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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

Hey hey!  How ya doin?  REALLY?!??!  ME TOO!

Proud Papa

Once again, I get to brag about my amazing daughter.

This past weekend she participated in a Texas State thing called UIL Solo & Ensemble.  We’re in Region 26.

This is where a bunch of band students in a specific area (called a region) go and play for judges individually and/or with fellow band geeks.  They can choose to play Class 3 (easiest), Class 2 (harder) or Class 1 (hardest) piece for their grade level (High School).

Last I checked, High School is comprised of four grades, 9th through 12th.  Caitlin is in 9th grade.  Yeah, this little fact plays a role in the bragging.

So she chooses a Class 1 piece.  Did I mention that was the hardest level for High School?

Then, she plays it… get this…  memorized.  TWO PAGES of blank ink splattered all across the page like it was taped on the wall during the shooting of Dune, when Baron Vladimir Harkonnen gets his face treatments.

Eww.

The judge then assigns a rating of 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 (Superior).  The highest rating is a first division or superior performance.  This represents an elite performance given by a student.

If you’re still wondering by now what she earned, you don’t know my writing very well. 

She achieved a Superior Performance! And that also means she’s eligible to compete at the Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest later in the school year!

She worked very hard on this and we’re so glad all that practice and effort paid off.

Wii Fit Blog Badges

Speaking of bragging…. I wonder why there aren’t Wii Fit Blog Badges yet.  When I lose a ton of weight in the near future, I want to brag about it.  But since I’m lazy, I want my blog to brag about it for me.

I uttered about this recently, but I also wanted to put something up on the blog about it.

If you notice over on the right, my sidebar shows off my Guitar Hero stats.  I have badges that show off how many Expert songs I’ve completed, my ranking, etc.

I wish Nintendo / Wii Fit folks had a similar system.  I envision online profiles, so that your progress (however you measure that) could be uploaded and turned into badges that could proudly show off one’s achievements.  Some might want to show off their Fit Credits, their scores on the balance games,  yoga games, and others might even want to display their weight and BMI.

I, for example, would dare to show off weight and BMI because as vain as I am, I know I’d work out harder to lower it.  I need humiliation to help motivate me.

Everyone, please join together and laugh at my obesity so that I may improve.

Tales of Venus Retrograde

Nick Dagan Best’s traveling multi-media presentation has received rave reviews at astrology conferences across the continent. If you’re in Austin tonight, you can check out this presentation for free!

Tales of Venus Retrograde
by Nick Dagan Best

Venus goes retrograde in Aries on March 6 this year, revisiting an eight-year cycle that is parallel to a pattern found in human history. With this special edition of “Tales of Venus Retrograde,” Nick Dagan Best discusses the background behind this particular section of the Venus retrograde cycle relative to U.S. political history and many notable biographies.

Nick Dagan Best is an exoteric astrologer who uses storytelling and a visual presentation to illustrate how astrology reflects life unfolding in time. A student of astrology since 1995, Nick is known as “the human ephemeris” for his uncanny knowledge of dates in history and their corresponding astrological features. He lives in Montreal, Canada.  This website is http://exotericastrology.com/

Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Time: 7:30-9 pm
Location: Plum Blossom Wellness Center, 1700 S. Lamar, Suite 230
Cost: Free

Best of LOLcats

Ah, Monty Python.

Anyway.

This weekend, I’m going off to the Texas Astrology Retreat in nowhere, TX.  In fact, I scheduled this post to publish while I’m on the road to nowhere.

If you follow me on Google Latitude you can watch me wherever I go! (you need to know my gmail address though).

I get to sit out, camp out, dine well and partake of immense expertise in the field of Astrology with my wife.

We went last year and had a great time.  I was declared to be the designated “fire pit guy” based on my activities last year as well as my penchant for fire pits.  You may or may not recall that I not only have many impressive skills such as Chief Sarcastic Officer, Class Clown, Alpha Geek, Annoying Positive Guy, Little Punny PhooPhoo and Crazy LOLcat Republican, I’m also a certified astrologer.   Now, don’t get all excited or ask me for a reading or anything… I’ve done a few blog posts on Astrology here and there, but my wife is the REAL astrologer.  I only got certified to help her out.

The featured presenter is Chris Brennan, who maintains a consulting practice at www.astrologicalconsultingservices.com, writes an astrology blog at www.horoscopicastrologyblog.com and is heading up a cooperative translation project for Hellenistic astrological texts at www.hellenisticastrology.com. The guy knows his stuff – we listened to him last night at our Astrological Society of Austin (ASA) monthly meeting where he gave a short presentation of the History of Western Astrology.

The special appearance by Maria Mateus is also something we’re looking forward to.  She’s a fellow board member of the ASA and always has new knowledge for us.  She’s wonderful to listen to, so if you ever get the chance, take it.

The retreat takes place way out in nowhere and is a fantastic place to unwind.

Just look at our schedule:

Friday: 2/27

6:00 – 7:00 Arrival and Welcome Dinner
7:30 – 9:00 The History and Philosophy of Ancient Astrology

Saturday: 2/28

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 12:00 Overview of Hellenistic techniques
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch and Labyrinth racing
2:00 – 5:00 Time-lords: Annual Profections
6:00 – 7:30 Dinner
8:30 – Late Babylonian Fireside Stargazing with Maria Mateus

Sunday: 3/1

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 – 11:30 Time-lords: Zodiacal Releasing – Timing the peak periods in a native’s life.
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 2:00 Synthesis and application of techniques to natal chart examples.

Trust me.  ANYTHING with the name “Time Lords” *HAS* to be fun.

December
3
2008
1:03 pm
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Some of you know that I happen to be a certified Astrologer (NCGR Level 1).  Evidently, this past week, *I* forgot that I was.

Here’s a Twitter conversation Monday night between me and Jestertunes (my token gay online friend :))

Me: anyone else see two bright stars just under the crescent moon? and nothing else in the sky?
Jestertunes: @whall those aren’t stars. it’s Venus and Jupiter. Venus is the brighter one.
Me: @Jestertunes I’m the certified astrologer here; I shoulda known that! I mean yeah, um, I knew that /rollseyesatself
Jestertunes: @whall uh… don’t you mean “astronomer?” Or are you planning to give me a birth chart and analyze all my relationships?
Me: @Jestertunes nope, i’m a certified NCGR astrologer. did so to help support wife’s career, she’s the REAL astrologer
Jestertunes: @whall Learn something new everyday.

I heard the implied smiley at the end of “all my relationships” and chuckled to myself.

Granted, I don’t “do” astrology for a living.  My wife does.  I don’t write about her very much (at her request) but I will say this: she’s an incredibly gifted astrologer.  Real astrology has little to do with pop culture horoscopes and more to do with personality profiles, synastry charts, decision making, and analyzing the influences imprinted in you when you’re born along with the transiting influences in the sky and meshing them with the other two factors of who makes you who you are: DNA and environment.  The Natal chart is like your celestial DNA, encoded within you at the moment you take your first breath as a snapshot of the heavens at that moment.

My certification had more to do with helping her continue with her career (I do math pretty good, and certification requires a lot of math to hand-calculate a chart).  I gained a valuable bit of knowledge of the planets, signs, houses, and have come to trust the readings she does.  Even just knowing Mercury retrograde info and staying on top of backups and redundant systems has proven quite worthy.  Sometimes I’m seen as a psychic at work after pressing and pressing on making sure a backup system is up and running only to find that it was down and then we fix it just in time to make a difference.  I credit my wife for those instances for her little reminders.

The Venus – Jupiter – Moon conjuction we saw in the sky Monday night was a pretty big thing for astrologers to watch and comment about.  Any celestial show is fun to behold analyze, but this one held special meaning for me, because it was a celestial smiley face:

Image from Martins Skywalk

Image from Martin's Skywalk

Seems the heavens has a sense of humor.

I just had more sleep than I’ve had a Loooooooong time.  And I’m pretty darned tired.  Does that happen to you?  Does that mean I got too much sleep?  Or is it a sign of addiction?

Astrological Get-Together – “Texas Retreat 2008”

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a founding board member of the Austin chapter of NCGR – National Center for Geocosmic Research, one of the largest non-profit associations of Astrologers in the US.  Our local chapter is called Astrological Society of Austin (ASA for short) and I maintain our website, http://www.astrologyaustin.org along with being Secretary.  I’m an NCGR Level 1 Certified Astrologer.

I guess in other words, I could have said “Hello, My name’s Wayne, and I’m an Astrologer” (your part is to say “Hi Wayne” and show me acceptance)

Our chapter co-hosted Texas Retreat 2008: Weekend of Hellenistic Astrology with author Joseph Crane over this past weekend.  Originally I was just going so that my wife could enjoy her time with the retreat and I planned on taking the time to rest, sleep, watch movies, play with my computer and basically be free of all obligations for a day or two.  But as fate would have it, I had dinner with the group and as I prepared my wife’s area for comfort (she still has a hard time walking due to the injury 1.5 months ago) I listened to the author’s introduction and overview of the weekend.  That was a mistake.  I got sufficiently hooked enough to want to stick around for the rest.

The speaker 

Joseph Crane has a wealth of knowledge of Ptolemy, Vettius Valens, Antiochus, Paulus Alexandrinus and tons of historical significators of astrology such as the Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and he knows how to tie them all together.  It was amazing.  We obtained some very worthwhile content on Hellenistic astrology (aka “traditional” vs modern astrology).  We also picked up a signed copy of his new book (we already have another of his books, A Practical Guide to Traditional Astrology, which we got signed as well)

joseph crane hellenistic legacy book

The food

So the speaker’s content was great.  But even better than that was the food.  Catered by none other than “The Gumbo Girl” Elizabeth Rojas herself, it was truly superb.  This person has experience catering huge events of more than a thousand and here we were, 13 or 14 of us, getting some of the most scrumptious organic and vegetarian and vegan-friendly food I’ve ever had.  Fortunately for me, not everything was vegetarian – it was “friendly” to the vegetarians because it was easy to pick what you wanted.  The breakfasts, lunches and dinners were all fabulous.  One of my favorites was the “adult mac and cheese”.  Elizabeth also told us of some of her work on Richie Sowa’s Spiral Island, a floating island made out of 250,000 soda pop bottles.

The place

Topping even the food and the speaker was the retreat center itself, the Margaret Austin Center.  A big 40-acre commune-style former vacation home of Margaret Austin, it can support 30+ folks, has a professional kitchen, a comfortable zendo as the teaching area, tons of campground area if interested, bamboo forests, a labyrinth, pleasant walkways, a 1 mile trail, good tap/well water, a sweat lodge for spiritual ceremonies, and great wide-open skies with very little light pollution so you can actually see the stars.

margaret austin center

We had a great campfire and stargazing session Saturday night.  It was not without it’s political discussion (you can imagine how it went, with one Republican and 13 liberal astrologers) but it stayed civil.  Guess who the Republican was?  It’s important that people be able to debate politics and remain friends afterwards, and we had that kind of debate.  Politics shouldn’t permanently polarize people, and fortunately we all agreed on that point.

Everyone did their own dishes after each meal, and I half-jokingly daydreamed to myself starting off Friday night announcing that I would be glad to be the designated dishwasher for the weekend (I don’t mind doing dishes, especially if I have my favorite music to accompany me) and let everyone else have a more relaxing time. Of course, this was actually an extremely selfish act, because my goal in offering the help was to potentially cause some of them to go back to their homes Sunday night and be able to say “You know what, the strangest thing happened… I met the nicest Republican over the weekend… he wasn’t hardly evil at all!”

Dallas is just alright with me…

No, it’s not a new Texas rendition of the Doobie Brothers song about Our Lord and Savior, it’s the announcement from Bossy herself that although she can’t make it to Austin Proper, she is going to make a Texas stop in Dallas.  This comes as mixed bitter sweet news for a lot of Austinites – mixed because we don’t know how to feel about it (are we not important enough? *sniff*), bitter because it’s a 4hr drive (why do you taunt us so? *sniffle*), and sweet because well, it’s BOSSY!  IN TEXAS! (we’re so glad you’re in our area of the US *hugs*).

Clearly I didn’t donate enough or pimp out the donation jar enough to help fund the trip to make Bossy feel like she needed an Austin stop.  Maybe Bossy doesn’t see how much easier it is to drive from Baton Rouge to Austin than from Baton Rouge straight to Dallas.  She’d have a place to stay in Austin, could knock out seeing a few more bloggers who can’t make it to Dallas, and she could gamble in Lake Charles along the way.  Heck, she could even hit Planet Houston mid-day to knock out a few more there.

bossy in texas

So here’s my plan.    LISTEN UP PEOPLE!

I bet if a bunch of people sent some money Bossy’s way ($3, $5, something small that you wouldn’t miss much but would mean a big deal to Bossy if done in large numbers) and tagged the donation “think about Austin whydoncha”, then she might change her mind!  You can witness the paypalathon of wordsmithing on my post about her coming down here and then click the donation link.

Come on people.  Vote for change.  And send your extra change to Bossy to change her road trip plans.  We can try to make her feel both awkward AND loved at the same time!

Best of LOLcats

Which are your favorites?

 

 

 

 

 

I did some Pay It Forward craziness this past week.  I combined a Guess The Movie theme with the PiF theme and then threw in some astrology, numerology, 11:11 phenomenon (unintentionally), Mr T-ology (unintentionally, Fool!) and comicbookology, all in one post!  I’m like the alchemist of the blogging era.  A blogchemist, if you will.

So here’s how it went down.  I asked the Universe a question, and that question was

Who should win the prizes from my Pay It Forward post?

And the winners are…. well, you’ll have to read it and scroll down (evil grin).

I’ve put all the interesting details below in the extended entry – click to read it all!  You know you want to!  (hint: there are pretty colors, fancy pictures and words that sound funny).

(more…)

Politics
pahl-uh-tiks : from Latin; “poly” meaning many, and “tics” meaning blood-sucking parasites.

I don’t know why I have politics on the brain so much lately. One of the surest ways to lose reader interest would be to blog about politics. The only way to help stave off reader abandonment would be to A) make something about the post unique, B) create controversy, and C) point out ahead of time that you risk losing readers due to the topic and that you have a plan to avoid it.

The cool thing about controversy is you not only get interest from people who agree (heck YEAH! Man, youtellitbruthah!), you also get the dissenters and people who vehemently disagree (you pusillanimous piece of putrid pediddledom how could you think that?!?!). I call that a win-win.

Now onto the predictions. You’ve probably heard of certain ‘facts’ about presidential elections. “As goes Ohio, so goes the nation” is one of them, in that no President has ever been elected that didn’t first secure a nomination from Ohio. Another is a common rule that the taller candidate wins, although Bush/Gore in 2004 was a notable (and somewhat emotional) exception.   Another indicator is approval ratings, which also took a hit in the last election, but still has a strong track record.

you decide 2008

So are we really deciding?  Or are fates decided beforehand, based on other factors? 

These kinds of ‘fact figures’ are extremely common in sports, and millions of people not only trust them inherently, they also strive to memorize as many as possible. People go monkey-bonkers over seemingly over-the-top stats such as ‘this running back ran for over 100 yards in any home game on a pre-season sunday that also had an odd number date and when it rained the previous two Saturdays’. Just listening to the commentators rattle off these things is mind-blowing when you think about the computational power and database it must take to keep track of the stuff. And what gets me is — people care about them!

Some stats are definitely worthwhile. After enough time, a stat gains strength and starts to become a trend.  A trend, if it is nurtured and weathers the hard times, can grow up and become worthy of prediction.

The trick is to identify which stats and trends are an actual sign of probabilty and not just errant data points.

I invite you to read the extended entry (below) for more interesting facts that might help us predict the next president based on astrological data.  Hint: Romney loses.

(more…)

You’ve probably heard of divination.  It might not be known by that name to you, but if you’ve heard of Tarot cards, Runes, reading tea leaves, dowsing, horary astrology or a Ouija board, you know divination. 

divination collage by wayne

Maybe in elementary school, you had one of those paper fortune tellers that told you who you were going to marry and how many kids you were going to have.  Remember being horrified that Bobby Henderson was going to be your husband and you were going to have three kids with him?  (I particularly hated that prediction).

Divination is the act of using some particular method to determine either answers, the future, the past or some information you want to know by making a physical action at the time you request the information, and then interpreting the answers. 

I’ll also wager that some or most of you have heard of memes.  And here I mean the questionnaire type (aka “blog meme”)and not the real Internet Meme definition or examples.  Recently I’ve been seeing ipod-based memes where they have a series of questions and you use your mp3 player or itunes list or whatever, put it on random, and then whatever the song title is, you use it as the answer to that question.

Now I’ve decided to invent my own meme.  This meme combines the two concepts described above, taking seemingly random at-the-moment information and data and facilitating a meaningful analysis.  The idea is that the subconscious works with universal energies to actually create the answer so that it suits you individually, for that specific moment.   It’s pretty freaky how accurate the other forms of divination can be, so maybe this will be equally freaky.

I’ll take the easy way out and map the song titles into the 12 houses in traditional astrology, since I know them pretty well.  So question one is based on the 1st house, question two is the 2nd house, etc.

Instructions:

  • Fire up your MP3 player or iPod or computer-based music browser. 
  • Turn on the Shuffle or Random feature.
  • Press play.  The title of the song that plays is your first answer.
  • You can listen to the song or press “next” to go on
  • The title of the next song is your second answer, and so on
  • Important: you need to READ and UNDERSTAND the question BEFORE you click “next”.   It’s even better if you read the question aloud.  Ask any astrologer or tarot card reader.
  • Post your results here or on your own blog.  Link to this post if you please.

Divination Meme

  1. How do I present myself to the world? 
  2. What do I value the most?
  3. How do I communicate with others?
  4. Where do I come from?
  5. How do I creatively express myself (or how do I have fun)?
  6. How does my work environment contribute to my overall well-being?
  7. What kind of person am I attracted to?
  8. How do I view death/transformation?
  9. What are my beliefs?
  10. What do I want to be known for / what is my calling?
  11. What kinds of friends do I have?
  12. What are my dreams *really* about?

My answers, if you’re interested, are in the extended entry.  Feel free to post your answers in the comment, or if you do the meme on your blog, let us know here.

(more…)

October
11
2007
11:10 am
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Narrator:

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogramming* to bring you this special news bulletin.

Story:

After months of laborious study, several bribes to key officials and well-timed animal sacrifices, Wayne is now a certified astrologer.   If he didn’t have the high morals and unmatched esteem for his fellow blog colleagues, he would totally rip off the picture seen here and replace the lottery ticket with his certification plaque.  And he would add a star and moon and a couple cool zodiac symbols in the hairdo.

Details:

You read that right – I’m of the stars, for the stars, by the stars, baby!  The confirmation and certificate came in the mail just this week (click to enlarge)

ncgr level 1 certificate cover letter ncgr level 1 certificate

Oh this is so cool.  The entire package came wrapped in gold star.  If anyone wants a custom humor-laced horoscope as interpreted by me, just let me know.  At the very least, I can get you a nice colorful PDF of your natal chart, along with some of my thoughts on it.  (POST UPDATE: note that for a natal chart, you need to provide birth date, time of birth and place of birth.  If you’re not comfortable giving me this information, NOCHARTFORYOU!  I understand if you want to keep that info private.  Note also that I would never share your birth information, or even your chart or any info FROM your chart without your permission.  Unless, of course, I see in your chart that you’re gullible and naive)

You may be wondering why a technical person such as myself has an interest in astrology.  I would be wondering it too.  First, I’d have to explain that you should probably try to forget whatever it is you think astrology is, especially if you consider pop culture horoscopes in Cosmo real astrology.  Sure, it’s influenced by real astrology, but that’s like saying a fortune cookie is as good as sound financial advice from a CPA.  The astrologer by profession is more like the CPA – trained, practiced and honed in their skill.  In the case of the astrologer, the skill is chart interpretation.  It’s actually more akin to actuarial studies – the meticulous review of tons of data and finding patterns and then applying those patterns and common sense to everyday decisions.

I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’m going to pursue the other levels – hey, maybe I should look at my chart? 🙂

Question: have you ever been to an astrologer?  Would you consider seeing one?

* blogramming seemed so right a word, but then I sounded it out and it just seems offensive.  But I’m using it anyway.  Evidently I don’t care about my readers.  Either one of them.


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