Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category.

Organizations I Could Donate To

I realized I should probably start supporting some of the free stuff that I use. So here is a list of organizations that I will start donating some money to. I might do one of these a month.

  1. AdoptOpenJDK
  2. CFI Austin
  3. Freedom From Religion Foundation
  4. Maraposa Sangha
  5. Poetry In Translation
  6. RationalWiki
  7. Science Friday
  8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  9. Wikipedia

Big Jim like helping others who help others.

“The Adoration of the Shepherds” by El Greco (1541 – 7 April 1614), at El Greco’s site, assumed allowed under Fair Use. According to Wikimedia, there are other paintings by El Greco about this topic.

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Some Prompted Writing

Recently I went to a Meetup group called Just This: Zen Writing. It took place at the Austin Zen Center.

There was a few minutes of meditation, then there was a prompt, then we all wrote something based on the prompt, then we took turns reading out loud what we wrote and commenting on each others’ writing.

The prompt was from the Diamond Sutra:

All conditioned dharmas
Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, or shadows;
Like drops of dew, or like flashes of lightning;
Thusly should they be contemplated.

The leader played a few minutes of some monks chanting the Diamond Sutra.

One thing I found interesting is that a few people wrote quite a bit, but a couple of people only wrote a few sentences.

Here is what I wrote:

Chanting, marching, motion.

Driving. Highways. Night. Sunrise.

Things are more fleeting for me that they really are. I speed by, they remain in place. Someone may see me speed by in a second. We exist only for a second to each other. The motionless destination gets closer, yet too slow for me.

Mountains, rivers, oceans sometimes visible for a few seconds before obscured by trees and distance, or the setting of the sun. Horses and trains in Alabama are replaced by horses and trains in Illinois. Georgia pines blend into Arkansas pines. Trucks and truck stops, unique yet interchangeable across state lines and times of day.

Machines, cars, tractors arise and pass away as do deer, horses and hills. Crossing Maryland for 12 minutes, crossing Tennessee for eight hours. Engines drone as sun shines and rain falls. People live and die, birds land and rise. North, south, east, west. Job, school, family, wandering, reunion, escape, new life. Everything arises in the horizon in front of me and passes away in the horizon behind. And to them you are someone roaring by to be seen same time next year, or never again.

Big Jim prefers Theravadan suttas, but he went with the program.

Dame Autumn has a mournful face” by John Atkinson Grimshaw (6 September 1836 – 13 October 1893),  assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Thoughts On Photographing The Ladies

I don’t seem to get anywhere with women, but sometimes I have fantasized about photographing women.

It would probably be a great way to meet women and see lots of naked women. On the other hand, it would also be very expensive. I would need an actual camera, and a studio, and some lights.

When I was living in Chicago, I knew a guy who did a lot of photography, including women. A lot of the women were models who were glad he charged very little money. He may even have done it for free. Some of the women were a bit on the skanky side in my opinion. I do not find tattoos attractive at all. From what I could tell, his wife did not seem to mind him photographing all these other women.

He would also photograph Renaissance fairs and air shows. I do not know if he went to any air shows in Illinois, but he did go to a few in Wisconsin. Maybe he was at the Janesville Warbird Weekend (also see here). People really seem to like WWII aircraft. Is it because it was the last war we had no doubts about?

Instead of only taking pictures of women standing around, I would need to give them something to do. Using the famous “idea list” technique, here are a few possibilities:

  • Walking on a treadmill
  • Cleaning
  • Hanging clothes on a clothesline
  • Folding clothes (ironic, I know)
  • Changing a light bulb over and over and over again
  • Rearranging books on a shelf
  • Cleaning and shooting guns
  • Jumping rope
  • Yoga
  • Painting (art or painting a wall)
  • Cooking
  • Stuffing envelopes
  • Trying on different hats and boots
  • Writing on a white board
  • Cutting cake slices
  • Cleaning a glass door
  • Practicing with a sword
  • Adjusting her hair

Yes, a lot of these are “domestic” tasks. But I thought it would be nice to have some more variety that just a woman bending over while working on a spreadsheet.

Big Jim hates alcohol and loves women. He is the opposite of Brett Kavanaugh.

Eve” by Pantaleon Szyndler (26 July 1846, – 31 January 1905),  assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Things You Never Hear

A list of things you never hear, with a few I wish I did hear.

  1. Daddy didn’t mean those harsh things he said. That was the meditation talking.
  2. I only wrapped my car around the tree because I was concentrating on my driving.
  3. I only had sex with that person because I was aware of what I was doing.
  4. I only lost my job because I was following the Five Precepts.
  5. My wife left me due to my skillfulness.
  6. I got into that fight due to right speech.
  7. I heard about this sangha with a lot of hot women. (I do wish this was more common.)
  8. I want a man who is serious about meditation. (I wish more women felt this way.)
  9. I am going to become an alcoholic because Buddhism ruined my life.
  10. I want a guy who meditates and wants lots of sex. (Again, I wish more women felt this way.)

Big Jim wishes more women were interested in meditation than alcohol.

 “Welcoming Descent of Amida Buddha” at the Metropolitan Museum, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Thoughts On Geoengineering

I listen to a lot of podcasts that have talked about geoengineering, or climate engineering.

It has been mentioned on Radio Ecoshock, Quirks and Quarks, Sea Change Radio, Science Friday, and probably a few others.

I think geoengineering is either not going to work as well as we need it to, or is a bad idea. We should focus on emitting less carbon.

Geoengineering strategies fall into two categories: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal.

I think the carbon dioxide removal methods are good ideas, but they are not as advanced as a lot of people think, and will probably not be enough to save us. We would have to plant a LOT of trees to make up for our emissions.

I think solar radiation management is a really bad idea. Putting chemicals in the atmosphere is what got us to this point in the first place. Maybe SRM should be called “counter-geoengineering” since climate change itself is the result of geoengineering. Granted, carbon emissions have allowed us to have nice things, but if nothing changes it will be the end of us. Not the end of the planet, not the end of life on earth, just the end of us. Or at least the end of most of us.

But instead of putting a second set of chemicals into the atmosphere to counteract the first set of chemicals we put into the atmosphere, let’s just put less of the first set in.

Big Jim wants to make the world a better place.

“Landscape Under A Stormy Sky” by Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853-July 29, 1890), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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When The Pushing Is A Problem

Here is an idea list that I had.

A few days ago I was in the bathroom/restroom at work. I could hear someone grunting in the next stall while doing their business. I guess whatever they were pushing out was pushing back.

As I am a man of action, when I force it out, it comes out. No grunting, no struggling, no pushing back, no questions asked.

What made me really uncomfortable is that I could recognize who it was. I thought, “I really do not need to know this about you.”

So when it was time to do the daily idea list, I thought about what I should do.

  • Ask them to confess their sins
  • Play porn on my phone to compensate
  • Threaten to record and blackmail
  • Record it so if I hear them again in the future, I can hear it in stereo
  • Get all drill sergeant on their ass
  • Support them, talk them through it, tell them that together we will get through this
  • Grunt in support, or pretend you are grunting in code
  • Or make it a competition
  • When you see them later, look them in the eye and say: “I know what you did last summer”
  • Start preaching: Can I get an amen from somebody!

Big Jim is always there when you need him.

Ocean Greyness” by Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Quotes About Idea Lists

Here are some miscellaneous quotes about Idea Lists from a few posts and comments on James Altucher’s site. None of this is original to me; I am simply gathering it in one place for my convenience.

From The Idea Matrix – What Changed Everyone’s Life After “Choose Yourself”:
Comment from James (responding to someone else) about ideal lists:
I will add one more thing to your list, and you even refer to it above, but it’s “Come up with Ideas for Others” , even if you don’t know them. Even if you never share them. It’s good practice. Antoher thing is: “10 things you’ve learned from XYZ” where XYZ could be another person, a book, or an event in your life. Because if you can find 10 things you learned from that person then chances are at least one is a good thing.

From How To Become An Idea Machine: Write down ten ideas. About anything. It doesn’t matter if they are business ideas, book ideas, ideas for surprising your spouse in bed, ideas for what you should do if you are arrested for shoplifting, ideas for how to make a better tennis racquet, anything you want. The key is that it has to be ten or more.
One possibility right now is to list ten ideas that are “too big for me” and what the next steps might be.

Check out Ideas For Ten Ideas A Day.

From The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine: IDEA SEX. Combine two ideas to come up with a better idea. Don’t forget that idea evolution works much faster than human evolution. You will ALWAYS come up with better ideas after generations of idea sex. This is the DNA of all idea generation.
OLD TO NEW: 10 old ideas I can make new. (Dorothy, Wall Street, etc). Similar to idea sex.
10 ridiculous things I would invent (the smart toilet, etc).
10 books I can write (The Choose Yourself Guide to an Alternative Education, etc).
10 business ideas for Google / Amazon / Twitter / you
10 people I can send ideas to
10 podcast ideas I can do. Or videos I can shoot. (“Lunch with James”, a video podcast where I just have lunch with people over Skype and we chat).
10 industries I can remove the middleman.
10 Things I Disagree With that everyone else assumes is religion (college, home ownership, voting, doctors). Or, for any one of those ideas. 10 ideas why!
10 ways to make old posts of mine and make books out of them
10 ways I can surprise Claudia. (Actually, more like 100 ways. That’s hard work!)
10 items I can put on my “10 list ideas I usually write” list
10 people I want to be friends with and I figure out what the next steps are to contact them (Azaelia Banks, I’m coming after you! Larry Page better watch out also.)
10 things I learned yesterday.
10 things I can do differently today. Right down my entire routine from beginning to end as detailed as possible and change one thing and make it better.
10 chapters for my next book
10 ways I can save time. For instance, don’t watch TV, drink, have stupid business calls, don’t play chess during the day, don’t have dinner (I definitely will not starve), don’t go into the city to meet one person for coffee, don’t waste time being angry at that person who did X, Y, and Z to you, and so on.
10 Things I Learned from X. Where X is someone I’ve spoke to recently or read a book by recently. I’ve written posts on this about the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Steve Jobs, Bukowski, the Dalai Lama, Superman, Freakonomics, etc.
Random: 10 Things Women Totally Don’t Know About Men. (that turned into a list of 100 and Claudia said to me, “uhhh, I don’t think you should publish this”).
Today’s list: 10 More Alternative to College I can Add to my book: “40 Alternatives to College”.
10 Things I’m Interested in Getting Better At (and then 10 ways I can get better at each one).
10 things I was interested in as a kid that might be fun to explore now. (Like, maybe I can write that “Son of Dr. Strange” comic I’ve always been planning. And now I need 10 plot ideas).
A problem I have and ten ways I might try and solve it. This has saved me with the IRS countless times. Unfortunately, the Department of Motor Vehicles is impervious to my super powers.
10 ways I can release more endorphins into my body
10 ways I can help people build their idea machine
10 Ways I can turn my next book into a webinar for Oprah
10 things I can talk about in my next talk on May 3
SCAMPER is a mnemonic that stands for:
Substitute.
Combine.
Adapt.
Modify.
Put to another use.
Eliminate.
Reverse.

Big Jim has some big ideas to change the world.

Obłok by Ferdynand Ruszczyc (1870-1936), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Buddhism from non-Buddhists

This page will collect quotes that I come across that (in my opinion) express thoughts related to Buddhism by people or authors that I think are/were not Buddhist.

This page will be updated on an irregular basis as I encounter more quotes.

She has an illusion and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.

– The Keeper, Star Trek: The Cage, after restoring Vina’s beauty (as well as creating an illusory Christopher Pike to keep her company)

 

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim…
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.

– lines from Rudyard Kipling’s If

 

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.

― Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

 

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone

– Blaise Pascal

 

Too many people dream of places they’ll never go, wish for things they’ll never have, instead of paying adequate attention to their real lives.

– Odo, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “If Wishes Were Horses”

 

Big Jim wants all people to be enlightened.

Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya (Buddha of the Future), ca. 3rd–4th century Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara) at the Metropolitan Museum, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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With Each and Every Breath

I recently read a book that is on the recommended reading list of the StreamEntry sub-reddit: Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s With Each and Every Breath. I thought it had some good things to say about meditation and is a good guide.

There are a lot of references to “breath energy” and many calls to “follow the energy”. That sounds a bit like woo to me.

It has a lot of good tips on dealing with problems you can encounter in meditation.

One tip that helped me is that when your mind wanders, just ask yourself if continuing to think about something other than your breath is helpful. The word he uses is “skillful”. I have used this tip to deal with other problems. A couple of issues that I have had are trying to control the breath (which sometimes leads to me being out of breath or getting dizzy), and falling asleep. I tell myself to “focus on observing the natural, awakening breath.” Over the past couple of months, it has helped quite a bit.

A few other tips to deal with drowsiness are: to change the meditation object (such as going to a mantra, or focusing on death), to change the length of the breath, to change the posture, to open your eyes for a few seconds, even to stand up. He also recommends walking meditation, but I do not like walking meditation.

When you have a comfortable focus on the breath, he recommends expanding awareness to different parts of the body. To me this sounds like body scan.

I have also found a way to deal with itches. I just tell myself that I can inhale and exhale one time without scratching. I do this two or three times. Sometimes, the itch goes away. If not, I just scratch the itch. Sometimes I don’t really have to scratch; I just put a finger on the spot that itches and that takes care of it. I know some people say you should not scratch an itch since it will make things worse, but this works for me.

Another thing that I do is I usually “warm up” with a few minutes of deep breathing/qigong exercises. This helps me settle a bit faster, and makes me less likely to try to control my breath.

Big Jim is focusing on the breath to improve his life.

“Pilgrim’s Visiting Album” from 18th century Japan; image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Signs Somebody Is An Asshole

Signs that someone is an asshole:

  • They say “Laugh! It’s a joke!” or some variation thereof.
  • They ask checkout clerks to break a $100 bill.
  • They drive a Lexus.
  • They vote Republican.
  • They think they walk their dog with a retractable leash, but let the dog go wherever it wants.
  • They are a head of state who picks a fight with Canada (Cool And Nice And Dang Awesome).
  • They say or do something to shock people (as Ed Brayton said, “If you spend a great deal of your time pretending to be an asshole to get a reaction from people…you aren’t pretending. You are an asshole.”)
  • They put their phone on speaker when they are in public.
  • They use “virtue signalling” as an insult (but never against Susan Collins; she is independent up until the moment she votes).

Other items will be added to the list as they reveal themselves.

Big Jim does not like assholes.

“Wheatfield with Crows” (1887) by Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853-July 29, 1890), at the Van Gogh Museum, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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