Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Still searching for a better way...

but I have a new home to do it from: The Kilted Liberal. It is still new and has bugs and you can expect many changes over the next few weeks as I figure out what the hell I am doing. I welcome any and all feedback, anything from this sucks to you are the Savior incarnate.

Right now nothing is up there but starting tomorrow there will be.

The Kilted Liberal.

See you there!

Calling All Weather Witches Out There...

and anyone else who wants to add energy into this effort.

This coming weekend I was really looking forward to going to Witchstock, a three day Pagan celebration of the Autumn Equinox. Not only is this one of the eight major Sabbats that Wiccan celebrate each year, it would also be a first time camping for my wife and my daughter. I really wanted some time off from the rat race, a chance to connect to Her in nature, that warm sense of community that I got the last year at Witchstock.

That may not be happening though... it looks like the Goddess may have other plans in the form of an itty bitty weather disturbance called Hurricane Rita. Witchstock is held in Central Texas and that is the projected path for Hurricane Rita.

  • This is where I am supposed to be going.

  • Taken from the National Hurricane Center's website at 11pm CST 8/20/05 showing the projected path of Hurricane Rita.

  • Now, let me be very clear about this; my concerns - missing a weekend of camping - are insignificant compared to the concerns for Corpus Christie, Galveston and Houston who will be nailed hard by this storm. I pray that the storm loses organization before it hits shore although the experts say that is about as likely as pigs flying. The refugees from Katrina are being bused from Houston to Arkansas so you really have to feel for them, fleeing hurricane number 2. Our focus, our efforts and our prayers should be for those in the path of the hurricane.

    But if after all is said and done, I would selfishly like a weekend of community in nature with my wife and daughter.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005


    On Thursday, Mabon, the autumn equinox for those of you who are Pagan, I will be launching a new venture. I would be lying to you if I didn't bluntly admit what I feel about this which is truly a sense of fear and depression. Simply put, I am afraid of failing, that nobody will like what I have done. I hate the feeling but for about the past week I have had a deep sense of nausea whenever I think about it, a feeling so deep that I have not been doing work that is essential to the success of my idea. I am wishing that I had never started at this point.

    Some of this is my normal stage fright. I have always had that. I suspect a lot is exhaustion; baby has not been resting well this past couple of nights, nor have I. Work is not going well, in fact, work is going so poorly that for the first time in a long time I am literally afraid that I will lose my job. Right now my wife is having some difficulties with breastfeeding and that is new; until now that had been going very, very smoothly. The upshot of that is that I see my wife struggle and I cannot help her so I find myself simply feeling stupid and useless.

    Well, that is at least something I am good at; I have years of experience and practice feeling stupid and useless, or worse, smart and useless. My parents always told me that if I was going to do something I should be the best at it that I can be and I excel at tearing myself apart so perhaps it is good to have returned to my roots.

    I really wish I had not become a father. I don't think I am fit to be one.

    In a ballet of perfectly awful timing my managed healthcare provider has managed to screw up my perscription drugs so I have suddenly been forced off of one of my medications without warning. I will just as abruptly be returning to taking it whenever they fix the perscription. Every time I deal with them I get angry; it does not matter the lead time or the planning, they always seem to get it wrong.

    I should shut up and focus on all the things I should be grateful for; all the bounty in my life today. But right now it all seems like ash and dust to me. So I will leave this post the way it is.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    Conservatism Is A Disease

    Four days left until the big change; It will amaze and please you.

    Well, I hope anyway.

    One of the big problems with liberals and progressives is that at the drop of a hat they are usually willing to see the failures of market forces everywhere and tend to see government as a solution to a vast spectrum of problems. This is not always true; in fact often government is perfectly wrong as the solution to specific problems. Look at the question of energy generation for the Western United States for instance; the government solution was to dam up every trickle of water. This has created a series of environmental nighmares and the endagerment of several species that were supposed to be helped by the damming.

    The converse is true of conservatives. Government, in their eyes, is always the enemy, stifling individual market freedom and liberty. Which leads to the creation of organization such as the Club for Growth who hold that by reducing taxes and government, automatically there will be market growth. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for tax reform, famously stated:
    My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.

    The Nation: Grover Norquist: 'Field Marshal' of the Bush Plan by Robert Dreyfuss, April 26, 2001
    Well, now, eleven years after the Republicans have taken control of the House and the Senate, and four and half years after they have taken control of the White House, we can guage with some accuracy the result of this policy:

  • Picture by High Acidity

  • What we have seen is that among the Republicans there has been a kind of wierd, hybrid dual effect going on with government. Because they do not respect government at all, they have regarding it as being available to be looted; hence the rash of no bid contracts in Iraq and for the rebuilding of New Orleans and the constant stream of criminal behavior on the part of Republicans (for recent examples do a google search on coingate and Kentucky Governor Fletcher). But the second and actually worse part is that since they regard government in all of its forms as a bad thing, they have been willing to fill it, top to bottom with incompetent political hacks. Which is why almost a month after Hurricane Katrina hit, FEMA cannot get ice delivered to towns near New Orleans, fail to approve contracts for essential work on wastewater treatment facilities and leave skilled volunteers cooling their heels whilst people die.

    The last effect power has had on Republicans is that they have failed utterly in their mission to shrink government. In their haste to loot and provide corporate welfare to their sponsors they have realized that government is the goose that lays golden eggs. It is hard to stem that addictive flow of federal money and they have proven unequal to the task. Government spending has ballooned under Republican rule in a ridiculous way.

    The result is a nation that is rapidly going the way of third world nations. A small, extremely weathy upper classs, a vanishing middle class and burgeoning lower class. Guess who we tied with in infant mortality this year? Malaysia. Yep. Just a little bit above Nambia and well below any of the European countries.

    America, the formerly beautiful.

    Time to look for a cure for the disease of conservatism.

    Four days.

    Saturday, September 17, 2005


    To my dear friend JJ, relax. Yes, it is going to be a big change in five days, but it will be a fun change for the better with lots of laughter, optimism, hope and baby pictures.

    See? Not so is a journey and you have very kindly invited me to be a part of your adventure in a small way as a blog reader. I'm returning the favor.

    Blogs just blow me away, what they can do. Conservative bloggers handed Dan Rather his own head on a plate; liberal bloggers found out that Jeff Gannon, White House Correspondent for Talon News, was also 8" uncut and $200/hr as a top. On Daily Kos a father asked for help with a runaway girl; she was found - rumor has it that even some conservative blogs helped on that one. Blogs tracked the horrors and the hopes of the aftermath of Katrina.

    And blogs are only in their infancy. Kind of scary... Kinda cool. Open source democracy, how does it get better than that?

    So bear with me here; changes are a good thing. It's like how Anwen gets all tense when her old diaper is off and blossoms into a huge smile when she realizes she is getting a fresh, clean one.

    Five days. A fresh clean one.

    Joke courtesy of Lilith Saintcrow:

    Q: What does Bush think of Roe vs. Wade?

    A: He doesn't care which way people get out of New Orleans!

    Okay, sick yes, true, yes.

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Bad News, Good News, And Missed Chances

    Just four short things today. First, six more days and things will start to be a little different around here...

  • He isn't, umm, actually drinking again is he? That might actually explain a lot of things...

    Anwen went in for her four month appointment; she is wonderful and healthy at 15.5lbs and 25 inches. Things could not be better.

    Finally, how come all you women had to wait till I was married and in my thirties before deciding to give this a try? I mean, come on, you gals could have just briefly - when I was about eighteen to twenty - given it a shot. But no.

    Hey, no hard feelings though (no pun intended). I just want all of you to know that I am available anytime as a witness for that sort of thing. Just let me know.

    Okay, I'll stop being a pig now.
  • |

    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    Half NAAked Thursdays

    Again for those of you who have not seen this before, on Thursdays those of us who are members of a certain 12 step program participate in Half NAAked Thursdays where we post an image of ourselves and some sort of explanation of that image.

    A little over four and one half years ago, celebrating my first birthday sober, I got this tattoo... well, the pentacle in the center on my first sober birthday and the surrounding knotwork with the wolf heads on the second anniversary. At the time I really felt that I wanted something large and permanant engraved in my skin to remind me that I had been sober one year. That way, I reasoned, if I ever drank again I would always know that I had been sober and happy once. I chose a pentacle because I had found a Pagan Higher Power: the Celtic Goddess Brigit. My thoughts were that if I ever became a Christian, even then the pentacle would have a great deal of meaning to me. But I have remained a Pagan, growing and exploring within that faith.

    This is the pentacle that inspired me. I really like it because while it is clearly a pentacle it is also very stylized and Celtic.

    The animals tattooed around the edge on the anniversary of my sobriety. The pentacle looked and felt lonesome on its own. It is based on the animals on the Basse-Yutz Celtic flagon found near Basse-Yutz in France. That flagon dates back to the Hallstatt era of Celtic history, probably about 800 BCE. Check out the link above and get a good look at the flagons. They are really beautiful.

    Like everything in my sobriety and journey of faith, the meaning of the tattoo changes gradually over time. Nowadays when I think of my tattoo, I think of the old Native American story (well, most websites attribute it to the Cherokees, but who really knows? I've seen a version where it is the old Scottish story and another where the same story became a Russian folk tale):
    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves."

    One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

    The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. And the two wolves fight each other fiercely for control of the spirit of each person."

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

    The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
    To me that is the perfect essence of Step Ten of the 12 Step program I work: Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

    Right now I am not too happy because I have chosen to feed the evil wolf and it is starting to eat me up...

    We'll see; fights like this don't end overnight. Oh, and T-7 and counting...

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Mom's Visit Went Well

    It was pretty much completely uneventful. Both she and Laura were not only civil, but actually quite pleasant to each other. It was a little eerie to observe, especially after a decade and a half of my mother expressing her dislike of Laura quite bluntly. All I can deduce is that both my mother and Laura have come to the conclusion that it serves nobody's interests to have a Anwen raised with out a grandmother (or Nana as my mother prefers).

    To me that is a great relief.

    So we had a calm, boring visit. The best possible kind of visit. My mother appeared to truly adore Anwen and that was a good feeling as well. Me? I am okay. Simply grateful that it went well.

    Two weeks is Witchstock, the Mabon gathering at the Circle Star Ranch in central Texas. Three days camping in nature. I can't wait; I really need some time away from the city.

    My apologies for not visiting your blogs in the past few days. You'll see why soon.

    Eight days and counting.