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2010; a/k/a The 50th Anniversary of 1960

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2011: LairCronies, we haven't been writing in the Home Lair nearly Enough lately! We really must do something about that. Like taking a bit of time Off from that Nefarious, brain-eating social networking megalopolis with a name that rhymes with "MaceCrook"! Anyway, here goes for 2010's Archive Lair excavation...

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So, How's About a Newscap from the Great State of Tennessee..?

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010: Good evening and Merry Christmas, LairLurkers, from snowy Crossville, Tennessee! I'm here once Again, visiting my Mom and her two Goofy cats, Orrie and Jetta, for the holidays; we just gobbled down our first installment of turkey dinner, prepared just for the two of us humans. Mom is watching her househunting program on cable TV, and I'm attempting to update the Home Lair. Earlier this evening, I opened the front door to find more snow sprinkling itself across the front step, and invited my Dad, Grandparents, and other ancestors of goodwill in Spirit to come in and share Christmas with us. Ooh, that sounds a bit "occultist", some might say! But what the hell--they're relatives, right? And my Mom and I could use some company, from one dimension or Another. I'll be here till January 4, after which I'll need to get my own laptop some new antivirus protection Pronto. Either Norton or AVG (I've been trying out the latter's free trial version); whichever one has the best coverage and subscription price.

Dis-lui toi que je l'aime... I've become certifiably Obsessed with Vanessa Paradis Lately. I want her to come up and perform in Seattle (she does have concert dates in LA and NYC in the Next few months; but that doesn't help us Poor churchmice who can't afford to travel Much). Shoot, she's become one of the people I'd like to work with: at what, exactly, I'm not Sure. Definitely something musical. Maybe something Celtic or world-fusion. Getting anywhere Near her, though, is a problem, when you have no idea how to overcome that Invisible "Celebrities versus the Rest of Us" barrier. And she's not the only one thus Separated from me. How does one get past that bloody Invisible line that seems to segregate Famous People from your Ordinary working stiffs (buskers Included, I presume)?

The Southern lady who taught perfect fourths... Alas, right before Christmas, I received a message on Facebook informing me of the passing of one of my best high school teachers: Miss Mildred Bell "Millie" Trevvett, with whom I studied Music Theory in 12th Grade. I'd been searching for information about her for some time; I had no idea if she was still Living or not. For decades, she was one of Maryland's top music teachers, heading classes in Music Theory, Music Appreciation and Music History that were highly Popular with the students of Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Maryland. I took her Music Theory class only in Senior year; and my one regret was that I waited that Long to enter her sphere of influence. Gosh knows I'd heard plenty about her from friends and Former students encouraging me to check out her classes, especially if I had an interest in music composition. It was a pretty Rigorous class, but it certainly advanced my knowledge of music theory well beyond what I'd learned while studying piano in grade school. Even after she retired from teaching, she participated in developing Advance Placement tests in music. If only I might be Able to say that I had such a well-Lived musical life when I get to be in my 80's.

UPDATE (TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2011): Gee, folks, it's snowing this evening! Well, flurrying, anyway. There will be more news to report, shortly, as much has already happened in the Past month since I began this article. I'm back in Seattle now (since January 4), and struggling to catch up on blogging and Such, before the folks at the travel agency come banging at my cellphone, screaming about some Trumped-Up emergency that requires my Immediate arrival and attention up there in the U-District. One last thing, though: I finally finished my Divine Comedy slash fanfic sequel (Virgil/Dante, of course!); it's called "Thrice Purified", and is the sequel to another short fanfic called "Matters Then Befitting Well" by someone known as Mayhap in the LiveJournal universe. Apparently my sequel has met with Mayhap's approval (God only knows what Dante or Virgil thinks of it!); and I have been duly Encouraged to write Further sequels that are Incubating in my Wicked subconscious. This, of course, will require more rereading of the source work, as well as a bit of research on the scenery and trees of Ravenna, Italy! As always, stay Tuned...

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Would It Help If I Changed My Name..??

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 2010: Folks, I've been thinking for some time Now that perhaps I should let someone steal my identity. Or, maybe I should sell it, give it Away, or trade it in for a Different one. My own identity appears to be Jinxed, by Some means, for Some reason, at least as far as making a living is Concerned.

I am Reminded of when I was in a local Girl Scout troop back in grade school, and attempting to sell those Ubiquitous cookies door-to-door. The only way I could make any sales at all was by turning my order forms over to my Dad to take to work with him and sign up a bunch of his colleagues for cookie orders; because, for Some reason, I had failed miserably at attracting customers on my own. With my Dad as an "agent" of sorts, however, business was Booming. Why did it take a Different entity, selling cookies in my name (so to speak), to achieve such Favorable results? I have Yet to figure out just how that dynamic worked, to this Very day.

Maybe it takes changing my name to make Decent money with my own Creative work. I wouldn't be the first one in my family to go through a name-change; my immigrant ancestors did it all the time (mostly so the Anglos would have an Easier time pronouncing their surnames, and they themselves would fit in better in an English-speaking society). In particular, my Swedish immigrant ancestors had this Maddening habit of changing their first as well as last names the minute they stepped foot on Ellis Island. This drives genealogists bloody Bonkers. But I digress. In any case, when it comes to marketing my own digital art, music and photography Online (and at the gallery where I used to hang things), my own name doesn't seem to be working for me too Well. It wouldn't be my looks, because most of the Online folks don't know what I look like. It appears that I need to call myself something more Exotic or "Arty"; or perhaps something with more than two syllables per first or last name. The Irish or French equivalents of my Given name, perhaps? Would my Cafepress LairShops do even marginally Better in sales if a different name was Affixed to the storefront pages?

Running a little Farther in the wake of this train of thought, perhaps my online "LairMistress" persona needs a public face. Maybe I ought to show the Offline, snail-mail world what a LairMistress looks like. Mind you, I have no intention of dressing up in dominatrix gear (though I like the color black on teeshirts with Celtic transfer designs), any more than I would seriously entertain the Laughable suggestion (given me by a couple of workshop leaders a few years Ago) that I should dress as a leprechaun if I intend to perform Irish music in public (these folks obviously don't spend too much time hanging with the Local, National, or worldwide Irish music community. If they did, it would be perfectly Plain to them that WE DON'T DO FREAKING LEPRECHAUNS). However, there is scope to create a slightly Mysterious, Fey appearance Evolving out of these black teeshirts. Perhaps something along the line of those Tranced-out, Cryptic-looking creatures on the cover of the Wizard Women of the North album.

Anyway, LairLurkers, I think I shall now turn the discussion over to you. If you have any ideas as to how I might tweak my identity to create a more financially-Comfortable lifestyle for myself, I invite you to contribute ideas in posts in the Lair's Guestbook (see LairLinks above). What do you think needs changing, that now appears to be hampering my livelihood? Is it the name, face, Public or Online image, writing style; or this Ridiculous LairSpeak with all the Irregular capitalization? Anyway, do write and give me your ideas and suggestions--I'm all ears/eyes/antennae/whatever...

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A Dirty Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste (*Recently Seen on a Bumpersticker)...

SUNDAY, MAY 2, 2010: Folks, I don't mind fundamentalists--as long as they don't flaunt it. Really. And they come in all types these days, not just religious persuasions. You've got your Highly Orthodox Raw Foodists, who are so Full of their gastronomic righteousness that they'll likely drive you straight to the Nearest fast-food joint in a fit of rebellion. You've got your Crypto-Calvinistic Socialists (among leftie college students, especially), who have been doing great things for Republicans and conservative Libertarians with their wild-eyed fulminations that Socialism is the One, True and Only Way; and that it will solve society's every problem, including racism and the porn industry. And, at least every May Day, you've got your Immigration Reform Fundamentalists.

These are the folks who toss around the term "immigration reform" without really bothering to explain what that would Likely entail, or to define clearly what they want to change in Current immigration policies. The really over-the-top ones reputedly want to abolish most immigration laws and regulations (which no country can reasonably be expected to do), and automatically legalize anyone who happens to be in the country illegally at present. Now, I might argue that there is a dearth of information out there for would-be immigrants, including those seeking temporary work in the United States. Something like 40 percent of (currently) Undocumented workers over here entered the country legally to begin with, but overstayed their visas. A great many people need Expanded access to information, visa guidelines, the Appropriate forms, etc.; and should be able to come Forward for guidance in work visa extensions without fear of arrest and deportation, or some Such. However, we can't simply proceed with NO regulation of immigration, migrant workers, etc., and allow absolutely everyone to come here, with or without documentation; for no other reason than to ensure that Said workers are reasonably safe from Abusive and Exploitative treatment, human trafficking schemes, and other Criminal victimization. If we don't know you're here, after all, it's hard for us to help you if you're being Forced into slave labor, sweatshops or prostitution by the scumbags who lured you across the border with promises of Cushy jobs and Fancy living quarters. Anyway...

And then, LairCronies, you've got your religious fanatics who apparently believe their faith is all about demonizing homosexuality. Homophobia seems to be a Major tenet of their belief system. And nothing, repeat, bloody NOTHING makes them go all Medieval on one's ass quicker than encountering Christians who also happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Oh, the humanity! Our newest musical discovery, Christian/folk-rock singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp, originally from Kansas, is being Confronted with Swarming, Screaming hosts of such people demanding her head on a silver platter, having quite recently come out as a lesbian in a same-sex relationship after an Extended hiatus from the music business, including five years spent living and traveling around Australia.

Great Goddess, folks; you should see some of the stuff being Posted on the poor woman's Facebook Fanpage. She is getting a lot of support, from progressive music fans and other GLBT Christians; but she has also been Described by many people in terms normally Reserved for child molesters and people who have sex with llamas. What the Latter group expect to accomplish with all their preaching and throwing around Biblical "clobber verses", I'm not Sure. Fortunately, the Great Debate on the Facebook page appears to be quieting Down more or less by Now, since folks on both sides eventually figured out that Said Great Debate was going Nowhere and accomplishing nothing. At the moment, most of them appear to be contenting themselves with blocking their view of people they find egregiously Obnoxious.

Now, about my dirty mind being a Terrible thing to waste? Some folks on Facebook inspired me to read the highly Suggestive Biblical account of David and Jonathan's relationship (not to mention what sounds suspiciously like a commitment ceremony Late in the tale); and now I'm shipping the bejesus out of them as a Biblical RPS pairing. If you happen to see me get Struck by lightning in the Near future, it's probably because I put fingers to keyboard, and cranked out an R-Rated D/J fanfic...*squirms*

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No, We've Not Been Sitting Idle--We've Just Been Spending Too Much Time on Facebook While Rome Thankfully Burns

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2010: Good afternoon, LairCronies; we're writing Today from the front desk of Art/Not Terminal Gallery! Which is probably why we haven't been bumped Offline by a really Crappy wifi connection, courtesy of AT&T/T-Mobile, at the Belltown Starbucks by now. The sky was looking quite Ominous for much of today; but as of now, around 3:30 pm, the sun has finally decided to appear.

First item of business: Archive Lair 2009 has finally been Excavated! Only several days Ago, we did the Semiannual shifting of Archived items in and out of the Repository Archive Lairs, as we usually do this time of year (unless we actually get it Done on time, in which case it would have been Done over a month Ago). Now, we just have to update the Sitemap (LairLink above) to indicate the new addition to the Archives, as the Lair approaches its 9th birthday this Coming Summer Solstice!

In the latest Relative News: my Mom's fractured collarbone has healed up Nicely; she's still doing physical therapy three times a week to unstiffen Adjoining muscles and other Connective tissue, a process she likens to racks and thumbscrews. Oh well... My brother is back guestworking in Freising, Germany for the next Several weeks, having fled Plano, TX in the nick of time as a major snowstorm was pounding the area. And my aunt is nursing one of her four doggies back to health after Said dog was hit by one car while chasing another, or something like that.

On the E-Commerce front, we are remodeling The Lair of Cards (as mentioned in the Gallery post Above), with new poster, print and card images, at the same time we are expanding the now-Upgraded Artifacts of the Lair and The LithicLair. We're still puzzling over what to do with the Other two LairShops. More newly Processed images will be Uploaded to the Photobucket and Imagekind galleries Later.

With all of the Aforementioned going on, we somehow, finally, managed to get the guitar into the shop (at Emerald City Guitars) for its first-Ever setup! Now, hopefully, our tuning will be less Likely to go all over the place every time the weather changes, especially when we're playing Outside.

Sincere condolences go out from the Lair to the family and friends of the late actor/film director Andrew Koenig. Many people have written Judgmental commentary on Mr. Koenig's Apparent decision to end his own life, without fully appreciating the truly Deleterious effects of severe depression on a person's mind and psyche. I myself have struggled for decades with both depression and severe OCD/Obsessive Thought Disorder. I consider myself a Paxil success story, not to mention supremely Lucky to have found a good antidepressant "match" in the first one I tried. However, a great many depressed people are not nearly so Fortunate, trying multitudes of meds, sometimes several at Once, to no avail. Those who blather platitudes like "suicide is not the answer" would better spend their time and energy in making people's lives Better, more Liveable and more Prosperous; free of soul-crushing, menial jobs; lousy relationships, sub-poverty living conditions, and Total lack of fulfillment of their Personal hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations (the same things that our schools, employers, churches and relatives habitually assure us are not really Necessary for a "good life"). If more people in a state of depression could conceivably have their lives Improved, and their creative potential Fulfilled (with Actual success at the work they truly WANT to dedicate their lives to), they would probably be far less Likely to see suicide as "a way out." Prove me Wrong. What IS the way out, if your life really and truly sucks? And no, not everyone wants to belong to the Same religious institution. Unless or until our society is Ready and Willing to help make someone's life less Sucky, we would be well Advised to withhold judgment on those who simply have to escape the suckiness, one way or another. Just my two Euros.

More about the politics of healthcare for the not-so-rich, young and beautiful Later...

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