Do It Yourself

When I was 20, I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book affected me profoundly. At least I think it did. Like a lot of things from my 20s, I recall only the highlights. I remember that the main dude had a philosophizing nutjob alter ego--wasn't his name Phaedrus or Funkilicious or somesuch?--and he went on a cross-country motorcycle ride with his son. Along the way, there was a lot of discussion about the basis of Western thought, the prevailing wisdom of Eastern philosophy and at least one scene where the protagonist leaps off a building ahead of a fireball yelling, "I'm too old for this shiiiiiit!" Then again, I may be confusing it with parts of Lethal Weapon IV. The point is, the precepts of Eastern religion and philosophy intrigued me, until the lure of keggers and unprotected sex distracted me. Now, as my body breaks down and death seems easily attainable, I think it's time to rediscover what I think I once knew. What better way to do this than by reading Build a Better Buddha: The Guide to Remaking Yourself Exactly as You Are by Dallasite James Robbins? In Buddha, Robbins takes the reader on "a journey of enlightenment that is amazingly compelling," according to Zulfikar Ghose. (Look him up.) Robbins offers a plain-language introduction to Buddhist and Taoist teachings, clear step-by-step descriptions of meditation practices and, my personal favorite, spiritual perspectives on sexuality and romantic relationships--preferably your own and not the ones you download for $10.95 on the Ecstasy Channel. Robbins and his wife, Dr. Heather Robbins, a psychotherapist, run Dallas Mindfulness (, which apparently helps you in every phase of your life and stuff. But don't take my word for it--especially since, you know, I'm just toutin' their book here. Talk to Robbins about his holistic instruction and spiritual practices at the Barnes & Noble in Grapevine (817-251-1997), where he will be August 23 at 2 p.m. in support of his book. In the meantime, I will meditate on what I've learned by re-reading Eastern philosophy: Quoting Mr. Miyagi's "man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything" line does not count as a life philosophy. --Eric Celeste

It's a Girl's World

We asked approximately 15 men a simple question: If they had a chance to be a woman for one day, what would be the main things they would like to experience during the 24 hours? Although we cannot print the answers, they give more than enough insight on what some men think would be cool about being a woman. We're not necessarily disagreeing, but besides all the sexy stuff, there's a lot more to celebrate. VISIONS: The Woman's Expo at Dallas Market Hall wants the ladies of the city to embrace all that equals feminine. The event is August 23 through August 24. Call 214-977-6019. --Desirée Henry

Beemin' Up the Bucks

We feel your pain. With so many BMWs to choose from, how can you pick just one? Those with thick billfolds who want to narrow their choices can test-drive up to 18 specially designed Beemers on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at John Roberts BMW, while those of us with nothing but a Clive Owen-fueled dream of true automotive luxury can cruise right alongside. Admission is free, and, most important, every mile logged during the hands-on demonstration contributes a dollar to the Komen Foundation, the nation's largest group funding breast cancer research. The cars are cool, but it's the cause that counts. John Roberts BMW is located at 2536 Forest Lane. Call 1-877-423-7483. --Matt Hursh

This Ain't No Disco

You just think it's hot. Wait until the second annual Dallas Salsa Convention comes to town August 22 and August 23. Performances and workshops focusing on the high-energy Latin dance will have you wanting to slip outside just to cool down. Salsa superstars (including Guajiro Dance Company, Salsa Azteca and Dallas Sandunga) will perform Friday at the Stratos Night Club (2907 W. Northwest Highway) and Saturday at Gloria's Restaurant (5100 Belt Line Road). Then, they'll be instructing hour-and-a-half workshops for $15 each on everything from cha-cha-cha freestyle to spinning, and tricks for everyone from beginners to advanced dancers at The Dance Shoppe, 2155 Marsh Lane. Call 214-923-9404. --Carlton Stowers

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