athelind: (Default)
It's a law of the internet: any mention of a holiday always gets at least one reply asserting that the respondent pays no attention to that holiday, and why.

The response demonstrates that the respondent, in that alleged disregard, pays more attention to the holiday than do those who might observe it casually, and feel no need to comment.

That said, this is the first day of Lent -- a ritual I observe only in the most secular way -- and thus, I bid you all the appropriate tidings for Ash Wednesday.

athelind: (Default)

Gung Hay Fat Tuesday!

… President Valentine … ?

For Lent this year, I think I have to give up procrastinating.

I will, of course, start tomorrow.

athelind: (Default)
After sleeping in far too late yesterday, I went to bed earlyish last night, determined to roll out of bed at a decent hour, hop in the shower, and fire up the computer for the usual rounds of email and job boards.

I did indeed wake up around 7-ish, looked at the clock -- and, rather than blurry LED numerals, saw nothing. The power was out.

No Net. No TV. No lights in the bathroom.

I wound up going back to bed until 8:45, then taking a shower by candlelight.

(I do so love bathrooms in candlelight.)

Needless to say, the power came back five minutes after I got out of the shower.

It was only a few minutes ago that I realized that it was the Second of February, and that I had gotten up, seen my shadow, and gone back into my hole.

Looks like six more weeks of winter, from here.

More water-themed dreams last night; how much of them were due to the sound of rain outside, I can't tell. Not the usual crystal-clear water, this time; in this one, the nearby creek actually ran through the backyard. The usual gang of Generic Dream Friends and I were looking it over. The water was higher than usual; I noticed that conditions were exactly right for a flash flood, and suggested that we should get back over the creek and into the house. Of course, everyone blew me off, right up until the big muddy rush of water hit.

For some reason, I was wearing robes of some sort, as was at least one of the others.

athelind: (Default)
I had a very pleasant Christmas with my family.

I got dress shirts and a splendid tie! They're wonderful -- my sister managed to guess my size from memory better than Quel and I have ever managed with me standing right there (XL, size 17 collar).

Dinner was excellent -- scallops something-or-other over pasta. And, of course, a wide range of alcohol.

Most of the day was spent introducing my stepfather to the wonders of YouTube as a source for music and film footage of old stars; he's a serious jazz aficionado, and kept coming up with more and more obscure performers to hunt down. The only times we couldn't find anything were when the performers in question had names identical to some other individual, more recent or better-known -- a very short-lived ensemble called "Matrix" was a good example.

We also watched a few seasonal treats, as well, including this duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie; Bowie's lyrics have, to me, always captured what this time of year really means, and why my family of atheists, agnostics and pagans still celebrate Christmas -- it's not the religious aspect, but the mythic.

I departed around 19:30, though I was invited to stay another night. I probably should have; yes, I work tomorrow, but not until 14:00. Ah, well. Second thoughts are better served at the other end of a 50-mile drive.

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you had the best of the good and none of the bad.

Peace be with you, and with us all.

athelind: (Default)
I'm here in Berkeley, at my sister's place. My folks are here. This is the first time we've all been together for the holidays since -- 1982, at least, when my grandmother died right after I went off to college. My middle sister isn't here, but, still, with two of the three of us, it's a quorum.

Stopped off at [ profile] quelonzia's place before work tonight, just to say hello to everyone who's crashing THERE for the holiday.

This is our first Christmas apart since we were married.

I miss you, beloved. Merry Christmas.

And to all our friends: don't worry about us. We'll work through this. Have a happy holiday, and blessed be.

athelind: (Default)
A year ago today, I did something I rarely do: I wrote down an explicit list of New Year's Resolutions. The other half of that tradition, of course, is to sit down at year's end and evaluate my progress.

2008 Report Card )

2009 Resolutions )
athelind: (Default)

...I think a lot of us would cheerfully do that to 2008.

Here's looking forward to 2009... though that won't really begin until January 20th.
athelind: (Default)
I had a slice of pumpkin pie, on Boxing Day, on Boxing Day
I had a slice of pumpkin pie, on Boxing Day in the morning!

(For the full impact, this should be sung in the voice of BRIAN BLESSED.)
athelind: (Default)
Amongst various other loot which I will quite enjoy, I received the entire seven-book Dark Horse release of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series -- a seminal sword-and-sorcery saga that contributed much more to the heart and soul of Dungeons & Dragons than Tolkien's more superficial influence.

Combine this with my recent ruminations re: Gamma World, and Your Obedient Serpent may be hankerin' to run a good, old-skool, High Adventure campaign in the near future....

athelind: (Default)

Forty years ago, I was bundled in front of the television, the excitement of Christmas almost forgotten as I watched the grainy footage being transmitted from more than two hundred thousand miles away -- the farthest any human being had ever been from our world.

Though only three men were there to see that Earthrise with human eyes, on that Christmas Eve so long ago, all of us, every one, touched the sky.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, raise a toast this e'en to Apollo 8 and her crew, Borman, Lovell and Anders.

To boldly go.

athelind: (Default)
Hooray, working retail over the holidays! I'm working six days straight, from Friday right up to the Uncanny X-Mas on Thursday, and then I go right back in on Friday.

(The reason they call the 26th "Boxing Day" is because us register monkeys feel like we've been ten rounds with the Champ by the time we go home.)

Most of these have been closing shifts -- for the Joyful Open Late Holiday Hours, of course -- and by the time I've gone home each night, I've felt increasingly incoherent.

Part of the incoherence has been mild, almost subliminal sinus congestion.

Last night, it stopped being subliminal. I had a sinus blockage last night that timed with a HUGE low-pressure system to turn into an excruciating toothache. Wound up getting up at around 2:30, just as the low pressure zone, near as I can tell, hit its peak: as I was sitting in the bathroom holding my head in pain, the rain went from "drizzle" to "downpour".

I wound up out on the living room sofa in front of the TV, drinking a huge glass of water to loosen things up, force-blowing my nose to try to get the pressure shifted.

(The Secret Saturdays ain't bad, BTW. Not at 3AM, anyway.)

It finally subsided to the point that I could go back to bed, though it took a dose of Melatonin to actually get me to SLEEP.

Still not quite running on all cylinders. Thankfully, I have a "hammock" shift today, working 11-7. Someone else opens, someone else closes, I just blithely skip in, smile at the customers, and skip away when my shift ends.

Oh, and for the regulars: normal comic deliveries this week! Uncanny X-Mas Eve = New Comics Day!

Icon illustrates actual size of sinuses.
athelind: (Default)
Solstice Greetings, everyone, and peace and good will to one and all!

On this, the shortest day and longest night of the year, let us remember that it is, indeed, darkest before the dawn, and in the cold of winter, embrace each other in a spirit of love, fellowship, and joy.

"Praise be to the distant sister sun, joyful as the silver planets run."

athelind: (Default)
My last post prompted a lot of comments and suggestions about Creative and Alternative Gift Wrapping -- [ profile] foofers in particular had some cool ideas.

I've used Newspaper of course; it's a classic -- especially the Sunday funnies. Alas, since I no longer read a newspaper regularly, it wouldn't count as "re-use" -- I'd be buying it specifically for wrapping!

On the other claw, the idea of using an Asian-language paper is kind of cool. Goodness knows we have a bunch of them around here.

I've also used Maps -- or, to be more specific, nautical charts. Yes, those things are expensive, but they also get updated constantly. When I was in the Coast Guard, we constantly had a stack of obsolete charts left out for whoever wanted to grab them. I had wrapping paper for YEARS afterwards.

Foofs mentioned finding movie film cans at a thrift store. I like the idea of "wrapping" that's a useful or interesting article in and of itself. You know those big metal cans of nasty, sticky caramel corn that you always find this time of year? Those make great presents, just because the cans are so useful. Same with those cookie tins. I think I need to be on the lookout for that sort of thing -- and big, drawstring bags, too.

I've used coffee cans in the past, but they tend to need additional wrapping, or they look pretty hobo. The new, plastic kind are actually really good present containers -- though, again, they still need wrapping. Oh, and whichever kind you use, wash'em out really well, or your presents will smell like stale coffee FOREVER.

Remember when L'eggs panty hose came in big plastic eggs? We used those for all kinds of presents.

Hee hee hee. I should find some kind of cheap lock-boxes, and use THOSE for the Unauthorized Personnel's presents -- then give him the keys, one at a time, whilst playing Santa on the morning of the 25th.

athelind: (Default)
Some people have an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other.

I have a dragon on each: one dressed in tie-dye and flip-flops, the other dressed in a classic Santa costume.

Environmental Scientist Dragon loves Gift Bags: present packaging that is fast, easy, and best of all, reusable year after year. They reduce the amount of post-holiday household waste dramatically, and they make the wrapping of oddly-shaped presents trivial.

We have some nice ones that we've been using for a couple of years now, and [ profile] quelonzia and I hit the Dollar Tree a few weeks back to pick up a nice, big stack of'em, in a wide range of sizes. Gift Bags are part and *ahem* parcel of a Green, Responsible Holiday.

Traditional Holiday Dragon understands the intellectual appeal of Gift Bags, and even grants that they look nice, too. They just feel wrong.

Part of it, of course, is that Traditional Holiday Dragon is Traditional.

Another part is that he takes Gift Security very seriously.

This is, alas, an issue in our household; we have Unauthorized Personnel in residence who have no strong compunctions against peeking, or even actual tampering with presents under the tree.

With a properly-wrapped and taped present, one actually has to make an effort to sneak a peek. Gift Bags, on the other claw, allow even inadvertent glances -- unless they are taped closed (which compromises their reusability) or stuffed with tissue paper (which just brings back the disposable trash issue, and is wholly ineffective against deliberate security breaches).

We do have some Gift Bags which have Velcro flaps, but, alas, only a very few. Of course, even Velcro won't stop a deliberate security breach, but Traditional Holiday Dragon is willing to begrudge that much Benefit of the Doubt.

Suggestions solicited.

(And, yes, okay, I admit it. Gift bags feel lazy. They lack the personal touch of wrapping -- though I confess that this year and for many years past, all my gifts are store-bought, so how "personal" can they get? Maybe next year I'll try for hand-made gifts and store-bought, reusable bags. That sounds like a nice, environmentally-conscious way to break out of the consume/dispose trap.)
athelind: (Default)
It doesn't matter if you call it Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veteran's Day.

It doesn't matter what you think of the current war, or war in general.

What matters is that every day, there are those who put their lives on the line for others, on the battlefield or on the streets, in raging fires or in the face of raging storms, or striving to reach beyond the sky.

Some of them don't come back. Some of them do.

Honor them all. They've honored you.

athelind: (Default) is planning a Parade to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition on 05 December, and they're looking for a Bay Area resident turning 75 and another turning 21 on December 5th to act as Grand Marshalls.

...if they could find someone turning 96, they'd have someone who actually was legally allowed to drink on that day!

Yes, this one gets the "politics" tag, among others. The Repeal of Prohibition marked the end of the last Big Wave Of Moralizing Religious Stupidity that screwed up this country.
athelind: (Default)
I've been trying to compose a response to this story all day: a Ramadan prayer service in Dayton, Ohio was interrupted on Friday when local thugs sprayed a chemical irritant into the mosque, specifically targeting the room where children and infant were being cared for while their parents were praying.

The DailyKos points out that this occurred shortly after a fear-mongering anti-Muslim propaganda DVD was distributed in newspapers and free mailings across several swing states, including Ohio.

I cannot consider that a coincidence.

There are those saying that comparisons to Kristallnacht are alarmist and exaggerated. Perhaps comparisons to Birmingham are more appropriate?

No, no one was killed in this cowardly assault on innocents. This is certainly a step beyond cross-burning and graffiti, however. Does someone actually have to die before Dayton police will recognize it as a hate crime?

[ profile] scarfman provided this:

*<*div align="center"*>**<*a href=""*>**<*img src=""*>**<*/a*>**<*/div*>*

Copy the code above and remove all the asterisks to link to the image.

athelind: (Default)
(doo doo doo doo)

On this, the shortest day of the year, [ profile] quelonzia and I would like to wish all our friends and family all the gifts of Blessing, Renewal and Redemption for the coming year.

May we find laughter in the jokes that Coyote will play.

May we find strength to stand against greed and wickedness, and courage to speak the truth.

May we find peace, and joy, and love.

And I say... it's all right.

athelind: (Default)
I was looking for appropriate tidings for the day, when [ profile] mavjop provided this:

Be Of Good Cheer!

athelind: (Default)
Some things just become so much a part of popular culture that everyone knows about them, knows all the details, whether or not they've seen them or read them or had any real exposure to them.

I was so thoroughly familiar with Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart's classic, It's a Wonderful Life, that I hadn't realized I'd never actually seen it -- that is, until I sat down with Quel to watch it tonight on NBC.

I mean, I knew I'd never managed to see it all the way through -- but I hadn't seen it at all, except for that oft-referenced clip of the last five minutes.

Wow, what a terrific film.

(And five points to the person who can identify the quote in the subject line.)
athelind: (Default)
[ profile] quelonzia and I wish all of you a Joyful Solstice, and warmest tidings for the New Year.

Blessed Be!
athelind: (Default)
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

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