Showing posts from 2017

Sustain-ability: Making Things Ourselves

Andrew made a comment on my last post about handmade things being one of those nice things we can still have. I agree, but with one caveat. Buying handmade has been co-opted and to avoid that pitfall, you need to buy carefully.

Etsy is a perfect example of this trend. When it started, etsy was specifically for custom handcrafted items as well as resale of vintage items. But if you do there now, you will see something very different going on. You will find lots of items that, which technically handcrafted, aren't custom. In fact, the same items appear again and again. This is because they handmade in a factory-like setting abroad. This reduces the transparency of the items you are buying. The maker and buyer are separated by a middle-man -- the seller. This means you can't know when you are buying if the actual makers are treated well or compensated fairly. You hope they are, but you see that they are many many identical versions of the item being sold by different people on et…

Mind War: Part Ten -- This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Posts have been thin on the ground. I'm in a funk. Due, no doubt, in part to Retrograde All the Things. One result is that everything I write just sounds like the most hypocritical crap. So I figure, why not leverage all this crankiness into a Mind Wars post.

I start by presenting the following for your edification. It's worth a full read.

A case study in co-option. The manipulation and appropriation of symbols for uses that aren't transparent to the audience. This is a particularly nice example because the HER fund certainly isn't evil in terms of investment opportunities. But it's a FUND, you know. One that relies on that bull to keep charging. And in all its virtue signaling, it's completely insider art and part of the system it purports to critique. The bull on the other hand celebrated that system, but from outside of it as a piece of guerrilla art -- a very expensive piece, the artist must have had a solid portfolio himself.

And the controversy and argume…

The Year of Being Agile -- Responding to change over following a plan

As part of my year of being agile, I'm going to explore each of the four values in my Agile Magic Manifesto in order to a) help create actionable items and b) define my own plan for the year (one of the secret benefits to blogging is that writing about stuff helps you get shit straight in your own head).

If there's one thing you take away from CircleThrice, take this: Planning is necessary, but it's not sufficient. Obviously I believe that planning is a good thing. Check out this whole post on why. But in order to be successful you need to a) get started and keep going and b) adjust your plan as you go. The latter is what we're covering here.
Responding to change is absolutely necessary in order to reach your goal. Because everything changes -- all the time. It's the nature of reality. And in our current reality things not only change, but they change rapidly, unexpectedly, and abruptly. You have to be on top of change because if you aren't, your plan will rap…

On Age and Time

Time for another weekin the desert. This is something of an annual tradition at this point -- though this is a spring trip and not a height of summer one (maybe we are finally wising up). It's also become a tradition because CircleThrice is two years old this month. Which surprises me greatly.

The theme of this year's visit home seems to be the passage of time. As you see those who came before aging, and you think about the changes in your own life, it brings home the gift that is a lifespan. I'm personally a big believer in reincarnation. I think there's some very good evidence of it (more than for most metaphysical concepts) and it just has always made sense to me on a visceral level. But moreover, as I look at my life with additional experience (age may not confer wisdom, but it does seem to provide perspective) it gives me a great deal of comfort to think that after this life is another opportunity. Not because my life is bad, but because the experiences of life an…

Project Ivy: Pivot

It's been about three months since my last status update. And what a very busy three months it was!

After a relatively quiet winter holiday season, the year kicked off really fast. There were two major international work trips (with all the associated prep work). And then as soon as I returned, I managed to get sick as can be. And this is where the importance of project flexibility comes into play.
If you've been following along with these status updates, you know that getting regular outdoor exercise was a major goal for my personal project. Now, admittedly our very icy winter weather did put a crimp in that, but overall I'd been making good progress... even through the work trips. See, traveling in international cities usually involves a LOT more walking than I usually get at home. So despite being outside of my normal routine I was walking a ton and feeling good.
You know what does interfere with outdoor exercise in rainy weather? A terrible, lingering upper respiratory…

The Year of Being Agile -- Spiritual collaboration over contract negotiation

As part of my year of being agile, I'm going to explore each of the four values in my Agile Magic Manifesto in order to a) help create actionable items and b) define my own plan for the year (one of the secret benefits to blogging is that writing about stuff helps you get shit straight in your own head).

Lets say you are in the midst of a project and you need some information or a decision or some help, from a stakeholder. Which tactic do you suppose is more effective: 1. Call legal for a contract review, create a formal addendum for the interaction you are proposing. Send it to their legal department. Babysit four red line versions between the lawyers. Get the appropriate signatures and then move forward. 2. Pick up the phone and talk to the person you need help from and just ask.
Obviously in an agile project, the latter is going to be more effective. But it's also probably only going to work if you have a preexisting relationship. Now, a preexisting relationship may involve…

Taxes Fucking Suck Sale!

Taxes fucking suck. So I'm having a Taxes Fucking Suck sale on all my services through the end of June! That's enough time to get your taxes back... and help me pay mine!

First, go take a look at the services I offer
Anything look interesting? Because from now until June 30, all of my divination is 25% off! That includes my Multiverse and Black Swan as well as the major Life-Crafting divination (which is enough data to honestly change your life). It even includes my mini-divinations -- even more affordable for the next few months. Just use the paypal links below instead of the ones on the services page.
But even more amazing, I'm offering my PMPM consulting services at 33% off through the end of June as well. That's a $50 an hour savings to work directly with me (skype, phone, or in person if local) on defining and meeting your goals. Your own professional project manager, with bonus magical experience. And that price will be good for as many sessions as you want thr…

Sustain-ability: Nourishment

This is not the first time I've talked about nourishment here on CircleThrice. But I feel like it's particularly important to revisit this concept right now as the Western world seem increasingly, well not just empty, but outright deprivational and harmful (like the cultural equivalent of the Standard American Diet).

The way that the phosphoric acid leaches calcium from your bones, vast stretches of popular culture, most media, and general social interactions leach the joy and magic out of your spirit. It's worse than the spiritual equivalent of white sugar or flour, which at least taste good in the near term (though it's not good for you and moderation is key). You need to treat this material the way you do propylene glycol or artificial food coloring or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils -- as without redeeming qualities and completely toxic to your system.

You know there are times when you can ease into a change. You park further from the entrance and take the st…

PMPM - Look where you want to go

Stick with me, this is relevant.
We've been watching a show that my husband found found online someplace (we only have basic cable with our internet) while I was traveling. At first I was skeptical, but he said he really liked it and couldn't wait to show it to me when I returned. He was right, and we've been hunting down old seasons and watching it for about six weeks now.

The show is called Canada's Worst Driver. It's a reality TV series where they find some of the worst drivers in the country (nominated by a friend or family member) and they all try NOT to be the last person left on the show. They get intensive driving lessons and complete in various challenges. Each week the best person graduates and gets to drive away. At the end, the final worst three try not to "lose" and get the hideous Canada's Worst Driver trophy. So it's like the reverse of the typical show.
I appreciate that it sounds kind of lame, but I actually really enjoy it. Firs…

The Year of Being Agile -- Working enchantment over comprehensive philosophy

As part of my year of being agile, I'm going to explore each of the four values in my Agile Magic Manifesto in order to a) help create actionable items and b) define my own plan for the year (one of the secret benefits to blogging is that writing about stuff helps you get shit straight in your own head).

Working enchantmentover comprehensive philosophy

When I was in my 20s, I was pretty sure I knew how things were. I had theories galore about how magic operated, how religion worked, and what was really going on in the world. Not only was I convinced that I knew things, I was convinced that things were knowable.

I'm either much wiser or much stupider now (or both) because at this point I'm pretty sure I don't know how things work. In fact the only thing I'm pretty sure sure of is that lots of stuff may actually be unknowable. Of course, I still have theories, but now the important thing is not whether those theories meet some objective standard of true, but whether th…

Sustain-ability: Home Economics

When I was in middle school, in the late 1980s (yes kids, I'm old), HomeEc was for losers. Seriously, it was an easy A for girls who weren't smart or ambitious, who's life goals involved marrying an airman so they could escape our shitty little town and see the world (An Officer and a Gentleman resembled my hometown to a striking degree, except with younger girls).

I didn't take HomeEc. I took science and math and AP classes. I was headed for college and a more self-directed way escape our shitty little town and see the world (method, different; goal, the same). Which meant that when I did go off to college, I was singularly unprepared for the practicalities of adult life. I couldn't cook, or do laundry effectively. I didn't know how bills worked or how to rent a place to live. I was good with my checkbook (all that math) but not so good at making the money last. Interestingly, I could sew and mend and knit, because my mom enjoyed those things and was willing t…

The Year of Being Agile -- Jet-lag Update

I was in recently in the Far East for a week and the jet-lag has been pretty brutal. Some people get directional jet-lag (moving East worse than moving West or the reverse), but I always get hit with the jet-lag much worse on my return home.

This is because I can't afford to be jet-lagged when I get there. First, because I'm in a different country and want to enjoy every damn minute of it that I'm not working. Second, because I'm, hello, working.

And that is why this advertisement bugs the hell out of me:

I mean girl, you are in Tokyo! With the top of the Skytree outside your window! Turn off the TV, and get yourself up and moving! Keep that sun on your face (you're lucky to have it, jet-lag is much worse when it's cloudy). You're in one of the most amazing cities on the planet, and one that's safe and easy to navigate without a word of Japanese. OMG, don't waste it.

Also, don't look with skepticism upon the Japanese toilet until you've trie…

The Year of Being Agile -- Individuals and interactions over hierarchy and rules

As part of my year of being agile, I'm going to explore each of the four values in my Agile Magic Manifesto in order to a) help create actionable items and b) define my own plan for the year (one of the secret benefits to blogging is that writing about stuff helps you get shit straight in your own head).

Individuals and interactions over hierarchy and rules

This isn't just about the hierarchy of magical orders or who's who in the occult or Pagan communities. This is about levels or divides that keep us from connecting in real ways. It's about external rules that dictate who you talk with or what you can believe. It's about "real" news versus "fake" news. It's about building, and defending, community. It's how we stay out of the bubble.

I'm focusing on people I trust rather than institutions (just like Martin Armstrong predicted, dammit). I'm prioritizing the experiences of those I care about and their lives rather than some sweepi…

The Year of Being Agile -- To Light the Way

This is part of a series of posts on being more agile in 2017. For the full list of related posts, see the Index.

The trouble with defining an agile end game is that it can be hard to keep it in mind over the months. It's hard enough to keep very concrete goals in front of you over time, let alone a squishy agile goal. Here's how to get around that.

First, you immediately create a few backlog items that are concrete. After all, just because you don't know exactly where you're headed doesn't mean you won't have a first step in mind. So think of of a couple of ideas that you can do RIGHT NOW. This is your first step and the sooner you take it the better.

For example, if your agile goal is financial optionality, you probably have a couple of ideas of things to try right off (spend less, alternate income streams, etc.). Your immediate tasks can be as simple as checking out the library for new books and movies (instead of buying them) or shopping with a list and sti…

Sustain-ability: Neutral Territory

Could not have picked a better week to leave the US in favor of Switzerland. I haven't seen any TV or news since leaving home and am better for it. And during the most emotional, the most fraught day in recent US history, I will be flying (staying coherent is easy when the drinks are free).

I want to be very careful here not to engage in bragblogging (is that a thing? It should be a thing -- lifestyle bloggers, I'm looking at you). I'm aware that I'm extremely fortunate to be able to travel and doubly blessed that someone else is paying for it. It's the culmination of a lot of years of both mundane and magic work that finds me here (currently Old Town Zurich, but for the past week a 100-year-old hotel in the alps).

Everything here is high end IKEA, but it was all Old Europe in the mountains -- snow and horse carriage rides and cheese. My room barely had Internet and, in addition to a brisk walk in -18F temperatures (windchill -22) I spent a silent afternoon actuall…

The Year of Being Agile -- Agile Method and Magic

For those who aren't familiar, the agile process is a very simple and streamlined method for having a regular cycle of planning and review and supporting rapid iteration, fast failures, quick recoveries, and course corrections. It was created for software development, but works well for all kinds of other projects where you may not know everything in advance (no map).

The core unit of time is the sprint. Typically, this is from 2 - 6 weeks. For a magician, what could be better than a monthly timetable (either solar or lunar)? In between the sprints, there's a single process that involves:

Reviewing what you accomplished (and what you didn't)Retrospecting how things went and adjusting course as necessaryIdentifying new tasks to do with your end game in mind (this is called the backlog)Planning the next sprint by forecasting and choosing the tasks you want to do The only other required activity is a quick daily check-in against your planned activities (it's called a stand…

The Year of Being Agile -- End Game

Happy New Year. This was a challenging one for me, feeling ill and somewhat emotional. But we're warm and safe and fed and that's going to have to be good enough for right now... in fact, it IS good enough. My goal for today is hot tea and buffalo chili... and a little looking ahead.

Yes, we are starting the beginning by thinking about the end. But this isn't the typical resolution post (though if you are considering resolutions, go check out this post from last year). This is about the types of goals that will allow you to be as agile as possible.

One of the misunderstandings that people have about Agile Project Management is that there are no goals. That you just try stuff out and see what your audience likes and the product owner (that's Agile-speak for project manager) can change his or her mind at the end of each sprint (a defined duration of team work, usually between 2 and 6 weeks). Well, it's true that agile makes it easy to change direction, but that doesn…