Friday, June 27, 2014

We'd Gladly Eat YOU, You Know...

The boys are convinced they're starving  and totally unimpressed that I left them outside until AFTER their water and food bowls were filled.

I tried to get the licking-of-the-chops picture, but they were uncooperative.
Hey, is that water? I'm hungry. Can we come in now?

Fuck you. We're not doing the super creepy staring-while-licking-our-chops thing. NONCHALANT!

They're assholes (who dump brownies on the floor and throw up at's been a rough week), but they're cute. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mythic Monday: Minotaur

Tonight's post is brought to you by request of a certain super awesome security dude/friend/geek extraordinaire.

We're going back to Greek mythology tonight for one of the most iconic monsters ever. The Minotaur. I love this myth, because it's full of tragedy, horror, evil, physically improbable impregnation, and ultimately I can't help but root for the Monster every time.

The Minotaur myth originates specifically in Crete (Krete). Let's go over the quick (NON-Ovid version) of how he came to be.

As usual, it begins with pissing off the Gods. Now there are two ancient versions I've found of the Minotaur's birth. In the later version (Roman), Queen Pasiphae, daughter of Helios (the Sun) and wife of King Minos of Krete had gotten...hmm...somewhat lax in her offerings to Venus (that'd be Aphrodite in English-translated Greek). Venus's revenge was to curse Pasiphae with an unnatural lust for the prize bull Minos received from Poseidon. She convinced Daedalus to fashion a hollow wooden cow and, well, yeah. The physics of that whole scene is sort of astounding, but there you go. She ends up pregnant by a God's prize bull and gives birth to Asterion, a human boy with the face of a bull. Minos banishes the boy to the center of the Labyrinth built under Crete to live his life as a monster. s

In most older versions, King Minos is given a gorgeous prize bull by Poseidon to sacrifice, but he keeps the bull instead of properly sacrificing it. This royally ticks off Poseidon, and in vengeance he makes Pasiphae lust for the bull. The rest of the story of Asterion's birth is pretty similar. If you bother to read the Ovid version suddenly Pasiphae is an adulteress and a whore. I'm sure you can tell by now that I'm not a fan of Ovid.

Years later, when another of Minos's sons is killed in Athens, Minos calls down a plague on the Athenian people (or, wages war and wins, depending on the story). The only way to restore peace is an annual sacrifice of seven Athenian boys and seven girls to the Labyrinth. For the Minotaur (Minos's Bull) to eat. Yes, Theseus is next...getting to that.

The pity factor I have for this creature is pretty damn high. Asterion, a prince of one of the most powerful Cities in the Aegean, grew up alone in the dark, lost his name and was used as a threat and a monster by his own father, condemned by his mother. Forced to eat people. NEVER allowed to live as a human being, even though he was one in every way except his head. In a few versions of the tale his sister Ariadne visits him, providing his only loving relationship ever.

Until, of course, Theseus shows up. Theseus, the Athenian Hero determined to stop the tribute requirement, volunteers as tribute. Yes, Katniss style. Ariadne falls in love with him when he arrives on Krete...Ariadne, the Princess of Krete. She convinces Daedalus to tell her the secrets of the Labyrinth and gives Theseus a ball of twine/string to find his way back out. In those versions where she's visited Asterion before, she just tells Theseus. Either way, her love for Theseus prompts her to betray her brother, knowing Theseus will kill Asterion. Considering Asterion's fate so far, it's not necessarily an unkind thing.

And he does. There are innumerable depictions of the fight between The Minotaur and Theseus. After he kills the creature and escaping the Labyrinth, he takes Ariadne and the remaining Athenian teens back to Athens.

The symbolism of the story is greater than the typical Hero story for Athens, though. Labyrinths were all over the ancient world for a time, and were considered mysteries of knowledge. The Minotaur, at the center of the mystery, guarded the knowledge found within. (It's worth noting that I mean mystery in the spiritual epiphany/secret ritual way, not the beach novel way.) Theseus conquering the Minotaur and emerging alive is a rite of passage (recall he becomes King later) of his power, knowledge, and cunning. With this act, he's proven he can be King. In addition, Theseus can make a case for being favored by the Gods. King Minos took a gift from a God and not only wasted it, he sullied and corrupted a place of knowledge and power with taboo horrors. Theseus restored the Crete Labyrinth by destroying the monster inside, earning him favor with the Gods.

Ultimately, this tale is always told as the Theseus Hero story, focusing on his bravery and cunning in overcoming the cannibalistic beast controlled by a despot. But as always, I prefer to consider the whole tale from Asterion's point of view. A creature cursed through no fault of his own to live one of the most horrid existences possible...wouldn't he welcome death when it came for him? Interestingly, the name Asterion means "the starry one." While he's not actually associated with the constellation story of Taurus, it's a curious connection. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Please Keep Your Feet Inside The Vomit Tank At All Times...

You guys, I may be just a wee bit tipsy and stuff because restaurants in Texas don't fuck around with the whole margarita in your Tequila in your margarita thing, and I apologize in advance if this post sucks. Or makes your tummy queasy.

But why, for the love all that's holy or unholy...WHY?

WHY would you name your massage parlor BARFY FOOT MASSAGE? I'm not kidding. There's a place in a strip mall down here, next to Dave's Dinners To Go, called Barfy Foot Massage.

BARFY. As in hork, puke, chunder, hurl, vomit...

I drive past this place twice a day, and I still wonder how the fuck a sign like that gets hung in a relatively upscale-ish neighborhood. Is it a really unfortunate typo brought on by English being a second language? This is a very multicultural city, and I could see that happening, but if it's the case somebody at the Texas business licensing office is just a dick.

Is it intentional? Maybe a reference to footstench? Or a way to discourage the assholes who assume any massage parlor is THAT sort of massage parlor? Barfy in the name doesn't really say "happy ending" to me...although maybe it's a secret code for some fetish I've never heard of and WILL NOT BE LOOKING UP ON THE INTERWEBZ BECAUSE RULE 34 IS IN EFFECT HERE.

All I can imagine here is sticking your feet in a big tub of vomit for a massage. Not one of those pretty half-oak-barrel wine-grape stomping tubs, either...I envision masseurs in hazmat suits making you stand in an orange plastic bucket filled with some drunk dude's puke.

Seriously, I'd rather go to the fish-that-eat-your-callouses-off pedicure places than point my toes toward this place, and yet I'm sort of dying to find out if it's a legit massage parlor.

Until I gather the fortitude to peek inside, please, for your own sanity, do NOT google vomit fetishes. Rule 34. Besides, you'll just give the NSA another reason to wonder.

PS: Blogger's spellcheck doesn't recognize barfy, chunder, or hork. Fail: chunder is absolutely a word! It's just Australian. See: Men At Work's "Down Under" lyrics.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mythic Monday: Kelpie

Last week I talked about the tragic love stories embedded in Selkie mythology. In keeping with my current water creature theme, let's explore the dark side, shall we?

I'm a fan of "monsters" in myth, particularly those whose natures reflect the darker aspects of nature. One of my favorites is the Kelpie. Sometimes called the Waterhorse.

There are two pretty distinct version of kelpie myths: the benign version is what you'd recognize in current pop culture, as the most famous waterhorse is found in the deep Loch of Scotland. Yes, that'd be Loch Ness. If you're going the Nessie route, the waterhorse looks Nessie: horse-like head, long neck, flippers, whale-like tail. A waterhorse compares pretty closely to the Greco-Roman Hippocamp, for those of you looking for a Greek myth reference, and (as you'd expect) tends to live in the Lochs or in the deep ocean off the coast. Is this version of the waterhorse a throwback of prehistoric man who encountered whales, or even a plesiosaur? I suppose it could be. After all, we all know that off any sailors' map there be monsters. What I can say is that most of the Nessie-type waterhorse myths depict her as a shy, reticent creature that has absolutely no interest in messing about with people.

I suppose that's exactly why I prefer the more volatile, older kelpie myths. These are the horse-like creatures which inhabit both the deep pools and the rushing, violent waterfalls. These are the creatures which are generally not big fans of humanity.

Well, except as snacks.

In the worst versions, kelpies appear on land as gorgeous, powerful black horses and lure the unsuspecting (particularly children) onto their backs for a ride. And once the rider is on, they're magically trapped for the duration of the ride, unable to jump off the waterhorse's back as the he gallops directly to the depths of his nearby pool.

It's said the only parts a kelpie doesn't eat is the heart and liver of it's drowned prey.

Their power to change shape resides in the magic bridle, which looks like a silver necklace. A kelpie in equine form is stronger and faster than ten horses: worth the trouble to attempt to catch them. Enslaving a kelpie requires stealing the bridle, but unlike hiding the selkie's skin, controlling a kelpie's bridle controls the kelpie itself. Perhaps the kelpies' general dislike of humans as anything but prey is because humans only saw them as a useful tool?

Interestingly, there's a Welsh version of the myth that diverges from the scary-child-eating-monster. In it, a lonely kelpie boy decides he loves a local girl, and changes from his natural shape into a hot young man. Unfortunately for him, she discovers he's a kelpie by removing his silver necklace (bridle) while he sleeps (well, hello thief), and forces him into serving her father as a beast of burden on the farm for a year (remember, he who holds the bridle holds power over the kelpie). But when the year is done, a local wiseman tells her she should give the bridle back. She does, and when the horse turns into a man again she asks him which he'd rather be: a kelpie or a man? He chooses man and marries her, giving up his lonely former existence for human companionship. I take this story, one of the latest written, post-Christian conversion ideas of the kelpie folk tale, to be a signal that the kelpie of the Celtic past had completed it's transformation from demonic eater-of-people to human-dominated-mythological critter.

I don't have a good conclusion to this post, because I think it's quite sad that humanity has lost this particular monster. If you look up kelpie or waterhorse you'll mostly get the Nessie story, not the older cautionary tales. The kelpie has been defanged by technology, by the idea that boats and life jackets can protect us from the raging rivers and deep lakes, by humanity thinking we have power over nature.

Maybe they just need to figure out how to change into sleek black sports cars?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Excuse Me, I'll Be Hiding Until This Is Over...

Mercury is in Retrograde.
This Friday is the 13th.
AND A FULL MOON over the weekend.

People, I greatly enjoy astrology for entertainment, but I'm telling you...something is rotten in the month of June.

With all the crap going on with the rental house (let me just say WOW, in the most horrified sort of tone, to the extent of hosery involved in using a management company's pet maintenance people for estimates) that is THIS CLOSE to being resolved in way that 1) gets things done in a way that will leave me grocery money and 2) let's me pay someone I know and like, supporting HIS business instead of a big company, I'll be lying low until this superstorm of astrological asshattery is over.

We still have stuff to unpack anyway...lying low is the ideal state for the time being.

I'm not kidding you guys, here's the weird ishyness for the week:

1) The city inspector put something on the list of required fixes given to the rental company that was DIFFERENT than mine.

2) Said list included things like repairing the paint on the oven hood (which by the way appears to have been steel-wool-scrubbed to take paint off by the cleaning guy, since it was NOT that way when we left), adding STRING TO THE LIGHT PULLS in the closets, and screwing the back patio step to the structure. Snort. That last one is owned by the association: they're fixing it.

3) Husband started a new job this week. Husband ended a new job today. For very, very good reasons: it was just a bad deal all around. But still, hope springs, hope dashed.

4) My truck's overhead map light/garage opener switch/moon roof switch panel decided to unclip itself from the roof of the truck. I'm not kidding, it happened overnight: perfectly fine Sunday afternoon, hanging by a single clip and the wiring on Monday morning.

5) Just about every normally-scheduled bill we have is extra this month for some reason or another. Mostly because we just moved and the first bill for utilities and such include fees.

I know in the long run things will work out, but holy crap these past two weeks have been an exercise in keeping my sanity through frustrations on almost every front. I think it's clear what has to happen here.

Margaritas. There will be many, as soon as these repair shenanigans are handled.

And a good long nap for my crankypantsness.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Mythic Monday: Selkie

"A bird may love a fish, but where would they live?" -Ever After, A Cinderella Story

In the seas surrounding the Scotland and Ireland, pretty faced seals with large, almost human eyes peek out from the water, curiously watching fishermen work. They'd follow the boats, sometimes even leading fishermen to the best places for a good catch, if you believe stories in the pub after a round or two.

And if a fisherman was lucky enough, he'd meet a beautiful, quiet girl on the shore some evening. A girl with almost human eyes and dark hair, walking alone on the beach. She'd be easy to love, kind and generous, understanding of his love of the sea and his need to be away from home for long stretches of time. He'd, of course, want to marry her.

And should he find the skin she hid when she changed to her human form, he could hold her hostage as his wife...for as long as he can keep it from her. But if ever she finds her true skin, she'll change back to a seal and be lost to him forever. For as happy as she may be with her husband and children, a part of her will always long for the freedom of the open ocean and her true form.

Rather...controlling, no? Ah, but the control goes both ways. Lonely women can attract a sexy Selkie man (Selkies are said to be quite gorgeous, male and female) to their beds and homes by giving seven tears to the sea. Again, if they can somehow hide his sealskin, he'll stay. But ultimately, he belongs to the sea, and eventually he'll return without looking back.

Selkies, the seal people off the coast of Ireland and Scotland, have a reputation for being excellent lovers, excellent spouses, and excellent parents. There's even some versions of the stories that say if you're lucky enough to wed a Selkie you'll never ever go hungry, because fish will always find a way into your nets. And that even when (inevitably) the Selkie finds his or her skin, they'll watch over their human children from beyond the shores, interacting with them in the water but staying away from their former spouses forever. In fact, often once the skin is returned the Selkie can't turn into a human ever again. Rather telling, really: the very core of the relationship is based on coercion, so there is no returning once freedom has been found.

Selkies are my personal favorite of all the water spirits. I suppose that has to do with my love for the sea, but also because their myths fall into one of the primary Celtic tragic themes: doomed love between humans and the Fae. Sometimes, a soul just needs a bittersweet story, after all, and nobody does bittersweet like the Celts. The overriding theme across every variation of Selkie tales is that you can't change your nature for love, by choice or coercion, no matter how hard you try or how long you wait. Eventually, your true nature will set you free, but that freedom comes with sadness.

 Loreena McKennitt's song "The Old Ways" (The Visit) always reminds me of the Selkie myths: of truly mismatched and tragic lovers who can't help but part, at least for a time. (FYI: the song isn't specifically about a Selkie: it's the sea theme that gets me there.)
And then I knew/
That you had to go/
Your world was not mine/
Your eyes told me so
The pounding sea/
is calling me home/
home to you

I've always wondered, what if the man or woman who hid the Selkie's skin accepted their lover's nature and respected his/her ability to choose? What if the Selkie remained free to come and go, and the spouse chose to make the most of their time together while he or she had it? Do they truly only get one shot at playing a human in their magical lives, or is it the fundamentally flawed relationship that causes them to give up humanity forever once they get their seal self back?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Entertaining Empathy For a Change

I have a funny post pending for tomorrow. Today is something else I need to discuss. Today I am not funny. I read a lot of online news and such (it's slow at work right now), and the past few days I've been pretty disgusted. 

Do you know there was a fatal car crash in Houston today? A woman with two small boys, ages 4 and 6, hit a tree. She was killed, her boys were injured. While waiting for help to arrive, bystanders saw people STEALING THE GROCERIES FROM THE FRONT SEAT OF HER CAR. With a dead woman and injured children still in the car. I'm horrified at the thieves AND at the bystanders.

In Dallas yesterday, a car hit the median and flipped over. By the time the police arrived, they could do nothing but watch the car burn with two people inside and hope to god the passengers were dead already for mercy's sake. The officer who spoke about it was ashen-faced and teary-eyed. Bystanders videotaped the whole incident on their cell phones. No one attempted to help before the car started on fire.

I can't even begin to discuss the #YesAllWomen comments I've seen from both sides. I understand the anger, I empathize with many of the stories relayed through the movement. I'm disgusted by the troll commentary. I've lived similar situations and dealt with the ingrained sexism in our culture. But I also see that common sense is being set aside. I'm a realist who appreciates the idealism of social movements but understands the predators, criminals, and assholes out there will never allow an ideal state to occur. I'm a feminist who believes firmly in equality and respect between the sexes should be the way of the world, but who also knows how to (and regularly DO) adjust my behavior, dress, and attentiveness based on my situation and surroundings. That's not giving in to sexist society: that's consciously taking responsibility for my own safety, which I believe is a necessary outlook for women and men. I've seen too much backlash against men as a gender, which doesn't' allow for any attempt at mutual understanding. To the girl who bitchily tried to force a male ER nurse from his table at lunchtime yesterday, loudly proclaiming his wish to eat his lunch at the table he was at first was sexist and he should move "BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN AND I WANT IT," I wish I'd been there. I would've slapped you across the face, you entitled idiot. Women like you are just as sexist as the sexism you protest, and you aren't helping equality at fucking all.

Do you know what the #YesAllWomen movement has in common with the current uproar about the US trading Gitmo prisoners for a POW who may or may not have been a deserter? I assure you, there IS a commonality here.

COMPASSION. EMPATHY. SYMPATHY. RESPECT. Specifically, the utter LACK of compassion, empathy or sympathy displayed by individual and the "mob" right now.

This is more than a common courtesy issue: this is a significant public inability or refusal to bother thinking, even for a single instant, how the person being attacked might feel.

Yes, that absolutely applies to both #YesAllWomen and the backlash against it. It also applies to the fight women face in places like Afghanistan and India where the threat of attack, rape, and death is a very real and constant thing. It applies in places like Saudi Arabia where women are legally considered children. It applies in the Sudan where men and women can be killed for being the wrong religion. It applies in Uganda where a gay couple can be murdered legally for who they love. Anytime a society sees a group of people as sub-human, property, or less-than-equal in any way that society gives permission to cruelty. Period.

So what about this POW all over the news? I saw today President Obama will not apologize for bringing him home. Good. He shouldn't. He did the right thing. I don't give a hoot whether you voted for President Obama or not: the man enforced a basic Military value, a basic American value even, in bringing home a soldier languishing for FIVE YEARS in terrorist custody.

And yet, that man's hometown has been attacked by an incensed mob for planning a welcome-home party. A welcome home party the town has held annually since the Sergeant was captured as a "bring him home" party, which is now cancelled. That man's parents have been attacked in the media, called terrorist sympathizers, called traitors and worse. Why?  Because the dad said he wouldn't shave his beard until his son was home. Because his dad tried through Twitter to get the Taliban to release his son. Because they loved their son, who was held against his will by deadly people in a situation that could result in long-term torture or his death. What parent wouldn't fight to get their kid back?

I don't give a flying fuck whether that kid was attempting to desert or just out for a pee when he got captured. I don't know how he was captured. I don't know what was going on in his unit or during his tour. Experts are currently battling it out publicly whether he "deserved" to come home and if he's responsible for other soldiers' deaths. That's a military matter for the military court to determine: NOT the court of armchair quarterbacks squawking over each other for ratings and political clout. It's really so disheartening and disgusting. I didn't live through five years of captivity by the enemy. I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE WENT THROUGH. Ultimately, the media is so intent on demonizing this man and his family they've utterly lost the point of the whole situation. Criminal or not, he belongs in his home country, even if that's for review of his former actions. It's up to his military to determine wrongdoing and mete out punishment or not: that has no bearing on whether a US soldier should be left to rot in a POW prison. Period.

And you know what, Fox News Media people and other trolls? It's ok to let those parents celebrate the fact that their son is alive and back on US soil. It's ok for them to be happy his ordeal at the hands of the enemy is over. It's ok for them to celebrate their son is alive. And if it's discovered later that he should serve time for desertion or anything else, at least he's back in the US.

I firmly believe if you want to follow the "be the change you want to see in the world" you are responsible for fostering the improvements. Call it paying something forward. Call it protecting someone from bullying, or calling out someone (respectfully) on their shitty behavior when it happens and saying that's not acceptable. I'm a huge introvert. I avoid people often and generally prefer not to be bothered. If I'm able to think about what it might be like in someone else's shoes and have basic respect for people as human beings, it's not that goddamned difficult.

Will it backfire on you sometimes? Absofuckinglutely. Does that matter? Not even a little bit. What if that one moment of kindness stops someone from killing themselves that day? What if it stops a kid from feeling alone and rejected?

Will kindness and compassion stop homicidal rampages, or rapes, or child killers or molestations? No. As a realist, of course I know it won't. There will always be evil and suffering in the world: nature is balance, and that means there's good AND bad out there. But ineffectual mob attacks, online and in-person bullying, unharnessed lashing-out anger, and selfish indifference to those around you only perpetuates the bad, and that is creating negative change in your surroundings.

Nothing improves a relationship, a community, any group of people faster than kindness and respect. Period.

I challenge you to do a single act of kindness for someone today. I don't care if it's buying the person's coffee behind you in the Starbucks drive through or mowing a neighbor's lawn. I don't care if it's reaching out to a friend to say hello and that you miss them. I don't care if it's cleaning the house so your spouse or parent doesn't have to. Small acts of kindness add up and are easily repeated. If we're going to spread an emotion like a virus the way trolls and media spread nastiness, make it an effort to spread compassion and respect.

Compassion. Empathy. Sympathy. All definitions from


1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.


1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.


1. harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
2. the harmony of feeling naturally existing between persons of like tastes or opinion or of congenial dispositions.
3. the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Mythic Monday: Medusa

This is not a funny post. If you aren't into mythology and fantasy, you might get bored today.

A couple of years ago I had a germ of an idea to do "monster Monday" posts on this blog, and I ended up letting the idea slide into permanent brain percolation instead of following through. But I've decided it's time to chase those passions, so Mondays in June I'm devoting to mythical creatures, people, and tales. It's entirely possible these posts sort of linger unread in the dusty corners of the Internet library, but the research will be fun. 

I'm beginning these shenanigans with one of my all time favorite "Monsters" in Greek and Roman myth: Medusa. This may be due to the similarities my hair occasionally has with hers (ie, it randomly attempts to kill me). Or it could be due to the sympathy I've always felt for her. Medusa has one of the most distinct lines of pre/post mythological change of any ancient character. Seriously, this woman was quite intentionally changed from demi-goddess to rape victim. The result? A mishmash of both stories that gave us the terrifying creature Perseus had to behead for the good of all (and to steal her powers for his own purposes).

In ancient Greek stories (I'm going off the Hesiod myths in Theogony, circa 8th century CE) Medusa was the one of three demi-god sisters, the Gorgons. Daughter of two sea deities, Medusa was the only mortal sibling, which is interesting because her mortality is sort of dropped into the story as though it should mean something, but it isn't mentioned again. Originally, she always had the power to turn people to stone with a look, and she was both beautiful and horrifically terrible, depending on the age of the myth. It appears originally she was born monstrous, hideously ugly and terrifying. She became beautiful in later Greek depictions as evidenced by the changes in the stories as the centuries passed, and the changes in Greek pottery paintings which portrayed her as a beautiful woman.

Here's the thing about Medusa: her name in ancient Greek means "Guardian" or "Protectress." Her name, her deadly gaze, her immortal family: all the ancient version's details point to Medusa being some sort of powerful protector of something. Boy, doesn't that make you wonder what she was guarding?

Even in the ancient version of the myth, Medusa has two children with the Sea God Poseidon, but there's every indication that the sex was mutual. Also, some serious magic HAS to be involved in birthing a Pegasus. Medusa was killed by Perseus, a demi-god who was helped by Athena to kill Medusa and win Pegasus's help so he could kill the Kraken. Ultimately Perseus beheads Medusa and carries her writhing-snake-statue-creating head in a sack to use against his enemies. Apparently, it didn't occur to anyone to just ask her, and thus the mortal Gorgon passes into Greek myth.

What about the snakes-for-hair thing? Isn't that sort of, well, overkill for a creature who can literally turn you to stone before you get anywhere near her hair? I think this has something to do with even older myths than Greek gods. There are theories about pre-Grecian cults which revered snakes for their apparent immortality. Snakes are mentioned even in some of the older myths about Apollo's oracle at Delphi. The oldest versions, where Medusa was always a hideous monster, she and her sisters are "girded with snakes." Every version of the myth credits the venomous snakes in Libya as Medusa's legacy. All renditions agree that when Perseus carried Medusa's head around, her blood dripped on the sands in Libya (her traditional home). Her blood transformed into the vipers and other venomous snakes that live in the desert there.

Around the 1st century CE, Ovid wrote down the Medusa myth again in his Metamorphasis (that'd be right around the turn of the millennium, if you're counting). Rome had assimilated Greek myth into their pantheon for hundreds of years. I find the story Ovid recorded significantly more disturbing, and I'd like to find out when, exactly, Medusa changed so drastically from a power in her own right to what she became in Roman myth.

Ovid's Medusa is a gorgeous mortal girl (girl as in young: teenager with no power whatsoever) acting as an acolyte in Athena's temple by the sea. In doing her normal duties, she catches the attention of Poseidon, brother of Zeus and god of the sea. Medusa is raped by Poseidon IN ATHENA'S GODDAMNED TEMPLE. Athena is so offended she punishes Medusa by making her hideous: her long beautiful (tempting) hair is transformed into venomous snakes. Her pretty face ruined and disfigured. Her gaze becomes deadly: to look upon her will turn anyone and anything to stone. That's right: Ovid thinks Athena is so pissed at a rape victim that she not only punishes the girl for the crime of being attacked, she punishes the girl in such a way that she can NEVER have any contact with any living being. Ever. Again. No really, think about that for just a second. Medusa's punishment is so severe she can't even look upon her own children without turning them to stone: she's utterly cut off from all contact with anyone. Boy, at that point I'd think Perseus coming to take her head would be a welcome relief from an eternity of loneliness and despair.

Unfortunately, it's this version of the myth that's lasted through time: look up Medusa on Wikipedia or any book of myths (that isn't written for children) and you'll usually get the Ovid version. But looking back at the earlier Greek versions, I can't help but wonder about the missing pieces.

My imagination is flooded right now with multiple alternating stories of Medusa and her rather tragic plight. I've already outlined two utterly opposite short stories about her...I adore the mystery and power that surrounds her person in the pantheon of Greek deities.

What was Medusa created to protect? Was Perseus REALLY after her power to kill, was he after killing a monster, or was he after whatever it was she guarded?