Games

Ode to the Spammer

Posted on November 5, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings |

My darling; my dear one; my good long-lost friend:
your tag line to pleasure your note doth portend.
The rare precious chance to see Trixie nude,
into my hum-drumness allows to intrude.

When need for an organ to stretch through the roof;
I rush to your substance before it goes “poof!”
“You’ve won!” you declare as you detail my prize;
while “processing fee” escapes my surmise.

Tell all you encounter how much you adore me;
I’ll prove your kind offer to scam and ignore me.
Your wit and inventiveness; sure to impress!
Who else would allow me to have more for less?

You’re “trying to reach me”; you “miss me so much!”
I’m thrilled; I’m excited; I “must be in touch!”
And when we connect, you will tell me for sure
the tales of those riches you’re there to procure.

Just one nagging doubt before I “Click Here“:
I don’t think I’ve met you; you seem insincere.
And so I choose “Next“, with the click of a mouse,
and wish you good fortune–but not in my house!

spam boy

picture from weeklyreader.com

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The dark time: El día de los Muertos

Posted on November 3, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Philosophy, Travel |

DIA I’ve written about el día before, but this year I found the best synopsis online at the Smithsonian Latino Museum for a holiday that can be difficult to define. Here is what they say:

El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 2 is a day of celebration for the people of Mexico, Central America, and for Mexican Americans in the United States. It is a day to honor and commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and to welcome the return of their spirits.

I also visited the Smithsonian’s virtual exhibit online. It is excellent; I recommend a look around, or visit the real Smithsonian if you are near.

Where I live, the “Day of the Dead” holiday often gets mixed up with Halloween celebrations, or else with “All Saints Day” in the church. Here in Tucson, a week of holiday will culminate in the All Souls Procession on November 8th. This is quite an event, as we are on the border of Mexico, and rich in its culture. Take a look at this link; there are some amazing things to see and history to read.

If you celebrate it, did you have a nice Halloween? I didn’t go to a “live” party this year; but I enjoyed giving treats to the small ones—so cute! After the treating and tweeting, I did attend several parties online. They were pretty fun, actually. In real life I’ve been a butterfly, ice cream cone, gypsy fortune-teller, and a Highlander, complete with sword. I liked the sword, so I chose a costume that could include it, and since I’d never been a pirate before, there it was:

SL 4 Halloween_001

I know it’s traditional for a pirate to have a parrot on her/his shoulder, but I felt a cat was more appropriate for Halloween. Doesn’t look very menacing, though, does she? 😉

Anyway, as I contemplate the dark time, a time of renewal when one integrates the lessons of the past year, I wish you happy journeying.

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Cat, Twitter, and the alternate ME

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings |

I’ve been on a long(ish), strange journey for the past couple of months: It all started with a Tweet (a short text message using the social networking provider “Twitter“) back in mid-August from Carocat, who (and I may actually forgive her for this; haven’t decided yet) posted a link to a music video. “Nice”, I thought, “I like Cat’s taste in many things. So, I clicked. I watched. And listened. I was enthralled. I was a little embarrassed. Why?

In addition to being a great music vid with a catchy tune and good production values, it poked fun at online gamers. Until recently (more about that in a minute) I hadn’t played ANY online role playing games, although I was, and am, an avid adventure gamer. I knew about these people, though: They spend hours of every day forming alliances, protecting their virtual land, and virtual virtue (not!), and engaging in battle and/or skills tests and/or wheeling and dealing. And hooking up! This didn’t SOUND like something I’d be interested in.

Still, the music video was hilarious, sexy, and, unlike a lot of game related items, did not gratify the male gamers at the expense of the female. Although the star (and lyricist) of the video is a woman, I felt that both genders were equally exploited. (That was a joke. Although it’s true. The video is a spoof, after all.) (I’m being awfully parenthetical in this particular post. These things write themselves, you know. Oh, wait, I’m supposed to say “These things don’t write themselves.” Except, they sort of do.)

The video is Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?. Since the day Cat foisted it on me made me aware of it, I must have watched it 20 times. I began to be curious about the people behind it. Heading on over to YouTube, I found the video featured the cast of a web series, The Guild. I feel I may have been among the last of the gamers to know of The Guild. They were already producing Season 3! This video series, if you don’t know, which you do, because I’m the only one who didn’t, is about a “guild” of six players of a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (that’s a real term, with its own acronym: MMORPG), and their lives on- and offline. It’s full of cliché and wit; disturbing distortions, and utter truth. The characters are engaging, and while I hadn’t been an MMORPG’er, I could relate to many of the situations. The game appears to be the central focus of their lives. Oh my.

Back on YouTube, I watched the entire series from episode one. I watched about three or four episodes a day (they’re between 5 and 9 minutes in length) until I was all caught up and as restless for Season 3 to begin as were those viewers who’d been there from the beginning. What to do? There were still ten days until the new series!

A new fan waiting for the next fix, I started hanging around the fora on The Guild‘s website (WatchTheGuild.com), and, while there, I came across a spoof/tribute video called I’m Too Busy To Date Your Avatar. This was all in graphic images, was very well done, and very strange, I thought. The Avatar Star, I was told, is a prominent events organizer in a thing called Second Life. Vague stirrings of memory fluttered at my brain. I’d known of this…game? virtual world? alternate reality? for a while, and had mostly heard two things about it: People build stuff there!, and, It’s ALL about cyber-s e x!!!

Quite honestly, up until that moment, the idea of Second Life kind of frightened me. I wasn’t sure I would know how to “be” in a place like that. The Guild resonated with me on many levels, although I don’t like to play games involving a lot of weapons and shooting things, and “hooking up”. Hopping over to Second Life‘s website, I found that, while one can do all those things there, there’s so much else to do as well. It’s not a “game” in the traditional sense. There are no outcomes; no particular goals; no winners. One wanders around, and learns how to design and render virtual buildings, or clothing, or other useful objects. Sounds kind of dull, actually. It is kind of dull, actually…but…

After snooping for a bit, I finally signed up for a free account. It really is free, but there is an in-world economy one can participate in if one chooses. I won’t go on about what Second Life is or is not; there are plenty of reviews which point out the joys and foibles of the place, and SL’s own website gives a great overview.

I will say I was positively influenced by the fact that, some time before I joined, they moved all “adult” or X-rated content into a protected area. While the whole site is for age 18+ (they have another version for teens), a player (or “resident”) must prove their age in order to enter the “adult” areas. These are pretty wild, (so I hear) 😉 and fully deserve the reputations they have earned. I’m fine with them being there, I just appreciate the ability to choose.

It’s very much fun to “tweak” the appearance of my Avatar. I have a lot more to learn. I have this sort of…well, you’ll have to go see if you want to know what my Avatar looks like. It resembles the “real” me quite a lot, actually, but, I’m even more attractive in person! (You’ll have to take my word for that.) Of course, I have the ability to completely change my Avatar at any moment, so the next time you see me I might be a Gargoyle, or something.

MusE Starsmith, Second Life resident

This is the first time I’ve had a game Avatar! I’ve only played first person (where one doesn’t see ones body) and third person (where one plays as the in-game main character) adventure games, so this is quite new to me. I run all over the place in this self-modified body! I can also jump, turn somersaults, fly, and teleport! Whee! I’m a person who believes we could do all those things in real life, too, if we only believed we could. One of the things I’m doing in that “other” world is using my experiences to examine consciousness! Really! It’s a fascinating psychological and social study.

For social networking fans, there are text chat, voice chat, and group discussions. I’ve already met some really thoughtful and intelligent people—almost as nice as the ones that read my blog! 😉 My very favorite features are these: I can explore many types of environments from ancient ruins to futuristic spaceports (check out the Star Trek Museum, and the detailed representation of Stonehenge). There are groups of like-minded souls who wish to discuss science and consciousness; my favorite things. I appreciate all the nice beaches, as I’m generally in the desert, miles from water.

So, far, I’m finding the experience exhilarating, disturbing, strange, compelling, potentially addicting, unnerving, awe-inspiring, and fascinating. Sounds like a good fit for my personality. 🙂 I’m taking a class from MIT! That’s another thing: There are quite a few universities and businesses that have a Second Life “presence”. Virtual classrooms abound. Any subject matter; almost any place or fantasy you can imagine can be found in Second Life. It is a guilty pleasure, but since my belief system doesn’t put much stock in guilt, I don’t mind! I like that the whole world in SL is user-generated content. I don’t know if I’ll participate in starting a business or building a home, but, you never know. One can spend a lot of money in there, but it’s not necessary in order to have a fully immersive experience.

So, if I’ve been a little preoccupied, this is (one of the reasons) why. If you’re already a Second Lifer, and hadn’t told me (!) come on over and say “Hi”. If you haven’t taken the plunge, yet, one of the fun things to learn is how to find people and say ‘Hi”. Considering how much I *don’t* care for networks like Facebook (sorry, FBookies), that’s how much I DO like this virtual world, where I can do or be anything I can imagine. Much like…life!

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Pirate talk at the new year

Posted on September 19, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Health |

Here’s what I’m doing to celebrate “Talk Like a Pirate Day” (in addition to uttering the occasional “Arrrr. Ahoy there, matey!”).

Playing this game. It’s the most adorable Pirate game I ever did play. And it’s a great, rollicking adventure, too! Get it free, here. And, say hello to Nelly for me, ye Spoonbeaks!

If you’re up for another (possibly) Pirate adventure (other than Monkey Island) try this great game, which may or may not have Pirates in it. Depending upon your choices. Really! (Link is to Deirdra’s games page; scroll down to “The Game That Takes Place On A Cruise Ship“.)

For those celebrating the New Year season, here’s a greeting I got from a family member I thought was especially nice. (It’s belated Happy New Year to you now, but still worth saying:)   HAPPY NEW YEAR, MATEYS!!!

May you enjoy your apples and honey

May you carry your loads with ease amid sweetness

May you learn and teach well.

May you move with as much joy and ease as you can

May your home be filled with fresh air and light

May you be startled and delighted by new beginnings

and hear beautiful music.

Have a happy and healthy 5770!
שנה טובה
ומלאת כל טוב

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Stop Internetting!

Posted on September 9, 2009. Filed under: Games, Health, HowTo, Musings |

This is what I often yell at speak in a slightly elevated tone to my computer when it’s accessing the Internet and I don’t know why. Between automatic updates, and just random computery things, my connection will just start going nuts, sometimes when I’m not doing anything. As a Registered Control Freak(TM) this bothers me greatly. I do not like it when my computer just…does stuff without my telling it to. And, you know that “hard-drive-access-sound”? I’ll just be sitting here, minding my own business, taking my time deciding where to click first (OK, so it’s after one of those nights I hadn’t had much sleep), and then, “Whirr! Swish! Knnnck!” What is it DOING? Without me? Am I overly sensitive and obsessive about this? 😉

But, conversely, every now and then, my ‘puter decides it doesn’t WANT to access the Internet. I had this going on for DAYS, recently. I finally wiped my hard drive and started over; not for the first time. This is rather a tedious process, but, generally works. My computer had been fine, other than admonishing me strongly that it “Cannot Connect to the Internet“. Is it just me, or do I detect an implied criticism in that?

I’ve blamed everything from games—it tends to happen after I’ve played a number of downloaded games, even if I delete each one after playing, and do a registry clean, etc.—to “dueling firewalls” (that Windows one is insidious).

Then, once I think I’m back online again, I get this:
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

SEE! I’m not paranoid! Or just paranoid! However, in any case, I am glad I had a chance to save my files before starting over. It’s just the Internet that thinks I’m stupid, not the computer itself. The other thing I thought about blaming, and you Facebookies can tell me if I’m right here, is, you guessed it, Facebook. I do not have an account there, although periodically urged to by various online and Real Life friends, but I offered to monitor a relative’s page for him, because he didn’t want to deny himself an opportunity to look at family pictures, since Facebook is the only place they appear. I’m supposed to tell him when someone posts something I think he might actually be interested in. And, reply to comments on his, um, “wall” with something like: “Your relative HATES Facebook, but LOVES you, so he’s recruited me to tell you he says ‘Hi’.”

He says he does hate Facebook; I don’t, I just don’t use it. I thought that monitoring his page might give me an opportunity to learn how it works. I’m really not all that stupid, in spite of what Firefox says (see above) but I don’t get it. Srsly.

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

An aside: The most prevalent comment on the above graph at the GraphJam site was along the lines of: “The proper term is ‘Orwellinan’, not ‘Orwellesque’.”  Srsly. This is GraphJam, ferevenssake, not a Master’s Thesis! The adjective “orwellian” does not appear in my dictionary, although it does in some; in my world that means it has not as yet officially entered the vernacular. I had only heard/seen “orwellian” used as a descriptive for a type of totalitarianism described in George Orwell’s novels, but, does that mean “orwellesque” must be incorrect? Suffix “ian” = One from, belonging to, relating to, or like; Suffix “esque” = In the style or manner of; appended to nouns, especially proper nouns, and forming adjectives. The interwebs dictionaries say so!

So, I appeal to you, if you are still reading this entry, and haven’t given up in despair, to tell me if you’ve heard that Facebook can corrupt my interwebbytubes, even if it’s not my own account! (Although it might as well be, as I have the password, and access, and everything.) If so, I can tell my family member to go FB elsewhere. But, if it’s Twitter that did it, I don’t want to know! 🙂

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Anatomy of a Blogroll

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, HowTo, Musings |

It’s my second blogiversary today, and while it seems a very short year since my first one; it also seems as if I’ve been at this for more than two years! As I wrote in my last post, summer, and July in particular, seems a good time to start a new project and a new “year”. My new academic calendar doesn’t list any particular holiday for July 27, so I’ll just declare it “Muse Year’s Day”.

I’m having a lower-key celebration this year than last. I do want to thank everyone who stops by and reads. I appreciate those I’ve come to know, who think of me occasionally, and give me reason to think of them: “You allow me someone to write to, but more than that, you lead me all over the world to view your cultures, your personalities, and the uniqueness that is YOU!”

On my blogiversary this year, I’ve been reviewing my Blogroll and what it means to me; what it’s FOR. When I first started blogging, I created a blogroll because I saw them on other blogs. “All the cool kids had ’em”. 😉 But, what were these things? Why did I want one? What criteria was I supposed to use? It turns out that Blogroll-rules are as unique as bloggers. (Of course! There’s a bit of “the rebel without a blog cause” in bloggers, isn’t there?) ❓ Some use the ‘rolls as lists of all the blogs they want to read every day, or at least, frequently. Others use them as recommended sites, often grouping them into categories. (If I write about “music”; here are some other “music” sites I recommend…) Still others list all the blogs that have the owner’s blogs in their blogrolls! Wikipedia defines a blogroll this way: “A list of blogs on a blog…that reads as a list of recommendations by the blogger of other blogs.”, while About.com says this: “A blogroll is a list of links to blogs that the blogger likes.”

friendship

I agree with both, and with neither (not surprisingly). Although my blog only officially launched two years ago, I’d spent the prior year reading blogs, deciding which platform to use, thinking about things like tags and categories, and writing a few posts before I actually signed up. I tend to be slow and methodical with things. The most hilarious question I ever saw on a WordPress forum was from someone who had quite the opposite tendencies:   “I just started a blog today on WordPress! What should I write in there?” Um…WHY did you just start a blog on WordPress? That might just offer a clue to answer your own question!

Anyway, in all the time I spent thinking about it; looking at it; choosing a theme; even choosing an email address to match; I didn’t really think about blogroll(s). So now, from my lofty vantage point of two years in, here’s what I think about mine:

I don’t “recommend” blogs on my roll to you. My ‘roll is partially a list of blogs I want to read nearly everyday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think you should too. There’s a theory out there that “if a reader likes a blog, they’ll probably like blogs the blogger likes”. That may or may not be true. I “like” different blogs for different reasons, and as I’m not one to make lists of recommended sites in particular categories which relate to my topics (whatever they are! They tend to be rather eclectic), I don’t know that you, as a reader would necessarily find new satisfying blogs to read by looking at my list. Still, I do value them myself, and I try to give a brief description in the “hover text” so you can see if there are any which attract you.

My blogroll also contains links to bloggers I value for one reason or another beyond the content of their blogs. Of course, this is a matter of discernment; after all, if I “like” a person, it stands to reason I’d like their writing, their presentation, or their topics. And, of course, the only way I’ve gotten to know any of them is through their writing. But I’ve found, over time, that there are a few bloggers who don’t write about things I do, but they’ve become friends. So, I like getting to “see” them in my sidebar.

Finally, there are those few who may not comment or correspond very often, but they remain, as I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I usually remove people who haven’t commented, or who haven’t written a blog post themselves for a very long time. But there are a few who befriended me when I was a newbie that I will always have on my ‘roll unless they stop blogging altogether and there’s nothing to link to. (That has actually happened a couple of times, and there are one or two bloggers with whom I had a good rapport, but are now, alas, gone from the ‘sphere.)

I don’t link to someone just because they link to me; (although I certainly consider that kindness!) I don’t remove them—necessarily—even if they have not visited in a long while, if they are people I value; have been kind and helpful to me in the past, or have a connection that goes beyond everyday reality.

So, for the most part, the links you see on my sidebar are for some of the bloggers I want to read every day. There are some—very few—I’ve been hangin’ with for almost the whole two years I’ve been here. You know who you are, and I hope you know how much you mean to me!

Happy MuseYear!

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Who needs pets when you have wildlife?

Posted on July 9, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings, Science |

Yesterday I was peering into my back garden, as I often do, and noticed what appeared to be a family of lizards frolicking about. There was a light rain at the time, in advance of one of our summer monsoon deluges, and the lizards seemed quite perky in the mist. I had seen what I assume were these same four lizards several days ago, and a day or two before that. There was one large one, almost as big as a baby gila monster; a smaller but still substantial one, and two smaller lizards. They ran around in circles, sometimes chasing each other; sometimes not. I had always thought that lizards were solitary creatures, and until about three years ago, also thought they were always on the move, and didn’t stay in one place for very long.

uma-not_300

This latter erroneous supposition was put to rest when I met Fred. Fred has been living under the Desert Spoon in my front yard now for four years. I’m pretty sure he’s the same lizard each year, when he emerges in the spring, because he has a spot on his hindquarters that looks familiar. I guess he hibernates in the winter. When it starts to get warm again, I’ll see Fred sunning himself on a rock as I go out the front door to take a hike or fetch the mail. He immediately scrambles under the Desert Spoon (even after all these years, he’s not quite trusting) and then pretends he’s not under there. I will speak to him, however, saying “Hiya Fred, don’t worry, it’s just me! You know me. How are you doing?, etc.” Then, he wiggles a bit, and I fancy it’s to acknowledge my presence. He and I have come to an understanding over time: I won’t trim off the bottom of the Desert Spoon (which I wouldn’t want to do anyway because it makes them look even more hideous than they already do), although I will, from time to time, trim back the individual spines. He may continue to call the Spoon home, for as long as he likes. In return, he has agreed not to bite my toes.

So, Fred and I—we’re cool. Fred certainly doesn’t seem to have a mate or a family, so I had continued to believe that other lizards are loners, too. That is until I saw the frolicking family. The first time I saw them, I thought there just happened to be four lizards in the back garden, all at once. I thought they’d go away. Then—although I don’t know for sure it’s they same four—they came back. Or were still there. And yesterday, watching them play in the rain, it occurred to me they all had taken up residence in the back, as Fred had in the front. Hmmm. They got along; they never strayed more than a few feet from each other, and they seemed to interact. I wondered if they were indeed a family, and if so, if that was usual for lizards.

After a consultation with my trusty Internet, I discovered that lizards have a variety of social behaviours. Some like to live alone, while others stay in family groups and rarely stray from the rock crevice they all call home. Some, usually those in colder climates, are born “live”, while other species lay eggs. I had no idea there was such a variety.

There are many creatures to watch in my garden (I’ll have to write about the Prairie Dogs someday), but these normally slow-moving lizards, who perked up and frolicked in a rain storm, were just so cheery, I invited them to stay. I’ve called them Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa—for no good reason I can think of, as I haven’t even ever seen an episode of The Simpsons, but somehow, the names seem to fit.

=   =   =   =   =

So I turn from my lizards to complete a meme. It’s only fair that I do, as I requested blog friend B0bby to complete it, which he graciously did, only to wonder why I had not done so myself.

“Why is the meme in this post?”, you ask. (“Why do I project questions onto you which you may not even have?”, I ask.) Well, the meme is about MY wild life. Get it? It relates to the title? No? Oh, well, here goes anyway:

20 nosy questions meme:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?   “Whew! better than I expected! 😉 “

2. How much cash do you have in your wallet right now?   “$17.38. Time to go to the bank.”

3. Do you label yourself?   “Constantly! I just have to remind myself to turn the yuccky ones into ones I like better.”

4. What does your watch look like?   “I have five watches! Three of them need batteries, so I don’t wear them (!) one runs two hours fast a day, so the one I wear most often is an old one I have to wind up. It’s quite traditional looking; gold-ish band, round face; second hand—always reminds me to get my other ones fixed, but I need something more than a reminder, obviously…”

5. What were you doing at midnight last night?   “Really? Truthfully? Reading the ICanHasCheezburger website. 😐 “

6. What’s a word that you say a lot?   “”Splendid’. I say it when I’m asked how I am (most of the time). I say it when describing my activities. And sunsets. And the state of the world. Oh my.”

7. Who told you he/she loved you last?   “Um. This person that I know.”

8. Last furry thing you touched?   “A dog that was a guest at the Independence Day party I went to.”

9. What was the last thing you said to someone?   “So, when we look at it from a broader perspective, we don’t see the tragedy of it all, we see it as very rich experience we can learn from. Doesn’t mean we don’t want to or can’t change it, though.”

10. The last song you listened to?   “Last song? I’ve been listening to a lot of Baroque-era instrumentals lately, but the last song would be ‘We are the World.'”

11. Where did you live five years ago?   “In a town, north of Tucson, Arizona; which is where I live now.”

12. Are you jealous of anyone?   “No. Jealous is a different word than ‘envious’, so I’ll say, no.”

13. Is anyone jealous of you?   “I don’t think so. I hope not. No reason to be.”

14. Name three things that you have on you at all times?   “There aren’t any! I guess the three most frequently used items are Contact Lenses (I don’t wear them at night, though), Underwear (but, you know, there are times…[whoa! TMI alert]), and the aforementioned watch. Whichever one is working.”

15. What’s your favourite town/city?   “So far? I haven’t been to ALL that many…Drat! Am I allowed to pick three? No? Alright, than I”d have to say ‘Paris’. (But if I were allowed three, I’d also say San Francisco and Canterbury.)

16. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?   “Uhhh…Ummm…1996? maybe?”

17. Can you change the oil on a car?   “Not anymore. I used to have a really old VW on which I could, but not since then.”

18. What is your current desktop picture?   Stonehenge. I occasionally swap it out for something else, but always come back to Stonehenge.”

19. When did you start your blog?   “July, 2007. I’m almost two!”

20. What country would you like to live in other than your own?   “I like my own pretty well; but the next choice would be England.”


So, there you have it. I feel reconciled with B0bby again. I will not task others with this, but if YOU feel you’d like to take it on, by all means do. It was both entertaining and introspective for me.

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The illusion of control

Posted on June 16, 2009. Filed under: Games, HowTo, Philosophy, Spirituality |

Just returned from a lecture, and then an impassioned discussion with a fellow attendee, about pragmatic philosophy. (Impassioned discussion is almost my favorite kind of passion.) 😉

The lecture began by telling us that as infants, we were very connected to the larger life force; the expanded beingness from which we all (from the lecturer’s point of view) came. This connection enables us to live in utter bliss, if we wish to, and instantly to give and receive anything we wish. Little by little, sometimes quite quickly, we lose that ability to just tune into the greater cosmos and realize we are all one; always connected, always creating.

My first questions were: If that’s so; if we came from that, why do we bother manifesting as human persons, in our separate bodies? Why not just stay as part of the whole and create from there?

Apparently, becoming physical beings gives us the opportunity to look at life through linear time, for instance, and to experience “that which we do not want” in order to get more in touch with what we do. (want.) This is, supposedly, the greatest creative exercise there is, and all the Universe appreciates us for taking it on and allowing knowledge to expand. (You’re welcome!)

Most of the time, and more and more, I appreciate the life I live. I look around me at beauty, culture, lovely and amazing people, and animals, and mountains and trees—all things not available on the non-physical plane. One of the best things about being physical is getting to grow and prepare and eat food!!! Try that, you non-physical beings! 🙂

So, I can see that working with material reality gives us new and interesting ways to express. I get the feeling that non-physical beings, wherever they may be, look at our world as a video game rental shop. They come in and choose which role-playing game they’d like to play, and pay their rental fee in cosmic currency. They have a variety of games to choose from: Adventure (Discover the lost secrets of the Celtic Babylons! Only you can re-assemble the seven fossilized power stones to form the magic bridge to the World of all Explanations!), or Strategy/Thriller: (Nine hours remain until the mass-disintelligence bomb will detonate in downtown Kripsoria! Can you find the clues left by the evil Ima Nutcase in time to disarm the bomb without becoming too nice in the process to want to bother?) Or, even a Shooter:  (You are General Stuffinsuch. Your mission: to deploy your troops and fight for control of Mental Island in the Battle of the Hunh?; the key conflict in the Norwegian/Canadian war!)

From our broader perspective, we react to “the game of life” in much the same way as our physical selves react to playing video games, or seeing a really good movie, or reading a fine novel. We can be VERY immersed in the story, emotionally involved, and profoundly moved and changed. But, in the end, although some parts of our brains react as if that Stephen King horror movie a was a “real” experience (but that’s another post), most of our brain knows that the game is “just” a game; the book “just” a book.

If one believes at all in the continuity of consciousness— i.e. that it doesn’t begin at birth and end at death—then seeing life as a cosmic video game does not seem at all outlandish. But, what if one has played through all the scenarios and wants something new and fresh? We can search for a new philosophy, or for a new way to interpret our religion. We can ask our friends about which games they’ve played that gave them a good experience. We can, as, for instance, my friends Deirdra and Rikard do, invent and produce our own games. The great news is that we don’t have to become programmers or designers in order to do that. We can create at the most basic, pre-cellular level; according to the latest theories of theoretical physics. (That’s yet another post.)

SO, after all that, the big question that came out in our discussion is: IF that is true; if we can create things just as we like, than how come, fer’evens sake, DON’T we? At least a lot of the time?

Control You and I will find a multitude of books, recordings and seminars giving us the tools to do just that. Do the tools work? Yes. But…it all goes back to Motivation, and Intent. Our discussion concluded (after a bit of argument, and bewilderedness) that, in our current view, that the major stumbling block is the illusion of control, and the desire for control. You’ve seen the books that promise: “Manifest a million dollars with__________ (affirmations, meditation, goal lists, laws of attraction—you fill in the blank). I probably own a dozen or more of these books. All great, fun reads. All adding to my store of knowledge and mind-tools. Some even ask me the question (and it’s the most relevant question to ask): “WHY do you want a million dollars?”

The answer to that, if we are honest with ourselves, is the key to the whole process. More on that in the next post! 😀

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Musey Psilon’s Blogalot

Posted on June 7, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Health, HowTo, Music, Musings, Philosophy, Science |

***WARNING***This post is very nearly completely silly. {You have been warned}

Gosh, I love this title! I needn’t write another thing, need I? I shall, though. I feel compelled to explain it.

I like science, and I’m fond of the absurd. This post blends them. I must wonder why? Why are our minds attracted to certain things, and combinations of things—even Things on top of Other Things? Why would I just, splendidly, enjoy theoretical physics AND Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Both these things are acquired tastes. While the former is seen as a “legitimate” interest, with a “place” in society (it’s a Branch of Science, after all!), I’d argue that the field of “comedy” has just as legitimate a place in society as does science. What comedy does is shake us up; it tears a hole in our everyday reality and makes us look at life in a new way. And that’s what science does, too! I used to think that “science” was about “discovering” the “facts”. Then, one manipulates, exploits, and recombines them—to what end? Well, primarily because it’s fun for the scientists. (If you are a scientist and not having fun, get out of the field! Now! I mean it!) 😮 But, secondarily, I believe, to “benefit” humankind. Comedy does not appear to have as direct a benefit. I propose that, although a more “lowbrow” form of entertainment than, say, the Ballet, it has its place. We would not survive as a species without comedy!

The title of the post came to me when I discovered that the great Tony Award® winning musical play Monty Python’s Spamalot is coming here to Tucson! I am of course looking forward to seeing it. Did I say this play has won awards? From the legitimate theater award organizations? You know, the mainstream, “serious theater”, well-respected organizations?

I just wanted to be clear on that, because, amazingly, I’m not sure with whom, amongst the many Tucson theater-goers I know, I shall attend. I am a Python-Geek(1), defined as “someone who has memorized all the skits”, and most of my peeps are not. 😦 When I think of one or two or three people I’d love to share this magnificent, culturally significant event with, I only come up with people who roll their eyes when I mention Monty Python. 🙄 I fully realize that Python is not to everyone’s taste. 😕 However, even though one or two of my friends might attend this play with me if I ask them, I refuse to go with an eye-roller! I’d rather go alone! Which I may do. (There is no shame in that!)

I’m also a Star Trek geek. (I told you I was going to talk about science, too!) Therefore, with this overly verbose bit of background out of the way, I’ll explain my post title:

(“I feel Musey! Oh, so Musey! I feel Musey, and Newsy and Glib!”)

So, “Musey“. This is an affectionate, diminutive, nickname for my blog name, “Muse”, which had already been contracted early on by some of my incredibly affectionate and diminutive readers.

So, “Psilon“. I thought I had made up this word. I wanted it to rhyme with “Cylon” (see below) but also have it relate to “psi” phenomena because the title sounded cool that way. Behold! a Wikipedia entry on the very term! “A Psilon is a unit of length that is equal to 44 manly strides or, less precisely, 0.025 miles (a quarter of a tenth of a mile).” However: “This article’s factual accuracy is disputed.Nevertheless, I had to practice my “manly strides” in my living room to see how far 40 of them would really take me. Unfortunately, my room is only four “manly strides” long (if I’m doing the “manly” part of the stride, right. Wait a minute; isn’t “Stride Rite” a brand of baby shoes? How did they get into a post about striding Manfully?) So, in order to perform 44 “manly strides” I had to go ’round and ’round my living room four times (the circumference being ten “manly strides”, or would be if I walked right over the sofa as well as the television cabinet). After thus going ’round and ’round, and beginning to feel considerably less “manly” at each turn, I gave up on the “psilon” as a useful measure of anything; agreeing completely with the Wikicritic.

Still, there is the aurally identical “Cylon” to consider.  “Cylon stands for Cybernetic Lifeform Node” and is a term to describe cybernetic workers and soldiers in the television series Battlestar Galactica. For months; nay, years, I tormented my friends (both sci-fi fans, and not such) with the query “How do you know I’m NOT a Cylon? (You see, [if you haven’t watched Galactica, and if not, why not?] the latest evolution of Cylons [and yes, I used the term “evolution” deliberately] look identical to humanoids!)

And finally, the last word, “Blogalot“, I believe, is fairly self-explanatory(2)

Thank you for reading this far, if, in fact, you did. You have an incredible amount of fortitude and spamina stamina. 😀

1 The thing is, when I recite the sketches for some of these unenlightened friends, they do laugh. I can be a one-person show with this, using different silly voices for each role. I have mastered Silly Walkery (yes, I really did practice it) and I have a pet ant called ‘Eric’. (Alright, I made that last bit up.)
2 Camelot” (musical play) >Spamalot” (very silly musical play) > “Blogalot” (unforgivably silly blogger).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

***Broken news (from 2008) “Michael Palin to replace Sarah Palin on McCain/Palin ticket!” (This seems to have been just a rumor, but DO scroll down and watch the video.)

***In a related story “Michael Palin’s reaction to his ‘niece’ Sarah Palin’s nomination”. (I didn’t know she was his ‘niece’! Did you?)

***In a somewhat related story, John Cleese tells how he’d thought Michael was the funniest Palin; his place has been usurped. With Cleese’s commentary on the American politcal system. Candid; estute; inflammatory—quite Cleese.

***My aplolgies for excessive linkism in this post. I imagine I’ll get back to normal one of these times.

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One person’s frustration is another person’s…

Posted on May 9, 2009. Filed under: Games, HowTo, Musings, Philosophy |

I said I was going to write about multiple blog identities, and I will, I really will, but, it’s just that this other thing came up in the meantime. I was working on a project (actually a blog) for this organization, and, I got an email from a colleague who is unhappy because this organization’s blog does not come up first when she types the org’s name in “googlesearch”.  It’s kind of strange to maintain a website for an organization, because each individual in it wants something different. Or doesn’t want anything at all from it: “Website? What is Website? What for we need Website?”

So, this person’s unhappiness with me manifested itself in an email saying she is extremely frustrated that when she “googles” the org, the first listing is a sort of anti-us blog post. My first impulse is to tell her to stop “goggling” us then! As I am somewhat nicer than a person who would actually say that, my second impulse is to explain how it takes time for site info. to “propagate” across the web, and how I’ve installed some Search Engine Optimization tools, etc.

My third, (and finally the one I’ve acted on) impulse is to not respond until I am clear with myself on why I’ve allowed her frustration to become my frustration. My “job” in that moment was not to ease her frustration, but to look at the situation objectively, see if there were any action steps I could or wanted to take now, and assess whether and how to respond to the colleague.

So many times we hear from someone “I’m frustrated” or “I’m mad” or “I’m not happy with your work” or “I don’t like what you’ve done and you need to change!” We tend to have a “fight or flight” response to this. First reaction might be “Oh, yeah?” or might be “I’m sorry, I’ll try to make it better.” When I allow myself to think about it, I realize neither one of those extremes is appropriate. The problem is not (emphatically, NOT) the other person’s frustration, or unhappiness, or dissatisfaction. The problem, if there is one, (I tend not to believe in the theory of problems, other than in a mathematical sense) is in how the actual situation or piece of work is working.

The truth (according to Muse) is that my colleague’s “frustration” is none of my business. It is an emotion she is experiencing. It could have been triggered by any number of things, and unless I’m a psychotherapist, and she is my client, it’s not my job to make her feel better. Now, if I do an honest assessment, and realize, as I did here, I wasn’t doing all I could, as well and as quickly as I could, to change the situation which (apparently) triggered her “frustration”, I may be able to offer a solution which, in turn, allows her frustration to dissipate.

The danger in any of these business relationships (again, the Truth as I See It) is in creating solutions with the GOAL of making people feel better, rather than, as in this case, making the website WORK better.

As I look back on a childhood dynamic which seems sort of hilarious to me now, although it plagued me then, I see how we can become caught up in wanting to help people to feel better. Worthy goal, you might think. The only issue with it is…it can’t be done!!! The only way for someone else to become happier (or less frustrated) is for them to examine within themselves what would be a next step towards that. We cannot change people’s feelings about themselves. We can hold up a mirror if we choose, but that’s about it.

So here’s the family dynamic. Picture me: Cute Teenager. I’m minding my own business, expressing my opinion, and doing whatever it is I do. My father comes to me and says “You know, your Mom is mad at you!” If this happened now, I would probably say something like “Really?! Well, I hope she feels better soon.” Back then though, my first thought is “I screwed up again. What can I do to make it right? OR Well, she can just be mad, ’cause I’m not changing anything!” Both of these are reactions. Both assume that I was somehow responsible for her “feelings”. I’m not; never was. The funny thing to me, looking back on this, is that she used my father for her henchman. She wouldn’t tell me she was mad at me herself, she’d complain to dad, and then HE would tell me. I gave up asking what he’d suggest I DO about that.

These sorts of dynamics translate to adult relationships. From there, it is my “job” to sort out what dynamics I wish to include in my beingness, and which no longer serve me. It’s a dicey game. Sure is exhilarating, though! 😉

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