Don’t Let These Shakes Go On…

Late Friday night, and I should be in bed because I’ve got a fund raising party to run tomorrow. It is going to be a long, hot day, and I should be sleeping. However, I don’t want to sleep. I’m wide awake. Unfortunately none of the people I usually talk to on line are actually on line this evening, so I turn to two things: the solace of music and the solace of this blog.

I miss Napster. Oh, I know it still exists, but it’s not free any more. I remember, well, the huge collection of music I amassed before the original Napster was forced to shut down due to the RIAA and their sue happy lawyers.  You could find anything, any song you were looking for. No matter how obscure, how strange, someone had it, and you could get it. Trust me, I got a lot of it.
Now, of course, that’s all gone. Oh, Napster still exists, but now you have to pay for the songs. I wouldn’t mind if the money was actually going to the artists, but most of it goes to the record companies. So, now I use ITunes, and as much as it surprises me, I find that I like it almost as much as I liked  Napster. True, I don’t download as much as I used to, but at .99 cents a song, I download a lot. The selection is almost as good, in some ways better than Napster, and I don’t have to worry about being sued, which is of course a good thing.
Music is a funny thing. I tend to listen to music most when there is something on my mind. It helps me relax and get my mind to the place it needs to be to think about whatever is bugging me. I almost never listen to music in my vehicle; when I’m driving around town I tend to listen to news radio and on road trips I listen to audio books.
Last night, I downloaded 33 songs. I obviously have some heavy thinking to do. I’ll get to that, but lets have a bit of a musical interlude…..
A king without a sword – a land without a king –
A truth without a voice – one song left to sing…
One song to sing.
A wise man told me theres something you should know:
The way you judge a man is you look into his soul
And youll soon see everything.
A voice from the past cried, Give peace a chance!
He paid our price now hes free at last; And imagine –
We called him a dreamer.
How many times must good men die?
How many tears will the children cry…
Till we suffer no more sadness?
Stop the madness.
Oh, stop the madness.”

Gotta love Molly Hatchett.

So, what do I have on my mind? I’m dealing with a bit of frustration with my diet.It’s not going nearly as well as I’d like for it to. I am making progress, but it’s slow, slow progress. And I’m having a difficult time changing habits; Specifically I’m having a hard time having a hard time of stopping the habit of eating when I’m bored. I try very seriously to not allow myself to get bored, but that leads to other problems. When and if I ever face the DIvine Being, one of the things that He/SHe/It is going to have to explain is this: If you were going to give some of your creations, like for instance ME, addictive personalities, why couldn’t you see to it that their addictions were positive ones? Why drugs, booze (that would be one of mine) food (another one of mine), and all the other self destructive addictions? I really want to know the answer to that.
Time for another interlude…
” If ashes are ashes and dust is dust,
At our journeys end, then we turn to rust –
To the sands of the shore.
White doves in flight – peace to war –
But, tell me why the peacemakers fall.
Must we bury any more?
The hush of the crowd as the horse rode by –
The black lace veil hid her tears from my eyes…
And we all wept in silence.
How many times must good men die?
How many times will the children cry…
Till they suffer no more sadness?
Oh, stop the madness.
Oh, stop all the madness”

I think I’m also going through a bit of a mild SCA Burnout . I do, truly love this wonderful, magical, slightly maddening organization. I truly do, but at times I think that if I didn’t have commitments through at least the end of next April that I would walk away tomorrow. Honoring my commitments is very important to me, probably because at one time in my life, during the worst of my drunken years,  I didn’t honor any of them.  So, right now I’m committed until the end of April, and I’m going to honor those commitments to the best of my ability. This is a good thing, because I know that this….whatever it is will pass. I know that as soon as I spend a weekend at an event, spend a weekend surrounded by friends, and in a very real way by family (a family of choice, not of blood) that I’ll be recharged and this burnout will go away. I know it will, but until then I just have to “suck it up and tough it out”. Those of you that read this that are active SCA people (I’d guess that would be most of the people that read this blog), I would really appreciate any advice you might be able to give on dealing with temporary burnout. Please, tell me your success stories. Right now, I could use them.
There’s more I could write about, but this is already starting to sound to whiney to me, and that annoys me, so I think I’ll end it here and go get some sleep. I hope you all have a good weekend.


I really don’t want that cheeseburger….

It’s late Wednesday night. It has been a rough week for a couple of different reasons, and a particularly ….not rough day, but an odd day. Odd and expensive. Time to seek the comfort of music……

“And some days I pray for Silence,
And some days I pray for Soul,
Some days I just pray to the God
Of Sex and Drums and Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

Last weekend was mixed weekend. Saturday I had to work in the morning but I spent the afternoon and most of the evening at the home of a my friends in Millington. It was a nice, relaxing day. We watched a couple of movies (and please let me take this opportunity to beg anyone that reads this to NOT rent, buy, or view “A Bridge To Terabithia”, that movie is not what you think it’s going to be), and grilled some steaks. Mostly we just hung out together and talked.
Sunday I slept late, which is my favorite way to spend Sunday morning. I met a couple of friends for lunch, and that’s where I got stupid. I had been in weird mood for several days, and during that lunch I managed to get into a fairly serious argument with one of my friends. One of my best friends. What made the whole incident even worse was that I knew I was in the wrong. It was almost like I had been looking for a fight, and when I couldn’t find one I caused one. Of course I felt like an unmitigated ass as soon as I left the restaurant. It was not a good end to the weekend.
Fortunately my friends are better people than I am, and when I called Gresch the next day to apologize and beg forgiveness he was gracious and forgiving. We talked for a good long time, and the call went better than I had any right to hope it would.
The rest of Monday was fairly uneventful. The time at work passed quickly. At home I didn’t do much but work on a chain and talk with a friend in Little Rock. Oh!, I did get the signed contract from the conference center for this weekend’s fundraising party: The Swamp Combat Seminar and Grilling Symposium. I also got asked to participate in a project that I hope could be very good for Grey Niche but I fear will be somewhat frustrating. I know that sounds cryptic, and for that I apologize, but I just don’t feel like typing out the whole story at this time. Trust me, you will hear more about it later, no matter how it turns out.
Today work again passed quickly and then the day got expensive. I love the fact that I’m in a place where I can pay my bills, but DAMN I hate doing so. Eh, such is life. In addition to paying bills I rather desperately needed to buy some new work clothes, so I spent an hour or so with catalogue and then another 45 minutes or so on the phone with a person that I think actually had a negative IQ trying to place my order.
Shortly after ending that call I was on the phone again. My sister had called, and we had a pleasant conversation. She had basically called to brag about spending the weekend in Gulf Shores, and to make plans for a family vacation in Gulf Shores sometime next spring. It was a good conversation, but during the conversation she mentioned how odd it was to be in Gulf Shores without our Dad. Gulf Shores was his favorite place in the world (as it is mine, hers, and Mom’s). That morphed into a conversation about some of the things that happened during the time of Dad’s illness and the period for about six months or so afterwards. This August will be 14 years since that time, and tonight was the first time she and I had really talked about some of those subjects. Again, it was a good conversation, no drama or anything, but it was also a vaguely uncomfortable conversation. I can’t really explain it better than that. We both admitted some things to each other we never had before. I’m glad we did, but …it was uncomfortable.
I spent the next several hours doing nothing much. I watched some television, and worked on yet another chain. What I’ve been doing mostly is fighting down the urge to go get something to eat. I’m not hungry, I just want to eat. I have an addictive personality, and since I quit drinking all those years ago I’ve used food as my drug…my comfort, my crutch. I eat when I’m feeling bad, or when I’ve got something on my mind, or when I’m bored. Tonight is probably a mix of the last two: I don’t feel bad, but there are several things on my mind, and I’m half bored. So, for the last four or five hours I’ve been resisting the urge to get into my truck and go get something to eat. Specifically I’ve been resisting the urge to go get a Wendy’s Triple Cheeseburger combo. I can lose myself in whatever I’m working on or reading, for a time, and then I’ll think about it again. So far I’ve managed to avoid it. I think I’ll be able to avoid it for the rest of the night, but by gods it’s annoying to be thinking about it so much.

Friday Evening.

“The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling,
way down in the valley tonight,
There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in his eye,
and a blade shining oh so bright.
There’s evil in the air and there’s thunder in sky,
and A killer’s on the bloodshot streets.
Oh and down in the tunnel where the deadly are rising,
Oh I swear I saw a young boy down in the gutter,
He was starting to foam in the heat.”

I admit, like any person of my generation I like Meatloaf. In fact I probably like his music more than most, and the album Bat Out of Hell, when I rediscovered it as a junior in high school truly helped me through some rough times. But I’ve had the song fragment quoted above running through my head for the last six hours at work. Rather distracting. After the first couple of hours I gave up trying to remember the rest of the lyrics because I knew as soon as I got home I’d look them up on (one of my favorite websites, by the way). So, instead of trying to remember the rest of the lyrics, I started trying to convert Bat Out of Hell into a SCA Filk. Here’s what I got accomplished between talking with those attempting to avoid paying their student loans ….
“The squires are screaming in the fires of battle,
and way down on the field tonight,
There’s a knight in blue, with a sword in his hand,
and a helmet shinining oh so bright.
There’s arrows in the air, and rain in the sky,
and the king is on the mud splattered field.
Down at the rezz point where the dead are rising,
I swear I saw a marshal down on his knees,
He was starting to swear at the melee…..”

Here ends Cormac’s attempt to write a filk….

In other news it’s been a busy, and expensive week.  Monday night I had dinner with Luca and Anne to discuss Luca’s upcoming event; Ork Wars ’07. That was a particularly productive evening, and I think the event itself is going to be a good time.
I missed the SCA meeting Tuesday because I was scheduled to work that night.  That’s the first business meeting I’ve missed in quite a long time. I continually tell people, tell newcomers to the SCA to not judge Grey Niche by our Business Meetings, so I don’t really mind the fact that I missed it.
Wednesday was the start of the expensive part of the week. First up was paying the renewal fee for my car tags. That was 75.00  I would have much rather spent in other ways. Another 35.00 frigging dollars filled my gas tank. Later that night I forked over the 65.00 that was my part of getting the AC in the house fixed (didn’t mind that at all. I LIKE air conditioning).
Thursday morning I mailed off the check to reserve the St. Columba Confrence Center for the Swamp Combat Seminar and Grilling Symposium next weekend. Then I got to spend a little money on something fun: I ordered six hundred feet of variously colored aluminum wire. It amazes me how much fun I’ve been having learning how to make these different kinds of jewelry chains. I’ve never been one to enjoy any  type of craft. I don’t have an artistic bone in my oversized body, but I’m having fun. The people I’ve showed them too seem to like them. Now I just have to wait for my wire to get here; should be sometime Tuesday.
What else? Right now a whole bunch of my friends are gathering in Louisiana for Birthday Bash. Right now, as I type this, my friends are hanging out, talking, and enjoying each other’s company. I wish I was there. I truly wanted to see Sarah’s elevation, and I think there’s going to be a rather important thing happen for another friend of mine. I hate that I’m missing it, but the mundane world demands my presence at work tomorrow morning. I need to win the lottery so such concerns will not trouble me any more.

Ok, that’s enough for tonight. I’m going to go twist some rings.




Small Steps…

Hmmm… By my count it’s been 9 days since my last blog post. Apparently ending my World of Warcraft account didn’t do as much to increase my blog posts as I thought it would . Oh well, you live and learn. Well, as I think back over the last nine days I have to ask; where to start?  That’s obvious, let’s start with a musical interlude…..

“Could you get behind a slow marching band?
And join together in the passing
of all we shared through yesterdays
in sorrows neverlasting.”

It dawns on me that I listen to some really depressing music. I wonder why that is? I shall have to ponder that.

So, what has changed in the last nine days? Let’s see, let’s see…. I am slowly making progress on  losing weight. I’ve not started exercising yet, but I have successfully done three things:
1. over the last three weeks I have managed to stp buying any snacks from the vending machines at work. Also, when stopping for my daily diet coke on the way to work I’ve stopped buying the Snickers bar that I usually bought along with it.
2. I’ve significantly cut down the number of meals I am eating at restaurants. I was eating out three or for times a week, and that was usually at buffet restaurants where I would really, seriously over eat. In the last nine days I’ve eaten at restaurants only twice, and only one of those was a buffet (where for perhaps the first time in my life I made only one trip through the buffet line.
3. I have forced myself to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. This may be the most significant change because I really, really can’t stand the taste of water. In the world of Cormac, if the gods wanted their children they would have made it brown, full of caffeine, and preferably carbonated. But every doctor, nutritionist, etc, etc. stresses how important it is to drink water. So, I drink it. I don’t like it, but I drink it. As a result, I’m also drinking fewer diet cokes every day. I don’t drink diet coke because it’s a diet beverage, I drink it because regular coke is so sweet it could choke a goat. Before forcing myself to drink all the water I was routinely drinking six to eight 20 oz bottles of diet coke a day. Not as easy to do when you are choking down all that water every day.

I realize that those three things are not huge changes. I realize they are not even very big accomplishments, but it’s a start. A small start I grant you, but long journeys are made from a small start.

The Grey Niche Permanent Land Committee had a rather productive meeting last Monday. We mostly discussed the plans for our upcoming fundraising party: The PLCS Swamp Combat Seminar and Grilling Symposium. THat is a day long picnic at the St. Columba Confrence Center in Bartlett. There will be fighting, there will be grilling (bring your own meat and we’ll cook it for you, or hot dogs and hamburgers will be available for a small donation),  there will be a huge mud pit for all of us to play in (that would be the swamp mentioned in the party title). All of this is happening on June 30. Hope you can all come by and have fun.
After the meeting the parking lot conversation with Dame Brenna and Sir Rey was particularly interesting. Over the last year or so I’ve spent a lot of time with Brenna but I’d never really had a chance to talk seriously with Sir Rey, and I really enjoyed the conversation.

Last Tuesday was the A&S class that was supposed to be a discussion on the Dialogue of Chivalry led by Sandy. The discussion was, in my mind anyway, mostly enjoyable. Some people I think got their feelings a bit ruffled, but I thought it was a very good class. I enjoyed the discussion, but I wish it had stayed more on track with what is discussed n the Dialogue. Since a friend  recommended I read that particular essay about three years ago I have gone back and read it again about every two months. You could say, truthfully, that it has had a rather large influence on me.

The rest of the week was just work. Nothing particularly exciting there, nor anything interesting so we’ll skip it.

Just over a year ago I got interested  making jewelry. Specifically I wanted to learn how to make those cool chains that the fighters in the Gleann Abhann army wear at Gulf Wars. That’s what started my interest. Since then I’ve experimented with it from time to time, but then something else would come along and grab my interest and I’d put down all the jewelry stuff for months at a time. A month ago I started playing with it, and I have to admit I’m rediculously pleased with the chains I’ve produced the last couple of weeks. Mostly I’ve kept them at bracelet length, but I’ve been working with copper and brass wire, and I’m really enjoying myself. I know that compared to some of the art work produced by SCA members these are nothing special. But it’s the only type of …..I guess you could call it a craft, that I’ve ever maintained an interest in. I can’t draw, pain, calig, sew, do leatherwork, etc, etc, but I enjoy this. Sure, it can get boring wrapping the wire on the mandrel to form the rings, and then cutting all the rings, opening all of them…but it is such repetitive work that after a while the boredom fades as my find focuses drifts and I find myself thinking on something else. My hands are occupied, by my mind is thinking over some issue or concern and the time literally flies away. I like that. I need that.

Lots of other stuff to write about, upcoming events, projects, etc, but it’s late. I think I’ll sign off at this point.


So, no posts since Memorial Day. Slacking, slacking, slacking. I really should be ashamed of myself, but I’m really not. It’s been a busy period.

The week immediately after Memorial Day doesn’t really stand out in my memory. I do know there was a meeting of the Gulf Wars Land Committee. I  am kind of pleased with the way that committee is working. Lots of alpha type personalities on it, but it’s actually been fairly productive. We’ve gotten a lot done. Of course we’ve got a lot more to do, of course, but it is moving forward. Got a lot of fund raising ideas I’ll be talking more about in the near future.

Last weekend was Hunt For the Prize, and all I can say about that is that Miriel did one hell of a job on that event. She was nice enough to allow me to help with part of it, and I had a thoroughly good time. It was nice to see all those folks having fun, and it was nice to see something other than the traditional heavy and light weapons tournament.

Marion’s elevation ceremony at court that afternoon was truly beautiful. All the elevation’s I’ve been honored to see have been very different, and in their own way each has been beautiful.  I don’t know Marion at all, but her ceremony was beautiful. I was very happy for her.