December 2008

Seattle + Snow = Silly

Posted on December 17, 2008 at 7:36 am in

This video says it all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGnOHg8KU_I

Its not that bad — yet, but it may get to the point where I’m recommending that we close the office. safety first — especially when there are drivers like the above out there!!!

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Facing North Update

Posted on December 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm in

Its our last update for the year, and its a particularly good one.

We have three articles, two on Creative Visualization by the foremost expert, Shakti Gawain and “The Search for Peace” by new author Isha.

We have a review of Llewellyn’s 2009 Herbal Almanac (which includes an article by me on “Four Seasons of Crafts”), Faith and Magick in the Armed Forces, Magic When You Need It, a couple of children’s books (Watchers and Rabbit’s Song), the forthcoming Green Egg Omelette, new fiction (Closing Arguments) and Ellen Dugan’s controversial How To Enchant a Man.

18 reviews in all, making a total of 120 reviews posted this year.

Meme: Dayjob

Posted on December 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm in

From The Wordsmith’s Forge:

Describe a typical day at work, for you. Where do you go, whom do you meet, and what do you do?

Each day is different from the previous one, but there are some commonalities.

 

Right now, we are doing without a receptionist/basic admin person so I am taking care of those tasks. I arrive around 7:30am, start the first batch of coffee and unload the dishwasher from the day before. I make sure the lights are turned on and the phones are on ‘day’ mode and unlock the door.

Then it’s off to my office to check email, look for potential problems and plan my day (as much as I can).

Since it’s the end of the year, I am reviewing our Policy & Procedure handbook. I am making sure it’s up to date with any changes we implemented, marking out items that may need review and/or change to better fit the company culture. (That also means identifying the people best suited to work with me on reviewing and editing the specific items.) I’m the original author (4 years ago) so it’s more than a little boring, but it needs to be done.

I have a new toy to play with, a database I asked our IT person to create for me. It has all of the employees’ information in various combinations. I’ve been making do with Excel spreadsheets of data, but this is much more sophisticated, and it has everything in one place, not several. We’re ready to test it with various reports and then I’ll move it from its semi-public location on the server to my PC for better security.

My boss (the owner) just got his broker’s license, so I’m reviewing the state’s rules and regulations governing his new status. For someone not trained in the law, I read a lot of legalese.

I’m a little behind on keeping the Library organized, so I’m going to try and spend some time in there. We subscribe to more than 30 journals and have a collection of nearly 500 books that are often found on peoples’ desks rather than on the shelves. We’re looking at re-organizing our filing system, but I think what we really need are a couple of data-entry folks with music on earphones and a whole new database for them to fill with facts.

All this week I’ve been meaning to write a draft response to a survey the employees took a few weeks ago. It was a single question: “What do you need to be more productive?” and we got a pretty good response. So I’m going to get that done today (our staff meeting is in a few days and I want it finalized before then).

It’s not usual, but I just finished putting together the mailing list for our holiday cards. A last-minute glitch meant that I only ordered those cards three days ago, so we’ll be mailing them next week instead of this week.

Finally, I negotiated a deal with a vendor who provided extremely poor service to us and instead of paying $27k for three months work; we’re only paying $5k.

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Give the EFF some love!

Posted on December 8, 2008 at 8:29 am in

If you know me, you know I’m very interested in the legal issues that arise from how new technologies and intellectual capital interesect. That means that I support the EFF.

Due to the tough economic times we are all experiencing (and maybe folks with spare cash to spend on activism feeling tapped out after the election), EFF is not getting the usual end-of-the-tax-year donation love.  So they are all reaching out to friends, family and countrypersons to ask them to consider becoming EFF members this year.

I hope you know the kind of work EFF does to protect civil liberties online–such as defending fair use so people can share their home videos and make fun of deserving corporations large and small, taking on the telecoms and the NSA for spying on American citizens without a warrant, fighting to protect civil liberties on the international front, and speaking out (via blog post, press interviews, and speeches around the U.S. and the world) about threats to online civil liberties. This is very important work is and there are very few people/organizations do it as effectively as the EFF.  They also have great T-shirts. 🙂

So I’m asking: if you aren’t already a member, and you do indeed support EFF’s work (or just want a new t-shirt), please consider joining this year. If you are a member, make an extra donation — anything helps.

Also, please use this link: http://secure.eff.org/friendsandfamily.  The membership will be a little discounted and you can specify that you are a friend/family member of my sister, Corynne McSherry — Staff Attorney. (Don’t worry, she won’t find out if/how much you donated unless you tell her).

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NeoPagans and Marriage

Posted on December 2, 2008 at 4:14 pm in

I’m interested in writing an essay about NeoPagans and their view of marriage and I need your help. I’m looking for anecdotes and experiences from people who are married, handfasted (or the equivalent of ‘joined but not according to the State’), and/or performed such ceremonies.

  • Did you get legally joined as well as go through the religious ceremony?
  • What genders are you and your spouse?
  • Why marriage/handfasting/joining?

Please feel free to tell me more, but the above are the key points I’m looking at for now. I am perfectly prepared to keep everything shared with me strictly anonymous and confidential; if you are comfortable with me using you/your story as an example please let me know that (otherwise, stories will be altered to make a point and not break confidentiality). Responses via the ‘comments’ feature on this blog are great, or you can write to me directly at lisa*@*cybercoven.org (remove the spambot-foiling *)

Share this message far and wide — I want to hear from as diverse a group of NeoPagans as possible.

San Francisco to Kent: 14.5 Hours

Posted on December 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm in

Our plans were to leave Friday morning between 8 and 9am, and drive to Medford, OR, stay the night and then finish the trip on Saturday. We made incredibly good time (averaging 80 mph once we got across the Bay Bridge) and arrived in Ashland, OR a little before 2pm. J. said “why don’t we just go all the way home? There’s nothing for us to do here . . . and we could sleep in our own bed instead of a hotel bed.” I told him he was crazy, but right.

We spent an hour getting hot sandwiches (BBQ chicken with corn and cheese on ww from the very yummy Pangea), a coffee for me, and taking Sasha to the dog park for a long game of chuckit. When she was well and truly tired, we wiped her down, gave her water, and then went on our way — time spent: 70 minutes.

We figured we’d be getting home aroud midnight, based on past trips and the necessity to take Sasha for walks regularly. But in actuality, we pulled into our garage at 10:30pm. And we were stopping for bathroom breaks, dog walks, soda refills, and gas refills about ever 2 hours. Amazing.

Not by design or anything, but I ended up doing the whole drive It’s been a long time since I was behind the wheel for that long a time, and my joints were pretty achey the next day. But we had a lot of fun, had some good conversations, and laughed at the puppy frequently.

Every once in a while she’d sit up and put her head over the grate between the seats. And she’d just hang her head there, very clearly saying “Is this REALLY what we’re doing? REALLY? Are we there yet?” And then she’d heave a huge sigh and go lie down again. We were laughing, and incredibly grateful that she was so very very calm about the long drive. She never balked at ‘let’s go for a ride’ and was very good about giving us plenty of warning that it was time for her to take care of business. (That’s a euphemism.)

Best moment: we pulled off the freeway at our exit and started down the hill. Her head popped up, she jumped up and started sniffing the air very intently and eagerly. Then she started to get very excited — she knew we were home and she was delighted. Apparently we *had* down the right thing, and now the long drive was worthwhile.

DeBeers Says Parody is Illegal?

Posted on December 1, 2008 at 8:35 am in

Sad but true. But you need to know the whole story. First of all, go here (before it’s taken down!) www.nytimes-se.com and enjoy one of the most brilliant spoofs I’ve ever seen or heard of.

deBeers — you know, the diamond people — is threatening the Swiss-based domain registrar, Joker.com, with expensive lawsuits unless they disable the spoof website. The threatened charge? Trademark infringement. *

Our favorite Net Freedom Fighters, the EFF, have taken on the case and are arguing (persuasively) that there is ample US protection for the registrar.

History shows that parody is one of the most basic levels of free speech — if you can’t make fun of something then you can’t speak freely at all. Dictators usually kill the comics first, after all.

* Please note that I am not, not, NOT taking any potshots at DeBeers. It almost hurts to not say anything snarky about their destructive business methods, their lack of morals, or their ability to look innocent while wringing bloody hands.

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