Blessed Bees Home

Blessed Bees * last updated December 8, 2000

 
music magick musings messages the buzz
 

The Buzz

 

 

   Thursday, May 13, 2004
 

Oh, gods, it's been FOREVER!

Big shock, eh? Well, let's see. Since last I posted, I've:
  • gotten married
  • had back surgery
  • lost a ton of weight and gotten into shape
  • stayed at SAA (can you believe it?
I also recently discovered Live Journal, which means this blog is probably going to remain defunct after this post :) For the further adventures of Melissa (now, Melissa Mears), please visit my Live Journal.

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 5/13/2004 10:57:07 AM |


   Tuesday, January 22, 2002
 

Six Months Later...

Well, I left Harding in November to work for Stanford University. I'm working for the Stanford Alumni Association in their Online group, coding away on the website. I adore this job. Not only do they keep me busy, but it's FUN busy.

What happened to my enthusiasm for Harding, you ask? A few things: when the high tech stocks crashed, HP was hit and starting cutting rather severely. Harding hadn't diversified enough with their customer base and when HP cut their web budgets and demanded a cut in rates, Harding succumbed to the layoff trend. Thankfully, I survived both cuts.

Not so unusual these days, right? I was, however, very very disappointed with how Harding handled the layoffs. Victims were notified one hour before they were escorted off the premises. Rude and insulting, and I just don't care if it's a "common way to handle such things". Common doesn't mean right. Wind River (one of the best places I've ever worked) even had to layoff, and they gave several weeks notice to their folks.

With the cuts came an additional hyper-focus on our billable hours and how much time we were spending at our desks. Being a salaried employee started to mean squat. Couple that with lousy vacation/sick leave benefits and I started to get very irritated. I really started to miss working for in-house customers on a team rather than the client based model.

The environment was highly unconducive toward creative work. We shared a "bullpen" and were crammed so close together that our chairs served as bumper cars. There was no money for decent chairs or ergonomic arrangements and HP didn't care since we were contractors living in their space. I wound up at the doctor with a very unfun case of carpel tunnel syndrome in my left wrist and a fistful of Worker's Compensation paperwork.

Finally, my blinders were removed about the supportiveness of Harding's upper management. I watched too many people take the blame and have the rug pulled if a client had any complaints. It bothered me. Alot.

So I left. I miss the gang, and I hope things improve or they take their lives in their own hands and leave too.

Working in a University setting is new to me, and very refreshing after all the poor-mouthing at Harding. I spent the first week luxuriating in having privacy again and top of the line equipment. And a wonderfully supportive boss and management structure. And two quite tasty and innovative projects from the get go. My colleagues are awesome and fun and creative. And we have a terrific telecommuting policy! Whee!

There must be a catch, right? Well... my primary computer is a Macintosh. Oy. I was incredibly thankful that I also have a PC in my cube until I was able to get up to speed. It's a screaming fast Mac and upgraded to the lastest version of OS X. And I have to say that I've finally gotten used to the thing enough that I don't feel like I'm operating a foreign device every day.

My plea to Macintosh software developers: PLEASE establish consistant standards for navigating around in text. The single thing I miss the most from my PC is knowing that CTRL+HOME, CTRL+END and other similar commands operate the same in every editor and application. On the Mac, the keystrokes vary from app to app - so "end of line" is different from BBEdit to Dreamweaver, to Eudora. Blah.

But the thin screen monitor is real pretty .

Other moves

Boyfriend and I moved in with each other at the same time as I switched jobs. We had our housewarming this weekend and it was a total blast. Pagans and Gamers and Capoeiristas, oh my! As usual, no one showed from the East Bay, but I've grown to expect that sort of thing and love them anyway . We played music for hours and it was fun enough that I'm thinking of starting up a jam group of some sort.

Boyfriend and I are doing well and the cats are in utter heaven. There's room and then some, and two levels for them to play with. Plus they get Boyfriend full time - happy kitties! And happy me! Full time with Boyfriend! We're about half-unpacked - the office and the temple room need the most work at this point. Things are coming along...

We have a huge yard with a lemon tree (anyone need lemons?). And a fireplace! I'm a convert to these little starter things made by the people who make Duralogs. Put down a log, then a starter thing. Light each end of the starter thing, then put another log in front. Put a third log across the top two at a diagonal. Instant flames! After that, you just keep stacking up the logs and you get a huge, roaring fire!

Boyfriend's parents had an old set of fireplace tools they gave us, sans tongs. We've been using these little kitchen tongs instead, and when the fire is roaring it becomes something of a challenge to move wood around. If anyone cares to donate an old pair of fireplace tongs to the Cause of it all, do let me know!

Obsidian Stuffness

The coven is coming along nicely - we hosted the NROOGD Samhain at the San Jose Unitarian and it was a beautiful ritual. We lost one member to the high tech fall - he followed his job to Phoenix, where he is swimmingly happy with the poly community. Another member is getting her initiation at the end of March after we get through another Bast Celebration at this year's PantheaCon.

I've started intensifying our work with possession and I'm looking forward to what each of them do - should be interesting .

Enough from me - back to work!

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 1/22/2002 01:53:42 PM |


   Thursday, June 28, 2001
 

Coyotes, Initiations and other Miscellany

Yes, I know, my blogging rate has fallen dramatically since I got a job that keeps me busy. I actually wrote a nice, long blog a few weeks ago but my system hosed WHILE posting the darn thing to the Blogger server. Poof. No more blog!

This will be sort of like a Letter from Camp, except that it's really a Letter from my Life blog. Been busy, lots is going on, lots more coming down the path.

Coyote!

At long last, Coyote is getting his Feast this weekend. Probably the most loosely organized and open ended ritual script I've ever dealt with, which is appropriate, of course. Makes a good little priestess who likes things organized, damnit, go slightly twiggy after a while, but I'm coping! We have a wonderful scavenged wooden crate that we've rigged up to serve as an ACME Altar. Coyote tails have been found and purchased. A massive shopping trip to CostCo and Smart & Final occurs this evening to purchase all the food and picnic stuffs (chicken chicken chicken! says Coyote) and I'm letting Coyote take me shopping for some new threads tomorrow evening. He wants to be stylin' (g). I'm ready to put my foot (and pocketbook) down if necessary!

Boyfriend let Coyote pick and choose songs from among his quite extensive music collection and compiled a Coyote CD (which I'm listening to as I type). It's wonderful. Well, so is he, but I digress. (g)

Initiations

Firstly, the NROOGD study group is officially a coven as of Beltaine. I'm loving our diverse approaches to magic and deity and am rather gleeful at our potential. All of them are pretty much ready for their white cord initiations. Boyfriend (and do you remember his website?) gets his initiation this weekend. I will not be initiating him myself due to our relationship... instead, my former HPs will have that honor. Which brings me to the topic of initiations.

Interestingly, I'm finding that my feelings and such towards initiating my coveners is much the same as when I anticipated my own first initiation with NROOGD. The first one will be as much as a transformation for me as it will for the dedicant. I'm doing what I can to prepare, but it's simply one of those experiential things. There will be a bond between myself and each initiate - not necessarily familial, although it can take that form, but something of a energetic tie, if that makes any sense. It reinforces to me the care that elders should take before choosing to initiate - we are bound to those we elevate, and that is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

The other consideration is that Samhain is approaching. Former HPs avows that she doesn't initiate between Samhain and Brigid because that is the dark part of the year when the god is in his power. I won't know if I feel the same way until the first initiation has occurred. If I do, it does bring up scheduling issues - how to assure that everyone gets their initiation before Samhain? And if that's not possible, who is to be left to wait until February?

Thankfully, we're friends enough that I hope it won't be too difficult (g).

Other Miscellany

Other stuffness: Boyfriend is rapidly approaching his Batizado (green cord) in his Capoeira training. The academy schedules one big Batizado for promotions and such on an annual basis - word is that it will be sometime in August.

Our coven is hosting the NROOGD Samhain sabbat this year - planning of that will begin once the Coyote Feast has ceased dominating our lives (g). It will be interesting to see how attendance shifts as we move the venue to the South Bay instead of the more common East Bay location.

Work is good - nice and busy and keeping me entertained. We went through a small layoff (seven folks) but I survived, thank the gods. Probably the only complaint I have with this company is the benefits - they suck. I detest PTO, and our coverage is thin, particularly in the realm of dentistry. As a gal who's looking at most likely having to get orthodontics to finally fix my TMJ, I was NOT happy to find that we have no coverage for such things. Hmph.

For the magical study group side of the coven, I partnered with another person to talk about animal spirits and shapeshifting. We had the evening on animal spirits, and I've been researching and such for the shapeshifting side of things. Some interesting stuff has come up: I discovered an entire sub-culture of which I'd been unaware - a large, umbrella-ish group called "Furries" and a subset of that group who call themselves Shifters (and other names). There are four websites that seem to best represent the culture: Shifters.org, Were.net, Therianthropy.org, and Pathwayz.org.

I'm especially interested in the mental shifting as it applies to the coven and the work we do. Speaking for myself, as a priestess, my work with Bast has possibly been a form of shifting. During the annual Bast celebrations, where we allow Bast to possess us and to dance, the form she has taken has been pure cat, rather than the anthropomorphic form of the goddess. All of us work with critters in varying degrees - I know that I have always been attuned to the fuzzy ones and look forward to learning about the many and varying degrees, definitions and approaches that the Shifter community takes. If any of it is applicable to the coven's magical and spiritual work, so much the better.

I'm blogged out, I think (g). I'll try and write more often, but no guarantees, what with the vagaries of work and life and such. Boyfriend is writing brilliant and entertaining things, Dervish and Pashta are doing splendidly, and life progresses gaily forward.

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 6/28/2001 11:19:18 AM |


   Tuesday, March 06, 2001
 

Requisite Ramblings

Wow. Did anyone else see those two months fly by?

Looks like I've been a delinquent blogger. I'll just have to owe y'all one. For starters, I think today merits a nice long ramble about priestessing, deities, conventions, Playstations, luck, and other such interesting topics.

Let's start with Priestessing and see where I wind up, shall we?

Firstly, assume I'm talking about Priesting as well, if you please. I just don't feel like typing "priestess/priest" and other variants every time the term comes up. Much obliged.

There are so many levels of priestessing within the Pagan community. A priestess of the Craft, a priestess of the Gods, a member of a clergy, a minister of some sort. A teacher. That's just off the top of my head - I'm certain there are lots more.

For me, a priestess is first of the gods. Then the community. Calling myself a priestess of the Craft doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I suppose it could also work if I were describing in an appropriate context. I do not consider myself a clergy person, nor do I embue myself with ministerial duties. I suppose one could say that by including the community I am including such things as ministerial functions, but I feel that there is a subtle difference between the two. A teacher? A priestess may be a teacher but it is certainly not a requirement.

To address the ministerial function vs. serving the community bit: the idea of clergy and ministers seems to come from people with a certain kind of Christian background who feel that people need a bit more guidance, that they need to be taken care of and led just a bit. In contrast, my idea of serving the community is to help them access the gods. Whether by direct contact, by presenting celebration and ritual that communicates and/or feeds both celebrants and deities, by giving divination if it is requested, by answering questions and sharing ideas as best and honestly as I can, by appreciating the rich resources within my community - all of these ultimately serve my gods.

Did I mention I'd be rambling?

I am acting as a teacher right now, working with a group that is potentially a new coven in my chosen tradition, NROOGD. But I am learning an amazing amount as we go on, if not more than the folks I'm teaching. When I first initiate one of them, I expect it to be a further initiation for myself. I may be an "elder" in my tradition, but that was only the beginning.

The best part about teaching this sort of thing is that it's the best kind of teaching. I'm presenting concepts, symbols, ideas, and such that both contradict and support each other and other accepted teachings. I'm presenting these things in as many ways as I can and the goal is for each person in the group to develop their own interpretation and meaning of these things.

The other best part is when I introduce them to various beings and deities and they mirror their own interactions back for the group. It adds depth and dimension to them that live outside of my own personal context. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

Did I mention that Coyote has pretty much embraced the entire group? They're his pals, yup. So much so that they're all involved in the Coyote Feast that we'll be presenting at Ancient Ways festival this summer. But that's another Blog.

Which reminds me. We attended PantheaCon again this year. For the first time, I wasn't working the convention. It was odd, but kind of cool. In some ways, the whole thing was disappointing because there is so much available to see but because time is linear you have to choose a item from a list that is sometimes as big as nine for the same time slot. And sometimes, nothing in that whole timeslot would be of interest.

I enjoyed the vendor room this year, particularly because I'm making more money now and could actually splurge a bit. The best thing was this beautiful cured hide of an Australian sheep. The fur is lush - thick and soft and gorgeous. Dervish is in heaven, finally having something to knead that doesn't cry out in pain and move his paws. When he wakes me in the middle of the night to snuggle and knead, I pull the fur over me and he just blisses out. What I'm going to do in summer when it's bloody hot, I haven't the faintest idea. Probably suffer and let him stay blissed.

We presented the Bast celebration again, this time with five more people. Four more dancers (including boyfriend, the only male dancer) and an HP to complement the existing HPs. Three of the new folk were part of Obsidian Moon (the NROOGD study group / potential coven mentioned above) and they did fabulously. Boyfriend (one of the OM folks), of course, was involved last year not by planning but because Bast lured him into the dance. It was lovely and as always, I adore bringing Bast the sheer joy of people playing and dancing and being unselfconcious and present. We raised money for more kitty organizations - not as much as I'd like, of course, but enough.

Boyfriend wound up incorporating quite a bit of Capoeira moves into his dance, and I'd also re-done the music CD by adding a Capoeria piece to this mix. It worked quite well actually. Made me wonder what sort of celebration we might do by dancing to all Capoeria music...

I finally attended the Pombagira ritual which they present every year. I'd even bought this absolutely gorgeous black nightgown at Victoria's Secret to wear to the event. But we were both disappointed. The drums and chanting began, a rather pedestrian beat. The singers were shouting rather than singing. But that would have been fine if it had MOVED somewhere. Instead, the music never changed. Just the same thing over and over again, in this ricky ticky rhythm.

I just don't get it. Everyone always would say that the Pombagira ritual was deep down and earthy sexuality. Shouldn't the music reflect that? The Bast dance is the celebration of life and earthy sensuality which, personally, I find enormously sexy. The music we chose mirrored that intention, moving people from level to level, peak to peak.

It makes me want to attend a true Candomble ritual.

Speaking of Capoeira: Monday evening after the convention was over we stopped at Fry's for funzies and they happened to finally have the Playstation 2 in stock. Mine! And it's a DVD player to boot! One of the first PS2 games I've bought is something called Tekken Tag Tournament. I purchased it specifically because one of the fighters in the game is a Capoerista named "Eddy Gordo". The modeling was based on a local Mestre from Berkeley, Mestre Marcello. The whole thing is a huge blast.

It's rather amazing that I wound up with a PS2 when I did. They're difficult to find right now, and I just happened to ask the cashier as we were leaving if he knew when they'd have them available. He told me they happened to have four of them right then, locked up.

Diane Paxson did a presentation on Norse Folkloric Magic at the convention which addressed an interesting perspective on luck. She spoke of luck as being in the "right relationship" with the world around you, and it seems to relate quite a bit with synchronicity. I've always had that sort of luck, thank the gods. One way or the other, things just have a way of working out in my life. Makes me feel a bit blessed, you know?

I think I"ve run out of steam for the moment. End ramble.

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 3/06/2001 12:26:05 PM |


   Thursday, January 04, 2001
 

The New and the Old

I'm loving my new job. Work is coming my way and it's fun, thank the gods! The only stoppers so far haven't been the fault of Harding's - they've been the fault of HP.

The biggest annoyance is that I still have no computer. To be specific, I have no "imaged" computer - the box itself is sitting in my boss' cube. When they finally did take it away to be imaged, they returned it two days later saying that "it was dead". I set it up myself to check and got on the phone to technical support, and sure enough, it was declared "DOA". So now I have to wait until the computer is replaced. In the meantime, I'm the vagrant site lead; if someone is on vacation, I get to use their computer. Whoo hoo. Sort of like always working from boxes in somebody's garage.

The thing that startled me most was the offices here at HP. They're messy, cramped, blandly colored and lack just about all of the amenities I'd gotten used to at Wind River and McAfee.com. The snack room is a joke: vendor type coffee machine, free tea, and that's it. No supply of plasticware, and dish soap? Nowhere to be found. And no fridge - perhaps they don't trust the employees not to let their food rot (g).

Even odder are the Dumpsters distributed throughout the floor. It gives the place a rare junkyard appeal.

The neatest thing I've learned here is all about a new design term: the chiclet. And a new verb: to chicletize. Check out HP's website and you'll see what I mean - each "idea unit" is in a chiclet box. All images are chicletized to match. I even received a short training session on chicletizing images - HP has quite specific requirements to determine whether to use 20 pixel or 10 pixel corners on your chiclet. I never knew... I feel so enlightened.

And here's the odd thing: remember those Dumpsters? They're filled with trash and other odds and ends, but mostly they're filled with boxes that contain pink or peach colored foam padding. Each of these boxes once held a hard drive of some sort. The padding is in the shape of a chiclet.

The Harding web folks have collected foam chiclets and created interesting and strange things with them; my favorite are the "Rogue Chiclet" and "Chiclet of Doom". Last week I experienced my first chiclet war - the Chiclet of Doom was tossed over the cubicle wall, landing by my chair. Just some innocent fun as contractors at HP! I have snarfed a pink chiclet to take home to boyfriend so he can see for himself.

I wonder if they're like tribbles...

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 1/04/2001 04:42:58 PM |


   Monday, December 18, 2000
 

Waxing Contraversial

There are some things I haven't really talked about in this Blog because I didn't want to offend. However. It has recently occured to me that this is my journal, damn it, and folks can read it or not as they choose. So.

I believe in life. I believe that life is precious. I feel that in order for humanity to survive we need to take the long view and place ourselves in balance with the rest of the life sharing our planet. I also feel that life needs a certain quality to be worth living. By that I mean beauty, and space, and a healthy environment. I believe in balancing the instinct to choose life before everything else with the intelligence to realize that resources are finite. I also believe in being practical with our own gene pool and intelligently attempting to weed out the extremely broken among us.

This viewpoint is the root of the positions I take on various contraversial subjects: abortion, sex education and birth control, involuntary sterilization, the death penalty, to name a few. Where do I stand?

Abortion: It's my choice. I don't care if life exists from the moment of conception; I've lived for over 30 years and that takes precedence over some cells that have never seen the light of day. If I were to wind up pregnant, I would involve the father in the decision. But ultimately, I'm the person who has to carry, grow and birth, and that means I choose whether to go through with it.

Sex Education and Birth Control: Gods, yes. Lots of it, please. Inform, educate, teach, and do it early and with thoroughness. Let's be intelligent and slow down our population growth without the catalyst of disease or disaster.

Involuntary Sterilization: This one is going to sound pretty harsh (like the ones above don't, eh?). Who do I feel qualifies for involuntary sterilization? Rapists. Chronic drug and alchohol abusers who refuse to use birth control. Extremely violent people, including untreatable sociopaths and psychopaths. The catch in this one is the determination of who gets sterilized - humanity being what we are, we'd wind up creating some sort of bureaucratic guidelines and these would automatically be flawed. There will always be exceptions to rules and unless we could assure that each individual was reviewed and assessed on a case by case basis, I feel this one just isn't a feasible idea.

Death Penalty: Not surprisingly, I believe in execution for the monstrous among us. I also agree, however, that there's the issue of knowing absolute guilt - is it possible and is the risk of killing an innocent person worth it? I wish I knew.

Controversial enough for you? (g)

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 12/18/2000 02:43:03 PM |


   Wednesday, December 13, 2000
 

Big Huge Sigh

I've gone and done it - found a new position at a company that appears to be as good as it seems. It's called Harding Marketing and they have that "Wind Riverish feel" that I miss - the folks are pleased and proud to be there and to be associated with the company. The turnover is low. The clients are important and the design ethic is elegant and mature. No more fighting against the banner ad demons!

What are those?

Well, there's the apocryphal story of taking a hike in old forest land with a real estate developer - all they see are condominiums and golf courses. Enough to make you want to rip their throats out. At my current company, the equivalent are the people pushing banner ad graphics. Quite a bit of revenue is garnered when visitors to the site click on these atrocities so there's no arguing with them. Show them an elegant new application and their first reaction is, "Hey! Cool! Can we fit a 468x60 banner in there?"

Thwack! Back demon, back!

Thankfully, no more. I can't express how much I'm looking forward to this new job. Insert Melissa version of the happy dance here :D

B*Bzzz
-M

posted by Melissa 12/13/2000 04:01:34 PM |

 
Powered by Blogger
 
Home
 
[ subscribe ][ webring ][ guestbook ][ links ][ link to us ][ faq ][ about ] [ e-mail ]
 
All content herein copyright 1998-2004
Melissa Oringer, all rights reserved