Tracking Santa

Dec 24, 2006 at 1:03 PM

For those of you interested, you can watch as NORAD tracks Santa as he makes his rounds today (it's christmas eve already in some parts of the world.
Dec 14, 2006 at 10:13 AM

Ha! Pretty fun IQ test here - watch out for the trick questions...

Desecration of icons

Dec 11, 2006 at 9:57 AM
Gay rights is a big issue right now - and has been to anyone not hiding under a rock for the last 20-odd years. It has become an untouchable issue, an issue where if you side for the iconic or old-fashioned, you're instantly labeled a homophobe or, at best, merely bourgeious.

I have seen two icons of hetero get twisted into a gay shape this week. Two completely and utterly iconic representations. One is iconic of the fruiting of life, the creation of a baby in the womb. The Holy Mother Mary.
The other is of the man's man who goes forth and multiplies, or at least seeds the requisite number of women, the uber-hetero Bond, James Bond - 007.

Mary and Joseph / Gary and Joseph

1. There is now a Gay nativity scene making national headlines. Joseph and Gary stand over the Baby Jesus in the Manger.

And there is no baby Jesus. Not only is it historically inaccurate - not matching the times in which the Bible took place - but it is Biblically inaccurate.

The Bible does not say this. Much as you wouldn't make Mary and Joseph be space aliens or camels, they aren't a gay couple. They are Mary and Joseph. Mary's had enough fights just to stay in the Bible (take a look at 4th century and 7th century history) without having to fight for her sexual orientation and even gender now.

What is the purpose of this nativity scene? Obviously, it is a powerful message aimed at the religious right that Gays feel they also deserve the right to marry and adopt children - or even to claim Christian values and religious rights. I applaude the message when pulled from its context. I believe in equal rights for ALL.

But again, what is the purpose of this NATIVITY scene? It is an obvious political and social message. And a powerful one -- but it is not an appropriate one. Who ever it is who came up with the idea of altering Biblical stories for political gain was being extremely disrespectful of the free worship that is an inalieable right of Christians and all Americans. Any scene from the Bible is held to be sacred in Christian religions. It is a violation of the basic respect one ought to pay to the religious beliefs of others to desecrate that with any off-message point.

007 - CASINO ROYALE

2. I am told that there is a gay love scene in the new Bond movie. Between two women or two men who are in the movie with Bond? No. Apparently, the new Bond actually has a love scene with a man himself. I haven't seen the movie yet but

Bond is ICONIC as the testosterone-driven, uber-male, manly man. Turn him into a gay-rights statement and you're not writing about Bond, James Bond. You're writing about someone else that you've created in order to please a new public or make a socio-political statement. You're saying "It's the new millenium, people. Grow up and face it." But that's not James Bond; that is a social statement. If Bond drove around in a hybrid car smoking pot it couldn't be less Bond-y. James Bond is uber-straight.


I must protest against these desecrations of icons. It is not as though these is only so much room in the world, and space must be claimed away by gays from the supposed opposition in order to have room to get people's attention.

We don't all have to be gay. Desecration of other people's icons only makes the one doing the smashing look bad.

Go ahead and get gay issues in the news. I don't want to avoid the issue. I don't have an aversion to living in the same world with homosexuals, or any one of them asking for equal protection under the law. Go for it. I would say I even have an "Ask, Tell" policy. Be honest about who you are. Make it known.

Just don't be rude about it to heterosexuals. Don't steal our icons. James Bond will be ruined for me now. He's so NOT gay that now I won't trust any of the plot elements. I won't see him as the same person anymore. I may not even go see the movie.

Don't be rude about it to the ultra-religious. Don't steal their icons. The purity of what Joseph and Mary did has been muddled up in the eyes of Christians everywhere. You just don't bash the icons of the religious amongst us. I am not Christian, but I can still see how utterly gauche that is.

It is intensely hypocritical to say "You MUST accept me" and then not accept (or at least leave alone) that which others hold dear, and their way of life. It is a massive violation of the Golden Rule.

New meaning for 'where's your head at?'...

at 9:55 AM
Interesting French street performer gets an award and performs at the ceremony.

Batting a penguin

Dec 5, 2006 at 3:09 PM
Swing away as a YETI at a virtual penguin!

Angel Decoys

at 3:00 PM
Here is a pretty neat set of images of an angel decoy being released.



Smoking and Radiation

Dec 4, 2006 at 4:15 PM
Hi -

Remember my post about Smoking and radiation?

They mentioned it in a recent article about the death of a KGB agent in London...

Thanks to Mikey (shout out!) for pointing out how right I am.

:)

I love dogs

Nov 27, 2006 at 6:47 PM
Here is a great little place to go if you aren't allowed to have a dog in your apartment, or you just like websites that interact with you.

I Do Dog Tricks

Tom Cruise is Saner than EVER

Nov 25, 2006 at 10:24 PM
Wow, what a GREAT article: The truth about Tom Cruise.

Speaking of Cruise, I watched the "critically acclaimed" movie starring his ex-wife Nicole Kidman today. It was throw yourself from the nearest cliff upsetting. I swear that if someone you know is suicidal, keep them AWAY from "The Hours" - it will dump them right off the cliff. The movie takes place almost entirely in that self-pitying grandiousity and admiration for pain that occurs just before someone sends themselves into the great beyond.

It actually glorifies suicide. More than any other film or work of art I've ever seen.

Here are the finer points:

  • Two different people committ suicide, and it's portrayed as NOBLE.

  • A protagonist in the story abandons her children, and it's portrayed as the BETTER choice.

  • Another woman miserable in her life doesn't change it.

  • Everybody's homosexual including perfect 50s housewives.



It was weird and upseting and it totally threw my whole day off.

Nicole Kidman transformed herself into Virginia Woolf, she was actually nearly unrecognizable, but that doesn't change the net effect of her work of art. It was quite upsetting and dragged me down with no upbeat anything - no greater message.

Crap.

How to help those who need help

at 10:23 PM
Help them to become more able to help themselves.

Bridge the gap between

"God helps those who help themselves"
and
"Judge not lest yee be judged."

My opinion

at 2:01 PM
My opinion on the reasons for the below is that we are a gracious host, with a third world neighbor.

Should we stop helping these people when they need help? Gosh, no. But we need to do something that fixes the problem for good. We are slowly bleeding out the Mexican border. I know I can't afford the taxes that are being used to fund these illegals getting free healthcare.

How about setting up a different clinic "No, we're sorry, you need to go to the clinic HERE" that charges just a few hundred dollars, but a little MORE than the cost in Mexico. Surely these people can still pull together a few hundred dollars. If not, then they cannot get our health care services without going through the usual approvals.

I don't see why it is inhumane to tell these people they have to pay, when I personally am told "tough luck" when I can't afford something.

Dallas, Estados Unidos

at 1:56 PM
This email was forwarded to me by a friend. I have NO IDEA who the original author is, but if you do, please let me know and I will gladly cite them.

Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas is a fairly famous institution and for a variety of reasons:
1. John F. Kennedy died there in 1963
2. Lee Harvey Oswald died there shortly after
3. Jack Ruby-who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, died there a few years later. By coincidence

On the flip side, Parkland is also home to the second busiest maternity ward in the country with almost 16,000 new babies arriving each year. (That's almost 44 per day---every day)

A recent patient survey indicated that 70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland in the first three months of 2006 were illegal immigrants. Crikey!, that's 11,200 anchor babies born every year .just in Dallas. According to the article, the hospital spent $70.7 million delivering 15,938 babies in 2004 but managed to end up with almost $8 million dollars in surplus funding. Medicaid kicked in $34.5 million, Dallas County taxpayers kicked in $31.3 million and the feds tossed in another $9.5 million.

The average patient in Parkland's maternity wards is 25 years old, married and giving birth to her second child. She is also an illegal immigrant. By law, pregnant women cannot be denied medical care based on their immigration status or ability to pay. OK, fine. That doesn't mean they should receive better care than everyday, middle-class American citizens. But at Parkland Hospital, they do.

Parkland Memorial Hospital has nine prenatal clinics. NINE.

The Dallas Morning News article followed a Hispanic woman who was a patient at one of the clinics and pregnant with her third child---her previous two were also born at Parkland. Her first two deliveries were free and the Mexican native was grateful because it would have cost $200 to have them in Mexico. This time, the hospital wants her to pay $10 per visit and $100 for the delivery but she was unsure if she could come up with the money. Not that it matters, the hospital won't turn her away. (I wonder why they even bother asking at this point.)

How long has this been going on? What are the long-term affects?

Well, another subject of the article was born at Parkland in 1986 shortly after her mother entered the U.S. illegally---now she is having her own child there as well. (That's right, she's technically a U.S. citizen.) These women receive free prenatal care including medication, nutrition, birthing classes and child care classes. They also get freebies such as car seats, bottles, diapers and formula.

Most of these things are available to American citizens as well but only for low-income applicants and even then, the red tape involved is almost insurmountable.

Because these women are illegal immigrants they do not have to provide any sort of legitimate identification---no proof of income. An American citizen would have to provide a social security number which would reveal their annual income---an illegal immigrant need only claim to be poor and the hospital must take them at their word.

My husband is a pilot for the United States Navy (yes, he fought in Iraq) and while the health care is good, we Navy wives don't get any of these perks! Car seats? Diapers? Not so much. So my question is this: Does our public medical care system treat illegal immigrants better than American citizens? Yes it does!

As I mentioned, the care I have received is perfectly adequate but it's bare bones, meat and potato medical care---not top of line.

Their (the illegals) medical care is free---simply because they are
illegal immigrants? Once again, there is no way to verify their income.

Parkland Hospital offers indigent care to Dallas County residents who earn less than $40,000 per year. (They also have to prove that they did not refuse health coverage at their current job Yeah, the 'free' care is not so easy for Americans.)

There are about 140 patients who received roughly $4 million dollars for un-reimbursed medical care. As it turns out, they did not qualify for free treatment because they resided outside of Dallas County. So the hospital is going to sue them! Illegals get it all free! But U.S. citizens who live outside of Dallas County get sued! How stupid is this?

As if that isn't annoying enough, the illegal immigrant patients are actually complaining about hospital staff not speaking Spanish. In this AP story, the author speaks with a woman who is upset that she had to translate comments from the hospital staff into Spanish for her husband. The doctor was trying to explain the situation to the family and the mother was forced to translate for her husband who only spoke Spanish. This was apparently a great injustice to her.

In an attempt to create a Spanish-speaking staff, Parkland Hospital is now providing incentives in the form of extra pay for applicants who speak Spanish. Additionally, medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern for which Parkland Hospital is the training facility will now have a Spanish language requirement added to their already jammed-packed curriculum. No other school in the country boasts such a ridiculous multi-semester (multicultural) requirement.

In the meantime, I have to end my column here. I have to go buy a car seat. Which by the way, if I don't have one, I get a $200 ticket, the illegal get a chit from the cop for a free one at tax payers expense.

Ed: Sorry for the length, but this needs wide circulation----particularly to our "employees" in the Congress.

"Once the coffers of the federal government are opened to the public, there will be no shutting them again." -Grover Cleveland

Volunteerism is a Tradition in Scientology

Nov 22, 2006 at 11:48 AM






I am proud to say that my religion is great at being there when people need help.

Man vs. Woman

Nov 16, 2006 at 12:24 PM
A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word.

An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position.

As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically,

"Relatives of yours?"

"Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

Teen Screen is a Fraud?

at 12:14 PM
It is a good idea to care for our youth. No one is arguing otherwise. What the people who disagree with "Teen Screen" are saying is that it's a mockery of help - it is betrayal as help. In a word: fraud.

It is a bad idea to PRETEND to care for our youth while lining your own pockets. It's despicable when the politicians do it -- but that at least is exceptionally obvious and easy to avoid. It's plainly and obviously evil when the sheep's clothing on the wolf actually starts working, and we start allowing said wolf to raid our high schools looking for kids to turn into sheep.

Oy vey. You can tell I care a great deal about this issue.

You can't tell me that the people behind "Teen Screen" aren't looking at it as a promotional push, a way to double, triple or quadruple the number of children on psychiatric drugs, and within the next few years rather than over the course of their lifetimes. It is a push to overcome the declining numbers of people who are voluntarily seeking psychiatric help by using the publically funded school system to fish for children to drug. This on the assumption that it creates lifetime patients, people who - because psychiatry cannot cure anyone - will continue to buy the expensive mind-alteration drugs into perpituity.

Considering that we're talking about controversial, dangerous drugs that have never been proven not to permanently damage the growth of youngsters or their outlook on life, you can see how I'm a bit ticked off about "Teen Screen".

Trip down Memory Lane

Nov 15, 2006 at 12:45 AM
I went to Clearwater to visit family for about a week and a half.

I was trying mostly just to lay low and stay at home with my sisters and my mom. Relaz, take in a few movies or go out with my sisters, you know. Stay low key.

Instead, I ran into or had interaction of some kind with nearly every single person I've known in the last twenty years. I ran into:
  • Joy and Bob: the parents of a girl I once taught when I was a lower school teacher,
  • Jenny: my ex-student from 13 years ago,
  • Paul: a guy I worked with 15 years ago,
  • Billie: the woman who sold me a cockatiel when I was 16,
  • Rick: Last years' model (awkward),
  • Jen: The gal my last boyfriend cheated with (awkward),
  • Margot: A beautiful woman with a heart-o-gold I used to work with.
  • Mackenzie: friend who's working on her first baby!
  • Kat: I barely had time to say HI when I ran into her,
  • Damara: childhood best friend - due any day now with her third boy,
  • Lexi: good friend married to a good ex,
  • Mike: my ex-fiance,
  • Duane: my old boss - same as ever,
  • Steve: my ex-husband,
  • Tommy: the dad of two daughters I used to nanny,
  • Frank: The father of a friend of my daughters',
  • Nancy: the clerk of the court who I turned my divorce papers in to last year,
  • John: old friend of the family,
  • Tyler & Lila: An ex's sister's son and daughter,
  • Chad: My ex-husbands' best-friend,
  • Yohana: A lady I used to work with who's pregnant again,
  • Moe: A guy I used to work with who says I'm brilliant,
  • Jon: A good friend who dropped me last year and patently ignored me,
  • Amber: Friend who wasn't supposed to even be in that town at all, A total surprise!
  • Adam & Harley: Amber's sons. I used to nanny (Harley). Another surprise.
and the list goes ON.

It got trippy there, like the final episode of a show - the one where everyone starts walking in, even if they only had a three episode run four years earlier. You know what I mean?

Old Faithful Webcam

Nov 12, 2006 at 5:01 PM
Here is a link to the real-time images of old faithful - the geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

I wish this were the local college schedule

Oct 25, 2006 at 9:08 PM
REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED BY Monday, October 16, 2006

NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM.


Class 1

How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays --- Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.

Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.


Class 2

The Toilet Paper Roll --- Does It Change Itself?

Round Table Discussion.

Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.


Class 3

Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub? --- Group Practice.

Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.


Class 4

Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor ---
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.

Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.


Class 5

After Dinner Dishes --- Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.

Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM

Class 6

Loss Of Identity --- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support and Support Groups.

Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM


Class 7

Learning How To Find Things --- Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum.

Monday at 8:00 pm, 2 hours.


Class 8

Health Watch --- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Graphics and Audio Tapes.

Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 pm for 2 hours.

Class 9

Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost --- Real Life Testimonials.

Tuesdays at 6:00 pm
Location to be determined.


Class 10

Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.

4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.


Class 11

Learning to Live --- Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
On-line Classes and role-playing.

Tuesdays at 7:00pm

Class 12

How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.

Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 pm.

Class 13

The Stove/Oven --- What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.

Tuesdays at 6:00 pm
Location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Twists on Proverbs

Oct 14, 2006 at 12:57 PM
1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like....night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

5. He who laughs last thinks slowest.

6. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

7. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

8. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

9. How many of you believe in telekinesis?...Raise my hand.

10. OK...so what's the speed of dark?

11. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

12. Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

13. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

14. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

15. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

16. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

17. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.

18. Just remember---if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

19. Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright
until you hear them speak.

20. Life isn't like a box of chocolates....it's more like a jar of
jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.

coffee fanatic

Oct 11, 2006 at 4:56 PM


¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤

•°o.O[There's too much blood in my caffeine system]O.o°•
¸,ø¤°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø






You will need to highlight the above to get the gist ot it.

Joined a Yahoo Art Group

at 2:51 PM
I joined a art chat group locally. Any of you in Coos County Oregon who want to join, it's brand new.

Coos County Art Chat

Where there's smoke...

Oct 9, 2006 at 7:34 PM
Today I have been thinking about smoking, and what is it that makes it toxic.

Scientists studying smoking and the negative effects of it start with an assumption. Their assumption is that it is the chemicals in the cigarette smoke that are causing the negative effects.

What if it is not the chemicals that cause the effect, but the fact that the tobacco is irradiated that causes the damage?

Perhaps it is possible that lung cancer, like many cancers, is caused more often by the radiation process that the tobacco undergoes than the chemicals?




I think so.

Further proof backing up my hunch. It was recently discovered by a third party investigator that smoking only a few cigarettes a day can actually be beneficial to your health rather than negative. In some cases, people who habitually smoked only three cigarettes a day were healthier than non smokers and lived longer. However, if you smoked 1 a day or if you smoked 5, those numbers tanked out again - somehow three was an amount some bodies could handle easily.

Possible why?

Nicotinic acid - AKA niacin, was dicovered because it is in the nicotine in tobacco - and it has a natural anti-radiation effect. Niacin is a part of any good detoxification program, and any good radiation poisoning repair program.

It is possible that the reason why only smoking three cigarettes is not as harmful is because the body gets just enough nicotinic acid to combat the radiation a little better and not eough toxins to not be able to expel them properly.

Just my musings. I am not a scientific researcher, but I think it ties together some recent, baffling discoveries in this area and solves a few puzzles that smoking research has uncovered lately. It also would explain that lung caner does not respond as well to chemotherapy as other bodily cancers. Perhaps it is possible that it needs to be treated as other radiation-related cancers are treated.

Perhaps in 100 years, everyone will have discovered what I mention here today. I personally believe that radiation is the root cause of most lung cancers.

Since processed food became regularly irradiated, more and more people have developed colo-rectal cancers, which makes sense. When your body doesn't want a substance in it, it send it to the colo-rectal area. Leaving a radioactive substance in your colon for too long naturally will cause a cancer to form.

Same with cigarettes. Lung cancer has risen in rates, sky rocketing a few years after the irradiation of tobacco became standard procedure, and continuing to maintain those rates. Doctors say that the jump was from better diagnosis, but I personaly feel it has everything to do with the use of radiation in the treatment of items we use in and on our bodies.

Where there's smoke, there's radiation. If you smoke Marlboros, Camels, Kools, Virginia Slims, Benson and Hedges, generics or whatever - you're irradiating your lungs, which to me is even creepier than just filling yourself with toxins. There are only a few good ways to release radiation from the body and they are a heck of a lot more work than standard bodily cleanses - and rarely undertaken. Most of the time, a person with radiation poisioning feels weak, has weight fluxuations, gets a general depression and malais -- sounds like modern America to me.

So, avoid radiation in your daily life. Stay away from CRT tubes, from irradiated foods, from cigarettes and from the more obvious sources of radiation like dental fillings and toxic waste dumps.

For you die-hard smokers out there: the only brand you can buy in the USA that does not radiate their tobacco is the "American Spirit" organic cigarette brand - and that was the word on the street before they were bought up by Winston Salem or whoever.

But you should really just QUIT. You know why? You're addicted. Do you know the word root for the word "addict"? It's the Latin word "addicere" which means:

SLAVE

Dancer

Oct 6, 2006 at 9:47 PM

Latest oil pastel - took ten minutes. Purposefully skewed the real dimensions of a body. Amber loves it when I elongate and distort real human shapes, and this one was done for her.

Lizzy's baby

Oct 5, 2006 at 8:26 PM

Hi all.

Any of you who know my step-sister Liz, here's a picture of her with her newly created family.

They're visiting right now, so I'm getting lots of Auntie time.

Update on my weight

at 7:53 PM
I've lost 15 pounds of that weight I mentioned before. Working on the rest of it. Simple matter of exercise and eating well.

Free Hugs

at 7:50 PM
Watch this all the way til the end, it's awesome. Ha ha!

Song

at 1:11 AM
All Alone

All alone, I'm so all alone
There is no one else but you
All alone by the telephone
Waiting for a ring, a ting-a-ling

I'm all alone every evening
All alone, feeling blue
Wond'ring where you are and how you are
And if you are all alone too

I wonder where you are and how you are
And if you are all alone too

---------------

I can't sing this song ("All Alone" by Irving Berlin) without starting to cry - I never have been able to -- even when I wasn't lonely.

When you're lonely, truly lonely and not just starving for attention, there is an odd feeling to it that is something akin to despair and grief, but not quite the same. It is duller than grief, and less galling than despair. Whatever it is, "All Alone" captures that ineffable quality about loneliness with more accuracy than any other song I know.

In order to sing the song in the right key and with the proper tone and cadence, my throat has to open up to just the way it does right before a sob -- the kind you release unexpectedly. The whole song, once sung, feels like grief that has escaped my body and flown right out of my mouth along with the song. The song performs a magic trick on me, making me feel something and then release it in the last few words. It's just long enough to do this, and just short enough to make it powerful.

There is something so amazingly magical about that.

When singing a good song, I fill with the emotion of the song, the emotion that was captured by the songwriter and considered important enough to immortalize in musical words.

It's no wonder that so many religions throughout the ages have used song to pull the emotions out of their church members. Think of Jewish cantors, those monks, "Ave Maria", and rain dancers. Song does something to the soul, activates emotions where they otherwise would lie dormant. It makes people have to both communicate and release an aesthetic.

That in itself is a wonder.

I realized something about myself. The only thing I have done every day since I was born was sing. Of course, with the exception only of days with strep throat or the flu or something. I sing in the shower, I sing when doing dishes, I sing when I am walking around. I sing when the radio plays music. I sing when I'm sad, and I sing when I'm joyful. When I was in the womb, I was probably singing.

I think I will continue to sing every day of my life.

Harvest

Sep 27, 2006 at 4:51 PM


It's harvest time here. Beautiful morning dew chills the air, fog drifts in each morning, and then suddenly it all lifts to remind us that the nice summer weather is not quite gone yet. The apples are plucked from the trees, the pears are all gone (predatory creatures ate most of them this year - including my step-mom), and there remain thousands of apples to be picked.

Marie (the aforementioned step-mom) made the most amazing apple-ginger sauce which we poured over ice cream (in my case, over sugar-free ice cream) and all ooohed and aaahed over it. It was amazing.

If these kinds of things are the reward for giving up city life, then I'm glad.

I have been taking horse back riding lessons lately. Training in the roundpen and loose saddles and sore legs are worth it when you have reached the top of a hill and can see the entire universe from atop your horse.

I am discovering the joys of being a country girl. I miss those of you that are far away, but I can't help but revel in the beauty that surrounds me here.

TV Extravaganza

Sep 22, 2006 at 6:02 PM

According to the Nielsen Media Research Group, there are 2.7 TVs per household. That sounds about right. Usually there is a little one in the kids room, a big one in the livingroom, and the one that the big one replaced is either thrown out or moved to the master bedroom. For everyone like me who has only one TV, there are also people with a few extra TVs in the bathroom, the car, the kitchen, or other odd places.

The funny part of this is that there are only 2.55 people per household. TVs now outnumber Americans for the first time ever. I find that amazing. Positively ridiculous.

I don't even get channels on my TV; I just use it to watch movies. I wonder if that also means there are people who sign up for every conceivable cable and satellite TV option (to make up for people like me) and then religiously watch every one of their 80 shows pre week, TIVO-ing those that come on after they've dragged their inflow-only butts to bed at night (to make up for people like me).

What a life. I'm so glad it's not mine.

SAY NO TO TV, PEOPLE!!

Be Jackson Pollock...

Sep 18, 2006 at 8:16 PM
But without exposure to all those toxic chemicals from solvents and car paints and such that he used:

Go here, start clicking.

Latest Work

Sep 16, 2006 at 12:42 AM


Here's my latest oil pastel.



















It's called "Closed Nude"

Going Places

Sep 14, 2006 at 8:16 PM
I've booked a trip to Tampa for the 28th of October. Still no return date because I'm trying to work out how much I can fit in in how much time, who I'm staying with, who I can borrow the car of, whether I can work long distance, etc.

Can't WAIT to see my sisters, mom, grandma, friends, etc.

In case I ever go missing

Sep 3, 2006 at 6:21 PM
In case I ever go missing, I want all of my family and friends to know some things:

1. I would never ever leave my children purposefully. I would never ever go anywhere (for more than just a night out) without telling someone where to reach me. I don't travel without my kids unless they're staying with their dad. When I do travel, I use my AMEX for everything. I would be very easy to trace. I value the people I love too much to not communicate to atleast one of them regularly.

2. I have never considered suicide and I can't imagine a situation in which I would. I have already been through tough times and I am generally too optimistic about life to even consider it. Besides, as someone who believes to the core in reincarnation and carma, what good would it do? I know suicide survivors, and I would never put them through that. I would never do that to any of my family. Ever. (Even if my world fell apart. I look to my family when my world falls apart.)

3. Here is what my jewelry looks like. I wear the locket constantly, the flower is white marble with a grey streak, and was a gift from my step-mom, the ring is a gift from my mom (platinum with two hearts with pink stones in them that swoop past each other) and the black hematite magnet bracelet I bought because I have a mild case of carpal tunnel that it seems to help.



4. My best dental records are with Dr. Charlie in Clearwater. I haven't done anything to my teeth since I saw him.

Why the depressing subject matter? What gives? No reason in particular, nothing seems to be awry, but this is a "just in case". I once heard that the authorites will start looking for you much faster if you've made a statement like this in the past, or they can verify that you're not a person given to sudden urges to wander free.

My first line of defense is my gun, my second my wits and my third is my self defense training - which is sorely out of date. If all of those were ever to fail me, I would be vastly reassured if I knew that I would be being looked for by the best in a hurry, and that my family wasn't wondering if I just "took off", because I would desperately need your postulates of coming back safely.

Sorry to be such a downer, but this kind of thing can't be prepared for enough.

Update

at 5:37 PM
Sorry so long without blogging.

I have not been feeling good about my body for a bit now. I remember the exact moment last week when I decided to start doing something about it. I felt poorly, exhausted a lot, and I was out doing my food shopping. I looked at the magazine in the rack beside my line. It had a picture of Nicole Ritchie, whom I couldn't really care less about, and her eating disorder woes. Beside it was her weight, and they were worried about her at 82 pounds. She weighed exactly half what I did that day. HALF. It follows that if a woman could weigh half what I do and be at the extreme end of thin, I must conversely be at the extreme end of chubby. Even taking height into account, the difference was too extreme to mean I am at an okay weight. No longer merely "a little padded" I suddenly realized that I tottering my way closer every day toward the fate of looking like the "before" picture that is inevitably on the back page of every fashion magazine.

I took half the contents of my cart and put them back on the shelves. No chips, no pudding, no milk.

I don't want to be chubby. I love the outdoors, I love exercise, and I love being graceful. You can't be graceful as easily when you're overweight.

That was last week. I took a good look in the mirror and realized that I couldn't see the lines of my muscles as easily anymore. Mostly just long, flat, smooth planes of roundedness. I like feeling FIT, and hadn't realized (no mirrors in my house) how far south I'd gone from what I thought I was like. I got morose about it, and then quickly transitioned to being a woman on a mission. I've lost 9 pounds already from eating very well (never forgetting a meal time or ignoring hunger), cutting out all sugar of any kind, all dairy (which I am allergic to anyway) and non-vegetable carbs, and from strengthening my daily exercise to thrice daily (ten or 15 minutes at a time max).

I feel very good, too. The biggest side effect of eating well, better than losing weight, is the raised energy levels. Yum. And my mood swings disappear.

Hopefully, within a few months, I can look more like the me I want to be. I'll keep you posted. I certainly don't plan to obsess about food or start trying to learn how to throw up, but I do intend to get back to where I feel healthiest and most attractive, which is around 130 pounds.

Sorry to bore you with my weight issues, but that's the post. I've been focusing on DOING things lately, so I forgot all about you, my audience of good friends.

Reality, Religion and Freedom

Aug 31, 2006 at 12:45 PM
As Richard Feynman famously said in the wake of the Challenger tragedy:

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.


This is why any one of us must take everything the media says with a good dose of salt.

We live in reality, like it or not, and in our current world, there are those who have fallen into the trap of religious superiority.

The belief that your own religion is the only true religion, and therefore you are the only true people is back. Religious fervor is highly dangerous. It engenders, often enough, the secure knowledge that deaths of non-believers in your one true religion are all right, perfectly reasonable in light of your divine mission.

In ancient times, the aggressive nature and willingness to murder women and children and kill in cruel and unusual ways was called barbarism. Barbarism is back. History is repeating itself, and I find the world yet again to be fast becoming an unsavory place to be a free thinker.

War does not quell religious fervor, it never has. The only thing that has ever quelled the urge to smite all infidels has been the urge to instead live peacefully beside them, because there is something good to be gained from the relationship. The children of those who are blinded in their urge to gain access to infinite glory will hopefully return to reality, to recognize the insanity of it and settle for a peaceful accord that allows both sides the freedom to do as they please for the benefit of all.

Attempts to smother another religion in any way are sure routes to both sides of that conflict losing all freedoms, either in the retribution for wrongs or the attempts to shut out danger. You cannot destroy your religious enemy to make them go away. You can only find ways to live together in peace. This is why war is not the answer to the current conflict.

I would like to remind everyone of this excerpt from point #18 of the common sense guide to living, The Way to Happiness, called Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others:

If all the brightest minds since the fifth century B.C. or before have never been able to agree on the subject of religion or antireligion, it is an arena of combat between people that one would do well to stay out of.


Hear, hear.

Offensive Media Bashing - Is there an Upside?

Aug 30, 2006 at 1:56 PM
I take exception at hearing my religion getting bashed.

I am a Scientologist. Just saying this can give you a pre-decided concept of what and who I am, a pre-judgement. That is commonly known as prejudice.
There seems to be an increase in anti-Scientology jokes and innuendo, such as NPR's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" poking fun at Tom Cruise' "Scientological ways", calling them "crazy". Or the bashing and lies that occur in the dark moldy underbelly of the web (either grossly malicious or, optimistically, having nothing better to do than poke sharp sticks at things unknown).

But I have been thinking about the fact that name recognition for Scientology must be WAY up. I haven't had anyone ask me "What's that?" in ages, when I mentioned my religion. I kind of get the idea that there isn't anyone out there anymore who has not heard of it. The average Joe also is NOT reacting badly to my being a Scientologist. I generally get positive responses, even from strangers.

I think that all this Scientology-bashing is aimed at weakening the church, but that's just not possible. Completely impossible, because Scientology is factually as amazingly workable as it says it is. Anyone who goes straight to the horse's mouth to find out what's up, who honestly wishes to improve themselves is gonna like what they see. Period, end of story. Any decent, sane person who has ever felt the benifit of a Scientology service knows full well that it works and is a force for good in the world.

So, since all of this attention can't weaken the church, it follows that it will eventually strengthen it.

---------------

For some reason, it is okay with some people for the media to bash just Scientology as a religion (but, of course, not their own religion). This is an abuse of the fact that Americans are feeling religious fellowship strain at present. In light of recent world events, it seems that some people are less comfortable with our patchwork religious landscape. Because laughter is used to release strain, there is some comic abuse of that fact occuring - and I'm seeing a general rise in religious jokes that would have been utterly taboo just a few years ago.

This will change back once people get sick of the "us versus them" mentality. I think that people who are currently getting an earful of Scientology religion-bashing jokes are gonna get sick of it sometime soon. There is only so long that the media will be able to get away with slapping Scientologists in the face before even the guy who was looking the other way is gonna step in and say enough is enough. It's gauche, petty, hypocritical, malicious, bigoted and trite (and a hundred other things).

Eventually, that will become obvious to anyone other than the kind of people who wear white sheets on their neighbor's lawns.

People are naturally curious. So, the bashing will backfire and this campaign of hatred will eventually result in more people coming in the doors of their local church of Scientology to find out what all the ruckus is about.

At least that's what I think.

I Agree ...

Aug 29, 2006 at 9:47 PM
with this Scientology theology post From MT in Canada.

I'm a music writing machine!

at 6:40 PM
Something shifted in my universe and I have been writing new music now for that last few weeks at an average of 1 piece a day.

Those of you who've called me in the last few days have been held hostage - forced to listen to whichever new piece of music I'm writing when you call. So far rave reviews, but it's all from family and friends. It'd be interesting to see what the general population thinks of them.

I've got a few good themes, some completed pieces and several songs.

I am very excited about this, because I had "musician's block" for a few years there.

Now it's time to write this new batch down.

I hate writing out sheet music, because my music writing is akin to a 6 year old's cursive. It takes a great deal of work to get the piece playable by anyone but me, with numerous scratched drafts.

Does anyone know of a good non-midi based program I can buy to write sheet music in? A WYSIWYG editor that lets me build sheet music on my computer. I have no interest in something that requires connecting my computer to my keyboard -- standalone software please.

Interesting blog post

Aug 26, 2006 at 2:45 PM
I read this at the Huffington Post. It was a nice statement of my initial gut reaction to the news yesterday about Tom Cruise's non-renewal of contract.

What happened with a non-renewal of contract is virtually unheard of. It shows the power that a large number of small lies can weild in the hands of trusted authority like our media.

My guess is that it was entirely about stock. Which means that Tom was planning a break from Paramount and Paramount decided to strike first. "To hell with decency" when their stock is in jeopardy.

That is the only theory that makes complete sense in light of the obvious facts.

But what do facts matter to the media? I have never seen them take any fact and display it accurately. Everything has a "spin" - which I define as turning facts and reality into propaganda for the purposes of selling something or creating public opinion where it would not otherwise exist.

I remember a very uncomfortable movie that I saw once. It was called "Roger Dodger". The only memorable line in it what when Roger told someone he had to get back to work to "make people hate themselves" and that selling was a process of making people hate themselves enough to buy BLAH product to solve it.

Sounds about right, that sounds about like what the media does.

The motto would appear to be:

NEED US OR SUFFER


They are sure making Tom suffer now, aren't they? Tom decided he didn't need PR help, and the media grabbed on to that. They take every step Tom takes, freeze-frame it in telephoto glory and make it look like a blunder. Whether it is or not, doesn't matter. It LOOKS like one. The average Joe sees the newspaper editorials and smear pieces and thinks "Criminy! What is that guy doing?". Well, that's just what happens when you fly into the teeth of convention.

When it works out in your favor, it's called PR. If you're an individual and the media likes you, they call you
"brave", "a trailblazer", "a forward thinker"

When it doesn't they call you
"arrogant", "out on a limb", "bizarre"

Same thing from different angles, aren't they? That's called SPIN.

The media -- and apparently Paramount -- seems to be thinking that Tom Cruise has jumped the shark. I think it's more like the sharks are jumping him.

What is happening to Tom Cruise right now cannot be seen as anything but a black PR campaign where everything that happens is played purposefully to get the most negative SPIN possible on it. What that means is that none of us really know what's happening. Only Tom and Kate do. As far as I'm concerned, that's where that one sits for now, and I'm not believing anything that Tom doesn't say for himself.

Damaged Odalisque

Aug 24, 2006 at 4:17 PM

This odalisque had to be reconstructed a bit because it actually was seriously water damaged in the last hurricane I went through (honestly, I can't even remember the name they gave it, I've been through so many now). It got all kinds of water spots and what appears to be watercolor paint spots.

Blame the damage on my then-roommate, Rick. He put the box with my artwork in it in the garage shortly before the storm. I would have been perfectly happy to continue to live with cardboard boxes as a livingroom.

In any case, I live on the hurricane-free coast now. And I learned my lesson. I keep all of my artwork worth keeping in a nice closed artists case. It's water-resistant.

Paintings too big to go in there I wrap in wax paper and then plastic wrap. I don't know for sure why. If it doesn't keep them supple, at least it'll keep freezer burn away.

My First Oil Painting

Aug 23, 2006 at 7:36 PM

Hi -

I give away most of my paintings, especially the ones I like. This oil painting is posted here for your viewing pleasure. I am unhappy with most of it except the candle holder and the wax block (which I have enlarged below).


It was one of my first oil paintings (if not my very first) - at least ten years old.












So, here you go. I have every doubt about posting this, because I want to make a million excuses, and say how I want to change it or do this that or the other thing differently, but that's just silly.



One thing I must say is that even with improved technique since then, I still need work on perspective. I am looking for a good simple explanation of it that actually is readily applicable to painting. I don't want photo-realistic perspective, but painting perspective. It is a little different, and I want a textbook that understands that. Any advice?

Where's the beef?

at 7:25 PM

Del.icio.us seems to be offline.

I wonder what gives?

Announcement

Aug 22, 2006 at 10:43 PM
I'm an auntie!

My step-sister delivered a beautiful red-headed 8 pound 13 ounce boy this morning. Everyone is doing really well.

They decided to know the sex early, so his name has been Cove for a month already. His room is ready and decorated for a boy. I can't wait to go visit him.

I made him a baby blankie, which was sent up with my step-mom and dad.

My sister Liz had a completely natural birth, and the first time parents both did a bang-up job with delivery and with support, I'm told.

My Dad and Marie will both be there for a little bit. Please, if you know Elizabeth, please send congratulations or flowers to her in Portland! Contact me directly if you want contact details.

Solved it Already

at 1:03 AM
Hey! I had a real whopper of a problem I could have ranted and raved about, but it's gone before I can post about it.

Well, I solved a problem the way I have my whole life: with solutions.

As a Scientologist, the solutions to every problem are clearly laid out before me, and they never fail, because they are scientific fact - situation "A" solves with solution "B". Period. End of story.

So, when my own life develops a problem, I can't sit and stew in it. Unlike those of you who do not have a workable technology for solving problems at your fingertips, indexed and ready to be implemented, or those of you who were not born into the most workable technology for living ever devised, I don't have any right to revel in the exquisite pain of being the victim of some supposed wrong.

For instance, if a fire starts and you're the person standing next to the big red fire alarm lever, you're the one who's supposed to pull it. I am always the person standing next to the lever, because I am a Scientologist.

I already know what the solution is, so I just have to get myself to take the responsiblity necessary to implement the solution to that problem and it solves.

This ROCKS because there is no problem you can't solve if you implement. Scientology is CHOCK full of solutions to problems, and they work every time.

Some people I meet think that's a fanatical statement, but it's not. It's provable fact. It ALWAYS works. IS it fanatical for the mathematician to state that the solution to x = 3 + 1 is a;lways going to be 4? No. Why? Because Math is understood to be a workable science. Every time anyone ever has done the steps necessary to solve that problem, it has come out to 4.

That's what it's like to be a Scientologist.

Being raised as a Scientologist means you're never left with thinking the only solution to a problem is drugs or running away or flying off the handle. You know what needs doing. Because you're raised with a firm belief in many lifetimes and in responsibility and consequences, there really is never any point in considering suicide. Because you're raised with strong morals, it's impossible to be amoral enough to become a criminal.

So, I was a boring teenager. Which is fine with me.

When I grew up, my parents left it to me to choose what I wanted to be. So, at about 18, I started to dig in to finding out about other religions. I read the Bible, the Torah, snippets that I could find from Kaballah, and pieces of the Koran. I looked into yoga, into the mysticism surrounding martial arts, and then I read the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Tao, the Art of War, and everything that the Jehovah's Witnesses handed me.

None of that seemed right. I was used to a straightforward guide to living successfully - which is what Scientology is. None of that other stuff WORKED for me, gave me real-life ways to work to be a better person and the means to do so.

So, on my own, and for myself, I chose Scientology. And I have had a better life for it,

Now, back to the point. A problem between myself and a few old friends (one I grew up with, and one I used to be involved with - now married). We were having a bit of trouble communicating to one another. I knew what the solution was in this case, and made myself swallow my justifications for failing and just implemented the solution that I knew needed to be done. It was hard to be responsible, to put myself out there. I implemented the solution (which was the communicating to the friends in question of a particular withheld communication I had been avoiding talking about, about things I had done that were not the best).

Well - long story short, I no longer have my big, noisy problem.

My relationship with those people is back to the comfort of being problemless. And I like it that way.

It makes my blog post today nice and boring, but it makes my life happier and my goals more readily available. And that's the point, isn't it?

Vacuum Powered Art

Aug 20, 2006 at 7:19 PM
I decided that if I could own the collected works of only one actor - from start to finish - it would be Bruce Willis. Three of my favorite movies have him in them. He is thoroughly undervalued as a dramatic actor. Bruce knows how to underact. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I think Bruce Willis gets short shrift being thought of as primarily an "action" guy. The reason he succeeds at action is because he uses non-action well. He knows the power of the pregnant pause.

Some call it the calm before the storm, but it is often the calm during the storm, too. In music, it's called a rest. In painting, it creates atmosphere.

Supposedly, a scientific study was once done on the different between Beethoven and his contemporaries. The study was to discover what about the music made Beethoven so much more memorable, so much more impactive that his music still remains amongst the most played in the world. And the computer that was given the job of comparison came back with that the difference was the use of silence.

Beethoven knew when to place a dramatic pause, knew when nothing was more powerful than something. It gives the audience the time to react, to absorb and acknowledge something. To allow for the communication to become a communication cycle, allows the music to become as much a the audience's as it is the composers' or the performers'.

Another person who bravely worked new ground in using emptiness to punctuate a communication was Rembrandt. Look at this portrait. You have to enter it to find it's value. You can tell the coat's texture, the weight of the lace in his collar. You can tell he isn't completely pulled together. You have to peer into the places where it appears to me mostly just shadow. When you do, you don't see perfect detail. You do see everything Rembrandt wanted to communicate about himself. He was 23, and his whole life is in his eyes, which themselves are buried in the shadows of the painting. You can tell his lips are parted, but the details, the focal points of his communication are barely painted in. I feel like he's about to do something, and it makes me want to know what that is. I want to communicate to the person in this portrait.

And for that, I think his portraits are amongst the most powerful examples of understatement in the known history of art. This portrait is early, before he was a famous master painter. This self portrait elicits a reaction from me.

That is the goal of my art: to get my communication, my emotion, to be completely understood so that a reaction occurs at the other end. To take a breath - make use of the lack, the silence, the rest - the power of the vacuum - in addition to the form, the swirling and colorful, the forte.

The rest is a powerful part of why the remainder of the artwork impinges. It is the moment when the flow reverses to some degree. Beethoven knew it, Rembrandt knew it.

And for it, society recognized something powerful enough to cause their art to be the most remembered of their entire time period.

And every great actor has to live it to some degree.

The best paid actors out there. Think back to the moment you remember best. For me, they are the powerful moments of silence, pregnant pauses.

The vacuum.

Schrodinger's Cats as a movie

at 4:00 PM
I saw a preview for a movie that takes the premise that we will start to be incapable of bearing children shortly to a whole new level.

I think it was called the human project.

I liked the concept but I think it will fall on its face and become nothing more than an action chase/escape style movie. That happens so often in great Sci-Fi stories.

Dolphin Bubble Ring Toys

Aug 19, 2006 at 1:20 PM

Dolphins make their own toys.

Scientific paper here, picture here and movie here.

Instructions for how to make your own dolphiny fun.

Only Good Thing to Come Out of Russian Military Experimentation

at 12:47 AM
This musical instrument is the most difficult musical instrument to learn, apparently. And it was invented by a physicist doing research into perimiter defense systems by the name of Lev Sergeivich Termen - after whom it is named.

I had never heard of it before.

Here's a link to a video of someone playing the Theremin.

The Theremin is pronounced kinda like Teremeen and is supposedly the most difficult musical instrument in the world to play. But I'd bet the reason it hasn't taken off is that it was invented in a communist nation, which is not known for it's free thinking freewheeling experimental musicians.

I'd bet people who've mastered the saw would disagree about whether the Theremin is actually hardest to play. Who decides that shite anyway? "The HARDEST musical instrument in the world to play."

Says who? Tell that to a seven year old boy being MADE to learn the clarinet. He'd probably love to switch to the Theremin. No silly buttons, valves, reeds. Just his hands and a weird haunted house noise from his viewpoint.

The BEST or the WORST is as impossible to define (outside of the clarity of the physical sciences) as perfection - think nirvana/utopia/shangrila. What are they but concepts? Somebody would be sorely disappointed no matter how hard you tried to make a utopia. Me for instance. America's current idea of utopia is extremely tightly controlled by government. I for one say NO THANK YOU.

Learn from history: No Earthly government has EVER created a perfect society. Hitler tried, look where that got him. Look where it got the commies. All the good it ever got them was the Theremin, for pete's sake.

"Group think" creates the lowest expectation for the highest possible price. That ain't gonna start magically making utopia happen.

I think the difference between best or worst is summed up with wit and panache by a Halloween episode of The Simpsons (yes I said The Simpsons) where Homer goes to Hell but the hell he arrives to is where people are force fed donuts endlessly, unrelentingly endlessly having donuts crammed into already full mouths. Whereas others are in agony, Homer's in heaven.

So, anyway, back to the Theremin. Now that Russia's been a democracy for a while, is this instrument of non-war gonna take off?

Smarty Pants

Aug 18, 2006 at 1:00 PM
This kid is unbelievable.

Mr Boole's final wish

at 3:27 AM
Everyone should know this.

Drug-Suicide Link in Children Confirmed by Study

Aug 17, 2006 at 7:06 PM
Everyone who has eyes and has spent time in the public school system can see that psychiatric drugs have an adverse effect upon children.

Here's a study that confirms the psych drug-suicide link.

The Oregonian reported it on the inside of the back page (how much more hidden can you get?). And it left the words "Psychiatric" or "Prescription" out, so the casual reader will think "well, duh" thinking the article is talking about street drugs.

Obviously crafted to HIDE this fact from us?

What motive does the Organized media have for making as little of this news as possible? Well, how about the fact that I counted seven (7) ads within that copy of the Oregonian for those prescription drug companies that the study "outs" as evil -- and I wasn't even looking very hard.

Is there anything more evil than harming children?

Yes. Knowing about it and not making a big huge stink about it.

Shame on the media outlets who hid this important news from us, for selling their integrity to the highest bidder.

Baby steps

at 6:05 PM
I met a friendly face while I was waiting to fill my tires at the gas station today. He had great big honest looking eyes. I'm a pushover for brown hair and big blue eyes. I already know that that's what I have, so don't give me the freudian analysis on that, OK?

He made eye contact for a while and then asked me what I was "after" instead of saying "how are you". I recognized the unmistakable signs of flirting, and my knee-jerk response is usually to cut the guy off right there.

BUT I recently made a resolution to learn how to react to flirting (like something other than a married woman - cause I'm not anymore). So, I flirted back for the first time in ten years. Turns out I was rewarded by getting a heartstopper smile back.

I doubt I'll ever see that particular heartbreaker again, but it's a start in the right direction, I think.

Solar System Changes

Aug 16, 2006 at 8:31 PM

Due to a meeting of the members of the International Astronomical Union, our solar system is being upsized. The previous planetary crew of 10 may be raised to 12. To fill the newly opened positions, moons are being promoted from within to full planetary status. Further expansion is expected to occur over the upcoming millenia, but we also forecast a bit of a cooling period for the solar system as a whole.

Hmm. OK, I beat the Wall Street joke to death.

Here is an awesome tool to get close up views of the "planets" - all twelve of them.

It's stupid to call a moon a planet. An asteroid is an asteroid, and a moon is a moon. If you want to make "space news", how about letting us in on some of the capabilities of those secret "star wars" satellites. I think they sound cool, and I don't see why we shouldn't all know how kickass our capability is.

Never use uHaul

at 10:57 AM
Here's my advice: Avoid uHaul like the plague.

uHaul rented me a trailer with a broken axle and then refused to fix my car when the broken trailer caused so much strain on my vehicle that it broke.

I wasn't more than three hours into a cross country trip when the tranmission broke under the strain. The uHaul left me stranded on the side of the road for two days after they found out about the problem while they had me in endless customer support limbo. I spent TWO DAYS on the side of the road in florida summer heat, with my children and my dog in the car with me. And UHaul KNEW that.

I spent the entire time on the phone trying to get through to uHaul and get a replacement travel method. They eventually sent me across the state by tow truck (for which I paid $150 bucks in tow costs) in order to get a free 14 foot truck to use instead (because my car was broken) from a guy who was so pissed off about having to give away a free truck that he purposefully screwed me out of the insurance capability.

Their angry rep weighed the trailer with everything else that had not been in the trailer included -- This means that he weighed the contents of my trailer along with luggage (from four people seven days) plus a fifty pound bag of dog food and a big cooler of people food, the car top carrier rack, and everything that had been in my car to keep kids happy for a WEEK on the road. All of this was included in the weight he used because he loaded the contents of our car into the new uhaul BEFORE he weighed it all (he never weighed the trailer as he was legally required to do).

So we went over the weight limit of the trailer, although the trailer had been holding FAR less than he wrote down as the weight. He did this on purpose, because he was mad about having to come in to give away one of his trucks on a holiday weekend.

He even yelled at me and then ignored questions I asked him directly. This is after getting heatstroke and a sunburn bad enough to make my SCALP peel by being left on the roadside for two days.

His wife was peeved at him for what he did, I remember. She apologized. I didn't realize at the time that he was purposefully effing me over on the weight limit thing.

Because I pissed off the rental guy merely by existing, and my weight was hiked way up, Uhaul refused to fix my car. Despite that their AXLE WAS BROKEN, they denied my insurance claim.

The Uhaul team completely ignored the photos that I sent them that I had taken of the broken axle (I am posting those photos below).

They completely ignored the letters I sent in dispute of the insurance decision.

Here are the pictures of the fiasco that I sent UHaul. Aside from cropping or rotating, I have done nothing to alter these pictures, and I still have the original, unrotated photos if needed.

If I could find someone willing to help me sue them, I'd be happy to. I can't afford to fix my transmission - it was quoted out at $2600. My car isn't even worth that.

Here are pictures of the broken axle spring. You can see how it was already completely rusted through.










It was obviously busted before I even rented it. From the amount of rust built up already on the break itself, you can tell. You can't get that much rust built up in the 24 hours between when I rented the damn thing and when I took these pictures.

Here are some pictures of the wheel dragging against the wheel well (which broke my transmission by acting like having the brakes on while at highway speeds).












Here are pictures of the Trailer itself.










It took so much work to get back on the road that I took this picture to commemorate getting the tow truck to show up (after endless hours on the phone to uhaul at roaming cell phone prices).




Little did I know I'd still be trying to get my transmission fixed over a year later!

So, since UHaul completely ignored my follow up letters to their insane insurance decision (all three of them), I am posting this.

I sincerely hope that no one else ever has to go through what I did.

Does anyone know what kind of plant this is?

Aug 15, 2006 at 8:37 PM
I recently got this as a gift from my dad.

All I know about it is that it's rose shaped and a succulent (like aloe vera).

Does anyone know what this is called?

iTunes is helping me remember to exercise

at 12:39 AM
I put together a playlist in iTunes of my 100 favorite upbeat songs - the ones with strong beats running through them. I've been doing exercise to my new iTunes collection. I have to keep it up for at least ten songs.

I do whatever motion I feel like at that moment. I take a minute to lay on the mat in some basic restful asanas, let my body tell me which muscles are in need of a stretch, which need to be worked out more. Then I start. First two songs are a warm up, breathing, yoga, pilates stretches, hapkido leg stretches - whatever. Then the third is more intense exercise. I'm at a full clip from song four through seven doing double time punches, sweeps, lunges, kicks, or, if I'm in a non-agressive mood, some ballet, dance, or some katas. Then I start the wind down, breath deep and push my muscles into long stretches.

It's been better fun and easier to stick to than any other exercise program I've ever tried. And it is completely free. Can't beat that.

Today's work out was
WARM UP
Johnny and Mary - Placebo
Tainted Love - Soft Cell

WORKOUT
Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
Hard to Explain - The Strokes
Hate to Say I Told You So - The Hives
Closer - NIN
Out of Control - She Wants Revenge
Automatic Stop - The Strokes

COOL DOWN
Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
Sing For Absolution - Muse

It is really perfect workout music for me, and I actually like doing it once or twice a day. It's just too simple to worry over. I can even do it a couple times a day. I don't have to buy any more junk to do it. Sure, the pilates bands come in handy, but I can use my own body to provide isometric resistance if I don't want to stop to go get them.

I pick good music - ten songs - and then make myself work out. What good is all that ballet, my black belt and my dust-covered collection of yoga books if I never do what I want with it? So, I'm just doing what I want. It feels good. I mix everything together into whatever my body wants to do. To heck with sticking to a discipline. I already did that. Earned my stripes. Now I want to get back in shape by playing with it all.

:)

Moon Phases

Aug 14, 2006 at 5:05 PM
I have always wanted to keep track of the phases of the moon. Well now I can. And so can you! Check out the sidebar, below my profile and above my links. Somewhere over...

----->
THAT AWAY



Pretty cool, yes?

Property Rights are Disappearing

at 11:30 AM
Pretty soon the only place you'll be able to own any property is online, because while our "intellectual property" is safely protected, our ACTUAL PROPERTY can now be seized upon suspicion of solicitation for prostitution -- that's right, I said SUSPICION. You don't even have to ask for sex anymore. You just have to pull up to or try to talk to the person who is not really a whore. You will be arrested before you actually solicit now and BAM - no more car.

Now, I have no need to fear this law, because I will never get be confused with someone soliciting a prostitute. Right?

Well, that is both right and wrong. Of course I will never be found soliciting a whore, but I still do have reason to fear this law.

We should all be very leery of any law that peels away any piece of the property rights laws that protect us, no matter how unlikely it will be used against us personally.

If our cars can be taken away because we are considering being immoral, and if our homes can be taken away so that a new mall can get built, we're not living in my America anymore.

Read Amy's article - it's an eyeopener.

Article about ADD

Aug 13, 2006 at 10:29 PM
ADD is just a fancy label given to normal human behavior that annoys people.

Amen to that.

Inscendiary hoohah

at 7:18 PM
More and more every day, I hear rhetoric being spoken by usually reasonable people. Rhetoric that I thought humanity had outgrown using. Crusader speech cloaked as modern war updates -- spoken by those with their chain mail hidden beneath three piece suits over in Washington DC.

This speech that dehumanizes enemies until all you see is the reflection of your own hate can do no good, can get us no closer to winning this war. Speaking of the enemy as evil, heartless, cut-throat, all-devouring creatures takes away from the ability to beat them. It dissuades confronting the truth of things.

There is no lasting conflict if the enemy is not a match to you: in wit, in capability, in intelligence, in force. If you believe your enemy to be a ruthless animal, then you have stopped confronting the truth of the matter.

IT IS A TACTICAL ERROR TO SPEW HATRED

It is a huge mistake to dehumanize your enemy, to assume that they are the basest and you are the most honorable. The roles reverse very quickly if you start making statements like that while debasing yourself by acting vicious and bloodthirsty.

Stop thinking of our enemies abroad and at home as being something other than what they are, and you will better understand his motives, his reasons and his intentions toward you. Inscendiary speech is only capable of clouding the judgement. It is only spewed when someone intends to do something no rightminded person would ever do.

LOOK at the enemy. LOOK at what they do -- not what people say about what they do -- and judge them solely on that. They are as human as you and I, and apparently a good match for the morals and ethics, the power and force of our own government - like it or not. If they weren't, the war would be long over. It has been gong on for 5 years. Either we are holding back or the enemy is more intelligent, more like us than we're being led to believe.

Our enemy has a long history of inscendiary hate-speech. They've been doing it since at least the 11th century that I know of - off and on.

(Do you know what solved it last time? Simply outgrowing the need to fight one another and choosing instead to profit from one another. The trade between the middle east and europe began in earnest shortly after the crusades. That's what really killed the crusade mentality, if you ask me.)

The hateful lies about you, me and him can be seen as a thread running through the tapestry of this war.

our enemy tells us that they believe we are soulless, inhuman creatures. And if we let them, this very belief will be the seed of their own destruction. Let them collapse under their own weight in lies and misdeeds.

BUT if we join in the blind projection of hate, in the stealing of our enemy's soul, we make it possible for the war to continue endlessly.

If you want to win you must NOT give up the high ground. And the high ground in this war is entirely our ability to recognize truth, to see in someone we don't know a good soul. We recognize that all human beings are inately good and right and can be helped and can help others.

Even though our recognition of worth may not seem liek a weapon, it is a much better tactic than to degrade the face of our enemy until he is not even human to us.

So, knock off the hate speech, people. It offends me even when it is about someone dead set on killing me. I'm not going to foam at the mouth with hatred and rage.

I'd rather know my government was cool-headed and sanely operating in my best interest without the blind fury that occurs when hate takes over.

When we all begin talking about our enemy the same way he talks about us, we've lost. After that, it really matters little who wins, because if we're all foaming at the mouth to kill the soulless enemy, no one stands at the compass, keeping the country on course.

What about the rest of us who aren't spewing hate? What can we do?

Here's what I think. The very best thing we could all do, as citizens, is stop worrying about the war at all. I don't meant ot stop thinking about it. I just mean stop flowing power to the insane hate-mongers, instead choose to LIVE YOUR LIFE to the FULLEST.

As Heinlein said:

DUM VIVIMUS VIVAMUS.

(Latin, loosely translates to If you're gonna live, then LIVE, dammit!).

Just flourish and prosper in the face of everything. Nothing gets the goat of a hatemonger more than being completely ignored.

And that's the extent of today's tirade about the course of the war.

I miss smoking today

Aug 10, 2006 at 5:06 PM
Honestly, I am having a very hard time not smoking right now. I know the reasons perfectly: Cigarettes would be replacement randomity for me during this period of negative randomity in my life. Perfectly sensible reason to wreak havoc on my physical well being.

Long stretches of time go by without human contact for me right now, and cigarettes would just be something to DO to fill that time.

But that doesn't change how much I want one today. I found myself thinking, "Just one" - just like I did when I started up again last time. It's fucked up.

And it doesn't help that when my sister visited, she was smoking away, being all young, and smokey, and laid back and all that. And smoking all over the place. I have NEVER smoked as much as my sister is smoking right now. She's in that danger zone. It was at least a pack a day. It was silly. She looked ridiculous doing it, and hunched over. She doesn't even know how to smoke right, hasn't gotten flicking ashes away down to a science yet and she's totally hooked.

I was sneering internally, but that doesn't change that being around it made me wish for the bond that smoking with loved ones can be. And it brought back the physical addiction to have it happening around me, to have to go buy her those damned menthols.

Dear God, I want to smoke today. HELP ME BE STRONG.

Maybe I just need to remind myself why I don't smoke anymore.

Or maybe I just need to get completely snockered instead. ;)

I love all of you

Aug 9, 2006 at 12:16 AM
TO LIBBY: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! WOO HOO! Finally old anough to PARTYYYYYYY!!!

She's EIGHTEEN.

18

I can't believe it!!!!!

TO THE REST OF YOU:

Here are the people I am very happy with today for making me feel loved, admired, or otherwise being good friends:

Katmandu, Mikey, and my Dad and Marie.

Big hugs y'all.

Gas shortage is YOUR fault

Aug 8, 2006 at 7:31 PM
The swarms of people flocking to the pump are proof that there is a sucker born every minute.

If you've been clamoring for gasoline, in fear that there won't be a drop left for you in the end, then the gas shortage is your fault.

Today, I needed to go to town to run some errands, and my tank was running low, maybe a quarter tank. This is a perfectly reasonable reason to get gas.

So, after the half hour trip to town, I stopped for gas. I wondered what the line was about. By the time my line was up to me, there just wasn't any left. The girl apologized, and said she couldn't help me (we're not allowed to pump our own gas in the great state of Oregon, so she was supposed to have come over, taken my money and filled my tank).

Apparently every single person in the county had come to my sleepy little one-gas-station two-stoplight town looking for gasoline. I presume that this was because there wasn't any elsewhere. There aren't as many people in our little town as could have used up that gas in a single morning.

So, it's YOUR fault I don't have enough gas to make it to town and back again.

No matter what anyone says, there is no shortage of gas really. It's another ploy to raise the prices and create panic. Another ploy to get attention away from something else. (Beats me what, but something.)

It's summer, and "they" want to raise the prices again. Every summer there is a panic situation created so that prices go WAY up and then only slightly down. Presumable the "they" I refer to would be who ever profits from the prices going up.

My guess? Somewhere in the meetings and meetings about meetings over in the middle east, someone agreed to something they would otherwise not have agreed to by being paid off. How were they paid off? By promise of making a big deal out of a little crisis, so that the price of gas in the US goes up by ____ cents (fill in the blank). Thusly allowing said person in the position to give us what we want to profit insanely.

If this were the case, I would not be mad about the agreement to provide incentive. Often, the decisions that must remain clandestine are only kept so because they make way too much sense and work too well to be publicly announced. But I am pissed about the decision to skyrocket the price of gas. I for one don't like the idea that all of you are falling for it.

If it's not a clandestine conspiracy then it's a sorry waste of a panic. If you're going to have a panic, this is sure a stupid reason.

Here's why there is no crisis. Prudhoe bay does not generate even close to a majority of the oil that we use in the US. So, for 6 months or so, I predict that other ends of the pipeline will probably be made to up their production some, and the reserves will be tapped into. OF course we can also lean heavily on whoever that is the US has sold their soul to.

There is no crisis.

So all you panicking idiots out there just

CALM DOWN

I'm not interested in paying four dollars a gallon of gas for the next year because you guys all had to have your gas RIGHT NOW, raising the price to five bucks (temporarily) and then back down to four (permanently).

Consumers set the price of gas, NOT the gas futures market. It is not possible for a crisis to create higher prices unless we all agree there is a crisis. Gas will be priced at whatever we will pay. IN a "scarcity of" situation, we'll pay way more.

AND "THEY" KNOW THAT.

Take the idiots who run to the store to buy duct tape at $4.50 a roll during hurricanes. Even though there is still no duct tape left in the store, once the hurricane is over and the perceived scarcity of duct tape goes away, the price goes back down.

Same with gas. The only thing you can do if you're worried about gas prices is stop buying so darn MUCH of it. So every one of you nervous nellies who ran out to the gas station today to top off all of your cars, you're a sucker.

Pictures of my home on the ranch

at 4:32 PM
I randomly snapped some pictures today. Here are a few.

The path to the creek.

















The thistledown keeps getting onto the blackberries.
















My house looks nice from the driveway.












Those cows may be cute but they've wrecked my favorite pace to lay out in the sun.














Stages of Blackberries. Some flowers, some buds, some ripe berries, all on the same branch.
















My House, as seen from the top of the orchard.

That huge UFO shaped thing is a fifteen year old satellite dish. Downside of being this far out. You can't throw anything away here unless it burns or can fit in your trunk and be taken to the dump. A fiberglass satellite dish large enough to be a koi pond does not qualify.

That's a good idea. I'm gonna research sattelite dish to koi pond projects.


















Beautiful morning, wasn't it? This is the view from my bedroom window.

The downside here is just that the LOG TRUCKS MAKE THE WORLD'S LOUDEST RACKET AT FOUR IN THE MORNING coming down the road just on the other side of those blackberries.





















The twins and I took a walk this spring. They sensibly brought water. But still took a (daring) drink from the creek for the heck of it.

That's where our water comes from anyway.