Gentle Readers,

I've been waiting for September to finish. Unfortunately for me, it's proceeded much like August with far too much going wrong for stupid reasons. Mostly, this was people who just did not give enough thought to the things they were doing and had to redo them. I should probably count myself in that category. This is not to say that there were no wonderful moments. However, these moment tended to just work to highlight the bad stuff and make it seem more frustrating.

While I am not going to dwell on the negative, I am going to say that far too much of it involves my basement.

The best part of the month happened at Coronation when I was brought into the order of the Cruicible. It's an award that recognizes effort and excellence in skill and knowledge about some aspect of the SCA time period. In my case it was for recognition of my study of the historical European martial arts. I was even told by the people involved that there was a bit of a scuffle over who would give and how I would get the award. It was really nice to hear that and to be told that I looked like a woodcut. It's always nice to be recognized for something you believe you do well.

I had great hopes that October would be nicer. It started off pretty well with things slowing down a bit at work and with the customer interactions I was doing going very positively. We headed off to an event yesterday and while the weather was poor, the archery range was fantastic and both Lydia and I had a lovely time plunking away. I had some great shots at 30 yards. I'm trying to focus on instinctual shooting and it seems to be working well for me. Lydia got to try 2 new things, one a heavier bow, which amazed her in it's ability to shoot in a straight line, and shooting from an elevated platform (which she loved). She was also shooting arrows that were made for her using feathers from Geese she knows and made by someone who is about to take her on as a student. I think it was a really wonderful experience for her.

Yesterday was looking really good too. I was waffling but the bright sunshine convinced me that I needed to get up and head out to Fight for Life, a fundraiser for an AIDS charity that is run by the other big club here in Ottawa. I fought a bunch of people I hadn't played with before and had a great time (although I really need to do some work on the helmet I was wearing. Then, on the last point of my last fight (I had plans to head out to something else), we closed to grappling. My oppoent had me braced against his leg and started a throw. I tried to breakfall and my foot stuck resulting in the my knee bending in ways knees are not supposed to bend.

This was a very strange feeling and the fact that it didn't hurt continues to amaze me.

Everyone was very nice and helpful and the gentleman who did the throw felt awful. but they took me over to a chair and I had a sit for a bit and let things settle. Nothing seemed to be getting worse and so eventually I tried to see if it would take my weight. It did and nothing bad happened so I made my way over to start getting packed up to head out.

I stepped and did a bit of a turn as I was getting my jeans on over my fighting clothes and my knee gave out and I collapsed. It was the weirdest feeling. When I try and describe it, all I can think of is when you are testing a chicken by turning the drumstick and the bone just comes right out. So, at that point it became obvious that a hospital visit was necessary.

The hospital visit was only 5.5 hours which is not too bad given that the in town ones were closer to 9 hours. I'm now in a knee imoblizer until I see a sports physician to get a better diagnosis. It's possible that I may have access to the video of the event by then to be able to show the Dr what happened (and likely leave me dwelling on what it was that I should have been doing).


Dear October,

Consider this a written reprimand. Your older siblings did not leave you a very high bar and you have so far made no attempt to step over it. Trying to crawl under said bar only makes you look bad. I'm not angry, but I am disappointed. I expect things to improve.

Yours etc.
Gentle Readers,

The third in my series of Things I've Been Meaning to Post About is the idea of a Mentor. I was having a lovely conversation with my parents and talking about all kinds of stuff when they mentioned my brother and his mentor when he was studying Traditional Chinese Medicine. I thought about it for a bit and concluded that I've never had a mentor.

So, before we get too deep into this, I should make sure that we have a working definition of mentor. In my mind, a mentorship has two sides (which should come as no surprise, there are 2 people). On the Mentor's side, they are someone who has taken a personal interest in their protege's growth and development and invested their energy and support in helping make that happen. On the Protege's side, they see something in the Mentor that they wish to emulate and think that the direction they are being guided is where they would like to be.

The SCA actually has a pretty good culture of mentorship (although quality of mentors and proteges can vary) and that's where I have most often seen this form of relationship. I've also seen it in university and in various forms in some of the workplaces I've had.

I've had many people in my life who have helped me become the person I am. I've had many amazing teachers who have helped me get better at various things and people higher up in the food chain in various organizations who have shown me the ropes, but I can't really point to any of those relationships and say "this person was a mentor" as opposed to this person being a caring friend or a teacher. It's the aspect of Role Model that seems to be missing from the relationships. I haven't managed to find that person I want to be like.

One of the things I've been wondering is if that is because I'm not seen as mentorable or if it has more to do with my not finding that person to emulate. Am I picky in what I'm looking for? Am I too particular? Am I seen as too difficult to guide and/or change? There have been many people I've learned from, and learned a lot, but I haven't seen them as someone guiding me. The relationships have felt more like we are peers. So, perhaps it's ego and the lack of ability to see them as far enough above me that I have to strive to reach where they are.

On the other hand, maybe it's been shyness and I've just not been willing to put myself forward to request that relationship either implicitly or explicitly.

Now, I find myself in a position where I could start to act as a mentor for someone else and, frankly, I find that idea a little frightening. Am I in a place that I want to bring other people to? Can I help people avoid the pitfalls that I have stepped in or if not, can I help them out? Do I need to seek someone out, or let them come to me?

I have no idea, but I think I need to figure it out. I do believe that I have useful knowledge to share but I'm not sure how to best go about it. Sometimes I feel way more like a useful counterexample than a role model.

Maybe I should find someone to mentor me in mentoring.
Gentle Readers,

Pennsic was kind of an after thought this year. We weren't planning on going because this was going to be the year we took Lydia to Lithuania. However, what with the potential for unrest in the area we decided that maybe it was not the best time for such a thing so we had the time for Pennsic. I'm still not entirely sure that we made the right choice.

We went early enough for 0 night and that was pretty neat. There was something very cool about walking around an empty Cooper's Lake. It's so much smaller when it's empty.

Last year it was pretty up and down with surprising ups and downs but this year it seemed to be much more even. I had more work to do than I expected as Rapier Champion but I managed to foist off the jobs that I didn't want. I still fought for Her Highness in the Rose Tourney and did pretty middling. That's about what I expected given the quality of fencer I was facing and my level of practice.

I got to go to lots of classes with Lydia which was nice. She learned a bunch of new crafty skills which she is pretty pleased about.

I got to spend time with friends I care about, but not enough. Part of the problem was the dreary weather making things mucky and wet and discouraging travel. The other part of the problem was constant headaches. Right now I'm thinking that those were caused by the unsweetened cold tea in combination with the pressure fronts rolling past. Getting knocked out every afternoon really cuts into your socializing time. They also prevented me from going to the 10th anniversary of the RV Weekend which I was not very happy about.

Most people seemed kind of happy about the colder temperatures but I was disappointed because it meant that the cool summer beers were not as pleasant and I was longing more for darker, heavier beers.

So, to sum up, the good parts of Pennsic were being close to people that I don't get to see nearly enough. The rest was kind of meh. Thankfully that good was very very good.
Gentle Readers,

Some of you may know of the the Red Knight, by Miles Cameron. Miles is a very enthusiastic historical reenactor (in numerous eras) and also an avid practitioner of historical european martial arts. He had a dream that he could bring together both of his passions and show both sides how cool the other is and he did this by hosting a 14th century deed of arms on his cousin's summer estate on the shores of Lake Ontario. Last year was the first one and it was amazing. I had brought Lydia with me and she had a great time.

This year when he announced he was doing it again I was really excited about going and so was Lydia. Even though it was the week before pennsic. Even though it started on the last day of Lydia's time traveller camp.

The best part was that we knew where we were going this time so it didn't take us 4 (my trip last year) or 9 (craig's trip) to find the place. Tent setup went very smoothly and we got a better spot than last year. We were right next to the list field and also had some morning shade.

We settled in well, there was plenty of room for the three of us. We relaxed and socialized and I mentally checked over what we would be needing for Pennsic in a week. Lydia was a little wrecked, partly from being tired and partly because she was decompressing from her first sleepaway camp, but we managed to get her settled.

Things went great until it was time for sleeping at which point we discovered that the tent also had plenty of room for Mosquitoes. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but Lydia has a bit of a phobia thanks to an ill fated camping trip when she was very little. So both of us got very little sleep that first night.

We still managed to get up and dressed and mustered for the morning although thanks to some armour issues I was not in full kit as I had hoped (which reminds me, I really need to make a new pour-point that can hold up my leg armour). Lydia mustered as an archer which was pretty cool, although there don't seem to be any pictures of her having done so.

The first day's fighting went well. Lydia was too wrecked from poor sleep so she chose not to participate, but I did pretty well. The rules were a little hand-wavy. It was more like a gladiatorial combat where the Count and Countess needed to be entertained and pleased by our skill more than our actual success on the list. Thankfully I had both and I was one of the 2 selected for the finals. Many of the others in the deed were primary instructors for their school and the count felt that perhaps they didn't need to prove anything. That being said, both myself and my fellow finalist were secondary instructors.

Aurora and myself fought to best of 3 and it was a wonderful fight. I believe we were quite evenly matched but Craig assures me that I was more dominant in the fight than I thought. In the end, she was the victor with the final point, but I suspect that it could have gone either way, more due to our differences in blow calling (not a criticism, our clubs just have different rules sets). Still, due to our prowess and presentation on the field, the Count chose to award us both the prize, which was pretty cool.

The prizes were medallions crafted by my fellow prizor.

We didn't make it to the youth Archery tournament. But Lydia was able to shoot in the clout and did pretty well given that she was using a 20# bow. I also did pretty well and made it to the second round. Also pretty good given that I was using borrowed arrows. I had no arrows because Craig opened the windows when we were leaving Upper Canada Village to cool off the car and my arrows fell out in their parking lot. I have to head out there at some point soon.

That night was our feast, which while not as epic as I am used to given my SCA experiences was still very competent and delicious. The concert was once again delightful and they sang a number of pieces that I knew. Lydia also enjoyed the music. When the concert was over, we headed to bed, but this time we had mosquito netting thanks to a fellow reenactor making a trip to Canadian Tire.

That made for a much better night.

Due to the previous day's armour failure, I was not able to participate in the full harness fighting, but I was able to sit and watch with Lydia and act as squire for a number of different people who had armour failures that I could help with with the pieces I was not wearing.

With the end of the armoured deed things wound up and we started packing up and made it home in a reasonable time with plenty of memories and excitement for next year.
Gentle Readers,

For some reason this has turned into my SCA and Swordplay blog. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing but I do think it's interesting that this is 1) the only thing I really seem to want to write about long form and 2) I don't really want to put these thoughts in a fully public and more visible place.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the fact that I've been offering classes and presentations and many such things at events for years now and nobody cares. The majority of people involved in anything I do for A&S are people who happen to be standing beside me when I start the class or people who have to actually judge it. I'm no longer interested in presenting information to an audience of none. I love this stuff. I love teaching it. I love talking about it. I love doing it. I don't love being met with indifference. Even hostility would be better as it would be something to push back against.

From now on I'm no longer volunteering classes. If someone asks me a question I'll talk their ear off. If someone asks me to teach on a particular subject I'll be there with bells on (or mail (same thing)). However I'm done preparing a class or presentation, bringing equipment, and going out of my way to do something that does nothing but fill an empty spot in a schedule instead of filling the empty place in peoples' hearts that should be filled with swordplay.
Gentle Readers,

As most of you know I play in the SCA but I haven't really participated in the core activity of the organization which is Rattan Combat. I've played a little bit, but this weekend I finally fought in the Crown Tourney[1]. I fought with Cortejo as my inspiration[2]. I was a little nervous about the tournament as I've not got very much practice (mostly because I can't get over myself and out to practice) but really no more than I get over the rapier tournaments where I'm actually rather good.

In the end I fought as I expected. I didn't embarrass myself. I should have probably not taken the blow that eliminated me from the tournament, but I was satisfied that it was good enough and I had just been legged[4].

Anyway, the fighting and the tournament weren't really what I wanted to talk about here. The thing that was most weird was the way people interacted with me. People I rarely, if ever, spoke to were coming up and asking me how I felt about my tournament and saying I did just fine and that I was very brave for fighting with just a buckler. I was very confused by all this attention. I felt like I should have acted sad about not doing well so that they could console me.

Anyway, It was a lovely day. I got to say some nice things about Cortejo in public. I got to jump into the game. I got to spend some time with people I care very deeply about. Even the surprisingly disappointing feast was made better by the company at dinner (and Cortejo leading with jokes).

Really, the only thing that would have made it better might have been wining and while there was no danger of that happening, I suspect that that would have overwhelmed everything else and I would have not gotten to savor the moments that I had.

I'll save being sad about losing for next time.

[1] Crown Tourney is the means by which the regional groups choose the people in charge. The current monarch chooses the format and everyone who's entered fights and the winner gets to be the monarch after the next changeover.

[2] Each combatant is required to have an inspiration for whom they are fighting. After they changeover, they will rein at their side[3].

[3] Previously this was required to be someone of the opposite sex, but the rules were changed. This crown we had our first 2 same sex pairs which was about time.

[4] Got hit in the leg. It means you have to fight from your knees. I kinda didn't want to do that as I think it's a little extra silly, on top of what we are already doing.
Gentle Readers,

Like about 20% of the earth's population, I have a Facebook account. I have about 4 times the median number of "friends". All but a few handfulls of those are people that I have met and interact with on a reasonably regular basis. I very much enjoy reading about their lives and when (not if) they post something I don't care about I can just ignore or hide it.

I still hate it.

I hate it because for many people that I know, it's the only way they send out information. If I didn't read their Facebook I wouldn't know about half of what's going on in their lives. Granted, the Facebook algorithm does seem to bring information about births and deaths to the forefront, but there is no longer any way to sort my feed in any rational fashion so I'm just getting a random selection of posts. Also, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to make a special effort to contact me about things they would just post on Facebook.

I guess that makes sense in terms of sticking eyeballs. It uses the same random reward mechanism that makes gambling so addictive. If I just keep looking long enough I'll be rewarded with a piece of amazing news from a friend (or a picture of a kitten) so I keep looking through the dross and banality and vaguebooking in the hopes of finding that gold nugget. I'm lucky in that the majority of people I have friended post interesting stuff, but that just increases the addiction to scrolling down.

I hate it because it prevents me from following the best advice on the internet: Don't Read The Comments. Really, a more accurate statement is don't read unmoderated comments, but that's what Facebook is: reams and reams of unmoderated comments. This wouldn't be so bad in general since I can usually exert enough willpower to not click through and read comments on other peoples posts. However, I can't stop them from commenting on my posts without blocking access to my posts completely. I don't post to start a conversation. However, the presumed closeness/intimacy makes it easy for people to respond. This is exacerbated by the tendency to provide unsolicited information (or even Mansplain). I know because I do it too (although hopefully without too much Mansplaining).

I hate it because people I don't know very well see it as a venue for sharing their deepest thoughts and frequently those deep thoughts are ill considered and do not add to my opinions of that person. Similarly people who have brilliant thoughts on things I care a great deal about (i.e. Swordplay) but also share disappointing thoughts about other things and make me think less of them (i.e. Conservative/Libertarian politics).

To sum up:

Reason to Go:
  • Near Infinite Filler

  • Comments that I don't want to read[1]

  • False Intimacy

Reason to Stay:
  • Random Reward Dopamine response.

  • Information Unavailable Anywhere Else

  • Inertia


[1] For the record, There is no one who I expect to read this post who's comments I do not enjoy reading.
Gentle Readers,

Hey! Remember me?

I'm waiting for some software to update so I figured I'd use this time productively to post something. The last 2 weekends I did kinda the same thing. I did a presentation about the evolution of German singlehanded swordplay first at Kingdom A&S and then at Forward into the Past. In both cases it went really well.

At A&S I was presenting to judges. I got immediate feedback but it was all "You did great. I have no suggestions for how you could be better." While this was nice, it was also little frustrating for 2 reasons. Firstly I wanted some feedback so I could improve for when I was presenting to the public at FITP. Given that there were people who were very active in presentation and public speaking judging me I was really expecting something a bit more critical. The second thing was that given the lack of criticism I was quite disappointed that I did not win my category. Given that they saw nothing wrong its hard to know what to do better. A tiny part of me wishes I had judged one of my peers more harshly since he was the one who beat me (conflict of interest? HA!).

The following weekend did the same presentation at FITP and there I had an actual classroom with a projector for the slides as well as a target to poke with the swords. Overall things went really well there. I had no technical issues. The biggest problem was the audience. It was all young men, some in trench coats, some with neck beards (ok, plus my one awesome friend). Having been one of them (well, without the neck beard), I understand their reaction but the fact that no one (but my friend) laughed at my jokes really disappointed me. Even the Longsword/d8 joke fell flat. The only thing that got a chuckle out of them was when I said it was ok to laugh at my jokes.

A couple of them seemed incapable of expressing enjoyment of any sort and glared at me through the entire presentation.

Very strange.

Thankfully though the feedback was good with no complaints so, they did like it even if they weren't capable of expressing that.

I'm not sure if I managed to learn anything from this other than perhaps that I need better jokes.
Gentle Readers,

I posted something on my facebook the other day talking about stagnated wages and gov't spending and minimum wage and such. The (very few) people on my friends list there who are rabidly right wing started ranting about the usual things, mostly about how we give the government too much money because "socialism" and if only they reduced taxes we'd be in utopia. On one the comments he made was "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." which was clearly a quote from some clever person.

The more I think about it, the more I am forced to acknowledge that he is correct. The thing is (and I think the thing he doesn't really consider) is the fact that this is true for capitalism too. No matter what, you eventually have to spend your own resources, or find a way to get blood from the stone. And that's part of what I want to talk about.

There have been a few little information points that have added up to this. The biggest was an <anhref=>excellent post from Skud which talked about, more than anything else, ethical living (although I don't know if that was the intent). I like the ideas about resilience and the ability to survive a crisis (be it Job Loss or Zombie Attack). I like the idea of reducing impact and reducing resources. Which got me thinking about why this was important to me. In some ways it's about living more frugally but that's not just it. Even as vigilant as I try to be about keeping out of our consumptive culture, it's hard not to get pulled in. The idea of having a set of rules for how you want to limit your consumption seems like a good rule for dealing with this.

Without a framework, you have nothing to support you and you fall back on the defaults.

So, there's that. Then there was Rick Mercer's rant about Rob Ford's popularity. The money line was "These are people who would vote for a hamster if it would reduce their taxes by a dollar". This got coupled with an article about why people who can't really afford it still buy luxury goods (which I can't find the link for) but the Cracked article about habits you get from being poor talks about it as well (it's just not as well articulated as the lost article). Basically: "If you never have much money, if you always have debt, you have no faith that you will ever have more money than you have right now. If that's the case, what does it matter how you spend your money." People become so desperate for that little bit more they will throw in with anyone who will help them get it, regardless of what that costs them down the road.

I know I'm speaking from a position of privilege. I didn't grow up poor. I don't really get it, but it seems plausible as a reason for why people appear to me to be voting against their self interest.

We also have the set of people who, while not poor, are still seeing their fortunes getting worse, are angry and frustrated that things are getting more expensive (or companies cheat and reduce the amount of content in their packaging), especially when their income has been stagnant or even been clawed back. So, again there is the opportunity to get things going into the black again.

So this takes us back to other people's money. In order to get it we need to make them believe that it's not worth keeping. We need them to believe that there's no point in saving it, it's better to spend it now. And really, in many ways, that is true. Even with inflation as low as it is, given that real wages are not keeping up with it your money will never have as much buying power as it does now. In addition we convince them the to use other people's money themselves via credit (although it's just another way of getting them to pay more money).

Which takes me back to the framework. I'm not going to be able to stop buying things, but I can choose (thanks to my privileged) to buy things that are durable and repairable. I can learn how to take care of the things that I buy so that they last longer and stay in good shape. I can reduce my reliance on processed things and learn how to make things for myself.

Most important, I need to make sure that I remember that these are my choices. Other people have their reasons for making their choices and those reasons are different than mine which leads their making different choices. I need to respect their autonomy even if it means that they are making choices that are detrimental to me (like voting for Larry O'Brian). I'm sure they feel the same when I vote for the "Tax and Spend Liberals" and may not be as charitable.
Gentle Readers,

I know I don't really post any more. I'm not even sure if I have any gentle readers left or if it's just me, Gentle Reader. This was something I really wanted to write down. In fact this is my second attempt, the first one having been eaten by my not paying attention.

If you've read this you should be aware that four and a half years ago Cortejo and I stepped up as the Baron and Baroness of Skraeling Althing. In that time we went to over one hundred events. We watched our neighboring baronies change hands. We watched the line of the north grow longer. We did our best to remind people that Skraeling Althing existed and was filled with wonderful and active people.

At the end of July, we announced our step down. Much to our surprise, only one set of candidates came forward. Where we had originally planned to have a fairly long changeover, ending with an event in Greyfells in March, we ended up with a vote of confidence happing and resolving right before the stepping up event. I think this ended up being good in a lot of ways, like ripping off a blanket, but I know I didn't really have any time to process this.

I was asked a lot "how do you feel", "are you looking forward to retirement" and other similar questions. The answer was always the same: "It's not real yet." It really wasn't. The weekend before, when I told the crowd at the event in Montreal that it was our penultimate event as Baron and Baroness, it still wasn't real. Even counting the ballots before we passed the Barony's opinions to their Majesties didn't do it.

We bustled about, just like normal at Feast of the Hare. Brought our stuff, set up, joked about not having to bring it home. Did all the things, having hit the ground running, just like normal. We entered court, after their Majesties took our seats and proceeded through our planned court. Our surprises were just as surprising as we had hoped. The collective gasps as we cut off Cortejo's hair was fantastic.

And then I stood up to give our last award; A bunny tail for a young woman we'd been trying to give the award to for most of our rein. I stood up and said the words "This is the last award we are going to give out." And that was it. I choked up and started having to blink back tears. We managed to give her her award and then it was time to say our final words. There was so much that I had wanted to say about how much we loved our barony and how much we loved watching it grow and grow into the barony that would support our successors, having outgrown what we could do for it. Instead, I spoke few words and tried to tell everyone present how blessed we felt having had the opportunity to do the job. And the tears rand down my cheeks.

And then we were done. It was over.

I think that was the moment of transition. Where I was able to throw the switch and step out from under the Coronet. I really feel like we left things better than we found them and also left the Barony with good stewards to take it forward.

I can't think of anything we could have done better.
"A universal welfare state is the essential bedrock of a civilised country. A civilised country ensures that no one goes without healthcare because they can’t afford it, no one is treated as if worthless because they cannot work, and that anyone who loses their job needn’t fear destitution for themselves or for their family if they don’t find another job instantly. A civilised country ensures that no one needs to work when they are too young or too old or too disabled or too ill. This is not a system that can be replaced by random acts of charity: to become civilised, we pay taxes and national insurance and we all benefit."

Taken from the introduction of:
Gentle Readers,

Its a relaxing Sunday, the first weekend of March and everyone else in the house is asleep. All 3 of them. I'm not talking about Reyl, he's off in Montreal. We've got a new addition in the house.

His name is Shadow and he's an 8 year old Great Pyranese. He's absolutely lovely. His temperament is just fantastic and he seems to have integrated himself into the house quite well.

Shadow and Lydia, taking a ride.

This is his first week with us. Thankfully no one seems to be allergic which is good, although we have all chosen the last 2 weeks to be sick and unhappy and my work just happens to be in the pre-trade show crunch that happens at this time every year.

What with being sick this week, I was hit fairly hard with a number of significant bugs being as a result of changes I've done. So no working out, no time to think about much and being the cause of work for other people left me feeling old, fat, slow and stupid. Thankfully, this is lj/dw and is the optimal place to winge about feeling like I'm not meeting my own standards and how everything sucks.

Thursday I didn't want to go back to work, but I'd been off for two days already (and spent half of them working from home instead of resting). It ended up being a good thing because I finally managed to solve a bug that's been sporadically appearing since the beginning. Fixing that left me feeling like things were turning around. The fact that the weather has been springlike certainly helps (even if I haven't had much energy to be doing thing).

So, with this renewed mental energy and the springlike weather (even if I do expect a new dump of snow at least once this month) I'm going to set new month resolutions.

First, I will walk to the main bus station. There's really no good reason not to. it only saves me about 5 min tops and frequently, I wait that long for the bus to show up.

Second, I will set up my flow charts and work out my Pallas Armata lesson plan. Craig's work with the new lesson plan for the sword hall is fantastic and I want to keep pace with him.

Third, I will go to BJJ 4 times this month. My Thursday schedule allows it so there's no good reason not to.

Four, I will give Shadow all of the loves, because, really, he's awesome.

Shadow making a snow butterfly
Gentle Readers,

I forgot to mention the really hard thing I did today. I gave away my comic book collection. Some of those comics I've had for almost 30 years. I had to stop myself from looking through the boxes because I knew that if I did, I'd be pulling out various issues and coming up with reasons to not let them leave the house.

I think I've sent them to a better place where they can be enjoyed as opposed to sitting in a box in the basement.

Good speed little doodles.
Gentle Readers

The last little while has been pretty good. Last weekend was the Tournoi du Glace where I placed 3rd in the tournament. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't do better, but the 3rd place prize was more useful to me than the second place one, so that wasn't so bad. We ate off board at that event because too much of the feast was Cortejo unfriendly and I have to say our dinner was at least as good as the official feast. The company was also great.

We got to watch the UFC fights that night in good company and then got to spend the next day visiting with various friend on the way home. It was a lovely way to end/start the week.

The week following was good, but a couple of frustrating bugs at work had it going slower and more vexingly than it could have done. This was thankfully balanced by a great week at the sword hall. We usually had at least 4 students in each class and even had 8 in the Thursday evening class. I'm so thrilled that things are going well there.

This weekend was a little more relaxed. The most momentus thing was deciding that we were done with Fringe, about 5 episodes into the second season. I can put up with some plot related stupidness, but constantly forgetting major events from the last season and even from the first episode of the first season? That is just too much. It's not even like they couldn't have done almost the exact same thing without the obvious plot enforced dumbness.

Ah well, I should know better than to trust network television.
Gentle Readers,

It's been a very full week this week. For starters Cortejo and I have started watching Fringe. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but after yesterday's 14 hour day I decided that I needed to play a bit of catch up and then it was 2 am and so now I'm a little tired.

The bad parts of the week have mostly to do with work stuff. There have been a bunch of bugs that were just no fun to try and fix and due to the fact that the worst one involved Windows Locale stuff (and thus Registry fuckery) where just awful to work on. The second worst one had to do with handling importing corrupted input files and fixing data formats that we didn't notice didn't work 6 months ago when we implemented the database.

On the plus side Lydia's been fantastic and so have things with Ottawa Swordplay.

We've had a bunch of people not only come out to do classes but actually sign up and give us money. It's awesome. We've sold 3 subscriptions as well as multiple class packs. There's even a new Warrior Princess (making for 4) and she lives in our neighborhood so that could make for a new friend for Lydia.

This weekend I've got another fencing lesson to do and I think I will be spending the rest of my time doing some sewing, and doing some work and probably watching some fringe.
Gentle Readers,

It's Saturday and it's been snowing all night. Everything is covered with a layer of white fluffy snow. This includes, of course, the layers of refrozen snow that was already there. Normally this wouldn't be too much of an issue as there's nothing terribly important to do. However, this week I have to be at the sword hall by Noon because I'll be teaching my first private lesson at the sword hall.

I'm pretty excited. The student in question is interested in learning more about how to use a sword in one hand. We'll be working with a combination of Pallas Armata and Meyer's Rapier and he'll be feeding much needed cash into my Armour fund. He's happy to deal with my somewhat sporadic schedule so it should work out fairly well, assuming he likes what I'm teaching.

Anyway, what this means is that any minute I really need to get out of my warm cozy bed and go out into the cold cold world and move snow around. I'm really not looking forward to that part of things, but really, it's January in Ottawa. Thankfully, as I mentioned, it looks like light fluffy snow so hopefully it should go pretty quickly.

In other Ottawa Swordplay news, Craig's been doing some outreach and got an awesome media response this week. He had an excellent writeup in one of the local Dailies. He did a Regional Contact spot on the CTV News which I think turned out fantastically. Today they are playing a segment on CBC radio's In Town and Out.

Hopefully this will mean both a big attendance at the Grand Re-Opening on Sunday and an upswing in student numbers. I think Craig has things at the point where we are ready to do that. I am a tiny bit jealous, but mostly I'm happy to see someone living the dream and letting me come along for the ride.
Gentle Reader,

After seeing the Hobbit my holiday continued to be awesome. I tried to write about it the other day but managed to reload the page and so now I get to recreate that post. Silly me.

I managed to finish my (and Cortejo's) Hogswatch shopping Christmas eve morning. I wasn't able to find everything I wanted but I did manage to get what I needed. I've always enjoyed shopping on Christmas eve, ever since managing to find the perfect gift for my Grandmother one year on a last minute trip with my brother. I've never seen the shops crowded or anything like that. It probably didn't hurt that this year I was out of the house by 7am and was done by 9.

This gave me plenty of time to finish the baking we needed to do. I made the Pork pie the day before so all that was left on my plate was the Pudding. Really it should have been made a couple of months ago and then been soaked in rum or brandy but I never remember to plan these things. We ended up having at least 20 people drop in and eat. The unexpected ones were especially nice. Eventually everyone except the guests left and we negotiated with the children that we would let them open 2 gifts now instead of waiting until midnight and opening just 1 because we were all exhausted.

The next day we dug through our stockings and found the wonderful things not to mention the amazing gifts that Lucia and Lydia picked for me.

The next couple of days were pretty lovely, other than the massive amounts of snow. Actually, due to the snow, Lucia had to make her Syracuse run early. Then came that most wonderful day of the year. My birthday!

The first day of my birthday was actually on my birthday and I spent the day doing things that I love. I went to Costco with Cortejo and I had a bunch of friends and fellow sword fighting enthusiasts come by the Sword Hall and we had a great bash up. Everyone was a wonderful challenge and I surprised myself with how well I did against a number of opponents. Particularly interesting was the Kendoka. I did reasonably well against him although the shani left some lovely bruises on my arm. The most difficult part was our different ideas about victory conditions.

I got home to discover 2 more guests which was also great! (They were expected).

The next day was pretty good. We tidied and prepped for the party, our guests helping make short work of everything that needed to be done. There was even enough time for me to finally watch They Live all the way through. For some reason though, no one wanted to join me.

Anyway, the other half my commissioned alcohol arrived and the brewer was generous enough to bring some taps and then guests started arriving and I was having a lovely time hanging in the kitchen (nearer the food) and sampling the amazing brews that another friend brought back from his american Xmas.

Then Lydia fell off her top bunk onto the open drawer of her dresser. She earned a 10cm scratch and a sore shoulder and was so freaked out that she asked us to take her home a couple of times. We got her calmed down but eventually our Emergency Nurse friend suggested that she was looking like she had a dislocated shoulder and so I took her to the hospital. Well, actually I had been drinking so we had another friend drive in yet another friend's car.

We spent 3-4 hours (I'm not sure) in the hospital with a session of x-rays that I think Lydia enjoyed getting to see and thankfully discovered no visible damage.

We finally got home just before midnight to discover that while we were gone, the toilet tank had burst. I think that this piece of news drained the last of my will to party and I headed to bed, leaving my friends to celebrate my passing without me. This was clearly a sub-optimal party. I will have to do much better next time.

The broken toilet meant that we had to go toilet shopping the next day. Thankfully, my work gave me some Home Depot gift cards. Cortejo took one guest back to his homeland while the rest of us installed the new toilet. Lydia and I also traveled with them to our New Year's destination, Casa Rozakii where we would rendezvous with Cortejo. We were a little worried that she was going to beat us there, even with her cross border route due to our stop a the Kingston Denny's for Hobbit Food. Thanks to a long wait for her return to canada, we made it there first.

The New Year's party was small this year but filled with good friends and good food and Cards Against Humanity. Then on the 1st was the traditional watching of full extended version of the Lord of the Rings. Lydia was much more interested in it this time, perhaps owing to being a little older and also having the Hobbit to compare it to. It only took about 12 hours, but we did have a little break for the traditional Canadian-Chinese food.

Our trip back to Ottawa was pretty uneventful with a couple of of stops, the first to see more friends and the second to drop Lydia off in Kingston. Then it was home where Cortejo and I were alone in the house for the first time since I don't remember when.

Of course, we had to get up early the next day to give a friend a lift to the train station so I got an early trip to work and it was back to the grind. Well, until mid afternoon when I got a call from Lydia saying that she really wanted to come home. Making things easier, there were no students for at the Sword Hall so I was able to meet up with Cortejo when she finished work and off we went to get our homesick child.

We finally got back to Ottawa at midnight and thus ended the vacation.


Dec. 28th, 2012 12:01 am
Gentle Readers,

Holy Crap, I'm 40. Like as of right this moment!

(backdated posting because I apparently fell asleep before posting and then didn't touch my computer again until now)
Gentle Readers,

As a special adventure last night, we took Lydia out to a later showing of The Hobbit. She has just finished her third read through of book and has been really looking forward to seeing it, even though She really didn't feel like many of the dwarves (Thorin especially) looked like dwarves in the trailers and promotional shots. I guess I'm going to be talking about spoilry things and making ranty complaints, so I better cut it )

Still, it wasn't terrible and there are 3 things that will keep me going.

The first is the hope that someone will do a fan edit and take out all of the parts that are not in the book. Right now I'm thinking you could just cut every scene that doesn't have Bilbo in it.

The second is making this Peter Jackson's Time Bandits remake. Really. It's a bunch of dwarves who scream like small children when they're in trouble running around to treasure troves listed on a magic map. Bilbo is the kid, Elrond is Agamemnon. It all works!

The third is that I've decided that the complete lack of female dwarves both in the movie and in the original source material is because Tolkien dwarves are like Diskworld dwarves. They look the same. The real signifier of gender is the shape of the nose.
Gentle Readers,

I'm seeing the "Tell me about a story and get a sentence" thing popping up again. However, my brain decided to take it in the other direction. So, here's the sentence:

Tiny black hexagons reflected back the light she shone into the crack between the wall pannels.

What's the story?

ETA: Just to be clear, it's not a quote. Tell me about the story that this comes from.

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