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I was going to talk about the Great Conjunction that happened on Christmas/Yule, buuuuuuuuuut the Capitol got attacked.

Now is a good time to lay out some points, especially since the Inauguration is really fast upon us here in the US (Wed, Jan 20th):

  • Claims from National Security about not being able to foresee the attack is a phony call. It was remarkably obvious that an attack of some sort was going to happen on the 6th. The 6th is a significant day for the electoral votes to be counted officially, what a great time to have a “last hurrah” – next to the Inauguration itself. Angry White folks are very good at being violent, especially en masse – check any history book from the Tulsa Massacre to general policing in America, to anti-abolitionist movements, anti-civil rights movements (or just read how Dr. King was murdered, or Medgar Evans, or general lynchings). Non-angry White folks are also very good at enabling the angry ones – check any history book of White abolitionists, suffragettes, participants of the civil rights movement (or just look at the White folks who bought Twisted Tea as “allyship” but never used it on their MAGA relatives because “they’re not that bad” – (why buy if not use? Otherwise, it’s pointless virtue signaling)).
  • The core & target readers of this blog are Black so here’s a word: stay home, stay out the way. This is not about race, let the White folks happily punch each other because their favorite racist didn’t win. If White: Stay home. Seriously. The National Guard and Capitol Police aren’t going to play around like they did prior, I think a good chunk of them are not applying the “White is Right” rhetoric they usually do – and got them caught with their pants down on the 6th.
  • Stay home, bears saying twice. Stay home. I remember the Baltimore riots of 2015, the National Guard does not play around. If they have a shoot-to-kill order, even White privilege isn’t going to nullify that like it usually does. And no one ever knows if the insurrectionists are going to try to pre-game by attacking Black folks or other PoC that they find around them. That’s how it usually is, since forever.

Now, does the Capitol deserve to have its jewels ran? Yes, but not in favor of White supremacy. The Capitol already is rife with that. Now, my only concern for the attack was for the people in the Library of Congress because the LoC is across the street from the Capitol and violent people are violent. I worked at the LoC, so I personally know people there. The only people who should be most upset that the Capitol was busted up are the Architect of the Capitol, just about no one else. The Capitol is a building, it can be revamped and rebuilt. Windows break on a regular day, doors fall on a regular day, that is a 200+ old building for you. Given how much I hear White tears over buildings in the face of riots or protests, unless you are an architect or the owner of said building, there is zero need to be upset. Even the World Trade Center in NYC was rebuilt. The 3,000+ people who died in the attack still very much dead, though.

Speaking of things that are commonly mentioned in conspiracies, I still do not get QAnon. It just sounds like a turducken of every flimsy conspiracy theory slapped together with the usual glues of racism, misogyny, anti-semitism and Christian fervor. Is the media biased? Yes, but usually for prejudiced reasons (race and journalism historically makes for a poor mix, especially when a lot of outlets still steer along “White is Right” rhetoric, ditto with gender). Do slimy things happen in the entertainment industry? All the time, usually for greed and prejudiced reasons. The idea that there is an illuminati trying to control people using Katy Perry and Beyonce is ridiculous at best. I have already written about this, several times. I have spent years around the music industry, it’s a plain industry. Does pedophilia/ephebophilia happen? Surely does, including among non-rich people. Most abuses happen in families and with friends of the family (from siblings to literal friends of the parents). Also, the abuses tend to go on for long periods of time because, welp, no one likes to listen to kids thanks to adult ego (also known as “if your kid doesn’t want to hug someone, stop forcing them  – you’re teaching the kid that a) their boundaries don’t matter and b ) you probably wouldn’t care or believe if they did tell you”). The feelings of another adult tend to hold a lot more weight than the feelings of a child and children do not have the mental or verbal capability to just out and say “that person molested me. Yes, they are your best friend but that’s who they are”. Then there’s the issue of believing the child or believing the accused adult – by the way, the accused adult has a bevvy of abilities to make any accusation from any kid look phony. And, guess what? They work pretty darn well. There are countless writings online from adults who are CSA survivors (Child Sexual Abuse) that have definitely talked about it. Or, you can just read the accounts of rape and sexual assault victims of any age. Also, throw in race and gender, it gets a lot worse. And these are with normal, regular people who are not under 24/7 scrutiny from media, fans, handlers, etc and TMZ always sniffing at their door. It is amazing to hear the force behind accusing celebrities but when it comes to the plain people around them, it’s more “ehhhh, kid’s probably lyin'” or “kids are wild nowadays”. At least apply the same gusto to regular people … wait, wait, the concept of “ehhhhh, [the victim]’s probably lyin” shows up even in celebrity rape/sexual assault cases, just look at R. Kelly’s case, and Weinstein’s case – and there was overwhelming evidence in both. QAnon didn’t pop the lid off those cases, it took countless years from the victims’ side, complete with documentaries and news articles, to get anything to happen. While QAnon mentions things that could potentially sound bad – it all falls on its face when given longer than a cursory glance. There are reasonable explanations for everything they suggest, granted the explanations are less nefarious sounding and world-rocking but they are there.

Back to the inauguration and security.

Remember, stay home.

The FBI is worried of an insider attack, even removed two people in the National Guard who have connections to White extremist groups (but were not involved in any plots, they were just members). That’s great … except, it’s pretty pointless. The FBI, secret service and the US military have literally no ability to see their own blindspots. They have ghostskins by the payload. “White is Right” is basically how they hire in general, trying to find a racist is like wading through a cranberry bog, not a needle in a haystack. They can only pin-point ones that have actively gone through the motions of joining far-right groups. Speaking as a Black person, I can very much assure you I have met maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany hateful White people and I would say a solid 99% were:

A) not part of any far-right groups

B ) would shun the existence of far-right groups

C) still hateful, they just aren’t card carrying members to “Random Hate Group & Co”

D) didn’t mind curbing their hatred because:

D1) they’re pretty enabled by society, which already has pro-White racism cooked in – to the point that the person of color affected is blamed and ignored

D2) they use other methods that is not outwardly violent, such as micro-aggressions, law-making, dog-whistling, and (kind) appeals to dehumanization

D3) when they did get violent, the Person of Color is usually told what they should have done to avoid the aggression. And they feel pretty privileged to be aggressive to anyone about anything, even other White folks

D4) love to virtue signal to other White people (such as posting a black square or buying Twisted Tea) because they genuinely believe they are not racist because they don’t know how to tie a noose or never owned a slave or dragged a Black person behind a car – basically, the good ol’ “because people worse than me exist, that must mean I am Very Good”

Looking for card carrying members of hate groups means most are going to be missed or ignored – kinda like the Trump supporters who planned out in the open to raid the Capitol … and succeeded. Apparently, White people toting guns, bombs and homemade napalm while waving racist symbols are “less threatening” than, ohhhhhhh, Black people carrying signs about civil rights. Even when BLM protests dissolved into riots, they were already met with over-passionate, militaristic force – even buzzed by helicopters winds. In Trump’s crowd, there were actual members of the military and police stretching across the USA. Gotta admit, though, for a very “Blue Lives Matter” crowd, they were really okay with killing and beating police officers. How … unsurprising.

If the FBI & military was sincere in their searching, the inauguration protection force would probably dwindle down to twenty five people and a Capitol Hill squirrel.

While I would usually say it takes one to know one, I don’t think the FBI & military are good at spotting racists in an effective way. That would take unhinging the deep seated concept of “White is Right, Everything else is Suspect”, and they have been working on that since, what, the 1960s? 1970s? It’s 2021 (or as I like to call it “2020, Pt 2: The Reckoning”).

Just stay home. If something wild happens during the Inauguration, it’s going to happen.

Dating is difficult. Dating while Black and Pagan is even more difficult. Tack a killer virus on top and it makes things way more difficult. Social distancing, mask wearing, lockdowns, it makes finding someone a bit tough, to say the least.

Already there are the usual barriers I face to dating, such as having a small dating pool on the account that I’m Pagan. Some people don’t know what that is so they’ll pass, or think it is a kooky faith because “you really believe in that stuff?” It’s even more ironic when it comes from the Christian crowd – a zombie carpenter is plausible but all other faiths and ideas are considered “out there”. At least I personally fare best with Muslims and Buddhists. Then there’s the fact that though I’m hetero-romantic, I’m demisexual, which reduces my pool further. Throw in anti-Black racism/good ol’ misogynoir and it shrinks even further.

Dating apps have spiked in use since the pandemic started, I’ve used them before myself. They’re great for those who are introverted and rather connect digitally than go out into the world and meet lots of people you sincerely wish you never had. At least in a dating app, I can screen bad choices and wary folks to the point that they can’t talk to me (or even see me) if I don’t want them to. And I never want them to. In the physical world, that doesn’t exists. But cat-calling and street harassment does and I am not interested at all in experiencing that while trying to date. So, dating apps it is.

The app usage is roughly the same as it would be in non-pandemic times. Some have taken a bit of a greedy advantage of the pandemic by piling on “Buy this, buy that, and get seen more/get better matches”. And the prices can be staggering, usually teetering around $80-100 for maybe three months of “Premium” access. For many, especially during a pandemic, that can be annoying, if not frustrating. Many people have lost their jobs or are bumbling down the dismal pipe of losing their job so shelling out any money to a dating app when there are stacking bills to pay seems like bad personal economics.

There are dating apps like Nuit (an astrology/natal chart based dating app), Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge, Bumble and more which varies in taking pandemic concerns into account. All ping you for money (Hinge, OkCupid and Tinder being the worst, their services practically become unusable unless you shell out lots and lots of money) but some take into consideration that we’re all in a pandemic and jabbing pockets just to be functional isn’t that great an idea. Coffee Meets Bagel is a good example of that. Nuit is still starting out so they haven’t gotten into pocket-jousting yet.

Once upon meeting someone, there is the dating part. For those who grew up on the internet, this isn’t that tough because relationships blossom over the internet all the time. For others who are not super accustomed to exchanging digital interactions, it can be a weird and jarring experience because you’re talking through screens and avatars, not face to face. There were always places like IMVU, Second Life, etc etc. for more digitally apt folks to interact with each other and develop a bond. For example, in IMVU, you can sit in a winter cafe and talk to each other using floating chat bubbles via personalized avatars. Even hold hands, hug or kiss. Then there’s the upgraded version: Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality allows you to interact with someone as if they are beside you. You can talk to them, play cooperative video games together, even hang out with them in your own personal private spaces. You can both be on a vast sun planet that has stars for flowers, you can be on a swaying pirate ship rampaged with little, cute chibis. You can create an entire movie theatre for you both to sit and be together in. Depending on your VR setup, there are even haptic vests and gloves which can easily simulate touch. Full body trackers that can simulate full body movement. For example, pair a Valve Index with Vive body trackers and your entire body, even individual fingers, will move. Pair that with a haptic vest and you can feel a hug. I own only a VR headset but that’s enough for virtual reality dates, even if whoever I date doesn’t have one. This brings back closeness during a time where we are all supposed to be apart. Granted VR can be a bit steep for some, the cheapest headset is an Oculus Quest 2, which is in the $200s range and a Facebook product, which brings in problems of privacy. It is also the only cheapest and best noted stand-alone VR headset so far on the market. All other VR headsets need a computer, which has to be “VR ready” because VR can be very intense on a computer system. I have a gaming laptop. Though it is not slated to be “VR Ready” like its more expensive counterparts, it does meet and exceed the requirements to run my VR headset, which is a Windows Mixed Reality VR headset. The only bonus with that is because I use Windows already, Windows Mixed Reality is already built into the computer or is super easy to get. But I’m not sure I would be able to run a Valve Index or the latest Vive, which is fine for me, I already can do enough with my current headset.

As said prior, dating is tough. Throw in a nasty virus and it gets even tougher. Thankfully, it is not the 90s and there are a bevy of ways of still connecting, even over a distance. The remaining hard part is finding those connections.

Woo, today is day one of 2021. (Ne ga chae chala ga – dang, writing Korean 2ne1 lyrics in English looks off)

We’re still in a very fatal pandemic.

Things still suck.

Covid-19 is still here (by the way, everyone, the “19” in “Covid-19” is because the virus was found in 2019. It is officially 2021.)

There’s a vaccine, which is great. It is going to take a remarkably long time to pump it out to everyone, which is not so great.

Viruses naturally mutate, this one is no different. A new, variant has been discovered in the UK and it’s already in America. (If it was in Korea, you know for fact it is in the US). Woooo, that mean there’s a potential the vaccines may or may not work on everyone and for all forms of Covid-19. Because usually vaccines are for one kind of an ailment, not if the ailment’s genetic strand takes a souped up turn (by the way, the new Covid variant’s name is “B.1.1.7”, “VUI-202012/21” or, my personal fav, “London’s Bridge is Falling Down, These Guys Have a History of Plague” or “Bloody Rats!” for short. “British Flu” is a nice runner up. So is just plain singing “Posies”). This might turn out just fine and the current Covid vaccines can knock it out. Things might turn out not so fine and everybody has to go back to the drawing board to make another vaccine, just for the variant.

Basically, new year, same nonsense.

Happy 2020 pt 2: The Reckoning, everybody!

And remember:

 

 

And wear a mask

I have been doing a lot during my impromptu break. Mostly VR games, eating, and general “we’re still in a pandemic, everyone” stuff.

I still have been looking at decent media, though.

2 Ants, 1 President
The humor reminds me strongly of Cannon Busters, though this indie animated series on Newgrounds is roughly the same age, of not a little older.


Josh Johnson
He is a remarkably funny comedian with a humorous podcast. His humor is really tame and calm. Hailing from Louisiana, he talks about his life experiences and muses about the silly things he has gone through.



Meet Me @ The Altar

I’m always looking for new music to listen to. I saw this band on my editor’s Tumblr* [link] and gave it a listen. They have a very Pop Punk sound, similar to early Paramore. I really like the visuals and it is always great to find Black bands in Rock

 


*I also have been doing creative writing: MultiMindPublishing 

We are in our tenth month here in the US of Covid 19 lockdown and it has officially been a whole single year that the Coronavirus has been on this planet.

Can’t say that I’m thrilled.

The US is the worst stricken nation on the planet for Covid-19. (China is also quite possibly nasty-struck based on their ratchet human-rights & human welfare track record buuuuuut they cook the books too much to make that solid determination. Bad enough one can’t even search about the coronavirus online without heavy censorship over there). America is doing poorly for the same reason China didn’t kick off to an amazing start: Terrible government leadership, misinformed populace, and more terrible government failures that were and are due to being image-conscious instead of pandemic-conscious. No one cares about your reputation if everyone is dead all around you, including you. That and both nations seriously should not kid themselves over image: Both America and modern China have a solid reputation of being awful, from rampant human rights violations (from police black sites in America to concentration/death (read: organ harvesting) camps in China of Falun Gong and Uyghur (Xinjiang) people) to invasive technology (Project Prism, Homeland Security & the NSA in the USA and literally the entire Chinese tech infrastructure). Maybe it would be better to worry about reality and not fantasy.

Off that little soap box, there is an old phrase: “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”. Meaning: it is better to do a little to prevent a problem than need to do a lot to fix it once it strikes. I always prefer preventative measures over reactive measures for any and everything, simply because it is usually easier to prevent problems than it is to fix them. In this situation, it is much, much easier to prevent getting the coronavirus than actually dealing with it. At least the prevention measures won’t kill you. Covid can. 

Here is an overview from Osmosis about the current treatments of Covid-19:

These treatments are also, by the way, very potentially costly. Plus, you sincerely have no idea if you are getting “bed rest” covid or “death bed” covid. That is one wheel of fortune you do not want to spin. 

Also, even though I am a Pagan/witch blog, I’m not going to recommend any herbs, oils or spells – because absolutely none are necessary. Anyone who says different is trying to make you spend money and there are definitely a lot of nefarious opportunists who only care about “collecting their coin” and taking advantage of a scary situation. Those folks deserve to catch the coronavirus, no one needs greedy people in a pandemic and it isn’t like they deserve the air they breathe. If you contract the Coronavirus, you need actual doctors, not snake oil charlatans out trying to make a buck. 

Oh, and full disclaimer: I work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the library. Woo, information.

 

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Wear a Mask
  • Keep Your Hands Clean
  • Social Distance (6ft/2m, no closer)
  • Stay at Home, when/if possible

 

It is remarkably stupid that the idea of mask wearing in the US is “political” but hey, Americans tend to be stupid, why battle that stereotype now?

Wear a Mask – a cloth mask, a disposable mask (put in a trash can, not on the ground). Anything made of cotton weave or better. The reason masks were touted as “not necessary by the general public” at the start was because not a whole lot was known about Covid-19 in the beginning and our data was coming from a national government that literally edits out whole history-changing massacres that happened on live television if it doesn’t make them happy – even to the point of banning the candle emoji when the anniversary rolls around. So, that means a good chunk of the data was quite a bit misleading. That and the US was (and still is) quite unprepared for the virus, as it pertains to masks and proper equipment for actual doctors and nurses so public health officials wanted to prevent a bank run on masks that would leave medical professionals super S.O.L. – now medical professionals are just plain really S.O.L., which is not much better. Wear a mask, plain and simple. It won’t kill you but the coronavirus certainly can. Also, handle your masks by the loops, not the front. The front has what is called a “viral load”, meaning if you were exposed to the virus, it is on the mask and not in you. That is also why it is important to wash your masks regularly, so you don’t risk transferring the virus to yourself while handling your mask. 

Keep Your Hands Clean – Wash your hands with soap and water. Soap pops the lipid (fatty) defense layer of the coronavirus, killing it on contact. Thoroughly wash your hands, front and back and frequently. If you are somewhere where you genuinely can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or above. I personally never go under 70-75%, frankly. But wash your hands, first and foremost.

Stay at Home – Some can’t do this because they work essential jobs such as in grocery stores (who should be receiving hazard pay) or are at risk of losing their homes because of terrible American social care infrastructure that shouldn’t exist but if you can stay home – stay home. It is insidiously moronic to tell one another “stay safe” but not “stay home”. If people aren’t being social butterflies, Covid-19 can’t take flight in the communities. Do not booze up and especially stay away from drugs – you don’t need anything marring your judgement and chemically suppressing your immune system. Putting yourself at better risk of catching the Coronavirus isn’t going to help your situation much. If you live with others, try to wear a mask around them. 

Social Distance – Keep 6ft away from each other. This is to prevent the spread of droplets that come from your nose and mouth, especially if you are not wearing a mask (you should) or if your mask is not as protective as you thought it was. The Coronavirus spreads through the air, mainly through the nose and mouth. Stay away from each other. If you can’t (you should), at minimum wear a mask. But seriously, stay away from each other. If you have to go somewhere, use this handy dandy site to figure out what your risk is, Safer Covid – My Risk. And make sure you fill it all the way out. It covers everything from pumping gas to going to events. There is even a “custom” section for places and events not covered. 

 

Always a convenient reminder

And let’s crack out the Social Distance Bingo Board!

 

What I have gotten on mine:

 

 

Woo, fun for everyone. 

Dealing with the Coronavirus is tough but mainly because not everyone is doing their part. If people simply wore masks more, cases would drop almost overnight instead of spike to the moon. These measures certainly are not a violation of any human rights, civil rights or constitutional rights. Being told to stay home and wear a mask is lightyears away from being at Masanjia, Auschwitz or Manzanar. It is a major concern, public health-wise, that as many people should participate as much as possible. It is going to be a remarkable long time before a safe vaccine comes out and there is enough public trust to use it. There is already concerns of a “Trust Gap” from Black Americans, Latin Americans and other groups of Americans that were inhumanely treated like guinea pigs for the past two to four centuries by the American medical system and still face prejudice in medical care to this very day. Huh, it’s almost like treating whole groups of people like Jigsaw from the Saw series for several generations has a weird knock-on effect during times where trust is most crucial. Odd. 

Wear a mask and don’t simply “stay safe”, practice social distancing and clean your hands.

 

Wow, I have been gone for quite a while! Since August! It was completely unexpected, I was snowed with endless responsibilities and also had to move (which is harrowing in normal circumstances, multiplied further in a pandemic – which we are still very much in, by the way). I have been a bit active on the other branches of Black Witch, such as Tumblr and Instagram.

My Insta probably looks drastically different from what I usually talk about here because I use it to show my more tech-laden stuff since I am mainly self-taught in making technology and suches from scratch. It’s mostly my 3D printings and pictures of my cat. Or both.

The Black Witch Shoppe has been closed since the start of the pandemic and will still remain closed until the pandemic is over. Which is probably going to be for a much longer time further but I rather not put my health or the health of others at risk just to mail things out. That says nothing about how shabby shipping is nowadays because we’re in a pandemic. Global plagues can do that to global shipping infrastructures. Besides, I have mostly been spending my days 3D printing masks because I can – and because I still can not easily get Takuya Angel’s masks. I have been pining after his masks since 2011. Even a pandemic will not lower the price. But it will make shipping harder.

One day, super-expensive vis-kei face mask. One Day.

I have recently made an electrified mask. It is “electrified” because there are operating fans, on/off switches, and it powered by rechargeable cell phone batteries. It also has huge P100 3M filters because Covid is not the only thing I don’t want to expose myself to.

That is prototype #1, the next is going to have more mods. Probably a filtered exhaust valve and definitely putting back in a voice amplifier. I originally planned to have it on the first prototype but I derped so much, I decided on dual fans. Plus, I thought I could be heard just fine. I can – in quieter places. Others will still try to draw themselves close so time for an offensively loud voice amp! The kind that will deafen anyone within six feet of me.

I basically have spent time basically living in a pandemic, which is its own type of stress. I have learned that making 3D printed masks for others is tough because you have to shake people down for their measurements. So many people think of 3D Printing as what they see in Watch Dogs 2 and forget that, no, I still need their input. Custom fitting is a little harder in 3D printing than with cloth masks because it is supposed to be super exact to your face (unless you print in flexible filament, then it just has to be plain exact). So there is that. And these are the usual 3D printed masks, not my electrified one. That is, so far, going to be just a one of kind.

Also, I have recently guested on the Burn Out Brighter podcast, where we talk race, gender and video games. I derp aplenty.

Burn Out Brighter, ep. 66 – “Chatting with Black Witch”
Also, check out Burn Out Brighter other episodes

Some of my audio is mottled (my mic and wi-fi, I’m sure) and some audio did get dropped due to tech mishap but it was a good show altogether. Lemme clarify some parts that did get tech-dropped that I can remember:

  • Shinoda, I don’t remember talking about the Linkin Park Beat Saber pack but Joe Hahn has posted a brief vid on his instagram of his wife playing a song on the newest Oculus. (Also, I know Lupe but I have only met Mike Shinoda)
  • I played Street Fighter 4 with Lupe Fiasco when he was on tour in Pennsylvania. I won one round and the entire experience was a good experience. The “I shall shade in private” is mainly about gaming, because we both like gaming.
  • The podcast is hosted out of South Korea, that is why I occasionally say Korean words (and usually the English word afterwards). When in Rome, everyone.
  • A good chunk of the silences are my connection dropping out on my side
  • Lupe didn’t go to the Baltimore Book Festival (I did try to get him to go but his record company chunked up his day), I just picked up a bunch o’ stuff for him from there and hung out with him at one of his Baltimore events (it was an album signing for Food and Liquor 2 at Soundgarden, a record store)
  • A good chunk of the News part did get lost, it was mostly about the pandemic. Mainly the differences of responses between different nations (US, Korea & China) and I shared my experiences from one of my friends who is born and raised in Wuhan and how they saw the pandemic back when it was simply “hey, there’s a new bug going ’round. I hope I don’t get sick, I have so much to do”, basically the usual chatter that happens when the weather gets colder. That and “Don’t believe everything that you breathe, especially when it comes from the CCP”, which is about how the Chinese government did a super disservice to their own population by trying to hide that there was a terrible virus going around and locked up one their own doctors, Dr. Li Wenliang (who eventually died of covid himself). And how Korea has been doing a marvelous job
  • “You didn’t make him [Marcus from Watch Dogs 2] half-Black” bit was partly was cut out. Usually video games would make a PoC character usually be “half White/half-other”, especially Black characters. It is only really recently that now games let characters not be forced into Whiteness somehow enable to be considered “more human/relatable”. That is where the “White Man’s Burden” quip comes from, that to be “human”, the character needs to be at least half-White. Which is remarkably awful but that’s what game makers thought for the longest time (and still try to shoe horn).
  • P.O.D. has yet to put out something for VR music games but there is at least a glimmer of interest there. (I’m workin’ on the guys, give me time. Lol) but Linkin Park has (for at least two VR games, Beat Saber being one of them)

I hope that I’ll be invited back for another show, I had a lot of fun!

 

Woo, a post about magick strictly.

Using a bathtub to do water magick is an idea I have not seen much outside of “take herbal baths”, which is a good idea – when done correctly, not everything in nature works well against skin – but I think more can be expanded upon it for other forms of spellwork.

An example I am thinking of is using a bathtub as its own body of water and sitting in it for spellwork, using floating dishes, including floating candles. This is great for those who do not live near accessible bodies of water but still want to do water magick. Plus, not all accessible bodies of water are safe due to the effects of pollution (please reduce, reuse, recycle & treat water ways as important. Also, corporations are the majority reason for water problems) and that can be a problem for those who wants to work within water but cannot.

Working magick in bodies of water is definitely an experience on its own. Plain water is fine, it does not need to be jazzed up somehow with oils and herbal blends. Not to mention, that could be potentially irritating to the skin or, worse, possibly start an oil fire on water. You do not want that. Please do not turn your bathroom into the Boston harbor.

Working among/within water does not require a big bathtub, just a single bathtub. As with any form of magick, please practice appropriate safety. If you want to stand up and do movement in the bathtub, make sure you have grips so you don’t fall. Things will drift, try to keep an eye on them, especially if they are floating candles. And make sure you have absorbent materials so there won’t be a major mess.

More on floating candles. Not only are they pretty but they can be useful to combine different elements. Earthen items such as salt, oils, etc, placed in the candle. Air from the air or incense – or breath! Or steam. There are plenty possibilities to use enable to expand magick work.

Clean up should hopefully be a breeze. Assuming nothing went awry, all materials used in the spell should have stayed in select plates and in their general places. All that should be needed is to remove items first (to prevent unnecessary spills), then yourself, and then drain the tub. What is efficient is that it keeps the spell neat and organized. Water can be chaotic but your spellwork does not have to be.

Using a bathtub is one of several different ways a person can modify their practice to be better suiting for their environment. Not everyone has a bathtub, true, but this can be useful for those who do. Not all magick practice has to be the usual “stand in a circle, say stuff, do stuff, be done”. It can be as varied as the practitioner themselves.

Techno Witch

I work with technology a lot, including virtual reality, and it made me wonder what or how it could pose as some good use for magick and witchcraft.

At the start of being Pagan, many things I did were very offline. I read physical books, went to physical locations such as the library and metaphysical shop, wrote in my physical B.O.S., things like that. If anything, I preferred it that way, things were very much in reach and given the history of magick is very much more so on paper than in bytes, it made better sense to me.

But eventually, technology got better and easier. More and more resources were online, and reliable resources at that. Granted, there is still a lot of bunk and dribble on the internet. Why people like to pick up spells from random corners of the internet is beyond me. If they are easy to get and plain out there for the world to see and, even worse, come with a price tag, it is probably fake. Some witches do indeed do paid spellwork/pay for pray but not to the excessive number that exists on the internet. More on that later, but basically, tech made witchy info collecting easier. It has probably been a while since I have penned in my B.O.S. but, if anything, I have more of a Disk of Shadows (D.O.S.) now. I have particular tumblrs and tags that I follow or curate on my own that are informative and helpful to my works and endeavors. They’re sometimes really hard to find, and sometimes they are not (if you know what to look for). There are more digital groups for Black Pagans and other minorities/poc now than when I started over a decade ago. Due to the internet, there is better access to much better information about non-European cultures that is not filtered through the perspective of a random White academic slathering on a layer of their own personal bias to the details and calling it “correct, accurate and objective information”. People can do their own research and not be blocked by institutions or paywalls.

But there’s still a lot of bunk on the internet. Due to the pop culture sensation of “witchiness” (basically think of anything American Horror Story, The Craft and the Sabrina reboot has pumped out, add some culture-vulturing via “I am a bruerja” and you got it), it makes decent info still rather hard to find. Since books and old texts that may or may not be translated well or correctly are not that popular, it is easier to find people who, frankly, don’t really know much of what they are doing, they just really like sage, cultural appropriation, gothic clothing and perhaps nursing a drug habit. They’re all over Instagram with their filter-laden pictures, offering to cast spells and do divination (usually tarot, because, what else are they going to learn? Cartomancy? Numerology? I Ching? Elective Astrology? Not as popular) but don’t seem to really know much about ethics and the other boring stuff of learning actual, proper witchcraft. It’s easy to blame just about everything on Mercury retrogrades but if that person has never heard of an ephemera before, they probably are also dead wrong about anything retrograde as well. Spells are cool and mysterious (not really), reading and research is … well, how many pop culture witch characters have you seen buzzing around countless books going “I thiiiiiiiiink this is definitely super old school Congolese – liiiiike, way, way, before colonialization. And of course, it’s a half-page passage in an out-of-print book and features a next-to-dead language. So we should either pick a different spell, or start bothering really old people who may or may not remember such a language – assuming the invading White folks did not torch or steal their cultural history – oh wait, it’s sitting in the British museum, with an incorrect placard and everything. Great, now may we have to talk to stuck up, myopic, well-dressed thieves that think they’re not stuck up, narcissistically stupid, or sticky fingered because ‘I have a degree and institutional prejudice is on my side’. You know what? Killmonger had some good ideas. Someone grab some coffee, that is probably the easier option”? Outside of Hermione Granger, not really anyone in witchy pop culture is very “research is good, research is great, research keeps random entities you summoned and can’t get rid of out of your home and life.” So it can make good info hard to break through the ether. Nothing is wrong with liking pop culture depictions of magic – I get a kick out of Doom Patrol’s magnificent depiction of chaos magick – but it is a bit of a problem when people try to base their practice on movie magic. Yes, psionics is real, yes, magic is real but no, it doesn’t look exactly like the tv and movies. If anything, they can be a lot more stressful and annoying.

I think being a technology-based witch, for me, is simply involving technology in your practice. I have thought of the idea of making a virtual space for spellwork and personal practice but then I think about my track record with magick, energy movement and electrical items. VR systems are pricy and I have made electrical items go ka-put. And, again, VR systems are pricy. But others could benefit, especially those who may not have the space or safety to comfortably practice in the real world. You can make whatever you want in the virtual world and it can be your own spot. A digital altar, a digital casting circle, the list goes on and on.

At first, I wasn’t too sure of these things because, well, they are new. No one was using computers for such practices – or any practices – centuries ago. But all technology, no matter how rudimentary, was considered new at one point. All creations were considered new at one point. From the typewriter, to the wheel, to fire itself. Certainly the deities can be understanding of some of these changes. As long as the changes are relatively seamless, especially for some deities. For example, some sun gods probably would not be too keen on the use of cell phone flashlights vs. actual natural light sources, like a flame made from the sun’s rays. I imagine working with water deities would be stress-inducing unless you are very confident in the IP rating of your technology and trickster deities + internet is probably literal trouble if you do not know what you are doing.

Has all my practices gone digital? I don’t think so but I do think a vast majority of it has. It has been the easier option for me but I always bear in mind that it is good to at least have back ups and that not everything worthwhile is on a computer. There is still always going to be a need for physical things. Links die, computers break and sometime technology can over-complicate simple processes. That and not everything is on the internet, not everything has been digitized and some things are simply harder to find digitally because the metadata is not up to snuff or it is plain incorrect. Thus it is good to find a decent balance, even if that balance is majority tech with analog supports.

I really wish I got better questions. The most recent batch is just trash asks from annoying people.

This one was absurd. Came from an email with the subject header “hello Goddess Witch:)” because if you want to talk to me, talking like this is a dating site is always a good idea (it isn’t, I’m snippy to guys on dating sites who greet like this. Try having a normal conversation with a normal greeting, they actually do work).

I despise this kind of behavior because they never bode good things about the person saying them. Ever. To me, anyone who tries to charm and butter you up is always up to something, otherwise they would have a normal approach.

“YES i would absolutely date, and adore a witch:)..know of any single ones? LOL…trust me, i’ve been looking

(oh, i’m white, male, and 45 , handsome:)”

A) Black Witch is not a dating site. At all. He’s not the first idiot to try this. Black Witch is a regular blog. As I always say, if you wouldn’t do this to a guy, don’t to this to women. Because it is insulting.

B ) I literally do not care of his dating preferences. And dating a witch really is not that different from dating literally anyone else who does not practice magick. At all.

C) His humor is stupid and reeks of “old bachelor”. I like comedy but not bad comedy.

D) I don’t date White (Though demi/ace, I stick to men of color. They are already a headache enough, no need to tack on the 400+ years of historical problems to that. Actually, the existence of straight men in general should be proof enough that no sexual orientation is a “choice” because have you seen how straight guys act? Add a STEM, Finance/Business or Medical degree and they get worse)

E ) I don’t date old guys. Dude is almost 15 years my senior, I stick to guys within 2-3 years senior of my actual age and rarely date anyone even a year my junior


My reply:

You sound disgusting. Please off yourself. You are literally everything I DON’T want in a guy.



Inb4 “you told him to commit suicide!”: I have learned from existing on this planet as a girl that plain “no” literally. Does. Not. Work.

Guy: Can I walk you home?
Me: Nah, I’m good.
Guy: It’s ok, it’s not too much trouble for me. I’ll walk you to your house

They blow past a very plain “no” as if it never happened. Upgrade it to awful insults and they tend to get the picture.

Guy: Can I walk you home?
Me: Nah, I’m good.
Guy: It’s ok, it’s not too much trouble for me. I’ll walk you to your house
Me: Bro, get lost. I’m good. Go to your house, away from me. No one wants you, ever. I can protect myself, no need to drag along Sir Dead-Weight if trouble does occur.
Guy: How does anyone even like you? *storms off*

Yeah, it’s not nice but I wanted the guy to leave since the start so Mission Accomplished? It would be nice if guys took the original and plain “no”, I don’t enjoy ripping into people but hey, it is usually the not-nice version that tends to work the most with the least amount of back-and-forth.

So, yeah, maybe guys should use better listening skills, might spare their emotions more.


The reply:

what the flying FUCK is your problem?? I paid you a DEAR compliment,and you come back with your angry hate filled remarks for NO REASON??  if you ever, ever tell me to “ofF” Myself again, you will be sorry..i can promise that much.
 
 
And we are off to the races, folks.

Pretty much what happened



Complete with flying anger, a threat (which is very FBI-notifying- worthy*) and pretty much all the behavior of a violent wife-beater without a target. No surprises to as why he’s still single at 45 and so lonely he bothers random women on the internet. Note he calls me “angry” but he’s the one cursing, screaming and threatening. That sounds pretty angry.

Oh and he sends another email right after this one:


ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh..iS it because i’m WHITE??? RACIST AT ALL?? fucking hypnocrite…

Note that I literally never mention race in my first reply. This dude jumped to the conclusion in a single bound. Though I don’t date White for reasons stated above, that’s my own privacy and I easily could have rebuffed him for his age and super off-color approach. I have ripped on countless Men of Color for the “off-color” stuff most. Seriously, straight guys suck at communicating. Like toxic masculinity shuts off the logic parts of the brain or something. Also, that atrocious spelling. Hypno … crite?

Also, me not really wanting to date White is not exactly racist. Though it is a personal and personally recognized bias that I apply only to my dating life and not others, isn’t racist. Here is how: the structures of racism doesn’t do me, a Black woman, any favors (actually, it can get pretty deadly for me) and it super extends to dating. I have to worry about being dehumanized, hyper-sexualized, stereotyped and demeaned simply for my skin, nothing else. These structures came from White supremacist thinking of “what is ‘good’ feminity” (which is, you guessed it, a White woman. Preferably a blonde one) and that if you don’t count as ‘good’, you can be treated like trash. White men show this behavior excessively in the dating realms. Basically, I avoid White guys as possible dates because they tend to be walking racist problems, ranging from fetishizing Black women to being haplessly clueless that racism exists and expecting the Black girlfriend to slow-walk them through it to parading the Black girlfriend around as an example of how “not racist” he is – even when he is being very blatantly racist. Do decent ones exist? Of course, but in remarkable short supply and vastly out-numbered by the rest. But it is pretty racist and sexist to assume that because he is White, he has to be a viable dating partner to anyone he talks to, no matter what.

Yeah, no. That’s a lot of headache for me. Like I said prior, already Men of Color are headache enough. They come with their own batches of problems. I have yet to come across a White person who refuses to date (as in “have a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship with”) Black people or anyone else not White with the same reasons I stated above. I mean, White folks are not being oppressed, fetishized or dehumanized like everyone else, especially not in the dating world. I’ve never come across a story from White folks I know who have said “He dated me because he wanted me to explain how White people exist. Like, why our hair doesn’t curl like tight springs and if all of us are homicidal mass killers.” If anything, I’m usually helping my White (actually, all my non-Black) female friends steer clear of trash Black men who hover around them because internalized racism and simply “Black women are already wise to my bullsh*t. Hopefully, you are not.” Mainly, they, like me, want to date someone decent, not someone they’d soon regret, regardless of race. 
 
Oh, and in case anyone is going “How dare she not want to date White because she doesn’t want to!” – I also don’t date Christian or Atheist guys … of any race. Though they have different beliefs, the guys in these faiths morph into a special version of batty when they encounter the fact that A) I’m Pagan and/or B) I’m simply not of the same belief system (or lack thereof) as them and I’m not interested in changing. Plus, both seem to think “let’s poke fun at her ‘weird’ religion in a way we would literally fly into a rage about if we got the same treatment” is a great idea of courtship. It isn’t. There are literally thousands of other faiths I’d rather be with that handles the concept of Paganism better. 

My reply to both statements (both emails compiled together):

My blog is not a dating page. Do you contact the New York Times this way? I don’t think it’s a compliment for anyone to approach me in such a sleezeball way. And you should go for women your age – actually, given how you (predictably) exploded, try a therapist.
 
Yep, you need a therapist. It’s because of literally EVERYTHING. Please disappear or get some freaking help instead of pester random women on the internet, old guy.
 
Threw in a touch of “it’s probably your age, my dude” just to throw dust in the water a bit and see what he does with it or will he fasten himself to “it’s cuz I’m White, right?”

His reply:

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME, combined with ANTI WHITE hatred, makes you a very angry woman…LOL….you really need to seek help for your mental illness…..


I have no words. This was my reply

You are exploding like fireworks. I haven’t resorted to using all caps, that’s you. I haven’t even cursed, you’re already screaming and swearing. I didn’t bring up race, you did. I’m not the angry one here, you are.
 
No wonder you bother random women on the internet, no one would want you via the normal routes. And nothing is wrong with being mentally ill, as long as you work on the problem. I seriously envy all who has never met you, lol. You shouldn’t be trying to date anyone, get your anger issues out the way. Calm down and go away.


And that was the whole convo. I did some research on this guy. His name is Jason Taylor (huh, shares a name with one of my lawyers. Won’t Lawyer Jason find that hilarious?) and he’s situated in Lane South, South Carolina and has an aol email of “jayyce004” So if you meet this guy, you already know he’s a furious wackjob.

Now, let’s break out the bingo boards because they are the only efficient things I have to break down bs like this. Let’s get started.





The words are probably a little hard to read



This is what I managed to fill out.

 
I just noticed the highlighter I used might be a bit light for some to see so let’s point them out. 
 
Bingo Board 1
 
– I’m a nice guy
– Is way older than you
– Has never met you in person
– Attempted negging
– Casual sexism & racism
 
 
Bingo Board 2
– Little to no social skills
– Racist, sexist and/or homophobic to an extent
– Thinks sexual harassment is a complement
– When rejected, always blames his weight, face or another body characteristic that was never brought up
 
Let’s break this down, starting with Bingo Board 1:
 
I’m a nice guy
Here’s the thing about “nice guys” … they’re never nice. The “sweeter” they try to be, the more vicious they are underneath. They’re not actually nice, they just want something. And if they can’t get it, they explode. This guy did exactly that. Plus, I already said I find “hyper-sweet”/super-overt flirting behavior insulting. Because, to me, it is. Talk to me like everyone else or don’t talk to me at all. 
 
Is way older than you
Like I said before, this dude is literally almost 15 years older than me. A decade and a half. I have zero interest in guys that old. Because they are, in terms of dating, very old. You are half way to your 50s, a half century. Ew. A man that is 45 should stick to women who are in their 40s, minimum. 
 
Has never met you in person
Never. I think I would remember such a nutjob if so. This person is deep down in South Carolina, so yeah, never met. Nor would I want to.
 
Attempted negging
Negging” is emotional manipulation, created by pickup artists, intended to make the “negged” target feel bad and thus try to vie for the manipulator’s approval. Basically the “Oh, is it because I’m White?” (as well as other parts but let’s stick with this one). Because I never brought up race and oh geez, I would not want this random person on the internet to think that *gasp* I am not interested in them because they are White. Because we all know White people get it the worst in the world because of their race. Lack of opportunities, institutionalized and structured lack of access to resources in health, wealth & education and in dating, hyper sexualized and dehumanized, even to the point of being compared to animals and food – oh, wait. That’s Black people. Yeah, this flare-up doesn’t work on me. At all. Since I’m pretty sardonic about dating, it gives me a better range of view to spot guys who try to go at emotion and not logic. 
 
Casual sexism & racism
Pretty much everything that came out this dude’s mouth. Started off insulting, finished off super crazy. Good thing no one is dating them because I bet he’s the type to fly into a rage at the drop of a hat and break things, even over the slightest problems. No one needs to date anyone like that. Ever. They need therapy, not relationships. 
 
 
 
On to Bingo Board 2!
 
Little to no social skills
Guys (hi, straight men), this dude’s approach is not smart. Firstly, don’t approach random women through their official channels of communication looking for a date. She is most likely not going to be thrilled. Just like how I wasn’t. Dating websites and apps do exist. Try finding a date using a dating site or app. And should you approach, try to go for “cordial”, not “sleezeball”. Yes, I probably am saying all that is opposite of what usual guy websites have for “how to chat to girls” but I thiiiiiink I would know how I like to be approached a lot more than someone who is probably a closet incel. If the girl turns you down, it happens. Rejection happens. Women get rejected, too. Also, please don’t go on a killing spree. Seriously. Get help instead. And don’t threaten the girl for turning you down. You’ll just go from “Not my type” to “homicidal maniac” in a snap. Get help instead.
 
Racist, sexist and/or homophobic to an extent
Read above for “Casual Sexism & Racism”. No homophobia occurred but I seriously would not be surprised if this person harbored homophobic sentiments. I’ve never met a bigot with emotional problems that magically was pro-LGBTQIA. Not even in actual LGBTQIA circles (the amount of racist White folks in queer circles is baffling. Can they not somehow apply that racism is bad the same way homophobia is bad instead of trying to use their queerness as a flimsy shield to be racist?)
  
Thinks sexual harassment is a complement
It isn’t. Unwanted attention such as this is indeed sexual harassment. It isn’t a complement. At all. It is harassment, plain and simple. That’s why I didn’t reply with hearts and joy but with sharp vitrol instead.
 
When rejected, always blames his weight, face or another body characteristic that was never brought up
He flew straight for “It’s because I’m White, right?” even when I never brought it up. It is no different than when Harvey Weinstein would try to guilt-trip his victims with “it’s because I’m fat and ugly” when they would reject his attempts of sexual assault. (Guys, if you want to discuss movie/book/music deal details, try to keep your clothes on. You’ll be respected more and called a “potential rapist” less). Does it matter what type of men the scores of women he assaulted would personally pick? No. They may like big guys, skinny guys, tall guys, short guys, etc etc. But none of them like rapey guys, which is exactly what Weinstein is. It wasn’t his weight or looks – which he brought up, not the women – it was his behavior. It’s not your physical form, many different women like many different guys, it is your behavior. Even handsome guys get rejected for acting like douchebags. There’s a reason women in my circles tend to say “He was really cute … then he started talking.” 
 
 
This dude’s behavior was way off the wall. I don’t like being chatted up through my blog, ever. It used to happen at the start of Black Witch from various guys, including Men of Color. I ripped on them the exact same way as I did this guy because I don’t appreciate that kind of behavior. Ever. Heck, I don’t even like being approached, I rather do the approaching myself. And even if I do approach, I still rather interact with a guy who has his head screwed on straight versus one who thinks “She’s talking to me! That means she wants to date me! Literally no other reason whatsoever. Even though she just told me I am on fire. She did that because she wants me, not because I’m turning into a candle stick out in public. Absolutely no other reason.” 
 
What should have this guy done? Google “local therapy clinics near me” and never bother anyone for anything remotely related to dating until he has his head sorted out. And never talk to me unless he has more normal subjects to talk about. Or anyone else. 
 

*Though the FBI literally lets countless Angry White Men slip through their fingers (The Majory-Stoneman Douglas mass shooting is a perfect display of that) because they’re so busy keeping tabs on Black and Muslim Americans activists. Because the greatest harm to America is not a mass shooting or another Timothy McVeigh, it’s people marching for their rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution. Oh well, at least I have lawyers as back up.

I’m a little late on The Arts! but I had to beat the rest of Rhythm Heaven and then Contagion finally released on Steam (I am considering a feature on them, as well, it’s a really good game).

“Ro-Na”

An Outkast “Hey Ya” parody about the current viral plague. It is humorous as it is very accurate.

Wear a mask, stay home, maintain social distance if you have to go outside.

“How Cop Orientations Must Be Like”

I thought this was humorous but what I liked most was how straightforward it was

– How concepts of being okay with brutality and oppression is passed down from seasoned officers to newer officers, pretty much indoctrinating hatred instead of actual law enforcement

– How when newer officers try to do the right thing (and basically their jobs and proper training), it is “corrected” by more seasoned officers because “this is how things are done” and if any make a fuss or correction, shamed and off the force they go. Guess what happens when you fire good cops for being good and keep (as well as laud/promote) bad cops for being bad? Not a decent police force, that’s for sure. And a lot of dead minorities. Oh, and ensuing protests and even a police department that gets torched like a Guy Fawkes wet dream. By the way, did you know you can make a s’more nacho dish? Just take some graham crackers, marshmallows, candies or chocolate, arrange nachos style, place on heat and done. Hard to eat with a mask on but quite delightful. Also available at Target. lol.

– The difference between how non-Black & belligerent individuals are treated (waved off and let go) and Black & reasonable individuals are treated (with great risk of being pretty dead)

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