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".


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.