Friday, March 30, 2001
The demo this afternoon was a LOT of fun. Worth taking 4 hours off my vacation time, to be perfectly honest. There were about 15 6th-graders and a very enthusiastic teacher, and they asked great questions and got excited over the loaner garb (most of which is pretty much beyond any SCA member getting excited over it), and listened to us babble about the Middle Ages. A small wiry boy tried on Ragnar's giant green helm (Ragnar has a LARGE head); Kudrun had to prop him against the doorjamb so he could stand up long enough to have a pickture taken! After the presentation the same small boy carried the entire basket of loaner garb out to my car and then thanked me for coming and presenting to his class. Chivalry lives.
I believe I have come up with a solution for my urge to talk about the SCA, instead of the Middle Ages, at school demos. I take a historiographic approach: I explain why we re-create history, and compare our organization to the buckskinners or the Civil War re-enactors, talking about how it is much more interesting to be right in the middle of the details of history (costume, food, fighting, music, etc.) than it is to simply view it from a distance by reading, watching movies, or hearing about it in class. Hard to believe, but I think I am becoming an okay chatelaine.
Thursday, March 29, 2001
Heard at the fish tank just now, spoken in excitement by a 5-year-old who can't pronounce his 'R's:
"Look at the fish! Look at the multicowahd fish! Isn't it CHOWMING? Isn't it GAWGEOUS?"
Reminds me of my cousin Josh, who freaked out my dad on a visit when Josh was 1 1/2 by holding up a crayon and screaming, "BEIGE!"...and it was.
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Decision 2001 progresses apace. If I go to Pennsic, I'm going to have to have a LOT more garb. Cotton garb. Maybe linen too. Another cotehardie at the least. When am I going to make this stuff?
On the plus side: I checked out the tent Alissende says she has, a Wenzel Mammoth, and it looks more spacious than my first apartment (AND she bought a camp kitchen, which I assume to be about the same size as that apartment's kitchen). Obviously this woman is a fanatic camper, or at least a camper willing to spend enough money to make herself and her family comfy. I think I could definitely pick worse people to camp with at Pennsic.
Minus side: vacation days.
I was checking out someone's Pennsic website, which featured a photo album with pictures of garb that had caught the site author's eye while at War last year. Among the photos of strangers in everything from skimpy Middle Eastern to full Elizabethan (is this or is this not held in AUGUST?!?), I was pleased to see a back shot of what turned out to be Master Isaac de Hugo of our own Northshield, in his Northshield Sheriff tabard (black with bright yellow crenellated border, and a fierce looking yellow griffin holding the Compass Rose). When the garb of your official Orders is receiving acclaim simply as fantastic-looking garb, does that mean you're ready to be a Kingdom yet? ;)
Monday, March 26, 2001
Dance Seminar in Rockhaven (St. Cloud, MN) was fun, as always. It's hard to mess up that event: provide space, water, teachers, and music (good weather optional), and you've got a Dance Seminar. I saw a whole passel of friends, watched my favorite newbie do Middle Eastern dance for the first time, talked about possibly visiting Calontir for an event sometime (I mean hey, technically it's only about 20 minutes from here, though I estimate at least 2 hours to get to an actual group's territory), ate pizza for dinner with Sarra/Rosanore/3 nice women from Calontir/Owen (while watching what everyone agreed was a bad later version of Scooby-Doo), and learned the galliard. I got to sing the Carolingian Pavane (Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie), then since I now know how to galliard, Owen agreed to come get me during the 4th verse and we danced the galliard. First time I've ever danced any part of that one! I must say I especially enjoyed singing it this time though, because I was up with the musicians on the stage, watching while the whole company danced in from the doorway in a line. Can you say 'magic moment'? There is something special about the Dance Seminar revel. Dance is formality put to its best possible use.
My ankles hurt something terrible when I woke up yesterday (but Sarra was in worse pain from all the muscle isolations in the Middle Eastern moves!). But, now I know how to galliard, which is worth a lot. And I have some idea of how weak my ankles are. I need to start doing some walking NOW if I'm going to be walking all over Chicago in a couple of weeks.
I have a bit of a decision to make. During one of the musicians' breaks in the revel, my friend Alissende from Jaravellir sat me down and asked if I would go to Pennsic with her this year. 13,000 of your closest friends, communing with nature for 2 weeks in Pennsylvania...! I have long been scared of Pennsic, though it is considered to be THE place to do almost everything: fight, merchant/shop, sing, play, relax, get close with your friends, etc. It's just so BIG. Of course Alissende, who is beginning to know me well enough to know my weaknesses (or else it was a lucky guess), strategized by inviting Owen over to help convince me. Well, as I've said many times, I make no bones about the fact that I will do just about anything for Owen. So he came over and recited all the reasons why I HAD to be there, what I would be able to help with, what I would see, why I would then want to come every year, and why it wasn't anywhere near as scary as I thought it would be. Some of this was in rhyming verse. And he patted my knee as he went. And he darned near convinced me. The guy is a phenomenon, I tell you...
Anyway, I have given myself a week to decide, and will let Alissende know yes or no at Hare Affaire next weekend. I am frightened of Pennsic and hence more frightened of saying yes to Pennsic. But, with a sympathetic friend willing to bring her own tent and house me, help from many other friends, and camping with the Northshield that I know and love (and that has its own hot showers), how much can go wrong? That's what I have to decide.
Thursday, March 22, 2001
Earlier tonight I had one of those clong moments ("clong" meaning the moment when the very excrement freezes within you for sheer terror). I was trying to make printouts of the Northshield Choir pieces we're rehearsing Saturday, from the PDF files on the Choral Public Domain Library site. I got what we used to call GPF, or General Protection Fault (you know, where your computer tells you you did something illegal, and you look around expecting the police to burst in the door). So I shut down Netscape, disconnected, rebooted, tried it through IE.
Along about the same point in the printing, I got more GPF; on trying to get out of IE and Adobe Acrobat, I got some of those error messages that you know are even more serious than GPFs because they put them in black letters on white, no fancy window or graphic. The first one I judged to be not too serious. The second one caught my attention and caused a bit of a clong:
You must reinstall Windows.
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Can I just say that I am not the only blog author to consider his/her own personal health and bodily functions appropriate for inclusion in a daily blog? (Even though he refuses to call it that: it's the Daily Bleat.) If my favorite blog writer can lament the tickle at the back of his throat and predict a weekend of cold symptoms, in front of the thousands of people who must read his website daily, well, I can discuss my tonsil infection on my webpage. (Don't worry, I'm fine. That was back in December when I had just begun this blog.)
After months of stamping, painting, cutting out, and folding together Hare Affaire site tokens, I did the last one tonight. Good barking riddance. I like doing site tokens, but this particular one was really draining my patience. There are 147 non-feast and 80 feast and if they run out, they run out. Maybe they have some more of those painstakingly hand-wound and tied tassels from last year. (If any of my Keeper friends reads this: honest, I was happy to do you guys the favor. I didn't mind it, and if I had, I wouldn't have offered. But, anything gets monotonous if you make 227 of it.)
I promised myself I'd get Sarra's chemise done by this weekend...I can see it's not going to happen, but all the same I'd like to feel I put in some effort on it. Until tomorrow, then.
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
A new site: Retro Rewind. For those die-hard fans of early '80's music (like me), there's a lot of info on music of that time. Plus there are eight live/unplugged versions of classic '80's songs in mp3 format, such as Tommy Tutone's "867-5309 Jenny" (one of the few Jennifer songs I enjoy, no matter how many times people sing it to me), Howard Jones' "No One is to Blame" (a personal favorite), and Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" (interesting subtle and re-worked version that I really like). (Does anyone share my opinion that Mr. Mister evokes late-night infomercials for a new and exciting kind of plant watering contraption? "Get Mr. Mister and Mr. Mister Deluxe, plus a bonus Mrs. Fertilizer Infuser, for only $49.95!")
"No One is to Blame" struck me on first listen as SUCH a deep song (as many early '80's songs did during that time, witness my memorization of the entire canon of Duran Duran hits and album cuts ;) ). It's about the futility of trying to find out who is in the way of our getting it all, whose desires and drives are keeping us from what we want, with a subtext about the eternal nature of desire ("And you want her/and she wants you/we want everyone..."). You can't reach all your goals, and even if you did, you'd just find more along the way, and they might be less meaningful. Or so I thought, and I may have been right; after all, when I was 14, I had less cluttering up my head and hence more space to think. I so rarely get philosophical anymore. I kind of miss it.
Woo. I'm still listening to "Broken Wings". Gorgeous recording. This is easily the best Christian rock song ever recorded, rivaled only by the same group's "Kyrie". And that's high praise coming from this Jewish girl. ;)
Monday, March 19, 2001
One more note about In Service to the Dream: I would like to apologize for laughing at the film's opening credit music. This consisted of an a capella male singer doing "Amarilli mia bella" by Giulio Caccini, a song I assumed was late Baroque because it was in the "28 hits" Italian bel canto songbook we used in voice studio in college. Turns out G. Caccini is ca. 1545-1618, so the piece falls either in period, or within the 50-year grace period most SCA musicians allow. It isn't very period to do it a capella, though--it would have had viols and continuo and the whole nine yards. With just the solo voice, it sounds like gregorian chant on hallucinogens.
Nice, relaxing weekend (how long has it been since I had one of those?). Saturday I went to Coille Stoirmeil's little gathering/fighter practice in Tomah, which was fun but short--I left at 11 and was back by 4:15. It was a nice little group in a nice little town hall, like all towns used to have: combination gym/meeting hall/theater/sports arena/church. Very sweet. They didn't get much fighting done because there were only three fighters, one out with an injury, and one who didn't have a functional helm. So they suited up as best they could and went and stood around on the field. Sarra did get to hear the remaining fighter's armor and boots clinking and clanking on the field. She agreed that these sounds do give an instant interest to otherwise uninteresting males. ;) I brought all my scribal paraphernalia and created my first scroll blank, to be given to the Outlands as part of the Shire of Schattentor's scroll drive. Did you know the Outlands has a ten-year scroll backlog? Wow. And to think I was irked when it took until Feast to get me my scroll, the day I got my Award of Arms. ;) (Not really irked, but people did apolgize profusely!)
We had two new people at the populace meeting in Ettrick yesterday, both of whom seem very interested, both attendees at the Open House last month. One came solely because she saw my Open House poster at the Co-Op downtown. See, posters are not TOTALLY ineffective for recruiting! The people I had invited last week didn't make it, but it's no huge deal, maybe another month.
Both newbies stayed to watch the video of In Service to the Dream. My review, after sleeping on it: Pretty good. Very Caid-centric, but then we knew that would have to be true; that was where it was filmed. Also, it was very focussed on the heavy fighting, which is certainly interesting, but for me doesn't hold any more mystique than, say, embroidery or fencing or research. (Heretical thought! As Ysolt would say, "Did I say that out loud? Inside voice, outside voice, inside voice, outside voice...") Perhaps because Caid is so close geographically to The First Tourney (though no closer in time than any of us!), they consider fighting to be more the main point of what they do. In an 128-minute film, perhaps 8 minutes was devoted to the Arts & Sciences, most of that brief camera shots of embroidery projects, a set of Elizabethan garb, a drinking horn, a Viking-style award scroll, a guy who seems to enjoy having his picture taken in every time and style of men's garb from 600-1600, and the like. I kept having to lean over to the newbie and say, "That statement doesn't represent what we do or think in the Northshield." Knights were EVERYWHERE--does Caid have any men who AREN'T knights? Now I know what they mean when people complain Northshield has practically no knights! When one knight ran off at the mouth about chivalry and honor and the meaning of the Dream as exemplified by beating people over the head with sticks, I told the newbies, "That's the way it is here, too--you can't shut a knight up." ;) (Aw, there I go again--inside voice, outside voice...)
They did make some interesting points about what it is to be Royalty, how long-time SCA folk feel about their SCA families, why we do what we do, and what kinds of intense committment some people make to the organization. I do think that that last point may be off-putting to new people who, if they go by the film, assume that every member aspires to be a Knight and then King, works every waking non-working minute on all manner of expensive and time-consuming projects, spends 10,000 a year when they become Royalty, and stays in the group forever. (When at any given time, in our Principality of 1200 paid members, we have maybe 1100 non-member or former-member dabblers who come to the occasional event when it's convenient, 600 new people whose status is uncertain for the first year or two, 30 or so Knights, two Dukes, one Count, one Prince, and absolutely no Kings. Yet. ;) )
Friday, March 16, 2001
In what seems like a completely pointless effort on the part of the old-enough-to-know-better free web hosting company that hosts my page, they have ONCE AGAIN re-vamped their guestbook system, disabling all current guestbooks in the process. To the folks at that venerable company, it's true that I have really appreciated the static web address (going on 6 years at this address), but it's little things like this that drive away customers...so watch it.
Do you believe that, ever since I started this Blog and became aware that others were visiting it, I have been checking my 'view guestbook' link every few days and wondering idly why no one was signing in? Would it ever have occurred to me to try the 'sign guestbook' link just to make sure it still worked? Why am I speaking entirely in questions?
Anyway. The new guestbook is ready to go, and the links at the right have been amended. Please do sign and let me know what you think of the page. And remember, no bad stuff, or I'll delete it. This is a privately-funded page and is not bound by free speech laws. No, honest. It enjoys the privileges of the First Amendment, with none of the responsibilities. So do you, on your webpage. But not on mine. ;)
P.S.: My sincere thanks to Cassie Shanahan, who, besides having one of the coolest Celtic-sounding names I've heard recently (and it's not her SCA name, it's real!), was kind enough to e-mail me directly to let me know my guestbook was broken.
P.P.S., apropos of nothing: I swear, in the last 3 years I have done more choral jazz than I ever thought I would. At the moment I have "Stardust" running through my head and it won't get out.
I have always been interested in new and unusual foods, but I am just as interested in new versions of old favorites. When I was in France, I was delighted to find that not only is hot cocoa an acceptable breakfast drink there, it is also made so it's less sweet and more hearty and satisfying than we are used to in our Swiss Miss mugs in the States. Although I know I can make that type of cocoa fairly easily with actual milk and cocoa powder on the stovetop, I had despaired of finding anything to approximate it in an instant cocoa.
Then, on the way back from Bardic Madness, Kudrun and I stopped at a gift shop in the tourist town of Grand Marais, Minnesota, and I picked up several packets of something called Mint-esota. Instant hot cocoa in original mint flavor (hence the name) or many other flavors, some still with mint too, some not. Set aside the fact that the goofy name makes me want to break into song, to the tune of "Oklahoma!" ("MiiiiiiiiiinT--esota where the snow comes piling on the plain/Where the laughing loons/Under the moon/Are enough to drive a girl insane..."). This is GREAT cocoa. It's not too sweet, but the flavor is abundant and creamy; not watery, but not gelatinous like that sticky Hershey's 'luxury cocoa' you can buy. Adding half-and-half, believe it or not, doesn't even lighten it--it must have a ton of powdered milk in it. I tried Cinna-mint (fairly good; not at all minty, not as good cinnamon flavor as the Mannheim Steamroller verson), Cran-Raspberry and Peach (both excellent and not at all overbearing on the fruit flavor), and Mocha (not a very authentic coffee flavor, but still rich and tasty). Here's that link again: http://www.mint-esota.com/.
Oh...I'm so sorry. I can't believe I filked "Oklahoma!" above. Most people don't know that I am a repository of show tune songs unmatched between two human ears. And I don't go around pointing out that fact, I just run through the entire program of, say, Pippin every so often in my head for kicks. I can't explain why I can sing through "Little Girls" from Annie or "America" from West Side Story at a moment's notice, but have to sit down and study songs I WROTE MYSELF before I'm able to sing them without holding the songsheet, and even then I usually run aground halfway through. It's a mystery.
Thursday, March 15, 2001
I feel a little discombobulated this week, but nothing too serious. Today I woke up & got to work perfectly normally (that is to say, ten minutes late), but after reading some e-mail, developed a crick in my neck that won't let me turn my head to the left. Good thing I don't have to drive anywhere substantial this weekend (Tomah and Ettrick being each under 1 hour away). Could make checking my blind spot a teeny weeny challenge...
Last night I got out all those darned seneschal fliers for the garb event we're doing April 21. Hey, it's still more than a month away...so unless you count the fact that I had intended on getting them out in February, technically I'm not running late. ;)
Tuesday, March 13, 2001
I'm still on a bit of a Bardic Madness high. It was such a special event. Imagine being locked in a church (for non-religious reasons, of course!) with about 50 of your favorite people, listening to ideas and music that inspires you, from 9 am to 10 pm. I'm having hug flashbacks. ;) I couldn't stand the idea of not going to an event this weekend, just a populace meeting (as though that weren't enough); luckily, Dr. Rusterholtz cancelled the choir rehearsal for this Saturday, so I'm going to Coille Stoirmeil's moot/fighter practice. How long's it been since I saw a fighter practice? It's been since Coronet that I even saw any fighting...! Despite being a pacifist, I must say I don't mind seeing people clanking around in armor and bonking each other over the head. There is something cool about it, the same way there is something cool about any pursuit that inspires people to do their best (especially SCA pursuits).
Then Sunday, populace meeting combined with the Rokeclif premiere of In Service to the Dream. I can't wait to see it. Lady Flori (whose judgement I trust) has given it two thumbs up on the Northshield listserv. Mom even says she'd be interested in seeing it when I'm home for Passover. Hey, if we watch it Saturday, we can still eat popcorn...;)
Monday, March 12, 2001
WOW. Bardic Madness was easily the best event I've ever been to. Yes I know, I used to say that about every event I went to, but that streak was over sometime last year (when? Sometime during my spate of six events in a row where it rained on me...). Now, when I say it, I truly mean it, and am not just being effusive.
The whole day was so relaxed and fun. Part of it came from the fact that it was smaller than last year (only about 75 people), and part just from all the hard work done by the organizers, teachers, and site coordinators, not to mention one of the hardest-working Shires in the Northshield. They all managed to squeeze in 12 challenges, 7 classes in two class periods, the Bardic College Council meeting, lunch and a scrumptious feast with entertainment, Court, dancing, and a bardic post-revel to die for. There was even an hour to relax and do what we wanted (I sightread some music with Kassia, Kudrun and Rosanore...fun fun fun!). We fit in a Northshield Choir rehearsal that actually worked--Chandler's suggestion of "Contrapunto Bestiale Alla Mente" was an excellent choice for a 45-minute class, and Wilhelm stepped in to conduct (to my great relief!).
I had intended on joining in on two challenges, but decided at the last minute to double that and put my Rokeclif song, "Rose of Autumn", in for the "My Hometown" challenge, and to read my new persona story in the "Where do you want to go" challenge. People liked "Verlangen", which I introduced as "a song of petulant longing", going with the more comedic aspects of the song...everyone is going to laugh at my rhyming "often", "soften", and "coffin" anyway, so why fight it? ;) There was a reaction of curious boredom after my "Song of the Northshield"...it may need to be retired; even the Prince and the Heir looked pre-occupied. Too bad, I really like that song. I was gratified to see Owen singing along to "Rose of Autumn", which I know is his favorite, and thought I saw other smiles too.
But the suprise hit was the persona story, for which I was getting congratulations all evening, from Owen, Wilhelm, Dahrien, and Lady Christiana, whom I have often read in the Northshield Hall listserv, but never met. I was floored. I have never told a story in any bardic context before (if you don't count the scorpion story, and I don't!). My assumption for the last couple of years has been that people listen to me because they like my voice, an assumption supported by compliments and comments from others. But I wasn't singing that story. Something of what made me write it must have come through, for people to respond so wholeheartedly. I'm still trying to figure it out. I always thought I couldn't act. Maybe it was that I was performing in a church sanctuary, the setting for the story?
It was just a wonderful event, right down to driving with Kudrun (sorry, Karyn), who is a fabulous travel companion and doesn't mind listening to me babble. I got so many good hugs from so many of my favorite people in the Northshield, and had a chance to hang out with people I rarely see, and meet new people (including one new SCA librarian--congratulations on your new Award of Arms, Lady Berengaria!). At the end of the post-revel I got a warm hug from Prince Saeric, who then took advantage of the cloak I was wearing to pinch my butt surreptitiously. I think I have a fan...! More probably, my cleavage is having an effect. ;) Well, like I always say, I wouldn't wear it if I didn't want people to see it!
Thursday, March 08, 2001
Short week this week: Monday I was in Atlanta, and then tomorrow first thing, me and Kudrun are going to Bardic Madness in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which turns out to be way the heck far away. I had this idea that it was only 8 hours away (4 hours from here to Duluth + 4 hours northeast of Duluth) but Kudrun--sorry, Karyn; she keeps her persona strictly separate from her real life personality!--calculates 480 miles one way, which is going to be more than 8 hours, I think. We'll have lots of munchies (I went shopping) and music to listen to, and she seems to share my taste in music, unlike most people on the face of the earth. So I think it should be fun. Certainly if we aren't meant to be friends, we'll know by the end of the trip, right? ;)
I am being randomly paged on Yahoo Messenger for the first time in awhile; how very refreshing, this one wants netsex. It's like a blast from the past, my days on LambdaMOO...ahhhh, memories...*pressing 'ignore' button*
Two other people have paged me since a minute ago...this is bizarre...I think it's the same guy, his profile all three times says Whitewater, WI. Well, ignore, ignore. Sorry, "U want 2 have sexual fun" doesn't really grab me, buddy...didn't shortcut spelling go out with Prince's first album in the early 80's?
Well, anyway. On our way tomorrow morning, so don't expect a report until Sunday night, if then. This ought to be a wonderful event though, so who knows, I might have lots to write about.
Sunday, March 04, 2001
Hi from Atlanta! Ellen says hello. I'm showing her how I use Blogger to update this page. I think Ellen should have a webpage where she posts wonderful pictures of the guy she loves...hint hint...she talks about him enough! Why shouldn't she want to show the world?
We've been having a blast here. Eating and talking and shopping. And eating some more. Who could ask for anything more? I guarantee you next weekend will be different, so I might as well get my hedonistic side satisfied down here before freezing in Canada...the weather's nice, in fact I was overheated last night in bed, but then it turned out it was only because Ellen had mistakenly left the heat on. I mean, I knew it got hot here, but that was ridiculous...
I'm in Ellen's condo's second bedroom, which is as nice or nicer than a hotel, and Ellen has a comforter on the guest room bed that is identical to my favorite comforter on my bed at home, except dark green instead of dark blue. So I feel totally at home. In fact I woke up and wondered where my dresser had gone and why my window had migrated from behind my bed to the side of it. ;)
I'll be home late Monday night, so look for another update then.
Friday, March 02, 2001
Toki and Giles stopped by this morning on their way to Oshkosh, I mean Windhaven, for Fighters' School. Morgan is going with them too. It's definitely a nice thing to see 75% of our authorized fighters going to Fighters' School. Yes, I'm a pacifist, but as a chatelaine I applaud involvement of any kind, and I think Toki is almost the real chatelain here, for encouraging so many lapsed members to come back and get involved again. There should be a name for a person who does that. Instead of just welcoming people, they welcome people back. Hmmm...well, anyway, it's really a needed task in a Shire that has gone through a bit of an upheaval in the past couple of years. People need to know that it's okay to come back.
I am eating lemon heads, which I forgot are not the same thing as lemon drops, but they're still pretty good.
Thursday, March 01, 2001
I'm realizing that we're getting down to 8 days before Bardic Madness and I have barely anything I've been thinking of singing. Two of my songs from 2000 fit two of the challenges reasonably well (Verlangen thut mich krenken and Song of the Northshield) so I'll sing those. I haven't written anything yet in 2001, I think because I was so upset when I got up to sing Song of the Northshield as a recessional after morning Court at Coronet, and I was covered up by the sound of 400 metal folding chairs being hastily put away! I was SO mad, at someone who truly did not know that would happen, but who might have given me a better opportunity if she had had a chance to think it through, and might have apologized if she had had time that day (she didn't). She's probably forgotten since then. Circumstances conspired against both of us. I'm no longer mad, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it...and I'm still waiting for the inspiration to return. It'll probably happen after Bardic Madness.