The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Simpsons (2007)

Du’h! You know, I’ve never been a huge Simpson’s fan, but always found them amusing. This wasn’t like “South Park,” where I looked forward for months to the movie, and was knocked on my butt. This full-length theatrical version of the longest-running situation comedy in television history isn’t going to make new fans, but it is quite funny, sometimes touching, and sometimes drags a bit. Overall, it works and occasionally is drop-dead hilarious. The basic plot deals with Homer screwing up the town of Springfield so badly that the EPA is forced to take drastic measures. Animated hilarity ensues. Fox labored mightily to keep the plot secret, so I won’t give away details here. Most if not all of the beloved Simpsons characters appear, and Bart skate-boards while quite naked. What more do you want? Give it an "A-" for Simpsons fans, and a "B" for fans of animation and/or snarky humor.
The I.F. is still working just fine, although I find myself getting a little lazy with it—eating sloppily on Feast days just because it doesn’t show up on the scales. Can’t do that. My body craves the best food available on Feast days, and if I don’t give it, I’m gonna pay down the road.
Was in Las Vegas last weekend, for a seminar with my first Kenpo instructor, Steve (Sanders) Mohammed. He’s 68 now, and a bit wizened, but his reverse punch is…perfect. Not good, not excellent, not fast, not powerful. Perfect. As in no detectable flaws.

Back in the 60’s he was a Vietnam vet who studied Ed Parker’s Kenpo and found its circular motion inadequate for tournament play. He extracted bits and pieces of various techniques, simplified and streamlined, and became one of the most successful tournament competitors in American history. He also had vast street experience, and produced an absurd number of high-level fighters. In fact, at one point seven out of ten of the top tournament competitors in the California-Nevada-Arizona tri-state area were all Sanders students.

He can now explain intellectually the value of the drills he had us perform, endlessly, up and down across the dojo floor. Jesus, he was smart. He saw things so clearly, and is just now being acknowledged for his brilliance.

His wife Connie was there, too. I still remember when they hooked up, about 22 years ago. What a horn dog he was then! Wow! The guy was just a sex machine, and if there had been rules about consorting with students, he would have been in jail. Now, I never saw ANYTHING that looked even vaguely like sexual harassment. He treated the male and female students exactly alike. But I found out over time that he’d gone through a LOT of the lovely ladies who came through his front doors. My guess is that they came on to him more often than he came onto them…but Connie sure ended that.

I suspect that he is quite happy and content in his life. He is a gentleman and a scholar, and one of the three most important men in my life.
Tananarive is out of town visiting her Mom, and Nicki is down at Comicon with her boyfriend. It’s just me and Jason here for the weekend, and he seems to be sleeping late this morning. Come to think of it, he went to sleep pretty fast last night. Hmmm. You know, he had shots at the doctor a couple of days ago, and that in combination with T being gone might be making him just a bit low-energy.
Arrgh! Just realized I haven’t meditated in a couple of days. Darn. Just slipping into the Mommy role with Jason probably threw me for a bit of a loop. Have to get back on the horse.

To recap what seems to be working on that level:

1) Meditate daily. Slow, still, and deepen the breathing.
2) Exercise at least 3 times a week, and connect your meditative breathing to the exercise breathing. Increase exercise stress while maintaining a smooth inhalation-exhalation cycle.
3) During the day, 5X, stop and breathe for 60 seconds. If possible, stress your breathing with an exercise (for instance, FlowFit)

The above will slowly begin to change the way you breathe under stress. During meditation, visualize the end point of your current goals. Begin to develop a sense of whether you are internally aligned to do your best, day after day, to accomplish them. This is tricky, but disciplines like Tad James’ “TimeLine” are good at this.

Over time, you’ll start knowing when you are fighting yourself, dragging your feet, misaligned or unclear. If you can’t see yourself accomplishing your goal, don’t you think that it will be difficult to harness your skill, strength and creativity?

Now, here’s the weird part. I preface this by saying the following only SEEMS to be true. I don’t believe it. But I have experienced things that are close enough to “true” here that I’m gonna say it just for fun:

If you can find the right alignment of inner and outer resources, you attract luck. Visualize your goal, align inner resources, clarify the inner light that represents your emotional/spiritual state, work hard and consistently to move forward and clarify your reality map…and stuff just starts falling into your lap.

It’s so strange that it feels like magic when it starts happening. It can actually be a bit disturbing. That disturbance is what has induced me to stop the practice in the past—life was just getting so good that it freaked me a bit. I suspect I won’t let that happen this time.

However, I notice that my subconscious is always waiting to stop me from moving too fast. T out of town? Perfectly reasonable time to stop meditating! After all, Jason needs me…

NO! He needs his father to be at the absolute highest level of effectiveness and energy and emotional flexibility. Balance. Centeredness. It takes me twenty minutes a day to do this, but EVERYTHING in the world will conspire to keep me from it.

Almost as if there are demons and angels, I’ll tell you. Easy to see why so many believe in them.

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