And on the other hand...

Click here for The Yin Side where the other half of me holds forth!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't Look Back

Arrived home after the second session of my current Chinese painting class, which also includes language, calligraphy study, cultural education, and the revelation that at least two of the class members are mutual acquaintances through work associations. It's just like Facebook, but blood and bone, something like brick and mortar.

First task, sort the mail: charity solicitations from World Wildlife Fund (please save the tigers), the Sierra Club (please conserve the land), and Doctors Without Borders (please heal the sick), an envelope with Important Tax Information Enclosed, subscription offers to decline for Archeology Today and the Columbia Journalism Review, my Amazon delivery of the I Ching as interpreted by Hua-Ching Ni, and most distressing, diaries to record one week of my TV viewing to participate in a Nielsen ratings survey. (Do they think I'm going to watch the Superbowl?)

Apparently, buying a big new TV put us on a list somewhere: we want to know what THEY watch! Well, won't THEY be surprised? They sent three diaries, because I apparently revealed that there were three TVs in the household when I agreed to do this. (I'm happy to skew the study, and besides, they included a crisp new one dollar bill which makes a nice bookmark in the I Ching. Two more, and I can cast hexagrams with bills, not coins, some kind of inflation.) The former primary TV has since been recycled through the Salvation Army. I'm not sure the second one actually works, it's hidden in a little cabinet in the living room. No one watches TV in the living room (although sometimes I watch DVDs there on an old iMac G4, my obsolete but still somewhat useful manapua Mac, you know the one, it looks like a Luxor lamp crossed with a big cha siu bao, something that might have been a character in The Brave Little Toaster.

The third TV (now number one), in my former-closet-now-entertainment-center, will be the focus of this diary keeping. I did check to see if I can record viewing in 15-minute increments, like billable agency hours, because that's about all the news I can stand in the morning, pretty much the only time the unit has been used so far to access cable or broadcast. I've been using the nice big display for movies and Asian drama on DVDs, and hope soon to get the connecting cable to be able to run similar stuff from my laptop: streaming Netflix and I don't think Nielsen is interested in that, although I see there is a nice space in the diaries for comments about my television habits. That'll be fun.

It seems like a strange way to start the new year, Year of Rabbit, the noisy welcome of which I enjoyed Saturday in Chinatown with a fine dim sum lunch, an exuberant lion and dragon dance parade, shopping for videos (for the numbah one TV) at my favorite Chinatown vendor, bargaining for some scroll landscapes with a cool old gentleman from Shanghai, and demonstrations of wushu and more lion dancing on the stage at the Chinese Cultural Plaza.

My personal attitude toward a new year, a new day even, is "don't look back." But maybe this guy just wasn't paying attention. Well, the dancing lion isn't on the World Wildlife Fund's endangered dangerous big cat list. (Although it is considered appropriate to pop some cash in his mouth.)
Look! Behind You!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Nature of His Game

The three-part Hawaii Opera Theatre's season opened last night with Faust. As a non-opera-loving friend said earlier, "That's the one about the guy who sells his soul to the devil, right?" Indeed, the Faust legend is deep and complicated and, despite an opera plot that seems dated by contemporary standards of drama and real life (who cares if someone has a baby out of wedlock, conceived by a devil-driven rogue) still has a lot of appeal in an era where moral integrity and success seem to be so easily compromised, at least as witnessed in economic and political news of the day.

Throughout the well-received production, I was looking for Taoist themes, an exercise that seems a little like meditation, to the extent that between acts I was googling on the iPad, Faust+Tao, but found nothing really. (Not talking, the Wizard was playing solitaire on his iPhone, willing himself to suppress the flu-based cough he's had since MLK Day.)

The opening act was stunning. Decrepit and sooty (oh wait, this is Gounod, not Wagner), Faust is complaining to a corpse on a gurney about his frustrations with philosophy, science, and religion to explain life...and dammit, why must he get old? (Well, don't we all, d'un certain age, ask that one?) Suddenly the corpse animates. A lithe stylish, tastefully leather-clad rock star arises from under the shroud.

"Please allow me to introduce myself," he seems to say.

Then you notice the tiny horns sprouting from his forehead, and there is indeed something troubling about his game. Sympathy for the Devil was not part of the score, but this guy (Jamie Offenbach, Hawaii-born, but with roots even less developed than Obama's) could have done it really well, channeling Mick the way Johnny Depp does Keith in his pirate persona. HOT's devil-in-leathers also sported gorgeous long shiny silky black hair that rivaled any of my Wuxia heroes'. His little nubs of horn kept growing from act to act, and by the finale it was pretty obvious who he was; his smooth leather pirate boots grew a lot of goaty fringe and cloven-toed hooves and he looked more and more menacing. Though not the protagonist, he kinda stole the show. (Or maybe it was just me.)

Mephistopheles...Satan!... appears to be a manifestation of Faust's deluded craving for knowledge and lust for youthful life (especially in the form of a chaste young lady.) Kind of a Taoist theme, I guess, with really horrible consequences.

The final scene in which the naive Marguerite, shunned and imprisoned for giving birth illegitimately to Faust's child, languishes, even killing her infant, in her jail cell. Faust and the Devil appear on the scene of battle over her soul. We think Mephistopheles wins: "Judged!" But no, it's almost a reprise of Shen Yun, and the angels sing, "Redeemed!" Marguerite casts off her earthly shell and ascends to heaven. With the dead baby left lying on the prison floor, it's a creepy scene, and I longed for the Falun Gong angels to descend to take HIS poor soul to Heaven's Gate. There are some unresolved plot points here.

Now that I'm thinking of it, Shen Yun was the opener of the opera season, which this year at least includes no Wagner. Next up, Lucia di Lammermoor, which shares place setting, though not plot, with Brigadoon, a Lerner and Lowe Broadway musical in which I was a chorus member in a high school production. That was a period when kilts were faddish, something that occurs from time to time. Off-hand I can think of no other Scottish-themed extravaganzas, except Mel Gibson's Braveheart, which I don't think had any kind of musical enhancements. Just half-naked men being tortured, a favored theme of Mr. Gibson's.

And today...Lunar New Year festivities in Chinatown. I look forward to seeing the 150-foot-dragon dance/parade and poking around in the shops for an amulet to "protect" the Rooster-Wizard during the Year of Rabbit (Tu) which begins next week (Feb. 3). I must paint some more rabbits; lao shi said Monday, at the first class of the painting season, my little shui mo bunny was good (she's no Tiger Mom teacher) and I should practice more. Her own rabbit painting is richly colorful; for some reason my qi is stuck in a black and white mode, like black and white photography. The seven shades of Tri-X.

Color is eluding me. Shall I summon help from the underworld?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Goes Up

...will come down, eventually.

So today, I finally attack the chore of undoing the Solstice/Christmas sacrifice (in preparation for Year of Rabbit and Lent). What in early December was a pleasant task (even if I didn't quite throw myself wholeheartedly into it) now is just another tedious housekeeping job. (The lazy part of me just wants to torch the whole thing, but that would be so arsonistic, and I do love the ornaments, some of which are nearly personal antiques.) I AM glad I didn't put ALL the accumulated holiday crap on it. But in the end, we did get our money's worth out of the tree, to say nothing of considerable light and joy. Which is the point.

So I thought I was finished, poking around in the branches to make sure I didn't leave something sentimental behind, and there it is.

The pickle!

Tucked away in a hollow of the branches, a green glass dill, looking a little like a curiously diseased limp penis, that I bought maybe 20 years ago in "Germany" at Epcot Center, locus of world culture and commerce (by Disney). It was referenced to some legend (likely of the urban variety) that my Bavarian friend insists he never heard of --who would hang a pickle on a Christmas tree? And why? (Amanita mushrooms I get, but pickles?) I predict someday a Disney Christmas animation, to rival Polar Express, The Sour Legend of the Christmas Pickle. Or The Pickle vs. the Mushroom. A walking talking holiday pickle. Sounds obscene. As out of touch as I usually am, I suspect it has already been done. If not, I am conceiving a screenplay* and copyright for the concept. I had another one of these silly dills, probably acquired at Wal-Mart, given to me by my German/Druidish mother-in-law, but I passed it on (I think) to my son in a tradition-building sort of way.

Still, the dill has become an odd little element in my personal Christmas tradition and makes me recall the whirlwind Epcot ersatz trip to Germany, England (where I drank several pints of Bass), Morocco (where I ate a nice couscous), Canada, China (where I bought some tea), France, and the Global Future (where I got kinda sick on some crazy ride--shouldn't have drunk all the Bass followed by the couscous). I see Epcot "Theme Park" continues as a perpetual Disneyfied world's fair.

But wait...undoing the tree, I'm wrong, I'm not finished...I find yet another ornament tucked away, a hippie-style love bug****, another German artifact, more or less. The Volkswagen done up in a transformed tradition. (I never had a Volkswagen, not my style really, British roadsters** are more me, although I have a friend who has a new VW and it's a nice enough car. It has a vase for a flower on the dashboard.)

The VW and the Pickle.*** The Christmas tree is a German tradition after all.

Froeliche Weihnachte

*The plot for which is pickling. Any child who ever lived remotely near Pittsburgh, home to Theresa Heinz, the Pirates, the Steelers, the Penguins (but with no team ever named the Pickles--maybe a debate team in my screenplay), got a field-trip to the Heinz 57 catsup and pickle factory. And came away with cute little larval-looking pickle pins. These petite plastic pickles were my son's, but I think, as a child, I got cute little tin ones. Next year, these go on my tree...should send to him, but he doesn't do a Christmas tree. But now I think, they might make nice earrings. For a pregnant woman.

Pickle Larvae

**Speaking of which, I saw an old right-drive Morgan, dill-pickle green, in the parking lot at Starbuck's the other day. I walked around it, looking at the wooden dash, the tiny windscreen, the way Bob Dylan circled around Johnny Cash, and said "Yeah."

***Which also recalls to me an obscene limerick a friend and I concocted concerning a nun and pickle. Since she really deserves the copyright on it, I will not quote it here except to note the rhymes involving "dilly," the nun named Millie, whose affection for God was quite silly. It also involved jerkin' gherkins.

****Which is the name for some annoying insects which splatter on your windshield and radiator at a certain time in Florida; I had to scrub their remains off after that visit to Epcot in 1990-whatever.

Monday, January 17, 2011


During my first serious retreat doing some Taoist meditation I was a little alarmed.

"We're practicing how to be dead," I thought to myself.

A silly thought. But not really too far off the mark.

Recently, in a brief dialogue among some bloggers about this very topic of meditation, someone said I should elaborate (I think that's what she meant) on my comments about my understanding of the "goal" of meditation.

I blog (which sounds like it comes from the same root as, say, "blah, " as in "blah, blah, blah") about the mundane yin and yang aspects of my daily life and observations thereof. I don't usually care to talk about these very deep, expansive things. So much literature is out there, my comments have far less significance than any other commentary on the Tao Te Ching or the I Ching.

But today, after arising from a delightful winter afternoon nap and then, a little sit in the sunshine on my lanai, I think, maybe I do have something to say about this.

Or at least quote (from Thomas Cleary's translation, Taoist Meditation):
"In olden times there was a man who used black and white beans to make of record of his self-examination of mind. Whenever he had a good thought, he would put a white bean in a bowl; and whenever he had a bad thought, he would put a black bean in the bowl.

At first, there would be mostly be black beans. Later the black and the white would be half and half.

Eventually there would be mostly white beans, then nothing but white beans. Ultimately there would not even be white beans.

There is something to this method, clumsy as it seems."
In specific reference to the blog comments, there would be no kids doing the counting, no gorillas either.

Of course, I might be completely misinterpreting what the other bloggers were talking about.

And now I'm going back to the lanai, with the Yellow Emperor, who really gets it, where there is still some sun, to do some not-thinking.

Weishenme bu?

Why can't he just heal everyone?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

After a week--or maybe it was more, seemed like more--of rainy, cold, clammy unpredictable Hawaii winter weather, a warm dry sunny day.

The cats are positioning themselves in the small spots of sunshine coming through the windows. The clear skies encouraged a delightful outing to make a charity delivery of the TV made obsolete by the new one; to pick up a $165 money order reimbursement at the Post Office (for the UTTER FAIL of a guaranteed Express Mail delivery at Christmas to the 90-year-old patriarch); to down a pint or two or three at the Irish pub across the street from the other one that was closed where we would have had lunch if it had been open; and for a necessary grocery/pharmacy/Chinese kitchen run. Everyone on the island is in a superlative outgoing good mood. It's the sun, I'm sure. Each of these outing efforts is a story.

Getting rid of the old TV: We tried to give it to Goodwill, where I dropped off a couple bags of old clothes and such, but Goodwill does not accept "electric" things. The very nice man handling the intake said we could take it next door to Best Buy where they would "recycle" it. (I interpreted that as "throw it away.")

"Let's try the Salvation Army, downtown," I said to the Wizard. "And if they won't take it, IHS will." IHS is our local homeless sheltering organization. We donate cash regularly to both of these charities. Goodwill seems to have gone a bit upscale, reselling things to people just a little older or poorer than us. A few miles closer to town, we arrived at the Salvation Army donation spot. They were DELIGHTED to get the item, a perfectly decent relatively new working 19" color TV with a remote and the owner's manual.

Since we were downtown, I said, "Let's stop at Murphy's," our favorite Irish pub/restaurant.

"Just what I was thinking," said the Wizard. But when we got there, it was closed, not open until 4. It was 12:30. (Downtown Honolulu --unlike Waikiki--is kind of dead on Saturday afternoon.)

"Well, let's go over to O'Toole's," the other Irish pub across the street where the neon beer brand signs were on.

"Just what I was thinking," said the Wizard.

Claiming the money--A few pints later, we pulled out to go to the Post Office to collect a certified mailing of Postal Money Orders (sent from the Post Office) to reimburse the colossal Express Mail Fail. (This is a whole 'nother horrible story, better posted on the yin side, yet to be written.) Long lines near closing time at the neighborhood P.O., but when we finally got to the counter, retrieved the mail, and asked for payment on the money orders, Rudy the clerk couldn't have been nicer. His service and sunny manner completely exonerated the Post Office in my mind.

"You two have been together for a long time," he said, cheerfully handling our claim. It was a little ambiguous as to exactly who got the cash. We may have been the most interesting thing he had to deal with all day. He reminded me of a fabulous United Airlines ticket agent who put us together on a flight out of Hong Kong for which I had a business class seat and the Wizard had coach. How charmed I was when the Wizard came after boarding to sit with me in the upgraded section.

Healthy shopping--Then to the grocery. We got everything on the list and then some. Looking at his iPhone notepad, in (on?) which I had entered something. The Wizard asked, "What is cargaine?"

"Oh, that's coffee..I can't type that small. I was trying to type caffeine. Last time you got decaf. It was awful. We need real coffee."

On checkout, the next person in line lauded us on our "healthy" purchases. "But what about the gin," I said.

"Oh, but that has juniper! Berries! Healthy!"

Exactly what I say every time I shake up a classic Martini.**

And what could be better than a crisp Martini at sundown on a perfect sunny day? Which is what I think Sandra Bullock's character said in 28 Days, or something like.*

*"Yeah, I know I drink a lot, I know I do because I'm a writer and that's what I do, I drink. I'm not like those people out there, I can control myself! I can, if - that - if I wanted to, I could, if I wanted. I can! I can! "
**The Martini was invented as the first cocktail that mixed, completely contrary to conventional wisdom and common sense, wine and spirits (i.e., gin and vermouth.) No "wine", no Martini.

Shen Yun Hao Bu Hao*

I was forewarned. Or at least fore-informed to expect 70 percent performing arts, 30 percent shameless (but entertaining) promotion of Falun Dafa.

I was almost late for last night's performance of Shen Yun (ironically, because I was poking around in a bookstore looking for a particular translation of the I Ching), but made it on time to meet the Wizard in the lobby. And then the fun began.

As payback for enduring Wagner operas, I put in the Wizard's Christmas stocking (kinda pricey) tickets to this "inspirational" production about China's 5,000 years of civilization, stressing the "compassion and loyalty, kindness and bravery [that] lie at the heart of traditional Chinese culture."

I'm not sure everyone in the audience knew that Shen Yun (meaning something like divine style) is a performing arts troupe that is "associated" with the loose Falun Dafa empire and has a mission "to renew the true, divinely-inspired cultural heritage of China." In the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party, Falun Dafa and its founder register somewhere on the scale of fear between the Guomingdang and the Dalai Lama. Although, I think Li Hongzhi has a lot in common with Hong Xiuquan, the anti-Qing official who thought he was the brother of Jesus and instigated the Taiping Rebellion. And in a civilization with 5,000 years of history, that was like yesterday, and not easily forgotten by the new dynastic powers.

The show largely featured classical, folk and ethnic dance routines, pretty familiar to us; we've seen a lot of this done by local dance troupes and Chinese touring companies. Shen Yun, based in New York, is banned in the PRC, which may be why the annoying Western narrator pointed out that "You'll never see anything like this in China." In fact I saw things exactly like this in China, except for the stunning operatic Falun Dafa hymns and three acts which featured police beating up and killing Falun Dafa practitioners. In one, a practitioner is harassed and
killed when he tries to put up a banner in a public park in, was it Beijing? Shanghai? Hong Kong? I saw one of these banners in Hong Kong in 2008; the attacks aren't quite so blatant there, Hong Kong not quite under the total control of the Party yet. Although, recently a Shen Yun show had to be cancelled there because the "Hong Kong authorities" (read Beijing) would not issue some of the performers visas.

By the third of these counter-revolutionary-opera scenes, the audience was tittering...the police had a Keystone Cops quality about them, and the descending heavenly maidens were just too predictable as they revived the victim and took him off to a glittering palace (Heaven's Gate) in the sky. It reminded me that this was public relations (the Chinese invented propaganda), more than just promoting culture through dance, a little like calling the soup I enjoyed when I got home "vegetarian." I'd concocted it the night before with the few vegetables I could find in the fridge--some lightly stir-fried onion, carrots, mushrooms, and Shanghai bok choy. With some leftover cooked rice. All added to the broth from the remnants of a roasted chicken. 70 percent vegetables, 30 percent chicken broth. A dash of shoyu, and any Chinese peasant or prisoner would think it was great.

"Vegetarian" Soup is Good

Still, the 70 percent entertainment part of the program was just lovely. The dancers were lithe, flexible, strong and acrobatic. Costumes were colorful and matched the front-projection scenery. (In one of the blatant Fala Dafa persecution scenes, the backdrop was an idyllic Chinese villa in the mountains. "I could live there," I said to the Wizard. "No," he replied, "the feng shui is really bad, look how the stairs go up to the door.")

The show improved after opening with a bizarre dramatization of a creation myth and a hymn sung by a formidable soprano, called "Spreading True Words" (...Corrupt as the world is, the Dafa spreads...The followers of Dafa spread true words.) Acts included a tribute to the Qin terra cotta warriors, although the much more elaborate "5,000 years of..." show I saw in Hangzhou featured live horses in a battle scene with fire. The Monkey King and Pigsy had an interlude, and the Mongolian horsemen (sans horses) were really quite good. "Mischievous Monks" were cute, not exactly Shaolin-style, but heartwarming. A particularly lovely moment was "Plum Blossom," the ladies of the company dancing with fans that simulated the winter flowering, promising the arrival of spring. One of the fluttering fans came undone during the dance, but the dancers recovered with extreme grace. In fact, all of the ladies' dances reminded me of the dancers who entertain emperors in the historical dramas I like to watch.

Still I am a little conflicted. I love Chinese dance, and it was good. I am interested in Chinese spiritual practices, but I look to tradition, not a latter day -- dare I say -- cult. I have no doubt that the followers of Li Hongzhi's sometimes bizarre teachings are sincere, moral and high-minded, and who would argue that the CCP's harassment and fear of these folks is not despicable. But at the same time, Falun Dafa has become positioned as an adversary to the Chinese power structure, and we saw what happened at Tiananmen.

Earlier in the day, in the run-up of activities before Hu Jintao visits Washington, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech that suggests she understands very well the yin and yang of international politics. But according to The Epoch Times, a media arm of Falun Dafa, she was "suggesting that China get rid of the Communist Party. What an excellent idea!"

Who knew that this stage show would be connected to something so deeply political. Religion and politics, mixing it up again: Falun Dafa evangelism, despised by the Chinese government, with millions of followers, a prominent voice in the media and beautiful stage shows!

I just hope my interest in Chinese dance doesn't prevent me from getting a visa for my next trip to Wudang to study traditional Taoism. In any case, this performance will be remembered personally as a Chinese prelude to the western opera season which begins in just two weeks with Faust. Stay tuned.

*Shen Yun is okay, good/not good. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, an idiom a Chinese friend had difficulty understanding.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter in Hawaii

It was a dark and stormy night. The cats gravitated, sinking in heavily, to the mink blanket. I replaced my flip flops with my 30-year-old sheepskin slippers. I drank some Scotch (not really a tropical tipple, except on a dark and stormy night) for a levitating effect. I thought about people who are here for a warm winter holiday. Sixty degrees at night with hard rain and wind seems dreadful to me, but for the folks from Atlanta or Boston, I'm sure it is just wonderful. Not quite what they were planning, but wonderful. They're probably enjoying their mai tais.

The weather is slowing down my thinking, I feel like hibernating with the cats, under the mink blanket. Driving home in the driving rain was a challenge, though with a recently replaced timing belt and new oil pump I wasn't too worried about road trouble. (TAO 61 has made 213,000 miles; if she were human we wouldn't have financed such an organ transplant, but I think she is immortal. I used to call her Emma; now I call her Sun Buer, which sounds a little like my maiden name.) I turned on the heater. It still works. I think I used it last year about this time.

I post this ramble mostly to move the focus on the Tuscon shooting down a notch; it was bothering me to see that first thing when I log on to my own site.

The white Christmas cactus is blooming. A little yang to offset the day's yin.
Stay warm and dry, everyone, no matter where you are.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


This is so ugly.

I take an in breath, an out breath. What else can I do?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Purging (Cont.)

The energy of the New Year is stimulating the urge to purge...or it's just necessary. There is a disadvantage in living in one place for a long time, in my case, a rather small tenth-floor apartment (though large and cheap by Hong Kong standards) for 15 years, with no attic or basement and seriously limited closet space. Until here and now, the divestment of possessions has always occurred because we were moving. A little like dying I guess, or at least starting a new life, you realize there's stuff just not worth taking with.

And it's so hard to get the stuff out of the house. Used to be the charity scavengers would make occasional visits; we could leave stuff at the mailbox lobby, but the wise tree-slaughtering building management put an end to that convenience, probably for some insurance liability reason.

So now my purging of stuff usually means just moving things around until constipated piles accumulate and must be taken to Goodwill or Salvation Army. This is making me think of digestion; bulimic purging is equally messy although certainly more dangerous.

In order to accommodate a gift from the Wizard, I have had to sacrifice a closet which was largely occupied by shoes and bags, because I once alluded, not seriously, that it would be a great, or at least logical place for a large television. (Even though conventional wisdom is to not install televisions in a bedroom.) And now it will be. Ostensibly this will be better for my eyes than watching so many videos on my laptop, an in-bed-habit. (I live a sort of kang lifestyle.) Now I will be able to watch swordfights and conversations over tea tables, nearly life-sized, going on in my closet! And read the subtitles too (which was difficult and distracting from a distance on the now-obsolete 19-inch screen).

But the dunging forced me to finally discard 15+-year-old suits and shoes that even if they fit, I would probably never wear again. Lacking a sister or a daughter (or a friend who would accept the stuff) I am left to bag it all up for Goodwill. (One word of advice from a friend; when you do this, NEVER go back to visit the bag.) I could take it to a consignment shop, or do some e-Bay trading, or have a garage sale, but that would just become another task. (Or I could wait until I became thin (if not young) again, but likely from some wasting disease which would not encourage the wearing of tailored tweed suits and silk blouses.)

The Wizard is very good at purging. But then, like many men, he buys new clothes, like uniforms, once a year, identical pants and socks to replace the ratty ones. He fails to understand the emotional attachment women have for old clothes, many of which outfits he bought for me; he always liked the career girl look, tailored suits and bowed Ferragamos. And a particularly difficult issue is what to do with old which I mean lingerie that looked good when I was 32, but now is silly as a hippo in a tutu...underwear you can easily throw out when it gets sloppy, but silky, lacy, satin can you pass on used garments of seduction in a Goodwill bag or put them in a dumpster. I suppose some sort of witchy sacramental burning ritual is called for, crones in caftans chanting some passage from the Story of O while torching the lacy demi bras and thongs and teddies, feeding the fire with old bottles of Chanel No. 5 and the weirdly named Samsara.

In the end purging is about balancing practicality and passion. And "letting go." It is easy to speak about these things, like speaking about clearing the mind in meditation, but in actual practice, it takes great will. How many shoes and handbags does one actually need? (Hardly any.) But how many do you love? (All of them.) In my mind, this associates with fantasy promiscuity, looking for the perfect man. (With whom I already live, the one I would never discard.) These comments probably belong over on the yin side, so female, but the energy is all yang.

So now I am stranded among piles of old clothes and accessories (to say nothing of old board games), finally cutting some cords of attachment...but first I want to get that plasma TV installed so I can see Song Il-guk and Vincent Zhao (also perfect men) in high def.

Maybe I'll look through that lingerie pile again.