Tuesday, January 31, 2006


(For want of my own words, I give you those of another...)

     Every karmic action, as soon as it is performed, first of all affects the doer of the deed himself. This holds with as much truth for bodily and verbal deeds directed towards others as it does for volitional thoughts that do not find outward expression. To some extent we can control our own response to our actions, but we canot control the way others respond to them. Their response may turn out to be quite different from what we expect or desire. A good deed of ours might be met with ingratitude, a kind word may find a cold or even hostile reception. But though these good deeds and kind words will then be lost to the recipient, to his own disadvantage, they will not be lost to the doer. The good thoughts that inspired them will ennoble his mind, even more so if he responds to the negative reception with forgiveness and forbearance rather than anger and resentment.
     Again, an act or word meant to harm or hurt another, may not provoke him to a hostile reaction but only meet with self-possessed calmness. Then this "unaccepted present will fall back to the giver," as the Buddha once told a brahmin who had abused him. The bad deeds and words, and the thoughts motivating them, may fail to harm the other, but they will not fail to have a damaging effect on the character of the doer; and it will affect him even worse if he reacts to the unexpected response by rage or a feeling of resentful frustration. Hence the Buddha says that beings are the responsible owners of their karma, which is their inalienable property. They are the only legitimate heirs of their actions, inheriting their legacy of good or bad fruits.
-Nyanaponika Thera

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Taken up

Of all the synonyms for mooning, I think that's the one I prefer. I'm okay with lost in and rapt, but they're a distant second and third. I don't really care for absorbed, immersed, obsessed, or spellbound. I'll have to get back to you on bemused though. But mooning was the word someone used on me the other day and it just rubbed me wrong. I mean, no offense taken or anything, but if I'm going to have that particular feeling I just don't want it described in that word when there are so many better ones. I almost always have the thesaurus open when I write, whether for school or you, so I hope you'll appreciate the care with which I write. (As well as my new compulsion in which I refuse to end a sentence in a preposition.)

But even taken up doesn't describe my current state of mind. Forgive me if I write with someone specific in mind, but it occurred to me a few nights ago that this is the longest we've ever been apart. For as long as we've lived, and the miles that have at times separated us, I could always count on seeing you again. I'm a bit worried that the last time I saw you, or the last time we spoke, will have been the last time. I don't generally have trouble moving on, when faced without other options, but this one is really tough. I just don't have closure with you, nor do I want it.

I haven't given a book or music report in some time, though I've continued to read as much as always, as well as finding new music to enjoy. This passage, though not remotely indicative of the book (since it was largely written by someone else, and the book is actually very funny), is from The Know-It-All, One man's humble quest to become the smartest person in the world:
Consider Lord Macaulay's essay on Samuel Johnson, which contained passages like this one, about Johnson's depression: "The light from heaven shone on him indeed, but not in a direct line, or with its own pure spendour. The rays had to struggle through a disturbing medium; they reached him refracted, dulled and discoloured by the thick gloom which had settled on his soul, and, though they might be sufficiently clear to guide him, were too dim to cheer him." The man could write.
p. 81

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Time passed and present

Yesterday was my parents 39th wedding anniversary. It's easy to remember which anniversary it is because my sister turns 39 at the beginning of August. Normally I would rant all over the place about anniversaries, women who done me wrong, and how even if I met and married the right woman tomorrow that with my current life-expectancy I'll never make it to my 39th anniversary. But you'll get no such rant from me.

School started back up last week, as I'm sure you're all eager to know. My final two classes and I can officially be called a Master of something. At age 8 "I were a Master Baiter" (there's a button in a box somewhere with that slogan, hence the quotations) in the Roy's Pier Catfish Rodeo with a 3rd place finish. As I fondly recall that simpler time it occurs to me that there were only two contestants, but having received a trophy I couldn't have been bothered to care. Whoa, that was such a wicked digression I actually fell out of my chair.

My sixth and final semester is Options and Financial Statement Analysis. Options won't be a problem, since I already have a firm grasp on that subject and I've had the professor before. FSA is an unknown quantity though. It's technically an accounting class and accounting is the one subject that has given me the most trouble so far. Additionally, I've heard nothing but bad things about this professor, but I figured I would just buckle down and apply myself. It's only two classes/two nights per week and I've got nothing else in my life to do but study. Looking back at what I've done so far, I am a bit proud of my decision to go back to school. I'm a little surprised that I didn't bail out after one semester and that after 2 1/2 years I still have the money to pay my bills. Although I think I've learned a lot, I see a lot of my fellow students avoiding learning anything at all. Ok, maybe "a lot" isn't fair, but a noticeable number of students are looking for the quick & easy credits here and there. The Study Abroad trips are the worst in my opinion (especially since I'd rather study a broad) - Spend 10 days in a foreign country, take 3-4 tours while there, write a 10-page paper and you get a quick 6 credit hours (out of 48 total). Got a favorite professor who'll let you "create" an independent study course? 3 more credit hours. There are plenty of other shortcuts too. Don't get me started on the "nobody makes worse than a B" grading system.

I contemplated a number of "the moral of the story" endings here - 'Don't judge/laud someone by his accomplishments' or 'wait 30 minutes after eating before going swimming' - but I'm actually kind of hung up on that third place thing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Not much to report tonight-
I took some photos today as proof that I occasionally listen to suggestions from the peanut gallery. Link is to your right (my left) in a new album entitled "Glenwood". I've got the feeling that I missed something important there (despite having felt it) and these are not the only pictures I took, just the only ones worthy of sharing. Enjoy.

Afternoon update: My favorite is the last one, and coincidentally there's an interesting story about that monument just this week at Texas Escapes.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Thanks for all the great input on last night's entry. I felt a little funny about posting those emails verbatim, in case anyone thought I was making fun of them. The reality is that those weren't real women and they weren't really looking for a relationship with me. You know as well as I do that they're the Russian mafia just phishing for suckers OR they're women just looking for a visa. A few of my female readers sent me private emails to the effect that I don't need to be shopping for a mail-order bride and attached photos of themselves to prove the point. My apologies to the woman (I assume) who tried to send a video clip which was rejected by the size limit of my email box. The subject line was certainly intriguing enough and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I blush merely seeing it in my inbox. Unfortunately I think I'm going to have to decline your very generous offer.

And while we're on the subject of taking over the world, I treated myself to dinner out tonight. Nothing fancy, just a steak sandwich & grilled veggies around the corner. Too cold to sit out on the deck under the live oaks, but yummy nonetheless. I considered robbing the place, you know, just because I'm bored with little else to do. Unfortunately, after I ordered and sat down a couple of Houston's Finest (that's cops, not strippers) came in, foiling my would-be attempt. As for stuff that actually happened, the guy in front of me ordered a burger to go and a glass of wine (merlot, if you must know). Of course local ordinance prohibits taking alcohol out of the establishment, but I thought it strange that he sat there finishing his drink while the food in the sack cooled. Naturally HPD couldn't care less about his boozin & cruisin.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Something to look forward to

Just in case there was any doubt, I love internet personal ads and the responses they draw. One of these two women may be the next Mrs. Tinyhands, but I'm having a hard time deciding. Since I value your input (as far as you know) I need your opinions. Actual (unedited) emails I've received...

Contestant 1:
Me name is Ludmila. After birthday of my girlfriend after all my girlfriends have left to meet with the husbands and guys I has decided, that the friend with whom I might connect all further life too is necessary for me, but such person with whom I would not be happy is not necessary for me.I shall tell to you slightly about myself, me 29 years, I live in city of Zagorsk in spite of the fact that it is very beautiful city, here very difficultly to find the good person with which it is possible would be to connect the life, the purposes of people in our city very much low, and the girlfriend has advised me to look same people as well as I in the Internet, I and have made I have gone to the Internet of cafe and have found a site which to me the girlfriend has advised, at her mum as has got acquainted with the person from Germany. From all countries which were offered me on a choice, I have decided to choose , on films and under stories I know, that people for which his personal honour and decency is appreciated more than any petty interests live in this country. After short viewing structures I have seen yours which most approaches me, and have decided to write to you in hope that I shall receive from you the answer. Excuse I has distracted from the story about itself slightly. As I to you already spoke me 29 years I live in Russia, city of Zagorsk, my weight makes 64 kgs at growth of 170centimeter. At me higher education on a speciality the ecologist, but on the trade I do not work, as on it it is very difficult to find work. I work to help the bookkeeper in the company which is engaged in sale of home appliances. I live one without parents, my parents were lost at a fire of 6 years back, my grandmothers and grandfathers communists, my relatives were noblemen when Russia king corrected earlier, but there was it for a long time. I never supported ideas communists, they have resulted the country which once was great power, in full route. But about it I shall not continue to me this subject not so it is pleasant have shot.I live together with mine cat Murka, she my best friend! She also likes to ask to have a meal black color at me, in exchange on it she may sit next hours me and purr. Unfortunately I badly know the English language so I the first time shall be to use the translator, but I go on rates, on studying language. With impatience I wait from you for the answer. Your new friend Ludmila. Please write me on my personal e-mail: [redacted] So it will be more convenient to me to write to you and I can send you the photos!
Contestant 2:
Hello, I'm single girl and I was never marryed. I'm looking for someone who is real and down to earth person. My h/t is 5-5 & w/t is 123, my skin is brown my eyes are green, my hair is blonde. I'm looking for serious person only, truthfull, just be your self - that is all I want from a man. Hope you have a good day, I read your profile so I feel that I have to write you. It will be great to meet you in real because I'm interested. The most real way to know someone is real meeting. I was thinking few time and decided to respond on your profile and say hello. So if you're real person and you will respond back to me it will be great but I heard too much not real everywhere. I hate any games and deceit, so please no any manipulations. I hope we will be friends for the first time because it's the first step for serious relations. It will be nice to talk and to know you better.I just browsed profiles on yahoo and found yours. I'm cheerful and pretty, not too young but not too old also! Can you send me recent full body picture of you? I will send also. Anyway please send me your reply and picture on my personal email: [redacted], because I don't know how to send picture through yahoo personals. I received too much spam messages last time on my profile and I will be upset if I will miss your reply because it's hard to find it in many spam messages and the time of payment will finish soon, so please reply on my email. It's protected from spam and please don't give it to anyone, ok? Hope you are real and I hope to hear from you soon on: [redacted] Nika.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Following the time honored tradition of using ones blog to complain about stuff of trivial import to the rest of the world, I shall now complain and describe how to irritate me:

Give me a gift card.

I got 2 gift cards last Christmas to a place that serves fantastic desserts. I used about 2/3 of one of them many months ago while the other sits unused, chip-clipped to my fridge. I don't really eat desserts, and although they serve full meals, I just don't go to sit-down restaurants by myself and it's just not the kind of place I go with my friends. (It'd be a good date-place, but I think it would be just a bit tacky to whip out the gift card on a date, if I ever had one. *sigh* )

I got another gift card this Christmas, to a large chain store we'll call Superlative Purchase. There are several SP's within a short drive of here, or I could order online and either have items shipped to me or pick them up locally. I don't normally buy music CDs (since they come to me freely *wink*) so there's not much I'd want from that department and, given the size of the gift card, DVDs seem the logical choice. I'm somewhat discerning (in my own perverse way) in what DVDs I want to own, and naturally the local SP's don't have everything I want in stock. But to order online, I have to pay both shipping AND tax (which their website incorrectly calculates, by the way), neither of which is an issue if I order from Nile.com (free shipping over $25).

So now, anal-boy that I am, I've created a spreadsheet listing potential purchases from either SP or Nile, complete with tax offsets, shipping charges, and a little indicator which highlights whether a potential DVD is cheaper at SP or Nile. If I got paid for my time, I would have spent more money than the gift card is worth writing formulae that optimize the number of things I could potentially buy, plus combinations of ordering some items online versus waiting for the local store to restock from the holidays...

All to maximize the benefit of a free damn gift.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

No change

Hi, thanks for coming back. I'd love to have a long sit-down talk with you, but I fear I don't have enough going on to keep your interest for more than a brief moment. I still have the pain in my neck/shoulder as well as intermittent pangs down my spine. I don't want to complain about it though, since that's not only not interesting but decidedly uninteresting. That's life, you know. There's always a pinch or headache or something. Still, let's have a tea & ketchup.

I wrote something in my notebook last week that I thought would become something, but nothing more has come to me. "I don't know why and I seldom ask. It was not explained to me, it simply be." This wasn't in response to anything specific, those words just popped in as though someone had left them on an answering machine in my head, bad grammar and all. I thought it might be the beginning of a poem or short story. Dead end.

I've been working on improving my photography skills (that's mad skilz to you & me, Rusty), now that I've got a decent tripod for my camera (and I have nothing else to do with my time except obsess over job postings at CareerBlunder & NotJobs). I know I could always drop my pictures into Photoshop to straighten out crooked angles or bad exposures, but we know that I'm anal and prefer to take the picture correctly in the first place. My latest project has been nighttime photography. I've got a new album posted, which you can find via the link to your right (my left) - "Houston at Night". Your comments and opinions are welcome, as are suggestions for further evening subjects for those of you unfortunate enough to be familiar with Houston (at night or otherwise).

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I'm in considerable pain at the moment including, but not limited to, quite a nasty headache.
See you later.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


For an excellent day...

-Cruise Memorial Drive,
-to no particular destination,
-with the top down,
-to the music of Jack Johnson (or similar).
-Burrito on the patio (Mmm, carnitas).
-Half-Price Books (Score x3).
-Yankee Candle (Buy one, get one suckas!).

Such beautiful weather. Any fool caught inside on days like we've been having is well, a fool. (Kinda blew that one. Bygones.) It was about 70 degrees (21C), the sun was shining, birds chirping, oh hell yeah. Days like that are meant for cruising topless and, take it from me, not having anywhere to go or any particular time to be there makes it so much better. I cannot help but laugh at all the people in their huge SUVs (who can't even see how nice it is outside, for one thing) rushing around, jockeying for position at the lights, blowing their horns when the light turns green. Hurrying to be somewhere other than outside on a beautiful day. Yes, I see your gigantic Hummer. Sorry about your tiny dick though. (I swear more and more people are buying those things, which would explain the proliferation of little blue pills, but I digress.)

So I guess it's the deadline for resolutions and I suppose I've got one, though it's still ill-defined:
In 2006 I resolve to take another step towards living the life about which I dream.

Just a step. I harbor no delusions that I can make the leap from here to there in one big mother-may-I hop. I don't know which step I'll take, but I guarantee that at the end of the year I'll be able to look back and positively ID something specific as a step in the right direction, setting up next year for yet another step.

And this is the paragraph where I evaluate last year's resolution. If I had any clue what that was, this paragraph would be a lot more interesting. Since I also failed to blog any such resolution, I can't go back and look it up, but I did just burn 15 minutes rereading some stuff that I thought was clever. All in all, a success.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


where credit is due. As many of you know, I don't frequently link to other people mostly because I don't want to offend everyone else in the world that I haven't linked to (including the 4.5 million Singaporeans who do little else but blog, but I digress) but I also do my best not to steal ideas from other people. Thus, credit goes to Gary for inspiring the following term:

Emotiblog (n) - An apolitical, testosterone-free blog directed at discussing fact, fiction, and feelings rather than debating the right and wrong of an opinion or issue. Flaming and/or trolling of emotiblogs is seldom tolerated. [Antonyms: Sportsblog, Politiblog]

Gary may have inspired the term, but I coined it. Right here. I was first. The world premiere of a brand new word.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Four words

Texas is number ONE.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Routine entry

I think I know the cause of my latest distress: Routine, or the lack thereof. Classes ended a few weeks ago, I still have no job, and television has been reruns for the last 2+ weeks. I'm keeping roughly the same hours but there's no routine in my life at the moment. No method to my madness, if you will. I'm very much a creature of habit, though maybe not quite as anal as you imagine, so the lack of a schedule has me out of sorts. But it's almost over, my drifting that is. The bowl games will be over soon (with a national championship for Texas, of course) and the spring television lineup will be back to normal. Classes will start up in 2 weeks and I'll file for graduation next month. Alls I needs a job.

I had a very disappointing dream last night. I was in Hong Kong (not disappointing) at some sort of buddhist temple (also not disappointing) where I saw someone very special from my past (very not disappointing). She came to sit with me and get reaquainted. She looked good. Older, but good. The disappointing part was waking up before I got to spend any time with her and find out where she is, since we lost contact about 10 years ago. Not only did I wake up, but I could feel myself being dragged backwards away from her as I ever so slowly woke up, just like in the movies. The one person in the world I most want to see again and it was such a brief moment in time. I woke up and cursed aloud.

I've been trying to come up with a resolution or two. Most of them go without saying, so I'm not saying. I'll think of something. What's the deadline for setting resolutions anyway? Like the registration sticker on my car, there's got to be a grace period for those of us who like to procrastinate...