Mar 07 2008
There was a knock on the door, I jumped and realized that I had been completely spacing out waiting for time to pass. I looked through the peephole and saw Mairyn. This should be entertaining. Mairyn works with me at the accounting firm, I had gotten her the job; Mairyn is a changeling, part human and part fairy.
“Caitlin, are you ok?” She called through the door.
” Yeah, hold on a minute. ” I unlocked the door and let her in. She had brought me dinner from Perfect Pasty, it’s my favorite place to eat. They fill a very crunchy roll type pastry with all kinds of things like gyro meat, eggplant and all other kinds of crazy concoctions. Sounds weird but it is an orgasm on a plate as far as I was concerned.
“Brought you Greek. I knew you weren’t sick you know.” She handed me my pasty and grabbed some plates as I sat back down on the couch. My brain still wasn’t functioning.
“Wow, you look like you’re recovering from an all night bender.”
I stared at her and waited for some form of thought to register. She handed me a fork. Her small fingers barely managed to wrap around her pasty to unwrap it. She is about 4’6 but is perfectly proportioned not dwarfed at all. She has short spiky brown hair, slightly pointed ears and her eyes are the brightest green I have ever seen. If you have ever heard the stories of human children who were stolen and replaced by elven children that is where the term changeling originates. Personally I have never understood why elves would want their children raised by humans. Mairyn however is as elvish as any human could get, her house is teeming with greenery that she seems never to actively care for. It’s as if her energy alone feeds them and makes them grow. When she speaks her voice seems normal but as soon as she starts to sing her true nature shows. Her voice seems to be a cross between wind chimes and celestial choirs; everybody within earshot stops and listens when she sings. She had tried to make a career out of singing but somehow the electronic mikes and mixers destroy the harmonics of her voice and the sound is all flat and devoid of magic. She chose to learn Irish Gaelic and put together a traditional Irish group who sings only in Gaelic. Whichever pub or club they play is always standing room only. There is usually a line out the door to hear her as well. She can’t use mikes but the attentive silence of the crowd allows everyone to hear her. When she stops, you could hear a leaf drop. My two nefarious felines were already trying to swipe a bit of pasty off her plate. I never let them do it but Mairyn is a pushover for any species other than human.
“Bender, yeah. I got all the pain and agony and none of the enjoyment.” I told her. She raised an eyebrow at me. She is also a tad telepathic but she is too polite to go digging unless invited. I heard her gasp. I knew she had caught something of my thoughts, although she doesn’t dig, there was no way my thoughts of last night would be sufficiently controlled to where she could not hear them.
Mar 01 2008
Sandalwood and sage was the first thing to hit my consciousness, I opened my eyes and felt a lick at my hand. The tongue was too large to be a cat’s so I deduced I was still with Hecate, or had returned to the wrong body, always an inconvenience. Sitting up caused a large amount of spinning.
“Don’t rush it. I told the cats not to worry and to blow the candles out as it would be awhile.” My cats could be pyrokinetic when the mood suited them; fortunately for me they never use it to express displeasure. They would also keep the wards up so no entity would get into my room and cause havoc. I would have to really thank the dragons if they had chosen to hang around.
“Thank you Mother. What happened?”
” I showed you the truth. I wasn’t sure if you would survive the psychic backlash but I had to risk it as explaining the process would never have worked.”
“Wait, what? Gods come from Stonehenge!!!! Don’t let the New Agers know, they’ll tear through the rest of it trying to find which part of which stone goes to which deity and argue over who’s got the more authentic rock.” That caused several giggles and tongues lolling in doggy laughter. “I think the alcohol I had earlier absorbed the backlash, but somehow I still have a world class hang over.”
“Naomh’an, you of all people should know alcohol and magic do not mix! In this case however it may have saved you, who knows what would have happened if you had seen that while in complete control of your mind, your normal barriers may have fought it so much that it could have damaged you.”
“Why did you take that risk Mother? Either I am way more important than I thought or I mean a lot less to you then you have led me to believe.”
“Naomh’an, dear one, you mean more to me then you should know at this point. If I had told you about that would you have believed it? Would it have made as much of an impression? Most important, would you have learned the truths that you know now? ”
“All I know now is that nothing I knew before was right.”
“Notice the first thing you said, “Gods come from Stonehenge”. How did you know it was a god?”
“Nothing else made sense I guess, you’re a Goddess and we were talking about deities when we went there.” I was shaking from psychic shock and she was quizzing me. Think, Caitlin, think, what had just happened. The faces and shapes in the fog, what did they represent. The stones were obviously a focusing point but of what. “Those people in the fog, the
babble about the veil between worlds is more then babble isn’t it? Those were other worlds, dimensions and planes.” Hecate nodded and handed me some tea. ” So people do create gods? How? This is much worse then the chicken and egg high school philosophy stumper isn’t it.”
“Yes it is. We think we know how it started but even we do not know because every deity was created and can be a creator. Every plane, every dimension, every realm has energy. Energy cannot be stagnant, it must move, must grow, must become something. Perhaps the first sentient being just manifested, we do not know. What we do know is that the nature of energy is to create; the created life form loses some of its connection to the original current of nature. Over time, as life forms become more complex they feel less of the original link to their “mother” for lack of a better term. They then start trying to recapture that connection through creating religions and myths, as those myths gain more believers, they become thought forms. The more energy that is poured into a thought form the more power it gets until finally the thought form manifests from the quicksilver as you saw. The believers decide the form. Once it manifests it goes to it’s plane and provides the connection to the source. All thought forms start off weak, with little ability to affect much other then to serve as a conduit for its followers to touch the source. The longer the thought form exists and is fed energy the stronger it becomes. Many of us have faded back into the source or have taken on other forms as believers die out or change the forms in which they believe. We take on the nature of our creators, some of us were created to kill, to heal or to conquer. The ones of us that were originally created by conquering races have used the ability to shift forms to gain more followers; as a result they have become powerful enough to create new worlds. When they do this, they supplant the natural forces of creation and usually the worlds they created self-destruct over time because they were never stable. This has happened many times. ” She stopped to let me absorb.
“So what does this have to do with vampires?” I was too mentally exhausted to absorb, I just wanted a simple answer.
“Sometimes, thought forms are so strong that they can take beings from one realm or world and transplant them onto a world they created. It is easier for a thought form to remain strong if it has a base of strong believers with it. The presence that I felt was not of your world, was not summoned by a witch nor is it from any realm I know.” Then she shimmered and I was back in my body, all my limbs had fallen asleep.
Feb 28 2008
Lyrics are from Loreena McKennit’s Mummer’s Dance
When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair
The Enviromower, which we observed back here, was conceived in Australia and is also sold throughout Europe, the UK and New Zealand. And in North America, except there it goes by the name of Neuton. It’s a battery-powered electric mower. As we buy accredited 100% Solar GreenPower from our energy utility, our Enviromower is, in essence, powered by the sun.
The battery is a sealed unit of two linked 12V lead-acid type batteries. It can be removed from the mower, or left in-situ to be recharged. This takes about 12-16 hours. (I originally had my eye on the 36V Bosch Rotak LI with its lithium ion batteries, which are said to charge in one hour! But these mowers seem to be only available in Europe.)
However, from my perspective, the red coloured Enviromower Eco 500 can handle a standard suburb yard with aplomb. It cuts grass very well. It gives a clean, even cut, albeit a little narrower (35.5cm or 14″) than most petrol mowers. Three modes of mowing are possible: attaching the included grass catcher, using the included rear deflector to let the clippings fall behind the cut, or the included mulching plug. This latter attachment keeps the clippings next to the blades, so they’re sliced and diced fine enough to fall down as useful nutrient for improved lawn.
Feb 27 2008
I am posting this story here for some feedback and to provide a nice diversion from depressing reality. I hit some writer’s block and am thinking feedback from people may help get the plot developed further. The stuff I have written already is pretty good I think but feel free to constructively criticize as the story develops. I will be posting parts every few days. Oh, this is a vampire, witch, philosophical rant, pagan filled fantasy novel hehe.
So here we go…
“Knowledge is Perception, Perception is Reality”
Layers, patterns, perceptions; they are different for every being on this planet. To the fly, his reality consists of finding bits of food in a huge world; the spider’s reality is pretty confined to his web, feeling for minute twitches that could signal the end of the fly’s reality. As one moves up the food chain the perceptions of the world and one’s place in it changes as well. Cats roam for miles at night hunting, unless it’s the spoiled housecat who is content to be waited on tooth and claw. Then you get to humans. I think we are the only animals that can purposely narrow or enlarge our realities based on what we wish to know. There are some who know everything that is going on in every corner of the world thanks to the Internet. There are others who couldn’t tell you what the person next-door looks like. Then there are the few who see what no one else sees, the fey in the corner, the vampire hiding in the shadows, the soulless wretch who is drinking himself into oblivion to try to fill the hole where his soul should have been.
I guess the standard form for introductions is what we are always forced to endure at a job orientation gathering or the first time we go to a club. What’s your name? Where are you from? What brings you to such and such place etc.? I would have a hard time answering those questions anymore, no one would believe me. However, this story is confusing enough without at least clarifying who I am and why I am telling you all this. I guess I
should tackle the easy one first. I am writing all this down because I am one of the few beings on this earth that knows the Truth. Yes. The Truth; about God, life, why we are here all those questions that always provide you and your friends hours of sober, inebriated or stoned conversation. As for who and what I am, that’s a bit more complicated.
I am a witch. Allow me to define that term, as there are many people who claim to be a witch or whatever and really are not. I can tap into other energies, without the need for herbs, ceremonies or deities to give me a boost. It is a natural thing for me to do. I have otherworld guardians but I do not rely on them to help me focus and use the energy I can tap into. Those who call upon whatever deity suits their imagination are simply people who are trying to connect to other realms, or bolster their own ego, but they are not witches. They are merely mortals who instead of using 10 % of their brain are using 12 %. I hold them in low regards simply because they hold themselves in too high esteem. I grant that they some of them can accomplish some things but if they actually tapped the energy the way I do, their brains would collapse. It has to do with what I am but I am getting ahead of myself.
The way I see a vampire or other non human is like double vision, in essence I see their real form and the form they go around in the same space. It’s like trying to watch 3d movies without the glasses, instead of the images melding correctly they are fuzzy and you see the different colors individually. To me a vampire has golden eyes superimposed on top of the normal colored eyes and I can see the fangs showing on top of the lips even when they are retracted, a werewolf appears as if a person and a wolf are trying to occupy the same space. As a child this trait made for some interesting times until I learned not to point and tell someone they were stepping on the doggy’s tail. I have adapted to it and learned to pay more attention to one image or the other over time. The ability to see things others can’t is one of the things I have learned to hide over the years. My father told me that I did not want to draw attention to myself as my family has enemies. He never specified who or what they were. When I chose to ignore his advice I found that humans haven’t traveled so far on the path of understanding and acceptance as we like to think. I still have scars from some of those adventures. Having to lead this double life has made me fairly comfortable with vampires, werewolves and changelings as I understand why the act the way they do and how to deal with them. Most of my close friends are werewolves, changelings or other sorts as we understand each other much more then a regular human would. Not to say there are not bad vampires and selfish werewolves but on a whole they are more understanding of differences in people. I just hope telling this story changes a few perceptions on how people should view the Truths of life, each other and religions. I discovered that after I knew what the Truth was, all those arguments and opinions on who was right or wrong didn’t matter anymore.
Feb 21 2008
Hey all welcome to your weekly dose of green positivity!!!
Enjoy the articles.
Could tiny particles added to water sources help solve one of the world’s biggest problems?
Coated silica particles filter out toxins, pathogens
Tiny particles of pure silica coated with an active material could be used to remove toxic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and other hazardous materials from water much more effectively and at lower cost than conventional water purification methods, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the International Journal of Nanotechnology.
Despite of this potential conflict, Kai Chan of the University of British Columbia believes there is a way to ensure Canadian First Nations fishers can benefit from the otters’ presence.
“Efforts to restore wildlife populations should not be played out in a win-lose framework that pits conservation against the economic interests of the local people,” observes Chan, who spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Conference in Boston (February 14 to 18).
Feb 15 2008
Forgive me for being blunt here but I wonder why people get surprised that this happens and say they cannot understand the motivation behind it. These things never shock or surprise me because it is really a logical extension of humans who are put under stress with no support systems. Follow me over the flip..
Feb 14 2008
Happy Valentine’s Day all!!!
Here we go…
“It was the islanders who first raised concerns about the decline in fish and other marine life in the bay. Arran was once renowned for its fishing, with hundreds of sea anglers flocking to the island for its annual fish festival. That was decades ago when cod, haddock, hake, dab, plaice and turbot were plentiful in the waters of the Firth of Clyde.
Today the Clyde fishing fleet is a fraction of its original size, and the white fish have gone, leaving only prawns, langoustines and a dwindling stock of scallops. Islanders said the bed of the bay had been left barren after being dragged clean by dredgers – a claim refuted by the fishermen.”
This concern led to a unique collaboration between all stakeholders, eventually resulting in the proposals for significant no-take zones to allow fish stocks to recover. Such zones have been set up before in the UK – a pilot project in 2003 around Lundy Island reported significant recovery in marine life after just 18 months. This is, however, the first time such an effort has been brought about through grassroots collaboration, rather than top-down planning. The result is a significant area of marine habitat that will be left undisturbed by fishing, with an even larger area set aside for strict management:
Nokia has unveiled ReMade, a revolutionary mobile phone made of 100% recycled materials.
The idea behind the “remade”? concept was to see if it was possible to create a device made from nothing new. It has been designed using recycled materials that avoid the need for natural resources, reduce landfill, and allow for more energy efficient production.
In a remarkable step into the worlds of high finance and climate politics, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Chicago last week to encourage U.S. business leaders to help reshape the world’s economic future by investing in low-carbon markets.
In a February 7 speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, Secretary-General Ban asked his audience to enter an “age of green economics,”? with the United Nations as a partner.
On a perfect New Mexico winter day – with the sky almost 10 percent brighter than usual – Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate. The old 1984 record of 29.4 percent was toppled Jan. 31 on SES’s “Serial #3” solar dish Stirling system at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility.
Osborn says that SES is working to commercialize the record-performing system and has signed power purchase agreements with two major Southern California utilities (Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric) for up to 1,750 megawatts (MW) of power, representing the world’s two largest solar power contracts. Collectively, these contracts require up to 70,000 solar dish engine units.
Feb 09 2008
Something I would be shot for if I posted on Dkoes….
I don’t like Obama, I admit it. Why? Because he has become everything to just about everybody which often means he really stands for nothing. Call me a cynic, call me jaded, call me bitter but his ability to sway people by saying basically nothing in his speeches is what concerns me.
I don’t go to rallies because I want to stay objective and I hate being in rooms with people who are so swept up by their emotions that they can be easily twisted for any goal. Is it nice to see that someone on our side has this ability? Sure. Does it mean that I expect him to actually fix anything major, no.
I read his speeches, I really do not like listening to him because as my mom says “It seems like he is beating me over the head and yelling at me.” To me, he sounds like a preacher, which I really don’t like. At any rate, I read his speeches and I am left with “Ok, and??” He takes 1000s of words to wind down to saying something specific, which is still couched and vague so he really commits to nothing. His speeches sound great, but his plans are nothing spectacular. For instance: Obama’ Education plan.
No Child Left Behind Left the Money Behind: The goal of the law was the right one, but unfulfilled funding promises, inadequate implementation by the Education Department and shortcomings in the design of the law itself have limited its effectiveness and undercut its support. As a result, the law has failed to provide high-quality teachers in every classroom and failed to adequately support and pay those teachers.
Students Left Behind: Six million middle and high school students read significantly below their grade level. A full third of high school graduates do not immediately go on to college. American 15 year olds rank 28th out of 40 countries in mathematics and 19th out of 40 countries in science. Almost 30 percent of students in their first year of college are forced to take remedial science and math classes because they are not prepared.
High Dropout Rate: America has one of the highest dropout rates in the industrialized world. Only 70 percent of U.S. high school students graduate with a diploma. African American and Latino students are significantly less likely to graduate than white students.
Teacher Retention is a Problem: Thirty percent of new teachers leave within their first five years in the profession.
Soaring College Costs: College costs have grown nearly 40 percent in the past five years. The average graduate leaves college with over $19,000 in debt. And between 2001 and 2010, 2 million academically qualified students will not go to college because they cannot afford it. Finally, our complicated maze of tax credits and applications leaves too many students unaware of financial aid available to them.
Barack Obama’s Plan
Early Childhood Education
* Zero to Five Plan: Obama’s comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, Obama’s plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state “zero to five” efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
* Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.
* Affordable, High-Quality Child Care: Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.
o Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama will also improve NCLB’s accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
o Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
o Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school – strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.
o Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.
o Expand Summer Learning Opportunities: Obama’s “STEP UP” plan addresses the achievement gap by supporting summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children through partnerships between local schools and community organizations.
o Support College Outreach Programs: Obama supports outreach programs like GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare for college.
o Support English Language Learners: Obama supports transitional bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students get ahead by holding schools accountable for making sure these students complete school.
Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America’s Teachers
o Recruit Teachers: Obama will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location.
o Prepare Teachers: Obama will require all schools of education to be accredited. He will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively. Obama will also create Teacher Residency Programs that will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools.
o Retain Teachers: To support our teachers, Obama’s plan will expand mentoring programs that pair experienced teachers with new recruits. He will also provide incentives to give teachers paid common planning time so they can collaborate to share best practices.
o Reward Teachers: Obama will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward accomplished educators who serve as a mentor to new teachers with a salary increase. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well.
o Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Obama will also ensure that the tax credit is available to families at the time of enrollment by using prior year’s tax data to deliver the credit when tuition is due.
o Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid: Obama will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application.
Feb 06 2008
Wanted to post this random thought. I read zwoof’s diary about living in China and it made me think of my job.
I am a Dog Obedience Instructor at Petsmart and I own 3 cats. Many of you may remember the pet food recall awhile ago, the more recent lead in toys and the date rape drug in kids toys , all from products made in China. I am not really going to go into whether it is bad or good to import so much stuff from China etc. but what I am going to talk about is the little bit I do to help US companies in my store.
When it is slow at work, I read labels, I read labels on new dog toys, read food labels. I find out what products are made where. If they are made in the USA I promote them. I have a fair percentage of people who ask me if there are products made in the USA. Even when they do not ask, I tell them anyway. We got a new line of dog toys made by a company called GoDog..You can see them here. They are guaranteed for life, have new “Chew Guard Technology” and from what I can tell are made in the USA. I recommend them to all the customers at the store who are in the market for new soft chew toys. Everyone is willing to try them especially when you say “They are made in the USA.” So to anyone out there who works retail, you CAN make a small but over time an exponentially huge difference to small companies in the US. Customers are always looking for new things to try, they WANT to shop MADE IN THE USA, but very few read all the labels. I think too it is depressing to read label after label that says “Made in China” etc. So use your position to make recommendations of products that are made here. The more we sell, the more they can make.