musings


Some ignoramus has posted a video on YouTube showing Frank Sinatra with Nat King Cole actually singing the song, “L.O.V.E.” This is the wonderful and classy Nat King Cole:


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Two hours without WiFi and I was hyperventilating. Fortunately, it was a simple fix, but I may have an addiction problem.
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Tommy. His eyes were actually a soulful gray, not blue. He was in his forties and had done his soldiering during World War I. He became a special police officer during World War II so the younger men could go and fight.

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I found an old keepsake box buried amongst a lot of, well, junk. Some genuine keepsakes inside the box, but also some very old story rejection letters from some of the top magazines, stuff I sent out when I was probably barely out of high school. All form letters, of course. I decided my nostalgia did not stretch to holding on to those any longer. I Kondo’d their a*ses.
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That feeling when something seemingly minor turns dark and deep and symbolic…

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I WILL NOT JOIN FACEBERG, no matter how many paranormal and Outlander live events they host. I WILL NOT become part of the evil empire! I WILL NOT! (Although I did succumb a little bit and joined Instagram. Mostly as a lurker.)
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What to do with all these calendars that people gave me because they didn’t know what else to give me? I only need one and that’s the one with kitties that I bought myself.
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Sometimes I look at my house and pity the person who, when I die, will have to clean out and dispose of ALL THESE BOOKS. But mostly I pity the books.
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Zero results from the Iowa Caucus are just about right if you consider Iowa’s relative importance to reflecting the diversity of the United States. They give such outsized importance to Iowa and New Hampshire. Nothing against either of those states but they’re hardly representative of the rest of the country. Yet because somebody gets defeated in either Iowa or New Hampshire often they’re eliminated from the race.
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I get nonsense phrases stuck in my head sometimes. When I was doing research for the WIP on Nazi occult matters recently, the nonsense phrase in my cranial echo chamber was, “Otto Rahn on the Autobahn.” Research earworms. I have a weird brain. Fortunately, “Otto Rahn on the Autobahn” made me laugh.
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Ray Bradbury famously said about writing, “Jump off a cliff and build your wings on the way down.” I’m at that stage of my current WIP where I’m wondering if I’ve jumped off the wrong goddamned cliff.
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I’ve been reading Last Mountain Dancer by Chuck Kinder on and off for about a month. It’s both an interesting and irritating book so I’m not sure I’d wholeheartedly recommend it. I keep reading because it’s about West Virginia where Kinder was born and raised and when he talks about that place, the book sings. Then he goes off into the woods talking about his extramarital affairs and his bad boy ways and it gets boring. (I am so done with middle-aged male angst.)

But yeah, when he talks about what a remarkable and strange place West Virginia is on so many levels it’s worth the read. He goes into many legends, those arising from the tragedies of Matewan and the coal mine bosses, as well as Mothman and other less well-known oddities. It turns out his mother was born and raised in Point Pleasant, WV, home of Mothman, and that her maiden name was Parsons—which will have some meaning to those who follow Hellier.
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I was watching a show on Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda where they’ve discovered lots of messages to and from soldiers. In one of them the soldier refers to the tribes they were trying to keep north of the wall as “Britunculi”: “nasty little Britains.” My people!
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Hellier has made me way too map conscious. Every time I see something weird about a place I always have to find out where it is in relation to Point Pleasant or Somerset or Hellier or whatever. And it’s kind of amazing how much weirdness connects up.

I say this knowing full well how much the human mind longs for linkages and synchronicities.
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Lewis Black: “Trump is good for comedy the way a stroke is good for a nap.”
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Patrick Stewart was on Colbert the other week talking about when he was younger he and Ben Kingsley were here in LA doing Shakespeare, along with some other actors of the RSC. He said he and Ben went to Hollywood because they were excited to see the hand- and footprints at the Chinese theater (Sir Pat recently joined the famous hand- and footprints there). But the whole time he’s talking I was remembering being a young undergraduate at UCLA where Sir Pat and Sir Ben were doing those Shakespeare performances. During the day when they were not rehearsing or going to Hollywood all of the actors from the RSC would come to classrooms where Shakespeare and theater were being taught, talk to the students, and give impromptu performances. I was lucky enough to be in two such classes. One was Shakespeare, the other on Modern Theatre. I snuck into a third class taught in the theater department and held in an auditorium, but the other two were small English department classrooms. I was lucky enough to sit no more than 6-10 feet away from Sir Pat and Sir Ben while they answered questions and did impromptu performances. Utterly thrilling, even though neither of them was famous at that time. They were just masterful actors doing amazing performances up close and personal. Sir Ben still had his hair back then. Sir Pat did not. But his voice was that rich dark chocolate even back then. PRESENCE, both of them, and I never forgot.
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There’s hope, I think, even thought the GOP did not have the guts to do the right thing. During the impeachment trial I called my doctor’s office and the answering service picked up. As she took my message I heard the impeachment trial playing in the background. America is listening. We won’t forget. I hope they still remember next November.

RIP Mr. Terry Jones, one of the pillars of my faith.

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After two weeks and holding of fighting with my drug plan insurance over a medicine which keeps me alive that I was running out of I finally used GoodRx to buy it out of pocket. It wasn’t cheap but it gives me a three month grace period to sort things out with the insurance. Insurance is nothing but legal extortion. But even with the hassle I know how incredibly lucky I am to have such a plan. I won’t get back that out of pocket expense, but I do expect things will get sorted eventually and I will get help paying for this medicine. I know many people are not that fortunate.

Not only that, my milk went bad before the pull date.

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Life is never going to be exactly as you want it to be. There’s always going to be some little zit on the end of your nose that makes you look at life cross-eyed.

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I really need to get some new cats. It’s been a year and clearly my brain has rotted with Kitty Need because when Betty White came on TV on her birthday I said in kitty voice, “Is da Betty White girl.”

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When it rains at night I like to turn off all media and just sit there reading while listening to the rain.

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Sometimes my life seems like the bumbling slapstick sitcom dads of the 60s.

Pick something up from the floor, lose control of it, have it fly across the room, walk across the room to fetch, it kick something else, stub my toe and send that flying, bend over to retrieve the other thing and have it fall out of my hand again. You know, the usual.

Sometimes I even hear an opening theme soundtrack while I’m doing it.

(Which is way before the time of many of you and very American teevee sitcom.)

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Next time you think corporations or billionaires care about you as an individual human being remember that soylant green is people.

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Well that’s embarrassing. For quite some time I’ve had a tag for my blog of “aesthetcism” when what I truly meant was “asceticism.” Hoist on my own Picard.

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Public service announcement: don’t get the shingles shot unless you’ve got a couple of days to spare for feeling like crap.

(You should definitely get the shingles shot if you are of a certain age because a couple of days of feeling like crap is way better than the shingles.)

I’ve had three friends who were “taken by surprise” and it was a very unpleasant experience. Months of misery. One of them had what they call internal shingles, which means her nerve endings were on fire for months. Horrible.

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When you know you’ve used VRS too much: you are leaving a voicemail for a friend and at the end of the sentence you say, “Period.”

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Writing is the thing I most want to do in the world and yet every day I reach a certain point where I say to myself, “Have I written enough that I can stop now?” Sometimes I push beyond that point if I think there’s still water in the well. Other times I know the well is dry and I’ll have to wait until it fills up again overnight. The urge to quit is always there, sometimes more insistent than at other times, but always whispering to stop.

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You know the worst thing about Hellier? I have hundreds and hundreds of books and I’m at a stage in my life where I’m trying to slim down the library because I don’t have room for all this and Hellier is forcing me—forcing I say—to buy more books! So many damned books!

I was reading a recap of Whitley Streiber’s new book, A New World, at http://radiomisterioso.com/2019/12/10/whitley-strieber-a-new-world/
and something reminded me of the God helmet/Estes method session with Dana and Connor in Hellier S2 :

“He said that they ‘communicate completely differently than us’ without ‘an evolved language.’ Strieber’s experiences led him to conclude that they lead an existence that is nearly unfathomable to us…”

Well, this Musings post is grossly long, and maybe a bit dated, but I started throwing things into the file, then got caught up in the holidays—and God forbid anyone should be deprived of my Musings. [insert barf emoji] At least it has a lot of pictures.

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One of my most profound mystical experiences, or contact with the numinous, was invoked by a dead cat. It changed me from near-atheist to “oh I get it now.” Thank you, Mocha. The Mocha Hierophany.

Mocha, an old soul from the 80s:

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New Year’s Day sunset: Even enhancing the color on this doesn’t come close to the intensity of the light. Nothing ever beats Nature. Thank you, Nature.

The same sky from my friend who lives a few miles from here. This one captures the immensity of the sky better than mine did, how the clouds seemed to go on forever.

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Here’s a question for you: is poetry a purely mammalian response to the world? Is magic? Would intelligent and highly advanced reptiles, for instance, have that sense of wonder and awe and poetry? I don’t want to be Mammalian-Centric.

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I always think of the four of swords as the “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” card. (Yes, dad jokes help me remember the meanings.)

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A few days before the new year (December 30th) I found out that I share blood with one of the accused Salem witches (Mary Leach Ireson). We’re descended from the same ancestor (Richard Leech) through the brother (Lawrence Leech) of my direct ancestor (Thomas Leech). Maybe that’s why I’ve always been obsessed with these trials. I particularly like the “maybe you were a witch but didn’t know it” line of questioning. Apparently, the “maybe I’m a witch but didn’t know it” defense worked because she wasn’t executed and lived until 1711.


As I’ve said before, women rarely appear in the historical record unless they’ve suffered some trauma.

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I have so much work to do and a limited amount of time. But time is not my enemy. If I focus on what needs to be done, not allowing myself to be distracted, I will do what I need to do. The only reason I say it isn’t against me is because I will do what I can do. If time runs out, then it does. It will eventually anyway so why so sweat it?

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You know that weird stuff you have to clear from your parents or grandparents’ homes when they pass? When you reach a certain age you can’t be arsed about good taste. Sometimes you just want stuff that makes you giggle or because you know it will chagrin some of the people who inherit it.

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I finally got my Red Book set up so that people can actually see it instead of being hidden away in a room they can’t go in.

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Last month I pulled my novel Venus In Transit out of the trunk. I started working on it in 1999. It was inspired by Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality and later given shape and spin by George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal. Plus all those thousands and thousands of paranormal shows I’ve watched over the years and many another paranormal book. I had the novel in a fairly polished state and was getting ready to start marketing it when my mother had a stroke and my world went all to hell for several years. Then there was the very long and painful writer’s block afterwards.

Things started to loosen up for me artistically after watching season one of Hellier last year—and that’s when I had my Hellier related synchronicity storm. Which let me know I was on the right track creatively. I finished one novel this summer and started working on another. Then Hellier Season 2 came along. It fed my head yet again, and there was something about the discussion in that series of pushing through frustration that reminded me of the artistic process.

Whenever an artist, or at least any artist I know, reaches a point of frustration it’s often the sign of imminent breakthrough to a new way of doing things. Pushing through that frustration is a vital part of the process. So I got out that old paranormal novel with an idea to see if it really was ready to market and I fell into a hole with it for about a week. That edit is done, but when I got to the part in the story where my investigator discovers strange, small, three-toed footprints with dermal ridges, I thought, “No one will ever believe I didn’t get this from Hellier.” But those are the breaks. Hellier2 did encourage me to pull it back out of the trunk and that’s got to be a good thing.

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Hellier is beautifully shot and edited. I remember when the granddaddy of paranormal shows, Ghost Hunters, premiered. They used that cinema vérité style which gave a feel of credibility (and because it was cheap to produce), but imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Most of what’s come since has been crap.

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My life is a lot better since I’ve given up trying to find ultimate answers. I’m more content trying to find ultimate questions.

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Well, I got within 100 pages of finishing Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson but my medieval porn book arrived so…sorry Neal.

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Cats exist simultaneously in this time/space and in hyperspace which is why they always seem to take up a vastly greater amount of space than their physical bodies would imply.

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I’ve been to both Disneyland and the “Disneyland of Cemeteries”—Forest Lawn—and I would choose to spend my eternity in neither of them. (Talk about terrifying!)

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Lt. Col. Vindman during the impeachment hearings reading that paragraph to his dad and talking about it? “Don’t worry. This is America. We do what’s right here.” We have to justify his faith in this country. It’s been what was true in the past and we can’t let it fall away. DO THE RIGHT THING, AMERICA. And Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi talking to Vindman about the pride of being an immigrant and being an American? Yep, that’s the essence of what this country it’s always been.

I was awakened early this morning by my Nest smoke detector (a Google product) malfunctioning. No smoke, no fire, but after I’d turned the damned thing off three times it would no longer allow me to do that. The firemen came to confirm no fire, no smoke, and physically disabled the alarm to shut it the f*** up. They suggested that maybe the batteries were no good, although they’d been changed about 4 months ago when the technician came out to inspect things. I had turned the heat on about an hour before this happened, but it wasn’t the first time I’d used it this fall.

This is also not the first time this has happened, although last time was not nearly as traumatic. That time (about a year ago?) it woke me up at 1:30 a.m. shouting, “ATTENTION!!! THERE’S SMOKE IN THE LIVING ROOM!!! THE ALARM MAY GO OFF!!!”

I jumped out of bed and searched frantically for smoke but found none. The alarm never did go off and reset itself. About 20 minutes later I checked the app and it said something like, “Smoke has dissipated.” I went back to bed but didn’t get back to sleep very soon. The next day I had the company come out and inspect the furnace and alarm system but they could find nothing wrong.

I occasionally will smell smoke from the neighbors’ firepit in my house, but they would hardly have been using it at 1:30 on a weeknight, nor (I suspect) early this morning. There were no fires burning in the area on that occasion, either, although I have smelled them in my house at times (and there’s a fire about 20 miles from here which started yesterday). Ironically, the system has never gone off when I have smelled this smoke. But after that first time when the furnace people found nothing, I called the local fire department’s non-emergency number and explained what happened and asked if they could suggest a next step. They said they could come out when they had a lull period and inspect the house, which they did. They used these detectors that see through walls to check for hot wiring that might cause problems, as well as scanning all the appliances, and found nothing.

I’ve been reading online about problems with Nest. Apparently, what happened to me is not unknown. Sometimes the latest high tech is <i>not</i> a good thing. I’m considering having the whole damned thing yanked out. Of course this would happen when my cash flow ain’t great. That seems to be one of the rules for appliances of all kinds.

Typically, when I complained about this on Twitter, I was contacted shortly thereafter by Made By Google (@madebygoogle) offering help and asking me if I had a 1st generation product (which they’ve admitted elsewhere has problems). I do not have a 1st generation product. So. Make of that what you will.

First World problems, but frustrating nonetheless.

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I may not pause to look at your pics/video of your kids, but I will always pause to look at your pics/videos of your cats and dogs. I do not dislike kids, it’s just that I really like cats and dogs.

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Sometimes when I go through the house and realize I’ve left a whole bunch of lights on I say to myself, “What, are we made of money?” Early programming never dies.

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I have never been, and never will be, the kind of writer who writes 10k in a day. That’s probably partly due to me being a pantser, figuring things out as I go, stopping here and there to do spot research. What did workmen wear in the 1940s? What sodas were popular? I don’t think I’ve ever written 10k in one day.

But I’ve consistently ground out the words every day. An average for me would be between 500-750 words, two to three pages, laying that yellow brick road down every day, and thereby I have completed 7 novels, and working on an 8th. Now and then I may have an effervescent day of 1200 words, or 3k. I think I once did 7500 in one day, but those are rare and precious moments of flow. And I’m okay with that. Slow and steady also gets the job done. This week I passed the 10k mark on my new novel. Feels good.

I write until I don’t know what happens anymore, then I stop. Overnight, maybe in my dreams, the story continues and the next day when I come back to my manuscript, I do know what happens next and I go until it stops. That’s my magic, and I’m glad to have it back again.

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Sometimes I think it’s better to not understand things.

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I love how Jake Tapper characterizes Jordan: “the jacketless Jim Jordan who normally isn’t on this committee but was put onto it to be a bulldog.” That dog may hunt but he don’t never bring back the game.

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Jim Jordan reminds me of a guy who keeps a jar under his desk to urinate in.

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I like big rings and I cannot lie.

Nail polish: Blueprint by ILNP.com. I’d been wearing it for a couple of weeks when this picture was taken, so it was a little the worse for wear.

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It’s so odd writing again for characters I first created 5 novels ago (Jeremy, Susan, Carmina, Maff from Blood Geek). Kind of like meeting up with old friends you haven’t talked to in 20 years. You kind of know them, but you kind of don’t, and it’s partially getting to know them all over again but with this strange deja vu.
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Oh, criminy! The December 19 Democratic debate is going to be held about two blocks from here, at Loyola Marymount instead of UCLA. Looks like I don’t leave the house that day.
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The Lao Tzu quote I used for the November 8 random quote of the day is so ubiquitous that it appears on t-shirts and coffee mugs, but I couldn’t verify that he actually said it. I don’t normally like to use quotes I can’t verify because there’s already too much of that on the internet. And I try to avoid ubiquitous quotes altogether, because generally the more ubiquitous they are, the less likely they are to be an accurate attribution. But when I pulled this one out of my random quote file yesterday shortly after posting about learning to live with limitations on Twitter, I thought, “Okay, Universe, I get the message.” I felt I had to use it. So, “attributed to Lao Tzu” and adding to its ubiquitousness. (Any time I use “attributed to” it means I couldn’t verify the authenticity of the attribution but decided to use the quote anyway.)
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An interesting article on art and arthritis: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-07-26/art-arthritis-aging

We overcome what we must. I’m kind of in a place now where I’ve said to myself, “You can either limit yourself because of your legs [arthritis] or do what you are able to and not make excuses.” This is almost a daily argument I have with myself.

I think I finally turned the corner there (and I really am so much better off than so many others). I’m still limited but trying not to limit myself. It’s tough not to give in to despair and self-pity sometimes, though, when you can’t do things like you used to do. But that accomplishes nothing. The lady in the arthritis article come through it, too, after a requisite period of mourning.

Losing my eyesight would be utter devastation. I think of what it did to my mom. Her stroke left her with severe vision impairment and she’d been a visual artist all her life. But she never gave up, not until maybe the last six months of her life when other things started to take their toll.

I fear sight loss, too. But that’s a fear for another day, and not part of my current objective reality. We have to deal with what’s on our plate right now, and keep digging deep to find the resources to continue in some way to be who we truly are.
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If I had an RV, I’d call my RV Maria.
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Yoiks. So many talking heads in the chapter I’ve been working on, and characters standing around frozen until it’s their turn to talk. I look forward to the rewrites. A very long scene, and possibly told from the wrong POV, but talking heads are easy to write when you’re trying to get through a lot of information. Not so much interesting to read, though. I still look forward to the rewrites.
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People love to hate, and they love dancing around in their underwear feeling superior to everyone else.
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Here’s another interesting article: “Ancestor Worship with Mother Nature: How Indigenous Death Rituals Illuminate the Web of Life” by Maria Popova: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/08/27/david-abram-the-spell-of-the-sensuous-death/
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The worst earworms are ones that play in your sleep and every time you wake up the tune starts up. Or is that just me? For a week, every time I woke up “My Darling Clementine” started playing in my head. I finally had to unleash extreme countermeasures by singing “Brandy” to myself until that replaced it. Lately, they have improved considerably. “Brandy” was replaced by “Look At Me,” which is heavy rotation on a VW commercial right now, then “Ave Maria,” also in heavy commercial rotation (Amazon). But that has now been replaced by Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” which is not in a commercial but a gift from the gods. A much classier run of earworms.

In 1901, two English ladies—Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain—experienced a timeslip while visiting Versailles, going back for an interlude to the time of Marie Antoinette. They detailed this story in a book called An Adventure. You can read about it here: http://xenophon.org.uk/adventure.html

If you click on the link, then click on “The Music of An Adventure” you can hear a transcription one of the ladies, Ms. Jourdain, a talented musician, made of a strain of music she heard while “there.” Not surprisingly, they received much ridicule from the male establishment of the time, but they clung to their accounts for the rest of their lives. There are inconsistencies in their stories, but other things they reported would have taken a great deal of research on their part to get right. So the account remains controversial even today.

Still, it’s a cranking great yarn. And I say, all cranking great yarns should be true, even if they aren’t.
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The Getty Fire was still quite a ways from me but it got perilously close to the LA Basin. The LA Basin isn’t more important than the other areas that have burned but it’s densely packed. If the fires get into the Basin I don’t know how they’ll stop them. It’s something to worry about every time fire gets close to the really crowded areas. Fire departments are stretched so thin right now. They heroically got on top of the Getty fire this time, but we’re still burning, homes are still being lost.

California is a trend leader in many ways. But I would rather not be on the front lines of the devastation caused by global warming. Californians are sharing that with our brethren in hurricane, tornado, and typhoon country. But make no mistake: global warming is coming for us all.
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I changed my alarm sound from the annoying ding ding ding ding ding ding a-ding to the sound of a hooting owl echoing in a forest. It’s eerie and wondrous when it drops into the silence of my room.
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Someone was talking about animism the other day and it made me think of Ayahuasca, the visionary drug processed by the Quechua people of the Amazon. It’s an arduous process to bring forth the drug, involving many steps, and not at all intuitive. When a Westerner asked the shaman how his people learned to process it he said, “The spirit of the plant told us.”
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Trust the road
no matter where it
takes you, how many
forks and crossroads.
Wherever it leads,
in any direction,
is the path you must follow.
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Looks like the giant Tick fire was started by a guy who was living in junkyard like conditions and decided to cook his lunch outside on the barbecue. In Santana wind conditions. Florida had nothing to do with it.
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I finished the old compilation novel (Beneath a Hollow Moon) and put it in a trunk where it will get moldy or will come back out again and I can make it new. I’ve started another novel, one I’d written a couple of chapters on a long time ago. In fact, chapter one was the last Editor’s Choice I received from the Online Writing Workshop for SFF (OWW) before I left it. Carmina. It’s been doing a siren call to me for the last couple of months, and so far the writing’s been going well. Except for those two previously written chapters it’s completely new writing and that feels really good. Also, a completely different universe from the previous novel, and that also feels good. And the best part? I know the end but have no idea how I’ll get there! I’m stumbling around, but I feel like I’ve finally come home again.

I’ll forever be grateful for the things I learned from OWW, the community I was a part of, and the encouragement I received there. Invaluable.
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It’s a process of letting go:
of youth,
resentments,
of those we love,
of seasons of
grief and joy.
Let them go, let them fly.
Let them find new homes,
or sink away into the earth,
away from my fading heart,
my lightening soul.
Away, now!
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I can claim no service for myself, but my dad was a Marine for 30 years. He fought through the Pacific campaign in WW II and the Inchon Basin in Korea. Tough, bloody campaigns. He was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and gentlest men I’ve ever known. That wasn’t necessarily the case when he was on duty. That was Business, and a different thing altogether. But we rarely saw that side of him, and never directed at us, only at fools.

I remember one time when my apartment was broken into and Mom and Dad came over to wait with me until the police arrived. When the LAPD showed up, Dad (who never forgot a face of anyone he served with) said to one of the cops, “You were once one of my Marines, weren’t you?” The cop acknowledged that Tom had been his gunney sergeant many years before. Mom, who only knew gentle Tom, said, “But I bet he was much nicer than those guys usually are.” The policeman looked a little embarrassed, but then he smiled and said, “M’am, in my experience, gunneys are never nice.” My dad laughed so hard.

But it proved a point. Being a badass when it’s required to get you through a tough situation is appropriate and will help keep you and those around you alive. But it doesn’t mean you have to carry that badassery with you everywhere you go or use it as an excuse to lash out. There was still room in Tom’s soul to be kind, thoughtful, and gentle.

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This reminds me so much of Temple Church which we visited in Cornwall. It was also built by the Templars. It’s not just the style of the church—which I understand was a pretty standard Templar construction (they built them all over), but the peaceful little green valley that it was built into. They chose their spots well.

Full URL: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/temple/temple/index.html


Temple Church, Cornwall

I’m not a Christian, but this was a genuinely holy spot. There was peace that surpasseth all. Some churches are like that, usually in quiet, out of the way spots. Others are merely hollow shells.

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Don’t let anybody tell you any different: trolls exist in both sexes. From a female POV it may just seem like they’re all male, and maybe the preponderance are (I have no objective evidence to prove it one way or another), but trolls definitely swing both ways.

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I have good taste. I know because Pinterest is always telling me so.

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It’s rare when something lives up to its hype, but in the case of Fleabag, it absolutely does. A wonderful series, completely unique.

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This time of year I’m always so glad that I stopped following the Dodgers years ago.

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D*mino’s: Pizza that tastes like it was made really, really fast.

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Donald Trump apparently believes that betraying our Kurdish allies and unleashing ISIS on the Middle East again will distract people from his impeachment. His usual bait-and-switch but it may backfire on him badly. Unfortunately, it also is going to kill a lot of innocent people.

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Crone

I thought I understood
but it was yet
another posture,
something not
comprehended
until skin ripples
on bones
and toes curl
walking the walk.

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From “Demolition Man,” The New Yorker, Dec. 24 & 31, 2007:

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I think everybody goes through a clueless twat phase in their life. Some of us do it in our teens and twenties, some much later in life, but in the old days, the cluelessness was viewed by a handful of people who just shook their heads in disbelief and moved on. With the advent of the internet and so many people longing to be “influencers,” that clueless is often on display for the whole world to see and has the potential of haunting you for the rest of your life.

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I think Trump’s Syria move may be an attempt to have a safe haven in Turkey when he flees the U.S. legal system. A back-up plan to Russia.

I would say to my pagan friends the same thing I would say to my friends of any religion: beware thinking your way is the One True Faith. There are many paths back to the Source, but judgement and rigidity are not amongst them.
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I’d start calling him President Cthulhu but that’s an insult to Cthulhu.
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You know, I’ve supported Nancy Pelosi all this time but mostly kept quiet because I didn’t want to fight with people, often people I liked and admired. I’m a little ashamed of that, but oh well. I knew, you see, that Pelosi is one of the canniest and most experienced politicians in Washington and I knew she was holding fire for a good reason. Last week that reason became eminently clear: she was waiting for a smoking gun. One that these cretins couldn’t wiggle out of, one that the general American public could readily understand. It may be argued that the Mueller report was a smoking gun, but even Mueller himself obfuscated and demurred so much that it wasn’t something that could be easily conveyed to the larger public. But everybody understands the kind of brutish and heavy-handed strong-arming Trump attempted with Ukraine. It was schoolyard bully stuff and illegal and immoral as hell. It’s enough to start changing minds–except for his rabid believers, of course. Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one would hold him responsible. What he was too stupid or arrogant to realize was that when he did give Nancy Pelosi an easy-to-hold gun of her own, she would have no hesitation in pulling the trigger. Good work, Madame Speaker. I’m sorry I didn’t defend you.
*
You know that overworked and ridiculous phrase in writing: “She (he) released a breath she didn’t know she was holding”? I’ve always loathed it in a work of fiction, but when the Ukraine news broke and with all the revelations that came out… I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
*
I used this deck quite a lot at one point in my life. Can you tell?

Fortunately, the cards don’t look as disreputable as the box. And after literally decades of using this deck, I just discovered that I had two Knights of Swords. I’m not sure what that means. I would probably have never known if they both hadn’t come up in the same reading. Reversed. And yes, I guess the day of that reading had been about being, “indiscreet, extravagant, and foolish.” I’ve been through the entire deck now and there are no other duplications and no missing cards. But I guess I’d better pay attention to that Knight, hadn’t I?
*
I was born in the last six hours of Virgo, just seven hours shy of the Autumn Equinox (West Coast time), so I have a hella amount of Libra in my chart. I was really feeling the effects of the new moon in Libra at the end of September. I tried to use that energy well. Balance and rectification. Throwing off the shackles of old bad habits that are holding me back.
*
One of the best parts of living alone is that when I’m not feeling well I can sit around and groan and not worry about driving anyone crazy with my drama queen ways.
*
I was watching one of those ghost shows on TV and the house owner was talking about how a ghost threw her cat across the kitchen. And there’s the cat sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with its leg up cleaning its nether regions. He seemed very unconcerned in general. She took the ghost hunters into the bedroom to talk about what happened in there and here comes the cat to sprawl on the bed. “I ain’t afraid a no ghosts.” In fact, I kind of regard cats as a reverse ghost monitor. If they are there and not concerned they ain’t no ghost there.
*
Every time I watch the science channel I wonder if the people who came up with the SciGo acronym realized how close it sounds to “psycho.”
*
When the estimable Dr. Lucy Jones, eminent geologist, says that she fears climate change more than earthquakes one should really pay attention. I saw her state just that in a recent interview.
*
I may have finished writing something that seemed very much like the denouement of my current novel. Only the coda left, and that’s already half written. But it’s been a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t finished it. I can’t help wondering if this resistance is a way of preventing myself from moving on. Or knowing that once I finish that coda, I’m done with this world for the foreseeable future. I can’t see writing any more Dos Lunas stories any time soon–and I’ve lived there on and off for so long (since 2000), I may be reluctant to let go.
*
I’ve come to the conclusion that I like having mindless tasks to do, things that most people would never have the patience for. I suspect it’s a Virgo thing.
*
Oh yeah, that probably explains a lot about the last few months. I forgot until just last week that I have summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Somehow I manage to forget that every freaking year.

Kamala Harris was right in the Democratic debate to bring everything back to Trump each time. He’s the real enemy here. There were Democrats on that stage who I like better than others but any one of those people would be a better president than Donald Trump. But I think I’ve watched my last debate. I’m sure my Twitter timeline will be relieved, as I couldn’t stop live tweeting. I’ve watched all the debates so far and my opinion hasn’t changed much. I have certain people I’d be quite unhappy to vote for but several of the remaining candidates I’d vote for happily. #AnyDem

An interesting side note: I’ve said uncomplimentary things about several of the candidates but the only time trolls have come after me is when I’ve said uncomplimentary things about Tulsi Gabbard. I am not the only one who has had this experience. And I am such small potatoes on Twitter. They must be very well organized. Good thing I don’t respond to trolls. It’s no fun for them if you don’t engage and they stop playing.

Russian bot, Russian bot
Fly away home—
Your pants are on fire
And you’re all Putin owned.
*
Yes, there are many tragedies in the world we need to pay attention to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a day to remember the murder of nearly 3000 innocent souls. Politicizing that is pretty reprehensible, no matter which side of the debate it comes from. Especially since 9/11 is an ongoing tragedy. People are still dying as a consequence of what happened that day. In honoring the fallen of 9/11 we are also honoring those who still struggle with illness and death because of it.
*
Every act of artistic creation is also an offering to the Universe.
*
Dear Everybody Who Needs Money From Me: I’d love to donate to your project/cause/campaign but I’m on a fixed income. Doesn’t mean I won’t donate when I can but if I donate to one thing I probably won’t be able to give to another thing that same month. My sincere best wishes to you.
*
Even at my advanced age I can still sing all the lyrics of every Beatles song. You never forget the things you memorized in your youth. Unfortunately, this is also true of every commercial jingle I heard when I was young.
*
Whenever I’m doing a piece of art and I say to myself, “I’ll just eyeball it,” every time I hear Louis Gossett Jr. saying, “Don’t be eyeballin’ me, boy.” Every. Fricking. Time.
*
I was reading about the psychological theory of behaviorism one afternoon, but each time the notifications rang on my phone I picked it up to look. The irony of this was not lost on me.
*
I hit the wall of character motivation on the novel and had a painful slog trying to get through it. I wasn’t believing this character’s reason for acting as he does so I couldn’t expect anyone else would. I did a partial re-read and reorganization to see if that would shake anything loose and after some reworking I came unstuck—at least for that particular problem. I’m not sure that part of the novel works, but it works for now, and I’m moving forward.

But not quickly. I pushed through a major hump a few days ago so at least that section of the story is finished. I’m past the 90k mark and closing in on the end of the book, but I still have a ways to go. I’ve never worked well from outlines. They usually kill an idea dead for me. Part of the problem with the current novel is that I know everything that happens until the end rather than making it up as I go along and that’s turned it into a real slog. However, I feel I have to finish this one, not only because I’ve come so far, but for the sake of my own spirit. I need to finish a substantial piece of work. To prove something to myself, I guess. That I’m still a writer?

I look forward to typing The End and putting this one in the trunk for a while and moving on to something else. It’s not my best work. Most writers I know feel that way at the conclusion of a novel, but in this case I may be write. Er, right.

Until I reread it many months hence, of course, and temporarily suffer from the “this is the best thing I’ve ever done” delusion.
*
Euphomet, Jim Perry’s high strangeness podcast, has become my very favoritest. There are many fine podcasts out there, but I love Jim’s sensibility and his openly inquisitive tone. Check it out here.

So I’ve finally fallen under the spell of Mindhunter on Netflix. Riveting. I binged most of season one last weekend, finished the last three episodes yesterday and started on episode one of season two. I’m trying to stretch it out. Besides, for some weird reason I only seem to be in serial killer mode on the weekends.

Oh man, such good acting and writing and directing. It’s just great stuff. And the casting is amazing. So much attention to detail and visuals and the way the characters are blocked into a scene. I also like how they imply incredible violence but they don’t glorify it and they don’t exploit it—something that is not true of every show about murder.
*
The ants are on the move. It’s hot and dry so they’ve come inside looking for water and other things. I spray their ant trails with Clorox which kills them but they’re back on a new space the next day. The ants will be here long after I am gone, going about their antly duty.
*
My outrage quota varies from day to day, but each day I hit the limit and I’m forced to shut down because I feel my soul leaking out of my ears.
*
To me, one of the ultimate sins of the world is to throw away books. There are so many places that need books. Even when the rats got to some of my library and destroyed books (sometimes in disgusting ways) it tore me up to throw them away—even though they really had to go. Other books had suffered minimal damage (i.e., thoroughly chewed covers but otherwise fine) and I couldn’t bring myself to toss them. I still have a few of those. Others—and this is cowardice, I know—I put into recycling bags. I was fairly certain the places I donated them to would throw them away. But the sin would not be on my head, you see?

And the books that I have loved to death by reading and re-reading? I still have all those. I can’t bear to throw them out. I keep thinking I can use them to make sculptures or something. And yet they sit in my shelves, sacrosanct. Because, I admit, that every time I see a picture of someone who has gone down to the thrift store and picked up a bunch of old books to turn them into a piece of furniture, my first instinctive reaction is “You asshole!”

Extreme reverence for books may be a sin, but when throwing out books it’s not just tossing an object, it’s an entire world full of people and stories and feelings. I’m not demon enough to do that.
*
Trump/Putin/Helsinki/2018: There are several photos in this sequence that look much the same. This was taken right after their secret meeting where Trump would not allow the translator to take notes. Putin looks like the cat who got into the cream. Meanwhile, Trump displays the face of a man who’s just been told by Putin, “Do everything I say from now on or I’ll call in all those massive loans I gave your and release the peepee tape.” Can anyone reasonably doubt that Trump is a Russian asset?

*
One of the reasons I’m having such a hard time with the current part of the current novel (writing anything is like pulling teeth) is that I already know everything that happens. I’ve never been one who wrote well from an outline. Still, I’m close to 89k in and I’m not giving up.
*
I still miss my tiny best friend more than I can say. Min, aged 19:

*
My Cat’s Death Broke My Brain.
*
Both of these men (Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper) are a gift, and an antidote to the times we are currently living through:

I agree with Mr. Colbert because of my own past traumatic experiences. I reached a point in my life where I realized that if I like who I am and I’m grateful for my life then even the bad stuff went into making me who I am. Once I got to that place it brought me great peace. It’s an individual choice, and not something anyone has to do, but that’s where I ended up and I’m very glad for it. I accept with gratitude all of my life as part of who I am, good and bad.
*
It amazes me that some of the same people who decry racism and misogyny the loudest think ageism is just fine. Ageism is bullshit, no matter what direction: boomer against millennial, millennial against boomer, Gen X against Gen Z. I call bullshit.
*
I absolutely believe that universal healthcare is a fundamental human right. However, I think you should know that Medicare is not a perfect plan and costs me a lot of money. I sincerely believe we can do better than Medicare for everyone.

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