Vulcan Stev's Database

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Tattoos are not leading me down a path paved with good intentions

Recently, I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo.  I realize that getting a permanent scar is not everyone’s cup of tea.  I also understand that some might have moral or aesthetic objections to tattoos.  However, this posting is not about the moral and/or philosophical implications of getting a permanent body decoration.  It is, rather, a look at why I’m thinking of a tattoo and what I’m thinking of getting.

A tattoo is not something that I lightly contemplate.  I am deathly afraid of needles.  Don’t like ‘em, try to avoid them whenever possible.  See, needles come in two sizes; the 5-inch small needles and the four-foot three-inch diameter large needles.  To say that I don’t like needles is an understatement.  Yes I know, that needles are what a professional tattoo artist uses to ply his trade.  That has always been the deal-breaker for me in the past.

Flash forward to now.  Virginia’s wish was to be cremated and have her ashes scattered on the wind.  We actually used some of her ashes while planting a tree that was a gift from her best friend.  For this reason, there is no memorial, no marker, nothing that says to the world Virginia was here.

I began thinking of what I could do for a memorial.  I still want to donate some of the life insurance to cancer research but I have to finish paying off the bills before I do that.  The P.I.T.s have suggested the Virginia Nibbelink Memorial Entertainment Center (basically a new HD Big Screen TV).  I haven’t ruled that out but I’m not quite sure I want to spend quiet time thinking of my wife while the boys are playing video games.

The thought hit me that I could get a tattoo.  A tattoo with Virginia’s name on it, something that would mean something to me.  What design should I get?  A pink ribbon with her name on it? possibly.  But that’s almost cliché, I wanted something unique.  I thought about getting a tattoo of her RPG character with the pink ribbon, but that seemed to be a tad excessive and would require wa-a-ay too much explanation to the casual observer.

Then it hit me.  I’ll get a tat of a Klingon bat’leth sword with a pink ribbon encircling it.  I’ll put Virginia’s name on the ribbon and underneath her life span.  The sword would symbolize Virginia’s determination to defeat the cancer.  I ran this idea past my kids and was given the thumbs up across the board.

I began to tell family and friends about this idea.  My parents cautioned me on the fact that some folks that I deal with on a daily basis find tattoos offensive and I wouldn’t want to alienate those folks.  After taking everything into account I decided that I’d go ahead and get a tattoo on my arm right where a short-sleeve shirt would cover it.  That way it would a personal thing visible only to family and close friends.

My daughter’s best friend who has been helping the Nibbelink bachelors to survive without killing themselves, loved the idea and gave me $20 as a Father’s Day present.  The bill was inscribed “Tattoo Fund”.

Honored by her simple act of generosity, I posted about her gift on Facebook.  Oh my you’d think I had announced the apocalypse.  No fewer than 13 people chimed in each telling me that it was either a good idea or telling me that I was going to hell for even thinking about getting a tattoo.  One friend who shares similar religious beliefs almost ignited a flame war with his tongue-in-cheek comment (Hank I understood what you meant and we’re cool).  Somebody else in his own unique way directed me to the attached flow-chart to help me make the decision (ironically the flow chart actually indicates that I should get the tattoo).

So here I sit.  I have examined my own personal convictions and beliefs.  I will be getting a discreet tattoo in honor of my wife.

I will post pictures of it when I get it.

I just wanted to let everyone know.

Graphic courtesy of The Daily Weekly

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June 26, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , | 4 Comments

Memories of Virginia: A Tribute to Wink (A Forgotten Realms scenario)


The following was written by a friend of mine in honor of Virgina and the character she played.  Please feel free to use the following in your Forgotten Realms campaigns.  Please be aware that is written from the vantage point of the game and character.  If RPGs are not your thing this tribute may  not be for you.

From Queen C’Nedra the Queen of Light and Dark a decree has been ordered across the land of  Faerie Cannon Cove that a holy temple be built to honor the memory of our fallen pixie faerie hero Wink.  Wink did not fall in the throes of battle with our known enemies but was felled by an enemy that is not seen and very cruel.  Many healers across the land in a tireless effort tried to heal brave Wink but alas the evil enemy won the battle.  Lady C’Nedra approached the Faerie Elders and the Demi Gods of the land to ask to bestow this honor upon Wink to help her noble friends heal from the loss of their dear friend.  Each member of her party has  offered a piece of them to make this special memorial to their dear friend.  The task of creating this special memorial to their dear friend   was given to the Grand Mistress of Magic Nyissa Nimblefoot and the Grand Master Wizard Naxor.  Into a cauldron will go a Ruinite robe by Lord Jango to honor Wink’s beautiful spirit inside and out.  Sir Galahad is offering his +20 Holy Avenger to aid Wink’s spirit in detecting evil in the hearts of mortals and creatures.  Lord Neferis in a selfless act of courage offers up his Tigers Eye Amulet of Return so that all members of this party can return to this place for healing.  Grand Archer  Riddlethump offers up his Valenwood Bow as a symbol of Wink’s strong unfailing spirit.  Lady Rayne offers her Rod of Kenders as a symbol of Wink’s childlike carefree spirit.  Lady Taikara offers up her Faerie Dust Bow as a symbol of Wink’s gracefulness.  Lady Phadra offers up her Valenwood Armor as a symbol of Wink’s courage in the face of battle.  Grand Wizard Hawryn offers up his Scroll of Truth Spell to aid Wink’s spirit in offering her mercies to those who seek them.

Princess Aria offers up her Trident of Power as a symbol of Wink’s friendships on land as well as in the seas.  Grand Master Bard Alouicious offers up his Golden Harp as a symbol of the beautiful music that Wink would create on her flute.  The Noble Dragons of this party offer their gift of the Eldunari, also known as the Heart of Hearts, as a symbol of this Grand Faerie Master’s knowledge of lore, magic and healing powers.  Therefore the dragons’ spirits, knowledge, and magic will live forever.  Now the cauldron is filled with these very special selfless gifts and now Grand Master Bob offers his gift to Wink.  Bob offers his gift of the Super Nova to not only meld the gifts together but also as a symbol of Wink’s light spirit.  With the help of Mistress Nyissa and Master Naxor a statue of a faerie is formed with the Heart of Hearts and the Amulet of Return as part of her alter.  As a final gift Lord Nevets and the other priests in the Holy Choir offer up both a Lament of Sorrow and a powerful Anthem of Protection in honor of the love and friendship that Nevets shared with Wink for many years.

Wink’s spirit is now immortalized in a statue that will be placed inside the Temple of Tears, a building so regal and protected that no evil can destroy it.  The statue itself has healing properties beyond all this world.  The statue can only be activated by the specially chosen clerics and druids who are entrusted with the special chant to channel Wink’s spirit to the statue. These disciples of Tears are overseen by Navor who was specially chosen by Queen C’Nedra as overseer of the temple and protector of all who reside there.  Wink’s spirit statue can cure any disease known to man or creature be it natural, evil or other unknown curse.  Wink’s statue also has the ability to turn mortals and creatures from evil to good.

However, beware if Wink’s spirit detects evil intentions the victim will be doomed to walk the earth forever unless a good deed is done and Wink’s spirit chooses to show mercy on their poor soul.

The statue is set in a temple of marble accented with Ruinite.  The statue is set in the middle with a small moat of  clear water so that the creatures and merpeople of the water world can commune with Wink and receive her healing gifts.  Above the temple entrance there is an hourglass with sand in the top and as it flows to the bottom of the glass it changes to tears and this is also the holy symbol of this temple that is worn by the disciples of Tears and all who have helped to create this temple.  And now as her gift to the Grandest Faerie ever, Princess Gavriel offers her the gift of two Guardian Angels as keepers of the temple doors so that all those who shall pass will not forget who the Temple of Tears stands for.  This has been decreed  across the land and shall become known to all that Queen C’Nedra  is recognized as the author of this law.  May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.  Farewell my friend.
**Wink : Oct. 25, 1963- May 12, 2010

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Legacy D&D, Memories of Virginia, RPG | , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s going on with the Database?

You may or may not have noticed a new feature that ran this week.  The Destination Iowa article is going to be a regular summer feature (we haven’t decided if it’s going on past that or not as yet).  My boss and I decided back in April that he would foot the cost for transportation of my family and I to and from various Iowa tourist destinations.  I would then photograph the spot and write up an article for the paper (The Record: Serving Beaman, Conrad, Liscomb, Union, Whitten and Central Iowa).  The idea behind this was two-fold: One I would get paid to take my family around on mini-vacations and Two I would spend as much time as possible with my family while still providing for them.  This was desgined so that I could be with Virginia during what we knew to possibly be her last summer.

We were not expecting Virginia to pass before this assignment began.

Towards that end, with my boss’ permission and blessing I am sharing our adventures across Iowa this summer as written for The Record.  This is my way of fulfilling one of Virginia’s last requests.  She wanted these mini-vacations to be memories.  I’m sharing these memories with you.

For those of you wondering why I’m posting this article under the RPG: News, Reviews and Culture, simply put you have been more than generous and this is one way I have of sharing Virginia with you.  The second is that the next installment is one of Iowa’s two annual Renaissance Faires.

If you have already checked out the first installment, I urge you to check it again as I have now provided the links for the photo album of all the photos I shot in Pella.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Memories of Virginia: Wink and Ren Faires

Today marks the tenth day since my wife passed.  Tomorrow will be the first game day we’ll have attended since she took her sudden turn for the worse.

It will be a bittersweet day at best.  Virginia loved game day.  She had one character that she played no matter the game.  Wink was our quiet little friend.  Wink never fought any monsters.  Wink never tangled with the bad guys.  Wink never did anything but help us when we needed a point in the right direction and heal us when things took a turn for the worse.

Wink was very much an extension of my wife.  Virginia enjoyed game day at the Lawton’s.  She would wear her fairy wings and bring her homemade fairy wand to nearly every session.  It’s not so much that she was an RPG nut like her husband and kids as much as she just loved spending time with her husband and kids.  Virginia “enjoyed” playing RPGs as a family exercise.  She really got into it.  The costume is her own creation.  We enjoyed having her there and she will be missed this Saturday (and all the other ones coming).

Last year we discovered the Iowa Renaissance Faire that is held in the Amana Colonies every Memorial Day.  We decided on a lark to go see it before Janae’ went off to Basic.  Virginia was still undergoing chemo for the breast cancer but she wanted to go to “make memories”.  We had a blast.  So much that we had plans to attend the Ren Faire in Des Moines over Labor Day (we didn’t because Virginia was not feeling up to it.)  This year, again plans were made to attend the Ren Faire.  Virginia had gone out and bought herself boots.  I also discovered that Virginia had set aside some money to purchase a Renaissance costume this year.

I’ll admit that I am not much of an outdoors type.  To me the outdoors is that necessary evil one is required to endure to get from building to building.  However, the Ren Faire struck a chord with me.  My beloved wife was actually looking forward to this year’s event.  She absolutely enjoyed herself.  We are going this year in her memory.

Why do these two things stick together in my mind when thinking about Virginia?  When Virginia had something that she enjoyed doing she went all out.  She enjoyed playing RPGs because her family enjoyed them and she went out of her way to fit in with that group.  She enjoyed the Renaissance Faire, but enjoyed it more because her family enjoyed it as well.  Virginia wanted to make sure that we would keep going to the Ren Faire.  She didn’t want us to give up game day and we won’t.  We will keep going to the Ren Faires in her honor.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Memories of Virginia, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Memories of Virginia: Obituary

Courtesy of The Record

Virginia W. Nibbelink, 46

Virginia Winona Nibbelink, 46, of Holland, was born to eternity on Wednesday, May 12 at Oakview Nursing Home and Care Center in Conrad, while under the care of Iowa Hospice from complications following breast cancer.

Services were held in Holland at New Hope Fellowship Church on May 16 with Pastors Gary Nibbelink, Ken LeHew and Darren Nibbelink presiding. Memorials may be directed to the family.

Virginia was born on Oct. 25, 1963 to Ronald and Joan (McIntyre) Young on KI Sawyer AFB in Sands Township, Mich. She married Steven Nibbelink on Jan. 21, 1989 in Mount Prospect, Ill.

She attended Evangel College in Springfield, Mo. and receiver her Bachelor of Arts in psychology. She also attended Central Bible College where she learned sign language. Virginia became certified by the state of Iowa and worked for Area 267 as an interpreter in several school districts including Waterloo, Aplington-Parkersburg and Cedar Falls.

She is survived by her husband Steve; daughter Janae of Aurora, Colo.; and sons Gerrit and Christopher, both of Holland; her parents Ron and Joan Young of Oscoda, Mich.; two brothers Samuel (Penny) Young of Lafayette, Calif. and Timothy Young of Grundy Center; and a sister Elizabeth (William) Parks of Parker, Colo.; parents-in-law Gary and JoAnne Nibbelink of Holland; sisters- and brothers-in-law Susan (Bill) Catron of Holland, Darren (Jennifer) Nibbelink of Ozark, Mo., Allison Siefken of Holland, Gary Siefken of Holland, and 13 nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were her maternal grandparents Duncan and Aileen McIntyre, and paternal grandparents Frank and Elsie Young along with her Opa and Oma, Godert and Grada Vander Hart, grandparents-in-law.  Also surviving her is one RPG character that she played in EVERY game, Wink will be missed.

Memorials to can be directed to the family by following this link.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight | , , | 5 Comments

Memories of Virgina

I remember about twenty-five years ago, I walked into the student union at Central Bible College.  My dad was inside with his study group (I was a senior in High School).  Dad introduced me to his classmates.  My attention was drawn to the striking redhead.  I wasn’t paying a lick of attention to my Dad at that point.  I was just wishing I had caught her name.

I remember about three weeks later, I found her working at the shoe store at the local mall.  It was near closing time so I went over and began talking with her.  I introduced myself and was delighted to discover that she remembered me.  I was even more delighted when she admitted that her car was broken and she needed a ride home.

I remember that Thanksgiving when I invited her to my family’s house for Thanksgiving dinner as she wasn’t going to have the time to go home to her family for the holiday.  She demurred saying she had nothing to bring.  I insisted.  She got a chocolate pie from her landlady.  I remember my younger siblings falling in love with Virgina because of her cooking skills.

I remember Virginia’s recollection of the day.  My family is blessed with natural volume to our voices.  Time with my side of the family can be a noisy rambunctious affair.  Virginia recounted to me that her landlady asked how the dinner went.  Virginia replied that she never wanted to marry into a LIKE mine.  I smiled at her admitting this to me after we’d been married and told her she didn’t marry into a family LIKE mine she married into my family.  She smiled back and said shed’ put up with my family’s noise if it meant she got to keep me.

I remember Valentine’s Day 1988 when she had invited me to Chicago to apply for a job where she worked.  I remember the bear hug I got from her when she met me at the Greyhound bus terminal in downtown Chicago.  I remember “Cupid’s Arrow” (her words not mine) striking that weekend.

I wish I could say that I have years and years of good memories about Virginia.  Unfortunately a head injury in the summer of ’97 has robbed me of many of them.  Memories come and go.  Memories have been altered.  I only post here what memories have been confirmed by others.

The Cancer Crisis is over.  I will begin chronicling my journey coping without Virginia and raising my boys.  I will continue posting memories about my wife and share them with you.  I have not stopped writing other posts and will continue those as well.

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia | , , , | 8 Comments