Cryptozoology, Fonts, V-Z

Z = Zombie Z= Zed

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Zapped Sticks is by GemFonts
Z = Zirkon – Author unknown. Can anyone tell me who created this cool font?


Zombies are an obvious subject for a fantasy writer, but I am going to start with a disclaimer.

I don’t like zombies, not one bit. I can’t watch them on the big screen or the little screen. If they are the sole focus of a book, I won’t read it (I will read books with zombies in them, just not those solely focused on the phenomenon).

My dislike stems from my low gross-out point. For me zombies equal rotting limbs, brain-binging, and ugly teeth. We all have our prejudices.

My interest in zombies is in the aspect of folklore, especially Haitian folklore. In Haitian folklore zombies are animated (reanimated) corpses raised by magical means.

I am partial to an individualized view of single zombies raised from the dead with a purpose as opposed to the modern diseased plague-upon-the-land versions. Call me a traditionalist.

There is always an exception to every rule and my exception is my favorite zombie apocalypse read by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Now this is how a zombie apocalypse should read.

Descartes explored the zombie phenomenon in Discourse V and since then there have been many deep philosophical discussions regarding the existence of zombies.

The philosophical debate about zombies centers on these three statements.

a – Zombies are conceivable
b – Whatever is conceivable is possible
c – Therefore zombies are possible.

There is, as of yet, no consensus. If you are in doubt about whether or not you need to protect yourself, Max Brooks has a delightful set of books on the subject.

This is the other zombie apocalypse book I enjoy:
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks

Now on to Zed

Zed is how the rest of the English-speaking world, outside of America, pronounces the last letter of the alphabet “Z”

“Z” is, indeed, the last letter of the alphabet and with that I sign off of the April A-Z challenge. See you in May


Cryptozoology, Fonts, V-Z

Y = Yeti

140410 -  - medium-15Yank by S. John Ross


Yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman, mostly resides in the Himalayas Mountains, but is a tale well-known in Nepal, Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia and Russia.

A similar beast in North America is known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

Yeti is a word from Nepal that translates to “mountain man”. It is indigenous to the mythology of Nepal and Tibet. It is one of the most sought-after creatures in the field of cryptozoology.

Cryptozoology is the study of study of hidden animals. Hidden animals being animals whose existence is not yet proven.

Big foot and a roseIn 1921 the Yeti was introduced

to Western culture by Lt. Colonel Charles Howard-Bury in Mount Everest: The Reconnaissance as the Abominable Snowman.

Pliny the Elder’s Natural History describes a Yeti-like creature in the mountains east of India. The Lepcha People supposedly worshipped a Glacial Being known as a God of the Hunt.

When Westerners began climbing mountains in the Himalayas reports of the Yeti skyrocketed.

The some of the prevailing wisdom on the Yeti is that Yeti are nocturnal, very fast and they can walk upright or on all four legs. According to the Nepalese, the Yeti is so strong, it can kill a human with one punch. The Yeti has also been described as having reddish-hair, a terrible stench and of having the capability to throw boulders as if they were pebbles.

In 1959 the United States government thought finding the Yeti was enough of a possibility to issue a policy on Yeti hunting that included the guideline that the Yeti was not to be harmed except in self-defense.


Fonts, V-Z

X = Xenophobia

140410 -  - medium-14 by AEnigma – Brian Kent


Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell

Phobia is fear and xeno is from the Greek meaning strange or foreign. It is often defined as a hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers or of the politics or culture of strangers or fear and contempt of strangers or an unreasonable fear, distrust or hatred of strangers, foreigners or anything perceived as foreign or different.

Word is that xenophobia is on the rise.

This a serious subject and one that should be addressed swiftly and decisively in our increasingly connected world.

“It is important to catch xenophobia early on. If left untreated, this condition can have seriously detrimental effects on not only the sufferer but also the objects of his or her prejudice. Furthermore, the xenophobic is liable to pass along his or her highly generalized and ungrounded perceptions to impressionable children and family members.”-

Xenophobia is often hand-in-hand with bigotry and while often aimed at recent immigrants or “others”, xenophobia is also directed against long-standing minority groups. At its extreme this can create mass expulsion or genocide of the smaller group.

Xenophobia is a natural human reaction and classification system, us vs. them, but outside of sporting events (and in some cases even sporting events), this is quite harmful.

“All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They!”
― Rudyard Kipling

Xenophobia pits one culture against another. If you don’t think you have a degree of it, let me ask you these questions.

Do people outside of your own circles make you nervous?
Are you put on the defensive by large groups of other races or cultures where yours should be? Do they belong elsewhere?

Do you feel fear when bridging a cultural gap because you know you should?

And bravo for you if you do. We can overcome our prejudices and fears if we face them squarely, acknowledge them and move past them.

Do you react strongly to foreign words creeping into your language? Are you a “if they are here they should become like us” sort of person? Do you think they should speak the same? Adopt the predominate culture? Act the same?

Do you make generalizations about what other people are like and believe there is a basis in stereotypes?

Do you take pleasure in jokes that bash other cultures? Think for a moment – how many versions of the “How many “insert ethnic group” does it take to change a light bulb?” jokes do you know? Which ones do you enjoy most? Why?

Do you suffer from Islamophobia? Anti-Semitism? Do you have difficulty accepting people outside of your social circle because of religion, class, education, geography and so forth?

If you can answer “no” to all of these questions, you are remarkable and go out and lead people by your example. If you answer yes to any of these questions, and most of us do to at least one, ask yourself why and more importantly ask yourself what you can do to overcome it. – xenophobia as it relates to current events.

“Xenophobia, you should be more afraid of someone exactly like you” – Loesje


Fonts, V-Z

W = Waterfalls

W - Wingdings

Wingdings render letters as a variety of symbols. Microsoft 1990. Overall just a great deal of fun.


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An area, usually of a flowing river where water drops abruptly and nearly vertically. As strange as it is to me, I have met people who have never seen a waterfall.

Some beautiful images of waterfalls:

The highest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela and the largest waterfall, calculated by the volume of water passing over it, is Khone Falls in Laos.

Overall there are ten different classes of waterfalls based on the volume of water flow and height. At the top are class 10 waterfalls such as Khone Falls and Niagara Falls.

Beyond the classes of waterfalls there are also types of waterfalls such as Ledge Waterfalls (block/sheet, classical, curtain), Plunge (punchbowl), Horsetail (slide, ribbon, chute, fan), Cascade, Tiered/staircase/multi-step, Cataract, Segmented, Tide fall, and Frozen.

I am most fortunate to live in a state with a multitude of waterfalls of all sorts of different classes and types.

Snoqualmie Falls

From Aasgard Falls in Chelan County to Zig Zag Falls in Skamania County or ZigZag Falls in Pierce County, this website is a fantastic guide of places to visit and waterfalls to see in Washington State.

According to this site “the state possesses perhaps the highest density of waterfalls in the entire nation” and then follows up with 67 pages of waterfall listings.

Ten great waterfall hikes in Washington state:

Snoqualmie Falls is great favorite and only a very short drive away from Seattle. Snoqualmie is an easy access (wheelchair accessible) large waterfall with a straight-down plunge of 270 feet. It is well worth the view.Snoqualmie Falls

Finally here is my list of many of the waterfalls I have yet to see, but many of them are on my bucket list.

What waterfall would you most like to see and why?


Books, Fonts, V-Z, Writing

V = Voltaire

V stands for Vladimir ScriptV stands for Vivaldi

Vladimir Script Designer: Andrich Vladimir Publisher: URW++
Vivaldi by Friedrich Peter, 1997

A few years ago, I decided to start reading some of the classic literature I missed in my college courses. It turned out that I had missed a great deal of literature and I am still catching up with all of that reading.

I discovered a book well-known to others by the name of Candide. The book, the prose, spoke to me and I discovered Voltaire.

Voltaire is just one of the many pen names used by Francois-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 (or as he claimed Feb. 20, 1694) – May 30, 1778).

Voltaire is best known as a philosopher, historian and writer and a master of satire. He is well-known for his keen wit and as a champion of freedom (speech, religion, and from a variety of dogmatic institutions).

A very prolific man he generated thousands of works including 20,000 letters plus 2,000 books and pamphlets. He did all of this work before the advent of either the typewriter or the computer. I try to remember that whenever I complain about how much work it is to write something.

Arouet, henceforth known in this blog as Voltaire, was the youngest of five children in a noble family in the province of Poitou. Here I could digress into the study of birth order and personality, but I won’t. At least not yet.

Besides his native French, Voltaire learned Latin and Greek and became fluent in Italian, Spanish and English.

Continually pushed by his father into the field of law, Voltaire often lied about his positions so he could pursue a writing life in and around Paris. His writing led to numerous exiles and imprisonments, but he never followed cease and desist orders.

In 1718 he claimed the anagram of the Latin spelling of his name: Voltaire. Though he used at least 178 different pen names during his lifetime, Voltaire is the one that stuck.

Voltaire resonated enough that when the chance arose I named my POV (Point-of-view) character in my urban fantasy after him.

My character, Sparky Voltaire, is a completely different man, but I hope in as many ways complex and willing to take a stand for what he thinks is right.

I have pages of quotes by Voltaire, but I will resist temptation and end with only one:

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”


Fonts, Writing

U = Urban Fantasy

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Unquiet Spirits – Sinister Visions

Urban fantasy

Urban fantasy is basically a fantasy story that takes place in an urban setting, historical, modern or futuristic. They are not limited to the city, but need to be primarily in an urban city, one that reflects a reality that is known to us through history, extrapolation or contemporary settings.

Urban fantasy is distinguished from high fantasy in that it is set primarily in a real world and brings in myth or legend to live side-by-side with a verisimilitude of reality.

The term has referred to many things other than the fiction with which today it is associated. The coinage of urban fantasy as genre began in the 1980’s.

Urban fantasy is an extremely popular genre replete with vampires, zombies, werewolves, and all manner of creepy crawly things from legend, folklore and myth.

Vampires, werewolves and zombies are among the most popular, but urban fantasy is limited only by the writer’s imagination and there are as many jumping off points as there are cultures and stories in the world. It makes for a pretty big field.

In future posts I will visit some of the great authors, well-known and not as well-known, and their works. There are far too many to even begin a list here.

Until then you might want to try your own hand in a walk on the fantastic side of things:


Cryptozoology, Fonts, Mythology, Q-U

T = Tengu

T is for Times New Roman
Times New Roman by Victor Lardent, 1931. This is the writing industry 12 pt. standard. At least for the time being. That may change:,0,1227267.story?track=rss#axzz2xJumYEQt


After my long digression in yesterday’s Seattle post, I’m going to try to keep this post short and sweet.

Tengu are some of my favorite demons. They are from Japanese folk religion and, for me, endlessly fascinating. Among demon manifestation they are tricksters, sometimes benevolent or helpful and often cruel and dangerous.

It is thought they are a descendent of the Chinese “heavenly dog” demon, Tiangou, but in Japanese folklore are usually identified with birds of prey.

Over the centuries, Tengu have become less evil, and more humanized with very long noses replacing beaks. They are shape-shifters and in more recent literature take human forms and are more mischievous.

Tengu live in trees in mountainous areas. Besides being known for their arrogance they are also renowned swordsmen (swords-beasts? swords-demons?). There are also lesser tengu (koppa or leaflet tengu) who act as messengers for the greater tengu.

In Japan the tengu are vain and prideful and to this day conceited people are still described as “becoming tengu”.

The first recorded mention of Japanese tengu is in Nihon Shoki in 720 where the tengu is described as canine monster and harbinger of war. Somehow over the centuries the tengu meta-morphed into a vicious bird-demon and then into a more humanized trickster.

Today the tengu is making a resurgence especially in video games. It is ripe for many different interpretations.

This shape-shifter with a wide range of personalities is one of my favorites as a jumping off point for writing. I have created my own version for my stories. or