Wednesday, December 27, 2006

TALKING TIPS 12/27/06

Christmas day we were driving up a mountain on the way to a relative's house. I saw a wooden rooster that someone had created standing in a yard. It was made of blonde wood and about four feet high. I could not think of the word "rooster" and I tried to say, "Look at the cock." What came out was, "Look at the crow."

The process usually goes like this. I cannot think of a word so I substitute another one which sounds like the one I want and has the same approximate meaning. Sometimes, I get sounds mixed up which can further complicate things but not always. Once in awhile, I've got the correct word [not a substitution] but some of the sounds change places. Consequently, a word may get to sounding a bit off. This has become something that I am becoming used to happening once in awhile. Others in my life either don't notice, don't acknowledge it, or try to correct the wrong-sounding word.

Those who don't notice or don't acknowledge something odd goes on with an occasional word or sentence I don't mind so much. Those who try to correct the word usually get a protest from me, "Did you understand what I meant?" followed by, "Well, what does it matter?"

I figure as long as I can convey a basic idea, that should be good enough in most all circumstances.

So my first two talking tips for the talker [me] are:
1. Take my time to talk and slow down if I need to.
2. As long as they can get what I am trying to tell them, it doesn't matter if the words are not quite right.

And for the listener:
1. Allow me a bit of time to process a thought and finish words. Constantly interrupting or completing or correcting is annoying.
2. As long as you can get the general jist of what I am trying to tell you, it doesn't matter if the words not exact in meaning or pronunciation. You are not my English teacher.

And my biggest tip for the listener:
3. If I want your help, I will ask for it.

My biggest tip for my self:
3. Defensiveness is the antithesis of meaningful communication.


sapphoq n friends

Saturday, December 23, 2006

TAKING THE FUN OUT OF dysFUNctional 12/23/06


Tis the season to have to put up with those who had the nerve to keep on living.
I offer this guide on surviving get-togethers with those people who installed our buttons,
our families.

1. If they have a computer, you are home free. You can do what I am doing now, install yourself away from the chaos and work on various computer projects. You can pretend you are home. You only have to surface long enough to eat and open presents. Nerds are sposed to be anti-social and geeky anyways.

2. Cancel the holidays. Don't care for Christmas, Chaunakah, Yule, Solstice, or other.? Don't bother with them. Send out a tersely worded postcard informing your family that this year you aren't going to bother with any of it. Save your money, your time, and your sanity.

3. Got kids? Farm them out to various relations and take yourself on a cruise all by yourself for yourself.

4. Been to Alanon, have ya? Revert to your old survival skills by pretending that you are far weller than any of those people. Look down your nose at any who dare to speak to you. Eat as much as you can. Take the presents and run. You don't even have to thank them for inviting you to their home. It was your due anyways.

5. Some people don't have their families any longer and others never did. Some people live in places where they are not free to celebrate religious holidays or to voice their opinions. Some people don't have the basics that you may take for granted. Some people die before they are ever born. Some people aren't sitting in front of a computer screen in a warm house waiting for extravagant dinners or the unwrapping of individually picked out brightly colored packages. After all, that's THEIR problem.

sapphoq n friends

Friday, December 22, 2006

SATURDAY NIGHT CONFESSION 12/22/06

A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing.

The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the drunk continues to sit there.

Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.

The drunk mumbles, "ain't no use knockin, there's no paper on this side either!"

sapphoq n friends laughing

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

HAPPY SOLSTICE 12/19/06


Tomorrow morning the doggie and I will be celebrating Sostice out in the woods. Tomorrow night I plan to attend a druid grove Yule.

The season of the long dark is upon us and after the darkest night follows the return of the sun. I wish for you the warmth of the sun, the comfort of the dark, the richness of the stars, the wisdom of the trees, and the love of Mother Ocean.

Blessed be!

spike q.

Happy Solstice tag created by me. You may snag it by right-clicking and saving to your pictures, alter it, resize it, reuse it, repost it as long as you leave the "sapphoq.com," which is printed on the bottom right.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

IF MEN WROTE ADVICE COLUMNS 12/17/06

Q: My husband wants to have a threesome with me and my best friend.

A: Obviously your husband cannot get enough of you! Knowing that there is only one of you he can only settle for the next best thing your best friend. Far from being an issue, this can bring you closer together. Why not get some of your old college roommates involved too? If you are still apprehensive, maybe you should let him be with your friends without you. If you're still not sure then just perform oral sex on him and cook him a nice meal while you think about it.

Q: My husband continually asks me to perform oral sex on him.

A: Do it. Semen can help you lose weight and gives a great glow to your skin. Interestingly, men know this. His offer to allow you to perform oral sex on him is totally selfless. This shows he loves you. The best thing to do is to thank him by performing it twice a day; then cook him a nice meal.

Q: My husband has too many nights out with the boys

A: This is perfectly natural behavior and it should be encouraged. The Man is a hunter and he needs to prove his prowess with other men. A night out chasing young single girls is a great stress relief and can foster a more peaceful and relaxing home. Remember, nothing can rekindle your relationship better than the man being away for a day or two (it's a great time to clean the house, too)! Just look at how emotional and happy he is when he returns to his stable home. The best thing to do when he gets home is for you and your best friend to perform oral sex on him. Then cook him a nice meal.

Q: My husband doesn't know where my clitoris is.

A: Your clitoris is of no concern to your husband. If you must mess with it, do it in your own time or ask your best friend to help. You may wish to videotape yourself while doing this, and present it to your husband as a birthday gift. To ease your selfish guilt, perform oral sex on him and cook him a delicious meal.

Q: My husband is uninterested in foreplay.

A: You are a bad person for bringing it up and should seek sensitivity training. Foreplay to a man is very stressful and time consuming. Sex should be available to your husband on demand with no pesky requests for foreplay. What this means is that you do not love your man as much as you should; He should never have to work to get you in the mood. Stop being so selfish! Perhaps you can make it up to him by performing oral sex and cooking him a nice meal.

Q: My husband always has an orgasm then rolls over and goes to sleep without giving me one.

A: I'm not sure I understand the problem. Perhaps you've forgotten to cook him a nice meal.

LOST HELICOPTER 12/17/06

A helicopter was flying around above Seattle when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft's electronic navigation and communications equipment.

Due to the clouds and haze, the pilot could not determine the helicopter's position. The pilot saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, and held up a handwritten sign that said "WHERE AM I?" in large letters. People in the tall building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign, and held it in a building window. Their sign said "YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER."

The pilot smiled, waved, looked at his map, determined the course to steer to SEATAC airport, and landed safely. After they were on the ground, the copilot asked the pilot how he had done it.

"I knew it had to be the Microsoft Building, because they gave me a technically correct but completely useless answer."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

WHY I AM WHO I AM 12/14/06

1. Because I cannot be anyone else. I endorse self-congruity in my thoughts, words, and deeds.
2. Because I do not blame my parents for my own failings. I endorse self-responsibility.
3. Because I recognize that we are not our labels. I endorse self-acceptance.
4. Because I know that I am more than my problems. I endorse self-efficacy.
5. Because I know who I am. I endorse self-identity.

6. I am who I am because I have found that asking for help is not weakness.
7. I am who I am because I have found a sense of belonging where previously existed exceptionality and isolation.
8. I am who I am because today I have something to give to others and I am no longer a taker or a free-loader.
9. I am who I am because I practice acceptance of others just as they appear at this moment without trying to change, convert, or fix them.

10. I am who I am because we are who we are. We are who we are because together we celebrate our sacred ways of being in the world.

sapphoq n friends

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cherry TAP 12/11/06

Yesterday, I joined Cherry TAP which you can check out at: http://www.cherrytap.com/join.php?friend=501514 /

Cherry TAP at first glance looks rather chaotic. There's the top bar, a bunch of avatars cycling by. And the mailbox where strangers greet you and welcome you. There are also lounges-- I joined several, including the Pagan and Wicca Lounge. Photos to upload and other peoples' photos to rate. And blog or blogs to write.

Those of you who are single might find several someones to consider for further study.
Those of you who aren't might find Cherry TAP to be fun anyways.

sapphoq n friends

Friday, December 08, 2006

YOU MIGHT HAVE A TRUST PROBLEM IF... 12/8/06


You might have a trust problem if....




You answer the phone with, "What do you want now?" instead of saying hello.

You don't vote because it's a losing proposition either way.

You leave the battery warmer on the car overnight in the summer.

You tell the new hires at work not to trust anyone there-- except you.

You bring a lawyer to your annual evaluation at work and to your annual physical.

You dig a moat around your property and import alligators to fill it.

You don't answer the door unless you are expecting company. The U.P.S. guy doesn't even bother ringing the bell anymore. Come to think of it, no one rings your doorbell anymore.
You have the first retinal eye scanner installed instead of a doorbell on your block.

Your best friend doesn't know what color eyes you have because you wear those mirror sunglasses all the time.

You talk back to the television commercials. Your telephone is right next to your easy chair in the teevee room.The Better Business Bureau is on speed-dial on your telephone. You have your own private mailbox to leave messages there in.

Every time your dog or cat come in from roaming round the neighborhood, you're waiting at the door with horse's urine. Double points if it's your daughter.

Got any to add to this list?

sapphoq n friends

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

LL WITCH 14 SPEAKS



I am purple!
I am purple inside and out.
I am purple cuz I am.

I like frogs and ice cream and chocolate
and homemade cookies.
I am a witch! and my dog is my BOS.
I am fluorescent and I live on the moon.

Every morning, the sun dances
in my hair and the wind laughs.
Every morning I sing to the moon and
I send love to the ocean.
The ocean is my other mother.

I sprang from the ocean
and I flew to the moon.
I am the power of the earth.
I am the power of the wind.
I am the power of the fire.
I am the power of the water.

We are all of us each other
and we are all of us no one.
I am alone in my own skin.
I kicked out my imaginary friend
cuz she wouldn't share her ice cream.

Love is love.
Love is why we are here.
Not to be loved but to love.
I do not love everyone.
That is not who I am.
But I love some people fiercely.
I do love me
cuz that is my religion.

Not the greatest poem in the universe by a long shot. Written in the persona of llwitch14. If you do not recognize the name, please goto http://radical.sapphoq.com/ and look for the stories regarding Ravenfire.

spike q.

Monday, December 04, 2006

To Blondie 12/4/06


you are my friend
my true friend.
together, we have walked and ran
through many places.

you love me for me
and i love you for you.
although we are different,
together we have found love,
the universe, and everything.

you stayed by my side
during those long days
when my life slipped away in sleeping
and coffee counted the hours
until exhausted, i would sleep again.

you were there
waiting for me when i stumbled in, tired
and apologetic, unable to romp or play.
you loved me no matter what
and you still do.

you watched me sleep
and sleep more. you were happy
when i could walk again freely
without falling. together we went
wandering once again to the places
we have known and loved.

you delight in me, and i in you.
together we are the face of love.




Author's Notes: I love you Blondie.

sapphoq n friends

Friday, December 01, 2006

OF SURGERY 12/1/06

I have never met anyone with DID who claimed to have recovered through the use of rational thinking. Instead they one and all have integrated through some form of perverse psychic surgery clumsily welded by a therapist or a spiritual escapade with a man of the cloth or perhaps even a lover. That is as incomprehensible as Judge Ito's voice now narrating dinosaur re-enactment programs. My youngest nephew, of kindergarden age, can recite the species of each dinosaur and where they fit on the evolutionary tree. Painstakingly, those afflicted with living in the borderlands, describe their own family tree of what they perceive to be their internal systems as yet unhealed. Physician, first do no harm! I am not the one in the corner holding the knife.

sapphoq n friends

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ON A LIGHTER NOTE 11/22/06

An elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day,but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Pop, what are you talking about," the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,"the old man says. "We're sick and tired of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her."
And he hangs up.

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone."Like Heck they're getting a divorce, she shouts.
"I'll take care of this."

She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced! Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" And she hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone, smiles and turns to his wife. "They're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way."

Thanks to Ida for sending me this here joke.

Happy Turkey Day
to everyone but the turkeys.
To the vegans and vegetarians--
Happy Un-Turkey Day!

spike q.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

SAD NEWS 11/16/06

Thank-you 1588c for alerting us to this terribly tragedy:

Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, two children, John Dough and Jane Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else who may be having a crumby day and kneads it .

Thursday, November 09, 2006

PAGE 80 11/9/06

A found poem from page 80 of Poets & Writers, Nov/Dec 2006, England's First Master's in Creative Non-Fiction, by Neil Baker.
website: http://www.pw.org/

PAGE 80

Poets, five are selected.
A toxic emphasis creates experience.
Surprize! Faculty say, "Produce!"
"Formula!" "Tastes!" "Models!"
Rankings are silly. Nobody nice
published me. Artistic prestige
isn't a guarantee. Teaching buys
little art. I get it. [I get it.] I do.

sapphoq n friends reminds you that found poems are taken from words on page or pages written by others and thus is not copyrightable to the one who "found" the poem.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

THE WEAVE OF FRIENDSHIP 11/6/06


photo taken by Georgie Sharp, East Timbor, creative commons license

Like woven cloth, we are stronger together and more colorful.





Monday, October 30, 2006

The Hacker FAQ by Peter Seebach 10/30/0

[Below is an essay reprinted unaltered as permitted by the author. it remains one of my favorite hacker pieces. I hope you also enjoy it. *sapphoqnfriends]


NEWS!

A version of this has been bought by IBM DeveloperWorks.

Furthermore, IBM sponsored another article, the Manager FAQ, a guide to managers for hackers who are frustrated and confused by corporate life. I'd like to thank IBM for their kind support of this project. I'm pretty happy with the new piece, and I'm glad to have finally been nudged into posting it.

I'd like to point out how reasonable and friendly IBM has been about this; compare with the way that CRC has treated Eric Weisstein.

The Hacker FAQ

The following list is an attempt to cover some of the issues that will invariably come up when people without previous experience of the hacker community try to hire a hacker. This FAQ is intended for free distribution, and may be copied as desired. It is in an early revision. If you wish to modify the FAQ, or distribute it for publication, please contact the author. The author is seebs@plethora.net. The official distribution site (as of revision 0.05) is "http://www.plethora.net/~seebs/faqs/hacker.html".

DISCLAIMER: The author is a hacker. Bias is inevitable.

This document is copyright 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 Peter Seebach. Unaltered distribution is permitted.

Revision 0.05 - Last modified September 28, 1999

Questions and Answers:

Section 0: Basic understanding.

0.0: Won't my hacker break into my computer and steal my trade secrets?
No. Hackers aren't, contrary to media reporting, the people who break into computers. Those are crackers. Hackers are people who enjoy playing with computers. Your hacker may occasionally circumvent security measures, but this is not malicious; she just does it when the security is in her way, or because she's curious.
0.1: Was it a good idea to hire a hacker?
It depends on the job. A hacker can be dramatically more effective than a non-hacker at a job, or dramatically less effective. Jobs where hackers are particularly good are:
  • Systems administration
  • Programming
  • Design

Jobs where hackers are particularly bad are:

  • Data entry

More generally, a job that requires fast and unexpected changes, significant skill, and is not very repetitive will be one a hacker will excel at. Repetitive, simple jobs are a waste of a good hacker, and will make your hacker bored and frustrated. No one works well bored and frustrated.

The good news is, if you get a hacker on something he particularly likes, you will frequently see performance on the order of five to ten times what a "normal" worker would produce. This is not consistent, and you shouldn't expect to see it all the time, but it will happen. This is most visible on particularly difficult tasks.

0.2: How should I manage my hacker?
The same way you herd cats. It can be a bit confusing; they're not like most other workers. Don't worry! Your hacker is likely to be willing to suggest answers to problems, if asked. Most hackers are nearly self-managing.
0.3: Wait, you just said "10 times", didn't you? You're not serious, right?
Actually, I said "ten times". And yes, I am serious; a hacker on a roll may be able to produce, in a period of a few months, something that a small development group (say, 7-8 people) would have a hard time getting together over a year. He also may not. Your mileage will vary.

IBM used to report that certain programmers might be as much as 100 times as productive as other workers, or more. This kind of thing happens.

0.4: I don't understand this at all. This is confusing. Is there a book on this?
Not yet. In the meantime, check out The New Hacker's Dictionary (references below; also known as "the jargon file"), in particular some of the appendices. The entire work is full of clarifications and details of how hackers think.

Section 1: Social issues

1.0: My hacker doesn't fit in well with our corporate society. She seems to do her work well, but she's not really making many friends.
This is common. Your hacker may not have found any people around who get along with hackers. You may wish to consider offering her a position telecommuting, or flexible hours (read: night shift), which may actually improve her productivity. Or hire another one.
1.1: My hacker seems to dress funny. Is there any way to impress upon him the importance of corporate appearance?
Your hacker has a very good understanding of the importance of corporate appearance. It doesn't help you get your job done. IBM, Ford, and Microsoft have all realized that people work better when they can dress however they want. Your hacker is dressed comfortably. A polite request to dress up some for special occasions may well be honored, and most hackers will cheerfully wear clothes without (unintentional) holes in them if specifically asked.
1.2: My hacker won't call me by my title, and doesn't seem to respect me at all.
Your hacker doesn't respect your title. Hackers don't believe that management is "above" engineering; they believe that management is doing one job, and engineering is doing another. They may well frequently talk as if management is beneath them, but this is really quite fair; your question implies that you talk as if engineering is beneath you. Treat your hacker as an equal, and she will probably treat you as an equal -- quite a compliment!
1.3: My hacker constantly insults the work of my other workers.
Take your hacker aside, and ask for details of what's wrong with the existing work. It may be that there's something wrong with it. Don't let the fact that it runs most of the time fool you; your hacker is probably bothered by the fact that it crashes at all. He may be able to suggest improvements which could dramatically improve performance, reliability, or other features. It's worth looking into.

You may be able to convince your hacker to be more polite, but if there appear to be major differences, it's quite possible that one or more of your existing staff are incompetent. Note that hackers, of course, have different standards of competence than many other people. (Read "different" as "much higher".)

Section 2: Productivity.

2.0: My hacker plays video games on company time.
Hackers, writers, and painters all need some amount of time to spend "percolating" -- doing something else to let their subconscious work on a problem. Your hacker is probably stuck on something difficult. Don't worry about it.
2.1: But it's been two weeks since I saw anything!
Your hacker is working, alone probably, on a big project, and just started, right? She's probably trying to figure it all out in advance. Ask her how it's going; if she starts a lot of sentences, but interrupts them all with "no, wait..." or "drat, that won't work", it's going well.
2.2: Isn't this damaging to productivity?
No. Your hacker needs to recreate and think about things in many ways. He will be more productive with this recreation than without it. Your hacker enjoys working; don't worry about things getting done reasonably well and quickly.
2.3: My hacker is constantly doing things unrelated to her job responsibilities.
Do they need to be done? Very few hackers can resist solving a problem when they can solve it, and no one else is solving it. For that matter, is your hacker getting her job done? If so, consider these other things a freebie or perk (for you). Although it may not be conventional, it's probably helping out quite a bit.
2.4: My hacker is writing a book, reading USENET news, playing video games, talking with friends on the phone, and building sculptures out of paper clips. On company time!
He sounds happy. The chances are he's in one of three states:
  1. Basic job responsibilities are periodic (phone support, documentation, et al.) and there's a lull in incoming work. Don't worry about it!
  2. Your hacker is stuck on a difficult problem.
  3. Your hacker is bored silly and is trying to find amusement. Perhaps you should find him more challenging work?

Any of these factors may be involved. All of them may be involved. In general, if the work is challenging, and is getting done, don't worry too much about the process. You might ask for your corporation to be given credit in the book.

2.5: But my other workers are offended by my hacker's success, and it hurts their productivity.
Do you really need to have workers around who would rather be the person getting something done, than have it done already? Ego has very little place in the workplace. If they can't do it well, assign them to something they can do.

Section 3: Stimulus and response

3.0: My hacker did something good, and I want to reward him.
Good! Here are some of the things most hackers would like to receive in exchange for their work:
  1. Respect.
  2. Admiration.
  3. Compliments.
  4. Understanding.
  5. Discounts on expensive toys.
  6. Money.

These are not necessarily in order. The 4th item (understanding) is the most difficult. Try to remember this good thing your hacker just did the next time you discover he just spent a day playing x-trek. Rather than complaining about getting work done, write it off as "a perk" that was granted (informally) as a bonus for a job well done. Don't worry; hackers get bored quickly when they aren't doing their work.

3.1: My hacker did something bad, and I want to punish him.
Don't. 30 years of psychological research has shown that punishment has no desirable long-term effects. Your hacker is not a lab rat. (Even if he were a lab rat, punishment wouldn't work; at least, not if he were one of the sorts of lab rats the psych research was done on.) If you don't like something your hacker is doing, express your concerns. Explain what it is that bothers you about the behavior.

Be prepared for an argument; your hacker is a rational entity, and presumably had reasons. Don't jump on him too quickly; they may turn out to be good reasons.

Don't be afraid to apologize if you're wrong. If your hacker admits to having been wrong, don't demand an apology; so far as the hacker is concerned, admitting to being wrong is an apology, most likely.

3.2: I don't get it. I offered my hacker a significant promotion, and she turned it down and acted offended.
A promotion frequently involves spending more time listening to people describing what they're doing, and less time playing with computers. Your hacker is enjoying her work; if you want to offer a reward, consider an improvement in title, a possible raise, and some compliments. Make sure your hacker knows you are pleased with her accomplishments -- that's what she's there for.
3.3: My company policy won't let me give my hacker any more raises until he's in management.
Your company policy is broken. A hacker can earn as much as $200 an hour (sometimes more) doing freelance consulting. You may wish to offer your hacker a contracted permanent consulting position with benefits, or otherwise find loopholes. Or, find perks to offer - many hackers will cheerfully accept a discount on hardware from their favorite manufacturer as an effective raise.
3.4: I can't believe the hacker on my staff is worth as much as we're paying.
Ask the other staff in the department what the hacker does, and what they think of it. The chances are that your hacker is spending a few hours a week answering arcane questions that would otherwise require an expensive external consultant. Your hacker may be fulfilling another job's worth of responsibilities in his spare time around the office. Very few hackers aren't worth what they're getting paid; they enjoy accomplishing difficult tasks, and improving worker efficiency.

Section 4: What does that mean?

4.0: My hacker doesn't speak English. At least, I don't think so.
Your hacker is a techie. Your best bet is to pick up a copy of TNHD (The New Hacker's Dictionary). It can be found as http://catb.org/esr/jargon (last I checked) or from a good bookstore. If you have trouble understanding that reference, ask your hacker if she has a copy, or would be willing to explain her terms. Most hackers are willing to explain terms. Be ready for condescension; it's not intended as an insult, but if you don't know the words, she probably has to talk down to you at first to explain them.

It's a reasonably difficult set of words; there are a lot of them, and their usage is much more precise than it sounds. Hackers love word games.

[It is also possible that English is not your hacker's native language, and that it's not yours either. Feel free to substitute a more appropriate language.]

4.1: I can't get an estimate out of my hacker.
Your hacker hasn't figured out how hard the problem is yet. Unlike most workers, hackers will try very hard to refuse to give an estimate until they know for sure that they understand the problem. This may include solving it.

No good engineer goes beyond 95% certainty. Most hackers are good engineers. If you say you will not try to hold him to the estimate (and mean it!) you are much more likely to get an approximate estimate. The estimate may sound very high or very low; it may be very high or very low. Still, it's an estimate, and you get what you ask for.

4.2: My hacker makes obscure, meaningless jokes.
If you feel brave, ask for an explanation. Most of them can be explained. It may take a while, but it may prove interesting.
4.3: My hacker counts from zero.
So does the computer. You can hide it, but computers count from zero. Most hackers do by habit, also.

If you found this information useful, please consider sending a token donation to the author; email for details. You might also consider buying a couple of books through my "affiliate program" link; you get cool books, I get pocket change. :)

Recommended books:

The links in this section will all try to take you to Powell's, where you can spend your money on cool books.

The Cathedral & the Bazaar (Eric Raymond) - a discussion of different ways of building systems.

The New Hacker's Dictionary (Eric Raymond) - a great source of trivia, lore, and translations for difficult concepts. (Not always in stock, I'm afraid.)

Comments about this page can be sent to

seebs@plethora.net

Thursday, October 26, 2006

HBO THE SOPRANOS COMMERCIALS HAVE STARTED 10/26/06

http://www.hbo.com/sopranos/downloads/ is where you can go to download some Bada Bing wallpaper for your computer and other stuff.

I watched The Sopranos faithfully all the way through the last season [even though they made us wait sooooo long for it]. I will be watching the show regularly again once it [supposedly] re-starts in January. I made some hot Incredimail e-stationary with Tony Soprano on it.

My excuse for writing about The Sopranos is that some of my good friends watch the show too. Hi Ei and Nancy. Strangely enough, my family does not watch the show. They all snort and go, "Ewww, we don't watch that!" Absolutely amazing since a fourth of the family tree hail from Calabria. I tell some folks that I watch the series because I am studying my Italian heritage. It's true that in the series there is quite a bit of killing, blood, guts, violence, robbery, and flunking out of school. I don't care. I like the show and that is that.

Besides which, there is also Italian meals and Italian music, hot cars, loose women and horny men, a strong message about women being able to determine their own future instead of getting trapped into the same ol', a priest with a major hang-up about home-cooked meals, comraderie, and the beach. Once again, there is something to be said for, "If you don't like it, you can change the channel." [Or block it from your kids' young and innocent brains].

I change the channel when I hear preachers and nuns telling me how to live and think. I guess that makes me like Frank Zappa. He let his kids watch a lot of stuff on teevee but he would not allow them to watch the ministericals asking for money less they get smitted and killed. And I don't run around screaming in public that the preachers are polluting the thoughts of my precious doggie. So save it and go rant about The Sopranos to someone else. Don't make me come over there and show you how to change the channel on your teevee sets.

Anyways, sorry for that bit of a digression which some of the audience will be mildly amused by and the rest will be apathetic to or left mildly simmering. Back to the original purpose of this post, which was to announce that I saw a commercial [or rather heard it, since I was surfing with StumbleUpon in order to build up my bookmarks on del.icio.us on the laptop at the time]. Carmella's voice came on and she said three things. I missed the first thing. Then she said, "The family is a sacred institution," [or something like that] and then something about there must be consequences. After which the announcement was that the Sopranos are re-starting in January of 2007. Hopefully it will actually start then instead of delaying one more time.

Speaking of delays, in news for the geeks among my friends-- Windows is delaying ServicePack3 for XP until 2008. I've already decided we are not giving M$ any money to install the bloated Vista. So when "support" [read 'downloads of security patches'] for XP expires, we will be redoing all the computers in strictly Linux or possibly BSD.

For those friends who are computer security hobbyists, I ran across a site today which offers real tunneling and for free-- no traces, unlike Anonymizer which purports to provide an anonymous proxy but in fact it is only partially invisible and not free. If one uses the Google translation web page service plus the Anonymizer proxy, I suppose that might be better than either alone. Though the whole purpose of it all is to be invisible, thus one might be better off with the real tunneling exe. At least it appears that way to me. Privacy is becoming an increasingly difficult commodity these days.

That is not entirely a bad thing considering the terrorists and bombings and wars and stuff. Though not an entirely good thing either. When I downloaded the Google updates this evening, I was offered a choice of having "safer surfing" and the showing of page rankings in return for sending on my web searches to the big G or not. In order to get the little bar and the numbers that show the rankings of each return on my search, I would have to give up a bit of my reasonable expectation of privacy. Some of that is because Google creates search results "on the fly" though I think there would be a way to program in the little rank bar without having to show where I'm going. Regardless, I said no. I've got lots of ways to keep my web surfing reasonably safe. And I don't much care about knowing the ranking of a search result. Especially since I use other criteria for evaluating accuracy of things I find out there in cyberspace.

I found also today an interesting article about MySpace. Some folks believe that somehow MySpace should do "something" about the nasty sexual predators who sign up for accounts and go trolling for little boys [and probably girls too]. MySpace claimed that their staff are concerned about that thus the age and picture rules. Folks don't always think that is enough. So some techie wrote a script and bingo-- he found bunches of sexual predators on the government registration rolls who were stupid enough to sign up for MySpace with their own legal names. Even after eliminating the false positives, there was still a bunch. One dude got arrested for sending lewd pictures to a boy. Since he didn't meet the boy, the authorities were unable to nail him for anything else.

I won't be much good for anything during the daytime on Friday if I don't get to sleep soon. With that, I will say all of today's e-mail will have to wait til then. Take care of you, and I'll catch ya later.

~sapphoq n friends

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

FINGERS 10/24/06




last night, as i lay in the dark
alone
a dark dank mood overtook me.
i roiled in its' tentacles
screaming hot blood spattering

sinister echoes
to no one listening.

dawn came
bringing the grayest of gray.
in the gloaming

i am a copse of rotting fecal matter
waiting for the worms.

~sapphoq n friends

Saturday, October 21, 2006

IT'S HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR ME 10/21/06



It is almost Sam Hain.
It is almost the New Year of the Witches.
We gather separately and together at the altars of our ancestors
remembering.
Those of us who keep what we know of the old ways
sprinkle salt in circles ever expanding outwards.
We send messages on the wind
to the ancient ones who came before us.
We light candles
for the lost who cannot find their way home.
We gaze into water bowls knowing
that hope feeds us.

We are the roots and the soil.
We are dreamers roving through space.
We are the brilliant blazing stars.
We are the ocean our other mother.

Those of us who keep what we know of the old ways
embrace the ancient ones as our own.

~sapphoq n friends

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

MAY YOU BE BLESSED 10/27/06

We Send You Our Blessings

A sweet movie going around the internet. The pictures are pretty and the message is nice. Take a few minutes to watch the whole movie and then wait for it to tell you the story.

Possible trigger for some: The movie refers to a Higher Power and to a male God [but not a specific religious ideology].

~sapphoq n friends

LIGHT A CANDLE FOR THE CHILDREN 10/16/06

Over at http://www.lightamillioncandles.com/counter.jsp you can light an internet candle for kids who have been or are now going through child abuse.

There are also some links there worth investigating, including a couple where one is able to report websites which are engaged in child pornography.

People often forget that paedophilia is not about love or expression of sexual orientation. Paedophilia is about using children and it is sick. Society has long confused rape with rabid uncontrollable sexual urges instead of acknowledging that rape is about power and violence and not about sex. Paedophilia is not about "sex" or "love" or "falling in love with."

I have no use for pedophiles. Any adult who is using children and teens under the age of consent should be civilly committed for life.

~sapphoq n friends

Sunday, October 15, 2006

FRIENDS OF SAPPHOQ: shameless promo of an e-group 10/15/06


On July 18, 2005, having nothing better to do, I founded an e-group called friendsofsapphoq over at yahoo. I had a long-standing dream of getting all of my friends together in one room at one time and they would all "get along." Reality always rears it's ugly head. And so that dream was consigned to the wasteland of unfulfilment.

The internet exploded into my life in a big way and I took another stab at my childish dream via electronica. For the most part, friendsof has worked and continues to work rather well. Some of us know each other or have met or became close via other e-groups. Some of us have just stumbled in via a blog or a friend's friend.

Topics and issues change. We have e-mailed the group about news stories, new ventures, new jobs, disability, illness, deaths, fears, triumphs, and the stuff of everyday living. We have also been treated to pictures from outer space, pictures of dogs and kids and grandkids, daily meditations for women, and views on politics. The number of postings have varied from 53 on up to 626.

There are currently 31 members. If you are willing to mingle electronically with a bunch of people who do not all share the same religious viewpoints, sexual orientations, disabilities or lack of disabilities, political affiliations, ideologies, philosophies.....then come on in.

~sapphoq n friends

Friday, October 06, 2006

SPECIAL NEEDS

SPIKE Q. NEEDS 10/6/06

idea from Dianna over at http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-yZlGtdA.aac9gydwI.bgkQLUaoqL?p=1128&n=28500

First you type in your name followed by the word "needs" into your search engine and list the top ten results:

spike q needs: a recipe disc, dough, answers, to make changes in the registry, housekeeping, special things, to order stock, a certain aspect or quality, to return as a different character, splicing.


Then, you can either post it in your blog like this:

spike q. needs a recipe disc.
spike q. needs dough.
spike q. needs answers.
spike q. needs to make changes in the registry.
spike q. needs housekeeping.
spike q. needs special things.
spike q. needs to order stock.
spike q. needs a certain aspect or quality.
spike q. needs to return as a different character.
spike q. needs splicing.


Or, you can do some adding, subtracting and rearranging to make a poem out of the words like this:

Special Needs

I need a recipe, to find some answers, or maybe
to make changes to the registry. I need more dough,
internal housekeeping, to order stock, or maybe
some wholesale splicing. People have told me
that I need a certain aspect or character trait that
I seem to be lacking. Or maybe to die and then
reincarnate as someone else entirely. To that,
I say, "No thank-you." Once has been enough
for me if not way too much and too long as it is.

~sapphoq 'n' friends

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ARABIC CURSES and ANGER 9/27/06


I attended some poetry workshops one summer at a library in Albany New York. The facilitator introduced us to what he called Arabic Curses: short, pithy, and to the point creative use of words such as the "Friendship Prayer" above [author unknown to me]. Very shortly, all of us grown people were writing things like:

May your cat kick its litter all over you
and after pulling the plug on your bathwater
may you dwindle down the drain.

I haven't written any since then and that was more than twenty years ago. The world has changed so much since then-- I hesitated to name this blog "Arabic Curses." But indeed, that is what this particular literary convention was introduced to me as. Accuracy won out over my initial cowardice.

People have accused me of being angry like anger is a bad thing, or even of being "too" angry. I believe that anger is part of the human condition. Anger is not a 'secondary' emotion. I know this because fight is one of the primitive responses of the reptilian brain to adrenaline rushes. A

And depression is not 'Anger turned inward.' Biologically-based depression is a medical condition whose etiology or etiologies cannot be reduced to one phrase. To say that depression is a result of unexpressed anger is to grossly mistake cause and one possible effect or symptom.

Anger has been my truest friend. Anger is the friend that informs me when someone around me is attempting to play games, engage in manipulation for his or her own benefits or needs, or act as predator does waiting for weaker human beings to show up with their raw vulnerabilities exposed. Clear anger comes from the gut. Anger tells me the truth about other people and about myself. Anger heals me in ways that simplistic talk about forgiveness was never able to.

Anger and I will continue to walk together and talk together with an honesty that few friends know and can afford.

~sapphoq n friends on friend anger

Sunday, September 24, 2006

HUDSON VALLEY GARLIC FESTIVAL 9/24/06


Yesterday, we made our annual Mabon pilgrimage to the Garlic Festival in Saugerties New York. The Kiwanis Club sponsers it as a community fundraiser. There are musicians, teeshirts, crafts, and food booths. And my favorite-- lots and lots of stands with samples of their garlicky wares. We weave our way through the crowd of garlic enthusiasts in search of a variety of honeys, salsas, sauces, pickles, mustards, fudge, dipping oils, other dips, and more to tease our palates.

This year found us sampling and comparing as usual. Definately not to be missed!

~sapphoq n friends

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CREATION STATION


I belong to a creators' group at Google called CreationStation.
The pic of the twisted penguin is a small sample of my work using PaintShopProX.
In the few short months that I have been doing art on the computer,
my work has been included in a small [non-juried] art show in State College Pennsylvania
and also on-line at my friend Scott's journal OtherHoodLights http://otherhoodlight.squarespace.com/display/ShowGallery?moduleId=301265&galleryId=31341 .

I also run one e-group on Yahoo and participate in several others.
A few of my F2F [face-to-face] friends are also in a couple of the groups.
I also have some new friends that I met on-line before they became
F2F friends.

My friend Philly Dave says,
"Friendship is Good."
I met him through seeking publication of my poetry--
he is one of my editors and now also a F2F friend.

When I was in high school,
I was taken to task by one of the teachers
because I used to visit the homeroom of some girls
who were seniors when I was a sophomore.
The same teacher was also upset because
once on the trainride home,
I played guitar and a fellow passenger
joined in on his mandolin.

Thankfully, I remain free to be friends
with my friends regardless of age, race, creed,
religion or lack of religion, sexual orientation,
gender identification, or any other -ism which
bears the potential to divide
people into sloppy little boxes.

~sapphoq n friends

Monday, August 28, 2006

WE WHO ARE FRIENDS 8/28/06

We who are friends have agreed to hold each other in esteem and with a certain respect for the differences that we find in each other as well as the similarities.

If we do not embrace our differences, then we are not really friends-- we have become members of a club that strives for uniformity.

If we remain threatened by what we do not understand, we will fail to discern that which can also unify us in a deepening accord.

If we hide from our fears, then we will remain as children waiting for others to come and rescue us.

Friendship is built first on equality. Without equality what we have is either a business relationship or a power struggle.

We who wish to be peacemakers must also be bridgebuilders. As such, we reach out to those who are not of us. Only by this reaching will true peace ever be able to enter into this world.

~sapphoq n friends

Saturday, August 19, 2006

INTERNET BUDDIES---AS THE CROW FLIES 8/19/06

Next week sometime I will be meeting the Crow in person for the second time and eating in a restaurant with him, also for the second time.

The Crow is a genius-- gifted, has a mark of distinction [got thrown out of 369-land for daring to blog honestly and with talent], is a great artist, and a good friend.

Our tentative friendship began in 369-land and proceeded to his introducing me to the benefits of domain ownership to an e-group in common to my discovery of psp 10 to another e-group [his, this time] where I am surrounded by other talented computer artists.

A big shout-out to the Crow from sapphoq!
Love ya Crow, mean it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

CONGRATULATIONS EI !

Today's post is in honor of my good friend Ei who has managed not to have a cigarette for a year!
The news article excerpt below is more than a year old however I thought it was a nice way to
pay tribute to Ei's accomplishment today.
~sapphoq


Nonsmokers report better health and fewer symptoms of depression than smokers

Medical Study News
Published: Monday, 25-Jul-2005


People who have successfully quit smoking cigarettes are more likely to have visited a trusted health care provider and to report good mental health than current smokers, according to a recent study.
The analysis may help "identify individuals in need of additional resources and assist in efforts to more effectively target the next generation of tobacco control strategies," say authors led by Lila J. Finney Rutten of the National Cancer Institute.
The study, in the current issue of American Journal of Health Behavior, found those who had never smoked and sustained quitters - those who had not smoked for at least a year - were more likely to have health insurance and a usual source of care than current smokers. They were also more likely to have seen a health-care provider within the last 12 months and reported higher levels of trust in the information they received.
In addition, nonsmokers reported better health and fewer symptoms of depression than current smokers....http://www.news-medical.net/?id=11964 for the full article.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

LIGHTBULB 8/9/06

I urgently needed a few days off but I knew that getting them would be next to impossible if I asked directly. Instead I jumped from the desk onto a ceiling fan and hung upside-down from it. My office-mate asked me what I was doing. I said, "I'm pretending to be a lightbulb, because I want a few days off."

Just then the boss walked in. "Get down from that ceiling!" he shouted. "I'm a lightbulb!" I shouted back. "A beautiful sexy lightbulb!"

He told me to go home for a few days since obviously I was stressed out and needed a doctor's care. I jumped off of the ceiling fan and started for the door. My office-mate was following me. "Where are you going?" he asked her. "I'm going home too," she told him. "I can't very well work in the dark!"



a joke making the internet rounds.
no ceiling fans were hurt in its' creation.
~sapphoq

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

IN CELEBRATION OF FRIENDSHIP 8/8/06

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
- Anais Nin


To my friends, I appreciate you more than words will ever be able to say.
Thank-you,
~sapphoq

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

HAPPY STONEWALL DAY! by Elizabeth D. Hoover

When the police raided New York City’s largest gay bar 37 years ago today, on June 27, 1969, they weren’t expecting any resistance. They had raided the Stonewall Inn countless times before, and usually the patrons, fearing that arrest would make their sexuality known, would submissively file out. But tonight was different—and what happened sparked a revolution.

There was an “electricity going through the people,” one witness said. Patrons fought back, and for four days Greenwich Village was alive with protesters clashing with the police and crying “Gay power!” Stonewall became a rallying point for gay-rights activists, and they transformed the raw energy of the riot into a new political movement. It was, in the words of the novelist Edmund White, “our Bastille Day.”

It sent a message: Gays were tired of living in fear. In 1953 President Eisenhower had signed an executive order that prohibited the employment of gays by the federal government, connecting it to “security threats” such as Communism and “sexual perversion.” After that 1,500 federal employers had been fired, and 6,000 had resigned rather than be investigated.

Homosexual sex between consenting adults was illegal in all but one state. In New York City gays could openly socialize only in parks or in Mafia-run clubs like the Stonewall, and gay men in Greenwich Village were often harassed by the police. It was an “attempt to impose police-state conditions onto a homosexual ghetto,” writes David Carter in his book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. Sylvia Rivera, a transvestite who lived in Greenwich Village, recalls, “We would always dream that one day it would come to an end. We prayed and we looked for it. We wanted to be human beings.”

While dreaming, Rivera and other gay New Yorkers read that their counterparts in San Francisco had been organizing and that homosexuality had been legalized in Canada and West Germany. But in New York it seemed as if the places where it was safe to go were dwindling. A police campaign to shut down Mafia bars produced frequent raids. In the weeks leading up to the riots, three popular nightspots were closed. The police set their sights on the Stonewall as by far the most popular place, attracting a cross section of gay New York, from closeted Wall Street bankers to street youth.

During the raid, the second of that week, the police demanded identification and simply escorted many patrons out. But because of an arcane law that made cross-dressing illegal, transvestites were subjected to humiliating inspections and then arrested. The police were in the process of loading some of them into a van when the riot broke out. Accounts vary of exactly how it began. There was probably a constellation of acts of resistance. Many witnesses reported the violence was touched off when a transvestite wrestled free from a cop before he could cuff her. She then beat him with her shoe, took his keys, and started freeing people who had been loaded into the van or were already cuffed. The crowd of men who had been forced out of the club started shouting “police brutality” and attacking the outnumbered police, who retreated into the Stonewall, barricading the door.

As the police waited for backup, the crowd outside banged on the doors and began chanting “We want freedom,” and “Gay power.” Patrons poured out of other bars nearby, many joining in the melee. When the police’s Tactical Division arrived to disperse the crowd, the violence escalated. “They weren’t the ‘queens’ that people call them, they were men fighting for their lives,” said one participant. “And I’d fight alongside them any day, no matter how old I was.”

Craig Rodwell, editor of Queen’s Quarterly, a gay lifestyle glossy that had hit the stands a few weeks before, was on the street that night. He recalled, “I immediately knew that this was the spark we had been waiting for for years.” The next day people came trickling down to Christopher Street to survey the damage and to talk about what had happened. Rodwell describes Saturday: “It was an angry mood, a lot of chanting, a lot of hand-holding, a lot of assertion of being gay. . . . It was a way of saying ‘We’re tired of hiding, tired of leading two lives, tired of denying our basic identity.’ A general assertion [by] gay people [of] newfound collective pride.” When people defied police orders to disperse, violence erupted again, scattering the crowd—which would double back in the tangle of the Village’s side streets returning to the park near the Stonewall. It took four days for the sporadic violence to cease.

Reflecting on the riots 35 years later, Don Gorton, writing in The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, described Stonewall as “an immediate transformation in the collective gay consciousness.” It inspired gay-rights activists to organize groups such as the Gay Liberation Front and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. Such organizations continue to lobby for more stringent hate-crime laws, AIDS awareness, and the rights of same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

In the years since Stonewall, gay-rights activists have achieved considerable gains, including the 2003 Supreme Court decision declaring antisodomy laws unconstitutional, but they also have contended with ongoing antigay backlash. In the 2004 election, 11 states passed amendments banning gay marriage. (Massachusetts is the only state in which same-sex couples can marry.) There is also a contentious battle over custody rights for gay parents. Laws are in effect or being considered in many states to prevent gays from adopting. In 2002 an Alabama court denied a lesbian mother custody of her own child, and Chief Justice Roy Moore wrote in his concurrence that homosexuality is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature.” He suggested that the state execute gay people.

But Stonewall made one thing clear. Gays and gay-rights advocates would no longer take these attacks without fighting back. In the words of Joan Nestle, founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, “That night in some very deep way we finally found our place in history, not as a dirty joke, not as a doctor’s case study, but as a people.”

—Elizabeth D. Hoover is a former editor at American Heritage magazine

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NPR AND PBS UNDER THE AXE AGAIN.......6/13/06

letter was copied and pasted from site listed above [and below] where an electronic petition resides.


Subject: Save NPR and PBS (again)

Hi,

Everyone expected House Republicans to give up efforts to kill NPR and PBS after a massive public outcry stopped them last year. But they've just voted to eliminate funding for NPR and PBS—unbelievably, starting with programs like "Sesame Street."Public broadcasting would lose nearly a quarter of its federal funding this year. Even worse, all funding would be eliminated in two years--threatening one of the last remaining sources of watchdog journalism.Sign the petition telling Congress to save NPR and PBS again this year:http://civic.moveon.org/publicbroadcasting/

Last year, millions of us took action to save NPR and PBS, and Congress listened. We can do it again if enough of us sign the petition in time.This would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting. The Boston Globe reports the cuts "could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs." NPR's president expects rural public radio stations may be forced to shut down.The House and Senate are deciding if public broadcasting will survive, and they need to hear from viewers like you. Sign the petition at:http://civic.moveon.org/publicbroadcasting/

Thanks,
sapphoq on behalf of MoveOn

Thursday, June 01, 2006

TO FRIENDSHIP

Spike is an important person in my life and has been from the ist day we meet at work in New York in 1992. Spike is the only friend that I've ever really let to get to know me in my life.

I remember when you tell the stories of taking the dogs on a camping trip and backpacking all alone I could never do that I would be too afraid to do something like that.

Spike you showed me how to be a friend and to love a friend. You gave me strength, hope and so much more I don't what to say. You are a wonderful person who sees the best in people everyday and no matter how rough your day may be. You take such beautiful photos that express and reflect so much about the person you are Today.You have touched my life like no other friend could.

I'm sending you in another note a picture of my family and I that you will post it on your web site. Hope you had a great weekend.

Love,
Ellie

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A VERY SPECIAL DOGGIE 5/3/06

Nula, may you rest in peace and go gently into the arms of the earthmother.

Our niece Driftwood Ohana is part of the Rainbow Family. I recently received an e-mail from her after the passing of her beloved dog Nula. She has graciously given me permission to share it here. ~sapphoq

Driftwood Ohana:
For 9 years, I have shared my life & experiences with my best friend, my dog Nula. The story of how she came to be in my life is a long and strange one, involving tripping hippies living in the Daniel Boone Nat’l Forest, a local hillbilly with a litter of 4 weeks old pups, a drunk redneck with a gun, and a lot of eccentric energy. I won’t get into the details, I’ll just say that for those of us who went along on the drive to get Nula, [Su-Ma, Puck and PhoxPhyre) it was memorable.

When Nula came to live with me, she was only 5 weeks old. It was a cold April, and I was living in a tent in the National Forest with my tribe of rainbow brothers and sisters that went by the name of Ohana. It was a point in my life of extreme change, introspection, growth and strange & unusual experiences.

Nula was the prettiest little puppy you’ve ever seen. She was mostly black with some white patches and spots, and soulful brown eyes that expressed love and a quirky canine impishness that would later reveal itself quite strongly. I knew almost immediately that she was an old soul in a new body from the way she related to me. She understood far more than a puppy normally does.

Nula is a Celtic name that I had learned from a movie where a Selkie woman went by the name Nula, and it seemed to fit her sweet puppy face perfectly. She had long, seal-like whiskers and big, round brown eyes. She also seemed to have a human understanding of some things. Later, Daddy Chris added on to her name, making her full name Nula Bird.

Nula. New Love. This was my baby, my child, and she would grow to be my ever-present faithful companion. For the first weeks she lived with me, I bottle fed her. She was a greedy little thing, often climbing on top of her brother in her hurry to get to the bottle. Her brother went on to live with friends of mine, Leprechaun and Pixie, but later died of Parvo, a common disease in the Kentucky area at that time. They buried her on a friend’s farm, which Nula and I would later move to and live on for a year or so.

Together Nula and I traveled across America, going to rainbow gatherings, protests, Earth First! and other social-political events; meeting all manners of people along the way. We camped in dozens of national Forests over the years, where she could run free, roaming and exploring and getting dirty in all manners of ways, which seemed to be a real point of pride for her. We lived in an old conversion van along the blue highways of America off and on. She was fierce when it came to protecting our space; I always felt safe camping alone in the van or woods with Nula at my side. As time went on, we lived in lots of different parts of the country in various interesting situations. For a while we lived up in a holler in Kentucky, then on a friend’s old tobacco farm. At another time, we lived in a house by the ocean in Massachusetts, where she got to run on the beach several times a week, chasing the waves and digging holes to bury her rock du jour. We spent some summers in Olympia, Washington, living on a friends houseboat, and then later in an apartment down town. She very quickly took to running alongside me as I road the bike paths in Olympia, Tumwater and later in Gloucester. She came with me to Beltane celebrations, work sessions at the Procession of the Species studio, and was even with me the day I sailed a Snark out onto a windless Puget Sound and got stuck far up the sound with no wind to bring me home.

We were fortunate enough to get out to my grandmothers’ summer place on a little island in Maine several times over the years, which is a wonderful place to hike, bike, beach, swim and relax. Granny always made us so welcome there, as she is an animal lover just as much as me. Nula loved it on the island. My granny’s cottage has a woodstove and a fireplace, and in the chilly mornings and evenings, Nula would find herself a cozy spot in front of one of these heat sources’ and sprawl out asleep. She was like a possum, in that one eye would occasionally open to investigate her surroundings, and especially to keep track of whether food was being prepared.

She was a tough dog. At one time in Kentucky, she was attacked by 3 neighboring dogs that were wolf mixes. She had over 20 sets of bite marks on her little 35 pound body, but what was worse was they had ripped her soft tummy open and her intestines spilled out. It was a serious assault, but thanks to the help and skill of two friends James and Little Hawk, we cleaned her up; using leather working needles, we were able to sew her belly back up. Briefly after that experience, her spirit seemed broken, but she was a resilient dog and before long, she bounced back. Several years ago, a vet discovered a large cancerous tumor on her side, which was removed with very wide margins. The healing process for that was well over a month, but once again, she bounced back. Last summer she was involved in an accident with the tractor, which left her left leg dislocated, but thanks to a good local vet, he got it back in place and had her in a cast for a while recovering. She always had a limp after that accident, but even so, that didn’t slow her down.

Nula loved to run. She loved to romp and chase sticks and roam in the woods. I took her hiking a lot in the early days; of course, she was always as far ahead of me as her leash would allow. She was tireless, which came from being a mixed breed of Border Collie and Blue Healer. For a long time she would go to work with me when I did in-home hospice care, patiently waiting for me while my 8, 16 and 24 hour shifts dragged on. There eventually came a point when she had to spend more of her time at home because she was an anxious biter, and there had been some situations with her snapping at people who approached her. After that, coming home to her was always the highlight of my day.

For the past 4 years, we lived happily with my husband Greg in our suburban home, which has a large yard and gardens, and even a tiny amount of woods out back. I always knew it wasn’t the perfect situation for Nula, who needed to be free to run, but we did the best we could with her. She got walks and playtime and on lucky occasions, expeditions to our friend Kim’s mountain, where she could run free with Kim’s 2 dogs. Across the street from our subdivision is a creek where I would take Nula every day after work during the summer where she could swim and chase sticks.

My love for this dog went beyond that which one has for a pet. She was my child, my best friend; she needed me just as much as I needed her to need me. I spoiled her, maybe too much. I overlooked her bad habits on too may occasions. But I did it out of my strong love for her. Life is a learning experience, and she taught me so much that I am thankful for. I learned lessons from her that will one day be valuable to me when Greg and I have a child. She taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and devotion.

2 weeks ago, I let Nula out at bedtime and she wandered off. This was nothing unusual, although not something I liked, but it was the way she was. She was a wandering dog from the day she came to live with me, was accustomed to being able to roam about, and every now and then, she took off from my suburban home. In the past she had always come home within a couple hours, so when she wasn’t home by morning, I was concerned. During the day while we were at work, a friend came by and tried to find her, even going so far as to visit the nearby construction site Nula loved to hang out at, but the workers there hadn’t seen her.

When I got home from work, I got on my scooter and went up and down every road in our little town, looking for her. Greg did the same when he got home, and it was then that he found her. She had wandered too far the previous night, all the way down to the highways, and had been hit. Going to collect her body was awful; she was pretty tore up, and to see an animal that you so greatly love, in that state, is a horrible thing to go through.

We brought her home at dusk and over the next few hours, chose a place to bury her out back, and Greg dug her grave. For me, it felt as though I had lost my child, as though it were a part of me we were burying there in the spring moonlight. Nula had been with me through all my travels and experiences, knew all my friends who are now scattered around the globe and out of touch. She was the link to an important part of my past, where I had done the most growing and learning. The thought that her body was in a bucket waiting to be buried about killed me. It was then I understood the power of keening, as I tried to come to grips with the idea that my best friend had been killed. I felt such immense guilt for having let her out and wander off, that I wished I could have crawled down into her grave with her.

We buried her by a tree that had been blown over by a tornado 2 springs past. It had been one of the largest trees in our yard. When the tree went over, we removed most of its limbs, but half the root system was still in the ground, so we left the trunk and some of the larger limbs, curious to see if it would continue to live. Now, every spring, it blossoms in beautiful white flowers and continues to send lots of new growth out. It’s a very impressive tree, with a strong will to adapt and survive. There’s a new perennial garden that’s been planted in the past year along the edge in front of the tree, most of which are plants that were given to me for my bridal shower. It seems to be a place of healing and shifting energy, and a perfect place to bury such a funny little fuzzy faced friend. As I learned later, there is already a cat and a dog of Greg’s resting there, Love and Ginger.

We put Nula in the ground the same night we found her, buried alongside her favorite toys and leash. I couldn’t bear to think of her being there without a part of me always there with her, so my bundle of dreadlocks that I had cut off years ago went in with her, as well. There’s just no easy way to put a beloved friend in the ground, knowing you will never again get to hold them, pet them, or look into their eyes. We gave her a spiritual sendoff, nose pointing north, the nag champa smoke curling around the air and into our senses. Together Greg and I placed our hands over her heart and sent her off with the most powerful love we have for her, we prayed for her transition into her new form, and spoke our heart songs to her. Then slowly we buried her, a handful of dirt at a time.

Although this sweet dog is gone, her presence has stayed in our home. I still greet her spirit morning and night, and when I’m planting in the garden by her grave, which is quickly turning into a memorial garden for her, I can feel her presence there with me. I know she’s there, moseying around the yard, pawing the grass and occasionally wallowing in the sunshine. Eventually we will plant a Kentucky Redbud for her, to give her shade in summer. This is the place where my spirit dog rests.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh My Gods! : May 1st, 2006

Oh My Gods! : May 1st, 2006<---don't get left out of the denizens of broom-flyers headed over to http://timerift.net. Pagan comics by one of us! A day without a good belly laugh is like a sandwitch without a pail or shovel.

~rofl sapphoq

Saturday, April 29, 2006

STEP TWELVE, a found poem

Spiritual joy is here!

Distress lives in implication--
the price dubious.

Awakening the common strength,
consciousness, being. That
source-love is the gift.

This poem was found in the words on pp. 106-107 of the book
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions published by
Alocholics Anonymous World Services Inc.
located in New York, New York.


~ sober sapphoq

Sunday, April 16, 2006

AND A HOPPY EASTER TO YOU TOO




Easter too was stolen from my pagan ancestors and co-opted into the new religion. Pinning easter to immediately after the jewish passover and in particular the tradition of eating ham by some christians on that day seems to me to be a subtle thumbing of the nose at the jewish people.

Little christian kids are given the opportunity to hunt eggs, wait for the easter bunny, and rot their teeth out with the proverbial "more candy, please." Christians, do you know what the eggs and bunny rabbits are really all about? Oestre has its' roots in an ancient celtic pagan fertility holiday and is named after a goddess whose worship you despise.

The real witch holy day that I associate with eggs and rabbits and the celebration of fertility and hot pagan sex is Beltaine and Beltaine happens to fall at the end of April. Remember that please as the little christian kids are running around hyperactively this evening from an overdose of sugar. And tomorrow morning as they return to school with sugar high hangovers.

Christians, you do not have the monopoly on a resurrected savior. Did you know that? In the universal mythos, there have been other messiahs who were crucified and returned from the dead. The legends are there for your reading pleasure if you were to seek them out.

Teach your children about your beliefs. Take them to your place of worship. Explain why it is that your christmas without easter is like a sandwich without a pickle.

Give us back the eggs, the bunnies, and the true reason for this season. And as you put away your easter hats and remmants of your dinner of something that Jesus as a jew would not eat, know one thing: our holy day is more fun than your holy day.

I'm off now for my own pre-celebration of Beltaine with my beloved!

~sapphoq one cross pagan

Monday, April 10, 2006

GARFIELD SAYS



We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads. So I'm not fat, I'm just really intelligent and my head couldn't hold any more so it started filling up the rest of me! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!...


thanks to portly irishman for sending this and the garfield pic in an e-mail.

~sapphoq

Sunday, April 09, 2006

PATRIOTISM 4/9/06

"The vested interests - if we explain the situation by their influence - can only get the public to act as they wish by manipulating public opinion, by playing either upon the public's indifference, confusions, prejudices, pugnacities or fears. And the only way in which the power of the interests can be undermined and their maneuvers defeated is by bringing home to the public the danger of its indifference, the absurdity of its prejudices, or the hollowness of its fears; by showing that it is indifferent to danger where real danger exists; frightened by dangers which are nonexistent."
~Sir Norman Angell 1872 - 1967


"The ideal setup by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering - a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons - a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting - three hundred million people all with the same face."
~George Orwell, from the book 1984


"Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthralment to those in power."
~ Leo Toystoy


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." Plato (427-347 B.C.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

I KNEW...

I KNEW I WAS IN RECOVERY WHEN...
-Coffee became a sacrament.
-I introduced myself to new people at work by saying, "My name is spike q and I'm an ad--oh, never mind."
-Bartenders stopped me on the street and congratulated me for quitting.
-I get nervous when current drug dealers say hello.
-I know how to meet people quickly in a new city.
-I know that in some cities 'going out for coffee' is actually 'going out for coffee and a burger.'
-I stopped skipping the steps.
-I didn't throw up on walls anymore.
-I only threw up when I had the flu.
-I realized that I am really enjoying life.

I KNEW I WAS A PAGAN WHEN...
-I found the salt in the bathroom.
-My roommates ask me, "where's the salt?" and they don't find it weird that it is in the bathroom.
-They retrieve the salt from the bathroom without asking.
-I burn a pot of boiling herbs on the stove. [paganhood plus traumatic brain injury]
-I know what the 'broom closet' is and why some folks have to live in it.
-I stop buying overpriced crap at weird shops and make or find my own.
-I have e-mail addys at iamawitch and at pagancollege.
-I know what 'fluffybunnies' are and I know that I'm not one.
-My pets begin having strange-sounding names.
-Not everyone can see all of 'my pets.'

I KNEW I WASN'T HETEROSEXUAL WHEN...
-I got on a bus and went down to the glbt pride parade in the city with no excuses.
-I started telling people that they may be practicing, but I'm proficient.
-I defend my friends in sexual outlaw communities with vigor.
-Pat Califa is on my nightstand.
-I know who really won the Virginia Slims "best legs" contest.
-I stopped laughing at THOSE jokes.
-I spoke up when people around me were telling THOSE jokes.
-I have a tee shirt that says "Some of my best friends are straight."
-"straight" no longer equals "clean."
-My dog and my cat have a same-gender interspecies relationship and I don't panic.


~sapphoq

LOVE VS. SPIRITUAL PROMISCUITY

Kitten asked me to define "love" and so I shall attempt to do so. Here are some things that LOVE is not: (1). Love is not loose. I don't 'love everyone.' I don't have to 'love everyone.' I refuse to 'love everyone.' I am not a love-whore. Love is therefore not the same as expressing goodwill. (2). Love is not indicriminate adoration. My crushes in the past have been just that-- crushes. How can I claim to 'love' someone when actually I am refusing to look past their public personna? (3). Love does not 'fill up the empty spaces' in those who are lacking sufficient self-esteem.

So then, what is love? (1). Love is specific. Love involves specific relationships with specific people. (2). Love is admiration PLUS a meeting of the minds if you will-- two people who meet find that they have certain values in common as well as appreciation for each other's qualities. (3). Love is an interconnection between two people who possess sufficient self-esteem and thus are able to use the love-relationship as a diving board from which they can dive into the depths rather than doing 'bellyflops.'

Nathaniel Branden: Valuing Love is the article from which I derive my definition of and my experiences with romantic love. Nathaniel Branden has written many books on self-esteem and many of his ideas have been useful in my life. It was through the reading of Nathaniel Branden books AND doing his fill-in programs in the back of most of his books AND embracing the six practices of self-esteem that I was able to increase my own self-esteem. I do not agree with all of his ideas [for instance: he glorifies heterosexuality] but I certainly have found a spiritual kindred with many of his views. If yous don't want to read his books, at least check out the article.

WHO DO I LOVE? I love my husband.

WHO DO I LOVE? [non-romantic]. I love my dad, my half-sister Kim, and some of my friends. I love my gram even though she is dead. I love ME. I have a sentence written in lipstick on my mirror. It says: this is a woman you can love and trust today.

WHO DON'T I LOVE? "Everyone."

~sapphoq

Sunday, April 02, 2006

BLESSED BE! SPRING HAS SPRUNG! 4/2/06

BLESSED BE! SPRING HAS SPRUNG! The trees are budding and the northern hemisphere is returning to life. The soil shakes off the chilling frost. Birds are seeking birthing chambers. The incubation of the long dark is over. Ideas, like seedlings, seek nourishment.

It is time now to cross the threshold from winter into gentle internal action.

Wishing us all peace.

~sapphoq

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Disorder in the Court

These are from a book called Disorder in the Court, and are things people actually said in court.
___________________________________________________________

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth? WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
_______________________________________________

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
________________

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
________________________________________________________

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan

_________________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
__________________

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning ?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
________________

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one year old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one..
___________________________

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?
____________________

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh....
____________________

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
____________________

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
____________________

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
___________________

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
____________________

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people? WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
____________________

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral.
_____________________

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
TTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him! _____________________

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh?
__________________________

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

__________________________________

have a nice day. ~sapphoq