Category Archives: The Heathen Gods

The Big Catch-Up Blog

It’s been hectic. Yeah, verily. Getting my new laptop and then cleaning the house after the burglary and all that. Still finding things missing, but I figure I’m about 99% accounted for and moving on with my life. I’m almost halfway through the first term of the summer sessions, finally found all my software and installed it on the new laptop and have been living life at full speed again. Here is where I start catching back up with Romantic Antihero. I’ve been doing a lot of fun, positive things, I just haven’t been in a position to document it all. Cameras here, cell phones there, laptops who-knows-where and finagling new stuff to get it where I want it and all that. So this is going to be a mish-mash blog of cool stuff I’ve done, mostly in picture form.

This is the front of the Leavenworth Riverfront Community Center. Once a year there is a Veteran’s Administration ‘volunteer appreciation luncheon’, and as a VA volunteer I got invited. They give out awards for various things, and I’m pretty sure I worked over 100 hours (thus qualifying for a certificate), but I’m also pretty sure that I fail to turn in my hours quite a lot, so no certificate for me. I did get a neat key-chain and free lunch for myself and my father.

The food was good, which honestly surprised me, and the random company at our dinner table was pleasant. There were speeches I could hardly hear, and then a performance of a song that someone local wrote. It was very patriotic and fairly looong, though I always appreciate the sentiment that goes into such things.

Another random shot of people at the luncheon.

I tried, I really did, to get a better shot of the Leavenworth H.S. JROTC honor guard. There was a fair mix of people in the way, and by the time I could get to them with my camera this was the best I could do. Fun fact: this is the oldest Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps in the nation.

Once again I attended another fascinating General Meeting of the Kansas City chapter of the Japan-America Society. I was sure I had notes on my iPhone, but I can’t seem to find them right now, so I will have to fill in names and dates later if I can find them. But this was a great presentation on Japanese popular character design. Absolutely everything and everywhere in Japan has a mascot character, and as an industry it generates trillions of dollars a year. Trillions.

Leaving the JAS meeting and walking through the parking lot I hear this sinister mechanical voice. ‘Attention. You are being photographed for your own protection…’ What? I looked around expecting to see ED-209 or something, but finally identified the creepy robot-overlord voice as this box attached to the light pole. Which of course made me imagine this:

Of course it’s not the ever increasing presence of robot enforcers that worries. It’s their unseen nanite masters…

The week before the summer session at KU started I accompanied my parents down to Cairo, Georgia (KAY-roe, in the local vernacular, not like its namesake in Egypt), which is a charming little town that also happens to be where my paternal side of the family comes from. It was my father’s 50th high school reunion, and here he is in the lobby of the high school discussing where in the hell their trophies from the 1960’s got off to (Pa was a jock).

A lot of schools have generic nick-names that have nothing to do with the local community. Cairo is home to the Syrup Makers. Because making syrup was a local industry. It may still be, for all I know, but the point is I think it’s totally cool they have a name like that instead of some dumb thing like ‘Cairo Lions’ or ‘Cairo Tigers’ or ‘Cairo Bears’. Oh my. But anyway, this is an original syrup making rig assembled from different local historical pieces. There is a plaque on the shed saying where the parts come from, and while I was standing there some of the old guys were talking about watching some old guy walk a mule around one of these back when they were children. Behind where I was standing is the football stadium, and whenever a touchdown is scored fireworks are shot out of the chimney there, or so I was told. Neat.

My father and his youngest brother. It’s always good to go ‘down home’ and see family. I call it ‘down home’ even though I haven’t lived in that town, and haven’t been a resident of either Georgia or Alabama since I was five, but there it is, I guess it will always be ‘down home’ and Kansas will be ‘back home’. Life is complicated when you’re an Army brat.

If I am recalling the conversation correctly, this is the grave marker of my father’s grandfather. According to his birthdate he would have been around my age at the outbreak of the Civil War Mr. Lincoln’s War. The following artifact may have belonged to him:

This interesting artifact is in the possession of my uncle. It is a home-made plaque that was affixed over the door of a relative during the Civil War War of Southern Independence. It looks like it was made from a dog eared fence post, perhaps. There are three little holes on the bottom where it was nailed to the top of the door frame, and it looks like the design was poked with the tip of a small pocket knife or a nail. It was very cool to hold it and hear the story behind it. There was also an old family Bible with hand written birth and death records that was neat to look through. Pa claims there is a piece of paper somewhere in my grandmother’s things (she is deceased) that traces our family lineage all the way back to the Scots refugee who arrived in New York in the 18thCE fleeing from English retribution for ‘certain activities’ in the Borders region.

Time for some random stuff. This is my cat Bob. He lived on my parents roof before they moved out to the county. That was YEARS ago, and now he is a half deaf, fussy old codger of a feline. But also very sweet.

This is a ‘blue grass’ (wasn’t sure it fit, personally) band called Larry and His Flask, and they absolutely rock a live show. I just sort of happened into this show, mostly because I’m friends with people who work in the local music industry, and was bored with the people playing urban cowboy dress-up and posing attitudes when this band got up on stage and just made me forget how much I hate the hipster scene. They got up on stage and said, ‘We’re Larry and His Flask and we came here to dance, and I hope you did too!’ And boy were they not kidding. As soon as they music started the bass player, the STAND UP BASS player, grabs his instrument and jumps off the stage into the crowd and starts whirling around like a madman, playing his stand up bass the whole time. It was awesome, and they took turns jumping off stage and running around the venue while they played. And they were also very good.

I missed this tour, unfortunately, but it lives on in sticker form. Maybe I will get to see some ska greats when I’m in England next month.

Not a statue, though he’d like to think of himself as statue worthy. Just walking around KCMO in the middle of the night reflecting on life, breaking the seriousness of that with goofing off like we all used to before we got old…

This is a bust in the earth sciences building at KU. I took the photo because I thought it was totally weird that this guy’s nose was all shiney, and then found out the very next day that it’s touted as some sort of tradition to rub his nose before a test for good luck. My Geography professor claims she’s never seen a student do this, and proposed that only the tour groups do it. I never went on the tour, but after class I heard a tour group right outside the class talking about this supposed tradition.

I normally keep my gaming activities in the private area of the website, but this guy deserves some public mention for his epic heroism. This is the Bone Champion of the my Warhammer 40k army’s 2cnd Berserker squad. He had a rough day, but never let it get him down.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I expect to be making individual updates in the intended style soon.



Filed under Event, Family, Folk, Learning, Personal Reflection, Right Living, The Heathen Gods, University of Kansas

Spring Cleaning at the Japanese Garden

I am a member of the Japan-America Society of Kansas City, and one of the things this organization supports is the Japanese Garden at Loose Park. On 3Apr10, a Saturday, I got up early and drove into KCMO to help out with a bit of tidying up from winter that the JAS was doing. Nothing spectacular, but just the sort of thing I like to share here. I mostly busied myself sweeping and stuffing leaves into bags, leaving the more detailed work for the folks who knew what they were doing. Stuff like this is great because I get to do community service and stay involved with my Japanese study theme and the other members of the JAS are friendly folks. We gathered and took a group photo (not the one here) that will be sent to the folks at Kansas City’s sister city in Japan, Kurashiki. So I’m part of international goodwill these days!

Anyway, I highly recommend that people check the garden out. The JAS was also involved in the planting of Loose Park’s cherry trees, which should be blooming very soon. On a related note, Independence Missouri is having a Cherry Blossom Festival this Sunday, 11Apr10 starting at 1000hrs. I wish I could go to that, but I’ve got prior obligations, so one of you should go and tell me all about it.


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Filed under Event, Folk, Learning, Right Living, The Heathen Gods

Spring Recruits 2010

Saturday, 27Mar10, I attended Recruits, a twice annual wargame convention held in the Kansas City area. I carpooled on over with my friends from my weekly game group and spent most of the time with them. The event is hosted by a local high school that has a wargame club that uses the event as a fund raiser. I’ve heard these kids can even letter in gaming, which is very neat.

The man in the orange “10th Cavalry” shirt is my friend Mike. The move to war gaming is something that’s recent for me (I’m an RPG guy) and Mike is helping me to round out my army. Here he is playing Flames of War, using WWII German armor to assault into a well dug-in British mechanized unit. He had won his first game, but I didn’t get to stick around long enough to see how he fared in this one.

Here are my friends Jon and Damon during our G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. game. It’s skirmish based game with simple rules, and the setting is pretty cool. It’s a tongue-in-cheek Victorian era setting, which appeals to me greatly, and the game is based on the different factions having objectives. So it wasn’t an all out war of slaughter, and my faction, the “British Scientist” faction, hunted for a rare butterfly and assisted the “Waziri Tribesmen” in resisting the “Arab Slavers”. I caught my butterfly, but too many of the tribesmen were captured to earn my secondary goal. The other faction ally, “Tarzan and family” were tied up in a brawl with the “Russian Explorers”, and could neither help us nor stop the “Russian Trophy Hunters” from shooting all the gorillas. It was great fun!

I spent some of the time playing games with my friends and the other part walking around by myself. I am collecting my own Warhammer 40k army, but I haven’t actually played a game yet, so I wanted to see a game in action. I also wanted to check out the other players models and paint jobs. There were a couple of armies that stood out with great paint, but most of them were mixtures of paint, primer and bare plastic models. I also enjoyed checking out the other Chaos Marine players and looking at how the assembled their models. I like Chaos Marines mostly for the models and enjoy the customization aspect that they lend themselves to.

We had been tasked with keeping our friend Damon at the convention until about 1730, because his wife was arranging a surprise birthday party for him. This picture is his Pac Man cake, which had a “child related mishap” before the party started. It was a nice party, and I regret that the lighting in the house seemed to be strategically positioned to make photographs difficult to take. A lot of what would have been good pictures turned out to look like that scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where the aliens are first coming out of the space ship, all extreme back-lighting and unrecognizable. But the food was good, the conversation was good and the times were good.

As usual, I have more pictures from the day available on my Myspace albums here. The whole day was fun, but my feet and back were more than ready for bed when I got home around 2200!


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Filed under Event, Folk, Hobby, Right Living, The Heathen Gods

The First Week of the Spring 2010 Semester

I started the Spring semester last Thursday, 14Jan10. It’s been a hectic week, to say the least. The University of Kansas always starts on a Thursday. I’m not sure why. That odd fact, coupled with Martin Luther King Jr Day, meant I didn’t attend my MW Fiction Writing class until today. It was strange for nearly an entire week to go by after the start of school to start an individual class.

I have a positive feeling about all of my classes. I believe that I’m over the initial shock of being at KU, and all of that stuff should have been worked out of my system last semester. I’m back in the groove at KU, and I hit the ground running this semester. My extra curricular activities are still in the process of getting sorted out, but that was expected. Next Monday I’ll be back at fencing and kendo and all that. I have a lot to read this semester. A LOT to read this semester…

Earlier this evening I signed up for a KAPLAN prep course for the LSAT. Starting in March I’m going to be taking in-class instruction and preparation for scoring as well as I possibly can on the entrance exams for law school. My GPA is slowly working its way up to where it needs to be, but the clincher will be if I can score well on the test. I took an online practice test and did pretty good for someone who’d never seen an LSAT before and was totally unprepared for it (a 150-something). I need to get in the 160’s to deserve the absurd amounts of self confidence I have about this venture.

I got myself a new cat last week, too. Her name is Drífa, which is an Icelandic given name that means something along the lines of “big snow drift”. She’s a young gray short-haired tabby, and she’s full of ridiculous energy. I got her because of Tomo, my other cat, who’s name is Japanese and means “wisdom”, something she definitely does not embody! Because of my crazy schedule I’m out of the house a lot, and ever since my room-mate moved out and took his cat with him Tomo has been sort of lonely and stir crazy. They get along surprisingly well for having known each other such a short time, and I think they will be fast friends in not very long at all. It’s nice to have the home occupied instead of empty, even if they both aggravate the crap out of me with some of their antics.

Lastly, my uncle Joe died last Friday morning. This may seem like something too sad for a blog about positive things, but there were several positive experiences that came with my uncle’s passing. Joe was a good man and I loved him. Unfortunately Uncle Joe fell into that category of family that one takes for granted, and doesn’t visit or communicate with as one should. He was a fixture of my young life owing to annual visits “down home”. I haven’t lived in Alabama or Georgia since I was five, but they will always be “down home” to me, and Uncle Joe is one of the reasons that this is so. I last spoke with Uncle Joe during Yule when he called to wish my mother a merry Christmas. It was one of those brief things; I hollered “Hey Uncle Joe!” at the phone when Ma was talking and she held the phone away from her ear briefly so I could hear his response. I was planning on visiting down home for spring break. I had planned on visiting during fall break, but opted to go to a kendo tournament in Chicago instead due to the timing. It didn’t occur to me that Death would have another scheduling conflict, so instead of going down home to see him in March I ended up making a last minute trip to attend his funeral this past weekend.

Uncle Joe’s funeral was a good thing, though. I thought the entire experience was fitting tribute to him. The pastor started his eulogy by extolling the accomplishments of his two sons, my cousins. My cousins are both good men, made in the same mold as my own mother, following designs that I can trace to my grandmother. My grandmother was an exceptional lady, and one of the best people I’ve ever met. Uncle Joe had many quality people around him, a big, loving family. Being down home among my kinfolk was a great reminder of who I’m supposed to be and where I came from. I haven’t seen some of those folk for far too long. Uncle Joe was a patriot who led a life of service to his community and drew around and inspired many good folks, and I’m proud of him, and I want him to be proud of me. I will remember the lessons of his funeral for the rest of my life. Uncle Joe’s eulogy included the theme “who am I to deserve God’s love”? Looking around at the people who gathered to celebrate his life, it was obvious that Uncle Joe was a very worthy man. The fire that’s been lit under me recently has a lot to do with having such positive people in my family to look to for inspiration. I will make myself worthy.


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Filed under Family, Learning, Personal Reflection, Right Living, The Heathen Gods, University of Kansas

Heathen Gods

My friend Mark Stinson has written and published a PDF collection of essays about Heathenry. Mark is the chieftain of Jotuns Bane Kindred (JBK) out of Kansas City, Missouri, a Heathen tribe. Mark and JBK weren’t the first Heathens I met, but they were the first I had long, in depth discussions about what Heathenry was all about with. At the time I had left the Catholic Church and was beginning my ongoing flirtation with Buddhism, but what I found in the discussions with the members of JBK was something life affirming and positive that I had been seeking for a long time. After many discussions, a few heated arguments and not a few friendly pints at pubmoots, I decided that Heathenry was a piece of the puzzle I needed to sort myself out, and I haven’t looked back.

Mark wrote many of these essays on the forum of heathen gods, and they sparked many interesting discussions and some of my own essays as replies in which I worked out my own beliefs. Mark and I don’t agree on everything, but not only do we agree on enough, I’ve seen what good his actions based on his beliefs can do. At the risk of sounding overly flattering, Jotun’s Bane Kindred truly are the right people at the right time, a well balanced group that is an energetic and dynamic fountain of good ideas and good works. If I had found anything less when I was looking into Heathenry, I might not be calling myself Asatruar today.

I highly recommend anyone to read Mark’s writings, and this 216 page PDF can be downloaded either from my own library here at “Romantic Antihero”, or directly from Mark’s “Temple of our Heathen Gods” here. If you’re confused about what it is that Heathens believe, or if you’re hearing the call of the Folk and looking to find your way home, Mark’s down to earth style of writing and very personal narrative voice makes Heathenry accessible.

Mark is a man of many talents, and while I’m pushing his Heathenry book I may as well mention his other projects: Void Pulp Press, his comic and art label, and Ghost Vigil Investigations, a paranormal investigators group.


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Filed under Faith, Folk, The Heathen Gods