Friday, February 24, 2017

A promotion

In January I posted the things that I want to do this year. In true Hound style I have already done one of them, which was to get a promotion in my workplace.
I went at this like a bull at a gate, applying for jobs I fancied and was eligible for. Don't get me wrong: I do feel rather bad because I've only been in my current job five minutes and they've been fair and nice to me. But the job I'm in won't stretch me and waiting for promotion there will be a case of dead men's shoes.
So I've wound up having three interviews very close together, and got offered the job I was interviewed for today. It is in a different one of our three UK employment 'sectors', one I've never worked in before so it will new in many ways, and the job title will look good on the CV.
I got this all on my own; my previous employers offered me an equivalent post just before I walked out - in my opinion as a quid pro quo because they treated me badly. But this job, on the other hand, I got on my own on the open market, and they were very keen to have my skills and experience.
Fuck you, Zippy.

Image credit https://www.thebalance.com/job-interview-question-how-would-you-describe-yourself-2064058

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Ramble Around Old Birmingham - the Numismatory and Toy Manufactory of the World

(This is a piece written in his book Good Money by George Selgin. My source for it is the Mises Institute Website at https://mises.org/library/ramble-round-old-birmingham#part3 . Selgin was most interested in Birmingham for its role in banking and manufacturing in the early nineteenth century. His account is most interesting for me, for the depiction of how different Birmingham was at that time. The streets he walked along hold no or few manufacturing nowadays! Nonethless it is an interesting ramble for the student of history. I am unable to account for why there are references of much later date than Selgin's writing, since the piece is presented as his own work and it is not stated that there are later interpolations: nonetheless it remains interesting.)
Birmingham, Brummagem, Bromwicham, Brymingham, Bermingeham…. Spell it or say it however you please, there is something queer about the place. Even before the canal boom, it managed to become England's preeminent industrial city, and was well on its way to becoming the "the workshop of the world." Yet it was located far from sources of the principal raw materials — especially copper and zinc — that most of its manufacturers relied upon; and transport was a problem, since it was also a good distance from any port or navigable river. The place didn't even have all that many streams capable of being reliable sources of power for its hammers and rolling mills.
How, under the circumstances, did Birmingham manage to attract and to breed such a disproportionate share of Great Britain's outstanding entrepreneurs, inventors, and skilled artisans? Why, in particular, did it — and not London or Bristol or Sheffield — become Great Britain's leading center for all kinds of metal work, including commercial coinage? Although numismatists have had plenty to say about the tokens and other numismatic products made there, they've had relatively little to say about the town itself, and the mints it nurtured.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Spirit of Place: the Koh-I-Noor Restaurant

The end of an era has come, for the Koh-I-Noor Restaurant on Birmingham's Horse Fayre has been undergoing refurbishment for some time and as I passed the other day I noticed that it has reached a tipping point beyond which there is no return.
This may seem a rather pedestrian subject for a post about the spirit of place, but my witchcraft takes place in my hedge, and so on one level I'm the only arbiter of what constitutes my hedge. That said, apart from the reference to the famous jewel discovered in the fourteenth century, it may seem strange that Birmingham maintains such an obvious old survival as a place named after the sales of horses.
That aside, the Koh-I-Noor has always been a legend, and I really hope that after refurbishment it continues as a restaurant and is run in the same way. I'll grant you that the before pictures show it up as distinctly run down and not much to look at from the outside. In latter years the sellotape placed over the cracks in the windows didn't look good, and there was a tendency to replace broken glass with glass that looked different.
The interior was a large part of the legend. In fact it was the whole of the legend, and is illustrated in the third picture. Why would you ever decorate with a fake tree, at least one which in a low-ceilinged room became the sole focus of attention? I can't tell you, but they did, and that was the thing which stuck in people's memories.
It can't even have been to detract from the taste of the food, and I think the restaurant's run-down appearance did it a disservice because you wouldn't expect the delicious food you would get there. Subtle flavours, prepared with personal care. And if you ordered for delivery, you would find the waiter on your doorstep, having walked round with your food. These are the reasons I hope the place continues as a restaurant. I actually haven't had an Indian since it has closed.
Meanwhile the refurbishment has reached an important point. Obviously the tree was the object of much affection because it is only now, when the refurb is at quite an advanced stage, that the tree has found its way into the skip outside. Tempting as it was, I didn't steal it as a souvenir.

Monday, February 13, 2017

70,000 Pageviews Guest Post: 'The Sausage Curse' from Phil Hine's 'Permutations'

As usual I've missed the actual moment by a couple of thousand, but heigh ho. Today a guest post uninvitedly plundered from the works of someone else, just eith the difference that Hine is a real person and alive. He is also known as a chaos magician. The witches who are stuck in old-religion-and-grandmothers mode will not easily see a connection but I personally think chaos magic and witchcraft are out of the same stable. Now despite the fact that it has recently come to my attention that there are people who actually read my ravings here and hope to learn about the Craft of the Wise from them, I'm not going to go into great detail why I think that. Suffice to say that magic which draws on the spirit of the age, uses whatever is to hand, and works on the hoof, is very close to my heart. I think the age of modern witchcraft was probably the 1960s to 70s, while that of chaos magic is the age of the Trainspotting generation. I wouldn't go to the stake for this opinion, though, and will step aside and let Phil Hine speak instead:

'Some years ago, I learnt a powerful lesson in the sorcery of need by watching an adept of the art at work. I was visiting the PerMutations High Priestess of a local witch coven. Whilst idly glancing through the evening paper, she came across a report of a rapist prowling in the district. She shot up out of the chair, shut up everyone else in the room with an icy glance, and, on reaching the dining table, cleared a space on it by simply sweeping everything onto the floor with a mighty crash. She placed an indenti-kit picture of the rapist from the paper in the centre of the table, grabbed a sausage from the fridge, and, after furiously rummaging in her sewing box, proceeded to methodically drive needles into the sausage, muttering furiously under her breath. The atmosphere in the room was electric. After some minutes, she stalked out of the room and took the sausage into the back garden. On her return, she smiled brightly at the cowering men in the room, and announced "I think a cup of tea would be nice, don't you?" She offered no explanation or justification for her actions, and never alluded to it afterwards. A week later, the rapist was caught, sentenced and incarcerated. It was only years later that I began to appreciate the power of this woman. She didn't dither around, nor did she worry about the ethics, morality, or whether or not she had the 'right' to act in this way. Nor did she bother with any of the elaborate procedures of ritual magic. By her glance, and her violent clearing of the table, she created a charged atmosphere that rivalled anything I had experienced in more formal magical surroundings.'
Source: https://archive.org/stream/PhilHineCondensedChaos/Phil%20Hine/Phil%20Hine%20-%20Permutations_djvu.txt

Friday, February 10, 2017

Open your eyes and take ownership

Themes and patterns, seeing the way things are going, that's largely the whole point of divination, and the title of this post is very much the message the universe has been giving me through the tarot cards recently.
The 'see' bit, in addition to the new way of visualising the High Priestess which hit me recently, has come through the 9 of Swords, one of the less subtle cards about seeing, and today the 5 of Cups.
As always it is interesting to see other people's perceptions of the cards, and contrary to the rather pat interpretation where the querent is looking at the sorrow implied by the spilled cups while not seeing the fact that two of the cups are still standing, there is a completely opposite interpretation. In the case of this card coming up as action or advice, it is telling the querent to examine the sorrow. Go into the reality of your situation and feel the depths of the pain, it seems to be saying.
Never one to fight shy of deciding that a situation is beyond redemption or a person is a nasty piece of work, unusually for me, this card has brought up a saying in my head inspired by the 5 of Cups, and in fact letting a saying rise up in my mind is one of my favourite ways of understanding a tarot card. The saying here is 'no good crying over spilt milk'. So the message is clear here: I must face my reality, and must not mope about it.
A further push in this vein has come from the number of cards representing authority I have been drawing recently. I have made a fresh acquaintance with the whole of the Swords court, for example. The King of Swords has just kept on coming up, as has the hierophant. It is very plain that I am the authority here, and must make my own decision based on my own judgment.
That's the trouble with doing things like just walking out of an unsatisfactory job, as I did in September. Authoritative action makes the universe expect more of you. Which just places the question back in my lap: what do I see in my life and what am I going to do about it, which will use and ameliorate my own power and authority?
One thing is certain - and readers who didn't know me when I was younger will probably be surprised at the way I used to wobble and tend to follow other people's advice - decisions will be made around what suits me. I think and hope that I will have another decision coming up in the next week or so, and am getting the universe's message loud and clear.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Reblog: Birmingham Pagan Community

I just had to reblog this. It is so funny and so true.

The Birmingham pagan community is a contradiction in terms on two points, since they are neither pagan (paganism in England having been extinct for about a hundred years times ten) nor a community. However, as everybody from Birmingham is an idiot, their historical ignorance can be mocked.

Deities

They have three gods, one vegetative (the Vegetentacle Rapist), and two rotting: menstrual blood and the viscera, decapitated heads, etc. of suitably small animals. They absolutely love menstrual blood and do lots of stuff with it: they eat food containing menstrual blood, especially cakes, sniff or snort menstrual blood, lick menstrual blood up, put it in their bathtubs, etc. In reality, all three gods are actually disguises for the devil (or maybe a minion), but they are so badly in denial about it that it makes good IRL trolling material.

Playtime

Brum pagans have an amazingly diverse range of leisure activities and loads of free time to enjoy them, fitting their image as sucklings on the rotting tits of 'Cool Brittania'. When they're not lining up for 'social' (handouts from the gummint) they pretend to have orgies in front of old rocks assembled by people who aren't even their relatives. As part of their 'religion', they enjoy eating, drinking and sniffing menstrual blood. Some of them would like to indulge in a little human sacrifice, like the ancient druids, but they are too politically correct for that. Even worse, too many of their members are also in PETA or otherwise vegetarian.





Cracky-chan is absolutely not a Brum pagan and doesn't seem to have claimed she'd smeared menstrual blood on her face (that comment was abt. her topless shots) but if she had, Brum pagans want to lick it off or collect it for their revolting cakes!

When they are drunk or excited they run around screaming about how they are Brum pagans, for example:

Oi, oi, oi, Brum pagans are we, fuck you up the snotty nose, we love menstrual blood!

when they 'tool up' to support their soon to be relegated and fifth-rate soccer team Arsetown Vile, a club that share's their over inflated egos and sense of self worth.

Playtime on Encyclopædia Dramatica

When they aren't being vege-tentacle raped, torturing small animals, consuming menstrual blood in one way or another, queuing for handouts, or taking drugs, Brum pagans like to get on Æ and fling shit at each other. They even hurl each others real names around as if there were no tomorrow. Of course, Encyclopædia Dramatica's highly ethical no-real-names policy means that we can't give examples of this.

Wiccanseries is part of a series of Wiccan Drama. ▼

Still, it all ends up in tears and threats.

Source: https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Birmingham_Pagan_Community

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tarot: II High Priestess

Just a thought, but she is my daily draw today and I have seen her in a completely different light. First I thought of the traditional meanings of mysteries and secrecy, but in my mind I have turned it round the other way. For the first time today it seems to me the High Priestess is deliberately not looking at the mystery. She could turn round and open the curtain to see what is hidden if she wants to. Conversely she may be deliberately choosing what to see, and in that case there may even be a sense in which the mystery behind the curtain is not even for her eyes. She is the guardian of the secret but what she does with it is up to her.