11-08-2007 Happy Halloween

The weather is gorgeous, ridiculously warm for the end of October (although good for Star cleaning out the floor of the barn, which has to be done semi annually). Tomorrow is All Hallows or All Saints Day, the 2nd is All Souls Day and “Plan your epitaph” Day , the 3rd is National Cliche Day and Housewife’s Day, the 4th is Chair Day and National Candy Day, and of course the 5th is Guy Fawkes Day, a great excuse to make and eat Toffee. Willow found a copy of the Guy mask from V for Vendetta which made me go “ooo!” The 6th is National Nacho’s Day and Saxophone Day. And Daylight Savings Time finally ends on the 4th. That threw me off. I thought it was last week (and apparently there are still some automatic clocks on the old set back schedule). I’ll admit that it’s going to be easier to get up in the morning- but I sure hate to lose the light in the afternoon. I wish they’d just pick a time and leave it alone. It’s not like people don’t work around the clock anyway, and the goats and chickens and cows and whatever sure don’t care about clocks, so farmers have to stick with the cows schedules.
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I hear the wild fires in California are dying down finally. Apparently some of the pagan groups that have been raising donations have been getting them turned down by the groups that they’ve been trying to give them too. I guess the groups are “afraid” that Christian recipients would object to being helped by pagans. Seems unlikely to me, but it does rankle when Bush and other detractors have so often asked `if pagans are a real religion, where are our charities?’ I’m trying to track that one down in case it’s not true, but it does have the ring of truth. People are so frikin’ worried about what might possibly upset someone, they often shut themselves off from things that would be good.Last week Bob (no relation) came in and worked on the bathroom floor. The floor is strong and flat again. Willow picked up some new tiles for it- only a buck each not expensive at all, ($40?) but Bob estimates we will have to spend ANOTHER $250 to get them laid down. (I should have taken a picture when the floor was a gaping hole- the kids suggested we put in a trap door to the root cellar.)
Willow also found some tiles that are about the same pattern as the front hall, and I’m trying to figure out if we can afford to replace the worn ones. Once again, they’d only cost about $100 for the tiles, but probably much more to put in, and now I’ve seen the difference between home done installation and professional, I’m not sure I shouldn’t wait until I can afford to get it done right.
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We got a drain snake to use on the shower drain because it didn’t drain for two days last time I used it, and we’ve exhausted all the various “pour down the drain” options. I’m afraid that there may be a shampoo bottle lid down their and we’ll still have to get the plumber in to disassemble everything anyway. Chris (the electrician) seems to have dropped of the ends of the earth. Probably just “one of those weeks” for him, but I sure would like to get the goat fence working again.

Yesterday Wally’s crew came to fix the sill. It turns out that I was right, it was water running down the inside of the wall that caused the damage. Luckily they were able to fix it fairly easily. †his is how it looked at noon yesterday, and then this afternoon- adding paint Friday.
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I have given up on the house being clean enough that I’m not embarrassed by the messiness, and have told the tax accessor to come look around. It didn’t seem fair to have him look at it when I knew I was about to fix things that would devalue the house. Now I will feel honest about it. But I have to admit to myself it was only partially fairness, there was also some embarrassment about the mess.

Saturday we went to Celebrate Samhain. It was just a one day fair, and indoors (yay) over in Peterboro. We did pretty well with the sales which Willow and Kat handled. I did a workshop on Ancestor Veneration and participated in the ritual. There was a “guided meditation” portion where we were all invited to sit down, and I sat on the cord to one of the speakers and knocked it over. Luckily I was able to catch it as it fell and it didn’t break, but it was very embarrassing.

I’d spent the evening before up until 2 am finishing the illustrations on the Samhain Cookie cookbook (I ducked out and printed out 10 copies at Steele’s, across the street after we set up the tables), so we were all pretty wiped out and decided not to bother with the Ball that evening. We’d initially planned to go to it, and Willow made Kat a new “Goth Tutu” to wear, but we were just too tired. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI think we were all in bed and asleep before 9, and I still slept until 9 the next day. I understand that as you get older you are supposed to need less sleep, but so far that hasn’t happened to me. The more I sleep, the healthier I feel. 8-9 hours is still optimal.

I picked up a couple of books (ya think?) Pagan Spirituality, which l’ve scanned (I start any book by reading the preface, forward, introduction, contents, and bibliography) and the authors seem to be describing a set of developmental stages of spiritual practice that will help people fulfill their religious/spiritual expectations. Also there’s a Wiccan book A Year and a Day which is kind of a textbook for learning basic skills- about tarot and runes, candle burning, visualization, all the stuff new witches learn their first year- in a lesson a day format. Actually, it seems very well done, although I still don’t see Wicca as a path in which I’m interested. I’m not really getting into those yet because I’m reading Molecules of Emotion, a book about the ligands and seratonin uptake receptors, etc. that create and are created by our emotions. The book was written by one of the scientists who was involved in the initial research in the field, a Dr. Pert. It’s fascinating, but I fear I have no one to talk to about it- most people I know are not into the cool combination of the science and the affects it creates. Maybe Dan, who continues his studies in psychology. I try not to be jealous every time he talks about the courses he’s taking. I didn’t realize that he’s doing a lot of writing grants for his office since his last promotion. (I really should learn how to do that…)
Since we were already in Peterboro, we stopped at the store on the way home and found these gorgeous soup bowls, just like the ones we’ve been seeing in all the Japanese horror movies. (It seems a big bowl of noodle soup is a rough equivalent of a burger- fast food.) So we also picked up some Ramen, and had it with some of the leftover roast from earlier in the week and some water chestnuts, and it was surprisingly satisfying. Maybe it’s more like Japanese comfort food.
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The Valley supplement to the Milford Cabinet came out last week (sometime, I seem to have missed it), but Bob brought me the page that had my interview in it. I was surprised at how much they mentioned about my SCA involvement when I was supposedly being interviewed about my paganism, but what the heck. I also look huge as a house in the picture, but I suppose that’s only because I am. If I don’t like it, I should lose weight. But it was one of the better bits on pagans I’d seen. I did tell the guy to go to Pagan Pride Day to meet more area pagans, but it doesn’t look like he did.
I guess it was because of the article I got called by someone who’d seen me at the Harry Potter opening, and came by for a reading yesterday afternoon. As I was finishing up with her, another lady- a neighbor from up in Lyndeboro Center came came by to meet me. Fascinating chats over tea. (I REALLY need to get the house clean enough so I’m not embarrassed when people drop in!) Lys is redoing her barn to make a spiritual retreat center, and has studied with some women in England who say that their esoteric teachings are handed down from ancient times and based on bees. I have to admit I’m a little skeptical of any claims of long term verbal traditions, but it sounds cool. If she can make open a retreat center, maybe I can do workshops there- it’s less than a mile away.

Willow has spent the last few days working on a costume for Bakuratsu Con this weekend. This “Cosplay” (costumed portrayal of a character from anime) is Marluxia , a guy with a cool coat and pink hair. I have no idea if the “real” coat is patent leather, but she is using “pleather”, and as with her last outfit, it’s coming well, although I doubt we’ll get a picture of it until she’s actually worn it at the con. In case you don’t know- “pleather” is a vinyl version of cloth that looks like patent leather- and it’s a bitch to work with. Willow is really quite good- she’s working on making the fit better (trying to look like a pretty man, rather than a woman, and had to take out the zipper and put it back in once already. But it’s hard to make that fabric behave. Here’s the inspiration.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/organization_13&gt; Right now she’s decided she needs more chain that she picked up initially- and the gromets we had around the house are either too large (for tents) or too small (for shirts), so she needed a different size. She went to three Jo-Anne Fabrics to find enough of the pleathor to make the impressive coat.
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When she’s done she’s supposed to whip up a quick white a-line shift for Kat so she can take advantage of her black hair and do the very scary Japanese ghost: “Yurei” the ones with long black hair and red eyes that make a spooky sound.

This week I watched Stranger than Fiction, which was OK even though it starred Will Farrel. He didn’t do any of his usual stupid “comedy”. It’s was a pleasant surprise, like the acting job Jim Carrey did in the Majestic. Of course, having Emma Thompson in it didn’t hurt. It’s the story of an author who discovers that the story she’s writing is actually the story of a real man’s life unfolding, and what she writes happens to him. She has the opportunity to write a really great book if he dies at the end, so she has to decide whether to give the world a great book (the literary critic played by Dustin Hofman of course thinks that a great book is more important than the life of one boring guy), but she has to wonder if what she writes is really going to result in his death, and if so, whether she wants to take that responsibility. I thought it was beautiful. The more I think about it, the more I like it. I think most people are going to concentrate on the “character’s” point of view- what if you knew that your life was a story written by someone else? But I find the author’s dilemma more significant- what is your responsibility to the world when you discover your own ability to effect the lives of others? I think people are more afraid of power than powerlessness. I suppose we are afraid of both- but at different developmental stages.
I also watched The Pursuit of Happiness. It may have been a good film, but it was also probably one of the most depressing movies I’ve seen in my whole life! I thought it was going to be another “feel good”, underdog-tries-really-hard-and-makes-it type movie, which I suppose it is, but the movie documents all the horrible and very normal stuff the poor guy had to go through- parking tickets, and overdue bills, and suffering from your own stupidity, and stress making you act mean to your kids who is why you are doing stressful stuff in the first place. I suppose if you look at the whole life time, you can say that the horrible time they went through was worth it, but the fact is that hundreds of people go through that same stuff and don’t get a happy ending out of it, and there’s no guarantee when you are going through it that you are going to be one of the happy few, so it’s just depressing to watch.
We also watched the Blues Brothers (good music but no plot and a stupidly large amount of car crashes) and the Blues Brothers 2000 (even worse, and kind of spooky to watch all the old musicians age- but cool to see that they can still sing), we discovered that Netflix actually has a category called Zombies and discovered Flight of the Living Dead, and Bio-Zombies. Frankly, Pursuit of Happiness makes the silliness of zombie movies very appealing. We joke although we never saw Snakes on a Plane, just the bit in Epic movie making fun of it, that this movie is a spoof of that one- all it needs is Samuel Jackson yelling “Get these expletive zombies of my expletive plane!”.
I am doing my final edit (and adding pictures) Thursday morning. We had no trick or treaters last night. We didn’t carve pumpkins- (although I look forward to roasted seeds). Willow took most of our leftover candy from the fair to Avi and Trevor. They are right in town in Greenfield, so they’ll probably get more than they want. Una (Greymalkin’s kitten) had kittens of her own, and apparently they are way cute, but the other day Avi found a head from one of them with the rest missing. No idea if it was one of the older cats or something else. (Probably not an industrial accident.) And Morgan called- Saba is mysteriously ill too. Poor cats.

Willow called while out yesterday- she’d been pulled over because the tags on her plates were expired. When she was pulled over she reached for her registration and the paper with the new stickers attached fell out, so when the officer told her why she’d been pulled over, she was able to say “oh, do you mean these tags?” I guess we picked up all the cars tags at once (and was hers at the shop?) anyway, they’re on now and it’s OK. I kind of wonder if those types of things are in some permanent record somewhere.

I’ve got to change my party from Democrat to independent again. Apparently there’s a possibility that the New Hampshire primary is going to be this year. I wish it would be no more than three months total- primaries, elections, everything. It’s all advertising, and a waste of money- I don’t care whether the money is tax-payers, the politicians’ personal funds, special interest groups’ money- the money and time is still wasted. We aren’t getting more GOOD information, just more information. Used to be by having an early primary, some of the little states could get some attention, but so that’s good for NH and Iowa, but what about the other little states? I think we should group the states by size and have all the primaries for the little states one week, the small states the next, the medium the next, large next, and huge last. Boom, boom, boom. There- that’s done. Now have the frikkin’ election. People who are interested can bloody well read up on the candidates- that’s why we have a free school system, so everyone who can vote can read and so make an educated choice. If they choose not to use that option, the last thing we need is for them to vote because of advertising- the way they chose a drain cleaner or medicine. I know we’ve got 200+ years attempting to make the system more fair- and we keep tweaking it to help whoever we see as under-represented, but what the heck, we don’t need to waste so much time and money.

Tchipakkan

“There are seven sins in the world: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle.” Mohandas Gandhi

(I’m not sure I actually believe that- for one thing, I don’t think worship requires sacrifice, and I tend to think that all sin is a variation on waste; but it’s good to think about.)

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