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I hear tell this thing may be broken, but -shrug- we'll see.

EDIT: And if it's not broken, well then I have some unexpectedly widely scattered readers. Special hellos to Monday visitors from Newtown, UK (15:17:59 -0600) and Foley, AL (13:23:32 -0600)! Do say hi if you weary of lurking. ;-P


A couple of weeks ago I picked up an odd, old-looking paperback at Half-Price Books purporting to be a "reconstruction" of the Latin Satyricon. I grabbed it, figuring I couldn't go very wrong for a dollar. I was later overjoyed, upon putting a bunch of material from the A∴A∴ reading list on my Amazon wishlist, to realize that this was a version of the recommended "Petronius Arbiter" item.

Now, it's no surprise to see Crowley recommending a work of what could be called "classical pornography," even if he did read it in the likely more staid original and fragmentary Latin. However, I personally think it is passages more like the following, which applies about as well to modern America as it did to Imperial Rome, are the greater part of his rationale.
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"Ah, we have ruined ourselves—and you, foolish people, are responsible.

"What has done it?

"Our love of riches, that's what. In olden times, when virtue was admired for its own sake, all liberal arts flourished and the only ambition among men was to make discoveries which might profit the age.

"It was in those times that Democritus, content with poverty, discovered the virtues of herbs, and, lest there be any hidden excellence in stones and trees, spent the rest of his life in experiments about them.

"It was in those times that Eudoxus abandoned the world and took up residence at the top of a high mountain so that he might study the motions of the heavens.

"It was in those times that Crisippus went three times through the same study of physics so that he might better qualify his mind for invention.

"Lysippus employed himself with one statue so diligently that he neglected the necessities of life and died a pauper. Myron, whose brazen images of men and beasts were so realistic that you might mistake his creations for living beings, starved to death.

"But look at us!

"Our age is so wholly devoted to drinking and whoring, and we're so far from inventing that we don't even bother to acquaint ourselves with the works of art which are to be found in our very hands.

"Accusing antiquity, our schools have become seminaries of vice. What's our logic? How little do we know of astronomy? Where are our philosophers?

"What master of eloquence could endure to hear speech murdered, as it is every day in the pulpits and the marketplaces? What wise man could suffer the noise?

"The very Senate, which should show an exemplary conduct, is itself the occasion of doubtful events. Some senators lead more scandalous lives that the basest of slaves would dream of leading.

"You need not wonder why painting and sculpture are lost, when gold appears more beautiful both to gods and men than anything Apelles or Phidias are esteemed to have madly spent their time about.

"You are the assassins of an entire race, my foolish friends. Because of you, the great Roman Empire will crumble and so too will all civilization.

"This is my prophecy, and it will be fulfilled unless you turn yourselves away from your love of riches and return to the things of value. As it now stands, your lives are empty; you spend the day searching for gold and the night searching for a woman in whom to bury yourselves or for the penis of a young boy to jab vitality into your intestines..."
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"Why resist?" I responded, yielding to his caresses. "Why not surrender to the body's demands like everyone else does and think no more of it?"

"Because, my friend," he responded quietly, "as long as there is one man who will cry out the truth, even if doing so means he will be stoned, there is a chance for the human race; but, when the last of us gives up, when everyone has surrendered to his appetites, man will no longer control his own destiny. There will be no hope for the world, my friend, nor for the miserable people in it." And, so speaking, he took me and pulled me against him. And in this manner we spent the night.

Petronius Arbiter. Satyricon: Memoirs of a Lusty Roman. Los Angeles, CA: Holloway House, 1965. Trans. Paul J. Gillette. pp. 141-143. Trans of P.A. Satiricon libri. Rome: [n.p.], 64. ISBN 0870674021 (2nd 1970 printing).

It is also worth noting that, despite the sometimes jarring debauchery, I found this the most purely enjoyable read yet in my admittedly limited experience of the suggested reading canon, and certainly a damn sight better than this execrable medieval nonsense.

Wow, that's a first (again)

Went a whole month without a single post in my own LJ. Bad monkey, no donut. Methinks it's time to avail myself of the backdating feature and catch up a bit. But first....

The primary reason for my inattention here has been the job to which I alluded previously. It started simply enough, basically searching the Intarwebs for candidates to fill open job orders. Over the holidays, however, with significant input from me, we switched to a new and far more serious CRM package, and somehow my job morphed into Application Manager, while still retaining all of the research responsibilities. Additionally, I was given the keys to and responsibility for the SYSADM account on the remote server. I am repeatedly reminded of the scary devil monastery motto, "Down, not Across" and of course their catch-phrase, "Either way I'm screwed."

The upshot here, of course, is that I have a lot more work to do, and while I've been pulling extra hours (and thus getting extra money, which is itself A Good Thing), not a lot of extra time to do it. Thankfully, I still only have to put in three days a week in the office, and can do a fair amount of the work remotely, half-dressed, in bed.

Come the end of this month, it's time for my 90-day review, where we decide if and how things are working out mutually. Accordingly, I'm gearing up for the "Give me more money, you bastards" speech, ensuring I meet the keeping track of the more invisible stuff I have to do, and making sure I have solid backing data for the 33-66% raise, plus full-time benefits, I intend to request. I figure if I have all my ducks lined up in neat rows, with good reasoning and evidence arrayed behind them, I should be able to turn this into a full-time salaried exempt administrative position that won't leave me spending half my gross on rent. I will resist the temptation to institute the Sysadmin Price List no matter how bad the (l)users get in the first six months.

Baby, the earth moved for me

So after 18 months on the West Coast, I finally got to ride the tectonic wave. Not one, not two, but three quakes within walking distance of my house this week, all in the 3.5-3.7 range. That's mild to light, no damage here, but definitely creepy and adrenaline-inducing.

Oddly, though I was in the neighborhood, I didn't feel the first one at all. The last two, however, were definitely notable. In fact, the middle one caused the lights to flicker while I was watching Dancer in the Dark, easily the most depressing, warm-bathtub-and-razorblades movie I have ever seen, or hope to see. No wonder Björk wanted to give up acting afterward.

Holiday parties tonight and most of the day tomorrow, then immediately back to work. Bizarrely, I should get some extra hours this week, even.


Brief update for the folks I don't talk to often enough:

I'm employed again, and have been for a couple weeks. This is a good job, even if it's only part time at the moment: plenty of room for growth at a tech-recruiting firm, doing their front-line research and general Office-fu. The boss is sufficiently impressed that we're already talking future opportunities, raises, etc. Good sign you're sticking around: they spend $200 on your new office chair and start asking what kind of laptop you want.

I'm pretty much settled into the new Oakland household, but for the furnishings, which I will grow as the paychecks roll. Meanwhile, most of my stuff still lives in boxes, aside from clothes, my altar, and books. Picked up a used Dell for free, which needs some serious inoculation and data-cleaning before being usable, as well as a desk under it.

Women...well, I'm not about to tell tales out of school in such a public forum (this is not a sex journal, no matter what you've heard, or seen), but I will say that my present life is the polar opposite of my old East Coast life in that regard as well. Which is not to imply that all is perfection, sweetness and light, either. It is nice, however, to have a completely new set of relationship problems to tackle, because frankly I was sick to fracking death of the old ones.

Which reminds me: I've become a hopeless Battlestar Galactica junkie via DVD. I figure if it's only one show, instead of the dozen or so I used to jones for, it's not really a vice. Thankfully, we have neither broadcast reception nor cable—not the the temptation is there much anymore anyway, but it seems prudent to consider myself "in recovery."

Questions? Answers? Would anyone care for a mint?
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Recycled humor

First runner-up and an honorable mention in the Washington Post "Style Invitational" week DCLXXXII (published 20-OCT-2006), in which contestants were asked for songs for a product, company, organization or agency, set to any Beatles song.

Ikea, to the tune of "Norweigan Wood," by Brendan Beary, Great Mills.

These dressers and shelves,
Though they look nice,
Don't build themselves.
Packed flat in a box,
Tight as we could: Ikea wood.

Wordless instruction sheets may have you pulling your hair;
If you're not careful, your bookshelf may end up a chair.

You'll, when you are done,
Have a screw loose
More ways than one.
If something drove you
Crazy for good, Ikea would.

Borden (to "Something," by George Vary, Bethesda.

Something in the way she moos
Attracts me as an udder lover.
Something in the way she moos me.
I don't want to leave this cow,
You know I believe this cow . . .

I didn't think the winner was funny at all, so if you want to read that, go find it online.
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