stroller nap

stroller nap
Originally uploaded by renfield.

the asswipe chronicles

So Brad wrote about this guy who left the retreat early without even telling anyone: asswipe.
The guy gets into a back-n-forth with Brad via email, and Brad writes about him again.
Seems Mr.Wipe is also posting to a thread on BigDaikon where they take Brad apart.

I find this whole thing amusing on so many levels.
First there's just the basic joy of the teh internets, where shredding people is a sport honed to a fine art and everyone's an expert.
Second is the whole expectation vs. reality argument, and I should know because I'm the disciple in the video they discuss. I guess it was one of those you-had-to-be-there experiences. We didn't really practice at all, and Brad had never done a precepts ceremony before, and like I said before it's really quite boring. So we bumbled through it. I guess it "should" have been more sacred and humble and servile and holy and serious so that it meets everyone's expectations about what a "real" Buddhist ceremony is...or something, who knows.
I guess Brad should shave his head, too, and end all his emails with "In Sangha" or "Gassho" or "Asala malekum" or something too.
Third is the Big Question About Zazen: what is "real" Buddhism? Brad has as pretty clear idea, which he got from Nishijima-sensei. Other Buddhist and so-called Buddhists have other ideas. Soto vs. Rinzai. Tibetan vs. Korean. Blah vs. blah.
Bottom line is: you come to a Dogen Sangha retreat, you should expect to do it Dogen Sangha's way.
Forth and final is the general asswipiness of the situation. And I quote:
"And then there was me, the Philosopher King, who was invited by a friend. I didn't have any expectations going into the event. I just wanted to take a holiday, travel and profit from the experience. I did all three."
Not sure why anyone would think a zazen retreat is a holiday, but whatever I am honestly glad he profited from the experience, got his holiday and did his travelling. I certainly do NOT think Mr.Wipe had no expectations. In fact he could have confronted his expectations if he spent some more time sitting staring at the wall, alone with his thoughts. But that didn't happen, because by the time I showed up, he had already taken off.
And that is easily the most fundamentally asswipe thing he did. The year before there were a couple of participants who had misgivings about participating and they had a long chat with Brad and finally decided not to stay until the end. Courteous, honest, and manageable. This guy just walked out and didn't even tell his friend.

So for anyone thinking about coming on the retreat sometime, here's a hint: there is one way to do it: Dogen Sangha's way. It is not a vacation. You are an active participant, and not fulfilling your basic responsibilities (cleaning, meal service, set up, etc.) is just a basic asswipe thing to do.

But what do I know? I'm just a mindless Brad worshiper after all!

mom's card holder

mom's card holder
Originally uploaded by renfield.

midnight oil

No, not the Aussie band, the stuff one burns when one stays at work all evening into the wee hours. Been cranking hard lately at work; taking on more and more as the empire expands. Also I'll be out of the office from next week for several weeks; recruiting and then some much needed vacation, so I'm trying to get caught up before I get buried. And of course it's the end-of-the-year budget and planning time when all hell breaks loose, so I do not lack for work, surely.

carolina blue fire engine

carolina blue fire engine
Originally uploaded by renfield.

Papa is experiencing massive south-of-the-mason-dixon culture shock. Apparently locals are such rabid fans of UNC, even the fire engines are "Carolina blue".
Americans is some strange people...

brunch then bbq

Never let a little rain stop a good plan for some quality eats. First we headed to Suji's for their most killer brunch; hugemongous omlets, eggs benedict, Canadian bacon, fresh pancakes...we were asked some soon-to-parents advice, and since we're no pros all of 10 months into it, we had plenty to review.
After that The Eng called and we headed to his place for a bbq. After napalming the coals we did some proper fleshy animal sacrifices and Tonchan even took a nap as I held her. I think she's getting used to me, or at least tolerates me when she's really tired.


P had an appointment at 2 to get her haircut, so we cruised to Aoyama and a did a wee walkabout; had lunch at Crayon House and then did some Tonchan shopping at the Gap where she picked up some warmer long sleeved stuff and a mad cool camo jacket.
Then we hussled up the Harajuku backstreets to UR. I had Tonchan securely strapped in and it was getting on nap time, so I walked over to the X-Large store and the thumping hip hop beats lulled her right to sleep.
After P's cut we went back to the shop so I could fulfill my autumn jacket need with a sweet blue reversible jacket.
Then we hussled back to the home territory and I got myseld a pedicure and manicure. I would to claim I got the extremities treatment because I'm a raging metrosexual narcissist. Sadly the truth is that I have weak nails, dry skin, and seriously skanky toes. They went to work on me with tools I recognized from wood shop class in junior high, and after a couple hours with the belt sander I was looking fine.

mommy's coffee is yucky

mommy's coffee is yucky
Originally uploaded by renfield.