Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finding Common Ground

The things you learn in maturity aren't simple things such acquiring information & skills. You learn not to engage in self destructive behavior. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions. You learn that self pity & resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character. You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you: they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how much you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you - a lesson that is at first troubling & then really quite relaxing.

-- John W. Gardner

excerpts from my own posts at http://pagannation.com :

Well, okay.
There are a bunch of things here that I don't know or can only guess at and perhaps we agree on some of those?

I don't know how person X is as a mother.
Person B has seen person X with her kids.
My fellow wingnut friend C for whom I feel some affection has not observed Person X with her kids.
I will rely on the observations made by Person B-- that Person X is a good mother to her kids.
And yes, I have to agree it is a low blow to any mother to be accused of poor parenting or things similar or worse.

I don't know how many screws loose any of us have.
Is having one big screw loose worse than having two or three little ones loose? What proportion of big screws to little screws determine the severity of the rattling around of a brain?

Even if any or some or two or all of us do have screws loose, is that germane to the original argument?
Is my not being entirely sure of the original argument an indication of too much caffeine [actually caffeine calms me down] or too little caffeine or
an indication of my own brain injury gone awry from fatigue or
perhaps that I've just stumbled into this forum haphazardly?

I don't remember getting born.
A bunch of other people assure me that I was born.
On earth.
So if they are lying, is there a chance that I am a martian viking transplant?
How do I know?
What are my sources?
How valid are they?
Can they overcome my innate strangeness and sense of otherness?

Or, maybe you think I am a whack shack and in that respect as bad as Alan Webster or should be committed or a funny farm escapee or
any number of things.

Here I have to admit that vingnut, whack shack, mental derangement, screws loose, schizo, hallucinating... are just words to me and rather devoid of meaning or threat.

And if you were to tell me that I need "mental help" of some sort, since you aren't my medical doctor I am free to discount that conclusion while admitting that my posting is off the wall.

Yet if you began calling me a Untied [spelling on purpose] Statsian version of Alan Webster [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article787073.ece], I am free to examine the evidence and conclude that there really isn't any evidence for me being an Alan Webster [http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,1793469,00.html] in the making.

As Nathaniel Branden would say [badly paraphrased here] what other people think about me today can never be as important to me as what I know to be true about me.

What I am trying to convey here is that as long as PersonX knows he is not as sick as despised scumbag, not as bad as despised scumbag, not like despised scumbag; and there is no legal evidence that he has ever done things similar to the things despised scumbag has done [shudder],

isn't it more important that PersonY and crew know that he is not despised scumbag, as bad as despised scumbag, or like despised scumbag in respect to that sort of stuff?

This is a forum. It is a lively forum and there are some exciting people here yet it is a forum. Whatever mix of people on this forum may like me, hate me, think ill of me, wish me well, don't have many thoughts about me at all, it is still just a forum.

The sun will more than likely rise and set somewhere in the world at some time tomorrow, my dog will still wish for me to take her for a walk and spend time with her, there will still be laundry to do and bills to pay and frogs for me to feed, and so on.

Marian Zimmer Bradley said, "The world will go on as it will, and not as you or I would have it."

Bowing out now,
spike q. whack shack


To practice self-assertiveness is to live authentically, to speak and act from your innermost thoughts and feelings, as a way of life-allowing for the obvious fact that there may be circumstances in which you wisely choose not to do so-for example, when confronted by a hold-up man.

— Nathaniel Branden

My self-respect is not based on how well I defend myself in a public forum
*or on whether or not I choose to defend myself at any given time in a public forum or in real f2f life
*or on people choosing to think less of me because of my choices in this matter.

I don't operate under the same rules or shoulds as you do.
Different strokes for different folks.

Of course it is always acceptable for someone to choose to defend themselves, their reputation, their character, their abilities, their family members...

The operative word here for me is "choice."

There are times when I may deliberately choose not to defend myself. When I choose thusly, it is an active conscious choice. In my own case, my level of self-respect does not dictate my actions or my choices when it comes to arguments and disagreements.

For example, lets' say you or someone here accuses me of being as bad as despised scumbag or a pedohead or another Alan Webster [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article752141.ece] or really sick in the head, demented, needing medication, or any other thing. My choice to defend myself or not will be based on several factors.

When I choose to defend myself, my self-respect is not one of the determinants in making that conscious deliberate choice.
When I choose not to defend myself, it is not a sign that my own self-respect is sinking or not existing at a good enough level.

I appreciate that self-respect may be one of the factors for others when they decide to defend their character. It just doesn't weigh when I have to pick which battles I will fight, that's all...


I am a viking vingnut or is that a wiking wingnut
or maybe a ...


Of course it is always acceptable for someone to choose to defend themselves, their reputation, their character, their abilities, their family members...

The operative word here for me is "choice."

There are times when I may deliberately choose not to defend myself. When I choose thusly, it is an active conscious choice. In my own case, my level of self-respect does not dictate my actions or my choices when it comes to arguments and disagreements.

For example, lets' say you or someone here accuses me of being as bad as despised scumbag or a pedohead or another Alan Webster [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Webster] or really sick in the head, demented, needing medication, or any other thing. My choice to defend myself or not will be based on several factors.

When I choose to defend myself, my self-respect is not one of the determinants in making that conscious deliberate choice.
When I choose not to defend myself, it is not a sign that my own self-respect is sinking or not existing at a good enough level.

I appreciate that self-respect may be one of the factors for others when they decide to defend their character. It just doesn't weigh [in] when I have to pick which battles I will fight, that's all.



My intention was not to call into question Person X's ability to parent and nurture her children.
Nor was my intention to smear or besmirch anyone's character in any way.

Actually, my intention was to find a tiny bit of common ground with you rather than to concentrate on our differences.

Perhaps you or anyone may wish to ask Friend C why she said the things she said. Or not as you choose.

It is not for me to speculate upon the actions of another. For me to guess would be mental masturbation. My brain is battered enough from thinking my way through everyday life.

I endeavor not to engage in sorting people into categories such as [opposing camps]. Usually, I will take people at their word unless there is a preponderance of credible evidence to the contrary.

...The rest of my post did have something to do with all of the name-calling, character assassination, labeling on the parts of many of us here regardless of "sides" and alliances-- and other thoughts and observations that flitted through my head at the time that I was typing it.

As always, you or anyone is free to disregard or to place my name on the iggy collection.

If it don't apply, let it fly.



Your balls don't itch?
I was just about to suggest athlete's foot cream...I don't see why that wouldn't help itching in damp places.

I will duck now.


No. I'm saying [that if] you stick your feet on your balls often enough they can suffer from fungus.

Okay now I am really ducking.



Warm coffee salve applied to the balls will relieve the itch temporarily.

I read that in a book somewhere.



Regarding Person Z's chocolate balls.
No actual balls were harmed in the creation of this treat.
Had they been harmed, we would have told you so...

Actually, his balls are like fluffy bunnies.
They reproduce, however not on this plane.
The chocolate balls have reproduced themselves on an astral parallel plane of existence, thus we are free to offer you Person Z's chocolate balls for loving and gushing without impinging upon the immoral scrutinies of anyone observing us for fear of us becoming a mob of thinkers and doers--

On the second day of solstice, my lover gave to me
two chocolate balls and a...

spike q. chocolate freak


Oh goody an assassination.
Two tickets for front row seats please and some popcorn heavily buttered.

Who do we assassinate?

Oh what's that? Yuck, no thanks. I don't eat hot dogs and I don't allow my dog to either.



Quote: Spike, you have been assassinated!

I have resurrected myself with the help of a holy pot of coffee poured onto my smoldering remains.

Never better.
Wow. More muscles even.
And I'm thinner and blonder.

Walking along in the woods by the coliseum, my dog brings back a limb-- looks like a right forearm-- of--
oh no it couldn't be!-- Person R!

Crap! Hey everyone, Person R has been assassinated!
Oh what to do, what to do.

Doggie, put down that limb!


Here's how it works:

I just assassinated you! You are now dead. Or you can resurrect yourself and assassinate someone else. All you have to do is just post in the assassination forum this entire post...

Okay, I can't tell you who assassinated me, or I'll lose! So, I have chosen to resurrect myself and assassinate you!



I don't believe that our government has proven itself to be adept at keeping very many secrets secret.

Nope, I don't believe that Bush "ordered" 9/11, plotted it, caused it, was in cahoots on it, or any other thing.





I do not believe that President Bush is a puppet of the Religious Right. There are many assumptions about his specific religious beliefs floating around


however, I am personally appalled at some of his policies. There is some evidence for the idea that the agendas of the Religious Right are being pushed through the Senate and Congress in the form of various laws.

The folks at Theocracy Watch are based from Cornell U.

Call me reactionary or a crackpot or any other name if you will, I care not.

Bottom line for me is I don't particularly care for what is happening to this country in terms of religiosity and how that effects policy-making.

We disagree on this last I am sure and I for one agree to disagree peaceably.



Yep, well-versed on that aspect.
And opinionated too.

I don't happen to believe that Bush is anyone's pawn.
I do believe that the preponderance of evidence points toward the founding fathers [signers of the declaration of independence] were deists rather than christians

and that furthermore, even if the United States was founded as a christian nation, it does not naturally follow that it should remain so today.



I like fluffy bunnies coated with shake-n-bake and barbequed.

a wiking wingnut
I am a viking vingnut or is that a wiking wingnut
or maybe a ...


...am I growing on you like a fungus?

I hear that coffee is a great anti-fungal...

spike q. fungus

Fungi rule. Pictures of fungi altered make great backgrounds for e-stationary.


Okay, I am not a fungus then.
A mold?

I must be a mold.

That's it! I'm a mold.

[spike goes wandering off in the direction of coffee and happy pills]


sapphoq on life

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Borders' Open Mic Night 11/21/07

Borders' Bookstore in Albany New York had an open mike night the evening before the American Thanksgiving holiday. Jessica and Matt were the youthful and ambitious announcers. Open mike will be held on the third Wednesday of the month is what Jessica told me. She admitted that last month was her first time ever doing this and last month was the first one at Borders'. There was a small crowd of about 15 people in the coffee shop, including a guy passing through from Indiana.

First to open were Joshua and Josh on the piano. They did a snappy ragtime rendition duet. I didn't recognize the music but I knew I should have.

I read three of my poems next. I had to hurry up and substitute a bit of language. I curse fluently and my prose poems are no exception to that rule.

The Spanish Dragon one man band did a spirited rendition of George Michael's "I Want Your Sex."

The American Elk followed up on acoustic with a couple covers of No Doubt and ended with the Marcy Playground Classic "Sex and Candy." He sounded just like
John Wozniak. He treated us to various voice contortions done with skill during his set.

Ken Nelson from Indiana led off with three instrumentals on his 12 string Fender guitar which he had written himself. Of the three-- Daybreak, Firefly, and Tucson Nights, I thought Firefly was the most technically satisfying and was reminiscent of the flamenco playing found in a certain Spanish restaurant Down Neck years ago.

Matt read a poem by a woman named Lori who had also lived in Tucson. He had a fine reading voice. Her poem was about the dreaded high school class reunion and was well received.

The Spanish Dragon and The American Elk duetted on a song called "El Presidente." Both young men demonstrated a nice range of vocals.

I read another poem and two lists-- one is called "How I Realized I had a T.B.I." and the other is a tongue-in-cheek list of possible jobs not necessarily approved of by the local unimaginative VESID office.

Ken Nelson did a cover of "House of the Rising Sun." [I would have liked to hear The Spanish Dragon and The American Elk do it instead as their voices are far more suited to it]. He finished with the self-written instrumental "Dunes" which was most excellent.

Mate was tiring so we left at that point.
The next open mike will be held the third Wednesday of December. Barring snowstorm, I will be there.

sapphoq reviews

Friday, November 16, 2007


With the dieing deathship Yahell 360 sinking, many of my Yahoo buddies flocked to Multiply. I had never heard of Multiply before last month but I elected to add yet one more blogging site so I ccould keep in touch with those who were determined to move in to Multiply.

Multiply is free. If there are ads, I miss them totally because of my settings on my browser.

Adding a profile pic, adding other pics, inviting friends and blogging buddies, cross-posting to other sites such as livejournal, blogspot, and xanga are all handled in a straight-forward way. I also uploaded my yahoo 360 blog into Multiply and that went smoothly although it took a few minutes.

Theme styling is something else again-- neither straightforward like blogspot nor with the option to upload your own background sans CSS. Perhaps there is an option to upload backgrounds but I haven't found it yet. There is a choice of 12 themes and a link to a page of a user group which includes Multiply user-made themes. I really ought to learn some CSS. Oh well. Meanwhile, I am satisfied with my default theme since it is rather plain and makes for easy reading.

The guestbook on Multiply is reminiscent of MySpace with a sprawling long line of "huthas" and glittery things from friends. The place where one can see who posted what since the last visit is easy to use, intuitive, and certainly faster than yahoo's little layout. The profile has pics and vids and music as options that one can choose.

So far it is okay and more will be revealed in months to come.

sapphoq reviews

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Cup of Comfort for Writers ed. by Colleen Sells

A Cup of Comfort for Writers, ed. by Colleen Sell. Avon, Mass: Adams Media, 2007. 327 pp., paperback.

"I write because, if I don't, I will explode" Camille Moffatt writes on page 30 of A Cup of Comfort for Writers; a collection of short prose pieces (1000-2000 words) by such notables as Sally Bellerose, Pat Gallant, and Lauren Kessler. Many of the writers in A Cup of Comfort for Writers knew early on that they were writers, some as early as grade school. Essays about experiences with teachers and mentors, rejection slips, writing workshops abound. Writers who need short interludes between the vast expanses of solitude will find kindred souls and a cup of comfort in this book. Those who don't write probably won't be interested.

sapphoq reviews

Friday, October 26, 2007

Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

Please Stop Laughing at Me, Jodee Blanco.
Avon, Mass.: Adams Media Corp., 2003. .

Jodee Blanco was teased in fifth grade for befriending a deaf girl who also had severe vision problems that also attended her school. When Ms. Blanco refused to play a mean trick on an elderly woman, her classmates turned against her. Sixth grade continued to be hell. In seventh grade, Ms. Blanco transferred to a school for the gifted.

But gifted kids are not immune to the lures of being bullies, and once again Ms. Blanco found herself on the fringe. By high school, she was getting beaten up regularly. She was also mocked for having a physical deformity which required surgery to correct. Her parents sent her to a shrink who recommended pills; and then to biofeedback sessions.

In the pages of this personal treatise on bullying, Ms. Blanco records her repeated public humiliations and grapples with serious issues.

...Why are the kids who get picked on by the school bullies always the ones who
end up being poked and prodded in psychiatrists' offices? Why aren't the bullies
ever taken to psychiatrists? Why do doctors keep telling the parents of the victims
that it's their children who need help? And what about the parents of the bullies?
What is wrong with all the adults? It seems that if you are mean or cruel to another
kid, that was "okay" because it was just a normal part of growing up. If you are on
the receiving end and allow it to bother you, you were the one who needs help. What
kind of logic was that? p. 87

Please Stop Laughing at Me has plenty of insights about vulnerability and humanity. Ms. Blanco matriculated into New York University (N.Y.U.) and later on became a media success. The reader will wince at the defeats of her earlier school years and applaud at what she has become.

For those who are intrigued by a sharp environmental analysis, the book is highly recommended.

sapphoq reviews

Sunday, October 14, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

I'm writing a novel in November. Yes, a real novel of at least 50,ooo words. I've signed up over at the nanowrimo site: http://www.nanowrimo.org and gotten my Novel Writing Kit from the bookstore on Friday.

The NaNoWriMo site is still a bit buggy however it is loading faster than a week ago. That is the place where one can sign up, have a small "about me" profile, and subscribe to a regional board or two if one so desires. It is free. Donations will not be turned away [to help pay for hosting of the website and to help build new libraries in Southeast Asia]. Participation does not depend upon financial ability to contribute.

Here are some stats pasted directly from the media kit located at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/mediakit

Founded: 1999 in Oakland, CA

Annual participant/winner totals:

1999: 21 participants and six winners

2000: 140 participants and 29 winners

2001: 5000 participants and more than 700 winners

2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners

2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners

2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners

2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners

2006: 79,813 participants and 12,948 winners

[end of direct paste]

NaNoWriMo has built 22 libraries via site contributions and sales from its store. Additionally, fifteen authors are listed as having novels published. Perhaps I too will get on the list.

Word counts can be uploaded every day during November and a final word count [of the potential novel which may be submitted in scrambled format] may be submitted at the end of November. Winners are those who have reached or surpassed the 50,ooo word limit. There are no prizes, except perhaps for the satisfaction of having written at lest 50,000 words in one month. Some regions may hold any of the following: a meet and greet, a pre-kick off party, a kick-off party, and a hooray it's over party.

The novel-writing kit which I've gotten from the bookstore [also available on the NaNoWriMo site at their store] is strictly speaking not necessary. It contains a booklet of inspirations, a card-a-day card pack, a log and gold stars, pep-talks in the form of letters, a novelist certirficate,
commitment coupons, and a button. I bought the kit for the card-a-day pack. The commitment coupons provide an opportunity for others to get the would-be novelist promise to do "things" if failing at the word count. I plan not to use those. I will probably hang up the chart with the daily count and gold stars. I will be wearing the novelist button before I reach my word-count as a way of evangelizing the program and my participation in it. I figure the more people know what I am up to in the month of November, the more I will be motivated to actually get my 50,ooo words down.

Folks have already asked me what my novel will be about. The truthful answer is something along the lines of, "I have no idea" [adding the hopeful word "yet" in my head while swallowing panic]. I am doing this and hopefully I will find, claim, sweat out, torture a novel into existence somehow. And the month of December is for the re-write. Maybe by January I will actually be submitting the novel or portions of the novel to a real publishing house.

IF the novel I write this November actually sees publication [not self-publication], I pledge to donate some portion of my royalties to NaNoWriMo and their library-building project. The universe does not distribute riches and bonuses for free. There is always a price.

This is my first crack at trying NaNoWriMo and at a novel. It is not my first crack at writing. Besides the numerous blogs zooming around in electronica, I also do have bunches of poetry, a couple of essays, a few short stories, and some really bad 2 dimensional drawings which have been published in a variety of literary magazines, fanzines, as well as in four anthologies. [Oh noes, I've been anthologized!] Whether or not the stuff is of lasting literary value is irrelevant quite frankly-- because I have been published extensively I can indeed call myself a writer. I do not know if I will ever attain the status of a Stephen King or a J.K. Rowling-- being among the sainted 5% who are able to quit their day jobs and write for a living. I do know that writing is lots of work and writing professionally is highly competitive. This has been a lifelong dream of mine and so I have reached a crossroads of sorts.

I would encourage anyone who has secretly or not so secretly dreamed of being a writer to submit their work and to begin reading publicly at coffeehouses and open mic nights, join a writer's group at the local library, and to write regularly. I further encourage anyone who is serious about wanting to write a book to join up over at http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and commit to the dream.

sapphoq reviews

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Field Guide to American Houses, by Virginia and Lee McAlester

A Field Guide to American Houses, by Virginia and Lee McAlester.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
525 pps., including index.

Virginia and Lee McAlester succeed admirably well in this volume at what they have set out to do. A Field Guide to American Houses is a treasure trove of black-and-white line drawings and photographs designed to help the reader identify houses commonly found in the United States. I became interested in architectural styles in the course of planning renovations of my own one and a half storied front gabled craftsman with a centered side dormer and eyebrow. I was also able to identify a friend's home as Germanic Gothic, the Victorian stick down the street, and the Sears bungalow around the corner.

Through A Field Guide to American Houses, I learned quickly to study houses in a new way. The text is readable and the book is sensibly divided into sections based on a timeline of building styles. Highly recommended for anyone with a serious interest in the guts of houses. The forty dollar price tag may be out of reach for some; however the atmosphere of many of today's bookstores allows for reading and study without purchase. I have spent a week of Sundays doing just that with this book. I found out just today that I am getting this book for Yule as a present from my honey. Hooray for me!

sapphoq reviews

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ingenious and Giveawayoftheday

Those of you who do not know about Giveaway of the Day really ought to go check it out over at
http://www.giveawayoftheday.com. The folks there give away a different licensed pay software program for free daily. I have the site bookmarked so I never miss out on a chance to get something of value that I might actually want for free-- and legal. Past giveaways have included back-up and watermarking programs, algebraic calculators and html validators, toolkits for the aspiring geek and D.V.D. rippers; and more. Each giveaway lasts for 24 hours.

Several days ago I downloaded the game Ingenious from Merscoms Ltd. Ingenious is a board of pentagons upon which one of each of five colors [red, blue, orange, yellow, green] are placed. The player starts by placing one double helix-pentagon on one of the singular colors. The computer [or other player] does the same. Turns go back and forth. When one color of the five are completed on a chart in the left-hand corner, the "ingenious" button lights up and the player gets another turn. When there are no more moves left, the game is over and the screen announces the winner.

My love of shapes and colors keeps me coming back for more Ingenious [as well as for more of Snood, my all-time favorite which also has shapes and colors]. I am not sure I would have plucked down $19.95 but I was more than happy to be able to download Ingenious for free. At the Giveawayoftheday site, Ingenious is running with a 97% approval rating.

It's too late to get Ingenious for free. There are plenty of other programs to be had-- full-featured licensed programs-- at the rate of one a day. I urge you all to check out the Giveaway of the day site daily. There is a high probability of worthwhile snagging to be had there for all.

sapphoq reviews

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cassandra Eason's Complete Book of Natural Magick

Cassandra Eason's Complete Book of Natural Magick, Cassandra Eason.
New York: Quantum, 2006. 528 pps.

Cassandra Eason was originally known in psychic circles. Unfortunately, she has now branched out to calling herself
a witch and a druidress. Her most recent books have deteriorated into imagination run riot. This particular book
has a companion-- equally hefty-- book of Spells.

In Natural Magick, Eason starts off with basic witchery: a how-to for those who bear fascination but no experience.
After the first 64 pages, she gets into the meat of the matter dealing with such subjects as spell bags, plants and
animals, the senses, element[al]s, and deva. There are suggestions for spells and commonplace observations written
in a breezy tone, correspondences scattered throughout, and a rather piteous description of "drawing down the god
or the goddess."

It is Eason's discussion of "magick of the nature spirits" that falls most tragically short and potentially dangerous
for the read-a-book-wiccans. Eason talks about setting up an altar for angels [reminiscent of Silver Ravenwolf's
work], connecting to elementals [shudder], the "devas," and the fae. She neglects to mention the real power held by
the beings that are featured in wannabees' aspiritions and forgets to warn that not all of the Good Peeps are good
or friendly.

It is with sadness that I cannot recommend this book to any but those who are most discerning of bullshit. And those
who are won't want it in their collection.

sapphoq reviews

Meeting the Other Crowd, Lenihan and Green

Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, by Eddie Lenihan and Carolyn Eve Green.
New York: Penguin, 2003. 332 pages.

The authors traveled around Ireland and recorded the stories that people had to tell of the Fae. Words richly
illustrate tales of chance encounters, captivity, gifts with high price tags attached, and the occasional beneficiary
relationship between the two races. In these pages, one will find scholarship, knowledge of Gaelic, and wisdom.

The book is divided into three parts: encounters with the fae and a bit about what they want, where they live and
symptoms of their presence, and gifts given. Each chapter is a story complete unto itself. Putting the need to
scientifically prove and disprove aside, one will quickly warm to the tales of Biddy Early, fairy forts, and favors

A fascinating book and highly recommended to any who wish to read about experiences with the Good Folk.

sapphoq reviews

The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk

The Fifth Sacred Thing

The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk. New York: Bantam, 1993. 486 pages.

The Fifth Sacred Thing is a futuristic novel set in the year 2048. It is a speculation of what can be. It is a
story of resistance, of witches vs. other. And so much more. From the first sentence on the first page to the last,
the reader is taken on a captivating journal of interweaving plots and characters and elements. A rather skillful
weave it is.

San Francisco is the place held by witches, where the four elements are free and not to owned or sold. Polylove
is present as well as memories of Vietnam, the hippies, and Che. The dead interact with the living and all religious
expression is embraced. [Atheists however are distinctly lacking]. Angel City in stark contrast has been taken over
by the Stewards who are anything but. There is a mean prison there, toxic waste dumps, and camps where women breed
warriors for war.

The main characters are likeable and hold evidence of strengths and weaknesses. There is a healer-doctor Madrone who
sets out on a journey that she does not wish, the entrapped Bird, madrina Maya, many lovers and others. Those who
are worthy of hatred are painted with a human stroke also. The battle between having a place with non-violent
resisters and listening to orders barked out by the ones who have stolen the names of their underlings is a very
real one. "I feel like a number. But I'm not a number," sums up the internal struggle of the soldiers of the

The Fifth Sacred Thing is recommended for those who have not lost their patience with feminism of an idealistic
flavor and who enjoy light science fiction. Those who prefer hard science fiction would do better with other books
and other authors.

sapphoq reviews

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Battle Cry July/August 2007, Jack Chick and associates

During my indoctrination into the Aggie Church [Assemblies of God] at a younger age, I was exposed to Jack T. Chick tracts and indeed I used them in my "witnessing" to bring people into fundamentalism christianhood. I was unaware of some of the controversies involved and would have dismissed it as "the work of Satan" if I had known. I had never heard of Alberto Rivera, Elaine Moses and her cohort Rebecca Brown [a.k.a. Dr. Ruth Bailey], John Todd, or Bill Schnoebelen. I did know and read the works of Charles Finney and Hal Lindsay. [By the way Hal, what happened to the rapture occurring in 1981?]

I look back on that period of my life with mixed emotions. The problems that I'd had fitting in socially were not alleviated by my forays into pentecostalism. Nor were my fantasies about women relieved. Two things did happen during that time that may have ultimately saved my life. It was a church member who called my father and blew the whistle on my mother's physical abuse. And I took a break from drinking and using street drugs. It was during that break that I was exposed to an accurate definition of addiction. I remembered that definition several years later when I was seeking a way out of my own active addiction.

Husband [non-theist] has an obsession with Jack Chick tracts. To my chagrin, he dropped-- I think it was-- 15 bucks on a box of them and now he is on the list to receive a copy of each new freebie as it comes out. Additionally, he gets a bi-monthly copy of Jack Chick's little 16 page "Battle Cry."

Jack Chick has been a long-time advocate of conspiracy theories regarding the Vatican, the Illuminati, and witchcraft. Via contact with the late Alberto Rivera and the now convicted rapist alleged former satanic high priest and Green Beret John Todd, Chick has made various claims in his tracts that are not historically accurate. Among the claims are that the Vatican orchestrated the founding of the Muslim religion and the Holocaust, and that an unholy triad of witches, Masons, and Catholics [some being Jesuits a.k.a. Illuminati] have infiltrated all or most christian churches. Sucks to be christian these days. According to Chickology, one can't trust the cops or the folks in most christian churches these days.

Jack Chick has [wisely] chosen to distance himself from the now dead Elaine Moses and her controversial defrocked physician cohort Ruth Bailey/Rebecca Brown. Both have claimed to be witches who converted to Christ. Brown authored a book about curses on christians and others. Elaine Moses claimed to have literally married Satan [in a white tuxedo] and then supposedly traveled all over Europe and the U.S.A. on behalf of some huge satanic network. Brown was brought up on charges [as Dr. Ruth Bailey] for doing things like praying over patients for deliverance from demons, diagnosing non-existent illnesses in patients, claiming special knowledge of healing including sharing Moses' leukemia very much in the fashion of pranic healing but with the twist of actually [allegedly] coming down with Moses' leukemia herself, and injecting people with non-medically necessary controlled substances for treatment of the non-medically existing diseases.

In the July/August issue of Battle Cry in the editorial on page 15-16, Jack Chick claims that the [now dead] Alberto Rivera as a [supposed] Jesuit was told that Pope John Paul II [also dead] in pre-papal days of lusting after the young boys of the factory workers he was [supposedly] assigned to investigate priests who were assigned to minister to Polish factory workers. Alberto Rivera was no Jesuit, despite his pretensions otherwise. He was a bit of a con man and a fraud. Many christian bookstores removed the Alberto comics when he was found out. Chick touted the action as a victory for the Vatican and Satan. In the editorial, there is an oblique reference to the controversy.

Also in this issue are advertisements for various books-- including one by anti-Mason and alleged former wiccan turned satanist Bill Schnoebelen-- witnessing and tract-passing tips, a summary of a lawsuit allowing a bible study outfit to send inmates who request it material [note: an outcome which I believe is correct according to the described circumstances], and references to the sexual abuse scandal within some catholic churches in California [continuation column on page 7 subtitled "Homosexual Subculture"], and a few other tidbits.

The back cover features a cartoon frame equating Islam's promise of peace with chopping the heads off of the infidels. A tiny chick in the right-hand corner says, "Ouch" much in the fashion of Spike the dog in some of the tracts.

I found the editorial in the July/August issue of Battle Cry to be particularly abhorrent. Then again, Jack Chick is known to be anti many things and to use inaccurate or made-up information as the basis of the biographical stories featured in his tracts.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Order of the Phoenix

Friday, husband and I went to see the long-awaited "Order of the Phoenix," the fifth of seven Harry Potter movies. I was impressed. The array of special effects was stunning, the plot did leave out lots of stuff present in the book [Hollywood time constraints I suppose], and the development of several characters was notable.

It is noted that Ginny Weasley had a very minor role in this movie and hopefully that will be remedied. Luna Lovegood did remarkably well with her bit, acting every bit the part of a budding young conspiracy theorists. Voldemort remains the evil that everyone loves to hate.

I am noting nothing about the storyline in this review for the sake of those fans who have not been to see the movie yet. With this movie and the seventh book being released within 10 days of each other, there is much cause for rejoicing in those of us who have awaited every new book and every new movie with the eagerness of Snape dealing out detentions to a Griffindor.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Two Forks, Maine

A friend who is nuts over white-water rafting wanted to goto this place in Maine for a few days and I went along.

We left on Sunday with my doggie looking out the bedroom window and crying. That was a bit sad.
There is no direct route to this place. It took seven hours or so. And the last bit of that was on a rather dinky road.
Ah, but the scenery was most rewarding. There were pine trees and little houses and stores and water and all of that.

The pictures in the on-line brochure really are a poor representation of The Forks Resort Center. Actually, The Forks looked a tad run down.
The lodge was not as splendid, the hot tub was made of metal, the pool had a line of algae along the rim.

The cabins and lake were sweet though.

Our room had comfortable albeit noisy beds, hooks and hangers but no dressers at all.
The air-conditioner [an older model hung out the window] worked well.
No phone in the room-- not even a direct line to the front office or emergency number-- was a safety hazard.
No television was forgivable since the wifi signal reached upward.
And the price-- 25 bucks or so per person per night-- was right.

For dinner Sunday, I had a huge portion of dead cow cooked as steak-- just the way I had ordered it and deliciously flavored with herbs and spices. Along with that came a salad [satisfactory green stuff], mashed red potatoes, and three very large grilled slices of squash.

Monday dawned wet and got wetter.
Friend went off on her white water rafting adventure [$129 buckeroos] after a false start [a showing of a vid and a solicitation to rent a wetsuit]. She came back looking very much like a frozen dead rat.
I spent most of the day sleeping. I did some puttering on the computer.
Friend and I went to the outskirts of Jackman to a trading post which had cool tourist trap stuff.
For dinner we split a plate of nachos. At 5 bucks apiece, it was a bargain. And quite tasty.
A huge portion which included the nachos, cheese, black olives, peppers, onions, and salsa.

Tuesday was a sunny-cloudy-sunny sort of day. The breakfast buffet was like buffets all over. Not distinguishable from any other breakfast buffet. Morning was spent poolside.
Afternoon we went off to Moxie Falls, a quiet stroll of less than a mile to some very turbulent water with signs advising not to even wade.
In spite of the danger, there were two locals jumping off of one rock into a swimming hole.
We also found a small memorial to someone who ?had died? at the falls.
The water was brown from tannic acid and the rocks were all broken up into slender pieces of bluish-gray.

We went off to a meeting that night at the library in Jackman.
It was a small meeting and everyone felt they had to tell us that no one could get sober and stay that way without god.
The regular members were warm and welcoming there, a point in their favor.
We ate at a little diner afterwards. I had a nice juicy reuben.

Today being Wednesday, we packed up and left with rain whipping at our backs.
Yeah it did rain more.
We did get home and doggie was happy to see me.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007


I went to Drug Court last week to support a young friend who was graduating from the program there. Drug court is a concept which is spreading throughout New York State. A county judge presides over each one. Some drug courts are very large and have massive community tie-ins and supports. Others are struggling with funding issues and thus are limited in how many people they can help.

When someone is brought before the justice system on charged related to or stemming from chemical addiction, if they are fortunate, someone from drug court will visit them in jail to determine if they are eligible and motivated to stay out of jail or prison. If so, they are released from jail, placed on probation, and must follow their individual treatment programs.

Drug Court is not something that people can just skate through. They are subject to random urine screenings and must report to drug court as directed, usually biweekly. They are given forms to take with them to self-help programs which much be signed by someone there as proof of attendance. The drug court participant must attend day treatment programs on weekdays and any other counseling as directed. Sometimes, they must interview at halfway houses and then follow the dictates of those residential programs as well. Drug court is strenuous by definition. Those who miss days at treatment, are caught driving after losing their licenses, relapse, do not obtain employment after completing a day treatment program, or have a dirty urine may be sanctioned by the court and remanded to jail for a long weekend or two weeks. Occasionally, a drug court participant violates their probation and must go to prison. Almost all drug court participants complete and many go on to maintain abstinence and become productive members of society.

After going through a cursory screening, I walked down the hall and entered the courtroom. The jury boxes on either side of the judge were occupied by treatment professionals and law personnel. I sat in the general audience with the families and friends of the graduates and with those who were not graduating yet. Everyone was dressed up rather nicely. There were no jeans or casual clothing in evidence. The bailiff and sheriff personnel had on their crisp blue uniforms. The judge appeared in a suit rather than in robes.

That afternoon, instead of participants meeting for an hour beforehand to talk, the judge went into what is usually done second-- he called up the participants one by one to his bench to ask how they were doing. Two people were sent to jail for a long weekend. One had missed two days of treatment and one had not brought in his meeting attendance slips. Many people were told, "We have a very good report on you. Well done!" Each was asked by the judge if things were going alright or if they had anything to tell him or how their family was. The judge was obviously familiar with all participants.

While speaking to each one, the judge would dispense tidbits of wisdom. "You have to have a Plan B" was one phrase. "There are consequences for your actions" was another. In speaking to one man who had lost his third job in as many months, the judge told him, "You and your bosses butt heads. You need the job. I want you to have long-term employment at one place. You have to back down. Do not let your machismo take over. Understand?" Another man said he didn't know why two halfway houses had rejected his application. He had three more to hear from and another interview scheduled. After a few minutes of hemming and hawing and then finally admitting that he told the last director of a halfway house that he didn't like group homes, the judge thundered at him, "What do you know about group homes that makes you think you know you won't like it???" The man continued to present excuses. "I think you are sabotaging your interviews," the judge declared. A third, a woman, was cheered because she had managed to gain weight. [She was overly thin]. Everyone clapped for her. A fourth man was advised to get or borrow a bicycle for when his car broke so he could pedal to treatment and to meetings-- that was one of the Plan B people. A fifth was instructed to stick around because the judge wanted to speak with him privately. All of that went smoothly. Folks were called up in alphabetical order. A few seemed a bit nervous. Most were not.

After it was over, a defense attorney who had been the victim of property destruction by the hands of one graduate when drunk gave him his graduation certificate. The judge handed out all of the other other certificates of completion, telling a bit about each graduate and how far they had come, and also reading from something each had written beforehand about how they had changed. Each graduate also said a few words. There were many stories of people who were drunk or high a lot, drove drunk or high a lot, were estranged from their families, were unemployable, had been arrested three, four, five, or six times, had been through treatment programs before and didn't make it. It was heart-warming. Graduates had between fifteen months and two years of sobriety. All graduates were employed full-time or had completed schooling. My friend who graduated had had his house raided. 1000 pounds of mushroom-laced chocolate was recovered during that raid. Before drug court, he had flunked out of a two year college in three and a half years. During his time at Drug Court, he was able to graduate a community college with a 3.75 average and is on his way to a bachelors. He has plans to get a masters.

After the graduation, we went out to a jury room where a nice spread of sandwiches was laid out, along with fresh fruit platters, cookies, pastries, fruit punch, sodas, and coffee. The food had been prepared by members of Lifeworks! Lifeworks! is composed of some folks who are currently in drug court, some who had graduated and a few family members. The tuna sandwiches, [artificial] crab salad sandwiches, and egg salad sandwiches were prepared on small hoagie rolls. I had an egg salad-- it was good. Graduate friend had one of each. Pineapples and strawberries were fine specimens and delicious. Cantaloupe also looked fresh. Pastries from a nearby Italian bakery were tasty.

Everyone who had stayed on to eat were looking pretty happy and excited chatter filled the room. I knew almost everybody there. Friend left because his father [who wasn't able to get the time off of work for the graduation] was there to pick him up. He and his parents were going out to dinner. I spent the rest of the time talking with a treatment professional that I know casually.

For those with concerns about forced treatment programs for addictions, I write this addendum. The participants of drug court were able to resume their lives and stay out of the criminal justice system. They are not accepted into drug court if they do not want to be there and would rather just complete their jail terms or prison sentences. [And yes, some do refuse drug court]. Participation in drug court is an alternative to time behind bars. As such, the participants must be under severe strictures, watched, monitored. They must remain abstinent in order to continue to live in their homes during their time in drug court. They must follow the program guidelines. All of that is as it should be.

Drug court teaches people that their actions do have consequences, that they must change playmates, playpens, and playthings in order to avoid jail time, that they must be responsible for their problems, that they must have a Plan B because the drug court judge does not accept excuses or rationalizations for bad behaviors.

The success rate of people who attend a drug court and required treatment [day treatment; or day treatment plus halfway house] is higher than those who attend any treatment or self-help programs without a drug court. Drug court is another tool that we now have at our disposal in order to mitigate the effects of addiction on society. Putting someone in drug court is cheaper than housing them in the criminal justice system. And many many times more effective in terms of self-rehabilitation.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Mr. Brooks and Shrek 3

A couple of nights ago, husband and I went to see the movie "Mr. Brooks" featuring William Hurt, Kevin Costner, and Meryl Streep. Kevin Costner is Mr. Brooks, a filthy rich business man with a rather bloody little secret. Marshall, his devious alter-ego played by William Hurt, steals the show. Meryl Streep, Mr. Brooks' wife did alright. His daughter however was just too cute and rather enjoyable as she mirrored my own relationship with my dad when I was younger-- although I was never that coy.

Mr. Brooks is driven by an addiction and goes to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous-- identifying himself as "an addict"-- to try to escape it. That is only a very small part of the movie but it was the hook which prompted husband to want to go see the movie. Marshall loves the bad thing. He also offers brilliant insights into the workings of his fellow men.

There is one genuinely heart-racing scene involving a white van; and quite a few dramatic holding on to the edge of your psyche scenes. While the two people behind us appeared to dislike the movie and were too loud about it for my taste, husband and I enjoyed it.

Movie has mood music which some folks may not care for. Audiences who are not involved in 12-step programs and who prefer action, action, action would do better to spend their bucks elsewhere. Those of us who like psychological thrillers will enjoy.


A week ago, husband and I went to see Shrek 3. I concur with the real movie critics who say 3 was better than 2 but not as good as 1. The sneaky adult-level jokes are missing. The frog-king and the motley assortment of friends and defenders remain very very cool. Ani of course is awesome.

My favorite character remains the orange pussycat and the voice I most dislike remains Pinocchio. Arthur the high school student is introduced and I suspect there will be a Shrek 4. Husband and I will go see 4 I am sure, if only to categorize 4 on the scale of excellence to okay but...

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Mercury Designs

My new friend from Norway makes beautiful purses and things. I was impressed by both her artistic vision and her craftswomanship. She is saving up for a trip to England. If you are able, please go visit her live-journal pages where you can see some of what she does. Prices are very reasonable for one of a kind articles that cannot be found anywhere else. And if you are unable to buy anything, show her some love and encouragement in her comment section.

Spread the word. http://mercury-design.livejournal.com/
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Disclaimer: sapphoq reviews received no monetary or other compensation for this ad/review. sapphoq reviews supports independent artists wherever they may be found.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Best of Bead & Button Magazine: Get Started Beading, compiled by Julia Gerlach

My friend Joy who I visited in Scottsdale Arizona is a prolific beader. She makes stunning rope necklaces and more. Her projects are truly works of art, demonstrating both craftswomanship and an eye for color which cannot be taught. Inspired, I decided to learn more beading techniques and that led to the purchase of beading magazines and this book.

Get Started Beading includes a few pages explaining the tools and materials needed along with the basic stringing techniques; a gallery; and 52 projects. All are accompanied by colorful pictures. Among the projects are ones dealing with necklaces, bracelets, earrings, lariats, and cuffs. There is something in these pages sure to please everyone. Besides beading on string, the book also covers wireworking and beginning stitching.

Highly recommended.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007


Folks planning to visit Sedona Arizona should consider staying at the King's Ransom [Quality Inn] on Highway 179. The prices to stay are reasonable, the pool is heated, the whirlpool spa is open-air but under a roof and has night lights, the grounds are beautifully landscaped. There is a K store downstreet and it is a short walk to Hillside where one can pick up the Sedona Road Runner which stops at several downtown locations. Internet access and two computers are available at the lobby [although a sign informs that access to MySpace dot com is blocked].

Over the lobby is a restaurant providing breakfast [yummy] and dinner [pricey] and a cafe providing lunch [yummy]. Art galleries for those disinclined to journey further downtown and two other restaurants are within walking distance. Marge's Draw, a trail which leads to Snoopy Rock, has a trailhead also just downstreet.

Sedona is part of an initiative to provide hooded traffic lights and NO streetlights so that way residents "can always see the stars at night." Anyone planning to stay at the King's Ransom should bring a flashlight for any night walking.

Rated: B+

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Monday, April 30, 2007

TEEVEE WEB 4/30/07

I am sitting here at the business center of a hotel in Phoenix paying for internet access when the advertisement for the hotel claim to have internet access in every room. Why is that? Because the teevee web service at $9.95 per 24 hours bites. The keyboard is wireless. If one types at a speed of more than 2 words a minute-- in the words of Tony Soprano or someone I vaguely remember from my childhood perhaps-- "Ferget about it!" The thing freezes up with regularity and suddenly a decent working computer at the business center [for 50 cents a minute after the first 10 minutes for 5 bucks] looks like a bargain. As for the internet connection, the hotel is hot to sell ya their wifi card but no internet support staff exists. They are not interested. In expensive San Francisco, the hotel there had a nifty little wire one could use to connect up via laptop. That avenue is much preferred.

The hotel otherwise is alright. Right on features include the pool and whirlpool outdoors with shedding hibiscus flowers resembling alien roses; and the free breakfast. The laundry room makes it very easy to wash clothes-- 2.50 or 3 bucks-- and to dry clothes at 2.50. Lack of a trade dollars for quarters machine hurts as did the failing to dispense laundry detergent machine experience of my first day here.

The grill is a bar with the complimentary breakfast and some cheap dinners. Food in Phoenix is affordable and there are several options for dinner. The prime rib special on Friday and Saturday nights [yummy at under 15 bucks] is an affordable option.

Left out features include internet support-- even the Holiday Inn in San Diego had that-- a concierge, and courtesy cab phone calls. The staff is mostly friendly if business-like. Lack of a real restaurant certainly hurts.

Best thing has to be the busstop right across the street which brings one to the Metrocenter. Once there, a huge mall can be found along with buses to everywhere anyone could want to goto in Phoenix. With a Medicare card, discounted busfares can be had by anyone-- a definite plus.

Would I stay at this hotel again? [Psssst: the Ramada Inn at Metrocenter.] Yeah sure. The maid service is efficient and no yellow scorpions graced my bed at night or fell out of my clothing by day.

Phoenix is a [Sonoran] desert after all.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

TRAIN FOOD 4/22/07

Amtrak has some adventures for those of us interested in getting to know our country from the [rather dirty] windows of their scenic view train routes. For those of us who have paid the exorbitant rate to upgrade to a sleeper of any variety, meals are included. For those of us who haven't, we can buy our meals at the dining room, buy off of the snack stand, or bring our own.

I was advised by a friend who also has sleep apnea that I really did need to upgrade to sleepers for my trip. Consequently, my presence was expected in the dining room for several meals so far-- two breakfasts, a lunch, and two dinners.

The best things on the menus are the iced tea with lemon, chocolate bundt cake, and cheesecake with either chocolate syrup or strawberries.
The most salty things include the quiche, the vegetarian veggies, and damn near anything else they serve ya. The safest breakfast is oatmeal or cereal with fruit. The safest dinner is one half of a chicken baked. Anything else is at your peril.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007


Whatever you do, don't decide to seek medical attention on a Saturday.
On Saturdays, my doctor's medical practice offers hours.
Who is there on any given Saturday is pot luck.
Originally, the physicians' assistants were assigned to take on Saturdays and evenings on a rotating basis.

Doctors secretly complain about what liabilities that the P.A.s are to them but forget that patients like the physicians' assistants.

"What the hell is he doing here today?"
The rent-a-nurse shrugged. "It's becoming more common to have one of the docs work today."
I offered her the same vacant smile she offered me.
Office politics.
Mustn't ask.

In walks doctor friend of doctor.
They forgot to tell doctor friend of doctor a few things in medical school.

Thus in my ever present spirit of helpfulness, here are my pointers for dealing with Nervous Wreck:

(1). Do not tell Nervous Wreck something like, "I hope it's only that."
Do not then say, "Uh if you get feverish or see blood, go to an e.r.--
right away."
Especially if Nervous Wreck is leaving on a long trip the next day.
Nervous Wreck is well-acquainted with every health rule and symptom
there is. Furthermore, cruising Medscape is her hobby.
She knows every single thing that can go wrong with human, dog, cat,
frog, or husband.

(2). Listen to Nervous Wreck when she tells you that it's the little tomatoes
in the sauce that triggers runs for two days.
Don't repeat the words "little tomatoes" in a monotone to show Nervous Wreck that you are listening.
You are getting paid to listen, moron.
Nervous Wreck has made it through life thus far by being able to spot
faking interest.

(3). Don't tell Nervous Wreck that San Francisco is a beautiful city. Nervous
Wreck has already paid enough attention to know more about your
proclivities and has known for several years what they involve. [Hint:
that pic in the specialty magazine...Nervous Wreck reads everything
obsessively on her obsessive jaunts to the bookstore].

(4). Dump the entire Saturday office staff. They are lazy and badly dressed.

(5). Bring back the physicians' assistants on Saturdays dammit.

sapphoq the Nervous Wreck reviews

Monday, April 09, 2007


The un-wonderful folks over at Micro$oft haven't given up on squeezing all of the money that they can out of their customers.

Seems that the Windows Genuine [dis]Advantage spyware thingy makes for many false claims of pirated software. I bought an upgrade to a Windows product. W.G.A. failed. In the course of investigating the "failure" which produced crashes every time I tried to activate the product in question, I found a board run by a volunteer related to these false positives. Confusion reigns.

To top it off, the only suggestion at the Micro$oft site is to buy oneself an "authentic" key for the same price as the boxed software.

The phone number is hard to locate and indeed, I had to sign onto chat in order to locate one.
Once I did, it was another 45 minutes of a guy from India telling me what to do and me doing it.
Oh, I'm not done yet.

It turns out that M$ Office is "pirated" also.

Thumbs down, along with all of the other fingers except for perhaps the middle one.
I'm switching to Apple; or possibly Linux [Ubuntu+wyne] just as soon as I'm able.

Sue me, Bill Gates.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Kathy Sierra, blogger extraodinaire, was recently driven out of her part of the web by a bunch of creeps. I am aware that events and activities can have many facets to the telling and yes, I have investigated all the sides I could find. I did find two of the pictures which had been doctored up. I found them to be chilling. I will not continue the madness by re-posting them here.

I also learned that posting personal information about someon
e else on the internet-- like an address or a picture or a social security number-- is not legal in many places. Not funny or justifiable by any quasi "freedom of speech" sort of arguments. And a few steps up from trolling or flaming or even starting a forest fire.

The bruhaha took me out of my self-centeredness for a needed breather. We witches/pagans/heathens do have our petty little snits. With the exception of the actions of two or three players, our swipes at each other aren't really anything much. To be sure, the stance of a somewhat wary watchfulness is wise when dealing with faceless strangers who fly past us in Electronica. Social networking sites and e-groups can foster a sense of intimacy among acquaintances who haven't actually met f2f in Meatland. It is that false sense of recognition that can lull us into a false sense of safety.

I am by no means blaming any target. There is far too much of that going on. This is what targets have to do with getting selected as targets: having an opinion, expressing that opinion, breathing.

We can blame the early evolution of Usenet groups. We can learn what to do and what not to do. We can point to yahell's own unique trolls. We can mutter about the crudeness and rudeness of others. We can go on a troll hunt ourselves. There are techniques. How-tos are easily available to anyone with a working net-capable computer. Or maybe we can just go on being bloggers. We do not always agree and we do not have to.

Comments are moderated due to the wonderful spambots infesting blogger which encourage the purchase of whatever it is being sold. For this post, I am turning the comment function off. I don't get a bunch anyways-- other than a few feeble attempts to hijack a thread of thought. And I understand that turning off the comment function for any article that mentions trolling pisses them off more.

Have a great day or night if you want to.

sapphoq reviews

Saturday, March 31, 2007


This review comes to you courtesy of my friend Joy who lives in the valley of the sun:


1. You must first learn to pronounce the city name, it is: "FEE-NICKS".

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 am to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 pm. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph. On Loop 101, your speed is expected to match the highway number. Anything less is considered "Wussy".

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Phoenix has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However, East Valley, SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in Phoenix. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, barrels, cones, cows, horses, cats, mattresses, shredded tires, Squirrels, rabbits, crows, vultures, javelinas, roadrunners, and the coyotes feeding on any of these items.

9. Maricopa Freeway, Papago Freeway and the "I-10" are the same road. SR202 is the same road as The Red Mountain FWY. Dunlap and Olive are the same street too. Jefferson becomes Washington, but they are not the same street. I-17 is also called The Black Canyon Freeway as well as The Veterans Memorial Highway. And if all that isn't enough to remember SR 51 has recently been renamed to Piestewa Freeway because Squaw Peak Parkway was too easy pronounce. SR 101 is also the Pima FWY except west of I-17, which is also The Black Canyon FWY, and The Veterans Memorial HWY. Lastly, Thunderbird Rd. Becomes Cactus Rd. but, Cactus Rd. Doesn't become Thunderbird Rd. Because it dead ends at a mountain.

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally activated."

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be "flipped off" accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.

12. For summer driving, it is advisable to wear potholders on your hands.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

MOONCHILD by Aleister Crowley

Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley.
Boston: Weiser Books, 2004, (1927). paperback, 335 pps.

Aleister Crowley remains a bit of a controversial figure nowadays. I do have a few acquaintances who are fascinated by the legend. Truthfully, I myself have a grudging respect for someone who walked naked through an English town to a favorite cafe, believing that the invisibility spell he had cast rendered him invisible [as told by John Sutton in his biography].

But there are plenty of other things which are less admirable. One of them is Crowley's track record with women. He tended to pick out unstable addicted women, encouraged them to believe that they were "channeling" ascended masters or spiritual entities of some sort or another, and cheated on them with predominantly other males. Crowley was interested in gaining personal power through the use of "magick." Crowley-- not present day fluffy bunnies so-called-- popularized the spelling of "magick" with the "k" in order to distinguish it from sleigh of hand magic. The extra "k" was also a subtle reference to the Greek word kteis which meant the female reproductive organs.

Moonchild is a work of fiction which is interspersed with his own occult ideology. Crowley in real life was interested in creating a perfect specimen of humanity-- a sort of god incarnate. There are other references in the book to a few of his rivals; a "black" lodge, the poet William Butler Yates [who appeared in the book as "Gates,"], and H. Spencer Lewis who founded A.M.O.R.C. [who was a character named "Butler"]. The appearance of Eliphas Levi [who in real life Crowley claimed to be a reincarnation of], and the hideaway on an Italian island are among the many references in the book which point to things that Crowley believed or experienced. In order to truly understand Moonchild, the reader must know something of the author who penned it.

The story itself, reflective of Crowley's pathos, is engaging at once. From the first chapter dealing with a "chinese god," through the introduction of Lisa, and right on through to the ending introduced and developed a formidable cast of characters. The plot and dialogue were both engaging. Narrative passages were explanatory and flowed into the story.

I was not seeking any great mystical understanding when I picked up Moonchild. As a work of fiction written by a crazed occultist, it did not disappoint. Those who are hoping to gain an unbiased understanding of the author won't find that in the book Moonchild. Moonchild is chock full of Crowley's delusional 'magick' and the casual reader might do better elsewhere. Those who do not recognize the truth about Aleister Crowley will plow through Moonchild looking for hints of his present-day charisma I am sure. As for me, I liked the book even though I do not like the man.

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Friday, March 23, 2007


In my planning of a rather complicated itinerary, I was recently very impressed by an Amtrak Service Rep over at
1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or TDD/TTY (1-800-523-6590).

He seemed in no hurry to get me off the phone, was willing to answer all of my questions, and offered some very helpful travel tips. He was himself a train hobbyist and enthusiast. A nice gentleman with charm.

Service reps from Micro$oft can certainly take lessons.

As can several area travel agents, including one notable young woman who spent three hours in throwing together a hodge-podge of bad advice. [You can too take a cab from Point A to Point B...Why did you change your mind about this? Read: impractical cab ride of a duration of four hours...and a schedule involving the meeting of a friend. Thanks for nothing.]
I allowed her to live that day, just barely. As I gathered myself up to exit, I pointed out the similarities between what she had just gone through in her three hours of futility was very much like what my atypical neurology forces me to live with daily.

Kudos, Amtrak. I do believe you will get me there.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

TROLL FELL by Katherine Langrish

Troll Fell, by Katherine Langrish. New York: Harper-Collins, 2004. paperback, 355 pgs.

Katherine Langrish's first novel is set in a fantasy Nordic era and at once engages the reader in the struggles of Peer Ulfsson and his dog Loki. Having been orphaned, a wicked uncle appears to take him away to a place where trolls live under a mountain and where a Granny with fangs inhabits a murky stream near a mill. To his astonishment, one wicked uncle morphs into twins. Peer finds love and a courage he didn't know he had.

The author hails from a part of northern England where ancient Danish influences can still be found. Her own scholarly research paints a realistic portrait of life way back when in rugged Scandanavia. This tale pleased me immensely and I look forward to more.

Although the writing style indicates that the book is suitable for young teens, it is cautioned here that the very sensitive should be steered to other stories.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007


St Patrick's day is coming up. A river in Chi-town will be dyed green for several hours and some folks will be whooping it up with green beer. Once again, a glbtiq Irish group will be denied a marching permit at the New York City Parade. Some pagans are circulating a letter suggesting that rather than green, we pagans wear snakes on that day. St. Patrick was said to drive the druids out of Ireland.

Patrick was born either in England, Wales, or France [depending upon which historical account one finds most credible] of Roman parents sometime during the fifth century a.d. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery and that is how he got to Ireland "the first time." At the age of 16, he was forced to be a shepherd. It is said that a dream he had helped him escape from Ireland around the age of 22 or 26. He then studied for the priesthood [uh, maybe] at any rate he was studying something somewheres or other for a bit until a vision or hallucination or dream told him to go back to Ireland. Patrick was given his name Patricus during his ordination or something. Again, depending upon preferences for which sources, Patrick was either affiliated with the Roman Catholics, the ancient Church of England, the Baptists, or none of the above. The idea that he explained the trinity using a shamrock is crap-- the shamrock symbol for the trinity didn't come about for a thousand years or so after his death. There were no snakes in Ireland. The "snakes" he drove out might or might not be [or might have come about later as] a reference to the spiritual takeover of Ireland by the Roman Catholics or the other christians around [again depending upon who you believe]. He was not the first with a missionary bent to arrive upon the druidic Irish shores.

He might have died on March 17th or he might not have. At any rate, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church both recognize the date as one to celebrate the conversion of pagan Ireland to their version of christianity. Yes, I will be wearing a snake on that day this year. Not because "our spiritual ancestors were killed." Rather, because we pagans and heathens continue to survive in spite of ugly rumors about us and our beliefs and our lifestyles.

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