September 2017

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My first computer - really, my parents' first computer - was an Apple IIe. I have very fond memories of teaching myself BASIC one summer on it, of designing extremely lame text adventures, of writing on it.

Ever since, every computer I've owned has been an Apple, or in my poorer days, an Apple clone.

I first used a Macintosh in 1984, though I didn't own one for many years. I've lost count of how many I've purchased over the years. I think my favourite was the tangerine clamshell. There was just something delightful about that machine.

The computer I'm typing this on is a black MacBook. My phone is an iPhone. There's an iPod in my gym bag.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, thank you Steve.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis ;
cum Sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
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Doctor Who fans all over the earth mourn today the death of Elisabeth Sladen, who portrayed Sarah Jane Smith in the 70s with the Third and Fourth Doctors, and in the present decade with the Tenth and Eleventh.



For me she was the very measure of a Doctor's companion, the gold standard against which all others must be measured and (generally) found wanting.



I'm not ashamed to say that as a lad, she was my first television crush.



Of course, she had a successful career in theatre, and she went on to star in two different Doctor Who spin-offs, but I will always remember her running about with the Doctor and the Brigadier, all the while smiling while they saved the earth from the monster of the week.



What can we do but offer condolences to those who loved her, and prayers for her soul?



As in life, she now in death joins Jon Pertwee (the Third Doctor) and Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart). Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.


Abiu Miu died just before noon today, aged 15. He went peacefully, and I held him as he passed.

Abiu was the smartest and coolest cat I've known. He was my buddy.

When we brought Abiu and Kemiu home, they were frightened kittens, newly weaned and terrified of their strange surroundings. As Kemiu shivered into a little ball, Abiu stood over him, shielding him with his body against the unknown.

He was like that.



There are several eyewitnesses to his ability to teleport, sometimes distances of over a mile just as fast as you could drive it.

He and his brother once herded a deer through my backyard. They were a fearsome squirrel-hunting team.

Abiu was proud, he was smart, and he was certainly contemptuous and dismissive of anybody he considered a fool.

Abiu in his later days had retired, rather like an old soldier back from the Raj who had settled into his Oxfordshire estate.



He never really recovered from the injury to his ear, and these last few weeks saw his inexorable decline.

I loved that cat, and I already miss him terribly.

Godspeed, Abiu.
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Today is a cold autumn day, but not so cold as some autumns elsewhere and elsewhen I think.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
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The message from Scott:

Hello Everyone,

At 11:32pm on November 7th, 2010 Stella Mira Hunt was born. She weighed 7lb 6oz, and we think she was 19". Mel's water broke early Sunday afternoon and we went to the hospital around 5:30pm. They started her on pitosin (sp?) around 7pm and four hours later Stella popped out. Lots of hair! Mom and baby are doing great. All went well, thank you for your prayers and thoughts.


Scott and Melanie Hunt



Please allow me to wish you all a very happy H.P. Lovecraft's Birthday.
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Robert Munroe (Ensign, Lexington militia, KIA 19 April 1775, Lexington Green)

Jacob C. Leicht (Corporal, 1st Light Armored Recon Bn, 1st Marine Div, KIA 28 May 2010, Helmand, Afghanistan)

And all in between.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo.
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Today I resolve to listen to the Ninth Symphony, and probably the Third as well. You should too!

Yesterday evening I attended our parish Advent Reconciliation Service. I arrived late, having had to walk up the hill from downtown, and of course I ended up dead last in the longest line for confession.

It gave me some additional time to examine my conscience, but it also afforded me the opportunity to observe people going into and out of the confessionals.

It's amazing to watch people walk out of the confessional; it's like they're floating on air.
Commemoration of St. Martin de Porres
Pistachio House

Dear friends,

Just finishing the last of the packing. Come early in the morning, Francine and I will be on our way to Chicago to rendezvous with my parents, and thence to Wisconsin for my sister's wedding on Friday.

Huzzah!

Hmm. Just realized I need to pack this laptop, so without further ado I bid you good night.
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Commemoration of All Souls
somewhere on a train

My dear friends,


Today is the Commemoration of All Souls. This is a day we Catholics keep in remembrance for our beloved dead, and when we especially pray for the souls in Purgatory. In some Latin American countries, it has become a quasi-civil holiday you may know as the Day of the Dead.

On this day, I ask you to keep in your prayers the soul of India Escobar.

I know many of you don't keep quite the same theology (or even religion, come to that) as we do, but it would mean a lot to me (and to her) if you spent some time commending her to the Divine.

Thank you.
Feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop & Doctor of the Church
Sounder Train, somewhere near Auburn, Washington

Dear friends,

Thank you for your support. I have been truly overwhelmed by the kindness and love shown to me and to my family in the past days.

Your thoughts and your prayers have been a source of solace and comfort in this impossible time.

I would like to especially thank those of you who made it to Tristan's sentencing yesterday. For those of you unable to attend, the normally negligent News Tribune did a good job at sensitively painting the scene.

The News Tribune Story )

What the article does not say is that, while the sentence was "at the high end of the standard range" it was, in fact, the high end of a lesser charge to which Tristan ended up pleading guilty, contrary to previous reports.

In closing, dear, dear, friends would like to share with you a passage from today's Office of Readings from a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus that struck me this morning:

Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonour when you are honoured by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom....

The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvellous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in his image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth....
The entire sermon is worth reading, but this was the part that particularly struck me today.

It is a glorious world out there, created for our delight. While we some days do our level best to ruin it, to make the world a place of terror and filth and hatred, it is in the end a beautiful, wonderful world, and we should make the time to notice it every day.

So go out there and spread some joy.
Feast of Saint Apollinarius
Seattle

Dearest Reader,

As we celebrate today the fortieth anniversary of what is undoubtedly the most significant human event of the twentieth century, let us pause to reflect that NASA's three decrepit space shuttles, Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour, will be will be decommissioned in 2010, leaving the United States with no ability to launch humans into space for the first time since 1961.

The replacement program for the shuttles, called "Constellation" (which looks to my amateur eye suspiciously similar to the Apollo vehicles) has been put on indefinite hold pending a "review" of the program, which by my count is the third such review.

As I have said many times before, humans require frontiers. Without exploration, without frontiers, the Human species will turn in on itself like rats in a cage. It's already begun. With the closing of frontiers, the twentieth century was the most violent in world history.

NASA's entire projected budget for human exploration of space for FY2010 is about $10 billion. That's less than three tenths of one percent of the Federal Budget.

So when you follow the "live" feed at http://wechoosethemoon.org/ today, ponder about not only the past, but also the future of human space exploration.
I have been reminded that today in France they celebrate the storming of the Bastille, an event in 1789 where 98 Parisians were killed while attacking a decrepit medieval prison, thus freeing four forgers, two lunatics, and the comte de Solages, whose own family and had arranged for his imprisonment on account of incest.

Why anybody would celebrate this particular event is quite beyond me.
Again, remember: "silly, not stupid!"
Commemoration of Saints Zeno and Zenas
Seattle

Dear single and faithful reader,

I have not been posting much of late. Mostly it's because I hate to whine to you. My job is killing me by inches, but I have a job, which is more than I can say of many of my friends. I've written not a word on two different stalled novels, but Cruenti Dei thrives. And so it goes.

And then there was today, which in my current state permits me to share this poem, which I have just written and not revised at all. Caveat emptor. Or something.




A Sort of a Sonnet Written on the Occasion of My Son Pleading Guilty to Homicide

There is a place where water meets the sea
A beach of bled-white powdered bones ground fine
As moments for a perfect sand that coats
Every choking lung and gritty grey lips
That purse as if to kiss each dead moment.

And only here is the mystery stripped,
The mystery of human suffering
Stripped bare as bones, bleached as a desert bone,
Stripped bare for what it is - the swirl of motes
In a single reedy shaft of sunlight.

We fail because we cannot bear to be
In that bright place where water meets the sea.




I am leaving work to go to the Cathedral. Then home.

yours, as always,

thom
or, "Lurking at the Threshold"

A year ago at this time, we were preparing for our wedding. That went spectacularly well.

some photos to remind you )

In fact, January was fairly spectacular all around. I wrote through February, and in March I obtained a promising position with a promising young firm in Seattle.

And then, somehow, the year completely slipped the tracks and plummeted into a ditch from which it never recovered. Death, disaster, and looming economic ruin stalked our family like a great looming, stalking thing.

Well, I'm done with it.

Here's to a new year, full of promise and lacking in all dread!

And as a reminder, here's my traditional list of the first sentence of each month's first post concatenated with the last sentence of each month's last post. There will be, I fear, an unavoidable bit of recursion at the end.

The Year that Mostly Was


January: The LORD bless you and keep you! Prayers, well-wishes, and general good vibes actively encouraged.

February: The interview yesterday was with Alteon Training a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Large North American Aeroconglomerate. This afternoon, I walked the bounds, but I was unable to find any evidence of what our nighttime disturbance might have been.

March: Gary Gygax, who co-created the game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. Alleluia!

April: More details soon. Thank you.

May: Please continue to pray for the soul of India Escobar. Thank you.

June: Tonight we chanted vespers. Your polar opposite is the Urûk-Hai.

July: WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. ... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.

August: Bless you all for the love, the advice, and the support. Clearly, somebody in scheduling at the DNC has a sense of humour.

September: You decide. Roald Dahl was a spy.

October: It is useless to complain that your chefs cannot repair your automobile. Anybody looking for a writer?

November: Remember, remember the fifth of November, / gunpowder, treason and plot, / I see no reason why gunpowder treason / should ever be forgot. Please pray for my son, and for the drivers of these vehicles.

December: It has been some time since I've posted here, and longer still since I've posted regularly. ... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.

Some things I've learned from compiling this list:

My friends are good to me.

There are rather less political posts than I would have suspected.

I had exactly one LJ entry in October. And it was a whinge about work.

I had fewer posts this year than in some months of years past. I must change this. Even if I'm whinging (and I despise whinging nearly as much as I despise personal drama), there is some value to journaling it rather than bottling it.

May the new year prove more joyous for all!

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
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It has been some time since I've posted here, and longer still since I've posted regularly.

For this, I deeply apologise to you, my one loyal reader.

My only excuse is this: it has been a trying time, and I've been working long hours.

In the past few months, I've spent weeks at a time out of state. I've been to Charlotte, North Carolina; Palm Desert, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (twice, thank you); and most recently to Los Angeles, California.

I'm awfully tired of business trips, and there's another one in the offing: a return to Charlotte in the New Year.

In addition, I've been spending some time with Tristan, though probably not as much as I ought.

Numerous responsibilities and projects have fallen to the wayside, including this journal.

So what, you may ask, compels me now to write? What new disaster, what new calamity, has stirred my (electronic) pen?

Just this: today is my 42nd birthday.

I thank all of those who have taken the time, quite unbidden and unexpectedly, to wish me happy returns of the day. Thank you.

Of course, if you really loved me, you would have taken me down to the pub for a beer. But I digress.

Looking back at the past year, as one often does on these occasions, prompts me to ask in a somewhat plaintive wail, "what the hell was that all about?"

There were certainly times of joy: co-habitation gave way to glorious wedded bliss. Chronic unemployment fell to relatively lucrative and more or less creative work.

And yet, there was death and disaster in equal measure, tiring my soul and emptying my bank accounts.

I am so very weary so often these days.

So what can I say at 42? At the age of the Ultimate Answer?

Not much, it turns out.

I can say that God is good to me. There is nothing that has been taken that He has not first given me. Why disaster strengthens faith is beyond my ability to discern, but that it is true is now beyond any ability to dispute.

I can say that there is no earthly thing more precious than friendship, than love. It continues to pour out on to me through all the difficulties and the delights.

And I can say that I am continually astonished that the world is so very different than most people - myself included for a very long time - seem to think.

This world is magical and mythical and musical. And if you, my single and beloved reader, doubt that this is so, I invite you to behave as if it were. A week should do. You will be astonished.

Listen.

Last week on the bus, I sat across from an elderly gentleman wearing brand new jeans and a clean, unpatched coat. His hair was long, lanky, and yellow, and his face was creased so deeply it looked like furrowed earth.

He had a plastic garbage bag on the seat next to him, filled with precious things. He had a soda can that smelled as if it contained kerosene. I suspect he was flammable.

As I approached, he lurched over and touched two fingers solemnly to the seat I was about to take. Then he sat back upright and polished off whatever was in the soda can.

As we went on, he puffed madly at an unlit cigarette butt and muttered to himself. I made the mistake, I think, of trying to ignore him for some time.

And then I caught some of his words - a fragment, really - "carpe diem".

I began to listen more closely. His muttering was fairly indistinct, and I caught no further words for some time. He did stop, I noticed, every once and again. It finally occurred to me that he was having a conversation with somebody I could not see.

And then I finally caught a solid phrase - "benedicta tu in mulieribus". It was the Ave Maria, the Hail Mary. In Latin.

I looked up at him rather sharply as I caught his words.

He stared back at me, wild-eyed, stopping in mid-sentence.

And then he stood up and got off the bus at the next stop.

What did it mean? I confess, I've absolutely no idea. There was a time when that would have bothered me.

You might think him a sad, mad drunk, and perhaps that's a fair assessment. I don't know.

But as today is December 17th, I invite you, my single dear, dear reader, to pray for the wisdom to see the world in all of its hidden splendour.

I pray for that most every day.

Of course, it's part of a very long list.
During the past week, numerous folks have posted eulogies to Gary Gygax. Several cartoons have been posted, as have many, many memories.

My favourite tribute is to be found on a mediævalist blog titled the Unlocked Wordhoard. To wit:

Here's to Gary Gygax, the original Dungeon Master, who has missed his final saving throw.

þa ymbe hlæw riodan hildediore,
æþelinga bearn, ealra twelfe,
woldon care cwiðan ond kyning mænan,
wordgyd wrecan ond ymb wer sprecan;
eahtodan eorlscipe ond his ellenweorc
duguðum demdon, -- swa hit gedefe bið,
þæt mon his winedryhten wordum herge,
ferhðum freoge, þonne he forð scile
of lichaman læded weorðan.
Swa begnornodon Geata leode
hlafordes hryre, heorðgeneatas;
cwædon þæt he wære wyruldcyninga
manna mildust ond monðwærust,
leodum liðost ond lofgeornost. (Beowulf 3169-3182)

The scene is from Beowulf's funeral. Look it up; you'll be glad you did.
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Gary Gygax, who co-created the game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69. .... Gygax had been in declining health for several years but as recently as January he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons at their home, Gail Gygax said.

More details.

Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis.


May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord,
with thy saints in eternity,
for thou art merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and may everlasting light shine upon them.




I feel, perhaps, a geeky wake may be in order. Anyone interested?
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The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!

We spent the eve at Tacoma's First Night, wandering around in pirate hats, and were treated to proper fireworks at midnight.

This morning to church for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Today, I begin the Big Clean, getting the house ready for guests and the wonders of married life.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
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Rather than subect you, my one dear reader, to the suffering that would no doubt be your lot as you struggled through some bone-chillingly boring rumination on my life in this year of 2007 now drawing to a close, I will instead inflict upon you a run-on sentence of such magnitude - or at least of such magnitude as I can manage in one sitting - and one in which I rather suspect I have already lost any pretense at meaning or reflection, that you will have long since stopped reading it before you got to the the point of it, which is of course the very pointilla or period with which it fnord ends.

That and a list of the first sentence of each month's first post concatenated with the last sentence of each month's last post.

Clear?

Then without further ado, and a ending in a small bit of recursion, I give you...

The Year that Mostly Was


January: Please allow me to wish for everyone a happy and prosperous new year. The upshot: "we came away shaking our heads, disappointed. Compared with Mac OS X 10.4, Windows Vista feels clunky and not very intuitive, almost as though it's still based on DOS..."

February: Catholic Schools Week is over for another year. Wow.

March: This story in the New York Times actually made me cackle with glee: Thanks.

April: Also known as Palm Sunday. The US Senate has voted to approve a bill which requires US troops to start withdrawing from Iraq by October.

May: The other day, I was at St. James Cathedral in Seattle for a school function. It couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

June: Just some random things I've discovered in the last week. All will become clear... soon.

July: Best response so far: Sleep now.

August: (Tightly filtered and not for public consumption) Nerds, unite!

September: Attention potential Cruenti Dei players: Back home, and I can't remember a better shower.

October: The followers of Nietzsche and Foucault are passionately persuaded that truth is a mere rhetorical device employed in the service of oppression, and say so at length. (Henry V, William Shakespeare)

November: This Saturday, Freighthouse Square is hosting Tacoma's first annual literary convention: Tacoma Word! Try it; it's fabulous!

December: That's just fabulous. ... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.

Some things I've learned from compiling this list:

I tend to start posts with sentence fragments.

October was a quote month. November was an exclamation point month. I'm not sure which is worse.

Windows Vista still bites.

And now, my friends, I will prepare myself for Tacoma's First Night by dressing as a pirate. A happy new year to you all!


(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
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William Butler Yeats

I

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

II

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Today I prayed the Office of the Dead.

Never forget.




Pearl Harbor

Dash

19 Nov 2007 11:28
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (CS Lewis)
I've been trying to write this post for two days.

On Saturday, we went to the Sinfonietta through the magic of free tickets.

Francine and I were enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, and the day sort of got away from us. We completely lost track of the time until Mel called us to ask where we were.

It was 7:00, time to pick up the tickets, and were were still lounging around! Fortunately, we only live up the hill from the Rialto, so we were able to get there in short order.

We parked in the lot down the block and across the street. I sent Francine on ahead to meet up with Mel and James and the tickets while I mucked with the new auto-pay machine.

Back in the day, you entered the number of the space you were parked in and threw in some bills and you were good to go. The new system involves a printed ticket to put on the dashboard. I took the ticket and hesitated - they were waiting for me and I was running late. What were the odds that the car would get cited?

Was the chance worth the thirty seconds I'd lose? I decided not. I ran to the car, slapped the ticket on the dash, and ran back to the intersection to cross Ninth and Market Streets. There were knots of pedestrians crossing Market on both sides of Ninth, heading for the Rialto. There were even four of Tacoma's bicycle cops standing around, vaguely looking like they were supposed to be crossing guards.

As I started to cross Market, I saw a white pickup truck racing up Ninth, towards me. Without signaling or slowing, it turned left onto Market, across Ninth from me.

Pedestrians scattered and flew through the air like pins in a bowling lane. At least one of them thumped onto the hood of the pickup as it sped through.

The cops ran forward like they'd rehearsed it: three to injured pedestrians, one to the middle of the street to peer after the pickup. I assume he was getting the license number.

People were screaming.

I ran to the nearest group. A cop was already there, administering first aid.

The man had a neatly trimmed grey beard and short, white hair. He was twisted under and over a young blonde woman. His head was surrounded by a growing puddle of blood, a shocking scarlet against the grey asphalt and his brown topcoat. His hat - a brown Pendleton with what looked like a pheasant feather, was crushed nearby.

He was still wearing his glasses.

He lifted his head, and he kept asking, "Where's my wife? Is my wife all right?" The officer asked him questions as he applied pressure to the injury, but he ignored them. "Is my wife all right?"

The younger woman tangled around him told the officer she was fine, and she tried to talk to the older man. He ignored her. Clearly not the wife.

I looked about twenty feet up the street, where an older woman lay, unmoving, with an officer kneeling beside her.

A hysterical woman, screaming, across the street was being comforted by another, younger woman.

Somebody had already called 911. One of the officers was also on his radio.

Standing there in the middle of Market Street, I felt utterly helpless, unable to help.

Perhaps one of the Sinfonietta patrons was a doctor? I ran for the Rialto.

Somebody beat me to it. An EMT and a nurse were identifying themselves in the ticket line to another bystander. They were on their way before I had even caught my breath.

So I went to the Sinfonietta and told Francine and Mel and James about the incident.

And right then I realized for the first time that had I not run back to put the ticket on the dashboard, I would have been in that intersection when the pickup truck had run through it.

Something inside me shifted at that moment, and I've not quite come to grips with it. It's not survivor's guilt - nobody died and I certainly don't feel guilty.

But every time I look at someone, there's this profound feeling of "you could die in an instant - hell, you're probably already dead - and everything you are and were will be gone". I'm sure there's a single word for that in some language. Probably German.

It's hard to take anyone so terribly seriously, and yet there's also this awesome sense of individual importance in the sense that this person is a unique and fragile treasure in the world. And in these islands of individuality, I feel utterly unconnected and adrift.

Does that make any sense?

I passed the site today. It was raining hard, and the black stains on the street were melting at the edges and joining the muddy rivulets running down the hill to the sea.

The local paper's version

I've been trying to write this post for two days. I'm not convinced I've succeeded.
Babels of blocks to the high heavens towering
Flames of futility swirling below;
Poisonous fungi in brick and stone flowering,
Lanterns that shudder and death-lights that glow.

Black monstrous bridges across oily rivers,
Cobwebs of cable to nameless things spun;
Catacomb deeps whose dank chaos delivers
Streams of live foetor that rots in the sun.

Colour and splendour, disease and decaying,
Shrieking and ringing and crawling insane,
Rabbles exotic to stranger-gods praying,
Jumbles of odour that stifle the brain.

Legions of cats from the alleys nocturnal.
Howling and lean in the glare of the moon,
Screaming the future with mouthings infernal,
Yelling the Garden of Pluto's red rune.

Tall towers and pyramids ivy'd and crumbling,
Bats that swoop low in the weed-cumber'd streets;
Bleak Arkham bridges o'er rivers whose rumbling
Joins with no voice as the thick horde retreats.

Belfries that buckle against the moon totter,
Caverns whose mouths are by mosses effac'd,
And living to answer the wind and the water,
Only the lean cats that howl in the wastes.


("The Cats" by H.P. Lovecraft)

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
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to my own [livejournal.com profile] shibe111. Huzzah!

(My son is 20 today. Frankly, I don't think he's looked at LJ in a year, but there you go.)

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
Is it (was it?) indeed [livejournal.com profile] ellefurtle's birthday? (I get terribly confused with time zones and such).

Well, happy birthday! (Unless it isn't. I mean, it might have been yesterday or tomorrow, in which case Happy Birthday On the Appropriate Day!)
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It couldn't have happened to a nicer person.
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Due to bugetary issues, my employment contract with Visitation Catholic School has not been renewed.

We're trying to sort out whether my last day is end of June or end of August.

This was, bar none, the most challenging and personally satisfying job I've had, and I will miss it greatly.

If anybody's looking for a writer, layout person, designer, or really whatever, let me know.
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Raise your glass, my friends, to Lloyd Alexander who died yesterday, 17 May 2007.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
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Please allow me to wish for everyone a happy and prosperous new year.

May you have health and happiness in abundance. May you grow in wisdom and knowledge. May your creativity and passion flourish in fertile ground. May you grow closer to God*, and may He grant you peace.




* Whatever you name Him (or Her or It), and regardless of any unfulfilled obligations or oversights or uncertainties on your part. Certain restrictions apply. Atheists will just have to skip this one and hope they're right.

 
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He was a compleat bastard. Murderer. War criminal. This, I'll give you.

But I'm still against capital punishment. Even his.
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Still no internet at my house, so I'm trying to catch up at the Blackwater Café, about six blocks from my house.

We've got power at any rate; lots of folks in these parts don't, and haven't since Thursday.

I'm finding it somewhat amusing that my 40th birthday coincides with the Third Sunday in Advent, known as "Gaudete Sunday" for the first word of the rarely heard Latin Introit at today's Mass, which I'm reliably informed is the plural imperative of gaudeo, meaning "rejoice!"

So. It's my birthday: rejoice!

Or perhaps just raise a glass...
We are now entirely moved out of the flat. It's cleaner than it was when we moved in.

Tired. Sleep now.

Next step includes much unpacking and floor refinishing.

Whee!
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We just returned from the fabulous three day wedding extravaganza of [livejournal.com profile] llynecat and [livejournal.com profile] samildanach, where much food and drink and laughter and geekery were in evidence. Entirely too many details to sort out just at the moment, but I have made several friends and renewed some fond acquaintances. More later. Hopefully.

I am, frankly, pretty darn tired. It was great coming back to our house. Less great, however, was seeing all the work that must be done.

A rather nice surprise awaited me, however, in the form of an mp3 file of the strings part of "Unspeakable Beauty". For those of you (and I know you're out there) who are relatively new to this journal, [livejournal.com profile] chordam7 and I have been working on a Cthulhian opera for several years now. It just got another small step closer to completion.
A thousand thanks to Tristan, Gavin, Carol, Melodious, and James.

We are spending our first night in the house. Admittedly, we don't have beds just at the moment, but assorted box springs and mattresses will do us just fine for a few days.

I don't know where most of my clothes are, but the cable internet seems to be working.

The cats are spending their last night at the apartment - hopefully they won't do much damage to the truckload left there.

Boy, does this place need a lot of work.

Not sure I can adequately communicate how bone-tired we all are.

Everything hurts.

But it's great to be home.

Closed!

15 Sep 2006 11:05
thomryng: Dancing Calvin and Hobbes (Dancing Calvin and Hobbes)
We closed on the house this morning at 7:30AM.

I'm waiting for a call from my broker to confirm that the loan funded correctly - heck, it's already been sold by the lender, so I'm thinking this shouldn't be too long.

Then, we get keys.

Edited to add: Got keys!

Anybody with a pickup truck free Saturday evening and/or Sunday? We've got to get some of these boxes out of the way so we'll have room to pack more boxes.
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Crikey!

4 Sep 2006 07:57
thomryng: Dirge (Dirge)
'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin killed

Australian naturalist and television personality Steve Irwin has been killed by a stingray during a diving expedition off the Australian coast. (BBC)

In a personal note, despite all his flaws I genuinely like Steve Irwin. He was absolutely passionate about what he did, and that's a rare thing in our world. So raise a glass to the finest man ever bit by a wombat. I myself will wait until after noon; I've got a lot of packing to accomplish today.

(And really, if it wasn't for Steve Irwin action figures, I wouldn't have my three inch plastic wombat.) Godspeed, Mr. Irwin. And watch out for the crocs.
Pluto loses status as a planet (BBC)
Amid dramatic scenes which saw astronomers waving yellow ballot papers in the air, the IAU meeting voted in criteria that define the exact nature of a "planet".

They agreed that to qualify, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star. It also must be large enough in mass "for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit."

Pluto was automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.
So that's it then. Before we can find Planet X, we have to find a planet IX.

I'm feeling a bit Plutonian myself just now.

Of course, I've got nothing on the folks from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT). The name is startlingly self-explanatory, but like some of the medieval heresies, it is a movement that contains the seeds of its own destruction. If the folks at VHEMT practice what they preach, they'll be gone within 70 years or so.

Not unlike Pluto's status as a planet.
I won't even pretend that this hasn't been a rough summer.

Francine's father, one of the coolest human beings I've been privileged to meet, died in July while I was visiting my parents in Chicago. By the time I returned, she was gone to Virgina. She was only back a couple of days when our effort to buy a house failed. Then my sainted1 grandmother died, and I was off again to Chicago. Whilst I was attempting to return to Tacoma, the airports went to Muppet Alert Level Ernie, causing all sorts of fun. As the Pakastani medical student behind me in the security line at O'Hare said, "Today is a great day to fly!"

This past week, I've been working wicked hours trying to catch up and get some more students into our school. Francine's been ill, and meanwhile I keep having dreams involving sixteenth century plate armour, Turkish cigarettes, muskets, and Czech beer.

No proper time for mourning, and yet some moments it all just hits me and I have to remember how to breathe.

The world, of course, marches on with or without our active participation.

Forget the mystery of Planet X, we're now up to XII. I suppose it makes sense - after nine the next mystic number is twelve. Of course, with the Amazing Multiplying Plutons2, we're likely to be up to 23 or 42 before you can say "Planet George".

Meanwhile, they still haven't officially named 2003 UB313. I'm holding out for "Yuggoth".

Not nearly so Pluto-shattering is the news that Johnny Depp will play Sweeney Todd. Pretty much made my morning, that did. Odd how similar their names are...

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1: Yes, I mean that. OK, it's not like the Church is likely to take up her cause any time soon, but the woman was wholly holy.

2: I have all their albums.
It's now just after 5:00PM local west-coast time, and I'll be leaving for the airport in less than four hours.

My grandmother's wake is tomorrow, and the funeral is Tuesday. I'm to be a pallbearer, apparently. Due to the endless muddle that is last minute flying, I shan't be coming back until Thursday. I will be without my laptop and largely incommunicado until then.

Just in a complete dither. Pray for us.
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At approximately 1:00PM CST, my grandmother Florence Janowski died. My father called to tell me; he couldn't get through three words without sobbing. It's hit me pretty hard as well - far harder than I had anticipated. She had celebrated her 90th birthday just a few months ago, in bright spirits and (apparently) good health.

I go now to try and find a flight to Chicago for tomorrow or Monday.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam; ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
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Happy birthday to my beloved [livejournal.com profile] jaynefury!


Our tradition each year is to visit Vashon Island to walk around in the cemetery, to pick lavender, to picnic. Sadly, we won't be able to do that this year, with Francine away in Virginia. Every year I also buy her earrings at Tacoma's Ethnic Fest, as this is usually on her birthday weekend. Interestingly enough, this year it's next weekend, so we should be able to do at least that part.
Francine's father, Frank Mastini, died yesterday.

Please pray for the repose of his soul and offer your condolences to Francine.

Yesterday, my son Tristan graduated from High School. I am so proud of him.

Yeah, he can't believe it either.

Wow
Read more... )

Sadly, most of my pictures were blurry or overexposed; these were the best of the lot.

 



Edited to add: In response to [livejournal.com profile] crosstherubicon's question, a bit of clarification.

The King in Yellow (previously published in hardcover by Armitage House) is a play based on the works of Robert W. Chambers, while Eidolon perhaps recalls the poetry of H. P. Lovecraft. It was certainly once used as a player prop for a Call of Cthulhu game. Eidolon is strictly a self-publishing whim (mostly to find out how the system worked), while The King in Yellow is being distributed through Armitage House. Provided they ever update their web site.

Hmm. That probably doesn't answer the question. Let me try again.

The King in Yellow is a play about the tendency of people to play chess in burning houses, while Eidolon contains the fragmentary remains of the holy book of a mediæval witch-cult*. More or less.

The King in Yellow features an introduction by John Tynes.

Both are available on Amazon; just click the cover images.

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* in the Lovecraftian sense.