March 2002 Archives


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The missing deck turned up! Hooray!! I don't know why it took so long -- air mail is supposed to take 5 to 7 days -- but at least it finally arrived.

I'm looking for a copy of the role playing game Castle Falkenstein. It's part of this "steam punk" thing, and it uses cards instead of dice. So I think it would be really fun to play with VRT & I bet it wouldn't be difficult to adapt the rules to Tarot cards.

On Friday after work I went by the comics shop in Chapel Hill to see if they had a copy. Now, I have to confess that comics shops make me nervous. I find them highly intimidating. It's that whole "Comic Book Guy" thing. Of course, that's just a fictional character. But the guys who run the comics shop in Durham, the only one I ever went to on a semi-frequent basis, were always uniformly rude to me. To make matters worse, my friends who were into comics always insisted that those guys were nice and cool and friendly. Which made me feel like the mean comic store guys would have been nicer to me if I'd had better taste in comics, or if I'd spent more money there, or if I'd had a Y chromosome, or something.

This is all by way of explaining that, although I'm sure that the vast majority of people who work in comics shops or sf bookstores are very nice and friendly and helpful, I still find it a somewhat stressful experience to go into one. Especially if I need to ask the clerk a question. I imagine them snickering at the stupidity of my request, which makes me wonder why that would even bother me. If it were, say, a video store, I wouldn't care whether the clerk was a snobby jerk or not. Because I could tell myself that I probably know more about movies than they do, and it might even be true.

But anyway, I went to the sf/comics store in Chapel Hill, because I used to be good friends with someone who worked there a long time ago. Who knows, maybe the long-past connection would somehow render me part of "the in crowd." I nosed around a bit, didn't see anything about gaming, then finally broke down and asked the clerk. Who was, in fact, a very nice helpful guy. He didn't even snicker at my asking where were the Tarot decks, which they stopped selling 5 years ago.

They also don't sell gaming supplies, because there's apparently a gaming store a couple of blocks away. In fact it's been there for about 10 years. You can tell I buy a lot of gaming supplies. Now, if comics shops make me nervous, gaming stores make me really nervous. Because they're always full of gamers, who seem to be even more insular and cliquish than comics guys. Plus I found this website which proves that the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons is a real person and he owns a gaming store.

Anyway, I walked over to the gaming store. It's in a tiny space just off the main street, in the basement level. It's called "Cerebral Hobbies," and through the window I could see that it was jammed with people. Kids playing on computers, sitting around a table, standing by the counter. I didn't even see any shelves of product, just people. Walking in there felt like barging in on someone's clubhouse.

So I didn't. I turned tail and fled. I'm sure I can find a copy of Castle Falkenstein on the Internet somewhere.


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By now you've probably heard that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has died. She was 101 years old. The BBC web site has a very nice tribute to her life.


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I finally remembered to take a picture of Thirteen's leg where they shaved it for her surgery. They had to shave her leg to give her an IV. I think it makes her look like one sock fell down, but it doesn't seem to bother her.

Note her typically neurotic posture: she's aware that I'm looking at her, but she's too scared to move, so instead she sort of looks away in hopes that I'll forget about her. She truly is the "Dog of Beware."


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I got a wonderful new entry for the white box gallery from Robbye, our publicist. She's got a picture of her dog up on top of a building like a gargoyle. It's such a cute little dog, and she got the colors to match perfectly so it really looks like a decoration on the building!

Also exchanged lots of email with Robbye this past week about ideas for getting VRT into catalogs and such. You know, I had heard before that publishers hardly do anything to promote a book, unless it's written by a star author. But if you're less famous than, say, John Grisham, you should expect to do all the publicity yourself. Seems kind of ironic, doesn't it? Everybody already knows about famous people like John Grisham. But the new or unknown authors who could really use exposure get ignored by the publicity machine.

That's why I put so much work into this website, in anticipation of doing my own promotion of VRT. But it hasn't turned out like that at all! I have to say that Robbye really seems to be doing a lot. I was expecting nothing, so anything would have been great. But a lot is fantastic! I don't want to mention any specifics because I don't want to jinx anything that's "in the works," but I'm hoping I'll have good news to report before long.

She sent me a list of new age bookstores in the area, to see if we'd be willing to do "events" at these stores. (Which I guess means a short talk or a booksigning or something? I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of people coming to listen to me being an "event." So let's just call it a talk. Anyway.) We're happy to do talks, but unfortunately several of the bookstores on her list have closed. This area is just not kind to new age stores for some reason.

I wonder if local new age stores are closing all over the place? Maybe the Internet is making it hard for them to do business. The net certainly changed things for me. And no, I don't just mean Amazon. Georg and I have gotten to the point in our Tarot collection that it's very rare for us to find a deck in a store that we want, and we don't already have it. Most of my Tarot shopping these days is with Alida or other international sources.

If there were a local store with "collectible" decks in stock, I would certainly shop there. The Cosmic Lemniscate used to carry a few il Meneghello decks, and we bought several of them. But there's clearly not a big enough market here to support that kind of inventory in a small store. Eventually it became apparent that we were the only people who ever bought the il Meneghello decks, so they never got any new ones.

Tarot wasn't really their focus anyway. I got the impression from the store that they wanted to be a gathering place for local pagans. Unfortunately they seem to have put too much emphasis on "gathering" and not enough on "selling," and they've closed. Earth and Spirit in Durham has also closed. And last week we went out to Dancing Moon in Carrboro, to see if they would carry the deck and let us do a talk, and when we got there we discovered that they were closed too!


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Now that I've had a few hours & have read the Tarot Passages review again, I think I was a little glib in what I said earlier. The truth is that I'm completely overwhelmed by it, to the point that I don't really know what to say. To be honest, I had been nervous about Diane's reaction to the book. Mainly for two reasons: first, because I already knew she liked the deck, but she hadn't seen the book at all in its current incarnation. And second, because I respect her so much as a writer. So it really, really meant a lot that she wrote so much about the book, and made it clear that she wasn't just being kind because we're friends.


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Happy Passover and/or Good Friday, everyone. I think I offended the FedEx man at work, because he asked me yesterday if we would be here today, and I said "Why wouldn't we be?" He just stared at me so I added, "Is it a holiday or something?" Then I remembered about Good Friday. He looked so shocked. Perhaps I have revealed myself as a heathen.

Our interview has been posted on! And a wonderful review too.

She mentioned that she had been apprehensive about the book, concerned that it would be a dense and dry history of Victoriana, and was relieved to find it more readable. Which is good to hear! I tried to write the kind of book I would want to read: interesting bits and pieces that add to and elaborate on the picture, no matter what order you read them in.

She didn't offer any kind of "full disclosure" in her review and I wonder if that's considered necessary or not. But for the record, here's my full disclosure: Diane Wilkes is an old friend from the days when we were both moderators of the TarotL mailing list. Her encouragement had a lot to do with VRT being published at all, since I met her at a time when I wasn't sure I wanted to publish, or if the deck was even good enough. Diane's Storytellers Tarot book was a major influence on the first booklet I wrote, for the handmade trump deck. She also generously read and critiqued the trump booklet, much of which ended up in the trumps chapter of Victoria Regina Tarot Companion. So Diane has been acquainted with and involved with VRT since very early on.

In other news, it turns out that we don't actually have a copy of William Gibson's The Difference Engine at home. Georg did just bring home a book called The Difference Engine from the library, but it's another book, a nonfiction account of Babbage's work.


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Many thanks to my dad for explaining the "feet in ancient times" song. It's a poem by William Blake, which starts like this:

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England's mountains green?

And was the holy lamb of God

On England's pleasant pastures seen?

I had only heard the first two lines, about the feet walking on the mountains green. So I never realized that it was a question. I thought it was a declarative statement that those feet did in fact walk upon England's mountains green. Nor did I realize that those feet (or these feet as I had misheard it) referred to Jesus' feet.

Thanks to everyone who sent me the lyrics to Rule Britannia. I am highly amused by the fact that one British person saw the song as a natural statement of Britain's superiority to all other countries, while another (not British) commenter felt the line "Britons never, never, never shall be slaves" sounded highly insecure, as though the British were desperate to convince themselves. I guess it goes to show that it all depends on your point of view!

In VRT news, I've had my first deck go missing. The purchaser waited patiently for a month, but since it was sent air mail to the UK it should have been there three weeks ago. Argh!



Well I've gotten a couple of comments about the "feet" song and whether or not it actually exists. I swear, I am not making this up! It goes like this:

"And did these feet, in ancient times, walk upon England's mountains green..."

I don't know any more of the lyrics because at that point in the movie the music always swells and drowns out the proud brave British war wives who are singing it. It's like in American war movies, they get as far as "Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain...." and then the orchestra completely overwhelms the song.

Or like when you go to Catholic school but you're not Catholic, and no one teaches you the prayers because you're expected to know them already. So you end up learning "Hail Mary mumble mumble, the Lord is with thee, mumble mumble mumble, Holy Mary mumble of God, mumble mumble mumble Amen!" I always wondered, does someone actually teach these prayers to little Catholic kids? Or do they just learn them like I did, as one long mumble punctuated by the occasional intelligible word.

Anyway. I'm going to try and remember where I heard the "feet in ancient times" song.



I looked it up and Steampunk is a genre of science fiction set in the Victorian era. Such as William Gibson's The Difference Engine, in which Babbage's computer is actually built, or Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a superhero comic in which all the superheroes are figures from Victorian literature like Captain Nemo and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Coincidentally, we happen to have a copy of The Difference Engine at home because Georg just got it from the library. I'd read about League of Extraordinary Gentlemen before but I didn't know about the "" genre. This is all very exciting! Finding out that VRT resonates with an sf genre that I didn't even know existed.

You know, now that I think about it, someone wrote to me a couple of years ago and said he was developing a game that was sort of gothic and set in the Victorian era, and the players had superpowers that were chosen by drawing Tarot trumps. He was interested in using VRT as the cards for his game, he said it was very similar to what he had envisioned. As it turned out I had just started seriously talking with Llewellyn, so that wasn't feasible. But I bet that game was "Steampunk."


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Someone put VRT in a "listmania" list on! They called it an easy deck to read, and said it will appeal to people who like "Victoriana/." What the heck is ? It sounds cool whatever it is. Best of all, our sales rank on is 5,365! Rule Britannia!

Speaking of which, I always thought the refrain of "Rule Britannia" was "Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the world." Which is a bit imperious, but I figured the song was written when, you know, they had that empire and all. But I just now looked it up and discovered that it's actually "Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves." So I guess it's sort of a Navy song.

Also, if there are any British people reading this, can you explain to me please what the deal is with that song about these feet in ancient times? It seems like that song is in every British war movie I've ever seen. Isn't it a little odd to have an inspirational song about feet?


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Apparently the Ovenall brand of personal health care products has been around for a while. This is seriously freaking me out.


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You may have noticed that I have a somewhat unusual last name. As far as I know, my immediate family are the only four Ovenalls in the Americas. There are a few Ovenalls in Britain, and we recently discovered one person in New Zealand, but that's it for our very small family.

I was doing a search on my name to see if there have been any new reviews of the deck. Imagine my shock when I came across this page. Apparently my name is a brand of Hungarian toothpaste!

How weird is that? I feel like Homer Simpson when he discovered Mr. Sparkle. "But... I'm Mr. Sparkle!" I have to figure out a way to get some of this toothpaste!


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We got a review! It's a short review of the book, very complimentary. He particularly mentioned the bibliography. I like reading bibliographies too, so I'm really glad he enjoyed ours.

We took the night off last night and went to see Laurie Anderson perform. I've admired her work for years but had never seen her live (just her film Home of the Brave) so this was a real thrill. There was a lot more talking & funny stories than I had expected. I guess I thought it would all be material like I've heard on her albums: half sung, half spoken, more like poetry than like storytelling. Actually it was a mixture of both.

She had a couple of props: first the little lightbulb that she puts inside her mouth, like on the cover of United States Live. Also she had a pair of thick hornrimmed glasses with a strap around them. When she put them on, Georg and I both wondered, why does she need glasses now? She's been reading from those pages in front of her for the past hour. Turned out the earpiece had some kind of mic in it. She started tapping her head and clicking her teeth together, and the mic picked up the vibrations in her head and turned it into booming percussion. It was very cool!

The only really confusing thing was in the program, she described the show as mostly acoustic music. She must have a different definition of acoustic than I do, because as far as I could tell, her voice was the only non-computer generated sound in the entire performance. Even the tapping on her head was amplified into a totally different sound. She was surrounded by computers, and spent the show gently pressing keys or pulling sliders. I was amused at one point to see her change CDs and realize that she wasn't using some special professional CD player, but a little portable -- you know, a "discman" -- like anyone might have.

It started to pour just as we were leaving the theater. Since it was on Duke campus, we had had to park really far away. I used the program to keep the rain out of my eyes, and it got so completely soaked that I can't check that line about "acoustic" music to see if it's more clear in retrospect.


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Llewellyn is now featuring VRT on the home page of their web site, with a picture and some nice text. Woo hoo!


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You know, I'm getting kind of tired of spending so much time working on my computer. We had two beautiful days this past weekend -- high 70s, sunny -- and where did I spend them both? With my butt planted firmly in front of the computer. I miss fresh air!

Maybe if we got Airport installed, I could borrow Georg's iBook and at least sit out on the porch while I worked. I hear it's hard to see one of those screens in daylight, but the porch doesn't get much direct sunlight so it might be OK. But then again, I'd probably find it hard to work on a smaller screen.

I did have time to finish decorating my VRT bag (did it while we were watching the Oscars). I posted a photo in the white box gallery. I printed the High Priestess on that inkjet fabric and sewed it on the front, with a strip of pretty green fabric as a border around it. Then I added a couple different trims, and a few silver and green beads. I found some nice beads shaped like fish. (Speaking of which, if anyone reading this lives anywhere near Carrboro NC, the Original Ornament in Carr Mill Mall is having a great sale this week.)

It's rather obvious from the photo that I'm not experienced at decorative sewing. The trim and beads are all crooked and uneven. It was hard to do! It's so much easier to make a piece of fabric lay flat & even. But the beads seemed to end up going in all directions. Still, I like it. I think the crookedness gives it a sort of "look ma, I made it myself" charm. Now I just hope that other people send photos of their boxes and bags!

Also, we did an interview for Tarot Passages over the weekend. I think the interview will be posted on Friday. I thought it would be difficult, but it turns out that it's really easy to talk about yourself. Especially when it's a friend like Diane asking the questions. She asked all the questions I wanted to be asked, like where did the idea come from, was there anything I regretted not being able to include, what was Georg's involvement in the beginning of the project.


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OK, now that I've had a day to get a little perspective, things don't look so bad anymore. To wit:

The car windows have been fixed already. It was a bit -- a lot -- more expensive than I had expected. But that was because the last time I had to replace a car window I bought the window from a junk yard for $25 and installed it myself. (That's not as impressive as it sounds; it was one of those vent windows that's held in place by three big screws.)

Unfortunately they forgot to reattach the motor, so the window doesn't roll down, but I'll go back and get that fixed on Monday. Since nothing was actually stolen, the break-in was really just an annoying waste of time. Georg had to take the dogs in to the vet yesterday, since I had to talk to the police and all. And then in the afternoon I had to leave work early so I could vacuum the broken glass off the back seat before picking them up.

Speaking of which, my poor doggie Thirteen is feeling much better today. Her mouth isn't bleeding anymore, and she felt well enough to eat some soft food and walk around a bit. Now that she's rid of those bad teeth, Thirteen ought to be in better spirits after her mouth heals up. (The vet gave me her teeth in a bottle but I haven't had the nerve to open it yet.) Lina is, of course, perfectly fine. She just had a cleaning, no extractions, and nothing fazes her anyway. The truly good news from the vet was that the lump on Lina's belly was definitely not cancer.

And it turns out that the language barrier was largely responsible for the message about my deck being "oppressive" and "menacing." I think he meant to say something about the intensity of the deck being a bit unnerving. Which is still a little odd to me -- I just don't see the cards that way at all -- but it's a major relief compared to what I thought he meant.


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It hasn't been a great couple of days. Here's the quick summary:

First, yesterday morning while I was doing my radio show, my car was broken into. The thief broke two windows, yet failed to dislodge the car stereo and also failed to notice that I'd stupidly left my purse sitting in the car. I cancelled my credit cards anyway to be on the safe side. So I have no car today (the windows are being repaired) and no credit cards until the new ones arrive.

Second, my dogs went to the vet yesterday to have their teeth cleaned. They'd never had it done before because I didn't know you were supposed to clean their teeth. One of them had gum disease and had to have several teeth removed. She's on major painkillers and is completely miserable. It's bad enough to watch your dog suffer, but knowing that it was 100% preventable makes it that much worse. Not to mention my worry about leaving her alone all day today.

Last but not least, someone whose opinion I respect wrote today to tell me that he finds my deck oppressive, full of gloom and menace. I have been mentally preparing myself for negative responses but this wasn't exactly what I had expected. I had hoped VRT would evoke a sense of strangeness, but menace or gloom never entered my mind.

Well that's my cheerful message for a cheerful morning. Will write more when I can, hopefully on more uplifting topics.


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I have a confession to make. I'm obsessed with the sales ranking. I check it every day. I had hoped I'd be above all that, but I couldn't stand having this information so readily available and not checking it!

I just heard about a web site called It's by the guy who did f*** (the site whose domain I will not write out on a public web page). Anyway Amazon Scan is, as you might imagine, a way to track sales rankings. It shows the highest and lowest ranked products, and which products have shown the greatest increase or decrease.

It only tracks products that someone has added to the site, not everything Amazon carries. So I promptly added my deck. The site will even show me a graph of daily fluctuations in the sales rank. I love graphs!

The weirdest thing about Amazon Scan is confirmation that does indeed give the same sales rank to more than one product. Amazon Scan shows about a half dozen products ranked at #1. They're mostly in different categories (i.e. DVD, VHS, book, etc.) but there are two CDs with a #1 ranking. I wonder how that happened?


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Haven't posted in a little while, because I've been wrapped up in a project that a) took up all my free time and b) had nothing to do with the deck. So I don't have much to report about the deck, alas.

I did get a nice card from someone who ordered the deck, which included the coolest thing ever: scratch n' sniff martini stickers! They really smell like martinis too! I guess they must have used a juniper scent, since gin is made from juniper berries? Anyway I'm a big fan of the Rat Pack so the martini stickers were quite a thrill.

I had dinner with a couple of friends that I hadn't seen in forever. They travel around the country teaching classes and giving speeches. They had lots of advice on promoting the deck, including many issues that I just hadn't thought about before. They've each written a book (one academic, one self-published) so they have experience with publishing and promoting a book, although of course the issues vary somewhat from genre to genre.

Also I saw another friend yesterday. She was telling me about a reading she had done on my website that had worked out really well for her. I was getting a little embarrassed so I told her that I couldn't handle praise and I was going to have to leave. To which she said, "Sarah you're such a dope! But I guess you do okay some of the time." Which made me feel much better. It's nice to have friends you can kid around with like that.

I've gotten a few notes lately from people who saw the deck in bookstores, which is very exciting. The only store name anyone has mentioned is Borders. (My photo came from the Chapel Hill Borders.) If you've seen the deck on the shelf at a different store besides Borders, I'd love to hear about it.


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My life is now complete.

bookshelf (37k image)

The Queen's true nature is

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The Queen's true nature is finally revealed!

Apparently the Queen was given a gold letter opener to commemorate the increased fan mail she's expected to receive during the Jubilee. But she surprised the givers by indicating a different use for the letter opener. Read the full article here.


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We got our press kits from Robbye. They look really good! They're in a pretty pocket folder, with a picture of the box cover on the front (looks like it was printed on a sticker). Inside are our bios, info about the deck, quotes from reviews, pictures of sample cards, and suggested interview questions. It's crazy to think of actual media people reading that and wanting to interview us! I feel all official-like.

In other news, we got another review on Amazon! This one was really, really nice. I mean "so nice it embarrasses me to read it" nice. I wish the people who wrote reviews gave their names. I'm not sure if these are people I ever talked to before.

The other new thing on Amazon is that stupid "marketplace" link. We don't yet have anyone advertising a used copy, thank goodness. But there is someone advertising a "collectible" copy for 34.99. That's right, someone is selling my deck as a collectible for 5 cents over list price.

That wins the "what the???" award for the day. How on earth could one consider my deck a collectible? It's not rare, and I certainly hope it stays in print for a long time and never becomes rare. It's not signed, because I have a list of all the copies we signed and that guy isn't on the list. The only thing "collectible" about it is that it's still shrinkwrapped. But so are the decks you get from Amazon, and those are a lot cheaper.

I wonder if this is like the eBay sellers who exploit people's ignorance by selling common, readily available decks as "rare and unique," hoping to fool unsuspecting buyers into paying ten times the deck's true value. It might be easier to pull this scam with a new deck, because buyers who don't keep close tabs on the market might not have heard of it & so might believe that it is rare.

I'm tempted to write to the seller of the "collectible" VRT and ask him what makes his copy of my deck so collectible. I guess I shouldn't be complaining, since he probably didn't get as good of a wholesale discount as Amazon, so I'll get a better royalty from him. But still, it irks me to see someone using deceptive marketing techniques in connection with my deck.


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On Saturday I did something a little shocking, a little unlike me. I went to The New Mall. Yes, we've got a new mall here in Durham. A big, honking, bloated, traffic congested, overblown, overcrowded, "1001 Pottery Barns" new mall.

It's called The Streets at Southpoint. I guess I should be thankful that it's not called "The Shoppes at Southpointe" (pronounced the shoppies at southpointie of course). It opened last Friday to much fanfare, including almost the entire front page of the local newspaper. You know there's something wrong with your local newspaper when The New Mall gets a huge front page story and the latest crisis in the Middle East gets one tiny column below the fold.

So what on earth would possess me to enter The New Mall on its opening weekend? Only one thing: an Apple store.

Yes, I have been to an Apple store! In fact I, along with Georg and two other friends, waited in line in the rain to experience the glories of an Apple store. The New Mall is partly indoor and partly outdoor, which is probably why it's called "the streets" and not "the shoppes." The outdoor part, where the Apple store is located, is designed to look like a renovated warehouse or waterfront complex. It's all pre-aged brick in a variety of patterns and styles, even including pre-aged murals for the fictitious companies that might have formerly occupied the buildings, if the buildings had existed a month ago. I love America!

Anyway, the Apple store. It was so cool! They had all kinds of computers out, including two new iMacs. And lots of iPods, the MP3 player. We all agreed that the iPod was really amazing, and we wished we could think of a conceivable reason why we needed one. We also agreed that the external speakers, all clear and rounded, look like something out of 2001. Personally I think they look like the flight attendants' hats (from Dr. Floyd's flight to the Moon). But that's just me.

There's a big projection screen where they give talks on Apple products. They were showing how to use iPhoto, which was really interesting, but the speaker was such a dweeb that we couldn't watch for too long. Also there's a "genius bar" where you can talk to Apple experts. The genius bar was really crowded on Saturday, but I'm looking forward to going back in a month or two to get some advice.

And the software! You PC people have no idea how lucky you are, being able to walk into any store and browse software, rather than having to mail order everything. (It almost makes up for having to use such a crummy platform!) They had lots of games, all the Adobe products, BBedit -- I didn't know they even sold that in a box, I thought it was download-only -- Macromedia, etc. Our friend Lisa was drooling over Final Cut Pro.

We all congratulated ourselves at managing to spend so much time in the Apple store without spending any money. And we even got free t-shirts! They weren't as nice as the ones the staff wore, but it was still nice to get a free shirt.

Then we went to a couple of other stores -- Pottery Barn Kids, Eddie Bauer Home, Metropolitan Deluxe and Spatula City -- and then we were too exhausted to browse any longer. Traffic hadn't been so bad when we got there, but it was really awful by the time we left.


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We have a review on! They gave us four stars! woo hoo!! It was a really nice, generous review. They did say one odd thing -- that the Magician reminds them of a snake oil salesman & therefore the deck is like stepping into the Wild West. As Georg pointed out, it's hard for us to see him with a fresh eye. But still, I think that's a bit strange! I mean the figure is wearing the clothes of a Victorian gentleman. We'd call it "white tie" now; I'm not sure what it was called then. Evening dress?

Anyway, I guess I'd better get used to the idea that people will see these images in other ways besides what I had intended. I can't and shouldn't try to control people's responses. And it was very nice to get such a positive review.

I haven't sent any decks out all week. The middle of the week is always a wash for me, what with working late Wednesday nights and the radio Thursday mornings. This week was even worse, because we had a dj meeting on Tuesday night, and I went to Sam's club for the office yesterday, a trip which always leaves me exhausted.

After work I stopped for a visit with a good friend I hadn't seen since before Christmas. It was really good to see him again; I wished I had had a deck with me for him (unfortunately I had only just gotten them out of my car and put away this past weekend). It must be a sign that I'm not such an extreme introvert anymore. Used to be, if I felt tired and worn out I couldn't stand to talk to anyone. I'd only want to be home by myself, reading a book. But last night, it really made me feel better to spend an hour with a good friend.

Then I went home by myself and read a book. I'm rereading Mansfield Park to see if I can't develop better empathy for Fanny Price. She's always struck me as such a dishrag. This time around I'm trying to get more into the spirit of it. Trying to find her strengths, not just get irritated at her meek acceptance of her family's horrible treatment.


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I had a request this morning!

When I got in, the 3 to 5 am guy told me that he had had a request for "Middle Eastern techno." I felt a little envious that I hadn't gotten that call, as I've just recently developed an interest in that kind of music. But I was happy for Adam to have gotten a request at all. It's pretty rare on early morning shows.

Anyway, the guy called back at about 5:30! He made exactly the same request, "middle eastern techno." If I had been thinking, I would have asked him if there was anything in particular. But I was so excited to get a request (my first) that all I could say was "I sure can!!!"

Luckily I had just bought Buddha Bar I and had remembered to bring it with me. I ended up playing about half an hour of Middle Eastern and Indian electronica. Of course, all morning I've been thinking of things I should have played. But I think it was a pretty good set as it was. It was so cool to get a request for such great music!

The rest of the morning, the knowledge that someone was actually listening completely threw me off during my talk sets. I've gotten fairly comfortable with talking on the air, because I'd assumed no one (except Georg if he wakes up in time) is listening. But this morning I was stumbling and saying "um" as if I'd never done it before.

The worst flub was when I was doing a PSA, and accidentally said "crock walk" instead of "crop walk." It shouldn't have been a problem, but as I continued to read the PSA, I was frantically trying to figure out if I'd just said an indecent word. That made me start to laugh while I was talking. The effect was one of complete silliness.


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Salon had an interesting piece recently about the slush pile, an aspect of the publishing industry that is apparently anathema both to those who contribute to it, i.e. unrepresented writers, and those who receive it, i.e. the employees who get stuck reading it.

The original article was written by someone who read the slush pile as part of her job for a couple of years. The tone of the article was about what you'd expect: mainly bemoaning the soul-crushing burden of having to read an endless stream of horrible writing, and the rudeness and/or craziness of the people whose work ends up in the slush pile, etc.

I think the author's perspective was probably quite accurate. I've never had to read a publisher's slush pile, but I did have a job once grading written essay tests. Let me tell you, there is something extremely depressing about reading hundreds of examples of bad writing every day. It's mind-numbing. The occasional appearance of good writing is like finding a sparkly bead while sifting through a pile of garbage. It's momentarily uplifting but doesn't mitigate the awfullness of the job. I only did it for a few months but it really took an emotional toll.

Georg did once read slush for a living (for an agent) and he confirmed that it really was as bad as the Salon writer said. He did it for over a year and only "sent up" a couple of submissions the whole time.

Anyway, the really interesting thing about this article was the letters in response. They seemed to fall into two categories: "you go girl!" from people who had themselves read slush, or "you elitist bastard!" from people who had been in the slush pile.

As for myself, I guess it's easy for me to be sanguine right now, so maybe I shouldn't talk about it at all :) But it's not like I've never been in the slush pile. VRT was rejected twice before I got in with Llewellyn. Well to be honest, it was rejected once, and another publisher whose initials are US Games never even bothered to respond. I hasten to add that I'm thankful USG blew me off, since I ended up so happy with Llewellyn.

But anyway, I was talking (rambling) about the slush pile. I think that from a writer's point of view, it's very frustrating that unless you know someone, the only way to get into publishing is to be in a slush pile. If you don't want to send unsolicited work to a publisher, then you have to get an agent. Which means being in an agent's slush pile instead. Maybe agents are more charitable towards slush, I don't know.

I guess I'm lucky to be in a genre with an active community that nurtures new writers and artists. Not only did I get a lot of advice and encouragement from the Tarot community, I was also able to meet Barbara, who does acquisitions for Llewellyn. If I were trying to break into another genre, I'd definitely use the internet to publicize my work again.


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I have an entry in the white box gallery! Ccili from Comparative Tarot sent a photo of her lovely box. Now I have to do mine! Eek!

I finally got around to

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I finally got around to downloading the photo of my car full of boxes from my computer. That's 91 decks in the picture: 80 still in their original cases, and 11 packaged up ready to mail. There's not really room for them in the house, so I've been taking them up to the office one case at a time. But I keep forgetting, so I've only got two cases stored there yet.

We drove by the local Borders today and they still do not have the deck in stock. We didn't even try Barnes & Noble, as their tarot section is such a mess. And they've devoted an entire shelf to a US Games display, so they don't have that much room for decks anymore.

Anyway, we eased our disappointment over the lack of in-store presence at Borders by buying a couple of CDs. I got Sacrebleu by Dimitri from Paris, and Georg got an album of Indian dance music called Indestructible Asian Beats. Good stuff!

I'm finally just about caught up on mailing decks out. Yay! Today I'm going to try and work on my site a bit. Good thing I forgot to take the book on ASP back to the office, so I still have it here.


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I heard back from Robbye, our publicist. She has finished our press kits and is going to send me a few copies. Can I just say that it is totally weird to have a press kit? Not to mention a publicist!

Anyway, she is going to go to and see about getting us set up with "look inside the book." They never responded to me so I'm hoping that a representative of the publisher will have better luck. I really think it will be good for book sales if people can see the images. And she is sending out review copies. So I need to send her the names of any reviewers I want to have a copy.

In non-Tarot news, I got my hair done on Tuesday. Had a few big streaks of blonde put in it. My plan is to dye the blonde streaks blue, to match my car. But for now I'm enjoying being part blonde for a few days. I feel like Rogue from the X-men. Now all I need is her bod and the ability to steal other people's life force.

I love my hairdresser. He seems to understand me better than anyone I've gone to before. I hate styling -- if a blowdryer is required, I simply won't do it and my hair will be limp and nasty instead. But, I am willing to experiment. I'll honestly try anything & he doesn't even need to talk to me about it beforehand. He's been giving me a style that looks best if I wash my hair the night before and sleep with it still damp. In other words, my hair style is bed head. And it looks good! How cool is that?

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