Bill Hicks was an outspoken comedian who died in 1994. This is why he was cool.

Yesterday in Berkeley Bowl I decided that mushrooms are what's been missing from my cooking, and I was right.

So much tumult! Is the world always this chaotic and challenging for people, and I just never noticed before? I'm pretty sure this past year has been genuinely unusual with difficulties given us all. Remember the way to get out of a box in life, though: sit still, breath, and let the box fall away and a solution present itself. It may still suck, but you'll be doing the right thing.

I had a job interview today! It's in San Mateo, where I don't really want to work, but the job and company and people seem fine. I have to go through at least two more interviews, so I've got time to figure it out.

I'm noticing when I'm holding tension in my body and I'm able to relax into a shoulders-down hip-swinging way of moving, and it really affects my state of mind. We tense up when we feel under physical or emotional pressure, to protect ourselves. But tension locks us into position and leaves us unable to move fluidly and blend with whatever threatens us, whether it's a physical attacker or a life crisis. We're shielded, sort of, but with such a lack of flexibility, any impact just reverberates through the system without being gently absorbed and dispersed. In the physical case, if that impact happens to be the ground, you can be seriously hurt.

So there's a strange and incredibly powerful strength in the state of relaxed awareness. All your joints and muscles untensed and mobile, paying attention to everything around you, feeling everything around you. It's not that your paranoid about being attacked (like I was in junior high school, with some justification), because that's just another form of tension, but when you're relaxed you can easily respond to anything that comes at you. Aikido teachers are always completely relaxed: it's most amusing when you're grabbing their wrist and they're just sort of dragging you along as they walk, without expending any energy of their own. So breathe and try to feel all of your muscles relaxing, one group at a time, and see how you feel.

If you take negative feelings like anger and sadness and fear, and relax a moment and don't act on them immediately, you can start to look at what exactly generates those feelings in you, and see if that's really the reasonable feeling, or if the events of your life have hit a nerve of selfishness. The negative feelings become your teachers.

I want one.

Holy crap! I got email from a reader (two of them, actually, one from a woman and then a blank email from her co-worker). You may or may not recall that one of my enduring, nagging mysteries is the design of the dessert fork:

Subject: dessert fork
We were just having a discussion at work, and I came across while searching for some information. As no one seems able to come up with an answer to the question we were asking....I just wondered if you ever did find out why the dessert fork does have that notch??? I am never sure where the guys I work with come up with this kind of thing, of even why they think I should have the answers, so I am hoping you can tell me!!
(The extended ellipses are in the original as such.)
Dear Readers:

Alas, I have yet to discover the origin of the dessert fork's thickened left tine with a notch at the tip, and my lack of looking hasn't helped. I do know that the Internet--and, for that matter, libraries around the Bay Area--have a shocking lack of resources regarding the specific history of flatware over the past five hundred years. Intuition tells me the modern dessert fork probably appeared in the 1700s, but I lack proof.

I will save and remember your email addresses, and as soon as I find anything, I will let you know. Similarly, I'd appreciate hearing if you find the solution first.

Good Luck!


Man, I'm a bad writer sometimes. *grin*