Dragons for the (un) Death-Match

I’d forgotten about this post I made for the (un) Death-Match.

Source: Free for all Pitch: Dragons | (un) Death-Match Presents: Free For All

How can werewolves battle dragons? Werewolves are very, highly flammable. They can’t fly. They may have claws and teeth but they don’t have a great, long tail to flick their foes out of their way. We dragons have long been held in esteem and for good reason. Dragons are magical, mystical and wise. Dragons are also covered in body armour.

Those werewolf teeth and claws can’t penetrate dragon scales which are prized by wizards and warriors! Our dragon scales are excellent protection, tempered by our own fire, as armour it is undefeatable.

Fire, so warm, so bright, so very dangerous to fur bearing animals. They cringe away from fire, even just a lit match makes them nervous. What hope do werewolves have against a dragon who can breathe fire? A quick blast of flame and the werewolves will be running for their very lives.  In battle, the smell of burnt dog is not appealing. Dragons are very clean (the rumours about sulfur are not true) creatures. Being clean is important for aerodynamics.

Before the werewolves can regroup for an attack dragons will be gone, flying high above them. No matter how high a werewolf manages to jump it can’t catch a dragon in flight. The battle would be over before it really began. Dragons can easily fly above the pack of werewolves just shooting fire down upon them. What hope do the poor furries have?

Even on the ground the dragon still has the surprise element, a tail that isn’t just for wagging around, stirring up dust motes. A quick flick of the dragon’s tail and the werewolves will be scattered, wounded and lost. Just think of how much damage a dragon’s tail can really do to those bodies armoured in mere fur.

Dragon wisdom is well known. While werewolves are out hunting for small forest creatures dragons are building hoards of treasure, including books of great knowledge. Yes, dragons hunt too. But, dragons don’t settle for small animals which are only small meals. A dragon picks up something to make a real meal, like a werewolf, for instance. Saves time for more reading rather than all that time hunting for silly little rabbits, mice and such.

Dragons can be all sizes, massively Godzilla-like or cosy and petite, perfect for perching on shoulders and whispering advice into all the right ears. We do have a lot of knowledge. Unlike werewolves we spend our immortal time in the quest for knowledge, to gain intelligence and inspiration for ourselves and others. Dragons are very helpful, or at least as helpful as we want to be at any given time.

Don’t think dragons are too egotistical. Dragons are proud but reasonable and well mannered too. Don’t assume the werewolf thing has not been researched. The werewolves in Kelley Armstrong’s books have done a lot to make them look good, clever even. Rachel Vincent’s werecats have been a popular choice. Likely because dragons have more in common with cats than dogs. Dogs just aren’t as clever, nimble and mysterious as dragons and cats.

Do werewolves have anything likeDragonCon? A convention for dragon lovers/ fans.

Dragons like reading the Dragon Septs series by Katie MacAlisterGena Showalter has the Atlantis series featuring dragon warriors. There are the Black Dragon Brotherhood books by J.R. Ward, though only one of the men turns into a dragon, during battle. Still, the books are an example of the impact dragons have on human culture, the admiration and esteem given to dragons.  It’s one thing to be feared throughout history but quite another to be feared and admired! Don’t forget the favourite of many, the Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, not new but worth finding. Other notables include Tanith Lee,Mercedes LackeyPatricia C. Wrede, Robin McKinley andStephanie Rowe (her Immortally Sexy series which sadly seems to be at an end).

Then there are paranormal writers (Michelle Rowen, Lynsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks) who should be writing about dragons, but have not yet. Why not?

Before I end this Undeath Match post I must admit I am biased to the side of the dragons. I was born in the Year of the Dragon. So many great and wonderful people were. Dragons are the only mystical animal in the Chinese zodiac. I think they gives us something extra to live up to!

– Laura,http://www.thatgrrl.ca

Thank you for your contribution!

Sagittarius is…

Sagittarius is a fire sign ruled by Jupiter the planet of expansion. The most adventurous and philosophical of the Zodiac Sagittarius embrace freedom for all. Wildly unpredictable these are the adventurers of the Zodiac. Your soul lesson is to put your philosophy into action and accept and be the unique soul that you are.

From Horoscope.uk

The Challenges of Saving Lighthouses

This is reposted from Swallowtail Keepers Society blog. The blog is abandoned but the post is worth saving. Far more involved with saving lighthouses than I would have thought. (I did think about the weathering).

Lighthouses are usually located in the face of storms, exposed on several sides to strong winds and sea spray, frequently difficult to get to and challenging to maintain. With lighthouses de-staffed or de-commissioned, budget cuts rampant, and maintenance minimal, it is hard to see these once well-maintained structures deteriorate to a point that they begin to crumble but it is becoming all too common. The magnitude of the maintenance or restoration, and the ability to get to the lighthouse is often overwhelming. We have been fortunate with Swallow Tail that ownership has been transferred, access is challenging but better than many, and through the support of the community and access to various sources of funding, restoration work has been possible.

Unfortunately, in five months, three other lighthouses in the Maritimes have disappeared. Two collapsed during storms, the abandoned Fish Fluke Point on Ross Island decommissioned in 1963 but defied gravity for years (November), and Church Point on St. Mary’s Bay, NS, decommissioned in 1984 (March), and one burned to the ground, the remote fibreglass lighthouse at Point Aconi on Cape Breton Island (February). Fire was always a worry before lights were electrified. Elodie Foster, one of the light keepers at Swallow Tail, died from her injuries after her clothes caught fire while trying to start the burner for the light. More recently, electrical issues may be the cause of some fires because of the heavy salt presence and corrosion of electrical connections. Two electrical issues at Swallow Tail threatened to cause fires last fall and had no one been working in the lighthouse, the problems would have gone unnoticed until it was too late. Vandalism has also been a cause of some fires and has plagued locations such as Partridge Island in Saint John, and may have been the cause of the grass fire at Swallow Tail in April, 2007, which threatened the lighthouse and keepers house. It has prompted some communities to install security cameras. The ones at Swallow Tail can be viewed on the Village of Grand Manan website (www.villageofgrandmanan.com).

Fish Fluke Point lighthouse in better days.  (unknown origin of photo)

Collapsed Fish Fluke Point lighthouse as seen from the air in November 2013.

Church Point lighthouse before collapse. (from CBC.ca)


Church Point lighthouse after collapse, 27 March 2014. (from CBC.ca)

Point Aconi lighthouse before it and the building beside it, burned to the ground in February, 2014. (from Cape Breton Post)

Collapse was not thought to be an issue at Swallow Tail but once work began last fall, it became apparent that it could have been possible. The lime had eroded out of the mortar, making the mortar crumble. The stone foundation was slowly pancaking, with the stones being pushed outward. The eight guy wires and the massive concrete floor in the equipment room were the only things holding the tower upright with probably only five large stones in the foundation carrying weight. Had any of the guy wires failed, the tower would have begun listing or worse. To fix this, all the stones were removed, one side at a time, and then returned with new mortar between the joints. The large corner stones, too heavy to easily lift, were adjusted back into place. The foundation is now functional again and should last for many more years with minimal maintenance.

Peter Devine rebuilding stone foundation at Swallow Tail, September 2013.

During this process, it was discovered that the large wooden beam under the front door had completely rotted away. The remains of the beam were removed using a dust pan. Instead of trying to fit a new wooden beam back in a very tight space between the large immovable concrete step, stone foundation and the floor joists, a concrete beam was constructed. One of the 1859 wooden pegs, used to hold the heavy timber structure together, was discovered in the crawl space during the work, looking the same as the day it was made. This was the only spot were the heavy timbers of the lighthouse had completely rotted.


Rotted timber beam under front entrance, September 2013

New concrete beam to replace rotted timber, September 2013.

Salt corrosion is another challenge, rusting nails so they no longer do their job. When some shingles were removed on the northern side of the bell house, the boards underneath came off as well. This was also an earlier problem with the boathouse and the entire southern wall began to fall off in large pieces as the nails disappeared and that wall had to be rebuilt. The shingles were stripped off the bellhouse, the boards renailed, and new shingles returned. Shingles on some sides of the tower were also falling out because the nails were gone. Face nailing to hold them in place during previous work only complicated the problem with water getting behind the shingles and rotting the wood. Several places on the tower, notably where the windows had been boarded up, were in worse shape than the rest of the lighthouse, even though the boards were only 40 years old compared to over 150. As the rot continued, longer nails were used to hold the shingles which further exacerbated the problem. It was very noticeable while scraping the sides where the problems were located because of the sponginess. Replacing the rotted wood and shingles where required, caulking the nail heads, plus one to two coats of primer and two coats of finish paint will prevent this for a few years. Because of the extreme weather conditions experienced on the point we hope in the future only the paint will suffer and not the wood behind.


Northern wall of the bell house.  The nails had rusted off and the boards had to be nailed back in place before the shingles could be attached.

Areas on the lighthouse that needed repair because of water penetration causing rot.  The area around the fog horn was because of caulking and flashing failures.  The upper area on the tower was probably because of face nailing shingles allowing water to penetrate.


Custom blade on paint scraper.

The entire lighthouse and bell house were scraped, primed and received two coats of paint.  The new shingles were primed twice.

Removing the windows in the tower in the 1970s was actually beneficial in many respects since there was little maintenance after the lighthouse was destaffed, but it changed the interior with no natural light or ventilation. Having the opportunity to return the windows to the original locations in the lighthouse was a goal during the restoration but a challenge since everything had to be built from scratch. One window could not be returned because the current fog equipment is located in that spot on the first floor. Windows from an 1849 house in Ontario were donated by the owners, who had once worked at a lighthouse in British Columbia. They were honoured to have them reused at Swallow Tail. The storms and gablets (or dormers) were new construction from mahogany with copper flashing and sills in an attempt to resist the harsh climate. The interior has been completely changed with the additional of natural light and makes it a very pleasant inside.


Reglazing 1849 windows donated for the lighthouse.  The bottoms had to be cut down to 8 from 12 panes.  New glass was installed in each window.

Window unit – gablet with storm, all new construction.


Windows restored on the southern side of the lighthouse.

The harsh winter weather stopped work in mid-December at the lighthouse. Work will begin again sometime in April. The windows and interior will be completed including repairing the lathe and plaster and painting, the boardwalk from the keepers house (cabled in place to protect it from the strong winds) will be built, and museum displays installed. We are hoping to have the lighthouse open again this summer. Restoration work could not have been possible without the financial assistance of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Regional Development Corporation, New Brunswick Built Heritage, Village of Grand Manan, Grand Manan Rotary Club, and generous donations.

Stop Calling them Uniforms

mountiecostumeWhen a uniform becomes customized for various cultures it stops being a uniform. A uniform is… uniform. When it isn’t uniform, all the same, then it becomes similar, not uniform. If the Mounties, police, fire fighters, etc. want to adapt their uniform doesn’t it become a costume? I think allowing various cultures (I am purposely not being specific because the specific culture is not the issue) to have different uniforms makes the uniform mean less.

The original point of a uniform was identification, everyone looking the same, being recognizable and having respect. You see the Mounties and know who they are by the uniform. If you see someone wearing a Mountie costume, you think they are on the way to a party and you don’t consider them someone you need to pay much attention to. Badges don’t mean much from a distance, behind a door or to anyone who couldn’t tell a real badge from a fake one.

People in authority like Mounties, military and government employees need to be recognizable in order to have that authority and be trusted. Since we were children we have seen Mounties in their dress uniforms and we expect a Mountie to be in that uniform.

But, more than the public, what about the Mounties themselves? Why change the uniform which has severed generations of Mounties of all cultures up until now? I’m assuming all Mounties have two arms, two legs, one head so they should all be able to wear the standard uniform. What is the real need for change in this very old tradition worn with pride by generations of people.

I don’t know. But, I do think they should stop calling them uniforms, because they aren’t uniforms any more. That tradition has been lost. mountie

Women and Friendly Fire

I was watching a US TV show, Bones. The episode was about war heros, men in the war and the afterwards, the after care and how they are not understood or respected for what they went through.

My mind went to women who have been through an attack or stalking and other violence and victimization. We aren’t given much respect, understanding either.

Also, we go through it all alone. We are alone when attacked, no team has our backs, no group of soldiers. Mostly by our own choice because we don’t feel chatty about it all either. So many of the same emotions but so much difference in how people react and how women are misunderstood, blamed and treated afterwards.

Women don’t think to be proud of having survived being preyed on the way soldiers are told to be proud they served their country.

The question is – what do women serve , other than being a survivor, what is there for them to be proud of? Should we think we serve men by being abused? Is that what we can be proud of, like a soldier?

Ironic that the TV show I was watching ended up being about the death and cover up of a soldier killed by friendly fire. Is that how women should look at it? Attack or death by friendly fire? It doesn’t seem friendly to me.

Dragons Could Exist

5 Mythical Creatures That Could Exist – Weird Worm.

If it is possible that the Loch Ness Monster may have been one of the last remaining members of an extinct species then the same could be true for the dragon. How else could one explain the remarkable similarity between ancient depictions of dragons and some long-extinct dinosaurs? Well actually, the widely recognized medieval image of the dragon may have evolved from the original serpentine dragon after dinosaur remains were accidentally uncovered in classical Mesopotamia. In ancient Greece, Rome and the Celtic world dragon iconography was much more like that of China. Europe did not convert to the modern, metric dragon until much later on.

But does this alteration of dragon iconography help us determine the origin of the myth? Not really. The dragon, albeit in a more serpentine form, features in the folklore of almost every culture around the world and is synonymous with power, strength, wisdom and often brutality. The ancient civilizations of Central America even worshiped flying serpent gods, going so far as to make blood sacrifices in their honour. The serpent cults of Eastern Europe and Central Asia may once have done the same for their own dragon icons too. Clearly this reptilian obsession is as old as mankind itself.

But does this mean that dragons are nothing more than a distant memory from our primordial past? The people of medieval Europe and Asia clearly thought otherwise. To them dragons were everywhere, hiding in the cave down the road, burning down churches and eating their children. It was believed that the far off lands of the East were abound with the fire breathing brutes.

Are we to take these stories literally? Many scholars believe that dragons are nothing but a metaphor for evil and pagan ritual, but while this may be true of some Christian folklore there is much evidence to suggest that the monsters these people were so afraid of were not merely ideological in nature.

In the Far East, of course, dragons have entirely different connotations. There they are considered to be creatures of great wisdom and spirituality. They are associated with the elements of water and air, rather than fire. The gods are said to have descended from the sky inside the belly of a dragon. Legend has it that Emperor Huang Ti also ascended to the stars aboard a dragon drawn chariot. This, says UFOlogist Hartwig Hausdorf, is evidence that dragons were not living creatures at all, rather some kind of alien spacecraft.

My Favourite Teacups

Gorgeous teacupsThese shiny gold/ orange firey teacups are my favourites. My Mother and I collect them. We have three full sets (cup and saucer) with this pattern. One is more worn and always makes me feel a little sad. Poor old thing.

This photograph comes from a set for sale on Etsy. I love the photo. It’s hard to take a photo of the glow from the finish/ glaze on the teacups.

We only use these cups and saucers about once a year. Other than that they are kept on a shelf which has a glass door so we can see them. Unlike silver they don’t tarnish so you can leave them out to be seen without having to worry about it. (Silver tarnishes faster when it is exposed to air and sunlight). I guess these cups would eventually fade if they were in full sun, but they are safe in their little corner of the kitchen.

It’s nice having a few special things. I think we tend to gather and collect and keep too much nowadays, myself included. I have far more non-fiction books than I will ever read (unless I discover immortality – even then I’d have to not age while I’m busy being immortal).

DNC – Using the Do-Not-Call List for Sales Phone Calls

Is your home phone number on the Do Not Call List? I don’t know if every country has set this up. But, here in Canada, this is what it looks like when you verify that your number is still coming up as DNC (do not call).

I noticed that the calls pretty much stopped the first several months. Then they began to trickle back. Until now there is a stream of them again. Not as many as before, but enough that I logged in today to check that my phone number was still on the list. I know it does expire after some time. But, mine isn’t expired, not by a few years. Continue reading DNC – Using the Do-Not-Call List for Sales Phone Calls

Altared Naturally

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

Just picture yourself, in mid ritual, suddenly your Book of Shadows falls to the floor with an unpleasant sounding thud. Silly you, you forgot your altar!

The Wiccan/ Pagan altar is not just for eating your breakfast on anymore. Also, those looking forward to virgin sacrifices are in for a disappointment. But, look on the bright side, now you don’t have to save yourself for that big moment on the stone slab, just go out and have fun!

So, what should you know about constructing your very own altar? Start with all natural ingredients and assemble them inside a circle. Those are the basics. Your altar can be outdoors for all the little bugs and squirrels to see or it can be inside and easily pushed under your bed for those with parents who like to make room inspections still. An altar can even be made on your desk at work. Just use some creativity and no one will suspect you have brought Pagan influences to concrete jungle.

The altar itself can have a circular base or square, depending on how natural you want to go with it. Outdoors, a fire can substitute for an altar. Make sure you are prepared to safely extinguish it before you leave. Face your altar in a direction of power, generally that’s north, the direction associated with Earth. Some Wiccan use east and west, the direction the sun rises and sets. Lastly, everything on your altar is positioned in a pattern. The arrangement is very individual and can be kept track of in your Book of Shadows. (The Book of Shadows is a book or some other form of note keeping Wiccan use for their exploration and discoveries along their path of learning.)

Just raring to go and get Medieval, I mean creative? To dedicate your altar to the Goddess and God, something you can choose to do. Set up put the tools dedicated to the Goddess (pentacle, cup, bell, crystal, cauldron and others) on the left side of the altar. The tools dedicated to the God (athame, censer, white handled knife, etc) are placed on the right side. In the middle of the altar, you please yourself; at least that is how I see it.

If you don’t follow the ‘standard’ altar plan with God and Goddess on either ends you can fill those areas of your altar with things to represent the elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. The idea is to stick to natural ingredients but you can do a lot with those. A natural altar contains assorted leaves, stones, drawings/ pictures, candles, seashells, feathers, flowers/ herbs, a glass of water, your pet guppy, tissues (handy if you have a cold) and a pirate’s treasure map (assuming you can find one). Keep in mind the elements. The feather and leaves can represent Air. The candle and maybe some burnt offerings from breakfast can represent Fire. Water is easy with seashells or a glass of water. Earth can be represented by the stones or leaves (think compost, just don’t put it on your altar unless you are ready for the smell).

The altar is the physical centre of a ritual. Its a place of power and magick. To think it is mostly a flat surface to work at is a mistake. Some of your energy and magick will remain in your altar after each ritual. You will be bringing a lot from yourself to the ritual and your altar. Because of this, your altar must have special meaning to you. Use your own sense of style, things that are important, have meaning to you, and design your altar to suit yourself and your needs.