I was watching the end of the little daughter's ballet class
(over the years as the girls have gotten bigger the group
of Moms standing around looking in at the classes through
the big one-way window has gotten smaller; some of the
girls are driving themselves (and each other) now, and for
whatever reason more of the Moms wait outside in their
cars instead of coming in; but I'd hate to miss it, myself),
and at the end as they always do the teacher put on the slow
contemplative music and the girls lined up across the studio
floor and did slow stretching things, and bending things,
and cooling things, and improvised bowing and posing things.
And it reminded me of lines of monks bowing, or old people
in a park in China doing tai chi, and I thought to myself
"it's a practice".
A practice in the sense of Zen practice (which was what
first came to mind; monks sitting facing the wall, eating
in slow elaborate rituals, all facing the same way just like
the girls were all facing the same way), or Yoga
practice (or football practice?).
And (having recently come home from a long day at work of not
entirely unfrustrating meetings and not entirely
stimulating sessions with PowerPoint) I thought to
myself that it was good that they had a practice like
that, and that work ought to have a practice also.
So what would that mean?
The monks, and the dance company, have a practice because
(perhaps) they are (among other things) developing themselves,
caring for themselves, being concerned with themselves.
Whereas at work (perhaps) we're more concerned with the
ends, the results, the bottom line, and not so much
concerned with ourselves except as an afterthought or a
side effect; that we are concerned with ourselves primarily
as tools to those bottom-line ends.
Now the dance company are also in some sense concerned
with themselves as tools to that recital end, that
performance; but it's perhaps not quite the same.
What would it take to introduce practice into work?
So many of the things that one could try would be
silly, embarassing, or alternately scary and regimented
and smacking of groupthink and company songs coming over
the loudspeakers (which would just be creepy).
Many practices are religious, of course, and that would
be a problem at work; but the dance company's practice
is not religious (at least not in the relevant sense),
so that's not a fundamental problem.
Group stretches every morning?
Every meeting ending with an official joke, or a round
of communal Sudoku?
One minute of eyes-closed silence at the start of each
hour, just to remind the mind to rest and calm itself?
It would be interesting, I think.
The Goddess herself
I know you soundly enough to understand that you love low-priced luxuries,
so stop by this web page!
I didn't actually visit the URL at the bottom of
the letter (although I was tempted), but still it was kind of
Her to write.
I have produced more content:
words about a book, and some more
words about some Sims.
(Allegra and Martin have graduted and moved out of the "Bright"
place on campus, and Camryn has moved in with Hermes.)
In the ol' Ajax input zone,
readers write a buncha marvelous stuff (some of which was also
written by Wells, by Orwell, by that crew, and some of which are
as far as I can tell achingly original):
And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his
mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity.
The end had come sooner rather than later. At five in the previous
morning to be exact, when her sister had sucked him dry and he, in
a moment of depletion had chosen between them. Oh well, she had heard
there were still tilting windmills somewhere. Over in Idaho maybe. She'd
pack her tools and maybe have a looksee for herself.
Check one two, check one two. Phht, phht, is this thing on?
She had no plan; no map, no plan, no knife, no flashlight. All she had
was a copper penny and his class ring. With only these, she'd have to
navigate the treasonous straights, most likely alone unless things
changed real soon.
Moo, or foo better yet!
She wanted to know what shored up his DNA, and the state of his
telemeres...ever the questions about telemeres blowing and bouncing
like tumbleweeds through her mind. But these were likely not the
type of questions he meant right now when he asked if she had any
questions, after he had spent the better leg of the afternoon
grilling her on her grant proposal for the study of "Proto-Linguistic
She was a researcher and he a close relative of her subject. We all
are, of course, but he, strange for an institutional grant reviewer
had such an air of orgone about him that she wanted to get out her
calipers and measure the girth of his testicles right there. In the
world of research, new data is tangible wealth, a commodity, though
no-one is likely so crass as to call it that, nor to measure
The paper had that lovely smell of damp that reminds you of eating
paste as a child and when
everyone wasn't allergic to everything.
Her eyes were open in a closed fashion and her ears too. His words
were, of course, sweet... smooth and powdery like the sugar in the
bowl on the table between them. She put some on the tip of her
tongue and let them slowly dissolve, mulling the light agenbite of afterthought.
By 1920 they will be half-way down the Amazon. I fix 1950
or '60 at the latest for the discovery of Europe.
IF 0 THEN IF choice% = o THEN IF choice% = o THEN IF
choice% = o THEN IF choice% = o THEN
He was almost frightened to even look now. The last time
he looked the arbutus branches were covered in little
monkeys working studiously at pulling off the remaining
bark. There never used to be monkeys in Beacon Hill
Park and now there were and what was next he wondered?
So unsettling. He'd have to get out the good whiskey he
supposed when the Crumwhistles came by.
I don't suppose anyone recognizes, say, that Idaho one from
I think we have some talented microfictionalists in
Wonders o' the Web Dept:
Whilst confirming the authorship of a couple of the above,
we ran across
("The man with the white face myeloscintigraphy paused.")
on some words of our own the other day, we found
weblog, and then
entry in it, which led us to
comprehensible page about postmodernism) (which I like
despite "Similarly, a writer named John Gardner wrote a novel
in the '70s called Grendel that's a funny retelling of the
medieval classic Beowulf"; "funny" is just too small (see
And somewhere along that path we got
I point out to anyone who shares our interest in
It's not the flavor of Buddhism that appeals to me the most
(stuff like "Every time you recite the repentance text and do
the 108 bows, you wash clean one transgression" sounds suspiciously
Christian, and awkwardly exact), but it's still inneresting.
In "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (which I asked M to put on
the Netflix queue the other month and which came the other day
and which I watched and which was really very good and I should
write up sometime), why do I remember a variant or a related
story or something in which it turned out at the end that Gort was
the master, and Klaatu was like a pet or something?
The thing on the weblog here that pretends to be a Moveable Type
comments field in hopes of catching amusing spam caught a post
claiming to be from "deneglka", saying "Cool site of course people!".
Which is relatively ordinary except that there was no URL included,
and therefore no apparent point at all.
not the only one.
What can it mean?
From Metababy again, we find
odd image, which leads us to
the site the image is on,
which leads us to
a site with some naughty
pulp magazine covers which are kinda fun (although there aren't
as many as there might be, and it actually seems to be tempting one
into a maze of pr0n sites, so be a bit careful).
Looking through ancient input box input that's sitting patiently
waiting for the End Times, I came across one week that seems to
have attracted an usual number of texts.
Some of these are easily interpretable as
straightforward (and/or twisted) responses to
Before eating, always:
wash your hands
hack a web cam
pet a penguin
Which tells us, if nothing else, that we have some
British readers. *8)
"Before eating, always hack a web cam", however, points
to eighteen more (I counted) consisting entirely of
various combinations of the words "hack", "yahoo",
"web" and "cam" (with the occasional "view" or
"permission" here and there).
And an additional eight "Halle Berry"s
(in various misspellings), an "iris chacon",
one "helen", one "naked helen pictures",
and one "Helen Chamberlain", as well as
naked cowboys eating cats
And, summing it all up:
v cnv,mfdjkafkahrgjhrigitiwturuyit4iytaklriu eterutru rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
The first and the last sections are of course due to the
incomparable creative genius of my readers.
The ones in the middle are presumably because that page has
lots of search terms (haven't done that for awhile) and
so forth on it, and therefore lots of references to hacking
webcams without permission, and nakedness, and halle berre
and so on.
Which explains how those people got to the page in the first
place, but not really why they entered their search terms
into the input box.
"Couldn't hurt", I suppose.
Next time: how to hack into yahoo webcams that show Iris
Chacon and Halle Berry naked with cowboys (also naked)
eating (naked) cats!
(They'll have to be like Gummi Cats or something, though;
otherwise it'd be like gross.)