misslynx: (Default)

Support rape crisis centers and enter to win an advance copy of The Snow Queen’s Shadow, by Jim C. Hines.

Fantasy author (and all-around cool person) Jim C. Hines ([livejournal.com profile] jimhines) is doing an online fundraiser for rape crisis centres, in recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness month. You can donate directly to your local rape crisis centre, or to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, a US-based organization), and then send him an e-mail letting him know how much and to whom you donated. The initial prize is, as it says above, an advance copy of his latest book, but for every $500 raised he will add another prize. Further details via the above link.
misslynx: (Default)
It's that time, folks - four weeks since the last one, rather than two, this time.

The entries for the latest challenge in the Last Author Standing contest, Original Fiction version ([livejournal.com profile] originalfic_las) can be found here, along with the voting post (I have belatedly realized that linking to the day in the community's archives gives you handy access to both posts in one place).

We are down to only six(!) entries now, which means, if I understand it all correctly, that after this one we will be in the final stretch where no one is allowed to use "skips" any more (basically, free passes that you get for various reasons that allow you to skip a challenge without being disqualified). I'm kind of pleased to have made it this far, considering that we started out with 52 entries in the first challenge. Though of course I am hoping to make it yet further... I guess we'll see.

Anyway: as before, voting is open to anyone with an LJ account, and no, I can't tell you which is mine (and would have preferred not to even if it was allowed, as I'd rather know that if I get votes, it's because people genuinely liked what I wrote, and not just out of loyalty). So: go read, go vote!

. . .

In other news, I have been in a huge work crunch for the past week or so, getting very little sleep - I am actually going to be going to bed shortly after posting this, and that will be the earliest night I've had in probably 9 or 10 days. And yes, it's 3:15 am. These days, getting to bed before the sun comes up feels like luxury.

Also, I would really appreciate it if my DSL connection would stop flaking out on me. All day today, it's been up and down like a yo-yo. Very annoying. Right at the moment it is down, but if you see this post timestamped tonight, you'll know it came up before I went to bed. If tomorrow, then apparently it didn't.

. . .

Also, random question: would anyone happen to know of any children's books with steampunk elements to them? By "children's" I don't mean "young adult" books written for teenagers, but books aimed at kids whose ages are still a single digit, and not necessarily a high one. The Lynxcub picked up a library book I had out recently which while geared toward adults, had a few illustrations sprinkled through it, and started asking me lots of questions about the pictures - in particular, about airships.

I did try just googling "steampunk children's books", but most of what I found was YA or at least geared toward considerably older kids than him. That said, he does sometimes like hearing stories that are meant for at least a somewhat older age range - I was able to read Alice in Wonderland to him - but there are limits. Among them, he still requires there to be interesting pictures in order for a book to hold his attention (preferably, at least one per double-page spread, otherwise he may get antsy and start trying to turn the page while I'm still reading).

So... any steampunk-ish books out there for younger kids?
misslynx: (Art - Deliria)
[livejournal.com profile] satyrblade just announced that he's putting up a small number of copies of the long-out-of-print Deliria book for sale (autographed if you want) for $30 each - check it out. The book is otherwise pretty hard to find... I have a copy, of course, but some of you who I game with might want your own.

(BTW, for anyone who doesn't know, [livejournal.com profile] satyrblade = Phil Brucato = developer of Mage: the Ascension as well as Deliria, and author of a whole whack of White Wolf gaming books before and after he went independent to start his own company.)
misslynx: (Aidan - w/stick)
Spent pretty much all day with the Lynxcub today - picked him up at 1:30, stopped by Bavia Arts, a Brazilian drumming/dance centre in the neighbourhood that was having an open house today, then off to the WCC's family circle for the equinox, then back here for an overnight stay (after a brief stop chez [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik to pick up the cub's pajamas. He'll be staying over tomorrow night as well, because their apartment building is being sprayed tomorrow, so this is quite the intensive visit.

Most entertaining conversation: at the streetcar stop, he spontaneously asked me, with an impish smile, "Do cats eat bats?" which is a quote from Alice in Wonderland, which I've been reading to him lately. Then he asked me if bats ate people, and I assured him that people were much bigger than bats as a general rule, so we didn't have to worry about being eaten by them. I told him most bats ate bugs, like mosquitoes, but there were fruit bats that ate fruit and flowers, and vampire bats that did sometimes bite people, but didn't eat them - they just drank a little bit of blood, like a mosquito would. And assured him that the bats we have here are not the vampire sort.

He asked why bats ate mosquitoes, and I told him that a mosquito was a tasty snack for a bat, because the blood they drank from people made them all fat and juicy, and while a mosquito wouldn't taste good to a human, to a bat it would be yummy because they have different tastes.

He thought about that for a while, and then said decisively: "I think I like strawberries better."

Then he asked me why I had several stuffed toy bats (three small, one large), and I told him I'd seen them at Ikea and thought they were cute, which is pretty much the case. I think this may have been followed by a few other bat-related questions. Then he said, thoughtfully:

"There's a subway station in my house, because I like to take the subway. And I have some real bats there, and real cats too, there, but the cats don't eat the bats and the bats don't eat the cats. And I have some mosquitoes with the wings taken off, so they're easy for the bats to eat. And I have a kite, which is all sparkly and shiny, and I fly it in the subway station for my bats to bat at like a cat toy while they're flying!"

. . .

BTW, on the topic of Kettu and Optimystik's apartment getting sprayed, if anyone's available tomorrow evening to help them move everything back into place, that would be awesome. For anyone who's never gone through it, you have to move all your furniture away from the walls and pile everything into the middle of the room, which in many cases means having to take down Ikea shelves and that sort of thing. Not fun. They had a couple of helpers today, but haven't got anyone lined up for tomorrow, and putting everything back is going to be a pretty monumental task - which is pretty much going to all fall on Optimystik's shoulders, because Kettu's got to take care of the baby. So if anyone's available to help them, please do - I can't, because I'll be looking after the Lynxcub here.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
So apparently we just had an earthquake an hour ago. Magnitude 5.something, though centred pretty far away from here.

I did not notice anything whatsoever, and am vaguely disappointed.

I mean, not that I would have liked to be in the midst of a disaster-movie scenario, but I've never experienced an earthquake before, and it would have been nice to have at least noticed it. I suppose it happened when I was out with Kiska, en route to the library to take some books back, and I guess it was less noticeable outside because there's not as much stuff to be shaking out there. But really, you'd think I'd have felt something... Oh well.

. . .

In other news, I have been trying to teach the Lynxcub about geography, via all the World Cup flags we keep seeing around. This has had an unexpected side effect: he's now obsessed with Argentina, because (a) he likes their flag best (two big sky blue stripes and a sun in between), and (b) I made the mistake of letting him know they have penguins there.

Now he will only watch videos of Argentinian penguins. Seriously. The ones in Chile and Antarctica just aren't good enough. When I initially searched for penguin videos on YouTube for him yesterday, he had a near-meltdown over it: "But I want to see penguins from ARGENTIIINNNAAAAAA!!!" (imagine this in a rising wail that went from mildly disappointed-sounding to near-hysteria in about 5 seconds). Thankfully I was able to find some, on the National Geographic site.

This lends a new element of irony to the fact that his big stuffed penguin is named Tango. While initially a reference to And Tango Makes Three, the most banned book in the US in recent years and one of the Cub's favourites (I'm so proud of his tastes in illicit literature), it's also, of course, a style of dance that originated in... Argentina!
misslynx: (Default)
  1. [livejournal.com profile] optimystik is participating in a CN Tower climb for the World Wildlife Fund on April 15, and needs sponsors. The idea is to climb all the way up the zillion stairs in the CN Tower (1776 steps!) - and he's also trying to set a speed record. Most people take 30-40 minutes or more to do it - he's trying for less than 11 minutes. (Because he's insane like that. But in a good way.)

    Details here. You can sponsor him for any amount you choose, either via the official online sponsorship page if you have a credit card, or by commenting to his LJ post about it if you'd rather do it via cash or PayPal or whatever.

    . . .

    Elsewhere, [livejournal.com profile] jimhines is raffling off (sort of) an autographed advance review copy of his latest novel, Red Hood’s Revenge, to raise money for rape crisis centres. You make a donation either to the US-based Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or to your local rape crisis centre, and the e-mail him at endrape@jimchines.com to let him know, before April 16.

    Details here.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
This looks really cool: Magical Child Books. One of everything, please!

I'm especially excited that Catherynne M. Valente (a.k.a [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) has got a kids' book coming out. Considering the incredible awesomeness of her fantasy books for adults, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she's written for kids.

BTW, the most magical kids' book I've found to date is Let the Lynx Come In by Jonathan London. It's a poetic, beautifully illustrated story about a little boy going for a nighttime ride through the northern woods on the back of a lynx who climbs up the northern lights to take him to the moon. It's so beautifully written that it made me cry to read it the first time. Also, LYNX.

It's out of print (I found it at the library), but I'm going to try and find a used copy - Amazon's got a few listed via other sellers, though given their latest round of evil I should probably try other sources first. Also, the author has apparently written a TON of other kids' books - as in 18+ pages' worth of listings on Amazon. Not all of them seem to be done in the sort of dreamy mythopoetic style of that one - a lot look more like standard kids' books, which are much less interesting to me - but a number of them do seem to have been done in a similar style, and I have been madly adding them to my kids-books wishlist. Sadly, most of the cool-looking ones are OOP. I suppose now I know one author I'll be looking for every time every time I hit a used bookstore from now on...
misslynx: (Clucking Bell)

So, unless you've been cut of from the Internet for the whole long weekend, you've probably already heard about the AmazonRank shitstorm (and yes, that link was a Googlebomb -- feel free to pass it on!).

If you HAVE been cut off from the Internet or in some other way missed it, the quick summary is: over the weekend, Amazon removed the sales rankings of pretty nearly all queer-themed books in their catalog except for those written from a fundamentalist Christian anti-gay perspective. Removing the sales rankings mean that not only do those books not show a sales rank on the book page (which would be pretty trivial), but they also don't show up on bestsellers lists and, most importantly, don't show up in search results. So once this was done, searching for a keyword like "homosexuality" brought up nothing but How-Jesus-can-help-you-not-be-gay type books.

Initially the autoresponse they sent to people complaining said that they'd deranked books with "adult" content, "in consideration of our entire customer base" - i.e. to keep from offending absolutely anyone, supposedly. But they did not derank heterosexual books that were far more graphically sexual than most of the ones that got it, and they did derank a lot of queer books that were completely non-sexual, like travel guides, biographies, historical books and even children's books!

Now, they're claiming it was a software glitch and is being fixed. This really doesn't sound terribly convincing to me. I do think it was likely a technical screw-up in some sense, but not just a random glitch that happened out of the blue. And whatever happened, they owe the public a lot better explanation than that.

My e-mail to Amazon )

My initial comment on this, which I posted in one of the communities I first saw the issue raised in, was a little more heated and less well thought-out. After sleeping on it, I think it's worth remembering that Amazon doesn't have any sort of history of being anti-gay or otherwise right-wing -- as I mentioned in my e-mail, they've always had the reputation of being a fairly liberal company. So I don't really think they've randomly become right-wing homophobes overnight. However, they've certainly screwed up in some kind of substantive way here, and I think they owe people a real explanation and apology.

. . .

One of the aggravating things about the whole saga for me, as well as previous calls to boycott them over other issues, is that in Canada, Amazon.ca is the only major online bookseller that carries titles from independent publishers, so boycotting them means there's a lot of books I just can't buy at all. Americans can go to Powell's (who I heard is having a sale on LGBT titles in response to all this), Borders, etc., but none of those companies, last I checked, operated in Canada. And yes, it's possible to order books internationally, but it's really bloody expensive. By the time you factor in the exchange rate, international shipping, duty, etc. a $15 book ends up costing you $35-40 a lot of the time. Meanwhile, we do have Chapters-Indigo here, who are Canadian -- but they only stock books from large mainstream publishers, which means that a lot of the books I tend to order online can't be found there.

So honestly, I'm really hoping Amazon get their shit together and come out with some kind of coherent response to all this. Because while I can't in good conscience buy anything from them until it's resolved, that boycott is going to be a major pain in the ass to sustain for any length of time.

. . .

I was going to include a list of links to all the various sites dealing with this, but honestly, the info is absolutely bloody everywhere at this point, so I'm sure you can all find it on your own, and I'm overdue to go edit my dad's textbook manuscript, plus have one more post I really need to make before I leave.
misslynx: (Default)
He just won the Newberry Medal for The Graveyard Book (a very prestigious award for children's books), and his blog entry about it is hilarious.
misslynx: (Default)
So, one of the lesser, but still present, of the variety of sucky things that have been going on in my life in this past little while is that I appeared to have lost a library book. I had gone to my local public library for the first time in quite some while just as I was getting sick, in order to stock up on fiction books to read while sick, and when it came time to return the lot of them in early September, along with The Omnivore's Dilemma which I'd had on hold for ages before my name finally came to the top of the list a little while after I'd checked those out, there was one I couldn't find. I looked all over, but it was nowhere to be found.

Recalling [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie's reorganization of my apartment, I asked her if she remembered seeing it anywhere, but she did not recall seeing any library book in a different location from the others. And I couldn't remember when or where I'd last seen it anyway. So I searched more, on repeated occasions, but still no luck.

I even considered doing the turning-a-glass-upside-down-for-the-fairies thing (a symbolic way of promising them a drink if they'll give back what they stole help you find something), but for some reason didn't get around to it, which in retrospect may have been my subconscious trying to tell me something.

Anyway, today I had to go to the library because the other Michael Pollan book I'd been waiting for, In Defence of Food, had finally come in, but I still didn't know what to do about the missing book, or whether they'd let me take out the book I'd waited months for if I had one out that was overdue.

So I set about searching really thoroughly -- looking under furniture, climbing up on the stepladder to look at places way up high, pulling things out from the wall to look behind them, even opening boxes in case it had fallen into one somehow... and still no luck. I ended up sitting down on my bed in frustration and racking my brain to try and think where I'd last seen it. Had I been reading it in bed when I was sick? Had I ever put it back with the others? It was hard to remember, because it was the first one of the lot that I'd read, before I'd even checked out The Omnivore's Dilemma...

And it was right about then that a sudden light exploded in my head: I had finished reading it before I'd checked out The Omnivore's Dilemma. Which meant before the last time I'd been to the library. Which meant that, quite possibly, where it had been hiding all this time that it was "missing" was back on the fucking shelves on the library, because I had already returned it.

I wasn't 100% sure, but it seemed like a distinct, if embarrassing possibility, so when I went to the library to get In Defence of Food and another book that caught my eye while I was there, I asked the guy who checked them out for me "Um, this might sound weird, but do I have any other books checked out right now?"

He looked at the computer and said "Nope, just these two."

So. All that time I had been stressing about the missing book and tearing up my apartment looking for it, and the book was back at the library the whole time. That is equal parts relieving and embarrassing, I think. Now I know why the little ceramic fairy by my desk has been giving me that "What fools these mortals be" look lately.

. . .

I should add: fear not, Moogie, I did not undo all your organizational work. Everything I moved or opened to look in/on/behind/under it got put back where it had been.

. . .

I should also add: I do not intend to give the impression with the opening line of this post, or other random bits of kvetching I have done lately, that my life is nothing but non-stop suckage. In most respects my life is actually pretty non-sucky. All instances of suckage are localized and, hopefully, temporary.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
Well. There are now two partially assembled Ikea BILLY bookshelves in my entrance hall. Initially this filled me with a sense of accomplishment, until I got the part where I tried to stand one of them up (having had them lying down on their sides to assemble them.

Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First thing that happened was I got all the wooden pegs in (the first step in putting the frames together), discovered this made them into sort of tippy parallelograms, and quickly started trying to fasten in the little bolt thingies that looked like they were meant to hold them more securely. Checked to see what sort of screwdriver was necessary for this, and discovered that oh wait, these don't want a screwdriver at all.

Ikea: it's Swedish for HEX KEY. How could I have forgotten?

Off I go to see if I can obtain a set of hex keys from a corner store in my neighbourhood at 11:30pm. First, this involves trying to squeeze past/over/under/around/through the two partially assembled bookcases, which as I may have mentioned are in the entrance hall. Mostly blocking it. But I successfully got out. Sadly, the one with the large-ish hardware section did not have hex keys. Happily, the one with the almost nonexistent hardware section did. Go figure.

So, back to apartment, manage to squeeze through bookcases again, put in bolts, tighten bolts with hex key. All good.

Attempt to slide back pieces of bookshelves in along grooves placed there for that purpose. Discover that backs are supposed to be screwed down. Go looking for small package of screws I bought several days ago with the (correct) expectation I might be needing a lot of them. Cannot find.

Off I go again after squeezing through bookcases again, to get screws from the same corner store. In store, am affectionately attacked by an attention-starved ginger cat that wants to play and does not know the meaning of "soft paws!". Escape with only a few scratches, and a package of screws.

Back in (clambering through bookcases again). Set about screwing on back of first bookcase. Success. Then discover I positioned it wrong and that one edge was supposed to have slid under these little holder thingies on the middle fixed shelf. Oops. Unscrew, reposition, rescrew. Discover other part of bookcase back is in upside down. Thankfully have not screwed down yet. Have to move bookcase about three feet down the hall in order to slide this part out, though, as I originally put it in from the other end, which is now blocked by the one I did screw down. Successfully remove and reinsert, screw down.

Ikea: it's Swedish for "some assembly required".

Worry a little that things don't seem to be fitting together quite right, but what do I really expect from 20-year-old Ikea bookshelves? Everything's a little warped, so it's kind of like that Lovecraftian angles-are-wrong thing.

Move on to second bookshelf. Start to slide back piece on, then realize that the top shelf is in backwards. Oops.

Consider that maybe I really don't need to get these up and finished tonight after all. Go back to computer and try to do work. Get distracted by half-finished bookshelves in my peripheral vision. Cave and go back to bookshelf assembly after about two minutes of attempting work.

Remove all bolts from second bookcase, lift off side, turn shelf around, realize it's really supposed to be the middle shelf because it has those little holder thingies for the back pieces on it, swap middle and top shelf, make sure all the shelves are actually facing the right way this time, put side back on, put all bolts back in. Slide back pieces most of the way in, blocked by clamps holding damaged part of one shelf that is currently being glued back together.

Return attention to first shelf. Decide I am now ready to stand it up and add the four movable shelves that go on with little pegs in addition to the three bolted-on fixed shelves, so that I can at least unpack half the books tonight.

Can anyone guess from the above description what was wrong with this idea?

You may have noted that I was assembling these bookshelves -- very tall, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves -- in a hallway. A long, narrow hallway. With them tipped up on their sides. The bolts that hold everything together go in the side.

Both sides, to be precise. Not just the one currently facing upward. Oops.

Manage to lift the now relatively heavy, mostly-assembled bookcase a little way off the ground. Discover what happens when the underneath side is not bolted on. Drop now-half-falling-apart bookcase back down, with muttered expletives. Everything lands wrong and one back piece pops back out from under the little holder thingies. Manage to get all wooden pegs lined up again and bookshelf back together. Discover that back piece is now stuck out in a warped position and will not go back under holder thingies. Not unless I unscrew it again, slide it out, put it back again, and screw it down again. Do this.

Stare at bookcase which is now mostly assembled again, but still lacking any bolts on the underneath side, as is its companion with the still-being-glued shelf. Try to decide how the hell to get either one of them into a vertical position, or even a turned-over-to-the other-side position, so that I can put the rest of the bolts in, without having them fall apart in the process, all within the confines of a long narrow hallway.

Am fresh out of ideas as to how to do that.

Ikea: it's Swedish for "Fuck this, I need a drink."
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Received from Amazon.ca:
We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated The Book of Results by Ray Sherwin have also purchased Mystical Dragon Magick: Teachings of the Five Inner Rings by D.J. Conway. For this reason, you might like to know that Mystical Dragon Magick: Teachings of the Five Inner Rings will be released on October 1, 2007...

Er... Surely you jest.

I don't know which is more brain-explodey, the idea of chaos magicians ordering DJ Conway books, or the fact that they appear to have done it before the book actually became available.

Perhaps I will try and reassure myself that, if this correlation actually did somehow happen, it was only done as an experiment in time travel and not with the intent of actually reading the book.

I should probably cross-post this to [livejournal.com profile] dot_pagan_snark...
misslynx: (Froud - The Wild Wood)
Someone just posted a wonderful quote, from one of my favourite Diskworld books, in [livejournal.com profile] deliriacodex. Deliria is a role-playing game, but don't let that throw you off -- the passage in question is inspiring way beyond that context. The book it comes from is about a young girl learning to be a witch, and is potentially a lot more useful than many non-fiction books on that topic.

Also in inspiring quotes I've stumbled across recently:
Magic is not something that can be confined. It quickly spills out into other life areas, catching the unwary off guard, propelling the practitioner into a liminal space of heightened sensibility and awareness of other presences, other possibilities. The realization that 'everything is alive and significant', as William S. Burroughs put it, is only a breath away. To enter the faery realm takes but a single step. Magic is not something which one merely 'does'. It's personal, up-close. It twists you and skews your perception of the world tipping you into a world if signs and portents. A territory of fathomless symbol, of mysteries lurking in the shadows. The magician is hypersensitive to the sudden implosion of significance, which is at times a blessing, at others a curse.
And from later in the same book:
This experience, this core, out of which magis -- power -- bursts forth, for me is the core of magic -- the central mystery, if you like. Gnosis of the presence of a god rips away the veils and leaves you gasping, breathless. Character armour is blown away and briefly, you touch the heart of that unknowable mystery, coming away with a shard embedded. It drops away, it works its way in, it becomes a dull ache, so we have to go back for more. Most of the 'set' magical rituals that I've done or participated in don't even come close to this. Yet all of the magical acts which I have done responding to external circumstance, the crash of events or some burdening inner need have thrust me into the foreground of the mystery... Real magic is wild.
The source? Believe it or not, Phil Hine's Pseudonomicon, which is about working magic with the Cthulhu mythos! And yet, contains a lot of really fascinating insights that are relevant to anyone doing any kind of magic, regardless of whether they have any interest in Lovecraft or think you'd have to be insane to want to work with that stuff voluntarily.

I guess the connecting thread between these two finds is: inspiration comes to you from the most unexpected places, if you let it.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Best spam subject line of the day:

My bookshelf is banshee

I have no idea what that could possibly mean, but nevertheless my first thought was "Really? Mine too!"
misslynx: (Default)
I am finally reading Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality, recommended to me over a year and a half ago when I was seeking out interesting books to wishlist for my birthday last year.

And wow... It is brain-explodey goodness. Thus far, we're into fairies, UFO sighting, religious visions, alchemy, Jung and Neoplatonism, and that's just in the first chapter or two.

I think I first started to get that little tingle of "This is going to be one of those books!" when I read in the introduction that the book was partly an attempt to move beyond Western thought's insistence on strictly separating objective and subjective realities, something I've been wrestling with for some time.

And by "those books" I mean the ones that draw me in enough that if I try and read them on public transit, I end up still with my nose buried in the book all the way off the subway, up the stairs, and out onto the street, until I actually physically run into someone. The ones that manage to crystallize some of the many disparate thoughts that are always circling around in my head, and bring them together into a new synthesis.

And thinking about that makes me realize, in turn, how many of the books that have had that effect on me are syntheses -- books that cross disciplinary divides and bring together insights from seemingly unrelated areas. I think I gravitate toward those because that's a bit part of how my own mind works -- why I consistently opted for interdisciplinary programs and/or multiple majors in university (first anthropology and women's studies as a double major, then an interdisciplinary fine arts program, then environmental studies), and also why I never seem to be able to be content with any one spiritual path. I don't, like the stereotypical eclectic, lack the ability to stick with something long-term -- the fact that I've remained involved in Odyssean Wicca for 25 years should be evidence of that -- but I find that no matter where my studies are concentrated at any point in time, I'm always to some degree looking over the next hill, wondering what's over there and how it might related to what's here. If I try and focus exclusively on one thing for any length of time I start feeling a sort of intellectual claustrophobia. I seem to be at my best when I'm synthesizing things, making connections, tracing patterns.

I think that sort of approach is somewhat out of favour now, at least among a lot of "serious" pagans these days. Perhaps because of the tendency of past scholars, particularly during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, to over-universalize, and look for commonalities between different cultures and traditions to the point of losing sight of their differences, and trying to force-fit everything into a common (usually Greco-Roman) model. But I think it's possible to go too far to the "splitter" side as much as to the "lumper" side. I suppose what I'm most interested in is finding a middle ground, where connections between things can be perceived without losing sight of the distinctiveness of the things being connected.

It's funny -- this is also reflected in a discussion [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu and I had yesterday about one of the dynamics that seems to underlie a lot of our arguments. She tends to focus very much on specifics and I focus more on patterns or overall trends. Often, I'll want to discuss some pattern I see developing in our lives or our relationship, and she'll want specific, concrete examples, but I can't always think of them. Our levels of focus seem to be different... Which does not make either her perceptions or mine invalid, but means we sometimes seems to cause a sort of cognitive disconnect. I'm Forest Girl and she's Tree Girl.

Anyway, enough on that for now. My main point bringing this up was just to say that (a) Daimonic Reality is thus far shaping up to be a great book, which I will probably soon be urging everyone I know to read, and (b) many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wire_mother for recommending it!

I shall attempt a Real Journal Update sometime soon. It's been a while.
misslynx: (Default)
Just realizing it's been over two weeks since I last posted anything, and longer than that since I last posted anything public. I think I generally post less when I'm happy with life. Which I mostly am, right now.

Part of that is just the nature of spring -- I think I must have a touch of SAD or something. I'm not necessarily depressed all through winter, but I do tend to be a little more angsty and introverted then. But when spring comes, it's like my serotonin levels skyrocket and everything seems right with the world. Little things like walking under a couple of flowering trees in front of Nikos's old apartment building on St. Clair and seeing the sidewalk strewn with pink petals, or seeing a professional dog walker walking a whole pack of various sorts of dogs on a huge multi-leash type of thing, fill me with intense delight.

And it's not even just that all seems right with the world -- all pretty much is right with the world right now, or at least the world chez Lynx. I am, overall, happier than I have been in a long time, I think. Here are a few reasons:

The Goodness )

And a pensive note... )
misslynx: (Default)
We (well, mostly my partners, actually) have caulked virtually every crevice we could find in the kitchen and bathroom that could be providing access for roaches, and the ones that were too big to caulk, like the holes around the pipes leading to the sinks and radiators, have been filled with spray-in foam insulation. And tonight, we broke out the MaxForce gel - fairly heavy duty stuff, though not as toxic as some pesticides, but apparently here it's only supposed to be sold to licensed exterminators. Thankfully, our local hardware store is flexible on that...

Details of the destruction )

In other news, the first half of my Amazon.ca birthday book order has arrived. Yes, my birthday was a month and a half ago. No, they did not take that long to ship them - I didn't order them until late March because the birthday money I got from relatives initially went to pay bills. But I am now the proud owner of David Abram's The Spell of the Sensuous, T. Thorn Coyle's Evolutionary Withcraft, and Claude Lecouteux's Witches, Werewolves and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages. The other three will apparently be shipped later.

I am currently reading the Abram book, and finding it simultaneously amazing and frustrating. He has some really interesting ideas, about the role of traditional healers and magicians being to exist on the boundary of human society and mediate between the human and nonhuman worlds, and the spirits and powers of indigenous societies being not necessarily "supernatural", but manifest in nature. However, he also has a few ideological blind spots that I find aggravating. If he approached the nature-as-spirit idea in a more open-ended and less reductionist way, I think I'd like it better. As it stands, he seems to be simultaneously expanding and restriction perception -- trying to open the reader's mind to the possibility of seeing the divine in nature, while at the same time implicitly denying that it exists anywhere else:
When a magician spoke of a power or "presence" lingering in the corner of his house, I learned to notice the ray of sunlight that was then pouring in through a chink in the roof, and to realize that that column of light was indeed a power, influencing the air currents by its warmth, and indeed influencing the whole mood of the room; although I had not consciously seen it before, it had already been structuring my experience.
But what if the power the magician spoke of wasn't only the ray of light? There are tons of examples like this just in the part of the book I've read so far. Abram seems to feel that by learning to perceive the spiritual in the natural, he's somehow cracked the code that indigenous people apparently speak in, and realized that it's really all just one big metaphor, that all this talk of spirits and powers is really just a different way of looking at animals, plants, rivers, rays of light, etc., and that this is a grand epiphany that western society needs to be awakened to. And it may be that in part, but by reducing spiritual experience to only a different way of perceiving nature, he also neatly eliminates any aspects of it that might be genuinely threatening to the western rationalist mindset. No actual spirits here, nothing "supernatural", nothing genuinely challenging, just a different way of looking at things.

He claims that most traditional cultures don't believe in "an immaterial realm outside earthly nature", and thus seems to sweep away the possibility that all that talk of a spirit world could possibly be anything more than a metaphor for nature. The possibility of a spirit realm that is not wholly separate from physical nature but not identical with it either; that overlays the visible world and is congruent with it, but at the same time occupies a different level of existence, isn't acknowledged. He doesn't seem to be able to conveive of any third option between the purely immanent, nothing-but-physical perspective, and abstract "heavens and hells" with no connection to nature.

Oh well. Still a fascinating read.

And yes, I am fully cognizant of the irony of reading a book on remaking our relationship with nonhuman nature at the same time as I am trying to eradicate it from my kitchen.
misslynx: (Small Manageable Goats)
OK, so back on New Year's Eve I reviewed my goats, er, goals from the previous year, along with progress of lack thereof on each one, and said I'd cull the herd and assemble this year's goats in part two. So that would be now. Some of these are carried over or adapted from last year, some are new.

So, behold the 33 goats of 2006! )
misslynx: (Small Manageable Goats)
Well, the new year may have officially started back in November for many pagan folk of various stripes, but there's something about the secular new year that seems to inspire planning and the making of resolutions, or the setting of goats, er goals. (The goats/goals thing is a long-running joke chez nous, most of you are probably used to it by now.)

So, time to review last year's goats:

the list )


misslynx: (Default)

April 2011

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