December 31, 2005
Happy New Year, Folks! And A Special Treat For My "Cold Case" Fans
Happy 2006, folks! The Count, The Royal Spawn, and I are going to have a great year. The Count and I are hell bent on moving to Hawaii this year. I know it will happen. If anyone has suggestions or experience with moving pets on airplanes, please let me know. We have six cats to move from Massachusetts to Hawaii in the fall. I worry about my kitties. I know they'll be given sedatives before a flight, which is okay by me. I just want to make sure they make the trip intact, alive, and okay. I'm such a worry wart over my babies. I do consider them my babies. They sure act like I'm their Big Mommy. I'm the big cat with no fur except on my head.
As an added treat for my "Cold Case" fans, (since the show is on tonight), I've uploaded the entire song "Nara", by E. S. Posthumus, on my blog in this post. This is the theme song to the TV show "Cold Case". If you aren't a "Cold Case" fan, I recommend you listen to the song anyway. It's absolutely beautiful. I bought the CD a week ago, and it arrived in the mail yesterday. The entire CD is gorgeous. If you like Enigma, Mythos, Cybertribe, "Cirque de Soleil" soundtracks, Banco de Gaia, and Delerium, you'll love E. S. Posthumus.
Give the MP3 a few minutes to load in. As usual, it takes awhile, but the final result is well worth the wait.
Listen to this song even if you aren't a fan of the TV show. The song is gorgeous. I love this kind of music. I'm taking the CD with me to play in the car when I drive to the conference I'm speaking at over the next weekend.
2006 Is Kicking At My Door
I can tell how great a year has been by how I handle Christmas. I haven't really been in much of a mood for Christmas for the past couple of years, but this year I was full-tilt into it. I really enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree this year. For a change, I decorated it in white lights with white and gold glitter bubble lights.
I sent out about 100 Christmas e-cards. I didn't realize I had so many friends to send cards to. I chose e-cards from my favorite game, Uru. It's part of the Myst/Riven/Exile/Uru game universe. The cards are at the Guild of Greeters web site. The Guild of Greeters was a group formed for Uru Live, when it was online. I haven't played the new version, Until Uru, in about a year. The computer I had played on up and died on me. Until Uru is mainly a very elaborate chat room. It was lots of fun, too. I have to find a way back into that this year. I miss my Uru friends.
I even put up a Christmas garden beneath the tree. I bought a Hot Wheels "Tomb Raider" set of Lara Croft's jeep and motorcycle she used in the second movie. I found the Hot Wheels really cheap on eBay. I wanted them for the Christmas garden. I already have the "Tomb Raider" card game, and little plastic figures of Lara Croft are in each packet of cards. I put the Hot Wheels and one of the plastic Lara figures in my Christmas garden. Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I love "Tomb Raider" and Lara Croft. I have all of the dioramas from the game, and most of the action figures from the movies. I even have mousepads and beach towels. Last year, I bought the stealth Micromachines, also on eBay. They are also in the Christmas garden. So, I have a "Tomb Raider" theme on one side of the garden, and an "X Files" military "Trust No One" theme on the other side. I made a little pond so my water-themed Micromachines could be part of the garden. I have a jet ski, a catamaran, a parasail, and a motorboat. The garden is really funny to look at. Lucky loves it. He's already knocked over the trees I put up, and he's pushed the "Tomb Raider" jeep and motorcycle into the pond. Figures. At least he's left the tree alone, except for when he grabbed my football ornament, and pulled the football off. He started kicking it around the living room. I grabbed the football before he could lose it. It's just another cat toy, as far as he's concerned.
I'm looking forward to 2006, and I hope all my readers have a great year as well. We are definitely moving to Hawaii after The Royal Spawn is safely tucked away in college this year. This time next year, I will be swimming in the water outside our new home, and planting Birds of Paradise in my new garden. The kitties will have total run of the house, as usual. Oh, happy day!
The packet for The Royal Spawn's Certificate of Deposit arrived a couple of days ago. I like the idea of making money while you're sleeping, watching movies, and playing games. The Count and I are expecting another big wad of cash to come in soon. When it does, I'll get us the Index Fund I've been planning to get, and maybe either a Roth IRA or another Certificate of Deposit. I might invest in the stock market, but I haven't decided yet. I still get most of my investment information from Motley Fool and the annual reports on various company's web sites. I watch Cramer on "Mad Money" every day, but I still prefer Motley Fool. Cramer's been a bit more calm lately. Now he's below the decibel level of a leaf blower. I'm learning a lot from him, by what he says, and by comparing what he says to what I find on Motley Fool. I'm a more cautious invester, which is probably why Motley Fool appeals to me so much. Cramer's been talking about speculating on stocks, which is too risky for my taste. I'm not ready to risk losing money. I'm thinking long-term. I do have a few stocks that I'm interested in buying this year. I expect to finish choosing my investments by sometime in February.
I'm going to speak at a conference for battered mothers and children in January. I'm looking forward to that very much. I was invited last year, but I was unable to attend. I was invited to speak at a science fiction convention in February, but I can't make it this year.
I'm almost finished my novel. I have only a few more scenes to write. I'm going to send that one to Harlequin SPICE when it's finished. I've had two more short erotic stories accepted by Scarlet Magazine (that makes six total), and I'm writing an article for Scarlet right now. I'm sure it will be accepted because I already have a good reputation there. I sent three stories to Susie Bright for (hopefully) inclusion in her next erotic anthology. I should hear something by about March. I hope one or more of my stories is accepted for publication. I really like writing erotic fiction. It's much more relaxing and fun than the dry family law stuff. I have only one New Year's Resolution - get that novel finished, and send it out to publishers.
Well, anyway, I obviously don't feel like doing any hard-core blogging about politics, feminism, or family law. I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy 2006. Remember that we're getting an extra second thrown in tonight, so midnight will come a second later than most people expect.
Happy New Year, everyone.
How To Get Something For Nothing
I found this story at FARK, and I loved it. It's about how to get something for nothing. It reminded me of a scene in the movie "Summer School", where one of the kids wrote a letter to a sunglass company about the sunglasses he had bought. I can't remember if he praised the company or complained. I haven't seen that movie in a few years. Turns out the company not only read his letter, but it replied in a really cool fashion. It sent him a box full of their sunglasses - for free. The box was delivered to the classroom, and he and everyone in the class picked out new sunglasses. Even the teacher, played by Mark Harmon, picked out a new pair of sunglasses.
This story is about an eight grader, Adam Palmer, who got the idea to write to candy companies after his mom wrote a letter to a company, and got a free coupon as a result. He tried it, and the same thing happened. So, as a hobby, he started writing to candy companies to try to get free shit. He made up really wild stories. He found that by making up really wild stories and throwing in a compliment or two got him free shit. For instance, "[a] letter to Barq's Root Beer about the typos on the can ("olde" and "tyme" were spelled wrong, Palmer pointed out) yielded free coupons and a "good taste" certificate from the company."
He had a few rules:
1. Don't outright ask for free shit.
2. No lying.
3. No complaining.
He wrote those letters all throughout high school. In 2001, he was a freshman in college. He turned his letters into a book, called "Something About Nothing".
This story about his exploits with Krispy Kreme is really funny:
He was briefly in law school, but dropped out. I can understand why. Law is very dry. He seems more whimsical. He wants to open a restaurant. He's considering a new book, called "Nothing About Something". I think this guy has a great future ahead of him.
December 29, 2005
UK Proposes Electronic Tags For Dads Who Refuse To Pay Child Support
I don't know if this is going to see the light of day. The UK is proposing electronic tags for dads who refuse to pay child support. Similar electronic tagging measures were proposed in the UK for mothers who refuse visitation for no good reason, but it was rejected for being too extreme. Tagging dads would be a last resort reserved for dads who refuse to pay child support, so it might go through, but I wonder if it will be seen as restrictive as it was when it was proposed for mothers. Yes, I know it's comparing apples to oranges, but I am interested in seeing how this turns out.
A Meme Of Fours
I don't feel like blogging because I'm still on vacation. I definitely don't feel like blogging anything of substance. Plus, I have some writing work to do, so I've been concentrating on that. But, I have to post something, so I found another meme that has been floating around. Here are my answers:
Four jobs you've had in your life: Gaffer (lighting for movies), tarot card reader (I was amazingly accurate. Move over Allison duBois.), secretary in a federal halfway house for convicted felons (very surreal job), prosthetic makeup artist
Four movies you could watch over and over: Alien, Under The Tuscan Sun, Dead Birds, Dead End
Four places you've lived: Maryland and Massachusetts. I'm aiming for Hawaii next year. I've always wanted to live in lots of places around the world, but until now I've never bothered to do it.
Four TV shows you love to watch: Nip/Tuck, Mad Money (Cramer is insane), Medium, Surface
Four places you've been on vacation: Tuscon, Arizona; Nogales, Mexico; Aruba; Nassau
Four websites you visit daily: FARK, The Astronomy Picture Of The Day, my blog, Yahoo! News of the Weird
Four of your favorite foods: Any of my homemade chocolate dishes, sushi, wasabi peas, chestnuts
Four places you'd rather be: Living in a haunted house; at an archeological dig in Tel Rehov, Israel; sitting in the living room with The Count and The Royal Spawn watching movies I bought them for Christmas; in bed with all the kitties while I'm reading a book
Four albums you can't live without: "Substrata" by Biosphere, "On Land" by Brian Eno, "Poem" by Delerium, all of my Lara Croft soundtracks from the games and the movies.
I tag the following people to do this meme. I can hear the cries of "Oooh, noooo!" already.
December 25, 2005
A Christmas Meme - Ho Ho Ho!
Jill at Feministe tagged me for a meme. I'd be happy to join in, this Christmas morning.
Seven Things To Do Before I Die
1. Move to Hawaii
2. Visit the south of France, specifically Avignon and Aix en Provence.
3. Sell a novel
4. Learn to scuba dive
5. Build a Japanese zen garden complete with plants and koi
6. Build a garden based on the Eder Kemo age, from the game "Uru".
7. Get my pilot's license
Seven Things I Cannot Do
1. Whistle with my mouth. (I can whistle with my hands, though.)
3. Bake round pinwheel cookies. They always look like flat tires.
4. I can't do a straddle split. Even when I could do a regular split, which I can't anymore, I couldn't do a straddle split.
5. I can't make herbs last the winter in my house. Rosemary, especially. That dies no matter what I do to it.
6. Ice skate
7. Stop worrying about the kitties
Seven Things That Attract Me to…Blogging
1. Meeting new people
2. Voicing my opinions
3. Sharing delicious recipes and weird news
4. My ego - I like it when people link to me.
5. Seeing men's rights activists gossip about me.
6. Getting quoted in media articles
7. Using my blog as a political tool to get information out, like what I've done with my posts about "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories"
Seven Things I Say Most Often
3. I didn't do it!
4. Lemme guess.
5. Clumsy, are we?
6. I love you!
7. Commercial!... Forward! (When we watch TV with our DVR.)
Seven Books That I Love
1. "The Relic"
3. "Uzumaki" (Okay, so it's a graphic novel series. It's still a book.)
4. "Hot Zone"
5. My Myst series: "The Book of Atrus", "The Book of Ti'ana", "The Book of D'ni".
6. My H. P. Lovecraft collection.
7. My Edgar Allan Poe collection. These books are old, and are worth some money.
Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
1. "Dead End"
2. "Dead/Alive" (Peter Jackson rules!)
4. "Tomb Raider"
5. "War Of The Worlds"
6. "Under The Tuscan Sun"
7. "Evil Dead"
Seven Songs I Play Over and Over Again
1. "Mad World" by Gary Jules
2. "Who Do You Love Now?" by Riva ft. Danii Minogue
3. "Strong In Love" by Chicane
4. All of "Substrata", by Biosphere
5. "Cathedral" by Mythos
6. "Gorecki" by Lamb
7. "Gabriel" by Lamb
Seven People I Want To Join In Too
Merry Sol Invictus And A Happy Saturnalia To All
December est mensis: cum maxime civitas sudat. Ius luxuriae publice datum est; ingenti apparatu sonant omnia, tamquam quicquam inter Saturnalia intersit et dies rerum agendarum [....] Si te hic haberem, libenter tecum conferrem quid existimares esse faciendum, utrum nihil ex cotidiana consuetudine movendum an, ne dissidere videremur cum publicis moribus, et hilarius cenandum et exuendam togam. Seneca, 50 CE.
I think it's damn well time to give the Holiday back to the folks who invented it in the first place. Talk about Christmas Wars; I claim Primacy, especially since I also happen to have been born in Rome, Italy.
So... this is what it feels like to be the wronged indigenous population... hey, where's my casino? (Two Sacred Cows, for the price of one... no, make that three now!!!)
December 24, 2005
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Yule, Happy Kwanzaa, And Whatever Else I Left Out
I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season. We are enjoying the "Monk" Christmas special, and it's a very good one, as is to be expected from that show.
Happy Holidays, everyone, even my trolls.
December 21, 2005
Fathers' Rights Activists Livid Over PBS Final Statement Supporting "Breaking The Silence"
I've already reported how Glenn Sacks has skated around PBS's final statement supporting the documentary "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories". You may read the final statement here. Sacks only quoted from the last paragraph of the statement, which indicates PBS plans to present another documentary on the subject early next year.
However, fathers' rights activists have gotten wind of the complete final report, and they are LIVID. Here is what RADAR - one group that protested heavily against the documentary - had to say about it. Bold is in the original.
Here are some of the angry comments from angry fathers' rights activists:
PBS Releases Final Statement On "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories"
PBS's final statement is out. It supports "Breaking The Silence". The documentary was not seen by PBS as being one-sided and lacking balance, as fathers' rights activists have claimed it is. There was also no mention of one of the mothers in the documentary being an alleged abuser, which was a big sticking point for fathers' rights activists, in particular Glenn Sacks. There were no problems seen with the people who had been interviewed.
This part is very interesting - Glenn Sacks is crowing about PBS's final statement on his web site, but he doesn't post the entire statement. He only posted the last sentence about a new documentary being made. He can't post the entire statement because it so clearly comes out in support of "Breaking The Silence". Sacks put his name behind the biggest protest against the documentary, and especially against Sadiya Alilire, whom he and numerous fathers' rights activists claimed was the "real" abuser. PBS did not come to the same conclusion about Alilire. PBS concluded that "[i]n stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts." No mention of one of the mothers interviewed being a "child abuser" or abuser herself. Sacks wouldn't dare post the entire statement because it would show that fathers' rights activists - in particular, himself - were not successful in getting "Breaking The Silence" discredited as poorly-researched, biased material. PBS clearly stated that the documentary was neither. PBS found the documentary to be "open-minded" and "fair".
PBS wrote that "[t]he producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program." PBS supports the documentary.
PBS also concluded that the topic is very complex, and was perhaps not best described using first-person stories that the documentary used, especially in describing Parental Alienation Syndrome. Please note that PBS stated that "the documentary's "first-person story telling approach" did not allow the depth of the producers' research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been." This means that PBS agrees that producers' presentation of PAS as junk science was supported by research, but the way it chose to describe PAS didn't make it as clear to viewers as it could have been.
It has commissioned an hour-long documentary to delve more deeply into these kinds of custody cases, PAS, and family issues.
Fathers' rights activists are taking this as a big win, but that's not the case. The topic is going to get further, more in-depth analysis. That doesn't mean that fathers' rights activists will be able to force PBS to air their propaganda. I'd welcome the fathers' rights garbage be presented in a documentary where the other side - the side with the facts and valid research behind it - will make them look even more petty, vindictive, and stupid than they already look.
This final statement is actually good news for the supporters of "Breaking The Silence". Here's the final statement: