Spiritual Warfare and Cultural Foundations of Akiniwazi

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I’ve made no bones about this fantasy world of mine being based not on paganism/polytheism/humanism like ohhhh almost all fantasy out there that we’ve generally heard of.  Yes I know there are several Christian authors, and 2 of the biggest fantasy authors based their worlds on Christian allegory.

But there’s that key word.  Allegory.

I’m not trying to use allegory, in part because I want to remain distinct from those two greats and dozens of other lesser known authors.  Instead, I focus my efforts on remaining true to scripture and what I’ve learned from deliverance ministries and the writings of some priests involved in exorcism, former witches and other related sources, writings and videos.  That’s why it’s hard to manage this.  Although I do retain the core of these concepts, I do allow for a little creative license.  Sort of a Dragnet-esque “Change the names to protect the innocent” kinda deal, but the principles are the same throughout.

Of course, that has made it difficult at times because ya gotta be consistent with your setting, even if the special effects go to 11.  Some of the fantastic stuff will have no explanation because that’s how God and the devil do from time to time.  It ain’t supernatural without a good reason, and the Gift of Miracles is a great catch-all for that stuff.

So, you experts out there who can run rings around me, know I’ve made a specific effort to follow this school of thought on the subject.  Y’all may know much more and much better than me, so forgive me my shortcomings.  After all, this is just the “magic system” of the story.  It is not meant to sermonize to people.  If you want to see how that wrecks things, watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi/Solo/Rogue One (or the Ghostbusters reboot).  There’s 4 secular SJW “sermons” before story for ya.

But recently, it has lead me to realize how much work I’ve needed in my life for repentance and deliverance.  Writing is hazardous that way, particularly when you invite God into the process.  On several occasions I’ve been saying “I’ll just take notes, Lord, you tell me what you want, okay?”

For those of you curious about some of the sources I’ve taken inspiration from in how things work in the spiritual realm (with the special effects turned up to 11 and a little creative license taken) you can check out the following authors and ministries.

Derek Prince Ministries.  A rock solid pillar and deliverance centered ministry.  I may not agree with all his suppositions, but I do agree on much of his teaching regarding deliverance.

Tony Evans.  His books and sermons on the activities of demons not to mention the names of God were extremely helpful

Rebecca Brown MD. (sometimes co-authored with her husband Daniel Yoder)  I never understood the concept of generational curses or cursed objects, till reading her work.  Furthermore, her writing with an anonymous witch and satanist clarified a lot of my own personal experiences with the occult from when I was younger and dumber.

Frank and Ida Mae Hammond.  “Pigs in the Parlor” is an excellent book on deliverance and what to watch for.

Some of you may not agree with these teachings, and that’s fine.  Just treat it the same as you would reading a type of philosophy or pagan pantheon you don’t believe in and stick to the entertainment value.  The rest of the religiosity you will find is a combination from several denominations, convoluted on my study of viking cultures and their adherant advancements through the culture of Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and to some extend Finland and the Sami, as well as Viking controlled areas of the Dane law of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Combine this with centuries of separation from their home nations, and you get the polyglot mishmash goop of the Forsamling culture in the fantastic land of Akiniwazi.

Anyhoo… not sure why I felt the need to bring this topic out other than to maybe give those of you new to the series a bit of insight to what’s happening beneath the surface.  Oh!  Speaking of beneath the surface, Book 3 is almost done!  I know I’ve said that before, but I mean it.  Not sure if I have 2,3 or 4 chapters left.  Kinda depends how this one turns out.  My hope is to finish this week.  (I have vacation… woot!)

So here’s the latest autopsy on what’s been written since last I mentioned it:

Book 2 (A Land In Peril*) ->First Draft Done

Pages 211
Words 77122

Book 3 (Into the High Places*)

Pages 259
Words 92707
*working title

Neither of these include the glossary or “Encyclopaedia Akiniwazi” as of yet which may be kinda sizeable, and I may muddle a bit of where the ending is for book 2.  It may include a chapter or two more, but I’m not sure yet.  Meh.  We’ll figure it out as we go, right?

New chapters since last.  Luckily the chapter numbers are now becoming established order and the back-building is ending.

73. The Vultures Begin to Circle

76. The Burden of the Sword

80. A New Threat Is Discovered

82. Predator or Prey

That’s all for now.  Hope for a new post next week with shouts of “Good news, everyone!”

Ta!

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Chaos… At Home & Abroad

With all the news going on in the world, it’s been very hard to focus on my writing.  Then again, realizing how big this grew, I’ve been struggling with the scope.  But here are some of the developments going on.

First off, I am going to be attending the Realm Makers Conference in St. Louis this year.  Hopefully I will finish my first draft by then, but we’ll see, right?

Second off, with all the craziness and… shall we call it evil behavior of the information mega corporations, I’m looking for new places to store data and conduct things with social media as I look to divest myself of Facebook, Google and Yahoo.  I am tired of being treated like a cheap commodity and with as much respect.  When this change-over happens, I don’t know.  Thankfully WordPress is owned by Automattic, and therefore I don’t think I will have to look for a blog alternative.  I’m also considering a Discord channel.

Third off, I’m really happy with the growth of book 2.  I recently did a lot of work clarifying the timetable of the chapters, which involved several shifts, and working to make sure characters had time to get from point A to point B and that communication also followed the same rules of physical space.  That’s turned out to be harder than you think.

And lastly, I found someplace that may be a good home for the Encyclopedia Akiniwazi, for free.  I’m still working on it so it’s not ready for release.  It will include the timeline and the atlas, so I hope that there will be a big reveal on that sometime in the near future.

On a plus side, I’ve got “Volume 4 : The Grand Scheme”… That’s the working title… completed in Book 2.  It’s 40 chapters, 223 pages and 81,000 words.  So yep.  A short novel unto itself.

Currently  “Volume 5 : Into The High Places” (again working title) is sitting at 46 chapters but 10 of them have not been written yet so I’m guessing it should end up around 260-270 pages if my average chapter length is in the ballpark, It means this volume might come close to 100k words too.  Uh huh… I know what you’re thinking.  Me too.

As for Volume 6… crap I have no idea.  It’s like I dumped out a 10,000 piece puzzle and the picture on the cover only shows part of the full thing, and none of it edge pieces.  But the scenes I have that will culminate into this whole story… Which BTW was supposed to be a single novel, not it’s own trilogy… Just… I can’t even….

But I’ve also got some new chapters written, so that’s a good sign… they’re just not in any order you’d recognize because I’m having to go back and insert them.  That’s hard to do.  Don’t care what anyone says.  I prefer to write chronologically in the order I expect the chapters to appear.  Helps me from getting confused.

Current Page & Word count

Pages 435
Words 156157

Don’t forget about what I said about 10 more chapters to write on Vol 4 & 5 too for what looks like another 44 pages and 25-30k words.  Book 2 is going to be massive!  Reimar… you caused me such trouble!  Geez!

So some of the new chapter titles are as follows:

A Much Needed Consultation

The Distance of Family, The Intimacy of Enemies

Hooves & Claws & Antlers & Fangs

So as you can see, new chapters are fighting hard.  Several are started but not finished too.  Again, hate writing out of sequence.

And now for another look into the first draft of Book 2.  You’ve been very patient.  As always, mind the loose boards and nails.  Things may change some from the finished product, boilerplate and fine-print insert here.  thppt.  Enjoy!

An Interrupted Meal

The Tavern Off the Pier was a ramshackle place near the town beach. Its main room was dark and smoky with the pipes of the patrons and generous hearth. The dingy gray-brown wood of the posts and rafters made the excellent food hard to believe. Forhors, now Brother Urban sat on a shaky stool at one of the several small round tables alone and finished giving thanks for his food. He then began tearing apart the “Bottle and a Bird” that had just been brought by the serving wench who also looked as run down as the building. The cider was sharp and refreshing, while the chicken was crispy, and dripping with salty fat. Although the day outside was bright and sunny, the wind was still too cold and made eating out of doors uncomfortable. Urban was most thankful for the warm fire that crackled merrily in the large hearth in the middle of the room, attended by the cook who roasted two dozen foul and several cuts of boar and venison on spits.

Licking off his fingers he relished the spicy meat. He did not know how they made it, but after one bite of the crunchy skin, he knew why this unassuming place was so busy. Urban sighed in satisfaction as he kept his own company. The first leg of his trip from Athrvorthfesting had been pleasant, if not a little exciting with the strong winds the knarr had to buck against. It felt good to be on the waves again, but there was so much farther to go, he was right to assume that he would be sick of sailing by the time he reached home. No good would come of to sending a letter ahead. He would reach home at the same time. None the less, he was certain they would be happy with the surprise.

Out through the rippled glass of the diamond paned window several ships jostled for position on the pier, or if they could, they nosed right into the soft beach and lowered the gangplanks to conduct their business. Brother Urban scratched at his new tunic where a seam on the shoulder was not comfortable. It would not do for him to be about in his Forhors robes, and decided to avail himself of the skill of his host’s mother, a talented seamstress, and have new clothes made. It had been so long since he had been out of his office’s vestments, they felt odd to his skin. Even still, he kept some remnants of his office that had been set aside in keeping with the colors of his sect, as to identify himself as a man of God, but not so much as to intimidate the common Forsamling. Ragnarites may be common on the edge of the wilds or large cities, but this was neither. Combine to this the missing weight of his sword on his hip, Brother Urban felt very much out of place.

A crowd of men came in as he enjoyed his meal, raising the pleasant mumble of the tavern to a riotous level. A ship must have just concluded business, and the men set loose to enjoy their wages for a night or two, and sjomenn took up the rest of the tables. Their soot covered faces and arms with freshly washed hands gave their jobs away as plain as could be expected. An off watch boiler crew from one of the steamknarrs at the pier. Brother Urban smiled in return when acknowledged by the passing throng and continued to eat. His trip’s next leg was beginning in a few hours, so he was in no rush.
Then someone outside caught his eye.

Through the same window, a couple stopped. A thin dignified woman, pipe in mouth with a large Skaerslinger man with her. Urban stopped chewing at the sight of the two talking before the Tavern off the Pier. They chatted for a moment, the man nodded, gave her a smile that men reserve only for their loves, and then he walked inside while she hurried off with a ledger under her arm to someplace else.
The Skaerslinger surveyed the room and saw a combination of angry glances towards him which he was immune to, but no places to sit. The big man walked over to the cook working the spits at the hearth.

“How much for a chicken and some roast boar?” He asked, his tone polite.
The cook was intimidated and took a surprised step back as silence now claimed the room.

“These are not for you, savage,” one of the sjomenn said from somewhere in the crowd. Brave enough to give voice to his distaste, but not brave enough to show himself. The Skaerslinger ignored the voice.

“How much for a chicken and some roast boar?” he repeated in the same manner.

“I…” The cook started to say, cleared his throat and tried again with a tone reinforced by murmuring from other sjomenn who had taken interest in what was happening. “They are all sold to those men.” The cook lied as he pointed in the direction of the hostile voices. The blackened boiler crew grumbled but backed up the lie since it meant keeping food from a Skaerslinger’s mouth.

The big man pursed his lips in mild irritation. It was plain that this sort of issue had happened several times before to him.

“Are you sure this is your answer?” there was no threat to the tone, but it was of such a serious nature, the cook looked ready to break even with the crowd behind him. The steamwright came forward and put down a single gold Penning on the thick stone of the raised hearth next to the cook. A half week’s wages for him.

“That should cover our meals and drinks.” His eyes locked onto the Skaerslinger’s who returned the gaze without malice nor fear.

“As you can see, Herr, these are all paid for.”

With a slow nod of acceptance, the Skaerslinger took two steps back and then turned to walk out, head turned ever so slightly as to keep the group of men in his sight just in case they considered violence wise. The door closed behind him and a discourteous murmur replaced the raucous conversation that had existed before.

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Gratitude and Progress

So far it’s been a wild week for writing. Six chapters in 6 days including one that freaked me out and made me go “Well, this ain’t for kids anymore.  Nope nope nope!”  Then it’s never been my intent to write YA fiction, but for you hardy, sturdy fangirls and boys of fantasy and good storytelling.  Huzzah!

I think as a “stay-cation” this has turned out far better than expected.  I have another week like this coming up, so I will be getting busy with outlining the final chapters.

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Being the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning here, soup bubbling away on the stove for my post holiday work week and stomach bracing for the onslaught tomorrow in carb laden goodness, (My pancreas curses me, but I think eventual forgiveness will come) I thought I’d bow to peer pressure and say thank you.  To all of you who have bought my book, lent your support and follow this blog, I am grateful.

This is I guess a contrast to the degree of ingratitude I see in the world and how it makes people terminally unhappy to the point in which they desire nothing more than sharing their misery.  I don’t want to be that guy.  I don’t always succeed, but generally no.  It is not my desire to be the monster I sometimes pretend to be in attempts of self depricating humor or currying compliments.  (yes, we guys and writers do it too from time to time.  Human weakness, sue me.)  But in an effort to start the ball rolling in your own reminiscence, here’s what I have to be thankful for.

I am grateful to my alpha readers who have been helping me in my writing, giving me honest critiques and picking me up when the bull throws me and dances on my head for a day or twenty

I am grateful for my job, despite all it’s myriad foibles that drive me crazy.  It keeps me focused and desiring to keep writing if not from a suffering point of view, but from a financial desire PoV.

I am grateful for my health as it is.  I know it is far better than what it could be if I had not started paying attention to it two years back, and although the improvement is slow, I am still glad for what I have.

I am grateful for my friends, the couple I have IRL and the dozens I have online and in my gaming guilds of the Seraphim and Angels of Eternal Destiny.  To that end, I am grateful to have known my buddy on the other side of the world in Guild Wars 2, Flowerypants who passed away this year.  He helped me to realize how fortunate I was for both my life as well as the chance to share deep things around my book in a way I will be forever remembering him.

I am thankful my sister and her family survived Hurricane Harvey and are on their way to full recovery.  Despite all the material loss they suffered (see almost everything) they were all safe, including their cats.  It has been such a warm feeling to see the outpouring of family and friends to pull together and help them in this terrible crisis too.  I mean just staggering.

I am grateful, most of all, for my salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ.  The gifts that he has given me from the night I chose to follow Him, back in 1997.  Well surprise surprise.  It’s been 20 years since I became born again!  I did not realize that till now.  Now that is an odyssey down memory lane.

There are so many more things for me to be thankful for in private, and I hope that most of all I keep remembering to be grateful for them throughout the year, and not just on one day, which when things are going sour is very hard, but the most important time to do it.

So that’s how I feel right now.

Thanks.

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Now, as for what’s been going on with the book.

Pages 339
Words 110739

I’m still suspecting that this book will end up over 150k words, 4-500 pages, and I may just have reached the end of my middle build, or will be in a chapter or two.  Not quite sure yet.  I thought I did, and felt I had a good denouement for what would have been Volume 5 of the series, but now, I am not so sure if I should finish this part of the adventure before considering it such.  Meh, we’ll see.

And the new chapters…

44. Among the Wolves

45. A Dangerous Trade

46. Twelve Fingers

47. Sacrifices

48. Reforging the Iron

49. Hope From Afar

I hope these tantalizing little tidbits are enjoyable for you.  I kinda like dropping the teasers and keeping you in the know as to what the progress looks like.  These have been incredibly intense chapters for me to write, and I’ve been waiting literally months to finally get to this point.  And now that I’m there, I’m taking the deep breath before the plunge, as it were.

Also, I’ve started working on a new map.  Much like what you can find in the first book, you will be able to track a goodly portion of the adventure’s trek through the wilds.  Partially because I think you will enjoy it, but also because I need it to keep my understanding in place to the directions and locations our heroes are visiting.

No teaser draft this time though.  I do that too much and it won’t be special anymore.  😉  You understand.  We’ll see what happens.

Till then, it’s back to the Ondeandkurvfjell for me.

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An Era Ends

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This is a very special, personal blog.

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Today, I went to church at Trinity Lutheran Church for the last time.  Not because I won’t go back, but rather, because it will be gone.

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The church that I grew up in, Trinity Lutheran Church, in Appleton Wisconsin resided right down town, snug up against the, all be they small sky scrapers of the little city.  I was baptized there, confirmed there and even married there and I fully expected the possibility of my funeral there..  It was eternal in my life.  Something that would live long past me.  Only last year I learned that this was not to be true, and today, that fact came to be.

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Almost 100 years old, expanded and rededicated in the 1960’s, this ELCA Lutheran landmark of the city had been in decline for several years.  I know I was not being spiritually fed when I left it in the early 1990’s, but always went home for special events and showed support to my parents who were for much of their adult life heavily involved there.

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I sang with the Appleton Boy Choir for four years in the 1980’s and through this door, I spent many hours practicing.  Often, I wished I was elsewhere, but came to love this room as I had spent so much time there as a boy, either singing, or playing (they had wonderful chalk boards in there)

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Or hiding in those big cabinets.  Yes, with the choir risers and chairs that you see, this is the view that I had so long.  My youth group once had dozens of faces painted on the wall across, but those have long since been painted over.  The cubbyholes to the right filled with the choir member’s folders.  A choir my father directed for almost 30 years.  He put on so many concerts there.  The Christmas concert was a highlight of the entire year which often had a full orchestra.

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I used to sit in the choir loft for services under these monstrous pipes, loud enough your ears would ring if the organist really got into it with thundering glee.  I was surrounded by the members of the choir, watching my father direct as I squirmed around with them singing away for communion or some other part of the service.  Without someone to buy it, it is relegated to storage, awaiting the day someone would want to play it again.

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How does one measure such a place in one’s life?  I really can’t answer that well.  All the pizza fund raisers, the bell choir rehearsals, the youth group plays, the running about the hallways and in the basement.  Your entire youth going through Sunday school classes and even for a few weeks out of the summer.  The church… this building will always be that iconic first impression all other houses of worship will always be measured against in my mind.

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But efforts to save the church had been thwarted by the passage of time and apathy.  The congregation dwindled away.  The repair costs for the building mounted and struck horrible complications which made it impossible in the end.

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So when I learned today was to be the last worship service ever to be performed here, I knew I had to come.  Praise God I had taken vacation this week so I had a chance to push my internal clock onto days and come.

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The service itself was nice, but a little ungainly at times.  The Bishop actually showed up to deliver the last sermon.  I think that’s the first time I ever saw a Bishop in that building, though I would expect it had happened more than a few times before.

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What makes the building’s passing so bitter sweet is what’s to come after.  The property and building was bought by one of its own members who owns an architectural company who will be tearing the whole thing down and building new condos on the site.  Some are furious about it for what they see as crass commercialism.  I cannot think of a better person to do the job though since no one is able or willing to pony up the money to renovate it for a congregation that has all but evaporated.

It’s a very sought after site.  It made up a large part of the skyline as you crossed into downtown Appleton over the Oneida Street bridge, high above the Fox River.  It’s actually a grand sight for someone coming to town the first time.

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The eternal flame as I always knew it in the red glass.  It used to hang from the ceiling in the upper right, in the era before projectors and high tech AV wizardry.  On rare occasions when I was in the church at night for a youth event or some other stuff going on, and occasionally I would walk into the pitch black chapel, and there it would be, hanging high, glowing red.  I knew what it represented, but I always felt it was like an eye, watching me.  It always scared me even though I knew it should not.  To see it now reduced to being nothing more majestic than a candle on a table was pretty sad for me, despite the converse being true and knowing what it really was and what it represented to my emotions in the past.

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Seeing that little plate in the floor was actually the most spiritually ironic thing I could think of.  I knew of pastors that had tripped, but this also, to my adult mind served as a reminder of something else.  We should always watch our step when approaching God at His alter.  That is my father in the far back ground discussing some things with a good organist whom he worked with for many years.  I always enjoyed listening to him play.

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After a brunch next door, post service, I was able to come back and take some last pictures, as you’ve seen here.  I may put a few of them into a memorial video in the future.  I haven’t decided yet.  But this was my chance to say good bye.  A chance to see a piece of my life, like many funerals, signify the end of an era though the world kept on going.  I do not like leave-taking like this.  Particularly when I believed that something might have been able to be done to save it.  I am sure this is a sentiment felt by millions of Christians all over the world when it came time to see their church end, or worse, come back to find only its remnants or ashes.

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So I took my time leaving.  I faced my memories, my personal demons.  All those things good and bad.  I walked the old parts of the church.  Saw the renovations done in my long absence from when I was a member.  One by one, I ran those down, remembering the smells and the hopes, nightmares and dreams.  You do not spend 20 years of your life in a place without many of all building up in you.

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I now take my leave of Trinity and leave her to her fate.  A date with the bulldozer and architectural reclamation.  She had left her indelible mark on the history of the city, but now, failing to provide what she once had, and becoming a husk of her former self, it is time to let go with dignity in what she had done.

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I remember an interview with Brandon Lee just before he was killed while filming “The Crow”.  He waxed prophetic about how many more times you would see a sunset, or a full moon, or visit a friend’s house.  How it all seemed so seamless, but somewhere out there was the cosmic counter, ticking off one more visit in the countdown to the last one.

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Today, the last worship service was marked off, and an era of my life, I really once believed to outlive my own is at an end.

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Go in peace, and serve the Lord.

Vacation: Achievement Unlocked

My Minnesota Adventure is now complete. I have to say that it has been both a good time and revealing time to go out and remind myself a place I called home for just about 5 years. I would had a grand time seeing old friends, and going to some of my favorite places that I used to enjoy when I lived there.

Unfortunately I was also reminded all those reasons why I fled living in a big city like that. It wasn’t that I dislike the place, no I cannot tolerate the oppressive atmosphere hopelessness and anger that pervades the areas where I was forced to live. Don’t get me wrong, the Cities are fine if you have money. Then you can live safe and content, generally avoiding most of the areas which would cause worry and fear to be touchstones of your daily life. Unfortunately I had neither money or safety when I lived there. So I was able to see personally and within touching distance how bad life can be for people who have limited means. Plus, I worked in a job that kept me in constant contact with some of the best as well as the worst Elements of Life in the Twin Cities. That unto itself is an education. How I managed to get through this time without being assaulted, robbed, or worse, yes, living there taught me there probably is worse than those two things, is amazing. I know friends thought I was a big chicken, because no one was going to assault someone who looked like me according to them. It didn’t matter. I did not come from this kind of a background. So that meant I was not willing to take the risks or assume that the behavior of the people around me that was, shall we say, less-than-stellar was acceptable or normal me Big City radar. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t able to recognize danger, or realize you always had to be aware of your surroundings, but those activities were exhausting and painful to undertake.

Another pleasing aspect was I got to revisit one of my favorite places to go when I was in the Twin Cities, The Source. It had moved, which was good because it took it to a much more convenient place as far as I was concerned right across from the HarMar Mall. For those who do not know, the HarMar is a dumpy little place with the best Barnes & Noble you could possibly want to find. With a penchant for really good events. Unfortunately the first time we went to that Barnes & Noble for old time sake, it was completely overrun with Harry Potter fans. As I have stated to many people, I will never read, nor watch anything Harry Potter.  They were holding a youth event and within 30 seconds I was over stressed. But that is when we discovered the source was directly across the street.

Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was closed for the evening. So, the following day we went back, not only for my edification, but because my friend’s daughter had just been introduced to Magic: the Gathering. Her friends were nice and gave her a deck and which to learn to play… of all the cards they did not like or had a few extra. No, it’s not often that generosity sometimes leaves you with a bitter spike in the back of your head. These were not good cards nor a good design really.  That is being a bit unfair, for one or two of the cards were good.  But that was all. This left her completely at the whim of her friends to beat up on her when they play the game. I decided to remedy that.

Thankfully, they had a Bargain Bin. $0.20 a card and we took full advantage of it. There were a few tricks that could enhance her deck so i used the. With a few choice cards and a starter box, that all changed. I took the skills that I had earned as an old-school Magic the Gathering player from way back when and it became a frustratingly naughty little deck. I just loaded myself up with squee thinking about how her friends thinking they knew what she had would react once they dealt with a deck that was tuned to play in tournaments  when they themselves we’re not familiar with how to play in a tournament.

I must admit that was probably the highlight of my vacation, of going full-on nerd and making a teenage girl the alpha nerd of her social circle.

Of course that’s not quite true. The highlight was being able to go to my favorite “always gotta go there” restaurant for brunch on Sunday. If you ever get the chance to go to brunch at Jax Cafe in Northeast Minneapolis, do so! It’s expensive, and worth it. None of my friends who came to be there with me I never been there before. So I was given the wonderful response being able to introduce them to a real gem the restaurant scene in Minneapolis.

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All in all, I’m glad I went. The time away from work was refreshing, and it provided me with more experiences to enjoy in my memory.

We shall now engage in our regularly scheduled posting.  See you Friday.