Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!

Happy New Year 2019!



Looking Back and Looking Forward

2018 Recap

2018 was a crazy year. It had it's share of both highs and lows. Overall I'd say it was much better than 2017. Well, it definitely was much better than 2017 for me, anyway. I was able get rid of my Mom's fire-damaged home which had been a constant drain on ye olde pocket book throughout 2017. I dropped all the booze-weight I had put on in 2017 and then some. In fact, I lost 55 lbs overall. I would have lost even more weight but I put some of it back on due to holiday sugar-binges.

I missed some deadlines with regards to registering for classes at the beginning of the year. I just was not in the right place mentally or emotionally (or even physically, as I was traveling to my hometown and back a lot) to deal with a full load of classes. However, I was able to knock out a couple of classes in the Summer session and took a full load of classes in the Fall. I am now that much closer to acquiring my Associates in Web Development. I was also able to make plans on transferring to a university to get my Bachelor's degree after I'm done at Long Beach City College (note: I might keep taking classes at LBCC long after I have my B.A.S. if I'm still in the area- I'm addicted to school now 😂).

Right now

Due to some recent events I might or might not be attending secret meetings that might or might not meet in church basements that might or might not encourage one make a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves (update as of 01.03.19: I've been working the Refuge Recovery program which is not so secret and meets in yoga studios instead of church basements. I don't need to keep the same anonymity as the super-secret group). Between the super-secret meetings (or not-so secret meetings), work and school I no longer have time to create weekly posts. RIP "The Boil Down". On top of that, other (and MUCH better) weekly lists already exist such as: DragonFly BSD's Lazy Reading, Bruce Lawson's Reading List, and Tim's 5 Bullet Friday. On a positive note, when there is extra time to write a post, the subject matter will not be quite as disjointed. There is a much clearer vision for what this blog is and the kind of creative outlet it will be.

In (possibly) related news: The "recovery" playlist I've been curating on SoundCloud has been updated. As of the time of this post, it is 38 hours of recovery goodness. It's heavy on Light Hustler episodes right now (note: which is not a bad thing by any means- Anna has great guests) but more variety will be added soon.

What Will 2019 Bring?

Penn Jillette often says on his podcast that you shouldn't tell anyone what your plans or goals are because you lose motivation to complete them. Here is some of the reasoning on why you shouldn't share your goals or resolutions until after you've done them:

  • Shhh! Keeping Quiet May Help You Achieve Your Goals: "Shouldn't you announce your goals, so friends can support you? Isn't it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects? Doesn't the law of attraction mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal is already yours? Nope."
  • Don't Tell Your Goals to Anyone : "A study conducted at New York University found that blabbing about your goal can give you a false sense of accomplishment, making you less likely to actually go after it."

In light of that I will not divulge what any of my intentions or plans are for the coming year until after they are accomplished. Well, ok, I can reveal that there is a post exploring Zen and the other Buddhisms that I've had in the works for a while. I don't really have a good idea on when it will be done though. There will also be a fairly significant post involving weight loss and health around June or July. That's all I can say for now.

May you all be safe and well as we head into 2019 and beyond!

All The Ramen,

Scott


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Boil Down 12/11/2018

The Boil Down 12/11/2018



Note: Short post this week but I am now very close to the end of the Fall 2018 Semester. Two finals have been completed and now only my web design final project remains. Then I have a short break before the winter session begins. I will get to experience a 16 week class crammed into 5 weeks. 🤣😭

What I'm Reading

Computer Stuff

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • Andrew Olendzki - Early Buddhist Maps of the Mind
    From the description: "Andrew Olendzki delivers an overview of the early Buddhist maps of the mind. Delivered at the 2013 Mind and Life Summer Research Institute." Andrew also had this to say about the talk: "My hope in offering this outline of the classical Buddhist map of lived experience (which will be familiar to the many graduates of BCBS’ Buddhist Psychology course) is to plant some seeds or spark some fires among this next generation of scientists. These researchers are already sensitive to the value of mindfulness and meditation, and are already shaping the new paradigms with which we will come to understand ourselves in the years to come."
  • Brad did a nice review of a Japanese movie that presents a) what temple life is like for Zen monks in Japan and b) some Japanese stereotypes about Zen monks. I definitely want to track this movie down and watch it now!

Ramen ⦁ Randomness


Peace☮ + Pizza🍕
Scott

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Boil Down 12/04/2018

The Boil Down 12/04/2018



Note: Finals and final projects are rapidly approaching so these posts might be (even) lighter in content than usual the next couple of weeks.

What I'm Reading

  • Attempting Normal by Marc Maron. What do I really need to say? It's Marc Maron. It's a really good and funny read.

Computer Stuff

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • Surviving Toxic Relationships with Narcissists and Sociopaths. 35 minute talk + 24 minute guided meditation on developing a secure base by Josh Korda from Dharmapunx NYC. This isn't really Buddhist studies but Josh is an empowered Buddhist teacher. I've listened to Josh and read his articles here and there over the years. He seems to be the real deal. I highly recommend this talk even if you've never been in a toxic relationship yourself. It can help explain why people who are in toxic relationships (whether it be romantic, a close friendship or familial) have such a hard time getting out of them. I personally didn't do the guided meditation but it might be helpful to you or someone you know.
  • Philosophy and Philology in Edo Commentaries on Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, SOAS University of London
    From the description: "The Shōbōgenzō 正法眼蔵 by Dōgen (1200-1253), founder of the Sōtō Zen sect in medieval Japan, has become one of the best-known East Asian Buddhist texts because its intricate evocation and eloquent elucidation of Chinese Chan sources in Japanese vernacular emphasizes a dynamic view of reality and multi-perspectival approach to discourse. However, there remain many misconceptions about the formation and structure of the text, especially in terms of how, when, where, and why it was written. The aim of this lecture is to correct one of the main areas of oversight by highlighting the role of more than six dozen Edo-period commentaries neglected in Western scholarship, while showing that only through examining these complex materials in terms of their respective approaches to textual hermeneutics involving philosophy and philology can the gap between the author’s intentionality and modern interpretations be bridged."

Ramen ⦁ Randomness

  • Lonely Ghost Attic on YouTube needs more subscribers! Or, I guess you could just watch them on Greg's Instagram. Greg's podcast with his wife, Amiira, is good too!
  • ASMR - C# Whispering, Mechanical Keyboard Typing: For sleepytime.
  • Hochi and Friends

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕
Scott

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Boil Down 11/27/2018

The Boil Down 11/27/2018



Note: I know this is a little soon for another "Boil Down" but I'm aiming to switch them from Fridays to Tuesdays.

Computer Stuff

  • Lea Verou | CSS3 Secrets: 10 things you might not know about CSS3 | Fronteers 2011: This video is seven years old but it was all new to me. I had no idea CSS3 could do any of that stuff.

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • Eiheiji - Inside Dōgen's Zen Monastery: Dōgen was the founder of Sōtō Zen in Japan. Eihei-ji is one of the two head temples of the Sōtō sect. Dōgen taught Shikantaza ("nothing but precisely sitting") style zazen which also happens to be the style that works best for me.
  • New Books in Buddhist Studies: Spreading Dhamma: Writing, Orality, and Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand by Daniel Veidlinger. "New media technology changes culture. And when it comes to religion, new technology changes the way people think and practice their traditions. And while we usually think of technology as some new gadget or machine, there was a time when the written word itself was a new technology, and this had a profound impact how Buddhism was practiced in South and South East Asia." I never really thought of writing as a new "technology" for ancient peoples before.

Ramen ⦁ Misc

  • Samyang Stew Type!
  • Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think. Many, many, many moons ago, fitting in with the people around you was crucial to your survival. Finding approval with the tribe you belonged to meant access to food and protection. "Because of this, humans evolved an over-the-top obsession with what others thought of them—a craving for social approval and admiration, and a paralyzing fear of being disliked." Civilization has completely changed but we still have a life-or-death attitude towards being accepted socially. This article explores why we should stop listening to our outdated "Social Mammoths" and start listening to our "Authentic Voices".

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕
Scott

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Boil Down 11/23/2018

The Boil Down 11/23/2018

Note: That GIF has nothing to do with anything. It just made me laugh. Also, I am really beginning to hate...HATE...Blogger's HTML editor. I might be switching platforms/content-managers very soon.

Computer Stuff

  • Writing Less Damned Code – Heydon Pickering – btconfBER2016 - "Less of anything is good and if there is less of anything there is less shit-stuff." Truer words have never been spoken.

Buddhology ⦁ Religious Studies

  • I had completely forgotten about this video until I stumbled across it the other day. It is a Vocaloid version of the "Heart Sutra" (or "Hannya Shingyo"). The Heart Sutra is one of the most widely chanted Mahāyāna Buddhist sutras. It is one of the "Perfection of Wisdom" texts and explains the fundamental emptiness of all phenomena.
  • Speaking of the Heart Sutra, here is Brad talking about that whole "form is emptiness, emptiness is form" stuff:

Ramen ⦁ Misc

  • I really have no idea what is going on here but it looks and sounds pretty damn serious. However, since that looks like black bean sauce (which I'm fan of) I'm definitely down to try this if I can ever get my hands on some. Also, after a quick Google search- the character that looks like a bear is actually a lion (without a mane)...and his name is Ryan. The more you know...
  • More Ryan...more noods...
Ok. Now, I'm starving. That's all for now. I'll be back in a week or so.
Peace☮ + Pizza🍕
Scott

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Boil Down 11/16/18

The Boil Down 11/16/18

or "Sharing The Weird Stuff I Enjoy"

or "The Perfect Blog Post For That Person Who Has Everything"

I'm still not one hundred percent since the cold-from-hell decided to nestle itself into my sinuses and lungs. In fact, I am admitting defeat and just started a course of antibiotics. I really hadn't gotten any better in the last 48 hrs and it felt like I was getting a sinus infection. Gimme dem drugs!

Anywho, this is a little bit of what I was watching, reading and listening to while my immune system was carrying out its counter-assault on the rhinovirus.

Computer Stuff

  • This video is three years old but it is a good reminder of why electronic voting is a terrible idea.
  • Fedora 29 was released on October 30th. Of all the linux distros I've played around with, Fedora has always worked the best for me. It just works. I look forward to installing Fedora 29 on my beater laptop and taking it for a spin very soon.
  • In more Fedora news: Fedora turned 15 years old on November 6th! Happy Birthday Fedora! 🎉🎂🎁
  • Which is faster: a linked-list or an array? Dr. Steve Bagley decides to find out.


Buddhology

  • Talk by James Dobbins on D.T. Suzuki's role in exposing the West to Rinzai Zen and his modern views on Pure Land Buddhism. James Dobbins is a Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies at Oberlin College.
  • Shin Buddhism Is American Buddhism by Scott Mitchell. I am a huge fan of The Dharma Realm Podcast which Scott co-hosts.
  • I've been back on the zafu again and I encourage everybody to give it a try...even if you think you don't need it. This is as good a place to start as any: Daily Practice: How to Get on the Cushion Every Day with Brad Warner. The first video is free and the other three are behind a paywall. However, the first video is all you need to get started.

Rando

  • I'm not so sure about this...

Peace☮ + Pizza🍕
Scott

Friday, November 9, 2018

Quick Update

Quick Update

of "Blood Test Results And This Blog"

or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Math"

Sorry I haven't been very active on this blog or any social media. I started a new job a little while back. Between that and school I've been pretty busy. I even dropped a class and assumed it would give me more time but so far I still feel like I have a full plate, and then some. The fact that some rhinoviruses decided my body would be a great place to replicate themselves (and subsequently kick my ass for a few days) didn't help.

Blood Test

I mentioned quite a while ago that I planned on getting another blood test to see if there was any improvement after being on a plant-based diet for a while. Well, the plant-based thing didn't quite work out as some of you know. Even with not sticking to a plant-based diet my blood values were markedly improved. Instead of 5 values being "out of range" I'm down to only three.

red indicates an out-of-range value
Test Name May 8th 2018 Result Nov 1st 2018 Result reference range
HDL Cholesterol24 mg/dL36 mg/dL> 40 mg/dL
LDL/HDL Ratio5.13.4< 5.0
Uric Acid9.2 mg/dL9.0 mg/dL4.0-8.0 mg/dL
C Reactive Protein7.5 mg/L1.5 mg/L< 3.0 mg/L
Vitamin D26 ng/mL38 ng/mL>= 30 ng/mL
HomocysteineN/A17.0 umol/L11.4 umol/L

So, there's that. Overall I'm happy with the results. My A1C was even lower than it was last time (5.0 as opposed to 5.5). Not sure what is going on with the Uric Acid and Homocysteine. I'd be worried about renal failure but the values of any other blood test that relate to the kidneys were totally normal. I'll talk with my doc and figure it out soon.

School



via GIPHY
School is going well but I did have to drop my 6 unit Algebra class. I dropped it early enough that I was able to get a W so it won't affect my overall GPA. I kept choking badly on the exams which, along with the final, were 70% of the grade. I'm going to regroup and try again. I know exactly what I'm getting into with that class now.

This Blog


Since Web Development is the field I am entering I suppose I plan on using it as a playground for anything I learn. A web-developer with an ugly looking blog just won't cut it! Plan on this site being a little easier on the eyes...hopefully. [Note: The Blogger HTML editor leaves A LOT to be desired!]

I'm going to attempt to take a page out of Tim Ferriss' book with his 5-Bullet Fridays and Dragonfly BSD digest's "Lazy Reading" and "In Other BSDs". I plan to do a quick roundup of anything cool I've come across during the week. I will also endeavor to share things that are at least somewhat related to web development (front and back-end), Buddhology, and ramen. There are also a couple of posts in the works but they are still some way off.

I still feel like I'm dying so it will have to wait until sometime next week. Until then...

Self-reflection and ramen,

Scott


Happy New Year 2019!

Happy New Year 2019! via GIPHY Looking Back and Looking Forward 2018 Recap 2018 was a crazy year. It had it's share of both ...