Tag Archives: mystery

Day One

When Mitchell came home in march with a job offer in hand and asked me if Leila and I wanted to go to china for six weeks, I stood in the kitchen and yelled, “Yes, yes!, yes!

I didn’t know why I wanted to go to China so badly, and I didn’t know how I would manage there, but I knew deep down in my heart that this was an opportunity not tot be missed.

My relationship with China began when I was nineteen and I read Lao Tzu’s famous text, The Tao Te Ching. This was at the time was the significant “religious” (although “non-thesist” is a better term) text that the ancient culture had followed for years, an ideology of harmonious coexistence with other animals, the planet, and the universe. I needed to go there. I needed to go to the source. So with a month to prepare my five-year-old daughter for this experience of a lifetime, I set the last week aside for packing, and with a big breath and a small prayer, we boarded the plane to Beijing, at sunrise on Friday.

We landed in China at sunset on Saturday, and as we whizzed away from the gigantic Beijing Airport, I knew I was headed for a real adventure. The Peking Yard Hostel had been expecting us, a typical courtyard setting with brightly colored orchids and geraniums in pots. The young girls at the front desk spoke English and made us feel totally at home, and backpackers spotted the couches in the lounge. After a short respite, we ventured out.

Communication Breakdown

On the plane, I had had the luxury of spending the last hour and half practicing how to say, Wazhima Hutong, Dongsi Bedaije, Doncheng District, when I jumped into the cab. And the driver still didn’t understand me. Little did I know that, number one, I butchered the language, and , number two, that Beijing is made up of thousands of hutongs – tiny alleys where people live and work. Furthermore, there’s no possible way that i a cab driver would know them all – a landmark would have been much more suitable.  After first stopping on the main street, he motioned that he could drive in, which I was thankful of since I had no idea where I was going. He went around the block, and after honking his way through people, carts, children, and bicycles, we finally arrived at the hostel’s big red doors.

Dinner my first night I wasn’t so lucky. We seemed to be surrounded by hundreds in little restaurants and shops, and I chose a place close by, fearing that Leila may be overwhelmed by all the hustle and bustle (which didn’t seem to be slowing down as the night darkened). It was hot, I was nervous and my total ineptitude for the language became excruciating. Luckily the place was small and no one paid attention; and although Leila ate nothing (pork bacon with chilis, something I thought was chicken), she was happy to connect with the waitress. They played kooky eyes with each other for close to a half an hour, Leila asking repeatedly, “why do you have so many bull frogs under the aquarium?” When my head hit the pillow, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. It wasn’t perfect, but it was over.

the back door to blogs

A lot of people say to me, hey, mo, i love your blog. (I may get embarrassed and try to redirect the conversation). Especially when they usually follow it up with, Actually…it’s the only one  i read. (I still have friends who haven’t entered the ‘mobile phone’ realm). I smile, unsure how to proceed. Sometimes they might stop for a moment, puzzled, and say How did you even manage to start a blog?

Now, I’m a person who wishes that I was easy and comfortable with change, but frankly, I’m not. With me it takes a long time. Here’s a picture of my old tapes, full of dirt and grime from camping trips around British Columbia and Mexico. Yuck.

Here’s the day I finally threw them in the dumpster, circa 2009. I was not a happy camper.I wanted to keep them – to hold them and to love them and sometimes even listen to them – which by now i can barely do in any location – as tapes have been for the most part, sadly phased out. But trust me, I’ve still got the vinyl, and believe me – it’s only getting cooler.

That day at the dumpster, Mitchell did give me a moment with them – all those stinky old grateful dead and phish tapes, old bootlegs made from someone made from someone and someone else who knew a taper – and i picked my very favorite shows. I picked from the very best, and carrying that forward,  i simply moved on.

I was on the cusp of a change, clinging to my old white pages while yearning for something more. And then, I met real live blogger. She was authentic, she had her own voice, and moreover- she had been blogging for years and years. And I thought, BLOGS?! Really? Where the hell have I been?

Here’s the day I started blogging.

I wanted to write a post about how to get into blogging, but frankly, i felt the expert bloggers out there – and there are definitely experts – should be left to that. And I should probably just keep writing about the bridges to the moon and delivering updates from planet  sagittarius.

But for you bloggie newbies, here’s a few tips i learned along the way, about spotting the blogs that we love, and trying to get into the same clubs that they do. (Unwritten Rule #1: join Twitter)

Where can i find the blogs i love? 

In this day and age, Google makes it very, very easy to search for and share information. If you’re living in 2011, and I can assume that most of you are, then you know this already. Like design? So do bloggers. Like parenting? So do bloggers. Like traveling? So do bloggers. Like learning how to do stuff? So do bloggers.

How can I make it easier to find good blogs?

Well, you could start by reading a blog about it. But I like the human contact direction – talking with a friend, co-worker, or anyone other internet junkie you can spot – because it’s guaranteed – they’re reading one.

Once I find a blog i like, what do i do then?

When you find a blog that you like, remember to interact with the blog! Share it or tweet it – even suscribe to it (get the blogs by email) for a week or two and see if you like the author’s posts . Sometimes I even leave a comment on the blog, especially since i try to remember that behind the blog there is a always a blogger, who is trying to share something with you, fighting to connect with the human spirit!  And chances are, they want to hear from you. 

How did i ever live without blogs?

So if you ever need advice on encouragement, democratic reform, or writing that last chapter, remember that blogs travel in packs – in tags, groups, and forums. Find them, connect with them, and join the dozens of  ways we can stay, well, virtually connected. If you find a blog that you like, most blogs will have a list of other blogs they like, too.

I’d like to finish off with this Neil Young video that describes how he made his new blue-ray, “A Treasure”. It is a hilarious account of he came to “recover the technology” while going through his archival footage. tapes, blogs, whatever. we experience, we struggle to express, and we share, and whatever forms we can.  

We had to hack around to make it work but we hope that you enjoy it  -neil young

Leave your comments on this post or suscribe to FurtherMo on the homepage! I always love to hear from you guys.

cosmic variables: exploring ophiuchus

Support group for Sagittarians

Last week Minneapolis astronomy instructor Parke Kunkle affirmed that the Earth’s “wobble” has shifted the zodiac signs. First of all, this is a concept that astrologers and astronomers have known for 2,000 years, but after the story went viral on the internet, experts claimed that the zodiac “has changed”, (which it hasn’t) and that your sign is different (which it isn’t).

This mattered to me for two reasons: the first, because i think astrology is fun and endearing, and the second, because i am an early december baby and thus one of the unlucky sagittarians to have their world shaken by a word that I couldn’t even pronounce the first three times i saw it: Ophiucus (oh-fee-YOU-cuss).

Now, when I first heard the news, I had a mild astrological identity crisis. People were saying ‘Your sign is not your sign’ and ‘Your whole life has been a lie’, but the angry, resentful part of me only heard, Astrology is a crock, anyway. And I was furious!

My love affair with astrology started when I didn’t believe in anything else. So I wouldn’t say it was by default, but it grew out of my profound love for the mysterious celestial body that we live in and call home.

My scientist brother Paul has always denied the existence of our personality outcomes being based on something we share with others who were born on the same day that we were born: enter Astrology. But I have forever embodied my fire sign, Sagittarius. Everything that symbolizes Sagittarius, symbolizes ME.

And the more I listened to, watched, and read, the more conflicted the stories had become. What was going on?

Let’s get to the bottom on this Ophiuchus business.

It’s true: there is a thirteenth constellation

Planets, moons, bands of energy, light. This is the universe, and it is the real deal. It is ever changing, ever living, and ever vibrant. And it is never the same. So, ‘Magnetic north’ is moving forty miles a year.I can live with that. I probably move forty miles a week, and sometimes forty miles a day. Not shocking that magnetic north is shifting.

This is equal to about a one degree shift per year in the alignment of the earth every 70 years, making the earth’s orbit slightly unstable.

Kunkle, the Minnesota astronomy instructor, came out last week and announced that there is a thirteenth sign, Ophiucus, which has been neglected for years. And this is true.

Kunkle is suggesting that astrologers ar off a month in their zodiac signs, and that they are neglecting Ophiucus, a constellation has been around for 2,000 years. There are 88 other well known constellations ~ should they be signs, too?

Ophiucus is the Serpent Bearer, and could potentially represent those born from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17.

According to myth, Ophiuchus became a healer when he killed a snake and another appeared with an herb in his mouth that revived the dead one. Some have said that he was a doctor, and others said that he was a snake charmer.

But let’s be honest, people. We’re talking stars, here. I could pretend my couch is a wild animal, too, and create an elaborate myth surrounding it. Would that make it real?

if you believe Kunkle, go here for your new zodiac sign dates

It’s not true: your sign is still your sign

Expert astrologers say the rumors that there is a thirteenth sign are absolutely untrue. Rick Levine says Ophiucus is a not a sign, it’s a constellation. So there are lots of those, and the data has never gone viral before, so where do we stand, Rick?

Levine maintains that astrology is based on the four seasons, not on the constellations – and the seasons don’t change. Each season has a beginning, a middle, and and end, which adds up to 12 zodiac signs. There is no 13th sign. Well, phew. That was a close one.

Others suggest that all of this hype about new Zodiac dates (including Ophiuchus)  is simply a false alarm.  The Zodiac dates are based on the yearly solstices and equinoxes, not actual star location and that although the astronomical constellations are changing, the astrological reference points have not, or will not change. The original zodiac dates will remain the same. They have been known since 500 B.C.

And so the botton line is…

Is Astrology a bust?

When I had my birth chart read, that time in British Columbia, by the physicist who lived in that trailer, I believed him. He knew so much about me, and made insights about my relationships, my health, and my travels. When I wrote my first column, Astrological Mojo, in the Saint Marys’ newspaper, was I taking certain liberties that perhaps I couldn’t afford?

Ophiucus is ancient news to experts and astronomers, really ancient. They’ve known this for millenia. It has also been suggested that in other zodiacs, Ophiucus does get some play. But for some reason, our zodiac has omitted this celectial data: perhaps in the name of the democratic 12 (in accordance with the 12 months) or it was dropped because of unlucky 13. Only four stars of Ophiucus are touched by our zodiac.

But you know what, this morning when I was reading intoxicated zodiac, which assigns certain cocktails to each sign, i wondered how accurate my physicist’s reading was that morning in the sunshine of the trailer table pulled down, or whether he was really a physicist at all.

Please leave your comments – i can’t wait to get some of your feedback on this star-crossed, crater sized mystery.

Listen to CBC Radio: The Missing 13th Sign