Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're Number 4!


Santa has given a little prezzie to me early this year. As a freelance writer, one of the things I have to deal with that's even more mind-boggling than English grammar is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the fine art of word manipulation mated with algorithyms in order to make your website high up on the rankings of places like Google, Ask.com or Yahoo. One of my blog posts for Where We Relax has shown up at Number 4 out of about 4 million for the keywords "how to be liked". WOOT!

And, also, my flash fiction piece "Peter & Sid" was published by Every Day Fiction. No prizes for guessing who the "Peter" character is based on.

Speaking of Peter, isn't this a festive image? This image was created by Mrs. RatBag on the Solsbury Hill Forums. It was so good I had to steal it. As Peter once said:

"Historically, all great art is based on theft."


Off to collapse. See you next year.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Response to Peter Gabriel's 24 Nov. Video Post

Since I mention Peter Gabriel so frequently in this blog, you probably have gathered that I keep an eye on his official web site. Once a month, Peter posts a video blog complete with backing soundtrack about why he still doesn't have another album out. Well, he yet again forgot my birthday, but I don't mind. Yesterday, he asked his fans for responses to his delectable little video blog in a video format. Well, since I don't have a video anything, this'll have to do.

That was the introduction. My letter to Peter is the rest of the post. If you're a little uncomfortable about eavesdropping, just go talk to each other and I'll see you next month.

Dear Peter

You asked for responses -- you got it. As you've probably noticed by now, this isn't in the requested video format. Trust me, darling, my words are far more attractive than either my face or my voice. You could always print this out and put it behind a lava lamp for any needed special effects.

Anyway, I'm quite pleased that you are so busy not working on I/O. This gives me something to tease you about. God/dess knows, you give me precious little opportunites to do that.

You mention that there are those fans who do not like it when you talk about anything other than your music or lack thereof. I am not one of those. I'm glad to hear about your humanitarian activities. I marvel at it.

I do admire that you see the human race as something worth saving, which is a point of view I wish I could share. I would add points about my point of view, but I honestly do not wish to damper your enthusiasm. Some day, I hope to share it. Right now, I concentrate my efforts on animal rights and hope to expand someday.

And the quality of your music is still as high as ever, probably because of the extracirricular activities. I have a feeling that you'd get bored very quickly if you just sat in a studio all day, and that would definately show in the music.

So, keep on talking about Witness, The Elders and anything that excites and inspires you. It all sounds good.

Sweet dreams,

rraven (Rena Sherwood)

Monday, November 19, 2007

God, I'm 38. What Happened?

Yes, it's time for the annual posting of the Solsbury Hill Commitee's picture of a partying Peter. That means my mortality clock has ticked on one click. Translation: Yesterday was my birthday.

Now, I'm coming down from a major sugar and Breyer model horse buzz, so I can't really make a big post, as my eyes are still not back into focus. That and a killer sinus headache this morning didn't help things. However, yesterday my Mom and Dad got together to have me have one of the best birthdays of my entire life. For a few hours, I was a little horse-mad girl again! Mom found about a "Breyer Fun Day" held locally and had my Dad drive me to it (my folks are divorced).

I used to have about 1,000 model horses of various sizes and Breyer was and is my favorite brand. At this Breyer Fun Day, I got to eat free cupcakes, shop for boku Breyers, play a Breyer game, talk to other collectors, enter (and loose) at free to enter raffles and got a free poster, stickers, dealer's catalogue and a free Breyer -- well, I had to paint the little Breyer pony in order to get him for free, but I'm not quibbling.

Now, it's back to work (which I love, incidently.) Showcasing some of my recent work on HubPages, you can read such diverse topics as:

*Practical Crystal Healing
*What To Feed Your Ferret
*How To Set Up A Goldfish Tank
*The Medicinal Properties of Clove Oil

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fish Acting Fishy

Now that my five goldfish have gifted my home with their presense for about a month, I'm noticing something peculiar. All of them are growing -- except for the smallest one, Napoleon. The other four also hang out together more -- even sleep at the same time -- while Napoleon is on the other side of the tank, doing his fishy thing.

It is possible that Napoleon is just a genetically small Comet goldfish, as there are small members in the Plecostomus family that can stay one inch all of their lives or suddenly shoot to a foot and a half in length. But Napoleon isn't a Pleco -- he's a baby goldfish living with four other baby goldfish. The other four are growing -- why not him?

I'm doing the right things -- not overfeeding, doing weekly partial water changes, keeping the cat away, keeping the light on to mimic the sun -- and this guy isn't growing while the other four are.

I've got a bad feeling that one day I'll look in the tank and see only Napoleon swimming through a floating cloud of shredded fins and decapitated heads. And he still won't have grown any. In that case, he can have the tank to himself. I'll have a hell of a job explaining the situation to any onlookers, though. I never had this problem with guinea pigs, at least, although I did have it with hamsters.

In other news, I guess you've noticed all of the links to my HubPages articles. It's not a way to brainwash, you, I assure you -- just a requirement from the HubPages maestros.

And the writing career stumbles onward...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


I love Halloween. I always have. That's probably one reason why I became a Witch. I love dressing up (even when it's not Halloween) but I haven't got to the point of dressing up my dog. I think she's just rip the costume off. But if I did, I'd probably get something like the costume pictured.

I used to love getting the candy during trick or treat. Now, I'm on the other side of the door and I think I get more of a kick out of that. Tonight, I'm dressing up as a Witch (what else) and handing the candy out. Pony will be The Hound of the Baskervilles, running up and down her new yard to scare the crap out of all the trick or treaters. I have this really grisly looking bone for her to chew on. Should be a blast.

And as a treat for you, Gentle Readers, I'll cut off this blog post early.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

FEESH!


Yes, the fish have finally arrived and life as I know it has ended. Anyway, the Fab Five are doing great and have been helping me get my head together and learn some valuable life lessons.

The fishy five were from the local PETCO. We usually don't go to PETCO, but it is the closest pet shop to us and a shorter trip is less stressful to the fish than a long one. I barely slept the night before Mom drove me to the stire to get the fish. She even greeted me with "Happy Fishy Day!"

I decided to save five feeders' lives (SAVE THE FEEDERS) rather than splurge on pedigreed goldfish. You don't get to choose your fish if you want any from the feeder tank, so I let fate and the nice (and cute) PETCO employee dude choose. And he chose well. There are two Comets, two Common goldfish and one undecided. I have no idea what sex any of them are, so I just assign them personal adjectives at random.

They are:
  • Napoleon, the smallest and the leader of the group. About a half inch long, the usual goldfish gold, a Comet and first to figure out everything.

  • Redcap, a pinto colored fish with a bright oprange cap (hense the incredibly original name), a Comet baby about an inch long.

  • Belly, another itty-bitty baby goldie that's just a wee bit bigger than Napoleon, named after the bright silver and usually fatter belly than Napoleon. Since Belly is so small and active, I can't see her tail shape well enough to determine what breed she is (hey, maybe she's a mongrel! So am I!)

  • Twin Comet, the biggest fish, with a honkin' big tail. He is a metallic gold and looks almost identical to

  • Twin Common, who has a smaller tail but othersise looks identical to the other Twin.


I promise not to turn this blog into a repetative journal about my brilliant fish, but I just needed to get all this news out of my system. Back to the usual prattle next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Atlantis Sank


I have solved the mystery of why Atlantis, the mysterious island that knew everything about everything except that it was going to sink, sunk. I actually have some scientific facts to back me up. In 2000, in Venezula, a multi-national team of scientists discovered the remains of the world's biggest guinea pig. How big? 1500 pounds big. My God, even a Thoroughbred stallion weighs less than that! This guinea pig has been officially christened Phoberomys pattersoni but is known among the scientific community as "Guineazilla".

Guineazilla lived eight million years ago, when Atlantis was most likely not only high and dry, but a lot closer to what is now South America. Atlanteans, with nothing better to do, wandered over to South America, where they find cute little baby Guineazillas who have somehow wandered from Mommyzilla and Daddyzilla. The Atlanteans take them home.

Then the babyzillas grew up.
Under their combined weight, the mighty island sank like, approprately enough, a stone. The grown up Guineazillas, bouyed by their fat, floated leisurely back home to South America.

I'm sure it happened.
But I'd need federal grant money in order to pursue this theory further.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Bristol Shubunkin


I collect neat sayings that would make either dynamite book titles or names for show horses. Hopefully, this post will live up to the tilte of "The Bristol Shubunkin", but I kinda doubt it. And what is a Bristol Shubinkin? It's a kind of goldfish developed in Bristol, England (duh) which is hopefully pictured above. Perhaps one day this will be the title of a book of my poems ... if it's not used by Robert Ludlum first.

With the coming of fall, a girl's thoughts naturally turn to ... that's right...

Goldfish.

In my last post, I was working on a way to let my Mom allow my Dad to give me his twenty gallon aquarium and stand. (Mom and Dad do not live together anymore -- partially due to aquatic issues just like this). Well, Mom said yes and mentioned something about "keeping me too busy to keep playing those damn Peter Gabriel CDs." Ah, Peter comes through for me again!

So now I have an almost fully equipped aquarium with rocks and plastic plants and a really hyperactive heater (uh-oh) all bubbling away a few feet from my bed. the theory is that not only will I get to relax by watching the fish, I will be able to write articles about my fish keeping experiences and make a little money so I can support this new hobby.

But, as any fish keeper knows, you just can't start an aquarium and plunk the fish in. Oh no. There isn't any benficial bacteria built up yet to support life. It's very much like your intestines -- if there aren't any beneficial bacteria in your guts, then the food can't digest. So, my goldfish tank is kinda like a rectangular water filled gut.

Eeewww.

Anyway, the earliest any goldfish can move in is October 15th. This is as bad as waiting for Christmas when I was a kid. In order to keep me from annoying my Mom and to keep out of trouble, I've been a very busy freelance writer. Here are some of the places I contribute regularly to:

* Where We Relax (a blog about relaxing, believe it or not)
* Dealing With Headaches
* My articles on Helium (as soon as I figure out what Helium is, I'll let you know).
* Ghostritten articles galore gathered together in one place in rraven's ghostwritten whispers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

If Wishes Were Fishes


I want a fish tank. Preferably with fish in it. I have had tanks before and so I have a taste of what I'm up against. I'm always sad when a pet dies, even a wet pet, and fish are the most mortal of the bunch. But this time I am determined that it will work out. Mainly, becuase I don't have to pay for a tank, a stand and a light. I discovered my Dad wants to get rid of his empty 20 gallon tank. Currently, it is home to two wooden sculptures of tropical fish and some gravel.

Besides, I have this pet advice column on Hub Pages. This could be great research for future articles. Perhaps I could even write the fish off as a business expense? And watching fish is supposed to lower stress. I could write about that in my new professional blog for We-Relax.com.

Well, I talked to Dad just a few minutes ago and he is all for giving me the tank, stand and light and even helping me set the tank up. He has even offered to buy me a pump for an early birthday present.

The only snag is that I live in my Mom's basement. So I have to convince Mom that a 20 gallon fishtank is a good thing. I have no idea what my dog Pony is going to think (probably "Blah, blah, blah Pony blah blah blah" as suggested by a Far Side cartoon). Cross your fingers that I swim and don't sink!

Speaking about luck, I have recently had another website pay me for one of my original poems about a strange bit of luck called, "How To Determine There's A God When You Are On The Return Flight To Philadelphia From Orlando". Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Moon


A new moon is an omen of a new direction or start in life, fortunes or projects. A new moon is the most auspiscious time to start working on life goals. Today is the new moon. It also happens to be the sixth anniversary of Sept 11. I hope that America will get a new attitude and get on with life from this new moon onwards.

After six years, what have we learned, folks? That's it's probably not the best of ideas to swat a mosquito with a bazooka. Honestly, if the Bad Guys were supposed to be so evil, I think we would've all been toast long before now. So let's get things in perspective and start tackling the REAL issues that need money and manpower, like world peace, fixing the enviornment, reducing the human overpopulation, feeding those who are already here, lowering the cost of things and shifting our worship of Money to a worship of Let's Get Our Shit Sorted Out.

Sorry, not feeling funny today. But I don't want to end on such a bummer of a note. Here's a video of a duet between Bono and the late, great Luciano Pavarotti. One of the highlights of my tumultous five years in England was getting to see The Three Tenors performance in Bath. I always thought Pavarotti would outlive me. Perhaps he will, after all. That's a fair trade-off.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

God & The Lottery


Last week a Wiccan won The Lottery (and not the Shirley Jackson kind, mind you). Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett won over $30 million after some intense spiritual negotiations:

Bartlett, an accountant from Dundalk, Maryland, said he made a bargain with the multiple gods associated with his Wiccan beliefs: "You let me win the lottery and I'll teach." Both tickets he purchased had numbers chosen randomly from the computer.


I'm a Witch as well and have yet to win the lottery (although once I think I won a copy of short stories with "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson in it). When you read Wiccan, think "Witch". As far as I'm concerned, "Wiccan" is the wussy name. The thinking behind calling oneself Wiccan rather than Witch is that the name Witch has a whole lotta archetype baggage associated with it. And that's exactly the reason why I call myself a Witch...or at least, a Pagan.

ANYWAY, the media seems quite interested in Bartlett's religion. I hesitate to think that Bartlett is the first Wiccan/Pagan to ever win money, but apparantly he's the first for a major multi-million pot. I hope this does not lead people to look into Wiccan/Pagan spirituality just for the dosh. They will be sadly disappointed, let me tell you.

Oh, you get what you ask for if you really really want it, don't get me wrong. On the day I devoted myself to The Path, I asked for wisdom. Silly me. I had no idea what the consquences of asking for wisdom would be. I thought I would learn how to organize coupons better. No. I wound up falling in love with a homeless alchoholic in England, ran away from home to follow him and lived in poverty for over five years. I had to come back to America after my litte home in the woods was burnt down. But I am a hell of a lot wiser.

Having said that, I suppose I could do a spell to win a lottery. But what would be the point? Would I be truly happy? Well, I'd be a lot more comfortable, but I wouldn't be any happier.

Hopefully, Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett will not have to go through what I had to go through to get what he wanted. Free advice, though, Brother Elwood -- most spirits and elemental forces and the human student body do not obey anyone named "Bunky". "My Goddess! We're in for it now! It's Professor Wizard Bunky!" Heck, even Tim is a scarier name.

And speaking of true magic, one little wish of mine has come true. Peter Gabriel has finally gone and found himself a distributer for his new album, I/O...but whenever that comes out, God only knows.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gid God


Apparantly God has decided to be a graffitti artist. He doesn't seem to have too much of an original tag (the name graffiti artists go by, such as the immortal Spaz) but at least He is using an extrememly original medium -- eggplants.

I've read about cracking the cosmic egg, but this is ridiculous.

I was born in Delaware County, PA which is a hearty scream outside of South Philadelphia. I always knew Delaware County was going to produce something extraordinary one day. And it did, producing Jim Croce, but he's sadly passed on now so we've been waiting for something else to fill in the gap.

And it's here -- On August 12, 2007 in a humble mostly agnostic home in Boothwyn, Delaware County, Feliecia Teske was carving up an eggplant for, presumably, dinner. When she sliced the plant, out popped the image that is still hopefully at the top of this post. The seeds seem to be spelling out the word "God" (although to me it looks like Gid). She did what any normal person would do -- alterted the media and then put the Holy Eggplant up on eBay.

Incredibly, owners of more Holy Eggplants have come forward. Even more incredibly, they are not getting any bids.

I think Delaware County would've rather had Jim Croce back.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Puppy Mojo


Bless Hecate -- today is Pony's third birthday. Yes, the world has been blessed now with THREE FULL years of my dog, Pony's, presence. Her birthday just happens to coincide with an ancient sacred day for the great pre-Hellenic Goddess Hecate, who just happens to be incredibly fond of dogs. Months before Pony was born, I had chosen Hecate to petition for a new dog (my first dog Rusty dying over a year previously). That Pony was born on a sacred day of the Goddess I asked for help from seemed to be too much of a coincidence.

And Pony is a magickal dog. Her wishes come true much more often than mine do. She has a penetrating stare that wakes me from my sleep. She often stares unblinkingly at you for minutes if she wants something. My Mom calls this her "puppy mojo". Don't laugh -- it works.

Pony was nored living homeless in the English woods, for instance. So our home burnt down and we needed to move. Saint Mom took us in. Now Pony gets to see mots of people, lots of doggies, and sniff new sniffs every day here in America.

Then Pony did not like when I had a job at Macy's. Whenever I got dressed for work, she would cringe and whine. She wanted me to stay with her. So I quit my job, became unemployed for a year and now make enough money to meet Pony's needs (if not my own, but that;s not the point)with telecommuting.

You want to get some magick in your life? Forget the spellbooks and Wiccan workshops -- just get a dog.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Thank God For Atheists!


It is seems atheism is hot again. There are a lot of books being sold written by atheists proving that religion is detremental to life, the universe and everything. And I think the Gods (any and all)are part of the buying public.

I'm not an atheist, but that doesn't mean I'm against atheism. Atheism does not equate with immoratlity. We do seem to be inborn with a set of ethics (except for the mentally ill) that often coincide with religious laws or duties. Although I haven't yet read the book pictured (Xmas gift hint), I have had long, happy discussions with atheists and agnostics. And they all seemed to be responsible, moral people. Although those who I talked to might not hold the views all atheists do, I think I've talked to enough to get the general gist.

The atheists I've talked to aren't aginst God or Goddess. They look at God or Goddess the way non-atheists look at an art form. It's religion that they are so worked up about. And religion is an entirely different animal from God/dess.

So, if your view of God/dess is that they set laws and punish those who break them and demand that all of nature worship them 24/7, then I can't agree with that view of God. God/dess made the damn universe -- what does He or She care a rat's ankle if someone doesn't go to Church? I think They've got more on Their plate than wagging fingers at every little naughty-naughty.

God has gotten a bad rap from organized religion. He or She is probably loving books like those on the left and saying , "Me bless all atheist authors!"

In other news, I've had another story published in the e-zine Susurrus: The Literature of Madness. (Let that be a reminder to you to take this Blog with a spoonful of sugar) It's about the quest to find a personal God, among other things. Hope you like it, especially all you Peter Gabriel fans. The editor went to great lengths to find illustrations for it. It's called Lost & Found.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Resistance Is Useless


What do you think of when you hear the word "teacher?" If you're me, you think of variations of the image on the left. So, whenever anyone said to me, "You look like schoolteacher," (because of my glasses, I guess) I cringed and promptly lived a live as non-schoolteacherish as I could. Being a sterotypical Scorpio, I prided myself on being completely unpredicatble.

And now, so what am I doing to earn a living? I'm writing how to and instructional articles on the web. In other words... I'M TEACHING. There are just times when everyone else except you can see your destiny and you just can't fight Destiny Hall. Fight it, no...compromise greatly, yes. I don't have to wear a dress code, speak in front of a group and can run with scissors and call it "research".

All of this has lead to me finding (at last count) over one hundred of my "teachings" on the web. To try and add links in one post or in the sidebar of this blog would be ridiculous, so I'm proud to announce that The Perfect Blog Title now has a spin off blog rraven's ghostwritten whispers. Now if I could only somehow get tenure...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wanted: A Few Good Elders


Well, it's been an exciting week in the world of rraven, including the beginning of what is hoped to be an exciting experiment in world diplomacy and human rights. I am referring to the formation of the ultimate diplomatic consultation firm -- Mandels, Carter, Tutu & Co. -- otherwise known as The Elders. Although the global village is full of people fighting for the post of Global Village Idiot, what is needed is a few good Elders to sort the idiots out.

The Elders concpt was started and initially funded by Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel. Now, this blog contantly teases PG about the incredibly long time he takes between albums (because what else is there to tease Peter about?) but I am actually glad that he does take the time out to do other projects. Most of them never quite come about as originally planned, but The Elders has.

I'd love to join the Elders. Sadly, at 37 and not even a Z list celebrity, I don't have much of a shot. But I will gladly donate a helpful hint to the current Elders about my plan for bringing about the end of a humanitarian crisis:

No more ice cream for anyone in the world until this Darfur thing is finally settled.

Seriously, think about it. No one cares about Darfur outside of those directly affected because they aren't affected. Take away the ice cream, and we're all affected (probably even those scientists in Antartica as well). That'll put Darfur at the top of the pile of Things To Do so we can all get back to ice cream.

BTW, sadly, that's not me In the photo (much to PG's releif, I'm sure). But the sentiment is there. Well done, Peter, Sir Richard, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and everyone else involved with the Elders. Brightest Blessings.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ghost Writer On The Fly


Hello, and hope you had a good week. Well, there's beedn lots of religious and spiritual news lately, including that mischevious Pope sticking his foot in his mouth again (I can't wait for the explanation to this one!), but for the most part news has flown right over your blogger's head. Becuase I have discovered some of the articles I wrote for web content sites are now online.

WHOOP! WHOOP! Of course, they don't have my name on them, but they still count as clips for my portfolio, don't they? And lo and behold, hardly a word was changed -- even the typos are still there in all their glory.

Now, what I do is technically called "ghost writing". Sadly, it has nothing to do with Stephen King. That is when I am paid to write material that another person or website gets the credit for. Yes, this is legal. Also sadly, I didn't realise some of these articles were already up and I sent them off as submissions. Is my face pink, or what? Anyway, Its fun to be a ghost writer now that the checks have cashed and the comments are starting to fly. Especially since I found out that all of us ghostwriters writing about ponds have the name of the same ghost -- Steve Madigan. Who knew! And when we ghostwriters want to get the proper vibes on debt relief, we channel the energies of a spirit named Raoul.

And what Perfect Blog Title post is complete without a link to Peter Gabriel's current European tour? (Um, quite a lot, actually...)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Puppetmasters



Yesterday was apparantly the luckiest day in one thousand years (7/7/07; but what about 7/7/77?) so that got me thinking about luck, which got me to thinking about predestination. Are we players or victims? When we fall down a flight of stairs and break our leg, should we say, "What bad luck!" or "You got off lucky this time, mate." So, are we just puppets of bigger forces like God, Nature, Genentics or Money?

Despite the image I chose for this post (if it bothers showing up!)I don't think we are helpless victims of any impersonal, sadistic, bored force. This image was nabbed from Peter Gabriel's video Steam. It contains a series of Peter being a puppet in the hands of a red dressed (ie-dangerous) woman. Then the situation is reversed. Hell, just click the Steam link to be cure of what I'm taling about.

I do think we are connected, but not in straight two-way lines such as puppetmaster and puppet. I think we are all connected on a vast spiderweb or cyber web network, if you like, and that although others might sometimes pull our strings, we also pull the strings of everyone else. this not only gives us freedom, but also great responsibility. So, you can't blame it all on Lady Luck. Damn!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My Ephitaph


I'm getting cremated. I'm putting it on record in the blogosphere -- don't bother burying my dead ass, just burn it. And I don't care where the ashes go, 'cause I'll be DEAD. I'm mentioning all this because "what happens to you after you die" is the big questiona ll spritualities must answer, and I'm not waiting for the answer to come to me when I die. I'm telling you now. Snap, crackle, pop me.

When you are cremated, there is less for your grieving family to have to do. I always like to think of other people, even when dead. And, by not using a burial plot, six feet of good fertile ground is spared. We're overpoulated enough with the living as it is without getting crowded out by the dead.

And, most importantly, after being cremated, I will not have a tombstone. Why is that important? Because no one will be able to write my epitaph. No one should write my epitaph but me. And quite frankly, since it's not a paying writing gig, I'm not interested in taking the assignment.

The best spitaph ever written was the one Spike Milligan did for himself. The one for Buffy The Vampire Slayer was pretty good, too.

If certain people ever wrote my epitaph, it would probably go something like this:

*My brother: "She Didn't Like David Tennant"

* My ex, Mitch: "Couldn't happen to a better person."

* My other ex, Dave: "Huh? What?"

* My dog, Pony: "Bones? What bones?"

* Stephen King: "To Be Continued...Mmmwooo hoo haa haa!!!"

* Peter Gabriel: "Obligatory PG Link Here"

Monday, June 18, 2007

OK, I Am Now Officially a Geek


It's been nearly a month now that I've been writing material for Cyber Defender, the free and low cost total online security softwear that's won a ton of awards...there, I'm writing for them again! But I'm thrilled with the job. Which, if my bosses ever risk a peek at this blog, I'm sure they'll be relieved to hear. My family is a little boggled that I'm having such a good time writing about online security. Doorknobs confused me when I was a kid. Now I'm the computer expert.

But it is suprisingly fun. Ever like those espionage thrillers or spy movies? The spy vrs spy aspect is just the same as with Internet security. One group sneaks over here in a neat-o way to get your personal information for nefarious purposes like sending you pop up ads and the other James Bond types sneak around with even more neat-o gizmos and not only saves the Internet, but gets the girl in the end (pun intended).

Alright, perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but you do have to keep your energy levels up writing about phishing over and over again. I did learn why phishing is spelled with a "ph" instead of an "f". Turns out, it is a spelling of respect for the pioneering hackers and crackers who walked ten miles in blizzards and hailstorms to a phone booth in order to hack into a computer with a phone line. Geeks have much different ways of giving memorial monuments to our pioneers. We would set up a statue or wall of some sort, but we're too busy watching piano playing cats on You Tube.

Other news:

* Mom is doing well after her multi-hour spinal surgery and will be coming home this evening. HOORAY! Last night I actually turned the telly on just to hear another human voice in the house. I've never done that before. Hell, I've lived alone in an English wood for three years, and last night I had to put on Nature before I could make dinner. I've turned into my Grandmother!
* Peter Gabriel is still on tour and there is, sadly, no chance of it coming over to Philly. What a time for me to move back to America, eh?
* Duct tape does not work in the vacuum of space. Am I alone, or did you get a powerful chill down the spine when you read that? I thought duct tape was how God made the Universe You know, "E=MC duct tape two for a one sale at Kmart squared".
* I have been throughly chastised by my brother about not liking the new Doctor Who. Although I have been humbled by Big Bro's explanation that I should be free to new concepts and not but the good Doctor in a pigeopn hole, I CANNOT get over the fact that the actor now portraying Doctor Who is THREE YEARS younger that I am. SO, I will watch the new Doctor Who episodes when I am old enough that EVERYBODY is younger than I am.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gimme That Old Time Doctor


My Mom is getting her back operated on this Thursday, June 14, the day of a new moon, happily enough (for all of us who believe in omens in the sky). She has decided to go with the same surgeon we first visited back in November. You remember the guy -- has a humungous Heironymous Bosch triptych print in his consultation office along with a silver skull decorated with Celtic crosses. Unsuprisingly, Mom was pretty adamant that, should she need surguery (she still wouldn't face the inevitable), she didn't want Dr. Waterman. I thought it was because of his choice of decor. No, Mom didn't like him because he's young. (Younger than I am).

Now, I laughed and laughed at this. The docotr has diplomas up the wazoo; he's articulate and eccentric and Mom holds his age (or lack thereof) against him. What a silly predudice! Ah, silly old-fashioned Catholic Mom.

Then, last Saturday, I decided to finally watch a tape of the most recent Dr Who episodes, made when I was still living in England in the woods. I remember hearing about the episodes being made and I felt bad at the time. I wondered what I was missing. I was a HUGE Dr. Who fan until I discovered Peter Gabriel. In fact, I dream that someday Peter Gabriel would become the next Doctor Who, but that would take him even further from ever getting an album done.

So, my brother, bless him, taped all of the new Doctor Who episodes made in 2005 or so from Canadian TV. It must've taken him hours. Then he mailed me the tape...over a year ago. And I just found time to watch the tape last Saturday. Hey, I've been busy not getting published and not listening to Peter Gabriel's new album. So sue me.

The new Docotr Who is portrayed by actor Daivd Tennant. My brother, a connissour of all things sci-fi, mind, thinks David Tennant is the second best Dr Who actor ever. (The first, of course, being Tom Baker). I had my doubts, but decided to give this david Tennant a chance.

I lasted less than one hour of that tape. I couldn't stand it. At least I wasn't missing anything. I just could not tolerate the actor.

Mom asked me why.

"He's so YOUNG!" I complained, "My God, he's younger than I AM!"

All right. So I am my momther's daughter in more ways than one. But there is a difference in choosing a spinal colum surgeon with references than a fictional time travelling alien-human hybrid doctor. I'm sure I can convince some insurange agent of this eventually.

All good Doctor Whos should have these three characteristics, or they are NOT real bone fide Union Jack stamped Docotr Whos:

1) He should have wrinkles. He's meant to be pushing 1000 years old, for Pete's sake!

2) He should dress very disctinctly, like with a twenty foot long scarf or frills. This is mandatory.

3) He should be easily pissed off. Otherwise, he would have no motivation to work against the bad guys. All of these characteristics are wrapped up in my favorite Doctor Who (well, until Peter Gabriel gets the role) the late great Jon Pertwee(pictured), of Worzel Gummidge fame.

Also, I know too many guys in Bath and Bristol who look too much like David Tennant, including this guy. Tell me I'm not completely predudiced, but after meeting so many buskers, I automatically run a mile in the other direction, even if they only LOOK like they might be a busker.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Body Parts


One of the wrting jobs I had to do the other week was a series of articles on tattoos. I do not have a tattoo, but would never want to take anyone's right to turn themselves into a human pincushion. I had to write about wolf tattoos, phoenix tattoos, Japanese tattoos, Irish Tattoos and celebrity tattoos.

Celebrity tattoos? I assume that meant tattoos of a celebrity you put on your bod, as opposed to the tatoos celebrities get for themselves. So, for this article, I decided that one day I might want a Peter Gabriel tattoo and wrote the article about how I would (theoretically) go about getting one. (Not while the man is still alive though, and probably not when I still have feeling in all of my limbs). As a joke, I typed that I would get the Peter Gabriel tattoo "on my ding-hooey." For those of you familiar with spell check programs, you will know that that set the spell check alarm off. Just to be crancky, I typed in "hoo-ha".

And it WORKED. "Hoo-ha" was already programed into Microsoft Word Spell Check! Why that and not "ding-hooey", I have no idea.

On a more sobering note, my real first name, Rena, sets off the spell checker alert. However, Arnold Schwartzennegger's name doesn't. Go on and try it if you have Mircosoft Word.

I will know I have truly made a name for myself in the world when my name does not set off the spell checker red squiggle alert on Microsoft Word. And the day that happens will be most likely when the real Peter Gabriel asks me, "What the bloody hell is a ding-hooey when it's at home?"

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Is Blasphemy Scary?


I'm getting quite an interesting collection of rejection letters. In less than a year, I now have well over a hundred and I will never, ever again think , "Well, now I've seen 'em all!"

I occassionally pick publications at random to constantly submit to. As soon as they reject one piece, I fire off another. The theory is that they will even tually publish something of mine just to get rid of me. I wish I could say that I came up with this theory. I actually nicked it from a parable told by Jesus. I'm not going to name this esteemed publication, as that is unprofessional. Let us just say that it is a low-paying annual horror magazine.

Horror. As in, scary. Stuff that frightens. Keep that in mind.

I'd tried three (or four?) poems that people have told me "gave them the creeps". Each one was returned as "not being scary enough." SO, I sent of a fun little poem called "God" (which I can't reproduce here or it will be considered "published") where God appears as The Eternal Rapist. It was also rejected.

But not with the usual "not scary enough". This time, it was "I'm not into blasphemy."

That was the entire reason. Wait a minute, I thought this was supposed to be a horror publication? Horror takes what is normal and safe and secure and completely splits it open. Blasphemy fits right into the definition. God is NOT in His heaven and all is NOT right with the world. Isn't that thought the least bit troubling?

So, in other words, "Sorry, rraven -- your poem is OVERQUALIFIED."

Go figure. I think I'll go light a candle to Edgar Allen Poe and ask for some clarification on this matter of no blasphemey in horror.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pay Attention To The Speaker


Since I work now about eight hours a day on the computer, I need music in order to tolerate some of the keyword writing assignments I get. On one day, I had to write about Roofing and Rape Recovery. (That's two separate subjects, folks). My Dad is now really impressed that I know what the rise and run of a roof (or a step) is. (I didn't tell him about the rape recovery article). Music is a vital component of my work environment. Since my writing is also my spirituality (which now incorporates tips on how to obtain roofer's licence to roof in Illinois, in case I need to know that in the afterlife) music is also an important part of my spirituality. That and Petergabriel.com now uses PC-friendly video, so I can see monthly updates on how distracted Peter Gabriel is from finishing his "new" album (which is now five years in the making and counting).

So, after a visit from the cat who insisted on lying down on the computer keyboard as I tried to write, the computer speakers suddenly went dead. I was just a wee bit perturbed. I had recently dusted around the compute, and so both my Mom and I thought I may have broken something.

I took out the flashlight, waded through the wire jungle and checked and re-checked connections. Everything was in place. Still no sound. This means I could see Peter Gabriel's lips move but not hear whatever he was saying. Oh, the humanity! This took about an hour of shoving heavy equipment around. Mom sighed, "I guess I'll have to call the computer repairman." Since it is her computer.

The next day, I discovered the computer keyboard has a "Mute" button, which the cat must've stepped on. Suddenly, instant sound. All I had to do was press one dumb button.

"Oh well," Mom laughed. "At least you got a good work out."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Football Apolcalypse


Here's some true news that, if you wrote it as a story, would be rejected for being too unrealistic:

A friendship-building football match between Muslim and Christian clergy in Norway was called off after a row over the participation of women players.


Now, what do you think really happened at that interfaith conference in Oslo? Both Christians and Moslems were probably hyper-sensitive and told to be friendly. At the beginning of the day, when everyone was full of energy and coffee, someone suggested a football game (soccer matich, for those American readers). The other side said "Okay," just to be friendly.

Then the day wears on while you have to listen to upteem speakers prattle on with a stupid grin on your face. While you may have been able to play all night after school, you're just not as young as you used to be. Now, after a day of "school", you just want to put your feet up and vegatate. But, you've made a commitment for a long, intensive bout of running up and down a field after a ball. How do you gracefully get out of this commitment while not leaving the other side insulted.

Simple! You do what organized religions have done for thousands of years -- blame the women! Problem solved.

In other news, another short story of mine has hot the web. It only took about 15 years to write. It's called "A Little Ways Up."

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ethical Dilemma


Hi, all. I'm knackered. Since last blog post, I sold another poem that's coming out in June, but also was hired by two web content sites. One is an American site, and addresses me by my name. The other is a Russian website, (but they want me to write in English, fortunately) and refers to me as Writer 870. Wow--I think I've discovered my true alter-ego. ("Aha! Writer 870! So, we meet again!") I'm also still scribbling and submitting as well as doing keyword articles and trying out for other writing gigs. I'm amazed at how little time you get to spend writing when you're a freelance writer. Most of the time is spent in sales and blagging your talent to invisible editors.

Now, I've noticed that most online and hard-copy publications will not consider anything that has been "previously published". Unfortunately, I've discovered that this blog counts, for a majority of editors, as a publishing source, even though I don't get any money for it.

Which brings me to my ethical dilemma: what do I post on this blog as free to the world and what writing to I try and squirrel away and sell? I cherish my loyal readers, both of you, and want to treat you as the extra special souls that you are. But I'm also flat-ass broke. So don't be suprised if I don't post as frequently anymore. No offence.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jewish Lesson


I guess someone does want me to post about the history of the Jews and Judiasm, for I haven't sold anything in a bit and the freelance/columnist jobs haven't panned out. (I know -- pity party for rraven!)

I'm not Jewish (not that I know of, anyway)and I do not profess to be any sort of expert. But I can't help but notice that the history of the Jewish people is one of the grimmest stories out there. I'm hard pressed to say that they've been blessed. Pograms, concentration camps, Krystal nacht, the whole "didn't they kill Jesus?" bugaboo, Woody Allen...definately not any stories you'd like to tuck your kids in at night with. And yet, after all the thousands of years of Gentiles determined to wipe out the Jews in the name of God or country or whatever, they're still here. In fact, most of the peoples and kingdoms who bullied them are now dust. We haven't heard a lot from the Babylonians or the Chaldeans, huh? Heck, Jews were around long before AND AFTER the Roman Empire, and we still haven't completely gotten over that.

Why?

Personally, I think it's for 3 reasons:

1) They arguably were the first peoples to REALLY develop a sense of humor. hat gets you through quite a lot. It has been reported (I don't know how true it is) that Jews in Auschwitz wrote and told each other jokes. Now that is one hard room, let me tell you.

2) Someone has always kept the myths, traditions and little rituals going. This gave a sense of comfort, continuity and inner strength, even whe exiled (helLO, Tibetans!).

3) In one way, I do believe that they are a chosen people. What they've been chosen for, I do not envy. But they have continually shown triumph over adversity, grace under pressure and thrived. No matter what your religion or nationality, there's a lot to learn from sturdying the history of the Jews.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Beware of Goatfeathers"



(NOTE: This has NOTHING to do with any businesses/resteraunts named Goatfeathers! Thanks for your patience. We now return you to your regulary scheduled blog post, already in progress...)

"Let's pick our target, set our aim, but let's beware of goatfeathers."


I'm currently reading one of the best kinds of books in the world -- FREE. This book was in a give away bin so I took it. It's called Your Creative Power : How To Use Your Imagination by an Alex Osborne (no relation). It was published in 1949. It's quite good.

But what the heck are GOATFEATHERS? I asked my Mom and she'd never heard of the expression. We assume it means horsefeathers, just the feathers are a lot smaller. But what a great title for a book, huh? I've got to keep that on file.

I do still firmly believe that books are kinda blocky looking spirits that travel from who needs them to who needs them. When they're thrown out is when they're dead and going on to the next reprint and no one goes through the trash to pick them up...not that I do that anymore, but I think you get the idea.

That's one of the reasons I'm so drawn to writing. When I'm really in the "zone", I feel as if more of a reporter than a fiction writer, because the scenes and charactes are so vivid. There have been times when the pen/typewriter seems to move by itself, but those episodes are happening less and less often. Perhaps the Prozac has something to do with that. But it's a brilliant feeling and I enjoy it.

Ooo! Ooo! One of my poems is now published. Go read it. And I got the check, too. Makes all those goatfeathers worthwhile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yet More Proof That Ignorance is Bliss

(Note: No dogs were harmed in the taking of this photograph...really!)

Well, folks, the writing "career" stumbles ever onward. I've sold three short stories and four poems (only one published so far) and am on pins and needles (and Extra-Strength Excedrin) finding out if I'll be accepted as a writer for a dog website. (I'll not put a link to them here ...might jinx me). Things are starting to very very slowly roll in my direction, whether for good or for a smashed foot, I don't know.

Now, memory is a tricky beast. I used to have a photographic memory up until my 30th birthday...or my 29th...wait, maybe it was the 28th...ANYWAY, I could quickly recall entire conversations, comedians' momologues, what artist did what album cover, arguments...fun stuff like that. My head was full of useless trivia. And I discovered that if you have a photographic memory and no one else in the room does, you can really piss a lot of people off really fast! :-)

So it was an absolute shocker for me to find the first draft of an old poem called, erm, "The Ballad of Lucky Feet" (which I am NOT letting out of the house!) which had a scribbled note which read: "This is the version sent to Peter Gabriel".

OH.

MY.

GAWD!

I didn't send my hero a copy of a crappy poem about a horse, did I???? Alarm bells were going off in my head, my blood pressure hit the roof and I needed more Excedrin. I really didn't want to know the answer to this question, but the cobwebs cleared and I suddenly remembered that I sent my inspiration and my aspiration A WHOLE BOOK of my handwritten poems for his 47th birthday! Oh, NOOOO! Knowing idiot pre-Prozac me, I sent him a few exquistitely crappy love poems that make me blush to remember. Hell, I'm not even revealing the TITLES of them on my blog, let alone any excerpts. If I ever get to be a famous writer, he could blackmail me with that damn book. God, he must think I'm a lunatic...well, I am a lunatic, but I'm a harmless lunatic. There's probably a list of CRAZY FANS TO SHOOT AT ON SIGHT list at his studio(and if there isn't, why not?) and my name is on it in big black capitals.

"Now, calm down," the Excedrin and the Prozac told me (after a while, the chemicals do give some good advice)"what are the odds that the great, supremely busy Peter GAbriel would ever sully his hands on a grubby little poetry book from an ugly, unpublished American? You have NOTHING to worry about. His secretary probably chucked it in the bin."

Ahh....thank you for that mental image of someone tossing my blood, sweat and tears into a paper shredder. I feel so much better now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

That's Capital, Mate


I have arguments with Peter Gabriel inside of my head or during my lucid dreaming sessions. I guess Dream Pete and I both getting a bit bored with sex (and it's just so TIRING)so mostly we either play games, visit other people or argue like a married couple. (Note to self: Perhaps I should ask my shrink why my dream life is so much more interesting than my waking life). ANYWAY, last night we bickered about capital punishment. (Married couple --> Capital punishment. Logical connection, ennit?). It went something like this:

PG: So, how's the writing going?

Me: It's punishing. I'm a bit worried whether any of my fellow man will be left alive to read it.

PG: Oh, God, this isn't going to become another rant about the murder rate in Philadelphia, is it?

Me: Well, I hadn't INTENDED to rant, but now that you point it out, I wonder how many of the murderers are repeat offenders. I know you're against capital punishment, but do we really need to play Russian Roulette whenever we leave our homes?

PG: It's illogical to kill, for almost any reason. If we abhor it in murderers, then why murder them in turn? It doesn't make sense. I'm glad we don't have it in England. I hope one day America will join Western civilization.

Me: Hardy ha ha. But what should we do with all of these mental cases who care nothing about anybody but themselves? They just get into a pattern and go killing again and again.

PG: Not every one.

Me: No, not every one, but what about those that are? Come to think of it, what about those who volunteer for police assisted suicide? Shouldn't we just give them what they want and get on with our lives? Less time, money and effort that way.

PG: Capital punishment by no means is an effective deterrrent to crime.

Me: I don't think anyone ever believed it was. They just wanted to sound clever in capital punishment debates.

PG: It's a clever, bloodless euphemism for government sanctioned murder, isn't it? Capital punishment...sounds like they make criminals stand in a corner and wear a dunce cap.

Me: Well, I can't argue with that. I think "cold revenge" is a better term. I mean, that's what it is, isn't it? A sort of trying to get the fairness balance back in the victim's lives.

PG: There are no lost cases. And who are you to judge who should live or die? Or me, for that matter.

Me: Two words.

PG: What?

Me: Mark Chapman.

PG: (Sighs, then shakes head). Even for Mark Chapman, I still say that capital punishment is cruel and inhuman treatment.

Me: That's the point, isn't it? It's SUPPOSED to be inhuman. He made me suffer, I want him to suffer.

PG: Um, are you still taking the Prozac?

Me: Yes, I am, Mr. Let's Change The Subject.

PG: I thought you were a Witch. Leave the revenge to the Goddess Nemesis, kiss a tree and all that sort of thing.

Me: Well, I make my opinions from observing nature. And nature seems to condone revenge. Therefore, I do, too. (Narrows eyes) Which reminds me, you did a concert in my hometown of Philadelphia on my birthday AFTER I'd moved to England!

PG: Wow! Is that the time? Shouldn't your bladder be screaming at you to wake up about now?

Me: AARRGGHHH!

I guess reading this far in my dream is punishing enough. (I'm just a fan of Peter's -- neither he nor his charities endorse this blogpost in any way, shape or form.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

We're Number One!


Right. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, which is about ten minutes from where I type, has now been rated the number one murder city in the nation. WHOO-HOO! And I'm sure we can do much, much better! Hey, it's only April!

Good Lord. Seriously, it is a little much. Even New York cops are making fun of Philadelphia, and just that makes me know the situation is BAD. I mean, I assume that eventually the problem will go away because everyone will have shot each other, but does it really have to come to that?

"So, rraven, save us!" I hear those in Philly cry. Here are my suggestions for lowering the murder rate in Philadephia:

1) Pay people to not shoot other people. Hey, some people need a basic incentive. Money, or lack thereof, is the reason behind most of these shootings. Let's nip the problem in the bud, I say!

2) For those who have guns, free shooting lessons with no questions asked. It's always these "innocent bystanders" who get killed. Why can't we at least make sure these punks kill who they're aiming for?

3) Spray marijuana smoke over Philadephia with crop dusters. That way, some pilots of small planes will be employed and no one in Philly will care about the murder rate, money, lack thereof or anything else except Tastycakes, for that matter. Perhaps to keep anyone from shooting anyone for a Butterscotch Krimpet, the crop dusters could drop them all over the city after the ganja.

4) Watch this public service announcement.

5) Take all the people tracking down illegal immagrants and add them to the police force. Philadelphia NEEDS illegal immagrants. Who else would be grateful to work two full time minimum wage jobs and never be able to pay the bills? Only kick the immagrants back to their places of origin after and only after they've committed a crime...I mean a REAL crime.

6) Lower the cost of everything. No one can make enough money anymore to buy what they need, let alone what they want. No black/white/tan kid says, "Yeah, I think I'll grow up to sell drugs and kill those who don't pay me." But where are the alternatives?

7) Use drug addicts for medical research. Hell, they already like killing themselves with unidentifiable objects. Why not pay them to test medicines or surguries and let the research animals go? Also, it would just be damn funny (says the woman who was abused by an alchoholic).

8) Immediate death penalty for anyone who says, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Well, I think that's self explanatory.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Check It Out!


I love acceptance letters. I love the trilling "ca-CHING" promise they make. I love the way they continue to do that months later. You're ready to smash that noise with a sledgehammer by publication (if and when that ever happens). For some reason known only to those in the publishing biz, payment to authors is on publication, NOT on acceptance. Cute, huh? But today in my snail mail I got the shortest and most spectacular acceptance note ever:

A check for five American dollars. It was only a check. No note, no explanation, nothing. From Atomjack virtual magazine.

Wow! Wait...did I submit anything to Atomjack? And if so, WHAT! I had to go scrambling into my records to see what went to Atomjack.
Aha! It was a 3,000+ word science fiction story partially based on my dog Pony called Big Wet Nose. Oddly enough, the first poem I sold was also inspired by Pony (which has yet to be published).

Right. No more links. Go read it. Meanwhile, I'm gonna yell "ca-CHING!"

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Be Still My Beating Heart


Well, someone somewhere seems to be determined to halt my blogpost on the history of the Jews (although I'm all for Jews -- heck, Rena is a Jewish name! Imagine my mother's suprise when she and I found out when I was 15!) because I SOLD A SHORT STORY yesterday! My legs literally went numb when I read the email. I could barely lumber down the stairs, screaming for Mom to read what was on the computer screen. She thought it was all quite funny. Although I rocked, I didn't rock out too much.

"How Does Your Garden Grow" was sold to newWitch for an upcoming (but not the next) issue for about $15. newWitch is a quarterly, so who knows when this'll come out. What's especially sweet is that the first draft was written in my late-lamented bender in England. Bits of the second draft survived the fire and I just worked on it from there.

So, I'm still recovering. And I've now forgotten the gist of the Jewish History post I was going to do! (And the blogosphere breathes a sigh of relief...) I should charge people to have me NOT write blogposts! Oh, no, wait -- that's the Mafia, isn't it? Oh well, another great idea shelved...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

FOUR!


Well, I was going to do a report on my Jewish history studies, which might have required footnotes, but I've bagged it to report that I've sold a fourth poem! All hail, GlassFire, which has taken a chance on me. The poem is entitled (wait for it) "The Reason Why I Was Mad At You, But Didn't Admit It, So I Babbled Like An Indiot Instead". I wrote it when I was attending Delaware County Community College in the late 1980's. I had this intensely weird platonic relationship with a guy named Neal (not his real first name). I wrote this poem while in the throes of being bent under a massive crush for him, which went unrequited. My Mom somehow saved a copy of this poem in her basement when I took off for England (to pursue yet another crush...which unfortunately was NOT platonic). I haven't really changed it much and sent it off. GlassFire was the first place I sent it, for no particular reason.

I endured a lot of arguing and hopelessness with Neal. Now I'm getting paid $5 for documenting it. I guess it was worth it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Obligatory Blarney


It's St Paddy's Day and I'm exhausted from SHOVELING SNOW. For those of you not familiar with March weather in the Philly area, this is the equivelent of having fish rain from the sky.

That's the main reason I'm exhausted. The other reason is that I was up until 5 in the morning concieving, performing and getting results on a spell. (Yes -- I do spells. The odd thing is I can never remember to use spell check.) I'm not going into any details so as not to offend the Christian readers, but it was a communication to my dream Peter Gabriel to help me remember a forgotten poem. (Can you say that three times fast?) I couldn't get to sleep after the spell, and thought I'd look through a notebook I looked through a hundred times before looking for this damn poem. If you guessed that I found it, pat yourself on the back. But not only did I find the poem, but about twenty others I lost in 1997.

Oooo. Ahhhh. Well, I was impressed.

So no one has to wait for sleep to talk to Peter Gabriel, here's another "based-on-PG" personality you can email: The Adventures of Mini Peter.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Score So Far


Well, I thought I'd do something special for the first anniversary of this blog, but I've been felled by a virus for the last week, so just being conscious seems a celebration in and of itself. So, I've posted a picture of a hamster's butt for your enjoyment.

So, what are the numbers? Well, we have:
* about 132 posts
* an average of four links per post
* an average of one coherent thought per post and about thrity incoherent ones
* an average of zero comments per post (I must not be pissing enough of you off)
* about half of the posts have an image due to screw up in a security program. I keep meaning to go back and add images to all of the naked posts, but, quite frankly, I have better things to do.
* at least a dozen posts that actually comment on what is going on in my spritual life
* at least fifty-seven references to Peter Gabriel (one day I'll get around to fixing the links to those PG videos that were yanked by YouTube. Damn you, YouTube!)
ANYWAY, thanks for reading, even if this is the only post you ever read of this blog. Se ya same blog time, same blog channel.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Moon Power


Not exactly as groovy flower power or as dangerous as nuclear power, but "Moon Power" is the title of my latest poem to sell. Whoo Whoo! I can't print the poem here, as that would blow the contract with the magnificent, the munificent Scifaikuest, which publishes
Scifaikuest publishes original scifaiku, haibun, senryu, tanka, and horrorku, and articles about these forms.
"Moon Power is a multi-haiku...or multi-ku...or ku-kus (not to be confused with couscous...I'm not sure what it's called. ANYWAY, what makes this especially gratifying is that I wrote the first draft of this poem when I was


(get ready for it)


twelve.


That was back in the year 1983. You do the damn math. Every five or ten years, I'd take it out and fiddle with it. Now, it's finally going to be out there about February 2008, when I will be a hell of a lot older than twelve.

I love the moon. There is a definate compassionate pair of eyes there looking down on us. There can never be enough songs about the moon. I'm glad she approves of this one enough to get me a buck or two. I can't live without my spirituality, but I also need to feed my dog. Hopefully, one day I can combine the two.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I Couldn't Resist

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
No offence to any Catholics out there, ESPECIALLY my Mom, but I saw this on Post Secret and just had to steal the bandwidth. Hell, you're Christians. Forgive me.

I've had a time of it. Although I'm not into believeing in the Be All And End All of Jesus, I do believe in Yin and Yang. When good things happen, bad tend tend to follow to balance out the living experience. I had a really good day yesterday. I slept too much, ate too much, and finally finished the first draft of my 19,000 word killing off the human race novella, tentativelt titled Rainbow's End. It was one of the most intense days of my life. I felt happy, at peace, totally connected with the universe and my place in it...as well as slightly nauseaous from eating half a hoagie and a cheeseburger on the same day.

Today, I tried to download a message Peter Gabriel stuck up on his official, Mac-infested website with my measely Gateway Windows XP Real Player. Oh for shame. Not only can Real Player NOT play it -- hell, they can't even RECOGNIZE it -- the damn video wiped out three quarters of my music library. Thank God/dess for backup files, or I'd be even more pissed off than I am now.

Not that Peter's going to be upset by this. He ever hears about one of his rabid fans not being able to access his site and he'd laugh his lovely ass off. Ah, now that's something I'm not giving up!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And the Oscar for Best Fiddling While Rome Burns Goes To...

About a billion people watch the annual Oscars telecast. This begs the question...WHY? It's a freakin' AWARD SHOW! Go read a book, write a book, walk the dog, anything else has got to be more important than watching boring parade of T & A.

The only reason I watched the first hour is that Mom is a fan of Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted the yawnfest. For some reason, Ellen is really funny whenever Mom AND I watch her together. When I'm alone, she's not so funny. Otherwise, I would've picked another topic to rant about. So any complaints about this post can be sent directly to her.

The last time I've seen a movie in the cinema was when I was still living in England. It was The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks. Not only do I not have the money to go to the cinema, I don't have the attention span. So I was watching the Oscars when I hadn't seen a single movie nominated. I can't be the only one. Does anyone ever see the movies nominated?

I'm currently writing a sci-fi novella. Ocsar night definately is a peek into an alien universe. I guess that is it's appeal -- for a few hourse, the viewer can pretend s/he lives in a different world at the end of the rainbow.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Killing Off Humanity is Fun

Man, there's nothing like getting a glimpse of what it's like to be God by writing a novella about the end of humanity. Well, for me writing is a form of worship. It's where I'm most connected with the flow of the universe. It's when I feel most spiritual stuff (now that I've been celibate since Christmas Eve, 2004 (not that I'm counting)). I didn't just approach this novella to get my rocks off -- no, there's a paying market for these novellas. Granted, $80 for 18,000 words is...what...a penny per page? Still, token "money" for being published in an intersting sci-fi anthology (knock on wood) might lead to better things.

I still don't know why I'm so attracted to this project. I still have to go through the submission process -- this might wind up being 18,000 words for a rejection slip!-- but I just couldn't stop thinking about it and so I think that might be my instinct kicking in and, since I'm not employed in the traditional sense (I was just hired by Stivers Staffing Services, but they have yet to send me anywhere)what have I really got to loose?

I kinda wonder if God/dess goes through this crap when S/He creates a universe. Perhaps the Archangels are His/Her critics. "Hey, Je, these dinosaurs just seem to be repetative, man. A million varaitions on a theme. Can't You come up with a new story?"

Getting back to my novella (which is only at 9,000+ words so far), I'm suprised at how difficult it is to wipe out the human race creatively. Some plot lines have been done to death (global thermal nuclear war--alien invasion--mankind evolving to the point where he just becomes a bip of light that floats away). And the DETAILS. What happens to the pets? Who becomes the last person and why? Does anyone still believe in God? Do the trains start running on time again?

So, I aplogize in hindsight and advance for neglecting this blog. At least, I'm keeping busy.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lucid Dreams


Lucid dreams are boss. They make acid look like Ovaltine. What are they? They're the ultimate in dreams, where you realize you are "only" dreaming and can thus play God/dess with the world around you until you wake up. Now, you can either indulge in your hedonistic Napoleon complex as much as you like, OR
you can try to build your character and be a better person by finding out what you're suppossed to be discovering in the dream situation you find yourself in.

Now, I've been lucid dreaming since I was a teenager. Usually I go the power trip route and try to find where Peter Gabriel is hiding as soon as possible (for spiritual enlightenment, of course!) Anyway, so a couple of nights ago I dream I'm dressed only in a pink sports bra and panties (as you do in dreams) and I'm suppossed to go to gym class. Me and a few others (including John March, they very first guy I ever dated) figure out how to get out of gym class and goof around under trees instead. I then walk through the locker room and into a shopping mall (as they're always connected in Dream Land, as you know). As I'm riding the escalator up, I suddenly realize I'm lucid dreaming. At first, I yell for Peter at the top of my lungs, then I decide "Wait. Here's a great chance to build up my spiritual life by trying to discover what I'm to be learning in this situation." SO, I go back down the escalator where, conviniently, a customer information desk is. I walk up to the woman behind the counter and say, "Hi. I'm the dreamer of this universe. I'm trying to discover what it is I'm supposed to be learning from this dream."

She looks at me as if I'm insane and promptly tends to the person behind me.

"Wait a minute, bitch!" I yell, 'cause I know it's a dream and I can get away with it. "I was in line first! Don't you dare ignore me! Don't you know I can kill you just by waking up? Now, what is it I'm supposed to be learning from this dream?"

Everyone then looks at me and says, "Oh, piss off."

So, that's my big spiritually enlightening dream. Now I know that forever afterwards, my purpose in this universe is to track Peter Gabriel down and jump his bones. This actually answers a lot of questions.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy B-day Peter Gabriel


It's snuck up on you again, I know. It's Peter Gabriel's Birthday today! (Not May 13, as reported in some publications. Personally, I think PG told different people different dates for his birthday so he could get more prezzies that way). So just what do I get the man who has everything? The only thing he probably wasn't expecting :

A rant.

Happy Birthday, Beloved Gabrielmeister!

For someone severely devoted to human rights, you sure like to toture your fans, Peter. (I can't understand this devotion to human rights. I do understand devotion to human lefts). You are such a TEASE. You only put an album out once a decade now. That doesn't bother me so much is that you keep saying, "Oh, something will be out any time now--" KNOCK THAT OFF. Just say, "Damn. I don't know what I'm doing." and be DONE with it. Don't leave us twitching on your hook. You're the only supplier of what we're addicted to and I know you know it.

I do know you have been dropped by your American label and are looking to start your own record distributiuon company. You're holding out for the highest bidder, aren't you? I don't blame you for that (in fact, I wish I thought of it first) but just TELL us that's the plan, will ya?

I've got a feeling in the future PG fans, in order to hear/see new material, will have to go into these dark back alleys and use code words to get into smoke-filled rooms of other PG fans in trenchcoats willing to sell a kidney for new PG stuff.

Right. Seriously, now, I love Peter, no matter how much or how little he puts out (literally and metaphorically). He's been the best lover I've ever had. The fact that Peter is completely unaware of this is a mild snag. Well, all relationships have their problems. At least Peter doesn't hog the covers, eat the last biscuit and call me during the best parts of Star Trek.

Off to party.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Humanity in One Picture

Damn. I've never seen more beautiful skeletons. Their skulls come together as a Valentine Heart. You have to wonder what their story was. But it's probably the same as everyone else's. You reach out for what you love, and it dies with you. Also, you get famous when you're dead for 5,000 years. Sometimes I think God made people just to screw with our heads.

We don't know their skin color, religion, political allegince or faveorite football teams. They're just the distilled essance of humanity -- elegant lines of calicium emerging from the earth. Sometimes I wish we couldn't see what seperates us, but see that we're all the same. Would we really discriminate and shoot at skeletons that look just like any other skeleton? Knowing the human race, probably!

In other news, I sold a poem about my late Uncle George who fought in World War Two, came home and shot himself. It will appear in a future issue of The Custer-Hawk Gazette. That's two poems now. I wonder what they'll look like in 5,000 years.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Do I Smell Smoke? Better Rosin Up the Bow...


Well, it's official. We're screwed. Even the White House admidts that global warming is real now.

So how does the government react? By trying to ban trans fats. Not by making big businesses change their ways, or banning unnecessary car trips or recyling--no, no, that might harm the economy. Heaven forbid.

It's our fault the planet will most likely be a burnt out conder block by 3000. So instead of trying to do something about it, let's just go on a diet and save some cash. Yeah, that'll do it.

Folks, all the money ever printed won't buy us a new planet. Why do we still persist in the lie that we're God's gift? The human race is an evil species--we're responsible for the death of everything on this world. And we don't care. God trats this planet like a loaf of bread. "Hmmm, fancy some toast--oh, yuck! It's got all human mouldy! Well, got to toss that and get another loaf."

If we really cared about the planet, we'd take people who are suffering, such as in Darfur and put them to sleep. What's the point of saving them and educating their kids if they're only going to grow up poor, starving and crammed together on a cinder block? Killing all of our kids would be kinder than what we're doing now.

Yeah, yeah, I know--shut up and pass the fat-free donuts.