Zen Center Retreat – Day 1, Arrival

The flight from Kalamazoo to Chicago only takes 30 minutes. I’ve never flown in a plane so small. Walking down the aisle to reach my seat is an effort of contortion, but the one long row of seats on my side is comfortable in its elbow-roominess. A 6:00am flight is beautiful in September. The darkness…

Armizare

I am standing in front of a full-length wall of mirrors, six pounds of dull steel in both hands, and I am repeatedly swinging the metal down and to my right. I lead with the blade and follow with my left foot, changing the stance and allowing me to then swing the blade back up…

Running and Failing

If the last thing I posted on here held weight, this would be the greatest, most thought out blog post in the history of online self-aggrandizing. I can assure you that it will not be that. Instead, in true Murakami-mimicry, I’ve decided to write about running. I haven’t been fleeing the authorities or anything, but…

Relevant Writing

I’m going to be changing the way I write in this blog. For the past couple months, I’ve been writing about almost every book, movie, and game that I consume. I’ve enjoyed this, enjoy it still, but I think it’s hurting my efforts to become a better writer. I feel obliged to write about everything,…

Eating Vegan – Two Months In

At the beginning of December, I posted a blog about how I was becoming a vegan, in no small part due to the influence of a documentary called Cowspiracy. I’d started down the path of zero animal-product consumption a week or two before that, and it has been nearly two months of eating lots of…

Japanese Curriculum in Review

At the end of November, I designed my self a curriculum for the fall centered around Japanese culture. I’ve been fascinated by the country of Japan for most of my adult life. Where this fascination springs from is a mystery, though it likely began with playing numerous Japanese video games as a young person. That…

The Cowspiracy Effect

I recently watched a documentary called Cowspiracy. It’s serious vegan propaganda, from the presentation to the statistics. The ultimate goal of the film is to make people aware of how badly large scale meat consumption is destroying the planet. It’s an outlandish film, full of left-wing conspiracy nuts and clearly dubious facts. On a completely…

My Year of Trees

Since beginning my work at a retreat center in west Michigan, I have found a particular solace in trees. I have always enjoyed trees, their beauty and solidity, their timeless air and seeming unconcern for the matters of humans (even if we force our matters upon them), the way they shed beauty in Autumn and pull…

A Curriculum for the Fall – Japan

I have this feeling during the end of summer, start of fall, that I likely share with millions of other people. The feeling involves school, and that particular essence of fall as a beginning of something even as its the end of something else. There are a plethora of things lost when we leave college…

Thriving in Adversity

On paper, this hasn’t been my best year. I had a relationship end early in the year, was let go from my salaried library position in May, and most recently both my car and computer have taken dives. I have only to get sick and/or find myself in prison in order to complete the misfortune…