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I'll take door number i, please

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Why hello Livejournal, it's been so very long. [Apr. 13th, 2013|08:23 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Current Location |Home]
[mood |Content and sore]
[music |none]

Wow, it's been years since i could access the site properly. Thanks to my shiny new Firefox install which works so much better than either my ancient ie that's all this little netbook will run or Google Chrome which appears to have decided that I am an alien life form who doesn't deserve web access at all. So, now i can read and post to LJ stuff again, now that everyone has likely left.

I expect I'll come back here to post long-form things that I've gotten out of the habit of posting because i left LJ for that slut Facebook that would put out for me, er I mean output for me, er well you know what I mean.

A note to my FB followers, especially all those new ones from Pentwater, you may be shocked at some of the public entries i have written that you will now know how to read, that is if LJ is still feeding FB links to posts. You are fairly warned.

I'll be back later with actual content.
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In response to http://leahy.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=467fb8f0-828d-403c-9b7b-8bf4 [Jan. 21st, 2012|08:10 am]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, ]
[mood |sober]

Senator Leahy issued a press release regretting the delay of the Protect IP Act. Below is my response.

Senator, I am not a constituent of yours, except in the way that every American citizen depends on each senator to act in the national interest. I have respected your stances on many issues. I am writing in response to your statement concerning the delay of the Protect IP Act. I must respectfully take issue with a number of things you said. You are rightly concerned about the effects of foreign piracy on the U.S. economy. I submit to you however that the measures that would have followed from the passage of PIPA would have a drastically larger negative effect by stifling innovation and creativity, and by placing undue and ruinous burdens on American companies. While the problem of piracy is real and should be addressed, it is clear from the consensus across nearly the entire tech industry that you were going about it the wrong way. It is also clear that the technical ignorance displayed in the bill's provisions puts your statement that all stakeholders have been consulted in a very questionable light. I believe the President has articulated a reasonable set of standards for a bill he'd be willing to sign, and I hope you will work to achieve those standards at such time as these issues surface again. Finally, i must take exception to your comments about Russia and China. What the people in those countries saw (if permitted to do so) was the United States government acting according to the popular will, as expressed in many creative ways. They saw entrenched corporate interests fail in their bid to buy legislation. They saw the mass of the people rise up and make their presence felt. They saw in short, democracy at its best. And that, Senator, is something to celebrate. Thank you for your service. Christopher Bartlett
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Very small. [Dec. 18th, 2011|09:49 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |me]
[mood |content]

it's funny how your size can vary so much. I don't mean your physical, embodied size, I mean the space you take up in the world and in your life.

Right now, I'm feeling rather small and drawn in. it's not necessarily a bad thing, but I've noticed it in several ways.

I have nearly completely pulled away from the community of my spiritual kindred. There are many and varied reasons why i have done this, and it boots nothing to rehearse old conflicts that most of you reading this would have no context for or interest in. Suffice it to say I find little sustenance there, and do not feel called upon to extend myself in those directions at the moment.

I notice it in my reaction to the large number of well-thought-out posts I read urging me to be big an passionate and embrace the whole of my divinity and that sort of thing. The posts of T. Thorn Coyle are lovely exemplars of this kind of writing. They are well written, speak what i believe to be true and are important for anyone to read. And I say this meaning absolutely no disrespect to Thorn, whom I admire quite a bit. I am irritated by every damned one of them. In fact, it is in this reaction that I first began putting into words for myself what I was feeling.

Right now, I do not wish to be large and spread thin. I want to be compact, to know exactly where all my parts and thoughts and energy are, to be able to lay my finger on any particular thing at a moment's notice, without having to disentangle it from webs of human interaction. I don't want to care about things I can't change by direct application of personal effort, there are enough of the latter to occupy me.

Haha! I used the word Occupy, something that has been at the center of my thoughts for the last couple of months, as witness my FB wall. I think I want to "occupy", well, myself for a little while, before sallying forth to war against Sauron and the hordes of Mordor again. Fighting the Long Defeat as Elrond called it is noble and necessary and i will return to the fray soon.

But for now, my home is my center, my family and simple pleasures and the gathering of a few chosen people back into my life whom I have shamefully let slip due to distance. There are gardens to tend, at least metaphorically right now.

The sword is going onto a rack, to be kept oiled and clean against need, but to be far away from the center of my world. (Though returning to a martial practice is something I must do soon for my mental and physical health.)

From the outside, this may look like depression. perhaps there is some of that, it does come to me from time to time, and the holidays are certainly a good candidate. But there is much more to it than that, and the withdrawal may be the best cure for its own causes.

So don't worry over much, i shall return with fire and will and the desire to remake the world again. I will find solace and inspiration in the companionship of other torch bearers. Spring will strike again against the shield of winter, to quote an old Genesis Lyric.

But not just yet.
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And a darkly merry Christmas to you as well. [Dec. 17th, 2011|10:11 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |hiding from winter]
[mood |delighted!]

Sharing with those who haven't seen my linking to it on FB because it's so very delicious. Enjoy!
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The circle, it goes round and round. [Oct. 8th, 2011|10:56 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |Pentwater, MI]
[mood |still]

And so, after eight and a half tumultuous years of a very full and worthy life in California, I have returned to the land of my birth, to a place with four true seasons. Again, the taste of real apple cider fills my mouth like the kiss of a long-lost love. Again, the evening's chill after the day's warmth reminds me that the warmth is fleeting. The end of the smiling time is at hand and the time of thoughtful withdrawal and contemplation comes hard upon its heels. here, that transition has a sharp meaning felt in the wind and seen in the ephemeral pageant of the trees shedding their organs of growth for the cold sleep to come.

And so the circle comes back to the beginning. I am back in a land whose rhythms I know. And yet, it is not a circle in truth, for I have changed. I've gone from someone who has had noble and less noble failures of the heart to someone who is now with the love of my life. I have become a parent, both of her children and my own, with results that breed both satisfaction and regret for things that might have been done differently.

I come to a much more conservative part of Michigan than that from which I left. I come to this place a radicalized disbeliever in the rule of law when the laws are written by the elites for the elites. I don't know how this manifests yet, but it'll come out somehow.

I have been touched by the people in my life in California. Of course this touch is deepest and continuing from the intersection of my life with the wonderful person sitting across the room from me reading her book and waiting patiently for me to finish spouting this so we can put a grocery list together. But there are the people I've played music with, keeping my own place as a musician alive. There are the people I worked with, both as colleagues and teacher. There are the magical folk I've met and loved, who helped me find my true place as a man of faith. There are the lovely friends with whom I've moved a couch, shared a drink, and for whom I've unwittingly performed dances I can't actually remember.

There was the experience of living in a different land with different rhythms. I appreciate those differences, though I never quite felt that I'd gone native there.

And so, I suppose the appropriate figure is of a spiral in at least three dimensions. I have returned to something like the beginning, but with more experience and knowledge, and a newfound respect for my own abilities to create and destroy, to love and to shun, to be right and to err. There is a comfort in coming home, even if it's not quite the home I knew. There is unease in not being able to see ahead clearly to what comes next.

To those who like me look on the end of this month as our New Year, may all blessings attend your journey into and through the dark times to come. I feel in my bones that the darkness will be profound this winter, and it will take a deal of union and strength and love to get through them. And, to borrow an idea from the Occupy movement, we're not going to get through it alone, but with the help and support of our loved ones of both biological and chosen relation.

If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, then just take it as read that I'm wishing you a happy Halloween upcoming and leave it at that.
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Like the wind from Chocolat. [Aug. 13th, 2011|09:18 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Current Location |Pentwater, MI]
[mood |exhausted]

Every year around this time, I start feeling the pull of change coming. This year, it's especially strong. Our lives are changing in major ways, and I can't see the end of things at the moment to know how it's all going to work out.

Our financial life has been a marginal jury-rig for the past two and a half years. We've managed, we've scrimped, we've saved, we've received help from wonderful friends who know who they are. We've held things together, sometimes with bailing wire and chewing gum, but we've managed.

The last three months have kicked our asses. We've had something like $5,000 in unexpected expenses. I have also come to the end of my unemployment insurance benefits. The massage business, which was growing nicely through the first four months of the year has gone dead, despite all manner of things I've done to try and stoke the fires.

And so we have reached the moment where I can't see us surviving as things stand past the end of September. So things will be changing.

My parents have offered us the free use of their house in Pentwater Michigan at least until the beginning of next summer. We can make do in Pentwater while looking for work, either there or in Ann Arbor. This is on the one hand a compelling offer, and is in reserve as the absolutely last resort.

I am going to have to close A Touch of Reverence by the end of August, to get rid of major expenses. For those of you who use my services, I will work out something with you to continue doing that, if we end up staying in Sacramento, which is a great unknown at this time.

Crystal and I are job hunting. I would like to find something in the non-profit world, preferably a volunteer coordination or teaching position, for which I have experience. I'd like to work for political change, but am happy doing anything that helps them as have not. Crystal is also looking for something to help us out.. So far as i know, if we stay, she'll still try and finish school, but that's not a certainty at this point. Not much is.

The time to find anything in Sacramento is precious short. If one of us doesn't have anything solid by the end of August, then we're very likely to have to plan on Pentwater. If either of us finds something in Ann Arbor, then we jump that way. If neither happens, we land in Pentwater and keep looking there and in Ann Arbor, eliminating Sacramento.

As you can guess, we are in a ferment of uncertainty. I literally do not know where I'm going to be living come October 1st. Shannon gets screwed possibly out of her senior year, or she has to choose to stay in CA if we move, neither of which are stellar choices for her. She's made it pretty clear that she will stay in CA if it comes to that, but no one is happy about it. It's frankly Shannon that kept us in CA when I lost my job back in 2009, since the Met was the one schooling solution that seemed to have any traction for her. I still don't know if she's going to graduate, but her best chance is there.

Jackie was planning on moving out anyway, but none of us were planning on her being twenty five hundred miles away from her mom. This will have effects on her too, and the uncertainty makes things super hard to plan.

I have been using every trick I know to put this day off for another year. I've put my love and heart and soul into my business. I haven't slept properly in six months to a year. I'm so damned tired and feeling beaten. I'm not giving up, and will keep doing the best I know how, but tonight, at this moment, I don't know where to go or what to do. My folks are trying to help, but they keep changing the terms of our discussions, so I don't know what I can expect from them. I know they want me to move back East, but our roots, such as they are, are really in CA.

To those aforementioned wonderful people who have helped us out in times of need, no matter what happens, paying you back is still a high priority item of honor for me. I'm going to have to ask your patience a little longer until things settle out.

To my Feri kin and students, I can't tell you what's going to happen yet. To the Dust Bunnies, I miss you terribly, and have been really frustrated at my growing inability to spend time with you. To my students, I'll do the best I can to keep working with you no matter where I am, or will set you up with teachers I trust if I can't, or if you wish.

In order, my preferred solutions are: staying in Sacramento, finding a job there and probably downsizing our house, moving directly to Ann Arbor and finding work there, and last, taking refuge in Pentwater until we find work somewhere. I want to minimize the dislocation for the kids, all five of them. But we are approaching the lower end of Maslow's hierarchy of needs here, so I'll do what I must.

If any of you know of a job for either of us, please help. If any of you feel like swaying the universe to help me manifest safety and thriving for my family, I'm gratefully ready to accept that. I need my chosen family right now, even though I may well be leaving some of you behind.

Well, back to the search.
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Continued credit card processing frustrations. [Apr. 25th, 2011|05:02 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |office]
[mood |frustrated out of proportion]
[music |Nikkolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade]

The problem: I want to be able to swipe credit cards using the authorize.net gateway which is where my merchant account is. They have a virtual terminal into which I can type credit card info, but this is tedious, and I get charged a higher transaction rate. However, whenever I try swiping a card, the browser session crashes and recovers without autofilling the data fields.

Details. The virtual point of sale system uses an activex control to handle the data. I am currently using IE 8, on an XP system. The system requirements listed are Win 2000+ IE6+ and a compatible device. I have such a device, confirmed by another test. No other browser will do, as the site refuses to allow non-IE browsers to log into the VPOS system. I even tried spoofing the site with Firefox and an add-on that is supposed to convince sites that it's another browser. No dice.

Tech support has been extremely unhelpful. Their suggestion was that I downgrade my browser to IE 7, which is supposed to work with the site, even though their site documentation makes no mention of this fact. Their other suggestion: try it on another computer.

What I have tried: I have disabled and re-enabled the activex control. No dice. I have uninstalled and reinstalled the activex control. No dice. I have confirmed that my security settings match their requirements. No dice. I have performed extensive system virus and malware checks with several different tools. I am clean. I have tried Firefox with the user agent add-on. No dice. I have tried the site on my wife's computer, also running IE 8. It works perfectly! I have made sure I'm in compatibility view. No dice. I have deleted all temporary files, cookies and web history. No dice.

I'm now at the stage of looking for non-related virgins to sacrifice to the tech gods. I can't think of another thing to try. Authorize.net's technical support has made it clear they have no ability to help me. I'm seriously left with reinstalling windows from bare metal, in case my virus/malware sweeps have missed something or buying a new computer, which I would like to do but wasn't planning on any time soon.

So, if any of you have thoughts for things I haven't tried yet, please let me know here or on FB. I need to solve this problem for mobile payments and the security of my customers. Any help would be appreciated.
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Unscientific survey time, with apologies to those who've seen this on FB [Apr. 9th, 2011|08:58 am]
I'll take door number i, please
[Current Location |home]
[mood |Curious]

I am conducting an unscientific poll to determine how folk would feel about their massage therapist working barefoot. I'm considering this for myself as a health matter, but I have no sense how prevalent it is in the field (I'm asking for those data elsewhere but other body workers here may chime in) and how people would feel about it. Assume that all considerations of good grooming, hygiene and safety are accounted for. Would this cause you any concerns? Would you be positively affected? I'll take silence for not really caring.
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I really know much less than I want to believe, and that's all right. [Mar. 8th, 2011|09:41 am]
I'll take door number i, please
[Tags|, , , ]
[mood |awe-struck]

I was pointed to this piece of amazing, powerful writing from 2007. Along with several other pieces I've read in the wake of the great Pantheacon gender debates, I have been confronted with the undeniable fact that I know so much less about gender and the experience of others around gender than I thought I knew. This is at once disheartening, as I have believed myself to be a person open to the understanding of others' experiences that differ from my own gender-privileged and societally accepted ones, and at the same time very hopeful, as it means there are still very important things for me to learn more about and there are such powerful teachers in the world, men and women and people who choose to identify as something other than those defined poles who speak, write and live their truths in spite of a culture that demonizes, fears, and often seeks to destroy them.

So I say to those of you I know who have things to teach me in this realm, I am listening, and if I ask questions, please know that if they are ever ignorant or hurtful that is not by my own design; I am trying to learn to be a more effective ally and to love that which I find I understand less than I thought i did.

A practical note, I am leaving this post open, which means it'll go to FB because I want to show this piece to the union of my set of friends here and there. If anyone with privacy concerns wishes to comment, you may wish to do so privately rather than in the comments here.
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Sacramento Beer fest highlights [Mar. 5th, 2011|06:29 pm]
I'll take door number i, please
[Current Location |home]
[mood |comfortably numb]

I make no promises as to the accuracy of my typing or spelling in this entry, as i am in recovery from visiting the Sacramento Beer Festival this afternoon. As a craft brewer it was my duty to stay caught up on the state of the art of brewing in the region I live in, so I manfully took on the burden of tasting representatives of several of the local breweries that were present at the festival.

The people there need to learn that two ounces or so is a proper tasting portion, especially when there are sixty breweries, each of which has at least two and as many as five beers to be tasted. The six-ounce measures that many were pouring led to a lot of excessive drinking. You do the math, I am incapable.

Highlights included:

  • Triple Rcok Brewing: white chocolate stout. This was deliciously smooth, though the color would preclude me from calling it a true stout. The chocolatey character came through quite well.

  • sutter Brewing Company's Imperial Stout was rich and thick and chocolate so you can't drink it slow. . .

  • Knee Deep Brewing company had a Prankster Belgian Golden ale that was everything a good Belgian should be: rich and with the candy sugar flavor evident in a highly malty and well-balanced beer with delicious, spicy hops. This beer will knock your socks off if you drink more than the taster I got as it is smooth and the alcohol will sneak up on you.

  • lost Coast Tangerine ale was a very pleasant surprise. I've thought about citrus ales ever since I started brewing, but have never made one as I worried about the sourness overwhelming the beer. Lost Coast got it right with a nose of tangerine married to a lovely pale ale flavor with a surprisingly malty flavor that brings out the tangerine notes with no sourness at all. This would be an extremely refreshing beer on a hot summer day.

It was nice to be back in a tasting setting; it reminded me of the Arbor Brewing Company on steroids. There was also a gun show at the same venue. Yo udo the math.
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