Thursday, December 31, 2020

Not Taking Any Chances

"Those who want to come may come, those who want to leave may leave, without harm to myself and my people."

I always end up reading about other cultures' traditions and folklore around this time of year; usually for the Northern Hemisphere, and usually because I think other countries handle Winter months better than Americans do.  A lot of us, at least in my experience, seem to be offended, if not downright indignant over the days deigning to get dark earlier, and the weather turning cold, while folks in other places around the world just seem to roll with it, and dare I say, even enjoy it?  So I was reading along, and found a passage where 19th century Author, Jón Árnason describes Icelandic women, whom after tidying their homes for the Christmas holiday and leaving food out for elves, or Huldufólk (Hidden People) who allegedly partake in raucous dark-season parties, would then make their homes immaculate for the incoming new year, and move about the space reciting the above quote whilst lighting candles for every corner of their homes so any entities besides the family who'd taken up residence in the home could find their way out.

I don't know about you, but I dig this idea.  The alternative, of course, is to build a bonfire in my front yard, and I don't think I can get my landlord on board with that one, but I can definitely throw a log in the fireplace, light a few candles, and give the joint a good scrubbin'.  I won't be putting a candle in every corner of my house, thanks to my early 80s Sting-induced childhood nightmares, but I can provide enough light to help any lost entities scram.  I'm not interested in starting 2021 with anyone or anything in my life that's not meant to be here, not to mention (heaven forbid), anything possibly trapped in the dark recesses of my home ... So if you're coming along, let's go!  And if you're not, let go, but either way I hope we're all going to be a bunch of cool little Fonzies.


Friday, December 25, 2020

May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

Wherever you are, and how ever you're spending the day, it is my Christmas wish that every person experiences at least one moment that causes you to pause, and truly savour it.  

Be well.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Maybe Yule Surprise Yourself


“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Today is the final day of the Worldbuilders 2020 fundraising event, meaning it is your last day for your donations to enter you into the prize lottery (every $10 gets you 1 entry), your last day to bid on auctions, your last day to pitch in to Oot's Cow Jar where if we hit $20k in donations every person who donated will have access (until March 2021) to a private KKC themed Minecraft server where you can play with Pat, and the little Rothfi, and it's also the last day to catch Pat streaming on a regular schedule (1-4 pm CST).  Will his deca-shot, fancy coffee order cause him a cardiac event in real-time on your screen?  We don't know!  Tune in to find out!  I hope to see you there... 


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Roast Duck

I don't know if it's just the holidays, or Covid itself that has got people acting out lately, but frankly, while I think we could all do with a little less grilling, roasting, and searing right now, there are always going to be people who like to watch, if not the entire world, at least the Christmas Dinner burn.  Let this be your friendly reminder that you don't owe your time, energy, or unpaid emotional labor to anyone devoted to wreaking holly-jolly-havoc this year.  So, with that in mind, if someone's riding your beak, here are a few highlights from my own Christmases past to let you know you're not alone!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Few Things Restore My Faith in Humanity—

December 1, 2020 - December 15, 2020

Quite like the Winter leg of the Worldbuilders charity drive.  Truly, no matter what is going on in the world, or in my life, the community that rallies around this organization genuinely warms my heart.  If you know, then you know.  If you don't know, then this is the perfect year to find out!  With so many of us locked down, quarantining, self-isolating, or just socially awkward, 2020 is the perfect time to dip your toe into this wonderfully weird world, do a little good for other folks, and be embraced by new friends in an inviting, and respectful environment! In years past (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... in fact) I've talked mostly about the money, benchmarks, what Worldbuilders or Heifer International is, or who gets helped, but with the way this year has gone I think it's worth noting the human connection aspect of this fundraiser.  

Each year (for approximately two weeks), author Patrick Rothfuss assembles a motley crew, and carves out an obnoxious number of hours from his days to entertain the masses on his Twitch channel where all manner of topics from gaming, to writing, conventions, parenting, and mental health are discussed live with professionals, friends, amateurs(?), imposters(??), and the gods only know who else.  All the while, if you're unfamiliar with Twitch, a chat window operates to the side of the screen where all the regular folks like us get to hang out, ask questions, or offer answers to the on-screen conversation, or more often than not, deviate and hold our own little chat-party completely unrelated to the stream.  I'm one of a handful of moderators over there, and I will tell you, I don't even try to stay on topic; none of us do, really.  The whole goal is just to keep it a chill little corner of cyberspace where people can duck in, relax, recharge, share a laugh and feel good for as long as they wish to stay ... And I think that's what I'm most proud of.  Sure, the raising money part is worthwhile, but to be perfectly honest, watching friendships evolve, and relationships grow out of a chat window, seeing the same names come back year after year, chuckling at the interactions between the regulars, and feeling my heart swell when someone new swings by for the first time, and is treated like an old pal is tremendously refreshing, and rewarding.  

Going into my seventh year of participating, I can honestly say that my holiday season doesn't fully kick off until the charity starts; it's become that much a part of what traditions I do have.

It just doesn't feel like Winter, or Christmas, or whatever until this gang of geeks unites to right some of the wrongs in the world.  I should mention this is not a disparaging remark, the whole idea of "geeks doing good" was founded on the notion that geeks get results.  Just throwing money at a problem is not a satisfactory solution.  Geeks want to be part of long-lasting, profound change that has the ability to impact peoples' lives in legitimate and tangible ways, and they have the brain-power and creativity to get in there and make it happen.  That's why Worldbuilders partners with charitable organizations like Heifer International, Mercy Corps, GlobalGiving, and First Book. If that sounds like you, then you're a geek too!  If you want to join the merry-making mayhem you can check out the main Worldbuilders page, if you're ready to jump right in and donate, you can do that here where every $10 gets you an entry into the prize lottery, you may also enjoy browsing the auctions, and last but not least, be sure to check out Pat's streaming schedule, and come say hello!

Charity Navigator: Worldbuilders

As always, but especially this year, because I know it's been tough on a lot of us and our dollars might be stretched a little thinner than usual, please don't feel bad if you can't make a monetary contribution.  You can come hang out anyway, there is absolutely no obligation to donate, but if it's not in the budget, or you're underage and you still want to participate, remember that spreading the word is just as important as any dollar amount you could give.  Make some noise!!