The Wild Ride…

The Great De-cluttering goes on. I’ve spent an hour each night this week sorting through boxes and files, and throwing most of the contents away. In an odd way the process is sort of like an archeological dig – each piece of paper, each trinket is an artifact of the person I used to be.  Some of the finds have brought back fond memories while others  have triggered memories that I’d rather had been left buried. It has been an interesting way to see how much I have changed over the years.

Thursday night I found the preliminary schedule I had made in mid-September of 2004 while planning Bard Wars- Samhain 2004. That was the first weekend event I autocratted. Since then I have autocratted several events and enjoyed all of them, but I think that Samhain was my favorite.

You see, that was not only the first weekend event I autocratted; it was also the first event where I felt like I knew what I was doing. I had a lot more confidence in myself than I had while working on the previous year’s Lugh. The first event had taught me a lot – mostly it taught me that I couldn’t do everything myself, nor did anyone really expect me to. I had learned that it was ok to ask other people to help; I’d learned that people WANTED to help. No one would think less of me for asking for help.

So, I asked for a LOT of help. THL Luca handled the reservations. Mahsheed and Saachi organized the the candleight tournament on Friday night. The good folks of House Sablehand organized all the competitions and helped out in countless other ways.  Countess Linnet (now Duchess Linnet) organized all the classes. THL Gresch and THL Chiere organized the feast…oh my good the feast. What an incredible feast! My brother in law; a guy that has the metabolism of a shrew on meth, and who might way 150 pounds soaking wet, had to push his plate away during the fourth remove. His only comment was “I fought the food, and the food won”.

It is funny, I can remember a great deal of the planning of that event, but I don’t remember much of the Day of the event. Prior to court that evening, my main memory is one of walking around the site watching a lot of other people working their tails off, while I didn’t do much of anything. Well, that’s not really true –  I spent a lot of time listening to people tell me what a great time they were having, and thinking I had the most incredible event staff ever. They were the ones doing all the work, and I seemed to be getting most of the credit.

I have much more clear memories of court that night. It was, a very special court. That was the court where Gresh and Ree, got their GOA’s, and their induction to the Order of Denial. Of course that was also the court where I was inducted into the Denial, but as much as I was stunned by that I was more proud for Gresch and Ree. But the most special part of that court was the fact that when it was over I was belted to Linnet.

I will never forget the ceremony that Linnet had organized  for my belting. To this day the poster she made showing my “associate’s family tree” is still on my wall. I remember her handing the yellow belt she had woven, and I remember her turning me to face the audience and saying, “This is my protege, Cormac. Good done to him is good done to me, Evil done to him is……not recommended”. Gods, what a good feeling.

When I became her protege Linnet and I knew each other, and were friendly, but I can’t say we were really friends. In the last four years that has changed; today I consider her one of my closest friends. At the time I knew a lot about the workings of Grey Niche, or thought I did, but I was relatively clueless about the rest of the kingdom. In the last four years I’ve learned a lot more about my kingdom, about my barony, and most importantly about myself. It’s been a wild ride, and I can’t wait to see where the next four years will be like.

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Everything’s Eventual

Wednesday already. I wish I could say the time was flowing quickly, but it’s not; it’s just flowing. I can’t really complain, it has been a pretty good week so far, but by all gods great and small, I’m ready for the weekend.

The great decluttering project goes on. Tomorrow is trash day, and in addition to the regular household trash, I toted out 7 large trash bags full of stuff that I’ve been hauling around for far to long to. Some of those items I’ve been moving from one city to the next since I first left college. I found it to be incredibly liberating to finally throw it away. I’ve still got roughly two or three tons of material to go through, but it is a good feeling to know that I’m making progress.

In other news, I stayed awake far to late last night finishing “Lucky Quarter”, the last story in Steven King’s Everything’s Eventual. I should have just stopped when I finished “Riding the Bullet”. I’d have gotten to sleep about 45 minutes earlier, and “Bullet” is a much better story.

I’d guess that I’ve read about 98% of everything King has written. I made it through all seven books of the Dark Tower series. I even read his truly bad novels, the novels he wrote when he was so high on cocaine and other recreational pharmacueuticals that he could barely remember writing them (Tommyknockers, anyone?). Most of his work I have enjoyed a great deal. Even his less than stellar novels (Cujo, The Deadzone, The Dark Half) are usually pretty good reads, but I think I’ve always enjoyed his short stories more than anything else.

I don’t even want to think about how many years ago I read “Graveyard Shift”, the opening story in the collection Night Shift. To this day the thought of being down in the basement of a factory fighting giant rats can scare the absolute bejesus out of me. That same book also had the stories “The Mangler” and introduced us to “The Children of the Corn”.

This latest collection has a total of 14 short stories, including the title story “Everything’s Eventual”, and “1408”, which frankly worked better as a movie than it did as a story. One theme that I noticed was that many of the stories dealt with  the consequences of making a choice. “Riding the Bullet”, the first thing he wrote while recupperating from the accident that almost killed him, is all about the consequences of dealing with a choice; namely the main character’s choice when forced to choose who would die, him or his mother. Not a choice I would ever want to make.

So, now I’m looking for something new to read. I’ve got a couple of more books in the Honoverse series by David Weber, but  I just can’t seem to get excited about them. I am looking for a non-fiction book. I want to get in the habit of reading one non-fiction book for every fiction book. So, if anyone has any good suggestions, drop me a line.

Thanks For Reminding Me.

Monday. What an annoying day, usually, but this was an exception. The weather was relatively cool, the rain storm this afternoon didn’t last long, and, more importantly, didn’t start until I was already home.

Hell, even the time at work wasn’t as annoying as it normally would have been. We had a reorganization of our cubicle farm last Friday and I got moved to a new cubicle; I’m no longer in the cubicle directly across the hall from my bosses’ office. That means that for the first time in almost three years I didn’t have to listen to her talking on her phone, dealing with employees, or arguing with the IT department all day.  I like my boss, but I hated being directly across from her office.

There has been no progress or information about the theft of Turlaugh’s trailer. No information, or news of any kind from the police. I’m sure they are busy giving people tickets for riding (not driving, riding) without a seat belt. So, that sucks, but I will tell you something that doesn’t: the outpouring of support and offers of help that all of us that lost items has been ….well, it’s beyond my ability to describe.

I knew I had been blessed with good friends. I knew, …I know that, but sometimes it is necessary to be reminded of the fact. Since I made the posts alerting to look for stolen property on the Gleann Abbhan and Grey Niche lists, and since posting about here in the Corner, I’ve received countless of messages offering everything from condolences, offers of help in looking for the stuff, and in a couple of cases offering to help hide the bodies if we ever find out who stole the trailer. I even got contacted by a guy in a SCA group in Alaska asking for pictures of the stolen pavilions. As he said, “you never know where stuff will turn up, so I’ll be keeping an eye out”. Damn, that’s just bloody cool.

I’ve always thought thought that friendship is the only form of wealth that really means anything in the long run. You can’t take money or items with you when the time comes, but you can take the love of friends. By that measurement I am a very wealthy man, and most of the time I am consciously aware of that fact. Occasionally though I need to be reminded of it, and this weekend was one of those times.

You see, this past weekend was the aniversary of the last three days of my Dad’s illness. In fact he died 15 years ago today. I’ve dealt with all the issues brought about by Dad’s death several years ago, so Idon’t get overly emotional on the aniversary of his death, but I do tend to get a bit melancholy the third week of August. That didn’t happen this past weekend. I was to busy being reminded in a lot of ways, by a lot of people, how lucky I am. How truly rich I am. Thank you, all of you for reminding me.

C

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

Sunday Night.

I have some amazing friends. The outporing of support, friendship and offers of help that Turlaugh and I have received since I posted about the trailer being stolen has been incredible. We have had offers to help replace what was stolen, and offers to help deal with the thieves if we ever find out who or where they are. So, yeah, it sucks that all the stuff got stolen, but I do not feel nearly as bad about it now as I did the other night. We will get the stuff replaced, but I’ll never, ever, forget what great friends I have been blessed with.

I’ve had a fairly productive weekend. Spent Saturday afternoon with Turlaugh, Gresch, Cheire, Luca and Caitriona. The six of us went out for lunch, then we spent the rest of the afternoon making a list of everything that was stolen. You would have thought engaging in such an activity would be depressing, but we actually had a rather good time.

On the way home, I stopped at Lowes and bought a couple of bookcases, six 12 gallon tubbies, two under-the-bed storage boxes, and a couple of other storage containers. Once I got home I got started on working on cleaning and organizing my bedroom. I got quite a lot done last night, and spent the most of the day today working on the same project. I guess I should mention that I am both a packrat, and …… well to be honest I’m not exactly the neatest housekeeper in the world. I hesitate to call myself a slob; nothing organic, etc. Just very, very cluttered. I decided recently that I am not going to continue to live like this; I am going to take back control of my living spaces. I declared war on the clutter, and this weekend was the first battle in the war. I got quite a lot accomplished, and I feel rather good about that.

I also did some reorganization on the layout of this blog. I like it so far, but I’m going to continue to futz with it for a while. I added a couple of pages, and might add a couple of more before I’m done.

That’s all for tonight.

C

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

Not The Post I Had Planned

I’m going to have to ask your forgiveness tonight, because I am going to be ranting a bit tonight. Before it’s over I will probably wish grievous bodily harm on a few people. I may cuss. I may even call some people republicans (the worst insult I can think of in my own personal lexicon). I will probably due all these things, but I want ya’ll to know that doing so was not my plan for tonight’s post.

My plan had been to come home from work this evening and write about this absolutely brilliant idea I had for a coronation event at a new site  I had checked out a couple of weeks ago. I’ll probably write about that next week after I calm down a bit, but until then, you are going to have to trust me, it was a brilliant idea. Just needed a set of dying royals that like this song.

So, what changed my plan? Let me tell you. Sometime after I left the house this morning at 10:30am. and before my roommate/landlord Turlaugh (Gerald) came home at 6:30PM someone backed into the driveway and beat the tongue lock on Gerad’s SCA trailer off with a hammer and STOLE THE DAMN TRAILER.

Let me repeat that in case you missed it; THEY STOLE THE DAMN TRAILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pardon me,but I just have to say….ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stored inside of the trailer, were: three Panther pavilions, (Turlaugh’s, Gresch’s, and Lucas), a  16×20 garage style pavilion, 4 wooden camp beds, two large kerosene heaters, a wooden “throne” style chair, a huge gas grill and four propane bottles, nine coolers, and all of the other camp equipment. All of the bedding, sleeping bags, and other equipment that right now I am to fracking angry to remember.

Oh, and as they were leaving (well, I assume it was while they were leaving), they also loaded up his riding lawnmower, a brand new push mower, and his weed-eater. They had to break into the storage shed out back to get the damn mower and weed-eater.

Now, I know this cesspit of a city has a high crime rate, but the police were less than helpful. I know they are over worked, and I have to admit they do a job I wouldn’t do on a bet, but for the love of all gods, how can somebody steal a trailer in broad day light and none of the frackin’ neighbors not notice it? My neighbor, the retired guy across the streat notices EVERYTHING that happens on this street, but he told the cops he didn’t see anything. Yeah, right.

Yes, the trailer is/was insured, but the insurance company told Turlaugh that in order to be compensated for the items in the trailer he would have to provide receipts or pictures of everything. Like that is going to happen. And yes, it could have been much worse: They could have gotten into the house, they could have stolen everything in the house, etc., etc.

I’m angry. It’s making my roommate physically ill. Not only is he justifiably upset, but he feels a responsibility for the property that the others in the household had stored in his trailer. Of course they have told him they don’t blame him, but he blames himself.

I just blame the poxed, leprous scum that stole the trailer. I blame the syphilitic, crack junkies that would rather steal than work. I blame them, and no one else.

I know that they can probably sell the more mundane items.  The mower, the grill, the propane bottles, etc., I’m sure that those will all be sold quickly. Hell, they will probably be able to sell the trailer itself without much trouble. I can’t imagine they will be able to sell the pavilions, the camp beds, and the specific SCA gear very easily. I sincerely hope that we will be able to recover it, but I won’t be holding my breath.

It is my sincere hope that those baboon brained fart breathers that stole the trailer and other items come down with boils. Red, itching boils that break out first on their genitals and spread, as they swell and rupture, to all other areas of their bodies. I hope the radios in their vehicles and homes all malfunction and will only play Michael Bolton music. I hope their bowels loosen  and that their sinuses get plugged up for the rest of their lives. I hope they are afflicted with a case of body odor that would make the scent of decaying meat seem like sweet perfume. I hope their home cable networks get stuck on the All NIXON ALL THE TIME network. I hope their wives leave them and that they all get audited by the IRS every year for the rest of their pathetic, miserable lives.

In other words, I hope they suffer.

Cormac

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

Thinking About Making a Change

Day four of my five day Dog and House Sitting vacation finds me doing rather well. The girls, Maggie and Cammie, and I have come to an understanding: They understand that they are great, yet spoiled dogs, and I have come to the understanding that they think my purpose in life is to cater to their every whim.

I’ve enjoyed being here, but I am ready to go home. Back to my space, my stuff.

In other news…..

I’m seriously considering ditching my desktop computer system and going to a lap top for all of my computing needs. For my stay here at Casa Su Loud-breathing Bulldog, I brought my current laptop to use instead of trying to use either of  Bob or Cathy’s home systems. Bob is a programmer for Fed Ex, and Cathy is a self employed web developer/designer. They have very nice, very expensive systems, and I didn’t want to risk damaging their systems in any way. This is a real fear for me, I can (and in the past, have) screwed up a number of  computers. Everything from frying power supplies, melting video cards, a hard drive that I think died from shock after hearing me sing along with some of the songs I have in ITunes. The list of my bad luck with computers is long. Very long. I won’t even  begin to tell you how many periferals I have destroyed.

So, I brought my laptop with me this week. This is a used Dell Latitude  I got back in November when I was still playing Eve Online. My original plan was to use my desktop system to game with, and use this one for things I couldn’t do while gaming: check email, surf the web, chat with friends so they wouldn’t realize how much of an addict I had become to the stupid game. To be fair, it wasn’t just Eve, I can all to easily become addicted to any online game,  but that is a story for another post.

That was my plan: Unfortunately, the plan didn’t quite work out that way. Before very long I actually had two Eve accounts, and I was playing on both systems at the same time.  So, when I quit gaming several months ago, I packed the laptop up and pretty much quit using it until this week.

After having used it, a lot, this week, I’ve started to realize that it can do everything my desktop system can do. Once I got used to this microscopic keyboard and hooked up a wireless mouse so I don’t have to use the frigging touch pad (the inventor of that device/cursor input system should have a special room in Hell), I find I can type on it it just as fast as I can on my main system.

So, why am I thinking of getting rid of the desktop system? Excellent question, let me try and answer it.

First, and possibly most important, getting rid of the desktop system would free up a lot of deskspace. Space is very limited in the house I live in, and my computer desk is also where I work on the jewelry I make. As I have aquired more tools, supplies, and reference books I’m running out of usable work space. So, getting rid of the computer tower, and monitor, keyboard, etc. would give me a lot more room on the desk.

In addition, we’ve already got a wireless network in the house (my roommate set one up for his laptop a couple of months ago), so if I went to a laptop with wireless capability I could use it in any room in the house. Not to mention using it in all those stores, and coffee houses that are now offering free wifi connections.

Plus, there is the simple portability issue. I like the idea of being able to take my system with me anywhere. Of always having the information stored on it available. To be honest though, the access to information is not that big of a deal. Over the last few months I have also become intrigued by several online applications. I don’t use Gmail, but I finding myself using Google Calendar as my primary organizing tool, and have become a regular user of Google Doccuments. I also have, within the last month or so, become a real fan of Evernote as an online data storage tool. The beauty of all these applications is that they can be accessed from anywhere, from any ‘net connected computer.

Now, all of these are valid reasons for wanting to ditch my desktop and just use a laptop, but I can’t even think about this without admiting the other reason: I just want a new computer. My desktop system is about four years old. The lap top I’m using now is between two to three years old (I bought it used, so I don’t really know how old it it). True, both systems still work, but they are old. They do not have all the bells and wistles.  They can’t do all the neat stuff that newer systems can. Not the smartest of reasons for buying a new computer, but I can’t deny that it is one of the things that has been nagging me. I had been planning on replacing my desktop system, however, after this week I’m thinking much more seriously about getting a new lap top and just getting rid of the other one.

Cormac

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

So, I was sleeping with two gaseous females

I am on vacation this week; well, I’m on vacation today, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. I do, in fact, have to go back to work on Friday, but I think I can deal with one day of work in a week’s time.

Now it just so happens that my vacation coincides with a trip two very good friends of mine were taking to Colorado. I owe Cathy and Bob far more than I’ll ever be able to repay, so when they asked me to house-sit for them and take care of their dogs while they were away, I couldn’t say no. Well, I could have, but that would have meant just staying at home and goofing off there, instead of staying at their home and goofing off for most of the week.

I like staying here. Cathy and Bob have a very  nice home on the edge of Memphis. I do mean on the edge of Memphis; it’s only about three hundred yards from the Mississippi border. I like their dogs.  Cammie is a two year old Border Collie/Black Lab mix, and Maggie is a seven year old  registered English Bulldog. I’ve taken care of Cammie and Maggie several times, and it is always a bit of an adventure.

Let’s talk about Cammie first. She is the smart one of the pair. It is a well known fact that Border Collies are smart dogs, and Cammie obviously got her brains from that side of her parentage. She also got her markings from the Border Collie side of the family. She got her size and body shape from the Black Lab side of the family. Thank all gods great and small she didn’t get her brains from the Lab side of the family. She is a sweet tempered, playful creature, and she loves me. Of course, she loves everybody, so that is no great mark of distinction for me. She is also the quiet one of the pair; but then, compared to Maggie, everyone is quiet.

You see, because of the way their heads are shaped, bulldogs often have problems breathing. Fact is, Maggie sounds like she’s snoring when she’s wide awake. This dog needs a CPAP machine at all times. And when she is asleep, she snores louder than I do. Trust me on this.

Like Cammie, Maggie is also a sweet tempered, loving, playful dog. She is not, however, very smart. She also is a well muscled, barrel shaped dog that probably weighs about 55 pounds. There’s not an ounce of fat on her, it’s all muscle. In many ways she is like a tank; she just goes through, or over anything that gets in her way. This morning I tripped over her as I was getting out of the shower because she had simply head-butted the closed bathroom door open while I was taking a shower. When I stepped out of the shower I DID NOT expect to her to be sitting right there waiting on me. It was a bit, just a bit, of a surprise.

I’ve been here since Saturday evening; and since both dogs normally sleep in the bed with Bob and Cathy, and they are not here, they both have  decided to sleep with me. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve shared my bed with any pet, let alone two relatively large dogs, so there were a couple of issues the first night that took some getting used to. After only thirty or forty minutes Maggie had kicked and used her head to push me out of the way until she was comfortable. She pretty much took the center of the bed. Cammie chose a spot at the foot of the bed. They graciously allowed me a spot on the far edge of the bed. It took awhile, but I thought that since they were comfortable there would be no more problems during the evening. I was wrong. I was SO wrong.

What I didn’t know was that Cathy had recently changed brand of food the dogs get, and they were still in the process of getting adjusted to the new brand. Apparently, one of the side affects of changing a dogs food, at least in this case, is to make the dogs, somewhat gaseous. In other words, in this case, it made them fart with the force of a thunderstorm.

Have you ever been awoken from a deep sleep choking and gagging and surrounded by a stench that makes the  scent of sulfur, rotten eggs, and decaying meat seem like sweet perfume? Have you ever, in an attempt to get out from under the cloud of noxious gas hanging over your head, stubbed your big toe on furniture of an unfamiliar room? As the result of the pain inflicted on your toe, have you  ever fallen to your knees beside the unfamiliar bed and found yourself looking into the bloodshot eyes of a recently awakened  Bulldog? I can answer all of these questions with an affirmative, and therefore my greatest wish for all of you that read this blog is that you will never, ever, be able to do the same.

Cormac