Don’t Dwell On It, whatever it is.

This day did not quite go as planned, and therefore this blog post will not be what I had planned to write about tonight.

I like chinese food. A lot. I eat at chinese restaurants at least once or (more usually) twice a week. I particularly like chinese buffets, and consider myself to be a bit of an authority on the best restaurants of that categoy in the city of Memphis. To be clear, I know next to nothing about “authentic” chinese cuisine, but I know a lot about the best place to get a good (meaning relatively cheap) meal at a Chinese Buffet in Memphis.

Now, as everybody knows, part of the ritual of eating at a chinese restaurant is reading the message in the fortune cookie that the the waitress or waiter delivers along with your bill at the end of the meal. Over the years I’ve read literally thousands of those little message. Most of them have been bland and boring. Some have been hillarious. Some of them have been profound and thought provoking.

Fourteen years ago, while I was living in Decatur Alabama, the fortune cookie message simply read, “All bad things are now behind you”. This was, of course, not true, but at the time I read it, that message of meant a lot to me. You seek the day I read it was just three days after the aniversary of my father’s death. That day was, in fact, the first aniversary of his funeral. Needless to say the previous year had NOT been an easy one. But that little slip of white paper with the small print literally made my day. Reading that made me feel good, really good, for the first time in several months. The feeling didn’t last long, but for the time it did last, it felt great. Of course something happened not long after that day that made me feel even better, but that story will be told on August 23.

The next bit of wisdom that I got from a fortune cookie that really grabbed my attention was delivered by a waitress at the New Hunan restaurant on Park Avenue. “Struggle as hard as you can for whatever you believe in”. That little gem has been taped to three successive computer monitors over the last six years.
I’ve been told that I have an argumentative personality, and my standard response to that is, “You think?” The fact is that I do like to engage in verbal combat. I’ll debate just about anything, just for the fun of it, for the joy of the skill. Normally I just debate for the fun of the debate. I’ve been known, when on a long road trip with another fan of verbal combat to spend hours debating one side of a topic on the first part of the trip, and hours debating the exact opposite side of the same topic on the return trip.
However, if the subject is something I truly care about, something I’m ….for lack of a better word, “passionate” about, something I truly believe it, …well that’s a cause  I’ll carry on in any way I can for a very, very long time. In that case the “struggle” is not just a debate, but it encompasses working in every way that I can to bring about the solution I want. I’ll support it in any way I can.

Today, at the excellent Panda Buffet restaurant in Bartlett, I got this fortune from the mysterious cookie, “Dwelling on the negative will only increase it’s power”. Damn, damn, and double damn.
You see, I had planned for this post to be all about the way the last week has truly sucked. I had planned to rant about the fact that last Friday three fecal units in human shape had tried to steal the air conditioner from the house I live in. I had, in fact, planned to spend  quite a long time describing the torments that I hoped would someday  happen to those three subhuman scum.
After I had exhausted that topic I was planning on ranting about the fact that I got a ticket on Tuesday for not wearing a seatbelt. Apparently the Bartlett police officers don’t have enough to do, so they are using their free time to pull over people that make the choice (admittedly a stupid choice, I know, but a choice) to not wear a seatbelt and writing them tickets. A ticket I’ll point out that will cost me 25.00.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d rant on after that, but it might have had something to do with gas prices, or the fact that Shrub  was still president, but I’m sure it would have been, long, eloquent, and in the end, it would not have done much good. In fact, such a long rant would have been damaging, for it would have made me think about all those things again. I would have gotten angry, again. My blood pressure would have gone up, again.
But then I read, “Dwelling on the negative will only increase it’s power”. Kind of took the wind out of my sails. Kind of made me look at things from another point of view.
See, the three scum didn’t succeed in getting the air conditioner. Oh, true, they did manage to cut the lines, etc. but they managed to forget the one aspect of theft that you should never forget; “make sure no one is home”. So, we were only without AC for one night, and we only had to pay to get the unit hooked up again. True, that was more money than we wanted to spend, but not nearly as much as what replacing the unit would have been.
And yeah, I did get a ticket, and yeah, that did piss me off to no end, but the fact is, I’ve been remarkably lucky over the last 25 years. In that time I’ve had three car accidents, but have never had any injuries. I’ve never worn a seatbelt either. SO, if my seatbelt luck had to run out, it’s much better that it run out and only cost me a 25.00 ticket instead of running out with an accident and possibly having serious injuries. I’ve been wearing the seat belt since getting pulled over the other day, and will continue to do so. I don’t like it, and never will, but it is, truly, better to be safe than sorry.
And yeah, Shrub is still the President. However, in only 173 days, he won’t be.

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Feeling Restless.

Good god, the heat of Memphis in late July is truly oppressive. For the life of me I cannot figure out how people lived in this city prior to the invention of airconditioning.

I find myself in a very odd mood this evening. I’m feeling…… restless. Not physically restless, but emotionally restless. My thoughts are kind of all over the place. It’s hard to concentrate on anything. I have several projects I should be working on, but none of them can hold my attention for long.

I tried working on some jewelry for a while. I’m in the process of making some bracelets to give to the Baroness to use for largess. Normally when I get involved in working with the wire and the pliers I can almost get lost in the work. I focuss on the piece I’m working on and just tune out everything else. That isn’t happening tonight.

Then I tried reading for a while. For the last month I’ve been reading all the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, but I’d finished the last title of that series that I have, Proven Guilty, and have not yet bought the next one, White Knight. So, I picked up Odd Thomas, by Dean Koonts. Several people, people who’s opinions I respect, had recommended the book to me, but I just can’t get into it tonight. I read the first ten pages or so, but just coulnd’t focus. The problem is with me, it’s not with the book.

So, I read, again, the list of blogs I read daily. I visited  a few of my favorite forums. Couldn’t find anything there to hold my interest. Not even at StraightDope.com or the ArmorArchive.org. Again, normally I can lose myself for long periods of time reading those boards, but not tonight.

I feel like I should be doing something, working on something, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out what I should be working on. I cannot figure out what I should be doing. This restless feeling will not go away. It’s irritating as hell.

I almost feel…..Scratch that, I DO feel that I need a quest, or truly BIG project to work on. Something difficult, but that will grab , and hold, my attention, my drive. I’m looking for it, but haven’t found it yet. I’ve been attracted to the idea of Quest for years. Fact is, there is a quest that I’ve been engaged in for the last three years, to ask every Pelican that I meet for a piece of advice to a protege. I’ve received a  lot of excellent advice because of that. Some of it truly thought provoking, some of it truly hilarious. I plan to continue that quest for a long time.

But what I’m thinking about tonight is some kind of Quest, with a capital Q. Perhaps what I’m looking for is a Vision Quest.  I just have to find it, just have to figure out what it is.  I wish the Divine Force of the universe would tap me on the shoulder and simply say, “go and do X, that is your quest”, but so far that hasn’t  happened.

So, any ideas?

Cormac

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

Public Service Announcement

Once again I feel I need to make a public service announcement. If you have not yet seen the Dark Knight, go, as soon as possible, shell out the money for the ticket, and watch what is  quite possibly the best adaptation of a comic character to a movie that has ever been made. It was even better than Iron Man, which was a damn good movie.
I could give you a long post about all the reasons Batman is my favorite comic hero. I could also give you a long, long list of reasons Dark Knight is such an amazing movie, but that would be kind of boring. So, I’ll just say again, “Go See This Movie!!! Do NOT miss this on the big screen”.

Ok, my work  is done for the day.

Cormac

Answering Sarah’s questions.

So, a while back when the great “Interview” meme was circulating around some of the blogs that I read on a regular basis, I asked Sarah to send me some interview questions. Having seen the questions she sent, I kind of wish she’d never found where her email program had deposited my mail. But she did find the message, and she did send the questions…..so, here goes:

1) If you could think of one singular thing that would make the SCA game better in our Kingdom, what would that thing be?
2) If you could think of one singular thing that would make your life, on a strictly personal level, more satisfying, what would that thing be?
3) (I’m sure you saw this coming)- What do you plan on doing in efforts to make the answers to 1 and 2 coming to fruition?

She doesn’t ask easy questions, does she?

1) If you could think of one singular thing that would make the SCA game better in our Kingdom, what would that thing be?
This is a loaded, loaded question, and I’ve thought long about it. Before answering I need to explain a couple of things about my local group. I  also need to make very, very clear that as much as I bitch about things in the SCA, and talk about things I want to see changed, despite all of that, I do, truly love the SCA. I have received so much from my time involved with this organization that I cannot possibly list all the ways it has improved my life.
Now that I’ve made that clear, I will freely admit that there are a lot of things I’d like to see changed. Not so much in the kindom as a whole, I think for the newest kingdom in the Society, think Gleann Abhann is off to a great start, and will continue to develop in a very positive manner. No, most of the changes I’d like to see are centered around my local group.
The Barony of Grey Niche has some truly awesome people. Even the ones I don’t particularly like are better than most of the people I come into contact with regularly in the “modern” world. However, I would dearly love to change our groups twice monthly business meetings.
I don’t know how any other SCA Group runs, but I truly believe that when members of the Barony of Grey Niche walk through the doors into the room where we have our business meeting some kind of mystical transformation takes place that changes us, all of us, from SCA members into DHFA members. “What,” I can hear you ask, “is the DHFA?” That would be the Dead Horse Floggers Association.
This group of Type A Personalities can, and will, talk anything to death. Scratch that, they will talk a subject beyond death and into the afterlife. We cannot seem to make any decision, even on the most trivial matters, without discussing it in at least three, or preferably four business meetings. God forbid the subject being discussed involves spending any of the groups money, or doing anything even remotely different from the way things have been done in the past.
Grey Niche is, in my opinion, not a real unified group. There is what I can only describe as a generational break down. We have one generation of folks that have been playing for ten, twenty, and in some cases thirty years. We also have another generation, the one that I’m part of of, that have been playing for three to eight years, and yet another generation that has been playing for less than a year up to about three years. It is my opinion that a lot of the disagreements that cause the endless talk and discussion in our business meetings,  seem to break down along these generational lines.
So, I think finding a way to bridge that generation gap would make for a stronger, more unified Barony of Grey Niche. I think doing so would make the Barony more active at the kingdom level, and therefore would benefit the Kingdom. There has to be a way to do so. There has to be a way to unify the group, and make the meetings run faster, smoother, and focus more on “doing something” rather than “talking about doing something”. I know there has to be a way, and I’m dedicated to finding it, as are several others. There has to be a way to harness the knowledge and history of the long time players together with the energy and excitement of the people that have not been playing as long. There has to be a way to remain members of the SCA when at a business meeting, and not become members of the DHFA.
Having said that, I also need to admit that I’m beginning to see signs that things are improving. I also have to admit that I probably make more of an issue of this generation gap than others in the group do. I also must admit that I’m as guilty of this, probably more so, than any of the other members of the local group. That brings me to question number 2:

2) If you could think of one singular thing that would make your life, on a strictly personal level, more satisfying, what would that thing be?

Better control of my temper. I have to work hard on controlling my temper, otherwise I can lose it rather easily. Losing control of your temper is NEVER a good thing, and it can have serious, long term repercussions.
I’ve made a lot of progress in controlling my temper over the last few years. Well, I’ve made a lot of progress in not letting other people know when I’m losing my temper, but I’ve still got a long way to go.
What I really need to work on  improving is not really hiding the fact that I’m angry, etc., but on not being so quick to anger. Not being so quick to get upset. Being angry can inspire a person, but can also poison a person. If nothing else, anger wastes a great deal of energy that could best be used for other, more productive uses. Like finding a way to bridge the generation gap I was discussing above.

3. What do you plan on doing in efforts to make the answers to 1 and 2 coming to fruition?

This may be the toughest one of all, because I don’t really have a specific answer, other than to be aware of the issues. To be aware that we need to improve our business meetings, to bridge the generation gap in Grey Niche,  and to be looking, actively, for ways to do so. To be aware that I have anger issues and to actively look for ways to manage them, to get rid of them.
I guess that is the answer; I plan on being aware, and being active. To do, not  to “talk”. One of the local Laurels, Mistress Anna, has a personal motto that goes “Bitch less, teach more”. I’ve kind of stolen that and changed it to “Bitch less, do more”. I had Drix, the owner of Calontir Trim, tranlate it into Latin for me:
Vexa Minus,
Labora Plurius.

Cormac

Tuesday’s Gone.

There are several projects I should be working on tonight, but all I really want to do is finish reading Dead Beat.  I’m fairly sure that if I didn’t have to be at work at 7:00 AM tomorrow I could finish it before going to bed tonight. However, the people that I work for do expect me to be at work at that ungodly hour, so I will not get to finish the book this evening, and I will not have time to read tomorrow night, so that means I won’t get to finish it until Thursday. Oh well, gives me something to look forward to.

Some time ago I asked Sarah for some interview questions, and I got them in the mail today. I promise to post them and my answers by the end of the week, but to answer them properly is going to take some thought. The Lady With The Straw does NOT ask easy questions.

In other news, a review of my calend at work this afternoon caused me to realize that there are exactly nine more paychecks between now and Christmas. There are also at least five SCA events that I’m comitted to attending between now and the end of the year. Things are going to be a bit tight, to say the least.

There is some good news, however. As I drove to work this morning I heard the news that one of the most horrendous war criminals in recent history has been captured, and in even better news there are only 182 days left until the Shrub is out of the White house. Well, that makes me happy.

Ok, that’s it for tonight. I still have time to get at least one, or maybe four more chapters of Dead Beat read before I go to bed.

C.

A good time was had at Brawl.

This has been a fairly productive day. I woke up rather early considering what time I got to bed last night. I’ve watched a couple of good movie (The Bank Job and Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels ), made my plans for the coming week, and even completed a jewelry project I was working on for a good friend of mine. Now, it’s time to talk about yesterday.

Yesterday I attended Barbarian Brawl put on by the good folks in Grey Niche West, ….excuse me I mean by the good folks of Small Gray Bear. This is the third year I’ve attended Brawl, and I have to say it is becoming one of my favorite events. The folks are always friendly, the fighting is always fun to watch, and there is always plenty of time to do what I do best; talk with people.

Turlaugh, Jakob, Elizabeth, and I pulled out of the drive way right on schedule at 6:30AM. The roughly two hour trip to Beebe went by surprisingly quickly. The conversation during the drive was interesting, wide ranging, occasionally thought provoking, and often hilarious. This is a good thing, because the drive across eastern Arkansas on I40 may be one of the most boring drives in the country. Well, on second thought, it’s not as boring driving through the Nebraska Sandhills, but then, nothing is that boring.

We arrived at the ASU Beebe campus about a quarter til 9:00 AM. I had promised I would help my friend Dia work the Troll station at the event, but unfortunately she was unable to attend due to illness so I worked with Ravenswar (hope I spelled that correctly), until the Troll closed at noon. I always enjoy working Troll, always enjoy talking with people as they arrive on site. If nothing else it’s a great way to know exactly who is, and isn’t on site. All to soon it was time to close troll and count the cash. I love it when the count is right the first time, it makes things so much easier.

The time between closing troll and feast was spent just talking to people, my favorite activity. I didn’t get nearly enough time to talk to my friends Cucullin or Eithne, but that is understandable; they were the autocrats for the event and were  quite busy. I did spend some time talking with Kat the Strange, John the Bell Ringer, and Lady Abigail. The four of us were trying to think of a spot halfway between Memphis and Little Rock that would be a good site for a regional fighter practice. I wandered out to the merchant area and talked with Drix for a bit, and then spent some money buying some pendants from Froggie, and  before knew it, the afternoon had passed and it  was time to set up for feast and court.

One of the things I really enjoy about Barbarian Brawl is the way that Their Excellencies Hrothgar and Brianna combine feast and court. It is nice to not have to hurry up and tear down the hall after court to set up for feast. It also makes for a relaxed, pleasant Court. The feast itself was wonderull, Julianna did a great job with it. I particularly liked the fresh bread in the first remove, and the chicken in the second remove. Oh, and I truly loved the entertainment between removes and between court business. Those in attendance were privileged to see the beginning of a new, informal, Baronial award, the SPAM*D: The Spontaneously Active Man Dance. Trust me, those of us that saw it in action are not likely to ever forget it, no matter how hard we try.

All to soon feast was over, and it was time to pack up and head home. Once again the trip was filled with laughter and seemed to pass quickly. Elizabeth and I both came away from the trip with ideas for new projects to work on. We got home somettime between 11:30 and Midnight. A long, but very, very pleasant day.

Walking On The Sun

So, this past weekend was Lugh. There are many things I can, and will say about Lugh, but first I have to say something about the weather. It was, to put it mildly, DAMN HOT!
Now, understand, I’m a fat man and I can start sweating whenever the temp gets above seventy degrees or so. It was over seventy degrees when I walked outside of the door to go to the event at 6:45 AM. By 10AM or so it had gone beyond merely hot and was quickly approaching ungodly hot. By 2:00 PM I was seriously wondering if a nice relaxing day spent on the side of an active volcano might be cooler. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but just a little.

Despite the heat, and the relatively low turnout, which I think can be blamed on the heat and the high price of gas, it was a very nice event. Mistress Vashti did a very good job of organizing everything, and despite a few minor obstacles in the morning everything went well.

As I write that last paragraph, I have to admit that I’m not being fair. There were not really any obstacles, it’s just that things were not done the way I would have done them if I had been running things. It is arrogant of me to think all events should be run the way I run things. The fact is that the event was well run and everybody had a very good time. The feast was also well done, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was just a damn hot day.
I just have to say I loved the Graffiti Wall.

A newcomer to Grey Niche, Martin, won the archery tournament. I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know who won the Rapier tournament or Marcus Gracchus Wheel of Fire Tournament. Pol Uto traveled quite a long way to display his interesting A&S projects on Roman Glass and Concrete. Jonna was the only local person to display in the A&S display, and her piece of weaving was quite nice.
The silent auction for the Grey Niche Gulf Wars Gate Fund was very successful. Every item that had been donated sold. That means I did not have to haul anything home, and that made me VERY happy. I need to write a letter to the yahoo group thanking everyone for their donations, and thanking everyone for buying the stuff. I plan to hold another one at Samhain.

There’s been some other things on my mind lately regarding the SCA, problem is I’m just not sure how to write about them without sounding like a whiney twit. If I can figure out how to do that I’ll post more later this week.