freaking out

Boston Mensa - Wicked Good at the water park

whahooober! I had a great weekend at Great Wolf Lodge for the Mensa Regional Gathering. This being the Boston chapter of Mensa's fiftiest anniversary, folks figured to make an extra special deal of it, and subsidized a bulk rate for this event at the hotel in a waterpark in Fitchburg. I've never been in a waterpark before. I had a blast on the water tunnel - funnel rides, and floated around the Lazy River a while, and soaked in the outdoor hot tub. Also had a great time moseying around the hospitality room and talking with Mensans ... always one of my favorite ways to pass a little time. Good stuff! I only wish it could last longer.
freaking out

Hey Ma, I got the job!

Looks like I will be doing software support for TicketMaster. Not my first choice, but all the cutting-edge companies have flushed me for being too overqualified and too old. TicketMaster says their website code is "frankensteined together" and needs to be revamped. We'll see how it goes ... more news as it happens.
freaking out

(no subject)

what I'm really saying here is: What did you think I had only one problem to deal with? Guess again, fucktard, I've got a whole constellation of problems piling on top of me. Pick which you want to handle - because I don't get that luxury.
freaking out

he's alive

we really didn't know what his status was until today -- just got a report he's in Cambridge Hospital. So he's not dead. Don't yet know a whole lot more about his status. Film at 11.
freaking out

ba gua

(context: talking about the elements as expressed in Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Weren't we talking about mixing elements?

Cloud is air and water. So Katara and Aang can work together to bend clouds in "The Soothsayer."

Mud is water and earth. So Katara and Toph can both bend mud, and they have a great mudfight in "The Runaway."

Lava is earth and fire. Ghazan does that while escaping with Zahir, and many times later. Bolin learns to lavabend too.

What's the missing link? Fire and air. The only thing I can think of is the aurorae, borealis or australiaris, and I don't think we've seen an aurora-bender. Interesting to think about what that would be like.

Also an interesting contrast to the pa-kwa or ba-gua, the Eightfold Way. When I compare Taoist concepts to European paganism, the correspondence of the four elements is easy. Earth, Fire, Air, Water. But the Taoists don't spend much time on the four element stage, they spend most of their attention on the next one, eight elements.

Here, I'll walk us through the verse of the Tao Te Jing

"Before all else is the Tao." (Before you can start drawing, you need to have your crayon and paper.)

"From the Tao comes nothing." (Blank sheet of paper.)

"From nothing comes one." (Fill the paper with formless scribbles. All chaotic, no difference. All the same.)

"From one comes two." (The scribbles polarize, with light scribbles floating upward and dark scribbles sinking downward.)

So far, I'm good with this creation story. Torah says God created the heavens and the earth, and that's what this says too. Good. But next things get a little weird.

"From two comes eight."

um. Did you skip over four? I see the sequence if four is in there. And four in this context is perfectly clear to me: Heaven and Earth, which are above and below, and Fire and Water, that which rises and that which falls. These are the same elements in European lore and witchcraft as they are in classical Chinese literature.

Eight is the number of the pa-kwa or ba-gua that you see in every Airbender temple, and the basis of the martial art that I have been trained in (though not yet certified to teach). They use the same four points as I've just described. The additional four points in between them, as I understand them, starting from Sky (Air, Heaven, etc.) and going clockwise:

Sky: That which is above.

Wind: Sky presses down and intrudes upon Earth.

Water: That which descends (from Sky to Earth).

Mountain: Earth presses up and intrudes upon Sky. This point is adolescent Earth, coming into power.

Earth: That which is below.

Thunder: something Earth-like appearing in Sky (at least it sounds that way). This point departs the Sky and comes down to shake the Earth, and usually a lot of Water comes down with it.

Fire: That which rises (from Earth to Sky).

Lake: something Sky-like appearing in Earth. (Think of this as if you're standing on a mountaintop in China.) This point departs Earth and reaches toward Sky, with Fire as its intermediary or bridge.

What I've just described is the Pa-Kwa of Earlier Heaven, as I was taught. It aligns around the clock face as I've described.

the eight trigrams

But then something else happens that I don't understand, which moves some of the trigrams around into different places, and that's the Pa-Kwa of Later Heaven -- which is the one on the Korean flag, and the one you'll mostly see in Chinatown. Can anyone help me out with this joober?
freaking out

nh mensa -- all things silver

Hoka-hoka-hey! I had a great time at All Things Silver, the 25th annual regional gathering of New Hampshire Mensa. I gave my presentation on self-healing Saturday morning, and people appreciated it. I also fired up a wildcat movie theatre and showed the 2007 movie of Flatland, as well as an episode of Black Mirrors.

But the most fun was talking up and showing off my new book! Lots of people were psyched to hear about it, and quite a few said they'd grab a copy. (I haven't looked at my Kindle dashboard ... I'm holding off.) Turns out there was a local computer science professor giving a talk on civil rights for AIs -- what legal precedents pertain, how an agreement might be reached, how it would be enforced, etc. So I held up my poster and made a plug for a fictional scenario of how the AIs and humans in my book get along. (He even came up with a rough equivalent of CEBRA, the Cybernetic Entity Basic Rights Act, which I invented in the process of writing this book.)

And it was so much fun just to hang out in hospitality and weave and blend between conversations, offer opinions, listen to opinions, argue some, laugh a lot. I need more of this! And I absolutely love having an indoor pool and hot tub right there. I am a water baby, and Sonia practically had to drag me out of the pool when it was time for the ride home!
freaking out

chopin liszt

So. Today's tasks.
Grocery shopping to stock up with goodies for the storm? Check.
Online bills paid and financial record keeping updated? Check.
All battery powered devices fully charged? Check.
Computers fully backed up in case of power outage? Check.

Hey.
am I actually caught up with all the chores I was supposed to do today?
Guess so.
Looks like it's time for me to curl up and watch some Legend Of Korra.
freaking out

kindle me!

My book sales on Kindle are coming along ... right after the release at Arisia, I sold about 45 copies. Since then, it's continuing at a couple of sales every day. Nice. This isn't about making money, it's about getting my name and work out there and building up my reputation.

and finally, here it is.