more books!

I'm in the middle of two books, and neither are at all related to Zen, which is a nice break: Stephen Leeb's The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel, and Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hitchens is deeply cranky, and while it turns out I agree with him across the board, he's pretty much preaching to the choir: referring to religious beliefs as "stupid" is, perhaps, not the most constructive way to conduct the conversation. But he's not really in it for a conversation, he's in it for a rant.

I probably should have read Leeb's book a year or two ago, but I'm not good about staying on top of investments. I have too much cash lying around, and now's the time to start figuring out how to invest it for a world that will be very different in five to ten years. (Gasoline is the tip of the iceberg: oil is the feedstock for our everyday objects. Imagine a world where plastic and rubber, in their endless forms, become incredibly expensive.)

Work is sort of heating up, just as I'm about to be out of the office. There's a sticky problem with some of our reports, an important problem because that's what we're trying to sell to people, and I'm slightly stressed about it because I feel like I've not accomplished much of note there, and I'm not sure I can solve this one. Although, in the course of investigation today I discovered that a three-year veteran of the company is almost as much in the dark about how some of the system works as I am, and we're fumbling around debugging this the hard way: basically, put a bunch of print() statements throughout the code, showing the state of your data at different points in the program, and hope something turns up. It's not the most efficient way to debug something, but it's available in 90% of the world's software environments, and is largely guaranteed to expose the problem if you keep at it.

This weekend is the Feather River Campout, so Kat and I will spend five hours in the car on Friday, followed by chilling in the woods for a couple days and driving back. That will be nice, although, as my family does, we often end up doing some serious talking on car trips, what with the captive audience.

Next week is aikido camp. The weekend after that is the sangha sesshin (which I'm only doing half of). Then a whole three weeks before the three weeks at Zen Center. And then, finally, things calm down. Or they better. I'm pretty overextended right now, and contracting a bit to compensate.