3-7-2007 Be Heard Day

Hello again, had one of those weeks where there it seemed busy, but I can’t think of much that really happened.
Today Mercury goes direct again, after having been retrograde for the last few weeks. It does that a few times a year- and when Mercury is ret, communications seem to get messed up, so there should be fewer arguments now.
There are some fun holidays this week. Today’s also Peace Corps Day. Tomorrow is International Women’s Rights Day, which is kind of boring, although a reasonable goal, more fun is that it’s Be Nasty Day and Peanut Cluster Day, and it’s Farmers Day although why they put it in March I don’t know. Perhaps it makes more sense farther south. Friday the ninth is Barbie’s Birthday and Crab-meat Day; it’s also Panic Day and Cabin Fever Day- now THAT makes sense to me. Sunday (the 10th) Daylight Savings Time begins. Set your clocks forward and check your batteries. It seemed early to me, but apparently Congress passed an energy bill in 2005 that extended Daylight Savings Time by a month. Beginning this year, Daylight Savings Time starts the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. I’m not sure it’s a holiday though, but it’s Harriet Tubman Day and Blueberry Popover Day too. Monday, the 11th is Johnny Appleseed Day and if that’s too prosaic, it’s Worship of Tools Day. Next Monday, the 12th, is Baked Scallops Day, and Girl Scouts Day, it’s also Girl Scout Week (did I miss them selling cookies this year?). The 13th is Jewel Day for some reason, and Earmuff Day. The second Tuesday of March is also Organize your Home Office Day- so I hope I get to it. March 14th is Pi day because 3.14 is the value of Pi. That should give you enough to celebrate this week. March is also Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month. I suppose those who are already aware of CFS know about it but I’m not sure if anyone else would know about it. I wonder what they do to make people aware?

The weather has been bitchy cold this week, and we’ve had a little snow, but not another big storm. The animals are doing OK. We bred one of the rabbits, so we should have kits next month. A fellow came by last weekend and asked if we’d sell him a couple of the baby goats- for pets he said, although I’m not sure that he wasn’t trying to reassure us that it would be going to a good home. He said he didn’t want them dis-budded, although I recommended it. He wants them to eat brush in his back yard and play with his children. I suppose the horns will be easy to grab, although I prefer dehorned goats with collars. On the other hand, I understand- I don’t see spending money to take the horns off a goat I’m planning to eat in a few months. We may give him Anya- the one we bottle fed, although she seems to have started nursing from her mother now. Or we may not- she started limping- I’m not sure how, but she seems to have hurt her foot, we’ve been putting heat on it, and bag balm, and giving her garlic. Since her ultimate fate is to be eaten, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on her.
In a couple of weeks, when they are weaned, we’ll call the gentleman and sell him two of the kids. Meanwhile we are still getting so much milk I have to make cheese every day or two- enough that we’re beginning to get tired of it. Stuffed shells, lasagna, herbed cheese with crackers, bliniis for Purim, of course, sadly the kids didn’t care much for them…

Willow’s been working on her comic, making wings for the ball jointed dolls, and tiny rings out of the ones we have that are too small to sell easily. $5 here, $9 there, she’s selling her stuff. It’s so cute. And we actually got another little check from Olafs Plunder. I suppose if we had stuff in a dozen shops it would add up to a real income.
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Kat’s been having a hard time too- somehow she managed to sprain her wrist, not enough to require medical attention, but enough to render her one handed for a week. Very inconvenient. Luckily, she can still use the computer one handed.
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I’ve mostly spent the week working on the book cover- it’s almost done. I still need to put work in on the clouds, but the gods are pretty much done. When I’m done with that, I’ll be working on a few other unfinished paintings. First, I have to get the one of Scott and Joanne, and I’ll be able to deliver it in April when I go down to speak at the Manneheim group. (The idea that a group is going to fly me down and put me up really tickles my ego- I can’t help but feel it will lead to other, paying, jobs.) I’ve also been working on getting the schedule for the year set. We still have a couple weekends free at the end of March and the beginning of April, and the middle weekends in May, then a couple more free in the summer. I expect we’ll change a few around, and hope to fill in the holes as we go along.
But I really want to get a useful website up- I am convinced that’s the way to start making good money. What we make is wonderful, but if the people who’d want it don’t know about us, how are they to find out about it and buy it from us?
I’ve also been cleaning and trying to get organized around here better. There’s nothing like looking for a book in the library and having to go through piles instead of just going to the shelf where it belongs. The trick is that it would take solid days to get caught up, and I find it hard to divert attention from things that will make money- although easy to get distracted by immediate mess when I trip over it. The pantry is much more organized than it’s been for a while. And the library- that started because I was googling for images and Willow pointed out that I have a really incredible library for mythology right in the next room- and she’s right about that. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and it’s gradually getting better.
As I paint I’ve been watching the _Moonlighting_ collection Steve loaned. I’ve also been watching _Firefly_ through Netflix. Lots of people had mentioned it as a really good show, even though it only lasted one season. Now that I’ve seen it, I have to agree. What a pity it didn’t last.
Steve didn’t get up this weekend, because his kid was having a bad reaction to meds, and Steve had to do taxi service. I’d wanted him to come up because it was Purim the third and I use him as an excuse to make homentaschen. Knowing about problems arising from the meds Allyn/Gwynn/Amara (hard to keep track of the name changes) takes, and trying to find ones that will help rather than make the situation worse, makes it harder to convince my kids that it might be a good idea to try any meds at all, even an occasional over-the-counter type. For example, last night Kat had a sudden pain on her tongue- she said it felt like a bee sting, and when I looked, it LOOKED like a bee sting- a round swelling- purple against the pink tongue with a central dot. It was very weird. So I wanted to give her an antihistamine, just in case, and went through the medicine cabinet- I don’t think I’ve been in there for years. We’ve been too healthy I guess. And it went away, but we still have no idea what could have caused it. Could there have been a stinger in the prune she’d just eaten? Who knows?
One of the non-fiction books I’ve been reading is about the selling of sickness to Americans. One of the more interesting bits is a quote from the head of Merck thirty years ago saying that he really wished that they weren’t restricted to only selling medicine to sick people, if they could sell medicine to well people, like Wrigley’s (gum) they’d be able to sell a lot more. So they simply had to convince people that they needed medicine when they weren’t sick- mostly by convincing people that medicine was good for preventing potential problems, and things that generally resolve themselves- for depression, menopause, high blood pressure, and other things like that. I think the most insidious is the concept that it’s good to measure your bodily functions and if they are in the normal range, they can still define them as potentially moving away from the normal range, and therefore medicatable. It’s all about the money.
And why is it acceptable? Because the position of the government is that “Everything is good as long as people keep spending.” Today, as I write, there’s a talk show on NPR about debt today. Nothing very surprising- information such as the vast majority of bankruptcy is because of medical crisis, divorce or job loss. Well, why are medical crisis so expensive? Because we tend to figure that it’s possible to spend money on the problem, we should do it, whether or not the treatment is actually liable to improve the situation. Another funny thing in this show was the phrase “negative savings” as a term for debt. I can’t imagine that one can have debt and savings at the same time, although there’s supposed to be “good debt” and “bad debt”. I liked this program because I agree with it- you shouldn’t take on bills you can’t pay. I would dearly love to actually have savings. Maybe some day.

What else? The most interesting thing that happened this week was that Willow got a “death threat” on the internet. Last week a Troll (internet trouble maker for those few souls who are even less internet savvy than I am) started making nasty comments on the board on the Stupidity in Magic website comment board. It got worse and worse all weekend, making nasty cracks about Kat and me and Dan, until Sunday night he finally said he was going to come and kill her, and posted our address. I’m fairly certain he got it from the Cabochon’s website, which she has a link to on the comic page, but Willow checked some number on his posts (which were anonymous) and found out that he was posting through our local service. So was he trying to scare us? Or is he local and nuts enough to come over and try to do something? I figure the odds are much in favor of his being a jerk and simply using the things that people are paranoid about. There is no freedom that cannot be abused, but life is hazardous, but usually goes on just fine. We “did the right thing” and informed the police and internet provider. As expected, there’s nothing they can do. If Willow wanted to, she could take the message board off her website, but why inconvenience everyone else (and make it impossible for other people to compliment her, when that is so nice) just to block one jerk, who will probably get bored and move on to harassing someone else soon anyway. The irony is that this happened during the story line where the comic-book Willow is getting sued by muggers because she fought back and won.

Oh well, I should get back to the painting. I’m pretty sure I can finish it today.
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Well, go off and “Be Heard”. Of course, not as a “troll”. We keep going back to wondering why anyone would behave like that. It’s totally outside our comprehension.
Ah, well.
Oh, and I understand that some people’s computers have trouble with the pictures which I’ve been enjoying sending. So if you’d rather not have pictures in your letter, let me know.
“A free society is a place where it’s safe to be unpopular.” Adlai Stevenson

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