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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12-08-17 Update

Events I attended
On Saturday Tina, Abi, Nick, and I attended the Phil-Am Christmas party. As usual, it was well-attended and there was plenty of food for everyone. No one goes hungry at a Filipino event. There’s another party hosted by the Ilocano group tomorrow (Dec 9) to which we’ve been invited. My wife isn’t Ilocano but that really doesn’t matter.

There are probably more holiday parties that I not aware of that I’ll be attending. At the moment, I don’t have anything on my calendar for the 16th other than the Dayton Warm Breezes clothing-optional party.

Ben-171205-00
I attended high school band concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Concert and Jazz bands played on Tuesday. Abi played several percussion instruments in the Concert band and Ben played trombone. Ben also played trombone in the Jazz band and one song featured the trombone section. Before the concert began Ben and some other members of the band did a couple of songs on recorders. They sounded pretty good. (WHS Recorder Band)

Wednesday’s concert featured the Symphonic Winds and the Wind Ensemble bands. Ben played bass clarinet in the first and trombone in the others. Rumor has it that he’s also been playing the tuba. He’s quite talented and has a gift for music. The recorder band again played during the intermission.

Other stuff
Rex-171203-00.Mac_171125

I finally got around to putting up the Christmas tree and stringing the lights over the weekend. The corner where we usually put it has been taken over by my son’s video games so we moved it nearer the front part of the living room. I was concerned about having it near the cat tower but other than knocking a few ornaments off, he’s been pretty good about the tree. That’s unlike my other son’s cat, Mac, whose favorite hiding place is inside their tree.

Quotes I’m pondering
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ Charles Darwin

“The reality is that when we hold back our true nature, we lose.” ~ John Douillard

11-24-17 Update

There’s not much this week as my wife and I start to get into the holiday season. Since the “official” start of the holiday season seems to come earlier every year, I’ve already publicly declared my neutrality and my status as a non-combatant in the annual war on Christmas.

The wife and I attended a birthday parry on Saturday. The celebrant was only two but it occurred to me that these celebrations for small children may be more for the adults than for the children. It gives the grownups a chance to socialize with other adults and have adult conversations.

Of course there was Thanksgiving. For the last six or seven years, we have gathered at my son’s house and this year was no exception. We ate well. I took a moment to think about my direct Pilgrim ancestors who made that perilous voyage in 1620 and the extreme hardships they faced in their first year in the New World. On the whole, the Pilgrims had a good relationship with their Native American neighbors. They were more open-minded and tolerant that the Puritans who followed them

Then there’s Black Friday. an event in which I do not participate, let alone celebrate. I consider it to be the antitheses of the holiday season as it promotes and celebrates the extremes of greed and avarice, capitalizing on the delusional idea that our value as human beings is dependent upon the monetary value of the gifts we give and receive. Black Friday brings out the worst in many as they fight for the best deals on material goods so they can boast about how much money they saved. It’s called Black Friday for an obvious reason.

I saw an interesting article the other day: A 1903 Proposal to Preserve the Dead in Glass Cubes

In 1903 Joseph Karwowski received a patent for a method of preserving the dead by suspending them in glass cubes but it was never put into practice. Early in the 20th century, a casket company in Oklahoma did produce and sell glass caskets.

At the very least, the idea of encasing the body of a deceased loved on in glass seems creepy, even disturbing. The process described in the process ignores the fact that even if the body is hermetically sealed in glass, the process of internal decomposition will continue with rather gruesome results.

In my later years, I’ve given a lot of thought to death and my own mortality. Death is inevitable so I figure that I may was well face it without fear and with a positive attitude. I have trouble understanding why we strive to persevere the dead for eternity. I have yet to attend a viewing or a funeral service where the deceased appeared natural and lifelike in the casket. I generally find they appear a bit disturbing.

When I do finally leave my body, I’d prefer not to have a funeral but if there is to be one, I’d like to it to be as simple as possible. A plain pine box (covered) will be fine. I don’t want my body to be pumped full of chemicals or have botched plastic surgery performed on it. There’s no need to preserve it as I won’t be using it again.

As for how my survivors dispose of my body, I would like it be be in an ecologically responsibly manner that benefits the world in some small way. Use my remains to nourish a tree or use my cadaver for medical research or transplant some of my organs into someone who has a need for them. I’d even be fine with leaving my corpse in the desert so the buzzards can pick my bones. Even that’s more beneficial than a perfectly preserved cadaver.

Quote I’m pondering this week:
“One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking—a detour, an error.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

11-17-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’m still reading Dreams of Awakening but not as often as I probably should be. I’m currently reading about developing mindfulness and mindfulness meditation.

Event I attended
The Wayne High School Marching Band held its Sounds of the Stadium concert on Saturday. The concert highlights the songs they played during the season to include football games, band festivals, and various local festivals. They featured the seniors in the band for one number and it was a treat to see my grandson Ben play and dance. After the concert, the percussion section stayed on the stage and were joined by most of the band for a a bit of dancing. The trombone section came out for some trombone spinning.. It’s too bad that the after show never gets included with the concert DVD. It’s great to see the band get down and have a good time.

SOS-171111-57The band still has one more performance this season, the Dayton Children’s Parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s quite a show. Everyone in the band strings Christmas lights on their instruments. Ben uses LED lights on his trombone so it really stands out. If they spin their trombones in the parade, it should look spectacular. I’m not sure how Abigail will attach lights to her cymbals.

Projects I’ve been working on
We had a couple of really cold nights recently and the leaves fell from the trees pretty much all at once. It took a couple of days but I got all my leaves moved to the curb where the city will eventually come around with their leaf sucking truck. To move the leaves from the back yard, I get them into a big pile and then move them onto a big tarp and drag them to the curb. It”s a lot easier than blowing and raking them the entire distance.

My Linux desktop began to get a little more flaky and locking up unexpectedly at least a couple times a day. I’ve always had some minor issues with Linux Mint on this particular computer. I think there may have been a few compatibility issues with the AMD chipset. I looked around online for a suitable refurbished desktop PC and found a Lenovo M91p at Micro Center in Cincinnati at a reasonable price. It was advertised with a 500GB hard drive and while getting system information prior to installing Linux, I discovered that it actually had a 2TB drive. My lucky day! With that much disk space I decided to keep the Windows 10 installation and dual boot it with Linux. (I had originally intended to delete Windows.)

I had set up a similar computer for my wife a while back so I swapped some memory bringing her computer down from 24GB to 16MB and taking mine from it’s original 8GB to 16GB. Once I’d done a backup of of my old PC I took its memory and brought the new system up to 32GB. Once set up, I did some tweaking and it’s running pretty nicely. I still haven’t brought up and configured the Windows 10 partition. I’m not in any particular hurry as I’m not particularly found of Windows 10 though I like it better than 8. When I have to use Windows, I use 7.

2017-11-12I’m not sure that this is a project but I’ve been seeing friends on Facebook doing a black-and-white photo challenge. Though I haven’t been challenged, I thought the idea was interesting so I began taking and posting a daily black-and-white photo. This has kind of renewed my appreciation for the medium of black-and-white which I believe is a very underrated and powerful medium.

Something I learned recently
While getting a haircut earlier this week, I told the stylist that I parted my hair on the right. She explained to me how my natural part was actually on the left and proceeded to show me how parting it on the left let my hair fall naturally and that by parting it on the right, I had to force it to stay in place since it was going against its natural inclination. And to think I’ve been parting my hair on the right for as long as I can remember, for over 50 years. She cut it so that I could part it on either side and decide which I preferred. So far, going with the natural part seems to be working well for me.

Quotes I’ve been pondering
“You don’t have to explain your dreams, they belong to you.” ~ Paulo Coelho
“No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.” ~ Thomas Mann

11-10-17 Update

Events I attended
On Friday night I watched half of the high school’s playoff game which, unfortunately, they lost. But I did get the see the band perform the half-time show in their Halloween costumes. Several members of the percussion section dressed as blind referees and one of them wandered around the field with a white cane.

On Saturday I got invited to a birthday party for one of my wife’s friends because there would be other husbands there who might need someone to talk to. We didn’t talk much, just watched a lot of college football, more football than I’d watched in a very long time. But there was plenty of good food, so that was a plus.

Then on Sunday we went to a farewell party for one of our Sayaw FilipinOH friends who returned to the Philippines today. She’s completed her studies here but she promised she’d be back. She’ll be missed.

What I’m reading
I’m still reading Dreams of Awakening by Charlie Morley though I haven’t devoted much time to it this week.

Project I’m working on
My aging desktop computer was showing signs of its obsolescence so I bit the bullet and did an upgrade. I found a refurbished desktop PC online and I drove down to the outskirts of Cincinnati to pick it up. Once I got it home, I went about adding more memory and loading Linux on it. I’ve got my data moved and I’m still working out a few issues with it. If there’s anything I’ve learned in 25 years of computer maintenance, it’s that there is no such thing as an easy upgrade. There’s always something that bites you in the ass.

11-03-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’ve been reading Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley on my Kindle. It’s quite engaging, especially with its spiritual aspect (Tibetan Buddhism). I’m taking notes so it will probably take me a while.

Events I attended
On Friday, my wife, granddaughter and I attended the Philippine-American Association of Dayton’s Halloween party. I went as a monk. When asked what order I was from, I responded with “Out of Order” because no one seemed to get it when I answered “The Order of Gnostic Heretics.” I was worried that I might be asked to give the benediction. I had nothing prepared and anything I might have come up with probably would have considered blasphemous. Fortunately, I was not called upon. There were a lot of great costumes and lots of good food.

Things I’ve watched
I just started my free trial of Hulu and the first thing I watched was the first seven episodes of The Orville, a Star Trek like series created by Seth McFarlane. Other than that, I’m finding it difficult to find anything that seems to interest me. I have the same experience with Netflix.

Quotes I’m pondering

“The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” ~ Rumi

“Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake.” ~ Carl Sagan

10-20-17 Update

What I’m been reading
Finished Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple by Robert Waggoner and I’m going back through the last few chapters to complete my notes. Next up will probably be Charlie Morley’s Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep.

What I’ve been watching
Last weekend I found Seasons 3 and 4 of Canada’s Worst Handyman on Netflix. Home improvement and DIY shows usually attract my interest although I often find them disappointing because many of the improvements done on these shows are done by professionals using professional equipment or are projects that are too expensive (usually requiring special tools or a fully equipped wood shop) for me to take on.

On this show they found five of the most inept handymen (and women) in Canada and bring them to a “Handyman Rehabilitation Center” where they are each given a room to fix up, doing various projects to complete that involve carpentry, plumbing, basic electrical work, flooring, and drywall. The host is accompanied by two experts who attempt to teach each would-be handyman how to do each project. The two experts also accomplish each assigned task themselves. Throughout the show, they monitor the contestants on closed-circuit TV to evaluate them. At the end of each episode, they choose the worst handyman and the most improved.

Each episode also has a group project where the most improved person from the previous episode is made the foreman for the project. On the last show of each season the contestants have to complete as many of the projects as they can.

As I watched this show, there were funny moments but I generally felt bad for these people and there were things they did that I found downright frightening. I did learn a few tricks I hadn’t known (from the experts, not the contestants). Having seen this program, I don’t feel quite so bad about my own skills as a handyman. I’m not a great handyman but I’m passable. I get things done (eventually). And I never use a sledge hammer to remove plumbing fixtures.

Projects I’ve been working on
I finally got around to tearing down the old shed in the corner of my backyard. I’m not going to admit how many years I’d been putting it off. I hauled away most of it. I still need to cut down the small forest the cropped up in one corner of it then tear up the floor and whatever remains of the structure. I’ve also got some other junk back there that needs to be removed.

Quotes I’ve been pondering
“Clothes seem like our natural covering, but they aren’t. A lot of the time we don’t need clothes, we’re just conditioned to think we do.” ~ Will Forest, Co-Ed Naked Philosophy

“Everyone needs to strip down now and then, to get naked and let the wind blow across bare skin, so that every last nerve ending feels exquisitely alive.” ~ Jeanette LeBlanc, Get Naked