Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bon Voyage

Eartha Kitt performed in France, in French, just as she did in a number of countries and languages. A child of the sixties, I first fell in love with her in her role as Catwoman. Only much later was I educated about the wider and deeper accomplishments of this amazing woman.

Good voyage.

Vous êtes aimés

Christmas Stew

I made Christmas Stew. It was delicious. It will remain delicious for the next few days.

Seventy year old concrete

When I got up this morning, my body told me it wanted to jog instead of walk. I attempted to consult with my knee, but it refused to join the conversation. So I did jog, but made a point of slowing down my pace. It was a productive session and my knees feel good.

After jogging, walking back from the lake, I noticed a stamp in the sidewalk, giving the date the concrete was laid and the name of the contractor. 1937. A few hours later when I walked back from the store, I collected a few more dates from the concrete: 1931, 1939, etc. I also collected names from utility access covers and plates, including venerable companies that no longer exist. These older markers of industry were still in good shape after all these years, looking like they had endured only a few short years of wear. The newer, anonymous ground works showed more wear, and would not outlast their older brethren. So it goes.

There is one thing that surprised me in my recent conversation with Rol. I told him of some looming financial trouble. He expressed the proper sympathy. I replied that it would be all right. No matter how bad the financial thing got I would still "be breathing and working and happy." The part about being happy surprised me, even as the words came out of my mouth. Sitting there thinking about it, I realized that things might get bad for a while. But there was nothing to take away my joy except myself. I will have to meditate on this for a few days, than act on the realization.

It is Christmas, I am not Christian, but I enjoy the non-commercial trappings of the holiday season. I was going to spend the day in austere behaviour and headspace, but changed my mind. I walked to the store down down the street and came back with Christmas Ale, chocolate and the makings for a beef stew. The chocolate will last as long as it lasts, the stew project will begin within the hour, and one bottle of the Ale has found a home. Life is good. Yes, life is interesting and worrisome, but it is still good.

When I first arrived in Oakland I found a wrapped gift Melinda had left for me. I unwrapped it this morning. It is the graphic novel Digger by Ursula Vernon.

"The Cross is a barren stick, and the petals of the Rose fall and decay; but the union of the Cross and the Rose is a constant succession of new lives." - Crowley

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Crooked pots and such

So I learned my lesson and started walking the 'correct' direction around the lake. Naturally, all but a few of the well formed female bums either changed directions to spite me, or stayed away altogether. But then why gaze upon what I cannot possess?

Yesterday I had lunch with Rol. I arrived a few hours early and walked around the city, down to the ferry building, through the market, past the skating rink, etc. It is a lovely city. I could become addicted to it.

Rol is doing well. He has been living here for nine years, and has been with his partner for six. Except for a few minor health problems - more annoying than threatening, and controlled well with medication - life has treated him well. He has a few pounds more than when I last saw him, but only a very few, and his glasses are a bit thicker. These facts are, each of them, also true of myself. Rol is still funny and kind and loving life. I regret doing such a poor job keeping in touch with him.

Today is laundry day, cleaning day, shopping day. It is a drawing, reading, moving, focus day. It is also a thinking day.

I noticed the toilet is crooked. With the exception of the flush handle, a toilet should be a mirror image from left to right - perfect symmetry about the center line. This one is crooked. Sort of like a drunk with a fat lip saying Ooooooooooohhhh.

My day pretty much wrapped up with a call from Kate. She is doing well. She enjoyed a good Yule ritual this last weekend, and - as must be true of Kate - the ritual was of a nature to cause growth and discomfort in her life. Growth and discomfort go together.

Monday, December 22, 2008

[Don't] walk this way

[seed paragraph]
I feel better when I act and think like the image of the man that I think I should be. If I can change "think I can be" into "Will to be", and put some work into it, what will happen?

My first inclination is to stick to my comfort level. Here in the wilds of Oakland, this means sticking to the apartment and not interacting with others. So the first few times I had to venture out into the wider world I resisted. This sounds silly. But it is reality. Somewhere in there I mused about the man I should be, as opposed to the man I am. What would he do and feel? He would pick up that phone, or leave that apartment, and interact. I have said this before (maybe using other words or images) but this is the man I want to be. What needs to be realized in this is that the concept of "the man I need to be" extends so far beyond just picking up a phone or walking into a small situation. It extends into pursuing a course at work, or building a proper environment at home, or establishing proper relationship with friends and families. Is this the Big Thing to focus on during this years Tour?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Yesterday I tried walking the 'wrong' direction around Lake Merritt. The lake is a popular venue for exercise - jogging, walking and rowing. The vast majority of walkers and joggers circle the lake traveling clockwise. I walked counter-clockwise.

Walking the wrong way makes it easier to move out of the way. A person who likes eye contact has at least a chance to indulge. There are fewer surprises from people sneaking up from behind.

Walking the 'right' way, I get to look at Ass instead of Breast. I prefer Ass. There are no accusing eyes glaring at me for staring at the body. An ass walking the same direction stays in view much longer than breasts walking the other way.

In defiance of all the contrarians out there, I now declare that there is value in going along with the crowd.

On your ass.

What do you sit on when there are no chairs?

On your ass.

There are no chairs in this apartment. I am sitting on a plastic tub full of cat chow with the computer on a lap board.

I found the ergonomic chair thing works for meditation.

Why I am here

Here is Kitty...





...and here is Ziggy...



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Huzzah, Thelemistas!!!!!!!!

Last night I attended Gnostic Mass with the Thelemistas. It was good.

I will first have to confess that, two years ago, when I was here with Holly and Beverly, they led us nearly to the doorstep of the Thelemista temple. I found myself walking the same walk we had walked then. This time I had an address and knew what time to show up.

I was greeted at the door by none other than Elton, the gentleman who hosted a visit from me and the girls in 2007. After a brief reminder, he remembered me and the visit. He was wearing moose antlers (the same type worn by Lisa's dog Booger) and wished us all a Merry Moosemass. I replied by recounting to him the Moose Jokes.

Pretty close to the scheduled time, Mass began. From the first moment it was an experience to remember. The energy was greater and different from the typical Horus mass. The deacon started the ritual with the voice of enthusiasm. The priestess then ramped it up a few notches by dancing during her circumambulations of the temple. And so the ritual progressed. I was bothered a bit by the way most lines of the mass were spoken too fast, almost seeming that they were being gotten out of the way as a bother or impediment. But to slow it down and hang on the words with too much weight would be to fall into the fault of Horusm where Mass is sometimes almost somber. I want to find the best place between these two places.

But the many good points outweighed the few faults I found. The operative word is this: We "celebrate" Gnostic Mass. Horus needs to turn Gnostic Mass into a celebration. Finally, for whatever I may find strange about the energy or events of the evening, I remind myself that a few of the people there knew Grady McMurty and Bill Heidrick who, as faulted as they may have been, were the vehicles that carried the modern O.T.O. to its revival.

Specific points:
  • Instead of a banishing, we all joined in a circle and intoned... Aum, aum, aum.
  • When the priestess circumambulated the temple, it was a very energetic dance, with a fast drum beat and much happy movement.
  • The anthem was sung by the priest, but with a melody I didn't recognize. While the melody itself wasn't rock-n-roll, the priest sang it that way.
  • As each person finished communicating, there was a loud cheer of 'Oh Yes, Oh yes!' or 'Huzzah' from the congregation.
  • Most communicants also followed up with hugging the priestess, priest and deacon in turn.
  • There was only one wine goblet we all shared. On the one hand, this makes for a generous helping of wine. On the other hand, it is good way to spread my cold.
  • Drums, tambourines, etc. Used with enthusiasm during both circumambulations and again while communicating. When the communicant turned to declare, 'There is no part of me that is not of the gods', the drumming would go dead silent. It was a good effect.
Given time and effort I could expand the list. The only thing to add is that I was instantly made to feel welcome and that feeling lasted all evening.

Other notes....
This was my first time using BART. Like all such public systems, it presents an inscrutable rubric to the new user. But once a few basic routines are learned, it becomes easy and graceful. Except for the guy announcing stops on the last train. He sounded like he was talking with an anesthetized tongue into a microphone buried in electrified Jello.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting it into gear

This is the day I catch up on my writing. The entries of the past few days were finished this morning as I listen to NPR out on the back porch.

I was up at a decent hour today, well before the sun. Listening to my knee, I dressed for exercise and took a brisk walk around Lake Merritt. While my knee reserved comment, my lower back tells me I exercised well enough, and not to push myself any further. So walking will be my daily exercise. I find that the pace of walking works well for chanting a mantra inside my head.

Now that I am exercised and bathed, what the hell am I actually going to do with myself? What am I going to accomplish? How am I going to do it? And bloody when am I going to start?

[Later in the day, after thinking and eating and a short trip to the store.]
In response to the questions posed above, I did what a Capricorn knows to do. I made a list. Then I pulled out the kitchen timer and got to work getting these journal entries posted. I will not bore you with the list - at least not now. Instead, I will update you with progress as it is made, pretending that you already know what I am up to. I also see myself posting to the blog ad hoc rather than one tidy post per day.

[6:15 PM - Daily Practice]
I finally got around to meditating for the first time on this trip. To meditate is to sit. Melinda has no chairs in the apartment. For the computer desk she has an ergonomic chair like structure that has you distributing weight between knees and butt. There is the bed, with a mattress that is slowly destroying my hips when I sleep, and is no good for sitting. There is a futon, low to the ground, that looked like my best bet for sitting. Bad choice. It was fitful meditation, changing positions often, and finally giving up. I spent the rest of my allotted time testing other places to meditate. I think the computer 'chair' will be my best option. If not, I may be found sitting - pants up, thank you - on closed lid if the toilet. So I will call tonight's meditation a bust for effect, but an educational experience.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wasted days

Either this was a wasted day or it was a day of recovery. It depends on how I choose to view it.

Sleeping in, but being full of vim and vigor, I went out running about 9:00 AM. After I returned, I learned that the distance around Lake Merritt is about three miles. I jogged most of it. It felt good, but it was a mistake. Later in the day my knee informed me that I would not be running any more. After a bath, I succumbed to the lack of sleep suffered during the journey and slipped into bed for a nap. After the nap I would get busy with all the wonderful things I was going to accomplish these few weeks.

Again, I disappointed myself. I made some needed phone calls, puttered around, read a bit, then slipped to bed by nine.

It is both amazing and disgusting to see how easily I can let time slip from my grasp. It is a fault to overcome.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Slow ride

[Actually written 20 December]
The train trip lasted a little over 21 hours, pulling into Emmeryville at 6:20 PM pacific time. Sleep was a problem. At first glance, the seats appeared to be perfect for the trip: lots of leg room, reclining, leg supports. As it turns out, sleep was almost impossible. With all that room, there was nothing to scrunch up against to hold the body while sleeping. Some relief came the next day when I moved to an older car where the seats were closer together and I was able to do a bit of scrunching.

It was easy to see who the regular train travelers are. They are the ones who dress like shit, spread a thick layer of support material about themselves, and get into some serious nesting. The first passenger I saw had this to an art. He was dressed in team colors for some NFL franchise, had an open cooler with drinks and ice at his feet, and was seated as close as possible to the restroom. Pure redneck nirvana. More civilized and innocent travelers, such as myself, were more reserved and orderly, taking great care to minimize our profiles and fade into the background.

It seems that sewage treatment plants and trailer parks grow alongside rail tracks, like moss grows along a gutter or ditch. Near population centers, there were many homes near the tracks, mostly working class. Alas, none of the residents of these homes was kind enough to go into a room facing the tracks, turn on the lights, open the curtains, then have wild sex at just the right time for me to spy them for a scant few seconds.

While gazing at the homes passing by, and at the back yards, vacant lots, and parks, I had a strong feeling of "Home." For each of these humble homes, I got the impression of a place that was safe and valued. Talking with Lisa few weeks ago, she spoke of having a home, a place that wasn't just space to park the self, but an actual home - a haven that was totally yours and safe. I got this same feeling when looking at these homes. I also realized that I have never felt this way about any place that I have lived as an adult. Where I live now, with my mother, I know that I am always open to the intrusions of others, and that my privacy and safety are incomplete. When I was living with Kathleen, I never was able to make any of that space totally my own. I always had to make way for Kathleen, for her possessions and desires, and for her way of arranging and running the house. Also, we never came to a point where all things melded from Mine and Yours into Ours. Having a place totally my own, where I could say, "This is my home", is something I have never had.

Then there were the industrial facilities and warehouses. Away from population, the tracks often veered to wilderness. Where the freeway, which was never too far away, was always keeping a tenuous touch on humanity, the rails often kept well alone, going through fertile wilderness and barren wasteland alike. It was pretty cool.

So most of Thursday, the 18th, was taken up in looking out at the world or trying to catch bits of sleep. As we approached the end of the line, it was clear we would be late. I began to worry that I would miss my connection to Oakland, but reasoned that the connecting buses were tied to the arrival of the train and would all leave with their charges. Again, it was battle with the worry side of my mind. I relaxed, and sure enough made the connection. I also made the first of the two buses I needed to get to Melinda's place. But the second bus - the last of the day for route 13 - never arrived. So I walked. I walked about two miles, but it felt longer. This was when I knew I was WAY over packed. I think I am sending some stuff back home in the mail. When I finally arrived, I said hello to the cats, unpacked, nestled into bed and tried to sleep.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Magickal Mystery Tour

[Actually written 20 December]
Welcome to Existential Angst Tour 2009. This year the tour takes place a bit early, but goes a bit longer. Melinda was going to drive home for Christmas, so she could bring her cats, instead of flying. I didn't really like the idea of her making the drive, so I hatched a scheme. I would use the rest of my vacation for the year and trade places with her. I would spend my vacation cat-sitting.

As usual, I created great plans for the tour. Also, as usual, I over planned and over packed. And, also as disgustingly usual, the reality is falling flat against the expectations. Follows the record so far:

December 17, 2008
I got off work at the usual time and made it home to pack. After packing and wrapping up loose ends, I started getting ancy - wanting to get to the train station an hour before the train was to arrive. This is a personality trait I am starting to change. So I worked on my mom's schedule instead and showed up only a half hour early...just in time to see a train pull out of the station. WTF? I got on the phone and called AMTRAK customer service. According to the dude on the line, the train was a half hour behind schedule. His best guess was that I saw a special ski train pulling out. He was right. AMTRAK showed up late and I got on board at about 10:00 PM.

Somehow, but I am not sure just how, this seemed a fitting start to the adventure.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Calling in sick (private)

I called in sick today. I am sick, but being sick isn't why I called in sick.

The reason I call in sick is from lack of sleep. I get no sleep because I am up all night. I am up all night because I am coughing all night. I am coughing all night because I am sick. But I can't 'call in sleep deprived', so I 'call in sick.'

Exercise? I am not working out - can't run while coughing, can't lift weights when shivering and aching.

Spirit? There is limited magick. While the LBRP sounds cool when bumped down a half octave, it sounds crappy when whispered and raspy.

Lisa was in an accident this week and totaled her car. She has no money coming in. I have a divorce decree looming in the wings. I am now researching the best way to survive a foreclosure. I have mixed feelings on this. It would be nice to skate out of the problem, and leave the mortgage company holding the bag. But 'nice' doesn't overlap with reality, or with my ethics. I know what I want, but I don't know what my other options are. As soon as I return from vacation I am going to have a little talk with the mortgage company. We could pull this out of the fire, but it may require a small miracle.

I will be buying a few lottery tickets while in California...

Full weekend coming up. Taking The Grrls to the airport. Repairs and cleaning in Tooele. Packing for vacation. Cleaning upstairs at mom's place.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Surrender to the authorities

Today five former Blackwater employees surrendered to federal authorities in Utah. Something to do with emptying several clips of ammo in the general direction of peaceful citizens of Iraq. One of the perps lives in Utah, the others cam in from out of state. Why Utah? In hopes the trial will be held here, so they get a jury that is more likely to render a favorable verdict.

The mind boggles. Is someone seriously thinking that Utahns are more likely to say something like, "Well, Zeke, even if they didn't pull a gun on our boys, y'all know them ragheads was up to something. Them islamaniacs is ALWAYS up to SOMETHING."

Even if the jury does come from Utah, what if they all happen to come from Salt Lake City proper, which voted for Obama (this vote being canceled out by the rest of the state)?

Better yet. Let's make a list of "The best states to turn your self in, based on type of federal charge." I would start of the list with [un-named southern state] for bigamy and [un-named midwestern state] for incest. Texas for EPA infractions. Alaska saw the light with Ted Stevens, so Massachusetts will be up for bribery. Etc, etc.

I am secretly hoping they DO move the trial to Utah, and that our jury sends them to prison for the rest of their miserable little lives.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Deep and Low

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is interesting when done a bit quieter and a half octave lower.

Sore throat. Contagious. Poor sleep last night. It's one of those odd illnesses that is little trouble during the day, but as soon as the head hits the pillow, the juices start to flow and the coughing starts.

I was going to skip ritual tonight, but went for it anyway. It was interesting. Being quiet and low brought a calmer and deeper energy. As a side note, the last week or so the energy of the temple space has changed. I can't walk into the room without being compelled to do a quick kabalistic cross before entering.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Setting expectations

The plan for December is 20 days with workout, and 20 days of the magickal practice. So far, not very good. The side effects of structural, getting a sore throat, and knee problems have interfered with all plans. The month isn't over.

Tonight, with a sore throat, meditation or ritual is out of the question, so I am updating the blog instead. I did weight lifting last night, so today would be aerobic. Again, the sore throat has its say.

I think I will salvage a good month from it, even if it is all off to a shaky start. Keep plugging.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ouch - Installments 2 thru 6 of 10

Still doing the structural. Last week, working the sacrum, was interesting. It really rose to bit me when I attempted to work out Tuesday night. It wasn't happening. I let my body rest.

The latest session was face and neck. I am amazed at how far a finger can go up my nose. Not even my finger.

I am coping (poorly) with the exercises the therapist wants me to do. It reminds me of the physical therapist for my knee many years ago. I did the math and figured he wanted me to spend about three hours a day just doing therapy for the knee. This was not a short term thing, but 'forever', and as knees go, my problems were minor. In all fairness, I took what he taught me, applied it with long term success, and have avoided surgery for over ten years now. Yea me.

Will I do the same with the structural exercises? Time will tell.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stating intents

[Written in St. George, UT....Thanksgiving with the family]

One week ago, at Gnostic Mass, I put out an intent to the Universe. But back-track to the last Mass, in September, when I did the same. The intent I put out was change. Specifically, to end the marriage with Kat and to get some movement from my mother. So I had a talk with Kat about divorce and it turned into a fight where she decried it as being the end of the world. A week later, she announced the SHE was filing for divorce. So far so good. (Strange, but good.) Then I mentioned to my mother that it may be time to leave the seven bedroom house and move to something smaller. She mumbled something about maybe moving to St George to use the bedroom and facilities Sid and Harold built in anticipation of this. Then two weeks later Harold was laid off from his job.

Batting 500.

As a consolation prize with my mother, I at least got her to take on some small cleaning projects. Better than nothing. (on the other hand, why should I have to fight so hard just to get her to clean off the blessed dining room table?)

So going into the mass this month, the voice in my head reminded me of getting results and suggested I do something like this again. The focus this time around? "Simple focus." I am being pulled a hundred directions in life. Much of it is external and there is little to be done about it. I am also suffering distraction at work and home, where I will suddenly realize I have been spinning wheels for many minutes (or few hours) and haven't done the things I need or want to do. While there are enough external distractions to blame this on, just as much of it is internal. This is what needs to be addressed.

So that is what I asked for. "Simple focus." So far...nothing. But then it turned into Thanksgiving week, and that presented a challenge. When formulating this intent, I was thinking of work, where I have more than enough to do. Even when I am doing real work, I constantly break focus to mess with other things, such as web cruising or computer games. I also think of the evenings, when I know there is work to be done - real work that makes a difference - but instead I get lost in housekeeping or menial tasks. Focus. Simple focus.

In news that could be described either as other or related, after two months of having firm goals on exercise and daily practice, then into a second month of not doing this, I am feeling the difference. I am setting goals for December. Once again, 20 days of exercise and daily practice. With the trip to Oakland planned for later in the month, I am sure I will make the daily practice goal, but the exercise may be a bit of a problem.

I am watching the news from India about the terror attacks, while a young lady from India is walking past me every few seconds to take care of the breakfast at the hotel. I wonder what she thinks of it all. Does she even think of it at all?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ouch - Installment 1 of 10

First Structural Integration session.

Chest and abdomen. There is nothing quite like having someone shove a hand into your gut far enough to push your squishy parts out of the way and massage the interior rear of the abdominal cavity - in other words, the front of your back. Later in the day I looked at a photo of a side of beef (Wired magazine, 'The Future of Food'). I looked at the structure and said, "There. Right there is where she was poking me."

Many pressure points were found and resolved. I have had a tightness in my shoulder for several weeks. Most of the pressure points were on that side, below the scapula. Ouch. Pain. I have a vision of a customer hearing me squeal like a tortured pig (which is what I am) and say, "I don't think I want what he is having." (...and if he does want what I am having, then I have this friend who would just love to help out...)

I was given instructions on stretching and posture. I have homework to do.


Mood is improved. Self pity turning to practiced ambivalence. Anger taking a snide-ways turn. Still G-H-T (grouchy, horny, tired).

Built for Speed(o)

Tonight I have the first of ten Structural Integration sessions. I've been through this before, but in a classroom setting. This time is 'for real'. Pain. Yum.

The therapist informed me I needed to buy a Speedo to wear during the sessions - or something else that covers as little skin as possible while still reigning in the fun bits. Just as there are certain women who should never, ever, in a million years wear Spandex, there are certain men who should never come within miles of a Speedo. I am one of those men. But my therapist is a trained professional who works with the human body in its many shapes, sizes and variations. I'm sure she will handle it all with professional calm.

Right.

In other news, I seem to be running out of steam on a few fronts. Lack of focus. Effort that returns little or nothing (personal, job, etc.). Adding Structural Integration to the mix may not have been a good idea. It becomes just one more thing to be done every week, and more time away from grappling with my miserable little life.

In some cases, I just need to re-direct or renew focus. In other cases, I may need to drop a few things. No new projects. Drop some old projects. Learn to say "No." Catch up on sleep. Catch up on reading and cleaning. I am just so weary of life, and I need to direct more of my time and energies into myself - into my core.

I am tired of the standard of the standard conversation. "How are you?" "Fine." I am not 'fine.' I am frustrated and lonely. I am angry. Nothing I do pleases anyone, not even myself. There is too much giving and not enough getting in my life. Rant. Moan. Complain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

You don't say

Sunday night I was talking to Kate on the phone. I was kvetching about my youngest offspring and her boyfriend. Specifically, I was talking about the use of Kat's driveway and front porch as a grease pit for an ill conceived car repair project. You would have thought a leaking oil tanker stopped by for a visit. The phrase that came out of my mouth was, "I think they are being allowed to get away with way too much."

Kat overheard.

An hour later I have the offspring standing before my, crying and angry, throwing my words back to me - but with a very different and very specific meaning attributed to them. So I had to calm down the offspring, relate the whole conversation with Kate, then go back to Kat and fill her in on the missing details.

I never did ask where the extra content was attached to my works. Did Kat speak it that way, or did the offspring hear it that way? Was it some of both? I didn't really care, and I didn't want it to turn into a blame session. So I just stated what I said, what the context was, and that my only intent was to have my words understood. Resolve conflict. In all of this, from first confrontation to end, I was polite and I was fair. The few times the conversation tried to diverge into placing blame, I politely brought it back on track. Will I be lauded for being reasonable? No. Will my example of not placing blame be remembered or, better yet, followed? No. Will the blame for all wrongs, real or perceived, be placed at my feet? Of course they will.

Would it be nice if, just once, members of the family didn't automatically assume the worst about me, about my words, about my intentions? Does every word that falls out of my mouth have to be carefully saved, filed and indexed so that, when the time is right, it can be pulled out and used as a weapon against me?

But wait. I forget. It is all really my fault. Everything is my fault. Just ask anyone who isn't me and they will tell you so.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Things that go Spark

Last night was the first 'Meet the O.T.O.' coffee event. The unwashed masses didn't run to meet us, but we - Holly, Beverly and me - did latch onto one young man and had some good conversation. In that conversation, the young man spoke of going through a few groups and paths until on reached out and grabbed him. His description was that something 'went spark'.

It got me thinking (a dangerous thing to do).

It has been a long time since something has 'went spark' for me. So, I asked myself, what was the latest thing the sparked for me? It was the study group of a few years ago. Why? It wasn't the people - oh gads no, it wasn't them. It wasn't the topic being studied, although that did help. It was two things. First was the mere fact that we were doing something new- learning things. Second was when we took the basic rituals at the heart of the study and did them as a group. Something as simple as the LBRP transforms greatly when five voices are vibrating the god names, and when some of the actions are done in unison. It was REALLY GOOD.

I need something to spark for me. I have access to good people, to good context, and to good ritual. I need to bring them together and watch them go spark.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

13/185 Vision

This morning I weighed in at 198 pounds solid. (Solid means I didn't have to cheat - the digital scale showed 197 and change.) I am heading to 185 as a 'stop and think' point. I find if I say to myself ' I need to get to 185' it intimidates me. But if I say to myself 'I need to lose 13 pounds' it sounds a lot easier. Either way, my original Grand Plan measured in goals for each week managed to crash and burn. This thing called 'life' keeps mucking with it. To hell wit the original plan. I'll just focus on the daily effort and let it happen when it happens.

It was a pretty sunrise this morning. My mood is getting a bit better, but still raw around the edges. The Buddha was right: Life is sorrow, and the beginning of sorrow is desire. How do I step off the train called Desire and board the train called Will? Where is the platform, the ticket office. Can I check my luggage, or am I limited to carry-ons?

I am now making my daily PBJ sandwiches with Crunchy Peanut Butter. This week I use the last of my white bread and start using Hole Wheat. (or what that Whole Wheat? I forget.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

As predicted

...it was a tough day inside of my head.

After small things were done, I finished massaging the StarTeam data and building a test package for pulling over to my server. So far, so good. Tomorrow I will extend it past my test product to the other two products.

I tried finding an easy way to construct a front end for a full text search into the MS SQL 2005 data. No soap. Google offered up nothing. So I guess I get to cobble it together myself.

After work was a pretty good workout. Good landscape at the gym. The left knee held up well.

For two months I had a pretty tight focus on workout and daily practice. I never got back on track for October. The lesson learned is, first, to have solid monthly goals. I think the failure was not to have the goal in place well before the beginning of the month. With October half done, I'm going to let it slide. In the next few days I'll have my goals set for November.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Running on empty

It was a mixed day. Most of the day at work was well focused, but then it all dropped out of focus. I am first trying to figure out the finer points of the StarTeam 2006 database, then looking for a way to suck select chunks to my server and plug it into a full text search.

After work was Holly and Beverly. It started a bit unfocused, then we picked up steam. Cleaned out a chuck of hallway and planted a shelf in it. But this required adding to the clutter in a few other places. You need to make a mess to clean up a mess. Then we made jam. Yum.

But the ending of the day left me sort of empty. It was a small thing. But in my current state of mind, small things have large effects. I knew I was in for a rough ride the next day.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Whine and Moan

Near the end of Pagan Pride I spied a familiar face - "The Guitar Instructor". I called his name, he came and talked, we played catch-up. Then, after he talked much of other peoples' music projects he was helping on, I asked the fatal question: "So how is _your_ music going?"

Ouch.

It was a classic Deer in the Headlights moment. He stammered a bit, then blathered about a few things I could tell were either stillborn or fantasy, then the conversation ended.

I could laugh at him. Or I could see the fingers that point back to me.

- September wrap-up
For the month of September I set a goal of Daily Practice and Work Out of 20 days from the month. It was going fine until the last few days of the month, so I ended up with 18 and 19 respectively. The last few days of the month threw me a few curves.

My plans to lose weight was mixed success. I was supposed to be down to 198, but missed it by a few pounds. On the other hand, I did drop a few pounds. The first few pounds of a 'losing streak' always works like this, so I'll take it as a success and keep working my plan. The daily practice did me some good. But the women in my life chose the week just past to fire a few emotional barrages at me, and that derailed my practice. Such is life.

I am going to give myself a pass for the weekend, then start back on track tomorrow (Monday). The effort to lose weight will continue unchanged. Daily practice will be split between Yoga and reviewing, then learning, the basic CM and Thelemic rituals.

Horus Oasis is both moving forward and annoying the hell out of me. We finally ironed over most of the PayPal issues. I did an initial sifting through the crap than Fr CF handed over to me. Then I defined the next steps to take. I'll go over some of this with B on Tuesday. It will all be good.

Women are evil. Do I want to delve into detail, or just hit the highlights? Hmmmm.....

[Highlights redacted.]

These people all tell me I am such a wonderful guy. Then they treat me like ass-wipe. Or am I just imagining things?

Growl. Snort.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pagan Pride

Pagan Pride Day, Murray Park, about 30 minutes before things begin.

First things first. I need to set the mood for the day, and this is best done by committing it to writing. Ahem. I am not here to change the world. I expect only one - maybe two - people to show up at any future O.T.O. events as a result of today. I accept that our presence is not impressive, and I don't care. What is supposed to happen today will happen regardless of how hard I squat and strain - or not - in an effort to make it happen. At least one person will try to drag me into conflict. I will not have a cute pagan chick beg me for sex. All of this is fine. My main goal today is to chill, enjoy conversation and get some reading and writing done.

Now - for the main topics rolling around in my brain of late. The questions are...
  1. Do we (the 'royal We' in this case being the Holly-Beverly-Andy collective) want to stick with Horus Oasis, fully committed to it in terms of growth into a larger body?
  2. Do we want to stick with Horus Oasis treating it as belonging to the collective, and welcoming others to play with us?
  3. Does the collective want to keep playing, but not as Horus Oasis?
  4. Does the collective want to no longer play?
Last Tuesday I talked this over with the girls. The answer from B was number one, without reservation. The answer from H was, "I'm not sure I like the O.T.O., but this is where the universe tells me I am supposed to be, so this is where I will be." I took that as a Number 2. As for me...

What triggered this was having the Horus Oasis treasurer resign. Now that time has passed and I can see it in perspective, it is no big deal. Truth is there is very little work involved, and it was more hassle for me to connect with him to sign quarterly reports than it would have been if I had been running the whole damned thing. But the news hit me rather hard when it was received. I felt like the entire Oasis was abandoning me to run it alone. So it made me question if I wanted to stay involved myself. In retrospect, maybe I was hoping they would say they didn't want to play anymore, allowing me to drop it without guilt. I seem to spend much time in this headspace. Too much time. Too much time dithering, and not enough committing. I need to do with this what I did recently with my personal practice: set a goal to perform to a set level for a set period of time, record the results, then choose what to do next.

[Pithy Observation the first. After announcing the first pair of workshops, everyone basically stood around looking at each other. Like lemmings. Or worse.]

Speaking of this, there is some to report on my personal practice. With the month of September, I continued with the Yoga practice and resumed my exercise program. I set a goal to get my weight down to 185 by my birthday. Here is the report.

As of yesterday I have 9 days of personal practice and 9 days at the gym. I grade myself B plus to A minus on my eating habits. My average weight for the week is 202 - right on target. I am also feeling better and fitting just a bit better into my pants.

Instead of reading, I am talking to Beverly, talking to people about Horus, or writing. Most of the Beverly talk is about how to deal with situations centered around other close friends. Near the start she asked, "What do you want to do?" after much talk and a bit of looking at my words and actions, I realize what I want to do. And what keeps me from doing it. My 'aha moment' came when I said, "It would all be so much easier if my mother would just die." And what if she did? Then I would no longer be tasked with watching the house and could move out. But there is no room in Kathleen's house and I really don't want to be in her airspace. So I would move....where? And after the estate is settled, I end up with a small stash of cash. Move out of town, make a few changes, divorce Kathleen, etc.. Of course there is much more to it than this. I wonder how much of my thought process is formed by wanting to avoid certain looming disasters. Maybe I should rethink things from different points of the compass. Make a list of all the women in the herd and ask, "What would I do if this person went away?" Then follow it with, "What would I do if everyone EXCEPT this person left my life." I must go through this exercise later.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Deeper into the groove

I made the list yesterday, or at least a first rough draft, then became involved in setting up Melinda's furniture.

Later in the day yesterday, then again this morning, I realized this list doesn't address some of the things that really need to change in my life. There is more to life than magic, and those things need to be addressed. But there isn't, and should not be, a complete firewall between Magick and 'normal life.' How did Lon Milo phrase it? "Magick isn't my life, but it makes my life Magickal." So, while the ' list' is mostly made, there is more thinking to be done.

Oakland is being an interesting place. If I was single and free of external obligation, it would be a temptation to move to a place like this. Melinda found an apartment in a mixed race neighborhood, in a [mostly] non-scary part of town. It is only a block off Lakeside. There is grocery, park, coffee and bar within walking distance. The apartment is well maintained (workmen came in yesterday and did repairs that will consume the first month or two of rent Melinda pays) and the manager is friendly. Parking is a bitch, so if I moved here I would be tempted to shed my car and get a good bike (and maybe a scooter or motorbike). Right now I am on the back patio, enjoying a cool breeze from the bay and loving the Heavenly Blue morning glory along the back fence. If I lived here, I would stake some sort of claim on the back porch, adding enough personal touch to see my personality in it, but not enough to frighten the neighbors.

Speaking of...two of them have wandered by taking things to the trash. First the lady with the pink shock of hair and the two miniature pincer dogs. Buddy and Elvis. Love it. Then the twenty something emo guy with one pant leg rolled up, the other down, and an air about him that speaks of a weak resolve not to drink quite that much next time he goes out to party.

On the down side, the neighbors are packed in close, and having a noisy or obnoxious one magnifies the effect. I thought this would be a big problem, but they all know to tone it down after dark. Other than a brief Barking Dog episode and some loud black ladies who stepped out of a stereotype, it is almost dead calm.

Back to life and magick. The big thing that bothers my right now is my weight and health. I stopped exercising this summer. Over the last few years my weight has slowly crept back up to just over 200 (a gain of about 30). My knees and joints are becoming more fragile. I seem to be in constant pain from one injury or one joint or something. Also, my alcohol use has gone up and this is having an effect on my body, psyche and spirit. All things are connected. Magick should inform and strengthen my mundane life. My mundane life should support and strengthen my Magick. When the equation is worked to the final line, Magick and Life become indistinguishable from each other. By this reasoning I can drop the question 'what to do next in magick' and ask 'what to do next in life.' The answer is to make a step or two to improve my health. I would be tempted to take on exercise, diet and alcohol all at the same time, but I already learned the wisdom of taking one step at a time. So the choice is made....

Continue with daily practice of Yoga as before. Do it with some intent in mind, such as to incorporate refining elements into it. Return to my previous exercise routine, working out each day (except Tuesday when I visit H and B), alternating aerobic and strength routines. Again, this will be for 20 days and will be tracked in the magickal diary. The starting date is to be September 2nd - my first full day back to work after this trip - and will end at the equinox.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting back in the groove

I completed 20 days of Raja Yoga, with the main intent of establishing the habit. I then intended to build from this to a next stage. The long term goal is to continue building on each stage until I be 'where I want to be' in the daily/regular practice of magic.

Analysis of the 20 days.

Good things:
  1. I intended to do only 10 minutes a day, but quickly took it to 20 minutes (for about 15 of the 20 days).

  2. I quickly reversed a temptation to pile other goals on the original goal. This prevented setting myself up for failure.

  3. At the beginning of the period, I read of breathing techniques used by Crowley. I incorporated a version of this into the practice and it was a great success.

  4. A journal was kept for all days of the period.

Bad things:
  1. Failure is likely to occur on days that are not 'routine'. In other words, days that are not work days and find me at home in the evening.

  2. I did skip one day near the end, and it was due to alcohol and other bad choices.

  3. At the first sign of success, I started to pile other goals onto the original goal (see related 'good thing' above).

  4. Once the 20 days was up, I stopped. This was not my original intent. The cause of failure is two-fold. First, the first day off practice was also the first of many days living outside normal routine. Second, I had no formally stated plan for what to do next.

  5. Journal entries were often delayed to the next day. They should have been done just after the end of each Yoga exercise.

The next thing to do is outline the next stage and start it. This will be done now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Under Pressure

I am not happy this weekend. I have pressure building from one of my friendships. There is continued frustration with Horus Oasis, both with the lack of interest and from my failure to meet my own expectations. There are all of the things I want to do that are going undone. The waste of energy on small things that don't matter. Losing time, energy and Will to alcohol. The only thing that is going well is I am doing well with my daily practice. The first 20 days ends in a few more days. There will be a break of sorts while I travel to San Fransisco. Then Gnostic Mass with the Thelemistas and a return to home. It will be nice to get away - to spend some time ignoring my problems. But then I will return home and my problems will still be here.

[Much more. Redacted.]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pluggin along

I've kept up practice of Asana for thirteen days straight. So for so good. At the first sign of success with this I was tempted to pile more onto the plan. In fact I added a second item to the plan, but backed off from it the next day. I need to start simple, establish the habit, and not set myself up for failure.

Gads - you think an old guy like me would have progressed past this whole 'baby step' thing. Apparently not.

When the 20 days are up there will be a break of sorts forced by a trip to San Francisco. I'm helping move Melinda out. My selfish moment in the trip will be attending mass with The Thelemistas. It will be fun.

The second of my short term ambitions with Magick is to resume the practice of ritual, not only in resuming regular practice, but also in learning new ritual. Also in studying it - for while I have been doing the LBRP for years, I have never gone beyond the surface in studying the symbols and meanings of the ritual.

Nothing else to report. Back to cleaning the house.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So far, so good....

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of myself. The proposed cure was to buckle down and start Daily Practice again (but not to clutter this blog with details). So here is the executive summary.

I selected a starting point of just doing 20 straight days of Asana, only 10 minutes per day. The sole intent of this was to establish the habit. I also stated that any break in this would cause me to reset the count of 20 days. This was the most insightful thing I have done in many months. I am now on day seven of the the twenty and I am already having good results and learning a thing or two about the practice. This coincides with reading John St. John by Crowley, from which one good idea was taken, and has borne good fruit.

In other news, Sid and Harold were visiting from St George, putting their son in the MTC. I placed an old laptop with Harold, that he plans to use for genealogy. It is a computer I spent many hours with at work, that would otherwise be going to the shredder.

When mowing the lawn Friday morning, I came to a spot where my foot went 'squish'. I brushed it off as imagination. Then I squished again. The short version of the story is that, bright Monday morning, a crew will show up to dig the trench into which the new water supply line will be placed. Lovely.

Other than that, it has been a profoundly unproductive weekend. I am reading much, and getting small things done. Maybe when I run out of small things, I will begin to do the things that really matter.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Random Ramble

Today was the Sonzini family reunion. We are all busy becoming our parents. I have no idea what our parents are busy becoming.

After a few weeks of shoveling the mess, I have my temple space cleared out. I have the guest room cleared out. I have my old room decent enough for use as another guest room. The storage room upstairs is less crowded than it used to be. But the basement needs work. I will have to reposition Melinda's stuff and do some other cleaning before I can resume workouts. I estimate another week.

With the 4-10 schedule at work, I have given up going to the gym and my sleep schedule is messed up. This last part which surprises me because all I did was shift it a half hour earlier. I could experiment with the schedule, but with the summer two thirds done I don't see the point.

Melinda has found a place to live in Oakland, and may get a job managing the apartments in exchange for half of her rent. She is excited. We are moving her down the last week of August. Melinda and Kathleen will go a few days before me for two reasons. First, so I can help manage Gnostic Mass on the 23rd. Next, so they can call me after setting up camp and tell me what to bring and what to leave home. This will also leave me fewer days to be sitting around being bored and frustrated. I am planning to attend mass with the Thelemistas on the 30th and network Melinda with a few of The Gang. (I just hope they don't give me too hard a time for being a body master with The Caliphate O.T.O.)

Work:
I keep thinking I am figuring out this Delphi thing, and each time it finds a new way to bite me on the butt. The last time was a bit different, and has me ready to release. I thought the program was ready, then I recalled that the report units had been dropped from the project while I fixed other things. When I added them back, it errored out on compiling. A little bit of internet research turned up some ideas, but not a sure cure. So I dragged Eric over to the desk and between the two of us we got it working. Between the last error, where he provided the first half of the cure and I the second, and this one, where he only offered one small (but essential) suggestion, I am finally feeling able to handle this.

Programming is like Ceremonial Magick. In one mode it is the constant search for The One Thing, taking the aspirant through blind allies, false solutions and endless pain. In another mode it is repeating what you know, but always adding just a bit to the knowledge and practice with each repetition.

So much for the mundane.

I am tired of myself. More than that, I am tired of feeling this way about myself. There is no progress in life, in fact I am losing ground. I am also more aware with the passing of time just how little time I have left to this life. Do I give up and fail the fight? Do I keep up the old patterns of effort followed by inattention and failure? Do I finally find the key to my psyche and make the needed changes?

I am also tired of writing about it in this journal. Before the weekend is out, a new effort begins on a magickal diary and all will be recorded there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Big Dig

I have spent several hours over the last two months digging through the masses of junk that inhabit my mother's house. As of today, my temple space has been cleared (I was using to it for storage as I "cleared the decks" in the rooms the junk would be sorted back into). But there is still a mountain of junk, and hours of work. In terms of visual effect, I am about 70% done. But in terms of hours spent, I may not have passed the halfway mark yet.

I have been calling at "Archaeological Dig" in jets. but it is turning into the same in earnest. First of all, it has been a prime chance to MAKE STUFF GO AWAY. Don't tell any of my sisters I said that. Next, it is giving me first dibs on the COOL STUFF that no one else knows about. But it is only small stuff, so who cares. But the bulk of the work is sorting out stuff that needs to stay and isn't cool. So I box like items together and find a place for it. When I am done, I expect about a quarter of it to go away, half to be reduced and combined, and the rest to haunt me in my private moments.

There is much family history in the stacks. To that end, mom let me purchase a scanner and a few other goodies, on the promise that the photos get scanned and distributed to the clan. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but reality has set in - it will take time to do this. I have no time. Worse, in the last few days I have found more boxes of photos, tripling (or worse) the amount of work I thought I was in for. But if I don't do it, who will?

On the other hand, it isn't costing me any money. Mom purchased the scanner, a 1/2 TByte drive and the CD blanks. The other hardware fell into my lap from work. A desk came to me from Lisa. All I have to do is.......invest time.

That Pleasing Pain - An OTO Update

I have received word from the Electoral College of the O.T.O. that I have been confirmed Body Master of Horus Oasis. I was expecting it, but arrival of the news was an opportunity to pause and think about the whole thing. I am now free to be the perfect asshole leader with no fears from the responses of the peanut gallery membership.

A few of our minervals decided they want to be initiated to first degree. This is a nice thing, but they wanted to choose the date, and a date that was scarcely more than a month off. I reacted as I normally do, trying to come up with a way to pave the way for them. And it could have worked except for two things: 1) They didn't read the e-mail I sent until after the chance passed and, 2) I did the wrong thing.

I was told a few months ago that I need to be the benevolent dictator. As such, I choose the initiation dates and the rest of the world gets to work around that. So there! (An initiation takes much work by many people, and is offered in love and sacrifice. As such, it really is proper for the initiate to refrain from dictating terms.) On the other hand, it points out that I don't have any plans to handle initiations, and I really need to do something about that. Plan A will be to set up quarterly initiation dates. On those dates we will either initiate, or we will do a rehearsal of the initiation. This is in line with the general will of Beverly and Holly who are applying to become chartered initiators.

In other news, a check for 200 dollars was sent to the First Unitarian Church in order to foster good will after the little accident with the exploding charcoal. I haven't heard back from the Right Reverend Tom yet - and doubt that I will - but I am sure it was the right application of energy and will work the magick I intend.

I think this whole O.T.O. thing is going to work, but will crank up a bit slower than I had foreseen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(not so) Manly Man

Here is the other side of the story of the tree surgeon and the bees.

Yesterday, while unloading the car at Holly and Beverly's, I put a bit of my lunch on the roof of the car. When I turned back, a hornet was hovering above it getting ready to land and feed. I batted it away with a bare hand then forgot about it. An hour later I was making my way from ladder to roof, a scant twelve feet above the ground, with my heart racing like it was the end of the world. The rain gutters were cleaned out, and I returned to the safety of mother earth.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Manly Men

Off the East end of the Silver Cottage row homes are a pair of very old, very large trees. They are also rotting from the inside and one of them lost a large branch in a recent storm. So the property owner is having at least one of the trees cut down. When I got home from work on Friday, they were well into the project. The crew was using a cherry picker to get part-way up the tree, then climbing from there. No safety lines that I could see. It hurt me just to look at it.

Saturday morning I was looking out the window now and then to check their progress. Early on I looked out the window, just in time to see the guy on the cherry picker drop his saw to the deck and start yelling and jumping around. I assumed the worst and was expecting to see blood and body parts and bones sticking out of severed limbs. But after a moment I recognized the motions of the "get the nasty flying insect away from me" dance. He was doing the dance like a scared little girl.

This blew my mind. This guy was macho enough to dance 50 feet above the ground with a chain saw, but lost it when he got stung by a bee.


The deck lowered, then raised 30 minutes later. There were two macho dudes this time, armed with bug spray. There was a nest in the rotted center of the tree, and the saw had opened it up. So they sprayed it to oblivion, then finished the cut from the other side of the limb.

I've dealt with bees and wasps before, and usually do it with calm grace. But I also know how much a sting hurts. I figure in the balance of things, the tree dude is way more macho than me. It was interesting to watch.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tear it all apart...

I've been tearing things apart lately.

Melinda moved all of her stuff into my basement for the summer. My god, how much stuff does a college student need? I needed to make room for it so I started - naturally - at the opposite end of the house. I realized the messes in all the rooms are so connected and dense, that I knew I needed to start cleaning there in order for the bit of open space to roll through the house and make a place for her shit. So I tore certain parts of the house apart, and her stuff is in place. Now I get to put the other rooms back together.

A project at work was being a bit vexing, so I tore it apart. Killed the old tools - burning bridges is great incentive to move forward - then scrapped my day to day duties to make room for it. So far, so good. It will all be in place and beautiful by noon tomorrow. Just in time for the end of the fiscal year.

The eave rebuilding project at Kat's - now on summer number four - is 5 sessions from ending. To make that happen, I tore apart my workout and reading schedules. It sill be done next weekend, then I can turn my attention to repairing concrete and mortar. Long story.

I am tearing apart my alcohol habit. I live in a county that is dry on Sundays. This is a good thing, even though I want a beer so bad I could scream. But I am enjoy knowing that I will be alert and able to work every morning, so I think I'll stay dry for a while.

I am weening myself from Caffeine. Some mountains (booze) are best descended by jumping the cliff. Others (coffee) are best dealt with via a gentle sloping path. Just ask Heather.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Death by Four Tens

I switched to a 4-10 work week starting June 1. It is killing me.

The day starts at 4:30 instead of 5:00 with the typical work day going from 6:00 to 4:30. An hour commute home and a bedtime of 8:30 leaves three whole hours of life at the end of the day.

But then there is the day off. Between the 4-10 work week and couch surfing after my usual Tuesday with The Grrrls, I am only making three round-trips between home and work. With current gas prices, this is saving me up to $80 a month.

Did I mention I am getting up each day at 4:30?

So what about that day off?

I spent one of those days doing weekend things because the previous week was living hell and I was massively behind on 'stuff'. I spent another of those days kicking off The Grand Cleaning Project at my mom's house. I spent the third day off painting at Kathleen's house.

4:30 is too early to get up. It would be better if 8:30 wasn't so early to go to bed. Today (Thursday) is the first day this week I haven't been in a haze from lack of sleep. That haze is more the rule in my life than the exception. I wonder if it is really worth it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Unite the Divided

May 24, 8:20 AM

I am at Peery's Egyptian Theater Convention Center in Ogden, Utah. This is the "Unite the Divided" conference sponsored by Hoor-Paar-Kraat Oasis. I am here (in descending order of influence) out of guilt (payback for making the March 15th Horus event so good), the chance to meet Lon Milo DuQuette, and just plain insanity. Except for the few hours last night between work and bed that I used to stage for the weekend, I am booked solid through late Monday night. I will be spending only enough time at home to switch context and attach a trailer to the back of my car. I will spend all day today at the event, arrive between 10 and midnight tonight at Lisa's, drive her to the airport at 5:00 Sunday morning, then back to Ogden for half a day. When that half day is done ate 3:00 I will drive to Provo, stop long enough to swap out the junk in the car and hitch a trailer to the back, and go to Cedar City. I will collapse in a quivering heap for a fitful night’s sleep. Then I get to move Michael, pack up Melinda’s stuff, drive it north to Provo and unload. I will once again collapse in quivering heap, then go into the office Tuesday morning.

Why do I do these things to myself?

I am listening to Lon play guitar, in preparation for the 'lecture'. He plays guitar? As part of his presentation? This should be interesting.

Having given all the wrong reasons for being here, it is time to choose my real inner reason. And that is....don't know.

[Break in writing to listen to Lon – then to see the film]

The film maker was wearing a t-shirt with the name of the film on it, "A Hero Denied". Walking past him, I misread it, with the folds of the shirt helping, as "A Herd Divided". After thinking a minute, I realized that the name fits. We, as a people, are little better than a herd. We are also quite divided. It fits very well.

I guess when you have fame - even within a small tribe such as the O.T.O. - you can show up for an event and please the people even if you don’t do freaking much of anything. If you do a little 'much of anything' it is well received whether it is related to the theme of the gathering or not. Toward the end of his time, Lon asked us, "What is this supposed to be about?" OK – it really was much better than that. But there was an undercurrent of ‘slack for the adored’.

"Unite the Divided", he was reminded. The largest single bit of Lon's presentation was very entertaining, but had nothing to do with the matter at hand. What preceded and followed was very much on topic, and will be better remembered for having framed a fun little story.

Yes, Lon did play guitar as part of the presentation. He was a professional musician earlier in life, and now uses this to add to his other endeavors. The songs were witty and had a good point to them.

As with any such event, for all of the talking, there are only a half dozen things the presenter really wants to say. Given a chance he could say them in a few minutes. Each person in the audience will remember only one or two of these points - if anything at all is remembered - but will still feel well served. The other 58 minutes are just fluff and frame and repeating the messages often enough to make them stick. Without consulting my notes, here is what I got for my money:

1. The people who are the most divided are the ones who share the most in common.

2. The people who are most united are those who have met face to face.

Interestingly enough, these statements were made during the question answer period after the presentation. As truth number one was given, it was all clear to me. The Muslim factions tearing Iraq apart right now are mainly fighting other Muslims. Fighting the U.S. occupation is something of a side show for them. More of the bombs going off in Baghdad are meant to kill Sunni or Shia than are meant to kill U.S. forces. After all, it is easy to dismiss a member of the 'other' religion as lost soul and a hopeless cause, just so long as he doesn't get between me and my piece of the pie. But when a so called member of the True Faith takes the word of God, the TRUE word of god, then distorts it for an EVILE purpose, corrupting believers and turning them into infidels....well....THAT needs to be dealt with in the harshest manner. There is nothing so low as an apostate. (Example - in the Mormon reality, the only soul to become a son of perdition and get to the lowest ring of hell is the one who once possessed the truth, in knowledge and not in faith, then turned against it.) The other side of this mirror is that the person in the other schism is the one most likely to tell me what to do and how to do it. Until this happens, I am willing to ignore him, even if I know he exists. After this happens, I sure has hell know who he is and am likely not to like him.

As for truth number two, this seems obvious. It is obvious. And it works. Because it works, it is the job of the leader to keep us apart from the other, and to cast them in a light that makes them less human, less of a brother or sister.

Lon opened with a statement, "Magick is not my life, but I use magick to make my life magickal." He expounded and expanded on this. If 'magician' is how you define yourself, then you have a problem. If you just MUST make sure everyone you meet know you DO MAGICK, then you have a problem. If you self define in terms of your joys, then count magick as one of the tools used to achieve your joys, then you have...different problems (but at least not this particular problem.)

There were books for sale, and I fell to the temptation. "The Accidental Christ", a book I judged to be fairly well reeking of irreverence. So far I have read a few pages and there is no irreverence yet. I may be wrong. But wrong or right, I think I will be well entertained. Yes - I got it signed.

When the crowd cleared for a bit, I pulled Lon aside and asked for advice on how to handle Horus. I start by saying, "I am acting body master of Horus Oasis and I am hating every minute of it." That statement brought a smile. I knew I was talking to someone who had 'been there, done that'. The first thing he said was, "Be a benevolent dictator, but don't let them know it." So I asked, "What part don't I let them know: The benevolent part, or the dictator part?" (The dictator part.) He expanded on this. "Don't EVER decide on things by taking a vote. Accept input, and make a choice based on this. But once the choice is made, just tell them when and where they need to be to participate, then let them choose to show up. He mentioned the term 'ipso facto', I responded with my translation of 'this is the way things is' and that worked.

The rest of the answer fell into the category of things I already knew but had forgotten that I knew. He mentioned that he knew large lodges that only had a few people showing up for activities, so that was nothing new. Then he gave an example from his own life, of holding a weekly class on magick. During the early stages, he was usually the only person there. (He also mentioned making then short classes of 6 to 8 parts max.) Isn't this close to the essay "It takes more than goats"? I guess this could be called “Finding My Zen” on the matter. So I will pretend the Oasis is just me and Holly and Beverly, I will take steps with them to make that work (Mass team, initiation team, etc.), and we will keep on playing OTO. I will also assume that the larger and wonderful oasis that will exist 5 years from now will be made up mostly of people who have not been initiated yet.

Finally, he said this: The most important thing for me is - be true to myself: Before the order, before the body, and before Grand Lodge.

Hold the events, make it regular, and expect that, for quite some time, the only person there will be me.

But.....

I'm still pissed off about how March 15 turned out. An initiation shouldn't be surrounded with so much effort on the part of the initiate. (Maybe it is an allegory - Maybe the universe is telling me that I'm going to have to work real hard to bring about my own death. Isn't that just encouraging?)

For the last several weeks, and especially this last week, the theater of my mind has been putting on some grand productions. I have imagined all sorts of events, betrayals and slights followed by my wounded and righteous withdrawal from the OTO. As usual, this shit was going on for a while before I stopped myself and recognized it was happening. Then it took a little while longer to analyze why it was happening. This is my subconscious telling me I want OUT. But the drama also often is framed in terms preceded by the failure for the large wonderful oasis to materialize. So is it that I want out all the way, or that I don't want to fail? Either way, it seems I want to be able to conveniently have someone else to blame (hence the imagined slight or offense). Holy crap. I thought I was slightly past this sort of drama? Then again, silly monkey is wired to learn lessons over and over before they finally stick.

So - brass tacks for Horus. Monthly mass. Coffee and/or class twice a month. Declare a day and do it. Tuesday? Monday? One of those. I will commit to this for a period (six months? three?) and see what happens. If I make it open ended I will get discouraged too soon. If I commit to a period, I will stick to it even if no one ever shows up.

"A Hero Denied" is the story of Patrick Stewart, a Nevada National Guard Member killed in Afghanistan, and the fight to allow the Wiccan pentacle to decorate his Veteran’s Administration supplied headstone. Good movie. Educational. I find I interesting that the VA didn’t fight the pentacle issue because anyone in the White House told them to. Instead, they fought it because they tried to second guess the White House, and surmised that – if they knew about it to begin with – the White House would tell them to fight it. Is this how bad the Bush Administration is? Do we have government agencies living in such fear of the Bushies? Is everyone spending more time looking over their shoulder for the shadow of Big Brother that is begins to interfere with the correct execution of their jobs?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Praise Bob

Class of the Subgenius.

So...I used my birthday money to join the Church of the SubGenius. I have been reading the word of Bob for some years now, but I found out there was a new book out, so I jumped with both feet - bought the book and joined the cult. Then...

I got an e-mail that MLA (Maybe Logic Academy) was offering a class SubGenius 101, creating your own cult. I clenched my teeth and really tried to resist, but the draw was too great. I sent off the money and signed up.

So we are wrapping up week one, which is sort of a pre-history. The thing that surprises me most is learning how deliberate and intentional the rise of the CoS was. First, it was planned in bitter detail, with the theology being deliberately constructed (crazy, but intentional). Second, it may have been an obsession (hence not based on logic), but it was intended from the start to grow and become a cash cow - this wasn't just a happy accident. The joy in all of this is that it worked, and the cash came in from rubes who are in on the joke, not from innocents who are being fleeced. What more could you ask?

Lessons learned so far (in relation to the OTO).
  1. While the word of Bob may be strange, and have a thousand faces, it also has enough slogans and catch phrases to be concrete. It isn't a moving target. It is in clear focus. I need to compose clear answers to the common questions about the O.T.O. (what is this, who are you, what do you do, what do you believe). I need to set the catch-phrases and slogans in my mind and let them be the first things out of my mouth.
  2. The vast majority of the people who hear the Word of Bob dismiss it out of hand. This is fine. All the CoS needs is that one out of a thousand - or ten thousand - for the cult to work. The same applies to the O.T.O.. Either a person is already on our wavelength or not. Be bold. Use the 'insider' words and phrases (then explain as needed), . Don't make the ugly parts look pretty. Don't try to please the ears of the person I talk to. Either they are tuned to it or they aren't. If they are, the best course is to be bold. If they aren't tuned, being bold will make them run away and not waste my time.
  3. Put it out there. The CoS worked because Stang actively marketed it. Fliers, books, radio shows, etc.
  4. Don't work alone. Even though he was at the center of the CoS, and is most readily identified with it, Stang didn't do it alone. He still isn't doing it alone. He traded ideas and work with a close core while building it, then leveraged the energies of a large number of kooks to sustain it. So far I have Holly and Beverly on board for the Oasis, but I need more people than that.
  5. Make it fun. Nuff said?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Frustration of the month

This month's frustration: I am putting time and effort into working on all of these things that aren't Andy. But first...

On the evening of April 26 (Friday) we (Me, Holly, Beverly, Dylan) went to Carmina Burana with the Utah Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. A few days before, KUER did a one hour show on it, so I went into the concert well educated. It was good. It was "Oh Wow" good.

I am writing this in Cedar City where I will be attending Melinda's graduation tomorrow. At the tender age of 21 she is getting her BA in History with a minor in Sociology. She was also voted student of the year in the History department. She takes after me. I am quite proud of her.

I am also out of time.....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My favorite toy!

Oh joy and happiness! I am writing this on my newly repaired AlphaSmart 3000. Be still, my beating heart. I must not swoon. I am so happy to have this little device back in my life.

Why am I so excited? Go to the AlphaSmart web site and look at the Dana (it replaces the AlphaSmart 3000 in their offerings). Your first reaction will be to ask, "Why should I get excited about this? Why did you drop 200 bucks on a one purpose device, and with such limitations, when low end laptops are priced at $400?" Simple. Three AA batteries will last 700 hours in this thing. Let me repeat that... seven hundred hours. Do the math. Use it an hour a day and you get almost 2 years before having to drop a whole two dollars for new batteries. Use it a few hours a week and you forget the thing even uses juice.

It weighs only on pound. It is well built. When I turn it on, it is ready to use in 5 seconds. It never loses data. It dumps text to my PC using a USB connection, and pretends it is just a keyboard. Use it with ANY hardware, ANY operating system and dump a file into ANY program that accepts text input from the regular keyboard. When this blog post is ready, I will open a browser, log into my account and create a new post, plug in the AlphaSmart and push the send button. Shazam. The ghost in the machine starts pushing 200 words a minute onto the screen.

I am also quite pleased with my customer support experience. I sent an e-mail from the web site and had an answer within one business day, offering two options to fix the problem. I ordered a replacement keyboard to fix it myself. This was on Monday. The keyboard arrived on Friday. The instructions were clear, complete and accurate. The support people were all Americans who sounded happy and competent. The repair took less than 10 minutes - there were no surprises. The instructions were the best bit of technical writing I have seen in years. Kudos to the entire organization.

In O.T.O. news, the Electoral College voted for continuing status for Horus Oasis - I am still acting body master. They cited confirmation of my initiation to third degree as being the one item lacking. I understand and agree. "Let all be done well and with business way." A few people are treating this as if being confirmed body master is a prize or plum of some sort. "Have you heard yet?, asks one person, with a thrill in her voice. "I'm sure you'll get it!, says another, as if confirming that I am worthy, or maybe just a little bit exalted. Do any of these people stop and remind themselves that this is a JOB? It is a series of tasks, duties, and frustrations. The rewards are small and sometimes hard to recognize. It is a freaking pain in the ass. A part of me hoped the college would return a decision of, "Not only no, but Hell No." It would be a relief.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Clearing brush

After closing my last post, I did as promised and went back to doing stuff. Some things were from The List - things I planned to do this weekend - and some were just more unplanned things that seemed to mean nothing. But trying to avoid these "mean nothing" things and return to the prepared list was resulting in brainlock, so I just went with the flow.

This was a good choice. This morning I felt like the weekend was a success, and like I could move on with getting things done. The stuff I "wasted" time on was stuff that had been nagging at my psyche. Getting some of things done lowered the volume of the nagging and freed me up to focus on other tasks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thelema Dreama

I had an odd dream a few nights ago. The Electoral College of the O.T.O. was meeting last weekend and, if all went according to plan, I was confirmed as Master of Horus Oasis. But in my dream, they rejected me as Body Master, then tried to make it all look like it was my fault - that I had failed the Order and that it was my job to pick up the pieces and find a new Body Master. In the dream I laughed in their collective faces and started to just walked away from it all. Their response was to ask, "But what will YOU do without us?" Being the drama queen that I am, I delivered a speech before stalking off, and answered that question for them.

None of this is worth mentioning except for the speech. It was revealing. It covered some truths that I have chosen to ignore and need to resolve. If I don't find resolution, my journey with the O.T.O. may at least by rocky, or may at most "end ugly".

It's dead, Jim!!!!

The verdict is in. The VW Cabriolet is dead. Leaking oil into the cylinders, and coolant into the oil. I am going to get a quote on an engine exchange or rebuild, but I doubt it will be within the realm of what I can do.

It has been a damned frustrating week, turning into an equally frustrating weekend. The constant sense of frustration that always lurks in the basement of my psyche took a larger share of control this week. I didn't go to the gym, and only did one partial workout at home. I spent much of my time at home doing little that mattered. I lacked focus at work and accomplished less than I should have.

With the start of the weekend, I got some of my traction back, but the steering failed. I started putting effort into things that weren't priorities. When I tried to change focus to the things that do matter, I got stuck. And here I am - stuck.

Having said this, I stop and look back at the last 48 hours and change my evaluation. I spent some time being stuck, I spent some time doing things that don't matter, I also accomplished things that do matter. But the feeling that stays with me and tends to define my weekend is, "I'm stuck".

Frustrating.

I am leaving now so I can accomplish one or two more things on "The List".

Monday, April 14, 2008

Revenge of the Boob Toob

In the past, I have committed many offenses against the television. This last weekend, the television exacted it revenge.

But first, an update on my previous entry. I mentioned clearing out the Porn Collection, but didn't mention why this is worthy of mention. Forget what the collection is composed of - I have many collections of many sorts of things. It is a manifestation of my problems with OCD. As the disorder goes, I have a mild case, but it is there and it does annoy me. I have a history of turning attention to something and, instead of acquiring enough of it to fill the reasonable needs or desires, I need to have ALL of it. The phrase "Collect the Entire Set" comes to mind. Even if I don't collect the entire set, it is hard as hell to part with the pieces I do own. So, while I may not be a hoarder in the classic sense, I do have small hoards of 'stuff' hidden in the corners of my living space.

Being able to look at one of The Collections straight in the eye, then haul it off to the trash (the recycle bin, actually), isn't a huge victory, but it is significant. I went from this to throwing out some other non-related items, then dealing with a cyber-collection of music and e-book downloads that had taken over my computer. It was refreshing.

I can hardly wait to see what I throw out next.

With Kat and Shannon out of town, I have been watching their house and taking care of cats. I also decided to enjoy myself a bit by watching some movies. Over the course of three evenings I planned to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So on Friday I watched the Fellowship of the Ring while sipping a wee bit of wine. On Saturday I returned and slipped The Two Towers into the DVD player, then turned on the TV. Nothing happened. No picture, no muted click - nothing. I did all the standard things (power, remote, cursing, hitting) and still nothing.

For years I have spoken out against the evils of the Television. The crap that comes in through the cable or satellite feed is pure trash - brain numbing, low, filthy trash. So when I finally want to use the box for my own higher desires, it smiles, it winks, it arranges for a cold solder joint to finally crack, thereby depriving me of my pleasure.

At least the damned thing is still under warranty.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Three Days, Two Bodies, and way too much pussy

This week was dominated by celebrating the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law. Day One - the Clark Planetarium. Day Two - Gilgal Gardens. Day Three - Pot luck and Bonfire. We also read the Book of the In Laws. (Do it, then wilt.)

The first two days were me, Holly, Beverly and Dylan. The last day was me, Sara, Chris and Gretchen. Is Horus Oasis one body or two?

Melinda likes to collect cats. She wants to be a Cat Lady when she grows up. She denies this, but her actions speak another truth. She dragged one cat home to her mother's house. It promptly terrorized the other two cats, one of which had to move in with me. Then she got two more cats when she got a new apartment. Then she started taming a one-eyed cat in the trailer park. Last week, Jack sauntered into the house, made a nest in her bedroom closet, and squeezed out four kittens.

Then Shannon adopted a neighborhood stray.

Too many cats. Too much pussy.

I was all ready to spend the weekend FOCUSED. Saturday turned into a joke. I know I accomplished something....somewhere....but I'll be damned if I can remember what. So when my eyelids creaked open at 5:30 this morning, I tried really hard to go back to sleep. After all, if the weekend was doomed to failure, why not embrace the failure? I tried in vain. Before 6:00 I had delivered The Volkswagen to the mechanic and was starting on the weekend chores. I was actually getting things done, but I have a talent for focusing my energies on stuff that doesn't matter. Instead of fighting it, I went with it. Much to my shock and horror (and perverse delight) I spent some of that energy tossing out my old porn collection.

Did I just confess that I have (or had) a porn collection? Did I just call it a "collection"? (As opposed to stash, stack, etc.)

Sigh. WAY too much pussy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Shiny New Tool

"If you want to be someone else, you had better change your mind."

I wish I knew who to credit with that quote. Change is life. When there is no change, it is time to say goodbye to the tribe and walk off into the desert.

I recently read Heart of the Mind, one of the standard works of NLP. Interesting stuff.

Then I tried one of the ideas in the book, rather than just reading all about it. I asked myself, "Where is my past?" It was large, and greyscale, and parked to my left, a bit high, very close. Fine. "Where is my future?" Small and colorful and off to the right and way too far away. So after asking permissions from "The Committee", I moved things around.

The past? Shrink a bit. Now go lower, a bit to the left, and back off a bit. I still want to keep tabs on you, but I don't want to trip over you (or hit my head on you).

The future? Move in close....closer....there - about three feet away, eye level, to the right. Grow larger, and lets move to a hippie era color scheme. Be where I can touch you if I want, and brush gently around your edges if, for some reason, you stop but I am still moving forward.

So far, when I keep this picture intact, my attitudes change. My actions change. My choices change. It will be interesting to see if I can keep this relationship with past and future, and if the changes continue and develop.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Being Dead

To quote from Magic Without Tears by Mr. Crowley:

  1. The Ego is attracted to the Solar System.

  2. The Child experiences Birth.

  3. The Man experiences Life.

  4. He experiences Death.

  5. He experiences the World beyond Death.

  6. This entire cycle of Point-Events is withdrawn into Annihilation.
I now sit on the far side (just barely) of step four. At this point I have no desire to go any further. No, Sir! I am going to plunk down my travel bags, sit my self down on them, and have a long righteous sulk.

Side Question: When the O.T.O. created the requirement for a Body Master to be III Degree, did they really think it through? "I know!", says Mr. X degree, full of vim and vigor, "let's bar control of local bodies from people who are in the growing and living stages of life, and hand it over to a bunch of rotting corpses." (Yes - I understand and - mostly - agree with the 'real' reasons. But I need to vent.)

But to be serious: I am not moving out of this degree until I an damned good and ready. I think two years is what I should have spent in 2nd, and it was a mistake to be pushed into taking 3rd early. I will not make this mistake again.

The Ides of March was an initiation, Gnostic Mass and an Equinox celebration. My day started at 6:30 AM and ended 20 hours later. Very little of that time was spent off my feet. I am not happy about this. There is a part of me that is more than willing to just fire off a few scatalogical e-mails and walk away from the whole thing. This is supposed to be about spiritual growth and flowering human potential. It is NOT supposed to be about 'Lift the barge. Tote that bale.'

As for my last post, I settled for myself the questions of Normals and Nermals and the O.T.O.. What will be, will be. I will follow my course and not waste energy casting wary glances at my fellow travelers.

Where from here? I am going to make YET ANOTHER attempt to establish a daily spiritual practice. I am going to ONCE AGAIN stop worrying about things I can't change and gently prod things I can change. I am going to 'keep on keeping on.' But this time I have a new tool in my bag of tricks...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Evaluating the Nermal

Why are there no Normals in the O.T.O.?

I had a 'Stop And Think' moment last week regarding the O.T.O.. It was actually a combination of several moments that built on each other. I keep running into problems getting Horus Oasis to 'work' that trace back to people who - in various ways and for various reasons - just don't have all of their marbles in one bag. Instead of focusing on the events, or on their consequences, I did some thinking about the people involved. I concluded that there are no "Normals" in Horus Oasis.

Start with all of the members of Horus, standing for inspection, as in a police lineup. Even keep the ones who rarely show up and never contribute. Identify those who have persistent non-normal neurology and ask them to leave. The lineup is now much smaller. Now mark those who have a fair claim to normal neurology, but are prone to episodes of histrionics - who blow up just often enough that you never feel good trusting them with an assignment. The crowd shrinks again. Finally, of the few remaining, identify the ones who are in temporary non-normal space because this thing called "life" is busy working them over with a rubber hose. What you have left right at this point is a small group of normals who, each and every one, belong to the crowd that never contributes. They don't want to contribute, or they are too busy, or the are just lazy, or whatever.

And standing in the middle of this thing, assigned the task of making this work, is me. So far it is working, because the non-normals and the rubber hose people put in what effort they can.

When I first looked at this, I was wondering why the O.T.O. seems to attract such a crew of freaks. Where are the normals? Why aren't they playing with us? Then I had to stop and check my premises. I am assuming the following points, and I should be asking if these points are valid....
  • There is such a thing as a "Normal" and...
  • Normals make up the majority of the population.
  • The O.T.O. should attract normals just as any other organization should.
There is no such thing as a Normal. This isn't so much saying that everyone is non-normal. It is saying that Normal is flawed and artificial construct. The Pinks create an image, a cardboard cutout, of what is Normal then convince the masses that there is something wrong with them if they don't conform to it. The masses respond not so much by conforming, but by hiding the non-normal parts of their lives and pretending to be normal. And what of the rebels that claim to live outside the mainstream and present the finger to The Pinks? They are just looking to a marginally different definition of Normal and conforming to it in the same way. Think of the Hot Topic girlie-bopper who shows how different she is by wearing the same offensive t-shirt as the other 35,000 rebels who purchased the same shirt. Oh my....we are sooooooooo impressed.

If you want to give the word Normal an accurate definition, you would have to admit that what is truly normal is to be totally fucked up - and to be fucked up in a manner that is unlike the up-fuckedness of any other person.

But there is such a thing as Nermal. I stole this word from an old Garfield comic. "Nermal" is the name given to "The World's Cutest Kitten", who made sporadic appearances in the strip, mainly to annoy Garfield and conspire with Odie. In my private vocabulary I use this word to refer to a person who, while living in the world or so-called Normals, is perfectly aware of his or her deviations from the Norm. If not privately treasuring and nurturing these differences, the Nermal at least recognizes them, respects them, and makes allowances for them in the living of every day life.

That takes care of the first two assumptions. The third then falls apart. To be attracted to the O.T.O., a person must usually be either Nermal, or on the brink of becoming Nermal. This states the heart of the issue, and why it isn't the issue I think it is.

I think.

Maybe.

What is the role of the O.T.O. in the lives of its initiates? (I was going to use the word 'members' instead of 'initiates'. But I change my mind. Initiate = begin. We have many initiations. We are always beginning. Fodder for a whole new rant.)

I will propose the following...
  1. For those few souls attracted to the O.T.O. who haven't already done this on their own, they make you realize that you a not a Normal, but a Nermal.
  2. To help you reconcile your current Nermalcy to your desired Nermalcy. This can be phrased as "Finding out what the heck your Will really is."
  3. To aid in coming to your true Nermalcy.
  4. Finally, making your true Nermalcy interface constructively with external reality.
I will stop writing at this point. I need to review what I have written and revise it as more brain cells are sacrificed to the cause. Additions and revisions to follow...

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's in the Cards

As part of being recruited into the role of Body Master at Horus Oasis, I am having a third degree initiation pretty much shoved down my throat. You have to be third to be a body master, therefore...blah, blah, blah.

Here are the internal factors at play. First, I don't want to take an initiation until I feel I am ready. Second, I never feel ready for anything until I have prepped, analyzed and scoped it out far more than is reasonable. So, by these two points, I never feel ready for anything. Third, I took my second degree because it was a prerequisite for something else I wanted to do. Fourth, I really want Horus to succeed, and I am the only hope the body has (right now, at least), so.....

Crap.

Crap, crap, crap.

After talking with Holly and Beverly, I determined to consult The Oracle. I put forward three choices, and did a simple three card draw on each choice. Here is how it fell out...

Choice One: Tell the O.T.O. to go to hell and I'll take third on my schedule, not on theirs.
The Moon, Two of Cups and The Empress - All reversed.
Not good. Deception, breaking apart, then loss and infertility.

Choice Two: Submit the paperwork, then arrange for things to get delayed until I feel ready. In other words, lie to them:
Ten of Cups, The Lovers, Page of Swords - All reversed (again).
Not good. Rug pulled out, miscommunication and strife, an effort falling flat before it can go anywhere.

Choice Three: Hand in the paperwork and just do it now:
Eight of Swords (reversed), Death, Justice.
Release from bondage, transformation, and things being set right. And we won't EVEN make that connection between the Death card and the focus of the Third Degree ritual. No. Not us. No way.

So I grabbed the paperwork, filled it out, and will ask the outgoing Body Master what in the blazes to do with it (assuming he shows up at Mass tomorrow).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A bad case of Shingles

This weekend, I went from the top of the world down to the very depths. ...from replacing shingles on the roof in Tooele to dealing with raw sewage in the basement of my mother's house.

A few weeks ago a storm blew through Tooele. And blew, and blew and blew. The wind separated many small things from the houses they were attached to - such as shingles, siding, doors and windows. Fences were blown over. Trampolines were tossed about. Trees were uprooted. Across the street from the Tooele house, three grand old pines were toppled like dominoes. A string of telephone poles south of town were snapped in half like matches.

I was initially told that the shingles in the yard came from the neighbors place. Wrong. The repairs cost less than $40, but it took a day from my life and left a raw patch on my butt cheek. I learned that I am not quite over my fear of heights, but that I'm not as bad as I used to be. I learned that wind torn shingles like to fold in the middle then tear off - not blow off in one piece. I learned how to carefully pull nails under existing shingles, then slide the replacements up underneath them. I learned that repairing roofing is a helluva lot more work than installing roofing.

And I learned that if you spend the day with one butt cheek supporting your weight on asphalt shingles, it will be pretty and red and raw and it won't let you sleep for two nights in a row.

This was on Saturday, January 19th. Two days later, we got 6 inches of snow. For once, the universe arranged for things to happen in the correct order.

Before leaving for Tooele, I noticed the drains backing up in the basement. I hoped to ignore it for a few days before dealing with it. Poor choice. So on Monday, the plumber was there to root it all out. In the past the problem has been the line out to the street, with access from the driveway. This time, it was in the house under the concrete floor. It was rooted out, and toilets could once more be flushed without fear. But when I went to clean the floor (ick), the floor drain.....didn't. So out came the snake, and I got to clear that one on my own. Either I had two blockages that just happened to happen at the same time, or one blockage that was where the two lines join. Either way, it works now. Between the "roof tar clothing" and the "raw sewage clothing" I had an interesting load on laundry to do.