What is a Langkah?

Langkah (Indonesian) - noun: literally step, move, pace, action, measure, stride, leap, foot, footstep, gesture, tread, footpace

In Indonesian martial arts, Pencak Silat, it commonly refers to geometric patterns on the floor used to train footwork and develop an understanding of the role of the lower body in maintaining balance and a base from which to generate power.

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 30 (A Snapshot of Spring)

A Snapshot of Spring

Various groups merge
For an event of mutual interest

Old friends gather,
New friends meet

Common interests found,
Small-world connections made

Today friends will share common interests,
And a ceremony will happen

Two people, two souls, will come together
And unite with vows and a shared vision of the future

This is life, this is living
I feel blessed to share it with such amazing people

The Wandering Guru

Friday, April 29, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 29 (Short Sentences)

Small Sentences

Rick, my unofficially adopted brother, said, "I'm a dad."
Susan, my sister said, "You're going to be an uncle."
Lives start in short sentences with lengthy silences.

I said, "I love you."
Margaret said, "Was that a proposal?"
We said, "I do."
We said, "Best friends forever."
Love comes in short sentences with lengthy silences. 
David, my favorite uncle said, "My wife is dead."
Dad said, "David's dead."
Margaret said, "Rick's dead."
Susan said, "Mom's dead."
Susan said, "Dad's dead."
Death comes in short sentences with lengthy silences.

Living and dying look so similar on paper.
Living and dying look nothing alike in person.

The Wandering Guru

Thursday, April 28, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 28 (This Stick Was Made For Walkin')

This Stick Was Made For Walkin'

In the end, Artemis won his case, and began working in a hospital, helping people walk.
This caused quite a stir since no legal precedents existed.
It chose the name Artemis, and applied for an ID.
The cane abandoned its insane maker.
Its knowledge blossomed, self-awareness fountained.
Like a child, the cane asked about nature and how the world works.
He used magic to design an intelligent cane.
The brainstorm of a madman.
It started with an idea.

Today's prompt called for a story, written backward in the form of a poem. Read it backwards to get the original story, but it's interesting because it makes some twisted sense as-is.

The Wandering Guru

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 27 (Leaves in the Wind)

Leaves In The Wind

We embarked on a new path, same as the old one, with a twist.
Now each of us discovers new hurdles to overcome.
Like performers on a continental stage, we dance.
Coming together, moving apart, synchronized, beautiful.

The prompt today asked for a poem with long lines. The example used fourteen syllable lines. I didn't hit fourteen exactly, but got in the ballpark.

This summarizes the life my wife and I live, traveling the country, each in our own RV, moving together and apart in a dance.

The Wandering Guru

Margaret's "new" home, my old one

Margaret's old home

My new home

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 26 (That Mouthy Merc)

That Mouthy Merc

Blood in the air, and bullets flying everywhere
Bullets flying everywhere

At the gooey chaotic center, the Merc with a Mouth
Merc with a Mouth

The irreverent anti-hero spewing witty remarks and lead
Lead-filled remarks

Soaking up as much damage as he dishes, healing lickety-split
Healing lick-a-da-what?

Crazy as a loon, breaking the fourth wall
What fourth wall?

A tragic figure who knows he's an imaginary figment
Imaginary figment

Love him or hate him, no middle ground
No middle ground


Today's prompt asked for a call and response. Since I'm currently rewatching *Deadpool*, I decided to use it as the theme.

I pre-ordered the *Deadpool* movie. It released yesterday, and I downloaded it last night. Now I'm rewatching this amazing movie. If you haven't seen it, do so, but do some research first. It ain't your daddy's superhero movie. If you expect something like *Avengers*, you'll end up in a rubber room and straight jacket trying to figure out what's going on.

The movie is ultra-violent and completely irreverent. Even the most jaded viewer might, at various points in the movie, consider being offended. This isn't a movie I'd recommend for kids under 30 ... only half-kidding.

What it is, though, is one of the best comic book adaptations I've ever seen. As such, if you're not familiar with Deadpool, go read some of his comics or, at least, skim a couple in the bookstore. Do some googling to learn about Deadpool's character in the comics. If what you see in the comics intrigues you, *then* go see the movie.

The Wandering Guru

Deadpool Approved

Monday, April 25, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 25 (Out of the Looking Glass)

Out of the Looking Glass

Youth wasted by the young,
Wasted according to whom?

Children expected to act as adults,
While adults behave like naughty kids.

How can we teach youth the value of honesty,
When they are surrounded by role models who
Get rewarded for lying and cheating.

The whole world has taken a seat
At the Hatter's table.

Poor Alice watches in confusion
As the March Hare awaits tea time,
Knowing full-well time has stopped for tea.

In the world of my dreams,
We emerge from the looking glass,
And learn to value love, compassion, honesty.

The Wandering Guru

Sunday, April 24, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 24 (Winding Down)

Winding Down

Sitting at the table,
No pantaloons in sight.
Country music plays.
Pickers and singers,
Bring euphony to the night

My eyelids assume ponderous weight.
Vision blurs, fades.
Slumber lumbers toward me.
One more serving of toast,
One more game with cascading gems,
Before sleep claims me.

The Wandering Guru

Saturday, April 23, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 23 (Out of Context)

Out of Context

Adrift in an ocean of sand and scrub,
Far from its intended home,
The bones of a small boat rot in the desert sun.

I approach, wary of rattlesnakes and other irritable fauna.
Crouched by its bow, I ask how it found itself here.
The boat offers no answer, confused as I am by its plight.

Dust devils dance across the plane to my right,
Small rodents scurry across the trail to my left,
Across the way, a desert hare raises its nose and twitches its long ears.

A plane flies overhead, low but too distant to offer a comment.
A car passes on the road, the road I just left.
I wonder if the driver noticed my truck, the boat, or me.

The Wandering Guru

Friday, April 22, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 22 (Dove's Tears)

Dove's Tears

Your music has played such a large role in the soundtrack of my life.
You told me about a Little Red Corvette when I was young enough to believe it was about a car.
I had a crush on raspberry woman before I ever slept with a real woman.
I'm still not sure if Batdance was parody or homage, but it sure was a catchy tune.
A song you wrote seventeen years before helped us ring in the new century.
My uncle, who died too young and left such a huge mark on my life, loved Purple Rain.
Today that rain falls like the tears of doves, and I cry with them.

Thank you for every smile, every tear. Thank you for being there for so much of my life.
Rest in peace, and know your music will continue to inspire and amaze for generations to come.

The Wandering Guru

Thursday, April 21, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 21 ( New Digs)

New Digs

Six hundred miles driven, with a difference.
Towing a trailer, a new experience.

Excited to have my new digs,
Even as I learn about hauling a rig,
Small though it is.

Looking forward to the end of the drive,
When at my friend's house, I arrive

Friends to visit, people to train.
An upcoming wedding, memories to be made.

My new trailer needs sorted
But, for now, the bed's most important.

It beckons with whispers of rest.
I shall heed its request.

Good night, road.
I'll see you tomorrow.

The Wandering Guru

2007 Dutchmen Zoom 718QB
My new home
Photo taken in Wittmann, AZ, where I stopped for dinner after picking up the trailer

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 20 (Electronic Leash)

Electronic Leash

In my youth, cell phones equaled science fiction.
Now children have them, in constant communication with each other.

In my youth, few people had answering machines.
We had no caller id or call waiting.

When we went out to run errands,
We missed calls.

When we had an answering machine,
We called back if they left a message.

When we had caller id,
We called back when we saw the missed call.

Missed calls were a fact of life.
Being away from the phone, a routine occurrence.

Now, people have their phone with them 24/7.
Ringer on so they never miss a call.

Spouses get upset if their partner.
Does not answer a call.

People complain about their electronic leash,
And their ringtone disturbs everyone around them

I have a secret.
Your cell phone is inanimate.

If you feel like it controls you,
Find the off switch, or the Do Not Disturb setting.

My phone is for my convenience,
No one else's.

If I expect an important call,
I turn off Do Not Disturb.

No one hears my ringtone.
If my phone rings at all, it vibrates

People argue,
What about emergencies?

I think back to my youth.
Emergencies happened then, and we got by just fine.

Unless you're a parent away from your kids,
Or a medical professional whose timely response could save lives,
Few emergencies can't wait until you notice the missed call.

The Wandering Guru

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 19 (Short Time)

Short Time

The time approaches
For me to leave
To continue my journeys
My wandering

Tomorrow, a day for cleaning
And organization
A day to pack ten pounds
into an eight pound bag

Thursday, I pick up my new home
Learn about hooking up and towing
Transfer ten pounds into
Twelve pound bag

Dive in feet first
Drive toward NorCal
New trailer in tow
Back on the road I go

Say goodbye to some friends
Hello to others
Teaching to do
Weddings to attend

Life moves on
I move with it
Living, laughing, loving

The Wandering Guru

Live Moves, Moment by Moment
One Now Leads to Another

Monday, April 18, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 18 (Listen, Listen, Listen Louder)

Listen, Listen, Listen Louder

Listen, listen, listen louder.
The cat's a pissin', pissin' powder.

Where'd he go? Down the road
With a rail on his back.

You can't be lollygagging until
You jump the broomstick.

Don't go down the holler,
The rain's got the crick a-floodin'.

Who forgot to flush the commode?
Smell's like a polecat's ass in there.

You broke his arm? You don't look
Big enough to break anyone's arm.

Today's prompt suggested a poem about things you grew up hearing, things you don't hear much any more.

My paternal grandmother, Clytie Burdette, was born in 1909 in the house her father built in a small town called Sissonville, north of Charleston, West Virginia.

Clytie's father thought books were for men, and women should focus on domestic knowledge. He pulled Clytie out of school after the third grade. She learned to cook, sew, do all the chores around the house. What she lacked in education, she made up for through wit, intelligence, and observation skills. She was sharp as a tack, feisty as hell, and always entertaining.

She gave birth to six children, lost two of them. She raised the other four in the same house in which she herself was born. For years, she had several boarders living in her small house. Having spent most of her life in a houseful of people, she didn't know how to cook small meals. When she went into the kitchen, and no one was allowed in the room while she cooked, she cooked for ten people.

Because of my dad's work schedule, when we visited grandma, we arrived around 2 AM on Saturday morning. She always seemed to be awake when we arrived. We would visit for a bit, then go to bed. At 6 AM, grandma would wake us. Breakfast would already be served. Eggs, bacon, toast, biscuits (ye gods! those biscuits!). Enough to feed a small army. I don't recall seeing grandma sleep. Ever. 

The Wandering Guru

Rest in Peace, Grandma

Sunday, April 17, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 17 (Pesilat)


Jurus develop upper body
Langkah teach lower
Run jurus on langkah
To bind upper and lower

Bunga gives
Rise to buah

Whether dalam or luar
I attack my opponent's structure
With pukul, sapu, and kenjit

This is my Silat
This is my life

Today's prompt challenged us to incorporate 10 words from a specialized dictionary. As a teacher and student of Indonesian martial arts, Pencak Silat, I chose 10 words from the lexicon of Pencak Silat.

The Wandering Guru

Saturday, April 16, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 16 ( Stranger Companions)

Stranger Companions

A six hour drive
New friends at the end of the road
Old acquaintances await

Shared interests give
Strangers common ground
As companions we train

The Wandering Guru

Friday, April 15, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 15 (Two Hearts, One Beat)

Two Hearts, One Beat

Two RVs
Two directions

A thousand miles between us,
Yet we're as close as ever

People think we're crazy
People shake their heads

We live our lives
In love and loving

The Wandering Guru

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Finger Pointing at the Moon

If you look at the curriculum posted on the AGPS website—http://trainagps.com/curriculum—you will see the tag line under the page header. The tag line reads, "A Finger Pointing at the Moon."

I first heard this phrase said by Bruce Lee's character in Enter the Dragon. He says, "It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all that heavenly glory."

Bruce likely got this idea from the Zen parable:

Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon's location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?

A paraphrase of it sits at the top of my curriculum because the curriculum is the finger. Nothing more, nothing less. The jurus, langkah, techniques, and drills point toward underlying principles, which make the material functional. If you focus on the elements of the curriculum, you will become a capable practitioner. You will move well and may even be functional with the material in whatever context you seek functionality. If that's all you get, though, you're just mimicking me, going through motions.

This also relates to one of my standard sayings: "Why, not how."

By focusing on the curriculum and learning the motions, you learn how. By focusing on the underlying principles, you learn why.

The goal is not, for instance, to memorize the Foundation Langkah and be able to execute it perfectly. The goal is to understand why the Foundation Langkah is structured as it is. What does it teach? What do the motions used on the langkah teach you about your body and how to use it?

Now for a tangent. A lot of people dislike Bruce Lee. When someone quotes him, they groan. "Great! Another Bruce Lee quote." They say things like, "Lee was just an actor." or "Nothing Lee said was original, he stole it all from other people and repackaged it." There are plenty of other things Lee haters say.

I understand why they say things like that. It's their reaction to the other side of the spectrum where people worship Lee as some sort of martial arts deity or, at least, demi-god. These people take everything the man said or wrote as gospel. They consider him not just the pinnacle of acting, but the best fighter the world has ever seen.

I say baloney to both sides.

Bruce was a man. Plain and simple. By definition, that means he had strengths and weaknesses. I don't know if he was a good fighter or not, I never met him in person. I have heard from quite a few people who did know him that he was spectacular. I don't consider him a great actor, but he wasn't bad.

He did a lot to break stereotypes regarding Asians, especially in movies. Some of his innovations in the martial arts, especially regarding the use of training tools such as kicking shields and focus mitts, are still used today and, in fact, are common. Was he the first to do any of this stuff? I don't know, but probably not. He was the first to popularize it, though. Was he the only one who could have effected the changes he did? Probably not. If not him, someone else might have done it, but that's irrelevant, because he is the one who did it. He had a significant impact on the martial arts world, not to mention movies and TV.

If you have trained in martial arts in the last 50+ years, I almost guarantee Bruce Lee had an impact on you. Maybe not a direct impact, but I bet at least one person you admire, one person who has taught you a lot, whether it was an instructor or a training partner, was inspired by Bruce Lee at some point. If not that, then maybe one of your students, a person you love like family, began training with you because one of Bruce Lee's movies inspired them. If you've ever used a kicking shield or hit focus mitts, you likely have Lee to thank for their presence in your training. As I understand it, the kicking shield started as a tool used in football for working tackles. Dan Inosanto coached football, showed the shield to Bruce, and Bruce saw their potential for martial arts training. Focus mitts were used in boxing long before Lee hit the scene, but he recognized their facility in the broader spectrum of martial arts.

As far as I know, Bruce never claimed any of his philosophical statements were original, yet people often point out his use of things like "the finger pointing at the moon" as being derivative (in the negative sense of the word). As if it lessens his impact because he took the philosophy he studied in college and applied it to his martial arts. While I don't know that he ever denied having "stolen" them, I also don't think he ever took credit. He took his experiences and knowledge from other sources and applied them to his martial arts and teaching. Every martial artist I know worth his/her salt does the same, but Lee catches flak for it?

When haters point these out to me, I roll my eyes. When the fanatics make the opposite arguments, I roll my eyes. Blah, blah, blah.

Bruce Lee had a significant and positive impact on me and my training. Therefore, I will continue to quote him when I feel it's appropriate. If you have a problem with that, that's your problem. If you think less of me because I acknowledge Lee as an inspiration in my life and training, so be it. I honestly don't care, and I don't need to be "enlightened" about the man's strengths or failings. I'm aware of them, but they don't matter. They might matter if there was a chance I would meet him, hang out with him, train with him. Then I might care. As it stands, he was what he was, and the influence he had on me, directly and indirectly, has been positive, so I cherish it and honor it.

The Wandering Guru

NaPoWriMo: Day 14 (Called to Action)

Called To Action

A damsel in distress
Captured by a witch
For ransom, she is held

A hero in need of a quest,
With no desire to get rich
Sword in hand, our hero rides

Our hero, Esmereld,
To rescue her future bride

The Wandering Guru

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 13 (Where I Am, How I got Here)

Day 13 prompt is based on fortune cookies. I find it interesting I used tarot yesterday, which is a method of divination. Today the prompt is based on fortune cookies, the name of which imply another form of divination. Apparently, I predicted the spirit of today’s prompt yesterday. How fortuitous.

For today's poem, I'll go with a prompt inspired by a fortune cookie. The fortune cookie aphorism, "You now where you are going and how to get there" reminds me of an experience I had several years ago. As such, the fortune cookie inspired this poem, but I'm twisting it a bit based on the experience.

Where I Am, How I Got Here

The red rocks beckon.
I follow.

A short two-mile hike, maybe an hour to finish.
Two hours later, still I walk.
I suspect a wrong turn, but who cares.

I pass the Devil's Kitchen,
Wonder what he's cookin'.
I know I made a wrong turn.

I arrive at a trailhead.
Not the one at which I started.
I look at the name of the trailhead.
Four-and-a-half miles away from my car.

A guy asks, "Are you lost?"
Nope. I know exactly where I am,
But don't know how I got here.

The Wandering Guru

Devil's Kitchen, Steamboat Rock in background
Sedona, AZ

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 12 (Spirit of the Primal Flame)

Spirit Of The Primal Fire

Chaotic upheaval forces new directions.
Embrace change, rejoice in newfound paths.

Of course, fear comes along for the ride.
Compassion for self and others begets bravery,
The power to overcome fear.

Commit yourself, but beware your motives.
Jumping into a situation to feed your need
Gives power to your addiction.

Apply your intellect and analyze your intentions,
But ignore the voice of anxiety-driven doubt.
Allow instinct to guide you and trust yourself.

Great achievements happen through patient work.
One foot in front of the other, at a steady pace.

Today, I decided to experiment with an idea I've been kicking around for a while. The idea of using a tarot layout as a prompt for a poem. I found an online tarot layout generator. The layout, a "universal six card layout" prompted the poem.

The Wandering Guru

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Ravens Took My Hat

I remember writing poems on April 9 and 10, and sharing them via Twitter and Facebook. I'm sure I wrote poems and posted them.

Neither day has a poem, or any entry, in my blog, and there are no correlating shares on Twitter or Facebook.

I know the weekend was insanely busy, but I remember writing. My calendar shows marks indicating I wrote something on those days.

Did I dream writing, posting, and sharing those poems? I suspect I might have.

Or maybe an alternate version of me, in an alternate universe, wrote those poems but I have a sympathetic memory of it. Yeah. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

The Wandering Guru

I suspect you fellas have never seen what I can do with a cane.

NaPoWriMo: Day 11 (Friends Like These)

Friends Like These ...

House sitting for friends,
While they tend to family affairs out of town.

Their house sits in the middle of the block.
Children race big wheels in the street out front,
And a dog barks incessantly somewhere in the neighborhood.

Weeds sprout here and there from desert landscape of the front yard,
Neglected due to a family emergency.

Sam and Joan run a plumbing company.
Of course, I'm no plumber, so the company is closed while they're gone.

But they have a hobby, and I promised to maintain it while they're away.
Sam built a fancy oven, which takes up a lot of space in the basement.
I have mixed feelings about the work ahead, but I did promise.

Sam and Joan left a recipe for me.
I follow it explicitly, mixing water and lye.

I slide the salesman's body into the mixture, close the lid, and start the pressurization compressor.

Today's prompt called for a poem that describes a place, then ends with an abstract line providing a twist.

My twist surprised me, but I'll go with it :D

The Wandering Guru

Friday, April 8, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 8 (A Secondhand Tribute)

A Secondhand Tribute

Secondhand lions,
Living second lives,
Telling tall tales,
Which happen to be true

People are basically good.
Honor, courage, and virtue mean everything.
Power and money, money and power, mean nothing.
Good always triumphs over evil.
Love, true love, never dies.

True or not, believe.
Because those are things worth believing in.

When do I get to hear the rest of the speech, Uncle Hub?

I watched Secondhand Lions again today. I previously saw it once, when it came out in 2003. I remember liking it a lot at the time.

In '03, I watched it with my brother, Rick Rumler. We joked about living together as ornery old coots like the Brothers McCann, telling stories about our youths no one would believe, even when they were true.

It was one of those moments brothers share, related by blood or not.

Ten years later, in 2013, Rick died. As I watched Secondhand Lions again, I felt him by me, watching, laughing, and wiping the occasional tear from his eye.

Nostalgia aside, this powerful movie still delivers in spades. If you haven't seen it, go buy this movie. Don't bother renting it, you'll want to own it. Cancel your plans for this evening, and watch it. Then write me a thank you note.

If you have seen it, then I recommend you pull it off your shelf, because I know you own it, and watch it again. Then write me a thank you note.

The Wandering Guru

Thursday, April 7, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 7 (A Riddle in the Night)

Today's prompt, write a tritina.

A Riddle in the Night

I sit by the fire,
Bathed in its light.
On my mind, a question.

Why did he die, I question.
I hear no answer, just crackling fire.
My mind flits along a tunnel of confusion, hoping to see a light.

In the distance, dawns a cold light.
I peer into the blackness on the far side of my fire.
From the darkness, "Why, indeed?" comes the question.

Morning light wakes me, huddled by the embers of my fire, and the question still burns.

The Wandering Guru

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Thoughts On "The Secret" and "The Law of Attraction"

This is my response to this blog post: The Staggering Bullshit of "The Secret" by Mark Manson

First, I don't disagree with the basic premise of Mr. Manson's post, but as someone who was influenced, at least indirectly, by The Secret when it came out, I have my own thoughts regarding it.

I'll address some of Mr. Manson's criticisms point-by-point. Note, this isn't intended as a contradiction, just my thoughts on the subject, and a different perspective from which to look at the ideas.

What Is 'The Secret'?

"The Secret" is the "law of attraction." Basically, what you focus on is what you attract in your life.

In The Secret, the author proposes this happens because matter is energy, thoughts produce energetic patterns, and by focusing our thoughts on what we want, we set up patterns, which in turn attract matter vibrating on the same frequency.

Yup. Nonsense. Pseudoscientific drivel.

But, here's the thing, I have seen the law of attraction work firsthand, as has Mr. Manson (we'll get to his explanation of why it works in a minute). So, is this pseudoscientific drivel? Yes. Absolutely.

Personally, I don't take it as "science." I take it as a useful mental construct. By pressing the "I believe" button on this, it allows someone to focus on their goal without getting lost in "how does it work." I look at it like the astronomical model of a geocentric universe developed by Ptolemy. This was the accepted model for 1,300 years, and the gears used to run modern planetariums are based on the Ptolemaic model in order to show the sky as seen from a seemingly stationary earth.

Ptolemy's model was completely wrong, and used some incredibly creative hypothetical elements to function, it did accurately predict the movement of the planets and stars visible to the naked eye.

I look at this universal vibration explanation of the law of attraction in the same light. Bogus, but a useful model to get people focusing on the meat and potatoes instead of the plate.

How 'The Secret' Actually Works (Sort Of)

In this section, Mr. Manson claims the law of attraction works on the premise of confirmation bias.

My dictionary defines "confirmation bias" as:

the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories

I don't personally believe this is why the law of attraction works, though I think something in its neighborhood plays a role.

By focusing on what we want, we are more likely to notice things we want, or things that might help us achieve what we want. I think this is in the same neighborhood as confirmation bias, but it doesn't quite jibe with the definition.

By noticing these things, we are able to take advantage of them and move closer to our goal. This is the biggest issue I have with the way the law of attraction is phrased in The Secret and by Abraham-Hicks, the direct source for the term as used in The Secret. The law of attraction, as they frame it, says, "Focus on what you want, and it will come to you." I don't think so. I think you are the actor in the play, and you have to move toward your goal.

Here I will deviate from the point-by-points. Mr. Manson claims the law of attraction, using his model of confirmation bias for how it works, is potentially dangerous because it can lead to "delusional positivity," denial, and cognitive dissonance. I agree.

I don't think, based on my personal experience, my model for how the law of attraction works leads to delusional positivity, denial, or cognitive dissonance.

In Mr. Manson's confirmation bias model, people tend to overlook problems and pitfalls because they don't jibe with the delusional positivity. I think this is a problem if the law of attraction is approached in that way.

If people approach the law of attraction from the perspective I mentioned above, I think it leads to clarity of focus. By clarifying focus, they are better prepared to recognize the sound of opportunity knocking and be able to take advantage of it.

I'm not saying Mr. Manson is wrong. I think a lot of people have fallen into the precise pitfalls he outlines. What I'm saying is, the law of attraction has merit if properly applied and if critical thinking is used in the process.

In fact, I think the way the idea is presented in the book and movie lead people to this pitfall if they don't apply critical thinking. But is that a failing of the book/movie, or of the readers/viewers?

I'm not going to try to answer that, but feel free to come up with your own answer.

The Wandering Guru

Movie Moment: Unleashed (2005)

Rewatched Unleashed with Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Kerry Condon, and Bob Hoskins.

I love this movie. Of course, Jet Li = great action, but this movie also showcases Li's acting ability.

When we meet Danny (Jet Li), he's a full-grown man who has been raised as a dog and behaves much like a dog or, at least, like a child. "Uncle Bart" (Bob Hoskins) didn't raise Danny as any dog, either. He raised him as an attack dog. Abused Danny the same way a lot of scumbags abuse their dogs raised for illegal fighting.

Talk about a difficult character and plot to develop as a writer. To make such a scenario believable requires top-notch writing. To bring it to screen and maintain its believability requires top-notch direction.

Jet Li shines in his portrayal of an intelligent man whose humanity has been stifled through abuse and manipulation.

His character remembers nothing but violence and fighting. At the beginning, he believes life is violence. Then he encounters Sam (Morgan Freeman) and music. The music stirs long-buried memories for Danny.

After a car accident, which Danny believes killed Uncle Bart, Sam finds Danny in the warehouse where they first met. Sam takes Danny home. Sam and his adopted daughter, Victoria (Kerry Condon), show Danny a life beyond violence and fighting, a life filled with peace, happiness, love, and music.

All the performers handle their roles with awesome skill, making it look easy. Each character is distinct and believable. The characters, their emotions and motivations, come to life in the hands of these accomplished performers.

When Uncle Bart and his cronies find Danny and try to drag him back to the life of a dog, Danny rebels. He has tasted freedom and learned the true meaning of the word family. In the midst of this, he learns some things about his mother, and memories return.

He returns to Sam and Victoria. They figure out who Danny's mom was and help him revive his memory of her further.

When Bart and a crew of bad guys come after Danny, Sam, and Kerry, Danny turns all the negative in his life into a positive and uses his skills and experience to protect himself and his loved ones.

It's a powerful story, an emotional roller coaster, handled with skill on every level. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. If you have, I suggest you watch it again.

The Wandering Guru

"There's nothing like self-discovery for turning a boy into a man." — Sam (Morgan Freeman), Unleashed

NaPoWriMo: Day 6 (A Slice of Heaven)

A Slice Of Heaven

The brown and white triangle sits framed in the white circle and calls my name.

It taunts me with its bittersweet smell, and a line of dark syrup slides seductively down its side.

Topping the temptation, a cloud of white, sprinkled with dark spots.

Most folks call it chocolate creme.

I know its secret name, the name it shares with me alone.

Where did I put my fork?

Who needs a fork?

The Wandering Guru

Mmmm. Come here, you naughty delight.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 5 (A Hardy Lad)

A Hardy Lad

I come from the land of ice and snow,
From the corn fields where drifts do blow.
Where the hammering wind drives the cold into you,
Mocking your layers of clothing, it'll blast right through.
The snow shall mock your shovel, and break your back.
I come from the land of sun and heat,
From the fields of corn and wheat.
This muggy hell can melt the soul
And makes asphalt pop as your tires roll.
From Indiana, I hail,
A Hoosier, hard as a nail.
Did you hear "The Immigrant Song" by Zeppelin as you read that?

The Wandering Guru

Monday, April 4, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 4 (When Titans Clash)

I first read the Marvel Civil War story arc in 2007, and loved it. Its powerful writing and imagery, mixed with the deep philosophical and ethical questions it posed riveted me. I look forward to the movie version. I know they many of the details will likely differ, but from the previews, I think they have kept the spirit of the story. I think they'll highlight many of the same philosophical and ethical quandaries posed in the original comic, and some of them feel more important in today's political climate than they did in '07.

Anyway, my reread of the comics inspired my poem for today. Enjoy.

When Titans Clash

Heroes stand at the brink of a war
None of them wanted, none of them asked for

Ideals clash, tempers flare
No compromise found, no ground to share

The world holds its breath
And dreads the first death

The domino tilts, tips, falls
Chaos erupts, capes become palls 

The Wandering Guru

Sunday, April 3, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 3 (Ode to a Dragon)

Ode to a Dragon 

You stormed onto the stage,
Full of energy, full of rage
Some idolize
Some demonize
But none can repudiate
The splash you made
You revolutionized
And energized

The Wandering Guru

Saturday, April 2, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 2 (Brothers, Back to Back)

I took yesterday's prompt to write a lune and combined it with today's prompt to write a poetic family portrait.

In memory of my brother, Rick Rumler,
who always had my back. RIP.

Brothers, Back to Back 

No blood shared
Except what we shed
Protecting each other

The Wandering Guru

Friday, April 1, 2016

NaPoWriMo: Day 1 (Harlequin's Target)

I've decided to join in the NaPoWriMo festivities :D For more information on NaPoWriMo, visit their website.

I decided to ignore today's optional prompt in favor of writing a poem about fools. I find this appropriate given the day's date.

Today's poem:

Harlequin's Target

Fools, in their motley garb, cavort
Exposing painful truths others contort

People laugh, discomforted
Faced with facts they distorted

Unwilling, still, to recognize
The validity of the jester's jibes

At others they point and poke
Thinking they're the butt of the joke

When, in fact, the joker slights
With intent to mock all in sight

The Wandering Guru