Sometimes people are assholes. Is this statement true? Yes. Can you absolutely know it's true? Can you give 3 examples where this is true? 1) When a family member tells me to stop smoking or get married. 2) When anyone tells me to do anything. 3) When I act like I have something to teach someone else.
I think those are good examples. I usually find someone to be an asshole, when they act like they know better than me, what is good for me. I would classify this as "asshole behavior." I am often an asshole. Sometimes I think I know what is best for someone else. I say it. Then I realize I don't really know. That is why I usually back my statements with the precursor that, "I really don't know. I'm just guessing and I could change my mind tomorrow."
I also do not offer advice unless it is solicited. If I ever offer advice without solicitation, then I feel like an asshole for opening my mouth. At the same time, sometimes I open my mouth without solicitation. Sometimes I have to speak my truth. This is usually when someone is overstepping their boundaries with me, or I feel a nagging feeling to say something about an event. Of course, I could question these instances and find that maybe I am not really upset, and that I'm just taking something personal or in such a manner that was not intended by the person who said it.
In either case, I would say acting like you know is a real "asshole move." Who knows? I only know that this is something that bothers me on occasion. I don't like people getting in my business when they aren't invited. At the same time, I have now come to recognize that people are people, and this is reality. People overstep their boundaries sometimes. They will say things like, "You should get married," and "People shouldn't smoke," or whatever other statement you could imagine that might push a person's buttons.
I ask myself if these statements are true in these situations. Should I stop smoking? Am I emotional? Should I get married? It is funny that I ask, but I usually do. I don't like to shy away from the truth. At the same time, I do recognize that this is not anyone's business but my own. In some shamanic circles, the word "should" is often taken as a curse, and the common response one might hear to "should anything" is "Fuck off!" This might be a bit extreme for some, but I have seen Zen Masters act as dismissive to these comments as well. In fact, we could look no further than Brad Warner's blog, Hardcore Zen, to see his open commentary on what makes someone an asshole, regardless of other people's opinions that "someone who is Buddhist would not act in such a manner."
Contrary to public opinion, the idea that those who call themselves "spiritual" or have some claim to a religious tradition must act in a "guru" or "non-affected manner," is horse dookie. Reality is that if someone is an asshole it doesn't take much juris-DIC-tion to lay the claim.
When I was younger, my father often encouraged me to respond to every situation with what he termed "PCD" or "Positive Communincation Dialogue." As a child, I liked the sentiment, but felt very confused when I entered the real world outside of my bubble where people did not behave in the same fashion, or when my father, himself, chastised or scolded me.
"What happened to PCD?" I would ask in my precocious, 7 year old whine. "Please say what you have to say positively."
This, of course, would only escalate the situation further, and, as a child, I had no framework that would identify this standard of behavior as something that was conceptual in nature and held no footing in the world of reality - where human beings are often mean, slander one another, and act outside the "PCD" I was taught.
As time moved on, I could see that acting in a "holier than thou" manner, was as assholish as being an asshole to begin with. I came to understand that people are people, and there is no prerequisite to wanting to be spiritual other than being real to oneself and being honest with the situations that are presented. In other words, for me to be what I am, I simply needed to be. I didn't have to put on an affected manner, choose my words carefully, or hold my opinion back if I didn't want to. I found, and am still finding, that the ultimate truth is that assholes are not assholes at all. They are much more colorful and fresh than you might think. They could even be called refreshing.
Just think about it. How often do you get a chance to see people being what they are, with the awareness that they are them, and you are you. It can be quite life transforming to see this. Suddenly, the boss at work who verbalizes himself in monotones and expects the company report in "three shakes" of a cliche, is suddenly just another character in your life. His expectation of you meeting his quota is not a personal vendetta, but simply a baton-passed corporate necessity to keep your company on the straight and narrow. If the situation creates an overdramatic amount of stress, then chances are you may be sensitive to the issue on that particular day, or maybe, just maybe, the corporate life is not really where you feel the most comfortable, and a change of occupation may be the "asshole!" under your breadth.
Who knows? That's just a story, like this whole post is a story. I have no concrete answers. I only have a line of thought that I can follow. Sometimes it leads to a nice little ending where people can say, "Ah, wasn't that a nice ending. Now I can call people assholes." Sometimes it's not as clear cut, and you might say, "So what's the point? Are people assholes or aren't they? Should I refrain from using that word?" Of course, this is the point where I laugh and pretend I am the Oracle from the Matrix, and offer you a cookie, just to say, "By the time you finish this, you'll feel right as rain."
Isn't that funny? Well, I doubt you will feel better or more justified to go in either direction based on this post. I have my gauge of what is right and wrong. You have yours. We can call everyone an asshole and see if that makes any difference. We can pick and choose who meet this category. We can even take a whiff and call it refreshing.
I don't know. For me, an asshole by any other name would smell as bad. I guess the difference between how I currently feel compared to how I began, is that I am aware that I can call people assholes, but that it doesn't really matter. I am me and will die with my own asshole, so what's the point? I have better things to do with my time. I am not going to second guess my truth with someone else's. I might call you an asshole. I might not even say a word. I might just be a submarine in the desert. People will call my ship, "Nautilus, the Sequel." I will use my periscope to view sand dunes. I will yell at my crew. I will say, "Down periscope!" "Up Periscope!" and "Pear is coke!"
I will hold you in my arms. I will make love like a gorilla. You will look at the hair on my chest and say, "Gorilla." I won't have to stand on the bed, or convince myself there are people running from me wildly with mass hysteria. I know that I am a bear. I know that I am not Godzilla. I can scratch myself. I can dig into a well. I can call myself a plumber. I can even support the War in Iraq. I can say things like, "No new taxes," and make my voice sound like the President, because I am good at imitating voices.
I can do all these things in my submarine. I can even die. Just like that. Then I will die. And I will say, "Just like that." And I will not go to heaven. I don't believe in heaven. I believe in the sands of Mars. I will write in my will, "Please put my ashes on the sands of Mars. Do not put me in the ocean or on some stupid cliff in the Adirondacks. I don't like those places. I only like being on the sands of Mars. Put me there. Just like that."
Of course, I don't even have to be buried. I could be evaporated like steam. That would be better for the environment. My dust particles might have some secret beneficial effect on the environment that will make Al Gore happy, and everyone who lives in trees will come out and say, "Thank you, we can taste your dust particles. They have given us hope in the trees. Thank you for dying."
It doesn't really matter. My ass is my ass. It doesn't want too much. Just toilet paper. Toilet paper and soap. Toilet paper, soap, and water. Water. I could talk more about water. I could talk about waves. I could talk about drowing.
I will drown in the sand. I will not take out my periscope. I will not say a word. I will be in my submarine. People will ask what happened, but no one will know. My submarine is too stealthy. My death is just as loud. Just like dust hitting the ground. Just like a screaming tornado. Just like two hands together. Just like fa-ish in a bowl. Just like fever. Julst like fishermen. Just like fists in my face. Just like ice cubes. Just like fire. Just like poof. Just like this.
Who would I be without the thought, "sometimes people are assholes?"
I would write about something else. I would write a story. I would go to bed. I would be more relaxed. I wouldn't categorize someone as one if I met them. I wouldn't get in their story at all. I would just do what I have to do. I would do the things I want to do. I would be happy. I would be relaxed. I wouldn't be stressed.
Turn it around.
Self: Sometimes I am an asshole. (Of course.)
Other: Sometimes you think I am an asshole. (Of course.)
Opposite: Sometimes people aren't assholes. (So true.)
Today I sat with my class. I talked in a soft voice. We smiled a lot. I thought to myself. They are full of kindness. They like my soft voice. That was a nice observation. I am going to sleep now. Bye.
If you're not watching YOUR L.A., you might want to start. My brother can teach you how to be a producer. It's forcheesy! Trust him.
I bought 11 tickets to see Pirates of the Carribean for the wrong day. For those of you who will be accompnaying me, have no worries. I bought 11 more for Sunday at 7 PM. We'll meet outside the DILC, and head to the Lotte Theater in Nowon.
As far as tonight, can anyone say dancing? I think I've got a few moves. Loren Goodman will be in from Japan, so we'll have to show him the "shopping cart," "flight attendant," and any other fresh freestyles jams you want to showcase.
This is a faux documentary of Roberto and I pretending to be bears for the BEAR VIDEO. In the middle of the documentary, you can see us transform into bears and act in our music video of Tao Lin's poem, A Poem Written by a Bear.
All the music was written and performed by The Slipshod Swingers. You can hear lots of songs by them in the documentary. On one of my favorites, "Tree Song 206," you have the vocal stylings and guitar work of Sonny Mishra. His record with The Temperance will be out on iTunes in a couple weeks.
Today Robert, Sarah, and I went to the Lotte Department Store (Lotte Beyolk Ja in Korean) to see Pirates of the Carribean 3. I was really excited to see Keith Richards. I love Keith. Unfortunately, every show was sold out until midnight. Not the type of folks to be thwarted, we decided to get some T.G.I.F, be Americans, and then go bowling.
Bowling was too rad. The last time I went bowling was at the Hollywood Lanes on the Boulevard, so I was fairly out of practice - add bowling balls that didn't fit my fingers, and you have a rather bad bowler. I did manage to throw 6 strikes though. Robert hit a couple too. That was funny. He had absolutely no form.
"Get lower to the ground," I told him. "Bend your knees!"
"Hey!" he barked. "We're here to have fun."
"Sure, fun, but no one said we couldn't bowl like gazelles."
That became my motto from then out. I would say shit like "Not Jazelle, but gazelle" or "Don't think Ra Belle, Think Ga Zell." It cracked Sarah up. I was glad. We were all pretty hung over from the Spring Festival, so we all needed an extra smirk or two to make it through the second round.
Gutter balls were Robert's staple throughout the night. He was very happy though. He wanted to stay all night. It was hard to pull him away, especially with how funny his shotput style of bowling made me giggle and feel alive. We had to get going though. I was having trouble staying awake. I needed some cave time, and maybe a quick shimmy to some Rolling Stones - they always do it for me!
So here I am now danced out and feeling quite cushy. I'm thinking about how much I like writing, my friends, and my life. What's up?
Tomorrow I want to run and get sweaty. I like to sweat. I might even run, until I look like Forrest Gump.
Happy Birthday, Buddha.
Happy Birthday, Me.
Happy Birthday, You.
Hearts are like sleeveless tanktops inside a dentist's curfew for plaque removal. Sporks are fever blisters raked over cum stained sheets. The best I can do on the highway is raise my hand over my head. "Get real!" "Get false!" "Get out!" the Chorus adds. I don't argue with words anymore. I am fun like Capitol P. "Shed your shorts!" "Give me that bra!" "Keep that thong!" No thoughts will stop this animal, Grrr. Too many gifts to sit with an empty box. So we growl and tear. Our hands above us on the highway: "Tutu!" "Too Real" Tofu!" Forever and we've got a riot underway. "Here," you say. "Hold this." "I've got enough rainbow." Strawberries to make it glow. Sulfur to bring us home. Our hitchiking days, Our daze, This craze. No more to make it hurt. Just keep this bow. Tie it up again. A happily shipwrecked melody. An anchored heart. Blossoms and magnolia. Wind blows. Far.
(Sunny Breaks took the photo above from our trip to watch the Paper Lantern Parade for Buddha's Birthday in Insadong. Isn't he a wonderful photographer?)
Nisa teaches me everytime I visit her blog. She is an amazing artist and writer. If you haven't visited lately, go. You won't be disappointed.
The following is one of her YOU TUBE CLIPS OF THE WEEK. It was a powerful piece for me as a musician and artist. I don't think every artist commits wrong by making money off a platinum record touting sexuality or a gangster lifestyle. Some musicians are predisposed to appealing to the masses and their art functions for this purpose. Others write about what they know, and offer their lifestyle as a teaching tool or simply representation. At the same time, there can be a cost to the messages we send people.
Is it okay to promote misogyny for the sake of sales? Is another lyric about shooting a brother going to enlighten how we interact with one another?
It could. It could be exactly what's needed. We each make our personal choices for what we put out into the world. Taalam just helps us ask, "At what price?"
I'm glad Nisa brought Taalam to my attention, and that Taalam brought his thoughts to bare.
To visit Taalam and send him support, please visit here or here. To visit Nisa, click here.
Today I made a movie with my friends, Roberto and Sarah. We climbed Pukasahn Mountain and pretended to be bears. It was very funny and it made us laugh a lot. Then we got attacked by bees. I told my friend, Roberto, that the reason bees attacked us was becuase we were acting like bears so well, that they thought we were after their honey. He laughed moderately at this joke. Sarah smiled. Then we all climbed down the mountain to get ready for the march for Buddha's birthday in Insadong.
[pics and movie coming soon...]
Now I am back from the march. It was really nice. Monks and people walked floats down the street. I bought a whistle that sounds like a bird. I blew the whistle at the monks. They waved and said hello. Then I went to a place for waffles and ice cream. That's what I thought I wanted. I bought an avocado instead. I have it in my hand now. I am typing and thinking about inhaling this avocado. Then I will go to bed.
Tomorrow I have class. I don't know what will happen. I am not there yet. I can only inhale this avacodo.
Tonight on the journey home from Insadong on the 151, I talked a lot. I got into a Robin Williams moment. I think I scared several people. I started talking about my love for Mary Ingles on LITTLE HOUSE on the PRARIE. No one seemed to find this amusing. I think I am going to have to not talk for the rest of the week. I think that will be nice.
What I just said now is not true. I DO like Mary Ingles. That's true. Well, sort of. I actually loved Laura, like everybody else. Sometimes I liked Mary. I didn't ever like Nelly. I don't think people think badly of me for liking Mary. I don't think I need to not talk for a week. I don't know what I'll do.
My brother, Paiman, is running the Rock and Roll San Diego Marathon on June 3, 2007. He is coordinating donations for his run to be given to cancer patients at St. Jude's Hospital. If you would like to a offer a donation and send him best wishes, please visit his personal page here.
I'm having fun rehearsing with a new lineup of The Slipshod Swingers here in Seoul. We have been practicing a few times a week, and although we only have a percussionist and one incredibly smoking, hot singer thus far, I have no doubt some additional members and a dozen songs will show themselves before our record release party in September.
Last week, we worked on a fun ditty, entitled, Korean Cuisine. Sarah Glinski wrote the lyrics in like 10 seconds. I was like, "That is cool. Write more." Then she did. It was only a jam and a lot of laughing later, before we had the cutest song I've ever seen. Read and listen for yo'self:
Pickled veggies On a plate Gives me gas That I hate.
Baby octopi Small and wriggly Dances down My throat so joggly.
Noodles, noodles Slurp them up Eat them quick From a cup.
Soju is A nasty drink Makes you drunk Makes you stink...
The chorus** needs better lyrics to match the verses, but, all in all, I'd say we're off to a good start. If you want to catch the rest of these fantabulous lyrics or hear a rough version of the song, click the yummy strawberry below.
Vocals: Sarah Guitar: P. Percussion: Elena
*The guitar painting above was created by yours truly and photographed by Thomas Henwood, Copyright 2005.
**The German translates into "You drive me crazy."
The first time I ran into Sean Lennon was at Zipperhead's in Philly. His album, Into the Sun, had just been released, and he was doing a mini-set with Yuka Honda of Ciba Matto. Afterwards, we talked about The Beach Boys' song, Sloop John Bee. Then I offered him some bubblegum.
"What's this?" he asked.
"Bubblegum," I said. "You chew it."
"Are you sure this is just bubblegum?"
"Yeah," I said. "Bazooka."
"I don't believe you," he said. "You look shady to me."
"No, it's Bazooka," I said.
"I'm just messing with you," he laughed.
Sean was immediately loveable. Just like his songs. "Sci Fi Wasabi" is one of my favorites from his former band, Cibo Matto. You can hear his beautiful sense of harmony on the chorus. Mino Hatori and Yuka Honda tear it up as well. I loved this band when they were together. Right now I am trying to do something similar with Slipshod in Korea. We'll see what we can up with. Hopefully, it'll be as tasty as this.
My German friend, Burnt, taught me how to say, "You drive me crazy!" in German. I said it to a girl yesterday who spoke German. "Deu macht miesht farukt," I said.*
"How?" she giggled. "In what way?"
"In every way," I said.
Later, we used the line in the latest Korean Slipshod song. Here is the chorus:
Something about Korean cuisine Macht mien farukt! Korean cuisine...
I will post the song later.
* It is actually spelled "Du machst mich verruckt." Clay was kind enough to let us know in the comments below. As you can tell, I never spell check anything in English or German. I will keep the mistake though. I like that I was close without knowing any other phrase besides "brush the dirt off your shoulders" or "mach deu schmutz veu deinen schultern" as they say in German land.
I went to Hwa Gye Sah Temple today. It was nice. I sat in on the dharma talk (even though D. told me not to pay attention to dharma talks), and even managed to get on Korean TV. I asked Hyon Gak Sunim JDPS, guiding teacher of the Seoul International Zen Center and Hwa Gye Sah Temple, what he thought about Byron Katie's 4 questions.
"It's Buddhism," he said. Then he took each question in turn and answered them Zen style by smacking his hand on the podium:
"Is that true?" Smack!
Can I absolutely know that's true?" Smack!
Who would I be without that thought?" Smack!!
Turn it around. Smack.
Then he smacked the podium and asked me, "Is it true?" I had no idea what he was referring to. I wasn't paying attention. Some camera guy was in my face. I just said, "I don't know." Those Buddhists love "I don't know."
"You don't know?" he asked, rather surprised.
"No," I said.
"Okay," he said, and then he asked this Korean guy, and the Korean guy smacked the ground in reply. I could have done this, but it felt kind of moot to me. I mean, I understand how smacking the ground unifies everything, because we're all experiencing the sound simultaneously, but I felt fake smacking the ground after he did 8 times. I also didn't really know. I mean, I could say I do, but I think I'm getting dumber. I also don't really care.
Maybe, D. was right. Maybe, I need to shut my mouth and fuck the dharma talks. I do a lot better with sitting. Talk just bores me - unless it's stories. I love telling stories.
After the temple, I went with my friend, So Hee, to Penelope's in Suyu Yuk. That was fun. We told stories about our high school sexual experiences. Then I drank a Guiness, smoked cigarettes, and yakety-yaked some more. I like telling stories.
During Hyon Gak's talk he mentioned wondoo, a Korean word for the essential question that is passed down by a teacher to a student for them to consider during their monkhood or life. He said that he didn't get any wondoo from Zen Master Seung Sahn. He said he already had his wondoo since he was a little boy. It was to ask why. Why am I alive? What is it all about? That made me think about what D. told me in the bar we went to: "Why do you write?" he asked me. "Answer with no words."
I guess that's my wondoo. I don't have any answer. I could smack the ground and all, but that doesn't seem write (I meant right, but I'll keep my mistake). I could think about it, but that wouldn't get me anywhere. I guess that's what I'm supposed to ask when I'm meditating and all. I think I'll ask it tomorrow morning. If I don't, then I won't be upset. I just don't care about wondoo. I don't care about Zen. I like it, but I don't really care all that much.
I like stories. I like movies. I like Spiderman 3. I also like that Byron Katie put up something I wrote for her on her blog. That was cool. Now I'm going to watch Spiderman 3. I think I'm in love. I'm going to watch Spiderman 3. I'm watching Spiderman 3. I'm tired. I like donuts. I'm tired. I don't like donuts. I like the word donuts. I'm going to sleep. I am not watching Spiderman 3. I am turning off my fan. I turned off my fan. I am lying in bed. I am asleep.
Today I walked with a friend to a Children's Day Celebration closeby to campus, said hi to women with pink hair, played soccer with a boy, and watched some disabled children master the art of the yo-yo.
Although I look awake in the pic above, don't let that fool you. I am hella-tired. I have had an extremely busy opening week for the new semester. I am thankful tomorrow I get to sit at Hwa Gye Sah Temple. I will get bored and maybe see Spidey.
From what I hear, this is on C. Dale's to-do list as well. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the series, but I do like comic book heroes. They can make you feel like writing a poem when there is no way you would think of writing one. In fact, there is a comic book hero I have spent a lot of time studying. You probably don't know who she is, because I found her out here in Korea, but if you're interested there is a lot of info on Sticky and her various crimefighting campaigns in brochures I can send you.
Here is an excerpt from the brochure I got on Tuesday in Sinchon. It's been translated by me from the Korean, so it's got that shaggy dog feel as some of my colleagues might say:
"Sticky does not eat meat. She believes in wholesome meals, where raisins are the key ingredient. She has a level 7 power punch. If you are caught in a turbine or have put your hand into a machine you weren't supposed to, she can get you out very fast. Her legs are like two redwoods facing each other. They are very tall and long..."
The cards I got of Sticky are interesting too. They continue in the same rough-hewn way. Occasionally, there's this great bit of laguage where it gets very romantical. I love when things get romantical. Take the back of card 16 of The Sticky Series #1:
"Sticky was born in a mud pie on the side of Pukahsan mountain. She was born and her family said, "Katz!" They raised her to know her strong lineage. They gave her fish and kim chi. Now she is as strong as a boar in the forest. She will destroy all those who fuck with her (my translation, rated R)..."
Well, that's not as romantical as I thought it would be. It's still pretty tits if you ask me. I mean, Sticky looks totally sick on the card. She's got this lederhosen get-up with suspenders like in "Sound of Music," but she's got that whole "I'm from Seoul so don't fuck with me going to the club in Hung Da" thing too. It's in her eyes and the cape she's got. It's red with blue pinstripes and glitter. (If you get a microscope and look at the card, you can see that all around the edge of the cape there are these little galbi (meat frying on a pan) cartoon drawings. That is so bad ass, if you ask me.)
Anyway, that's why I'm going to probably see Spidey. I've just been so into Sticky, that I figure I might as well get my fill on him, because when is Hollywood going to put out Asian superheroes that aren't Voltron or Pokemon? When will Sticky ever see the light of day, right?
If you want me to send you Sticky cards, I will. It'll cost you 10 bucks. Just drop it into my paypal, firstname.lastname@example.org (for-shizzle), then holler at me, and we'll get the card sent off boom, boom, smack, smack.
Brad Warner, one of my favorite human beings in the world, has a new book out entitled, Sit Down and Shut Up! If you like Zen, punk rock, and no bullshit, it might be for you. If not, you can enjoy his song, "Boris Yeltsin."
Brad, you rock! I'll be back home in February to get bored. Catch you soon, brother!
The young boy had his colored pencils lined up on his desk. He didn't reach for them or ask his teacher what to draw. He was going to find the picture. This is what he called drawing.
"Can't you see that everyone else is almost done?" his teacher asked.
"Yes," the boy frowned. "I'm finding it."
"Sugar!" the teacher said and picked up his black colored pencil. "Plain sugar!"
The boy watched her draw a trunk on his notebook paper. She started at the base and moved up through the green parallel lines. This impressed the boy. He didn't like to go through lines. He couldn't draw circles either. He told this to the girl sitting next to him. She agreed. The boy was glad she did. It made him feel better. He picked up his orange colored pencil and made it talk to the girl.
"I am pencil," he said. "I am orange."
"You are silly," the girl said and laughed.
"I am pencil," the boy said again.
"Time to color," the teacher smiled. She put her hand on the boy's and guided him back and forth through the green lines and inside the Sun. "There you go."
The boy grew quiet. He held his breadth. He counted to ten. He let out his breadth.
"Okay," she smiled and lifted his hand. "All done."