Into the breach.
Just back from a conference in Taipei. Presenting went well. Managed to accidentally talk my way into being a mentor for their doctoral consortium, but that worked out quite well in the end. Was able to help some students, and get to know some of my academic peers as well. Christchurch turned on a chill for my return, and my sweatshirt arrived a day later, but all things considered I'm quite grateful to have had the opportunity.
Now it's back to work, and trying to earn enough money to resume my studies again.
I've never had a swim on Devil's Reef( But every story's like... )
I cut my teeth on arcane books in New England
And I'm not proud of my address
In a shaken town, no post code envy
Swamp. Mangroves. Old grounded fishing boat. Booby-traps wired up. A smaller fanboat tethered outside. An abandoned rucksack and gun. Rations and a map. Bad smells from rotten food in the cargo hold. Blood marks. A disarmed grenade trap behind the wheelhouse door. A hand print on the wall. Scattered medical supplies in the galley. A cabin. A few flies. We're already on breathers. A long-dead man in camo, with bandages around his midriff. Died with a commlink and a pistol in his hands. Check the cylinder, but leave the gun. Splashing noises out there in the mangroves.
Find a paper journal to speed-read: he settled here two years back. Hack his hardware and find his last audio log: he got bitten by something out in the swamps, investigating rumours of a shaman in these parts. He made it back home, but the thing followed him. He bled out while waiting for it to go away, and he never made it to Riverside for medical help.
Look through the rest of the boat. Find some salvage. Tidy the medical supplies back in the kit they came from, and leave it behind when we go. There's not really anywhere we can bury him. We close the cabin door again.
Heading out of the mangroves, something makes a "bloop" noise out in the water. We don't see anything but a ripple of wide rings, expanding out across the surface. It's noon, but we're leaving the place like it's midnight.
Goths in hot weather, never reaching the shadeApologies to the Moody Blues, who never did anything to deserve this.
Our parasols lifted, but we're starting to fade
Mascara always covered these eyes before
Just how badly it's running, I can't say anymore
'Cos it's so hot, yes it's so hot, oh how it's so hot
Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Why I wear so much black, they can't understand
Some try to ask me, if I'm in a band
But we're just going to the beach, to play in the sand
And it's so hot, yes it's so hot
Oh how it's so hot, oh how it's so hot...
The language use was interesting. A handful of scenes in pure German, with subtitles. Songs in German. The majority of the film in what amounted to 'Allo 'Allo! German: English with a German accent, and commonly understood German words mixed in. Street signs, shops and such all in German, but a diary in English. Narrator and three principal actors from Canada, Australia and England, the rest Germans. So basically, as German as they could get for the average English audience.
The Parental Guidance rating is certainly appropriate - there's some violent death in it. But I think it's got a few good teaching points, too. For example, understanding why people might join the NSDAP (Nazi Party) even if they hated the ideology, and the risks of standing out or speaking out in an authoritarian regime. Painting war in shades of black and white is deceptively easy to do.
Sometimes I still suck when it comes to assuming rather than communicating. I may be getting better at taking professional initiative, but I still have gaps in my social initiative and awareness that I will be working to fix.
"Ugh. Neither of those sounds appealing."
"Well, those are your choices, sir."
"But I don't like them! I don't want to eat this crap!"
"You haven't made a choice though, sir! You can't complain if you don't even choose one, sir!"
"Are you sure you don't have something else? Anything else? Anything at all?"
"Well, sir. If you really want you can ask for the crappatouille, sir. But hardly anyone else chooses that - we don't even keep it in stock, sir."
"So no matter what I choose, you're going to give me crap? This is bullshit!"
"Yes sir. It is bullshit, sir. But unless you choose what kind of bullshit you want, you can't exactly complain about what you get, now can you, sir? We've all got to make our own choice, sir! How else would we fairly decide just which crap to feed you, sir!"
This post brought to you by the phrase: "If you don't vote, then you can't complain!"
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in Winterfell
No escape to the open sea
Open your eyes
As winter is coming, see
I'm just a Greyjoy, I get no sympathy
Because I'm a captured son, cannot go
To the Iron Islands, no
Loyalty to Westeros doesn't really matter to me, to me
( There's more, sorry. )
Having had to relocate again, I've been checking out the lay of the land in Birmingham. There are some hilariously named streets in England and “Needless Alley” is one of them.
After all sorts of random guesses as to why it was so named, someone managed to find out the real story behind it for me. The thing was, the random guesses were more amusing. So, send me your own take on how “needless alley” got it's name (email to [address elided] with “needless alley” in the subject) and the most intriguing tale will get my full discography in digital form, along with a T-shirt and a signed tour poster from the Children of a Factory Nation tour. Answers can be as short as you like, but not over 300 words. Entry is free but you have to “like” my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/
And here's my entry:
It's old, this alley of ours. Proper old. Back afore they crowned
monarchs at Westminster, afore Mercia, afore Beorma's time, afore the
first blood-soaked Roman sandal ever sunk in Albion's mud. It weren't
always a street, but it were always a Way. To this day, there's always
a way in Needless Alley.
Back in the way back when, it were burning they did. In feast and
festival, prayer and party, all came to burning. The places were dug
and cut and set and lined, all rocks and charcoal and set upon it all:
flesh. The brightest of red berries and choicest of herbs to dress
'em. We'd make marrow broth, and paint ourselves so as they'd remember
us when the fires cooled, and cast empty bones out to feed the sea.
Not fires for cooking, no, never for food. At least, not for our food.
For old days had old gods, and old gods had old tastes, and old tastes
turn ever to blood. And so there were gifts, raised up to Them in
smoke. Burning until the stones cracked, till those cracked stones
piled up into a mound. So that the old powers would slake their
ancient thirsts, see us go well upon our ways, and not take blood of
Over time we got all civilized, and the old ways parted from us, but
we never stopped our sacrifices. These days, the gods take price in
sin, in inflamed lust and the other hungers than fire a man's veins.
Most days. Among the shacks and shanties, They stalk us awhile yet.
The forgotten ones. Forsaken. The bodies leave, but blood pools into
For there's a price to be paid on a man's success: most often taken in
those they need less.
She seems well-pleased with it, so I'm happy. Her music's available over at Bandcamp if you'd like to check her out.
1840 was a big year for him. The founding of Gardner and Brown, a pioneering ship-building firm, and being present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. When the Land Wars broke out in 1845, the local Maori tribe with whom he had friendship urged him not to leave, and promised his property would be respected. Out of concern for his family's safety during the conflict, he evacuated to Australia with other settlers and returned home later to find his yard had been plundered and burnt. He rebuilt, and prospered.
From what's recorded about him and his own personal journals, one can tell that he cared a great deal about his community, both European and Maori. Among other things, he donated time, money, materials and expertise to the erection of a wooden church in Paihia in 1853. His house at Te Wahapu burned to the ground in 1874 and they built a new one over the next three months. He died there in 1896, having lived in the Bay of Islands for over fifty years, and is buried at Paihia. A challenging life, but as best I can tell a good one.
We've had a pretty checquered history of race relations in this country over the last 180-odd years; better than some, but still more than enough problems. But I can't help that think that, if not for the generosity shown by the Maori people of Northland in aiding a pair of young runaways all those years ago, I might not be here today. I'm thankful for that.
Happy Waitangi Day.
Emohtep: god of morose status updates and posting youtube clips of indie bands
Lagzarus: god of slow internet connections and frozen browsers
CtHulu: god of video clips that aren't available in your region
LOdin: god of "Your page will load in 5...4...3...2...1..."
Anoobis: patron saint of first timers in video games
Hefightsus: master of the flamewar and forging sockpuppets (but still lame)
H4xi|op0ch+li: god of zero-day warez
CodeNaN: barbarian demigod of confusing error messages (he likes to crush programs, see them test-driven before him, and listen to the lamentations of their users)
Quetzalcoaxial: god of tangled cables and upsidedown USB ports
C:RunOS: guardian of the ancient ways, and leader of the Wildcard Hunt
Memeir: God of overused internet memes
The Well of Memeir remembers, long after the internet has passed them by. For there is a place where hamsters and babies always dance, where we always get signal, where it is always peanut butter jelly time...
Even if you can't contribute directly, passing it on could help to get someone out of danger and into a safe place in order to start down the road to recovery.
My former roommate and dear friend Silv was badly assaulted, and is in need of money to move, as the assailant knows where she lives. She is also unable to work the jobs she had lined up, due to injuries and her trauma/PTSD.
To help, go here: http://silverback2001.livejournal.com/
I don't know how to duplicate her PayPal button, but she has one on the entry.
This is the woman who took me in when I was homeless, people. I vouch for her 100%, and I love her very much.