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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.

Yeah, so well I lost.  It’s still on my mind.  I can’t believe I got shut out on my first try. 

Sure, both of us had some issues with the calibration of the wireless guitars on the HD setup, but at least it was a fair disadvantage.  It’s not like just one of us had a messed up guitar or something.

wayne bites the big one

Yup, the picture says it all – I bit the big one.

I was supposed to go on at 7:01 but they had a bunch of technical difficulties, so my match wasn’t until ~7:30 or so.  Most of the matches before us were easy decisions – one person getting 120,000 points and their opponent getting 40,000.  These folks just weren’t well matched up.  There was one match on Medium where one person got 45,500 and the other person got 45,800 – now THAT’S CLOSE!

My personal match was Pat Benetar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot, and after a rough start we ended up neck and neck, with me scoring 118k and him scoring 120k.

ARGH!  This is so frustrating!  I *know* I could beat him.  I kept thinking of a way back in – is there a second chance bracket?  Can I compete at Expert level instead?  Can I buy my way back in?  BEST TWO OUT OF THREE?!?!?! COME ON!

So, let’s focus on other things.

For one, there’s a lively discussion going on at my FairTax Calculator post

Secondly, there’s some evidence that the media is actually treating Hillary like a Republican – a Reuters photographer took and posted the following photo:

Usually the Democrats don’t get such treatment in the headlines.   But just as I wouldn’t want this kind of photo done of a Republican, I feel sorry for Hillary.  One wonders if the Obama campaign “had this photo done and leaked” like some charge the Clinton campaign of the photo of Obama in a turban.  Blah Blah Blah, Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary’s cheating, Obama has no experience, Hillary has 35 years, blah blah blah – it goes in one ear and out the other.

Lessee, what else.  Oh yeah – I’m going to an Astrological Retreat for the weekend.  For me personally, it means sleep, rest, playing and no kids, no work, no responsibilities other than getting the spouse to and from the conference.  This will be the first “retreat” of its kind for me in a long time.  So far, I plan on filling it with possibly playing with Vista and VMWare more and maybe catching up on blogs and playing around on the internet.  Maybe I’ll work on our taxes (given the FairTax being on my mind).

What do you think I should do with my much-needed time off?

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Note: this was an ongoing blog entry I started some time ago. 

I’m starting a new color diet on Monday, January 29th, 2007.  Some of you who know me may be thinking “what the heck?” when you read more about what this color diet is, but hear me out.  I’m writing an entry about it because it’s pretty substantial, and we’ll find out if it’s any good or not.  Therefore, this blog entry started long before it was published.  I may start publishing somewhat into the project, or I may wait until the end.

The general idea is from Linda Goodman’s book “Linda Goodman’s Star Signs“.  Linda Goodman is an interesting astrologer who wrote many good books some time ago.  Some of her theories are a little out there (fairies, etc) but who knows; time may tell that she’s right on with those too.  She’s considered one of the top astrologers of all time by those who agree with her.

According to Goodman, the “color diet” consists of getting one’s aura back in balance.  She states that people who are underweght (the ‘skinnies’) have too much red/yellow in their aura and the overweight people (the ‘plumpies’, me in this case) have too much blue/green in their aura.  The plumpies are to work on re-balancing their aura to have less of a blue/green saturation and get more red/yellow/orange spectrum into their aura. 

On the face of it, it does make some logical sense. Red/yellow indicates more activity, maybe a higher blood pressure, and a better metabolism by using more energy to convert the food we eat into usable energy.  Blue and green, on the other hand, indicate to me a more sedentary style, or to just lay back and relax.  Think about it – what do the fattest things on earth eat?  Cows, whales, rhinos, elephants, etc… all eat greens, blues, and darkish foods.  Bees, on the other hand, eat honey.  Monkeys eat bananas.

So there are three primary concepts in changing your aura to have more red/yellow/gold in it – 1) daily color light therapy, 2) drinking solarized water, and 3) eating foods from the red/yellow/gold/orange spectrum and staying away from green/blue-based food.  If you want more info about the specifics, I’d recommend buying the book.  But this blog entry here is about my personal experience with the color diet.  Read the massively extended entry for all the details.

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