Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Why I'm Not Here

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," culture vultures and bad-ass buzzards since 2005! I proudly bear the name Anne Johnson and am grateful for its sublime anonymity.

At one point I was up to five readers, so I'll address you as if that's the number.

I haven't been here at "The Gods Are Bored" lately. There are two reasons:

1. Now that the tots are grown and I've settled into a Path that is written about so much better on other sites, I'm running out of things to say.

2. I'm writing a novel.

Yes, after spending 15 years writing a grand, sweeping, historical fantasy that was widely deemed suitable to line a bird cage, I've started a whole new project. This one's not a grand, sweeping historical fantasy. It's a droll little fluffy thing, aimed more at the heart than the head. In short, it's like "The Gods Are Bored," only fiction.

Here's the good part: When I finish this novel, tentatively titled Million Dollar View, I am going to copyright it and post it online as a free read. Oh, there will be a PayPal button, but I'll ask only a goodwill offering, if you choose to do so.

I expect this little confection to be completed within the calendar year. In the meantime I will still be dropping by TGAB with my usual blend of giddy and fluffy.

Speaking of which, isn't this adorable? I've started a garden of these around my shrine. Yard sales are chock-a-block with bowls and vases. The beauty of this craft idea is twofold: First and foremost, it's easy to do. Second, it's impermanent. If you need the bowls or vases, there they are!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Change of Heart

It's funny what's left to learn when you reach your golden years.

I'm not exactly golden yet ... but I'm sure not green.

Last weekend my daughter The Spare and I went to a festival that we attend each year to honor Beltane and the faeries. We look forward to this festival eagerly, all year long. Yes, all through my long and horrible work year I dream of the festival. My work is awful, dreadful, stressful, unappreciated, and unrecognized. The festival is wonderful, awesome, happy, joyous, and otherwise perfect.

Except when it's not.

Spare and I had an unpleasant -- very unpleasant -- experience in a drum circle, featuring a man who acted disrespectfully and then made matters worse by laying the blame on Spare. She was reduced to tears, and I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to see someone act like this in what is supposed to be a nurturing space. But this happens sometimes with drumming. People who are really good at it can become annoyed with people who are not good at it, or only beginning to be good at it. But that's beside the point.

The point: We left the festival rather shaken up.

And then Monday came.

When I walked into my workplace, it looked and felt different to me. What do you know? NOTHING is all good or all bad! I spent 150 work days this year miserable, living only to go to the festival ... and then something stressful happened at the festival!

This week has been different than any I have ever spent on this job. And not because I got a great gift from my school for Teacher Appreciation Week. (Not even exaggerating, each teacher got a 12-ounce bottle of water with a packet of instant iced tea mix tied to it with a ribbon.) Things were different because of the shock I experienced at the festival.

Ask me how valuable it was to spend my Beltane weekend at the festival. I'll tell you: It was Earth-shaking. I am a different person now. I hope it lasts!

As for the festival itself, I now love it more than ever, because I love it a little less, and my work a lot more.

Thanks be to the bored gods for lessons learned in unexpected ways! This week has flown by. It's Friday, and I'm going home to drum.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The IPhone Rebellion

Something has changed drastically in our society since I was a stripling.

That "something" is computers.

I can remember when there weren't any personal computers at all. I can remember when telephones were hooked to the wall. I even pre-date cordless phones.

Now everyone has a phone with them, all the time. (Except for me. I either lose or misplace or forget my phone frequently. I have never gotten used to having a phone on me all the time.)

Big Brother and Big Business are watching us as we use our computers. But there's a flip side to that. Equipped with phones that can record video, we are now watching Big Brother.

I call this the IPhone Rebellion.

If a police officer uses unusual or excessive force, someone might catch it on video and post it to the Internet. This has happened frequently over the past few months.

We had a situation in Baltimore, Maryland in which a young man was killed during the initial stages of arrest by the police. Has this ever happened before? You betcha. Has it ever been recorded on a cell phone? Not in Baltimore.

Who among us has not recoiled in horror at the video of that young person being dragged by police, his face twisted in agony? Speaking for Anne Johnson here, I was horrified. And I'm not young or African American. I cannot even imagine how African American citizens are dealing with this emotionally.

There are riots in the streets of Baltimore. I am calling this the second incident in the IPhone Rebellion. Someone snaps a video, loads it onto the Internet, everyone sees it, and some people react. Then we get soldiers on city streets, with armored vehicles and guns.

We also get alliances between urban gangs who have longstanding rivalries.

What do you call this? I lived through the 1960s, and I do know that rebellions are squashed with impunity in this country. But we have the Internet now. What are they going to do? Shut it down?


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spoutwood Bound!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," humble home of an average human being! Nothing exceptional about me ... except for the way I go on about buzzards.

Every year at Beltane, my daughter The Spare and I sojourn to Glen Rock, PA, where we lead the Mountain Tribe at the May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. We've been going to this festival for almost a decade.

Spoutwood is a beautiful spot, and everyone dresses up like faeries or creatures or free spirits. There's wonderful music, and food vendors, and drum circles, and ceremonies. As Mountain Tribe leader, Spare takes part in a midday ceremony each day that varies little from year to year. We do a lot of shouting, then we march in, then we sing some songs. We have a beautiful leather banner made by one of the artists at the Faire.

This is a picture from last year. The well-dressed fairy with the flute is my sister. Last year she came to the festival and stayed in our hotel room all three days. It was the first year I didn't have a good time. Or, I wouldn't say I didn't have a good time ... I just didn't have as much fun as usual.

The reason for that was that I found myself in a childhood dynamic with Sis. I really resented having her at my side for three days. She didn't want to do anything by herself, and at these things I always crave an opportunity to be alone in a crowd.

Growing up with a very ill mother, I often had to take care of my sister. So these days, even if I'm not really taking care of her, I am taking care of her in my mind. And it's a chore. Especially since, in her mind, I am supposed to take care of her.

Well. That was last year. I didn't invite Sis this year. I shouldn't need to -- it's an open event. She can come and go, and I would even be glad to see her there if I didn't have to care for her!

Just now I talked on the phone to Spare. She says she has a lot of school work to do and will need to curtail her hours at the festival. That's fine with me! I want to do some meditative drumming. I want to walk the land. I want to respectfully acknowledge the bored gods. Just me. Just me and a few thousand other people. Alone in a crowd.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Can't Get Behind Her

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," ten years of joyous romping in the Realms of the Mountain Gods! I'm Anne Johnson, and I used to get far more riled up about politics than I do now.

Pretty much I have given up on the system. I have lived long enough to see how things are now, as opposed to how they were in the mid-20th century, when we actually ousted crooks instead of deifying them.

This is why, although it would be very nice to have a woman running the show in the US of A, I can't get behind Hillary Clinton. If the fix is in, she is one of the authors of it.

I remember when Bill Clinton was president. Hillary was way more than a "First Lady." No tea parties and back yard gardens for her! She set her sights on a Universal Health Care bill and lobbied tirelessly for it. She was unsuccessful.

Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law. Jobs moved overseas in cartloads. Then he presided over the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, which set up our too-big-to-fail banks and laid the path for the ruthless hedge funding that is now the way of the world. I don't call that a stellar liberal political record, right there. To say the Clintons, when they were running America, did a better job than George W. Bush, is damning them with faint praise.

I supported Obama because he was a fresh face, and he exploited that fact. Say what you want about him -- and say what you want about Obamacare, because it's sure not perfect -- he did get health care done.

Mrs. Clinton had my tepid support until it was revealed that she used her personal email to conduct the business of state. This should not be done. How do you justify that? If you say it was for convenience, you're lazy. If you say it was to avoid scrutiny, you're a Clinton.

This country should not be run by two or three powerful families. That's how dictatorships are born.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" can hardly believe that we would support a pudgy old white man over a woman, but Bernie Sanders it is. Doesn't matter anyway, because the fix is in. This is a nation run by a few very wealthy families, and they want us to eat cake.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ten Years of "The Gods Are Bored!"

Wow. It's our tenth anniversary here at The Gods Are Bored!

There are over 2200 posts.

And a half million page views.

Dozens of bored deities have sat for interviews.

Goats were judged back in the day. Not so much anymore.

We will always love faeries! Remember Puck?

So many adventures with Decibel the parrot!

I couldn't afford to buy the family farm, so I've asked Gaia to reclaim it. This view is already lost due to tree growth!

I love the Goddess Brighid the Bright. She led me to the Light.

One day when they're older, my daughters The Heir and The Spare will come here to read about their lives! Spare was 11 when I started this blog. Tomorrow she turns 21. Oh my.

There's been one magnificent, overriding passion here at "The Gods Are Bored," celebrated with supreme devotion since this site's inception. That passion is the Rich Worship of the Great Sacred Thunderbird! Long may Vulture own the skies!

Thank you, readers, for your comments and support lo, these many years. It doesn't seem like a decade has passed since that day I read an article about a woman who got money to pay her dog's vet bills by blogging. I didn't set out to make money here ... but your generosity through several projects has been heart-warming and well-remembered.

Ten more years? Probably. There are still quite a few bored Gods and Goddesses out there who want their Voices to be heard!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

When He Says He's a Shaman, Believe It!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," a house of hilarity for nearly, almost, shortly, getting there -- ten years! I'm Anne Johnson, that's really my name, and here's a wild and wonderful "Gods Are Bored" story, fresh off just happening.

I couldn't sleep last night, so I got up at 4:30 a.m. to go see King Neptune in His briny deep.

From where I live, at 4:30 in the morning, you can cruise on down to the edge of the continent in about an hour. It was my intention to be on the beach, searching for beach glass, at "can see," which right now is about 5:50 a.m.

When I got to the sea glass beach, it was barely, barely light enough to see. All the casinos were still lit up (and empty, for all I know). When I pulled into a dead end street to park, there was a big rig cab with a dude inside. He was just staring out at the water.

This made me a little nervous, but I've always had a lot of luck being alone places with strange dudes. This time was no exception.

I got on the beach, paid respect to King Neptune and Queen Oshun, and I tucked into hauling in some sea glass.

It pays to be the first one there, because it's pretty much a candy shop after an overnight high tide. I'd never gotten so much glass so quickly. And after a few minutes, I saw the trucker dude, standing on the beach.

When I got a little closer to him, we struck up a conversation. He'd never been to Atlantic City before and was interested in its history. He knew a lot already and was a big fan of "Boardwalk Empire."

When daylight truly emerged and I got closer to where he was standing, I found that he was chock-a-block with Pagan bling: pentagram and Celtic knot rings, Green Man on a cord around his neck.

I said, "Whoa, you are my kinda guy." And then it was like we were long lost pals.

He was from Kentucky. He had never heard of sea glass before. He said he was a Shaman, and that his wife was into minerals and Tarot cards. I didn't press him about what kind of Shaman he was. I figure ... and I know I'm in the minority here ... if you go to the trouble to call yourself a Shaman, well then, by golly you are one.

 I gave the Shaman a nice piece of sea glass to take home and wrap. Then he started looking for sea glass too. (I must warn you, this is an addiction that can happen very quickly. DO NOT START.)

We were chatting about the bootleggers who off-loaded their cargo in the area of Atlantic City where we were. I said, "Yeah, they used marbles as ballast in their ships, and finding them all washed by the sea is a real treat. They're very rare."

He looked down at his feet and said, "Here's one." And handed me a marble.

I've been going to AC for four years now, and I have found two marbles. Well, I found three, but King Neptune wanted to keep the third. It had been a long, long time since I found a marble, and I never, ever found one on that stretch of beach before! And this Shaman had never heard of sea glass, and the moment he heard of it, he found a rare piece!

Readers, the Shaman and I had the beach to ourselves for about 20 minutes. That's all. By 6:30, full daylight, hordes with rakes descended and started beach-combing like fiends. You snooze, you lose.

The Shaman asked me for suggestions as to where he should spend the rest of his day. He certainly wasn't keen on casinos, but he wanted to walk the boards in an "artsy" place, maybe with a few ink parlors. I directed him to Asbury Park.

We said our "Merry meets" and parted paths. I went to another section of beach and combed some more, very profitably, but (predictably) no marbles.

When I returned to the main sea glass beach, the truck was gone. I hope the Shaman found his way to Asbury Park. For my money (and it ain't cheap), Asbury Park is the best boardwalk in New Jersey. Anything beats Atlantic City.

So, who establishes the criteria for "Shaman?" I know you can read a load of books and study up on ancient Celtic lore, and all that. But at the end of the day, the title is nebulous. To my way of thinking, though, the performance of minor miracles most definitely gets you the Shaman badge. For a guy who had never been to AC before, had never even seen sea glass before, to just reach down and find a marble, well. I'll sign off on him.

Okay, okay, do you want to see? This was my best day ever ... even better than the day I found my own marbles!

I found two pieces of red (one is magenta!), a huge chunk of yellow, lavender, a nugget of cobalt, and lots of really pretty, well-rounded nuggets. And someone, I think a Shaman, gave me a marble!

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