sareini: default (Discworld - Cackle)
i11 is starting to loom in the horizon, ever-so-slightly, in the City of world, and people are starting to speculate just what, exactly, is going to happen with it. So far we've had a wallpaper of an Ouroberos and a very bizarre in-game newspaper story that have really led to more questions than answers...

And just now, I found this. Someone was lurking over on the UK boards, and found some unusual comments from a dev over there:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to thank you for all these wonderful postings - reading threads like this always makes my day!

Let me tell you this:

Twenty particles of space dust per cubic meter, fifty-two ultraviolet radiation spikes, and a class two comet.

I think that covers quite a lot.

Obey the laws! Hail Eris!



Fnord!

(Link to the whole thread

That's just two of the comments the dev made, and people are pouring over every detail and making guesses as to what they (and the other comments) mean.

Me? The fact that my religion is apparently playing a major role, if not in the game itself then in some of the design process, is making me a happy person this morning.
sareini: Amanda from the Saw movies wearing an reverse bear trap (Saw)
There is a guy on the CD board right now who claims to have never heard of Auschwitz. He's my age and (allegedly) a college student/graduate.

I weep for the future, and the US education system, if this is true.
sareini: default (B5 - badgers)
*checks date*

...no, it's not April 1 yet...

Student Punished for Spaghetti Beliefs

Exerpt from article:
"A student has been suspended from school in America for coming to class dressed as a pirate.

But the disciplinary action has provoked controversy – because the student says that the ban violates his rights, as the pirate costume is part of his religion.

Bryan Killian says that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear 'full pirate regalia' as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism."


As a Discordian, I fully support this student's righg to wear the holy garb of Pastafarianism whenever he so needs to! So there!,
sareini: default (Good Omens - Witch)
A few years ago, I had a blog on blogger.com. (To be exact, I still do, but I don't use it any more.) One day, while bored, I wrote an entry looking at one of the pages of the website Demonbusters.com (look out, it plays music at you, and the title page also apparently has a house for sale...)- specifically, their page on wicca (which I can't currently be bothered to search for, as the pink of the site is disturbing me...) My post included the following parts:

A few choice points... )

So, I wrote this post, and then I forgot about it. Until today, when a thread on Beliefnet reminded me about it, and I went searching for it as a reference.

And found the following comment:

Not exactly a fan, I'd say... )

Now, I'm sad, because I don't know when this comment was posted, but I'm betting that my new anonymous friend never came back anyway so at least I don't have to worry about them waiting on baited breath for a response from me. But at the same time, I feel a response is needed. So here it is:

My reply: Now with EXTRA snark! )

I guess I could also point out to my anonymous friend that, not only did they prove anything of what I said wrong, but in admitting to agreeing with most of what the site says, they also tacitly admitted to being anti-Semitic, among other things. Which isn't something you really want to be identifying yourself with, I'd think... But I figure that's pretty much taken as read.
sareini: default (Silent Night Deadly Night)
This Christmas an unnecesary remake is coming out, of the 1974 classic Black Christmas. But while the fact that it looks to be a rather tacky remake is enough for some people (ie. me) to be pissed off about, others have found a more... esoteric reason to protest the movie.

Christmas Horror Movie Offends Religious Groups

From the article:

"To have a movie that emphasizes murder and mayhem at Christmas, a time of celebration and joy around the world seems to be ill founded," said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, an organization dedicated to upholding religious freedom and traditional family values.

Jennifer Giroux, who co-founded Operation Just Say Merry Christmas as a way to reclaim the season for Christians, said it was abominable to release this film on Christmas Day.

"The use of religious music -- 'Silent Night' -- and the nativity set on the front porch in one scene are insensitive to Christians," Giroux said after watching the trailer online.

"It's not enough to ignore and omit Christmas, but now it has to be offended, insulted and desecrated. Our most sacred holiday, actually a holy day, is being assaulted."


So, how do these people feel about Silent Night, Deadly Night (or its sequels)? Or Don't Open Till Christmas? Or My Bloody Valentine, just to pick a different day with some religious overtones out of the air? Or is this more of a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that "OMG, bad things can happen on December 25 just like any other day!"?

Personally, I'm deeply amused. I wasn't going to go to any effort to see this (the original is far superior, and I can tell this simply because this remake touts itself as, among other things, "the ultimate slay ride" and "from the makers of Final Destination"), but I think I'm now going to have to keep an eye on this, because seeing people get themselves so wound up over a movie is always funny...
sareini: default (Bast)
Nick and I just watched a wonderful documentary on the Buddhist temple in Thailand which has become a sanctuary for tigers (as well as a lot of other animals). It was all started several years ago, when a Buddhist monk living in his isolated monastery with various animals was brought a pair of orphaned tiger cubs. He took them in and hand-reared them without any experience in looking after big cats before, and the two thrived. After that, people began to bring other orphaned tiger cubs to him to care for, and now the monastery has a total of 17 tigers living on their grounds - seven who were brought there as cubs and ten who have been born there.

It's an incredible place, where the tigers get to loll around in the afternoon or swim in their swimming hole, and are cared for by the monks who feel it it their duty. The tigers themselves are quite, quite domesticated (I don't say tame, because I have no doubt that if anyone came to that place with less-than-good intentions they wouldn't leave with all their limbs) and prefer to spend their days trying to pounce the sandles of their monk-keepers, or just lie around and be petted.

The monastery is currently building a nature reserve on an island on their land, where the tigers can live as tigers properly so that they can eventually be released back into the wild to repopulate the tiger population. Because of the Buddhist vows of poverty (these vows are very strict here, as the monks aren't allowed to even touch money) this is being done entirely by donation.

I've decided that one day, when my health is better, I want to go there and volunteer. What they're doing is just so wonderful and incredible that I can't help but want to help.

Official site

UK tribute site
sareini: default (Bast)
I just had a strange experience down at the local pet shop.

I was there trying to pick up some "James Wellbeloved Duck and Rice" dry cat food for Mac, who loves the stuff and generally hoovers it down within minutes. Whhile I was there I noticed a dog at the other end of the shop - one of those terriers that's about the size of a springer spaniel and has fur that makes it look like it has a handlebar moustache or whatever. It was wagging its tail at me and seemed eager to meet me.

The dog's owner was the guy running the shop, and he came over to ask if I was finding everything ok. I said I hadn't noticed the dog at first and he said he was a big soft thing and invited me over to stroke him.

Now, I've grown up around dogs - I had a Springer Spaniel till I was 13, and when I lived with my brother he had a Newfoundland. Moat of my relatives have had dogs. I know how to handle myself around dogs (unlike poor Nick, he had half his face eaten by one several years ago and has been scared nearly witless by them ever since). So I go up and let the dog sniff me, joking that I probably smell of lunch to him because I've had cats all over me.

When I go to pet him, though, he snaps at me and starts barking wildly. And won't stop barking, in fact, until his owner takes him into the back room and shuts him in there. Apparently the dog's never done that to anyone before (except one guy who's a bit of a bastard who likes to tease him). Owner was very apologetic about the whole thing, but it got me thinking:

Has my association with Bast given me the 'wrong' aura to dogs? When I was younger, it was cats who never liked me; it was only after Bast started keeping an eye on me and offering her help that I suddenly became a friend to cats. I can't help but wonder if it's been reversed somehow...

Hail Eris!

Sep. 14th, 2006 11:16 am
sareini: default (chaos...)
Largest Known Dwarf Planet Named Eris

This 'new' planet, if you remember, is the one that caused all the controversy regarding Pluto's 'demoting' and all that, so it's fitting. Plus, you know, any excuse to honour Eris.
sareini: default (Number 93)
Yesterday evening Nick and I watched a documentary on fundamentalists of various religions. Included in this programme was a group of militant Bhuddist monks.

Yes, you read that right. Militant Bhuddist monks. Even 24 hours later, we still can't really get our heads round that.

***

Cat-wise, things are going fine. Jelli is completely nonplussed about Nick and I smelling of a second cat, and is continuing as normal - sleeping on the sofa, eating, and climbing all over us when she wants to play. We're still not introducing them until at least Thursday, and possibly later (want to make sure that Macavity's fleas are all gone before that), but so far Jelli doesn't mind the minor changes to the house.

Macavity is also fine, if very curious about everything. He spent half an hour earlier today just sitting in the bath and sniffing at the plughole, as if expecting something to come out of it. We also think he's not the brightest cat ever - which means that Jelli is going to be running rings around him - but he tries hard and is desperately affectionate whenever we go into the office to check on him. He also allowed Nick to clip his claws earlier (quite possibly the first time they'd ever been done) without making a fuss. His meow is still rather hoarse, but it's getting better, and he likes to talk to us when we see him.

***

Nick, meanwhile, is in mourning for his favourite film, The Wicker Man. He's read and heard reviews, and apparently things are so different and so bad that Nick is about ready to declare a Luciferian fatwa on the director. And it does sound bad. The original Wicker Man dealt with the dark side of the Old Ways, and had Christopher Lee in a Laura Ashley frock. The remake deals with how feminism and empowered women are a)apparently synonymous with neo-paganism, and b)evil. The film apparently further hammers this point home by having Nic Cage beat up a couple of the women for good measure.

Other than all that, it's been a quiet weekend...
sareini: default (Blackadder - Perversity)
Remember Mr.Pagans-are-EVIL!!!!! from the other day?

He's fricking serious.

...

I've got to go out and post a book, but I think I'm going to sit down and dissect all his evidence when I get back. After all, it is a pagan sabbath today... (Lughnasadh - bless you!), even if I'm not inclined to celebrate it (my sabbaths are limited to Halloween, Yule and Oestre, mainly because I keep forgetting about the others).
sareini: (occult)
I got up to see the cat, grab a drink, and briefly check the internet.

I found the following over on [livejournal.com profile] livejournal_uk

Reposted because I just can't believe I read this )

...I have no words. I just can't decide whether this is a complete wind-up or if this guy's genuinely off his rocker. At the very least I think I'm keeping an eye on this one for amusement purposes...
sareini: default (Bast)
A major problem with being dedicated to two deities who, while not bothered about whether or not you're a monotheist or not, do tend to have slightly different attitudes to things, can be best summarised like this:

- You 'adopt' a cat. This cat is a stray, but has been hanging out around your back yard for a while and has taken quickly to being fed and fussed over. Eventually it moves in, and all is well.

- Bastet looks down on you and goes, "Awww. You're good, looking after one of my Children."

- Eris looks down and goes,"Yeah, that is really cool. But you know what would be even more fun? Pregnant kitty!"

Yeah, we're pretty sure that Jelly is going to have babies some time in the next few weeks (with my luck, it'll happen on July 29th...). Last night both Nick and I tried, during the course of stroking and fussing over her - she's become much more affectionate and talkative over the last few days - to gently check out and palpatate her abdomen, which is definitely getting larger and rounder. When I tried it I got a clawless swipe at my hand, but Nick was able to check her later on (he's currently Flavour of the Month because he fed her pepperoni a couple of nights ago when he was making pizza) and he said he could definitely feel some little 'lumps' in her belly.

As well as that, she's eating less but more frequently, her nipples are becoming visible and she's apparently started looking for somewhere to 'nest'. I spent an hour this morning building her a 'nesting box' using instructions from one of the many web sites about pregnant cats I've read since yesterday evening - but Jelly just sniffed at it a couple of times ad has ignored it ever since. Instead, she's been checking out my room, and while I managed to dissuade her from the electricity cupboard, it looks like she's really taken with the space under my bed. Oh joy.

There are, I suppose, two 'good' points to all this: I guess we now know for certain that Jelly is a girl, and I know know for sure what my charity for Blogathon is going to be - the PDSA, because we're probably going to end up needing their help sometime soon...
sareini: (witch)
Churches' Christmas poster campaign

lj_uk post, with poster for clearer reference

Now, take notice of two of the phrases the priest uses in the news article about this campaign: "it is fighting back against the "politically correct" approach to Christmas", and "The Bishop of Lichfield ... said they were designed to be provocative."

Ah... so that's why they're representing Jesus as a white baby then...
sareini: (occult)
Here's something someone said to Nick last night on the Death Penalty Debate board:

"Be thankful, my friend, that we Christians don't live by your tenets. Because if we did, we would deem you unable to be "rehabilitated" by your own admission to being a non-Christian, and you would be put to death. Thankfully, our God believes you should live. Ironic, isn't it?"

My response was to sweetly point out that it's never really a good idea to try to take the moral high ground in a debate on the death penalty with a statement like that (ie. "If it weren't for God, I'd kill you!") and that, no, it wasn't very ironic. In fact, it was actually quite scary. Because it is.

This, I think, is something I will never understand about the mindset of the 'hard-core' fundamentalist Christian. The idea that so many of them have (and admit to having) is that the only thing keeping them from going on a killing spree through the streets is their belief in God. Or, to be more exact, the fact that God has told them they can't.

In other words, they literally have no morals or conscience aside from what God has told them.

Now, I don't know about you, but I have a conscience, and (I think) a pretty well-developed set of ethics (I try not to use the word 'morals' in relation to myself because it implies a religious influence that isn't there), and they have nothing to do with my beliefs. Which makes sense, when you consider that Eris is technically an anarchist and Bast has a tendency towards self-centeredness (she can't help it, she's a cat). The point is, my feelings on things such as the death penalty, and on whether or not it is a good thing or not to kill everyone who disagrees with you, are based on a combination of my respect for the laws of the land and my own personal ethics.

I remember once having an argument with a college-aged Christian who was insisting that, before the Ten Commandments, there were no laws, and that without them we'd have no justice system, courts, laws or anything like that. She disappeared in something of a huff when I politely pointed out that Hammurabi and the Babylonians had gotten their Code of Laws down quite a bit before Moses came down from that mountain.

Of course, the whole "there would be no laws without Christianity!" argument is total crap, and not just because of the Babylonians' contribution to world society. If there had been no code of laws, no basis standards of behaviour, then humanity would have died out long before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, or even before Abraham got visited by angels in the desert with an unusual attitude to urban cleansing, because we'd have all beaten the crap out of each other with no fear of retribution. To argue otherwise is just silly, as well as disregarding history and anthropology in a big way.

So why do I keep coming across peole who believe all of this? And why do they get all surprised or offended when I point out that it's a bit scary to have someone say "I'd kill you, but...", just because they've had to apparently rely on the word of a Big Man in the Clouds for their ethics, rather than their own minds?

iGod

Oct. 3rd, 2005 10:55 pm
sareini: default (HP Summary - Hey Zeus)
So, I thought I'd have a play with this iGod thing that I keep seeing people talking about...

My talk with God )

End deduction: God appears to have some form of amnesia. I suppose that would explain a lot, actually...
sareini: ('everything is true')
What do I believe?

I believe that, while there may well be deities of various stripes all around us, random chance still plays a much bigger role in the good and bad things that happen, so therefore said good and bad things are no reason to specifically believe or disbelieve in anything (except mabe random chance, of course).

I believe that everyone on this planet is deserving of a certain amount of respect, regardless of anything else about them.

I believe that it is mopre important to help people because they need our help than for anything that might happen at the end of it.

I believe that laughter is one of the most important things in the universe.

I believe that there are always going to be things we cannot explain, and that's what makes life interesting.
sareini: ('everything is true')
A lot of people are talking about Tom Cruise and Scientology right now, after those rather daft and uninformed comments the former made about modern psychiatric medicine (Scientologists think it's bad, you see, because everyone knows that mental illness is caused by being covered with the ghosts of dead space aliens). Well, I could join people in ranting about it, but while following links to various different places all talking about it, I came across this:

A great big list of questions that potential recruits/converts to Scientology are asked. While attached to a lie detector.

Want to see?

Are you now, or have you ever been... )

So, how far down the list did you get before you were eliminated? I got to the ninth.

(I was under a lot of stress, ok? I was in school, my depression and other mental problems hadn't been diagnosed at that point, and this girl was just really annoying me...)

But seriously, how in the hell are people supposed to answer these questions? "Have you ever implanted anyone?" "Have you ever annihilated a population?" "Have you ever warped an educational system?" (Technically, I've done that one, too...)

"Have you ever trapped a thetan?"
sareini: default (Imagika)
Just had one of my stranger gaming experiences for a while...

I'm leveling up a new alt (Invulnerability/Energy Melee Tanker) and so I have to spend more time than I might like in the newbie zones, Atlas Park and Galaxy City. Popping out of a mission into Atlas, I find myself in the middle of a large Broadcast conversation concerning religion (broadcast being the 'default' channel for the zone). Most people are goofing off with it ("The Rubbermaid is your one true God!" et al.), but I soon get to see that there are a couple of live ones mixed in there.

I actually want to devote more time to the guy who seemed to think that Wicca and Feng Shui were 'exactly the same', but really, what can I say? One is a Pagan path which embraces the Goddess, the other is to do with arranging furniture (massive generalisations, I know). Plus, he didn't actually say much else about this belief of his.

No, the real prize here was the guy who started proselytizing in the middle of a MMORPG. Lots of, "Jesus died for your sins, and you reject him"'s, along with a "I feel sorry for you because you're lost," thrown in for good measure. Plus your usual lot of sub-witnessings. He wasn't going for any one person here, either - just anyone who had the misfortune of listening to him. I wondered at first if he was just playing around, but as he continued I decided he wasn't - if he had been lampooning Christianity, he would have used RANDOM CAPS!, while this guy didn't use any. In fact, I don't even think he used punctuation.

So yeah. First time ever I've 'seen' a Christian witnessing in an online game. Hopefully it'll be the last too, as while I don't have a problem with it in principal, I don't play CoH to be converted.

The things you see online...
sareini: (witch)
Some people will find this amusing. Some may not. But the site has caught my attention and so I'm going to post it.

Normal Bob Smith

(If nothing else, I suggest the Hate Mail pages. All 200+ of them.)
sareini: default (catty)
Those of you over in America will probably not have heard of this little twit, but over in Britain we have a 'King of the (White) Witches', Kevin Carlyon. (I tried to get a link to his actual website, but mysteriously it's down... I blame the technopagans)

He's well-known over here for his media-grabbing attentions, such as his 'lifting of the Macbeth curse' from a Scottish castle, his spell of protection for the Lock Ness Monster when a cryptozoology team were looking for it - it should also be noted that Nessie hasn't been seen since and His Majesty recently did another spell to try to call it to the surface... Personally I think he killed the poor thing... He always wears that ratty red bathrobe, and has the unbridled temerity to say he's 'King' of all of us British pagans.

Really, it's enough to make me turn republican, just to spite him. Or at the very least start describing myself as a Purple Witch (why purple? Well, I like purple!) just so I don't have to have him claiming fealty over me.

Let's be honest; the man's a media whore. He turns up to his rituals/public appearances in a limo, claims he has over 1,000 followers, and is always on hand when the media needs a quote from a 'quirky' pagan. It's the general consensus of the pagan/heathen community that the man does much more harm to us than he could ever do good, and we want him out of the spotlight (actually, I think a lot of us would like to see him eaten by Nessie, but that's just wishful thinking...)

Here's another couple of media tales about His Royal Highness:

He sends a 'psychic profile' to the FBI to help catch the Washington sniper

King Kevin curses Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for being inaccurate (really worked, didn't it?)

So it has cheered me to some end to find that someone's created a petition to 'dethrone' King Kevin. Granted, in the long run it'll probably do very little - but the more people who make it clear to him and everybody else that we want nothing to do with him, the better.

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