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Neko

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Telekinesis AGAIN?!! 


Less than a week after I had what still looks like a probable experience with telekinesis in my sleep, it happened AGAIN. My closet, which had NEVER previously had anything just fall off of a shelf before, has now done it TWICE, both times when I was asleep and needed to wake up.

This time, I woke up with such a jolt that I can't remember what I was dreaming, which is VERY unusual for me, and despite the early hour I felt like I had to get up and see what had done it this time. I knew that it was another closet issue, although I couldn't say HOW I knew (aside from the obvious way); I had a thought along the lines of "not AGAIN" as I was gathering my wits about me. The culprit turned out to be a pillow with a recording device in it, on which my husband had recorded a special message for me; after testing it to see if it still worked (it did), I started to get suspicious, and glanced at the clock-my husband was nearly due at work, and should have already left the house. SHOULD have, hmmmm... I opened the bedroom door, saw a light on in the computer room, and went down the hall to see, yes, you guessed it, my husband, deeply engrossed in trivial online nonsense, unaware of the passage of time and not even DRESSED yet.

There have been MANY occasions over the years when I've woken up from a deep sleep and known that my husband had dozed off, or otherwise gone astray, and was going to be really late for work if not rousted... but this is the first time it happened in such a freaky way. Call me crazy, but when something with my husband's voice on it "falls" off a shelf and wakes me up right when he needs me to go pry him away from the computer and go to work, that stretches the bounds of coincidence a little bit... especially when I had another necessary wake-up call from the closet just a few days ago.

The only other explanation at this point is poltergeists, which is a scary thought, as I've had several things disappear, and then reappear unexpectedly and in odd places, within the past week, which is one of the things they used to do when they hung around me in my young adulthood... I REALLY hope it's not them.

I'm going to try and make a point of CLOSING my closet doors every night from now on.


Monday, March 29, 2004

The theory of creation... or is that Creation? 


For those who are late in jumping in, the foundation of my spiritual view is that it is all based on energy; thought, feeling, the soul, spirits, esp, synchronicity, karma in the traditional sense, and the material from which all matter, and perhaps all types of energy, in the universe(s) originally formed... all energy... all the SAME, as-yet-nameless energy, which I call "karma" for simplicity's sake.

The energy from which all matter in the universe arose is the same energy as created by your thoughts... so, does that mean that Creation came from thought? Whose thought, God's? Or, the thoughts of a novel writer in another reality, perhaps, that popular concept from scifi (Heinlein used it to great effect)?

When WE think, are WE creating... or Creating? Does everything we imagine become real somehow, somewhere, as the basis for another reality? Is that what the energy of our thoughts eventually leads to? Or, is information leaking across from other realities, and our brains process it all as if it were our own thoughts, because the energy is the same? Are we seeing the remnants of previous incarnations of the universe? We can't get something from nothing, so the likelihood is that we have an infinite cycle of creation and destruction, as so many "primitive" spiritual beliefs describe; do echoes of past realities remain, like those ghosts of words that remain on a dry erase board no matter how much you clean it after the ink has been there for a while? There will be an infinite # of "cycles" after this; could we sometimes be seeing the future, the FAR future, as it already exists, perhaps based on the patterns of the present? Or, is it true that time doesn't really exist except in our minds, and that all the universes exist at once, and are all at least theoretically perceptible all at once?

I remember reading a line once about our existing in the mind of God; that would certainly be consistent with everything being made from the energy of thought, all existing at once, just as all our memories and the realities they describe all exist at once in OUR minds, and all made of "thought energy."

I don't believe in God; I don't declare that He doesn't exist, because I have no proof of that, but without proof that he DOES exist, and lacking faith, I don't believe. Still, a significant # of the facets of my concept of karma, when thought through thoroughly along all possible paths, DO lead to possible solutions where God, or a generalized superbeing that might as well be called God, exists. Or, perhaps there's a being that's like the entity Man in Asimov's greatest short story, "The Last Question," which was made of up of all the minds of all the people in existence, except made up of SOULS, and our little souls merge with it after we die...

Rather than engage in an ever-widening spiral of speculation, I'll provide a special treat; I've found a page that has "The Last Question" on it in its entirety. It's quite short, so do PLEASE read it if you never have, and see for yourself why I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach every time I read it... and why I think it has bearing on this topic on more than one level:

http://adin.dyndns.org/adin/TheLastQ.htm


Sunday, March 28, 2004

The school dream revisited 


I had it again last night, the dream where I'm back in high school. In what I know now is NOT a coincidence, an upsetting event from outside my control (as school was a constant source of upset outside of my control) occurred to precipitate it; an item I'd won on eBay showed up broken, to my GREAT dismay. Usually, eBay sellers respond promptly, but this one has not, which I think was behind a new twist in the dream; in it, I told someone that there was no English class showing on my schedule, which didn't make sense because that was my best and easiest class (in addition, you HAD to take it every year, but I didn't remember that within the dream)... I didn't get to communicate with the seller, and so didn't get to use my English skills.

During what was a free period for me during the "school day," I was somehow going to visit Scotland (just walk on over, mind you); I had gotten an email from my friend in Scotland before I went to bed, and didn't have time to reply... that one's simple enough, if odd, and also new.

The biggest new twist to the dream was about my locker, which represents my emotional state. The bank of lockers had been moved, but I KNEW that it had been, and they were where I thought they were; my guess is that this refers to a new placement for my emotions, which would tie into the new friend I've posted about several times who I think may have been sent to re-mother me (and she called me out of the blue for us to get together today, when normally she would email about it, non-coincidentally). The locker looked fine, the lock was on and closed, it opened with no problem, and whatever was in there caused me no concern, which is VERY unusual in and of itself, but the REAL biggie was that I noticed a sort of cover over the locker, underneath which was... a KEY, which I knew was a key that would open my lock and therefore my locker. I grabbed the key and thought something about talking to the front office to find out how it got there... the front office, now what is that, perhaps the deepest part of my subconscious mind? I hadn't thought about it before, but although I often think of going to the front office for various reasons, I end up not being able to get there, or not able to find anyone to talk to there, and therefore no answers. Hmmmmmmm......

Anyways; the key. The key that opens the lock that is on my emotions, which are in the locker. Often the locker has been broken into in the dream, but it was intact this time, despite the key being there... the key exists, and was close by, but hadn't been used yet... and that ties into the same new friend who I think is behind the re-positioning of the locker. She IS the key, and she HAS the key, this brilliant, insightful and deeply caring woman who is reaching out to me on all emotional levels as if we were family, who is reaching past the intimidation and distance that my intense personality creates in even long-time friends and drawing me closer to her, despite the recent pain of her own life. I wanted her, I asked karma for her, and she's HERE-every time I interact with her it becomes more clear.

If I try to explain this to her, will she understand? It's so HARD to judge when something will terrify another person and when it will be a blinding epiphany that will open up whole new universes for them...


Saturday, March 27, 2004

My husband said something interesting 


It DOES happen from time to time. ;-)

We were watching a movie in which a male character feeds a line to a female character about wanting to "take it slow," about which my husband piped up: "No, the whole point is that you're supposed to get her to sleep with you BEFORE she finds out what an asshole you are." He wasn't just talking about the guy in the movie, it turns out; he was expressing one of the rules of manhood (yeah yeah, I know, no guy YOU know thinks that way).

It's true what they say; boys and girls ARE different. We nearly all grew up in households where a woman made the rules as to how we should groom ourselves, keep up our rooms, handle perishable foods and so forth, and girls internalize that and expect their homes (and everyone else's) to work the same way, while boys try to be as different as possible from that female role model as proof of their maleness.

You think not? Come on, do you think men don't grasp that it takes more effort to gather the laundry when they've thrown it everywhere EXCEPT the hamper, or that the bathroom STINKS if they don't flush the toilet, or that if they wear clothes with holes and stains it makes them repulsive to the opposite sex? They DO know, but they think it's more important to "be men" than it is to please the people they want sex from by doing things the proper way... ok, this shows a LITTLE bit of a lack of grasp of their best interests, lol, but that's men for you-if they DID fully grasp what was in their best interests, who would have done all the exploring and taken all the other risks that have moved the human race forward?

Although in these days of AIDS it's wise for us ALL to want to take it slow, regardless of gender, studies show that very few men actually want that; if they say they do, it's usually a line to try to get the woman into bed, just as was shown in the movie... which brings up a scary point. For all their outward contempt about chick flicks, magazines like Cosmo, and talk shows, guys are actually soaking alot of that stuff in when we're not around, and they're finding out what female concerns are and coming up with lines to counter them... and it's apparently WORKING. They're getting organized about it, too; I've seen entire websites devoted to men telling other men all the objections women have to having sex with a near stranger, and how to overcome those objections. These sites emphasize a "strike while the iron is hot" mentality, meaning that the idea is to get the woman in bed while the initial attraction is still there, and BEFORE she starts to notice his many faults and lose interest, or, even worse, starts to see him as a "just a friend."

Since *I* was brought up by parents who told me endlessly that men would do anything, say anything, promise anything, to get a woman into bed, I've always seen male attempts to speak the "female language" and make it sound like they want what we want as the lines they are, and it never ceases to amaze me how easily OTHER women fall for those same lines. Ladies, listen; men don't care about communication, they don't want to share their feelings, they don't want to willingly drag out the wait before they get sex from you, and they're not contemplating commitment with women they've just met. No, they're not. NO, they're NOT. Men instinctively FEAR those sorts of topics, as they know they can't compete with women in the areas of emotions and relationship issues, and, while a good guy will endure them to please you, and WILL wait a few weeks or even months for sex, a guy who brings these sorts of things up himself is a player-count on it.

It was sort of freaky that my husband, who is a geek with no clue about social interactions in general, and is the farthest thing imaginable from a ladies' man, STILL understood the basic principles under which other men act; more than ever, I'm convinced that when the girls were sequestered watching those "Your Period and You" movies in school, the boys were being given training sessions in this stuff... how else could they ALL know?


Friday, March 26, 2004

Twin telepathy 


I read this phrase in the newest Stephen King novel, and it jumped out at me as an interesting topic to cover; everyone is familiar with it, but no one tries to explain it.

We all hear the stories about twins that appear able to read each other's minds, pick up images from each other, suffer pain when the other one does, at the same time and in the same part of the body; EVERY twin I've ever known has been able to describe instances like these, even when they're not identical twins, or even twins of the same gender. Even people who claim to not believe in telepathy tend to accept that twins have this ability... but what is it?

There doesn't seem to be any evolutionary advantage to twins having an extra psychic connection beyond what we're all capable of, so my best guess is that it's a side effect of developing in the womb together. I've heard the viewpoint that it's a genetic thing, but that's just a reference to identical twins, and the half-formed idea that maybe they have identical brains somehow that make it easier to pick up on each other's thoughts... which is certainly possible, but doesn't explain why non-identical twins have the same abilities.

Have you ever wondered at what point the body acquires the soul, and how and from where? My personal view is that the soul grows along with the brain, and doesn't become fully-developed until the brain reaches a certain level of development... which means that an infant would NOT have a "full soul," as they are mostly just criers and excreters at that point, not capable of the thought, the sacrifices, and the selfless feelings that *I* see as pointing to the existence of a soul. Even if you shriek in horror at that thought, try to move past it and see what I'm getting at; that the soul doesn't just pop into existence fully-formed at some point, that it STARTS forming in the womb, possibly at the moment of conception (I'll grant that as I can't disprove it), but more likely NOT starting to form until there is an actual BRAIN for it to reside in... because the brain creates the energy of thought and feeling from which the soul is MADE.

In the case of twins, you would have 2 nascent souls developing literally side by side, 2 energy "entities" growing together; is it so hard to imagine that this proximity has an effect? It's logical to assume that the psychic bond that mothers have been shown to have with their babies develops gradually in the womb, rather than appearing all at once at birth, so it's not much of a stretch to see that each of the little fetal brains that is synching up with the mother's brain would do some synching up with the other, too, with the result that they have special telepathy with each other.

This process could also explain why so many people get psychic flashes from people they know well and have been around alot, as opposed to from neighbors or other, less well known people in their lives... hmmmmmmm.....


Thursday, March 25, 2004

WHY do we get sucked in by people who act badly? 


It's Thursday, which means I just watched Mad Mad House; Don the vampire is, as I've mentioned before, a MAJOR babe, and I've gotten involved in the show to watch him do his thing (and was richly rewarded today, as he had his shirt off for the first time... YOWZA!!). I don't normally watch "reality" shows, so I don't know if what I've observed in this show is standard, but I've noticed some interesting psychological points being made.

Today's biggie was one of the saddest truths of the human race; those who behave badly, if they can get the ones they've behaved badly TO to see them in a somewhat better light, will end up with a more intense closeness to the victims than those who never mistreated them have achieved... and, those who behaved badly, or at least suboptimally, who belatedly show a little bit of correct behavior will be praised and made much of, while those whose behavior has always been good get ignored or even discarded. This sort of thing falls under the heading of "The Prodigal Effect," which I posted about on 1-22, and, as I said then, it SUCKS.

It happened TWICE in this episode: One of the guys had behaved in a way that upset one of the "judges" of the competition, but he sucked up to her for a while and she did a complete 180, and was saying what a great guy he is, when in fact he's a manipulative jerk who had inarguably acted in an unpleasant way... and ended up with bonus points for it. Then, one of the girls, who had been acting according to her real personality and hanging back from speaking up even when someone was being slammed in front of her, finally spoke up in someone's defense, and the "judges" were practically bursting into SONG afterwards.

And who do you suppose got eliminated today? Someone who had never done or said a single mean thing, and whose overall behavior had been virtually perfect; big frigging surprise THERE.

The guy who had won that day's competition, and so was immune to elimination although he had ticked so many people off that he was the prime candidate to be kicked out, asked the judges if he could have a clean slate, and they told him he COULD... too bad that the well-behaved lady had no second chances, or really a fair FIRST chance, since she was booted out despite not having been the cause of any problems... or rather BECAUSE of that very thing.

What is WRONG with us as a species that we trample over the nicest ones to lavish love on those with a history of bad behavior? WHY are we so eager to not just forgive and forget, but to forgive and REWARD? In the early caveman/tribal days of the human race, we needed a way to get people back into the group and contributing, but in today's world what possible benefit do we get from favoring the wrongdoers? How many times do we have to be smacked in the face by people we forgave and favored above those who were nice to us before we see that this is NOT the smartest way to handle things? Why, WHY does a single apology or a few minutes of sucking up make us blind and stupid and willing to offer our butts up for another kick?

It dismays me no end, but the painful truth is that the way to get ahead, to get the most success, to be liked and valued the most, is NOT to do everything right and be nice all the time; the way to the top is to screw up and behave badly (to a "reasonable" degree), and then pretend to be sorry, or suddenly do something good/right, and then reap the rewards. Sigh...


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Telekinesis? 


... so there I was, running flat-out through the deserted, gore-filled halls of the hospital, trying not to touch any of the blood or nameless lumps of flesh with my bare feet, knowing that if I slipped they'd probably catch up to me, and even if they didn't they'd certainly be able to track me easily enough if I'd flailed around on the floor and gotten blood all over me. I darted down intersecting hallways at random, avoiding lit doorways where more potential enemies did whatever it was that led to the horrific mess on the floors, searching frantically for a door to the outside, my only chance of escape... THUMP!! I was suddenly awake, or rather in the partial state of awakeness known to people who suffer from night terrors (nightmares that persist after the sufferers wake up), and somehow I knew exactly what the sound I'd heard was, I knew that a tote bag had fallen off of the shelf in my closet, and, as I fought to get free of the last tentacles of the nightmare (I could still see and feel it, and was still unable to move my body, even though I was technically awake, which is typical of night terrors), I kept thinking "I woke myself up, I made a noise and woke myself up."

In another 30 seconds, I was free of the dream and got out of bed; not to my surprise, there WAS a tote bag on the floor that had fallen from the closet shelf. Picking up a telepathic image when in a hyper-aware state of unconsciousness (if that makes sense) doesn't surprise me at all; it's not like there are jingle bells or anything on the tote bag that would have allowed me to identify it by the sound it made when it hit the ground, so the fact that I DID know points inarguably to extra-sensory perception. What was freaky was my certainty that I had somehow MADE the tote bag fall.

Even for a believer in psychic phenomena, telekinesis brings out the inner skeptic; although I HAVE experienced telekinesis by poltergeists, I've never seen evidence of it by humans. I also don't think that everything that comes into my mind in an altered state of consciousness is true; most of it is in fact random nonsense. But... BUT... I undeniably had SOME sort of psychic connection with what happened, since I knew what had made the noise before I saw it, and right along with that came the certainty that I had caused it; COULD I have sent out a "psychic scream" that non-coincidentally gave the lightest-weight thing in the room that could have been easily "pushed" to the ground a little nudge? COULD I?

Even though I'm not a believer in coincidence, I can't quite say yes, but it all fits so perfectly together that I can't... quite... say... no...


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Visual stimulation 


No, not THAT kind... the kind that comes from OTHER things that Mother Nature has programmed us to respond to.

Did you ever wonder why we find colors like blue and green "soothing"? It's obvious when you think about it, as is the reason for the relaxation we feel around earthtones-these are the main nature colors. Yellow, the color of sunshine, is seen as cheerful, as we are warm and have plentiful food during sunny times of the year; gray, on the other hand, is often seen as depressing, which isn't surprising, since we call a "gray" day "gloomy."

Colors like red and orange grab our eye and excite us; if you were a hungry, poorly-nourished caveperson, you'd do better if you paid special attention when trees had those brightly-colored thingies on 'em, as they're full of vitamins. These colors also make us eat faster, which is why fast-food restaurants use those colors heavily (to get people to eat and get out fast), and probably encouraged early humans to gorge on fruit when they could find it, to suck up as much nutrition as possible before some bigger caveman came along and took the rest.

To me, the most amazing color response is that pastel pink "enforces" relaxation on your muscles, so much so that you can't lift as much weight in a light pink room as you can in a room of a different color, and police stations have found that tossing a violent arrestee into a pink room calms them down faster; I'm a naturally tense person, and guess what my favorite color is? It's amazing how your subconscious mind steers you to things that are good for you.

Which color creates the greatest feeling of sexual stimulation? Red, because, er... well, you know, lol.

Why do we all have different favorite colors, and what does it mean? Some folks think that your entire personality can be analyzed based on your color preferences; if you want to give it a go, take the Luscher Color Test here:

http://www.viewzone.com/luscher/colortest.html

or here, if you want more elaborate answers:

http://www.supervert.com/shockwave/colortest/colortest.html

You can get some info as to why the colors mean what they do in that test here:

http://www.viewzone.com/luscher44.html

We are also stimulated by patterns; if you've ever recoiled from a garish plaid, or smiled at a floral print, you were expressing preferences that appear to be inborn (we like things that remind us of nature, and perhaps plaid is just TOO unnatural for us, lol). Have you ever wondered why clothes with animal prints are considered sexy? It's because we're biologically programmed to REALLY notice patterns that are associated with dangerous creatures like snakes and big cats, and we get a spurt of adrenaline from seeing them.

I'm gonna look for a red leopard print outfit; I figure that's as close to irresistible as I'll ever get. ;-)


Online fakers 


The best summary of this that I've ever seen is something I read in a magazine a few years ago, in which a woman described how her 50-something husband went online pretending to be a 25 year old lesbian, so that he'd get to talk to... other 50-something men pretending to be 25 year old lesbians, lol.

I've encountered any # of gay men who've pretended to be women in order to have cybersex with straight men, and even get the guys to send them nude photos and, er, perform for them on webcam.

Nearly anyone you encounter who's spent a decent chunk of time online has stories of people they thought were friends, or more than friends, who turned out to be total liars who were nothing like what they pretended to be.

How do people get away with this so easily? We all know that people can use the anonymity of the internet to claim to be anything they want, but somehow we assume that anyone WE talk to, anyone WE like, will automatically be on the up and up... just like in real life.

Even when we are a little bit cautious, we accept far too little as "proof." I've encountered a shocking # of people who think that by asking for a photo of someone they're getting "proof" of who that person is, as if it's rocket science to grab a photo off someone's website, or who think that because when an email comes in, or when they look at an IM or online forum profile, they see a name that matches the one they've been told, that means that it's really that person's name, as if Hotmail or AIM or any forum does some sort of verification process on all the info people submit... and that means that things such as city of residence, gender, age, and anything else you find anywhere other than on, say, a site for a known corporation, a school, or a government agency, is NOT "proof" of anything.

One of the funniest examples I ever saw of an outright scam was in an online club for erotica, where one of the members had posted a bunch of naked photos that she said were of her, under which were endless comments from the other members, to which she replied all sweetness and light... until someone posted that the photos were of a British "model" (whose official site he gave the URL for), and the picture-posting member, who had NOT claimed to be either British or a model, never posted again. {snicker}

Now that blogging has become so popular, faking is at an all time high. Look around, and see what % of the photos you see on blogs are of gorgeous people, compared to the % of people in general that are gorgeous... and you don't think that gorgeous people have alot more time on their hands than we average folks do, and have no way to use it except by blogging, do you? Care to take any bets as to what % of the blogs that are "sex journals," or based around erotica or porn, that are allegedly written by women are ACTUALLY written by women?

I think that blogs written by people who are obviously intelligent and articulate, and have substantive things to say, especially on deeply emotional issues, are pretty likely to be on the up and up, as they don't need to invent a sexy persona to get readers, and if you find a blog whose alleged "owner" posts a pic that shows him with a slightly self-conscious expression and creative facial fungus, you've probably found a winner.

On a serious note; do you suppose that any of the perverts that used to hang out in the AOL and MSN chatrooms trying to lure teenagers are writing blogs as teenagers for the same purpose? This is a SCARY time in history to have a kid whose welfare you're responsible for...

Some people have fully internalized the possibility of online fakers, so much so that they are overly suspicious to the point of irrationality; this one affects me personally, as I post "assertively" wherever I go, and that makes some people convinced that I'm a man... since we "know" that all women are weak and wimpy. I've also encountered guys who claimed that my posts were "too logical" for me to be a woman, and despite the implied compliment to my intellectual abilities, the grim picture that paints of how some men stereotype women is disturbing. The funny side to all of this is that by "admitting" that I'm a woman, I know that my "debate posts" are automatically taken less seriously by some people of BOTH genders; when, in disgust, I've made those sorts of posts under a male persona, I've been accorded much more respect for saying the exact same things in the exact same way.

The online world is complex and full of surprises; be careful out there.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

Karma=potential energy? 


I read a quote today that said that, and I think it fits; if something has the potential to happen a certain way, that means it COULD be that way, but it could be some other way(s) too, depending on what happens, which is how karmic paths work; there's a certain amount of predestination, because of the existence of precognition, but the future is always a little fluid until it becomes the present. If YOU have potential, that means that you have some significant ability to work towards a goal, which karma allows you to do in a variety of ways, but you have free will, and can choose to NOT work WITH karma, and thus miss your chance.

If karma is potential energy, does that mean that all the karma that will ever be exists out there somewhere, waiting, maybe in the spaces between the universes? If not, how and where is it created, and how does it get to us? Does karma get recycled, like water? Does it ever change into different types of energy? Into ALL types of energy? Is EVERYTHING made from karma? If so, karma could be the basis of the unifying theory that science is looking for, or karma could be the sort of energy that some superbeing puts out when it wants to create a few universes... it can't be proven either way. I wish it COULD be.

I wish I knew.


The pernicious trap inherent in "So, what do you like to do?" 


Also phrased as "What do you do for fun?" "What are your hobbies/interests?" and "What do you do in your free time?".

The trap is that what the person expects from you is a list of things that you ALLEGEDLY do regularly that fit within specific criteria, which is that each of these things must:

1) Require you to go outside of your home to do it, or

2) Require vigorous physical activity, or

3) Result in the creation of something

The answer a normal person gives includes things that they haven't done in months or YEARS, or that they only do once in a blue moon, or that they vaguely remember thinking about doing once, such that the coach potato who has watched ESPN every non-working waking moment for the past 5 years tells you with a straight face that he enjoys softball, basketball, building birdhouses, gardening, working on his car (he changed a flat tire in 1978, after all, lol), museums, and, of course, walking on the beach.

I'M not willing to lie or exaggerate, so MY reply to the loaded question is; eat, sleep, read, go online, listen to music and watch TV. The first 2 are facetious, of course, but all the others are what I would call perfectly worthwhile ways to spend one's time; no one else on the face of the Earth agrees, though, as evidenced by the response I always get (from those who don't just head for the hills at this shocking proof of my severe abnormality); "But that's not what I meant-none of those things count as interests/hobbies/having fun."

Since WHEN, that's what I'D like to know; I'll say something along those lines, and they'll ignore it.

The next step is the interrogation, to try to bring to light activities that I must have somehow forgotten: "Don't you work out? Do you have pets? Don't you like to travel? Do you go dancing?" and on and on, to which *I* wearily reply "No... no... no... no..."

If the person doesn't get uncomfortable and bail at this point, the next phase is: "But there must be SOMETHING that you like to do!!" "There is; I already gave you the list." "No, BESIDES that stuff." "Nope, that's all there is, and it keeps me busy and happy."

Of course no one is willing to believe that, and they'll try to search for hidden reasons why I'm "not doing anything" in my free time: "Is it that you can't afford to do anything? Do you not actually have any free time? Are you afraid to try new things? Do you not like being around people? Are you rebelling against your parents by 'refusing' to do anything?" (I actually got that one from a new friend today, one who knows that I'm pushing middle age) and so on, trying to come up with some deep-seated psychological reason for my lack of "interests," which usually includes the assertion that I DO have interests, but am just hiding them for some convoluted reason that I suppose makes sense to the asserter but makes no sense to me ("You're intelligent, so obviously you really DO want to take classes, but you're afraid of making the effort to learn the preliminary things that aren't fun" was one I heard today, when the reality is that I HATED school and would rather be in a Turkish prison than in a classroom).

Even people who themselves do little or nothing despite their claims to the contrary will cheerfully hammer away at me for HOURS trying to "solve the mystery," and keep after me even weeks or MONTHS after we met, in a few cases YEARS after, as if they'll win points in heaven if they can make me "admit" to an activity I like and why I'm not doing it, with bonus points if they can talk me into "doing something."

I'll go along with a discussion of this nature for as long as I deem necessary for politeness, and then give my final word on the subject: "I'm not a 5 year old claiming not to like anything just for the sake of being contrary, I'm a grown woman and have been one for 2 decades, and when I say that I do NOT have anything that you accept as 'interests,' never have in my entire life, and have no desire or intention to pick random activities and 'just try them' to satisfy other people, I MEAN IT. I know what I like to do, and I spend my free time doing those things, just like everyone else does; I'm happy, and there's no reason for me to change anything."

Sometimes that shuts them up for good, but not always; some day, I hope to find out the psychological explanation for why people are so emotionally invested in making sure that everyone will publicly claim that they have "interests."


Friday, March 19, 2004

Where's OUR territory? 


If you've ever watched a nature show, you've heard references to every critter in existence having a "territory." Every critter, that is, except US.

Surprised to hear the idea of human beings having a territory? You SHOULDN'T be, as every living thing needs to have some area that it lives in and gets its food in, and that's what a territory IS. Despite that, every time human beings are on any piece of ground, we hear how it's the territory of an endless parade of animals, birds, reptiles and even INSECTS, but there's never a hint that that bit of ground or any other might be OUR territory.

There are over 6.1 BILLION human beings on this planet; why is there not one square inch that's defined as "territory of the human race"? Why is every one of our homes, and every field where we get our food, the territory of a bunch of lower creatures instead of being OUR territory?

Come to think of it, there IS one other creature that I've never heard referred to as having a territory; the RAT. Swell.

It's long, LONG past time for biologists, ecologists, and assorted tree-huggers to accept that human beings are a part of life on this planet, NOT invaders from outer space, and so are entitled to as much food and shelter as we need, as much as we can grab and hold, just like all the other creatures of the world, and that any such land that we claim as ours is OUR territory, NOT still the territory of whatever was there before.

EVERY species spreads as far as it can, takes over as much land as it can, and eats every bit of food it can, killing every other creature it can in the process; that we're so much more successful than any other species doesn't somehow mean that the proportionately greater amount of land and resources we use should count against us and deprive us of the right to have ANY territory; if anything, the fact that we, unlike all other creatures, set aside land for other species, cultivate our food so that we don't strip the entire surface of the planet bare by gathering food all over, and place limits on killing creatures in the wild, should entitle us to MORE rights to territory.

I am an animal. I have needs. I have the RIGHT to food, shelter, and whatever I can get to make my existence more comfortable and happy, same as every other critter. I have the right to a TERRITORY. So do YOU. So do the 6.1 billion other members of our species. Next time you hear anyone refer to an area where HUMANS live as being the territory of some species of mouse, sparrow or bug, speak up and say, "This is part of the territory of homo sapiens." You'll get some shocked looks, but you'll be making a point that's long overdue for people to hear.


Thursday, March 18, 2004

Odd and powerful synchronicities 


Last night, I had a dream in which I was in a car wearing a shirt and underwear but no pants; I've had all the standard naked-in-public dreams, but this partially-dressed-in-a-car thing was a new one on me. Today, I read part of a story posted online, the sort of "guy trying to get laid" tale that normally wouldn't interest me, but the author has a clever turn of phrase; one of the characters ended up in a car in, you guessed it, underwear and a shirt. It gets even better; although it has no connection to anything else in the story thus far, he had the main character give a monologue about synchronicity and Jung-I nearly fell out of my chair.

The REALLY big synchronicity of this week came a couple of days ago, but I was too excited about what I'd discovered to think about it; I'd asked a friend of mine who is from another country to loan me some of the books she had about it, and her culture, so that I could understand her background. She agreed, but the next time I saw her the book she offered me was one containing essays on the future of science; it was in THAT book that I found the essay that talked about animism and sparked by biggest epiphany in ages. This friend isn't into karma and doesn't know that I'M into it, but somehow she picked THAT book out of the many she owns to loan to me, even though it's not what I asked her for. Coincidence? Not on your life.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Do we remember what love really looks like any more? 


If the movies we flock to are any example... NO.

We look at movies like Titanic and see them as portrayals of great romance and everlasting love, when the reality is that all there is are 2 horny kids going at it, pretending that they can be together when in fact she would never be happy living out of a knapsack with a tramp husband, and he would lose his lust for her after she'd had a few months to nag at him, and that they were both just plain too young to pick life partners.

The Bridges of Madison County shows us mature adults (well, not very mature, but adults in any case) who, after a few days together, not enough time to even make a dent in knowing someone much less KNOW them, supposedly form a bond that keeps them obsessed with each other for the rest of their lives. This is seen as another example of great romance, as opposed to, in her case, an example of someone with no life who's too lazy to make the best of what she has, and in his case someone with a work-filled life who chose to use a memory as an excuse to never have closeness and a family.

There are several movies that show a woman who is terminally ill and a man who's falling all over himself to get deeply involved with her knowing that she's about to die; this is seen as romantic, when in reality it's self-destructive and stupid on his part and selfish and using on her part (not that he couldn't be her friend if he could handle it, but it's sick to invest emotionally where you KNOW gargantuan pain is just around the corner).

Then there are the many movies where one or both halves of the couple act in the most atrocious ways, proving beyond a doubt that they are NOT good relationship material, and then one makes goo-goo eyes at the other, who then melts, and we're supposed to be thrilled to see that they're getting back together... as if they've had total personality changes and things won't go right back to the way they were before the sheets are dry.

Worst of all are the countless movies that show total strangers falling madly in bed with each other, based on which they magically form a compatible relationship free of any sign of the struggles and hassles of everyday life, with some token problem coming between them that they resolve while tossing out witty quips and looking great in designer clothes before heading off into the sunset together.

With all this nonsense being thrown at us, and so few of us knowing any couples that have stood the test of time (or at least none in our age range) to serve as real-life examples, is it any wonder that the first time a fight lasts more than 2 minutes, or the mattress doesn't smoke when we have sex, we assume the relationship is over? We've over-simplified and cheapened our conception of love to the point where we think infatuation and lust are the real thing, and have lost sight of the fact that we're biologically incapable of feeling that way for more than 2 years, tops... and then we decide we're "out of love" and bail just as we're getting to REAL love.

Want to know what real love, a real adult relationship, is like? You fight about a half-dozen things a day. You deal with endless messes, things breaking down and needing to be repaired or replaced, never having enough $ to cover what you need and more than a little of what you want, and the conflicting demands of work, family and friends. Once the fog of infatuation clears, you find that this other person is totally different than you, and that their wants and needs in every area of life, from sex to where to go on vacation, are also totally different, which means that nothing in life works out the way you would have wanted. You discover that your little love bunny will scream at you, use an ugly tone, call names, curse, criticize, manipulate, and every other normal human reaction during a fight. You end up feeling what can only be called HATE for them more frequently than you ever did for your worst enemy. And...

And...

They're the first person you want to pass along interesting news to. Things you see or hear everywhere remind you of them. You get a kick when you can surprise them with something only you know they'd like, and you feel a glow when they do the same for you, even if it's just a little container of Silly Putty... especially if it's a little container of Silly Putty. Life isn't complete when they aren't around, and feels subconsciously more "right" when they ARE around, even if they're in another room, or out in the yard watering the flowers, or snoring on the couch.

If you've been nodding your head, congratulations; you have true love, or at least HAVE had it and will know it when you see it again. If you've been shocked and horrified, think I'm crazy, and can't relate to any of it, just wait; with any luck, you'll "get it" one day, and will have someone to whom you can say, "Can you believe how ridiculous this romantic comedy is? Did you take out the trash? Do you know that the VCR ate another tape? Did you leave the milk out on the counter AGAIN? We've got a billion chores to catch up with this weekend... do you want to go the zoo instead?"


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Animism 


Animism is the idea that everything, from rocks to thunder to plants to earthquakes to every sort of animal, is alive in a way, has some sort of soul (not necessarily seen as the same as, or equivalent to, a human soul), and can influence the events in our lives. This belief is common amongst what we see as "primitive" cultures, from the caveman days right through to the beliefs of some of the Native American nations; some of what WE would see as inanimate objects, including manmade things such as artworks and weapons, have even been seen by these cultures to possess consciousness, or to contain spirits, even gods.

I hadn't thought of this potential facet of karma specifically until today, but, if true, it would make sense, as a soul is just energy, and the "energy signature" of a rock, caused by its unique arrangement of atoms and the particles within them, could be seen as its "soul," which would make the beliefs of "primitive" cultures basically correct, just described with the poetic license that ALL belief systems use to codify their underlying principles.

Why am I even speculating about this? Because today I read a fascinating essay by a British biology professor, Brian Goodwin, called "In the Shadow of Culture," and he lays out a possible scientific basis for this belief. Starting with the obvious truism that consciousness is based in large part on feelings, he asks where feelings come from; the scientific answer is that they come from our complex nervous system, which is made up of matter that itself has no feeling or sentience. Our feelings thus arise as "emergent properties" of that system... and that's where the kicker comes in.

All "emergent properties in complex systems" that have been observed by science (physics as well as biology) demonstrate that there is something in each "complex system" that is a precursor to the "emergent property"; in other words, you don't get something from nothing, what you get is like the "roar of a crowd" that is based on the individual sounds made by many people. Given all that, and the consistency that nature shows, how is it possible that feelings and therefore consciousness arise from matter that has NO feelings or consciousness? That WOULD be getting something from nothing, and Goodwin solves this dilemma by believing that there's a tiny bit of feeling or sentience in all matter, that gets "amplified" within the right kind of system, such as our own brain. Since we know from quantum physics that subatomic particles act as if they can think and respond to us, changing their behaviors based on whether or not they have reason to "believe" we are watching them, this isn't such a big leap to make (and certainly the New Age types have been saying this for ages, imbuing crystals with magic powers and seeing our planet as Gaia, a thinking and feeling "being").

Science, metaphysics, karma, and the spiritual beliefs of many cultures, all pointing to the same conclusion; makes you wonder, doesn't it? All matter is in fact "organized energy"; what if that energy, the energy that makes up all the subatomic particles that make up all known matter, is in fact the SAME energy as the energy of thought, of the soul, of spirits, of KARMA, as opposed to just being controlled by that energy? If LIGHT can exist as either a particle or a wave, depending on the circumstances, can it be so hard to imagine that the energy of karma could exist either as particles (such as quarks) or in wave forms (such as thought)? This would make even my over-arching theory of karma a subset of the truth, and gives me a MASSIVE amount of food for thought.


Edit: years later, I finally found the relevant part of Goodwin's essay online, so here it is:


"Where Does Consciousness Come From?

One of the recent arrivals on the scientific agenda is the origin and nature of consciousness. Clearly, a primary aspect of consciousness is feeling; our feelings, together with our thoughts, constitute the content of our awareness. Feelings can be about ourselves, such as when we experience pain, pleasure, well-being, or they can be about the outside world, as when we see a crying child, an injured animal, a dying tree. So within the question "Where does consciousness come from?" there is the question "Where do feelings come from?" The answer we are forced to give in science is that feelings arise from a particular dynamic organization of insentient matter, such as nervous systems at a particular level of complexity and order. Our feelings arise as emergent properties from something that has not the slightest trace of anything that could be called feeling or sentience. And here we face a problem.

The many examples we have of emergent properties in complex systems all have precursors of the emergent property in some form. For instance, the rhythmic behavior of ants tending the queen and brood in an ant colony can be described as an emergent property. This is because we cannot predict that this orderly behavior will arise from the activity of individual ants, which is actually chaotic, and their interactions, in which they excite one another. Nevertheless, rhythmic behavior is what is observed in real colonies, and it also occurs in computer models that simulate this behavior. This unexpected order consistently arises in systems organized dynamically in this way.

What is the dynamic precursor of the collective rhythm of ants in the brood chamber? It is the activity/inactivity pattern of individual ants. This pattern is chaotic in the technical sense of the term: There is no preferred periodicity. However, chaos is made up of a complex pattern of rhythmic components, so it is not hard to imagine that when ants interact by excitation, a preferred rhythm emerges. There is no miracle here of getting something from nothing. Nature is consistent, and once we see what happens, we can make sense of the phenomenon in terms of the behavior of the parts of a system and their pattern of interactions. This applies to the many examples of emergent behavior that occur in solid state physics as well as in biology.

However, if feelings emerge from matter that has not the slightest trace of what we call feeling, then we are indeed getting something from nothing. This sounds to me like a miracle. As a scientist, I prefer to put a tiny bit of feeling or sentience into matter in some form and allow it to get amplified in systems organized in particular ways--a view that has been extensively explored in the writings of such philosophers as Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality, 1929), Charles Hartshome (Whitehead's Philosophy, 1972), and David Ray Griffin (Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem, 1998)."


Monday, March 15, 2004

Common courtesy is an oxymoron, grrrrrrrrrr 


The guests we were expecting yesterday decided to go to a movie at the theater near our house before coming over here. They're both college grads, and so theoretically able to do the math and realize that they were going to be done with the movie and on our doorstep a HALF HOUR EARLY... but they didn't bother to check, and didn't call to let us know. When the movie let out, and they saw how early it was, they could have called on their cell phones and asked if we were ready for them to come over... but they didn't. They could have entertained themselves for a half hour at the many stores right there in the frigging mall for half an hour and THEN come over, but they didn't do THAT, either. What they DID do, these 2 educated, professional people from upper middle class backgrounds, is call us to announce that they were parked in front of our house and ready to come in!!

Neither my husband nor I was dressed, so I told them they'd have to wait; I personally hadn't even STARTED getting ready, and my husband was about to step into the shower. I flung cleaning products into the bathtub, sprinted for the bedroom and started to scramble to get presentable, while my VERY stinky, unshaven husband got dressed and went to let them in. They had strained small talk, and I missed their first-ever reaction to seeing me in a home of my own for the first time EVER, while I frantically tried to make something presentable out of my face and hair. Once I was marginally acceptable, I waited until I was sure by their voices that they were all standing where they couldn't see into the hallway and made a mad dash for the guest bathroom, which was NOT cleaned fully yet, as my husband wanted to shower first and have the steam loosen the gunk and crusts on every surface (I don't know, and don't WANT to know), locked the door, and began to scrub furiously at everything I could reach.

When I'd done all I could, I went and greeted my friends (who managed to look a little embarrassed by this time), and excused myself and my husband to go into the bathroom so that I could point out to him what he needed to do a rapid-fire cleaning on before one of the guests needed to use the facilities, and then went out to keep the miscreants company. We couldn't get started with any movies or the games they'd brought because we weren't all together, and my husband returned only long enough to see if anyone was going to need the bathroom before he showered, and then took off with another change of clothes (the ones he had on stank already) to bathe, leaving us to kill MORE time while we waited.

By the time we were all assembled, it was WAY after the original agreed-upon arrival time, and we ended up not having time to do some of what we had planned; between that, and the elaborate song and dance we had to do to get them in the front door and kept company until we were both ready, I think they learned that showing up a half hour early with no warning was a bad, BAD idea... I'm still in shock that this was something they didn't grasp on their own.

In these days where everyone over the age of 5 has a cell phone, there's just NO EXCUSE to show up on someone's doorstep a half hour early with no warning, whether it's friends, family or a date. You wouldn't show up to dinner or a party at your boss's house a half hour early, and your loved ones, and those you hope to eventually have sex with, deserve at least as much respect, do they not? You know perfectly well that, with the exception of guy-only get-togethers, the people whose home you're going to are preparing themselves and their domicile for your visit, and they are NOT going to be done more than a few minutes early, if early at ALL, and they won't be happy for you to show up before they've finished the preparations... there's nothing like spending hours getting ready only to have guests see you and/or your home still looking like a wreck.

If you have a REALLY good reason to be early, call from a mall or something so that they don't feel obligated to do what my husband and I did to get you in the door; give them a graceful way to ask you to stay where you are for a while and then show up on time if needed, which it usually will be. Or, better yet, use the extra time to go to the mall and get flowers or a hostess gift, and then show up on time with it... and you won't cause someone to write a blog entry like THIS about YOU.


Sunday, March 14, 2004

Prejudice in medical research 


Are you aware that the large majority of medical studies have been done on men only, because of the risk of pregnancy for women (and the risk of harming a fetus) and because of the "complications" of correcting for gender factors when analyzing the results from both genders? We don't actually KNOW how a wide variety of drugs and other medical procedures affect women, other than what experienced doctors can report if asked... and that's a MUCH bigger danger to women than a possible oopsie pregnancy in a woman participating in a study... and the medical costs of treating women for whom most treatments involve some guesswork FAR outweigh what the extra work in analyzing data for a 2nd gender would be.

Gee, gals, aren't you thrilled to be a "complication" to those heavily-funded researchers, such that they'd rather just ASSUME that the results apply to us rather than be SURE?

There are many other such biases included in medical research; the elderly of both genders, and people of color of all ages, are grossly under-represented, even though it's common knowledge both that geriatrics is a whole separate field and that people of different racial backgrounds have different likelihoods of a wide variety of ailments, due to both genetic factors and cultural factors such as diet; the white male has been the stand-in for all of us.

I'm sure I don't have to remind anyone how the misperception of AIDS as a "gay disease" slowed the research into it and cost countless lives; the gay and transgendered communities are STILL being pretty thoroughly overlooked by medical researchers, and this is especially hard for the latter, as they don't know which drugs are safe to take with their hormones long term, or at all, until it's too late.

There's another sort of prejudice in medical research, and that is to avoid anything that would get them derided or possibly called crackpots. There's some chemical found in tobacco that is an excellent treatment for schizophrenia, and in fact most schizophrenics self-medicate with cigarettes, but the research isn't getting done because of the uproar against smoking. Something in marijuana fights nausea far better than any known drug, which is literally life or death to some cancer and AIDS patients, but no one will study it because they'd have to fight against the illegality if it. And there's another whole category of research that is truly glaring by its omission; with all the different ways they have to scan the brain and see what's going on in it, allowing them to see EXACTLY what happens where in the brain during every kind of action, thought and feeling, why, why, WHY has NO ONE undertaken a study of "people who demonstrate an ability to act consistently beyond the laws of probability," aka psychics, and gotten some idea of what parts of the brain are responsible? Why won't they even attempt (or pretend to attempt, if they are believers) to "prove" that the parts of the brain which become active during psychic activity are the same as those that are active when people are trying to deceive, and therefore that psychics are all fakers? Why won't they touch anything that smacks of "the occult" with a 10 foot pole?

Why do you think?

If one researcher, just ONE, is willing to use his time and his access to, say, an MRI machine, to look into the brain activity of even ONE psychic, a domino effect will be started that will lead to many of the mysteries of karma being solved in our lifetime, and that researcher will achieve international fame and a place in history. I hope that some researcher somewhere is realizing that right about now...


Saturday, March 13, 2004

Why we don't entertain 


My husband and I virtually never have any other human beings in our home; it only happens a few times a year. You can count the # of times anyone has EATEN in our home, in all the years we've been married, on the fingers of one hand. In part, this is because the effort to make our house presentable is so gargantuan that it FAR outweighs the enjoyment of having anyone here, not that we have anything to do around here for a guest anyways-what are they supposed to do, look over our shoulders as we type emails, lol? We're geeks, and have mountains of computer stuff but virtually nothing else; almost no furniture, mostly bare walls, no games (we're not THAT sort of geek)... oh, and we don't cook, either, so if they HAVE to be here at dinner time and don't want to go out, they have to be satisfied with takeout. The REAL problem, though, is that my husband is a slob to a degree that would make Oscar Madison gasp in horror, and we don't have a Felix Unger here to clean up after him.

Although my husband PROMISED to not make our home a disaster area as part of our marriage agreement, it hasn't worked out that way, and the only times I can, with a LARGE amount of badgering, get him to do ANY cleaning are when someone is going to be coming over. Do the math; the house therefore only gets cleaned a few times a year.

I hasten to add here that all MY stuff is neatly put away, any mess *I* make is instantly cleaned up, and that MY "areas" of the house are immaculate; because he married me, as opposed to purchasing me at a slave auction, I flatly refuse to spend the hours it would take every day to eliminate HIS mess and filth, so... it just sits there (I've learned to deal with it, as the alternative is a padded cell).

If I told you how many person-hours it takes to prepare the house for a guest, you simply wouldn't believe it... and mind you, we keep all the bedroom doors closed, so we have less than half of the actual house to clean. Part of this endless parade of hours gets wasted by my husband constantly trying to argue his way out of individual tasks: "She isn't tall enough to see the top of the fridge, so there's no need to clean that" "She's as tall as I am, and *I* can see it, so clean it" "She won't be here long enough to use the bathroom, so there's no need to clean that" "She'll head for the bathroom the moment she gets in the door, so clean it" "He won't notice what the toilet bowl looks like" "ANYONE will notice a BLACK toilet bowl, so clean it" etc. Then, he always has to do it sloppily the first time around, leaving things NOT neat and clean, and so has to do it all again; no amount of pointing out that it's MUCH faster to just do it ONCE has had any effect as of yet. At all points in the cleanup, he has to be checked on to make sure he hasn't gotten "accidentally" distracted by the TV, a magazine, or floating dust motes and stopped making cleaning movements. {sigh}

Although I start fighting to get things cleaned up several days in advance, he's always sure that it will magically take far less time this time than all the other times, and far too much is left for the last day, leading to us staying up until 5AM cleaning, cursing and screaming at each other nonstop, so that the day of the visit finds us exhausted, stressed out and cranky as hell; is it any wonder we greet our guests with no joy in our hearts?

Having anyone here long enough to have to provide food for them adds a whole other level of aggravation; we have to go out and buy whatever drinks and snacks they like, since no one wants what we normally have, we have to make ice and find room for it in the freezer somehow (don't ask), and if they're going to have an actual meal we have to wash the dishes and silverware, rather than stashing it all in the (broken) dishwasher or oven, and make sure the microwave is cleaned out.

Because my husband refuses to wipe his feet before he comes in the house, and refuses to use the drip pans for the cars, our pale carpet is nearly BLACK in the main traffic areas; when he hauled away the piles of boxes and junk he'd had on every bit of carpet aside from the narrow paths through each room, the contrast in carpet color was so horrifying that we had to rent a Rug Doctor and make multiple passes with it to make the carpet presentable. (Note; my husband only agreed to this extra effort because our guests will be seeing our home for the first time, and they have a much nicer place than we do... and, because one of them is MALE, and he feels competitive with him.)

We still have a scary amount of stuff to do before they arrive tomorrow, including squaring away the mess on the patio and making the guest bathroom (which my husband uses) look less like something you'd find out behind a gas station and more like something decent people would be willing to enter without full hazmat gear. (No, *I* do NOT use that bathroom; MY bathroom is immaculate, but they'd have to go through the master bedroom to get to it, and that's out, so...)

Once they get here, guess what we'll all be doing? Sitting on the floor (we don't have a couch), holding junk food in our laps (no coffee table, either) watching movies THEY are bringing with them (because we don't buy movies). Makes you wonder what in the world they're thinking, wanting to get together HERE, doesn't it? It's just that they've never seen the place in all the time they've known us, so we sort of have to let them come in and look around... after which they'll be happy to just see us at THEIR house, or to meet us places, just like everyone else we know.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.........


Friday, March 12, 2004

My experiences with the spirit of a friend 


A dear friend of mine died tragically a few years ago; we'll call her Sarah. I've had 2 interactions with her spirit:


1) She passed away on a Thursday night, and I found out on Friday. Friday evening, I went to delete her from my ICQ; I clicked on the control to bring up the "Delete" screen, and then tried to click on the "button" to do the actual delete... and the button wouldn't work-it wouldn't "press down" and it did NOT delete her. I tried and tried, and then tried to Cancel out of the screen.... and THAT wouldn't work either. Then, I tried to use my File menu to Quit out of ICQ, and it wouldn't even do THAT, which shouldn't have been POSSIBLE; none of those things had EVER happened to me in my 2 years of constantly using ICQ.

At that point, I realized what was causing the problems, and I sat back and talked to Sarah; I told her I loved her, and missed her, and hoped that she was OK, and that I would NEVER forget her or stop caring about her. After that, I called my husband in and told him what had happened, and he FREAKED, even though as a rule he does NOT believe in this sort of thing; once he'd recovered, he did some sort of command that got the Delete screen to go away, and then I was able to Quit out of ICQ, reload it and, regretfully, delete Sarah.


2) Sarah had been in an online club of mine, and I had left her on the member list even after her death. When I had to switch the club to a new site, I spent many hours copying and transferring posts without incident, UNTIL I tried to bring up the last post of Sarah's; the system refused to load the page, even after a dozen tries. I tried to bring up other posts that were linked to hers, so as to get to it indirectly; no dice, they all failed, and nothing like that had EVER happened in 2 years of using that system. So, as I did when I wasn't able to delete her from ICQ, I stopped and talked to her, and told her how much I loved and missed her. I closed the window, re-logged-in, and was able to proceed normally. I didn't think it was a coincidence the first time, and I sure as shootin' don't think it was the 2nd time, either.... it was SARAH.


Are you still with me, Sarah? If you are, know that you are still in my heart and thoughts, and that every time I read about someone who shows extraordinary courage under hideous circumstances, I remember the awe I felt watching you deal gracefully with more than one person should ever be asked to endure. I hope that wherever you are you have found as much joy as the human spirit can absorb. Much love, dear friend...


Thursday, March 11, 2004

Vampires 


If you've been watching "Mad Mad House" on the Scifi Channel, you've seen "Don the vampire"; if your tastes are as warped as mine, you've also seen that he's a BABE. In any case, he got me thinking about, er, things that I won't post in a public place, lol, and also about the origins of the vampire myth.

Don refers to the drinking of blood as a way to "feed" on people's life force; I don't know if it's POSSIBLE to do that, via blood or any other way, but it's an interesting, science-fictiony concept, this idea of one being being able to drain energy directly from another... if it's actually possible, let's hope Bill Gates never learns how to do it. In any case, Don ties all this up with exploring, reaching higher levels of consciousness and so forth, which could be all BS, or could be the whole point of it for him, and the gothic trappings just put it in a framework that makes it easier for his mind to open; we'll never know, that much I AM sure of.

The modern, New Age-y "vampires" bear little resemblance to the traditional ones, which is probably because the traditional ones are supposed to have powers that these folks lack. What most people don't realize is that the idea of the vampire is based on REAL human beings; they didn't have supernatural powers, they weren't undead, and it had nothing to do with having been bitten-they had a rare medical condition called porphyria.

Porphyria is a genetic disorder (technically, a group of disorders), in which the victims can't metabolize iron without an enzyme found in, you guessed it, BLOOD... and so of course they'd crave blood, which has the enzyme and alot of iron. The extreme cases that led to the vampire myth, that are thought to have appeared in an unusual # (since they are all rare disorders) for a while in the countries where the myth originated, would lead to the victims having a particularly hideous form of anemia, and intense photosensitivity in the skin due to how ultraviolet light interacts with the chemicals that build up in their blood.

The victims would be horribly burned by sunlight. They would be VERY white due to their total avoidance of the sun and their anemia. Their gums would recede, giving them the appearance of fangs, and the gums would bleed, making their mouths seem bloody even if they hadn't consumed blood. Their eyes would be sunken and bloodshot. Their skins would be super-sensitive to many chemicals, such as those found in, what else, garlic. Their urine would be dark red, leading to the belief that they excreted blood rather than normal bodily fluids. They would DRINK blood for the enzymes and the iron, although generally the blood of animals (which they'd have killed to eat), as they'd lack the strength to kill a healthy person for the most part. And, they would often become crazy, and behave accordingly.

Sounds like a pretty good description of the classic vampire, doesn't it?

How many other things that you've dismissed as pure fantasy have a basis in reality, do you suppose?


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The karmic reward for making the right choice 


I've seen over and over that, if I make the right choice about something, karma will send me a reward within 48 hours, and this reward will be something outside of my control, something unexpected, and usually something that has some sort of relation to the original issue.

I made the right decision a couple of days ago, to do what I could to make it harder for an eBay seller to screw over other customers, and in response, karma sent me something mind-boggling; I got an email from eBay in reference to a seller who had cheated us but in a way that eBay declines to get involved with, thus letting the criminal keep all the $ and keep selling on eBay... but, the rarest thing in the world had happened, and one of the customer service people had noticed something in my original message that pointed to the breaking of an eBay rule I hadn't even known about by this seller, and had actually forwarded my message to someone who could DO something about it!! When's the last time you saw ANYONE go out of their way to take a problem to another department, or even NOTICE any problem outside of what they're paid to handle?

The rule in question is about not using feedback to try to force someone to take a certain action; eBay calls this sort of behavior "feedback EXTORTION," if you can believe THAT, and it turns out that they consider this a BIG crime (even though they don't think theft and fraud are worth worrying about), so much so that this infraction will probably cost the seller her eBay account. She had promised a partial, PARTIAL, refund for the damaged sweater, but only if I gave her a + feedback first; I'm guessing that she's going to be wishing she'd just handed over a full refund right off the bat like ANY decent seller would.

Karma is a wonderful thing, ahhhhhhhh....


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

What's in a name? 


A rose by any other name would smell as sweet... right?

I'm endlessly astounded by women who make a big issue about what last name they'll have after they get married, as if a last name were anything other than a way for us to keep track of who's related to who. Why on Earth would you WANT to marry someone that you're unwilling to share a last name with? What more basic thing is there to share with someone you're taking to be your closest relative than their last name?

Yes, I've heard the arguments from women about giving up "their name," and about how taking a man's name is supposed to be somehow bad, by symbolizing what used to be a switch in "ownership" of the woman from her father to her husband, but, remember, the last name that the woman starts out with is NOT "her name," it's her FATHER'S name, in other words a MAN'S name, so what will she accomplish if she hangs onto the name of the man who originally gave her one, which was traditionally as much of a symbol of her being "owned" and controlled by men as taking her husband's name would be?

If she takes her mother's maiden name, she's STILL getting the name from another person, so it's NOT "her name," and where did her mother get the name from? HER father, a MAN, so this just moves the male origin of the name back one generation, and STILL doesn't escape the whole concept of having a man's name.

The only way to have your OWN name is if you choose a name and legally adopt it. The only way to "inherit" a name that didn't come from a man, if you don't live in one of the cultures where the woman's name is passed to the children (some Hispanic cultures do this, for example), is if your mother or some other female relative legally chose a whole new name and passed it along a female-only line until it got to YOU. Given that, why get hysterical over whether your last name comes from the man who provided half of your DNA or the man you're married to?

As for the whole idea of hyphenating, I think George Carlin said it best; "Pick one name or the other, you pretentious bitch!!" This goes for couples where BOTH of them hyphenate, too; leave that for those so wealthy and powerful that their last names actually MEAN something to society... YOUR last name is NOT so important that it has to be preserved at the cost of making it overly complicated to refer to you. I remember my husband telling me he'd rather take MY last name than have any hyphenation, and I couldn't agree more; marriage is 2 becoming one, and that means ONE last name, whichever last name you choose... or, if you create a whole new one, that's even better, as it would belong uniquely to the 2 of you.

If you don't like the cultural expectation that the woman has to be the one to change names, grow up; our culture expects the man to risk his life to save yours if the situation calls for it, and to do all the difficult and icky tasks of life (yes, you're perfectly capable of taking out the garbage, changing the oil in your car, mowing the lawn and killing that rat that got caught in the trap, but every man accepts that he SHOULD do these tasks as part of his service to you), so it's not asking too much that YOU undergo the work of a name change if only one of you has to do it... quite aside from the fact that if HE changes HIS name he'll endure all sorts of teasing and carping, AND that, at least in many states, it's free for the woman to change her name but costs a big chunk of change for the man to change his.

So please, ladies, quit making a stink about the perfectly logical expectation that a married couple will share a last name as well as everything else in their lives, quit making it hard to tell if you're actually married to a man or not, quit confusing your kids and their teachers, etc, as to who their parents are based on their last names, and quit glopping your names up with hyphenation; pick ONE last name to share as a married couple, and save your battles about stuff in the realm of "being a modern, independent woman" for things that actually MATTER.


Trying to find the right karmic path 


What comes around goes around (aka what goes around comes around); this is the most basic way to explain the standard view of karma-what you send out is what you get back.

What gets confusing is when negative action taken against one person benefits another person, or many people, especially if YOU aren't going to personally benefit; for example, if the guy who beat your friend up when they went out starts sniffing around some other friend, if you warn her that's negative to him, but will likely save HER from getting hit... so is telling bad or good, karmically speaking?

Sadly, there's no manual to guide us; we have to use common sense and instinct and try to do what seems most right... and it won't hurt that that very intention gets you positivity points. Don't kid yourself if you just want to be vengeful by trying to seem altruistic, but DO think about how that negativity could bounce right back to YOU.... like if the battering man has secret info on YOU that he could spill if you tell on HIM.

I had a karmic quandary today, when time had run out to leave feedback for a seller on eBay who had screwed us BADLY; he had already left - feedback for US (UNdeservedly, of course, sigh), so there was nothing more he could do to us, and there's no reason to think he'd be any less quick to screw OTHER sellers, especially since what he wrecked OUR feedback rating for was a $2 item... BUT, his feedback rating was currently still low enough that a - feedback would have a significant impact, especially since he was at 100% positive.

My husband's take on ANY time he's shit on by anyone is to just let it slide, and often to kiss up to them in the bargain; since he has no real friends, and his few semi-friends all like ME better, obviously this is NOT the best way to handle people, either karmically or psychologically, and believe me I have taken note of that on both counts. In the past, we have held back from leaving - feedback because of the fear, or rather the near-certainty, of retaliatory - feedback, but this time it wasn't an issue, so I pointed out to my husband how grossly this seller had ignored the procedures eBay says to follow before leaving - feedback and stuck to it while he hemmed, hawed, and finally shrugged and said for me to do whatever I wanted to.

Which I did; I took GREAT pleasure in leaving - feedback for the twit who caused so much stress and upset, and lowering his feedback level from 100% to 98.6%, which is VERY low by eBay standards... I'm just sorry I can't see his FACE when he sees what the result of his actions has turned out to be. If this reduces the benefit I get from taking the correct action, that's OK; it's so rare to be able to personally be able to make sure that a wrongdoer gets his just desserts that it's worth it!! :-)


Sunday, March 07, 2004

Pet Peeves 


Like everyone, I have quite a few-here are some of my current "favorites":


1) People who ring the doorbell and then instantly KNOCK; each of these things is intended to summon the occupants within to the door, and each does that perfectly well, so what bonus do you get from doing BOTH?

2) People who say "feel" when they mean "think," because they think that saying "feel" makes their comment more powerful and harder to argue with, never grasping that by using a word in a totally wrong way they sound like morons. Feelings are things like anger, sadness and fear; a line like "I feel that all people should receive free healthcare," does NOT describe a feeling, and to use the word "feel" like that is just plain WRONG, no matter how strongly you "feel" about the subject.

3) People who, upon hearing/reading you make an intelligent and factually-based point, jump in and say/post something so stupid that you can't believe they said it; a recent example of such a rebuttal was the claim that psych meds won't help unless the person taking them is also in therapy... as if the meds are magic, and won't affect the body unless they "know" that the person who took them is going to a therapist.

4) The tech support departments of virtually every company that provides an online service; they are apparently all given training to respond to EVERY bug report by telling you to delete all your cookies (and thus have to re-login to every site you visit), and/or to blame your computer, browser, etc, even if you include the fact that ONLY their site has this bug, and that it does it with all your browsers, and that you already deleted all your cookies... it's nearly impossible to get them to admit that their own site is nearly always the reason the user had a problem.

5) People who have no relationship, and often have NEVER had a successful long-term relationship, who advise everyone within range about THEIR relationships.

6) People who, upon hearing you say that you like or dislike something, instantly try to prompt you to say the opposite: "I hate beer" "But don't you think that beer tastes wonderful?" "I love dogs" "But don't you think that dogs are stupid?"... and somehow they think this is more polite than ridiculing you directly.

7) People who fail to grasp the difference between a fact and an opinion, especially when they feel free to argue any facts you give, but want their opinions to be treated as inarguable facts.

8) People who rarely initiate the contact between the 2 of you who, when you haven't bothered with them in a while, take a scolding tone with you about how long it's been since you called/wrote/IMed them, even if THEY haven't made the effort in months or YEARS.

9) People who think that their own personal experience counts for more than what has been scientifically and/or statistically proven for the vast majority of people; sorry, you're just NOT more important than the thousands of people who had a different experience.

10) People who believe every ridiculous email they get claiming that some kid dying of cancer needs them to forward the email, or that AOL will pay them to forward the email, or that signing an online petition will accomplish something, especially in another country.... and who then forward this garbage to ME.... and who are insulted and outraged when I point out that what they forwarded is a hoax, along with a URL to the article on http://www.snopes2.com/ which proves that it's a hoax.


Gosh, it feels good to vent!! :-)


Saturday, March 06, 2004

Cause and effect 


There's a school of thought amongst believers in karma (in the broad sense that includes science, particularly quantum physics) that time doesn't actually exist, that it's something we invented to explain duration and change, based on the way our brains work. In a related thought, there are questions as to whether cause and effect exist; if there's not really any time, the answer is of course no, but even if time really is more than how the chemicals in our brains allow us to perceive how things in the universe don't all happen at once, cause and effect may in fact be an illusion, at least some of the time.

Because precognition exists, we know that the immediate future at the very least is pretty close to being set in stone in most particulars; given that, it's not to hard to imagine that, with the low-grade psychic ability that everyone has at the very least, we sense that something is about to happen and "go with the flow" and take the actions that will cause that event, as described in endless scifi stories, or take action that is most beneficial to us because we know what events are coming up, which is often called "instinct" or "I had a feeling"... but, since we take the action BEFORE the event, which is the cause and which is the effect? Is something in the future the cause of an event in the past? If precognition is taking place, and you act on it, then yes, the effect comes BEFORE the cause, in the same way that you hear the echo of a sound before you hear the sound itself under some circumstances.

Time may exist, but it's not just a one-way line; if it was, we couldn't see even one second into the future. What shape or form is it, then? I visualize it as sort of like traveling through uneven terrain in a heavy fog; you can go in many directions, but the farther away your destination is (in time or space) the vaguer it is, and the harder it is to get there, because the fog shifts and changes and you can't always see the goal or the path to it... but at times the fog lifts and you can see well ahead with perfect clarity. Time would therefore consist of, or be created from, or perhaps be controlled by, the energy of karma in a somewhat undefined state that solidifies 100% the moment before you enter it.

I truly think that what we label cause and effect is often backwards, but because most people don't believe in karma or the existence of the future, what else can they go by but linear time? I have a friend who's convinced that he caused an earthquake because he had all these intense earthquake thoughts moments before a quake occurred, and he won't accept that he had those thoughts BECAUSE the earthquake was coming, rather than having somehow generated the power to shake the earth within his own head.

In the realm of quantum physics, cause and effect as we understand it just doesn't exist; the outcome of experiments often depends on what the probability is that someone is watching, for example. Since this is a thoroughly-proven scientific fact, why is it so hard for people to accept that cause and effect are less certain than we think OUTSIDE of the quantum realm as well? Next time you find yourself taking actions based on "instinct" or "a feeling," pay attention to what happens and ask yourself..... what was REALLY the cause, and what was REALLY the effect?


Friday, March 05, 2004

Supertasters unite!! 


Ever since I mentioned being a supertaster a while back, I've been planning to circle an essay around it; the topic came up several times in the past few days in my offline life, so now looks like a good time.

I've always hated the term "picky eater," as it makes it sound like the person so named is CHOOSING to not eat certain things, not because they taste horrible, but just from being a prissy, finicky person... that's certainly what people have labored to tell ME about my long list of food dislikes my entire life, because "it's just not possible for anyone to not think THIS is tasty." {sigh}

One of the greatest days of my life came when science gave me the answer; it turns out that we vary WIDELY in how many tastebuds we have, and therefore the same food can taste totally different to different people... which *I* of course could have told them all along. Those of us with far more taste buds than average, particularly those taste buds that detect bitterness, are called "supertasters"; most people are within the "normal" range, and are called "tasters," and another 25% or so of people have significantly FEWER taste buds than average, and are called "nontasters."

Supertasters tend to have an aversion to foods and beverages with an element of bitterness in them, such as vegetables (particularly cruciferous ones), alcohol, coffee, tea, aged cheese, dark chocolate and many spices, and often also to things that are too sweet or too fatty. Because salt reduces your perception of bitterness, supertasters often use alot of it, and we also often like sour things, as sourness can "cut" sweetness and richness in foods to make them more palatable, and also deflects the perception of bitterness.

I remember with great pleasure the day when I was able to prove to my family that my "picky eating" was NOT the result of some sort of character flaw or moral failing, but based on the physical structure of my tongue; the foods I hated, my heavy use of salt, my love of sour, my dislike of things that were too sweet, my intensive dissection of my meat to eliminate every scrap of fat... all of it was spelled out in the article I quoted triumphantly from, and in the articles I've seen since then and rubbed their noses in.

If there are any parents reading this, and your kids seem to be rejecting foods in the pattern I've described, please, PLEASE don't make them spend their entire childhood with you force-feeding them foods they hate because you think they "should" like them... you're inflicting truly grim punishment on them when they haven't done anything wrong. None of the foods they dislike are necessary for them to eat to be healthy, with the partial exception of veggies, and that can be made up for with fruit consumption, with putting lemon or a tasty sauce on the veggies to make them palatable, or, if nothing else, by taking vitamins; you wouldn't ask an adult to gag down foods they hate, and you shouldn't ask a child to either.

I wish someone has told my parents all this so that I wouldn't have spent my early life DREADING going down to dinner because I hated everything my mother cooked (I'm convinced that both of my parents were nontasters, which is the supertaster child's worst nightmare), and becoming unhealthily attached to junk food because it was the only food I got that tasted GOOD. I've spent alot of time since getting married trying to get a better diet, discovering that I don't actually hate chicken, just the bitter sauces my mother cooked it with, that fruit is really good, especially things like berries (the tarter the better) that my mother was too cheap to ever get, and that I don't have to have a heart attack that every new food means some new form of taste torture because other people don't make food with the intensely bad flavors my parents preferred (and no one badgers me if I taste something and don't like it-people actually, GASP, make an effort to give me food I like).

I often wish that there were more foods in the world that I liked, and that I could eat in any restaurant rather than in the few that have acceptable foods on the menu, but supertasters are usually slim because so few foods interest us, and the older I get the more I value that. Also, when I discover something I like, it's very exciting; if you're a supertaster, try my new favorite, Altoids Tangerine Sours. :-)


Thursday, March 04, 2004

Karma can be VERY specific 


Last night before bed, as part of a rambling train of thought, I remembered a guy I knew briefly years ago, who had had a grim case of rosacea, and, although he'd had it for YEARS, he was still ignorant enough about it to pronounce it "roh-say-ah" instead of the correct way, "roh-say-shah"... it drove me crazy, not just because of the mispronunciation but because it was an unsightly medical condition and so naturally I didn't think it would be too nice of me to correct him and undoubtedly have to ARGUE with him about it, as of course he'd he sure HE was saying it right-I REALLY had to bite my tongue.

I then remembered when the company my husband was working for was designing some printed materials for a cream to treat rosacea, and the people in the office got into a heated disagreement as to how to spell it (it is often misspelled "rosaceae") which apparently wasn't solved by checking the references, as the spellings were inconsistent; they actually called me at home to ask me to drag out the Oxford Unabridged and verify which spelling was right.

I didn't think any more about it until I was refreshing madly on the recent-posts page, looking for new blogs to read, as I do pitifully often, and a blog came up that was titled "Rosaceae" (this is an actual word, it turns out, and describes a plant in the raspberry family, as was backed up by the picture of the raspberry on the blog). Coincidence? With a word THAT unusual, with a common misspelling that is another unusual word? No way.

Many people have had this sort of experience with words, where they hear, read or think about an unusual one, and it makes an impression on them, and then it shows up again right away, often several times. This is another version of the karmic mechanism that makes the person you haven't spared a thought for in months or years call you 10 minutes after they came into your mind; I don't know whether it's cause and effect, and the first incident leads to the other, or precognition, where you think of something because it's about to happen, or whether, as some psychics say, the present, near past and near future are so tightly knitted together that you can't always tell them apart when you "look with your inner eye" (for example, some psychics don't seem to do well at guessing the order of cards in a deck, until the tester realizes that they are guessing the card looked at before, or the one about to be looked at, with deadly accuracy, not the card that the tester is holding during each guess).

Any thought, feeling or action that comes from you has the power to draw something to it that "fits" with it; although we all accept that actions have consequences, we need to also accept that even our thoughts have the power to make things happen... maybe the Catholic church isn't so far off in saying that the thought is the same as the deed, after all.


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Does size really matter? 


Why are men so concerned about this? Guys, by the time you unzip your pants, the woman has already made her mind up about you; it's REALLY not a make or break issue. How'd you like to be female, and be judged by breast size, that IS clearly visible right away, and IS used as part of decision-making, even though it has no actual impact on the physics of sex? You've got it easy, so quit fretting.

Yes, some women like the idea of being dazzled by size, just as some (most?) men do, but, just like a man is perfectly happy with average most of the time, so is a woman; average in America is 5.1", and not many men are significantly different than that, so chances are you're perfectly acceptable and no woman has ever worried about it while with you.

What women DO get dismayed over, that far fewer of you are worrying about, is what you DO sexually. There are few if any women who enjoy kissing that requires them to mop their faces with towels afterwards, breast handling that resembles kneading bread dough or milking a cow, oral sex that resembles what a dog might do or is nonexistent or grudgingly done, or intercourse that is initiated after insufficient foreplay.

Even MORE important than your technique is for you to have bathed recently, and to not have lounged around in holey underwear, swigging beer, belching, farting, picking your nose and scratching your balls, for the hours preceding your attempts to get laid.

Don't blame any failings you have in the romantic arena on the size of any part of your body; if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, even if you're in the, uh, peewee league, the woman will be happy. If you keep quiet about the woman's cellulite, stretch marks and those 10 pounds she's always trying to lose, she'll keep quiet about any sub-optimal parts YOU might have, and then BOTH of you can do the most important thing for enjoyment of sex.... RELAX.


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Drawing people into your life 


If you're tuned into karma, and generally even if you're not, if you have needs that could be fulfilled by another person, things you need someone to teach you or help you with, etc, that person will appear in your life. It's like you're a magnet, and what you need is steel; you can toss a magnet into a bag of objects, only one of which is steel, and shake it all around, and BOOM, they'll find each other; karma, which is based on energy, works the same way. (Unlike the magnet, though, you have to CHOOSE to grab onto the person.)

I had been fantasizing about "if only I had some mothering and nurturing, someone to look after ME rather than always the other way around"... and a woman whose face I'd been seeing for half of my life as a character in my novel showed up, I knew instantly it was her, I was RIGHT, and we have so many freaky things in common that it's nearly hair-raising. Note that I didn't find her by LOOKING, she just showed up where I was one day.

I had been whimpering about the lack of truly intelligent and interesting people to talk to on a daily basis, and BOOM, I've found one, and he has a group of bright and entertaining online friends; once again, I wasn't actively searching for this man, or his friends, I just happened to post a note on his blog because I like what he had on there, as I've done many times, but he read MY blog, and we sort of went on from there.

There no guarantee that either of these people, or their friends, will be permanent members of my world (although at this point I hope they all will), but they're what I asked for recently, and I jumped right on them as soon as I found them (figuratively, not literally, although one of them might wish otherwise... or maybe BOTH, time will tell), and I've been very happy so far.

Ask, and often you WILL receive... so be VERY careful what you ask for.


Monday, March 01, 2004

2 months of blogging 


It's hard to believe that it's been 2 MONTHS already!!

I started this blog with absolutely NO knowledge of the blogosphere or anything connected with it. Using my minuscule knowledge of html and a vague memory of program flowcharting, I attacked the template to try to make my site easier on the eyes; I resized a few things, restored uppercase letters to the headings, and did a little rearranging. I inserted line breaks to keep the title and sig lines from being on top of the essays. I went through endless color changes before everything looked reasonably attractive and coordinated; sadly, although there's something that LOOKS like it's the visited-link color code, changing it doesn't alter anything, so the real code is hidden somewhere I could never find, or maybe the system just wants those links to be gray no matter what's in the template, so that'll be staying the default color until I find a way to fix it.

Before I actually created the blog, I did an exhaustive search for counters, and picked the one I liked best; that worked fine from the start, which was a refreshing change. I quickly learned that it was possible to have a blog search, but the first 2 I tried didn't work, for reasons that remain a mystery; the 3rd time WAS in fact the charm, though, and I got one that worked courtesy of FreeFind. Next came the struggle to get the stupid thing placed where I wanted it, which entailed frantic searches to html sites to find a command that would right-justify the image AND text created by the FreeFind code (every command seemed to work on one or the other but not both, sigh); I had to use an "obsolete" command, "div align="right"," to manage it, but I finally DID it.

Then, I discovered that my automatic ping to Weblogs.com was NOT working, and thus started my search for ways and places to ping; I've got quite a list to go through each day now.

I figured I should try to get added onto traditional search engines, and have signed up for every one in existence, but I have yet to see any evidence that I'm ON any of them; no matter how cleverly I word searches on their sites, my blog doesn't come up on however many pages I have the patience to check. Hope springs eternal, though.

During the search engine project, I learned of the existence of meta tags and spiders, and the importance of the former to the latter, and so added a bunch of tags just in case anything other than FreeFind ever actually spiders my blog.

A blog I visited had a link to a blog search engine, and I eagerly embraced the idea and signed up; eventually, I discovered a lengthy list of other engines, and have been gradually getting signed up with them, on the off chance that anyone is looking for any of my topics, lol.

This lead to my finding out about RSS feeds, and, while I STILL don't really know what they are, so many sites asked for them that I knew I had to get one (the Atom thing is NOT working for this blog, I checked, so I had to find one elsewhere); the end result is the various ways of subscribing to me that you can now find in my sidebar. Another great technical triumph came when the code from Feedster didn't make the text part of the link show, and I figured out which part of the code to take from my counter html and add to Feedster's to make it work.

I also found a couple of forums for bloggers, but sadly they're sort of dead and don't seem likely to lead to much traffic being generated for anyone; looking for others is on my list of things to do, though, because I'm betting there ARE busy blog forums somewhere.

I've had the pleasure of meeting some of my fellow bloggers on their sites, and have had enough questions repeated that I've decided to address them formally:


1) "Why don't you have any way for people to post comments?"

Because I've had all I'm going to take of being argued with and attacked online, and I know from experience that people will ALWAYS come out of the woodwork to spew venom about even my most innocuous posts; I feel under no obligation to allow them to do so, and, frankly, I get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the thought of the would-be assailants gnashing their teeth in frustration because they have no way to add their 2¢... hehehehehe.


2) "But what about those of us who would have NICE things to say, and/or interesting points to make?"

Dealing with the bad apples would stress me out too much to make it worth letting people give me a few compliments... and, I really don't want to have to deal with ANY debating, even if it's all pleasant and informative... AND, if I know that people are able to respond, I won't be able to write the way I want to; every word would be aimed at forestalling possible objections rather than telling the truth as I see it, and the entire purpose of this blog is for me to be able to tell "my truth."

3) "Why isn't there a way to email you?"

Because I don't want the frustrated nay-sayers to send me emails, and I don't want to risk someone I know verifying that it's ME writing this blog (see below).

4) "Why are there no photos or personal information about you?"

This blog is an absolute secret from everyone in my life except my husband, and it needs to STAY that way; the LAST thing I want is one of my loved ones reading something here that upsets them and being able to definitively trace it to ME.


That's pretty much the entire story of my blog thus far; thanks to all of those who take time out of their day to read my little rants. :-)





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