15 November 2010

Mid-November Note Double Feature

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15 November 2010. I just may have sorted out my major computer problems. I could never have done it myself, but I’m lucky to have the help of my expat buddy down in Bangkok and Tuk here to show me the way out of the darkness. Now I have a ton of emails to answer but probably cannot get to all of them. If you don’t hear from me regularly, check this blog, as I try to post twice a month at least.
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Tuk got a 98% grade on her recent 50-hour English language course at her office, but I had been rather amazed, as I was helping her with her homework during that course, at how little she really knew about common English phrases and grammar points when she entered the course in August. We usually communicate adequately with each other in very abbreviated English words and phrases, but that doesn’t help her improve her knowledge of the language. This all points to me being a poor teacher to her for the years before this, and it also implies that she doesn’t understand – or care to clarify – most of what I say to her. Humbling.
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The rains have stopped and the air is drier and “cooler.” The sun shines every day, which is very good for me, one who always suffered severe seasonal depression every November-December at 42* N latitude as the northern days got shorter and darker. (If you suffer the same way while living in the Dark North, get a full-spectrum light, because they really work, and your pets might like them too. I left mine in the States, because the hours of summer and winter daylight here are close to equal.)
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I can now resume working on my suntan up on the roof – and maybe get in some astronomy as well. I broke out my climbing gear and did some needed work on my ladder system that goes from the 3rd story window of the house up to the roof. I replaced the fixed safety rope which parallels the ladder and which had been in the sun too long to be safe – UV from sunlight degrades nylon – and then I hung from it in my climbing harness while reinforcing the old rusty ladder with steel bar. The idea of the fixed rope is that I clip an ascender device on my harness onto the rope and then climb the ladder. The theory is that it will catch me if the ladder fails. I also have enough slings and gear to keep from getting hung up and to get up and down safely. In theory.
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I must say that it feels good to be up high again. On this note, there is an old Zen motto which had summed up the Zen novice’s job description, and which I have amended.
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The original Zen motto goes:
“Haul water. Chop wood.”
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The Barlow Corollary:
“Climb high. Watch moon.”
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Below is a separate blog post on the recent US mid-term elections.
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-Zenwind.
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