Monday, December 29, 2014

Mythic Monday: Huldra

I haven't Mythic Monday'd in a while...but post-Samhain we move into the traditional storytelling season. It seems appropriate to begin with tonight's Scandinavian myth, since the Norse were serious about their stories during the long, dark winter nights (not unlike the great-grandmas who can't see you tonight because their STORIES are on T.V.).

Disclaimer: you stopped here because you're searching for the gun manufacturer, sorry to disappoint but BOY have you landed in the wrong space. You've probably already figured out I'm not discussing the virtues and drawbacks of a gas-piston rifle and wandered off to If you're still here, feel free to hang out and discover your gun is named for a hot female...who occasionally becomes a (literal) man-eating monster. 

Image: Wikipedia

Also, while researching today's creature I found this: Huldra And Victim creation app. It's horrifyingly wonderful.

It's possible I wasted some time playing with online doll versions of pretty woodland people-ish entities...who eat their victims (presumably after the sex part, like a Norse Preying Mantis without the extra limbs). I sort of wish I could get a couple made for the family members who have a doll-phobia, but that's another story.

The Huldra (or Hulder: I'll use them interchangeably here because the terms aren't linguistically different in meaning) is a fascinating figure in Scandinavian mythology whose story and attributes changed as Christianity spread throughout the area. She is both beautiful and monstrous, naked and clothed, helpful and vengeful, compliant and deadly: all depending on how she's treated.

In the Pagan era myths, she is consistently described as a beautiful wild woman of the forest, who has an animal tail. In Norway the tail is always a cow's: in southern Sweden it could be a cow's or fox's. The further north you are, the more likely she has either a hollow back or a back covered in tree bark. Regardless, there is always something just a bit animal or forest about her.

In the earliest myths, the Hulder was often a seductive woodland fairy nymph, and was usually recognizable as something other than a human woman only because of the tail. Dealing with the Hulder is somewhat similar to the Irish Celtic ideals of dealing with Fairies: politeness is paramount, satisfaction is rewarded. It's also interesting to point out the Hulder myths don't have a lot of mortal women involved (in general, the Hulder appear to be a temptation to men alone, much like a Succubus, only without the demonic aspects).

There is a male version, the Huldercarl, who acts in a similar manner as the Hulder only toward women: the gender specificity implies both the Hulder and Huldercarl are examples of man and woman dealing with the dangers and bounty of the wild.

Legend has it, a man (or woman) who is kind, polite, and sexually satisfying is rewarded by the Hulder/Huldercarl. However, every power comes with a price. The old myths of Hulder include her ability and willingness to kill, and even eat, those who didn't satisfy her. The implication in the tales is definitely sexual satisfaction, but it's important to note that rude or inhospitable behavior could just as easily offend. The Huldercarls' myths don't include the sexual implications of satisfy-or-I-kill-you, which perhaps reflects ancient Norse views on sex to a certain extent: it's possible to infer a supposition that females are harder to please, and therefore only those skilled enough could win her favor. At the same time, it's possible the Huldercarls' satisfaction was assumed simply out of an idea that males are less difficult to please, and also possibly that women weren't expected to "work" as hard at sex. MANY fairy myths involving sex imply that it takes great skill to satisfy a woman: this could also just be another area of prowess for the Hero cycle of a story.

In the earlier myths it appears the reward was protection by a superhuman entity. Imagine what Scandinavia was like before roads and effective land-clearing techniques: the forests were so thick and inhospitable they literally made isolated "islands" of arable land and could cut off huge swaths of area between towns. The Vikings weren't seafaring folk just out of convenience, but out of shipping and communication necessity. Dark things lived in those forests, from trolls to bandits to bears, and a Hulder whose favor you've gained could potentially protect you and your family from ALL of them. That's nothing to scoff at, and was actually so highly regarded even as Christiantiy took over the area the luck of befriending a Hulder was incorporated as acceptable practice.

Christianity spread over the Norse slower than the rest of Europe (indeed, partly due to the isolation of the land), but eventually it did effect the details of the Hulder/Huldercarl. One Christianized tale says the Hulder were once mortal children who weren't washed by their mother: the "unclean" children became Hulder. This isn't terribly different from the Christian myth of the Fae, who were God's angels who didn't take sides in the war in Heaven, and so fell but only to Earth, not to Hell with Lucifer and his band.

As time went on, the Huldra became pretty milkmaids who looked completely human and innocent except for the tail, but if a farmer could win her heart and convert her to the faith the tail would fall away (as she loses her fairy immortality and becomes mortal and "saved"). Hulder and Huldercarl lost their danger AND their protective abilities, and were relegated to rather benign figures in pastoral life: simple cattle herders who brought luck and prosperity if you were able to convert and marry one, but the threat had been nullified. Domesticated.

Of course, who knows if they were ever truly domesticated...

Norway, by the way, produces some wonderful movies about Norse mythology, including one about the Huldra. I saw it recently on Netflix, and recommend it if you're interested: Thale.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Trials and Tribulations of a Jedi Dog.

Chewy has been particularly unimpressed with us lately. 

Ok let's be honest: he's perfectly fine with Husband. He's less than thrilled with me. 

In the past week, he's burned his tongue off*, endured humiliating tortures, and been denied wintertime treats. All because he has the unfortunate happenstance of birth to be reincarnated as a giant Star Wars fluffball with four legs, no arms, and more importantly no thumbs. 

Episode IV: A Burnt Tongue

We left for dinner (because we're lazy and neither wanted to do dishes, therefore cooking was utterly out of the question) for a couple hours one evening, Husband forgot to put his Wasabi peas away. If you've never had them, Wasabi Peas are crunchy, shriveled pieces of hell masquerading as "healthy snacks." All that means is once you've burned out your sinus infection or allergies and your eyes stop watering, you'll stop snacking. 

When we returned, we found two perfectly sets of perfectly piled peas. Both had the wasabi carefully licked off, both appear to be fully intact peas. Apparently neither dog was impressed with the idea of a good nasal cavity stinging: they BOTH walked right past the piles like someone else left them. Secretly, you see, there are kobolds in my house who LOVE wasabi hell bites, and are just considerate enough to leave the healthy leftovers in easily vacuumed piles. 
One of 2 neatly piled peas...sans Wasabi.

Chewy's other pea pile...which he sniffed and left.
 I'm not terribly sorry about that incident, you know. Dogs should stay the fuck out of human snacks.

Episode V: The Wampa Strikes Back

I'm somewhat more guilty (a little) about this week's humiliation. If you didn't know, Great Pyrenees grow two coats: one almost like down close tot he skin to regulate body temperature (it's actually somewhat insulating against heat in the summer as well as heating in winter, which doesn't count in Texas since "winter" is a big fat fucking LIE). The second is the super-long, waterproof, leaf/dirt/salamander carrying outer coat, which pretty much 1) turns him into a polar bear and 2) leaves 5" long fine hair everywhere. Also, did I mention bugs and lizards? Both have hitched a ride from the yard into the house on Choo Choo Chewy.

Anyway, we finally broke down and bought a set of clippers after the last incident at the groomers (nobody wants to discuss THAT horrible event), and Husband spent about three hours Sunday shaving the fluff down to an acceptable length. As you can see, someone was less than thrilled with us.
I fucking HATE you right now.
 I don't feel guilty for hte shave...I DO feel guilty that after getting rid of the mats he inevitably grows behind his ears I talked Husband into grabbing theear wash and drops (Chewy gets chronic ear infections). My big teddy bear was comfortably snoozing with his ear exposed like a damn fool, and I washed AND dropped it before he could get away.

Afterward, he stayed 20 feet away from both of us, harrumphing in a corner and glaring accusingly at us both. FINALLY!! I'm always the bad guy, people: this is the first time Husband's received the death-of-1000-suns stare. It's about damn time.
We found six Wampas in this pile...and an arm.
 Episode VI: Return of the Dishbreaker

Remember how my fuckface dogs have broken almost every glass in my house, and we had to buy plastic cups? We have some coffee mugs far. Yesterday, I came home to this:
I like your cocoa mug. I left it here so you'd know I WANT SOME.

Yup, that'd be my hot cocoa mug from the day before (my fault: I left it on the couch table). Notice the SPOON is still in it, the mug was carefully not dropped on the tile from the couch to the door, and Mr. "I like this smell" had fully licked clean any remnants from the bottom of the cup. Sigh. Do you see remorse there?

Yeah. Me neither. Welcome to my dog. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No, I Don't Know Why Either.

I don't have enough of one topic for a funny post tonight, but I have a bunch of weird episodes from the past few days I thought I'd share. 

  • Earlier this week, I found the following in my cube garbage can at work: 
But WHY is this even a question?

  • WHAT THE FUCK does any of that mean? Is the question whether there's chicken in the breakroom or somewhere else (the CEO's office, perhaps)? Is there more than one chicken? Are there yellow-bellied cowards hanging out with the coffee? I don't know. I don't know who left this in my trash, either.  
We're just going to cover See No and Speak No Evil at the same time...because EFFICIENCY

  • Evil and her brother are currently in the wilds of Montana (or, in their Grandpa's back yard in Helena). It's apparently awful to get to Montana from Minnesota this year: Han horked on the descent  into Helena (if you've never been, Helena is in the center of a bowl in the middle of the mountains...this girl requires two Dramamine to get there without puking. I have sympathy for little dude.) after running himself into exhaustion at the Mpls airport due to an hours' long delay, (which really affected his parents more than in any way slowing HIM down any). I suspect the picture above is Evil's "good lord, I'm related to that guy!" face. It's possible she's just sleepy. 

  • My father has called every day for the past two weeks to ensure Husband and I have NOT opened the "Santa" presents delivered by the super secret UPS people. HA! As though I'm not fully capable of opening and re-taping the boxes? OBVIOUSLY HAN LEARNED IT FROM SOMEONE. 
  • I managed to coin "Elftra" on Twitter today. That'd be during a conversation about writing Elf porn, in which I wondered: 
    • 1) if Elves would have SPECTACULAR skills and flexibility (being all extra-balancy AND old enough to have tried everything at least once). 
    • 2) if we're talking Santa's elves, I'm willing to bet there's a secret adult toy R&D room at the North Pole (probably with eleven elven strippers). 
    • 3) either way, Elves would have mastered Tantric sex, right? Therefore...Elftra: three millenia of development, possibly including dragon sex or elvish/dwarf matches. 
  • Of course, it was suggested by the awesome Karina Cooper that "Elftra" sounded suspiciously like the character in a She-Ra cartoon. 
  • If Marvel* were to create a male super hero who got his power from silky ladies underthings (you know, like Thor with his hammer only...softer), what would that power be? And who would have the balls to cross-dress in lingerie for said super powers? 

*I maintain it HAS to be a Marvel hero, because DC would never allow anything so risque as a man wearing a teddy and thigh-highs. Nipple-armor is ok (Batman, I'm looking at you!) but NEVER anything so tawdry as silky drawers.  

I sort of feel I should quit while I'm ahead here. Ahead of what, I really don't know...but it's likely better to stop talking when the babbling about ladies underwear begins. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Molon Labe

This is not a funny post. It's likely to cause me some hate mail (or hate-facebooking, I suppose). Ah well.

I am completely NOT shocked, nor even mildly surprised, about the CIA torture report. What DOES dishearten me are the variations of "This is why I don't give a fuck that we tortured terrorists" memes on social media. No, I'm not posting any examples, because I won't give credence to the idea. It disheartens me that many of the people whose opinions I value to at least some degree are willing to jump on the "it's ok to do anything to get results" bandwagon.

When you reduce a person to a label or pull an "ends to means" justification to excuse horrific brutality, have you not just proved you're no better than the enemy you're fighting? I would challenge any supporter of torture as an appropriate means to an end to read detailed descriptions of what happened in medieval torture chambers, and examine whether the rack or hot pokers are humane. Then read accounts of what happened to POWs during the Civil War or WWII or Vietnam (or, really, any other war). Torture hasn't changed much in the past few thousand years except in sophistication: in fact, as humans we've gotten BETTER at it.

Humans have gotten BETTER at breaking another human's psyche and spirit through physical and psychological pain without actually killing them. This is not an accomplishment we should be proud of as a species.

Here's the thing. I am not, at my core, a gentle person. In the words of a t-shirt I will soon own, "I am comfortable with violence."  I don't advocate peace at the expense of freedom, and, perhaps more importantly, I don't advocate standing by when someone else is attacked. As such, I'm both pro-military and pro-law enforcement in general. I get that it seems counter-intuitive to some of my really liberal values, but those who protect us are important to me. I admire those who serve because they do jobs that, by their very nature, chip away at the soul. They sacrifice immensely on our behalf. There are certain situations, both personal and as a member of humanity, in which violent response is the only available answer. I understand many will disagree with my position: I'm ok with that. The point of writing this isn't to advocate for my ethics: it's to give you a framework for what I'm about to say.

The moment you endorse the torture of another human being, even if you're not doing the torture yourself, is the moment you choose to kill a piece of your own humanity. Maybe it's just a little piece. Maybe you have humanity to spare. Maybe you truly feel justified that your response is fair retribution. Let me be painfully clear:

If you think it heinous and depraved for the ENEMY to shock American prisoners' genitals with electrodes, to repeatedly drown and revive them, to pull fingernails out, to refuse food and water and sleep, to force them to stand for days on end in joint-breaking positions, but you think it's acceptable for US to do so under the fallacy of getting "information," you have failed your argument

I don't agree with the Abrahamic religions' idea that everyone, even the most evil, have some bit of good to nurture. There is a level of depravity and cruelty in the world that, to my mind, deserves no quarter. No second chances to cause additional damage. I don't have a problem with the death that comes with war. It's part of war. I don't have a problem with the death penalty for certain levels of criminals. I don't have an issue with carrying guns or defending ourselves from violence done upon us. But if death is the response, it needs to be a clean, humane death.

There are people who are the equivalent of rabid dogs attacking individuals and society. The response to a rabid dog is NOT to become rabid yourself.  I think inflicting death upon another soul, taking someone or something's life, is already a serious and soul-damaging act. Inflicting pain because the judgement is made that the pain is "deserved" is both unjust and creates a dark, unclean space in the spirit.

I work, hard to cultivate compassion and empathy for others. Yes, this is a direct countermeasure to my ability to consider violence as an option. The better I am at seeing both sides of a situation, the more likely I am to be able to DE-escalate.  Empathy leads to finding a point of common ground, which can lead to a point of understanding between two otherwise contentious parties. Empathy leads to compassion for others' situations, and maybe, just maybe, empathy and compassion can provide a single moment for a person to step back and look without judgement. Imagine that: a break in the cycle of "you hurt me, so I'm going to do worse to you and yours."

Every attempt toward compassion is worthwhile. Every moment of empathy achieved is a step toward making your life more positive. And when it fails, as it most definitely will fail on many occasions, there is a choice. Choose to keep trying, or to give in to the negative, vengeful, destructive side. It's HARD to look at a situation from the other party's point of view.  But in my opinion the work is worth the effort, the failures, and the frustration, both personally and in hopes that I can make a little corner of my own universe a little less dark.

I'm not giving up my empathy and compassion to anyone, especially not to propaganda and a false sense of vengeance perpetrated by misinforming social media garbage.

Molon Labe

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Mrs. Titts" isn't an empty title, people.

Today, I was coerced by a pushy coworker to PARTICIPATE in group "fun" activities. I think work fun activities should involve alcohol and the ability to watch people make idiots of themselves.

Well, I suppose I got half of that. We were "festive" and made gingerbread houses. Because what's better at an insurance company than a bunch of accountants, underwriters, and IT folk making rickety-ass candy houses that fall apart and are generally unsound?

Did you know the "icing" is a LIE LIE LIE. Dear Gingerbread House Kit Makers: "icing" contains at least a modicum of sugar. That shit was PASTE, and tasted like kindergarten only without the stinky full-pants-kid sitting next to you at the arts and crafts table. I suppose that's a plus of doing arts and crafts as a work teambuilding thing, right? No poop. Just paste.

FYI: the faucet in the kitchen at work was busted today. So everyone is covered in paste with no way to wash hands. Yeah. Awesome.

Anyway, my team's house is here. Please note the red, sugar-tipped, askew and slightly sagging nipples. I did not put them there. But you can be certain I not only noticed, but immediately pointed out that our house is now Old Lady Sugartits Nipples.

Is it cold in here? I think my pasties fell off...
Personally, I think Santa would be a happier guy if his doorbell knocker was a set of knockers. Maybe perkier ones, though.

So this whole ridiculousness reminded me of a story I foolishly told the same coworker.

When I went to my first prom, as a foolish 16 year old dating a senior, I sat on my boyfriend's lap in a big comfy chair in the lobby outside the DECC ballroom. I was cocky and feeling ALL THAT in my fancypants boob enhancing halter dress (and foofoo hair...let's not forget the foofoo hair and makeup. It WAS the early 90's, after all. There were bangs. Big ones. And I don't mean the fun kind). Yeah. I was 16 and stupid: get off me.

Anyway, his dad had given him a crisp new hundred dollar bill for the occasion. Hey, we were teenagers in Duluth, MN of all places. Our lives weren't terribly exciting in general, and neither of us had ever SEEN a hundred dollar bill.

I thought I'd be all smooth and sexy. Yes, I know...but just let me share the gravity of the failure there.

I put the hundred down the bodice of my dress, in my first-allowed-lingerie strapless bustier.


We tore the goddamn chair apart. He freaked out and was livid at me most of the evening. The money never did turn up.

So basically what I'm saying here is: when I was 16 I discovered my boobs are apparently an interdimensional portal. I imagine that money is on the floor of some random space station warehouse along with somebody's keys, all the missing socks from the laundry, and apparently pieces of people's souls which go galavanting around without permission (remember the Soul Retrieval lady? Yeah, she's in Duluth, MN too...WEIRD SHIT HAPPENS AROUND THAT, LAKE PEOPLE).

Um, just to be clear, I'm not saying socks, keys or souls get lost in my boobs. Just that single bill, as far as I'm aware.

Holy Christ, what might've been lost while I sleep? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oh dirty dirty bird...

I went home (to the tundra) last weekend. It was an adventure.

First, I was hit on by the dude next to me, Chad from downtown Minneapolis, on the plane. Chad insisted I'm 10 years younger than I am. Score.

For me.

He did not score.

Bummer for you, Chad, but you were quite charming and I am thoroughly amused.

And then I found THIS in Skymall, and all conversation ended, because I can't NOT MAKE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS.

What the fuck else can possibly be said about this?
OBVIOUSLY I need the Unicorn, because my balls aren't plush enough. Or horny? And it comes with it's own pump...I mean, self pumping unicorn balls?? Come ON!

Yeah, you can see why Chad stopped talking to me. I'm a whole new level of crazypants, and maybe it's better not to get in them, dude.

So...then I spent the weekend at my Grandma's house outside of Duluth. Everyone in Houston was bitching and freaking out about 40 degree weather (OH MY GOD IT'S THE APOCALYPSE! WEAR YOUR PARKAS!!). This is what I woke up to (along with -10 degree temps) Saturday:

Ignore the rocking horse and focus on the FROSTED WINDOW.
Yeah. I was cold.

Well, Helloooooo Winter, you not-yet-welcome Fall party crasher.
During the shenanigans there was hay in an eyeball, babies held, stories told, bad songs sung (there really is no rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" that rivals my aunt singing "turn around, fart eyes" in a really wavery voice), and lots of laughing. I didn't pee my pants, but it was close. I DID wheeze and squeak and cry. My belly hurts.

And then, I got to see the kiddos.

Han was moving too damn fast for me to get a good pic, but I did spend some time working with Evil. She was somewhat unimpressed with me.

"Mother, get this thing off my head IMMEDIATELY."
Han got jealous and took my hand very earnestly, tugging me toward his room (where a 2 year old can escape the little sister who takes up Auntie Jess's attention). I was his  (CRAWL, AUNTIE JESS!) until I had to catch my flight back to toasty warm (upper 30''s still Houpocalypse down here: winter hats/scarves/mittens/parkas) Texas. Little dude wore me the hell out...I slept the whole flight.

I saw and spent seriously excellent time with some of my favorite people (but not all...I WILL rectify that on the next trip). People I love deeply and dearly, and whom I miss terribly and think about daily.

Y'all know who you are, dontcha? Sure ya do.

We'll be back up at Christmas...and THAT trip won't be a super secret surprise for I'll set up a plan to hang, peeps.

In the meantime, someone buy me the adult plush unicorn balls!!

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Houpocalypse Is Upon Us

Earlier this week I attempted to see whether I could look forward to drowning in a mudpit or roasting in a dust loud during my Saturday morning lead-the-horses-til-my-legs-scream hiking volunteer work.

Apparently there won't be any, since the news site I used indicated the world ends today at 3pm. 

And, there will be no weekend. 

It was nice knowing you, peeps! 

**disclaimer: as of this morning Houston appears to have a forecast through the weekend...we'll see if I make it. 

Also, with over 3" of rain this week, my hiking tomorrow will be more like mudskiing. Who needs Tough Mudder when a girl can get dragged through muddy trails for three hours by a stubborn, bitey horse? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Updated for awesome. So...How Many Can I Request??

So, yesterday it occurred to me that elevators are a veritable buffet of potential hotness. 

I mean really, firefighters at the push of a button*? 

*I KNOW the button is for firefighters' use, not an awesome Bat signal for buff heroic types of either sex. 

**this is not a real post. But I'm back: real posts commencing forthwith! 

UPDATE: my super awesome cool EMT friend gave me the following fabulous tale from her career, and has graciously allowed me to add it to this post. Because apparently the appeal of a hot firefighter never goes away. 

"Okay my friend, settle in while I tell you my favorite "hot fireman" story. So, once upon a time, on one of my long paramedic shifts, and on one of the hottest days of the summer, my partner and I were called to the top floor of the local senior housing. The patient was an adorable, very elderly woman who was having enough respiratory distress that meant she needed to go to the hospital soon. We placed her on the cot, hooked her up to everything, and just then, the power went out. No A/C, no lights and most importantly, no elevator.

We called for the fire department, who promptly arrived and in a show of well-oiled manliness, hoisted the cot, the patient and all of the equipment upon their shoulders and proceeded to carry her down the 8 flights of stairs. At the landing just before the second flight, she leaned over, winked, and in the sweetest voice sang out, "You know? I just LOVE men, don't you?"'

Thanks Jarvis. I am ever in awe of your cool. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spam Day! Because Wizards Reduce Belly Fat...

So, what exactly is "forskolin"?? 

Because I'm not gonna lie: it sounds like foreskin, and that's just creepy as hell. 

Also, while it's possible penises (penii??) can help with weight loss (sex is exercise, right?), all I can think of here is some alchemical potion of foreskin and lanolin. Some creeptastic grizzly wizard in moldy robes, frantically stirring a stinky distillation in his dungeon, looking for a get-gold- quick scheme to sell to royalty? 

What is WRONG with the people who thought this one up? 

Um, if I'm the only one who sees it, I'll concede the probability that there's something wrong with me. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

It IS A SNAKE DEN GODDAMMIT! (Also, Mythic Monday - The Headless Horseman)

Listen up people. A couple weeks ago I specifically asked if THIS is a snake den:

Tonight I discovered it INDEED IS...when I brought boxes out the front door and SAW the bastard's head sticking out of the hole. Do you KNOW how many holes there are in my front garden along the walkway? Lots. Enough that he clearly has a while fricken network under there...and he was LOOKING AT ME. If I can get an actual picture (without getting eaten) tomorrow, I will. And no, I couldn't see enough of his head to tell if it was one of the three that can kill me here.

I am not impressed. Husband and family are amused. I hate everyone. That is all.

Moving on.

I missed two Mythic Mondays because I had a cold from hell. Therefore, I'm returning some hellishness in tonight's MM, in honor of my favorite season AND the season two premier of Sleepy Hollow, which I adore. Tom Mison's Ichabod Crane is NOT the weasely, big nosed, wimpy dude in Washington Irving's tale: his interpretations of the silliness of modern culture (compared to 1776) is fantastic. In addition, being the mythology freak I am I LOVE where the writers took the Headless Horseman tale...but that's all I'll say since spoilers are just rude.

So. Washington Irving wrote a short story in the 1820 called The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. If you haven't read it, go forth and get it for Halloween: it's wonderful. It's not the original: it's just the first American version of the tale of a headless horseman.

Irving's Horseman was a Hessian (Germanic) mercenary fighting for the British in the American Revolution whose head was removed by a cannonball. Cursed, he rides the roads around Sleepy Hollow, searching for his head and generally causing havoc...including taking heads. It's entirely possible the Galloping Hessian started during the war as terror propaganda, after all, and Irving only wrote the story down forty years later: no reason he wouldn't have heard some handed down scary tale from an old war veteran when he was a child. What better way to demonize the losing side than by making a monster out of their soldiers?

But Sleepy Hollow wasn't the first town to get a Headless Horseman. The Grimm boys found a Headless horseman tale in their wanderings around Germany. Yes indeedy: the same Germany which produced the Hessian's possible our legend came over to America with them, or with the Dutch settlers in New York. Interestingly, The Grimms reportedly SAW the Horseman...twice. Quite impressive, really: HH in every version was pretty darn violent and heads were generally taken.

In Ireland the HH was Dullahan: a SERIOUSLY TERRIFYING headless man in black who chases down people on Halloween and throws buckets of blood. If the blood hits you, or if he calls out your name, you're going to die the next day. This is not a children's story villain who throws scary carved gourds at people and runs away. Much like the Banshee, only more aggressive (no wailing for this guy), Dullahan and Banshees are sometimes seen together, chasing people down in a chariot pulled by six black horses and using a human SPINE as a whip.

Yeah. Pleasant. Obviously Dullahan owned the original Mortal Kombat fatality bonus move.

In any case, the Galloping Hessian of Sleepy Hollow may be the first Headless Horseman legend in the Americas, but he's definitely not the last. Many states have a version of the creature in some Halloween tale. In Texas there's a legend of a beheaded horsethief who wanders the countryside on a grey horse. (Maybe he'll come take care of my snake problem). Even Disney got in on the HH act, not only with an Ichabod Crane cartoon but with the Horseman showing up places like Fantasia and Mickey's House of Mouse. 

I personally suspect the HH is a throwback to legends of The Wild Hunt. Truly, The Hunt deserves its own blog post which is in the works for October, as there are variations of the Gods and/or the Fae (depending on your area) tearing across the countryside (and woe to they who get in the way, or even SEE). But I do see some connections between a Headless Horseman who haunts and chases down night travelers in vengeance for his violent death and the Fae riding down the unwary, who are never seen again.

Bottom line? If you hear thundering hooves on Halloween night, run like hell and don't look back. It could be the Horseman, come to collect your head.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Update: Screaming Worms.

Turns out it's "web worms" (a couple people called them silkworms, but I didn't see any silk...just gross maggoty things that moved in time with the beat of Chewy's feet as he walked by).

Husband thinks Chewy is purposefully amassing an army of worms to create air-support (as they do eventually turn into moths, after eating all the leaves off my maple).

I think it'd take a LOT more than two nests of about thirty worms each to turn into enough moths to pick that dog's monstrous fluffy form off the ground.

Anyway, like any good interneter I found various solutions to my webby worm issues (other than calling an exterminator, which would be really stupid for two baseball-sized nests in low branches I can cut out myself):

1) open the webs to let wasps/birds get to the worms to eat them.

How about FUCK NO I'm not putting my fingers anywhere near that webbing. Nope no nopedy nope.

2) Open the web (what part of NOPE did the list miss??) and spray roach/bug killer into the nest.

Apparently the opaquely see-through web nest hive of writhing maggots is impervious to bird beaks, chemicals, and wasp stingers. WTF.

3) burn it.


Yesterday afternoon I quite happily directed wayward worms attempting to escape the flaming goodness of their nest burning in the fire pit back into their little hell. No, I'm not sorry.

Chewy's not speaking to me, though.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What the HELL is in my tree??

In true Texas fashion I've discovered a new horror in my backyard. 

What the fuck IS THIS???? 

I plan on spraying wasp killer on it tonight, in hopes it kills the dancing worm things inside (which move in unison, by the way, because that's not creepy as fuck AT ALL). 

This state is going to kill me. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Scully Explains Feminism in the BEST WAY.

I've been watching Netflix streamed crime shows lately, particularly ones from other countries. Oddly enough, it was in a serial killer show with Gillian Anderson (SCULLY!!) and Jaime Dornden (Once Upon a Time, 50 Shades) that has boiled down the best description of everyday sexism I've ever seen.

Gillian Anderson, a special police investigator, is being questioned by her boss (a man) for her (completely consensual) one night stand with another cop. She responds thusly:

"'Man fucks woman.'
Man: subject.
Fucks: verb.
Woman: OBJECT.
You don't have a problem with that: that's acceptable behavior.
'Woman fucks man.'
Woman: subject.
You have a problem with that.
It's YOUR problem."

Monday, September 01, 2014

Mythic Monday: Brownie

Help Wanted: small brownish creature willing to help clean my house, ride the dogs around in the middle of the night, organize as necessary, and remain hidden. Payment: various foodstuffs including porridge (when available), honey, chocolate, and heavy cream. Lodging and privacy included. Tolerance for iron in the house required.

People, I desperately need a Brownie.

I spent a good chunk of my weekend organizing and cleaning, and it's completely true that those with children and dogs are just wasting their time on a wheel of frustration when attempting to clean. And therefore, tonight I'm lamenting the overabundance of iron in my house and the utter lack of brownies, whom I'd GLADLY leave treats if one graced my home with her presence.

If you google "Brownie" you'll get a variety of tasty baked far as I know these do not clean. In fact, I've proven on many occasions baked brownies have a magical ability to increase pounds but absolutely no ability to clean. They are terribly underwhelming as domestic help, except for easing crankiness brought on by chocolate cravings.

No, I'm referring to the small Fae people-ish creatures who, in Scots-Irish folklore, are rather famously helpful in the home as long as they're properly cared for. Brownies are often considered a member of the Hob family (as in, hobgoblin, only benevolent): a small, shy creature who aids in household tasks if rewarded with food. Most often, porridge and honey, although those two options date back to the days when porridge and honey were pretty standard household fare. I wonder if Lucky Charms would work, or if it would just piss them off?

You do NOT want to piss off the creature who helps keep your house tidy and organized. Seriously. Bad things happen to people who abuse the Fae in general...particularly a human-like creature the size of a lemur who just happens to know ALL the secrets and ALL the places in your house to hide things.

Brownies traditionally don't have any interest in being seen: they're active at night when the family is asleep, and live in unused parts of the house. For a time it was custom to leave a seat open by the fire in the kitchen for the resident Brownie, in thanks for their protection and work (along with the ever-important food offerings, which are a must to keep your Brownie happy...I really can't stress the food thing enough).

Unfortunately, Brownies, like all the Fae, have a severe aversion to iron. This means burying a nail under the threshold of your front door or hanging a horseshoe in your home will keep brownies (along with the rest of the Fae) at bay. Oh, did you think the horseshoe thing was a luck attractor? I suppose it it was considered lucky to be passed over when the Fae are around, since they're somewhat capricious and not at always kind. I suppose it's the price to pay for keeping out kobolds, hobgoblins, and other nasties...but I DO sometimes wish modern homes were built without nails.

I need some household help, and I have plenty of Lucky Charms, milk, and honey to spare.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I have no good title for this...It's an anniversary of sorts.

It's been two years this weekend since Husband and a friend were on his motorcycle when they were schmucked by a drunk asshole. I say schmucked because said drunk asshole was going about 45mph and didn't slow down. At all. He pinned Husband's leg between the truck and the bike, breaking his pelvis in two places, dislocating his hip, breaking his foot, and finally flinging him across the overpass. There were other injuries, and some scars he'll bear forever. However,  Husband is definitely mending, although the extent of some of the internal injuries mean he still has pain all the time: nerve damage sucks, people. It sucks.

Two years ago on Friday I was sitting in the waiting room at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, going in and out of the ICU, hoping Husband could wake up eventually. I didn't know for sure until that Monday that he would. Two years ago 8/29 (since the dates and days don't match) I found myself in the ER at Regions at 10:30pm. To our friends in the ER with me, the doctors, nurses and EMTs (especially one in particular who knows us personally but said nothing so he didn't get removed from working on Husband), I can only say thank you. And that I sincerely hope the surgical resident who talked to me about the exploratory surgery necessary that night at 2am now looks his age, because it's goddamned disturbing to have a 12 year old telling you "we don't know where he's bleeding internally, but he's on his fifth bag of blood and we have to find the problem or he could die." Please dude, grow a goatee or something. Also, FYI, husband did not become a vampire. I just felt I should clarify...

As I understand it, our friend on the bike with him is also doing well, but her recovery is her own story to share or not...I just wish her the best in recovering and in dealing with the insurance company.

It's a funny thing, an intense accident. Not funny in a belly-laugh sort of way...funny in a life is fucked up and weird sort of way. Let me lay some background before I explain.

Humans, including Husband and I, get into ruts. Patterns of behavior, patterns of thinking, patterns of living and socializing, without really even thinking about it. I suppose the patterns happen BECAUSE we aren't thinking about it: when there is no examination of what's going in in our lives, we just sort of float through and act on habit instead of intent. Habitual behavior isn't a bad thing by nature: you can cultivate just as many good habits (eating healthy, exercising daily, etc.) as bad.  Change is always hard, whether you're creating good or bad habits, and more often than not people (including me) are more comfortable sticking with the devil they know than going through the pain and work of change.

Unfortunately, we'd both been in an unhappy rut for quite some time when the accident happened. There were so many reasons for the unhappiness, so many reasons for the horrible habits we'd both developed that it's difficult to even say when they started. But we'd both been generally stuck in these bad patterns for years. The accident was a catalyst, as major life-changing events usually are.

During Husband's recovery time we both had a lot of time to assess our lives, what we wanted, and where we wanted to go. Honestly, the entire first year after the accident was such a blur of emotion and physical turmoil it seems accelerated in my mind. There are months of 2012 and 2013 I don't remember clearly, and there are moments of memory etched in permanent, painful detail. It's been a very long two years, but there has been healing in every way possible.

Ultimately, his accident saved us both, as sick as that sounds. Waking up from a sleepy life and paying attention is hard. "Hard" isn't a sufficient description...hmm. Miserable, exhausting, enlightening, humbling, terrifying, thrilling, astonishing...all better descriptors but only if they're all together. It's harder when it's forced upon you. But once it begins, attention is difficult to stop, and contentment with the devil I know isn't possible anymore.

So, changes have been under way. Some are subtle: we've both been making individual efforts to work on accepting ourselves, on figuring out and actually working toward our on life goals. For me, that means a lot of meditation, writing, and slowly changing my diet/exercise to be a healthier person as well as a lot of internal work on identifying and...well...fixing the way I talk to myself.

Some are...less subtle. Ha. We moved from Minnesota to Texas, got new's a whole new thing here and it's both terrifying and exhilarating. I miss my people all the time. I don't miss the state, and I suspect this winter I won't miss the snow much. We'll see. Currently out my window it's changed from 93 degrees and sunny to torrential downpour rain (the sort we only got rarely in MN happens here often...I call it Trinidad rain: feels like someone's dumping a bucket of warm water on you). It's lovely here, and I'm flabbergasted that I (VERY unexpectedly) like Houston. Funny how  preconceptions you have about something are so often utterly wrong. I like it here, and I feel healthier than I have in a long while: a physical change of scenery was something I needed.

But I still miss my friends and family, particularly those who became so very close to me in the past two years. Interestingly, the accident wasn't just a catalyst for changes in ourselves and our marriage: it was a big catalyst for our social circle (individually and as a couple). I'm not always good at identifying actual friends from those who need something from me but don't wish to be needed or people who are just flat out selfishly harmful. During those months in the end of 2012, we both discovered truths about people in our various circles and surprising things happened. Some acquaintances became very close friends, old friendships were rekindled, some close friends drifted away, toxic people were cut out of our lives because it's too damn much energy to accommodate them anymore.

To those of you who have been with us (for him, me, or both) on this ridiculously weird, intense, painful journey: we hope you know just how much we love you. I'm so utterly grateful for everyone in our lives, and I have some regrets about those I didn't get to know better before we left. Things are better, and even with challenges we're both definitely on a better path, individually and together.

I'm happier paying attention.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mythic Monday: Artemis and Actaeon

It's Mythic Monday, and I'm writing tonight about Artemis and her vengeance upon a peeping Greek.
But first, you should know I have a bit of a problem with blank paper. I CAN'T STOP BUYING IT. While unpacking a corner of my office today (we better renew the lease here, because fuck if I want to pack all this shit up again in eight months!) I found no less than FIVE of the big 5-subject notebooks and six smaller notebooks/notepads. Good lord.

Those are all blank notebooks. For writing.
The blank journals (for JOURNALING, duh) are in a different space.

Slowly but surely, I'm digging out my office. A corner at a time.
Anyway, on to Artemis and her defense of her own virginity.

Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, a mortal woman who was seduced (or raped, depending on the version) by the God when he was in the form of a swan. Yeah. Not weird at all.

Artemis is goddess of the hunt, of all things wild, of the moon, and of innocent independence. I mean innocent in a specific way: she's the patron goddess of maidens and all things free of man's interference. She's described as the virgin huntress. There is some debate on the translation to English "virgin" as we think of it now, as it truly meant unmarried (not necessarily chaste, which specifically meant non-sexual). However, Artemis is often described as chaste as well: uninterested in the attentions of any man. Her twin brother, Apollo, generally has enough male and female sexual company to make up for her lack of it anyway, but he's another story.

Honestly,  Artemis could be a book unto herself. I chose one specific story tonight because it's the epitome of her response to being lusted after by both men and gods. In fact, many of Artemis' stories deal with her avoiding or thwarting rape, which is really disturbing if you stop and consider the implications, both for men and women.

So. Actaeon, the unfortunate soul in this tale, is actually a hero from Thebes. He's a great hunter and warrior, and famed for his hunting dogs. One day while chasing a stag into the woods, his dogs lead him to a sacred pool where Artemis is bathing. Transfixed by her beauty and, well, Goddessness (I mean, I'd likely stare as well, having never seen a goddess before in person), he stares. For a very long time.

Now here's where things get a bit tricky. In some more recent versions, Artemis gives him the option to save himself. As punishment, she takes his ability to speak and warns him that the moment he tries he'll be turned into a stag himself. In earlier versions, she just immediately transforms him into the very beast he was chasing on her land. The distinction is a key difference between a thought-out, rational punishment and a reactionary "gut-instinct" punishment.

If he can control himself he'll live, in the first version. After all, he didn't actually try to rape her, so her punishment is more about no man ever seeing her naked and living to TELL about it. AS long as he keeps his mouth shut, he's fine.

Of course, he can't. In every variation I found of the "removal of speech" story, Actaeon is unable to be silent. He calls out when he hears his hunting party approaching (maybe to call them over, maybe to warn them away: no one could know). In that instant a sound emerges from his mouth, he's turned to a stag.

The ultimate price he pays is the same in both versions: hounds (either his own, the Goddess's, or both) run him down in his stag form and tear him to pieces. Generally in the versions where Artemis changes him to a stag immediately it's his own hounds who take him down. That's actually a bit in ALL the tales: tear him to pieces, not eat him or kill him or destroy him: tear him to pieces. Seems rather important, since it's the phrase that's repeated throughout retellings. The violence and manner of his death have led some scholars to theorize this is a tale of sacrifice to the Gods. I have to say I don't agree (with the caveat that I am not a Greek Mythology PhD in any form, so I can only read translations, which could be wrong).

I see this story as a characterization of her determination to remain free and unencumbered. What mate could be better for her, after all, than a near-hero status hunter? Yet even he, in a scene often used in myth to precede sex (accidentally finding him/her bathing) and even love, is unable to tame her. I think this is a tale that intentionally reinforces Artemis is the ultimate untame-able wild. She will not submit to anyone.

Artemis is a favorite Goddess of mine.

Not actually shooting at anything. Except the office wall.
So much so, she watches over my desk.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Updated: Gmail Thinks I Have Tiny Junk...

I...well, I got nothin. 

On the other hand, I don't have a tiny weener. 

Updated: you guys, I'm surrounded by dick jokes today. Wtf universe?? 

This was on my garbage can: 

I surrender. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mythic Monday - Banshee

Are you of Irish, Scottish, or Welsh descent?

Is your clan name O'Grady, O'Neill, Caomhanachs, , O'Conchobhair, or O'Briain?

What about O'Grady, O'Neill, Kavanaugh, O'Connor, or O'Brien?

Then you may have a Banshee. Do not be alarmed: they're not the screaming monster portrayed on World of Warcraft. I'll explain the clan names in just a bit.

In Gaelic, she'd be called Bean Sidhe, Bean Sith, Bean Nighe, Bean Shidhe, Bean Shithe, or Bean Si. Perhaps now is a good time to point out that "si" in Gaelic is the "sh" sound. There are a few different takes on the Banshee and her duties, but ultimately they all deal with death.

The Banshee is a Faery woman associated most often with The Morrigan, Goddess of battle, war, and death (as well as many other things, including fertility, sovereignty, horses, and so on.). The Morrigan is a deity particularly close to my heart, and deserves a full post of her own. As an occasional messenger for The Morrigan, Banshees are often associated with ravens or owls. Modern mythologists speculate the Banshee's wail is actually the cry of an owl, which is also considered a warning that Death is coming for someone.

Banshees are known mostly for two acts: wailing to warn of an impending death (or wailing immediately after the death occurs), and appearing in a vision to the doomed-to-die. Interestingly, in the older tales banshees also served a purpose similar to the Valkyrie in Norse myth: guides to the afterlife for those who died on the battlefield. I'd imagine that's a large and stressful job, considering the number of souls on a post-war battlefield who wander about.

The most-told version of the Banshee's appearance to a warrior is as The Washer at the Ford: a woman washing the bloody clothes of he who is about to die. IN this guise she's called the Bean Nighe, the washerwoman. This is a direct link back to The Morrigan, who performed the same warning for Cu Chulainn in her myth cycle. Perhaps Cu Chulainn was such a hero his portend of death could only be delivered by a Goddess, not "just" a Banshee. In some tales, the Banshee work directly for The Morrigan, in others they're just fulfilling their ancient function, as sensing and warning of death is their only purpose.

As the Banshee who wails to warn of an impending death, she's often described as a sad, grey woman in grey or white clothes, nearly colorless in pallor. Sometimes she wears a red or green cloak. Sometimes she's combing her pale hair. She could be gorgeous or ghoul, depending on the story (and as this IS a culture famous for storytelling, I expect her terrible or wondrous appearance directly coincides with the time of year, the audience, and the person for whom she wails).

As the Washer at the Ford, she's sometimes a smelly, disgusting hag in tattered filthy clothes, sometimes a beautiful woman. In some areas the superstition lives, still, that should you find a comb on the road, leave it be: it's likely a Banshee's, and you do NOT want to catch her attention. She may or may not actively bring Death, but she certainly has Death's ear, after all.

I've often wondered if she's content with her purpose in this universe, constantly dealing with death and sorrow even when Death is a welcome visitor (as, occasionally, Death may become).

So where do the names come into play?

In Celtic funerary tradition, when a person dies a woman with a  lovely voice would sing the lament: a song for the dead, a song of sorrow for those left behind who'll miss the deceased's presence in their lives. A tearful, wailing, keen of sadness. My personal favorite example is Morag's Lament, from Rob Roy. This

It was believed that royal or lord's families received their lamentations from Fairy women due to their importance. Of course, that could have been a way to inflate their own legend, but you just never know. Tradition says there were five clans who had a permanent banshee attached to their family (some lists expand to seven through intermarriage of clans)...indeed, those I listed. King James I of Scotland is reported to have heard the Banshee's wail before he died in 1437.

The most recent reporting of a Banshee's service? 1948.

My husband is of Irish descent...his family name is in that list.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mythic Monday (Sort of): Yggdrasill - If You Can Pronounce It, You May Be A Viking

First, I'm late. I know it. There was death and sadness that I found really odd since I didn't know the man at all except for the characters he played but I felt sad anyway. And then there were assholes making snarky superior comments about how Robin Williams is going to hell for committing suicide, and then there was angry me changing the theme of Mythic Monday this week six times because I was SO LIVID at the bitch at work who made said comments I had a whole post planned on hubris and arrogance...

And then someone found my blog by searching lilith spurned adam ,marries satan (typed exactly as found) and I chuckled and remembered MY anger over her judgmental bitch behavior won't do a stitch of good. And...I spelled "stitch" incorrectly the first time around. Proofreading: it's not just for English Majors anymore.

And so I'm back on my original post topic...potentially with fewer fragments and more actual sentences. (My apologies, Mr. Benson.)

Crap. The period goes INSIDE the parentheses in this case, right? Sigh. Honestly it doesn't matter one bit: spellchecker is going to explode with this post anyway.

Moving on.

Norse Cosmology (not creation and the gods, just the worlds)...because I plan on doing a post on other excellent stories (like Thor fishing for Jormungand in the sea around Midgard) but in order to do so a prequel must be presented for those who aren't Astaru or Heathen or just mythology freaks like me. (If I'm incorrect on anything here, those of you who ARE Astaru or Heathen or just better vested into Norse myth than I am, please comment).

Also: Norse mythologies use spellings from Old Norse, Modern Norwegian, Icelandic (which is VERY close to Old Norse but not exactly the same), Modern Swedish, Modern Danish, and of course the English translations.

What I'm saying here is that there are MULTIPLE spelling nuances for most of these names. Please try not to rip my head off because I spelled something different from your usual use (particularly if you use it in your spiritual beliefs)...I just picked one relatively consistent spelling and went with it across the board.

The Norse universe is set up in sets of three. Yes, three IS the number and the number shall be three. I am not going into Gods here, just the cosmos for now.

The universe itself is made up of three...hmm...plates, or levels. Envision one of those china caddy things that hold plates horizontal yet separated from each other, so they're stacked but not touching. This is the universe: three "plates" set up with space above and below each. And just as you'd imagine, the top level is the one with the most light while the bottom has the most shadow.

The top level houses Asgard, Vanaheim, and Alfheim. The Aesir gods dwell here in their halls, and Valhalla (which is seriously a full post on it's own merits, which I have planned), the hall of the warrior dead. Also located in Asgard is the site of Ragnarok (the battle at the end of time between all gods, men, and monsters): Vigrid, a battle plain so vast it's a sea of land. I envision something like the Great Plains, or the Steppes of Russia and Mongolia, but ultimately Asgard was, as you'd expect, enormous.

Asgard - land of the Aesir, the warrior gods
Vanaheim - land of the Vanir, the fertility gods (until they united with the Aesir, anyway)
Alfheim - land of the light elves.

Below Asgard, in the second level, is Midgard, the world of man.

Midgard is the level surrounded by a never-ending ocean, and Jormungand, the serpent dwelling at the bottom of the sea who's so long he bites his own tail.

Midgard - land of man.
Nidavellir - Dark Home, land of dwarves, in the Northern caves and potholes (I wonder occasionally if they wear hardhats and reflective vests while they're fixing potholes?)
Svartalfheim - land of dark elves, in the Northern underground.
Jotunheim - land of giants, in the Eastern Mountains along the coast.

The way between Asgard and Midgard is the Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. Those of you who've seen the Thor movies know exactly what I'm talking about: they truly did a fantastic job.

The third level, the darkest, is Niflheim, the world of the dead. The citadel of Niflheim is Hel, a world of it's own. However, in some of the creation myths Niflheim and Hel are combined into one and the ninth world is Muspellheim, land of fire. Interestingly, and in typical Norse circular fashion...the "big bang" in the universe which CREATED the levels and nine worlds occurred when Niflheim, land of ice, collided with Muspellheim, land of fire. Yes, it's confusing. Now, even more confusing is the idea that Niflheim contains the PLACE "Hel" and has since creation. Dwelling in Hel is the monster/creature, Hel, who is the daughter of Loki (who hasn't happened yet, if creation just banged when the two worlds collided to form the underworld). The dead must pass THROUGH Hel the creature to reach Hel the citadel and finally to get to Niflheim.

The center of all three levels, at the center of the UNIVERSE, is the ash tree, Yggdrasill, the World or Guardian Tree. Yggdrasill's branches reach above out over all the worlds and over heaven, and its three roots are planted in Asgard at the Well of Urd (Fate); in Jotunheim at the Spring of Mimir (Knowledge); and in Niflheim at the Spring of Hvergelmir (the source of eleven rivers).

Yggdrasill truly is presented as a sort of all encompassing Tree of Knowledge, Ark, and central pillar of sustenance to the universe. Yggdrasill is where Odin sacrificed his eye to drink from the Spring o Mimir to gain his vast knowledge. Near the Spring of Hvergelmir dwells the great dragon Nidhogg, who gnaws at the root of the world tree. Deer, goats, eagles, squirrels all live on the tree and eat from it. Ratatosk the squirrel carries insults from Nidhogg at the root of the tree up to the eagle who lives in the uppermost branches. The Well of Urd, or Fate, is where the Norns reside, the goddesses of destiny who carefully tend their root to keep the tree healthy with all the creatures damaging it for their survival.

Yggdrasill is so powerful, it survives Ragnarok, the final battle at the end of the world. It truly is the central, stable being of Norse myth.

For those of you who want pronunciations...honestly there's no way I can phonetically spell the neat Norse "ou" sound, which isn't the same as "hound" or "wound." It's a Minnesota (minnesooota) accent thing, I suppose, so I can pronounce it but I can't WRITE it properly.

In general, Y sounds like a short 'i' (dig). J is usually a "y" (yes). LLs have a bit of a roll to them.

The other part of Norse language that's difficult to convey in writing is the rocking rhythm of the words themselves. Poetry, after all, was the primary source of entertainment and storytelling for a reason for a people with a rocking-horse style of speaking Ragnarok would be RAg-na-ROK.

Now, go forth and practice Hvergelmir (VER gel meer, g is hard) and Jotunheim  (Yout un hime) to your heart's content.

Monday, August 11, 2014

O Captain, My Captain

I have a post on Yggdrasill ready for Mythic Monday, but then Robin Williams died.

And I just can't bring myself to post anything about Norse mythology tonight. It's stupid, I know: I never met the man. I didn't know him at all. And yet I feel like weeping at the waste, at the sadness of the end of an icon I suppose. I can't even count how many of the favorite movies throughout my life have been his.

Instead, this. Of all his fabulous movies, of all the genius characters and hilarious skits, DPS will always be my favorite.

Goodbye, sir. Thank you for sharing your incredible talents with us.

May you find peace.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nighmares At The Museum...Or, Ways To Feel Lucky I'm Still Alive

This isn't a real post: it's a bunch of pics from our trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for my birthday (because the MAGNA CARTA was there, people, and nothing makes my geeky medieval heart beat quite as fast as a piece of parchment that was written in 1217).
After I stopped drooling on the glass attempting to read tiny scribblings I'm told are supposedly in  Latin but were written on really old skin, in fading ink, in a different language, by some sort of hobbit sized scribe erm... blind monks thrifty people trying to save messenger fees...
Anyway, after we finished geeking out over the Magna Carta we spent some time in the Paleontology exhibit.
Wherein I met monsters that I'm afraid are digging holes in my front yard and some unfortunate fellows had...incidents.
First, there were bugs. LOTS OF GIANT SNAKEPIDER BUGS.

If THIS is what's making a goddamned hole in my front garden, FUCK NO.
Then, there were super awesome giant cross sections of huge trees that lived about a zillion years before man was even a blip on the cosmic radar. And they're pretty.
I'm 6' tall. This cross section of a fossilized tree is taller than me...just how many rings IS that?
Then Husband unfortunately lost his hand to some sort of giant sailing lizard. Sad. (It's possible he's attempting to choke said sailing lizard, which seems foolish considering the HUGE FUCKING TEETH, but it all turned out ok in the end.)
His new hook is on backorder. 

Then we discovered Syfy channel has failed utterly in their monster movie motifs. I mean, come ON: in the Hall of Monsters in the museum these dudes just hung out, waiting to stalk you and eat your brains. Except they were literally 15 to 20 feet tall, and looked fully large enough to carry off a Clydesdale. Syfy, their NAME is Gigantodactyl. YOUR WORK HAS BEEN DONE FOR YOU HERE.
We do not eat worms.
Unless it's a sandworm from Dune...those might be tasty, and we're definitely early.
And terrifying.
And then we discovered this unfortunate scene, in which a skeletal zombie mammoth is fighting skeletal human hunters. As you can see, the mammoth is CLEARLY winning here.

Or, prehistoric humans could fly. It's rather difficult to tell.
See the skeleton? Natural Selection at it's best.

Nope, this dude DEFINTELY looks like he's having a piss-poor hunting day. Maybe the Mammoth learned to appreciate human flight deaths from Robin Arryn? (Yes, that's a Game of Thrones reference. What? This could be the brother of the sad mammoths that died at the Wall)

You win this round, Mammoth.

And thus our trip to the museum ended. And I'm reminded that even though I'm closer to 40 today, I still have a longer life span than people who tried to fly around mammoths. And that's enough for me.

Mammoth Butt. The End.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

I Don't Need Your Homegrown Dandelions, Gmail.

"Laughed the car and into tears."
There is nothing I can say to top that.

Gmail has been trumping Yahoo for weird spam lately...not for the offers, but for the random gibberish in the body of the emails.
Because "homegrown dandelions."
I'm baffled.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Dear Anyone: IS THIS A SNAKE DEN??

I assure you, there's a hole there (rained last night). It's the size of a doughnut hole...2" across or so.

Seriously, what the hell made this hole in my front garden?? Giant wasps? Ground gopher (that's what Husband says it is, by the way)? 

Giant Snakepider? 
Teeny-tiny Hellmouth (in which case I expect Buffy to come save me immediately)??

What if it's something that attacks? Damn my front walk! First wasps the size of my flip-you-off-finger, now a CREATURE digging a snug Shelob cave next to the door. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Updated: But...Is There Hypoallergenic Tattoo Ink For My Rabbit??

So, I have relatives visiting this fall and was looking for anything equestrian-related to maybe go do while they're here, because they'll be six months early for the Houston Rodeo. A coworker suggested the Harris County Fair, which will be near my house (woohoo! Convenient AND close).

No joy: there's no horse stuff, just other livestock and FFA events. I was mildly bummed until I opened the rules page and found THIS:
NO EXCEPTIONS to Tattooing your Rabbits, people. Tramp stamp approved.

Someone may have to explain what sort of tattoos are appropriate for bunnies, because seriously I have visions of a green-mohawked, badass bunny with a tribal trampstamp above the tail. Do bunny tattoo artists give full sleeves? If so, would that change the luck factor regarding rabbits' foot key chains (which I consider pretty unlucky, personally, since it was decidedly unlucky for the rabbit)?
I should never click "publish" until I've let an idea percolate.
What if the bunny in Monty Python and The Holy Grail had been Tattooed? Would it have been even MORE of a badass?
Green Mohawk, tattooed face and arms, yelling "take this assholes!" and throwing the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch right back at The Mighty Tim??

Then I foolishly tried the search fields on the Houston Chronicle website. Please note the WHAT field, and the results the search gave me...

So...Katy Perry is now a Horse in October in Houston. Chased by Zombies and Dirty Girls.
In the mud. Wow.
Honestly, I don't even know what to say about this, except I don' think I've ever heard KP referred to as horsey in any way.

PS: I checked out the Zombie Charge event because it sounded fun...until I got to the "running through swamps/mud/trails/surprises" parts. This fat woman will not huff and shuffle through swamps in TX, particularly not when "surprises" could just as easily be gators or water moccasins instead of zombies.

Now, if I could shoot zombies with paintballs...