Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Today the DNC did what needed to be done. The question of the Florida and Michigan delegates to the Democratic Convention is settled. Billary and her obnoxious supporters will probably blather on with their usual political posturing and platitudes. But today, for all intents and purposes, Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee for President. And the Carlisle household couldn't be happier.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.

So it's a good life here. The wife and I are more in love than ever. I mean, it's a solid relationship. No what-if's. It's one for the books, this marriage. Our kid is amazing. Girl said the Pledge of Allegiance the other day. The whole thing. Standing in her pajamas, holding her flag in one hand, the other hand over her heart, said it loud and proud. Three years old, going on thirteen.

We've been homeowners for three years now. That's no small feat these days, when so many poor stiffs got in over their heads and lost it all. (Gotta read the fine print, folks. Look up "adjustable" in the dictionary, if you're not sure.) We were smart enough to stay current on our mortgage so that we were able to refinance at a low fixed rate before the evil adjustable rate kicked in. Got an overall lower payment, too. So now we're sitting pretty, mostly, though utility rates keep going up, up, and away... And though there is still some Katrina cleanup left in the Back Forty of our 1.3 acres, the rest is looking 10x better than it did when we moved in. My cypresses and Japanese red maples are flourishing; the pear tree looks to be loaded down again this year; the last of the dead pines fell last week, and is but a sliced-and-diced memory. The Poulan and I are a formidable timber-felling team.

My job is a cake-walk, almost. Getting quarterly bonuses now. My store is in the black, has been for over a year. ZERO turnover. Established customer base. Yeah, I have job security. And I rather enjoy being the boss from time to time. (My people don't mind, either. I'm mostly a big pushover. Surprise, huh?)

We've got a fish tank, two indoor cats (Titus and Zoe), two Basset hounds (Earl and Beulah), and our gorgeous Siberian husky, Misha, a veritable spirit come down to us from the boreal world. Eyes blue as Arctic ice. She lies at my feet now, resting from her vet checkup; Wolf and her Master.

Everything is great. So why am I so mother-flippin' restless? Is it not enough to enjoy life, to be content? Apparently not. I have been without a challenge too long. I have been without adventure for too long. The wife is feeling it, too. We love our life here; we've worked hard for it, sacrificed; we appreciate so much all we have.

But there is talk within these walls, and the M-words keep coming up: Moving. Missoula. Montana.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008


What? You know it's true!
Anyway, a new addition to the MERP library: Creatures of Middle-earth (1st edition). This volume is important mainly for the information on Valinorean hounds in Middle-earth (cf. Huan in The Silmarillion) and Elvish horses (like Asfaloth, and the Mearas). Haven't actually received the book yet, but I won it from a reputable seller I've dealt with several times before.
Currently I'm reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Definitely one of the most readable biographies I've ever tried.
If you haven't watched "The 11th Hour," well, get off your tail and go rent a copy. Better yet, go buy one. My nearest Wal-Mart has them for $5, which is almost a crime for this important documentary on the state of our planet. Buy four or five and give them to your friends (and even family, if you dare). You can get some idea of the film here: http://www.11thhourfilm.com/.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The First Ship

So it was that for the first time in over two thousand years, a ship left Valinor, bound for Middle-earth. Its Telerin crew busied themselves with their work, and little heeded their two charges, who sat huddled together, gazing ever eastward. They did not look back.

They found the Straight Road soon enough; and as the roiling waters of Belegaer lashed the coasts of Middle-earth, the Teleri and their passengers at length beheld dark islands. The Noldor knew them not, though indeed they had seen those forested slopes long ago, in their adventures in the land now beneath the wave: Beleriand. Thus they passed Tol Morwen, and Himling, and at last beheld a line of low, mist-shrouded peaks on the eastern horizon. They were come to the Firth of Lune, an arm of the Sea that split the Blue Mountains in twain. The ship passed the forested flanks of the mountains, an Elvish country still in this Fourth Age of Middle-earth, the Age of Men. It was the month of Gwaeron, and the new green of Spring had not yet come to the North; a hard rain fell as the vessel weighed anchor at the quays of the Harlond.

No other ships could be seen; and there waited two only to greet the travellers as they disembarked. One was a tall Elf, clad entirely in grey garments. The wind off the Firth whipped his long fair hair; his sea-grey eyes lowered only slightly at the approach of the Noldor. He grasped a long, leaf-bladed glaive as a staff.

At his side stood a shorter Elf, clad also in grey, though he wore a shirt of shimmering scale-mail. His hair was red.

"Welcome, lords," said the tall Elf. He did not bow. "I am Galdor, and am appointed to speak for Cirdan. Your errand is known to us, and we will aid it as we may." He nodded at the red-haired one beside him. "Seregon will be your guide, for a little while. Some store of provisions has already been prepared for you, and some other things that may aid you, should you cross paths with Men or Dwarves. But you should avoid them if you may, and shun the roads altogether. Indeed, Seregon will take you over the wild lands to the south-east of here." Then he spoke in hushed tones to Seregon for some moments before turning to the Noldor again. "You will meet a Dunadan, one of the dwindling race of Numenor who still dwell in the North: Hallatan, son of Halbarad. He will know more of your first task than I." He studied them a moment more, frowning; then he said, "May the grace of the Valar go with thee." Then he was gone.

"My lords Celegorm and Gwindor," Seregon said, almost eagerly. "Follow me!"
Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"