Month: April 2013

Productivity – Gmail forwarding

You may wonder why this blog is focusing on what might seem as aspiritual as productivity and using technology to make life easier, when I could write about going outside and finding the divine. Here’s why: these productivity efforts are how I make the time to do that stuff.

"diana rajchel" magickalrealism "twin cities"

Sometimes, it seems like sticking with Outlook would have been a good idea. The calendar was there, so were the contacts, and hell, after awhile it even added a task list. I used to use them all. Then I tried Eudora, went back to Outlook and now on to Google mail. ((I ignore the end results of Yahoo, having only used it as a sort of junk filtration system. Sometimes there is no graceful way to decline signing up for a mailing list.))  These days, Google has essentially all the same goodies as Outlook – with an added plugin or three, of course.

mai_shotl

In years past, I spread my life out over 3 email accounts. While at the time it didn’t seem like much hassle, I’ve realized I spent entirely too much time hitting alt + tab to jump between accounts. Not to mention frequent rechecking throughout the day. Since I want to work more efficiently – i.e. less – creating a system that brings all my email accounts down to one sounded great.

Even better, there are ways to do it that don’t force you to tell everyone you’ve changed your email yet again.

I made this happen by following this path:

On the top right of your gmail account, click the cog. From there, click

Settings>Forwarding and POP IMAP.

Click Forward to and enter the primary email address you want to receive messages at. Lather, rinse, repeat for all other Gmail addresses. I use this for my old Magickal Realism account, my personal email account and even for my PNC ((Pagan Newswire Collective)) email so I don’t miss messages.

The system does have its flaws. First, my core calendar is at the account I am NOT using primarily for email. Also, my Smartphone is set to the account where I’m moving the email from. Also, I’m pretty sure I can’t move my Google Plus account from where Google decided I’m allowed to have it, and since a)I actually use Google Plus and b)I’ve got a growing following that is headed towards parity with my Twitter following, moving it seems like a bad idea. That same account is also where I keep my annual mission documents (that I’m apparently supposed to read daily.)

This means, hopefully, less stuff missed when I’m writing for Fat Chic, and ideally more time while promoting Divorcing a Real Witch. It also gives me a chance to go outside once in awhile!

Crackpot Theory Post: Book Order Jukebox (semi crackpot)

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series crackpot theories

This is actually a semi-serious proposal for booksellers.

There’s a lot of legitimate worry about the way ebooks have undermined the brick and mortar bookstore. Especially for indie bookstores who were just emerging from the rubble left behind after Borders and Barnes & Noble overtook just about everything in the 1990s.

When new technology really takes – ebooks are  no laser disc – it demands adjustment. So either bookstores can disappear into the ether or they can find a way to adapt to the e-book market.

Why not take command of what’s billed as a disadvantage? Use the hard copies in the bookstore as your showroom. Then establish kiosks where people can walk over and order those books for their reading devices. Yes, some can and will just order via a SmartPhone. Many will still want hard copies. But for those who are ruled by the impulse buy, this is one way to keep their business in-house. This might even work for certain indie bookstores (starting with Powell’s and then going smaller.)

This could even the playing field for smaller presses as well – especially the print on demand types.

Touch-screen kiosks range from around $300 – $7K. It might just be affordable on a small bookstore sckale.

bookselling-cover
bookselling-cover (Photo credit: DaveBleasdale)

Wherein the Pagan Newswire Collective got screwed: my comments

English: Council Member Dan Halloran, (R) New ...
Dan Halloran is a Republican city council member who is caught in a bribery scandal. He happens to practice the Theodish religion, which falls under the Pagan religious umbrella (or on the spectrum, if you prefer.) To my knowledge, the Theodish, like most religions, strongly disapprove of bribe-taking.

So this happened:

 

The Wild Hunt: How I Was Suckered by a Tabloid and Leading Horses to Water in reference to the New York Post’s article on Dan Halloran.  To summarize, Jason Pitzl-Waters decided, based on a very polite approach by the reporter M.L. Nestal, to overlook the Post’s reputation as reliable birdcage liner and actually help the guy out on writing about Halloran’s religion. So he referred him to longtime media professional and PNC Managing editor Cara Schulz. The uptake of the situation is that rather than focus on how and whether Halloran himself is corrupt, the article looks at his “super weird religion.” Not only did he betray the trust of two acknowledged leaders in the Pagan community, he did everything he could to maliciously misrepresent a faith.

 

I feel like I need to say something here even though I wasn’t involved with this incident. I don’t talk much here about my role with the PNC because I don’t do as much as I would like for them and what I do contribute is consciously in baby steps. Because I have a portfolio career ((I do more than one thing and I have to keep doing more than one thing to keep from getting stuck doing only one thing)) so I often work in my role as Executive Editor once a month rather than the once a week minimum that’s ideal. I took the gig because it makes me feel like my degree in mass communications and journalism isn’t a total waste. Right now I’m focusing on finding more writers that can establish local bureaus – and trying very slowly and carefully to get up a platform that allows for international writers and global distribution of handpicked stories. But only after everything else I’m doing – like that book I’ve spent eight years writing.  I’m a sounding board for local bureaus, but not an authority: it’s a collective so there isn’t an authoritative system at hand.

 

Pitzl-Waters and Schulz do amazing work every single day, most of it going unseen by the public. As editor-in-chief and managing editor respectively, I do attribute to them much of the slow societal shift in consciousness that labels the Pagan multi-religious umbrella as “real religions” and not “collection of kooks.” My own work, aside from volunteer finding at the moment, is more on using my old-school journalism and research skills to explain difference to our community between libel, slander, and saying something somebody doesn’t like that is true and that genuinely needs to be said. It’s not always pleasant but for the most part it is a very rewarding volunteer gig. What I do is internal – I don’t have my sanity or legitimacy publicly questioned to the degree that both of these people do.

To my mind, the Western Pagan community has potential to model multi-religious co-existence for the rest of the world and Pitzl-Water and Schulz are significant in making that happen.

 

When it comes to what happened with the Halloran story, I don’t think Pitzl-Waters or Schulz failed the Pagan community in any way. They did their jobs. Alas, you can’t ethically control another human being and mind-reading/future-predicting is not a universal talent among Pagans. So unless it’s fair for Pitzl-Waters to blame himself for not seeing the future (it’s not) then the failure is on how the New York Post betrayed the trust of the PNC.

 

I have worked with guys like M.L. Nestal before. My very first Pagan Pride in Mankato, the local TV station ran an interview with me about Wiccan religious practices. The first showing had clips from the Craft, despite my making it very clear the Craft had very little relevance to actual practices. The next showing, later on, had the Craft clips thrown out after I made an angry call to the producer. They instead opted to show us running around in a circle looking a bit dorky, and mis-pronounced Wicca as “Wicker.”

 

It could very well have been worse. I happened to have a friend take a video of myself being interviewed. The reporter, knowing this, didn’t doctor or add any comment after the story because of it. When my university newspaper interviewed me, I also taped the interview – and there was no messing around. I did, however, reject the overture from the local Christian radio station that came after. Given their angle, education is NOT what they were after. That one was easy to see – all I had to do was listen to a few of their programs.

 

But the Post is harder to predict. Sometimes, for the fun of it, they offer a balanced approach. I see their vacillations and reversals all the time when they report on the plus size fashion industry – I can guess that if we monitored their reporting on minority religions the behavior is the same. The Post is a casino where you bet your trust. You might get smal payouts from time to time. But for the most part, the house always wins.

 

Even if Schulz had recorded the entire interactions with Nestal he probably would have written the exact same thing. The Post is turn of the 19th century old school in its journalistic approach, and Nestal stayed true to their concept that ethical behaviors only apply to those that they deem “the normal people.”

 

I do not believe that the PNC failed in its mission in any way. They were approached for assistance in story research. They gave that help. PNC is not responsible for how that information is used, although we can hope that reporters with an eye to long-term sourcing will think about the long-term: as I was told sharply in my press ethics class many years ago, “Don’t EVER burn a source.”

 

 

Love Books? So do I!

Here’s the latest batch of book reviews written for Facing North:

The Spiritual Teacher’s Handbook – 3/23/13
The Candle and the Crossroads: a book of Appalachian Conjure and Southern Root Work – 3/23/13
Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santeria: a Complete Guide to the Rituals and Practices – 3/23/13
Rude Awakening: Perils, Pitfalls and Hard Truths of the Spiritual Path – 3/23/13
Multiply Your Blessings: a 90 Day Prayer Partner Experience – 3/23/13
The Best of the Equinox vol. 1 – 3/23/13

My pick from this batch: Rude Awakening. If you practice any kind of spirituality, it’s well worth a read.

Letter to a starlet in her late 20s

The First Letter
The First Letter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear M –

Despite the rather buried publicity about your rumored breakdown, I can see from checking IMDB that you are working. Good for you!

Just in case you are feeling isolated, I thought you might want to try this book – while it’s more an excuse to buy crayons than it is self-help, it’s gotten me writing and enjoying it again (as opposed to just writing.) It’s also given me a place to stash the crazy that is legacy and tool to all creative types.

It’s normal to try it (the book) and quit a few times. It does good things but it’s kind of like cleaning a closet; everyone is surprised at all the stuff they packed in there. You do have to have some sense of “higher power” or you might find it doesn’t work. While not agnostic, I have agnostic moments – picturing a 12 volt battery does the job well enough for me.

I work with a cluster of other artists scattered throughout the States. One is a photographer and soapmaker your own age. Two of us are in our late 30s; we knit, manage museums, write, perfume, create, tend children and don’t have any children.

I’m not going to mention sending this to you. If you’d like to interact, you’re welcome to use a pseudonym. I don’t need to know who you are – it’s not like I do now!

As for who I am… Anna Wintour would hate me. Agents and producers have spit on the ground at the sight of me. I take it all with rapturous glee. I’ve been through my own hell, some of my own making and some not. I’m sure this sounds familiar to you.

Your body language in photos suggests you are a person of poise and introversion – or your handler is. I do get the sense you have creative capacity. I’d love to see it or hear it – I don’t need to see or hear you for that to be possible.

Best regards and wishes for your health and happiness –

 

XJ