Monday, August 21, 2006

Movie Review: Snakes on a Plane 4 Cimi 19 Yaxkin
I HAD to go see it yesterday--it was 3 Chicchan (3 Snake) and a burner day.
My review (cross posted to and my other blogs as well as Yahoo movies)

Movie Review
Snakes on a Plane
4/5 stars
I don’t hate or fear snakes. I think they should be respected and pretty much left alone. They aren’t cuddly and I don’t understand why anyone would have one as a pet.
After all the advance hype for SoaP, I expected something funny and maybe a bit awful, but aware of its awfulness (if that makes any sense)—almost a parody of itself. But the movie took itself rather seriously, although there were many laughs.
The basic plot: Sean Jones, a surfer dude out for a ride on his dirt bike, stops for a drink and witnesses a brutal murder. (The killers obligingly use each other’s names and identify the victim.) He tells no one. Somehow the killers find out who he is, but before they can silence him (even though he didn’t speak) he’s rescued by FBI Agent Neville Flynn (Samuel Jackson), “Do as I say and you’ll live” (this line becomes important). Eddie Kim, some sort of unspecified Asian thug, is known for creatively eliminating witnesses against him. The FBI takes Jones into protective custody and prepares to fly him to LA (They’re in Hawaii) to testify.
Claire, a stewardess on her last run before law school, is miffed that the FBI took over the first class cabin and forced the first class passengers into coach, where they say such stupid things as “is it safe?” and complain that because they are flying coach and not first class they’ll be late to a meeting. Stereotyped passengers include a fat lady in a tent dress, a honeymooning couple (the husband hates flying), two little boys traveling alone, a single mother, an annoying woman with a purse dog, and a supercilious business man. Also on the plane is the rapper 3G and his two-man posse. 3G hates touching others or being touched and constantly washes his hands with sanitizer. You can probably guess from the descriptions who lives and dies.
Somehow the snakes’ box has a timer that lets them loose when the plane hits cruising altitude. It takes a while for the first bite, but then they come fast—almost too fast to enjoy. The moral of this section is: stay out of airplane bathrooms.
Amusingly, some of the snakes’ scenes are shot in a kind of “snake cam” format, from the snakes’ point of view. These shots are hazy and green and reminded me of how the world looked to Frodo in the Lord of the Rings films while wearing the Ring.
The passengers and Agent Flynn get very creative with snake-killing. I will only mention a couple—hair spray torch and microwave. The hair spray torch bothered me for a couple of reasons. First, of course, is that no lighters are allowed on a plane. Second, is it wise to be shooting fire and flames around in an airplane, snakes or no snakes? However, seeing someone crawling through an access hatch full of bundled wires, looking for snakes, is pretty creepy.
I’m going to list some inconsistencies:
o The snakes rip out a bunch of wires. The people reset the breakers and magically the shut-off components came back on. This happens twice.
o The passengers pile up barriers of carts and luggage but don’t block the vents, which is how the snakes got from the cargo hold to the passenger compartment.
o They leave the pilots alone with predictable results. The moment the FBI agents realized what was happening, they should have put the witness into the cockpit with an agent to protect both the witness and the pilots from the snakes. Flynn says that if the plane crashes it doesn’t matter if the snakes bite the witness or not, but he doesn’t try to protect the pilots who are the only ones who can fly the plane!
o A big deal is made about how there are no snakes in Hawaii and no one in Hawaii that could have arranged for that many snakes on short notice. The person who did arrange it was in California and there’s no explanation of how he got the snakes to Hawaii on such short notice.
o The best snake in the movie, the boa constrictor, was shown with rows of shark-like teeth. It also growled.
o At one point, Flynn punches in the code to enter the cockpit (why would he even have it?). Later on, when the pilots don’t answer, he smashes in the door. It took him longer to find a weapon and use it than just to enter the code.
o All the first class passengers were stuck in coach. None of them entered First Class at all. Yet the overhead compartments are filled with baggage.
Don’t wait for video/pay per view/ HBO. It’s more fun to see this one with a bunch of rowdy people in the theater. (c)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

bring back the dead...mammoths that is

For some reason when I saw this article I just started thinking about Monty Python and the Holy Grail's "Bring out your dead" scene, except it was "bring back your dead."
No this isn't about my cat. It's about mammoths.

BODIES of extinct Ice Age mammals, such as woolly mammoths, that have been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may contain viable sperm that could be used to bring them back from the dead, scientists said yesterday.....The mammoth is a close genetic cousin of the modern Asian elephant, and scientists think that the two may be capable of interbreeding. The frozen mammoth sperm could be injected into elephant eggs, producing offspring that would be 50 per cent mammoth.

But the real question is, SHOULD WE? Where would a mammoth live? Wouldn't it be lonely and unhappy like a single elephant kept in the zoo is? 12 Imix 14 Yaxkin

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

printed Jaguar Nights calendar

Okay, I officially started today on the 2007 Jaguar Nights wall calendar. That's right, a version of my book to hang on your wall. My goal is to have printed copies to sell at the first Astrological Society of Connecticut meeting on September 21, 2006. That gives me five weeks & 2 days to design it, lay it out and print it. It will have an ISBN number and be available on as well. I'm ambitious if nothing else.
I WILL do this.
As soon as I figure out a price, I'll be taking pre-orders via Paypal. My inclination is if you pre-order I will give you free shipping.
Today is a burner day and I am lighting the fire. 11 Ahau 13 Yaxkin

Monday, August 14, 2006

from the past 10 Cauac 12 Yaxkin
I keep thinking about something that happened to me a long time ago.
Most of my life, I've had a recurring cough from approximately October-May every year.
When I was in middle school, I had a really bad winter one year. My cough was outrageous. My mom would send me off to school with a bottle of OTC cough syrup. She stopped buying the expensive prescription ones with codeine--they would knock me out so I wouldn't wake up when I coughed but they didn't stop the coughing!
For whatever reason, the staff of the school decided one day that I could not have my cough medicine. They confiscated it. The end result was predictable--I had increasingly worse coughing fits throughout the day. I was allowed every 4 hours to have one small spoonful given by the nurse (the directions on the bottle) instead of a swig between classes (even today, that's what I do with my Nyquil and Dayquil--just swig it when I need it).
One particular day there was an assembly of some type. I don't remember what it was. I sat in the back coughing helplessly. I was hauled out into the hallway and reprimanded for being deliberately disruptive and made to stand in the hall with the other troublemakers (spitball throwers, etc. ) and miss whatever the program was. I continued to cough--and because I was in the hallway it echoed and was even louder.
I was dragged to the principal's office, where I sat there and coughed. They called my mother to come and get me--yes I was sent home, as punishment, for "deliberately disruptive coughing."
My mother came storming in. I'm sure she had to leave work for this BS which really would have pissed her off. "Where's her cough medicine? I gave her a whole bottle to bring to school."
They responded, "We confiscated it. It's not allowed."
Logically, my mother asked, "you called me here to get her why?"
"She won't stop coughing. She disrupted the whole auditorium and ruined the program for everyone. "
"Where is her cough medicine?"
"She's not allowed to have it."
My mother, like me, doesn't like to take shit. She said, "Let me see if I understand. My daughter is coughing. I know it. It's not contagious. It's chronic. I sent her to school with cough medicine, which helps her to cough less. You took that away. Now you are punishing her for coughing."
I don't remember if she called them idiots to their faces or waited until we got out to the car.
And I don't know why this event is lingering so much in my mind for the past few days.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

new yahoo avatar and blog 9 Etznab 11 Yaxkin

I made myself a new avatar which I call "In the Summerland with Zen"
Yahoo! Avatars
I also started a new infrequent blog just for pet and animal stuff. Because I need another blog, you know.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Perseid Meteor Shower

The meteor shower is this week--Saturday night is supposed to be the peak. I've lost so many I love since the last one. I like to think those little flashes of light are souls going home.
Goodbye Gwennie, Goober, Prism and Zen-zen. I'll see you on the other side.

Monday, August 07, 2006

musings on being sad, finger of god pictures

I'm going through that counting phase that happens after a loved one's death. A week ago I had my Zen. I fed him breakfast and went to work. I was doing the dishes this weekend (a rare thing, I know) and thinking that when I used some of these dishes I had my kitty. The last time I ate pizza, I had my cat. The last time I watched this show, I had my cat. It's coming up now on a week--I brought him to the vet at 3:00 on Monday and I was home by 4:00 and I never saw him again.
I have a song stuck in my head--I must have heard it on the radio--I think it's the Scorpions--"This can't be the end/just give me a chance/I'm still loving you" and of course I won't ever stop loving my cat, and I know the pressure in my chest will ease and I'll stop crying several times a day.
Something else happened to me last Monday which I'd almost forgotten about until my husband asked me what I'd done with our new camera. When I was leaving for work, it was dingy out, and I saw a curious thing. A shaft of light came through the clouds and the trees and landed exactly on the altar in the middle of my circle. I felt compelled to go inside, get the camera, and photograph it. Usually I pretty my pictures up but these I did nothing to. By the time I found the camera and put a chip into it the light had moved somewhat but you get the idea:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


As I was writing earlier, I had Launchcast on, and a song called Lamentation, an instrumental, played. It really could have no other name--haunting and sad, just how I feel. Listen to a sample at the link.
It's got to get better sometime, right?

space shuttle Atlantis, global warming, planetary stuff

Atlantis is being launched again. I feel a kinship with it because the last time it launched, we were on our way home from Grand Cayman flying over Florida and Atlantis flew by us (I have pictures; I'll have to scan some in and post here). Plus I like the name, obviously. The next shuttle launch was the one that blew up on re-entry.
It seems strange to me that we spend millions of dollars going into space when our own planet is so screwed up. I understand that space exploration is important but right now we haven't got the technology to terra-form or live on other planets for any length of time. Our space technology has barely evolved since we went to the moon right after I was born. Compare that to the evolution of computers (including the internet) and even how much cars have changed. Obviously we build a lot more cars than space shuttles, but it seems like each trip up there we should learn something new and design something new based on it.
I've been watching Shark Week (of course) and it's amazing what we don't know about the oceans. Shouldn't we be exploring there first?
I watched the Global Warming-what you should know show on Sunday. It was basically a rehash of the recent cover article in Newsweek. But what struck me was the windmills. Why can't we have windmills? I don't think they're ugly. No uglier than cell phone towers and those lines of marching electrical transformers. I would have one on my roof. I'd have solar panels too, but not if I have to cut down my trees. I wish I could afford a hybrid car but I can't right now. But almost all my lightbulbs are the twisted florescent ones.


Of course, this all goes back to the abandonment issues I've been having. Now my kitty's left me too. Joyce is moving away next Thursday. I feel so alone.
I know that Zen's soul isn't gone, and yes he had a soul. Animals are born with spirits but when humans love them, they transfer a piece of soul to the animal. Spirits are re-absorbed into the great spirit of that type of animal, the Aumakua. I am sad for deer at the side of the road but they go back into the Deer Aumakua and come back as another deer next season. I guess Zen could choose to go into the Cat Aumakua but I hope he waits for me on the other side of the veil. He could play with Nippy, Streaker and Patches, and Alf-dog and my grandpa of course. He wouldn't be bored, and he could watch me whenever he wanted. I can't ever watch him again.
I know it's not about punishment, it's not karma, I've done nothing wrong, I love my pets and I care for them and bring them to the vet. Most of my pets choose to live many years with me--only Scarlett left me way to early at 6. (Prism's death had nothing to with me--she choose to leave the planet before I got her--she just got a chance to be loved by me before she went.) But I still feel battered and bruised and left behind.

Remembering Zen-zen 11 Manik 0 Yaxkin
If he was sleeping and I touched him, he would make this little noise, like an "umph", open his eyes slightly to see it was me and then purr and go back to sleep.
At night, he'd climb purring onto me and flop onto my pillow on his side, facing Willy. I would turn my face into his soft belly fur and curl my arms up around him and he'd purr and we'd sleep. I woke up once last night curled like that around a ghost.
He always wanted to be with me. If I was using the computer, he'd lay next to the monitor or on my arm or curl up between my back and the chair, purring madly. He was always a very purring kitty. When he was a kitten he purred so loud you could hear him in another room.
His fangs showed outside of his lips all the time and sometimes we called him Fang-cat.
He used to chew on Nutter and engulf half of Nutter's head in his mouth. You'd always know because half of Nutter's head would be wet and sometimes slightly pink because Zen would chew so vigorously that his gums would bleed. Sometimes he did bite Nutter and hurt him--Nutter would have little scabs on his neck. Nutter rarely complained, just sat there and let himself be chewed on and his ears licked. They would sleep together curled in a black and white yin-yang ball.
Zen could be pretty stupid too. He would fall off the couch or bed in his sleep. He'd be with me and then get up to go eat or pee or wander and a few minutes later he would start to howl. I'd call him and he'd make a happy noise and run to me and climb onto me purring as if he thought he'd lost me forever, even though I hadn't moved from where he left me.
In the morning, as I read my email and did my blog postings and other computer-stuff, he and Nutter would come into the bird room and wait for me to feed them. I'd turn and there he'd be, sitting or laying on the floor, just looking at me. As soon as I shifted or got up, he'd get up too and proceed into the kitchen to sit by the empty food bowls, or in the corner by the cabinet with the food, and keep looking at me. Nutter's the loud one when it comes to being fed. Zen was always quiet and patient, except when it came to milk. If I had milk, he wanted some. We couldn't even SAY milk or he would get happy and want some. My brother-in-law made a "got milk" commercial for film school a few years ago. It was filmed at our house and involved potheads eating brownies and then running out of milk. Interspersed with the potheads wailing for their milk were shots of Zen drinking it.
He lived about half his life with half a tongue. He had a couple of surgeries to removed dead/infected material. Although the tip of his tongue was left intact, a big scoop was missing from the right side. It took him a little while but he learned to eat and drink that way. He curled the tip of his tongue into the gap and used the left side of his tongue as the tip. Often instead of drinking right from his bowl, he'd dip his foot and then lick the water off his paw.
His whole life he was plagued with allergies. As a kitten, his head would swell, or he would get these granulomas down the back of his legs (like the seam on a stocking). Once one of his paws split open along the edge of the leathery pad; we never did figure out what he did to it. He had to get cortisone shots and once in a while pills. But as he got older his allergies got less severe. He was allergic to chicken, soy and turkey. Try finding cat food with none of those ingredients, and add in my hatred for fish and you'll see that he spent his life eating every flavor of beef cat food I could find. I am convinced that somehow his allergies were to blame for the fluid build-up in his chest. He was breathing like that in the spring when he was diagnosed with the thyroid problem and he had full bloodwork done and there was nothing wrong with his heart.
Zen was the most loving cat I've ever had or known. He always purred. He loved to be carried and hugged (unlike Nutter who hates to be held). He always wanted to be near or on humans. As a new-born kitten he was handled constantly by the owner's grandchildren and I think that's why. Nutter was never handled before I brought him home. When I became a Reiki Master I attuned Zen and his paws would sometimes be warm when he slept on me. When I taught Reiki or had someone over for a session, Zen was always there, climbing onto the person, purring, checking out the best place to lay and give his own brand of healing.
When he was a kitten I put a flea collar on him and he had a skin reaction which caused all the fur which touched the collar to fall out. That fur grew in white so he had a little frosting of white around his neck. With the years it slowly turned darker again, or maybe just because he was bigger the same amount of white fur seemed smaller. At his biggest he was around 16 pounds but when he died he was down to 12.
He was perfectly happy for me to carry him everywhere. He would either curl into my arms or against my shoulder, or climb onto my shoulders and lay across the back of my neck. When he was first sick with the thyroid thing I actually borrowed my friend's baby Snuggli because I was spending all my time carrying Zen around. I was too fat for the Snuggli and anyway it wasn't what I thought--I was thinking papoose but it had arms and leg holes which wouldn't have worked. When we went to the vet he would sit on the back of my neck while we waited. He did that on Monday and I reassured him that nothing bad would happen and that I would be with him. And then they took him and probably extracting the fluid hurt him and then he died and I wasn't there and I didn't kiss him goodbye. Please, I hope he knows that wasn't my choice. I was happy that he was breathing better and ready to come take him home and the doctor called to say he was gone.
He liked to go outside too, but he wasn't a fanatic about it. He had a purple harness and leash and I'd tie him to the clothesline. But he would get wound up in the chair legs, and one time he slipped the harness and walked away. He'd eat grass and throw up. We tried bringing him to my grandmother's for a while, but he really didn't like the car and he peed on Grandma's armchair and on the edge of her bed so we stopped bringing him.
He wasn't a perfect cat. He could be too demanding of affection, being smothering. He was always knocking things down. He peed in the bed and on any clothes that were left on the floor anywhere in the house. He liked to chew on my fingers and toes and sometimes he had horrible breath which would transfer to my hands, so I'd go to touch my face and be bowled over by the stench on my skin.
But I can't believe that he's gone. I look at his picture and know he was just here. How can he be gone? He's my kitty. So many of my beloved pets have left me in the last year. How could Zen leave me too?
Last night Nutter laid at the end of the bed watching the doorway, waiting for his friend. When Will came upstairs he got all happy for a moment and then starting meowing at him as if to say "Didn't you bring Zen?" He kept leaving the room and then coming back and watching the door again. I don't know if he's figured out his buddy is gone. I had Nutter for 2 days when I got Zen and at first he hated Zen. Zen was the runt, he weighed less than a pound and was sick constantly as a kitten. Everyone told us to put him to sleep. I refused because he was so loving. But eventually they got to be friends-best friends. The couple of times Zen escaped from the house, Nutter flipped out, howling and going through the house looking for his friend, not eating. But this time Zen's not going to meow at the back door to be let in. He's gone Home. My baby kitty, who I love so much, he's gone. And it hurts so much.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I will always love and miss the sweetest most loving kitty I ever knew.

bye bye Zen-Zen :( 10 Cimi 19 Xul
Today, the last day of Xul, on the day 10 death, my sweet Zen (the black cat) went Home. I took him to the vet yesterday for his shots and the vet was concerned about his funky breathing and kept him overnight. He called this morning to say the procedure he'd done was successful and I could probably take Zen home at 4:00, then at noon he called to say my kitty had a heart attack and couldn't be saved. He was 2 weeks shy of being 13 years old.
Zen was the most lovable friendly cat in the world, always purring, always happy, the very definition of unconditional love. I feel like my heart has been pulverized--I lost Gwennie, Goober, Prism and now Zen in less than a year. They were all wonderful loving animals and I'm glad that I got to live with all of them, however briefly (3 weeks for Prism) or long (15 years for Goober). I loved them all very much and they all knew it.
To say I feel punished, confused, angry, guilty, heartbroken--it's all an understatement. But I've found that my body will make as many tears as I care to cry, and my heart will open to love as many creatures as I choose to embrace.