Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You're not that (bleep) special

I know I said that I would not post this week, but I have an axe to grind and some frustration to vent before I take it out on someone who does not deserve it. And no, the novel isn’t done yet.

Here is what I would like to say to all the New Age/Pagan/Wiccan/Progressive and even Christians who believe that everything we will becomes reality, that we can merely ‘think’ things into being, that the universe manifests your desires, the Lord will provide, or that The Secret works: get over yourselves. Now.

I am not saying that attitude is not important, or beliefs, or any of that. I am merely saying that the universe/God/whatever does not exist to help you out and fulfill your every whim. What brought this little rant on? The large number of people who, while trying to be helpful with my current transportation situation, have told me to help ‘think a car into being’ or ‘throw my desire and need into the universe and the universe will provide’ or a dozen similar iterations of such poppycock.

Let’s look at this for a moment. Let’s assume it works. Okay, the universe manifests anything you desire if you want it or need it badly enough. Okay, fine. Let’s run with that. Now, unless I have the statistics off (they are probably considerably higher than the last time I looked) 25,000 people died of starvation yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Another 20,000 died from dehydration or diseases stemming from dirty water. Countless thousands more were murdered, raped, tortured, all of the above, or had other unspeakable acts committed against them. A significant number of these were innocent children. Now, I’m assuming that every one of these people were fervently wishing/praying/hoping for food, water, or safety until the very end. I could be wrong, but hey, what do I know? Clearly, the universe did not manifest these things for them.

And yet, according to this theory, it will work for me. Here I sit, typing on a computer with internet access in the richest country in the history of the planet. I have a roof over my head (however tenuously), food in my belly, clean water to drink, even electricity. And the universe/God/whatever will provide me with a luxury like a car and not give a two-year-old a drink of water? I don’t think so.

What are we really saying here? That some people are better, more deserving, more worthy or special than others? Now we’re getting somewhere. Because if I am better than that two-year-old, or more worthy, or deserving, than of course the universe would prefer me to that baby.

Um, no. I don’t think so. Furthermore, I don’t have a right to so much as ask. Here’s a newsflash to all of those people above: You’re not that f**king special. Get over yourself.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taking a break for a few days

The blog is going to be quiet for the next week. There's a double reason for this. The first is that I am taking a mid-winter break. The second is that I am going to try and finish this draft of my novel by my (self-imposed) deadline of New Year's. Wish me luck, and feel free to yell if I post.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My car died this morning

My car died this morning. In a flurry of smoke and sparks. I mean it is D-E-A-D, dead. Stick a fork in it. All it needs is a few shotgun holes in the side to complete the effect, which, if I was in the country, it would probably have at this point. (Discharging a gun within the city limits is illegal, which is stupid. If it’s my car and my gun, f*** off as far as I’m concerned.) It’s an old Oldsmobile, 18 with 110,000 miles on it. My last American car was a Ford and it too died at 18 with about the same number of miles on it. This is why I hate American cars: they are pieces of sh*t. I know at least thirty people with Japanese cars older than this one and at least twice the miles which are still running fine. I know one girl who has one (a Toyota I think, but I’m not sure) with over 400,000 miles on it and all she’s replaced is the transmission.

Oh, I could fix the car. But replacing the transmission alone would be a minimum of $1500 bucks and it has other problems. Like the massive oil leak, the bad shocks, the non-working heat, ac and defroster, and most of the electronics. The car is d-e-a-d. Now I have to figure out how to get to work this week…

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deep in the Dark of the Longest Night

Deep in the dark of the longest night
We keep our vigil by candlelight
Waiting to sing to the newborn sun
The universe will birth when the night is done

See the sun arising,
See the sun arising;
Darkness is gone!

Yesterday was the winter solstice, a High Holy day for pagans, and last night was the longest night of they year. I did not stay up all night as is the old custom, primarily for two reasons: I am still recovering from being very ill, and staying up all night by yourself is much different than doing so in a group of celebrants. At 6:04 this morning CST the sun reached its farthest point on the ecliptic and began its long journey back. From that moment on, there will be a little more light and a little less darkness every day until the Summer Solstice. Then the cycle will repeat, every year as it has done since the dawn of time and will continue to do until the end of time.

The sun returned in two ways this morning. First, the Solstice of course. Second, the weather has been really bad here for the past three weeks. It has been raining almost every day, and even when it hasn’t been, the sky has still been overcast. The only times it has been clear is at night. But when I rose this morning, the sky was clear of all save a few wisps of cloud. The newborn sun arose, a ball of liquid fire over the mountain. Despite the chill I ate my breakfast on the front porch, basking in the light. Welcome back, Ra! Apollo! Pan!

This is also the first day of winter, the time of the great cold and darkness. The Crone is in her full majesty right now –the old woman who holds all the wisdom of age, who guards the gates of Death and the keys to every world. The time of cold is upon us, the time of endings and transitions, the time of dark and cold. But, the Light is returning and each day spring will be a little bit closer, and the time will soon come when the maiden, newly born again, will frolic in fields of flowers and new grass.

This Solstice is a bit bitter sweet, for winter and the time of darkness has not just come to the world in the form of the ancient cycle of seasons. Our culture, our world, has also entered a time of darkness and we have not yet reached the longest night. Things are shifting, changing. Everything that once seemed secure is starting to shift. The moorings are coming loose. Deep in the corners, in the shadows, the whispers are beginning, the dreaded word that sends chills up the spine: depression. I heard them yesterday, even at the Solstice celebration. You can see the worry on peoples face, in the way they hold their bodies and clutch at their purses. I only made a quarter of what I usually make at the annual solstice fair. Part of that was the weather –it was pouring rain all day –but part of it must be attributed to the economy. Even here, in one of the most recession proof areas of the country, the affects are being felt. Stores are closing, people are being laid off, the discounts are amazing. And people are starting to worry.

You have no idea, I want to tell them. We are not facing a depression. We are facing a complete change in our way of life. Oil is almost gone. So are numerous other resources. We have built our entire way of life on a house of cards, a giant Ponzi scheme that has to come crashing down. We have forgotten the first rule of the natural world: Everything is interconnected, and when you touch one thing, you touch all things. We have also forgotten the second rule: Everything has a price. Everything. We’ve gotten away with not paying any prices for so long that we think there are not any. But there are, and the bill is beginning to come due. There must be a day of reckoning. And while that day may last more like a century or two, come it will. The first stirrings are being felt now, like the first leaves to drop in autumn. More will come.

It is going to be a long, long night and a rough winter. Much will change. Much will be destroyed. But, dawn will come. It always does. The Light will return.

One planet is turning
Circle on her path around the Sun
Earth Mother is Calling her children home
Light is returning, although this is the darkest hour
No one can hold back the dawn
Let’s keep it burning
Let’s keep the light of hope alive
Make safe the journey through the storm

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ostentatious Displays of Wealth

One of the more, um, interesting aspects of living in the south is that ostentatious displays of wealth are not considered tacky. This has a long history, going back to the days of plantations and the Lord of the Manor. Keep in mind the south was settled by some of the biggest losers in the old world who were eager to ‘get theirs’. The displays toned down during the War (that being the Civil War, to you northerners) and the Depression, but came back each time. I fully expect them to disappear again soon. In a severe recession/depression, such displays are stupid and dangerous. But in the meantime, I still have to put up with displays like the one I witnessed on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon is house shopping day around these parts, and yes, people are still looking and buying. We haven’t really been hit yet. Unless the government goes out of business, we’re fairly well insulated. So I usually have to clear out with the dogs come Sunday afternoon. The cat stays and tells off anyone who comes to look at the house. (She is Siamese when I please, she is Siamese when I don’t please…) So, this week I went to a nearby coffee shop. I’m not a big fan of coffee shops –overpriced coffee not being appealing to someone in my financial situation. But this one is a local store and as much of a community center and hang-out spot as a coffee shop. They also allow you to bring your dogs out on their terrace and patio.

And I will admit, I had another reason for going there: I have a huge crush on one of the baristas there. She is incredibly beautiful, smart, funny. You know the type: the ones you know instinctively are out of your league but can’t help but fall for anyway. Well, lo and behold, I was lucky and she was working. The shop has this new rule that says you have to buy something to hang out there and while I don’t much care for that, she was working so I decided to stay, and hang out inside for a bit. I had to pay a buck fifty for a cup of hot chocolate. Yeah, I shouldn’t have done it, but trying telling that to my hormones. It’s cheaper than asking her out to dinner. At least it was good hot chocolate. And she gave me whipped cream and didn’t charge me for it.

So anyway, I sitting there sipping my overpriced cup of hot chocolate and trying to think of something (anything, but preferably something that wouldn’t make me sound like a moron) that I could say to this girl when an SUV pulls into the parking lot. This was one of those fancy ones –the kind that costs more than a lot of houses. A woman and her daughters come in. They are dressing in designer clothing. The woman has enough jewelry on her hands to buy my house, including a ruby that would choke a horse. They come in, acting like they own the place (which I know for a fact they don’t) and proceed to not only flaunt their wealth (the ruby was a Christmas gift and she made sure to shove it under everyone’s nose) but treat the staff and others present like absolute crap. Obviously, these people do not care about any ‘recession’ and how its affecting ‘the little people’.

I had to resist the urge to fling my hot chocolate in the woman’s face. Hey, I’m human. I’m not sure if the impulse was motivated mostly by the display or by the way she was treating the girl I’m crushing on and probably never will. So here’s one good thing that may come out of this: less annoying rich people.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What will we do?

What will we do?

What will we do
When the last car dies
And the last bus runs out of fuel?
When the last phone goes dead
And the last radio crackles and falls silent?
When the last tv flickers off
And the last dvd is broken?
When the grid goes down
And all the distractions end?
Perhaps, perhaps, we shall leave
Our stifling, confining, limiting abodes
And go across the hall or the dead concrete jungle
To knock on a neighbor’s door
Perhaps we shall say ‘Hi, how are you?
I do not know you, but maybe we could sit and chat?’
Perhaps the neighbor will say ‘I suppose,
But I was just about to have dinner. It’s just rice,
But at least it’s something.’
And maybe we shall say ‘I have some beans,
How about we eat together?’
Then perhaps we shall sit and talk and dine together
And watch our children play, who have never met
Then perhaps we shall start to realize
How bad the old world was
And start to build something new


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Gifts

I got a $25 gift card from work for Christmas. I was very surprised and pleased by this, what with the economy being the way it is and the fact that I am a very part time employee. This card was to a very well-known big box store, but I could care less. Now, in other times I would have used this card to buy something I really want –a book or a CD, but not necessarily something I need. Not anymore. As soon as I got it I started figuring out what I could get from the list of things I need with that card. I think I did fairly well, and it is a sign of how desperate retailers are that I was able to do this. Here’s what I bought:
-A large grannyware stockpot that I will use for everything from making stew to jam.
-A very nice bread pan to replace the one that broke a while back.
-A 1/2 gallon glass container for food storage
-A large tin of my favorite holiday spiced tea
And all I had to pay was a bit in change. I keep staring at that stockpot and wishing it is spring. Strawberry jam, anyone?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sorry about the lack of new posts

Especially longer ones. I've been sick for about a week and a half. While I'm on the mend now, I'm nowhere back to normal. I'll return as soon as possible.

Monday, December 01, 2008


But first things first -it's snowing! Not a lot, but it is still surprising. None of it is sticking and it is slowly converting into slushy ice but waking up to find snow coming out of the sky here in Alabama is a momentous event. It has snowed twice here in the past six years, both time in the deepest part of winter. We have all ready been having a harder winter than usual and this is just icing on the cake.

Back to the actual subject of the post. I am slowly purging everything I don't need and that isn't actually useful. For instance, I am getting rid of most of my dvds. I will keep a few -my favority movies, but that is it. I've never owned a lot of them but when I am done I will only have a handful. I am also getting rid of my old playstation. It still works, but I haven't played it in years so why am I still hauling it around?

Some things I am not purging include my books (save for a very few) and my cds (I will give up my cds when they turn into expensive coasters and nothing else). It feels good to be letting go of the excess.

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