Monday, December 17, 2007
Thanks to Senator Larry Craig for sending me this link. Oh, and if you can't view it on my blog (Wuff) just cut and paste this link into your browser:
Friday, December 14, 2007
And next to the real thing, I enjoy Harry Potter spoofs. This is one, about poor inner city kids unable to attend Hogwarts under the school voucher program, is my all-time favorite:
Then there's the delightful Puppet Pal spoofs. This one - the 'Wizard Swears' skit - is my favorite. EXPECTO PATRONADS!! Good stuff, just watch it:
Of course, if you long for the real thing and haven't seen the movie, here is my favorite scene:
Ralph Feinnes is Lord Voldemort, and I love how the battle scene wordlessly juxtaposed the Dark Lord's raging power against Dumbledore's more mature, controlled form of magic. It was so well-done, and I can hardly bear the thought of waiting almost a year before the release of The Half Blood Prince!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A few days ago I shot this photo of my daughter sharing a moment with our 17-year-old Shetland pony, Kipper. It's now officially one of my all-time favorite photos and reminds me of why I love raising my children in the country.
This day in age there's so many things to get irritated about. But it's the quiet moments that make us realize the things we have to be happy about.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I never thought I'd say this, but I will be participating in politics this upcoming election cycle. After swearing off The System, I decided last night to amuse myself nonetheless by watching the CNN YouTube/GOP debate. My original motivation was to watch Nitwit Romney get his magic Mormon underwear in a twist in the event he was questioned by the snowman. So sue me; until last night politicians were only good for entertainment value.
Then something happened - something quite unexpected. I found myself impressed, not by the over-handled, over-hyped likes of Fred Thompson and Rudolph Guliani, but by rep. Ron Paul, the geeky-looking former obstetrical doctor who was the only one with the balls to answer his questions directly.
Of course, the effect of this was that they just stopped calling on him. The media no longer sees itself as Objective Observer, but as King-Maker eager to make or break the person they deem fit to lead the U.S. of A. So it won't do to give too much attention to the man they fear won't play their game.
This was evidenced all the more this morning when, on CNN, an opinion poll had viewers giving Rep. Paul the highest marks by viewers. The bimbo commentator instantly implied that Paul supporters had flooded the call lines and skewed the vote. On Fox, which is nothing more than an extension of the GOP Circle Jerk, it was even worse. Their morning show idiots didn't even mention Paul.
If Paul is making the media that nervous with his talk of stripping politicians of power to tax us to death, pulling our big American nose out of countries where it doesn't belong, and returning more choice to the People, that's the man for me. And it should be the man for you, unless you want to spend the next eight years watching this nation being driven off the proverbial cliff.
Of course, this support comes at a personal cost, since it means I'll have to agree with that annoying little Vox Day, but for balance it puts me even more at odds with Bane, who refers to Paul supporters as Flying Monkeys. To that I can only say that once the wings actually break through the skin on your shoulders, it isn't so bad. And flying above the political landscape lends a much better view than the one you'll get on your knees blowing the likes of Rudy Giuliani.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have withdrawn a subpoena seeking the identities of thousands of people who bought used books through online retailer Amazon.com Inc, newly unsealed court records show.
The withdrawal came after a judge ruled the customers have a First Amendment right to keep their reading habits from the government.
Seattle-based Amazon said in court documents it hopes Judge Stephen Crocker's decision will make it more difficult for prosecutors to obtain records involving book purchases. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said Tuesday he doubted the ruling would hamper legitimate investigations.
Crocker - who unsealed documents detailing the showdown against prosecutors' wishes - said he believed prosecutors were seeking the information for a legitimate purpose. But he said First Amendment concerns were justified and outweighed the subpoena's law enforcement purpose.
"The subpoena is troubling because it permits the government to peek into the reading habits of specific individuals without their knowledge or permission," Crocker wrote. "It is an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against somebody else.
Please don't be lulled into any false sense of security because this latest little federal spy expedition was thwarted. A government that wants this kind of power over its citizen isn't going to let some little pesky court order stop it.
I'm a compulsive book buyer, and have purchased and sold books on Amazon.com for years. This afternoon I went through a list of what I've bought or put on my wish list, and what kind of profile I'd fit based on my book purchases. It isn't pretty, so if you are one of the few people who have a pleasant image of me, please turn back now.
Over the last year, I bought at least a dozen books on ritual magick, several books of an sex or erotic literature, two wilderness survival guides (you know it's a genuine survival guide when the first page contains a warning that due to disease, the reader should only eat rats as a last resort), two books on archery, about ten adult and children's novels, including The Golden Compass, six books on sewing and handcrafts, five books on gardening, two book on Latin and three books catering to my inner anarchist, including the The Book of Lies and the Anarchist's Cookbook.
So I suppose to a literary profiler, this would make me a sex-crazed witch with anti-government tendencies, armed with survival and crafting abilities to be used in my impending war against the local law enforcement agencies, who will need backup once I start shooting hexes and arrows at them from behind the tomato plants. And that children's literature I bought? Pfft. That's just a cover that allows me to walk the streets undetected for What I Am - a pagan anarchist with mad sewing skills, a walking, talking threat to the Establishment if there ever was one. A threat that will only be realized when it's too late..
Now, I don't know what your reading profile would say about you, but you might want to take a look and remove that Bushisms calendar you put on your wish list. Or at least balance it with some writings by Ann Coulter or some other author in the GOP Circle Jerk. After all, it's what all the Good Little Soldiers are reading.
Besides, unless you're reading something wrong, you don't have anything to worry about? Right?....Right?...
Sunday, November 25, 2007
What can I say about Wes? Not enough, really. He's funny, smart, creative, extroverted, introspective, idealistic, witty, handsome, a bit hot-headed....of all my kids I'd say he and I have the most in common. We talk. A lot.
And that's good because this past year has been a tough one for him. In April he went through a pretty traumatic break-up and for awhile we were all worried about him. He genuinely loved the girl he'd been dating, so much that he refused to see the writing on the wall when things started to go south. After they split, Wes drifted a bit. Things had been so intense between him and Courtney that it was hard for him to go anywhere or do anything without being reminded of what he'd lost.
Wes has learned a lot over the last seven months, mostly about how to be alone and how to be OK with it. As weird as it sounds, that's not something a lot of people can do; not everyone is comfortable in their own skin. It's been very good for him, and I'm proud that he worked on that rather than jump back into another relationship just so he could have someone on his arm.
There's no shortage of girls wanting to date him, but Wes - having learned the importance of being selective - is learning how to balance attraction with the kind of necessary assessment that help avoid trouble in the long run. Because in addition to his other qualities, Wes is a hopeless romantic. When he says, "I love you," it means something, and he's looking a girl worthy of those words.
I'm really, really proud of him. He's such a great kid. And it's cool to see him not only grow into adulthood, but also act the part. What a cool guy.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Some of the surveys are way too intrusive to answer. Like I'm going to actually tell someone how many sexual positions I've tried. Those are usually the surveys that carry a chain-letter type threat at the end, something along the lines of: "If you don't answer this honestly and repost, you will die." People who fill those out because they are scared are just stupid.
Most people fill surveys out because they are bored. I'm rarely, if every bored, so I never filled one out. But this morning, finding myself finished two days early with what I figured was a weeks-long writing project, I faced a choice. Either fill out a survey or clean the house. Guess which I chose?
3 names you go by?
3. Vic (but only to Jamie and Howard, who are too lazy to say Victoria)
3 things you are wearing right now :
1. Big Harry Potter towel wrapped around my body. Twice
2. Smaller towel wrapping up my wet hair
3. Nothing else
*You must answer every question TRUTHFULLY
 Are you in a relationship of any type?
 Have you ever been given roses?
 What is your all-time favorite romance movie?
 How many times have you honestly been in love?
 Do you believe that everyone has a soul-mate?
I'd like to think that.
 What's your current problem?
The toy explosion covering the playroom floor and the five-year-old who thinks he's above cleaning up his own mess.
 Have you ever Had a Long Distance Relationship?
No...no, wait. I'm sort of having one now. I'm having an imaginary affair with Severus Snape. I guess that counts as long distance since Hogwarts is in Europe. But then again, the affair is in my head, which is attached to my body so maybe it's not long distance. What's up with the trick questions, anyway??
 Have you ever seen a friend as more than a friend?
 Do you believe the statement, "Once a cheater always a cheater"
I'd need a better definition of cheater. Some people cheat with good reason and I believe they can change. But some cheat recreationaly, because they're arrogant players or because they think they're entitled to have their cake and eat it, too. I don't think the second type can every change and why I might be casual friends with such a person I'd never have a relationship with one.
 How many kids do you want to have?
No thanks. Already had them.
 What are your favorite colors?
Green. And more green.
 Do you believe you can only have 1 true love?
I used to believe that.
 Imagine you're 79 and your spouse just died, would you get re-married?
No. I'd have a string of meaningless affairs. With younger men.
 At what age did you start noticing the opposite sex?
I think I was like ten or so. I had a crush on a boy named Mark Farrior. His mom was a biology teacher and so he considered himself an expert on all things, including how people "did it." One day in the schoolyard he told me that 'doing it' mean a man "put his wee-wee in a woman's pee hole." I called him a liar and hit him so hard I bloodied his nose and then gave up talking to boys until the following year. Later, when I learned he was sort of correct I felt bad. You think I should look him up and apologize?
 What song do you want to hear at your wedding?
Another wedding? How about "The Black Parade."
 Do you know someone who likes you?
 does more than one person like you?
I sure hope so.
 Are you currently in a relationship?
I already answered that.
Does any one give you butterflies?
(22) What music are you listening to?
"Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
AVON, MINNESOTA - In what is being hailed by the non-magickal world as a rare trophy, an overweight Muggle from the world's least magickal place - Minnesota - shot and killed Harry Potter's patronus earlier this week.
The white stag, which Potter had conjured to shield Muggles from political correctness, global warming, Internet addiction, celebrity obsession and a myriad other soul-sucking issues plaguing the non-magickal world - was unfortunate enough to end up in the gun sites of Mary Roakoz, who couldn't wait to alert the media about her accomplishment.
On this video, the unpleasantly plump Roakoz describes how she stalked and killed Harry Potter's protective guardian.
"I had to creep a little bit, probably about 40 yards to get to a good place where I could steady myself," she said, neglecting to mention that she has yet to fill in the 40-yard, eighteen-inch deep trench her slug-like body left in the ground.
Roakoz, when informed that the deer she killed was actually a Patronus, seemed unfazed. "I hope next time he'll conjure up a twinkie!" she said of the distraught Potter.
The fat white hunter plans to donate the creature to Cabela's where it will be stuffed an mounted next to the Hippogriff she shot last year.
And they wonder why we don't give them wands....
© 2007 The Token Hippie
Monday, November 05, 2007
This is porn. To some people, anyway. To me it's just a tasteful nude. In fact, that's how I found it, by doing a Google search for "tasteful nude." But to some people it's still porn. Because the subject's naked. But I don't think so.
Now this picture is a bit more pornographic, which is why I'm linking to it rather than actually showing it. It's not really nasty porn. It's more soft porn. But most people would define it as mildly pornographic, because it's more gratuitous than artsy.
This picture...well, I think most people would define this as porn owing to the full frontal nudity.
This one is questionable. It's a beaver shot - and a big nasty one. But still, it really depends on what turns you on.
This one is way pornographic. Don't click on it.
But it's amazing what some people consider pornographic, especially the True Christians ™ posting over at Vox Popoli. Most of Vox's readers come to him via a right wing site popular with True Christians ™.
Gene is a True Christian ™. Gene worries about my soul because I write erotica. She's vexed by it. Gene hates pornography, but she loves to talk about it, and brings it up even when I don't. Gene apparently thinks about pornography. A lot. Gene thinks this is an example of pornography:
Gene also likes to quote people who tell her how she should think about things. Here's what she says another True Christian ™ told her to think about the Michelangelo's David and other Evil Art Forms:
Ravi Zacharias said that he reconsidered the role of nudity in art when he heard the story of student Michelangelo being asked why he painted nudes. “Michelangelo replied that he wanted to see people as God sees them. His instructor then said, ‘But you are not God.’Zacharias is a great speaker if you ever get the chance to hear him. ...With desensitizing people with porn or violence through media and the arts, one can mistakenly underestimate the tragedy of the loss of wonder. "
Bone Head (yes, that's what he calls himself) is also a True Christian ™. Here's what he thinks this is an example of pornography:
Yes, that's right. You're looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But when Bone Head looks at it, he doesn't just see porn, but gay porn. That's because he read somewhere that Michelangelo liked naked men.
So to True Christians ™ like Gene and Bone Head, taking your kids to the Sistine Chapel or to an art museum is the same thing as taking them to a peep show.
Gene and Bone Head think David and the Sistine Chapel are pornography. Smut. Filth.
Gene and I have had some interesting exchanges on race that I won't rehash. Let's just say that Gene had some unpleasant experiences in her childhood that have left her with a bit of a mistrust for people who don't look like her.
Gene's like a lot of True Christians ™ in that regard. They long for the good old days, when it was acceptable for True Christians ™ to Do Their Thing, which was often lynching people who didn't look like them or running about condemning people in God's name.
Sexual images don't excite True Christians ™, at least not in any way that they will admit. But I'd be willing to be that pictures of lynchings or people carrying sings proclaiming God's hate makes their hearts beat faster and sends the blood rushing to their naughty parts.
It doesn't do it for me, though. Sanctimonious hate is a turnoff to me. I just can't get into that kind of filth. But then again, I guess that's because I'm not a True Christian ™.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
We had a great time downtown. There were lots of clever costumes. The creepiest was Jigsaw from the infamously popular Saw movies. This guy had the look nailed, right down to the tricycle he's sitting on in the picture. I was glad that Jessica and I were able to get our picture taken with him, even if he gave me nightmares! Oh, and note that Jessica is dressed in the inmate costume I made sure was exchanged for her. For details on that little story, see the post below this one.
This was just the nicest pimp I've ever met. He even offered me a job in case this whole Evil Witch thing doesn't work out. Wasn't that sweet? His T-shirt was as funny as the rest of his costume. It said, "I taught your girlfriend that thing you like."
My oldest son, Wes, decided to come downtown at the last minute and didn't have time to find a costume. Not that it matters. I told him it was cool that he'd chosen to be a Handsome Devil.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Yesterday I encountered the most obnoxious store manager ever after my 22-year-old daughter Jessica called me, frustrated and nearly in tears, to recount her experience at one of our local Halloween costume stores.
She’d gone there between classes and work to pick up an inmate costume for the downtown festivities we’re all going to tonight. Since the package said “One Size Fits All,” she plunked down her twenty bucks without trying the costume on. Once at home, she took it out to hang it so the wrinkles would come out and found a huge rip along one seam.
But when she called to let the store manager - a woman named Julie - know she’d be exchanging it, Jessica was told that All Sales Were Final. Arguments that the product was defective didn’t sway Julie. As far as she was concerned, Jessica was screwed.
So Jessica did the smartest thing she could do. She called me, thus invoking the Maternal Power To Get Things Done. And since Hell hath no wrath like me when you’ve screwed with one of my kids, I couldn’t wait to get to work.
My first act, surprisingly enough, was to be merciful to Julie and give her the chance to change her mind. But I didn’t get any further with her than Jessica did, even after explaining to Julie that her rudeness to my daughter was likely because her store was so swamped and she was so stressed. But the soft touch did not work. Julie not only repeated the All Sales Are Final sign, but told me that customers are told that after October 17th no returns can be accepted.
“I understand that,” I said. “And if my daughter had bought the costume at the first of the month, damaged it and now insisted you take it back, I wouldn’t be helping her. But she bought this costume an hour ago, it’s defective and you should stand by your product.”
Julie began talking over me, her voice raised and shaky. I could tell she was a lost cause, but I still gave her once last chance. “Am I going to have to call corporate?” I asked her. “Because you don’t want me to call corporate."
"Fine, call corporate," she snapped.
"I will then," I said. "And I guarantee you that by the end of the day you will exchange that costume. Now what's the number for corporate?"
That's when Julie hung up on me.
But no worries. I've been hung up on before. I called back, and while her associate manager refused to put her back on the phone, he did give me an 800 number which - after a forty minute wait - directed me to one of three beleaguered customer service representatives who promised me that a district manager would contact me within ten hours.
As if. Like I was actually going to wait for some district manager. Pfft.
Instead, I called the Internet customer service line, explained the situation, and asked if they had another number. I found out that the costume store chain was owned by Spencer gifts, so I got their corporate number. It was now quarter till five, and time was running out as I listened to a list of departments. When I got the option for “Legal,” I chose it and got - lo and behold - one of the company’s corporate lawyers, a really nice guy named Vince.
I explained to him that while he may find it odd to have a disgruntled customer calling, I felt he might want to know what was going on in this particular store. Within five minutes I had him nearly as mad as I was. He looked up the store’s number and told me to sit by the phone while he had a word with Julie.
Three minutes later he called back and told me Julie was prepared to exchange the costume, and asked that I accept an apology from him on behalf of the company.
My daughter’s friend Stephen was already in the parking lot with the costume, and I got a play by play from him via cell phone as he swapped out the costume. Julie was apparently quite pissed, and too stupid to realize that her anger only made my little victory even sweeter.
Later, Jessica said her friend wanted to know how in the earth I pulled everything off. The answer is quite simple. Never accept ‘no’ for an answer from someone not qualified to give you a ‘yes’ in the first place. Years as a working reporter have taught me that the less significant the peon, the less willing they are to work with you, for they have less at stake. The higher up one goes in a company, the more of a vested interest they have in that company’s reputation. And the more willing they are to correct mistakes.
The problem with most people is that they cave too quickly when they are told ’no.’ That’s a mistake. A squeaky wheel doesn’t have to make much noise, it just needs to know how to roll.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
My sister Andrea, bless her heart, is worried about me. This morning I received an email from her that bluntly expressed some of her concerns. Here's a juicy snippet:
This will sound harsh, but when a 42 yr old woman is playing dress up, posting pictures of herself on the internet, and singing some salacious songs in a cheap bar, the husband has reason for concern. And we can't say it's all innocent. Everything we do, we do for reason. .... I ask why do you feel you need the attention? Are you getting attention from Larry? Are you unhappy with Larry? Are you trying to recapture your youth? Perhaps you're going through a midlife crisis.
This particular sister and I had a rather rocky relationship in the past and lashing out is in her nature, so this didn't strike me as particularly odd. It's just how she rolls, and I love her in spite of it.
What does seem odd to me is how a smart woman like her has managed to go through life without acquiring any creative and unusual friends. More eccentrics in her circle would do Andrea good. If she had more weird friends she'd realize that there's a whole subculture of people out there just like her Disgraceful Little Sister - adults who love to dress up, share pictures and stories about themselves with others and *gasp* even sing karaoke in trashy bars. If she had more creative friends she'd understand that some people don't need a reason to be outrageous; they simply can't help it!
I did have to call her out on the bar comment, though. Larry and I went out a few months back to a karaoke dive and happened to walk in on lesbian night. I sang Touch Myself for him and he and the crowd appreciated the performance. It was fun. I highly recommend serenading one's husband with salacious songs in cheap bars. Those with the spirit to try it might find it more fun than they ever dreamed.
What seems odd and outrageous to my sister seems normal to me not because I'm anything special, but because I've surrounded myself with so many special people that what seems crazy to her seems average to me. Cases in point: My friend April. April is 39, rather portly and not the most attractive woman on the planet. But, oh God, can she light up a room. She has a great sense of humor, lives completely in the moment and is blessed with an imagination that won't quit. April is a Harry Potter fanatic and loves to write fan fiction. Recently I got a letter from her HP alter ego, "Delite" informing me that we'd both been invited to guest lecture at Hogwarts. Of course, how could I say no. I immediately wrote her back and sent the message by owl, of course. April is the goofiest person I know and I love her to pieces for it. And no matter how many years go by I will never see her as old. Same goes for my friend Dan, who starts planning his annual Halloween party in March and works himself into such a frenzy by October that co-workers run the other way when he approaches to avoid hearing about his decorations. Or my friend Elizabeth who - when I told her I thought the holly tree in her yard was enchanted - simply nodded and said, "Yeah, I know."
But April, Dan and Elizabeth are just three examples. Most all of my friends are oddballs, although I still associate with some normal people, mostly out of a sense of sheer pity. I mean, normal people can't help that they're normal. I've always figured being normal is a little bit like being retarded, and it's always better just to be nice. Better them than me.
Creative people tend to gravitate towards one another and are only reminded of their eccentricity someone from the "outside" points it out, usually with much hand-wringing and cries of "Act Your Age!" Those people don't realize that people like me and April aren't about recapturing lost youth; we never really grew up in the first place.
I wish more people would enjoy life, which is too damn short given how delicious it can be. But unfortunately this society conditions more to become conformists than oddballs, to delay gratification until we're too old and sick to enjoy it. Conformist drones are easy to spot; they're largely angry and unsatisfied. But mostly angry. When the oddballs try to have fun or act too spirited we only need to look around to find a drone standing there, pinched-face and sullen, tapping their watch and wagging their fingers as they remind us of the deadline they believe has been imposed on Fun and Games. Those of us who insist on missing that deadline drive normal people to distraction.
Oddly enough though, some of those same conformists - at the first sign of wrinkles - run for their Botox treatment, not realizing that the Youthful Glow isn't something you can pump into your exterior, but something that shines from within.
One day I will be an old woman. As I told Andrea, I'm quite looking forward to it. Should I be fortunate enough to live that long, I plan to have long gray hair and - if possible - be even more eccentric than I am now. In fact, I even have a role model: children's book author Tasha Tudor:
Now in her nineties, Tasha Tudor lives in a house in Vermont where she still writes, illustrates and yes, dear sister - even continues to play dress up. Her collection of Victorian clothing is something to see, and she is known for hosting elaborate tea parties where guests are also required to be in costume.
But I'm not quite there. Not yet, anyway. At a spritely 42 I feel I can still dress up in breast-boosting corsets, plan my trip to Hogwarts and sing salacious songs in cheap bars. Eventually, I'll have to slow down. But I'll never be normal, not even to please a beloved sister.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I love this time of year. The approach of Halloween puts a spring in my step. The days are shorter, the leaves are brighter and otherwise stuffy grown-ups turn a bit giddy at the idea of playing dress-up for one magical night. Plus the whole notion of people making light of Death and Darkness puts the True Christians™ in the most amusing self-righteous frenzy. Bonus.
Halloween preparations are in full swing at our house. Alex and Lucas helped me put up the spider webbing this weekend. Once again the poor Barbie doll has been victimized, this time by an even bigger spider.
In another web, a hairy mother spider guards her hatching egg sac.
Oh, and the jack-o-lanterns!
My favorite addition this year is a plaque made for me by a dear friend. It's not a Halloween decoration, but a permanent fixture. Still, any trick-or-treaters looking to nick anything besides extra candy would be wise to consider its message. Oh, and ten points to the House of anyone who can tell me what book series this poem was adapted from.
Along that same vein, I've decided what character I will be for Halloween this year: Bellatrix Lestrange - Death Eater, devoted lieutenant of Lord Voldemort, murderer, and all-around bad-ass witch.
I've done a good job adapting the costume with a low-cut, lace-sleeved shirt, black skirt, underbust corset, black stockings and knee-high lace-up boots. I even dyed my hair nearly-black for the role. I'm pretty psyched.
Alex is going as Samara, the creepy kid from The Ring and will spend part of Halloween night crawling out of a well we built last weekend in my friend Dan's front yard. Dan's party is a holiday staple for us. We never miss it. Lucas is going to be Harry Potter. Larry hasn't yet decided between werewolf or vampire. I thought he'd make a good Sirius Black. He's got the dark good looks and the beard, the costume would be easy to make, and I could kill him. I'm still hoping to talk him into it, so wish me luck. I don't know what the older kids are going to go as. They haven't completely decided yet.
So, what plans are you making for Halloween?
Friday, October 19, 2007
And I don't regret it a bit. I've thought about it for so long and debated myself, worrying that getting inked would scream "Midlife crisis!" Then I stopped and asked myself when I ever based a decision on public opinion and the answer was "Never."
The tattoo artist, Phil, was awesome. We spent a lot of time talking while he worked adapting a photo I'd chosen into a piece of permanent body art. He's also interested in esoteric matters and the conversation was so lively and fun that the hour in the studio passed before I'd even realized it.
My oldest son, 20-year-old Wesley, went with me for moral support and it was so special having him there. And how cool is it for a guy to go with his mom when she gets her first tattoo?
Jessi had to work so Wes and I went to see her afterwards. She got her butterfly tattoo a couple of years ago and was supportive about my getting one. Wes wants to get one for his upcoming 21st birthday; he just needs to decide on a design.
The tattooing process did hurt a bit, but not as much as I'd expected. And Phil cut me a break on the price, I think, given all the detail he ended up putting into the work.
And I'm so proud. I've worked with birds of prey for over a dozen years, and have a passionate obsession with owls. I remember every one that's ever been in my care. There's something mystical and otherwordly about them - something magickal. I've been fortunate to have had numerous owls perched on my arm as I prepared them for their journey back to freedom.
Now I have one that will never leave.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
To those who would like to guess what my new "image" will be - and where - have at it.
And no, this isn't an impulse decision. I've thought long and hard about it for over a year now and finally know what I want for my permanent brand.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I only recently learned of this movie, and will only say that I found it timely given our government's increasing practice of spying and snooping. I also found it very disturbing, so disturbing in fact that at one point I nearly ended the imaginary affair I've been having with Mr. Rickman. Almost.
So here's the first scene, and a link to the second. To those with time to watch it, I'd be interested in knowing what you think. Would you have signed?
Here's the second scene.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The first one is one my daughter took of me playing with the corgis.
I have this really cool thrift store mirror and sometimes I take pictures of myself in front of it. Yes. I know it's weird. I took this full body shot the other day. My husband likes this one, but then again he likes curvy girls.
I got the idea for shooting myself in the mirror after someone took this black and white one of me reflected in it. At the time Iwas in a rather animated conversation about something although now I don't remember what. I was probably defending one of my superior notions over someone's idiotic ones. ;-) Either way I really love this picture, even though I look a bit distressed in it.
The last one is one my daughter also took of me outside in front of the Mexican petunias.
OK, that's it. If any of you want to weigh in, I'd appreciate it. Once I make a decision that will be one less pointless distraction.
Oh, and if any of you are on MySpace and want to become friends, let me know.
Monday, October 01, 2007
So until I return, here's some music. Depending on your browser, you may need to hit the "Launch Standalone Player" button to access the list if it doesn't immediately show up in your browser. If it does, you can just hit the little play button to start the tunes. So do it and enjoy. Or not.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Thimscool (a.k.a. Luke) is an intellectual and well-traveled guy and usually weighs in with nice comments on most all my posts, whether it's about my horses or about spiritual matters. So here, just for Thimscool, is a video that combines both. I found this video on Near Death Experiences quite interesting and can't wait to hear if Thimscool thinks this could possibly be what happens to us after we die.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Sometimes I can be such a little whore.
Just kidding. I'm not really a whore, unless you consider someone who writes erotica a whore. Clearly some of you do, and we've debated the point ad nauseum here with no one's opinion changing in the least. You're free to think I'm a whore and I'm free to think you're a sexually-repressed clown.
Now, but let's just say for a moment that I was a whore, specifically a cheating whore. If I were, I'd make a beeline to throw myself at this man's feet:
For those of you who don't know who this is, it's the actor Alan Rickman. You young things out there will know him best as Professor Snape:
I fell in love with this guy back when I first saw him in Die Hard and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. I can't say exactly what it is about him that I find so irresistible. Perhaps it's that he's tall and elegant, with hands that look like they could really please a woman. And that deep, silky voice...I get turned on just listening to him speak.
Damn. Hold on a minute. I'll be right back.....While I'm away, check out this video featuring Mr. Rickman.
OK I'm back. I had to get a glass of water. Geesh, what did you think I was doing? *grin* Anyway, about that video....I've watched it like twenty times and have never wanted to be another woman so badly in my life. Or a gas pump.
It pleases me a bit that Alan Rickman is twenty years my senior. I like a sexy older man, and with the age difference I can ogle him without feeling like a freakin' pedophile.
But ogling is what I'm stuck with, for alas. Mr. Rickman is in a committed relationship and even if he weren't he'd hardly be interested in a five foot tall porn writer from North Carolina. Not even one with a big rack and the capacity to be a total whore. Which I'm not.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
So my summer didn't quite turn out the way I'd planned. In April I bought a new horse, a Haflinger which I named Tristan. Tristan was supposed to be the all-around family horse - a trail horse for me, a leadline horse for John and Lucas and eventually a show horse for me and Alex. He was young, just five, and I sent him to a boarding facility for professional training the day I bought him. When he came home month later, he was shaping up to be the Perfect Horse. He was a bit too spirited for the kids, but I enjoyed riding him and looked forward to when those trail miles would settle him down.
Yep, those were good times.
Then on July 4th I took a spill during what would be my last ride on Tristan. It was one of those completely stupid accidents that was completely avoidable. I was getting on the horse when he started to walk towards the gate at a rapid pace. In retrospect, I should have just had someone hold him for me while I mounted; it had been about a week since I'd ridden and Tristan was ready to go. Fearing that I'd be unseated I swung my leg over - I had just one foot in the stirrup - I decided to just hope back off and call someone to hold Tristan while I got back on. Unfortunately, my foot got hung in the stirrup and when I went to dislodge it I gouged Tristan in the side. He jumped up in the air and I flew up with him, coming off and down on my ankle. I heard the bones break and as I lay there in the dust looking up at the horse that had thrown me I knew my summer was Officially Fucked.
I was right. The evening I'd planned to watch fireworks with my family were spent in the hospital. I had surgery the next day and came home a couple of days later to begin a recovery that has gone better than expected. But walking is only part of the equation. Some things, the doctor said, are out of the question for the next year, including horseback riding. I ride English and my ankle won't be strong enough for me to post a trot until at least next summer. And no, I can't bring myself to ride Western.
I was pretty depressed about the news and knew I'd have to make a decision about Tristan and my other saddle horse, Guinvere. They were both too much for the kids, who'd rather ride Lyric, my daughter's Shetland pony. I have plenty of horse friends, but they're all too busy with their own horses to exercise mine. I considered leasing but it didn't seem fair to get the horses used to another farm and then haul them back here away from their new friends.
It broke my heart to sell them, but that's what I did. I was very selective and it paid off. Tristan ended up going home with a 26-year-old woman who really clicked with her when she came out for a test ride. Guinevere went to a farm where she's now part of a therapeutic riding program.
It was the first time I'd been "horse-free" for years, but it didn't last long. Larry suggested I consider getting a miniature horse for driving, since the doctor didn't say I couldn't drive. The little horses appealed to Larry, too, because he's always been a bit afraid of horses (although he liked Tristan) and my accident scared the hell out of him. So after some searching we bought home Storm, a tiny white stallion who came with a cart and a harness. Even though Storm is intact, he's not at all hard to handle and is great with the kids. Here he is with Alex.
Next came Luna, a rescue pony that the owner said was difficult to handle, nearly impossible to halter and totally impossible for the farrier. The couple we got her from were well-intentioned but very old-school in their approach to horses. When we asked if they could get a halter on her so we could have a closer look, the man lassoed Luna around the leg and threw her on the ground and then pinned her. This was after she went through a chain-link fence. I had three words to say about that: "We'll take her."
Luna became my personal project. I've spent two to four hours a day with her since she's been home and can now catch her, halter her, pick her feet up for cleaning, touch her all over, lead her around, drop a towel over her head and even run a lunge whip up and down her body. When our farrier, RJ, came out last week to trim the horses' hooves, she was the best of the lot. Here are some pictures of me working with Luna:
We hope to start cart-training Luna this fall, but are waiting for a bit because we suspect she might be pregnant and close to foaling. Her former owner said she'd been exposed to a stud, so we will have to wait and see. Personally I'm hoping she isn't. There are enough horses in the world that need homes without breeding more, as we are finding out.
Rob Roy was our next acquisition. Lucas really wanted his own pony and when we found out that a nearby family had a cute little paint we jumped at the chance to bring him home. Rob Roy and Lucas are perfect for each other. They are both five years old and full of mischief. Rob Roy is the court jester of our barn, although not all his tricks are funny. Last week he chewed up one of Alex's show halters. She was not amused. But other than being destructive and mugging for treats he's a good little fellow. His cart training - and saddle training - starts soon. Here he is with Lucas:
That was going to be it for us until we found Kipper. I love going to pony farms, even if it's just to look and the one we visited about an hour a way had a lot of miniature horses, many of them in piss-poor shape. The owner tried to sell me a foundered chestnut gelding and a bony appaloosa mini with bad hocks. But the only horse on the place that I would even consider was an adorable dapple gray with the most incredible mane I'd ever seen. The fact that he was overweight and a good ten years older than his advertised age didn't deter me. I could only think of getting him out of there. And the lady, who had way too many horses to feed and apparently couldn't take care of them, accepted my ridiculously low offer.
Kipper has turned out to be a great little pony. He loves the kids with a dog-like affection, doesn't have a mean bone in his body and is an experienced cart pony although it had been several years since he'd been driven when we got him. He's been extremely patient, even as we struggled to learn how to properly put on his harness. And he's gentle enough for the kids. Here he is giving Alex and her friend, Hannah, a ride:
So what - you may ask - are we going to do with five miniature horses? Hopefully enjoy them and have them earn their keep, at least that's the plan. Currently we're getting set up to offer "miniature horse clinics" to local 4-H and other groups where kids can come out and enjoy hands-on activities with our pint-sized horses. Alex and I are working on a curriculum for the clinics and she and Lucas will be able to help teach their peers and - hopefully - promote miniature horses in the process.
I know we enjoy ours very much and are surprised at how versatile they can be. And while I miss riding and can't say I won't eventually return to the saddle, this will do quite nicely for now.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
.....and I couldn't be happier. It's been a long, boring summer. I advise anyone who is planning to shatter some bones to do it in the winter, when being immobilized is less depressing.
Fortunately, the weather is still nice enough down here through fall for out-of-door activities. Very soon I shall let you all know what I am up to, which I hope will include more regular blogging.
In the meantime, here is an amusing video:
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Token Hippie is not dead, only broken. On July 4th I took a tumble off my horse - yes, my wonderful new horse - and broke my lower leg in two places. I did such a number on it that I had to have surgery and am really thankful that I did NOT get that ankle tattoo I'd started to get on my birthday at the end of June. It would have been ruined, not unlike my summer. When I said I needed a break this is not what I had in mind.
I'm trying to make the best of it, but it hasn't been easy. My orthopedic surgeon says it will be a year before I'm back to normal, which isn't surprising given that my X-ray looks like I have a Robot Leg, what with nine screws and an assortment of plates needed to put it back together.
Riding is - for the next nine months - out of the question so I'm thinking of switching to driving if I can find a suitable cart pony. My attempts to get around on crutches have been awkward. Those TV cripples make it look far easier than it is. The electronic wheelchair-scooter things they allow the downwardly mobile to use in grocery and department stores are a huge letdown. I'd always thought it might be fun to terrorize other shoppers by zipping around in one of those things; but the sad truth is they are very slow.
The family has been great. Larry has not complained once, despite having to double up on chores. Alex and John are super helpful in fetching me what I need and Lucas is careful to pick up any matchbox cars that might cause me to fall again. The older kids call and visit as often as they can, despite having their own busy lives and schedules.
So there's my update. Now back to my hiatus. :-)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I'm taking the summer off from blogging, and possibly longer.
I've enjoyed posting and chatting with those who've honored me by stopping by since I started The Token Hippie over a year ago. But writing should never feel like a chore, and lately posting feels more like work than recreational writing. And because I make my living as a writer I don't need to add to the workload which has increased recently with an unexpected, out-of-the-blue job offer.
So I'm taking a hiatus, for how long I don't know. I've got more than enough to keep me occupied in my free time. The farmers' markets are going well this year, we're up to three horses to ride an maintain and since something has to give it looks like it's going to be the blog.
Thanks for reading. But most of all, thanks getting to know me and letting me get to know you. Have a good summer.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Family drama abounds. My oldest son suffered his first heartbreak, necessitating a midnight trip to be with him during his darkest hour. A video game buff, he now compares the experience to "leveling up" and while a reconciliation may be in the works, he's emerged from the experience tougher and, hopefully, smarter.
My oldest daughter is moving into an apartment complex that - if I had to live in an apartment complex - I would choose for myself. She's got two roommates - well, five if you count the cats - and I approve of them all.
I've been writing my fingers to the bone lately and am intrigued by a job offer by a local Government Entity that wants to possibly enlist my services as their PR person. They approached me out of the blue, and I'm not even going to venture a guess as to what they have in mind - or whether they can afford me - until I meet with the head honcho Wednesday. If it's press releases and photos he wants, and he can match what the paper pays me for hammering out such things, then I'll consider it a nice little sideline income generator. But if he's looking for a spear-catcher to spin the department's shortcomings to the media, I'll politely decline no matter how much he offers me. As a working journalist I've had enough experience dealing with lying, weaselly flacks to know I never, ever want to be one.
The farmers markets are going well, but are generating plenty of work to fill up what used to be my downtime. So when I'm not writing, I'm potting plants or designing signs and fliers for our booth. I do enjoy market days, however. If nothing else, farmers markets are great places to people-watch. And animal watch, too, since everyone brings their dogs. On Saturday, a kid walked by our booth dressed as a ghost. No particular reason, apparently. According to his father, the kid just likes ghosts and wants to be one. His outfit garnered lots of stares, but the most intense came from a boxer which glared so seriously at the child I worried he might jump on the boy and give him his wish. Anyway, it made for a good picture. I suggest enlarging it for full effect.
The only escape I'm finding from work is with the horses. Alex and I still work the ponies daily and several times a week I head to the stables to help train our new pony, Tristan. He's coming along so well and is just stunning under saddle. I took this picture of him Friday and every time I look at it I'm reminded of why I wanted a Haflinger. He's quite possibly the most beautiful animal I've ever seen:
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sorry again for the posting lag, especially given how willing everyone has been to help me name our new pony. But it took me a couple of days to recover from the 300 mile round trip to pick him up and get him down to the stable.
I'm pleased to report that it went remarkably well. For a horse who hasn't been worked much, he loaded up and rode the 150 miles to the equestrian center like a champ. And through the whole ordeal, which included the kids literally hugging and hanging on him, he was incredibly patient. Not once did he pin his ears back or show any reaction other than alert curiosity. We were especially impressed by how quickly he bonded with John, whose autism often makes him remote and detatched. Horses are among his favorite animals, and he spent a lot of time petting our new guy, and even though his attempts were clumsy at times, the pony didn't seem to mind. Even Larry, who isn't really a horse person, was impressed with this one. The trainer is, too. She called me the next morning to say that she'd never seen a horse so mellow after coming to a new place. The verdict is unanimous; he's a real gentleman and we've high hopes for his training.
Per the name suggestions, you guys came up with some, well, interesting ones. To Ayman -while "Jihad Warrior" is unique, I don't think the military-supporting, conservativestable owner would have taken kindly to having a horse with that name housed in his barn. Luke's suggestion of "Bombshell," while appropriate since Haflingers have been called the Blonde Bombshells of the horse world, might have been similarly sensitive. Big Gay Al? Ditto. I don't think gay horses are allowed in the barn, either. Elan was a beautiful suggestion, Crowdcat, but my husband thought people would think we were saying Ellen, regardless of how we pronounced it. Mitzibel's suggestion of Elmer (like in the glue) is one we might consider if he goes against our expectations and doesn't want to be trained. I appreciated Suspect's suggestion of Shadowfax, except for the "fax" part. Of course, there were no fax machines when Tolkein was writing LOTR, so he couldn't have known that later the name of Gandalf's horse would make one think of office equipment. We came really close to using Margaret's suggestion of Merlin, but for some reason he didn't look like a Merlin. Lord Omar would have made a fine name, but alas, the horse just isn't pretty enough. ;-)
We knew we wanted something from legend or history, so almost all the way home we bandied names about. It was Alex who came up with the winning suggestion based on our earlier study of a pre-Arthurian legend made into a recent movie. I'll leave it up to you to guess which story it is, but in the meantime, here is our decision:
His name is Tristan.