
Chodron is big on facing the uncertainty of what is, and not using props to provide a sense of security. "We can begin to pay attention to our methods of escape. What do I do when I feel anxious or depressed, bored or lonely?... Do I cheer myself up with drugs or sex, or do I seek adventure? Do I prefer retreating into the beauty of nature or into the delicious world provided by a really good book?... The point is we can misuse any substance or activity to run away from insecurity." I'm sure she's right, but I'm still going to indulge in my escapes, one of which is

Pico Iyer, The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto.
Because it takes me back, even if it's never quite the Kyoto I saw or the Japan I knew; and because it suggests that one might return and find a place like that, filled with sane agreeable westerners. If that's possible. Gaijin in Japan, stripped of their supporting culture, are far weirder than at home. Certainly the ones in Tokyo were nearly all lunatic in one way or the other, myself not excepted. (Then again, a number of the people Iyer describes impress me as just as unpleasantly jerky as the tom-catting English teachers prowling Roppongi. Not all sweetness and light.) (And I seem to be excepting Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians from the category of gaijin. They didn't have the easiest time, but the ones I met were the only contented foreigners I came across.)

What Will You Read Next?
Lesley Livingston, Wondrous Strange.
nekonexus' mention sent me off to the library to find this. Started it, and it's very YA, but we shall see. In any case, I'm indulging in a little Library Entertainment before I attack the backlog of books, and the Iyer is due back first.
Tags: japan, meme, reading_13, religion, rl_13
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