Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best ever....

For me, it was the best Christmas in several years.

For two close friends, it was the best in several years. I had the pleasure of being a part of their Christmas.

For the mother of one of these friends, it was also a "best in years".

Two other friends, to whom I made minuscule contribution, it was also a Christmas to remember.

We must - all of us - be doing something right.

Gonna have to do it all - or something better than "it all" - again next year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Evil Corporation discovers social media

A few years ago, The Evil Corporation that I work for discovered social media. The initial react was predictable. They blocked all social media sites and issued dire warnings about using them at work. Then, about 6 months ago, The Evil Corporation realized social media was more than a passing fad (duh). This led to policies for the proper use and access of social media by The Evil Corporation in order to market the products of The Evil Corporation. It also resulted in official policy for private use (yes...private use) of social media by employees.

Most of the Evil Corporation policy for personal use of social media makes sense. It boils down to not misrepresenting or dissing the company, and not screwing around with your fellow employees. But then I got to the last paragraph, and especially the last line. Remember that, according to the policy, I am REQUIRED to follow these rules if, anywhere in my blog, I identify my employer. I quote:
With regard to personal postings and activities, you should bear in mind that social networking sites are generally public and permanent. You should understand the security and privacy features available for the social networking sites you use, and exercise discretion and common sense. Never use ethnic slurs, obscenity, insults or otherwise engage in conduct or discourse that would be unacceptable in our [name of Evil Corporation] workplace. All postings should be respectful, concise, factual and dispassionate.
I just love that last sentence. To rephrase:
  • If I show a lack of respect for anything or anyone, I am in violation of company policy.
  • If I ramble aimlessly instead of getting to the point, I am in violation of company policy. (This point alone would leave well over half of my co-workers without a job.)
  • If I tell lies, or make honest mistakes, I am in violation of company policy.
  • If I get a little worked up over something, or use too many CAPS OR EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!! - I am in violation of company policy.
  • In short - be bland.
Needless to say, I searched the blog and took down all references to The Evil Corporation. Ditto my Facebook profile.

Three cheers for the Evil Corporation.


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Had a shitty summer. Hence no posts.

I am now engaged in deliberate brain change. If all goes to plan, I'll start regular updates again somewhere around December 1st.

Love is the law, love under will.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Did someone say "Boycott"????

Boycotting BP.

This is a long post. For those of you with a short attention span, here is the bottom line. There are only two ways to make a difference. First, reduce your own personal use of petroleum (forever....not just while it is politically correct). Second, write your senator or congressman and raise holy hell over the issue of sustainable energy.


I have close friend (yo Proclus!) who has been beating the drum to boycott BP (British Petroleum) over the current debacle in the Gulf of Mexico. My first reaction was to climb on board and support the boycott. Then - alas - my brain cells engaged, and I devoted some cranial time to the issue. Here is the result.

There are two questions. First: "Why boycott BP?" Second: "How to boycott BP?"

I will take the questions in reverse order. Therefore, I will first address the problem of how to boycott BP (or any other major player in the petroleum industry).

In my corner of the world (Utah) BP is not a player. But Chevron is. So I will pretend that the villain of this drama is Chevron, and I will proceed from that point. I chose Chevron because they have a business relationship with my previous employer and I can speak from a position of knowledge and experience. WTF - the major oil companies are interchangeable, aren't they?


How to boycott? Stop buying from them. Right. Sure.

In Utah, there are a number of Gas Stations that are branded as Chevron. But none of them (NOT ONE) is actually owned by Chevron. It works like this. If I own a gas station, and I choose to be branded as a Chevron Station, the following happens...
I display the Chevron logo.
My customers can use their Chevron credit card for purchases.
The gasoline delivered to my location includes that magical and mystical substance known as "Techron"
I pay an extra 2 to 4 cents per gallon or the gasoline delivered to my business.

But what about the gasoline delivered to my Gas Station? It comes from the Wood's Cross Refinery on North Salt Lake that supplies EVERY OTHER GAS STATION in the entire freaking state. The only difference is this: When the dude running the facility that loads the tankers prepares the gasoline transfer, he sees a note that this is a Chevron delivery. So he pushes the button that adds "Techron" to the load. And off it goes. And the next load, going to a Phillips 66, gets fuel from the same freaking tank, only without the flunky pushing the "Thechron" button. And so it goes.....

But - you ask - where does the crude oil come from that is turned into the gasoline that ends up in my tank? Again - it isn't clear, and it doesn't matter. The Woods Cross refinery mentioned above buys crude on the spot market, from whatever player happens to have the best price at the moment. And, with the way the commodities market works, the barrel of oil they buy may have come from any well in the world, and passed through any number of hands, and have any of a hundred fingerprints on it, before it was actually shoved into the refactoring tower and turned it into liquid gold.

"But", you say, "what if I cut up my credit card and buy from another retailer?"

First, the retailer isn't owned by the company. The Chevron station at 2100 South and 300 West in Salt Lake is NOT owned by Chevron. It is owned by Premium Oil Co. If you stop buying from them, Premium Oil suffers, but Chevron doesn’t give a f*ck. The only loss they suffer is the tiny sliver of margin they may see from a few (a VERY few) credit card transactions. And that margin is - trust me on this - only a sliver. Not worth sweating over.

So - leading to the other question - what is to be done?

Here is the crux of the issue. Every time you (or anyone) pulls into a gas station, shoves the nozzle into the filler (yummmm......insertion!!!!!!) and starts pumping, and pumping, - oh baby, keep pumping.....yeah....pump it baby....


...we create this thing called "Consumer Demand".

As much as we may want to paint BP with the colors of villainy, the awefull fact is this: they are only on a quest to fill consumer demand. And that consumer demand comes from you and from me.


End of story.

If you and I weren’t buying the shit, and if we weren't willing to PAY for the shit, BP (or Chevron, or whoever-the-fuck) wouldn't be drilling for the shit.


For myself, I am setting June 30 as the starting date. As of June 30, 2010 I will do the following:

First, I will cut my personal consumption of petroleum by 10%. The car I drive already gets 37 mpg, so this might be a trick. I may start working a 4-10 schedule instead of my current 5 day schedule. I might resume my habit of 'couch-surfing' Tuesday nights at the home of Holly and Beverly. (I live 50 miles from "the office" - they live one 10 miles from "the office") I might lower my driving speed from 65 mph to 60 mph.

On June 30 of 2011, I will put myself to the task of reducing another 10 percent. Another 10 percent on June 30, 2012. on it goes.....

Second, I will send at least one letter a month to my US Senator and House Representative demanding that they, for goodness sake, DO SOMETHING to move us from oil dependency to something that can be sustained without trashing the world we live in.

Friday, May 21, 2010

An open letter concerning my commitment to the O.T.O. and to Horus Oasis

An open letter concerning my commitment to the O.T.O. and to Horus Oasis.

Recently, there was a change in the leadership of Horus Oasis, in which Beverly Stuart and I essentially changed places: She is now Master, while I have taken on the duties of Deputy Master and Treasurer. Despite the change in titles, the only real change in workload is the transfer of the treasury - Beverly and I are essentially still doing the same work and assuming the same responsibilities in running Horus Oasis.

Since this change, I have heard a few inaccurate statements about the reasons for this change and the circumstances surrounding it. Specifically, there is a rumor that I had reached, or was approaching, a state of "burn-out" and that the change was made to take some of the burden from my shoulders. This is NOT correct. Allow me to set the record straight.

What sparked this change was a needed change to the office of the Treasurer. Beverly had been serving as Treasurer for a few years, and was doing a good job. But it was her will to hand off the treasury to someone else. (A member of the Oasis volunteered to become Treasurer, but this plan fell apart.) I was willing and able to take on the treasury, but I know it is a REALLY BAD IDEA to have the same person holding the offices of Master and Treasurer. So I made the following proposal: That Beverly and I trade places. With Beverly as Master, I would be free to become Treasurer without running the risk of holding too much power in the Oasis. As for swapping the offices of Master and Deputy, we figured it was a non-issue. With a few small exceptions, there would be no changes in the work each of us was doing in the Oasis.

From this, these points follow:
- I am not decreasing my work load or responsibilities in Horus Oasis. If anything, I will now by putting MORE work into Horus Oasis.
- I was not, nor am I now, "burning out" or desiring to leave Horus Oasis.
- I am still committed to Horus Oasis and to supporting the core activities of the Oasis, especially Gnostic Mass.

Having said that, I have not attended some recent Horus Oasis activities. This is due to a large project (or "chronic emergency", as I prefer to call it) that I am dealing with in Provo. I also recently re-evaluated my relationship with Horus Oasis. Even before the advent of the "chronic emergency", attending all scheduled activities was stretching my resources. I concluded that, while it is my will to support the core activities of the body, I simply don't have the time and energy to attend ALL of the activities. (Having to travel 50 miles to attend events is an issue.)

There are also some past entries in this blog where I bemoaned the burden that Horus Oasis was placing on me. Those issues were resolved months ago and have no bearing on recent events or the current situation.

As for the future, once the "chronic emergency" is behind me, I will be turning some of my energies to forming a thelemic group in Utah Valley. I hope to use this group to draw people to Horus Oasis.

I am open to conversation if any member of Horus Oasis has any questions, comments, complaints or suggestions about the work I am doing as Deputy Master or Treasurer (not to mention web master, mail list owner, sender of announcements, manager of the Mass Equipment, etc.).

Andy McGuire
Deputy Master
Horus Oasis

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Maintaining a steady effort

Most of my work with my journal has been centered around reposting from Blogspot to LiveJournal (with the proper security applied, thank you very much...) and with redacting what is being re-posted to blogspot. The reasons are posted in previous entries. If you find the stuff on Blogspot to by to banal, ask me about access to the LiveJournal stuff and I will give the low-down on gaining access to the Inner Wombat.

In the mean time, I find myself up to my neck in trying to just "get stuff done." The biggest thing on the list right now - and for the next several weeks - it Kat's basement. About three months ago it became unlivable and was gutted. Since then we have been rebuilding it. It is to the point that I have given up my weeknights - including my workouts - and my Saturdays to get it done. So far I have done concrete work (including laying a section of floor), framing, electrical, data, and hanging sheet rock. Starting this week I am onto mudding the sheet rock and rebuilding the window frames. It sucks. It sucks royally. And when it is all done, I have three other major projects lined up.

I want my life back.

As of about two weeks ago, I am no longer Master of Horus Oasis. I am now Deputy Master and Treasurer with Beverly as Master. So I traded down in prestige and traded up in the amount of effort I have to put into the beast. It makes sense when taken from one point of view. But when taken from another, more realistic vantage point, I am just trading less glamor for more work. Story of my life.

Nothing else to report right now. It really isn't as dismal as it seems. Unreported is the effort I am putting into "clearing the decks" and returning to my spiritual center. It will take a while, but it really is happening.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Redaction redux

A word of explanation. I took down all post, going back six years, because I was just sick of them. This all has to do with me and not the actions or comments of anyone else.

I did some more exploring of the privacy options available on Live Journal. I like them. I think I can create something there that will allow me to journal they way I want to: Write what I need to write to fill my own needs, then pick and choose who gets to see it.

I am currently in the process of reviewing, redacting, and re-posting. I am starting at the beginning (2004) and working forward. This is a useful exercise, as it gives me a chance to review the last few years and see where my life has (or hasn't) gone.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Clearing the decks and starting over.

Six years of this bullshit is entirely enough.

Under wraps

I just had a really good journal writing session. It was nice to put down a line of thought that has been rolling around my head for nearly 10 years. Then I looked at the results and said, "There is no way in hell I can publish THAT."


Have to come up with something else later today.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Dead man's food

I have been eating a dead man's food the last few days. On September 18, 2009 a man was found dead on a Trax train in Salt Lake City.

Theron Read was roommate of a friend of mine. In the days, weeks, and months following his death, my friend was forced to deal with the property left behind by the dearly departed. Theron's family was little help. The roommate was left with the task of placing much of Theron's worldly possessions. So.....making a long story short, I was presented with a small box of food. "Do you want this?", I was asked. "Well......sure. Why not.", I answered.

So, for a few recent evenings, and for the last two days at work, I have been eating a dead man's food.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three harmless little balls

Actually, they aren't balls. They are little square beanbags.

Have you ever wanted to do something, then every time you put your mind to it something comes along to derail you? Yup. For me, it is juggling.

Fifteen years ago, I decided to teach myself to juggle. I had the book and the tools in the form of "Juggling for the Complete Klutz." I was going to surprise Kat and the kids. As soon as they left to visit the in-laws in California, I broke out the book and the bags and started learning. When they returned, I would have something to show them. Then, within a week, my father died. Needless to say, my priorities changed.

Since then, the desire has nagged at me, and I have made a few futile attempts to learn. It never happened.

Flash forward to the future. Having completed Existential Angst Tour 2010 (my yearly retreat to chart a course for the year), I had committed myself to resuming a daily spiritual practice. Not too many years ago, any given day would find me performing the LBRP followed by the Middle Pillar meditation, or spending some time in asana practicing Raja Yoga. But I allowed this thing called "Life" to break my focus. During "The Tour" I determined to resume a daily practice. To that end I made a short list of the spritiual practices that I would like to bring back into my life. Much to my amusement, I watched my pencil write the word "Juggle" on the paper.

I stopped. I thought. I smiled.

So be it.

Once I have learned to juggle, I will turn my attention to something else. Yoga? Tia Chi? Ceremonial Ritual? Who knows......

For now, I will juggle.

(As a side project, I am stuffing the O.T.O. third degree initiation into my head. Horus Oasis has a few members who need to get "killed off" around April or so.....)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Going private

One of my frustrations with blogspot is that it is all public, or it is hidden away as a draft. There is no in between. This has often kept me from writing what is on my mind. There are many things I need to work out in writing, but I just don't want to wave it around in public.

I could go back to keeping just a private journal. I could maintain parallel public and private journals. Instead, I am moving much of what I do over to LiveJournal. I like the options of marking posts Public, Private, or for Friends.

I will continue to post here, but only those things that will be marked as public on LiveJournal.

(I could also get a DeadJournal account for the really nasty stuff that is caked to the sides of the p-trap of my soul.....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Move me!

I work in a building with two floors.

There is an elevator. When you walk into the elevator, there are two buttons to select your destination: First Floor and Second Floor. Think about this for a second....

Why not put in a single button that says "Go" or "The other floor" or even "Take me where I am not" - then let the elevator figure out what to do with this command.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Forever Young

In the next few weeks I will be installing shelves on my bedroom wall. The main purpose will be to store my CD collection. The Obsessive Compulsive side of my brain thought it would be cool to listen to each CD as it went into temporary storage.

I found a CD I forgot I owned - Forever Young by Alphaville. This was exhumed from the collection of Slick Rick. He died at age 29. He still owns a part of my heart.

About two weeks ago my anger and self loathing achieved critical mass. If I can't be forever young, I will at least die trying. In the last two weeks I have dropped six pounds. I have banished my eating problems and adhered to my workout goals. When my daughter is married in March, I will be Lean and Mean. Anyone who disagrees will be invited to meet my 'out back' for a short 'conversation' on the matter.

Year of the Wombat

It is the year of the Wombat.

New attitude.

New focus.

Gonna kick some ass.

Details to follow.