Friday, November 30, 2007

"Bigger fish to fry"

I'm watching a repeat of last night's Kathy Griffin stand-up special, in which she reenacts her now infamous Emmy acceptance speech.

And, really, I'm sorry, but... how can Jesus not find that funny?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Naked Witches are Taboo!

The National Geographic Channel is airing a report on Paganism this evening, focusing specifically on adherents that practice their religion (gasp!) skyclad.

[Insert creepy background music here.]

You know, I want to watch, but I just don't think I can. I predict cringing.

Besides, new episode of Project Runway tonight. Safer. Less likely to make Evn throw things.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And really, it would take a miracle

Nothing helps a dull day at the office whiz by faster than spontaneous theatre. For example, my assistant and I received rave reviews this morning after our improvisational rendition of The Miracle Worker. He gave a breakthrough performance as Annie Sullivan, while I was an acting tour de force as our company's IT director.

"Kind...ness," my assistant said firmly, grasping my hand and tapping the palm. "Kindness. Kindess!"

"Wah!" I responded, arms flailing and eyes rolling wildly.

"Kindness!" (Tap tap tap.)

Waaah!" (Flail flail.)

We're expecting a Tony nomination any day now. Or to be fired for insubordination. Whichever.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Say it to my face

I was outside on my lunch break, engrossed in a detective novel (Cross, by James Patterson; good reading). Several middle-aged good ol' boys in dress slacks were standing around the bench next to me, puffing on cigarettes and trading wisecracks.

"I just read this interesting article about homosexuals," one of them said. "Turns out sixty percent of them are born that way... and the other forty percent were sucked into it."

The rest guffawed appreciatively, while my ears started glowing. I don't mind gay jokes. Honestly, I don't. What I do mind is the stupid, ass-backwards rationalization of, "I'm going to make a homophobic/racist/sexist remark, because nobody representing a given minority is in my immediate vicinity. That, somehow, makes me not homophobic/racist/sexist, on account of I didn't say it to anyone's face."

I never know what to do in these situations. I'm possibly the least confrontational person on the planet, and demanding Equal Treatment from total strangers does not come easily. At least, not when I'm by myself. That's why we have parades.

I had almost resolved to let it go, when, still chuckling, Jokemeister commented, "Yeah, that was probably offensive, but hey, whatever."

At that, I tossed my paperback into my satchel and headed back towards the office. As I passed Jokemeister and his buddies, I made friendly but direct eye contact and said, "Truth be told, all of us were born that way."

And then I went back to work.

Not much in the way of Empowering the Tribe, but at least I feel better.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gifts that keep on giving

Among my friends and family, it’s generally understood that I have... I guess unfortunate is the right word for it... unfortunate taste in d├ęcor. This is harder on Jack than anyone else. He dreams of a home reminiscent of a French cottage, rustic yet elegant, whereas I want to live in The Nightmare Before Christmas, as seen through the eyes of Gina Rowlands in The Skeleton Key.

Happy mediums are right out. We tried divvying up the rooms of our apartment, but from an interior design perspective, we’re both industrial saboteurs. If we agree that I have creative freedom in the living room, Jack will sneak in when I’m not looking and coat the place in Pottery Barn. If it’s decided that Jack will have complete artistic control over the bedroom, I’ll wait until he has a late-night social obligation, then cram seven-day candles and Precious Moments knock-offs onto every available shelf space. At one point, grasping at the last few straws of compromise, Jack suggested we buy a duplex. That way, he tactfully explained, we could have his cozy, classically appointed residence on one side, and my (and I quote) “White Trash Pagan Temple” on the other.

We’re looking into it. In the meantime, Jack finds himself in the unenviable position of giving me presents.

Like any good boyfriend, he’ll occasionally pick up some small token of affection for me, “just cuz.” The problem, of course, is that the things I’d appreciate are things he’d normally never be caught dead buying. But he fights through, suffering the curious glances of other shoppers and the judgmental snickers of salespeople, because he’s just that great of a guy.

And also because if he doesn’t at least partially acknowledge my Gods-given right to have a religious kitch fetish, I’ll go on strike and never clean the litter boxes again. But mainly because he’s just that great of a guy.

Last night, Jack came home after several hours of shopping for assorted domestic necessities. “I have a little something for you,” he said flatly, eyes averted. Bounding off the couch, I tore open the Dollar Store bag he handed me, revealing this.

After I finished squealing in delight, Jack described his interaction with the cashier.

Dollar Store Cashier (holding up figurine, head cocked to the side): “Seriously?”

Jack (re: flatly, eyes averted): “Um... yeah.”

I immediately installed my new treasure in a place of honor on top of the entertainment center, while Jack did his best not to scream in agony and run weeping from the room. It was very sweet of him, though. Perhaps I’ll do something nice for him in return, and take down last year’s Halloween decorations.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Heat lamps on the ice sculpture of my sanity

There's a lot of stuff in the world that makes me crazy: political corruption, religious fundamentalism, cultural homogenization, totalitarian agriculture, etc. Above and beyond, though, nothing unhinges me more than e-mails submitted through my company's Web site that read, "I can't figure out how to submit an e-mail through your Web site."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sincerely

It seems to me that most metaphysical pioneers, whether practitioners or academics, are eventually accused of having "made it all up." To be honest, I think it's because it's far easier on the human mind to conceive of things like witchcraft and the occult as inventions rather than... well, real.

It's easier to say "Margaret Murray invented the Witch Cult to sell books" than it is to say, "There's a distinct possibility that a pre-Christian, European proto-religion flourished well into the second millennium." It's easier to say "Aleister Crowley just rewrote Gnostic philosophy in the style of his favorite poet" than it is to say "A spiritual entity named Aiwass dictated The Book of the Law over the course of three days." It's easier to say "Charles Leland created a fictional character named Maddalena" than it is to say "Aradia is the Gospel of the Witches."

The general public does not want to believe these things are real. A lot of Pagans don't want to believe these things are real. But the aforementioned authors certainly believed that what they were writing was real. And occasional errors in anthropology and judgment aside, we have no reason to disbelieve their sincerity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Drowning in tears of helpless laughter

The members of one of the 3.5 billion listservs to which I subscribe have been denouncing a couple of well-known NeoPagan authors as "dogmatic" and "intolerant." I wish I could muster up some righteous indignation, but (a.) the authors in question have survived way worse; (b.) nothing I post in response would make any difference, since the people waving the pitchforks think I'm dogmatic and intolerant, too; and (c.) the whole situation strikes me as so comically absurd that I can't stop giggling.

Every time I think I've gotten the mirth under control, some fresh new Mollierian twist rears its ignorant head. Last time I checked in, various members were spouting generalizations about the State of NeoPaganism in the World Today, unknowingly quoting the same authors they were condemning moments before.

I want to chime in and point this out, but again with the giggles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Falls Down, Goes Boom

I really need to start making more appearances at public Pagan events around town. Not out of any sense of community spirit or loyalty to my people or anything like that (perish the thought), but because we’ve got a Swooner, and I’m dying to see her in action.

Swooning, in a Pagan context, occurs when an attendee at--or occasionally, the leader of--a given ritual is suddenly overcome by the Powerful Energies that have been raised. He/she has no other option but to kerfuffle about and collapse in a heap, dramatically stealing focus and irreparably derailing the rest of the evening. In practice, it’s a lot closer to catching the vapors than catching the Spirit.

What’s interesting (to me, at least) is that the Swooner is rarely a pie-eyed, unshielded newbie, participating in his/her Very First Real Pagan Circle. Almost always, it’s Grand High Lady Muckety-Muck MoonPillow, Sorceress Supreme... whom, y’know, you’d think would have a better handle on Powerful Energies. But hey, who are you to judge, newbie? Maybe one day, you’ll be even half as affected by Powerful Energies as Lady MoonPillow, and then you’ll understand.

Therein lies the inherent authority implied by a good Swoon: sensitivity to the supernatural, and any resulting physical reaction, denotes great and terrible occult power. That is, Swooners don’t swoon because of a lack of training or control—-rather, they swoon because they have so much psychic ability that the slightest shift in unseen forces just blows their legs right out from under them.

Beat.

Yeah, I threw up in my mouth a little bit, too. But that’s what they’re selling, so that’s what I’m blogging.

Since the ultimate goal is to garner as much attention as possible, the most important factor of effective Swooning is timing. If all the participants in a ritual are dancing ecstatically, you can’t crumple to the floor and expect results--everyone will just think you tripped. No, you have to wait for the right moment, such as in the middle of a guided meditation. Once everyone else has moved into a nice, serene trance state, moan like a banshee and fall out of your chair. People will ask what happened. Tell them.

As cynical as I'm sounding, please don't think I'm saying that energy or power or what-have-you can't be raised or experienced. Far from it. I've raised energy, and I've felt the energy raised by others. What I'm saying is that when particular Pagans consistently Swoon at every ritual they attend, something's up. And I'm saying that those Pagans are the same ones who are constantly under magical attack, and the same ones who have Very Significant dreams in which the Gods appear to them and give detailed instructions on how the coven/grove/fellowship/non-profit should really be run.

So, anyway, back to our resident MoonPillow. She's popped up at several events of late, and by all accounts pulled a couple of spectacular face plants. I was hoping to catch her act in person, but, sadly for me, the locals are beginning to smell trouble. That's the downside of Swooning: you can get away with it once, maybe twice, before the Pagans around you start rolling their eyes: "Again?"

But she'll be fine. The Pagan community is nothing if not forgiving, so all she has to do is lay low for awhile, and everyone will forget all about it.

Well, almost everyone. As a general rule, Swooners do not make it onto my Christmas card list.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Must... kill... e-zombies...

I used to think online video games were kind of silly.

Then I discovered De-Animator.

I'm so addicted at this point that I'm trying to figure out how to smoke it.

Unfortunately, my office computer doesn't have sound, so I have to make the special effect noises myself. I've also added an improvisational running commentary:

"Blam! Blam-blam-blam! Eat hot lead, you undead freaks! Blam blam! Stay back! Stay back! No! Noooooo!!! AAAIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!! Rip! Crunch! Splort!"

I'd probably be able to get past Level 11 if my co-workers weren't all staring at me.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hey, you know what I never did?

Give the answer to my meme tag post from awhile back, that's what.

I did the whole meme tag thing because Deborah told me to, and I'll pretty much do anything she says, on account of just try to find me a better online guru*. She goes camping more than I do, which means that if we ended up lost in the woods together, she'd take the time to figure out which plants are edible, while I'd eat the first berries I saw and immediately go into anaphylactic shock.

But I digress.

#2 is false. I never used Witchcraft to put a curse on a middle-school science teacher... in fact, I stole the idea from a Japanese horror movie called Misa The Dark Angel.

I hope everyone's relieved that the Wait for the Truth is finally over. I know I am.

*Oh, and I also know that when I said "find me a better online guru," several Strifemongers gestured meaningfully at Dave Lieberman.

Please. What Dave and I have is purely physical.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Shoop Shoop

What not to watch when feuding with one's domestic partner:

Waiting To Exhale.

It is not a good movie. Miss Whitney was not snubbed by the Academy.

But, if one finds oneself in a certain frame of mind, it does put ideas in one's head.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm not a Mason, but I play one on TV

I caught a special on National Geographic last night called "Secrets of the Freemasons." I expected a certain amount of bullcrappiness, if only because the Great God Nielsen demands it. But even with that in mind, the whole thing was pretty appalling.

I'll admit that they made a half-assed attempt at objectivity by including interviews with Master Masons. Unfortunately, those few clips were overshadowed by an ominous voiceover that could give Don LaFontaine a run for his money:

Master Mason - "The Freemasons are a fraternal organization, originally a medieval workers guild that sort of evolved into a social club back in the 1700's."

Ominous Voiceover - "Masonic symbols are linked to Pagan worship and Satanism."

Master Mason - "There will always be some kind of controversy surrounding any initiatory society, but we're really more of a fellowship than anything else."

Ominous Voiceover - "According to conspiracy theorists, the Masons are responsible for every political and religious upheaval in the history of the world."

Master Mason - "Would you like a cookie? Mom baked 'em fresh this morning."

Ominous Voiceover - "There's a Mason with a chainsaw hiding in your closet."

Geez, and I thought Witches had problems.