Video Games Day

July 8th is Video Games Day.

Today, no matter what your platform (Xbox, Sony, Nintendo), you should relax with a video game. Or, if you prefer, have a competition with your friends (make sure you have enough controllers for everyone).

Kuri plays XboxCAT Testing

Enjoy a game today.


Video Games Day http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/July/videogamesday.htm
Lists all fantasy video games http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Fantasy_video_games
RPG forms and explanations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_game

For those who don’t want to play one of the amazing array of video games out there, wish the Wall Street Journal a happy birthday. Its debut was July 8th, 1889.

Cryptozoology, Mythology, V-Z

Zulu Mythology


In keeping with my rainbow theme, the first goddess of Zulu mythology would be Nokhubulwane (Mbaba Mwana Waresa). Besides being the goddess of rainbows, Nokhubulwane is also the creator of beer and the goddess who presides over agriculture and rain.

Unkulunkulu, the greatest one also the Ancient One, is the creator of humans. He was born in a swamp of reeds and then came to earth. He is the First Man, and is in everything that he created.
He created everything that is the inanimate to the living. He also taught the Zulu all of their skills from fire to hunting and growing food.

Unkulunku is sometimes a combined personage with Umvelinqangi (uKqili), the sky god, also god of earthquakes and thunders. Umvelingangi has been there since the beginning of time. According to Zulu myth, humans are mortal because of a very slow chameleon named Unwaba. The chameleon’s color changes from green to brown because it is mourning the sloth that lost humans their immortality.

Another prominent deity is the goddess of the rivers, Mamlambo. She is variously described as a large snake-like aquatic creature or as a half-fish, half-horse monster. She has a hypnotic gaze and glows in the dark. Mamlambo drowns her victims. She loves thunderstorms.

More fun Zulu cryptozoology includes:

Tikoloshe is described both as a dwarf-like water spirit or as a dwarf with only half a body. It fights humans and usually kills them. It is often used to scare children into behaving. If a human somehow manages to defeat it, the Tikoloshe will teach them its powers.

If one sleeps to close to the ground, a Tokeloshe will strangle them in the night. This is given as the reason most Zulus sleep on beds raised on 3 or 4 bricks at each post.

My favorite Zulu Proverb – “No sun sets without its histories.”


Zulu cryptozoology http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Category:Zulu_mythology#ixzz34WjIIcCb
Zulu creation myth http://www.realalternativesite.com/zulu-creator-myth-belief-unkulunkulu-a-1329.html
More about Nokhubulwane, the goddess of rainbows http://www.mythicjourneys.org/bigmyth/myths/english/eng_zulu_pantheon.htm
Everything one could ever want to know about Tokoloshe http://www.vanhunks.com/tokoloshe1.html
Zulu Proverbs http://www.proverbs-and-quotes.com/zulu_proverbs.htm

 “He was kicked by a horse in the chest.” – refers to one who gossips and cannot keep a secret.



I’m heading out for two weeks of vacation to the California and Oregon coasts and to the LA convention center for the Los Angeles Anime Expo.
Please excuse the noise as I try to get automated posts up and going. My first attempt “Summer Solstice” didn’t work so back to the drawing board.

Just back from the Olympic Peninsula. I have now been to the Northwest corner of the continental United States. The Makah Nation maintains a good path to Cape Flattery and an overlook of Tatoosh Island. There is also a wonderful museum that houses the artifacts and story of the Ozette Pompeii.


V-Z, Washington

Washington Volcanoes

Mt. Rainier on the way from SEA to LAX

The famous Mt. St. Helens Volcano in Washington State will get its own blog post on May 18th, but it’s not the only volcano that resides in Washington State.

We have five major Washington State Volcanoes. Besides Mt. St. Helens, there are Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mt. Adams. These five make up one quarter of the active volcanoes in the lower 48.

For a good map of the location of each volcano in Washington State and an accompanying picture go to: http://www.washingtonstatesearch.com/Washington_maps/Major_Washington_State_Volcanoes.html

There are also other volcanic sites including Indian Heaven Volcanic Field, Goat Rocks, Signal Peak, Simcoe, and West Crater.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll only cover the big five. Since Mt. St. Helens gets its own post on the anniversary of its last eruption (May 18), that leaves four volcanoes for today.

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The volcano I see most frequently is Mt. Rainier. Mt. Rainier is part of the Seattle area landscape and is the largest mountain and volcano in Washington State. Mt. Rainier has 26 main glaciers and snowpack all year which makes it an ideal training ground for scaling Mt. Everest.

Mt. Rainier is also a national park and several of the most popular activities at the mountain
include skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, photography and camping. May it never explode.

Native Americans called the “Big Mountain” by several names (including Takhoma, Tahoma etc) and besides “Big Mountain” most of the names mean such things as “Snowy Peak” and “The place where water begins”. Much more descriptive and appropriate than being named for explorer George Vancouver’s friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.

Mt. Baker (Koma Kulshan) is the northern most volcano in Washington State. It is the third highest mountain in the state. Mt. Baker is considered one of the snowiest places in the world. http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/baker/

Glacier Peak is considered the most remote of the Cascade volcanoes. It gets its name from over a dozen glaciers that glide down it. http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/glacier_peak/
Glacier Peak is the fourth tallest peak in Washington State. Glacier Peak has long been one of the most active volcanoes in Washington

Mt. Adams, named after President Adams by Hall J. Kelley (once he finally figured out which volcano he could name), is located east of Mt. St. Helens, and, outside of Mt. Shasta in California, is the largest by volume volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/adams/
Native American local myth about Washington State http://www.crystalinks.com/volcanomyth.html

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The constant question on everyone’s mind after the Mt. St. Helen’s blast is which volcano is most likely to erupt next? http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2010/01/08/which-state-volcano-is-most-likely-to-erupt-next/

The Burke Museum located on the campus of the University of Washington is one of the best go-to-places for all things Washington State including volcanoes. http://www.burkemuseum.org/

All of Washington’s volcanoes except for Mt. Adams have erupted during the last 250 years. For a complete list of time and type of eruptions go to: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/GeologicHazardsMapping/Pages/volcanoes.aspx


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Other volcano sources:
A dynamic map site: http://www.nationalatlas.gov/dynamic/dyn_vol-wa.html
USGS monitoring and hazards info site: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/
Smithsonian Institution Volcano Information Site: http://www.volcano.si.edu/
PNSN Seismic readings near volcanoes: http://www.pnsn.org/volcanoes
Totally not Washington, but very cool anyway: Volcanoes under Antarctica Ice Sheet http://www.livescience.com/41262-west-antarctica-new-volcano-discovered.html?cmpid=514645_20140504_20418954

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) http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies_novella.htm
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 http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/cumberland.htm


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. http://www.newanimal.org/

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 http://lepcha.info/ 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. http://www.paranormalpopculture.com/2013/02/us-governments-official-yeti-policy.html



Fonts, V-Z

X = Xenophobia

140410 -  - medium-14 by AEnigma – Brian Kent kentpw@norwich.net


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.”- http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/library/xenophobia/

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.org – 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: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=waterfalls&qpvt=waterfalls&FORM=IGRE

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: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/spring-destinations/waterfall-hikes

Snoqualmie Falls is great favorite and only a very short drive away from Seattle. http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/. 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. http://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/

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.”