Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Tale of Rívorí

O red Rívorí, great Goddess of Wildfire, please protect my city and cast plagues upon my enemies! You are the most cunning and powerful goddess of Them all!

7 - Seattle Kerry Park

When red Rívorí was but a youth, She would spend Her days taking care of the castle and tending to the town. Her twin brother Zhoro, God of Heat, on the other hand, always went off hunting in the wilderness. He would often be gone for fourdays upon fourdays, while Rívorí would keep the servants and townsfolk orderly and content, and the structures maintained and beautiful. Since Zhoro was a few minutes older, He could do whatever He pleased, knowing that Their father Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, would grant to Him great powers befitting the eldest child.

One day, when Rívorí and Zhoro were not yet fifteen years old, Zhoro returned from a long hunt to find Rívorí stirring a pot of red bean stew. Zhoro, even though He had eaten quite well on His hunt, offered His sister His birthright as eldest, if only She would give Him some stew. It smelled and looked that good. The red goddess knew She could always use more power to complete Her tasks more efficiently and properly, so She gladly accepted Her brother’s offer. Zhoro ate the stew in big mouthfuls while Rívorí sat back and watched, content to know the day would soon come that Zhíanoso would grant Her Her new birthright.

When Their fifteenth birthday arrived, Zhíanoso held a grand celebration in His children’s honor. The climax of the party would be the granting of Zhoro’s new powers. Zhoro and Rívorí both knew, however, that the abilities were to be Hers. To trick Her father, Rívorí dressed as a man and painted Her skin blue to match Zhoro’s. She also took red, furry goatskins and fashioned a beard and arm coverings so She would appear even more like Her hirsute brother. Meanwhile, Zhoro shaved His beard and dressed in Rívorí’s clothing, painting His face red to appear as Her.

At the celebration, Zhíanoso called for everyone’s attention and then proceeded, in an elaborate ceremony, to grant Rívorí-as-Zhoro great powers over volcanoes and all forms of fire, plus the right and responsibility to judge souls at the end of time. All the gods and demigods in assemblage applauded enthusiastically, whereupon Rívorí gave a deep bow. When She straightened, She pulled off the beard, revealing Her true identity.

The crowd gasped. Zhíanoso chuckled.

Rívorí thanked Her father for His wonderful gift, then announced She had a gift to give, as well. From a pouch on Her belt, She pulled a golden apple and held it aloft for all to see. Declaring that the apple was intended for the most beautiful goddess in the room, She tossed it into the crowd. Immediately three goddesses lunged for it and claimed the apple as Their own: Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth; Vítí, Goddess of Ice; and Rana, Goddess of Clouds.

As the three goddesses burst into argument, Rívorí laughed aloud and departed to test Her new abilities. She sparked a fire in a wide grassland and easily coaxed it into an inferno reaching from horizon to horizon. A storming wall of flame roared across the plains, guided by Rívorí’s new skill. She quickly extinguished the fire and tried Her volcanic powers. Drawing from the depths of the earth, Rívorí brought forth lava in a marvelous eruption, spewing glowing red rock for miles in every direction.

As for the final bestowed power, Rívorí could not test it, since the judging of souls would not take place till the end of time. She did, however, plan how She would destroy the wicked and soothe the good. Volcanoes, wildfire, plagues, and pain would be the eternity for the nasty and corrupt souls of the world. For the good, honest, and pure souls, Rívorí would bring them together in extreme comfort, with baths of warm milk, all the honey and delights they could desire, and marvelous music performed by beautiful musicians.

Meanwhile, back at Zhíanoso’s celebration, the gods finally separated the three fighting goddesses. Sozho, High God of Air and King of the Gods, refused to make a judgment as to the most beautiful goddess, for fear of raising the ire of the other two. Instead He decreed that this conflict must be decided by a mortal man who had never met any of the three goddesses. Sozho selected Prince Vélaíso of Tolo for this task. Hívo, God of Clean Water, guided the three goddesses to Tolo and explained the situation to Prince Vélaíso. The mortal prince was astonished to be charged with such a job, but quickly accepted and began evaluating the beauty of each goddess.

Nuvíní was resplendent in a lush brown ermine dress. Her face was a perfect oval, accentuated by Her cow-like eyes. Upon Her head, She wore Her bejeweled crown, fit for the Queen of the Gods. As Vélaíso admired Her amazing features, the earth goddess offered to make him the king of all the lands within a hundred days’ ride in all directions. The prince believed She could do this, and longed for such power, but held his judgment.

Next was Vítí, Whose blue and black gown, offset by Her startling white skin, astonished every assembled male with the way it highlighted every aspect of Her femininity. Vítí offered the prince exceptional skill and wisdom in the craft of war, which he also longed for. Nevertheless, Vélaíso sized up the ice goddess and once again withheld his decision.

Lastly, the prince viewed Rana. As was Her wont, the dazzling goddess was clad in nothing but clouds which drifted to and fro, enticing Vélaíso with glimpses of luscious thighs, glorious breasts, and Her free-flowing hair. While the mortal sat in stunned amazement, the sexy goddess promised to grant Prince Vélaíso the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.

Whether it was Her extreme lack of clothing or the offer She presented, Vélaíso gave the golden apple to Rana. Thusly, Rana gave Vélaíso the undying love of the most beautiful woman in the world, who was named Séraíní. Séraíní was already betrothed to the king of Rokího, and yet when Vélaíso sailed to Rokího, Séraíní gladly boarded his ship. As the two lovers sailed back to Tolo, the king of Rokího raised an army and a fleet of ten thousand vessels. Soon it became apparent to all that Tolo would face a major attack.

Rívorí saw this and, for She shared some blame due to Her apple joke, pledged to protect the city of Tolo. When the horde of Rokíhoans stormed the shore, Rívorí met them with a wall of fire a mile high. The invaders retreated to the safety of their ships, but did not sail away. As Rívorí guided the Toloans in construction of superior fortifications, She wondered why the Rokíhoans remained.

Soon the Rokíhoans attacked again. Rívorí sent a flood of lava rolling down the hill at them, burning everything in its path. Much to Her surprise, however, the lava abruptly cooled when it neared the advancing army. The soldiers charged right over the new, cold rock as if had been there for years. Clearly, a god was helping the Rokíhoans, but Who?

The invading army reached the city walls and soon a great melee ensued. Death and mayhem ruled the day. Before Tolo could fall, Rívorí had to do something. Quickly, She unleashed a plague upon the invaders, filling their lungs with the fire of disease. The plague spread like wildfire throughout the battling mortals, infecting Rokíhoans and Toloans alike. Rívorí healed the Toloans while they fought, so they hardly even noticed the plague. The Rokíhoans’ god did nothing at first to save His army, but as they retreated in a most sickly manner, the soldiers noticeably began to heal. The rout could not be stopped however, and they retreated fully back to their ships.

During the tumult, Rívorí had the king of Rokího captured. The Toloans took him to their dungeon, where the fire goddess sat down to have a little chat with the king. She asked him which god was aiding his army. The king refused to answer. Rívorí burned his skin with a glowing iron and asked again. The king writhed in agony, yet still refused to answer.

After beating the iron rod into a finely crafted sword, red Rívorí began flaying the skin from the king’s legs. As the king howled in agony, She ignited the raw flesh and asked Her question once more. Through his screams, the Rokíhoan king gasped Vítí’s name. Quickly extinguishing the flames, Rívorí considered his answer. As the ice goddess, Vítí would quite naturally and adeptly cool Rívorí’s lava and Her plagues. Additionally, Vítí desired revenge because the Toloan prince had not selected Her as the most beautiful goddess. The king had answered truthfully.

Since Vítí’s ice would cancel Rívorí’s fire, the red goddess needed a different strategy. Although Vítí was wise in the ways of war, She was also traditional. Rívorí knew She could trick Her. The fire goddess proclaimed to the Rokíhoan king that his invasion was futile, the Toloans would crush his army, and the Rokíhoans should build Tolo a giant statue of a warhorse as a symbol of Toloan dominance, before fleeing back to Rokího. She then set the king free, outside the gates of Tolo.

The king raced back to his army and spread the news. He also consulted Vítí. The ice goddess tut-tutted Rívorí’s attitude and, exactly as the fire goddess expected, decided to use Rívorí’s demands as a means to trick Her. No one, however, can out-scheme the red goddess. Vítí instructed the king to build the horse statue as Rívorí ordered, but make it hollow such that the Rokíhoan army could hide within. Then, according to Vítí’s plan, when the Toloans brought the statue inside their city and got drunk celebrating their victory, the Rokíhoans could emerge and slaughter the Toloans.

The Rokíhoans built the horse statue using wood from a few ships and hid inside, with a few sailors remaining without to guide the rest of the fleet away. The Toloans spotted the statue and the empty port. Trusting Rívorí, they pulled the giant wooden horse into the city. Once the gates had closed behind the statue, effectively hiding it from Vítí’s view, Rívorí promptly incinerated the horse and all the men secluded within.

The Toloans celebrated wildly, for Rívorí had successfully defended their city. Not an enemy of Tolo was to be found within a hundred days’ ride in all direction. Prince Vélaíso and Princess Séraíní held a glorious wedding, all the while honoring Rívorí for Her wisdom, strength, and determination, as well as Her supreme defense of cities under Her care.

We, too, must honor Rívorí, for She is indeed the greatest and strongest goddess, Who will always defend Her people and unleash great pain and death upon our enemies. Live a pure and honorable life, for your soul must survive red Rívorí’s judgment at the end of times. If evil overcomes you, you shall spend an eternity burning in Rívorí’s dungeon. Be true to Rívorí’s wishes, and your soul will forever dwell in the land of milk and honey.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Tale of Kara

Pray to the Great Mother, Kara, Goddess of Soil, for today is Her holy day! Let Kara help you, correct you, and mold you, and She will make you and your crops fertile.

19 - Toppenish Fields Ch

Kara is the earth; She is the rock; She is the soil. She supports us; She sustains us. We are all the Children of Kara, for She is the Great Mother. Without Her, we would surely perish.

Long ago, Kara gave birth to Her first child, the sky. The sky was Sorosotuzho, God of the Atmosphere and soon the Ruler of the Universe. He floated above all and She supported all from below. The universe was good and peaceful.

Together, Sorosotuzho and Kara had many children: gods, demigods, one-eyed giants, unicorns, and other wondrous creatures. Kara cared for them all, providing for them and loving them dearly. Sorosotuzho, on the other hand, became distraught at the sight of His offspring. He shook His bull head, afraid of what change these new gods and giants might bring His universe. He began catching His children with His horns and eating them so they could not disturb His world.

At the sight of Sorosotuzho eating Their children, Kara sprang into action. With all eight of Her dexterous legs, She collected Her child gods, demigods, and other creatures, hiding them deep within Her soil. Soon all Their children were gone from the face of the earth, either killed by Sorosotuzho or hidden by Kara. The air god relaxed and returned to floating above the world.

Kara, however, knew She had to do something about all Her children still within Her. She also knew that Sorosotuzho was no longer fit to be Ruler of the Universe, after what He had done. She thus offered a sickle to all the gods, demigods, and giants within Her and asked one of them to take it and turn the bull Sorosotuzho into a steer.

Her youngest son Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, stood up and accepted the sickle and the challenge. Quickly He dispatched His father and became King of the Gods. With congratulations to Her son, Kara released the remainder of Her children back into the world, for it was once again safe for them.

Since the universe was once again good and peaceful, Kara decided to populate it further. She gave birth to cattle, who roamed Her fields and meadows, eating the grass She provided. She gave birth to sheep, who fed from Her as well. She gave birth to bees, who became frightened by the larger animals and began to fly around in panic. One of the bees stung a cow, who started a stampede, which scared the bees even further. Soon they were stinging anything in sight, including Kara’s soil.

Kara swelled up from each bee sting -- massive uplifts of the rock and soil all across Her surface -- until giant ranges of mountains formed. Until then, the earth had been smooth and gentle, but ever since the bees stung Kara, we’ve had mountains and peaks galore.

After the animals settled down, Kara gave birth to Her most favored beings, the Children of Kara, who we call human beings. We are all the Children of Kara; She protects us and guides us; we must obey and honor Her.

It is the responsibility of us Children of Kara to resist the evil spirits who are the Children of Hérazha, Goddess of Wind. These air demons waft into our homes, stir up endless trouble in the alleyways, and blow nasty thoughts into our hearts. Do not too breathe deeply of the wind or the Children of Hérazha will fill you with their evil.

Long ago, a queen who ruled much land had a problem: her country was wracked with drought and no longer fertile. Her land was becoming poor and her people were starting to starve. The queen went to the Temple of Kara in Tékavasí and prayed for advice. Through Her priestess, Kara replied that the queen should relocate her people to the land of Kívíso, where they would thrive. The queen thanked the priestess and Kara and returned to her land, but she did not relocate her people. The queen did not know the location of Kívíso and was too ashamed to admit it.

Thus her people remained and they continued to starve. The Children of Hérazha wafted into their land on the hot, dry wind. The air demons sowed evil wherever they flew. Jealousy, greed, and wrath spread throughout the land on the breeze. Brothers killed their brothers, mothers killed their children, and neighbors destroyed their villages. The Children of Kara had been overwhelmed by the Children of Hérazha.

This upset Kara deeply. The Great Mother had given sage and simple advice, but the queen refused to follow it. The more Kara thought about the situation, the more angry She became. She retreated deep into the earth, throwing boulders around caves and stirring lava under volcanoes. Aboveground, without Kara’s love, sheep and cattle throughout the world -- and not just in the queen’s drought-ridden land -- lay listless in the fields, with no compulsion to graze. Bees huddled in their hives, unwilling to pollinate the flowers. Babies everywhere cried out in hunger for their mothers were sulking and didn’t think to feed their children.

But then nighttime fell. The darkness cooled Kara’s passions. The calm soothed the land. Mothers remembered to feed their babes. Cattle and sheep shook off their funk and resumed grazing. In the queen’s land, however, the Children of Hérazha remained. Death, disease, and mayhem were the order of the day.

Seeing the results of having not followed Kara’s advice, the queen returned to the temple in Tékavasí. She admitted to Kara that she hadn’t relocated because of her embarrassment of lack of knowledge. She apologized for having ignored Kara’s advice. The queen conceded that she was selfish, but she wanted to be generous and help her people. She begged Kara to forgive her and to make her a better queen and a better woman.

The Great Mother listened to Her daughter, the queen. She rose from the earth through the temple floor and greeted the queen in person. With forgiveness, the caring goddess lay Her eight hands upon the queen and mended her. Kara gave the queen the selflessness that she so desired; She made her a better woman and a better queen.

The priestess of the Tékavasí temple then gave the queen precise instructions on how to travel to Kívíso, which the queen graciously followed. Meanwhile the Great Mother reached through the earth and snagged the air demons, pulling them deep underground where they could no longer harm anyone with their malevolent influence. In Kívíso, made fertile by Kara, the queen’s people thrived. Their sheep prospered and their crops grew plentiful. The Children of Hérazha who had escaped Kara’s grasp could do nothing but watch from above and swirl in impotent anger.

Kara continued to aid Her children, answer their questions, and mend their souls. Her son Korutuzho, however, was having trouble ruling the universe. The younger gods occasionally ignored His wisdom and so He got mad. When Korutuzho would storm off in a rage, the crops would wither. Naturally this upset Kara deeply. As this happened more and more frequently, the agricultural production trended toward a worldwide famine. The younger gods did whatever They felt like while the Children of Kara starved.

To stop the world from dissolving into chaos when Korutuzho disappeared in a rage once too often, Kara sent a bee to hunt down the missing King of the Gods and return Him to the land. The bee zipped around the universe, eventually finding the wayward god in a distant land, pulverizing rocks with His fists. Using a little encouragement from its stinger, the bee herded Korutuzho back to Kara. The Ruler of the Universe hung His head upon seeing the scolding expression on His mother’s face.

With Korutuzho’s presence, the crops immediately resumed thriving, but Kara could sense a deeper problem. The younger gods’ impudence was not ruinous enough to trigger Korutuzho’s level of anger. It was then that the Great Mother spotted that His shoes were on backwards. Kara promptly lifted up Korutuzho and turned His footwear the proper way round. Suddenly the god was much happier. Korutuzho thanked His mother and resumed ruling the universe with a steady mind and an even hand.

Like Korutuzho, we must all trust the Great Mother. Look to Kara for guidance, for She will show you the proper path in life. Let Her protect your body and spirit and She will make you and your land amazingly fertile. Let Her mend your soul and you and your herds will thrive. Do as Kara says, for She more than anyone knows what is best for all of us Children of Kara.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Donut Today

My donut today doesn't have a hole in the middle. It's also rather crispy, with a tough green skin. It's kinda spherical, too. And it has seeds in the middle.


Oh wait.


That's an apple.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Politics, Religion, etc.

The larger the organization, the inherently less I trust it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Drop the ML Jr. from MLK Jr. Way

Why do we now honor folks by renaming streets in their honor with their full names instead of just their last names? It used to be we'd just use the one name: Mercer, Denny, and Yesler are good enough names without anything extra.

True, there can be confusion as to which person is being honored. For example, Safeway in the Roosevelt neighborhood several years ago hung banners with images of both Roosevelt presidents, even though 10th Avenue was renamed Roosevelt Way before Franklin D. became president. (They've since replaced the banners of the later president with banners of the earlier president.) But would you always want to refer to that street as Theodore Roosevelt Way?

So why do we speak of King Way, Brougham Way, and now Martinez Way with Martin Luther Junior, Royal, and Edgar affixed? It's an affront to efficiency.

Not that Seattle has ever been accused of efficiency. . .

It's certainly not the traditional way, either. From now on, take care to call these streets by their simplier monikers. It'll be easier and quicker, too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Build More Freeways in Spokane!

Even though its the second (or third) largest city in Washington, Spokane is severely lacking in freeway mileage.

In the Spokane area, the following highways handle over 20,000 vehicles a day, even though they're not high-speed expressways, but mostly just urban arterials with stop lights: US 2, US 395, US 195, SR 27, SR 290, and SR 291. Curiously enough, that's also a complete list of the state highways in the Spokane area that aren't I-90.

So here's my proposal for new freeways in Spokane:

Go ahead and click on it to zoom in, etc.

If, by the way, you're from Spokane and I drew a line over your house. . . I'm sorry. We can move the line.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Flags!

For the third anniversary of the day we met, Chunlin bought me some flags. And here all I did for her was to take her back to where we met!

But with this extra addition of four new flags, I no longer have sufficient wall space in our house to keep to my rotating pattern of half the flags displayed at once. So I spend an hour or so last night divising a scheme where some of the less-significant flags only remain displayed for a quarter of the year.

I suppose I could display some on the ceiling, though. . . I'll have to think about it.

This morning, though, I realized that I also was displaying my flags on my blog, so now I need to find the holidays for these four locales and get them inserted into that schedule, too!

Oh, Chunlin, you know I enjoy this craziness.

So here are the flags:

Hawaii: a nice place to visit and a distinctive flag.

Scotland: I've never been there, but I'm part Scottish. Clan Logan!

Slovenia: I visited Slovenia in 2005 and searched Ljubljana for a store that sold flags, but to no avail.

Sri Lanka: I've never been there and have no intentions of visiting, but . . . cool flag!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Voting in Seattle

Welcome to King County, where you're now forced to vote by mail.

If my ballot actually makes it through the post office system to the elections department, I wonder if it will actually be counted properly. . .

In any case, most of the Seattle races seem to be about the Tunnel, with most of the candidates wanting to stop its construction. Naturally, this makes crossing off potential candidates rather easy. There's no way I'm going to vote for someone who's anti-growth and anti-infrastructure.

Plus, any candidate that talks about fixing government bureaucratic waste always gets a thumbs-up.

Therefore, for Seattle Mayor, I've voted for James Donaldson.

For Seattle City Council, I've voted for Dorsol Plants, Nick Licata, and Jordan Royer.

I quite wholeheartedly voted to reject the Seattle Referendum to tax grocery bags.

With the Port of Seattle, it was easy enough to discard everyone with overt union ties. For Port Commissioners, I voted for Al Yuen and Robert Walker.

For Court of Appeals Division 1, District 1, Judge 3, I voted for the less-liberal-seeming Robert D. Kelly.

And the only election for which I didn't bother to read through the online blurbs was King County Executive, because I didn't need to. I've already read my candidate's blurb in previous elections. I voted rather quickly for Goodspaceguy. Sorry, Stan.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Was My Wedding Extravagent Enough?

News from China via Australia/AFP:

A Chinese bride has made a bid for the record books, turning up to her wedding wearing a 2,162-metre-long gown.

More than 200 guests took over three hours to unroll Lin Rong's wedding train, which stretched nearly 2.2 kilometres and pin on 9,999 red silk roses for her wedding, Xinhua news agency said.


"I do not want a cliche wedding parade or banquet," the groom said, "nor can I afford the extravagance of a hot balloon wedding."

The 9,999 roses makes sense, since 9 is a lucky number, but how'd they pick 2,162 meters for the length?

In any case, I'm sure everyone was very impressed. But what did the groom's mother have to say?
"It is a waste of money in my opinion," his mother said.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sunday Walk

Sunday was a lovely day for a walk in the mountains. . .

2 - Chain Lakes Trail Mt Baker

Chunlin and I returned to the vicinity of where we met, three years ago this month: Mt. Baker.

8 - Mt Baker Wells Creek Basin

We hiked the Ptarmigan Ridge trail, which is the hike I did three years ago on that Mountaineers Lodge weekend, but Chunlin and her friend opted for a less snowy hike, so we didn't really start getting to know each other till later that day.

13 - North Ptarmigan Moss-scape

There was quite a bit less snow this year. We may have had a cold, snowy winter, but we've had a hot, dry spring and summer.

16 - Chunlin North Ptarmigan Peak

So we were stuck walking on dirt most of the way. So sad. Not to say that we didn't get to cross several snowfields on the way, however.

23 - Mt Shuksan Ptarmigan Snowfield

We had wonderful views of Mt. Shuksan, Mt. Baker, and the rest of creation for almost the entire hike.

25 - Chunlin Mark Mt Baker

The trail gains 1000' over five miles, so you hardly notice the hill at all.

42 - Coleman Pinnacle Trail Chunlin

If you keep following the trail past five miles, it will take you all the way to the top of Mt. Baker. We didn't go much further than this meadow.

46 - Mt Baker Portals

Sunday was quite a bit hazier than when I hiked the trail three years ago. Numerous forest fires dotted the landscape, apparently, although we didn't spot any. But three years ago, the clouds rolled in before we hiked the first half of the trail, so I never had this view then.

49 - Chunlin Snowfield

Chunlin learned to enjoy walking on snowfields, especially going down.

54 - Table Mtn Wells Creek Valley

On the way up the ridge, I stopped at one point and took a photo of Table Mountain. On the way down the ridge, I stopped at a point just three feet different and took a nearly identical photo of Table Mountain (shown above). The lighting was better in the afternoon.

59 - Mt Shuksan Kulshan Ridge

Soon we were back at the trailhead. Okay, the last mile dragged on a bit. We were hot and tired. But at least we still had glorious scenery!

More photos on flickr.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Government Has Gone Beyond Wasting Money

Our federal government's number one priority is to destroy anything useful.

The so-called Cash for "Clunkers" program is not just buying used cars with out tax dollars, it's not just turning them to scrap metal, it's making it impossible to re-use any piece of the car or its engine!

From the WSJ:

To receive government reimbursement, auto dealers who offer rebates on new cars in exchange for so-called clunkers must agree to "kill" the old models, using a method the government outlines in great detail in its 136-page manual for dealers: Drain the engine of oil and replace it with two quarts of a sodium-silicate solution.


The automotive death sentences are meant to ensure that gas-guzzling old models make no return to the road. As sodium silicate disables an entire generation of junkyard-bound cars, the price of used engines will likely skyrocket, predicts Michael Wilson, executive vice president of the Automotive Recyclers Association. "It's the law of supply and demand."


To engines, however, its damage is irreversible. "Once that silicate plugs everything up, it would be virtually impossible to clean that engine out," says Mr. Burton, the Kansas City service manager.

Monday, August 03, 2009

This Month's Photo of Chunlin

296-Chunlin Nat'l Auto Museum Headphones

Taken a year and a month ago, whilst in Reno, here is my calendar's August portrait of my darling wife.