I find myself saying, “I’m not Catholic anymore, but…”, except I don’t have to. I respect the Pope on a celebrity level, he’s the leader of the smallest country in the world and an American could have a chance at the office just as easily as anyone else. If presidents and heads-of-state from all over can flock to Vatican City for the installation of a new Pope, why can’t I, a Pagan, be excited and fascinated?
This is the third Pope of my lifetime and the eighth for my (Catholic) father. (He was born seven years before the death of Pius XII and has also seen the reigns of John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul I. I, on the other hand, was born eight years into John Paul II’s reign, so until 2005, JP2 was the only Pope I’d ever known.) When I went to World Youth Days¹ 2002, my friends said, “Why are you going? You’re Wiccan.” But I made a promise to myself when I was a young girl that if I ever had a chance to go, I would. It didn’t matter that I was sixteen and long past thoughts of the Catholic church (despite having to go each Sunday until after graduation)…I wanted to go! And really, it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are–the crowd for the final mass is always huge² and electrifying. If you don’t feel the energy, you must be dead inside!
I don’t remember this much excitement in 2005. I swear I watched the news and read the paper, just like I do now, but I do not remember almost-daily articles in the Lansing State Journal and periodic reports on television. CBS even had Randall Pinkston reporting from Vatican City today at noon! Maybe it was because Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was a surefire pick for the pontificate and the cardinals are not so sure this time around. Personally, I would love to see Timothy Cardinal Dolan or Sean Cardinal O’Malley rise to the white. Hell, I’m not picky…even a Canadian cardinal would be a good get in my book! But an American cardinal would be a cause for dancing in the streets! (My second/third choice would be a cardinal from Central or South America.)
Things that Stick Out About the American Candidates
- Tim pretended to celebrate mass as a child. (Wow…that’s so nerdy I can hardly stand it! *giggle*)
- Tim has published eight books, the latest in 2009. (High marks from the novelista on that one!)
- Sean has a blog. At the blog’s inauguration on September 19, 2006, he was the first cardinal to have one. He’s also had a podcast since Christmas that year.³
- Tim is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Tim became a cardinal on January 6, 2012. (One day before my twenty-sixth birthday.)
- Sean has been a cardinal since March 24, 2006.
- Sean’s educational credits give me a nerdgasm. (*gigglefit*)
- Sean has ministerial experience with Latinos.
- Sean believes that the Democratic party has been too hard on pro-life people. (Going to WYDs made me turn pro-life, so I’m glad he came to our defense.)
- Sean created a zero-tolerance policy for the sexual abuse cases he worked with. He reportedly settled one hundred and one.
The “Not Cool” List
- Tim bribed sexually abusive priests with payments of 20k (each) to get them to resign.
- Tim did not approve of the president’s health and human services mandate. (Although I suppose he ameliorated the issue a little by saying that the revised version was a step in the right direction.)
I feel like the Wikipedia article on Sean wasn’t quite as extensive as the one on Tim, so I’m not sure how easily I can make a decision. However, based on what I read, I believe Sean Cardinal O’Malley is my American candidate of choice. The fact that he has a blog and a podcast shows that he’s in touch with today’s young Catholics, while the charitable work highlighted in his article made me feel good about his potential decisions regarding the future of the Catholic church as a whole. I love that his education and linguistic abilities make it easy for him to focus on a “Latino-centric” ministry; especially given that Catholicism–long practiced among those of Spanish descent–is on the rise amongst Latinos.
Besides gay and female rights (which will take a long time for the church to deal with, if ever), the sex scandal is a big issue with me. The “repression/celibacy is too much” claim aside (and I can’t say I argue with it), how each cardinal deals with problem (and has dealt with it in the past) goes a long way toward coloring each candidate for me. The fact that Tim bribed priests to resign (even though he claimed it wasn’t a bribe) is a huge black mark in my book. The zero tolerance policy adopted by Sean is probably the best remedy for the scandal. I can’t necessarily say that Sean’s policy should be the rule for all of the abuse cases, since I am woefully undereducated in that issue, but it should certainly be considered by those with the most knowledge of the situation.
¹ Technically “World Youth Day”, on a set Sunday each year. But in my opinion, if it’s not plural, what do you call the days leading up to it? That’s why I always pluralize.
² At the time, I heard one million people were present for the final mass. However, Wikipedia reports 850k. Either way, it’s still the biggest crowd I’ve ever been in…and the worst trouble I’ve ever had getting to a porta-potty! This year’s celebration will be held in Rio from July 23-28. (You can find more about my year here. If you want to hear my memories, use the Disqus comment form below or hit me up on Twitter!)
³ This is a very good thing. If he’s promoted, I have little doubt that he’ll make great use of the papal Twitter account, which will make him the shining light of young Catholics everywhere.
Something I Learned While Writing this Blog: With the presence of 850,000 people, Downsview Park (a retired Canadian air force base) was temporarily the fourth biggest city in Canada. HOLY SHIT! (Pardon the pun!)
What good is a blog called Confessions of a Novelista if the novelista doesn’t confess? Here’s some random things you may or may not know about me, bulleted because they’re in no particular order.
(By the way: Disqus comments are now available at the bottom of each page. I’ve disabled the “guest” option to prevent spammers and trolls…if you want to leave a comment, you have to put a verifiable name to it. You can use twitter, facebook and disqus accounts to leave comments.) (Fake accounts being used to spam/troll will be banned and moderation will be turned on if abuse persists.)
- I decided to use the word “novelista” after “fashionista” became popular. Only later did I look at my dictionary and realize that “novelista” is Spanish for “novelist”.
- I like low/mid fantasy. Garth Nix is great, Marion Zimmer Bradley is mostly okay. Tolkien? Forget it!
- I’m a virgin. When I was twenty, I told a guy that I would only have sex with someone I loved. He laughed. I wonder how many STDs he’s had and pregnancies he’s caused, while at twenty-seven, I’ve had neither? (Meanwhile, I don’t mind saying that this is probably why my novels feature a lot of sex!)
- My parents are divorced. That’s not really a secret (or a surprise) in a society where divorce is rampant. But I thought I’d throw that in there.
- I’m a Calderon Romani (Kalderash Gypsy) by right of adoption. I consider myself a progressive–put down the stereotypes, avoid arranged marriages unless absolutely necessary for the good of the family/clan and married women only need wear headcoverings for formal events. Among other things. (Television shows and movies featuring my people are invariably rife with stereotypes and are therefore only good for the entertainment value–if you can stand to watch them that long!)
- Lauren adopted me. My last cat died of an accidental poisoning in 2008 and I went to the humane society for a kitten. Lauren grabbed my right wrist, wrapped her paws around and proceeded to lick my palm. The result? “I WANT TO TAKE HER HOME!” *giggle*
- I’m a Priestess of Isis. But I don’t mind being called a generalized Pagan for the sake of simplicity.
- Bobby is my favorite Carradine. Did I mention that already? I “fell in like” when I saw him in Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire. But his nephew Cade is definitely the hottest one. (Despite the fact that he smokes. YUCK!)
- I love William James Remar. ( <—Captain Obvious)
- I gave up my Xbox 360 and my DS a few years ago to give me more time to work on my novels. Does that degrade my “nerd cred”? Or does it simply change the elements of what makes up my nerd cred?
- I play Neopets. My oldest account is eleven this year, but I can’t get into it. Usually, I play it for a few months, get bored, leave it for several, then come back and repeat the cycle. This time, I’m stuck in a “play period”, because a war started the other day and I want to earn another trophy for my account. (I’ve been earning trophies like crazy in the last few months, but I’m keeping the secret to that to myself.)
- I tried WoW once and got incredibly lost and confused. That may hurt my geek cred, too; but I guess it’s a blessing, because it would probably vacuum up our bandwidth if I played it all the time.
- I wrote Meet Ophelia after failing to land a role in Spider-Man 3. That’s a long story, one that appears in the annotated edition. (Which I have to get off my rear end and fix, so I can re-release it.) But I’ll retell it here if I get enough interest.
- In the Spider-Man movie fandom, I consider myself a Classicist. That means I’m faithful to Raimi’s movies and refuse to see Webb’s (much as I think a guy named Webb directing Spider-Man movies is highly amusing). Nevertheless, as an established Osborn fan (have you read Meet Ophelia?), I’m curious to see what Dane DeHaan will do with the role of Harry. Chris Cooper, I’m not worried about so much, as I enjoyed him (repeatedly!) as Colonel Burwell in The Patriot. My biggest concern is that they’ll somehow decide to make Norman too nice…something he is not. Ever.
- I don’t think Broken Road is very good. Yet it was the most popular when I had it available free on Amazon. So what do I know? That being said…
- I’ve turned in papers that I felt aren’t all that great and I usually get an A. I tend to find that anywhere between amusing and hilarious. Nothing like feeling like it was a crappy piece and getting the ultimate reward for it.
- I never thought I’d release a poetry anthology, despite having one of my favorite Jamie poems appear in a college literary review. Yet here I am with a fifty poem collection to my name and free copies sent to Kira Leyden-Andrea (lead singer of The Strange Familiar), Tim Hutton, Chris Kane (both formerly of Leverage) and Jamie.
- I have a cousin who willingly pulls together the money to buy my latest book every time I release one. I always autograph it for her and we meet to eat, chat and browse Barnes & Noble. Everyone should have a cousin as wonderful as Katie. ^_^
- I was asked about a sequel to Meet Ophelia a few months after its release. I want to write Emmeline, but I just can’t seem to pull together a cohesive problem/resolution storyline needed to tell the story of Norman and Emily’s marriage and subsequent divorce. I suppose it’s possible that I might write a novellette or novella for the annotation edition of Elizabeth, but right now, Emmeline is just a dream.
- I’m roughing notes for the sequel to Meet Ophelia. As I mentioned in the last bullet, the title will be Elizabeth and it will take place fifteen years after the second epilogue. Beyond that, I’m unwilling to say.
If you have anything else you’d like to know about me, use the comment forum at the bottom of the page!
P.S. from 2018: He laughs at my worries.
Plus, I've read the synopsis on Wiki and learned that he was personally involved in the death of the Parkers! WHOA!
I thought I’d toss around a few random thoughts that are floating through my mind…
When the show started–or just before–there was mention of a “twelfth nerd”, some sort of blogger/YouTuber/someone (female, I think) who was going to give us the inside scoop on the show. (Probably…I really never even paid attention.) Well, I just went looking for this “nerd” and there’s nary a mention on the TBS page anymore. Maybe they realized that the contestants are so young and connected that it was inevitable that their Twitter feeds and Facebook pages would heat up and take care of the background information and this nerd wasn’t needed anymore.
It’s kind of a shame, because if the position still existed, I thought it might be something I’d like to “audition” for. I enjoy watching the show, but I honestly couldn’t keep up with the amount of information from popular culture required to not only make the show, but to not fizzle within a week or two when competition starts. (As I mentioned before, I’m Jeopardy/literary sorts of geek.) But–as you can see–I do a decent job with writing and would probably have a lot of fun with the opportunity to officially blog about the second season of the show for TBS. (I could honestly function within a defined set of parameters for each show…my current entries are only as long as I have ideas for, which is why they fluctuate from week to week.) Nevertheless, if anyone wants to make a suggestion to the people at Turner, I wouldn’t be averse to it.
Moo has an IMDb page! *applauds with excitement and joy* I put in a request for it on January 23, so I’m glad to see they finally did something about it. I’m hoping they’ll process my updates just a little bit faster than that. (They may not accept her birth date, though, as I submitted a link to a twitter conversation we had as proof.)
Heartmom said she needs a picture on her page, but last I checked, IMDb charges something like thirty-five or more for one freaking picture. Terrible! Oma also suggested Wikipedia, but I shot that down. Out of the two that are out there, Danielle has been recommended for deletion and Virgil gets to keep his because there are several articles out there that mention him as a hacker. They did that to me, too…said I wasn’t famous enough and that even having Amazon reviews wouldn’t help me, because they were subjective or something like that. Pissed me right off and made me vow that when I become a notable author someday (and it will happen, even if I only have a niche following like my favorite authors), I’ll have my “people” ensure that I never have a Wiki page. If they don’t want to accept me when I’m a small-time novelista, they don’t get me later, either.
When I get my life a little more in order, I’m going to make a mini-Moo! I wanted a full size doll of the good doc, but prices have gone up twenty-two since the last time, so mini it is. They come three in a package, so I’m giving one to Oma and Moo has said she’ll take the third. If I get more interest (and enough people), I’ll place orders for multiples, so they’ll all look the same. (Can you imagine mini Moogegas spread throughout the world? HA! Nerdvana indeed!)
Mini-Moo’s hair might not be as fluffy as real life due to size constraints, but–having a full size already–I can promise you that they will do an excellent job and the dolls will be ours to love and cuddle (and send positive energy through, in my case) for years to come. Here’s the one I have of my beloved Jamie:
(Taken on the day I got him…can you tell?)
I promise that as soon as I get things straightened out, I will let you know about ordering…and I’ll post a photo when I get her. 😀
The week is still ahead of us, beloved nerds! I was sick at this time last week (I have 2:22 on the clock and I was so nauseated, I couldn’t sleep! OI!) so I will have to do my best to take care of myself this week.
Have a good few days and I’ll see you on Friday (or Saturday) when I’m ready with the blog for “Nerdy Dancing”. Ciao!
P.S.: Hey, did you all let your nerd colors fly and support Bobby’s daughter Ever by watching this week’s episode of Bones? I did…and I have to chuckle, because now that my dad knows who “Lewis Skolnick” is, he always asks me to point Ever out when she shows up on something we’re watching. 😀
I almost thought I wasn’t going to be able to see this week’s episode, owing to the fact that the feed I’ve been viewing decided it was going to buffer like crazy. But last night, I decided I was going to tough it out and I’m glad I did–it finally stopped and I was able to watch in peace.
This week’s episode title makes little sense, I’m going to say right off. I realize that another word for “frontier” is “border”, but that still doesn’t really make sense in a real life gaming situation.
That being said, “Games without Frontiers” skewed to the boring side of things. I honestly thought an episode involving “live gaming” would be a little more exciting, but I guess every episode can’t be “edge of your seat viewing”. (Or “fall out of your bed”, if you happen to like to watch KotN while lying on your bed, as I do.) Honestly, if you’re going to do something with live gaming, try making it a little more challenging, a la Legends of the Hidden Temple. What’s more fun, flying around these little helicopter things or running around obstacles, attempting to put puzzles together and constantly looking over your shoulder for temple guards? Yeah, I thought so!
Oh and what was up with the Nerd-Off? Driving golf carts via remote control? In the words of Seth Meyers: “Really?!” Could the properties department not put in some sort of restraint system in each cart, hand out a pair of helmets and say “go to”? Gods, I could imagine getting into one of those carts, flooring it and yelling my head off as I tried to get the ball into the goal! Better yet, make it a little more difficult…hand out Nerf guns and let the competitors shoot at each other while they’re trying to score. WeeeeHA!
Jerk of the Week: Josh. Did you really have to tell Danielle that you were going to vote for yourself in the Nerd-Off? Was that really necessary, among teammates and friends? What was the point?
Dumbass of the Week: Danielle. Usually, you’re pretty sharp on the uptake, so I don’t get why you believed Josh when he said he was going to vote for himself, when he clearly said he was going to vote for you five minutes before. I didn’t think you were actually that thick, but people can surprise me.
The I Almost Shot You Award: Genevieve. Fortunately, she covered her tracks on Twitter, saying that she’s not usually a morning person…she was just up early in that particular episode because she was nervous. (All right, then. :> )
Can’t leave out my favorites!
Brandon: WAH! He lost the Nerd-Off! I’ll miss his razor sharp wit (and a few things I didn’t even know were going on behind the scenes, ’til I saw them on YT. Heh, heh!) The show (twitter) feed said, “Good night, sweet prince…we’ll miss you.” I’d like to take the opportunity to use the full Shakespearean quote: Good night, sweet prince. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. (Hamlet) | Typical that he was kicked off the show just as I was starting to “fall in like” with him.
Celeste: Was this week’s episode as much of a…ah…clit block for you as it was for me? You have phenomenal cosmic powers and they had you blow them on a simple little quadcopter course, where the most exciting thing was the fire gate. *sigh* | I hope they don’t waste your talents so badly in the future. (Though way to psych up Virgil for a great run! Woohoo!)
Moo: I know I saw my beloved Dr. Moo this week. I saw her giving…what do they call it? Confessional interviews? I saw her flying a quadcopter. But I think my Twitter interactions with her this week were far more entertaining than what I saw on the show. Oh well…every week can’t be perfect.
Sorry for such a short blog this week, but that’s what happens when the episode lacks pizzazz. I know most of you come in from Twitter/the internet to read this, so you probably know my handle, but if you don’t, I can be reached for questions and blog ideas @DayaRyelle.
Until Friday…or later…
Recently Finished: Oh Myyy! (George Takei), For Love of Evil (Piers Anthony)
I’ve seen lots of memes from George, but I didn’t like his page or follow him on Twitter until one day when I stumbled on the fact that he had a book. So I read an excerpt on his site. And then I read the first three chapters for free on Amazon. And finally I pirated the whole damn book and found it a worthy read. He hit his intended point–the book was so amusing that I followed him on Twitter and liked his Facebook page immediately after.
I’m not into fantasy, per se (despite something a psychic once told me), but I read the Incarnations of Immortality books when I was younger and decided I wanted copies to keep on my tablet. The only one I have yet to read is the much-maligned Under a Velvet Cloak…I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Currently Reading: And Eternity (Piers Anthony), Endless Highway (David Carradine)
AE has become what many see as the official end to the IoI series. I’ve discussed EH before, but let me just say that you shouldn’t label Bobby as “plain” and “upright” until you read stories about the stuff he and his brother used to get into. (Nerds, can you imagine him in a Ferrari, tearing around the track at Daytona at 150 MPH? Yeah, I can’t either. But David said it happened. xD )
Currently Writing: Back from the Edge, a story seed I’ve been nursing for a long time. I was re-inspired to work on it while re-reading For Love of Evil. (I won’t bore you with a blog entry about it, unless I get some interest from the twitter folk.)
Looking Forward To: Monday Mornings (on Tuesday nights, thanks to having to watch it online). I’ve been a fan of Alfred Molina since Spider-Man 2 and some suggest that the “Chelsea General” of Dr. Gupta’s book is a veiled reference to the hospital at the University of Michigan, so I’m in. (If mentioning that I like Spider-Man doesn’t built my “nerd cred”, check out my first novel. I didn’t mean to write a glorified fanfic, but the annotated edition explains all that.) (Which reminds me…I really need to redo the annotated edition, so I have more than the hardcover, and eEditions out!)
Have you ever wanted to go back to a place or city that you’ve been to a couple of times, but the overriding reaction is, “There’s nothing left for me there anymore”? That’s happening with me and Las Vegas. I’m listening to Abbi McBride (wife, assistant and spiritual partner to the great illusionist Jeff McBride), which led me to check the list of people he’s following on Twitter to see if she had a feed, which led me to a nerdtastic list of magicians (some of which I’ve had the privilege to chat with over the years–however briefly), which led me to remember my last trip to Las Vegas. (Which, sadly, started with the thought, “Why am I here? There’s nothing really here for me, anymore.”)
The last time I went to Las Vegas, I attended the Vegas Vortex’s Fall Festival. I arrived on Wednesday, the day before the festival began and did “touristy stuff” during the day, while attending festival events during the evening. (After sunset is when my people come out, don’t you know! [Kidding…sort of.])
I don’t think they start on Thursday anymore, but in 2008, they had an opening potluck at the House of Mystery; Jeff and Abbi’s home, lecture hall, creativity center…whatever you want to call it. I tried to act my twenty-two years, but it was a bit of a struggle at first, as I was a huge fan of Jeff’s at the time. After the introductions and the opening activities, I was able to explore the house and see all the amazing stuff–including Jeff’s collection of awards, Guinness World Records and magic memorabilia. I won’t lie…it was hard waiting for Jeff to come home from the show he was doing at Palace Station! I hate using cliches, but I was jumpier than a cat at a rocking chair convention! Even when he arrived, it was hard to stay calm and behave myself…even after bouncing all around my hotel room to try to calm myself down! My friends Sabrina and Marie started warming up their bodhrans after Jeff’s arrival, Abbi sat down with her…bodhran, I think it was, and another gentleman and gentlewoman joined the group with their own instruments. Sabrina handed me a rattle so I could join them, but I was still so antsy (and busy keeping an eye on Jeff) that I had trouble keeping the rhythm. Finally, I gave up and got up to dance. Then I really let go.
I haven’t said much about myself since I started attracting a slightly bigger audience with fellow King of the Nerds viewers (and Moo, Celeste and Brandon–thank you all!), but besides being a novelista, I love to dance! Some might be afraid to get up in front of a group to dance–even a niche group of about two dozen or so, like there were at the potluck–but I’ve long said that music runs through my blood and I can feel the rhythm in my feet. If I get the urge to dance, I dance–others be damned! I just started moving extemporaneously and the next thing I knew, I had a little dance choreographed. I don’t think I actually realized it until another woman got up and started copying what I was doing! (In Monica Furlong’s Juniper, Ninnoc says, “Sometimes we danced the dance…sometimes the dance danced us.” That’s definitely what it felt like!)
Friday night, we saw Jeff’s show at the hotel/casino, for which Jordan Wright, his protege of the time, opened. (If you’ve never seen Jordan perform as “Mr. Right”, check out his YouTube channel…he reminded me of a young Dick Van Dyke.) I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see illusions live that I’ve previously only seen on television. Our seats were pretty far in the back, but it didn’t matter–Jeff is such an amazing illusionist, he’ll draw you in, wherever you’re sitting. After the show was over, we were all shooed out into the casino so they could start setting up for Wonderground and the Witches and Wizards Ball. I can’t describe the Wonderground for you…even this story barely brushes the truth of it! That was the first year the Ball had coincided with Wonderground, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ball attendees have gone every year since. Music, magic, dance, readings…Marie doing live painting on some nights…crazy stuff! (This is the video from the night I went…I can be seen from 1:04-1:10 in the white evening gown and circlet.) I’ll never forget when Sabrina and I left the casino to find a taxi so we could go back to our hotel…Jordan and his friend actually chased us down to talk to us one last time! (We were also a bit punch drunk, so we had fun giggling like crazy and chattering to the driver like he was a friend who had missed all the fun.)
My mother talked me out of going to Bonedance on Saturday (“What if you fight with Marie? How are you going to get home?” etc., etc.), which is a real shame. Yes, I have the memory of gazing out at the Rockies from my room while chatting on the phone with a sweetheart of mine (who happened to be in California at the time), but I still haven’t been to a ritual at Sekhmet Temple or an all night fire circle. I grant that everyone was exhausted the next day and could hardly function at HeartShare (the closing potluck), but how many memories did they make that I missed out on?
Sometimes, my heart calls me to go back to Las Vegas, if only to experience the exhilaration of Fall Festival one more time, or to break new ground by attending Mysterium or MayFire. But what’s left for me there, other than that?