Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WTF, Steubenville, Ohio? Rape is NOT a sport!

(Note: this entry has been edited to reflect some info I didn't have at the time I wrote this, and no, I'm not sure why the links don't work- I'm still learning the kinks in  this thing.  Try copying them and pasting them into your browser-window- that should do it.)

I'm gonna keep flogging this one until these assholes are brought to justice.  Seriously, WTF, Ohio?

Imagine yourself at a party, a place where you are supposed to be having fun, you pass out from too much booze, and then a couple of guys from the local football team think it's okay to use you as a cum-dumpster all night, even taking your unconscious body to other parties and doing it again, as if you were some kind of blow-up doll.  IMAGINE that.

Then, imagine having to wake up the next day, feeling strange, with fragmentary memories of the night before, and then having to piece things together over a period of weeks to find that your peers, the people you have to go to school with, have been laughing at you with comments and VIDEO-commentary of the event (not actual vid of the attack, but it may have been made while it was happening in another room- the reports aren't clear), like others would with a pal who'd gotten peshed and they'd drawn stupid crap all over their face or something and had taken photos of it for 'posterity'.  Humiliation of an incredible sort, and the local 'justice' system is apparently just dragging their feet on this.

Why?  I don't know.  Maybe it's embarrassing to them, somehow (as if THAT fucking matters).  Maybe they love their football team more and count it as being more important than the life of one girl who is now a definite candidate for whatever STD's those pukes may have had, getting pregnant (assuming she wasn't on the pill- hell assuming she was even normally sexually-active at only 16), depression (who could go through this and come through emotionally unscathed?) and possibly even suicide.

Why?  Because some 'men' couldn't keep it in their fucking pants.  Because some 'men' thought they were being 'cool' and 'just having fun'.  Because some 'men' don't understand that women are people and should not be treated that way, no matter what they're wearing, where they are, who they are, or whether they've been drinking or doing drugs.  You just do not treat another person that way.

And that brings this up; do these people understand that they're hurting another human being?  Do they not understand that women are people, worth just as much, are just as important, as their 'god-like' male selves?  Do they even get that?

This is a HUMAN BEING, you fucktards, not an object placed there for your express pleasure.  The fact that they would rape anyone is telling, but the fact that they were heartless enough to video yourself laughing with your friends about it it, shrug it off as if it's no big deal, post it to the fucking Net so even more people could laugh at and mock her, and then the TOWN EVEN SEEMS TO CONCUR WITH THIS OPINION, is a horrible thing to learn about any person, let alone a whole, massive group.

I weep for the women these creeps are dating, if any.  I can also hope that, on finding out about this, that they break up with the cretins before they think to rape them when they're intoxicated some day.

I will NEVER go to this town, never spend any money there, never in ANY way possible, support a place and people that don't understand that they DID SOMETHING HORRIBLE TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

Go here, sign this, and get some justice for a teen who is probably hiding in her home right now, unable to face a world where she's 'just an object' for the mockery and sexual-amusement of a precious football team (although I hear she's made of stronger stuff, and wants to help others who have gone through this kind of crap.  Good on her): http://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/steubenville_video?referring_akid=296.87083.-STfDe&source=facebook

Incidentally, some other questions about this come to mind, but they're of the kind that few who haven't been routinely marginalized, picked on and bullied might even think to ask:

-What was the girl's status with her peer group?  All of us who have experienced bullying might recall knowing (or being) the oddball no one invites to parties... unless it's to find a way to mock them.  We all know about the kid who is the "tag-end Charlie" that the "cool" kids only let hang around to make them feel generous and make them look good.  We've all heard of the girl who always seems sad, yet sleeps with a different boy every week, and who sometimes shows up to school wearing too much make-up.  We all knew the school 'pariah' that no one wanted to associate with- even if we liked them- because we were afraid of being treated the same way they were...  Is this why no one tried to help her?  Because she'd failed a popularity contest?  Yeah, ask THAT question, and see what answers pop up.

- Or how about the local society?  Racism/economic bigotry.  It's ugly.  Few enjoy talking about it, especially admitting to it.  I don't know what ethnicity this teen is, or if she simply came from a lower economic strata.  IE: not rich and those who did this to her were upper middle class, where she wasn't, but it makes me wonder if this wasn't a factor in having such a large group of people mocking her like this.

-Or in the town in general?  Why would the police not be taking this seriously (assuming they aren't.  I don't know about that- two boys have been arrested, but there may be others they have as suspects)?  Why aren't they going after the people in the videos and comments?  If knowing of a crime and not reporting it is a crime in Ohio, why aren't these people being charged, especially that 18 year old schmuck who videoed himself joking about the rape- possibly while it was still happening- while his friends laughed their stupid asses off over it?  What makes them so special that they can get away with letting a girl be raped, possibly right in front of them?

Admittedly, the above is just my own snark about how people behave, and may not be at all why things happened the way they did.

Other questions came to mind:

-How is it that this girl was so out of it, that she didn't wake up during transport or during the multiple rapes?

-Who drinks that much booze?

-And if she was that blotto, why wasn't she taken to the hospital?  That level of intoxication can kill you, especially if you're not very familiar with booze or your own limits.

-Why was a sixteen year-old girl drinking anyway?  I know teens will get their hands on alcohol any chance they get; peer-pressure and accessing the forbidden thrill are motivators enough, there.  But, how could she remain unconscious that long?  This must have taken place over a period of hours...

-Did someone roofie the kid?  This one really gets to me, and may well explain why she was unable to wake up during all of this.  'Encourage' her to drink... a lot, and when her guard is down, slip her a little pill to make sure.  If this is the case, then this was planned.  If this was the case, this girl could have died, and would anyone have cared? (VERY much my own speculation, and to be taken as such- this is NOT a fact of any kind)

In this benighted place, I doubt anyone would have.

If it does come out that she was roofied, get those boys for planning this horror, and throw attempted manslaughter on top of it.

And this last: why did no one make any attempt to stop this?  What kind of a town culture is so sick in the collective head that they would not only allow this to go on, allow people to record and post to the public what happened, but to essentially pad the boys involved from justice?

Holy fuck,Steubenville, Ohio, really?

Now, for some of the other side: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/3399893-74/steubenville-case-rape#axzz2K44w79hs

-How much of this is being blown up, or just plain misunderstood?  Possibly a fair bit, but a lot of what I suspected, such as the hero-worship of the football team, seems to hold water.

-All involved are 16, and the two boys who are being directly accused of the rape are 'star-athletes' on the team.  Okay, fine.  So, maybe not more than these two actually raped her (though other articles point to the possibility of there being more), but they took her to other parties while she was unconscious or semi-conscious.  That's a problem.

-The video in question is a recording made by another, older teen 'joking' about the incident, while his buddies laugh off-screen.  Callous and pretty cold-hearted, there, man.   Still looks bad.

-There is a theory that this case might not have made such a splash if it hadn't been for the India gang-rape that sparked riots.  They even have a psychologist commenting on that, also claiming that few people would actually help if given the opportunity, for whatever reasons.  Personally, I call bogus on that one, but hey, I might be unusual.  I don't know about you, but I've pissed off a lot of cops in my time because I 'interfered' with a crime-in-progress.  At least, I like to think 'most people' would call the fucking cops!

Another article on the Stupidvi- er Steubenville incident, with some interesting commentary, for and against, mostly against how the situation is being treated and the hell it's putting all involved through.  Surprisingly, it's from the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/the-lessons-of-steubenville.html

Or, how about another case, remarkably similar from the year before?  Savannah Dietrich was also 16 when she was assaulted by two boys from a Catholic school's lacrosse team in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.  Worse, she was ordered by the judge on the case to not talk about it!  Wait.  What?  Read about it, here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/12/09/thanks-for-ruining-my-life.html

It is the 'culture of silence' that gets to me a lot.  Victims of rape, violence and sexual assault get pressured to keep quiet a lot; by peers, family, even the law and the courts.  Certainly we're pressured to zip it by overall society and how rape is currently perceived in the wider culture.

People ask stupid questions like "are you sure you didn't consent?"  "Did you let him kiss you? (as if this somehow gives him the right to do anything else)  "What were you wearing?"  Seriously?  Shut the fuck up.  Or my personal favourite, which came from my own brother when I outed the Step-monster: "Is it possible that you could have mistaken your attacker?"  Wow, son, that's just a fucking special breed of stupid.

Somehow, despite my having mild prosopagnosia (face-blindness.  Look it up), I'm pretty sure I will have no trouble, whatsoever, in identifying the man who raped me anally several times a week, always at HOME.  How in the world could I actually mistake who it was that was raping me, a person who's body I could describe in detail, the texture of his fingers, his smell...  What gets me is this was from the brother who is a fucking scientist, who reveres logic, who is an atheist, like me, who I can actually have intelligent conversations with and not have to dumb things down, and he asks that...

Now, I understand that horrible things occur all the time, some far worse than this in terms of violence, such as the attack on the young medical student in India, where she was attacked by several men, beaten with a metal pipe, raped repeatedly, then thrown from the bus to 'hopefully' die on the road.

She didn't die.  At least, not right away.  Instead, she hung on for agonizing weeks while doctors tried to rebuild her insides.

Meanwhile, thousands RIOTED across India in her support, and to protest the culture of indifference that so many rape-cases have been getting in the area the woman had been attacked in.  The city offered to pay all of her medical bills, and they were probably huge, considering she had to undergo several surgeries to repair her internals.  She died anyway.

Or how about the practice of "Jack-rolling" in South Africa?  Look it up.  Guaranteed, it will repulse you.  Gangs of boys, or grown men, will corner some female, often beat her into submission, then rape her, one after the other, all in order to 'prove' their 'manhood', retain their power over women by making them feel helpless (who wouldn't feel helpless against a gang?  Honestly?  Fucking cowards), and to keep them under submission.

A survey had been taken in Johannesburg asking young males about it.  Their 'guaranteed anonymous' answers?  "It's fun.  Just a game.  Good fun."  Yeah, just a game to horribly hurt another person, even kill them.  Some of these boys also admitted to having done it, a few before the age of twelve.

Another survey asked 4000 women if they had been raped.  One in three had been, most before the age of thirteen and most multiple times.  Sometimes it was the 'normal' relationship they had with their boyfriends or husbands.

Look up "corrective rape".  There are places where being gay is seen as so 'awful', that lesbians are being stalked, beaten and raped as a way to supposedly 'make them straight' so they'll be available for the men who fear losing control over 'their' women.

"Virgin cleansing": in an area ravaged by HIV, it has become a ridiculous myth that one can 'cure' themselves of the disease if they had sex with a virgin.  Too many times, these virgins are children, even infants less than a year old.  The saddest part of it is too often, a man who refuses to use a condom, contracts AIDS, and potentially passes it to every person he has sex with, and when he starts to realize his health is going, learns about the disease, and the myths surrounding it, then rapes a child believing it will cure him- most often one of his own.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_violence_in_South_Africa

How about child-brides?  Girls as young as five to eight years old can be married off in some places.  In many of those areas, it's considered a breach of good conduct to try to have sex with your child-wife before she'd hit puberty, but many ignore this.  I have read reports of nine year olds being forced to have relations with their 'husbands', who don't understand that what they're doing is evil because 'she's my wife' and think it is his right to have sex with her, even if she isn't ready, isn't wanting to, or even just NOT LARGE ENOUGH TO SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE WITHOUT DAMAGE.  Some men have married a girl, raped her, injured her during the process, blame HER, she often dies of her injuries (whether from the severity of her injuries- he may have beaten her first- or from sepsis) and the creep goes on to marry another youngster who's family is probably marrying her off to gain her dowry-price because of poverty.

Yeah, I know horrible things happen all over, and I wish I could do something more than educate, educate, educate... and sign as many petitions as I can fit into my day.  But my reach only goes so far, and if signing a petition to get some politician to notice what's going on in their state or country, and maybe do something with their power other than accumulate more- if that helps, then yeah, I'll do it.  I've signed petitions from all over the world, and some have gotten notice- not because I'm so special, but because thousands, hundreds of thousands of people had come together and added their names and comments to hundreds of petitions on often the same subjects.

When you have that many people in the world, that much media attention showing you up as a failure as a human being for ignoring it and putting their gimlet eye on you, you get nervous, and dammit, maybe that will cause something good to happen and maybe save some woman/girl/child the agony of being chattel, of being a sex-toy, or of being nothing more than a cum-dumpster for a fucking football team in fucking white-bread, corn-fed, clean-cut, All-American, Steubenville, Ohio.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Scammers suck- the continuing saga of the fake black, royal-purple, blue or rainbow rose seed-sellers

Ok, I've been seeing this one around for a while, now, and I've been my usually anal self in letting folks know that you cannot grow black, royal-purple, blue or rainbow roses from seed.  In fact, these roses do not even exist, except as dyed versions you can get in the florist's shops.  But, people are ignorant, just starting out with gardening (like I'm any kind of expert), know nothing about how roses "work" or are simply gullible or stupid.

Generally, it's an honest customer who wants to grow their own roses from seed as a challenge who is the target of these fraudulent sellers.  These people are scam-artists, only out to take your foolishly-given money.  And the truly sad thing about their scams is; they're working.  No buyer will be able to do more than complain and warn their friends because, one, the seeds likely won't germinate.  And two, if they do get a plant for their effort, they'll have to wait up to three years before the bush is mature enough to bloom before they see they were rooked well and truly.  No way to get your refund, then.

Another note that many folks might not realize: roses are persnickety things and are the divas of the plant world.  Only under certain, very specific conditions will you get a seed to germinate.  First, they need to be "stratified"- this means you have to chill them for at least a month (not freeze- putting them in the fridge is enough), though two months is a more common length of time.  Then, after they've been kept chill (around 1C to 5C) in a moist environment (vermiculite is one common material used) long enough, it's time to plant the seeds in some sort of soil medium in flats; those little trays with cups and soil in them, put in a dim space (not dark, some light, just no direct, harsh or hot lighting).  When the seedlings have penetrated the soil, start giving them more light- roses are full-sun-loving plants, but seedlings are tender.  Indirect light for the first little while, until the secondary and tertiary leaves show- then give them more and more direct, stronger light.  This simulates the spring warming after winter- more and stronger light, warmer temperatures and so on.  Also, roses like certain types of soils, types many other plants actually dislike; acidic, preferably.  Lastly, even if you get the seeds to germinate and grow into a fine bush, you'll get a random colour of blossom, not the colour of the parent.  It will be a variation of it, or nothing like, depending on what it was cross-pollinated with.

Roses are all hybrids, except for a very few; these are the wild, or "species", roses- single or double-bloomed, simple colours like pinks and whites.  Or the Rugosa roses, with a wider variety of colour because they've been cultivated for almost as long as the hybrid teas, longer, for some varieties, but still in the pinks and whites, some near-reds.

The roses we know and love as the brilliantly-coloured varieties with their yellows, oranges, reds, pinks, whites with hints of pink, mahoganies and so on are hybrid tea roses.  Rugosa hybridize easily with these and the wild species, and are often used as root or genetic-mixing stock for it's toughness, since the teas are prey to a lot of nasty illnesses.  Hybrid teas are always propagated from carefully-guarded plants not generally available to the public (that I know of, anyway), and the canes grafted onto a base root-stock (which is usually a bland, leggy white-blooming type only used for it's longevity and resistance to pests and disease), not grown from seed, unless the grower is working on a new hybrid.

Of course, knowing all of this in no way means I've ever been successful in getting any rose seeds to pop...

I am a terrible murderer of roses.  I've killed every single one I've ever tried to raise.  It makes me weep and gives me nightmares of all the lovely little plants (I'm especially fond of miniatures) crying to me "why, why did you kill us..." that I've failed in keeping healthy.  One gorgeous bloom sticks in my memory; it was a wonderfully tiny, delicate triple or quadruple bloom with tight petals in a rosette (heh, rose, "rosette"...  shaddap, you) a formation that reminded me of a Mum with it's perfect symmetry and multiplicity of petals.  It was a pale yellow and smelled wonderful.

It died.

*sigh*

Now, I'm not a "black thumb"- far from it; I've rescued plants from skips and back lanes, from the mother-in-law who regularly tortures her small collection, abandoned pots with half-dead creatures languishing within (I acquired a Night-Blooming Cereus and a red-bordered Draceana that way), snipped and picked wee sprigs that I've raised to great big plants that I have to divide and give away, and have grown cacti from seed, which is apparently not all that easy, though nowhere near as difficult as roses are.   So I have no idea why I cannot seem to get roses to grow for me.

It makes me want to cry, it does.

So I'll remind those who love roses- and I adore them to the point of leaning over to sniff at any variety I haven't seen before- YOU CANNOT GROW TRUE ROYAL PURPLE, BLACK, BLUE OR RAINBOW ROSES FROM SEED.  It is impossible.

Here's why:

Let's start with that gorgeous fantasy of a rose called the rainbow rose.  We see multi-coloured roses all the time, right?  Certainly.  So why not a rainbow one?  Two reasons: roses have a limited spectrum, like ALL flowers.  No flower on this planet has the full spectrum of colours- one is always excluded from it's genes, a shade usually on the ends of the spectrum (blue, purple or red), or in the green phases at the centre (there are green flowers, though- look up "Green Envy" zinnias or Bells of Ireland, and there is a green rose called "Greensleeves", too).

In the case of roses, the missing colour in it's range is blue.

That seems odd to me, since when we think of colour-theory and how blue mixed with red creates purple, and we have roses that look almost purple, so why can't we have a rose with blue in it?  I'm not certain how it works in terms of floral genetics, but I do know that the "colours" we see are not the actual colour of the object, it is the reflected colour, the one that's not absorbed by the object is what our eyes see.  All roses absorb blue, they do not reflect it.

So, rainbow roses.  Like I said, no flower on this Earth shows all colour- except white ones.  Those reflect ALL colours of light back to our eyes- we see them as white.  Just as black flowers absorb all colours of light, so we see them as black.  So it is impossible for a flower to reflect all shades (be truly "multi-coloured") without being white.

Rainbow roses:

: are created, not bred.  Here's how they do it: take one healthy, beautifully-formed white rose with a sturdy, thick stem.  Carefully split that stem into five or six strips.  Dip each strip into a separate vial of water with food colouring added.  Put this assembly in a cool place away from heat and light.  Wait about two or three hours.  Come back, amaze your friends and take some awesome photos.  :-)

Blue roses:

:this one has been the Holy Grail of rose-breeders for centuries.  It seems they had the same thought people like me did; if a rose can be red, pink, maroon or near-purple, why can't it be blue?  Well, it's because those "purples" that we're seeing in roses aren't.  Purple, that is.  They're reds.  But, there is a new hybrid developed in 1983 by a Dr. Buck that's been touted as a "blue rose", the closest anyone has yet been able to get.  It's colour?  A kind of pale, grey-purplish mauve.  Actually quite lovely, but not blue.

As with the rainbow roses, blue roses are created- in exactly the same way as the rainbows are: take a nice white blossom and dip it's stem into a beaker with blue food-colouring and water and allow capillary-action to draw the dyes up into the rose's petals.

Black roses:

: *sigh*  Same problem as the others; the colour we see is the colour the flower does not absorb.  Black flowers are not black- they are very close to black to our eyes, but they are again, deep, deep reds and purples, even purple-brown, when you look close under bright, direct light.  Still, they do look amazing, so just enjoy them, even if they aren't true black.  There is a variety of Columbine that is a rich bronzey-black shade that I think is gorgeous.  But, back to roses; to get an inky black one, take a nice red blossom (not a white one, this time- you need the red for a strong base) and do the same as with the blue and rainbow roses.

Royal purple:

:just ain't happenin', man.  No true blue in a rose, thus no true purple, either.  There are a number of lavenders and mauves- the so-called "blue" roses, but that's it.  I don't know if anyone has tried (I'm sure they have), but get one of the lavender roses, and do the dye thing.  Dip the cut end of the stem into a vase with tinted water in the purple you want and wait to see what happens.

Finally, I repeat; the sellers flogging rainbow, royal purple, blue or black rose seeds are scammers.  AVOID, AVOID, AVOID.  DO NOT buy anything from them!  You can grow roses from seed, they will just not look like the parent, as each seed will be DIFFERENT because the parent's seed has been pollinated by another rose bush.  The only way I can think of to get specific breeds of a rose is to have a hermetically-sealed environment with only one variety per enclosure to pollinate each other in order to get seeds to breed true, doing that over many, many generations, and I doubt that even that will work, since all tea roses are hybrids and have a long, carefully annotated lineage as complicated and knotted together as any of the European royal families.

If you find something like this on the Web, and it looks so amazing, it's hard to believe it's real, it probably isn't.  Besides, anyone who'd charge five bucks for five seeds is an asshole.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Life... Don't talk to me about life..."

I get distracted a lot; it's my personal bane of existence.   Like writing a novel, well, three (possibly four) of them, and a bunch of short stories...  Getting sucked into that vortex of time-wastage known as the Internet, shopping for materials for my jewellery and costume-designs and cool Goth stuff for our house...  Oh, and buying a house.

Yup, we took the plunge, my Kani and me, and decided we were going to stay in the rural mountain community a friend of ours had suggested moving to.  We found a nice little home with a view of the lake and the nearby mountains, with a great big space under the building that I can eventually turn into my permanent studio and a yard that will be my long-term gardening project of Doooooom.  >;-)

Definitely doom; the yard is a sloped monster at around 30-degrees plus, with a lot of oak trees on sandy, decomposed granitic soil with a probable acid-content that kills most things...  Except gophers.  I dunno why we have so many gophers- there's NOTHING there for them to eat!  Going to terrace, put in big retaining-walls of brick or stone with a pea-gravel and sand base, then back-fill with whatever soil I took out, mixed in with mulch and a good grade of yard soil.  I figure, after about three or four years, that yard will start to look like something presentable.  Besides, the erosion is getting ridiculous with only the trees holding it together.

One catch; the house came furnished.  Now, this wouldn't be much of a problem for most folks, but we already had our own furniture and well, we just aren't that big into the "country kitsch" style the previous owners were.  Bears, I tells ya- so many bears....  and moose, ducks, fish and raccoons...

Oh yeah, I can tell you about the raccoons- the living, real life family of raccoons.  They visit our decks, run around playing (hilarious and cute), digging in my potted plants looking for worms and um, leaving "presents" in the corners (not so hilarious and cute).   Dammit, if they didn't do the last two, I'd welcome them happily to our family.  We have coyotes in packs out there and I know they like the hills on either side of our property- we hear them yipping and howling on full moon nights.  That raccoon family probably uses our deck as a refuge from them...

We've tried a number of techniques for driving them off, but they don't work, it seems, for they keep coming back, the little rotters.  Damn, I wanna hug those fuzzies.  Really.  They are freakin' adorable, inquisitive, obviously smart, almost friendly... unless you get too close.  Mama has growled at me a couple of times. I know they're wild animals- as "wild" as anything can be in a town with humans who leave all kinds of tasty foods about- and befriending them is probably inviting more trouble than we'd want to handle.  So, we keep trying to scare 'em off.

Work on the studio continues- the temp one in the rec-room- and it's coming together nicely.  It's crowded, but I still have three times the amount of space I had in the last place, which is making things a lot easier to organize.  Mind you, the expanding entropy called my "creative mess" is well... expanding.  *sigh*  I'm actually getting off my duff and cleaning once in a while, something I loathe doing, but it needs to be dealt with, before it gets so bad I can't walk in there.

My commission back-log is slowly growing smaller, but, only slowly.  Poo.  The back-log of other things, like my emails, I'm finally starting to clear out...

Buying a house, moving in and holding a couple of massive deck sales to get rid of excess stuff takes a lot out of an old dragon like me... LOL  But, we made enough money to hopefully re-finish the massive decks this place has.  We're scraping off the old paint, hoping to get this done by the winter, sanding the wood a bit, then staining with an eco-friendly stain.  Once that's done, we'll only need to re-stain every five years or so without having to scrape and sand.  Hopefully, that'll mean only replacing wood that's gotten dry-rot or termites.

Ugh, bugs...  Ok, I like bugs; I especially like arachnids and dragonflies.  They can eat all the ants they want.  But so many ants...  And aphids- the bloody aphids are sucking the life out of my melon vine... literally, the poor thing.  Oh well, I didn't expect to actually get a crop this year, just testing the seeds I took out of a commercially-grown melon to see if they were viable.  Yup, they are.  Yay!  I'll be planting some next year in bigger containers, along with a number of other veggies.

I even have a big bin where I'm raising a crop of happy, fat worms.  Soil-amendment, you see.  Worm-castings are the best fertilizers out there.  I'll be building a proper compost bin for the things the worms can't handle, like citrus peels, and building a cold-frame on the back deck for the larger pots I don't have room for indoors.  Hopefully, they can stay out all winter, since the season is short and pretty warm here.

At least, we don't have rodents in the house...  Just in the yard, wandering under our car, occasionally in the build-up...  We regularly trap them and release them into the woods.  Well, I feel guilty over the gophers- Kani is kill-trapping them.  I'm going to buy a lot of a plant known as "gopher purge" and "fencing" the yard with it as a way of possibly driving off the remainder.  Athough, he hasn't caught any in a while, so I'm thinking they've either gotten wise to the traps, or there just aren't any left to trap.

But, back to the original topic of this entry: writing.

Lately, it's the resurrection of a bunch of short-stories and two novels that I've been writing, two more in outline.  Two are near completion (I hope, assuming the re-writes and edits won't put me off from ever doing this again), and there is a real possibility that I just might screw up the courage to send them to a publisher.

Now, the decision: paper or digital?  Just my luck that I happen along with my great opus during a massive economic downturn where many publishers have either gone under (mostly the small press, sadly) or have been waffling about discontinuing their paper press-releases.  Mind you, as far as the "economy" is concerned, it makes little difference to me personally; since I've always lived in poverty until recently, my options for doing anything were limited in the extreme, late to the game or not.

But, the question still remains; should I try for a hard-copy book printing, with it's high overhead costs for materials and labour, opt for print-on-demand, or go for the swelling e-book format?  I'm not particularly on the grape-vine (as if I ever was), but I still hear the rumours and tales of people having a modicum of success publishing their works on the web as e-books and as print-on-demand.  Will I be one of them?  Could I even make a bare-bones living at it?

I find that I'm leaning toward the digital and print-on-demand formats, actually.  The first, because that's where authorship and publishing is going, frankly, and because it aligns nicely with my "green" ideals; it uses less paper, wastes fewer resources like the oil used to make the inks, power the printing-presses, the trucks and other shipping used to get them to the stores, or the paper sourced from practices like clear-cutting whole forests.  The second, because while we are solidly into the beginnings of the real Digital Age, many people still like to have, hold and collect paper books.  I know I do, despite my "green" leanings.  Both formats also allow the author to get more of the money for the work of writing their novels, so I've heard.  It does mean that a publisher might not give an advance these days, preferring to find out if the writer's pieces will sell at all, first.

Understand, I know that the "advance" authors are given by publishers to finish a work is small, often little more than a few thousand, ten, if you're an already well-known, well-loved writer in the field.  But, for me, that 5K would be more than enough when combined with my hubby's income.  I also have other funds coming in a trickle, so I don't think we'll be hurting for the coin.  I just want to be able to contribute my part, even if I'm glacially-slow at it and sporadic.

Anyway, in the interest of getting feedback for my attempts at science-fiction and fantasy (my favourite genres, and don't let anyone tell you genre-writing is for punks), I've joined a writer's site called writersbeat.com  So far, I'm not getting a lot of attention, but I'm still really new, and the site is a pretty quiet one.  I might have to troll around to find one with more traffic if I really want a lot of eyeballs on my writing.  But, I need the readers, I need the critiques, and other views on things I wrote so that I can fix any flaws.  I know they're there- I keep finding them myself!  LOL

Unfortunately, if any of the few readers here want to see my stuff, they have to become a member of the site in order to view anything I write.  They have this forum ("Member's Only") where serious writing can be posted for nit-picking without running into the "first rights" nonsense a lot of publishers put up on writers hoping to get exposure.  Posting it on the Web apparently counts, unless it's a closed page where browsers and search-engines are barred from hunting through the material there.

 Be warned, they do have a rule where anyone who joins needs to actually post regularly- there will be a minimum of five posts from each newbie in order to be allowed to post new threads yourself and to be allowed into the private forums.  Yeah, it's a pain, but it could also mean that only serious folk will comprise the membership.  The only hitch is that you are expected to give serious critiques of people's work, not be nasty about it, keep the bad-language to a minimum (unless it's part of something you've written), no flamers, no trolls, etc.  Offering critiques might be enough, if you do it regularly, but you might be expected to post your own writing attempts, too.  Posting your own threads might not be required, though, so just post regularly (heck, once or twice a month is likely enough after the initial five, I suspect).  So, come by, be a reader, and, if you have any advice, comments, beefs, or bouquets about my writing, send it there.

Please?

So, if anyone is interested, go here and join up: http://www.writersbeat.com  Look for Auntibodhi; that's me.  :-)

Another avenue that I'm considering is breaking up my works into chapters and posting them as PDF files on our private, secure server.  Anyone who wants to read them can ask for the link to get portions of each story, or I can post the links as a "serial" kind of offering...

Meanwhile, I'll be off to find out what publishers are accepting submissions, what their guidelines are, etc.

The works I've so far posted are excerpts of these:

Borders: Book One: The Way Of Stone (novel)

Fishbowl (novella)

Things to look for later that will be coming soon:

Borders: Book Two: The Star Way (novel) [alternate title: Tabard And Stone]

Borders: Fimbulwinter (novel- prequel of the other two, but can stand alone)

Apprentice Of Smokes (novel- in the same universe, but taking place a number of years after the others on another world)



Anyway, that's my blather for today.  I'll probably get back to the ranting later.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This pretty much sums up what I think is happening to the United States...

A buddy of mine linked me to this NY Times article, and while I was laughing, I was sadly agreeing with nearly all of what the writer was saying...  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/unexceptionalism-a-primer.html?_r=1

What's also frightening, is that I actually wrote something similar back in 1997 during one of my paranoid, loony moments about how to essentially take over a country economically, socially and politically...  All backed by the big corporations.  I know I'm not the first to see such a trend- read anything by William Gibson, C. J. Cherryh, Bruce Sterling, even Philip K. Dick- but it scares me that someone so far off the grapevine (myself) could still see what was coming: it meant that the interests involved aren't even bothering to hide it any more.

What bothers me even more?

That it seemed like no one else was either seeing it, didn't have the power to stop it, couldn't believe it could happen here, or just didn't freakin' care...

At least activism is at an all-time high, so maybe something will at last change.

Time to roll up some sleeves, people, and get your country back.

In other words, get yer butts out there and VOTE for someone who will do the work and who will represent YOU, not the Big Money pigs on Wall Street.

Long live the 99%!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Paedo of the week

American friends, THIS is what you have supporting that pustule named Mitt Romney: an admitted paedophile and gun-nut, a dipshit of a man I've been watching get crazier and crazier as the years of his irrelevance went on and on.  Lately, he's actually been claimed as saying that he'd like to kill the President: "If Obama is re-elected I will be dead or in jail by this time next year"!   The Secret Service and he apparently had a "nice little talk" over that, but little came of it.  The article I link to below is dated April 18th, and asks the question of whether or not his admitted (on several occasions!) sexual-interest in what most would consider CHILDREN would even get mentioned by the Lamestream Media, let alone his possible threat to the POTUS.

I hope it goes fucking VIRAL, myself, and here's my add to that possibility, in case it hasn't done so already (I'll check around, but this was the first time I'd heard about it- no worries, some of you know my joke about how far down the Grapevine I am).

To all you older rockers, I suggest chucking anything of his you own, I don't care how much you like his mediocre beer-swilling, crotch-scratching, cave-man music- he is a fucktard of the most egregious variety, and if I were to ever meet the man myself, I'd tell him just what I thought of his anti-intellectualism, his idiocy over guns, that "God-Squad" membership bullpuckery, his anti-environmentalism (the Fish and Game Service "out of control"?  WTF?), and his admitted penchant for girls under the age of fifteen...

I give you, Ted Nugent, my winner of the Dirtier Than A Dog's Pizzle award for his extreme douchery.  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/18/1084534/-Romney-has-a-Pedophile-Problem-Named-Ted-Nugent-

More sources for this if DailyKos isn't on your radar:

Read the whole article, then check out the comments- this creep has a well-known rep for being a scum-bag:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/ted-nugent-says-hes-insulted-by-army-base-concert-cancellation-after-remarks-about-obama/2012/04/27/gIQAauZ1lT_story.html

Next  (I'm not a fan of the Christian Science Monitor, so when they publish something like this, it says something in their favour) :  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/Decoder-Wire/2012/0504/Ted-Nugent-is-back!-Does-Mitt-Romney-wish-he-d-zip-it

Even the lame-duck TMZ site mentions his inanities, though not the ones related to his comments about the POTUS or liking little girls:  http://www.tmz.com/2012/05/04/ted-nugent-cbs-reporter-ill-suck-your-d/

This cretin was a YOUTH COUNSELLOR?!  *shudders*  This is just his IMDB page- it doesn't mention the recent scandals, but I thought it was worth putting up:  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0637823/ 

This one is the last, I promise:  http://www.politicususa.com/ted-nugent-mitt-romney.html


Oh, and his music's been dead-lame since at least the late '70's...

Cross-posted to my FaceBook page:  www.facebook.com/T.W.Dragon

Next week, we could discuss an old chestnut by the name of Roman Polanski, or how about Woody Allen?  Both are high on my personal scum-metre...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

100 QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK THE STEP-MONSTER BEFORE HE DIES:

{NOTE: I had promised to post this here earlier, but, well... forgot}

As an intro, I'll say this: "MORELS taste good in omelettes, MORALS are rules for becoming a better human being". This article is about someone who failed to learn the difference.

If frank discussion of abuse is disturbing to you, especially if you've been where I have, or it's still fresh and hurting, I suggest that you do not read this, or, if you want to read SOMETHING, scroll all the way down to the end to read the uplifting bit.

See, I really should not read any fiction where a child is raped, but I do, sometimes not knowing what is in the book until I get partway through it, and then, I HAVE TO READ THE WHOLE FUCKING THING... It's like my own personal train-wreck: I just cannot look the fuck away...

"The Colour Purple", I blame you. Sorry, miss Walker, you wrote a touching and strong book, but it's definitely calling up some baaaaad memories because the situation of the main character mirrors my own in far too many ways, one of which being that the abuser will NOT take ANY responsibility for what he did- won't even apologize, and doesn't have the balls to talk to me when I approached HIM.... *siigh*

Oh, and this article? It's hella long. A lot of these questions have answers I'm pretty certain I already know, and are just rhetorical, but if anyone wants to "answer" them, go right ahead. I actually wrote out most of these questions several months ago during one of my periodic bouts of depression and I've been wanting to post them for a while. Walker's book merely gave me an excuse. LOL

1: When I asked you why you did those things to me, you replied, "you were the closest thing at hand." Do those words ever haunt you? They SHOULD, and I hope they DO.

2: Do your actions to me ever haunt you? They SHOULD, because it's DISGUSTING that you went out of your way to hurt a little child.

3: Are you sure you even KNOW what love is?

4: Have you ever been told that you are probably a sociopath?

5: I'd ask if you knew what 'guilt' was, but you'd probably be a smartass and point me to a dictionary. So I'll ask instead: Have you ever FELT guilt?

6: Do you hate your father for making you live after the accident that nearly killed you as a teen? (his head was nearly severed by a bale of chicken-wire- he now can only speak in a whisper and has a scar running across his throat from side to side. When I discovered that this was a "trait" often given to stereotypical villains in bad adventure novels, I laughed my ass off at the coincidence)- anyone reading this who is part of, or knows, my family will figure out who this refers to easily enough.

7: Are you ever grateful that he died never knowing that you became a child-rapist not even ten years later?

8: How does a supposedly mature, responsible male manage to justify raping an 11 year old girl?

9: What was your thought-process? Because you obviously were able to do it.

10: Did taking me against my will make you feel powerful, like a man?

11: Why was sex so important to you that you couldn't control yourself around a child?

12: Have you raped any OTHER little girls?

13: Have you ever told anyone what you've done?

14: If not, why not? (I'm reasonably certain I know why, but I still wanna hear your "reasons".)

15: Does it bother you that you are a coward and a bully?

16: If you caught someone raping a little girl you found "attractive", would you stop him, or ask to join in, or stop him and fantasize about a grateful little girl giving you what the other rapist was trying to take later?

17: Did you know that when I pissed on you, it was my little revenge? It didn't matter to me that it turned out you liked it.

18: Can you tell me what exactly it was about my 11 year-old, prepubescent body that you found "hot"?

19: I once saw you mention God and the soul. Do you believe that you even HAVE a soul?

20: Do you understand that you are an opportunistic paedophile?

21: Something in you must have understood what you did was wrong- after all, you switched from vaginal rape to anal to keep me from getting pregnant. Did you REALLY care about pregnancy, or was it that you just didn't want to get CAUGHT?

22: Will you EVER take responsibility for what you did in bald, open terms?

23: Would going to prison scare you?

24: You say you aren't afraid of me, but I know different: when I slammed you against the wall and threatened to kill you for what you'd done to me, you were terrified. So, do I STILL scare you? I hope I do.

25: Do you ever have nightmares? Good.

26: Am I in them? I hope so.

27: What would you do if your girlfriend found out you raped me for five years, until I threatened to kill you if you ever did it again?

28: Have you ever REALLY considered suicide, like you once claimed in a letter to my mother? I have, and it's NOT something you use as a ploy to gain sympathy, you dumb fuck- it's a true cry of pain.

29: So, what stopped you? Pussy.

30: You claimed for years that you didn't believe in an afterlife or in God, yet, recently, you mentioned God and the soul, implying that you have since gotten such a belief. Knowing the weight of your crimes may have possible punishment, what do you really think will happen when you finally kick it?

31: Will you mind if I come and piss on your grave whenever I'm in town? My little farewell present to you, since you liked "water-sports" so much. >:D

32: How fast do you think your family and friends would abandon you if they found out what a totally selfish, self-serving, people-using SCUM-BAG you were?

33: Will you accept it as your "just desserts" along with the one working lung, diabetes and the psoriasis? (If family-members don't know who I'm talking about by now, I could just name the little pustule)

34: I don't believe in God- the existence of people like you ensured that, but I do believe in something like Karma. How does it make you feel to know that I smile whenever I hear about another illness, setback or bad break happening to you?

35: When did you break down so badly as a human being that you'd be OK with stepping over the line from simply being physically abusive (bad enough on it's own) to being a rapist?

36: How can you possibly say "I love you" and "don't tell your mother" in the same breath?

37: How can you possibly say "I love you" to a little girl you'd just raped? Just because I didn't RESIST you doesn't mean I was willing OR that I enjoyed it. You had already made sure to train me NOT to resist to begin with!

38: What would you feel if I told you that I can't have sex like a healthy human being, even now, nearly thirty years later? To this day, I can't do certain things without seeing YOUR ugly face.

39: How do you manage to survive the onslaught of my hate? Dammit, if thoughts COULD kill, you'd have been a pink smear on some wall a million times over!

40: Do you know how many times I've plotted your MURDER?

41: Do you know how many of my relationships fell apart because I couldn't/wouldn't have sex?

42: Do you know, or care, that I blame YOU?

43: Do you care about ANYTHING other than what YOU want?

44: Did you know, of all the things I regret, the biggest one is not finding the stones to report you to CFS when I went to them to BEG them to take me away?

45: Do you have any fucking idea what being afraid all the time feels like? Maybe I should TEACH you.

46: Did you know that you don't call someone you love a "stupid cunt"? When you called me that, Mum stepped in and chewed you out, one of the only times I remember her EVER defending me. I still treasure that moment. Go Mom!

47: What's it like in your fucked up head?

48: Do you find it ironic that you'd beat me for drawing monsters, yet, you were the one who introduced me to them? (he got me into horror comics and really bad, violent horror novels, then beat on me if I drew vampires or werewolves, 'cuz he thought I was "obsessed" with them! Twit)

49: When will you do the decent thing and confess to the world what filth you really are and take the consequences at long last?

50: Knowing how abusive behaviour tends to run in families and that it sometimes drops in severity down the generations, if what YOU did to ME was your idea of fair, what did GRANDPA do to YOU?

51: If your childhood was anything like I suspect, do you know that this would be the ONLY reason I'd pity you?

52: By the way, did you learn your "winning ways with women" from your father?

53: Did you know that your brothers were as fucked up as you were? One asked me to suck his dick when I was 8, telling me it tasted like honey (I refused) and the other was just a bastard who picked on us when we were kids, even dumping a bowl of hot porridge in my little brother's lap. Mom still has a scar under her eye where he punched her and bounced her head off some plywood stacked against the hallway wall from one of Grandpa's many never-finished "projects".

54: Did grandpa rape your sisters? Maybe that's where you learned that it was OK for daddies to rape their daughters.

55: Do you have any fucking CLUE how fucked up our whole stupid FAMILY was?

56 Are you afraid of dying?

57: Are you afraid of LIVING?

58: Are you afraid of what will happen if you were to own up to what you did?

59: Did you know that I can still remember your smell? Yeasty and cloying, with an undertone of auto-paint.

60: Did you know that memories flood back whenever I SMELL auto-enamel paint?

61: Why were you such a SELFISH little prick?

62: Do you know that I coined the term "button boy" to describe your little prick- the way your penis disappears into your pubic hair, leaving only the tip and the ring of what's left of your foreskin showing? Even your COCK is ashamed to be seen in public! It has more of a conscience than YOU do!

63: Do you know that I find it laughable that you thought you could TEACH me ANYTHING about sex, except how NOT to do it? You were probably the most self-centred, stuck on himself, unskilled lay I've ever "had". Yes, you SUCK IN BED. Ewww, I went there...

64: What would you do, if I came over and kicked you in the balls, right NOW?

65: Did you know I used you for money during lean times? I figured that since you TREATED me like a cheap whore that I should CHARGE you like one. At least then, I'd get SOMETHING out of it other than a whoppingly huge sense of self-hatred... I once calculated that you owed me at least fifty grand over a period of five years... You still owe at LEAST 40K, pal- should I demand that you pay up?

66: Did you know, that in a perverse way, I'm GRATEFUL to you? You showed me EXACTLY what to avoid in a man and what warning-signs to look for to avoid being hurt again and prevent myself from getting involved with a possible paedophile. Thanks. I mean it.

67: Would it matter for you to know that, despite my passionate desire to flay the skin from your bones, I'll NEVER actually physically hurt you? I think life is doing a fine job of that already. Hope you're having fun living on one LUNG, asshole.

68: When you found out a family friend had also been sexually abusing me, you were furious enough to punch me in the belly for it. You didn't do anything to the family FRIEND, you attacked ME instead. AND it didn't stop you from raping me, either... Was it a jealousy/territorial thing, ya big ape?

69: Did you know I hated "69"-ing with you? I hate doing that with anyone else, too, thanks to you, you stupid bastard.

70: Did you know that you had the smallest penis of any guy I ever slept with? I still laugh at that. Big man, itty bitty joystick. Typical.

71: What went through your tiny little mind after you read the question about your tiny little penis?

72: How do you feel knowing that every one of my friends, lovers, even ENEMIES, knows what you did?

73: Want me to tell you how MANY of those friends and lovers have offered to KILL you for me? Hint: ALL of them. Even some of my ENEMIES offered their services.

74: Do you know that I haven't been scared of you since I threatened to kill you that day in my hallway?

75: And that I consider that day a pivotal moment in my healing?

76: How can you love someone you have no respect for? By saying that I "was the closest thing at hand" you pretty much told me everything I needed to know: women are holes for god-like you to stick his dick into.

77: Does it bother you to know that I'LL NEVER, EVER, EVER FUCKING FORGIVE YOU FOR CALLING ME A THING?

78: No matter how much you whine, beg, or plead?

79: What would you do if I posted this where all your friends and family could see, like I'm doing, RIGHT NOW?

80: What do you think they'd do, or say?

81: Did you know that the very idea of sex, with anyone, often made me feel physically ill?

82: Do you know that I think your pasty white skin, bizarre beard, funky scent and piggish nose make you seem like a parody of a human being? In other words, you're a fucking JOKE to me.

83: What went through your mind every time you made me CRY? *glares*

84: Or when I gagged and barfed in your lap after you made me swallow?

85: Did you know that I can't give a blow-job without gagging and seeing/smelling you? This was one of the things that killed a few of my relationships, as mentioned before. Yeah, some men are fucking pigs, to drop me because I wouldn't suck them off.

86: Did you know, or even care, that I had to fight to keep from cringing any time you touched me in public because in some warped way, I was trying to protect our family from pointy questions?

87: Did you realize that I pretended to be asleep when you came to my room at night? I didn't sleep much at night- I spent five years on less than four hours of sleep a night to AVOID you. Imagine my disgust when you tried to have sex with me ANYWAY. As if I needed any more proof that my body was just a convenience for you... Scum-bag.

88: What went through your mind when I told you I would kill you if you ever touched me again?

89: How scared were you when I finally told MOM what you'd been doing?

90: Do scared, bruised, crying little girls turn you on?

91: Did you know that I "divorced" myself from the human race because I kept MEETING people like YOU? We "re-married"- me and the human race are happier, now. I realized that I should have divorced YOU and anyone LIKE you from humanity, not myself.

92: Why is it not a surprise that I gag at the smell of cum?

93: Why did I feel guilty just for EXISTING when it was YOU who committed the crime? I remember the bruises, cuts, the lumps on my scalp from being hung by my hair...

94: Were YOU ever sexually abused? If so, I am SO sorry you had to go through that- I'm NOT being sarcastic, either. NO ONE should go through that, not even you.

95: If you were, how could you EVER put anyone ELSE through that?

96: If you were not, how could you possibly be so lacking in compassion as to do that to me?

97: Have you EVER felt sympathy for another being in pain?

98: Why wouldn't it surprise me to find out you haven't?

99: What is it like to be so disconnected from anything human?

100: And last, but not least: HOW THE FUCK DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?

Now people might have an idea as to just how much, and why, I despise incest and cub-porn "fetishes", and why I have real trouble seeing anyone who gets off on stuff like that as anything but the kind of fucked up you can only fix with a knife to the throat. I'm not normally a violent person, despite all the talk of doing violent acts- it's just that things like this fill me with such rage, that it's hard for me to think straight. I've actually had visions of myself going to prison one day for beating to death anyone I caught raping a child (or ANYONE, for that matter)... Though I like to think that my answer to the question "what are you in for" would be guaranteed to make even the hardest of criminals back up.

Anyone who has gone through this or worse, I am so sorry for your pain. Know that someone else understands, doesn't judge you or think you're weak, or worthless or small for not being able to fight them off. You were a child- you were an easy target. It was NEVER your fault. Please don't tell yourself that it was. You've survived this long- that means you're STRONGER THAN YOU THINK. Keep fighting, know that it ends if you allow it to. YOU can make it stop, both the abuse and the memories it leaves behind. The memories are nothing more than the ghost of the one who hurt you, trying to keep a hold on you- cut yourself free. Know that you will eventually meet someone who knows that real love doesn't exploit, doesn't rape, doesn't confuse fear with respect, doesn't beat on you, or drive your friends away or keep you from seeing them, or tell lies about you, or keep you imprisoned, isn't jealous, isn't controlling and isn't demanding that you be less than him/her at all times.

Love is trust. Love is sharing that trust. Love is beautiful. Love is finding beauty, even in a mud-hole. Love is compassion and sympathy. Love is truth. Love is being able to kiss when you awaken, despite morning-breath that could kill a Tauntaun. Love is being able to let go when things don't work out. Love is being willing to be vulnerable- trust again. Love is knowing that s/he will be there when you need them. Love is fun. Love has no fear. Love gives YOU power. Love can change your world into something better. Love sees age as beauty, no matter how run down you may actually look. Love destroys an abusers' power. Love can say "I'm sorry" and MEAN it. Love grows, even in the darkest places. Love is a painkiller. Love can end, but the memories it leaves behind are always treasured.


LOVE is what saves your soul, not god.

Love is meeting another soul and being able to say "I understand".

Oh, yeah, and a certain special someone got this in his in-box.  I did it the weekend of his birthday: April 1st- Day of the Fool, and he is, above all, a fool..

And, the Earth moved...

What a way to wake up!

Ok, what was your first thought?


Seriously, the Earth moved.  At a 3.8 magnitude (downgraded from the original 4.1), to be exact.  The largest earthquake I've yet experienced, I think.  Very short shake to the whole house.  Some pictures moved a bit and now need to be straightened.  That's it.  LOL

I'm laying in bed, contemplating the idea of getting up, feeling sluggish and slow...  Wiggle, wiggle SHAKE.  Alrighty, then, I'm WIDE awake now.  Chris comes in, saying "we just had an earthquake".

"Yeah, I felt it, too.  I thought it was Diva having one of her scratching fits again...  Think there'll be any more?"

"No idea, but maybe we should get dressed..."

How can we be so calm?!

When earthquakes get mentioned, my friends back in Winnipeg all have that panicky reaction that makes me grin even now: "Get yer ass out of that natural-disaster of a state ASAP!"  That was my buddy, Corey, after the Easter quake that smashed Baja in Mexico.  That one was so big (Magnitude 7.2), we felt it up in Valley Village (I keep wanting to say Value Village- any 'Pegger reading this will understand) as a roughly magnitude 3 ripple (my guess) that made me a bit queasy.  It was also the longest tremour I've felt, at that point (still the longest, as of this writing) at 90 seconds of gentle swaying, the sensation reminiscent of being on a boat on water.  Slow lead up of ripples, then a short stretch of stronger movement, then fading away to nothing.

What amused me more, was finding out just how poor most of my friend's education in geography was!  They heard "Baja California", and immediately thought my area of "California, United States" and promptly went into panic-mode: "Oh shit!  Terrakian's out there!", forgetting that California, as a land-mass, extends into Mexican territory as a peninsula...  Cue a lot of frantic emails and calls...  I had to tell them that I was fine, the epicentre of the quake was actually over 300 miles away, in Mexico, where "Baja California" is the Northern part of their country:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Baja_California_earthquake

Quakes are interesting, and sometimes terrifying, things to me: I had no idea when I moved down here, that they had such a variety of "feel" to them, either.  I thought it would be harder or lesser shaking- but essentially the same in overall feel- with things moving in that circular, Coriolis motion I always found so odd and fascinating in earthquake videos...  Instead, I've felt that Coriolis motion under my feet, making me feel as if I was unstable, on a moving platform turning in the breeze, and about to fall down (messes with the inner ear, I suspect), a loud rumble that shook the apartment, opening cupboard doors and setting hanging things to swaying, that slow weak-weak-stronger-STRONG-stronger-weak-weak wiggle of the Easter Quake, and a loud "double knock" of a RAP! RAP! on the building that was so sudden, and so fast, I almost didn't realize what had happened until it was over.

This morning, it felt like a large vehicle had gone past the house... or, like my cat, Diva, was scratching furiously at her ear, like she does so often.  That kind of shake-shake-shake back and forth motion.

Incidentally, this morning was the first quake I've felt while up here in Crestline.  This area isn't known for having many quakes, but we do get them, on occasion.

Oh, and we live on the San Andreas Fault, along with a host of lesser faults that are, apparently, more likely to shift.  I wonder what a large quake would feel like up here?  What kind of damage could I expect?  Yup, still weirdly calm, asking silly questions.  Why?  Because earthquakes are a feature of living up here, they're fascinating, they're scary and they're, oddly enough, kind of fun.  Go figure.  I'm sure I wouldn't be so sanguine if a high-mag quake hit our area- I think about what happened to Chile the same year as the Baja quake and shudder...

But, you got to admit, that's one hell of a "wake up call"...