Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

2007 in Review

Now that it is 2008, I’m doing some year end (or year beginning) thinking about the last year.

A year ago, I was six and a half months into working at MobiTV. We shipped a couple of versions of their browser based PCTV product for web television. I’d been in the Bay Area for six months from Seattle at that point and we had just bought our house on the Oakland/Emeryville/Berkeley border.

I had also just recently (in December, 2006) ended my involvement in the Ordo Templi Orientis, which was my last tie to any Western Esoteric groups or traditions of practice. After more then 17 years of involvement in Neopaganism and Western Esotericism, my involvement had entirely ended. On a slightly related note, I also joined Co-Masonry this year as a member of the newly established Pharos Lodge in San Francisco, California. I had previously been a member of mainstream (“male only”) masonry in Washington State but found it to be somewhat dead and unfulfilling.

In June, I went to work in QA at Mozilla and became much more active in the web browsing space again, this time from a completely different vantage point within the open source world than I had when I was working on Internet Explorer at Microsoft. This brought my day to day work back into the web browsing in a place where I can actually make a difference and have an effect on events (and removed a lot of the dissonance that working at Microsoft had caused me).

I began my podcast, Ex Templo, this year and did a couple of interviews for that with both my immediate Buddhist teacher, Jiun Foster, and local witch and teacher, T. Thorn Coyle. Unfortunately, I let that drop through neglect though it is not permanently dead by any means. I have more interviews for that to do, I just need to make the time for them (and with their subjects).

Rebecca and Al in Koyasan

I went on a number of short Buddhist retreats or training events this year. In June, my wife and I went on a short Buddhist retreat in Ohio with Daiun-Ji Great Cloud Temple. R and I also attended a short training retreat with the local Shambhala Buddhist Center this Fall. I spent most of this last year engaging in a daily meditation series as part of my Buddhist practice and continued to study. R and I took a three week trip to Japan together this Fall and I investigated the possibility of studying Buddhism there in the course of the trip. (The short answer: It would be difficult but possible… I start Japanese classes in a couple of weeks.) I also visited Buddha Dendo aka “the California Tendai Monastery” at Cobb Mountain, here in Northern California (which now has a blog as well).

I finally began my Master’s thesis on the role, purpose, and structure of the soul in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The draft of this was finished a few months ago, approved during my trip to Japan, and finally accepted by the university following that trip. I graduated, officially, on this last Monday, December 31, finishing the Humanities Master’s degree that I began in early 2005.

During this coming year, I need to meet more people here in the Bay Area, which is something that I haven’t done terribly well with up until now. I also will continue my Buddhist studies and practice. I am going to be figuring out what my next steps are academically but I do want to begin working on a book or two based on the ideas that I’ve had over the last couple of years. I just need to decide what I will focus on for that.

R and I need to decide how we want to rebuild the porch for our house, an expensive, time consuming, and distracting task. We haven’t done it during this last year and it isn’t an emergency but it is made out of unreinforced brick here in earthquake country so it is something that should be done at some point (and something that we didn’t know about when the house was sold to us…).

Academically, I need to decide if I am going to continue on to a PhD or not. If so, I need to begin arranging things in order to do so. Since there is at least a year lead time on applying to programs, this would mean starting in Fall, 2009, at the earliest if I did find a program and was accepted into it.

R and I have spoken, provisionally, about going to Egypt on a trip later this year. Doing so will fulfill a desire to see the monuments and sites there that I have had since childhood. Otherwise, we have spoken about the possibility of visiting India for the first time.

I’m looking forward to an interesting and fruitful year ahead.