Widdershins:

(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Acelessthan3

I'm pretty sure I set this one as a scheduled post for last Thursday. Dammit, blogger, quit doing this to my scheduled posts. I schedule them to post at a certain time, post them at that time, geez, is that so hard? Oh well, posting now.

Who is Acelessthan3?

I'm pretty sure that at his most basic level, Aceless is some extension of me. It's been my chosen pseudonym for over half a year now, the fa├žade I hide behind whenever I need to come up with a new username.

I like to think though that Aceless is a little more and a little less than me. Aceless is me in a mask, the parapersonality through which escapes all the jokes and intelligence I don't let myself show, the elegant fool on stage. He is the Locke and Demosthenes to my Peter and Valentine (please get that book reference whether you love or hate the books). But at the same time, he's so much more superficial and surface level, lacking the depth and experience of his own identity, always sharing and drawing symbiotically upon my knowledge and experience.

Of course, it's getting hard to tell the two apart. It's not like Aceless is some exclusive avatar I use while gaming with a specific circle of friends, no, virtually all of my presence online has become or is in the process of becoming an annex to the construction that is Acelessthan3.

And to think, it all started with a deck of cards.


Origins

I was at summer camp up near Leavenworth (yes, Power of Hope, the same one I talk about all the time. You would too if you had the chance to experience it, which you do have the chance, I'm telling you that you do. Look them up: http://powerofhope.org) a little over a year ago. One of the youth there with me was a boy by the name of Cyrus.

Now, Cyrus was a bit of a clown and a thespian. He had a knack for taking your attention that made him a natural magician of the stage. It was really no surprise that he did card tricks. At the end of the week, he gave away his deck of cards. Pick a card, any card and it's yours to keep. I think you can guess which card I drew.

Well flash forward to I think it was around January 2009. I'm signing up for some internet site; I don't rightly remember which one, but the site's asking me to create a username and I want one that's unique to me. I flip through the pages of the journal I got at camp and still write in, and I stop on the page where I've taped the card.

That's it! I'll use the card. But to put as my username theaceofhearts is altogether too mundane and in all likelihood already taken. I need something original. So I look at the familiar ace of hearts shape and imagine how I would type that. Perhaps if I used the well-known emoticon for a heart: A<3? No, special characters aren't allowed. And then it hits me, spell out A<3. Acelessthan3 and my internet pseudonym is born. Incorporation

It was around this time that I started talking to a rather tech-savvy friend who convinced me to sign up for several more social networking and data storage sites, each requiring a username. By now I'd become fond of Acelessthan3. It's distinctive and with the creation of my plurk , thanks to my enrollment in a literature class called Nanotexts, and twitter accounts had gained a level of personality as I wrote through Aceless.

When I started designing and silk-screening my own t-shirts, A<3 became my signature so you would know it was an Acelessthan3 original print. When I make mix CDs for friends, I always take the time to create cover art to go with it and invariably sign the bottom with "An Acelessthan3 Original Mix." Hell, I've even begun to sign personal letters with Danny A heart (since I don't know the coding to make an actual heart appear there, with the heart being underneath the A in true card style). If I weren't so comfortable in my identity as Acelessthan3, I'd be worried about this overlap.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fate kismet and other facts of life that shape who I am as a spiritual being

A while back, I made a post about a little Buddha statue I found on the side of the road and in it, promised to write about my religious beliefs. Here's a small portion of all that I could write about there:

I don't consider myself a religious person. My faith has yet to become enamored of any single organized religion. Much like in high school, there's far too much drama and social politics involved with any of them.

I cannot call myself a Christian. I believe in the teachings of Christ, but I cannot reconcile those teachings with all the sins against man committed in the name of someone who clearly preached a far more loving ideology. At the same time though, I recognize that that history doesn't necessarily reflect any Christian people I know, because most of the ones I know are truly loving, kind people.

I take umbrage to the institution and the church, and what they've done in the name of the religion, not the religion itself.

So it's kind of a mixed bag.

And with other world religions, I feel uneducated about them and a lot of them have the same kind of deal as well. War and violence and hatred all over what some God nobody knows anything about has said. Like I watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire, and I was practically hyperventilating through parts of it watching these people in India suffering. It's the same thing when I look at history and religions, there's just this ENORMOUS baggage and weight behind it. And I don't know if I can do that. I don't know if I can embrace that and accept that it's a pain I will never be able to heal.

At the same time though, I have this unshakeable faith that there's more out there. I just don't know what it is. It's like in the books and stories, you KNOW good will win, even if it takes a while, it's gonna happen.

I believe in Fate, what some call Kismet or the hand of God. I have a hard time believing in coincidences, especially when people are concerned. It shapes my belief that certain life experiences are ordained and meant to happen. Free will shapes the path and the time it takes for you to get there, but it will happen in the end. I take peace from this knowledge.

If you are meant to meet someone, you will be presented with opportunities to meet them until you do, but how you meet them depends on which path you follow.

Religious belief as I see it boils down to the same kinds of principles I believe in love:
Love yourself so you can love others and in doing so treat them with respect.
Work towards making good things happen and good things will happen.
Live what you want to see in the world.
In short, find: optimism, respect, love, acceptance

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back When

Just a crappy little poem I wrote the other day when I couldn't sleep.


I bet you could see more constellations
before we learned to turn hillsides into suns
Night was darker back when
back when electricity was fire in the sky, was
snake tongues of light tasting clouds

I want to climb a mountain and look down
find Orion's reflection in the city
The Northern lights as the twinkle change of
synchronized traffic signals
Make a wish on the freeway cars as they burn by

It was probably simpler
Midnight trysts meant more
They weren't sterilized in incandescence
or washed out with cold fluorescent glow
LED screens sucking away at souls

This is a digital age of plastic and chrome
Everything gets vacuum packed and sent off
in another satellite to streak across the horizon
Yeah, I bet you could see more constellations
back when

And I quote: "Hot Gay Twins"

View Original Post for the accompanying YouTube video if you still aren't reading these at my blog.


I was initially tickled by this video. But then Davey just goes on and on and on.

I think I can understand the appeal of two, attractive guys going at it (I am a gay teenage boy after all), but from the other side it makes sense as well. They're brothers. Socially and mentally incest is taboo. And I must say, despite us both being gay, I in no way find my brother to be attractive, so just because they're twins it really shouldn't make a difference.

If I were straight I wouldn't be interested in my hypothetical sister, no matter how hot she is (because hypothetical sisters are always hot).

Suffice it to say, I don't get the whole incest appeal. Big whoop, they'd be having sex. And? The far more interesting possibilities would involve sex with your Doppelganger. Think about it, in the stories, your doppelganger is out to kill and replace you. It adds a whole other dimension of weird. There are moral and ethical repercussions here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Zombie Cookies 2

So apparently Mother's Cookies were bought out by Kellogg after they went bankrupt back in October and have been working to get the cookies back on shelves by June this year, at least on the West Coast.

The complete list according to seriouseats.com is Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Here's the official press release:
http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-05-2009/0005019404&EDATE=

"Souter says Americans need civics lesson" and other frightening things I've read in the Sunday paper

Page A3 of my local Sunday paper, the News Tribune (serving South Puget Sound) runs a little box along the seam-side of the page titled "In Brief" with a short rundown of stories from across the nation and the world.

Souter says Americans need civics lesson was one of the headlines that happened to catch my eye. A short synopsis of the news brief, or rather, the first sentence/paragraph: Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter urged the nation's lawyers Saturday to help revitalize civic education warning that the failure of many Americans to understand how the government works poses a serious threat.

I'm shocked and appalled and in complete agreement with Souter. Later in the brief, Souter "pointed to a poll showing two-thirds of Americans can't name the three branches of government." Not that I particularly endorse the television corporation named after an orange animal of the dog family, but this is the reason shows like "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" have been allowed to have any measure of success. Americans are stupid.

It's no wonder we as a country are so ass-backwards compared to the rest of the industrialized world in so many aspects. We let idiots and morons and rock stars (and appropriate combinations thereof) be the ones in charge because we're too apathetic to even take the time to know how our own government works.

That's a damn shame because I for one believe that as far as governmental models go, ours has some pretty strong things working in its favor. Sure, there are major areas of corruption and aspects have gotten way out of hand, but the system of checks and balances between the three branches of the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary is a really good idea.

I'll save a discussion of the strengths and flaws inherent in the system for a textbook, but really, it's not that hard a concept. The hard part is how this system gets applied to running a country and all the political maneuvering that has shaped the government into the behemoth it is today. It's been complicated to a game of politics and control and infighting as all of our elected leaders try to force all the other elected leaders to agree with them and create/overturn laws and policies that will benefit us as a people, themselves, our allies, our enemies, their individual constituencies, the corporate interests providing them with money.

Vietnam's harmony with Zen master unraveling

This bit of news came from the very next page as the headline to a story about relations between Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, his followers and the Vietnamese government deteriorating supposedly after he made statements to the media supporting the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.

Y'know, for a group whose stereotypical image is that of a peacefully meditating, balding Asian monk, these Buddhists really seem to create conflict with governments looking to repress their religious freedom. Riots and protests and semi-provoked attacks on monasteries make me wonder just how dedicated you have to be to maintain inner peace amongst so much chaos.

It's really not funny how these esteemed religious leaders are being forced from their homelands in the face of oppressive governments, but the kind of temerity shown by these mostly bald, mostly older men belies a greater will by the people to express themselves as their beliefs see fit.

The worst mistake opponents of such religious leaders could do is to martyr them and continue to seek to repress a spiritual movement. Look what happened to Christ, and over 2000 years later his teachings are stronger than ever. You cannot kill belief.

Six Flags filed for Chapter 11?

I normally don't do more than skim the business section as I have very little interest or knowledge in economic matters save for a deep interest in the bigger picture meaning of economy that seems to shape our materialistic society. Money is no object to me and anything beyond the necessities should be shared and enjoyed with as few restraints as needed except to maintain those necessities.

A small headline in The Wall Street Journal Sunday page caught my eye since I'd just spent the day running around my local water park. "Ride out summer at a theme park." Aside from the milquetoast pun on the word ride, it seemed like the kind of simple travel story you would find in the business section instructing how to spend your money and yet still manage to save (a contradictory idea I've still yet to wrap my head around).

I read it anyways.

The second sentence, "Though Six Flags filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection in June, deals are available at many of the theme-park chain's 18 U.S. locations" was the one that made me double-take. Since when did Six Flags file for bankruptcy? Oh, in June. Say what?

This should have no bearing on me whatsoever as Wildwaves and Enchanted Village (though I guess they dropped the Enchanted Village part of the name some time ago), the local water park I mentioned, hasn't been owned or operated by Six Flags for several years. But remember those commercials where the crazy old man in the ill-fitting suit danced to the Vengaboys and kidnapped random strangers on his magic bus and brought the to a wonderful land of happiness? Six Flags was responsible for that advertising annoyance.



I'm flabbergasted and left wondering how? Why? And more importantly, where was the major media coverage of the collapse of one of the biggest names in the theme park industry? I seem to remember there being quite a lot about some giant car corporations getting ready to go belly-up. Doesn't that bit have something to do with our overall economy as Americans find that frivolous spending on expensive theme parks and roller coasters aren't the best way to attain happiness and maintain a sustainable lifestyle?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zombie cookies?

So it was about this time last year when I first read a few stories about Mother's brand cookies going out of business, so I was understandably surprised to see these sitting in the aisle of my local Safeway grocery store tonight.

While I'm more than glad to see production hasn't ended as someone has bought out the confectionary staple, I'm shocked to not have learned of their return sooner. Does anyone have any dirt as to exactly when and how this happened? If not, I'll look it up within the next week and let you know.

And coming tomorrow, I rant about some articles I read in the newspaper yesterday. (yes I actually read the physical sunday paper, doesn't everybody?)