Sunday, December 31, 2006
I have discovered a few things this Christmas season.
I am practically a complete stranger to most of my family. My Father thinks I'm politically liberal, when I'm a moderate. My Mother doesn't know me any more either. My sister understands me best, as does my ex-wife.
I discovered that I still care for my ex-wife. Her kindness towards my Mother reminded me of why I loved her in the first place. But I fear that getting back together will just reopen old wounds. We think too differently, have different values. She values security, but there is no security. It's an illusion to a great extent.
I discovered that the Davis Mountains of West Texas are sacred, as is the night sky where you can see the infinite vastness of the Universe. There's so much light pollution now, you can only see the Moon and a few stars. We forget the paradox as Tolle sums it up that this planet is precious and insignificant all at the same time.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Tanzan and Ekido, two Zen monks, were once travelling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they encountered a young and lovely girl in a silk kimono, unable to cross the intersection. "Come on girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her across the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. "We monks don’t go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It’s dangerous. Why did you do that?"
"I left that girl back at the road," said Tanzan, "are you still carrying her?"
-from the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, By Paul Reps
Whom am I carrying on my back? Jesus would have called it burdens or millstones.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
That Which is Real
Only that which is based on the truth is real and works - the rest is an illusion of misery. -- Told to John Swift by a wise man.
Plenty of Blame to Go Around
I got a surprise last week. I took the week off to use up vacation time. It was one of those use or lose it situations. I decided to check my phone voice mail Thursday, and lo and behold, I had a message. I have gotten in the habit of turning my cell phone off. Few people call me these days and I have to sleep during the day when on shift, and I don't want to be woken up. Well, it was my Mother. She was in town for surgery which she was to have the next day. That's my Mom, surprise me practically at the last minute. And, this surgery has almost gotten routine. Every 1-2 years, she has to have laser ablation of cells on her inner bladder to remove precancerous lesions, but this time the interval was 3 months, not 12 months or more. Well, I got there and saw her off to surgery. She obviously had a rough time this time, because after surgery during and after recovery, she was throwing up and retching horribly. I attributed it as a nasty side affect of whatever opiate derivative they use to render the patient unconscious during the procedure. I've emerged from surgery heaving and retching, and it is a quite unpleasant experience. Well, Mom wasn't herself. She didn't know her surroundings, or anything. She seemed to be in much pain. Because of the room she was in, I couldn't stay the night and so I showed up the next day, a little after noon because I was tired from the ten hour ordeal the previous day. She was still in much pain. She had her wits about her, but still, she didn't recover from this surgery like she had in the past. I just wanted to get her out of there. I figured that she could heal up better once she got home. Every time she ran to the bathroom, she asked me to leave the room out of modesty. They didn't have a catheter in her and I never checked her urine in the toilet, and I should have in hindsight. In the past they didn't discharge her until her urine was clear and free of blood. Well, at 2:30 PM, the nurse walks in and says that the urologist's partner had signed her discharge papers and she could go home. She signed the papers, and I walked out of the room and waited for her to get dressed. I got her a wheelchair and took her downstairs, put her in my car, drove to the pharmacy, and got her prescriptions filled and drove her back to her hotel room. I helped her to her room and left. I expected her to feel better after a day's rest and be well enough to fly home the next day. I called her the next day 45 minutes before she was supposed to leave and she told me that she'd postponed it another day, that she was still hurting. I had to come into work, but I called my sister beforehand and found out that my Mom was going to see her urologist today (Monday). I thought it was a wasted effort because I couldn't see that he could possibly do anything for her. Unless he had perforated her bladder which he couldn't possibly have done, it was up to her to heal the burns he'd inflicted upon her. Well, once she got to his office, and he saw how much blood was in her urine, he had his staff take her to the Emergency Room for more tests immediately. He was perplexed why she hadn't gone back to the hospital sooner and hadn't called his emergency number. Mom hadn't wanted to put any one out. She put up with two days of extreme pain and suffering. I was angry with her, but even more angry with myself. I had made the assumption that the hospital staff were doing their jobs on Friday and Saturday, but they hadn't if they'd let her go with so much blood in her urine. And, I was kicking myself for not checking her urine. I would have noticed such a tiny detail had I even checked. Mom had thought that the blood in her urine was medications that "turned her urine orange".
Well, for now, she's to stay in until Wednesday for observation. She's got a catheter in and her urine is a deep orange, almost red. She's being given plenty of pain medications, and the tests run thus far show that her bladder is intact. She has a slight fever, but her white count wasn't up significantly which is a good sign. The doctor's best guess is that Mom had an underlying bowel problem that the bladder surgery exacerbated and brought to the fore. But then, there's still the issue of her bloody urine. I'm at work right now. There's nothing I can do, so I might as well finish 10 hours of my current night shift. I'll call her in the morning and see how she's doing. I'll try to see her tomorrow afternoon if possible. I hope she's learned something from this ordeal. I certainly have, but there's plenty of blame to go around!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I don't know if I'm waiting to die, or waiting to live. Neither is good. Perhaps I am just waiting. Oh, I am staying preoccupied. It's not hard to play. It's just finding something meaningful or worthwhile to play with. Something that flows with the Source. I don't wish to squander what I've been given.
Friday, December 08, 2006
The Inertia of Indecision, the Pointlessness of Existence
On the surface, things seem chaotic and insane. We stockpile thermonuclear weapons, but are afraid to use nuclear power to free us from Middle East oil and geopolitics. We invest billions of dollars in high tech weaponry and then are afraid to use it or can't use it against our human foes. Kalashnikov invented arguably the most durable assault rifle in modern history obstensibly to protect his people from Nazi aggression only to see his invention used to arm whole populations, destroy whole cultures, and turn children into soldiers in Africa and Columbia. This just goes to show that even though Technology and Science are amoral enterprises, that just about any invention will be subverted for both good and ill despite the inventor's best intentions. But it is not his fault. He made an idea a reality. If people subvert it and turn it into something ugly, then who is to blame? Certainly not the inventor. That's like blaming Darwin for the Jewish Holocaust because the Nazis' perverted Darwinism to their own ends and exterminated any one who they felt weren't worthy of life because they didn't meet arbitrary genetic purity standards. It doesn't matter what we think or how we think the World works, or how we think we work -- the sum is so much greater than the individual parts. Whatever I glimpsed has a plan and it is no plan of any one man, or nation, or culture. Where do I fit in this plan, I have no idea. I seem to be seeing parts of it unfold, and seeing other parts as if they were parts of nightmares. I had no idea of the magnitude of the AK problem throughout the World, or that 7.62mm rounds make most body armor moot without ceramic plates, or that the British were the first Western soldiers to confront and fight child soldiers. Yes, child soldiers, boys and girls who should be playing video games, but instead fight horrifyingly real and surreal urban and jungle firefights for money, food, drugs, and sex.
There is much beauty in the World and there is much ugliness. That is the human condition. Make your contribution to the world, be it a smile, a helping hand, an invention, a thought, an idea. If someone uses it for ill, who's to say that it is really bad? Great suffering leads to great awakenings. Physical existence is a treasure. Enjoy it or not. Think it pointless or not, either view is likely right and wrong at the same time. But don't be indecisive from fear. The people who transform the World are fearless.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Weapons of Mass Destruction
If you thought nuclear or thermonuclear weapons were weapons of mass destruction, you'd be wrong. Those bombs have the potential to be weapons of mass destruction, but thus far, only 160,000 people or so have died from their use, a paltry figure. The weapon of mass destruction in the ancient world was the Roman short sword known as the gladius. The weapon of mass destruction in our modern world is the AK-47 and its derivatives. Over 250,000 people die per year due to these Russian and Chinese made assault rifles. I don't suppose that anyone sees the irony on many levels here. The Romans gave their soldiers the best, most efficient weapon to kill their enemies. We don't equip our men with AK-47 derivatives and we have no solution against it. A nation armed with AKs can defeat a superpower. Don't believe me? We left Somalia because of the AK-47. More people die in Iraq from the AK assault rifle than from IEDs. The AK assault rifles can turn any one - man, woman or child into a bullet spewing death machine. Their reliability is unmatched. I came to this perspective while reading the following book
The following are the IP addresses of infected systems that have attacked my node via the Verizon.net network. Over 70% of the victims are Verizon.net DSL subscribers. I call them victims because they didn't ask for the virus software to be loaded onto their systems. By far the winning virus/worm is:
File length: 252928 bytes.
MD5 hash: 0da155b04f16dafafffbb1a485b3d0e1.
Second place goes to W32/SDBot.ALQH aka wkssr.exe
File length: 252928 bytes.
MD5 hash: b47732d5a323044a1cd09ecf2cb945e8.
To discover your IP address bring up a command prompt in MS Windows (for W2K and XP) and type ipconfig /all. There are several free online scanning websites available if your antivirus isn't up-to-date, e.g. TrendMicro
. If one has a suspicious file, you can upload it to Virustotal
Psychology, Brain Hacking, and Buddhism
I think that the essence of psychology is to help someone realize who they are, or at least how their mind works. Psychology will only help one understand their mind, but spiritual wisdom is about going beyond the mind. The essence of Buddhism is self-realization of who you truly are and that you are not your mind and thoughts. The essence of hacking is an interactive feedback between a person and a computer to generate a useful purpose (i.e. programming the machine to do something useful). Buddhism is interactive feedback between one's mind and one's consciousness. Constant mental feedback strengthens certain mental elements to promote spiritual happiness, freedom from suffering, and unlock one's full potential as a human being. It is an Eastern Way. The Western Way seems to be constant suffering and delusion until the mind snaps and forces one kicking and screaming into Enlightenment.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Caring ISPs and Vendors
I have been running a Nepenthes honeypot for over a week now, monitoring my Verizon DSL subnet. My node has been hit over 3,000 times by worms and other malware attempting to compromise my systems. I've sent an abuse report to Verizon where it fell into an electronic maw never to be seen again. Yeah, Verizon really cares about it's customers. A friend has told me that Time-Warner Cable is squeaky clean. They filter port 69 (TFTP protocol) and a Nepenthes honeypot listening in on that network is starving. By the way, why hasn't Microsoft quit installing tftp.exe by default on their operating system? For that matter, why haven't the OEMs closed that hole by not installing tftp.exe on their versions? After all, Microsoft will just point to Dell or HP and say, "Well, it's the OEM's responsibility since it's their own version of the OS". If you wish to see how secure Vista really is, check and see if tftp.exe is still there after the operating system is installed. Protecting customers isn't Microsoft's concern. Their concern is stealing business away from Symantec.
"Buddha was essentially a brain-hacker," Friedman says. "He developed techniques for manipulating the human mind, ways of creating happiness and removing worries."