I love Ron

Jul 8, 2007 at 8:36 PM
"If you think of somebody you hate, you can probably remember a time when you tried to help him or a man like him. Your hatred, actually, is based on the fact that you flopped. You failed you and you failed him. " - L. Ron Hubbard, quoted from Lecture 30 June 1960, Some Aspects of Help

For me, this quote says so much about the nature of human conflict. Think of someone you personally know and hate. At some point, did you try and fail to help them? Pretty awesome, huh?

And this quote sums up how to live life:

"The clue to happiness is being interested in life. People's happiness is as great as they can create it." - L. Ron Hubbard - A New Slant on Life

I aim to live a life that is about helping others, and about being interested in life and in others, rather than being interestING in life and interestING to others.

The thing about L. Ron Hubbard is that I have never, never (never, never) read something by him without recognizing a way to apply it to my life to improve things. And then, when I actually took the data and applied it to my life, things improved. That itself is a shocking and simple fact about Scientology. It works - and it works every time. I have yet to find a piece of it that doesn't personally work for me when applied to my own life, and I have certainly done a lot of applying.

It's not abstract, it's not designed for someone with "greater empathy" or an "open mind" or a more "soulful vision of the world". It doesn't require being humble, castigating oneself, and it doesn't tell you how to communicate with God. I'm totally a "see it and believe it" person, myself, and this fantastic technology for living doesn't require blindfolding myself to any aspect of life. Everything and every concept fits in somewhere.

I just get to have these awesome tools and make myself more and more happy and more and more truly free to be me.

And that is why I personally am a Scientologist. Wow.

Now you see it - Now you dont

Jul 7, 2007 at 11:50 AM
My car was working for a few days there. But now the fuel pump needs fixing. It's supposedly a $250.00 job because my gas tank needs to be removed and stuff.

Crap.

I am so sick of fixing this car.

Poison oak

Jul 6, 2007 at 2:05 PM
Mandy got poison oak again a few weeks ago. Last year, we got the expensive remedies and I swear those made it worse. She eventually ended up so bad I was about to take her to a hospital whe it cleared up. She inflated liek a ballon, cracking skin on her face and hands.

This year, I wasn't going to let that happen. No moisturizers or oils of any kind were allowed. She washed with cold water and soap. We rubbed it down with alcohol to break down the oil and then we did clay masks. We used the oil-free St Ives Mineral Firming mask. Every day.

There was no comparison, it worked great. I highly recommend it as a fix for poison oak. Of course, I'm no medical expert, but this is what we did:

First we washed her skin, the affected area and the surrounding area carefully with cold water and a real bar of lye-based soap and a terry cloth that was not used again until it was washed in the Washing machine.

Lye soap does not include most bar soaps, liquid soap or soft-pour soaps. JUST lye/fat based bar soaps. I recommend Chandler's Soaps for that.

Then we took a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol and carefully wiped down each spot of skin INWARD toward the center of the poison oak, replacing the alcohol wipe after each swipe.

Then we put on a mineral clay mask. The skin was pretty dried out but the poison oak went away fast.

The hardest part for Miranda is not scratching her poison oak rash.

She had to drink lots of water, too. After a week of no poison oak reaction, we started using moisturizer again to fix how dried out her skin had gotten.

For once Miranda'a poison oak was kept in check, and we did it with items we already had in the house. No more $40.00 OTC medication.

Harry Potter Book 7 Musings

at 12:40 PM
This post is about predictions on the plot motions of the final Harry Potter book.

I was a late arrival on the Harry Potter book circuit. I only became interested in reading the books after my children had somehow gotten hold of the books and couldn't stop talking about them. In order to better understand what my children were going on (and on and on and on) about, I read them.

I'm ashamed to say it, but I love something popular.I didn't want to have anything to do with something that was so popular. In my experience, the popular items are usually designed for the lowest mean. Take rap music for example. I usually find popular culture to be comprised of the vulgar and demeaning. Usually but not always...

Harry was certainly an exception. Very well written as children's novels go. I don't follow that silly notion that she's started her own little religion, but I do enjoy the books as fiction. They are better than most people realize, even. Ms. Rowling is a master of the slow reveal.

It's taken six books to slowly peel away the relationship between Harry and Snape and each layer revealed is leading us down a path that will sharply turn in the next book but end up right where it should.

Anyway, we now own our own copies of books 1-6 and are eagerly awaiting our pre-ordered Book 7. I received a notice in the email box today about the upcoming event at Powells, and sharply realized the book will release in a week.

So, here are my predictions for Book 7. If you want to consider these spoilers, then don't read. However, they can't well be spoilers if I've never read the book, can they?

Kreacher and Dobby are still following Malfoy (and Snape by happenstance). Harry never called them off the job, now, did he?

Snape's double agent nature will show that, regardless of how deeply he was made to look like he was working for Voldemort in the last novel, he is actually on the good side.

The argument in the woods in the last novel was because Snape told Dumbledore about his oath to Mrs. Malfoy and Dumbledore ordered Snape to kill him if he must to protect Malfoy from having to kill him or be killed by Voldemort. Dumbledore had reasons to not fear dying. He also had time to prepare. Prepare what? Possibly direction for Harry. Clues or messages for if and when Harry is ready. We will find them out in this novel and Dumbledore will feature as a guide to Harry despite his death. Remember that this is basically a very complex quest novel 6 books in the making, but will contain much the same pacing and plot machinations as a standard quest novel. Where things began, they will end.

Snape will vindicate himself, possibly by giving his life for Harry. Possibly by not giving Voldemort some vital information about Harry or about someone in the order. Harry will hate Snape right up until he vindicates himself and may actually decide to trust him at the last moment despite warnings.

The veil in the Dept of Mysteries and the people Harry has loved but who died will return for another tasty morsel of life beyond death. We will probably hear from both Sirius and Dumbledore. Sirius may not factor in, but I think he will somehow. Yes, I know - he's dead. No matter.

The locket that Kreacher stowed away in his hidey-hole in Book 5 is a horcrux - it is Slytherin's locket. At least we've been made to think so. It was hidden as a plot feature, but maybe it was hidden as a red herring.

RAB is Sirius' brother, Regulus. He did not die. Something that happened in an earlier book will possibly actually be shown to have been contributed to by Regulus. The fact that none of the bad guys know RAB is still alive may be because he's not. Perhaps Regulus is a vampire? Whatever the A stands for will be a clue to his purpose in the books. Remember vampires were brought up in book 1 and rarely if ever brought up again.

The trolls will become a problem to either the good guys or the bad guys.

The giants will factor in, of course. They will switch sides and be good.

The werewolves will not switch sides but Greyback will be killed by Lupin, who will then get to return to teaching at Hogwarts - having killed the wolf that bit him may cure him.

Snape will certainly turn over the location of the Order's HQ to Voldemort. This will reaffirm Harry's certainty that Snape is bad. However there will be a good reason for every "bad" thing that Snape appears to do.

Voldemort will surprise Harry at finding a Horcrux. Harry wont' have to find all of them, but wil have to destroy the ones Voldemort retrieves in addition to the ones Harry finds. This means that somewhere mid-book, either Voldemort will end up in 12 Grimmauld Place to retrieve the locket after Kreacher (who ends up with Voldemort because Snape and Draco, who he's following, will end up with Voldemort) tells him about the precious locket OR (wouldn't it be funny!) Voldemort will inadvertently destroy one of his Horcruxes by smashing up the HQ with his locket in it. Remember that Kreacher was not ordered to not reveal anything to Voldemort specifically by Harry. Remember that the secret keeper for the Order is dead and 12 Grimmauld Place is no longer protected by Dumbledore as secret keeper. It was not for nothing that Dumbledore was secret keeper.

Harry will successfully trick Voldemort after he gains control of his mind. Or possibly, because Harry hates Snape so much, Voldemort will underestimate Snape as an agent for good. Basically, there will be mind games in this novel as the Occlumency and Legilimency we learned about over the last few books fruit into further polot developments. First Voldemort will have control, then finally Harry.

It will be Voldemort's undoing that he cannot love. Basically, the creation of the Horcruxes that diminished his capacity to feel will be his own undoing. Through his own actions to extend his life, Voldemort will be defeated.

Even if Harry doesn't return to school, Hogwarts will figure in somehow. Hogwarts, A History will reveal something Harry needs to know.

Snape will probably die. I think Dobby will die. One of the Weasleys maybe. One of Harry's male friends will probably die. I assume there will be much death in this book - the title says "Deathly". I don't think Ron or Hermione will die. If any of the above don't die, I'd bet there's some injury involved.

Someone who dies will not stay dead. Harry will definitely not stay dead if he dies. In fact, I think the fact that Harry would die for love - coming full circle to where his parents ended and his story started - will play a part in the undoing of Voldemort. The old magic - love - will be Voldemort's undoing. Perhaps involving the door that wouldn't open at the Dept of Mysteries - behind which is the powerful old magic Harry has that Voldemort has destroyed his ability to have (by splitting his soul). There is something we did not realize or that was not revealed to us about the prophecy and that Harry will realize only after experiencing a loss of some kind.

Perhaps Ginny will die, and that may be why Harry tries to get through the veil. There is a reason we were given a chance to see Harry try to protect her at the end of Book 6. She will be harmed anyway and she will be a guide or help to Harry somehow in spite of that.

The items stowed away in the Room of Requirement will become an issue. Why the Half-blood Prince's book being stowed in the Room of Requirement is important is not clear to me, but I'd bet it factors in somehow to the final Novel. Our view of the importance of that room and who created it will change. Perhaps it is Godric Gryffindor's answer to Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets. The founders of Hogwarts will factor into this book as more than providers of horcruxes for Voldemort. The fact that Voldemort wanted Hogwarts founder's items will be part of how Harry succeeds. And Harry will succeed.

Ron and Hermione will end up together as a love match.

Harry's scar will end up as just a scar, and Harry will still have it even after Voldemort dies.

Anyway, there are my predictions. I'm sure some of them will be off, but probably not all of them.

On Liberty

Jul 5, 2007 at 2:43 PM
Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep
it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of
freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of
destruction.



Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will
within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do
not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but
the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of
the individual.




Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth
itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted
vehicle.




The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.


Thomas Jefferson

Rory and Mandy say Happy 231st, America!

Jul 4, 2007 at 7:08 PM
We drove to CoosBay last night to watch the fireworks show at the Indian Casino. The girls didn't want to watch from the casino parking lot so we eventually pulled in to a railroad track gravel area next to a dock. .

First came sparklers, while we waited for the show to begin.

We were highly entertained by a large number of locals setting off their own fireworks around us, both on the water in front of us and across the street in the parking lot. We had no idea if we'd even be able to see the show when it started.

Everyone else there was in a big shiny SUV and I was driving the beater, so I was not initially welcomed. It is odd how many people judge me offhand because of the car I'm driving.

We turned out to be in view of the barge sending up the fireworks, and when the show started, we were pleasantly surprised to be close enough to enjoy and far enough not to be bothered by the noise.




In the midst of this fireworks show last, the girls started hugging me and singing:

Oh, Beautiful for spacious skies,
For Amber waves of grain!
For purple mountains majesty
Above the fruited plain.
America, America,
God shed His Grace on thee.
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Then they hugged each other and pretended to be conjuring the fireworks into existence.


The entire crowd of SUV people turned and clapped for my girls' singing.

We also beat the rush home, because we were parked along the highway and jumped right into the car when the show ended.

The girls fell asleep as we drove home. All together a nice Independence Day fireworks show.