12-15-17 Update

What I’m reading
I finally finished reading Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley. I made plenty of notes.

I began Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton. I think watching the second season of The Crown on Netflix renewed my interest in English history. I’m only in the first chapter and I’m finding interesting genealogical information. The chapter talks about Matilda of Flanders, William the Conqueror’s queen, and mentions that her ancestry goes back to Charlemagne. Maltilda has another husband, a man named Gerbod, by whom she had a daughter, Gundrada (or Gundred), who eventually became the wife of William de Warrenne, first Earl of Surrey. There’s some speculation that Gundrada may have actually been the daughter of William and Matilda.. Genealogy works in strange ways. History seems more personal when it’s about your own ancestors.

Events I’ve attended
On Tuesday I attended my grandson Nick’s first band concert. He even had a trombone solo. He and the rest of the Sixth Grade Band have only been playing since September but, with practice, they’ll improve and sharpen their skills.

Nick-171212-04 (copy)After the band concert, we made our way to the high school for the choir concert. I don’t have any grandchildren in the choir but at the end, they bring up all the choir alumni for two songs. This is Jacob’s first alumni performance so we were eager to see him on the stage again.

Dreams
Reality-CheckI still haven’t had a lucid dream but I’m starting to see positive indications in my dreams. Two nights ago, although I didn’t remember any dreams, I did recall an image of two hands with one pushing a finger through the palm of the other. The image looked like a crude drawing.

 

This morning I had a dream in which I squeezed an egg until I broke the shell. I looked at my hand and saw no yolk or egg whites, only the shell fragments. In the dream I attributed the lack of a mess to the fact that it was a dream. I did not become lucid so I’m not sure whether or not I was actually aware that I was dreaming. It may have just been the way the way the dream was playing out. Still, the idea of lucid dreaming is working its way into my dreams which is encouraging.

Quotes I’m pondering
“The real you is not a body. Your body is merely a suit of clothes. Physical birth was not your beginning and physical death is not your end.” ~ Marianne Williamson

“No one and nothing can free you but your own understanding.” ~ Ajahn Chah

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05-19-17 update

What I’m watching
I’m still watching The Tudors on NetFlix, a couple of episodes at a time, generally late in the evening when things have quieted down. I guess I’m a bit of an Anglophile and I’m sure that’s genetic. I really enjoy British history and I’m particularly fascinated with the Tudor period. While other periods of English history have had their share of drama, intrigue, and politics, the Tudors seemed to have it in spades.

Things that are keeping me busy
Besides helping Tina prepare for our eldest grandson’s graduation party, I’ve been busy with outdoor projects both at home and at my son’s house. At his house I helped him remove around 70 paver stones from his back yard, many of them buried or sunk in. My son used some to create a makeshift patio around his vegetable garden and I took home 60 of them. I’ve got a couple of ideas on how to use them. If I have enough, there is a space between the back of the house and the sidewalk leading from the driveway to the back patio that I’d like to pave. An alternative use would be to set them around the garden boxes. Since they are stacked on the patio, I need to put them to use.

I also removed a truckload of tree branches and disposed of them. My daughter-in-law also wants me to break up four concrete slabs outside her patio door. That particular area tends to flood a bit so the plan is to fill it up and eventually build a deck there. I can be sure that my involvement in those projects is a certainty. I’ll get started on that next week after the weekend’s festivities.

Weekend plans
My eldest grandson will be graduating from high school on Sunday so we’re having a graduation party for him on Saturday. I rented a picnic shelter at one of the city parks and my wife has been preparing for weeks. We’re conservatively expecting about 60 guest based on invitation responses but I’m sure there will be enough food for twice that many. My wife has done much of the planning but my chief concern will likely be the logistics of getting everything to the park and set up. And, of course, the cleanup afterward.

On Sunday, we’ll be taking our granddaughter to the Sayaw FilipinOH dance practice at Wright State University. They had a performance in Cincinnati last weekend and another one coming up next weekend in Columbus. After the practice, we’ll probably go straight to the graduation which will be held in the Nutter Center on the other side of the campus.

Event I attended
On Saturday we traveled to Washington Park in Cincinnati for the Sayaw FilipinOH performance at the Asian Food Festival. Our granddaughter is a member of the dance troupe. As always, they gave a wonderful performance

Technology I’m working with
I’ve been fiddling around with Bash scripts a bit in the evenings. About a year ago I wrote a simple script to select a random file from a particular image folder and copy it to a temporary work folder and it was working well. This week I decided that I would like it to randomly select image files from any subfolder in my ~/Pictures directory by randomly selecting a subfolder and then grabbing a random image file from that folder. Often the selected file may not be what I’m looking for, so I put the process inside a while loop until I answer a prompt accepting and copying the file. Otherwise, it would disregard the selected file and choose another one. This was my first practical scrip using a loop and a case statement. I’m getting much more confident with writing scripts. I’m always looking for good tutorials and lessons.

Quotes I’m pondering
“Being naked in nature is possibly the most relaxing, most natural thing any of us could ever do. Live life naked my friends.” – @ohionaturist

“The ones telling you to chop off your foreskin for hygiene are the same ones telling you to stuff your penis in a dark, humid pouch all day.” – Nurba

“Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” – Douglas Adams

“Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A personal note
In my personal journal, I lead off each day’s entry with a quote, the subject of which will vary from one day to another. It’s not always easy to choose just one from the previous week for inclusion here. As my readers may have discovered, my interests are varied and I advocate many ideas that are a bit outside of mainstream current cultural norms. I strive for simplicity although I’m not always successful. I’m an advocate of the naturalness of the human body which plays into leading a simpler life. I also have a love-hate relationship with technology and I have my own ideas about how technology should serve us. Quite often it seems that we are serving the technology rather than the technology serving us.

Towel Day, May 25th
Don’t forget that next Thursday is Towel Day, a day in which we pay tribute to Douglas Adams and think about how his works have changed our perspective of life, the universe, and everything. It’s interesting to note that it was on a Thursday that the Earth was destroyed by the Vogon Constructor Fleet to make way for a hyperspatial expressway through our solar system.

Druid Sacrifice

Yesterday evening, after finding nothing worthy of my attention on television, I turned to Netflix. There I found a documentary, probably part of a series, called The Truth Behind: The Druids. Apparently, some archaeologists unearthed some Druid ritual and burial sites and they found evidence that the Druids may have engaged in human sacrifice as part of their rituals. This was presented as a “shocking” find.

I didn’t quite grasp what was shocking about this. Numerous ancient cultures included human sacrifices in their rituals. The Aztecs and Mayans performed human sacrifices over 500 years after the Romans landed on British soil and we accept that as historical fact. Are we shocked by Druids ritually cleaving heads because we have this image of the Druids as the peaceful, nature-loving people who built Stonehenge? Or maybe because they were a white Celtic people who could have been among our British ancestors? The Aztec and Mayan priests were a bunch of brown-skinned savages living in jungles on the other side of the ocean. They weren’t like us.

Papal Severance Package

It’s interesting that Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will resign effective the end of February because of his health when most of his predecessors have stuck it out to the bitter end. The last pope to step down was Gregory XII who was forced to abdicate in 1415 to end the Western Schism. At the time there were three popes: Pope Gregory XII, Antipope Benedict XIII at Avignon and Alexander V/John XXIII at Pisa. Apparently, it was a very messy and confusing situation.

After Pope Gregory’s abdication, he spent the rest of his life was spent in peaceful obscurity. (I like the sound of that.) With Pope Benedict XVI’s pending abdication, I have a few questions.

  1. What kind of severance package does he get?
  2. Will he still have Swiss Guards protecting him?
  3. Will he retain papal infallibility?
  4. Will he still be able to speak on behalf of God?

Inquiring minds want to known.

Veterans’ Day 2012

Today is Veterans’ Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day depending on your location and your history. It is a day to remember the end of “The War to End All Wars”. On this day I remember the thousands of soldiers on both sides who died needlessly for the glorification of their generals in the hours immediately preceding the Armistice which took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

For me this day serves as a reminder that all veterans and all who have served in the military have made sacrifices and many have made the ultimate sacrifice. At the very least these sacrifices have been made in the name of duty and honor. Too many of those who died for duty and honor also died for the vanity of generals and politicians in wars and conflicts that had no tangible objectives, fighting against undefinable enemies, and only served to extend our nation’s imperialistic policies and stroke the egos of our policy makers. Too many have gone into battle ill-equipped to face the threats posed against them and died due to the willful negligence of the national command authorities.

Tomorrow is just the 12th of November, just another day though many will enjoy a three-day weekend. While we enjoy our long weekend and the sales, we should think about the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen deployed in Afghanistan who can’t have a three-day weekend.

Remember the sacrifices all veterans have made, not just our veterans but soldiers of all nations throughout all of history. There really is no difference among them.  They may have been sent to war for different ideologies and beliefs, but their sacrifices have all been the same.

The best way to honor those who are serving and those who have served to keep us safe from the threats out there, both real and imagined and to defend the freedoms we hold so dearly, is to exercise our freedom, not just in the voting booth but every day in everything we do. Question authority no matter what form that authority might be. Hold our elected officials from city councilmen and mayors to Senators, Congressmen and the President accountable for their actions and their inaction. They were elected to serve us, the citizens, not the banks, the military-industrial complex, the super-rich, or the special interest groups. If they are not serving the citizens, they are not fulfilling their obligations and need to be removed from office.

Use your freedom or it will be taken from you, not by terrorists or any foreign power but by those you elected to serve you. If we give up our freedom, then the sacrifices of all American veterans will have been in vain.