the original kStyle blog.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Cult/ Not Cult?

It's time to share with you, dear float reader, one of the favorite games of my household. On a semi-regular basis, I will give you a web site to peruse. You then determine whether the organization qualifies as a cult or not and vote in the comments. Remember, there are no wrong answers. Let's start with an easy one:

Adi Dam

How do you like your celebrities?

Had an amusing conversation with a friend recently. Her new weekend ritual is to sit in Barnes and Noble and read “Star” and the “Enquirer”. I rather liked this idea-buying into pop culture without buying it-and I asked who her favorite celebrities were. She favors Renee Zellweger and Cameron Diaz, who annoy me; I prefer actresses such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Nicole Kidman. She reflected that she likes celebrities who seem down-to-earth and warm, and finds Nicole Kidman to be too icy. And I was like, “Yes! Glamour! Aloofness! That's what I want from stars!! I long for the old days of Hollywood.”

I should write an Internet quiz about this.

The Vast Universe

Yesterday The Boyfriend and I got to discussing how very large the universe is. Even though I intellectually know that I Am Not The Center of the Universe, it's nonetheless unnerving to ponder. G. noted, “Yeah, and it makes the real estate prices around here seem even more ridiculous.”

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Like, a Quiz!

Wow, a quiz with surprisingly acccurate results, except that I'm not sure I want to be boxed in with Ashton Kutcher. It measures humor style on 3 vectors. Via Room for Nuance via Feministe...How many vias is a blogger required to acknowledge? Is there an etiquette column for such matters?

the Prankster

(43% dark, 39% spontaneous, 16% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You're not pretentious, but neither are you into what some would call 'low humor'. You'd laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something clever to something moist.

You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways, yours is the most entertaining type of humor.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O'Brian - Ashton Kutcher

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender

free online dating
free online dating

You scored higher than 18%
on dark

free online dating
free online dating

You scored higher than 56%
on spontaneous

free online dating
free online dating

You scored higher than 0%
on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment

On the farm, I feel like a little kid. I kick of my shoes and enjoy the dirt between my toes. I become greedy in that hopeful way we're trained out of: I hope I can find the BIGGEST bean; I snatch an extra handful of salad greens. A few weeks ago I heard a child ask his mom, "But why can't we pick more flowers? There are SO MANY!!" And my heart was right there with the kid, right on, let's grab huge armfuls, let's dive into the flower beds and soak in as much joy as possible. I haven't felt this sort of greedy glee in years. Have you felt like a kid lately, joyously or otherwise?

Summer Songs

A famous line blew through my head all weekend:
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine of my mind

It's the time of year for certain songs: "Topaz" and "Dry County" by the B52s, "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. In a month, when we're pelted by hurricane remnants, I'll be ready for "August Day Song" by Bebel Gilberto and, as summer wanes, "Summer Soft" by Stevie Wonder.

Death, continued
When I finish my program, I think I'd like to give shiatsu in a hospice, at least part time. I worked on a book on hospice and palliative care a few years ago, and I was touched by the thought of “midwifing the patient through death”. Recently, a massage magazine ran an article about one practitioner's experiences giving reiki and massage in the hospice setting. With his help, a dying woman found some peace with her short, troubled life and her approaching death. Newsweek just ran a blurb about a book written by a hospice minister who has noticed spiritual themes in the dreams of the dying.

This might sound even crazier than I think it does, but as I'm coming to terms with death in general and my own in particular, I've been using my sleep as an opportunity to practice for death. The Tibetan Buddhists see death as an important time when one who has mastered the cycle of death and rebirth navigates his or her way to the next life or to nirvana. Starting last week, some nights I've gone to sleep following my breath, with the intention of navigating my way through my dreams in order to practice for the bardo. I started having powerful dreams in which spiritual masters spoke to me and gave me counsel, and began waking with a feeling of deep peace. Perhaps it's only a trick of the mind…but it's a good one.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I've been contemplating death lately. Every night before bed, I read a small section of Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das, meditate for ten minutes, and then go to sleep.

I've been reading the part about death this week. We necessarily live in death's shadow, but we usually ignore it. I think the Buddhists are right that contemplating death, really understanding that I will die, gives life more vibrance and takes away a lot of fear. On the other hand, I feel deeply sad knowing that every single person I love will also die.

While I hesitate to make this a Writing Assignment (sorry, I know, I owe y'all one), I'm curious as to your own take on death and how much, if at all, you've contemplated it. How does the knowledge of death influence your life?

Nature Bursting at the Seams

The farm was glorious today. The sky is its brightest blue and the clouds, varied and exuberant. The sky sang with birds; deep green trees arched lazily to meet it.

As usual, we went first to the little shelter, checked off my name, and filled bags with the prepicked offerings. This week we were given salad mix, red lettuce, summer squash, peppers, collard greens, colorful swiss chard, carrots, scallions, and--an exciting new offering--potatoes. Then the best part: u-pick time.

We strolled to the fields and examined the little chalkboard perched like a lifeguard its tall stand to learn what we could pick today. I kicked off my sandals and ran right for the rows of cheery flowers to cut a few stems, while C. began on the green beans. Soon I joined her in the dusty rows, turning over leaves in the hopes of finding a bean beneath. We munched as we picked, and the beans were delightful, earthy and sweet. (All the vegetables have been unbelievably fresh and crisp, but also, often, not as pretty or large as grocery store goods. G. raised his eyebrows when I brought home the first bunch of greens a month ago. He wondered whether the price of our farm share was worth it, and, feeling snarky, asked why they couldn't grow anything without holes. Then we ate the best salad we'd ever had, and he wondered what the hell the big farms are doing to their vegetables to keep insects from taking even a nibble.) She departed after picking her share of beans, while I lingered a bit over the cilantro and basil. It was a fine day for dawdling.

Picking my own food feels sacred. My weekly time on the farm wakes me up and wipes away some of the brain-static. I'm already learning from the turn of seasons, which is obliterated in the grocery store. Everything has its time. Usually the time is brief: two weeks of strawberries or garlic scapes, for example, but once one crop ends the next is ready. The chaos so many people believe in is, I think, manmade. The earth has its harmony.

A Good Point from the Boyfriend

You know, English punctuation is really lacking. You have your choice of
a period, which sounds very flat (as in the case email here),
or an exclamation point, which communicates an enthusiasm a hair shy of
crazed. If only there were something in between.

I think I'm going to start using "^" to end a sentence when I want to
express tempered enthusiasm. Want to start a trend with me? ;-)

Love you^

Job Hazards

Integrity is on the decline and plagiarism on the rise. Several of my authors across several disciplines have been caught-caught! -by my copyeditors lifting chunks of material from the Web. Now, I don't believe in jealously guarding intellectual property. Sharing ideas is essential to evolution of the intellect, soul, art, human existence. I believe the collage/found objects artist and the DJ and the quilt maker are creating their own art by juxtaposing others' art in fresh new ways. It's a gestalt thang, baby. Once I confessed to my dance professor that I'd taken a section of her choreography for a dance I was making. She was like, “Baby, that's fine, as long as you make it your own.” Which I did.

Which these authors don't. The point of us paying an author to write, it seems to me, is that he should have new ideas or a new take on old ideas, even just a better way of organizing basic instructional material to make it more accessible. Yes, the steps of performing CPR will always remain the same. No, that does not mean you can lift them verbatim from a web site without a citation.

I have one author team who is hyper-vigilant about avoiding plagiarism. They are running every single word of their book through a search engine to make sure they haven't lifted anything unintentionally, subconsciously. I think I love them. The lead author explained to me that plagiarism is rampant among his students these days, and it bothers him a lot. It's been on the rise in recent years, and has recently exploded.

But why? WHY?? A colleague suggests that the Internet is an irresistible content orchard. Pluck a shiny red paragraph off a tree, and then you are free to lounge in the pool or vegetate in front of the TV. It's not entirely fair to place the entire blame on the authors, however. Let's face it: companies are greedy. They push for more and more content, sometimes cramming books into a saturated market. Authors are “sold” on writing a book, sometimes to learn that the deadlines are tighter than they imagined and the pay, less. Still, many authors actually manage to write their books and do it well.

On a related note, I recently hired an indexer with a very good resume and references, even though he is part of a spiritual organization that…. Let's just say, if it looks like a cult and walks like a cult…. Whenever I send him a chapter for indexing, if I don't hear back that he received it, I convince myself that they all jumped off a cliff after a spaceship or something. So I email him, and he replies, “Yes, sorry I forgot to respond, busy with indexes,” and I think, “Whew, safe for another day,” but I'm not sure if I can hire him again, even if he turns in the most beautiful index ever. It's too much worry.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Clinic Tales

Shiatsu clinic was beautiful tonight. I worked for a second time with a hearing-and-speech impaired woman who has mild MR. She came in hot from the day, cheerful, and a little hyper--though that's not quite the right word--and breathing shallowly. We connected, somehow, in that magical qi way; I could feel her entire kidney meridian through any given tsubo, and as she relaxed, her breathing grew deep and her face, less flushed.

Then I worked on a 61 year old woman whose son died this year. She's been coming for shiatsu since, thought I've never worked with her before. Shiatsu has already cured her sciatica, limbered up her joints, and made her fingernails grow strong. All that was left for me, clearly, was to work on her emotional suffering. I used a technique the clinic instructor had taught me, extending my spine and moving my qi our beyond the wei chi, or protective level, of her energy field. From there I enjoyed a bird's eye view of her psychospiritual being. I worked out at that level for the entire treatment, and my client danced out of the session, happy! It felt perfect to me, but my clinic instructor, who knows where we should be heading to with our shiatsu, told me I need to ground more when using that technique--I extended back too far without also extending in the opposite direction.

Then He Said, Then She Was All...

There is nothing like a Supreme Court nomination to make grown men and women act like two-year-olds being dragged from the beach because of a thunderstorm, certain that Mommy hates them and is therefore taking away their one small pleasure in life.

I don't know what this judge will be like. I think El Presidente Bush has been, shall we say, deceptive and shady about many things, and I therefore wouldn't be surprised if this nominee is a raging-scary conservative, but he could very well be middle-of-the-road. It seems that he is above all a Federalist, which I respect.

All I know is that everyone who called into The Connection last night sounded like a lunatic: the man from the pro-life organization (well, he was more smug than crazed), the woman from NOW, and the young woman who voted for Bush and supports anything he does, all united in insanity and terribly shrill voices! Poor Dick Gordon.

I proposed we settle this nomination with a dance off, but Pops over at the Bucket rightly pointed out to me that it wouldn't be pretty: stiff old caucasians waltzing.

And so, I'll take this opportunity to remind my readership of a famous old Chinese tale. I'd paraphrase it, by all my authors who are freakin' PAID to write their own material just pull it off the Web so why the hell shouldn't I--but that's a separate post.

The Department

As I flipped through the abysmal television offerings last night, I briefly landed on what I believe was "Big Brother", network TV's low-budget answer to MTV's "The Real World" with a "Survivor" twist. The show was, like the other offerings, abysmal, but I stayed long enough to be truly amused by one contestant's tee shirt, which read:


Saturday, July 16, 2005


Announcing an engagement brings great surprises. It transforms loved ones into wedding-hungry savages. It's strange to me that all my life accomplishments up to now--including graduating from a prestigious university and surviving middle school, complete with heckling snobs and a dramatic evacuation from a burning school building*--apparently pale to a deathly wedding-gown-white in comparison to throwing a big party that formalizes my committed relationship of three years. I mean, we've already bought a house and adopted a kitten together.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blase about the whole affair; au contraire, I'm quite happy. But I'm happy in a contented sort of way, not a way that merits three phone conversations a week with my excited mother. You know that jittery, amped-up feeling that results from eating too much sugar and drinking too much caffeine at breakfast? You know how it usually settles down with a nutritious, protein-rich, balanced lunch? Imagine that feeling sustained over the last 2 weeks, since we announced our engagement to my folks. No amount of miso soup or turkey sandwich can help me now. I fear I will have a heart attack by next July 1.

*No, really, ask Ann.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Summer Moon

As the days stretch to their longest, the Moon of Ripening Berries again gives way to the Moon of Great Itching and Spasms. In accordance with the ancient Way, I've adorned each of my arms with itchy heat rash and my right foot with a scarlet fungus. As the moon crept through last night's warm sky, I awoke with the Great Summer Charlie Horse Yelping, engulfed in a blinding ritual pain, as my calf tried to force its way out of my itching body, or kill the rest of the body trying. My left great toe, enlivened my this strong magic, acts of its own accord, pulling away from my other toes and staying there, relishing its freedom and little bothered by my discomfort.

Tomorrow I shall partake of the powerful medicine prescribed by the ancients: Lamisil, Gatorade, and bananas.

But what the hell do I care. It's summer.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I'm at a point on my spiritual practice where I'm emphasizing letting go of storylines, and a blog is not conducive to this end. Plus, Ann is back and her blog is better than ever, so you can go spend time there.

Meanwhile, of any of you other admins want to write something, please do!

Friday, July 01, 2005


Farewell, Sandra Day O'Connor. Thanks for your service.

Time for anxiety, people.

Let's Clear This Up

Both the gallbladder and the appendix have known functions in Western medicine. The gallbladder stores and secretes bile, a substance made by the liver and used to digest fats. The appendix is at the inferior end of the ascending colon. It is similar to a lymph node, helping with immunity by clearing out bad nasties going through the large intestine. Appendicitis occurs when the Bad Nasties get caught in the appendix and cause inflammation. Your appendix is about the size and shape of your little finger. Its small, narrow shape makes it vulnerable to blockage and therefore inflammation.

Thank you.