Friday, April 27, 2007

And Some Bad News

At least for me...

Unless something drastic happens, I'm going to be closing the doors of Aphrodite's Dove at the end of May. Everything is now on clearance, and I may put some of the big ticket items up on E-Bay. We shall see.

I'm contemplating whether or not to take the store to the Web. A lot will depend on my ability to obtain funds for inventory. At any rate, it's been an interesting ride.

There's Good News...

The pentacle has been approved for use as a military emblem of belief.

This is a follow-up to my post for the "Blog Against Theocracy" blogswarm. I had used the Veteran's Pentacle fight as an example of oppression of a minority religion such as would occur in a theocracy. It's a minor form of oppression, especially as compared to... oh say, the Inquisition, but it's still telling us that ours is not a valid religion.

Well, demonstrating that we haven't gotten saddled with the The Republic of Gilead yet, the VA has finally approved the pentacle as an emblem of belief. This means that deceased Wiccan military personnel can now have pentacles placed on their gravestones in military or private cemeteries. It's about time. Now, I have to wonder, are the Asatru going to try to get Thor's hammer approved by the VA?

Friday, April 20, 2007

If I Didn't Have a Service Contract, I'd Get Someone Else

Grumble, grumble, grumble. For the past several days, I've been trying to get someone in to fix my furnace (well, okay, the people at Sears insist that it's a boiler, but the point is, it heats my house).

It got rescheduled three times, and the first two were the fault of Sears. The third is at least partly my fault in that I'm lousy at answering my home phone, and apparently, they didn't seriously try to reach my cell phone. I think I told them when I first called them that they'd be better off calling my cell phone, but I don't remember the call that clearly. I do know that every time I called to get an ETA after that, I made a point of giving them both numbers. Anyway, the first time I tried to get an ETA for the scheduled visit, they rescheduled for two business days later. Since this was on Friday, that meant I had to wait four more days for the rescheduled visit. Oh, and they told me that if a space opened up on the originally scheduled day, they'd get the tech to my house, except that of course they didn't, and in the meantime I couldn't go anywhere on the off-chance that they might. Tuesday rolls around, and they reschedule again for Wednesday. At least this time, they didn't give me any BS about the possibility of a space opening up.

Wednesday's the messy one. I got an ETA for the afternoon. Now, my home phone is in an area that should be nicely accessible and was when I first put it there. It's not especially accessible now. So, I missed their attempts to call me on the land line. When I called them after the scheduled window passed, they told me that they'd have the right department get back to me. I made sure they knew to call my cell phone. They didn't call back on either line. I called a second time, and that's when I found out I'd been dropped from the schedule because I didn't answer the phone. Sheesh, they couldn't tell me this the first time I asked what was going on? So, reschedule again. They had to delete my home phone from their records to assure that they'd call my cell phone. They finally fixed my furnace yesterday. I'm only posting about it now because my monitor died in the middle of all this, but that's a separate rant.

Please note: I have no complaints about the service techs. They got the heat back on and now my house is a reasonable temperature. My complaints are about the central office's inability to get the techs out here.

The service contract? That expires in October. If I have the funds this fall, I may sign up for a new service contract with the local gas company... which is owned and run by the city... a city not known for competent employees. They can hardly do worse in the scheduling department.

One more thing: When I first had the furnace installed, I was told that I would not need to bleed air out of the radiators. This is a common annual ritual with hot water mediated central heating because air bubbles can build up in radiators and interfere with water circulation. Well, before I called Sears the first time to schedule service, I bled any radiators in the house that I could find bleed valves for on the theory that I should try the simple fix before calling for help. Three out of four of them had significant amounts of air in them. So much for not needing to bleed them. That's another reason I'm annoyed with Sears. Pity bleeding the radiators didn't solve the problem. I could've avoided the rest of this mess.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Freedom of Religion Means Any Religion

As a member of a minority religion, I am very concerned about the Religious Right and their efforts to turn the USA into a Christian Nation. While I've seen claims that atheists are the most hated minority in the country, the fact of the matter is that Pagans/Witches aren't far behind. Indeed, in some cases, they have it worse. The Lady Liberty League is an advocacy group for Pagan civil rights. One of their ongoing projects is aimed at getting the Federal Government to allow a pentacle to be place on the head stones of fallen Wiccan soldiers. As things currently stand, the list of available Emblems of Belief includes a symbol for Atheists (entry 16), but not for Pagans.

Many Christians still equate witchcraft with Satanism, and do not understand that the two really have no connection. Then again, the more extreme forms of Christianity are apt to view any belief system that isn't theirs as Satanic, sometimes even when it's another Christian denomination. For example, some of Jack T. Chick's toxic little tracts are anti-Catholic. In fact, many of the worst religious conflicts have been between different sects of what are nominally the same faith, e.g. the Inquisition in the Fourteenth Century, or the Shi'ites vs. the Sunnis in modern Iraq. I think it's safe to say that if any religious group whether Christian, Muslim or other manages to actually take over the USA, they'll turn on each other after they've dealt with everyone else. Heck, they might%

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cool Crochet Tool: Illuminated Hook

I recently got a Crochet Lite hook (size H/5mm) from Clover. It's modeled on Clover's Soft Touch hook (which I also have in the same size), and the batteries and switch are in the handle. Watch out when you remove the plastic bit that keeps the batteries off the contacts. One of the batteries tried to escape when I did it. It almost succeeded too. The actual hook is made of clear plastic, so it glows from where it emerges from the handle to the tip.

How it handles: Pretty nicely, actually. I usually have problems with plastic hooks snagging yarn or thread on the molding line. This hook is smooth enough not to have that problem, although the thread doesn't slide on and off as easily it does with the Soft Touch. This appears to be a difference in the amount of friction. The light is useful when you find yourself in a situation like I did tonight, waiting for a bus after dark. It let me see what I was doing with the stitches although sadly, it's not quite bright enough to read the pattern by.

I've only seen them in one place so far, MLYS on South Street, a little place called Nangellini. Michael's and AC Moore don't have it, at least not yet, and not in Philly. Anyway, I suggest that any readers not in Philadelphia ask TLYS to carry it.