Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn Cleanup

This is quite a departure from my normal ramblings but it came about because of computer problems I began having on the tool I use most often, my notebook computer. It seems that in the 2 ½ years that it has loyally served me, in my travels throughout several countries and continents, that the hardest thing for it to bear was its becoming cluttered. With all the program additions, removals and updates, as well as the leavings of thousands of websites, my trusty sidekick had become bogged down. Running a program had become, for it, like me attempting to navigate a huge junkyard in five inch stilettos.

I decided to take up an offer from Digeus Software to try their product 'System Optimizer' and unbiasedly report my experience on my blog. So, here it is.

I first used the suggested (via a program startup tip) Optimization Wizard which led me through ten steps.

1)                Process Manager – It identified 113 running processes with eleven of them having unknown digital signatures. It recommended that I research and disable these but did not provide any guidance on any of them. I noticed that in all cases but two that the company was known and the process itself was easily recognized. Take, for instance, the Google search box that I installed as the search provider for IE8. For a purchased product, I felt this tool could have included more knowledge about the processes than just what was provided within the operating system.
2)                Windows Update – This simply launched Windows Update in IE. This is probably appropriate for someone who does not regularly update her computer, however, it did nothing for assisting me.
3)                Adjust the Refresh Rate of CRT Monitor – Huh? How does that affect system performance? Besides, I have an LCD monitor.
4)                Optimize System Performance – This gave me the option to turn off things like the Indexing Service, Zip Compressed Folders, etc. If one does not know these features are enabled and does not receive a benefit from them, by all means disable them because each of these features may potentially reduce computer application speed.
5)                Smart Uninstall – This listed all installed programs. Potentially it might do a better job (than the control panel) uninstalling those applications you do not desire.
6)                Startup Manager – Let's you manage all startup programs.
7)                Service Manager – This did not work on my computer.
8)                Junk File Cleaner – Cleans out files that are no longer necessary on your computer. I normally use Ccleaner for this function.
9)                Registry Cleaner – This was by far the most useful function I found in the program. It located more invalid registry entries than the other program I use for this.
10)           Registry Defrag – the second most useful function for me.

Other features include: Analyze Disk Space Usage, Protect Your Privacy, and Clean Your Duplicates. All of these are useful tools to have in one's possession and it is nice to have them in one suite. If you like to do things on your own, there are various freeware programs that have similar functionality.

My system ran better following the cleanup and once I identified some real CPU hogs (Java for one) and I removed them, it ran nearly as fast as new.

If you are interested in System Optimizer, go to They also have created a number of other tools.

Friday, July 2, 2010


My Faerie Vortex has a new fountain! The artists who crafted the landing spaces between the splashing waters are Beth and Zeeb Feywood ( I had a stock fountain purchased from one of the major home stores but it was not created for the display of living art and I desired a space where the jshàmay could play.

I used the term jshàmay (pronounced zha’may) because that is closest to what we know in this paradigm as faeries. Jshàmay are ethereal creatures, often considered a hallucination, seen floating just above the ground in wooded and wild areas. They are translucent and glow and are normally extremely beautiful (or ugly) depending upon your relationship with them.

I created a space at my home for the fey to play because of my affinity to them and their propensity to see items that I cherished or required as objects of their desire. They often hid my keys, absconded with my earrings, and even disappeared my cell phone. (It reappeared in my pocket two years later!)

Over time I came to realize that the jshàmay were simply seeking my attention and a connection to me, thus the frustrating searches for my watch which I always hang over the post at the foot of my bed. As I tuned into these magical creatures, I began to realize that they added much to my life when I acknowledged them.

One afternoon while lazing on the edge of the everglades, small alligators eying me from the opposite bank, I drifted into a waking dream. From in between the Cyprus knees, several dainty, aqua and violet colored, translucent beings observed me. They were small, no taller than knee high, and very slim. Unique patterns of lights move within each of them such that I could tell them apart.

One, upon deciding that I was not a threat, moved towards me, pausing to tweak the two-year-old gator on the way by causing a gnat to alight on his unblinking eye. The gator’s tail twitched as its head thrashed back-and-forth before it realized that the simple solution was to blink. I swear the jshàmay laughed at the saurian’s plight.

As he approached, (it was obviously a ‘he’ from his impressive accoutrements displayed) the jshàmay took on a more substantial and opaque form. He stopped just short of where I lounged and, instead of speaking to me in my language, forced his own form of communication through my brain.

I, without volition, thrilled at the touch of his mind and found myself inexplicably aroused. I was in no state to hide my intoxication at his intercourse with me and finally relaxed into his dominance of my libido regardless of his benign intent.

“Human, you are resistant to your advancement,” he said. “You place great energy and importance into trinkets rather than your existence.” He giggled at his analysis of my plight. “We are, by our very natures, attracted to the sparkly rèsonce – the energy and vibrations of an item – with which you imbue the objects of your passions.” His whole body shook in his barely contained mirth.

“This allows us to mess with your reality.” Now he could barely contain himself and his impressive flag completed its journey to full mast. I found myself powerfully aroused in spite of his scoldings. “Even your relationship with your lover is subject to our manipulations.” He laughed outright at that admission.

His countenance signified as much of a serious mien as a jshàmay could project. “In your ideas of ownership and denial comes your downfall. How can you believe that the remote, which you hold so dear, to control your viewing pleasure will not attract the attention of the ethereal? How can you believe that by denying your lover (or yourself for that matter) the exultation of connecting with others that either of you are completely fulfilled? Why do you believe that love or desire is finite?” His whole being shook in negation.

“Do you love your older sister more than you love your younger brother?” He looked into my soul. “Of course not. How then were you capable of loving your brother when you completely idolized your sister?” Now he became very intense. “When you believe you own something, you attract our attention. Why? You may wonder. It is because we are here to expand your reality.”

During his discourse one of the female jshàmay approached. Her speech within my brain was more like the tinkling of the water in a fountain. “That favorite gold pen that you have becomes much more valuable to us because of your grasping to own it. You must learn that everything is interconnected and that ownership is a fiction.” Her trilling laugh piqued my arousal even more and I was embarrassed that a female evoked such a powerful primal reaction.

“I am going to share a secret with you,” she whispered, her breathy voice nearly inaudible. I strained forward to catch what she was going to say, acutely aware that they both could see my extreme physical reaction. I fleetingly wished that I had not been skyclad, exposed to the elements of the everglades. “If you love an item, place a lot of rèsonce into it, and then empower it to be its own being, we do not desire to collect it. However, if you handle an item and place your intent into it as it always being there specifically for your use, say like the keys to your car, our nature makes it an imperative to deny you that access even it it is just for a short period of time. We are empowered by your loss of control over that item.”

The male laughed aloud, disturbing the young gators on the opposite bank. Even the swamp grasses in the background swayed as if they were a studio audience responding to the jokes of the host. “Some of you humans who fall into that trap have learned to distract us with inconsequentials. You imbue a trinket with so much rèsonce that you make it sparkle way out of proportion to the item we have pilfered from you. And then, you offer a deal. Not in so many words, but by loudly proclaiming that you love this little rock. It is so special that you would never want to be parted from it. Not even for those keys to you car which you used to love so much!”

The female jshàmay giggled uncontrollably. “We cannot resist such an enticing challenge and will replace the shiny rock with the unwanted keys. This is because your attention is so much more empowering to us that we will collect anything you find desirable.”

I looked at the two jshàmay in amazement and came to a realization. “So, if I a create a space which dedicates my attention to you, you would be made more?” The two creatures nearly disincorporated in their motions to confirm my intuition. “I will make a Faerie Vortex – a place with flowers, structures, fountains and sculptures – within which you are free to dance, prance, relax and create, and in exchange for beautiful gifts of glittery finery and your empowerment, you will enhance my life.”

The two fey were ecstatic and without invitation moved onto me and danced on my torso. They were so light that I felt the touch of their feet as feathers on my belly and breasts. This did nothing to ease the arousal of our interactions. The female, the one with the vùrlil (violet) lights coursing through her, spoke in response as she danced, sensually intermingling with the úqel (blue) lights of the male. “Yes! You are as we hoped, a sensitive.”

The two continued their dance on my torso and it slowly wound down. I was hesitant to interrupt and simply let their rèsonce flow into me. Their dancing culminated in a crescendo as I culminated in concert with them. It was quite an ecstatic release!

“Oh!” The male interjected when he observed my return to cognizance. “This also applies to your partners. Release them to experience living to the fullest without restrictions, and we will augment your intercourse with them.” At my in-the-moment. single-minded focus on sexuality he laughed for a prolonged period. “I mean that as fey, we will enhance all of your interactions with your partners.”

The female added her blessing. “In addition, you will have far fewer ‘Where did I put...?’ experiences. Of course, this all is dependent upon your continuing to empower and honor the Faerie Vortex you will create under that Cyprus tree abutting the canal.” She studied me for a moment. “You, of course, realize that this is only the barest of interactions between us. We both will benefit from increased vulnerabilities.”

At that, the others in the swarm of jshàmay populating the knees of the Cyprus trees on the other bank came to ‘rescue’ their two outspoken mates and they all retreated into the swamp to the south. I realized that I had much to learn about the nature of possessions and in my misguided understanding of relationships as was promulgated by the dominant paradigm within which I lived.

I ‘woke’ with a start and realized that should I spend any longer naked in the sunlight that I would regret it for several days to come. Was it a dream​? I wondered. And then, when I saw my sweetie, Cat, standing on the deck offering me a cool pina colada to refresh my broiled body, I realized that I had been blessed with a glimpse into the very spirit of the fey.

I walked to the deck and accepted the offering. “You are very special.” I said with a smile. “How would you like for me to invite Kim over for some fun?” I asked enigmatically.

Cat’s response and the subsequent action is another story completely.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dreary Films

I really enjoy going to the movies and wondered why it was that recently many have left me somewhat depressed, even when they had positive endings. I wondered if it was just my attitude that had shifted. Several months ago a friend of mine sent me a link which discussed digital color grading with a limited palette that highlights teal and orange while muting all of the other colors.

This is done with the idea that complementary colors to flesh tones will make the images stand out. Unfortunately, this makes the skin color of most light-skinned persons orange with the complementary backgrounds various colors of teal. This is very evident in most of Hollywood’s recent releases. Two that I saw recently are Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood.

While I enjoyed both movies, I felt they came across as muted and dreary. As this had been brought to my attention prior to my seeing these movies, I specifically watched for the effects and was unsurprised to find that the lack of the full color spectrum in most scenes was depressing to me, regardless of the message of the movie.

This emasculation of color in films is akin to the castration of stories in books which many authors do by limiting character development in favor of action. I hope that both authors and directors/producers/editors soon come to their senses and provide their audiences with the full spectrum of stories and visuals rather than the ‘dumbed down’ versions they believe we will stomach. In both cases, simplified does not better art make.

PS: See for more information.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spirituality vs. Religion

I was raised in a traditional, monotheistic religion and attended parochial schools. Throughout my indoctrination into the precepts of the church, it was strongly claimed that there existed only ‘One True Religion’ and that it was the one I was being taught. When I was younger I accepted all of the claims without much question as my parents espoused the same doctrine. However, as I gained life experience, met many truly good people who followed other spiritual paths, traveled throughout the world, and lived for a while in other countries, my perceptions shifted.

This raised the question of how there could be only one true religion? If this were so, I wondered, would not the false religions slowly die off and the true on be practiced by the majority of the world’s population? Then an explanation dawned on me.

When a political hierarchy is imposed upon spirituality the combination becomes religion with spirit submitting to temporal authority. And religion, by its very nature, must claim truth in its tenets. If not, then none would become its adherents and surrender their personal sovereignty  to the agency of the church.

That explication opened vistas to me and broke through some difficulties I was having in sharing the cultures and spirituality within my books. The spiritual concepts of the stories seemed so foreign to those raised within our culture.

So, what does this mean? It shows that religion is neither true or false, good or evil. That religion is a political tool. That its application provides positive or negative results for both its followers and nonbelievers. It is my observation that for most people, joining a religious organization necessitates the denigration of their personal spirituality and the submission of their will and power for the greater good of the entity.

The persons who are most empowered in this world are those who refuse to submit their spirits to the will of others. They either remain completely independent of the politico-social organizations identified as organized religions, become powerful within a religion by using the energy of its adherents while remaining unfettered by its limitations, or create their own spiritual path by selecting elements that resonate on a personal level from among the various faiths they come into contact with.

Being empowered means not living as a sheep, servant or slave to any doctrine or individual. It also requires taking personal responsibility, which is something religions do not want as it denies them the ability to use that person as a battery.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Glory of Spring – Tórspir

Springtime, what a glorious time of year! It’s not that the other seasons lack in splendor or intensity, it is that spring embodies the excitement of that time of year of maximum proliferation, of the tug-of-war between winter and summer, resulting in extreme and rapidly changing weather. The gestation of winter is completed and life is busting out all over!

I recently visited Northern Ohio and while there the high temperatures went from the upper 20s (F) to the mid 70s (F) and after several days and nights of magnificently raging thunderstorms, tórspirs if you will, the highs dropped down to the lower 30s (F). During this period of warmth and wet, flowers popped up among the brown of the leaves and grass. Purples, whites, pinks, yellows and reds all poked their faces out to the world.

Down here in the everglades, our seasons are not as pronounced as in the northern latitudes and so I am transfixed when I get the opportunity to experience them directly. The spring tórspirs that I reveled in create so much energy. It crackles around one and I understand in Nórland how the Rús not only cause such storms, but revel in them also. Have you ever made love during such a maelstrom? It increases my ecstasy at least tenfold. I would say that I feel sorry for my partners after such a ride but from what they say, it is just as good for them.

It is hot and muggy here in Everglades and we are supposed to have thunderstorms. They won’t be the same as the spring tórspirs I enjoyed while up north but I certainly will try to harvest their energy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Left Dangling

There is a recent trend by a number of fantasy and horror authors to employ an insidious marketing device often utilized by television shows. It is called a cliffhanger. It is not enough that authors have caved to the siren call of big screen or TV series adaptions of their books by making them more about moving from action scene to action scene than about character development, now books are being purposefully ‘ended’ without any resolution. This is not simply a good, multi-book, stopping point, but a thinly veiled attempt to get you to purchase the next book. When I see this tactic employed, I am disinclined to continue reading anything by that author.

A good book finishes with a logical wrap-up and leaves the reader satisfied they have a complete story. If there is an overriding story arc, then that, along with other unresolved items, will move forward into the next book providing continuity. This piques my desire to continue reading the series. The cliff-hanger leaves me feeling manipulated and not at all charitable towards the author.

How do you feel about book series that do not have logical breaks? Do you feel complete once you’ve finished one of them? What is your preference?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sins of Men

“The sins of men are, in part, the fault of women, specifically women in tight-fitting clothing.” Or so claims a religious pamphlet being handed out in Bristol, Virginia. It goes on to say, “Scripture tells us that when a man looks on a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery in his heart. If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin. By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?”

What was going through the mind of the woman who handed out these pamphlets? Was she so unappealing physically and spiritually that she had to blame ‘provocative women’ for the social disappointments in her life? Is she aware that most rapists seek out shy, modestly-dressed women and girls because they are perceived as less confident and thus easier targets?

I revel in being female and having the right to garb myself as I please. I do not denigrate men with the assumption that, if I wear something alluring, they will take advantage of me because they cannot control themselves. I do not hold such a low expectation of them, and I demand they not hold similar low expectations of me by limiting what I can do, where I can go, and how I can dress based simply on my gender.

In return, I do not limit men by my own expectations and biases when it comes to their clothing. I believe they have should have the right to wear the range of beautiful clothing and shoes a woman does – but our culture does not allow it. Conversely, a man can walk around shirtless without fear of sexual assault but a woman cannot. These senseless double standards have no place in our twenty-first century world.

I wish for the time when one can wear, or not wear, what one pleases without the judgment of cretins. Until then, I will continue to frequent naturist clubs, festivals and other events where diversity, creativity and textile freedom are honored.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Free the Words

I have a growing unhappiness for all of the ‘adult babies’ in our culture. You know who I mean – those people who believe that the use of certain expletives, curses, and ethnic terms should be censored by such means as bleeping, disguising, or simply blanking out the sound. Is it because they as cannot bear directness, the possibility of denigration, or expression of intense feelings? Take the following statement for example.

“I was treated like s**t by the f***ing a***hole K**** behind the counter at the DMV.”

While this format is considered fine by both broadcast and print censors, in reality the asterisks (or bleeps in the case of broadcast media) accentuates the use of the words making them register to the subconscious mind as the most important part of the sentence.

In the TV series Caprica, the writers have circumvented the problem by creating and using an alternate word ‘frack’ that means the same thing as our word ‘f**k’. The dialog goes much smoother.

“Kill that fracking son of a Caprican!” denotes the intensity of dislike of the Caprican without drawing attention to the adjective. Compare that to hearing “Kill that BLEEP son of a BLEEP.” The bleeping focuses one’s attention on the possible words that had been said rather than the meaning of the sentence.

The strong influence of censorship in the United States has caused me to rethink how certain words are used within (or excluded from) my fantasy-adventure books. Fortunately for fiction writers, and especially those whose stories are crafted on original worlds or universes, new words can be coined to replace the ones the ‘adult babies’ cannot handle.

In my opinion, all censorship of words and ideas (save libel and slander) must cease if we are going to be truly free. If you do not like the words employed, do not read the text. If you do not like the words spoken, change the channel or walk away. The only difference between the BLEEPING BLEEPER and BLEEPED is BLEEP. I’m sure you get my drift.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Delayed Gratification – The Big Lie

It is amazing how frequently we are seeing people question the underpinnings of their beliefs in popular culture today – and never more prevalent than the fantasy genre. Fantasy is a place where cultural values can be removed from the immediacy of ‘real life’ and placed into a context where – hopefully – we can view them with less bias.

In most cultures the biggest determinant of a person’s beliefs comes through the auspices of religion. While much of what is espoused by organized religion provides a positive benefit to society, that is not its main purpose. It’s goal is to take control your rèsonce – your lifeforce or life energy – and utilize it primarily for the organization’s growth. Personal development or self improvement is only encouraged when it improves the lot of the group as a whole – and particularly its leaders.

The most insidious method used by most organized religions is delayed gratification. That is, live your life in a way that most benefits the church and in the afterlife you will have earned infinite happiness. Basically, you end up being enslaved to an organization that bases its power on fear rather than empowerment. It takes away choice, and the responsibility for choice, and replaces critical thinking with ‘faith’. Used this way – faith, a valuable tool to maintain hope in difficult situations, becomes ‘The Big Lie’.

One of the many incidents that disprove that form of hereafter is the recent story of six-year-old James Leininger who has past life memories of being being a Corsair pilot in the second world war. This is only one of many reported incidents of memory of previous lives.

It is not often we hear about these sorts of incidents in churches, schools, or political forums – but the ideas that break the back of mind-imprisoning dogma is the staple of fantasy literature and cinema. The very popular feature ‘Avatar’ explores the question of the connection to all life, and the continuity of life after death. It raises a potent question of the wisdom of living in current time, rather than sacrificing what is rare and precious simply to keep alive the ambitions of a dormant few.

I wonder how those who advocate ‘dominion over the earth’ will feel when they return as the children of their grandchildren – only to learn they must live in the world they have raped and destroyed with their greed. Too many are looking forward to some sort of ‘end times’ to solve their problems. At some point we need to stop and think about what we can each do to bring about what needs changing.

In my writing I explore the impact of patterns developed life after life as the same players assemble to attempt to resolve the issues they have inherited by their choices. As the stories unfold, I find myself understanding the concept of lifestrand and the impact that my decisions in this life will have on me in the future. I wish for all the chance to step back and imagine the present and future they long for in their hearts, and step forward to ‘seize the day’.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Monotonous Monogamy

One facet of the genre that has always attracted me to fantasy fiction is the opportunity to explore alternate social milieus free of the societal limitations in which we live. To be able to immerse myself in situations without the boundaries of our current culture is priceless. Often a story, that is fantastic for our world, causes me to reassess how I view reality, and that sometimes results in changes that radiate out from me to others.

An interesting spillover from our culture into that of fantasy fiction is that of monogamy. While the practice of one sexual partner for life was the agreed-upon-but-not-always-practiced norm in the Western world during the Second Millennium CE or so – especially when life expectancy was less than forty years – monogamy was uncustomary for the majority of the rest of the world. For the past century, very few have experienced even the less stringent ‘one sexually monogamous marriage partner for life’ that many espouse. I believe in the potential for eternal love and even love that transcends lifetimes but I do not perceive any truth in the idea that monogamy equates to love.

Monogamy as a requirement for females was instituted by the patriarchy to ensure that they knew who the father of a child was and to denigrate the status of women, in part in response to the previous dominance of the matriarchy and in part to define women as property. Most males were encouraged to take other lovers and were honored for their virility and masculinity. But I digress from the thread of my blog.

I love supernatural tales, so what I am about to say is not about that subgenre. I am using vampires as an example to ruminate about longevity and monogamy. In many vampire stories in which vampires are not solitary, there is a subplot about vampires who are in love with one another, and after several hundred years, they cannot conceive of sexual activity with anyone else. Often, there is a jealous reaction when one even thinks of the possibility. This conception by the author fails because of their lack of understanding of what it would mean to live for hundreds of years.

First – If you are partnered in love with someone for centuries, you will have learned that your love is not based on sexual congress but in your emotional bond and your shared life experiences.

Second – If you love someone and they could not become physically ill from having sex with others, you would likely encourage it, if for no other reasons than to satisfy curiosity, learn a new technique or bring some spice into your own relationship. There would be no jealously. How could a mere mortal of a short lifespan compete with hundreds of years of partnership?

Third – The act of feeding (that is, consuming the life of a human) is described as an extremely erotic and absolutely fulfilling experience that transcends orgasm. With that being the case, mere sexual intercourse would be of no significance to your partner.

I could refer to any number of other stories with long-lived characters and in most, the author’s biases towards what is considered the best partnership in this paradigm, contaminates the potential for the reader to fully understand what it would mean to be that character.

I prefer loving partnerships that encourage growth over limitations; ones that revel in new experiences and obtaining knowledge; and are supportive of the change that is the essence of living.

Happy New Year to you and yours! May this one be all about you becoming more.