I sit meditation style, you know, legs crossed hands by my knees, on a large flat rock in the middle of a bed of sand. There is a small rock path that winds through the carefully combed grains. The sun is shinning today, most days it does. The heat of it has brought my arms, chest, and dark black hair to a boil. The sensation of warmth turning to burning provides stark contrast to the emptiness I am trying to fill my mind with. The futility of the task is the Budhha's last great secret. The forefront of my thoughts are too focused. Nothing, emptiness, I think to myself and ignore that little voice in the back of my mind that refuses to stop. The scenary is quite amazing. The warm rock garden I am on normally sits in the far recess of the castle grounds but today I have changed it. The rock is on the edge of a ridge high among the mountains. Far out I can see the marvelous view. The mountians rise out of the ground like tired giants. They are dotted sporadically with patches of trees, some covered entirely. Past the peaks to the right the glimmer of the blue lake reflects back offsetting the greens and browns in the hills. It is quite a beautiful view and naturally brings calm. But I digress, nothingness, think of nothing, clear the mind and simply breathe in and out, in and out. The breathing is important. Some people say you should focus on it, let the physical act and feelings of breathing encompass your mind. Focus your thought down to as narrow an area as possible. The brake lights interrupt everything.

Driving on the freeway can be hypocritical, especially in heavy traffic. The lack of turns, intersections, and speed restrictions mean you should be able to just drive straight and not really pay that much attention. The jackass in front of me insits on braking too hard each time the car in front of him touches the brakes. His sudden and unexpected deceleration forces me to hit the brakes fairly hard also. We quickly slow to a crawl and then speed back up again. Sometimes I think that continuous driving during rush hour would be better than meditation.

Work is boring *and* stressful. I am not even sure if that is possible.

Panda Express calls me to it before I can even get on the freeway. I haven't done anything but sit around all day but that orange chicken is quite tempting. The meal practically eats itself. I have never had problems putting food away, and it only recently started adding to my waistline. During the entire meal the fortune cookie stares at me from the corner of my red plastic tray. I am really looking at some cute high school girl sitting a ways away, but the cookie is calling to me. I am not quite sure why. For some reason it feels like today the fortune cookie will be right. Whatever it says will carry more weight than normal. I think it is the fact that I initially forgot it was there and then suddenly it was again on my tray. I look at it and wonder what it says on the inside and whose job it is to come up with creative and politically acceptable "fortunes". I try to imagine what my luck numbers will be. The last of the mushroom chicken finds its way off my plate. I am fairly full but I have room for the cookie. It doesn't count if you don't eat the cookie, you know that right? Did you also know that they don't have fortune cookies in China, they are an American invention. I snap off the plastic, break it into two and pull the piece of plasticy paper out of one side of the cookie, I forget which side, and pop the other into my mouth.

Panda Express celebrates 20 years of yummy.