Making Christmas

OK, everyone!

I have made an executive decision…

Considering, I’ve not consulted with the gang beforehand, I cannot, in good conscience, demand of anyone that they contribute to a purchase they did not rubber stamp.

HOWEVER, should anyone feel touched by the spirit of Christmas, we do accept donations.

The item hereunder is scheduled to be delivered to our lair some time between Dec. 7 and Dec. 12.

The price tag for it (tax included) comes to $89.88

The red ball ornaments are on me:

AllHelGonaAfton Celebration

It's a Swedish thing...

So, do feel free to wear a flower wreath if you want to.

Or whatsoever happens to strike your fancy...

As usual, there will be food...

And — by popular demand:


The more, the merrier. So, by all means, please, do bring a bottle of your own favorite vodka to the table, if you feel like it—it doesn't have to be Swedish vodka. For the stickler for tradition, amongst us, I understand our host will have at least one bottle of Akvavit on hand for those who MUST have snaps.

Depending on the prevailing mood, and time permitting, there might be a game (or two) of Ultimate Werewolf.

Considering this is going to be a New Moon (the opposite of a Full Moon), expect a Wild Child and a White Wolf in the mix.


- What's a Werewolf Eye Cocktail?

- Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Take Two

Swedish meatballs anyone?

According to The Maiden Stone, year 3042 is a standard year with 12 months and no additional days.

Which means that the New Lunar Year’s Eve does fall on Sunday, October 30, 2016, this year.

How cool is that?

If we go by the Lunisolar calendar, the proper date to celebrate would be on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30. (My preference - I am kind of a purist that way).

If we want to do it the Swedish way, however, then we could just call it Alla Helgons Dag, which observance takes place, in Sweden, on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6 and would, in this instance, place the party very precisely on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 05.

Alternatively, if for one reason or another, the dates above do not work for everyone and we don't have a consensus, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28 or SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29 are also possible alternatives.

And that about covers it.

Any takers?

Select all that apply:

A. Sunday, October 30

B. Saturday, November 05

C. Friday, October 28

D. Saturday, October 29

E. Get lost, you silly git, I’ve got better things to do with my valuable time than attend one of your air-brain parties, least of all one based on the Lunisolar calendar or some obscure Swedish tradition, out of all things!

UPDATE: Good news, everyone!

Based on your selection, WE HAVE A DATE.

Thank you for your participation!

This post is now closed.

Be your own master

If not now, then when?

It's an old Sufi Koan:

"Who lets go of the ladder,
May fall upward."

How old does one need to be?

How many more classes studying other people's techniques does one still need to take before one finds one's own style?

This line of inquiry was prompted by this artwork, I just so happened to stumble upon, quite serendipitously so, this morning on my way to the forum, at the window of a frame store:

Though I find it hard to believe, the owner of the store told me it was made by a five-year-old.

It's actually quite a nice piece, though it's a bit hard to tell with the reflection on the window.

While I did so enjoy the picture you sent me today of the Senior art class, where you and your fellow artists have been busily reproducing other people's work, I must say—no offense—that I was more impressed, this morning, by the artwork from that five-year-old.

Her piece is fresh and authentically hers. It's also a portrait of her mom. Quite a resembling one, too, from what I was told.

This little girl, Olive, who is only five, has already created her own masterpiece.

Think about this.

Isn't it about time that you found your own style and started working on your own creation?

Our good friend JR never was afraid to let go of the ladder—you do remember JR, don't you? And you guys have far more technical expertise than he ever did.

Letting go of the ladder and flying is also a theme made famous in an oft-quoted poem:

I think both you and D are in a unique position in your lives to start working on your own oeuvre.

If not now, then when?

Other have done it, who knew less than you did.

Henri Rousseau comes to mind.

Essentially, he was self-taught.

And, unlike you guys, he didn't have at his disposal all the precious resources the internet offers.

Though, admittedly, he did receive "some advice" from two established Academic painters, Félix Auguste Clément and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

If you feel you still need a teacher, if you need to be taught, you can go on being taught forever through the rest of your live. Until you die. And then what will have you learned?

Beware of spell binders. Don't give your power away.

The same thing is true of art and creative expression.

The little girl who made that piece...

                                                                     She flies!

Is this Ragnarok, or just California?

What can I say?

I have always been a sucker for a great tagline.

Or a good premise.

Okay, we are not talking Roger Zelazny or Simon Green's towering talents, here. Not by a long shot. But the authors do deserve a passing grade for their efforts.

To be fair, the comparison with Zelazny or Simon Green might be uncalled for,  Guy Adams and Greg van Eekhout are authors coming into their own, with their own unique styles, who probably ought to be judged on their own merits.

The passing grade has more to do with the author's failure to deliver on the expectations of their subject matter.

Take Guy Adams's Heaven's Gate trilogy, for one.  After delivering what proves to be quite an enticing beginning with the first book in the series, the author begins loosing a bit of steam in the second book, and ultimately loses it, all together, in the last book (despite the alluring cover by Jack Murray), along with, I must add, some of the major promising and intriguing characters he had developed early on in the series, which proves a major let down.

As for Greg van Eekhout's Norse Code, one cannot help but wonder whether it could not have been a much, much better book had the author put more work into it—the novel feels too much like a first draft. Or perhaps, maybe an over-laborious left-brain exercise on the part of the author—I am not sure which. Going back to my earlier comparisons with the masters, the book has none of the epic wind of a Zelazny novel, nor any of the whimsy or the creative invention of a Simon Green, nor the visionary talent of A.A. Attanasio. We are talking a great premise, here, with all the right ingredients, but something is most definitely lacking. But then again, Steven Brust, the author of the Vlad Taltos truly excellent series, liked the book well enough. He said he liked it "a lot." So, what do I know?

Personally, I blame Greg van Eekhout's shortcoming on this book on his dabbling with the writing of Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Heck, he was even nominated for the 2012 Andre Norton Award for it—The horror, the horror. That stuff will ruin a man, or a woman, as the case may be, considering women outnumbers men by roughly two to one, among submissions of this type of fiction to publishers.  I mean, young adult literature, what's that, anyway? And how more patronizing to young adult can you be?  Damn you, Sarah Trimmer.

Do Blondes Have More Fun?

What's in a Werewolf Eye Cocktail

1 part Midori
1 part Vodka
1 part pineapple juice
+ a splash of absinthe, to taste

Gummy eyeballs and cherries for garnish.