Sunday, January 24, 2010


I'm giving up on the Bertrice Small novel. Enchantress Mine became a tad annoying by page 56 when she was still describing Mairin's beauty. By page 97 I'd had enough. I fucking get it, she's beautiful. She a million times more beautiful than anyone else whoever fucking lived and she's only twelve. Shut up all ready. All this painting with a heavy brush about just how lovely, smart and wonderful the heroine is and I'm now completely sick of her. And Ive not even met the hero yet.

I'm moving on to the Joanne Harris, Holy Fools.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What do you think?

Further to my post Speaking in Tongues - Uttering Lies, I found this on the Young Australia Skeptics page. A student giving a graduation speech becomes overcome with the spirit. I think it's safe to say the school isn't the kind that normally promotes this kind of behaviour as the man who takes the podium requests someone call an ambulance. What do you think? Is she faking? Was this opportunistic proselytizing?

It's train wreck telly for me. It's creepy and curious all at once. Like the well dressed man rambling obscenities and threats into his lap with a smile on his face. You don't want to stare, but can't help it. I can't anyway, I've never been able to discreetly ignore the chemically imbalanced. In regards to the video, what do you think - nervous breakdown or religious spirit filling?

Is writing...

We'll see how long it takes before I have a confidence break down.

For me, trying to write something longer than a blog post is like trying to keep sand in a funnel. The more I do, the more it seems to get away from me. The more distracted I become by shiny, new ideas.

Knuckling down has never been a strong point for me.

When faced with writing, washing the dishes becomes an urgent priority. Yet I do like to write. I just don't want everyone else to think it's shit. I avoid trying.

Pathetic really. I've blogged this for years. Aren't you sick of it? I am.

I wonder if there's a behavior-mod shrink who could help me get to grips with this?

This whole post is a distraction, I confess.

***Two pages done and one letter to Grandma Betty.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love new finds!!

I found a great podcast/interview/video show called LlewTube. Interviews are conducted by Robert Llewellyn who you'll know better as Kryton on Red Dwarf, and he picks people up in his car and drives them around while having a chat. It's wonderfully informal, just the kinds of conversations you'd want to have. Along with the funny reactions to traffic, squirrels on the road and squeaking windshield wipers.

I found it via Bad Science, Ben Golacre's blog as he's the most recent interviewee. But going to the LlewTube website I was happy to see the list of British folks having taken part. I thoroughly enjoyed the Patrick Stewart and Adrian Edmonson interview.

I'll be keeping a keen eye out for the newest interviews.

I've also loved - LOVED! - Julie Cohen's three part Character Arc post about how to write a character arc and how it helps her with plot and getting her through her writing process. It's just the advice I've needed to get me around the writer's block I've had on the story I've been procrastinating over fear of failure over for five years.

Lastly (and later added) as I was typing this i was dyeing my hair with yet another new colour. As the tone went immediately black I thought - fuck, it's going to be too dark. But it's come out perfect!! So now I'll have to rush out and buy five L'Oreal UL1 (Ultra-lightening) Natural Brown. It looks so natural, covered all my silvers and didn't make it overly red. It's perfect, and because it's perfect, they'll most likely discontinue it tomorrow because that's how my luck works.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reading and writing

I'm back on the book swing. I've started a couple books and found them a bit blah but I struggled through them and just picked up the next one and didn't even mourn the loss of my just read. I didn't enjoy the two crammed into one novel by Nora Roberts called Captured and Ensnared. No - it was...Captivated and Entranced. Just the two. It supposed to be a trilogy as there are three Donovan cousins and it's thier stories, so the quiet Donovan one got shunted. I'm not all that interested to be honest in chasing it up to finish the trilogy. I think I'm past the supernatural phase of ramonce. I dabbled for a few years with the vampires, werewolves and magic peoples, but now I'm just going to go back to the good old fashion boy meets girl and have some antics and fall in love.

What I didn't like about it is how annoyingly smug the magic people were. Morgana was a witch but I found her touchy, moody and grumpy. When she was annoyed or thought she was being picked on or disrespected she performed magic as a way to intimidate and bully. Then she goes on about the "Do no harm" stuff but doesn't really practice what she preaches. I thought she was a self righteous arse. But I liked the hero...Nate? Nat? Gnat? Nash! He was pretty interesting as a character.

The second story was much more interesting. Psychic and P.I. work together to find a kidnapped baby. She's a complete skeptic and he's a bit alpha and amused by her. But only slightly condescending but seeing as he is a real psychic and not a fake he tolerates her prejudices up to a point. I much preferred this story. Apart from the family visits and the fact Morgana comes back to all knowing and ethereal but really...I just think she's a prig. Sadly, I can't remember their names.

I'm just not interested in the whole "I'm so much more than a mere human." rubbish. Give me some real humans with real emotions and no psychic baggage and "woe is me I'm so misunderstood" ramblings.

I went to the library today to return the Nora and I picked up...another Nora Roberts. It's called Portraits of Passion and in another two-for-one containing Sullivan's Woman (1984) and Island of Flowers (1982). I didn't even realize this until just now as I picked it up to tell you folks about it.

I also got Holy Fools by Joanne Harris which reads like it'll be batshit crazy:

Britanny, 1610. Juliette, a one-time actress and rope dancer, is forced to seek refuge among the sisters of the abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-mer. Reinventing herself as Soeur Auguste,Juliette makes a new life for herself and her young daughter, Fleur.But when the kindly abbess dies, Juliette's comfortable existence begins to unravel. The abbey's new leader is the 11 year old daughter of a corrupt noble family, and she arrives with a ghost from Juliette's past — Guy LeMerle, a man she has every reason to fear and hate.

...just realized it's probably not a literal ghost, but a turn of phrase. Thought it was weird when I read it how an 11 year old would bring a ghost with her. I had an impression of The Ghost and Mrs Muir but I now see that's not the case which makes it a tad less batshit than I anticipated on my quick skim in the library. I know I just said I didn't want any paranormal stuff but a ghost haunting a former circus performer turned nun being tormented by an 11 year old Abbess whose the daughter of a known badd guy? I think the ghost would've been more interesting. Ah well.

Lastly I picked up Enchantress Mine by Bertrice Small. I've never heard of her. Three suitors, one flame haired lady. We shall see. Some pretty scathing Amazon reviews. I know that's a bad thing to do, almost as bad as peeking at the ending. That said I know one book person who must read the end of the book first every time. When she told me I was shocked. (It was Marg!)

We're away on vacation next week to Warrnambool. I'm not sure yet what fascinating things await us in Warrnambool, although it's got some nice beaches and it's near the Apostles (I like Sow and Piglets better). It's also where the radio station I'll be doing my visit is situated. I'll be there for three days while the family go and enjoy sites and lounge about the beaches. We're all excited. Also it's Australia Day next week so it shall be fun to see how it's done and we get to be in a family camping ground so fingers are crossed there will lots of fun. It's also Husband's birthday - so I'll be buying a cake for that. I'm not baking on our vacation. I don't think he'll mind. Lastly, it's Burns Night, but I doubt we'll be able to rummage up a haggis.

The kids are back to school on the 1st of Feb. Well Sassy is back. Shorty starts first time. They are both eager to get going. I bought the pencil cases and kits and junk and stuff which they are foaming at the mouth to get fiddling with.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Speaking in Tongues - Uttering Lies.

Religious people hold a fascination for me. The ones who simply wish a private relationship with God are very different from the active religious community where speaking in tongues is seen as a right of passage. One may even suffer from tongue envy, if they find they are not so lucky to be touched by the spirit.

It's interesting to me how people don't view mediumship and speaking in tongues as the same thing, and yet I see them as exactly the same thing. Both parties claim to be the mouthpiece of a spirit; the former for just about anybody, the latter for God or angels. Yet they both have one very important similarity; they are performances.

I remember from my days attending an Assemblies of God church, occasionally during songtime someone would be "moved by the spirit" and would begin speaking in tongues. It didn't happen every Sunday, in fact maybe once a month. When it did happen it was an instant showstopper; the one person would begin speaking very loudly and authoritatively. The singing would stop, the room would hush and give floor space over to the Spirit so we could receive our special message from God. The person would speak a few things in different languages, almost like a security announcement at the airport, each language given its own message that would end with a message in English. I don't remember what any of the messages were, I was far more interested in the congregation's tense, alert and hopeful silence. As a teenager I thought, what a way to get the room's attention. I mean everyone was staring, rapt at this one person. For the attention seeking sort, it's a good gig. After the sermon that person is held in pretty high regard.

Imagine my surprise how churches have changed from having the one random message from God, to now having a whole churchful of babblers! The thing now is that there isn't a specific message for the congregation to hear. It's not a prophecy. It's a right of passage. Speaking in tongues means you don't have to actually listen to the message, just feeling it is important. Can you imagine how God must feel? He's sending all these messages out and folks aren't listening. They're flailing about like fish on the ground. This is a roomful of fakers giving in to peer pressure.

If you listen to some of these sermons, they sounds a bit like the stage hypnotist's shtick. The hypnotist(Well worth watching the first minute after that it's a bit creepy) and pastor both have a group of audience members up front, they are touched, they fall back, the crowd is encourage to applaud them. If you've ever read about hypnotism, you'll find that a lot of the participants fake the behaviours they are "hypnotized" to perform because of many reasons; they don't want to be embarrassed by not be hypnotized on stage or they want to help the hypnotist because they're a fan. Either way there's an element of fakery, albeit benign. Derren Brown mentions this phenomena in his book Tricks of the Mind* which I highly recommend. I think it's not a leap to imagine that, for the love of attention, conformity, belonging and enjoying the group dynamics, faking a little speaking in tongues isn't such a bad thing.

Why do I think it's faked? Well apart from the changes I've witnessed in tongue speaking etiquette, I've also watched a few videoed services on Youtube. Pick a few sermons from different churches and a very interesting thing becomes apparent - speaking in tongues isn't a universal language. These churches have their own babel dialects. Are they saying that angels have accents? It's far easier to assume it's group parroting, like the game Chinese whispers. I wonder how a foreign "tonguer" sounds in a strange church, or do they mimic the local babble?

Although some of this has changed again with speaking in tongues being popular on Christian TV. "Ahhh so that's how it should sound." It helps to legitimize the trend. The power of suggestion trumps the power of God. What happens when the pastor is homophobic or racist and sends those messages along with the support of God to a room full of suggestible people?

Shall I get a tad biblical? Okay then. Speaking in tongues is mentioned three times in the bible. It starts in Acts where pilgrims from all over meet at Pentecost and want to talk to each other but find they can't understand each other because they all speak different languages. Darn that Tower of Babel. Then suddenly they feel the spirit within them and *poof* they can now all understand each other perfectly. "that every man heard them speak in his own language. " They could all hear the other men speaking in their own language - like a babelfish or the Universal Translator on the USSEnterprise. Speaking in tongues was not babbling on in the unknown language of the heavens, but a miracle of making them hear their own language, so that they could all understand and communicate with each other. The other two times is similar where someone has gone to preach but he's foreign and the locals cannot understand him, then suddenly he's able to speak to them in their own language and can successfully preach. Again it's a miracle of making one's message understandable to the congregation - not wanton verbiage.

So how have these modern churches gotten it so wrong? Why has speaking in tongues become not about sharing a common message from God, but is now an example of "God chose me!"

It's all down to suggestibility and conformity. Both very powerful behaviour motivators as history has shown. It also leads to accepting dogma as fact because to challenge it, sets one apart from the collective. Perhaps people should become better at choosing their collectives.

When seeing a congregation moving in full mania, writhing, screaming, chanting gobbledegook and working themselves into a tizzy you have to take a step back and question. Where did they get the idea that this is how they're supposed to worship? Sure it's more exciting and emotionally engaging than singing a few hymns and listening to the monotone from the pulpit. It's also high drama and a show of "God loves me best, aren't I special." because imagine if you are one of those people who doesn't get the spirit and doesn't feel the bubbling of foreign tongues coming from your lips or your body racked in the convulsions of the Holy Spirit - what does that say about you? Are you not deserving? Are you not good? Do you not believe enough? Is God not pleased with you? Will others distrust you?

Would you be tempted to fake it?

*The original cover has a small devil whispering into Derren's ear which for some reason is not shown in the advertised cover. Hmmm...

Oi Vey!!

The racism! The guilt! The hypocrisy! What a brave girl. What a poor, sweet thing.

"Just stab me with a knife. Just stab me right now with a fucking knife!"

and yet...funny.

EMBED-Jewish Girl Prank Calls Her Parents - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I Call Bullshit!!

The Christian Anti-Defamation League are a bunch of slack bladders who cannot handle criticism or critique of their religion or people within their religion and would like to make it illegal for anyone to criticize or critique them. So they are unAmerican fascists who want to remove your freedom of speech and not only America's freedom of speech but the whole world's as well. Let's just put that out there up front. They are also a bunch of put upon, whiney gasbags who lie to gain sympathy.

Case in point is their recently posted top 10 UnChristian acts for 2009:

10. Pro-life Pastor Reverend Walter Hoye of Oakland, CA was jailed for exercising peaceful, pro-life speech.

Rev. Hoye would approach women entering the clinic and ask "Would you like to know alternatives to this clinic?" women there for - who knows what appointment*? This man broke the law by violating a city ordinance that states protesters must remain 8 feet away from any woman or staffer entering or leaving a clinic. He clearly broke the law, and punishing accordingly is not unchristian. Even Jesus says "I do not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it."

Also, he chose jail time.

*Not every woman walking into a medical clinic is going there for an abortion. I think some zealots forget this. I wonder how many times someone replied with "There's an alternative to PAP smears? really?"

9. Rev. Fred Winters was murdered while preaching in his pulpit in Maryville, Illinois.

Now, I did a quick google on this to find out what happened. The killer was later named as Terry Sedlacek whose lawyer entered a not guilty plea while Sedlacek wanted to plea guilty. I think the lawyer wants to claim lyme disease caused a psychotic episode but that's a guess. There's also allegation that he suffered a head injury when he was 16 that he's never recovered from. What I can say is that there's been no report of an anti-christian motivation for the murder. How is this any more unchristian than any other random shooting? Because the victim was a reverend and it happened in church? That shouldn't render the crime any more or less tragic than anyone else who gets shot in other location for random reasons.

8. HBO’s program "Curb Your Enthusiasm" aired an episode where the main actor urinates on painting of Jesus. When confronted HBO would not apologize.

Although I can see where Christians would get upset by this, because they're not known for their sense of humour, it's not like someone saw a picture of Jesus and pissed on it in anger - it was accidental backsplash. But really the episode is a dig at the ridiculous amount of crying Marys, bleeding Jesuses and appearance on cheese toast, toilet seats, condoms and bruises. You really don't do your religion's credibility much good with these people as your PR team.

7. The overt homosexual participation in Obama's presidential inaugural events by “Bishop” Vickie Eugene Robinson, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D. C., and a homosexual marching band.

"We hate gays! Our small brains really can't understand what a gay Bishop is for, and we really hate it when the gays can sing and play music - that's the last straw!" We all know you are an intolerant lot, but your wording is spurious. You make it sound like there was big gay orgy up on the inaugural stage. Some people think loving everyone is the right and proper Christian way. You folks look petty.

6. Police called to East Jessamine Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky to stop 8th graders from praying during their lunch break for a student whose mother was tragically killed.

Try and find a news report of this. Please, because I can't find a single one. Don't you think local news or FOX would be all over this? The only ones bashing on about this story are the christian forums. It took a lot of digging around to find the meat of this story and here's what I found: The kids' prayers were running long and they were going to end up skipping class if they didn't wrap things up or they were praying in groups in the middle of the hallway which, as you could imagine, would cause a bottleneck for those trying to get to their next class. They were told to finish and some kids took umbrage. The police were never called. The principal listened to the complaints and arranged a time for the kids to have a prayer session the next day where they wouldn't disrupt the flow of the school or its students and staff. How completely unchristian indeed.

5. Pro-life activist Jim Pullion was murdered in front of his granddaughter's high school for showing the truth about abortion.

Although I cannot and will not condone this man's shooting as it was completely pointless, I can agree with the murderer that Pullion's protest outside of the high school where he carried signs showing bloodied aborted fetuses also abhorrent behaviour and it absolutely does not belong at a place of education. I still don't see how it's counted as unchristian unless they condemn the shooter (An obviously unhinged dipshit) purely for murder. If so, then please have a bigger list for all murderers. It also assumes all christians are pro-life, which is nonsense.

4. An activist judge ordered a home school mom in New Hampshire to stop home schooling her daughter because the little girl “reflected too strongly” her mother’s Christian faith.

Kids all over the country are home schooled without incident - doesn't that headline just make you want to ask questions? It should!! I read several different accounts of this and every one had me thinking that poor girl was being subjected to a tug-o-war between her parents who disagree on her education..and Daddy's a lawyer. From the Washington Times:

"It has been conveyed [that] the court is reaching into this family's life and plucking the child out of her home," the attorney said, adding the mother had earlier agreed to allow the court to decide the child's educational future. "There have been three counselors for this child and all have recommended public school."

We'd have to know more details. So how about the official details. Interesting. This is a custody case - no wonder the state is involved! I like point 24.:

24. Thus, Mother’s exposure of the child to Christianity is consistent with Father’s past
actions. The Father has changed his mind about religion and now seeks to interfere
with his daughters beliefs. The Court’s assistance in accomplishing this does nothing
more than favor one parent’s religious views with those of the other. The Court
correctly noted “its obligation not to consider the specific tenets of any religious
system unless there is evidence that those tenets have been applied in such a way as
to cause actual harm to the child.” The Court then acknowledges that “[t]he evidence
in this case does not rise to that level . . .” (Order, p7-8) However, absent any other
clear and convincing evidence justifying the Court’s decision, it would appear that the
Court has indeed taken sides with regard to the issue of religion and has preferred one
religious view over another (or the absence of religion). This is impermissible.

So what's happened is Dad is atheist, mom is still Christian and the Judge made a decision that suits both equally. Isn't that what courts are supposed to do?? I think both parents are obnoxious. Item 42 kind of shows Dad is a dink.

But what's this tripe about the "Activist Judge" Lucinda Sadler?? I'm still stumped on that claim. I can't find anything that goes on about the judge being an activist and what exactly she's an activist for. The CDAC wouldn't be trying to fan the flame a bit on that headline, now would they?

3. The Federal Department of Homeland Security issued a report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate" that labeled conservative Christians extremists and potential terrorists.

Two words: Christ Camp. Ok that's too easy. Let's have a look at the report. They define rightwing extremism as:

(U) Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

That doesn't sound like they're singling all out all Christians. Just the racist, antigovernment ones. Perhaps your definition of "rightwing" is different from theirs. Of course being racist isn't unchristian because the bible says it's ok to keep slaves and even encourages it by providing some rules and regulations for slave ownership.

Let's be honest, if christians cannot accept the fact that they have within their religion those few who use hate, violence and intimidation to further their religious controls then they are naive. I'm grateful the government recognizes and speaks out against them, even if their brethren cannot or will not. Including this item in your list is unchristian and apologetic to the violent deviants who also believe in God.

2. President Obama's appointment of radical anti-Christians like homosexual activist Kevin Jennings as the "safe school czar;" pro-abortion advocate Kathleen Seblius made Secretary of Human and Health Services, and Chai Feldblum, pro-homosexual and anti-religious liberty judge nominated for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This is just crying and having a tantrum. I also think calling each of those people "anti-Christian" defames them and you should watch out before you have to dance with some lawyers. Chai Feldblum has never made anti-religious claims - find one that's not on a christian site, I dare you. The smear campaign against Jennings is wild! Also, no one is out there saying "Woohoo! Abortions are great! Every woman should have one! Go abortions!" they are pro-choice, as in it's the woman's choice over her reproductive health options. Finally, we get it, you hate gays. Tough shit.

1. The Federal Hate Crimes Bill that attacks religious liberty and freedom of speech. For the first time in our history ministers are vulnerable to investigation and prosecution for telling the truth about homosexuality.

If someone punches out a christian and shouts "Die christian!" they'll get a harsher sentence because their crime was motivated by hate. Just like if someone punches out a homosexual and shouts "Die faggot!" So I don't know what they're crying about here. It's about protecting people from hate crimes, not censoring freedom of speech. I think you are still free to shout "Die faggot! or "die christian" so long as you don't assault them or someone doesn't follow your advice and go ahead and kill the person...then that would be incite to violence, wouldn't it? Either way, to call this bill unchristian is pathetic.

The whole list is pathetic. I wonder why they even bothered to put it together knowing that a little bit of research would prove them all to be terribly naughty sinners. Tsk.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Drama Free

Bust stop lady

I tend to live my life as a drama free zone. I'm not an overly dramatic person. I find over dramatic types emotionally draining and ultimately annoying. If they also have the ability to laugh at themselves and thier situation then they're much more easily acceptable. The emotional black hole who never has a peaceful day or a smile to share, well they're just not worth the effort.

Sure I have a blog where I ramble on about things that annoy me. That's my outlet. I don't burden others with my baggage. I mean, not people I have to see everyday. You, reading this now, you've asked for it. I cannot sympathize with you.

I used to play the part. I used to be a hoity-toity drama queen. I was popular, charming and in charge. I wore the "I'm so misunderstood, but you understand me, right?" It's hard work being like that all the time! Remembering everyone's names, birthdays, last conversations. then I met someone who was the true Drama Queen and my taste for that particular spotlight died very quickly. She was making such a spectacle of herself, and yet she wasn't popular. Although she thought she was. Everyone talked about what a annoying tart she was behind her back. But it was living, breathing car crash TV right there, everyday. No one could be away from the spectacle. No one wanted out of the gossip loop she'd created and they became her false friends. Like cannibals eating up her misery and histrionics because it made them realise thier lives were so much better. I became paranoid - did people talk like that behind my back? They probably did.

It's not just women who behave like that though. I've met a few men in my days who constantly put themselves down to fish for compliments and pats on the head, ever hopeful around for a sympathy fuck that will later break his heart and give him more to moan about to someone else later on down the line.

I stopped. I stopped talking about myself. I listened. It's amazing how much people talk about themselves! Without being prompted or asked many questions. You should try it sometime; talk to a stranger and see how open they are. I learned rather quickly to avoid elderly women. Not that they talked rubbish, but they talk a lot and I felt guilty having to stop them mid story to catch my bus or whatever.

Now I'm in this new country, and trying to make friends. I find it hard to meet new people when I'm now the one being asked to talk. Aussies ask a lot of questions. Not rude or unwelcome questions, but normal curiosity questions. Only thing is I've now become so used to listening, I'm rather uncomfortable having to talk about myself.

I think I've become dull. I'm not bothered about it, but still, it's come as a surprise. I'm going to be that old woman at the bus stop who doesn't know they're blithering on. I really don't want to be that person.

(I think I'm a little bit depressed after my birthday, don't mind me.) ( <- See! I can still be a drama queen when I want to be!)