Progress – Not

There’s been a change of leadership at MedFaire. The new director is a long time friend. Today, we stuffed the vendor contract envelopes. It looks like I will be doing much more administrative work with MedFaire, before, during, and after.

This makes me wonder about the future of the alchemy booth. I still very much want to do it, but it looks more like it would be something better for someone else to do, and I just help out.

Like many other state agencies (and MedFaire is a state agency, or at least a program from a state agency), with the budget cuts, when a job is vacated, they usually don’t fill it. Linda’s job was an exception, someone has to run MedFaire. AnnMarie was a part time assistant and was promoted to Linda’s position, meaning AnnMarie’s job as assistant is vacant and will probably remain so until the budget turns around. So I offered to help as much as possible – an unpaid assistant.

Of course, I also volunteered my ex to help mark the grounds the week before the Faire. I am not above volunteering other people when I know they probably won’t mind being volunteered. This gives my ex a chance to catch up with a couple of his old friends, friends he wouldn’t get to see this year since he’s not attending MedFaire this year in favor of attending a gun show in Tulsa instead.

I got a preview of the T-shirt design this year and will gleefully buy both T-shirt and sweatshirt this year.

And, with greater involvement in admin, I will have less time to even think about having a booth.

I admit the primary reason I wanted a booth was so I’d have something to do between the volunteer shifts, a place to stash my gear, a place to interact with the patrons, a place out of the weather to sit, and a place for the doggies to rest and relax.

I don’t know how much (or little!) time I will have to set up and run a booth at the Faire, and so I guess I will table it for now. Not give it up, just backburner it for now. In a year or two, I’ll look at it again.

Books

A favorite author of mine has a new book out I’d like to get for Gosplodey’s: <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Spectacular-Chemical-Experiments-Herbert-Roesky/dp/3527318658/ref=pd_sim_b_24”> Spectacular Chemical Experiments</a> bu Herbert Roesky.

Other books I’d like to get include (but are not limited to): <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Chemical-Curiosities-Herbert-W-Roesky/dp/3527294147/ref=pd_sim_b_7#_”> Chemical Curiosities</a> by Roesky and Moeckel, translated by Russey and Mitchell.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Alchemy-Chemistry-Picture-Story/dp/0471751545/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289589778&sr=1-1”> From Alchemy to Chemistry in Picture and Story</a> by Greenberg.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Book-Totally-Irresponsible-Science-Experiments/dp/076115020X/ref=pd_sim_b_8”>The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science</a> by Sean Connolly.

Aside for Wrist

My wrist is in sad, sad shape. At PT today, it had less than 2 degrees of movement in any direction, there’s shoulder involvement, the the internal stitches are not only not dissolving as they should, there’s infection in it. I’ve started antibiotics for the infection, but if the stitches don’t dissolve, they’ll have to open up my palm again to take them out.

I have 4 goals: to resolve the infection/stitches issue, get some movement in the wrist and shoulder – enough to get fully dressed, be able to drive again, and be able to hold a pen/lift anything over 6 ounces/eat right handed again. That would be enough to go back to work. The rest can come after that.

Purpose

Now that I’ve settled in to this new location, it’s time to get down to business.

I named this blog “gosplodey” for a reason – I intend to develop a hobby into a very small once a year public demonstration at an event called the OU Medieval Fair for the nefarious purposes of having fun, having something to do when I’m not working on the staff, and to share my interest with as many people as possible. I doubt I’ll make any money at it. Indeed, I’m pretty sure it will be a financial sinkhole – I have to purchase/rent a tent, acquire tables (I have 1, it’s a start), stills that are portable (I have 1 portable still – a start but not enough), other lab equipment, chemicals and bottles and jars and other such “consumables”, create signage, develop interesting patter, find some visually appealing and possibly mildly explosive experiments to patter on about, create costuming for myself and any assistants I can attract to help with this, find some way to reimburse said assistants – if only to feed them, and print up booklets and make little give-aways.

Yeah, it’s going to be a real money drain.

But it’s going to be fun!

Plan B – for “Beyond”

So, most people have a Plan A. It could be a small Plan A, like having oatmeal for breakfast, or getting to work 10 minutes early. Or it could be a grand Plan A, like going to college and majoring in rocket science.

Thing is, even the smallest and simplest Plan As can be derailed. Most of the time, when a small Plan A gets derailed (traffic delays you so you’re 10 minutes late instead of 10 minutes early), most people simply shrug it off and move on. It may not even dawn on them that they had a Plan, let alone a Plan A, so they automatically glide into Plan B mode (sorry, Boss, traffic was brutal today! I’ll make it up at lunch.).

It’s the Grand Plan As that can, when derailed, wreak havoc and destroy lives – literally destroy lives – because they never expected failure, never had a Plan B – “B” = “Beyond” so I don’t have to go “Plan C”, “Plan D”, etc. Assume Plan B stands for every plan past the original Plan A.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that giving up Plan A doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the goal Plan A is meant to achieve.

For instance: I have a friend whose mother was a gifted pianist – before she married. She was fame quality – they had recordings of her concerts. It’s possible she could have become one of the great pianists of the world, she had the passion and potential – until an indiscretion led her to the altar and presented her with a son 6 months later. Her husband didn’t hate music, he simply saw no point in it and wouldn’t spend the money to allow her to continue to play and perform. Her job, as he saw it, was to set aside her childish playthings and take care of him, the child(ren), and the house. She eventually had 3 children, and never, to the day of her death, played piano again. I don’t know what her goal was with the piano, but I always wonder, when I hear stories like this, if she could still have realized her goal, just on a different schedule or in a different way. Perhaps she might have become a piano tutor, or played in the church, or performed for family and friends at holidays – assuming music was her goal and not world fame.

All the gods know my own Plan As have been altered out of all recognition from when I began planning and plotting my life. A couple of times, I’ve been forced to completely walk away from the life I had and to rebuild a new life, other times, I simply had to re-aim my sights and look elsewhere, and my own physiology made a few goals impossible. When you’re young and still growing, dreams range everywhere – but I never grew tall enough to be an astronaut, laws forbade me to work in the field I’d chosen as second best, and by the time the laws changed, I was too long out of the field and chemo robbed me of my mathish skills to be truly competent in it.

That’s what life is – not failure, per se, although by the definition of that word, one could say I’d failed many times over – a constant re-evaluating of one’s life and needs and desires, and the plotting and planning to achieve those.

I let my children see what my goals were and how I achieved them – and what I did when Plan B became my new Plan A, how this new plan would get me closer to my goal. My children learned early that there was always another way to get to the goal. I admit, I played RPGs with my children – how better to teach them life skills where the character they created gets thwarted, blocked, and stalled and they have to find ways past the Evil GM (me) to win their goal and end the game. They applied those skills to life, so when they couldn’t camp in tents because of rain, they could camp in the cars, and when one job didn’t pan out, they could look for another, and when one dream was blocked, there were other ways to get there – and more help than they ever believed possible would be there, too.

An obstacle wasn’t a dead-end. If Plan A tanked, there were many more options than suicide. Death is truly the only dead-end. I haven’t figured a way yet to get past death to complete my goals. For me, death has never been a Plan B.

Sadly, it seems to be the only Plan B the children of my children’s generation and younger seem to have. So many young people take their own lives because they don’t see any other way out of their predicament – and they lack the experience and the teachings that no matter how dire and grim things may be at that moment, as long as one is alive, there is always a Plan B.

My children learned these lessons in games and camping trips and by watching me re-evaluate and changes paths to get to my goals. They saw me take jobs I didn’t want in order to pay bills and get to jobs I did want, to buy a house, to provide food and clothing, pay for their college, and to do the things that made me happy (and them). Unlike many of their peers, they learned flexibility and patience, and they learned that the things they wanted wouldn’t be handed to them just because they wanted it, and the things they wanted could be taken away by a single mistake they made or stolen by someone else’s mistake – but they could get it back, if they thought about it and re-negotiated their goal and the path to it. All was not lost, just – changed.

Death, however, truly ends it all. You can’t make any more Plan Bs when you Plan A is so terminally final.

“Functional Food”

http://healthland.time.com/2010/09/28/food-is-the-new-pharma-nestle-aims-to-enter-the-functional-foods-market/?hpt=Sbin

Now, that’s something that should rightfully terrify all of us – food pumped full of drugs and making spurious health claims.

I won’t be buying them. Real food has more and better benefits than pumped up, junked up, processed food.<p>I am considering a partial boycott of Nestle products or any other products that scream “Improves Digestion!” or “Prevents Diabetes/Obesity/Alzheimer’s/Heart Disease!”, “Now With Added Calcium!” – anything that has a “health” claim attached, although I may scale it up to a full blown boycott.

I don’t want a prescription to be able to go grocery shopping. I don’t want my food to be stripped of all its natural goodness and then be chemically enhanced to give it some level of artificial nutrition.

I want my food to taste good, to taste like the food it is – I don’t want cranberries that taste like apples or apples that taste like grapes, I don’t want cheese tasting like eggs or bread like steak. (I don’t know that the last two exist, but it seems inevitable, doesn’t it?). I don’t want “functional food”, I want real food.

The last paragraph of the article is a sane one.

Links to Proof of Religious Persecutions

Please note that none of these persecuted religions are Christianity, and most of the persecutions perpetuated against these religions are instigated by Christians. Those who can instigate persecution are privileged, not persecuted.

I was going to pull up links and quotes for the past 5 years, but realized that if I merely documented the actual religious persecutions of the past 12 months, I would exceed several pages, so I decided to just hit the more spectacular ones of the past 5 years and still exceeded several pages, so I narrowed it down further to only the ones that were more representative and well known, which got it down to a mere 2 pages in the last 3 years.

I could not find any articles of actual persecutions perpetuated against Christians that were not instigated by other Christians, and I’m not going to get involved in their family bickering. I could not find any documented instances of persecutions against Christians in the US by our government, or some governing body. Persecution is defined as deliberately and maliciously causing harm with the force of the law behind the harmful acts. A religion is not persecuted if it is caused to comply with the same laws with which all other religions must comply, for example: requiring people to remove religious based jewelry of one religion if all other religions may not wear their religious jewelry. There are, obviously, other examples, but they are compliance issues, not persecution.

One thing not noted in these links is the extreme difficulty many smaller religions have in getting wedding officiants who are legally allowed to sign the marriage licenses. If they were Christian, they get an automatic approval, most other religions have to prove they are a real religion, and to prove they have a “congregation” (and many don’t have a Christian hierarchical structure with congregation/priesthood, which is right there a form of persecution to not even acknowledge the different structures religions may have), and to prove they aren’t frauds. The same type of discrimination and persecution exists in hospital chaplaincy, military chaplaincy, and prison chaplaincy – Christians get an automatic approval, all other religions have to jump through hoops. At this time, there are still no official Wiccan, Asatruar, Hellismos, Numenist, Thelemic, or other non-mainstream military chaplains even though there are service members of these various religions in the military. The Christians are privileged here, not persecuted.

http://www.macombdaily.com/articles/2010/07/15/news/doc4c3fc33b945cf477239911.txt

http://www.storzerandgreene.com/images/KingComplaint.pdf

http://www.storzerandgreene.com/press.htm#king

http://marygreer.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/fortunetelling-protected-under-first-amendment/

http://witchdoctorjoe.blogspot.com/2008/09/order-of-pentacle.html

http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/241820

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20100903/NEWS03/309039951

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/aseem_shukla/2010/09/becks_false_inclusivity.html

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/aseem_shukla/2010/04/national_day_of_platitudes.html

http://wildhunt.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/112509_Amici_Curiae_FL_Justice_Institute_n_Legal_Aid_Society_NYCs_Brief_Suppt_PlfsAppellants.pdf

http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2009/12/prison-fellowship-amicus.pdf

http://www.religioustolerance.org/wicgf.htm

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/08/18/allen-west-islam/

http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Prop8Decision.pdf

http://www.navajohopiobserver.com/main.asp?SectionID=36&SubSectionID=73&ArticleID=12681

http://courts.arkansas.gov/court_opinions/coa/2008b/20081001/20081001.htm

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/oct/01/1001_psychic/

A Southeast Arkansas woman who argued she lost custody of her son because of a judge’s perception of her alleged practice of Wicca lost her appeal Wednesday before a divided state Court of Appeals Wednesday. In a 4-2 ruling, the appeals court affirmed a decision granting custody to the child’s father, though the judges disagreed on whether the lower court considered the mother’s religious beliefs. In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as ‘a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.’

http://courts.arkansas.gov/court_opinions/coa/2008b/20081119/published/ca07-1321.pdf

http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/10/23/Wiccan_Says_Firing_Was_Religious_Bias.htm

And this occurred in our very own Senate on July 12, 2007: “…two women and one man were arrested and charged with causing a disruption in the public gallery of the Senate. The three started shouting when guest Chaplain Rajan Zed, a Hindu from Nevada, began his prayer. They shouted ‘No Lord but Jesus Christ’ and ‘There’s only one true God,’ and used the term ‘abomination.’”

Rigid Standards

Some of the worst human-made disasters in our history have been born of judging others by too rigidly held standards.