Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Moon Blues

News item on

"NASA plans to smash spacecraft into the moon"

Now, what did the moon ever do to us?


NASA makes the baby moon cry.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

But, hey, wasn't that mine?

According to an article on Slashdot, the CO$ has been given the right to delete any auctions selling thier "e-meter", a device that is used in thier "auditing" sessions. "The E-meter is a skin galvanometer, similar to those used in giving lie detector tests."(this definition from the FAQs from alt.religion.scientology) Those who belong to the "church" are "encouraged" to shell out big bucks fo this device, since part of the training in the "church" is to learn how to audit others (ask a bunch of odd questions, dig up past lives, discover juicy little secrets), and to audit themselves.

Well, what happens if someone doesn't want to be a member anymore, doesn't believe in the "belief system". Now, they have this odd electronic device (not to mention books and cds they have been goaded into buying over the years) sitting around their house. "Well, I paid for it, don't want this stuff anymore...oh what to do with it? And I sure could use the money..."

"Oh, I'll put it up on Ebay! I paid for it, it is mine, after all..."


Now that the "church" has been able to shut down any auction involving any of their goods sold at an org near you, you can't sell off that meter and stack of books so you can reclaim at least part of the money you poured into the organization. Another case of someone folding thier cards for the sake of what the CO$ has in thier hand...a highly litigious nature and the behaivor of a junk-yard dog.

That would be like me all of a sudden one day deciding, "Hey, I have this Bible and some Rosary beads lying around here I haven't touched in ages. Think I'll post them on Ebay. Well, actually, I would probably donate the Bible and the beads, but then, they didn't cost me thousands of dollars like the e-meter, but that's not the point right now. Point is, I wouldn't expect the Catholic Church pulling my auction off Ebay, telling me I can't sell my stuff I paid for. Because they wouldn't.

In fact, with the exception of perscription drugs, I can't think of anything that I can buy that I can't resell at a later date. Okay, used matresses. There's something else. Anyway, I sold a car not too long ago. I know for a fact that I didn't have to ask Chevolet permission, nor did some executive show up at my door telling me I had to cancel the transaction.

Look at this price list for items offered by the "church", can you see why someone would want to cash in thier chips after they realize for them, the "church" wasn't working out for them?

And here's a lovely Catch-22...if they are no longer a member of the church, they are concidered an apostate, an SP. A Supressive Person that members in the "church" cannot have any contact with. So a good member would not be able to have a transaction with someone selling off thier books and cds and meters. Anyway, the "church" would want members to buy everything from them at thier highly inflated cost, not save some money by buying from a 2nd party seller.

What a trap. That, and the fact that this is just one more instance of the "church" stomping thier feet, demanding something about them on the Internet gets "pulled"...a story, a video, an opinion, a joke, a personal right.

All in the name of "religion". Or so the "church" would have you believe.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Keeping up, or trying to.

I see where Wally World will be dropping the HD-DVD format of players and discs from it's stores and selling exclusively Blu-Ray players.

I think I hear the fat lady warming up her vocal cords. No, it's not me, I wouldn't want to assault you with my singing.

Luckily, I am not that much of a "phile" where I have to run out and buy the newest technology so I can have the ultimate veiwing-audio-computer-whatever experience. Hell, I was on dial-up until about 6 months ago. So, that being the case, I'm not stuck with an HD-DVD player that will probably be going the way of the do-do soon, if I were to assume that WM is the deciding factor of what format is going to win out in the end. But, now I'm wondering to myself every time I buy a DVD, "should I just wait til the Blu-Ray version comes out?"

I'm old enough to remember saving my allowance so I could go down to the corner appliance store (if that in itself doesn't age me, "corner appliance store") where the owner stocked 45s and LPs in the back. The smell of vinyl as I pulled the album out of it's sleeve. Pouring over the lyrics printed on the back. Drooling over Barry....whoa, that's for another post, and hey, I was young...anyway...and it was the 70's...and I was a dork...Then 8-tracks were the thing, then cassettes, then CDs. As one format took over, older formats collected dust as the devices needed to play such formats became oddities found only in thrift shops.

I remember the story my daughter's music teacher told when my youngest was in grade school...first day of class, she takes an LP and places it on the turntable. "Mrs. A, what is that?" These kids had never seen an LP before. My youngest had seen LPs before. Her uncle has at least 6,000 of them. A blind person needs a hobby, afrter all.

So, now I'm glancing over at my bookcase and all the DVDs lined up on the shelves. I actually have videos. More or less obsolete. Like the case of my 8-tracks in the basement (why do I still have them, it's not like they'll make a comeback, or anything).

And, then there are my books. The one medium that through my life has not become obsolete, although the hardware needed to access them has needed upgrades through the years, ie, bifocals.

I enjoy a good movie, I like being able to watch a whole television series without commercials (right now, I'm catching up on "Torchwood" from the fine folks at BBC), but they will never totally replace a book. Especially a good book, one that can make a movie in my head. Nothing to plug in, no technology that will eventually fall into least the medium. The "player"...I hope it keeps running glitch-free for many years to come.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sadness for NIU, sadness for all

Yesterday, a person for whatever reason, walked onto a stage of a lecture hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University, and with three firearms, straifed the hall full of students, hitting 18 before killing himself.

This morning, the news is reporting 5 students have died of thier injuries.

I could start in on opinions of gun control, ideas of why people snap the way they do in today's society, why it seems this has become a virus across this country. But, I won't. Not today.

My thoughts go out to all who are touched by this tragedy. When young people are murdered, so are thier futures of what could have been. Hopes, dreams, posibillities...gone. The wounded, lives altered forever. Families, friends, foisted into a nightmare world of upheaval no one should ever have to live. For all of us, one more chunk taken from our illusion of safety and security.

"It could not happen here" is becoming, "It can happen anywhere". Soon, we may hear, "It will happen everywhere, eventually."

A newscaster yesterday used the term "children" when talking about the students..."Eighteen children were wounded..." My daughter said they weren't children, not being of college age.

I explained to her that when we, as parents, send our kids off into to world, no matter how old they are, they still our children.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Writer's Block

My 15 y.o. had a report to write, and in in true form inherited by her mother, waited until the last moment. So, last night, with a stack of chicken-scratched notes (I swear, she hides a hen in her school locker...I'm sure if one were to check it out, straw would be sticking out of the bottom of the locker...but I digress), she sat at the computer, head on keyboard, totally at loss at how to start.

I was peeved, becasue I knew she slacked off until the last moment, but also sad, because I know she has a writing problem. She has way too many ideas in her head, and she can't weed them. She feels she has to write everything, envisions herself having to write a thousand page thesis, then ends up writing nothing. Also, she has a need to write The Best Report, and knowing that she can't, defeats herself before she even starts. Then I get my knickers in a twist because I am at a loss as how to help because I am trying to push away negative thoughts of my days in school.

Also, she's a melodramtic 15 y.o. 'Nuff said.

I suggested,"Try writing the report like you are telling your best friend about_________, "in this case, it was the history of Star Trek, the original series. Talk like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (honestly, she thinks it is), but pretend that your friend has never heard of Star Trek, and has no clue as to what a Vulcan is. You are not writing a scientific dissertation, just a report.

During one of her breaks in writing, we got on the subject that Gene Roddenberry wanted to create a story that involved a "United Nations" type idea...many different cultures coming together. Being the Sixties, it was revolutionary. But looking back at it today, the creation of the different characters fell into obvious stereotypical molds that would probably not play in Peoria today. My daughter felt that this was a interesting concept and added it to her report, because it was something that she had also noticed in watching the series.

She finally finished the report around 11:30 last night and left it on the table for me to read this morning before I woke her for the day.

This girl can really write. She wrote a very entertaining report, that I hope the teacher appreiciates and doesn't dock her for her interjections of her special type of humor. I'm glad my daughter can write. Someday when she is older and no longer living here (oh, she says she's living in my basement until she's 40), there may be times in her life she may not have many people to talk to...but she will always have her way with words. She will always be able to convey thoughts and ideas...even if she may be the only one that reads them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finding my new "Normal"

My Mom

Nature abhors a vacuum, I've read, but the vacuum I feel right now, I cannot fathom it ever being filled. My mom has been gone now for over a month now. It still feels like a bitter draft at my window. But the draft is drawing me out, not pushing me back in the room. I try to fill the void.

Pictures don't fill it.

Stories doesn't fill it.

Dreams try to, but when they are nightmares, I can do without.

Yes, I've come to terms with death, but not with absence.

The vacuum doesn't get put away, but maybe it slows down. Sometimes it stops entirely, then something, a scrap of a song, an image from a movie, a glimpse of a grey-haired elderly woman, with a jeweled brooch afixed to her coat, starts the vacuum running again.

Maybe that's the new "normal".

Monday, February 11, 2008

Came and Went

From all the blogs and news sites and forums I've been reading, 2.10 went by without visions of anarchist behaivor (think masked figures in black hoodies, throwing rocks and destroying property). Instead, the world was treated with various-sized groups (mostly dependent of the weather) with picket signs, demonstrating at window-shuttered orgs across the world. Peacefully. At times, humorously, as one group decided to do a "Rick Roll" (playing Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up")...a common on-line prank, as in, "I've been Rick Rolled!"when directed to a link, only to find it's a viedo of Lil ol Rick. Major lulz.

Anyway, if you take away the whys of the global picket, the gem is there...that today, young people who were for most part lableled as dispassionate slackers, for what ever reason why they did it, they, via teh Internets, came together for one cause. One reason. Planned in just a month, I think.

I can't even plan a vacation in that time.

And, Church of Many Copyrights, Church of the Bridge to Nowhere, I am now hearing "Beware the Ides of March".

I wonder, how many people who decided to jump on this band wagon in the begining, had no idea of "Operation Freakout", "Operation Snow White", Lisa McPherson's death, all the front groups of the "church" who claim they are not, like Narconon...

But they do now, and many others thanks to the Internet. Oh, but the church said they were going to "handle" the Internet.

How's that workin' for ya?

Thursday, February 7, 2008


It seems one can't go anywhere on the Internet without seeing a news blurb or a blog post about "Anonymous" these days. It's been interesting for me to watch this groundswell unfold (or bubble up, I guess), because I've been aware of the critic community and the Church of Many Copyrights for about 10 years now. After reading (or trying to, I don't even think the aid of a dictionary would have helped) Dianetics, I started looking at both sides. I looked at the official website for the "church", and right off the bat was put off by all the glitz and reminded me of something I would see on Trinity Broadcasting. "Look how shiny and golden everything is here! You want to live in a golden world, come join us!"...that just makes me run in the other direction. Also, I found a lot of ambiguousness, which lead me to believe if I wanted to know more, I would have to find an "org", or buy a book. Or books. Or sessions, as suggested.

Then, I found the critics' side. Websites, newsgroups, blogs. The more I read, the more I leaned towards the critic end of the spectrum. Stories of disconnection and breaking up of families, of people taking out mortgages so they can learn more and reach higher planes or levels. Being a "science of the mind" one day, and a "religion" the next, just for the tax status. The way the "church" suppresses information. The way people who confront the orginization are bullied, and worse. Thier "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality. The idea that it's a "crime" to seek out psychiatric help.

Enlightenment should be free to everyone. I know when I went to church, there was an offering box at the door, but I never had to hand over a twenty through the confessional screen. To know God, or god, or gods shouldn't come with a bill for services rendered. I don't care if that god looks like an elephant, a man, or E.T. It's not about the tales that created the's about the action of the people running the show...that is what causes shivers to run up and down my spine.

I can walk into most doctor offices and find a Bible, I even found a copy of the Qura'an one day. I could read them. Freely, and for free, if I choose. Try that with any of the many tomes of The Church of Many Copyrights. Those puppies aren't cheap. And, you must buy more and more to become more and more enlightened. And here is the never get there. "There" always moves, or changes, or is re-written.

So, on 2.10, a new set of critics will emerge and make thier voices known in real life. Anonymous will be across the globe, picketing. When the first video messages came out, I was skeptical, them being in it "for the lulz" and all. For years, I've read about pickets put on by ex-members. I understood why they felt the need. I read thier stories. To be honest, I felt that Anonymous was just a bunch of shit-stirrers, nothing more. But they have quickly materialized into a group that wants to make a stand, make a point, that it's not okay for any organization to supress information, to deny freedom of speech, to punish people for changing thier minds, for breaking up families, for not seeing themseles as they truly are...a copywrited business that smells like a pryamid scheme. If you say you're a church, then act like a church.

So, I hope 2.10 passes peacefully. I hope they listened to the Old Dogs. The ones who came before, the ones who are still out there. I hope they don't get all wrapped up in pointing fingers at the funny alien and lulzing about the wacky origins. Like I said, it's how the show is run. There is where the story lies. Would I picket if there was an "org" in my town? I would probably show my support in some way. Maybe I'd bring cookies. Maybe I'll write some more blog posts, but that's pretty safe, considering no one reads my blogs.

And to clarify something...because of how "the show is run", I don't practice organized religion. So far, no one has declaired me a bad person because of it. Well, that I know of.

I know there is many atrocities, many "causes", many fights to be fought...this just happens to be the one I've been following.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crazy, Housebound weather

Let Me In!!!

This has been one heck of a week for weather. First, it rains on top of already frozen ground, so now there are mini ice-skating rinks in my yard. Then, school is closed today in case the weather predictions are right with the 6-10" dump of the white stuff. It snows, but nowhere near the amount said. It then rained on top of the snow, and I bet school won't be closed tomorrow and I will have to drive in the frozen muck.

Oh, and my puppies are spoiled. They are indoor dogs. They just know the out of doors as one big relief station. Wusses.

I am sooooooooooooo ready for Spring.

And, yes, this post was a lame excuse to show off Blaidd showing off his Corgi pose. "Westminster, here I come!" Well, he can dream, no?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sci-Fi Geek Girl

I just finished watching Doctor Who The 3rd Series the other day. Very well done. Darker than the last DT series, but still, well done **clapclapclap** I think I like the darkness better. It seemed to give chance to portray the main character as less than perfect. Amazing to me, Doctor Who is still considered "children's fare" in Great Britian, to that I say, there must be some very advanced children over there.

I think the episode "Blink" was very well done... how all the parts convelesed in the end. The two parter episode where the Doctor had to hide from aliens by altering himself to be human was most touching. Oh, and the last episode of that season...that got me reaching for the kleenex. And the last episode of the 2nd series, and the episode with Madame know, really, Sci-Fi is not susposed to make me cry. It's an escape mechanism. I want a fast route out of the saddness lane. I think it's partially due to the fact that David Tennent has that incredible acting abillity that can tear right at my heart. It's all his fault. Hear me, David? Your Fault.

But then, there are two episodes of "Futurama" that make me cry, so I guess I'm just a wuss.

Why can't there be programming like that here in the States? **sigh**. Heroes came close, but kind of fell short in it's Sophmore year. But I am confident they will rally and come back, stronger than ever. It seems, here in the 'Ol USA, if it can't totally shut off your brain (a'la the usual sit-com), or be over-the-top scandalous, like Nip/Tuck...I mean, is that our extent of "cutting edge"? Yes, pun totally intended.

So, now bereft of new Sci-Fi, I just treated myself to the first season of Torchwood. Oh, and I just grabbed the 9th season of SG-1 for a good price the other day...gawd I got it bad. Next, I will be slowly building up my Farscape collection.

I don't treat myself with baubles or fine clothes...I scarf up DVDs. Mostly Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

Amazon must really love me.