28 December 2004

Heavenly Peace

Katie had two Hospice patients die on her in the last couple of weeks. Rather than being brought down by the experience, she's exalted by it. That's my best friend.

One guy wouldn't let anyone touch him unless they were Christian. He didn't have a lot of energy, so all he would do would just gasp out "Christian?" to every nurse on the unit, and if they weren't Christian "enough," he just wouldn't let them touch him. Katie of course, just smiled and said she was, even though she's more sort of an earth-pagan-universal-love type of girl. It's all about patient care. He accepted her, and didn't accept this one girl who WAS a real Christian. Though I think Katie's more Christian than most Christians -- especially the guy who claims to be a super Christian and grabs his coworker's asses when his wife is not around...

Anyway, he asked for the nurses to sing Christmas songs - real, Jesus-y, Christmas songs. And of course Katie knows none of those, so she just sort of hummed along. Finally, the day after Christmas, he died while listening to the Hawaiian "Silent Night" on his Christmas CD. "Moe me ka maluhia lani..." sleep in heavenly peace.

The other was a guy who had trouble breathing and was real uncomfortable one night. So Katie offered to rub the guy's back. And he died. Right then. And she said it was the high point of her nursing career to date.

See why my friends are the best people in the world?

25 December 2004

The Best Christmas Present of All!

I made contact with two very dear old friends today. So there's something good to say about the internets after all! Fifteen years, Christ Jesus. Time.

I wonder how much of the draw back to San Diego has to do with trying to capture a sort of carefree (if chaotic and dramatic) time of my life... and how much has to do with real karmic inevitability and growth. Hmm...

22 December 2004

The Decontextualization of Inspired Catachresis

I admit it, I secretly dig critical theory. Even though the normative structures of the academy have forced me to valorize performative language rather than simple constative constructs, it's a form of carnivalization (see Bakhtinian dialogics) that has aesthetic appeal.

Also it makes me feel wicked smart and fucks with people's heads.

Deep down, I really want to be able to write crap like the following (D.G. Leahy, writing in Foundation: Matter the Body Itself, from http://aldaily.com/bwc.htm):

"Total presence breaks on the univocal predication of the exterior absolute the absolute existent (of that of which it is not possible to univocally predicate an outside, while the equivocal predication of the outside of the absolute exterior is possible of that of which the reality so predicated is not the reality, viz., of the dark/of the self, the identity of which is not outside the absolute identity of the outside, which is to say that the equivocal predication of identity is possible of the self-identity which is not identity, while identity is univocally predicated of the limit to the darkness, of thelimit of the reality of the self). This is the real exteriority of the absolute outside: the reality of the absolutely unconditioned absolute outside univocally predicated of the dark: the light univocally predicated of the darkness: the shining of the light univocally predicated of the limit of the darkness: actuality univocally predicated of the other of self-identity: existence univocally predicated of the absolutely unconditioned other of the self. The precision of the shining of the light breaking the dark is the other-identity of the light. The precision of the absolutely minimum transcendence of the dark is the light itself/the absolutely unconditioned exteriority of existence for the first time/the absolutely facial identity of existence/the proportion of the new creation sans depth/the light itself ex nihilo: the dark itself univocally identified, i.e., not self-identity identity itself equivocally, not the dark itself equivocally, in "self-alienation," not "self-identity, itself in self-alienation" "released" in and by "otherness," and "actual other," "itself," not the abysmal inversion of the light, the reality of the darkness equivocally, absolute identity equivocally predicated of the self/selfhood equivocally predicated of the dark (the reality of this darkness the other-self-covering of identity which is the identification person-self)."

Aw yeah.

15 December 2004

Real Life (or something like it)

As much as I don't want to think about it, I have another final to take before totally putting fall 04 in the rear-view... so I better get on it. I been prematurely slackin'...

It's a nice, sunny day out though. Christmas weather upon us already?

Today's card: Six of Wands

14 December 2004

The Worst Thing You Can Imagine

I spent a bunch of time talking to Kirk last night. Trying to listen, anyway; nothing I said was of any importance, he just needed to talk. Trying to hold it together in the midst of a family suicide, funeral, dealing with details etc. has got to be unbelievably hard. I was thinking of Sept. 11, when what had happened was just so unimaginable that it feels like a dream. For Kirk, December 11 will haunt him forever. And I don't think you ever put your life beck together after something like this. Ever.

In my own mundane and incredibly blessed life, things are going well. Passed all my classes... well, don't have two grades back yet but the outcome is clear, and I have friends and family around me. I have to remember gratitude in every moment of every day. It's all so fragile.

Today's card: Queen of Wands, Seven of Disks popped out of the deck

13 December 2004

The Prayer of St. Francis

O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

12 December 2004

RIP Gail Dittenber

My best friend's mother shot herself last night. I am in a state of shock. I can't imagine what he's going through. Even losing a parent is beyond me, but to have it end with such violence...

She was 59.
The Golden Chain

Today was Bodhi Day service at the Jodo Mission. Everybody was working on the water line (finally!) so I was the only one in the dojo. Sensei rang the bell and eventually Mrs. Miyashiro and Mrs. Kaneshiro showed up, but it ended up being like a private service, which was kind of cool. At Bodhi Day we recite the Eightfold Path and the Golden Chain, which was really a very powerful meditation for me.

I had been thinking a lot about how I use my words and really wanting to be more mindful of that. So it was really fitting to me to recite these particular gathas. One of the steps of the Eightfold Path is Right Speech, and in the Golden Chain we talk about how we will "try to think pure and beautiful thoughts, to say pure and beautiful words and to do pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that on what I do now depends my happiness and misery."

I think it's really proper that we say we will "try" to do these things. It's so easy to get discouraged when you backslide on something you set out to do. And, of course, like anything else of this nature, affirmations are meaningless without action. But it's good to connect to an ancient tradition like this, and realize how many generations struggled with the same things. I really got a strong sense today of the love and support I have not only from my family, friends, and community (including Mrs. Miyashiro's deathgrip on my arm as I tried to leave without taking lunch), but also from the generations before me, both in my Buddhist and Catholic families of faith. It makes me feel encouraged to try harder to live up to my ideals.

Will hit me with a really good thought before I left home this afternoon. He said that you shouldn't avoid trials, that God puts them in your path for a reason, and if you try to walk AROUND them they'll just come back and hit you on the ass. It's not an especially novel thought, but it really seemed apt today.

08 December 2004

De Tener un Buen Corazón

[note to non-Spanish-speaking readers: I'm sorry if you can't read this, but my Spanish needs some exercise. You can go to Google's translations to see my words totally mangled if you want]

En el religion de Santeria, buscan los babalawos (líderes religiosos) a los personas de "buen corazón." Este calidad, a lo mismo de tan otras en relacion de carácter moral, es un poco dificil para defenir. El característico mas prominente en este calidad es la tendencia de dar más importancia a los intereses de una otra persona a que los de su mismo.

Pasaba mucho tiempo de mi vida calculando de cómo deseé aparecer: qué coche a conducir, qué ropas a llevar, cual muchachita parecería mejor conmígo. Es duro cambiar, pero cada momento que pasa me parece más y más que estes pensamientos no sirve nada.

Soy feliz cuando puedo ayudar a un otro. Y en realidad el mundo es mejor a lo mismo tiempo. Espero que podría continuar trabajando hacia "tener un buen corazón."

Been in finals mania all week... is it only Tuesday? Well, I was here in the lab all weekend, so it feels like the end of a long week. Saturday was GREs, a fucking deathmarch through the valley of the shadow of standardized testing. I got a 610 quant, 800 verbal which is good but not that good... (couldn't help but notice that picture is from outside my old lab at Caltech) so probably UCSD is out of my reach. And this may not be an altogether bad thing, as I would probably go if I get accepted, whether it's what I really want or not. So maybe it's the orichas' way of getting this particular option off my table. Or at least to think about it being off my table...

Anyway, got my ass handed to me on the Theory exam, who knows how I did on the Database final project, gotta finish the requirements document tomorrow if I have to do it my damn self. But soon it'll be over... beach here I come.

I am so over university.

01 December 2004

Happy December.

I stayed up until 3 working on my final database project, so I'm still a little groggy. I'm going in search of caffeine soon, and then I'll have to finish up the database stuff.

God I am ready to be done this.