my life

rough drafts of sample chapters from "Why Buddha Touched the Earth"

Posted on: Sat, 03/01/2008 - 01:41 By: Tom Swiss

Hi friends. As some of you know, for some time I've been working toward a book about some of my "Zen Pagan" ideas.

While there's still a long way to go, I'm happy to have rough
drafts of some sample chapters, and I've posted them on one of my
websites. If you'd be interested to take a look, your comments would be much appreciated.

(Please feel free to invite others to take a look.)


leave my drink alone; me, my dad, and Johnny B. Goode

Posted on: Sun, 02/10/2008 - 00:24 By: Tom Swiss

Promotions at the dojo today...didn't have any students going up, but spend the day helping out. Think I wrenched a muscle in my back, so I've come down to Leadbetter's for some muscle relaxant and some tunes.

Now that the smoking ban is in effect, they have these little card you put on your drink if you go out to suck on the penis of corporate America. It says "Out smoking - Leave my drink alone". Which seems a good phrase for a writing exercise:

"Just missed happy hour"

Posted on: Fri, 02/08/2008 - 21:56 By: Tom Swiss

Hanging out at Annabel's, the wine bar, on a Friday evening, around 9:30. Sitting at the bar, sipping my wine, reading *Urbanite*...a woman stands next to me, orders a drink, asks the price, the bartender says she just missed happy hour.

"That's the story of my life," I pipe up.

I called Cathy earlier, just to check up on her, let he know that I'm thinking of her at the difficult time. Got her voicemail, which somehow was a little harder than actually talking to her, hearing the same message she had when we were dating. Strange things, minds.

And of course now the Valentine's Day advertising blitz. Managed to forget over the past few years how much it sucks to have advertisers rub it in you're face that you're not getting any on V-Day. Feh.

Review: "Groundhog Day"

Posted on: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 21:46 By: Tom Swiss

Imbolc today - a.k.a. Candlemas, a.k.a. Groundhog Day. In old Celtic reckoning, an agricultural calendar, this cross-quarter day was seen as the start of spring. In its honor, the Well had a showing of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. While it's probably shelved in the "romantic comedy" category, it's a surprisingly spiritual film. In fact one participant in an internet forum on karate called it a real "warrior's film", which I think is accurate.

Murray's character, a weatherman named Phil Conners, finds himself living the same day over and over again - Groundhog Day, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Once he figures out what's going on, he uses the situation to learn all about the town and its inhabitants, then uses his knowledge to amuse and please himself - seducing women, robbing an armored car and spending the money to buy a fancy car, going for joyrides - all without consequence, as he wakes up the "next" morning with everything reset to the way it was. And this is enough for a while.

Dentistry, Death, and Drama

Posted on: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 23:38 By: Tom Swiss

Well, the smoking ban is finally in effect statewide - I'm at Bedrock, my first time here, and I'm looking forward to a night in a Baltimore bar without smelling like stale cigarettes the next morning.

And boy, do I need a few drinks tonight.

The week began fine enough, Monday we got the clawfoot tub uncrated and moved in to place on the platform, I got a full day's computer work in (even if I did spend much of it chasing down a dead end), and visited the parental units in the evening. Slightly stressful there, as I learned that the financial situation is tight for them - but as I was to be reminded, that's really not a big deal.

Tuesday, off to the dentist's for a long overdue checkup and cleaning. Had him look at a tooth that's been giving me an occasional twinge. He told me a filling needs to be replaced - we'll do that (and another one that looked iffy) on Monday. Good to get rid of old mercury amalgam and replace it with a nicer composite. Also had him look at a weird spot on my tongue, he said it's probably no big deal but recommended an evaluation by an oral surgeon.

Came home, a few hours of hacking, off to karate class. Stopped home after, to get something to eat before heading off to the first Zelda's Inferno open mic at 2640, and I happened to check my e-mail while I was there. Got a message from Nicole informing me that Cathy's mom had died.

little things you see

Posted on: Sat, 01/26/2008 - 22:30 By: Tom Swiss

At Leadbetter's...a little while ago, it was crowded, standing room only when I got here...a dark haired blue-eyed lovely sitting near me pulled out a small box, I thought cigarettes, she turns it over and out comes a crayon! It's a box of like 8 or 10 crayons. Outstanding, I have to comment to her, tell her I salute her. A scene that will end up in a story somewhere, definitely.

Kids say the darnedest things

Posted on: Sat, 01/05/2008 - 22:44 By: Tom Swiss

Kids, it has been noted, say the darnedest things.

Monday night, went up to York, to Mike and Cat's new house, for their New Year's party. First time I'd seen their great, big, spanking new house. First time I'd seen their two and a half year old daughter Rosie since they moved - even then, it had been a few months before that. Last I saw her, she wasn't really talking, but now she's doing sentences.

So I'm looking at my best friend, his lovely and brilliant wife, their beautiful little girl, their nice house...definitely the sort of thing that makes a single guy contemplate his life. Especially this being the first holiday season in several years where I wasn't involved with someone. Not complaining about my life, mind you - just prompted thought about different paths, different choices, trade-offs, freedom versus connection.

globe-trotting hair salon managers?

Posted on: Sat, 12/29/2007 - 23:39 By: Tom Swiss

Well, plans with Jill fell through. So here I am at Leadbetter's; Ken G. Shorts playing, Fons and the very cute Bonnie behind the bar, me sitting here drinking and singing along and writing a bit. Talked a bit to a big-haired lady who sat down next to me with her boyfriend, who was wearing a Redskins jacket...turns out that in her job as a hair salon manager, she's travels the world, Bangkok, Madrid, Japan. heading to Beijing next year. Who'd have thought that a career in hair cutting would lead to world travel?

watching old Superfriends cartoons at Joe Squared

Posted on: Fri, 12/28/2007 - 22:28 By: Tom Swiss

Hanging out at Joe Squared a little writing done toward the book, a little more writing about the life of the Buddha as I sit here drinking beer and sneaking glances at the pretty women (the pretty *young* women, sigh...) and watching old Superfriends cartoons on the TV above the bar.

Tomorrow night I'm supposed to go down and hang out with Jill; Sunday, family holiday party at Jeff and Cindy's. Monday, the great renovation project at my Secret World Headquarters is set to resume (with luck I'll have some of the wall treatment work done by them - yesterday I drove home from Home Depot with three big 4' by 8' sheets of tileboard strapped to the roof rack).

where the hell did this year go? the endless joys of home ownership

Posted on: Thu, 12/27/2007 - 23:53 By: Tom Swiss

So where the hell did this year go? Ok, sure, I spent a quarter of it out of the country - about a third(!) of the year traveling total - but still, wasn't I just lamenting not having a date for last year's New Year's celebration, and then getting frustrated with getting the idiots at the body shop to replace my car window after some vandal broke it out?

I have retired to the Judge's Bench to consider the question. Thought about heading down to Leadbetter's or something, but goofed off on the computer until almost 11, and decided I didn't want to stink up my clothes with cigarette smoke. Not a trivial consideration when the laundry facilities are disrupted by construction and you have to rely on the laundromat.

Went to one last week. Odd how using a laundromat in some odd way makes me feel young, takes me back to when I lived in the dorms or apartment. Two notable things about this one. First, my first exposure to standard daytime TV in quite a while. Ellen Degeneres had on a kid with a talent for jumping, leaping over cars, whose great wish was to have his own Nike shoe and commercial - and I'm thinking, is this what we've come too? I dunno, maybe it's the contemporary equivalent of the Wheaties box - but as far as I know, Wheaties never used sweatshop labor...

Second, the bulletin board on the laundromat wall. All the notices, the ads, in Spanish. Every one of them.

Past few days - Solstice and Xmas stuff. Friday, Yule dinner at Joe's. Saturday, Hillary's Nth Annual Yule Party. Sunday, holiday party at Kyoshi Kate's. Monday, Xmas Eve, a firer and drum circle in the woods of Columbia, went to that with Jen. Tuesday, Xmas dinner with the parental units, then went over to visit with Kathy for a while.

Yesterday - tore up most of the utility/bathroom floor, four layers of old tile down to the cement slab. Went to Home Depot to scope out wall panels and floor treatment - returned today to buy the wall panels, which as it turned out I had to strap to the roof rack to get home. A bit more interesting that I planned. And I'm going to have cut them a bit to fit, and I realized I got the wrong adhesive - ah, the endless joys of home ownership.

Hmm, that's a good phrase for a writing exercise...

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