The map above is the basic route I will be following when I make my journey across these United States. You can click on any of these maps to enlarge them. I will leave Akron on June 15th and arrive in Knoxville later that day where I'll meet up with my dad and my sister. Then my dad and I will head for Dallas a little bit later. Maybe the next day. Maybe two days after. Maybe three. We don't know yet.
In order for me to make it to any venue that might want to have me, the venue would have to be able to schedule the talk for sometime after June 17th and definitely before the first week of July is over. We'd need to coordinate with the people in Las Cruces in case there's any conflict. And you'd have to be somewhere on or at least not too far off the route you see on the map above.
This may not work out at all. The time frame is short. It's really hard to say with these things. But if you're interested in trying, please send me an email at email@example.com.
I'm specifically looking for speaking gigs or one-day retreat type things. I probably can't accept your kind offer to meet up for coffee. I would consider places that might offer me a couch for the night, though we'd have to see if that kind of thing would work out with the schedule and what-not.
People in the comments section seem concerned about the new website, especially its comments section. I'm talking to the guy who is doing all the tech stuff about various options. I do like the free-form feel of the current comments section in principle. But in actual practice, it often just gets screwy in there. What I'm hoping to do is have some kind of free-form area of the new site where people can post whatever they like as well as an area where people who actually want to discuss serious stuff can go. I'm not sure if this will be possible or not. That's what most of the discussion last night was about.
Personally, the comments section can get very taxing for me. I don't think a lot of the commenters understand that I am an actual human being just like them. The mean nasty hurtful stuff does actually hurt me sometimes. If I were Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern and I got paid big money to be the target of abuse by strangers, that would be a different matter. Or if I felt there was some way in which my being a punching bag helped the dharma somehow, that would also be different. Or even if I were just a guy who enjoys arguing with people... But I am none of these things. And other people get abused in there as well. It's really sad. So the comments section as it stands now often devolves into a big, depressing energy suck that has no value at all for me. Sorry to say this. But it's the truth.
It's not always that way. In fact sometimes it's really good and stimulating. But as it stands now it's just too prone to running itself into spasms of stupidity. I want to find a way to allow a good, stimulating space for real conversations to happen that I can involve myself in, while simultaneously having another section where people can go nuts. I would probably never even set foot in the go-nuts section .
I started moderating the comments section on the last post and all kinds of people are sending in comments screeching about "censorship" and "the truth." Look, folks. It's just the comments section of a blog. There's nothing in the Constitution guaranteeing you the right to vent in there. Please just try to relax a little. Maybe do some zazen instead. Or if you want a blog to vent on, start your own. It's easy and it's free. No one will stop you. No one will censor you or moderate you.
According to Blogger's statistics, over 52,000 comments have appeared on this blog since it started. Fifty two thousand! My God. That's a lot. A lot of people have used this space as a way to broadcast their opinions. And a lot have abused the privilege. The comments section of this blog is so notorious that Tricycle magazine singled it out in a piece called Dharma Wars about the way Buddhist blogging often gets out of hand. And they were right to do so. Some of what's gone on in the comments section of this blog is really shameful and embarrassing.
I have really done a lot to allow for an open forum. And it has come at a cost to me in headaches and heartaches. So please understand why the new website will be different in this regard.