Tribute Post: Richard Collins III

A promising young life was cut tragically short on Saturday, 21 May. Richard Collins III, a student at Bowie State University (BSU) in Maryland, was visiting friends at the University of Maryland (UMD), enjoying a weekend celebrating his upcoming graduation. At around 0300, while waiting for an Uber near a UMD bus stop, he was approached by a hostile man screaming racist obscenities who ordered him to “step left if you know what’s best for you.” From the Huffington Post:

The FBI is considering the fatal stabbing of a black college student a possible hate crime after learning the suspect is a member of a white supremacist Facebook group. Sean Christoper Urbanski, a 22-year-old student at the University of Maryland, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault following the recent slaying of Richard Wilbur Collins, a senior at Bowie State University. The UMD Police Department enlisted the help of federal law enforcement after discovering Urbanski’s connection to “Alt-Reich: Nation,” a racist Facebook group that posts disparaging content about African Americans and other minority groups.

Collins was visiting UMD during graduation weekend when Urbanski allegedly stabbed him early Saturday morning. The BSU student was waiting for an Uber near a UMD shuttle bus stop with a couple of friends when a screaming Urbanski allegedly approached the group around 3 a.m. Witnesses told police that Urbanski was intoxicated and incoherent as he shouted at Collins to “step left if you know what’s best for you,” according to court documents obtained by News 4 Washington. After Collins refused, Urbanski allegedly thrust a “3 to 4 inch silver blade” into the victim’s chest. When police arrived on the scene, they found Collins bleeding and laying on the sidewalk as Urbanski sat on a bench roughly 50 feet away.”

Richard had been commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army just two days prior to his brutal, senseless murder. Today would have seen him graduate with honours from Bowie State University. Instead, his father accepted his degree, which will be posthumously conferred on another student. A moment of silence was held during the commencement ceremonies, and an empty chair draped with his graduation gown was in the front row seating.

I know that this offends many, but I don’t really give a shit. Me talking about racism when it horribly impacts whole families, not just myself, isn’t “overtly focusing” on it or being “racially charged.” The hate-filled, shit-spouting coward who committed this crime is the one keeping racism alive – not me. A useless, inbred shitstain on the fabric of humanity felt the need to take the life of another human being because of a diseased belief that skin colour makes one superior or inferior. The sickest thing in all of this, are the people who directly contribute to this nonsense by spewing lies in offices, schoolrooms, houses of worship, and / or the privacy of their own homes. A father and mother are mourning their son tonight, hearts breaking as they see that empty chair. Joy and dreams shattered in an instant, all because of the rampant disease of racism – and very few seem genuinely interested in even trying to find a cure.

R.I.P., Cortez Kennedy

Cortez Kennedy: 23 August 1968 – 23 May 2017

Wow…I’m just shocked right now. Cortez Kennedy, who made his name with the Seattle Seahawks by playing his entire 11-year career with the team, passed away today at the age of 48. A Pro Football Hall of Fame recipient, he was a very agile and talented athlete who helped redefine the roles of a large-bodied, interior lineman. From ESPN:

Cortez Kennedy, an icon with the Seattle Seahawks who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, has died at age 48, the Orlando (Florida) Police Department said Tuesday. Orlando police confirmed to ESPN that they are investigating the former defensive tackle’s death but said “there is nothing suspicious to report” at this time. Kennedy was a force inside, both as a run-stopper and in threatening quarterbacks. The 1992 Defensive Player of the Year made eight Pro Bowls, had 58 sacks — an unusually high total for a tackle — and spent his entire 11-season career with Seattle, starting 153 out of 167 games.”

He was such an impressive player to watch! His size certainly would cause opponents to underestimate his speed. He would explode off of the line with such swiftness, easily breaching the defensive line and sacking a hapless quarterback. He was an incredible man, both on and off the field. His charity work and altruism will certainly live on. Rest easy, big man – Seattle is aching tonight after two big losses in one week. It’s a bit mind-blowing, to say the least.

Drifting on Still Water~

Lovely swans, beautifully captured! The black swan is exceptionally striking, with that reddish beak. Black and red – my favourite colour combination!
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“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful,” WB Yeats

Swans swim,

in synchronized,


silhouettes.


Mama delicately rolls her precious eggs,


to keep them evenly warm,

and plucks her feathers to tuck them in.

Black swan,

slides in singular grace,


while Narcissus is bewitched by his own reflection.
Cheers to you from European swans in springtime~

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Excerpt: Emergence – Part I

*** Author’s Note: This would have been published yesterday, but the weather has been too nice to be stuck indoors! Now that the weather is shifting again, some intense gaming will be done over the next few days, along with a lot of live-streaming – tune in for the fun, anytime!

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The portal vanishes behind her with a soft whoomph sound. She stands in the secluded glade, the moss-covered statue of the Forest Lord standing tall before her. The night is darker than it was when she’d first entered the portal, as clouds now blot the sky and a soft rain falls. She isn’t sure how long she’d been in the realm between the worlds – a day? A week? Two? A whole month? Time had slipped away from her.

She looks down at her armour. The reinforced leather pieces are badly rent and ragged, scorched in some places. She undoes the bindings and lets the worn bits fall. Clad only in breast-halter and loin-cloth, she closes her eyes and lets her senses reach out to the world around her. Everything is so alive! Her mind is clear for the first time in what seems like aeons. Her departure from home seems a lifetime ago; what she endured with the Withered Hand seems to have lasted for an eternity. She feels newly born and has the ability to truly appreciate the sensation. It washes over her again, as it did many times during her plane-walk.

She breathes deeply of the fresh air. Recent rainfall lends a dampness and clarity to the scents around her. The breeze shifts slightly, bringing her the pungent musk of the nearby giant troop and their herd of mammoths. She breathes deeply, scenting the heavy mammoth cheeses fermenting in their containers of hide. The guttural grunts and grumbling of the giants reaches her ears and she realizes that she can understand their crude, primitive language: Wolves loud. Wolves close. I scout. You watch herd.

She sidles backwards down a short slope, away from the noise of the giants; when she feels that she is at a safe distance, she stands and moves off in a westward direction, keeping close to the cliffs. She isn’t interested in fighting the giants or startling the mammoths; not out of any sense of fear, but out of respect for the ancient, prehistoric race. Meeting other travelers is also of low priority at the moment, and there are few others out here in the wilds.

Sudden thunder cracks loudly overhead, as if an unseen pair of titanic hands clapped together. No lightning…there must be a dolmen nearby. Sepultur’a grins in the dark, orienting herself in the direction of the thunder. This will be as good a test as any of her freshly-acquired, newly-tapped skills. She breaks into an easy jog and soon spies the glowing runes marking the sides of the central, circular sacrificial structure. Already, a ragged figure hangs helplessly in the air above it while robed forms dance and caper madly, chanting words of evil. She hears their ugly speech: “Bring forth the blood-sacrifice! We use the blood of this innocent to do thy bidding and chain this world to yours, oh great dread lord!” The clouds roil and coalesce, then spin madly and separate, whirling as a blinding white beam of light spears down, obliterating the doomed captive. Poor soul, she thinks, angered that she is never in time to save them. The necromancers always hasten their ritual whenever a potential rescuer appears; even whole parties of 25 or more are never swift enough to save even one individual.

The beam of light vanishes as three massive hooks fall from an unseen height, attached to long chains of unbelievable proportions. The ground shakes as the hooks fall to the center of the dolmen, then rocks violently as the chains pull taut. The necromancers shriek giddy, mad laughter as they bow in supplication. Sepultur’a closes her eyes, attuning herself to the earth under her feet and the pain radiating from the dolmen. Power gathers around her as she calmly walks forward, allowing the light from the now-blazing runes to wash over her, announcing her presence to the mages. There are seven of them, and they turn as one to face her, readying foul magicks to wield against her. She crosses her arms in front of her in an X, and great wings beat a powerful gust, knocking two of the mages off-balance. Three of them unleash black spells from their staves. Sepultur’a braces herself against the impact. The spells surround her momentarily – then are reflected back against their respective casters. Two drop to their knees, stunned by their own spells of paralysis, while the third screams in terror and flees into the night, helpless against her own spell of fear.

As this happens, Sepultur’a grips the air with both hands and pulls upward. The very stone of the earth rips from the dolmen, forming into a solid sphere of rock. She hurls this at a blade-dancer who is sharpening his daggers for a surprise attack. The projectile knocks him flat on his back, leaving him helpless as Sepultur’a falls on him with noxious fire erupting from her mouth. The skin on his face blisters and melts away as he vanishes with a shriek. The others have recovered and surround her, blasting her with spells and slashing with swords. A spell of fear temporarily touches her mind and she screams, running from the horrid memory that the spell evoked. Recovering quickly with a battle-cry, she turns and makes a grasping motion with her right hand. Five of the mages are suddenly frozen, gripped by massive talons clutching their feet. Flames lick at their boots; as they struggle, Sepultur’a inhales deeply, sucking in all air in a 5-meter radius. The mages in her grasp clutch at their throats as the wind is depleted from their lungs. They suffocate and burn like paper as she expels the oxygen in a massive blast of fire.

The last necromancer raises one of the dead bodies in an attempt to distract her as he tries to flee. Sepultur’a chuckles to herself as she flicks her left hand in his direction. A chain of fire seems to extend from her index finger, latching to the back of his robes and hooking tightly. He is instantly face to face with this woman whose eyes blaze like the sacked city he was rescued from when he was a boy. How did I get here? is his final thought as the woman’s lips purse as if to kiss him. Bright flames surround him. He feels heat, then brief pain…then nothingness.

She stands, clad in stone, eyes blazing. Thunder erupts around her as creatures begin to fall from the swirling bright light above her. I have to break the chains, she thinks, even as a hideous, lumpy form towers above her, swiping at her with a massive arm which ends in a steel, spiked maul. Poison drips from spike-tips, and she feels a bit of trepidation as the words of her benefactor echo in her mind: You will also be more susceptible to poisons, but immune to any and all diseases – including that of the blood-fever. You will be able to sense infections in others, even the unseen ills of the mind, and cure some of them – but, be mindful that you don’t deplete yourself in doing so. It is almost as if the creator of these sky-chains can sense the weaknesses of those who dare attempt to break the anchors and thwart their unseen machinations. She smiles again, fiercely, and turns to face the ugly creature. Nothing worth having comes easily, she thinks as she hurls herself at the bloated, lumpen torso. She needs a real challenge to put herself to the test. It has now presented itself, and she welcomes it wholeheartedly…

Last Week Tonight: 21 May 2017 Edition

In this week’s episode, John Oliver talks about how the scandals surrounding Baby-Hands McDrumpf continue to swirl. Oh, right…Hillary was the corrupt one, so all of this just HAS to be her fault!

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Saturday Songs (Re-Blog)

The sun is shining and the weather is warming up…time for a Saturday re-blog! Also, today’s salty gamer action begins at 1700 sharp, so get your drinks and snacks in order!
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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

Credit: http://www.lightsonafrica.com

Three songs for Saturday…enjoy.

🙂

Credit: iceageunderwatercity.weebly.com

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Excerpt: A Good Deed – Conclusion

*** Author’s Note: This excerpt wraps up the ‘Good Deed’ portion of my little tale. The next trio will be posted soon, beginning this coming Sunday. I hope that you’re enjoying these little bits of my creative output!

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A small, tidy courtyard of neatly-laid cobblestones and flagstones can be seen from her vantage-point. The path angles sharply from where the gate-door is located, stopping at the wooden steps of a wide porch. Gently curving stones lead to a flat, bare area which invites crafting or training décor. Lush, local foliage of multiple types and species grow here and there along the wall: ferns, deciduous trees, and even an exotic plant with dark leaves glowing with a soft purplish light. The porch is roomy and sturdy, offering space for crates, barrels, and other storage items. The door of the house is sheltered by a high, peaked roof, and the structure looks as if it was carved out of the stone and boulders surrounding it. The thick roots of a tall tree add to the wild, rustic appearance. Thunder peals in the distance, announcing an approaching storm.

Sepultur’a bows her head in gratitude, leaning her forehead against the lattice-work and closing her eyes which are stinging with sudden, unexpected tears of joy. A place of her own, at last. A home to rest and recuperate in while reclaiming her good name and establishing herself in the world. Fumbling through her cloak for the key which surely opens the door, she moves back to it and inserts the key in the door’s keyhole. It fits snugly; when she turns it, she hears the tumblers disengage with a solid thunk. She pushes the door open and steps through, stopping only to close and lock the door behind her. She wants no interruptions or distractions as she takes in the magnitude of the gift.

The courtyard is more spacious than it had appeared from the outside, and she is overjoyed to see the covered structure of a well nestled next to the house. She goes to it and draws up a bucketful of cold, fresh water from the underground aquifer which feeds the outpost. The water smells pure and clean, and she takes out her hip-flask and fills it, drinks deeply and refills it again, then caps it and stows it away for the errands she will have to run later on. Her panther prowls about, sniffing here and there as he examines the corners, nooks and crannies of the courtyard before stretching out on the cobblestones and relaxing.

Sepultur’a mounts the steps and opens the door of the house. The interior is quite uniform on the inside, with a bit more room than the outside suggested. A nicely-sized hearth is centered on the left-side wall of the sole room, . Two cunningly-styled windows provide a bit of natural light during the day. She looks around the cozy quarters, beaming happily. It may not be the luxurious manor in which she grew up, but it is perfect. She walks around, taking notes in her journal, making of list of basic home items that she will need immediately. Other furnishings can be acquired later on. Privacy and security at last! She can rest easy for a good amount of time, now. She has a fair amount of letters home to catch up on…

5 Friday Faves: “Author! Author!” Edition

LOL – see what I did, there? I used a movie title just to draw attention to this post, which is really about my five favourite writers of fiction! I read quite a bit, and have a long list of writers whom I admire and always look forward to their latest writings. They’re also great in that their older works are worth re-reading from time to time; like a nice, classic outfit, they never really go out of style.

I had to think long and hard about these writers, but was finally able to come up with why these specific five are awesome! I’m not doing a numbered list this time; instead, I have listed them in order by their last names. I’m listing past and present writers, as two people on this list are deceased. With that disclaimer, here we go!

Octavia Butler (22 June 1947 – 24 February 2006): Octavia Butler is still one of my favourite authors, even years after her untimely death. She was a science fiction writer, earning multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for her many excellent books. She was also the first science fiction writer to earn the MacArthur Fellowship, which is nicknamed the “Genius Grant.” I have all of her books, and I think it is time to pull them off of the shelf and give them a re-read! I usually go five years between re-readings, so that the stories are somewhat fresh. One can never have too many books, I think.

Harlan Coben: I happened upon this author when I was browsing the shelves of a bookstore that sold or traded used books. I was looking for some Jonathan Kellerman and Patricia Cornwell books, and since books were listed by genre and alphabetical order (by last name, of course), I saw Coben’s name just ahead of Cornwell’s. The title of one book caught my eye, so I took it along with the other selections that I’d already made – very glad that I did! I love a good mystery / psych-thriller, and his writings are perfect. He sprinkles funny lines in his tales, similar to Stephen King, and does quite well at throwing in unexpected twists that might keep most people guessing until the last page. I don’t think that I have all of his books yet, but I’m certainly working on it!

David Gemmel (1 August 1948 – 28 July 2006): David Gemmell was a phenomenal writer, and I enjoyed his books immensely. His untimely death in 2006 almost spelled the death of a series he was in the middle of working on; fortunately, his wife was able to do it justice and complete the works under a joint authorship. She did quite well, I have to say! I have all of David’s books, and again, must pull them off the shelves and give them another go – starting with Legend, of course.

Stephen King: Stephen King is the author whom I’ve been reading for most of my life. I think that the first short-story of his that I read was the one about the little toy soldiers that come to life and kill the head of a company. I was eight when I read it, then was re-introduced to his writings in 6th grade. He slowly overtook Piers Anthony and V.C. Andrews during my junior high years, and then firmly established himself as my favourite author for close to seven years. It was around that time that I was introduced to this next author’s writings by a close friend.

Dan Simmons: I had finished reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred and was talking with a friend about good sci-fi novels. He had just finished reading Hyperion and was starting on The Fall of Hyperion, so he lent me the first book – I was hooked from the first page! When I went to the local bookstore to look up what else he had written, I was pleased to see that he wrote horror and mystery novels as well. In fact, he has won multiple awards, including the Hugo, the Bram Stoker, and the Locus, to name a few. I have most of his books, if not all of them…and, I have a tattoo of the Shrike. It’s just fitting, for me!

R.I.P., Chris Cornell…

Chris Cornell (B. Christopher John Boyle): 20 July 1964 – 17 May 2017

I’m a bit floored at the moment. I just heard about the death of Chris Cornell, frontman of the bands Audioslave and Soundgarden. Soundgarden is one of the top three bands synonymous with the genre of grunge music, and Chris Cornell was instrumental in helping launch grunge from the local Seattle stage to nationwide and international status. Nirvana and Pearl Jam are the other two which were the main powerhouses of the time; Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone, and the Screaming Trees are others who were well-known in that scene and the circles at the time.

I was fortunate enough to see a good number of those bands in person as they were up-and-coming; they performed regularly at places like the Vogue, the Moore Theatre, and the Crocodile Café in Seattle, among other local hot spots. Chris’s voice was just as distinctive as that of Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder, and it had the power to move you through the emotional highs and lows of a song effortlessly.

There’s really not much else that I can say with words, so here’s my little musical tribute to one of the best musicians of my lifetime. Rest easy, Chris…you left us too soon. You still had so much to offer.

Midweek Memes & Music: Salty Gamer Edition!

LOL – I got involved in some salty gamer-talk over the past couple of days, so I figured that today was the perfect time to do a quick post about it! Don’t worry, my short-story excerpts are ready for publishing and will be posted soon. I’m just prepping for my upcoming zerg-ball run for one of the grand, in-game titles! I need a few more achievements under my belt, and rubbing oneself with a bit of salt beforehand helps develop a thick skin. Blogging is the other exercise, obviously! Also, enjoy my musical selections which follow a preview of the upcoming new chapter in the best online game ever. Early access FTW!

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Before the music, the new promotional trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind!

…and now, the tunes for salty gamers – the love / hate is real!

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