Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Brains and Sex

Stumbled upon this quiz thingie, and I have to say that the description seems pretty accurate, especially the problem parts.

Your Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 50%
Visual : 50%
Left : 52%
Right : 47%

Rae, you are one of those rare individuals who are perfectly "balanced" in both your hemispheric tendencies and your sensory learning preferences. However, there is both good news and bad news.

A problem with hemispheric balance is that you will tend to feel more conflict than someone who has a clearly established dominance. At times the conflict will be between what you feel and what you think but will also involve how you attack problems and how you perceive information. Details which will seem important to the right hemisphere will be discounted by the left and vice versa, which can present a hindrance to learning efficiently.

In the same vein, you may have a problem with organization. You might organize your time and/or space only to feel the need to reorganize five to ten weeks later.

On the positive side, you bring resources to problem-solving that others may not have. You can perceive the "big picture" and the essential details simultaneously and maintain the cognitive perspective required. You possess sufficient verbal skills to translate your intuition into a form which can be understood by others while still being able to access ideas and concepts which do not lend themselves to language.

Your balanced nature might lead you to second-guess yourself in artistic endeavors, losing some of the fluidity, spontaneity and creativity that otherwise would be yours.

With your balanced sensory styles, you process data alternately, at times visually and other times auditorially. This usage of separate memories may cause you to require more time to integrate information or re-access it. When presented with situations which force purely visual or purely auditory learning, increased anxiety is likely and your learning efficiency will decrease.

Your greatest benefit is that you can succeed in multiple fields due to the great plasticity and flexibility you possess.

And this is one from which is just really funny:

Rae, your sexual personality is Chi-ETDN-9.

Your sexual personality is determined by your sexual persona (Chi), 4 sexual scales (Emotional/Physical, Look/Touch, Daring/Modest, Verbal/Non-verbal), and your libido score (9).

As a Chi, your sense of sexuality is driven largely by the need to understand your body as well as that of your sexual partner. Your sexual awareness is particularly high, though your sex appeal and sexual confidence are a bit lower.

You're an E+. You have a strong emotional orientation when it comes to sex. This means that while the physical aspects of sex are important to you, you are primarily focused on connecting with your partner on a deeper, more thoughtful level.

You're a T-. You appreciate the visual aspect of your sexual experiences, but displaying and being shown physical affection is a slightly more compelling part of the experience for you. Indeed, while when it comes to the balance of the physical closeness versus looking and admiring your partner from a bit of a distance, you tend more strongly to be a toucher than a watcher. You often view a warm, soft touch as more erotic than any sexual gesture. It's because you are highly touch-oriented. Lucky you. You are able to reap the benefits of having high skin sensitivity without being sensitive to the extent that frequent physical connections can overwhelm you.

You're a D+. You are happily uninhibited about your sexuality, and you seldom shy away from expressing your sexual interests, desires, or history from those who want to hear you tell about these things. For you, sex is a beautiful, fun, natural part of being human, and you don't have time for people who judge immodesty as crude. If they misunderstand your openness, so be it. You don't judge others and you don't expect to be judged. In your view, being uninhibited is the healthiest, happiest way to go through life.

You're an N. When it comes to sex, you're much more likely to communicate non-verbally than you are to do it verbally.

You're a 9 on a scale from 1 to 10. You know well that your libido is a central part of your physical life, and your sexual interest is healthy and robust because of that acknowledgment.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


LOL, I don't usually point out the funny searches that people do that lead here, but this one is just really funny...

From someone in Rhode Island

Feeling Dumpy

The beautiful Kat has posted lyrics and a video that really fits how I've been feeling the last few days:

(Don't look at me)
Every day is so wonderful
And suddenly, it's hard to breathe
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain, I'm so ashamed


To all your friends, you're delirious
So consumed in all your doom
Trying hard to fill the emptiness
The piece is gone - left the puzzle undone
That's the way it is


Don't you bring me down today

"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera

Blogging will probably be light to non-existent this week.

Couple of Mae West Quotes for the week:

"He who hesitates is a damned fool."

"It's better to be looked over than over-looked."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Critter Updates

Other than the spider in the previous post there has been lots of other critter activity around here this past week.

We've been adopted by a stray dog:

It (the brown one) is a 'weinie dog' or something. It has a hurt front leg, but I swear, why me? Why us? (This is the Chinese Year of the Dog, though.) Jewel, the white and black one, seems to like the company. It acts like it's found it home, but I'll have to look around for "lost dog" signs to try to find its real home.

Jewel has found a turkey nest. First she brought us a dead chick, and then she brought a live one that I've rescued. I think it thinks I'm its mother now because I've fed it worms and grubs and taken care of its slight injuries. Every time it sees me it starts chirping so cute.

I've named it Chirp-chirp. This is probably not going to end well because if I release it Jewel will probably catch it again, and if I keep it too long it will probably become too tame. I've instructed the kids not to pick up the bird and play with it. Thoughts of the bird flu have not escaped me even though it is very unlikely to be an issue. Btw, in shamanism turkeys generally represent "give-away" or generosity and blessings.

I haven't seen Clyde the frog in a long time. I suppose he moved on to a more suitable female, but he was appreciated while he was here. I've heard frogs croaking in the distance and wondered if one of them was Clyde.

David ran over a black snake the other day. He thought it was just a stick in the road. He brought it to the house so the kids and I could see it. I don't know if it died. He put it out in the woods, but when we looked later it was gone. It could have been the one I saw last Sunday, but it looked smaller.

Not a critter but exciting for me anyway:

The first ever bloom on my lemon tree. And man, does it smell wonderful! When my dad first gave it to me a few years ago it was just a little stick in a pot of dirt. But now it is over 6 feet tall and mature enough to bloom. We will probably have lemons later this summer (I hope so!) because there are bunches of buds getting ready to open. My dad has had some fruit-bearing lemon trees for several years now.

UPDATE(1:00 am Mon.): I couldn't sleep for thinking that I've misidentified 'Chirp-chirp' as a turkey when he/she is probably just a chicken. There are lots of wild turkeys around here, as well as grouse which Jewel has killed before. I assumed that this was a turkey because of that and because its feathers have the exact same coloring and patterning as turkey feathers. But my father-in-law saw it and said he thought it was a chicken because it looks like some that our neighbor has. Uh-oh, I see a neighbor feud on the horizon if our dog has been killing/stealing his chickens...

David found that snake dead down by the driveway. Jewel probably killed it too.

I found two more black widows today and put them in the same jar. I'm watching to see if they attack each other or fight over food. My god, that's cruel, isn't it?! But as far as I know spider-fighting isn't illegal like cock-fighting is. Besides, I'm not taking or making any bets about it.

Science and Magic: Confined Danger

My new pet.

Temporarily, anyway. I found this black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) under a lunch box that had been left out in the yard (yeah, redneck trash, lol), so I captured it to show the kids why they should not leave things in the yard and why they should not pick up things that have been left out without flipping them over with a stick or something. I hate to think of what might have happened if my youngest, whose lunchbox it was, had carelessly picked this up and gotten bitten. Fatality is rare in bitten adults, but you just don't know with a small child. After lecturing them and demonstrating to them how to flip things over with a stick the only thing they wanted to know was how I got it in the jar. What clever children! How, how, how? I suppose it could look to them like I had performed some kind of magic trick by successfully handling this spider without getting bitten myself. What to do? Tell them that they don't need to know? Or tell them some 'magic trick' that only vicious mommas can do? Or tell them the truth that I just held the jar uside down over it until it climbed to the 'bottom' of the jar then I quickly put on the lid? Why question how to answer their question? Because I had some doubt that all of my warnings against trying to catch a black widow would deter them from trying, especially if I told them how I did it myself. And they really must not try it! (Btw, I told them the truth and continued to warn them that if they see a black widow they should stay far away from it... do as I say and not as I do and all that.)

I found it on Thursday with the butterfly carcass in its clutches. It carried it into the jar and continued feeding on it. I've fed it a small grasshopper and a large grub since then, and its belly has doubled in size. David thinks I'm fattening it up to poison him. As if! I just like to observe it. I emailed a spider researcher at UT to ask if they have any need for black widows. She said no. Oh well.

I've had so many things I've wanted to share here, but I keep getting interrupted by children and friends and losing my train of thought (I started on this post Friday and still haven't finished it). I'm not an intellectual powerhouse who can keep so many thoughts fresh and ready at a moment's notice. I'm tempted to think about how different it could be, but that accomplishes nothing but putting me in an even more foul mood. Remember the movie, Minority Report (yeah, Tom Fucking Retard Cruise, but the actual movie is prettty cool)? There were those people who saw the crimes of the future and they had to be protected from outside influences in order to be able to 'see' those things. Well, that's a kind of a sci-fi interpretation of an ivory tower type of situation where some great thinker or whatever can isolate and concentrate. Sounds nice to me! But I can't very well escape life and its responsibilities to 'tinker' on the computer. Not that anyone is missing anything if I don't anyway.

There has to be an invisible sun
It gives its heat to everyone
There has to be an invisible sun
That gives us hope when the whole day's done

"Invisible Sun" by the Police

I had all these fun thoughts about the similarity of science and magic and how shamans (which I can't truly claim to be one) and string theorists (definitely can't claim that title either) have much in common in how they see the world. They both transcend the four 'known' dimensions; one senses them through 'magic' derived from natural ability and/or various practices, and the other explores them through their experiments and formulae, etc. (also requires some natural ability). I think that they are studying the same things only through different "reference frames." (Sorry, Lubos if I'm misusing you, your blog title, and all you do - it's meant entirely in a complimentary fashion.) What string theorists do looks to me as magical and mysterious as my own uncanny experiences with Nature. I hope not to insult anyone with such a comparison, and I'm by far not qualified to extend that comparison beyond this surface similarity.

There's a little black spot on the sun today
(That's my soul up there)
It's the same old thing as yesterday
(That's my soul up there)

There's a butterfly trapped in a spider's web
(That's my soul up there)

I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain

There's a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt

There's a little black spot on the sun today
It's the same old thing as yesterday

I have stood here before in the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain

"King of Pain" by the Police

Sorry to end on a low note, but I've lost my thoughts again.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

15 Years Ago Today

Goofing before the ceremony, pretending to be a Southern Belle.

First kiss as husband and wife. My god, we were so young!

Fifteen years ago today I became a wife. I can't say that it's always been easy or pleasant, but life isn't meant to always be easy and pleasant. We have been through a lot together and survived things that have broken other marriages. I'm a hard person to live with sometimes, but so is David sometimes. We both have had to grow up and make compromises and sacrifices. To my credit I'm a stubborn, persistent old goat, and when I set my mind to something I don't give up. To David's credit he tolerant and forgiving and generous. Together we complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. And bless him for sticking with me even though I'm not as cute and young and 'fresh' as I once was. Ironically, I never saw myself as pretty back then. When I look in the mirror I see the same person I saw then. It's only in photographs that I see someone else, the current me: older, plumper, and maybe a little worn.

But all of that has been the 'price' for this:

And for this I would give my life. In many ways I have. Happy 15th Anniversary to us!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Magical Thinking

(click title for the wikipedia article discussing Magical Thinking)

My brain hurts. It's been stretched and pulled and poked at a lot lately, and it's tired. I'm beginning to wonder if I really know anything for sure and if I'm just completely insane. Anyway, maybe it's a hangover of a sort from all my communing with Nature lately. I know I engage in a lot of Magical Thinking. Oh well. But sometimes it helps to hang onto something like that to keep from falling too far. I heard a great song on the radio yesterday morning, "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon.

"When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall"

Writing on the wall. More magical thinking. Or is it? I just don't know anymore. "Seek and ye shall find," they tell us, but what if what we find is more than we can handle?

"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." KJV Luke 11:9

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." KJV Matthew 7:7

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." KJV Jeremiah 29:13

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." KJV Matthew 21:22

"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." KJV John 16:24

There are more, but that's enough for now.

Am I crazy to believe that I have some kind of 'special' relationship with Nature that when I think, "hmmm, I'd like to see some weird new fungi," and abracadabra, there they are? Or if I'm 'looking' for something else of that sort then bingo, there it is? Is Nature responding to my desires and further responding to my pleasure and appreciation of its gifts? Or is it just a matter of seeing more when you really look closely (and partly knowing where to look)? Who knows? Magical Thinking is probably the only thing that has kept many people from completely losing their minds, but I guess it could be said that it has also caused many to lose their minds. I'm afraid that mine is trying to get away from me.

Midnight on the water.
I saw the ocean's daughter.
Walking on a wave she came
staring as she called my name.

And I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head.

Breakdown on the shoreline,
can't move, it's an ebbtide.
Morning don't get here tonight,
searching for her silver light.

And I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head, no no.

Bank job in the city.
Robin Hood and William Tell, Ivanhoe and Lancelot,
they don't envy me.
Sitting 'til the sun goes down,
in dreams the world keep going round and round.

And I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head, no no.

No, I can't get it out of my head,
no, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
'cos I can't get it out of my head, no no no no.

Electric Light Orchestra, "Can't Get It Out Of My Head"

Monday, May 22, 2006


I just love this 'old' 80s music...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

More Seredipitous Synchronicity

I was just now exploring around the edge of the woods to see if I could find any more interesting fungi, etc., when I happened upon a large black rat snake. I screamed like a girl! LOL I knew it wasn't a poisonous rattle snake or copperhead, but it was still pretty large (about 6 feet long) and threatening because it was shaking its tail in the same way as a rattle snake. I took that as a warning of 'stay away!' I'm not really afraid of snakes that much, but I do have a healthy respect for anything that can bite whether it is poisonous or not. It's kind of weird because just the other night I dreamed about a snake and the scenario was very similar as today. Also, snakes are famous phallic symbols! ;-)

Latet anguis in herba. A snake in the grass. Again, sorry for the poor quality photo, but I just wanted to get a quick shot and get out of there!

Fungus Among Us

Oh, the synchronicity! LOL

It's been pretty rainy this spring which has caused a bunch of 'new' fungi to grow in our yard. I try to make a daily inspection of the flower beds, etc. to just to keep up with how everything is doing. I watch for anything new or different whether it's a plant or bug or whatever. I've found all kinds of mushrooms and other fungi growing recently. Today I found this one:

Sorry for the poor photo quality as I was using my daughter's cheap digicam. For better images and more information see here or there.

It is called an Elegant Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans, isn't that a cool-sounding Latin name?). The one in my yard is an 'aging' one as you can see the similarity to the last image of the second link above. The caption in that image is "Note the stinkhorns collapsing in age." And truly, it when I first saw it I thought it looked rather pitiful and 'spent', a bit like a discarded hmmm, how to say it, prophylactic device. It has no 'cap' and the stalk is hollow. This wikipedia image is most similar to the one in our yard. I didn't make an effort to smell it so I don't know if it really does stink. It's breezy today and the only scent on the air at the time was the giant thistle growing nearby (very prickly and difficult to handle which is why it's still there).

I find this kind of thing very serendipitous and funny in light of my last posting, especially when looking at the Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Fungi

Division: Basidiomycota

Subdivision: Hymenomycotina

Class: Homobasidiomycetes

Order: Phallales

Family: Phallaceae

Ain't Nature grand?!?

Friday, May 19, 2006

"P" is for Provocative

This how it works: Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.

Kat gave me the letter "P". Here are my words in no particular order:

Plants I love plants! I love to grow things. Plants are endlessly fascinating because they are so different from us, yet we coexist and we rely on them for survival, among other things. I've been studying herbal folklore for a while. ;-) Plants have been here longer than we have, and they would continue to live even if we all disappeared. Sometimes it seems as if plants and humans live in parallel universes or dimensions or something, well, maybe parallel isn't quite right because our existences intersect. My ten year old and I were talking about other universes/dimensions and thought that an hour-glass model was an interesting one. But anyway, although we differ in so many ways from plants we also share certain basic characteristics. I could go on but I have 9 more words to do!

Psyche The mind is probably the one thing I ponder most. I studied psychology in college. I think that despite its efforts to act like a hard science it really is more a system of philosophy. This doesn't necessarily make it less valid or less important or influential. Just different. Anyway, Psyche was loved by Cupid. You really can't separate love from the mind or soul, which I tend to think are the same thing. When I left school there was a 'new' trend of thought that implied that the psyche is purely biological, or the product of chemical and electrical processes inside our brains. I was somehow drawn to that model, but it also left many questions that I couldn't answer (partly because I ended my studies). I wondered, if it was purely biological then could it be reduced to a formula or pattern of some sort? Well, no one has succeeded in finding such a formula that I know of. In some ways it seems the study of the mind is analogous to theoretical physics, but I think it's a mistake to link the two too closely as some are prone to do.

Ponder I'm ALWAYS thinking. From an online dictionary: synonyms ponder, meditate, muse, ruminate mean to consider or examine attentively or deliberately. PONDER implies a careful weighing of a problem or, often, prolonged inconclusive thinking about a matter [pondered the course of action]. MEDITATE implies a definite focusing of one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply [meditated on the meaning of life]. MUSE suggests a more or less focused daydreaming as in remembrance [mused upon childhood joys]. RUMINATE implies going over the same matter in one's thoughts again and again but suggests little of either purposive thinking or rapt absorption [ruminated on past disappointments]. I do all of those different varieties of thinking, but I'm afraid that 'prolonged inconclusive thinking' might be the most common one. Not that this is always a bad thing! For many subjects require prolonged inconclusive thinking, just like in the paragraph above about the psyche. (and there are other activities that also benefit from some prolonging, ;-), though incompletion is unsatisfactory)

Philosophy Now, I can't tell you all the different types of philosophical thought even though I did take at least one course about it. But I've always been a philosopher of a sort, even as a child. That just goes along with all that pondering!

Phenomena There are a couple of meanings to this word that apply here. One is "objects or aspects known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition." Now all this thinking I do doesn't just spring from my mind uninspired by observations of the world around me. They all, well, almost all probably, are directly related to some physical/sensory observation. Even my 'imaginary' thoughts are usually based on some physical reality that I've noticed or sensed. The other meaning of "phenomena" that is important here is "rare or significant facts or events; exceptional, unusual, or abnormal persons, things, or occurrences." When you notice so much in your environment it's natural to note the unusual events and try to figure out how they fit into the grand scheme.

Pattern When thinking about the world and trying to construct meaning out of all of these observations certain patterns become apparent. In some areas of examination, like math and physics and chemistry, these patterns can be written out in formulae. We humans find some comfort in patterns and predictability (because they are a natural part of the environment in which we've evolved). This search for patterns seems to be the motivation for so many areas of study and pondering. I like thinking about archetypal symbols that represent various intrinsic patterns of our world. Ancient people noticed these patterns and expressed them in whatever limited ways they had, like petroglyphs, etc. Whether or not we'll ever be able to discern the ultimate patterns that seem to govern our existence is the great unknown. And we will always seek that.

Particular There are many meanings for this word. One is "singular," and another is "distinctive." But the ones I'm most fond of are "concerned over or attentive to details: METICULOUS [a very particular gardener]" and "hard to please: EXACTING." I recall my grandmother describing certain people as "particular." When I was a child I confused that with "peculiar" which is rather similar. I've always been a 'detail' person, a 'nit-picker', a 'stickler' (and sometimes a tickler), but let me tell you in case you didn't know, people just hate that! Why is it people always pick on those of us who are particular about things? We don't mean for it to make others uncomfortable, and certainly we don't usually mean for it to make others feel inferior if they aren't as meticulous. Nowadays some of us have even gotten a fancy label called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The Obsessive-Compulsive part isn't so offensive, but man, the "Disorder" part is way off the mark! We want order, not disorder! ;-) Anyway, I can and do coexist peacefully (usually) with people who are not so 'particular' because I'm aware that not everyone is like me. And thank God for that, right? LOL

Perception I'm a primarily visual person. By that I mean I think in images. I love that photography reflects the world the camera sees, and with some skill a photographer can work with the camera's abilities to more accurately capture his or her own vision. And now with digital photo manipulation it is even easier to bring those mental pictures out of the mind and into a form that others can see/perceive. I've always been interested in perceptive thresholds among various species of creatures, as well as differences between individual people. For instance, butterflies can see ultraviolet light. Wouldn't it be cool to see what they see? And I think that individual differences in people's perceptive thresholds are probably not adequately studied and understood. These differences might could help explain some particular phenomena.

Parent Since I'm a mother being a parent is the first and foremost identity I have. I'm many other things and fill many other roles, but I will always be a parent. Is my purpose in this existence to procreate? Yes and no. Certainly, a person can live a fulfilling, important, and influential life without having children. Growing my babies in my body and now watching them grow, develop, and learn has been the most amazing experience of my life, but I know that if I hadn't had children I would still exist and function and influence the world.

Penis Last but not least! I was going to make this first on the list because honestly, it was the first "p" word I thought, but I decided that it might distract so much that the other words wouldn't be noticed. I've made no secret that I'm a bit phallicly obsessed. I've heard some women talk about the penis and how ugly they think it is. No way! Not me! I think it's a beautiful biological sculpture. Well, except for this one I saw once, but I'll spare the details. But make no mistake. Being phallicly obsessed does not mean that I have penis envy! I don't want to be a man! I like being a woman. I don't want a penis attached to me. I just want, er, okay let's not 'go down' *snickers* that path. (Damn, sometimes I crack myself up!)

Okay, sorry that I sort of lost it here at the end. I hope this isn't an unsatisfactory conclusion! ;-) But I've been working on this phucking post all phreakin' day because I keep getting interrupted. And perhaps this is an example of when prolonging something isn't beneficial.

There are lots of other great "p" words, but if you want to participate in this word game/exercise leave a comment and I'll give you a different letter!

42 things

7 Things I Hope (originally this said 'Plan' but I'm not into making lots of plans) to Do Before I Die

1. Become a grandmother
2. Go to Green Valley Spa again
3. See all my kids graduate
4. See all my kids marry
5. Travel outside the US
6. Learn as much as possible about whatever strikes my fancy
7. Be a positive influence on someone

7 Things I Can Do

1. Archery
2. Roll my "R"s (rrrrrr)
3. Spread my toes far apart
4. Whistle a little
5. Hit a baseball pretty well for an old momma
6. Laugh at myself
7. Read people and situations pretty well

7 Things I Cannot Do

1. Drive a stick shift (well, I could if my life depended on it)
2. Sing (not well anyway)
3. Have anymore babies in the normal way
4. Pee standing up without making a mess
5. Tolerate outright meanness
6. Function without caffeine
7. Play any musical instruments

7 Things I Say Most Often

1. Shit
2. Really
3. Kind of
4. Sort of
5. I reckon
6. In a minute
7. Wow

7 Celebrity Crushes (I don't really care for 'celebrities' of the typical variety.) Sorry, I just can't confess my crush(es) right now, so I'm changing this to "Seven Favorite 1970s Songs."

1. "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin (actually they could populate this entire list)
2. "Love Machine" by The Miracles
3. "Radar Love" by Golden Earring
4. "Give a Little Bit" by Supertramp
5. "Sara" by Fleetwood Mac
6. "Livin' Thing" by Electric Light Orchestra
7. "Strawberry Letter 23" by The Brothers Johnson

7 Things That Annoy Me

1. Bad drivers
2. People moving/rearranging my stuff
3. People with no sense of humor
4. Grammatical, spelling, punctuation, etc. errors in published books
5. Global Warming
6. Blood-sucking insects
7. People who get mad at kids for acting like kids

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Recycled Thoughts- Fire Under the Vessel

Originally posted to my now private AOL journal:

Friday, April 22, 2005
Subject: Art and the Artist's Dilemma
Time: 3:33:00 PM EDT
Author: ramskates
Music: Do Noubt, oops No Doubt, got typing dyslexia today

I've been thinking about writing a longish post about artists and the infamous "artist's temperament" or disposition. I've done a couple of online searches just to see what pops up, and there have been a couple of interesting articles but not exactly what I'm looking for. Maybe I'll search some more later, but for now I'm just jotting down some of my preliminary ideas.

Last year I read a book called, Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired, by Francine Prose. In addition to the examples in that book of the relationships between artists and their subjects there are many other stories of artists entangled in various types of involvements. It seems almost every artist has encountered at least one person who irrevocably influenced his/her life. I think artists are especially receptive to beauty and to being overwhelmed and consumed by it. Sometimes this makes it impossible to recognize boundaries because the artist often doesn't see boundaries at all. Part of the discomfort of the artist's temperament is that he/she frequently oversteps boundaries and faces the consternation and even scorn of others because of that. But to one who believes that inspiration comes from some divine source, or divine infusion, there is no line that divides. Here's a partial quote from the Prose book, "...isn't it the nature of the divine to transcend corporeal and psychic borders?" Yes, it is. And it does.

I think it's a common experience for artists to 'fall' for their subjects for all these reasons. The artist erases all boundaries to see inside their subject and in the process can become entranced and overcome with the beauty they see there. Sometimes there is one in particular that touches something deep inside unlike any of the others. In the Prose book these people are the muses of the artists. Whether that experience lasts a lifetime or only a little while is probably irrelevant because the impact is lasting.

Another quote from the Prose book:

"And so, once more, we return to the Greeks and to the various examinations and definitions of love and Eros considered in Plato's Symposium: the search for the long-lost half of theself, the desire for good and for beauty, the need to procreate, and to create. For the artists, the love of -- and for-- their muses provided an essential element required for the alchemy of invention, or the fire under the vessel in which talent and technique were melded to produce the gold of art."

Fire under the vessel. I like that phrase. It sounds like a good title for something.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I love that man! (and some crystal green and purple persuasion)

Via Lubos Motl:

Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

You must surely invest 50 minutes of your time to enhance your life by watching that interview with Feynman. Wow! I'm a little angry at my former (very 'liberal' - what a joke) college professors who 'protected' me from this social science critic, who was also many other much more important things. The man was brilliant! And a part of me toys with the thought that I sure would have liked to meet him if I had been born a few decades sooner. ;-)

I especially like his description of how his father taught him to examine the world instead of just knowing the names of things. I have done that with my kids too. When they ask me 'what is this or that?' I can't only tell them the name but have to give them as much information as I think they will find interesting or will understand. Sometimes maybe I tell them more than they care to know, but maybe they absorb more than they let on at those times. He also mentions that knowing the science that explains the world does not take away any of its grandeur but adds to its complexity and beauty. I totally agree! And I'll even step a little further and say that knowing how complex and scientifically beautiful the world is makes me even more appreciative of whatever 'Creator' there might be or have been. (Feynman doesn't say that.)

Another thing he says that I can completely relate to is his idea of 'active irresponsibility' which means taking the time to truly concentrate on a subject instead of taking time for other 'responsibilities'. Now I certainly don't do any complicated and deep physics computations that require my total concentration, but I do suffer from the loss of concentration and only getting to 'dip' lightly into deeper thoughts due to interruptions by children, telephones, book-keeping, laundry, chauffeuring, etc. Though in the last year or so I've made a commitment to myself that I have at least one hour of uninterrupted time alone every day. And it is during that time that I am able to ponder things as far as I can. So what if the dishes don't get done right then? So what if the house isn't straightened up? Those things aren't the most important in my world at every moment.

It's kind of funny because just Sunday night during my 'alone time' in my 'secret room' I was looking at one of my crystal specimens (a green and purple fluorite) and letting it seize my mind. I examined the banding of the colors and imagined how the different elements combined to form such a beautiful object. I don't know the chemical composition of fluorite or which particular elements or whatever cause the different colors (things I could easily google), but it's not exactly necessary for me to know the names of those things to appreciate and understand the complex beauty of how it is formed.

CaF2, Calcium Fluoride

I collect many different kinds of crystals, not because of any supposed magical powers that some might give them but because they are so cool and pretty and thought-provoking. But I have to admit that I can see why some might ascribe magical powers to crystals because of the way that they can seize your mind as I described above. Anything that can so completely seduce your attention is magic of a sort.

I don't think Feynman would have approved of my saying this, but I think that he was a very magical person to be able to enchant and to be enchanted and to translate that enchantment into science. I love that!

A cool set of carved quartz shapes.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you moms out there have a wonderful Mother's Day!

For the last 9 years this day has been one of mixed emotions. After losing my own mother 9 years ago I have struggled with sadness on Mother's Day, but my own children make it a happy occasion. It does seem to get a little easier every year though last night I had a thought of "I really wish I could talk to Mom about this" in response to some current personal issues. Maybe now I choose not to dwell on her not being here and maybe that is why it seems easier. And certainly, my own children's love and affection eases any sadness, especially as they get older and more expressive.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New Wheels, Baseball, and a Very Busy Week

Sorry I haven't been blogging much this week. It has been very busy, more than usual. Monday was a Monday. I had errands to run before school let out, and then my oldest had a piano lesson and a baseball game that night.

Tuesday the fourth grade had another field trip. This time it was to the DARE day at the Tennessee Smokies baseball stadium. This was an event for all fourth grade classes in all Knox County Public Schools. Imagine a ballpark filled with 9-11 year olds! Wow! It was fun, and the kids got to see some vicious-looking police dogs in action as well as the DARE officers. Then the game started, and the Smokies were playing well and hit four home runs while we were there. But we had to leave during the seventh inning so the buses could get back to school before school let out. The Smokies won 6-3 which was the score when we left. Then that evening my oldest had baseball practice. (Yes, lots of baseball these days, but man, I LOVE baseball!)

Wednesday was filled with catching up on the chores, etc. that didn't get done on Tuesday. And I also had to start getting our tax related documents together for the May 15 deadline that our accountant and I agreed on. Oh, how I hate dealing with all of that stuff! But, one good thing was that David called and said that he found me a new family vehicle....

Then Thursday we went to Carmax to pick it up. I'm riding in style now! We didn't trade the old car because they wouldn't give a good trade-in value. We can outright sell it someone and get more money. The new one is also a Ford Expedition, but it is a 2003 Eddie Bauer edition with all the bells and whistes, including a sunroof- goody, goody! The old one is a 1999 plain-jane Expedition.

The old ride. Posted by Picasa

The new ride. Posted by Picasa

Vicious Momma-mobile Posted by Picasa

I had the skull-and-crossbones plate on the old car but put it on the new one. I've always like skulls and skeletons, even way before they became a popular 'thing.' Ever since I've had it I've gotten lots of attention (in the form of waves, etc.) from a certain class of young punks. LOL I've wondered if this skull-and-crossbones is some kind of 'gang-sign' or something because of that. Well, whatever.

I think I'll make it a gang-sign for the Gang of Evil-SUV-Driving-Vicious-Mommas or GESDVMs. Yes, I'm a proud member of the Evil-SUV-Driving gang. When you've got a bunch of kids you have to have something bigger than a Geo Metro or any other sedan style car. We almost always have more than our three riding with us as we do a lot of carpooling. And this is still the land of Freedom and Choice, and I choose NOT to drive a minivan. I don't like them, and they really aren't any more economical in our case.

So anyway, this is my Happy Mother's Day present!

More baseball today as my oldest has a game this afternoon. It's a beautiful day! Oh, and yesterday I was able to get 95% of our tax stuff finished, so yay! I hope to get back to regular blogging next week. I've got a nice (mentally) juicy post I'm working on.

Friday, May 12, 2006

AOL Poll

Here are the results (as of a few minutes ago) of an AOL poll:

Should the military be used to tighten the U.S.-Mexico border?

Yes 86%
No 14%

Total Votes: 136,504

Certainly, this isn't a 'scientific' poll, but they let each screenname vote only once. I guess if someone has nothing better to do they could sign on with a bunch of different screennames to vote more times, but I doubt that is a large problem. And of course, I voted only once because I'm a good, upright kind of citizen. (but I can also be a pretty good, recumbent kind of citizen too) ;-)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Worst Movies I've Ever Watched

1. The Day After Tomorrow

Don't even get me started on that one. I'll just say they completely lost me when the passenger jet flew directly into the huge storm.

2. Mission to Mars

I was so disappointed with this one. I had anticipated a great space movie but got an exercise in emotional stupidity instead.

3. Cabin Fever

Dumb, dumb, dumb! However many minutes of my life I'll never get back. The only reason I watched it to the end was to see just how dumb it could get. How do people get the financing to make such stupid movies??

Yeah, okay, so that's only 3, but I'm only counting movies that I've actually watched all the way through. There are many more that I've either refused to waste my time watching or have only watched parts of. And not that my taste in movies is so very sophisticated or advanced since I list among my favorites Mars Attacks, Little Nicky, and House of 1000 Corpses. But what makes those movies good compared to the ones listed above is that they don't take themselves seriously. They are kind of silly by design. They are over the top but in a clever, satirical way. And to me that is funny.

To my detractors

Take that! Ha!!

Am I cool or uncool? [CLICK]
You are Super-Cool!
Woah! Step back - the future's so bright for you it's blinding me! You are the coolest of the cool. Everyone looks up to you as the benchmark for being coooool. The fonze was your grandfather. Any cooler and you'd freeze! WOO it's chilly in here.
Cool quizzes at

Another funny

Okay, this is fluff-and-no-stuff week on the blog!


Rae Ann is a radioactive squirrel!!



Sounds about right...

saw this at kat's


Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator

Friday, May 05, 2006


You Are a Glazed Donut

Okay, you know that you're plain - and you're cool with that.
You prefer not to let anything distract from your sweetness.
Your appeal is understated yet universal. Everyone digs you.
And in a pinch, you'll probably get eaten.

This is true...

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

... but I was kind of hoping it would say I was more Machiavellian. ;-)

After the rain...

Hostas and 'Squirrel Corn' (Dicentra canadensis), a relative of Bleeding Hearts. I love the way the rain drops cling to these particular hostas. I can't remember which variety they are.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

First Blog Anniversary

I've been a Hoe for a year now, and this is post number 400! And what an interesting year it has been. I've 'met' many fascinating people and have also encountered some real goobers. Some have left the blogosphere and I miss them (not the goobers). I've ruffled feathers and had mine ruffled too. But for the most part blogging has been great. It is Free Speech in practice to the extent that people have never experienced before. Of course, by Free Speech I don't mean that it gives people a license to abandon all decorum and morality, as some have done. But, in the Land of the Free, we know part of the price of Freedom is putting up with a few lame-brains who aren't intellectually and emotionally evolved enough to handle the responsibilities that come with Freedom. The cost of Freedom is high in so many ways, but it is more than worth it.

Mae West Quote for Today

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Step in the Invasion (and some much rambling)

I heard on the news this morning that Mexico is close to legalizing all kinds of drugs for personal use. In an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune Mayor Jerry Sanders says,

"I view this as a hostile action by a longtime ally of the U.S."

I totally agree which might come as a surprise. But I see this a another step in Mexico's efforts in "reconquista." (Michelle Malkin also has an article about that.)

I don't like imported drugs, legal or illegal. I think if a person wants to smoke pot they should grow their own. That way you aren't supporting the drug smugglers and dealers and other nasty people and you also know exactly what you have and how it was grown and handled. Of course, I'm speaking hypothetically. I'm not advocating illegal activities!

As for the other illegal drugs I think they are too dangerous to be legal anywhere. I'm not looking for any pro-drug comments/arguments here. That isn't the point of this post. I'm aware that the Libertarian Party's platform includes legalization of all drugs. I don't agree with that. I'm not a Libertarian.

My concern here is that our neighbor is on the verge of passing a law that will result in even more conflict on our border. How can others not see this as practically equal to some other kind of attack on our country? It is indeed as Mayor Sanders said a "hostile action."

I've already been called a racist. Oh well. It's not about race at all. It's about what's legal and illegal and protecting my country from an invading foreign force.

I'd like to talk about my family's very long American heritage, but I hesitate because some might take it wrong. They might say that I'm claiming to be some kind of American elite or something, but that is NOT the case. I am a proud American, but I don't think I'm any 'more' American than a first generation naturalized citizen. But for the open-minded knowing my family's history might shed light on my strong Patriotic and Protectionist feelings.

And thankfully I have Clyde the frog to cheer me up in the case of any bashings that come my way. People don't stop to think that behind these words there is a real, live, breathing, feeling person. If you only have hurtful things to say then save your energy. Name-calling isn't an intelligent argument. I'm not Lubos Motl who takes abuse from idiots all the time and seems to not be bothered by it. I think that might be one of the differences between men and women. I'm probably more sensitive than he is.

It's hard to be right, especially when being right doesn't follow the popular trends. People bash you for stating the unpopular truth before they finally realize that it is the truth, but then after you've been proven right by time and experience, etc. those very same people bash you again if you if you even hint, "I told you so." I'm not saying that I'm always right. I'm just stating an observation about how things happen.

My crystal ball is mediocre. I've already admitted that. If it were perfect there might be a temple built for me like Delphi, but it's not perfect so I only have my little blog here. But some of the things that I've seen in the past have come to be. At the age of 14 (1982) I had a vision of a new wave of racial tensions in our country, specifically the vision was of race riots in the streets. In 1982 racial tensions were not big in the news, but somehow I sensed that within a decade or so things would happen. And they did.

Also one day in the very early 1980s I was thinking aloud about how expensive and wasteful it seemed for so many glass jars and bottles to be thrown away. I posited that recycling them was a viable option and also predicted that plastic was a better, cheaper solution that could and would also be recycled. This was way before recycling was a thing, and one of my 'brainy' guy friends ridiculed my ideas as 'improbable or even impossible.' Heh, who ended up right? These are just two examples of times when I've made what sounded like silly, crazy predictions to 'people who knew better' and was dismissed or criticized only to be vindicated later. Oh well. Time will tell. I suspect that Nostradamus wrote his visions in vague ways to avoid persecution too. Not that I'm any kind of Nostradamus!

So what am I getting at with this? I hate to say it but my crystal ball is showing me some pretty disturbing visions. I hope they are wrong and only the products of a very overactive imagination. I see our border conflicts with Mexico escalating into something more, especially if our leaders refuse to recognize the seriousness of the situation. I rarely describe the specific visions I have, but this time I'll say that I've seen a sleeping giant awaking (not the most original, I know, but hey). We concern ourselves with far away places but don't tend to our own back yard. I hear the echoes of the fall of the great empires of the past. Call me crazy. I hope that I am.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

He's Back!

Clyde the frog has made another appearance! My cute little amphibious suitor! It's interesting that he makes his appearances soon after I've been bashed. Cleansing indeed!

And actually I did get a chance earlier today to read more about Upland Chorus Frogs. I didn't find anything about whether or not they burrow under dirt, but most of what I did find said that they are usually difficult to see and that there isn't much information about their habits other than during mating season. I also read that they are nocturnal. Well, apparently not totally nocturnal, at least not Clyde. If you click on the photo to go to a larger version of it you can see some specks of dirt on his back. Maybe he was under some dirt.

I had questioned my identification of him and wondered if he was actually a Spring Peeper, but after listening to a recording of each species I'm 99.8% sure he is an Upland Chorus Frog.

And I'm really amazed that he showed up just now and completely absolved my previous aggravation. Thank you Clyde! (I might just have to kiss him, lol.)


I'm #73 on Blogshares Hot 100.

whatever that might mean, ;-)

E pluribus unum

From many, one. That's the motto of the United States of America.

I've been called a racist by a cowardly, mean, judgmental commentor

at CapitalistImperialistPig's.

This verbal assault isn't the first by "Dano" who apparently isn't brave enough to write his own blog but likes to leech onto other blogs and insult people like me who disagree with his limited world view. He calls me a racist because I'm sick and tired of the illegal aliens who shouldn't be here in the first place making demands like spoiled toddlers. He probably pays them to clean his house and do his yard work. But some parasites do sympathize with other parasites.

Sure, I know that many of them do work, but I'm sure that if you did a detailed comparison of what 'benefits' they bring to our economy (cheap labor, cheap produce, etc.) to the actual costs (lower wagebase, social services, loss of taxes, etc.) to our economy there would be no argument in their support. They cost each American at least $3000 a year in social services, lost taxes, etc. I'd rather pay $3000 a year more for groceries than for it to go to a leech on our economy. They don't pay any payroll taxes including Social Security. How many of the liberal idiots who are so protective of the ailing Social Security system have thought about that? In a few years if the liberals have their way there will be thousands upon thousands more people added to the Social Security rolls who haven't paid a cent into it.

And for those who don't know or have forgotten, legal employers contribute to Social Security too. When you have an employee and withhold those taxes from their paychecks, you don't just send the government that amount you withheld. You have to match the Social Security and Medicare portions. So if you withhold $50 from the employee's paycheck you also have to send $50 of your own money (meaning the employer's money). People never stop to think about that. It's very expensive to have legal employees. But that's the way it is. And all of these companies who hire illegals are getting out of paying their share. Someone look it up and tell me how much in lost taxes it amounts to when you have millions of people and companies not paying into the system. I would love a list of all the big corporations that hire illegals so that I can boycott them. Tyson Foods is one that is well-known. Just imagine how much our country is losing for the sake of cheap chicken. I can live without eating chicken.

Another thing that many people probably haven't even considered is that illegal aliens could be a health hazard as they most likely haven't been immunized against many diseases as well as could be carriers for diseases like TB. Certainly, this could add even more to the cost of to us tax-paying citizens.

So, am I a racist? I don't think so. I don't hate Mexicans. I don't discriminate against Mexicans. But I do have a problem with leeches and parasites whether they are from Mexico, Timbuktu, or right here in Knoxville.

Another point that Dano didn't like was my mentioning that Mexico seems to be trying to reclaim the territory that the US won and bought in the Mexican-American War. He's no doubt some miserable apologist who thinks that the very land he lives on should be returned to its rightful native owner. Oh, wait, probably not his very own land, if he actually does own anything and god-forbid pays taxes on it. That only applies to everyone else, right Dano? Only the ones who disagree with you and who you think have more than you?

I really shouldn't have put any time and attention into this silly man's comments. But I think it's good to expose people who think it's okay to throw stones when they live in glass houses.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy May Day

Inspired by kat's post of her pretty roses I wanted to post some pictures from around my yard, but blogger isn't wanting to upload them for some reason. Oh well. Blame it on the illegal aliens! (I haven't paid attention to the news today. Are they doing their big protest/boycott?)

I was going to do a post about the significance of May Day, but when I looked it up I found that the Commies have adopted it for their own purposes. Just like a bunch of socialist pigs to ruin a perfectly good fertility celebration.

I did read that the Maypole started out as a phallic symbol. Well, that's cool! Gotta love those phalluses!

I can't seem to gather my thoughts enough today to put anything together for a coherent post. I was thinking about my favorite archetypal symbol (well, other than a phallic symbol), the Sacred Spiral. I might still do that eventually, but I'm just not up to it right now.

My throat is feeling scratchy. It's probably allergy related, but who knows? I guess I'll take some Motrin and drink some more orange juice.

I don't know what's wrong with me today, other than it being Monday. I don't do Mondays very well.

I've heard Clyde the frog but haven't seen him. He's so small, and I suspect that he's hiding in one of the flower pots, maybe even under the dirt. I'd look up whether frogs do that (burrow under dirt), but I don't feel like doing that either.

A million things to do, but I think in spirit maybe I'm an illegal alien today and will sit on my ass and do nothing.

What am I protesting? Maybe a lack of phallic symbols...