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Yep, it's a bit of a change that's taking some getting used to, but I'm enjoying it.  :)
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This is the second piece of fanfic poetry that I've written recently. It looks at the relationship between two characters from [info]ysabetwordsmith's serial poetry series based around Fiorenza, the Italian Herbalist. It was primarily inspired by events occurring in the poem "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son," and explores what  possible thoughts Don Candido could have had immediately following the events thereof. 


Poetry under the cut... )

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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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Cross-posted from [info]asexuality .


How Sci-Fi Makes Us More Open to Strange Forms of Sex and Sexuality


And Asexuality gets a mention! (Though, granted, they describe it as an axis point for libido...):

"Each of these variables is not an either/or situation, but sits on a spectrum. So, if asked to self-identify, the question is not “are you asexual or hypersexual” but, “on a scale of one to ten, one being no sex drive, ten being perpetual, overwhelming sex drive, how would you rate your libido?” And a number in one variable might have no bearing on another. A binary is just not enough – there is a reason the rainbow is representative of the queer community."

The visibility is getting out there, folks!  :D

Edit: [info]alias_chick , in the comments below, posted a really interesting link to a TED presentation discussing the problems of relying upon nature as a means to differentiate between people. Those interested in gender studies may wish to give it a view.
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In anticipation of [info]ysabetwordsmith 's Poetry Fishbowl concerning alternative sexuality and gender studies, I've written a poem describing one of the key challenges I face as a romantic (and very much touch starved) asexual.

(Yes, I was listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen whilst writing this.)



Because I do not touch that way

Not for me are the sweaty grapplings, concealed in the dark.
I kiss, I touch, with deep embrace, but never reach that mark.
The lesson was so hard to learn, so many hearts did fall,
that, as I do not touch that way, I cannot touch at all.

Kinsey’s X is what I am, and, of us, there should be more,
many with such sexless yearnings that I could so adore.
Yet here I am with none to hold, none near that I recall,
and, since I do not touch that way, I cannot touch at all.

The nearest heart to call my own, a thousand miles away.
With but voices we caress and with only letters play.
But what will become of us, when lonely nights come to call?
For, as we do not touch that way, we cannot touch at all.

There should be more hope and I should have some reason for cheer,
as the call is now raised loud for all the Xs to hear.
Yet, at night with no one to hold, I dread what may befall,
because I do not touch that way, I’ll never touch at all.
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The folks and I went out to see 'Avatar', a film my mother had been wanting to see for a while. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it a second time, (especially as I knew when the best times to go use the bathroom were). I had expected them to enjoy it. What I didn't expect was the conversation afterwards where both of them enthusiastically gabbed about all they adored about the film, even if, at times, they struggled to articulate it. Hearing them go on about everything ranging from the plot, the landscapes, and even the colours used, with obvioius wonder and amazement, like a couple of excited kids, really had me smiling in the backseat on the drive home. *chuckle*


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In the interest of building relationships with my new spiritual community, I held a didgeridoo workshop on Tuesday last night. I gave instructions how to create a drone, how to practice circular breathing for non-stop didge playing, how to create various sound effects, and various cultural aspects and history of the instrument. Attendance wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but those who showed up seemed to have had a great time and got a lot of out of it. So, in all, for my first workshop outside of a school environment, I'll call it a success.

In other news, I seem to be getting my sorry butt back into shape. I've done two weapons workouts and a three mile run this week, so it seems like I'm getting back on track. I desperately need to be, too, as I've been getting a little rounder than I'm comfortable with, as of late. *sheepish grin*

Finally, I managed to get in to a tax kiosk to get my return done, pretty much on the last day I could have. *chuckle* I expect to get a pretty hefty return of over $2000. Yay me!

PAIN!

Mar. 6th, 2009 07:08 pm
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Lots and lots of PAIN!

Last week was spent with a spiteful back. The week before, I was feeling perky, and even got a couple of runs in. The ache started with the first run, but was okay enough that I got in a run on Saturday (go ME!). Then on Sunday, I got a nasty twinge whilst moving some firewood and another the day after when I slipped a bit on some ice. It was bad enough that I called in sick at work on Tuesday (okay, okay, the fact that D. and daughter were over as well (stranded by ice pellet storm) also provided some incentive...). Thankfully, the ache has diminished substantially and I wager I should be okay by the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, aside from my dorsal dilemma, life has been good. The beginning of the week was spent in happy company and the rest is going by fast. I am, however, starting to lose faith in humanity. There are just too many stupid people buying Blackberries when they really, really shouldn't.
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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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*chuckle* I saw this in another part of the 'Web: http://www.zombieharmony.com/
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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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For the last few days, my life has revolved around the activities of the contractors I've been assigned to keep track off. They are currently grading the roads, as specified by the engineer, into my uncle's future subdivision. I've been noting start and stop times for various pieces of equipment, in particular the bulldozer (henceforth, the Cat) and two dump trucks (nicknamed Red and Blue (though blue is really red, white, and blue, but I digress...)). I've been pretty much fixed to staying in visual contact of Red and Blue so I can keep track of how many loads of dirt they take and where they take them. The task has it's inconveniences, but, at the same time, it gives me a lot of opportunity to catch up on various stationary activities, like blogging, for example. 

Of course, having to continually focus at least part of my attention on the trucks may have slightly deleterious effects upon my sanity, as demonstrated by my rather one sided conversations with the trucks ("Red, where are you? Ah, there you are. What the hell took you so long? Blue, did you just head out the other way when I wasn't looking?!?")

My dad gets to play with a loader and an excavator whilst I sit around all day; that's not fair.

Meanwhile, the exercise regime has been shot to crap over the last week and a bit. I'd been doing well establishing a routine of running, cycling and yoga over the last several weeks, but that ended early last week when I came down with a rather nasty chest cold. At the same time, my right knee started acting up again. I think I may have moved oddly in my sleep, as I woke up in the middle of the night with it being a bit sore. I attempted to end the lack of cardio yesterday with a bike ride out on the property. That lasted all of ten minutes. Granted, I hit the road hard and fast, but I didn't expect to soon be coughing hard enough to see spots. Nope, cardio, at least hard cardio, will have to wait for a while still.
 
The job hunt isn't going as well as I would like. A call centre job I had an over the phone screening interview for has declined to offer. I strongly suspect that I'm 'overqualified'; few people will hire someone they think will be moving on very soon, as I suspect they think I would. I wonder how many people have been stuck unemployed simply because they were 'overqualified' for all the work that was actually available. *sigh* Still, I'm fairly hopeful I'll pick up something fairly soon; I'm just trying to keep from settling for minimum wage work.

With lots of time available for things like blogging, I've started the transfer of entries from person.com to here. I've been posting them using the Date Out of Order function, so they'll be in the appropriate chronological order. I've also begun putting tags into my past entries. I've become quite fond of tag clouds in my other blog and was pleased to discover that I could use them here, as I was selecting a new theme for my LJ blog (Do you like?). It's going to take a long time to get things sufficiently tagged, methinks.

(What is Red doing now?)

Other odds and ends:

  • I've purchased and arranged for the delivery of [info]1grl_revolution's birthday pressie.
  • I've recorded a chapter of the novel I've been reading to my girlfriend. I'll have to get that burnt to disk and sent out sometime soon, as well as the really cute pressie I picked up for her. 
  • I've been seeing coloured balls rolling around in spirals and such whenever I close my eyes, courtesy of playing way too much Zuma.
  • I've discovered that Chucky really, really doesn't like the utility jeep. He'll let you walk up pretty close before ducking into his hole, but he bolts for it on hearing the jeep.

And that's about it for now.

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 As an English teacher in a secondary school, I wind up going through a LOT of Shakespeare, especially for SAT and coursework preparation. In doing so, I find all sorts of interesting little side thoughts that I just really have to express.

I'll start with Romeo from Romeo and Juliet. I know most of you realize that Shakespeare deliberately made Romeo's early feelings for Juliet questionable, in that it seems he was purely attracted by her beauty at the Capulet Ball (driving out any thought of Rosalyn, whom he believed he loved for the same reason). However, there are a few choice bits of Act 1 Scene 1 which really show Romeo to be truly shallow. Most of these show up in the conversation where Benvolio has a talk with Romeo in order to find out why the latter has shut himself away in misery. It is revealed that Romeo is pining for Rosalyn, the most beautiful woman he has seen. Romeo has this to say about his attempts at courting her:

Well, in that hit you miss. She'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow. She hath Dian's wit.
And, in strong proof of chastity well armed
From love's weak childish bow, she lives uncharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.


Am I alone in thinking that Romeo is whining because he can't even PAY to get into Rosalyn's pants? 

When Romeo first sees Juliet at the Capulet's Ball, he becomes immediately enamored, forgetting completely about Rosalyn. His first comments about Juliet are entirely about her beauty and how it outshines any he has ever witnessed.

When they first begin to speak, things get a little interesting. Their dialogue takes the form of a sonnet. Many would argue that, as the sonnet was the ultimate romantic thing to do, that this signifies the beginning of "true love" between Romeo and Juliet, as an Elizabethan audience would recognize it as such. However, I would argue that Shakespeare used it for the opposite effect. Afterall, everyone in his audience would have known that it was the thing for a gentleman to write to show deepest admiration. In otherwords, it was a fancy pickup line. This idea is further heightened by the skill with which Romeo lays it on to win a kiss from Juliet. Ultimately, she comments "You kiss by the book," indicating that, not only is Romeo skillful with his lines, but he's a pro at kissing. In otherwords, Romeo is a Shakespearan "playah". (Sorry, I couldn't resist that pun...)

It becomes very clear that Romeo feels very strongly for Juliet as the end of the play approaches. However, is it love? If it is, what is he really in love with? Many mentions are made of Juliet's beauty, but what else? Yes, Romeo proves that he is devoted, but is he still as shallow as he was at the beginning of the play? I wager he is.

Anybody else have an opinion on this?

 PS: The title for this post appeared in my TA's notes. *chuckle*

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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*

the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
Well, I think it's about time to officially take myself off the market. Part of it is because, well frankly, I'm in a serious state of transition, as in I'll be moving to another freakin' continent in the next few months. That pretty much cuts out forming relationships with anyone from the UK. And as I don't know exactly which part of Canada I'll eventually wind up settling in for any length of time (New Brunswick? BC?), there's no point for me to really check out the Canadian scene, either (as if there were many Canadian gals on this site, anyhow).  

The big part, though, has something to do with mailing off a Valentine's Day card and pressie. Yep, I'm taken, in multiple senses of the word. I've been attracted to a certain person for quite some time, but it was only as I wrote out her card that it really hit home that things are going beyond mere attraction and friendship. 

She's really wonderful and, thus far, we seem to be a good match. We've been chatting and talking on the phone for some time and we can carry on some great conversations (very important for me). She also does wonderful things like read a passage from her favourite book to me (how cool is that!). And she's even pleasing to the eye! 

Unfortunately, nothing ever seems to comes easy to me and I find myself breaking a promise I made and risking some serious heartache (for both of us) in doing so. But then, maybe what we share now may be worth it. Time will tell. 

In the meantime, I have someone to share Valentine's Day with! *smile*

the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
Blessed Samhain to All who celebrate it in its myriad forms!

May your celebrations be filled with joyous reflection upon the fruits of your labour and loved ones past.

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... 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain).

 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: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/songInfo .cfm?bandID=461752&songID=3411737

 

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Ya know, for the longest time, I thought they didn't, at least not to me. A couple of years ago, however, I wound up on a blind date for which I almost wish I had been blind. I had met her online, though a service similar to this. The photo she had on her profile was a bit blurry, but I didn't think anything was amiss. Besides, from online chatter, she seemed to have a great personality and shared many of my interests.  

What I didn't know until I met her in person is that she was badly disfigured. This was truly a shame, because she was a wonderful and amazing woman. She was intelligent, well educated, caring, funny, motivated, the list goes on... But I just couldn't get past her appearance. 

I don't consider myself to be a shallow person; I've been attracted to many women who do not match the glamour mag version of "beauty." Frankly, if given the choice between dating a plain woman who can carry an intelligent conversation and a runway model with all the personality of a soggy tuna sandwich, the former gets my company every time. 

Still, deep down, I know that I'm not the high idealist that once thought I was and there is a minimum level of beauty that any potential girlfriend must have if I'm to accept her as such. I rather dread saying that, because I know there are many, many women out there who think of themselves as ugly, when truly really they are not., and I may lose the opportunity to meet these people as a result. But if I cannot be wholly honest in my own blog, where else can I be?

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I wish mine were a little happier, but, twixt leaving [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin to return home after two wonderful weeks of vacation together, and having to plunge into a lot of potentially stressy stuff, such as a new term of classes, finding (and moving into) a new place, and sorting out my QTS qualification, I'm feeling more than a wee bit down.

Still, I must find solace in what good things have come out of last year, such as my wonderful relationship with [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin, a great Christmas holiday spent with her and her children, finding a good school in which to seek QTS, and finding the resolve to improve my health as much as I have (Btw, no weight gain this Christmas!). And there's much more to look forward to, once the required work is put in.

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