Thursday, May 31, 2001

Memory: it's a funny thing. Because I don't entirely trust mine (either long-term or short term!) I would like to commit this to my blog.

When I was at camp (http://www.bebercamp.com/) we had Israeli dancing out on the tennis courts every Friday night, after services. We would always finish up with a long Grand March, as many practitioners of folk dancing do (in the SCA, we do Trenchmore over and over again to finish dance revels--a dance with many, many things in common with the Grand March we did at Beber). After a long process of promenading and pairing up and accumulating long lines of people and marching them through each other, we would end up in a circle around the perimeter of the tennis courts, holding hands--all of us, counselors, staff, campers, visitors. Someone would suddenly shut off the floodlights. In the darkness, there would be a moment's pause, and then you would hear two young voices scream:

"UNGA LA BUNGA!"

We would repeat this, screaming. The voices would go on to do the rest of the chant:

"Iggy la piggy wiggy!" ("Iggy la piggy wiggy!")
"Uffle la tuffle wuffle!" ("Uffle la tuffle wuffle!")
"Ooh! Ah!" ("Ooh! Ah!")
"Beber! Beber!" ("Beber! Beber!")
"Rah, rah!" ("Rah, rah!")
(Starting over again) "Unga la bunga!"

The kids who got to lead the cheer in the dark were usually already the most popular in the camp; often the most charismatic one or two from the youngest boys' bunk, the most well-liked and enthusiastic of the male counselors-in-training, or a favorite son from a large camp family. They might do it for an entire summer (or the last part, having excelled at it earlier in the summer, they were doing it every week by the time I arrived for second session) or just once. I never knew how you got chosen, who made the decision, or why girls/women were never the ones leading the cheer.

I don't know what brought that cheer to my mind, just that if I didn't get it down someplace, I would probably forget it forever.





Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Having promised myself I would get some serious sleep tonight, I will spare you the details of the trip to Indiana until tomorrow or thereabouts. Suffice it to say: I'm recovering physically (from a cold) and emotionally (from the irritation, frustration, and disorientation that always comes from spending time with family). I'll write more soon, or maybe I won't. After a certain amount of time, writing ceases to be therapeutic, and starts to feel somewhat like re-hashing the details of having one's arm gnawed off by a giant panda. Not that that's what the weekend felt like. There were no pandas involved. Really. Anyway...

Brad from my WLFM Trivia Team sends this funny site: Japanese Engrish, a site featuring photos of Japanese products and signage that misuse the English language. This completely tickles me. Example: A florist's wrapping paper reads, "The Art of Hot. Side by side, I'll be yours forever. Because please don't weep." Now, there's a convincing argument to get your girlfriend to stop crying and forgive you for sleeping with her sister!




Wednesday, May 23, 2001

The font is slightly different in Blogger's posting utility when I use Netscape. It's funny how it kind of affects what I want to say. It makes me want to be all jaunty. And use sentence fragments. Woo.

I've been feeling lonely lately. Not just lonely in general (lord knows I'll have more company than I can deal with this coming weekend at Brett's wedding, when for 3 1/2 days I'll be hanging out with both sides of my extended family). More romantically lonely. I'm sure at least some of my readers can identify with this. It's largely hormonal, but it's tough to deal with sometimes. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of the silhouette of my bedclothes heaped on the bed in my darkened bedroom, and my first, unbidden thought is, "Doesn't he look peaceful...I should let him sleep, but I'd rather be in his arms." Of course there's no one there to wake up and hold me. There's never anyone there.

I think part of it is that the SCA camping season is coming up. Last year I ended the season by 1) watching my tent get flattened by a storm and 2) having a small fling with a nice boy from north of the border, something that could never have lasted, but was pleasant enough that I think of it wistfully from time to time. This year, I begin the season with a new tent that has just been ordered (see it here), and a vague feeling that while part of me is raring to find the next boy toy to grace my tent, the more pragmatic part is going to insist that I stay away from such antics until someone seems like a candidate for a more lasting relationship.

The pragmatic part is going to win; inviting men into one's tent implies at least a half dozen different kinds of emotional and physical risk, some of which I wasn't really thinking about last year. Also, I'm a year older and a year more familiar with SCA flirting, which could be satisfying enough in itself to keep me content. Or it could burrow me further into temptation. I don't know and I'm becoming irritated with speculation. I can't know what this summer will bring, but I hope I will have my common sense to depend on, my friends to watch out for me, and maybe a man who won't be only a tent conquest.




Tuesday, May 22, 2001
"It's completely unfair that even in these times, our enemy has bred secular pursuits that are so conducive and rewarding of his spiritual standards." --Screwtape the Demon describing the Society for Creative Anachronism, in a parody of The Screwtape Letters entitled Screwtape's SCA Letters, by Galen of Bristol, KSCA, CSM

Check out the above parody, available at http://www.flash.net/~pmitchel/screwtap.htm. It's a rather interesting take on the original Screwtape Letters, in that it finds Screwtape again strategizing with his nephew Wormwood, this time on how best to win the soul of a new SCA fighter. Found it when I did a search on 'SCA commentary' in Google, after noticing in my site statistics that some Google searchers are finding my webpage with that phrase.

It seems to advocate modeling oneself after the ideal, rather than following what others do; in other words, the way to knighthood (or peerage) is not to attach yourself to those who have attained peerage and do what they do, but to hold in your mind a vision of what peerage would mean for you and what you would need to do to deserve it, and strive for that.

I really like that idea, and flatter myself by thinking that I already follow it, but in reality I only follow it in bits and pieces; for example, I wanted my Burgundian gown to look like those in illuminations, and it does, but then I grumble when others don't recognize this. Same with bardic: I study a period song like "De Bonte, De Valour", knowing how authentic it is to SCA period and activities, then get all irritated that no one wants to hear it because it is too medieval-sounding and isn't in English. I know if I found a trove of people who got all excited over my singing that song, I would be so flattered that I'd do anything they asked and begin emulating them, instead of emulating the inspiration that prompted me to learn the song (my regard for my friends, who were getting handfasted and wanted a song for the ceremony). To be truthful, I care far too much what others think of me.





Monday, May 21, 2001
More Outlands scroll drive news: Fiskr reports that lately-sent scrolls are still coming in, and bring the total number to over 400 scrolls. I am so proud of the Northshield. Owen has found the inspiration for his latest verse of "Row, Men, Row", comemmorating the soon-to-be-finished reign of Their Stellar Highnesses, Saeric and Yasamin:


Saeric and Yasmin gave honor
When a kingly gift was made:
Four hundred scrolls from Northshield's scribes
For Outlands' Crown in friendship's aid.


I especially like his use of the word 'kingly', which could easily have been 'royal' or even 'generous' if Owen wasn't such a partisan of Northshield becoming a Kingdom. I once listened to Owen's descriptive dissection of the entire song, in which virtually every noun, adjective, and adverb was revealed to have two and sometimes three meanings. Pretty interesting stuff: poetry made to carry more than its own weight in meaning.

I was just reflecting on the fact that this journal is, for all intents and purposes, completely devoid of any aids to the reader in understanding what the heck is going on in my life. Basically I just go on about what has been exciting, interesting, or frustrating to me recently, without any regard to whether an average reader would understand any of it. I don't stop and make any "Just in case you're new to this blog" or "for those not familiar with such-and-such" explanatory statements. While I haven't received any complaints, it's also obvious that my readership isn't very high. What I need to decide now is:


  1. Do I really care whether my readership is high? I.e., who is my intended audience here, if any?
  2. If my audience is the non-SCA general public, how can I help them to understand more about the things that inform and invigorate my life (library stuff, choir stuff, and the SCA), so they don't get lost in unfamiliar details and stop reading?
  3. If my audience is only SCA folk, how exactly does one market an SCA blog, and would I have to go through and edit out things about my SCA life that I have felt free to say here, on the assumption that Northshielders would probably never read it?


It's a conundrum. I am going to go seek out some websites on online journaling (of which I know there are many) and see what others have to say about the 'user-friendliness' factor. Last week I was perusing an online journal that actually provided a 'Cast of Characters' guide; I wouldn't think that would be terribly useful for my journal, where a bigger mystery would lie in the SCA, choir, and library jargon I use regularly.

Perhaps even more confusing is the 'why' of the whole thing: I can explain what Newcomer's Seminar was, where and when it was held, for example, but how do you explain to someone who's never heard of the SCA why it's important to recruit and educate people who are new to our organization? And is it worth telling the whole background story just so I can relay an amusing anecdote or bit of happy news? Maybe instead of a 'Cast of Characters', I need an informative background essay (or maybe bullet points?) about the SCA, what I do in it, who are a few of the people I mention over and over, and maybe another about my job...this could get to be a project. And it brings me back to the original question: who's going to read all that anyway?

Things to ponder.




Sunday, May 20, 2001
Remember the scrolls I did for donation to the scroll drive for the Kingdom of the Outlands? Well, this weekend was the event where the scrolls were to be presented to Their Majesties of the Outlands, in the Shire of Schattentor in South Dakota. I will quote Lord Fiskr, the event autocrat, who writes some of the finest sum-up letters to the Northshield Hall I have ever read:


Last year Baroness Ia issued a call for the scribes of the land to create scroll blanks that we could present to The Outlands as a gift to help with their backlog. Through selfless hard work and dedication the scribes of Northshield allowed me to present TRMís of The Outlands with three hundred sixty nine scroll blanks. They were totally, truly and absolutely stunned as were all in attendance. As I read the evening paper and watch the news I sometimes begin to lose hope for our flawed race. Your honor elevates me, your passion inspires me and your dedication propels me towards betterment. You give me hope, you give me light and you renew my own passions. It was announced at evening court that all who donated scrolls will have their names inscribed in the Northshield Scroll of Honor, as this undertaking is the stuff of legend and should never be forgotten. You guys rock!


*happy sigh* Three hundred sixty-nine scrolls! That's incredible, considering how few scribes we have in the Northshield. Some people must have done a lot more than I did. I am pretty proud of my five little contributions, though. And I get to be on the Scroll of Honor with the other scribes! YAY!

To totally and completely change the subject for no reason whatsover, no, really, none, this weekend I went shopping, which was a good choice since Penney's had a big sale going on. You can say what you want about Penney's; if I can get three outfits, including a silk suit and leather purse, for under $200, you can bet I am not going to indulge in any brand elitism, no way, buddy.

I am also trying out camping gear in preparation for the SCA camping season, which technically started this weekend, though I wasn't at either of the events that started it. (My first for this year will probably be Spring Fling in four weeks.) Sarah helped me put up my tent after the populace meeting today, or rather, Sarah helped me ascertain that my tent is never going to get put up again. It was such a production to hoist the thing, with the poles falling out of each other no matter what we did, and it was so mildewed on the top, that we finally gave up and threw it out. It only cost me $30 to begin with, and it had already had a long happy life as the Pangburns' family tent. So, Sarah and I are going to invest in one of these: a Teton Tent (no pun intended!). She's putting in $100 and I'll pay for the rest and store it. It may not be a period pavilion, but it's one step closer--and each of us will be able to put it up alone! I can't wait.

I was bopping up and down on my airbed last night, to find out if it has leaks or what (it was totally flat at the end of W & W last year, which was when I used it last). Then I was discussing this with Viscount Gaylen on the #SCA IRC channel. "I'm hoping that it will either hold up all summer, or fail in plenty of time for me to buy a new one for Pennsic," I said. Gaylen replied: "Eliane, one word for you: spurs." I laughed and responded, "Gaylen, you find me a knight to grace my airbed, and you will know the meaning of the word 'gratitude'!"



Saturday, May 19, 2001

Our choir fundraising dinner, May Feaste, turned out to be kind of fun. The theme was "Club Cartwright: A Jazz Cafe", with lots of jazz and pseudo-50's costumes. I think I looked nice in a hot pink lace dress with a deep V-neck, peplum, flared skirt, and flippy cap sleeves, and sparkly jewelry. How odd to dress up in something that isn't from the medieval/Renaissance period. Perhaps the fact that it was really a prom dress from the late '80's made it feel less like wearing historical garb, and more like playing dress-up. Let's just say, authenticity is not really the strong suit of our costume mistress.

Anyway, after paying $100 for the privilege of singing in the La Crosse Chamber Chorale for a year, $30 for CDs of the year's concerts, and $50 for a gift certificate to Stamp 'N Hand for the auction, I invested further by winning two auctions tonight (no, I didn't bid on my own donation!): a big tough nylon Bass drawstring bag for camping events, and a teddy bear wearing a small Chamber Chorale concert outfit (black satin skirt, black and green brocade jacket with rhinestone buttons). Another check for $50 for the both of them. And I thought the SCA was an expensive hobby....I must say though, this is a great teddy bear: one of those really, really soft ones, with a lot of soul in her little eyes. My Chamber Chorale outfit has the black and blue brocade, so we complement each other. ;)

As soon as The Simpsons is over, I'm going to sleep. That performance drained me. I have had quite enough vocal jazz for awhile. Next year: May Feaste returns to its original format of a Renaissance madrigal dinner. I'm already trying to decide what to wear (the red silk Italian? Or should I go all the way and wear my English Ren gown? Or, go with a classic bodice and skirt combo? Well, I've got a year to think about it...;) )




Thursday, May 17, 2001

I was just noticing that the May/June Online Magazine, an info tech magazine run mostly by librarians, has an article on blogging (Internet Librarian column, "Blogging Your Life Away", by Darlene Fichter; Online, May/June 2001, 25(3)). (The website at http://www.onlineinc.com/onlinemag/OL2001/oltocmay01.html incorrectly lists the author as Marydee Ojala, and calls it the May issue...I swear, even librarians don't proofread these days.) Not much in the article was new or exciting; it was one of those ubiquitous "did you know, there's a new technique for updating webpages, and it's pretty simple" articles.

Something I found of interest in the article was a short list of blogs by librarians. (Yours truly was not included--these were professional topic blogs, not personal ones.) Liblog: a Library Weblog, a nice example of blog use in a professional setting, was on the list, as was LISNews, a website of diverse and sundry current library news, which also has an e-mail newsletter that I'm signed up for. 'brary 'blog is also an amalgam of a lot of library news, formatted strangely (links are embedded in sentences and highlighted in a dark magenta that I have to peer closely at to distinguish it from the black text). Conspicuously absent is Librarian.net, Jessamyn West's venerable (okay, in web time, "since 1993" implies venerability) and excellent blog, which has been a blog--a TRUE blog, not like my pseudo-journal here--since way before the blog fad hit. ('brary 'blog links to it, though, so all is not lost.)

I really should peruse library blogs more often. Since I dropped my ALA membership, I feel a bit more distant from the general library stream-of-life. Everything I hear about public library trends and news suprises me, and it didn't used to. I feel the distance between medical information and the public library collection very keenly, especially when a year goes by and I realize that not only have I not read any of the Newbery candidates, I've never even heard of them--or the authors. Not that watching library blogs will help with this; only taking a job at a public library would help (or haunting Barnes & Noble, I guess). But I like health information too much.




Wednesday, May 16, 2001
Found on Carole Leita's LIIWEEK new websites posting, courtesy of Librarians' Index to the Internet: the Morgan Quitno Awards for most and least safest cities and metropolitan areas in the United States. What I thought was interesting about this list was that in the overall ranking of the top 25 safest of 252 metropolitan areas (this is the last listing on the page, apparently different than the 322 cities ranking), I have lived in 4 of the top 13: Appleton/Oshkosh/Neenah WI was #1 (college), Bismarck ND was #5 (first job after grad school), La Crosse WI/MN was #6 (where I live currently), and Wausau WI was #13 (2nd job, in Marshfield, for 3 years).

Madison isn't too far behind either, at 26th safest (surprise: industrial Green Bay is right after it), but Duluth-Superior lags at 74th safest, Minneapolis-St. Paul is at 114th safest, and Milwaukee-Waukesha disappoints at 174th safest, which is really 79th most dangerous. Not that I've lived in those last few places; I just thought I'd include them to prove that it's not just Wisconsin being a ridiculously quiet place that causes it to do well in this survey. Same with North Dakota: Grand Forks slides in at only 77th safest. (I am reasonably sure they didn't factor in acts of G-d like floods and fires--or combinations of the two, as we saw during the flooding in Grand Forks in 1997!)

Guess I can't say why I seem to live in safe places. I was born in Wisconsin and have lived all over it, and I like it, and am never leaving. If Wisconsin is a relatively safe place, well, that would be the answer to why I have lived in safe places. Safety does seem to correlate roughly inversely with cultural diversity and opportunities, however. And you can be darned sure I haven't sought out places that are homogenous or boring. It's just been the way it worked out, unfortunately. I like to say that I am slowly circling Madison (does this mean my next job will be somewhere in northern Illinois? Lawd he'p me...). When I finally arrive back there, I will pay the price: sky-high real estate and property taxes, higher crime rates, traffic, etc. But I'll reap all kinds of benefits: higher variety of people, singles my age who are more like me, cultural and educational opportunities, and a liberal atmosphere.

I'm not moving soon, though. I'm still tired from the last move, I like my job, and the Madison Public Library still has its head in its armpit regarding subject specialists. I have had enough of moving around as the wind blows me. When I move next time, it will be at my own leisure, for the finest job in the finest place at the finest salary I can dream of--and I reserve the right to change my definition of 'finest' as I please. And to turn it down if I have the least reservation.




Tuesday, May 15, 2001

There is an online resources librarian on David Letterman right now, not a guest on the show, just someone on the street who is going to play "George or Jeb", his new game of identifying stupid quotes. Let's see if she gets any right: not too bad, she's at 3 right and 2 wrong, and they say she lost. Well! I don't like the scoring practices on that show. She would have won some nice prizes on Whad'ya Know with that score.

Had an okay choir rehearsal tonight, our last Tuesday night rehearsal until the fall, though we are doing a dress rehearsal Thursday night. Then, Friday night is the performance.

I'm not going to an event this weekend. I will need the rest, and besides, I'm not driving for four hours one-way to events in Duluth or Sheboygan with bardic circles, when most of my favorite bards are going to Quest for Camelot in South Dakota anyway. I'm tired and a little demoralized, despite the good class in bardic arts that I taught this past weekend. I haven't written a new song since before Fall Coronet and where has that one gotten me? Inspiration flees, and most of the A & S stuff I've done in 2001 has been given away: endless site tokens, scrolls to give away, garb for others. Selflessness does not come naturally to me. I need to be selfish this weekend. Maybe a song will come out of it. If not, I don't really care at this point. I need rest and I won't be able to swing into the camping season until I've had it.




Sunday, May 13, 2001

I guess I didn't realize how wound-up and nervous I had been over teaching classes at the Northshield Newcomers' Seminar on Saturday. Now that it's over and it went pretty well, I feel 1000% more at ease (and it didn't hurt that I got to sleep in, take a long leisurely shower, sit in the sunshine on a beautiful 75 degree day, etc.). My first class, "The Year in Eastern Northshield", fell a bit flat when only two newbies attended (a girl in 6th grade and the church building superintendent, who had just heard of the SCA that day). They were polite and asked good questions, but the other six attendees, mostly people who'd been around awhile and were attending the class to show support, did distract a bit with extraneous comments and conversations. It was nice of them to try to fill in the class (esp. when only one newbie showed up at the beginning), but...it wasn't quite how I pictured the class. Oh well. We made it through all the material, at least.

The beginners' bardic circle class went much better. The day being so lovely, we held it outside in a little 'prayer circle' that the church had recently built, two rows of circular benches under a wooden bower and whispering trees. It was perfect for a bardic circle. To my amazement everyone listened with great attention as I discussed what activities comprise the bardic arts, where one can go to participate, and talked a little about what it takes to be a bard. Then I passed out some songsheets that I put together, and took requests of what to learn first, and we got done with all six on the songsheet inside of the hour.

For each song, I gave a description of the author and where (s)he is from, the story behind the song if I knew it, and a quick rundown of some of the symbolism. The 'oldbies' at the circle (of which there were many, though not as many as the newbies!) joined in the singing and helped to introduce the songs, though none of the authors were present. (Example: I hadn't known who the hawk was in "Now we fly behind the hawk, who leads the way to war" in Shield My Kinsmen; Grimmund obliged by pointing out that the first Prince of the Northshield has a hawk on his device, and a last name that translates to "Mayhawk".)

When, at 4:00, no one showed signs of wanting to leave, I took some questions, then asked if they'd like to hear something I wrote. It felt nice to hear their enthusiastic "yes"es. The rest of the songs we'd done were largely about the Northshield; possibly I should have done a Northshield-themed song too, but that song has gotten such tepid responses in other venues that I decided to do "Honor and Joy", which has always gotten a good response. It did this time too. It was probably 4:15 by the time people started getting up to go, and I felt like I had given people the good, solid introduction to bardic stuff in the Northshield that Dahrien had told me he'd like to see newbies get. I guess I flatter myself by saying this, but I'd like to think the bards represented on the songsheet would have been happy to see people get introduced to their music in such a fashion...and that one particular one, whose approval is important to me, would have been pleased to see the learning taking place in that little bower.

Next weekend: no event, since I'll be busy Friday night performing in May Feaste. I'm thinking casually of driving to Valders for Mermaids' Saturday morning, but don't really want to camp yet--not this early in the season. Too cold at night!




Thursday, May 10, 2001
It's a political rant from Jennifer. This NEVER happens. Mark your calendar.

Those who know me, know that I don't enjoy talking about politics. In grad school I started listening to Public Radio (WPR and then Prairie Public Radio, now North Dakota Public Radio, in ND, and now WPR again and sometimes MPR). This at least keeps me well-versed enough not to feel like a complete political idiot, though I still don't feel totally comfortable in political conversations or arguments. Then there's the fact that my main hobby, the SCA, is not conducive to political arguments--for the simple reason that when we are living in the Middle Ages together, well, topics like global warming, corporate pollution limits, abortion, or the religious right just don't seem to come up. ;)

All this does NOT mean that I have no opinions, however. And if I feel comfortable enough with you, and if you ask, I'll probably tell you what they are--and I won't change them for you when you attack them. I'll be polite enough to at least pretend to see your side of the debate, even if you aren't posing very sound arguments, and I will refrain from attacking you personally. That's beneath me (though it isn't beneath most people). But I won't change my opinions.

Oh, and unless you want to risk my wrath, please don't carelessly drop mutterings about how the public library really should limit what kind of things kids (or adults!) can take out, or keep kids away from controversial websites, or make it public knowledge what everyone checks out...I don't get inflamed at much, but intellectual freedom inflames me. Yes, I have a larger and broader definition of what constitutes censorship than most people do. No, I don't have time to explain all the concepts involved...you will just have to take my MLS as proof that I know more than you in this instance. ;)

All this had a point. What was that? Oh yes, I remember: a nice guy who seems to be a friend-of-a-friend of someone on the Iowans Trivia team (he posted something to all of us, anyay) linked to this on his website: The World's Smallest Political Quiz. In ten questions, which you answer Yes, No, or Maybe, this nifty quiz plots you on a grid and tells you where your political leanings stand (that's picturesque...they lean and stand at the same time...). I'm a Centrist, smack on the closest grid line in the corner between Left Liberal (knew that) and Libertarian (should have guessed that, I suppose). I believe government has no business in certain areas (legislating abortion, mandatory military service, subsidizing business, favoring majority religions) and all the business in the world in others (regulating narcotics and other drugs, food safety, transportation laws, legislating minimum wages, providing services to the poor and underserved). Call me a compassionate centrist. I can think of worse things to be called (and I'm not lying when I call myself compassionate, like some Leaders of the Free World I could mention...).

There. That's all. That's the last time you'll read about politics on my webpage. Thank you and come again.





Wednesday, May 09, 2001

I'm stressing over my classes at the Northshield Newcomers' Seminar in Janesville, coming up Saturday. It is only slightly comforting to see how very many classes they have going at any given time (except for a few teachers who have cancelled, there are five tracks and hence five classes in each time slot!). Somehow, though, it would be more depressing to have NO people come to my class (or one lone person, who stays because he feels sorry for me) than it would be to have 15 and feel totally exposed in front of all these impressionable newbies. Oh good, either way I'm screwed...

I don't really have a plan for either class, just a songsheet and an outline of ideas for the Beginning Bardic one, and a list of events, and list of handy tips for going to events, for The Year in Eastern Northshield. Friday afternoon after the demo I'm stopping at Office Max to get 20 of each printed up. My self-indulgence will be putting the songsheets on cardstock, on the optimistic assumption that people will be delighted with them, keep them, and use them at their next dozen bardic circles, until they memorize all the songs on them. What can I say--a person has to assume that she will be influential, before she can actually be influential.




Tuesday, May 08, 2001

For afficionados of David Letterman's LP record collection, this site is the next best thing: Bizarre Record Covers. See the worst belly-dancing outfits ever! Wonder if the cover of Teri Gibbs' album "I'm A Lady" is an effort to persuade us of that fact! Watch Ruth Welcome about to dip her zither in a vat of dry ice on the cover of "Zither Magic"! Some items amuse by their very existence: George Milstein's "Music to Grow Plants", Tammy Faye's album "Run Toward the Roar" (what? I can't hear you, there's this roaring sound!), and four (count 'em, four) records of ventriloquists and their dummies. (How do we know their lips aren't moving? It's a sound recording!)




Monday, May 07, 2001

More search log funnies: 74.69% of the 374 people who have viewed my ER Dream piece were searching for this phrase:

"quite imposing crack"

Perhaps they were looking for a page about plumbers with seriously low-slung jeans?





I do believe I am becoming part of the endless search for health information...in an entirely unintended way. I checked my Geocities site statistics, and was going through the three or four archive pages that have relatively high hit rates. The 12/24/00 archive has 22 views since it was posted (admittedly, that was quite awhile ago in the life of my weblog). Curious, I checked to see what search terms people were using to get to my page. And they were:


  • one swollen tonsil: .79%
  • white stuff on my tonsil: .81%
  • tonsil white stuff: 98.40%


Wow. 22 people with white stuff on their tonsil (or perhaps on a loved one's tonsils?), or swelling problems, searched Google to find information on this condition, and found my webpage.

I am staggered, I am stunned. I am part of the march of disinformation--that is, information that does not inform. Worse, page visitors could have THOUGHT they got useful information from my page, which of course they didn't, since I am not a doctor and didn't really understand the nature of my tonsil infection until it was over. To think that someone might have visited my page, read that I had a tonsil infection and what I did about it (which was probably ill-advised), thought "Well, SHE lived," and NOT gone to the doctor...

Okay. While I have previously defended my posting about my health conditions with a hearty "It's my page and I'll post what I want", I think this presents the problem in an entirely different light. No more health-related postings. If I feel I need to talk about my tonsils, my fingernails, my leg hair, my left buttock, or anything else having to do with my body or my health, henceforward, I will call my Mom. Er, the Nurse Advisors. I will call the Nurse Advisors. ;)




Saturday, May 05, 2001

I should be out running errands (my shopping list is getting longer than the Constitution), but instead I have spent a couple of hours scanning in my first five illuminated medieval scrolls, to be donated to the Outlands scroll drive in the Shire of Schattentor. I'm mailing them off first thing this week, so they have time to get to South Dakota before Quest for Camelot in 2 weeks, where they will be presented with (I hope) mounds, piles, and gobs of donated Northshield scrolls. I must say I'm really pleased with the way mine turned out (especially Scroll 5, the one I was bemoaning on Thursday). Go see my scribal page here, or use the new button on the right side of this screen. I hope to add more as time goes on.



Thursday, May 03, 2001

Spent an hour tonight working on a French manuscript illumination, a scroll blank, from eastern France in 1550. I'm imitating it very closely (even trying to get the little smeared inky spots in the right places) and I had NO IDEA it would take this long. It's been about four evenings working on it so far. My eyes feel gritty. HOW did people do this all day, and with largely inadequate lighting? It's still a lot of fun to see it develop right before my gritty little eyes.

I feel kind of bad: I have let the mini quilt I was going to make for May Feaste auction go too long, and now it's too late to make it. I didn't really expect that it would be a big problem; I am willing to purchase something to replace it. But I told the person who is coordinating the auction, and she kind of blew me off. "Get some kind of sports thing, then." "Okay, how about if I buy a nice basketball?" She made this huffing noise and said, "No, something so people can PLAY a sport." (Uh...a basketball isn't necessary for playing basketball?) "All right, maybe some holes of golf?" "No. Someone else is already getting that." At this point someone else walked up and started talking to her, and, trying to keep her attention until my question was answered, I asked if she had any other suggestions. More huffing noises. "Just give me some money and I'll get something." And she turned away to talk to the other person.

I guess I had been pleased not to have found such high-and-mighty attitudes in this choir; everyone seemed like nice, down-to-earth people, including the auction coordinator, but apparently the pressure is getting to her. It's sort of getting to me too, with May Feaste coming up quickly. I'm starting to wonder why, when there is so much money being raised all year long in this choir, we have to do a $50-a-head fundraising dinner and auction at all. And exactly why are the members of the choir, who work hard for free all year to produce great music, AND pay $100 a year for the privilege, donating all the auction items? Why aren't community businesses being asked to donate?

I know I sound mad. Maybe it's just that I'm tired of all the obligations, the nonstop rehearsals, the extremely difficult music that no one really appreciates as much as they do the popular stuff anyway, so why are we wearing ourselves to the bone on it? I even find myself resenting the conductor, who I feel is really a very nice person at heart; he smiles constantly, but is also constantly reminding us how close the concert is and how much work all the pieces need. A smile ceases to mean much when nothing pleasant is said, and a token joke here and there doesn't really help. Sometimes it's not how you say it, it's what you say. Choir is not supposed to be so deadly serious. When you can't even bring yourself to enjoy classic choral jazz pieces, everyone is working just a little too hard, I think. Do I really want to be in this choir? I'll give it another year, but I guess at this point I'm not looking forward to next year very much. At the end of the summer I'll feel differently, I know, because I'll be in choral withdrawal, but I also won't forget how tired of it I feel right now.

(I realize this is a little ironic with the UFAH article that was in the paper this morning, with my name all over it. Let me just make the point that no one, nothing, will ever make me tired of choral music. I could sing for four hours a day if anyone would pay me for it. I do, however, get irritated or irked by individual choirs or conductors. The friction comes when that choir or conductor is the only game in town, as these are. If I am given a choice between being irritated by choir or not singing, the smart money is on the former--but that doesn't mean I have to be pleased about it.)




Tuesday, May 01, 2001
It's hard to come down off of a great event. My mind kept wandering this afternoon. "Row, men, row, across the ocean/We shall go across the sea..." It's funny, all the verses are about Northshield, but the chorus is only loosely related, if you consider the culture of Northshield to be Norse (as some do) and link it to the Vikings being seafarers. What it kind of is, is an Owen chorus. It fits him personally more than it fits Northshield. Of course it's not strikingly so; I'm just now coming up with this idea after knowing the song for three years...

A milestone today: I have been at my current job for one year today.






Eliane's Bardic Book

Eliane's Scribal Works:
medieval illumination

Photo Gallery

Short Library Humor Pieces

Jennifer's Favorite Books

Resume

Favorite Quotes

Ultimate Survey

Choral and Early Music MIDI files

E-mail me

Sign guestbook


Read guestbook

del.icio.us