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Fiction – Love is War 03:00:01:09

Books & Writing, Culture, Projects, Short Fictions

October 9, 2015

Every week, we’re going to post some new fiction for you to devour and read, with original art as a header, and then a collected version for purchase from our store when the book is complete. Questions? Comments? The writers are right here, and they’ll respond as they’re able. 

***

Click here to read previous entry.

***

– 03:00:01:09 –

Thea’s plan was perfect. It was going perfectly.

He had spoken about it with River many times over. He would come up and live with the Lady Wyrd and she would recognize that they were meant to be together and they would fall in love and he would claim her again and again in ways that no one else ever would again. He would silence her madness, focus her, make her even greater than she already was. That’s what was going to happen. That’s what would have to happen. There was no other possibility.

It was Thea’s destiny to be Lady Veskur Wyrd’s lover.

Even Figo Jera had recognized that inevitable truth. His Lady had told him how her little toy had bowed out and away in order for Thea and his Lady to fully explore their love for one another, free of whatever ties might have otherwise bound her. It was a sign that he was right, that she would belong to him, that she would be his, that his possession of her was right and proper. She was so beautiful, so full of fire, and he would make that fire what he wanted and define her until she was exactly what he believed her to be so that everyone else could see her for the beauty that she was.

River and Thea had told his Lady Wyrd that they would work together five days out of seven, those last two days a chance for Thea to get out from under River’s domineering presence, but neither River or Thea had any intention of working together. The point of this exercise was to rescue the Lady from her unworthy lover and bring her to the attention of someone who could devote themselves to her as she deserved, not bask in the careless affections of some base noble from the pathetic House Jera.

And things had started exactly how Thea had dreamed they would. The Lady Wyrd met him at the gate of her home, showed him to the rooms that had been prepared for his coming. Her keep was smaller and colder than he would have imagined, but that was no matter; it just meant that they would be closer physically, making the happening of their inevitable union all the quicker.

He took a couple days to settle in and the good Lady played the perfect host during that time. On the third day, however, she turned back to her studies and when he went to be with her in her laboratory she ignored him for the most part, deigning to notice him only long enough to ask him to leave. The fourth and fifth days saw a pattern emerge, and on the sixth day the Lady Wyrd politely contacted River and arranged to take Thea to him on the eighth.

The Lady Wyrd was still polite but she grew more distant. Circuits that Thea was unfamiliar with were used to lock her laboratory when she was working within. On those oft time she wasn’t, Thea would wander in and look around, taking note of the wonders that his beautiful love had called forth from her mind.

He read his Lady’s notes and messages. He felt no qualms about doing so, as everything that his Lady was belonged to him, even if she did not realize this yet. He learned all about her love affair with Figo in greater detail than he ever could have wanted. He scowled at those messages, vowing that his Lady would never speak to or be seen with Figo ever again when he had claimed her fully. Having read the messages and come to his decision, he then burnt those messages until there was nothing left but ash. He was not satisfied until they were gone completely – there was no sense, he thought, in her dwelling on what would be useless dreams from the past, not when their future together was so full of light.

Love is War 09

Thea also learned of another toy from the healer’s house, some child named Endrall Sahr. He read the letters between those two and felt claws of jealousy tear at him; there was a closeness implied by those letters that he did not approve of, an echo that was not natural. Those letters he left alone for the time being, sorting through the rest of the messages that had been sent to his love.

A gold and silver seal caught his eye and he carefully unfurled a missive from Deeam Wsael, pouring over writings directed to his Lady from the future Freyr himself. The note dealt with some sort of glove, which mystified Thea – why would the future Freyr want to discuss keeping his hands warm with someone as wonderful as his Lady?

Only a handful of other notes had been kept over the passage of seasons. A surprisingly friendly series of notes with some noble from the Ygg line named Sotaas. Thea’s lips turned at that; the nobles of House Ygg were only barely better than the barbarians that festered outside the borders of Midgard.

He left before his Lady returned, returning everything he had not destroyed to the places he had found them. His Lady, if she noticed that he had been there, said nothing about it at all.

The eighth day came and his Lady took him to meet River. The other noble was leering and gregarious, alternating his attention between his instrument and his latest breathing toy. Thea was amazed at the skill with which he played both instruments, he looking up now and again to share one of his many observations regarding the Lady Wyrd and all her flaws.

“Why do you let him talk to you like that?” River’s toy asked. Wyrd had no answer. As she sat silently doing nothing, River pulled her apart with words. His Lady would later try to pull herself together, saying that River mocked others with the same hostility and thought that dogs used when marking their territory, but Thea knew exactly what River was doing and appreciated his efforts; his friend was ripping the Lady apart so that he would have the chance to put her back together as he saw fit.

They walked for some time afterwards, through the woods and buildings of the town they found themselves in. The summer was warm, a cool breeze rich with salt brushing over them from the southern seas. River, he knew, lived for moments like this one, shining brighter than the sun itself. And as for his dear Lady, well, so frazzled was she by River’s insults that she said nothing when Thea returned to her home without so much as a stopover with his friend.

She said nothing when he followed her into her laboratory the next day, complained not in the least when he dogged her every step. When social engagements forced her to go to Deeam’s Court he went with her, sitting in the same carriage. She looked more worn as the visit wore on, her eyes taking on haunted shadows, her conversation becoming more terse.

The way she lit up when they bumped into Figo made Thea’s soul burn.

Figo was crass enough to refer to Thea’s Lady by her first name, was disrespectful enough to touch her without his leave. He was a bore, a simpleton, the very worst sort of degenerate. This didn’t surprise Thea, as all his House were perverts. He was cruel with his words, hurling insults with a smile on his face – when Thea hinted at the truth of his uselessness he merely smiled and nodded and called him a dryw.

Well, not in so many words. The intent was there, though. The flash of hatred in his eyes, the knowledge that his Lady was with a real man and not the lie that he was. Thea expected his Lady to defend him, to set the record straight, but she said nothing for all that meeting, her eyes shining with an idiot light and an undeserved adoration.

He was glad when Figo was gone and spoke about how good it was to be away from such unworthy company at length. For some reason this only made his Lady withdraw further, so he gave her the space she seemed to crave when she went out to walk the lands around her keep. In truth, he was glad to let her go for a short time, anticipating their reunion with a breathless fever while taking the chance to prowl her laboratory without watching eyes.

There was a new missive from Figo that his Lady had not had a chance to look at. He burned it, deeming it unworthy of his Lady’s attention. Then he turned his gaze to some of the other notes, noted one from the healer’s scion, Endrall Sahr. They’d met briefly at one of Deeam’s functions, the young man tall and handsome and instantly making Thea ill with his presence and the way his Lady fawned over him. It was sluttish, whorish, a disgrace in comparison to what she should have been.

When he had tried to pull his Lady away she had turned to him, hissing, and threatened to kill him.

Endrall’s note had been opened, his Lady already penning a reply. The impertinent youngster had wanted to know whom his Lady thought would win in a confrontation between the two of them, Thea and Endrall. His Lady had favored the child over him.

Thea growled as she read and re-read the letter. The disloyalty evidenced in this letter was not something he could bear, the anger in him settling into an entropic storm that ate away at his calm, consuming his confidence. He reset all he had rifled through to where it had been and retreated to his rooms, a hundred curses exhaled with every breath, his vision swimming with pain. The slut knew nothing of loyalty, nothing of honesty, nothing of the destiny that was right in front of her.

Nevertheless, he would have her anyway. He would show her the truth.

Wiping the motes from his eyes, he swore that before he was done that his Lady would know that he was the only love she would ever know – and if he could not have her, no one would.

***

More is coming next week. If you like the artwork, why not go and thank Meghan Duffy at duffyartdesign.com? She’s cool people.

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574

Fiction – Love is War 03:00:01:08

Books & Writing, Culture, Projects, Short Fictions

October 2, 2015

Every week, we’re going to post some new fiction for you to devour and read, with original art as a header, and then a collected version for purchase from our store when the book is complete. Questions? Comments? The writers are right here, and they’ll respond as they’re able. 

***

Click here to read previous entry.

***

– 03:00:01:08 –

“She is insane, you know,” Farrell said, lazy and smiling. “She cannot be trusted.”

Farrell had returned to House Suwilo following his incarceration at the hands of the Coeecians, the same period of time that Lord Figo had been taken. Sahr Erison had listened to all of the fox’s tales as the creature spoke of all that they had suffered together, the young lord and the tricky healer. It was one of the reasons that Sahr had taken such care with Figo when he was brought in battered and wounded; that man had suffered enough, and continued to suffer if Farrell was to be believed.

Lord Figo had been enslaved by the Madwoman of the North, the Hermit of High House Wyrd. Sahr had heard all about that woman and all her madness, her use of narcotics to get what she wanted in any circumstance, the terrible science that she had used to win glory for herself in the highest circles of the Vanir. He had even read some of the woman’s works when she had caught his son, his precious son, reading them.

The ramblings had been that of one abandoned by sanity, barely coherent, nothing more than fictions. Sahr was certain of this because he did not understand it and he did not care for the woman besides. She was a woman and not to be trusted. The Vanir mindscape was taken with her but that would pass and hopefully she would be as forgotten as his former wife.

But now Lord Figo was repaying the care he had been given by offering Sahr’s son to that selfsame madwoman. His precious son, the only child he had sired who had proved loyal to him in the wake of his wife’s treachery.

He had married young, his paramour decades older than he. She had crippled him with her support, making his accomplishments less merely by being a part of them. Eventually she had proven more liability than use, the various resources he had taken her for becoming less, so he took everything she had selfishly thought to keep from him and then banished her from his lands, exiling her all the way across the breadth of Midgard where he would never have to look upon her again.

A child had stood between them during this separation, the first boy that he had sired. Little more than an infant, Sahr had taken him aside and explained to him why his mother was not to be trusted.

“I’m the only that loves you,” he had told the young boy. “I’m the only one that cares. You’ll see when you go visit your mother that she is nothing. And if you don’t do what I say, my son, well, the affection I feel for you and the only affection that is right or true in all this world may just wither and die.” The boy, Endrall, had looked at him with wide eyes before stepping into the carriage that would take him to visit his mother.

He had begged to return only days later. His mother was a drunken wreck, Endrall said, a ruin that could not rouse herself from the misery that had claimed her. When Endrall returned, Sahr swept the boy into his arms and gave him everything he wanted, rewarding him for his loyalty.

And so it went whenever the boy went to visit his mother and Sahr would smile to hear of what had become of his now shattered wife and the contempt with which Endrall spoke of her.

The boy had taken a lover eventually, but that was only to be expected. Sahr had instilled the boy with an inability to keep secrets from his father, so he knew all about Grais Rlied of House Raido long before the girl had been brought home to meet him. He had spoken with the girl at length and decided that she presented no threat to his authority. As such, he had consented to the union between his son and Grais.

However, this other woman, this Veskur Wyrd, she was something else again.

Intelligent, articulate, and old. Far too old for Endrall to even be thinking about and he knew – he knew – that Endrall was keeping something about the woman from him. Figo had taken Endrall to meet her at some social function and his darling son had come back with a sick light in his eyes that Sahr remembered, for he had once seen it in his own when he had been young and foolish.

He had tried speaking to the woman but found her utterly without merit. He invited Figo back under the pretense of checking his recovery but the Lord from House Jera had nothing but good to say of Lady Wyrd, though there was regret in his eyes whenever he spoke of her. Eri was not sure what to make of that but he knew – knew – that secrets were being kept from him. It was Farrell that he turned to for explanation.

Love is War 08

“She has bewitched Figo,” Farrell said. “She will do the same to Endrall.”

The boy had the gall to argue with him when he forbade him from seeing the silly psychotic bauble. They screamed and fought, his gentle son howling like the possessed. This was not the son he had raised, not the loyal child that he had cultivated. Sahr told the boy that his love for him would wither and that had bought him respite, though resentment and rebellion both festered in the eyes of his beloved son. It was not a thing to be borne, but he did not yet see what could be done about it.

Staring north, he stood at the top of his keep. There had to be something he could do. There had to be. He would find it and he would destroy this threat as surely as he had destroyed his wife and no one would ever again think to take his son away from him.

***

More is coming next week. If you like the artwork, why not go and thank Meghan Duffy at duffyartdesign.com? She’s cool people.

 

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1062

Canadian Politics – Health and Security

Culture, Heroes of the Living Myth, Projects, The Truth

September 30, 2015

Health and security? What am I doing, covering two seemingly different topics? Am I following the lead of the Cons and cheating? No. We try not to play dirty politics, but these two things are strangely related to one another as the concept of security can be applied both internally and externally. With that in mind, we want to take a look at what’s been happening in our own country, what we’re doing outside of it, and how the rest of the world looks at us because of it. This is also going to deviate slightly from our previous looks as to who the political parties in Canada are and their views on the economy, environment, and education, because much of what’s happened to our security and health as a country is a direct result of the people in charge.

For those of you that maybe aren’t paying attention, some of this might come as a shock.

Canadians like to think that their socialized healthcare is among the best in the world, and while it is better than most it ranks poorly when compared to other countries that have adopted similar systems.  This isn’t to say it’s bad – it’s certainly better than most places in the world, and the regulations put in place keep things like this from happening while the system itself keeps things like this from happening. The trick of it is, the Harper Government has been cutting funding for and regulations of healthcare for a long while now, preferring the free market system that has worked so many wonders in the United States. This policy has been met with widespread objections from medical professionals and widespread approval from foreign powers that have no interest in Canada or the people that live there.  The Harper Government has long claimed that they are not a Canadian Government, however, so this can hardly be surprising.

What is surprising, however, is how these policies look when combined with other agendas put forward by the Harper Government. First among these is Harper’s commitment to war and his friendly relationships with war criminals, and his support of their actions. Harper has also overseen Canada’s continued involvement in the Middle-Eastern war crimes to the benefit of nothing and no one, and has committed to a larger Canadian incursion to come. Keep in mind that he’s doing this while cutting funding for veteran services, including the counseling that many soldiers need to re-integrate after being overseas in the thick of the fighting.

All of this fits with the Harper Con’s racist policies, which have drawn worldwide criticism for their almost guaranteed consequence of causing more war. This, once again, is perfectly inline with the Cons of the United States and one of the reasons we spend so much time discussing their policies. Con policies both domestically and at large have demoralized both our own troops and the view the world has of Canada, to the point where the good will we once possessed has turned into almost universal scorn. As Canada becomes less and less tolerant and more prone to violating human rights, Canada’s citizens find themselves less and less welcome out in the world.

Our Government tells us that the  human rights that they’re violating and the war crimes they want to commit are necessary to protect us from terrorism, blaming ISIS when that group was created by and originally supported by the United States’ war crimes in Iraq in response to the attacks on September 11th, 2001, which had nothing to do with Iraq at all but which the Cons both in the United States and Canada have lied about. The Cons both here and down south believe that through these acts of terrorism they can stop those acts of terrorism, all the while perpetuating the myth that the region has always been more violent than, say, Europe

Speaking of violence, Harper’s Cons are big on being tough on crime, the traditional policies of which have been shown to create more crime. Harper’s Cons would have you believe that violent crime is on the rise in Canada when the inverse is true – the total number of violent crimes in Canada are comparable to the murders committed by police officers against minorities in the United States, for example. Despite this, Harper’s Cons would like to follow the United States use of for-profit prison systems, a system which has been proven to cause more crime and cost taxpayers more than state-run prisons, while also being more prone to violate human rights and turn prisoners into literal slaves in the name of profit.

Meanwhile, Harper’s Cons continue to be lenient in their prosecution of white collar crime among their own members and among those corporations that support them. Harper’s Cons have been proven to fix elections, participate in widespread corruption, blackmailing their enemies, and lying to the Canadian people, in addition to the various ecological and economic crimes that the Cons are never punished for. All this, while ignoring the real crime of missing women and children that have been vanishing from aboriginal communities.

We are all, as Canadians – meaning Harper’s Cons – currently instigating violence against Muslims and stripping away gender equality because that’s in vogue with the Cons in the United States, while also butchering our independence and the essential rights and freedoms that make us who we are as a nation. Bill C-51 stripped away our privacy while taking away our right to protest and made it legal for Harper’s Cons to fabricate evidence and basically do whatever they want to anyone that would stand against their fascism. They also passed Bill C-23, a that will, in effect, corrupt every election going forward.

All of this has destroyed how the rest of world sees Canada. Harper’s Cons have turned us from a well-regarded progressive beacon to a myopic monster, the ones that were good but are now not to be trusted.

So, given all of this, what are the various parties planning on doing about it?

 

Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits

Justin Trudeau has a lot to say for himself on the topic of security. First and foremost, he wants to scrap Bill C-23, a Cons-led law that makes it more difficult for people to vote. No word on the law that actually murders Canada, Bill C-51, which he and his party helped vote into law despite the protests of Canadians everywhere. It calls into question everything else he has on tap, including his promise to look into missing aboriginal women and children, restored and improved care of our veterans and sick, a ban on partisan advertisements in favor of informational adverts, and a non-racist plan to help clean up the mess we helped make in Syria and to aid Syrian refugees. The problem, again, isn’t that Trudeau lacks experience – he’s been groomed for this position and the responsibility that comes with it for the entirety of his life – it’s that, when push came to shove, he supported Harper’s Cons in gutting the country. Do we trust him? No. Is he better than Harper’s Cons? Yes, but that doesn’t set the bar especially high.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories / Harper’s Cons 

Harper doesn’t want us calling his government a Canadian one, and we’ve decided to acknowledge that desire. All hail Emperor Harper and his Conservatives, or Harper’s Cons for short. Harper’s Cons have created civil unrest in Canada and helped create some of the worst political nightmares currently facing our world with their policies, and their plan is to double down on those policies. This will likely make those situations worse. Harper’s Cons have also promised to continue stripping away the rights and freedoms of Canadians for their own benefit, while also blaming the victims of their policies for being angry about what’s been done to them. They also want to commit troops to wars they helped start, while keeping those who go to fight from getting the help they will need after they come home from the fighting. Harper also has plans to attack our healthcare and justice systems. He is the threat to Canada he’d have us believe ISIS is.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Tom wants to fix the damage that Harper has done to our healthcare systems and veteran aid, which is pretty great. He also wants to improve on that healthcare, truly making it the world class system that we’ve always believed it was. He’s got plans to repeal Bill C-23, making certain that we have fair elections in the future, and destroy Bill C-51, thus giving Canada a chance to actually be Canada instead of the nightmarish Harper’s Cons hellscape from which there is no escape. Tom would also immediately end Canada’s presence in Iraq and Syria while giving a home to more refugees looking to escape the mess that we helped cause, which is all to the good. Better still, while Harper’s Cons have been ignoring actual crime to go after imaginary ones, the NDP has pledged to do the reverse, including looking into the missing women and children of our aboriginal peoples.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens

Elizabeth would see the end of Bills C-23 and C-51, which is a good place to start making Canada, well, Canada again. Beyond that, she’d like to help return Canada to its peacekeeping duties, putting us back on track to making the world a better place by helping clean up the mess Harper’s Cons helped make in the Middle-East and lending aid to Syrian Refugees. She’s spoken on the specifics of healthcare and how to improve it on a realistic level, tackling everything from surgery to asthma to obesity. The Greens believe in prevention more than cure, and have ideas on how to improve both that are well worth listening to. Part of that plan includes buying medicines in bulk to drive prices down for the medications and prescriptions that Canadians need, in addition to looking at the minds of Canadians veterans and citizens alike – and all this is before we talk about their justice platform, which would see a greater emphasis placed on rehabilitation rather than punishment, so that our society can grow as a whole and we can push forward with stronger economic, educational, and ecological strategies. Again, all of this is workable and thoroughly planned out, and would go a long way towards making truly making Canada one of the best places in the world to be.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc

We normally joke a little about the Bloc, but they did one fantastic thing: they stopped fast food and candy companies from targeting children in advertisements, which has scene a dramatic decrease in obesity across the age spectrum and an equally dramatic increase in health. Aside from that, they’re in favor of protecting Quebec, but would really like to repeal the damage Harper’s Cons did to Canada with C-23 and C-51, which you know are bad because even a political party dedicated to the destruction of Canada recognizes that these bills are too extreme to be allowed to exist.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 007Scott Wyatt

When not destroying giant robots with his laser eyes or defending Canada from dragons, Scott has pledged to defend the aboriginal peoples of Canada and make sure that they are under his protection. It should be noted that protection is fairly mighty, as Scott is also more than capable of defending Canada single-handed with those laser eyes, super strength, and ability to fall from great heights without damage. Is Scott Wyatt a superhero? Possibly. Why wouldn’t we want a superhero in parliament?

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1514

Canadian Politics – Education

Culture, Lifestyle, Projects

September 23, 2015

This is a bit of a weird one. It shouldn’t be – you’d think education would be an important talking point for all of the political parties heading into the October 19th Election that the Conservative party doesn’t want you to vote in. It’s overlooked by most, though, because in Canada education is handled on a Provincial level. Given the importance of education to the future of the country as a whole, though, and the lasting damage being wrought on the future because of policies adopted from our southern neighbor, education can, must, and should be spoken of during this election cycle. It’s time for a larger perspective, and that means Federal politics. Here’s a brief history on education as we understand it, where and why it’s failing, and where the various political parties stand on this impossibly important issue. 

 

Schools, as we understand them, were initially created to craft a literate work force. That’s it. That’s all that they were meant to produce. The merchant class, with the blessing of the nobility, put together a system of learning that would allow people to work in factories, but with greater education comes curiosity and a need to seek out answers. The founding fathers of the United States changed that, creating the common schools that would be the precursor to modern public schools.

That’s why a good deal of the scientists and philosophers that have moved our world forward haven’t come from the noble or merchant classes, excepting those instances where those people have wanted change. Happy people don’t move, don’t grow, don’t seek out answers – and if there’s one thing that early education system did, it was give people just enough of an understanding to see how miserable they actually were.

From this we got some serious changes so far as civil rights went, which also saw an overhaul of the education system. Both Canada and the United States recognized the importance of educating the populace in an ever more complex world, because of either country was going to maintain its edge education was going to be paramount.

Public education became the by-word, and was one of the most important advantages that both countries offered future generations. By paying teachers a good salary and making certain that the curriculum was flexible by the standards of the time, they were able to make sure that no child was left behind. Public schools were the standard, an investment in the future, and the rest of the world hurried to follow suite.

It’s amazing to think that the America education system was once heralded as one of the best on the planet, and is now one of the worst among first world nations. Canada isn’t anywhere near there yet, but the potential is there.

Why? How did this happen down south, and how can we avoid it up here?

Well, the introduction of standardized testing plays a big roll in that – instead of measuring comprehension, standardized testing only measures the memorization of abstract information. Further, by using the results of standardized testing to dole out the budget of any given school, we’ve encouraged schools to cheat and compete with one another rather than encouraging them to actually teach children.

Worse, as we’ve cut funding for public schools, we’ve also seen the rise of private schools that also get government funding, and often get more government funding than their public counterparts. This has led to the re-creation of a caste-based education system, neither of which treats their teachers fairly.

Teachers make barely enough money to keep them out of poverty, but are expected to work overtime unpaid and are required purchase their own materials from out of pocket so that they can actually do their jobs. Further, the government’s consistent disdain for public education has seen less and less people become interested in becoming teachers, and the fact that parents blame teachers for the shortcomings of government and government blames teachers for wanting to be paid fairly leaves those that do become teachers questioning their decisions.

In the United States, we’re seeing the Conservatives of that country push for propaganda over information, and the Conservatives of our own country are, as ever, following their lead. They also want to double down on tactics that we know do not work, murdering the natural curiosity of children in the hopes of engendering a compliant apathy.

This, despite the fact that we now know more about how to go about teaching people and are unable to take advantage of it due to budget restrictions endorsed by government and resistance from parents, an ever decreasing group of teachers and ever increasing group of students, to the point where classroom sizes are getting so large as to be unmanageable. Also, the world has sort of moved on from the Industrial Age – mayhap the curriculum and means of teaching should move on as well?

Many curriculums are entirely frozen to a bygone age or push for changes that do not work, teachers unable to get the resources they need to make their lessons relevant and classrooms liveable. As our government and parents debate the validity and value of sex education, we still have high school graduates that do not know how to be adults in our modern worldhow to balance a check book, do taxes, or pay bills. We need our schools to cover the practical and the abstract, and they can do neither with the budgets and restrictions that they’re currently given.

None of this even takes into account post-secondary education. Believe it or not, there was a time when one could get a summer job flipping burgers and pay for college, but the changing economy has made that reality a distant memory. The reality is that now post-secondary education is necessary to get any sort of career, and yet doing so will saddle those that seek it with a debt they will likely never escape, even if you can find a job that will pay for work.

Like, you know, teaching should.

These are the grim meathook realities of the modern world. We have some protection because Provincial, rather than Federal, governments are responsible for education in Canada, but the Federal government still has some say in policies and how things are managed. To say that the system is broken on a fundamental level is an understatement; so, given these truths, what do our politicians plan to do about fixing it?

 

Just a reminder – we’ve already covered who these people are, their stance on the environment, and what they’d like to do to the economy. We also noted a rather disturbing completion of a certain political checklist. Remember, inform yourself and vote accordingly:

 

Canada Politics 001 - 005The Grits

Alright, the Grits might be onto something here. First and foremost, they’ve promised to increase the budget of Early Childhood Education and Care to 1% of the Gross National Product of the country, which is a pretty good start. This means that single parent families, or families where both parents work, will have access to places they can leave those children to be cared for and educated. They’ve even promised that no one will be excluded for reasons of “disability, access, or the cost of service” and that the curriculum will enable “cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social and physical development” and even include things like “hearing and vision care, parental support and mental health.” The lack of an Oxford comma in that last sentence is their error, not mine, and one need only look at the Provincial Grits for an idea of how well the federal Grits might do. On the other hand, they’re also promising $2.6 Billion for First Nations education, so maybe the general public can go learn with them? There’s precious little the Grits have announced for post-secondary education, so maybe they’re holding off for a big reveal later? There’s talk of a “Canadian Learning Passport,” which would offer $4k in tax-free grants who choose to go to post-secondary, and maybe even more to those with low-income families or for veterans. That’d be cool.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 002The Tories

So, Canada has this RESP thing that parents of low-income and mid-income families can buy into. Basically, you put some money away for education later on, with a $0.10 per dollar buy in for mid-income families and a $0.20 per dollar buy in for low-come families. The Harper Government is promising to double that up to the first $500 per year, meaning that families could see an extra $100 per year if they do a full buy in. Beyond that promise, the Tories have been mum on the subject of education save for their snubbing of First Nations’ education and their quiet study of the propaganda-in-place-of-history being pushed by the Conservatives in the United States, and listening to the suggestions of the oil and gas companies that offer them most of their bribes. So, you know, that’s all pretty horrifying. Also, they really like the idea of student debt, because debt is good for stock exchange prosperity. So that’s a thing.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 006The NDP

Tom would like to create quality care centers for kids, engendering education and allowing parents to further their own education or join the workforce for no more than $15/day. That’s cool. He’s also pushing to open 40, 000 apprenticeships in the trade sector, which would allow kids to find paid work and eventually settle into a career. As for the specifics of education and student debt, well, the provincial NDP is moving to freeze post-secondary education costs, which is a step in the right direction. Tom has also noted that the average student walks out of post-secondary with $28k of debt, and 14% of them can’t find work – and of those that do, many are unpaid interns. Acknowledging that there’s a problem is the first step to fixing it. They also want more education grants, with a planned increase of $200 million going to scholarships and an increased tax credit for education, from $4,800 to $5,760 per year. As to overhauling the broken curriculum, well, Tom’s been pretty vocal about how much he doesn’t like oil and gas companies overhauling the system, and he might have some ideas on how to make things better. In point of fact, the NDP has been the voice of reason in recent debates involving education, probably because the Greens still haven’t been invited by the mainstream press.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 004The Greens

Wow. Front and center: the Greens want to abolish tuition fees going forward, forgive all student debt over $10k, and create a guaranteed livable income so that no Canadian lives in poverty. Right away, this would allow graduates to seek out jobs that are worth working at, and to actually survive interning for no pay, or to pass on interning to find work that will actually pay. Either option is better than what we have going right now. The Greens are also interested in working with teachers to create a better curriculum, and maybe even making sure teachers have the resources and budget that they need to make their jobs possible. Further, they’re interested in fostering the same sort of apprenticeships that the NDP are promising, with a focus on research, development, and application of green energies and technologies. Also, those child care services the Liberals are all excited about? The Greens want to do those, too, but better and cheaper, and they have a budget that would allow them to do so.There’s a sense of hope when the Greens talk about investing in future generations that is lacking in the other political parties, but we encourage you, as always, to double check our findings.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 003The Bloc

Shockingly, the Bloc is not all-Quebec here. This is important, because Quebec only functions because of the threat they pose to Canada by leaving it – and if they cut off the future of the country, they know that they’ll lose long term. To that end, the Bloc would like to restore the budget we used to give to education to mid-nineties levels, which is much higher than what the current Tory government is offering. They also want to increase the number of tax-exempt scholarships for post-doctoral students, so for those of us that get that far, woo.

 

Canada Politics 001 - 007Wyatt Scott

We know he believes that education is too damn expensive, so he plans on lowering costs. Presumably, the hordes of treasure can be claimed when he kills dragons will be invested on schools so that engineers can be trained to figure out what technologies can be harvested and put towards the good of all Canadians from the giant robots that he destroys with his eye lasers. We can also presume that he will free the scientists that the Conservatives had kidnapped to build those giant robots, thus allowing them to teach the secrets of their craft for the glory of Science~! and all Canadians.

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Canadian Politics – The Great Goofsky

Culture, Projects, Showcase, The Truth

September 21, 2015

We really like to celebrate our heroes in Canada.

There was a small town boy named Wayne Gretzky who rose to become an international celebrity because of his skill on the ice. Hockey is pretty much the most important thing in Canada, a sport that we pride ourselves on above and beyond any normal understanding, and Gretzky was the best at it. He was hailed as the Great One, number ninety-nine, and in 1988 he was traded out of Canada to the Los Angeles Kings and never looked back.

And, you know, good for him. He deserves everything he’s claimed through the skills he mastered. Over this past weekend, though, he took a large contract to come and endorse Stephen Harper, our current Prime Minister, a man who is destroying the environment so he can continue failing at the economy.

Wayne, who has not lived in Canada since 1988, came back, shook Haprer’s hand, and said “You’ve been an unreal Prime Minister.” I suppose there’s not enough money in the world to call him a good Prime Minister, but the photo-op ensued – Harper standing and shaking the hand of one of Canada’s heroes.

We won’t be picking apart Wayne for this; there’s a host of other pundits that have done that already. And there’s plenty of other Canadian celebrities who have weighed in against Harper, ranging from acting legends Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Donald Sutherland, to more recent talents, like Katie Findlay.

No, what we want to bring attention to is this: famed political historian and scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt put together a checklist we can use to measure the presence of fascism in any given government.

Here’s what that looks like:

fascism-checklist-big

Now, let’s see which segments of this checklist Stephen Harper has checked off:

fascism-checklist-big Harper

Point by point, each one of these has a link to support the thesis:

Identifying Enemies / Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause 

Rampant Sexism 

Obsession with National Security 

Corporate Power is Protected 

Disdain for Intellectuals / the Arts 

Rampant Cronyism / Corruption 

Disdain for Recognizing Human Rights 

Supremacy of the Military 

Controlled Mass Media 

Religion and Government are Intertwined 

Labor Power is Suppressed 

Obsession with Punishment / Crime 

Fraudulent Elections

And this past weekend gave us

Powerful Continuing Nationalism

See, Harper called upon the power of Wayne Gretzky’s endorsement to give his government a sense of age; by calling upon an icon from an almost mythical time, Harper is able to tie his own era to that which came before and give his government the illusion of representing that time, when his politics have done everything possible to destroy what Canada was in that era. And his comment of “Old Stock Canadians” is another like-comment, meant to evoke a semi-mythical tie to history, and make his party look like the natural continuance of the Canadian narrative.

That’s all kind of terrifying, isn’t it? And there’s the old question of if you could go back in time and stop Hitler, would you? Of course you would, most people say. We don’t have the technology to do that just now, but on October 19th you can, must, and should stop Harper.

Get out and vote.

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Fiction – Love is War 03:00:01:05

Books & Writing, Culture, Projects, Short Fictions

September 11, 2015

Every week, we’re going to post some new fiction for you to devour and read, with original art as a header, and then a collected version for purchase from our store when the book is complete. Questions? Comments? The writers are right here, and they’ll respond as they’re able. 

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Click here to read previous entry.

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– 03:00:01:05 –

River eased out of the carriage, straightened his jacket and slung his bow over his shoulder. The weapon was a trophy from when he had raided the Coeecians hordes as a boy. Many mocked him for his use of what they thought of as a tool, but he had grown deadly proficient with the weapon over the years when it was strung. His fingers running across those strings could give death or incite lust and he imagined, in his maddest moments, that there was no finer tool for either task in all the world.

He was the kind of man who would be first in line to tell you all his strengths and would descend into hysterical anger when his weaknesses were noticed. Thankfully, the former were often in evidence and the latter were not. He also possessed a talent for reading the whims and goals of others, a peculiar understanding that honed in him an incredible skill for telling stories to inspire others in any of two dozen ways. This made him singularly useful to those higher in the pecking order than he, for he could identify those whose talents, ambitions or dreams would have otherwise gone to waste.

 

Deeam, and Deeam’s mother before him, kept River employed – traveling from House to House, entertaining the nobles while assessing their young. He took note of those he felt were gifted and passed that information on as he deemed fit. There had been, in all the decades he had performed this service, only a single Lady he had ever kept to himself, but the knowing of her was no longer a secret and her name was now whispered of in all the noble halls of Midgard.

“What do you know of Lady Veskur Wyrd?”

He grew ill every time the question was asked.

There were benefits to what he did, an indulgence that everyone around him was willing to overlook. He liked to think that he left a trail of satisfied youth in his wake, drilling into them with all the passion he possessed. He favored women over men, but as long as there was somewhere tight for him to put himself and they were willing, he was – so to speak – in. He played with those toys as easily as he played the strings, fine-tuning them ’til there was no language in them that was not composed entirely of vowel sounds and they would do anything, anything, to sate him in turn.

He sometimes mocked others for the degradations that they inflicted on their lovers, and found the Coeecian tendency to sate their lust with violence horrific. Even so, he loved driving himself into the rears of others and cleaning himself on their tongues. There was something in the profanity of that act and the look in the eyes of those that performed it that he found so lovely that it often quickened him all over again, leading to another lusty bout of sensation-til-bliss.

The one Lady he had never shared with anyone else had been the one Lady that had never given into his charms despite his very best efforts. He could seduce virgins without effort within hours, but this Lady had no time for his desires, wanted him only for his mind and tolerated only the slimmest amount of his warmth.

It was fascinating. It was frustrating.

It was all the more so both because he felt that she was an echo of he himself, what he might have been had he turned his fine intellect within instead of without.

And now he found himself on her doorstop again, the exiled Duchess-apparent of House Wyrd, sent to freeze in the isolated north, too busy with her own projects to care about the insult her family had dealt her. He knocked on the door, drawing the cloak he wore tighter across his shoulders. Snow fell in a weeping blanket, covering the world in a thick raiment of tears. It wasn’t until his fourth knock that the door opened, Veskur’s manservant opening the thick gate and staring at him with scathing apathy.

Lover is War 05

House Wyrd had never cared much for River, not since he had seduced one of their more promising warriors decades ago. He had never consummated that conquest, though the threat of doing so had been more than enough for Veskur’s thrice-bedamned father. His contempt had percolated through the rest of the bloodline, a sense only his estranged daughter did not share.

The manservant took his cloak and left him to regain some semblance of warmth. He shivered in the main hall of Veskur’s home until she came for him, sliding into his arms, he far too aware of the curve of her hip pressing into him.

As always, he tried to push her just a step further.

As always, she avoided him by not noticing.

She took him through her home and to his laboratory. Most Vanir would have stopped for a bite to eat or shown him to a bed to recuperate from his journey, but not the Lady Wyrd; for her nothing mattered save her work and there were few people that she ever shared her madness with. He was one of those lucky few, having to keep a straight face while she rambled on about concepts that probably only made sense to her.

If he hadn’t wanted to clean his manhood off on her face, he probably wouldn’t have put up with it.

“It’s exciting,” Wyrd was saying, leading him by the hand. “Do you remember how I was having trouble keeping the sigil straight on the backhand? I took some of your advice and got in touch with the dvergir and we discussed the problem at length and we came up with this.” She finished as they entered her laboratory; her creation was lying on a pedestal, an unimpressive looking tool given all the uproar it had caused.

“It does look more streamlined,” River lied. “Do you mind if I touch it?”

She gave him wordless permission to do so. He held it up and examined it, felt the weight. It had never been very heavy but it was less so now. The disc in the center of the glove was the sigil she spoke of, though in the case of High House Wyrd that sigil was more lack than presence – probably a joke of some kind given the general absence of the House in Vanir society.

From all she had explained of her tool and its workings, the sigil had to remain standing in order for the glove to manipulate the energies around it and work. If the sigil was not exactly straight it would damage not only the glove but the person using it; he remembered all too well having to summon the healers of House Suwilo to come tend the Lady’s wounds in the early days of her work.

Her manservant had been as useless then as he was now.

The Lady had added an intricate series of concentric metal circles to encase and hold the sigil. No matter which way he moved the glove, the circles kept the sigil straight and tall unless he held it flat and parallel to the ground. When he looked at her she shuffled one foot and held her hands behind her back. She said that it wasn’t perfect yet but she was working on it.

“Where’s Lord Figo?” River asked, replacing the glove. “I’d heard he was staying with you.”

“He’s, uh, a little tied up right now.” The Lady’s cheeks flushed a little as she spoke, her eyes lighting with something he had always wanted for himself. The fact that the Lady had given herself to someone else galled him.

“Does he still have all his teeth?”

“As far as I can tell.”

The best thing about dealing with the Lady Wyrd, River thought, was that she barely ever noticed when you were insulting her. She moped when she did, though, taking the insults of others to heart with a sickening lack of self. However, she never fought back, giving River’s quick tongue and sharp wit free reign to strike and peck at her whenever he felt the need to indulge himself in ways other than his favorite.

He liked the look of painful degradation in their eyes; he did, though he would never say so.

They left her lab, went and had dinner. The Lady Wyrd took care of all their arrangements and Lord Figo did not join them, the boy lost in whatever amusements the good Lady had prepared for him. The warmth in her voice when she spoke of the youth quickened River and he decided if he ever got the chance to sate his curiosity with the boy he would take it.

Conversation turned to esoterica as the meal wore on and River lost himself in the theories that Wyrd felt like sharing. Her eyes alight and her expression devoid of political thought, she blathered on about all sorts of things that she was discovering, the myths of the other dozen nations seeping into her thought processes. River knew some of their stories and so kept up, asking pertinent questions; he was a myth-head, a storyteller, and so he studied those aspects of other cultures and brought their lesser understandings into the greater Vanir narrative.

Some of the squawkings of the other nations made little sense to him, but Wyrd was able to give him the context he lacked by applying a scientific rationale, however flawed, to the mad beliefs of those other peoples. River returned the favor, giving flavor and definition to the sciences that Wyrd had culled from those other peoples and other lands. The two of them had been doing this for the better part of fifty seasons.

River remembered when he had met the gangly Lady, just as she was beginning to come into her own. The ruling body of House Wyrd had been visiting the capital of House Mannuz and she had wandered off, getting lost in the bric-a-brac shops that lined the longest road. They had met by chance, River sitting by a stall and composing his works as she walked in and they had struck up a conversation, dovetailing their interests. She looked to him like an older brother, a kindred spirit, and sometimes as a mentor. He found her interesting, intelligent, and utterly mad – fun to watch and, he was sure, fun to break, ultimately useful.

The Lady Wyrd was so very earnest, so very awkward, so very lonely.

She made it so very easy to use her or take her for granted.

He supposed he could see why she would be attracted to Lord Figo. He’d met the youth a couple of times, Houses Jera and Mannuz entering several trade agreements. Figo was the eldest sibling of a lesser line, much beloved and much maligned all at once. River had never been fond of anything he’d seen in House Jera, though their young ones were pliant enough when the time came. He wondered if that’s why Wyrd found her new toy so appealing.

“What about you?”

River looked up, smiled and blinked. He’d let his mind wander while the good Lady had meandered off through whatever insanity had currently claimed her. He believed that her interest in his travels was motivated by her lack – with his combination of intelligence and charisma, he supposed, there was no better person for her to live vicariously through.

“I just toured through the Ansu and Raido lands,” River shrugged. “There was little enough entertainment in either, really, though there was a young Lord I met that you might find interesting.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. He studies the lesser nations, as we do, and focuses on their stories, like I do. His name is Thea Raido. I have the means of putting the two of you in touch, should you like to speak with him.”

He watched as she studied him, saw that moment where she accepted what he said as fact merely because he said it. That level of respect quickened him all over again but he would never be able to seduce her, not with Figo visiting and stationary under her roof. Maybe, if he found Figo, he’d be able to have a taste of the youth before leaving – but that would only be doable if Figo could keep his mouth shut and River didn’t know enough about him to say if the boy could keep a secret.

They finished their food, settling in to discuss the finer points of the Darroken romantic fables concerning Esme and Garrahl, recreating the story and what it meant in relation to greater Vanir philosophies. Veskur left at one point and returned with her living toy, his cheeks flushed and red, his eyes glazed and his expression content. He joined the conversation and actually kept up, though he argued in favor of a happier interpretation than River or Veskur would have ever accepted.

River felt annoyance at the happiness and positivity the boy yearned for, especially in light of what the little fool had suffered. How could anyone who had endured such cruelty continue to be so naive?

They retired for the evening. Veskur and Figo left draped over one another, the two of them radiating an emotion that River knew for a fact was nothing more than illusion. Angry now, he went to his room and spent himself in Veskur’s sheets, then continued to harden and spend himself until his manhood bled. He imagined himself abusing a half dozen lovers, then Figo, then Thea.

Finally, as he drifted off into the darkness of sleep, he imagined Veskur’s face painted in the shame of his seed. His orgasm at that moment struck his body into breathless unconsciousness.

***

More is coming next week. If you like the artwork, why not go and thank Meghan Duffy at duffyartdesign.com? She’s cool people.

 

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Running Red Lights

Interviews, Music, Projects, Showcase, Videos

August 16, 2013

What’s this? A video interview with Toronto based indy band, Running Red Lights.  These talented musicians met up with Gregory Milne for our first ever On Air Google Hangout.  With a new single and a tour of the Pacific Northwest coming this September, they shared their music live from their place and gave us an intimate concert.  The first of many live video interviews that we stream on our Google+ page. Make sure you follow us there and come join in on the fun.

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Website: www.runningredlights.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RunningRedLights
Twitter: @rrlmusic
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/rrlmusic
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/running-red-lights

Living Myth Media on Google +

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eSports – the Next Big Thing?

Games

July 17, 2013

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of attending Lancouver, and you can read our coverage of what went on there here. A big part of that event was the popular and free-to-play – new school shareware – game League of Legends. The game itself possesses detailed strategies, with professional players from around the world competing in private leagues that have gained an incredible degree of popularity.

And now, just this past weekend, the government of the United State of America has recognized that those professional players are, in fact, professional athletes. (more…)

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LANcouver 2013

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LANcouver 2013, BYOC and Game On

Games, Showcase

July 13, 2013

LANcouver 2013 is rocking this weekend.

Lancouver sold out event is showing the Vancouver gaming community just how much they have to give. For the last 9 years running, the sponsors get better, the turn out gets larger and most of all, the gamers are much, much harder to beat.

For you newcomers to gaming, yes we know who you are. LAN parties have been going on for over adecade and now they are opening doors for gaming as a profession. This years’ event will have everything a gamer could need. Energy drinks, seminars and sponsor product demos, as well as panel discussions and special events. E-sporting at its finest. (more…)

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