Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat Pics

Oh, and perhaps a few pictures are in order…

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Happy Halloween!!!!!!

Trick or Treat

Samhain (pronounced “Sow-in”) is a Greater Sabbat observed on October 31st. In honor, of the Halloween Holiday, I will document a Samhain ceremony as described by Raymond Buckland. I hope you enjoy. Happy Halloween!

This is the time of year for getting rid of weaknesses (in the old days the cattle least likely to make it through the winter would be cut from the herd and slaughtered). Coveners should bring into the Circle with them a small piece of parchment on which they have written down weaknesses or bad habits they would like to lose.

The outer edge of the Circle may be decorated with autumnal flowers, branches, pine-cones, small pumpkins, etc.. There should be flowers on the altar. The altar cloth/candles should be orange. The Horned Helmet rests beside the altar. In the north quarter stands a cauldron containing material for a fire (regular kindling, if the Circle is outdoors, or a candle if meeting inside).

The Erecting the Temple is performed. This may be followed by a Full Moon or New Moon rite, if appropriate. Bell is then rung three times by a covener acting as SUMMONER.

Summoner: “Haste! Haste! No time to wait! We’re off to the Sabbat, so don’t be late!”
Priestess: “To the Sabbat!”
All: “To the Sabbat!”

With PRIEST and PRIESTESS leading, the coven moves deosil around the Circle, walking or dancing as each feels moved. It is appropriate to carry small drums or tambourines, to give a beat. Coven circles as many times as they wish. At some point, as they move around, the PRIESTESS should start singing a hymn to the gods (this can be anything from a simple repetitive chanting of the names of the gods to a spontaneous song of praise. All can join in as the procession continues. If it is preferred, the coven can circle a number of times then come to a halt and start the singing while standing in place.

Priest: “Now is a time of change. Now do we leave the light and enter the darkness. Yet do we do so gladly, for we know it to be but the turning ot the mighty Wheel of the Year.”

Priestess: “At this time of the year the gates between the worlds are open. We call upon our ancestors, our loved ones, to pass through and join with us at this time. We invite them to delight in celebration with those they love.”

Then follows an enactment of the seasonal motif. This can vary greatly and may be based on any of a number of themes, including local beliefs and practices. Here are some examples: life-death-new life; death of the old king and crowning of the new; the turning wheel f the year; the creation of the world, with chaos transformed to order. This enactment can take the form of a play, mime or dance. At the end of the enactment, the bell is rung seven times. Then one covener speaks:

Covener: “We are at the crack of time, for this day belongs neither to the old year nor to the new. And as there is no distinction between the years, so is there no distinction between the worlds. Those we have known and loved, in ages past, are free to return to us here in this meeting place. Reach out, each and every one of you, in your own way, and feel the presence of one you have known and thought lost. From this reunion gather strength. Know, all of you, that there is no end and no beginning. All is a continuous turning, a spiraling dance that goes and returns, yet moves ever on. In that turning, Samhain is the sacred festival marking the end of the summer and the beginning of Winter: a time to celebrate; a time to welcome the God as he starts his journey down the tunnel of darkness that bears the light of our Lady at its end.”

Priestess: “The Old Year ends.”
All: “The New Year begins.”
Priestess: “The Wheel turns.”
All: “And turns again.”
Priestess: “Farewell to Our Lady.”
All: “Welcome to Our Lord.”
Priestess: “Goddess-Summer draws to a close.”
All: “God-Winter sets his foot upon the path.”
Priestess: “Hail and farewell!”
All: “Hail and farewell!”

PRIEST and PRIESTESS lead coven in a dance around the Circle. This may be followed, or accompanied, by a song or chat. Priestess takes up the Horned Helmet and stands before the altar.

“Gracious Goddess, we thank thee for the joys of summer. We thank thee for all thy bounty; the fruits, the crops, the harvest. Return again as the Wheel turns and be with us once more. Even as our Lord accepts the mantle, walk with him through the darkness, to come again into the light.”
PRIEST stands and faces her. SHE holds the Helmet high over his head. A Covener stands by the cauldron, with fire ready.

Priestess: “Here do I display the symbol of our Lord: He who rules Death and that which comes after; the dweller in the darkness; the husband/brother of the light. May he guard us and guide us in all that we do, within and without this Circle. With our Lady at his side, may be lead us through hardship and bring us, with hope, into the light.”

Priestess places Horned Helmet on Priest’s head, as he does, the cauldron fire is lit.

Covener: “Now is our Lord among us. Speak, for we are your children.”
Priest: “Behold, I am he who is at the beginning and at the end of time. I am in the heat of the sun and the coolness of the breeze. The spark of life is within me, as is the darkness of death. For I am he who is the Gatekeeper at the end of time. Lord-dweller in the sea, you hear the thunder of my hooves upon the shore and see the fleck of foam as I pass by. My strength is such that I might lift the world itself to touch the stars. Yet gentle am I, ever, as the lover. I am he whom all must face at the appointed hour, yet am I not to be feared, for I am brother, lover, son. Death is but the beginning of Life, and I am he who turns the key.”

Priestess salutes Priest. One by one, the Coveners move around. If they wish, they may place an offering on the altar or before it. They then embrace and Kiss the Priest and move back to their places. As they pass the burning Cauldron, they throw into it their piece of parchment listing their weakness. Priest stands for a moment and meditates n his position for the coming half year. He then removes the Helmet and replaces it beside the altar. Bell is rung nine times.

Then shall follow the ceremony of Cakes and Ale. After that the Clearing the Temple is performed so that there is plenty of room for fun, games and entertainment. The evening concludes with a feast and much revelry.

I almost forgot the part about sacrificing first borns, preferably while they are still infants. There blood is used as lubricants for the wild orgy that ensues. Just kidding, as you can see there really isn’t anything scary about the ritual at all.

So I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween, a Merry Samhain and whatever else you want to celebrate on this fun filled holiday.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Rambling

We went to a Halloween party on Saturday with a gaggle of runners from my wife’s running group. I have to say…it was a great time. It was (of course) a costume party, so it was funny checking out everyone’s costumes. The Mrs. went as an Angel/Devil, with the red on one side and the white on the other. I was going to be The Phantom of the Opera, but when I tried to put on the mask, I realized I must have a monstrous cranium, because the thing wasn’t even a close fit. I wound up keeping the clothes, ditching the mask and going as a musketeer.

What is it about making tough choices that zaps your motivation? Since the day my company closed both of my plants, I’ve found it an increasing struggle to get back to my regular routine. I’m up to my neck in a new project, I’m trying to learn the little nuances of working in my new environment and I have to “train” a new engineer to do things as simple as possible. It’s almost as if I’ve started with a whole new company. Hmm, maybe that isn’t such a bad idea.

I did manage to work on the first set of revisions for Drums of the Nunne’hi. I spoke with my publisher and he is working hard to find just the right artist for the cover art. He did have some bad news however; the book has been delayed until January. I was hoping it would be out in time for Christmas, but hey…at least it will be released soon.

Well, I’ve another week of arguing for common sense negotiating terms of this project. So, I’ll need to keep this short.

What did you do this weekend?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. Ah, the pursuit of hotties has caused many a young man to lose his head. This one took it farther than some.
(30 December 1997, Mexico) A security guard intending to impress female friends took a deadly gamble, losing his game of Russian roulette at a La Paz fast-food restaurant.

Police say Victor Alba, 21, died instantly Saturday when he put his .38-caliber revolver to his head and pulled the trigger at a suburban hamburger outlet. Alba was trying to "impress some female friends," according to the newspaper Hoy de La Paz.



Saturday, October 21, 2006

Run Like The Wind

We’ve just returned from the 2006 Race for the Patch. As most of you know, my wife has been training for her first marathon. In lieu of running with her group today, she chose to race in both the 5K and 10K events. She won three, count them three medals. She took 3rd in the 5K, 2nd in the 10K and 12th overall. She RAWKS.

I’m so very proud of her. She is truly an amazing woman. We are in the cool down period now, but in a few hours we are going to celebrate by taking my son to Oktoberfest. We’ll see how well I can navigate the crowds with my bum leg.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday 55

Sand burns my eyes, but I don’t dare blink. They’re close, sounds like three of them. My rifle’s gone, a bullet smashed through it’s chamber in the ambush that claimed the rest of my squad. They’re searching. I slip a blade quietly into each hand. I spring out of my hole. No one lives forever.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tenacious

A few months ago, there was an opening with the CIA for an assassin. These highly classified positions are hard to fill, and there's a lot of testing and background checks involved before you can even be considered for the position. After sending some applicants through the background checks, training and testing, they narrowed the possible choices down to two men and a woman, but only one position was available.

The day came for the final test to see which peson would get the extremely secretive job. The CIA men administering the test took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow our instructions whatever the circumstances," they explained. "Inside this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The man looked horrified and said, "You can't be serious! I could never shoot my wife!" "Well," said the CIA man, "you're definitely not the right man for this job then."

So they brought the second man to the same door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances," they explained to the second man. "Inside you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The second man looked a bit shocked, but nevertheless took the gun and went in the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes; then the door opened. The man came out of the room with tears in his eyes. "I tried to shoot her; I just couldn't pull the trigger and shoot my wife. I guess I'm not the right man for the job."

"No," the CIA man replied, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."

Now they only had the woman left to test. They led her to the same door to the same room and handed her the same gun. "We must be sure that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances; this is your final test. Inside you will find your husband sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill him." The woman took the gun and opened the door. Before the door even closed all the way, the CIA men heard the gun start firing, one shot after another for 13 shots. Then all hell broke loose in the room. They heard screaming, rashing, and banging on the walls. This went on for several minutes; then all went quiet.

The door opened slowly, and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, "You guys didn't tell me the gun was loaded with blanks. I had to beat the son of a bitch to death with the chair!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.
(November 1997, Pennsylvania) Wayne Roth, 38, of Pittston, was bitten by a cobra belonging to his friend, Roger Croteau, after playfully reaching into the tank and picking up the snake. Wayne subsequently refused to go to a hospital, telling Roger, "I'm a man, I can handle it."
Falser words have seldom been spoken. Instead of a hospital, Wayne reported to a bar. He had three drinks, and enjoyed bragging that he had just been bitten by a cobra. Cobra venom is a slow-acting central nervous system toxin. He died within a few hours, in Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania.



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Updates and Information

Last night was my first dose of physical therapy. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I didn’t even have to take a pain pill last night. 7 sessions to go, I can’t wait to get back to the fun stuff. I miss pummeling people exercising and training in my dojo. It was quite therapeutic. I’ll get back there eventually.

That time of year is rolling around again. That’s right it’s almost Nanowrimo time. I won’t be participating this year (I’ve been so covered over, I’ve barely had time to tend to this blog), but a friend of mine has a rather… ahem, novel idea for this years exercise. David Niall Wilson is inviting you to read along during the month of November as he writes his novel. To participate send an e-mail to Gideons_Curse-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Talk about being put on the spot. As if the pressure of writing a novel in a month weren’t enough, he’s asking for readers as he goes. Good luck, Dave.

How many of you plan to participate in Nanowrimo this year?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Weekend Recap

We had a deliciously quiet weekend. Saturday my wife ran just shy of twenty miles (did I mention she is training for her first marathon?). After that, she wasn’t up for much else for the rest of the day. We watched a few movies, read and played a few games as a family. It was a fine way to spend the day.

Sunday was rainy, grey, chilly and just all around dismal outside, so we laid up, played games, read and watched football. I managed to get a fair amount of writing done as well. We also piled into the hot tub for a nice relaxing soak and stir.

Sometimes, a weekend like this is just what the doctor ordered.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Smiles

Two women friends had gone for a girl's night out. Both were very faithful and loving wives, however they had gotten over-enthusiastic on the Bacardi Breezers.


Incredibly drunk and walking home, they needed to pee. So they decided to stop in a nearby cemetery. Having nothing to wipe with, one of them thought she would take off her panties and use them.

Her friend however was wearing a rather expensive pair of panties and did not want to ruin them, but was lucky enough to squat down next to a grave that had a wreath with a ribbon on it, so she proceeded to wipe with that.

After the girls did their business they proceeded to go home. The next day one of the women's husbands was concerned that his normally sweet and innocent wife was still in bed hung over, so he phoned the other husband and said, "These damn girl's nights out have got to stop. I'm starting to suspect the worst. My wife came home with no panties!"

"That's nothing", said the other husband, "Mine came back with a card stuck between her butt cheeks that said: "From all of us at the Fire Station. We'll never forget you."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday 55

As I find myself rushed for time again this week, Linda Goodman has graciously provided this week’s 55. Enjoy…

I run away, gun in hand, my heart breaking, my eyes fill with tears. I stumble and fall, trying to push him from my mind, but all I see is him kissing her and caressing her.
He told me he love me but, it was all a lie…I had to do it didn't I ?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oh, Yeah!!!!

I’m on the mend. More than that, I’m way ahead of schedule. My crutches are history. The doctor removed my cast yesterday and after a brief examination gave me several pieces of good news.

The biggest one of course is the whole no crutches thing. I had managed to get those down to a fine art, often carrying things with both hands while using them, but I’ve never been so happy to see a stage of my life end ever.

I have what they call a cam walker now. Basically, it is a big boot with Velcro straps and iron bars to keep your foot in place. He said I must wear it religiously for the first two weeks. Then I can start phasing it out on my own, if I’m feeling adventurous.

I get to start my physical therapy on Monday. Up until about two weeks ago, we were under the impression that PT wouldn’t start until December, but then we were also under the same impression about the crutches.

When I go back to the doctor in four weeks, there is a high likelihood that I will be released from the boot as well. Just judging by the difficulties I’m having right now, I would have to say I will probably have to use a cane for a while, but hey I suppose that’s not terribly out of place with an old man like me.

What’s the deal with muscle atrophy? My goodness, folks, my left calf is literally half the size of my right one. The calf “muscle” has about the feel of a tiny water balloon dangling from the back of my leg. Six weeks of rarely touching the floor will do that to leg I suppose.

He still cautions that it will likely be anywhere from six months to a year before I can make my triumphant return to my dojo, but I should be getting around fairly well by Christmas.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.
(13 July 1997, Virginia) Eric A. Barcia, a 22-year-old Reston, VA resident, was found dead yesterday after he used bungee cords to jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said.
The fast food worker taped a number of bungee cords together and strapped one end around his foot. Barcia had the foresight to anchor the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, and he even remembered to measure the length of the bungee cords to make sure that they were a few feet short of the 70 foot drop. He proceeded to fall headfirst from the trestle, and hit the pavement 70 feet below several seconds later.
Fairfax County police said "The stretched length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground." Perhaps the deceased fast food worker should have stuck to the line, "Do you want fries with that?"



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Movie Review: The Last Stand

X-Men The Last Stand is effing awesome.

Here’s the synopsis:

The X-Men, mutant heroes sworn to defend a world that hates and fears them, are back! This time, with the help of new recruits The Beast and Angel, they must face evolution itself in the form of their former teammate, Jean Grey. Possessed with the cosmic power of the Dark Phoenix, the resurrected Jean Grey has become a danger to herself, her mutant comrades, and the entire planet. To stave off this imminent threat to humanity, a potential cure is discovered and processed to treat -- and ultimately eliminate -- genetic mutations, once and for all. Now, as the battle lines are drawn, the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier, must contend with both Jean Grey's world-consuming powers, as well as the malevolent Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto.


Full of awesome special effects, shocking deaths, destruction of long standing characters, love and love lost, this movie is a must see. I was looking forward to this movie, but I was in no way prepared for just how good it actually was. Also, the DVD comes with three, that’s right three alternate endings and a ton of deleted scenes.

Rent it, own it, steal it, whatever just watch this movie.

Rating: 5 Star.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Alive But Not Kicking

I’m still alive, despite some of the more popular rumors floating around out there. I really appreciate all the concerned emails I received during my unannounced absence. It warms my heart to think that I have touched so many people in cyberspace. I think I should be back on track now, but I suppose only time will tell.

Life is grand, but it has a way of getting in the way of routine from time to time. I should have some good news about my recovery later this week, so be sure to check back with me.

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.

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