the_vulture: (Teddy)

Check out the adorable story that [personal profile] aldersprig  wrote based on my birthday prompt during her latest Giraffe Call!
 

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The candle I lit against the longest night is still going strongly. Good thing, too! I went out to greet the Sun with song for what should've been sunrise, but it was far too cloudy to see the Sun at all (still is). Regardless, I sang a few songs and shared a bit of libation, so it wasn't for naught. I checked the mailbox on the way back home and, most unexpectedly, there was a parcel for me. Yes, I got a present to open for Solstice Morn this very morning! Hee! (Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] magikgypsy!)

A photo to share with you this beautiful Yule morning:



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This is a true tale, a recounting of how my skepticism regarding things of a supernatural nature, most notably revolving around the existence of an afterlife, received a very solid kick to the groin.

Witness a tale of supernatural going-ons... )

Blessed Samhain!
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For the last year or so, I've been pleased to serve as a patron for the work of [info]ysabetwordsmith . I do so for a number of reasons. First, this is one of the ways that I try to keep creativity alive, especially when so many have to turn away from creative endeavours. Second, the relationship between us, as artist and patron, is one that has been fostered to provide mutual benefit and friendship. Finally, and perhaps most important, by not only giving action to my creative input (i.e., taking prompts for poetry), but also by inspiring and encouraging my own literary output, I'm allowed to taste a little of that creative magic.

Read more... )
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I've no patriotic YouTube presentations to post here, sorry! I'm quickly getting in my greetings to all my webfriends whilst packing for a BBQ and camp-out with my Kung Fu brothers.  :)
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One of my very dear friends bought me a gift certificate for Amazon. (Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] iammystery_girl, you are so made of AWESOME!) As the gift certificate was for Amazon.co.uk, I took the opportunity to shop for books I cannot readily get on this side of the pond, in particular, books on learning Irish Gaelic. Whilst searching under the terms 'Irish Gaelic', I came across this: 



*chuckle*
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My return to Canada has been good to me. Yes, as I did in England, I've had a few reversals in fortune. But here, they have not been as frequent or as large. 'Course, it may simply be that my perception of them has been skewed by all the good stuff that's come up in my life, like a solid, stress-free job, where appreciation of my services is often demonstrated with bonuses and free use of a Crackberry Curve, and my really fab flat. It may even simply that things seem much easier to bear now that I'm home.

And that means a lot...

Home...

Practically speaking, it means I no longer have to worry as much about the consequences of losing my job, should that happen: being able to claim unemployment is a far cry from getting kicked out of a country!  :D

But there's more to it than that, far more...

It's the sense of 'belonging', that I am where I'm supposed to be. Where I am amongst friends and family. Where my accent isn't the subject of curiousity ("Sir, say 'tomato,'" "Sir, are you from America?" "Of course not, he's from Australia!"). Where there are far more places to roam to free. Where I am surrounded by the beauty of my homeland.

Where my heart always belonged.

I am home...
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Yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] itsjustc ...

If you're on my friends list, I want to know 36 things about you. I don't care if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Short and sweet is fine ... You're on my list, so I want to know you better! Be honest. Copy the questions and post your answers as a comment then repost the empty questions on your journal.

1) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
A.

2) What was your dream growing up?
A.

3) What talent do you wish you had?
A.

4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
A.

5) Favourite vegetable?
A.

6) What was the last book you read?
A.

7) What zodiac sign are you?
A.

8) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
A.

9) Worst Habit?
A.

10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
A.

11) What is your favourite sport?
A.

12) Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?
A.

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
A.

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
A.

15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
A.

16) Do you have any pets?
A.

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
A.

18) What was your first impression of me?
A.

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
A.

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
A.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
A.

22) What colour eyes do you have?
A.

23) Ever been arrested?
A.

24) Favourite TV show?
A.

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
A.

27) What's your favourite place to hang at?
A.

28) Do you believe in ghosts?
A.

29) Favourite thing to do in your spare time?
A.

30) Do you swear a lot?
A.

31) Biggest pet peeve?
A.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
A.

33) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
A.

35) Do you believe in God?
A.

36) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?
A.

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Last time we spoke (around Christmas) she reminded me that her daughter (my God-daughter!) was due around the twentieth of this month.  I was just calling in to check how she was feeling.

Turns out I started being a Godfather 8 days ago!

*SQUEEE!!!*

Both mom and child are healthy and happy.  :D
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Well, I've resumed running and sword training this week, though my muscles seem to be unhappy about all that. Methinks I may not be getting enough calcium, as my legs, calves in particular, have been crampy since Wednesday (Haidong Gumdo class). I picked some calcium supplements, as well as a glucosamine sulphate cocktail to help my joints hold up under the abuse, so I'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, I'm getting odds and sods done around the flat, including picking up a pine board shelving kit from which I created a small table for my lap top and my new altar (finally!). I'm not so happy with the furniture additions, as the pine turned out to be really crappy wood that I paid far too much for, but one makes do with one has. I can always replace 'em later when the opportunity presents itself.

I've also replanted the tomato plant that my mother gave me. It sits in the window sill in a planter designed to fit nicely into a corner. Between that and the two plants I'm looking after for my mother (a small aloe vera plant and the tall whatever-the-heck-it-is that
[personal profile] 1grl_revolution gave her), my flat is actually looking rather green.

I've also begun rearranging my meager bits of furniture so now my flat looks a bit less 'bachelor'. *grin*

Saturday was fairly productive in that I managed to get up early enough to go to the market, chat with a new friend, pick up a substantial amount of cider (some of which, if it was just a bit more sparkly, would be a damn good match for my beloved Scrumpy Jack), did another Haidong Gumdo lesson, and then went off to work.

Finally, this week I've also repaired my didgebox, after it got a hole knocked into it during the move. I'm actually considering hosting an introductory didjeridoo workshop for the group of pagan contacts I've recently made, though, if it happens, it'll be a little later in the future. I'd have to acquire some decent bits of pvc from which to contstruct some cheap didges from. It would certainly be a fun excuse for a party! *grin*

My current conundrum involves the upcoming shift bid, where I'm thinking of trying for some regular day-like hours. It would be nice to actually have my evenings free to pursue my budding social life, as well as get in more martial arts, but that would also knock off about $160 per month that I normally earn in shift premiums for working late nights. Yep, it again comes down to money versus quality of life. 'Course, recent experience suggests that going with QoL may be a good idea.

And my shift has just ended! Later, gators!

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Alas, due to circumstances beyond my control, I've been once again reduced to a Subway Turkey Breast Sub as my sole source of turkey this Thanksgiving. You can read about previous such episodes here: http://the-vulture.livejournal.com/112669.html

In this case, much like my first Thanksgiving in the UK, it was simply a matter that I was unable to locate a restaurant that was serving turkey. (Ah, the parallels!) This is rather sad, though, as not only is Thanksgiving celebrated here, but I had actually scouted out a restaurant serving turkey the previous evening. Was this restaurant open tonight? Of course not. Such is my luck sometimes.

I've taken one bite of the sub, thus far. That'll probably be all I'll manage for tonight. That's mostly on account of my decision, in lieu of a proper turkey dinner, stuffing my face with some awesome Mexican cuisine at a restaurant I had been meaning to return to for quite some time. This evening's fare consisted of one well prepared and generously stuffed beef chimichanga, along with rice and refried beans, with a small appetizer of truly decent tortilla chips and salsa. Gaps were filled in with some truly delicious churros with butterscotch sauce. Muy bueno! And all that was washed back with a brace of double frozen margaritas, one banana, one mango, both freakin' YUMMM. I may follow that up with some peach schnapps I happen to have kicking around.

As for Thanksgiving, I'm first and foremost glad to be celebrating it back in Canada! I'm also grateful for a wonderful girlfriend and great friends and family for having seen me through thus far. The decent job and great apartment are further reasons to be thankful to the Universe.

On Thanksgiving, though, I also try to be mindful of my food, offering thanks to those animals and plants whose lives have ended so that mine can continue. To them, I offer my thanks for the gift of their life and I renew my vow to make my life worthy of their sacrifice.

Getting back to turkeys, you can read interesting stuff about them here: 
http://the-vulture.livejournal.com/118679.html

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF MY CANADIAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!!!
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 Spotted in [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's blog...

Today is Pimp-A-Friend day. LiveJournal is a wonderful place to connect with interesting people. Feature one of your Friends, with a brief description of what makes their journal worth reading, and share the joy. Readers are encouraged to visit the featured journal and/or reply to this message with recommendations of their favorite Friends.


Okay, I'm running a little late on this one, but, hey, I think I can be forgiven on account of my ludicrous schedule. Choosing someone to pimp has been kind of difficult; I've got a whole whack of very interesting friends and I've recently added many more. Of course, most of my friends, both old and new, have already acquired a bit of readership already, as they've been here for quite some time.

As such, I've decided to pick someone rather new to LJ: [profile] iammystery_girl. She creates a lot of informative and interesting blog entries interspersed with lovingly described memories of her childhood. Many invite the reader to engage in discussion. Her descriptions reflect her visual nature, which is highlighted by her use of beautiful photos and stimulating graphics. I'm certain many will find her blog to be a source of refreshing reading.  :)
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Yoinked from [profile] campybear  :

You are The Magician

Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.

Eleoquent and charismatic both verbally and in writing, you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.

The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Usually with such quizzes (http://the-vulture.livejournal.com/15403.html), I score the Empress. The Magician is a new one for me, but it does reflect a few changes in things I place more value on, like friends and family over knowledge.
 

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So, 'round about June 14th, I got an e-mail from my very dear friend D. from the UK. We've been through a lot together and she's always been there to help me get through my darkest moments whilst teaching. (She's Teddy's mommy, btw.) That's why I was so very, very thrilled to learn that she's going to have a baby! SQUEEE!!! 

And I'm going to be the Godfather!

'Course, we had a brief discussion about my pagan leanings, but she'll take care of the Christian upbringing; I'm just to serve as an example of high moral character (*snerk*). 

Yes, we did have a conversation about the religious aspect because I kinda take such things seriously and was a little concerned about how I was supposed to assist in ensuring a good Christian upbringing. 'Course, that doesn't mean I can't help out a bit. Godparents are supposed to give the kid his or her first Bible, are they not? (Hey, I get to spoil a kid!)

Maybe I'm getting way too excited about all this, but oh well! *silly grin*

Meanwhile, the Christening will give me an excellent excuse to jet out of the country to either the UK or Jamaica.

BTW, did I mention I'm going to be a Godfather?

SQUEEE!!!
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 This weekend was, as expected, bittersweet. I said goodbye to a couple of very good friends. The hardest was the woman who helped me so much through all the grief I endured during my stay in England (and outside of it). She's the one that gave me Teddy to keep me company during one particularly stressful period in my life. We both had pretty damp eyes when I took a photo of her with him.

But the goodbye that took me by surprise was to the city of London itself. On my way to Aylesbury, I paused in London to get a few snaps of Teddy with Big Ben and a few other sites, as I had yet to take any photos of him there. It was with a bit of sadness that I walked along the Thames, realizing that this, perhaps, would be the last time. It was then that the city itself granted its own goodbye. As I walked by the London Eye, I discovered that the mindnumbingly long queues that were ALWAYS present, the ones that look like they lasted hours and, thus, kept me from ever going up in it, were NON-EXISTENT.

A short time and £15.50 later, I was aloft in the London Eye and treated to a stunning view of the city. It was amazing to be able to see so many landmarks from just one point. Turn one way and you can see St. Paul's Cathedral and the 'Gherkin'. Turn another and both the Parliament buildings and, in the distance, the Battersea Powerstation can be seen from above. Yes, many pictures were taken, including some with Teddy. *grin* Those will have to be added to the growing list of photoblog entries that I need to sort out out when I have the time to do so. It brought back a lot of memories of my many gleeful explorations along the Thames and the city streets. My experiences of that magnificent city will be a treasure I will always hold in my heart.

As I left London by train to return home, I whispered 'goodbye' to the city that I realized that I had come to love, despite whatever else that has happened to me in the rest of England. And I promised myself that I would one day return; a final farewell would be just too heartbreaking to endure.

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 Potato and leek soup, gammon with crackling, mash, carrots, and plenty of wine... Yes, it was a lovely farewell dinner prepared by my lovely next door neighbours. I will say, there are few things about England that I will truly miss, but my neighbours rank high amongst them.  

Ah well, my need to escape is still great. The other day, whilst shopping in another town for appropriately sized boxes and questing for a postal tube long enough for my didges (I will have to resort to buying two smaller ones and putting them end to end), I was chased back into a train station by a large (and ugly) pack of thuggish yobs, some of which I recognized as scum associated with the worst we've permanently excluded from my school in recent years.

They were carrying large piles of fresh snow (a novelty in southern England) and decided I'd make a great target for snowballs. There was about seven or eight of them, in their late teens. Many of 'em were large enough to be a substantial threat to me (and I only just now thought about how many of them were probably carrying a knife) and they were behaving in an aggressive and malevolent fashion. Sensing that a confrontation could get very ugly very quickly (these were yobs of the lowest order), I ducked back into the train station, not realizing that some of them would actually throw INTO the station itself and, whilst I tried to get a train staff member to phone the police, a number of forcefully hurled snowballs followed me. I would say that, fortunately, the English have lousy aim with a snowball, as I was never struck, but sadly, an older woman got struck in the head.

Pure yobbishness!

Fortunately, the presence of CCTV cameras in the station (which they seemed highly aware of (previous experience?)), as well as my rather loud demand for the attendent to phone the police, seemed to deter them from further nastiness and the thugs moved on. I last saw them in the high street near the station, where they proceeded to hurl snowballs at cars and whatever else they could terrorize. The train police were phoned, but I didn't stick around to see if they showed up or were able to do anything about them. I left the station in the opposite direction and went about my business whilst I still had time remaining. I completed my box shopping without further incident, but was glad to make it back to my own village.

Ya know, I should have talked about the dinner after the unpleasantness that preceded it. I could then have ended this post with a pleasant thought. *sigh*

Oh well, nothing to be done for it but to get on with my preparations.

Wicked!

Mar. 28th, 2008 04:51 pm
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Well, today began somewhat crappy, with a class of sheer crappiness in the middle. However, there were some high points and some silver linings. For example, in one particularly troublesome class, filled with some pretty challenged kids, two of 'em actually demonstrated that they were not only listening this class, but remembered events from the story the last class. One even put enough events together to formulate his own thoughts about why Macbeth might be so murderous. The silver lining on the crap lesson that happened after that was the possibility that, finally, a few key pupils have done enough to get them turfed out for a substantial portion of next week.

And then the day got better.

*wicked grin*

My finally class of the day was actually an ICT lesson (computer science). In the last few lessons (I get this class once a week), a lot of pupils were refusing to do work and, instead, decided to email each other and play games.

Last lesson, I came in with a stack of worksheets and turned off all the computers at the breaker; they all got to learn about the various advantages and disadvantages of various types of media (print, CD-Roms, and the Internet). Many clued in to one of the great advantages of print by their very situation; print works without the need for a computer. *evil chuckle* 

The better pupils plowed on through and even seemed to enjoy the work they were doing. Of course, this was not the case for about half the class, who still hadn't quite gotten the message and, instead of just doing the work, decided to spend the entire lesson whinging and misbehaving in protest. 

Okay.

Shortly after that lesson, I had a brief conversation with one of the other ICT teachers about how I could selectively deactivate pupil accounts. It turns out to be quite easy...

So, yes, today many pupils found out, much to their chagrin, that they couldn't log in to their accounts and, instead, were again faced with the work sheets they needed done last lesson, whilst their motivated peers worked on a fun ICT research assignment.

This time, the worksheets were completed. *evil grin*

But the wickedness didn't stop there. At the end of the day, the 'Strategy Game *coughD&Dcough* Club* met up for our weekly game session. Sadly, I had managed to leave the characters and campaign notes at home, so there was no way to continue with that particular story, or the really wicked encounter I had planned, today. There was a bit of potential for disaster as all the boys were pretty geared up to play, the snacks had all been purchased, and the youngest lad had his ride pre-arranged for later.

So, being somewhat inventive, I suggested that one of the older players GM a session. Whilst two of the lads went out to quickly plan a campaign world, the rest of us chose from pre-created fifth level NPCs straight from the Dungeon Master's Guide. That's how we wound up with a rather colourful party consisting of: a half-orc barbarian, a lizardman druid, a goblin rogue and (my character) a kobold sorceror.

I had some trepidations about how this would go, but the two lads GMing actually pulled off a highly entertaining and well detailed adventure session that featured a prison break in an unknown land that required a fair bit of clever thinking to successfully pull off. There was even many hints at an overall story arch! 'Course, my enjoyment of the session might have been flavoured by the fact that this is the first time I've PLAYED a role playing game in quite a few years. Still, I had a blast playing my mildly nasty little reptillian sorceror with a penchant for deviousness.

Wicked!

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 I finally did it! I booked my flights for a 5 day trip to Germany during the spring break. Yay me! *big grin*  

That's pretty much the singular bright point in my day, which was elsewise filled with sorting out coursework at school and sorting through paper at home. My flat still looks like the epicentre of some form of natural disaster, but I did wade through a LOT of paper.

At least there were no kids and I started off the morning right with an email from my Beloved. *dreamy smile*

The weekend wasn't the grandest; it was too windy, wet, and nippy to really go out and explore the countryside, though I made a brave effort to do a photo-tour of my neighbourhood. (I guess I should post those at some point...) I spent most of the weekend sorting through stuff.

Much of that effort left me in a bit of an emotional turmoil. I kept coming across things like letters from my ex and the handmade Christmas card from a child that, had things gone just a bit differently, nearly became a daughter to me. Of course, the whole preparing to leave my comfort zone is not a calming thing, either. Yep, I spent a fair amount of time on the phone with my Beloved, some friends, my mother, etc., in order to ablate a desperate need for human contact that I was often feeling.

Deep blue funks suck.

Ah well, at least I only have 8 days of school till the spring break and a mere 5 after that before I depart for home. *sigh full of longing*

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 Well, I've finally done it; I've booked my flight home. My European adventure of over three and half years ends on April 27th.  

This has kinda bubbled up a lot of feelings for me and I'm feeling a little bit emotional about it all. I'm still processing...

There's going to be some sadness - I'm leaving behind good friends I've made here, likely forever.

There will be regrets - things I wish I could've done, having been so close, but they were still just out of reach.

There will fear - again, I leave the comfort of the home I've made myself here to walk into an uncertain future.

There will be tension - as I scrabble about to get things sorted before I leave (and there are many).

But there will also be relief - I'm leaving behind that which has been slowly killing me emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

And, finally, there will be joy - I'm coming home.

Mama, I'm coming home

Ozzy Osbourne

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qxIRNBqGMj w

Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come but I ain't the same
Mama, I'm comin home
Times go by, seems to be
You could have been a better friend to me
Mama, I'm comin home

You took me in and you drove me out
Yeah, you had me hypnotized, yeah
Lost and found and turned around
By the fire in your eyes

You made me cry, you told me lies
But I can't stand to say goodbye
Mama, I'm comin home
I could be right, I could be wrong
It hurts so bad it's been so long
Mama, I'm comin home

Selfish love yeah we're both alone
The ride before the fall, yeah
But I'm gonna take this heart of stone
I just got to have it all

I've seen your face a hundred times
Everyday we've been apart
I don't care about the sunshine, yeah
'Cause mama, mama, I'm comin home
I'm comin home
I'm comin home

You took me in and you drove me out
Yeah, you had me hypnotized, yeah
Lost and found an turned around
By the fire in your eyes

I've seen your face a thousand times
Everyday we've been apart
I don't care about the sunshine, yeah
'Cause mama, mama, I'm comin home
I'm comin home
I'm comin home

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 On Tuesday, Gary Gygax,  the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, one of my absolute favourite past-times, passed away. 

http://entertainment.msn.com/news/articl e.aspx?news=303923 

He was the ubernerd, the one nerd to rule them all. And now he's gone... *sigh* 

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was about twelve years old and have been an avid fan ever since. There's nothing quite like the camraderie of a good gaming group creating a collaborative story armed with books, character sheets, weird shaped dice, and plenty of pizza, soda and other snack food. I owe a lot of my creative development (as well as my understanding of character and story, my improvisational drama skills, the maintenance of my sanity through highschool, my mental math skills, the development of several key friendships, and my knowledge of small group combat tactics) to that game. 

Tomorrow, my 'Strategy Game Club' *coughD&Dclubcough* will meet afterschool. I think I will ask my group to take a minute of silence in memory to the man responsible for the game they've come to embrace as an essential element of their identity.  

Then I'll have them trash some orcs. 

EDIT: History was shared, a moment of respect was given, and many orcs were hacked to bloody bits.

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