Tuesday, October 29, 2002

In response to my rhetorical question, "Who is this Ernani Aguiar guy?" on my MIDI files page, next to the link for "Salmo 150" by Aguiar, someone named Alex Santos has just e-mailed me an answer. He sent a short English description of the man and his work and awards, coupled with a longer one in Portuguese which I can read here and there (thanks to a Romance Languages class in college) and a picture file (also available here) showing the man himself. He has this shock of curly graying hair and a funny goatee. I like him on sight. If I ever get to Brazil, I'd like to shake his hand. Thanks, Alex! In celebration of information finding its way to where people want it, even if it takes years, let's all listen to Salmo 150.

Feeling good today, in no small part because I got an e-mail from a very respected friend who's a Laurel in calligraphy and illumination, saying all kinds of wonderful things about my recent efforts in illumination. In fact she said that she thought my skills in illumination were Willow-level, which is good because I actually did receive my Willow about 16 months ago for "excellence in music composition, performing at events, costuming and illumination for Northshield". I have never attempted to clothe the Principality ;) , so I've always attached the 'for Northshield' specifically to 'illumination', and figured it was a reference to my participation in the Outlands scroll drive about a year and a half ago. My first five scrolls (see my page of illumination scans to view them) went to that drive.

So, technically (and among other things), I did receive my Willow for illumination, even though I hadn't done much of it at that point. Now, I finally feel like I deserve it. Many warm fuzzies in me right now...

Also had a good Choir rehearsal tonight. My voice is still doing weird things after 2 1/2 hours of rehearsal, but during the rehearsal itself it seems to be about 85-90% back. Tonight, I am purposely not calling back a friend who left a message on my answering machine this evening--it's time for complete vocal rest, until the moment the phone rings on my desk tomorrow morning after 8. Got some stuff I want to use my voice for in the next month or so. Chris wants to record a couple of my pieces for the CD of Northshield music that he plans to put out as a Kingdom fundraiser. I've never been recorded before and I'd like to be in top vocal shape. I guess we'll see how things go.

Speaking of vocalists, my friend Kristen and I saw this guy (LJ Booth) at a concert at the Pump House, a local arts venue, about a year and a half ago. I found him to be funny, appealing, and good with lyrics; occasionally bluesy, but not so's you get depressed. Though I don't know if you could call me a fan yet (he'll just have to come back to La Crosse and woo me), I enjoyed the evening. Check the tour calendar on his website to see if he'll be playing near you soon.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Somehow, I finally managed to have a reasonably social weekend while sleeping in my own bed. Wait, that makes it sound like being social to me is sleeping in other people's beds...! No no no, that's not what I meant. I meant that I didn't have to go out of town overnight.

Friday night I wasn't social (though I did talk to a friend on the phone a bit). I decided to paint. There's something wonderful about getting back to illumination a little bit. I did a fourth scroll to donate to the Northshield--this one is a Crwth; it's got an illuminated initial with whitework, and (drumroll) I have painted...my first human figure! She's copied more or less wholesale from a French manuscript of around 1522, when all the figures have the square necklines and sweet faces of the Tudor period. The original had her wearing this odd royal blue turban with gold medallions on it, but I stole the flowing golden hair of a figure of Urania in the same piece, and gave her a circlet too. Oh, and lest you wonder why I painted her playing the harp with both hands while it seemingly floats against her body with no support, it was like that in the original as well!

Saturday I headed to Madison for my friend Barb's wedding, but that wasn't until 3, so in the meantime I contacted Chandler to see if he'd want to meet up for lunch or something, and talk Bardic Madness. We ended up going over to the birthday party of a fellow named Gunther, who I knew by sight only. We hung out and ate barbecued pork, made by his friend Zartan, until I had to go change for the wedding.

Barb's wedding was large (maybe 325 at the church, easily 225 at the reception/dinner) and very Catholic. I haven't been to a Catholic church service since, well, since I was way too young to understand what was going on. (I even remember taking communion, though I had no idea what I was doing. People were lining up and I saw bread and grape juice, which was the traditional snack at our Sunday school, and I said, "Hey, snack. I'm hungry," and went up to get some. I did think the portions were a little skimpy, though!) Since then I have only learned about Catholicism in the context of SCA period history (pre-1600), and it struck me that modern Catholicism shares absolutely none of the trappings of its medieval/Renaissance counterpart. Not a word of Latin in the entire service, and all the music had the ring of post-1972 harmless hymn-type music, designed to be smooth and unoffensive and occasionally catchy, but never historically aware. But overall it was very pretty, very dignified and lovely.

Can I just say, as someone who works at a medical center, I do not think that the 'handshake of peace' is a very good idea if we're trying to curb the spread of colds/viruses. Shaking hands with everyone in your immediate vicinity is a good way to get exposed to a lot of germs, and pass them on. I like the idea of 'smiles of peace' or 'salute of peace' (not a military salute, maybe just holding your hand up as you smile at someone, like the fake Indian greeting we used to give as kids--"How".) Of course it's not for me to say how things are done in churches. But if I were Catholic, I'd break out the antibacterial hand gel before and after the 'handshake of peace' section of the service!

After the wedding, I went to Brennan's to get pumpkins to carve, then stopped off to get wrapping paper for the present I got for the wedding couple. Then on to the reception and dinner. The food was very good, a cut above the regular wedding-dinner fare; the DJ played classic jazz singers not-too-loud while we ate, so we could actually hear ourselves think. I sat at the library-related-friends table, with some former co-workers of Barb's and a woman I remembered from library school, and talked probably more than I should have due to a half-cup of coffee I had at the reception, when I was feeling a little sleepy. I left right after Barb and Jim had their first dance; I knew I had to get back to La Crosse before I got too tired, and I also wanted to stop at the new Borders' in Madison before getting on the road (had my 20% off coupon and everything!).

This morning I woke up later than I intended, got all mad at myself, then remembered that this weekend was time to set the clocks back. Bonus: an extra hour! Of course I piddled it away answering e-mail, taking a long shower, etc. and was late to the party in the end. I had a fun time at Valgarth and Ariella's--we watched a bunch of the Simpson's Halloween episodes, then Army of Darkness, which struck me as just about the most SCA-quotable movie since Monty Python's The Holy Grail. All this while gutting and carving ten pumpkins. I was going to carve one, but started gutting and separating seeds, and decided to just continue with that and supply 'pumpkin blanks' to the others in the room. (There's still a large pumpkin in my trunk, just for me, in case I want to carve my own jack-'o'-lantern.) I kept all the seeds from the ones I gutted (two of which I brought), and boy, did that yield a lot of seeds. Snacks for weeks!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Last night my friend Kristen e-mailed to ask if I felt like being wild 'n' crazy and going to dinner and a movie. I thought about it and realized, with all the SCA events I've been to over the past month (4), with busyness at work and more busyness at home, I hadn't had a totally irrelevant, unproductive evening in a long time. (Well, unless you count those SCA events. Hey! No maligning my favorite hobby!)

So we went totally nuts, omigosh, TOW-tally, and went to a new Italian restaurant called Kate's on State, then saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The restaurant was adorable, with a big, big menu--not big as in oversized or having an outlandish number of choices, but every dish sounded beautiful, full of great stuff. Obviously the cook, in addition to her culinary skills, is pretty good with the pen too. It took us forever to decide. In the end I got linguini puttanesca, which was not stellar, but not at all bad. (Linguini's my favorite. I realize all pasta is pasta, no matter what shape it's in, but someone who's grown up trying every shape there is knows what her favorite is. Actually, I prefer tagliatelle--slightly wider than linguini--but it's harder to find.) Even the bread was delicious. I buttered up the last piece with delectable herb butter and took it with me, right out the door, munching all the way. I couldn't leave it behind--and didn't want to stick it in the leftover box, for it to get all soggy. Really, what else was there to do? ;)

The movie was everything everyone's been saying it is: funny, adorable, happy, sweet, feel-good. So much so that I left a little unsatisfied. None of the conflicts in the movie felt real to me. Everything was too fairy-tale like, too perfect, problems too easily resolved, grandmothers with Alzheimer's suddenly displaying tenderness and understanding of difficult situations, greasy cousins with cleavage turning out to have a heart of gold, going to college for a year solves the lifelong self-esteem problems of a 30-year-old woman (and apparently turns her hair black and curls it attractively, too), and the man she falls deeply in love with on first sight, well, he does the same the first time he sees the curly black hair. The happy ending was never in question.

Now I'm not saying I couldn't enter into the fairy tale--I did, as did everyone in the theater. Indeed, my fantasy man has worn John Corbett's face for the last 24 hours (I still say Chris Stevens, the metaphysical disc jockey, was the most interesting--and sexy--character on Northern Exposure). It just evaporated so quickly once we left the theater. It was sweetness and light, and it couldn't survive an average Wednesday night in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Maybe it works better in more desperate places, where people need fantasy more, I don't know. I do think Nia Vardalos is very talented--but maybe more so as a writer than as an actress. She went a little too far with the early Toula, pre-college, with the flat brown hair and big sweaters and hairy lip and total lack of facial expression. I was afraid she had some sort of schizoid catatonia, or perhaps something drug-induced. But anyway...enough picking. Overall, a very pleasant experience, and a nice evening with a pal.

This weekend: a wedding (a friend from library school, who also happened to go on to become a medical librarian, is getting married in Middleton), and a party at the home of some local SCA friends, Valgarth and Ariella, who are very cool and who are wonderful additions to the group. It's not every year Rokeclif gets transplants from other SCA groups--I think I was the last, until these two came along. And they didn't move far--just down from Shattered Oak (Eau Claire). But they are very definitely appreciated.

Be nice like me, and go give some money to Wisconsin Public Radio before their pledge drive ends (or even after, that's fine too). Or just listen. It's world-class radio.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Part II of my review of the Known World Bardic Congress & Cooks' Collegium follows. First let me just say, after four consecutive weekends being out of town for SCA stuff (the Choir recording session, Coronation, Coronet, and KWBC), it is unutterably pleasant to spend a weekend at home. I have only local committments (a party with work colleagues tonight, the Rokeclif populace meeting tomorrow) this weekend. I made some phone calls last night, slept for about 11 hours, got up and took a leisurely shower, cleaned the kitchen for a little while, then began some bars to take to the gathering tonight. Even the fact that Public Radio is in the middle of their pledge drive doesn't bother me; it is very companionable to listen to the show hosts discuss why their service is worthy of my support, as I savor some Sibby's organic ice cream and peruse a new book on 15th Century painting I got in Madison during the High Holydays.

Remembering back to the KWBC&CC, though. I suppose the first thing to mention, if I am going to mention things/doings/activities that impressed me, would be the extensive (almost TOO extensive) symposium on the Boreal Master, preserved for posterity on the website of the Boreal Foundation for Academic Studies. On Saturday night we devoted close to four hours of the event's time to the reading of papers on this illustrious Viking poet, most well-known for his work The Lay of the Rowing Bench (with its over 11,000 stanzas, it is the "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" of the Viking era). I was disappointed that others of the Master's works were not read that night, notably The Berserker's Laundry List (included about halfway down the page). As someone who has learned firsthand the extreme importance of dry socks in cold, wet, or dewy surroundings, I feel deeply akin to the Boreal Master when I read The Berserker's Laundry List. However, between performance of newly translated verses of The Lay of the Rowing Bench (on which, due to the repetitive lines, we could all join in), and exhaustive analyses of previous research (click, it's frightening) on the works and historical context of the Master, we were all rapt throughout the Symposium. Granted, the King and Queen of Ealdormere bundled up their stuff and left with quizzical looks on Their faces during the intermission. One can only assume they had a previous engagement elsewhere.

Perhaps the best part of the Symposium on the Boreal Master was the performance of a one-act play, discovered and translated by Master Hector of the Black Height, called "As You Like Hamlet, Moorish King of Lear". Oddly reminiscent of Shakespeare (espescially since it was written by the Boreal Master some 900 years before the birth of the Bard), this chaotic and evocative dramatic presentation was well worth waiting for. Michael Alewright as the randy Roberts the Pirate, my new apprentice sister Gwerydd as the pirate with the hook (and Naga's head as the parrot on her shoulder, which led me to wonder aloud to Sarra in the middle of the performance, "I'm confused, why are those two pirates snuggling?"), Gwen of AEthelmearc as Juliet, the heroine's virginal (but eager to leave her virginal state) cousin, and many more performances were memorable. For more information on this play (though not, unfortunately, a script), see The Play's the Thing: New Insights into the Boreal Canon. (They say this play will be performed at Pennsic. I'll be there.)

More impressive moments: asking Kestra if she would play "Beledi" for me as accompaniment for "Three Words", and having her nod once and burst into the most gorgeous, perfectly paced dumbek accompaniment I've ever had played for that piece (upstairs in the vaulted wooden part of the building, which acoustic only made both of us sound incredibly good); Garraed's selkie song making Sarra and half the rest of the room cry (and the hummed harmony coming from all corners of the room); Hector and all the Ealdormereans singing "Home to Ealdormere" (aka "The Song of the Northern Wanderers") as the close for the serious part of the Sunday night bardic circle; the...well...sufficiently WRONG things that ensued in the non-serious portion of the circle (Martin's rendition of a song to "Gypsy Rover" in the voice of Grover from Sesame St., Garraed doing Efenwealt's "Celtic Jihad Rap", someone's--no one will admit to it--leading "The Queen of All An Tir", and lots more). One Lady, on accepting a kumihimo kit from me, proceeded (to our amazement) to finish it before the end of the day, and ask for more. Luckily Gwendion had additional materials to make a new kit. A fencer and new bard named Vlad who not only told a really, REALLY funny story as part of my "The Gift" bardic madness challenge on Sunday at lunch, he also came up with a song about Ealdormere to do at the Sunday night bardic circle.

And I will never forget being surrounded by a group of people who had come out of the woodwork when Lady Katherine wanted to sing some choral-type period music Sunday night after supper. First it was her and I, then a group of ladies drifted over, then one man, then some more women, then a whole line of men. We did maybe 10-12 pieces, most of which ended up sounding pretty amazing because we had actual basses and tenors like Michael, Martin, and Rufus. At one moment we were singing "Gaudete", which Colin is hoping the Northshield Choir will sing next season, and we broke into about 5 parts of harmony based partly on what was on the page and partly on what several of us knew from other arrangements, and I smiled harder than I have outside of the SCA in a long, long time. I looked up and caught Owen's eye, and he smiled back and sort of seemed to remember what I'd said once, that my true passion in the SCA is harmony; my committment to the bardic arts is very strong, but what truly makes me happy is not singing, but singing together.

I need to remember to thank Gwendion and Cainnear (the expatriate Northshielders) for picking us up at the airport Friday, Chiara and (omigosh) Duke David for taking us to the airport Monday; Gwendion for helping out a poor lady (me) who had enough (ahem) feminine protection to get her period, say, Sunday, but not Friday; Katherine for putting up with my peculiarities in terms of which choral pieces and what harmony parts I knew; Sarra for taking the lowest bunk and being patient with my snoring and my walking around beside her bed at horrendous hours of the night when she had already gone to sleep; and the patrons for my bardic challenges, Owen and Ivanna. Not least was the contribution of Mistress Marian, who couldn't be there because she was out of the country, but who left a gold velvet pouch of various tokens she had accumulated with Hector to give to me, and hand out at my discretion. Because I had my own tokens to hand out too (rings and little glass millefiori beads with faces on them), I still have some of her tokens left in the pouch, and will have to figure out how to hand those out. Maybe at Bardic Madness South?

And now, I need to be getting on my way to the gathering tonight. My bars are done, and the festivities start soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

The Known World Bardic Congress & Cooks Collegium was overwhelming. Picture spending an entire extended weekend (Friday night to Monday morning) spent in a creaky unheated wooden Cub Scout building, sleeping in mattress-less bunks three levels tall, being fed every time you turn around, and surrounded by the finest and friendliest bards in the Known World, many of which are your friends. If they weren't before, they are by the end of the weekend.

It's hard to know what to say. The usual things I'd say about an event don't seem to cover it. My main memory of the weekend is of togetherness. It's the kind of togetherness I feel when the Northshield is all together: W&W, Coronet. It's the kind of togetherness that means it doesn't matter where you are--wherever you are together is home. I realize this sounds contradictory. Ealdormere is no more my home than, say, Drachenwald or Ansteorra. And I stand by what I said in an earlier post, that unlike most of the bards of the Known World, I don't wish I were from Ealdormere. I love the Northshield and will never leave it. But that site was home, for a weekend, even if it was hundreds of miles from the Northshield.

There were Northshielders there, though--fewer than I would have liked (Colin and Charissa are probably fuming at having missed it, reading this!), but they were there. Sarra and I, of course, and Dahrien and Owen, and Alexandre who made a vacation of it and hung out in Toronto with relatives for a week previous, and Cerian who might as well be from Northshield. And two ladies who had moved recently from Mare Amethystinum and still had all their Northshield songbooks. It was enough.

Listen. I did a weird thing. You know how I'm mainly a singer? I mean, I might write/read a poem every so often, but it never feels quite right. And I don't to anything spontaneous or improvised in the context of the bardic arts. Well...I wanted to do something Northshield. And it popped into my head that I needed to do Shield My Kinsmen, but then I realized there needed to be some sort of introduction besides my usual peppy "This is by Wyndreth and it's the Northshield national anthem, y'all sing along if you know it!". So I got up there in front of the Bards of the Known World (or at least a significant percentage of them) and I asked them to close their eyes. And I did Chandler's "Shield My Kinsmen" visualization, the one that always makes me cry. I paced it like he does, with lots of pauses, gentle short phrases, and lots of description: the snowy plain, the frozen mist in the air, the indistinct shapes and the indistinct singing, coming towards you: people who have fought, people who are proud, but most of all people who love their home more than victory. I didn't even feel a prickle of tears until that last line; I hope it sounded emotional rather than weak. Then I segued into the song with "Finally it breaks over you like a ray of sun: they are singing, men, women, and children, and this is the song that you hear:" and I began the song.

I was so nervous, I couldn't see or hear anyone's reaction--you know that bubble you're in when you're nervous? I couldn't believe what I was doing. I never did anything extemporaneous in my entire bardic career. I have no idea how it went. Afterwards I got hugs from the entire Northshield contingent, and a ring from Mistress Tsivia, and a whispered "phenomenal" from Owen, but no feedback from anyone else. Maybe Canadians don't do visualizations. I dunno. Anyway...

Besides performing at the fabulous evening bardic circles ("Yes, We Have No Exchequer" actually went over well for once! Freaky!), I went to classes, I hung out with my new apprentice sister Gwerydd (the ceremony was done Friday night), I sang with a friendly Lady recently relocated to Ealdormere from Lochac, named Katherine (who was the lone voice of period choral music, that is, until we started singing together and others appeared out of the woodwork!), I froze Sunday night and overslept Monday morning, I luxuriated in the famous Ealdormere bardic-choir experience (singing harmony all the while, of course!), I acquired many, many boxes of Canadian Smarties, I gave away a slew of kumihimo kits (along with Gwendion, who is the first person I've met who enjoys kumihimo who didn't learn it from me!), and I made new friends. Lots of them.

Here is where I would normally list things/people/happenings that impressed me, an other-centered list instead of the self-centered one above. But I don't know where to start--there were too many. Maybe I'll leave that for tomorrow night, and I'll put some thought into it between now and then.

All right, that makes this Installment One of the KWBC&CC Report. Installment Two will have my list of things that impressed or delighted me, plus mundane things like which dishes I liked best (ooo, yummy handmade sausages) and how it was travelling with Sarra for the third weekend in a row (we didn't strangle each other! ;) ). And now, I will send this posting to the page, satisfying both myself and my friend Chandler, who is impatiently YMing me asking how things went.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Leaving tomorrow night for Madison, en route to the Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium. Quite frankly I can't wait for this week to be over. Not to get into particulars, but it seems like everyone in the world has something they need my help with this week--all at work, not SCA or anything else.

I sang maybe 20% of the rehearsal Tuesday night. My nose is still a little stuffy and my left sinus is still inflamed, if not infected--my cheekbone is sore and my upper left teeth hurt. That's sinus trouble if I ever felt it. Ibuprofen is handling it. I'm still coughing but not coughing UP, if you know what I mean, so I must be mending, but it's going slowly. I guess I'll just take things as they come. If I'm not ready to be doing a lot of singing, esp. if exposure to the unheated site gives me a relapse of my cold, I'll just take it easy and not sing. It's not worth injuring myself.

There are some great pictures of my apprenticing ceremony at Coronet on Kudrun's Rokeclif photo album (http://photos.yahoo.com/rokeclif; it doesn't seem to be working right now, but try again if it doesn't; it's probably just exceeded today's download bandwidth). I am trying to get Owen to send me a copy of the quatrains he read to me as part of the ceremony; then I'll sit down and put down my memories of the ceremony. For now, those pictures will have to speak for themselves.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Still processing this weekend's event, Northshield Coronet. It doesn't seem possible that an event could go that smoothly, have so many fabulous things happen at it, and slip by almost before I notice. It didn't help that I was slightly spacy, still being sick with whatever bug is going around, and not encoding memories efficiently. There were so many things I wanted to remember. Sarra, start transcribing your court reports--I wanna see them!

This was easily the most enjoyable Coronet I've been to since my very first one (where I got my Award of Arms). Troll was efficient and well-staffed, everything was on time, signage was excellent, there was plenty of room for everything, all the courts were great with some amazing surprises, someone won the Tourney who has been trying for years, feast was delicious, on time, and efficiently served, and everyone was off site early and made their way to a spacious and delightful post-revel not too far away. It was like a dream...no, it was like The Dream.

Highlights of Court: Duchess Caitlin gave Prince Robert a string of amber that she then said was her late husband Thorbjorn Osis' knighthood chain. Mikey read Viscountess Elashava's laureling scroll in Hebrew. A new Baroness (Aesa, Raito and Elashava's tireless chamberlain) and a new Baron (Grimmund! The King got Grimmy!) were made. Raito will be knighted soon; the boon was begged by three Knights who recounted how they all were taught to fight by this man when they were new to the Society. One extremely neat thing is still a surprise! I wonder how the...ahem, Ladyship concerned will find out?

It's still a little too soon to talk about the apprenticeship ceremony. Suffice to say, I'm now the apprentice of the person I have wanted to be an apprentice to for two years and 25 days (I went back and found the e-mail where I proposed the idea to him). I am still in the amazement stage. I am so lucky. More on this soon.

Ostensibly, I wasn't singing this weekend. In fact, this is the only event I have been at in a matter of years at which I have not even cracked my bardic book. The reason: still dealing with the creeping crud that struck Tuesday right before Choir. It migrated from my sinuses down to my throat and then on to my lungs; I marveled that I was actually wheezing and crackling while lying in bed in the motel the last two nights. Of course it didn't help that the post-revel site had two cats, and we had to come back inside from the lovely garden with the merry fire in the chimenea when it started to rain.

But I also know it didn't help that I did do some singing. I sang through the soprano line for "Matona Mia Cara" when the sopranos needed help with it in rehearsal and I was the only one who knew it. I sang "Nous Voyons que Les Hommes" with the Warwick Consort when I heard them piping it at Feast (and only forgot one line). And at the post-revel (while busily inhaling cat dander) I could not help but join in on some Northshield standards. Owen was handing out Northshield Pennsic songsheets, and I tried to keep myself from singing by not taking any (my bardic bag was in the car), and by seizing a nearby tambourine and playing along, but it didn't work. I guess even I can't shut myself up.

Right now, it's hard to believe we are already coming right up on the Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium in Ealdormere (Everton, Ontario). This will be my first event in Ealdormere. Of course I can't claim to be a stranger to all of Ealdormere--the bards we hung out with at Pennsic were maybe 30% from Ealdormere, and the rest wished they were. (I'm serious. I took an informal poll among our Bardic Bunch while we sat in the Food Court at Pennsic. I was the only person who did not feel strongly that her Bardic life would be better if she moved to Ealdormere.) They're all pretty talented--that's one reason why everybody wants to be them. Me, I'm just looking forward to spending some time with people I got to know at Pennsic, introducing them to Sarra (who will be flying for the first time, to attend the event!), and meeting some new friends.

And, of course, as at Pennsic, I want to spread Northshield starshine! Why does everyone always look at me funny when I say that? I really just mean that I want to represent my Principality well and let people know why I love it, while enjoying the company of other Northshielders along with whomever else happens to be there.

Cerian and I are sponsoring five Bardic Madness-style bardic challenges, during the lunch periods and one evening period. We'll see how they go over. Time will be limited (there'll be only an hour for lunch, to get through two challenges while everyone eats). We also don't want to cheerlead for the concept so much as we want to cheerlead the events (Cerian will be hawking Bardic Madness South, and I will have a list of challenges for Bardic Madness ready to hand out). If people love what they see and hear, they will want to adapt some of the principles--not necessarily to bring the franchise to their own Kingdoms, but to incorporate the idea of non-competitive challenges into bardic activities at their own events. It's too easy for bardic communities to get into ruts, put too much emphasis on star power, rank, and competition, and get lax about welcoming newcomers and challenging each other. The Bardic Madness idea is a great antidote to that.

Enough pontificating--I need to finish my laundry and be off to bed. My energy is still being sapped by this lovely illness.

(Note to self: if my red bag doesn't make it out of the washing machine clean and intact, time to buy another backpack for the trip to Canada!)

Thursday, October 03, 2002

I got a lovely cold along about Tuesday afternoon, so I'm currently a mouth-breather again. I ought to just stop counting how many times I've been sick this year. Let's see if I can count back: four colds, the flu, and tonsillitis. In the last year. What am I doing wrong? I used to be the healthiest person on the block. I would go years without getting a cold. Even my first year working at the medical center was a one-cold season. The last couple of seasons have been ridiculous. I am barely recovered from one illness when the next one comes along.

Don't write me about all the vitamins, herbs, and supplements I ought to be taking. Today I got more advice (from non-health-professionals, of course...what do DOCTORS know about this stuff, they can't even cure a cold...[that's sarcasm, in case you can't tell]) than I knew what to do with. Basically I just want to sleep, which I should probably be doing right now.

I also always feel a little down after watching ER. Don't know why that is. I just sorta feel depressed and too serious. It didn't even help to peruse an issue of Beadwork Magazine as I watched, it just made me miss some moments. Am I the only one who thinks that ER is getting a little bogged down in significant looks, emotional moments, laden silences, and seemingly mundane activities that take on deep significance? When I have to be staring at the screen at all times to make sure I don't miss any important plot points, I'm thinking it'd be good for them to allow the dialogue to carry more of the plot. My opinion only...

Saturday: Coronet in the Fox Valley. I am really looking forward to this, I'm just tired and logy from ER. Sunday night you'll hear all about it, you betcha.

Off to bed.

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