Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This Month's Photo of Chunlin

I somehow forgot to post the picture from December on my lovely calendar of Chunlin back at the beginning of the month. But since she's so cute, here you go. Better late than never!


Our trip to New Zealand seems so long ago. . .

Texas Bowl Today!

Watch the Rice Owls beat the Western Michigan Broncos tonight at 7 p.m. Central!


At least. . .

The City of Seattle won't clear the snow from the streets (no, better to just let it melt on its own!), but at least they can quickly fill in the potholes in the arterial streets created by everyone (including the buses) using tire chains on bare pavement (because the side streets had so much snow [see first item, above]) which is asphalt instead of concrete (since the city is more concerned about short-term costs than the long-term), thus easier to break with the chains.

So at least they got that going for them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Tale of Voro

Tend your fire, maintain your chastity, honor the Excellent God, Voro! For today is His holy day!

33-Stove Fire

Voro was the youngest of five children born to Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, and Rana, Goddess of Clouds. At that time, Korutuzho was the King of the Gods and Ruler of the Universe. When His children were still infants, He went crazy and thought They would overthrow Him and take over control of the world. And so He swallowed Them whole.

Being the youngest, baby Voro was the last to go down Korutuzho’s throat. His mother Rana worried about Voro and His siblings. She devised a plan to rescue Them. The plan worked. Being the last in, Voro was the first out. Therefore, He is both the youngest and oldest of the family: the last born from Rana, but the first born from Korutuzho.

Growing up, Voro was always calmer and more even-tempered than His brothers: Sozho, High God of Air; Pétíso, God of Death; and Vasataté, God of Oceans; or even His sister Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth. They were always off running around fighting, killing demons, and rutting with anything that moved. Voro, though, longed for a stable relationship with one woman He could love forever.

At one extravagant party hosted by His brother, Vasataté, Voro became overly inebriated, thanks to Vasataté mixing strong beer into Voro’s orange juice without Voro’s consent or knowledge. As Voro’s brothers enjoyed His unintentional drunken antics, Voro spied a lovely goddess Who moved through the crowd like a soft breeze and immediately decided that He loved Her. She was Hérazha, Goddess of the Wind, and She was indeed lovely, wise, and strong.

The next morning, however, Voro realized His folly. He did not love Hérazha. He had been blinded by Vasataté’s beer. And while Hérazha found Voro to be kind, helpful, and honorable, She too had been overcome by the alcohol. She did not love Him.

Dejected but wiser, Voro and Hérazha went Their separate ways. Later that year, Hérazha gave birth to Nokí, Goddess of Food. Voro loved His daughter deeply, but She was a reminder of His grievous error. From that point on, Voro swore to a life of celibacy. Love was not meant for Him.

Voro has remained chaste for the rest of history.

When Voro’s siblings conquered Their father and took over control of the universe, much as Korutuzho had feared, the five of Them sat down to divide the spoils. Sozho took the air, Vasataté took the water, Nuvíní took the earth, Pétíso took the souls, and Voro took fire. Everything relating to fire was under His control, from a sputtering candle to the sun in the sky.

But it was too much for Him. Voro did not want to control so much. It left Him stretched so thin that He was not able to give people the care and help they deserved. And so, much to His siblings’ surprise, Voro handed over control of all fire to the young but strong Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, in exchange for being able to attend to the hearths and cooking fires of the world.

Voro thusly sits beside the hearth fire in Sozho’s great hall, stoking the coals and adding fuel as needed, content as can be. When people pray at their fires, He hears them and assists them.

One year, when His siblings were having one of Their typical fights, Sozho ended up killing Pétíso. Their sister Nuvíní begged Voro to help Her bring Him back to life. Voro reluctantly agreed, for even though it was not in His nature to interfere in His siblings’ squabbles, He still cared deeply for Them.

Focusing on His fire, Voro was able to track down Pétíso in the spirit plane. Pétíso was unsure if He wanted to return to the world of the living, having already been killed and resurrected once before. Through Voro, Nuvíní pleaded with Pétíso, telling Him that He was loved dearly and would be sorely missed if He remained away.

At this point, Voro intervened. His earlier reluctance had finally boiled over. He declared that it was not right and natural for Pétíso to return to the living. According to Voro, Pétíso was correct in desiring to advance to the land of the dead. When people die, that is where they must go.

Nuvíní was distraught, but She accepted Voro’s pronouncement. Pétíso gladly headed to the underworld, where He now lives as the ruler and judge of departed souls.

That was just the beginning for Voro, as He has ever since made a point to assist the souls of the recently deceased. If needed, He will give souls the courage required to leave their family behind and the strength required to travel to Pétíso’s great hall and receive their judgment for the afterlife.

This is why everyone must pay his respects to the Excellent God, the Most Chaste One, Voro. Before sacrificing to any other god, you must grant a small portion to the Eldest and Youngest, for He is first before all the others. When your loved ones pass away, you must honor the Most Useful God, to give their souls strength. As you tend your hearth fire, say a prayer to the Keeper of the Flame, that He will maintain your fire.

Above all, do not give into temptation. Do not drink in excess. Maintain control of your body, your mind, and your soul. This is the best way to honor the Chaste One. Surely if Voro can remain celibate for all His life, we mortal creatures can remain so for at least twenty-five years. Without control of our selves, we are but animals. Trust in Voro, be like Voro, and you shall be great.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

For Those Who Care. . .

and really, who else reads this thing?

I posted a few dozen photos from our wonderful Christmas on flickr.


Merry Christmas, everybody!
10 - Mark Laugh D

The Tale of Kérasa

Happy New Year!

The Year of the Mosquito is at an end and the Year of the Eagle had now begun! Hurrah!

Today is the Holy Day of Kérasa! Hurrah!

13-Tsawassen Water

In the beginning, there was nothing but void, and the void was chaos, and the chaos was Kérasa. Alone in Her swirling mixture of primordial seawater, Kérasa was content. Her universe was quiet and peaceful.

After some time, Kérasa’s saltwater met with an eddy of sweet water, and the sweet water was Hívo, God of Potable Water. They joined together, happy in each other’s company. In serene calm, the waters mixed together. The salt and sweet canceled each other and They both became just water. The two alone, Kérasa and Hívo enjoyed the emptiness.

Before long, though, Kérasa gave birth to Kara, Goddess of Soil. Earth sprang forth from the waters. Other gods and goddesses quickly followed. Stars and atmosphere and noxious winds crowded the universe. The world became noisy.

Kérasa and Hívo complained of the ruckus. They asked the other gods to remain quiet. The new gods did not listen to Their elders, however. In fact, They grew angry at Kérasa and Hívo for telling Them what to do. Kérasa’s grandson, Zhaké, God of Rivers, cast a spell upon Hívo, putting Him to sleep. Since none of the gods would speak to Her, Kérasa was left alone.

She began to lose Her mind. Being alone in the quiet of an empty universe had been relaxing, but being alone with a surrounding cacophony was unbearable. Her anger at the noisy new gods grew every day. Lest She went completely insane, Kérasa needed the universe to return to the silence of the beginning.

If only the raucous universe were to end, Kérasa could have peace. To that end, Kérasa created dragons, serpents, mermaids, and demons to spread strife to the world of the other gods. She brought forth war, famine, floods, and disease to the gods and Their creations. Once the crowded universe collapsed from Her attack, Kérasa would once more be free in the void.

The other gods joined battle with Kérasa’s army of dragons and demons. The war raged on for years, which were but a blink of the eye to the Eldest. Neither side prevailed.

To give Her army an advantage, Kérasa gave the Tablet of Destinies to the leader of Her army, a dragon named Kínoko, to wear as His breastplate. Being the eldest god, Kérasa had always held the tablet, which declared Her to be the ruler of all things. Since the tablet is to survive for all eternity, it naturally is indestructible.

Kérasa’s army attacked the gods yet again, with the gargantuan Kínoko at the fore. He shot fire from His maw, tore demigods apart with His claws, and deflected all blows with the Tablet of Destinies. Zhoro, God of Heat, closed in on Kínoko and challenged Him to single combat. Kínoko agreed.

It soon became apparent, however, that Zhoro outmatched Kínoko. Not even the Tablet of Destinies could not save Kérasa’s lover from Zhoro’s flashing sword. Kérasa swept down upon the battlefield to stop the duel, but She was too late.

Zhoro sliced His sword through Kínoko’s lengthy neck. While the dragon reeled from the wound, Zhoro stabbed Kínoko at the edge of the tablet breastplate. His sword penetrated Kínoko’s scaly skin and pierced His heart.

Kérasa erupted in tears, cradling Kínoko’s lifeless head in Her lap. Thus distracted by Her grief, Kérasa didn’t notice when Zhoro snatched up the Tablet of Destinies and took it across the battlefield to Sorosotuzho, God of the Atmosphere. Sorosotuzho was a grandson of Kérasa and the strongest of the elder gods. He gladly accepted the tablet from Zhoro and raised it high above His head, declaring Himself to be the Ruler of the Universe.

At that point, Kérasa didn’t care. She had already lost both Hívo and Kínoko, plus the peace and quiet of Her early life. It no longer mattered to Her if She was the titular ruler. In fact, nothing mattered to Her anymore.

Kérasa attacked Zhoro with all the pent-up rage of destroyed bliss and the fury of a goddess with nothing to lose. Zhoro was surprised by Her attack, and She nearly defeated Him, but He regained His balance and killed the reckless Kérasa.

As Her body fell alongside Kínoko’s, Kérasa’s spirit flew away to be as alone as She could manage in the din of the crowded universe. Far behind Her, Zhoro carved up Her body, creating from it the heavens and the earth. He sliced up Kínoko’s body and sprinkled the blood across the new earth to form humanity. We are all from Kínoko’s blood, and thus Kérasa’s creation. We all walk upon Kérasa’s body and breathe Her air.

At the far end of the universe, Kérasa created a new body for Herself. Seeking peace and solitude in which to grieve, She made Her way up to the top of Mount Farasa. There atop the grand mountain around which the sky revolves, Kérasa cried. She cried for the loss of Her lover, Kínoko. She cried for the loss the sleeping Hívo, Her one true friend and mate. She cried for the loss of a quiet universe.

After many years, Kérasa decided that the catastrophe which is the universe was all Her fault. If She had not borne children, the scourge of the gods and humanity would never have existed. She knew it was too late to return to Her quiet life, but She realized that She could still bring some comfort to the people who were stuck in the universe with Her.

Because of Her own childbearing nightmare, Kérasa has focused Her powers on helping women to have safe childbirths. She wants no woman to regret their birthing experience the way She did. She wants women with pure hearts to become fertile and bear children with pure hearts themselves, to improve the nasty universe, little by little.

Since Hívo’s sweet water had canceled Kérasa’s original saltiness, Her tears had flowed clean and pure into the earth of Mount Farasa. The years of tears slowly trickled through the rock to eventually spring forth from the ground, far down the mountainside. Kérasa cast a spell upon Her tears, making them bring fertility to those who drank.

Local women found the spring and tried the water. To their surprise, they discovered that barren women became fertile. Births became painless. Mothers and children lived -- and happily, too. The women whispered news of the springs of Mount Farasa to their friends, who quietly informed other women. Soon, all the women of the world knew of the miracle of Kérasa’s tears.

With renewed spirit and a confidence in the goodness of the universe, Kérasa awakened Hívo. The world was no longer such a terror that Hívo would go insane. He saw the universe, accepted its noisiness, and thanked Kérasa, His friend of eternity.

Together They live atop Mount Farasa at the center of the universe and watch the world spin by, bringing peace and purity to all who venture Their way. So drink the waters of the Eldest and you, too, will be at peace. Drink Kérasa’s tears and you, too, will be fertile. Drink and you shall remain strong. Drink the water, honor Kérasa, and She will make your universe a better place through you.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

To the Tune of "Silver Bells"

Merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This will all be over in 2012. . .

Last night, I shoveled the driveway with the hope that I'd be able to drive this morning.

We awoke to 2-1/2" new fluff on the pavement. Oddly enough, we only had 10-1/2" on the back porch, after I measured it at 9" last night. I guess it compacted, blew off, or fell through.

Like that icy first Sunday, ten days ago, I could probably drive in these conditions if it was an emergency, but really . . . my car's a summer car.

I hope the weather improves quickly. Happy Christmas Eve!


Further thought: I have a four-season tent but a three-season car. What's wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fluffy Floating Flakes Falling from the Firmament

It's snowing again!

ZIP Codes I've Known


One of these just doesn't look right to me. Can you find the one that doesn't fit? Hint: I only lived there two months.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Today's Snow Photos

Our 10" of snow melted to 9" during the day. We'll get more soon, right? I want to get over a foot!

Here are some photos from my walk to work this morning:

3 - Driveway Chunlin Christina

6 - North Acres Park Path

8 - Christina

9 - I-5

14 - Icicles Metal Roof

19 - Thornton Creek Park

Without the wind, the snow finally piled up on the trees. The view from my cubicle:
21 - Office View

The sun came out briefly at lunchtime.
23 - Branches Sunlight

24 - Few Branches

The sidewalks are all pretty beaten down to hard-packed snow. I could probably walk to work tomorrow in my dress shoes if it weren't for those darn streets. What do they spray on the road to make it so slippery? Is it just the sand or do they put a chemical on it, too? The brown snow just doesn't crunch together. It's a dry slush. It better be nice to drive on, because it's a pain for pedestrians.


10" of snow on our back porch . . . last night. We maybe got an extra 1/2" overnight.

Still less than a foot, though.

I walked to the office. Got hot. No wind. Took off three layers, hat, and gloves.

Chunlin and Christina hopped on buses and away they roll. . .

Very empty here at the office, with vacationers and slackers compounding the vacant desks. Back to work!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Play in the Snow

This afternoon, Christina convinced us to go to the local park and play in the snow. She literally had to drag Chunlin to do it.
16 - Chunlin Christina Pull

The street was in even better condition than this morning:
17 - Plowed Street
Still icy, but you can see the pavement!

At the park, the camera battery wasn't doing so well, but I did get one photo.
19 - Christina Sled

And that was before I built my "seat" at the bottom of the hill.

Oh, by the way: still snowing.
21 - Still Snowing

Cold Night

I guess if it's not cold and snowy on the night of the winter solstice at the lowest point in both the solar cycle and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, when will it be cold and snowy?

Solstice Snow

It wasn't as cold last night as the night prior, but we sure got more snow!

The winter solstice hit last night around 4 a.m. local time, which means the days get longer from here on out and we still have a few months of coldness.

Which, with seven inches of snow on the ground (over ten inches in drifts), sounds like a fun prospect.

At least the streets are passable:
11 - Traffic
It's handy to have the city's snow plows' home garage just a couple blocks away on the same street. Our street is always the first to get cleared!

We got a touch of freezing rain at the end of the night, making the top layer of the snow very icy. I had to punch the metal ruler through to get measurements. When I dropped the ruler, it clattered on the snow as if I dropped it on a hard floor.

2 - Dutch Snowboot

14 - Eaves
I never finished cleaning the roof before the snow hit a week ago. I wonder how the little clumps of moss are doing, under the snow.

The wind was blowing the tiny snowflakes all over. Christina and I made snow angels in the driveway last night, but the wind nearly filled them in already.
8 - Yesterday's Snow Angel

A week ago, Christina made a snowball-sized snowman on the steps to our front yard. Can you find it now?
7 - Christina's Old Snowman

Even our sheltered front porch got snow blown onto it.
4 - Front Porch
And this was the leeward side of the house. The windward side had three inches piled against the sliding glass door.

Merry Christmas!
15 - Christmas Tree

We took my in-laws to lunch yesterday afternoon for a Christmas get-together. My sister-in-law spent an extra hour at her parents' apartment before heading home (after it was already snowing). She left their place at 4:30 and got on I-5. An hour later, she called us and said she was only to the 520 junction. Less than ten miles in that hour. I had hoped she would have left earlier, but . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It was 12°F this morning.

That's cold.

The Tale of Pétíso

As the world grows dark, we pause now to celebrate the holy day of the God of Death, Pétíso!

6-Lower Ape Cave

When the gods were young and Pétíso’s father, Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, ruled the universe with capricious and malevolent will, Pétíso and His siblings held a secret meeting. Chief among Them was Sozho, High God of Air, Who was itching to challenge His father and rule the universe Himself. Also there were Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth; Vasataté, God of Oceans; and Voro, God of Hearth Fire. All had had enough of the rule of the older generation and the evil that Their father had become. Unanimously, They declared war upon Korutuzho.

The young gods and the old gods met on the field of battle. Deftly fighting from His ink-black chariot drawn by four black stallions, Pétíso defeated all the demigods Who came His way, but never was able to corner His father or one of His uncles. The two armies fought to a draw.

Pétíso donned His Helm of Darkness, rendering Him invisible. Since the other gods could still see His chariot racing across the field, He abandoned it and fought on foot. Still, Korutuzho’s demons and demigods blocked Pétíso with their ever-increasing pile of dead bodies. Korutuzho maintained His hold on the Tablet of Destinies, and thus control of the universe.

When night fell, the two armies retired to their camps. With the Helm of Darkness firmly upon His head, Pétíso walked to His father’s camp, invisible to all guards and sentries. Although He could have walked up to Korutuzho and slit His throat, Pétíso instead chose the honorable path and destroyed the weapons of Korutuzho’s army. Tent by tent, Pétíso bent the swords and broke the arrows of every god, demigod, and demon allied with His father.

The next morning, Pétíso and His siblings waited on the battlefield for Their father. Eventually, Korutuzho arrived carrying nothing but the Tablet of Destinies. Knowing that it must have been Pétíso Who conquered Him, Korutuzho began handing the tablet to Pétíso. Sozho, however, lunged forward and snatched the Tablet of Destinies for Himself.

Not wishing to fight His brother so soon after Their joint victory, Pétíso did not challenge Sozho. Instead, He suggested that They decide Who among Them would rule each aspect of the universe. Sozho claimed the air for Himself, since He wanted to be above everyone. Nuvíní claimed the land and all that grows from it. Vasataté claimed the oceans. Voro claimed fire. Lacking anything physical left to rule, Pétíso claimed the souls of all living beings to be His domain.

Dejected and forgotten, Korutuzho left to plant some crops, not realizing that He had had His shoes on the wrong feet all morning.

The five sibling gods each went His or Her own way, exploring Their new territories and asserting Their rule. Pétíso cared for the souls of humanity, demigods, and all. He nurtured them. He answered prayers and became quite popular. Sozho grew jealous.

In a fit of rage, Sozho stabbed Pétíso in the back, straight through His heart. Pétíso died instantly. To hide the body, Sozho stuffed it into a box and sent it floating down the Nízhorosívo River. Thinking His evil deed accomplished, Sozho returned to His home.

Pétíso’s spirit, however, remained. He did not immediately to the afterlife like most souls. Pétíso could not depart, for He had to remain to protect the universe’s souls from the evil of Sozho.

Pétíso awoke his pet dog, Sérasavasé, and sent him tracking His body down the river. The spirit of Pétíso then quickly went to His sister, Nuvíní, and told Her what had happened in a dream.

Nuvíní caught up to Sérasavasé at the banks of the Nízhorosívo River, where She spotted a large wooden box caught by some drooping branches. Nuvíní fished it out and discovered Her brother’s dead body inside. Overcome with grief, for She loved Pétíso dearly, Nuvíní broke into tears, doubling the flow of the river.

Seeing Nuvíní in such pain, Vuzhí, Goddess of Life, took pity on Her and brought Pétíso back to life. Nuvíní thanked Vuzhí and kissed Pétíso, waking Him up. Pétíso welcomed His return to the living, grateful to Vuzhí, Nuvíní, and His dog Sérasavasé.

Pétíso resumed His duties, tending to the souls of the universe, sending Sozho back to the skies. He was wary of His brother, careful that Sozho might try something again. The next time Pétíso was alone, however, Sozho attacked Him.

Pétíso fought gallantly, but Sozho had His impenetrable shield, thus rendering Pétíso’s blows ineffective. Sérasavasé’s teeth and claws were useless against Sozho’s shield, and so Pétíso ordered him away. As Their swordfight drew on, Pétíso succumbed to scratch after scratch, nick after nick, until He had bled so much that He lost strength and collapsed.

Sozho leapt at His brother and sliced off His head. He then proceeded to carve up Pétíso’s body into a pile of bloody bits. He scattered the pieces of Pétíso’s body throughout the world, so that Sérasavasé wouldn’t be able to track Him and Nuvíní and Vuzhí would not be able to revive Him. So Pétíso would never be whole, Sozho took His manhood and fed it to an eagle.

With Pétíso’s spirit helping as best He could, Nuvíní and the dog Sérasavasé tracked down all the pieces of Pétíso’s body. Nuvíní reassembled Him, but much to Her chagrin, one key piece was missing. She sent Sérasavasé out to look for Pétíso’s manhood, but that was a futile mission. Eventually, they gave up. Nuvíní fashioned a manhood out of gold and attached it to Pétíso’s body.

Nuvíní called upon Vuzhí and asked Her to revive Pétíso again. The beautiful, young Goddess of Life sadly informed Her that She could not bring Him to life a second time. She had pushed the balance of nature just to bring Him back once. Vuzhí tried to comfort the grieving Nuvíní, but eventually decided to leave the earth goddess alone with the body.

Nuvíní held Pétíso’s body close to Her and cried. Filled with longing for Her dead brother, She kissed His body all over. She decided it was time to bury Pétíso forever, but the sight of His golden manhood gave Her pause. One last fling would not be impossible; it would be grand to give Pétíso a memorable goodbye.

Pétíso’s spirit had been nearby the whole time, and when He saw what Nuvíní was doing, He re-entered His body to fully experience the sexual delight. Much to His surprise, as They climaxed, Pétíso awoke. They both screamed with pleasure. Falling together, Pétíso whispered thanks into Nuvíní’s ear. The next spring, Nuvíní gave birth to Huro, God of Thunder.

After being dead and resurrected twice, Pétíso had gained insight into all the happenings of the universe, both in the physical and spiritual planes. He was, in a word, omniscient. He set up His home in the underworld, with a great hall constructed where He judges every arriving soul. His dog, Sérasavasé, stands at the gates to the underworld, guarding against any non-departed souls -- especially Sozho -- who might come Pétíso’s way.

Some years later, Pétíso seduced the lovely Vuzhí. They married and She joined Him at His castle in the underworld. Unfortunately, with Vuzhí gone, the world above became cold and lifeless. Pétíso convinced Her to leave Him for half the year and bring life to the world, which is why we have seasons.

Pétíso is all-seeing and all-knowing. If you lead a good life, He will grant you bliss in His presence, to be followed by a return to our world as an enlightened and powerful being. If your soul is fraught with evil, Pétíso will condemn you to infinite pain, followed by a return to our universe as a pillbug or mosquito, to be squished flat as soon as you comprehend your surroundings. The good have nothing to fear from Pétíso. The evil, though, must beware!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Snow!

We finally got more snow. About 1" when we woke up this morning.

The street wasn't too slippery (and it was empty) so I drove to work. We're back home now, before sunset. We got about 3" accumulation today, so we're certainly not getting dumped on like surrounding areas.

My office view:
2 - Thornton Creek More Snow (Thursday)

Snow birds:
3 - Flamingos

Our backyard:
5 - Backyard Snow

Not too bad, but I didn't want to drive after dark. So here we are. . .

The snow is too fluffy for a snowman, though. Hmph.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where's My Snow??

The rain/snow accumulation for today:

And Seattle School District had a snow day for this?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


My outdoor thermometer measured 16°F at 7 a.m. this morning.

I'm so glad I live in Seattle where we have a warm marine mass to moderate our air temperature!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fresh from Canada!

We finally got our free shipment of snow, fresh from Canada.

Which is really too bad, because I wanted to drive highway 17 this weekend. But no. Winter came two days too early.

1 - Snow Rose
Our roses never know when to quit blooming.

3 - Christina Jump
We only got two inches, but that's enough to make Christina run around happy.

I'm sure winter will be over in a couple weeks. We can drive highway 17 then. And go Christmas shopping, too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Subdivision, part 16

After being told that our plans were lost, I got the surveyor to send me a new version. I made copies at Kinko's. Chunlin took them to DPD and was more-or-less rejected.

The original was folded (by the surveyor), which is a big no-no. My Kinko's copies had dark streaks on the edges, which is also not allowed. Finally, the surveys weren't notarized. Somehow, I never knew that I was responsible for getting the surveys notarized.

It's the surveyor's drawing, so shouldn't he do it? No?

So I called the surveyor back and had him make more copies (with original signature), but not fold them. I picked those up on Wednesday, had them notarized yesterday, and we dropped them off at DPD this morning.


And still no word from City Light on rerouting the electrical feed.

Do I seem more annoyed or resigned?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New from Hickory Farms. . .

Would you like some sushi sausage?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Rice to Play . . . Western Michigan??

Rice is officially in the Texas Bowl versus Western Michigan, December 30.

The Texas Bowl wanted to get Notre Dame, but they went to the Hawaii Bowl. Bah. Now Rice has to play a MAC team.

(I can imagine WMU alumni saying something very similar about this match-up: "WMU to play . . . Rice?? Why do we have to play some small-school C-USA team??")

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Subdivision, part 15

Back in October, Chunlin dropped off the final survey and other information to the city. Shortly thereafter, the city published a decision that approved the subdivision, conditional on a comment period and submittal of the final survey and other information that Chunlin had dropped off.

I had called the reviewer and she told me that I didn't need to submit anything else. I just had to wait.

The comment period ended November 3. I waited for a final notice. These things take time, right?

I called her today. She says that although the computer shows the final survey is with the plans routing person, that person doesn't have the survey. I called this other woman and she said that even though there's only a couple places where the drawings could possibly be, they're gone. Vanished.

According to them, my only option is to resubmit the final survey. And since it has to be an original version with a signature and I had only kept a copy, I need to get it from the surveyor.

I asked the plans routing woman about a reimbursement from the city for her mistake. She sounded apologetic . . . but no.

In other news, Seattle City Light still hasn't scheduled the electricity cut-over.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Tale of Hívuítoví

Blessed be Hívuítoví! May She cleanse your soul.


When Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, created the universe, He gave Hívuítoví’s brother Névazhíno, God of Animals, the task of naming and giving traits to all the animals. Névazhíno proudly set about His job, granting love to the deer, anger to the alligator, mischief to the rat, joy to the marmot, fear to the armadillo, and so on. The names were the easy part; He had infinite names to choose from.

Hívuítoví noticed how quickly Her brother was going through the traits. He didn’t have an unlimited supply of those. She cautioned Névazhíno to be careful not to run out before His task was completed. Névazhíno chuckled at His sister’s comment and went about His business, happy as can be. When He got to the last animal, the man, Névazhíno suddenly realized that He had no traits remaining.

Disappointed, Névazhíno shrugged and walked away. From a distance, Hívuítoví watched the solitary, traitless man. The man, whose name was Sétané, sat on the ground with his arms around his knees, shivering slightly, staring at his feet.

Hívuítoví didn’t know what to do. She wanted to make up for Her brother’s mistake, but Her exceptional skill of bringing rain to fertilize the land wouldn’t help Sétané. She watered the plants so he would not go hungry, but he remained a cold, lonely man even after eating. To top it off, Sétané injured himself while picking apples. Hívuítoví could hear Sétané calling out with his soul, praying for assistance while he sat bleeding from the gaping wound in his leg.

Since Sétané was Zhíanoso’s creation, Sozho, High God of Air, decreed that no god should help him. Zhíanoso was too busy observing His creation to actually get involved. The other gods and goddesses all obeyed Sozho, the King of the Gods.

Hívuítoví, however, couldn’t live with Herself if She did not help Sétané. She heeded his prayer and went to his aid. She healed his injury; She cleansed his soul, making him more sanguine about his situation; but She could not warm him or give him any distinguishing trait.

Hívuítoví decided that Sétané needed fire, to warm him, so She tracked down Zhíanoso and asked Him for some fire. Zhíanoso liked Hívuítoví quite well, and also felt attached to His creation, so He gave the goddess a small horn with a few burning embers inside.

Knowing that Sozho would try to stop Her, Hívuítoví raced back to Sétané and gave him the embers. Sétané thanked Her for the embers and promptly started a fire with collected reeds and branches. The fire not only warmed Sétané’s body, but also his soul. Watching the dancing flames, Sétané started tapping his fingers in a rhythm and then began swaying to his first taste of music. In a few days, he also began cooking his food and constructing a shelter for himself, thanking Hívuítoví all the while.

The King of the Gods was not so pleased as Sétané. Sozho swept down upon Hívuítoví, appearing out His thin air to capture Her and bind Her with thick chains. Hívuítoví did not bother to ask His reasoning, for She knew quite well. She had disobeyed His order to not help the man.

Sozho chained Hívuítoví to a giant boulder and set about an eagle to peck out Her liver every day, which would regrow every night. He declared that this would be Her punishment for all eternity and that no god shall help Her, or else He too would suffer the same fate.

The eagle began eating Hívuítoví’s liver. She screamed out in agony, despite Her attempts to remain calm. Through the excruciating pain, Hívuítoví realized that no one would dare cross Sozho. This would be Her fate until the end of time.

Days disappeared in a haze for Hívuítoví, lost in a blur of misery.

Suddenly, the eagle flew away, chased off by someone. Hívuítoví focused Her eyes on the figure before Her, seeing that this person had the torso of a god and the hindquarters of a horse. As Her chains were broken, Hívuítoví recognized Him as Karané, demigod son of Korutuzho. Karané was a great archer and healer, having taught both arts to many gods, including Sozho. Karané mended Her liver, sealing up Her side, and then urged Her to leave quickly.

They both fled from the boulder, but not before Sozho spotted Them. He jumped in attack, swinging His sword at Hívuítoví with a bellow of rage. Even though Karané did not have a sword, He stepped in to block with His bow. Sozho’s sword shattered Karané’s bow and cut straight through the demigod’s side, killing Him instantly.

Filled with anguish for having killed His mentor, Sozho forgot about chasing Hívuítoví. He took Karané’s body up into the heavens and placed Him in the night sky as the constellation, the Archer. All the gods took a fourday of mourning for Karané’s passing.

Soon thereafter, Hívuítoví married Zhíanoso. For a wedding present, Hívuítoví asked Her new husband to give the solitary man a wife, as well. Zhíanoso agreed. He put Sétané into a deep sleep and excised a rib from the man, from which He created the first woman. Hívuítoví’s brother Névazhíno named her Vétaurosí.

Sétané awoke to see Vétaurosí, who greeted him fondly. Hívuítoví blessed their wedlock and they consummated their union. Vétaurosí bore several children, thus creating the human race.

As a wedding gift, Hívo, God of Clean Water, gave the first humans a small, sealed clay jar, instructing them to never open it. Névazhíno told them to go ahead and open it, since what use is a sealed jar? Hívuítoví, on the other hand, warned the humans to heed Hívo’s warning. The water god must have good reason for telling them to keep it closed.

It seemed as if Sétané and Vétaurosí listened to Hívuítoví, so She returned home with Zhíanoso. Névazhíno, however, wanted to see what was in the clay jar, so He transformed Himself into a snake to approach the humans again. By portraying Himself as a second person arguing for opening the jar, Névazhíno convinced Vétaurosí to break the seal.

The instant the jar opened, a swirl of evil erupted into the world. Hate, jealousy, pride, shame, greed, laziness, and gluttony flowed from the tiny jar, infecting the humans and their offspring. Until that time, the humans had walked naked, but with shame, they hastily affixed leaves to their bodies. When Zhíanoso accepted Sétané and Vétaurosí’s second son’s offering before their eldest son’s sacrifice, the eldest became enraged and murdered his brother. Evil permeated all.

At the bottom of the jar, nearly crushed to extinction by the weight of the evil, lay a weak wisp of hope. Hívuítoví coaxed the hope from the jar, breathed fresh life into it, and set it aflight into the world to counter the evil. To this day, Hívuítoví traverses the world, renewing hope wherever evil seems to have overcome it.

It is from Hívuítoví’s cleansing rain that evil is washed from our souls. It is from Hívuítoví’s cleansing rain that the land and women are made fertile. It is from Hívuítoví’s example that we learn to plan ahead and heed warnings. It is from Hívuítoví’s example that we learn to care for others, despite evil directives to the contrary.

So, pray to Hívuítoví! Pray to Her for the well-being of your soul. Pray to Her for hope and the conquering of evil. Pray to Hívuítoví, and She shall wash you clean.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Owls Win Again!

For the first time this season, the Rice Owls have defeated a team with a winning record, their cross-town rivals, the Houston Cougars.

But Tulsa held off Marshall, so Tulsa gets to go to the C-USA championship game versus East Carolina. The winner of that game will go to the Liberty Bowl against a middling-ranked SEC team. The loser of that game will probably go to the GMAC Bowl against #2 from the MAC or an upper WAC team.

Which leaves Rice playing in the Texas Bowl (I think) against the eighth-best Big-12 team. . . except that the Big-12 only has seven bowl-eligible teams this year.

The Texas Bowl also has an agreement with TCU (but no other Mountain West Conference teams), but TCU is #2 in the MWC, which would put them in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Well, I guess I'll let the bowl officials figure that all out and just sit back content that my alma mater's team will be playing football in late December.

Go Owls!

Friday, November 28, 2008

100 * 1,000

As of today, 100 of my photos on flickr have 1,000 or more views.

Here's #100:
43-Kisser Wave

999 of the photos are from the Fremont Solstice Parade. This is the only one that isn't:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A few days ago. . .

You very well may have seen these Sunday-drive photos over at flickr, but I'll post a few of them here anyway.

These are all Chunlin's.

2-Tacoma Narrows Bridge Ch

Can you tell the old bridge from the new bridge?

7-Tacoma Narrows Bridge West Approach Ch

How much did this new bridge cost us?

10-New Narrows Bridge Ch

It cost us $4 on the toll (eastbound only), but I mean how many billions of dollars did the construction cost?

11-Mt Rainier Narrows Bridge Ch

Was it just one billion dollars? Is that all? . . . Pretty, though.

12-Mt Rainier Tacoma Ch

After a few days of one-mile visibility and misting showers, Sunday sure looks like it was a nice day for a drive!