Nov 302009
 
 Monday, 30 November 2009  Posted by at 12:48 events, life, misc, pets Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »

Yes, I am alive….

A & I hosted any of our friends who had no place to go for Thanksgiving. We had 23 people. Fortunately, it was a nice day so we were able to eat out on the deck.

We made stuffed dates, a turkey (using Alton Brown’s recipe), roasted yams & squash, two types of stuffing, and roasted green beans. In addition, Guenievre brought a smoked duck, vennison, and two types of rolls. And everyone else brought sides and deserts – I cant remember who brought what to list them out. The important thing is that everything was delicious, food was plentiful, and everyone had a good time.

Around 8pm I got a call from Galleron & Rae. It was a very nice surprise.

Unfortunately, all of our guests failed to properly tire out Garbo who was up and at em early Friday and demanding a walk and park time. People, she is supposed to sleep for three days after that much activity….

The rest of the weekend was pretty good. A had to work on Friday & Saturday but we had Sunday together.

May 262009
 
 Tuesday, 26 May 2009  Posted by at 12:52 events, geek, house, life, people Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »

Lets see… on Saturday, A & I had the day off together, which NEVER happens. We slept in a  little, too Garbo for a nice long walk, cleaned out the fridge including washing it down inside, stopped by The G’s to try out their Wii Fit,  then ran a bunch of errands, which included buying a Wii Fit. For the record, this may be the first video game console I have owned since the Atari 2600. (Consider yourself either old or geeky if you didn’t need to click the link to know what I was talking about.) That evening we engaged in the next step of the Cock Ale.

A few notes on the cock ale …First, for those who don’t do period brewing, or even any brewing, the cock ale recipe is kind of legendary. Everyone talks about it in a chiding sort of way, but I dont know anyone who has actually done it – few internet accounts show that people dont read as they have used raw chicken. Fools.

Secondly, if you take out the chicken the recipe sounds really good – ale with raisins, dates, nutmeg, mace, and sherry. Yum. This leads to my plan. I have done a very very basic ale for the base – I didn’t even add hops, but have used oak chips for my bittering agent, which is a first for me. I have siphoned off maybe a half gallon of that for comparative purposes. Then I have about a gallon with cock in it – well its a gallon jug with the adjunct ingredients and topped with the ale. The remainder is the recipe without the cock as that actually sounds quite drinkable.

Now the dimea… I really wanted to have it for Rapier Academy but couldn’t get my act together to get it done. Now my choice is to either bring it to Golden Rose and offer it up as a side highlight, or save it for Pennsic and bring it to the A&S display in the barn (do they let you display alcohol? I dont even know…). I would really like to make it more of an A&S thing then a curiosity thing, but it means either I only brew one beer for the baronial parties as I only have two kegs – and I despise bottling. Plus I have to store and transport it and space going to Pennsic is always at a premium.

Anyway, back to the weekend… Saturday night we went to the Bavarian Brathaus in Cary. A had heard ads for them on the radio, and we quickly convined a small crowd to join us (The Gs, Wystric & Sunnevia, and Duncan). Awesome food, awesome waiter, and good times. Afterwards we went home and played with the Wii for a little while.

Sunday… A worked, and I ran errands, took Garbo to the dog park, did laundry, and cleaned the house. Thank heavens for Brigida. Without her the house would not have been half as clean for the party. That evening, we got a call from Maddellena begging us to come help her eat a turke. She had fortuitous timing as we both realiezed we were hungry and without a dinner plan. We finished what we were in the middle of, grabbed showers and headed over for a very fun evening. Then back home, a few more tasks, and then more Wii.

Monday, A did a few last minute things around the house, and headed off to work. I took Garbo for a long walk, and looking at the weather and forecast called the Gs asking them to bring their pavillion over. I got back home and realized that there was nothing more to be done I watched a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory as I did random bits that came to me.

At just before three the sky opened up and I became convinced that we would not have anyone for the party. Silly me. By my count we had 43 people come by. And I am sure I missed one or two in the counting. That makes this the biggest cookout we have done so far. Thanks to everyone who came, who helped out, and who helped clean up. And special thanks to Dreya for making the beds look like someone actually tends to them.

All told a really good weekend.

May 202009
 
 Wednesday, 20 May 2009  Posted by at 08:53 misc, news, politics Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

Lt. Dan Choi, from Orange County, California, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. Last March he went on Rachel Maddow’s show and spoke three truthful words: “I am gay.”

As a result Lt. Choi received a letter from the Army on April 23 discharging him for violating the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He told Rachel Maddow the letter was “a slap in the face” to himself and the soldiers he as commanded and served with over the past decade.

Lt. Choi is fighting to stay in the military and ensure that no other soldier is ever again discharged as a result of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Courage Campaign and CREDO Mobile are joining his effort to secure equality in our armed forces.

President Obama did not create this policy. But he now has the opportunity to keep his promise and allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly in the military. It’s the right thing to do — for justice and for national security.

Please sign the petition.

Apr 172009
 
 Friday, 17 April 2009  Posted by at 09:03 misc, news, people Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

In case you have not seen Susan Boyle’s performance, it is here.

The Guardian has a very good article discussing the reactions to her:

It wasn’t singer Susan Boyle who was ugly on Britain’s Got Talent so much as our reaction to her

Is Susan Boyle ugly? Or are we? On Saturday night she stood on the stage in Britain’s Got Talent; small and rather chubby, with a squashed face, unruly teeth and unkempt hair. She wore a gold lace dress, which made her look like a piece of pork sitting on a doily. Interviewed by Ant and Dec beforehand, she told them that she is unemployed, single, lives with a cat called Pebbles and has never been kissed. Susan then walked out to chatter, giggling, and a long and unpleasant wolf whistle.

Why are we so shocked when “ugly” women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else? Men are allowed to be ugly and talented. Alan Sugar looks like a burst bag of flour. Gordon Ramsay has a dried-up riverbed for a face. Justin Lee Collins looks like Cousin It from The Addams Family. Graham Norton is a baboon in mascara. I could go on. But a woman has to have the bright, empty beauty of a toy – or get off the screen. We don’t want to look at you. Except on the news, where you can weep because some awful personal tragedy has befallen you.

Simon Cowell, now buffed to the sheen of an ornamental pebble, asked this strange creature, this alien, how old she was. “I’m nearly 47,” she said. Simon rolled his eyes until they threatened to roll out of his head, down the aisle and out into street. “But that’s only one side of me,” Susan added, and wiggled her hips. The camera cut to the other male judge, Piers Morgan, who winced. Didn’t Susan know she was not supposed to be sexual? The audience’s reaction was equally disgusting. They giggled with embarrassment, and when Susan said she wanted to be a professional singer, the camera spun to a young girl, who seemed to be at least half mascara.

She gave an “As if!” squeak and smirked. Amanda Holden, the female judge, a woman with improbably raised eyebrows and snail trails of Botox over her perfectly smooth face, chose neutrality. And then Susan sang. She stood with her feet apart, like a Scottish Edith Piaf, and very slowly began to sing Les Miserables’ I Dreamed A Dream. It was wonderful.

The judges were astonished. They gasped, they gaped, they clapped. They looked almost ashamed. I was briefly worried that Simon might stab himself with a pencil, and mutter, “Et tu, Piers, for we have wronged Susan in thinking that because she is a munter, she is entirely useless.” How could they have misjudged her, they gesticulated. But how could they not? No makeup? Bad teeth? Funny hair? Is she insane, this sad little Scottish spinster, beloved only of Pebbles the Cat?

When Susan had finished singing, and Piers had finished gasping, he said this. It was a comment of incredible spite. “When you stood there with that cheeky grin and said, ‘I want to be like Elaine Paige’, everyone was laughing at you. No one is laughing now.” And it was over to Amanda Holden, a woman most notable for playing a psychotic hairdresser in the Manchester hair-extensions saga Cutting It. “I am so thrilled,” said Amanda, “because I know that everybody was against you.” “Everybody was against you,” she said, as if Susan might have been hanged for her presumption. Why? Can’t “ugly” people dream, you flat-packed, hair-ironed, over-plucked monstrous fool?

I know what you will say. You will say that Paul Potts, the fat opera singer with the equally squashed face who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2007, had just as hard a time at his first audition. I looked it up on YouTube. He did not. “I wasn’t expecting that,” said Simon to Paul. “Neither was I,” said Amanda. “You have an incredible voice,” said Piers. And that was it. No laughter, or invitations to paranoia, or mocking wolf-whistles, or smirking, or derision.

We see this all the time in popular culture. Do you ever stare at the TV and wonder where the next generation of Judi Denchs and Juliet Stevensons have gone? Have they fallen down a Rada wormhole? Yes. They’re not there, because they aren’t pretty enough to get airtime. This lust for homogeneity in female beauty means that when someone who doesn’t resemble a diagram in a plastic surgeon’s office steps up to the microphone, people fall about and treat us to despicable sub-John Gielgud gestures of amazement.

Susan will probably win Britain’s Got Talent. She will be the little munter that could sing, served up for the British public every Saturday night. Look! It’s “ugly”! It sings! And I know that we think that this will make us better people. But Susan Boyle will be the freakish exception that makes the rule. By raising this Susan up, we will forgive ourselves for grinding every other Susan into the dust. It will be a very partial and poisoned redemption. Because Britain’s Got Malice. Sing, Susan, sing – to an ugly crowd that doesn’t deserve you.

Mar 242009
 
 Tuesday, 24 March 2009  Posted by at 16:19 life, people, SCA Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

I have come to a conclusion recently, that has well, depressed me. I have realized that one of the things I hate the most about the SCA is also one of the things I love about the SCA.

I have been saying for a while that we make it impossible for people to serve. Someone steps up to do something, or goes ahead and does something, they get hiot with a ton of questions and second guessing and criticism:

‘You should have used blue.’
‘Thats not obvious…’
‘Did you involve Xingrot? He has experience with that.’
‘Hey, you pissed on my corn flakes….’

etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. To the point where the person quits, or never volunteers to do anything again. I have certainly been both the recipeint and the obstruction, and if you dont think that you have, well, you are lieing to yourself.

You know what I love about the SCA? We want everyone to be included. We want people to feel some ownership and like they can contribute.

So, how do we balance these things? Conventional wisdom is to always start off with a compliment. Reality says that the listener hears everything after the word but.

For example, what you say is “Its fantastic that you used a period recipe, but did you really have to make beer with chicken in it?”

What they hear is “You made beer with chicken? What are you some sort of crack smoking sheba monkey? Thats disgusting!”

What they are thinking is “Fuck off, I didn’t have to make beer and bring it for everyone to drink.” And chances are they wont brew beer to bring to a gathering again.

For beer, substitute an event they autocratted, garb they made, a web site, an officers hand book, etc. etc. etc.

The problem is who ever did the thing is sitting there, proud of their accomplishment, and no matter how hard we try, criticism is going to come across as, well, critical. And that is going to be a blow to the ego.

No answers here, just frustrations.

Jan 212009
 
 Wednesday, 21 January 2009  Posted by at 14:30 people, pets, pictures Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

I have added a bunch of pictures to my gallery. I have been meaning to upload these for some time. These all, for the most part, link back to albums of pictures.

Here is Garbo and her Christmas present 100_0205

Here are some pictures of Garbo and Tracu all curled up togerther 100_0068

And some pictures of a muddy Garbo 100_0103

Here is Roawn with Garbo 100_0081 and 100_0082

Pictures from Thanksgiving at [ljuser]galeran[/ljuser] & [ljuser]splagxna[/ljuser] are here 100_0085

Pictures from our trip to the Outer Banks in December are here

And pictures from Joe & Michelle’s wedding (last weekend, in NY) are here 100_0204

Jan 102009
 
 Saturday, 10 January 2009  Posted by at 15:24 people, TV Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

So, I have been watching Airline and Homeland Security USA.

Wow… are people really that rude? I cant even imagine how they would behave if they were not on camera.

Regarding Homeland Security USA, its a really good show. Not politically skewed, just showing what the real work that TSA, Border Patrol, and Customes & Imigration do. It even shows them making mistakes, such as drawing guns on a family of four in a case of mistaken identity.