Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2012

Sunset Over The Pacific (revisited)

I was feeling nostalgic for my old blog, Loving The Wolf - and for the Pacific, which is two or three hours farther away than it used to be - so here is a rerun of my final post on Loving The Wolf, called Sunset Over The Pacific - posted on Wednesday August 18 2010:



Yesterday, at the end of a day of writing, we took our children to the beach for dinner al fresco as the sun set. It was a reminder of just how beautiful the simplest things can be. Watching children enjoying the ocean is magical in itself...as is the sun dipping down over the hills and the beach. We cannot create anything as intensely moving and memorable as a single moment in the company of those we love, or the astonishing complexity and beauty of each instant on this planet...
























































My First Meditation Workshop - Saturday April 14 from 1:30pm-3:30pm

Many thanks to Gary Linehan and the Union Democrat in Sonora for this article about my upcoming Meditation Workshop - The Pleasure of Breathing - at the Central Sierra Arts Council in Sonora, on Saturday April 14 from 1:30pm-3:30pm. (Please click on the image above to read it more easily.)


Please note that the address of the Arts Council is 193 S. Washington Street (opposite the Bank of America building at the intersection with Stockton) - and please bring a cushion or yoga mat with you, if you can. Everyone is welcome!


Tickets are $25 - or $10 for students.


Please call 310-383-7562 for more details of what I like to call Lazy Buddhism - a central part of my life for the past 21 years, and the core of how I look at the world and our beautiful cosmos.


Thank you - and namaste, Alexander

Chillin' at Intel

Recharging my circuits...

The Early Days: The Intel Museum

The early days of chip design, when things were really fun!

Robert Noyce: The Intel Museum

We're at the Intel Museum. Inspiring words:

Thank You, San Jose Sharks!

MANY thanks to Malcolm Bordelon, Mary Grace Miller, Jamie Baker and Curtis Brown for their incredible hospitality and help with my script research.


Hudson and Paradise are enjoying the view from our suite - and so are we. (Photograph taken when we first arrived, before the game against the Mighty Ducks began.)


GO SHARKS!!!!!

Snow At Last

It's been snowing and we've been loving it.

It started on Saturday during Hudson's book launch party for his The Asparagus Family Goes To The O Hotel (available soon on Kindle) and then there was a good deal more on Saturday night.

Hudson and Paradise have been waiting all winter for this.

Our Family Enjoying The Snow

The perfect time to give Husky Go-Go (our puppy) a walk!

Phoenix Lake

The Buddha In The Snow

The Quiet Man and Sequoia - Come Celebrate St Patrick's Day This Friday Evening!

You are cordially invited to join us at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street this Friday evening, March 16th, at 6pm for a St Patrick's Day celebration with live music from local Celtic duo, Sequoia at 6pm and a screening of the glorious Technicolor Irish wonder, The QuietMan, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara at 7pm.

Tickets for the event are only $5 per person - and libations and delicacies such as Guinness Black & Tans, Ma's Famous Oatmeal Cookies, Irish Cheddar Cheese Biscuits 'n Ham and even a sup or two of Sonora Port Works' Barrister's Port will be available for purchase at prices even a leprechaun couldn't believe!

Come experience a Touch of the Irish and a bit o' the blarney as the Arts Council fetes the great Celtic heritage of so many of our forefathers and foremothers (even those of us who are Scots but will happily down a Murphys or two:)

Gosh and begorra,
Alexander





The Pleasure of Breathing - My First Meditation Workshop

My first meditation workshop in Sonora will be on Saturday April 14th from 1:30pm-3:30pm at the Central Sierra Arts Council, 193 S. Washington Street, Sonora.

It is called The Pleasure of Breathing and will explore the role meditation and Buddhism have played in my life for the past 21 years. 

I will read beautiful, inspiring passages from some of the books I reflect upon daily, such as T S Eliot's Four Quartets, The Dhammapada (Buddha's Teachings) and the Bhagavad Gita - and I will teach the basic elements of Tibetan anapanasati, or Mindfulness of Breathing, the meditation technique I have practiced most over the past two decades.


It is very simple: a matter of focusing your mind on your breathing and using that to slow - and ultimately still - the constant current of thoughts and emotions that assault our minds at every instant of the day, so that we can appreciate more the expansiveness and beauty of each single timeless moment. 

I like to call my approach Lazy Buddhism,…

Obama Win 2012

My offering of the day. Simple - and it's all we need. It also reminds me of one of my favorite David Bowie tracks from Young Americans, called simply, Win. It's very laid back (long, sultry sax sound from the 70s) but maybe it could become an Obama theme tune.


Now is the time to use the power of thought and personal energy - and social media - to create a context in which (a) Obama's second term is inevitable and is the result of a landslide; and (b) the GOP continues to fracture, dividing between radical extremes (of which there are many) and so-called "moderates" so that it is out of office for the next 20 years at least. 

We create a context in which even the combined might of the Koch Bros' money and Fox News are increasingly wasted and irrelevant. 

Now is the time to start creating a sense that Obama and the Democrats are the only solution to the problems that Republican thinking since Reagan has created.

A Meditation on Meditation (revisited)

I wanted to revisit one of my favorite pieces from this blog, A Meditation On Meditation, which explains something of what Buddhism and meditation have meant to me for the past 21 years or so... (This piece was originally published on Monday, September 6, 2010.)

It's vital, I think - especially as the father of two young children - to have some moments in the day of silence and stillness, time in which you can be totally "alone" and quiet and reflect on who fundamentally you are, and ask the question: what is this world - this extraordinary and beautiful though sometimes savage - cosmos that we live in?

For me, that time is early morning, sometimes very early morning. I especially love the dawn, although often I wake to write much earlier, sometimes as early as 3am or 4am (I also mostly go to bed early and I only ever wake naturally; I would not be so happy getting up at 3am if it were forced on me by an alarm).

In summer especially the dawn is a truly magical …

Lazy Buddhism - Meditation Workshops Soon

I will be starting a mixed meditation and literary workshop soon, both locally and online, mixing my 21 years' experience of anapanasati (Tibetan Mindfulness of Breathing) with my daily readings from beautiful, spiritual works such as T S Eliot's Four Quartets, The Dhammapada (Buddha's Teachings) and the Bhagavad Gita.

I call my approach to Buddhism, "Lazy Buddhism" - which may well be the title of the workshops, although "The Pleasure of Breathing" may be another.

I hope you will join me for them. More details soon - especially about the online sessions.

I Love LA - Dwayne Moser's Photographs From Behind The Hollywood Sign

For some reason, I can't post a reply to a comment to a post from Peter Delaunay regarding theHigh Tower Apartmentspiece below, so I am publishing his comment and my reply here. 


The photograph above is one of a series of spectacular large-scale photographs taken (mostly) from behind the highly iconic Hollywood Sign by our friend and artistDwayne Moser.All of them are remarkable - not least in the fresh perspective they give on both the sign and the city it has come to represent.


First, here is the comment from Peter Delaunay:


Great post, Alexander. Very interesting, and so good to know that it's still there! I was briefly in LA in 1980 and have always thought that the Long Goodbye is the film that most pictures the city as I remember it. Obviously it's not the whole of LA - but its a picture that I remember. Is that still the case ?

I posted the following on the TLG facebook wall - but it doesn't always show up when I visit it, so if you haven't seen it, here…

Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond: The Long Goodbye (VIDEO)

The High Tower Apartments and The Long Goodbye

This beautiful apartment complex in Los Angeles is called the Hightower or High Tower Complex (the High Tower name refers to the central elevator, I believe), and was designed in 1935-1936 by architect Carl Kay - and made famous in 1973 by my favorite film, Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (see Why I Love Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye).


Although Altman used the building as Philip Marlowe's apartment in his somewhat post-modern Long Goodbye (the film plays with references to Old Hollywood and opens and closes with the song, Hooray For Hollywood), the building has another direct connection to Raymond Chandler.


It was apparently the inspiration for Chandler in his book, The High Window (the first Chandler novel I ever read), in which Chandler describes the residence of Philip Marlowe as being on the cliffs above High Tower Drive in a building with a fancy elevator tower. (Thanks to the Society of Architectural Historians Southern California Chapter webpage for that.) 


This ph…

Rush Limbaugh - Wizard of Oz Moment

Rush Limbaugh has made a career of spreading prejudice, hatred and offense in the name of so-called entertainment, but his remarks about co-ed Sandra Fluke last week hopefully might derail his career.


I wonder how Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, or the owners of Clear Channel, the vast media corporation that broadcasts Limbaugh's radio shows, would react if Limbaugh called their own daughters "sluts and prostitutes."


Limbaugh brings nothing to the public debate but divisiveness, hate speech (perhaps not under the strict legal definition, but certainly speech that provokes and encourages oppressive and sometimes aggressive views) and cynicism. What kindness, compassion or inclusiveness does he offer?


The Wrap has an excellent article titled, Will Rush Limbaugh's "Slut" Remarks Derail His Career?


Along with reporting the encouraging news that, in addition to two radio stations that have already canceled Limbaugh, advertisers such as Netflix, John Deere and JC …

Glory B. - The Original Cover

While looking through materials for my workshop on Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye and its influence on my life and work, I came across this original artwork for the cover of my first novel, Glory B. - published in 1983, some years before The War Zone, which my publishers chose to promote as my first novel (it being my first serious literary one).

Glory B. was my attempt to write a kind of Pop Art novel about California, cults (particularly est or Erhard Seminars Training, which fascinated me at the time both as something rather clever and something rather suspect) and the music business.
The novel featured a not-very-good singer, Gloria Bergen, who is spotted by a music producer looking to try something new, who recognizes that she has charisma, if not singing talent, and decides to start a cult, called Cult, around her.  Its slogan is, "Less is More."
The book was hugely influenced both by Altman's The Long Goodbye (not least the unforgettable opening sequence with P…