Halfway Out of the Dark

I will not go into the hell that 2014 became, the most recent blow being the sudden loss of one of the warmest spirits of my house, Sabre.


But as warmth of Summer turns to Autumn and the chill of Winter….

Happy Winter Solsitiece

(Bit belated on that one, I know.)

And so a happy mid-winter holiday to all, no matter how you celebrate it (so long as it does not involve hurting anyone). May 2015 bring you all the blessings, both inner and outer, that life has to offer.

P.S. Dear Santa, I would not find Tom Burke under my Yule tree amiss. Or beside it.


Y’know. If he’s not busy.


21 thoughts on “Halfway Out of the Dark

    • Thanks. It was very sudden, and we’re still unsure what happened. Her kidneys shut down, and it was her time. I spent three days agonizing over it, three nights lying on the floor with her since she could no longer get off and on the bed by herself to go to the litterbox. She was only 13, so it was a shock. Bastet lived to 20 so I’m not used to saying goodbye so young. I wish I had taken time to talk about Sabre before. She was the single sweetest cat one could meet, despite her rough start. I found her when she was five or six months old. One eye was completed dead, greyed out, and she had a broken jaw. The injuries were so pinpoint, the vet thought she had probably been kicked. But she loved everyone who came in the house and ran up to them for attention. She was the one curled up with me when I read and sat on my lap when I watched TV, And every night she was on that pillow. She was love, and I miss her.

      I hope you have a wonderful 2015 too.

      • Growing up we lost two consecutive cats to kidney problems, despite the best efforts of the vets. It seems a percentage of cats are prone to kidney problems and there’s nothing much that can be done once the kidneys start to go.
        Before I commented last night I read your post about your “Thundering Herd” and the condition Sabre was in when you found her. As you know I’m an atheist and don’t believe in the suprenatural but sometimes it seems fate, karma, whatever, says “You poor little bugger, that last human was incredibly crappy. Here, have an awesome one to make up for it. ” At least you can take comfort in the fact that for most of her life she had all the love and care a cat could ask for.

      • She didn’t eat for ten days, we were keeping her alive on subcu fluids and supplical. The vet said, “We can put her on 24 hour intensive care and run tons of expensive tests, but in the end, we most likely won’t be able to fix her.” So…I cried for about three days before I could bring myself to let her go. It took three tarot readings of “Yes, it’s time,” before I could.

        Thanks. I hope I returned the love and happiness she brought me in full.

      • I have been mostly offline since I gave up fighting with idiots on the interwebs. 😀 I finally realised that there is an infinite supply of arseholes and even if I did vanquish one another would spring up to take their place. Life is too short and you should pick your battles carefully. So I have been using my time to read books instead. 😀 I was getting worried about both you and Nellie though. Do you know if everything is ok with her and Catydid?

      • Caty is o.k., coming out of a rough year herself. She’s moved on to Printerest. I haven’t heard from Nellie at all. I will ask Caty how she is doing.
        I’ve been about the same. With the election cycle, police brutality and now the torture report (and the national reaction to it which has been between “Yay!” to indifference…which disgusts me to no end), and then all the personal stuff…I just did not have the eneergy. And after Sabre I came down with the flu (and the Uni shuts down over the holidays) so have been reading and sleeping most of the time. I don’t have the emotional capacity for anything deep at the moment. I finished Rowland’s second Sano Ichiro mystery (Bundori) and currently reading the first of Cornwell’s Saxon Stories, The Last Kingdom. I have a Kurt Wallander mystery (Dogs of Riga) and an Alan Alda memoir (Never Have Your Dog Stuffed) on deck. If I decide to get serious, I have a non-fiction book on Madison and Jefferson.

        What have you been reading?

        And I discovered the BBC production of The Musketeers. Much fun and Athos, Yowza. Watched Broadchurch all in one night too. Just mindless stuff.

      • I’ve wandered into a bit of a World War reading patch. Just finished “Ordinary Men” by Chris Browning and am reading” WW1″ by Norman Stone, which is a concise overview of the war, then it’s on to “The Fateful Alliance” by Kennan. I’ve always had several non-fiction books on the go at once but often don’t finish a book because something new will grab my attention so now I’m sticking to one book at a time. I googled Sano Ichiro and, while I don’t usually read crime fiction, the setting is interesting so I might try one. Why the Alan Alda memoir? Are you a fan or did it just look interesting?
        I’m sorry to hear Caty has had a bad year too. Please tell her I said “Bonjour mon ami” and wish her the best for the new year from me.:)

      • Kennan is good, maybe not the entertaining read, but both my parent’s swore by his accuracy and insight. How was Ordinary Men? Consise overviews of events as confusing as WWI are very useful. I have a Idiot’s Guide to the Crusades in my bookshelf. Seriously. It’s a great overview and helps put all those more detailed looks into both chronological and cultural perspective.

        I’m not a big mystery reader either, but the first book in that series, Shinju, was one sale for 2$ so I gave it a whirl and found it pretty damn good. I’m not a Japanese historian, but apparently her history is sound. She gets creative with some of the historical figures characters, but other than that, you are looking at a good picture of fuedal Japan. And the stories themsleves are pretty good too.

        The Alan Alda book was another one of those 2$ deals that looked good. I’m not a fan per se, I mean I haven’t seen all his films and such, but Hawkeye Pierce was my first crush (before I even knew what having a crush was) and as such I’ve always enjoyed watching him when he pops up in things like The West Wing. I saw his Inside the Actor’s Studio appearance a while back and he’s a pretty interesting person. A little arrogant, but funny and interesting.

        I’ll pass along you good wishes. I think we all could use a better 2015.

      • It’s good to hear your opinion on Kennan as, apart from John Keegan, I know nothing about military historians. Before I commit to a non-fiction book I google the authour, check out their qualifications and what the general consensus is on their work. “Ordinary Men” was well-written and Browning got the most out of his limited sources. The story was horrifying and made me so angry but it was well worth reading. I’m also getting a lot out of the book on WW1 but I’m afraid I’m hopeless at following written descriptions of battles. It’s good to know you use an Idiot’s Guide. I don’t feel so stupid now for reading a primer on the first world war.

        I grew up watching Alan Alda in MASH. Little Kip had good taste. 😀

      • I had to suss that one out too, as they loved Keegan’s military histories, and loved Keenan’s Cold War analysis.

        I think that is one of the most horrifying things about the Holocaust, and why it still facinates us to this day: Ordinary people, like you or me, got caught up with this whole “madness of crowds” thing or “I was just following orders” pushing them into committing unimaginable atrocities. Before it’s collapse after WWI, Germany was known as one of the intellectual becons of Europe, yet that horror came out of it. And the hatred that kicked it off was minor compared to the buerocratic, metophorical and physical mechanized system of death it became that consumed everyone’s humanity.

        Comprehending battles requires a lot of visualization, which is not my strong suit. I find myself going to books or online where they give me nice clear diagrams. 🙂

        Tall, dark and clever. That’s the way I like ’em. I finished Alda’s book which was an interesting collection of memories generally aimed along the theme of how he matured as an actor.

        I also spent the last 24 hours arguing with Oxfordians over this article. http://www.newsweek.com/2014/12/26/campaign-prove-shakespeare-didnt-exist-293243.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_616255325170704_616454665150770_616454665150770#f2e94d0a3cb8482

        Good lord, they have to reach reeeeeeeally far to try to make it work, and they still got nothin’.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more Auggie, our friends (furry or otherwise) find us, they make our lives brighter. I’m going to stop now, before I drown you all in a surge of the blackcurrant jam that is sentiment.

  1. Sorry, I did get this blog but missed it, my apologies. Sorry about your kitty Kip. When our Lucrezia went, I didn’t leave my bed for two days and she wasn’t what you’d call an affectionate feline. I always find winter mildly crushing to the spirits, so I’ve been burying myself in the Underworld of East End London in the early 19th century. Its surprisingly more uplifting than one would think.

    • I know. You never know how big a niche they have carved in your heart until they are gone. Sorry winter has you down, but I hope your holidays were good. The underworld of 19th century London being uplifting does sound interesting. Do tell?

    • The Krays?!? Too recent for me. Still in the True Crime category, like Fred West or the Moors murders. I find such stuff too disturbing and it makes me anxious. I prefer sadistic killers and psychopathic criminals to be at a safe distance of at least a century.

  2. I’m deeply impressed, Kip, at your ability to join arguments on historical issues. I’m completely ignorant about Shakespeare and never cared enough about him to remedy that but I do wonder if anyone would have even gone looking for an alternative author if William had been an aristocrat. I was struck by how similar the debate in the comments was to the RichLee wars. I almost expected someone to bring out the phrase “homophobic delusional frau”. 😀 I suppose it’s the nature of “discussion” on open sites.
    The book on WW! I read was an ebook, which means I couldn’t flick back and forth to look at the maps while reading. Paper books still have their advantages.

    It was really confronting reading “Ordinary Men”. It was uncomfortably easy to understand how the men
    ended up doing what they did. It was often as simple as not having the courage to stand out from the group.

    • The suppositions, assumptions, and nebulous connections and twisting of circumstances I could almost live with, it was when they got into outright sophistry and false statements that really irked me. My favorotites is when presented with contemporary testimony, they stated “reinterpreting” it. “But what Ben Johnson *really* meant was….” Reminded me of a certain someone.

      And the thing is I’m not a Shakepearian scholar. I found the records, contemporary witnesses statements, etc. simply by doing a few minutes research online. So could they if they wanted to believe the facts, but they do not. They would rather spend days writing a book, (I’m not kidding, someone linked to their own book about this) about which island or shore The Tempest was “really” set on in order to prove that Shakepeare had never been there, ergo knew nothing about it, ergo he could not have possibly have written The Tempest. (Which is about like watching people argue whether Dune was set in the Sahara or Gobi deserts. It’s fiction! A made up place, you obtuse twats!) That’s how weak their arguments are.

      I was talking with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago about how this is the information age, people have access to almost unlimited amounts of information to learn with incredible ease, but people are just as prone to being swayed by bias, belief and propaganda as they ever were. It’s depressing.

      And I agree completely that there is a class motivation for this.

      Sorry, had to vent a bit.

      It is scary how easy it happens, and the fact that we see evidence of it still happening in our world, that the sparks of such attoricities still exist even in the most developed of societies, is really frightening.

      And aren’t I just a bundle of joy this morning! 😀

  3. Sorry for joining so late, but the whole ‘Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare’ thing is just such a crock of faeces. Basically they are saying anyone without an education/money/breeding is incapable of imagining or creating anything outside their own world. This thesis is a wee bit wobbly; it would mean all works of scientific/artistic/social worth were created by ‘our betters’. Obviously it can be seen, without looking very far, that this is no so. Why do these things get any credence, did you see Anonymous? It was dreadful, silly on so many levels. Elizabeth had sex with her bastard son, and had a brood of other children that managed to slip past every spy in Christendom? If there had been any wit in the production it could have been saved, but no it just poured out every daft Elizabethan conspiracy theory bar one, that she was a man. And why leave that out, they could have made her an hermaphrodite, there was space for it. I’m quite surprised it wasn’t included.

      • But, as with ‘The Tudors’ it’s now ‘real history’ to a generation of school kids. I was so surprised ‘Elizabeth’ with Cate Blanchette got away with so many errors, and it was described as a biographical film! I think you can fictionalize history, guess the fill in bits, but to take whole chunks and change them seems pointless, the truth was usually bad enough!
        Speaking of which, there’s a production of Wolf Hall coming up soon, really looking forward to that, might get the taste of The White Queen out of my mouth.
        I apologise again, I don’t speak for months and then I just spew forth a tide of Blah…

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