marsden_online: (loved)
It is ANZAC day here in New Zealand, the annual public "holiday" to commemorate and honor those who died fighting in "our" name in military service. In practice this means primarily World Wars I and II with in recent years the occasional nod creeping in to Vietnam or more recent actions in the Middle East.

There are links I have shared on FB over the past few years that this year I am going to round up here before putting down more of my thoughts


Cliffs of Gallipoli [Sabaton]
"There is no enemy, there is no victory
Only boys who lost their lives in the sand
Young men were sacrificed their name are carved in stone and kept alive
And forever we will honour the memory of them""

19 things you need to know about ANZAC Day (that we should not be proud of)

The Pencilsword remembers the Maori Land Wars - arguably more important to NZs history and identity but often forgotten

The Making of Gallipoli into a Marketable Memory

I was only 19 [Redgum]
"And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And night time's just a jungle dark and a barking M.16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me - I was only nineteen"

"Lest we forget" means different things to different people. For some it is about the family who went to war whether by choice or otherwise and didn't come back. For some it is about the need to be prepared to go to war "for the right reasons" (these reasons vary).

For me it means
a. Being aware that
-- wars past and present are not times of glory and righteousness as presented by the media and spin doctors, but of horror and death

-- that the amounts spent on military adventurism by western economies would go a long way to giving the oft-struggling citizens of those countries(arguably the losers and casualties of a form of civil /economic/ warfare which has taken place of the intervening decades) a decent standard of living. Food, healthcare, accommodation, the freedom to be productive rather than just trying to survive.

b. Saying #notinmyname when my government continues to choose to hire out our military "defence forces" especially in a time when modern military conflict often seems to mean
-- a technologically superior force operating on behalf of interests who are posed no significant threat by the other side
-- sowing death with machines which doe not need to have human compassion or judgement drilled out of them, dissociation of their operators enabled by a safe distance
-- inflicting civilian casualties and recording them as "enemy combatants" for simply being present

c. That the best way to not become involved in a war against a nation with a "morally bankrupt" government is for people to stand up, be critical and questioning, and prevent their government from becoming that sort of institution.

Every. Day.

War (What is it good for?) [Edwin Starr]
marsden_online: (write)
There's a bit of a zeitgeist going around at least in my echo chamber about 2016 and the deaths of a number of celebrities who were of great influence on my cohort in their formative years. I have been mostly an observer in all this as I have never really attached to a real-world role model in this way. Partly because growing up I never had exposure to the same mass-media which made them household names elsewhere, but as I read more about what each of these people meant and represented to people only a click away through social media it becomes clear that it is also greatly because as a cishet white male on an easy course through life I never needed that role-model to aspire to. (Which isn't to say that I wouldn't have been the better for some more varied role models in my life.)

This was particularly well summed up in what I think was a retweet I saw a couple of days ago but have been unable to find to quote exactly, thanking "Prince, David Bowie, George Michael for showing me there was more than one way to express masculinity". Searching has however shown that this is a very common sentiment.

Today it is Carrie Fisher (among others, to be sure) we are mourning; and I do mean we because although I do not have the same strong personal connection I am not so emotionally stunted that I can not respect and and share in the grief for a woman who stood for - and spoke out for - so much to so many.

But to quote one angry man we "lost" in 2015
“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...”

These people and many others both past and still with us are the butterflies which create storms on the other side of the world with a flap of their wings. But they did (and do) it not by flexing their own but by inspiring others to do the same, until the beat of a million wings upon wings creates a force which can not be ignored.

With their passing the storms which are their legacy still rage and they will not be forgotten as long as those they inspired, and those whom are in turn inspired, over and over ... as long as we continue to beat our wings, sing their/our songs, carry their light*.

* I don't believe Princess Leia ever used a light sabre. But I believe wasn't entirely unrelated that that she was dressed in light/white, and Carrie stepped up to be a beacon in the real world.

It's particularly poignant for me that I write this today as I remember a friend of my own.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
In the past several months I have encountered death a number of times. I have seen my companions dish it out, and even struck killing blows in defence of myself or others a rare few times. I have come within a breath of passing from this mortal realm myself, a sensation I am in no hurry to repeat, although it does make one view the world with new clarity.

Today for the first time one of our group fell in battle and healing could not rouse him. Ricard, our stalwart if conscience challenged mageblade, faced a great opponent and lost.

We had tracked the beast, sight unseen, from where it's victim lay to it's lair, entered to discover a bear of Dire proportions with cub, and successfully left. Thank any fates that it was asleep or more of us would doubtless have perished in that hole. Invisibility to sight and scent allowed our Faen to enter and take such pieces of treasure were in a side nook, and we could then have left the richer. But Ricard had not had a decent fight in months, as he had been frequently reminding us, and wanted to claim the glory. However, he was not so foolish as to tackle it alone, and we agreed to help.

Norva softened it up with a couple of explosions, killing the cub, and when it charged out of the cave wounded and full of fight we unloaded everything we had at it. Ragnor bore the brunt of the charge, having opted to set my spear (runed) directly in front. He tumbled away and the bear turned on the next closest person. A blur of teeth and claws and Ricard was torn asunder.

It was the bear's last act, as an arrow from Ragnor immediatly following was enough to take the wounded beast down. I rushed to apply healing aid to Ricard, but it was too late. I used his sword to finish off the unconscious beast. Ragnor went .. a little crazy for a few minutes, hewing into the bear's corpse with his sword.

In accordance with his wishes, as discussed the first time we really had bodies to dispose of, we distributed Ricard's possessions amoung ourselves and burnt his remains. Ragnor included the bear's heart on the pyre, something about providing a servant in the afterlife. Given the poor luck Ricard had fighting bears in general, I'm not sure he'll rest very easily with one following him around in the next world. I carry his sword, although the natural enchantment it bore has faded, and shall care for his horse until we can find a suitable owner. Ragnor has most of his magical items, as they seemed most suited to his use. Norva has taken custody of everything else of value, to be divided up at a later date.

I know the others feel as bad as I about the loss. Any of us could have done more - Norva could have used another earth burst first up, if Ragnor had been able to shoot fractionally sooner, if I could have hit with my crossbow shot as the bear emerged or my rune-summoned wolf had penetrated it's hide or even if I had not delayed my followup attack in favour of moving up cautiously the felling blow might have struck that much sooner.

However, he knew the risks and accepted them, and we still have a mission to complete against which this was but a costly side-trek. When we return to Khorl I shall make sure something is done to honour his name. He sought recognition in his own way, but I think he'd appreciate that.
marsden_online: (Sisters)
On the balance I think the weekend is weighted positive. I managed to keep my mind distracted / focused on driving or other stuff for most of the weekend.

Dndn Dictators Birthday )

When I hate being right

On the way down (between Ashburton and Rangitata) I noticed a car parked off the road at an odd angle with someone slumped over the wheel. A little voice inside my head said "Something is wrong with that picture, you should go back and take a closer look. Another little voice rationalised "You've already gone past, you'd have to break through at least two stings of traffic to get back, it's probably someone just taking a nap before travelling one, and anyway it's someone else's problem, probably the police. If it's still there on the way back tomorrow we can take a closer look".

On the way back the car was gone but the location was well marked by the bouquets of flowers attached to the fence.

Should have fucking gone back!

I'm going to review the photos I took, have something to eat, a badly needed shower and crawl into bed with something to cuddle, for lack of someone.

Bad start

Aug. 29th, 2005 09:23 am
marsden_online: (Ghostfighter)
Arriving at work to discover that one of your same-age-group [edit: clarification: at-work] friends has died over the weekend.

I may post more info as it comes to hand, but it will be filtered.

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