The Horror

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Herman Melville once wrote, “If not against us, nature is not for us.” It’s easy this week to believe him correct.

The sheer enormity of what has happened in Asia has yet to register completely in my brain. When it comes to processing the human loss, which is about to top 100,000 initial deaths, my mind is not up to the task.

I have been in touch with my Sri Lankan monks. They are in good spirits relative to what has happened. Venerable Chandrasiri has left for California and will be carrying aid directly to Sri Lanka in the middle of January. I don’t want to think about what happened to his temple, monastery and school in Galle. It was one of the places in Sri Lanka hit worst by the tsunami, and the site of the horrific rail disaster.

This is all truly beyond description.

If you wish to help, and want to make a donation that you know will reach Sri Lanka in the hands of a Buddhist monk, meaning not a cent is wasted, consider sending your donation to:

Maittri Buddhist Vihara
Attn: Venerable Pallebage Chandrasiri Thero
10819 Penrose Street
Sun Valley, CA 91352

But you must act quickly, as Venerable Chandrasiri will leave soon. If you do not have time to get a donation to him, consider one of these other charities. All of them have an excellent track record:

Dharma Vijaya Vihara

London Buddhist Vihara (UK)

Mercy Corps

Northwest Medical Teams

AmeriCares

Doctors Without Borders

If donating to a Buddhist charity, remember that clothing, food and such will be difficult to transport. It is better to donate money, and let them help the local economies of affected areas by using your donation to purchase needed items from local sources.

If you cannot afford to give money, consider going to your local vihara, temple, church, ashram or mosque. Be thankful for what you have. Send prayers to those affected.

Anything you do, you do to yourself. – Sakyamuni Buddha

It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Buys An Island

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The Beeb is reporting that some frickin’ idiot … uhhh … online gamer … has paid US$26.5K to purchase an island. That exists only in an online game.

I know there has been a steady economy for characters and equipment in other MMORPGs like Everquest and WoW, but this raises the bar. Or lowers it, depending on your point of view. I mean, ye gods people. Go outside. Read a book. Interact with another human being. Something.

And could the name Project Entropia be more apropos?

If this is the wave of the future, I ain’t surfing. Words fail.

Thanks Garamond.

Good Kamma Whilst Shopping

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This summer I bought my nephew Noah a used Nintendo64. He’s 4, and the cartridge format makes sense. Plus, the console is cheap and so are the games.

For Christmas I got him a copy of Mario Tennis off of eBay for about US$10 including shipping. Not bad when you consider it usually sells used for US$25 or so.

The game supports four players, and as my sisters are spending the holidays together with their families, I thought that the sons and fathers playing one another (David and Noah are the same age) or even a spouses doubles match after the kids went to bed might be fun. I couldn’t remember how many controllers I had bought for Noah, so I called Rachel and asked. She reminded me I had bought two, and when I told her I was going to buy two more to allow doubles play, she said, “If they have a purple one Noah would love that. It’s his favorite color.”

N64 controllers are usually gray or black. Nintendo made some color ones, but the only ones I have seen were red, yellow, blue and green. No purple. So I held out little hope.

Wednesday I went to three different used gaming stores. Two had no used controllers whatsoever, and one store only had a single used controller. New ones are like US$17. Blah.

Today, on a whim, I went to Goodwill. Not only did they have a few controllers, but they were US$2.99. Some were in great shape. One of the ones in great shape was … purple. Sweartagawd. Purple.

I must be doing something right. Thanks, universe.

P.S. I made the mistake of trying out Mario Power Tennis for the Gamecube while looking for controllers. Bad idea. I’m hooked. It’s on my wish list, if Santa reads this blog. :)

Super Cool Pic Illusion

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Neat. Really, really neat idea. Well executed. And one of those “seems so obvious, why did it take this long?” deals.

Thanks Brazilian.

A Bunny Gets His Wings

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Ever seen Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life?

In 30 seconds? With bunnies?

Here’s your chance!

Brilliant.

Sugar Babies

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The dollar store had boxes of Sugar Babies near the register. I loved these as a kid. I was always super-ecstatic when I got some at Halloween. Among my favorite candies of all time. Hadn’t had any in years.

Apparently they’re still among my favorites, and no less addictive. I can’t stop eating them. Stupid dollar store.