Saturday, April 26, 2008

1784 Foam!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This comes by way of Roba, of "And Far Away". I believe it's downtown Miami. I'd love to see it in person.


The making of the commercial:


Friday, April 25, 2008

1783 Tarot 3

Friday, April 25, 2008

I did a little research. I may be wrong on a lot of this, because my memory is not perfect.

She used the Thoth deck (although her website says she is not an advocate of Aleister Crowley) because it's beautiful. The Thoth deck has Disks instead of Coins. Here is the Thoth deck.

I believe she used the ten or eleven card Celtic Cross layout. Here is a description of a variation using ten cards.

The center card was the Knight of Disks. The knight shown in the online versions has a white face. I am all but certain the knight I saw today was completely black, but I'm pretty certain it was the Thoth deck, because I remember several of the cards, like the Queen of Cups, 7 of Wands, and whatever that is in the picture labeled Atu XXI, universe.

Now it gets weird. Remember that the reading at the renn faire turned out not to be for me, but for my daughter? When the woman read the cards today, she naturally assumed it was for me. In the Celtic Cross layout, the first card drawn, the bottom center card, "denotes the querent (the person for whom the cards are being read) and their situation."

I don't think this reading was for me. I think it was for him. She wouldn't have made that connection.

That changes things a bit. It seems to fit better. I am also aware that there is a situation developing, clouds on the horizon, that is likely to put heavy emotional and spiritual demands on him.

But I knew that without Tarot.

What is my role in this? Perhaps to remind him, when the task is difficult, of the strength at his command, the mind and will to get through it, and of prosperity maintained. It will be hard, but the overall result is consistently positive.

But nobody needs to tell me to do that.

1782 Tarot 2

Friday, April 25, 2008

So, the weird Tarot urge. Yesterday I located several readers. All welcomed walk-ins, and the Hunk was working on my yard today, so I wasn't sure what time I'd finally get on the road, so I didn't call ahead.

I went first to the one in Kingston (actually Ulster, I think). There were two signs in the window. One said "Open daily, 10 am to 10 pm". The other said "Closed".

So I headed for the second reader, in Woodstock, and she took me right in.

I chose cards from the spread, and she laid them out. She asked why I was there, and I said "I don't know. I just sorta got an urge to do it." No, there's no particular question I want to ask. You tell me why I'm here.

I chose the cards and she laid them out. One card indicated weakness and confusion, but she said the position indicated the past, and she pushed it aside. All the remaining cards were very strong very positive cards, showing prosperity and a spiritual calling. I have a job to do, something I have to accomplish or share or give. It's in the spiritual area. A very strong spiritual calling, I will or should share something spiritual, spiritual gifts, with others. Mind and will are strong. Intuition is strong. Go with them.

So, no definite "beware" message "from" anyone, which is what had worried me.

The card in the center of the array freaked me out. I don't know the cards, and I was scribbling fast, and a bit freaked when we got to that card, so now I can't read my writing. But she said it was THE dominant card.

It was a knight. It indicated power. Lots of it. I think my notes also say something about night/might, and disks. Or something.

What freaked me out is that the knight was completely black. Armor black, visor closed. Very large and powerful looking. Smack dab in the middle of the array.

My man is very dark, I have often called him my dark knight, and when he has frustration at work, I tease him that his helmet plumes are looking frazzled.

It was a bit disconcerting to find him, the black knight, dominating the center of my array urging the sharing of spiritual gifts.

1781 PETV !!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm serious here. I'm not joking. I really do feel this way.

I understand and sympathize with vegetarians (or vegans) who don't want to cause suffering to animals. However, there's a fallacy in their argument. They seem to think that it's ok to rip the arms off a living broccoli plant, just because they can't hear the screams.

It's ok to throw a living carrot into boiling water, just because it can't writhe?

It's ok to chop a living cabbage, just because it can't escape the knife?

It's ok to grind the babies of a wheat plant, just because the mother can't cry?

Plants are every bit as alive as animals. They just don't have a face or a voice, so that makes it ok to torture them?

If you want to really avoid suffering to living things, then you should eat only fruit, which a plant produces with the hope that something will eat it. And then to fulfill the deal with the plant, you should poop in fertile soil.

I am a proud member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables.
"We can no longer hide from the eyes of Potatoes, or the ears of Corn."

(Yeah, ok, they're joking. And I still eat broccoli and meat. But I really have apologized to the broccoli in my garden as I cut its arms off. I hope I've been forgiven my hunger.)

Oh, I didn't even get into antibiotic soaps! If you really think about it, you'll realize that bacteria and other single-celled organisms are God's favorites. We, and everything else, are nothing but germ food.

1780 In Defense of My Addiction

Friday, April 25, 2008

I enjoy the first 20 minutes or so of The View, the "Hot Topics" segment. Seems like everybody either loves it or hates it. I like it because it always kicks off thoughts.

Back when, I was amused that Jay liked it too. It seems that most of the people who make fun of the show are male, and I suspect it's because they've never watched it. They just think "women talk" and therefore it is to be disparaged. Oh, well. I miss Jay's open mind.

What they got me thinking of today is addictions. Nicotine, food, alcohol, gambling, and so on.

I don't get wrapped up in food, I don't gamble, I almost don't drink*. I smoke. I've tried to quit smoking, and I dislike me when I'm quitting. I get very depressed and very mean, and I'm pretty certain that if I managed to quit smoking, I'd start drinking. Or I'd kill someone.

I get very annoyed at people who smugly say, "Well, that's ok. Smoking will kill you. Drinking won't." Tell me about it. My sweet little sister drank herself to death in her early 40s.

Gambling destroys whole families. Drinking destroys lives, and can kill innocent people who happen to be on the same road. Overeating can kill you as surely as alcohol or cigarettes. Just about anything done to excess is dangerous to self and others, including religious fervor.

It's annoying that in this state I can open a business where people can drink themselves into a stupor day after day, and it's ok. I can open a business where I can serve 2,000 calorie sandwiches to any heart-attack-on-the-hoof who can roll through the door, and it's ok. I can open a business where people can sit at a machine and gamble away their family's life savings, and it's ok. But I can't open a business, not even in my own home, where people can smoke a cigarette.

Don't give me that secondhand smoke argument - not while you are addicted to your car, which is spewing poison into the air. That poison is impossible to avoid. Cigarette smoke is relatively easy to avoid. In fact, if I quit smoking and got into that mean mood, I could be the sniper on the hill, taking out speeding drivers on the Thruway. I'm damn good with a gun, you know.

I wonder - when cigarettes are stamped out, and smokers have become acceptable drunks, what will "they" blame asthma and lung cancer on then? Has no one noticed that even as the rates of smoking have gone down, the cancer and asthma rates have continued to rise? When they've eliminated smoking, will they next take your car away?


*Story about drinking - those last three years, every time we went to a new doctor, one of the questions the nurse would ask Jay was how much he drank, and he'd always say "Four or five". The nurse would look up and say, "Per week or per day?", and Jay'd answer, "Per year." The look on their faces was priceless.

For me, it used to be less. With The Man, it has jumped to one to three drinks a month.


Is it obvious I attempted to quit again last weekend, and pissed myself off so badly I bought a pack, just to shut me up? I almost drove The Man away.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

1779 Tarot?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I've got something very strange going on in my head. Yesterday I had a sudden very strong urge to get a Tarot reading. I almost heard the "plunk" of the e-urge landing in the in-box in my head. Today it got almost overwhelming. I even did an internet search to find a reader in this area.


I don't "do" Tarot, or palm reading, or crystals, or whatever. I don't even buy aromatherapy. This is very strange. I don't know what question I'm supposed to be looking for an answer to, and if I did, I'm not sure I want some outside prediction influencing how I look at things and coloring my decisions.

I've had Tarot readings before.

The first was in the early 80s. The husband of a friend had been studying Tarot, and wanted to practice on me. He was very specific, practically named names, and I wrote down everything he said, and then promptly lost the sheet of paper. Two years later, almost to the day, I found the paper. He had been dead on. Everything.

The second was in the mid-nineties, by Daughter. She was a bit less specific. I wrote it all down, and promptly lost the sheet of paper. I found it again two years later, almost to the day. Although the predictions were not as specific as the first, they were the kind of things that either would happen or wouldn't, not the sort of things you could bend the interpretation to fit. She had been dead on. Everything.

The third was at a renaissance faire in Woodstock about six years ago. I saw a woman sitting at a table under an awning, and I liked her looks. I paid $10 for a fifteen minute reading. Something in the cards fascinated her. She ended up reshuffling and redoing three times, and I was there more than an hour, for the $10. Part of the problem she was having was that the reading wasn't for me. It was for Daughter. The first part, again very specific, came true within four months. The remainder is pending.

So today the urge is strong, and as the evening has gone on, I'm getting the feeling that it must be tomorrow. It's really a strong feeling.

It's like someone is trying to get a message to me. I don't know what I want to do. If I do, it's not like I would lose anything except a few dollars. If I don't, I'll wonder what I may have missed.

I guess I have to.



Later: Ok, I know the question will come up - what could be so specific? In the ren faire reading, the woman said that it's about a young woman, very close to me in every way, probably a daughter, do I have a daughter? Yes. She's going on a visit somewhere far away, another country, very soon. Her purpose for going is to make decision. The decision could be life-altering. She will see something there that will disturb her greatly, and it will make her very sad. But her decision will be the right one.

Daughter was engaged at the time to a young man from another country. He had to return to his country, and it was unlikely that he would be able to return here permanently. Within four months of the reading, Daughter went to visit him. She came home unhappy, and without the ring, at her own choosing.

A few months later she met Hercules.

How's that for close?

1778 Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It is never between you and them anyway.

- Mother Theresa

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

1777 Anxious and Depressed

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Daughter and Hercules flew south today to visit Hercules' mother. They were going to call me this evening, after the initial visiting, after they were back in the hotel room. They're all the early-to-bed type, so I'm a little worried that it's after 11:30 pm, and I haven't heard from them.

After last night's call, I doubt that Daughter simply forgot. I thought she'd be anxious to tell me how it went. If they did forget, then it's too late for me to call them. They'd be tired from travelling and probably asleep.


Usually my several thousand daffodils bloom over a few weeks - as some die off, others burst forth. Last Spring and this Spring, it's like they all bloomed at once - BAM! Five days later it's a sea of brown shriveled flower heads.

That's a little depressing, too.

Nothing else going on.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

1776 Bomb Plot

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Driving home from dinner, I heard on NPR about the 18-year-old high school student in S.C. who bought 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate on eBay, and had obtained bomb-building plans and materials, planning to blow up his high school (and himself). He had taped an audio message to be played after his death. According to the report, he was a straight A student, and didn't appear to have any problems. His parents discovered what he was up to, and called the police.

He is now facing multiple federal charges including intent to use WMD, and if convicted of all charges could get a life sentence (according to the NPR report) or 2 to 15 years (according to the online report).

Now, here's where my sometimes liberal leanings show.

The kid is sick. He needs psychiatric help, and not just a bottle of pills. If you throw him in jail with no or minimal counselling, he will never have a chance at all, and he'll eventually be turned loose bitter. If he goes to prison at all, it may as well be for life, because any prison sentence will be a life sentence, which doesn't seem fair because he's obviously sick.

Shouldn't we find out first if it's going to be a lifelong illness? Or if it's curable?

Monday, April 21, 2008

1775 Attitude

Monday, April 22, 2008

Laurence J. Peter: “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?"


I rediscovered Glenn Feron's website, "The Art of Retouching". If you choose a thumbnail and then pass the cursor over the photo, you can see it before and after retouching. Some of the differences are amazing. It reminds me that when we look at a photo and compare ourselves, we have to remember that we probably won't be able to recreate the look with diet or makeup. That look never really existed.

Here are some of the more startling:


I read an online essay (that pretends to be a treatise) on differentiating between original old, new reproduction, and cheap imitation Asian, Indian, and Middle-Eastern jewelry. I got very annoyed very quickly, for several reasons.

The author constantly refers to the jewelry as "ethnographic jewelry". Um, ethnographic refers to the study of a culture, and more specifically to writings about that culture. So this might be an ethnographic essay, but the jewelry isn't ethnographic. It's ethnic.

It was quickly apparent that the word "ethnic" wasn't big enough for her. "Ethnographic", having more syllables, was obviously preferable. That isn't the only example. It looked like she wrote the essay, and then went through it and used a thesaurus to find the fanciest replacement words she could. I guess that makes it sound more learned?

I have a huge reading and listening vocabulary, but when I write, I use simple little words. Most people do that. It's more comfortable, and there's less chance of being misunderstood. There are people who use the biggest words they can find, in an effort to impress, I guess, and many of them use them incorrectly. They might impress some, but they look foolish to others. Oh well.

Anyway, a second thing that is annoying is that she presents the topic as if she's an expert and has gone into it in depth. I was hoping to learn something. But what she presents is obvious to the most casual observer. She makes some sweeping generalizations that even I, a mere dabbler in the subject, know should not be made.

The same thing is true of jewelry as of textiles: it doesn't have to be made of the best material, or beautiful, or well made to be old and valuable. Even 300 years ago, less expensive existed. It's just that the better stuff was more likely to be preserved. In fact, because of their rarity, sometimes the simple crude village-made examples are more valuable. (The most valuable oriental rug I own is a small lopsided trapezoidal thing. It's valuable because it was crafted on a nomadic lap-loom, and commemorates a family event.)

Every so often I see a "pasha". Someone who sets him- or herself up as an expert, the guru, the leader, in something. They somehow gather a worshipful following. Mental image of a person sitting on a pile of pillows, with followers gathered around sitting on the floor gazing up admiringly, offering tribute, as the focus of their attention dispenses pearls of wisdom, and glances of favor. No one can criticize the guru without suffering the fury of the followers.

I don't know how they do it. Much of what they dispense is pure poop. You see it here and there in the blogosphere, where a blog owner (usually female) reaches mythic status, and woe be to anyone who offers a correction or disagreement in comments. At some point, comments must be worshipful, or you die. (It was especially bad in AOL journals, because you can't hide your identity there. It was one of the reasons I had to move from AOL journals to Blogger.)

It seems to be an attitude thing. I suspect this woman wants to be on that pile of pillows.

1774 Shoes

Monday, April 21, 2008

It was 2 or 3 years ago that I cleared out the shoe closet, and threw out or donated almost 200 pairs, some of which were 30 years old, and many of which I hadn't worn since I retired.

I think I may have an addiction. I've been buying shoes again.

I don't pay a lot for shoes. I buy at places like Shoe Town, regular retail stores when they have big sales, and on eBay.

I wear a small size, 5.5, not a popular size, so when I find shoes I like, I can often get them at a deeper discount than more saleable sizes.

Well, usually size 5.5. I have a very high instep, so if the shoe goes high over the instep, like these silver sandals, I need a 6.

One of my favorite shoe makers is Candies (the two pairs of sandals shown here are actual Candies I bought recently on eBay. I paid $10 for the black ones). When you buy shoes online, you have to know exactly what will fit comfortably and what won't. Candies can be tricky for the novice. They run about one full size small, so I'd take a 6.5 or 7. Unfortunately, the sellers often know they run small, too, so they'll list a size 8 as a 7, and if I buy those, they'll be way too big. You have to send the seller a note and ask.

My best purchase arrived in the mail today. I got some new-in-the-box leather air-sole Dr. Martens boots, $125 MSRP, for $5 plus $11 shipping. The photo is the boot I bought. These came from a major (400+ sales a day) shoe store on eBay.

That shoe store is one of my favorite lurking spots. When an auction ends with no action, they relist the item, with a lower starting bid. The smaller sizes don't sell well, so I just watch and wait until the opening bid drops to below $5, then I pounce.

I've decided not to feel guilty. I can have 100 pairs of shoes for what Carrie on "Sex and the City" paid for two pairs of her fragile Manolo Blahniks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1773 Days Gone

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Me: No one raindrop feels responsible for the flood.


Tomorrow is the first anniversary of our first unchaperoned date, the day we met at Grand Central Station, walked all over central Manhattan and Central Park, had dinner at a revolving restaurant over Times Square, and wandered around the city in a tiny sporty convertible as the theaters were letting out, searching for the route north, with the player blasting BNL, him singing along, and me flirting with taxi drivers trapped beside us. We were together about 14 hours that day, talking steadily, and by the end of the evening and the first kiss in the Poughkeepsie train station parking lot, where I had left my car that morning, and where he drove the two hours to take me back rather than put me on a late train, I was already falling hard. I found him fascinating then, and still do. His mind is unbelievably fast, his heart is soft, and his old-fashioned chivalry is sweet.

Happy anniversary, Sweetheart.


Local newspaper. Article today about the village volunteer fire department.

Back when I was on the rescue squad (EMS), five or six years ago, there were somewhere between 75 and 85 active members (could have been a lot more - for some reason 90 sticks in my head), all volunteers. Most were firefighters, perhaps 18 were EMS. This is a relatively sparsely populated rural area, and when I joined I was expecting that the ambulance would be called out perhaps a maximum of three times a week.

I was shocked that we, the EMTs, were called out an average of three times a DAY! The firemen took out the heavy rescue vehicle to automobile accidents once or twice a week. The full firefighting apparatus was called out perhaps once a month, if that.

It was a little annoying that the firefighters got all the glory, and the EMTs seemed to provide most of the service.

Anyway, the newspaper article was about the loss of volunteers. The local fire company is down to 30. Quite a drop. They're desperate for volunteers. I don't know what the ratio of EMTs is, but the company handled 1100 callouts last year, and EMS had to be the majority. These people mostly have full time jobs. There are usually a minimum of three people riding the ambulance on a call. They have the radio with them at all times, and when it burps, whoever's on call punches out at the job, or tumbles out of bed, or puts the baby down, or changes direction on the highway, and heads for the fire station. With so few EMTs to handle so many calls, it's got to be pretty disruptive to their lives.

"They" said that the problem seems to be that with the economy down, people can't take off work for the training and the callouts, not to mention that many are now working two jobs. The town is afraid they're going to have to hire professionals. That's going to affect taxes, which will make it even worse for those folks already working two jobs.

In a brief moment of sheer madness, I considered volunteering again.

1772 Online Dating - the Age Thing

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sharon Stone: Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.


I cancelled and closed all my online dating subscriptions more than a year ago, but one of them is still sending me "matches", and another that runs "speed-dating" evenings is still sending me invitations. I haven't opted out of those notices because who knows whom I might find on one of those lists someday. Like, heh heh, Roman. I'd be tempted to get a free two-week anonymous trial just to toy with his mind.

I think one of the mistakes I made back when I was online was that I was honest about my age, and I used recent photos. Having met several of these guys, and knowing personally two women on the lists, I conclude that everyone lies. I think the women in my age group probably drop 5 or 6 years, and the men (the fools!) drop 8 to 10. (From my own experience, and from what those men told me about their experiences.) So by being honest, I hurt myself because men looking at my profile automatically add years, and assume the photos are from some distant past when I looked decent.

Just like theirs.

Then they conclude I'm too old. (Ha! Little do they know. The guy I'm dating now is more than 10 years younger than I, and he knew it right from the beginning. So there!)

If you ever try online dating, lie like a rug just to get that first meeting. Just like everybody else.

It seems like almost all the men are advertising for women at least five years younger than they are. I don't understand that at any age. Why don't they want women their own age? And especially when the guy's over 55. Age shouldn't matter then, especially when women live longer. By looking for someone so much younger, they seem to be searching less for companionship, and more for an ego boost and eventual nursemaid.

And then there're the guys in their 50s who are looking for "21-77". Poor fellows can't win. I figure they're desperate.

The speed dating folks perpetuate the age thing. These are the actual age ranges for the April sessions:
Women 32-42/Men 34-46
Women 40-50/Men 42-54
Women 24-36/Men 26-38
Women 45-55/Men 47-59
They seem to assume women want to meet older men, and men want to meet younger women (although the difference here isn't as large as in most of the profiles). But since they know everyone lies, why bother with the male/female split anyway? Just give a general range, and add "more or less"?

I called one time to complain that I might be interested in men in their late 50s, and they might be interested in me, but I don't fit the female age range for that session. The organizer laughed and said to come anyway. "Nobody checks ids."

I don't understand.

1771 Rotten Cat....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dean Koontz, Mr. Murder: We sense that life is a dark comedy and maybe we can live with that. However, because the whole thing is written for the entertainment of the gods, too many of the jokes go right over our heads.


Jasper has shredded the living room curtains. I think he must have gotten a claw caught, and pulled, and now there's a six-foot horizontal tear about two feet up. That's a 16-foot expanse of floor to ceiling window. Not cheap.

The resulting clear rectangle affords him an excellent view of the bird and chipmunk activity in the back yard. I hope he hasn't learned that that's the way to open the drapes.

If so, I may have to kill him.