Friday, October 21, 2011

Dubstep & Big Trucks

Ok, so even the conservatives are listening to dubstep: yesterday i was ticketing a large Ford (even the cheapest trucks are HUGE now!), and noticed that it had a few stickers on it. I found it hilarious and thought-provoking that there was both a sticker for one of our state's jerky republican senators, and a sticker for one of the most popular dubstep artists of the present moment.

I was talking with a friend about this (dupstep sort of has a reputation of being "the new rave": ie, lots of drugs and sexual energy in a dark room where people just wild out and whatnot) when this friend claimed that there's an industry to escort executives to Burning Man and assure that they aren't discovered there (by who? the press?) It's sort of a weird thought, but I could see it being true.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking a Break/Leaf

this is a video of a twirling leaf. it's not exactly parking, but it was beautiful to me, and i watched this go on for about 10 minutes during a break on monday. (i generally make a lap per hour, so there is a bit of free time usually. i like to spend mine writing or meditating. this leaf calmed me.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall St./Grains of Sand

There's an Occupy Wall St. function happening downtown. I just got back from checking in with them on my way home from some friends' place. I didn't really want to go as I wasn't (and still am not, as i've not yet read the nice pamphlet i received) sure what they're all about, and I don't want to go all willy-nilly just joining up, underinformed, in demonstrations (i'd protest that technique!). Really, I felt compelled to check in because I was afraid that there might be some angry person, holding a sign in the cold nighttime rain, motivated mostly by rage and a feeling of insignificance in the world, and I couldn't just drive by without making the effort to get in there and offer companionship, a hand, an ear, some conversation - whatever made sense and felt like neighborly love, when I got there.

I'm happy to report that OF THE 10 PEOPLE STANDING IN SOLIDARITY, ALL SEEMED TO BE CALM - CHEERFUL, EVEN: I see this as agreeable evidence for the Franklian hypothesis that working for a purpose is what makes a life happy/rich; The Occupiers seem to've found VOICE AND COMMUNITY in their efforts, and their good spirits and smiles, bright through the cold rain of the evening, suggest that this camaraderie really is more satisfying and motivating than greed (as evidenced through their enjoyment of their companions, in preference to bitter singularity of mind about the injustice of the situation that spurred them.)

Bless them, they're rich. How well do they know it?

There was another hard problem brought to light as well - those riding by in new trucks and luxury sedans, persons whose youth betrays their ability to've "earned" and purchased these vehicles through "jobs" they've worked themselves (probably), yelling things like "Capitalism!" ("rocks" is implied, i guess) and "Get a job!". Thankfully, there weren't many of these Jokers (to borrow a friend's euphemism), but they are a relevant part of the scene. For utilitarian reasons, i hope they felt dumb and confused when they heard what they'd barked, but I'm not angry with them, as chances are they "know little what they do," and hopefully the confusion as to why the antagonism didn't fill their hearts with satisfaction will inspire them to search their souls for a harmonic answer. In attempt to be a good neighbor/blogger, I'll explain why the heckle is unfulfilling, in case anyone reading is interested: THE FACT THAT THE HECKLE "GET A JOB" OCCURRED PROVES THAT THE PERSON BEING HECKLED IS DOING A JOB: the job is raising awareness, and the heckle wouldn't've occurred if awareness hadn't been raised. Simple. Yet elusive nonetheless. This is why that heckle can't be satisfying - it's delusion. 

If we follow this line a little further, we also come upon this gem (which eventually ends up diluting Occupy's cause, which I'll treat a bit later in this post): work is seen to necessitate attention to its purpose, generally thought of as the result of a task's completion. To complete a task, one must become acquainted with the spiritual aspect of work - judgement - actions are determined to be more or less beneficial to the present goal and choices are made about what to pursue and what to avoid. It is at this stage of judgement that something very subtle and magical happens, something that can often go long unnoticed: a doubling-back to contemplation of the purpose of the work requires a value judgement of the purpose of the WORK ITSELF, not as an end to be met, BUT AS AN IMPORTANT AND MEANINGFUL SET OF ACTIONS TO PERFORM. Yes, these actions are often motivated by end goals but, to achieve any end, we must accept the means; Simply put: THE QUIET MEANING OF WORK IS TO TEACH US WHAT WE CONSIDER VALUABLE AND WORTHWHILE WAYS TO SPEND OUR TIME: we learn, to borrow another common phrase: "how far we're willing to go," and how close those lengths are to our psyches.

Hence, we experience a taste of spiritual awareness in this quest for compatibility of desire and action. As this awareness develops, the same technique used to evaluate the efficiency of accomplishing work is applied to personal concepts not often thought of as "work," like Ethics or diet, and a sense of Self coheres, as does, eventually, a sense of Other I beyond which little else is desired than what is needed to survive (all action at this point becomes a sort of Art). What is desired beyond peace can only be greed. Peace is the end to which all activity strives - be it an antagonistic heckle, or a prolonged struggle for an end to human rights abuses of others. Greed, in itself need not be feared however - the desire which inspires greed is an innate human characteristic, responsible for many of the "good" works done in the world - when the greed is for communication.

So I believe in the right for people to assemble and discuss - even "hate groups," because honesty is the only way to come to Presence with/for oneself, and become alive, and become involved. The dead don't negotiate, and neither does "karma" (Mystery), so this is really an individual-mental-health-peace issue. (This motion/area is something i'm VERY interested in, as it relates to perception/faith/feelings/ALL: my heartmind tells me that this area is the home of God - the general vicinity where people learn to "let go"/to "trust"/be faithful/relinquish the obsession of judging others; this is the place where salvation is born to be nurtured (as Art/Life), or where a soul and journey freeze (Dante, anyone?).


All that said, I do find Wall St. is sketchy: mostly because I am skeptical of interest rates, imaginary money, and other things like that - I've watched the Zeitgeist movies (which are quite thought-provoking/mind-blowing, see: long segment about moneyshort segment about money); I also STRONGLY AGREE WITH THIS ARTICLE which coherently explains why "HORMONALLY-DRIVEN YOUNG MEN SHOULD NOT BE LEFT ALONE IN CHARGE OF OUR FINANCES".

Yet, not only despite but, in my view, because of these troubling situations, I'M FAITHFUL THAT OUR GLOBAL SOCIETY IS ALWAYS MOVING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY, RESPECTFULNESS, AND PEACE. (I like to think of society as a marble sculpture in progress).


I'm glad i went, and now MUST get to bed. Tired. Work in the morning. Sorry if it's a little sloppy, but i think it'll do (this post, and maybe my work tomorrow, too :P)

Best wishes, friends.
(*this is parking-related because i talked about work with a homeless guy i see around a lot while i was down there, AND the demonstration is basically in my office, assuming i have an office. if i do, the demonstration's there.)

Good night. Sweet dreams.
Good morning. Be you. And be sweet if possible. We're delicate.
Oh, the grains of sand: Gandhi said that a even a grain of sand can stop the mightiest machine, if there are enough of them (or something like that - it's inspiring for me, and it seems to apply).
 "there can be no social change without spiritual change first" - swami vivekananda

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gun/Communication/Karma - A Story/Editorial

I boot cars. When someone owes the company I work for, it occasionally becomes my duty to secure their vehicle by tightening a large metal clamp on its (usually back right - so the motorist can see it before hurriedly trying to drive off) tire. Putting the boot on is usually a bit stressful because my co-workers generally want me to "lock it down" quickly, but, to me, the putting on's actually less stress-inducing than the taking off, as sometimes the removal features a person (or, people) waiting for me with the mean type of fire in their hearts. (To be fair - and this surprised me - THE VAST MAJORITY of those who are waiting for me are VERY NICE. THANK YOU, THOSE PEOPLE!!)

Also in the interest of fairness: I think the clerks have it harder than I when it comes to dealing with negligent/defiant motorists (*if you've been booted, there's a VERY GOOD CHANCE IT'S ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT ("pobody's nerfect" though)), as people tend to (correctly) perceive that it makes more sense to harass those who are collecting the money, and not the hired, semi-stupid, sneaky muscle (that's me). Get it? Ok, moving on: People harass the cashiers (paying hundreds of dollars of fines in pennies, for example (*this is stupid unless the penny antagonist also has a handtruck, which tends not to usually be the case)), or in the case of this post specifically, by making vague comments about a "gun in the truck."

Ok. So this motorist gets booted, then while paying, makes comments about a gun in his truck. Subsequently, a clerk calls me to take the boot off, never mentioning the gun comment(s). Then, as i'm walking to the truck to take the boot off, another clerk is going home and mentions that the truck owner is "crazy" and "said something about a gun in his truck," and that i should be "careful" that he doesn't "try to run me over...or something." (I'm not sure why the cashier on the phone didn't mention this to me before sending me to remove the boot, or why the police weren't called for what seems to be a pretty clear threat, but that's not really the point of This story). So I continue my task of taking the boot off, but with a bit more enthusiasm. The motorist never shows up while I'm doing the work though, and I am thankful.


While I'm carrying the boot back its storage location, I notice someone walking in my direction with a maniacal look on his face, but there are lots of weird people in this town and I hate to assume the worst...but we make eye contact. Also at this time, off on a perpendicular street (which the maniacally-faced person can't see due to a building obstructing his view), I see two of my co-workers acting silly about something related to their own amusement; it makes me grin a good bit, and I turn in their direction, as it is also the direction of boot storage. Manic averted. Yet not: I've walked down the street a ways, and I hear someone call out behind me. I turn to look and the maniacal-looking gentleman sneers: "you love that shit don't you?!" I, genuinely confused for a moment as to who this guy is, and what he's referring to (people joking around nearby? proximate attractive females? my looking like a thug carrying a car boot down a busy sidewalk? my booting a car directly in front of our office? my getting away unshot/unrunover? his weird face?), I just don't know, so I inquire: "what?" He repeats himself. Still too stupid to ask him to BE SPECIFIC, I smile again...and shrug.

Wrong. Especially considering that shortly thereafter I discover that Manic-face is indeed the "crazy" person who claims to have a weapon handy. Boo.

He left without shooting me, but I'm left wondering if he's put me on some list of people to kill at a convenient future opportunity. He certainly knows what I look like, and perhaps ASSUMES that I think he's a loser and I loved booting his car. Which is MOSTLY UNTRUE. I got scared thinking about this, and got mad at myself for again failing to do something that could've turned miscommunication into peace with a little more wisdom (?) and effort (yes) on my part. I accept that I can't know everything at all times, but I certainly do want to learn how to cultivate PEACE - FOR ALL. Or, at least, as many as will accept it. And I was sorta bummed that I missed an opportunity to make something tough into something fluid, with as little effort as is needed to sincerely ask someone what they are getting at.

So that got me thinking about KARMA. (I'll do a whole post about karma soon, as a lot of people ask me about it while I'm involved in my duties (ex: "don't you think this job is bad karma?" short answer: "no." (i'll explain more later.))

This is what I mean to include here: Ok, so say this guy shoots me, and I die, or am injured. True, I don't request this, but if I let fear ruin my day or my future, he doesn't win, but I do lose: I lose my life, my freedom, my faith, my enthusiasm, etc.. (A related adage I like goes: "The inability to forgive is a poison one takes in the hope that someone else will die." - via Seane Corn's On Being interview). This is really interesting to me because fear itself is so tricky. Sometimes so tricky that frightened people don't even know they're scared at all - a pretty quick example being jealousy or anger - those are both iterations of fear. And when fear is Real, and poignant, it IS INTENSE, and one of the most difficult things in human experience to acknowledge and LET GO, which is why it's so PHENOMENALLY TRANSFORMATIVE to accept fear, and, as an act of faith and+or defiance, to relinquish the desire to "control" "my" (subject) life.

I believe fear is the mode through which most oppressions work - and most interesting to me, the subtle, self-perpetuating moral oppressions conjured through dogmas based on the existence of Hell as a place of eternal damnation, or any kind of other karmic punishment resulting from "bad" deeds. This kind of fear incites a physiological reaction, but is often indoctrinated into the consciousness so early in the subject's life that the subject can't imagine living without it; time and living numb the violence of it, and the doctrine takes on the character of Absolute Truth - granting ideas for which there is NO EVIDENCE some divine authority. This troubles me greatly, as it seems to prevent sincere personal spiritual growth; The deeply-indoctrinated subject need only think of rejecting Hell or the caste system to feel how effectively these techniques operate - those who are terrified by a thought are not free.

 (I am interested in the physiological aspects/impetus of spiritual development and would like to briefly mention for consideration (and as, in my opinion, an admirable ritual), the Shamanic practice of inducing the fear state through potent chemicals in order to recreate and experience the changed mental state and perceptions that come with the increased heart rate and sensual acuity also characteristic of immediate fear. The key difference here though is that the Shamans do this consensually, and as a means of growing (rather than constricting) their union with Holiness/"God"/Spirits - they electively walk into the proverbial lion's jaws, relinquishing control of their perceptions, in order to hear the divine instructions with less interference from society and ego.)

What i'm trying to do is show how unaware we can be of our fear on a day-to-day basis. In this story, anything could happen, and chances are this guy isn't really going to flip out and shoot me, despite that possibility (thanks!), yet I still felt a strong fear that rather than inspiring me to let go, instead inspired me to hold on tighter to "my" life, contradiction that that is, for some intense moments.

I am trying, daily, to realize that Karma/God(')(s)(') plan (to me, they're pretty much the same thing (more on that later)) entails more than I'll ever be able to comprehend (perhaps I can appreciate its quality, but not its quantity); It's reassuring to accept that no matter what, everything in it's right place.

If I'm hung up on "my" life and "my" desires and what's "fair," then I'll spend my life unfulfilled (I just can't seem to get enough!), but if I can just learn that i'll never see the whole picture at once, then I can really start to enjoy the details around me now.

I don't want to give my life away by being preoccupied with controlling it.


"Beau Online"

I really like this note-to-self:

I found this at a hoity-toity (sp?) function. The mayor spoke. People wore suits. This was on the ground. One of my favorites ever.

Inside Informations: Christ the Bar Person's Invoice

I've often wondered about the workings of the booze business, both local and worldwide. Human civiliation's most endorsed (and by far highest grossing, at almost $1.2 trillion in 2008: source) form of self-medication ("entertainment") seems to many (including myself) "recession-proof" (pun intended?). I haven't gone to the trouble to investigate whether "recession" (we're all aware that the G/B (Government/Business) manipulates cash flow, yes?: video explanation) actually decreases sales or not, but i'm sure if you're interested you can find some stuff on the Internet.

Anyway, I did find this invoice on the ground. Beneath the pic, I'll just mention a few interesting things I learned from perusing it. (You can click all images on this blog to enlarge them) (*I do edit these images in order to remove information that may identify the location of my work, mostly out of respect for my company and neighbors, to tell true. I like a privacy-y tact).

1. This bar owner's first name is, apparently, "Christ" (top left). If that's not a computer shortening, well...holy this person!

2. Net bottle cost (with discount, I believe) of the liter of vodka purchased here is $5.31, which at 64 ounces conservatively equals 30 drinks (accounting for spillage and moderate employee "mis"/use, at an average pour rate of 1.5-2 oz per drink). Further, conservatively estimating that a vodka drink costs $2.75 (though I believe it is probably more like $3.25 or higher as this is a "nice"(ish) place, but probably still does happy hour things), then the (conservatively low) average gross profit from each bottle is $77.19 (2.75x30=82.5-5.31=77.19) (at 3.25 per drink it's $92.19). These are low estimates. And people still have to get paid their servers'/bartenders' (criminally low?) wage of probably less than $3/hour.. All this math goes to show that booze=$$$ - as long as you're the one selling it. (Question: how much is the distributor paying?! Another question: How much is the manufacturer making?! It's nuts! It hurts my brain. If I cared more it probably wouldn't. Things to think about nonetheless.)

Prize: 20 Snapfish Prints

As you know, I find many things on the street. I found this winning coupon for 20 prints from Snapfish, and immediately decided it should be a blog-reading prize. First person to log in and use the code gets it. That's how it goes with parking: it's all about timing. Maybe it's random, maybe it's Providence. You'll learn how I feel about it in...time. Hmmph. Good luck :)

(the resolution of photo isn't great, so: the prize claim # is P3RMQB2G7BVR)