I applied to 9Rules for Word Grrls

Word Grrls is about creative writing inspiration with the focus on writing prompts/ exercises. I’ve been writing on the web since 1998. I admit I can be opinionated (some claim eccentric and some are kind and say I’m wise) but I love web writing and publishing, particularly blogging. To me blogging is still about free writing and creativity.

I have been publishing Word Grrls with a daily entry since November 2007. Before that it was weekly. I’m used to having a publishing schedule and I like the discipline of having that schedule to stick to.

I would very much like to be part of 9Rules and the community here. Not only as a help in promoting Word Grrls but to be part of something bigger again. I miss working within a larger network of sites. People get a lot of feedback and push to keep going in an active community. I also like to be part of building something. I was an active editor at Dmoz.org for over ten years cause I enjoyed tidying and adding to the categories and finding new ideas and hobbies for myself.

I can’t pick a favourite post. In a blog each post should be able to stand on it’s own. Most people only skim the first post before they decide to read more or click off. I like my current post about the goldfish. It may be a bit dorky but it was what I thought about at the time I saw the baby goldfish in the backyard pond.

I don’t know what else to babble on about. I’ve done more than a few sentences. I would appreciate to hear back from someone. I applied March 8th 2009 and was pretty disappointed when nothing happened and there were no updates on the 9Rules blog. I really hope 9Rules is going to revamp and start up again. Being part of 9Rules was one of the goals I had for this blog at the time I started it. 🙂

Would you Like a Cheshire Cat/ Dragon?

Well, once again we’ve come to the time to blab.

Tonight my brain is tired. My best thought is that the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland is like a cross between a cat and a dragon. I think the Cheshire Cat would be my best choice as a pet, other than a goldfish swimming outdoors in a pond. You just can’t go wrong with either of those. They don’t really need anything from you/ me in this case. With the Cheshire Cat however, you have the added bonus of a creature that lives to cause trouble and be generally irritating in a good, even helpful way. You just can’t find any other pet that enjoys tormenting you. Try to beat that with some drooling, slobbery dog that wants you to pick up it’s poop.

I am tempted to play Maple Story now. Zack and I were playing it often this week while he was here. But, my brain really does think it should sleep. Silly brain.

Pond Snails

All the goldfish survived the winter. I was tossing in a bit of fish food and watching them when I noticed a snail in the pond too. How it got there I have no idea. I read that they came come when you buy pond plants. But, we haven’t bought any plants except for one last summer. I counted at least five snails when I looked for them. I don’t know what kind they are or if I should get rid of some, how many are too many? Anyway, interesting to find them living in the pond. If they are purely scavengers they are welcome, tons of dead leaves in the pond for them to feast on. But, if they eat the fresh growth we will have a problem. There are only two waterlilys in our pond and one is pretty sensitive. Anyway, will see how the new tenant works out. I took a photo, if anyone knows what kind of snail it is let me know.

(As always you can click on the photo to see it bigger).

Quietly an Earth Witch

I don’t blog about being Pagan very often. It’s a personal decision and something I mostly keep to myself. But, now and then I think of something to say to more than just myself.

When the Internet was newer there were some really good sites for Pagans. Also, many personal sites which were a mix of good and flamboyant. I don’t see many good sites still around. It’s a shame. Some of those which were my favourites have been gone a long time. It’s not an easy road to take, to put yourself out there as a Pagan and an authority on what being Pagan is. When I wrote a column about Wicca I would get a few upset emails but more often it would be questions from young women who wanted to know how to cope with family who disagreed with their choices.

I still think about those young women, now and then. I sent them replies, did my best to explain that for me being Wiccan (as I called myself at that time, it’s a bit more generic and easily understood) was all within myself and I did not need to tell anyone anything. I did hear back from a few of them, nothing long term though. I wonder how they did, if they understood what I was trying to say and if they stuck with being Pagan or changed/ evolved in another direction.

Anyway, for any young women who come across this and have the same issue. What I would most like people in general to understand about being Pagan is that it is personal and does not need to be displayed. You don’t need to buy the “Kiss me I’m Pagan” t-shirt, or the “I’m a Witch, I can put a hex on you” poster or all the fancy tools, jewellry and books available in Pagan and New Age stores. You don’t need to create elaborate rituals and altars. You don’t need to work on casting spells. I’m especially against spells as those are always about changing something in someone else. You can only change yourself.

Being an Earth Witch, as I call myself now, is inside of me. I’m quiet about it because I don’t need recognition for it. I don’t need to join a club to have someone else tell me I’m who I am. I don’t need to stick it to Christians. I don’t think I’m better than they are. I don’t want to upset them or try to make them understand what being an Earth Witch is about.

Being an Earth Witch, quietly, means I only change myself and all the magic comes from me as I work on being a better person and do my part to make the world better. If I am being the best person I can be then the world is that much better too. I don’t need to change the world or anyone else. I don’t need to broadcast who I am or stir up others. I let them do their best too and when I can I encourage them too. I don’t cast spells. I have love and respect for everyone, letting them have the benefit of my optimism.

Of course, there are people who let me down. There are people who have gone too far down the wrong road. I can’t even try to change them or feel I should. I can keep myself going, on the right road and in that way be a good example. I’m not perfect and don’t want to be. I just keep working on it. We are all works in progress after all.

So for young women who want to buck the system, insist their family accept them as Pagan and so on, stop! If you really do want to be Pagan, do it quietly. Be the best example of what being Pagan can be. Once your family see you doing well and being happy they will be happy and eventually they may see that being Pagan is part of that for you. If they see no reason to fear you being Pagan it will be just a little quirk, rather than a stand of aggression and rebellion.

A practical idea… if you want an altar and don’t want it to seem out of the ordinary, get a goldfish. A small goldfish bowl with water, rocks in the bottom, a red feather beside it gives you all the elements represented. You can think up something that will work better for you. But, as an example it shows that you can have an altar without anyone knowing it is anything more than a goldfish.

Best of wishes to all the quiet Pagans and Merry Season to everyone. 

Sentimental about PC Dinosaurs

Why are we sentimental about old electronics? I’ve seen them at the Goodwill, those thick monitors side by side, the old towers with their dirty keyboards leaning against them and the mouse dangling like a spider. I’ve seen photos taken by others who have found old computers, video game consoles and assorted technological anatomy discarded on sidewalks, rummage sales, tossed out of windows. It’s funny that they bring more feeling than the other debris, the general run of the mill stuff like cracked dishes, beat up furniture and half-dead clothing.

It’s funny that we do care. I get a funny feeling seeing those discarded dinosaurs, unwanted and hopeless. Of course, they have no thoughts about the whole thing. Whatever emotions or passion they ever had were from the people using them. Maybe it’s because they became something more than a hunk of plastic, a tool. They became familiar, like a family pet you give attention to every day, worry about when it’s sick and feel happy spending quality time together.

Still, they are totally useless now. Unless you can make some kind of modern art with them, deconstruct them and build a new system using some of the old parts. Those old clunky monitors are too far gone though. But, they could make a very unique fish bowl for your goldfish. So there is always hope, if you really want to save your old PC.

Ode to the Goldfish

The last floating goldfish is still in the pond, making me feel bad. I did my best by them, tried to find out what we would need to do for keeping them alive in the pond over winter. The nice young man at the garden centre was very sure the pond was deep enough and as long as I could dig a hole through the ice and snow once the Spring thaw started, the goldfish would be fine. Well, something went wrong. Maybe it was the long winter and all the tons of snow we had this season past. Everyone is saying it was a very long and cold winter. The taxi driver who gave me a ride from the grocery store today said he hasn’t seen a winter this cold and snowy since 2001. It’s really unfair of those goldfish to die this way.

Before the winter I made sure to keep them fed. I was even getting to know them a bit, on an individual basis. I never did quite manage to count them all. They just didn’t stay in place long enough and then there always seemed to be a few hiding down deeper in the pond. I was feeling kind of sad for that one guy that always seemed to be alone, the left over one, the guy no one else would play with. But, really, the more I watched the more it seemed to be all his own fault. He just kept swimming out from the group, didn’t give any of the other fish a chance to be friendly and get to know him.

Now they are all gone. All just floating bodies, buried in the garden now. My brother used a shovel to flip them all out on a day when there was still ice in the pond. He missed three. Or they were just stuck somehow. I tried to get them with the shovel but they kept slipping off the end. Plus, the pond really stinks. More than just stinky, it’s gut wrenchingly gross. Not so bad now that time has passed, the ice has melted and the water has been exposed to the elements a few weeks.

Fish Under Ice?

It will be interesting to see if the goldfish in the pond survive over this winter. I don’t know if this is a hard winter for Barrie or pretty standard. It’s our first year living in Barrie. But the pond and fish were there from the past owner. I am hoping the fish will pull through and see sunlight again. Won’t know for a few more months I think. I do think of them, down there in their icy lair.

I’ve Been Thinking Green Tonight

I was at an Interview Skills Workshop this afternoon. One of the interesting things I can remember was about researching the company before the interview. I already knew about the researching part but two new things were researching the competitors and researching market and industry trends. I think I already knew those too but had forgotten them. Funny how your brain stops stopping on a dime once you get old-ish.

We had to write four interview questions. One was something you would ask if you were the interviewer. The second was something you hate to answer when you are interviewed. The third was something illegal to be asked, such as demographic information. The fourth was something unusual/ wacky just to throw people off. I asked, “Is it ethical to flush goldfish?”

So your question for the day… is it ethical to flush goldfish? I mean not just the dead ones or those barely living. What about all those goldfish which are flushed just cause people are tired of watching them do nothing but float around, puff out their cheeks and poop. Excitement is not a goldfish.

Two interesting issues in the news lately: banning cell phones from schools and banning plastic grocery store bags from cities entirely.

On the cell phone thing I am comfortable with them being banned or at least restricted. Do we really need to tell everyone we are on the bus and thinking about stopping to get milk on the way home? Is that really important communication? No. People talking about boring stuff on the bus should be banned. If you can’t talk about something interesting just shut up or get off the bus and bore someone walking home.

Also, it is possible all that boring and useless cell phone use has begun killing off the bees. Think about your last call. Was it worth killing a bee for? Of course, it’s not just the bees. Bees are essential for pollinating plants. Next time you want to eat something from the plant world consider the bee who let the plants have sex so they could make little plants so you could eat them. Now, how do you feel about killing bees and causing plants to lose all the excitement they really have. It’s not like they can just walk over to another plant and buy them a drink.

As to the plastic bags… I wonder what will happen to everyone working so hard to make all those bags now. What about the oil producing countries who will see their income lost due to plastic bag banning. To each action there is a reaction. Yes, it’s good for the environment not to have those bags blowing in the wind but someone else will suffer for it. Wildlife won’t get stuck in bag handles. How will they amuse themselves? People won’t have a lifetime free supply of small sized garbage bags. I even have a garbage can thing which was created just to use those plastic grocery bags, the handles slip over the slots in the side of the can. What about that! What about the person who created that idea and patented it? They are going to be out of a vast fortune. That hardly seems fair.

Still, I do think the plastic grocery bags should go. It isn’t an easy decision for me. I have considered how I will need to buy an even bigger purse to hold all my non-flimsy (yet still some form of plastic) grocery bags. I have a nice one from M&M Meats which they gave me for free last time I shopped there and bought a ton of frozen stuff. I will have to get at least one more of those I think. However, it is a struggle to get even one folded and smushed up into my purse along with all the other necessary junk I cart around everyday. Something else will have to be sacrificed if I am going to fit in two of those. Don’t think that will be an easy choice to make. Or, that I only need to bring bags when I’m going grocery shopping. I never know when I will end up picking up a few things, along the way home or as I see a store when I am out wandering around doing important and vital things. I will always need to keep at least one bag in my purse for non-planned grocery shopping.

Yet, I put the environment first. If the plastic bags are banned here in Toronto I will manage… somehow. It’s for the turtles after all. Think of the turtles who have to live with those blasted bags sinking down into the wetlands once they blow away in some parking lot or other. Those bags never compost, they just stick around forever. The poor turtles have to live with them longest since none of the frogs and fish and other creatures live long enough to really care. So, if they ban grocery bags in your area, think of the turtles who you’ll be making very happy.

Job Interview Tips

Things not to do in a job interview…

Stare right at them, directly in the eyes and don’t speak at all.

Shake their hand, pat them on the arm, lean in close to talk and then casually mention you’ve got a really bad cold.

Lock the office door before you sit down and tell her you want complete privacy for this interview.

Bring out your wallet and try to bribe him/ her with your McDonald’s coupon.

Pick your nose, or anything else body related.

Make jokes about the people in photos on his or her desk.

Tease the interviewer about her wardrobe choices and hairstyle.

Suggest you could do his/ her job but you’d need a big raise.

Talk to yourself, about yourself.

Go on and on about how great your blog is and how you really like to post pictures of your pet goldfish, Little Swimmer.

Chat about all your aches and pains and how you really hope the job’s benefits will kick in soon.

Talk to them while looking at something just past their head, never make eye contact, just a lot of near misses.

Shake their hand and suggest you beat them at arm wrestling next.

Tell them how you like your coffee and don’t mind to wait while they go get it for you.

Start the conversation by telling them about what an awful hangover you’ve got this morning.

Steal office supplies from his/ her desk.

Ask them why they’re still here at such a dull company, doing such a dead end job.

Offer up all your ideas for getting rid of bodies.

Ask them for personal information like a home address and phone number so you can call them every day to ask when you’re getting the job.

Squish a bug and offer them the remains so they can see that green goo coming out of it.

Hope this list helps someone. Good luck out there!

Goldfish in a Rain Barrel

My nephew, Zack, brought some goldfish here which he and Grandma had bought after the Potato Festival. He had tried to win some goldfish at the Festival but couldn’t get his money to land in the glasses. Likely you’ve all tried that game at least once and know it’s a lot harder than it appears. Anyway, Grandma told him he could buy goldfish for a lot less than another round of playing the game. Zack couldn’t believe fish were so cheap. 🙂 So they went to a pet store and bought a couple of feeders for a mere 37 cents each. Zack was impressed.

For a couple of days the fish were on the kitchen table in a glass jar with the original water they came in. Pretty limited space and likely would have led to a short life. But, once Zack went back home we poured them into the rain barrel in the backyard. I wasn’t sure how they would do but my Mom (Grandma) was sure they would be fine and really like it. I could see how it would be much better than their current home.

Anyway, I poured them in myself. I watched them slowly sink down to the depths of the barrel to disappear. I waited quite a while but they never came back up. We went away for the weekend and I thought about them now and then. Thinking that the metal barrel might not be good for them or that racoons might knock over the wire grate and get at them. But, when I checked on them both were fine, swimming around near the top and quite healthy looking. Plus, I could no longer see any sign of all the mosquito and other insect larva floating around on the surface of the water. Nice bonus!

Sadly, when I checked on them today (about 3 weeks later) one is belly up in the barrel. The other is fine, I noticed him under a tiny leaf which had dropped into the water. The second fish was actually not a feeder. I wonder if those goldfish (one step up from feeders) are a bit stronger or healthier to start with. It’s likely as the feeder fish are only expected to live long enough to make it home and become lunch for some other creature. Anyway, I think I will buy another goldfish so the other guy/ gal isn’t alone in there. Plenty of space to be alone in.

I didn’t find much online about keeping goldfish in a rain barrel though I just started looking this afternoon. Here is a discussion about rain barrels and preventing mosquito larva. Goldfish were offered as one option. Likely the best one I think fish would be the most natural and have the plus of being compost when they die. Some argue that’s cruel. But I think keeping them in aquariums is an unnatural and more cruel life for them. People tend to go overboard on the whole pets thing. They are still animals. A free life is better than being tanked up and gawked at.