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An etherealgirl's Adventures in Cyberland

Saturday, December 31, 2005

everybody be careful out there tonight!

I'm hoping to actually post something in here today but if I don't get a chance to do so before, I wanna wish everyone a very safe New Year's Eve and a most joyful and prosperous 2006!!!

banner created with photo by strong des aka Melissa Balkon
courtesy of stock.xchng

Posted by etherealfire :: 8:57 AM :: 4 Comments:  

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

reconnecting with Shekinah

Forward Newspaper online has a fascinating article about a subject that I'm becoming more and more immersed in; the roots of Judeo-Christianity and the Pagan connection.

From Jay Michaelson's Jewish Paganism: Oxymoron or Innovation?

Traditional Jews "do" a deliberately watered-down, domesticated version of these rituals, within boundaries circumscribed by Halacha. Even if Judaism does have pre-monotheistic roots, is getting back to those roots still "Jewish"? Or is it getting back to exactly what we were supposed to get away from?

For Rabbi Mordechai Gafni, a controversial, charismatic rabbi with two best-selling books and an Israeli television program, it all depends on how paganism is put into context. For Gafni, paganism was the essence of biblical Jewish practice. But, he said, "we need to distinguish between 'level one' paganism and this new, 'level three' paganism. Level one is the idea in its raw form, and it was rejected by level two, which is the religion of the prophets. The prophets saw that level one paganism was all about eros, with its power and passion. There was no ethics. The prophets rejected that. They said, 'God's primary demand is ethical behavior.' And the prophets are right. But level three both transcends and includes level two. We don't get rid of prophetic ethics, but we move from that place to eros. We reclaim eros, the energy of Shechinah, the energy of the goddess, and unite it with ethics."

Ezrahi, who recently co-authored a book with Gafni on the myth of Lilith, told a similar story. "The Talmud is full of sages talking to rivers, trees, birds. But in [Tractate] Sanhedrin it says, we don't want to be pulled to idolatry, and we are willing to 'pay the price' of prophecy to avoid it. "

Since then, Ezrahi added, the pagan parts of the Talmud were minimized and marginalized by rationalistic rabbis. "We thought that we became smart. We are scientific people, and we know these things don't happen. Actually, we became blind, deaf and arrogant."

As a result, Gafni said, our culture has gotten so devoid of spirit that paganism is needed to rescue ethics itself. "All ethical failure comes from a lack of eros. When you're moved to act unethically, what is happening? You're responding to a primal insecurity. In order to be ethical, we have to be in eros. Bonfires, chanting, ecstatic dance, embodied ritual — all recapture divine energy," Gafni said.

Posted by etherealfire :: 6:40 AM :: 2 Comments:  

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

the magnificent 7 list

or something like that... I just like the way that sounds. :-)

I was gonna just stealth-read my blog favs and sneak back out of my blog without posting till tomorrow but when I went to one of my must-reads, I discovered I'd been tagged. Whoops!

I thought I'd pretend I hadn't seen it just yet and wait till tomorrow or the next day, but I started to feel kind of guilty, so here goes.

Then its back to reading blogs coz I'm having major withdrawal due to not being able to spend much time reading them lately due to school and holiday preparations and puppy pre-op/surgery/post-op care. I'll be back in earnest in the next couple of days.

Till then, there's this:

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
See George W. Bush leave office
See Jimmy Page play guitar
Become a certified astrologer
See New England in the fall
Drive, fly or cruise to Alaska
Finally put some long planned for content at my domain
design and finance a retirement cottage some place magickal (probably New Mexico)

Seven Things I Cannot Do
play guitar (or any other instrument)
draw, sketch or paint
speak Spanish (my dad's native tongue-even after several semesters in high school)
crochet or knit
parallel park (gasp!)
give directions to people on the phone

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging
It's a fun way to track and share my internet linking journeys
It's a great opportunity for me to engage in a form of written communication
It's gratifying to find people all over the world who share common ground
Blogging gives me my own special little vanity platform and a small audience
I love to read other people's blogs and get a small peek into their virtual world
Blogs are often a source of alternative news information
Making cosmetic changes to the blog gives me a chance to practice what I'm learning in school

Seven Things I Say Most Often
Jimmy Page
while I was surfing the net
lovely and talented

Seven Books That I Love
Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte
The Plains of Passage ~ Jean Auel (actually love the whole series)
Living a Beautiful Life ~ Alexandra Stoddard
A Handmaid's Tale ~ Margaret Atwood
Understood Betsy ~ Dorothy Canfield
Desert Solitaire ~ Edward Abbey
Open House ~ Elizabeth Berg

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
When Harry Met Sally
Shop Around the Corner
All About Eve
You've Got Mail
It's a Wonderful Life

Seven People I Want To Join In Too
(if they haven't already done this and I apologize for not knowing because I'm way behind on favourite blog reads again!)

And anyone else who wants to play!

And thanks, GK, for always including me in the fun. You totally rawk!!!

Posted by etherealfire :: 9:18 PM :: 7 Comments:  

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Friday, December 23, 2005

shine it all around

Light a candle and share your intentions and prayers here!

Posted by etherealfire :: 8:53 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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naughty and nice

MacKenzie had to have an elective surgery yesterday (to remove more bladder stones and to have a liver biopsy done as well) and between Mina being so far away and missing her so badly and Baby Mac having surgery, I was feeling agitated so I decided to take my mind off of it by thinking about and working on a blog template for January.

While surfing around I found this irresistable template created by Caz and promptly forgot about January; instead I decided to update the blog with this template for the rest of the holiday season.

The blog template also had a javascript included for snowflakes but it was doing strange things on my browser so I gave up on it. Too bad coz it's really pretty on the site sample.

Anyway, for all you Blogger users who aren't big on doing your own design, she has alot of nice options over there! If you have a Mac and/or don't have Notepad, you will have to find another way to access the actual code though.

I was able to get it to show up by opening it up in dreamweaver and changing the doc from a .txt file to an .html file so some kind of WYSIWG webpage generator or webpage editor should work.

Baby Mac is home but he is still pretty wiped out from the procedures. Poor little thing. :-( And I didn't hear from Mina at all yesterday... yes, I know she's busy and has a life. ;-P They were going to go to Washington DC yesterday so they were very busy. I've got to admit I'm really envious - I've never seen our nation's capitol! But someday... someday, I will. I'm sure she had a fantastic time and they were going to try to take pictures so I can't wait to see them. But then, again, I can't wait to see her. :-(

So... I've got a million things to do to prepare for company tomorrow and I'm actually grateful for the distraction. But I will try to post some stuff in here today for a change, when I get the chance.

Till then:

the lovely image above that I slightly manipulated via photoshop was photographed by Joshua Davis aka railking at stock.xchng

His other sites:

Posted by etherealfire :: 5:26 AM :: 2 Comments:  

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

some "articles of impeachment"

From Dan Froomkin at WaPo: Return of the "I" Word

The "I-word" is back.

The revelation that President Bush secretly authorized a domestic spying program has incited a handful of Congressional Democrats to discuss his possible impeachment. And while continued Republican control of Congress makes such a move extremely unlikely, the word is reemerging into mainstream political discourse.

From William Rivers Pitt at Truthout: The Breaking Strain

A long time ago - before the Iraq invasion, before the elections in '02 and '04, before all the unprecedented governmental violations of trust we have discovered and endured - I wrote something for a book.

"This is America," I wrote. "At bottom, America is a dream, an idea. You can take away all our roads, our crops, our people, our cities, our armies - you can take all of that away, and the idea will still be there as pure and great as anything conceived by the human mind. I do very much believe that the idea that is America stands as the last, best hope for this world. When used properly, it can work wonders. That idea, that dream, is in mortal peril. You can still have all our roads, our crops, our people, our cities, our armies - you can have all of that. But if you murder the idea that is America, you have murdered America itself in a way that ten thousand 9/11s could never do. No terrorist can destroy the ideals we hold dear. Only we can do that."

The breaking strain has been reached, and those ideals we hold so dear are indeed in mortal peril. The President of the United States of America has declared himself fully and completely above the law. The Constitution does not matter to him, nor do the Amendments. Laws passed to safeguard the American people from intrusive governmental invasion have been cast aside and ignored, simply because George W. Bush finds it meet to do so.

From Joe Conason at NYO:

Bush's Abuse of Power Deserves Impeachment

What has provoked fresh discussion of impeachment is the President’s admission that he has ignored the law’s requirements and that he intends to keep doing so. The impeccably conservative legal scholar and former Reagan aide Bruce Fein explained the deep implications of the President’s arrogance:

“If President Bush is totally unapologetic and says, ‘I continue to maintain that as a wartime President I can do anything I want—I don’t need to consult any other branches,’ that is an impeachable offense. It’s more dangerous than Clinton’s lying under oath, because it jeopardizes our democratic dispensation and civil liberties for the ages. It would set a precedent that … would lie around like a loaded gun, able to be used indefinitely for any future occupant.”

David Sirota at HuffPo:

From "It Was Legal" to "I Am Lazy: The George Bush Domestic Spy Story

So now we really see what it's come to. The law is just a nuisance to these people. They don't feel like "marshaling arguments" or doing the "paperwork" that the law requires – the law, mind you, that was written to protect people's civil liberties, and the arguments/paperwork that are specifically required to make sure there is a check on Presidents whose henchmen are conducting surveillance operations on political enemies (ie. civil rights, anti-war, environmental, animal cruelty, and poverty relief groups).

We are supposed to feel ok about all of this because, as the New York Times noted, "Mr. Bush and his senior aides have emphasized since the disclosure of the program's existence last week that the president's executive order applied only to cases where one party on a call or e-mail message was outside the United States" (as if that means law breaking is acceptable). But even this inadequate explanation has been exposed as a lie. As the Times noted, the illegal surveillance program "has captured what are purely domestic communications."

Christian Dem in NC' dKos diary: Dusting off articles of impeachment

FleetAdmiralJ's dKos diary: The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back

And the Downing Street Memo has the ongoing investigation of this administration's dubious activities right here.

Posted by etherealfire :: 11:59 PM :: 3 Comments:  

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

obsessions with secrecy and the price of liberty

Mousemusings has the Buzzflash link to the latest bit of wisdom from my PBS hero, Bill Moyers: In the Kingdom of the Half Blind.

As always, Moyers is a sane voice in the lost wilderness that has captured the bulk of our press corp; but this haunts me:

In his recent book, The Gospel According to America, David Dark reminds us again of a lesson we seem always to be forgetting, that “as learners of freedom, we might come to understand that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” He might well have been directly addressing the press when he wrote, “Keeping one’s head safe for democracy (or avoiding the worship of false gods) will require a diligent questioning of any and all tribal storytellers. In an age of information technology, we will have to look especially hard at the forces that shape discourse and the various high-powered attempts, new every morning, to invent public reality.”

Posted by etherealfire :: 11:23 PM :: 2 Comments:  

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snoopgate: just another scandalous day in Bu$hAmerika

Halleluajah, both finals have been completed and that behemoth of a final project is finally done as well!!!

But while I've been in my little bubble, the news apparently has been very ominous indeed. Still there is every reason to believe that the latest scandal from the Bush Administration has resulted in the final over-reach and maybe, just maybe, the final nail in the collective coffin of this ethically-challenged bunch of miscreants.

Just read Jonathan Alter's editorial covering Bush's Snoopgate via Truthout.

I think maybe the Gate on this one has just swung shut, nice and tightly. Oh, If only it were the door to a jail cell....

Finally we have a Washington scandal that goes beyond sex, corruption and political intrigue to big issues like security versus liberty and the reasonable bounds of presidential power. President Bush came out swinging on Snoopgate - he made it seem as if those who didn't agree with him wanted to leave us vulnerable to Al Qaeda - but it will not work. We're seeing clearly now that Bush thought 9/11 gave him license to act like a dictator, or in his own mind, no doubt, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting, but one can only imagine the president's desperation.

Read the rest here.

Posted by etherealfire :: 9:17 PM :: 0 Comments:  

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Friday, December 16, 2005

a time-honoured tradition: the holiday card

Astrologer extraordinaire April Elliot Kent has another timely essay posted at her site; all about the old-fashioned way of communicating, through my favourite vehicle, the written word.

She and I both share Gemini Moons so it was no surprise to me that I could relate totally to this:

There's a slow grace to communicating by mail that appeals to me. Oddly, for a person born when the Moon was in Gemini, I dislike the telephone. Well, that’s not exactly true -- I do dislike answering the phone or placing a phone call, but once I’m engaged in a conversation with someone I like, I can yammer away for a pretty long time. Yet the telephone has an immediacy that is a bit of an imposition. If you call for a nice chat at the precise moment that I’m lashing out in an existential premenstrual fury, it can be an awkward moment for both of us. Owing to unfortunate timing, I can’t be the gentle friend you hoped you’d find and that I desperately want to be -- I’m too involved in my own little shrewish drama. Alternately, when I pick up the phone to call you, I worry that I’m interrupting your only free afternoon in a month, or at the exact moment when you would rather/need to be doing about fifty other things from your ever-burgeoning To Do list, and that you’re just too nice to tell me to shove off. Between the timing thing and the lack of opportunity to formulate soulful insights or snappy responses, the phone is kind of brutal, the freeway approach to communication: direct and expedient, but the likelihood of a sort of telecommunicative multi-car pileup gives one pause.

I didn't realize it was an oddity for a Gemini Moon, but I must confess that for the most part I absolutely loathe the telephone (don't even have a cell phone) and avoid placing calls almost as much as I avoid answering one. Not surprisingly, I adore the answering machine and its screening capabilities. I suppose the reason I don't relish phone calls is because they generally are of the telemarketing kind.

But like April, I find written communication, especially the art of letter writing to be a revered and sorely lamented long lost art. It is one of the saddest casualties of modern life that I can think of. Sometimes instant gratification is simply neither.

Still, my baby is going to be a couple of thousand miles away from me this holiday, so you can be sure that I'm going to be unusually grateful to the telephone for the next few weeks... my one communication lifeline to bridge the distance between my one and only kiddo and me. It's also the time of year I'm grateful for being able to talk with my parents who are so often at their home while we are at our home during the holidays. :-( Missing them all right now... so very much....

Gotta get moving so we can grab some breakfast and... gulp... head out to the airport soon...

Posted by etherealfire :: 4:18 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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t minus 185 minutes and counting... more or less...

She's taking her shower now and I'm getting that aching in my bones and queasiness in my tummy. Her plane leaves a little bit before 7:30 a.m. I wish I could lose these butterflies in my stomach but I don't think they are going anywhere. I'm dreading the next couple of weeks... HORRORS! I can't imagine this is ever gonna get much easier but the first time, surely, it has to be the WORST....

Anyway, more JP-esque news to try to divert my mind for a few minutes more. has added a classy looking updated Photo Gallery to their site, including some lovely wallpapers for your desktop. LZ Fans should go check it out!!!

link via the totally awesome (and totally Japanese) Jimmy Page Fanclub!

Posted by etherealfire :: 3:54 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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not exactly my beautiful launderette

In just a few short hours we are taking our daughter to the airport so she can fly out to spend Christmas (her very first one apart from us.... EVER! sob...) with her boyfriend's family in Virginia.

I'm a nervous wreck and I just can't sleep. The last two days I was supposed to be completing my final project and take a final exam but the washing machine - and my whole world it seemed - stood still as I went into emergency mode trying to help Mina get ready for this momentous - and overwhelming - trip.

The final exam has been rescheduled for Monday and the Final Project is due Tuesday and the clothes are washed and packed thanks to a serious chunk of time spent at the Bizzy Bee Laundromat today; and I'm exhausted but I just. can't. sleep.

But here's an item that I found while insomnia-induced netsurfing:

Jimmy Page Receives the OBE from the Queen for ABC Task Brazil Charity Work!

I guess he got it on the 14th the same day my washing machine went into revolt.

Wish I could've been there instead but it is a lovely bit of news nevertheless!

12-14-2005: jimmy page holds up obe medal
Jimmy holds up his OBE for the camera!
By Fiona Hanson, AP pool

And one more for good measure, coz I'm image-greedy!

jp all dressed up and honoured with an OBE from the Queen
AP Photo/Fiona Hanson, pool

Posted by etherealfire :: 2:54 AM :: 3 Comments:  

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

merry fitzmas everybody!!!

Wish I'd known about this site yesterday when I was compiling Virtual Tree Decorating spots. This one is a gem! And there's one lovely present there I wouldn't kick outta my ~ er, out from under my tree.

awesome link via One Woman Wrecking Crew!

Posted by etherealfire :: 2:31 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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the reason for the season

Chandra is a real unsung hero in my eyes. She is part of a small but caring group of people who are giving the gift of their time and compassion in this Season of Light.

She reminds us all not to forget New Orleans during this holiday season. Please go read her post and if you can, click on a link and give someone in need a very special, very heartfelt gift, whether it be of time or money. Every little bit can make a very big difference to someone in need.

Posted by etherealfire :: 1:37 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

while you are sleeping

I'm trying to read thru all my blog favs as fast as I can tonight coz its back to my frantic-paced workload tomorrow.

SO much has been going on, but like the pReZ I guess I've been in my own little bubble. Not much time to contemplate things but I did want to link to this chilling insomnia-inducing little toon from Mark Fiore found via Coffee House Studio.

Posted by etherealfire :: 1:45 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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in the meadow we can build a snowman

well, ok, may I can't build one in Southern California but I can build a virtual one here... or here... or here!

You can also light a virtual menorah here and play spin the dreidel here!

And you can decorate avirtual Christmas tree here, here and here!

Lots of other fun online games here! I just wish I had time to play some of them right now.

I just wanted to post something here and let you know that I'm still alive and I wish I was here!!!!

my virtual yule tree

This is the Christmas Tree I made last year at a cool little Christmas Tree Maker found at Isryan's Dolls! Unfortunately the link no longer seems to work. :-( If I can find out if she has a new site I will credit and link it here. In the meantime, let your hearts be light! Enjoy this beautiful month of love and joy and make a little space in your heart every day for peace and calm in the midst of all this outer madness we are swirling around in...

Posted by etherealfire :: 12:18 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

and we're back

The blog is still looking a bit wonky but the comments are now working once again.

Now if I can get back here and actually post something other than these junky little updates of no consequence. Oh well. Maybe later...

Posted by etherealfire :: 8:59 AM :: 12 Comments:  

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wonky and comment free :-(

It's late, late, late and I'm still up. Wired from my first draft deadline and ready to hit phase two hard in the next several days. But I hope I will get to drop in here more and blog once in awhile (or at the very least peruse my very long list of blogroll addictions because I'm having major withdrawal since I've been unable to read my favs much lately due to school... bleah!) and most importantly, try to figure out how to fix the comments problem I'm having.

Yup, as some people may have already figured out, the comments box does not seem to be working... at all. :-( I don't know what I've done wrong but I may end up having to change the blog again just to get them to come back. Hopefully I will be able to resolve it in the next few days. My apologies for the mess I've made of things in here in the meantime.

Anyway, everyone enjoy this beautiful season of light. Merry, jolly, happy, joy to you all!

Posted by etherealfire :: 1:01 AM :: 1 Comments:  

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Monday, December 05, 2005

sign for voter confidence

I just got this email and I am having major blog issues right now. Not sure what is wrong but evidently my cosmetic changes to the blog has screwed stuff up. Unfortunately I've got zero time to deal with it right now but I did want to at least attempt to post this link because it is very very important!!!

If you care about making sure that every citizen's right to a fairly counted vote is protected, please, PLEASE go sign this very worthy petition!!!

I sure hope this works! I'm also having comments issues right now. So very sorry about this big mess but I will not be able to fix it till after tomorrow in all likelihood. Thanks for understanding!

Posted by etherealfire :: 3:32 PM :: 0 Comments:  

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testing this mess again

Posted by etherealfire :: 2:57 PM :: 0 Comments:  

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commercialized christmas?

You bet. But I like the pretty lights and right now I don't have time to do more than hit and run my own blog with a quick post so I guess I might as well make the most of it.

Planet Christmas 2005 has this year's show-off gallery up and running.

Also, here's a link to watch something that is supposed to be truly amazing. I can't verify this because I still do not have a Windows Media Player installed, but if you do, you can check it out for yourself: A Christmas light show synchronized to music.

Well, it is down to the wire on one of my projects ~ due by class time tomorrow night, so I need to get back to my part of it (this one is a group project and I still have stuff on my end to get finished... YIKES!!!) so it's back to work on it right now...

Posted by etherealfire :: 11:59 AM :: 0 Comments:  

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Friday, December 02, 2005

ushering in the month of light!

I'm knee deep in homework.... YIKES!!! We took a break tonight to (finally) watch Bewitched and I haven't decided if I'm going to brave The Skeleton Key or not. Starting tomorrow, though, it's going to be that lovely tradition of at least one holiday-themed movie per night; IF I can maintain timely progress on homework projects that is...

Anyway, I can't believe how long its been since my last post. And I'm missing it but right now I don't have lots and lots of time.

But I wanted to post a link to the Leslie Harpold 2005 Advent Calendar for fun!

Hopefully I can post more regularly next week, but with two final projects due in the next two weeks, it is going to depend on how much progress I make. Meanwhile, tis the season everyone!!! Happy Holidays!!!!

Posted by etherealfire :: 11:04 PM :: 5 Comments:  

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