Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – where I show just how nerdy I am when it comes to magic and religion

And now for something completely different.

I tinker at writing sword and sorcery fiction. The milieu allows for some interesting thoughts about how gods and magic and mortals interact. This is a snippet about how gods, religion and magic work out. The setting is a pair of classic D&D type characters (mage and thief) in an urban fantasy world.

“What gods are in this world?” Myridian accepted a cup of coffee with a nod. “I understand that Katherine and Nightchild are shaman which would be akin to what we have in our world, being able to heal with magic, but do you have priests? Temples?”

Slim sat back, the street samurai exchanging a glance with Nightchild. “Hmmm, well, there are some people who still believe in gods, if you mean really powerful magical beings that control the universe or some crap like that. I’ve seen them on street corners screaming that the world is going to end and their god is the only one that can save everyone. I don’t know much about the idea.”

“A single god? An odd idea. We have many, each with a certain sphere of influence.”

“The monotheistic idea lost a lot of steam when magic came back.” Nightchild sipped at her coffee. “A lot of your average wageslaves will think that since I’m a shaman, I worship a god or gods or something like that, thanks to media making up all sorts of shit on how magic works. But really, I work with Cat, and Cat works with me and we usually have the same goals in mind. What Cat is exactly?” She shrugged her shoulders. “The stories have them being always here, my theory is that they are basically Platonian ideals that have manifested agency and can affect reality in ways mortals can’t on their own.”

Slim chuckled. “And there are some that worship the dragons, but we know they can be killed, so they aren’t what I’d call a god; Azatlan does this, the crazy bastards. Cults spring up all of the time, usually in some rathole where they end up killing themselves for their beliefs. How the heck do you know all of this stuff, Nyen?”

Nightchild pulled out a tablet. “Just curious, you know, like a cat. As for priests and temples, those aren’t looked upon kindly much here in Seattle or most civilized areas. A couple decades ago, when magic started to return, the ones with priests and temples and their one true gods ended up making a fair amount of earth into deadlands, when they started throwing nukes around. They were all sure that their god was coming back, but they found that their religions weren’t getting the magic that others were. That made these idiots jealous and *that* gave them the cause to be attacking each other. Good for the rest of us that sane governments flattened the countries that started the mess before the whole world went up.”

“Nukes?” Ahri looked up from wiggling a feather for a kitten’s amusement.

“Imagine a light so strong that it burns so hot that it incinerates people, so fast that it burns their shadows on walls, the few walls than can stand a blast that can pulverize near anything, and leaves in the center an area of glass so poisonous that you get near it you die because your flesh ends up dripping off your bones.” Slim shuddered. “That war scared everyone so much that pretty much no one even things of using such things anymore.”

“And this is the world we’ve been sent to. What if the demon gets something like that?” Ahri shook her head.

Myridian returned his companion’s gaze. “Then we must not fail.”

So that’s my take on why monotheistic religion fails in a world where magic comes back. This is based on the role-playing game Shadowrun (magic, automatic weapons, megacorps. (I do the pink mohawk 90s version) and a lot of other urban fantasy novels and RPGs that have magic. A lot of RPGs do their best to ignore real world religions, since idiot conservative Christians will take a fit, and they already think that Dungeons & Dragons is satanic. One notable exception is “In Nomine” where angels and demons are fighting on earth, and that can be quite a bit of fun to play.

In this fantasy world, there are no monotheistic god showing that they exist, just like in our world where none can show they exist. I do wish we did have magic. Wouldn’t rush hour be different? 😊

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What the Boss Likes – more about the kittens!

So, as I said recently, we have new additions to the family.   Here are some photos of them and a few short videos.   We did screw up on what sex some of the little beasties are.  Since they are going to be spayed/neutered, we don’t know if it makes that much difference to change the names, and well, a lot of the time, cats just don’t give a damn what their human-given names are. 🙂  Athena is a male, and Leo is a girl.  The rest of the kittens are males, so Harley, Jason and Apollo are okay names for them. We’ll probably call Leo Matilda now, taking a riff from “The Professional”.   Athena is so sweet looking with that little black nose, I can’t imagine him as a tomcat, so Athena might just stick.

Athena and random stripy kitten

 

 

Jason is the stripy one.  The black one is Tez (Tezcaltipoca) who isn’t sure about this whole kitten thing.  Harley is off to the left.

 

Aggie (Agamemnon) is the big grey and white cat.  The darker stripy one is Apollo, the lighter one, Matilda and the white and stripy is Harley.

This is again with Aggie, Harley, Apollo, Matilda and Athena.

Hera, aka MommaCat, is recovering from her spaying operation.  Unbeknownst to us she was still in heat, though the trilling and wiggling around had stopped.  That makes the operation a little more difficult but she is doing well.

What the Boss Likes – New additions to the family

We have 6 new additions.  I had befriended a little kitty earlier this year.  She had a lame front paw so I fed her and gave her a place to sleep.  Then I saw that she was probably pregnant, but she was so tiny, I figured that she would either have one or two kittens or lose them altogether as is common for new feline mothers.

She had five.

She had them under a neighbor’s shed and then she brought them to our garden.  One disappeared and ended up back at the shed.  So after a couple of weeks, everyone is now caught, inside the house and being tamed.  The vet said the momma cat was only around a year old and she’s only a little over 6 pounds (about 3 kilos).  So we are getting her spayed because if she is such a good momma at this age, we’ll be up to our hips in kittens.

Momma cat is Hera.  The white and stripes (females I think) are Athena and Harley (Harlequin due to her face that you can’t see here), the three stripey/spotty boys are Apollo, Jason ( ala the Argonauts, for being quite the explorer) and Leo.  She’s in the midst of weaning them but they are about as big as her.

 

 

What the Boss Likes – Our Toronto Vacation

Two weeks ago, we ventured up to Toronto for a vacation.   Things had a bit of a rocky start since the airline ceased to be going out of our local airport, and we had to travel to Philly to get on it. It, of course, took longer to get to the airport than it took for the actual flight. I love flying, I freakin’ hate airports. The TSA lines weren’t bad though, and we got up to Toronto in the morning.

After navigating the rail line from the airport to Toronto and then the subway to our hotel, we finally got ensconced in our room. When ever we can, we stay at a Kimpton Hotel, since they are always nice, and they have nicely liberal policies, including taking pets. The St. George was, as usual, in a mid 20th C mid rise building and we were on the 7th floor. The room was about twice the size of the one we stayed in when we stayed at a Kimpton in Boston. And speaking of Boston, it felt like it was about that expensive in Toronto, but with a good exchang

l was near the University of Toronto, and this was definitely a college bar but very nice, and I liked the seating in it. The first time we went, it was great customer service. The second time, there was no customer service, so your mileage may vary.

That evening, we went out to find the reason we ended up in Toronto. I had read about a “nerd” bar, the Storm Crow Tavern that is located out in Vancouver. We were prepared to fly out there to go to it but then found out that they were going to open a location in Toronto, the Storm Crow Manor. It’s a couple of streets back from Yonge Street, which is the main entertainment/LGBT area of Toronto.  I do need to show you the baby changing station:

They have very good food and drink. The décor is very much for the happy nerd in me. I’m not much of a photographer, so just go out to the link and look around. They were working on their outdoor area when we were there, which is complete now (I think.) You can also follow them on Facebook to see what they are doing. We went there three times during the 4 days we were there.

Romulan Ale, or at least as close as you can get to it on 21st Earth

I got “Romulan Ale” as you can see.  and here’s a video of it bubbling.

 

The next day we walked down to the CN Tower, a ridiculously high observation installation, about a fifth of a mile high. That’s it standing above the skyline. We were going to go up in it but the line was ridiculous and it was hot. So we proceeded across the street to the Steam Whistle Brewery, which had just opened a German-style biergarten. They had a very good pilsner, and I had a radler (beer and grapefruit soda) made with it, and my husband had just the beer. He also had the chicken schnitzel and I had beef tartar. It was a little over mustardy for me, but good, well chopped rather than ground.

CN Tower, around a 1/5 of a mile high

We chose to walk up Yonge Street on the way back to the hotel. And there we found a Tokyo Smoke, another reason we went to Toronto. We partook some very low dose capsules. I’ve tried weed before but never had much of a reaction to it. This wasn’t much of a reaction either but it does seem to make it easer to think about things creatively and to get rid of the anxiety that you aren’t doing something “right” when doing art, writing, etc. The folks at the store were very professional and helpful. I really hope that PA gets recreational weed soon. The day was ended at Storm Crow again.

For Wednesday, I had made an appointment at a spa in the city, Hammam. It had advertised that it did Turkish baths and massages. My husband hadn’t had a professional massage before so I thought we’d both enjoy it. We had seen Turkish baths on various shows, most notably Tony Bourdain’s travel show, and wanted to try one. After wrapping up with towels, we spend some time in the steam room, a lovely tiled area with benches. It was HOT, but they had cold wet washcloths in a refrigerator right outside, so I took one and breathed through it while the sweat streamed off me. Then the bath attendents took us into a room with a large heated stone table where we laid down and were sluiced by hot and cold water, body temperature soap suds as well as being well scrubbed with what felt like 80 grit sand paper, but in a good way. After the bath, we were taken to another room for the massages. I got a full body massage and my husband got just the upper body since he’s a computer guy and, being tall, hunches over his desk all of the time. I’d definitely recommend it, even if it was a little pricy. But you only live once, eh?

After the spa, we wanted to get some dim sum, so we walked into Chinatown. We ended up at the Sky Dragon restaurant in a small multistory mall. I think we were the only Caucasian folks there, and we had absolutely no idea what we were eating, but it was tasty. There were several sets of dumplings, I could recognize the shu mai, and then we had a deep fried thing that seemed to be something like a crab cake, but rather shaggy on the outside. These were brought around in cards by elderly Chinese ladies, who were amused with us.

The next day we knew it was going to be rainy all day. We were just up the street from the Royal Ontario Museum, so we saved that for the rainy day. When we were there they had two special exhibitions, one for Indian treasures and the other paintings from the age of Rembrandt. The Indian show had caparisons for elephants and horses, clothing, canopies and jewels. The painting exhibit was beautiful, and I found I could appreciate it more since I’ve been dabbling with painting myself. One painter, I think it’s was Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, struck me as having what I would consider modern sensibilities. (an example of his work).

Finally, for dinner that evening, we again overcame our shyness and anxiety and went to a Japanese barbeque place right across from our hotel. It was called Gyubee, and seems to be a small chain up in Canada. Like the dim sum place, we really had no idea what we were doing, but it was fun grilling thinly sliced meats and vegetables on the gas grill in the center of the table. We had pork belly, brisket, marinated short rib, asparagus and mushrooms. For desert they had these great popsicles, Melona, and we had the mango ones.

We had idly known that the Toronto Raptors were playing in the NBA finals. Being not interested in sports in the least, we really didn’t pay attention. But that night, I woke up to hear all sorts of hooting and screaming. The celebration was on, and we could hear them seven stories up. And we were a couple of miles from the real craziness down at the arena by the CN Tower.

All in all, a good vacation, though every time I come home, I vow to never leave again. My anxiety chews me up on vacations. Hope you enjoyed reading!

What the Boss Likes – 500+ followers!

Hello everyone,

I’ve broken over the 500 follower mark.  Thank you all for reading my posts.  I do have to wonder how many of you are believers in gods since I often post about the failures of religion and those gods.

I’ll have a post up about our adventures in Toronto in a few days. Here are a few pictures.  My Romulan Ale from Storm Crow Manor and the CN Tower.

CN Tower, around a 1/5 of a mile high

 

Romulan Ale, or at least as close as you can get to it on 21st Earth

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: More TrueChristians™ acting like idiots, and a painting

This has been a week for me running into all sorts of TrueChristians™.   They certainly do run the gamut of being just thoroughly unpleasant people.

I frequently kibbitz on the Washington Post facebook page (and at the WaPo site itself).   I also comment on ThinkProgress’s facebook page. I’m Jane Ravenswood there, an old email address that is a remnant of my interest in steampunk. On the WaPo’s thread about Trumpty Dumpty and Pence giving speeches at the “March for Life” aka theocrats who desperately want to force their beliefs on others because they need external validation, a lovely TrueChristian™ named Wayne Wheeler decided to be a liar and utterly fail at sarcasm. This what Wayne said “my wife is pregnant, we dont have enough money to get her an abortion, can you help us out? We don’t feel it is the tax payers responsibility, so we are asking you for the money. You seem so kind and willing to help.” Now poor Wayne doesn’t seem to realize that anyone can look at his facebook page and see that it’s rather unlikely that an abortion is needed at all, and that he is a Trumpie minion. If this request was true, I would indeed help someone out, expecting a lot of evidence before I did so, of course.   Unsurprisingly, Wayne vanished after his bluff was called. You just can’t trust a TrueChristian™ these days. Tsk.

On the ThinkProgress’s page, they had a very interesting article about how homeschooling may not be as innocent as people, especially TrueChristians™ claim. I posted “the conservative Christian is one of the most dangerous things to the US. They want a theocracy and are willing to crawl into bed with anyone to get power.” Of course, there are conservative Christians on that page, who were terribly indignant that I said this, with one Michelle Godown (yep, that’s her last name, must have been hell in high school for her) saying “Yes. The ones who want more personal freedom and liberty, less government, less power, and simply to be left alone and leave others alone are the ones who want a theocracy. Do you even know how paranoid and ridiculous you sound?”

The hypocrisy and outright lying in this TrueChristian™ quote is amazing. So, I asked her, just how does this work when TrueChristians™ spend millions on getting their religious beliefs legislated into law. No answer. Then more TrueChristians™ decided to pop up, and whine about what I said (it was rather amusing when they did their best to use the laughing emoji on facebook to evidently try to ridicule me, when most others use that emoji to show they appreciate the humor in something). I asked them the same question.

Can you guess what their response was to that question?

Yep, crickets; not one single answer from at least a half dozen. The poor TrueChristians™ vanish faster in the light of the truth than vampires do in the sunshine.

I also asked the Living Waters people how many children they’ve adopted since they are so against abortion. I got this back “This is an attack on the person instead of the argument. Whether someone adopts or not, does not change the fact that abortion is the murder of an unborn child. It’s no different than saying unless I am willing to marry my neighbor’s wife, I cannot prevent her husband from beating her; unless I am willing to adopt my neighbor’s daughter, I cannot prevent her mother from abusing her; unless I am willing to hire ex-slaves for my business, I cannot say that the slave-owner should not own slaves.May God open your eyes to the horror that is abortion.”

They are certainly desperate not to walk the walk that they want to force on everyone else. I did response to this nonsense by asking them how their supposed concern with children works with their consistent voting for politician who cut help for children and families. They don’t even try.  I did ask this person what she thought of this god opening my eyes to the murder of children in the bible.  No response yet.

Finally, we got to see pathetic young men in Trump hats (aka the new white hood) who are no more than privileged thugs, trying to be impressive whilst verbally attacking a Native American veteran. The poor little fellows were bothering what appear to be African-American believers in some variant of Judaism/Christianity, and the member of the Omaha tribe tried to restore some order. Of course, they didn’t like that, ran away and then returned with more brats. Now, it seem one of their mothers is now blaming their behavior on “black muslims”. No surprise this nonsense starts at home and at church since these idiots are from a Catholic school. This when punching a Nazi, or giving one a good spanking, is needed.

This is why it is so important to stand up against such idiocy.

On a much lighter note, I’m again painting. I wanted to see if Bob Ross’s techniques could transfer to alcohol inks. I think I did pretty well in making a mountain. No “happy little trees” though. I call this “On a Terraforming World”.  That’s Steinlen’s Gaudeamus Cat behind the canvas.

On a Terraforming World