Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Subsidiary Blog

Through various blandishments, I've been convinced to put myself out on MySpace, which gets me more blog space.

I like blogger, and don't want to move, but I wanted to do something with the space, both to plug this place and because I'm a dork with no life. When I realized you can import pictures of the books you're reading from their library, I hit on it.

I plan to use that space to review and note the books I'm reading, not just to keep a record for myself (because I do read an awful lot), but because I've stopped being able to remember them enough to put them up here.

The first review is The Devil Wears Prada, and you can find it here. Comment here or there, as you will.

Now on with your regularly scheduled week.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Blogrupena Samsthita

All quiet on the Middle TN front.

The Artist left out early, as it happened. I didn't see him again before he went. He called and reported in from his Youper location today to tell me that the town his grandmother lives in is a Youper Mayberry and that he is living in The Andy Griffith Show. He may be headed for Virginia next.

I may be headed for the Rainbow Gathering in West Virginia for two or three days, depending on the health of the Eldest Kitty and the finances. Until that coalesces, I don't want to jinx it, so will say no more here.

Everything here really is quiet. The storm stopped a little while ago and outside smells like rain. Inside the cats are all curled into little balls in their faorite spots -- the EK in her box by the front door, the MK on top of the monitor...and I thought the kitten was behind him, but she's in her second-favorite location, The One Where Mom Doesn't Know Where I Am Or What I'm Doing, which is Most Likely Pretending that I Am A Panther.

The house isn't freakishly clean anymore, which is something odd -- how quickly entropy works. I worship entropy to some degree, and yet it amazes me every time, how things go from perfectly arranged to not, seemingly effortlessly. I'll work on the place tomorrow.

Spent a quiet night with DSH and the other high school posse, played Scrabble, worried about our AnorecticAssociate, who despite gaining some weight, still talks about food in terms usually reserved for discussions of ethics and morals. Later that night, I played Scrabble online with the Phunky Chemist Bitch, my heterosexual life partner down in VA. (She's heterosexual; I'm an allegedbian. It works out.) She's dreaded her hair and now we're more like sisters than ever. I miss her so much, and she's trying to blandish me into going to AllGood with her, but again -- it all depends on the health of the sick kittybutt.

All seemed relatively quiet on the blogosphere today, too, so I sat for a long time, rereading my favorites in the archives of Tomato Nation, and downloading random songs in Hebrew and Sanskrit, looking for meditation music.

It's the kind of day where it'd be really easy to be depressed, but I'm not. Just a little tired, a little lazy, a little not-ready to start what has to be started this evening...namely, the fifteen-syllable Kali mantra for ego destruction, which has to start tonight if things are to be finished in time for my birthday and the karmatic-rebirth stuff I've been leading up to all year.

I have reason to fear the mantra, because it makes things not (ego-things, not people and cars and buildings), and making not is a scary process.

But for now, I'm just reading The Corrections (here's what ET had to say about the book), being in stillness, and watching the cat breathe.

I've had worse Mondays.

Friday, June 24, 2005

When Waiting Is Filled

Hello, all.

My best friend, fellow Doctor, Commodore and water brother, the Artist, is leaving, or as he puts it, gettin' the hell out of Dodge.

I've been offline for the past few days because I cleaned the entire ParcePad from head to foot (it is cleaner now than it was when I moved in, seriously) and then spent a day and a half with him, hanging out and doing our version of saying good-bye.

I have grokked this, and this is the best thing. He needs to get away, he's going to a safe place, he's taking another friend, he'll even have e-mail, and he'll be back, temporarily at least, in a month. He's been happy since he decided to go, and I am happy for him.

Nonetheless, as I said to him, I don't know what I'm going to do with the Artist gone. No one talks to me like he does. No one even has the frame of reference to try, even the friends I've known longer. We've read the same books, we argue fine points of Heinlein (were doing it even during our hang-out night), we grok together in the closest human approximation. Which means he can never really leave completely, because my nest is his, but nonetheless, I'm a short-timer, and it is hard for me to wait until fullness without any sorrow at all.

Ave, aqua frater, ave atque vale.

In his last meeting with the group (well, not last-forever, because he left in good standing and will probably come back as a speaker even if he never moves back to town and rejoins), I did as Saraswati had instructed me to do...before I found out he was leaving, I had had a larger, more ritualistic and not-really-me celebration planned, one that would have required putting off cleaning the PPad for another week. But since he was coming to stay and has asthma, I had to get the place defurred if I wanted to be able to hang out with him without him wheezing and being miserable.

So I asked Saraswati what to do, and dreamed the perfect guided meditation. Since our meeting was the day after Solstice and in the evening, it didn't really make sense for us to celebrate the solstice qua solstice. But it's an important event in the Wheel of the Year, and I didn't want it neglected either.

In some traditions, the year is divided by solstices, the two halves each with their own champion -- the Oak King, who rules from Winter Solstice in December through Summer Solstice in June, and the Holly King, who rules from Summer to Winter Solstice. At the Solstices, they battle, and the King of the previous half-year is slain (and regenerated in the womb of the Goddess).

So what to do for the day after Solstice?

What else but to carry my people to the bier of the Oak King, and allow them to commune with him before carrying him, with the help of the Holly King, to his funeral pyre? They were urged to give their worries about the past 6 months to the dead King, and to discuss the upcoming months with the Holly King.

This was particularly significant because, since Beltane last (2004), the Artist has been closely identified with the Oak King...which meant he came into the meditation as the dead King, and attended his own wake. Pretty neat, and unexpected...and fitting, for the time. The Oak King always returns when his waiting is filled...and, though the Artist is not tied to the sun and seasons quite as closely as his counterpart, I believe he will, as well, when his own waiting is filled.

So all is well, except the little, non-Martian part of me that cries out with fear at the thought of being with the Artist in spirit only until fullness. But that part of me is being soothed by the rest, despite snarky comments like, "Well, King Arthur is supposed to do that too, and I don't see his ass showing up" from the former.

But I am here, and will remain, for ten minutes or a thousand years, until my brother's time comes. Count on it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

White Trash Witches & Their Fat Cats, Next on Springer


Well, after only limited blood loss on the part of yours truly, the cats were packed up and off to the vet on Saturday.

The Kitten and the Middle Kitty are in excellent health. The vet thinks the MK's extreme beautifulness may be due to his daddy being a Maine coon cat, and judging by the ridiculously cute Maine coon kittens who look almost exactly like he did as a wee slip of a kitten, they may be right. Me, I think it's due to his peoplefather, and the fact that he's sufficiently brash to be, as of this writing, trying to steal and eat the flowers I brought home for Ganesh for the fourth or fifth time. The cat, not the Artist -- but it takes a special sort of grokking to know that the flowers on the altar are special...he never tries to eat flowers otherwise.

The Elder Kitty is morbidly obese, and that's what's causing the butt issues. She's always been fat, so I didn't notice when she got too fat, and now I feel like the mom of one of those 700-pound people on Springer where they have to use heavy earth moving equipment to get them out of bed. I feel like the worst kittymom ever. Of course, the penance of having to wipe kittybutt with unscented baby wipes is more than penance enough, and the doctor says as long as I take away the drop feeder (which is not going to go over well) pt her on the Fatty Fatty Two By Four Times As Expensive cat food, she'll be fine.

The doctor was somewhat confused by the Suffusion of Jellos, but he seems like a nice guy, and Jai Ma my mother for picking up the tab (over $200) without a word.

Other than the strangely ET-like, nursing-home feel around here since we all got back from the vet (and Jai Ma Sauce, for the comforting words about the Worst Kittymom In The World situation), all's quiet on the redneck front.

Daughters of Kali was fun tonight -- got an invite to a fire puja on Solstice (Tuesday),which I may or may not attend, and sang the Devi hymn I liked so much last week, as well as actually getting to participate in the opening puja, which Leela usually does before class starts. Then I went over to CDHSarah's, where we have been watching Kingdom Hospital, the Stephen King miniseries. It's pretty damn good, both as a piece of SK-universana, and as a series. She got a new car, too, which is pretty swanky (well, it's a new old car, but it's nicer than the ParceVoiture to be sure. I get her back by gasping at inopportune moments because, unlike her, I've read just about everything the man's ever done, including all of the Dark Tower books, and so am catching some very nice little subconscious-yet-meta references that "tell" a little more of the story than what people who don't have SK-timeline/space concordances in their heads.

It's a little creepy, the relationship I have with Heinlein and King. Of course, I don't have a personal relationship with either one of them, since one of them died before I was much more than a lump of protoplasm with potential, and the other, I'm sure, has more than enough mystical types who want to see the world through his microcosm writing him missives. But in terms of their respective bodies of work, we're practically intimate.

Here's an example. On FARK.com recently, there was a story about a crazy woman who is suing Stephen King, claiming both Annie Wilkes and Eleanor Druse to be based on her (which, if you know either of those stories, is both ridiculous and self-contradictory). A discussion thread made up mostly of of Stephen King fanciers quickly built up, mostly centered around comments like "I'm Roland Deschain, where's my money?", and getting more and more obscure and fanwanking as they went along.

In about 300 posts, I recognized every reference. I know why I should be afraid of: clowns, chattery teeth, red fungus, fingers, Room 1408, anyone wearing a cheap yellow coat, little bald doctors, the desert, sand in general, people who give me weird job offers, people who tell me they know a failproof way to quit smoking, people who don't smoke, Crouch End in London, trains, the fair, people with expensive cars and the best cocaine and baseball cards, Polaroid cameras, early 20th century lesbians with building fetishes, hotels with topiary, and the sewer, not to mention the military, anything even resembling an early burial site, and, of course, the entire city of New York and state of Maine. (Anyone else who can correctly identify all those specific stories will get a cookie and an all-expense paid trip to todash space.)

Eh. Maybe I'll get a senior project out of it when I finish my B.A. . For now, I have to go play nursemaid to a remarkably uncooperative cat...the Exalted and Revered Nephew is at my parent's place, so I'm going to hang out with him all day tomorrow.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Spirit In The Sky

I'm waiting for fullness.

What else is going on? I have had Spirit in the Sky stuck in my head for the last 48 hours.

Eldest Kitty is having butt problems, so the kitties go to the vet tomorrow. She's not seriously ill, but good thoughts for her butt would be appreciated. Like many of the elderly, EK is very, very quiet until she gets a little sick, when she proceeds to be very vocal about her desire to feel better RIGHT NOW DAMMIT. And the ParceMom (who is the very best ParceMom that she can be) gave each of the kitties a vet trip to be redeemed as needed for Decemberween, so I don't have to worry about paying THAT bill. Om Sri Ganesha Namah, and praise be to Jesus and St. Francis.

Speaking of St. Francis, he's missing. Sometime during the last week, I lost track of my saints' medals necklace. I normally don't remove my main jewelry, but the chain is so heavy that it makes it uncomfortable for sleep.

Since I moved all the furniture in the bedroom less than two weeks ago, I am steadily becoming less concerned (gloat all you want, CDHSarah, but my path does center around totemic objects to a degree, so I don't think my minor freakout upon realizing that I didn't know when I'd last seen them was unwarranted). The other likely possibility is that it's somewhere in the deritrus of my car, since I had a Major Purse Spill last week too. The pendulum insists the saints are safe, and thinks they're in the apartment more than the car. And the pendulum, she is good about finding the missing totemic objects.

Assurances aside -- those of you who are so inclined, some Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore (Back To Parce Remix, Mary Come Home, How You Gon' Lose (The Patron Saint of Shit You Lost (the new 50 Cent track, yo), or just plain When The Saints Go Marching In vibes, as well as some Fix EldK's Stanky Butt vibes for good measure, delivered to the version of the titular reference of your choice, would be appreciated.

But it's not all bad down here, y'all. I've started the Great Book Migration of 2005, which is awesome and may yet result in shelves where every book is actually visible, a luxury I don't think I've enjoyed since about the age of twelve, when I started to get an allowance and the book collection mushroomed.

I really shold count my volumes, but that's nearly impossible, considering that I think almost every one of my friends is borrowing a book of mine at the moment. Don Shiftador has The Virgin Suicides on indefinite loan. I know AnDar has something, LadyA walked out of my place tonight with The Princess Bride, CDHSarah has some damn thing or another, SFGod has The Jewish Book of Why, BassPlayingJunkie has a Hightower book I inherited from my ET, and I ain't even knowin what of mine the Artist has, but I think I have his Number of the Beast and probably some other things. Those are just the ones I can remember.

Well, I think it's time for me to head for bed...I have kitties to wrangle into the one Cat Carrier (they have less than five miles to go, don't fret) at 8 am.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ten Hours In That Smoky Womb

This is going to be a short one...not only have I been annexed by MK, again, but it's way past my bedtime to boot.

I woke up late today, no dreams that I remember, and realized I had about 30 minutes to dress myself and get over to the office of the Nigerian doctor. I was ten minutes late, but I made it.

Once I was properly shrunk, even though it was about three hours earlier than usual, I decided just to head on downtown to Patrick's place. As it turned out, that was the best decision, because otherwise it would have been a repeat of last week, because they've moved Dancin' in the District back to the riverfront, and getting into a garage before 5 pm meant I didn't have to pay the exorbitant special events parking fee.

I had an excellent chicken sandwich from the Night Owl Cafe, read Insomnia, and played some chess with JimmaJimmay.

JimJ took my place in the Smoke Shop Employee Hierarchy after I left. He's a good kid and a smooth criminal, and he whipped my ass righteously (I really have to start playing more chess, because my skillz have deterioriated through lack of use). But in my defense, I was beating him soundly until the Asshat of the Day showed up.

The shop was really busy...besides the show, there's a biker convention in town, and the Southern Baptists are here this week too. That provided me with a hearty "Heh" while I was looking in vain for parking I didn't have to pay for. While there were about four people in the shop, a large, loud man in a particularly tasteless Aloha shirt came in, waving a pack of Winstons and saying something about lung cancer. I wasn't really paying attention until he got up to the counter and started trying to browbeat JimJ.

The guy claimed that "sometime Wednesday afternoon", he was eating in the Night Owl (downstairs from the shop) and his 15 year old asked for $5 and left the restaurant, whereupon our friend the Moose was supposed to have sold her a pack of cigarettes. The guy wanted his money back or he was going to "come back with felony warrants" and "shut the place down by 8 pm". He was, he said, an attorney. What he was, in fact, was an asshole.

JimJ treated him as reasonably as possible, explaining that since he was not on duty, and since the man didn't have a receipt, he was going to have to call the boss about the matter. He offered the man a seat, which he refused. When JimJ told him he had not been working that day, this asshat turns on l'il ol' me (still studiously examining the half-finished chess game) and said "Oh, so it was you who was working when my fifteen-year-old bought these cigarettes." I politely informed him that the last time I had worked in the shop was three years previous, and thereafter he ignored me.

The boss had already left his day job, and the Moose vehemently denied having sold any Winstons the day before. (This, added to the fact that the Moose is far more scrupulous in his carding habits than the rest of us, was pretty much the clincher for me that this guy was full of shit.) JimJ offered to take a number for the gentleman if he preferred not to wait, but stood by the fact that he wasn't authorized to give a refund without a receipt. The guy blustered and threatened and swore some more, and with one last threat of having us shut down, banged out the door.

We had a good laugh, and the cops never showed up. But JimJ kicked my ass at chess.

This is what I want to know: if you're an attorney, aren't you usually aware that offering not to report a crime in exchange for financial compensation is extortion, a felony, while selling cigarettes to a minor, while carrying a heavy fine, is a misdeameanor citation??? And if you're from out of state (Michigan, according to the asshat), why are you letting your child wander the downtown district of an unfamiliar city by herself?? I mean, I've been going downtown unsupervised since about the age of sixteen, but I am from here, which makes a difference. When I went to New York to stay with a friend at the same age of the purported daughter, I wasn't allowed out of sight in the city long enough to scratch my ass, much less buy cigarettes. Even in Jersey, where said friend lived, we went to the mall in a group or not at all. Sheesh.

Don't try to fuck around with the Smoke Shop...Patrick doesn't let you work there if you're a dumbass. Ask me soemetime about the time the cop came in on a Sunday and tried to roust me on a "sale of paraphenalia" charge.

Anyhow. Patrick came, we had a good laugh again, I massaged Patrick until he fell asleep in his chair, and then I read an excellent book on African-diasporic tradition that he brought back from New Orleans for me when neither he nor Tish could turn me up a Legba image.

Around midnight, Patrick advisd me on the symbology and traditions of Litha in prep for my ritual next week, and then I went home, reborn again.

When my therapist last asked me where a safe place was for me, I told him that after every Thursday session I head to the shop, which is warm and womblike and home to me. When I told Pat, he reminded me that the place is a touchstone of my life, representing some of the best years thereof, and that, other than the obvious advantage of having a dyed-in-the-wool Southern gentleman to watch over me while I'm there, was why I naturally feel safe.

Inside the smoke shop time doesn't pass as slowly as it does in the world outside. Ten hours almost anywhere and I'm ready to be somewhere else...except Patrick's place. Legba be thanked for that particular smoky womb, and its continued availability...becase when I am waiting for fullness, there's nowhere I'd rather be than there.

The friggin sun is coming up...time to go lie in bed and wait for sleep.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Law & Order Is Hard (When You Have A Kitty In Your Lap Remix)

I wanted to write. The Middle Kitty wanted the bulk of my lap. We're three-finger typing up in this bitch.

Met another god today (not that I don't every day)...the Artist's ritual contribution to the meeting was one of the coolest we've ever had. He created ritual space with sage, calling the Norse elementals, and then continued to walk the circle, "casting it in fire" as he put it, while giving the rest of us a guided meditation to Asgard, so that we could all meet Forsete. (Wikipedia has nothing on this guy, other than an alternate spelling, and neither one gave me an acceptable definition. Arrgh.)

FRONT! Remind me to write a blog post on "linking out" information and whether it makes people, as a whole, more or less educated (the ability to explain a thing being one of the prerequisites for understanding.)

Dammit, I need running secretaries and other modern conveniences.

Forsete (or Forseti, although something about that spelling puts me off) is the Norse god in charge of Sam Waterston...I mean, in charge of law and justice. The interesting thing is that designation, because they differentiated between the carnal justice, the justice of war, embodied in Tyr, and the justice of law, which is Forsete's forte. He will not fight in Ragnarok, although Tyr is listed among the combatants -- he will be keeping order and honor right up to the point when Loki slays Thor.

So we went across the Bifrost Bridge, the famed Over the Rainbow, and all of us learned things there. The things I learned I have not yet grokked, but waiting is until waiting is filled.

But I found out one thing; while it's up to Odin whether or not I ever feast in the Hall of Heroes, in Valhalla, I will not be shut out of Asgard when the time comes. Which matters, since I have friends in both Fiddler's Green and Valhalla (depending on your belief system) and if you can't get into Asgard, those people are lost to you. It is a goodness to know these things.

We had sweet mead blessed with the Artist's boarknife (his last December gift was a Freya on boarback and he now has a bone-handle blade with a cast boar on the handle that is one of the neatest athame-type knives I've ever seen) and did our mala together, and then I went (mistakenly) to wait on a friend who wasn't coming (not her fault), and instead sat and withdrew and tried to grok what I had learned.

In other news, the slow excavation of the ParcePad has resulted in the reassembly and growth of the Desk Altar.

The Desk Altar used to be really awesome, with this nifty staggered-candle, feng shui a la Target base my sister gave me, and small statues and stones scattered around it. Unfortunately, after I moved and then moved again, I have ended up having NO IDEA where the damn thing is. It'll turn up, likely during the excavation, but in the meantime things have coalesced and I have accidentally created a nicely-balanced, albeit small, altar-type thing.

I don't hold with desks, not since school, and so my computer sits on a large glass table that looks a good bit different than it did when the Artist and I carried it 2 blocks home from the Salvation Army sidewalk sale, thanks to a new coat of paint. It's a large table, and relatively deep, so the CPU is next to the monitor, and the altar is right under it -- the red halo around Ganesh's head covers the power button. Clustered around him are Venus 1.0 (the first large Dordogne-style I made), a clove-scented green candle, a holy card with the Sacred Heart of Mary, a piece of quartz, a resting Buddha, a primitive Goddess-with-cauldron, and a glow-in-the-dark St. Isidore, patron saint of the Internet. If I can find a Saraswati large enough that the cats won't carry her away to realms unknown, I'd like to add her to the party, but waiting will fill.

I hadn't really looked at it as a whole until tonight, because with the cleaning and the moving of the central altar and all that, it's been shuffled a bit. Apparently I do pretty darn well when I'm not paying attention.

Well, I have die shrinkenmeister in the morning, so I'm going to cut the semipagan ranting short and mosey off to bed. Have an excellent Thursday, even if you've never quite gotten the hang of them.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Angels We Have Heard Are High

Thanks to Bitch and Animal.


I had a dream that the Artist (who, even though he cut his hair in part to avoid the comparison, really does look like a traditional Christ) and I were stuck in some very weird religious cult that was mostly young people and set up like my mother's old elementary school. When I got caught sneaking down the hall for a reason that was important then, the Folks In Charge decided to terminate the entire operation. Literally. We got out just as the adults were going nuts with assault rifles. Somehow one of the other people in the dream was a homemade-explosives aficionado, because the end of the dream, before CDHSarah called and woke me, was the Artist, complete with assault-rifle stigmata, turning a glass of water to blood to distract the religious freak who was trying to kill us all while the other guy detonated the explosives. (Other Guy is the one who got us out, and all the kids he could, and he may have been making the bomb in a plot to escape, but I honestly don't remember, only that it involved hair spray in some fashion.) I'm not sure if the Artist was Jesus, or just pretending, but I think the former.

It was supremely creepy, but means nothing yet -- no one else I recognized, for one, which is usually a hint that I am either blending dream with the one person I do know, or that I have actually gotten into delta for once and am having an utterly meaningless dream experience. I also don't feel tired, which would indicate Door #2. (Can any of you see that this is really freaking me out?)

Why am I freaking out? Because I do, occasionally, have precognitive dreams, which makes even one that doesn't fit what seem to be my criteria for precog dreaming a cause for at least mild concern.

The only true precog dreams I have, which are spot-on, cover meaningless and ordinary, but sometimes unlikely events. Case in point -- a year or so before I started hanging out with the Doctor socially (we have known each other practically since birth), I was hanging out with him and a stranger, talking about doctors. The other guy was the Artist. I watch out for people I haven't seen in a while in my dreams, because often they resurface shortly after -- like my mind is trying to remind me what they look like, so I recognize them. Other times, I precog things like Patrick beating me four times at chess, when I hadn't played chess with Patrick before -- but that happened the night of Fan Fair Suckage, and the chess set was out when I got there.

Those are the real ones. Then there are the monitoring dreams, as I like to call them -- the dreams that I experience where I know, while dreaming, that I am not in my own dreamspace but someone elses' -- only people with whom I share spiritually, usually, and usually a warning of some kind or another based on that person's particular symbology. I knew two days before he came to me with it that the Artist suspected his last girlfriend of cheating on him, even though we weren't talking much those days.

Both kinds are little, unimportant visions, that someday I might be able to take to a different level. I don't envy the associate of mine whose mother and sister have precognitive dreams too -- she was three when Challenger blew up, but she woke up screaming about "the teacher in the big plane" maybe 15 minutes before the explosion. Her mother told me this story, and I don't doubt her. I don't know if I want to have big visions...with great power comes great responsibility, and all that crap.

This dream was not precognitive, and I'm pretty sure it was just my dream. I will meditate on that further when the time is right.

So, how's your Monday?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Conservatives Make Me Think

Two of my favorite people (one IRL, one online) are ConservativeWiccan and our own Irina. Mostly, this is because they are funny, not what my mother would call "hateful", and they make me think about stuff.

The latter has been making me think about intuition -- a factor that most of my real-life associates consider just as much of a given as Murphy's Law, if not gravitation.

My working definition for intuition is "the things you know without knowing them", a statement that means absolutely nothing. It niggles at me to believe in something I can't easily define, but that's the nature of the mystical, I suppose -- while I go to a doctor for my broken bones, I went to a Reiki healer for my last URI and had a much less miserable few days. Doesn't prove that Reiki works -- but I've had hands laid on for years now in various situations, and know in ways I can't prove that it works.

Intuition. However much I would like to pretend otherwise in order to absolve myself of guilt for a few major fuck-ups, I have an extremely accurate sense of the nature of individuals. In Charismatic churches this is sometimes a recognized charism, or gift, called "discernment". The listed definition limits it to spiritual events, but in practice I've heard it applied to individuals as well. I wasn't raised Charismatic, but the fact remains that since I was a young adult, I have had an almost inerrant, initial sense of whether a person meant me good or ill, not just in the short term but the long run. Whenever I have ignored what our friend Mike, the Man from Mars, would call "wrongness" in a person, I have fallen out badly or been hurt by the individual in question -- most recently, LokiKB -- and upon examination, this goes back much farther than my knowledge that such a gift existed. I've stopped ignoring my gift of discernment, trying without much guidance to improve it -- and am, hopefully, succeeding.

The Quakers call that sense, that sense of rightness and wrongness, the "still small voice of God." That's as good a name for it as any. Unfortunately, until we solve a few fiddly problems with quantum mechanics, or build ourselves a dinkum thinkum that can solve them for us, we won't have any way to take that which we know without knowing and prove scientifically that what we hear tells us correctly. Not to discount logic -- logic is required to create true intuition, because it gives you a baseline to make sure you're listening to the right things at the right times -- but perfectly logical arguments fall apart when tested on new data all the time. so it's not out of the bounds of possiblity that all the methods we use to tap into our intuition will someday be accepted as ways to encourage what I consider to be a pro-evolutionary trait, instead of the maunderings of overly emotional thinkers.

It's late and I'm debating going to temple tomorrow, so I'm going to cut this short. Have a good one, y'all.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Five Years

My mom just reminded me of something I wish she hadn't.

It's been five years since I came back "home" -- to Middle Tennessee, anyway -- this year. As of, basically, right now...I came home at the very beginning of May.

She didn't remind me directly. That would have been kind of creepy and probably the start of an argument. But my sister's five-year wedding anniversary is this summer, too.

My family has basically grasped that I really, really suck at dates of things like birthdays unless they are for some reason really easy -- like my mother's, which is the first of the month, or my two friends from high school whose birthdays are the day of and day after St. Patrick's Day, so whenever I start hearing radio commercials for St. Paddy's I remember. Otherwise, I just really suck at it. Not on purpose, or because I don't care...the information just doesn't stay in my brain. So someone usually tries to remind me, because when I accidentally forget people's birthdays I feel horrible. I forgot my sister's this year (well, basically -- I didn't realize until 11:30pm, so I called and left a sort-of belated happy birthday thing on her cell phone). Anniversaries just don't rate. I wish they did, but nope.

I had forgotten my sister's five-year anniversary was coming up, which meant 5 years home for me. I wasn't even old enough to drink when I came back, for God's sake. It was before the Doctor, the Artist, CDHSarah, or even Papa Sue. (It wasn't really before the Doctor, but it was before his incarnation as such.)

Five years ago I had never heard of Robert Heinlein (which is odd, considering the people I lived with at the time). I had not yet begun to use the Osho Zen tarot, which means I wasn't using Tarot at all. I had not yet read the Principia. I was still more Gothy than hippie. I didn't have a cat, not even one. I hadn't run afoul of my hometown. I didn't read BUST!. I didn't have dreadlocks (although I got them at the end of the summer that year.)

Who the hell was I when I was 20? Who the hell am I now?

Dammit, Mom. I don't suppose I can blame you for the fact that my sister's wedding anniversary is also giving me an existential crisis, but hey. And big ups to my sis for keeping the five-year thing going (we're also five years apart in age which means I never forget how old she is like I do with my mom and dad) so I can remember everything except the baby's age with the same mental formula.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The System is...Up? Also, Bite Me, Fan Fair

The system is working again. I should be thrilled, but I'm not feeling all that peppy for some reason, just kind of what the Artist would call "meh".

This may have something to do with the interruptions in my Thursday routine. First of all, working or nay, I DO NOT GET UP EARLY ON THURSDAY. It is "going to the doctor" day, and I try like hell never to schedule anything before, at the very earliest, 10 AM on Thursday.

Comcast, because they suck donkey testicle, started off the routine fuckery.

Now, I know better than to trust the cable guy or his supposed ETA. Nevertheless, because the rep swore to me that she was noting my appointment as one of the guy's first three (which turned out to be true, as a buddy of mine who works for the Evil Empire showed me some of the internal coding that lets you know how you were queued..,not promised they'll be done in the scheduled order, but that was something), so I actually set the alarm for 8 AM so I wouldn't be naked and groggy when he started to knock on the door, or miss him entirely, as happened once before when the cable guy was actually early and I was in a state of posthypnotic undress. So I put on clothes and went back to sleep, but woke up every hour or so long enough to fume about having woken up early in the first place. He didn't show until 10:30 am.

It took about four hours to fix my cable for no apparent reason, and the guy had forgotten his company phone, and on and on and on with the annoyance. The cable guy was actually pretty nice, but it somewhat unnerved me when he borrowed change off me to call the company so I could give them my credit card to pay for the reactivation. It just struck me wrong, somehow.

So I had no time before the doctor, just time enough to head out, and after the doctor, when I was expecting to take a leisurely drive downtown well before rush hour (which is usually awesome, as I always get caught in the drive time when I'm trying to get downtown after an appointment), I instead was in gridlock backed up to 14th Avenue, because of the hordes of fucking tourists.

It's Fan Fair time in Nashville, y'all, and look who forgot?

Reasons I Hate Fan Fair

1. Hordes of tourists. Normally I don't mind tourists, we always have them anyhow and I try my best to be nice. But Fan Fair brings them out en masse.

2. It happens when it's really, really hot. See #1. Gridlock when it's 90 degrees and above 75% humidity is like waiting in line for Hell. I don't envy the kids going to the Roo this weekend one damn bit.

3. #1 and #2 make "parking downtown" -- usually not a huge hassle on Thursday afternoon -- an extremely large production, requiring all the wit, skill, and knowledge of our fair city I possess. Problem is that even lots that are usually free aren't during Fan Fair, and they close First, which is unmetered, so I had to park at the Gay Street Extension (hee...readers of Heinlein take note), which is not terribly far. Under normal circumstances.

4. Essentially, I hate Fan Fair because it makes everything not work the way it usually does, including the availability of entrances to places I may be heading, hence more walking in the heat, and the poker game being cancelled. I don't guess I can blame it for me getting my ass whipped at chess by Patrick, but I'll sure as hell try.

I have new bookshelves that I need to finish assembling. I have a poem I need to finish. I have a messy-ass house, and in 12 hours I have not-at-home type things to do, so I need to get something done before bed, as well as a bath. (Also, tomorrow (appendages crossed) I might ACTUALLY get my FUCKING PHONE TO WORK. That's what you get for trying to go with the new technology.)

What am I doing instead? Reading Britney and Kevin: Chaotic over on TWoP.

Anyway, since I have no great spiritual wisdom or cute cat photos to impart, I will leave you now that you are aware that I'll be around more once I feel like being around and have a reason to impose my presence...or something.

Big ups to Fresno, y'all.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Another Sabbath Day

Yesterday was another Sabbath Day for me.

The Hindu Honkies I referenced in the above post invited the RS gang to visit Sri Ganesha to see Saraswati rededicated. I didn't think about it, but they do the Saraswati puja at the end of the school year, and have anyone continuing in school come to participate in the puja, as well as the graduates, to present them to Saraswati for her help with their continued studies.

I didn't realize that the standard service starts at 11 am; I had been told 11:30 for the ceremony. So once I got in, the Ganesh service was in full swing. I didn't see Saraswati at first, because she had been so changed by the work the HHs had done on her.

Her eyes look right into yours. I settled down close to her and began my first mala of the day...and noticed something odd.

I prayed my mala in my purse. I did not want anyone to see me.

Probably it's a hold-over from my upbringing. I understand very well the admonition of Christ that those who pray in public have their reward already on earth and will not receive it in heaven. (For those unfamiliar with the parable, he was talking about those who make a show of public prayer, not all prayer in public.) But with the other service already in progress, it seemed the thing to do to keep the beads in the bag.

Saraswati and I chatted-without-words for a short and infinite time, and then the puja for her began. The HH came over, as well as the Hexenmeister, and sat with me for some of the ceremony.

The temple does the Saraswati puja to coincide with graduation or end of school for most of its students, who ranged in age from middle school to adults in college. All of their names were read to Saraswati with the request that she help them in their studies. Didn't understand more than one word in ten, if that, but it was lovely. I blessed myself with fire, and then ended up at lunch (again) with the Hexenmeister and HH families (again), which was fun. Sitar is much better than Taste of India, and I think I'm now addicted to chicken tikka.

The only problem was that it was. So. Hot.

It was so hot and humid on Sunday that it was not to be borne, seriously. Someone fainted during the puja, and the A/C was on. After eating spicy food (mistake!), I ended up with free time and nowhere to go that had the benefits of central air.

So I went to the mountain.

Well, it wasn't a mountain, it was the hill where drum circle happens. I went early because up there there is at least a remote possibility that a breeze might cut its way through the 83% humidity and make you aware that your body is actually cooling itself by all that sweating. I love the South, but we need siestan instituted as of yesterday...no human being should be forced to do anything but sleep from about 3 to 5 when the weather is like this.

I had put on long pants because I was headed to temple in the morning, and put the dreads up. I usually do, as I don't own a sari and my non-sarong long skirts were dirty.

Five minutes out of the car I did the most bizarre reverse striptease ever in order to get the sarong on my head around my waist in a way that would preserve my dignity throughout the operation. I looked funny, I'm sure, but I wasn't hot any more.

Drum circle was very cool. CDHSarah was there, as usual, and some people asked us about our malas. Once it was over, I headed over to Daughters of Kali, the class I was so excited about.

I had made a tactical error while trying to avoid tactical errors, which is typical of me, by driving down the street where the class was being held the night before to try and find the place. I found the building that I thought was it, memorized what it looked like, and figured I was good to go.

Due to extreme dehydration, though, I had left downtown early to leave time to stop for water, and had left too much time, arriving thirty minutes before the start time. There wasn't a sign, but the signs on the door indicated that it was a place that might be it. So I settled down and read the PaganNet news again and watched the time tick away.

At about quarter after seven, about when I had decided that there wasn't going to be a class, I looked at the mailboxes and realized that the class was in the building next door. (Turns out the other building is a recording studio; they left me the Berry Hill version of a parking ticket, which is a handwritten, Xeroxed sheet asking you please not to park there even when it looks like they're closed as people use the studio at all times.) I zipped over there.

Turns out I was the only prospective Daughter of Kali to turn up for the introductory session, so it was far more informal than it probably would have been otherwise. We began going over the Goddess timeline until the teacher realized I knew most of it up to 10,000 BCE in India, which was her area of expertise as it was, so we skipped ahead and talked about the evolution of the Goddess in India, how their Goddess culture is far less broken and subsumed, a lot of topics...just talking. She showed me her altar (after placing my goddesses on it, which was a nice gesture) and an abbreviated puja to honor the deities on any altar, which was nice. We chanted and meditated for a while. There wasn't a lot I can share, really, because it was so informal, other than that I like it, am going back, and am inviting others to go with me.

Then I went and hung out with the upstairs neighbors and actually got to watch an episode of South Park for once. God bless.

You Get What You Pay For

Again, big ups to Irina for giving me memes to do while I'm Secret Squirrelin'...they always get me off on thoughts. And for the record, during the Saraswati puja for students yesterday, I totally directed my thoughts at her LSAT scores...let's all hope she does well.

For your delectation, my (adapted) version of Irina's latest tag.

Choose Your Own Life Soundtrack Meme For The Story of E Moet

Opening Song
Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan

Waking up
(if happy about it) Bouncing Around the Room, Phish
(if not) No No No, the Gossip

Falling in Love
(with man) Head Over Feet, Alanis Morisette
(with woman) Sugar Magnolia, the Grateful Dead

Sex Scene
(bouncy fun scene) Brick House, Rob Zombie remix from House of 1000 Corpses
(lovely sex scene) Untitled Six, Sigur Ros

(with anyone): Being In Love, Meryn Cadell
(with a man) Good Woman, Cat Power
(with a woman) Population 1975, the Butchies
(with both at the same time) Dancing Barefoot, Patti Smith
(in secret, so no one knows I'm a huge cliché) Untouchable Face, Ani Difranco
(when I'm starting to feel better about it) Who's Going to Mow Your Grass, Buck Owens

First Big Argument with Parents
STS, the Butchies. "No! You don't even know!"

Rebellious Song
P.I.M.P, 50 Cent & Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G.

First Time Really Drunk
Bloodletting (The Vampire Song), Concrete Blonde

Otherwise Intoxicated
Smoke Two Joints, Sublime or Ganja by the Gossip

(aimless, thinking) Garden Grove, Sublime
(aimless, scenery-watching and singing): Waltzing Matilda (Slim Pickens version) or Whiskey in the Jar (traditional, not Metallica's version)
(need to be there already) Move, Bitch, Ludacris

Getting Ready To Go Out
Supermodel, Bran Van 3000 or Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones

Wedding Song
Dueling Banjos, Roy Clark/Chet Atkins.
(yes, that's the song from Deliverance. Yes, the one. With the buttfucking. It's also one of my favorite pieces of fingerpicked bluegrass. Anyone snickering at my unlikely putative wedding will be caned, double if it's CDHSarah.)

Dream Sequence
Singapore, Tom Waits

Out of Body Experience
Staralflur, Sigur Ros or Space Oddity, David Bowie

Feeling Depressed
most of OK Computer. Can't really get more specific than that.

Birth of Child
What else but Little Babies, Sleater-Kinney?

Walking in the Rain
These Days, Nico

Striptease Song
N/A -- socially in partial or total undress too much of the time to make a guess.

Going To Hated Job
Pick A Bale of Cotton, Leadbelly

Walking Off Said Jobsite
Many Men, 50 Cent -- or, if tech job, All My Shootins be Drive-Bys, MC Stephen Hawking

Moment When Sun Shines In Room Perfectly
Shame On You, the Indigo Girls

Falling Asleep
Jòga, Björk

Funeral Song
I Ain't Marchin' Anymore, Arlo Guthrie

Closing Song
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel

Memes just don't fit Discordians, man. Here's the categories they forgot:

Smack my Bitch Up, Prodigy

Breaking Up
(man) Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
(woman) Angie, the Rolling Stones

Chain Smoking
Judy is a Punk, the Ramones (since in deference to The Royal Tenenbaums we light a cigarette literally every time we hear that song)

...and here's the mini-playlist of Songs To Sing Loudly With Intoxicated Friends

Show Me The Way To Go Home (that one's CDHSarah's)
The Cheat is Not Dead, as originally sung by The Brothers Strong
Fuck You I'm Drunk
Irish Drinking Song, the Drop Kick Murphys version
Waltzing Godzilla
Trogdor, the Burninator
Fire Water Burn
and many others. Only $19.95!

In non-meme news, I started a class at the Holistic Growth Center related to Kali, and went to a Saraswati puja. That requires more grokking and cherishing than I can give it right now, so look for it here soon!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Om Ayim Srim Fnord Goddammit

Mantra-ing going well, relatively speaking.

I just finished reading Julie Gregory's Sickened, and now, I am.

Sickened is Ms. Gregory's memoir of growing up with a Munchausen's by proxy mother.

Now, I do not consider myself a sucker, but this book really, really upset me. The Buddha tells us that to lie is to distort reality, and is the only thing a bodhisattva cannot do, the only "sin" not forbidden. So much more so, for those of us who are not. Most of the hurt in the world comes from forms of distorted reality, from deception, from untruth. MBP, my knowledge of which was fairly limited to Judging Amy and ER, as well as a couple of psych classes, seems to me to be the worst kind of deception.

I am such an optimist that when I finished the book I was sure -- sure -- that Ms. Gregory would succeed in her aims. If you haven't read the book and don't want to spoil the ending, I don't suggest going to juliegregory.com until you've read it.

All I have time, or energy, or no-spoilers, to say is that the update section made me very sad, and very tired.

Off to go get the first mala of the day done...I'm taking a late start.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tagged! Bagged! Mantra'ed!

Hola folks from the land of Secret Squirrel...still no fixin' on the horizon, but I should get that all ready to happen tomorrow. If I don't wake up feeling worse than I feel now, which is pretty bad.

Anyway, Irina tagged her readership, and although I don't usually do the meme thing, I decided I'd hit this one.

Total number of books I've owned:
No. Idea. Over a thousand, I'm sure, as I know I have nearly that in the apartment, not counting all the ones in storage, lost, given away....I'm on my fourth and fifth copies of some of my favorites.

The last Book I Bought:
I bought 9 books at a stretch the last time and am eagerly awaiting their delivery. Here they are:
Sickened by Julie Gregory...this is a memoir of a Munchausens-by-proxy childhood, and it'll probably be the first one I read when the books actually arrive.
The Gypsy Game, Janie's Private Eyes, Blair's Nightmare, and And All Between by Zilpha Keatley Snyder...all sequels to books of hers I read when I was a kid. Thanks to the Pamie.com message board, I found out some of them were trilogies or series, and promptly went and got several of the ones I was missing.
Expanded Universe by Robert Heinlein. I had a copy of this at some goddamned point in time, but I don't know who the hell I lent it to and it's less aggro just to get a 75-cent copy on Half.com than to try and track down the miscreant.
Downsize This! and Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. I'm not Mike's biggest fan, nor his harshest critic, but I do tend to buy his stuff used and not new, so make of that what you will.
Lastly, Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks. I don't know anyone who has read this, but the review I read of it in the Nashville Scene ages ago made me add it to my wishlist, and when I saw it had dropped into my price range I snatched it up. I'll keep you posted.

Also, I only spent $2.92/book on this venture, even though the shipping was more than the book cost. I came out ahead.

The Last Book I Read:
I'm right in the middle of re-reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the fifty-billionth time. The last new (not-read-before) book I finished was a bio of Barbara Jordan sent to me by my lovely and gracious ET. I'm also reading Conversations with Seth whenever I'm at Tish's place.

Five books that mean something to me:

Stranger in a Strange Land. Um. Yeah. If you read this blog at all, you knew that already.
Principia Discordia. Ditto.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I recommend this book to basically everyone I meet. Changed my life, although not as much as #1.
Sister Light, Sister Dark/White Jenna by Jane Yolen. My first introduction to the Goddess. I've read the third book, The One-Armed Queen, and it's good, but didn't punch me in the gut the way the other two did. Of course, there was a decade between all that, so that's prolly why.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King. All 7 books, actually, although the last one is the one that had me up at 5 am, still reading through barking sobs that brought my cats running to see what was wrong with Mom. I believe I literally wailed at one point.

So, there's that.

Nothing to report this end, other than starting a 40-day Saraswati mantra with the rest of the group...we strung our mala tonight and started the discipline. I'm trying to do 100,000 reps in the 40 days, but not obsessing on it, as that requires 25 reps per day and I don't know if I'm there yet. Anyway, hope to be back soon, with more to report.