Wednesday, December 27, 2006


  1. don't have to be walked or obedience-trained in classes.
  2. can be left up to 3 days alone comfortably.
  3. won't eat all of the cat food left out in 1/2 hour.
  4. will amuse themselves easily.
  5. can settle their own territorial disputes with other catmates.
  1. are genuinely happy to see ya.
  2. can be taught to be good canine citizens and to do tricks.
  3. know that petting them makes their humans feel better.
  4. can be included in walking excursions and car travel easier than cats.
  5. will listen to the dominant cat of the household.
  1. settle territorial disputes by eating the offensive tankmate.
  2. don't usually talk back to their humans.
  3. are easily contained in a tank environment.
  4. some will sleep for several months at a time, thereby saving on the cost of food.
  5. don't get into power struggles with the resident cat or the resident dog.
sapphoq reviews

Friday, December 22, 2006


The cool folks over at CNET (as well as reporters from other places) have reported the settling of the lawsuits by 39 states with Sony-BMG over its rootkit fiasco. Under terms of the settlements, consumers with infected computers will receive $175.00 apiece and the states will receive more.

is where you can read the CNET article.

At issue was the idea that Sony did not warn consumers of the presence of the rootkit on the CDs. Sony-BMG is prevented from using similar rootkits in the future. Other companies aren't, as long as they warn us first.

sapphoq reviews says: not enough, and not thrilled.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

SECRETS OF MENTAL MATH, Benjamin and Shermer 12/14/06

Secrets of Mental Math, by Arthur Benjamin and Michael Shermer. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. paperback, 278 pps.

Secrets of Mental Math is subtitled The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightening Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks. And indeed, the stuff in this book is amazing. The authors illustrate the tricks and they also explain why the tricks work. From mental calculations involving a variety of operations to memorizing numbers to guesstimation, the style is easy to read and the explanations are easy to follow. Answers to the problems can be found in the back of the book as well as a section on how mathematics can help us overcome subjective biases that plague us.

I do a bit of this book each night and indeed, I do find my confidence growing along with the speed of my calculations. Recommended for teens on up.

sapphoq reviews

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I've been aware of a very simple but functional freeware program to create a personal Book of Shadows for sometime now. It can be password protected and it has four sections: spells, rituals, recipes, and incense recipes. Although I was not taught to keep records of my circle work, I know that others have found that to be useful. The electronic Book of Shadows is simple to use. For any who would rather do it on the computer, this little gem of a program is perfect.

sapphoq reviews

Monday, December 11, 2006


Bonewit's Essential Guide to Druidism, by Issac Bonewits. New York: Citadel Press, 2006. paperback, 329 pp.

I was absolutely thrilled to find Bonewit's book on the shelves the other day. Issac Bonewits knows bunches of stuff about Druidism and Witchcraft. He is also a highly accurate historian and scholar. I have several of his other books and looked forward to the release of this book. And this book did not disappoint.

The book covers Paleopagan, Mesopagan, Neopagan, and fakepagan Druids, current beliefs, samples of liturgical services, holidays, divination, and magic. Anyone who wishes some accurate historical writing concerning the Druids would do well to consult this book. The Appendices also include internet resources for those seeking more information.

Highly recommended without reservation.
sapphoq reviews

Thursday, December 07, 2006

MICRONATIONS by Ryan, Dunford, and Sellers 12/7/06

Micronations, by John Ryan, George Dunforth, and Simon Sellers. Lonely Planet: California, 2006. 156 pp. inc. index. paperback.

Classified as a travel humor book with nice color glossy photos, Micronations tells of folks who have set up their own micronations. The micronations range from an Embassy, cow pasture, and one square foot of changing land to cyberspace to outerspace to an old barge to the moon. Most are serious. By far the most serious is an Aussie family who got gypped out of their land by a clause that allows the lender to repossess it in spite of a good on-time payment history. The family declared their own kingdom and was startled to discover that under Australian law they could succede if they were wronged by the courts. Other claims may be frivolous. The reader must decide. I myself am looking into several micronations which offer free citizenship via a webform, including the nation of Freedonia which does not have any land yet but is looking into several tropical islands.

sapphoq reviews


Excuse me, Sir...Your Socks Are On Fire, by Larry Weill. Utica: North Country Books, 2005. paperback, 221 pp.

Larry was a Wilderness Park Ranger, mostly in the Canada Lakes Area, for three years. I laughed out loud at the old woman who slammed a bear on top of his head with a garbage can lid to keep him from taking her barbequeing steak. There are other humorous but true stories about bears, burning clothes, and tenderfoots-- as well as the colorful rugged local characters-- to be found in these pages. A great easy read for Adirondack lovers and others who like the woods.

sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame
(Version 2.6)

Copyright © 1979, 2001, 2004 c.e., Isaac Bonewits


Events in the last several decades have clearly indicated just how dangerous some religious and secular groups (usually called “cults” by those opposed to them) can be to their own members as well as to anyone else whom they can influence. “Brainwashing,” beatings, child abuse, rapes, murders, mass suicides, military drilling and gunrunning, meddling in civil governments, international terrorism, and other crimes have been charged against leaders and members of many groups, and in far too many cases those accusations have been correct. None of this has been very surprising to historians of religion or to other scholars of what are usually labled “new” religions (no matter how old they may be in their cultures of origin). Minority groups, especially religious ones, are often accused of crimes by members of the current majority. In many ways, for example, the “Mormons” were the “Moonies” of the 19th century — at least in terms of being an unusual minority belief system that many found “shocking” at the time — and the members of the Unification Church could be just as “respectable” a hundred years from now as the Latter Day Saints are today.

Nonetheless, despite all the historical and philosophical warnings that could be issued, ordinary people faced with friends or loved ones joining an “unusual” group, or perhaps contemplating joining one themselves, need a relatively simple way to evaluate just how dangerous or harmless a given group is liable to be, without either subjecting themselves to its power or judging it solely on theological or ideological grounds (the usual method used by anti-cult groups).

In 1979 I constructed an evaluation tool which I now call the “Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame” or the “ABCDEF” (because evaluating these groups should be elementary). A copy was included in that year’s revised edition of my book, Real Magic. I realize its shortcomings, but feel that it can be effectively used to separate harmless groups from the merely unusual-to-the-observer ones. Feedback from those attempting to use the system has always been appreciated. Indirect feedback, in terms of the number of places on and off the Net this ABCDEF has shown up, has been mostly favorable. For example, it was chosen by and is now displayed on the website of the Institute for Social Inventions, who paraphrased it for their “Best Ideas — A compendium of social innovations” listing.

The purpose of this evaluation tool is to help both amateur and professional observers, including current or would-be members, of various organizations (including religious, occult, psychological or political groups) to determine just how dangerous a given group is liable to be, in comparison with other groups, to the physical and mental health of its members and of other people subject to its influence. It cannot speak to the “spiritual dangers,” if any, that might be involved, for the simple reason that one person’s path to enlightenment or “salvation” is often viewed by another as a path to ignorance or “damnation.”

As a general rule, the higher the numerical total scored by a given group (the further to the right of the scale), the more dangerous it is likely to be. Though it is obvious that many of the scales in the frame are subjective, it is still possible to make practical judgments using it, at least of the “is this group more dangerous than that one?” sort. This is if all numerical assignments are based on accurate and unbiased observation of actual behavior by the groups and their top levels of leadership (as distinct from official pronouncements). This means that you need to pay attention to what the secondary and tertiary leaders are saying and doing, as much (or more so) than the central leadership — after all, “plausible deniability” is not a recent historical invention.

This tool can be used by parents, reporters, law enforcement agents, social scientists and others interested in evaluating the actual dangers presented by a given group or movement. Obviously, different observers will achieve differing degrees of precision, depending upon the sophistication of their numerical assignments on each scale. However, if the same observers use the same methods of scoring and weighting each scale, their comparisons of relative danger or harmlessness between groups will be reasonably valid, at least for their own purposes. People who cannot, on the other hand, view competing belief systems as ever having possible spiritual value to anyone, will find the ABCDEF annoyingly useless for promoting their theological agendas. Worse, these members of the Religious Reich and their fellow theocrats will find that their own organizations (and quite a few large mainstream churches) are far more “cult-like” than many of the minority belief systems they so bitterly oppose.

It should be pointed out that the ABCDEF is founded upon both modern psychological theories about mental health and personal growth, and my many years of participant observation and historical research into minority belief systems. Those who believe that relativism and anarchy are as dangerous to mental health as absolutism and authoritarianism, could (I suppose) count groups with total scores nearing either extreme (high or low) as being equally hazardous. As far as dangers to physical well-being are concerned, however, both historical records and current events clearly indicate the direction in which the greatest threats lie. This is especially so since the low-scoring groups usually seem to have survival and growth rates so small that they seldom develop the abilities to commit large scale atrocities even had they the philosophical or political inclinations to do so.

The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame
(version 2.6)

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Low High
1 Internal Control: Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members. 1
2 External Control: Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior. 2
3 Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s); amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations; number and degree of unverified and/or unverifiable credentials claimed. 3
4 Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts. 4
5 Dogma: Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” hostility towards relativism and situationalism. 5
6 Recruiting: Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones. 6
7 Front Groups: Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden. 7
8 Wealth: Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members. 8
9 Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s) of non-tantric groups; amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners. 9
10 Sexual Favoritism: Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s) of non-tantric groups. 10
11 Censorship: Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s). 11
12 Isolation: Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers. 12
13 Dropout Control: Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts. 13
14 Violence: Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s). 14
15 Paranoia: Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories. 15
16 Grimness: Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s). 16
17 Surrender of Will: Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s). 17
18 Hypocrisy: amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain. 18

A German translation of the 2.0 version of this is available at: Isaac Bonewits’ Sektengefahr Checkliste.

A French translation of the 2.6 version is available at: Grille avancée de Bonewits pour l'évaluation du danger potentiel d'une secte.

An Italian translation of the 2.6 version is available at: Documento Avanzato di Isaac Bonewits per la Valutazione del Pericolo del Culto.

A Polish translation of the 2.6 version is available at: Zaawansowany Kwestionariusz Bonewitsa Oceniajacy Niebezpieczenstwo Sekty

A Portuguese translation of the 2.6 version is available at: A Ferramenta Avançada de Bonewits para Avaliação de Seitas.

Other translations will be posted as they are done.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Low High

Copyright © 1979, 2001 c.e., Isaac Bonewits. This text file may be freely distributed on the Net, provided that no editing is done, the version number is retained, and everything in this notice box is included. If you would like to be on one or more of Isaac Bonewits’ emailing lists, click here to get subscription information.

Note: this is one of his most popular essays, so if you want to mirror it, that’s fine with him, but please check back regularly for updates. If anyone wants to translate this or others of his essays into other languages, he will be happy to post them on his website.

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Pasted from Issac's site and under the terms of his conditions, I have included the entire page including the box above. sapphoq reviews

Monday, December 04, 2006


Having spent today with Fibromyalgia, I have decided to provide a review of Fibromyalgia.
While I do recognize that a few excellent books, articles, and suchlike have been written
about Fibromyalgia at a level of competency which perhaps I shall not attain here, nevertheless
I have decided to do this. I'm not a doctor, which will be abundantly clear by the end of this thing.
So naturally, nothing I say here should be construed as medical, useful, or life-saving advice.
Thus said, let us begin.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Yes, it does.
Some folks believe it is part of clinical depression. Well, at least one drug company seems to think so. Which came first? I don't know and I do not have to care. Because, I am not a doctor.

Okay then. For the uninitiated, I will describe Fibromyalgia as a sort of arthritis of the muscles. That is not technically accurate and does not really do justice but it is a beginning. And the Midrash says, "All beginnings are hard." I have never read the Midrash. I hope I am spelling it correctly. But I do know that is what it says. Cuz I saw it somewhere.

Furthermore, besides providing an assortment of muscle pain, Fibromyalgia also provides Fatigue. For those of you who are healing a tbi like me, Fatigue is the Great Enemy. This Fatigue is not regular people fatigue. It is muscle crushing dragging along sleepwalking through life sort of fatigue. It is Oh crap, I gotta keep going even though I want to drop Fatigue.

Unofficially, there exists a suspicion among some of us that Fibromyalgia is somehow related to car accidents or something.
Officially, there are many Explanations.
Everything from [it is felt to be mostly women]: Women with Fibromyalgia are Drug-Seeking.
To: Fibromyalgia is a Lifestyle.

Perhaps folks who have Fibromyalgia are Drug-Seeking, Doctor, because they genuinely Hurt.
Have Pain.

At any rate, my own Fibromyalgia comes Knocking at rather Inconvenient Times.
I am just strolling along, living my life and Fibromyalgia says, Hey You, You are having
Too Much Fun.
Zing! You just took a bath and you Have to Sleep
for Two Hours afterwards.
Zing! You went to the gym and you will not Recover for two whole Days.
Zing! Whatdoya mean you want to Have a Life?!?

I am fortunate that mine responds to exercise and that is how I keep from Screaming.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I am.

Fibromyalgia is a Lifestyle? More of: We are Our Labels. No, I Will Not Have It.
We Are Not Our Labels. We are MORE Than Our Labels. MORE than your labels.
So There.

Freaking Idiopathic Beastie Rumbling Over Muscles Yakking Always Loudly Groaning In Agony.

That's Fibromyalgia.

sapphoq reviews

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Drifting around web
at night I found your minis--
cute precious delight!

Who: Goowy did it. I tried it. I liked it.
What: Little prepackaged widgets. Flash. News. Mail. Pop3. Weather. Blog RSSes. More.
Where: On your own yourminis page. Free. Password-protected.
When: Whenever you sign in from any computer.
Why: Cuz they are cute.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

BLOGBURST 11/16/06

At first the BlogBurst site looked like a pretty good deal. Enter your url which then gets reviewed for quality and after acceptance, get a chance at having your blog seen by people and companies all over. I entered my url, was "accepted," asked to place a blogburst button on my blogsite, and then was taken to the Terms and Conditions page of Using their Service.

In exchange for their right to place advertising on my site and to advertise my site, I was to sign over worldwide royalty rights to my material forever. BlogBurst would suffer no obligation to pay me for any income generated to them for my stuff. Nope. I bailed out.

This review is a warning. BlogBurst sounds good. It isn't. Any writer who has been published regularly will tell you, "Don't sign away your worldwide royalty rights." Signing away First Serial Rights would be permissible but not the whole she-bang.

No thank-you BlogBurst. I will continue on my path of discovery and future syndication without your help.

sapphoq reviews

THEY CAGE THE ANIMALS AT NIGHT by Jennings Michael Burch 11/16/06

They Cage the Animals at Night, by Jennings Michael Burch.
New York: Signet, 1985. paperback, 293 pps.

The author, J. Michael Burch tells the story of his childhood and adolescence quite well. His mother was not a well woman; his father a drunk absent from his life. Periodically, his mother would drop him off [and later on his youngest brother] at an orphanage or at social services because of her inability to provide for her offspring. The two oldest boys were able to go to relatives to live, the middle brother had a heart condition and lived at a hospital for most of his life.

This book recounts the horrifying abuses suffered by the author and other boys entrusted to New York City's foster care system during the fifties and how the author was able to find his way out.
Definately worth a read for anyone with their own childhood memories of abuse. Not for those who dislike sentimentality.

sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Tis the beginning of the New Year for me and yet today I find myself pondering the recent releases of browsers-- specifically the current browser war between Foxfire 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7-- rather than my ancestors.

I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 and was immediately confronted with tons of grief. I worked on reviving various crashed components of the main home computer for 15 hours before surrendering and calling the [free through November 1] Internet Explorer 7 Customer Support phone number.

The level one techie bravely tried to help me, even reading off the script to hack into the registry. At one point when I was already there, he insisted that I return to RUN and re-type in REGEDIT. He would not have it any other way. When his directions were not in sync with the way the registry sets up how to get into it to adjust things, he could not adjust his thinking and was unable to answer my questions. Finally, he gave up and put me on the queue for a level 2 techie to call me back.

Three days later the level 2 techie called me back. I discovered that the level one had told me to alter the wrong part of the registry. The level 2 techie got points for being polite and being able to ascertain that I was comfortable with the guts of my computer. Fortunately, his directions worked.

The fact that IE7 caused chaos did little to endear me to it. The fact that IE7 had a security patch issued the day after it came out is also worrisome. Internet Explorer 7 is all design and very little guts. There is no room for personalization in the Gates Universe. The tabs and buttons are oversized. Once again, the conglomerating monopoly which is Micro$oft and Windows/VISTA demonstrates its' belief that the computer-using public is incapable of anything other than point-and-click. And shame on the average member of the public for buying that story.

Foxfire 2.0 is open-source which automatically makes it more secure and customizable. The hackers of the 80s have migrated over to Linux and other places there-in, using their skills to provide security testing and more. Foxfire was an easy download with no trauma attached. Its' buttons are sleek, it is skinable, and there are a gazillion options for personalizing the way the browser functions. My foxfire browser functions the way I want it to because I set it up to do what I want it to do. I have options regarding scripts, blogs, bookmarks, rss feeds, adding or deleting toolbars, and web design set up on mine. I use my Foxfire primarily for websurfing and my add-ons for dot com [unfortunately now owned by Yahoo] and StumbleUpon reflect that. I have a sense of ownership and community with Foxfire that I have never had with any of the Gates Empire products.

I also have Flock installed on the main computer for another member of the household to use. I selected Flock partially because it is light-weight and partially because I was able to control the features for a non-techie with little clue about how computers work. Flock also has add-ons, including those at as well as those on its' homepages. Again, with Flock there is a sense of ownership and community that is lacking with IE7. I also have a Flock installed on one of the laptops and customized for my blogging efforts.

I tried Opera 9 and although there are those who swear by it, I didn't like it. I did not find the customization options with Opera 9 that I found with Flock and with Foxfire 2.0-- though certainly Opera 9 is far more lightweight a browser [in terms of spacehogging or not spacehogging] than IE7.

I suspect that I will also be migrating to a dual-boot system on the main computer soon and be installing some flavor of Linux. For me, open-source is the way to go. I look forward to the time when I will be able to test-drive Konqueror as well as to write my own add-ons and modifications to Foxfire and Flock. Meanwhile, I just keep studying and practicing so that way I too will be able to leave my mark upon the vibrant open-source community.

- sapphoq reviews

Thursday, October 26, 2006


My latest obsession is a nifty site found at called StumbleUpon. After downloading the latest Foxfire release, I added StumbleUpon as an extension. Together with my bookmarks at, I am finding more nifty stuff on the web and cataloging them.

Althought StumbleUpon has the option of having friends, I have not investigated that part of it. I am content to be presented with a new site based on my selected interests and then decide to: mark it as "thumbs up," "thumbs down," or to leave it unmarked; import it into my account with tags or not; comment on it for my StumbleUpon blog. My StumbleUpon blog so far consists of the sites I have bookmarked as "thumbs up." StumbleUpon also gives one the option of adding a button to ones other websites so visitors to them can refer them back to StumbleUpon. I may do so in the near future.

I am especially interested in the use of public domain textures and photos in my computer art, and in flash games. I have found both in abundance within one hour of using StumbleUpon.

sapphoq's verdict: StumbleUpon + Foxfire + = not to be missed!

sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, October 24, 2006




BOYCE and BOICE are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment, i.e., phone, computer, printer, automibile.
If something malfunctions, BIND UP these two demons, and command them to leave your equipment, in the name of Jesus.

sapphoq reviews says: And here all this time I thought it ws the boot monster kicking us off the chatroom in my early days at . How silly of me! Now I know it was Boyce and Boice!

The rest of the site alleges that depression is a demon and that diabetes is a squid! I have heard diabetes called many things, but never a squid. It also relates such gems as paisley prints are demonic, a Pope failed to cast a demon out of a child in 1995 while visiting the state of Texas, Mother Theresa was demon-possessed, all candles are bad because they attract demons, spasms in the arms prevent people with anxiety disorders from using them, and the Narnia movie is as diabolical as the Harry Potter books.

Demonbuster is apparently the work of one "Reverend Shanks" [or his followers] and not anything to do with Gene Moody [at least we are told that the e-mail addy is not Gene Moody's anyway.] I found no other identifying information during my visit there.

The site uses a hot pink background throughout and plays organ music in the background. The one good thing about demonbuster dot com-- it does not ask for my filthy demonic american money!

Boyce and Boice, I demand you leave this computer this instant!

~sapphoq reviews

Friday, October 20, 2006

ED 2 GO ON-LINE COURSES 10/20/06 is a portal to on-line "courses" being "offered" by local community colleges. I am currently taking two computer tech courses, one writing research course, and one gaming industry course through this business.
My courses cost $90 or $119 each, depending upon the subject matter. In return for my bisexual bucks, I get 12 "classes" which are "released" every Wednesday and every Friday. There is a short five question multiple-guess quiz after each class, assignments, recommended for further study links, and an exam. The exam is the only thing that counts. If I pass the exam, I get a certificate. If not, I don't.
I quickly found that the assignments are for self-edification only, that the bulletin boards provided for student-teacher communication are e-mail based, that the writing contained within the courses themselves is syrupy and canned. I am in fact having difficulty believing that the alleged "professors" exist.
Improvements might be more varied writing styles, a real-time chatroom experience, and more in-depth coverage of the material being offered.
Verdict: ed 2 go is a no-go.

~sapphoq reviews books and more

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Google has acquired the popular video-sharing service called "You Tube." The deal was finalized on Monday October 9. Thus the beginning of the end.

You Tube has been plagued by lawsuits alleging copyright violations. That will probably end as Google along with You Tube's employees will now actively search and remove clips from someone's favorite teevee show or concert.

Google has also made deals with such media giants as Sony to that effect.

Bye bye You Tube. Hello a newer, shinier, strictly law-abiding You Tube though not necessarily better.

~sapphoq reviews

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Hail all from crisp Bennington Vermont where I am with friends. Bennington has the look and feel of not-so-faded hippies. I am fortunate that I get to see this town from the perspective of a local rather than a tourist. I get to go where the locals go.

First off is All Days and Onions, a restaurant on the main drag with homemade delicious food. Sandwiches and desserts are to die for. Clientele is primarily local. Across the street is a hospice. The older folks who live in and near the hospice frequent the restaurant also where they are treated with great respect. Service there, along with the food, can't be beat.

Next is Your Belly Deli. Wonderful subs. Places to sit down. On a side street away from the outta towners.

Bennington also hosts three thrift shoppes-- A Goodwill, Salvation Army, and a more upscale Second-Hand Rose. Plus there is a Baptist Church and a little clubhouse for people in recovery. Several strip malls, a Denny's, the Depot, a few diners, and the volunteer fire department round out the local scene.

There is a Veteran's Hospital in Bennington which has a fenced in deer park. The deer are nice to see. Not for feeding though, just viewing. Bennington also has a local hospital, mental health treatment programs, and some community residences and halfway houses.

One of my friends belongs to Curves-- a women's chain gym. There is an active womyn's community in Bennington. Wherever we go, we run into womyn that my friends know and that I am beginning to know.

Outside of Bennington to the east are mountains, state parks, and ski slopes. Also are the winding dirt roads that lead to rugged little camps where people hide out away from the tourists.

Bennington is on the scale of Woodstock New York and New Hope Pennsylvania. A rather expensive place to live but the ambience cannot be beat.

sapphoq reviews books and more

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

AQUA EROTICA ed. by mary anne mohanruj

AQUA EROTICA edited by mary anne mohanraj. New York: Random House, 2000. 208pp. including notes on the contributors. paperback, waterproof.

AQUA EROTICA is a collection of eighteen stories involving sex and relationships revolving around a watery theme. Such notables as Carol Queen and Cecelia Tan have contributed short stories. The stories themselves are a talented blend of erotica and literary devices. They offer up contrasting vignettes from invented and actual lives.

The waterproofing on the pages renders them thicker than found in ordinary books. Those who like relaxing in a tub or pool with a good steamy book will certainly enjoy this one.

~sapphoq reviews books and more

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Anonymizer offers free limited proxy services and a paid variation which includes blocking X-controls, spyware scanning, and digital shredding. After trying the freeware, I quickly converted to a paid account and I have never regretted it. Some may argue that I am excessive about the security of my computer since I also have Kapersky, SpyGuard, SpyBlaster, PopUpSmasher, C-Cleaner, G-Zapper, Ad-Aware Personal, Spybot, HiJack This and Sandboxie installed on the thing and I use them regularly. I don't care. I like my electronic privacy even if there are companies out there and a government hellbent on denying me the same. But I digress.

A couple of days ago, Anonymizer sent me a form letter about beta-testing their new anti-Spam protect your-personal-email-addy product and I agreed. Yahoo also offers the ability to create disposable e-mail addys but the Anonymizer service has more options. While Yahoo limits members to two a year, with the Anonymizer service, I can create upto 1000 disposable e-mail addys. Additionally, they integrate seamlessly with an e-mail account of my choosing. I have had no difficulty using the service with a POP3 access account and via my Incredimail client. AND, I can also invite friends to try it out and create accounts for them.

Way to go Anonymizer!!!
~sapphoq reviews books and more

Thursday, September 14, 2006

COREL PAINT SHOP PRO X by Dave Huss and Lori J. Davis

COREL PAINT SHOP PRO X: The Official Guide, by Dave Huss and Lori J. Davis.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. large paperback, 406 pps including index.

sapphoq reviews says:
I discovered PaintShopProX several months ago and has spent many delightful hours creating art. Some of the art has been in one small non-juried art show in Pennsylvania and was also recently included in an on-line gallery at OtherHoodLights e-Journal. I have been looking for a book about PaintShopPro X in bookstores in vain until last week. Now it is here and it was definately worth the wait.


Monday, August 28, 2006

FLOATING OFF THE PAGE by Ken Wells, ed 8/28/06

Floating Off the Page: the Best Stories from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL's "MIDDLE COLUMN," Ken Wells, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. 282 pps., including index of contributors.

Ken Wells collected 67 stories from the Wall Street Journal's Middle Column. If these stories are representative, then the average non-reader of the Journal has truly missed out on a great column. Topics run the gamut from a dispute on just how the Christian scriptures should be translated into Klingon to why camps have to pay up or forgo singing such traditionals as "Happy Birthday" to carrots to the ethics of vegetarianizing your feline or canine pet/companion to street musicians. Definately worth a look-see. Expect to spend some time hooting in laughter while taking in the deeper meaning of it all.

~sapphoq reviews

Saturday, August 19, 2006

SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC by Paul Kurtz 8/19/06

Skeptical Inquirer: The magazine for science and reason. Vol.30, #5. Sept-Oct 2006.
"Science and the Public" by Paul Kurtz, pp. 13-19

Skeptical Inquirer admittedly is not a magazine for everyone. It is connected with the Center for Inquiry in Buffalo NY [a place I have visited] and part of its' mission is to scientifically investigate claims of the paranormal variety. "Science and the Public" attempts a summation of the past three decades of Skeptical Inquirer. The past thirty years has seen a decrease in public interest in paranormal claims coupled with an increase in interest in complementary and holistic medicines.

An excerpt from page 16 follows:
*Eyewitness subjective testimony uncritically accepted without corroboration is a potential source of deception (in accounts of molestation, reports of apparitions, past-life regression, UFO visitations, etc,).
*Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
*The burden of proof rests with the claimant, not the investigators,
*Paranormal reports are like unsinkable rubber ducks; no matter how many times they are submerged, they tend to surface again.
*There is widespread gullibility and will to believe expressed by certain segments of the population, fascinated by mystery and magical thinking and willingness to accept tales of the occult or supernatural.
*In some cases, but surely not all, blatant fraud and chicanery may be observed, even in young children.
*In evaluating evidence, watch out for hidden bias and self-deception pro and con (including your own) to determine if something is a pseudoscience or not.
*There is no easily drawn demarcation line between science and pseudoscience, for one may be dealing with a proto-science. [end of excerpt].

Within the excerpt is a veritable wellspring of wisdom.
Kudos to Paul Kurtz for writing an excellent article.

~sapphoq reviews

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Reporters Without Borders

sapphoq recently visited the Reporters Without Borders website and highly recommends that anyone interested in the issue of censorship do so. The news media in the Untied States does have its' critics who claim that the politics of the media companies paying journalists' salaries are reflected in what gets reported and how. sapphoq is at times one of those critics. How much worse to live in a country where internet access is severely restricted or where reporters are imprisoned [or murdered] for using a government-censored word or photograph!
~sapphoq reviews

Below is an excerpt from Reporters Sans Frontiers ABOUT US english page:
More than a third of the world’s people live in countries where there is no press freedom. Reporters Without Borders works constantly to restore their right to be informed. Fourty-two media professionals lost their lives in 2003 for doing what they were paid to do — keeping us informed. Today, more than 130 journalists around the world are in prison simply for doing their job. In Nepal, Eritrea and China, they can spend years in jail just for using the "wrong" word or photo.
goto for more.

Reporters sans frontières - Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents - Internet-censor world championship speaks about specific countries that are regarded as champions in the business of censoring what their citizens can view on the internet. China is at the top of the list. More can be found at .

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

SAPPHOQ REVIEWS DOWNLOAD.NET 8/9/06 is a nifty site which offers freeware, shareware, and e-newsletters for specialized audiences. Anything found on the site is legal. The shareware is often trial-limited and the user can then purchase it or not. The freeware is free. The e-newsletters are delivered to one's email box and contain clickable links to bring the user to the product of interest. also has a search feature. Highly recommended to the computer geek and novice alike. There is truly something there for everyone.

~sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BLOG RULES by Nancy Flynn

Blog Rules, by Nancy Flynn. New York: Amacom, 2006. 226pages, including index.

Blog Rules is truly a scarey book. The author Nancy Flynn attempts to delineate rules about blogs and employees who blog-- whether they are in-company blogs on company time or personal blogs during personal time. One of the suggested had-better-nots is that employees not disclose any propietary information electronically or otherwise. That makes sense. Another had-better-not is that employees not publish anonymous blogs. That is scarey.

Flynn advises companies to implement policies that require their workers to sign a statement that they will only use their own names on their own personal blogs. The expectation that employees will go along with forfeiting their right to do what they will on their own time should have us screaming in protest. The sound of silence can truly be shattering.

The book is frightening in its own Orwellian way and somewhat repetitive in spots. It may be a good read for human services department personnel. It is a book which should be brought to the attention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

~sapphoq reviews

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

va----ROOM-BA!!! 7/12/06

I did it! Yesterday I yielded to temptation and bought myself a ROOM-BA. ROOM-BA charges itself up and then wanders around vacuuming up dust, doghair, and whatnot. When ROOM-BA's bagless dirt compartment is full, ROOM-BA stops and waits for its' human to empty it. If ROOM-BA runs out of juice, it heads for its' dock and recharges.

I watched ROOM-BA for quite some time, absolutely fascinated by the little round machine that can and did leave my carpet free from dirt and yuck. The cats and dog-- much to my astonishment-- left ROOM-BA alone after a few curious glances. ROOM-BA steered itself around the living room, manuevering out of obstacles and gently whrr-ing as it went.

Emptying the bagless dirt compartment was a breeze. Filter compartment was also easy to clean out. The brushes were a bit trickier but infinitely more doable than the standard vac meets killer dog hair scenerio.

Highly recommended!

~sapphoq reviews

more info at

Friday, July 07, 2006


Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu, by J. Maarten Troost. New York: Broadway Books, 2006. 239 pp.

J. Maarten Troost has finally written a second book. His first, Sex Lives of Cannibals was funny to the point of inducing the giddies and his second does not disappoint. Troost once again trotted off to the South Pacific with his now wife Sylvia for another set of riotous times. He discovered the perils of driving a friend's borrowed set of wheels through the jungle, the profound differences between the new to him islands and the old island of residence, the pleasures of kava, and the contrariness of kittens and centipedes.

A definate must read for the fan of travel books.

~sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


letter below was copied and pasted from site above [and below] where an electronic petition resides.

Subject: Save NPR and PBS (again)


Everyone expected House Republicans to give up efforts to kill NPR and PBS after a massive public outcry stopped them last year. But they've just voted to eliminate funding for NPR and PBS—unbelievably, starting with programs like "Sesame Street."Public broadcasting would lose nearly a quarter of its federal funding this year. Even worse, all funding would be eliminated in two years--threatening one of the last remaining sources of watchdog journalism.Sign the petition telling Congress to save NPR and PBS again this year:

Last year, millions of us took action to save NPR and PBS, and Congress listened. We can do it again if enough of us sign the petition in time.This would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting. The Boston Globe reports the cuts "could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs." NPR's president expects rural public radio stations may be forced to shut down.The House and Senate are deciding if public broadcasting will survive, and they need to hear from viewers like you. Sign the petition at:

sapphoq on behalf of MoveOn

sapphoq comments:
Unfortunately, some of our politicians are making larger and larger noises about their fundamentalist christian beliefs. They openly admit that their religious ideology influences [and dictates] their vote on public issues. Those of us who are conscious thinkers know that the "news" as reported to us by those employed by major companies [like the Christian Broadcasting Network, to name one] is filtered through some very subjective lenses.
We now have an Office of Faith-Based Initiatives which gives funding to select religious agencies to carry on social service type work. That sort of bias which the president continues to be zealous in developing is unacceptable to those of us who do not share his passion for literal interpretations of the book known as the bible. Dump the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives I say and keep public teevee.
Blessed be!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Although I have grave concerns about the ways in which Yahoo has chosen to apply its' censorship policies, I find that I must [however reluctantly] give Yahoo credit where it is due. Yahoo makes the creating of multiple identities via free e-mail boxes pathetically easy. The fact that Yahoo offers free POPmail to people who sign up for ads to be delivered to their Yahoo boxes with foreign country extensions is a wonderful thing in itself. Widgets can potentially be another wonderful thing, provided that they remain free and (hopefully) safe and not a vehicle for bad things to sneak into computers. So, what are Widgets?

Recently I came across them on a Yahoo page. Widgets sit on the desktop of a computer and can be cast into hiding when the computer's human so chooses. They are usually made by folks who enjoy throwing that sort of thing together. [Other places like MSN also have widgets free for the downloading].

Yahoo's Widgets are a cool mix of things. I particularly enjoy listening to radio stations in other countries and that is one area where the Widgets certainly shine.

Also available are Widgets that show the current phase of the moon, the weather in any given locale, and schedules. Widgets are certainly worth checking out.


ps: Some folks download very little off of the net due to an avid and realistic concern about viruses, malware, spyware, trojans... The rest of us recognize that the web is rampant with stuff these days and there is even surf-by infiltrations these days. The only safe computer is one that is virgin to the internet. Yeah, it takes a bit extra these days to keep computers safe. As for me, any need to scan and re-scan is far outweighed by the cuteness and fun that Widgets provide.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


~small banner by sapphoq. if you use it, please link back to this site. thanks.

sapphoq reviews a few free e-mail boxes and more:


Google now offers free POP3 and forwarding. Storage is adequate. One can access groups from the mail page. Google has added some whistles which increase the attractiveness of its e-accounts. E-mail accounts are only available if one is invited by a friend or if one is willing to furnish Google with the phone number of one's mobile device. The ability to archive messages and i.m. conversations has been added; though that may not be the best idea due to personal privacy issues.

Blue Bottle is a company out of Australia that offers both free and paid accounts. One can configure to eliminate all spam, requiring senders to know either the name of the recipient or a special combination of numbers. Interface is plain but functionable. Server sometimes goes down. Blue Bottle recently had to replace its server so hopefully that problem will not happen as often.

MSN hotmail also has paid and free accounts. In order to get official POP3 access and decent storage capacity, one has to pay. Hotmail will also automatically lock any free e-mail user out who does not sign in at least once in a thirty day period.

Yahoo only grants free POP3 and forwarding to accounts outside of the Untied States which sign up to receive Yahoo ads. In the states, one must pay for legit POP3 service. One can have two mailbox addys dumped into a single yahoo box. On the minus side, Yahoo is offering the ability to guarantee senders [read: spammers] delivery of their unwanted e-mails to recipient accounts if they agree to pay a nominal fee per e-mail. The paid e-mail does not get picked up by the Yahoo spam blocker. Due to lax standards regarding on-line identities, Yahoo has now evolved its own form of internet troll.

My Way is free and one can decorate one's e-box with pretty scenery. Settings for things like mail filter are very user-friendly. On the downside is the way e-mails sent from My Way accounts appear. The system seems to disregard paragraphing, making e-mails originating from My Way difficult to read.

Medscape is available to physicians and has free e-mail accounts. The accounts are not POP3 accessible. It is easy to use, has recently begun offering simple stationary, and includes no outgoing ads. Physicians everywhere who mourn the merging/passing of physicians-on-line at least have the option of Medscape. POL used to check that physicians who signed on really were qualified medical personnel. Medscape does not.


Hands down the winner is Blogger/Blogspot. It is easy to use and offers versatility. Free templates are available on-site and elsewhere. Blogspot includes use of a free FTP for those who which to host elsewhere. A very attractive offering. Blogger makes most of its' money off of Google AdSense-- so those of us who are fans will sign up for simple text ads as a way of saying "Thank you".

Yahoo 360 blogs come equipped with a wide range of templates, employs an aggragate system so bloggers are assured an audience and can develop on-line buddies, and has many many options that can be customized by the individual user. Unfortunately, 360's rep is being marred by a noted tendency of Yahoo to censor pics and pull accounts of [mainly women] those who dare to write about anything other than god, church, and heterosexual families.

MSN spaces has some options which are real nice. Amazon associates can create lists of books and Amazon dot com will automatically furnish the book cover at the push of a button. MSN support staff are somewhat friendly and will look for signs of trouble. Recently, a b0ok came out with good simple instructions. It is reported that the staff do comment on a few blogs from time to time. The space itself is ugly and has limited functionality.


GoDaddy is a fairly decent company and reportedly offers friendly customer service. I know a web designer who directs her clientele to GoDaddy for domain hosting. hosts her web domain with NetEasy. NetEasy is not that easy for the neophyte. Customer service is only available through e-mail. Aside from that small glitch, sapphoq does heartily recommend NetEasy to the aspirant who desires a home on the internet.

Til' next time, keep reading. Your brain cells will be tickled if you do.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Looking Glass Court | neo-pagan rituals and reflections - inspired by Lewis Caroll; written and compiled by Shivian Balaris

Looking Glass Court neo-pagan rituals and reflections - inspired by Lewis Caroll; written and compiled by Shivian Balaris<---- the link will point you to a blog by Shivian Montar Balaris, creator of the Oh Gods! pagan comic strips. The Looking Glass Court blog connects one certain Alice's journey Through the Looking Glass with the witches' wheel. There are indeed neo-pagan rituals and reflections to be found; and a membership form also. Very well-crafted writing! Not to be missed.

The Oh Gods! comic strips at can be delivered to one's e-mail box daily or almost daily to those readers who are seeking enlightenment through pagan humor. The characters are well-drawn with crisp lines. The conversation between them pokes gently at our witch buttons. A day without a good belly laugh is like a sandwitch without a pail or shovel.

At timerift, one can also seek out the forums and must-have symbols of fandom. Careful now or you might need the services of a witchdoctor!

~witchdoctor sapphoq

Thursday, April 27, 2006


AVOIDING PRISON AND OTHER NOBLE VACATION GOALS by Wendy Dale. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003. paperback, 326 pages.

Wendy Dale grew up in many places as her family was one which uprooted and moved frequently throughout her childhood and adult life. She viewed travel as a way of temporarily escaping her problems. Chance encounters led her to fall in love with a Columbian man in a Costa Rica prison.

A very enjoyable first book from Wendy Dale with much insight into egocentric cultural values.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

SHARE YOUR STORY: Blogging with MSN Spaces by Katherine Murray and Mike Torres

SHARE YOUR STORY: Blogging with MSN Spaces
by Katherine Murray and Mike Torres.
Redmond Wa: Microsoft Press, 2006. 196pp. including index. paperback.

For all of us blogheads out there, Microsoft Corporation now has a book of instructions and helpful hints for using MSN Spaces. Although I didn't really require the book, I bought it anyways and I enjoy leafing through it and extracting little tidbits from it that are useful.

Share Your Story pointed me to FeedBurner where I did indeed burn my blog into RSS and now it is featured on my own MSN Spaces at . It also pointed me to some easier instructions for creating a playlist from the Windows Media Player and incorporating a certain affiliate program into my MSN spaces reading list.

The true techies among us probably will not need this book. The rest of us blogheads will enjoy the breezy style and having all of the instructions in printed form.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006


The Shepard of Hermes Speaks
a found poem

Vision I. 1:1-9
I had nothing. Time, powerful, fell
and a spirit split the river.
The sky desired me. I said,
"Listen! Heaven is angry!"

A goddess laughed. Indeed, the heart
is great and everything. Captivity clings to hope and regrets.

Vision II. 5:1-4
Traveling, time remembered me.
I considered the things
I remember(ed) and I seized.

Vision III. 9:1-9
Was this the promise?
The hours arrived trembling
and terrified. Courage came
before righteousness and left
alone. Simplicity endured.

A found poem is words taken in order from a text, passage, or section of a book. When other words are skipped over, a poem is born.
This found poem was found in:
Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. New York, 2003, pp. 252, 254. 256.

Monday, April 03, 2006

found poems from THE NAG HAMMEDI LIBRARY


Light! yours. Who has come
from my house? Things pre-existed
through the ages. Gifts light my
heart. The psychic formed
power[ful] and holy.

*found poem taken from The Prayer of the Apostle Paul Ia, 1-B, 10 translated by Dieter Mueller from the book: The Nag Hammadi Library, James M. Robinson (general editor), Harper, San Francisco, 1978, pp.27-28.

Poem found by sapphoq. Found poems are words taken from a section of someone else's writing in order and omitting other words in order to create a "found poem." As such, I believe they are not copyrightable and the original source of the words MUST be credited. Thus, it would not be accurate to say that I 'wrote' a found poem.

the Found Poem below is
from The Gospel of Truth on pp 40-41 as translated by Harold W. Altridge and George W. MacRoe in the book:
The Nag Hammadi Library, ed. James M. Robinson, Harper, San Francisco, 1978.


Knowing power, he perform[ed].
Searching inside became power.
Nothing was humiliation and
oblivion fell. Hidden darkness
showed the truth.

Destruction has need within.
Need retains knowledge. Little
sufferings lay invisible.
He stripped.

THE SOUL HAS DIED, a found poem

Since everything is sin, nature
calls the whole. The presence hear[s]
peace. Man seek[s] law and praise.
Hearts remember the hidden. Vision
is the treasure rejoicing. Dissolved things
took the darkness. The soul has died.

*words of poem were found in: The Nag Hammadi Library, James M. Robinson gen.ed., Harper, San Francisco, 1978.
in: The Gospel of Mary (BG 8502,1), translated by George W. MacRae and R. McL. Wilson and edited by Douglas M. Barrett, pp. 524-526


Daimons in exile, far from
the soul. Power exists in places.
If god unborn is being, mind
has being. An alien turns to being.
Is nature speechless? Because matter
possesses power, cutting breath[es].

*found in the book: The Nag Hammadi Library, James M. Robinson [gen ed], Harper, San Francisco, 1978, p. 415


Thought dwells alone.
Incomprehensible, the life dwells
in those who exist. Silence!
The underworld darkness poured
forth Thought.

Real Thought is joined by Voice
in mystery. Respect has difficult
secret[s]. Unrepeatable voices
exist in silence. Alone and invisible,
I perservere[ ]. The Light shines on.

*poem found in TRIMORPHIC PROTENNOIA, translated by John D. Turner in the book, The Nag Hammedi Library, James M. Robinson, gen.ed., Harper, San Francisco, 1978. pp. 513-514.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Adapter Kit: Mexico, by Ken Luboff. Emeryville CAL: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2002. 249 pages including Appendix and Index; paperback.

The author and his wife are part of the wave of ex-pats who moved to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Eleven other possible places to settle are also reviewed. Information regarding health issues, making a living, communication systems, culture, and travel is offered alongside beautiful black-and-whites taken by the author.

A must-have for any aficiando of all things mexican.



Decorating Junk Market Style, by Sue Whitney and Ki Nassaver. DesMoines: Meredith Books, 205. 204 pages, glossy paperback.

The authors-- two columnists and editors-at-large of Country Magazine-- have proclaimed themselves to be "the original junkmasters." Together they run The Junkmarket, a retail business in Minnesota. They started out as two mothers with sons playing hockey and sprunk into junk.
The junk on these pages is no ordinary leave-at-the-curbside garbage. It has been reformed into objets d'arte. Text and project directions give the reader a real feel for the how-to of repurposing junk. The accompanying photographs illustrate how the results can be incorporated into any home decor.
Warning: Unconverted spouses of junk and flea market afficiandos will throw their hands up in despair.


Monday, March 27, 2006


My Lost Summer by Elizabeth Evans Fryer
Published by Jamaica Road Press, Cincinnati, Ohio
189 pages, paperback

How did you decide to write your book?
In June 2003 I graduated with a Master’s degree in Professional Writing & Editing, and in one class I wrote a 10,000-word essay on my recovery from a coma when I was 13. After high school, my coma is just something I didn’t think about often; I put it behind me. And then, 18 years later, I was writing an essay on it, and everyone was so interested in the story. It has a human interest element.
Well, the August after I graduated, I went to a writer’s conference in Columbus, Ohio and read part of the essay on open mike night. The next day I just happened to eat lunch with a lady who heard me read who said my story would make a great book. I didn’t think I had a book in me so I didn’t even consider it at the time. But then a year passed and I was still unemployed, still applying for jobs regularly, which was getting tiring. In November 2004 I decided to take a break from writing cover letters and sending out resumes and do some pleasure reading. I came across Cathy Crimmins’ book Where is the Mango Princess? about her and her daughter’s frustrations with her husband as he recovered from a coma. And while I found the story engaging and really interesting, as I hadn’t experienced a coma from the angle of a surviving loved one, I got a bit angry with the author. I kept thinking, “What about your husband? You describe your frustrations with him, but what about his frustrations with you?” Overall, I thought Crimmins was kind of selfish. I thought, “Someone needs to give a voice to coma survivors, who have their own frustrations with family, caregivers, and their lost abilities.” And since I had plenty of time on my hands—being unemployed as I was—and since I had a graduate degree in Professional Writing and was a coma survivor myself, I thought I was the perfect candidate to take on the duty. Plus, I already had 10,000 words of the book done. The essay I wrote in grad school ended up being chapters 10-13. The book is 15 chapters.

What were the most important factors in your rehab?
My mom and my attitude. My mom at the time had her degree in Early Childhood Development, and I think she played a major role in coaching me back to where I am today, which is fully recovered. She brought in games and changed the bulletin board in my room to keep my mind stimulated.
My attitude really helped a lot too. In my book I talk about my sadness with my lost abilities, but I never did get depressed or give up hope that I would be right back where I once was. However, after a couple years, I came to the realization that, physically, I would not ever be back where I was pre-accident. Still, I studied and studied so that I would progress mentally. I finished high school back near the top of my class.

Today do you have any effects from you TBI?
My coma was the result of a horseback-riding accident over 20 years ago. I no longer feel totally at ease on a horse’s back. It’s been a couple years since I’ve ridden. I consider myself fully recovered, but I still have physical symptoms I can say are leftovers from my TBI. I still get double vision some, usually only when I’m tired. My right side is still slightly ataxic, or the movements are a bit uncontrolled. It’s nothing anyone else notices, but I can’t bounce my right leg rhythmically, like a nervous person might do. I mostly brush my teeth left-handed, like I learned to do upon gaining consciousness, and I still do, all these years later. But I do practice right handed a couple times a week, and sometimes I end up jabbing the toothbrush into my gums because of the ataxia on my right side.
I apply eye-makeup left handed because that’s how I learned to do it. I was 14 when I started to wear eye-makeup, just a year after my release from the hospital. If my right side is still a bit ataxic now, you can imagine that a year after my accident I wouldn’t have done well applying mascara right-handed.
I also have a breathing difficulty. It’s like exercise induced asthma, only I recover very quickly once I stop exercising or reduce my intensity. In researching for My Lost Summer, I e-mailed the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center asking if my breathing difficulty could somehow be related to my coma. He answered that it is common for survivors of coma due to head injury to have breathing problems, and the problem is likely the result of damage to the brain stem respiratory centers. I thought that was interesting. It was good to know the source of my difficulty after 20 years.

What kind of reception is your book getting?
It’s only been out since the last week of 2005, and already I’ve gotten e-mails from people who’ve recovered from TBI or who have loved ones recovering in the hospital right now. So the book’s getting into the hands of people who it will most benefit. But I’m also getting e-mails from people whose lives have not been touched by TBI, who just think it’s a great story. All the messages I’ve gotten so far are positive.

Is there somewhere people can go to get a preview of the book?
Yes. My Website has excerpts and pictures of me taken at different stages of my recovery. Plus, carries different excerpts. You can also order the book from there.

Do you have plans to write another book?
No, I don’t. Like I said, I didn’t think I had a book in me. I honestly feel like God’s hand lead my hands as I wrote my story as it’s one that needs to be told. I know it will help make recovery more comfortable for survivors if their loved ones and caregivers read it.

~sapphoq and Elizabeth Evans Fryer

Saturday, March 18, 2006

GENERATION T: 108 Ways to transform a T-shirt /by Megan Nicolay

Generation T: 108 Ways to transform a T-shirt. by Megan Nicolay. New York: Workman Publishing, 2006. paperback. 257 pages.

Generation T defines basic sewing terms for the new-to-deconstructing-t-shirts reader. The book also lists supplies and clear directions for each of the 108 projects in the book. Sample projects include how-tos for batiking, tie-dying, and turning t-shirts into skirts. Easy reading. Recommended for adults and teens, the crafty and craft-impaired alike.

~sapphoq reviews

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


CLIFFS OF DESPAIR: A Journey to the Edge, by Tom Hunt. New York: Random House, 2006. 257 pages, paperback.

Beachy Head is four miles of cliffs in the United Kingdom running from Eastbourne up to Birling Gap. It is distinguished as the third most popular suicide spot in the world. [The surrounds by Mt. Fugi in Japan and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco are number one and number two respectively]. The townsfolk, even those at the bar-- the BeachyHead Pub aka the Last Stop Cafe-- are unwilling or unable to talk about the people they have met who come to Beachy Head to jump off the chalk cliffs.

The author has traveled to Beachy Head twice in order to cipher out the whys of the attraction of the cliffs to people who are suicidal. The books reflects his careful thoughts and research, interviews, and some pithy quotes by English writers.

In musing about whether or not every suicidal person is "crazy," the author says on page 116:
"There can't be only one kind of suicidal mind. Suicide is too
complex for absolutes."

Cliffs of Despair is a most excellent read about a serious subject.
Though certainly not a "pro" suicide book, Cliffs of Despair does ask some deep and thought-provoking questions of the living and illustrates consequences of suicide for those of us left behind.



500 Ways to Change the World, edited and compiled by Nick Temple. Collins books: New York, 2005. paperback. 400 pages.

The ideas presented in this book came from the Global Ideas Bank which is part of the Institute for Social Change and was published in the United Kingdom in 2004 before it crossed the Atlantic.

The book does indeed have 500 ideas, typed neatly on glossy different color pages and complete with fun illustrations. There are 18 chapters which cover topics like relationships, housing, communication on the internet, and health. 500 has an international flavor about it and a mixture of old and new along with whimsical and practical. The ideas presented also range in amount of money it might take to make something happen.

A small sampling of the ideas are [direct quotes]: #30- play piano in the park, #300- carpooling, #346- sing science songs to increase interest, #392- sit on the floor for health and humility, and #394- donate blood during visiting hours.

An excellent read!


Saturday, February 25, 2006

party of one by anneli rufus

"party of one" by anneli rufus: new york, marlowe & co., 2003. paperback, 285 pp., including endnotes and bibliography.

Anneli Rufus takes on the conglomerate community in this excellent book subtitled "the loner's manifesto." The book is divided into stand-alone chapters according to subjects like technology, community, popular culture, and clothing.
A very enjoyable read with many notable quotes for those of us who are thriving (or wish to be) in spite of an incipient need for our own solitude.

You may come away from reading this book, as sapphoq did, with a renewed appreciation for your gifted loner spirit.



The Travel Detective by Peter Greenburg, Villard Books (a division of Random House), New York, 2001. paperback. 395 pages including helpful websites and index.

Although [sapphoq is guessing] this book was written before 9/11, The Travel Detective includes many helpful hints on how to bargain in order to travel cheaply-- or at least cheaper than accepting the first price offered. Peter Greenberg writes in a simple clear refreshing style as he catalogues his adventures and misadventures dealing with getting "the best service and the best deals."

Especially useful are the websites and phone numbers that any traveler should have. Especially fun is his description of what phrases really mean.

From page 39, direct quotes all:

"Secluded hideaway": Impossible to find.
"Carefree natives": Terrible service.
"Warmed by the Gulf Stream": Cold.
"Cooled by the Humboldt Current": Hot.
"Old World charm": No bath.

Worth a read by anyone who aspires to be a traveler and not just a tourista.