A Politically Correct Christmas Wish!

Happy Christmas

Happy Holidays

Happy Winter

Happy Winter in the Northern Hemisphere and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere

Happy 25th of December

It’s the 25th of December.

FECK IT!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!! 😀

A Couple of Days Off for Christmas

Aside

It’s basically Christmas! Which means that Kevin will be busy busy busy hanging out with his rather large extended family 😀 As such, I probably won’t be posting anything much over the next few days. (Unless I get insomnia. Which has been known to happen. Especially on Christmas Eve! ;)). I’ve put up a couple of long posts – one Some Thoughts article, and one long fantasy short story – so you can read those if you have a few spare moments over the next few days and need a “Kevin fix”.

(I hear it’s a quickly developing medical condition.)

Anyway, that’s me (probably) done for Christmas. Though I do have one post timed to come up tomorrow at 10. It’s my first scheduled post on WordPress.com. /tear. It’s short and sweet… Like the lifespan of a typical selection box in my house 😛 I thought it would be appropriate.

OK that’s enough talking! Happy Christmas! – Kevin out!

Ambush! [Scene 1] [Draft 2]

[Hi everyone! I wrote this scene about 2 months ago. My aim with it was to write the first scene of a prologue to a fantasy novel. This is the second draft (perfectly preserved from two months ago!). Bonus to anyone who can guess where I ripped my character names from haha. I will be taking a few days off over Christmas, so I figured I would put this up so  that people will have plenty to read until I’m back 🙂 I know you’ll all miss me terribly. It’s pretty long for something to post to the internet, but if you guys enjoy it then I’ll try to write some of these longer-style stories more often. I hope you like it! Happy Christmas! – Kevin.]

“What are you doing with that stick Matt?”

Matt blasted Ham with a look of pure indignation and violently thrust the stick up into his face, showing clearly the runes he had been scraping into it for the last five minutes. “Making some bloody Runes because I left my bloody Wand with the GODDAMN BLOODY TENTS!!” he exploded, sputtering, his outrage making him swear quite profusely. Ham looked down at the stick – which Matt had thrust so close to his face that he was forced to tilt his head back and squint at it quite uncomfortably – peering past his rather substantial nose and facial hair.

The stick brandished triumphantly in Matt’s grimy hand did have a few scrapings on it… Ham supposed they were meant to be the runes Matt had been referring to.  Ham regarded the stick for a moment longer, then “mmm”ed noncommittally – and turned away. Matt remained frozen in his position for a long second, still thrusting his stick aggressively towards the place that Ham’s beard had up to that moment been residing in. Then, with a huff of exasperation, he retracted his arm and once again devoted himself to furiously working on the stick. Ham sighed, baffled, and turned his attention to more relevant matters. A stick, after all, is hardly important when one is being attacked by a horde of blood-crazed savages. Continue reading

Some Thoughts: Atheism

I would like to start off this post by distinguishing between three terms: atheism, non-religion, and agnosticism. Atheism typically means a position of active denial of the existence of God; non-religion is a position of passive denial, of disinterest; agnosticism is a position whereby you say that it is impossible to know either way.

I often see agnosticism being misused as a euphemism for atheism; people say they’re agnostic when they really mean that they’re atheists – but they want to appear more open-minded and fair than “close-minded” atheism might be. Agnosticism is seen as being a bit “nicer”. I think that’s a load of rubbish. If you are an atheist then at least have the courage to stand up and say it. If you’re non-religious then say so. If you simply don’t know, then fair enough – in fact, I would expect most teenagers or young adults to have this position! Agnosticism, on the other hand, is the position where you think that it’s impossible to ever know enough to decide either way. If you think that the evidence points quite clearly towards God not existing, you’re not agnostic – you’re an atheist. So just say it!

To be fair though, atheism is a term that is laden with baggage. Perhaps it might be more correct to use the term “materialist” or “naturalist” instead of using the term “atheist”, because in our common use of the word those terms are closer to what we actually mean to say. Atheism is merely the belief that there is no God, yet when someone calls him/herself an atheist there is generally an awful lot more implied than just that. In this post I want to examine some of that baggage. (I think the kind of atheism I am mostly focusing on here is what is called “New Atheism”, i.e. atheism that is actively dedicated to opposing religion.) Continue reading

Christmas Shopping is Done!

Aside

TRIUMPH!!!

Those of you who know me will probably be aware that I usually leave everything to the last possible moment. That includes Christmas shopping. What else is Christmas Eve for anyway? 😛

This year, however, I’ve become a new man. It’s three days to Christmas and all my shopping is done! Huge success! I even bought really good presents this year. I’d saved up a bit of money and figured that I might as well spend it all on presents. I’ve gotten used to being totally broke this year. And being slightly in debt. Why should Christmas be any different?! I have teaching practice in January anyway, which roughly translates to massive savings due to lack of social life. Win/win!

So this is my message to you: if you haven’t got all your Christmas shopping done, go out and do it! NOW! You have no excuse.

Actually, I still have to get one of my granddads a present. Making this whole post a lie. GODDANGIT!! I’m a terrible person.

Stages of Sickness

David Prowse as Darth Vader in The Empire Stri...

"You are unwise to lower your defenses!" (Image via Wikipedia)

1. Suspicions that you are getting sick.

You feel a bit off. Maybe you’re just having a bad day? Maybe Blade Runner is just wrecking your head? Whatever the reason, you don’t feel too good. Hopefully it’s just a temporary thing.

2. Lying in bed with a fever – certainty that you’re sick.

There’s no denying it now. You’ve been lying in bed feeling awful for the last 3 hours. In fact, you feel so bad that you can’t even get yourself out of bed to take some medicine. If that’s not a sign that you’re sick, nothing is.

3. Shouting at someone to get paracetemol.

You’re not moving anywhere any time soon. The solution? Shout at someone who is operating normally to come and save you from you duvet smothered misery. Continue reading

A White Christmas

Oh how the tree glitters like snow.

And will the forest miss it anyway?

Celebrate and decorate; cover everything with empty tinsel.

The carol singers pirouette,

And we graciously grant them more than indifference.

One penny here, one reluctantly there,

“Wouldn’t you hate to be so poor?”

We sink our teeth in lakes of gravy,

(Harland and Wolff would be so proud.)

Our chins drip fowl grease; not sick for want of food – too sick to stomach more.

Santa’s workshop drips as well; his elves are little Chinese kids.

“Well, don’t their parents love them?” Because we know to show we do.

And the rest of the world can wait,

For this one lovely Winter’s day.

When we share for sharing’s sake – never just for force of tradition.

And the Christmas shoppers flock the tree,

Flapping violently,

Shoving in consternation,

I see their eyes light up like magpies’.

And oh how the tree glitters like snow.

As the other birds weep.

A white Christmas,

The coldest time of year,

When we paint our consciences to match our skin.

DnD: Baern Broadhoof

Baern Broadhoof is the most badass Dwarf ever to have lived.

Or at least, he thinks he is. You see, Baern is convinced of a lot of things that just aren’t true.

Baern was a always big for his age (and big for… well, a Dwarf) and he was an adventurous and boisterous child. Raised by his uncle, Yurin Broadhoof, Baern enjoyed nothing more than learning to fight, and putting those skills into use – typically in what his elders called “inappropriate circumstances”. Baern’s enthusiasm for rambunctiousness was so great that he caught the eye of the Battle-Legion of Kord, an elite group of paladins dedicated to Kord, the God of War. When Baern received this prestigious invitation to join their ranks, he happily accepted. Continue reading

Introducing: DnD

(For those who don’t do acronyms, that’s  Dungeons and Dragons!)

A lot of stuff goes into playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons. There’s a tactical map that’s used for fights; there’s dice rolls and number-crunching; and most importantly, there’s storytelling and role-playing. I’ve been interested in trying DnD for a while, and thanks to a new DnD group in college I’m finally going to have that chance. Continue reading

Song of the Day: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKo4eT38XS4

(I found this version of the song while searching on YouTube, where the actual album version does not seem to exist! This seems to be a home video of Billy Corgan playing this song with some improvisation on his piano. The album part of the song begins at around the two minute mark. Billy is wearing a Christmas jumper in this so I thought it was rather appropriate for the time of year!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUhrDzWFsvg

(This is a cover I found that involves significantly less banging of the piano 😛 It’s pretty much identical to the album version so you might prefer listening to it instead.)

I would say that a lot of people would be surprised to hear that Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is probably my favorite song by the Smashing Pumpkins; it’s quite different from their usual fare. I’ve always loved piano music, and this song is, I think, a really beautiful example of the wonderful emotional depth that a piano can express. I don’t think anyone could argue that the piano isn’t the greatest instrument of all time. One of the things that’s so impressive about this song is that despite it only consisting of a single instrument, it has a truly full sound and quality to it (though in the actual album version there is a subtle string arrangement added in as well). It grabs you and it fills you and you feel the emotions. I think that it’s a song that is perfectly named because when you listen to it you really do experience what might be called “infinite sadness”. And any song that can touch you in that way is something that should be considered to be truly special.