On Making Mistakes, And Owning Them

Today, or rather since I am writing this at 1:37AM, yesterday, something was brought to my attention. I would name names, but the individuals involved are so narcissistic that they constantly google themselves, the organizations they are attached to, their pet projects, etc scouring through the results for every little micro and macro aggression against themselves they can find in order to drum up more sympathy from the unknowing and unwitting orbiters they have. So, we’ll just call them Larry and Gina.

Last year, some of you may remember I did some livestreams and vlogs. Quite a lot of them in fact. They were concerning the latest attempt to resurrect the American Council of Witches in 2016 – and this was the single most bizarre attempt to date.

Larry and Gina were part of that group attempting to resurrect it. And I will openly state here that in my videos I mocked the everloving shit out of them. I made fun of them. I was downright foul. It was not one of my best moments.

So, why do I bring this up? Because despite my past attempts to amicably remove myself from their continued drama, my videos are still paraded around as one of their chief weapons against me – despite my not having had anything to do with them for quite a number of months.

What they fail to note, however, if they had watched the complete series of videos is that the final video is done as a sincere apology for my actions, statements, and does show genuine remorse for my behaviors as the situation continued to escalate. Does an apology make everything better? Of course not. Just saying “Sorry” doesn’t undo what damage is done. So what then is there to be done? Do I remove the “offensive” videos, and deprive them of their chief weapon? Most people would do so. I, however, will not. And I cannot control why or how someone shares my videos or playlists.

See, my final video in that series wasn’t just an apology, it was a statement on owning your mistakes and taking responsibility. I stated in the video itself that I will not remove the others – as they are a reminder, to myself, of my heinous behavior. I have done a few since then on other subjects. I did one on a group that posed legitimate danger to women and children, and had scammed people out of hundreds of dollars by the time I had heard about it. Does having the videos where I behaved like a buffoon discredit the other videos I have done? Possibly. But that is, again, my own mistake to take responsibility for. If I delete them, or set them to private, to me that is a disservice to the message I intended. That is trying to hide my mistake. Cover it up. And to me that’s just not an option.

I have not filmed a video in quite a long time. I simply have not had the time to do so between taking care of my family, my health, and just general day to day life stuff. But it has also been partially out of a sense of dread and fear. Stemming back to those videos that I readily admitted at the end of them all, and have continued to state to this day, are a mistake. I even briefly considered creating a new account altogether and doing only narrated videos or pure audio. The reason I had not taken the coward’s way is because I shouldn’t run away from it.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that when you make a mistake,own up to it because you cannot learn from your mistakes if you don’t acknowledge them first.

In the end, my videos will still be used by Larry and Gina for their personal gain. Maybe one in every 50 will get to the final video and learn the lesson I had to learn the hard way about why you shouldn’t be an asshole right out of the gate. And I’ll still go on living my life and moving past the drama that they seem intent on trying to drag me back through. And in the process they’ll end up giving me free publicity.

Once again, this is me having made mistakes, and once again owning them.

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Filling Time with Meaning

Monday my son starts his special preschool. It’s also his birthday. Today I did double duty shopping – buying him clothes and a book-bag and various school things as well as birthday shopping. But mostly clothes and school things. (Seriously, he’s needed some new clothes for a bit now after a Winter growth spurt. But we were holding out until my mom’s taxes came in. They came in yesterday morning.)

We’ve already planned for the first week or two while he’s at school to finally get some serious cleaning done with regards to the room at the back end of the house, and rearranging furniture and such to give my son his own room and space.

But after that is done, and I run out of things to do at home to fill those few hours each weekday, I’ve decided to take up flash fiction writing. But first, I need to get the practice in before I turn around and submit my work to any publications. (I know, flash fiction doesn’t pay much, but it’s at least some pocket change here and there to treat myself to something nice. Like yarn, or a new book, etc.) But, I don’t want to post it here on THIS blog, because this is my personal space. Where I write about my personal stuff. My life, my kid, my family, all of that.

My biggest problem with attempting NaNoWriMo last year was time, energy, and commitment to large scale projects. I didn’t have all of the time and energy to spend on it. Though I wanted to. So I’ve decided to work on the smaller scale. Because I do have the time, and will have the energy to spend on small things. To start with, I’m going to practice with a 30 day writing challenge, likely sometime in either April or May. I find that starting on the first day of a month helps to keep these things straight and organized. I’ve got a list of prompts to use to start with, ones taken from multiple “30 day challenge” lists that I think would be fun or interesting to do.

When I do decide to move ahead with it, I’ll also be considering platform as well. Do I create a new blog? If so, what service would best suit my need and situation? Do i want it to go viral or do I want it more subtle and homey? Should I give in and get a Twitter and build up a social media presence for the project? These are all things I need to think about and plan out ahead before I start the project, that way I can focus on the writing and let the rest take care of itself.

Anyway it’s mostly just to get me to fill time each weekday. But whatever comes of it, I hope it entertains people.

A Fool’s Hope (I voted. I hope you did, too.)

Since Tuesday night, I’ve been debating with myself whether or not to talk about the results of the US Elections this year. And then even more when thinking about what aspect of it I wanted to talk about. I cannot decide, so I’m just going to ramble and see where it goes.

On Tuesday, I got up. I got dressed. Ran some errands. And in the afternoon, I voted. I voted for the candidate I felt would best represent my stance on issues I feel are important. I did this for every single race. Presidential, Representative, Senate, local officials, and even regular city officials. From top to bottom, over the last year, I’ve been reading. Studying. Comparing. Listing pros and cons, and been vocal, to those in my life that matter to me, about my views and opinions.

It’s my hope that everyone does their due diligence and researches the candidates and their platforms. But it is a fool’s hope. There will always be those who vote one party down the ticket, regardless of whether the person they are voting for is right for the job or not.

I’m not going to sit here and fuel the hate machine. I’m also not going to sit here and demonize those who didn’t vote the way that I did. Because that’s not how democracy works. That’s how many of us believe it works, but that’s not how it works.

It is my hope that, whomever any of my American readers voted for, they simply went out and voted. It is my hope that they exercised this simple right that we have which many others across the globe do not. I do not care who you vote/voted for, only that you do so.

If you voted Trump, I hope you did so after looking past the media propaganda and actually took the time to read up on his platform and learn more about his stance on the issues that are most important to you.

If you voted Hillary, again I hope you did so after looking beyond the media hype and actually took the time to look at her political track record, not just the bad but the good as well. And educated yourself on her platform and the key issues important to you.

If you voted third party, I know you’re likely catching a lot of hell right now. But I hope that if your vote was not a protest vote, that you voted for the person who’s platform and stance on important issues resonated with you and your views and morals.

But I do realize not everyone seriously examines their decision before casting their ballot. Again, the hope I have is a fool’s hope.

For myself, my vote is between myself and my ballot. And a few select people I chose to talk with about it.

What will the next four years bring us? Only time will tell. But what I can be certain of is that I voted for the candidates I felt were most in line with my personal views, my stance on key issues, and who I thought may be the best fit for the job. And that, to me, is what democracy is about.

As for those who didn’t vote, it would be easy to condemn them as well. But I won’t. Voter apathy is a problem, obviously. But there are many who would have loved to vote but could not due to reasons beyond their control. None of us will know a person’s reasons for not voting unless we are told explicitly why by the person themselves. For all we know, the little old lady down the street who gives out cookies couldn’t vote because she’s on probation for bad checks. Or the head of the debate team won’t turn 18 until the day after the election. Or the surgeons who couldn’t get away to vote even for early voting because they were too busy saving lives. Or the person who was on their way to the polls and had a car wreck. There’s hundreds, thousands of reasons why someone might not have voted. And I honestly wouldn’t feel right to condemn them for not doing so. I hope that if they’d had the opportunity to vote, they would have taken it.

But again, I recognize that this is merely a fool’s hope.

Life, Birthdays, and the MCU

I voted today. That’s all anyone needs to know about that. Now then!

So this last week was the start of NaNoWriMo – and I’ve yet been able to sit down and have the energy and time at the same time. The first week of November is always a busy one, so I’m going to marathon over the next few days to bring my word count up from 0 to at least something. This year is mainly my practice run anyway.

Additionally this week, my husband had his birthday! He’s 43 this year, and I made a very lovely from scratch dinner. Porterhouse steaks (beautifully marbled, roasted in the oven with just a hint of salt and pepper.) cooked alongside home made macaroni-n-cheese. And spinach. Usually I bake a birthday cake, but this year my health has been such that I just couldn’t do more than make him a nice meal. Let alone go out and buy a cake. Since my mother was working on his birthday, and we’ve only the one car, we stayed in and he played video games all evening while I tended to our son.

Doctor Strange also came out on his birthday, and we had planned originally to go out and see it opening day (but had the backup plan of dinner at home because at the time we didn’t know my mom’s work schedule for the next month). So instead, her first day off after his birthday, we went out for dinner and a movie. That was last night.

I’m not going to spoil the movie itself but there are 2 credit scenes. One mid-credits, and another after all the credits. One ties into the greater MCU via Thor, and the other is likely leading to a Doctor Strange sequel (gods I hope so because hot damn I need more Benedict Cumberbatch films in my life).

Anyway, after the movie, we went over to Hooters and had dinner. He loves hotwings, and I like their burgers. Though, our local Hooters… eh. The burger wasn’t as good as the others I’ve had at other locations (my favorite menu item is the Western Burger, so I tend to compare those more than other menu items). I think next time we go, I’ll order one of their chicken sandwiches. See how that goes. The night went super well, and we both really enjoyed the movie. Though the previews were just…. oh dear. One of them made me cry. IT was for a movie called “The Space Between Us”. The trailer for “Logan” played, which threw me for a loop because Marvel Studios and Fox rarely ever let previews for each others projects show before their films. (I think Deadpool’s success had something to do with this change in status quo.) It was sooooooo good. And I think the little girl he’s protecting might be X-23 (Wolverine’s replacement in the mainline Marvel comics. She’s a female clone of him). The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was HILARIOUS as to be expected. I forget what other trailers showed as there were quite a lot of them.

As for non-plot related Doctor Strange stuff, now that I’ve seen the film, I think the actress they picked for The Ancient One actually works quite well. The thing about the MCU and the main Marvel Universe comics (Earth 616) is that they are two distinct Marvel Universes in the Multiverse. Marvel’s even given the MCU it’s own Multiverse designation. This means that it being a different universe, things happened differently. Instead of an Asian man (I do not know exactly what ethnic grouping The Ancient One in the comics is. Likely Chinese, but unsure. Hence the broader term of “Asian” here). Whereas in another timeline the The Ancient One may be Egyptian, or Native American, or yes – even a Celtic woman. Hell, in one universe Doctor Doom is the Sorcerer Supreme instead of Stephen Strange. That’s how vastly different things can be between Marvel universes.

The explanation given in the movie, while short and sweet, gives us more world building for this alternate timeline that makes up the MCU. And I for one love anything that expands on the MCU’s universe and it’s history.

But I bring this up only because again, after having seen the movie, and having brushed up on what Doctor Strange stuff I didn’t already know from the comics going in, everyone was so focused on a non-Asian woman being cast as The Ancient One, citing accuracy to the comics, and yet not a single person complained about Baron Mordo being cast as a black man. I mean if we really wanted to go for comic book accuracy, Baron Mordo is a white man. If we wanted to go for comic book accuracy,the most accurate film version of Nick Fury is actually, and I am loathe to say this, David Hassellhoff was the most accurate looking Nick Fury ever to grace our screens. And yet…. Nick Fury as we know and love him today is Samuel L. Jackson. – My point is, the MCU is an alternate universe, where things happened differently. As a result, there’s going to be changes to a lot of things. Changes to a lot of support and secondary characters. But despite these changes, the core elements of the stories themselves, the core elements that lead our heroes that we love to watch on the big screen, remain the same. Tony Stark was still fighting his way out of a terrorists cave, an arc reactor in his chest, using an Iron Man prototype. The only difference was which terrorist group snatched him up. Thor still was cast to earth, had to prove himself worthy of the hammer – he still had to fight against Loki, his adopted brother and thus become enemies and bitter rivals. Loki still fell from favor and became the bad guy. Bucky Barnes still became the Winter Soldier, but wasn’t Captain America’s teenaged sidekick first. And who the hell really knows how we went from a David Hassellhoff (though his film wasn’t part of the MCU, again he did play the character and is the most accurate looking actor to have done so.) looking Nick Fury to Samuel L. Jackson but, here we are.

And that’s the beauty of the MCU. The main, core characters, the IMPORTANT characters, remain the same. It’s the journey that led them down their heroic paths that’s changed. I mean, in the MCU there are no mutants! In the real world, it’s because of Fox owning the film rights to the X-Men characters and having copyrighted “mutants” for their films. So, we have Quicksilver in an X-men movie, and we’ve got Quicksilver in Avengers 2. The difference? One’s a mutant. The other is a result of experimentation (along with his sister, Scarlet Witch).

So, whenever someone begins to complain about who is cast for what, especially when it’s related to a Marvel film, I reserve any judgements on it until after I’ve watched it and if there’s a logical explanation for the change presented in the film, even if it’s a single throw away line, then hey. This is the canon of THIS universe, and is one of the many divergent points from which the MCU split from the main Marvel Earth 616 Universe.

And this post went into a direction I wasn’t expected it to. Anyway, that’s my ramble for this week or so. Time to get back to writing!

Books and Covers (People and Social Media)

NaNoWriMo is looming closer. I’ve finished 1/2 of my outline, and will be working on more throughout the day today when I finish here and my lunch. I’ve been a bit busy recently, and the few days away from it gives me time to not get burned out too early, as well as help me to see an idea fresh and see if it still works or not before building further on it. During the time not working on the outline last week, I created a “book cover”  to post on the NaNoWriMo website for my novel (all free public domain images from verifiable sources, to assure the copyright minded people out there). And as I worked on the image, I was concerned with how people would perceive the subject matter of my novel. So, due to it taking place in a remote boarding school during autumn, I chose to use an image that looked similar to the setting, but adding a charred wood filter to make it a bit more sinister looking, as the plot is of a supernatural nature.

I was reminded of my book cover recently as a few days ago, I received the oddest of messages in my Facebook inbox. It was of course in my Filtered Messages folder since I was not on this person’s friend’s list to begin with.

aggywhat

There’s quite a many things wrong with this. Firstly “Missy Aggie” is an alias. Secondly, while I do not profess to be besties with the admins of a the group she mentions, I am on good terms with them. They area wonderful group of people, and I have benefited much from their combined years of advice and wisdom on copyright problems, and writing in general. Thirdly, the Facebook group “Pagans Against Plagiarism” does not represent me. They do not represent anyone, actually. When someone brings copyright infringement to the attention of the group, it is because often the illegal copies or stolen works belong to a member of the group itself – the group is primarily composed of authors, artists, publishing company representatives, magazine writers, web designers – people who either create things or facilitate in the creation of things – but also those who represent an author or estate’s legal interests (for many this means a Llewellyn representative, as they are the most popular publisher to have works ripped off from, and some of their authors are deceased but the publisher holds the copyrights). And lastly, the admins of Pagans Against Plagiarism created the group in response to someone stealing their works and attempting to self publish them through places like Amazon under another title and under their own name. The group was started so that they had a common place to discuss what to do about the problem, and what legal recourse they could take provided some of the authors and artists who had been ripped off were not only in the United States, but some were in Canada, others in the UK. So trying to sort out all the international issues as well was very important in going forward with sorting it all out and moving forward. Now the purpose of the group is to help educate others on what their rights are as content creators, who’s responsibility it is to file legal actions when their works are stolen, to alert content creators and/or their representatives when a member stumbles across theft and plagiarism of someone’s work on the internet, and generally just to help people who don’t know what to do if or when their work is lifted by someone else. And of course, it’s mostly pagan oriented because the initial creation of the group was to help pagan authors.

Now, how does all of this remind me of when I had questioned whether or not people would understand what my book was about based on the cover I had created?

Again, I must state that before I received this message I had never encountered this person before. They were not on my friends list, and I was not on theirs. This is a case of someone looking through a membership list of a group, and messaging newer members since the last time they had pulled something of this nature, and judging them based on the sole fact they are a member.

Rather than speak to me one to one, rather than open a dialogue, this person just up and said “Nope.” For all this person knew, I had joined the group because someone stole my poetry or my paintings. For all this person new, I could have been a member of the group who agreed with them. But again, rather than start a dialogue…

Ah well. It’s clear that “Missy Aggie” has a vendetta against the group founders, likely because it’s an alias of the person who had been responsible for the situation resulting in the group’s creation in the first place.

It just makes me sad to know real people still judge people like they are judging what book to buy.

I Miss Windows 8.

 

I genuinely miss Windows 8. And never should have taken that free upgrade. See, despite the Windows 10 free update thing saying you “can go back to your previous version within 30 days” I couldn’t for the life of me figure out HOW to do that. And no matter what instructions I followed or found, it didn’t work… Until one day I was looking for another setting entirely and found the one that lets you revert to a previous version/build. Unfortunately, my old version had been long since deleted and I had resigned myself to being stuck with 10 simply because I just really don’t have the money to buy even an old system. And I don’t really like any of the Linux flavors.

Anyway, I miss Windows 8. Not the buggy and unstable 8.1. Just regular 8. I’m likely in the minority here, but it was very easy to use and navigate. And I found it much simpler than the traditional Windows interface from versions past. Don’t get me wrong, I was raised using Windows on computers. 98 will always be my preferred operating system for the sole fact that it was the last truly stable and solid operating system Windows ever made – with XP and 7 vying for second. But 8, for all that it was, worked. It worked. At least, until Microsoft went back and tweeked it to put the Windows launch button back into the task bar. That was literally the only true change to 8 that was made for 8.1, and it broke the operating system.

That said – I’m now on Windows 10, and I hate it. All of the above are valid reasons for pining over my former operating system, and the regrets of switching to 10 because “it was free” – but the one thing I miss the absolute most about 8 is the way that you could dock your apps to one side or the other. Top, bottom, left, right – it didn’t matter. Windows 8 made it a lot easier for me to multi task. I always have a minimum of 3 tumblr_ofavchyoou1ueccv4o1_540programs open at any given time. My screenshot in this post shows 4 programs open down in the task bar, and as I write this I’ve got 3 open. Unfortunately, the flexability of 8 was lost in the upgrade to 10. Windows 8 would allow me to have up to 4 programs docked and active at a time. One in each corner, with my screen divided into quarters. Double that if I had a secondary monitor linked into my laptop. Windows 10? I can’t have more than 2 programs docked at a time. Left and right only. This is very inconvenient for me, as I’ll be working on a picture in Gimp, writing in LibreOffice, doing research in Wikipedia, and further research in Firefox (often cross referencing between Wikipedia and articles and websites in my browser) – all at the same time for a single project. It was a very convenient and very useful feature for me. Now, I have to waste time going down to my task bar to find, select, then choose what else needs to be snapped into place beside it, or resizing each window – the interior of which may not properly shift or resize with it using this method – just to be able to do what I need to do. I became accustomed to the 30 second timing of opening and snapping my programs into position and then getting right to work. It actually helped my productivity. Unfortunately, it also spoiled me a little bit.

The “Soul Mate” Question.

This, above all other questions, is one I dread as an intuitive reader. I know I am not alone in my feelings on this particular question and it’s varriations. What has prompted me to write this post and put into words my personal view of the “Soul Mate” question, and indeed the idea of a “Soul Mate” in general, was a reading I did earlier tonight.

I did a reading for someone last year, where they asked “When will I meet my soul mate?”. And now, a year later, the same person asks me the same thing, acknowledging that they had asked a year previous. I’ve never had the same person ask me the same exact question twice. And never this particular question.

Of course, some readers claim to know the exact time and date a person will meet their soul mate. Others, like myself, do not do this. Either because they can but due to their own personal code of ethics will not divulge the information, or like me, they simply can’t. Not in that way at least.

I won’t betray the privacy of the readings I gave this person, but it really made me think back on something a friend of mine, whom I used to work with, said in a Facebook comment on the matter.

To paraphrase, she stated that the Universe is listening. And it will give us what we want… but usually not in the way we want or expect. Because to ask the Universe for something we must be specific and clear in exactly what it is we are looking for and are wanting. To simply ask “when will I meet my soul mate” is vague – so vague that it may not bring about the desired result. She then went on, and again paraphrasing, to say that there are different types of soul mates. There are of course the traditional view of them – the intimate and romantic soul mate. The person with whom we are fated to be romantically linked to. But there is also the concept of the “soul family” to deal with. These “soul mates” are those with whom we connect with time and again in each lifetime.  They can be friends in one life and then a rival in another. Then after that are in the role of our parent, the next after that our child. Or a beloved family pet. These, too, are people with whom on a spiritual level, on the level of the soul, we are fated to be with in some form or fashion. These are the people who go with us throughout our lives, and us through theirs.

Now, I’d already held similar views myself, just not as developed as her’s.

Another reason I dread the “Soul Mate” question is because the answers are usually always the same basic answer. The details differ from person to person of course, but the core message is ALWAYS the same. That the person receiving the reading needs to look inward, and practice self love, or find themselves and figure themselves out before they are even ready to consider bringing in someone else to their personal world. More often than not, someone asking when their soul mate will arrive in their lives are asking this from a perspective of loss, or lonliness, or self doubt. And often the thought that if they just find that one perfect person for them is the one thing that keeps them going – but also prevents them from making a positive change in their lives.

I don’t say this from a perspective of intuition, but from one of personal experience. And now that I’ve found my soul mate, it’s most definately not all sunshine and roses. It’s still a relationship that takes a lot of effort and work on both our parts. Finding your soul mate, or indeed your soul family, does not automatically make things better. It does help us to find it within ourselves to BE better, but this is not a change that happens overnight.

And to top it all off, just from a purely “We are all energy, and we are all connected” standpoint – we only receive what we send out. Dwellin3risbcxg on the lonliness, on the negative aspects brings only more lonliness. However, when we learn to be comfortable and content with ourselves, when we learn to love ourselves, it shows outward into the world we inhabit. And it acts as a beacon to which others are attracted. And in bettering ourselves for the sake of simply ourselves, we draw in and bring to ourselves those who are meant to be with us.

But it’s difficult to explain to someone these things when they want you to give them an exact date, time, and location of when, how, and where they will meet their perfect someone.

Oh how I’ve wished so much that it worked like that, but it doesn’t.