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Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm Going to Mars

A few months ago I told you about a program that the Planetary Society orgainized. You could submit your name, and they would send it to Mars. Astrology Talk: Your Name Sent to Mars?

A few days ago, I received the exciting news that I am soon to be on my way. You can see the DVD in postion and ready to go in the photo:

Thank you for participating in The Planetary Society's Messages from Earth project!

Your name is now one step closer to Mars. The silica glass mini-DVD with a quarter million names on it -- including yours -- has been installed on the Phoenix spacecraft, and is ready to go to Mars!

The spacecraft has just successfully been flown to Cape Canaveral, and now will begin final testing and preparation for launch. Phoenix will arrive and land in the northern near-polar regions in late May or early June 2008 (exact date dependent upon launch date). We’ll keep you updated on the mission as it progresses towards launch, and of course, update you on its launch and landing.

To stay updated on the project, or learn more about the Planetary Society, view the updates.

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Access Granted!

I was locked out of my Google accounts for almost 3 weeks, and was unable to post! Talk about agony!

Other quirky technological mishaps:

* At work a mouse chewed through the Ethernet cable. The mouse was either blind, had no taste buds, or very hungry. This was reported to me by one of my employees while I was away in beautiful and hip Austin, Texas for a meeting. Considering where we are located, a mouse seems hard to swallow. Hard to guess what the kids do while the boss is away!

* My main phone decided it would give up the ghost and not power up anymore. Correction. It would just get stuck in "blink" on/off mode over and over. Personally, I could live without a cell phone all the time, but as luck would have it, I need it for work. Perhaps a blessing in disguise?

* I was locked out of my email, as stated above. Gmail is great, and I really like all the services I have on my account. But folks, let's spend some of our billions on customer service, shall we? The first 10 days, I had to glue my issue all over their message boards, which went either unanswered or gave me the same info I already found on their help pages. Same with the few email responses I received. Even though each time I prefaced my email with all the things I tried and did not need to be told again. Somehow, it seems their email churners and tech services folks are way overworked. Looking forward to seeing at least one posting on their job boards that has something, in some remote way, to do with helping folks.

* I had a telephone stalker after one of my reps (no longer with the company) gave out my cell phone number to a crazy guy. After he called literally 15 times in 10 minutes, I changed my phone number. As a side note, this is the same rep who, when fired, said he agreed with the theft, and he agreed with leaving shifts and not showing, then being untruthful about it, but he would fight tooth and nail about the low sales numbers. Hmmmm. It's okay if you steal, are unreliable, but never call someone a poor sales person! Does that make ANY SENSE to anyone at all???

* That's about it for quirks, I will get to the astrology of it all later on. I have 1800 emails to wade through, after all!

Happy to be back and thanks for your patience! Now let's get on with the Astrology!

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Art and Artist

Today my brand spanking new Wacom digitizer tablet arrived. For those who don't know, it's a big flat thing that let's you use a mouse, or a pen, to navigate your computer. The main usage is for artwork, illustration and photo editing. Ever tried to highlight a specific pixel or two with your mouse? Worse, have you ever tried to draw a circle or straight line with your mouse? It's clumsy and nearly impossible.

With the tablet, you can choose different effects and pen or brush types. If you erase, your paper doesn't have a hole in it afterwards. Your monitor is your canvas.

Ahhh, bliss!

So I doodled and played, and then toyed with some astrological designs. Wanted to get some feedback. Would you buy this on a tshirt? Or mug? Or put it on your wall? I started with, of course, Scorpio, because y'all know the world revolves around me. I just hide it well. ;)

My natural bent as an artist is very fine pen detail, or cartoony things. I am not the type to make anything really on purpose look like it's equivalent in reality. I can't look at a bowl of fruit and draw something that realistically looks like a bowl of fruit. Hope you enjoy the abstract.

If I get good feedback, I will work on each sign and post as I finish them. Hit me with your requests!

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Dubai Tourism and Homeland Security

Several months ago, when first dabbling with YouTube and Google Video, I viewed a video of Dubai. It was created by two Americans who were young, and hip, having just started their version of CraigsList in Dubai. I was very impressed with the nightlife and how modern the city of Dubai appeared to be. Peppered with gorgeous beaches, you have to respect a city that brags the world's largest indoor ski slope!

May 1st through the 4th, Dubai hosted one of the largest conferences on Tourism in the world: The Arabian Travel Market. This is THE PREMIERE venue for countries to send delegates in order to win the tourist bucks of the Arab nations.

On my drive home today, I heard an interesting story about this travel market. Imagine all the tourist bureaus falling over themselves for the business this conference could pull in for their countries. The United States was the only country not to send a representative. Before you put your head in your hands and cry "why!", it's not like the US to snub its supporters, such as Saudi Arabia.

Of course not! The US sent several representatives from the Department of Homeland Security. This puzzled me a bit at first, but then I learned that these representatives were demonstrating the new fingerprinting machines that all foreigners will have to go through in order to SPEND their tourist dollars.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for fingerprinting or otherwise identifying foreigners, ALL foreigners, going into ANY country. I myself had to go through a slight hoop jumping when I first entered the UK. It's okay with me. BUT you would think there might have been someone to tell those interested about the beauties of the Grand Canyon, The Catskills, Santa Fe, The Golden Gate, Crater Lake, The Salt Flats and any number of beautiful wonders we have to offer those who care to visit BEFORE trying to demonstrate the fingerprinting process!

There is much discussion of late in the astro blogosphere about Jupiter transiting Capricorn in the US horoscope. Saturn rules Capricorn and is all about restriction, and Jupiter, among other things, signifies travel. Just one more manifestation coming into bloom! As a side note, Jupiter also indicated good fortune, and to some extent, money.

Ray Hanania takes you on a tour of Dubai:

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Ever Feel Alone?

Everyone at one point or another has felt alone in life or in an endeavor. After all, the world can be a big harsh place sometimes. Is it any wonder that there are people who feel Earth is alone in sustaining life in the universe? Our understanding can only come from the things we experience or can imagine. Face it, some folks just lack imagination. ran a story Planet Hunters Edge Closer to Their Holy Grail in late April.

A small Earth-like planet has been discovered and may be habitable for life as we know it. It seems obvious to me that life may exist with other factors than what humans and other species living on Earth need. We need water, that's a given. We need an atmosphere. Humans need oxygen, plants need carbon dioxide. The golden rule says all life is carbon based. Any kid growing up on the old Star Trek episodes could tell you that!

If we allow that we envision things based on our experiences, we assume all life needs at least some of the things that we need for life to survive on Earth. First we thought that space ended where we could not see. Then we thought space ended in our solar system. Now we know space goes on and on, possibly and likely to continue infinitely. That's a huge concept to get our heads around. Something that truly has no end and no beginning, unlimited by any boundaries of dimension.

To me, it makes perfect sense that there may be life forms, whether we can recognize them or not, based on other elements with completely different needs to sustain life. These life forms may rely on elements that we have no knowledge of yet.

The exciting thing about finding planets that have the potential to sustain life as we know and understand it is the potential for travel. The potential to increase our knowledge and learn from other species. The potential to discover whether there are other humanoids in the vastness of space.

Although some people may be ready for this surge of potential, it seems we should become better stewards of the life forms here on Earth.

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