Saturday – almost gone

Autumn came with a vengeance last night. It rained most of the evening and when I got up this morning temperatures were hovering around 30F.

Started reading The Desert Smells like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan, one of the books Jack Loeffler recommended to me regarding the Southwest. The subject are the Papagos and the Sonoran desert. Excellent book. Highly recommended.

I have no illusion about how much help we will be able to offer to Nomads in Kham during the next month. It seems to me that if we had pooled the money that is going into this trip and donated it to a local Tibetan organization it might have done more good. But, this is a really a pilgrimage, and it is us, the participants, who will be changed by this experience – more so than the people we are going to help. We will transform ourselves and return somehow different.

To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others.
Dogen (1200-1253 CE)

Transforming ourselves and helping others are not separate events.

Tomorrow morning I will turn off commenting on this Diary in order to prevent massive spamming from accumulating – in the past couple of months more than 2,000 spam comments were dropped on this diary. When I return at the end of October I hope to have lots and lots of photos and quite a few stories for you.

Be well.
With a gentle bow
– ottmar

PS: Many thanks for this and this and this and this and this.

PPS: one more link.

Friday: Pavement

I received two requests for photos this week. The first was from an independent Australian record label that wants to use one of my photos of the Newcastle Theater from this Summer for their 50th release, which will be a 2-CD commemorative set. Yes, of course.

The other one came from a gentleman at the University of Arkansas who is writing a book on the mathematics of symmetry and came across one of my photos on Wikimedia: Siena Pavement
Yes, of course.

Turns out some of my photos have appeared on wikimedia because of the Creative Commons license I am using. I searched for my Flickr handle o2ma on wikimedia and the result was 3 pages of photos. This is wonderful! Thanks to whoever took the time to look through my photos and upload them to Wikimedia!

This morning I read a provocative post by Momus on beauty, called Queen Midas. I think most musician are loners or at least start out as loners. If you are popular in junior high and high school you don’t have time to practice a musical instrument for hours every day. I certainly was a loner and spent a lot of time playing guitar and reading.

Had an important insight this morning: I was going to bring a couple of metal water bottles to Tibet, because I prefer them over the popular Nalgene bottles. Well, I realized that if it is freezing, my lips might get stuck to the cold metal – just ask any trumpet player, who has performed outside on the East Coast in Winter, what that feels like… duh!

Thursday: the leaves let go of the tree

Wonderful storm last night. The thunder was deep and the low end vibrated through the house. Sheet-lightning illuminated whole areas of town.

Tuesday morning I spoke to a local company that designs and installs grid-connected solar power systems. The system produces energy for the house and if it produces more than I need at the time, the electric utility meter runs backwards as the energy is put back into the utility grid. When I need more energy than the PV system produces, when it is overcast, or at night, the house draws regular energy from the Utility company. I hope to get such a system installed in Q1 of 2007.

Rahim called and we decided to do a couple of shows together in Albuquerque and Santa Fe in the Spring of 2007. Each of us would play solo and at the end we would perform some duets.

Skype-called my dad in Austria this morning. I mentioned before that I got rid of AT+T and make my long distance calls via Skype now. Works great.

The leaves,
in an act of faith,
Let go of the trees
And fall majestically.
If only we could let go
Of this world
So gracefully.

A poem by Rengetsu.
I found it here via Google, but first read Roshi’s version here.
I think the poem could be condensed to this without losing anything:

The leaves,
in an act of faith,
Let go of the trees.

There is that F-word again. :)

The trees don’t drop the leaves.
Leaves let go of the tree.

CA files global warming suit

Calif. sues 6 carmakers in global warming suit | Business News |

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California filed a global warming lawsuit on Wednesday against Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and three other automakers, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars.

We will see a lot more of this – as I suggested a while ago. Should the State and Federal governments have enacted stricter rules for car manufacturers many years ago? Absolutely. Am I glad that California is suing the car manufacturers? Absolutely. It will bring a lot to light. Hm, with their backs against the wall we might hear about some interesting connections between large car manufacturers, oil producing countries (it is no secret that oil producing countries own lots of shares in large car companies) and U.S. government officials! It promises to become enlightening as well as entertaining!

Compare and contrast. Read Bush’s plan. Then read this.
Which do you think will be more effective?

Death and taxes 2007

Death and taxes 2007 | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Want a truly horrifying look at where your tax money goes? Visit Death and Taxes 2007, where they have a big graph that can (fair warning) suck up an hour of your time. It breaks down federal discretionary spending visually, which gives a real, immediate sense of our priorities.

Well, it’s really not rocket science, is it. I remember having this discussion with my dad over thirty years ago… I was 15 or 16 and said something like this: If a nation prioritizes the military at the expense of education we eventually have idiots with a huge arsenal of weapons. If on the other hand we prioritize education over military we have a very intelligent community that can deal with whatever problems might arise.

Certainly, a healthy balance has to be found, but it seems to me that education is underfunded.