Friday, December 30, 2005

be it resolved...

Today, after waking up late, I found myself staring at a mess of red, scabbed, 4-millimeter grooves on my right arm just above the elbow. They were given to me by Mozart the cat, who had been enjoying the fact that I was carrying him around like a furry dwarf pasha. This must have been about a week ago. The cat was "making biscuits," kneading my arm's flesh with his claws (claws are one reason why cats make terrible bakers and pasta chefs).

The claw marks reminded me that my arm is fat, and that it's therefore time to make those New Year's resolutions.

The most important one,
as with so many Amurricans, is to lose weight. Over at his own fine blog, Max Becker-Pos takes the opposite tack* as he continues his campaign to gain weight through a dietary and bodybuilding regimen (scroll down to his "A Bodybuilder's Diary" post).

Namsan remains the most obvious solution for my purposes: walking (or running) up the mountain is free, and the only time it might be dangerous is when the steps are iced over. Now that I have an awesome set of crampons (thanks, Mom & Dad), ice won't be a problem, either. My schedule this semester also includes three-day weekends, which will leave me with at least three days a week to hit the mountain at my leisure. My Mon-Thu classes start late as well, so there's even more time to climb on work days. Getting in shape therefore enjoys #1 ranking among resolutions.

The second resolution
is: publishing Water from a Skull, my book of religious and philosophical writings. I'll be making this available through two sources: and my own site. The book will be listed at the same price in both places, and both sites do allow for international shipping.

I actually have high hopes that word of this book will spread, especially among people (bloggers & regular folks) who have some interest in religious issues. If you have ideas on how I can promote the book for free (or if you'd be willing to help me promote it through your own site), I'd appreciate hearing from you. Timeline for this: June of this year. That's when I hope to have the book uploaded to both Lulu and CafePress.

A third resolution: more photoblogging of cooking. My buddy Mike gave me Nigella Bites, a fantastic cookbook by the voluptuous Nigella Lawson, who has a cooking show featured on the Style Network (so the book cover says; I haven't seen her show). The recipes are simple and straightforward; Nigella's writing and photographs would seem to indicate a sexy combination of tongue-in-cheek humor and unpretentiousness. I flipped through half the cookbook last night, staying up until nearly 5AM.

Digression: I got a mess of Christmas gifts, despite claims of poverty by some of the givers.

From the parents, I got a pile of clothing (pretty much standard: I almost never shop for my own clothing); the MS Office suite for Mac; a new external hard drive for my poor, overtaxed computer; the aforementioned crampons; a new laser printer cartridge (its price has doubled since 1999!) for my awesome HP 4050N; a bagful of raisins; a bagful of Lindt truffles; and a gag gift of Optimum Zen cereal (no, it's a real cereal, but the parents couldn't resist the Zen connection).

From my buddy Mike, I got the wonderful Nigella Bites, and the even greater gift of being able to spend a few days with him and his family at their home.

From my buddy Steve, I got that kick-ass Darth Vader helmet (and it WILL come to Korea in February, I'm sure) and the chance to hang out with him and his lovely wife.

From my buddy Arn, that awesome Ron Jon tee (sorry the cat fucked it, man) and the chance to meet both him and his cat Xena.

From many friends (and one long-ago coworker), a truckload of very nice Christmas cards.

In all, a fantastic Christmas haul.

My fourth resolution is to get more serious about meditative practice. Meditation is like gravity for the mind: it's a stillness that straightens out the mind-body plumb line, a way to make your inner pendulum stop oscillating, if only for a little while. I've done it on and off, but "on and off" isn't really practice.

Spirituality is work, folks, which is one reason why true spirituality is the enemy of the dilettantish market mentality some people adopt when approaching various religious traditions and cobbling their own. I'm not saying you should "pick a tradition and stick with it," but I am saying that commitment to a path-- and this would include cobbled-together, syncretic paths-- requires something deeper than a mere salad bar approach. A little of everything is not much of anything. Follow your path deeply, and don't make the mistake of thinking you can walk two trails at once. Aim for depth, not breadth.

Those four resolutions are plausibly keepable. I have others in mind, but they'd make you laugh and aren't worth sharing here.

*Language rant: Yes, tack, not tact.



Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Kevin. In honor of your return, here are some lyrics for you, courtesy of the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent:

Well I don't know where they come from
But they sure do come
I hope they comin' for me
And I don't know how they do it
But they sure do it good
I hope they doin' it for free

They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever

The first time that I got it
I was just ten years old
I got it from some pussy next door
I went and see the Dr. and
He gave me the cure
I think I got it some more

They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever

It's nothin dangerous
I feel no pain
I've got to ch-ch-change
You know you got it when you're going insane
It makes a grown man cryin' cryin'
Won't you make my bed

I make the pussy purr with
The stroke of my hand
They know they gettin' it from me
They know just where to go
When they need their lovin man
They know I do it for free

They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever

Maven said...

...claws are one reason why cats make terrible bakers and pasta chefs...

Well not only do the claws make them terrible bakers and pasta chefs, but it also makes cats are horrible manual masturbators... well that, and their lack of opposable thumbs.

Glad to see you're back in action. Have a happy and save and as enjoyable start to 2006 as you can, and I look forward to the food photoblogging! Perchance we'll see something innovative from your neck of the woods to find its way to Turdmania:)

PS: I'll overstate the obvious... Nugent rocks!