Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wait A Minute Mister Postman...

Hey Mister Postman ... look and see. Is there an Art Card in your bag for me?

Indeed there is! And not just one ... but three!!! Today's mail brought these wonderful and very thoughtfully packaged ACEOs from Etsy Artist, tapestry316.

Aslan by tapestry316Kathleen (aka tapestry316) created "Aslan" in response to an "ACEO Bounty" Challenge to create an ACEO with your favorite character. She says she loves the Narnia stories ... and that "if you haven't read them - by all means, do!"

The Pink Place by tapestry316She created "The Pink Place" in response to a Challenge she initiated to "paint your favorite local landmark." Kathleen lives in Paulden, AZ, and she decided to paint their landmark.

According to the description of this piece, "The Pink Place is a gas station and a small store, and it is where the town started. The original family that settled here lived in this location and the first post office was here, too. It is still, by the way, the only landmark in very rural Paulden, AZ!"

Rain for Simangele by tapestry316I was especially touched by the story behind this ACEO, titled, "Rain for Simangele."

Kathleen made this card in response to a Challenge to create an ACEO for "a good cause - something that tugs at your heartstrings."

In the description for this very special ACEO, Kathleen writes:

Simangele lives in Swaziland, Africa, where there is a drought, a famine and AIDS claims the lives of too many people. Against all these odds, Simangele wants to grow up to be a doctor. Growing up will be hard, though – and her single mother, who is a school teacher, will have a difficult time helping Simangele go to school to be a doctor.

Kathleen says that she mailed the original of this ACEO to Simangele, with a little personal message to her on the back of it. She is donating all of the proceeds from the sales of this print to World Vision to help children like Simangele all over the world.

If you sponsor a child through either World Vision or Compassion International and you would like tapestry316 to do something like this for your child, please contact her through her Etsy shop. She will paint an original ACEO dedicated to your child and sell the prints to raise money for either World Vision or Compassion International (your choice).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Filling The World With Moments

A Quiet Moment by WorldOfMomentsToday I received not just one, but four ACEOs from Etsy Artist WorldOfMoments as part of my September ACEO Mini Bounty win.

These very special ACEOs (in order of appearance here) are titled, "A Quiet Moment", "Super Whinny", "Buddha Belly", and "Fight, Live, Win."

Super Whinny by WorldOfMomentsFrom her Etsy Profile, we learn that the Artist behind the works available at WorldofMoments is Mel, a mother of "three wonderful children."

Two of her children are on the autism spectrum, as is she.

Buddha Belly by WorldOfMomentsAccording to Mel, her store came about "out of daily painting therapy sessions with her two boys to help with sensory issues, ADHD, and imagination building."

She says that she wanted to share the beauty she saw in what they did, and share her own works as well. I find this sentiment to be a very good fit with the WorldOfMoments tagline, "Filling The World With Moments."

Furthermore, ten percent of the sales from each item sold at WorldOfMoments directly benefits The Dockery Foundation in Olive Branch, MS. From time to time, the full proceeds from some items are donated as well.

Fight, Live, Win by WorldOfMomentsMel is a proud member of Etsy for Autism and the ACEsty Team ...

... and now, I am the proud owner of these four fabulous cards from a fabulous Artist an undoubtedly fabulous mother!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Art Cards Are Coming ... The Art Cards Are Coming!!!

Today began what is sure to be a wonderful and exciting time for me and my mailbox as the first of the ACEOs that I won in the September Mini Bounty arrived.

Eastern Goddess by LDphotographyThis beautiful ACEO by LDphotography is titled "Eastern Goddess." I have always admired LDphotography's photography ACEOs. She has an extraordinary eye!!! Her Etsy Shop contains some of her award winning work both in photography and collage that is available in print or ACEO card form.

I love learning about the lives and experiences of the artists behind the works that they create. The diversity of their backgrounds never ceases to amaze me, and the information I found in LDphotography's Etsy Profile did not disappoint!

In it, she writes, "I am a psychotherapist who specializes in seeing people with ADHD. My creative outlet is photography and art cards, beading, crocheting and gardening. I have been a photographer for over 20 years. I have had public shows in San Diego and Santa Barbara, California and my photographic prints have won awards over the years."

I am proud as a collector and humbled as an artist to now have this beautiful ACEO from LDphotography in my personal collection of ACEOs.

You can see more of her photography up on Flickr and be sure to check out the jewelry she makes in her other Etsy Shop, Althena12 Jewelry and Crafts.

Tiny Art In Toledo

At a wedding I performed this weekend at one of our local Art Galleries I was speaking with one of the Exhibit and Event Coordinators and was pleasantly surprised to find myself discussing the gallery's recent ATC Exhibit and Trading Event.

Even more surprising was an e-mail I received this afternoon from the Exhibit Coordinator & Consignment Contact. In the e-mail, she included a link to an article in our local newspaper, the Toledo Blade, that was published about their recent event. I was so excited to see the publicity generated about ATCs (even though ACEOs were not covered) that I wanted to share the article with all of you!!

You can find the article here.

Also included in the article (if you click on the slide show icon under the picture of one of the cards) is a slide show of 20 of the artists' cards. She said that the photographer took 1 photo of every artist's work. She doesn't know why there are only 20 on the slide show. Also, the caption under the picture in the main article is wrong - the artist of "Froth" is Jim Rich.

Click here to go directly to the slide show.

While the whole article is a great read, there was one little story that I found particularly interesting. One of the artists stated, "I came across artist trading cards two years ago while visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. I paid a dollar for a token and obtained an original piece of artwork from a vintage cigarette vending machine filled with ATC’s."

How cool is that?!?!

So, anyways, if you have a moment check out the article (and the slide show) and know that even in an "artfully challenged" city like Toledo, Ohio, the Art Card scene is growing in interest and popularity!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

And The Winner Is ... Me!!!

On Monday, September 15, I received a most wonderful and unexpected e-mail from Etsy Artist, bellsakabin, the amazingly talented and ingenious creator of the wildly popular “ACEO Bounty” Challenge. She was writing to inform me that I was the lucky winner of the September Mini Bounty.

What does that mean?

It means that I had won 33 ACEOs from a wide variety of extremely talented Etsy Artists, along with 2 ACEO Mats for framing and 1 cleverly designed ACEO Hanging Display. All in all, not including the shipping costs for these items, my windfall prize was worth $168.43! If you include what would have been the cost for shipping, since I didn't even have to pay for any of that, the overall value of my Mini Bounty Win totals $197.08! That's nearly $200!!!

To be honest, when I first found out about my win, I was feeling more guilty than excited as I have been AWOL from the Bounty Thread on the Etsy Forum for quite some time ... but then I started to think that this event may be a plan enacted by the Universe as a way of jump starting my creative mojo by ensuring that I am surrounded by beautiful and inspiring works from an amazing collection of witty and creatively talented artists!

And really, the timing couldn't be better ... wedding season is slowing down and I should now have some time to work on repaying the Universe by creating some more ACEOs (and Bounty Listings) of my own!! In addition, I will be spreading my Mini Bounty loot around a bit by sharing some of my new acquisitions with some of my friends and family in order to help increase awareness of the fun and beauty of collecting ACEOs!!!

I plan to pay special tribute to all of the Artists who contributed to September's Mini Bounty by sharing the ACEOs here with you as I receive them and also including a bit of information about the Artist(s) that created each one.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to once again say "thank you" to all of the Artists who participated in the September Mini Bounty (and in the greater Bounty Challenge as well) as your artistic vision and generosity have very much helped to get my creative mojo jump started once again!

Hope (aka harvestorm)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are You Sick As A Dog?

As I sit here surfing the web and the television at the same time I thought I would pop in and ponder on screen about a phrase I just heard someone utter on a channel I surfed by a few moments ago. I heard this character in whatever show it was claim that they were "sick as a dog" and as I continued my simultaneous T.V./Web surfing I began to wonder why it is that we use that phrase.

I know that "dog" has long been used in a negative or bad sense (like in "dog days," "dog tired," etc.), but why do people say "sick as a dog" and just why is dog used in this negative sense? I thought dogs were supposed to be man's best friend?

This just doesn't seem right. Given their devotion to us, I think dogs have gotten a bad reputation. "Dogs of war," "going to the dogs," "hair of the dog that bit you," "dog in the manger" and the like, are hardly compliments to our canine buddies.

"Sick as a dog," which, to me, means "extremely sick," may not be so much a negative expression, I guess, but is maybe meant to be more descriptive in nature.

I would think that anyone who has or knows dogs knows that while they can and often will eat absolutely anything (and I mean anything!), there are times when their diet disagrees with them and the results can be quite dramatic.

Now, while Americans may consider themselves "sick" when they have a bad cold, in Britain that would be called "feeling ill." "Being sick" in Britain usually means "to vomit." (Isn't it amazing what you can remember from reading some book over ten years ago!)

So, to really appreciate the original sense of being "sick as a dog," I think you would have to imagine yourself seated in the (to be said dramatically, in an upper class British accent) parlor having tea with the Vicar on a lovely Sunday afternoon, (switch back to regular voice) when Fido staggers in from a meal of sun-dried woodchuck and expresses his digestive upset all over your heirloom oriental carpet.

So, Here's To Our Health,
(and to the health of our beloved animal companions),

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Milli Vanilli Said To "Blame It On The Rain" But I Know It Was The Karma Monkeys

Now, it has been a while since I have had to address the issue of Karma Monkeys, as they seem to have been playing by the Cosmic Rules of Karma without incident very well for over a year or so now, but this morning’s moldy coffee incident got me thinking about them again.

So, I decided to take this opportunity to introduce the Karma Monkeys to those of you who are not aware of or have not yet acknowledged the existence of these Keepers of the Karmic Balance.

Not wanting to assume that everyone knows about Karma or the concept behind it I will start from the beginning. The following is an excerpt from The Law of Karma:

“In Buddhist teaching, the law of Karma says only this: “for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.” A skillful event is one that is not accompanied by craving, resistance or delusions; an unskillful event is one that is accompanied by any one of those things. (Events are not skillful in themselves, but are so called only in virtue of the mental events that occur with them.)

“Therefore, the law of Karma teaches that responsibility for unskillful actions is born by the person who commits them.”

So basically, there are consequences for everything that we do. These consequences will be good or bad, kind of like reward and punishment (but I don’t really think of it that way) based not so much on what we do (which many people think Karma is based on) but more so on our personal reasons or “mental events” that occur with these actions, events, behaviors.

So, now that we understand Karma, we can move on to those who enforce, coordinate, and produce the consequences, or the following “event whose existence was caused by the first.” Someone or something must have this responsibility in some sense, right?

Enter the Karma Monkeys.

There are Orange Karma Monkeys (the harbingers of what some would refer to as bad Karma). It is these Orange Karma Monkeys who hold the positions of those who coordinate, create, and enforce the following “event caused by the first” – which in this case would have been an “unskillful event”. On the other side we have the Green Karma Monkeys who coordinate, create, and bestow “good Karma” rewards for the performance of “skilled events”. Now, the Karma Monkeys are lightning quick and highly skilled at remaining undetected on our plane of existence by using skills that allow them to maintain an ever-present “watch” over us that falls far beyond our simple senses and limited detection capabilities. However, their actions, good or bad, provide more than enough evidence of their existence - as was the case this morning.

Right off the bat, the Orange Karma Monkeys made sure I found the moldy coffee remains first thing, meaning to catch me unexpectedly and off guard in a poor attempt at ruining my entire day by starting it off in such a “bad” way. Didn’t work though. (And I swear I threw out that filter last year… it was just the Orange Karma Monkeys that slyly placed the one I found this morning in my coffee pot, hoping to stop my efforts to take the joy out of their other responsibilities - including the management of the distribution of the Daily Dose of Difficulty which, when followed by my usual Feeling of Frustration and Funk-Up-Ed-Ness, gives the Orange Karma Monkeys great pleasure.)

Mind you, there are rules for Karma Monkeys, but there are also loopholes in these rules (just as there are in almost every set of rules or regulations). The Number 1 Rule that regulates the actions of the Karma Monkeys is that (now, I’m not so sure how often it is checked or if it is just at the end of one’s life this time around) an individual’s Karmic Record must be balanced when the Karmic Auditors come to inspect the Karmic Records. So, being the devious, mischievous, and prankster characters that they are, sometimes the Orange Karma Monkeys will throw the Karmic Records out of balance by dumping a load of “bad” Karma somewhere on someone to prove a point, play a joke, to test an individual (which I believe was the case this morning), or just to mess around because they too get tired of the same-old, same-old, day in and day out.

However, in order to maintain the necessary balance the Orange Karma Monkeys must immediately fill out a form 27b/6 (Tell me why and I’ll buy you lunch. I know the answer, I just wonder if you do ... bloody paperwork) to inform the Green Karma Monkeys of the imbalance created. You see, the Green Karma Monkeys are the only ones who can correct or rebalance the Karmic Record, which must be done before the Karmic Auditors come around.

Now, of course, the Green Karma Monkeys (that, in my opinion, exist in greater numbers than the Orange since people are innately good and therefore the Green Karma Monkeys have more work to do) try to prevent the Orange Karma Monkeys from performing any unwarranted action(s) that would require the filling out of a 27b/6, since correcting the imbalance only adds to their already heavy workload from just keeping up with their daily Karmic duties. However, as much as the Green Karma Monkeys try to prevent such things from happening, occasionally the Orange Karma Monkeys are successful in their plans.

(Note that the Green Karma Monkeys do not perform such regulatory violations as they are aware that in order to balance the Karmic Record an individual would have to endure undeserved “bad” Karma via difficulties, negativity, or whatnot from the Orange Karma Monkeys. The Orange Karma Monkeys don’t give much consideration to the “good” Karma they are inadvertently bestowing on an individual when they commit their illegal offenses - they are too wrapped up in the pleasure they receive from their own destructive disorderliness.)

So, while I was a little thrown by the mold-filled coffee filter fiasco, I have gone on to have a good day thus far, and I am looking forward to the action (however small it may be) that will be taken upon the processing of the 27b/6 for this incident. :-)

So, beware! The paranoids (and the Karma Monkeys) are watching you!

The Best Part of Waking Up....

For those of you who know me, you know I am not a regular, every day coffee drinker. Actually, I seem to go on a coffee-kick for about one month each year. And during that month I actually brew a bit of coffee at home once.

Well, this morning was that one day.

Much to my disgusted surprise, when I opened the top part of my coffee pot to put in the filter this morning, I found last year's filter still in there.... gross! Thankfully, my husband Don was there to take care of that grody thing.

Now, I'm just waiting for the coffee to get cold so I can enjoy it. (That's right... only cold coffee and warm beer for this gal! What can I say? It's better that way.)

So yeah, anyways, the best part of waking up is a mold-filled coffee filter in your cup.


Well I Woke Up This Morning....

Well I woke up this morning ... and I got myself a beer.

Not really, but whenever I find myself saying “Well I woke up this morning” it is always followed by the “and I got myself a beer” - sometimes with the “…glass” following that.

Not a very long story behind that. You can thank my mother for waking me up on Saturday mornings to the blaring sounds of Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Journey, The Doors, and get this, Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand thrown into the mix as well.

Anyways, Saturday mornings would also begin with my mom having a traditional bottle of Michelob Light (no, she was/is not an alcoholic – it was just part of the weekend routine). So anyways, when Jim Morrison would begin to sing Roadhouse Blues we (my mother and I) would always greatly emphasize (yes, somewhat yell) the line “Well I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer” because it was true (for my mother) and funny for me.

Eventually, as time went on, I would get up in the morning and pour my recommended daily serving of orange juice into one of the many beer glasses we had in our cupboards. (Again, my mother was/is not an alcoholic – I think everyone has at least a couple glasses with beer logos on them somewhere in their house). Then, when our favorite line came up we would sing “Well I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer” and after a pause count of one, two, three (to keep with the musical beat of the song) I would raise my OJ, point to the beer logo on the outside and say “glass,” because I, in fact, had woke up that morning and got myself a beer glass.

It became one of those great mother-daughter inside jokes that has lasted throughout the years, and, dysfunctional as the tradition may sound, I am just glad that it was only the beer glass I was allowed to have instead of an actual beer at that age… now that would be disturbing.

Dream A Little Pushpin Dream

"Dreams permit each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives."
-William Dement

The other day I was talking with some girlfriends about “dream themes” and the kind of events that we find occurring in our dreams on a semi-regular basis, as well as any particularly memorable or disturbing dreams we can recall having. Then, today, as I was reading from the blog of a most-excellent person, I came across an account of one of her own recent disturbing dreams.

I have kept a dream journal on and off throughout my life and have therefore become quite adept at remembering the previous night’s dream(s) in detail. While there have been many dreams that have left me with not-the-best-of-feelings, the one I chose to share that day involved improperly managing a mouth full of pushpins…

The Pushpin Dream

I’m sitting over at someone’s house that I have not been in before. My mom is there sitting on the edge of a bed in the living room and I can see into a kitchen and some other room to the left of the kitchen.

I, my mother, my step-dad (maybe), and some girl I didn’t really care for were discussing pills I had to take once because my feet had been red, swollen and itchy (in the dream, not in real life). The girl was very annoying, thinking she knew what pills I had to take.

Somehow or another, I ended up in the bedroom, partly in a closet with a mouthful of brightly colored plastic pushpins. I was carefully trying to spit them out onto the closet shelf without cutting the inside of my mouth or swallowing any of them.

As I was spitting out the last bit, one of the pushpins fell back into my throat. I tried to cough it up, but it turned/shifted and I knew it would scratch me if I coughed anymore, so I swallowed it.

It went down fine and did not feel as if it had scratched anything, but I was worried just the same. I called the hospital and they told me to come to the Emergency Room right away. I walked out into the living room and was very surprised at how calmly I told my mom that we needed to go to the Emergency Room right away and that I had swallowed a pushpin.

Then I was in the parking lot of the hospital, alone in a black car that belonged to the girl I did not care for. It was raining a little bit and I purposely parked the car very far away from the hospital doors so 1) she would have to walk a long ways in the rain to get to her car, and 2) she would have a hard time finding the car in the first place. I don’t even think I parked it in a real parking space and I’d hoped she’d get a ticket for it.

I got out of the car and could not figure out how to securely lock the door. There was a knob you could turn near the outside handle on the door, but just as easy as you could lock it that way, so too could you unlock it. I left the car with the appearance of it being locked and truly did not care much about it one way or another.

As I walked into the Emergency Room, I saw that everyone else had beaten me there. Mom was sitting on the counter and there were others there as well.

I remember throwing up blood by the vending machine… and that was it.

Sleep Well...

Monday, September 8, 2008

An Uplifting Message To Myself And All Of My Beautiful (However Un-Photogenic) Friends

As I have been pondering the ratio of "good" pictures vs. "bad" pictures taken and that exist of myself and others (which all began with the recent production of a relatively old photograph of a guy with what appears to be rather large breasts - which do not exist in the "real/unphotographed world" - and a discussion of how this photo could easily make an excellent addition to the collection) I concluded that (as I have always suspected) I too am highly un-photogenic.

Knowing that (and as that is no new news to me), I was amazed and uplifted this morning as I was rocking out to some Ani and there, in the midst of the music that played all around/within/and about me, the beatuiful truth was revealed. Near the end of Evolve, Ani proclaims:

it took me too long to realize
that I don't take good pictures
cuz I have the kind of beauty that moves

And there it was - the beautiful, moving truth! It makes such perfect sense! I wanted to share that with you this evening since newly discovered, honest, uplifting, and enlightening truths must always be shared with others!

Take that Kodak!

Move Over 90 Percenters... There's A 10 Percenter Coming Through!!

Okay, where to begin? Let’s start with the overall concept and then work our way down to the finer points.

Our capitalist society encourages/values individual success and pushes us from day one to be our individual best. (I can only speak of American society since I know that other societies have different approaches and ideas of what constitutes success and how one should go about achieving such success) My point here is to attempt to illustrate just how messed up this process is by reflecting on my personal experience as it has occurred throughout various stages in my life.

Sometimes I just get a little sick and tired of being a 10 Percenter in a world of 90 Percenters! But, unfortunately, being a 10 Percenter, I cannot just throw in the towel and join the 90 Percenters, it is virtually impossible.

You see, the world is made up of two kinds of people: those who have, throughout their lives, through one way or another, taken the necessary actions associated with doing well and being the best and have integrated these concepts into their actual “self” and then there are the rest of the people who get in the way. (Trust me - you will understand more as you read on.)

Think back… try to remember when you were a young child and (this will seem natural and like no big deal at first… but stay with me here) and as you began to discover and develop your personal skills, your family (generally) and society as a whole encouraged you to do your best… to be the best (sometimes it was a loving “be the best you can be” and sometimes it might have been a demanding “be the best – period!)

This starts very young (even before we become aware of it) as proud parents compare “success stories” of their infants and toddlers progress in walking/talking/potty training etc. Success and being “better than the rest” is highly stressed from day one.

Now, for some of you (in fact, about 90 percent of you) this whole Introduction and the following Examples and the ultimate Conclusion may not ring true with your life experience … that is to be expected. In truth, this message is aimed more so at a specific 10 percent of the population for whom this “theory” holds true.

Note: I am not ragging on actual people here and in no way mean to offend, alienate, or place blame upon the 90 Percenters. I am more concerned with the way in which society creates this situation/issue/problem and just how messed up it is. Also note that a great deal of this theory is based on my own experience and although I have found great support and corroboration for my hypothesis from others in the community (and granted there may be quite a bias there, since this corroboration has come from people whom I would consider to be fellow 10 Percenters) I in no way, shape, or form claim to speak for all of the 10 Percenters in our society. I also admit, that in the "big, grand, overall picture of the world and universe," I myself may fall into the 90 Percenter category – but again, this theory comes from my experience and regardless of which category I fall into, the theory still stands unaffected. I will however, from here on out, refer to myself as a 10 Percenter and in so doing will also refer to the 10 Percenter population as “we”. The 90 Percenters may at times be referred to as “they” but please understand that I am not attempting to forge an “us/them” division here, (society has already done that). I must, however, use this terminology to begin with in order to support my final argument for change and overall integration.

And here we go back into the theory…

Now, even if you don’t remember the pressure to succeed and be the best as a young child that is fine. My theory is based more on school and the educational system anyways.

As children in school, we are pressured by parents and family, teachers and the school systems to meet certain standards for evaluation. Before we encounter such things as GPA’s or even A,B,C,D,F grades, we begin with S’s and U’s. Remember those Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory evaluations taken home via Grade or Report Cards for our caregivers to review and reward, punish, or be indifferent to - whichever the situation may be. This is where the separation begins. We are not at the 10/90 split yet… just a simple 50/50, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, good/bad. We learn to strive for that first 50, the Satisfactory and good 50 from the beginnings of our educational careers.

From there, the simple 50/50 becomes more complex and oftentimes distorted as to the true scale. Grades of A,B,C,D,F are added to the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. We are taught (incorrectly) that good students get A’s while bad students get F’s. The truth is good students get C’s (after all a C is supposed to represent “average” or what is to be expected) while A’s are for exceptional performance – well above average. As a child, I believed that A’s not C’s were expected as the symbol of “what was to be expected” and so I worked very hard at earning my A’s (because, in this frame of mind, anything below an A is “below average,” when in actuality that’s really what the C’s are for). Oh, did I cry when I got a C in Handwriting in the 3rd Grade. I was so devastated and disappointed in myself I cried all the way home and kept crying until I gave my Report Card to my mother, who didn't punish me at all (as I had expected for performing so far below average).

So, the A,B,C,D,F system takes our initial 50/50 separation and now has a greater division along the lines of 20/20/20/20/20. We still have no GPA’s… merely an average grade.

And then there are the tests. I know a lot about these tests since we moved quite often as I was growing up. I actually attended 9 schools during my K-12 education (one school for kindergarten, one for first grade, another for second. I split 3rd grade between two schools, actually remained at one school for 4th and 5th, had a new one for 6th, another new one for 7th and 8th, and finally finished off 9th thru 12th at one school). At every new school I attended I always had to take “the test” – the one that measures your skill/knowledge level so they know you meet their standards for the grade you are supposed to be in. I never had any problems with the tests. In fact, after taking the 3rd grade test, the school wanted me to skip right up to 4th. (My mom and I discussed it and I didn’t really want to – so I didn’t.) So anyways, there were those kinds of tests.

Then there were the grade school tests to determine which students qualified as “gifted and talented” and got to take special classes in programs like Horizons and participate in events such as the Olympics of the Mind. (Think me a nerd if you like… these were things that I did – and these things aided in my development as a 10 Percenter.)

There was another kind of test too. Do you remember the national tests that were administered right around Junior High time that measured math, verbal, abstract, and reading comprehension skills and the results came on like these big sheets of paper with graphs showing the average national scores for each category and showed where you placed in relation to that. It even placed you in a specific national percentile. This is where we start approaching the 10/90 split.

I consistently scored in the 99th percentile in most categories (I still have the results in a box in my closet if you question my honesty) and no less that the 97th in my “weaker” areas. Well, all of us who scored within that Top 10 (90-99th) percentile were rewarded with Honors and Advanced Placement courses. I (and others students from this area) even participated in programs/courses at the local University – mind you… we were only in the 7th grade.

In Junior High we were also introduced to the National Junior Honor Society. This was followed in High School by the (no longer Junior) National Honor Society. High School also brought with it a much greater emphasis on GPA’s and Class Ranking. The division has come down to this .001 (tiny fraction) of a difference in GPA that decides one's place in the overall Class Rank. Now, we know the reward of being Number 1 is the honor of being class Valedictorian, followed by Number 2 as Salutatorian. Beyond that, your actual number does not matter; it becomes an issue of Top 10 or Top Ten Percent. You know you’ve heard it before… (to be said with great pride and gloating) “She graduated Top 10 at (insert institution here).”

Looking back, I now see where a lot of my frustration comes from. This frustration is a result of wanting to do things well, the best, the right (A = only average) way, the proper way, etc. Unfortunately, much of what one does cannot be done alone and therefore we work and depend on others to do their respective duties and to come through on their promises/obligations. This type of cooperation and teamwork looks great on paper, until you set it in action in the real world and the ideas, visions, and efforts of the 10 Percenters unavoidably become reliant on the work (in some way) of the 90 Percenters (after all, there are obviously more 90 Percenters out there than 10 Percenters.)

In my childhood training to develop my abilities as a 10 Percenter, I was educated alongside other 10 Percenters in the Honors and Advanced Placement courses and even earlier than that with the separation of students in Horizons and those who attended the Olympics of the Mind. 10 Percenters were raised in a 10 Percenter world. All was well. We all soared above our pre-determined potential and kept up with one another while challenging others to do the same with us.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the 90 Percenters got whatever it was they got while we were gone.

So, for years, things continued like this… 10 percent of students preparing for one kind of world while the massive 90 percent prepared for another. Then we all enter “the real world” together. 10 Percenters hit a massive 90 Percent wall of resistance not experienced in their Utopian 10 Percent world. So, here we are, high/over-achievers, fast movers and shakers with superior training in all things creative and inventive living in the land of the 90 Percent majority.

Now, the range from one to 90 percent is huge, and so the personalities, skills, attitudes, and behaviors of all who are the 90 Percenter category reflect that range appropriately. As a 10 Percenter, I do things a certain way and have developed expectations (which is never a good thing in cases like this) over time of what consists of proper etiquette, so to speak, especially in the business world. The problem is, that (as stated earlier) I cannot do this alone, and therefore, I must rely on 90 Percenters for things that I do not have access to. When the 90 Percenters do not respond in a 10 Percent manner it is very frustrating and at times can make one slightly upset/angry. It is at these times that I wish I could just be a 90 Percenter and not feel the weight of responsibility I was trained to carry during my childhood training as a future 10 Percenter. I wish I could just mosey through life, letting the 10 Percenters handle the hard stuff while I reap the same rewards because we are after all “a team.” But no, I can’t do that due to the guilt I would feel for not only letting others down, but for not doing things “right and proper” and thus failing to reach my full potential.

This was supposed to be a short rant about my frustration with other people not carrying their own weight or for not being professional when necessary and how I get worked up over trying to meet a 10 Percent standard with a 90 Percent team. In addition, I planned on unveiling my plan to eradicate this issue in our society, but this has gone on long enough for now.

There is much more to be said and many arguments to be made for and against this theory, but this is a blog, not an Argumentative Paper for school… and odds are, only 10 percent of you will even be aware of the absence of such things.


Here’s to the 10 Percenters… and may we overcome the obstacles of the 90 Percenter world!

A Quick Question For The Makers of Dergree Anti-Perspirant & Deoderant

Dear Degree Manufacturer and Marketing Staff,

I have a question for you that has been on my mind for some time now. Your product slogan is, "Degree... your body heat turns it on." What I want to know is, what happens if/when you break into a cold sweat?

Thank You for Reading This,
I Look Forward to Your Rapid Reply,

This Statement Is False

Ahhhhhh ..... let me behold the beauty of chaos!

Chaos, positive chaos that is, is a most beautiful and, I believe, utterly essential thing! As any good Discordian can tell you, when one views life as a serious, orderly matter, (as the followers of Greyface do) one develops an oversimplified, binary view of the world and the events that occur therein as either orderly or disorderly, with order being preferred to disorder at all costs. It is, however, a system that does not differentiate between constructive and destructive order. The alternative is to view things as either constructive or destructive. In this system, construction is preferred to destruction. Selecting construction results in both constructive order and constructive disorder.

I have, for some time now, had this Grand Dream to organize and perpetrate a large scale Discordian action centered in the principle of constructive disorder.

Okay, so here's my idea...

You know how they always have Bibles in the nightstands of every hotel, motel, inn, or whatever your preferred means of non-residential lodging may be, right there next to the bed? What I would like to do is coordinate the replacing of these Bibles with The Guide (that’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for those of you who may not be familiar with the book – and, if that’s the case, it’s okay, just make an effort and go out and read it soon).

While the Grand Dream is for this action to take place on a national, or better yet, global level, this could alternatively be done on a smaller scale as well. The switching of the books would have to happen at the same time everywhere in order for the message to be delivered as intended and for the beautiful and positive chaos desired to be produced by the action.

Now, I know that this would take a lot of orchestration, but if the guys in Fight Club can do what they did, why can’t we? Can you just imagine the moment when someone looking in that drawer, expecting to find a Bible, or even just looking for a local phone book, and they find The Guide inside instead?

And then, what do they see as they open it out of curiosity? One simple message ... DON’T PANIC :-)

I Wish I May ... I Wish I Might

If you were able to be granted one wish (now think about this a bit before answering) just one wish for anything at all, what would it be?

Now, don’t think me selfish or uncompassionate for not choosing to create world peace, or to end poverty and suffering of all sorts, or to eliminate the ever increasing digital divide, etc. This is more of a self-discovery question. I am doing this to learn more about myself. You know, like an exercise in increasing self-awareness.

Initially, I thought I would wish for that oh-so-desired "happily ever after," but then I thought more about it and decided that that does not technically qualify as a "wish" in my book. To me, a wish is something that cannot be achieved, received or accomplished ever, at all, by any means whatsoever, thereby leaving it only possible to occur through the granting of a wish. I feel it necessary to note here that there is a difference between a "wish" and a "desire," just as I am obsessively aware of the difference between "want" and "need." (The whole want v. need thing is a whole another story for me…) And besides, my life, as it stands, is already pretty amazing - so why waste my one wish on something that I may already have?

So what would it be then……If I had only one wish it would be for there to always be music in my life. I don't just mean the ability to listen to music... I want the music to play during my life like in the movies.

When I'm scared - I want that creepy, scary music in the background. When I'm rushed and running around like crazy - I want that traditional circus/carnival theme music to play. When I'm feeling mischievous and am secretly planning a way to show someone how much they are appreciated - I want to hear the Mission Impossible theme. You get the point.

Now, granted, I do all of this in my mind already, but I want it for real. But, being the flexible person I consider myself to be… I am willing to compromise. When I listen to music it is primarily the lyrics that I connect with the most. But I'm not asking for an all out soundtrack here... I'd settle for an instrumental score. Oh, how I would enjoy that!

Music is the essence of my being. I exclude no style whatsoever in that statement. I'm not saying that I am passionate about every piece of music ever created, but if you're looking for specific genres - I can pretty much guarantee that I have great feelings towards and an appreciation for some song, artist, or group within the selected category (yes, even a little bit of country.) I did grow up in Texas, after all – what do you expect?

The Whole Book Thing...

Okay, so I finally got around to filling out my profile here and I was going all gung-ho and then I previewed my Profile and saw all the fun little links it was attempting to make out of my incessant ramblings (because, say, take Books for instance - I can't just list some books and be done with that - oh no - I need to communicate a bit about the book and why it is meaningful to me) and realized that what was really supposed to be entered into that area was a mere list - not a full-blown explanation as to why the books actually made said list...

So now, I have decided to do an individual blog about my Top 5 books (which may automatically categorize me as a nerd to some of you, but if you're reading this, at least now you know why its here.) Now that I know not to be so thorough in those Profile boxes, I will keep things short from here on out. I just can't stand the thought of deleting my "precious book info" altogether without giving it a home somewhere. So that's that.

Top 5: (Not necessarily in that order since that changes with each of my ever-so-passionate moods. Nevertheless, these remain the top 5):

Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer
(was given to me by a friend - read it in one night - changed my outlook on life forever and really pissed me off at the same time... It still kind of pisses me off, but it goes much deeper than that after the initial anger subsides.)

From the cover: "In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter..."

Note: This book contains a true account of actual events and is technically classified as a Travel Essay. But, trust me... it is so much more! Take a chance, read it, and get back to me...

Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
Winner of the John Newberry Medal

(read it originally in 7th grade - never forgot it - now I read it every year - it reminds me of who I am now and who I have always been all along)

The Once and Future King
by T.H. White
(was forced to read it in high-school - have read it every year since)

Yes, this is the grand epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlyn and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad. That's why I read it over and over again. Because life is full of things lost and is wonderful and sad. It helps me to enter the world of Wart on an annual basis and struggle with the same timeless issues over and again as it forces me to evaluate my life, my choices, my sacrifices, mistakes, and gives me the courage to accept the changes in what I thought was "the plan". Sometimes that means going against the "self" that I think I know and to do the things that I once thought that I would never do. It forces me to be "that girl" when I always thought "I don't ever want to be "that girl."" It's tough, it's painful... but I've made it this far right?

The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)
Written and Illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(had to read this in high school as well - but in French, not English. This one is also read annually and on an as needed basis as well)

Ever get really sad? Ever feel like you're not only just lonely, but truly alone in this world and you just want to connect, to understand something, anything, about why, and just why, where, when, why, why, what for, and why? That is when you need The Little Prince. It's a dinky little $3.95 book that I can find no words to capture the way in which it can touch, find, feel, and locate that hole within you when you need it most. I can't say it will fill that hole. But it will keep you from falling in alone.

The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure
by James Redfield
(was given this book by a friend - pissed me off too... only because I started reading it late at night and I couldn't put it down so I read until morning, finishing just in time for work and my friend failed to warn me that that would happen)

Yeah, yeah. You might remember this book as one of those "hokey new age wanna be self-help inspirational books" - forget that! Or not, it's really up to you. For me, this book was/is everything it claimed to be.

From the back: "The Celestine Prophecy contains secrets that are currently changing our world. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perception of why you are where you are in life... and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow." I know. Blah, blah, blah, right? Wrong. It makes sense. That's all I can say.

Now go get a book!