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.
Gentle Readers,

We've been back from our SCA weekend for a couple of hours and I'm still processing I think.

This was the year I finally made it into Pent. My goal was to enter 5 items created in classes taken at events over the last year. I mostly succeeded in that goal. I'm pretty proud that I had all of my items done ahead of time and that I had managed to get all of my paperwork in ahead of schedule. I do wish that I had thought to print out said paperwork to bring with me and hadn't had to hastely rewrite everything at the event.

The commentary on everything was great. I had some wonderful conversations with a bunch of people whos opinions I greatly respect. They had wonderful suggestions for me and everyone was quite complementary of my work, which given that it was all my first attempt at whatever it was, was pretty flattering.

Even the pent presentation went well. I was able to present my case to the judges and bug out without too much difficulty. They seemed appreciative of my goals.

The less positive experience was my presentation on messer. Thanks to scheduling conflicts I was not able to do my presentation until just before court. I was not happy with the presentation at all. I really don't feel like I was able to present my knowledge at it's actual level or even at a level I was happy with (I'm not sure which of those would be higher). Given the time constraints and the lack of information about the judges level of knowledge ahead of time I had a plan for how I could present stuff and it really did not work at all. I think I will be able to do better next time, but that still doesn't help much with this one.

The space itself was pretty opressive with no sound damping and terrible acoustics. Given the site fee, it appears that it was pretty expensive as well. My mood was pretty up thanks to the piles of posive feedback but I think if I hadn't had that, I would have been pretty miserable.

We were able to have a good visit with our awesome hostellers and also had a lovely dinner the next day before our journey home. For our dinner host's first turkey, it was delicious.
Gentle Readers,

We were off in Barrie this weekend for Spring crown. There was a lot of potential for a quite a bit of turmoil but in the end Eris lost the dice roll and the two finalists were the ones expected to be there. On one hand, this is good because they are both decent kings and they and their consorts would take care of a couple of issues that need to be delt with. On the other hand, they do not enjoy fighting each other and I think that emotional investment pulled some of the joy from the fight.

Outside of the fighting there was pleanty to comment on from the weekend. We won a Bow and arrows for Lydia in the silent auction which also contained a selection of beautiful knapped obisidian knives. I should find out who made them as that is something I'd love to learn. We did not win anything in the final Senex Creppitus raffle which was disappointing given that we had about 10% of the tickets.

The feast was, as always with these cooks amazing and excessive. We were very full by the end of the first remove (with 2 more to come). We brought in pitch eaters and even they were slowing down by the end. While I appreciate these epic feasts, I did agree with my dining companions that the length and monotony of feasts (in terms of things to do not in terms of dishes) is problematic in encouraging people to both stay for feast and also to do things after. There were a number of ideas bandied about as ways to deal with this and I hope to see some of them attempted (hopefully frequently).

Last, and unfortunately, least was the fencing. Only one other person brought kit and while I had a lovely time fencing with her, it was, perhaps, not as fun as it could have been.

Outside of the event, the weekend was lovely with a fantatic visit with our host bookending our weekend. Four stars, would stay again.

PLUR

Feb. 5th, 2012 01:21 pm
Gentle Readers,

Last night on the way home from picking up Kira-Lynn at the airport, I told her about the event I was going to next weekend. It's a "camping" event that takes place in a 5 acre industrial building in Barrie.

"So, you're goign to spend the next weekend staying in an abandoned industrial building. You're going to be wearing weird clothes. There will be tents on the concrete and you'll be eating unusual pizza and other strange food. There will be odd music and probably dancing. There may be drummers. There will also be drinking."

"Yep," sez I, "That's about it."

"Oh My god! you're going to a rave!"

So, if I you see me with a lantern filled with glow sticks, that's why.
Gentle Readers,

While I'm glad this week is over, it's not the week ending I was expecting. I was expecting that right now I would be in the middle of the Tournoi du Coeur de Glace, however, thanks to a bug that Cortejo picked up and my lack of reserves to handle hours of driving with someone I don't know very well we are home this weekend.

The extra sad part is that thanks to people needing rides, I've already done more driving today than it would have taken me to get there.

Part of the reason I was hoping to be there is that they are working very hard to try and make this a prestige tournament for both Armoured and unarmoured combat. I'm all for supporting both the idea of a prestige tournament (As we have precious few here) and the fact that it is for both combat forms is just a bit of extra icing on the cake. However, the main reason I was hoping to be in the tournament today was that in May, I am supposed to be playing my Dean's prize in the Ealdormere Academy of Defence.

The EAoD is a merit based recognition group here which has a list of requirements for each level, and if you meet them, you get in. There's no voting from other members. There's nobody who can award the levels. You pass or fail based on your own efforts. The level of Dean is the highest level and, of course, has the strictest requirements. In addition to a number of service and study requirements (Teaching, Good appearance, knowledge of historical fighting styles, and so on) there is also a martial requirement. For Dean, you must fight 50 boutes against the other deans and win a third of them. Then you fight against all comers for at least 15 min.

You can read it all here: http://ealdormereaod.maven.ca/Dean_Rank

There is one tiny problem. There are no other Deans. I (and the other fellow who is also playing his prize) would be the first. So, the person in charge has decided that she will be bringing in a number of highly ranked combatants from all over. I, not being one to want to make things easy for myself, have decided that I will also invite a number of friends of mine who are very skilled to also be included in the pack of Dean stand-ins.

So the reason I wanted to be at the tournament today was to just see where I was relative to the people coming out and try and figure out where it is that I should be spending my training time. For the last little while I've been fighting a mix of scadian, foil and badly mangled Capo Ferro. However, with the work that we've be doing with Ottawa Swordplay, I've been trying very hard to push this as much into the relm of German swordsmanship as possible.

So, I have a few techniques that work quite well, I have a couple that I want to get to work like the clockwork they should be, and I want have a couple more hammers in my tool box for dealing with problem nails. The problem is getting that understanding of what kind of nails I will be facing. In order to do that, I need to go to tournaments, or at least go and fight. I've got three months to get myself up to speed.

I think I can do it.
Gentle Readers,

It's been such a whirlwind here this weekend, that all of us are exhausted and in bed even though it's not even 9pm yet, even Reyl. He spent the weekend working. The rest of us had a much less mundane weekend.

Originally we were supposed to go to Kingston Friday night for Saturday's Baronial 12th night, but even though it broke Lydia's heart, we decided that it was the smarter plan to not go. The storm that was ploughing through had knocked out power with our hosts and with that also taken out their heat. Given that there was also the remaining dregs of the blizzard to drive through, we decided to recognise that the Friday the 13th had won and sleep in our own beds.

We managed to get ourselves moving fairly early and made it to the event site by 10, just as they were setting up. We settled ourselves in and I spent much of the day sitting and sewing with Ilanikan. There were a couple of important points in the day.

The first was our early court. We managed some business and delivered some presents (which were hopefuly funny enough to make the court time worthwhile). The big thing was declaring the taxes for our forth year. Following our tradition of one word tax declarations (previously Supplies, Song and Presen[ts.
|ce]) our taxes this year is Pilgrimage. We want our people to head out into the bigger pond of sca and share a taste of Scrael. We also expect Hospitality i.e. providing for visitors to our barony) to also be part of this taxation.

The other cool thing was taking a more active role in one of our Skrael traditions. To elaborate, in Skraeling Althing, we have the dubious privileged of being visited by Black Peter to help purge us of our sins each year. I'm sure this is one of the reasons that Skrael is so pure. This year he was unable to make it and sent one of his peers, a monster known as the Krampus. For a Krampus, Moira took an old Gorilla stuffy and added tusks, a long forked tongue, evil eyebrows, terrible claws and horns and opened up a hole in him to turn him into a puppet. The thing about a puppet, is that they need an operator. That operator was me. So, for a basket full of sins, I was The Krampus. With a voice halfway between Cookie Monster and Rodante Kapor I scared the sin out of the populace. Well the voice and a big stick.

Even better was I got Lydia to help me. She read the sins out loud to the audience!

I think I got it right as lots of people complimented my performance.

We headed back to Moira's were Cortejo "learned" tablero and I had a lovely time socialising with some new friends. Eventually people managed to leave or fall asleep and I did the same. Unfortunately, shortly after I fell asleep, Lydia came in asking to sleep with us. We made some space for her bed and she slept fitfully all night. At one point I woke up to find her cuddling my left foot.

Sunday we got woken up early by a min-pin puppy who seemed to think that doggy french kisses are the best thing to wake someone up with. We managed to get out the door to get home by 11 (an hour after my proposed time (just as I planned)). We got home in time for Cortejo to have a nap before we Zoomed off to the Ottawa Classical Swordplay demo.

The demo went amazingly well, even if none of the people I invited showed up. There were still about 75 people there which was awesome. I didn't do so good with the Longsword freeplay but won the Rapier freeplay which is as it should be since I am the instructor. I did talk a bit too much for my section, but I should have been paying more attention to time.

After that, we were originally intending on going skating, but some forgotten equipment complicated that. We tried checking out dow's lake, but the ice wasn't ready there and the only open part of the Canal was in poor condition. So instead we went to the local rink and Lydia and I skated for a half hour or so.

Such a busy weekend I can't keep my eyes open any longer to type.

Good night.
Gentle Readers,

At the moment I'm having some blood sugar issues. It's really not surprising but one of the most frustrating aspects of it is that I have no idea if my emotional response to things is appropriate or not. Really, this kind of "GAH!" turmoil is a very appropriate end to this unexpectly draining weekend.

Things started to go all pear shaped on Thursday when I started this lovely tension headach, likely caused by too much hunching in frustration over code problems I was having. It crawled up between my shoulder blades, continued up the back of my skull, snaked around my ears on either side and stabbed in at the temples. It faded a bit over night, but by Friday night it was back in full force, just in time for our drive to Pickering.

It faded over night again, but after lunch it reappeared as that kind of migraine that doesn't hurt but your eyes and your brain just don't work right. Thankfully it was before that that I engaged (and beat) her Excellency Adrielle in bouncyball jousting. Even post Advil, the day just didn't seem to pick up. It should have been so energising with a lovely couple having been selected as Baron and Baroness, a number of worthy gentle being recognised including a deserving lady being put on vigil for laurel. Even outside of the pomp, I got to have some excellent conversations with lovely people but for some reason I just couldn't get my feet under me.

We left exhausted.

We got back to our hosts to discover a lice infestation, so while our post-rev involved nudity, essential oils, hot showers and shared grooming, it wasn't as much fun as that description might lead one to believe. We didn't even drink.

Sleep didn't seem to do much to help and I think I woke up more tired than when I went to sleep. My blood sugar started going wonky somewhere around Port Hope and even after it didn't stabilise, leaving me no choice but to cancel my plans and hide at home. Unfortunately, I discovered a couple of things that triggered my anger response and, thanks to the ol' blood sugar I have no idea if I am reacting appropriately or not.

I hate that so much.

And with that frustration, the tension headache seems to be worming its way back.

Hopefully sleep will have a more permanent effect tonight.
Gentle Readers,

I left off at our arrival in Wolfville so I'll try and get the rest of it down here, mostly so I don't forget it.

    Happy New Year to Me.
  • The 22 involved a quick tour of town and some book shopping.

  • We got back from that to the arrival of our big christmas gift. The courier was pulling up as we turned the corner.

  • He wouldn't let me sign for it though.

  • Much of the remaining day was spent configuring the new xbox.

  • Except for a short trip for groceries (and fresh Lobster!)

  • Made a yummy cream sauce of goat's milk for Cortejo that the rest of the family was jealous of.

  • My brother and his family arrived just before so Lydia and Scarlette got to play with Antenna

  • My uncle and his family arrived the next day along with the snow.

  • Cortejo and I took the beer enjoying cousin to the closest brew pub where we got a Giraffe (112 oz tube with a tap) of beer to share.

  • The next night was christmas even and we had dinner with Cortejo's dad.

  • There were 15 kids (Lydia, her 11 cousins and 3 exchange students including one 10 year old)

  • She didn't get too many presents, but did get a Fidgit, which is the new furby, only louder.

  • Back to the house where we stayed up for a little bit and then fell over. Well, first we had to get lydia to fall over, then we had to prepare the leavings of the hogfather.

  • Christmas/Hogswatch morning, the hogfather filled our stockings!

  • Lots of presents. Lydia made out like a bandit. As always.

  • Then we spent the rest of the day listening to the bickering coming from the kitchen. My beer loving (and budding gormand of a cousin cooked for us.

  • Thankfully, it did not involve a giant tub of Risotto like last year.

  • Dinner was delicious.

  • Lydia and I went coasting after dark on the best hill in town. We managed 10 trips.

  • Boxing day was quiet. Cortejo and Lydia went off to see her estranged mom and her animal loving cousin.

  • I helped take my brother to the airport and had a lovely visit with my mom on the way back.

  • We were forced to eat delicious salmon for dinner. Forced!

  • We bid an early morning good by to my uncle and his family on the 27 and spent the rest of the day puttering.

  • We tried a mixed shopping/coasting trip but pretty much nothing was open because it was Wolfville.

  • We also watched a lot of weather network as we heard about the snow back in Ottawa.

  • We ended up packing up the car and deciding to leave from our dinner that night.

  • Dinner was my pre-birthday dinner, enjoyed with old friends including one from high school that I haven't seen in 10 years.

  • It was a much better brew pub IMHO.

  • My mom kept delivering more things for us to take with us while we ate.

  • We left town at 9:30 at night. This may not have been the most optimal plan, but I hope it helped my parents relax a little.

  • the next day, my Birthday, was mostly spent driving.

  • And now we are home.

  • Today, shopping and a dinner trip.

  • Tomorrow back to work and then more travel.
Gentle Readers,

I'm currently sitting around and relaxing listening to my dad and my uncle talk about finances (my uncle is a banker). Soon we are going to be heading to Cortejo's dad and step-mom's for their Christmas Eve dinner celebration. It's a little bit stressful but should be ok as we don't have to stay there super long. Just until the dessert comes out.

So far the trip is going really well. Leaving Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning was a smart move. Montreal is full of construction and trying to beat rush hour traffic and freezing rain would have been no fun. Instead we cruised through mostly empty, dry and clean streets. As an extra bonus, none of the overpasses fell on us.

We ended up stopping at Auberge Cap Martain, a lovely little motel stuck in the 70's. We've stayed there before and it's nice and clean, just a bit dated with their styling. Still we got to start the day with a hearty Quebecois breakfast. We tried to do some touristy stuff but the only thing we managed was to go over the worlds longest covered bridge. However, in doing so, we did find a lovely little place to have lunch so that was excellent.

We didn't hit any bad weather until just past Fredericton. Thankfully though, the rain was only freezing to the car and not the road. It turned to rain until we hit the NS border and then we got snow, but only as far as Halifax.

The final run to Wolfville was nice and clear.

OK, too much talking to be antisocial like this.
Gentle Readers,

I am currently lying on a king sized bed in the guest room of a castle just outside of Pittsburgh. The room is bigger than my kitchen and dining room put together. It's really a little overwhelming.

The whole day has been a little overwhelming. It started off with a nice morning with Lydia including a bit of reading and a driving her to school. We also got to talk a little bit about her being anxious about not knowing that many people at her school.

I got home and got most of my stuff packed for my trip and was just getting ready to mellow out when I remembered I had better get my passport packed.

It wasn't where it was supposed to be.

Cortejo and I spent at least 2 hours searching for the damn thing looking in more and more improbable places until we had torn apart most of the house looking for it. Finally she has the brilliant idea that it could have gotten jammed out of the drawer and so I look and find it under the waffle maker.

Five minutes later my ride arrives.

We have a sleety drive down to the border where we get pulled over and get to wait for a half our while homeland security looks up the event on the website (probably to make sure that I'm not getting paid and taking jobs away from americans).

About an hour or so later I have a little freak out when we stop for gas because my wallet is not in my pocket. I worry that I left it at the walmart in brockville but realize (after freaking out) that I had it when we crossed the border and search and discover that it has fallen out of my pocket and under my seat.

The next difficulty is trying to find something to eat in the wasteland between Rochester and Syracuse that isn't fast food. We ended up at the Pasta Grill which wasn't bad.

We continue on, eventually stopping for gas. There is a great deal of difficulty due to the canadian nature of my credit cards.

Finally we make it to our hosts castle. It's really big and awesome and sadly too late to get the tour.

So, I'm going to go to sleep so I can get the tour bright and early in the morning. Good night all.

Backlog

Aug. 4th, 2011 10:21 pm
Gentle Readers,

So, I'm now in week 3 of my back issues with no end in sight. It's improving and I should be good for the trip to NS, but no training for me which means that I'm not likely to be back at any of it until September at the earliest. The PT is concerned about things like compression so even something like the skipping based warm ups at KickBoxing are out.

Any sort of freeplay is probably equally as bad.

I don't really like thinking this, but with at most 2 months to prepare, I don't think there is any way for me to do my Dean's Prize at KA&S. I'm feeling disappointed about this but not as much as I would have expected. Either I'm feeling zen or I'm in denial.

I was talking to the PT this morning about how long it would take to get back to training and he's not sure. If I was a professional athleat, I'd be off for at least 2 months doing hours or rehab every day. Obviously my physical state is not valuable enough to anyone else to pay for it, so I take what I can get. At least I can manage to be at work now. The standing desk really helps a lot.

The window viewing onto the Gym does not.

Slight Dip

Jan. 26th, 2011 09:57 pm
Gentle Readers,

The problem with having a nice weekend is that getting back into the swing of things at work is always a bit of a let down.

This past weekend I was off at the Longpoint 2011 mid-atlantic HEMA gathering. I went down with the head instructor for our club as his assistant. He was going to share his point of view on I.33 and start to get better know. I'm thrilled with how serious he is taking this. I'm sure that it's only partly because I am not in the same situation so I have to live vicariously through him.

Anyway, his class went fantastically. It was very well received and he got a lot of positive feedback. Actually, I also got feedback to say I was a great assistant and made my intent very clear. My Aikido Sensei would be very pleased.

The 18+ hours of driving were just fine except for the expected blizzard just north of Syracuse. I suspect that Pulaski has a Hellmouth. We spent much of the ride there and back talking about his plans for the club and where to go with things. The plan is currently to become a fairly german centric school which means that I will be likely switching to teaching German style rappier. That should be very interesting and by interesting I mean new and scary.

It's almost too bad that the boys did so well with the Saviolo last night at class. They were able to flow through the first sequence and have it look like they were really fighting. That made up for a more disturbing afternoon. The disturbing aspects of the afternoon will be noted in another post.

Today it was back to Kick Boxing and it was pretty good. I wasn't dead at the end of the class, but that probably has more to do with having to push my partner rather than the other way around. He should really go more than 2 times a month. I'm not sure how things are going to go over the next little while. One of the uber-bosses has brokered a corporate plan with the dojo and so for about what I'm paying now, I can also add in some of the other stuff the school does. Given my available time, that means I'll be able to go to the lunch time BJJ classes should I so desire. I'm not sure what else I'd have access to.

I'm sure cortejo would appreciate it if I did the correct response and not the goofy response when she was trying to strangle me.
Gentle Readers,

I'm sitting here at Lotusice's house, just a little bit north of Baltimore. Craig and I are here for a WMA seminar/tournament. He's trying to make sure that people are aware of his (very good) interpretation of I.33 and is here doing his first time teaching outside of the Ottawa area.

For a 9 hour drive, it was pretty good, except for the expected white-outs around Pulaski (north of Syracuse). The strangest part is that it's pretty much completely down hill all the way here. At first I was confused as to how we could be going that far down but then I remembered that we were going towards the equator and so I guess it probably had something to do with curvature of the earth.

Anyway, Lotusice and family are lovely and showering us with hospitality. The kids and cats are friendly.

The event was pretty fun too. Craig's class went well. It was the first time I've ever been complimented on my skills as an assistant.

I also took a class on Dussak from Lee Smith who is from Vancouver, beating us for furthest distance traveled.

The tournaments were interesting in that they were judged and the combatants did not call their own blows. In fact they were not allowed to. That was interesting.

Also interesting is all of the people who sort of talk around the fact that they are in the SCA. When you get them to admit it, they act a little embarrassed.

I'm sure there is more but this is seeming pretty scattered so I should probably go to bed now.

Good night.

TSA

Nov. 9th, 2010 01:54 pm
Gentle Readers,

There have been all kind of notes on the TSA and their new scanning/groping protocol. I got scanned the last time I flew and it was a little creepy standing there with my arms in the air in a sealed cylinder. I think I would have been much happier with it if I had got to see the picture it took of me.
Gentle Readers,

I'm in New York City on business. I'm here for Interop. Mostly it's a lot of standing and telling people how awesome our company is. This works reasonably well. Many of them seem to agree with me.

I'm staying at Ink48 which is pretty cool as hotels go. It's brand new and shiny and I like the decore. The bed is even super comfortable and futon like which should make for a good nights sleep. The alcohol that I end up drinking while out with sales guys certainly won't hurt either. My coworkers are wasted on beer and lemoncello. I was smart enough not to have the later (if only because it is packed full of sugar). We were at an Italian place on the corner of 9th Ave. and 50th called Terrazza Toscana. yummy food and overwhelming service. Very nice. Would nom again.

After the dinner which took about a half an hour longer than it should have and thus pretty much demolished any chance to see Userundefined, my coworkers headed off to the Vendor party while I tried and failed to meet up with the aforementioned Userundefined. However, as I walked back to the hotel, I did catch a whiff of horse and glanced over to see a couple of carriages. How cool is it that my hotel is around the corner from a stable? Very cool would be the answer you are looking for.

So tomorrow back to the show and then off to the airport. No time for other fun.
Gentle Readers,

It's really amazing the things that can push us out of a story. I ever expected one of those things to be fruit. I was reading a story and the main character mentioned sliced raspberries. At that point, all I could think was: has the author even seen a raspberry? What were they imagining when they wrote that line? Where would the idea for sliced raspberries come from.

Have you ever had one?

In other news we had a lovely weekend. First we helped Kira-lynn celebrate the epic milestone of both graduating and finishing another year of existence on the same day. They fed us tasty treats and while I didn't get any of the diploma cake (that looked better than the real one) the hors d'oeuvres and champagne were both delicious. She even gave Lydia a loot bag (it *was* a birthday party). We left just as the young people were starting to arrive. Lydia complained for all the way to bed that she wasn't tired and then fell asleep about 30 seconds after her head hit the pillow.

The next morning I got up at 7 to sew and got a bunch of stuff to the point of hand sewing for our trip to Kingston where we helped guin and peredur celibrate their birthdays. It'a good thing that us (and Gaynip) came as we were the only ones who made it. I saw Shrek 4 with the girls (and it was quite good). I saw Lesbian Vampire Killers with the grownups and it was surprisingly good, considering.

Sunday I got in some sword fighting as my back had finally recovered from a bad throw on wednesday. It was great fun. I've been worried about my lack of practice with the rapier lately as we have a couple of people attempting their provost prize in 2 weeks and I want to give them a good fight. While it won't be a great fight, I do think I won't embarrass myself. This is good.

Also, it looks like I will be finished my sewing project in time for Trillies. Yay!
Gentle Readers,
I had a lovely little adventure with Shyska this past weekend heading off to East Kingdom Crown. Instead of making the trek Friday night, we decided to leave early (6am) Saturday morning and with stoppage we made it to the site by 11:30. The drive was not bad and the company was terrific so the trip felt pretty quick. The weather, however, was not so good. It was cold and rainy (which is better than the potential snow).

We arrived in time to catch about half of the procession of challengers for the throne. The moment we walked in, I was approached by a woman wearing a marvelously pinked doublet and holding a pamphlet. It was estela-dufrayse with a copy of the Polish Miscellany issue of CA that she had offered me ages ago but not had a moment to send. We chatted briefly and then she returned to her Lord who would be fighting for her.

After the procession, which I think went from lowest rank to highest (but not being sure of all the ranks, I'm not positive) Shyska and I took a tour of the site stopping for some snacks from the ample day board. Then it was back to the list to watch people smack each other around. There were quite a few well dressed fighters and even the worst dressed looked much better than I do in my armour.

The fighting was nice and clean and interesting to watch. I had running commentary from a number of people, including Lord John R. from IDD who I owe a picture of my rapier authorization card which is not where I left it. I think it might actually be in the bag of my rapier stuff. The last place I had it was at Ice Dragon, I think.

Anyway, We eventually made it to the finals where two exhausted titans fought with Greatsword, Florentine, War Hammer and Pole-arm until the victor, Count Gryffith defeated Sir Kenrick with a decisive blow.

At that point I fled for the feast hall to dry out (and also watch the court which lasted some time). Sadly all the protein was gone from the dayboard at that point but there were still lots of yummy apples. Eventually we got the the final (and best) item which was the replacements for Freya's regalia which was stolen.

Court turned into feast and we got to share our table with a IDD couple too far away for me to talk to, Athelhawk nee Taz and his lady who have returned to the sca after a long absence, Sir Wilhelm and his lady Baroness Vienna and also, I think, the Queen's champion who borrowed a bowl.

The feast was good with the highlight being an (eastern) Tiger Subtelety being decapitated at head table.
Apparently this was in retaliation for a blue dragon pelt being gifted to the magisties of the Middle at their coronation.

We headed for bed shortly after feast ended where Shyska made an unpleasant discovery about how much hot water the tank contained.

The next morning we woke up to snow.

This made for a somber ride home but fortunately the roads were fine and we still had the snow tires on the car. However the congestion and road closures in Montreal added an extra hour onto our trip.

Still we made it home safe and sound.
Gentle Readers,

I'm in the air on my way home from Vegas. It has been quite the trip. I think I drank more in the last week than I have since the beginning of the year. Given some of the parties I attended that's fairly impressive/scary.

Vegas was an experience. You don't really understand the scale of what Vegas is until you've been there. I've heard it described as a disney land for adults and from what I understand of Disney, I guess that comes close. Las Vegas is like the cyberpunk arcologies where all of human exisitence is pulled into a single massive construction. Each morning while I was there, I walked a couple of kilometers from my room to the tradeshow floor. I walked past shops and restaurrantts and theaters and lakes and fountains and forests (of slot machiens, but still. Full of deer and wolves). I did this without going outside.

So there was that.

Then there was the tradeshow itself. I got to be a professional extrovert. Not just talking but doing the greeting, creating the engagement. It was both draining and invigorating. I'm still not entirely shure how I managed it. My coworkers are rock solid. Amazing people to work with and there is no way I could have done it without hacing them to learn from.

So, now I'm on my way back to the real world. This weekend I have nothing to do but detox. This is probably a good thing. Alex is planning on starting to move his stuff over and that's exciting and a little bit scary, but not in a bad way. I should also try and get rid of some more crap. It would be nice to maybe think about painting in my room but there is no way that that can happen with the amount of stuff that is still in there.

Right now it's pretty frigging warm on the plane. We've still got another hour and a half before the plan lands and I get to sit around for another couple hours, waiiting for my flight from Newark to Ottawa. I'mm going to have to find a not terrible breakfast. Of all the parts of the trip, the lack of a good breakfast place was probably the most surprising. The hash browns at the Nathan's were just terrible by which I mean disgusting and inedible. I ended up getting my breaakfasts from McDonalds so that they would be edible.

Anyway, I'm going to switch to some book reviews for a bit.
Gentle Readers,

Firstly my daughter is amazing. After being disappointed with her report card (because she didn't have straight A's) we explained to her that the teacher can't tell the difference between not doing something because you can't and not doing something because you don't want to. So this week we got a note back telling us that she has improved significantly in her participation in class activities since then and Lydia was thrilled that she got to pick the sticker. In addition she got her 8th stripe at BJJ and will be invited to test for her junior yellow belt shortly. I'm very pleased and proud.

For me, I'm getting ready for a crazy week next week by having a crazy week this week. I got the body block for his highness to try on done last night and booked a few minutes of his time on Saturday (his coronation) to get him to try it on. I guess he either likes the idea of the garb or likes me or both.

In other news I wore out my skipping rope today. I'd like to try and <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Durable-Jump-Rope/>make one</a> but I'll probably end up buying one instead. On Sunday I have to be at the airport by noon to fly out to Las Vegas for my first trade show and my first time in Vegas. I'm a little anxious but I'm sure it will be interesting.
Gentle Readers,

So I'm sitting here in my uncle's house celebrating Christmas with my jewish aunt, agnostic family and pagan wife and child. Somehow that seems just about right. Last night we stuffed our selves with seafood and other delacacies and my Mom ruined Christmas by making us open all of our presents last night.

More food this morning and my aunt is telling us that we are not allowed to help with the preps for dinner but only need to make sure that we bring our appitites because she doesn't want to be left with any food.

The ride down was clear and dry and we had a lovely visit with Mister Robinson on the way through. He made something spicy that Lydia loved which was a first. For the record we loved it too.

We were talking about going into the city but today we spent just hanging out and playing video games. I should have gone for a walk. I think I still might before dinner.

I hope you and yours are enjoying a break for whatever reason, and if you are not blessed with a job that gives you some time off, I hope that it is at least being more pleasant than usual.

For those who weren't paying attention, I remind you of my belated birthday bash on the 1st. Show up any time late in the afternoon.

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j_v_lynch

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