Friday, August 2, 2013

Farewell - But Not Goodbye!

It has been quite a while since my last post mostly because I've been working on a young adult novel titled Future King.  Now that I am in the beginning processes of getting it published, I have decided to move my blogging to a new venue - www.mark-alford.blogspot.com.  I will still occassionally write some mythology related posts there (mostly about King Arthur at the start and probably posted on Mondays), but the focus will be my experiences trying to write the book and get it noticed by agents and publishers, creative writing exercises, and young adult novel news.  If you've enjoyed Bubo's Blog, I am happy.  That was my goal.  Now I hope you'll try out this new blog of mine.  If you know people who like young adult novels or are just interested in what it would look like if Arthur, the Once and Future King, came back today, then send them over the new blog and we will explore that together.

Here is what the new book is about:

Zane Anderson just wants to finish his first year of high school alive.

There are two major obstacles in his way.  The first is the biggest bully in ninth grade history.  The second is the fact that he may be the reincarnation of King Arthur.

This possibility doesn't mean he gets magical powers or super fighting skills.  It does mean that there are people trying to kill him and very hard training sessions.  And if he is the one, he'll have to save the world from the sorceress Morgana le Fay.

Why is Morgana amassing the 13 Treasures of Britain?  No one is certain, but it must be evil if it warrants the return of Arthur.  More important to Zane, she is killing all the potential Arthurs that get in her way.

Zane will have to contend with a giant beaver, mean faerie dogs, elephant poop, a weird kid who lives through time backwards, and one very ill-conceived field trip to the Other World.  If he survives those, then maybe he'll find out if he is the Future King.


Or he could just back out of all of this and go back to living a normal life.  After all, why risk his life when he is the least likely Arthur candidate?  How could he be the legendary king if he can't even handle a ninth grade bully?




And who knows? Maybe Bubo's Blog will return when we need it most, too.  :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Repost: Festival of Sleep Day!


January Third is a day of holidays.  It is Throw Out Fruitcake Day, Humiliation Day, and my favorite, Festival of Sleep Day.  So in celebration, we'll look briefly at Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep.

He lives in Erebos.  Since Erebos is the land of perpetual darkness, he can catch a few extra winks.  He catches a ride on his mom's (Nyx) dress and floats around during night (much like Isabella's boyfriend).  He has a twin brother, Thanatos.  Thanatos is the incarnation of the peaceful death.  He has some regular brothers that make up the Oneiroi, or dreams.

To make people fall asleep, he has a variety of instruments, on being a branch that drips water from the river Lethe.  Another is an upside down torch, although I'm not altogether certain how that symbolizes sleep.

I don't know about you, but I've already taken my nap and celebrated this special day.  *yawn* Maybe we can stretch this one out to the twelve days of Sleep Festival....

Repost: Christmas Witch


At first I was thinking that the early Christians had the right idea to celebrate Christmas for twelve days, but then I started to realize that we start the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving and celebrate a lot longer than twelve days!

Back to the twelve days, on the twelfth day (January 6th), not only are you supposed to give your true love twelve drummers drumming, but children should prepare for the coming of La Befana.  In Italy, on the Epiphany (Jan. 6th), La Befana, or sometimes known as the Christmas witch, brings fruits and small goodies to stuff in children's stockings that they hang by their bed.  If you're a naughty little chap, she'll give you charcoal.  She travels by either broomstick or on the back of a donkey, and so doesn't have the capacity for large toys like Santa. And for the adults, she sweeps the floor before leaving.

Speaking of Santa, she also doesn't frequent malls for kiddies to hang out with either.  She is a witch - ugly nose warts, rags, haggish cackle, and all.  But children in Italy seem to love her all the same.  She is rather rotund and it is common to leave her, not milk and cookies, but a glass of wine and a small doll.

How did she get her start?  Well, according to legend, she was cleaning house when these three wise guys showed up looking for Jesus.  She thought they were full of it and chased them off, only later to have some second thoughts.  She ran out to help them, but had dallied too long.  They were long gone.  Distressed that she missed her chance to help the baby Jesus, she began handing out gifts to children hoping that one of them was the baby Jesus.  

An alternate version is that her son was one of the babies killed by King Herod.  She doesn't believe he is really dead, so she goes out in search for him every Christmas.  Personally, I like the first one better.

Regardless of the origin, her search turned her old, gray, and into the hag-like appearance she now has.  Finally, she found Jesus and laid all her gifts (or her son's belongings) before him.  He called her "Befana" (giver of gifts or the White Witch) and gave her the ability to deliver gifts each year on night before Jan. 6th.

To any of my readers in Italy, will your socks be hanging up?

Look for more information at these sites:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Repost: Happy New Year

For a long time, the world celebrated the New Year's in March, as spring ushered in a time of renewal.  This makes pretty good sense.  Some cultures still do.  So why don't we?

Well, we need to go back to Roman times for that.  They too celebrated New Years in March, all the way up to 46 BC, that was when Julius Caesar made it January 1st.  He did this because the Romans made so many changes to the calendar (the reason that September, October, November, and December are no longer the same number of month that they claim to be).  By making it in January, he put the days back in order with the sun.  I'm not quite sure how that is, but the Egyptians and Celts thought it was a good idea, so they continued it. 

You can probably guess the mythological origin of Father Time, the scythe carrying old man.  That's right, Greek's very own Cronus, head titan and all around jerk (the guy wanted to keep humans stuck in caves scurrying around like bugs).  Cronus was much more likable to the Romans who called him Saturn and held festivals in his honor.
Using a baby to represent the new year is also Greek in origin.  They began doing so in 600 BC.  I can't seem to find any myth associated with it, but it seems odd that Cronus would fit in as Father Time and there not be a mythical baby for the new year.  I would think Eros, but I haven't found anything on that yet.  If anyone knows, please post a comment (you can post one even if you don't know -  I like reading them).

As far as making resolutions on New Year's Day goes, that came from Babylonian tradition.  It started with giving back things that were borrowed but forgotten to be returned.  Over time, it changed to making promises, possibly as lazy people probably didn't return things but instead promised to do so in the upcoming year.

So Happy New Year to all of you.  My resolution?  To try to keep this blog up to date - I did get a little netbook for Christmas which might make it easier, but with a new baby on the way, I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Repost: Up on the House Top Sleipnir Hooves...

This post was originally posted in 2008, but I felt it was time to show it again.  

Other titles for this blog could have been "Here Comes Odin Right Down Odin Lane!"

That's right.  It is that time of year again and time to get ready for Odin coming and giving presents and such.  Yes, I have probably lost it long ago, but no I'm not like Linus believing in the Great Pumpkin (well, maybe a little).  No, I'm referring to Odin's big Yule hunting party.

During Yule, Odin leads a large hunting party through the sky on his great eight-legged horse Sleipnir (a great story about Sleipnir's birth involves Loki, a randy horse, and the rest can wait for another time).  

Now Sleipnir can't fly (silly - only reindeer), but he can leap great distances (like the Hulk).  Children 

would leave their boots near the chimney.  They filled it with carrots, straw, and sugar so that Sleipnir would be able to eat.  Odin, touched by the children's kindness, would fill up the children's boots with sweets and gifts.

Happy Yule!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Repost: The Magnificent Festival

My friend Alia posted this last year.  I think it warrants a repost.  She gives my blog some much needed class!

Happy Summer Solstice! What? It's not the summer solstice? Well, sure, it passed a couple of days ago on December 22, 2011 ... What do you mean WINTER solstice?!? Ohhhhh ... you must be in the Northern Hemisphere! Well, if you were living in the Andes below the equator, December is actually summer and December 22nd is the longest day of the year (that is, the summer solstice). And just like the Northerners have all kinds of festivals for solstices, so does the South.


In a tradition reaching back to the pre-Hispanic Incans, there is a festival called "Capac Raymi" (which is Quechua for "Magnificent Festival") on this solstice that marks the beginning of the New Year. It's an especially important event for young men and is sometimes called "Fiesta de Fortalecimiento" in Spanish (Strengthening Festival) because it's all about young men testing their spiritual strength and potential.

What's your favorite southern hemisphere celebration?