Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Westwood, Lassen County, California - 1916




The setting for the first half of Pixie Warrior.

Young Arab Dancer - About 1920


This is a post card. Photographer is unknown. "Dancer" was a euphamism for "whore." She did both.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Pixie's Conference Bio.

Rachael was born in Reno, Nevada, in 1977. The family moved to Washington State, and she spent most of her childhood in South Eastern Washington. Rachael began writing Sherlock Holmes and Wizard of Oz fan fiction when she was in fifth grade. She found publication with a series of feature articles for a weekly newspaper when she was a high-school freshman.

Her interest in history was prompted by a colorful social studies book. She was a fourth-grader when she announced to her family that she wanted to be a history teacher. Rachael completed her master's degree at age twenty and went on to finish her dissertation after a break for marriage and her first child. She has taught Biblical Studies and history in a university setting and now teaches creative writing and history to advanced placement and "gifted and talented" students.

Her husband and children drive her insane, she says, but they're also the inspiration for some of her characters. She writes fantasy fiction and history. Her history specialty is 19th Century Pre-millennial movements. Her last journal article appeared in Journal from the Radical Reformation, a publication of Atlanta Bible College. She is a recognized world-class expert on the Second Adventist movements of the last half of the 19th Century, contributing significant original research to the field. She owns one of the most extensive personal libraries of millennialist publications from the period.

She is a self-confessed collector of stuff. This started with the discovery of her father's childhood stamp collection and has grown to include sea shells, rocks, and "other junk." Rachael has exhibited specialized stamp collections at American Philatelic Society conventions, and was awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold medals for exhibits.

Rachael’s blog is found at WardancingPixie.blogspot.com . Her novel, Pixie Warrior, is published by Drollerie Press. The audio version is available from Audible.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

From a Post Card - About 1900


Well … I finished three pages of Salana’s story today. Three pages of work product is pitiful. This was some of the most difficult writing I’ve ever done, and I cannot tell you why I found it so hard.

I have a clear mental picture of Rachael, the main character, sitting at her grandfather’s desk, trying to hack into his computer. Putting on paper the interchange between Rachael and her grandfather via his locked computer has been hard. I’m really just starting this bit. It looks good to me at the moment, though it is rough and unedited.

I’ve borrowed from the original War Games movie. I let the reader know that. The borrowing is two paragraphs of short mental dialogue. I think it’s a fun thought and puts you in touch with her grandfather’s personality.

He is dead. He speaks to her now through a message left on his computer. It is protected from intrusion, and Rachael must navigate her way to the message. She succeeds.

I’ve left her sitting at the desk with a tin of Danish butter cookies and a bottle of cordial. I will spend odd minutes thinking this through again tonight.

Last night was fairly calm after midnight, and I worked through bits of the story. The problem last night was that I had two side stories going at the same time and couldn’t shut them off! One I will never write. It’s just not a complete story, and it never turns into one. I’ve tried it dozens of ways, but there are only four good, usable scenes. I may adapt them to other stories, but they cannot stand alone as is. The other is a story I’ve imagined in dozens of ways since I was in middle school. I tried a new version of it last night (only in my mind – mind you.) It’s interesting, but I think others have told that tale better than I can. I don’t know why it pops into my mind unbidden. I’ve rejected it dozens of times.

Anyway, back to my train of thought: When this section is finished, I step back into the dim and distant past. We explore Salana’s story. I like her. She’s brave. She’s tough. And she remains that way until she dies. I can see her. I’m not too sure how I will describe her in words. She is part-pixie. Her father, whom she will kill, is a fairy of the worst sort. She has a mostly pixie appearance, but she has the distinctive iridescent mottling on her chest that characterizes a full fairy, and she has a boney ridge down the back of her head. This is important to the story.

Her ‘grandfather’ treats her as a joke, ridicules her, places her at his table and dresses her as a fairy warrior to make sport of her. This changes when she kills her father. …. Umm I’m telling way too much of this story, aren’t I?

The chapter after that takes us back to Rachael and her newly found quest. We follow her to England. She carries a key. We find what it opens. She takes what’s in it. We meet the cordial again. She is directed to an address. She acquires a companion. There is an incident on her flight. She meets an older man. Adventures happen. …

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Treasures


I collect junk. You knew that. Well, it’s not junk exactly – just sorta. I like pretty things. I cannot afford them usually. Shirley and I treasure hunt. It takes patience. Our favorite store is the closest Goodwill Store. It takes about an hour to do a thorough shop-up in that store.

I visit the book shelves first. I’m a book reader and horder. Oh, I do clean them out once a year or so, sometimes more often, and take them down to the big new and used book store for credit. There are several thousand that are permanent parts of my library. But I probably buy five to twenty books a week, and I can’t keep them all. Yes … Yes, I read a lot.

After the books, I look at the “housewares.” I look for nice silver. I like silver, even if no one polishes it but me. I look for antique bits of china that fit with what I have. If it’s pretty and high quality, I’ll at least consider it. I am selective though. I do not buy just to buy something.

A while back we drove off to a neighboring city. It’s not so far that it’s a real pain in the butt to drive there, but far enough we don’t do it often. They have two large thrift stores, and one small one. The largest of them is overpriced and the employees are stupidly rude. I still look. I found a J. D. Salinger Nine Stories, first edition sans dust jacket there once for forty-seven cents.

This was our last stop. I wanted to go home. I wear out much faster than Shirley, even if she is older than I am. I give the books a once over, grumbling over how trashy they are and how much more they cost there than at the other thrifts. I look at the piles of china and glass. Garbage mostly. Yard sale material. Things you’d pay ten cents for at a yard sale, but priced at several dollars.

I walk down the isle with the metalwear. There are cheap brass things made in India, and then there is this jardinière sitting on the shelf. It just looks old. I see the price before I pick it up. It’s marked five dollars and seventy-five cents, which is more than I want to spend, but I pick it up anyway. It’s ratty. Someone’s spattered white paint on it. I needs a bath; you can feel the oily grit. The bottom is a bit loose. … But there, on the bottom, is the Imperial Russian double eagle. The feet mark it as probably mid 19th Century.

I see the manager. “Look,” I say, “I’m interested in this. But the bottom is loose, there’s this white junk all over the bottom. It’s just not worth this much to me.”

She takes it out of my hands and looks it over. “I don’t know who priced this,” she says, “but this is too much.”

I’m hoping for maybe a dollar off. She takes out her black marker and crosses out the price and replaces it with eighty-seven cents and her initial. I buy it.

Now this thing is a problem child. It had a nice patina once. There is no way to remove the paint and corrosion from being used as a planter and keep the patina. I’ve set it aside for months now. Today I decided to clean it. I can’t see any loss in value in this case. I started on it this morning and have a roughly four by six inch patch mostly polished out.

It’s hammered brass. It will be gorgeous when I’m done, though it will take a long time for it to reacquire any sort of patina. There are ways to restore it artificially, but I’ll just let it tarnish on its own. It’s a nice piece. I know just where I want it.

Just the Facts, Ma'am.

We raise goats. You knew that, right? Okay so this really isn’t about goats, it’s about our new neighbor. But, understanding that we raise goats explains some of what follows.

We own ten acres along a river. Our property is bordered on two sides by state wilderness land. There was a huge controversy over access rights and other issues when the state expanded their holding, essentially cutting us off from our property, which they also coveted. Without all the messy details, we have access down an otherwise closed road. You pull up to a gate, flash a proximity card up to a black box thingie and the gate opens. Two other property owners have access through this gate. Otherwise only state and county vehicles can enter. There is pedestrian access and a nature trail of sorts, but no other motorized access. A few intrepid motorcyclists have forced their bikes up a very steep hill and gotten in there, but they usually get caught. The fine is stiff and not worth the effort.

The property to the west of us is accessed from another direction. I’ve known the owner for years. He’s an old-timer here, a gentle sort of cowboy with a criminal past who finally grew up sometimes around sixty. He’s in his mid eighties now. Last month he leased the land to someone I’d never met. Now that I have, I’m sorry to have made his acquaintance.

The new tenant runs cattle on the land. It’s not a large herd, about twenty cows and calves by rough count. I met him for the first time last week. He’s tall, a bit thick in the middle, Mexican by birth, and obnoxious. Some things put me off no matter what. I understand that small-time ranching and farming can get you filthy. Want to come help me rake out the goats’ “hot bed”? Of course you don’t. Okay … so I know that grunge doesn’t mean you’re personally dirty. But this guy’s hair hasn’t been washed in months. I swear it’s true.

Anyway, he struts over to the fence. I know this walk. I deal with others who adopt it. It’s the Hispanic Gangster strut. Adopting it gives him two strikes before he opens his mouth. Oh, and you have to understand that the fence is an eight foot chain-link affair built as a spite fence long before this land came to us. But it’s in good shape and serves an otherwise useful purpose. So … he struts over to the fence and whistles shrilly to get my attention, motioning me over as if I were a disobedient child.

He tells me he’s going to take the fence down so he can get access down our road. First, this fence does not belong to him or to the man from whom he’s leasing. It belongs to me. I patiently explain that he doesn’t own the fence, that it’s not even on the property line but four feet inside it, that it’s my fence, that he will not take it down, that he cannot have road access because of the state access agreement, that I wouldn’t let him use our private road anyway because of right-of-way issues. He insists that he’s going to take it down. I finally tell him, “take it down; go to jail.” And I walk off. He calls me an offensive name in Spanish. I walk back to the fence and explain carefully and calmly that I’m no one’s whore, that I will not spread by legs for him or anyone else, figuratively or literally, and remind him that he is four feet into my land. Step back, I say to him. Surprisingly he does.

Now there is a fence on the property line. It’s a single strand electric fence that has been turned off since the actual owner of the other pasturage stopped running cattle and horses there. I tell Mr. Hispanic big-mouth that I’m turning it back on to keep his cows from shoving into the chain link fence. He insists I cannot do that either. I politely tell him that I can and will. I suggest to him that if he doesn’t want to be zapped he should step back on the other side now.

The electric fence operates on a pulse system. About once a second an electric pulse is sent down the line. I walk up the fence line to the box. He follows me, insisting that he will have his own way. I reach the control box. “This would be a good time to step back onto your side of the fence,” I say sweetly. He grunts. I wait about 20 seconds. “Are you stepping back?” I ask. He shrugs. I flip the switch. You can hear the beat of the pulse in the control box.

Stupid man.

So, now he says, “Hey! How’m I going to get out of here!”

“Carefully,” I say. “And don’t pee on the fence. Bad idea to pee on the fence.”

He gets down on all fours and shimmies under the wire.

That was last week. Yesterday I stop to feed the animals. I’m on my way home, tired and cranky from a long, busy night.

I find him with brush piled against the chain link fence. He’s cut the electrical fence and built a bon fire against the chain link fence. I don’t even talk to him. He waves at me and adds more brush to the bon fire. I do two things. I call 911 and ask for a county deputy. I call the property owner and ask him to get out there and see what his new tenant is doing. By the time I’m off the phone a deputy is on his way and so is John P. the property owner.

While I’m making this call, Mr. Gangster Strut is shouting at me: “Hey! Hey! Who ya callin’? Who ya callin’?”

I ignore him and walk down to our front gate to wait for the Sheriff’s deputy. While I’m waiting down at the front gate I see John P’s truck up on the ridge. He’ll get there first, so I leave the gate open and head back the fence line. By the time I get there John is out of his truck and yelling at Mr. Mexi-gangster the wannabe cowboy.

Now a thought occurs to me. We have a brand inspector. Most western states do, I suppose. Now their “mission” is “to provide asset protection for the livestock industry by recording brands, licensing feedlots and public livestock markets and by conducting surveillance and inspection of livestock at time of sale and upon out of state movement.” I have the number in my speed dial list.

In this state brands are more often than not ear tags. I don’t know of anyone who actually burns a brand into their cattle. It’s much more high tech than that. I’ve already noticed that “his” cows have three different styles of ear tag. This doesn’t mean anything of itself, but it never hurts to check – right? So I call.

“Contrary to popular belief, the law does not allow you to ‘keep’ livestock if you can not locate the owner.” – State Animal Law web site.

John P. sees me and leaves off abusing Mr. Mexi-gangster. “Miss Rachael, I’m awfully sorry. I’ll have this all fixed.”

“John, if you just get him off your land and out of my hair, I’ll be happy.”

“I have a lease!” Mr. Mex shouts.

“You’ve broken it in a dozen ways,” John says. “I want you off this land. You have two weeks to get your cows out of here.”

I think Mr. Mexi-gangster is going to explode. He turns white, clinches his fists down to his side. These are bad signs. In my experience a blanched face marks danger. A red face, and the real danger is past.

At this point the deputy shows up. I’ve done ride-alongs with most of the deputies. I pestered the sheriff for months over being a reserve deputy. I’m too short and underweight, he says. We finally reached a compromise. I am one, but I am never on my own. I think he likes my blond hair, actually. (Humm … I hope he doesn’t know I have a blog.) He drives over to the fence and slowly gets out of his car. This is Phil. Phil is under-sheriff, which means he’s the boss when the boss is away. (Okay so Phil isn’t anything like his real name. But we’ll call him Phil anyway. He looks like a Phil.)

Explanations are made. I file a complaint. I mention that I called the brand inspector’s office. Phil asks Mr. Mexi if the cows are his. Mr. Mexi just nods. “Hope you can prove it,” Phil says.

Phil asks me to estimate the damage to the two fences. I say that while we could splice the electric fence, it would be best to restring it. I estimate that at a thousand dollars. Phil raises an eyebrow. If we were to replace the stretch of now heat warped chain link fence it would take a contractor, I say. I don’t know how much, but I’d bet well over a thousand dollars. It’s a wild guess. I really don’t have a clue. However, the combined total makes this a Class B Felony.

“First degree malicious mischief is a Class B felony and is a seriousness level II which means that if you have no criminal record you may be sentenced to 2-6 months in prison.”

“Well Mr. Mex,” Phil says, “I’m not going to arrest you today, but I am issuing you a ticket for Criminal Malicious Mischief. You will be required to appear in court. If you fail to appear a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Do you understand?” (Consider this all very abbreviated.)

Mr. Mexi-fried sputters. He says he won’t sign the ticket. He is told that if he refuses to sign, he goes to jail now. He signs.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. … I’m guessing he’s gone. I’m guessing the cows aren’t all his. I’m guessing he’s halfway to Mexico.

The moral of this story is, Never EVER upset a Pixie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Digital Writers Conference

My name isn't on the guest list yet, but I'll be on the Accurate Historical Research pannel.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Swede-boy is as he is...


Swede-Boy and his Mother after a Hard Day of Not Working


With editing for grammar, spelling and conciseness what follows is a post written by an American resident in Sweden found on a topix forum. The truth of this post is self-evident. Compare the vulgar, perverted behavior and inflated self-worth of Swede-boy, our dear little, flabby, part-time gay boy Oscar, with what is said in this post and you'll see that his problem is genetic. His parents are lazy perverts, and so is he.
The Post
The Swedes are the laziest on the planet. As children they don't have to attend school as often; as Adults they are unproductive at work. They halt work several times a day to "fika break" … that means drink coffee and eat pastries … Hardly any real work gets done because Swedes don't have to bust ass. If you are lucky enough to get a job there is so much job security they don't have to work hard.

They get more holidays off than you can shake a stick at. Despite being a very non-religious country they … take every religious holiday they can. Aside from the standards like Christmas and Easter, they get crazy days off like Ascension Day and Good Friday. I went to Catholic school growing up folks, and let me tell you - even the Catholics don't get Good Friday off. You still get up and go to school or work; the only difference is you have to eat fish in the cafeteria because red meat is off limits.

Swedes extend regular holidays and add multiple days off so they can be lazy and drunk. Know of any other country that celebrates a day called "another day Easter"? No? Well Sweden does...they get about 4 days off where others get single day holidays; that way they can have at least a 3 day weekend of drinking and a day to be hungover.

If you worked HARD we might think you deserve it, but the truth is (at least where I live) nobody works late....many are home from their jobs by 4 pm even though they didn't start the day until 10am. You eat dinner about 4:30-5pm, a time when most Americans are still busting their hump at the office, despite starting work a couple hours before you.

Laziness in Sweden is an epidemic. Kids feel they don't have to work, and they continue to feel that way as they are older. Little wonder the two Swedish Olympic Swimming teams came in DEAD LAST.

Swedes are appalled if you have a beer with dinner on a weekday. But on weekends you are expected to get drunk, no matter what your age.

Swedes pretend acceptance to foreigners and immigrants on the outside, but underneath it they are racists and xenophobes. Good luck getting a job here as an immigrant, no matter what your education or credentials. People get jobs here by 1. BEING SWEDISH and 2. KNOWING SOMEONE IN THE WORKPLACE. You can come here with education that is higher than most Swedes, speaking fluent Swedish, and having more job experience and yet, as an immigrant you will be expected only to work in minimal paying positions.

Sure, you get free healthcare, but you can't get a doctor’s appointment I won't even mention how long it takes to have surgery done if you need it. You'll rarely get a doctor either, hospitals are understaffed and nurses do most of the work and see most of the patients. Doctors can't be bothered, are on vacation, or simply put - just aren't around.

If someone has a fever at night they have to go to the hospital because those government drug stores (Apoteket) don't like to stay open late.

I'd rather raise my son on US soil, no matter how much it sucks, because I'd rather him being a "lazy" American than be an undereducated, drunken-on-the-weekends slob who thinks he shouldn't have to work every day and has unprotected casual sex with anything on two legs because "its the weekend and hey, we just don't have VD in OUR country.”

Signature and such ... French


Can you read it? I can't make it out.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who is whom on the list below ... Princess Charlotte


Viktoria Elisabeth Auguste Charlotte of Prussia, (1860-1919) a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and Grand Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen. A tragic figure who suffered from prophyria, as did her great-great grandfather, George III.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Carnarvon Castle, Wales - About 1890


Photochrome Print

... What's under YOUR floor?




An inquisitive family have uncovered a bizarre church which has been hidden under their Victorian home in Shropshire for 100 years.

The Farla family made the discovery while investigating what was under a metre-long rectangle metal grid in their hallway.

The hole under the grid was just big enough for son Gareth, 20, to squeeze down and see what was under their living room.

And he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the dark chapel complete with a large wooden cross on the floor.

But that was nothing compared with the shock the rest of the family got when he followed a staircase in the chapel and came out of a cupboard in the dining room.

There was also large chest which was filled with old newspapers dating back to the early 1900's and old wine and sherry bottles.

Speaking of the find Matthew Lathan, who also managed to squeeze down, said: "We only discovered it because we were drunkenly fooling around and decided to have a look at what was beneath the grid - It was amazing.

"The first thing we came across in the middle of the basement was an old, open chest and in it were old newspapers and bottles dating back to the 1930s.

"There were also some sort of brick seats around the walls which looked like something you might find in a church."

It's thought the room dates back to the 1700s and could have been used as a clandestine Catholic church.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I thought you said, "Push the lever forward!"


Swede-boy, The Ghost and stuff

Little pervert, the Swede-boy, is still looking for work. He thinks someone (please god, anyone) will hire him because he's better spoken than most little Swedish perverts his age. I relish his interviews. He’ll sit across from someone like me who looks for more than good grammar. It takes ten minutes to figure out he is frightened and covers it with aggression. He is vain, over estimates his worth, and considers that the Swedish secondary education system is the same as University. I’m telling you it’s not. It’s not even close.

He fails in every respect. I can't speak for his Swedish grammar, but his English grammar is marginal at best. However, an employer looks for other factors including demeanor. I see McDonalds in his future - IF they get desperate.

We were short handed last night, and I filled in at the front desk. It was late and there was little activity until I got a call from room 214. Room 214 faces away from the front. It's also away from the main road and quiet. A couple checked in on Saturday last, and is staying through Sunday. They're very nice and easy to please. I expected a room service request, but in a slightly whispered and slightly concerned voice the man says, "There's someone out in the parking lot behind the cars next to the fence. It sounds like their shooting a gun or something."

This is not good. I ask for a description. He can't see anyone, just hear them. Behind him I hear his wife. "Ask them if they have ghosts," she says, her voice high pitched and worried. "I think it's a ghost. I saw it flying."

"Oh, my loving Lord and little rabbits," I'm thinking. But what I say is, "I'll have security check it out right away. ..."

While I'm saying that, his wife is pushing her point about ghosts.

He says, "Ummm Can you tell me if anyone's ever seen a ghost here?"

There was that incident with room 512 up a few floors from them, but it wasn't really a ghost. A bad shut off valve in the toilet spooked two elderly women who promptly checked out because a 'ghost' was flushing their toilet over and over. Sigh. I just tell him no. We have no ghosts.

I get him off the phone and call security. Two of the guys go out. I so wanted to go too. This is the most excitement I've had all night! But I can't leave the desk even if it is one a.m.

About ten minutes later, one of the guys comes in with a octagonal bit of cardboard. We had fairly strong wind the night before and with a gentle breeze last night. When the breeze hit the cardboard it slapped it against the fence with a popping noise. Here was our combination flying ghost and gun shooter. ...

The couple watched the security officers pick up the cardboard and gave an embarrassed but relieved wave. All was well ... Such is life on the late night shift.

It was really dead last night. But Tuesdays and Wednesdays usually are slow.

Stuff. ... Yes, well, stuff is stuff. I re-read Johnny Termaine. I haven't read that in ages. I still enjoy that book. I also read an Andre Norton book. She really was odd, you know. Most of her books are about The White Man's Burden. Oh she doesn't call it that, but that's what it is. This one was tainted by her peculiar view of religious issues and fairies. She is always readable. I wonder what she'd write about now if she were still alive.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Anyone know the name and history of this place


Cliff's solution: Penrice Castle. I think he's right! Yipeeee

Wales. Off A4118 just past Perriswood Archery and Falconry Centre near Swansea.

On the Welsh Coast between Southerndown and Broughton


What?

Between Llantwit Major and St. Donats, Wales ...


What IS it?

Near Aberthaw Power Station and St. Athan, Wales ... What IS it?

Identified by Harry. Summerhouse Point. The Summer House was built in 1730 on the site of an ancient earth mound fort.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Is God an Invalid?

Some think he is.

In Spain a group of Mohammedans (you know? The people who want to kill over silly cartoons?) provoked an incident at the Cordoba Cathedral, attacking and injuring security guards. The cathedral used to be a mosque way back when. They want it back. Maybe … maybe they could work a deal. They give back Hagia Sophia which was an Orthodox cathedral … No? Thought not.

Apparently their god is too weak to tend to his own interests. Or maybe he doesn’t share their view.

Think this approach to the divine will is unique to Mohammedans? Hump!

The Times-Beacon-Record reports that a seventy-three year old William Frank Kelly showed up at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall and had to be removed. He objected to their teachings. Fine. He came back and poured two quarts of motor oil at the entrance door. He was, he said, doing the Lord’s work.

There is no difference in opinion between the Mohammedans and Mr. Kelly who counts himself a Christian even if God does not. Any difference is only in the methods they chose. Kelly snuck back and tried to vandalize a place of worship in secret. Perhaps his age kept him from pursuing the violence the Mohammedans chose.

They worship an invalid god, one who cannot right wrongs. Or they worship a god who fell asleep on the toilet and is too lethargic to respond. If you think that’s mean and crude, you do not know your Bible history.