Pennsic 47

I survived Pennsic.

I arrived on Saturday and set up my tent with the help of Berus and Clark from Camp T, and hiked off to Northshield to report in and down to Vlad's to give Liz her belated birthday present. It was a little chaotic at Vlad's as they were preparing for the night's revels, so I left it with Rhys. Went up to Clan Kilkenney to talk to Konrad about the Heroic battles the next day, received marching orders, and went back to camp.

Sunday morning I got inspected and fought in the Allied Champions Battle, aka capture the flag. We made it through 45 of the 60 minute battle before it was called because of heat and attrition. I made it through half an hour before I accepted a slot as an alternate so I could rest and breathe with my helmet off for about ten minutes. Back to camp to shower and get some food, and mostly relaxed for the rest of the day and night. I did hike up to Northshield Camp to ask about muster for the next day, and to the food court for some birthday ice cream where I stood in line behind a fun older gentleman who gave me a sip of his Super Ultimate Death By Chocolate milkshake. My own was mint chocolate chip / moose tracks.

Monday I walked with the Northshield Army out to the battlefield. As we were fighting for the East, the tent was on the far side of the battlefield and near the top of the hill. Oy. We fought the field battle five times, mostly retreating as a delaying action (speedbump) for the first two, pressing back a little more on the third, and rolling the edge of their army on the fourth and fifth. (We won 4 and 5.) In one of those we approached the Midrealm combat archery command unit - who watched us approach and didn't fire - and would have wiped them out except that a flanking unit caught our attention instead. Monday night we did not fight in the Atlantian 10-Man Unbelted Melee as we didn't have the numbers; more to the point, we didn't think we had enough fighters who could stand up to the beating that tournament entailed. Upon speaking with some of the Ealdormerean team from last year, they have decided to retire from the tournament because the calibration is just too high. Instead, dinner with camp and helped them get set up for the Ealdormerean Known World Party which most of camp then attended until something like 4 AM. By which I was long abed.

Tuesday was the woods battle. I walked to Northshield and got a ride from there to the near side, then we walked to the far side. I blew a leg strap just as the battle started and spent a few minutes taping my leg back on, then fought mostly along the left side - side by side with some of the Camp T folks, His Highness Ansteorra (Miguel) and Her Majesty East - and we pulled and pushed through a line of scrub and trees for the duration. That evening I helped to marshal the Ealdormere Youth Tournament, stopped at a couple wedding receptions on the way home, and returned home to find Bucket's "not a vigil" party sprawling around the camp. I turned in relatively early again.

Wednesday was meant to be either Drunk All Day Day or Space Viking Day, or a combination of the two, but instead I fought in the Known World Rose Tournament. I fought for Her Highness Danae of Cynagua and got 33 points of a possible 70, which put me somewhere in the middle of the nearly 70 fighters on the field. Overall, out of the seven rounds (best two of three) I only completely lost one fight - the others I either won outright, won one of the three, or won two of the three. In one we double-killed twice and I won the third. After that, back to an exhausted camp - apparently two nights of partying in a row was too much. Drunk All Day Day had been renamed to Nap All Day Day. I did some quick shopping, then had dinner and led a couple new folks through a tour of Midnight Madness. We walked the whole shopping area and I finally deposited them at the Practical Viking, where Kjartan took the young man as a squire on runestone hill around 1 AM. At which point I was asleep in bed.

Thursday I helped move hay bales to set up the bridge battles, which I then fought. I took a ballista to the side of the head, was killed in more regular ways, and overall took out more opponents than I myself died. Back to camp to clean up, and then joined many of the folks from camp at Midrealm Court. I spoke in Bucket's Laurel ceremony, and am told that there's video of it. After that, back to camp to clean up the tent and go to bed.

Friday morning I finished packing and headed out to fight the final Siege battle. It didn't go well for our side - we were assigned to guard the rear flank of a unit which was transporting a heavy 'bomb' in a crate, but it turned out that nobody knew where the actual drop zone was. We did well, for what we did, but didn't do it quickly. When we switched sides, the Midrealm - who knew where the drop zone was - drove straight there, finishing the battle much more quickly than us. It was good fighting, I just wish the communication had been better. Back to camp, then, where I packed out and hit the road just ahead of the rain. The drive home was uneventful, and I unpacked the car and was in bed by 12:30 AM.

Yesterday I treated myself to breakfast at Denny's, did grocery shopping, washed all the things, dried and re-packed the pavilion, did the weeding which I've been ignoring all spring and summer, and caught up on work and personal email. Today I'm relaxing at home and ignoring the outside world - and doing some armor repair - before I return to work tomorrow.

The weather was alternately hot and humid, and warm and rainy. The roads are full of rocks and mud. I missed my wife terribly. But the people there are some of my favorites, the fighting is glorious, and I'm glad I went. Maybe next year the weather will be nicer and expenses will be low and Laura can come with me, and we can enjoy it all together.

How does this thing work again?

Jam-packed next few days. Next few weeks, even.

Today, work as normal. Preparing for some software changes which will take place over the next few weeks. Tonight, maybe some computer games. Or tv. Or the like. Waiting for a delivery of things to take to Pennsic.

Tomorrow and Sunday, Faire. (20-something years seems like a long time, doesn't it? My job at Faire can drink!) We have new lights, a new fan configuration (which gives us a lovely fresh breeze, but doesn't seem to cover the shop as well as the old configuration) and a new, wheeled shop counter which hasn't yet rolled away from us. Come visit, buy tights and dresses!

Laura comes home on Sunday. She's been in Canada for a few weeks looking after her dad, who has just been accepted into an assisted living facility. Her brother and nephew will help him move in over the next month or so and start dealing with whatever won't fit in the new place; one of the things that's moving this weekend is the bed she's been sleeping in. So, you see, she needs to come home. She's leaving tomorrow morning (Saturday), will overnight in Duluth/Superior (where the tall ships are), and should be home Sunday evening.

Jeff and Trudy (Ben's bio-dad and step-mom) are also coming to town, arriving Saturday night and departing on Monday. They are crashing at Ben's. I may or may not actually see them - we'll see how things work out.

Monday morning I'm stopping at the hospital on my way to work for a CT scan. An x-ray revealed a 1cm kidney stone, and they'd like to see what else is in there before the recommend a treatment. From my first bout with stones I learned that I have multiples, most of them small enough to not bother me *too* much, but from time to time I experience ... let's call it discomfort.

The following week, FYI, we're going to Pennsic. Or possibly just me. (When we last spoke about it, Soly hadn't decided yet - she might not be up for the trip, and I imagine it will also depend on weather forecasts and so on. But hopefully it'll be both of us.) I know many people who will be there for two weeks and we'll just be there for one; a number of people in our camp live close enough to drive down for a day or two, go home to work for a few days, and return. It's chaotic.

Let's see, what else. I need to make a new melee sword, which might mean rooting around for a new (old) basket hilt. I've been messing with new legs for my armor, though I think that will be put on hold until after Pennsic. (I don't trust the knees for melee.) I came up with a lovely plan for a new cat run on the porch, but haven't actually done anything with it yet. I need to patch the ground cloth for our pavilion - G sent me some sunforger with which to patch, I just need to *do* it. Through a combination of diet and exercise I've lost something like 35 pounds in the last six(ish) months, and I'm still making slow progress but I *still* don't go to the gym often enough. I've watched all of Stranger Things on Netflix but still haven't finished Jessica Jones.

Okay, right, I have stuff to do. End of line.
  • Current Music
    KMFDM: Links in Die Ecke

(no subject)

I, Paul, in the presence of the Gods and our friends, take you, Laura, to be my partner in life. I will trust, honor and respect you. I will cherish our friendship and I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst, through the difficult and the easy; come what may I will always be there. I will use my strengths and abilities to lend you aid towards your hopes and dreams. I humbly open my heart to you as a sanctuary of warmth and peace where you may find a refuge of love and strength. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to keep. This is my solemn vow.
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself. But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give. You cannot command me for I am a free person. But I shall serve you in those ways you require and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night, and the eyes into which I smile in the morning. I pledge to you the first bite from my meat and the first drink from my cup. I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care. I shall be a shield for your back, and you for mine. I shall not slander you, nor you me. I shall honour you above all others, and when we quarrel, we shall do so in private and tell no strangers our grievances. This is my wedding vow to you. This is the marraige of equals.

I, Laura, in the presence of the Gods and our friends, take you, Paul, to be my partner in life. I will trust, honor and respect you. I will cherish our friendship and I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst, through the difficult and the easy; come what may I will always be there. I will use my strengths and abilities to lend you aid towards your hopes and dreams. I humbly open my heart to you as a sanctuary of warmth and peace where you may find a refuge of love and strength. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to keep. This is my solemn vow.
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself. But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give. You cannot command me for I am a free person. But I shall serve you in those ways you require and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night, and the eyes into which I smile in the morning. I pledge to you the first bite from my meat and the first drink from my cup. I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care. I shall be a shield for your back, and you for mine. I shall not slander you, nor you me. I shall honour you above all others, and when we quarrel, we shall do so in private and tell no strangers our grievances. This is my wedding vow to you. This is the marraige of equals.

These promises you make by the sun and the moon, by fire and water, by day and night, by land and sea. With these vows you swear, by the gods your people swear by, to be full partners, each to the other. If one drops the load, the other will pick it up. If one is a discredit to the other, his own honour will be forfeit, generation upon generation, until he repairs that which was damaged and finds that which was lost. Should you fail to keep the oath you pledge today, the elements themselves will reach out and destroy you.

The return of music

My big iPod (160GB), which I won at a trade show in 2007, bit the dust. (It might be recoverable. I haven't had the energy to find out.) I've been using it as a source of music at work for years and years - every day I would come in to work, pull the iPod out of my bag, and plug it in before I even turn on my computer. The music has been a constant companion to me at my desk, providing just enough distraction that I can focus on actually getting things done.

I have an older iPod as well, a 30GB, the mate to Laura's. (We got them for each other on Valentine's Day in 2005 or 2006 or so.) It contains 140 songs (my 'gym mix') and 157 videos (mostly episodes of the animated Dungeons and Dragons, How I Met Your Mother, and Keen Eddie), and has kept me company at the gym, walking up the 29 flights of stairs to the coffee shop, mowing the lawn, and shoveling snow. Really, the music on there is the stuff that keeps me moving. And has been on there through a few computers, so I can't even update the iPod anymore without wiping it out and starting over.

So, Laura and Ben got me a new MP3 player for Father's Day - an FIIO X5 with removable memory cards. It's got 256GB of memory (with two cards in it). I've been copying music from my home library to it for the last couple nights, and this morning I have it plugged in and running. It's still indexing files (27,000 and counting), so it's not ready to play yet. Here's hoping...

It's a shame that it doesn't interface with iTunes, since that's the actual library part of my music library - I've cleaned up track names and classifications, marked certain songs to not play at work, and so on. So this is a new start.

And then! A week ago yesterday a few alert lights came up on the Prius' HUD. The manual said that any one of the lights required a trip to the dealer, so I deduced that four of them was probably a bad sign. Their analysis was that the hybrid battery had gone bad, as well as the catalytic converter. (We already knew about that part.) Total repair bill was just over $5K. After much conversation, I picked up the car on Tuesday evening and we took it to the VW dealer from which we bought Laura's 2008 Jetta a few years ago. We talked to the same sales guy and looked at leasing a 2015 Jetta. They offered us a little bit of money for the Prius as a downpayment, and we took the deal. Wednesday afternoon I went to the DMV to process license plate and title documentation, and Thursday night we finalized the deal. I'm now driving the 2008 Jetta, and Laura gets the new one. (She can only put 10K miles per year on it, which she can handle; I would do that in a few months.)

So, for as long as I've been in the Prius (2007, in fact, just like the iPod) I've been listening to XM (and now Sirius/XM). For a few days in the Jetta I listened to terrestrial radio and CDs, but it just wasn't the same. On Saturday I realized that we still had a subscription to XM, and that we were now paying for a radio in somebody else's car. And, even more, the Jetta had XM that we had never hooked up. So, I spent a few hours tracking down the transponder and serial number on the radio and getting it going; the catch is that the company has to send a signal and you have to have the radio turned on and set to the correct station in order to receive it. (You can call a phone number and have them re-send it, a process which they estimate will take up to 15 minutes.) I drove to Chicago with no music at all waiting for the signal, drove back with terrestrial radio, drove around on Sunday morning with no music, and drove to work on Monday in silence. Yesterday afternoon I finally got a signal, and now I have music in my car.

So, you see? It's all about sound.

Additional stuff: Border Skirmish was a lot of work and was very wet, but ultimately turned out okay. The weekend of July 10-12 is WW, as well as the opening of AlligatoR *and* Bristol; I'm currently planning to go to WW and then to work every weekend of Bristol. (Scott is only available the first and last weekend.) Other plans for the summer include Pennsic, and we're both planning to attend. Laura has a followup MRI this coming Friday, and we hope it goes better than the last one. I've been getting to the gym two or three times a week with Hamish, though he's moving soon and that may affect my motivation. (But, music!)

But music, indeed. Just crossed 31K songs. End of line.
  • Current Music
    Not yet but soon!

A Week of Opera

You know my life. Never a quiet moment, lest I fall asleep and miss something. Amidst doctors, dentists, and vets I'm lighting a new production of a pair of one-act operas ('Hello Out There' and 'The Telephone') for a new lyric theater company - Chicago-Theatre Opera. (I should note, our production doesn't look like those.) The Telephone is a Lucille Ball-style comedic piece and Hello Out There is more dramatic, and they're both really good. And the musicians are insanely talented. Get your tickets now!

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On Saturday I drove to Chicago and watched a blocking/fight call rehearsal. Sunday I helped load the props and set into the theater, then hung and focused lights for a few hours. I spent much of Labor Day in the theater as well, with more hanging and focusing. Last night I added a gobo and some more color, and tweaked things. Tonight will be more tweaking and figuring out the sound system. Thursday will be effortless and breezy run-throughs, and Friday night we open.

Sadly, as a result of the show on Friday night and Saturday night I won't be able to attend Mermaids this weekend. Ben's coming over on Sunday to watch the Corner Gas movie and mow the lawn. (Okay, he's not going to mow the lawn.) Next week Laura has a dentist appointment *and* an MRI, and I have a doctor's appointment. And next weekend is Castle Fever, which I will also miss so that I can run the show Friday and Saturday night. The following weekend is Border Skirmish.

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In other news, I'm recovering from a cold, which I have unfortunately passed on to my wife. I apologized every day and will continue to do so. The coughing is no fun at all. I need to talk to the landscaping guy across the street about some general maintenance - shrubs, grading, trees, and the like. We've gotten a quote for the last couple years and not done anything with it (mostly because we've had unexpected costs pop up just before we commit), and now it's a new summer. And the yard's been wet enough this year that I haven't mowed the back half of the lawn; it's waaaaay overdue. And Laura's dad is planning to come visit once his passport is ready, so that will be nice.

Okay, enough rambling. End of line.
  • Current Music
    My Scarlet Life

State of the Brain

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, I just need to get this all on paper.

We have a number of expenses coming up. Laura's car needs a couple of new tires - one of them leaks and will go flat if she doesn't fill it up every couple days. The pipes in the house (almost all of them) need to be replaced, because they generate so much rust that the shower is destroyed. (We called the plumber to check out the water pressure - we're getting so little pressure that the diverter won't stay up, so it's really just a bathtub.) We have relatively mandatory landscaping which is a couple years overdue, which includes re-grading the dirt around the house to prevent flooding. One of the cats is not well and needs to visit the vet. My 160GB iPod (from 2007) died sometime last week. I'd like to get it to an Apple store for them to diagnose, but I don't have much hope. I use it almost every day at work to generate enough background noise that I can work and yesterday I was pretty lost without it. (I might be able to stream music at work, but we're not supposed to.) And I still haven't replaced my Blackberry. I'm using Ben's old phone, but I prefer the fixed keyboard. I just hate to spend money, you know? And that's the problem.

The Microsoft Ignite conference last week was interesting and informative. Crown was fun. Devilish Children is up and running and REALLY GOOD. Alligator started rehearsal last night. Telephone/Hello Out There is the last two weekends of May.

I have a dentist appointment today. Laura has one in a few weeks. She also has an MRI appointment we need to make.

I'm a little scattered. Music keeps me sane...

Right. End of line.
  • Current Music

Minneapolis is nice this time of year

Too many late nights in a row, what with having too much fun and new games and work keeping me up until all hours of the night. Now I'm tired, and my eyes hurt.

Two weeks ago I went to Minneapolis for MiniCon and the Cats Laughing concert. It was amazing. I rode the adrenaline high most of the way home, then went to a few hours of a youth combat outing. Then home. And on Easter I mostly rested.

Last weekend I stepped into a new role in the SCA - that of Kingdom Webminister. I'm now responsible for the Northshield website and some of its satellite components. (There are things which are *perceived* to be in my realm of influence which *aren't* - for instance, I don't have anything to do with the Kingdom email list - but other things that are.) The process of stepping up required that I be in the Twin Cities again, which I did with a *gasp* Friday night drive and stay in a hotel. I came home after the event, though, so that I could work in the theater on Sunday. As a result of having many meetings I missed my chance to fight - but I still ran the fighting for the kids in the afternoon.

This weekend is THACO (a fighting event). I'd really like to go, since I keep missing opportunities to fight; it is, of course, in the Cities again. (Three weeks in a row. I might as well get an apartment.) And more theater work. Next weekend is the real tech weekend.

Shorter term, tonight is fighter's practice (locally). Tomorrow night I either drive to Mpls, go to bed early so I can get up early and drive to Mpls, or stay up and *don't* go to Mpls. Saturday would then either be fighting or theater, and Sunday would be up in the air as well. Next Tuesday is Curia, Wednesday is fighting in Chicago, Thursday is fighting in Milwaukee.

Okay, I'm getting tired looking at my schedule. Tired, I say. End of line.
  • Current Music
    Screeching Weasel: Cool Kids

Tell Them The Cats, And We're A Long Time Gone

It's been a month of hecticness. Lots to say, no brain with which to say it.

Tomorrow I'm going to MiniCon. The last one I attended was MiniCon 33, some 17 years ago. (I know because I have mugs from it 'cause I volunteered and that was my reward.) I'm going specifically to see a reunion performance by Cats Laughing. And that is awesome. (You can watch too, I think:

After that, home. And then to a non-SCA youth boffer gathering. And then home. And then sleeping. And Easter.

Next weekend, Coronation. The next weekend, THACO. The next weekend, tech for Devilish Children. The next weekend, maybe a fighter's practice and youth boffer thing. The next weekend, Crown. The next weekend, maybe Cincinnati. The next weekend, rehearsal and tech for Menotti's The Telephone and Beeson's Hello Out There, as performed by Chicago Theatre-Opera. The next weekend, performances for the same and possibly Mermaids. The next weekend, more performances and Castle Fever. Then Border Skirmish, then a couple weeks, then Faire.

Right. Back to work. See how the sparrow flies, and end of line.
  • Current Music
    Cats Laughing

Ben is moved!

On Saturday, Ben moved. It was sort of chaotic and involved lots of 'you go here and I'll go there and we'll meet at this place', but it got done. He is now in his own apartment with most of his own stuff. (He still has some things at our place, but he's mostly moved.) I have brought in the old couch and bookcases, but we've left his bed up for the time being just in case; the goal is to replace that with a different couch (a fold-out single or twin) and to replace the old couch with a sectional. Or something. I spent Sunday cleaning and running errands - Ben and I went to Sam's Club for supplies, for instance. (He bought a mandoline after we watched an in-store demo; it comes with knives and a grater and a peeler and other tools and appears to be a good deal even if he never uses the mandoline itself.)

On Monday night I caught up on tv, then tried fixing the dripping bathroom faucet and discovered that part of it was stripped. Last night I shoveled the driveway, then watched a seven minute you-tube video about how to fix the problem; after I ran out to the hardware store I had the parts and the knowledge I needed.

So. It turns out that we have no water shut-off valve for the bathroom plumbing except for the toilet. I had to turn off the water for the house, which is behind the removable wall. But I can't leave the wall off because the cats would then have access to the space between the walls, and - like wolves - you don't want cats in the walls. So, I turned off the water in the basement, went upstairs, messed with the faucet, got Laura (who was on a facetime call with Ben) to watch the faucet, went back downstairs, turned the water on, and listened to the screaming. Turned off the water and went back upstairs. Apparently I had forgotten to tighten a bolt, so the whole faucet handle blew off and sprayed water everywhere. Oops. A quick cleanup later, and some more tinkering, and now everything's fine and the sink is working.

Tonight is a meeting at the theater. Tomorrow night is fighting. Friday night Carol and I and maybe Laura will go see Cold. We have nothing planned on Saturday or Sunday (that I can see on the calendar), so probably projects. Maybe scanning books - we're trying out libib to track books, CDs, and DVDs; I envision putting on a tv show or movie and going through boxes, drawers, and shelves. Whee!

Right. Lunchtime. End of line.
  • Current Music
    John Lennon: Stand By Me

Ben's Moving Out

Ben's moving out on Saturday. He bought a car a few months ago (his prerequisite to moving out), continued to save, and has enough to cover the necessary expenses. He made a deposit at the beginning of the month and will sign the final lease agreement and pick up the keys on Saturday morning.

We've been accumulating things for him for months. Strike that, for years. He's taking the leather furniture from the living room, a table which he acquired and stored in the garage a couple years ago, bed components which are stashed in various places. Once upon a time (post-flood) we bought a patio-type modular couch for the basement so that we could watch tv down there in comfort; the idea never really caught on, so I've been using it as an elevated platform on which to store boxes of books and things. (Nothing sits on the floor in the basement, everything is at least 18" off the ground.) And Ben wants to take that too. But, see previous statement, nothing sits on the floor in the basement. So, I need to replace that.

Last night I ventured out into the ice, snow, biting winds, and darkness and operated the power tools necessary to cut apart some wood. Which was an adventure. Tonight or tomorrow night I'll assemble some new shelves. I'm using a modified version of a theater platform, and I'm a) prone to over-engineering and b) actively trying not to over-engineer this; I'm not positive that what I have in mind will work for the task, but I think it will. Meanwhile, Ben's going to go through boxes that we brought in from the garage last weekend to determine what appliances/dishes/apparatus we have that he might want and packing.

His goal is to pick up his keys at 10 AM, come back to the house, and meet his moving team around noon. Load vehicles, drive the ten or fifteen minutes to the new place, drop it off. And repeat as necessary. Whee!

Saturday is also Fighter's School. But Ben's only going to move out once, so I'll miss it. If timing works out I'll go up for court (it's 1.5 hours away), and if not then I won't.

In other news, Cold is running now through March 8. I've been working with Jack Flanders to do youth boffer authorizations and classes. And life continues apace.

Oh, hey. Once Ben is on his own and we're not carpooling, I have the option of stopping at the gym on the way to or from work. So we'll see how that plays out.

Right. Work. End of line.
  • Current Music
    NIN: Something I Can Never Have