Tag Archives: Pagan holidays

Happy Spring and Ostara to those who celebrate it

Today was the Spring Equinox, the day when the sun’s arc crosses the Equator and the day and night are equal. Lots of “qs” in that sentence. Today is also the Quarter Sabbat called Ostara or Oestara, and my spellcheck doesn’t like the Oe version. It was also Game Day and today was RP what our characters are doing in what in Game terms is Downtime, or as I prefer to look at it, Regular Life.

The group finally got around to fencing the guns we captured in out battle with the Featherds gang when they declared war on me a while back. I kept the stuff I wanted, upgrading my grenade launcher from one that only carried 12 in the clip to one with one more point of accuracy and a 32 round capacity, which was the one that killed the heart of the Omega Mart on the last run. During this downtime I upgraded their car that I kept as a war prize for an extra point of on-road handling. My character also upgraded the vehicle we use to transport the group, Izzy’s Rover Van to include armored leather seats that feel like heaven with heat and cooling on each seat, because after shooting it out in the middle of a Post-Apocalyptic TX summer you really need a cool place to park your butt. And while winters in 2076 aren’t bad there are enough cold days that warmth from behind is also a good thing.

But otherwise today was boring as heck because it was mostly RP and rolling extended tests for our Faces to fence stuff and turn captured weapons and vehicles into spendable money. I have only 1 point of Charisma, so I don’t take part in negotiations like this, I “negotiate” with (usually) a semi-auto grenade launcher or “up close and personal” with my katana. I prefer to keep “negotiations” at a distance, so while I continue to train regularly with the katana most of the time I’m lobbing grenades from a distance with pin-point accuracy.

I missed two races today doing this, there was an Indycar race down the pike outside Ft. Worth, and a Cup race in Atlanta. I have no idea who won either race and while that bothers me a little, I would rather interact with my friends playing a silly game while they did most of the work today. Eventually I’ll find out who won both races but right now I don’t care.


Wounded but not defeated, and Happy Samhain

OK full accounting of the injuries comes to 5 cuts of various sizes on the left hand, strained or sprained neck, bruising on the top of my head, and a major headache in places not actually bruised from the impact. And also we need to buy a new door as the old one is warped beyond use and won’t close, and also the window is “not there”. I didn’t lose as much blood as it first looked like, it just went everywhere and made a mess.

Now for the other half of today’s headline. The word “samhain” is Gaelic and pronounced SOW-wehn not Sam Hane and AFAIK is simply the name of the holiday transliterated from written Gaelic based on the shape of the runes. This is traditionally one of two times when the veils between the world of the living (us, well most of us) and the world of the dead (everyone else not visible to us). This is obviously a massive over-simplification that gets 90% of the truth across without requiring a book-length explanation to cover the minutia involved in the last 10%. If you so desire and have the skills you may connect with the recently-departed between sundown and local midnight, or you may feel their presence around you if they were extremely close emotionally.

One thing you can do to invite them in is set a place at your table for them. Our current tradition of giving candy away is descended from this practice by a long and convoluted path, so if you’re generous with handing out the goodies you might see someone you recognize, but not really, among the trick-or-treaters.

That’s all I have to say tonight, so have a happy Halloween, and remember to hug your friends and family including your fur-family tonight, and remind them you love them.

Happy Solstice!

This is not a very important holiday in the Pagan liturgy, more of a “Take a break and celebrate living” kind of thing. so if the weather is good for you this is a good time for love under the stars.

Except for those of you South of the Equator, throw another log on the fire and snuggle under a warm blanket.

Happy Solstice and whatever holiday you celebrate

Welcome to the longest night of the year. For some of us this is a time of quiet contemplation, for others it is a time for raucous partying to make sure the sun returns, for the rest of us it’s Friday night.

For me, I will crack a bottle of beer and contemplate because I didn’t get invited to the parties as I’m old and maybe they thought I wouldn’t or couldn’t enjoy the action. There is a grain of truth to that as I have been dealing with pain in both hips lately and can’t dance like I used to. Or do “other things” like I used to. But I still enjoy the music and doing less physical kinds of dancing, so I’m ever-so-slightly annoyed at not getting any invites this year. For Mrs. the Poet this will be Friday night like every other as she’s not Pagan, she just lives with one and I make no attempt to convert her. And TBH if I hadn’t experienced what I did while I was dead I would probably be Atheist by now. I know there is something, but knowing and having the vocabulary and syntax to explain it are two different things. So I will pick out the most contemplative beer from what’s left of my Shiner Family Pack and contemplate.

As my old raincoat fell apart this summer when I took it out of the closet to wear it I bought myself a present with the money I get for my allowance. I bought this from a company called Alert Shirt and it’s basically a waterproof shell to wear over my other clothes so I can wear it all year and just adjust what’s under it to accommodate to the temperature. As such I bought it a size larger than I wear to allow for heavy coats under it. Yesterday I wore it over a light shirt and jeans in a strong wind and temperatures in the mid to low 50s F (13-10°C) and was comfortably warm especially after I pulled the hood over my hat to trap some warm air around my head.
The camera doesn't do it justice as to how bright the color is.

And no my arms don’t bend that way, but the coat does over my arms, so there you have it. I picked this coat because here in TX the need for a heavy coat doesn’t come up very often, even less often than the need for rain protection, but when a heavy coat is needed there is frequently precipitation of some kind to accompany the need for insulation. I have heavy coats of varying degrees of water-resistance and I used to have to select based on water-resistance over insulation because of precipitation. Now I don’t have to I can select a coat suitable for the temperature and use this “waterproof windbreaker” to take care of precipitation if there is any. It also lowers the temperature range of the other coat by about 10°F(3°C). I would have been uncomfortable in the “feels like” of 40°F yesterday without the coat but was mostly good with the coat, IOW if the wind hadn’t been blowing I had enough clothes for the temperature, and the coat did its job at keeping the wind off me. So between this coat and my other coats I should be good out walking this winter.

In closing, Happy Solstice to you and yours however you celebrate it and I’ll see you after Christmas as I have social and family obligations that will prevent my writing until after the holiday.

Happy Beltain!

Today is the arguably the second-biggest holiday in the Wiccan liturgical calendar, after Samhain (pronounced Sow-when (more or less, depending on your particular accent of English)). There’s a rude rhyme that goes with the holiday about how the usual weather on the British Isles is warm enough that sexual activity in the out-of-doors is unlikely to cause death by exposure after this date. If that’s what you’re into, enjoy. Here in TX we have been enjoying that particular activity for over a month now.

I’m not going to explain the holiday here, Witchvox used to have a nice explanation of our liturgical calendar and what the holidays meant to our ancestors, but that was then and this is now. It’s still a celebration of the Earth and its fertility and ability to give life, but we don’t have sex in the fields to show the plants how it’s done. My eyes and nose are ample evidence to plants already knowing how to have sex, and that they are unable to keep their sexual activity to their own species. They don’t need any training on this. I’m just going to say if that’s your thing then party on dudes.

I’m still thinking about the Sprint-T, and how to wrap the cage and frame around the body without any need to cut the body for clearance except the firewall and the bottom where the engine and drivetrain make that a requirement. I have also been looking real hard at the Winter’s catalog for lightweight alternatives with the required 5″ driveshaft offset to match the engine and reduce u-joint angularity. So far the best I have found is the 8″ with the aluminum billet locker as the best compromise between street manners and light weight and also able to handle the HP of the mighty Pentastar. The 7″ is lighter but might be marginal with a Pentastar for street driving and autocrossing. The setup for one or the other would work, but trying to do both requires changing too much going from one to the other. The harder ring gear that would work on the street is just too brittle for the shock loads of the autocross standing start. Think drag racing with 1st and 2nd gear left and right turns and you’ll have a good idea of the stresses of autocross, but the materials that work for that are too soft for street driving and will wear out quickly. The larger 8″ ring gear has enough inherent strength that the harder material will work for both applications.

Well I need to put this one to bed while it’s still Beltain.

Happy Samhain!

This is going to be a busy night, so I’m going to wish everyone a pleasant commune with your departed loved ones and relatives.

Happy Easter!

I used to be Christian (good little Southern Baptist boy, saved and dunked) so I know a thing or two about the Christian Liturgical Year. Christmas gets all the press attention, but the real meat and potatoes of Christianity is not that Yeshua ben Yosef was born, not that he died, but that he rose again on the third day. Everybody gets born, eventually everybody dies, some of us come back, but hardly any of us come back. And by my count Jesus was out for about 36 hours, getting buried just before sundown on Friday and leaving the tomb around sunrise on Sunday morning. That’s 35:58 (+/-) longer than I was dead. And I call that a genuine miracle.

Why the bunnies and chocolate? During the Middle Ages (AKA The Dark Ages) Christianity was not as warmly as some would like us to believe, so aspects of the liturgy were “adapted” from whatever local faith was dominant in the area. Since Easter comes between two Pagan festivals, one minor (Spring Equinox, aka Ostara) and one major (the cross quarter between Spring and Mid-Summer aka Beltane) bits and pieces were stolen from both and incorporated into the cultural celebration of the holiday. Thus the bunny, eggs and chicks as representations of Spring and renewed life. Candy came much, much later. One particular English aspect, Morris Dancing, was lifted whole and (almost) unchanged. The name Morris is a corruption of Mary’s, the dancers were trying to entice a local goddess also named Mary to bring forth the Spring. And by outright lying that the Anglo goddess Mary was the mother of Jesus Christianity established a beachhead in the British Isles.

And now I’m going to enjoy my chocolate and hard-boiled eggs. You do what you want, within reason.

Happy Imbolc! and something to do with large rodents

I don’t know if this was on-purpose or serendipity, but the made-up US celebration falls square on the Pagan holiday. We Pagans of many stripes can celebrate our minor fertility festival on the same day as the muggles lose their minds on a groundhog seeing his shadow or not, and most people can’t tell the difference.

Incidentally this fertility festival mirrors the harvest festivals in the Fall. We have the trios of Lammas/Lughnassad, Mabon AKA My Birthday, and Samhain in the fall and Imbolc, Ostara, and Beltain in the spring. Here in TX you plan your crops in Imbolc, plant your crops near Ostara, and cheer for your crops on Beltain.

So, what are you planning to plant this year? Literally I still don’t have a garden here so I don’t plant food crops, and I don’t plant flowers either because I get allergies. As for the other I plan on doing the plasma gig, playing the cell phone game for every cent I can pull out of it, and keep trying to get writing work. I really wish I could still write poetry as there has been a large upsurge in demand this year. But Rhyme and Meter were both knocked out of my head in the wreck, and if the driver was still alive another one of the things I would have sued over losing. I’m still a fairly competent technical writer, I think, but it has been years since I picked up one of those gigs. So a small income stream is infinitely better than no income stream, but a big income stream beats the crap out of a small income stream.

So, my planting this year will be things that can grow my revenue stream(s). I will be starting the selling plasma gig, continuing the cell phone game gig and the gig I can’t talk about because NDA, and keep looking for writing and modeling gigs in the hope that I can still do those things.

Back to the recurring story about the hot rod, it seems there are good things about having insomnia. “Buh, wha’?”[whiplash] Yeah, it turns out being in bed in a dark room just… thinking, is a great way to solve problems. One of the problems I needed to solve was adjustability for different uses. For normal street and highway use a touch of understeer is good and makes the car more stable. In the past Detroit carmakers mistook “touch” for “kill it multiple times with a sledgehammer” leading to sedans that plowed like a farm implement under hard cornering. For autocross driving a touch of oversteer makes the car faster through the twisties, just enough to change direction quickly. A good way to adjust over/understeer is moving the rear roll center up and down. So I designed a cheap and simple way to adjust the rear roll center height quickly the other night while waiting for brain shutdown and sleep involving a chunk of 1″ allthread and a matching nut that acts as the pivot for the center arm of the Watt’s link. As I crank the allthread the nut moves up and down, but even if the allthread can’t turn except when I crank on it the roll center won’t change enough to affect handling as the nut turns while the arm pivots because the nut only moves a fraction of a turn which translates to a fraction of a thread spacing. To change the roll center height enough to change from under to oversteer and back requires moving inches, not a tiny fraction of an inch (< 1mm). Not that the allthread not moving is a high probability but I like to make sure I cover all the bases (as in "what is the worst that can happen with this design?"). "The worst" in this case was the allthread bending under the load and failing leading to a laterally unrestrained rear axle, but the way to deal with that is to size the allthread so that other things fail first, things that don't normally fail except in a wreck. I figure that 1" is enough safety factor to prevent that from happening, especially since the fixed-mount kit through Speedway uses a ½" bolt in single shear for the center pivot. There will be roller bearings in the top and bottom brackets for the allthread to turn in and a 3/8” square carved into the top of the allthread for a ratchet to drive the nut up and down.

But now we are entering the minutiae of car design (aka “brass tacks”). I don’t usually get into things this nit-picky until much later in the design but I was just laying there staring at the ceiling in the semi-dark of a suburban night unable to sleep and nothing else to do but think and this is what I thunk.

Y’all have a good night, Opus the Unkillable