the_vulture: (Default)
Stuck for a holiday present idea? [ profile] ysabetwordsmith is hosting an on-line Faire featuring many of LJ's and Dreamwidth's online artists, writers, craftsfolk and other artsy people. Come check it out!
the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
At some point in the fairly near future (read as 'when my rune stones get unpacked'), I'll be performing a three rune reading for [ profile] kitrona. As it takes me a bit of prep to get myself in the mindset for proper readings, it only makes sense to get in a few extra readings for that effort. So who would like a three rune reading? I'll take the first four respondents to the post (which will remain open until I actually get to doing the reading (either tonight or tomorrow evening)). You may post your questions to me here or in a PM. If you wish, include a little context to your question so I can fine tune my intuition for the answer that best suits the situation. 

Tips are not required, but if you really, really want to thank me, go do something nice for somebody and tell me about it (ya know, like a 'pay-it-forward-kinda-thing').

Standard disclaimers apply (i.e. the readings are for entertainment purposes only and do not constitute as legal, medical or professional advice).

Edit: I appologize for the delay. The move is taking a wee bit longer than anticipated. It'll happen by week's end, though (hopefully).

Edit the second: I finally got the readings done last night. I'll be posting the results shortly. For those who didn't post a question, I simply asked what the Universe wanted you to know.

the_vulture: (Default)
Just be one of the first fifteen people to comment on this post and I'll buy one for you in support of efforts by the National Wildlife Federation to assist in cleanup of the environment in the Gulf. You may also want to check into the charity rune casting I'm doing.

Happy Earth Day!!!

EDIT: My v-gift donation event is NOW CLOSED! Thanks for participating! Happy Earth Day!!!
the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)

I will be performing rune casting for charity beginning 12:00 AM (AST) and ending midnight on April 22nd. During that time period, if you purchase a charity v-gift (see the list of available ones below), and reply to this post with a link pointing to the profile for which it was purchased, I will consult the runes with a 3-stone draw to respond to a question you pose. The question can be for you or someone of your choosing. Please specify if you want the response to be delivered privately. I will be popping in and out through the course of the day to cast runes and respond to queries. (As this will be my first time doing this kind of event, I will be limiting my responses to the first 30 queries.)

As a bonus (and 'cause I want to support this particular charity on Earth Day) , for the first fifteen responders (NO DONATION NECESSARY), I will purchase one of the Gulf_Aid_Now v-gifts (with the cute seabird and turtle). (Make sure that your profile will accept v-gifts!) Heck, you don't even have to bring a donation and a question to receive one, just show up and say "Hi."

Rune casting is CLOSED.  HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!  :D

List of charity v-gifts here... )

Retrospect (shortly after): Well, that didn't work out as planned...

Hrrmm... ) 
the_vulture: (tvhead)
Recently, I followed a link, presented by [ profile] fayanora, to a discussion titled How kids in England are smeared in the press, and what to do about it. The following is a reitteration of the thoughts I presented in response to her blog entry:

Upon reading the discsussion couldn't help but reflect on my experiences teaching in England and what I observed of the children (and their parents) there.

Two general themes seemed to run through the comments, the first being a discussion of the idea that thuggery amongst British youth is worse than most other nations because of a lack of any serious consequence for poor behaviour or even proper parenting, whilst the second revolved around the ethical ramifications of corporal punishment (spanking).

Unfortunately, these discussions tended to be really simplified and only touched superficially on some of the major issues that affect British youth. Read more... )

What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding the issues presented here?
the_vulture: (Default)
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!

the_vulture: (Default)
Okay, despite cranking the volume on my phone and placing it right by my bed, I still managed to sleep through all attempts by my parents to contact me before they left. As such, I literally slept through the last opportunity to see them before they leave NB for five or six months. *sigh*

Of course, that may not have been entirely my fault; I have reason to suspect that my phone isn't ringing as it should be. I shall have to actually test it, which means putting money on my pay-as-you-go. Blech. A call has to go to tech support anyhow, as I'm getting long distance charges on calls that should've been free as they should've gone through wi-fi. Grrrr....

The suckage continued as my back was still too buggered to go to martial arts class, but, if given lemons, I attempted to make lemon juice and finally made it to the Farmer's Market. At first i was still pretty glum about the whole morning thus far and I wasn't really taking in any of the energetic atmosphere of the market fair. As I cast further and further about for the pagan friendly stand that [ profile] karibu  had told me about, but wasn't finding, I began thinking that I was going to leave the market with nothing in hand save more disappointment. Fortunately, I did finally find the stand in the furthest portion of the mall and made very pleasant acquaintance with the proprietress who was not only able to offer a variety of pagan oriented offerings (I purchased some incence, essential oil, and an oil burner with pentacle designs), but also provide some muchly desired information on local pagan associations, as well as the current whereabouts of a pagan friendly store that I thought had permanently disappeared. Afterwards, I was much cheered up and indulged in odd bits of food, including a honey and garlic sausage bun and purchased what was promised to be a close resemblance to scrumpy jack. Sadly, I am stymied by the lack of a %$#*ing bottle opener and will have to dig the cork out with a knife or somesuch (yerg!). I even got a bead on where I could get some pottery lessons and, more importantly, access to a pottery studio!

So, all in all, today has had a rough start, but seems to be getting much better. (Yay!)
the_vulture: (Default)

Yep, now that we have good weather again, I'm back to watching Blue and Red haul off loads of dirt. Oh yay. As the excavator is carefully digging the ditches, it's taking them a long time to load the trucks. This is the second day of it. I'm so really, really glad I have access to a computer during all this. 

Granted, being forced to stay in one place has given me LOTS of time to do sit down things. With it, I have:

  • Done a lot of work transferring my favourite journals from PDC to here
  • Tagged a number of postings from my memories
  • Tweaked my resumes some more
  • Applied to a few more jobs online
  • Started getting involved in an e-mail RPG
  • Gotten more deeply involved in Scarybirds - a dark fantasy fiction collaboration site
  • Started a short story at said site
  • Engaged in a lot of correspondence
  • Finished off Knife of Dreams, by Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time series rocks!)
  • Played far too much Zuma for my own good
  • Recorded a little work on my didge and a try out for a bit of voice acting

Yep, lots done! (Oh, there goes Blue.)

the_vulture: (tvinflight)

Okay, as anyone who's been keeping an eye on the RSS feed for my other blog already knows, I've discovered that has way too much drama, even for me. So not only am I returning to old haunts (that's here), but I think I'm even gonna upgrade. Yep, that's right, I'm going to actually fork out money for this blog (go big spender!).

Over the next little while, I'm going to be transferring some of my favourite entries from that blog into this one. Hopefully, I won't replicate too many that I had originally copied from THIS one. (This is all so confuzzling!)

I might also be bringing a few refugees with me, so anyone who regularly reads my blog, please keep an eye on my friends list and maybe say 'hello' to any new faces you see there. They'll likely appreciate all the friendly smiles they can get.

Miss me? *grin*

the_vulture: (Default)

Yesterday, at 3:00 PM, Prime Minister Steven Harper made a historical speech which affects the lives of thousands of First People in Canada. In this speech, he, on behalf of the Canadian government, took responsibility and apologized for the shameful era in Canadian history when thousands of Native American children were taken from their families in placed in residential schools in what was a blatant attempt to assimilate them into European culture by forcibly detaching them from their own. 

More about that here: /servlet/story/RTGAM.20080611. wapologymain0611/BNStory/Natio nal/home

I watched his speech, and much of many others that day. It brought up a lot of feelings.

Naturally, as empathic as I am, I was near to tears as I saw the effect of Harper's words upon the members of the First Nations as their pain was finally properly acknowledged by the Canadian government. It was clearly something that many of them had waited a long, long time to hear.

I also felt, stupidly enough, more White guilt. It's sometimes kinda hard being of European origin at such times as that, even though I know, rationally, that I cannot, in any way, hold myself responsible for what happened in the past. Still, that guilt is there.

Finally, though, I had to reflect on what happened to many of these people. Could I truly comprehend all that has happened as a result of this forced assimilation. In many ways, no. I was never totally separated from family, though my father was often away for great periods of time. I cannot relate to the sexual abuse that happened in many of the reserve schools, although I can relate to the physical and psychological abuse at the hands of my so-called peers. What I do understand, to some extent, is what it's like to be detached from one's heritage.

Now it's not the fault of any particular person or group of people, not like what happened in the residential schools, but I don't know what it's like to be anything more than 'generic Whitey'. Though my grandfather clearly identifies as Irish, I know nothing of what it means to be Irish; I can't speak Gaelic, I don't play any instruments (kind of a hingepin for Irish culture), I have never fully explored Celtic art, I know only general bits of Irish history, I know little of the important days and traditions of my forefathers, I can't even stand to drink Guiness (or any other beer, for that matter). There is a rich body of cultural heritage that I should be a part of, that I perhaps even need to be a part of, but I am completely alien from. I have no attachment to my ancestors, my heritage, my cultural past. It leaves me feeling lost, unsettled and perhaps even abandoned. It leaves me without an important element of identity that I will likely never be able to regain. 

I wonder if I share, at all, similar sorts of feelings to those First People who were ripped from their cultures.

the_vulture: (Default)
Okay, tracks, actually. Tomorrow morning, I'll be leaving my aunt and uncle's place in Ontario and beginning a day long train journey to New Brunswick. For the next few days, internet contact will be patchy, especially as I'll be staying with my grandad, who has no computer and there isn't an internet cafe in the town he lives in.  


I'm looking forward to the train journey, though. It will be nice, relaxing and a pleasant way to get some private space for a while (I'm getting a bit over socialized). Besides, travelling by train is one of the few things I'm going to miss about living in the UK.

And, hey! I'll get a few hours stop over in Montreal! Tres cool, non?

the_vulture: (Default)
 EDIT: Yeehaw! Hotel room booked! I picked up a nice little bed and breakfast in Dover for less than £40. All told, lodging and travel should cost me less than £70! It'll give me two days to kick around both Dover and Calais. Yes, I'll be sure to take many, many pictures.   

I do so enjoy Sundays like this, when there's no pressure of tomorrow to worry about. I can sleep in, stay up late, be as lazy or as active as like, and just enjoy the day.  

And I have! 

Today, my lovely other read to me from her favourite novel wherein the author spoke of her childhood passion of gathering stones. These stones, as the author claims, only tell part of a story; they serve as a mnemonic.  

Whilst this was being read to me, I could not help but smile at the little stones which adorn my altar. How true were her words! 

Other events of the day include receiving my grocery order. This, in itself, isn't exactly a thing of great importance, really, but, to me, stocking the larders full has a reassuring effect upon me. Perhaps this is an echo of times when my larder has been much, much more bare and macaroni and cheese was a luxury to break the tedium of ramen noodle soup. 

As mentioned in an earlier post, one joyous highlight was discovering a means of getting my feet upon Europe with little hassle and expense. In some ways, I look more forward to the upcoming short visit to France than I do about April's possible week long visit to Germany. It has a lot to do with knowing the language of the place I am visiting and the independence that grants. It means I can wander as I wish, something I fear I might not be able to do so readily in Germany. Hmmm... I must make sure to walk the beaches of Dover, in England, and Calais, in France; perhaps I may be able to find a few new stones to add to my stockpile of memories. 

Today also saw a decent, and thankfully uneventful, run of about 2.5 miles. Perhaps I should have done a longer distance, but I was feeling mildly under the weathe and didn't want to push it. Besides, methinks I might be better off doing more shorter runs during the week; doing six miles on the Sunday seems to take it out of me for the rest of the week. *chuckle* Yeah, I really need to work to get back to where I was. 

And now, methinks, 'twould be a good time to say "good night."

the_vulture: (Default)
... I pause to think upon the many meanings associated with that day. For most, thoughts turn towards Halloween, its Christianized, modernized, and commercialized equivalent, and about jack o' lanterns, getting cute costumes for the kids, ensuring a good supply of treats, worrying about the "tricks", and thinking about what to do for one's own costume to win the contest at the company Halloween party.

 As much as I miss my childhood days of trying to get as much candy as possible, my thoughts are a fair bit different. Yes, I do think about whether or not to try for a costume this year (but, sadly, cannot afford one yet again, nor do I have the skills, time and/or equipment to make my own) and I also wonder about what to expect from this neighbourhood (shall have to ask the neighbours) in terms of how ill behaved the local youth can be.

But, in the front of my mind, I think about the ancient Celtic view of Samhain (pronounced "sa-wen") and the celebration of the harvest (Samhain being the final harvest rite). Now I'm pretty far removed from the farming traditions of my family, but the idea of reaping the rewards of one's labour over the course of the year is still quite relevant. Afterall, when would be a better time to celebrate one's accomplishments over the course of the year?

 Okay, okay, I can already hear a number of people shouting "New Year's Eve!" and in response to that, well, you're absolutely correct. And, for the Celtic peoples, Samhain was, indeed, New Year's Eve. Of course, for a people whose lives revolved around the cycles of farming, the last day of harvest would be the most appropriate one to celebrate the year with.

So what have I to think about this year? Well, it did see a huge change in my health, including finally being rid of the need to use a CPAP machine to deal with obstructive sleep apnea, as well as actually running a 10k race (a HUGE accomplishment for me). Career wise, it was nice to kept for more than a year, even if I was given all crap classes to teach this year. I no longer question my own ability as a teacher and no longer have anything to really prove to myself in that regard.

This weekend, I'll be marking year 11 Original Writing coursework. In a very true sense, I will being seeing the results of a LOT of effort I have put into their Hero's Journey project over the past half term. I am already well pleased by how many of them actually produced work (this is a very low ability and under-motivated group). Like I say, I no longer really have anything to prove to myself, teaching-wise.

Family wise, this summer proved very important in that I returned to places and people that I hadn't seen since my childhood. It was a great time of spiritual and emotional healing. I was also pleased and relieved to see two of my grandparents, who will not be much longer for this world. It is quite possible that I have seen them for the last time, but, at least, my final memories of them will be pleasant ones.

Traditionally, the Celtic New Year was celebrated with large bonfires used to symbolize purification. In many instances, two bonfires would be set and both people and livestock would be passed between the two in act of purification (ref:

 As Samhain saw the end of the old and the beginning of the new, it was also a time to reflect on one's departed loved ones. By legend, the barrier between the world of the living and that of the dead would be thinnest, as the Summer Lord (Holly Lord, Green Man, etc.) made his descent in the underworld to await rebirth in the spring. There are a plethora of different practices associated with this aspect of Samhain. "Trick or treating" is derived from practices involving leaving offerings for the dead, such as food and drink. Many modern pagans utilize the tradition of the "dumb feast," in which a place is set at one's dinner table for the honoured dead. I, myself, tend to light special candles and share a drink with the dead, in a fashion that would be similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead (one day I'll have to explore the reasons for the many parallels between such similar practices on this day for such differing cultures).

Interestingly, during my early years as a pagan, I actually didn't have any specific people from my life to honour. I gave thanks to my ancestors, as an abstract generality, and to a person of substantial effect on my own spiritual values, O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. That changed with the death of my grandmother some years back. Now, I light a candle specifically for her, as well as one for my ancestors.

Of course, such communion with the dead also includes the God, as embodied by the Holly Lord. The solemnity of this ceremony is tempered, though, by the acknowledgment that, whilst He and the land pass into a time of darkness, Spring will see His rebirth, as light and warmth once again begin to embrace the world. Oh, and also all that celebration (The Dead drink a lot, you know! You have to keep pace with 'em!).

Sorta goes well beyond "Shall I dress as a witch for Halloween?", don't it. *chuckle*

 I think I'll end this reflection with the suitably seasonal song, Holly Lord, by the Australian folk band, Spiral Dance. The song can be heard here: .cfm?bandID=461752&songID=3411737



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