A wonderful essay on why Shakespeare still matters.

We can't find anything, so they must just be really good at hiding it.

Surprise! It's Sanctity of Life Day! This of course refers to abortion and not the death penalty. After all, we need lots of babies to live and grow up so they can become dead soldiers.

National psychosis aside, I'm having a good day. Really. Once I realized a couple of weeks ago that the worst thing that could happen to me financially is to be completely destitute, I could work my way up from there to realize that I wouldn't actually be homeless most of the time, because I have hordes of friends who would let me couch-surf if I asked; and I'm pretty smart and I could make at least a little money somehow. And if I persisted in being thoroughly poor, that's something in itself, and I am fortunate to have the education and perspective to be able to turn that into something good--I could teach English in China, for example, or be an obscenely overqualified janitor. I've actually given some thought to that anyway, thinking that maybe I could better focus on studying aikido and Zen if I weren't so drawn into the world of tech work and the rather material, consumerist lifestyle that so easily goes with it (what can I say, we're generally well-paid and we like gadgets and toys). But then I remember that I'd have to work more hours at a lower-paying job, I like programming computers more than scrubbing toilets or washing floors, and I like the freedom to travel (especially to Burning Man and aikido seminars, which both cost money) and eat lots of sushi and stuff.

But in reality none of that matters. It's all empty, and I'm still me and the ten thousand things are all One whether I'm fully employed or not, and in either case it's my responsibility to make my choices to live according to the precepts and work to realize my true nature and the nature of all things, whether through Zen or aikido or what have you. I'm focused on aikido right now for a variety of reasons, but I study my Zen books pretty regularly and aikido is a Zen activity for me. Through Zen I can put down all the thinking that causes so much suffering for me and people around me, and Zen is the same no matter what my life looks like.

I had a slightly freaky experience in class tonight, when we did a freestyle exercise and I threw this woman way way WAY too hard. She's about 5'2", maybe 100lbs., and I threw her as if I were being attacked by the fierce 6'1" 220lbs. Irish guy. *WHAM*. It was a little nerve-wracking--she's tough, but there are some more fragile people in the dojo who could have been hurt if I'd done that to them (almost all of us can take falls that hard, but when it's really unexpected the chance for injury goes up a lot). We're both fine, it was just the first time I've really overdone it by not having a good sense of my own power. Brandon, the instructor, said, "Okay, for the next week, for you, aikido is no longer a martial art. It's dancing. It can be a martial art after that. Martial art, later. Right now, dancing." I really, really love my dojo.

No word on that job yet. They said I should definitely know by Friday, but they were going to give me an update today. No big deal: it's conceivable they had real work to do.