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I just updated my review site, Facing North, with eleven reviews, some of which are from Lupa’s Pagan Book Review site. It’s our usual eclectic mix.

A Field Guide to Otherkin
Complete Book of Spiritual Astrology
Synastry: Understanding the Astrology of Relationships
Fresh Start Promise
Aidan’s First Full Moon Circle
Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century
Wealthenow: Her telling of Beowulf
Wealth: Titania’s Wishing Spells
Good Fortune and how to Attract It
Happiness: Titania’s Wishing Spells
Simple Wicca

Enjoy.

I had a physical the other day, and it included a tetanus shot. Ow. I can’t lift my arm above shoulder height, my neck is getting stiff, and I seem to have odd numbness down my arm.

Ow.

It’s now on my usual 3-day rule: if it still bothers me, or is worse after three days, I’ll see a doctor. Most things go away before then, or are serious, so its a good rule for me.

Ow.

(Oh, and I seem to be in pretty good shape. We’ll see what turns up in the labwork.)

I’m hiring for an admin job at my office right now. Given the job market, I guessed I’d get between 100-150 resumes, 50 of which would be useful/worth following up on and do 10 interviews. (For perspective, the last time I interviewed for this role, about 2 years ago, we received maybe 50 resumes and interviewed five candidates.) So far, I’m a little off (it will be much more like 200 resumes and 75 to follow up on) but not desperately so.

Now, I’m a basically nice person. I admit that I am a little obsessively detail-oriented, but my feeling is that when I’m hiring is one of the few times I can honestly expect to see people trying to impress me. I’m not expecting a lot from the (specifically requested) cover letter, but when did ‘Hi Lisa, I saw your ad and I’d like to apply. Sincerely, Jane’ become acceptable? (Especially when the ad says I’m looking for exceptional verbal and written communication skills.)

Let me tell you a secret — there are a couple of tests to pass and when I have 100 resumes to sort though on my holiday weekend, believe me, you won’t get a response other than ‘no’ if you fail them. What are they?

First: Write your cover letter to me, the person posting the ad. When they are addresses to ‘dear hiring manager’ or ‘to whom it may concern’ or (my personal favorite) ‘Dear Sir’ I know two things about you: you are too lazy to personalize your cover letter and you don’t pay attention to details. Oh, and by me, I do not mean that its OK to call me Lisa (Dear Lisa:). You haven’t met me, and responding to an advertisement — at least in the non-sex industry environments — is not the equivalent of an introduction.

Second: When you respond, make sure you include the items I specifically requested: a cover letter, a resume, and your salary expectations. I know that all the ‘wisdom’ says to not get specific about your expectations when applying for a job. I don’t care. I’ve asked you what you expect and I will toss your resume if I don’t find out before I go to make my first round cuts. I don’t like playing games, and if you are expecting to make $65,000/year as my administrative assistant I need to not bother wasting our time. (Don’t roll your eyes, I have one candidate who was the EA to a fortune 500 executive and that was what she made there. She will not get a generic ‘no’ but a fuller explanation.)

Getting those two things right will get you into my maybe pile — even before I look at your resume.

A few hints about resumes:

1. If you have an ‘objective’ line (which I personally despise and loathe) make sure its relevant to the job you are applying for. You get credit for saying “an administrative assistant at <name of company>” or even “administrative assistant in a growth-oriented company”. You neither gain nor lose by saying “a job in <industry>” or “a job in a growth-oriented company.” You lose, however, when you forget to change it, and I’m reading about how you want to be in business marketing, or advertising, or work in a spa.

2. Spell check, proofread, and get your grammar correct. Your cover letter and resume are the only indications I have as to your communication ability. Passive verbs and nonsense statements don’t cut it.

3. Really, really, REALLY think about how your resume looks. Paper resumes are nearly obsolete. When I get a word.doc and open it to see that you a) used an office 2003 template (how do I know? because it opened a macro on my screen, which is obnoxious and distracting) and b) have an unusual sense of data placement, I have to wonder whether you’ll be a good fit. If you don’t have any experience, then listing your school accomplishments and volunteer experience is perfectly acceptable — but don’t expected to be hired for a high-level or high-paying job. If I can’t tell *what* experience you’ve had, then your resume is a waste of OUR time.

(As a side note: I notice a lot of people are leaving their personal information off of their resumes — just leaving email addresses and phone numbers. I think this is interesting and I’m not sure whether I like it or not. I suppose in the world of email, applying for a job and getting rejected/invited for an interview/hired electronically is perfectly normal.)

(Swiped from technocowboy)

1. Sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?
Right now? West Wing. Usually, The Daily Show

2. You’re out to eat; what kind of dressing does s/he get on her/his salad?
Ranch, sometimes Cesar

3. What’s one food s/he doesn’t like?
squishy foods – it’s a mouth feel thing

4. You go out to the bar. What does s/he order?
Iced tea/ Dr. Pepper/ Diet Coke

5. Where did s/he go to high school?
Valdosta< GA

6. What size shoe does s/he wear?
12.5 (I think?)

7. If s/he was to collect anything, what would it be?
Ha! If he could collect something he doesn’t already (or used) to collect . . . It would be music CDs.

8. What is her/his favorite type of sandwich?
Roast Beef

9. What would this person eat every day if s/he could?
Chicken tenderloins

10. What is her/his favorite cereal?
Quaker Oat Squares

11. What would s/he never wear?
Women’s clothing

12. What is her/his favorite sports team?
UGA – University of Georgia Football (GO DAWGS!)

13. Who will s/he vote for?
Probably Obama.

14. Who is her/his best friend?
Me.

15. What is something you do that s/he wishes you wouldn’t do?
Smoke.

16. How many states has s/he lived in?
More than 10.

17. What is her/his heritage?
Scotch-Welsh

18. You bake her/him a cake for her/his birthday; what kind of cake?
Chocolate – as much and as dense as possible.

19. Did s/he play sports in high school?
Yes. (Tennis.)

20. What could s/he spend hours doing?
Playing video games; painting figs

Let me start by saying that I have been a proponent of the USPS for years. The service is cheap, reliable and they go everyone in the US.

I’ve had a few incidents in the past couple of years (most notably an entire shipment — 12 packages — that NEVER arrived at their destinations) that made me doubt, but I didn’t give up. Today was over the top.

About a week ago, I sent one of my Facing North reviewers, Patricia Snodgrass*, a package of five books, USPS, media mail. It’s slow, but cheap — and FN doesn’t make money, its all out of pocket. Today I got home to three emails from her:

subject: The postmonster ate your package

Good Morning, Lisa
I received the package for the books but the envelope was torn open and the contents were gone.
I am so sorry.
this has been such a shitty month.
Pat
The envelope has media mail subject to inspection written on it. The envelope was obviously cut open.  I’m sure the contents were tossed.
Pat
Hi Lisa
I’m tracking the books from my end.  Do you recall the titles?
Pat
For the record, the books were: Inner Alchemy, The Four Powers, Handbook for the Spirit, Choosing to Love the World, and Wealth: Titania’s Wishing Spells. All of which Pat was REALLY looking forward to reading.
So we have a multiplicity of shittiness here. Pat’s disappointment, the publishers who are out of stock and don’t even get a review to show for their loss, the authors, who are out both payment AND publicity, and me, who is out of pocket. Not to mention that I am now facing an annoying, but necessary series of conversations with lifelong bureaucrats who will, most likely, say ‘if you didn’t insure it, or track it, there is nothing we can do.’
It really looks like someone ‘inspected’ the package — which is fine, they were all books (i.e. media) — and then THREW the contents away. What a crock of feces.

Sparked off of a post at DINKs (which I think is a great blog), talking to your sweetie about money:

Couples need to talk about money. Period. They need to talk about it when they are dating, before they move in together, while they live together, before they marry, and while they are married.

Starting the conversation early makes having the ‘tough’ conversations easier. It also points out potential areas of conflict — BEFORE they are problems. If you’re a spend it/don’t save it person, then marrying a compulsive saver is going to be tough on both of you. Isn’t it better to know that *before* you decide to get married?

I also think couples should have ‘our’ money and ‘my’ money — in some proportion both parties think is fair. My sweetie and I have a joint account from which all household expenses (mortgage, utilities) get paid. Our paychecks get deposited into our personal accounts, and we each transfer money into the joint. If I want to spend $500 on clothes, I can do so and it doesn’t effect _our_ finances. We talk about our finances about once a month and make adjustments according to whether we want to make a major purchase (furniture or painting the hall, for example) or if there is a seasonal difference (our energy bill is about double in the winter so we need to make sure its covered).

Talking about money is hard, but doing it frequently makes for a good relationship.

Happy news for all of us out there on the ‘Net and Web — in a ruling on Lentz v. Universal (aka the ‘Dancing Baby’ case):

Judge Jeremy Fogel held that content owners must consider fair use before sending takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). . . . [A] fair use is a lawful use of a copyright. Accordingly, in order for a copyright owner to proceed under the DMCA with “a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law,” the owner must evaluate whether the material makes fair use of the copyright. . . . A good faith consideration of whether a particular use is fair use is consistent with the purpose of the statute. Requiring owners to consider fair use will help “ensure[] that the efficiency of the Internet will continue to improve and that the variety and quality of services on the Internet will expand” without compromising “the movies, music, software and literary works that are the fruit of American creative genius.”

Big congratulations to Ms. McSherry of the EFF for her work on this case.

A few days ago, my friend Di wrote about how a dinner with someone she admired led to her grappling with feelings of inadequacy about her own artisitc vision, the ambiance of her new (less than 1 month) living space), and even her withdrawal from the Pagan community.

It hit me like a gut blow.

Not even a month ago I was told that I have a ‘very high’ shame index — that is, I feel ashamed a lot of the time. Its sort of my ‘go to’ reaction when I get emotional. Since then I’ve been trying to see when I feel shame, so that I can start to hunt down the associated triggers and mitigating factors. It’s hard, because I am not aware of feeling ashamed in the moment, it requires looking back and being a detective. But I read Di’s words and SAW what shame looks like.

Shame is always a lie. Always always always. When we feel ashamed — of our hair, for example, — its because someone told us something about that made us feel small, and ugly. Di, a sexy, vibrant, artistic woman who I have known for (oh wow) 10 years now felt inadequate because someone she admired questioned her decisions.

Shame is the feeling that we are the mistake (as opposed to guilt, which is when we feeld bad becuase we made a mistake). Shame sneaks around, disguised as anger, contempt, withdrawal, attack, resentment, blame, and perfectionism. Shame attacks the ego by makign us beleive we are inherently defective and unlovable. (For years I’ve called myself defective. Ouch.)

Time to get out the psychic bandages and heal the wound.

Borrowed from Technocowboy, with revisions (he’s a little harsher in tone than I am). Did we miss anything?

Personal Responsibility for Pagans

1) Everything you put out into the Universe comes back at you, not just the time you spend in ritual and lighting candles. If you’re a professional pessimist, you’re going to have to get used to your life sucking.

2) Patchouli: It’s not a substitute for bathing or deoderant.

3) Learn to read simple things, like prescription bottles and expiration dates, not just pagan books and magazines. When it says two pills a day, ONLY TAKE TWO PILLS A DAY.

4) “Justice” is not throwing every curse you know at someone who cuts you off in traffic.

5) Anything that you do to heal, can also be used to harm. If you can’t do one, you can’t do the other.

6) If you have “mobility challenges,” its polite to get to festival workshops on time. If you can’t, don’t expect the facilitator to wait for you. You’re aware of your limitations. Act accordingly.

7) Paganism is not an effective way to hide your mental illness. See a therapist.

8 ) Everything has a light and dark side; you can not have day without night, sun without shadow. Learn how to deal with both sides, there are lessons to be learned in each of them.

9) If you work with underworld deities, you better have your own stuff cleaned up. They will eat you for lunch until it gets clean.

10) Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before accepting the invitation. You still have free Will, even if its a Deity. “Touched by” doesn’t necessarily mean “owned by.”

11) If you make an oath and cannot keep it, be prepared to deal with the consequences; it can be worse than death. Better to not make the oath.

12) A real initiation is a profound, life-altering experience and involves making an oath. If you had an initation ritual and nothing changed, look into what you missed. Relatedly: not all life-altering experiences are an initiation.

13) Those who believe in magic allegedly believe in creating their own change and should, perhaps, not whine so much about the poor quality of handouts and freebies they receive.

14) Being defensive does not equal being offensive, when dealing with those who do not understand.

15) Change doesn’t “magically” happen. To make something change you need to DO THE WORK to manifest that change and while that may include lighting a candle it does not mean you just sit back and wait. The AA definition of insanity is doing the same thign over and over again expecting a different outcome.

16) No one can work magick to make change in your life better than you can.

Comments solicited.

(or something)

Your result for The Elemental Balance Test

Canyon

~ 37% Water ~ 67% Wind ~ 70% Earth ~ 48% Fire ~

Canyon

I only wanna open wide the windowand let sunlight through…

Your colours are light blue, gold, and a darker orange. You are likely protective, good with money, intelligent and have sharp wits. However, you may sometimes appear methodical or stressed. You could try wearing a Hawks Eye that inspires serenity and helps come to terms with imperfection, and thus bring you a bit closer to harmony.

In detail:

Your Creative Chakra, which is associated with the element of earth and represents our need to preserve and grow, and your Throat Chakra, which is associated with the element of wind and represents our desire to learn and communicate, are predominant.

Your Ground Chakra, which is associated with the element of fire and represents our basic desires and driving force, and your Heart Chakra, which is associated with the element of water and represents our sense of love and compassion are not quite as prominent.

Compared to other takers

  • 5/100 You scored 37% on water, higher than 5% of your peers.
  • 69/100 You scored 67% on wind, higher than 69% of your peers.
  • 86/100 You scored 70% on earth, higher than 86% of your peers.
  • 31/100 You scored 48% on fire, higher than 31% of your peers.

take the test here: http://www.helloquizzy.com/tests/the-elemental-balance-test

(thanks to the wordsmith for this)

Interesting, and not quite what I’d expect. Need to work on my “water” qualities. Never heard of a stone called hawks eye. (Goes and looks.) It seems its a blue/grey version of the Tigers Eye.

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